Saturday, August 03, 2013

Burying the lede

I was of the mind that one of the biggest reveals in the Texas Observer's piece on misogyny in the Lege was well down in the story, and sure enough the NCRM beat me to it.

Even the most powerful women in the Legislature experience it. When I started interviewing women lawmakers, they all—Republican and Democrat, House and Senate, rural and urban—said that being a woman in the statehouse is more difficult than being a man. Some told of senators ogling women on the Senate floor or watching porn on iPads and on state-owned computers, of legislators hitting on female staffers or using them to help them meet women, and of hundreds of little comments in public and private that women had to brush off to go about their day. Some said they often felt marginalized and not listened to—that the sexism in the Legislature made their jobs harder and, at times, produced public policy hostile to women.

Of all of the various actions that can get a person's employment in the private sector terminated, surfing porn at work is pretty much at the top of the list. It doesn't require eyewitness testimony; there's no he said/she said BS, the offender can't say it never happened. When former Houston Metro chairman George Greanias went to on his personal laptop late one night at the office, he was nailed for it. As bright a man as he was, he didn't understand the whole VPN login-IT audit trail thing.

All of the bad behavior described in that article is (should be) zero-tolerance, but a state employee or elected official using taxpayer-funded computers, servers, IPs, etc. for their personal sexual titillation ought to be grounds for immediate dismissal. No warnings, no waiting until the next election.

It's at least as serious as forging timestamps on roll call votes, but then again I don't see Attorney General Greg Abbott investigating that either.

A real good question for religious conservatives to ask the Three TeaBaggers running to replace Abbott in the AG office: "Do you support or oppose state legislators, staff, etc. using their computers and tablets to look at porn?"

Because at least one of them is bound to oppose it strongly enough to be willing to make an example of someone.

Update: A solid take on how to fix these problems from nonsequiteuse.


Gadfly said...

Or, to pretend to make an example of somebody, while actually slow-walking them.

Besides, wouldn't it be the Lite Guv filing charges, not the AG, as their nominal boss on the Senate side, or Straus on the House side? You know Dudley Dewless wouldn't do anything. Not sure about JoePa. As for complainant women? The Observer already made clear that Repub women suffer in silence because it toughens them up. That leaves Dem women in the Lege actually seeing porn on a mobile being used by a Repub, then filing harassment charges, as the only likely solution.

PDiddie said...

I'm uncertain about the proper jurisdiction but my thought is that any Senator could file a complaint and the appropriate law enforcement agency -- OAG, Texas Rangers -- would investigate. Then again, if it is within the purview of DPS, that would explain why it hasn't gone anywhere.

The last I have heard about this publicly was Leticia Van de Putte's remarks on June 27.

PDiddie said...

My previous was making reference to the falsified timestamps.

With regard to the porn on a state computer, that should not require a formal complaint. As it is in the private sector, an offense should automatically be grounds for ending a person's career, forfeit of use, etc.

I can't see how that could be anything but the OAG's responsibility.

Unknown said...

On May 26,2011, State Rep Debbie Riddle, a Republican, chided the House about members watching porn on the chamber floor. She said this in support of State Rep Senfronia Thompson, Democrat, during Rep Thompson's point of personal privilege about the House disrespecting women. So maybe we can get the Republican women to complain again about the sexism. Especially re: watching porn at work