Subject: Testosterone—Fact vs. Fiction
From: Andrew Sullivan
Date: Sun Apr 9
I'm not sure how I could satisfy Shulevitz. She spends the bulk of her article attacking me for things she then concedes I have already acknowledged. She says I make too much of my own experience with testosterone. I said in the article that I was aware I might be deluding myself, but that "it seems plausible enough to ascribe some of this increased edginess and self-confidence ..." to T. Does that sound like reckless exaggeration to you?
She says I confuse causation with correlation, but then concedes I myself wrote that the interaction of cause and effect is very complicated, that, given the ethics of human experimentation, there is no "proof" of T's effects, a word I put in quotation marks in the original piece. She even says I am "very careful" in my choice of words. So what more does she want? If a writer is clear about the limits of his material, but then draws provocative inferences from them, I fail to see the problem. I can't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that testosterone is as important in our society as I say it is, but my own experience and the mass of suggestive correlations leads me to believe it is. That's called opinion journalism. Of course, nervous scientists who are trained to say nothing beyond what the evidence at a minimum proves will cavil at some of my conclusions. Do you think they want to be drummed out of a job by a bunch of PC feminists?
We know an awful amount about testosterone, but we are still at the beginning of real research into its power. While not misrepresenting the data, I wrote an article affirming my own belief that it is probably far more powerful than we now concede. It's possible to draw a more modest conclusion than mine from the data, but that doesn't make my own illegitimate, drawing as it does on my own experience and that of others I know. For Shulevitz, who is ideologically wedded to the notion of the complete interchangeability of the sexes, this is obviously troubling. But she better get used to it. As science advances and the power of nature becomes increasingly obvious, Shulevitz's dogma is going to get harder and harder to sustain.
[To read an unedited copy of this letter, plus responses by Judith Shulevitz, Deborah Blum, Anne Fausto-Sterling, and others, click here and scroll to the bottom.]
Subject: Jeremy Derfner's Agenda
Re: " Net Election: The Front"
From: Deborah Phillips (President, Voting Integrity Project)
Date: Wed Apr 5
Jeremy Derfner clearly came to our conference with an ax to grind, demonstrating his obvious underlying political agenda. In citing projects where VIP has worked with conservative groups, he ignored other groups working on the same projects such as Common Cause and the ACLU. In citing conservatives on the board, he ignored the liberals on our board, including a union election expert, a gay-rights organizer, and a third party activist.
The panels at the conference (just check them out at www.voting-integrity.org) were balanced to the extreme, including such "conservatives" as Jenny Gainesborough of The Sentencing Project, who advocated restoration of voting rights for prisoners (a position that over two-thirds of VIP supporters also support).
Slate has gone too far and shown its willingness to sacrifice election integrity on the altar of e-commerce. In Slate's attempt to bolster the weakening position of Election.com it has demonstrated that it will use any means possible to marginalize the legitimate voting-rights positions of VIP against the illegitimate use of online elections as in Arizona.
Have you no shame Jeremy?
[To read another response from Phillips, click here and scroll to bottom.]
Subject: Al Gore Sr. Was Not Sleazy
Re: " Was Al Gore Sr. a Crook?"
From: Kyle Longley
Date: Sat Apr 8
For the past four years, I have devoted a substantial part of my time to researching and writing an unauthorized biography of Senator Albert Gore. I have read tens of thousands of documents in presidential libraries, the National Archives, the Library of Congress, and congressional archives and private holdings, including a month in the Gore archive at Middle Tennessee State University spread over four trips.
I would disagree with several points raised by Chatterbox. First, I have looked at the financial records of the cattle business, as has Bill Turque in his Gore book, and it is clear that the cattle business was not the lucrative cash cow portrayed by many—especially in Bob Zelnick's horribly researched Gore bio. It helped the senator to network, but it was not especially lucrative.
Gore Sr.'s relationship with Armand Hammer does raise questions. There is no doubt that Hammer had a dark side. I believe that Gore recognized the problems, although this does not mean that he was a co-conspirator. One of the keys to understanding Senator Gore is understanding the Upper Cumberland, where he was born and matured. People from that region are extremely loyal to friends, no matter what their weaknesses.
Where Chatterbox and I disagree most is the notion that Vice President Gore may have been initially turned off to politics by the nature of Senator Gore's political relationships. I have dozens of published and unpublished interviews, and this idea never even remotely arises.
I agree that politics turned off the vice president to public service, but it was by the nasty, chaotic politics of the late 1960s. The 1970 defeat of his father by William Brock was a pivotal moment in his life. Tennesseans rejected his father's stances on Vietnam and civil rights, which crushed the younger Gore. Added to this was the vice president's time in Vietnam and the watching of people such as Agnew and Nixon rise to power, undermining many of his idealistic views. I firmly believe that Senator Gore's influence on his son was extremely positive—which helps explain why he ran for office within six years of his father's defeat.
[To read an unedited version of this post, click here and scroll to the bottom.]
Subject: Race-Neutral Discrimination
From: Doug Lasdon
Date: Mon Apr 10
Weisberg accuses Gore of race baiting. Why? Because Gore tells Hispanics that Bush's race-neutral tax plan would hurt them disproportionately. But Weisberg misses the point. Gore may or may not be aiming a cheap shot at Bush, but policies that harm poor people are more likely to adversely effect people of color. Initiatives couched in race-neutral language can have grossly disparate impacts on minority groups, and may in fact be racist in motivation. As Anatole France dryly remarked over a century ago, the laws prohibiting sleeping under bridges do not discriminate against poor people because they prohibit rich people, too, from sleeping under bridges.