Archive for February, 2006

Lawrence Summers resigns!

Posted in Sexist pigs on February 23, 2006 by Blog Admin

<p><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000">A bit over a year since his inflammatory remarks about women's possible innate lack of ability in mathematics and science, </font><a href=""><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000">Lawrence Summers</font></a><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"> </font><a href=""><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000">announces his resignation as President of Harvard University</font></a><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000">.   The fact that these remarks were made at a conference that focused on increasing women's and girls' participation in these areas, simply made the remarks that much more outrageous and damaging.  Though Summers' sexism is outrageous, let us not forget that Lawrence Summers began his bigoted behavior by hassling </font><a href=""><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000">Cornel West</font></a><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000">, </font><a href=""><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000">causing the prestigious African-American studies scholar move from Harvard to Princeton</font></a><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000">.  </font></p><p><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000">Women who work in traditionally male fields like many sciences and technology are subjected to enough hostility and doubt.  We don't need a university president proclaiming his bigoted views.  I belong to an email list for women in technology called </font><a href=""><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000">Systers</font></a><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000">, started by </font><a href=""><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000">Anita Borg</font></a><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"> in 1987.  One woman who wrote a message on the list was one of six <a href="">original people who programmed the ENIAC</a>.  What her professional life must have been like!  I can't begin to extrapolate from my experience the insults and injustices that she must have experienced.  Here's to all the science and tech women who persevere to pave the way for our future Systers!</font></p>

Press Freedom and Responsibility

Posted in Press Freedom on February 13, 2006 by Blog Admin

It is not a sign of a civilized society when organizations or individuals act simply because they can.  We are a civilized society because we understand power dynamics and show restraint.  We are a civilized society because we watch out for the underprivileged.   We feed the hungry.  Well, we used to.  We like to think of ourselves as doing so.  Many Muslim nations are not as materialistic as many Christian  nations are.  We are often viewed as greedy bullies, stomping on poorer nations and imposing our &quot;values&quot; (or more accurately our economic structure)on them.  So when the newspapers of Denmark, Italy, France, Germany, and the Netherlands <a href="">cry &quot;freedom of the press</a>&quot; in regards to their portrayal of the prophet Mohammad as a terrorist, it rings hollow.  Especially for France's Soir to publish these images, given France's national intolerance for Muslim culture as expressed through their ban of <a href="">headscarves in schools</a>, it seems like a taunt.   We should fight for &quot;freedom of the press&quot; only to defend words that illuminate oppression and defend the oppressed, not to further empower the powerful.   The powerful already have a significant voice.   I am ashamed that anyone would cry &quot;freedom of the press&quot; to unfavorably portray a Muslim prophet. Pick on someone your own size!

Impeach Bush?

Posted in Privacy Watch on February 6, 2006 by Blog Admin

<p><font face="Times New Roman" color="#ffffff" size="3">Elizabeth Holtzman makes a compelling case for George W. Bush’s impeachment due to his refusal to be limit his activities to what is legal under US law in </font><a href=""><font face="Times New Roman" color="#0066ff" size="3">the January 30<sup>th</sup> edition of The Nation</font></a><font face="Times New Roman" color="#ffffff" size="3"><font color="#0066cc">.</font><span>  </span>She identifies his warrantless domestic spying as the primary reason for impeachment, but also acknowledges </font><a href=""><font face="Times New Roman" color="#0066ff" size="3">allegations of torture</font></a><font face="Times New Roman" color="#ffffff" size="3"> as possible grounds. <span>  </span>I personally thought that George merited impeachment because he unilaterally declared war on Iraq after Iraq submitted to weapons inspections which accurately turned up no such weapons.<span>  </span>After a series of former-insider books, starting with former Treasury Secretary,</font><a href="'Neill"><font face="Times New Roman" color="#0066ff" size="3"> Paul O’Neill</font></a><font size="3"><font face="Times New Roman"><font color="#ffffff">, and former <span lang="EN">counter-terrorism adviser to the Bush White House,</span><span lang="EN"> </span></font></font></font><a href=""><font face="Times New Roman" color="#0066ff" size="3">Richard Clarke</font></a><font face="Times New Roman" color="#ffffff" size="3">, all saying that Bush was trying to contrive a rationale to attack Iraq since early in his administration.<span>  </span>But I digress.<span>  </span>Ultimately, I am pleased that the topic has some momentum.<span>  </span>Let’s look at Holtzman’s case.</font></p><p><font face="Times New Roman" color="#ffffff" size="3">As a result of </font><a href=""><font face="Times New Roman" color="#0066ff" size="3">Richard Nixon</font></a><font face="Times New Roman" color="#ffffff" size="3"><font color="#0066ff">’</font>s warrantless wiretaps of seventeen journalists, Congress enacted FISA, the </font><a href=""><font face="Times New Roman" color="#0066ff" size="3">Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act</font></a><font face="Times New Roman" color="#ffffff" size="3"><font color="#0066ff">,</font> which requires judicial oversight of all domestic wiretaps. <span> </span>At the time Nixon claimed <span> </span>In the Nation article Holtzman debunks all of the Administration’s claims for legitimate grounds for by-passing the FISA court during their spying.<span>  </span>For example, the Bush administration claims that acquiring a warrant would make wiretaps less timely, when, in fact, warrants by be acquired up to three days after the fact.<span>  </span>All we seek is a balance between legitimate needs to investigate criminal activity and the privacy of US citizens.<span>  </span>Without this protection, we are in danger of becoming a totalitarian regime, because citizens who disagree with administration </font></p>