Fact checking

Corynne Hogan | Staff Writer

Staff writer Corynne Hogan’s response to Janie Simonton’s Don’t Overlook Women’s rights:

Response: “Don’t overlook women’s rights”

Janie, I commend you for taking a stand on women’s rights. I don’t want to be under a government system where I’m being purposefully limited because of my gender either. As a conservative, pro-life advocate and a woman though, I took the initiative to look into a few of the points you made and found a couple flaws in your argument and in UltraViolet’s stance, as well.

Claim (UltraViolet): “He voted against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.”

Yes, very true. He did vote against it. But, that definitely doesn’t support the assertion that he “encourages” women to be underpaid. If you look at the LLFPA carefully, it doesn’t necessarily do what its name suggests—or the stigma of it, for that matter. Rather than actually demanding equal pay, it only allows women a longer ruling of limitations in bringing lawsuits against pay discrimination to court. This article (click here) addresses the “Republican’s war on women” liberal claim (I mean, if I want to get salty here, it’s really their battle cry) and the hypocrisy that lies behind it, as well.

I also found this article (click here): “Ledbetter is about Lawsuits—Not Equal Pay,” that thoroughly explains some of the legal flaws and loopholes in the act.  For example, current business executives could be held responsible and penalized for actions of previous managers who aren’t leading the company any more. The article says that “we need a system that offers just compensation for those truly wronged by an employer, but not one that creates the potential for super-sized payouts that encourage frivolous lawsuits.” I couldn’t agree more. I do appreciate the intentions of the LLFPA, but there’s got to be a better way to filter out the important lawsuits from the trivial ones.

Claim (UltraViolet): “He’d outlaw in vitro fertilization—Seriously.”

I was researching UltraViolet and came across this analysis on The Tampa Bay Times Pulitzer Prize winning fact-checking site.  UltraViolet’s claim is that Paul Ryan would “outlaw vitro fertilization,” but the Tampa Bay Times found that to be a half-truth.

PolitiFact does say the bill (The Sanctify of Human Life Act) Ryan co-sponsored would “likely outlaw specific practices that have historically been considered important for practicing in vitro fertilization.” For instance, since the act defines fertilized eggs/embryos as full humans, anything that puts an embryo at risk or in danger would be a considered a criminal violation. So, because the bill would outlaw any destruction of embryos (vitro-fertilization depends on the overproduction of embryos), it would hold a full-forced impact on the procedure, cost and success rate.  Ultimately, the bill “would not ban the procedure itself,” but would still hold a significant impact on it.

In case you’re curious, you can read the actual bill here, as well.

Claim: “The man who shares a cubicle with you is earning approximately $1.00 to every $0.75 you make.”

On average, women do make about 75% of what men do. So, yes. You’re correct.

But you’re missing another major aspect of it.

This video (click here) explains and debunks the common misconception that men make more than women because of discrimination. It states that “men and women invest very differently in their human capital” and then lists of the four different ways they tend to do so.

In education, men tend to go into areas such as business, computer science, engineering, and life sciences and women are more prone to go into education, health and humanities (1:01-1:10). Ultimately, women tend to go into fields that produce less money than men and men go into fields that tend to produce more money than women (1:12).

The video continues to make several points regarding pregnancies, having a family, raising kids and having a part-time versus full-time job. If you click to 2:18—the video displays an infographic on the comparison between the average man and the average woman’s life.

In conclusion video’s points, it states “the difference between men and women’s pay is not a result of labor market discrimination, but of the choices men and women make before they enter the labor market or even when they’re in the labor market, about the kinds of jobs they want to have and the way they want to balance a family and work,” (2:33).

At 2:50, the video also displays a man and woman whom have shared the same experiences, education and career path, and compares their two salaries. It states that women make, on average, about 98% of what men do, almost completely eliminating the gender wage gap. PayScale also created an infographic displaying an in-depth analysis and comparison of men and women’s salaries in the same field:  click here.

Just for credibility purposes, Forbes wrote an article, making and backing up the same points the video argues: click here.

Janie, I’m sure there is gender discrimination out there in the labor force, but to suggest that men on average make more than women solely because of discrimination is bit of a stretch.

Claim: “And bills that, if passed, would forbid hospitals from giving a woman an abortion even if she would die without one, even in cases of rape and incest.”

I found this site, here, that addresses and explains that The Sanctify of Human Life Act (the bill you’re referring to) only gives legislatures the right to protect unborn babies: click here.

It states that “‘The bill declares that fertilization marks the beginning of a human life and then affirms that the Congress, each State, the District of Columbia and all United States territories have the authority to protect the lives of all human beings residing in its respective jurisdictions.’ In other words, it doesn’t ban anything: It merely affirms that legislatures have the authority to protect unborn life.’”

As for defunding Planned Parenthood and outlawing forms of birth control, personally, I completely side with Ryan. With Planned Parenthood—I’m not quite sure how to say this—but it’s just so ridden with flaws. Check out this youth-led, pro-life group’s website: http://www.liveaction.org/. These are students who have gone undercover in a Planned Parenthood. They have discovered and exposed the many serious problems that lie within it through the videos they’ve shot. To throw out an example, LA released multiple videos in 2011 of multiple Planned Parenthood employees, at different affiliates, in which they offered counseling to a “pimp” on getting abortions and testing for sex workers. Here’s the link to one specifically. But I don’t want to get too deep into that—these are more of moral debates. But, I do recommend you check out the site and the group’s videos.

Again, I appreciate your attempts to stand for women’s rights. Girls definitely need to sit down and look at the straight facts before they choose a candidate. Just wanted to make a few clarifications in your piece!

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Above all, show some respect

Rebekah Barnes | Editor-In-Chief

I don’t know if I missed something, but last time I checked, the President of the United States did not come with a light saber, cape, or some all-knowing green dude to help them save the universe.

They are normal people. With huge responsibilities.

Last night, I sat down, phone in hand with my father, ready to watch the presidential candidacy debate. Now that I am of age and registered to vote, I’m trying to be as informed a voter as I can be. But as Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama were speaking, I couldn’t help but refresh my Twitter and Facebook feeds—absolutely appalled at what I was seeing.

To me personally, looking at the rhetoric used and approach that the two candidates took, Romney “won” the debate. Using straight-forward and thorough answers with clear enthusiasm, I could see exactly how he would change policies and improve the economy. Obama, going for the more emotional approach, didn’t do much for me. But on the feeds on my phone, all I could see were hateful slurs and names bashing both candidates, with absolutely no basis of fact.

Just because you are a die-hard Republican, anxiously awaiting a possible “nObama” outcome, doesn’t mean that we should bash the man that is the President of the United States. Yes, President Obama did not accomplish everything that he said he would. However, he is holding one of the hardest positions in the country. And just because you take an extremely liberal stance, Governor Romney deserves an open mind for a man who, indeed, has not been in this position before.

All I’m saying is this: you have a right to your opinion. I don’t care where you affiliate yourself politically, emotionally, mentally or sexually. It’s your decision and your right. But before you begin cursing out the candidates for President of the United States, think of them as people. Politics doesn’t have to be some sunny topic where all we talk about is good. A level of respect, however, needs to be kept for the man that the majority of America voted for four years ago and a man that is trying to prove himself to the American public. Criticizing either performance, policies or approach is fine—but calling them inappropriate names does not change anything.

These two men are simply that, men. They are not equipped with chameleon-like abilities to please every human in America. They are fighting for what they believe is the best route for the country. We should respect the effort they are making, criticize their politics, and become knowledgeable citizens who come off informed instead of blindly inept.

Until the title of the President of the United States becomes SuperPresident, let’s rethink about how speak, shall we?

Don’t overlook womens’ rights

Janie Simonton | Chronicle Alumni Class of 2011

My junior year at Mason, I sat in Paul Reedy’s American Government class with an eighteen-question survey in front of me. Each question offered an opinion about various political issues, and we were supposed to mark whether we agreed or disagreed. After we had taken it, we found out the survey was designed to have nine conservative opinions and nine liberal, and a tally of our “yes”s and “no”s revealed to us our party affiliations. In an incredibly close race, liberal politics won me over, 10 to 8.

Although my left-leaning tendencies have grown drastically since that day in B212, my aim behind this column is not to shame all conservative ideologies nor wildly promote liberal ones from a voter’s perspective. Rather, I want to explore the situation from a woman’s perspective.

As a woman, I cannot fathom why anyone else in this country who identifies as a woman would support the Romney/Ryan campaign.

Strong words, I know, but let me redeem myself: you could be a fiscally and socially conservative woman who supports this fall’s Republican campaign on every platform, and that’s fine. Awesome that you’re informed and have chosen to take a stand. But when it comes to you voting for someone that could aim to take away your own rights, I feel that I will fundamentally never be able to understand you.

In an infographic released on August 14 (found at http://act.weareultraviolet.org/signup/paulryan), Ultraviolet, a community devoted to fighting sexism, listed five fast facts concerning Paul Ryan, the Republican vice presidential candidate, and women. While Ryan voted or expressed views opposing a plethora of women’s rights, he also literally voted against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the act, it fights for equal wages for men and women, abolishing the wage gap. Girls reading this now: if you’re reading this, you probably go to Mason, which is a great school with great college preparation programs, and you’re probably working hard to take advantage of those college prep programs. Once Mason has sent you to college, you’ll work just as hard there as you did in high school, presumably because you’ll go to a good college offering you good post-grad job opportunities. Then, imagine, once you get that job, working as hard as you did in both college and high school to earn money to sustain your family, and still knowing that the man who shares a cubicle with you is earning approximately $1.00 to every $0.75 you make.

And the potential right-hand man to the leader of the free world encourages this. And bills that, if passed, would forbid hospitals from giving a woman an abortion even if she would die without one, even in cases of rape and incest. And the defunding of Planned Parenthood. And the outlaw of forms of birth control. And—how’s this for irony?—the in vitro fertilization that created Mitt Romney’s grandchildren and probably lots of you.

So, if you’re conservative, stay conservative. That’s fine. But, please, ladies, before you vote, ask yourself if you really want to use your vote to oppress yourself.

Sound off

Real MHS students sounding off about the 2012 Election:

On Sunday, September 23rd, I watched the 60 Minutes episode with the Barack Obama and Mitt Romney interview.  I liked how the interview focused on foreign policy:  I think that is the most important issue that Americans should be focused on.  The interview was simple and straight to the point.  Setting aside religion and same-sex marriage, the interviews focused on how the candidates proposed to improve America and how.  I do believe that president’s beliefs can tell us a lot about their character. I don’t think Americans should be so focused on issues like same sex-marriage when our country needs the leadership to get us out of debt.  I do think same sex-marriage matters, but our economy is in trouble and that should be number one.  I liked Romney’s answers [in the interview] better because he said leadership is having the vision to make it happen.  Romney did mention that he prays to God each night, and that is interesting because he is Mormon and most citizens do not know a lot about Mormonism, even though the religion topic is going to come up soon and rattle the campaign.  I do believe religion is a big factor to consider when deciding on who is the next president. Their beliefs could affect us all.

Quynh Tran, MHS Junior

Cost and effect

Mitchell Matacia | Chronicle Alumni

Deception has become an effective tool in this 2012 presidential race. It allows the Republican and Democratic parties to gain field advantage among voters, and it seems to be working—but at a cost.

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Analyzing convention acceptance speeches

Erin Brush | Staff Writer
Sheila Raghavendran | Staff Writer

President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney accepted their nominations for presidential candidate at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions and laid out their party platforms. Diving deeper into their acceptance speeches, we can dissect how each candidate plans to tackle America’s issues.

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More powerful than politics

Ashley Calvani | Online Editor

I don’t want to beat a dead horse.

We all know the significance of this day. We all froze in our tracks for a moment of silence, a moment of remembrance, and continued on with our lives.

The towers fell and the planes crashed 11 years ago, but while we all look back at a time when our country was so wounded and yet so united, I think that rowdy sense of American pride and power still lives in us all.

But there is something today that made me even prouder.

Carlo Muñoz and Jeremy Herb of The Hill wrote today:

“From the White House to the Pentagon, Washington turned away briefly from the bruising political season on Tuesday to commemorate the devastating attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney took a break from campaign sparring to pay tribute to the thousands of Americans who died in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania on 9/11. Both camps pulled down their TV advertisements for the day, and neither held campaign rallies.

“With less than two months to go before Election Day, I would normally speak to a gathering like this about the differences between my and my opponent’s plans for our military and for our national security,” Romney said Tuesday during a speech at the National Guard Association convention.

“There is a time and a place for that, but this day is not it,” the GOP nominee said.

Speaking at the Pentagon, Obama told the families of the 9/11 victims gathered at the department’s memorial that the deaths of their loved ones, while devastating, ultimately united the country.

“When the history books are written, the true legacy of 9/11 will not be one of fear or hate or division. It will be a safer world, a stronger nation and a people more united than ever before,” Obama said after observing a moment of silence at the White House at 8:46 a.m. — the moment the first plane struck the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York.” (To read the full article, click here.)

The campaigns have been vicious on both sides. Maybe it’s effective, but to me attacks on the other candidate should be unnecessary in the name of record and progress. But never mind that.

Let’s instead appreciate what both men did today. There is nothing political about 9/11. You can’t put a reform or a policy into action that will ever bring back our loved ones, our fellow countrymen.

It seems ignorant to fight on a day when our country should come together.