Tuesday Reads

Beware the Ides of March!!

Well, things remain in flux. First, Senate Republicans in Wisconsin are still holding the 14 Democrats hostage to their policies and contempt.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald wrote this afternoon in an email to his caucus that Senate Dems remain in contempt of the Senate and will not be allowed to vote in committees despite returning from their out-of-state boycott of the budget repair bill vote.

“They are free to attend hearings, listen to testimony, debate legislation, introduce amendments, and cast votes to signal their support/opposition, but those votes will not count, and will not be recorded,” wrote Fitzgerald, R-Juneau.

Republicans in Kansas are also suggesting some pretty bizarre things.

A legislator said Monday it might be a good idea to control illegal immigration the way the feral hog population has been controlled — with hunters shooting from helicopters.

State Rep. Virgil Peck, R-Tyro, said he was just joking, but that his comment did reflect frustration with the problem of illegal immigration.

Peck made his comment came during a discussion by the House Appropriations Committee on state spending for controlling feral swine.

After one of the committee members talked about a program that uses hunters in helicopters to shoot wild swine, Peck suggested that may be a way to control illegal immigration.

Then, Glenn Beck decided to take Pat Robertson’s place in talking about earthquakes, god, and endtimes.

Discussing the devastation in Japan on his radio program this morning, Glenn Beck lamented that we “can’t see the connections here.”

Beck said that he’s “not saying God is, you know, causing earthquakes,” then clarified that he is “not not saying that, either,” then added: “Whether you call it Gaia, or whether you call it Jesus, there’s a message being sent and that is, ‘hey, you know that stuff we’re doing? Not really working out real well.’ Maybe we should stop doing some of it.”

Think that’s outrageous?  Check out this one from a GOP House member from New Hampshire that at least retired after this comment.

Rep. Martin Harty, a Barrington Republican, has resigned his House seat in the wake of fire he drew for remarks on mental illness and population control.

Harty, who turns 92 this month, came into spotlight last week after telling a voter during a phone call that he thought the best treatment for the mentally ill would be a one-way trip to Siberia.

He also said population growth and mental illness could be controlled with eugenics, a form of genetic engineering commonly associated with Hitler’s Germany.

Kinda makes you wonder what’s wrong with some people in this country doesn’t it?  If this is coming from the country’s decision makers and opinion leaders, I think we’re in a heckuva lotta trouble.  Then there’s this bit of news on the Supreme Court coming from a study co-authored by conservative Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner.

… the Roberts Court places a huge thumb on the scale in favor of corporate interests. According to the study, the Roberts Court rules in favor of business interests 61 percent of the time, a 15 point spike from the five years before when Chief Justice Roberts joined the Court.

While the Chamber of Commerce has recently tried to downplay the favorable treatment it receives from the Supreme Court, its own top lawyer admitted a few years after Roberts joined the Court that the justices give his client special treatment:

Carter G. Phillips, who often represents the chamber and has argued more Supreme Court cases than any active lawyer in private practice, reflected on its influence. “I know from personal experience that the chamber’s support carries significant weight with the justices,” he wrote. “Except for the solicitor general representing the United States, no single entity has more influence on what cases the Supreme Court decides and how it decides them than the National Chamber Litigation Center.”

Phillips’ confession, and the Posner study’s conclusion, corroborates other data showing the Roberts Court’s favoritism towards corporate interests.

Women are definitely on the losing end of Republican Government overreach. Here’s the latest example from Iowa.

Life can’t get much worse for Christine Taylor. Last month, after an upsetting phone conversation with her estranged husband, Ms. Taylor became light-headed and fell down a flight of stairs in her home. Paramedics rushed to the scene and ultimately declared her healthy. However, since she was pregnant with her third child at the time, Taylor thought it would be best to be seen at the local ER to make sure her fetus was unharmed.

That’s when things got really bad and really crazy. Alone, distraught, and frightened, Taylor confided in the nurse treating her that she hadn’t always been sure she’d wanted this baby, now that she was single and unemployed. She’d considered both adoption and abortion before ultimately deciding to keep the child. The nurse then summoned a doctor, who questioned her further about her thoughts on ending the pregnancy. Next thing Taylor knew, she was being arrested for attempted feticide. Apparently the nurse and doctor thought that Taylor threw herself down the stairs on purpose.

According to Iowa state law, attempted feticide is an trying “to intentionally terminate a human pregnancy, with the knowledge and voluntary consent of the pregnant person, after the end of the second trimester of the pregnancy.” At least 37 states have similar laws. Taylor spent two days in jail before being released. That’s right, a pregnant woman was jailed for admitting to thinking about an abortion at some point early in her pregnancy and then having the audacity to fall down some stairs a couple of months later. Please tell me you find this as horrifying as I do.

With that bit of news, I’d like to recommend something Bostonboomer found yesterday by Chris Hedges: Power Concedes Nothing Without a Demand.

The liberal class is discovering what happens when you tolerate the intolerant. Let hate speech pollute the airways. Let corporations buy up your courts and state and federal legislative bodies. Let the Christian religion be manipulated by charlatans to demonize Muslims, gays and intellectuals, discredit science and become a source of personal enrichment. Let unions wither under corporate assault. Let social services and public education be stripped of funding. Let Wall Street loot the national treasury with impunity. Let sleazy con artists use lies and deception to carry out unethical sting operations on tottering liberal institutions, and you roll out the welcome mat for fascism.

Well, there are some places in the world where people see themselves as altogether in one big struggle against the bad things that happen.  The Japanese are certainly providing some good examples of resilience and human strength in the face of some horrendous disasters.  In the UK,  The Telegraph asks: ‘Why is there no looting in Japan?’

The landscape of parts of Japan looks like the aftermath of World War Two; no industrialised country since then has suffered such a death toll. The one tiny, tiny consolation is the extent to which it shows how humanity can rally round in times of adversity, with heroic British rescue teams joining colleagues from the US and elsewhere to fly out.

And solidarity seems especially strong in Japan itself. Perhaps even more impressive than Japan’s technological power is its social strength, with supermarkets cutting prices and vending machine owners giving out free drinks as people work together to survive. Most noticeably of all, there has been no looting, and I’m not the only one curious about this.

This is quite unusual among human cultures, and it’s unlikely it would be the case in Britain. During the 2007 floods in the West Country abandoned cars were broken into and free packs of bottled water were stolen. There was looting in Chile after the earthquake last year – so much so that troops were sent in; in New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina saw looting on a shocking scale.

Why do some cultures react to disaster by reverting to everyone for himself, but others – especially the Japanese – display altruism even in adversity?

We might ask ourselves the same question.  Why is it that some folks display altruism even in adversity?

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

72 Comments on “Tuesday Reads”

  1. dm says:

    As to the Wisconsin Dems…sorry, life is tough out there, the boss often sucks, but you either do your job or find another one. Running away is not an option for let’s see, uh, NO ONE THAT I KNOW. I’m not saying that I agree or disagree with the legislation…but running away – I see nothing there worthy of applause – only contempt.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Then you are part of the problem. You are one of the ones who will give in to fascism rather than fight. I hope you change your mind when they come for you.

      • dm says:

        I wasn’t commenting on the legislation…I was commenting on their response. As a voter (and having a son in a union), I do feel there are problems with the current evolution of some of the unions. However, I vote for people to fight the fight…to stand up for me. How were they standing up for union rights by fleeing? Yes, they garnered a lot of attention but what lessons are they teaching? While political posturing goes on all the time, avoiding a tough vote ultimately doesn’t do anything. Look how many tough votes Obama ducked…yeah, we got a fighter there don’t we???

        • dakinikat says:

          They were trying to stall for time then get enough public support to force some of the republicans to negotiate on the collective bargaining portionof the bill. It was the only strategy left to them.

      • bostonboomer says:

        The legislators who left the state made a huge difference. If they handn’t done that, there wouldn’t have been as much attention to the protests and the protesters wouldn’t have been as energized and as numerous as they were. Just rolling over and accepting fascism is not the solution to our problems, IMO.

      • dm says:

        I would not expect any elected official to simply “roll over”, but there has to be some realistic admission that unions are not serving the best interest of anyone. There are union employees here where I work. They are guaranteed a certain raise, with no respect to performance. I, on the other hand, can actually receive a better raise because it is performance based. Now, I may not have the same job guarantees, however the incentive is completely taken out of the equation. I think there needs to be more balance in the discussion of unions good versus unions evil. It’s not all or nothing.

        • dakinikat says:

          I think if you have worked in two environments like I have with and without union representation in similar circumstances you wouldn’t be saying that. Unions stop capricious management actions and ensure that you earn fair wages. I’d have given anything for nea representation for what I experienced the last two years at lsu with an insane dean. The offered my two contracts and changed the terms within a week of school starting both times.

      • dm says:

        I’m sorry for what you have endured. I have been let go after many years due to a “shift” in the politics of the department. However, there are still valid points on both sides. What needs to occur is a rethinking of the purpose of unionization. Yes, I am happy my son has some guarantees that he wouldn’t have non-union. Unions do serve a valid purpose in many ways. Shielding low performance or plain crappy performance is not helpful to anyone. My son is an electrician. He certainly doesn’t want to work behind someone who is not up to snuff…in his case, it could mean the difference between injury and death.

      • dakinikat says:

        I’ve never seen unions purposefully fight for a weak member unless that member’s rights were violated somehow. You’re guaranteed due process in a union environment and as long as management has a good case for the dismissal they can do so for even tenured employees. Certainly, they can fire any one for any reason before a union member has achieved seniority status. Have you actually worked in a union environment and seen these things happen? The clerks are organized here–even though faculty isn’t–and I’ve seen many fired for very reasons with seniority as long as the process is followed.

      • Fannie says:

        With a good union member you get solidarity. I’ve seen it time after time, for instance when clerical would strike the entire union strikes until the company backs down.

        This was sprung on the Dems without debate. Both parties/sides were to blame as for as how this was all handled. I think the outcome gave everybody a chance to find out what was really going on. I’m glad they got the chance to recall the senators too.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      Yeah, right. Take away the bargaining power and we are back in the age of sweat shops.

      Let management reap the profits while the rank and file scramble.

      Seems “fair” to me!

    • dakinikat says:

      if there’s no way to filibuster than how else do you stop bad legislation? That’s an overly simplistic judgment. If you truly believe something is wrong then sitting by and being railroaded is wrong. You have to do what you have to do.

    • dm says:

      As previously stated, yes I do work in a union environment. I’ve had to substitute for them when they are on strike. There are basically 3 things that will get you fired – but even then, it requires a write up process of 3 separate instances with, of course, mediation. If it involves substance abuse, we are obligated to send them to detox. People do get fired…but it usually doesn’t happen overnight and it usually isn’t without cause.

      I can see there isn’t much “discussion” to be had here as everyone pretty much has their mind set – and, that’s ok. I like a good back and forth with some concessions of points raised. The world just isn’t so black and white anymore – the democrats taught me that lesson in 2008.

      Have a beautiful day.

      • Fannie says:

        About your IBEW son, here’s a fact for you to consider, it is managment that have never had to put a wrench in his hand. If they ever get called out on the a job, you can damn near bet they don’t know what to do. Your union man, working next to your son, you can bet your ass he has the proper tools to get the job done.

        The fact is that the union men/women are trained to stop a job if they think it is unsafe. But as you know their is a price tag when it comes to safey and management.
        If you say you need $350,000 to inspect pipe lines, and your manager comes back and says you have $180,000 to do the job, who’s at fault when you have a situation like we here in California had at San Bruno? Who do you think is liable, the rate payers or the share holders? The unions own a tiny fraction of those shares.

      • dakinikat says:

        I guess my experience must be different than yours. I’m looking for a new job. I’m not going to anywhere without a bargaining unit any more. I’m tired of being bullied by administration and state politicians frankly.

    • gregoryp says:

      Isn’t that spectacular. I find it amazing how some people that were swept away came out alright. How a 4 month old baby can survive that kind of ordeal is just unbelievable.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    I can explain the differences in altruism in different countries. Evolutionary forces have adapted humans to be more altruistic toward family members first and then our tribe. Japan not as ethnically diverse as the U.S. or GB.

    Another factor is that Japanese culture puts more emphasis on family and community than individualism, while western cultures–especially the US focus on the individual and individual freedom and autonomy. So there is a cultural/environmental factor also.

    Japanese people seem to still have that attitude of “we are all in this together” that we have largely lost in the U.S. because we have acceeded to the oligharcy and corporatism.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    As for that 92-year-old NH rep, could we please establish an age limit for government service?

    • Sweet Sue says:

      I don’t know,Bb, that could mean losing Bernie Sanders, soon, and he’d be sorely missed.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Bernie Sanders is 69. He’s only a few years older than I am. He’s nowhere near 92. I didn’t mean my suggestion literally–just that 92 is too old.

    • gregoryp says:

      I don’t think it is the age but WHO is being elected through the exclusionary processes of the two party system. Instead of the best and the brightest only the rich, connected and entitled are able to apply. Until we start electing people with true ability who have all of our best interests at heart I am afraid things are just going to keep spiraling downward.

      • Jadzia says:

        In my state, term limits in the state legislature have resulted in an unelected cadre of perma-staffers pretty much running the joint. And thanks to the good old BOY network here, any dude who gets term limited typically gets appointed immediately to some other cushy position until he runs for something else. (Like our once and future governor — he got term limited, sat on the bench for a while handsomely paid by a politically connected think tank, and then was re-elected against an incredibly inexperienced opponent. So inexperienced that I got the impression that the Rs were throwing it.)

        Anyhoo. I’m not saying the concept is bad. I’m just saying that where there is a (corrupt) will, there is always a way.

        • dakinikat says:

          I’ve always thought the term limited the wrong people. The term limited people should be the heads of agencies and other executive positions.

      • Jadzia says:

        That is a really good point. I am just disgusted with term limits being seen by these guys as nothing more than a revolving door or some game of political musical chairs. “Okay, guys, the music’s stopped! Everybody move down one office to the left!”

  4. Thursday's Child says:

    Let the Christian religion be manipulated by charlatans to demonize Muslims, gays and intellectuals, discredit science and become a source of personal enrichment.

    As usual, something is conspicuously missing from this quote. Not even I noticed it when I read it hurriedly last night. Namely, the group the Christian religion has most heavily demonized, women.

    • purplefinn says:

      Good catch as I think otherwise that entire quote is a gem. A look at the full article gave me no indication that women are on Chris Hedges radar. A quick look at his wiki entry doesn’t either.

      • bostonboomer says:

        No, I don’t think so. But he is still worth reading while keeping that in mind.

      • purplefinn says:

        Hi BB, yes, he is on target otherwise. I was checking just wondering whether it would have been worthwhile to point out his omission to him. Since it’s so pervasive and longstanding, I think not. He just needs the editing Thursday’s Child provided.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    The ongoing nuclear crisis in Japan is getting very serious. It’s starting to look like nothing can stop the meldown of unit 2 and that a nuclear catastrophe may be inevitable.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Tokyo Electric may be held liable for nuclear plant explosions | Reuters

      Tokyo Electric Power could still be held liable for the problems at its nuclear power plant as the Japanese government has not yet decided whether to classify Friday’s devastating earthquake an “exceptional” natural disaster.

      Japan’s 1961 Act on Compensation for Nuclear Damage states the operator of a nuclear facility will not be responsible for any damage caused by their reactor if it was due to “a grave natural disaster of an exceptional character or by an insurrection”.

      Insurers of the nuclear plant have already cited this law to signal that claims are unlikely to be made following the explosions.

      However, a person involved in this matter said the quake that hit Japan’s northern coast is not yet considered as an exceptional natural disaster, adding that the official consensus will have to be made by the ministry for education, culture, sport, science and technology — which is in charge of the law.

  6. Thursday's Child says:

    The U.S. Geological Survey says Japan quake may have shortened the length of each earth day and shifted its axis.

  7. Woman Voter says:

    Nancy Many explains how she infiltrated Boston psych agencies to do covert spying operations on behalf of #Scientology. http://goo.gl/nKPFO

    I can’t believe this, this is shocking, truly shocking considering the trust and care that people working with those in need devote their lives to protecting. To have someone violate that trust is sickening, just sickening and frankly inhumane.

  8. Joanelle says:

    “They are free to attend hearings, listen to testimony, debate legislation, introduce amendments, and cast votes to signal their support/opposition, but those votes will not count, and will not be recorded,” wrote Fitzgerald, R-Juneau.

    How can they disenfranchise those Senators? Is that legal?
    By the way – thanks for the links to the live streaming from Japan last night. What a mess that is – those poor people.

    • paper doll says:

      How can they disenfranchise those Senators? Is that legal?

      when has that stopped them lately ? We ceased to be a nation under the rule of law in 2000…:(

    • bostonboomer says:

      How can it be legal? It also disenfrancises the voters.

      • Joanelle says:

        Yep -that’s what I was aiming at – disenfranchisement to elected officials is disenfranchisement to those who elected them.

  9. paper doll says:

    Nice round up!

    He also said population growth and mental illness could be controlled with eugenics, a form of genetic engineering commonly associated with Hitler’s Germany.

    Dang Pops,just wait till the engineered food kicks in, you might get your wish! ….funny how a 92 year old, who believe me, is being helped one way or another in his day to day life, is so ready for others to have even their boot straps snapped.

    New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina saw looting on a shocking scale

    I take exception to that….there was no help either….no vending machine company was passing out the drinks…if the looting is low in Japan perhaps it’s due in part to the fact help is more forth coming ? Somehow that part is over looked as a cause

  10. paper doll says:

    Harty, who turns 92 this month, came into spotlight last week after telling a voter during a phone call that he thought the best treatment for the mentally ill would be a one-way trip to Siberia.

    And this is what gets me: how long does Harty think it would be before the call comes for the 90 plus crowd to join the mentally ill in the cattle cars ??

    Mister, buy a freaking clue. Speaking in your terms, your due date is no better than the mentally ill. People don’t realize how easy it is to fall into the cattle cars oneself as one pushes others in….how many of us in these terms, can seem ” a drain” on socity? I’m betting most would

    • Joanelle says:

      Mr. Harty is a poor rep for seniors. He should read this:

      When the Nazis came for the communists,
      I remained silent;
      I was not a communist.
      Then they locked up the social democrats,
      I remained silent;
      I was not a social democrat.
      Then they came for the trade unionists,
      I did not protest;
      I was not a trade unionist.
      Then they came for the Jews,
      I did not speak out;
      I was not a Jew.
      When they came for me,
      there was no one left to speak out for me.
      – M. Niemoellier

    • Thursday's Child says:

      The nazis actually tested their extermination measures on the mentally ill in Germany before using them on the Jews, Gypsies and others in the camp./

  11. boogieman7167 says:

    Taylor spent two days in jail before being released. That’s right, a pregnant woman was jailed for admitting to thinking about an abortion at some point early in her pregnancy
    that just crazy who do these prick doctors think they are anyway . personly i think some of them need to be jail’ed just for doing that.

    • TheRock says:

      The rule of law only applies to those that are subject to the law. Dollars for donuts, Taylor WASN’T in the top 2% of income earners in the country.


      Hillary 2012

    • Fannie says:

      I hope she sues the hell of out them, and they get much more jail time.

      • Fannie says:

        She needs to go after the Hospital, the ER Room, and the doctor. Then take it to those who passed this law and caused her to be falsly imprisoned.

        Who are the people that caused this situation, lets see their names, and work locations, etc. Let’s see some damage done to their lives too.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      @ boogieman I am still reeling from that news item up top…unbelievable.

  12. boogieman7167 says:

    as far a beck gose he went off the deep end along time ago

  13. foxyladi14 says:

    jailed for thinking.unbelievable 👿

    • boogieman7167 says:

      we have indeed twilight zone

    • Woman Voter says:


    • Jadzia says:

      Appalling. As a newly pregnant lady (yes, AGAIN, and everybody who knows has had a disapproving opinion to share) the news is just getting more and more awful. I am reminded of an incident when I was pregnant with my 1st, back in 2000. I fell down a flight of stairs at the State Capitol and ended up at the ER at a hospital in Salem. My co-workers took my car home to Portland, and I was stuck by myself until my husband got to Salem (a couple of hours). The doctor REFUSED TO TREAT my injured ankle until I read a laminated Dr. Laura column, which he apparently carried with him specially for these types of occasions, about the evils of working mothers. At the time I thought the guy was on the lunatic fringe. Now? Am not so sure.

      It seems like things have taken a *really* sharp turn for the worse in terms of women’s rights just in the past couple of months. Not that things were all that great before.

  14. alibe says:

    I think teachers should start attacking the real culprits of poor education…the Administration, not the teachers. Schools are like a team effort. But it takes a good coach and assistant coaches to make things work. And as far as it goes, the Administartion is NON-Union. I taught for a few years. the first year was a nightmare. Poor morale, kids were out of control and teachers were just barely managing. Then the next year we had a new principal. What a dramatic differance in just a few weeks, maybe days. It was night and day. Remember the Administartion often hires teachers and won’t take the time to train or get the bad ones removed. It can be done but it takes a good Administration. The administration is key, just like a good coach. Don’t blame the teachers, try starting with the school board and the administration.

    • dakinikat says:

      Adminstration can be a big problem. First, if you can’t make good money teaching, you eventually head to administration. The best teachers often get pulled into administration out of economic desperation. The second thing that happens is that once you hit administration, you become politically active like all managers. You start power building and that means trying to get more staff to prove you should exist. That usually means more paperwork rather than anything. There should be ratios in place to limit the number of administrators per students and administrators should have similar wages to teachers. The biggest barrier here is the idea that 12 month workers work more than 9. Just because you sit in an office all day doesn’t mean you work. I’ve been in both situations and I’m more productive in shorter hours. Usually, people that sit in offices spend a lot of unproductive time just being there because it proves they need to be there and they do a lot of social things rather than work. Just sitting at a desk or a work station doesn’t mean you’re doing something productive or worth paying for.

  15. Minkoff Minx says:

    I have a new post up with some recent updates on Japan’s Fukushima Nuclear Plant.

  16. Sophie says:

    Add to Tuesday news:

    Members of the Iowa House are expected to vote Tuesday on a bill that would send individual(s) engaging in undercover investigations at state agricultural sites to prison.

    This means no more actual factory farm footage in films like Food, Inc.