Archives for February 2013

Begin Women’s History Month…With a Pink Slip

It’s drawing very near the end of the work day for those of us located on the east coast — and that, of course applies to people who are fortunate enough to have a job. Among the most fortunate of job holders are our Senate and Congressional representatives; after all, how many people receive compensation for working productively so few days of the year?… [Read more]

When Pushing Congress Works – Violence Against Women Act

Here’s an update for you:   FINALLY, the House has passed the broader Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act bill. It’s now on it’s way to President Obama for his signature.

We wondered if House Republicans would FINALLY do right by women and sign the reauthorisation of the Violence Against Women Act.

We are aware that the hold-up on the issue had been that House Republicans wanted to make sure the law omitted references to sexual orientation, and that it didn’t give Native American courts greater authority to try non-Native Americans who are accused of acts of domestic violence on tribal lands.… [Read more]

Will House Republicans (Finally) Do Right by Women?

Remember when the Senate passed a reauthorisation of the Violence Against Women Act but then House Republicans threatened to block the legislation? And then protests and petitions asking that citizens tell House Republicans to stop denying women protection against violence because of petty partisan politics bombarded the offices of elected officials who were standing in the way of renewing the  VAWA?… [Read more]

Some Senators get it, but some on the SCOTUS don’t: Voting Rights are Crucial

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand sent this e-mail today, hoping that the citizens of her state, and citizens around the nation, will take action:

The Supreme Court’s oral arguments on the Voting Rights Act begin today.

We have to speak up in support of this landmark civil rights act now. There’s no time for silence. Not when a strike to this civil rights law would cause serious harm to our democracy.[Read more]

Let’s Stop the Al Jazeera Hysteria

Al Jazeera: When many Americans hear that name a nefarious image comes to mind. Adjectives like anti-American, antisemitic, jihadist, and terrorism spring about the fearful American psyche. And boy were we reminded of this within the past few months.

For example, during Defense Secretary Nominee Chuck Hagel’s confirmation hearing, the brainless and spineless wonder Sen. Ted Cruz chastised the former moderate Republican senator and Purple-Heart-recipient for speaking ill of the United States during a 2009 interview on Al Jazeera, a network the moronic Cruz described as “a foreign network, broadcasting propaganda to nations that are hostile to us.”

To clarify, the grave sin Hagel committed in Cruz’s simple mind was his nuanced agreement with a caller on the Al Jazeera program that the United States is often perceived as a bully and that this perception should be altered in order to improve U.S.-Middle East relations.… [Read more]

Arts Education, Chinese Food and Matt Yglesias’ Tale of Non Sequiturs

You know the saying: one is a coincidence, two is a pattern, three makes you a certified glutton for punishment.

For months I’ve watched Slate writer Matt Yglesias flail away, writing on education issues. First, he tried to pit teachers unions against taxpayers in a smug piece on the Chicago Teachers Union strike. Then he analyzed the phony StudentsFirst report card, treating it like an objective measure of state education policy rather than an ideological wish list of Michelle Rhee‘s pet priorities.… [Read more]

The Value of Teachers’ Time

There it is again. The comparison of teaching salaries of the United States to those around the world.

We are at the top of the list for hours teachers spend working, yet almost at the bottom of the list for pay. The rest of the countries are much more evenly matched with hours worked versus how much pay teachers get.… [Read more]

Ted Cruz: Seeing Red

So, just who is this Tea Party-approved Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), anyhow? When we first saw his picture, we thought we were looking at Joe McCarthy.… [Read more]

Voting Rights and the SCOTUS

Election day is months behind us but the issue of voting rights has once again become a ‘hot topic’. Tomorrow, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Voting Rights Act case, Shelby County v. Holder. At issue in this case is whether the decision made by Congress in 2006 to reauthorise one portion of the Act in particular, Section 5, has exceeded its authority under the 14th and 15th amendments (equal protection and voting privileges), thereby violating the 10th amendment (state sovereignty) of the U.S.… [Read more]

Negroes? With GUNS? RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!

Bill Schmalfeldt was otherwise occupied this week having his foot surgically removed from the descending colon of a wingnut lawbreaker. So this week, his space is occupied by a guest columnist.

by Lester Smelgerson Public Affairs Spokesman Howard County, Maryland, Tea Party Splinter Group That Splintered from Real Tea Party Upon Learning Actual Tea Party is a Tool of the Left Being Used to Make People Hate Conservatives

Our worst nightmares are coming true.… [Read more]

The (Principled) Case for Keystone

My digital pulpit north of Lake Ontario is no guarantee that brains or intellectual nuance drive every BNV offering forward, but there are elements of the ongoing Keystone XL debate that deserve fuller scrutiny, a discussion that ought to be advanced beyond shallow ‘dirty oil’ polemics.

Only the clean oil from now on

Keystone is not divinely inspired environmentalism.… [Read more]

“Go Ahead, Make My Day”…Threats of Another ‘Fiscal Cliff’

The famous title line from “tough guy” actor, director, and GOP Convention empty chair talker Clint Eastwood is now for President Obama and Congressional Democrats to use against Right-wing foes bent upon driving the nation off yet another fiscal cliff.

Congressional Republicans want to allow dramatic across the board cuts under the sequester. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker John Boehner  (R-Oh.), unable or unwilling to provide adult leadership to the more radical ideologues in the ‘Party of No’, now see fit to let the crazed upstarts drive the bus off the cliff.… [Read more]

When We Look Back, What Will We See?

Beginnings, endings and periods that mark great changes occur during every moment of every day. Wrapping up this week, a few events in history that took place on February 24th caught my attention:

  • In 2008, Fidel Castro retired as the President of Cuba after nearly fifty years, and his brother Raul Castro was unanimously elected.
  • In 2011, the final launch of Space Shuttle Discovery (OV-103) took place.
[Read more]

Giving up the Popedom for Lent

Every day, it seems, there’s a new story or rumor of an imminent scandal involving the decision of Pope Benedict XVI to resign as of this Thursday.… [Read more]

How it feels to be free…

This week’s “Say It In Song” pick was performed in 1976 by the inimitable singer and activist Nina Simone. In honour of Black History Month, we’d like you to have a listen:… [Read more]

Dear Mrs. Vera: How will we ever be able to do without the penny?

Dear Mrs. Vera,

I’ve heard that they’re thinking of retiring the penny. How do you think we’ll get along without them?

Regards, Fearful in Fort Knox

Mrs. Vera NewmanSan Francisco, CaliforniaPhoto: Xero Britt

Dear Kfearful in Kfort Fnox,

The demise of the Penny will be the demise of us all, especially if you happen to be lost in space with June Lockhart and Doctor Smith when it happens.… [Read more]

Why Black History Month

A conservative gadfly said that what America needs is a “White History Month” She stated that white men have greatly contributed to make America the greatest and most powerful country on the planet and they should be celebrated –  just as African-Americans are celebrated for their accomplishments during the month of February.

There is nothing wrong with honoring the accomplishments of white men.… [Read more]

“It’s a Sad Day for Conservatives,” a.k.a Good news for healthcare reform

The  attention-grabbing title, “I am very disappointed in Governor Rick Scott” was enough to let me know that I would soon have something to smile about. Red State’s Eric Erickson’s morning e-newsletter said the following:

I was one of the few national conservatives to support Governor Scott in 2010 during his primary. He is a fundamentally great person.[Read more]

The Iraq War Revisited: Could It Ever Be Justified?

The Bush administration lied about key evidence pertaining to Iraq’s WMD program and the Hussein government’s links to Al Qaeda. It exaggerated the dangers and strength of both. And it played on people’s fears as a means of justifying war and regime change.

As the vast amount of evidence points, all of these faults are more than clear, as Rachel Maddow revisited in her recent special “Hubris: Selling the Iraq War.” But as I watched this special and was reminded of the various lies and tragic blunders that surrounded the Iraq War, I was left with an array of different questions.… [Read more]

What Minimum Wage Means to the “Screwed Generation”

Perhaps there was no greater lightning rod in the President’s State of the Union Address this past Tuesday than the following statement:

Tonight, let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour…let’s tie the minimum wage to the cost of living, so that it finally becomes a wage you can live on.[Read more]