Melinda Gates Interview: Coronavirus, Masks and Inequality – The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/04/business/melinda-gates-interview-corner-office.html?action=click&module=RelatedLinks&pgtype=Article

“As the valedictorian of her Dallas high school, Melinda Gates delivered a graduation speech that included a quote attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson. “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived,” she told her classmates, “this is to have succeeded.”

Decades later and billions of dollars wealthier, Ms. Gates says the quote is still ringing in her ears. “That’s been my definition of success since high school,” she said. “So if I have an extra dollar, or a thousand dollars, or a million dollars, or in my case, which is absurd, a billion dollars to plow back into making the world better for other people, that’s what I’m going to do.” “

David Lindsay:

Back in 1996, I ran Derric Computer, and was helping a customer with his home office. He complained that he had to buy and use Microsoft Windows, because he despised Bill Gates, who was the richest man in the country, and had never given a cent to charity. We verbaly pissed on Bill Gates together, and it was a bonding experience. However, Bill has rehabilitated himself. We had no idea how strong a philanthopist he would become, in partnership with his wife, Melinda French Gates. Their story is exemplary, and I’m saddened to hear of their divorce. I am confident that their partnership in philanthropy will continue unabated.

Binyamin Appelbaum | A New Deal, This Time for Everyone – The New York Times

Mr. Appelbaum is a member of the editorial board.

“The New Deal was mostly for men. The great public works projects that endure in public memory employed men. Labor protections enacted between 1934 and 1939 excluded domestic workers, restaurant workers, retail clerks and others in jobs with large female work forces. New safety nets for the unemployed, for the disabled and for older Americans were similarly tailored for men, who were supposed to provide for everyone else.

Equally telling are the kinds of help the government did not provide. Unlike other industrial nations that unfurled safety nets in the same decades, America’s new laws did not require employers to offer paid family leave or paid sick leave. There was no attempt to provide or subsidize child care. At the time, relatively few mothers worked outside the home, and policymakers did not think they should. One irony in the efforts of later generations to force welfare recipients to find jobs is that the program, launched as part of the New Deal, was intended to make it possible for single mothers to stay home.

’Tis the season for comparing the new administration’s plans to the New Deal, but in one important respect, President Biden is seeking to chart a different course.

To paraphrase Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mr. Biden is proposing to include women in the sequel.

A big chunk of the money in the administration’s twin spending bills, the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan, is aimed at helping people better balance paid work and family obligations. The Biden administration has emphasized that child care subsidies will benefit children and that senior care subsidies will benefit seniors. It has emphasized that freeing caregivers to take paying jobs will benefit the economy. In other words, it has described these policies in terms of their benefits to others. What has not been emphasized sufficiently is the benefit to women, who bear most of the responsibility for providing care.  . . . “

Michelle Goldberg | America Is Brutal to Parents. Biden Is Trying to Change That. – The New York Times

” . . .  In “The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together,” Heather McGhee detailed how support for public goods collapsed among white people once Black people had access to them. This very much includes relief for parents and children.

“The fear of lazy Black mothers who would reproduce without working goes really deep in this country,” McGhee told me. It’s hard to imagine how a proposal for automatic cash payments to families could have gone anywhere during decades of moral panic about Black mothers luxuriating on the dole.

But universal day care programs that would help women work didn’t go anywhere either. In 1971, Congress passed a bill that would have created a national network of high-quality, sliding-scale child care centers, akin to those that exist in many European countries. Urged on by Patrick Buchanan, Richard Nixon vetoed it, writing that it would “commit the vast moral authority of the national government to the side of communal approaches to child rearing over against the family‐centered approach.”  . . . . “

After Failures to Curb Sexual Assault, a Move Toward a Major Shift in Military Law – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — After decades of failing to curb sexual assault in the armed forces, lawmakers and Pentagon leaders are poised to make major changes in military laws that many experts have long argued stand in the way of justice.

A bill championed by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, would remove military commanders from a role in prosecuting service members for sexual assault and has gained support from scores of key members of Congress. Among them is Senator Joni Ernst, Republican of Iowa and a retired National Guard lieutenant colonel, who said her own experience with assault and her daughter’s stories from West Point helped shift her views on the issue.

“I have been torn,” Ms. Ernst said in an interview. “On the one hand, I was a commander in the National Guard and know how important that role is. But also, as a sexual assault survivor, I know we have to do more. I never really wanted to take this out of chain of command, but we are not seeing a difference.”

Gov. Cuomo Rejects Calls to Resigns, Says He Won’t Bow to ‘Cancel Culture’ – The New York Times

“Facing a deluge of calls to resign from New York’s U.S. senators and the majority of its House Democrats, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo made clear on Friday he had no intention of quitting, deriding the mounting pressure from his own party as “cancel culture” and insisting he would not bow to it.” . . .

David Lindsay: To be honest, I didn’t care much for the article above. The Democrats rush to judgement based on public opinion, and they have an ugly tradition of eating, or destroying, their own.  Also, since Kirsten Gillibrand led the destruction of Al Franken, one of the truly bright lights of the Democratic Party, I invoke the Gillibrand rule of thumb, if she is for destroying a male politician, I am against that campaign. There is  special ring in hell for lying and corrupt and opportunistic politicians, wrote an old sage named  Dante Alighieri, in his famous book-poem “The Divine Comedy,” which featured three parts,  “Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradisio.”  One of the nine rings of hell outlined in Inferno is where Kirsten Gillibrand is headed before this ugly attack. How dare she open her mouth again, before the facts are determined in a proper investigation.

The best part of the article above, was the comments section, which unfortunately, was closed, perhaps because Cuomo hating Gillibrand supporters at the Times didn’t like the fact that all the top comments were supporting that Cuomo is innocent until proven guilty, and the Democrats should stop acting like hungry piranha, and let an investigation happen. On of dozens of comments I supported mentioned that the folks calling for Cuomo to resign are ugly opportunists, not decent or thoughtful leaders.

Annalee Newitz | What New Science Techniques Tell Us About Ancient Women Warriors – The New York Times

OMG, an obscure, new contributing Opinion writer at the NYT, Annalee Newitz, was possibly in part responsible for the sacking of the US Capital, by angry, misogynistic, white supremacists. This is a story, that I assure you, everyone else has missed– missed that is, connecting the dots. This story might even get David Lindsay off the hook, for his sin, of allowing women to dance morris with men, in 1977!

Mx. Newitz is a contributing Opinion writer.

Credit…Claire Merchlinsky

“Though it’s remarkable that the United States finally is about to have a female vice president, let’s stop calling it an unprecedented achievement. As some recent archaeological studies suggest, women have been leaders, warriors and hunters for thousands of years. This new scholarship is challenging long-held beliefs about so-called natural gender roles in ancient history, inviting us to reconsider how we think about women’s work today.

In November a group of anthropologists and other researchers published a paper in the academic journal Science Advances about the remains of a 9,000-year-old big-game hunter buried in the Andes. Like other hunters of the period, this person was buried with a specialized tool kit associated with stalking large game, including projectile points, scrapers for tanning hides and a tool that looked like a knife. There was nothing particularly unusual about the body — though the leg bones seemed a little slim for an adult male hunter. But when scientists analyzed the tooth enamel using a method borrowed from forensics that reveals whether a person carries the male or female version of a protein called amelogenin, the hunter turned out to be female.

With that information in hand, the researchers re-examined evidence from 107 other graves in the Americas from roughly the same period. They were startled to discover that out of 26 graves with hunter tools, 10 belonged to women. Bonnie Pitblado, an archaeologist at the University of Oklahoma, Norman, told Science magazine that the findings indicate that “women have always been able to hunt and have in fact hunted.” The new data calls into question an influential dogma in the field of archaeology. Nicknamed “man the hunter,” this is the notion that men and women in ancient societies had strictly defined roles: Men hunted, and women gathered. Now, this theory may be crumbling.”

She Explains ‘Mansplaining’ With Help From 17th-Century Art – The New York Times

“This story begins, as so many do these days, on Twitter.

Last May, Nicole Tersigni, a Detroit-based writer, logged onto the social media platform at the end of a long day. She was tired and frazzled from looking after her 8-year-old daughter, who was home sick at the time.

“So I go online just to kind of scroll through Twitter and zone out for a little bit,” she said, “and I see a dude explaining to a woman her own joke back to her — something that has happened to me many times.”

In the past, Tersigni had let those kinds of irritating conversations go, but this one sparked something in her. She Googled “woman surrounded by men” (“because that is what that moment feels like when you’re online,” she said) and stumbled upon a 17th-century oil painting by Jobst Harrich of a woman baring one breast in the middle of a scrum of bald men.

She combined that image with the caption: “Maybe if I take my tit out they will stop explaining my own joke back to me.”

Scotland Is 1st Nation to Make Period Products Free – The New York Times

“LONDON — Scotland has become the first country in the world to make period products freely available to all who need them, after final approval was given to a landmark piece of legislation in Parliament on Tuesday.

The measures are intended to end “period poverty” — or the circumstances, and in some cases, prohibitive expense that have left many without access to sanitary products when they need them.

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, posted on Twitter shortly after the vote on Tuesday evening that she was “proud to vote for this groundbreaking legislation” which she called an “important policy for women and girls.”

A draft bill received initial approval in Parliament in February, and the measure was officially passed on Tuesday, with lawmakers voting unanimously in its favor.”

Opinion | When I Step Outside, I Step Into a Country of Men Who Stare – By Fatima Bhojani – The New York Times

By 

Ms. Bhojani is a writer from Pakistan.

Credit…Abdul Majeed/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — I am angry. All the time. I’ve been angry for years. Ever since I began to grasp the staggering extent of violence — emotional, mental and physical — against women in Pakistan. Women here, all 100 million of us, exist in collective fury.

“Every day, I am reminded of a reason I shouldn’t exist,” my 19-year-old friend recently told me in a cafe in Islamabad. When she gets into an Uber, she sits right behind the driver so that he can’t reach back and grab her. We agreed that we would jump out of a moving car if that ever happened. We debated whether pepper spray was better than a knife.

When I step outside, I step into a country of men who stare. I could be making the short walk from my car to the bookstore or walking through the aisles at the supermarket. I could be wrapped in a shawl or behind two layers of face mask. But I will be followed by searing eyes, X-raying me. Because here, it is culturally acceptable for men to gape at women unblinkingly, as if we are all in a staring contest that nobody told half the population about, a contest hinged on a subtle form of psychological violence.

“Wolves,” my friend, Maryam, called them, as she recounted the time a man grazed her shoulder as he sped by on a motorbike. “From now on, I am going to stare back, make them uncomfortable.” Maryam runs a company that takes tourists to the mountainous north. “People are shocked to see a woman leading tours on her own,” she told me.”

Opinion | The Case for Accepting Defeat on Roe – By Joan C. Williams – The New York Times

By 

Ms. Williams is a law professor.

“In “Unpregnant, the HBO bildungsroman released this month, the plot revolves around a 17-year-old heroine who travels from Missouri to Albuquerque — a road trip of 1,000 miles — because that’s the nearest place she can get an abortion without parental consent. Watching it made me recall a conversation with a feminist friend, who shocked the hell out of me last year by saying that progressives were too focused on protecting Roe v. Wade.

Why? The argument is that we currently have the worst of both worlds. We’ve basically lost the abortion fight: If Roe is overturned, access to abortion will depend on where you live — but access to abortion already depends on where you live. At the same time, we have people voting for Donald Trump because he’ll appoint justices who will overturn Roe. Maybe it is time to face the fact that abortion access will be fought for in legislatures, not courts.

I was shocked, but I could see the logic. It’s true that abortion access is already abysmal. The stressful road trip in “Unpregnant” is actually in some ways a best-case scenario; many women seeking abortions aren’t suburban teenagers without economic pressures or family responsibilities. Nearly 60 percent have already had one child and nearly half live below the poverty level; some fear they’ll be fired if they take time off, particularly if they need to make two trips, as they must in the 26 states with mandatory waiting periods.

The argument that the left has already lost the abortion fight reflects the fact that there’s no abortion clinic in 90 percent of American counties. This is the result of the highly successful death-by-a-thousand-cuts anti-abortion strategy, which has piled on restriction after restriction to make abortion inaccessible to as many American women as possible.Chief Justice John Roberts’s concurring opinion this summer in June Medical Services v. Russo — the one that mattered — was hailed as a surprise victory for abortion rights, but not by me.

Justice Roberts refused to uphold Louisiana restrictions virtually identical to those the court struck down as unconstitutional just four years earlier, but clearly stated that his reluctance was because of his respect for precedent. Anyone with their eyes open could see the justice signaling to abortion opponents to continue the process of eroding Roe v. Wade’s nigh-absolute protection of access to abortion during the first trimester by inventing new types of restrictions, which they have been remarkably creative in doing.

If Judge Amy Coney Barrett becomes the next Supreme Court justice, Justice Roberts’s vote will be irrelevant, anyway. And if things already looked pretty grim, now they look much worse: Up to 21 states have passed laws banning or limiting abortions in ways that are currently unconstitutional. Many will go into effect immediately if Roe is fully overturned.

So what should we do now? Often forgotten is that R.B.G. herself had decided that Roe was a mistake. In 1992, she gave a lecture musing that the country might be better off if the Supreme Court had written a narrower decision and opened up a “dialogue” with state legislatures, which were trending “toward liberalization of abortion statutes” (to quote the Roe court). Roe “halted a political process that was moving in a reform direction and thereby, I believe, prolonged divisiveness and deferred stable settlement of the issue,” Justice Ginsburg argued. In the process, “a well-organized and vocal right-to-life movement rallied and succeeded, for a considerable time, in turning the legislative tide in the opposite direction.”

What Ginsburg called Roe’s “divisiveness” was instrumental in the rise of the American right, which was flailing until Phyllis Schlafly discovered the galvanizing force of opposition to abortion and the Equal Rights Amendment. Schlafly wrote the culture wars playbook that created the odd coupling of the country-club business elite with evangelicals and blue-collar whites. In exchange for business-friendly policies like tax cuts and deregulation, Republicans now allow these groups to control their agenda on religion and abortion. It’s hard to remember now but this was not inevitable: abortion was not always seen as the partisan issue it is todaynor did evangelicals uniformly oppose abortion.”