Change is already comin’

January 14, 2009

::cue up Sam Cooke in the background, “A Change Is Gonna Come”::

Remember Lilly Ledbetter’s story?

A chastened 111th Congress might give President Obama a chance to make things right, very soon; the House of Representatives already approved the bill:

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 – Vote Passed (247-171, 15 Not Voting)

I apologize — I do not have a citation for this next chunk of material (I’m looking):

First Victory for Women and Working Families in the 111th Congress!
“It’s a one-two punch for women, that could knock out many pay inequities,” said NOW President Kim Gandy as the U.S. House of Representatives passed two bills today that would advance fair pay for women. In a vote of 247-171 the House passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (HR 11) to address the setback delivered by the U.S. Supreme Court last year for women victims of pay discrimination, and in a 256-163 vote they passed the Paycheck Fairness Act (HR 12).Thanks to the leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and George Miller (D-Calif.), these bills were on the schedule for the opening days of the 111th Congress and serve as an encouraging sign for things to come. Women voted overwhelmingly to elect President-elect Barack Obama, who said during his presidential campaign that he would make pay equity a priority in his administration. Women voters also helped to elect a Congress that is more women-friendly than it has been in over a decade. We have worked for and have been waiting for this day in the House.

The Ledbetter legislation, which was blocked in the Republican-led Senate last year, will essentially reverse the Supreme Court decision that requires workers to file charges on a pay discrimination claim within the first six months of receiving their first discriminatory paycheck. The Court’s decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear gave employers the go-ahead to discriminate as long as they weren’t caught in the first six months after the onset of their illegal actions.

The companion bill, the Paycheck Fairness Act, which did not even make it to the Senate floor last year, closes loopholes that allow employers to pay men and women discriminatorily and provides consequences.

“NOW has been working since our founding over 40 years ago to end wage discrimination against women. We celebrate this day and look forward to the Senate’s upcoming vote on both bills,” said Gandy. The bills will go as a package to the Senate and Majority Leader Harry Reid has promised that “pay equity” legislation is at the top of his to-do list.

Background on Lilly’s case:

Your votes for a new Congress and a new party in the White House appear to have had some effect “business as usual.”

See an Obama campaign video on Ledbetter, below.

(See more, here.)

Tip of the old scrub brush to Kathryn and Judith.

Go get the lesson plans on presidential inaugurations NOW!

January 14, 2009

One more time, I gotta say that the lesson plans from the Bill of Rights Institute on inauguration is top notch.  I’ve shared it around our department, and several people are downloading it, planning to put the stuff to use.  It’s a good, solid lesson plan, it looks like something that will engage students nicely, and it’s on a topic that could not possibly be more timely.

But the free download goes away tonight!  Go get the thing NOW!

The Bill of Rights Institute includes these lesson plans as a no-cost download with Being an American: Exploring the Ideals that Unite Us, Second Edition.  That book is cheap, too — just $19.95 — so you can pay a bit, and still get this great lesson plan, plus a whole bunch of other good stuff.

But I’m an even bigger cheapskate, and I want this stuff to be ready to use on January 21, when our kids start the next semester.  The hours are ticking away.

“I swear (or affirm)”: Ready for the inauguration?

January 14, 2009

Here’s a map that should be more viewed in America, but a map which has been much overlooked in the post-election euphoria, or post-election gloom.  It’s the map of electoral college results, still showing Republicans in a Soviet/Maoist red, and Democrats in blue:

Electoral College results from the 2008 presidential election - American Presidency Project

Electoral College results from the 2008 presidential election - American Presidency Project

Note especially the blue dot in Nebraska, around Omaha.  Nebraska splits its electoral college votes, giving each congressional district’s vote to the elector for the candidate who actually won in that district.  Obama won Omaha’s district; Nebraska is officially a red and blue state.  Maine also allows a split in electors, but this year did not see a split among the electorate.

America is not so red as some claim, even in the electoral college.  More states are surrounded by blue states than surrounded by red states.

Perhaps it’s time to find other ways to color these maps, so that we cannot so easily speak of a red state/blue state split that does not reflect politics, economics, or much of anything else in America.

Dallas students are out on inauguration day.  We can hope our government and history students will glue themselves to the television to watch the ceremony, but we know better than to expect it.

Will you discuss the inauguration in your classes, whatever the subject?  Here are some sources you could use:

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