Sunday, June 17, 2018

Cultural Sexism

In the United States, far more women graduate from college than men. ObGyn doctors are overwhelmingly (85+%) women. In addition, more women than men are enrolled in medical school Astonishingly 80% of students in veterinary schools are women.  They also dominate law schools and graduate programs in general.

However there are still large gender gaps, especially in STEM areas. And strangely the gap is larger in more affluent countries than poorer ones.

Much of the reason I believe is cultural sexism. Two recent experiences have supported this.

I have a work colleague whose husband is an Obgyn doctor. On a recent business trip we were having dinner when I mentioned that I had heard on the radio that there are so few men going into ObGyn that schools were starting to give men affirmative action preferences to enter the area.  She quickly said he husband was an ObGyn surgeon and this area was still mostly men. Although she did not say it directly she implied that it was a very difficult area so it was more male dominated.

My other experience was in talking to a couple of young women who are just finishing up their Physical Therapy degrees. One said that her classes were almost all women with just a few guys and contrasted that to college physics where the gender ratio was reversed.  Oddly, to me anyway, she did not think that was wrong but rather stated that men like hard sciences more than women. I told her that may be true in the United States but it is very much a cultural thing. She acted kind of surprised.  (To me honest, it made me feel good to get her to question her assumption)

I know really smart women who are think of themselves as feminists yet still think that hard sciences are a male thing. Which is kind of insane as not that long ago people thought the same way about doctors and lawyers. Yet now the majority of graduating students in both those areas are female.

Go back a few more decades and they said the same about higher education in gender. And even today there are some cultures that think that way about any education for women.

The STEM discrepancy has no biological basis. It is entirely explained by cultural sexism.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

More From Emma Johnson

I must say I really do like Emma Johnson. I recently posted an article from her on why alimony is wrong and now she has written another article on two major problem in society:

  1. Dads who do not live with their kids are barely involved. (Just 22% of dads who live apart from their children see them more than once weekly, per Pew.)
  2. That pay gap will. not. close.

And she offers a solution or at least something that can greatly improve the situation:


The current system, according to Johnson, is antiquated and based upon two primary false assumptions:

  1. Women are incapable of supporting themselves.
  2. Fathers are inferior parents.

Personally, my case is even more egregious as there is little doubt that I am the better parent and I  have been far more involved in my kids lives than their mother. 

Everyone, men women and children, would be better off if they followed Emma Johnson's advice.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Bill George On Dealing With Severe Trials

Bill George is a former CEO of Medtronic and now a full professor at Harvard. He often has some pretty interesting observations. In What Prince Harry’s Grief Over the Loss of Princess Diana Can Teach Every Leader he discusses how to handle severe trials in life.

Now I have never been a big follower of the British royal family but aspects of the recently married Prince Harry's life are enlightening. As most people know, his mother Princess Diana died tragically when he was just a child. In reaction, Harry buried the pain by joining the military, where he served with some distinction, and heavy partying. Eventually, on the advice of his older bother Prince William, he sought counseling and dealt with he pain of his mothers's loss directly. Since then he has refocused his life to one of charity and service to others. He has become extremely popular and his recent marriage to American Megan Marple has endeared him even more with the public.

George also discusses  Pedro Algorta, one of  survivors of the airplane crash in the Andes Mountains documented in Alive, the popular book by Piers Paul Read and movie of the same name. 

Algota, like all the other survivors, had resorted to cannibalism to stay alive. Suppressing the event, he went on to a highly successful life as a businessman. Eventually however, he did come around to addressing his experience and wrote a book, Into the Mountains: The Extraordinary True Story of Survival in the Andes and Its Aftermath, about the event.

Algota says there are three ways to deal with his severe trials:

  1. Be the victim by living your life looking backward, with anger and blame about what happened to you.
  2. Live your life as if nothing happened, while the memories and pain remain buried inside you.
  3. Use the event to transform your wound into a pearl.
The last one is the the one he recommends. 

Given what happened to me, Spring's perjury, Nelly Wince's blatant fraud and the obvious whitewashing of it by the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board, the county attorney's office stating that their are no laws against a lawyer lying in court. Judge Mearly's  subversion of the law and many other criminal and unethical acts by various people, I can relate to Algota's three ways. Indeed, I have done them all. 

I have often felt like a victim, especially so because I am still being victimized every day. The twisting knife in my soul has become the background to my life. 

I have also avoided the issue. I have tried not to think about it. I have suppressed the events.  I have focused on education, work, my kids, my relationship with the girl I have been with for many years now. 

I have also addressed the issue and tried to use it to change society for the better. That is why this site exists. Yet, substantive change has eluded me. I am still being forced by the government to reward crimes by others. People are still being victimized every day. People are still dying every day. I must do more. 

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Emma Johnson On Why Alimony Is Wrong

Emma Johnson has a thoughtful and convincingly argued article on why alimony is outdated and misogynistic.

In almost all cases, alimony only makes sense if you believe women are incapable of taking care of themselves and must be provided for by a man.

In my case, Spring lived off me during the marriage choosing to work part-time. There was no agreement that she be a stay at home wife. Significantly I was, at a minimum, and as verified by he court appointed custody evaluator, an equal parent to the children. In reality, I was and have been always far more involved with their lives than she was. I was the primary parent. She was also at the time of her divorcing me, able to make just as much money as me according to the vocational evaluator. Yet she not only received half of the marital assets despite not not contributing to them at all but permanent alimony until my death.

And, of course, she committed perjury and there is unquestionable evidence that her lawyer, Nelly Wince lied in court and committed massive fraud. Just to add insult to injury,  I have had to pay well over $100,00 in legal fees. So far.

Alimony is misogynistic, pure and simple.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Change Is Possible

It can be despairing to realize just how hard change for the better can be.  The five year recidivism rates for released prisoners in the U.S. is 76.6. Alcohol and other drug treatment programs are notorious for their low success rates.

Yet, some people do change. Sometimes spectacularly so. I was up early this morning, had NPR on as usual, and was listening to On Being as I started my day. The host Krista Tippett was interviewing Derek Black and his friend Mathew Stevenson.

Derek Black was born into a white supremacist family. His father was very active in the movement. His godfather was David Duke. Black embraced white supremacy and became very active himself.

In college Black met people outside his insular circle. People who thought white supremacy was wrong. People who, unlike Black, were not ardent holocaust deniers. Astonishingly he became friends with Stevenson, who is Jewish, and regularly attended his Friday night Shabbat dinners in his dorm room.

Over the course of a couple years, Black changed his mind and eventually renounced white supremacy. He realized that not only were his former beliefs factually wrong but were immoral as well.

I wonder what the odds are that Spring, Nelly Wince and so many others will come to understand that not only have they acted criminally but immorally as well. Probably not good. But if Derek Black can change anyone can. There is always hope.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Is There A Biological Basis Of Narcissism?

New Research has shown that people with a higher levels of testosterone that the average for their gender may be more inclined to abuse their power.

Could this be a biological basis of narcissism and corruption? In the study, people with a higher than average level of testosterone for their gender agreed with statements such as “I insist on getting the respect that is due to me” and “There is nothing wrong with occasionally taking credit for one of your subordinates’ ideas" than others. I would think the ability to rationalize away perjury and criminal activity would also be characteristics of such people.

We all know narcissists. They are the people who believe it is better to get than give. They are the ones who leach off others rather than being charitable. They are the ones who demand good service from others yet never give it. They are the ones who believe the world owes them a living. They are the ones who refuse to even take care of their own children despite being perfectly able to do so. They are the ones intolerant of others yet demanding extreme tolerance for their own actions.

Of course having a higher than average amount of testosterone doesn't make you a narcissist but is likely a factor in predisposing you to narcissism. Sadly narcissism is one of the most difficult predispositions to overcome.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Detrimental Consequences Of A Gap in Skills Within A Marriage

I have never liked the idea that marriage should be a partnership where each person specializes in a particular area. Commonly it is that the man earns the money, does the yard work, takes care of finances and the woman raises the children and does the house work.

One reason I do not like it is that its equality is a fiction. Equal but separate is never equal. If one spouse earns all the money then the other becomes dependent on him or her. That is the exact term used on tax forms. Ironically, who has the power in such a situation is not predictable.  It may be that the one earning the money has the power because they control the assets or it may be that the non-earning partner has the power because they receive the benefit of the work - not unlike how slave owners received the benefit of their slaves' work. The wage earner becomes an asset that you can work as much as possible to maximize financial gain.

Another reason I do not like separation of responsibilities is that I cannot image that I would have been happy not earning my way and taking care of the kids. Knowing how to do it all, earning money, finances, child rearing, yard work, house work, and cooking are all part of having a rewarding and responsible life. I honestly would not have given up single diaper change.

A recent study, Gap in Financial Literacy Widens for Couples the Longer the Relationship Lasts, demonstrates that even when a couple starts out equally competent in an area, the partner not doing a particular task loses the ability to do so over time. The study focuses on finances but I image the same holds true for child rearing, yard work, house work, etc.

This creates huge problems. In the case of divorce or the death of one partner, a person may not have the skills necessary to succeed in life. Even more insidious, a marriage may fall apart due to one partner's ability atrophying in an area, be that finance or child rearing, and thus not understanding why their partner is making the decisions they are. 

The best strategy is to make sure you share responsibility in all areas. A person who cannot earn their own living as well as raise their own children is a just asking for trouble.