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12/23/1996 - Curious George Co-creator Dies at Age 90

Margret E. Rey, part of the husband and wife team which created the mythical Curious George died on December 22nd in her Cambridge home. She had suffered a heart attack three weeks earlier. She helped create the monkey character while she and her husband were living in Paris during the 1930s. They smuggled an unpublished manuscript out of France when they escaped before Hitler's occupation. Houghton Mifflin published the first story in 1941; the Reys subsequently wrote six more books about Curious George's antics. Margret went on to write 28 Curious George books with Alan J. Shalleck.

Born in Germany, Rey studied at the Bauhaus, the Academy of Art in Duesseldorf and at an art school in Berlin. She held her first one-woman watercolor show in Berlin in the early 1920s. She later worked as a newspaper reporter, an advertising copywriter and photographer. Making her way to New York after escaping Paris with her husband, Rey went on to create more children's books and oversee the Curious merchandising projects. Moving to Cambridge in 1971, she became a large benefactor: donating $1 million each to the Boston Public Library and the Beth Israel Hospital's Center for Alternative Medicine for Research.


12/20/1996 - Clinton Appoints Alexis Herman to Secretary of Labor

Clinton has appointed his close aide, Alexis Herman, to become the Secretary of the Department of Labor. Herman has previously served as the Director of the Women's Bureau in President Carter's Labor Department and has served as the vice-chair for the Democratic National Committee. She has most recently served as the White House public liaison, where she enjoys a close working relationship with the president.

This appointment brings Clinton's overall appointment of women number to eight, larger than any previous administration. Other female appointments include: Janet Reno, Attorney General; Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State; Donna Shalala, Department of Health and Human Service; Janet Yellen, Chief Economic Advisor; Carol Browner, Environmental Protection Agency; Aida Alvarez, Small Business Administration and Charlene Borshefsky to U.S. Trade Representative.


12/20/1996 - Citadel Makes Changes to Address Hazing Incidents

The Citadel has announced that it plans to station overnight, adult supervisors to all barracks. This change, taking effect next month, was instituted to try and prevent the hazing incident which happened to two female cadets this past semester. The women reported the hazing to their student cadet supervisors but the supervisors did not take any action. The Citadel claims that the women could have reported the incidents to active-duty military officers assigned to their company, but failed to do so. The women's parents claim that they called school officials several times. The Citadel and FBI are both looking into the incidents and plan to discipline any adult officers if warranted.


12/20/1996 - Clinton Considers Changes to Welfare Legislation

Clinton aides helping the President with the 1997 budget have disclosed plans to increase some welfare programs radically cut in last year's welfare legislation. The plans include an additional $13 billion, aimed mainly at aiding legal immigrants, especially immigrant children and disabled immigrants. The plan also includes plans to give indigent people with high housing costs continued food stamps. Under the planned changes, persons who are actively looking for jobs but cannot find them will also be allowed to continue receiving food stamps. Earlier, leaks in the administration warned that the President's budget included $1 billion in cuts to housing for the poor. The President has apparently decided against the cuts, however.

The Administration expects that any changes will be met with strong opposition from a Republican-led Congress and is explicit in its approval for the overall direction and changes in the 1995 Welfare Reform legislation. Support for the changes, however, is expected to come from moderate GOP Governors whose state's are starting to feel the adverse effects of the drastic welfare cuts.


12/19/1996 - VOA Sex Discrimination Suit Coming to Close

Voice of America, a government sponsored overseas radio broadcasting program, faces sex discrimination claims in excess of $500 million dollars. Twelve years ago, a federal judge ruled that VOA discriminated against women in its hiring practices. Now, a special master, law professor Stephen A. Saltzburg, is in the process of deciding how much, if any, each of the 1,100 women bringing claims against VOA will be awarded. So far, he has awarded eight women a total of $4.7 million and denied claims to two others. On top of the monetary awards, the government must set up retirement accounts for all the women who have successful claims. The government has failed twice in getting a Federal Appeals Court to overturn the case and is now considering appealing directly to the Supreme Court.

The discrimination allegedly occurred between 1974 and 1984. It included hiring discrimination in various fields within VOA, such as writer/editor, foreign language broadcasters, foreign information or production specialists, and radio broadcast or electric technicians. One woman, Lynn Goldman Barrett, sent in an application along with her husband; they had essentially the same experience, having co-owned Mirasound Studios Inc. He was given a job as a recording technician immediately and she was not, even though there were plenty of job openings at VOA. At the first hearing, the government claimed it never received her application, even though it was sent in the same package as her husband's. Then she reapplied in 1982 and the government claimed she was not qualified. She protested and then was told she would need to fill out an additional form, which did not exist. Saltzburg wrote in his opinion, awarding her $562,481, "Women and men were treated differently. There were openings for 'warm bodies' as long as those bodies were male."


12/19/1996 - Social Security Cuts Disproportionally Affect Women

A proposed plan to base Social Security on an average of 38 instead of 35 years work will disproportionally hurt women. An Advisory Council on Social Security plans to deal with cuts including the above change in calculating benefits. Only 15% of women have been in the workforce for an average of 38 years while 57% of men have worked that long. Women often take years off of work to raise children and this affects their average work years. Edith U. Fierst, a council member, commented, "It would be unfortunate if mothers, pressured by fear of poverty in old age, gave up opportunities to stay at home with young children...In an ideal world the father of her children would take care of the mother's retirement needs..." However, many fathers are absent and when couples divorce, the woman generally loses the right to share her husband's retirement benefits. Fierst notes that government statistics show that the largest segment of the poor elderly are widows, who have a poverty rate in excess of 40%.


12/19/1996 - Clinton to Appoint Janet Yellen Council of Economic Advisors Chair

President Clinton has offered the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, the panel which advises the President on economic issues to Brown (B.S.) and Yale (Ph.D.) University Graduate Janet Yellen. Yellen, who has taught economics at Harvard, London School of Economics and at Berkeley, has most recently served on the Federal Reserve board. Born in Brooklyn, New York, she is married with one child.

Clinton continues to meet today with outgoing Chief of Staff Leon Panetta, current Chief of Staff Irksine Bowles and Vice-President Al Gore to finalize his appointments for a December 20th press conference. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission member Elizabeth Moller is a strong possibility for Energy Secretary. Clinton aide Alexis Herman and Representative Esteban Torres (D-CA) are both being considered for Secretary of Labor.


12/19/1996 - Woolf and Bloomsbury Group Biographer, Quentin Bell, Dies at 86

Viriginia Woolf's nephew and biographer Quentin Bell died on December 15th in England. Born to Woolf's older sister, Vanessa Bell, Bell spent his childhood with the now legendary Bloomsbury group and eventually became its most sensitive biographer. Growing up with such figures as E.M. Forster, John Maynard Keynes, Vita Sackville-West, and Virigina Woolf, Bell, in his fair-minded writing, brought the group to life. He once described a visit from Woolf as, "a warm capricious breeze blowing in from the southwest and bringing with it a kind of amazed joy." He also revealed, for the first time, that her two brothers had sexually molested her during her childhood. And, in Bloomsbury Recalled he expressed anger and disappointment at his father's fascist leanings.


12/19/1996 - Doctor Gives Up License Amid Re-newed Charges of Sexually Abusing Female Patients

A Somerset, Kentucky doctor who has twice been on probation for allegedly sexually abusing female patients, has given up his license amid new charges. The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure required a nurse to monitor the examinations because Dr. Russell C. Holtzclaw had been placed on probation in 1987 and 1993 for sexual misconduct. He examined a 17-year-old's breast and body without the nurse monitor and made inappropriate comments about her body during the examination. Holtzclaw is also under investigation for his financial dealings with two elderly and now deceased female patients. He had been placed on probation for three years in 1987 because of a patient's complaint of sexual misconduct. He was again placed on probation in 1993 for allegedly attempting to rape and sexually abuse a patient while exposing himself to her. He later gave the woman's mother $5000 to keep quiet about the incident. In the same year, three other patients filed complaints of sexual misconduct.


12/18/1996 - New Allegations of Hazing at Citadel

Attorneys for two women cadets at the Citadel released new information on recent hazing incidents. The attorneys claim that male cadets sprayed the women with nail polish and set their clothes on fire, not once, but three times within the past two months. Male cadets also allegedly entered the female cadet's rooms late at night, sung them sexually explicit songs and forced them to drink alcoholic beverages. One recruit, Jeanie Mentavlos, was forced to drop her pants to reveal a hidden tape recorder. Her attorney, Tim Kulp, claims that the women decided to record the harassment because they, "knew no one would believe them as to the fact the line had been crossed."

The female cadets did report the harassment to cadet officers, but the officers ignored their complaints. Mentavlos' older brother Michael, a senior at the academy, proceeded with two other senior cadets to report the harassment to school officials. The schools has suspended two cadets and relieved five others of military duty pending the outcome of a full investigation. The school also installed alarm buttons in the women's room which, if pushed, sound in a guard's room. The two harassed women are currently living off campus during finals weeks because of safety fears. The two other women cadets, who are in a different company, have remained on campus and have not reported any harassment.


12/18/1996 - New Allegations of Hazing at Citadel

Attorneys for two women cadets at the Citadel released new information on recent hazing incidents. The attorneys claim that male cadets sprayed the women with nail polish and set their clothes on fire, not once, but three times within the past two months. Male cadets also allegedly entered the female cadet's rooms late at night, sung them sexually explicit songs and forced them to drink alcoholic beverages. One recruit, Jeanie Mentavlos, was forced to drop her pants to reveal a hidden tape recorder. Her attorney, Tim Kulp, claims that the women decided to record the harassment because they, "knew no one would believe them as to the fact the line had been crossed."

The female cadets did report the harassment to cadet officers, but the officers ignored their complaints. Mentavlos' older brother Michael, a senior at the academy, proceeded with two other senior cadets to report the harassment to school officials. The schools has suspended two cadets and relieved five others of military duty pending the outcome of a full investigation. The school also installed alarm buttons in the women's room which, if pushed, sound in a guard's room. The two harassed women are currently living off campus during finals weeks because of safety fears. The two other women cadets, who are in a different company, have remained on campus and have not reported any harassment.


12/18/1996 - Congressman in Charge of Army Sexual Harassment Investigation Graduated from Citadel

The Congressman in charge of the investigation of the Army's sexual harassment scandal, Representive Steve Buyer (R-IN), graduated from the then all-male military college The Citadel, has served in the United States Army and continues to serve in the Army reserves. In 1995, while the Citadel was in the midst of a legal challenge of its state-funded all-male tradition, it awarded Buyer as its Man of the Year. Given his career in the military, many inside and outside of the military have begun to question his objectivity. Karen Johnson, vice-president of the National Organization for Women and a retired Air Force Lietenant Colonel commented last week to the Indianapolis Star, "When you're in the military as Buyer still is, whether male or female,your first loyalty is there and never will you paint it in a bad light. As a female who was in uniform for 20 years, I think the problem is large, serious, and Aberdeen is just beginning."

Aberdeen refers to the base where 25 drill sergeants are under investigation for sexual harassment and a captain and drill instructor have already been charged with rape and obstruction of justice. Buyer has already said that he believes the problem with the military is due to "a few bad apples" and not to a widespread problem in the Army. His solution to the problem - more military spending. He believes the problem is due to a breakdown in the Army's chain of command, itself a result of cuts in military spending. A 1995 survey by the defense department found that sixty percent of women in the military reported being harassed while on duty. This, and other scandals such as the Tailhook incident, counters Buyer's statements. Johnson also commented, "No commander wants to look bad. They have an investment in looking good, so they often talk an accuser out of a complaint. We recommend a system of reporting outside of the chain of command."


12/18/1996 - Texaco Plans to Diversify Workforce

The Wall Street Journal reports December 18th that a new Texaco program would expand the amount of business, by fifty percent, that it does with minority-owned companies. Texaco also plans to increase its minority workforce. The company settled a discrimination lawsuit last month for $176.1 million. When it did so, the company also promised to increase the percentage of minorities on their payroll from 23 to 29 percent.


12/17/1996 - Prop. 209 Blocked Pending Court Ruling

San Francisco U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson extended the temporary restraining order on the anti-affirmative action initiative Prop. 209 by one week. The order prohibits either CA. Governor Pete Wilson or Attorney General Dan Lungren from implementing the measure until December 23rd. On the 23rd, Henderson will decide whether or not to grant a preliminary injunction freezing 209 until a trial is held to determine the measure's constitutionality.

California voters narrowly passed this deceptive measure in November by a 54 to 46 margin. Funded by right-wing foundations, contractors and conservative scholars, the initiative will wipe out equal opportunity programs for women and people of color. Opponents of the initiative are currently suing, claiming that it is unconstitutional because it discriminates against women and people of color.


12/17/1996 - Second Citadel Cadet Suspended, Two Female Cadets Move Off Campus

The Citadel has suspended a second cadet in an incident involving the hazing of two female cadets. The charges of hazing include that one woman was thrown up against a wall and hit in the head with a rifle, while another woman's clothes were sprayed with nail polish and set on fire. Five other male cadets have been relieved of military duty pending an investigation. Due to security concerns, the two women will live off campus during finals week and wear civilian clothes. While on campus, they are restricted to the computer lab, the library and their classrooms. The women's lawyers had wanted them transferred to an infirmary on campus, but the school said no space existed there for them. Paul Gibson, a lawyer for the women's families commented that keeping the women off campus, away from training and without the ability to wear uniform was unfair.


12/17/1996 - Kentucky Paper Appoints First Female Editor

After serving for fifteen months as editor of Lexington's Herald-Leader newspaper, Pam Luecke became the editor and vice-president of the paper on December 16th. Luecke moved to Kentucky in 1979 and worked for the Louisville Courier-Journal and Times as a business reporter, business editor and regional editor. She contributed to The Courier-Journal's Pulitzer Prize winning series on the 1988 Carrollton bus crush. She moved to Connecticut in 1989 and worked as the assistant managing editor/metro and deputy managing editor of The Hartford Courant for six years. She served as the supervising editor for the Courant's Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation of the Hubble space telescope.

In 1995 Luecke moved back to Kentucky, this time serving as the editor of the editorial pages for Lexington's Herald Leader. Luecke also served as a Bagehot Fellow in economic journalism at Columbia University from 1986 to 1987.

Luecke commented on her promotion as the paper's first ever female editor that, "I'm enormously proud of that accomplishment. There aren't enough women in leadership positions in general. I hope maybe in some way I can be a role model for other young women considering getting into journalism."


12/17/1996 - Women Executives Earning More, But Not As Much As Male Counterparts

Though women continue to earn only 71 one cents to the male dollar, women executives are making some headway. A new Working Women Magazine report has found that the twenty highest paid female executives all earn over $1 million. Last year, only seven of the twenty highest paid women executives earned $1 million or more. The highest paid woman, Linda Wachner, earns $11.16 million for heading Warnaco-Authentic Fitness. Carol St. Mark, President of Pitney Bowes Business Services, rounds out the top twenty with $1.33 million. Even in executive positions however, women still earn less than men. According to Businnessweek Magazine's list of top twenty executives, Lawrence Coss earned $65.5 million in salary and bonuses for heading Green Tree Financial. And Wayne Calloway rounded up the top twenty by earning $11.20 million for heading up Pepsi Co.


12/17/1996 - Supreme Court Rules in Parental Appeals Case

The Supreme Court voted 6 to 3 on December 16th that a state can not bar a mother from appealing a custody ruling terminating her parental rights simply because she can't afford the involved court fees. The Court has required that fees be waived for indigents in criminal appeals, but had not extended that right to civil cases. Writing for the majority, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ruled that states could not, "bolt the door to equal justice" because of poverty. She continued, "Choices about marriage, family life and the upbringing of children are among associational rights the court has ranked as of basic importance in our society. Few consequences of judicial action are so grave as the severance of natural family ties."

The case involves Melissa Brooks, who lost all rights to visit her son and daughter after a judge ruled that she had not kept up custody payments. She and her husband, divorced in 1992 and he won custody of the two children. He remarried three months later and a year later petitioned a court to terminate Brooks parental rights. She appealed and paid a $100 filing fee, but could not afford the over $2,400 in other court fees.


12/16/1996 - Citadel Women's Clothes Set on Fire

The Citadel Military College has suspended one cadet and relieved three others of military duty pending an investigation into a hazing incident involving two female cadets. The male cadets allegedly sprayed the women's clothes with a flammable liquid and then set them on fire. State Law Enforcement and the FBI are also investigating claims of verbal and physical threats against the female cadets. Chief of the State Law Enforcement, Robert M. Stewart commented that the police were looking into, "three categories. One is physical abuse, which may constitute hazing under state law. The second is threats of harm between students, and the third is flammable liquid being placed on articles of clothing being worn by two female freshman cadets, then ignited." The women did not report the situation to their superior officers, but it came to light after they told others who then reported it to a higher command. The Citadel admitted four women this year after a similar all-men military college, the Virginia Military Institute, was deemed unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.


12/16/1996 - O'Leary Leaves Legacy at Energy Department

Secretary of Energy Hazel O'Leary has worked hard to open up the secret operations of the Energy Department. O'Leary exposed to the public until now secret information on human radiation experiments, stockpiles of plutonium and uranium and about forty years worth of pollution due to weapon's development. Believing that companies get away with spending large amounts of money and polluting superfluously, O'Leary began inviting environmentalists and anti-nuclear activists to Energy Department meetings. O'Leary has also streamlined the department's operating budget, lowering it from $19.3 billion and to $16.5 billion.

Commenting on reports that she engaged in excessive and expensive travel, O'Leary said, "There have got to be lots of people who resent me and resent the changes here. The attacks earlier on were on [senior aides] Ken Luongo and Dan Reicher. Then the attacks were on the Department of Energy. When we overcame those attacks, there wasn't anybody left except me." She also commented, "it amazes me that we got clipped on this stuff when the cost of the travel I've done equates to about the cost of the travel anyone else has done on trips of that size."


12/16/1996 - Women Lobby for Political Seat in Pakistan

Pakistanian women and human rights activists have asked political parties to field at least thirty percent women for the upcoming February 3rd general election. Two hundred organizations and over 500 individuals have asked the 23 parties to allow women run for office. This includes financial backing and collaboration on a constitutional amendment restoring reserved seats for women.

The 1973 Constitution envisioned such reserved seats for women but they have never truly come to pass. After the fourth election in 1993, only four women held seats in the 217 member National Assembly.


12/16/1996 - Planned Parenthood Opposes New York State Assembly Ban on D&X Abortions

Planned Parenthood Federation of America has come out in strong opposition to a proposed attempt in the New York State Assembly to ban D&X abortions. The legislation does not make an exceptions to save the woman's life and is therefore most likely unconstitutional. It also would send doctors to jail for providing the women with the procedure.

Gloria Feldt, president of Planned Parenthood, commented, "We need to remember that, despite medical breakthroughs, there are still tragic instances when a fetus develops without a brain or internal organs. That was the case with Vikki Stella, a diabetic mother of two who was able to end her doomed pregnancy with this safe procedure and then go on to have Nicholas, a healthy baby boy. I do not understand how politicians in Albany could think they know more about Vikki Stella's health than her family and her doctor. These are difficult, personal decisions that belong to families and not the government."


12/13/1996 - Congressional Female Custodians Claim Sex Discrimination

Female custodians working in the U.S. Capitol building filed a sex discrimination suit on Thursday, December 12. The 18 women allege that they are paid less than male workers who do much of the same work. The custodian position, comprised mostly of women, receives $9.99 per hour; the laborer position, comprised mostly of men, is paid $10.77 an hour. The custodians claim that the distinction between the two categories concerns name, gender and pay, not job content. Jewel Lewis, a nine-year custodian commented, "We're doing way more than the men and getting underpaid." Tony Corbo, who represents the women, said the custodians must now take out up to 50 pounds of trash while cleaning, though this job is supposedly reserved for the laborers.


12/13/1996 - Clinton Asks Janet Reno to Continue as Attorney General

Squelching weeks of speculation, President Clinton Wednesday asked Janet Reno, the first woman to serve as this nation's top law enforcement official, to remain as Attorney General during his second term. Appearing together Thursday, December 12th at a meeting on anti-drug efforts, neither Clinton nor Reno would discuss her future with the administration. Reno had stated last month that she would like to remain the Attorney General.


12/13/1996 - Former Fannie Mae Employee Awarded Millions in Sexual Harassment Case

A jury has awarded Elizabeth Martini, a former employee of the Federal National Mortgage Association (known as Fannie Mae) $6.9 million in compensatory and punitive damages for suffering sexual and verbal harassment at her job. Martini claims that her supervisor, Forrest Kobayashi, verbally assaulted her because of her sex and subsequently fired her by reorganizing the office she worked in. Martini, the director in the treasurer's office, was the only person to lose her job as a result of the reorganization.