Lately a memory has been haunting me a little bit. It was a television image that I noticed during the frantic, wall to wall TV coverage of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. While firefighters were scrambling through the dust and smoke of New York City, the anchor tossed to a reporter on the Beltway in Washington D.C.. The freeway was packed with federal employees. Some had provisions strapped to the top of their Range Rovers while other were furiously peddling their mountain bikes, as back packs full of canned goods swayed from their perspiration stained torsos, towards Maryland. All were abandoning the city. Lesson: These folks will cut and run.
None of them were even remotely interested in talking with reporters. Think about that for a second. The Washington elite, the people we entrust to fight for our interests, no matter how we define those interests; leaving their posts and fleeing the capitol...and refusing an opportunity to talk with the press! Read more
Free markets and college football. Deeply embedded into the sociocultural fabric of American life, these two time-honored traditions are incompatible. Why is scandalous headline after scandalous headline born from the act of receiving compensation for working hard, an act that is laudable in every other profession? The answer lies in one dogmatic, pious, hypocritical, bloated bureaucracy of a governing body: the National Collegiate Athletic Association. However, with targeted new policies, the NCAA and member schools can enjoy the best of both worlds.
An Environment of Inequity
The collegiate athletic system desperately demands reform. Young men and women are putting in 50-hour workweeks, on top of classes, and all they have to show for it is NCAA President Mark Emmert’s $1.7 million dollar salary. To put it bluntly, the NCAA’s revenues and operating budget thrive off the exploitation and suppression of “student-athletes” with nowhere else to turn for a playing field. Read more
Michael Stinnett - 9/03/2013: Legal rulings such as Citizens United and lax campaign financing laws have undermined the democratic process allowing wealthy donors to buy elections; so-called Super PACs are a pernicious influence on society and should be abolished. A Super PAC, or independent expenditure-only committee, “may raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, associations and individuals, then spend unlimited sums to overtly advocate for or against political candidates. Super PACs must, however, report their donors to the Federal Election Commission on a monthly or quarterly basis – the Super PAC's choice – as a traditional PAC would. Unlike traditional PACs, Super PACs are prohibited from donating money directly to political candidates” (Super PACs). The recent ruling protects political spending by corporations in candidate elections, citing the First Amendment's protection of freedom of speech. In justifying the ruling, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote that “'If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech'” (The New York Times). Read more
As the director of a nonprofit 501(c)(3), I have had to quickly learn how these kinds of organizations function. I had been an employee, volunteer, and member of nonprofits in the past, but taking a leadership position in one has been an entirely new experience. Now, I understand these organizations are sophisticated endeavors meant to do nothing less than fill in for government.
Where our representative government and its bureaucracy have utterly failed to meet the needs of communities in the US, nonprofits have stepped in. The modern nonprofit is a uniquely American creation, as other developed nations utilize the power and resources of government for education, arts, environment, health care, nutritional programs, etc.
In America, these kinds of “progressive” agendas can be defunded and neglected by local, state, and national branches of government. In response to unmet needs, grassroots groups form to gather resources, provide services, educate, and empower identified populations in their communities. In short, regular people are called and chosen by their neighbors to make what is missing and to scrape together resources. Read more
In the early 1970's, a group of scientists announced that after conducting some tests, they had concluded that the compound ozone seemed to have depleted in the upper atmosphere.
Time magazine ran with the story by suggesting that scientists had discovered a "hole in the Ozone Layer". All of the science turned out to be wrong but not before the media had blamed spray-on deodorant and the U.S. government had issued a ton of grant money and passed laws that controlled people’s lives.
Science had a new hypothesis: Warnings of man-made disaster equals Big Bucks
Since the research on the ozone didn’t really work; leftists re-packaged the scare tactic and called it Global Warming. For two decades they managed to grab federal cash and gain control over people’s lives by scaring the hell out of everyone.
After twenty years and no data to back up their claims; liberal scientists did some more research. This time they conducted focus groups to find out why people didn’t care about global warming. They found that people didn’t care because the globe had not become warmer. Not to be deterred they decided to “re-brand” Global Warming by calling it “Climate Change”. Read more
As we learn that the NSA domestic surveillance is far more widespread and invasive than we knew, the Senate talks tough but flees from action, timidly agreeing to sacrifice our privacy.
The NSA is culling all domestic phone records, and can access internet activity worldwide, but we're scared of our own intelligence industry, so focus one whistleblower stranded in Russia.
And Congress votes down an amendment to put an end to the NSA's radical operations, with those who get defense contractor money voting to keep the programs alive.
Meanwhile, we're assured that the US is safer now that a 25-year-old soldier is behind bars.
Whatever you think of Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden, leaks and whistleblowers, they aren't the problem we should be focused on.
The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. In this case, the NSA's plans have gone too far, Manning and others like him have manned up, but our political leaders are proving skittish as mice.
You know they're listening, now be heard as your share ideas and a pint or two at your local progressive social club.
DRINKING LIBERALLY Find - or start - a chapter near you.
It seems puzzling that Harvard University would grant tenure, let alone appoint someone to be the chairman of its economics department, who fundamentally doesn't believe in economics. But there it is, all spelled out in a much talked about new paper, "Defending the One Percent," by Harvard economics professor and former Mitt Romney advisor, N. Gregory Mankiw, in the June issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives.
After summarily dispensing with the arguments offered by those on "the left" for greater income equality, specifically those of Joseph Stiglitz who condemns today's yawning wage gap as not only unjust and obscene but economically inefficient as well, Mankiw concludes his 25-page apologia for the bulging portfolios of today's plutocrats by asserting that taxing the wealthy to support socially useful purposes is just plain "wrong." Read more
Yes. I busted my ass for Obama the first time around.
Opened my checkbook, campaigned, knocked on doors. Did everything I could to see that he carried Florida in the Presidential election.
Not easy in a place where Fred Thompson signs were as common as plastic pink flamingos at the time during the primary and right wing nuts carried Soviet flags outside of local Obama campaign headquarters. Where women thought Palin was the essence of true feminism. I had the lone Obama sign on my lawn in a sea of McCain - Palin cardboard.
But I got the last laugh. At least I thought so at the time.
We had elected a Democratic President and controlled the two Houses of Congress. And we carried Florida.
Maybe something would get done.
Maybe universal healthcare. Maybe peace would come. Maybe a society which would leave behind racism. Maybe repeal of the Bush tax giveaways to billionaires. Maybe we would spend money on people rather than aircraft carriers. Maybe we would stop torturing people. Maybe Gitmo would close.
Maybe. Read more
Its Sunday April 28th! Do you know where your podcast is? On this day in history back in 1967, Muhammad Ali refused induction into the U.S. military. The self-proclaimed "Greatest Fighter of All Time" cited religious reasons for staging his most important fight; a fight against institutionalized, senseless killing. Take a moment to process these statements - yes, a fighter by profession and religious person (Ali converted to Islam in 1964) refused to go to war! Ali was fined $10,000, sentenced to 5 years in prison, and was stripped of the world title he had won by beating Sonny Liston. He avoided prison while appealing all the way to the highest court, and lost his heavyweight title the first time the same year he won his case in 1971. Muhammad Ali is the only three-time boxing world champion, and is still one of the most intriguing figures in American history. His reason for refusing conscription was because "I ain't got no quarrel with those Vietcong." Amazing that the government of a "Christian nation" would seek to take everything from a person who was acting exactly in the manner that Jesus would have prescribed. Read more
It’s Monday April 8th! Do you know where your podcast is? On this day in history back in 1935, Congress established the Works Progress Administration program, and FDR signed the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act. Not too shabby considering they were in the depths of The Great Depression, eh? It makes you wonder. We were able to find money to help people during the time in America’s history when we were as broke as broke can be. We were able to create jobs, invest in the country, and work together towards what would become America’s golden age. We were able to pass The Social Security Act and form unemployment insurance delivering a New Deal for Americans. This only happened because enough people decided that helping people was the right thing to do. They realized we were stronger together. They were right. Read more
Labor Day Demonstration against child labor - 1909
So if "class warfare" actually breaks out (we’re not talking about beheading rich folks .... yet!) with what "class" do you identify?
Are you "middle class, upper middle-class, lower class?" These are categories we love to use and always see in the corporate media.
These categories are based on how much you make and how much you consume. They assume you work. You have a job. If if are "lower" or "middle" class you cannot stay home and live on accumulated wealth or on income generated by others working for you. Yet rarely are such folks characterized as "workers".
The broad categories of class are better defined by your relationship to the process of the production of wealth.
You are either a worker, selling your labor because you have no other adequate source of income or you are an owner, a capitalist whose income is generated by others - i.e workers in your factory/corporation or your investments, or your accumulated wealth. Read more
Its March 18th, do you know where your podcast is? On this date in history back in1937, 298 school children experienced the worst gas of their lives, and not the kind that would provide their schoolmates with smirks, giggles, and sour smells. Their school, Consolidated School of New London Texas, had been built in 1930 and was in the middle of massive oil and gas fields and many of the nearly 1,200 students were sons and daughters of energy workers. The gas that troubled the school on that day was natural gas, there was an explosion, and those 298 students were killed, many of them instantly. This astonishing disaster was investigated thoroughly; findings revealed that raw gas escaping from leaking lines had accumulated in the dead space between the foundation and basement floor. The gas expanded due to a drop in barometric pressure and an electric spark from a switch in the manual training shop had triggered the explosion. It has been reported by history.com (caveat emptor) and others, that a cryptic message was found on a blackboard in the rubble, “Oil and Natural gas are East Texas’ greatest natural gifts. Read more
Marcus Licinius Crassus was the richest man in Roman history. Indeed, he is considered one of the richest men who ever lived. He made his fortune as a supporter of the dictator Sulla by confiscating the properties of Sulla’s political enemies.
He was also a shrewd acquirer of real estate, especially when it was on fire. Rome had no fire department; fires were left to burn themselves out. Crassus organized some 500 men and, when there was a fire, he would show up and offer to buy the property for a song. After the beleaguered owner sold out the burning buildings, Crassus would call on his fire department to put out the flames and then restore the buildings.
In any case, Crassus was described by Plutarch as the ultimate man of avarice. Crassus never had enough and always wanted more.
It was Crassus who, wishing to add glory to his wealth lead the legions which defeated Spartacus in the slave revolt. Several Roman armies were off fighting elsewhere and Crassus offered to personally equip several legions and lead the fight against the slaves. Initially he had trouble. Read more
Lest we forget, here are the highlights:
Susan Fluke … so much sex she can’t afford her own birth control pills.
What does that make her? It makes her a slut right? It makes her a prostitute! She wants to be paid to have sex
Ms. Fluke...Who bought your condoms in the 6th grade?
She’s having so much sex it’s amazing she can still walk.
Random hook-ups that these babes are encountering here … having sex nearly 3 times a day.
Ms Fluke and the rest of you FemiNazis, here’s the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex...then we want something in return, Ms. Fluke, and that would be the videos of this sex posted online so we can see.
There's more--a lot more. Although you can't find the transcript on Rush Limbaugh's website, which otherwise contains a meticulous archival treasure trove of hate speech. He erased it when he realized what he had done. Read more
Barely a year after the defeat of SOPA, Congress is back to testing the waters for legislation that many internet users believe to be in violation of their fundamental rights to privacy and free expression.
CISPA, a bill that would make it easier for corporations and the government to share internet users’ personal data, was officially re-introduced in the House on Wednesday. It’s already being rushed forward in the legislative process. The House Intelligence Committee is holding a full hearing on the bill today at 10 am. They will hear from four witnesses — all from the business sector and all known supporters of CISPA. No experts with concerns about privacy issues in the bill were invited to address the committee. Read more