Make it rain: Today is the fourth anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. But we still don’t have a Paycheck Fairness Act, which would give Ledbetter the teeth to go after wage discrimination. And just a reminder, women are still working more than 100 days into the following year to equal what a man makes in one calendar year; childless working women are making 23% less than men; and female college grads make $1.2 million less than men over a lifetime. If that’s not enough, how about this: During the last session of the Nevada Legislature, the wage gap in our state totaled $1 BILLION more than the state deficit! You know, the really big deficit during the really big economic collapse? Oh, that deficit! Nevada’s women and families sure coulda used that money, dontcha think? You know what else might help Nevada’s working poor and wage gap issues? Raising the minimum wage. (Hint, hint, Legislature.)
Equal Opportunity Battlefield: Speaking of equality in the workplace, let’s talk about Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s decision to lift the ban on women serving in combat. Of course, women have already been serving on the frontlines in the two most recent wars. (Love this video of The Daily Show’s Samantha Bee taking the scared, old, white guy to task.) But until now, women haven’t gotten official credit, which would include higher pay (there’s that darn equal pay for equal work thing, again), and better survivor benefits for their loved ones. Predictably, conservative heads were exploding far and wide with much wailing and gnashing of teeth about gender differences and how ladies will just gum up the war machine. There, there conservatives. Read this story about the studies that show that men’s job performance does not suffer because women are around. Now that we got that settled, how about tackling the issue of rape in the military? Because so far, it seems the military’s response has been a bit Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. And that’s not conduct becoming of an officer, a gentlemen, or a civilized society.
Serious as a heart attack: Like a kind of anti-woman shell game, Wyoming’s heartbeat bill is dead, but Arkansas has taken up the cause. Whenever I hear about heartbeat laws, I always think of that study that found that plants feel pain and sense danger.
To the stocks: I know I use hyperbole sometimes, like when I say that anti-abortion activists want to turn women into gestational slaves, with no autonomy over their own bodies or fates. But in some cases, the shackles are real. Like how anti-abortion laws have been used to jail women at a rate that is increasing. Stay pregnant or rot in jail? Really?
Blame welfare moms: They’ve certainly been blamed for a lot, so why not add gun violence to the list? During a meeting earlier this month, Republican Rep. James Lankford agreed with a constituent who blamed 100% of gun violence on kids using drugs. Lankford went on to say that he blames psychiatric drugs, which welfare moms get for their kids to get a bump in benefits. Ritalin. Just another way welfare moms are milking the system and causing their kids to stockpile assault weapons and kill people. Because what we need in this national conversation about responsible gun ownership is wildly stigmatizing rhetoric and disdain for poor people and/or those with mental health issues.
Challenger: Yesterday, Jan. 28, marked the 27th anniversary of the Challenger shuttle explosion. I still remember sitting with the rest of my class on the floor in my school library, watching the launch live. I was nine. We had been doing units on space and the solar system and following teacher Christa McAuliffe, who was going to do lessons from space as the first woman in the Teachers in Space Project. Seeing such a tragedy live left an indelible impression. It was one that my mind flashed back to when I saw the World Trade Center fall during the terrorist attacks of 9/11. I don’t have anything meaningful that I can say about it that you wouldn’t already expect. But I thought it was worth marking the moment in history.