The Financial Filter: How CNBC Handles Howard Dean vs. Susan Boyle

~~By  InsightAnalytical-GRL

Lately, I’ve been testing my mettle by actually tuning into CNBC occasionally. We don’t have FOX Business here, but you get enough of their angle on the regular FOX shows featuring Neil Cavuto and the weekend financial panels.

Yesterday, I caught Howard Dean just around the Noon hour ET (on Power Lunch), slugging it out with that panel they have which features Larry Kudlow among others.  I was wondering what Dean was doing on there following the latest Geithner comments, but perhaps he’s getting warmed up to defend the upcoming healthcare “reform” that will be vomited out of the Congress and Obamaville soon.

Anyway, Kudlow was yelling again about “why can’t the markets be allowed to correct themselves” to which Dean retorted in perfect Obot fashion “Look what the markets did to the American people!” (sic).

Well, I waited for the comeback…I waited to hear one of these panel people, including Kudlow, respond snappily with how Congress, particularly Democratic members, failed to provide oversight over the housing mortgage debacle, which seems to have precipitated much of the mess we’re in.

CRICKETS!

But, as I thought about it, I figured that’s exactly what I was expected to hear. The GE family of companies that “bring good things to life” don’t consider history and full debate healthy for the 5th-grade level critical skills level of the American viewer. Kudlow is probably under orders “not to go there,” so he doesn’t go there. He’s loud and passionate about “the markets” but he pulled up short with Dean.

But that’s the way it is now. The media is in a permanent state of coitus interruptus when in it comes to discussing financial matters…or most political news. Especially since the Obama folks are so cozy with GE…

Sue Herera and Bill Griffeth, still at it after all these years,  are stuck in the middle of all this.  They’ll get a couple of people on and ask some serious questions, but the upcoming segments which follow always involve some provocative pugilism.  After listening to the Dean segment, which included another guest plus Dean and the four CNBC panelists,  I felt whiplashed, not informed. Mission accomplished!

After 3 PM, we get a lot more sober discussion for a brief time as The Closing Bell airs and things settle down.   Gone is the screaming on the panels and the minute-by-minute, breathless spewing that sounds like the coverage of a sporting event while the market gyrates. Maria Bartiromo anchors and does interviews and the discussions are less hysterical. Today, I caught a young guy from the NY Times and a few experienced hands getting down to the real problems with the financial sector…including the one-time things done this quarter courtesy government largesse that won’t be around to play with over the next few quarters when the rubber meets the road.

Yeah, but then it’s over as we get Fast Money then Jim Cramer’s Mad Money to liven the pace for evening prime time with their gameshow approach to finance and to appeal to the young dreamers who want to get rich quick and don’t have a clue. And then Kudlow returns.

In a comment to yesterday’s post, Lee M. had a musing which captures the zeitgeist of CNBC these days, too…I’ve done some word substitutions where appropriate:

…the cretins over at MSNBC CNBC, having crossed the Rubicon, have no where else to go.

They know that those of us who value our Constitution [journalistic integrity] have written them off, so they keep pitching their wares to the far left and the Obots because without them they would have no audience at all.

Like Julius Caesar before them, the die is cast, and they can’t go back. So they will continue their vile jokes [obvious bias and omissions] that would have gotten anyone else censored [fired] before this. They are tolerated because that is the way TPTB want it for now.

So Howard Dean is treated with kid gloves, the facts be damned!

Oh, but the folks at CNBC certainly DO have somewhere to go, if I may quibble a bit with that first line of the above comment. Where? Well, let’s visit the CNBC website where yesterday afternoon I found somebody dragging Susan Boyle along in a “humor” piece that ties the global economy to her performance…with an odd mixture of  admiration (?) and the requisite mockery (of course).  How appropriate…the taunts begin the day after I write about “Smeargate” in the UK and the level of “discourse”  we have here in the U.S.:

Apr.21
1:49 PM ET

As she concluded the song and the crowd jumped to its feet cheering, Susan Boyle blew a kiss. A kiss that, like the butterfly that flapped its wings, set in motion a flutter of dollars, pounds, euros and yen that will get this global economy humming again.

Will YouTube Sensation Susan Boyle Save the Global Economy?
Posted By:Cindy Perman

As the world grapples with headlines about troubled loans at Bank of America [BAC 8.76 +  0.74 (+9.23%)
and pirates wreaking havoc on the high seas, a lone dove has emerged to save the global economy.

SNIP
Boyle rolls her unknown-to-man hips.

Teenage girls roll their eyes. (Yeah, we saw you, eye-rolling girl at 1:24)

SNIP
Susan Boyle has given people a reason to hope.

A reason to look up from their flaming 401(k) statements.

I dreamed a dream in time gone by

A reason to walk over to their computer and log on to YouTube.com.

When hope was high

A reason to buy Kleenex in bulk at Costco. [COST 46.48 + 2.14 (+4.83%) ]

And life worth living

A reason to go to Amazon.com [AMZN 78.75 + 1.18 (+1.52%) ]

I dreamed that love would never die—

SNIP

I dreamed that God would be forgiving

A reason to watch the made-for-TV movie about her on Lifetime and expose themselves to millions of dollars in advertising. [DIS 19.47 + 0.06 (+0.31%) ]

Do you get the feeling that someone RESENTS the fact that Susan Boyle wasn’t manufactured by the entertainment industry and the mass media, but simply appeared and touched people’s souls without a filter? If the “money machine” were cranking up for one of their fake creations, would you get the slights and mockery that we see directed at Susan Boyle in this piece? Or the cheapening of a great performance (and a pretty darned good song, too) ? The vultures find it so distasteful that the the plebes responded spontaneously even though the entertainment biz types will be trying to make money off  her until the well runs dry?  Personally, I hope she makes a bundle on her own terms and then walks away…before we start getting the “whispers” about her single life that will probably be started up to shove her aside for some plastic doll that can be marketed and controlled for public consumption… Like, what? She doesn’t deserve to make any money off her REAL talent??  Mark my words, Simon Cowell will look like a compassionate saint compared to what could come down further along this road…

Yes, just like the filtering of political and financial news, we have to get a filter in place for Susan Boyle so the public can be redirected to enable the opinion/money makers can move onto creating a fab NEW item for which they can take full credit and reward themselves with extra executive compensation bonuses.  Maybe TPTB can recycle the filters they used with Sarah Palin, Hillary Clinton and a “feeble” John McCain as they deal with Susan Boyle.

Heart seems to have a short shelf-life these days…

The Past Week: March 8-14, 2009 (Alaska Rivalry? Palin/Murkowski; Franken vs.Colemen=Bush vs. Gore?; China Gearing Up for It’s Own Second Stimulus Package; Sen. Gregg’s Parting Shot)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Here are a few items that you may have missed during the past week as you basked in all the stock market “gains”…

Looks like there’s another star from Alaska who is making some waves in D.C. Lisa Murkowski, who’s father lost to Sarah Palin in the primary election as he tried for re-election as  governor in 2006, is being called a “powerhouse” in the Senate. (One of the charges leveled at Frank Murkowski was that he appointed his daughter to the Senate after he was elected governor.)  From the AP:

Alaska’s Murkowski a new ‘powerhouse’ in Senate

Only in her first full term, Murkowski is Alaska’s senior senator and the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, a crucial role for her oil-producing state. She serves on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee and is the only woman among eight men on the Senate GOP’s leadership team.

“I can’t think of anybody in recent years in the Senate who has gone further faster than Lisa Murkowski,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. “Alaska has a new powerhouse already.”

SNIP

…Even with her climb to power, Murkowski is dogged by an unspoken rivalry with Gov. Sarah Palin, the GOP’s vice presidential nominee in 2008 who defeated Murkowski’s father in a hard-fought primary in 2006.

Murkowski is up for re-election in 2010, and pundits from Washington to Alaska have focused on a possible primary challenge by Palin, a possible presidential contender in 2012. Palin, whose term as governor ends next year, has not announced her plans.

SNIP

While she supports increased oil and gas drilling, Murkowski is more moderate than many other GOP senators, Begich said. Murkowski supported a fair-pay act for women and an expansion of children’s health insurance, both Democratic priorities.

While both women deny the talk of rivalry, even going so far as to write a joint opinion piece with the title “We’re not rivals; we’re in partnership for Alaska,” rumors persist.  Palin’s term as governor ends next year and Murkowski is up for re-election in 2010 and there is speculation that Palin might mount a primary challenge to Murkowski.  Should be interesting…

And doesn’t it seem that the GOP powers in D.C. may be closing ranks around Murkowski over Palin?

***

If you’re wondering what’s going on with the Franken-Coleman Senate seat battle, here’s the latest update:

Politco.com reported on Friday that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is urging a fight all the way to the Supreme Court:

Franken holds a 225-vote lead after a hand recount of ballots cast in November. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) suggested Friday that Coleman’s fight to hold on to his Minnesota Senate seat may still be in its nascent stages.

“This could end up in federal court based on the allegations of the Coleman campaign that there has not been a consistent manner of counting votes county by county,” McConnell said. “I don’t know where this ends.”

Guess what case they are citing?  Remember the one that was supposed to be a “one-time only” decision?

McConnell said that Coleman’s team seems to have been laying the groundwork for a federal appeals challenge by citing the 2000 Supreme Court case in Bush v. Gore, which ended the Florida recount. McConnell argued that the equal protection clause of the Constitution ensures that each county should use similar standards in counting its ballots, which the Coleman campaign asserts was not done in Minnesota.

“We all remember Bush v. Gore,” McConnell said.

***

Guess who else has a second stimulus package ready to roll? From Xinhua News Agency/China Views:

Premier: China ready to roll out new stimulus package if needed

BEIJING, March 13 (Xinhua) — China has prepared plans to cope with even bigger difficulties amid the financial crisis and is ready to put forward new stimulus package at any time, said Premier Wen Jiabao here Friday.

SNIP

“We are ready to put forward new stimulus policies at any time,” Wen said.

China rolled out a 4-trillion-yuan (585.5 billion U.S. dollars) two-year stimulus package last year, for which the central government has pledged 1.18 trillion yuan.

Wen said Friday the 1.18 trillion yuan from the central government was totally new investment.

The package included huge government investment, tax reform, industrial restructuring, scientific innovation, social welfare and promoting employment.

Apart from the 4-trillion-yuan package, China will cut tax by 600 billion yuan, raise the old-age pension for retired workers, hike the salaries of 12 million teachers, increase farmers’ income and provide more subsidies for them.

The country also plans to spend 850 billion yuan on reforming the health care sector within three years.

“These investment is not included in the 4-trillion-yuan stimulus package,” Wen said.

All investment plans in the massive stimulus package have been fully debated, and would be open for public supervision, he said.

He said the stimulus package included many new projects, such as the housing projects for low-income urban residents.

MORE

Dollars, yuans…it’s beginning to sound all the same…

***

VIA Chicago Correspondent Leslie:

Here’s the quote of the week from Sen. Gregg, the Republican who bailed as Commerce Secretary:

From the end of the article a MSNBC’s First Read:
“Gregg questioned why any foreign country would continue to buy up U.S. debt: “Because if I’m in the international marketplace, and I’m looking at this budget, I’m saying to myself, ‘Where’s the discipline? Where’s the containment?’ There isn’t any.”

In his withdrawal statement last month, Gregg said, “I expect there will be many issues and initiatives where I can and will work to assure the success of the president’s proposals.”

The budget doesn’t appear to be one of them.”
***

THE PAST WEEK

*By American Lassie

Saturday Sanity: The Antidote to the Madness (March 14, 2009) (Lost Dog; Budding; Pruned Grapes; A Robin Visits; Clouds Around Town; Biker Chic) Pics!

Obama on the Border: The Language Shift & Plan to Use Executive Orders–Tying It All Together (Security, Trade, Immigration )

Mexico Plans World’s Third Largest Seaport, Will Impact U.S. Ports on West Coast; Citigroup to Help Finance? (Updated 1X More on TARP $$ Going Overseas)

What’s Going On North of the Border: The Canadian Economy and Stimulus Plan

An Old Hand Comments on the Current Fix We’re In With Obama the “Post Turtle”

*THE PROPOSED NORTH AMERICAN COMMUNITY/NORTH AMERICAN UNION: 2010 Is Just Around the Corner

The Past Week: March 1-7, 2009 (More on Sinclair Lewis; Canada-EU Free Trade?; China Eyeing the Big Three Automakers’ “Juicy Bits”?; Palin’s “Troopergate” Foe Winds Up In Obama Administration)


The Past Week: March 1-7, 2009 (More on Sinclair Lewis; Canada-EU Free Trade?; China Eyeing the Big Three Automakers’ “Juicy Bits”?; Palin’s “Troopergate” Foe Winds Up In Obama Administration)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

This week’s post on Sinclair Lewis (see below) drew a lot of attention, so I thought I’d point readers in the direction of a site devoted to Lewis that is really a great place to start if you want to find out more about “It Can’t Happen Here” and all of Lewis’ work.  Here’s the link:

http://www.squidoo.com/it-cant-happen-here-sinclair-lewis

***

Friday I received the daily newsletter from Radio Canada International and once again there were squibs included that I couldn’t find at either the RCI site or when I searched around the CBC’s news area.

Read these with an eye to several posts that will be starting tomorrow, with American Lassies’s post entitled “THE PROPOSED NORTH AMERICAN COMMUNITY/NORTH AMERICAN UNION: 2010 Is Just Around the Corner.”

OTTAWA: CANADA, EU AGREE ON FREE-TRADE AGENDA

Canada and the European Union have agreed on a framework for negotiation of a free-trade accord after six months of discussions. Canadian Trade Minister Stockwell Day says the two parties will discuss goods and services, investment rules, intellectual property and free circulation of workers. The minister says Canada’s provinces will take part in the negotiations. Bilateral trade last year was worth $90 billion, an increase of seven per cent over 2007.

***

Chicago Correspondent Leslie emailed me during the week about a report she heard on the local Chicago PBS station:

Late last night (3/4)I was watching “France 24 News” (http://www.france24.com/en/) on one of the public teevee stations here. They were covering the auto show in France and interviewed a spokesperson for the Chinese car line called “Brilliance” . This company is partners with BMW. The reporter inquired about the possibility this auto would enter the US market in the near future. The answer was: this auto line doesn’t meet the emission standards of the US. It is a big polluter. BUT,

They are looking at the auto industry in the US, and are realizing the financial distress of the auto manufacturers may make them – particularly GM – interested in having this Chinese company buy them out.

Of course, I wanted to jump up and email you all right away, but I’ve been having some sleep problems and decided to try to stay in bed.  Glad I did. Because This Morning I heard:

GM is now talking about filing for Chapter 11.

(Maybe you all have heard all this before, but I had not and wanted to just tell you before I start ruminating.)

I did a bit of poking around and it was easy to find articles from November-December 2008 on the subject. And, apparently, it’s not just GM that’s involved in buyout speculation.  The following post that I found at The Truth About Cars blog seemed to sum it up nicely:

China Buyout Watch: SAIC Sets Sights On Saturn

By Bertel Schmitt
December 12, 2008

After last night’s Congress cruelty, there might be government help after all. From the Chinese government.  In China, the interest of Chinese automakers has grown far beyond the rumor stage. Today, government-controlled China Daily (THE English speaking news outlet for the official party-line) runs a long article on the Chinese aspirations to snap up juicy bits of Detroit. Actually, as China Daily sees it, it’s Detroit that’s making the advances to China. The headline says it all: “Big 3 look for Chinese medicine.”

SNIP

Folks, take my word for it: If China Daily writes something like this, then the matter is way beyond the idle chatter stage. There will be denials, or milquetoast “no comments,” but if it’s in China Daily, something is definitely in the bush.

***

Remember “Troopergate” that marred Sarah Palin’s reputation during the Presidential campaign? Well, guess what? From the Anchorage Daily News:

Legislator takes job with Obama administration

Longtime Juneau Democrat Kim Elton resigned from the state Senate on Monday to take a job as director of Alaska affairs for the U.S. Department of the Interior.

“This job is the funnel through which the Alaska issues are going to be addressed,” Elton said in an interview after an emotional farewell speech in the Senate.

SNIP

Elton was chairman of the Legislative Council, a bipartisan panel that voted unanimously last summer to investigate Palin’s removal of Walt Monegan as public safety commissioner, as well as the allegations she pressured public safety officials to fire a trooper who was her ex-brother-in law.

SNIP

Palin and Elton have also been at odds, and Palin greeted the announcement of Elton’s new job with the terse declaration that “Senator Elton pledged his allegiance to President Obama last summer.” Palin also said in her written statement that she hopes Elton will use the job to Alaska’s benefit.

An earlier story in the Juneau Empire offers more details:

Elton was head of the Obama campaign in Juneau, but has one other attribute which may help him get the Interior position. He’s a close friend of Pete Rouse, a former Alaskan who served as chief of staff for Obama’s Illinois Senate office. Rouse also serves as chief of staff for Obama’s transition team. “Every time we go back to D.C., we stay with Pete,” Elton said. The most recent visit was three weeks ago, to attend the inauguration of President Obama.

How about them apples?  Now, where did those 30 or so Obama lawyers go who were reported to have  turned over every part of Alaska to find dirt on Palin?

THE PAST WEEK

*By Kenosha Marge

Saturday Sanity: The Antidote to the Madness (March 7, 2009) (The Many Faces of Pansies and Other Garden Delights; Tico Goes Belly Up!) Pics!

Secy. of Defense Robert Gates Downplays Possible U.S. Role as Fears of Mexico Collapse Mount; Don’t Be Fooled, There’s A Bush-Era Agenda Still Going On Here…

*STANDING TALL: DECLARATION OF AN INDEPENDENT

URGENT PRESS RELEASE March 4, 2009 from W.A.M. RE: Expiration of the “E-Verify Program” Which Screens Employment of Illegal Aliens

“It Can’t Happen Here” by Sinclair Lewis: Well, It Sure Seems Like It IS Happening Here…

IL State Treasurer/Obama Ally Giannoulias Planning to Challenge Roland Burris–Report from Our Chicago Correspondent; Medicare Musings

An Interesting Theory on Superpower Collapse: U.S. Going the Way of the Soviet Union?

The Past Week: February 22-28, 2009 (Laura Bush Lives On; Budget Director Peter Orszag/Robert E. Rubin, Iceland Bankrupters; China Taking Advantage of U.S. Weakness As It Looks to Buy Foreign Oil Companies?; U.S. Deaths Spike in Afghanistan; Baracus Caesar Obamacus Meets Barackistanis)

Family Matters (Politics, Home Style): David & Susan Axelrod and Epilepsy; Bristol & Sarah Palin Interview on Greta (UPDATE 1X: GM Retiree Health Benefits Dropped–the Next “Attached String” Falls into Place?

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Did you see the latest issue of Parade Magazine this past weekend?

Call me a cynic, but are we seeing the first salvo in the next campaign planned by the Obama Administration regarding health care?

I didn’t know who the people were on the cover, but when I took the time to read the story inside, it turned out that the story was about how the daughter of Obama’s guru David Axelrod and his wife Susan discovered and have coped with the serious epilepsy problems of their daughter, Lauren.   It’s part of a “Heroic Parents” series.  And, this story was followed up with an appearance on the Today Show on Monday (which I did not see).

From the web edition of the story:

When her daughter was diagnosed with uncontrollable epilepsy, Susan Axelrod knew:

I Must Save My Child

By Melissa Fay Greene
Publication Date: 02/15/2009
Susan and Lauren Axelrod
Susan Axelrod and daughter Lauren, 27 (photo by Katherine Lamber for PARADE)

For more on the Axelrods and CURE, tune in to NBC’s TODAY show on Monday, February 16.

When Susan Axelrod tells the story of her daughter, she begins like most parents of children with epilepsy: The baby was adorable, healthy, perfect. Lauren arrived in June 1981, a treasured first-born. Susan Landau had married David Axelrod in 1979, and they lived in Chicago, where Susan pursued an MBA at the University of Chicago and David worked as a political reporter for the Chicago Tribune. (He later would become chief strategist for Barack Obama’s Presidential campaign and now is a senior White House adviser.) They were busy and happy. Susan attended classes while her mother babysat. Then, when Lauren was 7 months old, their lives changed overnight.

MORE

The story goes into great detail about Lauren’s condition and her mother’s efforts to bring the serious problems created by epilepsy into the light and mentions then-First Lady Hillary Clinton’s help as  for the organization  founded by Susan Axelrod, CURE.

Susan began to meet other parents living through similar hells. They agreed that no federal agency or private foundation was acting with the sense of urgency they felt, leaving 3 million American families to suffer in near-silence. In 1998, Susan and a few other mothers founded a nonprofit organization to increase public awareness of the realities of epilepsy and to raise money for research. They named it after the one thing no one offered them: CURE–Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy.

“Epilepsy is not benign and far too often is not treatable,” Susan says. “We wanted the public to be aware of the death and destruction. We wanted the brightest minds to engage with the search for a cure.”

Then-First Lady Hillary Clinton signed on to help; so did other politicians and celebrities. Later, veterans back from Iraq with seizures caused by traumatic brain injuries demanded answers, too. In its first decade, CURE raised $9 million, funded about 75 research projects, and inspired a change in the scientific dialogue about epilepsy.

The efforts by Susan Axelrod are certainly wonderful, but I am so cynical about everything that comes out of anything connected to Obama that I had to wonder if this whole thrust–a big cover story followed up by the Today Show–is part of the campaign to sell the health care changes that are brewing.  First we had Daschle and the house parties, now we have changes to health care that will probably affect many seniors in possibly negative ways, and now this PR effort involving David Axelrod and his family.   But Axelrod isn’t the focus of this story, it is his wife and daughter. My skeptic sensor wonders if this is a way to put a “human face” on the mastermind behind what could be some pretty upsetting changes in the works.  Is it the Obama crowd’s “I feel your pain” moment??

I don’t know if you can call it “exploitation” of Lauren, who is 27 years old. But there is something here that makes me uneasy.  Because we’ve come to learn that there is NOTHING that the Obama crowd does that doesn’t have some purpose.  I think there is something else afoot.

Today I thought about how Obama trotted his girls out at that party which the press attended, and then “realized” after the fact that it might be “too much exposure” for them.  And all through the campaign there were the huge crowds, which we found out were partly due to opening rock bands, food and beer in some cases.  The whole Obama campaign has been one big PR blitz, aided by the mainstream media.

So pardon me if I have mixed feelings about this story on the Axelrods and epilepsy.  It’s great that there is some information put out there, but…

Coincidentally, Greta Van Susteren did another segment up in Alaska on last night which opened with Bristol Palin and her baby.  Sarah Palin came on and the discussion was about the difficulties of raising a child and how they are lucky to have a family willing to pitch in.  It was a very factual and real discussion.  But was it exploitation? All I know is that I didn’t get the creepy feeling I got after I started mulling over the Axelrod article.  The Bristol Palin part of the segment was over and done with fairly quickly(it was only a very small section of the full interview; full video below).

The interview went on to a discussion of the stimulus package which Gov. Palin framed in terms of how the states might be left holding the bag on future costs of expanded programs and how the bill was rushed to the floor even though most people hadn’t read it. She wondered about the rush to vote since the bill signing was delayed until Tuesday.  She said that she thought a bill that hadn’t been read or debated should be vetoed. She commented on the Fairness Doctrine and how someone had to be questioning the Administration and that silencing critics could be bad for our democracy. And she talked about a letter she had sent to Obama about energy policy that apparently has gotten some positive feedback.  She also stressed again about ultimately becoming energy independent and bringing renewable energy sources online and how she’s like Obama to visit to see what really is happening with energy in Alaska.  (This was the longest interview shown last night; see Sarah Palin Interview below.)

Links to the videos:

Bristol Palin interview (much longer than the short piece on last night’s On the Record.

***Sarah Palin Interview

Introducing Tripp

So there they are, two back-to-back family stories which lead back to politics. In the case of Palin, it was a straightforward interview with Bristol and then policy talk with the Governor (and a spot on the snowmobile race that Todd Palin finished in 6th place.  In the case of the Axelrod interview, it was full of painful detail with no OBVIOUS politics.

But, be forewarned. I really think it’s part of an unfolding plan…and a sneaky one at that.

***

P.S.–I still go with Palin…

UDATE

H/T to The Confluence

Tuesday: GM dumps retiree health care

So, GM gets bailed out…is this one of the “attached strings” for taking the money???   Slots in nicely as the next step in the PR campaign? (Fear, on the heels of “feel your pain”….)


Lawrence Summers Needs to Study Up on Some Women’s History–Here’s a Short Course He Should Take

~~By American Lassie

Barack Obama may be impressed by Lawrence Summers economics credentials, and I agree they are many, but his credentials as a human being leave a lot to be desired. But then, Obama is also a misogynist just like Summers and as they say, “Birds of a feather flock together.”

Unfortunately, too many men fall into this category. These blathering boobs can’t accept that many women are more capable of doing many things as well or better than men.

Watching Lawrence Summers, the head of the White House’s National Economic Council at a press conference the other day, I couldn’t appreciate what he was saying because I was reminded of a speech he gave in January 2005 at a conference on “Diversifying the Science and Engineering Workforce” sponsored by the National Bureau of Economic Research. In his opinion there are more men than women in high-end science and engineering positions because women are not as willing to:

  • (1) Make commitments in time and flexibility demanded by high-powered jobs.
  • (2) That there were differences in the intrinsic abilities of men and women (more specifically men’s higher variance in aptitudes, abilities, or preferences relevant to science, engineering and mathematics).
  • (3) Discrepancy due to discrimination or socialization.

He stated that fewer girls than boys have high scores on math tests in late high school years.  That research in behavioral  genetics had shown that things people previously attributed to socialization weren’t due to socialization after all. Summers said that women do not have the same “innate ability” or “natural ability” as men in some fields.

In other words, Ladies, you are not as committed to a venture, nor as smart as a man.

Let’s see what Webster has to say about the definition of the reasons Summers gave:

  • (1) Commitment – dedication to a long time course of action – a pledge or promise to do something.
  • (2) Aptitude – an innate, acquired, learned or developed component of a competency, knowledge or understanding of work at a certain level.  Aptitudes may be physical or mental.
  • (3) Discrimination – discrimination toward or against a person or group is the treatment or consideration based on class or category other than individual merit. (In this case gender discrimination)

Summers is so far off base in respect to reasons #1 and #2 that he is certifiable.  As for reason #3 – discrimination – he is absolutely right.  Women have been, and are being, discriminated against in every field, and men like him are the worst offenders. Every time a woman strives to break the glass ceiling in any field, there is always a group of misogynists (some of them other women), ready to cut off her legs.

The list of accomplished women in the world is so long it would take forever to list them all. I would like to mention a few that might not be so well known to the average person.  Let’s start with one of my favorites and then go back to medieval times and work our way up to present day times.

GRACE HOPPER – Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper – (Dec 9, 1906 – Jan 1, 1992)
Grace Hopper was an American computer scientist and a naval officer.
I first heard of Grace Hopper when I was in college, taking a course in computer programming, (Data Processing 154). This was the stone age days of data processing. We had to learn to write programs, to do flow charts, keypunch the command cards, and then run our programs in a gigantic monster of a computer that had to be kept in a very cold room. This process was zillions of miles away from today’s computers. If you punched the wrong digit you ruined your whole program, and it crashed.
My instructor was a part-time airline pilot who said that Grace Hopper had more guts and know-how than most of the pilots he knew. Grace Hopper was a pioneer in the field. She was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I calculator, and developed the first compiler for a computer programming language.  Because of her accomplishments and naval rank she was sometimes called “Amazing Grace”.
Grace Hopper had a master’s degree in mathematics and physics from Yale,and she also had a PhD in mathematics from Yale. Her dissertation was titled  “New Types of Irreducibility Criteria”.  She taught mathematics at Vassar. (Assoc. Prof.)
Rear Admiral Grace Hopper served in the United States Navy  – 1943-1966,   1967-1971,  1972-1986.
Naval Officer, Mathematician, Computer Wizard ( she did the majority of the programming for the Navy during her years of service), and College Professor.  I would say that she had commitment and aptitude to spare.

HOW ABOUT THEM APPLES, SUMMERS? NOT WILLING TO MAKE A COMMITMENT?  NO ABILITIES? NO APTITUDE?
SUBSERVIENT TO MEN?  CRAWL BACK INTO YOUR HOLE, WORM.

In Medievel times we had ELEANOR OF AQUITAINE – Queen Consort of Louis VII of France and Henry II of England.The most powerful woman of 12th Century Europe. She accompanied Louis on the Second Crusade.  The mother of Richard I (Richard the Lionhearted), she was active in government – ruling the country during his crusade to the Holy Land and ransoming him from Austria.

COMMITMENT? APTITUDE? ADD BRAVERY AND COURAGE, SUMMERS.

Then we have –

ELIZABETH I, dedicated Queen of England.  I need not say much about her as she is well known and her rule of England is one of the most successful in the history of that country. Determined to keep England Protestant  –  this fact caused friction with—–
MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS – cousin to and rival of Elizabeth.  She too, is well known having been named Queen of Scotland when she was but a few weeks old. A very beloved Queen, whose dedication to her Catholic religion caused her many enemies to use it against her.
Both these Queens were COMMITTED, to use Summer’s word. To this, you could add courage, bravery and of course discrimination was used against them.
JOAN OF ARC – A national heroine of France and a Catholic Saint, also known as “The Maid of Orleans”.  She led the French Army to several important victories during the Hundred Year’s War.

COMMITTED?  APTITUDE?  YOU TELL ME SUMMERS.

Let’s throw a few kudos to some American women who helped make this a country where misogynists like Summers are free to spill their bile.  Here are a few of what I call AMERICAN ATHENAS – Women in the American Revolution.  Athena in Greek mythology is the goddess of the practical arts, and warfare,and the protectress of cities – especially Athens.  Although these women were not learned in the arts of mathematics or science, their commitment cannot be questioned.

MARGARET CORBIN – a female participant in the war where the chief fighters were men. During the British attack on Fort Washington, Margaret maintained a vigil throughout the night. Her words – “Activated by the most glorious cause that mankind ever fought in, I am to defend this post to the very last extremity”
THE EDENTON TEA PARTY – Oct 1774 – Fifty one women signed PENELOPE BAKER‘S declaration to ban British imports.  Renounced drinking English tea & wearing clothes made of British cloth. They did not attempt to hide their identities and boldly signed their true names.
Paul Revere was not the only one to announce the British’s arrival.  SYBIL LUDINGTON rode through Connecticut yelling that the British were burning Danbury.  Due to her actions the British were halted in Ridgefield, Ct. on April 27, 1777 and were forced to retreat to Long Island Sound.
DEBORAH SAMPSON – put on men’s clothing and called herself “Robert Shirtliffe” and fought courageously. “His” company defeated marauding indians north of Ticonderoga.
The water carrier – MARY HAYS, otherwise known as “Molly Pitcher” took up arms after her husband fell.

And later on –

DR. MARY WALKER – A surgeon in the Civil War was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Andrew Johnson.

Spanish American War nurse CLARA MAAS died as a result of yellow fever. Army Contract Nurse Maas volunteered in an experimental treatment program after having survived the war. A stamp was isssued in her honor in 1976.

On a lighter note, let’s take ANNIE OAKLEY – sharpshooter, wild west performer, advocate for women learning self-defense and also quite patriotic. Just before the Spanish-American War, Annie Oakley wrote to then President William McKinley and offered an unusual service.  Here is her letter to McKinley:

“Hon Wm. McKinley, President
Dear Sir
I for one feel confident that your good judgement will carry America safely through without war.  But in case of such an event I am ready to place a company of fifty lady sharpshooters at your disposal.Every one of them will be an American and as they will furnish their own arms and ammunition will be of little if any expense to the government.
Yours truly
Annie Oakley”

Miss Oakley’s original letter is in the National Archives.
When the U.S. was pulled into WWI she made the same offer.  Neither offer was accepted.

STUPID MEN RUNNING THINGS COULDN’T FATHOM THAT A WOMAN COULD BE SO COMMITTED.

During WWI over 30,000 women had served in the Army and Navy Nurse Corps , the Navy as Yeoman(F), the Marines, and the Coast Guard.  They served their country before they even were allowed to vote.

COMMITMENT, APTITUDE, AND DISCRIMINATION.

Moving along to more recent days, we have SALLY RIDE American physicist and former NASA astronaut who became the first American woman and youngest American (at that time) to enter outer space.

COMMITMENT, APTITUDE? TELL ME SUMMERS, WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Other women with committment and aptitude who fought other kinds of battles for their countries include:
HILLARY CLINTON
SARAH PALIN
MARGARET THATCHER
INDIRA GHANDI
GOLDA MEIR
THE FEMALE MEMBERS OF THE FLIGHT CREW OF  FLIGHT 1549.

All these women showed great commitment to their beliefs and to their fellow human beings.

APTITUDE IS BOTH PHYSICAL AND MENTAL – THEIR APTITUDE SPEAKS FOR ITSELF.  For these women their commitment and determination to improve their countries and their people’s lives is indisputable. And to the women in the crew of flight 1549 who kept their composure and helped organize the successful evacuation of the plane that went down in the Hudson River recently, I can only say “BRAVO.”  And kudos to their captain who made sure everyone knew of their bravery. Would we had more men like him. (Although I’m sure there are quite a few.)  We seldom hear about men praising women.  We usually hear from the blatant misogynists like Lawrence Summers.

Of course, there are many more committed women with exceptional abilities that I could not name here.  I just wanted to show that throughout history, from medievel times to now , women have carried their countries on their shoulders and it is wrong for anyone to try to put them in the back seat.

DO YOU GET IT MR. SUMMERS? YOU OWE THE WOMEN OF THE WORLD AND ESPECIALLY OF THIS COUNTRY AN APOLOGY.
WHEN I SEE HOW WOMEN ARE DEVALUED IN THIS COUNTRY I AM DISHEARTENED BEYOND BELIEF.

AT LEAST IN OTHER COUNTRIES WOMEN ARE ALLOWED TO RISE TO THE TOP IN POLITICS, BASED ON THEIR COMMITMENT AND ABILITY AND NOT ON THEIR PHYSICAL ANATOMY.