Wednesday, April 22, 2015

When Women Oppress Women

The Chinese practice (torture) of binding the feet of women was finally banned in China in 1912. This cruel process of making tiny "lotus feet" out of normal feet was ostensibly to make women beautiful and marriageable. It began when a girl was 2 or 3 years old. It took years of unspeakable pain - and a lifetime of upkeep - to fold the toes under the foot and crush the arch. Walking, let alone running, was all-but-impossible and women were not allowed much freedom from the home. Husbands, literally, did not let women out of their sight. But, it was not men who actually performed the task. Mothers bound the feet of their precious daughters. Oppressed women repeated the cycle of oppression for thousands of years. 

There are 42 legislators who have signed on to House Bill 465-Clarify & Modify Certain Abortion Laws - But the four Primary Sponsors are women. Women who pretend that medical safety is the reason behind ever more barriers to the constitutional right of access to abortion services. Women legislators who wish to lengthen the waiting period, describe ultrasounds and "...just make sure that women have all the information they need to make an informed decision." 

How dare they presume that women have not thought this decision through with their families, spiritual leaders and physicians? How dare they impose their narrowly-defined religious views on the entire population? What medical procedures do men make for which they are required to ask permission of politicians, wait 72 hours, be bullied at the clinic door, risk their lives and be shamed for their decisions?

A few years ago, as I sat in the House Health Committee, I heard Rep. Justin Burr (R-Stanly) declare, with all the arrogance and lack of information of his twenty-something self that, "EVERYONE knows that 90 percent of women get abortions for convenience." 

The notion that women make any health decision on a flight of fancy is insulting. It was insulting over 40 years ago when I joined the women's movement to fight for equality. It is insulting now. But, what is terribly hurtful is to watch women be complicit in the oppression of women. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Why RFRA Violates My Strongly Held Religious Beliefs

Saturday, March 7, 2015


It was a strange coincidence, but when the N&O changed servers last week, my letter-to-the-editor disappeared. It's back with a new URL.

Paula A. Wolf: Dollar takes low road in ripping Nichol

03/03/2015 1:01 PM 
 03/05/2015 5:40 PM

I was deeply troubled by Rep. Nelson Dollar’s March 3 letter “Nothing to show.” It was shockingly rude and inappropriate.

The base level of this public exposition is an affront to the institution in which he has risen to power. Dollar’s venomous attack on Professor Gene Nichol was nothing more than a verbal tantrum from a much lesser man.



Read more here:

I was deeply troubled by Rep. Nelson Dollar’s March 3 letter “Nothing to show.” It was shockingly rude and inappropriate. 
The base level of this public exposition is an affront to the institution in which he has risen to power. Dollar’s venomous attack on Professor Gene Nichol was nothing more than a verbal tantrum from a much lesser man. 

Read more here:
more here:

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Stop Punishing Rich People

Ned Barnett of the News & Observer wrote a column on February 28 entitled, "The World According to Rucho" in which he describes Sen. Bob Rucho as the "state's super Republican." Mr. Barnett seems to suggest that the Senator's view of the current political and economic climate may differ from that of many North Carolinians. The good Senator has an individualistic filter through which he sees such issues as unemployment, abortion, taxes and redistricting, just to name a few. Don't look for a communitarian or a "we're all in this together" perspective from the gentleman from Matthews.

During his first trip to the NC State Senate (1997-2004) before he lost his seat in 2004, Sen. Rucho took to the Senate Floor to rail about NC's high taxes. This was a common speech for him, but the reaction he received on one particular day stays in my memory. It is difficult to know which of Sen. Rucho's attributes rankled the Democratic leadership more, the pronounced Boston dialect or the high-pitched anger.

His long rant about North Carolina's high tax rate was followed by the familiar, albeit inaccurate, refrain that North Carolina had the highest taxes of any state in the southeast. He continued by asking what he thought was a rhetorical question, "Why would anybody come here?!"

Former Sen. Tony Rand, the powerful and witty Rules Chair and Democratic Majority Leader sprung to his feet and said, "Mr. President, would the gentleman yield for a question?"

"Yes," said Sen. Rucho.

With his booming voice and molasses slow drawl for effect, Sen. Rand asked, "Senator Rucho...why are you here?!"

Delivered with perfect comic timing, Sen. Rand's question temporarily diffused the situation. But I believe that those comments and years of parliamentary power plays to shut down debate had some influence on the vengeful actions and abuses of power that we have witnessed since the Republicans took the majority.

One thing is for sure. The Republican majority has stopped punishing rich people.

Friday, February 27, 2015

NC GOP Destroying University

Professor Gene Nichol's beautifully written statement needs to be heard by all. The NC GOP is destroying our beloved University of North Carolina. Blatantly. Unapologetically. Ignorantly. Arrogantly.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

GOP Eliminates Criticism

thepaulaticsblog - 2/18/15

Today, the UNC Board Committee on Stopping Criticism of the GOP Legislature and Governor recommended that the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity be eliminated. Not a surprise, but an outrage nonetheless. After meeting for months, “The panel’s chairman, Jim Holmes, called the review a thorough and legitimate exercise that resulted in less than 1 percent of centers being recommended for closure.”

Would John Hood, a visible face and prolific mouthpiece of the massive Art Pope radical, extreme, conservative nonprofit empire for over two decades, have us believe that he does not engage in advocacy? That is certainly what I call this handy brochure that was delivered to every legislator in 2011 by the then Hood-led John Locke Foundation: THE FIRST 100 DAYS: Eleven Action Items for the 2011 Legislative Session.

Make no mistake; the GOP is dead set on tearing down the first public institution of higher education in the country, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This is not just some political inside baseball that most of us can ignore. Academic freedom is being destroyed. Academic quality is being compromised. I speak especially to Tar Heel alumni when I say that Art Pope and his money aim to run our precious UNC. Unfortunately, he is well on his way to running it into the ground.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

We Don't Need No Clean Hands

Dear Sen. Tillis,
Your comments regarding government regulations vis-a-vis voluntary hand washing in restaurants illustrates to me that your robotic ideological views lack any wisdom whatsoever. What you lack in curiosity and intelligence, however, is more than made up by the outsized arrogance. 

Watch this video:

Monday, February 2, 2015

Social Rules and Thank-You Notes

"Social rituals are a necessary evil. In the public arena, send thank-you notes and make the necessary conciliatory noises."

The above resignation appeared as my horoscope today. Ironically, I just finished writing a few dozen thank-you notes to friends and professional colleagues. This ritual is far from evil. Indeed, it is my pleasure. When I receive a personal note in the U.S. mail among the endless catalogs, coupons and bills, It brings a smile to my face. 

As a radical feminist who kept my birth name after my 1977 marriage, attended the very first National Women's Studies Association convention, volunteered at rape crisis centers, and saw to it that the U.S. Treasury include "Ms" as an identifier for women purchasing U.S. Savings Bonds, it feels odd to say it. But, I am a stickler for manners and norms that some may label old-fashioned. 

If asked, my former interns and students would enumerate "Wolf's Rules" for working at the Legislature and beyond. Here a just a few.

-Dress for the part. In a professional setting, when one is trying to be heard and taken seriously, women should not wear open-toed shoes, short skirts or long necklines. Men should wear a coat and tie and socks in all seasons.

-Learn to communicate. Writing skill, including knowledge of grammar, spelling and punctuation, is sine qua non for success in any field. Speaking and the ability to think on one's feet will take you far. Practice. 

-Relationships are everything. Congratulate, encourage, sympathize, recognize and acknowledge actions, both large and small. 

-Listen and learn. The General Assembly did not start with you. Listen to stories about the players, political history and legislation. Seek out a mentor with experience. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Memo to the GOP State House : Where are the Women?

The State House demographic data are now posted on the NC General Assembly website - Here are some fun facts:

--There are 26 women serving out of 170 House Members. Twelve of these are Republicans. 

--Of the 38 Standing Committees, there are thirteen (13) Senate Standing Committees either chaired or co-chaired by a woman. 

--There are two (2) women in the Republican leadership. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Great State of Tom Apodaca

Sen. Tom Apodaca (R-Hendersonville) serves on 12 of the 23 Senate Standing Committees. 
     --He is the sole Chair of 2: Rules and Ways & Means. 
     --He is a Co-Chair of 3: Appropriations on Education/Higher Education, Insurance & Pensions and Retirement. 
     --He is a regular Member of 7: Appropriations on Base Budget, Appropriations on Justice & Public Safety, Commerce, Education/Higher Education, Finance, Judiciary I and Redistricting. 

The daily calendar is under his purview as is the general flow of bills. As Rules Chair, Sen. Apodaca decides in which committee bills will be heard, and if they will be heard. It is also up to him whether a bill is debated on the Floor and what day. 

His Committee assignments and his leadership responsibilities cover most of the issues expected to be hot this Session.

When you see Sen. Apodaca's name in the media the word "powerful" will likely be used as a modifier to "Rules Chair" every time. Indeed, he is. 

Memo to the GOP State Senate: Where are the Women?

The State Senate demographic data are now posted on the NC General Assembly website - Here are some fun facts:

--There are 11 women serving out of 50 Senators. Five of the 11 are Republicans. 

--Of the 23 Standing Committees, there are zero (0) Senate Standing Committees chaired by a woman. 

--Of the 23 Standing Committees, there are two (2) Senate Standing Committees co-chaired by women. 

--There are zero (0) women in the Republican leadership. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

I Heard A Rumor

I have been around the NC General Assembly long enough to know that it thrives on rumors. Many of them are phony trial balloons and many turn out to be accurate predictions of the future. This week, there is a rumor that Rep. Paul "Skip" Stam (R-Wake) will be appointed to a judgeship by Governor Pat McCrory. While it might be a relief to get such narrow and closed-minded ideology out of the Legislature, his departure would not solve the problem completely.

As I've observed for 20 years, Rep. Stam seems to spend an inordinate amount of his time and intelligence on proposals that are hateful, discriminatory and potentially unconstitutional. This is a man with an agenda who has used his considerable power to see it achieved. North Carolinians are paying an enormous price in legal fees - through our taxes - to defend his vanity and that of the NC GOP. 

His fingerprints are on legislation to deny healthcare to women, provide medically inaccurate sex education to our students, exclude the very people from protection against bullying who need it most, blatant partisan political retaliation directed at the teachers' professional association, allow the state to sanction one political viewpoint over another, allow public funds to be used to pay for private and parochial school tuition and create statutory barriers to the ballot box. 

The idea that he would move from the legislative branch to be an activist judge is intolerable.