Daily Archive: 03/15/2015

Mar 15 2015

ACM: 24 hour Childcare – A “Revolutionary” idea that is an obtainable reform! by NY Brit Expat

Today is Mother’s Day in Britain (aka “Mothering Sunday”) and this topic is extremely appropriate. The idea of accessing 24 hour childcare is an old one … the questions that arise are why this is an important issue and why we should we be advocating for it? The next obvious question is how can we actually obtain it, in other words, what policies can ensure that this is viable and offers a positive transformation (that offers fulfilment to women and children where their needs and wants are covered) rather than a negative one?

How do we understand the oppression of women? Is it something that can be easily solved with reforms within the system (e.g., unequal pay, equality under the law, access to education and work)? Or does our oppression derive from the nature of class societies, property ownership, and our role in social reproduction? For me, it is the latter and that is why I do not think that reforms are sufficient, but they certainly can be done and must be done, if only to address inequality. These reforms may not affect our oppression much (which will require the overthrow of class societies based upon property), but they will make our lives easier and they will also get allies to understand the nature of our oppression. I do not know about you, but I simply refuse to wait until the revolution for women’s oppression to be understood and inequality to be addressed. We are raised in the context of our societies and if we do not address this before we transform society, then, I am certain that those raised in these societies will never understand the need for change (or it will always be put off as there are other more immediate things that need to be addressed, as usual).

Mar 15 2015

Congressional Game of Chicken: Human Trafficking Victims Taken Hostage By the Senate GOP

With the Republicans now in charge of the Senate, the filibuster games continue with the shoe on the other foot. Although I have to say, the Democrats have used it to stop the more egregious legislation that the Republicans have tried to pass. By attaching controversial riders to popular bills, such as their fight with the White House over immigration getting attached to the funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security, the GOP leadership didn’t expect the tactic to backfire in the press and public opinion. The Republicans may have gerrymandered themselves into being in charge but that doesn’t mean they have the capacity to lead or public support.

The Senate GOP current hostages are the victims of human trafficking and Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch. A popular bipartisan bill to aid victims of human trafficking has been held up by the Democrats in the Senate when they discovered that the Republicans had surreptitiously added an anti-choice amendment that would restrict funding for abortions.

The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015, which would establish a fund to raise money for victims from the fees charged to traffickers, wasn’t supposed to be controversial. It has supporters on both sides of the aisle and easily passed the House earlier this year. Both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) have urged members of their parties to support the legislation.

But this week, top Democrats learned that the bill includes language modeled after the Hyde Amendment, which restricts public funding for abortion procedures. The new fund created for trafficking victims would be subject to the same restrictions that currently prevent the public Medicaid program from using federal dollars to finance abortion coverage. [..]

Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for Reid’s office, said the proposed language in the trafficking bill would actually go beyond Hyde’s current scope by including fees and fines, instead of just taxpayer funds. He believes that “could lead to a dramatic expansion of abortion restrictions in future years.” [..]

Reproductive rights groups have also harshly criticized the abortion provision in the bill, accusing Republicans of playing politics with the vulnerable victims of human trafficking. They point out that victims often need access to abortion services because they have been subject to sexual violence, so a fund designed to help them shouldn’t cut off resources related to abortion.

Needless to say, the Democrat’s filibuster of a second bill, with unpopular provisions, in as many months is not sitting well with Senate Majority Leader Mitch “The Human Hybrid Turtle” McConnell who went on CNN’s “State of the Union” and told host Dana Bash that the consideration of Loretta Lynch would not happen until the trafficking bill passed.

McConnell told Dana Bash on CNN’s “State of the Union” that Lynch’s nomination will remain in a holding pattern until Democrats allow the trafficking bill to move forward.

“This will have an impact on the timing of considering the new attorney general. Now, I had hoped to turn to her next week, but if we can’t finish the trafficking bill, she will be put off again,” he said.

He argued it was a non-controversial bill that came out of the Judiciary Committee unanimously. He noted the language Democrats are objecting to was part of the legislation from the beginning of its consideration.

“They all voted for the very same language in a bill in December,” he said. “This is boilerplate language that has been in the law for almost 40 years that they all voted for three months ago in another bill.”

Sen. McConnell’s claim that the Democrats knew about the anti-abortion provision and knowingly voted for it is [disputed by the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee :

“These provisions, my caucus did not know about,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters Tuesday. “The bill will not come off this floor as long as that [abortion] language is in it.”

Even Democrats on the Judiciary Committee said they had no idea the abortion provision was in the bill. Some suggested they had been misled.

“There was a representation that the controversial provision was not included in this bill. It turns out that it was,” said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), a Judiciary Committee member. “I don’t know how that happened or who was the author of it.”

“A list was sent to certain members saying, ‘Here are the changes from last year.’ This provision was not listed among them,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), also a Judiciary Committee member.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the committee’s ranking member, chastised his GOP colleagues for using “debates about some of the most vulnerable among us to advance their own political agenda.”

Needles to say the Democrats, so far, aren’t caving to this latest GOP blackmail:

Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the third-ranking member of the Democratic leadership, slammed McConnell for further delaying Lynch.

“For months and months, Republicans have failed to move forward with‎ her nomination using any excuse they can, except for any credible objection to her nomination itself. It’s time for Republicans to stop dragging their feet on Loretta Lynch,” he said in a statement Sunday morning. ‎

Adam Jentleson, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) spokesman, accused McConnell of backtracking on his pledge to schedule Lynch for a vote.

The GOP hates Attorney General Eric Holder, who has already said his goodbyes, but they have held up Ms. Lynch’s nomination for 128 days, longer than any other Attorney General nominee. This might not be so bad since Ms. Lynch may not be the best choice to replace Mr. Holder considering her dubious ties to Wall Street and the banks. Her slap on the wrist agreement without criminal charges in the HSBC money laundering case would be a good reason to reject her. Now, the question is will the Democrats sacrifice her to protect the right to an abortion for victims of human trafficking. Stay tuned to see who blinks first.

Mar 15 2015

Rant of the Week: Jon Stewart – The Brotherhood of the Traveling Chants & To Catch a Prejudice

The Brotherhood of the Traveling Chants & To Catch a Prejudice

A video surfaces of fraternity members from the University of Oklahoma chanting racial slurs on a bus, sparking a discussion about the effects of racism in the U.S.

Mar 15 2015

Sunday Night Movie

Engineering In Action!

I’m talking about the brassiere of course which was developed by Howard Hughes’ aeronautic department to be ‘dynamic’.  In Public Domain, no respect for the crazy Billionaire who used empty Kleenex boxes instead of slippers (hey, you gotta do something with them!).

Mar 15 2015

Well duh!

Herr Doktor Professor is sounding more MMT by the day.

Strength Is Weakness

Paul Krugman, The New York Times

MARCH 13, 2015

We’ve been warned over and over that the Federal Reserve, in its effort to improve the economy, is “debasing” the dollar. The archaic word itself tells you a lot about where the people issuing such warnings are coming from. It’s an allusion to the ancient practice of replacing pure gold or silver coins with “debased” coins in which the precious-metal content was adulterated with cheaper stuff. Message to the gold bugs and Ayn Rand disciples who dominate the Republican Party: That’s not how modern money works. Still, the Fed’s critics keep insisting that easy-money policies will lead to a plunging dollar.

Reality, however, keeps declining to oblige. Far from heading downstairs to debasement, the dollar has soared through the roof. (Sorry.) Over the past year, it has risen 20 percent, on average, against other major currencies; it’s up 27 percent against the euro. Hooray for the strong dollar!

Or not. Actually, the strong dollar is bad for America. In an immediate sense, it will weaken our long-delayed economic recovery by widening the trade deficit. In a deeper sense, the message from the dollar’s surge is that we’re less insulated than many thought from problems overseas. In particular, you should think of the strong dollar/weak euro combination as the way Europe exports its troubles to the rest of the world, America very much included.



Currency markets, however, always grade countries on a curve. The United States isn’t exactly booming, but it looks great compared with Europe, where the present is bad and the future looks worse. Even before the new Greek crisis blew up, Europe was starting to resemble Japan without the social cohesion: within the eurozone, the working-age population is shrinking, investment is weak and much of the region is flirting with deflation. Markets have responded to those poor prospects by pushing interest rates incredibly low. In fact, many European bonds are now offering negative interest rates.



Who wins from this market move? Europe: a weaker euro makes European industry more competitive against rivals, boosting both exports and firms that compete with imports, and the effect is to mitigate the euroslump. Who loses? We do, as our industry loses competitiveness, not just in European markets, but in countries where our exports compete with theirs. America has been experiencing a modest manufacturing revival in recent years, but that revival will be cut short if the dollar stays this high for long.

In effect, then, Europe is managing to export some of its stagnation to the rest of us. We’re not talking about a nefarious plot, about so-called currency wars; it’s just the way things work in a global economy with highly mobile capital and market-determined exchange rates.

And the effects may be quite large. If markets believe that Europe’s weakness will last a long time, we would expect the euro to fall and the dollar to rise enough to eliminate much if not most of the difference in interest rates, which would mean severely crimping U.S. growth.

Mar 15 2015

On This Day In History March 15

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

March 15 is the 74th day of the year (75th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 291 days remaining until the end of the year.

In the Roman calendar, March 15 was known as the Ides of March.

On this day in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson addressed a joint session of Congress to urge the passage of legislation guaranteeing voting rights for all.

Using the phrase “we shall overcome,” borrowed from African-American leaders struggling for equal rights, Johnson declared that “every American citizen must have an equal right to vote.” Johnson reminded the nation that the Fifteenth Amendment, which was passed after the Civil War, gave all citizens the right to vote regardless of race or color. But states had defied the Constitution and erected barriers. Discrimination had taken the form of literacy, knowledge or character tests administered solely to African-Americans to keep them from registering to vote.

“Their cause must be our cause too,” Johnson said. “Because it is not just Negroes, but really it is all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome.”

The speech was delivered eight days after racial violence erupted in Selma, Alabama. Civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King and over 500 supporters were attacked while planning a march to Montgomery to register African-Americans to vote. The police violence that erupted resulted in the death of a King supporter, a white Unitarian Minister from Boston named James J. Reeb. Television news coverage of the event galvanized voting rights supporters in Congress.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. §§ 1973 – 1973aa-6 is a landmark piece of national legislation in the United States that outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the U.S.

Echoing the language of the 15th Amendment, the Act prohibits states from imposing any “voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure … to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.” Specifically, Congress intended the Act to outlaw the practice of requiring otherwise qualified voters to pass literacy tests in order to register to vote, a principal means by which Southern states had prevented African-Americans from exercising the franchise The Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, a Democrat, who had earlier signed the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law.

The Act established extensive federal oversight of elections administration, providing that states with a history of discriminatory voting practices (so-called “covered jurisdictions”) could not implement any change affecting voting without first obtaining the approval of the Department of Justice, a process known as preclearance. These enforcement provisions applied to states and political subdivisions (mostly in the South) that had used a “device” to limit voting and in which less than 50 percent of the population was registered to vote in 1964. The Act has been renewed and amended by Congress four times, the most recent being a 25-year extension signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2006.

The Act is widely considered a landmark in civil-rights legislation, though some of its provisions have sparked political controversy. During the debate over the 2006 extension, some Republican members of Congress objected to renewing the preclearance requirement (the Act’s primary enforcement provision), arguing that it represents an overreach of federal power and places unwarranted bureaucratic demands on Southern states that have long since abandoned the discriminatory practices the Act was meant to eradicate. Conservative legislators also opposed requiring states with large Spanish-speaking populations to provide bilingual ballots. Congress nonetheless voted to extend the Act for twenty-five years with its original enforcement provisions left intact.

Mar 15 2015

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with George Stephanopolis:  The guests on Sunday’s “This Week” are:  Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO); Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO); former Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA); and Bassem Youssef, “Egypt’s Jon Stewart.”  

The roundtable guests are:  Democratic strategist James Carville; Republican strategist Ana Navarro;, New Yorker editor David Remnick; and Fox News anchor Greta van Susteren.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Schieffer’s guests are: Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR); Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV); Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD); Cornell William Brooks, president of the NAACP, and Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

His panel guests are: Susan Page of USA Today; Peter Baker of The New York Times; John Heileman of Bloomberg; and Dana Milbank of the Washington Post.

Meet the Press with Chuck Todd: The guests on Sunday’s “MTP” are: Retired Adm. Michael Mullen; Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA); Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC); and Fmr. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA).

The roundtable guests are: Matt Bai, Yahoo! News; Karen Finney, Media Matters For America; Kevin Madden, Hamilton Place Strategies; and Andrea Mitchell, NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent.

State of the Union: Dana Bash is this week’s host. Her guests are: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.); former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino; Washington Post reporter Carol Leonnig; Jack Quinn, White House Counsel to President Bill Clinton.

Her panel guests are:  Elliot Spillers, the University of Alabama Student Government Association President-elect; Jalen Ross, President of the University of Virginia Student Council; Julia Watson, Undergraduate Student Body President at Northwestern University; and Rusty Mau, NC State University Student Body President.

Mar 15 2015

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Cyclone Pam leaves ‘most’ of Vanuatu population homeless

    29 minutes ago

BBC

Vanuatu’s president has told the BBC most of his people are homeless after the devastating cyclone that ravaged the Pacific island nation on Saturday.

Speaking from Japan, Baldwin Lonsdale said Cyclone Pam had destroyed most buildings in the capital Port Vila, including schools and clinics.

A state of emergency has been declared in the tiny state of 267,000 people, spread over 65 islands.

At least eight people are reported to have been killed.

However, it is feared the toll will rise sharply as rescuers reach outlying islands.

Thousands of people spent a second night in shelters.

The category five storm, with winds of up to 270km/h (170mph), veered off its expected course and struck populated areas when it reached Vanuatu early on Saturday local time (+11 GMT).




Sunday’s Headlines:

Rakhat Aliyev: Claims of murder over death of rival to Kazakhstan’s president in an Austrian prison

Kurds accuse IS of using ‘weaponized’ chlorine in Iraq

On war-torn frontier, Israelis feel government has forgotten them

Nigeria: Boko Haram bomb factory uncovered in troubled northeast

Dark side of Japan revealed in film about Internet cafe living

Mar 15 2015

The Breakfast Club (more Irish)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

 photo 807561379_e6771a7c8e_zps7668d00e.jpg

Breakfast Tune: Dave Hum of Huckleberries Playing Bluegrass & Irish Reel in Bournemouth

Today in History


Julius Caesar assassinated in Rome; Johnson urges passage of Voting Rights Act; Worldcom CEO Bernard Ebbers convicted of fraud; Elizabeth Taylor marries Richard Burton; “My Fair Lady” debuts on Broadway.

News

Boston’s St Patrick’s Day parade to allow two gay and lesbian groups to march

Saturday, March 14, 2015 by Jana Kasperkevic – The Guardian

The president of Boston Pride is preparing to make history. Alongside the military veterans’ group OutVets, Sylvain Bruni’s organisation will march in Boston’s St Patrick’s Day parade on Sunday. Until this year, the parade has barred such groups from participating.

Twenty years ago, the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, which organizes the parade, took the issue all the way to the US supreme court. The court upheld the council’s decision to ban such groups, ruling unanimously that being forced to include such groups would violate the free speech rights of the private citizens organizing the event.

Since then, Boston mayors have made a point of boycotting the parade. This year, Mayor Marty Walsh will participate in the annual celebration. …

More Breakfast News, Blogs & Irish Below

Mar 15 2015

Who am I?

Really

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