If I thought they had any shame, any shame at all....
Open thread below...
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If I thought they had any shame, any shame at all....
Open thread below...
Back in May, John Amato did a panel with Andrew Breitbart as part of a benefit for the Charles Mingus Youth Arts Foundation. I didn't write much about it at the time because Breitbart was drunk, unruly, and unintelligible. Since he basically spewed what he always spewed, it didn't seem like news you could use. Also, handheld video is less than optimal.
However, in reviewing the video, I feel that I owe it you, our faithful readers, to let Andrew Breitbart summarize his life's motivation in a few seconds. It's basic, simple, and explains why he is such a scourge on the landscape of political discourse.
On the topic of what's good for democracy:
BREITBART: Sex and drugs should be illicit, and when they're legalized there's no shame involved and thus rendering the experience less pleasurable.
I'm certain we could turn up video of Breitbart soliciting on a corner in Hollywood. If you have a clip, please do send it in.
BREITBART: I just like doing things that are wrong, feeling like I can get in trouble.
I think we should get him in trouble for those wrong things, don't you?
Beggars Can Be Choosers: Time is running out for Democrats to pursue charges against Bush and Cheney.
Raw Story: The neocons' influence remains strong under Obama.
Big Think: Spooks bemoan the death of newspapers.
Bay Area Houston: The Texas GOP party of fiscal responsibility is broke.
(The Good) Roger Ailes: Nice deep sea oil platform you have there, miss. Be a shame if something happened to it.
Bouphonia: Hope blogging.
Guest post by Batocchio. Temporarily e-mail tips to batocchio9 AT yahoo DOT com.
This May 1st, immigrant communities and citizens alike will hit the streets to say no to Arizona's new "show me your papers law" and yes to real, federal action on immigration reform this year. Eighty cities across the country are gearing up for major rallies, marches, and protests tomorrow. Students who had come in from New York, Florida, and California to participate in the Washington protests led their own action in front of Governor Jan Brewer's DC office today. They chanted, "Arizona, Shame On You! Immigrants Are People, Too!"
Tomorrow's marches are a follow-up to the major March for America: Change Takes Courage, which drew over 200,000 people to the National Mall on March 21st. At that event, President Obama delivered a firm message promising he'd work on comprehensive immigration reform "this year." Now, with Arizona's new law driving already-desperate communities into action, we're likely to see events in Chicago, New York, and L.A. turn out tens of thousands of people.
At the DC event, 40 protesters will go so far as to risk arrest, practicing peaceful civil disobedience in the face of cynical Washington politics.
Deepak Bhargava, Executive Director of the Center for Community Change, writes today at Huffington Post:
Tomorrow, there will be over 80 demonstrations in favor of immigration reform across America. One of them will be in Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House. There, some 40 dignitaries including a member of Congress, clergy, heads of organizations and community leaders will likely be arrested in acts of civil disobedience against unjust immigration enforcement and the political cowardice in addressing our broken immigration system. I will be one of those getting arrested.
I am willing to get arrested tomorrow because the massive deportations being undertaken by the Obama Administration are tearing apart families, separating children from their parents, risking the lives of disabled immigrants and vulnerable refugees, and spreading terror into our communities. I will be arrested because America needs to understand immigration reform is not merely a political issue; our broken system is a moral disaster unfolding in our nation. Civil disobedience is important at this point because it signals to our leaders that the current situation is so unjust and unsustainable that people are no longer willing to comply or be complicit in the injustices committed by our government.
Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), who just announced that he intends to join in the civil disobedience, released this statement:
We have to keep the pressure on and let the President and Congress know we need immigration reform this year," the Congressman said Friday. "I am joining the rally in Washington because the effort to get immigration reform passed is escalating, the attacks on immigrants and immigration reform are escalating, and the Arizona law is a wake-up call that inaction at the federal level has huge consequences for communities, families, and individuals.
WHAT: Rally for Immigration Reform
WHEN: Saturday May 1, at 2:00 p.m. ET (music program starts at 1:30 p.m.)
WHERE: Lafayette Square, (across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House)
In addition to civil disobedience, many May Day events will feature celebrities who are taking a stand against what happened in Arizona. Via Perez Hilton:
And if you're lucky enough to be in Los Angeles this weekend, go be a part of their march with guests like Gloria and Emilio Estefan also taking part!
It's not just a hispanic issue, it's one that affects everyone regardless of their background.
Last but not least, students who've walked 1,500 miles on what they are calling the "Trail of Dreams" will be a major part of the Washington, DC event. Watch their stories:
I don't even know what to say about this. It's as if companies think by outsourcing practices like these, their hands are clean. Companies are sitting on a mountain of cash, refusing to hire people - and now we learn of an industry meant to prevent laid-off workers from collecting even bare-bones benefits?
I'd say they should be ashamed, but apparently the corporate world doesn't do shame:
WASHINGTON — With a client list that reads like a roster of Fortune 500 firms, a little-known company with an odd name, the Talx Corporation, has come to dominate a thriving industry: helping employers process — and fight — unemployment claims.
Talx, which emerged from obscurity over the last eight years, says it handles more than 30 percent of the nation’s requests for jobless benefits. Pledging to save employers money in part by contesting claims, Talx helps them decide which applications to resist and how to mount effective appeals.
The work has made Talx a boom business in a bust economy, but critics say the company has undermined a crucial safety net. Officials in a number of states have called Talx a chronic source of error and delay. Advocates for the unemployed say the company seeks to keep jobless workers from collecting benefits.
“Talx often files appeals regardless of merits,” said Jonathan P. Baird, a lawyer at New Hampshire Legal Assistance. “It’s sort of a war of attrition. If you appeal a certain percentage of cases, there are going to be those workers who give up.”
When fewer former workers get aid, a company pays lower unemployment taxes.
Wisconsin and Iowa passed laws to curtail procedural abuses that officials said were common in cases handled by Talx. Connecticut fined Talx (pronounced talks) and demanded an end to baseless appeals. New York, without naming Talx, instructed the Labor Department staff to side with workers in cases that simply pit their word against those of agents for employers.
It's not often I'm with Maureen Dowd, but I have to agree with her on this one: The scandal is too big, the pope is in too deep. (He's still in denial, calling the scandal "petty gossip.")It's time the Catholic Church had a female pope. (Heck, if Alanis Morrisette can portray God, why not pry open those closed minds even further?)
Pope Benedict has continued the church’s ban on female priests and is adamant against priests’ having wives. He has started two investigations of American nuns to check on their “quality of life” — code for seeing if they’ve grown too independent. As a cardinal he wrote a Vatican document urging women to be submissive partners and not take on adversarial roles toward men.
But the completely paternalistic and autocratic culture of Il Papa led to an insular, exclusionary system that failed to police itself, and that became a corrosive shelter for secrets and shame.
If the church could throw open its stained glass windows and let in some air, invite women to be priests, nuns to be more emancipated and priests to marry, if it could banish criminal priests and end the sordid culture of men protecting men who attack children, it might survive. It could be an encouraging sign of humility and repentance, a surrender of arrogance, both moving and meaningful.
Cardinal Ratzinger devoted his Vatican career to rooting out any hint of what he considered deviance. The problem is, he was obsessed with enforcing doctrinal orthodoxy and somehow missed the graver danger to the most vulnerable members of the flock.
The sin-crazed “Rottweiler” was so consumed with sexual mores — issuing constant instructions on chastity, contraception, abortion — that he didn’t make time for curbing sexual abuse by priests who were supposed to pray with, not prey on, their young charges.
My late aunt Agnes (my godmother) was explaining to me some years back that she didn't approve of women who wanted to be priests.
"Why?" I asked.
"Because Jesus was a man, and so were the Apostles. That's why priests have to be men," she told me.
"Well, Aunt Aggie, if you really want to be literal, you should have to be Jewish to be a priest. Because Jesus and the apostles were," I said. (I can't help it. I love to mess with people.)
A devout woman, she looked at me, shocked at my blasphemy. But she still couldn't come up with an answer.
What a shame we didn't get to vote here, huh? Yes, despite some heavy-duty pressure (and the implied threat of being blocked from membership in the European Union), the tiny country voted no to a crushing repayment plan for the British and Dutch debts incurred by a failed Icelandic bank. That plan would have required each Icelander to pay around $135 a month for eight years — about 25% of the average family's salary:
REYKJAVIK, Iceland – Icelanders blew whistles and set off fireworks in the capital as referendum results Sunday showed they had resoundingly rejected a $5.3 billion plan to repay Britain and the Netherlands for debts spawned by the collapse of an Icelandic bank.
Voters in the tiny Atlantic island nation defied both their parliament and international pressure to display their anger at how their nation was being treated.
"This is a strong 'No' from the Icelandic nation," said Magnus Arni Skulason, co-founder of a group opposed to the deal. "The Icelandic public understands that we are sovereign and we have to be treated like a sovereign nation — not being bullied like the British and the Dutch have been doing."
[...] Britain and the Netherlands want to be reimbursed for money they paid their citizens with deposits in Icesave, an Internet bank that collapsed in 2008, along with most of Iceland's banking sector. Most ordinary Icelanders feel the repayment schedule was too onerous.
[...] The overwhelming margin reflected Icelanders' simmering anger at bankers and politicians as the country struggles to recover from a financial meltdown. President Olafur R. Grimsson — who sparked the referendum by refusing to sign the repayment deal agreed by Iceland's parliament — said Icelanders resented having to pay for the actions of a few "greedy bankers."
He said, however, the British and Dutch would get their money back eventually.
"The referendum was not about refusing to pay back the money," Grimsson told the BBC. "Iceland is willing to reimburse those two governments, but it has to be on fair terms."
Iceland, a volcanic island with a population of just 320,000, went from economic wunderkind to fiscal basket case almost overnight when the credit crunch took hold.
And you'll never in a million years guess how that happened! (Stop me if this sounds familiar.)
They became a free-market poster child. By deregulating the banking and financial sectors, in just five years, Icelanders saw their wealth increase by 45 per cent. The banks went from domestic lending to international financing, until foreign financing made up two thirds of their debt. Then it all collapsed.
The new left-of-center government has been trying to negotiate a plan to repay $3.5 billion to Britain and $1.8 billion to the Netherlands as compensation for funds that those governments paid to around 340,000 of their citizens who had accounts with Icesave, an Icelandic Internet bank that offered high interest rates before it failed along with its parent, Landsbanki.
Failure to settle the dispute could have repercussions for Iceland's economic recovery. The International Monetary Fund has agreed to loan Iceland $4.6 billion, and the agreement is linked to repaying its international debts.
[...] Many Icelanders remain angry at Britain for invoking anti-terrorist legislation to freeze the assets of Icelandic banks at the height of the crisis.
Oh yeah, about that last part. Iceland Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir has demanded an apology from the UK for freezing their assets. I wonder how long she'll have to wait?
I don't blame them for being furious. Even Icelandic companies that had nothing to do with their banks had their assets frozen by the U.K. government.
And of course, the International Monetary Fund is a flock of vultures. Their Structural Adjustment Programs usually increase poverty in the countries they "help," because one of the main conditions is that the governments sell off their national assets - usually to western corporations at fire sale prices.
So good for Iceland! Too bad our Congress doesn't have that kind of spine.
ShortsandPants: No Child Left Behind turned eight-years-old yesterday. Is our children learning yet?
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Congratulations to Carnival of the Liberals on their 100th Edition!
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Happy New Year! Mike returns tomorrow; send blog tips to finnsagain AT aol DOT com.
SHORTER Alan Kuperman: "Well, diplomacy has completely failed to stop Iran's nuclear weapons program, so now it's just a question of whether Israel or the United States hits Iran first. And since we can do 'shock and awe' better than the Israelis, let's get to it."
You have to wonder about the sanity of a person who, after receiving a PhD in Political Science from MIT and has directed the Strauss Center's Nuclear Proliferation Prevention program for more than a year, is advocating bombing Iran's nuclear energy infrastructure as an approach to enforcing nonproliferation.
Seriously, dude. Resign now. You clearly are out of touch with reality (although nothing says "serious analyst" like that soul patch). And shame on the NY Times for printing an op-ed that belongs more in the Wall Street Journal or Washington Times.