Friday, December 3, 2010

Odds 'N Ends

1. Via Geek Feminism, venture capitalist John Doerr admits that when it comes to which startup companies he chooses to invest in, he looks for those headed by "white, male, nerds" who've dropped out of pretiguous universities, because in his mind, there's a pattern of such companies being successful. Yet, as Restructure! notes:

"Statistics show that women-led high-tech startups have lower failure rates than those led by men, and that venture-backed companies run by a woman had higher annual revenues than the norm but used less committed capital. However, counterintuitive, abstract statistics are less convincing than intuitive, concrete anecdotes for white men who believe in the unique cleverness and hard-working character of white men."

2. As someone who grew up reading every single Stephen King novel in existence, including the ones written by "Richard Bachman," I appreciate Zack's criticism of King's sucky use of The Evil Lesbian trope in his latest collection of short stories.

3. Maggie Gallagher, who is affiliated with the National Organization for [Heterosexual] Marriage (which the Southern Poverty Law Center recently profiled for its anti-gay activities), has been named the director for the newly-opened Center for Research on Marriage, Religion, and Public Policy at Roman Catholic, and fourth-tier, Ave Maria School of Law.

Gallagher does not have a law degree and, although her NOM biography puts her as an '82 Yale graduate, it is not clear what field of study her degree is in or if she possesses graduate training. Nonetheless, in the above-cited interview, Gallagher claims to have a "background awareness of the empirical research available" with respect to issues like gay teen suicide and she claims that "[c]ross-disciplinary conversations about the nature of marriage and family and the contributions of religion and public policy are really needed today."

Because a big problem with the culture wars is that the "religious perspective" just isn't taken into consideration enough? I mean, it's not like organized religion has ever contributed to political propositions concerning "the nature of marriage and family." Oh wait.

4. Happy 10th Anniversary to the infamous Bush v. Gore decision, where 5 Supreme Court Justices halted the 2000 election, putting George W. Bush in the White House!

Writing in The New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin aptly notes that unlike other momentous Supreme Court decisions, the "Justices have provided a verdict of sorts on Bush v. Gore by the number of times they have cited it: zero."

Opponents of Judicial Activism were resoundingly silent in marking this anniversary, which parallels the oddity of which Justices took it upon themselves to be so active in this particular case:

"What made the decision in Bush v. Gore so startling was that it was the work of Justices who were considered, to greater or lesser extents, judicial conservatives. On many occasions, these Justices had said that they believed in the preĆ«minence of states’ rights, in a narrow conception of the equal-protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and, above all, in judicial restraint. Bush v. Gore violated those principles."

Speaking of Maggie Gallagher, the next time a "marriage defender" tells you that she is so very concerned about courts respecting voter-passed anti-gay initiatives that result from a "free and fair election," ask her what her thoughts are regarding the Bush v. Gore decision.

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