BECAUSE A 'REASONABLE PERSON' SHOULD KNOW ABOUT DISCRIMINATION. In an editorial today titled "Fair Pay, the Right Way," the WaPo says that the Ledbetter ruling was bad, but doesn't quite endorse Congress' legislative reaction: This isn't as terrible as some business squawking might lead you to believe: It was a standard that was in use in many parts of the country before the Supreme Court decision, without dire consequences, and businesses would still be protected from abusive claims by existing provisions that cap punitive damages at $300,000 and prevent workers from collecting more than two years' worth of back pay. Still, the House bill would all but eliminate a statute of limitations, which was not Congress's original intent, and the Senate should consider whether something other than a paycheck trigger may be fairer. One possibility: adopting a "reasonable person" standard. That would allow a worker to file a claim beyond the 180 days now mandated by the court's decision, but not...
DISNEY'S BABY EINSTEIN IS NO EINSTEIN. Via the Chronicle . The University of Washington sent out a press release on a study it conducted where it found that Baby Einstein products didn't work. In fact, the study found that overuse of such products can slow babies' development. You'll recall that Bush gave a shoutout to BE's creator, Julie Aigner-Clark, during his last State of the Union. Now Disney is in an uproar over the study. But this is science. The products don't work . Sorry, Disney. --Kay Steiger
FALLWELL'S WINDFALL. Via the Chronicle news blog , Jerry Falwell was stocking up on life insurance policies worth about $34 million prior to his death. Most of the money was willed to Falwell's own Liberty University. In 1992, the university had more than $82 million in debt. Today, Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. (seriously!) said they want to pay off the university's remaining debt and work on an endowment. Gee, I guess that's one instance of Republicans being fiscally responsible. --Kay Steiger
BLOGOSPHERE OVERWHELMINGLY MALE. Congrats to our own GFR and Addie Stan who got a shout out in Ellen Goodman 's column today on how the political blogosphere is overwhelmingly male and white. This is something that's been talked about a lot , especially in the wake of YKos, after which the WaPo published a similar take . I was intrigued that this year, feminist bloggers had their own conference, BlogHer, the weekend before Kos. To me, it would be of advantage to both groups to merge these two. Goodman writes about one theory of why the demographics shake out this way, "[Gina] Cooper thinks one reason for the demographics is that educated, economically comfortable men were the early adapters to the technology and took the lead." The problem is, now that the technology is more accessible, it is also more mainstream, and therefore dominated by a lot of the (male) personalities that dominate the MSM. --Kay Steiger
SOLDIERS (WRONGLY) CRUSADE FOR CHRIST. Related to Ezra 's dispatch from the YKos military panel, last week a Pentagon investigation concluded that several generals and a former military chaplain wrongly appeared in uniform in a fundraising video for Christian Embassy, a group affiliated with Campus Crusade for Christ. These soldiers are not permitted to endorse a "non-federal" entities. When high-level generals endorse a politically charged religious group, it sets an example not only for lower officers, but leads the public to believe that the military and such groups go hand in hand. I'm okay with military officers expressing an opinion, but there's a fine line between an opinion and a flat-out endorsement, and the generals' appearance in the Christian Embassy video clearly exemplifies the latter. Especially when officers appear in uniform expressing an opinion, it tends to be seen as having the approval of the military branch. --Kay Steiger