“The intellectual incoherence is stunning. Basically, the political philosophy of the GOP right now seems to consist of snickering at stuff that they think sounds funny.”—Nobel Prize winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, dizzy with disbelief that Jindal decided to, of all things, criticize volcano monitoring. (via chuckmore)
“It is my personal experience that my decision to remain in the profession I love has come at a great financial cost to me and to my family. My pay has been cut 40 percent. My pension, like most airline pensions, has been terminated and replaced by a PBGC guarantee worth only pennies to the dollar. While airline pilots are by no means alone in our financial struggles — I want to acknowledge how difficult it is for everyone right now — it is important to underscore that the terms of our employment have changed dramatically from when I began my career, leading to an untenable financial situation for pilots and their families. When my company offered pilots who had been laid off the chance to return to work, 60 percent refused. Members, I attempt to speak accurately and plainly, so please do not think I exaggerate when I say that I do not know a single professional airline pilot who wants his or her children to follow in their footsteps.
I am worried that the airline piloting profession will not be able to continue to attract the best and the brightest. The current experience and skills of our country’s professional airline pilots come from investments made years ago, when we were able to attract the ambitious, talented people who now frequently seek professional careers elsewhere. That past investment was an indispensable element in our commercial aviation infrastructure, vital to safe air travel and our country’s economy and security. If we do not sufficiently value the airline piloting profession and future pilots are less experienced and less skilled, it logically follows that we will see negative consequences to the flying public and to our country.”—
Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, Pay Cuts Driving Pilots From Job - Jeanne Leblanc | Coach Class
Years ago, I heard about a group of commercial pilots who were making less than fast food workers annually. The story has always stuck with me. When I am suspended in the air by a miracle of engineering a few birds can unravel, I prefer that the person responsible for our comfortable conquering of gravity not be distracted wondering how he or she will put food on the table or send kids to school.
“This is a prescription for economic decline, because we know the countries that out-teach us today will out-compete us tomorrow. That is why it will be the goal of this administration to ensure that every child has access to a complete and competitive education – from the day they are born to the day they begin a career”—President Barack Obama [full text]
“Well that day of reckoning has arrived, and the time to take charge of our future is here. Now is the time to act boldly and wisely to not only revive this economy, but to build a new foundation for lasting prosperity.”—President Barack Obama [full text]
Obama Reverses U.S. Position on LGBT Issues at the UN [LINK]undispatch.com
At the so-called “Durban Review Conference” on racism and xenophonia underway in Geneva, Europe again put forward language condemning “all forms of discrimination and all other human rights violations based on sexual orientation.” According to UN Watch, “The Czech Republic on behalf of the E.U., with the support of New Zealand, the United States, Colombia, Chili on behalf of the South American states, the Netherlands, Argentina and a few others, took the floor in support.”
Last week I saw a parking cop on a Segway personal transporter. The segway had a coordinating fanny pack. I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing. It’s impossible to respect authority when a segway is involved.
Woman #1:I did that walk once when the subway was out.
Woman #2:It's good exercise. So, me and my friend decided that we need to exercise at least twenty minutes a day. For motivation, we decided that for each day we don't get at least twenty minutes in, we will donate $10 to the Republican National Committee. It's very motivating.
JetBlue offers refunds to laid-off workers [LINK]seattletimes.nwsource.com
JetBlue Airways Corp. says it will issue full refunds to eligible customers who lose their jobs after purchasing tickets.
Customers who book flights between Feb. 1 and June 1 and lose their jobs on or after Feb. 17 may be eligible for the JetBlue Promise Program. JetBlue fares are generally nonrefundable.
This is yet another reason I love JetBlue. I once got delayed for 3 hours on the runway due to weather but I hardly noticed because I was watching a Law and Order: SVU marathon. If you can’t get us off the ground keep “dedicated detectives who investigate these crimes” coming.
Okay, so we’ve got 30 girls with yes/no switches. Dude walks out. Girls judge his appearance and select yes or no. We show a prerecorded clip of the dude doing his thing. Girls judge him again and select yes or no. We show a clip of the dude’s best friend talking about him. Girls judge him on what his friend says and select yes or no. If there are more than three girls remaining the guy walks around the room and chooses the three he likes the most. He then asks them a question and eliminates one, then ask another question and eliminates the other. Then they date.
Oh, and we have to make it as awkward as possible. Get the dude from Sarvo for banter.
The premise for Taken Out. Someone actually pitched this to Channel Ten. And Channel Ten actually said yes. The world we live in, huh? (via winnr)
“If someone breaks your heart, just punch them in the face. Oh sure, it seems obvious now, but you’d be amazed at how many people don’t think of it when it’s relevant. Seriously, just punch them in the face and go get some ice cream.”—Unknown (via littlemiss) (via iguessthatscool)
And the idea that things like replacing the federal fleet with hybrid vehicles and funding school construction and/or renovation do not amount to economic stimulus is just preposterous. Allow me to demonstrate.
When the government authorizes the construction of a new school building, the school corporation goes out and hires an architectural firm – like the one I work for. We have about 14 employees. The architecture firm then hires consultants to help plan the project, a civil engineering firm, structural engineering firm, mechanical engineering firm, information systems firm, lighting designer, and so on and so one. Each of those firms employs maybe ten or twelve people. Once the building is designed and the construction drawings have been completed, the project is turned over to a contractor to build. For something like a school, the contractor will need to employ several hundred workers of various disciplines in order to complete the job. Each of those carpenters and glazers and drivers and roofers eat lunch at local restaurants, sometimes stay in local hotels, purchase new jeans and work boots from the local Wal-Mart and go out for drinks at the local taverns – all of which employ people raising families in the community. Every single person in that chain owes some portion of his or her paycheck to the fact that the local government provided funding for the construction of a new school.
(via wish i was taller)
My husband explains economic stimulus in small words, so Republicans can understand it.
This is exactly what I’ve been saying. It’s the economic butterfly effect, kind of.
Bush to give speech at private event in Canadadallasnews.com
Former President George W. Bush’s first confirmed speaking engagement since leaving office will take him from Crawford to Canada.
Invitations to the event, billed as “a conversation with George W. Bush,” say that the former president will “share his thoughts on his eight momentous years in the Oval Office” during a March 17 speech in Calgary, Alberta.
Crypto-Muslim » How I again became (fully) white [LINK]hedonist.progressiveislam.org
I removed my hijab a little over a year ago.
It was hard to get used to going without it at first. After all, I had worn it for over half my life.
The decision to remove it was difficult to make. (The details of why are not relevant here. Suffice it to say that the factor which weighed most heavily in the decision to take it off at that point was that I needed a job in order to leave an abusive marriage, and to support myself and my kids.)
Now, I’m white. Fully white.
At first, things changed at university. Some (white) professors became noticeably more friendly, and treated me as a more serious student. When I presented a paper about my research, one even complimented me afterwards, saying that not only was the paper good, but I was now unveiled! That prof really did mean it as a compliment. What could I say? I didn’t say anything. I felt sick.
Then, things changed when I got a job. I was later informed that two brown men had also been in top running for the job, but they had unanimously decided to hire me instead. I felt sick again.
Things also changed once I moved. On the day of the move, my about-to-be ex-husband turned away in disgust from the sight of me, bareheaded for the first time in many years, getting ready to drive away. “Don’t you have any shame at your age?” was all he would say.
“So,” I thought as I drove down the highway, “That was all I was worth in the end. I merited some residual degree of respect as long as I wore a scarf, because I was supposedly pious. Now, I’ve removed it, so I’m shameful.”
I felt strange in public without a head-covering. But also, strangely invisible. No one looked twice at me now. Store clerks let me shop in peace without asking me two seconds after I had come in if I “needed anything.” No one on the street looked offended by my presence. If I got lost, I felt comfortable asking a stranger for directions.
If I hesitated too long when making a turn (as I often do when driving), I was comfortable knowing that my inattention or ineptitude would not be seen as representing the ummah. I could make mistakes driving, even be impatient with my kids in public or confused about which bureaucrat to speak to in a government office without carrying the heavy burden of publicly representing Islam and Muslim women on my shoulders. What a relief to not have to bear that scrutiny. What a relief to be able to just be a fallible, normal, average human being, rather than an example, or a problem to be solved, or a puzzle to be investigated.
I was once again fully white. I blended into white, middle class society at work, at the mall, in the street. No one stared. No one asked me “where I am from” any more (or, upon hearing that I am from Canada, wanted to know “where I am from originally”). No one tried to guess my ethnic origins. No one asked if I speak English, or commented on my (nonexistent) accent. No stranger on the bus demanded that I explain why Islamic divorce laws are unfair to women, or why I am dressed this way. No one told me to go back to where I came from.
White privilege. It’s real, so real. I felt sick.
In hijab, I was always made to see myself through non-Muslim eyes. White eyes. I had to represent. And I had to be careful about what image I was projecting. If people already assume that you probably aren’t too bright, you have to always compensate. You can’t take respect or acceptance for granted.
Yet now, nobody salaams me in the street. I see a sister in hijab sometimes, and automatically open my mouth to give salaams—and then stop myself. She will wonder why I’m doing that, just as I used to wonder on the rare occasions that an apparently non-Muslim person would salaam me. That feeling of community when you get a salaam from a stranger will never be mine again. Some Muslims wanted (and still want) to know why I decided to take off my hijab. What is my action based on, they want to know. Is there some interpretation of the Qur’an, some obscure Islamic law that I know and they don’t? (No.) I have made some old convert friends uneasy without meaning to do so.
But not all Muslims I knew had been too thrilled about my wearing hijab when I did wear it. And it is those whose reactions right now are grieving me the most. One, a secular Muslim and (I thought) a good friend, recently suggested that I could solve my financial woes by spying for CSIS.
That person had always been ambivalent about converts in general, and about the fact that I was a convert in particular. Part of the reason is because being LGBTQ, they always were sharply aware of how conditional acceptance of them by other Muslims is, even by family members (basically, acceptance in their family and homeland was premised on “don’t ask, don’t tell”). Not only was I a white outsider, but one who clearly didn’t fit very well into the restrictive mold of the “ideal Muslim woman,” no matter how hard I tried. The suspicions that I didn’t fit the mold were confirmed when I finally came out to them… but that’s another story.
When I was struggling with my decision about whether or not to dehijab, I confided in that friend, who encouraged me to do whatever felt authentic, whatever made me comfortable in my skin—and would secure my economic future. When I ceased to wear hijab, that friend expressed full support.
But now, that friend is increasingly treating me as an “other,” holding me at arm’s length. As an outsider, a non-Muslim. As white.
At a progressive Muslim gathering I attended last time I was in a big North American city several weeks ago, my presence was questioned by several attendees, one of whom was not a Muslim: How did the organizers know me? Where had I met them? Why was I there?
In my hijab-wearing days, I would never have gotten questions like that. My visible whiteness was offset to some extent by my scarf. People would ask (almost inevitably) when, where and how I had become Muslim, but my presence itself wasn’t regarded as something that needed to be explained. I was a Muslim convert; it was a Muslim event.
At first, I took these unprecedented questions as friendly attempts at making small talk, and cheerfully explained how I knew the organizers and why I attend their events on the rare occasions that I can. Until afterwards, when I was invited at the last minute to go to another event. Several of us piled in someone’s van; jokes began about the chances of the cops pulling us over for racially motivated reasons. One passenger pointed out that the driver was brown, not black; another topped that by observing that “the white lady” (me) was in the front, so the cops couldn’t claim that I wasn’t with them of my own free will.
My jaw dropped almost to the floor. And nobody raised an objection to that remarkable statement—ironic, since all men present were queer except the speaker, and some of those men pride themselves on being non-sexist.
I finally said that I didn’t find that funny. Nobody understood why; they seemed to think that I have no sense of humour.
After getting home, I felt sick. Maybe I shouldn’t have objected to that comment. Maybe I do have no sense of humour. After all, the police do stop people for “driving while black,” don’t they? They probably also look askance at white women in cars with black men, don’t they? People are entitled to joke about things like that, aren’t they? Isn’t gallows humour the only way to survive certain situations—either that, or you go mad (or paranoid)? Was I just falling into the stereotype of the uptight, humourless (white, middle class) politically correct lesbian feminist?
I had gone to that meeting for social support, essentially. So that I could feel that I’m not alone in the world. There aren’t many Muslims where I live now, and those there are are mostly conservative. I can’t be open with them about what I am or what I think, so I feel that it is best to avoid them when possible. I don’t want to bother them. I don’t want to be that pushy white woman, coming from outside and forcing my unwelcome, untraditional, queer presence on them. Especially now that I don’t wear hijab, my very presence at the mosque would be an intrusion.
But until last year, my social life was with Muslims. The only friends I had were Muslims. The only people I looked to for advice or support were Muslims. That’s what I’m used to doing; after living in Muslim bubbles for over half of my life, it’s what I’m most comfortable with. I don’t have a Muslim social network where I am now. I don’t have any friends or support out here at all. Until now, I have eagerly looked forward to the rare opportunities I have to go to that progressive group’s events. Now, I’m seriously asking myself if I should go again.
I’m white now. Fully white. And I’m now a full-blooded intruder. My presence bothers some people. What right do I have to bother people?
I understand the social and political reasons behind all this. Of course in the present political situation, there’s a niche for marginal people familiar with the North American Muslim scene to work as spies. Undoubtedly, some who have good reason to want payback for how they’ve been treated (or who are in financial trouble) will work for CSIS. Of course, with all the rhetoric in the media that paints Muslims as a fifth column, people are going to wonder why any white person—who can easily escape the scrutiny that Muslims of colour have to put up with—would continue to want to attend Muslim events, especially if they don’t seem to be practicing the faith in a “conventional” way (i.e. wearing hijab, being in a patriarchal marriage to a Muslim man).
I don’t blame Muslims for asking questions, being suspicious, or being ambivalent about me—especially not queer Muslims.
But at the same time, I am at a loss. I no longer feel part of a community. That metre or so of fabric is gone, and so are my visible ties to the ummah.
Obama fails his first test on civil liberties and accountability -- resoundingly and disgracefully [LINK]salon.com
Two weeks ago, I interviewed the ACLU’s Ben Wizner, counsel to 5 individuals suing the subsidiary of Boeing (Jeppesen) which had arranged the Bush administration’s rendition program, under which those 5 plaintiffs had been abducted, sent to other countries and brutally tortured. Today the Obama administration was required to file with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals its position in this case – i.e., whether it would continue the Bush administration’s abusive reliance on the “state secrets” privilege to prevent courts from ruling on such matters, or whether they would adhere to Obama’s previous claims about his beliefs on “state secrets” by withdrawing that position and allowing these victims their day in court.
The business of putting this county back on track is the work of all of us. See something, say something people. Share your concern with President Obama.
Celebrate Freedom to Marry Week This Week![LINK]freedomtomarry.org
To kick off blogging on Straight Talk on Marriage, Evan Wolfson wrote, “Conversations with the circles of people around us are the prerequisite to winning, the key to helping them push past their discomfort, complacency, or indifference to becoming supportive of our equality.”
Start a revolution. Have the potentially uncomfortable conversation.
“Myth and ideology aside, the data show that from 1933 through 1936 the New Deal produced double-digit annual growth in GDP, production, after-tax income and private investment, with strong consumer spending and job growth exceeding their peaks in the 1929 bubble. The Great Depression ended by late 1936. While a new, severe recession began in May 1937 because FDR prematurely slashed public spending on New Deal programs, rapid growth quickly resumed in late 1938 when funding was restored.”—The “FDR Failed” Myth (via azspot)
Greg Sargent brings you HOW TO CUT A STIMULUS PACKAGE: A Heroic Tragifarcedy by Ben Nelson and Susan Collins:
I’ve just obtained an internal Senate committee memo detailing the latest cuts being eyed by the gang of Senators being led by Dem Ben Nelson and GOPer Susan Collins. Here is what’s being eyed in the bill right now:
Total Reductions: $80 billion
Head Start, Education for the Disadvantaged, School improvement, Child Nutrition, Firefighters, Transportation Security Administration, Coast Guard, Prisons, COPS Hiring, Violence Against Women, NASA, NSF, Western Area Power Administration, CDC, Food Stamps
Public Transit $3.4 billion, School Construction $60 billion
Defense operations and procurement, STAG Grants, Brownfields, Additional transportation funding
Nelson spokesperson Clay Westrope confirms the authenticity of the memo, adding that the figures obviously could change. But this is currently the general direction.
Yes, that’s right. $600 billion wasn’t too much to pay for an unnecessary war, but if we need to cut $80 bil from the stimulus, let’s take it to head start and FOOD STAMPS — after all, I’m sure there’s some sound economic data that puts food stamps at the top of the list of slashable priorities, not some sort of ideological agenda. Right?
Unbelievable. Come on people: food not bombs, schools not jail. We need to invest in something low risk, like people.
This Is Why The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Makes Me Want To Bang My Head Against A Wall
I’ll just cut & paste the lede:
Defense Minister Ehud Barak has agreed to approve the establishment of a new settlement in the Binyamin region in return for settlers’ agreement to evacuate the illegal outpost of Migron. The Migron settlers will move into the new 250-house settlement after leaving the illegal one they built on private Palestinian land.