Equal Pay Day: April 28, 2009

The average woman would have to work from January 1, 2008, to today, April 28, 2009, to make as much money as the average man made in all of 2008.

More data from the National Committee on Pay Equity:

Census statistics released on Women's Equality Day--August 26, 2008--show that the gap between men's and women's earnings changed by less than one percent from 2006 to 2007, narrowing only slightly from 76.9 to 77.8 percent. Based on the median earnings of full-time, year-round workers, women's earnings were $35,102, and men's earnings were $45,113. Median earnings for women of color are generally even lower, and all showed percentage drops in the last year. In 2007, the earnings for African American women were $31,009, 68.7 percent of men's earnings, a drop of more than 3 percent; Asian American women's earnings were $40,374, 89.5 percent of men's earnings, a drop of 3.5 percent; and Latinas earnings were $26,612, 59 percent of men's, a drop of .6 percent.
Today, President Obama proclaimed today to be Equal Pay Day in the United States:
If we wish to honor our Nation's highest ideals, we must end wage discrimination. The Founders established a timeless framework of rights for the American people. Generation after generation has worked and sacrificed so that this framework might be applied equally to all Americans. To honor these Americans and stay true to our founding ideals, we must carry forward this tradition and breathe life into these principles by supporting equal pay for men and women.

Wage discrimination has a tangible and negative impact on women and families. When women receive less than their deserved compensation, they take home less for themselves and their loved ones. Utilities and groceries are more difficult to afford. Mortgages and rent bills are harder to pay. Children's higher education is less financially feasible. In later years of life, the retirement that many women have worked so hard for—and have earned—is not possible. This problem is particularly dire for women who are single and the sole supporters of their families. Women should not and need not endure these consequences.

My Administration is working to advance pay equity in the United States. The first bill I signed into law as President, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, allows more women to challenge pay discrimination by extending the timeline within which complaints can be filed. This law advances the struggle for equal pay, but it is only an initial step. To continue this progress, I issued an Executive Order establishing the White House Council on Women and Girls. This high-level body, composed of Cabinet members and heads of sub-Cabinet agencies, is charged with advancing the rights and needs of women, including equal pay.

Still, Government can only advance this issue so far. The collective action of businesses, community organizations, and individuals is necessary to ensure that every woman receives just treatment and compensation. We Americans must come together to ensure equal pay for both women and men by reminding ourselves of the basic principles that underlie our Nation's strength and unity, understanding the unnecessary sacrifices that pay inequity causes, and recalling the countless women leaders who have proven what women can achieve.


Bits of Tid: April 19, 2009

  • Blast from the past:
    A year later, I am so proud that we have a President who has brought that vision, courage, and foresight to Washington to bring about much needed change. Thank you, President Obama.
  • Obama picked his administration's CPO and CTO - that's Chief Performance Officer and Chief Technology Officer. This is Obama's second attempt at appointing a CPO; the other candidate, Nancy Killefer, dropped out due to - you guessed it - tax issues.
  • We never heard Conservative President George W. Bush do this.
  • Yesterday I mentioned Obama's efforts to improve relations with Cuba. Now it looks like he's doing the same with Venezuela. (And there are plenty of pictures!)
  • While we're getting spoiled by Mother Nature, the Denver area has seen three feet of snow this weekend! My aunt has to be getting sick of it!
  • Speaking of which, I hope you're sick of the madness:
  • Meghan McCain dropped an S-bomb over the future of the Republican Party.


Who Said It?

Match the quote with the person who said it! It's more fun if you guess before you click the links!
  • "I didn't come here to debate the past -- I came here to deal with future"
  • "As Americans get to know gay couples and or have gay family members, or work associates ... they come to understand that these relationships are deep and worth being respect and being protected."
  • "If my Senate Republican colleagues want to figure out a way to cut state spending and limit our budget shortfall, they should take up this legislation next week."
  • "You don't pull out a gun if everybody in the room knows it's not loaded."
  • "Imagine boarding a train in the center of a city. No racing to an airport and across a terminal, no delays, no sitting on the tarmac, no lost luggage, no taking off your shoes. (Laughter.) Imagine whisking through towns at speeds over 100 miles an hour, walking only a few steps to public transportation, and ending up just blocks from your destination."
  • "This is coming out today: Rush Limbaugh’s dog says he hopes Obama’s dog fails." 
Who Said It?
  1. David Letterman
  2. McCain advisor Steve Schmidt
  3. Joe Biden
  4. Fmr. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-PA
  5. Barack Obama
  6. State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer, D-Lansing



Bits of Tid: April 13, 2009

You Have Earned The New Puppy Edition

  • Oh, but it looks like Bo is not getting a warm reception from conservatives!
    "The administration acknowledges that this is a Portuguese Water Dog," said Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK). "The American people have a right to know whether American water dogs were passed over in the administration's rush to install their chosen candidate. And was the dog born here, or in Portugal? I, for one, would like to see a birth certificate."
    (Hopefully you realize that was snark!)
  • Title of a Daily Kos Diary: Stimulus Projects UNDER Budget.
  • It looks like (un)common sense is making its way into discussions about US-Cuba relations!
  • Luck.
  • Uh, Guv?
    Here's an explanation. Because teams from their states were playiong in the NCAA Championship, Granholm and North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue made a bet - as politicos often do at championship time - to see which governor's home state team would win it all. Because UNC won, Granholm wore the UNC garb and donated to a food bank in North Carolina.


Service + History = Spring Break!

[T]he way to live a full life is to think about what can I do for others, how can I be a part of this larger project of making a better world. - Barack Obama

For about the seventh (?) year in a row, a group of Central Michigan University students spent my Spring Break volunteering at Chippokes Plantation State Park in Virginia. It was by far the most fulfilling and productive Spring Break I have ever had, not just because of the work we did, but because of how historic the area is. Located right across the James River from the Jamestwon-Yorktown-Williamsburg area, Chippokes is one of the oldest still-operating farms in the entire United States.

I've been busy in the past few weeks, but luckily I am finally able to share with you some thoughts and pictures from the wonderful break that was!

We left Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, around 5AM on Saturday morning, March 7. We spent much of the next 16 hours listening to the Top 40 on satellite radio, getting to know each other, playing name games, stopping for meals... and sleeping! On Sunday we met some of the camp staff, took the ferry across the James to get some groceries, and had our first nightly reflection. I took a couple of shots of the James:

...and here is their donkey, Jack, whom we called Stephan!

Our service itself involved such tasks as fertilizing trees, raking leaves, building a fence, raking leaves, cleaning the beach, raking leaves, refurbishing antique farm equipment - and did I mention raking leaves?

Not only was Thursday the birthday of one of the other students, it was also the date of the annual lunch thrown by the park staff for CMU volunteers. The menu included mac-and-cheese, rolls, a birthday cake, and a genuine Smithfield ham, which, according to Virginia law, could only be called a Smithfield ham because it was slaughtered, processed, and cured within the City of Smithfield. After lunch we toured the plantation's mansion.

Incidentally, here's a fun fact for you: Brandy likely saved the plantation during the Civil War. Officers from both sides cherished the brandy that the plantation produced, and, let's face it, when you're engaged in armed conflict, do you really want to risk destroying your source of brancy?

We had Friday off, and Kathy, our volunteer coordinator, took us across the river to Jamestown! We toured both the Jamestown National Historic Site as well as the Jamestown Settlement museum. We also saw the glass factory. As one participant said, it was a living history lesson that cannot be taught within the confines of a school building.

As we got ready to go to bed on our first night there, a realization hit me: We were going to sleep where slaves once slept. As we learned before we left, the cabin served as a slave quarters for much of the plantation's history. I was once again reminded of slavery's presence in the area when we watched a movie about the beginnings of Jamestown - and the beginnings of slavery - at the Historic Site.

But then, as we left that theater, I saw something that reminded me of just how far we as a nation have come:

I think that seeing his portrait at the Historic Site is when it finally hit me that this young man is actually President of the United States.

Kathy offered to be in a picture with us at the museum:

I will not forget the good times we had there, nor the many great people we met, from Ray, the camp host, to RJ, the park ranger. And they were so friendly! Whomever came up with the term "Southern hospitality" must have had these wonderful people in mind!

To me, Spring Break 2009 will serve as a shining example of how, when we give of our time, talent, and treasure, we receive so much in return!


Bits of Tid: April 8, 2009

  • Tomorrow is Holy/Maundy Thursday, which commemorates the Last Supper. Today, meanwhile, is Holy Wednesday or Spy Wednesday.
    In Western Christianity, the Wednesday before Easter is sometimes known as 'Spy Wednesday', indicating that it is the day that Judas Iscariot first conspired with the Sanhedrin to betray Jesus for thirty silver coins.
  • Did you hear who visited Baghdad?
  • What does one newspaper giant blame for the economic crisis? Tax cuts. Which paper is it? The Wall Street Journal.
  • By now you may have heard that gay marriage is legal in Iowa and Vermont. As it turns out, DC may be next.
  • By a couple of estimates, upwards of 200 people peacefully protested Gary Glenn here at CMU. I'll have more on this at MichLib later, but in the meantime, check out David Shuster's tweets on gay marriage.
  • They're still the Party of No.
  • How do you know you're on a strong team? Gallup Management Journal has five signs. Notice that "playing for the Detroit Tigers" is not one of them.