Shorter Mitt Romney: A Woman’s Place Is In Her Binder

Binders full of women has become the most quoted line from last night’s debate, now with its own web site and Facebook page. Maybe this is actually some sort of Mormon euphemism, because it is just outright false that Romney has ever shown any concern for hiring more women. Here’s the story behind this latest Romney  lie and where the binder really came from:

What actually happened was that in 2002 — prior to the election, not even knowing yet whether it would be a Republican or Democratic administration — a bipartisan group of women in Massachusetts formed MassGAP to address the problem of few women in senior leadership positions in state government. There were more than 40 organizations involved with the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus (also bipartisan) as the lead sponsor.

They did the research and put together the binder full of women qualified for all the different cabinet positions, agency heads, and authorities and commissions. They presented this binder to Governor Romney when he was elected.

I have written about this before, in various contexts; tonight I’ve checked with several people directly involved in the MassGAP effort who confirm that this history as I’ve just presented it is correct — and that Romney’s claim tonight, that he asked for such a study, is false.

I will write more about this later, but for tonight let me just make a few quick additional points. First of all, according to MassGAP and MWPC, Romney did appoint 14 women out of his first 33 senior-level appointments, which is a reasonably impressive 42 percent. However, as I have reported before, those were almost all to head departments and agencies that he didn’t care about — and in some cases, that he quite specifically wanted to not really do anything. None of the senior positions Romney cared about — budget, business development, etc. — went to women.

Secondly, a UMass-Boston study found that the percentage of senior-level appointed positions held by women actually declined throughout the Romney administration, from 30.0% prior to his taking office, to 29.7% in July 2004, to 27.6% near the end of his term in November 2006. (It then began rapidly rising when Deval Patrick took office.)

Third, note that in Romney’s story as he tells it, this man who had led and consulted for businesses for 25 years didn’t know any qualified women, or know where to find any qualified women. So what does that say?

Well, one reason Romney did not know where to find qualified women is that Bain and the private equity field were male-dominated.His record in Massachusetts was not very good, with  “a  University of Massachusetts study showing that by November of 2006, the level of women as a percentage of senior level positions had dropped to lower than it was when Romney took office.”

Barack Obama made reference to the line while campaigning:

Obama made a passing reference Wednesday to the remark still buzzing with memes and snarky comments in the Twitterverse after last night’s match-up.

“We don’t have to collect a bunch of binders to find qualified, talented, driven young women ready to learn and teach in these fields right now,” Obama said to supporters in Mount Vernon, Iowa.

He continued: “When young women graduate, they should get equal pay for equal work. That should be a simple question to answer.”

We can’t get a straight answer from Mitt Romney on this, and many other, issues. He has been opposed to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act from the start, even if unwilling to answer the question last night.

More Romney distortions from the debate can be found here, his obfuscations on birth control and abortion here,  and still more on why Romney’s policies are bad for womenhere.

Mercede Johnston To Appear Nude In Playboy

The September issue of Playboy is running a profile of Sarah Palin written by George Gurley, based upon interviews with others. While Sarah Palin did not participate in the article, Playboy has found a way to ensure that the issue will receive plenty of attention. There will be a four page spread of nude pictures of Mercede Johnston. Her better known brother, Levi, has previously posed nude in Playgirl. Rumor has it that Mercede received under $25,000 for posing. She also runs a blog which exposes Palin family dishonesty.

Republicans Not Doing Enough To Weed Out The Lunatics

A couple of weeks ago I cited an article from Playboy on the influence of Republican operatives on tea party groups. One section I didn’t mention previously is about how the party people are trying to  make tea party candidates more electable:

Our candidate-interview process is pretty simple. The candidate is asked two questions:
(1) Are you a birther?
(2) Are you a truther?
If the answer is anything but “no” or “hell no,” the conversation ends right there. If the candidate answers correctly, the conversation continues, looking at viability and whether we can have a worthwhile impact. The reality of this litmus test is as patriotic as practical. Donors don’t contribute to lunatics.

It’s not a bad litmus test to start with, but they really need to do more to wean out the lunatics, such as Rand Paul. There are plenty of other conspiracy theories he subscribes to, such as the NAFTA Superhighway.

The litmus test should also go beyond weeding out conspiracy theorists. For example, anyone who believes in creationism really lacks the understanding of science to hold any position of authority in the 21st century–plus this is a sure sign that they have been brainwashed by the far right. Unfortunately far too many Republicans believe in creationism. Perhaps at very least they could get rid of the young earth creationists. Would they really miss Sarah Palin? How about one-third of Texas? It appears that Rand Paul might also would fail this test (or at least panders to those who would) after having refused to answer a question about the age of the earth. I hope others continue to press Paul to answer this one.

A Republican Operative Explains How The Right Wing Manipulates The Tea Parties

The tea party movements have been characterized by angry people who are ignorant of the issues and are being misled by operatives from the far right. Playboy has interviewed one of the right wing operatives who has explained how he manipulates their followers by appealing to the Reptilian portions of the brain as opposed to their logic centers. We’ve seen his type of work before:

Did you get an automated call from the sister of a 9/11 victim asking you to reelect President Bush in 2004? That was me. Did you get a piece of mail with the phrase supports abortion on demand as a means of birth control? That may have been me too.

The people the source deals with “may not read much, but they all know their Ayn Rand.” He described the “black arts” techniques used to manipulate them:

A good piece of mail gets its message across in 10 seconds. Television gives you 30 seconds, maybe. We’re playing to the reptilian brain rather than the logic centers, so we look for key words and images to leverage the intense rage and anxiety of white working-class conservatives. In other words, I talk to the same part of your brain that causes road rage.

In other words, this is a continuation of the usual right wing misinformation campaign. New York Magazine noted the similarity and questions if Democrats will be prepared to counter it:

Think Swift Boating, or the James O’Keefe ACORN project. It sounds dark the way this person describes it (“black arts” never sound particularly appetizing, unless they are practiced by Robert Pattinson), but it’s really nothing new. The question is whether Barack Obama, as head of the Democratic Party, is going to retain his frustrating coolness in the fall as these tactics are being used against liberal candidates across the country in an effort to take away the Democratic majority in Congress. No matter how rational he can be, is reason any good when it’s up against road rage?

Was John Kennedy A Time Traveler?

The above photo created a lot of buzz on the internet today. Initially TMZ billed this as a photograph which could have changed history if released, claiming it showed John F. Kennedy on a yacht with naked women. The initially claimed that the photograph was taken in the mid-1950’s.

It turned out that the photograph was really from a Playboy photo spread from 1967–four years after JFK was assassinated. Here is a portion of the page (click on image for a larger version) via The Smoking Gun:

Either that is not John Kennedy sitting in the chair, Kennedy was not really killed in Dallas, or he was a time traveler. We report, you decide.

Book Provides More Stories About Palin

Scott Conroy and Shushannah Walshe followed Sarah Palin during the 2008 election campaign and have published their account in an upcoming book, Sarah from Alaska. CNN has described some of the items in the book, such as this report about Palin on election night:

According to a copy of the book obtained by CNN, Palin’s speechwriter Matthew Scully had prepared a brief speech for the then-Alaska governor to deliver while introducing McCain, before he gave his concession speech at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix. But after conferring in his suite with senior advisers Mark Salter, Rick Davis and Steve Schmidt, McCain nixed the idea of having Palin speak before him.


Schmidt then broke the news to Palin. But she told no one on her staff, the authors write, setting off a series of staff miscommunications that went unresolved until moments before McCain took the stage to concede the election.

Palin did not inform her adviser Jason Recher, who was planning out Palin’s movements that night, about Schmidt’s directive.

“I’m speaking,” Palin told him, according to the book. “I’ve got the remarks. Figure it out.”

Palin’s deputy chief of staff Chris Edwards, meanwhile, was also unaware that Palin had been told she was not to speak. Edwards, ready to load the speech into teleprompter, bumped into Schmidt, who told him McCain would be speaking alone. Edwards relayed Schmidt’s order to Palin, but she once again did not let on that Schmidt had already spoken to her.

The governor could not understand why she was not being allowed to speak. “This speech is great,” she said, according to the authors. “It’s all about how John McCain’s an American hero.”

The confusion continued until the final minutes before the concession speech, when Palin – still shuffling through her speech notes – gathered with McCain, family members and senior staff outside McCain’s villa at the resort.

Sensing uncertainty, Salter finally put his foot down. “You’re not speaking,” the longtime McCain adviser told Palin. “John has decided it’s unprecedented.”

Other incidents mentioned include how the McCain team used flash cards to bring Palin “up to speed on foreign affairs and major national issues.” This included a card to teach her that the Prime Minister of Great Britain is Gordon Brown. During the campaign she wanted to bring up Jeremiah Wright, believing it would help prevent the defeat which had become inevitable the day McCain chose Palin. Apparently Palin wanted very badly to win, on one occasion being quoted as saying, “I just don’t want to go back to Alaska.” Perhaps that foreshadowed her eventual resignation as governor.

November 3, 2009
Posted: November 3rd, 2009 08:03 AM ET

Palin was concerned about the cost of the wardrobe that was purchased for her during the campaign, according to the new book.

Palin was concerned about the cost of the wardrobe that was purchased for her during the campaign, according to the new book.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Tensions within John McCain’s presidential campaign boiled over on Election Night last November when Sarah Palin, McCain’s running mate, repeatedly ignored directions from senior staffers who told her she would not be delivering her own concession speech.

Those fresh details on the conflict between Palin and members of the McCain team come in a new book – “Sarah from Alaska” – by Scott Conroy and Shushannah Walshe, two members of the press corps that traveled with Palin during the 2008 presidential race. The pair spent much of the following year reporting on the campaign turmoil and the vice presidential nominee’s difficult return to Alaska after the election.

According to a copy of the book obtained by CNN, Palin’s speechwriter Matthew Scully had prepared a brief speech for the then-Alaska governor to deliver while introducing McCain, before he gave his concession speech at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix. But after conferring in his suite with senior advisers Mark Salter, Rick Davis and Steve Schmidt, McCain nixed the idea of having Palin speak before him.

Schmidt then broke the news to Palin. But she told no one on her staff, the authors write, setting off a series of staff miscommunications that went unresolved until moments before McCain took the stage to concede the election.

Palin did not inform her adviser Jason Recher, who was planning out Palin’s movements that night, about Schmidt’s directive.

“I’m speaking,” Palin told him, according to the book. “I’ve got the remarks. Figure it out.”


SciFi Weekend: Star Trek Timelines; Olivia Munn in Playboy; Topless Thirteen; and Kristin Bell


J.J. Abrams made things simpler for himself in developing an alternative timeline, but this makes the overall Star Trek universe more complicated. Above is a view of the timeline, with the Abrams timeline included (click on image to enlarge). Star Trek Online discussed the significance of the two time lines:

In the movie, two characters travel back in time from the year 2387. When Nero arrives in the year 2233, he disrupts the time continuum, creating an alternate reality from the point of his arrival. Star Trek (the new movie) takes place in this alternate reality. This is explained in the film in a conversation between Uhura and Spock on the bridge of the Enterprise.

Star Trek Online is set in the “prime” Star Trek reality. This is the timeline of the five television series and the first 10 movies. It is the world in which the Gorn attacked Cestus III, Kirk fought Khan in the Mutara Nebula, Picard explored the galaxy, the Federation fought the Dominion War, Voyager was stranded in the Delta Quadrant and Captain Archer and the crew of the NX-01 showed us how it all began.

Events in the movie that happened in the prime timeline (the destruction of Romulus, and the disappearance of Spock and Nero) have affected STO. You can learn more about the aftermath of these events in the Path to 2409 and in STO itself.

So how can the movie and STO be in different realities? When working on Star Trek, screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman referenced the theory of quantum mechanics, which allows for the simultaneous existence of parallel timelines and universes. Parallel universes are self-contained, separate realities that exist as a consequence of different choices and outcomes. This concept was explored in the TNG episode “Parallels,” in which there were thousands of alternate timelines (and thousands of Enterprises!). It also is seen in the Mirror Universe, which is a darker take on the world of the Federation.

There are many, many stories to tell in the prime universe. The fallout of the destruction of Romulus and the upheaval that causes in the Alpha and Beta quadrants creates storytelling opportunities that we at Cryptic didn’t even imagine when we first began working on STO. We’re excited by the possibilities, and fans should be as well. The best is yet to come.

Star Trek has been inconsistent in its handling of changes in the timeline. In many episodes involving alternative timelines, when something changed the timeline the timeline we know was obliterated and the episode centered around restoring the original timeline. Other episodes, as in those of the Mirror Universe, showed the alternative timelines as existing in parallel to the one we know. The new timeline created in the last movie is clearly intended to represent an example of a timeline in parallel to the one of the television series and previous movies.

If we are to have a totally different timeline, there is another way that I would like this to have been done. Previous Star Trek shows existed in a timeline different from our own as the history presented in Star Trek is inconsistent with late 20th century history. If we must have a new timeline created for a  new movie series, I would have had the difference from the original timeline occur in the 20th century to create a timeline which includes both our history and a Star Trek universe.


If we are looking at science fiction timelines, Dan Meth has made the above timeline of multiple science fiction movies. In discussing this project he wrote, “This is by far the geekiest thing I’ve ever done.”

JUL Cover Olivia FA.indd

Olivia Munn of G4’s Attack of the Show has a role in Iron Man 2. She will also appear in Date Night with Steve Carrell and Tina Fey. In addition to additional movie roles Munn has made the cover of Playboy (picture above).


While Olivia Munn wears a bikini in some of the pictures and doesn’t reveal much in Playboy, another Olivia revealed more. Olivia Wilde, who plays Thirteen on House, posed topless in Maxim.


The beginning of summer also seems like a good time for a picture of Kristin Bell (Veronica Mars and Heroes) in a bikini. There’s no good reason for including this picture, but is it really necessary to have a reason to post a picture of Kristin Bell?

The 15 Hottest Conservative Women


First Playboy ran what I called the Playboy Guide to Raping Conservative Women. Right Wing News followed with their list of the ten hottest liberal women (by their classification), leaving out the more repulsive components of the Playboy entry. Today Right Wing News has followed up with The 15 Hottest Conservative Women in The New Media. Congratulations to all who were selected. We should all respect them for their intellect and dedication to their cause, even if we do not agree with their views.

Lacking any real reason to pick one over another I selected the picture of Tabitha Hale for this post since she did link to my earlier post.

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The 10 Hottest Liberal Women


Earlier today I noted that Playboy had a really vile article on line on conservative women. At Right Wing News John Hawkins has responded with his list of the 10 Hottest Liberal Women, avoiding the factors which made the earlier Playboy piece so disgusting.

While the list avoided being offensive as Playboywas, Hawkins did once again demonstrate what we know about the conservative movement. If you criticize their most extremist views, no matter how otherwise conservative you are, they will call you a liberal. Therefore Meghan McCain made the list at number five. I’ve noted the conflict between McCain and other conservatives in posts including here.

Apparently someone forgot to tell Meghan McCain that she’s now a liberal before she decided to pick a fight with Steve Benen. Actually I think that Meghan misunderstood what Steve was saying, but you can check out the link if interested in finding out more about this little blog war.

The Playboy Guide To Raping Conservative Women

Right wing bloggers are  making a lot of noise about an item on conservative women which had been on Playboy’s web site written by Guy Cimbalo. Sometimes when the conservative blogosphere makes a lot of noise their complaints are nonsense. While Playboy took down the material, The Activist Conservative has posted screen captures. Just a quick glance of them was enough to convince me that the conservative bloggers are entirely correct in objecting to this vile material.

If we are going to object to Bill O’Reilly saying things which can be taken to incite extremists to murder an abortion doctor, we should also object to this article which virtually advocates the rape of conservative women. While conservative sites are often guilty of hyperbole in their attacks, I note that Hot Air was actually somewhat restrained in writing “A “hate f**k” sounds like something perhaps just short of rape, but degrading enough to entertain the perverted twerps at Playboy.”  At least Playboy’s terminology does make it clear that this form of rape is a crime of hatred, whether they are advocating rape or something “just short of rape.” Right Wing News also shows similar restraint in writing, “Still, I’d have to say Guy Cimbalo is probably not endorsing rape — probably.” He sure comes damn close to it.