I am drawn to interesting women. This is a sketch of three women of whom you probably have not heard. The stories are tragic. My hope is you will see the hope they inspire for those that follow them; to do heroic things -- if you are a woman. I have given up on most men. Seriously, men seem like caricatures to me in some times like these.
Brooksley Born, an American lawyer, took on the world. She certainly took on the most powerful men in the U.S. a decade ago. Singlehandedly, she might have saved us from this economic meltdown if those egoistic men and the nation (read media) had only listened to her.
Ms. Born was chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) from 1996 to 1999 when she suddenly resigned. She resigned because a bevy of men, Alan Greenspan, Robert Rubin, Phil Gramm, Lawrence Summers and Sandy Weill advised congress to ignore her admonitions to regulate derivatives. In 2008, she was named to the Legal Times list of greatest Washington Lawyers of the Last 30 years.
Brooksley Born wanted to regulate the financial instruments that caused this current financial meltdown and recommended that regulation in 1998. She was concerned that there was no central exchange in this dark market and thus there was no transparency. The ‘good old boy’ network known as the President’s Working Group (Secretary of the Treasury Rubin and Fed chairman Greenspan) and the others, objected to Ms. Born’s recommendations because they thought regulation might destabilize the market. Ms. Born wasn’t crying wolf. In 1998 Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM) had to be bailed out for engaging in speculation in precisely this sort of unregulated derivative market. Greenspan of the Fed bailed out LTCM because he was "...afraid (LTCM’s failure) would have profound worldwide economic repercussions." This financial catastrophe presaged the present meltdown and was one of the events that provoked Ms. Born’s warning which The Boys ignored. Brooksley Born, an American hero. The media should examine Ms. Born’s role in life more closely and more often in juxtaposition to the current financial meltdown. Even now!
Moral -- Powerful (egoistic) men should listen to smart women.
Lina Newhouser founded Common Dreams.org, a progressive Internet forum that is alive and well today, online. Lina is dead. Too early. Yet tragedy visited her at an earlier time of her life that demonstrates why the nation should pay more attention to my proposal for a revolution in the law and the adoption of A Modern Legal System.
Death visited Lina’s life in 1990. It is necessary to go back a bit earlier in her life to create the string to this tragic event. Lina and her husband, Bert DeLeeuw had been active in progressive causes in the early 1980's, but retired to an organic farm in Pennsylvania, discouraged by Ronald Reagan’s election.
One of the tenets of A Modern Legal System is that there should be dispute resolution systems available to citizens without the necessity of legal proceedings. Neighborhood dispute systems have been around for over twenty years, but are largely ignored by legal leadership. Legal leadership is mostly men. These men would rather perform legal surgery in the court operating room instead of a cheap, civilian-friendly forum to solve simple disputes. A neighborhood dispute system might have saved Lina’s husband’s life. You see they had a dispute with their neighbor over their dogs running on the neighbor’s land. The neighbor got fed up with these dogs running on his farm and while drunk, killed Bert DeLeeuw with a shotgun blast on an organic gardening kind of beautiful May day. Lina and Bert’s daughter was six months old. One observer said you could "...get a sense of (Lina’s) odd eggshell toughness just in the way she shakes hands..."
Lina went on to form Common Dreams in her next life before contracting lymphoma which took her life last year. She was only 58. Lina’s life may have impact on our lives for a long time in the future.
Moral -- Ignore Brooksley Born at your peril. Ignore A Modern Legal System at your peril. Ignore common dreams at your peril.
Diane Bradford Kornet
Diana Bradford Kornet lives! Yet, she fell to her death after summiting Mt. Hood, the tallest mountain in Oregon, on June 4, 2000. She unroped herself from her six companions on the trip, then she went too close, for a look-see, to the northeast edge of the mountain .
Mt. Hood is visible from virtually anywhere in Oregon and Washington state. From near or far, the top is the shape of a slightly askew giant coffee cup. It feels safe up there. I should know, I was there that day. Diana was in the group that preceded mine. We learned of the tragedy as we commenced our climb to Mt. Hood’s 11,000 foot summit. Following the arduous trip to the top, I could see the foot steps in the snow leading to the edge where she fell.
Yet, Diana Bradford Kornet, age 29, lives on at her website and for her family who created the website. I feel like I know a bit of her and maybe even a bit about her life’s quest through those footprints in the snow and her story on the website.
Diana Kornet, originally from the northeast, was now living in the northwest. With a B.A. in Biology and a Certificate in Environmental Studies from Dartmouth College, she had traveled to Kenya, Jamaica and Costa Rica. She participated in high risk sports and was highly creative. It is clear she had intellectual curiosity and touched many people in her life.
Thus, after a lifetime in the environment and medical field, she had just been accepted to medical school where she was to go following the climbing season.
Moral -- For impact women, life can be risky, but if we all stay roped up together we can have common dreams and accomplish anything.
Ignore ‘impact’ women at your peril!