Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Risks of Hiring Women Instead of Men

Hiring women is risky, so it goes.

Generally, they aren't as reliable as men. They get pregnant and suck your benefits plan dry, then you need to train someone to fill in for them for 12 months, then displace that worker.

Then when their kids get sick they often take days off claiming to be sick themselves. The liars.

And anyway, women should stay home and raise children. They're biologically oriented that way. And the prime minister even gives them $100 [taxable] each month per child to cover the loss of income of uppity women working.

And by the way, men should make more money than women because of the large head-of-household family responsibilities they shoulder.

So I was happy to hear that women do not actually leave their work so much more than men [like all those "irresponsible" women mentioned above]: Women no more likely to quit jobs than men since the early 1990s, study finds [see below].

Women no more likely to quit jobs than men since the early 1990s, study finds

Fri Feb 23, 9:58 AM

OTTAWA (CP) - A new study says women have been no more likely to quit their jobs than men since the early 1990s, putting the lie to a common excuse for gender wage gaps.

Female workers have long been considered more likely than men to quit their jobs, to be absent or to take more days off for family reasons - a gender difference that some have used to explain the fact men are paid more on average than women.

But a new study by Statistics Canada documenting gender differences in quitting and absenteeism shows that differences between the sexes have been shrinking since 1994 to the point where they now are virtually non-existent.

The study found, for example, that 5.5 per cent of men quit their jobs in 1984, compared with seven per cent of women but, by 1994, the rate for women was 5.6 per cent, almost identical to the rate of 5.5 per cent for men; in 2002, the rates were 7.7 per cent and 7.6 per cent, respectively.

The study found that 4.2 per cent of Canadian women took temporary leaves due to pregnancy and maternity in 2002.

It found, on average, men took two days of paid sick absence, while women took about four days of paid sick absence per year, though there were no gender differences in most other paid and unpaid absences.

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Time to get off our fat asses, folks.

I know this will scare people, but it's time to talk about the truth that Al Gore is only softly, not-too-inconveniently peddling. Peak oil along with global warming and their combined consequences mean radical changes to our alleged birthright. And I'm quite relieved to hear Kunstler talking about these things; I've been discussing many of them for a few years now to chimes of alarmism. I like the vindication. Consider these points:

1. Cars are not part of the solution.
2. We have to produce food differently, locally.
3. We'll have to return to traditional human ecologies at a smaller scale: villages, towns, and cities. The stuff we build in the decades ahead will have to be made of regional materials found in nature.
4. Moving things and people by water and rail is vastly more energy-efficient.
5. We have to transform retail trade. This will require rich, fine-grained, multi-layered networks of people who make, distribute, and sell stuff.
6. We will have to make things again. We're going to have to make things on a smaller scale by other means. Perhaps we will have to use more water power. The truth is, we don't know yet how we're going to make anything. This is something that the younger generations can put their minds and muscles into.
7. We're going to need playhouses and live performance halls.
8. The next incarnation of education will grow out of the home schooling movement, as home schooling efforts aggregate locally into units of more than one family. God knows what happens beyond secondary ed. The big universities, both public and private, may not be salvageable.
9. We have to reorganize the medical system. The current skein of intertwined rackets based on endless Ponzi buck passing scams will not survive the discontinuities to come. We will probably have to return to a model of service much closer to what used to be called "doctoring."
10. Enterprise now supersized is likely to fail -- everything from the federal government to big corporations to huge institutions. If you can find a way to do something practical and useful on a smaller scale than it is currently being done, you are likely to have food in your cupboard and people who esteem you.

He ends with this bit of juice: "The best way to feel hopeful about the future is to get off your ass and demonstrate to yourself that you are a capable, competent individual resolutely able to face new circumstances."

Time to get off our fat asses, folks.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Myth of Media Objectivity

Kevin Potvin's piece yesterday in The Vancouver Courier [see below] is a welcome summary of the annoyance and offensiveness of The Province newspaper in particular and corporate media in general as they perpetuate the myth of their objectivity.

It is offensive to our democracy that is supposed to be enhanced by a "free" press for such a paper to actively promote the stadium development, collect mountains of ad revenue from its proponents, hold an online poll to guage public opinion, then remove the poll when the untampered results do not support their political/marketing position.

I, however, enjoy the irony that the CanWest monster that owns The Province also owns the The Vancouver Courier where Potvin and others often take valid shots at the legitimacy of CanWest's major propaganda dailies.

A friend once mentioned to me that this proves that CanWest actually supports fairness and balance in the media because they own one paper that frequently criticizes the validity of its other papers. But with just over 250,000 copies distributed for free each week throughout the city, The Vancouver Courier does not quite have the readership or budget to authentically counter the mind-numbing propaganda of The Province, The Vancouver Sun, or The National Post, the first two with a circulation of 2,500,000 each week.

And in the end, even if allowing this criticism in a small community paper [that is incidentally outweighed each delivery day by the fliers contained within, making the paper ultimately possibly just a convenient delivery mechanism for advertising] proves CanWest actually listens to or respects its own internal criticism, they certainly do not change their illegitimate operations at their propaganda dailies. So it actually looks worse for them: CanWest owns a paper that legitimately criticizes its major dailies, yet it ignores the criticism and continues subverting the role the free press ought to play in a democracy.


Whitecaps owe public a thank you

By Kevin Potvin

In the week before public speakers were scheduled to appear before council last fall to express their views on the waterfront stadium proposal, the Province newspaper staged an online poll asking what readers thought about it.

The Whitecaps sent an alert to everyone on its email lists urging them to go to the Province website and vote in favour. A link was conveniently provided. The results, which one could monitor as they were coming in, showed early support reaching up to 70 per cent.

But as the day wore on and other people besides those on the Whitecaps' lists were alerted, the tide began to shift. By 5 p.m., the vote was nearing 70 per cent opposed. That's when the poll disappeared from the Province website, replaced by a note apologizing for technical difficulties. Final results were never revealed.

I made phone calls and confirmed that Whitecaps president John LaRocca was in touch with a Province sports editor when the decision was made to pull the poll. When I talked to the Province the next day, the paper confirmed it had pulled it because the results did not look right to them, though their technicians could provide no evidence hacking had occurred. The Province is an official "sponsor" of the Whitecaps, and the Whitecaps buy substantial advertising in that paper. Editorials in the Province heavily endorsed the Whitecaps' waterfront stadium proposal.

It was the public that drew council's attention to the myriad problems the stadium proposal contained, and not just problems for the public but also for soccer fans and the proposed stadium's owners as well. Chief among public concerns was the obvious safety hazard involved in packing in 30,000 people above an inaccessible storage area for train cars carrying such things as propane, bauxite and chlorine-the three ingredients in a train derailment in Mississauga that caused the biggest evacuation in Canadian history.

There was also the matter of there being only two exits from the proposed building, with no marshalling area outside the doors, meaning 30,000 fans would plug the streets of the Downtown Eastside, a neighbourhood with few people who could afford to go to events at the proposed stadium. And then there was the sheer ugliness of a massive stadium wall blocking the neighbourhood from any hint of the waterfront.

I spoke with the head designer of the project who reacted with indignation at my suggestion that it would be a blot on the landscape. He dismissed my safety concerns as those of someone who knows nothing about architecture.

Council voted unanimously to back the proposal.

Well, looks like the public was right. Last week, the Whitecaps, citing the same safety and public access issues the public speakers brought to their attention, abandoned the original waterfront stadium proposal-the same one the leading papers in the city, the leading councillors, the biggest of billionaires, the huffiest of architects and the most defensive of company presidents all assured me was not only the brightest idea in a decade, but the last possible chance we had to be blessed by the largesse of so wonderful a philanthropist as Whitecaps owner Greg Kerfoot.

The new proposal, to be built over the Seabus terminal, looks a lot better, better for the Whitecaps, for their customers, and for the neighbourhood. I'll be checking the Whitecaps website daily for the "thank yous" to the public.

published on 02/07/2007

Labels: , , ,

Friday, February 02, 2007

Women: Staying Unequal to Preserve Marital Peace

This is in response to Lidia Lovric who writes for the province. The article
I'm responding to [see below] showed up in today's paper.

Having read Lidia Lovric's previous neo-conservative anti-feminist articles,
it is clear that the implication of her most recent article, "A woman
president is OK, but is the White House Ready for a 'First-Man'?" is that
women should sacrifice their success for the sake of preserving peace in the
household. Because our society allegedly raises men to be insecure, selfish
and unable to be supportive of strong and successful women, women should
continue to occupy subservient roles so as to not threaten their men. Like
most of Lovric's articles, this is disempowering to women and discourages
women from seeking success outside the home 'for the sake of the family' and
societal relations as a whole. The implication of Lovric's article should be
that our society needs to do a better job of celebrating women's successes
and chastizing men for being uncomfortable with it.

Furthermore, Lovric's husband's responses to her prodding about what his
level of comfort would be with her earning more money should be an
indication that he views her position in the home as being less threatening
likely because he views it as less significant than his contributions;
Otherwise, he wouldn't be threatened. This is supported by his remark that
if she earned more than him he could stay at home, implying that staying at
home is easier than working for a wage. Unfortunately, the reason men are so
supportive of women staying at home is because they do not perceive their
role as being as important as men's in the workforce, and thus this is why
it does not threaten them.


A woman president is OK, but is the White House ready for a 'First Man'?

Lydia Lovric

Friday, February 02, 2007

When Laura Bush concludes her term as First Lady, it's quite possible that the White House will experience a little role reversal.

With Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton announcing her bid for the 2008 presidency, husband Bill is being touted as America's first probable "First Man."

"I'll do whatever I'm asked to do," said the ex-president in a recent New York Post article. "I am very proud of my wife. So is her daughter. I wish her well."

Although the former president appears to be supportive of his wife's presidential bid, one must wonder how Bill would truly feel if Hillary becomes the most powerful person in the world.

While most couples can't really relate to life in the White House, more and more husbands are finding themselves married to highly successful women with greater income levels or loftier titles. But is it a blow to the male ego?

Political correctness dictates that men today should graciously celebrate the achievements of their partner. Yet, I believe most men still like to wear the pants in the family.

When I questioned my husband about how he would feel if I earned more money than him, he hesitantly asked, "How much more?"

"Double," I replied.

At first, he said it wouldn't be a problem, and joked about whether he would be able to stay home. When prodded further, he admitted that, yes, it likely would bother him a little. I suspect most men feel this way.

This is not to say that men would not be proud of or happy about a wife's success, only that, if their own achievements failed to measure up, some would feel like "less of a man."

Relationships where the female earns considerably more money are likely fraught with problems, whether the couple admits it or not.

Consider the following hugely successful women: Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart and Kim Campbell. All have had tremendous careers. Their success on the homefront, however, has been less than stellar.

It's difficult to pinpoint what exactly contributed to the breakdown of their personal relationships. But bruised egos are plausible culprits.

One exception: Women who earn their wealth and fame through modelling, acting or singing. I think it's easier for a husband to deal with this success, because the rest of the world regards such stars as being grossly overpaid and incredibly lucky.

A woman who has conquered the corporate world, broken down barriers in politics or contributed greatly to science or medicine is far more intimidating.

To be sure, there are a handful of men able to live happily in the shadow of their formidable wives. But I believe they're in the minority.

Most men today still expect to be the breadwinner.

They're OK with the missus earning some dough as well. But when she brings home a giant baguette and he brings crumbs, well, it's bound to create a bit of tension.

Lydia Lovric can be reached through her website: www.

© The Vancouver Province 2007

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,


Mt. Baker is a large volcano in Washington State that looms over the eastern horizon of Vancouver BC. Yesterday I took advantage of a clear day and set out to see if I could photograph the sun rising from directly behind it. I went to the parking lot atop Queen Elizabeth Park and waited in the crisp morning air. Although a thick fog blanketed the city, QE Park was elevated enough to provide an unobscured view of the mountain.

As the sun climbed up the back of the volcano a patch of birches emerged from the shadows to my left. The trees were soon cast in silhouette against stunning hues created from the meeting of fog and the day's first light. But, as the light intensified so too did mechanical rumble of a city coming to life. I became aware that a crisp view of Mount Baker was a fleeting thing. In a few hours the mountain would be obscured behind the brown haze of civilized society.

I was reminded that this small stand of trees which might normally have been invisible, or at least easily forgotten, were engaged in the process of cleansing the air I was breathing. In this image I can see them as our collective lungs.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Canadians: Far More Than Global Warming Victims

"A much anticipated and some say definitive report on global warming is due to come out of Paris tomorrow. What could this mean for our country, our province, our future?"

This is what I heard tonight, February 1, 2007, on CTV promoting the 600pm news on February 2nd. They are refering to the UN's release of nearly conclusive evidence that humans are a significant source of global warming.

"Some say" suggests a large number of people, but "some" is less than "many". And "some" suggests less than half. "Most" would be more than half.

Since the science is supported by a virtual consensus of scientists not funded by the fossil fuel industries, I'd say that is more than "some".

What could this mean for our country, province and future? I think the whole problem with how most of "us" deal with "some" who think the report is definitive is that it's all about us. Bangladesh will likely largely go under water like much of many Oceania countries. Or would that be "some" of Bangladesh...

The focus on us is the problem: Canadians, OECD-world folks, us inhabitants of the industrialized rich world, and the comprador rich of the majority world. We can afford to move somewhere if our bioregion changes too much. Most people [not some] will be victims of global warming without the means to easily find a healthier climate.

And since "we" are by far more responsible for global warming than the majority world, I get a little tired of "us" talking about how this all may affect "us." it's time to wake up to the rest of the world and see how we're abusing it all. Then we need to admit [to ourselves and the rest of the world] our complicity and guilt and scrub the whole Gateway Program...just as a start. If we think we really need to twin the Port Mann Bridge for more auto traffic, our worship of personal liberties is becoming homocidal. Getting rid of your car will help too. It's going to take far more than just putting on a sweater, Mr. Gore.

And in watching the news since the Paris release, watching the person-on-the-street interviews, we have a long way to go. My favorite idea to help the environment was that someone said they recycle. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Recycle is the residual LAST thing to do after we reduce our consumption [especially resource hogs in the industrialized world like us] and reuse far more than we do. And when I was writing about it being in our own best interest to not embrace a drastic reduction in standard of living to make up for our [the industriazlied world] great responsibility for global warming, to avoid a significant critique of our own system, we say that we recycle.

How completely inadequate.

The truth is not inconvenient for us. It is utterly damning and when CTV news continues to say "some" think this is a definitive report, we have still a long way to go.

Labels: , , ,