Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Sojourners Quote of the Week

You'd think this would be obvious:

Markets don't work in the way they are supposed to unless there are some well-enforced rules.

-- Elizabeth Warren, in charge of establishing the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, speaking to the Chamber of Commerce.

Your headline for the day

Needless to say, this caught my attention:

Will Republican Voters Believe Anything? The Right's Hyperbolic, Dysfunctional World

It's published over on Alternet. There are some interesting poll results.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


It's a Time Magazine quote of the day:

Enough, we're full.

-- A banner carried by Italian fishermen who have barricaded the entrance to Lampedusa island's harbor in an effort to keep out refugees; more than 3,000 migrants fleeing the unrest in North Africa have arrived in the past three days alone


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Let's think about it, folks:

I'd also like to recommend the following:


More about "the new normal"

I want to call your attention to a post over on Democratic Underground that has the following for a headline:

And here how it gets started:

the U.S. would be accused of torture, that there would be photographic proof of such torture, and that a former U.S. president would flat out admit in writing that he had sanctioned such torture…

a Democratic president would insist upon massive tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, but not on extended unemployment benefits for people who had been out of work for more than 99 weeks…

twenty-two states would be considering measures that would intentionally substantially DECREASE the number of eligible voters…

public education funding would be eviscerated in virtually every U.S. state with still no mention of a possible tax increase for the wealthy or for corporations…

There's more. Do click through and read the comments as well. ~

I wouldn't have believed this stuff either.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A really sickening headline

This one:

Unpaid jobs: The new normal?

It was picked up over at Democratic Underground right here.

In my humble opinion, it's exploitation - pure and simple.


Well spoken:

It might be a good idea if the various countries of the world would occasionally swap history books, just to see what other people are doing with the same set of facts.

-Bill Vaughan, journalist (1915-1977)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday cat blogging!

Question of the hour

Right here:


Do click through and read this very brief article.

Very, very disturbing


Well, I would hope that they would put some procedures into place.

-- Reggie Royce, an airline traveler, on reports that two commercial planes were forced to land without clearance from the control tower at Reagan National Airport, near Washington; the on-duty air-traffic controller was allegedly asleep

I well remember when Reagan fired the striking air traffic controllers. It does not surprise me that standards have gone down. I hope all those Republicans who think of Reagan as some kind of saint are satisfied.

I really can't count the number of times I've flown in to that airport. This incident sends chills up my spine.

Oooh, the snark!

I must say, I have a certain appreciation for this:

I have always said, heard, that it would not be strange that there has been civilization on Mars, but maybe capitalism arrived there, imperialism arrived, and finished off the planet.

-- Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela, saying capitalism may be to blame for a lack of life on the planet Mars

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Quite a good point, actually


You can judge a society by the kind of people it celebrates.

- Woody Allen

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday cat blogging!

Say what????

I guess the times are really changing:

I'm hearing from the students I work with that they are concerned about the value of a law degree.

-- Tim Stiles, a career adviser at the University of North Carolina; law-school applicants are down 11.5% from last year

What's good for the goose...

Look at this:

...[T]here is absolutely no reason to cut off funds for NPR... There is no reason to jeopardize the news and entertainment that millions and millions of Americans rely on and enjoy.

But if you insist on going down this road, Mr. Chairman, then we should be “fair and balanced” in the way we do it.

Over the past several years, it has become clear that the Fox News channel is wildly biased. They continue to employ a talk show host who called President Obama a racist. They continue to employ several prospective Republican Presidential candidates as “analysts,” giving them hours and hours of free air time. And their parent company has donated millions to GOP-linked groups.

My amendment would prohibit federal funds – taxpayer dollars – from being used for advertising on the partisan, political platform of Fox News.

The above was said by Democratic Congressman Jim McGovern.

(Apparently, the government does a lot of military recruitment advertizing on Fox.)

It will be interesting to see where this goes.

You can read more about it right here.
UPDATE: I'd also like to recommend a short article entitled "Note to NPR: Fight Back". (But, I'm inclined to say, "Don't hold your breath.")

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sojourners quote of the week

This really gives one pause:

It's a very dangerous climate for reporters right now. It's a reminder that these are real people, and they are putting themselves at real risk to bring information out of these places.

- Clothilde Le Coz, Washington director for Reporters Without Borders, speaking of four New York Times journalists missing in Libya. (Source: Boston Globe/AP)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I hope so too


I hope from the bottom of my heart that the people will, hand in hand, treat each other with compassion and overcome these difficult times.

-- Akihito, Japanese Emperor, making a rare appearance on live TV to express his condolences for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami

And it would be nice if certain insensitive citizens of the United States (see post below) would take this to heart as well.

"Just for once have some decency."

You know, I'm past being outraged by this kind of thing anymore. It just hurts my heart:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

This is moving:

Bamiyan is in Afghanistan, by the way.

Monday, March 14, 2011

About that "shot heard 'round the world"

It really floors me to think that any United States citizen with even a high school education would not know that the Concord and Lexington of revolutionary fame are in Massachusetts. (I think I learned about "the shot heard 'round the world" in fifth grade.) But for someone hinting at presidential aspirations not to know this is truly distressing.

Just in case you missed the news on this, look right here.

It's Pi Day, dear people!

About NPR

Please run, don't walk, over to Alternet and read the very excellent opinion piece co-authored by Bill Moyers and Michael Winship entitled In Defense of NPR.

Here's the subtitle: "Consider an America without public media. Consider a society where the distortions and dissembling would go unchallenged, where fact-based reporting is eliminated." And here's a bit more:

Richard Nixon was the first to try to shut down public broadcasting, strangling and diverting funding, attacking alleged bias and even placing public broadcasters Sander Vanocur and Robert MacNeil on his legendary enemies list. Nixon didn't succeed, and, ironically, his downfall was brought about in part by public television's nighttime rebroadcasts of the Senate Watergate hearings, exposing his crimes and misdemeanors to a wider, primetime audience.

Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich tried to gut public broadcasting, too, and the George W. Bush White House planted partisan operatives at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) in an attempt to challenge journalists who didn't hew to the party line.

Now, regarding the NPR fundraiser who stupidly was trapped into stating that the Tea Party is racist:

Then reverse the situation and contemplate how, say, Fox News would handle a similar incident if it were the target of a sting. Would its coverage be as "fair and balanced" as NPR's? Would Fox apologize or punish an outspoken employee if he or she demeaned liberals? Don't kid yourself. A raise and promotion would be more likely. Think of the fortune Glenn Beck has made on Fox spewing bile and lies about progressives and their "conspiracies."

And oh yes, something else: remember what Fox News chief Roger Ailes said about NPR executives after they fired Fox contributor Juan Williams? "They are, of course, Nazis," Ailes told an interviewer. "They have a kind of Nazi attitude. They are the left wing of Nazism. These guys don't want any other point of view." When the Anti-Defamation League objected to the characterization, Ailes apologized but then described NPR as "nasty, inflexible" bigots.

Double standard? You bet.

Of course, I've seen the standard of public media really go downhill since the W. Bush administration came into office. It's become more and more conservative.

It's still the best we've got.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Today's CNN Quickvote

I don't know if this indicates how things really are but it shows something about how people believe they are:

Do you have confidence in U.S. disaster preparedness?

No - 78%

Yes - 22%

I don't think this would have been the case, oh, fifteen years ago or so.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday cat blogging!

Something to think about, folks:

And listen up all you libertarians out there: the free market won't do it.

Tragic. Just tragic.


In 30 minutes, 18 state senators undid 50 years of civil rights in Wisconsin.

-- MARK MILLER, leader of the Democratic minority in the state senate, after Republican senators moved to push through the disputed bill on union bargaining on Wednesday without any Demorats present

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Here's your headline for the day

Right here:

Why Climate Change Is So Threatening to Right-Wing Ideologues

It's been a question I've had for a long time.

The article is an interview with Amy Goodman and Naomi Klein.

Here's an interesting excerpt:

AMY GOODMAN: And what does it say, if you don’t believe in climate change?

NAOMI KLEIN: Well, some people believe in climate change, but the main thing is they don’t believe that humans have anything to do with climate change. And it isn’t about the science, because when you delve deeper into it and ask why people don’t believe in it, they say that it’s because they think it’s a socialist plot to redistribute wealth. It’s easy to make fun of, you know, and there’s all this language, like "watermelons," that they say the green groups are watermelons: they’re green on the outside, but they’re red on the inside. Or George Will once said it’s a green tree with red roots. And the idea is that it’s some sort of a communist plot. And this is actually not at all true. And in fact, most of the big green groups are loath to talk about economics and often don’t want to see themselves as being part of a left at all, see climate change as an issue that transcends politics entirely.

Do click on through and read the rest of it. It's very illuminating.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Patriotism blamed for marital infidelity

Oh, good grief:

'There's no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate,' said Gingrich. 'And what I can tell you is that when I did things that were wrong, I wasn't trapped in situation ethics, I was doing things that were wrong, and yet, I was doing them.'

-- Newt Gingrich

See everybody, my love for my country made me do it. Uh huh. That's right. That's what is was: love of country! (Whew...)

You can read about it right here. (If you have the stomach for it, that is.)

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

What would Jesus cut?

About fifteen years ago, I was privileged to have a rather substantial conversation with Jim Wallis after a talk he gave at the Cathedral in Oklahoma City. He was very open and thoughtful and truly came across as spiritually generous. I've actually admired him for a very long time. May he continue to speak out in the public forum as he bears witness to the real teachings of Jesus.


Monday, March 07, 2011

Growth in average income

A friend of mine sent me the following link:

When income grows, who gains?

Please go look at it. It's a chart and a graph and will only take a minute.

It made me quite ill, to tell you the truth.

The clean dollar

Someone recently brought me a quotation by Frank Crane. I looked him up and discovered that he was a Presbyterian minister and public speaker who lived from 1861–1928.

The following passage really seems to speak to what's going on in our world today:

...[N]o matter how many memorial churches he builds, nor how much he gives to charity, or how many monuments he erects in his native town, any man who has made his money by ruining other people is not entitled to be called decent. A factory where many workmen are given employment, paid living wages, and where health and life are conserved, is doing more real good in the world than ten eleemosynary institutions. The only really charitable dollar is the clean dollar. And the nasty dollar, wrung from wronged workmen or gotten by unfair methods from competitors, is never nastier than when it pretends to serve the Lord by being given to the poor, to education, or to religion. In the long run all such dollars tend to corrupt and disrupt society. Of all vile money, that which is the most unspeakably vile is the money spent for war; for war is conceived by the blundering ignorance and selfishness of rulers, is fanned to flame by the very lowest passions of humanity, and prostitutes the highest ideal of men — zeal for the common good — to the business of killing human beings and destroying the results of their collective work.


Sunday, March 06, 2011

Sunday art blogging

"Road Builders" by Victor Teterin

A timely joke

And a tragic one, too:

By now you've heard the cookie joke. You know: a CEO, a tea party member, and a union worker are all sitting at a table when a plate with a dozen cookies arrives. Before anyone else can make a move, the CEO reaches out to rake in eleven of the cookies. When the other two look at him in surprise, the CEO locks eyes with the tea party member. "You better watch him," the executive says with a nod toward the union worker. "He wants a piece of your cookie."

I found it right here.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Lies about public employee unions

Please, please go read the article entitled "Public Employee Unions Don't Get One Penny from Taxpayers and Can't Require Membership, But the Big Lie That They Do Is Everywhere". Here's how it gets started:

Nobody has to belong to a union or support its political activities, but you'd never know that from reading the news.

Let us begin with this simple, indisputable truth: public employees' unions don't get a single red cent from taxpayers. And they aren't a mechanism to “force” working people to support Democrats – that's completely illegal.

Public sector workers are employed by the government, but they are private citizens. Once a private citizen earns a dollar from the sweat of his or her brow, it no longer belongs to his or her employer. In the case of public workers, it is no longer a “taxpayer dollar”; it is a dollar held privately by an American citizen. Public sector unions are financed through the dues paid by these private citizens, who elected to be part of a union – not a single taxpayer dollar is involved, and no worker is forced to join a union against his or her wishes. No worker in the United States is required to give one red cent to support a political cause he or she doesn't agree with.

I get so sick of right-wing dissembling.


Friday, March 04, 2011

Friday cat blogging!

Here's a headline for you

Take a look:

Hmm. Prominent Conservative Radio Hosts Planted Scripted Actors Among Callers

It's just too disgusting for me to come up with the energy to offer an excerpt. Please simply click through and read the post. It's from Crooks and Liars and it's not very long.

The ultimate cost of union busting

I want to call your attention to an article entitled "Wanna Bust a Union? Be Careful What You Wish For". Here's an excerpt:

...[U]nions have historically fulfilled an important social role of helping to manage larger conflicts between socioeconomic classes in a manner that has benefited society as a whole.

Few now alive recall the turmoil, violence, bloodshed and destruction of property that took place before collective bargaining was made legal in the United States, as labor fought tooth and nail for its share of the economic benefits of its efforts.

Yet it did happen, and unions have served a socially desirable role of helping to manage the inevitable conflicts between the wealthy owners of property and those employed by them, thereby minimizing disruptions of the economy.

Undermining the legitimacy of collective bargaining now threatens to return us to something like the previous status quo, at the sacrifice of domestic peace in civil society.

Are the libertarians and conservatives prepared to sacrifice the peace and return to open warfare between the classes in the United States?

Are they so stupid they fail to understand that if collective bargaining is taken away from the working classes, they will certainly find ways to disrupt the idle holidays of the wealthy among us?

Yes, they are that stupid.

In my humble opinion.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Please watch:

I don't know whether to be happy about this or disgusted. Really.

Quote of....well, a while back

Just take a look (sigh):

Understand this. If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain, when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself. I’ll walk on that picket line with you as President of the United States because Americans deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.

-- Barack Obama (November 3, 2007)



Tuesday, March 01, 2011

RIP Peter Gomes

He will be greatly missed.

What a headline

This one:

How Being a Jerk Shortens Your Life

Something to think about, dear people!

(It's a Time Magazine health story)

Takes one to know one...

I'm sorry; I just couldn't help myself:

This report will make us look like jackasses.

-- Tom Coburn, Republican Senator from Oklahoma, referring to a Government Accountability Office study on federal government redundancies; Coburn sponsored the amendment that called for the report