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« June 2010 | Main | August 2010 »

Front Page » Monthly Archives » July 2010

By Danielle Lee on July 22, 2010

I love soda.  That should be no such a big surprise if you saw my previous post where I admitted to loving junk food.  I love science.  And you know I loves Science Blogging.  But if I had known my little affair of junk food and science and social media would end up in the mess now regarded as #PepsiGate/#SbFail, I would have shunned the tasty but not-so-healthy beverage long ago.  You see, Cola has shattered my science blogging world.

Read more from this post here ...

By Bob Hooper on July 20, 2010

Frankly, I'm curious about what Christianity is, and isn't.

In a previous column, I outed the icon of capitalism, Ayn Rand -- an atheist who not only preached self above others but saw Christianity as "the best kindergarten of communism possible." And, I relayed Glenn Beck's companion advice that if your church advocates social or economic justice, you should "leave that church."

There's a disturbing resonance between Rand and Beck and the paranoid, angry, militaristic, flaggity-braggity, gun-toting right -- a good many of whom claim Christianity. Frankly, I think they're giving Jesus -- as well as the Republican Party -- a bad name, Also frankly, to use a religious term, they scare hell out of me. I am reminded of Sinclair Lewis's book It can't happen here. In 1935 Lewis warned, "When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." And an AK-47?

Maybe I'm wrong, but I see a disconnect today from the vital and necessary role of Christianity in not just advocating but struggling for social and economic justice. And so I began to wonder: is this country really as Christian as we hear? What is Christianity, that word we bandy about?

Read more from this post here ...

By Gerald Britt on July 20, 2010

If Dallas' budget were a severely wounded patient and City Manager Mary Suhm a surgeon, those screams coming from the operating room would be due to amputations performed without the benefit of anesthesia. Even though she's pared a $130 million budget shortfall to just below $19 million, the reductions still necessary are approaching the point of cutting fat and muscle and sawing too close to bone for comfort.

With the mayor and several city council members seemingly opposed to any tax increase, Suhm is left with little choice but to consider budget cuts in numerous categories: public safety, the arts, libraries, parks and recreation, streets, garbage collection and code enforcement. This amounts to no good choices for citizens or the slashed departments.

The time has come to stop delaying the inevitable and include a tax increase in this budget.

Read more from this post here ...

By Jenifer Daniels on July 20, 2010

This week, I will be attending Netroots Nation 10’, a progressive blogger conference, in Las Vegas. And while the thermometer will surely note a ‘heatwave’, what will be even hotter are the speakers and the training sessions.

As we deal with what the media is dubbing “post racial America”, we at Netroots will spend our time understanding and crafting the messages that will resonate in 2010 and 2012. With guests like Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Harry Reid, Sen. Al Franken, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Elizabeth Warren, Gov. Brian Schweitzer, Ed Schultz, and Van Jones, we’ll be sure to tackle the issues that America is talking about.

Read more from this post here ...

By Bob Hooper on July 19, 2010

Standard advice: don't discuss politics or religion unless you're amongst ditto-heads, or too drunk to care and oblivious to the consequences -- at least until morning. However standard that advice, it strikes me as bad -- especially these days.

Now I am not nearly as religious as I once was. I think that is because I've been around so many religious people who know so much about God, enough in fact to serve as His Judge Advocate General in condemning people to eternal perdition--or at least to the back of the bus, so to speak. And from what I can see, they consider themselves exempt by virtue of virtue.

Honesty compels me to admit along with writer Anne Dillard that I don't really know beans about God -- except that, judging from the Old Testament, God (normally considered male) had a personality transplant when he appeared as the Son in the New Testament -- courtesy of the immaculate conception (not dirty sex.) Of course, Jehovah Witnesses scoff at the notion of a Triune God, so there you go. Judging from the name, Unitarians would agree with the JW's, but I doubt they cotton to one another much.

Read more from this post here ...

By John Atlas on July 19, 2010

Last week a group called New York Communities for Change (NYCC) joined with New York City Comptroller John Liu and seven of New York's largest unions to demand that Wall Street's biggest banks reform their loan modification policies so families facing foreclosure will not lose their homes. If other groups follow our country we might make a big dent in the foreclosure crisis.

NYCC and its sister organization, Mutual Housing Association of New York, have been working with foreclosure victims [} neighborhoods like St. Albans in Queens, or Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn not far from Wall Street, where homeowners have been forced to make impossible choices: keep up their skyrocketing mortgage payments or provide their families with food and clothing .
Members of the group are angry at banks, who have been painfully slow to offer loan modifications, or simply refuse to lift a finger to help vulnerable families and neighborhoods to avoid foreclosure. Some banks often screw homeowners by sending numerous requests for already-submitted documents, and then foreclose on the hapless homeowner because the banks falsely claim that they never got those same documents!

The federal government’s attempt to solve the foreclosure crisis has failed.

Read more from this post here ...

By Diane Wahto on July 16, 2010

Recently I have heard a great deal of criticism of unions, in particular public employee unions, with much finger-pointing in the direction of teachers unions. Outsiders blame unions for protecting bad workers, especially bad teachers, who can’t be fired, according to the common understanding of what the function of a union is. Having been a member of, and active in, NEA, KNEA, and the local wherever I taught, I have always been puzzled by this concept of what a union is and does.

My father was a Teamster and even though the Teamsters were rife with corruption during the Jimmy Hoffa era, my dad’s union membership did my family a world of good. My dad was able to earn a good wage doing what many consider menial labor. While we weren’t wealthy by any means, we lived a comfortable life, and my dad retired early on a decent pension. By the time I entered the full time work force as a teacher, I knew that union membership was the way to go. Workers in unionized workplaces earn more on average and have better working conditions than those in non-union workplaces. Union membership brings with it the power of collective action that no one person can ever have.

Read more from this post here ...

By Ken Poland on July 11, 2010

Where are all our writers? As I start writing here, there are only 3 entries since July 1. Vacation time for some and maybe a few like me, this is the busiest time of the year?

We finished our wheat harvest a week ago. Had unbelievable yield and quality. Now if the price would just reflect that quality and take into consideration the inflation on our expenses, we would be doing fine. The prices received by the producers is about the same as it was 20 years ago and even barely matches the returns in the late '40's after price controls were lifted following WW 2. Our production levels have increased dramatically, over the years. But, our input costs have more than equaled the increased production returns. The consumers prices have increased dramatically, too. But the farmer's share of the actual value of the wheat that goes into a 1 lb loaf of bread is still only 5 or 6 cents. If the producer got all of a nickel increase on the wheat in a loaf of bread, it should double our return. A bushel of wheat makes 60 one lb loaves of bread. We get $4.00 or less for a bushel of wheat.

The traditional "family farm" is extinct.

Read more from this post here ...

By Stuart Elliott on July 7, 2010

LabourStart, the global online labor news service, will hold its 2010 Global Solidarity conferenceat a time when workers are caught in an economic tsunami and employers are using the crisis as an excuse to trample workers’ rights. Participants from more than 50 countries will hear firsthand about the struggles of working people around the world, especially under repressive regimes such as Iran and China, at the July 9–11 conference at McMaster University’s School of Labor Studies in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Powered by 800 volunteer correspondents across the globe, LabourStart daily publishes links to hundreds of labor stories in 23 languages. Working closely with national unions and global union federations, LabourStart spearheads action campaigns in multiple languages. It has promoted union use of new media through its labor website, photo and video of the year contests.

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on July 4, 2010

The United States isn't a perfect country, but it's a good country, a country I love. What I most revere about the United States are the reformers and radicals who have fought to get this country to live up to its highest values. These reformers and radicals helped give this country a new understanding of what it means to be a country of freedom and equality.

So on this 4th of July I thank Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, George Washington, Thomas Paine and our Founding Fathers for giving us the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

I thank Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Eugene Debs, W.E.B. DuBois, John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Henry Thoreau, Emma Goldman, Booker T. Washington, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Dorothy Day, Norman Thomas, Bayard Rustin, William Sloane Coffin, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Cesar Chavez, the Kennedy brothers, Harvey Milk, Dolores Huerta, Larry Kramer, Howard Zinn and other leaders of social movements that have helped women, minorities and the disenfranchised become more of a part of the American promise

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on July 1, 2010

From June 16 to June 19, I went to Portland to attend a conference of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. It was a fun time to meet cartoonists from all over the country and to learn more about the state of the political cartoonist trade in the U.S. During the 4 days, I attended many informative panels where various speakers talked about the local cartooning scene, and political cartooning in the web, political cartoons from across the world. We also got to hear from two legendary political cartoonists.

One interesting panel consisted of Mike Keefe, Ted Rall, Tjeerd Royaards, and Caroline Dijckmeester and they discussed possible new business models for editorial cartoonists. This is of special interests to editorial cartoonists, as recent years have seen many cartoonists lose their jobs as part of a larger trend of newspapers folding in the face of declining subscriptions and ad revenue. With the decline in newspapers, political cartoonists have been exploring other avenues to expose their work and earn some revenue. Mike Keefe talked about the website Sardonika as being a possible place to submit cartoons. Sardonika is a fictitious island off the coast of the United States that looks upon the U.S. sardonically and spoofs many of the late breaking news of the country. The Sardonika website is a bit like The Onion or Mad Magazine. I checked it out and found quite a few funny articles, although I couldn't figure out if there was a place that was just for the cartoons.

Read more from this post here ...

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