Thursday Reads: John Boehner and His “Knuckleheads,” Long-Lost Roman Fort, and Much More

The-Three-Stooges-three-stooges-56847_631_478

Good Morning!!

 

Did you hear about the speech John Boehner gave on Tuesday? He was talking to the International Franchise Association. He warned owners of  McDonald’sDunkin’ Donuts and other franchise businesses that Obama’s NLRB is out to destroy them. My goodness! If these one-percenters were forced to pay their employees something approaching a living wage, it would be a nightmare! From The Hill, Boehner warns biz: NLRB is ‘coming right at you’.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), lamenting the rise of “arrogant agencies” he said is threatening the American dream, warned the franchise industry on Tuesday that a politically motivated National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is intent on unionizing its workers.

In brief but forceful remarks to the International Franchise Association, Boehner called the NLRB a “political horse,” controlled by Republicans when they occupy the White House and by unions when a Democrat is president.

“They’re going to do everything they can to try to change the rules and try to find a way to organize your businesses,” Boehner told the group.

He cited the NLRB’s recent finding that the McDonald’s corporation has joint-employer status, along with its franchises, over the chain’s thousands of workers.

The designation, if upheld, could force corporate managers to the table in collective bargaining discussions and expose them to claims of labor rights violations from workers at chain stores and businesses.

Horrors! Because everyone knows the American Dream is about a few rich assholes getting richer on the backs of millions of minimum wage workers who can barely feed their families.

But here’s the good part. During his remarks, Boehner complained about the Republican “knuckleheads” he has to deal with as Speaker of the House. The Hill reports:

“On any given day, 16 of my members decide they’re going to go this way, and all the sudden I have nothing,” he said. “You might notice I have a few knuckleheads in my conference.”

As a result, Boehner claims he only has a “paper majority.”

A group of the most conservative Republicans has frequently plagued the Speaker and upended plans for votes, most recently in July when GOP leaders were forced to pull a vote on their bill responding to thousands of unaccompanied children crossing the southern border.

In April, Boehner mocked some members of his conference for being reluctant to vote on immigration reform. “Here’s the attitude: ‘Ohhhh. Don’t make me do this. Ohhhh. This is too hard,’ ” he said.

Boehner added in his comments on Tuesday that “dealing with Democrats is one thing, dealing with the knuckleheads is another.”

stooges1

At Salon, Jim Newell comments on Boehner’s “knucklehead problem.”

A specialized sort of barometric collapse hit Washington, D.C., last night: a sudden knowledge that the capital’s stocks of Merlot and unfiltered cigarettes had been depleted, and Speaker John Boehner was turning surly. And the target of his abuse, yet again, were the very specimens over whom he attempts to leverage power: the House Republicans conference.

Boehner, speaking to the International Franchise Association (read: people who don’t want to pay their fast-food workers more), described the House majority over which he lords as a “paper majority,” and then went on to label a dissident faction within his conference as “knuckleheads.” ….

Newell mentions Boehner’s complaint about House Republicans who are afraid to vote for an immigration bill (see above in The Hill piece), and an earlier rant by the Speaker from 2012.

“We got some of the smartest people in the country who serve here, and some of the dumbest. We got some of the best people you’d ever meet, and some of the raunchiest. We’ve got ‘em all.”

Why don’t Democrats pull together a bunch of these Boehner quotes and use them in the Midterm campaigns, Newell asks. As for Speaker Boehner,

Why was Boehner insulting members of the House GOP less than two months ahead of an election? Because he’s a strange dude, for starters. Gets his Irish up sometimes, as Paul Ryan would say. But Boehner’s comments were also part of an elaborate pitch to the assembled franchisees to elect more House Republicans this November. He has a “paper majority” in which a few wiseacres can separate themselves from the herd and force the House leadership to pull legislation from the floor. Pity the speaker.

It’s a midterm election cycle in the sixth year of the Obama administration, so the odds are that any new members added to the speaker’s Republican roster this November will be natural fits for the Knucklehead Caucus. The problems Boehner has had (not) moving pieces of legislation these past four years won’t go away, because they’re problems with Boehner’s leadership style. He’s too tentative to threaten the knuckleheads’ committee assignments and access to party campaign cash. He’s abandoned earmarks. And his members know that, except in a handful of cases, his threats to pass legislation with Democratic votes are bluffs. The new knuckleheads will find him just as easy to roll as the previous ones have.

We’ve talked many times here about the differences between liberals and conservatives, and how hard it is for us to understand right-wingers’ thought processes. Well, did you know that liberals and conservatives even smell different?

bad smell

From The Washington Post, Study: Liberals and conservatives sniff out like-minded mates by body odor.

According to a study published this month in the American Journal of Political Science, people can literally sniff out ideology — and this may explain why so many couples share political beliefs. Or, as the study’s title says, “Assortative Mating on Ideology Could Operate Through Olfactory Cues.”

Researchers led by Brown University political scientist Rose McDermott found that, to a small but significant degree, people prefer the body odor of those who vote as they do.

Previous studies showed long-term mates are more similar when it comes to politics than anything else besides religion. Researchers set out to determine whether this is a purely socially driven phenomenon, or whether biology plays a role.

To test the link between smell and party affiliation, researchers rounded up 146 people aged 18 to 40 from “a large city in the northeast United States.” They used a seven-point scale to determine where they fell on the political spectrum. They sent 21 of these —10 liberals and 11 conservatives — home with fragrance-free soap and shampoo and a gauze pad taped to their armpit. The subjects were told not to smoke, drink, use deodorant or perfume, have sex, eat fragrant foods, sleep with people or pets or linger near strong odors.

They returned the stinky armpit pads 24 hours later. Then 125 participants sniffed the stinky pads, taking a break between whiffs to cleanse their nasal palate with the aroma of peppermint oil. The sniffers, who never saw the people whose smells they were evaluating, then rated the attractiveness of each armpit sample on a 1 to 5 scale.

The subjects found the smell of those more ideologically similar to themselves more attractive than those with opposing views.

Read about the conclusions researchers drew from these results at the WaPo.

Gernsheim_2

How about some archaeology news? German archaeologists have discovered a “long lost Roman fort.” dating to the 1st Century. From Science Daily:

In the course of an educational dig in Gernsheim in the Hessian Ried, archaeologists from Frankfurt University have discovered a long lost Roman fort: A troop unit made up out of approximately 500 soldiers (known as a cohort) was stationed there between 70/80 and 110/120 AD. Over the past weeks, the archaeologists found two V-shaped ditches, typical of this type of fort, and the post holes of a wooden defensive tower as well as other evidence from the time after the fort was abandoned.

An unusually large number of finds were made. This is because the Roman troops dismantled the fort and filled in the ditches when they left. In the process they disposed of a lot of waste, especially in the inner ditch. “A bonanza for us,” according to Prof. Dr. Hans-Markus von Kaenel from the Goethe University Institute of Archaeology. “We filled box after box with shards of fine, coarse and transport ceramics; dating them will allow us to determine when the fort was abandoned with greater accuracy than was possible before.”

Up until now, little was known about Roman Gernsheim, even though findings from the Roman era have been cropping up here since the 19th century. “Previously, the only thing that seemed certain based on the finds was that an important village-like settlement, or “vicus,” must have been located here from the 1st to the 3rd century, comparable with similar villages which have already been shown to have existed in Groß-Gerau, Dieburg or Ladenburg,” explained dig leader Dr. Thomas Maurer. He has been travelling from Frankfurt to South Hessia for years and has published his findings in a large publication about the North Hessian Ried during Roman imperial times.

“It was assumed,” continued Maurer, “that this settlement had to have been based on a fort, since it was customary for the families of the soldiers to live outside the fort in a village-like settlement.” “We really hit the jackpot with this excavation campaign,” said a delighted Prof. Dr. Hans-Markus von Kaenel. “The results are a milestone in reconstructing the history of the Hessian Ried during Roman times.” For almost 20 years now, von Kaenel has been studying this area with the help of his colleagues and students using surveys, digs, material processing and analyses. The results have been published in over 50 articles.

Read the rest at the link.

Jonathan Dwyer arrest

There was more bad new for the NFL yesterday. Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer (pictured in cuffs at right) was arrested for two domestic violence incidents that happened in July. Dwyer reportedly attacked his wife and caused a bone fracture in one incident, and in the other he threw a shoe at his 18-month old son. He is also charged with preventing his Kayla from calling 911 for help. Fortunately, Kayla immediately took the child and left the state. The New York Daily News reports, Arizona Cardinals shut down running back Jonathan Dwyer over domestic violence charges.

Police said Dwyer hit his wife, causing a fracture. It was not immediately clear if the shoe hit their baby, Jonathan Jr.

Officers went to Dwyer’s home on July 21 after neighbors reported a domestic disturbance. His wife brushed cops off, but later told detectives Dwyer was there when authorities were looking for him, but hid in a bathroom until police left.

The following day, Dwyer snatched a cell phone from his wife’s hand and threw it from the second floor of their home to prevent her from calling the cops, Crump said.

Dwyer is also accused of sending his wife text messages threatening to harm himself if she reported the assaults.

The Cardinals immediately deactivated Dwyer. They really had no choice after what happened with the Vikings and Adrian Peterson.

“We became aware of these allegations this afternoon when notified by Phoenix police and are cooperating fully,” the Cardinals said in a statement. “Given the serious nature of the allegations we have taken the immediate step to deactivate Jonathan from all team activities.”

One local Boston sports station has nominated Dwyer for “biggest asshole in the NFL.” I’ve been listening to the two Boston sports stations and ESPN radio quite a bit, and I’ve been really heartened by the reactions of the male program hosts and callers. One host said yesterday that he had read a parenting book over the weekend. He has never hit his kids, but he was so shocked by Adrian Peterson’s reported behavior that he wanted to know more about good parenting. Another host said that he had been beaten as a child, and for the first time he has begun to understand that his parents abused him.

Gloria Allread press conf

Also yesterday, attorney Gloria Allred held a press conference in Atlanta with the best friend and the father of Rasheeda Watley, a survivor of abuse by Chicago Bears player Brandon Marshall and called for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to step down. WSB TV Atlanta:

At a news conference Wednesday, Allred detailed the case of Rasheeda Watley, who claimed then-boyfriend Brandon Marshall of the Denver Broncos had physically abused her….

Allred was joined by Watley’s father and best friend, who both said they reported the abuse to the NFL and Goodell but nothing was done.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s handling of family violence issues has come under fire in recent weeks after a video was released showing former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice hitting his then-fiancee Janay Palmer twice inside the elevator of an Atlantic City casino in February.

Allred said the investigation process is flawed within the NFL organization and it needs to change.

“Our focus is on the process and we want the process to be fair. We want the investigation that is conducted in the future, investigations, of NFL players to afford due process to victims as well as NFL players,” Allred said. “The present process is obviously not fair.”

According to Watley’s father, no one from the NFL even talked to himself, his daughter, or any witnesses of the abuse.

I need to wrap this up, but I want to mention one more article from Bloomberg Businessweek, Roger Goodell at the 50-50 Yard Line. It’s a fairly long read that explains why Goodell’s job is not yet on the line. He has made tons of money for NFL owners, and–let’s face it–money is all they really care about.

So . . . what else is happening? Let us know in the comment thread, and have a great Thursday!


26 Comments on “Thursday Reads: John Boehner and His “Knuckleheads,” Long-Lost Roman Fort, and Much More”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Here’s weird and disturbing story about Islamic State members:

    ‘We love drinking blood,’ says ISIS ‘vampire’

    http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2014/09/17/-We-love-drinking-blood-says-ISIS-vampire-.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

  2. Sweet Sue says:

    Good post!
    I’ve been watching “The Roosevelts” on PBS and I can’t believe that we have to fight for The New Deal all over again.
    I’m a sucker for all things archeological.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Yeah, me too on both counts.

      • NW Luna says:

        FDR would be seen as a far-left radical in today’s politics. His policies for putting people to work on infrastructure, on conservation, park structures and trails — not to mention Social Security — would they have much chance of succeeding in today’s Congress? I hate that our country is going backwards.

    • janicen says:

      I’ve been watching The Roosevelts too. It’s been really interesting and weird how little I learned in school about both Teddy and FDR. I always knew that hawks in this country started the Spanish American War but I didn’t realize it was Teddy almost single handedly with the help of Hearst and Pulitzer.

  3. janicen says:

    My inner voice is telling me Goodell is going to step down soon. If fans like me have to hold our noses and force ourselves to watch anymore and really, we only watch the Bills, the league is going to have to change to survive. I have loved football since I was a child and have seen every Super Bowl but I’m starting to hate the NFL and everything they stand for. My husband and daughter are Washington fans and they won’t wear their jerseys or watch them anymore because of the name. Things will change or the NFL is finished if they lose fans like us.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I feel the same way. I think if I watched the Pats this weekend I might get nauseated. I’ve been disgusted with the reactions of Patriots owners Robert and Jonthan Kraft, Coach Bill Belichick, and even Tom Brady.

      The NFL knows that close to half of their audience is female. That’s why they have that breast cancer promotion every year. But what’s the point of players running around in pink shoes, etc. if some of them are going home and beating up their wives and children?

      • NW Luna says:

        I, too, am really heartened by how many men who are commentators or listeners are speaking up against domestic violence. Good to see that some things aren’t as bad as I’d expected!

  4. NW Luna says:

    Nice to see the FDA may take action on this:

    Federal health experts said Wednesday that there is little evidence that testosterone-boosting drugs are effective for treating common signs of aging in men and that their use should be narrowed to exclude millions of Americans currently taking them.

    The panel of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisers voted 20-1 that prescribing language on blockbuster testosterone treatments should be revised to make clear they have not been shown to reverse common aging issues such as low libido, fatigue and muscle loss. The labeling change would drastically limit the drugs’ FDA-approved indication to men who have abnormally low hormone levels due to disease or injury, instead of aging. ….

    The FDA convened Wednesday’s meeting of outside experts to review the risks and benefits of drugs that raise levels of the male hormone, in light of several recent studies suggesting a link to heart problems in men. ….

    “There’s no way testosterone would be approved for the treatment of age-related low-T today, by contemporary regulatory standards,” said Dr. John Teerlink of the University of California, San Francisco. “We have no evidence of any benefit for patients and we have questions about clinical safety.” ….

    In July, Health Canada warned doctors that a “growing body of evidence” suggests the products may increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, blood clots and irregular heart rate.

  5. janicen says:

    Another female college student has gone missing in Charlottesville, VA. It hasn’t hit the national news yet and I wonder if that’s to try to protect the UVA brand. People are starting to speculate about a serial killer in the area because it’s becoming a common occurrence.

    http://wtvr.com/2014/09/17/police-unknown-man-seen-walking-behind-missing-uva-student-hannah-graham/

  6. bostonboomer says:

    The Jonathan Dwyer story is very ugly. More details from ESPN. Dwyer head butted his wife and broke her nose because she didn’t want to have sex with him. The next day he punched her in the face.

    In the first encounter, police say Dwyer attempted to kiss and undress his wife, but she refused. Someone who heard the argument reported the assault to police, who showed up at the apartment but did not make an arrest. Dwyer hid in a bathroom and the wife denied he was in the home because the running back threatened to kill himself in front of her and their child if she told police about the assault, police said.

    The next day, Dwyer punched his wife with a closed fist on the left side of her face, according to police. He also punched walls and threw a shoe at his 17-month-old son, who was not injured, police said.

    As his wife tried to call police, Dwyer grabbed her cellphone and threw it down from the home’s second story. Witnesses told police that Dwyer’s wife said, “I’m calling the police,” as she held her swollen face and clutched her son.

    During his police interview on Wednesday, Dwyer acknowledged hiding in the bathroom when police responded to the first argument and sending a photo of a knife with suicidal threats. Dwyer denied committing an assault, though he acknowledged that he punched walls in his home, threw a phone and that his wife bit his lip during the disputes, according to the police report. As he was released from jail Thursday, he said he never hurt his son.

  7. RalphB says:

    One has to be very careful about believing everything you read a Salon these days.

    DailyHowlerSupplemental: The tragedy, and the scourge, of Salon!

    Sorbonne scholar cons liberal readers: Last night, we watched part of Bill O’Reilly’s segment about the spanking debate.
    […]
    Just now, we read Salon’s account of O’Reilly’s segment. We’re not sure when we’ve seen a clearer example of the ongoing tragedy, and the scourge, of the new, dishonest Salon. …

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks! I’m really interested to see what happens.

      • NW Luna says:

        I’m rather disappointed, although there appear to have been some good economic reasons for staying part of the U.K.

        Scotland has voted to stay in the United Kingdom after voters decisively rejected independence.

        With 30 out of the country’s 32 council areas having declared after Thursday’s vote, the “No” side has an unassailable lead of 1,877,252 votes to 1,512,688.

        The winning total needed was 1,852,828. Nationally, the margin of victory is about 55% to 45%.

        http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-29270441

        • bostonboomer says:

          I thought it would have been exciting if independence won, but it would also have meant a real economic shakeup for Scotland and England both.