Wednesday Morning Reads: Gala, Jobs, Plastic and an American Priest

Good Morning

You can also add a sunspot to that title, because today I am going to share a variety of links with you.

News out of DC? Well…I don’t quite know what to make of this: Obama unveils jobs plan on a virtual ‘post-it’ note, urging Congress to act

A post-it note? As if that is going to get the job done in Congress…

President Barack Obama pressed Congress on Tuesday to act on a modest five-item “to-do list” to fight unemployment, showcasing the tasks on a virtual Post-It note he mockingly said would not “overload” lawmakers.

“I know this is an election year,” Obama said in a speech at the SUNY-Albany Nano-Tech Complex, a science research facility. “But it’s not an excuse for inaction. Six months is plenty of time for Democrats and Republicans to get together and do the right thing.”

Obama’s list included items he’s already unsuccessfully pushed Congress to adopt, such as cutting tax incentives for businesses that ship jobs overseas, enacting new hire tax credits, promoting clean energy and helping homeowners struggling with their mortgages to refinance.

“It’s about the size of a Post-It note, so every member of Congress should have time to read it and they can glance at it every so often,” said the president, who referred to the virtual memo as “a handy little ‘to-do’ list.”

How cute…

With his reelection hopes weighed down by the weak economy, Obama also seemed to lay the blame on Congress if job growth remains sluggish from now to November. New figures showed lackluster employment figures in April and a national jobless rate that ticked down to 8.1 percent mostly because of unemployed Americans giving up on looking for work.

“The truth is, the only way we can accelerate the job creation that takes place on a scale that is needed is bold action from Congress,” he said. “Just saying no to ideas that we know will help our economy isn’t an option. There’s too much at stake. We’ve all got to pull in the same direction,” Obama said.

You know, when I think of all the suggestions from economist like Dr. Dakinikat have shouted out to anyone who would listen…why, won’t they (both Dems and Repubs) do something that will be beneficial to the economy?

This next link is on the topic of health, specifically cancer. ‘One in six cancers worldwide are caused by infection’

One in six cancers – two million a year globally – are caused by largely treatable or preventable infections, new estimates suggest.

The Lancet Infectious Diseases review, which looked at incidence rates for 27 cancers in 184 countries, found four main infections are responsible.

These four – human papillomaviruses, Helicobacter pylori and hepatitis B and C viruses – account for 1.9m cases of cervical, gut and liver cancers.

Most cases are in the developing world.

The team from the International Agency for Research on Cancer in France says more efforts are needed to tackle these avoidable cases and recognise cancer as a communicable disease.

The proportion of cancers related to infection is about three times higher in parts of the developing world, such as east Asia, than in developed countries like the UK – 22.9% versus 7.4%, respectively.

Nearly a third of cases occur in people younger than 50 years.

Among women, cancer of the cervix accounted for about half of the infection-related cancers. In men, more than 80% were liver and gastric cancers.

Remember the HPV vaccine?

Drs Catherine de Martel and Martyn Plummer, who led the research, said: “Infections with certain viruses, bacteria, and parasites are some of the biggest and preventable causes of cancer worldwide
“Application of existing public-health methods for infection prevention, such as vaccination, safer injection practice, or antimicrobial treatments, could have a substantial effect on the future burden of cancer worldwide.”
Vaccines are available to protect against human papillomavirus (HPV) – which is linked to cancer of the cervix – and hepatitis B virus – an established cause of liver cancer.
And experts know that stomach cancer can be avoided by clearing the bacterial infection H. pylori from the gut using a course of antibiotics.

I wonder if other cancers can be triggered from infection. I seems a lot of new information on cancer treatment is coming out of Europe these days. Which is a good thing since science is being trampled here in the US by religious conservative politicians.

Moving on to something troubling in the Pacific Ocean…Scientists find hundredfold increase in plastic trash in Pacific Ocean since 1970s

The amount of plastic in the ocean area known as the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” has increased a hundredfold since the early 1970s, according to a new study, and the alarming findings could pressure California and other coastal states to do more to reduce plastic trash.

“We were really surprised. It is a very large increase,” said Miriam Goldstein, a Ph.D. graduate student in biological oceanography at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and lead author of the study.

“Plastic had been detected in the open ocean in the early 1970s,” she said. “People were raising the alarm then. The fact it has gotten so much worse is really disappointing.”

During an expedition in 2009, Scripps researchers took extensive water samples 1,000 miles west of California, then compared the amount of plastic they found with samples taken by other researchers dating back to 1972.

While many of the samples 40 years ago found little or no plastic, vast stretches of the North Pacific are now polluted with billions of tiny pieces of confetti-like trash that comes from garbage that floats out to sea and breaks down in wind and waves.

The tiny bits sit on or near the surface, where they are eaten by fish, sea turtles and other marine animals that confuse them for food. The latest samples show that the garbage patch has grown not in size but in density: There are roughly 100 times more pieces per cubic meter of water than were in samples during the 1970s.

Read more at the link above, and here is a graphic that explains the currents effect on garbage. Larger graphic found here:  Image Viewer

Another big solar storm is heading our way…Monster Sunspot To Unleash Powerful Solar Flares Check out the size of this mother:

An enormous sunspot group has taken shape on the surface of the sun, hinting that our star may soon start spouting off some powerful storms.

The huge sunspot complex, known as AR 1476, rotated into Earth’s view over the weekend. It measures more than 60,000 miles (100,000 kilometers) across, researchers said. Scientists with NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory mission, a space-based telescope watching the sun, dubbed the solar structure a “monster sunspot” in a Twitter announcement.

THE GIST

  • AR 1476 is big enough for amateur astronomers with decent equipment to spot from their backyards, weather permitting.
  • Monday evening’s eruption generated an Earth-directed CME, which should hit Earth sometime Wednesday morning (May 9).
  • Sunspots are temporary dark patches on the surface of the sun that are caused by intense magnetic activity.

The sun’s active stage should peak around 2013, in part of its 11–year cycle.

In other hot news, I should say biblical hot…burning fire hot…much like the kind of fire the priests in this next link should find themselves burning…in HELL.

Bernard Law Hid Pedophiles, Behind Push To Punish Nuns

Last month the Vatican announced it was cracking down on American nuns for not sufficiently pushing the Catholic Bishops anti-gay, anti-woman agenda. Who was behind this sudden and aggressive push-back against women many American Catholics deeply respect? The same shamed men behind the church’s sex abuse cover-up and complicity.

David Gibson reports that conservative American churchmen living in Rome, among them the disgraced former Boston Cardinal Bernard Law, were key figures pushing the hostile takeover the the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, or LCWR. Law and other hard-right Catholic leaders don’t like the group because of its emphasis of social justice work over loyalty to church hierarchy and issues like abortion and gay marriage.

Law was joined by a former archbishop of St. Louis, Cardinal Raymond Burke in his efforts to aggressive investigate the LCWR. Burke was named to a top Vatican judicial post in 2008 because his hard-right views made Burke a lightning rod in the U.S.– a move familiar within the Catholic Church’s leadership structure and one knowing as getting “kicked upstairs.”

However the actual investigation was conducted by Cardinal William Levada, a former archbishop of San Francisco who succeeded Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s powerful doctrinal watchdog, when Ratzinger was elected Pope Benedict XVI in 2005. Needless to say, these are all men very close to Ratzinger and two of them, Burke and Law, were ushered to Rome and given refuge to escape political, and in Law’s case, criminal pressure related to the sex abuse scandal in the early 2000′s.

Now we know that it is the same men who enabled, lied, and covered-up decades of criminal sexual abuse of minors pushing to punish American nuns for social justice work at the expense of Law and the Vatican’s hateful and dangerous agenda. But is anybody really surprised?

This was not a surprise to me, at all! When all the crap came down on the nuns from the Vatican, I knew something was up.

From the Religion News Service written by David Gibson, which was mentioned in the Care 2 article above:

When the Vatican last month announced a doctrinal crackdown on the leadership organization representing most of the 57,000 nuns in the U.S., the sisters said they were “stunned” by the move. Many American Catholics, meanwhile, were angry at what they saw as Rome bullying women whose lives of service have endeared them to the public.

[…]

Now it turns out that conservative American churchmen living in Rome — including disgraced former Boston Cardinal Bernard Law — were key players in pushing the hostile takeover of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, or LCWR, which they have long viewed with suspicion for emphasizing social justice work over loyalty to the hierarchy and issues like abortion and gay marriage.

Vatican observers in Rome and church sources in the U.S. say Law was “the person in Rome most forcefully supporting” the LCWR investigation, as Rome correspondent Robert Mickens wrote in The Tablet, a London-based Catholic weekly. Law was the “prime instigator,” in the words of one American churchman, of the investigation that began in 2009 and ended in 2011. The actual crackdown was only launched in April.
Gibson continues…

Law was joined by a former archbishop of St. Louis, Cardinal Raymond Burke, who was named to a top Vatican judicial post in 2008 – a move that was seen as a case of being “kicked upstairs” because Burke’s hard-line views made him so controversial in the U.S. Also reportedly backing the probe was Cardinal James Stafford, a former Denver archbishop who has held jobs in the Roman curia since 1996.

[…]

The fact that prelates like Burke and Law, who was given a Roman refuge in 2002 after the sexual abuse scandal exploded in Boston, played such a key role in the investigation of the American women has been like salt in the wound for those who support the nuns.

This Gibson article has been picked up in newspapers and news outlets online here in the US.  I hope that sparks some discussion on the cable news shows.

If you need a refresher on Bernard Law:

Why isn’t Boston’s Cardinal Law in jail? – Slate Magazine

But why isn’t Bernard Law in jail? (Part 2) – Slate Magazine

Disgraced US cardinal Bernard Law quits Rome post | World news | The Guardian

It is enough to make you scream isn’t it?

I really don’t want to end on such a sour note, so I am going to post a link to the Met Gala 2012 red carpet gallery. There are some beautiful gowns in this series of photos, and then there is Maude. (Well, take a look and you will see what I mean.) Met Gala 2012: Red Carpet Fashion From All The Stars! (PHOTOS)

Met Gala 2012

The Met Gala is often called fashion’s Oscars, but honestly, we think it’s bigger than that. Where else do you get every major Oscar star and fashion’s most powerful names all together on one red carpet?

[…]

…and check out Stylelist’s picks for best-dressed of the night here and worst-dressed here.

So, what are you all reading about today? Please share your thoughts with us…


The Beginning Is Near

Maybe it’s my age [and no, I’m not telling] but I find great promise is those four words scrawled on a makeshift sign.

 

I’m sure–in fact, I know–there are others of my generation [Boomers] who look at the Occupy Wall St. [OWS] Movement, read the signs and scratch their heads.  Or more likely they criticize the primarily young protesters as naïve, idealistic, disorganized, wanting something for nothing. Why don’t they just get a job? many say.

These reactions miss the point, as far as I’m concerned.  These youngsters want something all right.  They want their futures.  They want to control their own destinies with a measure of integrity, a sense of possibility rather than bending to the yoke of a failing system, one that only works for those on the top of the heap.  The statistics are there for everyone to read. No mystery! Wages of ordinary Americans have been stagnant, while the rich have become richer than Midas.  Jobs have been sent willy-nilly beyond our shores but the trade-off  [we’ve been told numerous times] are cheap consumer goods, the more the better. 

He who has the most stuff wins.  Many people bought into that.  For a while.

Throw in 9/11, multiple wars, massive unemployment, rising health care costs, climate-related weather events, the negligence in the Gulf of Mexico, etc. and the shine has definitely come off the latest gadgets and toys.  As an electorate, we’ve had a slap upside the head.

What I find astounding is people blaming this particular group—the OWS protesters, primarily the Millennials–for what is clearly our responsibility, a product of our refusal to hold our politicians accountable and demand justice–a return to the Rule of Law–instead of foisting the unpleasant, annoying task on our children [or grandchildren, as the case may be]. We’re the ones who bought into the Big Lie. Or worse, pretended it didn’t exist. These young students and 20-somethings had no hand in what we watched and allowed to develop.

The kids are making us look bad. They’ve endured dismissal, ridicule, concrete beds and lousy weather.  And they’re called the slackers?

Nor should we forget that Boomers are running things right now.  Our generation sits in the halls of Congress and refuses to pass legislation to put the country back to work.  Boomers sit in the offices of the White House and pretend to hold a populist agenda, while doing the bidding of their monied benefactors.  They sit on the Supreme Court and try to convince us that corporations = personhood.  And they certainly populate Corporate America and Wall St., where repeated decisions and deals have been made to maximize profits at the expense of ordinary citizens.  Not all Boomers, of course.  But our generation is well represented in the lever pushing–the Make Love Not War crowd.  Time to own it.

But even if we’re far, far removed from the corridors of power, just living our lives, I would suggest quiet acquiescence of the status quo isn’t working either.  Hello, Boomers.  The confidence fairy that has been running [ruining] our financial system will not be coming to spread pixie dust over the wreckage and make things right.

Not going to happen. And the young?  They see right through it.

For over thirty years, corporate greed has grown, metastasized to the point that nothing is sacred—not the health or education of our people, not the environment [on which we depend to exist], not our principles of equal opportunity, not even our insistence that The Rule of Law is imperative for our Democratic Republic to survive. 

And what was the trade? Constant debates that American health care is the best in the world without adding the qualification: only if you can afford it.  The refusal to admit that the decreasing quality of our primary and secondary educational systems condemns many of our citizens to poverty and the staggering increase in university tuition costs and subsequent debt saddles our college graduates to years of unmanageable debt.  The reckless and short-sighted risk-to-wreckage of our environment be it through fracking or drilling or proposed tar sand pipelines, while we turn up our noses to promoting and supporting green technology. The cruel pretense that all our citizens start off on a ‘level-playing’ field, while the evidence of privilege and influence-driven access to favors are as acute now as during the Gilded Age.  The unwillingness to investigate and prosecute those involved in the biggest heist in history, the very same financiers and corporate bigwigs, who continue to exert control over our political system. 

Two years ago, Dick Durbin stood before Congress and said: The banks own the joint.

We should have listened or turned up our hearing aides.  Because sadly, the man spoke the truth. See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil is not a strategy for the future.  It’s unsustainable.

So, when I look at the live streams of the cross-country demonstrations, read the twitter feeds, I don’t think slackers.  I think of a generation who has said what we, the grownups, should have said quite some time ago: Enough is enough.  Or as Bill Moyers said recently: “People are occupying Wall St. because Wall St has occupied the country.”

Yesterday, between 7 to 10,000 people took part in a general strike in Oakland.  They shut down the port of Oakland, a major access for Chinese goods, the 5th busiest port in the country.  Local businesses shut down in support of the effort.  To its credit, the protest has remained remarkably peaceful although early morning reports indicate that violence did break out before sunrise. Unfortunately, the authorities in Oakland nearly cost the life last week of a young Marine vet, Scott Olsen.  Discontent can have consequences.

But attitudes are shifting and changing. Voices are being heard.

Last April with little fanfare, Joseph Stiglitz stated in a Vanity Fair article:

“The top 1 percent have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles, but there is one thing that money doesn’t seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live.”

Since the Occupy Movement started, this sentiment has been echoed, magnified:

On October 22, Noam Chomsky gave a speech on Dewey Square in Boston and said:

“I’ve never seen anything quite like the Occupy movement in scale and character, here and worldwide. The Occupy outposts are trying to create cooperative communities that just might be the basis for the kinds of lasting organizations necessary to overcome the barriers ahead and the backlash that’s already coming.”

At Black Agenda Report, Glen Ford recently wrote:

“There comes a time of awakening. We are now in that time – although some Black folks are not yet awake. Our job is to wake our people up, so that we don’t sleep through this moment.

The young people that began this Occupation Movement less than two months ago are not “us,” but they have done all of us a great service. They have shouted out the name and address of the enemy – the enemy of all humanity. The enemy’s name is Finance Capital, and the address is Wall Street, and that is the truth.”

Chris Hedges recently stated on Truthdig radio:

“But this is a widespread movement; it’s decentralized; it takes on its own coloring and characteristics, depending on the city that it’s in; and so there will be, you know—as you point out, I mean, movements are by their very nature messy and make steps forward and steps back. But I think that there is a resiliency to this movement because it articulates a fundamental truth of inequality that hits the majority of American citizens.”

Even House Speaker John Boehner remarked in a recent speech at the University of Louisville:

“I understand people’s frustrations,” he said. “The economy is not producing jobs like they want and there’s lot of erosion of confidence in our government and frankly, under the First Amendment, people have the right to speak out … but that doesn’t mean they have the permission to violate the law.”

Hey, it’s a start.  Certainly better than designating OWS as ‘The Mob.’

People are rousing from their long, restless slumber. The conversations have begun and are different from what we’ve heard or read before.  The protesters persist. They march, they endure.

The Beginning is Near.


SDB Evening News Reads for 102111: Hit the road Jack, and don’t you come back

And the big news today…the US is leaving Iraq!

All U.S. troops to leave Iraq by the end of 2011 – The Washington Post

It’s about time…I guess you could say this was the October Surprise?

Over in Afghanistan, Clinton had a visit with, according to Cain… who ever that leader of “Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan” is. It looks as though the visit to the region was a substantial one. She has moved on to another “stan” country…but while she was in Islamabad, she had an interesting conversation with a woman who was in the crowd Clinton was addressing.  US is Pakistan’s impossible to please mother-in-law, woman tells Secretary of State Clinton – The Washington Post

Washington’s troubled relationship with Pakistan has triggered plenty of heartburn for U.S. officials, but rarely sidesplitting laughter.

That changed Friday when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton erupted in amusement during a town hall meeting in Islamabad when a participant described the U.S. as Pakistan’s impossible to please mother-in-law.

“We all know that the whole of Pakistan is facing the brunt of whatever is happening and trying to cooperate with the U.S., and somehow the U.S. is like a mother-in-law which is just not satisfied with us,” said a woman who identified herself as Shamama and elicited a round of applause from the crowd.

“We are trying to please you, and every time you come and visit us you have a new idea and tell us, ‘You are not doing enough and need to work harder,’” said Shamama, who works for a women’s group in northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province near the Afghan border.

Laughing at length, Clinton said she could personally relate to the woman’s perspective because she too was a mother-in-law. The secretary of state’s daughter, Chelsea, married an investment banker last year in New York.

“I think that’s a great analogy I have never heard before,” said Clinton. “Now that I am a mother-in-law, I totally understand what you’re saying and hope to do better privately and publicly.”

That is such a great story and Hillary gave a perfect answer…read the rest of the article if you haven’t seen it.

For an update on the brilliant State of Georgia’s plan to cut back on unemployment benefits. Georgia’s elected leaders, looking out for your interests — or not | Jay Bookman

The federal loans were necessary because when times were good, Georgia politicians cut the amount that employers were required to contribute to the unemployment insurance fund, leaving it short of funds when it was needed. Now the problem is being solved on the backs of Georgia families wondering how to make the rent payment, buy groceries and keep the heat on.

Family values at work.

Meanwhile, up in Washington, our two senators, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, joined their 45 Republican colleagues in voting unanimously against a plan to spend $35 billion keeping teachers, firefighters and police officers at their posts. The vote — which needed 60 supporters to break yet another GOP quasi-filibuster — means that public safety will be compromised and classrooms left empty.

The measure would have been funded with a 0.5 percent surtax on incomes of more than million dollars.

You should pay attention to what is going on in the Peach State. Because as Bookman points out, our Representatives Chambliss and Isakson are part of the group putting forth the “Jobs Through Growth Act.”

…which among other things would lower the top individual tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent, cut the top corporate tax rate to 25 percent and keep the system revenue neutral.

Lowering rates for corporations and top-end taxpayers — the current 35 percent marginal rate applies only to income above $379,150 for a couple filing jointly — would inevitably require higher taxes on the rest of us. But I suppose that’s a sacrifice that the rest of us should be happy to make, given how they’re struggling in this economy.

Right?

fredprof

Just to reiterate, the chart above, provided by the St. Louis Federal Reserve, tracks AFTER-TAX corporate profits.

On last thing before I go, Look Up! The Orionids Are Peaking! : Discovery News

A few weeks ago, Discovery Space readers from Europe witnessed the peak of the Draconids meteor shower that produced around 300 meteors per hour. On Friday evening at around 21:00 GMT, another meteor shower peaks: the Orionids.

The meteors from this shower represent debris from the famous Halley’s Comet that orbits the Earth every 76 years.

[…]

This year’s Orionid display won’t be anywhere near as impressive as the Draconids but at an estimated 30 meteors per hour it could still be worth checking out.

Unfortunately, the moon’s phase is one day passed last quarter so its light will render many of the fainter meteors invisible. The best tip is to wrap up warm, get outside around 21:00 GMT (if you’re in Europe), or any time during the night over the weekend before moonrise from your location. If it’s dark, and the skies are clear, look up.

The great thing about looking for meteors is that no equipment is necessary other than warm clothing and perhaps a comfortable chair.

And now on with the show…Hit the road Jack!


Friday Reads: Welcome to the man cave…

Good morning, Minx here…yeah…y’all are stuck with me today! I am covering for Dakinikat who is enjoying room service in the mile high city. So let’s get the TGIFriday post off with a bang…well let’s make that a whimper.

First thing, the CDC came out with some new statistics on Antidepressant use…and I just can’t imagine how the results seem so shocking. It isn’t like we are all experiencing a 1% life. CDC: Antidepressant use skyrockets 400% in past 20 years

Use of antidepressant drugs has soared nearly 400% since 1988, making the medication the most frequently used by people ages 18-44, a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows.

No shit? As someone who has been on Zoloft aka “happy pill” for the last 12 years…I can honestly say there is no way I could handle the misery index…which seems to have hit epic proportions. U.S. misery index rises to highest since 1983 

An unofficial gauge of human misery in the United States rose last month to a 28-year high as Americans struggled with rising inflation and high unemployment.

The misery index — which is simply the sum of the country’s inflation and unemployment rates — rose to 13.0, pushed up by higher price data the government reported on Wednesday.

Is it a joke that these two reports were released within hours of each other? What timing!

Ya, want misery? I’ll give you misery…think of what the occupy folks will be dealing with in the coming months. Freezing temps.

Down here in Banjoland we have our first frost warning. A friend of mine headed up to Franklin, NC Thursday morning and said she saw a big dusting of snow on the mountains. The cold is coming…What does that mean for the Occupy Protesters? At some point, it is going to get so cold in some Occupy cities that safety issues become a factor.

I found this photo on the OccupyBoston Facebook page…and I had to share it with you. Isn’t it great? BTW, it looks like that picture was taking in Time Square, NYC…

The rest of my post is going to focus on jobs…I don’t know where to begin. You may have heard that Obama got another no answer today from Congress on his jobs bill. New Senate Battle Over Obama’s Jobs Bill, Now Piecemeal – NYTimes.com

For the second time in 10 days, the Senate on Thursday rejected Democratic efforts to take up a jobs bill championed by President Obama.

The vote to advance the bill was 50 to 50. Democrats needed 60 votes to overcome a Republican filibuster.

This time, the bill was narrowed to provide $35 billion to state and local governments to prevent layoffs of teachers, police officers and firefighters. To offset the cost, the bill would impose a surtax of 0.5 percent, starting in 2013, on income in excess of $1 million.

Yet while this is going on, ABC News is reporting on a big US Dept. of Energy loan given to a company that builds electric cars. Sounds good huh? But get this: Car Company Gets U.S. Loan, Builds Cars In Finland – ABC News

With the approval of the Obama administration, an electric car company that received a $529 million federal government loan guarantee is assembling its first line of cars in Finland, saying it could not find a facility in the United States capable of doing the work.

Vice President Joseph Biden heralded the Energy Department’s $529 million loan to the start-up electric car company called Fisker as a bright new path to thousands of American manufacturing jobs. But two years after the loan was announced, the job of assembling the flashy electric Fisker Karma sports car has been outsourced to Finland.

Sad, isn’t it…

“There was no contract manufacturer in the U.S. that could actually produce our vehicle,” the car company’s founder and namesake told ABC News. “They don’t exist here.”

The article goes on to say the company has spent some of the money here in the US on design…but the new 500 jobs are going to be outsourced out of the US.

I know that I have been very redundant on the recent Alabama immigration law, but this next article makes a huge point. Few Americans Take Immigrants’ Jobs in Alabama – ABC News

Potato farmer Keith Smith saw most of his immigrant workers leave after Alabama’s tough immigration law took effect, so he hired Americans. It hasn’t worked out: Most show up late, work slower than seasoned farm hands and are ready to call it a day after lunch or by midafternoon. Some quit after a single day.

In Alabama and other parts of the country, farmers must look beyond the nation’s borders for labor because many Americans simply don’t want the backbreaking, low-paying jobs immigrants are willing to take. Politicians who support the law say over time more unemployed Americans will fill these jobs. They insist it’s too early to consider the law a failure, yet numbers from the governor’s office show only nominal interest.

“I’ve had people calling me wanting to work,” Smith said. “I haven’t turned any of them down, but they’re not any good. It’s hard work, they just don’t work like the Hispanics with experience.”

The law makers who pass things like this immigration law in Alabama and Georgia say it is to save the American jobs the “illegals” are taking from Americans. That is quite a statement.  Your average American is not going to do the work because it is just above slave labor wages…and it is too damn hard…they can’t do it.

Sen. Scott Beason, a Republican, said he has received several emails and phone calls from people thanking him for helping them get jobs. He described one getting promoted from a part-time job with no benefits to a full-time job with benefits because some other immigrant workers left. He said none of the workers who thanked him have wanted to talk to the media.

Sounds like a bunch of B.S. to me….my guess is the Republican is stretching the spin just a bit…Especially when you see things like this: Wal-Mart Cuts Some Health Care Benefits – NYTimes.com

After trying to mollify its critics in recent years by offering better health care benefits to its employees, Wal-Mart is substantially rolling back coverage for part-time workers and significantly raising premiums for many full-time staff.

How can small businesses and farms hire someone to replace an immigrant worker, give the person a promotion and benefits when profitable companies are cutting healthcare benefits and raising the cost of insurance premiums for the employees who get to keep their benefits?

In Georgia, you know the state that Obama has so much praise for its Georgia Works Slavery program: Georgia may cut jobless benefits to pay off federal loan  | ajc.com

Georgia will consider cutting back weekly unemployment checks by $30 next year to help pay off a federal loan the state assumed to maintain benefits for hundreds of thousands of jobless workers.

That is 10 percent of the average unemployment check Georgians get…if it was hard to survive at 300 a month, what the hell can someone do with 270 a month? (The article states top unemployment checks are 330 a week…but everyone I know on unemployment gets just 300 bucks. So I believe those numbers are just an estimate.)

Georgia owes the federal government $721 million in loans it took out to maintain its unemployment benefit fund. There are 487,471 Georgians drawing unemployment checks, according to a state report released Thursday. The Great Recession has created a pool of long-term jobless — about 256,900 in Georgia — who have been out of work at least 27 weeks.

There are many other states struggling to pay back loans to the federal government. It would not surprise me if other states are looking to cut unemployment benefits too. And today Georgia’s unemployment numbers were released.

The number of jobless rose to 10.3, the highest in Georgia since January.

What a coincidence…See what I mean about the perfect timing?

And if all that isn’t depressing enough, this will be the icing on the misery cake: First look at US pay data, it’s awful | David Cay Johnston

Anyone who wants to understand the enduring nature of Occupy Wall Street and similar protests across the country need only look at the first official data on 2010 paychecks, which the U.S. government posted on the Internet on Wednesday.

The figures from payroll taxes reported to the Social Security Administration on jobs and pay are, in a word, awful.

These are important and powerful figures. Maybe the reason the government does not announce their release — and so far I am the only journalist who writes about them each year — is the data show how the United States smolders while Washington fiddles.

With an opener like that, you know its bad numbers…

There were fewer jobs and they paid less last year, except at the very top where, the number of people making more than $1 million increased by 20 percent over 2009.

The median paycheck — half made more, half less — fell again in 2010, down 1.2 percent to $26,364. That works out to $507 a week, the lowest level, after adjusting for inflation, since 1999.

The number of Americans with any work fell again last year, down by more than a half million from 2009 to less than 150.4 million.

Check out the nifty graph on that link.

More significantly, the number of people with any work has fallen by 5.2 million since 2007, when the worst recession since the Great Depression began, with a massive taxpayer bailout of Wall Street following in late 2008.
This means 3.3 percent of people who had a job in 2007, or one in every 3330, went all of 2010 without earning a dollar. (Update: the original version of this column used the wrong ratio.)

In addition to the 5.2 million people who no longer have any work add roughly 4.5 million people who, due to population growth, would normally join the workforce in three years and you have close to 10 million workers who did not find even an hour of paid work in 2010.

Quick, somebody get me my happy pill!

I don’t want to leave y’all with a downer story, so here is a link to lighten the mood.

Rachel Maddow Man Cave | Birth Control | Video | Mediaite

Granted, the subject is not funny…that being the personhood bills and life begins at conception/fertilization bills floating about, but the way Maddow approaches the subject is funny. Damn funny.

This evening on her show, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow focused on a question recently posed to Mitt Romney during a town hall gathering. This question, as Maddow put it, seemed to “stump” the GOP candidate, which she found to be curious given that many shows — including her own — have been emailing Romney’s campaign people for an answer to this very same question, so Romney must have at least some awareness that this issue is out there and on people’s minds. What question, you ask?

[…]

“You were on Governor Huckabee’s show a few weeks ago, and one of the things that you folks talked about was that you would support a ‘life begins at conception’ amendment. Now, that would essentially mean banning most forms of birth control. Ninety-eight percent of American women — including me — use birth control. So could you help me understand why you oppose the use of birth control?”

Romney’s answer? “I don’t.” [Laughter] “I’m sorry. Life begins at conception; birth control prevents conception.”

What an answer right? Typical of an uneducated GOP Presidential candidate. So Maddow took the time to “school” Romney on the uterus and its eccentricities.

But, Maddow said, the “Life Begins at Conception” / “Mississippi Personhood” amendment that Romney supports does not only aim to ban abortion. Since any fertilized egg would be considered a person, “a miscarriage would be cause for a criminal investigation.” In addition, it would indeed potentially outlaw certain forms of birth control. So it would seem, Maddow continued, that Romney doesn’t seem to fully understand the amendment he professes to support.

Going back to that town hall meeting in Sioux City, then, Maddow showed footage of that same young woman informing Romney that some forms of hormonal birth control actually prevent implantation (when an already fertilized egg, or blastocyst, becomes attached to the uterine wall) rather than conception (which is when sperm fertilizes an egg). “The pill” is an example of hormonal birth control, by the way, and is quite popular and widely-used.

Maddow then shared the sort of “light bulb moment” she had while watching and re-watching Romney’s interaction with that young woman: Politics? “Mostly guys.” And the media? “REALLY mostly guys.”

So why not try and drop a lil’ uterus knowledge, if you will, on dudes who might not really know how lady parts work? Time for…. The man cave! Beer included. (If the term “lady cave” didn’t sound so… completely vaginal…

So check out the link and watch the segment entitled, “Dude! Where’s my uterus!”

That will do it for today’s reads, what are you up to this October Friday morning?


SDB Evening News Reads for 101911: Conservative Closets and Hot Potatoes

Good Evening

I don’t know how many of you organize your RSS feeds, or if you even use them…but I have mine set up in groups, that I call Minx Crap 1 & 2. One group is feeds of stuff that I read every day, most of it from left leaning blogs, main stream media and two right-wings sites, Hot Air and Newsbusters. I keep lots of other right-wing feeds in another group, and feeds from science and history sites in another group. The reason I mention this is because looking at the Hot Air and Newsbuster feeds gives me a pretty good feel for what crap is being floated about, and the tone that the “conservative” folks are pushing. Lately the tone is becoming more desperate, and by that I am talking about the reporting they have been doing on the OWS global protest. Another area that is getting a lot of attention is the anti-women stories…most of which are written by a woman.

Ugh…

I guess what I am driving at is that some of the conservatives out there are really letting their true feelings out of the closet. Not that the closet had any real doors on it…the wingnuts usually aren’t stingy with their hate. I just think that the recent tone would suggest they are even more on the defensive then usual…The occupy “uprisings” must be hitting a nerve.

Alrighty then, here are your news links for the day…

Last night Jon Stewart was on fire! Late Night: Jon Stewart: Republicans don’t like most Americans – latimes.com

Stewart kicked off the segment with a montage of conservatives rallying their base with bellicose rhetoric: “Take our country back!”, “Get your musket!” and so on. He followed it with a series of clips in which some of the very same Republicans expressed their dismay over the Occupy Wall Street protests.

Most notable was House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who expressed his increasing concern over the “growing mobs occupying Wall Street” and characterized the protests as class warfare.  “Believe it or not, some in this town have condoned the pitting of Americans against Americans,” he said.

Stewart seized upon Cantor’s apparent inconsistency. “If Republicans don’t condone pitting Americans against Americans, then who is it that we Americans should be taking this country back from?” he wondered.

Cue another montage of Republicans enumerating their many, many enemies: liberals, Hollywood, Planned Parenthood, labor unions, “tenured professors who can flunk you for being too openly conservative,” federal employees, people who support tax increases on the wealthiest Americans.

Stewart suggested that, not coincidentally, the list of America’s enemies was more or less a list of people who don’t vote Republican. “It must be tough to love America so much but hate almost three-quarters of the people living in it,” he concluded.

The clip is just over 8 minutes…watch it.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Let me say that Stewart is completely right in his assessment of the right’s hatred toward anyone that is not them…no surprise, but he really made the point so well last night. Bravo.

In other news, Obama’s Teleprompter. (Note I have the word Teleprompter capitalized…like any formal noun.) Obama’s stolen teleprompter recovered, national silence averted – Investors.com

First, the bad news: They recovered President Obama’s teleprompter.

So, anybody going to his speeches on the current Darth Vader armored bus tour through North Carolina and Virginia is still going to get the full 22-minute monty about how he’s there to listen.

The Real Good Talker’s top speech aide was in a truck stolen from a Richmond hotel parking lot early Monday morning and recovered in another hotel parking lot about 12 hours later.

[…]

Many politicians use teleprompters, of course, especially for new standard speeches they are testing or learning. Few politicians appear so fond of the teleprompter as Obama, though, who once during the 2007-08 cycle had one set up in the dirt of a rodeo arena, a place that might call for “Hey, how are you all?” less formality.

And the Democratic administration has demonstrated some sensitivity over his need for the aid, since Obama’s White House teleprompters have been rigged to recede into the floor when his formal remarks are finished and the cameras pull back.

I had no idea that the WH has taken the time to make Obama’s Teleprompters “built in” to the floor.

Leading me to believe that Obama does not do anything without being told what to do and say…

PHOTO: President Obama sits down with ABC News' senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper for an exclusive interview in Jamestown, N.C.

There has to be a teleprompter just over Jake’s shoulder…I am sure of it…I only wish the real man behind the curtain will stand up. Cause I am sick of seeing the Wizard give his “performance.”

There was a couple of links on women and children that I wanted to share with you:

Tennessee Commission Gives Family Planning Contract to Religious Health Group | Care2 Causes

Harvey Urges Parents To Refuse Care For Their Children From Gay Doctors | Right Wing Watch

Give those two links a look see! Especially the one about boycotting gay doctors. WTF? If anything proves just how much the right hates those who aren’t like them, that crap about putting your kids health in jeopardy because they don’t want some “fag” tending to their medical needs takes the cake!

Lastly, can someone tell me why this kind of legislation is even being brought before Congress. US Senate thwarts Barack Obama by backing the potato

Oh yeah…that just is rubbing salt in the wounds. It’s the economy stupid…jobs, jobs, jobs. I just find it ironic that the one thing which got the people of Ireland through the Potato Famine is trying to be banned by the Obama administration…perhaps they know something we don’t?

Nah…we know exactly where we are heading.

plank

Near the center of the encampment of some 70 tents, somebody had erected a section of unpainted wooden fence, with a sign asking “What’s your story?” The fence is full of authentic American stories scrawled on the wood with Magic Markers and Sharpies.

Members of Occupy Wall Street celebrate after learning they can stay in Zuccotti Park in New York

You can bet your ass we do!


Evening Reads for “Columbus Day”

This morning was the first day of fall break and given the chance to sleep in, the insomnia that comes and goes struck once again. As I lay there for hours, with a bit of annoyance deep within my right ear, a feeling of dread reached my toes. When you have no insurance and no money that feeling which precedes an inner ear infection is something that brings about anger, frustration and an all around resigned feeling that best expresses itself in the quick yet elongated blurted out word…”shit.” (More along the lines of, Sheiiiit, in two syllables, ending harshly on the t.)

So with that, today’s evening reads may have a characteristic cranky ring to it. Since that constant sting of irritating pain is radiating from my ear to the other parts of my head, more specifically the brain, which reacts by shutting down.

Now that the warning has been issued, here is the evening news reads for this Monday, Columbus Day.

I remember when I was little, Columbus Day gave the teachers reason to teach about the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria…we got a chance to make murals of Columbus setting foot in the new world, and happy Indians greeting him with gifts and smiles. It was not until 5th  grade, when I did a report on the indigenous people of the Hudson Valley that I fully “got” the jest of what really happened. So I do like Dakinikat’s references this morning to Native American or Indigenous Peoples Day.

However it seems that Columbus Day has morphed into the very thing the Occupy protester are bringing attention. The commercialism and capitalism that has turn Columbus Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day and the other “bank” holidays into nothing but a showcase for loud obnoxious announcers pitching spectacular sales and no interest for a year financing. (Well, that list bit about the financing is not as readily available these days.)

On with the show…

Last week I pointed out the irony in the presidents chosen group of CEO’s to perform the job of pushing job creation here in the US. Here is an article that articulates it better than I could.  Obama’s jobs advisors include job-cutting executives – latimes.com

In another public demonstration of concern about the struggling economy, President Obama will meet in Pittsburgh on Tuesday with the business and labor leaders he has chosen to counsel him on job creation.

But many of the chief executives have cut American jobs and adopted tactics that weaken organized labor — even as their businesses post record profits.

The executives are members of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, which Obama created in January by appointing 26 leaders of companies including American Express, Comcast and Intel. (A 27th member was added in June.)

This article puts the CEO’s into a specific light, check it out:

Just days before the president appointed Kenneth I. Chenault, chairman and chief executive of American Express, to the council, the company announced a massive restructuring that closed a facility in North Carolina and eliminated 550 jobs, or about 1% of the company’s workforce. At the same time, American Express announced it had made $1.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2010, up 48% from the same period the previous year.

Xerox, whose chief executive, Ursula Burns, sits on the board, has cut 4,500 jobs in the first six months of 2011.

Jim McNerney, chief executive of Boeing, shrank the company’s California operations because of the end of the space shuttle program and defense cutbacks. In January, Boeing said it was cutting 1,100 U.S. jobs, including 900 in Long Beach, and has since announced further cuts in Alabama and Kansas, while adding jobs elsewhere. At the same time, Boeing reported that profits rose 20%, to $941 billion in the second quarter of 2011.

Some companies have been cutting jobs for years. Eastman Kodak, whose chief executive, Antonio M. Perez, is a member of the council, has completed a number of layoffs at its Rochester, N.Y., manufacturing facilities. Between 2004 and 2011, Kodak’s Rochester workforce shrank by 9,200 to 7,100.

A handful of companies with leaders who serve on the council have received government funding for research and job creation projects under the Obama administration. General Electric, for example, received $210 million in stimulus funds, making it one of five companies on the council that received a combined $610 million from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, according to data posted on Recovery.gov, the government website that tracks stimulus dollars.

Some economists say the records of these businesses indicate that the U.S. can no longer look to corporations to boost job growth.

No kidding…but the thing that really pisses me off is the response from the White House to the legitimate doubt that these CEO’s will offer up any constructive action to create jobs in the US.

“Nobody should expect this group to come up with innovative ways of investing in the American workforce and generating not only more jobs but higher wages,” said Robert Reich, who was Labor secretary during the Clinton administration. “That’s just not what these big companies do.”

The White House says members of the council serve as independent advisors. The council meets with the president every quarter and presents him with job creation proposals that have included decreasing regulation for small businesses and increasing foreign investment in U.S. companies.

Regardless of their track records, the council members “have offered a wide range of recommendations to the president,” White House spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield said. “While decisions about which policies to pursue are ultimately the president’s alone, he values the wide array of advice and input he gets.”

Sigh…

I have some interesting links for you regarding the Occupy protest. One of our readers, RalphB has let us know about the OccupyAustin protest he has attended. (Thanks Ralph!) It looks like that city’s group is moving in the right direction.

History News Network has this post up from Tomiko Brown-Nagin, Lessons from History for Occupy Wall Street on How to Build a Movement

Far from signifying social dysfunction (“anarchy,” as some commentators suggest), mass political protest is conventional.  It is as old as the nation itself.  Participatory democratic action of the sort seen today on Wall Street exists along a spectrum of political forms that includes boycotts, demonstrations, strikes, and town hall meetings, among myriad other ways that citizens make their voices heard in public policy debates.  The country has sometimes even witnessed violent rebellion against titans of industry—real, not figurative, class warfare.

Then there is the question of whether political protest is futile.  History says no, or at least, not necessarily.  Mass political action has given rise to momumental changes in law and society. Industrial strife and social unrest during the early twentieth century yielded legislation during the New Deal that fundamentally changed Americans’ relationship to the workplace.  The right to collectively bargain and the eight-hour workday, among other innovations, grew out of these protest movements.  Citizen protests also produced revolutionary socio-legal changes in American race relations.  Congress enacted the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in the wake of widespread social protest.  That historical moment is now so acclaimed that the nation has seen fit to memorialize the likeness of the movement’s foremost leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, on the national mall.  Of course, citizen mobilization certainly can come to naught.  However, the most striking feature of the American political landscape in recent decades has been the failure of citizens to even engage in sustained public protest—about anything.

Brown– Nagin continues to discuss the technical aspects of a “movement” which he argues requires,

Movements require structure and organization, unifying themes, concrete goals, effective symbols, tools for engagement with the public, and methods to influence policymakers.  Thus far, these protesters do not appear to constitute a full-fledged movement.

He believes that once the movement gains that structure and organization, and pins down key demands, it will command attention.

Even if the protesters develop a coherent agenda, organization and so forth, the resulting structure will not  function like an interest group or political party—as some commentators seem to expect.  By their nature, protest movements are spontaneous and unpredictable rather than poll-tested and packaged.  Social  movements gain leverage precisely because they are unscripted and exist outside of the normal political channels. Observe the Tea Party movement. This historical  moment is pregnant with possibility.

Which brings me to Jesse LaGreca, you may have seen him interviewed in the street…a great interview that seems to have taken the journalist by surprise…no he is not a hipster doofus.  Jesse LaGreca And George Will | This Week And ABC News| Occupy Wall Street Video | Mediaite

It started as just a minor “gotcha” moment–a YouTube clip of an Occupy Wall Street protester criticizing Fox News coverage of the movement to Griff Jenkins popped up on the Internet, as these things tend to do. It was later discovered that the protester was Jesse LaGreca, a Daily Kos blogger. On Sunday, LaGreca appeared on ABC’s This Week to talk about the protests, and–agree with his point of view or not–he came across as well-spoken, smart, and level-headed, which seems to be an outlier from the blanket media coverage of an OWS supposedly littered with uninformed, anarchist, silly sign-holding masses.

LaGreca made a point to say that he doesn’t want this movement to turn into an anti-government protest–it’s actually just the opposite:

“I find it ironic that when people demand action from their government, suddenly people tend to overreact and say, ‘Well, that’s out of control government.’ Our government is a function of our democracy,” LaGreca said. “By attacking the government, we are attacking democracy…I think we should ask our government to represent the will of the people, and if the will of the people are demanding action, then they should follow suit.”

LaGreca’s best quote was when he said he’s likely the only working class person who will appear on the Sunday news; his quick answers and honest presentation may just keep bookers putting him on throughout the week. And this is exactly what OWS needs.

Okay, I am going to just quickly post some other links for you to look into.

Michael Bloomberg has announced that the protesters in can stay in Zuccotti Park indefinitely. Hmm…what does this change of “heart” mean? I don’t know, but I don’t trust it.

Paul Singer, a republican activist, hedge fund manager and Clarence Thomas BFF, is the money-man behind the “journalist” in Saturdays protest  that closed the Air and Space Museum in DC. What is it with these rich GOP donors?

Glenn Beck is spewing the hate and fear over the airways yet again…

“Capitalists, if you think that you can play footsie with these people, you are wrong. They will come for you and drag you into the streets and kill you. They will do it. They’re not messing around. Those in the media – and I am included in this – they will drag us out into the streets and kill us. If you’re wealthy, they will kill you for what you have. You cannot tolerate this kind of stuff. You certainly do not encourage it.”

Damn, where is Gretchen and the other Fox & Friends to condemn this violent rhetoric?  (Crickets)

Speaking of the idiots…Herman Cain is moving up in the latest New Hampshire poll. (A trend that started last week.) Dak has more on that here.

This past week Ezra Klein wrote yet another apologetic/excuse ridden piece. David Dayen has a rather long post today over at FDL that points out inconsistencies. (If you can call it that…I just think it is only rationalization from one of Obama’s love struck reporters.)

Oh, if only the Obama encountered the kind of journalistic water hazards like these when he plays golf…Shark Infested Golf Course Lake | Australian Golf Course With Sharks | Video | Mediaite

 The term “water hazard” takes on a whole new level at a golf course in Australia. It seems that the broken banks of a flooded river in Queensland, Australia led to six bullsharks to live in a lake in th emiddle of Carbrook Golf Clube in Brisbane.

SkyNews reports:

Water hazards are a challenge for anyone who plays golf, but on the 14th tee at the Carbrook Golf Club in Brisbane there is another reason to be concerned.

Half a dozen man-eating bullsharks live in the lake in the centre of the course where their fins poking through the water have become a regular sight.

The sharks got onto the Queensland golf course when it flooded some years ago after a river broke its banks.

Just imaging those bull sharks wearing sharp film noir Fedoras, you know the ones…with the press label sticking out of the band. Oh, and a little notebook and pencil in one fin…and a non filtered cigarette hanging precariously out of the shark toothed mouth.

Real journalism…Yup, that would be something to see. What you doing this evening? Give us the low down…comment section is below.


Sunday Morning…

Good morning, it is a beautiful fall day here in Banjoland…we have a lot to get to, because there is so much going on in the news.

A few things first, things are still hot over in Libya, the rebel forces claim to have taken control of some key locations in Gaddafi’s hometown. In Syria, Washington Post is reporting Iraq is siding with Iran by offering financial support to Assad’s regime. They have hosted official visits with Syrians to build business relations and offer political support.

I don’t know why this is such a surprise to the US, it seems like a good way to put the screws on the Obama Administration…and assert their own government control, by joining Iran in support of Assad. Lets just wait and see, this is going to build and give Obama a reason to stay in Iraq a bit longer.

In other Syrian news, this past week the UN Security Council had a rare double veto, With United Nations Veto, Russia and China Help Syria  

By vetoing a Security Council resolution condemning Syria for its oppression of antigovernment forces, Russia and China effectively tossed a life preserver to President Bashar al-Assad, seemingly unwilling to see a pivotal ally and once stalwart member of the socialist bloc sink beneath the waves of the Arab Spring.

[…]

Russia enjoys military and commercial deals with Syria worth billions of dollars annually, plus its alliance and only reliable Arab friend give it an entree into the Arab-Israeli peace negotiations. In addition, Moscow maintains perks left over from its superpower days, for instance, a naval base at Tartus, Syria, that accommodates visits by warships like Peter the Great, a nuclear-powered missile cruiser, during its Mediterranean jaunts.

China worries that the reverberations from falling Arab despots will inspire civil disobedience at home.

But beyond those concerns, and a stated interest in averting violent change in Syria, China and Russia are also increasingly allied in shutting down what they see as Western efforts to use sanctions and other economic measures to put the United Nations seal of approval on Western-friendly regime change.

Hillary Clinton had some harsh words for Russia and China, Clinton says U.N. Security Council failed Syria 

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday that the U.N. Security Council failed its duty by not passing a resolution on Syria and said Russia and China would have to explain their vetoes to the Syrian people.

“We believe the Security Council abrogated its responsibility yesterday,” Clinton told reporters, saying the measure vetoed by Russia and China represented the “bare minimum” of what the international community should do in response to the bloody crackdown by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“The countries that chose to veto the resolution will have to offer their own explanations to the Syrian people, and to all others who are fighting for freedom and human rights around the world,” Clinton said in the Dominican Republic, where she was on an official visit.

This past week also marked the tenth anniversary of the War in Afghanistan. Some of the #Occupy protesters marked this decade of war…Atlanta’s Occupy was one of the cities that timed their protest to correspond with the anniversary. Group begins Day Two of ‘Occupy Atlanta’ 

On Friday, several hundred members of the group rallied in the park to protest, among a number of topics, corporate greed and the war in Afghanistan. By early Saturday, a few dozen milled about the park enjoying the warm sunshine and cups of coffee.

The protests are timed for the 10th anniversary for the war in Afghanistan and patterned after an Occupy group that has been encamped in Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan since mid-September.

Anti-war protests in Washington DC forced the closure of the Air and Space Museum. Some of our Banjoville 8th graders are on a field trip this weekend in DC…I hope this did not affect their planned trip to the museums.  Stop the Machine Protest Closes National Air and Space Museum

A spokesman for the Smithsonian, John Gibbons, said a large group of demonstrators, estimated at 100 to 200 people, arrived at about 3 p.m. and tried to enter the museum. When a security guard stopped the group from entering, saying they could not bring in signs, the demonstrators apparently held him, Mr. Gibbons said. A second guard arrived and used pepper spray on at least one person, and the crowd dispersed.

A number of groups have been demonstrating in the city in the past week. The group at the museum Saturday included people affiliated with the October 2011 Stop the Machine demonstration, which has been taking place in Freedom Plaza in protest of war and what the group calls corporate greed. It also included protesters affiliated with Occupy D.C., which is modeled on Occupy Wall Street in New York.

The group was protesting a drone exhibit at the museum. #Occupy protest are getting some notice in the foreign press, Guardian has a reporter in Seattle covering the protest there.  Occupy America: protests against Wall Street and inequality hit 70 cities | World news | The Observer

Garth Carroll, who calls himself Professor Gizmo

Garth Carroll, who calls himself Professor Gizmo, wears the American flag as he demonstrates at Occupy Seattle at Westlake Park in downtown Seattle, Washington. Photograph: Marcus Donner/REUTERS

The Wall Street protests against economic inequality and corporate greed that targeted the nerve centre of American capitalism are no longer merely a New York phenomenon. This weekend, from Seattle and Los Angeles on the west coast to Providence, Rhode Island, and Tampa, Florida, on the east, as many as 70 major cities and more than 600 communities have joined the swelling wave of civil dissent. The slogan “Occupy Wall Street” has been suitably abbreviated to a single word: “Occupy”

This article focuses on some of the older people joining the young college students.

“This could be the tipping point,” said Dick Steinkamp, 63, a retired Silicon Valley executive at the Occupy Seattle protest being held in the heart of the city’s shopping and restaurant district . He and his wife had driven two hours from their home in Bellingham, north of Seattle, specifically to join the rally and give it support from more conventional professionals.

“I marched against the Vietnam war before I was drafted into the army and this movement is now getting towards that critical mass,” he said.

One of the favourite messages of the protesters is that almost 40% of US wealth is held in the hands of 1% of the population, who are taxed more lightly than the majority of Americans. Steinkamp was holding a sign saying “I am the 99%”. And there is widespread anger that ordinary people have born the brunt of the financial crisis with dire job losses and house repossessions.

“I came here because I wanted to show it wasn’t just young anarchists,” said Deb Steinkamp, also 63 and a retired marriage counsellor, wearing a green cagoule and sensible shoes against the damp, chilly Seattle weather.

Sensible…hmm, not fashionable. I guess Deb has reach the age where sensibility outweighs cool hip and chic style.

The protest is also getting the notice of some powerful people in Washington… Pelosi Supports Occupy Wall Street Movement   

House Democratic Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said she supports the growing nationwide Occupy Wall Street movement, which began on the streets of downtown New York City in mid-September.

“I support the message to the establishment, whether it’s Wall Street or the political establishment and the rest, that change has to happen,” said Pelosi in an exclusive interview with ABC News “This Week” anchor Christiane Amanpour. “We cannot continue in a way this is not relevant to their lives.”

Pelosi said she sees the protestors’ anger stemming from unemployment, which remains pinned at 9%. Pelosi added that the failure of TARP, or commonly known as the bank bailout, to add liquidity to the Main Street marketplace is fueling Americans’ animosity towards Wall Street.

“The thought was that when we did that [pass TARP], there would be capital available and Main Street would benefit from the resources that went largely to Wall Street,” said Pelosi. “That didn’t happen. People are angry.”

Wait…isn’t Pelosi part of that 1%? That quote about TARP, it bothers me for some reason. The to small to succeed stimulus that was just the right amount to bail out the banks that were too big to fail. Oh yeah…that any of that cash was going to trickle down to main street was such a pile of stinking bovine excrement.

“We’ve needed jobs for a while,” Pelosi added. “What he [the President] is proposing is job creating. And it’s really important for him to explain what this is about, or at least keep saying it over and over.”

Ugh…I don’t have the will to post more of this article from ABC…just click the link if you want to read the rest of it…I’ve lost respect for Pelosi years ago. Anything she says now is just empty words…Like these:

“Count me among those… who object to the way Congress is conducting itself,” said Pelosi. “We have a responsibility to try to find common ground.”

Moving on to another talking “democrat”…I just want to see Obama do his best impersonation of Rodney Dangerfield, “I get no respect!” Dakinikat had a post last night that you should take a look at. In it she discusses a rather long op/ed in the Washington Post…so here is the link and a bit of her post:  The Big Beltway Chill « Sky Dancing

Autumn brings campaigns and the chilly season.  This year also seems to be bringing chilly retrospectives on the Obama Presidency.  This Presidency has disappointed many.  I think there’s finally some introspection going on within the Washington Press Corps as well as the retrospection.  They may be wondering how they became so enamored of  some one who seems so detached from leadership basics.

People have been leafing through their copies of Confidence Men.   I  read an article today by Ezra Klein called “Could this time have been different?”  Klein almost steps outside of his Beltway Bob mentality.  Almost.  Klein is still making excuses for how the administration got the economy so wrong even though the tick tock and the economic rationale make sense.   Now, politicos will have  to read this one from Scott Wilson–the white house correspondent  at WAPO–with it’s interesting title: “Obama, the loner president”.  It seems the defining campaign moment should’ve have been  “Why can’t I just eat my waffle” because Wilson says that’s how the president handles in job.

Just read her post, it is awesome.

A couple of more links for you today, Michele Bachmann is pulling the PLUB card, I guess it is just a “Hail Mary” move to gain more exposure and support from her wacko base. Michele Bachmann Proposes Mandatory Ultrasounds For Women Seeking Abortions

Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) proposed a bill on Thursday that would force women in the early stages of pregnancy to have a physically invasive and medically unnecessary ultrasound procedure before they can legally consent to having an abortion.

The “Heartbeat Informed Consent Act” requires doctors to make the fetal heartbeat visible and audible to the woman prior to the abortion procedure and to describe the ultrasound image to her in detail, even if she prefers not to hear about it. If the woman is between four and five weeks pregnant, the doctor has to perform a “transvaginal ultrasound” in order to hear the heartbeat, which involves a probe and can be physically uncomfortable for the woman.

“It’s similar to a pelvic exam, which can come with discomfort for the woman, and it’s invasive,” said Dr. Nancy Stanwood, an obstetrician and board member of the health advocacy group Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health. “It’s also medically unnecessary. Some politicians might see it as ideologically necessary, but it’s medically unnecessary, so the government telling you that you need to have one sounds ridiculous on many levels.”

She backs up her new bill with highly scientific research from a study done by Focus on the Family…she is so quick to cite various sources that seem to spring from her ass. It is all a show, because in Texas, a similar bill was struck down by a Federal Court. But Bachmann says she doesn’t care if the bill passes or not…she is committed to protecting life, and protecting what ever primary votes she can wrangle by this display of wingnut legislative action.

From Minx’s Missing Link File:  This article from earlier in the week caught my attention, Population study suggests we’re still evolving – Technology & science – Science – LiveScience – msnbc.com

Humans, like all other organisms on Earth, are subject to the pressures of evolution. New research suggests that even in relatively modern societies, humans are still changing and evolving in response to the environment.

“Whether humans could or could not evolve in modern times could have interesting implications,” study researcher Emmanuel Milot, of the University of Quebec in Montreal, told LiveScience. It could help us understand changing trends for the different traits of a population.

By studying an island population in Quebec, the researchers found a genetic push toward younger age at first reproduction and larger families. This is the first direct evidence of natural selection in action in a relatively modern human population.

[…]

The study used data from 30 families who settled on île aux Coudres, located in the St. Lawrence River outside of Quebec City, between 1720 and 1773. A church on the island held historical records of all births, deaths and marriages on the island, from which researchers were able to build extensive family trees.

The researchers analyzed the data from women who married between 1799 and 1940, comparing their relations, any social, cultural or economic differences, and the age they had their first child.

The researchers found that over a 140-year period, age at first reproduction dropped from 26 to 22, with somewhere between 30 percent and 50 percent of this variation being explained by genetic variation in the population, not by other factors, such as changes in cultures or social attitudes.

“We think, traditionally, that the changes in human population are mainly cultural, which is why a non-genetic hypothesis is given priority over a genetic or evolutionary hypothesis, whether or not there is data to support that,” Milot said. “We have data that we analyzed from the genetic and non-genetic point of view, and we find that the genetic factors are stronger.”

[…]

The researchers didn’t look at which genes might have changed over time, but they suggest reasons for the age change could include differences in fertility and how early a woman hits puberty, or even heritable personality traits that would nudge a woman to procreate earlier. These genetic factors would be changing in response to the natural selection for a higher number of kids overall.

“In that particular population, selective pressure seemed pretty constant for the study period,” Milot said. “Maybe it has to do because it has a newly founded population and it was not disadvantageous to have big families.”

The study says that larger families would have been an advantage by increasing the likelihood that one’s genes would carry on.

Seeing natural selection in modern populations is incredibly difficult. Because this population was highly related and relatively cut off from outside populations, the correlation between genetic factors and age at first reproduction was easier to see.

Easy Like Sunday Morning Link of the Week:  I have always been fond of Madeleine Albright, in fact one of her quotes is very special to me…“There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” Anyway,   Madeleine Albright’s Famous Pin Collection Is Coming To The Denver Art Museum In April 2012 (PHOTOS)

Political junkies and feminists alike may be delighted about the pins and needles exhibit coming soon to the Denver Art Museum in April 2012.

Read My Pins” is the emblematic collection of former U.S. Secretary Madeleine Albright’s pins worn during her history-making diplomatic tenure. Secretary Albright was appointed by President Bill Clinton as the first woman to serve as the U.S. Secretary of State, and the highest ranking woman in politics of her time. Many of the delicate-looking ornaments were worn by her to relay a symbolic message or tone during her trips abroad.
“I found that jewelry had become part of my personal diplomatic arsenal,” Albright has said of her collection.

One of Albright’s most famous is a gold snake pin, which she tells CNN she wore to Iraq after Saddam Hussein called her a serpent.

“So I decided I had a snake pin that I bought earlier sometime, so I thought ‘I’ll wear it when we do Iraq’ so I in fact did wear it. President Bush had said ‘Read my lips’ so I said, ‘Read my pins.’

Well, that is all I have for you this morning. I will again point out a couple of yesterday’s post by Dakinikat and Wonk the Vote, they are excellent, so please give them a read if you missed them.  Have a wonderful Sunday, and I hope to see you in the comment section later today.