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October 06, 2015

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it's flat-out assault (or is it battery? IANAL)

IANALE, and specific legal definitions may vary, but in broad terms, it's assault consummated by battery.

Huh, so that's why Allie stepped down. Never would've known just from reading Dark Horse comics.

FYI: It's Janelle Asselin, not Masselin.

He went about biting people when drunk? What a dick. People like that geekdom does not need.

Also, Dark Horse, not Dark Hose.

scott, DonBoy:

Thanks for the corrections!

(In retrospect, I should have explained my comment rather than engaging in drive-by disambiguation. Assault = credible attempt or threat of violence upon someone's person; battery = consummation of said attempt/threat.)

I thought the definition of assault was causing someone to be threatened with "an offensive bodily touching." That is, it doesn't have to be violent, just offensive and unwanted. Of course, IANAL either.

Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

THAT is why small groups of powerful people end up with abusive people running them. EVEN if they weren't like that when they start, if there is NO BRAKE on their behavior it's easy for behavior to spin out of control.

At a guess.

Which is just another way of saying that some (many?) people don't have much of a strong internal moral foundation, with which to restrain themselves. And therefore, when external constraints are gone, they have nothing to guide them.

Oh Doc, please don't get out of the habit of blogging, I for one have consciously missed your contributions in the last little while and wondered what was up. I meant to post yesterday to thank you for the Fighting Temeraire, one of my favourite paintings by one of my favourite artists (and incidentally the only artist who has ever made me contemplate, just for a mad second, becoming an art thief. Have you ever seen even his prepared base canvases in the Turner Wing of Tate Britain? Even those, the base wash for a sky, are transcendentally beautiful. And, to digress, if the subject matter of the FT interested you, have you read the Patrick O'Brien novels?)

But to get to your main point, my only contribution is this: I used to work in an American Embassy in an English-speaking country, and my observation was that the only thing that deterred unacceptable behaviour of this (or even a more minor) sort was fear of the consequences, and that took a long time to kick in since tolerance for unacceptable, sexist behaviour, if not assault, was so widespread amongst the hierarchy. It was not until rumours began getting through of people (only women as far as I knew) starting to threaten to take it all the way to Washington thru HR, that the message really started to sink in.

So the lesson may be that fear of consequences works, but that may only apply when there is an overall authority making and enforcing the rules, which is itself answerable to others (i.e. the State Dept to Congress, the public etc.)

but that was in another country, and besides, the wench is dead

wj I believe Abraham Lincoln summed it up thusly: "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

wj, it's my understanding that in general your understanding is correct, and can be substituted for "violence" in what I wrote - although a threat/attempt of simple, albeit unwanted, contact would be hard-pressed to be taken seriously in many contexts, for better and worse. Again with the IANALE caveat, ofc.

I think I meant transcendantly beautiful, not transcendentally!

Rather than backbiting him, I would bite Scott Allie back.

Take a big chunk out of him. Bring on the cannibals.

The human bite is incredibly painful.

Some people say when a little kid goes through a biting phase that biting them back sometimes solves the problem.

I wouldn't do that to a little kid, but I recall being in the vicinity of a few who bit without a trigger warning and I can see why it might be tempting.

About a million years ago, my parents were hosting a cocktail party on the back patio with my Dad's business colleagues, and I was helping serve snacks and such and all of a sudden there was a loud yelp from one of the men and it turns out my much younger brother, he was maybe 4 years old and probably wearing his red cowboy hat and holsters, had sunk his teeth into the back of the gentleman's thigh.

The guy was holding a full gin and tonic and threw it straight into the air and the liquid and ice hit the porch ceiling and came back down on a bunch of the other people.

My mother was mortified and I was charged with leading my brother off somewhere and entertaining him.

He just wanted attention. I don't think he does that anymore.

But an adult biter?

I'd go all Evander Holyfield on him.

Same with the crotch-grabbing.

It was a bar where Harris was bitten right?

Grab a beer bottle and conk Allie one.

Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Josh Chaffetz, not to mention a few other prominent bullies, could use a little reverse Hannibal Lechter mastication too.


I'd love to hear from those of you who understand the dynamics in other industries, especially ones that seem to you have become *less* abusive over time. Can it be done without massive lawsuits?

I just deleted a really long winded comment. Shorter version: I think what was once rampant is now much less so, but still too damn much. I've seen none of it at my current shop and I'm on the committee that would hear about it, but we are 50:50 male/female at the professional level, and pretty much that ratio at the partner level. Plus, we have a very strong 'no asshole' rule that is very much part of our culture.

But, I've seen it other places and it's pretty bad. Not biting and hitting, but bad enough. I hear the oil patch is better these days, but it really had a long way to go.

Thanks for your insights, McK TX! I know you see the insides, often the sordid insides, of a lot of corporations, so I hoped you'd have a sense of things in a variety of industries.

Is it your impression that changes that have come out in various industries had to be forced (by lawsuits or the threat thereof), or is there a way to may changes on less than generational time scales without that kind of coercion?

Doc, it isn't corporations so much as it is human beings. So, it isn't changes in industries so much as it is a change in attitudes over time buttressed by a right to sue. Leadership plays a key role in setting the tone for how people get along.

Money matters a lot in business--big surprise there--and I'd say maybe 40% of my cases involve high seven to low eight figure exposure on my client's part. You cant tell a lot about a company and its culture when that kind of money is on the line. I don't have a single client that has even hinted at taking some kind of ethical short cut to save money. Not one. I represent major insurance companies and major companies that are so big they self insure typically up to 2 to 5 million. They all play by the rules.

One of our closest friends recently retired as the VP Human Resources for a major oil company. They had plenty of good old boy stuff out in the field in years gone by. She and others stamped it out.

We've known socially a couple since our daughter's high school years. He was CEO of Chevron North America. A very straight arrow. An organization that big is going to step out of bounds from time to time. It's unavoidable, but knowing him as I did--including from litigation in which Chevron and my client were co-defendants--I am one hundred percent convinced his intent was always to stay inside the white lines.

I could go on for quite some time. Where I see, and saw, most of the bad behavior was in smaller operations where there was an asshole at the top. It's still a minority of the smaller operations I run into. Most play by the rules.

In addition to attitude changes, there is a lot of stigma avoidance.

If I were going to add one thing to the current conversation it would be along these lines: women who are assaulted have a very heavy load thrust upon them. It isn't fair. What is more unfair though, is remaining silent. Your attacker *will* attack again. Your silence insures that. He will be put down only when people like you come forward. It is as terrible as it is true.

As for changes going forward, what major changes do you see a compelling need for? Pay equity? There are a lot of problems there, not the least of which is definitional.

I was thinking about my firm last night after I commented. We have two levels of partner. Both levels are compensated based on strict formula consisting of collections (how hard you work), business development and what we call Primary Responsibility, which is basically taking the lead on a particular case.

You get to the higher level by having X amount of business AND being voted in by your peers at the higher level. The last two non-lateral partners voted in have been women. Neither has a really large book of business. One is a very hard worker, the other, though very, very capable, doesn't put in the same amount of hours.

As a consequence, within the upper level of partner, there is a huge variation in compensation. One woman is consistently in the top five in compensation. Two women are consistently in the bottom ten of compensation. It's all formulaic. It's a fair system. Time in service, sex, who you know (unless its a client), none of that matters. Yet, the outcomes are anything but equal. No one complains. Should they?

McKT, you talk about how female partners are treated (presumably to illustrate that they are treated the same as male partners) but ignore the issue of how many women make partner:

http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/marketing/women/current_glance_statistics_july2014.authcheckdam.pdf

In the legal industry in general, women and men are about 50-50 when they first enter. This proceeds to skew in favor of men as you go up in seniority.

McKT, you talk about how female partners are treated (presumably to illustrate that they are treated the same as male partners) but ignore the issue of how many women make partner:


You can't promote someone who isn't there. If you look at your survey, women make up one third of the bar, even though they are half or better of law school graduates. Women, far more so than men, leave the profession. Two days ago one of my partners--a great trial lawyer--resigned to take a government position: less money but a lot less work. More conducive to raising three small children. I can't make her stay.

People get promoted to partner because they set themselves apart. Our ratio of male to female partners beats the national numbers by a bit at both the equity and non-equity level.

Women with kids usually choose to get home in time to be with their children from the early evening until bed time and they usually cannot get in the office before nine or close to it. Competing with men who can arrive at 7 and stay until 7 is tough. BTW, a lot of men don't work those hours either and they are judged more harshly than mom's who work.

What the survey didn't show was how many women in practice are part time. I know very few part time male lawyers. I know many part time female lawyers. Three of my partners here in Houston are part time women. Some firms are more open to part time partners than others. We are, but it isn't immoral to require that partners practice full time.

We are a litigation firm. It is hard to try a case as a part time practioner since trials can last a month or more and you work evenings and weekends. Of our three part time partners, two do litigation support, not actual trial work. The third has an ill husband, but her children are grown and gone. She can make caretaker arrangements that typically are not available to mothers. Sometimes, the world won't accommodate a mom's schedule.

You can't promote someone who isn't there. If you look at your survey, women make up one third of the bar, even though they are half or better of law school graduates. Women, far more so than men, leave the profession.

This isn't just law, of course. Setting aside management policies like mommytracking women regardless of whether they have children, one thing to consider is that it's still considered customary for the mother to be the one to stop/cut back work if one must between father and mother. Some of that's personal choice (though obviously that doesn't arise in a vacuum), some of that's disparity in perceived earning potential (or in current earnings)... and some of that is straight-up archaic social expectations. There was a rather depressing piece I read recently surveying... I think it was engineers, not IT... straight out of college and asking them if they'd sacrifice their career for the sake of their partners'. I'll try to dig up a link so as to have the actual numbers, but very few men indicated they'd be willing to, while many women said they would.

"Women, far more so than men, leave the profession."

Seems to me that you're assuming they leave the profession because they want to have kids, when it's possible that some of them decide to have kids and leave the profession because it has become clear to them that they are not going to make partner, kids or no kids.

Dr. Science: Yes, it's a common problem in a lot of insular industries. You get people who are reasonably intelligent and/or creative but not confident about their ability to handle society in general, who find something they can do, and they cling like barnacles. Some, like Allie, become direct abusers. Others simply perpetuate a culture of too much work and not enough reward - I first think of some examples in the tabletop roleplaying game world, of talented people who should have moved on to better things but were afraid to. It doesn't take long to think of examples from the worlds of sf/f/horror writing where the same thing applies.

When you get a bunch of people who share a sense of need to hide away from the world, it's terribly easy for them to interpret everything in their subculture as something that needs defending, whatever level of excuse and cover-up it may take. It's easy to fear that the outside light shining in as part of the investigation and punishment of crimes like sexual assault will destroy the haven. Basically, almost every "us" seems more tolerable than any "them".

My impression is that European professions such as law, have a better gender balance. If that is the case, I think it is because they have adopted laws that provide women with special protections in order to allow them to keep these jobs, while in the states, the emphasis has been on treating both genders equally. An example of how that can cause problems is here.

http://news.yahoo.com/this-california-law-is-helping-men-213035804.html

My impression is that there's a better gender balance, starting in European universities, in STEM fields.

I'm not sure how much is 'special protections', and how much is 'family support'. Having full-day free (or heavily subsidized) child care seems to be what makes the difference.

Taking six months of parental leave, even if paid and with legal protection, is still going to have negative career impact. Having a way to get back on the career track quickly is more likely to help.

Seems to me that you're assuming they leave the profession because they want to have kids, when it's possible that some of them decide to have kids and leave the profession because it has become clear to them that they are not going to make partner, kids or no kids.

Well, based on 35 years of observation, it might be more than an assumption. Female partners, judges, clients, etc are ubiquitous. Doc S has a point about sexual assault, but morphing that into a gender inequality play is problematic. A lot of women do want to have children. When they have kids, they want to spend more time with them. So too for a lot of men. Men have to decide: career or coaching. If the wife stays at home, that lets the husband carry a bigger load at the office. You seem to see this as oppressive. I can introduce you to a lot of women who would disagree, both women who were able to stay at home and women who had to work.

LJ, do you have any solid stats on women in law in the EU? We have the 14th amendment, so special laws to give an identifiable group a leg up won't pass muster. Your link proves the mischief of well intended laws. I can see why women find that lawyer to be an asshole. I can also see why forcing people out of business because they don't want to serve gay marriages is problematic. Getting litigated out of business is all well and good if the defendant gores the wrong ox, but the other oxen, not so much.

A lot of women do want to have children. When they have kids, they want to spend more time with them. So too for a lot of men. Men have to decide: career or coaching. If the wife stays at home, that lets the husband carry a bigger load at the office. You seem to see this as oppressive. I can introduce you to a lot of women who would disagree, both women who were able to stay at home and women who had to work.

As a perhaps relevant aside, many (perhaps most) of the folks I know who are musicians for a living have a spouse with a day job.

A lot of them are men.

So, musician Dad is basically Mr. Mom, while professional Mom is the primary breadwinner and provides benefits like health insurance etc.

Most of these guys are busy musicians, working 5-10 times a week. Some of them teach as well. It just works out that musician's hours lend themselves to being home at useful times of day, for purposes of basically running the household.

Saves a great big pile of money on child-care, too.

I agree with McK's point about there being nothing oppressive about this. Every family makes its own choices about having kids, not having kids, how to manage child care and general household responsibilities.

If it works for them, it ain't nobody else's business.

Ladies, if you want to have the high-powered demanding career, marry a musician!

"Well, based on 35 years of observation, it might be more than an assumption."

So you've spoken with women lawyers you know and they told you that they left the profession not because they felt sexism was an obstacle but because they just preferred being the stay-at-home parent? Because I've spoken with women lawyers who do feel affected by sexism in their industry. So I guess your attempt to generalize your experience was inappropriate.

"Female partners, judges, clients, etc are ubiquitous."

What a joke. Women are 17% of equity partners at law firms nationwide. Sixty of the 170 active federal appellate judges are female, and thirty-two percent of active federal district judges are female--and the disparity is only this small because Obama has appointed 131 female judges since taking office, more than any other president. Twenty percent of GCs of Fortune 500 companies are women, sixteen percent of Fortune 501-1000. Seven districts have never had a female judge: Middle District of Alabama, the District of Idaho, the Western District of Kentucky, the Southern District of Mississippi, the Western District of North Carolina, the District of North Dakota, and the Eastern District of Oklahoma.

"Doc S has a point about sexual assault, but morphing that into a gender inequality play is problematic. A lot of women do want to have children. When they have kids, they want to spend more time with them. So too for a lot of men. Men have to decide: career or coaching. If the wife stays at home, that lets the husband carry a bigger load at the office."

Let me get this straight: you say that women want to spend time with their kids once they have kids; men also want to spend time with their kids when they have kids.

Therefore we can deduce that women are leaving the workforce at higher levels of seniority to spend time with their kids?

You have utterly failed to explain the disparity.

"You seem to see this as oppressive."

I think you're having trouble understanding what I'm saying, so I will say it again in slightly more words.

You are assuming that the workforce disparity is the result of voluntary abandonment by women. You are not proving it. You are not doing anything to rebut the argument that women may be leaving the workforce (or changing to lower-wage jobs) to have children BECAUSE of institutional sexism. Which is to say that they gather that their chances for advancement are slim, and therefore give up on a career.

Of course SOME WOMEN SOMEWHERE voluntarily leave their careers because they prefer to stay with their children. But surely the test of whether sexism exists and how powerful it is is not whether SOME WOMEN SOMEWHERE are not the victims of sexism.

No, I do not think it is "oppressive" for someone to voluntarily leave the workforce. On the other hand, I am not so stupid as to think every woman leaving the workforce is doing so because she is just plumb satisfied being a stay-at-home mom. For women who leave, but not strictly voluntarily, the sexism that encouraged them to leave is indeed oppressive. If you think it isn't, I'd love to hear why.

"I can introduce you to a lot of women who would disagree, both women who were able to stay at home and women who had to work."

I can introduce you to dozens of associates at large law firms who agree with me.

"I agree with McK's point about there being nothing oppressive about this. Every family makes its own choices about having kids, not having kids, how to manage child care and general household responsibilities."

Of course everyone makes their choice--that's so banal as to be offensive (slaves could chose to be slaves, or choose to run away, or choose to die--a veritable festival of choices). The relevant question is: What choices have we given them to make? Our society (both in terms of legal protection and business practice) does not allow women workers the flexibility necessary to both be mothers and be competitive with men. As a result, it quite predictably drives women either out of the workforce or into lower-paying and less influential jobs. Here's a story explaining the phenomenon.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/saadia-zahidi/what-makes-the-nordic-cou_b_4159555.html

Of course everyone makes their choice--that's so banal as to be offensive

No offense intended.

The relevant question is: What choices have we given them to make?

That's a very good point, and a good question.

I have no disagreement with the point that, in many industries and professions, it's harder for women to have the same opportunities as men.

I also find it believable, at a more or less intuitive level, that, whether through social pressure or their own inclinations or both, women are more likely to make career compromises than men are for the sake of family. Which, in turn, for good or ill, would be reflected in the outcomes.

When I say "intuitive level" I simply mean, my own gut sense from my own experience and observation, in the absence of extensive documentary evidence.

I could be wrong.

Also at an intuitive level, I'd guess that law is one of the fields where the odds for women are not actually that bad. C-level management is probably worse, building trades probably worse, lots of fields probably worse.

So it may be that, given the context McK is speaking from, his observations are not inaccurate. I.e., that if women aren't making partner at the same rate as men, it's quite often by their choice, rather than due to lack of opportunity.

I can tell that from one of the contexts in which I operate, it's really common for men to pick up the lion's share of household responsibility and general kid logistics, while the wife pursues a professional career of some kind or other.

It's just a data point, offered as such.

Last but not least (from me), if you can find a way, a la the article you cite, to make the kind of social support that is common in Nordic countries even a remote possibility here in the US, politically, I will tip my hat to you.

It doesn't exist here because not enough people want it. A fairly significant number of people are, not indifferent to it, but are quite firmly and clearly AGAINST it, even if it would benefit them and their families.

At a certain point, you're talking about things that are profoundly ingrained in the culture.

Changing stuff like that is a tall order. It takes generations.

Russell, I'm not actually offended, that's just a shaming tactic lawyers use. Sorry about that, it's a near-reflex at this point.

I think you're right that law as a field is probably better for women than, say, oil rigging, but that doesn't mean it's not in dire need of improvement.

"given the context McK is speaking from, his observations are not inaccurate. I.e., that if women aren't making partner at the same rate as men, it's quite often by their choice, rather than due to lack of opportunity."

I trust that McK means well, but in my personal experience people lie all the time to make social interactions go smoothly, and I don't expect (though I am not sure) that McK (a person I assume is a white male senior lawyer) is the kind of person women leaving the profession due to sexism would open up to about the reasons for that choice.

Which is to say that they gather that their chances for advancement are slim, and therefore give up on a career.

Of course SOME WOMEN SOMEWHERE voluntarily leave their careers because they prefer to stay with their children.

These two points are also not unrelated. Again, if one partner is going to go part-time or stay home, it makes sense for it to be the one who will have less potential, earning or otherwise.

As to the first of the two quoted lines, IT sees this a lot with tendencies to mommytrack women into dead ends by default.

It doesn't exist here because not enough people want it.

I dare say many are not even aware of these policy options or that they actually exist and work effectively in other countries.

I'm not sure if McKinney is saying that the sole reason women don't do as well in whatever professional field is a matter of choice, based on their wanting to be hands-on, full-time mothers. That sounds like an off-the-wall proposition to me, but he didn't write anything, at least that I read, saying otherwise.

What I have read from people on the other side of the issue is that sexism is a factor, among others, though it's not remotely easy to tease them all apart, because it's possible that sexism underlies at least some of the other considerations.

So, is this an argument over whether sexism exists to a significant degree or not, or is it an argument over how significant it is?

The comment section here alone is worth the bookmarking (although the original blog post already made me do so).

May I add my voice to the others who have stated much more clearly and eloquently than I could in regards to the law industry. The idea there is no women to promote into senior positions because of a smaller pool to choose from is because of outdated hiring practices, and yes, old school boys' clubs mentality which has taught them either directly or indirectly, that they will not be afforded the same level of meritocracy based awards in their professions.

What is in place in the work place leads significantly to the decision made by women to take on lesser demanding jobs, or leave the profession altogether. When faced with stagnant roads in terms of promotion, why would you continue to work for something which is essentially not just a carrot dangling before you, but the promise of one being placed there in the first place.

There was a wonderful article written by a professor with similar issues and parallels drawn there between him and his wife who was also a professor, and in it, he bemoaned the loss of enjoyment of his family for his career, and the loss of career for his wife for the enjoyment of their daughter. Both have lost out in how their career is structured in being promoted and being successful in it, but guess which one was assumed to make the decision to sacrifice their's for family, and in reverse, the one for career?

This is where the conversation has to focus on, there is where things need to be changed. Had the genders been reversed, his story wouldn't have been one of "woah is us", but rather, something altogether different in its non "normative" familial financial structuring.

Anyway, I am really angry still about what's happening in the comics world, which is nothing. It seems once again, a noise is made, people tut tut, and then go on to do the same as usual. I am looking at those who can give sympathy, even empathy, and who stay quiet as the ones I am judging for this. Either the industry demands accountability and change as a whole, or they are all complicit in the crap that continues to permeate throughout it.

LJ, do you have any solid stats on women in law in the EU?

I was hoping someone else might be able to chime in. However, this might be of interest

http://ec.europa.eu/justice/gender-equality/files/law_reviews/egelr_2014_1_final_web_en.pdf

We have the 14th amendment, so special laws to give an identifiable group a leg up won't pass muster.

My point wasn't to suggest that we repeal the 14th amendment, it was that the striving for 'equality' without first taking into account the initial conditions tends to maintain the status quo. If one thinks that is enough of a problem, one may want to revise their notions of 'equality'.

I'd like to veer back to the discussion of abuse & harassment, if I may.

People like McKinney & the people he hangs with (white male senior management) will have the most power to change an abusive corporate culture, but they're also the ones least likely to be the targets of it, and least likely to see it going on around them -- because abusers will rein in their behavior around such powerful people.

So the fact that McKinney perceives someone as a good guy who would never do such a thing is, honestly, not very good evidence -- unless there's something McKinney is likely to see which correlates with what's likely to go on when his back is turned.

Abusers in a community (including a corporation) are often treated like a missing stair -- the problem that people are warned against because you haven't gotten around to fixing it.

McKinneyTx is the person who always goes up the main stairway, which is well-lit and well-maintained, and who never sees the broken step on the back stairs to the kitchen. And where it's a metaphor, so it's not like he can have people inspect the whole house.

I'd like to veer back to the discussion of abuse & harassment, if I may.

Purely as a data point, my own experience in white collar corporate environments has been that gender-based abuse and harassment are fairly uncommon. They aren't tolerated, because they expose the corporation to lawsuits. Complaints are taken seriously.

I'm talking basically about the technology industry, in the Boston area. And, that's in my experience, which may or may not be typical.

And I'm talking specifically about abuse and harassment, as opposed to the relative difficulty men and women may experience in finding opportunities for employment and advancement.

I can't really speak for other fields, or geographic areas, or for smaller, owner-operated and/or family businesses.

My guess is that the prevalence of abuse and harassment varies widely across all of those dimensions.

Russell, I suspect that what you are seeing is not so much a "white collar corporate environment" culture as a "technology profession" culture.

The latter is, arguably, frequently a subset of the former. But even in small technology companies (at least in my admittedly limited experience) gender-based abuse will very likely get you jumped on by your peers, not just by your management. And your peers are a lot more likely to avoid the phenomena Dr S talks about, of not being in a position to notice.

I suspect that what you are seeing is not so much a "white collar corporate environment" culture as a "technology profession" culture.

Quite possible.

I just wanted to confine my comment to my own experience.

russell:

How do you know? Using the "missing stair" metaphor, how do you know that other people (lower-ranking and/or female employees) aren't kludging together workarounds to deal with someone who would never be nasty to *you*?

Have you ever been at a firm/in an industry where you *did* see harassment or abuse taking place? What's the difference between those places and your current experience?

One of the difficulties with reporting harassment and abuse is that high-ranking people in a corporation or social group are far more likely to be friends with the abuser than with the victim -- not least because abusers are usually *really good* at sucking up to power.

I have known *way* too many people who've been harassed and abused in white-collar tech companies and in law firms to think that there's a default culture of law or tech that's protective.

"How do you know?"

I don't, really. Which is why I've tried to qualify my comments as much as I have.

I've worked in places where patronizing attitudes toward women were kind of normal. To my knowledge, actual abuse was not.

I'd say that, for the last 20 years or so, I haven't really seen either abuse or patronizing attitudes towards women *in the shops I've worked in*.

women are underrepresented in tech in general, and that's reflected in most places I've worked, but the women who were there were treated as peers.

fwiw, the engineering team I work on now is about half women. also fwiw, the first software job I had - 30+ years ago - was also about half women, and the head of the project group I worked in was also a woman, and a vp. that was at a fairly stodgy insurance company.

this all anecdota, and presented as such. I'm not looking to make broad points about it, I'm just offering it as a set of data points.

I have worked at all levels in various financial and IT Services companies. I have been reprimanded once for gender discrimination, I have reprimanded employees for sexual harassment, I have seen inappropriate sexual advances by bosses both welcomed and unwelcomed and I have lost two positions because I spurned unwelcome advances from women.

I have no doubt all of those things still occur in most workplaces over some period of time. I am sure the casual systemic acceptance of good old boy gender abuse and discrimination is becoming rare. CEO's that would have been untouchable in 1999 are not today. Besides the high profile ones, I know half dozen or more that have been removed, several for overlooking things or allowing a culture of discrimination over the past ten years.

I will say that as women become more likely to be the boss they have also become more likely to be the abuser, and often have been as/more likely to discriminate against other women.

It should be noted that in most of Marty's work environments, the places had dimmer switches on all of the lighting, a steady flow of sultry Barry White and Peggy Lee tunes wafting from the sound systems in the commons areas and elevators, and the water coolers were spiked with Drambuie.

Instead of cubicles, everyone worked behind dressing screens sporting Oriental motifs.

While he was the epicenter of erotic attentions ans distractions in the workplace, at home it was all work all the time with nary a questionable item on the to-do list.

I recently got up the gumption to ask a restaurant owner to dinner while she was tending bar at her establishment and she demurred while explaining that she already had three boyfriends and her loyalties to them precluded any dalliances with me.

None if this of course is true, except a little of the last bit.

Maybe John Yoo will have lunch with him?

I'm fascinated, after years of being naive to this stuff, about the power/sex (hard to tell sometimes which is gravitationally orbiting which) relationships in the workplace.

I know it's a minority of men and women who engage in this behavior, but I'm always gobsmacked by the type of conniving sociopath with nary a single empathic gland who is able to pull this stuff off while somehow kidding themselves that their actions are not common knowledge and will at some point cause the roof to fall in on their heads.

In other words, their overwhelming self-regard has very little self awareness about the dangers that lurk for themselves, which seems a chink in the sociopathic armor.

Also amazed at how how long it takes for the roof to fall in, but I suppose this stuff is subsumed under the greater mission of the (as in the astronomer's professional setting) of the organization.

Which is to say when finally there is a cost to the organization and its mission impinged upon publicly, finally it takes action.

Which is also to say that the organization itself is a sociopath, especially if the offending individual sociopath is a star performer, until the cost becomes unbearable.

Man is Wolf to Man, from the Latin, and certainly in the professional setting this is borne out, suitably characterized and exaggerated by media/entertainment (see "House of Cards" for ripe, delicious, awful fruit) in which the parallel tracks of screwing, sexually literal and figuratively in the power sense, become intertwined like sweaty lovers between thin, cheap 100-thread-count motel sheets.

Or, see Shakespeare.

My sense is the sex/power relationships however are different for males in power who act out and females in power who act out. If I may generalize, can it be said that men gain power for the perk of sex (another form of power abuse, in this context), but then will risk that power to keep after the sex, even believing like hopeless romantics (not that they are innocent in any way; instead, they just kid themselves like any run-of-the-mill sociopath that THEY are the victims: see Bill Clinton, see wolves, see pizza) that there might be something more to it than just physicality, the louts.

Conversely, can it be said that women in power who behave this way are able to keep the sex (in this case, too, an abusing power relationship) in its proper context (again, within a larger, improper context) as secondary and meaningless (more compartmentalized than men seem able to achieve) to the power and not really mattering one way or the other when all things powerful are on the line (see Fiorina and her theft of wages from her campaign employees, including their survivors; I mean, I can't help thinking that this woman could well have justified screwing one or two of her male co-workers on the sly, but what really got her wet between the knees was not paying them, another kind of screwing).

Again see Shakespeare's heroes and heroines, especially in the History plays, for the different uses to which sex is put in unequal power relationships and the differences in the ways kings, dauphins, princes, princesses, bastards, queens, mothers of bastards, dukes, ladies in waiting, cardinals, and archbishops either become victims or exploiters, or manage both roles rather felicitously.

Or read "Wolf Hall".

So, as Marty alludes to, as women gain status professionally, will we see some Women in power (in rough equality with their sociopathic male counterparts) Become Wolves to Men and Women just as Men are Wolves to Women and Men.

I doubt it, personally, because many of them are balancing jobs/families/children and the men already have inured society and those around them to the "gotta work late" ruse, even if they are actually working.

Just thinking out loud.

One facet of this should be mentioned ... the sheer, constant presence and oppressiveness many women feel of being subject to being "hit on" in all their various walks of life when it is not appropriate.

Though certainly many women become hardened to this "activity" and learn to roll with it and develop tactics to find it off.

I can't envision too many men developing a guarded attitude about women in general and actually giving up their pursuits in the field of astronomy, for example, over the occasional inappropriate flirtation or outright approach by some rogue woman in the workplace.

I suppose if the female sociopaths were all played by Glenn Close or Joan Crawford, that might change, but instead I think men, in general, would place two feathers in their caps, one for being approached, and one for turning it away.

I suppose if a woman in a power position was given to viciously biting her underlings at inopportune moments, some guys might go live in a hut in the woods.

I suppose if a woman in a power position was given to viciously biting her underlings at inopportune moments, some guys might go live in a hut in the woods.

It doesn't exist here because not enough people want it.

I dare say many are not even aware of these policy options or that they actually exist and work effectively in other countries.

To some degree that may be so. But, to be honest, to a large degree I think lots of folks are simply opposed to public social support, full stop, end of story.

They don't believe in it, and don't want it (mostly, SS and sometimes Medicare seem to be OK).

My biggest, and most surprising, takeaway from the whole public conversation leading up the passage of the ACA was the number of people who opposed it, while understanding that it would likely benefit them.

Lots of folks didn't understand that it would benefit them, but lots of folks did. And, didn't want it.

Keep government out of my life, sez they. I'll take my chances.

The idea that something works well in Europe in general, and especially in either France or a Scandinavian country, appears to exacerbate that reaction.

I don't understand it, and in general I've kind of given up on changing people's minds about it.

People think what they think for reasons that are much more deeply ingrained than what their personal upside or downside might be.

But, to be honest, to a large degree I think lots of folks are simply opposed to public social support, full stop, end of story.

I see something slightly different. These folks, to a large degree, oppose public policies they perceive benefit "others" and not "them". Or they see it as a morality play as "their tax dollars" are given to the "moochers", etc., etc.

You could name many public policies that were implemented without a murmur of public protest from these types: GI Bill; Sallie Mae/FHA; Agricultural Adjustment Act, home mortgage interest deduction....on and on, ad infinitum.

When it comes to sucking off the government teat, nearly everybody is an equal opportunity rent seeker.

People like McKinney & the people he hangs with (white male senior management) will have the most power to change an abusive corporate culture, but they're also the ones least likely to be the targets of it, and least likely to see it going on around them -- because abusers will rein in their behavior around such powerful people.

This is based on what personal experience of yours? Because I've been in a leadership role since 1990. I've fired assholes who thought hitting on women was just part of life and I threatened to fire a number of young male lawyers who wanted to date secretaries and paralegals. I had plenty--let me repeat *plenty* of women come to me with all kinds of complaints. Not shy in the least. I don't think my experience is unique. I think--I'm quite confidant, in fact--that senior management sets the tone for an organization. If women, minorities, etc know they will get a fair hearing in confidence and if assholes know they will get fired, then folks tend to behave. This may not jibe with the modern feminist narrative, but that's no surprise. Failing to realize when most of the battle has been won is a recurring defect in many quarters.

McKinneyTx is the person who always goes up the main stairway, which is well-lit and well-maintained, and who never sees the broken step on the back stairs to the kitchen. And where it's a metaphor, so it's not like he can have people inspect the whole house.

Yes, no doubt, 35 years in litigation produces a sheltered existence. Doc, I make my living off of broken stairs. You think you have awesome, special insight. You read a lot of stuff that resonates because it's written by people who agree with you and you talk to women who have been or say they have been, victimized by sexists.

I have no problem believing that mini-firms run by assholes are a very harsh environment for women, or anyone else the big guy doesn't like. It's usually everyone, in my experience. OTOH, I can walk outside my door right now and point to a woman who thinks all of her problems are because she is a woman who isn't being treated fairly. In fact, she is incompetent. I've heard that song before.

What is more common is that women confuse the sharp elbows that are often part of litigation with sexism. It isn't sexism, it's litigation. It's an adversarial process by definition. It isn't for everyone and no one is going to make it a kinder, gentler playground for people who don't have the stomach lining to get roughed up.

Men opt out too. It's not an easy way to make a living.

One of the difficulties with reporting harassment and abuse is that high-ranking people in a corporation or social group are far more likely to be friends with the abuser than with the victim -- not least because abusers are usually *really good* at sucking up to power.

I feel like I'm reading something out of Introduction to Feminism 101. You think HR departments enable harassment? Seriously? Do you have any evidence for the above assertion?


I have known *way* too many people who've been harassed and abused in white-collar tech companies and in law firms to think that there's a default culture of law or tech that's protective.

Here's something worth remembering: no matter how thin you slice the baloney, it still has two sides. You're hearing one side. You may be hearing the right side, but you don't know that until you get both sides. Maybe you live someplace where men are in general unusually awful. I'm thinking of the number of women I know who have done very well in the oil industry, in law, in insurance, in consulting, in whatever. They aren't victims.

The goal of feminism ought to be to work itself out of a job. I don't see that happening.

I trust that McK means well, but in my personal experience people lie all the time to make social interactions go smoothly, and I don't expect (though I am not sure) that McK (a person I assume is a white male senior lawyer) is the kind of person women leaving the profession due to sexism would open up to about the reasons for that choice.

Well, thanks more than I can say. The subtext that 'white men just don't and can't get it' is among the dumber conceits of feminist thinking. Really, it's the ultimate in hypocrisy: we should be treated the same as men, who are unable to see how awful they treat us. Because, you know, they are men.

It isn't offensive, it's just stupid. There are, I'm sure, plenty of dumbass white guys who feel bad about being white and worry that they are subconsciously taking advantage of their "privilege". What a bunch of crap.

A lot of men don't make it as lawyers. They drop out of the profession. It isn't for everyone. Men who drop out can't claim is was sexism. Women who drop out, if they choose, can blame the system, or men, or privilege, or whatever. I accept and agree that there are predators out there who can and do make women's lives hell. I addressed that in my first comment. However, the predator component doesn't impeach the entire system. Women ARE very much a part of law and very much a part of the private sector.

Success in law means being well above average and being willing and able to work long hours. Being an equity partner means the foregoing plus having a client base. It is the size of the client base that divides "a good income" from complaining about marginal tax rates.

The majority of women--I would like to see objective studies on this--opt out of the work force to have kids. That is what they want to do. Nothing wrong with that. It's why a lot of people get married.

"When it comes to sucking off the government teat, nearly everybody is an equal opportunity rent seeker."

This.is.bs. I have gotten my insurances through the ACA. I actually spent 13 weeks once on unemployment. I paid lot's of unemployment tax, I'm pretty sure the only ACA benefit I get is it makes insurance companies insure me, I don't think that should cost the government a dime.

I have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to SS and Medicare, you can call it general fund money or just taxes if you want, but it was put into law so people pay into a fixed benefit system that would provide a baseline income for most Americans after retirement. Just because you don't see the difference in that and people deciding not to work and living off welfare or getting food stamps doesn't redefine reality.

Marty, I'd be fascinated to learn how many people actually decide not to work and live off welfare.

If there are a significant number of them, that's one thing. But my sense is that, in reality, the number is a microscopic fraction of those on welfare. Maybe someone has some actual data on the subject?

If I have time to go rummaging around for the numbers at some point today, I'll be happy to do it.

But "as I recall", most folks who receive food stamps work. At a minimum, a very large percentage of them do.

"Welfare" covers a variety of things, so it's hard to comment on that. If we're talking about income to make up for the fact that you don't have a job, it's time-limited, so folks who simply decide to "go on welfare" rather than work will need to make another plan in fairly short order.

In this country, you have to be really freaking poor to qualify for public assistance at the federal level. Lots of folks, maybe most folks, who receive it work, quite often full time or beyond full time, they just don't make a lot of money.

OK, I have a few minutes:

An overview.

Some overviews from the Census bureau.

ThinkProgress, so, an agenda, salt to taste.

Pew, on public programs of all kinds (including SS and Medicare), with a discussion in the Atlantic.

OK, I have a few minutes:

An overview.

Some overviews from the Census bureau.

ThinkProgress, so, an agenda, salt to taste.

Pew, on public programs of all kinds (including SS and Medicare), with a discussion in the Atlantic.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/hannahgiorgis/my-name-is-not-baby#.uxlrBeoVN

Maybe it will happen that the lady could submit to the catcalls and mate with these men, have the decision to abort the fetus taken away from her, and then decide to apply for welfare, subsidized childcare, and food stamps.

So many decisions.

From my understanding, it's children who demand their parents go on welfare, or if they work, apply for food stamps, etc.

It comes in the form of leading questions from the children like "Where's breakfast, Mom?"

It's brainwashing, the little scamps.

The children are the guilty parties.

Russell, I read the Atlantic article. To get from here to there, you have to add in SS and Medicare. Neither are voluntary. You have to pay in and once you hit 65, or 70 (I'm not sure), Medicare is the only game in town other than self-insuring. We don't get the option of paying our FICA and matching into a fund that someone manages. We have to do what we are told. Ok, we all pretty much agree with SS. Medicare is a bit more problematic due to cost, but it isn't as if people ask for either. They don't get a choice as a practical matter.

In response to those witty characters who will say, "Sure you have a choice: you can opt out!". That would make more sense if I could have opted out back when it would have made a difference.

I still can't get over the fact that Israel and other American allies just decide to go on foreign aid, no questions asked.

Isn't that like 78%* of the federal budget.

*This number was gleaned from a verbal report put out by a conservative think tank sitting at the end of the bar and then picked by the republican caucus sitting on either side of him. The numbers are updated nightly.

Sorry Russell, I didn't mean to make you go get all that info. I have great faith that most people who are on welfare would rather not be. Food stamps, not so much. That's like 49 million people. My point wqas that making a long list of government programs and making them all seem equal was bs.

I have it on personal testimony that millions go to work for WalMart and McDonald's to gain access to food stamps.

They'd have gone to work for the government processing Medicare claims, but that kind of work is called full-scale parasitism by elected folks in the know.

Well, thanks more than I can say. The subtext that 'white men just don't and can't get it' is among the dumber conceits of feminist thinking. Really, it's the ultimate in hypocrisy: we should be treated the same as men, who are unable to see how awful they treat us. Because, you know, they are men.

Let me get this straight:

Women say they aren't treated like men. They want to be treated like men. Then they say men are unable to see how women are treated because men are not treated like women and therefore are not exposed to the same things as women.

Where is the contradiction in that?

It's like a black person in the deep south in the 1930s saying that a white person in the north doesn't know how black people are treated--is that really hypocrisy? Are you really that fucking stupid?

Count, interesting piece on Buzz Feed. There have been several pieces done recently in which women are surreptitiously monitored while walking around in NYC. As I recall, one showed a fair amount of harassment (catcalls and whatnot) with one guy following the woman for a brief period. A majority of the catcallers and the follower were African American, so I'm not sure where that fits into the narrative.

The other piece showed a lot less in the way of harassment. I don't know if it was a different part of NYC or what.

My wife has experienced any number of instances where she will be sized up, in Spanish, by construction crews or similar operations. Wisely or not, she always engages and does so in flawless Spanish. The machismo fades away pretty quickly.

So, we have a conundrum: working class men, many of whom are men of color, haven't gotten the "leave women alone" memo. How does that fit the narrative? That is, what have I and other white guys done to cause that phenomena?

Here's a woman who has decided to go on welfare and food stamps once her next stroke comes around:

http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/insurance/insurance-dropouts-present-a-challenge-for-health-law/ar-AAfmnC1

I would just say thank goodness some of those white guys in the north could empathize. Are you fucking stupid?

Russell, I read the Atlantic article. To get from here to there, you have to add in SS and Medicare.

The Pew and Atlantic numbers were somewhat off point - at least, off my point - because they do include both SS and Medicare.

I linked to them because they *also* discuss programs that were part of my point.

The gist of what I'm saying is that a lot of people who receive public assistance *other than SS and Medicare* - i.e., the kinds of things that generally get called "welfare" - are not actually layabouts, and in fact many if not most of them work.

They just don't get paid a lot.

Hopefully, that is not a controversial claim.


Sorry Russell, I didn't mean to make you go get all that info.

No worries, it wasn't a big effort. I was curious, myself.

I have great faith that most people who are on welfare would rather not be. Food stamps, not so much.

I don't really have any insight into the differences between folks who are on food stamps vs. folks who are on other programs, so I can neither agree nor disagree with you here.

My point wqas that making a long list of government programs and making them all seem equal was bs.

That's a reasonable point, IMO.

Marty, I don't know if it's age that did this to you or if you were always a moron, but I noticed that you did not attempt to explain away my analogy. Do try.

This may not jibe with the modern feminist narrative, but that's no surprise.

I'd generally agree with what McKTx is saying about leaders being able to set the tone for their organizations WRT discriminatory culture - even a little time in the military with your eyes open can't help but lead one to realize that - but I'd caveat that the "modern feminist narrative" is more often that there is not an open, supportive (litigation-adverse) management team rather than that management being unable to set a tone. Indeed, it's far from uncommon to see "setting a tone" as being an overriding goal to be striven for.

The goal of feminism ought to be to work itself out of a job. I don't see that happening.

Working itself out of a job only works if there's no pushback. There's pushback. There's a lot of pushback. The current generation of young men include an awful lot of individuals with victim complexes, who - to hearken back to your example a couple of paragraphs higher - fervently embrace the idea that any and all failures they've suffered in life don't reflect on them or their actions, but rather are evidence of systematic sexism (or racism) directed at them; cults of victimhood are not limited to one side of the lunchmeat. There is a lot of hostility to the notion of gender equality, and while its strongest proponents rarely find themselves in the halls of power right now, as their generation ages more and more will. Feminism working itself out of existence is only a good idea if the problems it aims to solve can't recur, and that's a questionable proposition.

Nobody here is either a moron, or is fucking stupid.

So, if folks aren't getting the point you are trying to make, maybe just try again.

McTX, if your complaint is that women generalize from the particular after a series of experiences with anonymous, rude men, I guess then women have reached parity with our half of the human race in the area of generalizing from the particular.

I'm not sure what to do about it. Carly Fiorina and Hillary Clinton join their male counterparts in generalizing from the particular about their political opponents.

However, they can hardly keep up with their male counterparts in demonizing all Mexican immigrants as criminals, all Muslims as jihadists, blacks as shiftless, welfare seekers, and in Ben Carson's case, everyone, including now the Jews of the internment camps, as naive victims who coulda shoulda maybe directed the Nazi guards to go and attack someone else and leave them alone.

As to the racial/income makeup of the cat callers, it doesn't help that fully entitled, high-earning, white guys in positions of power continue to abuse the privilege:

http://jezebel.com/5950163/best-thing-youll-see-all-day-australias-female-prime-minister-rips-misogynist-a-new-one-in-epic-speech-on-sexism

You and I are gentlemen. (Pardon my generalizing from your particular good traits to include myself as well) Congratulations to us.

That doesn't change the pervasive, long-entrenched power imbalances between men and women, though things do get better incrementally over time in more open societies like ours.

For centuries, we white men have had it made in the sun and not much in the area of generalizing from the particular about us, whether true or not, has had an impact on our professional and social advancements, like it has for women, and every other racial and ethnic group.

We could be fired or not hired as incompetent or lazy individuals, but tell me when our individualized downsides ever got generalized to the rest of white males?

No one in charge of hiring and firing has ever said, "Keep it on the QT, but our policy is to never hire a white man."

OK, maybe the Temptations did that. ;)

But every other group of people, for one reason or another, as been subject to those strictures, including Irish males back in the day.

I'm German pretty much. My grandparents and parents should have been placed in internment camps with Japanese citizens, all things being equal.

But they never are.

Now there is friction for us and mistrust of us too.

But, just in case, I'm calling out all black, Hispanic, and Jewish males who discriminate by word or deed against other black, Hispanic, and Jewish males, not to mention women, and gays. Against me too.

Cut it out. The law applies to you too.

Researchers at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business have found that white people respond to evidence that they are privileged by their race by insisting that they face greater hardships in life.

ya don't say

OK, maybe the Temptations did that

The late great Thelonious Monk:

When I was a kid, some of the guys would try to get me to hate white people for what they've been doing to Negroes, and for a while I tried real hard. But every time I got to hating them, some white guy would come along and mess the whole thing up

Not completely relevant, just an excuse to slip in a Monk quote.

"No one in charge of hiring and firing has ever said, "Keep it on the QT, but our policy is to never hire a white man."

No but "keep it on the QT , but our policy is not to hire old white men" is pretty common.

Marty, you are 100% right that there is age discrimination in hiring, but I have no idea why you think it is specifically old WHITE men they're ignoring. Do you see a lot of 50+ old black, asian, latino, and pacific islander hires at tech consulting firms? This is pure fantasy.

Julian, I think the lack of sense of what you said was really obvious. I just thought it was an excuse to slip in a F'ing stupid.

Furthermore, imagine your frustration if I said "I've never seen discrimination against the elderly in hiring. Where I work, old people don't apply to work because they are happy in retirement." Wouldn't you tell me I don't know what I'm talking about?

This is how women feel when you say you don't see gender discrimination. I'm sure you don't, but that's because it's not happening to you, not because it's not happening at all.

The lack of sense in what I said? Why don't you go ahead and explain it.

I have great faith that most people who are on welfare would rather not be. Food stamps, not so much.

I must be missing something. If people who are on welfare would rather not be, presumably the reason is that they would then be making more. (I don't see any of us arguing that they would rather be poorer, but are being forced to take welfare. ;-)

So why wouldn't anyone who is getting food stamps rather be making so much money that they would no longer be eligible for that either?

What am I missing?

"No but "keep it on the QT , but our policy is not to hire old white men" is pretty common."

Sing it. I say regulate THAT our the window.

In Denver, rents are going thru the roof, and according to word on the street, single, older men, and I'm sure, women too on retirement income are singled out for homelessness if they happen to lose their place.

No one wants the body of an old guy, even one in good shape like mine, found dead as a carp stuck to the carpet after three weeks of no one hearing from him.

It is also nearly impossible without a major medical catastrophe for a single male to qualify for Medicaid, if they afford health insurance.

Natch, only high-end dwellings are being built to restore the paucity of attached living spaces.

Not a lot of choice, by design.

But builders are responding to the market.

That's what I said ... by design.

My point wqas that making a long list of government programs and making them all seem equal was bs.

That's a reasonable point, IMO.

Sigh.

You are completely misunderstanding the point I initially made...which was pretty simple: Most folks are not opposed to "government handouts" in principle. Classic example: We subsidize agricultural incomes per AAA. This is somehow good. We "subsidize" some poor folks with food stamps. To you, this is somehow "bad".

To me, they are the same: A political and collectively determined social allocation of available resources.

I did not list Social Security and Medicare, but I could. Benefits are tilted toward the lower income levels-blatant subsidy!!!!!

And please do tell me how much cash you have laid out for the home mortgage interest deduction which is little more than a subsidy encouraging ownership vs. rent and a tremendous tax boon to rich people with big expensive homes?

I don't see many letters to the editor about that one. But then you tell me folks just "hate" subsidies. Some hate.


So why wouldn't anyone who is getting food stamps rather be making so much money that they would no longer be eligible for that either?

There's typically some baggage needing unpacked regarding lack of work ethic and/or ambition. In the extreme, it may include baggage about presumed illegal income which allows "them" to be complacently lazy when it comes to work while still being unseemingly materialistic when it comes to wealth and property.

It's simple Julian. Unless there were a substantial number of white people that could understand how badly black people were treated no one would have ever agreed to work toward fixing it.

If no men had any empathy for women suffering through gender bias there would have been even less progress. The concept that one group cant be empathetic, or understand the trials of another group is absurd.

I would agree that people should pay attention to those most intimately involved as a key point, listen to women, listen to black people in the North in the 1930's, listen to people who live nearest the Mexican border.

Russell:

"Not completely relevant, just an excuse to slip in a Monk quote."

That's absolutely relevant.

When did he say that?

If it was 1943, were any of the white guys who ruined it, in a good way, holding high political office?

1953?

1963?

1966 ... sort of.

1973?

1983?

1993? Sort of, until they opened up the prisons to him. In his case, again.

2003?

2013? Yeah.

Food stamps, not so much.

Why? Are people getting rich off food stamps? Or are you simply asserting the common conservative trope that there exists a significant portion of the population that would rather be pretty miserably not well of, and prefer to subsist on the meager scaps we all from our welfare system?

And why does this asserted human propensity not affect trust fund babies?

Couple of words missing in my 1:42 pm.

I forget which ones so fill in your own.

"And please do tell me how much cash you have laid out for the home mortgage interest deduction which is little more than a subsidy encouraging ownership vs. rent and a tremendous tax boon to rich people with big expensive homes?"

Rich people take advantage of this, but it benefits the middle class homeowner the most, meaning the rich people could own a home anyway. If you believe owning your home is a social good.

But there is a difference in perspective you miss, or don't want to see. Supporting farming was a great thing for everyone at some point. Most of the programs you throw in there were designed to benefit everyone.

The food stamp point I was making was that we've doubled the number those on food aid in the last 6 years, I'm suggesting that it might not be 50M people in the richest country in the world(?) that need food assistance. Just like in Bill Clintons time the welfare numbers had gotten out of whack.

But, there are many people who take advantage of any government program. One of the challenges of the competing narratives is the "everyone is really on the dole" vs "welfare moms should get a job".

Neither is true but everyone ends up talking past each other defending their narrative.

I decided long ago to become a trust-fund baby, but no one has taken me up on it.

The hoops a person has to jump through!

I hear the difference in Kansas or Oklahoma or Nebraska, or one of those rectangular states, between a trust fund baby and a welfare baby is that the former gets unlimited seafood and Cheetos, while the latter gets none, although unlimited public criticism is meted out to the latter to keep them on their toes ... well eight of them, the other two toes being lost to frostbite and diabetic neuropathy.

Not much of a decision there.

That's absolutely relevant.

When did he say that?

To my knowledge, it comes from this list of bits of advice from Monk to various people, as transcribed by (the also great and late) saxophonist Steve Lacy.

My favorite from this is:

A genius is the one who is most like himself

Lacy himself was likely one of the folks who came along and spoiled all of the racist fun. Nica de Koenigswarter and Orrin Keepnews, also likely candidates.

But mostly I just don't think Monk was a guy who was inclined to hate people.

"The food stamp point I was making was that we've doubled the number those on food aid in the last 6 years"

Why, it's like some catastrophic economic event occurred 6 years ago, and somehow it affected lots of people for a long time, with a very slow recovery to normal.

I guess lots of people just woke up in 2008 and decided to quit their jobs and get some of that sweet, sweet government welfare. And defend their narrative also, too.

I'm suggesting that it might not be 50M people in the richest country in the world(?) that need food assistance.

I think you may be taking the wrong lesson away from that information.

Because it is not clear in what I wrote, I believe that many more people are willing to take advantage of government programs today that in the past. In the same way that millions of people were willing to walk away from mortgages they were financially capable of paying. The social compact that we discuss here is breaking down, or just changing, to accept a much lower level of pride in taking care of ones self and family while more easily accepting the largesse of the government.

If people, old or young, react to that change in the compact negatively I believe they have right to try and express their opinion without the incredibly vicious feedback they often get.

Trump and Carson give them what they feel is a voice, often to not because of the initial things they say, but because they respond to defend the right to have the opinion.

'One of the challenges of the competing narratives is the "everyone is really on the dole" vs "welfare moms should get a job".'

That's because we're talking to all of the wrong people, ie. each other.

There are at least 40 Representatives in the House who believe and live by both of those statements, and not as a "narrative", but as Constitutional and Biblical truths.

Neither is true but everyone ends up talking past each other defending their narrative.

Sure. I am merely taking pains to point out what I see as a major flaw in your narrative, i.e., the claim that "handouts" that you prefer are somehow not "handouts".

So I would simply request that when you decry "handouts" that you look at them from the viewpoint of all collectively made public decisions about who gets what in our society.

I decided long ago to become a trust-fund baby, but no one has taken me up on it.

We are in receipt of your application to be born to wealth, and it has been evaluated. Unfortunately, you did not meet the submission deadline (pre-delivery), and another candidate was selected.

We thank you for your desire to join this exclusive club. Please keep us in mind in the future.

Best wishes.

"In the same way that millions of people were willing to walk away from mortgages they were financially capable of paying."

[Citation required, particularly for the 'millions']

Many people had to chose between food, credit card bills, and mortagages. That's not the same as 'financially capable of paying'.

There certainly were people who took a cold, objective look at their property value, said "it's not worth paying the mortgage" and walked away. Those people, they're called "The Rich".

BTW, I completely agree with Marty that "the culture has changed".

Yustabee, people had loyalty to their employers. That lasted for a few years after the employers stopped showing any loyalty to employees.

Culture changed.

I believe that many more people are willing to take advantage of government programs today that in the past.

You're speaking about Wall St. bankers and defense contractors, right?

But seriously. Are you saying that the % of people who are now overcome with greed and a desire to cheat the rest of us has gone up over the last few years? Why would that be?

But for now, let's assume your premise is correct.

The right says this is due to some "breakdown" of public morality, and draw a line from the welfare state to this alleged moral decay.

The left would say the game has been rigged against the working class, women, blacks, Hispanics, and the poor.

The question is, which narrative has more validity?

The social compact that we discuss here is breaking down, or just changing

Tru dat.

As Snarki and others note, more than one side to that.

I agree that folks feel less shame nowadays in taking public assistance than they did, say, 50 or more years ago. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing, I couldn't tell you. It's just a different thing.

But the main reason that so many people are on food stamps is because they want to eat.

"Because it is not clear in what I wrote, I believe that many more people are willing to take advantage of government programs today that in the past. In the same way that millions of people were willing to walk away from mortgages they were financially capable of paying. The social compact that we discuss here is breaking down, or just changing, to accept a much lower level of pride in taking care of ones self and family while more easily accepting the largesse of the government."

I would say that there are many more employers today who are willing to take advantage of their employees by stagnating wages and benefits in the name of "productivity", for nearly two generations now, and at the same time, lobbying Washington thru their PACS to stop taking up the slack by shredding the safety net.

And millions of employees have little choice in the type of advantage they take.

"In the same way that millions of people were willing to walk away from mortgages they were financially capable of paying."

In the same way that financial institutions were deregulated to enable them to produce the paperwork and the bogus paper, mostly hidden inside tranches of other paper, to enable the near collapse of a the financial system.

The social compact between employer and employee, which included unions, with exceptions, natch, has broken down alright, just as it was intended to do over the past 35 years.

Milton Friedman et al explained precisely how it would go.

Yes, Trump and Carson give some people a voice and defend those people's right to have an opinion.

To which I say, "shut yer traps".

Might as well defend the skirt chasing cat callers' rights to have an opinion.

What is "shut yer traps" in Spanish?

I cop to the understanding that all of this is much more complicated than any of us comprehend.

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