Monday Reads

Josep Balounek CoffeeGood Morning!

Well it’s my turn for a sinus infection I guess!  I’ve been trying to fight it with sleep and the usual but it just got the better of me yesterday.   Let me share a few quick links with you.

This one is a little out there but according to Michael Douglas, the HPV virus gave him his cancer.  He believes oral sex was the root cause.

The cause of Douglas’s cancer had long been assumed to be related to his tobacco habit, coupled with enthusiastic boozing. In 1992, he was hospitalised for an addiction which some at the time claimed to be sex. Douglas himself denied this and said he was in rehab for alcohol abuse. He has also spoken of recreational drug use.

HPV, the sexually transmitted virus best known as a cause of cervical and anal cancer and genital warts, is thought to be responsible for an increasing proportion of oral cancers.

Some suggest that changes in sexual behaviour – a rise in oral sex in particular – are responsible. Such changes might be cultural, but could also be linked to fears about the safety of penetrative sex in the wake of the Aids epidemic.

Mahesh Kumar, a consultant head and neck surgeon in London, confirmed that the last decade has seen a dramatic rise in this form of cancer, particularly among younger sufferers. Recent studies of 1,316 patients with oral cancer found that 57% of them were HPV-16 positive.

“It has been established beyond reasonable doubt that the HPV type 16 is the causative agent in oropharyngeal cancer,” said Kumar, who also testified to increased recovery rates among this kind of cancer sufferer. This would help explain why Douglas was given an 80% chance of survival, despite the advanced stage of his illness.

But Kumar expressed scepticism that Douglas’s cancer was caused solely by HPV, and surprise at Douglas’s assertion that cunnilingus could also help cure the condition. “Maybe he thinks that more exposure to the virus will boost his immune system. But medically, that just doesn’t make sense.”

So, anyway, something to read more on if that’s the case.

A new Republican Woman politician has stepped into the role played by Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman. It’s called let’s sell out women! Congresswoman Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) opposes Pay Equity Laws saying that women ‘Don’t want the decisions made in Washington’. 

Blackburn’s comments came during a round table on Meet the Press. The panel was discussing women’s increasing roles as the primary breadwinners in American families, and women’s general rise in the corporate and political arenas. After she asserted that companies — and her own Republican Party — had to do a better job of incorporating females into the workplace, former White House adviser David Axelrod asked Blackburn whether paycheck fairness laws would bolster women’s chances of achieving success. She responded by saying that Washington should stay out of the matter:

AXELROD: How about pay equity laws to ensure that women are treated fairly in the workplace?

BLACKBURN: I think that more important than that is making certain that women are recognized by those companies. You know, I’ve always said that I didn’t want to be given a job because I was a female, I wanted it because I was the most well-qualified person for the job. And making certain that companies are going to move forward in that vein — that is what women want. They don’t want the decisions made in Washington. They want to be able to have the power and the control and the ability to make those decisions for themselves.

But as the panel pointed out immediately before the exchange, companies are already “recognizing” and hiring more and more women. Women are now the primary breadwinners for 40 percent of all American families — a four-fold increase from 50 years ago.

The problem is that many of those women aren’t placed on equal footing with their male counterparts once they’re hired. Contrary to Blackburn’s insinuation, paycheck and workplace equity legislation isn’t about affirmative action — it’s about making sure that employers don’t discriminate against their workers on the basis of gender. Women in full-time, year-round jobs only make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes for the same level of work.

After all, who wants civil rights and liberty?vintage_cafe_posters_D285

I’ve often thought that basic idea of ‘state’s rights’ and of the right wing’s extreme distrust in the government was hooked historically to maintaining the institution of slavery in the south.  Guess I am not the only one.

Over the last several decades, the Right also built an imposing vertically integrated media machine that meshes the written word in newspapers, magazines and books with the spoken (or shouted) word on TV and talk radio. This giant echo chamber, resonating with sophisticated propaganda including revisionist (or neo-Confederate) history, has convinced millions of poorly informed Americans that the framers of the Constitution hated a strong central government and were all for “states’ rights” – when nearly the opposite was true as Madison, Washington and Hamilton rejected the Articles of Confederation and drafted the Constitution to enhance federal power.

Further, the Right’s hijacking of Revolutionary War symbols, like yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” flags, confuses the Tea Party rank-and-file by equating the founding era’s resistance against an overseas monarchy to today’s hatred of an elected U.S. government.

Amid this muck of muddled history, the biggest secret withheld from the American people is that today’s Right is actually promoting a set of anti-government positions that originally arose to justify and protect the South’s institution of slavery. The calls of “liberty” then covered the cries of suffering from human bondage, just as today’s shouts of outrage reflect resentment over the first African-American president.

Senator Bernie Saunders has written an excellent piece in the UK Guardian saying that we can not except the status quo as the “new normal.” The worsening gap income inequality and wealth should not be acceptable.

The front pages of American newspapers are filled with stories about how the US economy is recovering. There is some truth to that. Since President George W Bush left office in 2009, significant progress has been made in moving our economy out of the abyss of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s. But in the midst of this slow recovery, we must not accept a “new normal”.

We must not be content with an economic reality in which the middle class of this country continues to disappear, poverty is near an all-time high and the gap between the very rich and everyone else grows wider and wider.

The good news is that instead of losing more than 700,000 jobs a month as we were five years ago, we’ve been gaining almost 200,000 jobs a month since January. The bad news is that, in addition to those job numbers being much too low, nearly 60% of the jobs gained since the “recovery” are low-wage jobs that pay less than $14 an hour, while most of the jobs lost during the recession were decent-paying middle-class jobs.

The good news is that the official unemployment rate has gone down from 10% in October of 2009 to 7.5% in April. The bad news is that 20 million Americans still are looking for work and the real unemployment rate – counting those who have given up looking for work and those working part time when they need full time jobs – is 13.9% The very bad news is that youth and minority unemployment is far higher than that and, with the decline in factory jobs, income for poorly educated men has shrunk by nearly two-thirds over the past four decades.

I know this is a little short, but I hope you’ll understand.  I just don’t to seem to have much energy.  So, what’s on your reading and blogging list today?


24 Comments on “Monday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Sorry you’re not feeling well, Dak. Don’t forget to drink fluids while you’re working today.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    McCain’s advisers say it’s “regrettable” if he had photos taken with kidnappers in Syria.

    • Fannie says:

      I’d like to see “we regret to inform you but we are sending a group of Americans over their to investigate your every move”, and we are demanding an investigation on your regrettable trip in Syria.” How’s that sound.

    • prolixous says:

      I do wonder what McStrain would say if he got his wish and we officially armed the Syrian rebels and they started killing Christians who have aligned themselves with the Alawites of Assad’s coalition. His solution of only arming the “good rebels” is like saying, “I only play the lottery with good numbers.”

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Jury selection in Whitey Bulger trial begins tomorrow.

    The long-awaited trial of James “Whitey” Bulger is set to begin Tuesday with the daunting task of finding 18 impartial jurors in a pool of 675, an extraordinary number to choose from that reflects the first challenge of the complex case.

    Given the epic nature of Bulger’s life, it is likely that all the potential jurors will have at least heard his name or perhaps even known him or his cohorts — or his alleged victims — legal observers said.

    “The question is, ‘Based on what you know, do you feel you can be fair,’ ” said Dan Medwed, a law professor at Northeastern University. “Almost everyone in Boston is going to know about it. The goal is to find anyone who is impartial.”

    The last time so many prospective jurors were called in was for the sentencing stage for serial killer Gary Lee Sampson, according to legal observers. That was to determine whether he should receive the death sentence. And it took weeks to empanel a jury.

  4. boogieman7167 says:

    wow that’s crazy a women that dose believe in equality for women.
    I have a question for you girls from a woman’s prospective what do you think would want to make her take that stance??

    • Fannie says:

      The crazy woman was born and raised in Laurel, Ms…….that would be JONES CO.MS. She has not been deeply involved in women rights, or politics like Evelyn Gandy (Lt. Gov.) who came from the next county over, Forrest Co. Ms. She is all about being an upper American. The only group of girls she supports is the Girl Scouts…………….and you know where their money goes. She’s against abortion, she’s against child care, she’s against food stamps and has no sympathy for the working poor women. And I know she comes from a long line of poor working women, who believe in every word Phylliss Schlafly has said. She will defend her republican white men till the end, and will not expand any help to women. Like
      Palin and Bachmann, she is on the list of women who are not in touch with our 21st century.

      She’s exactly what Dak says “a sell out” on women’s issues. She’s a negative conservative.

    • NW Luna says:

      Brainwashing is what would make her take that stance.

    • roofingbird says:

      I don’t think we can forget the heritage of the right sided wing nut. It isn’t one or two people, nor is the Tea Party new other than in name:

      There are a big chunk of people out there who have lived in and grown up with this thought process for more than sixty years.

      • roofingbird says:

        Dak’s link above to the Alternet article on the constitutional dispute during the country’s formation shows how far back the inequality extends. Today’s Teapartier, strikes me as the embodiment of tribalism, where one clan thinks its okay to force it’s will on everyone and take whatever territory it can. The enemy has to be invaded peacefully and their thinking changed generationally.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    NJ Sen. Frank Lautenberg has died. He was 89.

    • Delphyne says:

      I’m just reading this now. I called his office last week to ask why he didn’t vote on the GMO issue and was told that he was ill – otherwise he most likely would have voted for it as he did in the past. I had no idea he was that ill. RIP, Senator – you served NJ residents well.

  6. roofingbird says:

    This is interesting:

    These used to be a classic financial tool for retired folks. I was even looking at the bonds for the new CA bullet train.

  7. ANonOMouse says:

    Marsha Blackburn is an old act who was doing the Sarah Palin / Michelle Bachmann schtick long before either of them were household names. She is a longtime advocate for the Rich and Big Business who years ago teamed up with a Nashville NeoCon-Talk Jock named Phil Valentine to begin a citizen revolt that insured the State of TN kept one of the most regressive sales taxes in the nation. Blackburn would rather tax food and clothing, a form of tax that is particularly unfair to low income, fixed income and the poor, to save her rich hob-knobbers. She lives among the elite and socializes with the elite, and the elite is who she serves in the Congress.

    • dakinikat says:

      A DC madam then … selling out other women to rich men for her own benefit.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        “DC madam” that pretty much sums up Marsha.

        There are many lower & middle income areas in her district, but Marsha lives in the most prosperous and affluent county/neighborhood in Tennessee. Of course TN is a redstate, but even the lower income whites in her district love her because she has the credentials they admire. She works that gentile southern girl charm, religious conservative, anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-immigration, anti-woman, pro-gun thingy to the hilt. She has 0% rating with HRC, Emily’s list and PP wouldn’t throw water on her if she was on fire, so she’s going to be a congresswoman from TN until she quits or dies.

    • prolixous says:

      Indeed, Marsha Blackburn has long played Cordelia to Palin and Bachmann’s Goneril and Regan. The play isn’t over yet, but Blackburn will be banished just like Cordelia.

      • Speaking of Reagan, did you hear him get mentioned on Mad Men last night? One of the firms potential clients says that Nixon is an opportunist, now Dutch Reagan, he’s a patriot.

  8. dakinikat says:

    Lizz Winstead
    My dog may be giving herself oral cancer RIGHT NOW,