Thursday, July 22, 2010

Columnist Argues Mortgage Companies Should Discriminate, Even Against Those on Parental Leave, to Limit Risk

The Atlantic: Mortgage Companies Should Discriminate, by Daniel Indiviglio:

Home for sale Lately, there have been several news stories chastising mortgage companies for taking new measures to discriminate among borrowers. Fannie Mae was the target of a few of these criticisms, for doing things like forbidding to back new loans from a strategic defaulters for seven years and from homeowners that have second liens from solar panel loans. In the New York Times Tuesday, there was another article meant to spark outrage among readers: some mortgage companies are making it more difficult for pregnant women to get mortgages. Instead of dismay, however, my reaction was relief.

All measures underwriters use to discriminate among applicants aim at the same end -- to limit the risk for providing a loan. So let's take Times example to consider whether or not it's a fair practice, since it might appear particularly egregious. The news probably evoked rage among many readers because society reveres pregnant women -- as it should. But although their decision to have a child is a wonderful thing, their state must be considered in a risk context by a loan underwriter. . . . 

July 22, 2010 in Miscellaneous, Pregnancy & Childbirth | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Note to Readers

Apologies for the unintended hiatus while I have been on vacation.  I lost internet access and was unable to update the blog over the past week.


July 12, 2010 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Officials Warn that World Cup Puts Women at Risk of Violence The World Cup of domestic abuse, by Tracy Clark-Flory:

Officials warn women that the games put them at risk for violence
Soccer Ball As the World Cup kicks off, and booze and emotions begin to flow freely, U.K. officials are worried that women are at serious risk. Make all the jokes you want about men and their sports, especially English men and their football, but the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has launched an awareness-raising campaign to prevent domestic violence during the games. 

In 2006, there was a 25 percent average increase in domestic violence reports when England had matches; and the day England was eliminated, that number rose to 30 percent, according to the U.K.'s Home Office. . . .

June 14, 2010 in Current Affairs, Miscellaneous, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Peter Singer on the Moral Calculus Underlying Procreation

NY Times Opinionator: Should This Be the Last Generation?, by Peter Singer:

Have you ever thought about whether to have a child? If so, what factors entered into your decision? Was it whether having children would be good for you, your partner and others close to the possible child, such as children you may already have, or perhaps your parents? For most people contemplating reproduction, those are the dominant questions. Some may also think about the desirability of adding to the strain that the nearly seven billion people already here are putting on our planet’s environment. But very few ask whether coming into existence is a good thing for the child itself. Most of those who consider that question probably do so because they have some reason to fear that the child’s life would be especially difficult — for example, if they have a family history of a devastating illness, physical or mental, that cannot yet be detected prenatally.

All this suggests that we think it is wrong to bring into the world a child whose prospects for a happy, healthy life are poor, but we don’t usually think the fact that a child is likely to have a happy, healthy life is a reason for bringing the child into existence. This has come to be known among philosophers as “the asymmetry” and it is not easy to justify. . . .

June 7, 2010 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Young Reproductive Justice Activists Respond to Accusations of Complacency

Newsweek: Remember Roe? Young Activists Say They Never Forgot!, by Kate Dailey:
Sarah Kliff's article describing the graying of the abortion-rights movement has started a really smart, useful online discussion about the status of that movement. The piece, which published exclusive NARAL data about the opinions of young Americans regarding abortion, decried what NARAL leaders saw as both a decline in pro-abortion-rights sentiment and an absence of leadership among younger women. . . .

. . . NOW’s Erin Matson, who started an online petition to demand that NEWSWEEK interview younger pro-choice leaders, wrote that she  "shaking with anger." For while NARAL and other more established pro-choice groups may be headed by the so-called menopausal militia, there are still plenty of younger women involved with the cause. And to them, the oft-repeated meme that the movement lives and dies with boomers has them speaking out, once more, imploring to be heard and demanding to be counted. . . . The Pro-Choice Movement would fail without young women, by Jessica Valenti:

It would be bad enough if this sentiment was only repeated by the media - but it's one we've heard again and again from pro-choice leadership as well. That young women are apathetic, we take our rights "for granted," that we don't know how good we've got it. Well I'm sorry - but who do you think has been making your photocopies and volunteering and organizing for these big organizations all of these years?

The work of the mainstream pro-choice movement is built on younger women's labor - unpaid and underpaid - who do the majority of the grunt work but who are rarely recognized. And I don't know about you - but I'm sick of working so hard on behalf of a movement that continues to insist that we don't exist. . . .

Fair and Feminist: Dear Newsweek: Please interview some YOUNG FEMINISTS for your story about US!:

Newsweek published a story by Sarah Kliff about how young women and young feminists don’t care about reproductive rights. They interviewed  several young feminist activists NARAL president Nancy Keenan and offered a summary judgment that young women and young feminists aren’t interested in protecting reproductive rights.

Some awesome excerpts:

“Keenan considers herself part of the “postmenopausal militia,” a generation of baby-boomer activists now well into their 50s who grew up in an era of backroom abortions and fought passionately for legalization. Today they still run the major abortion-rights groups, including NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and the National Organization for Women.”

First of all, this is a huge problem right there–that young feminists are kept out of leadership in large organizations, and then are criticized for lack of involvement. Hmmm. . . .

Click here for the original Newsweek story.

April 26, 2010 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What the Health Care Overhaul Means to You

The Washington Post offers an interactive on-line tool to help answer: What Does the Health Care Bill Mean to Me?

The health-care overhaul will change the way millions of Americans get health insurance and require nearly everyone to have health insurance or face penalties. A number of factors - including income, age, location and family size - will determine how it specifically impacts your life. This tool looks at what it could mean for your health coverage and taxes based on your income, family size and current insurance status.

March 23, 2010 in Congress, Medical News, Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Marriage Increasingly an Economic Benefit to Men

NY Times: More Men Marrying Wealthier Women, by Sam Roberts:

Wedding Cake Beagy Zielinski is a German-born 28-year-old stylist who moved to New York to study fashion in 1995 and stayed. Just before Christmas, she broke up with her blue-collar boyfriend, who repaired Navy ships.

“He was extremely insecure about my career and how successful I am,” Ms. Zielinski said.

An analysis of census data to be released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center found that she and countless women like her are victims of a role reversal that is profoundly affecting the pool of potential marriage partners. . . .

The analysis examines Americans 30 to 44 years old, the first generation in which more women than men have college degrees. Women’s earnings have been increasing faster than men’s since the 1970s. . . .

January 19, 2010 in Culture, Miscellaneous, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Gender and Judicial Quality? Paper concludes: "Bring on the Women!"

Slate Magazine: Do Women Make Better Judges?, by Stephen Choi, Mitu Gulati, Mirya Holman, & Eric Posner:

Lady Liberty (Themis) Asked and answered—with data.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor's elevation to the Supreme Court brought to the surface a long-simmering controversy about the relationship between gender and judging. Are female nominees for judicial positions chosen based on affirmative action? If so, are women on the bench worse judges than men—or do they come with advantages that men lack? This controversy has legs. If Justice Ginsburg is forced to retire this term because of illness, reducing the number of female justices from two to one, there will be a great deal of pressure on President Obama to nominate another female jurist. Or if Justice John Paul Stevens retires, why not three women on the high court? . . . 

The claim that women are worse—or better—than men at judging should be susceptible to empirical investigation. There is no obvious way, however, to measure judicial quality; lawyers dispute endlessly whether cases are rightly or wrongly decided—and, ultimately, a good judge is just a judge who decides cases correctly. Still, we have come up with some indirect measures of judicial quality. These include productivity (how many opinions judges write), influence (how frequently other judges rely on their opinions), and independence (how often judges dissent from opinions written by judges who belong to the same political party). We looked at the performance of hundreds of judges over a number of years and working in different types of courts—state supreme courts, federal trial courts, and federal appellate courts. (Our paper is here.) . . . 

[O]ur basic point is this: The fact that female judges are selected from a shallower pool of talent does not imply that they are worse judges than men. In fact, the evidence suggests that they are at least as good as male judges, perhaps better. When she sat on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Justice Sotomayor ranked among the most cited federal appellate judges in the country. Bring on the women!

October 10, 2009 in In the Courts, Miscellaneous, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Look at the Importance of Birth Order

NY Times: Birth Order: Fun to Debate, but How Important?, by Perri Klass:

. . . Everyone takes it personally when it comes to birth order. After all, everyone is an oldest or a middle or a youngest or an only child, and even as adults we revert almost inevitably to a joke or resentment or rivalry that we’ve never quite outgrown.

Children and parents alike are profoundly affected by the constellations of siblings; it is said that no two children grow up in the same family, because each sibling’s experience is so different. . . . But that doesn’t mean the effects of birth order are as clear or straightforward as we sometimes make them sound. . . .

September 9, 2009 in Miscellaneous, Parenthood | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Guest Editor, Julie Graves Krishnaswami, Starting Tomorrow

Starting tomorrow, through June 25, my colleague, Julie Graves Krishnaswami, will guest-edit this blog, as I will be out of the country.  Here's her bio:

Julie GK Julie Graves Krishnaswami, Associate Law Library Professor, earned her J.D. from CUNY School of Law, where she was the Symposium and Articles Editor for The New York City Law Review. She received her Masters in Library and Information Science (M.L.I.S.) from Pratt Institute and her B.A. in history from Reed College.

As an attorney, she worked as a litigator handling class action and appellate litigation, including several nationwide securities and anti-trust class actions. Additionally, she represented non-profit organizations in commercial and municipal litigation. Before joining the firm, she clerked for Judge Susan L. Reisner of the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey. Additionally, she represented public benefit recipients in administrative hearings before the New York City Department of Human Resources Administration. She has also worked for Planned Parenthood Federation of American in Washington, D.C. tracking and researching state legislation on abortion and women's health issues in the public policy/litigation and law department.

June 13, 2009 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Thanks to my research assistant!

Christina Tenuta pic

Now that the semester is over, I would like to thank my research assistant, Christina Tenuta (CUNY rising 3L), who has been faithfully researching for this blog now for several semesters.

May 18, 2009 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 4, 2009

National Zoo Panda May Be Pregnant

UPI: National Zoo on panda pregnancy alert:

Panda Behavioral changes exhibited by the Washington National Zoo's giant female panda have put zoologists on a pregnancy alert, officials said.

Detecting changes in her actions and hormones, zoo officials are cautiously optimistic Mei Xiang might be pregnant. However, they warn it may be another in a series of false pregnancies for the panda, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

May 4, 2009 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Women's Law Project Launches Blog

The Women's Law Project has started a blog.  Here is a recent post:

Family Planning and the Stimulus Package

Earlier this week, the House of Representatives passed an economic stimulus package. A previous version of the bill had included provisions for supplying contraception to low-income women on Medicaid. When House Republicans objected to the provision, President Obama asked the Democratic House leadership to remove the family planning provision from the package, which they did. The bill passed on Wednesday night without the family planning provision, and without a single Republican representative voting for the package.

If you’re wondering what all the fuss was about, Time magazine has a good rundown of exactly what happened. The family planning provision - which would not have included any abortion services, thanks to the Hyde Amendment, simply contraceptives - would have been a stimulus measure by reducing health care costs. From the article:

The Guttmacher Institute, which advocates for abortion rights, estimates that every dollar of publicly funded family-planning services saves $4 in state and federal dollars. And when the Congressional Budget Office looked at a very similar provision in 2007, it estimated that the federal savings would have totaled $200 million over five years and $400 million over 10.

It’s disappointing that the leadership in Washington did not commit to helping all women, regardless of their income, make the reproductive choices for themselves right now. But feminists are hopeful that funding for family planning for low-income women will be passed soon.

February 1, 2009 in Congress, Contraception, Miscellaneous, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Fire Strikes Nebraska Abortion Clinic

MSNBC/ Fire Engulfs Lower Level Of Clinic Where Abortions Performed:

The physician who operates a health clinic where abortions are performed said a fire that broke out Friday morning in the clinic's basement is "very suspicious."

The physician, Dr. Leroy Carhart, said the fire started in the lower level where records are stored. He said there's nothing in the basement that could start a fire.

Further, Carhart said, the electrical circuit in the lower level is turned off when the clinic is closed.

Dr. Carhart was the plaintiff in two challenges to so-called "partial-birth abortion" bans decided by the Supreme Court: Stenberg v. Carhart (2000) (striking down Nebraska's ban); Gonzales v. Carhart (2007) (upholding federal ban).  In 1991, a fire destroyed Carhart's home and barn, killing seventeen horses, and a pet dog and cat.

January 18, 2009 in Abortion, Miscellaneous, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Madoff Debacle Hits Reproductive Rights Advocacy Groups Broadsheet: How the Madoff mess hits women, by Nancy Goldstein:

Bernard_madoff For all the ink that's been spilled on the Madoff investment scandal, I've read nothing about its impact on funding for progressive women's causes -- which is considerable. Simply put, only a small pool of foundations are funding litigation and advocacy work related to criminal justice or constitutional rights; the pool that supports related programs targeted to women is smaller still. With the recent shuttering of two of Madoff's clients, the Picower Foundation and the JEHT Foundation, that pool has shrunk to a puddle.

Picower was one of a handful of foundations willing to stick their necks out and significantly fund the three organizations that handle virtually all major reproductive rights-related litigation and legal advocacy in the United States. Now the Center for Reproductive Rights needs to make up a $600,000 shortage in 2009; Planned Parenthood is out $484,000; the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project is off $200,000.

January 13, 2009 in Miscellaneous, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 31, 2008



December 31, 2008 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Via the United Nations: Human Rights Day: Dignity and Justice for All of Us:

Udhrpage The universal declaration of human rights: A living document

Many things can be said about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). It is the foundation of international human rights law, the first universal statement on the basic principles of inalienable human rights, and a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. As the UDHR approaches its 60th birthday, it is timely to emphasize the living document’s enduring relevance, its universality, and that it has everything to do with all of us. Today, the UDHR is more relevant than ever.

Read the full text of the UDHR.

December 10, 2008 in International, Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Friday, October 24, 2008

No Entries in Contest Awarding $10,000 to an Engaged Couple for Avoiding Premarital Sex

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Don’t have sex, win a $10,000 wedding, by Helena Oliviero:

Wedding_bells There seems to be one small problem with a contest that would pay $10,000 to an engaged couple — they can’t be engaged in premarital sex.

How else to explain that in this sinking economy, no one has stepped forward to enter the Marriage for a Lifetime contest?

Did we mention the cash prize? Or the free flowers, the invitations and other bridal goodies?

The Oct. 31 deadline is fast approaching — but so far, no entries.

October 24, 2008 in Culture, Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Billionaire Offers $25 Mil. Prize for Development of Pet Contraception

Wall St. Journal: Billionaire Pledges $50 Million for Pet Contraception, by Robert Frank:

Puppies Philanthropists for years have used the “prize model” to spark societal innovations–from space (the X Prize) to the environment (Goldman Prize). The idea is to create a mercenary incentive to create broader social good.

Now a billionaire doctor has come up with what could arguably be the most unusual philanthropic prize of all. It is called the Michelson Prize, named after billionaire inventor Gary Michelson. The cause: pet contraception.

Specifically, he is offering $25 million to anyone who can come up with a feasible dog and cat contraceptive.

October 21, 2008 in Contraception, Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)