And the Respect Beat Goes On

Aretha Franklin Respect 45 Record Image

Aretha Franklin “Respect” 45 record image

Are you familiar with the U.S. Council on Women and Girls?

In March 2009, President Barack Obama established the organization via Executive Order.  The purpose of the order was to, “establish a coordinated Federal response to issues that particularly impact the lives of women and girls and to ensure that Federal programs and policies address and take into account the distinctive concerns of women and girls, including women of color and those with disabilities.”

One such issue that has impacted the lives of women is the issue of equal pay in the historical and modern workplace.  For example, the 2009 Executive Order that established the Council on Women and Girls stated, “On average, American women continue to earn only about 78 cents for every dollar men make.”

If you are a woman, where do you stand when it comes to the concept of “equal pay for equal work,” and where do you think that concept should be applied?

For example, do you think the equal pay for equal work concept should be applied to women and men who are earning their livings playing professional sports?

If so, there is at least one modern professional sportsman who disagrees with you.

According to a, during the 2012 Wimbledon Championships, the 13th ranked men’s tennis player in the world at the time, Gilles Simon, criticized the tournament’s move to pay male and female players equally by stating, “We often speak of equal money, but I think it’s something that doesn’t work in sport.”

Does Simon’s opinion surprise you?  Should there be a different standard applied when it comes to equal pay when the work occurs on a tennis court or on a NASCAR track (I’d bet that Danica doesn’t think so)?

I’ve heard some women make statements such as, “if we want to be treated equally, then we need to stop creating councils for women and talking about ‘women’s issues’ and instead discuss issues that affect all of us – men and women alike.”

What do you think?

Both Simon’s statements last June and the fact that the U.S. Council on Women and Girls was created by an Executive Order as recently as 2009 make me question how far women have progressed in our society at large.

Aretha first sang about women’s desire for “Respect” in 1967, but I think that her woman cry for gender equality, without a doubt, still applies.

Madeleines and Privilège de l’exécutif

French Madeleines and coffee beansThis post is part of a 2012 monthly series of posts on the topic of the U.S Constitution.

When was the last time that you considered French influence within America?

American author David McCullough recently penned an interesting book, “The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris,” that provides a historical account of how many Americans between 1830 and 1900 traveled to Paris to study in the fields of art, literature, medicine, architecture and politics and then returned to influence America with their newfound knowledge gained while in France.

Today, here in the U.S., we can see that French influence into the American political arena is still alive and well.  For example, earlier this week, President Barack Obama exercised executive privilege related to the Fast & Furious gunwalking scandal.

How was President Obama’s claim of executive privilege an example of French influence into American politics?  Well, first let’s consider the definition and origin of executive privilege.

According to Wikipedia, executive privilege is “the power claimed by the President of the United States and other members of the executive branch to resist certain subpoenas and other interventions by the legislative and judicial branches of government.”

But, does the U.S. Constitution provide for this right by the Executive Branch?  The answer is no.

Wikipedia explains that the concept of executive privilege is not explicitly stated in the Constitution but that the U.S. Supreme Court has “ruled it to be an element of the separation of powers doctrine, and/or derived from the supremacy of executive branch in its own area of Constitutional activity.” 

And, according to Wikipedia, the separation of powers is a doctrine whose origins are tied to the writings of the 18th century French Enlightenment political philosopher Montesquieu, and many of the Framers of the Constitution were influenced by Montesquieu’s writings.

So, when it comes to the President Obama’s recent exercise of the political concept of executive privilege, there is, without doubt, a historical French connection.

And, who could blame the Framers of the Constitution for being influenced by the French?  Certainly not me.

The fact that I often indulge in French Madeleines with my morning coffee reveals that I also am unable to escape l’influence de la France.  🙂


%d bloggers like this: