Boxer defends Jaczko’s harassing behavior with classic anecdotal quotes from anonymous women

As the father of two professional daughters, one of whom has spent the past ten years in the male dominated US Navy, I have been taken aback by the way that the Democratic Party leaders have reacted to testimony from four appointed Commissioners on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. These four experienced, mature professionals took the extraordinary step of drafting a letter to the White House Chief of Staff to describe the behavior of the appointed Chairman.

They told Mr. Daley that Greg Jaczko has established a chilled work environment, that he prevents the unimpeded flow of information from the professional, technical staff to his fellow commissioners and that he has verbally harassed at least three senior women staff members to the point where one of them began shaking and where one of them was reduced to tears.

In this video clip, William Ostendorff, a retired US Navy Captain with more than 30 years of service to the United States, calmly describes why he and his fellow commissioners took the unprecedented step of writing to the White House.

Immediately after that testimony, which Commissioner Ostendorff is providing under oath, Senator Boxer goes off on a tirade and accuses four out of five commissioners, two Democrats and two Republicans, of participating in what she calls “a witch hunt”. She also implies that the four commissioners, all of whom have a lengthy period of demonstrated professional performance in jobs associated with safely using nuclear energy and radioactive materials, of being soft on safety.

This clip greatly disturbs me and should disturb all professional women, their coworkers, their husbands and their fathers. Passion is no excuse for mistreating people in the work place.

Disclosure: About a dozen years ago, I had the distinct pleasure of working with Captain William Ostendorff in a volunteer capacity. He was one of the senior submarine officers at the US Naval Academy while I was a Company Officer. I thoroughly enjoyed helping him with the Career Information Program. Our task was to help midshipmen understand the opportunities offered by the submarine force and the nuclear power training program.

About Rod Adams

12 Responses to “Boxer defends Jaczko’s harassing behavior with classic anecdotal quotes from anonymous women”

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  1. Brian Mays says:

    Rod – I noticed this bit of theater by Boxer while I was watching the hearing live. I was disgusted when I first watched it, and I’m just as disgusted now.

    Thanks for pointing this out.

  2. Rod Adams says:

    @Brian – one of the interesting facets of human nature is that repetition works in strange ways. For example, though the Cosmo refinery at Chiba experienced a raging, billowing, uncontrollable, dramatic fire that lasted for 10 solid days after the Great North East Japan earthquake, what many people remember is the hydrogen fueled explosions that lasted for seconds at the nuclear power station.

    My theory is that they remember those explosions because they have been shown the photos and the short video clip thousands of times to the point where they now believe that those events continued or happened over and over again.

    One of my reasons for picking a few clips from the lengthy hearings is to give others some material that they can run repeatedly. One or two might even go viral. Pro-nuclear activists do not have the resources of the advertiser supported media, but we have the internet. We also have the truth. Those are two powerful tools.

  3. George Carty says:

    AIUI women are in general far more anti-nuclear than men. What do you think can be done about this?

    • Kelly says:

      Women tend to be more risk-averse than men, in general. They also tend to be more community-minded than men, cooperative vs. competitive. (I’m speaking in generalities and recognizing many of my generalities do not apply even to myself; let the reader be gracious to the intent of this post, rather pick at the details.)

      I saw a power point presentation once from Penn State, I believe, aimed at recruiting students to their nuclear degree programs. The recognized audience were families of the high school student prospects, so the slides ended with coaching to the presenter: If you want to sell the degree program to the dads, tell them these careers make a lot of money; if you want to sell it to moms, tell them these careers are safe for their children.

      If you want women to understand the benefits of nuclear energy, educate us to understand lower and more stable electricity costs benefit the community – including the single mom next door to me who needs assistance to pay her heating bill in the winter.

      Show our daughters that these careers are merit-based, rather than advancement solely via the good-ole-boy network. If you do good work, you get recognized for the quality of your work, not how the video clips play on youtube. (I can confirm this, personally.)

      And tell us, show us, that the used fuel repositories keep harmful products away from the environment, while safeguarding a stable source of energy that can be made into electricity for our grandchildren – a legacy of power for generations to come.

      • Rod Adams says:

        Kelly – thank you for the helpful tips about marketing our incredibly capable power source to women.

        One of the paths I have started taking recently is to discuss the generational inequity of our current selfish path of burning up all available hydrocarbons within the expected lifetimes of our own grandchildren. It makes people think hard when you ask which is more unfair of us – leaving an isolated, protected store of potential fuel in the form of used nuclear fuel, or leaving a planet whose valuable fossil fuels have all been extracted and burned up to power our hair dryers and big screens?

        Please provide some feedback – am I on a track that will resonate with people who are traditionally motivated to be care takers?

        • Joel Riddle says:

          Rod, I think we need to come up with a saying playing on the “give a man a fish, feed him for a day – teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime” saying, but tailored to teaching a man to fission.

          Teach a man to fission,
          Power him for a lifetime or Sustain him for a lifetime

        • Joel Riddle says:

          Maybe even “Teach a man to fission, sustain his society for a lifetime” or “Teach AND ALLOW a man to fission, sustain his society for millenia”.

          • Rod Adams says:

            How about the following:

            Teach women to fission, sustain society for millennia

            I saw a terrific Christmas towel at a friend’s house that explained how everything might be different if god had sent three wise women.

            It went something like this:

            If God had sent three wise women, they would have stopped and asked for directions. They would have arrived on time, bringing practical gifts. There would already be peace on earth.

            Update: Through the magic of Google, I think I found a more accurate version of what I read on that embroidered towel: (

            Do you know what would have happened if it had been three wise women instead of three wise men? They would have asked for directions, arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable, made a casserole, brought practical gifts, and there would be Peace On Earth.

        • Joel Riddle says:

          I didn’t mean it had to relate to women, Rod. I simply liked the punniness of the fish/fission similarity, along with the fact that fission is going to be so extremely vital if we have any hope of maintaining close to the standard of living that the develop world has enjoyed in recent decades.

          • Rod Adams says:

            @Joel – I also liked the punniness of the fish/fission similarity, but I wanted to also contrast it with the rather typical version of teach a “man” to fish. It is an important task to help women understand why they should want to learn more about atomic fission, aka nuclear power.

        • Brian Mays says:

          If God had sent three wise women … bringing practical gifts.

          OK. Diapers, baby wipes, and what’s the third one? Valium?

  4. Kelly says:

    “What is said here, reminds me – oh gosh am I dating myself – of Joe McCarthy.” …therefore I will respond in McCarthy-esque fashion to attempt to distract from otherwise responsible proceedings.

    Senator Boxer, three anonymous, faceless quotes do not counter four professionals testifying before congress.

    You malign professionalism by pretending that politics can substitute for it.