RIP: Esther Kartiganer

Another enormously influential woman has died.

Born in Berlin on Jan. 14, 1938, to Harold and Lily Wolkowitz Kartiganer, Esther Kartiganer was  only a year old when her family immigrated to the United States to escape the Nazis.
She graduated from Brandeis in 1959 with a degree in political science. As a student, she had played on the Brandeis women’s basketball team, which went undefeated during the 1955-56 season. In 1964, after working for a political polling firm, she was hired as an office assistant at CBS. Rising through the ranks, she began to help produce documentaries, then became a senior editor and eventually a senior producer of “60 Minutes.” Few women held leadership positions in journalism at the time. At the time, there were no women either on news shows or in positions of power at CBS. “Central to my success is the fact that I didn’t marry and have children. I was on the road almost constantly for the first year. The men — even one with two sets of twins under age 2 — thought nothing of traveling. But only single women had the flexibility to put work at the top of their priorities. During that year, I got to know almost everyone at CBS, and that’s how the temporary job became permanent.” During a career spanning more than four decades at CBS News, she won thirteen Emmy Awards.

At “60 Minutes,” she produced a segment on Shaken Baby Syndrome and also helped produce a piece on the dangers of sulfites, which can cause assorted medical problems. That led to new regulations regarding their use in preserving food.

At Brandeis, Kartiganer was a founding member of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program’s national board and served as its co-chair for many years. Upon her retirement from CBS in 2005, the network made a generous gift in her honor to help fund a professorship in women’s and gender studies.

“Esther was a kind of driving force behind anything she was passionate about, and she was absolutely passionate about Brandeis and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program,” said Sue Lanser, the program chair and a professor of English, women’s and gender studies, and comparative literature. “She saw first-hand how difficult it was for women, and wanted to live out the Brandeis values of equality and justice. She saw the Women’s and Gender Studies Program as a path….”

Kartiganer was stricken while engaged in a favorite pastime: riding her bicycle to a ski lift that would transport her to a mountaintop, where she enjoyed reading the New York Times.
That strikes me as “a good death”!


Source material: New York Times and Brandeis University

Profit margins hit all-time high while wages plummet to all-time low!

Wages as a percent of the economy.

Millions–mostly women–struggle to survive on minimum wage: $7.25 an hour or roughly $15,080 annually.

The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2012 would gradually raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.80, increase the tipped-minimum wage from $2.13 per hour to seventy percent of the minimum wage and index it to keep pace with inflation.

*Women represent nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers.
*A woman working full-time, year-round, at minimum wage earns an income     that is $3,000 below the poverty line for a family of three!
*The minimum cash wage for tipped workers is $2.13 per hour and has not been increased in 20 years!
*Women constitute two-thirds of workers in tipped occupations.
*Raising the minimum wage would boost earnings for more than 28 million workers, nearly 55 percent of whom are women.

Senator Tom Harkin’s Rebuild America Act (Senate Bill 2252) would raise the federal minimum wage.  Representative George Miller has introduced parallel legislation that increases the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.80 by 2014, then indexes it to inflation.

Corporate-profit margins are at an all-time high and employee wages, as a percent of the economy, are at an all-time low.

Source information:

National Women’s Law Center
Business Insider, June 2012
National Employment Law Project

Coming to Dearborn this October!


The international-hit show, MENOPAUSE, THE MUSICAL®, has deemed Dearborn a hot place to perform on October 25, 26 and 28 at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center (Michigan Avenue at Greenfield). Experience camaraderie, joy and hilarity as you identify with the characters’ exasperations.

Four women, with apparently nothing in common but a black-lace bra, meet at a department-store lingerie sale. The all-female cast serves up fun as they tackle hot flashes, forgetfulness, mood swings, wrinkles, night sweats and chocolate! Sisterhood sizzles as diverse women discover that menopause is a perfectly normal stage in every woman’s life.

Enjoy this laughter-filled, ninety-minute production that parodies classic songs from three decades, the sixties, seventies and eighties.

Inspired by a hot flash and a bottle of wine, writer and producer,  Jeanie Linders created this show to celebrate women on the brink of, in the middle of, or having survived the change.

Tickets can be purchased now at or by calling 313-943-2354. Group discounts for ten or more patrons are available by calling 888-686-8587#3.

See why MENOPAUSE THE MUSICAL® has entertained audiences in more than 450 U.S. cities and fifteen countries. For further information, visit the website

Children’s Trauma Assessment Center

After writing the blog entry posted on July 31, 2012, entitled “Horrific news…”, I am encouraged to have discovered that WMU has a Children’s Trauma Assessment Center which works to create systemic change through the courts, schools and mental health initiatives.

Because trauma (whether physical, sexual and/or psychological in nature) changes the brain’s physiological structures, their team evaluates children from a brain-based perspective. A child’s perception of the traumatic events affects processes such as attention, memory, language acquisition and behavior. CTAC services aim to reduce symptoms to create better outcomes both for these children enmeshed in violence and their families.

Since ninety percent of children in the juvenile justice system are themselves victims of childhood trauma, knowing exactly how trauma affects children is key to enhancing child welfare. Helping the most vulnerable members of society recover in order that they may reach more of their potential is the central aim.

Today the National Children’s Traumatic Stress Network has sixty member sites.

Horrific news…

Last week, the journal PEDIATRICS, shared horrific news regarding unemployment, mortgage delinquency and foreclosure.


“For each 1 percent increase in the 90-day mortgage delinquency rate within a metropolitan area, researchers found a 3.09 percent increase in hospital admission rates for child abuse and a 4.8 percent increase in admissions for high-risk brain injury among children. There was a similar correlation with foreclosure rates.”


Obviously, intervention programs are needed now in communities undergoing economic stress and dislocation! The questions remain: How to make this happen? Who can make this happen? What exactly would work?

Mark Your Calendar Now!

Once again, The Dearborn Community Fund is sponsoring student workshops around the Midwest Sculpture Exhibit. Last year, volunteers from our branch helped out with safety, controlling hot glue guns and the like, for the youngsters involved.

The 2013 sculpture and writing workshops will take place at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center, Michigan Avenue at Greenfield, on the following Thursdays early next year: January 31, February 7, 14 and 28, as well as March 7.

Sculpture workshops will take place in Wet Rooms 1 and 2.
Writing workshops will be held next door in Clubroom 1.

As of now, the schools expected to participate are  Haigh, Miller, Lindberg and Nowlin Elementaries.  One more will be added at a later date.

It’s a great way to volunteer to help out with community education, and you are guaranteed a great experience among excited and creative kids. It’s never too soon to pencil in your calendar.

“claps and cheers”

Two letters from the Scholarship Donor-Recipient Project at the University of Michigan-Dearborn have arrived, both addressed to our branch members. They were forwarded by Karen Holland, Office of the Chancellor. Gratifying to read, each illuminates why we work so hard as a branch to raise funds to donate to educational causes, not to mention the joy we receive from giving.

“I am writing this letter to thank you for your generous contribution of $1,000 to my education. As a mother returning to school I am constantly in need of assistance. It is extremely difficult to balance work, school, and a family. I am always trying my hardest. Financial concerns are my biggest burden at this time. Your generous gift has taken a portion of this burden from my shoulders. I cannot thank you enough for your help. I am so lucky to have been chosen for this gift.

I am trying very hard to provide a better life for my son. I know that there is nothing more important than a good education. This is not only a way to better our lives financially, but it is also setting a positive example for him. At seven years old he already talks about going to the University of Michigan to become a meteorologist. He gets great joy out of coming up to school with me and helps me to study. He claps and cheers for me after every test. I know that this will inspire him to do well in school.

I thank you for supporting my goal to become a special education teacher. I plan on completing my bachelor’s degree here at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. My goal is to work teaching children with learning disabilities while completing my master’s degree.

I promise that I will work my hardest to maintain my grades. I work all day and night to keep a straight A average, and I will make you proud. This scholarship works as an additional motivator to me to keep trying my hardest. This year I will be student teaching and completing my goal. Thank you so much for helping me to get there. It is truly an honor to accept this award that you have granted me. Thank you so much for your help.


Rebecca Jo Guardiola”

“It is with great honor and privilege that I accept your award for the Fall 2012 and Winter 2013 semesters at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. After returning to college from a 20 plus year absence, I am using this scholarship wisely by studying very hard, contributing to class lectures by participation, and getting an A in each class I take to show respect to my donors for giving me the opportunity to succeed and to gain valuable knowledge and skills. I plan on making a difference in young people’s lives as I pursue a degree in education. It will take a couple more years, but with endurance, I will achieve my goals. Thank you for your help and support in this accomplishment.

My three children attended this fine university with the help of scholarships and are giving back to the community by being community leaders while achieving their higher degrees. I plan on following in their footsteps knowing that I have a lot to offer and will make a positive influence in other people’s lives. I am very grateful to the AAUW for providing funding for this scholarship. Thank you.

Best regards,

Evelyn Lukasik”

Parties Buying the 2012 Election!


“So far this year, 26 billionaires have donated more than $61 million to super PACs, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. And that’s only what has been publicly disclosed.

“What the Supreme Court did in Citizens United is to say to these same billionaires and the corporations they control: ‘You own and control the economy; you own Wall Street; you own the coal companies; you own the oil companies. Now, for a very small percentage of your wealth, we’re going to give you the opportunity to own the United States government.’”  –Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont

By the way, the combined net worth of these 26 particular billionaires is $195 billions. (Source: America for Sale: A Report on Billionaires Buying the 2012 Election)

From Senator Levin

Dear Ms. Gautreau:

Thank you for contacting me about the Equal Employment Opportunity Restoration Act of 2012 (S.3317). I appreciate hearing your views on this subject.

On June 20, 2012, Senator Al Franken (D-MN) introduced the Equal Employment Opportunity Restoration Act (S.3317).  This legislation is in response to the Wal-Mart v Dukes Supreme Court decision in June 2011 and would establish an alternative mechanism for filing class action lawsuits.  In Wal-Mart v Dukes, the Supreme Court handed down a decision that prevented Betty Dukes from proceeding with a lawsuit on behalf of the female Wal-Mart employees.  Employees can form a class and file a lawsuit if they are able to establish certain requirements outlined in Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  Rule 23 identifies commonality, numerosity, typicality, and adequacy as four required criteria to form a class.  In Dukes v. Wal-Mart, the Supreme Court ruled that the Wal-Mart group lacked commonality and would need to show “convincing proof” of company-wide discrimination to file a class action lawsuit.  In effect, this decision narrowed the scope of what is acceptable for a group of plaintiffs to receive class certification and proceed with a trial.

     If enacted, the Equal Employment Opportunity Restoration Act would create a new judicial procedure, known as group action, that could be used in employment discrimination cases and would allow one or more plaintiffs to file class actions. This legislation would not require plaintiffs to prove their case at the class certification stage under group action.  Proponents of this legislation argue it would make it easier for plaintiffs to bring forward discrimination cases. Opponents argue that the Supreme Court has adequately limited class action lawsuits in an effort to limit frivolous cases and put a burden on the judicial system.

  This legislation has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for further action.  Similar legislation (H.R.5978) was introduced by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) in the House of Representatives on June 20, 2012, and has been referred to the relevant committees of jurisdiction for further consideration.  Should this or similar legislation come before the full Senate, I will keep your views in mind.

Thank you again for contacting me.

Carl Levin

Written with a Light Touch

Caitlin Moran’s runaway-hit book, How to Be a Woman, has crossed the pond to dock in America. Her combined rant, manifesto, and memoir serves a singular thesis: to make women proud to be feminists.
“When I talk to girls, they go, ‘I’m not a feminist.’ And I say: ‘What? You don’t want to vote? Do you want to be owned by your husband? Do you want your money from your job to go into his bank account? If you were raped, do you still want that to be a crime? Congratulations: you are a feminist.’”
Looks like a trip to Barnes and Noble may be in order!