We told you so! The VA scandal doesn’t surprise us.

From the much better-looking Dana on Patterico’s Pontifications:

A Memorial Day Slap In The Face
Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:20 am

Just a few days before Memorial Day and in the midst of the growing VA scandal, Senate Democrats blocked a bill (VA Management Accountability Act, H.R.4031) that would have made it easier to cut through bureaucratic red tape and fire VA employees, as well as hold the department more accountable.

Take heart, though, because President Obama is madder than hell about the scandal.

In the meantime, the Weekly Standard notes,

The director of the Phoenix VA hospital received an $8,500 pay bonus last month even as allegations of 40 deaths resulting from excessive wait times for care were being investigated. Sharon Helman, the director of the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care System, “got an $8,500 bonus last month while there was an open [inspector general] investigation into Phoenix,” Chairman Miller told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an interview Wednesday. It had been previously reported that Helman received more than $9,000 in bonus pay in 2013 on top of her annual salary of $169,900. The VA office of inspector general began investigating the Phoenix VA for wrongdoing in December 2013, months before Helman received the additional $8,500 bonus.

And an update:

The VA announced this afternoon: “Secretary Shinseki today exercised his authority to rescind Sharon Helman’s fiscal year 2013 performance award immediately. Previously, Ms. Helman received the performance award due to an administrative error.”

Those darn administrative errors!

More at the link. But Dana refers us to The Wall Street Journal, where James Taranto noted how the left, including Nobel laureate Paul Krugman waxed effusive on the grandeur of the Veterans Administration health care system.

Of course, we have the left, this time in the guise of the Progressive Populist on the Delaware Liberal, trying to defend the VA and blame Evil Republicans:

The current uproar over wait times and probable malfeasance and maybe criminal cover ups at some VA facilities being investigated has caused a call for privatization of the VA health system. This demand is mostly heard from teabagger Republicans in Congress.

Some want the VA chief’s head on a platter. Have you really looked at our private health system in the U.S.? If you have, you’d not be calling for this absurd “solution” to current scheduling and service demand issues.

These same clowns were huge supporters of an unfunded war in Iraq and the travesty in Afghanistan which caused demand for healthcare services to increase from 400,000 to 918,000 veterans, just during President Obama’s tenure as our commander in chief. They’ve chosen to ignore possible funding needs at the VA just as they chose to ignore paying for Iraq. Now it’s coming back to haunt them. Or more correctly, haunt our recent veterans and their families who deserve the best our nation has to give.

True, President Obama has succeeded in shoehorning in a 50% VA budget increase, but not without a bloody, shitstorm fight with the congressional teabagger Republicans. I am not arguing for a one to one increase in the VA budget based on this lopsided demand growth curve. I am arguing that budget may play a role and must be at the center of solutions discussions.

Well, yes, I’ve really looked at our private health system in the United States, because I’m an American citizen who uses that private health system, and I’ve never experienced delays like those being reported in the VA system.    When I’ve had to call for an appointment with my gastroenterologist, I’ve never had to wait more than a couple of days.   When I’ve wanted an appointment with my ophthalmologist, I’ve always gotten one quickly.

But, let’s be honest here: this is a scandal only because it was revealed publicly: it was wholly intentional and a necessary part of socialized, single-payer medical care. In the United Kingdom, a former National Health Service director died after waiting for nine months for an operation, at her own hospital, after her surgical appointments had been previously cancelled by the NHS four times!

The VA Hospital story was no surprise to me at all, because we had been documenting how socialized medicine and single-payer health care systems work on the old Common Sense Political Thought.

Remember this story, from the BBC?

Hospitals told to delay treatment
Hospitals in the South East are being told to delay routine patient appointments for eight weeks, otherwise they will not be paid for them.

The minimum period is being enforced by primary care trusts because a drive to meet government waiting time targets was costing too much money.

Hospital consultants and GPs in Kent and West Sussex said being told not to see patients was “unethical”.

NHS South East Coast said it had to “live within its means”.

The strategic health authority (SHA) – which covers all hospital and primary care trusts in Kent, Surrey and Sussex – said its forecast deficit for the current financial year was £104m.

A letter sent to all the trust chief executives said routine patients should not be seen “too promptly”.

More at the link.

Everywhere you look, countries which have socialized medicine or single-payer health care systems are having to cut costs, to control expenditures, and delaying appointments is a very common way of doing this: if appointments are stretched out, the individual patient will wind up with fewer total appointments over a given period of time, and some will not make their appointments at all, out of forgetfulness, out of disgust, or just plain because some of them died before their health care appointments. What the Veterans Administration was doing was exactly the same thing as Britain’s National Health System, and as Canada’s single-payer system does!

The Progressive Populist complained that, well, maybe there aren’t enough people in the VA system with real hospital administration experience, trying to blame some of the inefficiencies on having too many former military men in positions of authority, but what the VA did was the same as other socialized health care do, just the same as those experienced hospital administrators do in overseas single-payer systems.  Of course, we can’t allow that here, so the VA had to create phony appointment calendars to hide the truth, and that’s where they got caught, but they were doing what they had to do.

And it even worked! The 40 veterans who dies while waiting for appointments at the Phoenix Veterans Administration hospital saved the government money by dying before their appointments!  That’s a pretty calloused and hard-hearted way to put it, but I put it that way intentionally, because it is the truth.1

This is not a new story. From CNN:

Veterans dying because of health care delays
By Scott Bronstein, Nelli Black, and Drew Griffin, CNN Investigations | updated 9:34 PM EST, Thu January 30, 2014

(CNN) — U.S. veterans are dying because of delays in diagnosis and treatment at VA hospitals.

At least 19 veterans have died because of delays in simple medical screenings like colonoscopies or endoscopies, at various VA hospitals or clinics, CNN has learned.

That’s according to an internal document from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, obtained exclusively by CNN, that deals with patients diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and 2011.

Hospital delays are killing war vets

The veterans were part of 82 vets who have died or are dying or have suffered serious injuries as a result of delayed diagnosis or treatment for colonoscopies or endoscopies.

Barry Coates is one of the veterans who has suffered from a delay in care. Coates was having excruciating pain and rectal bleeding in 2011. For a year the Army veteran went to several VA clinics and hospitals in South Carolina, trying to get help. But the VA’s diagnosis was hemorrhoids, and aside from simple pain medication he was told he might need a colonoscopy.

More at the link, but note the date: that story was published in January.

As it happens, I’ve had to have a couple of colonoscopies myself, and I’ve never had to wait weeks or months. Such procedures have a one or two day “clean-out” waiting period, but that’s it. But, then again, I have my health care paid for by private insurance, and I’ve used doctors who are in business to make money.

What we have is a “scandal” because Americans are used to the prompt and professional care we get from the private-pay, for profit medical system, and then a whole bunch of people are shocked, shocked! to find out that the speed and quality of care in that system is not replicated in the single-payer, non-profit Veterans’ Administration Hospitals system. I would have been shocked if it was as good as the private system.  And the closer we get to single-payer, something I’ve said many times is the ultimate goal of the Democrats, the more openly we’ll see, for everybody, what we have seen in the VA scandal: deliberately downgraded speed and quality of care designed to save money.

  1. PolitiFact called the “Death Panels” assertions of Republicans, primarily Sarah Palin, during the debates on the Patient Protection and Affordable care Act the “Lie of the Year” for 2009, but it seems that the VA Hospital’s dual appointment books get pretty close to qualifying as “death panels.” It seems that Mrs Palin was right all along.

Hugely important question!

I changed the oil and oil filter in my daughter’s car today? Now, does this make me a good daddy, or a cisheteronormative patriarchist oppressor?

Economics 101: The left love themselves some failed policies

October 29, 1975

Remember that famous headline? From The Wall Street Journal:

Taking New York Back to the Bad Old Days
For the first time since the near-bankruptcy of the 1970s, the city will borrow to pay for new obligations.
By Fred Siegel and Nicole Gelinas | May 20, 2014 6:37 p.m. ET

Who should worry the most about New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s inaugural budget? Liberals and progressives. Mr. de Blasio is the first New York mayor in two decades to hail from the left, which makes him the face of a new progressivism in America. If the public sees that the mayor’s new $73.9 billion budget for fiscal 2015, which starts in July, is not only imprudent but improper from an accounting perspective, voters’ fears about unbridled liberalism will be ratified.

Since the city’s recovery from the 1975 fiscal crisis, mayors and the media have treated the city’s budget-day announcement as a sober technocratic event. Mayor de Blasio, by contrast, used his annual unveiling of the city’s revenue and spending blueprint on May 8 as a campaign-style opportunity to push what he himself called a “progressive” agenda. The budget adds money to enforce the city’s new mandated sick-leave law for private employers, and it spends more for public housing and education. But the most controversial and fiscally explosive portion offers retroactive pay raises to the city’s teachers and, later, raises for other city employees at a projected added cost of $9 billion over four years.

The mayor calls his budget “historic” and “transcendent.” Indeed, for the first time since New York recovered from its near-bankruptcy of the 1970s, the city is willing explicitly to spend beyond its means to buy labor peace. The new teachers’ contract, including $4.3 billion in retroactive pay raises back to 2009, is the acute example.

The United Federation of Teachers did well financially under Mayor Mike Bloomberg, with average pay up 43% over the first eight years of his tenure, beginning in 2002. But after Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008, Mr. Bloomberg made clear that New York, facing multibillion-dollar deficits, could not afford to give teachers 4% raises in 2009 and 2010, as the city had already given to the rest of the workforce.

More at the link.

New York City had it’s financial crisis in 1975, earlier than most, but, then again, it was American’s largest city, so being first in the budget crunch seems right. Even the liberal journal, The Nation, recently documented what happened, what had to happen, to get New York back on its financial feet. They criticized:

Only a month after Ford’s October speech, after a barrage of criticism from such elite figures as the chairman of Con Edison, the president of the Bank of America and the chancellor of West Germany, the administration reversed its position and agreed to extend loans to New York on the condition that the city continue to move toward a balanced budget. Nonetheless, the fact that Ford had been willing to let New York go broke signaled that ideological purity trumped all other concerns for the rising right. Teaching a lesson about the dangers of the welfare state seemed more important than international prestige, Cold War concerns or even the possible economic impact of the city’s default (Ford’s treasury secretary, William Simon, a former municipal bond trader and future president of the Olin Foundation, insisted that New York’s bankruptcy would likely not have a significant effect even on the municipal bond market).

Emphasis mine. The author, Kim Phillips-Fein, wanted to blame the “ideological purity (which) trumped all other concerns for the rising right,” but in her final two paragraphs, she wound up telling a very unpleasant (for the left) truth:

In the artistic and intellectual circles of the left, there’s an undeniable nostalgia for New York in the ’70s—when CBGB opened its doors, working artists had lofts in SoHo, hip-hop was invented, and the Lower East Side became the home to a new musical and artistic scene. It might be easy to dismiss such feelings as the sentimental romanticism of a privileged generation that has grown used to traveling the subways without being anxious about crime—or just the appeal of a time when rent was cheap. But looking around the city today, saturated with money and starkly divided by wealth, the very bleakness of the ’70s seems a refuge, a time of possibility. The violence and brutality of a city in free fall was real. Yet in the literal bankruptcy of the political establishment, there was also a kind of freedom, a political and cultural openness; there was no need to pretend that everything was all right.

The 1970s—in New York and around the country—saw the dawning of a new era of austerity, as the earlier assumptions of economic growth faded. The contraction of the state also meant the shrinking of the social imagination. The stern dictums about the necessary limits of political dreams contrasted sharply with the new populist utopianism of the free market, where anything might be possible. We still live today in a society defined by these two poles: the harsh limits of the political sphere and the delusional boundlessness of the market. Although it wasn’t solely responsible for bringing the city into this new age, New York’s fiscal crisis marks the boundary between the past and the present we still live in today.

Note what Dr Phillips-Fein said: the liberal “utopia” of New York City in he seventies was one which paid for so many social programs, but in which “(t)he violence and brutality of a city in free fall was real,” and the bills couldn’t be paid. Now, after real, conservative austerity measures had been put in place, today’s New Yorkers have “grown used to traveling the subways without being anxious about crime,”1 and the city was, prior to Mayor de Blasio’s inauguration, fiscally sound and paying its own bills.

Well, now liberalism has been emboldened, and a few people like Mr de Blasio have been elected,2 and they are going to try to turn America from the successes of responsibility back to the failures of old-line liberal policies. Places like Detroit and Chicago and a whole host of smaller cities never got the message from the recovery of New York, and that’s why Detroit is bankrupt, and Chicago and foul, fetid, fuming, foggy, filthy Philadelphia are eaten up with violence and poverty and crime.

In the meantime, we have states like Texas, known for conservative government and low taxes, which are booming, which are creating jobs for the people, versus the states where the Democrats are entrenched in power, like California and Illinois, which have higher than the national average unemployment, high taxes, and productive people leaving the state. Nationally, we have suffered through a period of inordinate deficit spending, which highly educated economists and the Obama Administration told us would lead to a strong recovery and low unemployment, and we had fewer total jobs in America in April of 2014 than we did in April of 2008,3 while the national debt increased from $9,377,557,217,133.44 (on April 30, 2008) to $17,508,437,127,661.62 (on April 30, 2014), an increase of $8.310 trillion, an 86.7% increase, and it still hasn’t made a dent in the real unemployment rate. We have done nationally, throughout the entire Obama Administration, what Mayor de Blasio wants to do in New York, and it hasn’t worked!

You know, it would be great, absolutely great, if the liberals had been right. If being generous and providing support for those in poverty had really worked to get people out of poverty, this would be a wonderful country, and poverty would have been eliminated, because we have been doing exactly what the liberals wanted with anti-poverty programs for fifty years now. We still have poverty, just as much poverty, because the liberals were wrong. If using deficit spending to create jobs had really worked, we’d have low unemployment, because we’ve been blasting our economy with borrowed dollars, but we have fewer jobs today than six years ago, because the liberals were wrong.

So, Mayor de Blasio can do just what he wants, and start to fund New York City on borrowed money again, but there’s absolutely no reason, no reason at all, to think that New York will somehow get a different result from what they did decades ago, a different result from what Chicago and Detroit and Stockton have gotten.

  1. Several years ago, 2009 I think, my younger daughter and I went to New York City on an architecture tour. My daughter wanted to see the Cathedral of St John the Divine. St John the Unfinished is on Amsterdam Avenue, between 110th and 113th Streets in the Morningside Heights neighborhood. Well, we missed our intended subway stop and got off north of that, at 125th Street, which is in Harlem. My daughter and I walked south (I think down Manhattan Avenue, but I’m not certain of that) to cross through Morningside Park over to St John’s. The street was clean, and we didn’t feel in the least bit at risk, because people like Mayors Rudolph Guiliani and Michael Bloomberg did something really radical, and cleaned up the city.
  2. Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, the Democrats just nominated Tom Wolf to be their candidate for Governor, running against incumbent Republican Tom Corbett. Mr Corbett isn’t a flashy, and he’s not a terribly popular guy. But he inherited a budget soaring out of whack, and, with the help of a Republican-controlled state legislature, kept his promise by balanced the state budget by cutting spending, and without raising taxes, and that is exactly what a good governor ought to do. Mr Wolf wants to raise government spending again, and raise taxes on the very people who are doing the most in the way of creating jobs in the Commonwealth. Mr Wolf is a whole lot flashier than Governor Corbett, and he just might win, but his policies would take Pennsylvania back into spending more than we can afford and hurting our economy.
  3. April 2008: 146,132,000 jobs; April 2014: 145,699,000 jobs. In the meantime, the civilian non-institutionalizd population increased from 233,198,000 to 247,439,000. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

I am so ashamed.

My darling bride (of 35 years and 2 days) went to the polls yesterday, and decided to write in my name for the Jim Thorpe Democratic Committee.

I had pondered writing in my name for the Jim Thorpe Republican Committee — there were seven spots, and no one had filed to run — but didn’t.

Phony Anger

I understand the person occupying the Oval Office does have a staff for the many different hings that go on here and abroad. So, why is it, every bit of bad news happening in this Maladministration is found out in the Oval Office by reading the newspaper or watching the news???? This is truly MIND BOGGLING. How is it BO is the Last To Find OUT????


Paul Krugman veers into the weeds again

From The New York Times:

Paul Krugman - New York Times Blog


Unemployment: It’s Not Personal

Matt O’Brien has an interesting if depressing piece on long-term unemployment, making the point that long-term unemployment is basically bad luck: if you got laid off in a bad economy, you have a hard time finding a new job, and the longer you stay unemployed the harder it becomes to find work.

Obviously I agree with this analysis – and I’d add that O’Brien’s results more or less decisively refute the alternative story, which is that the long-term unemployed are workers with a problem.

You can see how this story might work. Suppose that workers have some quality – sticktoitiveness, or something – that doesn’t show up in official skill measures but which potential employers can intuit. Then workers lacking this ineffable quality would tend to lose their jobs and have trouble getting new jobs; the difficulty the long-term unemployed have in job search would reflect their personal inadequacy.

Read between the lines of a lot of commentary on the unemployed – especially from those eager to slash benefits – and you’ll realize that something like this is the implicit underlying theory.

More at the link.

The last sentence is where the esteemed Dr Krugman starts to veer off into the weeds: he tries to say those of us who believe that government spending ought to be cut want to do so because we believe, inter alia, that the unemployed somehow deserve to be unemployed. It is that belief, almost certainly a genuine one on his part, that we wicked TEA Party conservatives want to punish the unemployed for being unemployable, but he’s wholly wrong.

Dr Krugman then tells us, in a single, though relatively long, paragraph, that the relationship between worker quality and unemployment isn’t really that strong in such a weak economy, and that’s not an argument with which I disagree; in this weak economy, there are man men who were good workers who are nevertheless unable to find new jobs. Then Dr Krugman concludes with a single paragraph:

In other words, it’s nothing personal; it’s the economy, stupid. And as O’Brien said, it’s one more reason failure to provide more stimulus is a crime against American workers.

The problem with that is we have already done that, and it didn’t work! The stimulus that the Nobel Prize laureate would like to see is more deficit spending, but even with the 2009 stimulus plan having run it’s course, we are still engaged in very heavy deficit spending, still importing money from abroad to spend in our economy. We have ballooned our national debt to a level which makes it difficult to see, honestly, how we will ever pay it off, and we still have fewer jobs today, 145,699,000 in April, than we did in April of 2008, 146,132,000. And in that time, we have gone from a national debt of $9,377,557,217,133.44 (on April 30, 2008) to $17,508,437,127,661.62 (on April 30, 2014), an increase of $8.310 trillion, an 86.7% increase, and it still hasn’t made a dent in the real unemployment rate. The official unemployment rate has declined, but not because more people have jobs; it has declined because so many people have stopped looking for jobs, and thus are not counted as being unemployed.

It would be nice if the left were actually right, if stimulus spending would create more jobs. In the scholarly journals and the learned papers, it all works out just so well, but it failed, and is continuing to fail, in real life.

But how can this be?

Your Editor spoke with John Hitchcock yesterday, and discovered something new. Mr Hitchcock, despite some smidgen of Indian in his ancestry, is as white a white man as there could be, mostly Irish, fair skinned and red haired. As as everyone who has read his work, on the now-defunct Common Sense Political Thought,1 on his own site, Truth Before Dishonor, and here, is aware, he is as conservative as conservative comes, TEA Party through and through.

According to the left, that means that he must, simply must, be a total racist, nativist, sexist and utter patriarchist. But, if you look at his Endorsements section on the right-hand sidebar of his site, you’ll see four listings, all from 2012:

  • (Sarah) Palin/ (Allen) West for President 2012
  • Ted Cruz for US Senate (Texas)
  • Jamie Radtke for US Senate (Virginia)
  • Mia Love for US House (Utah 4)

So, looking at that list, and those are the only four endorsements he has, I see

  • A white woman and black man;
  • A white Hispanic man;
  • A white woman; and
  • A black woman.

I’m trying to find the racism and sexism in that list, and can’t seem to find it!

But, of course, those are political endorsements, and who knows how nefarious those racist, sexist patriarchists can be in concealing their perfidy. Well, Mr Hitchcock has taken a further step to disguise his racism, because Jessica, his new girlfriend, isn’t white and she isn’t an American! How devious, how Machiavellian, how outrageous, the depths to which a Christian, white American conservative will sink to hide his cisheteronormative patriarchal makeup.
Cross-posted, in slightly different form, on Truth Before Dishonor

  1. CSPT is still available, maintained by your Editor for archival purposes only.

Rule 5 Blogging: United States Air Force

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Amanda Seyfriend in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude. Today: some of our pilots!

Captain Katherine Gaetke, F-16 pilot from the 523 Fighter Squadron, and Crew Chief Staff Sergeant Michael Brooks from the 524 Aircraft Maintenance Unit prepare to fly dissimilar aircraft training at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, December 4, 2006. (US Air Force photo by Airman First Class Christopher L. Ingersoll)

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: United States Air Force’ »

From Around the Blogroll

The firing of Jill Abramson as the executive editor of The New York Times generated a lot of instant stories concerning Mrs Abramson (apparently) being paid less than Bill Keller, the white man who preceded her in the position, which were rather amusing considering the left’s continual cries about equal pay for equal work; your Editor is becoming convinced that liberalism and hypocrisy are so inextricably intertwined that one can no longer be a liberal without being a hypocrite.1 But with a couple of days having passed, we’re hearing stories about why Mrs Abramson was shown the door:

Generally Speaking, @AmandaMarcotte Is Insane, and Feminism Is Always Wrong
Posted on | May 16, 2014 | 5 Comments

So now, reacting to the firing of Jill Abramson discussed previously, we encounter this commentary from Amanda Marcotte:

Women, particularly ambitious women, often feel like they’re in a no-win situation when it comes to climbing the career ladder. They’re told to “lean in” and stop being afraid to ask for what we want. They’re told they’re holding themselves back because of a “confidence gap”, and that all they need to do to get ahead in life is to start acting as bold and confident as men do. They’re told they don’t make as much as men because they don’t demand higher salaries. Or worse, that they’re “choosing” to make less than men by applying themselves less at the office.

But what happens when women follow all this advice to lean in, hold their heads high, make demands, and fake it ‘til they make it? Well, a lot of women rightfully fear that they’ll be considered bitchy shrews. Women know that the very qualities that cause so many to see men as “powerful” look like, well, pushiness when they manifest in women. In fact, research confirms this fear: Following all that advice to act like a man can backfire and cause your boss to apply misogynist stereotypes to you that you will never get past. So the lame advice women get is to be pushy and confident sometimes and demure and retreating at others. How to tell the difference? Sorry, no one can help you there. You just have to know. Good luck, ladies.

Do ambitious women “often feel like they’re in a no-win situation”? I’m certain they do, just as I am certain that the advice they receive on how to deal with this situation is confusing. I am likewise certain that in their career competition with men — having chosen this competition themselves — these women expose themselves to the known ferocity of men in situations where a man’s ambition puts him in a posture of rivalry toward others who seek to ascend the same career ladder.

Ambitious women, I’m sure, encounter the kinds of attitudes and behaviors that Marcotte describes. There is no argument here, you see, with what Marcotte says the reality is. Rather, the question is about what ought to be, and in that question, Marcotte expects her readers to choose sides. She expects women to believe that ambitious men should just step aside and restrain their own competitive instincts, and let themselves be eclipsed by female rivals, merely because these rivals are women, for the sake of an ideological abstraction, Equality.

OK — but why?

Please tell me why, in such a situation, any man should be expected to act this way? Why should a man be less competitive toward a female rival than toward a male? Why must a man accept that his own individual ambition must be thwarted for the sake of Equality?

Why? Why, Affirmative Action, silly! Please make a note of it, and there’s more of Robert Stacey Stacy McCain’s article if you follow the link.

Miss Marcotte would never accept Mr McCain’s formulation, because to accept it means something she doesn’t realize that she has already conceded: men and women are different even in the business atmosphere, and that there can be — and are — real competitive advantages which accrue to men due to those differences.

Jessica Bennett of Jezebel, another feminist site, put it this way:

So what can Jill Abramson teach us about female bosses? That we’re still uncomfortable with them, for one. That, when a female boss leads like a man, we’ll deem her “brusque,” “pushy,” but when she leads like a woman, we’ll brush her off as too “soft.”

Research has long shown that women in power are judged more harshly because they’re women — what researchers call the “double bind.” The cause of course is stereotypes: that we expect women to be less competent from the start. That a female boss in and of itself violates our cultural expectations about how women are supposed to be, act, behave: you know, nurturing, maternal, warm.

So when a woman tries to act like a man to get ahead — or, you might say, like a leader — she suffers: liked less by both male and female colleagues, penalized for being “too aggressive.” When a man leads we see his assertiveness as “bold,” his demands “direct.” But when you’re Abramson — or any female boss before her — you’re just a bitch.


Mrs Bennett has just told us that most leadership traits wind up being masculine, something which would appall Miss Marcotte no end. But there’s more from Mrs Bennett:

How to close the gender gap at work? Strike a pose
By Jessica Bennett

Plenty of pundits have idiosyncratic ways of prepping for a big speech. But if you’re a six-foot-one progressive lesbian debating a conservative white man on Fox News, you’d better have a good one.

Sally Kohn, 36, has a ritual: A few minutes before she heads on set, she ducks into a hallway, spreads her feet, stands up perfectly straight and puts her hands on her hips, chin tilted up. She holds the pose for two full minutes – which point her testosterone levels rise her cortisol drops, making her more confident and less anxious. Then she walks on camera.

Kohn learned the trick from Amy Cuddy, a Harvard Business School social psychologist whose TedTalk on “Power Posing” – a shortcut to boosting confidence and gaining a quick competitive edge — has been viewed nearly 10 million times, and spawned a global following.

The allure of Cuddy’s work is in its ease: She knew from studies of facial feedback that when people smile, they can fake themselves into feeling happier.

And so, with two colleagues, she decided to try that theory out on body language – placing 42 research subjects into a series of high-power (bodies spread wide, feet up on desks) and low-power (sitting, slouched, arms wrapped tightly to the body) positions, tracking their hormone levels as she went.

In just two minutes, subjects in the high-power poses saw testosterone levels rise by as much as 20 percent and cortisol levels sink by about 25 – the chemicals linked to confidence versus stress, respectively. As it turns out, the best business leaders — both men and women — have relatively high testosterone and low cortisol levels, traits that tend to increase their appetite for risk, and configure our brain to cope in stressful situations.

For women looking to improve their leadership skills at work — to, as Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg puts it, lean in to their ambitions — could it really be so simple?

“A lot of this stuff isn’t gendered, per se — I don’t feel like I’m using men’s tools,” says Kohn. “I feel like I’m using tools that we should all have access to and know about, but women simply haven’t been raised to cultivate.”

There’s more at the link, but with that article, Mrs Bennett has told us that testosterone, that wonderful hormone that makes men men, makes better business leaders.

So, maybe it’s true that Mrs Abramson lost her job because she is a woman, because, as a woman, she had less of the hormone that makes leaders!

Now, I find it somewhat difficult to label Arthur Sulzberger, the publisher of the Times, as a sexist for having dismissed Mrs Abramson, given that he hired her, and promoted her, in the first place, something he did not have to do. Mrs Abramson was a high-powered, and highly paid, executive, and in that position she had one, and only one, responsibility: keep the boss happy, and that she apparently failed to do.

Sister Toldjah sends a birthday greeting to state Senator Wendy Davis (D-TX)

On Truth Before Dishonor, John Hitchcock pointed out that the vast majority of America’s poor aren’t poor.

The Colossus of Rhodey was offline for a while, but Hube tells us that, after a lot of work, they’re up and running again, and there’s plenty of good stuff there.

L D Jackson notes that Judge Michael Boggs, formerly an elected Democrat official, is too conservative for some liberals now that President Obama has nominated him for a federal judgeship.

Karen, the Lonely Conservative, tells us about former Governor Mitch Daniels (R-IN), now the President of Purdue University, who has instituted belt-tightening measures at the university, which has enabled Purdue to freeze tuition rates for two years now. During his tenure as governor, Mr Daniels cut the state government workforce by 18%, cut and capped state property taxes, and balanced the state budget through budget austerity measures and increasing spending by less than the inflation rate. In his second term, Daniels saw protest by labor unions and Democrats in the state legislature over his policies regarding the Indiana’s school voucher program and the Indiana House of Representatives attempt to pass right to work legislation, leading to the 2011 Indiana legislative walkouts; he got it passed. It seems that perhaps, just perhaps, college really can be less expensive; all that you need is a good, conservative former governor at the helm.

Daniel Wani and his wife Meriam Yahia Ibrahim in happier times

At The Pirate’s Cove, William Teach asked why there’s no attention being paid by the media and the left to the pregnant Sudanese Christian woman, Mariam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, sentenced to be hanged for apostasy. Her husband is an American citizen, but our State Department is doing nothing. The Islamist Shari’a law considers Mrs Ibrahim to be Muslim because her father, who abandoned the family when she was only six, was Muslim. Her mother, an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian, reared her daughter as a Christian, and she has never been religiously a Muslim, but the Islamists don’t care about that. She has been sentenced to 100 lashes for adultery, because the Islamists don’t recognize her marriage to a Christian as valid, after she recovers from childbirth, and her execution will take place after her baby is weaned. In the meantime, her husband is prohibited from having contact with her, and with his other son by her, because he is Christian and the children are, by law, Muslim.

Jennifer Davis of the Victory Girls also wrote on the subject.

Maybe if we point out that Mrs Ibrahim is black, and not to do something is raaaaacist, the State Department would try to do something.  However, it seems rather odd to me that the United States would expend time and money concerning the Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, none of whom were Americans, yet virtually ignoring the plight of an American citizen and his wife in nearby Sudan.

But, at some point, it’s time for Americans to wake up, and realize that our deeply-ingrained cultural notion that religion and state are almost entirely separate pretty much stops at our borders. Throughout the Muslim world, Islam is an integral part of the state, and of the law. The details vary from country to country, and even within the same countries — Sudan would be one of them — but the overall concept remains.

Donald Douglas at American Power pointed out the rather inconvenient fact that the Obama Administration threatened the Nigerian government with sanctions, just last year, for fighting against Boko Haram.

On Patterico’s Pontifications, the much better-looking Dana wrote about officials at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University have reached an agreement with student activists to force “mandatory power and privilege training” on incoming students during orientation.

Apparently, this training is viewed by students as necessary for all future public leaders to be effective.

We could not grapple with hard questions about the role of government, the impact of a particular social welfare program, or the root cause of poverty. To consider these questions, we needed the additional benefit of interdisciplinary frameworks from fields like sociology, gender studies, and ethnic studies. Without understanding the socio-historical context in which policy is made, we cannot analyze the disparate ways various groups are affected by public policy, nor can we determine the best path forward.

Translation: we are so fornicating stupid that we can’t figure things out without asking otherwise unemployable people from crap disciplines their unsupported opinions.

The exercise of public leadership must draw upon more than the principles of organizational management, the tactics of negotiation science, or the psychology of implicit biases. It requires an honest assessment of structural power dynamics, of in-group and out-group dynamics, and of privilege. It requires that we continue to dissect the ways in which social structures operate to endow some individuals with certain advantages, and others with marked disadvantages. It requires that we remain critically attuned to power dynamics, both micro and macro, that undergird the institutions many of us will operate within throughout our careers

No explanation given on how past and current public leaders have managed to be successful.

You know what my white privilege has been? It’s been the privilege of getting out of bed every morning and going to work to earn a living for my family and myself.  While I’m doing well now, such was also my privilege when the only jobs I could find were entry level and physical labor jobs. And apparently it’s also my privilege to pay taxes to support the lazy scumbags who won’t get out of bed in the morning to go to work to support themselves.  If I don’t have much sympathy for those who say that they can’t find decent jobs, it’s because I had to work some of those not-so-great jobs myself in the past, and I don’t consider them to be demeaning or beneath people in any way.

Well, that’s From Around the Blogroll for this week!

  1. It doesn’t work the other way around: one can be a hypocrite without being a liberal, but you can still be a conservative without being a hypocrite.