Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News, Commentary and Blog posts from the Independent Women's Foundation.(...)IWF RSS Wipes Ban + Meals On Wheels Hysteria • Cam & Co GunlockTue, 21 Mar 2017 16:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumNew York City Bans Flushable Wipes • RT Boom Bust GunlockTue, 21 Mar 2017 10:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPresident Trump's Budget Cuts to PBS and Meals on Wheels • Fox & Friends Weekend GunlockMon, 20 Mar 2017 09:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumFlushing Busybody Politicians<p> Regulators must think they need to bolster their collective bad reputations as the worst sort of busybodies. Showing that no issue is too small, regulators in the nation&rsquo;s capital have prohibited labeling flushable wipes &ndash; a useful product loved by mothers of infants and messy toddlers to the elderly, and everyone in between &ndash; as &ldquo;flushable&rdquo;, effectively creating a ban on local sales for this nationally marketed consumer good.</p> <p> Other cities are likely to follow in Washington DC&rsquo;s footsteps. In fact, in New York City, council member Donovan Richards has already introduced a bill to ban the sale of flushable wipes, wrongly claiming they do not dissolve in sewer systems.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s a familiar, though entirely false, criticism. Those who oppose these convenient products suggest flushable wipes are contributing to the increasingly disgusting problem of citywide sewer blockages. Yet, they overlook another, very similar product, that&rsquo;s far more likely to be causing the problem&mdash;baby wipes and cleaning wipes, which are not flushable because they contain plastic filaments that do not break down in sewers. Flushable wipes do not contain plastic and are designed to disaggregate in sewer systems.&nbsp;</p> <p> These facts appear to matter little to D.C. politicians who in December passed the first ever ban on the sale of flushable wipes until sewer and infrastructure officials get around to developing citywide &ldquo;flushable&rdquo;&nbsp;standards (apparently, unlike immigration policy, it&rsquo;s okay for government officials to &ldquo;pause&rdquo; on government policies governing the type of wipe one uses in the bathroom).&nbsp;</p> <p> Yet, sadly for DC residents, these flushable standards won&rsquo;t be developed anytime soon. It&rsquo;s common knowledge that city water authority staff is already stretched so thin that they simply won&rsquo;t be able to take on these standard setting responsibilities. What&rsquo;s even more galling is that the Federal Trade Commission has already established a national standard for flushable wipes, making these DC-specific standards unnecessary.</p> <p> While sewage problems are indeed a worthy cause for city officials&rsquo; attention, it&rsquo;s important to not throw the baby products out with the bathwater. In a recent sewage test in New York City, only two percent of the sewage blockage residue came from flushable wipes while a full 33 percent was made up of the plastic filament contained in non-flushable baby wipes. Perhaps a better use of resources would be to urge people not to flush the products that are intended for the garbage rather than the toilet?</p> <p> Politicians would also do well to remember why certain products are developed in the first place: in response to genuine consumer interest. Flushable wipes are popular with mothers of young children and with those who care for the elderly. The unintended consequences of this measure should also be considered. This ban will result in the greater use of non-flushable wipes, like baby wipes and chlorine-based cleaning wipes (which are not banned). In fact, it&rsquo;s likely people will start flushing more of these wipes instead of the flushable alternative, which will only exacerbate the problems with the city&rsquo;s sewers.</p> <p> Naturally, environmentalists are on the wrong side of this issue, applauding the ban when they should be vocally opposed to the waste that this ban will create. Flushable wipes are biodegradable and cut down on the water usage related to using non-disposable washcloths in place of flushable wipes. Where are the environmentalists on water waste and the needed infrastructure repairs that will inevitably result from this ban?</p> <p> The anti-flushable wipe fervor that is sweeping city councils and state legislatures isn&rsquo;t just a waste of time and resources; It is a perfect example of the smallness and intransigence of big government. Politicians see nothing wrong with stepping in to fix a problem that doesn&rsquo;t exist and creating a solution that will result in substantial and unintended human costs, while making society&rsquo;s problem far worse.</p> <p> No wonder so many Americans wish they could flush the political class and start anew.&nbsp;</p> <p> <em>Julie</em>&nbsp;<em>Gunlock is the mother of three messy boys and is a fan of flushable wipes. She writes for the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum.</em></p> GunlockThu, 16 Mar 2017 09:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumFeminism’s Problems are Bigger Than One Bad Teacher<p> In the popular &lsquo;80s movie&nbsp;<em>The&nbsp;Goonies</em>, the character Chunk is taken prisoner by the bank-robbing Fratelli gang, who are on the lam and hiding in an abandoned seaside restaurant. When Francis Fratelli (brilliantly played by Joe Pantoliano), the more sociopathic of the two Fratelli brothers, holds Chunk&rsquo;s hand over a running blender&rsquo;s blades and says, &ldquo;I want you tell us everything . . . everything [about the location of your friends] . . .&rdquo; (who are going to find the police), Chunk relents, spilling the beans&hellip;sort of:</p> <blockquote> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;">&ldquo;Okay, Okay, I&rsquo;ll talk&hellip;in third grade I cheated on my history exam. In fourth grade I stole my Uncle Max&rsquo;s toupee and glued it on my face when I played Moses in my Hebrew school play. In fifth grade . . .&rdquo;</span></p> </blockquote> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p> This scene popped into my head when I began reading Shira Hirschman Weiss&rsquo; rather&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">depressing blog in the Huffington Post</a>. In her recent &ldquo;My Kindergarten Teacher Almost Ruined &lsquo;Feminism&rsquo; for Me,&rdquo; blog post, Weiss comes off a little like Chunk, rambling on about how, at five, she was mistreated by a stern (and clearly not very nice) teacher and that this mistreatment caused her a lifetime of anxiety and mistrust of feminists.</p> <p> Weiss&rsquo; blog starts off with the Dickensian image of her as a tiny, five-year-old cleaning the cruel teacher&rsquo;s paintbrushes. Weiss writes, likely with a bit of exaggeration, that she &ldquo;spent the day washing&rdquo; the paintbrushes and that despite spending her entire day at the sink, she was never able to meet the teacher&rsquo;s approval, adding parenthetically &ldquo;(in any way)&rdquo; and was &ldquo;always being sent back to the sink, missing outdoor time with the other kids.&rdquo;</p> <p> Weiss also details the verbal abuse she suffered, writing that the teacher called her &ldquo;weird&rdquo; and questioned, presumably within earshot, whether Weiss suffered from &ldquo;mental retardation.&rdquo; She says overall, the teacher &ldquo;made it clear that she felt I was hopeless.&rdquo;</p> <p> This is tough to read and a sad commentary on the lack of kindness, empathy, professionalism, and basic manners on the part of this teacher (that, sadly, was probably more common decades ago). There&rsquo;s no arguing that this teacher was abusive and Weiss understandably has had to work through these feelings of inadequacy for years. Yet, the connection to feminism and Weiss&rsquo; later suggestion that others share her distrust of feminists for similar reasons (having one bad experience with one feminist) ignores the real problems in the feminist movement.</p> <p> Weiss writes she often felt nauseous when hearing the word &ldquo;feminists&rdquo; because this abusive teacher was a well known feminist in the town: &ldquo;In our tight-knit community, she was known for advocating rights for religious Jewish females.&rdquo; She&rsquo;s since moved beyond her reactionary fear, but ponders if others have a similar, misunderstood Pavlovian association with the term:</p> <blockquote> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;">There is a sort of negative association in some people&rsquo;s minds and we don&rsquo;t always know the psychological roots. Perhaps their parents snickered at an &ldquo;eccentric&rdquo; neighbor whose intentions were ahead of her time. Or perhaps, like me, a person attached to important and good work had some glaring faults and a truly negative impact on them personally.</span></p> </blockquote> <p> It&rsquo;s natural to take one&rsquo;s own experiences and assume others share it, but in this case, there are a lot of other reasons that many women (and men) are put off by the modern feminist movement that have nothing to do with a specific negative association or experience.</p> <p> Many modern women simply don&rsquo;t relate to the mainstream feminists narrative that the world (and mostly America) is overwhelmingly hostile to women. Many women don&rsquo;t see men as the enemy or feel that women are at a disadvantage and must constantly battle against a patriarchal system that seeks to make them second class citizens, pay them less, ignore their contributions to society and generally make their lives a living hell.&nbsp; They see the vulgarity and profanity that laces events like the Women&rsquo;s March and want no part of it.</p> <p> In fact, according to a recent&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Vox poll</a>, eighty-two percent of American women don&rsquo;t identify as feminists. Perhaps these women also had vicious teachers who also happened to be feminist leaders in their communities. But something tells me the modern feminists&rsquo; message deserves more of the blame.</p> GunlockWed, 15 Mar 2017 12:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumNanny State: Europe vs. USA + #DayWithoutAWoman • Cam & Company GunlockTue, 14 Mar 2017 15:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumNeil deGrasse Tyson Tries to Kill the Tooth Fairy<p> It&rsquo;s typical nowadays for people to take things way too seriously. That&rsquo;s precisely what normally charming astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson did when he claimed that parents who promote traditional childhood fairytales, like the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus, are participating in a &ldquo;hoax perpetuated by adults on children.&rdquo;</p> <p> Sheesh. Take it down a couple light years, Neil.</p> <p> Appearing on&nbsp;<em>The Late Late Show with James Corden</em>, Tyson was asked how he and his wife handle these decidedly unscientific issues. Forgetting he was on a comedy show, Tyson launched into an invective he usually reserves for conspiracy theorists, saying that he and his wife &ldquo;are not going to lie to our kids, because the universe is amazing enough we don&rsquo;t have to invent stuff just to keep kids entertained.&rdquo;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p> Yes, yes, stars and planets and suns and moons and science and all that. It&rsquo;s all just incredible . . . everyone thinks so. Yet, is appreciating the wonderment of the world and carrying on parenting traditions like Santa Claus mutually exclusive? Does appreciating the natural wonders of the universe necessarily diminish the joy of putting out cookies and celery for Santa and his reindeer? Does star gazing with your child preclude a reading of&nbsp;<em>The Night Before Christmas</em>&nbsp;before tucking little Timmy and Susie into bed on Christmas Eve? If we enjoy a trip to the planetarium, or appreciate Tyson&rsquo;s&nbsp;<em><a href="" target="_blank">Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey</a></em>&nbsp;television program, does it mean we can&rsquo;t have a little fun stuffing a dollar bill under a child&rsquo;s pillow after the trauma of losing a tooth?</p> <p> Tyson also seems to forget the practical uses for these myths. They make kids (and parents) happy and can bring a small measure of relief to some tough parenting situations. Consider, for instance, the rather macabre childhood milestone of losing teeth, a phenomenon I suppose belongs in Tyson&rsquo;s category of natural and &ldquo;amazing&rdquo; things. But, let&rsquo;s be real: It&rsquo;s gross and, at the very least, it&rsquo;s irritating to have a wobbly tooth hanging out in your head. Kids often complain that they can&rsquo;t bite down on food, and when the tooth really gets loose, it often begins to hurt as the jagged upper edge inflames the gums.</p> <p> Worse still, these irksome loose teeth can hang on for weeks. It&rsquo;s common for kids to refuse to let their parents pull the tooth, releasing it from that one remaining, and stubbornly strong piece of tissue keeping it anchored in place. But at the end of all of this trauma, guess what? A kid gets a dollar or two, which makes losing the next tooth slightly less distressing since it&rsquo;s another opportunity to earn some money.</p> <p> Tyson did end up climbing down from his lofty scientific perch just long enough to tell a delightful story about how his daughter and her friends decided to test the theory behind the Tooth Fairy. Tyson&rsquo;s daughter and her friends agreed, as a group, that when the first among them lost the next tooth, they would place it under their pillow&nbsp;<em>without</em>&nbsp;informing their parents. Sneaky, and brilliant. The next day, Tyson, explains, the tooth was still there, which proved to this gang of science-minded friends that the Tooth Fairy was, in fact, a made up story. This is an exercise that I fully endorse: critical thought, experimentation, testing theories, outsmarting your parent . . . well done, kids!</p> <p> But Tyson should also remember the importance of teaching our kids about the wonders of imagination, the joy of story-telling, the importance of a sense of humor, and the value of staying a kid for a little longer. These &ldquo;hoaxes&rdquo; perpetuated by adults on children are one fine way to do that, and do nothing to detract from our appreciation of other wonders of the world, whether they are made up or a part of nature.</p> GunlockTue, 28 Feb 2017 14:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumNanny State Update: #CPAC2017 Edition • Cam & Company GunlockMon, 27 Feb 2017 10:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumFood And Fear: How To Find Facts In Today's Culture Of Alarmism • Marc Cox GunlockThu, 16 Feb 2017 14:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPodcast #70 Debunking Rachel Carson's Alarmism On Manmade Chemicals<div> <div> <div> <p> IWF&#39;s Julie Gunlock is joined by Hank Campbell, the president of American Council on Science and Health. Julie and Hank discuss Rachel Carson and her book Silent Spring, which argues that manmade chemicals affect the health and safety of humans. But despite the alarmism, today more people have access to food and the rate of cancer and other diseases are on the decline. Julie and Hank discuss how her book has been debunked many times and why we shouldn&#39;t be alarmed by her point of view.</p> </div> <div> <div> &nbsp;</div> </div> <div> <div> <div> &nbsp;</div> </div> </div> <div> <div> &nbsp;</div> </div> </div> </div> <p> &nbsp;</p> GunlockWed, 15 Feb 2017 15:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPhiladelphia's New Soda Tax • Boom Bust GunlockFri, 10 Feb 2017 09:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPhilly's Soda Taxes Are Hurting Consumers, Businesses, And The Poor • Steve Gruber GunlockThu, 9 Feb 2017 14:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSuper Bowl Sunday Cable Outage + Political Food Choices • Cam & Company GunlockTue, 7 Feb 2017 12:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPodcast #69 Food And Fear: How Monsanto Is Vilified By Activists<p> On this Working for Women Podcast, Julie Gunlock speaks to Yvette D&#39;Entrement (better known as the SciBabe). Yvette recently toured Monsanto--an agriculture company that is often vilified by activists. What did Yvette learn? What does Monsanto do to help farmers and make food more accessible to people worldwide? Tune in to find out.</p> GunlockTue, 7 Feb 2017 11:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPodcast #68 Sifting Through Food Alarmism To Find Real Facts<p> On this episode, Julie Gunlock and Amanda Zaluckyj, founder of the blog The Farmers Daughter talk about an upcoming event in St Louis on which they will both appear.</p> <p> Americans continue to get mixed messages about food and nutrition. Consumers are increasingly having trouble finding reliable information. The all-star panel will address food fears and how to sift through the alarmism to find science-based information to complex nutrition and agriculture issues.</p> <p> Panelists will tackle the following questions: What are the origins of food fears? How have food fears altered consumer behaviors? Why are women targeted for fear-based marketing strategies? What can the science, medical, agricultural, and academic communities to do help provide consumers better information?</p> <p> RSVP HERE:&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="">;ets-31064105576</a></p> GunlockFri, 3 Feb 2017 09:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum