Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2007

Congress has recently sought to overturn the Supreme Court's recent horrendous decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear.

To refresh your memory, Ledbetter is the case in which the "moral majority" on the Supreme Court (unbelievably) held that a woman who had been paid less than her fellow male employees for decades had no standing to sue because she didn't bring the suit within 180 days of her pay being set.

You know, because upon starting a new job, everyone's salary is printed in the company newsletter, making it easy to compare salaries across race and gender lines.

Anyway, I applaud the House of Representatives for passing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2007. One, this law specifically allows for lawsuits to be brought within 180 days of the last discriminatory paycheck- a big difference than the previous 180-days-of-pay-being-set standard.

Secondly, we are finally seeing some checks and balances in our government.

Not surprisingly, however, the Bush Administration is opposed to this new law. As he states, "The Administration supports our nations anti-discrimination laws" and so it "strongly opposes the Lilly Ledbetter FAIR PAY ACT of 2007." [emphasis mine].

*shaking head in confusion*

In our post-1984 country where war is peace, I guess it makes sense to support non-discrimination by opposing anti-discrimination laws.

But seriously, the Administration's reasoning is that this law would allow for discrimination cases to be brought "years or even decades" after the discriminatory conduct occurred. It seems as though the Bush Administration doesn't quite "get" the very nature of pay discrimination is that it is ongoing and that the harm continues much longer than the date that the discriminatory pay is set.

It's a continuing harm that can last, for years or even decades.

It's not a difficult concept, really. But Bush is showing his disdain for the working man (okay, probably woman) by so openly caring more about the "harm" this law may cause businesses than the constitutional rights of individuals that discrimination laws are meant to protect.

Let's see if this lame duck has the gumption to veto this one.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The HPV Vaccine Dilemma

The House of Representatives passed a bill banning the use of federal funds for state mandates requiring girls to be vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a sexually transmitted disease. HPV is also the leading cause of cervical cancer. Many Republicans are against requiring this vaccine, because they believe it will promote teen sex.

Because, you know, when I was 13, the thing that kept me from having sex was the fear of HPV and cervical cancer.

In all reality, I am ambivalent about requiring girls to get the HPV vaccine. On the one hand, from a public health standpoint, it can save many lives. On the other, I'm not completely okay with the government telling women what they can and cannot do with their bodies.

And I'm certainly not okay with politicians, whose main incentive for requiring the vaccine may be that they received contributions from a drug company, telling young girls that they must take this vaccine.

At the same time, I'm not okay with certain religious groups riling up the masses with their "it will promote teen sex and pregnancy" disinformation that only harms teenagers in the end. See, for example, abstinence-only education. As someone working in the public health field, I can attest to the accepted wisdom among the front-line workers that such "education" does not work.

Who is comfortable with teenagers having sex, getting pregnant, and getting STDs? I'm not. But some of us, however, choose to live in the real world and accept that kids are going to have sex no matter how much you preach to them and no matter how much you don't want them to. And therefore, teenagers should have access to accurate health information instead of religious and/or moral propaganda.

I see too many underfunded community-health centers now getting stuck cleaning up the messes that the morally "right" helped create.

So, I guess my point is this:

No, I don't want women to get cervical cancer. But I also don't want our fundamentalist Christian government to get further into the business of telling women and girls what they can and cannot do with their bodies.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I'll keep you posted on the Vitter letter

At the request of my loyal reader(s), I sent my open letter along to David Vitter. I'm not expecting a response.

I also forwarded it along to the fantabulous Pam's House Blend, check out her site if you don't know of it:


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Another Open Letter to David Vitter


Um, thank you, I guess, for your semi-apology about the whole prostitution, cheating on your wife thing. Most of us realize that you wouldn't have apologized had you not gotten caught. But more to the point, it's no one other than your wife to whom you owe the apology.

As your wife said, "You know, in almost any other marriage, this would have been a private issue between a husband and a wife — very private. "

And, she's right, you know. Marriage between two people is private. I take issue with the "only between a husband a wife" bit, but at least we agree on the "private" part.

See, when a marriage goes bad, it's because something is messed up in the relationship between the two of you. It's not the fault of some faceless "society," or pornography, or gay people, or straight people. It's the fault of the two people involved- you know, the two people who make up the two-person relationship.

And, as a heterosexual couple, you have the approval of society on your side, our entire legal system on your side, and your family on your side. You have everything going for you. So, when you fuck it up, it probably is your fault. It probably is just a private issue between "man and wife."

I feel sorry for your wife, and your kids, because of what you've done. See, I also had an unfaithful father and I can tell you right now that that was more harmful to me as a child- was more harmful to society, and was more harmful to my family- than any gay relationship ever was.

So what you have to apologize for, David, is your proposal to make sure that no loving gay couples can ever have the same benefits of marriage that you, an adulterer and a criminal, get.

I hope that you can now see that your hypocrisy lies in your attempt to make gay marriage a public issue to be decided by prejudiced people like you who expect your own failings in marriage to remain "private."

And seriously, are you really not going to resign?



Tuesday, July 17, 2007

"Business Speak" and chips.

"Business Speak" annoys me. Business Speak is the language that permeates companies, universities, and even the world of non-profit organizations- sometimes it is specific only to a particular company or industry.

Sometimes, however, Business Speak knows no bounds. Here are some universal Business Speak concepts that annoy me:

a) Mind Games. These phrases have to do with the flexibility and games that business speakers believe your brain is capable of. You know, how your mind is able to "think outside the box" and "wrap itself around tough ideas." Barf barf and triple barf.

b) Shocking uses of words. For instance, using the word "sexy" in non-romantic situations: "I know my idea isn't as sexy as Bob's, but you should just give it a chance."


c) The overuse of acronyms in conversations with people who don't know what the acronyms stand for in order to show people right off the bat that you are smarter than them: "What do you think about HRSA at the CDPH about EHRS?...... MmmHmmm. I see."

That's my annoyance of the day.

But another thing that annoys me is that the thing about dipping tortilla chips into a jar of salsa is that once you get halfway through the salsa, your hand either no longer fits in the jar meaning you can longer get to any salsa, or you get saucy hands from sticking your hand down into the jar. and then sometimes, your tortilla chips break all the way down in there. or, you only have little, unscoop-able chips left that won't reach the salsa. Somebody fix this.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Open Letter to Bar Examenees,

So, the July Bar Exam is coming up, eh? Sucks for you guys.

But seriously, passing the Bar Exam, like doing well on the LSAT, has little or nothing to do with how smart you are or whether you'll make a good lawyer. You know this. The Bar Exam is more of a rite of passage than anything.

Well, it's a rite of passage, and a great way for BAR/BRI to make a ton of money of people desperate to pass the bar.

Anyway, from someone who's been there, I'd like to offer the following advice:

a.) Right now, you should feel like you're going to fail. If you don't feel like that, you're being stupidly overconfident. Learning 3 years of law school any meaningful or comprehensive way in all the "very important subjects you're supposed to know" in a month and a half isn't normal or possible.

For instance, during the multiple choice portion, you may be able to confidently say you know the correct answer to 1 out of every 10 or so questions. Just shrug and keep going. You're probably doing better than you think. Unless you're a dumbass.

b.) You may not want to hear this, but taking the Bar Exam could possibly be among the most stressful 2 days of your academic life. Take care of yourself. For example, after the first arduous 8-hour exam day, go immediately to a bar and begin drinking. After 4 drinks, go to Jimmy Johns and get a sandwich. After you eat, have a couple more drinks. Then, find the nearest market and get chips, candy, soda, and more cigarettes. Because, you know, the Bar Exam turns non-smokers into relapsed smokers, I-only-smoke-when-I-drink smokers into chain smokers, and chain smokers into alcoholics.

Needless to say, pre, during, and immediately-post Bar Exam is no time to quit smoking. You must chain smoke at all times. Especially right before you go into the exam room, and during all breaks. You can quit a few months after the exam. When you're fully recovered.

c.) During the exam, don't be the douchebag who constantly taps your pen or pencil against the desk. Keep you feet still. And, after answering certain questions don't excitedly whisper "yesss!" about the questions you think you got right. And for real, don't even bring your cell phone into the classroom.

d.) After the final day, walk yourself to the nearest bar and begin drinking to forget the pain of the past couple months. When you wake up the next morning, you won't remember the rule against perpetuities and the holder in due course doctrine. And it doesn't matter. You won't ever need to know these rules nor most of the others you have so studied with such dedication anyway. And, if you ever need to know these rules, you can go look them up. Like lawyers do in real life.

e.) At the bar afterwards don't act like an asshole 1L and talk about the exam and compare answers with other test-takers. Relish the fact that it's over and now all you have to do is wait a few months to get your results. And then another couple months to either get sworn in or repeat the entire process.

And remember, you probably passed. Even though you're convinced you didn't.

Break a leg.

Very Truly Yours,
Fannie, Esq.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Open Letter to David Vitter

Senator David Vitter's name turned up in the phone records of an escort service who also allegedly ran a prostitution ring.


Here are some fun facts about David Vitter:

a) He's a Republican.

b) He's married and has 4 kids

c) When confronted by the press about his name being on the phone list of the above escort service, he apologized for committing "a very grave sin"


d) he was one of the top backers of a failed constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage. In fact, he said this: "I'm a conservative who opposes radically redefining marriage, the most important institution in human history."

What?? Is that another "family values" hypocrite I smell? This time, it's someone who probably cheated on his wife with prostitute(s) yet told other people they were too immoral to get married.

Dear Mr. Vitter,

Per recent events, I hope you now realize that gay people are not the threat to that one "most important institution" of which you claim to be so fond. Rather, it's people like yourself who pose the gravest threats to the sanctity and sacredness of marriage.

While we await your resignation, perhaps you should mull over proposing a new constitutional amendment banning adulterers from marriage.