Thursday, October 18, 2012

Linkage Is Good For You: Post-Debate Hangover Edition

George Washington Zombie Hunter
Little known fact:  George Washington was a zombie killer

Two days after the debate, and people are still talking about the effects, if any, the debate will have on the campaign.  If there are any reverberations, we won't know for a few days yet.  But there are other things out there in the world besides the presidential election, shocking, I know!  So here are some links to things I found of interest, some election related, and others not so much:

1. Tagg Romney: I Wanted to 'Take a Swing' at Obama During Debate: 

In an interview with a local North Carolina radio station Wednesday, the candidate's eldest son was asked what it was like "to hear the president of the United States call your dad a liar."
"Jump out of your seat and you want to rush down to the stage and take a swing at him," Tagg responded, laughing. "But you know you can't do that because, well, first because there's a lot of Secret Service between you and him, but also because that's the nature of the process."
He went on, "They're gonna try to do everything they can do to try to make my into someone he's not. we signed up for it, we've gotta try to kind of sit there and take our punches, and then send them right back the other way."
One camp threatening to punch out the other camp?  Is that a thing now?  Should Michelle Obama challenge Ann Romney to a knife fight because they both wore bright pink to the last debate?

2. If All the Previous U.S. Presidents Were Alive and Running for Office in 2012, Who Would Win? : 

Teddy Roosevelt VS Bigfoot Old Photo Variant HQ printA much milder version of the presidential deathmatch question which has already been asked.  The author of the article seems to think that Clinton would eke out a win over everyone else, while the commenters, so far, seem to be making a rousing defense for Teddy, just like in the deathmatch thread.  Unlike the deathmatch thread, no one has made a stirring defense for Grant (yet).

3.  New Research Casts Doubt on the Notion that the Menstrual Cycle Affects Mood.

"The idea that any emotionality in women can be firstly attributed to their reproductive function -- we're skeptical about that," Dr. Sarah Romans told me, skeptical said with audible restraint.

She and eight other researchers at the medical school at the University of Toronto published a review last week in the journal Gender Medicine that looked at all of the clinical research they could find to date on PMS with prospective data. Their conclusion was that the articles, in aggregate, "failed to provide clear evidence in support of the existence of a specific premenstrual negative mood syndrome."

Romans isn't saying that the mood symptoms we attribute to PMS aren't real and common. But she is saying that those symptoms are culturally over-attributed to the menstrual cycle, to the detriment of the medical community and those experiencing them -- and as a broader issue of gender equality.

Well there goes my excuse.  Thanks, science!

4.  Turns Out Mitt Romney Lied About Having Binders Full of Women:

One of the most puzzling (and enduring memes) from the debate on Tuesday was Mitt Romney's statements, in response to a question about his beliefs in regards to pay equity, that he demanded to have more women in his administration, and was given "binders full of women."  It turns out even that awkward, patronizing story isn't true:

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.

 5. Couples Who Share the Housework are More Likely to Divorce:

Well men, now you can say that by refusing to do the dishes you are tying to save your marriage.  A Norwegian study says that couples who share housework are much more likely to divorce than couples where the woman does the lions share of the housework.  Though obviously (to me) the correlation probably works in the opposite direction than the one researchers cite.

In what appears to be a slap in the face for gender equality, the report found the divorce rate among couples who shared housework equally was around 50 per cent higher than among those where the woman did most of the work.

“What we’ve seen is that sharing equal responsibility for work in the home doesn’t necessarily contribute to contentment,” said Thomas Hansen, co-author of the study entitled “Equality in the Home”.

  The lack of correlation between equality at home and quality of life was surprising, the researcher said. 

“One would think that break-ups would occur more often in families with less equality at home, but our statistics show the opposite,” he said.

The figures clearly show that “the more a man does in the home, the higher the divorce rate,” he went on.


  1. I think the marriage thing is because men are less likely to think that the housework is part of their husbandly duties. I think it's more of a comment on how we generally raise boys than on equality in marriage.

    Dude, Tagg, get a grip: your dad has been calling the President all kinds of names and you yourself made a Birther joke. It's called politics.

    My PMS says Bubba would win.

  2. Nice one, Mandi. I am particularly interested in #4! Now we know.

    Emily; I whole-heartedly agree with your first hypothesis. The 2nd statement is pretty good, and pretty funny. (But I don't have anything to contribute to the third point, as long as Andrew Jackson isn't in the top 2 or 3.)