What Not to Do with Your 401K – Wendy Davis Takes Poetic License with Her Past

Throughout  the United States,  voters are putting a premium on candidates who are skilled at getting out of debt. If anyone has mastered that art it’s Wendy Davis, Democratic frontrunner for this year’s gubernatorial race.

Wendy DavisSenator Davis became famous, not just statewide but nationally, last summer when she filibustered a Texas State bill which would have banned abortions after the twentieth week. That was the beginning of her romance with Texas Democrats. Feeding on her press-fueled momentum, Ms. Davis painted a rags-to-riches story of herself as having been a single teenage mother living in a trailer park who worked her way up and into Harvard Law School.  Some of the details in her artfully woven tale are now starting to fray. On January 20th, the Dallas Morning News reported that Davis was twenty-one (not nineteen) when she and her first husband separated and that she only lived in a mobile home for a few months “before moving into an apartment with her daughter.

It has also come to light that her second husband, Jeff Davis, “cashed in his 401(k) to help fund her education.” (Hilary Hylton “A Storybook Tale Gets Some New Footnotes,” Time Magazine, February 3, 2014).  He paid for Ms. Davis’s last two years at Texas Christian University and kept their two daughters while she studied at Harvard Law School in Boston.

According to Jeff Davis, Wendy Davis “left him the day after he paid off her Harvard loan in 2003.” (Hylton). Following their divorce, he was granted custody of the two girls.

It seems Senator Davis has graduated from Ball-Busting to Filibustering.  This may not necessarily cost her the nomination, as Democratic supporters are treating recent revelations (or should that be clarifications) as a rabid attack by Republicans. As Dallas News correspondent Wayne Slater puts it:

Campaigns… understand that when critical stories appear, advocates on both sides respond like characters in the movie Dodgeball, running to the center of the floor, selecting a ball and ferociously heaving it at their opponents.

This should make for an interesting election year in the State of Texas. In the meantime, Men, hold on to your wallets and your hats.  Everyone knows it’s Wendy.

Welcome to Millionaire’s Row – The United States Congress

Gold CoinAccording to a survey just released by The Center for Responsible Politics, for the first time in American history, most members of Congress are now millionaires. Republicans in Congress have a median net worth of $1 million, while the Democrats’ median net worth is $1.4 million. Hmm, maybe Democrats are a lot better at business than people think..

The Ceiling May Have Been Cast from Glass, but The Women Had the Floor.

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Today my husband had one of the best ideas I’ve heard yet for solving the ongoing crisis in the Middle East: provide all the women with arms so they can take over their societies. Then they’ll work together for peace.

While he may be accused of reverse gender-discrimination, there is an element of truth behind his idea. In fact, we recently experienced the power of women to set aside conflicts and promote peace right here in the U.S.  Last October, jeopardizing re-election in their home districts, women senators from both parties joined forces to break through the  partisan impasse that was on the verge of shutting down our country. Their “negotiating framework formed the centerpiece of a tentative Senate deal to reopen the federal government and avert a disastrous default.

As Mark Pryor (D-Arkansas) put it, “The truth is, women in the Senate is a good thing. We’re all just glad they allowed us to tag along so we could see how it’s done.

I’m still trying to figure out precisely why the women were more willing and more successful at working towards the common good than so many of their male colleagues.  Are women, as a gender, more concerned with the good of the whole than with stoking their own egos or pursuing their own ambitions?  (Certainly I have known many women for whom this is not true!). Could the very characteristics which make women more effective peacemakers or, at least, more inclined to take personal risks to promote peace, be the reason  they do not move up corporate and political ladders with the same speed and alacrity as men?

When Business Executive Jack Donaghy (played Alec Baldwin  in the sorely-missed television show, Thirty Rock), is passed over for a promotion to CEO, he sadly proclaims, ” I cannot go to another business school reunion and sit at the non-CEO table with the women and nice men.”

I would like to think that one’s ability to move up  the ranks of power (be it in business or in government) and one’s ability to work for the good of the whole are not mutually exclusive.  But the truth is I’m not so sure.

Declaration of Interdependence

It’s common knowledge that the original Declaration of Independence was, for all practical purposes, written by, for, and about white male property owners. What would happen if we gave that declaration a twenty-first century makeover? The heart of the revised text might read something like this.

We hold these truths — following years of eye-opening civil rights marches, presidential proclamations,  and federal legislation — to have finally been made evident, that all men and all women, of all ages, races, religions, ethnicities, national origins, sexual orientations,  abilities, disabilities, and perceived disabilities, are endowed by their Creator — or by One Big Bang Randomly Scattering Sub-Atomic Particles — with certain Litigable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Equal Pay for Equal Work.  To secure these rights, the EEOC, along with local, district, and supreme courts, are instituted among Men and Women and Transgenders, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed — that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to hold Tea Parties and to Occupy Wall Street and to pose questions via Facebook to Candidates Competing in Endless Televised Debates to institute a new Government as most likely to Lower Unemployment, to  Raise the Stock Market, to Protect Property Values, and to keep Terrorists, Tax Collectors, and  Drug Lords at bay.