Lawrence A. Summers: "Intrinsic Nature" of Women is Inferior

An anonymous reader of my blog was good enough to provide a link to the remarks about women's intelligence by Harvard University presidentn Lawrence A. Summers that led to his resignation from the presidency of Harvard University.  It is my contention that if a man is too sexist to be president of Harvard University, then he is also too sexist to to be Secretary of the Treasury of the United States.  If really believes that women are inherently less intelligent than men, then that belief will play out in his hiring, promotion and contracting decisions, as well as setting an awful example for the private and non-profit sectors.

I don't expect anyone to believe this simply because I say so. I suggest that readers personally read and consider Lawrence Summers' public comments for themselves and decide if he, as a member of the Obama cabinet, could treat women equally and promote their careers and opportunities in the same way that he would do for men.  

Lawrence A. Summmers' comments are below the fold with emphasis added to the particularly reprehensible parts.  I've also divided the text into paragraphs to make it easier to read, although it should be remembered that the original "stream of consciousness" nature of the comments makes it more likely that Summers was telling his audience what he really believed, and what motivates his decisions as a manager.  He basically reasserts every stereotype and bias about women in the workplace that women have heard when they are being denied jobs, promotions, internships and pay increases.

If I had suspected that Lawrence A. Summers held these attitudes when he was in the Clinton Administration, I would have written against him back then. But perhaps he only showed his true colors when he believed, incorrectly, at Harvard, that "academic freedom" protected his biased opinions about hiring and promoting women.

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Cabinet Watch: Secretary of State

Here is my educated guess at the short list of people in the running for Secretary of State -  Which do you think is going to win? Is this list complete? I know all of these guys are good people.  One of them was an ambassador, and a cabinet member , and also from a state that went from red to blue. Another is sort of a blue blood, with lots of foreign policy experience ... Not sure about a few of the others..


  • John Kerry

  • Bill Richardson

  • Richard Holbrooke

  • Chris Dodd

Who do you think should be chosen (poll below as/ well) , and why?

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What's Up With NewsLadder: Obama Cabinet News Rockets Up.

On Friday mornings, I take a look at NewsLadder and see what's up. Last week, it was all John McCain, you might remember him, picked a VP who thinks Africa is a country and is now sitting in Arizona wondering what happened.

This week, on Wednesday, we launched the Cabinet NewsLadder to track all the news about what is happening with Barack Obama's Cabinet selections and major appointments, we knew that it would be a huge topic online, but we didn't know quite how big.

Our traffic has been great, and opinions, and votes, are pouring in from all over the world.

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First Two Appointments Show Exceptional Judgment

Rahm Emmanuel is a bulldog being put in a position where he is solely responsible for executing an agenda as quickly as possible by any means necessary. He is uniquely qualified to produce instant kinetic energy. Not to mention that he has the respect of members of both parties.

Robert Gibbs has consistently been Obama's best surrogate for the last few months. For a long time Obama seemed to struggle to get his message and talking points across (remember when Kerry was a top surrogate?). That changed when Gibbs started showing up more often. He stays on message, he knows when to shut up, he knows how to needle members of the press and he knows how to strike the correct tone at any given moment.

Both these men are not only highly qualified for their spots, but those spots are tailored to maximize their strengths. Furthermore, these are both men of action, men who are the polar opposite of Obama in temperament in positions that require just that. It reminds me to an extent of The Godfather. I remember thinking while reading the book how differently things would have turned out had Luca Brasi not been taken out. Great minds need ruthless people to back them up, and I look forward to a little hardball. If this is how Obama will be approaching his staff, I have confidence in his ability to govern and execute his plan.

Update [2008-11-6 12:40:36 by vcalzone]: Thinking about it, I realized something else. Obama got the toughest Democrat in Congress to do what he wanted, even though it may not be in his self-interest. That, in and of itself, is highly impressive. That took balls.

One question I have, though, for Jerome if he's watching. I know you've had serious problems with Robert Gibbs in the past. Do you still? And even if you do, do you think Gibbs will excel in this post the same way Ari Fleischer did?

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The Next Secretary of Labor (And the Evils of Elaine Chao)

Cross-posted from The Left Anchor

We have previously profiled Sen. Joe Biden (Sec. of State) and Sen. Chuck Hagel (Sec. of Defense) individually.  We're changing the format of the series, however, so consider this a reboot.  Each profile will offer a short primer on the responsibilities of the office and how the current appointee has approached those responsibilities.  We will then offer brief profiles of the top two or three contenders for the post.  We'll be posting new profiles every Tuesday and Thursday for the rest of the summer, so mark your calenders and tell your friends.  We intend to create the most detailed look at the cabinet positions and their potential candidates available in one location.

Overview:  The Secretary of Labor is considered one of the top cabinet positions.  It was formerly known as the Secretary of Labor and Commerce, but the two divisions were separated in 1913 under President William Howard Taft.  Here is a succinct description of the office:

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