Well, well, well. Boston University and a newly hired assistant professor of sociology are being attacked by right wing nuts who can’t handle free speech or academic freedom. And so far BU is telling them they’re just going to have to deal with it. I hope they stick to their guns, so to speak. In honor of the school administration doing the right thing, I’m illustrating this post with views of the beautiful BU campus.
Fox News is shocked! Naturally, they begin with a version of “some people say….”
Critics say a newly-hired Boston University professor has crossed the line with recent tweets bashing whites, but the school says it’s simply free speech.
“White masculinity isn’t a problem for america’s colleges, white masculinity is THE problem for america’s colleges,” Saida Grundy, an incoming assistant professor of sociology and African-American studies at Boston University, tweeted in March.
In another tweet from January, she wrote: “Every MLK week I commit myself to not spending a dime in white-owned businesses. and every year i find it nearly impossible.”
In another, she called white males a “problem population.”
“Why is white America so reluctant to identify white college males as a problem population?” she asked.
Horrors! A black female sociologist who studies traditional masculinity had a few things to say on Twitter about white males. No one has to agree with her or even read her tweets (she has now made her account private). The KKK, the American Nazi Party, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Peggy Noonan, Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter, and every other right wing nut you can name have the same rights to say mean things about any groups of people they choose.
Here’s BU’s response to Fox’s request for comment:
“Professor Grundy is exercising her right to free speech and we respect her right to do so,” Boston University spokesman Colin Riley said.
Read more of Grundy’s “controversial” tweets at the Fox News link and at a Patriots fan site here. I don’t know why they’re all bent out of shape about this.
Grudy got her Ph.D. at the University of Michigan, and her other credentials look pretty good to me.
So far there hasn’t been a lot of reaction to this except from right wing sites like American Thinker and American Spectator. I’ll be keeping an eye on the story and whether BU continues to defend Grundy. If they don’t I’ll be very disappointed. It’s not about agreeing with everything she said; it’s about not giving in to the predictable right wing attacks on anyone who says something they disagree with–even if it’s only on Twitter.
In other “diversity” news, a restaurant in Colorado is planning a “White Appreciation Day.” That should make the wingnuts happy. From MSNBC:
A Colorado barbecue joint has sparked national outrage with a racially-tinged promotion: “White Appreciation Day.”
“We have a whole month for Black History Month. We have a whole month for Hispanic heritage month,” Edgar Antillon told KUSA-TV. “So we figured all we could do – the least we can do – is offer one day to appreciate white Americans.”
Antillon told the NBC News affiliate that Rubbin’ Buttz, the restaurant he co-owns in Milliken, Colorado, would observe its “White Appreciation Day” on June 11. On this day, all white customers will receive a 10% discount.
It’s worth noting that Antillon is a first-generation American born to Mexican parents, and he acknowledged to KUSA-TV that he has personally experienced racism in his past.
“We’re all American, plain and simple,” he said to the NBC News affiliate.
Apparently the whole thing started as a joke, and then Antillon decided to actually do it. Who cares? It’s dumb and pointless, unless the goal is just to get national publicity. Why not just ignore it? According to The Root, non-white people could end up suing the restaurant for discrimination. The outrage industry in this country is completely out of control.
Now for a little actual news.
The Illinois Supreme Court has struck down an effort by the state to cut public employee pensions. The Chicago Tribune reports:
The Illinois Supreme Court on Friday unanimously ruled unconstitutional a landmark state pension law that aimed to scale back government worker benefits to erase a massive $105 billion retirement system debt, sending lawmakers and the new governor back to the negotiating table to try to solve the pressing financial issue.
The ruling also reverberated at City Hall, imperiling a similar law Mayor Rahm Emanuel pushed through to shore up two of the four city worker retirement funds and making it more difficult for him to find fixes for police, fire and teacher pension funds that are short billions of dollars.
At issue was a December 2013 state law signed by then-Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn that stopped automatic, compounded yearly cost-of-living increases for retirees, extended retirement ages for current state workers and limited the amount of salary used to calculate pension benefits.
Employee unions sued, arguing that the state constitution holds that pension benefits amount to a contractual agreement and once they’re bestowed, they cannot be “diminished or impaired.” A circuit court judge in Springfield agreed with that assessment in November. State government appealed that decision to the Illinois Supreme Court, arguing that economic necessity forced curbing retirement benefits.
The court disagreed with the state, and really slapped down the Illinois legislature in their decision.
“Our economy is and has always been subject to fluctuations, sometimes very extreme fluctuations,” Republican Justice Lloyd Karmeier wrote on behalf of all seven justices. “The law was clear that the promised benefits would therefore have to be paid and that the responsibility for providing the state’s share of the necessary funding fell squarely on the legislature’s shoulders.
“The General Assembly may find itself in crisis, but it is a crisis which other public pension systems managed to avoid and … it is a crisis for which the General Assembly itself is largely responsible,” Karmeier wrote.
“It is our obligation, however, just as it is theirs, to ensure that the law is followed. That is true at all times. It is especially important in times of crisis when, as this case demonstrates, even clear principles and long-standing precedent are threatened. Crisis is not an excuse to abandon the rule of law. It is a summons to defend it,” he wrote.
Nice win for workers for a change.
Also from the Trib, Chicago teachers are standing up for their rights too: Chicago Teachers Union files labor complaint against school board.
The Chicago Teachers Union has filed an unfair labor practice complaint accusing the city’s school board of bad-faith bargaining and refusing to engage in mediation toward a new contract.
Union officials said little progress has been made over eight formal bargaining sessions and numerous informal meetings since November. The complaint filed Wednesday with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board follows the union’s rejection earlier this week of the board’s proposal that teachers take on a greater share of pension payments….
As she did in the months before the 2012 teachers strike, CTU President Karen Lewis sought to make Mayor Rahm Emanuel the focus of the union’s displeasure with talks to replace a contract that expires June 30. The union again accused the city of using the talks to get back at the CTU for its support of Jesus “Chuy” Garcia in the mayoral election.
“We feel this is reactionary and retaliatory,” Lewis said at a news conference Wednesday. “I guess the fuzzy sweater’s gone,” she said, referring to Emanuel’s wearing a sweater in campaign commercials to indicate a softer personality.
The district, which says it is wrestling with a $1.1 billion deficit weighted with pension payments, wants to save millions of dollars by having teachers pay more into their pension fund. The district wants to end a long-standing agreement that limits teacher paycheck deductions for pensions, the union said.
I have a solution for Chicago’s and for the state of Illinois’s budget problems. Tax the rich. Blaming teachers and government workers isn’t going to solve your money problems. It’s just going to make everything worse. Tax the people who can afford to give something back to the government that constantly favors them.
We haven’t discussed it here yet, but there was a big election in Great Britain with surprising results.
From The Washington Post after the scope of the conservative victory became clear: British election results point to commanding lead for Conservatives.
LONDON — Exit polls and partial results after a nationwide vote to pick Britain’s next Parliament showed the Conservative Party with a surprisingly commanding lead Friday, just short of a majority and in a strong position to return to power.
The projections defied virtually all pre-election polls, which forecast a virtual tie between the Tories and the opposition Labor Party in the popular vote. Both main parties had been expected to fall well short of the majority needed to claim power outright.
But as the counting continued into dawn Friday, all signs pointed to an emphatic margin in favor of the Conservatives and their leader, Prime Minister David Cameron, and to a major disappointment for Labor as well as the Liberal Democrats, who paid a steep price for having entered into a coalition with the Conservatives for the past five years.
At dawn Friday, Labor leader Ed Miliband delivered what amounted to a concession speech, saying it had been “a very disappointing and difficult night” for his party.
Meanwhile, in the election’s other stunning development, though one that had been predicted, the Scottish National Party (SNP) was redrawing the map of Scotland with what looked like a historic rout in what has long been one of Labor’s most reliable strongholds.
The results in Scotland could have long-term significance for the “United Kingdom.” if the trend toward Scottish independence continues.
From the WaPo again: In U.K. election’s wake, questions on E.U., Scotland.
Newly empowered British Prime Minister David Cameron moved swiftly to establish the terms and priorities for his new government on Friday after a stunning national election that delivered his Conservative Party an unexpected majority, devastated three other parties and redrew the political map of Scotland.
Following predictions that the post-election maneuvering to form a government might take days if not weeks, the Conservative Party’s big victory produced a quick end to speculation about what or who would be in charge.
But if the election produced an unexpectedly clear outcome, it may only have heightened the degree to which the country faces a period of internal debate, inward-looking politics and potential instability, with questions about the durability of the United Kingdom and its place in both Europe and the world still to be answered.
Cameron will have to find a way to manage resurgent Scottish nationalists who are demanding more powers and possibly another referendum on independence. Further, his pledge to hold a referendum to determine Britain’s future in the European Union will continue to raise uncertainty about the country’s commitments and reliability there.
From BBC News: World media fear UK EU exit, looser US ties.
A day after the surprise result in the UK elections, world media outlets have been taking a look at the ramifications.
European papers are concerned about the effect on the EU in the light of Prime Minister David Cameron’s promise to hold a referendum on leaving. And there is speculation that the Scottish nationalists’ spectacular gains may herald the break-up of the United Kingdom.
A US daily fears the result may be the harbinger of the end of the US-UK “special relationship”, but one Spanish daily is enthralled by a photo of Mr Cameron using cutlery to eat a hot dog.
See examples of media reactions at the link. International Business Times also collected world media reactions, and the stats freaks at FiveThirtyEight had to do some serious soul-searching about why they were completely wrong.
So . . . . what else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links on any topic in the comment thread and have a great spring weekend!!
I don’t pretend that I detest the Right Wing and the ideals they champion. That disgust I feel towards Republicans primarily comes from their stance on choice and their War on Women. But…when I see some of the other crap that is coming from the mouths of GOP Representatives and GOP “surrogates” and DINOs, I have to laugh and shake my head and say out loud, “What the fuck?”
Take the three things I have mentioned in the title of this post…here’s a summary of my WTF opinions for you.
First off, the Wife Beating 101 course in being taught by non-other than recent Romney campaign BFF Pat Robertson. Not that this asshole has ever said anything outright misogynistic, racist, hateful shit before (snark)…but this latest comment so soon after appearing with the Republican Nominee for PRESIDENT has to be addressed by Romney, or at least called out by the MSM, for christ’s sakes.
Mitt Romney this weekend stumped alongside televangelist Pat Robertson, not minding Robertson’s legacy of incendiary, insensitive, heartless and apocalyptic rhetoric that has gotten him in trouble in the past. Apparently, Robertson’s own CBN has become aware of Robertson’s problematic statements, and may even be editing his controversial claims out of episode archives.
For example, today on the 700 Club’s “Bring It On” segment where viewers ask Robertson questions, one man wondered how he should go about repairing his marriage with a wife who “insults” him and once tried to attack him.
“Well, you could become a Muslim and you could beat her,” Robertson responded. “This man’s got to stand up to her and he can’t let her get away with this stuff,” Robertson continued, “I don’t think we condone wife-beating these days but something has got to be done.”
What the Fuck?
Reacting to a letter from a viewer who said he’s lost his self confidence due to his wife insulting him, Robertson said Monday: “Well, you could become a Muslim and you could beat her.” He then turned to his female co-host, who seemed to balk at the offhanded remark, and asked: “You don’t want to go to Saudi Arabia?”
“I think this man’s got to stand up to her,” Robertson continued. “He can’t let her get away with this stuff. And, uh, you know, I don’t know… I don’t think we condone wife beating these days, but something’s got to be done to make her…”
“Not physically,” Robertson’s co-host injected. “But I mean, why would she not want to talk through their problems? That’s so…”
The televangelist cut her off. “She is just totally, well, she’s rebellious,” Robertson said. “Chances are she was rebellious with her father and mother, she’s a rebellious child and she doesn’t want to submit to any authority. And she probably had temper tantrums when she was a kid, you know, the little girl, ‘I hate you, I hate you,’ and she wants to slap her father. Well, that’s the same kinda thing.”
“She’s transferred the father now,” he continued. “I hate to say everything’s gotta be some kind of psychological counseling, but that’s the problem. She does not understand authority. When she was growing up, nobody made her behave, and now you’ve got a 13-year-old in a 30-year-old woman’s body. Now, what do you do with that? Well, you can’t divorce her according to scripture. So I say, move to Saudi Arabia.”
Of course, Romney must condone the diarrhea that flows with such force from Roberson’s mouth…but it ain’t like Pat hasn’t spewed before.
In another relationship advice segment from July, Robertson recommended a man “dump” his Muslim girlfriend, calling it “Christ-like” because the Bible prohibits religious inter-marriage. He justified that by saying that Jesus didn’t want Christians to be “nice and friendly” all the time.
You know, here in Banjoville…we have our fair share of Christians who aren’t “Nice and Friendly.” They are outright assholes and since Pat Robertson is obviously a “approved” Romney supporter and surrogate, it seems to me that Mormons can be just as “not” nice and friendly as Christians can. Hypocrisy and hate brought to you by the religious right.
In other “WTF” news, Allen West: Obama Campaign Has ‘Soviet Union, Marxist-Socialist Theme’ | Video Cafe
Yeah, check this out…
Tea party favorite Rep. Allen West (R-FL) is slamming President Barack Obama for using the word “Forward” as his campaign slogan, insisting that it is an “old Soviet Union, Marxist-Socialist theme.”
“This is about whether we continue to be a republic governed by the Constitution,” West told a Republican Jewish Coalition rally in Boca Raton, Florida on Sunday. “Or will we become a liberal-progressive, bureaucratic, welfare nanny state, which is exactly what the other side wants?”
He continued: “They want to bring out an old Soviet Union, Marxist-Socialist theme for their campaign called ‘Forward’. I have to ask you one simple question. Where is the Soviet Union today?”
Hmmmm…ya know, when I was in Washington, DC this summer I made the discovery that the DC Metro slogan is…”Forward.”
Well, if there was one “old Soviet Union, Marxist-Socialist” themed “thing” out there…it’s gotta be public transportation. But as that link to C&L pointed out…
“The Obama campaign apparently didn’t look backwards into history when selecting its new campaign slogan — or maybe they did,” Fox Business host Lou Dobbs said at the time. “That’s because ‘Forward’ has a very long history with Marxists and socialists and communists.”
“Forward” is also the motto of Wisconsin, where Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan serves as a congressman.
Alrighty then…now for the Union Thugs. As you all know, Chicago teachers are striking, for the first time in 25 years.
Editor’s Note: For additional information on this topic, check out AlterNet’s Education page and two recent AlterNet stories, A Chicago Teacher Speaks Out: This Is Why We Fight and Why I’m Striking .
Across mainstream media and through the megaphone of city government, Chicago public school teachers have been consistently demonized and criticized for everything from self-serving greed, to negligence of their duties, and lack of care and respect for students.
Mayor Emanuel and his hand-picked school board—stacked with millionaires and former charter administrators—along with CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard, have continued to use their dominion over the school system to apply a corporate model of school reform to the Chicago Public Schools.
This type of “reform” has allowed private operators to take control of public schools, undermine the teachers union, close and turn around neighborhood schools rather than invest in them, and over-test students rather than provide them a comprehensive and nurturing education.
Meanwhile the Chicago Teachers Union, numbering nearly 30,000 members, is demanding that CPS cease this drift toward putting control of schools in private hands, and provide the necessary conditions for effective and equal public education—putting the needs of students ahead of corporate and government powerbrokers.
So what are the teachers fighting for?
Go to the link to read about the four things…I know that Dakinikat covered it on Sky D this morning.
That anyone would be against what these teachers are fighting for is beyond me. (That goes along with my “WTF” attitude to the GOP and their anti-union platform.) However…I do feel that this particular issue in Chicago is key…showing that my disgust does not adhere to party lines. I am equally painting Democrat and Obama supporter/surrogate Rahm Emanuel with my “What the fuck?” brush here. Romney Tries to Bait Obama Over Chicago Teachers Union Strike | FDL News Desk
Mitt Romney is clearly trying to pick a fight over the Chicago Teachers Union strike, and force Barack Obama into making a statement on the issue that will wedge him between his base’s beliefs and his policy preferences, which in this case stand at odds with one another.
Here’s Romney’s short statement:
I am disappointed by the decision of the Chicago Teachers Union to turn its back on not only a city negotiating in good faith but also the hundreds of thousands of children relying on the city’s public schools to provide them a safe place to receive a strong education. Teachers unions have too often made plain that their interests conflict with those of our children, and today we are seeing one of the clearest examples yet. President Obama has chosen his side in this fight, sending his Vice President last year to assure the nation’s largest teachers union that ‘you should have no doubt about my affection for you and the President’s commitment to you.’ I choose to side with the parents and students depending on public schools to give them the skills to succeed, and my plan for education reform will do exactly that.
The problem with this statement is that the preferences of the teachers and the children are in concert. Larger class sizes in schools without air conditioning have led to classes being taught in 96-degree heat. The 20% longer school day and increased class size and workload on teachers, without renumeration (the 16% proposed increase over four years is less than the 20% increase in class time, especially when you account for inflation), does not serve teachers or students who get less one-on-one face time and dedicated learning opportunities. And because of the revamped teacher evaluation system, based largely on standardized testing, the mostly minority students in Chicago will get taught toward a test biased against them and unable to provide them with the skills needed to survive in a 21st-century job market.
And I completely agree with David Dayen here on this point:
The more important part of this is Romney trying to pick a fight with the President, by putting him squarely on the side of teachers unions, and drawing a false contrast where Romney sides with “parents and students.” He cites a speech given by Vice President Biden at the American Federation of Teachers conference. However, it’s completely unclear where President Obama, were he to weigh in on the CTU strike, would come down. His former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is on the side opposite the union. His DNC convention featured a screening of the right-wing, anti-union film “Won’t Back Down.” His Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, used to be the head of the Chicago Public Schools, and is seen as a leading reformer. His education policy has consistently favored the kind of reform policies that the unions in this case are trying to stop, including charter schools, teacher evaluations based on student testing (though in recent years he has rejected “teaching to the test), longer school days and turnarounds for “failing” schools.
Romney wants to bait Obama into a response to change the subject on an election slipping away from him. He figures that someone will get angered no matter how Obama chooses to respond, seeing as the union/reform split is a contentious one inside the Democratic coalition.
And here I have to agree on the narrow point that I would like a response from the President. I would like to know exactly where he stands on the right to strike, on the idea of teachers being paid commensurate with their time in the classroom, on class sizes and teaching to the test and funneling money meant for public schools into charters. I think it would be quite illuminating.
Yeah, where does Obama stand on this one? I know he is being silent…but it only goes to prove that anyone in politics these day deserve to be questioned…you know…accountability for both Romney and Obama when it comes to their supporters, endorsers and surrogates. I think that when you have silence from both candidates when it comes to the Robertsons, Allens and Emanuels it only proves one thing, they must agree with the opinions of their supporters…and to that I say, “What the Fuck?”
Well, we dodged a bullet yesterday when Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour announced that he won’t be running for president in 2012. Whew! I really didn’t want a president who would decorate the Oval Office with Confederate Civil War memorabilia, did you? Newsweek, January 2010:
The Republican governor of Mississippi keeps a large portrait of the University Greys, the Confederate rifle company that suffered 100 percent casualties at Gettysburg, on a wall not far from a Stars and Bars Confederate flag signed by Jefferson Davis.
Not to mention a guy who praised the segregationist Southern “citizens councils” in an interview with the Weekly Standard. And the fact that Barbour talks like he has a mouthful of marbles doesn’t help either.
Politico has an analysis of why Barbour “pulled the plug,” which basically boils down to he really didn’t want to go through the aggravation. The story ends this way:
There were also nagging concerns among GOP insiders about the prospect of nominating a deep-South governor with an accent matching his Delta roots to take on the country’s first black president.
Barry Wynn, a former South Carolina Republican chairman, put it politely after hearing Barbour speak in the state earlier this month: “There’s a perception that he might be more of a regional candidate.”
Gee, no kidding. Like I said, we dodged a bullet. But there are plenty of other creepy Republicans out there to take his place. In fact Ron Paul is getting ready to announce another campaign for president.
Speaking of creepy Republicans, Donald Trump claimed today that President Obama’s birth certificate is “missing.”
When asked from whom he received the information, Trump said he didn’t want to say and that he feels bad about the situation.
“I’d love for him to produce his birth certificate so that you can fight one-on-one,” Trump said in an interview set to air Monday. “If you look at what he’s doing to fuel prices, you can do a great fight one-on-one, you don’t need this issue.”
CNN’s Gary Tuchman also interviewed the former director of the Hawaii Department of Health, who said she has seen the original birth certificate in the vault at the Department of Health.
Trump supporter Franklin Graham, son of Billy, is also on the birther bandwagon.
Meanwhile, multiple media outlets are talking about Trump’s generous campaign contributions–to Democrats. In fact, Trump recently donated $50,000 to Rahm Emanuel’s campaign for Chicago Mayor. From CNN:
Shortly before announcing interest in pursuing the GOP presidential bid, Republican Donald Trump gave $50,000, his largest campaign contribution in Illinois, to Democrat Rahm Emanuel, who was running for mayor, in December 2010….
Rahm’s brother Ari, who is co-CEO of William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, represents a majority of Hollywood’s celebrity elite, including Trump….
Records from the Illinois State Board of Elections show that Trump has made various sizable donations to Democratic causes in Illinois.
When [Ed] Rendell entered Pennsylvania’s 2002 gubernatorial race, Trump committed himself to the former Democratic National Committee chairman’s cause. Between December 2001 and Election Day ’02, Trump personally gave $27,000 to Ed Rendell’s gubernatorial campaign. He also chipped in $5,000 more at the end of 2003, when Rendell was finishing up his first year in office.
Mind you, Rendell’s victory in 2002 was by no means a foregone conclusion. He faced a serious threat in the May Democratic primary from Robert Casey, then the state’s treasurer and the son of a former governor. The sharpest ideological difference between the two men may have been on abortion: Rendell was pro-choice, while Casey was pro-life (like his father, who was denied a speaking slot at the 1992 Democratic convention in part because of it). During the primary campaign, Trump provided Rendell with $6,000. Rendell ended up beating Casey by 13 points.
Trump is supposedly the one of the biggest contributors to Charlie Rangel ever, yet he is supposedly running as a Republican.
And then we have our current president, who is a Republican who ran as a Democrat in 2008. I posted this in comments on the morning thread yesterday, but I can resist doing it again. It’s so funny to see former Obama supporter (why?) Eric Alterman comparing Obama to Jimmy Carter.
Stylistically speaking, Barack Obama could hardly be further from Jimmy Carter if he really had been born in Kenya. Carter was a born-again Baptist who was raised on his father’s peanut plantation and supported George Wallace on the road to the Georgia state house. Barack Obama—well, you know the story. But the two men have a great deal in common in their approach to the presidency, and not one of these similarities is good news for the Democrats or even for America. Both men rule without regard to the concerns of the base of their party. Both held themselves to be above politics when it came to making tough decisions. Both were possessed with superhuman self-confidence when it came to their own political judgment mixed with contempt for what they understood to be the petty concerns of pundits and party leaders. And worst of all, one fears, neither one appeared willing to change course no matter how many storm clouds loomed on the horizon.
Ask yourself if the following story does not sound like another president we could name The gregarious Massachusetts pol, House Speaker Tip O’Neill, could hardly have been more eager to work with a Democratic president after eight years of Nixon and Ford. But when they first met, and O’Neill attempted to advise Carter about which members of Congress might need some special pleading, or even the assorted political favor or two with regard to certain issues, to O’Neill’s open-jawed amazement, Carter replied, “No, I’ll describe the problem in a rational way to the American people. I’m sure they’ll realize I’m right.” The red-nosed Irishman later said he “could have slugged” Carter over this lethal combination of arrogance and naivety, but it would soon become Carter’s calling card.
In some bad news for the radical right, the Supreme Court has refused to hear a challenge to Obamacare before it wends its way through the federal courts.
And in some good news for football fans, a district court has decided that
The NFL’s lockout is harming players and fans and is not in the public interest, District Judge Susan Nelson said in a ruling on Monday that granted the players’ request for an injunction to halt the work stoppage.
Nelson’s order to end the six-week lockout, imposed last month after a breakdown in talks over a new collective deal, is to be appealed by the NFL.
In an 89-page statement, the judge also accepted that the players dissolution of their union was valid and allowed them to act as individuals rather than be constricted by labor bargaining rules.
The Minnesota judge said in the absence of a collective bargaining process, which ended on March 11, antitrust policies come to the fore.
The plaintiffs in the case, led quarterback Tom Brady of the New England Patriots, argued they were suffering harm as a result of a lockout that stops them from reporting to work.
Here’s some more analysis of the decision at USA Today. I realize that I’m one of the few sports fans here at Sky Dancing, so I won’t burden you unduly. But I just want to say that the Red Sox have won five games in a row and are now only one game under .500–after starting the season with a string of pathetic losses. I know at least Pat Johnson will join me in cheering that news.
Daknikat wrote yesterday about the terrible flooding that was expected in Missouri. Well, it’s happening.
Gov. Jay Nixon activated the Missouri National Guard on Monday in response to the flooding of the Black River near Poplar Bluff, Mo. The executive order came just three days after the governor declared a state of emergency from the tornado that tore through St. Louis last Friday.
“Maj. Gen. Stephen Danner has mobilized 200 citizen soldiers and airmen to report initially to the Poplar Bluff area to assist with flood relief there,” said Maj. Tammy Spicer, public affairs officer for the Missouri National Guard.
More from the Houston Chronicle: Residents flee as river overflows Missouri levee.
Thunder roared and tornado warning sirens blared, and all emergency workers in the southeast Missouri town of Poplar Bluff could do Monday was hope the saturated levee holding back the Black River would survive yet another downpour.
Murky water flowed over the levee at more than three dozen spots and crept toward homes in the flood plain. Some had already flooded. If the levee broke — and forecasters said it was in imminent danger of doing so — some 7,000 residents in and around Poplar Bluff would be displaced.
One thousand homes were evacuated earlier in the day. Sandbagging wasn’t an option, Police Chief Danny Whitely said. There were too many trouble spots, and it was too dangerous to put people on the levee. Police went door-to-door encouraging people to get out. Some scurried to collect belongings, others chose to stay. Two men had to be rescued by boat.
“Basically all we can do now is wait, just wait,” Whitely said.
A Roosevelt would probably have created jobs by having people repair the nation’s rotting infrastructure. But, instead we got Barack “Hoover” Obama and the levees keep on failing.
Things are getting worse and worse in Syria, where there has been a brutal crackdown on protesters over the past several days. From CNN: Deadly attack on protesters raises questions about Syria’s stability
With reports emerging Monday that at least one high-ranking Syrian military commander refused to participate in a bloody, predawn raid that left dozens dead in the southern border city of Daraa — the heart of Syria’s weekslong civil unrest, questions are being raised about possible cracks in President Bashar al-Assad’s hold over the military.
The crackdown on anti-government protesters by Syrian forces escalated in recent days as demonstrators, emboldened by weeks of protests, called for the ouster of al-Assad. The crackdown culminated with the raid in Daraa where thousands of troops reportedly stormed the city and opened fire on demonstrators. It was an attack reminiscent of the brutal rule of al-Assad’s father, who once ordered the military to crush a revolt that resulted in the deaths of thousands.
“I think he’s clearly going toward the security solution, which is where he could be following in the steps of his father,” said Andrew Tabler of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.
I’ve been hearing all day that Yemen’s president Saleh was renigging on his promise to step down soon, but Al Jazeera reports that there is an agreement between the government and opposition forces.
Yemen’s opposition has agreed to take part in a transitional government under a Gulf-negotiated peace plan for embattled leader Ali Abdullah Saleh to step aside in a month in exchange for immunity for him and his family.
A spokesman for an opposition coalition said on Monday that his group had received assurances in order to accept the deal.
“We have given our final accord to the [Gulf] initiative after having received assurances from our brothers and American and European friends on our objections to certain clauses in the plan,” Mohammed Qahtan said.
But not all protesters are going along.
many pro-democracy protesters, who are not members of the coalition that agreed to the peace talks, appear to be unconvinced by the Gulf-proposed deal and have called for fresh demonstrations, as security forces continued their crackdown.
In Libya, the fighting continues to be centered in the city of Misurata.
The battle for Misurata, which has claimed hundreds of lives in the past two months, has become the focal point of the armed rebellion against Gaddafi since fighting elsewhere is deadlocked.
Images of civilians being killed and wounded by Gaddafi’s heavy weapons, have spurred calls for more forceful international intervention to stop the bloodshed.
NATO’s mandate from the UN is to try to protect civilians in Libya, split into a rebel-run east and a western area that remains largely under Gaddafi’s control.
While the international coalition’s air attacks have delivered heavy blows to his army, they have not halted attacks on Misurata, Libya’s third largest city, with a population of 300,000.
When I was a kid, I was fascinated by insects. I loved to read books about ants, spiders, and other such creepy-crawly critters. Truthfully, I still find them interesting. Here’s a story about fire ants and how they cooperate to protect the group in an emergency.
When flood waters threaten their underground nests, fire ants order an immediate evacuation. They make their way to the surface and grab hold of one another, making a living raft that can sail for months.
The extraordinary survival tactic, which can involve entire colonies of more than a hundred thousand ants, has been captured on film by US engineers who used the footage to help unravel how the insects co-operate to overcome nature’s dangers.
Time-lapse film of the ants in action reveals that pockets of air get trapped between them and around their bodies, helping them breathe if the raft is pushed under the water.
In normal circumstances the ants lock legs, and sometimes mandibles, to form a floating mat that sits on top of the water through a combination of surface tension and buoyancy.
“Even the ones at the bottom remain dry and able to breath because they are not actually under the water,” said Nathan Mlot, a PhD student at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.
If only we humans would get together and cooperate like that!
That’s all I’ve got for today. What are you reading and blogging about?
Good Morning!! WTH is going on with the weather? When I got up yesterday, the temperature was -9 degrees! It got up to about 10 degrees during the day and back into the below zero numbers last night. On top of that, we have another nor’easter coming on Wednesday and Thursday. How much more of this can we take? Even southern states have been getting snow and cold this winter. Meanwhile, it’s way warmer than usual in the Arctic regions.
According to this article by Justin Gillis in The New York Times,
The immediate cause of the topsy-turvy weather is clear enough. A pattern of atmospheric circulation that tends to keep frigid air penned in the Arctic has weakened during the last two winters, allowing big tongues of cold air to descend far to the south, while masses of warmer air have moved north.
The deeper issue is whether this pattern is linked to the rapid changes that global warming is causing in the Arctic, particularly the drastic loss of sea ice. At least two prominent climate scientists have offered theories suggesting that it is. But others are doubtful, saying the recent events are unexceptional, or that more evidence over a longer period would be needed to establish a link.
Since satellites began tracking it in 1979, the ice on the Arctic Ocean’s surface in the bellwether month of September has declined by more than 30 percent. It is the most striking change in the terrain of the planet in recent decades, and a major question is whether it is starting to have an effect on broad weather patterns.
Ice reflects sunlight, and scientists say the loss of ice is causing the Arctic Ocean to absorb more heat in the summer. A handful of scientists point to that extra heat as a possible culprit in the recent harsh winters in Europe and the United States.
Apparently it’s all related to the jet stream being too “weak” and something called the “arctic fence.” Interesting article, check it out.
The Chicago Sun-Times is raising some questions about one of the judges who may have to decide what to do about Rahm Emanuel’s appeal of the ruling yesterday that he cannot run for Mayor of Chicago. The Illinois Supreme Court Judge in question is Anne M. Burke, who is married to a powerful Chicago Alderman–one who doesn’t support Rahm’s candidacy.
Now that Rahm Emanuel has been tossed off the mayoral ballot by an appeals court, Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th) and his wife, Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne M. Burke, will each have a role in Chicago’s mayoral election.
Ed Burke, the city’s most powerful alderman, has said he’s backing Gery Chico — a former staff member for Burke and Mayor Daley who’s trailed Emanuel in every poll on the mayor’s race.
In the past Justice Burke has recused herself from cases involving Chicago politics. What will she do this time?
Dakinikat will probably like Paul Krugman’s latest blog post: The War on Demand.
Something really strange has happened to the debate over economic policy in the face of the Great Recession and its aftermath — or maybe the real point is that events have revealed the true nature of the debate, stripping away some of the illusions. It’s a bigger story than any one point of dispute — say, over the size of the multiplier, or the effects of quantitative easing — might suggest. Basically, in the face of what I would have said is obviously a massive shortfall of aggregate demand, we’re seeing on all-out attack on the very notion that the demand side matters.
This isn’t entirely new, of course. Real business cycle theory has been a powerful force within academic economics for three decades. But my sense is that the RBC guys had very little impact on public or policy discussion, simply because what they said seemed (and was) so disconnected from actual experience.
Now, however, we’re seeing a much more widespread attack on demand-side economics. More than that, it’s becoming clear that many people don’t so much disagree with the idea that demand matters as find it abhorrent, incomprehensible, or both. I fairly often get comments to the effect that I can’t possibly believe what I’m saying about monetary or fiscal policy, that no sensible person could believe that printing money or engaging in deficit spending will increase output and employment — never mind that all I’m saying is what Econ 101 textbooks have been saying for the last 62 years.
It seems the powers that be are determined to put us into a deep depression by basing policy decisions on Reaganite voodoo economics. And no matter how hard Krugman tries, I don’t think the guys in charge are going to wake up to reality.
There was a terrible suicide bomb attack at Domodedovo airport in Moscow yesterday.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has vowed to track down and punish those behind an apparent suicide bomb attack at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport killed 35 people and injured more than 100.
Unnamed officials said three suspects were being sought over the attack.
Suspicion has fallen on Russia’s restive North Caucasus region.
Last March the Russian capital’s underground system was rocked by two female suicide bombers from Russia’s volatile Dagestan region, who detonated their explosives on the busy metro system during rush hour, killing 40 people and injuring more than 80.
But the airport was up and running again very soon after the attack, according to The New York Times.
Just hours after a suicide bomber struck at the international arrivals terminal at Moscow’s busiest airport on Monday afternoon, passengers coming off flights from abroad were being ushered through the very same terminal where bodies had only just been removed.
Some inbound flights had to circle for a time after the bombing, and some arriving passengers had to wait on the tarmac before being asked to make their way through the terminal. But Domodedovo Airport is an important transport hub for Moscow, the capital, and the authorities decided to keep it open.
Sheets of blue plastic had simply been hung to block out the scene.
Meanwhile, people continued to arrive to pick up loved ones and to embark on flights out of the city. It was as if officials, passengers and Muscovites in general were displaying a particular brand of Russian stoicism, if not fatalism.
The bipartisan panel appointed by Congress to investigate the financial crisis has concluded that several financial industry figures appear to have broken the law and has referred multiple cases to state or federal authorities for potential prosecution, according to two sources directly involved in the deliberations.
The sources, who spoke on condition they not be named, declined to identify the people implicated or the names of their institutions. But they characterized the panel’s decision to make referrals to prosecutors as a significant escalation in the government’s response to the financial crisis. The panel plans to release its final report in Washington on Thursday morning.
In the three years since major lenders teetered on the brink of collapse, prompting huge taxpayer rescues and amplifying an already painful recession into the most punishing downturn since the Depression, public indignation has swelled while few people who played prominent roles in the crisis have faced legal consequences.
That may be about to change. According to the law that created the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, the panel has a responsibility to refer for prosecution any evidence of lawbreaking. The offices that have received the referrals — the Justice Department, state attorneys general, and perhaps both — must now determine whether to prosecute cases and, if so, whether to pursue criminal or civil charges.
Very interesting. Will Obama’s Justice Department act? Stay tuned….
I know I should be linking to stories about the SOTU, but I just can’t bear to do it. I’m already bored with the whole thing. So I’ll end with this story about new research on what is making the honey bees sick.
Ecologist Colin Henderson co-authored a study that may have identified the cause of the honeybee illness that has plagued U.S. bees since 2006. Henderson, 59, is an associate professor of biology at the University of Montana. He and colleagues there found a correlation between colony collapse disorder (CCD) and a lethal combination of a parasite and a virus.
The study, on which Army scientists at the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center near Baltimore also collaborated, has been called groundbreaking (though also controversial because one of the study’s lead authors previously received funding from a maker of pesticides that some blame for CCD). By the way, for an overall house pest control service, consider having bed bug treatment lexington ky at premierpests.com. The honeybee die-off strikes about 20 to 40 percent of commercial beekeepers in a good year, Henderson says, and up to 60 percent in a bad one. When it hits a beekeeping operation, it can take out up to 70 percent of its colonies.
There’s an interesting interview of Henderson in the article.
So….. What are you reading this morning?
Since it’s Sunday, I’ll begin with a religious item: Catholic bishops say more exorcists are needed
Citing a shortage of priests who can perform the rite, the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops are holding a conference on how to conduct exorcisms.
The two-day training, which ends today in Baltimore, is to outline the scriptural basis of evil, instruct clergy on evaluating whether a person is truly possessed, and review the prayers and rituals that comprise an exorcism. Among the speakers will be Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, Texas, and a priest-assistant to New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan.
Now there’s a serious issue for you. Never mind the disintegrating economy, the President’s Catfood Commission, our multiple wars of aggression in the Middle East, and the likelihood that very far right Republicans will likely control Congress and the White House for the next 30 years (if the country survives that long). No, the really important issue is the need for priests who can drive out demons.
On second thought, maybe some of those nuts DC could benefit from exorcisms…
Despite strong interest in the training, skepticism about the rite persists within the American church. Organizers of the event are keenly aware of the ridicule that can accompany discussion of the subject. Exorcists in U.S. dioceses keep a very low profile. In 1999, the church updated the Rite of Exorcism, cautioning that “all must be done to avoid the perception that exorcism is magic or superstition.”
So how do you know when an exorcism is needed?
Signs of demonic possession accepted by the church include violent reaction to holy water or anything holy, speaking in a language the possessed person doesn’t know and abnormal displays of strength.
The article does say that diseases and psychological disorders must be ruled out before someone is determined to be possessed.
Emptywheel has an interesting take on why George W. Bush plagiarized much of his memoir, Decision Points, from other authors: It’s Safer When You Don’t Let the President Reflect for Himself.
She suggests that Bush may have copied from published sources in order to keep his story straight. He presumably told so many lies over the eight years of his presidency that he might slip up if he tried to write anything from memory. She does note that:
Bush admitted to war crimes in his book, so he did exhibit a general lack of caution in his presentation of some of the touchy legal issues dealt with in the book. But unlike Cheney (who has explicitly said that the statute of limitations will have expired on some of the crimes he’ll describe in his upcoming memoir), Bush may well need to finesse…issues [such as his decision not to pardon Scooter Libby].
Speaking of war crimes, the Obama administration has taken the coward’s way out once again in regard to the trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed. From the Washington Post: Opposition to U.S. trial likely to keep mastermind of 9/11 attacks in detention
Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, will probably remain in military detention without trial for the foreseeable future, according to Obama administration officials.
The administration has concluded that it cannot put Mohammed on trial in federal court because of the opposition of lawmakers in Congress and in New York. There is also little internal support for resurrecting a military prosecution at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The latter option would alienate liberal supporters.
The administration asserts that it can hold Mohammed and other al-Qaeda operatives under the laws of war, a principle that has been upheld by the courts when Guantanamo Bay detainees have challenged their detention.
So can the Obama administration manage to reach a decision more craven than this one? According to the Washington Post, the months-long internal administration deadlock over trying Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and the other 9/11 co-conspirators has resulted in a decision: apoplexy. No trying them in federal courts in New York; no trying them at Guantanamo Bay in a military commission. Just… nothing. [….]
And that’s the maddening thing. The Obama team talks about a “different political environment” as if it has nothing to do with creating one. Attorney General Holder talks about federal courts’ capability for handling terrorism trials — you see dangerous secrets leaking out of the Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani trial? Or al-Qaeda storming Manhattan, Cobra-style, to free their comrade? — and then undercuts his own arguments with a defense of military commissions and indefinite detention without trial.
Well, then make a case, and make it consistently. Build support and maintain it. Be willing to stake political capital on it. Or concede that you never meant what you said about justice.
You could say something similar about most of Obama’s campaign promises versus his real actions as President.
Rahm Emanuel has announced his candidacy for Mayor of Chicago.
The former North Side congressman and White House chief of staff laid out a broad agenda, declaring he’d work to help generate jobs, improve education and decrease crime at a juncture in the city’s history when all three need to be addressed.
And he plans to do all that–you guessed it–without raising taxes! That’s what all the Republicans say. Oh wait–he’s running as a Democrat. Good luck Chi-town, you’re going to need it.
The UK Guardian reports that McDonald’s, KFC, and PepsiCo will help write the UK’s new policies on “obesity and diet-related diseases.”
The Department of Health is putting the fast food companies McDonald’s and KFC and processed food and drink manufacturers such as PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, Unilever, Mars and Diageo at the heart of writing government policy on obesity, alcohol and diet-related disease, the Guardian has learned.
In an overhaul of public health, said by campaign groups to be the equivalent of handing smoking policy over to the tobacco industry, health secretary Andrew Lansley has set up five “responsibility deal” networks with business, co-chaired by ministers, to come up with policies. Some of these are expected to be used in the public health white paper due in the next month.
The groups are dominated by food and alcohol industry members, who have been invited to suggest measures to tackle public health crises. Working alongside them are public interest health and consumer groups including Which?, Cancer Research UK and the Faculty of Public Health. The alcohol responsibility deal network is chaired by the head of the lobby group the Wine and Spirit Trade Association. The food network to tackle diet and health problems includes processed food manufacturers, fast food companies, and Compass, the catering company famously pilloried by Jamie Oliver for its school menus of turkey twizzlers. The food deal’s sub-group on calories is chaired by PepsiCo, owner of Walkers crisps.
This sounds like something U.S. politicians would do. Is our insanity taking over the world? Or is it demon possession?
Scientists say that naked body scanners are bad for your health.
US scientists warned Friday that the full-body, graphic-image X-ray scanners that are being used to screen passengers and airline crews at airports around the country may be unsafe.
“They say the risk is minimal, but statistically someone is going to get skin cancer from these X-rays,” Dr Michael Love, who runs an X-ray lab at the department of biophysics and biophysical chemistry at Johns Hopkins University school of medicine, told AFP.
“No exposure to X-ray is considered beneficial. We know X-rays are hazardous but we have a situation at the airports where people are so eager to fly that they will risk their lives in this manner,” he said.
The possible health dangers posed by the scanners add to passengers and airline crews’ concerns about the devices, which have been dubbed “naked” scanners because of the graphic image they give of a person’s body, genitalia and all.
They could be bad for your mental health too. Here is one example of what can happen if you are selected for naked body scanning and choose to “opt out.”
Andrew Burmeister had been searched using an airport scanner before and didn’t like it at all. On a return trip from Charlotte, he was selected for another body scan screening and chose to opt out, as the sign said he was entitled to do. Burmeister said the screeners became rude and made him sit down, away from his belongings, which were now sitting unattended on the end of the conveyor belt. Eventually a team allowed him to collect his belongings and, after a turn through the metal detector, he was taken to a private area to be screened.
Mr. Burmeister says these screeners were much friendlier, but despite this, his story is still particularly unsettling. They patted him down and asked him lots of questions. They also swabbed his belongings, removing each one individually and scanning it for explosives. But that’s not the unsettling part. While they were busy going through his belongings, they were chatting to him. One mentioned that he was ‘lucky’ that this was all that was happening because after October 31, the screening for passengers who opt out of a body scan would become a lot more “intimate.”
For the camera-shy, TSA will offer an alternative: “enhanced” pat-downs. This is not the gentle frisking you may have experienced at the airport in the past. It requires agents to probe aggressively in intimate zones — breasts, buttocks, crotches.
If you enjoyed your last mammography or prostate exam, you’ll love the enhanced pat-down. And you’ll get a chance to have an interesting conversation with your children about being touched by strangers.
Reviews of the procedure are coming in, and they are not raves. The Allied Pilots Association calls it a “demeaning experience,” and one pilot complained it amounted to “sexual molestation.” The head of a flight attendants’ union local said that for anyone who has been sexually assaulted, it will “drudge up some bad memories.”
Have I told you lately that I’ve decided I’m never going to fly again? If you do need to fly, and having your genitals stared at by beefy TSA morons is troubling to you, you might want to check into National Opt-Out Day, scheduled for Wednesday, November 24–the day before Thanksgiving and one of the busiest travel days of the year.
“The goal of National Opt-Out Day is to send a message to our lawmakers that we demand change,” reads the call to action at OptOutDay.com, set up by Brian Sodegren. “No naked body scanners, no government-approved groping. We have a right to privacy, and buying a plane ticket should not mean that we’re guilty until proven innocent.”
This isn’t big news for most people, but The New York Times has a front page piece on “U.S. aid for ex-Nazis.”
A secret history of the United States government’s Nazi-hunting operation concludes that American intelligence officials created a “safe haven” in the United States for Nazis and their collaborators after World War II, and it details decades of clashes, often hidden, with other nations over war criminals here and abroad.
The 600-page report, which the Justice Department has tried to keep secret for four years, provides new evidence about more than two dozen of the most notorious Nazi cases of the last three decades. [….]
Perhaps the report’s most damning disclosures come in assessing the Central Intelligence Agency’s involvement with Nazi émigrés. Scholars and previous government reports had acknowledged the C.I.A.’s use of Nazis for postwar intelligence purposes. But this report goes further in documenting the level of American complicity and deception in such operations.
The Justice Department report, describing what it calls “the government’s collaboration with persecutors,” says that O.S.I investigators learned that some of the Nazis “were indeed knowingly granted entry” to the United States, even though government officials were aware of their pasts. “America, which prided itself on being a safe haven for the persecuted, became — in some small measure — a safe haven for persecutors as well,” it said.
And let’s not forget that George W. Bush’s family actively supported the Nazi regime before WWII, and he was elected President of the U.S.
Dr. David Kelly was found dead in a field near his home in Oxfordshire in 2003, shortly after he was revealed to be the source of a BBC leak that accused Tony Blair’s government of exaggerating the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. His death prompted suspicions among many that he may have been killed in retaliation for the leak.
Kelly himself had predicted he would be “found dead in the woods” if the UK invaded Iraq.
Now the Daily Mail is reporting new evidence that Kelly was murdered.
Dr Andrew Watt, an experienced clinical pharmacologist, says he has told Thames Valley Police it is not possible Dr Kelly could have swallowed more than a ‘safe’ dose of two coproxamol tablets because there was so little in his system after death.
He said: ‘I reported to the Thames force that I believe that the death of Dr Kelly may have been murder. I have received an acknowledgement and they have given me an incident number.
‘I have been told that the inquiry is being conducted by a very senior officer.’
A second development also casts doubt on the suicide verdict of the Hutton inquiry – which took the place of a formal inquest.
The Mail has established that Dr Kelly left an upbeat answerphone message to his friend Nigel Cox just days before his body was found on July 18, 2003. Dr Kelly said he was looking forward to joining him for a game of cards on July 23.
An interesting sidelight to the Kelly case is that Kelly sent an e-mail to then NYT “reporter” Judith Miller shortly before his death. Emptywheel mentions this in a recent post about the work of the National Security Archive:
…as I was reading it, all I could think of was David Kelly’s last email to Judy Miller, warning of dark actors playing games, followed shortly by Tony Blair’s apparently unplanned trip to the US, just in time for him to be out of the country when Kelly was suicided (not to mention for him to be here in the aftermath of the Plame outing which Dick Cheney had ordered Judy to be included in). After all, its hard to look at the timeline the NSA lays out without also thinking of Judy Miller’s key pieces of propaganda–boosting claims about the aluminum tubes–on September 8 and 13, 2002 (indeed, those articles appeared at the same time as the Brits were strengthening these claims, which makes me wonder whether her work wasn’t a key part of pushing the UK to make its claims about the tubes stronger).
We knew the Brits and the US built their propaganda for war together. We knew that Judy Miller was an integral part to that. But when we see the emails going back and forth commenting on each others drafts, it raises once again the question of where the emails back and forth to the war effort’s chief propagandist got disappeared to.
It’s all connected. What is Obama’s role in the giant cover-up? Is he just in the WH to make sure none of the secrets get out, or does he have a more active role in future “dark actions?”
Taking my tinfoil hat off now.
[MABlue’s Sunday picks]
Cigarette companies are evil.
Cigarette Giants in a Global Fight on Tighter Rules
As sales to developing nations become ever more important to giant tobacco companies, they are stepping up efforts around the world to fight tough restrictions on the marketing of cigarettes.
Companies like Philip Morris International and British American Tobacco are contesting limits on ads in Britain, bigger health warnings in South America and higher cigarette taxes in the Philippines and Mexico. They are also spending billions on lobbying and marketing campaigns in Africa and Asia, and in one case provided undisclosed financing for TV commercials in Australia.
“A” Rating for Hamas? The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has been running a scam grading. What a disgrace!
Terror Group Gets ‘A’ Rating From Better Business Bureau?
The Better Business Bureau, one of the country’s best known consumer watchdog groups, is being accused by business owners of running a “pay for play” scheme in which A plus ratings are awarded to those who pay membership fees, and F ratings used to punish those who don’t.
To prove the point, a group of Los Angeles business owners paid $425 to the Better Business Bureau and were able to obtain an A minus grade for a non-existent company called Hamas, named after the Middle Eastern terror group.
Patrick Smith, who runs the blog Ask The Pilot has a thoughtful column about the panicky and incoherent reaction to something we’ve been living with forever, only with more composure.
News flash: Deadly terrorism existed before 9/11
With respect to airport security, it is remarkable how we have come to place Sept. 11, 2001, as the fulcrum upon which we balance almost all of our decisions. As if deadly terrorism didn’t exist prior to that day, when really we’ve been dealing with the same old threats for decades. What have we learned? What have we done?
Well, have a look at the debased state of airport security today. We continue enacting the wrong policies, wasting our security resources and manpower. We have implemented many important changes since Lockerbie, it’s true (actually, many of the new protocols are post-9/11), but much of our approach remains incoherent. Cargo and packages go uninspected while passengers are groped and harassed over umbrellas and harmless hobby knives. Uniformed pilots are forced to remove their belts and endure embarrassing pat-downs.
Frank Rich has been writing really good columns lately. I’m not going to stop him while he’s on a roll.
Who Will Stand Up to the Superrich?
The top 1 percent of American earners took in 23.5 percent of the nation’s pretax income in 2007 — up from less than 9 percent in 1976. During the boom years of 2002 to 2007, that top 1 percent’s pretax income increased an extraordinary 10 percent every year. But the boom proved an exclusive affair: in that same period, the median income for non-elderly American households went down and the poverty rate rose.
It’s the very top earners, not your garden variety, entrepreneurial multimillionaires, who will be by far the biggest beneficiaries if there’s an extension of the expiring Bush-era tax cuts for income over $200,000 a year (for individuals) and $250,000 (for couples). The resurgent G.O.P. has vowed to fight to the end to award this bonanza, but that may hardly be necessary given the timid opposition of President Obama and the lame-duck Democratic Congress.
Is anyone even surprised by this?
Spanish priest arrested over ‘21,000 child porn images’
A Catholic priest in Spain has been arrested over the alleged possession of thousands of images of child sex abuse.
Who has the better argument?
Parties battle over bare breasts
The Danish People’s Party wants pictures of bare breasts in an introduction film to scare away fundamentalists.
But, Conservatives counter with a good point:
“Bare breasts are not a protection against fundamentalism,” [Conservative Integration Spokesman] Khader says on his Facebook page.
“Quite on the contrary. Fundamentalists as so sex crazy that bare breasts would make them flock to the country. Perhaps one should try naked pigs and pork – that’ll keep them away…”
I’ll score this one for the Conservatives.
What does your hair say about your health? Check it here:
8 Things Your Hair Says About Your Health
When it comes to our hair, most of us worry most about what to do with it: how short to cut it, how to style it, whether to color it once it begins to go gray. But experts say that our hair says a lot more about us than how closely we follow the latest styles. In fact, the health of our hair and scalp can be a major tip-off to a wide variety of health conditions.
Some interesting wonky stuff abou the devastatingly lasting effect of slavery.
The historical roots of inequality
US commentators regularly lament the country’s racial and ethnic inequality. This column presents data from 1870 and 1940-2000 to argue that the divide has its roots in the slave trade and that its legacy persists today through the racial inequality in education.
It’s Sunday. You can enjoy your gossip column. It looks like the life of the Hell’s Kitchen Chef is unraveling.
The cook, the grief, his wife & his (alleged) lover
For Gordon Ramsay, the past few weeks have been like living in his very own Kitchen Nightmare. Only it has extended beyond his kitchen and into every other room of his house. Like an unwatched pot, the TV chef’s personal and professional life has boiled over in spectacular fashion, leaving the mother of all cleaning-up jobs.
Not that anyone is rushing to pull on the Marigolds; quite the contrary. In typical fashion, Ramsay has heaped more coals this weekend on to a fire he lit three weeks ago when he sacked his father-in-law, Chris Hutcheson. Specifically, he claimed his wife Tana has much to learn about what her father gets up to when not running restaurants, lashing out after his wife’s parents wrote to their daughter, urging her to dump the man she married 14 years ago, aged 22.
So what news articles and blog posts do you recommend today?