Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Call to Stand Down

The Senate passed, according to the Christian Science Monitor, The National Defense Authorization Act that  covers  $662 billion in defense spending. The bill includes a provision that will strip American citizens of right to trial, and subject them to indefinite detention if the government considers them terrorists. This detention applies also to United States citizens who the government arrests on American soil. Essentially, the bill makes America a part of the battlefield against terrorism and makes every United States citizen a terrorist suspect. This takes away the rights the Constitution guarantees such as the freedom of speech that every writer cherishes. The Senate passed Bill 1867 by a vote of 93 to 7. However, President Obama has said that he will veto the bill.

Good. Let us as authors, citizens and voters keep  the waffler to his word. Bill 1867 and the National Defense Authorization Act is an issue in the presidential campaign. President Obama should give the bill an ignominious death in veto, or face former allies who will not turn out to support him. The 99% should be screaming from the streets that they will stay away from the polls and leave President Obama hoisted on this nasty and volatile petard come Election Day unless he protects the civil liberties and rights of American citizens by vetoing Bill 1867.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The ERA Is Now

Phyllis Schlafly must have her corset bunched at Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Senator Robert Menendez’s (D-NJ) reintroduction of the Equal Rights Amendment in Congress. However there is not any valid protest that she can raise to the legislation in its current embodiment.

Let’s go through the list of some objections to the ERA in 1975:

●Then: There will be unisex bathrooms.

Now: There are gender neutral baby diaper changing stations and accommodations for the handicapped. It is nice to know that men can change diapers too. It is more important that handicapped people can go places and have full lives like the non-handicapped.

●Then: Women will have to serve in combat.

Now: Woman serve in the military, even in combat zones.

●Then: Women will have to work outside the home.

Now: The unemployment rate for everyone is high because of hedge fund implosions and carpet bagging mortgage lenders.

●Then: Women will lose their husband’s Social Security and pension benefits.

Now: Husbands don’t have Social Security and pension benefits because of the shysters on Wall Street who cheated the middle class and poor out of their hard earned wages.

●Then: Same-sex marriage.

Now: This will happen in my lifetime. I just hope it happens in Schlafly’s

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Monday, June 27, 2011

A Little History For The Uninformed

The Family Research Council, a conservative Christian advocacy group, has its ideological knickers in a wad over the fact that NBC cut short the Pledge of Allegiance during final round coverage of the U.S. Open Golf Championship. The television station inadvertently omitted the phrase, "One Nation Under God". NBC apologized for the unintentional cut. The Family Research Council, in huffy response, is demanding that NBC air the Pledge in its entirety every day as a public service announcement and that the station create a patriotic special about the Pledge.

The Family Research Council, through its lack of historical perspective, may not want a special program about the Pledge aired. The phrase, "One Nation Under God" was not added until 1942 in response to the Cold War and to, naively, distinguish pious Americans from god-abandoning communists. However, the Pledge of Allegiance was written by, wait for it; a liberal Christian Socialist named Francis Julius Bellamy. This Baptist minister believed in the right of workers to unionize, the equal distribution of wealth, and a government that provided care for its citizens. He also believed in equality for women and African-Americans. This world view informed Bellamy's Pledge,

"I pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands: one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all."

Francis Bellamy wanted to add the word "equality" for his views on women and race but decided that would have been too controversial at the time.

I would like to see a documentary on the Pledge of Allegiance. The program would put the Family Research Council and other conservatives into deep shame about their ignorance and hubris.

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Monday, February 21, 2011


I usually post the happy birthdays on my other blog but that has fallen by the wayside. I am too busy with writing content manuscripts, plowing through my novel (editing chapters) and setting the final touches on getting the house straightened up and kids settled.

However, in the 'tween time, I would like to pause (as I do every year) to do a little fan-girling and wish Alan Rickman a Happy Birthday.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Labour Literature

I rarely write about politics in this blog but I think that it is important to understand, from literature, why child labour laws are important. Missouri Sen. Jane Cunningham is proposing elimination of her state's child labour laws. The text of the legislation is:

"SB 222 – This act modifies the child labor laws. It eliminates the prohibition on employment of children under age fourteen. Restrictions on the number of hours and restrictions on when a child may work during the day are also removed. It also repeals the requirement that a child ages fourteen or fifteen obtain a work certificate or work permit in order to be employed. Children under sixteen will also be allowed to work in any capacity in a motel, resort or hotel where sleeping accommodations are furnished. It also removes the authority of the director of the Division of Labor Standards to inspect employers who employ children and to require them to keep certain records for children they employ. It also repeals the presumption that the presence of a child in a workplace is evidence of employment."

The obvious comparisons of this legislation are to the works of Charles Dickens who wrote about the horrors of child labour in books like David Copperfield. However, other authors wrote poignantly and pointedly of the misery that the working class experienced before the enactment of union inspired labour laws. Non-fiction works such as Twenty Years at Hull House by the crusader Jane Adams show how desperate the lives of workers were in sweatshops and tenement lives before reforms. The fiction of Rebecca Harding Davis, who wrote Life in the Iron Mills or the Korl Woman, and The Jungle by Upton Sinclair detail the wretched living and working conditions that unions have fought against since the early part of the 20th century to contemporary times. Life in the Iron Mills is about workers in a mill who suffer from harsh labour conditions and an indifferent society. The Jungle is about the dangerous conditions in the meat-packing industry that still exist for many workers today. The mentioned books are a must introduction to the world before unions and labour laws improved conditions for workers.

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