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5 Things About the Hobby Lobby Ruling

I ran across this report earlier today.

I’ve seen some bad reporting over the years, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen an article that seems to be deliberately designed to make people more ignorant.

Let’s look at a few points:

1. If you work at certain types of for-profit companies, they no longer have to cover the cost of any contraception that they say violates their religious beliefs

The Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) requires most health insurance plans to cover birth control without cost-sharing. Without healthcare coverage, the pill can cost about $25 a month and an IUD (intrauterine device) can cost up to $900 (though it’s inserted once and lasts up to 12 years).

So my first observation is that they all but admit that this is about saving a measly $25 per month at worst. And there’s the elephant in the room that this is covering something that anywhere else would not be an insurance item.

They also tacitly admit that there was only 4 of the 20 methods covered. So really, it’s hard to see this being a very serious sort of issue. They also start out by talking about the Pill, giving the impression that that is one of the methods removed – but it’s not.

2. All three female Justices dissented, arguing that this ruling limits women’s rights

All of the women on the court are liberals. The liberals voted for less religious liberty, and only one of them is a man. Apparently (since this article is aimed at women) it’s important that you know that all the women on the court were rooting for you. Or something.

Then there’s this quote.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the dissenting opinion and was joined by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Justice Elena Kagan and Justice Stephen Breyer (the only male justice who dissented). “The exemption sought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga would…deny legions of women who do not hold their employers’ beliefs access to contraceptive coverage,” Ginsberg wrote

Here’s the thing about that. It’s complete nonsense.

It is not even remotely true. It is literally impossible for one simple reason: this decision has given employers of any sort precisely no, zero, zilch rights to determine what pharmaceuticals and employee might buy. That’s not a right employers have ever had, sought, or wanted, even in their wildest dreams.

Yet, that claim not only appears in a media report, but a supreme court decision.

3. The ruling may depress use of IUDs at some privately held corporations that deem it a form of emergency contraception

This is where we really get into the weird zone. I mean, who cared about the IUD use rate at privately held corporations? Seriously, that’s a really weird thing to say.

Now, it would be more useful to say, “this will reduce the use of this really effective method”. And they do try to say that… sort of.

But note this:

The IUD can also be used as emergency contraception if it is inserted five days after intercourse, hence the Hobby Lobby’s objection to it and not birth control pills.

That’s about as good an example of what the article does all the way through: skirts the core issue that this ruling is about abortifacients. Seriously, the word never appears yet that was the entire ethical objection that the court case was about.

4. Women’s rights groups are angry because they see the ruling as a loss of autonomy for women

Feminists don’t like this? Gee, who knew.

See what I mean about making people more ignorant?

Oh, and did you notice that having someone else pay for your birth control somehow = more autonomy. Feminism, gotta love it. (Seriously, you have to, it’s in the rules of modern liberalism.)

In fact, this point is so idiotic, it required detailed fisking.

Some women’s rights advocates have taken the argument even further than Ginsburg did. Up until this point the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) has been interpreted as a protection for individuals’ religious practices—not those of corporations. The Supreme Court just said that these protections also extend to for-profit companies,

Bzzzt. Wrong. It ruled that when you have a closely-held company, forcing a company to do something is forcing an individual (or a small group of individuals) to do something.

but didn’t protect a woman’s right to choose her method of birth control.

Bzzzt. Wrong. As pointed out above, this ruling says precisely nothing about that. It’s about who pays for it.

Thus, many critics argue, the Supreme Court decided that corporations are people, but women are not.

They may even honestly believe that. But I doubt it – I mean, they’re not that stupid, aren’t they?

Women’s rights groups say restricting insurance coverage for some types of contraception, or making coverage more difficult to obtain, undermines access to birth control in general and point to studies that have shown that offering greater access to contraception—rather than restricting it—leads to fewer unintended pregnancies and thus reduces the number of abortions by 75 percent annually.

That’s a true statement, they do say that. They also say that women are more autonomous when given $25/month worth of pills by their employer. Did I mention that? Yep… ok, just checking.

5. Under the ruling, some corporations could attempt to refuse coverage for other, non-contraceptive medications and procedures citing their religious beliefs

But even the people who wrote this admit almost immediately that it’s a bogus claim:

In the majority opinion written by Justice Alito, he specifies that the ruling applies only to the contraceptive mandate, and states that it should not be understood to include to other insurance mandates, like those for blood transfusions or vaccinations.

Fact is, if something else comes up, it’ll go through the courts again.

So there you have it. A report that never actually talks about the key issue, grossly insults women, tells incredibly silly lies, and then tells us about the most obvious thing ever written.

Modern journalism – gotta love it.

 (See also this post at Patterico)

Public service reminder: extreme political positions can make you stupid


UK to launch anti-terror ‘stop it, we don’t like it’ campaign

A real campaign sign:.

Hey Rapists! Stop Raping


The best feminist textbook and it’s still completely bogus

I’ve noted previously how bad some social science research is.

Well, top (or should that be bottom?) of the pile has always been Women’s studies. That’s not just my opinion either – in one unguarded moment during the 90s I was witness to a conversation where some liberal students admitted freely that were academics to actually have to produce something useful, Women’s Studies would be the first to go.

Well, let’s talk about one of their most popular textbooks.

A few months ago, a post with a shocking claim about misogyny in America began to circulate on Tumblr, the social media site popular with older teens and young adults.  It featured a scanned book page section stating that, according to “recent survey data,” when junior high school students in the Midwest were asked what they would do if they woke up “transformed into the opposite sex,” the girls showed mixed emotions but the boys’ reaction was straightforward: “‘Kill myself’ was the most common answer when they contemplated the possibility of life as a girl.”  The original poster–whose comment was, “Wow”–identified the source as her “Sex & Gender college textbook,” The Gendered Society by Michael Kimmel.

Frankly, that’s absurd. Most men would be pretty happy to wake up as a lesbian I’d say!

But feminists are not known for their logical and rational thought.

The post quickly caught on with Tumblr’s radical feminist contingent: in less than three months, it was reblogged or “liked” by over 33,000 users. Some appended their own comments, such as, “Yeah, tell me again how misogyny ‘isn’t real‘ and men and boys and actually ‘like,‘ ‘love’ and ‘respect the female sex‘?  This is how deep misogynistic propaganda runs… As Germaine Greer said, ‘Women have no idea how much men hate them.’

It says a lot about the feminist movement that they make it a policy to foster that level of hatred.

I was sufficiently intrigued to check out Kimmel’s reference: a 1984 book called The Longest War: Sex Differences in Perspective by psychologists Carol Tavris and Carole Wade.  The publication date was the first tipoff that the study’s description in the excerpt was not entirely accurate: the “recent” data had to be about thirty years old.  Still, did American teenage boys in the early 1980s really hold such a dismal view of being female?

When I obtained a copy of The Longest War, I was shocked to discover that the claim was not even out of context: it seemed to haveno basisat all, other than one comment among examples of negative reactions from younger boys (the survey included third- through twelfth-grade students, not just those in junior high). Published in 1983 by the Institute for Equality in Education, the study had some real fodder for feminist arguments: girls generally felt they would be better off as males while boys generally saw the switch as a disadvantage, envisioning more social restrictions and fewer career options (many responses seemed based on stereotypes–e.g., husband-hunting as a girl’s main training for adulthood–than 1980s reality).  But that’s not nearly as dramatic as “I’d rather kill myself than be a girl.”

It’s almost like women’s studies has a practice of taking something small and blowing it out of all proportion. Once you do this several times, a chance comment becomes “proof” of a widespread attitude.

That’s concerning. But not half as concerning as the fact no one stops to think “hey, does this correspond with the reality I see around me”?

The author then goes on to critique the rest of the text.

What, then, about the larger value of The Gendered Society, described on its back cover as “one of the most balanced gender studies texts available”?  Unlike some conservative critics of feminism, I am sympathetic to Kimmel’s professed goal of a society in which women and men are individuals first regardless of gender, and to his argument that the sexes have far more in common than Mars-Venus rhetoric suggests.  Unfortunately, these principles coexist with a steady drumbeat of female victimhood and male wrongdoing–often backed by tendentious or downright distorted evidence.

Thus, The Gendered Society‘s discussion of gender in the workplace briefly acknowledges that women’s earnings are driven down by family-related work interruptions–but still treats gender gaps in pay and advancement almost entirely as the wages of discrimination, summarily dismissing the factor of sex differences in worker motivation. (Amusingly, Kimmel also asserts that mostly female jobs pay less due to sexism but doesn’t notice that in his own tables of the most single-sex-dominated occupations, the two highest-paid jobs–dental hygienist and speech-language pathologist–are nearly all-female.)  The narrative is often contradictory.  Thus, after citing staggering statistics of how many women are sexually harassed at work, Kimmel claims that the motive for harassment is almost invariably hostile–“to put women back in their place.” A paragraph later, he notes that the truth in sexual harassment cases is often elusive because the man may see “an innocent indication of sexual interest or harmless joking” where the woman sees sexual pressure.

The chapter on “The Gendered Classroom” uncritically repeats tales of girls’ woes–for instance, that girls’ self-esteem “plummets” in junior high school–without mentioning that they have been strongly disputed, not just by critics of feminism but by mainstream psychologists.  The assertion that “girls’ IQs fall by about thirteen points,” compared to three for boys, is drawn from a 1935 book. (Ironically, Kimmel is then left scrambling to explain how “the systematic demolition of girls’ self-esteem, the denigration of their abilities, and the demotion of their status” results in a situation in which girls outperform boys academically at every level.)

Being uncritical of evidence that agrees with you isn’t uncommon. I’ve commented on this with regards to Christianity. Most movements do this to some extent. But women’s studies seems to take that flaw and make it a central tenant of  the “discipline”.

I recommending reading the whole thing, but the conclusion is worth pondering.

No scholarly text is ever error-free. But in the case of Kimmel’s book, there is a consistent pattern of using selective evidence and even pseudo-facts to stress women’s victimization and paint males (particularly American males) in the worst light. The  fictitious claim that most boys would choose death over girlhood–which will undoubtedly live on the Internet after it’s gone from future editions of the book–fits seamlessly into the big picture.

Internet myths aside, The Gendered Society is widely used in college courses.  And if it is indeed the most balanced gender studies textbook available–which may well be true–that says a lot about the rest.

I’d say it’s worthless. But that implies passivity.

The War On Women… who are candidates for the Republican Party

It is a constant source of amazement just how badly the Democratic party behave when faced with strong, conservative women.

I wonder if anyone will ask Heitkamp or Democrat House candidate Pam Gulleson, both of whom have made hay about the “Republican War On Women,” what they think of their past and present party leadership writing about a female Republican’s breasts?

And why is it that Democrats, who are normally so self-righteous about feminism, turn into utter chauvinists the minute they’re confronted with an attractive female Republican? Be it Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann or Kirsten Baesler?

(HT to Instapundit)

Blaming the Victim

One of the sillier aspects of the already extremely silly “slut walks” was the oft-repeated claim that only in the case of rape were the actions of the victim blamed for causing the crime.

The claim that such statements are only made with regard to rape are a case of truth being selected to fit a political agenda, as this report demonstrates.

A terminally ill woman preparing to give birth had to endure the stress of having her car stolen from Auckland City Hospital.

Nikki Reynolds, 20, from Tauranga, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, was nearing her due date when her car which contained baby clothes and medication were stolen from an underground carpark outside the hospital, the New Zealand Herald reported.

But in spite of clear attempts to gain maximum public sympathy, we have these comments.:

Underground carparks around public institutions like hospitals which attract all kinds of people should be avoided for parking. In their situation they couldn’t avoid it. Secondly they had a car that a lot of the cr”p who do the stealing want. …


Sorry for the victims but REALLY – leaving things like syringes and drugs (according to this mornings Herald) in a car, along with other, desirable things is just asking for a vehicle to be stolen! I know that they really couldn’t have taken all their stuff into the hospital and that thei minds would have been on other things. Hope the little one is in good health and does not inherit her mother and aunts cyctis fibrosis. (That”s what the medical stuff was for.)

not to mention…

why are these subarus so popular and easy to steal. why would you buy such junk.

So there you have it. Innocent victims of a crime that is not rape, being blamed for “encouraging” the crime.

Women Elected to Electorate Seats

Ok, since someone asked I’ve done a quick count. Hope these numbers are right.

Here’s the data. The actual number of electorate seats increased over the peroid, but didn’t significantly change the overall trend – flat after the second election.

1996 1999 2002 2005 2008
Total Electorate Seats 65 67 69 69 70
Labour 5 12 16 10 7
National 4 3 3 5 7
Other 0 1 0 1 2
Total 9 16 19 16 16
Percentage 14% 24% 28% 23% 23%

Here’s the graph showing the trend during the last FPP elections, then the trend into MMP (i.e. the black line in the above graph as a % of seats).

It’s not as compressed as below, so the upswing in the 80’s isn’t so prunounced. But what is prounounced is that the first MMP election in 1996 might have elected record numbers of women, but it set back electorate seats years, and the overall trend hasn’t been that flash since. In fact, only 2002 has been significantly higher than the last FPP election.

Again, I make the point: is this really a system that has delivered massive gains for women?

MMP, bad for Women’s Sufferage

No Right Turn celebrates Women’s Sufferage

Up until 1981, you could generally count the number of women in the New Zealand Parliament at any one time on the fingers of one hand. Things began to change in the 80’s, with women’s representation rising to 10% of the House, and then 20% in 1993. MMP almost doubled that, and while the proportion of female MPs slipped in 2002 (thanks to NZ First and United Future), it has generally stayed above 30%. This is not a change that would have happened under FPP – the data on electorate MPs shows that. MMP has meant a significant advance for women’s representation, with a consequent flow-on effect on policy. We have MMP to thank for paid parental leave, flexible working hours, the families and children’s commissioners, and the anti-smacking law. And these are policies the suffragettes would have been proud of.

Um, sorry. What I see in that graph is this.

Pre the 1980s, clearly there was an upward trend for many years followed by some stagnation. But after 1978, numbers of women MPs shot up from 5% to 22%.

After the first MMP election however, something strange happened. The improvement has been much slower. Slower than the pre-MMP, and vastly slower than the 80’s and early 90’s trend. So things are getting better, but slowly – that’s point 1.

Now, think about this. Those big gains were made when all MPs were electorate MPs. What does I/S say? “This is not a change that would have happened under FPP – the data on electorate MPs shows that.” So under MMP Idiot himself acknowledges that electorates have not been won by women in the upward trend we saw before MMP.

There’s another, very obvious conclusion that can be taken from exactly the same data. MMP has meant that parties don’t need to take seriously the idea of equality anymore. Why bother to get a wide range of candidates in seats when you can just promote them in the list? That to me is a should be listed as a negative.

So is MMP really better for women’s representation in parliament? I see a reduction in the rate of increase that could hardly be more clear, plus a change in behaviour in that women are pushed from electorates into the list.

Is that really progress?

Feminism achieves complete success!

Turns out that the pay gap thing was bad data not taking into account individual choices.

It seems that once you figure in lifestyle choices like leaving work for a few months, women are probably paid more for the same work than men – in the USA anyway. I suspect it’s just the same here.

Well, that’s that sorted. (Spends half an hour failing to find Mallard Fillmore cartoon written years ago pointing out research that said much the same thing.)

I guess what I’m trying to say is that if feminism were a rational ideology/belief/whatchamacallit then they’d have a big party and celebrate their success.





Isn’t that interesting – Wikileaks Wikileaking

Well, there’s something that hasn’t had wide currency.

Then, in mid August, Assange was charged with rape following sexual encounters with two Swedish women.

Assange declared the charges ”baseless and disturbing” and said they were part of a ”smear campaign” by WikiLeaks detractors.

The rape charges were withdrawn several days later, but then reinstated.

The situation is real enough for Wikileaks to rethink Assange’s position.

The person, who requested anonymity, contacted the Sydney Morning Herald to deny recent suggestions that members were trying to kick Assange out of the organisation.

”There’s no discussion of a founder getting chopped,” they said.

No-one wanted Assange to step down from his role as editor-in-chief of Wikileaks they said, though “a few people have have floated the idea of him stepping down as the media spokesperson.”

Another WikLeaks member, Icelandic parliamentarian, Birgitta Jonsdottir, publicly called for Assange to step down as spokesman several days ago.

I heard a report a few days ago which suggested that Assange has been  using his self-created image of an “International Man of Mystery” to bed women. It seems that he didn’t take hesitation too well, and later two of the women met and realised they’d been used.

Here’s something that makes sense: (non-title bold mine)

The Person Really Behind the ‘Smear Campaign’ Says Michael Moynihan, something of a specialist when it comes to Swedish policy and media: “even a cursory look at the case would suggest that while it appears that Assange’s name is being dragged through the mud, it isn’t by the CIA” Writing at Reason, he has a few harsh words for conspiracy-theorist bloggers relying on Google Translate. For starters, he says, “if any of these subliterate bloggers knew anything about the kristen vänster … they would probably have guessed that Assange’s accuser was, as is common in Sweden, operating off of a very broad definition of rape and ‘sexual molestation.'” Furthermore, “if any of these bozos did twenty minutes of research, they might,” he continues, have found the blog of one of the alleged victims, Anna Ardin, whose radical feminism includes a post on “how one can exact ‘legal revenge’ on men who have been ‘unfaithful.’” Given reports that Ardin “filed a complaint because Assange didn’t wear a condom during sex,” Moynihan thinks “the boring truth” likely is that “Assange didn’t come up against a CIA conspiracy, but the rather broad Swedish conception of what constitutes a sexual crime.”

As the post says later, if this were the CIA, he’d be dead.

If you ask me, this is a case of (excuse the pun) of lying down with dogs and waking up with fleas. The same countries who support the sort of extreme “open information” that Wikileaks supports also have unbalanced rape laws. The same people who are attracted to men who stick it to the “great satan” are also those who use the law to punish unsatisfactory sexual experience.

Or to put it succinctly, it’s a case of liberality biting itself on the backside.

Iran – Where Women’s Rights Rule!

As we all know, Iran is harmless. Their only fault is standing up to the USA, and having their president’s threat to wipe Israel off the map published in the international media.

So the left should have no problem with this.

NEW YORK — Without fanfare, the United Nations this week elected Iran to its Commission on the Status of Women, handing a four-year seat on the influential human rights body to a theocratic state in which stoning is enshrined in law and lashings are required for women judged “immodest.”

Just days after Iran abandoned a high-profile bid for a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council, it began a covert campaign to claim a seat on the Commission on the Status of Women, which is “dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women,” according to its website.

Buried 2,000 words deep in a U.N. press release distributed Wednesday on the filling of “vacancies in subsidiary bodies,” was the stark announcement: Iran, along with representatives from 10 other nations, was “elected by acclamation,” meaning that no open vote was requested or required by any member states — including the United States. learned of the press release only after being alerted to it by Anne Bayefsky director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust.

Maybe that earthquake thing is going to become official UN policy?

(Naturally, the headline is sarcastic.)

Hat Tip.

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