Sunday, July 25, 2010

Women's Careers: The More Things Change, the More Things Stay the Same

It's 2010. These days, girls and women can be whatever they want, do whatever they want -- the world is our oyster. Right? Equal opportunity is ours, doors have been flung open, and career and family choices are no longer constrained by gender-based stereotypes.

If you believe that, I have a bridge in a certain NYC borough with your name on it.

According to the Women's Bureau of the Department of Labor, the 16 most prevalent occupations for employed women in 2009 were as follows:

Secretaries and administrative assistants: 3,074,000
Registered nurses: 2,612,000
Elementary and middle school teachers: 2,343,000
Cashiers: 2,273,000
Nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides: 1,770,000
Retail salespersons: 1,650,000
First-line supervisors of retail sales workers: 1,459,000
Waiters and waitresses: 1,434,000
Maids and housekeeping cleaners: 1,282,000
Customer service representatives: 1,263,000
Child care workers: 1,228,000
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks: 1,205,000
Receptionists and information clerks: 1,168,000
First-line supervisors of office & admin support workers: 1,163,000
Managers, all other: 1,106,000
Accountants and auditors: 1,084,000

Do these occupations look barrier breaking to you? Lots of them likely don't pay living wages and are unlikely to have health insurance, paid sick days, vacation, and retirement plans. They also are distressingly, well, typical. That is not to say its not respectable work. What I mean is that women are still very much constrained to career paths that are extensions of their traditional roles in the home. But we know when women get good career counseling that covers the range of options -- including typical pay and benefits -- they often make different choices. These pink collar jobs are often a low-paying self-fulfilling prophecy. The majority of women might now be in the workplace, we still have a ways to go for true equal opportunity. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Copyright 2010 (text only). The Zaftig Redhead. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Classic Dave Obey: The Retiring King of House Appropriations Speaks His Mind about Education Reform

Rep. David Obey (D-WI), the irascible longtime chair of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, is retiring. He says he leaves more discontented than when he started. Here is a quote -- and Mr. Chairman is in fine form, I must say -- from an Obey interview with The Fiscal Times:

"The secretary of education [Arne Duncan] is whining about the fact he only got 85 percent of the money he wanted .… [W]hen we needed money, we committed the cardinal sin of treating him like any other mere mortal. We were giving them over $10 billion in money to help keep teachers on the job, plus another $5 billion for Pell, so he was getting $15 billion for the programs he says he cares about, and it was costing him $500 million [in reductions to the Race to the Top program]. Now that’s a pretty damn good deal. So as far as I’m concerned, the secretary of education should have been happy as hell. He should have taken that deal and smiled like a Cheshire cat. He’s got more walking around money than every other cabinet secretary put together.

It blows my mind that the White House would even notice the fight [over Race to the Top]. I would have expected the president to say to the secretary, “Look, you’re getting a good deal, for God’s sake, what this really does is guarantee that the rest of the money isn’t going to be touched.” We gave [Duncan] $4.3 billion in the stimulus package, no questions asked. He could spend it any way he wants. … I trusted the secretary, so I gave him a hell of a lot more money than I should have.

My point is that I have been working for school reform long before I ever heard of the secretary of education, and long before I ever heard of Obama. And I’m happy to welcome them on the reform road, but I’ll be damned if I think the only road to reform lies in the head of the secretary of education.

We were told we have to offset every damn dime of [new teacher spending]. Well, it ain’t easy to find offsets, and with all due respect to the administration their first suggestion for offsets was to cut food stamps. Now they were careful not to make an official budget request, because they didn’t want to take the political heat for it, but that was the first trial balloon they sent down here. … Their line of argument was, well, the cost of food relative to what we thought it would be has come down, so people on food stamps are getting a pretty good deal in comparison to what we thought they were going to get. Well isn’t that nice. Some poor bastard is going to get a break for a change."
And by the way, Obama Administration, if you really proposed cutting food stamps, shame on you.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

President Obama Strongly Urges the Senate to Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act

Below is a press release from the Obama Administration. Yes, they support this bill. Then-Sen. Obama was a co-sponsor. But the heavy push a year and a half after the House passed the bill might have something to do with this recent poll.

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release

July 20, 2010


In America today, women make up half of the workforce, and two-thirds of American families with children rely on a woman’s wages as a significant portion of their families’ income.

Yet, even in 2010, women make only 77 cents for every dollar that men earn. The gap is even more significant for working women of color, and it affects women across all education levels. As Vice President Biden and the Middle Class Task Force will discuss today, this is not just a question of fairness for hard-working women. Paycheck discrimination hurts families who lose out on badly needed income. And with so many families depending on women's wages, it hurts the American economy as a whole. In difficult economic times like these, we simply cannot afford this discriminatory burden.

My Administration has already begun to address this problem. In my first week in office, I signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which helps women who face wage discrimination recover their lost wages, and in my State of the Union Address, I promised to crack down on violations of equal pay laws. Today the Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force will present its recommendations, which include ways to better coordinate among enforcement agencies and inform employees about their rights. These steps support women, and they also support businesses that are doing the right thing and paying their employees what they deserve.

We cannot do this work alone. So today, I thank the House for its work on this issue and encourage the Senate to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, a common-sense bill that will help ensure that men and women who do equal work receive the equal pay that they and their families deserve. Passing this bill is one of the Task Force’s key recommendations, and I hope Congress will act swiftly so that I can sign it into law.


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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Senate Republicans Block Extension of Unemployment Benefits -- Just Because They Can

Below is a press release from the Office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

For Immediate Release

Date: Tuesday, July 20, 2010

CONTACT: Jim Manley, (202) 224-2939


Washington, D.C.— Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks on the Senate floor this evening regarding Republican delay of a final vote on unemployment benefits extension. Earlier today, Senate Democrats won a key cloture vote to move forward on this legislation that millions of unemployed Americans are depending on:

“I want everyone watching the proceedings tonight to again understand what the Republicans are doing. We just passed badly needed legislation to help 2.5 million unemployed. To show the lack of understanding and feeling and compassion of the Republicans, they're making us waste 30 hours. There are people who are desperate for this money -- desperate. And they're making us wait because that's what the rule of the Senate is.

“Now, I hope the American people understand how callous this is. People are desperate, can't make house payments, car payments, can't pay for kids' food. And they are having us wait for 30 hours after cloture's been invoked. We only need a simple majority to pass this bill now, but they're making us wait. I just can't articulate in strong enough feelings how unfair this is to 2.5 million people. So would the chair rule on my consent?

“Earlier today the Senate invoked cloture on the legislation to extend unemployment insurance benefits. As a result, debate on the measure is limited to 30 hours.

“Now, we can finish this 30 hours after this passed, sometime around 9:00 tomorrow night. If that gives these people over here [Republicans] some feeling that -- that 2.5 million people deserve this, then let them do it. I would hope we could come in the morning and get this thing done and so this bill could go on to the House, the house has to pass it and then to the President.

“Every hour that is delayed is more misery for 2.5 million people. The debate over whether it's paid for or not is over with, it's clear, all experts say that this money that is spent will return to us CBO says twofold. John McCain’s chief economic advisor says it will come back $1.61 for every $1 we spend.

“Now, if they think that they're getting even, with who? 2.5 million [unemployed] people because it passed? So I hope we can reach agreement to yield back some of the post cloture time so we can complete action on this bill at a reasonable time tomorrow. Upon disposition of the unemployment bill, the Senate will resume consideration of the small business jobs bill - which is good legislation we need to get to.

“I want everybody to understand, the Republicans better be ready tomorrow to defend their position. Because we're going to have people come during this 30 hours and show how ridiculous it is that we're having to wait for 30 hours. No amendments can be offered. Nothing can be done under that 30 hours except speeches.

“So I would alert my friends, come and explain to the American people how this 30 hours has helped the American people.”


The Zaftig Redhead. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Timeline of GOP Opposition to Extending Unemployment Insurance in 2010 Alone

3/9/2010 Cloture vote to end GOP Filibuster and Move to Up or Down Vote
80% GOP No Votes

3/10/2010 Temporary Extension of UI
85% GOP No Votes

4/12/2010 Cloture vote to end GOP Filibuster and Move to Up or Down Vote
93% GOP No Votes

4/15/2010 Temporary Extension of UI
93% GOP No Votes

6/17/2010 Cloture vote to end GOP Filibuster and Move to Up or Down Vote
93% GOP No Votes

6/24/2010 Cloture vote to end GOP Filibuster and Move to Up or Down Vote
98% GOP No Votes

6/30/2010 Cloture vote to end GOP Filibuster and Move to Up or Down Vote
88% GOP No Votes

7/20/2010 Temporary Extension of UI

Copyright 2010 (text only). The Zaftig Redhead. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Take the 2010 Ask a Working Woman Survey

The Great Recession has hit American workers in the gut—unemployment is up, jobs are scarce, foreclosures are occurring at record rates and health care costs are skyrocketing. Even if you are working, wages are stagnant and many seniors will have to work past retirement age just to pay bills.

In this brutal economy, what is on the minds of today’s working women?

The AFL-CIO’s community affiliate, Working America, is providing a chance to share those concerns through the just-launched online 2010 Ask a Working Woman survey. The biennial survey enables working women to share workplace concerns.

The Ask a Working Woman survey runs through the end of July.

More than 12,000 women responded to the survey in 2008, when they said the top item that would make their lives easier is a 10 percent raise. While issues such as affordable health care and quality child care were major concerns for working women, paying the bills, buying the groceries, filling the gas tank and paying the rent and mortgage were the concerns women said worried them the most.

AFL-CIO NOW BLOG | Take the 2010 Ask a Working Woman Survey

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Could U.S. Go The Way Of The British Empire?

Debt, deficits, and their impact on the ability of nations to maintain government spending levels is a burning issue around the globe, as national leaders try to recover from a deep recession and not break the bank.

However, according to the chart below, it's clear that as debt levels increase, the power of a nation is put at risk. According to Business Insider, the British Empire might have a thing or two to teach us upstart colonials. From World War I to the end of World War II, the British Empire's debts increased, much of it to a growing power in the U.S. that supplied it with weapons.

For the U.S. today, China could be that supplier of goods, as the U.S. government racks up debt on the way to its decline. Kinda scary, huh? Of course, this fate is far from certain, and there were many more reasons why the British Empire declined than just debt levels. However, it does make a clear statement when a nation's legislature (actually, the GOP) is unwilling to extend jobless benefits for fear of increasing debt, when such benefits are actually -- dollar for dollar -- the best investment a government can make to encourage spending. Oh yeah, it's also the right thing to do.

Copyright 2010 (text only). The Zaftig Redhead. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Health Reform: What the Affordable Care Act means for Medicare Recipients

Go to for more information.

Copyright 2010 (text only). The Zaftig Redhead. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Young Americans Learn That Trying To Find Work Is Pointless

While the nation has experienced some job creation during the rebound (and I use that term lightly), the rebound so far, however small, hasn't even started for the young.

That's because the new jobs in today's market aren't open to younger workers, according to a study called "Unemployment Among Young Workers" by the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee:

"Employers added over half a million jobs in the last four months, yet the unemployment rate for young workers reached a record 19.6 percent in April 2010, the highest level for this age group since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking unemployment in 1947... The youngest workers (16 to 17 years) experience the highest rates of unemployment. The unemployment rate for 16 to 17 year olds was 29 percent in April."

The chart below shows how the unemployment rate for America's youngest workers (in red) continues to get worse, even while other age groups' unemployment rates have plateaued or slightly declined (in blue or green).

Read more:

Copyright 2010 (text only). The Zaftig Redhead. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Introducing Take a Video Tour of the Website that Helps You Understand Healthcare Reform

Curious about what the new health care reform law means for you and your family? Wondering when certain key provisions of the law kick in -- and when you can take advantage of them? Wondering which options are best for you and yours? The government has launched a comprehensive new web site designed to walk you through these questions and much more.

Copyright 2010 (text only). The Zaftig Redhead. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Dan Gilbert's open letter to fans: James' decision a 'cowardly betrayal'

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert issued the following statement on LeBron James' departure from the franchise:

Dear Cleveland, all of Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Cavaliers supporters wherever you may be tonight:

As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.

This was announced with a several-day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his "decision" unlike anything ever "witnessed" in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment.

Clearly, this is bitterly disappointing to all of us.

The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal, and driven staff over here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you.

There is so much more to tell you about the events of the recent past and our more than exciting future. Over the next several days and weeks, we will be communicating much of that to you.

You simply don't deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.

You have given so much and deserve so much more.

In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you tonight: "I personally guarantee that the Cleveland Cavaliers will win an NBA Championship before the self-titled former 'king' wins one."

You can take it to the bank.

If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to Cleveland, I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our "motivation" to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels.

Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.

Sorry, but that's simply not how it works.

This shocking act of disloyalty from our homegrown "chosen one" sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And "who" we would want them to grow up to become.

But the good news is that this heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the so-called "curse" on Cleveland, Ohio.

The self-declared former "King" will be taking the "curse" with him down south. And until he does "right" by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.

Just watch.

Sleep well, Cleveland. Tomorrow is a new and much brighter day...

I PROMISE you that our energy, focus, capital, knowledge and experience will be directed at one thing and one thing only:

DELIVERING YOU the championship you have long deserved and is long overdue...

Dan Gilbert
Majority Owner
Cleveland Cavaliers

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

LeBum: By rejecting his hometown team, LeBron James earns his slot on the Modell list of shame

LeBron James is free to go to Miami. He's free to market himself on ESPN. But fans in his hometown also are free to say he never should have embarrassed us by spurning Cleveland and the Cavs in front of a global audience.

One disappointed fan -- Thomas Johnson of Bridgeport, Conn. -- was prepared to express his opinion after LeBron James' announcement on Thursday night.

Check out this great piece on LeBron's unnecessarily public defection in the Plain Dealer by Bill Livingston. The LeBum is dead to the Zaftig Redhead, my friends. Not simply because he left, but because of how he did it -- and because he disappointed my mama. That's a no-no, and unforgivable.

Copyright 2010 (text only). The Zaftig Redhead. All Rights Reserved.

What People Are Actually Doing With Their Cellphones

Also in Pew's research:

* 54% have used their mobile device to send someone a photo or video
* 23% have accessed a social networking site using their phone
* 20% have used their phone to watch a video
* 11% have purchased a product using their phone
* 11% have made a charitable donation by text message
* 10% have used their mobile phone to access a status update service such as Twitter
Read more:

Copyright 2010 (text only). The Zaftig Redhead. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Deficit You're Freaking Out About Is Bush's Fault

Copyright 2010 (text only). The Zaftig Redhead. All Rights Reserved.