April 29, 2011

The pelting of this pitiless storm

My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones, homes, pets, and everything else during the recent storm that hit the south. I think we're entering a period of extreme weather events and we have narrowly dodged some meteorological bullets here at Goat Rope Farm.

Another storm that is smashing the country is the one that is battering away at protections for workers, low income people, children and the elderly. The latest pro-corporate US Supreme Court decision is another step on the road to oligarchy. Actually, we're pretty much already there but there are degrees. But it's going to get worse and it's hitting from all directions.

I've used these lines from King Lear before here, but they seem especially appropriate now:

Poor naked wretches, whereso'er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,
Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these? O, I have ta'en
Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp;
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,
That thou mayst shake the superflux to them,
And show the heavens more just.

CIRCLE OF PROTECTION. A number of religious leaders from many faith traditions are calling on Congress and the administration to protect the poor and vulnerable in budget decisions.

HELLO plutocracy.

DONALD TRUMP. Where do you start with that one? Not only is he trash talking the president in a way that strikes many as racist, but he fired my main man Gary Busey.


April 28, 2011

Gearing up for the budget battle

Ready or not, here it comes! Between now and July, major decisions will be made in Washington that will affect not only the federal deficit and budget but also the well-being of millions of children, elderly Americans and low income families.

Here are some items from the Friends Committee on National Legislation that might be useful:

First, here's a good introduction to the budget debate and related jargon;

Second, here is information about proposals put forward by a range of groups on how to cut $2 trillion from the national debt over the next 10 years by cutting Pentagon spending and raising revenues.

Third, here are some surprising voices who call for looking at cutting Pentagon spending.

While we're at it, here are some reasons why a spending cap, which is favored by WV Senator Joe Manchin, is a bad idea that would force major cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security over the next several years and here is a look at what that would mean for West Virginia and what some people here have to say about it.


April 27, 2011

Of snuff and stuff

The Spousal Unit diligently scans those parts of the Charleston paper wherein readers call in to vent their views on various issues. These can range from the ridiculous to the sublime and everywhere in between. Some of the best ones wind up on the refrigerator door.

Here's one from yesterday's paper:

It's never really right to leave your filthy snuff spit for the janitor. I don't care who you are. Deal with it yourself or don't do it. It's filthy.

So there, snuff spitters.

LAID TO REST. West Virginia native and world renowned musician Hazel Dickens was laid to rest yesterday in Mercer County. Here's an item about her life from NPR.

IT'S ABOUT MONEY, NOT IDEOLOGY. Dean Baker suggests that the key to understanding the Ryan budget plan is to look at who gets what.

MILITARY SPENDING. Here's an interesting take from surprising sources.

WORKING WEST VIRGINIA. The state's labor force participation rates, generally amongst the lowest in the country, got even lower during the Great Recession. Also, public employees in the state make less than private sector workers when you control for age and education level.

CONSPIRACY THEORIES may reveal a lot about people who believe them.


April 26, 2011

Rats and roaches

"Rats and roaches live by competition under the laws of supply and demand; it is the privilege of human beings to live under the laws of justice and mercy."
— Wendell Berry

FALSE CHOICES. Here's E.J. Dionne on the need to move beyond them in current political debates.

STUFF WE DON'T NEED. We buy a lot of it.

ATLAS YAWNED. Despite astroturf enthusiasm, it doesn't look like the movie version of Atlas Shrugged is setting the woods on fire.



NEED A ZOMBIE FIX? Click here.

ANY CONNECTION BETWEEN THE PRECEDING ZOMBIE ARTICLE AND THIS ONE IS PURELY COINCIDENTAL, but this article highlights how the Koch brothers tell their workers to vote.

SITTING ALL DAY is bad for your health.


April 25, 2011

Errors in pairs

"A Christian must not be either a Totalitarian or and Individualist"--C.S. Lewis

THE PATRON SAINT OF GREED. Here's another look at Ayn Rand.

SPEAKING OF BAD IDEAS, the Republican plan to gut Medicare doesn't seem to be playing all that well.

AND THEN THERE'S THIS about taxes, the federal budget and the deficit.

MINIMUM WAGE. In many parts of the world, it's going up. Here, not so much.

PESTICIDES may be bad for a child's intelligence.