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The Fringe Factor: Women Don’t Want Equal Pay Laws

Women don’t want equal-pay laws? Caitlin Dickson looks at this week’s gems from the edge of U.S. politics.

Hormones to Blame for Sexual Assault

Sexual assaults in the military: criminal activity perpetrated by an institutionally chauvinistic mentality or inevitable byproduct of a bunch of hormonal young people working and living together? Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) sent members of both parties into a tailspin this week when he suggested at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that the pervasiveness of sexual assaults in the military might be partially to blame on the latter. “The young folks that are coming into each of your services are anywhere from 17 to 22, 23. Gee whiz—the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur,” Chambliss said. Both sides of the aisle jumped on the senator’s words. Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), co-chairman of the military assault-prevention caucus, said, “Perpetuating this line of thinking does nothing to help change the culture of our military.” And Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) called for Chambliss to take back his comment. “I think he should think about whether if, God forbid, a sexual assault happened to a daughter of his, would he think it was OK for a senator to just chalk the assault up to raging hormones?” she asked.

Women Don’t Want Equal-Pay Laws

Call her old-fashioned, but Marsha Blackburn just doesn’t think American women want equal-pay laws. The Republican representative from Tennessee, who voted against the 2009 Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act as well as the Paycheck Fairness Act of the same year, explained why she wouldn’t support a law that would close the gender gap on NBC’s Meet the Press. “I think that more important than that is making certain that women are recognized by those companies. You know, I’ve always said that I didn’t want to be given a job because I was female, I wanted it because I was the most well-qualified person for the job,” Blackburn said. “And making certain that companies are going to move forward in that vein, that is what women want. They don’t want decisions made in Washington. They want to be able to have the power and the control and the ability to make those decisions for themselves.”

U.S. Education Became ‘Mediocre’ When Moms Went Back to Work

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant knew the minute the words left his mouth that there would be backlash, but it was too late. When asked during a Washington Post live event Tuesday how America became so educationally “mediocre,” Bryant replied, “I think both parents started working. And mom is in the workplace.” Realizing immediately that this probably didn’t sound so great, he kept going, explaining that in today’s families, “both parents are so pressured,” while at the same time other countries seem to be devoting more resources to bettering their schools.

Texas Jury Says Man Justified in Shooting Prostitute Who Wouldn’t Have Sex With Him

In Texas, it is legal for a “law abiding” citizen to use deadly force to get back something that was stolen from them at night. If the existence of that law is not enough, it was somehow used to acquit Ezekiel Gilbert of the murder of a Craigslist escort who refused have sex with him. Gilbert’s defense team successfully argued that he was justified in shooting 23-year-old Lenora Ivie Frago in the neck on Christmas Eve 2009 because she wouldn’t give back the $150 he paid her for sex that they didn’t have—therefore he was trying to retrieve stolen property. Frago was paralyzed and died seven months later. The prosecution argued that the law didn’t apply to Gilbert, because he was trying to force Frago to have sex for money, prostitution being illegal and whatnot, but the jury sided with Gilbert, sparing him the possibility of life in prison.

Who’s Scarier: the Attorney General or the Head of al Qaeda?

According to former congressman Allen West, Eric Holder poses a bigger threat to national security than Ayman al-Zawahiri, the current head of al Qaeda. West called on supporters to stop “this dangerous duo today,” referring to Holder and President Obama, in a fundraising letter. “Al Qaeda is a very serious and persistent threat, but I trust the U.S. military to protect us from future attacks. I cannot say the same about President Obama and his Justice Department,” he wrote, warning that we may wake up one day and find that “America is no longer America.”