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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

April 24, 2008


Ignoring Women

QUESTION: How many Republican Senators does it take to screw up a good bill?
ANSWER: Just enough.

A vote for an equal-pay-or-else bill was opposed and blocked by enough Senate Republicans that it couldn't get even to a vote to allow it to move on to President Bush's desk, where it was headed for a veto.

Almost a year ago, since retired Lilly Ledbetter, the only female supervisor in an Alabama tire plant, had her $3 million award for unequal pay reversed by the most political, most worker-unfriendly Supreme Court in recent history. Her claim was that she was being paid less than her male counterparts simply because they were male.

The vote was 5-4, with the usual suspects voting the way the usual suspects always do.

The problem which the Supreme Court had was that Ms. Ledbetter didn't file the suit within 180-days of finding out about the pay disparity.

Although the lower courts had always used the 180-day rule as it applied to the most recent paycheck (probably realizing that any woman who makes such waved might have a problem keeping her job or gaining a new job), the (Un)Fabulous Five on the Court decided that it applied to the first paycheck alone.

In other words, the statute of limitations applied and she was out of luck.

The Democrats in the senate jumped right into the fray with a bill to protect women nationwide from similar non-action in the future. However the Republicans, all but six of them, decided to side with the President and the sexists, probably with a lot of prodding from the White House.

But there were other reasons that the GOP Upper House members decided to oppose the bill:

"We understand people have to run for president. But to have the schedule of the Senate completely revolve around the schedule of the Democratic presidential candidates strikes me as particularly ridiculous."
-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (REPUBLICAN-KY)

Oh, I get it now... the timing was just wrong and you wanted to punish the two still-campaigning Democratic candidates. That makes sense, in some bizzarro way.

Wasn't it the likes of the REPUBLICAN Senate leadership who called the whole Senate into session to vote on a bill for one person (Terri Schiavo)? Wasn't it President Bush who flew back from one of his many, many vacations to also sign the Schiavo bill into law? (Remember, this is the same President Bush who "buzzed" New Orleans after the worst natural disaster in our nation's history after attending a birthday party for Senator John McCain while people were dying in the Big [Un]Easy.)

Somehow women's rights for an equal shot just don't make the cut.

And if you were curious as to where John McCain stood on the issue, join the club. He has yet to make a statement about the bill and the issue and didn't even bother to chow up for such a historic measure. Surely if he supported this very basic women's right, he would have been the great influence to push the bill through. After all, he is the new GOP leader, isn't he?

And why wasn't he there anyway? Perhaps, like the economy, he knows little about such issues. Or maybe he just doesn't want to make such a tough decision.

Maybe he played Hamlet in High school and has yet to feel comfortable making decisions. ("To be, or not to be.)

And how does one know that blocking this bill was a bad idea? Even Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (REPUBLICAN-TX) couldn't spin it against her Democratic foes:

"There's definitely something I could have voted for."

But it isn't something that enough GOP Senators could have voted for. And I hope that our nation's women voters make them aware of their mistake.

-Noah Greenberg

In response to, "But why won't Rice meet with Hamas? One would think that the lesson of not meeting with our enemies is one we would have learned by mow. Hamas is the ruling party in Gaza. Mahmoud Abbas, the "other" Palestinian leader is in a semi-exile in the West Bank and certainly holds no power over the small strip of land (Gaza) which should be the focus of attention. Does Rice think that by not meeting with Hamas that anything will be accomplished?" Robert Scardapane writes:

I know I said this before but it's worth repeating. The problem with dismissing Hezbollah and Hamas as terrorist organizations is that they are embedded in their societies. They are both political parties; Hamas in the West Bank / Gaza Strip and Hezbollah in Lebanon. They also run much of the social infrastructure such as hospitals.

Therefore, the people of these regions don't see them as purely "evil doers". I make no excuses for them when they become violent; they can't have it both ways. But, simply stamping them as terrorists is over simplistic and creates a situation where progress is impossible. The United States should encourage them to condemn violence as a means to an end but the US should not be phonies. The US has committed acts of violence in the Middle East by invading Iraq for no reason and the subsequent bloody occupation. The US has not set a good example to say the least.

In response to "Jimmy Carter will always get the benefit of my doubt," Gayle writes:

Me too.

And David McReynolds writes:

Thanks much for your comments on Jimmy Carter. Unlike Clinton, who has grown rich but shrunk in stature, Carter has, like a good wine, improved with age. And tell your friends that my hunch is a majority of your fellow Jews agree with you on this, not with Rush Limbaugh.

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-Noah Greenberg