Debbie Schlussel Rides The My Little Pony Of Bigotry

Print This Post

You may also like...

132 Responses

  1. jgarfink says:

    I like you.

  2. TJIC says:

    I'm underwhelmed with Sally Ride's experiences at an astronaut …but not because of Godless International Bolshevik Feminism.

    …but because she was a government employee who got selected from hundreds of other candidates who were all, likely, just as good, and got paid with tax dollars to do something that thousands of others would pay millions of dollars for.

    She was spam-in-a-can, and got a stunningly cool trip from the government. She then used that fame to bootstrap a career.

    OK, fine.

    I don't hate her for that, but I don't idealize her either. There are folks who are paid with my tax dollars to do useless stuff in all manner of places: DEA agents in Mexico, spider researchers in Cambridge, education PhDs in Chicago, NATO liason officers in Belgium.

    Meh.

    Nick down at the local sub shop is (a) doing more useful work than any of these people, (b) isn't taking my tax dollars to do it.

  3. Ken says:

    I don't know if Debbie Schlussel is a character invented by Debbie Schlussel to reap attention and money, or if she's actually the smirking ambulatory pustule she seems to be. I don't care. She's vile.

    You can read our prior coverage of her under the the Schlusselwatch tag.

  4. Ben says:

    Some astronauts/cosmonauts have been accomplished scientists and engineers in their own right. They are not simply passengers on a joy ride, even now, when more and more of their duties have been successfully automated.

  5. Gavin says:

    Before she goes into her strange "a man did that first" rant that you so aptly torn apart, I think one general point is that affirmative action is racist and sexist by giving preference to candidates based on the color of skin or what's in/not in their pants.

    This is technically true. It's the same reason why I find government grants based on race/gender instead of poverty level deplorable. I don't think a hispanic or white neighbor should be passed over in a black neighborhood just because his particular demographic wasn't in the bill. Positive racism/sexism is still racism/sexism. So I just don't think two wrongs make a right (discrimination does not undo discrimination).

    But instead of just attacking flaws in laws based on race/gender or writing an intelligent article on the bigotry of choosing someone with less qualifications based on gender/race, she went and attacked a woman who blazed a trail for women to see a similar path. The "first woman to do X" claims are necessary to shatter glass ceilings and pave the way for others. The reason why there were so many men more qualified than her was because no real affirmative action existed in the decades leading up to that, giving men a clear experience/qualification advantage over her. Bravo to NASA for taking this initiative and taking those factors into consideration. Had women been given a fair shake at qualifying for the shuttle program all along than it would have been wrong to do this, but that wasn't the case here.

    Anyone failing to see why showing the status quo changing is important is clearly missing the point.

    WHOA, I just clicked the link to the actual article. What's wrong with this person?! Is she a well known media personality? You were actually being generous in what you decided not to cite.

  6. Stephen says:

    It is ironic TJIC, that you think so little of space flight. The massive energy released by unraveling your twisted up panties could probably get you into a low earth orbit.

  7. delurking says:

    How much did Hasbro pay you?

  8. ZK says:

    I'm glad the "draft post" titles are becoming a reality.

  9. Patrick says:

    I should mention that, as is our practice, all links to Schlussel's site contain the "nofollow" tag, instructing Google, et. al. not to use the link in their Page rank calculations.

  10. Gavin says:

    @Patrick,

    Thank goodness. I'd hate to popularize this crazy.

  11. Daryl Herbert says:

    If Sally Ride's obit revealed she was secretly a Republican, I'm guessing Ms. Schlussel's article would have a slightly different take on her history and accomplishments.

  12. Nick says:

    Just one little nitpick: it's envy, not jealousy.

    Assuming Ms. Schlussel has never been in space, that is.

  13. Hal_10000 says:

    Wow, that was beautiful.

    I think one general point is that affirmative action is racist and sexist by giving preference to candidates based on the color of skin or what's in/not in their pants.

    The thing is, I don't see this as affirmative action. There's no question that Ride was qualified to go into space. Even if were to posit that NASA selected her from a field of *equally qualified* astronauts because of her gender … so what? She was still qualified. And her flight gave inspiration to millions of young girls. Isn't one of the points of our NASA program to inspire?

  14. Allen says:

    Maybe we'll get a twofer if she sends one of her cease and desist letters here to Popehat. Followed with one of her famous copyright violation threats for publishing it.

    The funniest part of her tirade was that she seems to be genuinely clueless that an agency, funded by the taxpayers, bases some of it's decisions on visibility and politics.

  15. Grifter says:

    @Gavin:

    You said what I was going to say, almost point for point! Jerk…

  16. Bruce B says:

    How sweet of Ms. Schlussel to think that we ever lived in a strict meritocracy! That of course must explain Mitt Romney.

    Funny how the meritocracy only fails when someone advances who isn't white or male or heterosexual or judeo-christian. God forbid that out of a pool of dozens of qualified candidates someone is selected on less than objective and relevant criteria. Obviously a Hunger Games type contest is the only way to pick the winner!

  17. TJIC says:

    @Stephen:

    > It is ironic TJIC, that you think so little of space flight.

    You're jumping to assumptions here.

    I think that space flight is the coolest thing that mankind has ever done, and I've longed to travel into space since I first became aware of rockets at the age of four or so.

    What I ** DO ** think very little of is the jobs program for mediocre engineers known as NASA, and the trillions of dollars it has wasted on stunts that serve no actual purpose.

  18. Jim Clay says:

    @Stephen Nice content-free ad-hominem. TJIC is right.

  19. Connie says:

    I'm eagerly awaiting the next article, THE QUAKER OATMEAL V. FUNNY-JUNK: PART LVII: CARREON'S OATMEAL GETS COOKED

  20. leslie says:

    "To the moon Debbie, to the moon!"

  21. Al says:

    UTF-8 character conversion, much like math, is hard!

  22. Dan says:

    @TJIC: You fool! Without NASA, we may never know if ants can be trained to sort tiny screws in space.

  23. Jack B. says:

    A ditzy blond woman saying outrageously bigoted things in order to garner fame and attention? A man did it first.

  24. EH says:

    TJIC: What do you know about engineering?

  25. EH says:

    A 12 year old helped a national leader get elected? A Nazi did that first.

  26. Gavin says:

    @Hal_10000:

    The idea is that choosing her over men because she's a woman is still sexism. Sexism in any form is wrong. Do you disagree with that? The "so what" factor here is that the men are seeing discrimination for a reason civil rights activists have fought against for so long.You're forgetting that there's two sides of a coin here. For the woman being chosen because she was born a woman, there's a man being discriminated against because he wasn't born a woman. This is no different than when the tables were turned. There should be equal opportunity for all, not loaded dice.

    This is a very specific situation though. I believe that it needed to be done. This isn't about an equally qualified person being chosen as you stated. There's qualification and then there's experience and other elements that candidates bring to the table that make them a better candidate than others. Keep in mind that there were so many more qualified, more experienced male candidates than her only because of public sexism before affirmative action. In my mind, that gave NASA leeway to overlook less experience since there being no valid female candidate at the time was just a consequence of unethical behavior on their part in the past. This all assumes Debbie's claim that there were more qualified candidates was true, which it probably was even if the rest of her article goes off into crazyland.

    In today's society, as we move further and further away from sexist and racist establishments we need to see these sorts of activities diminish. The best candidate for the job needs to be the one that gets the job. If there is a question about which one is the best candidate, it needs to fall to personality, a test, even a coin toss but never race or gender.

    I was listening to a discussion board between officers in my county competing for the office of Sheriff. There were two very experienced male candidates and a younger much less experienced female candidate. A person called in and said that she was voting for the woman because she was younger (new eyes, she said) and because she wanted to see a woman in that position. She acknowledged that the current sheriff is known for having done a great job but that this was how her mind was set.

    The people then seemed to accept her statement and move on, like gender and age discrimination are now acceptable things to base decisions on. This disturbing trend will only harm us when being a certain race or gender is considered part of the qualification for a job. We will be hurt by this mindset the same way we were held back when we didn't broaden our labor pool to include minorities and females (more candidates in the labor pool = better results). There will always need to be laws in place to protect people from being discriminated against, but right now laws are being discriminating themselves.

    @Grifter,

    Sorry, perhaps this post reveals something that you ardently disagree with. haha.

  27. JRM says:

    Is that really a misuse of "literally"?

    And your argument that she was qualified because she did go doesn't address Schlussel's argument that others were more qualified. Even before that, it's not particularly compelling; plenty of people are not qualified to do things they do. You've met other lawyers, right?

    I think Schlussel's natural inclination is to be shrilly wrong about everything, including this. But I'm unconvinced your arguments against this soft target are entirely sound.

  28. M. says:

    Are we allowed to use the word 'cunt' here?

  29. Maybe she and Obama should do a stage show.

    Obama: You didn't build that.
    Debbie: Yeah….a MAN did it first.

  30. Orville says:

    I suspect that the drive to smear Sally Ride has more to do with her being a lesbian than her being female.

    Can't have people finding out their hero was one of the gays, can we? If their reputation isn't immediately dragged through the mud then good, normal people may discover that homosexuals are human beings just like them.

    That would be bad for America. Our economy is just not strong enough to survive the shock of tolerance reducing the income of people preaching bile and hate.

  31. Kevin Horner says:

    At the risk of getting flamed, I would liek to comment about this:

    Gavin wote:
    "Before she goes into her strange "a man did that first" rant that you so aptly torn apart, I think one general point is that affirmative action is racist and sexist by giving preference to candidates based on the color of skin or what's in/not in their pants."

    Yes, Affirmative Action does give preference to non-whites or white women. There is a reason for that! White men simply have more opportunities than non-white men or women of any color. So, Affirmitive Action's intent is to force white men to be less preferential to other white men. That may not be right from a strict fairness point of view, neither is white men prefering to give opportunities to other white men. So, until we live in a perfect fairyland where everyone treats each other fairly, we have to live with this sort of thing.
    Maybe two wrongs don't make a right, but sometimes we have to do things we don't like. (police officers shooting and killing people in the line of duty is a good example)

  32. Ben says:

    JRM,

    'Literal' is used when we are attempting to distinguish from figurative and idiomatic expressions.

    For instance, the idiom "Caught red handed" is used (for whatever reason) to denote clear guilt… But if we surprise an individual who is, say, wrist deep in red dye, we might say he was literally 'caught red handed'.

    I think his point is there is no real idiom "worked on a campaign since the sixth grade". That is already a literal usage.

  33. Andrew says:

    One minor nit-pick… If I recall correctly, "National Merit Finalist" does mean winning a National Merit Scholarship.

    Why someone with a bachelor's degree or higher is still boasting about that is another matter altogether.

  34. Patrick says:

    Your recollection is incorrect.

    – a National Merit Finalist

  35. Andrew says:

    Hmm… OK.

    I somehow got a National Merit Scholarship, or maybe someone took pity on me.

    - another National Merit Finalist

  36. PLW says:

    From nationalmerit.org:

    Merit Scholarship awards are of three types:

    1) National Merit® $2500 Scholarships
    Every Finalist competes for these single payment scholarships, which are awarded on a state representational basis. Winners are selected without consideration of family financial circumstances, college choice, or major and career plans.
    2) Corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards
    Corporate sponsors designate their awards for children of their employees or members, for residents of a community where a company has operations, or for Finalists with career plans the sponsor wishes to encourage. These scholarships may either be renewable for four years of undergraduate study or one-time awards.
    3) College-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards
    Officials of each sponsor college select winners of their awards from Finalists who have been accepted for admission and have informed NMSC by the published deadlines that the sponsor college or university is their first choice.

    -A Corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship winner (Thanks Xerox!)

  37. Andrew says:

    Thanks for the clarification. I'll stop being quite so stupid now.

    - Another Corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship winner (I'd thank GTE, but they went away right after my last year of undergrad. That scholarship must have put them under, I guess.)

  38. Gavin says:

    @Kevin Horner,

    I don't know why anyone would flame you for bringing up a point.

    The intent of affirmative action is supposed to be to even the playing field and to give minorities and women the same opportunity as white males. This means that a more qualified black woman should get the job and not a less qualified white male just because he's a man and a certain color.

    That is the "intent" but the way it plays out is by doing the same thing it's trying to stop. This is a serious flaw that needs to be addressed. No one should be punished for their race or gender and this law is doing just that. Why is it ok to give actual preference to a race or gender when just equality is supposed to be the game? All qualifications being equal, how is a black female any different from a white male in any meaningful way that should be considered? If race, then that is racism, if gender, then that is sexism. Both would be discrimination.

    Does that make sense? Equality is neither race nor gender having special entitlements over the other. Anything else is a civil injustice.

  39. Gavin says:

    Two clarifications:

    1. Don't know why anyone would flame you for having a rational point.
    2. Equality is neither race nor gender having special entitlements over another. (just saying "other" makes it sound like there's just two races)

  40. Brewerbob says:

    @TJIC:
    What I ** DO ** think very little of is the jobs program for mediocre engineers known as NASA, and the trillions of dollars it has wasted on stunts that serve no actual purpose.

    Really? Trillions? What planet are you living on? NASA has NEVER received that much money in anyone's dreams. You live and use the fallout from these "stunts" every day. While I am no fan of NASA after Apollo/Skylab, I will give them credit where it is due.

  41. Christophe says:

    I'm a bit curious about this enormous list of clearly-more-qualified men who were absolutely the right choice to ride as Mission Specialist 2 on STS-7 and STS-41-G. Who were they, and why were they clearly more qualified?

  42. Roscoe says:

    Okay, I don't get the fascination with this Schlussel woman on this site. I would never have even known she existed if not for these posts. Is there some kind of inside joke I am missing?

  43. Gavin says:

    @Christophe,

    It is probably a large list of people who were equally physically qualified but had a ton more experience since NASA had been hiring men far before any women were considered. So it's probably just time in the program which does count for experience. There were likely men with a decade or more of experience with NASA programs that were still physically fit enough to go.

    NASA likely realized this and began making exceptions since the disparity of experience between genders was NASA's own doing.

  44. Allen says:

    The idea that Sally Ride was some kind of Affirmative Action pick is flat out goofy. She had a MSc and PhD in Physics from Stanford. For pity sake when she got her degrees about half the Nobel Prize winners in Physics for the previous 30 years were professors there. They don't just hand those things out. That alone puts her to the head of the line for a Shuttle crew slot.

    As an aside, do you want to see the strangest riot of your life? Try telling physics professors to let a PhD candidate through for the optics of it.

    In reality the management at NASA probably wanted her up in space sooner for the PR, but the old line probably hung tough on the rotation and training schedule.

  45. Christophe says:

    @Gavin,

    Yeah. As any hiring manager knows, "more time with the organization" is not always the same as "best fit for a particular job."

    It's interesting, because there is a cryptic assumption that *of course* there must have been *lots* of better-qualified men. I don't think that can be taken as true on its facel. I'm sure there were men you could make a strong case for, but in any real-world hiring situation, it's essentially never true that you can neatly sort people from Best Fit to Worst Fit without any subjective factors.

    (There's also an assumption that the best choice for an astronaut is a test pilot. Maybe that was true for Mercury and Gemini, but for the Shuttle? Really, the "I landed a crippled fighter on a carrier in a storm with only my teeth"-type is not necessarily a job qualification.)

    Anyway, when it comes to affirmative action? The Russians did it first.

  46. Christophe says:

    As an aside, do you want to see the strangest riot of your life? Try telling physics professors to let a PhD candidate through for the optics of it.

    That visual totally made my day, thank you. :)

  47. Grandy says:

    I was an AP english finalist, but I didn't get in.

  48. Gavin says:

    @Christophe,

    In an organisation like this, experience can mean the difference between life and death. You're not just talking about sitting in a desk longer, you're talking about extensive flight and missions history. There's a reason why pilots have a "number of flights" category when applying for jobs. More flights do actually mean more experience.

    This isn't like a normal office where "Tom" who'd been working here forever turned out to be a terrible manager.

  49. TJIC says:

    @EH:
    > TJIC: What do you know about engineering?

    Well, on the one hand, I've got an engineering degree from a decent school and have started my own business. So "a medium bit".

    On the other hand, it's in computer science, so you might not trust me with a soldering iron. That's certainly the safe bet.

  50. TJIC says:

    @Brewerbob
    > Really? Trillions?

    Yes.

    > What planet are you living on?

    One with calculators.

    What planet are YOU living on?

    > NASA has NEVER received that much money in anyone's dreams.

    Look, I'm going to cut you off before you embarrass yourself further.

    1) Go here to find NASA's annual budget
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budget_of_NASA
    2) Go here to find an inflation calculator
    http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm/

    now do the obvious multiplication and summation.

    3) Come back here and apologize to me for your combination of snarkiness and ignorance, which is never an appealing combination.

    > You live and use the fallout from these "stunts" every day.

    I don't think I use scorched pieces of Skylab or Columbia more than once a month.

    > While I am no fan of NASA after Apollo/Skylab, I will give them credit where it is due.

    Me too. It's a HECK of a way to buy off the nomenklatura and apparatchik classes.

  51. Luke says:

    None of those men had the PR qualifications to be the First American Woman in Space. PR/human interest stories are a big part of keeping the public engaged, not to mention being an inspiration for many young women. If it had been another white male it would not have been a big deal.

    In a side example not involving gender or race: would anyone have really cared about Lance Armstrong when he won his first Tour if he hadn't been a cancer survivor?

  52. PLW says:

    Looks close to "A Trillion" than "Trillions". It's still a lot.

  53. TJIC says:

    @luke:
    > None of those men had the PR qualifications to be the First American Woman in Space. PR/human interest stories are a big part of keeping the public engaged

    The problem with people redefining NASA's mission from "go places, do things" to "get demographic X engaged" (children, women, etc) is that success on that goal is measurable.

  54. TJIC says:

    @PLW:
    > Looks close to "A Trillion" than "Trillions". It's still a lot.

    Over two trillion by my math.

  55. Grifter says:

    @Gavin:

    Nope, still agree with you (and, on a side note, similar expressions got me banned from posting on BoingBoing).

    @Luke:

    That's a good point. I don't think any one on here is actually criticizing Sally Ride's situation, but rather discussing affirmative action as a whole.

  56. Tom says:

    She had a MSc and PhD in Physics from Stanford. For pity sake when she got her degrees about half the Nobel Prize winners in Physics for the previous 30 years were professors there. They don't just hand those things out.

    This will be news to you, but apparently they do. I only found out about this woman because Ken was (not) nice enough to retweet her "Sally Ride was nothing but a vagina in space" tweet. Like a gawker at a car crash, I made the mistake of looking at her full feed. When people made basically the point you just raised, she said (slightly paraphrased "Big deal, they hand those out to anyone."

    Which, you will admit, is a strange position for someone so obsessed with her own achievements in grade school.

  57. Ken says:

    Well, she's got a point. You wouldn't believe the losers who can get a Stanford degree.

  58. Grandy says:

    Stanford is even looser with those things than the ivies amirite!

  59. Grifter says:

    I don't usually do the twitter, myself. I'm neither concise, nor interesting enough so I missed "Sally Ride was nothing but a vagina in space". Holeeee fuck, that's pretty awful.

  60. Luke says:

    @TJIC > "The problem with people redefining NASA's mission from "go places, do things" to "get demographic X engaged" (children, women, etc) is that success on that goal is measurable."

    You forgot "Convince people to keep giving us money." In reference to the article you linked, it backfired but getting people to care about Project Look at Things Far Far Away That Will Likely Only Matter For Pure Scientific Purposes to the tune of billions of dollars a year, you do need PR.

  61. Miranda says:

    Patrick, damn you for linking to that. I, of course, read her post and it is the worst thing I've read all day. And I'm a lawyer.

  62. Allen says:

    @Tom

    I have no doubt at all that she believes that. But, to be fair I have to give Debbie some credit. She has managed to turn vomiting in public into a lucrative career.

  63. PLW says:

    @TJIC Now I'm confused. I just added up all the "constant dollars" at your Wwikipedia link, including the 2012 estimate, and I got under $900B. That's in 2007 dollars, but inflating to 2012 dollars should get your nowhere near $2T. Maybe I messed up in my adding, but just eyeballing it, it's about 17B/year over 54 years. That's $918B in 2007 dollars. The total inflation from 2007 to now is probably under 10 percent for just about any measure you use (CPI has it at about 8.6 percent).

  64. Tom says:

    "Sally Ride was nothing but a vagina in space". Holeeee fuck, that's pretty awful.

    I dunno, it might lead to a fantastic porn. Do they still make that stuff?

  65. Christophe says:

    @Gavin,

    In an organisation like this, experience can mean the difference between life and death.

    That would be the responsibility of the mission commander and the pilot, who were both ex-Navy pilots in the case of STS-7 and STS-41-G (indeed, Bob Crippen flew as commander on both). The job of a Mission Specialist is to do science in space. I think we can safely set aside the "What happens when Ming the Merciless abducts the two flight-deck crew members?" scenario.

  66. Miranda says:

    There's a big difference between NASA making a concerted effort to recruit more women and NASA letting a woman fly into fucking outer space as a PR move. Neither Schlussel, nor anyone here, has given any evidence that there were hordes of men more qualified than Ride that were passed over. The only evidence that she wasn't the most qualified was that there may have been men with more experience. Do we know if every white guy who’s ever flown was the most experienced guy available? Nope. So maybe some white guy gets the job because of his expertise or his ability to lead, even though some other white guy has more years in the program. And maybe some woman gets the job for those same reasons. Not all qualifications for a job are easily quantified.

  67. Gavin says:

    @Grifter:

    Mentioning inherrent racism/sexism found in laws that give preference based on race/gender got you banned somewhere? It's pretty much axiomatic. I don't think I'll find out whatever this BoingBoing is. I just want people to have equal opportunities. I don't think that being born a certain color or gender should give you an advantage or disadvantage over people who happened to be born a different color or gender. How does teaching equality become a bad thing?

  68. Narad says:

    What I ** DO ** think very little of is the jobs program for mediocre engineers known as NASA, and the trillions of dollars it has wasted on stunts that serve no actual purpose.

    Um, OK, which mediocre engineers? Are you referring to the Peter Principle for administrators? Don't understand the scientific output? Don't understand what it takes to design and build shit? Tell me. Tell me, say, where the DE406 ephemeris comes from.

  69. Gavin says:

    @Christophe,

    In that case she may very well have been the most qualified. How would you recommend we go about figuring that out?

  70. TJIC says:

    @Narad:
    > Um, OK, which mediocre engineers?

    I've only met a half dozen or so, at various cryptography conferences I was at, and to a one they underwhelmed me – they all seemed of only slightly elevated IQ, and all seemed to have the mindset that answers were something that someone else was supposed to spoon feed them.

    > Tell me, say, where the DE406 ephemeris comes from.

    Google tells me "from JPL at Caltech". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jet_Propulsion_Laboratory_Development_Ephemeris

    What's your point? That if NASA funnels money to Caltech, then it gets to claim that its own pencil pushers are as smart as folks at Caltech?

  71. SPQR says:

    I hate it when you do all the possible jokes in the post and leave none for us to pick up in the comments.

  72. Patrick says:

    I left a gold mine of treasure untouched.

    A challenge to our readers: Pick over Little Debbie's post on Sally Ride. Pick over Little Debbie's biography. Choose one of the many whoppers I left unaddressed. Quote it here, and make fun of it.

    Respectfully, of course.

  73. Christophe says:

    That if NASA funnels money to Caltech, then it gets to claim that its own pencil pushers are as smart as folks at Caltech?

    JPL isn't staffed by Caltech; it's operated by Caltech under contract, but the employees are entirely separate. It's much more a NASA facility than a Caltech one. (Speaking as ex-JPL; why, yes, I *am* a rocket scientist.)

    You can find people of any quality at any organization, but it's a pretty broad brush to call NASA engineers dummies as a group.

  74. Christophe says:

    @Gavin,

    How would you recommend we go about figuring that out?

    Well, I am a master of many talents, but staffing Mission Specialists for space flights is not one I can lay claim to. I will leave those decisions to people with actual expertise at the subject, like, say, those who pick flight crews at NASA.

    My point is that there's this assumption that there *have to have been* a whole roster of men who were *clearly* more qualified for the position than Ms Ride, and the argument is then whether letting her cut ahead in line was the right one. There's no reason to believe that cohort of men existed, and believing that it *must have* reflects a somewhat sexist assumption, no?

  75. Christophe says:

    If my numbers are to be believed, we could buy an entire new space program, from zero, for the amount we've paid for the post-9/11 wars to date (in constant FY2011 dollars).

    If I'm going to be outraged about setting fire to huge piles of money, it's not going to be about the space program.

  76. nlp says:

    The original purpose of Affirmative Action was to make sure that qualified people who happened to be of a different race or gender had an equal chance for a job. Colin Powell is a perfect case in point. When he was a Colonel the list of possible generals was sent up, and whoever received the list called back and said, "why is every person on this list a white male? Are you trying to tell me that there isn't a single woman or Black guy or Asian who would make a good general? Send me another list. I'm tearing this one up." So they sent up another list and this time Powell's name was on it. And that was how he made the jump to general.

    At my previous job we hired a bunch of college students every year. They were expected to stay three years, then go off to grad school or whatever. And they made sure they searched for other candidates by recruiting at historic Black colleges. That's how Affirmative Action was originally supposed to work; it was a means to make sure that all possible candidates were given a chance.

    It has drifted far from it's original intent, but it's sometimes good to remember the purpose.

    When Sally Ride went up in space someone at work asked me if I thought she and her fellow astronauts were getting it on up there. I said that given the kind of monitoring going on I rather doubted it. But it was an indication of how some people still thought.

  77. Grifter says:

    @Christophe:

    It is not a sexist assumption. It presumes that, prior to Dr. Ride's entry in the program, there were men who were in the program, and these men did not all fly, yet Dr. Ride did, therefore, she was given preference over these men who were in the program before her, who had more experience (and were therefore more qualified, as a previous poster said, there's a reason flight hours get listed on resumes).

    It does not presume she must have been inherently less qualified because of her gender, but only because of how her gender had been treated before her.

    To be honest, I don't know who among us knows about the program enough to know exactly how true those presumptions are, but they are not sexist, nor are they really unfair, taking into account the program existed before she joined it, and women weren't allowed in it for a good deal of time.

    For example: I did not know that she joined the program after answering an ad in the newspaper. I don't know anything about the Mission Specialist program (did it start with that ad, and so therefore she was in on the ground floor and just as qualified as colleagues?)

    In the realm of "sexist presumptions", she was apparently asked this: ""Do you weep when things go wrong on the job?" That's actual sexism.

  78. leo marvin says:

    "So while I feel for Sally Ride’s family and loved ones for her painful, relatively young loss from pancreatic cancer, which is tragic for all of its victims, including close family members of mine, I don’t remember her today. [...] Thousands of more qualified men were passed over so that Sally Ride’s vagina could fly into space."

    There's a Hallmark sympathy card if I've seen one.

  79. Gavin says:

    Actually, almost everyone here has regularly questioned the assumption she made.

    The idea I was pointing out was that if there were more qualified candidates there that it'd likely because of NASA's tendency to hire men before they had to hire women.

    As for her in particular, she was also the youngest astronaut ever to be sent up (32 years old) and the experiments they ran were pharmaceutical. She was skilled in the physics side of science and wouldn't have been the best choice for chemistry or biochemistry.

    They actually had her there to manuever the robotic arm that she helped develop. She was a valid candidate for this task, it's just that there were other people available who had already performed the task in space a number of times. This makes her fully qualified but not necessarily the best person for the job. That being said, you need to send new people into these situations to train them so that your next generation will be prepared too.

    @Patrick,

    Hilariously, no one seems to have pointed out that she wasn't the first woman in space. Not unless we just like to ignore Russia ever existing http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentina_Tereshkova . So the Debbie's first paragraph calling Sally the first astronaut is incorrect assuming we still consider cosmonaut synonymous.

  80. Thorne says:

    "There's a Hallmark sympathy card if I've seen one."

    It is a shame this person died,
    The woman with the last name 'Ride'.
    But her greatest feat was a publicity stunt.
    Signed, a truly cantankerous cunt.

  81. mojo says:

    "All you wanna do is ride around, Sally
    (Ride, Sally, ride!)"

  82. AlphaCentauri says:

    If NASA were truly gender-impartial, why were the first astronauts men? Their tasks didn't have much in common with their flight experience. And payload was a huge issue. The first male astronauts where physically very small people. It would have made sense to train only women.

  83. Rich says:

    I skimmed her article and I must say, I could feel the brain cells dying. I am not sure how she jumps from Sally Ride to the President and the claim of them possessing similar reproductive organs as an insult (an aside doesn't she have one as well)- but that could be result of newly deceased brain cells.

  84. Trebuchet says:

    Channeling Debbie: Sally Ride was a lesbian! A man did that first! …Oh, wait…

    For those complaining about Sally Ride being an "afirmative action" astronaut: You seem to be forgetting the 30 or so years of afirmative action for white males that preceded her flight.

  85. EH says:

    I'm not sure we need to actually paste more of her words here.

    "Ugh, this tastes terrible…wanna try it?"

  86. Duke says:

    this site should be better than engaging in a "you said something stupid so I will call you all sorts of names" party. Seems like there is alot of insecurity running through the post.

  87. M. says:

    @Duke: Snort my taint. ;)

  88. M. says:

    (My point being that I have no idea what makes you think this site is above petty fun-poking, since as far as I can tell, that's at least 50% of it.)

  89. Hikaru Katayamma says:

    The level of snarkasm in this post actually made me smile.

    =^_^=

  90. Thorne says:

    @ Duke

    Like I'm going to accept criticism from someone who thinks 'alot' is a word… :p

  91. Gal says:

    Did Schlussel not get the memo about pulling a duck face, or is that how the surgeons left her?

    That was petty, I know. And yet I feel no compelling need to apologize.

  92. John David Galt says:

    This article seems to me petty and un-called-for. Granted, Schussel should not have tried to commit censorship. That says nothing about the merits of her case against "affirmative action," which I think is a good case.

    Of course, NASA did not start sending women into space to make a political point in favor of women. They did it to avoid looking like bigots after the Soviets started sending women up to make a political point against capitalism.

    But it was still a stunt done for appearance's sake, even though it turned out that Ride and the other women astronauts did good jobs. Certainly if it had not turned out that way, anyone who pointed out the fact would have been unjustifiably tarred with the label of bigot.

  93. Ken says:

    JDG: if this is "petty," what was Schlussel's decision to go with "thousands of more qualified men were passed over so that Sally Ride’s vagina could fly into space" as a reaction to her death?

  94. AlphaCentauri says:

    The comments over there are something else, too. It's sobering to think some of those people are allowed to go out unescorted. How about their argument that women should be satisfied with male role models — but if any woman actually succeeds by emulating those men, she must have been chosen by affirmative action, otherwise a man would have gotten the job.

  95. azteclady says:

    Of course, NASA did not start sending women into space to make a political point in favor of women. They did it to avoid looking like bigots after the Soviets started sending women up to make a political point against capitalism.

    Well, if that was NASA's only reason, I wonder why it took them two decades to do it.

  96. Patrick says:

    What do you think of her referring to a woman who just died as a vagina in space, John David Galt? Is that a meritorious way to build a case against affirmative action?

    Was Schlussel's "article petty and un-called-for"? Isn't it "petty-and-uncalled-for" to shit all over the memory of a dead woman who can't defend her name? As opposed to taking the fight to a live woman who's more than capable of defending herself? Why do you hold me to a higher standard than Debbie Schlussel? Is it because I'm a man?

    Is it because she's a woman? By holding Debbie Schlussel to a lower standard than the standard to which you hold me, aren't you engaging in affirmative action?

    Aren't you engaging in bigotry? The "soft bigotry of low expectations", as a great man once put it?

    I refuse to treat Debbie Schlussel with any less contempt than I would employ against a man.

    Listen up boyfriend: Debbie Schlussel is a bitch on wheels. Debbie Schlussel doesn't need your chivalry. Debbie Schlussel knows I wrote this. She's man enough to fight her own battles, without you laying your coat over her path to the dueling ground.

    So waste your gentlemanly outrage on someone else, because Debbie Schlussel is no lady.

  97. Ben says:

    TJIC,
    I think it is worth noting that your source (Wikipedia.org) for the NASA budget contains the following:

    "According to the Office of Management and Budget and the Air Force Almanac, when measured in real terms (adjusted for inflation), the figure is $790.0 billion, or an average of $15.818 billion dollars per year over its fifty year history."

    John Galt,

    Because judging a class of individuals based upon a single example is, by its nature, prejudice. We do not judge all men by serial killers and mass murderers (who have been predominantly male), so to intimate that 'females make poor astronauts, because we gave this one a try and she did poorly' would be a bigoted notion.

  98. Bernadette says:

    I want to grow up to marry Patrick.

  99. TJIC says:

    @PLW
    > Now I'm confused. I just added up all the "constant dollars" at your Wwikipedia link

    My mistake – I went dyslexic for a moment and confused the "constant" and "nominal" columns, and thus applied inflation twice.

    I retract the "trillions" and leave it at just ~0.8 trillion.

  100. Jess says:

    Debbie Schlussel is a woman that gives women a bad name. Her jealousy was painfully obvious and "Worry" the commenter on her article is either Debbie or some pathetic sock puppet.

    That article was the most disgusting hack I've read in I can't remember how long.

  101. Jackie_M says:

    I guess I'm the first here to stand up for My Little Pony. Yes, I'm a Brony (we're everywhere) and don't insult MLP:FiM by insinuating that Debbie would be allowed to ride one of the characters of MLP:FiM (feel free to insult earlier generations if you like). Even Derpy would do the right thing and buck until Debbie was thrown off. (MLP:FiM – giving small girls and their fathers something to share.) I'm sure Rainbow Dash, Twilight Sparkle, and Luna would support astronauts, mare or colt.

  102. M. says:

    @Jackie_M: Could you explain the reasoning and/or emotion behind the Brony phenomenon, please?

  103. Malc says:

    A further note to the side conversation about NASA budgets: I do not believe that NASA gets full budget relief for services they render to other organizations; for instance, consider the shuttle Atlantis: STS-44 in 1991 deployed a DSP satellite for the USAF, and 4 other Atlantis flights were also DoD-dedicated. Clearly the DoD paid for the actual flights from their budget, but if 10-15% of the missions were for DoD, then one might argue that 10-15% of the program development costs should be attributed to them, too.

    And we know that NASA's "Discoverer" program had a public budget, despite the fact that "Discoverer" was actually CORONA and funded (substantially better) by the DoD.

    Which is not to say that NASA hasn't had a ton of money, but like almost all research organizations, they get all the costs but rarely all of the revenue from the results of their research!

  104. Gavin says:

    @AlphaCentauri,

    Actually, when NASA first started up women were pretty strongly held back in a pretty man centric world where their gender roles were limited to being a house wife. This means that even if there were a handful of women who had studied the areas of science needed for the first missions that there would have been thousands of men competing with them. For NASA to have chosen women then would have been sexism in the other direction though in a time where sexism was the gold standard a little reverse sexism would have spotlighted the problem and perhaps sped up the process of equality. The problem was that after women began being more common in those areas of study NASA passed them over because of a myriad of chauvinistic reasons. That mindset didn't change much until the 80's I'd say and I'm not really sure what happened then. I just know that WWII got the ball rolling with Rosie Riveter at home keeping the country alive. Perhaps that's just how long affirmative action required to take hold.

    Nowadays both genders are in every area of study. On average men seem to still have an advantage in average physical strength but that's becoming less and less necessary with increases in technology. I mean, there was the one time that guy saved something or another by wrenching a piece of metal/plastic with shear force, but how often does stuff like that happen (perhaps once is enough to always send up a strong man, haha)?

  105. Jackie_M says:

    @M. I've always liked cartoons, so it's just an evolution of that. It goes back to the Saturday morning catroons for me, but then came back with Tiny Toon Adventures, followed by Animaniacs (the best cartoon show ever). From there, the more modern examples would be Batman / Batman Beyond, PowerPuff Girls, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, then MLP:FiM. (I'm also an Anime fan, and the rise of animation as an art form that can express complex characters and plots, as well as being able to draw things that would be a huge budget to produce in a live action movie / series has stretched the art form and exposed many to animation that wouldn't have been otherwise). All of this set the stage for what follows.

    The transition from PPG -> Foster's -> MLP:FiM all are growths of each other. Craig McCracken was behind PPG & Fosters, and his wife, Lauren Faust, was involved in PPG, then more of Foster's, and then created MLP:FiM. She wanted MLP to transform into something that was more than the MLP of her youth: to have rich characters that did more than just sharing and hugs to solve problems. So she made a cartoon that reflected that. It turns out that even if you have a cartoon with a history for and is merchandised to an audience of little girls, if you make it with good characters and story lines, that more than little girls will find it appealing.

    For example, there are a few very Start Trek inspired episodes. The character, Discord, is not just voiced by John Delancey, who acted for "Q" on ST:TNG, but *is* Q, in the Pony Universe. The episode, "Swarm of the Century" is clearly inspired by "Trouble with Tribbles". I could bore everyone for hours, but this is a start. There are fringe elements in any fandom on the Internet these days, so just ignore the fringe, and enjoy the shows. I started watching them with my daughter, but at the same time my teenage son was picking it up, so I get to enjoy a well done cartoon without stigma and share it on multiple levels with my family.

  106. M. says:

    @Jackie_M: Thank you! Finally, a coherent explanation. Most brony discourse is irrevocably tainted by either furry-mocking or excessive defensiveness. I'm not being hyperbolic when I say I feel a bit richer for being able to grok at last. Perhaps I'll check it out – I had my share of MLP memorabilia as a little girl in the 80s.

    Although you make it sound cerebral enough that I still have to head-scratch in regards to one particular brony I know, who is definitely incapable of appreciating the sorts of subtleties you outline.

  107. Brian says:

    I find it amusing that this individual would note that she is a failed National Merit Scholar on her bio. Why we should accord her any respect for or be impressed by this non-accomplishment is beyond me.

    There are roughly 15,000 finalists annually with awards given to approximately half of these. Moreover, since we're talking about an award given to secondary school students, I can't help but find touting the failure to achieve the distinction laughable at best.

  108. Beauzeaux says:

    "In an organisation like this, experience can mean the difference between life and death."

    I'm sure everyone has read The Right Stuff. The first astronauts had to fight to even get a window in the space capsule — they were definitely Span in a Can. Chuck Yaeger, the greatest test pilot ever, couldn't be an astronaut because he didn't have a college degree.

    It took the US space program a long time to put a woman in space. There had to be a first one — or the space program would still be all white men. And when you have a bunch of people "all equally qualified" why is it automatic to choose a man?

    One thing not mentioned is that there have now been quite few women astronauts. Were they all just vaginas in space?

    Ken: I'll never forgive you for linking to that loathsome slime pit. I fear it may take a long time to wash off.

  109. Shay says:

    "smirking ambulatory pustule."

    That's so going in the notebook.

  110. MathMage says:

    Re: MLP:FiM, there are reasons and reasons for people to like the show. For some people, it undoubtedly comes down to simply liking cute things. Others, like Jackie_M, have a more cerebral appreciation of the show. The bottom line is that MLP:FiM is a well-animated, well-told story, and the only reason bronies are remarkable is that they're outside the putative target demographic.

  111. M. says:

    @MathMage: Vastly outside of it, which was the source of my curiosity.

  112. Rich Rostrom says:

    On this one, I come down on Schlussel's side.

    Ride did nothing that dozens of other astronauts have done before and since, without being lionized for it, and which was possible only through enormous public expenditures and the labor of hundreds of thousands of others. She was a capable scientist and technologist – of which there are tens of thousands at her level. The "feat" for which she became famous was being arbitrarily chosen by management for a job.

    What about Schlussel? She has made a success in a highly competitive market where the ultimate judge is the public, where success and failure are entirely dependent on her talent. I've never listened to, watched, or read her; I've seen quotes from her that I disagree with strongly. But I respect her achievements as a pundit more than Ride's as an astronaut.

  113. ShelbyC says:

    "JDG: if this is "petty," what was Schlussel's decision to go with "thousands of more qualified men were passed over so that Sally Ride’s vagina could fly into space" as a reaction to her death?"

    Well, she claims it's a reaction to people eulogizing Ride as some sort of trailblazer. Seems like somebody around here did something similar recently.

  114. Valerie says:

    Well, Debbie may have started in the exciting world of politics in 6th Grade, but when I was in fourth grade a bunch of kids in my neighborhood went up & down the street chanting Duk-Duk-Duk-Kais! (mainly because we liked the sound of his name and most of the neighborhood kids were Greek), but nevertheless – I DID THAT YOUNGER.

    Also, firsts like this are important. It gives members of a particular group hope that, if they work hard, they can get there too. It gives members of other groups a concrete example of the fact that yes, that type of person can competently do a high prestige job.

    In a perfect world, we wouldn't need this kind of tangible example to create a chink in the armor of bigoted preconceptions. Its not a perfect world.

  115. Patrick says:

    What about Schlussel? She has made a success in a highly competitive market where the ultimate judge is the public, where success and failure are entirely dependent on her talent.

    Has she?

    I've never listened to, watched, or read her

    Then what is your evidence that Debbie Schlussel has made a success in a highly competitive market where the ultimate judge is the public?

    How do you know that Debbie Schlussel isn't a batshit-crazy lunatic, with virtually no public following and an inflated ego, whom we (and a number of other bloggers) choose to write about for our own amusement?

    Are you relying on Debbie's autobiography, praytell?

  116. JustMary says:

    LOVE this post…sharing!

  117. azteclady says:

    @ Roch Rostrom It appears that the essence of your comment is this: "Never heard of her Schlussel before, but I know she's succeeded on her own merits, because she says so, while Sally Ride benefited from an arbitrary PR move, because there must have been thousands of men at least as qualified, if not more, than her."

    As discussed above thread, there may or may have not been other candidates as qualified as Ms Ride, but probably not so many men as to make choosing her as unfair a 'feminist' move as all that.

  118. brainmist says:

    I don't know if anyone has considered this point, but it's quite possible that when NASA chose to integrate women into the space program a bit more, they were not just thinking about the example it set (although it's true that our conceptions and misconceptions regarding our capabilities often reflect what we see as accepted or unaccepted behavior in similarly situated people, so diversifying the space program as much as possible in regards to non-crucial features such as race, gender, or sexuality might open doors to future generations), but also about the scientific value of expanding their data on the effects of space travel to include women.

    I myself am less bothered by the implementation of affirmative action; I see it less as an apology for the past which promotes people despite a less stellar (aha) background than other candidates, and more as an effort to reduce a perception that gender, race, or whatever has an impact, and having to do so with a population which comes from a past where these factors did reduce the number of available candidates. They're breaking an otherwise self-perpetuating cycle, and while there may be a period where qualifications alone are not the determining factor, this period should be finite as children start reaching higher from an earlier age.

  119. Jennifer says:

    Oh, and in case, you were wondering, Sally Ride endorsed Barack Obama for President in 2008. Birds of a feather: She got her job because of her vagina. He got his because of his skin color . . . and his vagina.

    I was going to make fun of this, but it's too sad. How can someone hate their own sex so much?

  120. Jess says:

    Yet again, Ms. Schlussel, desperate for attention, has become increasingly erratic and extreme hoping to shock her way into the realm of public attention. But like a flasher lurking in an overall at dark corners of the park, when she strikes, it’s only cause for more people to be turned off.

    Ms. Schlussel has a history of ignoring facts or simply making things up to suit her warped view of the world. So, as Patrick suggested, let’s have a look at a few more of the facts Ms. Schlussel overlooked.

    Ms. Schlussel was the one who proclaimed after the Virginia Tech Massacre that the shooter was a Muslim, and when early reports came out that he was Asian, she wrote that “Pakis are considered Asian” and that the attack could have been “part of a coordinated terrorist plot by Pakistanis.” Even when it was revealed that the shooter was a Korean she persisted with her story that he could have been a secret Muslim.

    Regarding Ms. Schlussel’s blog on Sally Ride:

    But they were passed over because NASA had just instituted affirmative action and wanted to please feminists. This isn’t just me guessing about this or my opinion. It’s fact, and it’s well known.

    Ms. Schlussel is guessing. Ms. Schlussel clearly did not read or comprehend the article she links to. For starters, it’s a publication from the NAACP, from 1982, which specifically states it does not speak for NASA. It does state that Bluford started astronaut training earlier than Ride, but earlier in the same year: they both began their training in 1978. As far as Bluford being “far more qualified,” I’m not sure what Ms. Schlussel is referring to, since the given reason for Ride being placed over Bluford was her expertise with their Remote Manipulator System.

    So, it is hardly a well agreed upon “fact” that Ride was placed because of rampant feminism, nor so that NASA “bragged” about doing so. But then again Ms. Schlussel doesn’t concern herself with facts when she is on a hate mission.

    An excerpt from a NASA article:

    NASA was under severe pressure to broaden their selection process to include people from all walks of life and particularly women, blacks and Hispanics. It was not as easy as it sounds because the number of “others” that met the original astronaut requirements was restrictive. Because of this, the range of prerequisites was broadened to include a number of other qualifications not previously considered. Following this new criteria allowed the selection board to also broaden the types of science and other fields of training not previously recognized as prerequisites for the job NASA was planning in the future. Such as for the tasks to be required in the assembly, checkout and conduct of experiments on the International Space Station. Having made this decision, the results were somewhat surprising because it showed that the new candidates could perform equally as well as those who had been previously chosen under the restrictive criteria. The women like Sally Ride and her classmates excelled in almost every category and made choosing them to fly much easier. Ride was particularly adept at handling the remote controlled arm in both the Orbiter and the ISS and therefore allowed her to not only use her basic training in science and engineering but to perform the tasks requiring physical talents as well.

    Physical talents indeed. When Ride was growing up near Los Angeles, she was a nationally ranked juniors tennis player, and by the time she turned 18 in 1969, she was ranked 18th in the whole country. Additionally Ride was accepted into the NASA in 1978 she completed training within the year and was deemed qualified by NASA. Thereafter, she performed underwater zero-g simulations with the mock-up RMS, was a member of the RMS core group and worked with SPAS/RMS deployment -retrieval procedures throughout 1980 and 1981. She was then Capcom for Shuttles 2 and 3 before being selected as MS-2 for Shuttle 7 on April 20, 1982. Ride spent four years at NASA being trained and undergoing procedures to ensure she had the necessary physical and mental stamina for the job.

    Sally Ride’s open lesbianism is the other reason she became the false hero she is. Much of the top echelons of the feminist movement then were lesbians–people like Eleanor Smeal and others. And lesbians were especially loved and promoted. It’s no accident that the first woman to go into space was a lesbian. They didn’t pick her lightly. Sally Ride wasn’t just a woman and a lesbian. She was a NOW activist, speaking at their conventions.

    I’m not aware that NASA allowed NOW to dictate their candidate selection process or that NOW gave a shit about Ride’s sexual preferences. Ms. Schlussel conveniently forgets just because one is a member of NOW does not mean you’re are therefore a lesbian.

    Thousands of more qualified men were passed over so that Sally Ride’s vagina could fly into space.

    Thousands? Really? Who? Oh that’s right, Ms. Schlussel is making things up again. Ms. Schlussel fails to produce said list of “thousands” of qualified men that were passed over. However, she forgets one other very important point – that getting a woman into space was in fact important. It’s important in evaluating long term space exploration to understand the effects of zero gravity and other issues on the female body as well as the male body. Therefore the issue isn’t whether a man was more qualified to be an astronaut; the issue is that he wasn’t qualified to be a woman.

    Ms. Schlussel also overlook’s Ride’ impressive educational background. The National Science Foundation states that “only about 50,000 women earned science or engineering degrees in 1966, compared with 240,000 four decades later.” Ride obtained a BA in English (1973), a BS degree in Physics (1973), an MS degree in Physics (1975) and her PHD in Physics (1978) all from Stanford University. Between 1973 and 1978 she held teaching, assistant and research assignments whilst a graduate student in the physics department of Stanford University, experience including one summer with the low-temperatures group working with experimental general relativity and three years X-ray astrophysics whilst working on her thesis. Ride did all of this at a time when women were actively persuaded NOT to pursue advanced math and physics both in school and in careers.

    And since a man did everything Sally Ride did first–

    And yet again Ms. Schlussel ignores facts. Ride was not only the first American woman in space, but at age 32 also the youngest American astronaut ever. The youngest American astronaut ever. A WOMAN did that first Debbie. Sally Ride did that first.

    –she and her career are of no consequence.

    A 2003 New York Times profile said Ride was one of the most famous women on earth after her two space flights, and it’s hard to argue with that statement. Ride could easily have cashed in on the slew of endorsements, movie deals, and ghostwritten books that came her way, but she passed on most opportunities to turn a quick buck. The fact she did not does not make her a failure as Ms. Schlussel would have us all believe. Rather it is a testament that Ride thought there were more important uses for her talent and celebrity. Her life and work helped a generation of kids think about science not as some esoteric abstraction, but as a real option they could pursue. She wanted to "make science and engineering cool again" and she was an inspiration to a generation of women, myself included. Perhaps Ms. Schlussel needs to pick up a dictionary and look up the words “no consequence.”

    So, who is Debbie Schlussel?


    1. A person who thinks Sally Ride is not someone of “consequence” or a “role model”

    2. A person who post diatribes applauding a terror attack against innocent Christian victims at an Alexandria church, saying she’s happy they were killed and that she hopes more of them get blown up. The reason for her raving mad commentary? That they are not pro-Israel enough for her liking.

    3. A person who is jealous of Oprah’s success, and routinely refer to Oprah as HO-prah.

    4. A person who is envious of Rima Fakih’s charm (Miss USA) and refer to her as “Hezbollah’s Sharmuta” (whore), and who calls Elizabeth Hasselbeck “hag”.

    In summary, Debbie Schlussel is all of the above. Debbie Schlussel is a person whose hatred and bitterness seems to be mostly driven by her personal inadequacies and insecurities. She is nothing more than an irrelevant foul-mouthed hatemonger who thinks that she’s important just because she was on FOX a couple of times. Despite how hard she tries, Ms. Schlussel will never be a hero, never be of consequence, and never be a role model like Sally Ride.

  121. Chris R. says:

    Jess, so you're telling me Debbie Schlussel is real life and not satire? Oh…

  122. Jess says:

    Chris R. – satire – I wish.

  123. Rich Rostrom says:

    azteclady @ Roch Rostrom It appears that the essence of your comment is this: "Never heard of her Schlussel before, but I know she's succeeded on her own merits, because she says so, while Sally Ride benefited from an arbitrary PR move, because there must have been thousands of men at least as qualified, if not more, than her."

    Reading comprehension fail. I did not say I hadn't heard of Schlussel before; I said I had not read, listened to, or watched her. Which is also true of Keith Olbermann, Maureen Dowd, Pat Buchanan (for at least the last 20 years), Martha Stewart, Suze Orman, Oprah Winfrey, Ann Coulter, Howard Stern, Larry King, Bill O'Reilly, and Jim Cramer.

    I have heard about all of them, and I recognize all of them as self-made mass media successes. They got where they got through personal performance as judged by the public against severe competition, not through selection by higher-ups.

    That is also true of Schlussel. The proof is that you and I have heard of her, unlike the thousands or millions of would-be pundits who can't interest an audience.

    I agree with Schlussel's cited view this far: Ride's iconic status as a hero was largely undeserved. Dozens of other astronauts have done as much as she did, but remained completely unknown.

    As to whether her selection for astronaut service was politically tainted – my guess is not much. It is certain that NASA felt pressure to select at least one woman for astronaut service; it seems highly unlikely to me that any government agency is entirely immune to political pressure. And Ride was, quite arguably, fully qualified.

    Nonetheless, her great achievement was to be chosen for a job which many others could have done, and which was a small part of an immense effort, and she "dined out" on it for years.

    Patrick's snark at Schlussel is IMO unjustified, because Schlussel does not expect any acclaim for anything she's done in the past, only for what she's done today (which is either entertaining or not). The items in her "bio" are there to establish credibility for her current writing or talking or whatever. If today's material is boring, she fails; and that's entirely up to her.

    Do you see the difference?

  124. Stuart Brown says:

    Literal. Sigh. OK then, I'll be the pedant linguist.

    Originally "literally" meant, well, literally, "literally." However we all know it is also used in a non-literal sense as an intensifier. The shift is historically quite clear: from its literal origins, "literally" begins to be used to mean "quite definitely" in reportage. For instance, "There were literally ten thousand people at the protest," meaning "I am not exaggerating when I say there were ten thousand people at the protest." Through repeated use in this kind of context it becomes bleached of its, well, literal, meaning, and becomes just an intensifier. As an intensifier, it is no longer restricted to absolutely accurate claims, and becomes associated with hyperbolic claims and thus appears to have totally flipped its meaning. What is particularly important is that this remains in the context of reportage. The word remains with its original, literal, meaning of "literally" in other syntactic positions or pragmatic uses; as meta-illustrated in this very paragraph.

    This kind of shift where a word in one context ends up meaning the exact opposite of its original happens far more than you'd think: for instance "to screen" can mean to hide or to show.

    The take-home point is that the non-literal use of literally is at least 100 years old (James Joyce uses it, amongst others). To decry it as "wrong" is to insist on a personal desire that words remain true to their etymological origins, rather than shifting and twisting to perform the tasks that changing societies require of them. This is simply unrealistic. You cannot mandate what is right and wrong of language; the speech community as a whole do, and they have long since accepted the meaning of "literally" as literally "literally", but also non-literally as "non-literally".

  125. Jess says:

    because there must have been thousands of men at least as qualified, if not more, than her

    Patrick's snark at Schlussel is IMO unjustified, because Schlussel does not expect any acclaim for anything she's done in the past, only for what she's done today

    I believe Patrick's snark is perfectly justified. Schlussel is engaging in hatemongering by using "made up" facts and it's perfectly reasonable to ridicule her for it.

    Nonetheless, her great achievement was to be chosen for a job which many others could have done, and which was a small part of an immense effort, and she "dined out" on it for years.

    Yes she was chosen for a job that others could have done. How many others? Thousands? Really? Both you and Schlussel make this statement without providing any fact to back it up.

    Nevertheless, Ride did not as you state "dine out" on it for years. She did not use her celebrity to cash in on endorsements etc. She used it AND her education (PhD in Physics) to write books and further the cause of science among the younger generation, particularly young women.

  126. Gavin says:

    Oh man, if only Debbie was just a female Stephen Colbert. That would be epic.

  127. Terry Karney says:

    That robot arm a man used first, Sally Ride was one of the people who designed it.

  128. Gavin says:

    I'm actually not sure what capacity she had in the design of it. It was developed by a Canadian company hence its name (Canadarm).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SRMS#Development

    She wasn't a mechanical engineer or a software tech. She was a physicist from what I've read so I would doubt any involved role on her part just as I'd doubt any such role from a man with the same credentials. The term "designed" is pretty vague. In computer software even non-techs helped "design" by giving us specifications. I would be interested in learning more about her exact role in this if anyone here knows. All the sources I find just leave it at that, vague.

    However, I was under the impression that this was the first time the arm was used in space. Is that incorrect?

  129. Jess says:

    @Gavin – The Shuttle Remote Manipulator System (SRMS), or Canadarm, was first used on STS-2 (Space Shuttle Columbia) which launched on 12 November 1981. Sally Ride’s first flight into space was in 1982 so she wasn’t the first to use it although she did train extensively on it.

  130. Gavin says:

    @Jess,

    Actually, from what I've read the STS-2 mission only tested the arm out. Flexibility and mobility. Sally Ride's mission was to actually use it to perform a task. I don't really consider the "test" phase but I guess that's a subjective call. I just think there is a difference between testing and using. Testing is merely to evaluate it's capabilities, using is actually doing something with it to accomplish a goal.

    Do you know what role she had in the design of the arm itself? The wording of the articles are vague and possibly misleading there too.

  131. flip says:

    *claps* Nice job Patrick!

  1. July 26, 2012

    [...] A Red-headed Stepchild Posted on July 26, 2012 11:30 pm by Bill Quick Debbie Schlussel Rides The My Little Pony Of Bigotry | Popehat It takes astonishing courage, willpower, and ability to ride a multiton rocket into space Debbie. [...]