Monday, November 7, 2011

The Bigotry Facing Herman Cain

Published in the November 3, 2011, issue of The Philadelphia Inquirer:

I'm still learning about Herman Cain, and I don't know what I think about his tax plan, but I'm disappointed (though unsurprised) at the bigotry he has faced. Cain joins the queue of prominent conservatives who don't happen to be Caucasian (see also Clarence Thomas, Condoleezza Rice, Alberto Gonzales, Marco Rubio) and have been on the receiving end of treatment that would be rightly condemned if they'd been more left-leaning.

Now that we have a multiracial president, the narrative that has been built is that anyone who questions or disagrees with him is guilty of racial prejudice. Since Cain's popularity among conservatives greatly weakens that narrative, he is now being labeled a "sellout" or an "Uncle Tom" - outrageously offensive terms.

It's rather racist to expect all people of a certain color to think the same way. It's also noteworthy that the only people who feel the need to reference Herman Cain's race are those on the left who oppose him.

Naturally, as I got top placement and my letter was topical, I've gotten much feedback. Unfortunately, functional illiteracy appears to be another trait of Cain's critics, who mistakenly believe I was endorsing Cain, while astute readers will notice I was not endorsing any one candidate. One sad fool who likes to make everything about race has resurfaced in my inbox. It's gratifying when they prove your point.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Remembering Patricia Overberg

From the website of Stop Abuse for Everyone (, on the recent passing of Patricia Overberg, who sought to ensure that all victims of domestic abuse, irrespective of gender, get the help they need:

SAFE Speaker Patricia Overberg, Pioneer Domestic Violence Advocate Who Refused to Discriminate Leaves Lasting Legacy

Overberg was trained in social work before most social work programs adopted the philosophy that all domestic violence is rooted in patriarchal power and control. She believed that family violence needs to be viewed holistically, and her commitment to the principle of equal treatment for all informed everything she did.

Although most battered women's shelters refuse admittance to sons 12 years or older and force mothers to place their sons in foster care or be denied entrance to a shelter, Overberg refused to require mothers to choose between their own safety and the well-being of their children.

When male victims, whether on their own or with their children, sought help, she didn't turn them away. Overberg was director of the Valley Oasis Shelter in Lancaster, Calif. from 1989 through 1998. During that time, Valley Oasis was the only shelter in the U.S. that men needing help could turn to. Even today Valley Oasis remains one of the very few shelters in the U.S. that offers the same level of services to male victims as to female victims.

Overberg treated gay men and lesbians with the same respect and level of service accorded to all the people she helped. She pioneered in bringing a transgendered volunteer on board at the Valley Oasis.

Erin Pizzey, founder of the first modern battered women’s shelter, says: “Pat was a brave, honest and courageous woman. She faced persecution from her colleagues in the domestic violence field and fought back. All of us who work at the coal face of human relationships owe Pat a great deal.”

Because of Overberg's principled refusal to discriminate on the basis of sex or sexual orientation, she was treated as a pariah by many of her peers. In a 2002 sworn deposition, Overberg testified that she "was subjected to continuous abuse by other shelter directors for sheltering battered men."( )

Undaunted, Overberg encouraged the Los Angeles chapter of the National Coalition for Men (NCFM) to file a lawsuit to end the discrimination against male victims of abuse, and their children. With help from Overberg's testimony, NCFM won a landmark ruling that held it is unconstitutional for the State of California to exclude male victims from state-funded domestic violence services.(David Woods v. Horton (2008) 167 Cal.App.4th 658, )

The effects of this ruling are far-reaching. All states are now on notice that equal protection clauses in constitutions mean what they say. State funds cannot be used to support agencies that discriminate on the basis of gender.

Overberg’s legacy lives on for all victims of domestic violence and in efforts to provide equal access to services for people everywhere.

Monday, August 8, 2011


Let me say first that I do not agree with everything Rep. Michele Bachmann does or says. I disagreed, por ejemplo, with her renegade response to President Obama's State of the Union address.

But I've never heard her "rage." So I see Newsweek's latest cover with Bachmann, replete with the title "The Queen of Rage," as one more example of the magazine's ceding credibility in order to carry the far left's dihydrogen monoxide.

The picture's not great, but it's the headline that's intentionally outrageous.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

BeneGram's 2011 Final Forecasts

Is it March already? Guess it is. Remember: I had all four teams right on my women's bracket in 2005 and in 2009, and three of four teams right on my 2003 men's bracket. Last year, I had two teams right in the men's bracket, but West Virginia couldn't quite finish.

Women: Connecticut, Stanford, Notre Dame, Baylor. Connecticut over Baylor in the final. (3-for-4. Pretty good, but the women's tournament is mostly chalk.)

Men: Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, San Diego State. Ohio State over Pittsburgh in the final. (Another zeeero-for-four in the men's.)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

From 2008: "How to Take the Buss"

In 2008, around this time, the Washington Post ran a story in tune with Valentine's Day, and I thought another view ought to be represented. The following letter of mine was published three years ago today:

How to Take the Buss

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Having read "The Differences in Gender -- Sealed With a Kiss" [Science, Feb. 11] I'd caution against anyone making any sort of judgments about a love interest based solely on if and how the person kisses.

Many people are more reserved and prefer to hold hands and kiss on the cheek rather than get all hot and heavy, even -- yes -- in 2008. But if their partners have been conned into believing that these more modest gestures are signs that they are uninterested, then they may miss out on something special.

Meanwhile, others engage in "soul-kissing," even with people they have no romantic interest in. So sexual attention, or lack thereof, is not a reliable barometer for love.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Horrific Tragedy, a Shameful Response

I had a letter published in the Jan. 11 edition of The Philadelphia Inquirer, though it was shortened significantly. Below the link is my letter in full.

"Like most, I was appalled by the horrific incident in Tucson, in which six innocent people were killed and more than a dozen others wounded, including Rep. Giffords. Then I was disgusted with the eagerness of so many to politicize the tragedy.

Yes, the decision by the operators of Sarah Palin's website to 'target' political opponents was in bad taste and uncalled for -- as was the less-scrutinized ad* in which the campaign of Democrat Harry Mitchell did the same to Republican opponent J.D. Hayworth. But it's still just a clumsily constructed metaphor. Neither Palin nor Mitchell was advocating violence toward another human being.

The more we learn about the young man who shot twenty people on Saturday, the more we find an incoherent mess not resembling any pundit or politician -- of any political stripe. So let's absorb this sad day without pointing fingers at illegal aliens, the Tea Party, environmentalists, Glenn Beck, Richard Jewell, or heavy-metal music. The person responsible is the one who pulled the trigger, and we dishonor the victims when we opportunistically use their murder as an weapon for bludgeoning our political opponents."