Archive for August 2nd, 2011

What do teachers make?

| August 2, 2011 | 3 Replies
What do teachers make?

What does a teacher make? Taylor Mali explains:

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Thousands more newspaper employees out of work.

| August 2, 2011 | Reply
Thousands more newspaper employees out of work.

Paper Cuts reports that, halfway through this year, 2,450 more newspaper employees are off the job. It’s even worse than last year, when 2,907 newspaper employees lost their jobs.

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Make every member of Congress speak frankly about birth control

| August 2, 2011 | 62 Replies
Make every member of Congress speak frankly about birth control

When I see articles like this one at Huffpo, I am reminded that there are members of Congress who would like to keep women and men from deciding whether and when they will have babies. This impulse is often the result of a religious belief that it is their duty to discourage people from having sex unless they are trying to have babies. And sometimes, as indicated in the Huffpo article, it’s motivated by a belief that other people should be compelled to have babies they would rather not have. Maybe my memory is foggy, but I don’t remember this power of Congress being spelled out in the Commerce Clause or in any of the enumerated powers.

I realize that the Huffpo article concerns health insurance coverage, but reading it reminded me of my recurring suspicion that many members of Congress are incurably meddlesome when it comes to other people’s sexuality.

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It is my belief that people who feel these compulsions are engaging in warped sexual fantasies of their own. They are getting off on keeping others from getting off. I suspect that there are many of these pleasure police and it’s time to OUT them. Let’s force them to make their repressive sexual agendas explicit. Here’s how I would do it, if I had my way: Make every member of Congress stand up at a podium, one by one, and answer a single simple question, but first they would be read the following explanatory prelude:

“The following question concerns only those pills and devices that are used prior to or during sex to prevent pregnancy. This question does not concern abortion.”

Now, here’s the question:

Every American adult should be entirely free to purchase any

currently available pill or product to prevent pregnancy.

Yes or No?

This imaginary spectacle would allow Americans see who is for personal liberty and who is for meddling. Let’s make it all public. Let’s allow The People to see who “represents” them:

An estimated 98 percent of sexually active women in America have used some form of birth control at some point in their lives. According to a recent Thomson Reuters/NPR poll, 77 percent of American voters believe that insurers should cover the cost of birth control with no co-pays.

Alas, my proposed thought experiment will never occur. For the foreseeable future, the meddlesome members of Congress will continue to express their aversions to other people’s sexual pleasure only indirectly, for instance, by voting in wacky ways on insurance issues.

I wonder whether Rep Steve King is against requiring people who have health insurance pay medical premiums that cover appendectomies because there are many people who won’t need to have appendectomies. He’s a real piece of work. At least he’s already stepped up and declared his position: I like to meddle with other people’s lives.

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No surprise that the bloated military budget was spared.

| August 2, 2011 | Reply
No surprise that the bloated military budget was spared.

Tom Englehart discusses the military’s profligate use of $400/gallon (and even $800/gallon) gasoline in the Middle East. It’s a symptom of a much bigger problem:

So here’s a question at a moment when financial mania has Washington by the throat: How would you define the state of mind of our war-makers, who are carrying on as if trillion-dollar wars were an American birthright, as if the only sensible role for the United States was to eternally police the planet, and as if garrisoning U.S. troops, corporate mercenaries, and special operations forces in scores and scores of countries was the essence of life as it should be lived on this planet?

How many military bases does the United States have, by the way? Gloria Shur Bilchik of Occasional Planet does her best to provide an answer to this straight-forward question:

You can’t get a consistent answer from news stories, that’s for sure. Recent articles, media reports and op-eds peg the number variously at 460, 507, 560, 662 and more than 1,000 . . . According to the Department of Defense’s 2010 Base Structure Report, as of 2009, the US military maintained 662 foreign sites in 38 countries around the world. . . . the official US military tally underreports our presence by nearly 500 bases.

Why not cut the military budget at this time of purported austerity? It’s about what you’d expect from a bunch of psychopathic leaders, people not like you and me, people who cease serving as representatives of the People soon after hitting Washington D.C. and getting high on a non-ending hit of campaign cash.

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