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Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2008

Discrimination, Methinks

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Recent research in the B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy may shed light on why females continue to earn less money than males, even in similar jobs. Competing hypotheses range from gender discrimination to the possibility that women place more emphasis on families while men more aggressively pursue their careers. The recent research suggests that discrimination may be the more likely culprit. Researchers found that females who were established in jobs and then underwent sex changes slightly increased their earnings, whereas males who became females lost about one-third of their earning power, according to an October summary of the research in Time magazine.

Fine Points of the Law
(1) A 38-year-old man was cited for disorderly conduct at the county fair in Fond du Lac, Wis., in September after he bought a beer for his sons, ages 2 and 4. He could not be cited for providing alcohol to minors, however, because Wisconsin law exempts parents. But he was written up for swearing at police. (2) In September, Meleanie Hain’s concealed-weapons permit in Pennsylvania was revoked after spectators complained about her openly carrying a loaded, holstered Glock at her 5-year-old daughter’s soccer game. However, the only penalty under state law is a loss of concealment—so if Hain continues to carry the gun, she must do so openly.

Athletes Demanding Respect
“I think one day it should be an Olympic sport,” said Jeannine Wikering, 26, who finished third while representing Germany in the 10-nation European pole-dancing championship in Amsterdam in September. And Australia’s champion sheep-shearers prepared to once again lobby the country’s Sports Commission for official recognition, which would enable them to apply for training grants and corporate sponsorship. Shearers are revered in New Zealand, with televised matches and large prizes, according to an August dispatch from Sydney in Britain’s Guardian, but Australia’s top shearers get much less respect.

Latest Religious Messages
According to a September dispatch from The New York Times, a Buddhist temple in Nakhon Nayok, Thailand, offers quickie “reincarnation” sessions in which people climb into coffins and “die” while a priest’s chants chase away the evil spirits of the old person, who is then “reborn” as someone different. The temple has nine such coffins to serve the long lines of optimists, who must stand well back while waiting so as not to absorb the “dying” people’s escaping evilness.

Spiritual Rulings: (1) In August, the highest-ranking Muslim authority in the Turkish province of Adana declared that people observing the fasting requirement of Ramadan could be assisted by the use of medical "patches" that reduce hunger pangs. (2) In September, Chad Hardy released the 2009 version of his “Men on a Mission” calendar, which features photos of young, shirtless Mormon men. Hardy said that the calendar is intended to help his church overcome its image of being stodgy, and he plans to launch a female version for 2010: “Hot Mormon Muffins.” (In July, Hardy was excommunicated for producing the 2008 “Men on a Mission” calendar.)

People Different From Us
(1) In October, in the town of Sekiu, Wash., near Port Angeles, Ms. Cory Davis, 56, was shot in the leg by her stove. A .22gauge shotgun shell had found its way into some newspapers that she put on the stove to burn. “There’s always that one problem stray,” she said. (2) A 21-year-old woman was arrested in Hamilton, New Zealand, in October after she allegedly kicked in the door of her ex-boyfriend’s home and assaulted him because of a custody dispute over their pet possum.

Least Competent Barroom Brawler
In July, Scott Bennett, 48, lost an eye in a fight at the Mavericks nightclub in Sioux City, Iowa. On Oct. 12, Bennett lost his other eye in another fight at Mavericks. (Also in October, Britain’s worst professional boxer, Peter Buckley, announced that he would retire after his next bout. He has lost 88 fights in a row, and his overall record is 43-256.)

Update
Kory McFarren, 37, was the boyfriend of the Kansas woman who was found stuck to the toilet seat of her home in February after living reclusively in the bathroom for several years. Though McFarren didn’t have any luck in persuading the woman to come out of the bathroom for long periods of time, he was lucky enough to win $20,000 in the state lottery in October. In fact, it was his second lottery win this year.

Thinning the Herd
(1) A burglary suspect, running from police on San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill in September, jumped over a 3-foot wall, apparently not realizing that on the other side was a 200-foot drop. He died at the scene. (2) In June, a car fatally hit a 22-yearold woman in Dallas after she stopped on the busy LBJ Freeway to take pictures of an accident scene. Apparently, she was just an overly curious rubbernecker. (3) In September, a 54-year-old woman died in her car in London after purposely ramming the back of another car because she was angry. Following a collision that brought both cars to a stop, the woman failed to realize that fluid from her car had ignited the underside.

2008 Chuck Shepherd