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January 30, 2005

And what's wrong with that idea?

More on Larry Summers:

Harvard President Larry Summers has issued three increasingly lengthy explanations to quiet the clamor over his recent remarks suggesting that "innate" differences between the sexes might explain why fewer women pursue science and math careers. The flap prompted one Washingtonian with a long memory -- Ralph Nader -- to call us and point out that it's not the first time the former treasury secretary has suffered from foot-in-mouth disease.

For years the Nader-founded Multinational Monitor magazine has issued a "Lawrence Summers Memorial Award" for ill-considered statements. It references a memo that Summers, then at the World Bank, wrote in 1991. "I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest-wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that," he wrote, adding, "I've always thought that under-populated countries in Africa are vastly under-polluted." The memo was leaked and Summers quickly apologized, saying it was meant to be "sardonic."
They'll get paid for it, of course.