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David Clarke, the controversial sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, will “accept an appointment as an assistant secretary in the Department of Homeland Security,” he reportedly told a local radio host Wednesday. Clarke said he will take a position at the Office of Partnership and Engagement. In that role, he would help coordinate DHS outreach to local law enforcement agencies, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
So far, DHS isn’t confirming Clarke’s appointment. “Such senior positions are announced by the Department when made official by the Secretary,” a department spokeswoman said in an email to Mother Jones. “No such announcement with regard to the Office of Public Engagement has been made.”
Clarke, who rose to national prominence last year as a vocal Trump supporter and a frequent guest on Fox News, has made headlines in recent months due to lawsuits filed against him alleging mistreatment of inmates in the jail he oversees. Last year, four people died in that jail. As we reported in March:
Clarke has faced two federal lawsuits since December, in the wake of four deaths that occurred last year in the Milwaukee County Jail. In mid-March, the family of a man who died of dehydration in April 2016 sued Clarke and the county, alleging that jail staff subjected the man to “torture” by denying him water as he pleaded for it over 10 days. County prosecutors are considering bringing felony charges against jail staff for neglect. Another lawsuit, filed last December, seeks damages for the death of a newborn in the jail last July, after jail staff ignored the infant’s mother as she went into labor and for more than six hours thereafter, according to the suit.
A grand jury recently recommended charges against several jail employees in the case of the man who died of thirst. A separate lawsuit alleges mistreatment of pregnant inmates at the jail:
In that suit, a woman alleges that, during a seven-month stint at the jail in 2013, she was forcibly shackled with a “belly-chain” that tied her wrists and legs to her stomach during her hospitalization for pre-natal care, while she was in labor, and while she received treatment for post-partum depression after she gave birth. The restraints made giving birth more painful for the woman, left marks on her body, and made it more difficult for doctors—who insisted she be freed—to give her an epidural, the lawsuit says. The jail has a policy that inmates be shackled while receiving medical care that makes no exceptions for pregnancy, according to the lawsuit, which also states that more than 40 women were subjected to the same treatment.
Clarke has apparently been angling for a job with the Trump administration for months. Last year, he spent so many days away from his office while stumping for Trump that local officials have called for his resignation:
Clarke visited 20 states in 2016, according to financial disclosure documents he filed with the county, often to give paid speeches in which he praised Donald Trump. He spent about 60 days out of state last year, the documents show. (Before he campaigned for Trump, Clarke took a trip to Moscow in December 2015 with a delegation from the NRA, during which they met with Russian officials.)
In January, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published an editorial calling for the sheriff to step down, citing the jail deaths, his habit of attacking his political opponents on social media—which he does on his department’s official Facebook page—and the fact that Clarke seemed more focused on “pining for a job in the Trump administration” than on his responsibilities as county sheriff. County auditors have launched an investigation into whether Clarke abused his power following an airplane flight in January when he had six deputies and two K-9 units confront a passenger at the gate with whom Clarke had an unfriendly exchange on the plane.
Clarke has also faced pushback from local activists and officials critical of his plan to enroll his sheriff’s department in a controversial immigration enforcement partnership with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a division of the Department of Homeland Security. In his role at DHS, Clarke would presumably be recruiting other agencies to participate in the program.
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Mothers have always worked in this country, whether out of desire or necessity. But America’s relationship with these employed moms has been fraught from the start. In 1873, a Harvard medical professor claimed that higher education would make young women infertile. During the 1950s, writers, psychiatrists, and psychologists argued that career women had “penis envy,” while John Bowlby’s “attachment theory” was widely misconstrued to mean that moms spending time apart from their kids would cause permanent psychological damage.
Where the emotional appeals haven’t worked, opponents have outright or effectively blocked moms from clocking in by cutting day care programs, firing them for breastfeeding, and refusing them family leave. To this day, the United States remains the only industrialized nation that doesn’t mandate maternity leave.
As many have pointed out, all moms are working moms, regardless of whether they are paid for their work. But as sociologist Arlie Hochschild put it in her book The Second Shift, mothers juggling housework with a day job enjoy a “double burden.” In time for Mother’s Day, here’s a short history of some of America’s most underappreciated employees.
Women are legally barred from jobs such as lawyering and working underground based on the notion of “separate spheres“—a women’s should be at home with her children.
The popular magazine Godey’s Lady Book touts piety, purity, submissiveness, and domesticity as the traits of “true womanhood,” and notes that women “step out of their own path when they attempt to encroach on the proper masculine pursuits.”
Abolitionist Sojourner Truth points out that Godey’s definition excludes black women, who are often obliged to work outside the home to feed their children. “Ain’t I a woman?” she asks.
A shorthanded Treasury Department hires married women including moms to fill positions vacated by Union soldiers. At war’s end, some widows are allowed to keep their jobs—at half the pay men get.
Harvard Medical School professor Edward Clarke argues that higher education makes women infertile.
Turn of the 20th Century postcard
Josephine Jewell Dodge establishes an early nursery school in a New York City slum that is later featured at Chicago’s World Fair. She goes on to start the country’s first national day care organization. Her critics propose an alternative strategy—”mothers’ pensions“—to keep women at home.
The Depression forces white middle-class moms to look for jobs—the number of married women in the workforce jumps 50 percent—while women of color solicit day labor in so-called slave markets. But “no one should get the idea that Uncle Sam is going to rock the baby to sleep,” the White House declares.
World War II shortages of male workers inspire the first federally funded day care program. But the armistice marks a return to traditional gender attitudes: The day care initiative lapses and career-driven women are described by popular writers as “lost,” “man-hating” or “suffering from penis envy.”
Employers phase out the “marriage bar“—the legal practice of firing (or not hiring) women who get married. It will be nearly three decades before federal law forbids the boss from firing women for being pregnant.
Psychoanalyst John Bowlby’s “attachment theory” posits that separating a mother from her child causes long-term behavioral difficulties—short separations are fine, he says, but his theory is twisted to make the case that mothers shouldn’t work.
Lucille Ball’s real-life pregnancy is written into an episode of the sitcom I Love Lucy, but the actors are not allowed to use the word “pregnant” on air—too vulgar, says CBS.
Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique gives voice to “the problem that has no name”—the frustrations and disappointments of housewives. Friedan had conceived of her idea as a magazine piece, but no magazine would take it.
Betty Friedan AP Photo/Anthony Camerano
Under disability laws, five states allow female workers paid maternity leave, while others specifically exclude pregnancy as a temporary disability. A federal family-leave law remains decades away.
“I have no objection of a pediatric or psychiatric nature about women going to work,” writes child-development guru Dr. Benjamin Spock: “What I say is that the children are going to have to be reared, and you ought to have women growing up feeling this is important, womanly work.”
Dr. Spock Associated Press
Congress votes to establish federally funded child care centers nationwide, but President Richard Nixon vetoes the bill, saying it works against “the family-centered approach.”
The Equal Rights Amendment, which outlaws sex discrimination, is attacked by conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly on the grounds that a women’s place is in the home. (The bill flops.) Betty Freidan dubs Schlafly “Aunt Tom.”
An ad for Enjoli perfume croons, “I can put the wash on the line. Feed the kids. Get dressed. Pass out the kisses and get to work by five of nine. ‘Cuz I’m a wooooman!” Congress passes the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, making it illegal to fire a woman for being pregnant—employers must offer her medical benefits equivalent to what other workers get.
Working Mother magazine targets America’s 16 million working moms: “We would like to share in your problems, your concerns for your family—and in your pride.” (It’s still around.)
Working Mother magazine
In The Second Shift, sociologist Arlie Hochschild describes the “double burden” of mothers juggling housework with a day job. Also Child magazine coins the phrase “mommy wars” to describe tensions between working and stay-at-home mothers.
Vice President Dan Quayle attacks TV show Murphy Brown for “mocking the importance of fathers” after the eponymous character, a working journalist, decides to raise her baby alone.
Asked by reporters about allegations that her husband directed business to her law firm while governor of Arkansas, Hillary Clinton responds, “I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession.” Homemakers are furious.
The Family Medical Leave Act guarantees maternity leave—but it’s unpaid, and more than half of working women are excluded thanks to exceptions for small businesses and part-timers
Asked how he feels about then-wife Marla Maples (top) working, Donald Trump tells ABC, “I have days where I think it’s great. And then I have days where, if I come home—and I don’t want to sound too much like a chauvinist—but when I come home and dinner’s not ready, I go through the roof.”
Amid backlash against mythical “welfare queens,” President Bill Clinton overhauls the system, forcing single mothers to get a job within two years or lose their federal benefits.
Future Indiana Gov. Mike Pence argues in an op-ed that “day care kids get the short end of the emotional stick” and that children with two working parents suffer “stunted emotional growth.” Also the Breastfeeding Promotion Act, a bill to end discrimination against nursing moms and make companies give women a place they can pump breast milk, dies in committee.
The proportion of moms staying at home rather than working hits a low point of 23 percent. (By 2012, it’s up to 29 percent.)
The New York Times Magazine describes the “opt-out revolution”—highly educated women scaling back their careers to stay home with their kids.
The VP nomination of Sarah Palin, a mother of five, renews debate over work-life balance. “You can juggle a BlackBerry and a breast pump in a lot of jobs, but not in the vice presidency,” one Obama supporter tells the New York Times.
Modern Family premieres on ABC—none of its fictional moms have jobs. Also a Texas woman is fired for asking her boss to let her pump breast milk at work. A (male) federal judge rules the firing is permissible because “lactation is not pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition” protected by law.
The Affordable Care Act mandates work breaks and a private space for new moms to pump breast milk.
Mitt Romney defends his homemaker wife: “I happen to believe that all moms are working moms.” Yet earlier, talking about the welfare-work requirements Massachusetts enacted while he was governor, Romney said that even moms with two-year-olds “need to go to work…I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.'”
Anne Marie Slaughter argues in The Atlantic that women cannot, in fact, “have it all”—kids and a fulfilling career. The problem, she writes, isn’t an “ambition gap,” but rather that America’s workplace culture still doesn’t value families.
“At the end of the day,” Michelle Obama tells the Democratic National Convention crowd, “My most important title is still ‘mom-in-chief.'”
In her best-selling book, Facebook bigwig Sheryl Sandberg exhorts women to “lean in” at work. Cultural critic bell hooks eviscerates the book as “faux feminism…brought to us by a corporate executive who does not recognize the needs of pregnant women until it’s happening to her.”
Apple and Facebook offer to freeze employees’ eggs in what critics call a cynical bid to delay childbearing. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow, meanwhile, claims she has it harder than office moms who “can come home in the evening.” Retorts a New York Post columnist, “Thank God I don’t make millions filming one movie per year.”
America remains the only industrialized nation that doesn’t mandate paid maternity leave—only 14 percent of working moms can get it through their employers. In a September interview, Ivanka Trump brags to Cosmopolitan about her dad’s maternity-leave plan, calling him “a great advocate for women in the workforce.” But it turns out many Trump Hotels, including Mar-a-Lago, don’t offer paid maternity leave.
Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
President Trump proposes a child care plan and asks Congress to “help ensure new parents have paid family leave.” But a Tax Policy Center analysis concludes that 70 percent of the plan’s benefits would go to families making $100,000 or more. “The devil,” the ACLU notes, “is in the details“—the plan applies only to married birth mothers, making it “as inadequate as it is discriminatory.”
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During an unannounced, five-minute livestream on Facebook Sunday night, Gov. Greg Abbott signed legislation outlawing sanctuary cities and granting law enforcement unprecedented powers in tracking down undocumented immigrants.
“Texans expect us to keep them safe—and that’s exactly what we’re going to do by me signing the law,” Abbott told the camera, punctuating his remarks by tapping the bill before signing it. “Texas has now banned sanctuary cities in the Lone Star State.”
“It won’t be tolerated in Texas,” Abbot continued. “Elected officials and law enforcement agencies, they don’t get to pick and choose what laws they will obey.”
Immigration advocates are describing it as the most hostile state law to undocumented immigrants in the country and point out that sanctuary cities are actually safer than other cities, according to FBI crime data. The Facebook Live event allowed the governor to avoid protests a typical signing would have likely drawn, the Texas Tribune noted. A spokesperson for the governor claimed the move was an effort to reach people directly where they’re consuming news.
Abbott declared banning sanctuary cities, jurisdictions that refuse to fully cooperate with federal immigration authorities, a legislative priority this year, and Texas has quickly become one of the battlegrounds in the national debate over them. When Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez announced her department would no longer comply with immigration authorities after taking office earlier this year, the governor cut off funding in retaliation and even threatened to oust her. Meanwhile lawmakers in the statehouse have been debating how wide-reaching the ban on sanctuary cities should be, settling on legislation late last month after a 16-hour marathon hearing. Horrified by the outcome, immigration advocates have pushed back, protesting at the state capitol during the lengthy hearing on the bill last month and gathering outside the governor’s mansion last night.
SB 4 does far more than simply outlaw sanctuary cities. When the new rules go into effect, law enforcement officials and other local leaders who refuse to cooperate with immigration authorities could face to up to a year of jail time and be personally fined up to $4,000. Additionally, any local government violating the law will also be subject to fines—$1,000 at first with each single subsequent infraction adding penalties that can potentially reach $25,500.
The law also grants law enforcement throughout the state sweeping new powers that many immigration advocates consider a form of profiling. One of the most controversial provisions of the new law allows police officers to question someone’s immigration status during encounters such as a routine traffic stop as opposed to during a lawful arrest.
David Leopold, an immigration lawyer and the former head of the American Immigration Lawyers Associates, says it’s the most hostile state law to undocumented immigrants in the country. “It’s like SB1070, the Arizona ‘show me your papers’ law, on steroids,” Leopold says, referring to the controversial legislation that required police to check the immigration status of anyone they detain if they believe that person might be in the country illegally.
“This is a license to racially profile,” Leopold says. “What Texas has done here is told the police…if a person has an accent, is brown, you should probably start asking questions about their immigration status.”
While much of the Arizona law was gutted by the Supreme Court in 2012, the “show me your papers” portion was not struck down—though the justices left open the possibility that such laws could be ruled as being unconstitutional at a later time.
When SB 1070 passed, it sparked outrage across the country and businesses as well as other state governments boycotted Arizona. Immigration activists are strenuously protesting the Texas measure, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund is planning to sue before it takes effect in September. But so far, the new law isn’t attracting nearly the kind of national attention that Arizona’s law once did.
Leopold points out that this law “came up quietly.” In the seven years since SB1070 was debated, he says, the capacity for outrage about these measures has waned because “we’ve had so much outrageous news about immigration, so many outrageous things and shocking things have happened since Donald Trump took office.”
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The Department of Justice will not pursue criminal charges against an officer involved in the videotaped shooting of a man in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, last summer, the Washington Post has reported. The announcement—expected tomorrow—will be the first time under Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the department has publicly declined to press charges against an officer investigated in a high-profile police shooting case.
Alton Sterling, 37, was shot and killed by a Baton Rouge Police Department officer in July 2016, setting off days of protests in the city and nationwide. Two officers had responded to a call about a man outside a convenience store who had waived a gun at someone else. When they arrived, they found Sterling outside the store selling bootlegged CDs. A confrontation ensued in the parking lot (the beginning of the incident was not caught on camera), and an officer tased Sterling after ordering him to the ground, cell phone footage of the encounter shows. Sterling remained on his feet, and an officer tackled him while another rushed to handcuff him. In a second cell phone video, one officer is heard yelling “He’s got a gun!” Then he fires several shots into Sterling. Sterling was armed, but it’s unclear from either video whether he reached for his weapon before he was shot. Witnesses told local new outlets that Sterling never reached for his gun during the encounter.
Sterling’s shooting occurred the day before an officer shot and killed another man in a Minneapolis suburb in an incident that was streamed in part on Facebook Live by the man’s girlfriend, and in the same week that a black man—admittedly upset over police shootings of black men—opened fire on officers at a protest over the two shootings in Dallas, killing nine. Just over a week after that incident, three more officers were killed ambush-style in Baton Rouge.
The Obama DOJ launched a criminal investigation into whether the officer who shot Sterling had willfully violated his civil rights by doing so. On Tuesday, the Trump DOJ—led by adamantly pro-police Attorney General Jeff Sessions—will announce that it will not pursue charges against the officer, the Washington Post reports. The decision is not unsurprising—civil rights cases are notoriously difficult to prove in court. The DOJ declined to file criminal charges against officers involved in high-profile police shooting cases on numerous occasions under President Obama, including in the case of of Michael Brown in Ferguson in August 2014.
The report of the Sterling decision comes amid a flurry of other police-related news this week, including the police shooting death of a 15-year-old boy in a Dallas suburb over the weekend and news today that the officer filmed shooting a North Charleston, South Carolina, man in the back multiples times in April 2015 had pleaded guilty to federal civil rights charges similar to those considered in the Sterling case. You can read Mother Jones‘ deep dive investigation into the trial of that officer here.
After drawing sharp criticism on Monday, the State Department deleted a web article that showcased the President’s Mar-a-Lago estate and private club. The post, which had been available on the department’s ShareAmerica site since April 4, highlighted the compound’s “style and taste” while noting the central role the oceanside property has played in Trump’s presidency, having hosted state visits by Chinese president Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The post‘s tone was questioned after it gained wide notice on social media. “This reads almost as if it’s an advertisement for the private club,” says Jordan Libowitz, Communications Director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). “This makes you question whether there were ulterior motives in mind.”
ShareAmerica, a State Department public diplomacy project that creates social media friendly stories about US politics, culture, and places, characterizes itself as a “platform for sharing compelling stories and images that spark discussion and debate on important topics like democracy, freedom of expression, innovation, entrepreneurship, education, and the role of civil society.” The Mar-a-Lago article was shared by the U.S. Embassy in London’s website, and promoted by the Facebook page of the State Department’s Bureau of Economic & Business Affairs.
The post drew the ire of Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon):
— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden)
“It’s somewhat out of the ordinary for government websites to be talking about current businesses of the sitting president. That’s not a situation we’ve really seen before,” says Libowitz.
A State Department official provided Mother Jones a short statement after deleting the post late on Monday: “The intention of the article was to inform the public about where the President has been hosting world leaders. We regret any misperception and have removed the post.”
Since his inauguration, Trump has spent 25 days at the club at a hefty cost to taxpayers and local residents. Mar-a-Lago’s initiation fee jumped to $200,000 around the same time that Trump entered office.
The ShareAmerica article included an outline of the estate’s history, noting that the original owner—the cereal titan Marjorie Merriweather Post—willed her Palm Beach, Florida compound to the US government, hoping it would be used as a presidential retreat. At the time, the 114-room mansion was rejected as being unsuitable. In 1985, Trump purchased the residence, refurbished it, and reopened it as a private club in 1995. The now-deleted ShareAmerica post frames Trump’s 2016 election victory as fulfilling the original owner’s plan: “Post’s dream of a winter White House came true with Trump’s election in 2016.”
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President Donald Trump hosted a trio of eyebrow-raising guests at the White House on Wednesday, reportedly dining with Sarah Palin, Ted Nugent, and Kid Rock.
It’s not clear why Palin and her musician pals, one of whom has praised the use of the word “nigger” and suggested Barack Obama “suck on” his machine gun, were invited to the Oval Office, but here we are:
— Christina Wilkie (@christinawilkie)
The guests even managed to sneak in a photo posing in front of a portrait of Hillary Clinton—seen in this Facebook post by Nugent’s wife, the self-avowed “Healthy Lifestyle Ambassador” Shermane Nugent:
The photos were roundly mocked when they first began appearing on social media:
Reminder that Ted Nugent is a racist and anti-Semite, although that’s not so unique for this White House. https://t.co/Vwt3SKd67n
— Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie)
There’s a total of one brain in this Ted Nugent, Sarah Palin, Kid Rock photo.. and it belongs to the portrait… pic.twitter.com/BJWxjjpTvh
— Mahnee Avelar (@BassMastrMahnee)
Does anybody have the menu? https://t.co/ThYXOgYKcP
— Pete Wells (@pete_wells)
Perhaps this is just one more reason the Trump White House is opting to keep its visitor logs secret?
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Caroline Weinberg, Valorie Aquino, and Jonathan Berman met online after Berman, a post-doc in physiology, created a Facebook group and web page to galvanize some of the protest energy among scientists after Trump’s inauguration. The three, who were in New York, New Mexico, and Texas, thought that scientists should organize a march to “call for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence-based policies in the public interest.” Weinberg, a public health writer and researcher, and Aquino, who was finishing her Ph.D. in anthropology, volunteered to coordinate the planning. Almost overnight, the march became a viral social-media campaign.
The culmination of all their work will occur on Saturday, April 22, when the three volunteer co-chairs of the March for Science will witness the results of their first experiment in grassroots organizing—with anticipated crowds of hundreds of thousands of people in Washington, DC, and satellite marches in some 500 cities around the world, including in the Republican strongholds of Wyoming, Idaho, and Oklahoma.
The experience of pulling together this march, Aquino said, was tantamount to starting an NGO from scratch and immediately having “1 million members and running it with total strangers.” Weinberg told me over the phone in late February that the only reason she was able to get involved was because she “wasn’t working that day” and saw online chatter about the march. “We happened to be at the right place at the right time,” she said.
When they began to organize in January, they envisioned their march to be comparable to the Women’s March: a grassroots campaign that channeled the public’s anger into a productive movement for social change. President Donald Trump’s antipathy to science was clear before he took office, when he declared climate change was a hoax and appointed climate change deniers as his advisers. In just under 100 days as president, Trump has also alienated a much broader swath of the science and academic communities: He’s threatened to pull funding from the University of California-Berkley over anti-Trump protests; he aligned himself with anti-vaccine critics, proposed steep budget cuts to science agencies, wanted to eliminate or downsize science advisers’ role in the government, appointed Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, and has sought to roll back agency work based on public health research.
Climate activists, who have organized similar marches since at least 2014, have planned their people’s climate march in DC and in 200 cities around the country one week later. Although the two marches have overlapping constituencies and purpose, those involved in the climate march focus on specific policy demands—fighting climate change—while the science march is vague, championing more public engagement, evidence-based policies, and science research. But during the evolution of the science march, the organizers have been forced to face some unexpected realities about the community it’s engaging. Weinberg noted the “origin story” of the march is the narrative of “unbelievable sprawling grassroots nature.”
Aquino and Weinberg had more flexible schedules (Berman worked nine-hour shifts in his post-doc) to fit into their suddenly packed days and were able to put their other priorities on hold. Aquino postponed finishing her Ph.D. a few months ahead of schedule, and Weinberg stopped her freelance income in order to dive into planning the big picture and wrestling with the many logistics of permits, volunteer coordination, and march routes. Less than a month after Berman started the March for Science Facebook group, the three organizers, with the help of about 40 volunteers, had cobbled together a hasty, decentralized infrastructure for the online platforms and hundreds of satellite marches that popped up. They added more experienced organizers who created a database—what Weinberg calls “some kind of magic program”—to locate volunteers with the skills to address inevitable fires and the daily tasks, such as doing outreach to high schools and colleges.
The organizers were not just planning a single march. Their goal was to build a movement of scientists and science-enthusiasts who take a stand when objectivity is under attack. In the process, they have struggled with growing pains, some predating the Trump administration. One is philosophical: What duty do scientists have to participate in a debate that politicizes and misrepresents scientific study? What responsibilities do scientists have as citizens?
For years, Republicans (and occasionally Democrats) have threatened to defund federal research and have resorted to cherry-picking scientific studies that support their conclusions. House Science Chair Lamar Smith has perfected this rejection of inconvenient scientific findings by popularizing the myth of a so-called pause in global warming. But organizers say the debate feels more urgent given this uniquely anti-fact White House and appointed climate change deniers.
“We’re all very nervous about entering into a territory where science is seen as being explicitly political,” Adam Frank, an astrophysics professor, tells Mother Jones, explaining an essay he wrote about the march that was published on NPR. Frank thinks scientists do need to protest but worries that overt politicization is “the worst thing that could happen to science. Last thing we want is science being aligned with one or another political perspective.” He sees that we’ve passed a tipping point of attacks “where scientists don’t know what else to do.”
In January after the inauguration, Robert Young, a coastal geologist, wrote in the New York Times that “trying to recreate the pointedly political Women’s March will serve only to reinforce the narrative from skeptical conservatives that scientists are an interest group and politicize their data, research and findings for their own ends.”
The organizers of the science march believe it’s their responsibility to wade into politics, but they have tried to balance on the nonpartisan tightrope. “I would actually argue that science is political,” Aquino said. “Scientific integrity goes beyond one person eroding it. It hits across both sides of the aisle and people who aren’t necessarily affiliated with a political party at all.”
Weinberg noted, “If you believe in scientific research and evidence-based policy. You take a stand for that and take a stand for what you believe in.”
Then there is the problem of diversity within the scientific profession. Many of the public figures discussing the march are white men. In some respects, the science march has become a microcosm of the criticism STEM initiatives and academia have received for being far too white and male.
BuzzFeed reported on the time the organizers’ attempted to address concerns about diversity by forming a committee and issuing a diversity mission statement. Conservative outlets, such as the National Review, have seized on these statements to claim the march is much more about the left co-opting science for political gain. Steven Pinker, a best-selling author and Harvard University professor of psychology, gave this faction a boost, tweeting in January that the march “compromises its goals with anti-science PC/identity politics/hard-left rhetoric.”
But the criticism comes from both sides. At least one early collaborator has distanced herself from the march, claiming that disorganization, clashes of vision, and micromanagement left the march doing too little to include diverse voices:
I left the @ScienceMarchDC organizing committee in March due to a toxic, dysfunctional environment and hostility to diversity and inclusion.
— Jacquelyn Gill (@JacquelynGill)
Gill did not return a request to explain further. Aquino had alluded to some infighting in an earlier interview back in February, noting that some of her 18-hour days were as much about handling “some kind of meltdown and crisis” as they were about organizing the big picture. Since then, organizers have brought on more than 200 partners. They range from science celebrities—Bill Nye the Science Guy, for instance—to nonpartisan academic institutions, like the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as more overtly political groups, like Tom Steyer’s climate advocacy arm, NextGen Climate. Beyond the dozens of partner organizations, they have put forward a set of basic principles supporting science. They have also managed to raise $1 million for the day’s costs and beyond, by selling merchandise and through sponsorships.
They have all tried to plan the next steps for their newly recruited activists after the march is done. “I’ve never really gotten to step back and really consider all this from a 30,000-foot view,” Aquino said. She hardly expects any overnight change in politics or among scientists, but added, “I’ve never seen such a united front in the science community and science supporters.”
The most important story of the past 24 hours—by a mile—is the guy who was dragged off an overbooked United flight yesterday by a security team. The details are still a little sketchy, but the YouTube video is awesome and the guy has an actual scratch on his face. The Chicago PD officer who dragged off the passenger has been suspended, and United’s president has apologized. Luckily for social media, he apologized in kind of a ham-handed way that gave the incident a whole new cycle of snark on Twitter. So far President Trump hasn’t weighed in, but give him time. He might get bored and decide later today to nationalize UAL.
In the meantime, Felix Salmon wants us to believe that this hasn’t hurt United’s stock price. Hah! What a corporate shill he is. Behold the chart below:
That’s about $1 billion in market cap right there. This is the power of Twitter and Facebook, my friends.
On the bright side for UAL, this will probably last only a day or so, sort of like Donald Trump’s random taunts at companies he doesn’t like. Tomorrow some other airline will do something outrageous and we’ll all vow never to fly them ever again. I’m pretty sure most of us have vowed never to fly every airline at some point or another, but since they all suck we don’t have much choice, do we? And they all overbook. And they all ferry their crews around on their own planes. And they all call security if a passenger won’t follow crew orders. This particular passenger just fought back a little more intensely than most. And people with cell phones were around.
Bad luck for United. Really, it could have happened to any of the fine holding companies that control the surly skies of America these days.
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