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U.S. News Archive
July 21 - July 28, 2001



This page contains news for the period July 21, 2001 through July 28, 2001.  

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Friday, July 27, 2001

Texas professor study shows "hooking up" more rampant on campuses

A story published today by the Daily Texan, a university newspaper of University of Texas-Austin, reports that a new study on sex and dating in college indicates that the limited dating scene for college women has left them with two choices: to "hook up" with guys sexually or engage in short but intense relationships.

Directed by Norval Glenn, a University of Texas sociology professor, the Institute for American Values study, titled "Hooking Up, Hanging Out and Hoping for Mr. Right," was unveiled Thursday at the "Campus Sex and Dating" program in Washington, D.C.

"What's going on in campuses is [women are] either hooking up with guys in meaningless physical entanglements ranging from kissing to having sex, or a joining-in-the-hips deal where the couple is together in waking and sleeping hours," said Kimberly Schuld, director of external relations for the Independent Women's Forum, an educational organization who released the study.

"There is no in-between, no sense of 'Let's get to know each other,'" Schuld said. "It is all or nothing in terms of commitment."

The kind of dating that used to exist in college has disappeared, she said.

For every 79 men, there are 100 women on college campuses, Glenn said, and this has led men to feel less pressured to ask girls out.

"Males don't have to take the kind of initiative they used to, and they don't, and that is understandable," Glenn said.

The study  also states that 91 percent of those surveyed report a persistent "hook-up culture" on their campuses.

"Many women said it is too much trouble to try to go out and find those guys, and with hooking up, there is companionship and sexual gratification without too much effort," Glenn said. "There is also no chance of rejection."

Schulb said that in a society that has become focused on immediate satisfaction, it is no wonder random hook-ups often involving alcohol are occurring.

"It's like the whole thing about having to kiss a lot of frogs before finding your own prince," Field said.

What is particularly interesting in the study, Schulb said, is the overall view on marriage. Eighty-three percent of respondents said marriage is an important goal.

"Young women want to and expect to be married, but at the same time, there is not a clear connection to them that the things they do today will influence their future," Schulb said. "This is a generation who has high regard for marriage, but low regard for sex."

Glenn added that the overall attitude on marriage was more traditional than he had expected.

Thursday, July 26, 2001

Women working in Wall Street see little progress in securities industry

A story published today by the Wall Street Journal reports that a survey released yesterday of men and women at seven major securities firms suggests that many women in Wall Street are dissatisfied with the extent of progress that has been made to help them advance in the securities industry.

The findings reaffirm an impression by many women on Wall Street that the industry remains inhospitable.

Most of the nearly 500 women who responded to the survey conducted by Catalyst, a nonprofit research and advisory organization in New York, say they are happy with their jobs, citing the challenging work and generous compensation.

But they also describe an industry where it is difficult to get ahead. Two-thirds say that they must work harder than men for the same rewards, and a third report a hostile environment where crude or sexist comments are tolerated, they are treated unfairly or are subject to unwanted sexual attention.

The survey, which is the first extensive look at the experiences of women working on Wall Street, also suggests that many women are making significant sacrifices in their personal lives, similar to the ones made by lawyers and other professionals. Only half of the women surveyed have children, compared with about three-quarters of the men surveyed. In a 1996 survey of senior women at Fortune 1000 companies, about two-thirds had children. Two- thirds of the Wall Street women were married or living with a partner, compared with 86 percent of the men.

While the leaders of many Wall Street firms are committed to change, many in their organizations are not, said Alexandra Lebenthal, who heads her family's Wall Street firm and has been in the business for about 15 years. "I think there are a lot of people on Wall Street who do not see the need to change."

Given the resources many of the firms are pouring into efforts to diversify their work forces and given the large number of women on Wall Street, the lack of progress is surprising, said Dee A. Soder, an executive coach in New York who is managing partner in the CEO Perspective Group.

"It's gotten much better," she said, "but there is still a glass ceiling with less reason for a glass ceiling."

But some argue that the securities industry is difficult for both men and women. "Wall Street, in general I believe, is undeservedly maligned," said Cristina Morgan, a senior investment banker at J. P. Morgan, the investment banking arm of J. P. Morgan Chase. Many women, and men, choose to leave Wall Street because of the hours and the travel required, she said. The clients "pay us lots and lots of money to be at their disposal 24 hours a day, 7 days a week," she said.

And juggling the demands of a family with the work is extraordinarily hard, Ms. Morgan said, adding: "I am filled with admiration for my women partners who are successful and have children. I am mystified to how they do it." She indicated that she thought Wall Street was indeed a meritocracy.

But many of the women who remain in the business are deciding to forgo having children. "I cannot imagine ever having children and doing this business," a senior-level woman told Catalyst.

Men, of course, are also aware of the sacrifices required to rise on Wall Street, particularly in investment banking. "It's hard to be a middle-level vice president and not spend 90 hours a week at the firm," one man said. "That just doesn't jibe with trying to raise a family."

Many of the women surveyed also cited as a barrier to their moving up exclusion from important networks.

"Well, it was every broker but me that got invited," a senior-level woman told Catalyst. "So they all got input as to maybe what they were doing wrong, or how they could improve their business, but me."

The survey also offers a glimpse into the continued problem of sexual harassment on Wall Street, which continues to surface from time to time. While sexual harassment is difficult to define and to measure with any precision, with little comparative data in private industries, the survey suggests that many women think that inappropriate or crude comments continue to be tolerated where they work. Some men agree.

"In my experience," one said, "brokers are the raunchiest people that you'll ever meet."

Census reveals more kids living with grandparents

A story released today by the Associated Press reports that for more American children, grandma and grandpa's house is no longer a house to visit but a home to live in.

The number of kids under age 18 living in a grandparent-headed home increased in nearly every state for which the latest round of 2000 census data is available. Florida for instance, showed 258,952 kids living in such homes, a 33 percent rise since 1990.

And for grandparents raising kids without one of the grandchild's parents living with them, it has become an unexpected financial burden that lawmakers must ease with more financial assistance, said Amy Goyer, a program coordinator for AARP. AARP is the country's largest advocacy group for senior citizens.

"It's nothing you really planned for, because there is no such thing as retirement now," said Mrs. Landenberger of Naples, Florida, who was awarded custody of their two grandsons after their daughter -- the boys' mother -- was sent to prison and the boys' father died. "You are doing things around school that you hadn't planned on doing."

The figures offer another perspective into the more diverse makeup of the American family highlighted by the 2000 census.

In Florida, for instance, the percentage of children under 18 living in a grandparent-headed home rose from 6.8 percent in 1990 to 7.1 percent in 2000.

Data also released for Hawaii showed that 12.9 percent of children there lived in a grandparent's home in 2000, up from 10.4 percent in 1990.

A 1997 Census Bureau survey estimated that more than half the kids living in grandparent-headed homes had their mother living in the house with them. About one-third of the homes did not include one of the grandchild's parents.

While previous studies have shown that grandparent-headed households occur more in low-income families, divorce, career choices and job constraints are causing the numbers to rise in all socio-economic groups, said Gregory Brock, director of the University of Kentucky Family Center.

The trend is reminiscent of the pre-World War II years, when three-generation households were not uncommon, said Gregory Brock, director of the University of Kentucky Family Center.

Tuesday, July 24, 2001

Bush’s Social Security plan opposed by House Democratic women legislators

A story published today by the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Democratic women legislators in the House have signed a letter to President Bush predicting that diverting Social Security payroll taxes to finance private investment accounts would weaken the security of elderly women.

The letter argued that women have less money to invest because they earn less than men and take time out from work to raise children.

It also noted that 60 percent of Social Security beneficiaries and three-quarters of unmarried and widowed elderly women rely on Social Security for more than half of their income.

"Forty percent of women have pensions, compared to 44 percent of men. And only 20 percent of women who work for firms of less than 100 employees are covered by a pension plan," Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) said at a rally outside the Capitol.

Private control of Social Security also would "cut spousal benefits by one-third," leaving wives at near-poverty levels, the letter said.

Rep. Karen Thurman (D-Fla.) objected to "the scare tactics that are being used to put forth the commission's recommendations.

''We have to have an open, honest and fair debate that uses an accurate interpretation of data to support effective and fair ways to improve the program," she said.

Working-class families struggle to meet basic expenses

A story published today by the Washington Post reports that according to a study released by the Economic Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank that advocates a social safety net to help the poor, 4 million American working-class families will wonder whether they will have enough money to meet basic expenses at the end of the month.

The study examined how much it costs families yearly to pay for a "basic family budget," or the minimum necessary to cover meals, rent, utilities, transportation, health insurance, child care and other household necessities and account for taxes.

In 1999, the institute figured a two-parent, two-child family needed $ 49,218 annually in the District of Columbia, making it one of the most costly communities in the country.

"Our goal was to really measure how many people are unable to make ends meet," said Heather Boushey, one of four authors of the year-long study. In 1999, the U.S. Census Bureau set the poverty line at $ 17,463 for a family of the same size, with no variation according to location.

Boushey said many people consider the Census Bureau's definition of poverty to be too low. The bureau bases its model on the assumption that one-third of a family's budget is spent on food and that it is the biggest expense.

According to Boushey, that assumption, while probably true in the 1960s when the formula was developed, has been eclipsed by rising housing and child care costs. In Washington, for example, the average monthly day-care cost for a two-parent family with two children is $ 1,042, compared with $ 510 for food. Housing is the second-highest expense at $ 820. "In some communities, the lowest cost for housing is actually at or above their poverty line," Boushey said.

Isabel Sawhill, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank, said some of the study's assumptions about health-care costs and housing costs may be a bit too high. Sawhill said the study is useful, especially in comparing costs in different parts of the country, but does not examine whether the parents work full or part time.

Since the Welfare Reform Act in 1996, Boushey said, more women are expected to work, so the study assumed families would pay for child care. "We've decided we're not going to support women to stay at home to raise their children," Boushey said.

Most of the families whose incomes fall below the level required to cover the "basic family budget" are white. However, about half of all black and Hispanic families make amounts below that level, and three out of four single-parent families with two children fall below.

Monday, July 23, 2001

Six out of every ten U.S. women face long term care crisis

A story released today by Business Wire reports that a groundbreaking study commissioned by the GE Center for Financial Learning, reveals that 63% of female baby boomers believe that when the time comes, their spouse will provide them with long term care.

However, research indicates 59% of women over the age of 65 won't have a spouse to take care of them due to divorce, widowhood and increased longevity. Conducted by the Center for Aging Research & Education (CARE) and entitled "Secure Tomorrow's Autonomy Today" (STAT), the study is the first in a series of GE-sponsored studies designed to underscore the myths and realities of the retirement experience.

According to survey findings, without proper planning, women risk being burdened with providing long term care for others, only to be faced with losing their assets and becoming dependent upon government assistance when faced with their own long term care needs.

"It is clear from the STAT survey findings that married mid-life women are largely unaware of the impact that singleness will play on their ability to address long term care needs as they grow older," said Dr. Christopher Hayes, advisor to the GE Center and co-director of CARE. "Resources such as the GE Center are imperative to improving the education and awareness of this population as it relates to long term care."

Although 80% of caregivers to the elderly are women, the study found that more than half of women surveyed have no knowledge about long term care planning. Furthermore, more than 75% of women respondents reported that they do not want to rely on their children for their long term care needs, yet only 7% have purchased a long term care insurance policy to preserve their autonomy.

To avoid facing a long term care crisis, women need to educate themselves about long term care options and be aware of the risks associated with being unprepared. Cindy Hounsell, director of the National Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement agrees. "By taking a few small steps to educate themselves about long term care, women can achieve peace of mind and ensure that they live the best quality of life later in their lives - as well as do what is best for the rest of their family," she said.

Ten things to do when you’re single

An article written by Shawn Croft for Askmen.com gives 10 helpful tips to single people on how to take the many advantages of flying solo. The full text of the article appears below:

10. Work out
Everyone knows that we tend to get lazy when we have someone. Some men shave less often, while some women dress less sexy. These may be stereotypes, but surely you agree. If this is so, then why not take advantage of your newfound single status and hit the gym? For one, you will get in shape and feel better about yourself, and second, who knows, you may meet someone that catches your eye while on the treadmill.

9. Seize the moment
I know many will blast me here, but you need to get it all out of your system, especially if she did the dumping. Is there a female friend you always wanted to get to know better? Well, get to know her. Is there a spot you wanted to hit? Take a trip. Did you want to try a new haircut or style? Now is the time. Whatever you do, be careful, but go all out. Nothing sucks more than missed opportunities.

8. Be bad
I am not going to urge anyone to have sex in a church, slap a priest, cause harm to others, or any such deviant practice (well, the first one may be cool...), but do things that will make you feel young and slightly carefree. While some men play the good boy next to their bad girlfriend, most men are usually forced to tame up a bit when they are taken, so when you are single, go crazy; it's debauchery time.

7. Volunteer
We are always caught up in our own world, rarely seeing beyond the tip of our noses. One great way to open one's blinders is to help others. Not only will you meet interesting people, but you'll also get some perspective into your life and will likely end up cherishing what you have even more.

6. See your friends
My friends make fun of me for going out often... very often. They tease me even more when I meet someone interesting because my focus changes -- drastically. While this is slightly normal, I do urge all men to never forget the boys; the boys will be there for you when (and if) things end, but she may not. So if you happen to be single, then make sure that you enjoy your friends' company and always show them your gratitude.

5. See your family
One of my personal concerns is not seeing my family nearly as often, or as much, as I should and desire. Reasons range from work and social life to other matters, so if you happen to free up some time after saying goodbye to the ex, then take the opportunity to visit the folks, take out the siblings and even say "hey" to the grandparents.

4. Take a vacation
While it is indeed great to take a trip with a loved one, it may be twice as good to take a trip with friends or even by yourself. There is no better way to find yourself, seek new avenues and clear your head. So leave the pictures of the ex at home and head out for some adventure.

3. Improve yourself
This is an extension of working out, but it entails improving one's diet, getting rid of nasty habits, finding your dream job, and doing what you have always set out to do but never had the chance to. I know, easier said than done but trust me, nothing will make you forget what's-her-name faster.

2. Explore a new world
So you limit yourself to Sports Illustrated, macaroni and cheese, and beer? Why don't you try something else for a change? No, I am not encouraging you to read Henry David Thoreau's Walden (although it is a good read), but you should do something new and different. Trust me, you will thank me for it.

1. Look ahead
Yes, you should live in the moment, take the plunge and seize the opportunities. But one must also ask where they came from to know where they are going. No one needs a 25_year plan laid out; I don't know where I'll be in 25 days. But if you wish to attain your goals, then you need some sense of direction

Sunday, July 22, 2001

Gay foster dad challenges Florida's state adoption law

A story released today by the Associated Press reports that the Florida Department of Children & Families has told a gay man challenging Florida's ban on adoption by homosexuals that it plans to place his 10-year-old foster son with another family.

Steven Lofton learned of the department's intentions on Friday during a court hearing.   Lofton is a plaintiff in an upcoming federal court trial in Key West that will challenge Florida's 1977 law that prohibits adoption by homosexuals.

The department's bid to find a new family for Lofton's foster son was not explained during the court hearing.  Both sides came to court to argue a motion by the department for a summary judgment, or a dismissal under the law.

U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King called the controversy "one of the very difficult social issues" and said he could take up to a month to rule. If he denies summary judgment, the case would continue to trial.

While Florida bars adoption by gays and lesbians, it doesn't prevent them from being foster parents.

LaNedra Carroll, spokeswoman for the Department of Children & Families in Tallahassee, said the pending litigation restricted her comments.  In general, she said the agency's goal is to seek permanent homes for foster children.

"And if there is a case where a child is being removed from a foster home, that would indicate permanency is not an option in that foster home," she said.

Leslie Cooper, an ACLU lawyer, said she had written the agency's lawyers asking for assurance that Lofton's child would not be removed while the lawsuit makes its way through the legal system.

"The only assurance they would give is that he wouldn't be removed until they found a suitable adoptive family," Cooper said.  "You can imagine how that went over."

Lofton declined comment when reached in Oregon, where he lives with his foster son by special agreement with Florida officials.

Lofton's lawyers said they have asked the child welfare agency for a meeting to explore other options.

Married Americans reveal their secrets

A story released today by the Associated Press reports a poll conducted by Ipsos-NPD, an Illinois-based research group, shows that about 40 percent of married Americans admit keeping a secret from their spouses, but most have nothing to do with an affair or fantasy. The most common secret is how much they spend.

Of those with a secret, 48 percent said they had not told their spouses about the real price of something they bought, according to the poll, being published in the August issue of Reader's Digest.

``I don't think there's a marriage where that didn't happen,'' said one respondent, a woman married 26 years. ``You always get those good bargains, you know?''

Another wife said: ``I don't like to tell him how much I spend when I go shopping. I'm afraid he'll cut back on the budget.''

It wasn't just women; the percentage was about the same for husbands. One man concealed the price of one small purchase: ``The item wasn't very big but the price of it was.''

The second most-kept secrets, at about 15 percent, are about a failure at work or a child's behavior. ``There are times your kids do things that you know would make the other party ballistic,'' one woman said.

Only 2 percent of all respondents, equally split among men and women, said they had an extramarital affair that remained a secret. Fourteen percent kept quiet about being attracted to another person.

In response to another question, 16 percent of both men and women admitted that, at least once during their marriage, they wished they could wake up and not be married any more.

It also found that 20 percent of the nation's married couples have dreams or aspirations they haven't mentioned to a spouse, ranging from living somewhere else (50 percent) to getting a dog (8 percent).

About 40 percent of the wives and 30 percent of the husbands said they wish they could persuade their spouses to be less messy. And about a quarter of each sex said they can't get their partners to lose weight.

Saturday, July 21,2001

South Carolina singles love their freedom

A story published today by The State reports that single residents of South Carolina overwhelmingly responded to the paper’s question: Are you single and loving it? Those who are "single and loving it" say they relish freedom and self-identity, and deny society’’s myth that you need someone permanently attached to you to be happy.

If there’s one thing singles love, it can be summed up in the word Dustin Tucker, 26, uses when asked what he likes about being single. Tucker responded with Mel Gibson’’s famous cry from the movie "Braveheart" —— "FREEDOM!"

Singles love the opportunity to pursue their careers and interests on their own.

Columbia attorney Katie Schultz loves to work on her house in her spare time, and lists an entire catalog of freedoms she cherishes: "Something I call the ‘‘Committee of One’’ makes decision making a breeze," said Schultz, who has never married. "When I am ready to go, everybody is ready to go. Everyone is happy with my evening television selection, be it ‘‘Survivor’’ or ‘‘Behind The Music —— The Rise and Fall of Milli Vanilli.’’ No one complains when take-out sushi is for dinner —— again. No one complains if I hang around all day Sunday in my pajamas."

The biggest gripe among singles? By far, it’s the idea that they’re all desperate to find a mate.

"You shouldn’’ have to be set up with these crazy folks that people think you should be with!" said Trinessa Gibson, 29, of Columbia, a phlebotomist at Providence Hospital who has never been married.

"There’’s a big misconception that you need to be connected to someone else,"" said Elizabeth Andrews, 61, a nurse technician whose husband died in 1995. "We have this concept of ‘‘Man should not be alone.’’ I think women these days are especially coming of age and finding they don’’t have to be attached in order to have an identity."

Singles who are happy with their situation also have some good advice for people who find themselves, for whatever reason, without a mate, and aren’t feeling good about it.

First of all, they say, learn to love yourself.

"The biggest misconception is that people think you need someone to complete you," Gibson said. "I know women who would rather have an abusive male than be alone. That’s just not true. You don’t need another person to make you whole."

Garnett Dulong, 89, a resident of Wildewood Downs in Northeast Columbia who has been on her own since her husband’’s death in 1981 believes that the key to enjoying singlehood is a positive attitude. She said it’s especially important for people who find themselves alone after a divorce or being widowed.

"If you don’t look at things positively, you don’t recognize when things are good," she said. "Some people just love to grieve, and they forget all the good things they’ve had in life. The best thing is to get out and stay busy."

Michael Wederman, a psychology professor at Columbia College, said it’s important to avoid the "third wheel" syndrome.

"Even though there are an increasing number of singles, we’re still in a pretty ‘coupled’ society, and it’s important to know you don’t have to feel like a second-rate citizen, or like you’re waiting for life to begin," Wederman said. "People who come out of bad marriages especially can discover that they’re so much happier being single."


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