“The Obama administration’s only intellectual challengers are on the left, where economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and others are offering a vigorous critique and proposing alternative solutions. But where are the Republicans? Doing nothing but complaining. Unless and until they do offer an alternative, they really have no right to whine about the president. For now at least, GOP stands for “Got 0 Plans.”—Paul Begala (via apsies)
Right now, having a baby is a leading cause of “poverty spells” in this country (times when income dips below what’s needed for basic living expenses like food and rent). Paid Family Leave helps families bridge the income gap caused by folks being unable to go to work because they have to care for a new baby or a sick parent or spouse. In fact, nearly half of working people report that an illness or injury in their family caused them to get behind on their bills, including mortgage payments. We need Paid Family Leave to help families stay out of poverty–especially in this time when so many families are already vulnerable.
See the first comment for David’s Response to the article.
Paid Maternity Leave is federally mandated in pretty much every county except for the US. We are one of five countries in the world do not offer some form of paid parental leave including Australia, Liberia, Swaziland, and Papua New Guinea. When it comes be being socially progressive this is mixed company at best. Way to take a stand, United States. You look ridiculous.
The strongest economies in the world all have at least 12 weeks paid maternity leave except of course of the United States. It is called “the cost of business”. In fact, having good benefits is a great why to create/maintain loyalty to the employer. In the long run it is a simple concept; if you are good to your employees they will be good to you.
When babies arrive it is nearly impossible not to stress about future expenses and it would be difficult to find more than a handful of people who are comfortable writing off a couple of months of income without a moment of hesitation. Reproduction should not be a luxury. Financial Darwinism should not determine the worthiness of a parent-to-be. If only rich people were reproducing, it would cause some serious social problems including a shrinking middle class who are often the most financially risk-averse. Furthermore, if we can learn anything from the current economic situation it is that everyone is vulnerable and everyone is subject to financial disaster and uncertain changes in income.
Another issue you fail to consider is that having a baby is actually kind of tough. If you weren’t exhausted form the birth you certainly will be while you adjust to getting up every three hours. Frankly, I think it is best for new parents to stay home and adjust to the new routine before returning to work only to be half asleep all day. At best there is a cost to the company when the employee is not fully functioning. At worst, mistakes caused by sleep deprivation can be quite costly to remedy.
It is time for us to remedy a system that doesn’t work and federal paid maternity leave is the first step. If Zimbabwe and Togo can figure it out, so can we.
Seattle Paper Shifts Entirely to the Web [Link]nytimes.com
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper will produce its last printed edition on Tuesday and become an Internet-only news source, the Hearst Corporation said on Monday, making it by far the largest American newspaper to take that leap.
But the P-I, as it is called, will resemble a local Huffington Post more than a traditional newspaper, with a news staff of about 20 people rather than the 165 it has had, and a site consisting mostly of commentary, advice and links to other news sites, along with some original reporting.
The site has recruited some current and former government officials to write columns, and it will keep some of the popular columnists and bloggers who already work there, in addition to the large number of unpaid local bloggers whose work appears on the site. Hearst also plans to repackage material from its large stable of magazines for the site.
Here lies the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, beloved by many but not enough. May its website continue to provide left-leaning slants to local issues, may its editorials continue to irk Seattle Times readers and may its name continue to trip up out of towners.
“Really? Less than two percent? That’s why they’re against the bill? That’s like walking out of a ninety-nine cent store because something costs a dollar one.”—John Stewart on histrionics over earmarks in the omnibus spendng bill. (via squashed)
Please invest in having a functional committee website. For example: sites like this, this, this, or this are completely unacceptable in 2009. Why don’t we just upload to your angelfire or geocities page? Please join us in the 21st century. We’d love to show you around.
PS: I love how the finance committee website has helpful links on the side bar in case you’d like to download Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, or Real Player Plus. Excuse me, I have a phone call…it’s 1998 on the line.
I volunteer at a local movie theater once a week and I always have great conversations with my coworker. Mostly we talk about TV, movies, infomercials and snacks. This week I discovered that we don’t share almost any common cultural references. She hasn’t seen Remember the Titans or Varsity Blues so I struggled to explain TV’s Friday Night Lights. She hasn’t heard of Empire Records!
I am going to have to do some research to fill in the gaps in our common experience. I am looking for comparable films (e.g. Varsity Blues was our Friday Night Lights). They don’t have to be perfect, just close. Suggestions?
“Between January 2001 and January 2009, the U.S. was under the control of Republican Socialism, the idea that the purpose of government is to enrich the top one percent. How does it work? Cut taxes on the rich; fight wars that put money into the pockets of defense contractors; cut wages; get people hooked on debt to make up the difference; deregulate Wall Street and when they crater use taxpayer money to pay bonuses to the bankers who created the mess while keeping their banks from failing.”—Peter Cohan (via azspot)
SEATTLE - Seattle City Light has been named a Climate Action Leader by the California Climate Action Registry, which verified that the utility’s greenhouse gas emissions inventory meets one of the most rigorous voluntary reporting standards in the country.
“Global climate change affects us all and we need to be a part of the solution,” Superintendent Jorge Carrasco said. “As a hydro-based utility, Seattle City Light depends on snowpack in the Cascade Mountains to produce electricity for our customers. Rising temperatures in the Winter and Spring threaten that resource, so it is critical for us to do what we can to reduce our impact and encourage others to join us in this effort.”
Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels challenged Seattle’s leaders to find ways to reduce climate-altering activities with an initiative called Seattle Climate Action Now. In support of the Climate Action Now goal, City Light measures, reports, and verifies its greenhouse gas emissions through an independent, third-party, the California Climate Action Registry. The California registry is recognized as a standard setter for tracking and reporting greenhouse gas emissions.
“We are thrilled that Seattle City Light has earned the status of Climate Action Leader. We believe that Seattle City Light’s example helps set a positive tone and a meaningful standard of energy efficiency in the public utility industry,” said Gary Gero, president of the California Climate Action Registry.
Since 2005, City Light has inventoried its greenhouse gas emissions and fully offset them with projects to reduce emissions in other areas, such as helping provide shore power connections for cruise ships at the Port of Seattle. City Light is the only large electric utility in the nation to achieve zero net carbon emissions and has maintained carbon neutrality for four years..
The California Climate Action Registry is a private, non-profit organization originally formed by the State of California. It serves as a voluntary greenhouse gas registry to protect and promote early actions by organizations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
At a conference I attended a couple of weeks ago, people were talking about how unrealistic green energy is because people want lower emissions at the same price. The general commentary was that people perceive green energy to be free because the sun and the wind are free and they forget that the technology required capture that energy is quite expensive.
I volunteered some information on programs in Seattle that allow people to elect to purchase a percentage of their total energy from renewable sources, at a higher rate. Proving that a utility can successfully pass the added cost on to the customer. The class got quiet except for one guy from Texas who raised his hand and said, “Yeah, but don’t you think Seattle is an outlier?” I shrugged, “Maybe”. Having spent most of my life in Seattle and the Bay Area it seemed normal. In fact, I considered Seattle to be overly conservative in many ways. But clearly, from a national perceptive we are trail blazers. High five, Seattle!
“Homosexuality is one of the essential elements of living in contemporary society.”—
Ikea Spokesperson, in response to Catholics in Poland joining the AFA in calling for IKEA’s head on a silver platter because the company features queer couples in its catalogue.
While I appreciate the sentiment, I am not sure “contemporary” was a necessary adjective. Homosexuality is not a recent event though perhaps the frankness and demystification with which it is treated are more recent phenomena.
“For a long time it gave me nightmares, witnessing an injustice like that… It’s a constant reminder of just how unfair this world can be… I can still hear them taunting him…”Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!“… I mean, WHY COULDN’T THEY JUST GIVE HIM SOME CEREAL?”—Alfonso Lincoln Ribeiro, The Fresh Prince
What's so smart about the Smart Grid? [LINK]ge.ecomagination.com
A smart grid is the combination of technologies that allow us to use engergy more efficiently and share energy more effectively and make energy grids more reliable. For instance, Arizona gets a lot of sun, and could likely produce more energy that it could use so it can share the energy with neighboring areas. The same is true of wind power.
Another big part of the smart grid is energy monitoring. If we know when people are using energy we can create incentives that lead consumers to self regulate the time of their energy use. For instance, if residential customers were told they’re electric bill would be substantially less if the used their washer and dryer after 8 pm many of them would wait to wash clothes. In turn, the strain on the electrical grid would be lowered and the utility would be able to use less peak generation which is often more expensive to run and often less energy efficient.
GE has done a very decent job illustrating the impact of smart grid technology. The augmented reality part is particularly cool.
Smart Grid technology is a big part of President Obama’s energy plan so inform yourself and then tell a buddy.
“WASHINGTON—In his first meeting with President Barack Obama, CIA crime and counternarcotics analyst Timothy R. McIntire haltingly explained to the nation’s first African-American commander in chief the highly classified origin of crack cocaine and the resultant epidemic that swept across U.S. inner cities. “Well, you see, sir…thing is, we needed money to help those Contras back in ‘85, and we never really expected…so we distributed it, and…shortsighted…and, ha, well, Christ—is it hot in here?” McIntire said between exaggerated coughs. “Yikes, okay. See, it was a very tense time—not that that makes it right—and, uh, bottom line is, we’re a different agency now.” McIntire went on to disclose several other secret CIA operations, including the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and the recruitment, four years earlier, of a Kenyan grad student for a clandestine program at the University of Hawaii.”—The Onion - America’s Finest News Source (via weirdassnews)
California State Supreme Court meets on gay marriage [LINK]latimes.com
The California Supreme Court will hear arguments today on whether Proposition 8, the anti-gay-marriage initiative, should be upheld and, if so, whether the marriages of an estimated 18,000 same-sex couples should remain valid.
During a three-hour televised hearing this morning, the San Francisco-based high court will examine whether the November ballot measure was an impermissible constitutional revision or a more limited constitutional amendment.
“Guy meets girl. Guy falls for girl. Guy accidentally kills other guy in self-defense of girl. Guy and girl fall in love. Girl dumps guy for cowboy. Guy falls for another girl. Girl turns out to be a lesbian. I know, we’ve all been there.”—
‘Friday Night Lights’: Jesse Plemons Blogs Last Week’s Show | PopWatch Blog | EW.com
Jesse uses the first paragraph to talk about how difficult it is to sum up the latest episode of FNL into “one perfect piece of blog art.”
My friend Eva recommended this show to me a couple of months ago. She has excellent TV taste so I started watching the old episodes online. I have not slept much since I began my Friday Night Lights journey because I seriously have a hard time not watching several episodes at a time.
Football movies are a weakness of mine. I don’t care about football as a sport unless we are talking about the Super Bowl or the Apple Cup, but football movies fascinate me. Remember the Titans and Varsity Blues have been long time favorites and I could never decipher why until recently.
You have this guy who screams at you everyday and calls you weak and stupid and useless. He makes you run, usually in the middle of the night in the rain, until you collapse or throw up or both. And yet, these guys keep coming back and for the love of the game and the commitment to the team. They come back to this abusive relationship in search of acceptance and fully cognizant that more abuse awaits them. When you look at it in terms of human behavior, it is hard not to watch.
This show is of course about much more than football and it’s solid on so many levels but I think it is the team dynamic and the humanity of the characters that keeps me under slept and watching.
“The arts are critical to my admittedly totally chauvinistic goals for my country: I want the United States to have the biggest economy in the world, the best standard of living, a healthy population that shoots at each other far less than we do now, systems of governance and justice that are both envy and inspiration to the world, and I want our athletes and artists to be total international badasses. If I ran the NEA, I’d double down on this part of the NEA’s mission: “to bring the arts to all Americans.” If our artists are going to be badasses, we need to tap all our potential pools of artistic talent, we need to cultivate a national expectation of artistic literacy, and artists need jobs doing and teaching art. My NEA would fund arts education in every juvie, jail and prison in the country — creating those art jobs, probably slashing recidivism, making our big dumb prison system slightly less pointless, and maybe someday paying off down the road in the form of the next American international art star.”—Rachel Maddow (If I ran the NEA… | Culture Monster | Los Angeles Times) (via missbrightside)
I have no idea who you are, but I received a phone call for you this morning. Normally, I would have been aggravated because the call came at six in the morning, but it was pretty great news.
You apparently have applied for a job at a bank (gutsy move!) and your courage has been rewarded. The Bank of New York or a bank in New York, not sure which, called and the hiring mangers would like to schedule an interview. High five! Getting an interview is so impressive these days that I was only medium grumpy about being woken up. After all, it would have been a reasonable 9 AM if I lived in New York. Not to worry, I called them back and said it was the wrong number so hopefully you will be hearing from them directly. Anyways, this is a big day for you. Congratulations!
Taxpayers for Common Sense--Biggest Senate Earmarks for the FY-09 Omnibustaxpayer.net
Here’s the database you all have been waiting for - the FY 2009 Omnibus with 8,570 earmarks worth $7.7 billion. Since the Senate started debate on the bill today, we tabulated the Senate recipients of earmarks – from top to bottom. So you’ll find the Mississippi delegation at the head of the pack followed by the Louisiana delegation hot on their heels.
Here are the 10 largest co-sponsors of earmarks:
1. Cochran (R-Miss.): $470,857,775
2. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.): $390,993,300
3. Mary Landrieu (D-La.): $332,099,063
4. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa): $292,360,036
5. David Vitter (R-La.): $249,182,063
6. Christopher S. Bond (R-Mo.): $248,160,991
7. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.): $235,027,932
8. Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii): $225,077,157
9. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.): $219,398,750
10. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa): $199,144,486
Kansas may abolish the death penalty to save moneykansascity.com
It looks like a Republican is leading the effort. The costs associated with the death penalty (relative to life in prison) are incredibly high—and you have to really think it’s important to justify them.
I find it hard to believe a state is deciding how to design the sentences in its justice system based on the bottom line. The reasoning is convoluted at best but I like the potential result.
“My father warned me that sadness cleaves to sadness, and that depressed people go around in hangdog packs. Common disaster is the worst reason for a friendship. In picking your friends, he said, you should consider what great things you can do together. You are assembling a team, he told me, not a teatime cozy of crybabies, and he made me promise never to become part of any orphans’ or bereaved sons’ club, because sitting around in a circle of pity getting your worst qualities praised and reinforced was no way to move forward with a great life. That is the way down, he said, making a roller-coaster motion with his hand, but you shall go up.”—Chris Adrian, A Better Angel (via thebronzemedal)