Category Archives: Sex

Chart of the day: Gender, ethnic pay divides


From the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, average hourly pay figures for American workers:

BLOG Pay

More from the Center:

At the bottom of the distribution, low-wage workers from different demographic backgrounds have relatively similar wages. Low-wage Latinas and African American women earn the least ($8.14 and $8.15 per hour, respectively), while low-wage white men earn the most ($10.00). This clustering of wages at the bottom is likely a result of current federal and state minimum wage policies, which legally mandate employees to be paid at least $7.25 per hour (or more, in many states).

For workers in the middle range of each demographic group, the gender gap is bigger. Median-wage Latinas and African American women are the lowest-wage recipients, earning $12.65 and $14.25 per hour, respectively. In contrast, white men earn the highest median wages, making $21.79. At the top, where the gap is largest, the lowest wages are $28.83 (Latinas) and $32.50 (African American women), while the highest wage is $50.54 (white men), a difference of more than $20.00. The spreading out at the top reflects discrimination across both gender and race.

Chart of the day: Partisan, gender sexism divides


From the Pew Research Center, major divides split the sexes, parties, and generations on the issue of sexism. Interestingly, the highest levels of belief that sexism continues to hamper the achievements of women is in the oldest generation, most notably Democrats of both sexes of age 65:

BLOG Sexism

UC Berkeley purge: The chancellor has resigned


University of California Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks has handed in his academic robes, the victim of campus sexual harassment and other scandals as well as a petition campaign by faculty members.

And that’s after the spent $200,000 trying to polish his image [below].

From the Washington Post:

UC-Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks announced his resignation Tuesday, a week after Linda Katehi stepped down as UC-Davis chancellor. Both leaders had been embroiled in multiple controversies.

Dirks faced questions about whether Berkeley was too lax in response to sexual harassment allegations against faculty and how the school would surmount steep budget troubles. The Los Angeles Times disclosed last month that he was under investigation for possible misuse of public funds for travel and the personal use of a campus fitness trainer without payment. The Daily Californian student newspaper also reported that the university had spent $9,000 for an emergency exit near Dirks’s office as a security measure in case of protests. All of this undermined the three-year tenure of a historian and anthropologist who sought to rejuvenate undergraduate education at Berkeley and boost public support for higher education’s great public flagships.

“Definitely a significant number of faculty had lost confidence in him,” Robert Powell, a political scientist and chair of Berkeley’s faculty senate, said Wednesday. “The reasons vary depending on different people you talk to.”

Dirks, who took office in June 2013, said he plans to step down when a successor is ready to take his place. When he exits, his tenure as chancellor is likely to have been the shortest at UC-Berkeley in a half century. Edward Strong served in the job for four years, from 1961 to 1965, and Glenn T. Seaborg for three, from 1958 to 1961.

UPDATE: More details from the Los Angeles Times:

In recent weeks, however, pressure for Dirks to resign has escalated. A petition expressing loss of confidence in his leadership was recently signed by more than 45 distinguished professors, including former Academic Senate leaders, members of the National Academy of Sciences, department chairs and heads of research units.

“There was a whole series of really bad steps which shows he’s cut himself off and is unresponsive to the campus community,” said Michael Burawoy, co-chairman of the Berkeley Faculty Assn., who signed the petition.

However, Judith Butler, a professor of comparative literature, expressed concern that maneuvers like the petition occurred among a small group without open discussion by the full faculty. “The real question is who was this small group working in the summer and do they really represent the faculty?” she asked. “I’m not convinced.”

She declined, however, to give an assessment of Dirks’ effectiveness.

Former Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau called the news of Dirks’ resignation “a sad day for Berkeley.”

Butler, a faculty member we respect, raises an interesting point.

Who were the faculty members who wanted Dirks gone?

Dirks came from the humanities, unlike his predecessor Birgeneau, a physicist.

The University of California has been reshaping itself in the corporate model, which is why we have dubbed it Global Corporate University. The priority has been on seeking ways to create revenue by funding research for corporations to buy, both in the hard sciences [witness the Amyris debacle] and in the business school.

Was Dirks, who traditionally emphasized the importance of the humanities, a field that doesn’t produce all that lucrative intellectual property or churn out tomorrow’s business executives, a man out of place at Cal?

It’s worth pondering.

The university’s costly image spinning

We can’t read the full story in the subscriber-only San Francisco Chronicle story, but they do let you read the first paragraph, to which we’ve added another paragraph from the story we found in a news aggregator:

As UC Berkeley prepared to eliminate hundreds of jobs and take millions of dollars in loans to help balance its flagging budget, the campus also paid more than $200,000 to “improve the chancellor’s strategic profile nationally and internationally,” The Chronicle has learned.

The decision to pay outside consultants of the last year to burnish Chancellor Nicholas Dirks’ global image is seen by some faculty as the latest in a series of missteps — including his kid glove treatment of star employees who sexually harassed students and colleagues and his uneven handling of the campus; $150 million budget deficit — that led to Dirks’ decision to step down. The companies agreed to “increase exposure and awareness of Dirks’ vision for higher education, elevate the chancellor as a “key thought leader” and “form key partnerships” so that potential donors would understand his philosophy.

The news about the image polishing confirmed suspicions we raised in a blog 16 March post, reprinted in full below [emphasis added]:

The curious case of the missing monobrow. . .

Coming to Berkeley from Columbia University, where Nicholas B. Dirks had served as executive vice president and dean of the faculty of  Arts and Sciences, the new chancellor of the flagship campus of the University of California underwent an amazing transition.

Here’s the image the folks at Cal’s PR department sent out when 8 November 2012 when announcing his appointment:

BLOG Dirks

And here’s an image of Dirks captured from the apology video just posted:

BLOG Dirks after

So what happened to the monobrow, a furry feature evident in countless photos [for instance] taken before his transplantation to the Golden State from the urban wilds of the Big Apple?

And then there are the eyeglasses. In all but two of the images we found doing a Google image search, Dirks wore his specs at a genial, approachable half staff, yet in the apology video he gazes out from behind glass, the lenses interposing themselves between seer and seen.

And what’s the deal with the flowers, the white blooms often associated with funerals and death?

Maybe its our old anthropological training kicking in, or simply the observation skills honed during five decades of journalism, but our sense is that in coming to image-conscious California Dirks fell into the hands of media handlers.

Headline of the day II: Ah, the Grand Old Party


From the Independent:

Marco Rubio says pregnant women with Zika should not be allowed abortions despite risks

Florida senator says all human life is worthy of protection, as governor insists state is safe 

The key to abundant sex turns out to be altruism


We are somewhat surprised at this new finding, since the most sexually prolific people we’ve ever encountered were sociopathic “bad boy” types [two of them we had more than a hundred past partners], but the finding does make sense for the rest of the population.

From the University of Guelph:

If you want to get a little, you should try giving a little. New research from the University of Guelph and Nipissing University shows that people who help others are more desirable to the opposite sex, have more sexual partners and more frequent sex.

The study was published recently in the British Journal of Psychology [$6 bucks for 18-hour read-only access, $38 if you want to print it out].

“This study is the first to show that altruism may translate into real mating success in Western populations, that altruists have more mates than non-altruists,” said Pat Barclay, a U of G psychology professor who worked on the study with lead author Prof. Steven Arnocky from Nipissing.

Arnocky added: “It appears that altruism evolved in our species, in part, because it serves as a signal of other underlying desirable qualities, which helps individuals reproduce.”

The researchers interviewed about 800 people regarding their relationships and propensity for helping others, including giving to charity, donating blood, helping strangers cross the street, donating winnings and helping classmates, among other things.

Even after controlling for age and personality, altruists were found to have greater success at dating and sex.

However, “it’s a more effective signal for men than for women,” Barclay said. The study found that while altruism is a desirable quality among both genders, it affects men’s lifetime dating and sex partners more than women’s.

The findings support previous studies on food sharing by hunters, which found that men who hunt and share meat enjoy greater reproductive success. Earlier research by Barclay has also found that– all else equal –both men and women are more attracted to people who are altruistic.

The researchers suggest expanding the study to include a wider array of variables such as relationship length and partner quality.

“Also, given the importance we place on attractiveness, resources and intelligence, it would be worthwhile to explore how individuals ‘trade-off’ altruism against other desirable qualities,” Arnocky said.

Another U.S. mayor caught in a sex/drugs scandal


First the mayor of Stockton, California, gets arrested yesterday for getting disadvantaged youth drunk and enticing them into a game of strip poker, and then today the mayor of a city of the opposite coast gets busted for his own sex and drugs scandal.

From the London Daily Mail:

Fairfax mayor Scott Silverthorne taken down in meth-for-sex scandal after he supplied undercover cop with drugs in exchange for orgy with him and friends

  • Scott Silverthorne, the mayor of Fairfax, Virginia, was arrested on Thursday night after a weeks-long police investigation
  • The Fairfax County Police Department began an undercover operation looking into the mayor when they got a tip he exchanged meth for sex
  • An undercover detective made an online profile geared towards what police heard Silverthorne liked on a casual sex website
  • Silverthorne, 50, contacted the detective two days later and police claim he texted at one point to tell him he could supply him with meth for sex
  • Police claim that Silverthorne then agreed to exchange 2 grams of meth for the participation of the detective and his friends in an all-male orgy 
  • Silverthorne met with the detective at 7pm thinking they were going to have group sex, but was arrested when he handed him the meth 

The sexist, xenophobic voices of the Trumpsters


In case you missed it, a remarkable video from the New York Times captures the essence of the Trump phenomenon.

It’s frightening, and we’ll leave it to you, gentle readers, to draw the appropriate historical parallels.

From the New York Times:

Unfiltered Voices From Donald Trump’s Crowds

Program notes:

New York Times reporters have covered Donald J. Trump’s rallies for more than a year. His supporters at these events often express their views in angry and provocative ways. Here are some examples.

Produced by: ERICA BERENSTEIN, NICK CORASANITI AND ASHLEY PARKER

Read the story here.