In the past week, rumors that Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) will toss his cowboy hat in the ring to vie for the Republican presidential nomination have reached a crescendo. Several political analysts even said Perry, who has not announced a candidacy and did not participate in yesterday’s GOP debate, nevertheless emerged as a “winner” last night. In his first national TV interview since presidential rumors surfaced, Perry answered Fox News’ Neil Cavuto question about why he’s so unpopular in his home state — he’s a “prophet”:
CAVUTO: You have kind of like the Chris Christie phenomenon: very popular outside your state, still popular but not nearly as popular within your state. There are even Tea Party groups within your state who like you but don’t love you. [...] What do you say?
PERRY: I say that a prophet is generally not loved in their hometown. That’s both Biblical and practical.
As the state’s longest serving governor in history, Perry has faced persistently low approval ratings as he’s pushed through a radical right-wing agenda that has left Texas with a record budget deficit, the third highest poverty rate in the country, and the highest percentage of uninsured residents in the country. As Think Progress has documented, Perry has a history of ducking tough questions by invoking religion, and has suggested in the past that he’s just implementing God’s will on Earth through his irresponsible governance.
After writing yesterday’s post about Gay Girl In Damascus and vague boundary between creating fiction that’s consumed as such and carrying out a hoax, I emailed Andrea Phillips, the pervasive media artist whose SXSW talk I mentioned, and asked her where we can draw the line and say what practices of fiction are unethical. She wrote back:
I guess if I absolutely had to draw a line between fiction and reality, it would deal with the point in a fiction where your character forms a relationship with your audience. It’s one thing to use a blog as a format for serial fiction. It’s even OK, I think, to use a blog for serial fiction and not specifically mark it out as such. But it becomes something much more questionable when the fiction becomes personalized?when the fictional character is responding to Tweets and emails, for example. That’s the danger zone.
At that point, you have to ask yourself how the people you’re relating to would feel if the truth came out. Would they feel betrayed? If the answer is yes, then you should seriously reconsider what you’re doing and how you’re going about it.
But at the same time… people often experiment with wildly different personas on the internet, and make friendships in those varying
personas, and this can be a valuable way to learn about yourself. Identity is a very fluid thing to begin with. I’m not the same person with my colleagues as I am with the other moms at school, you know? So I hate to draw any absolute lines, because every circumstance is unique.
Think about if the Gay Girl in Damascus situation was reversed: Amina was the real one but Tom was fictional, and he was her way of speaking
with the advantage of privilege, of being heard and listened to. Would we be reacting differently if the power dynamics shifted like that? I
seriously think we would.
I suggested that maybe we cross the line when a character asks readers to do something they wouldn’t do if they knew the character was a creation rather than a real person, whether it’s sending pictures or asking for help springing them from a Syrian prison. I’ve had pretty hilarious Twitter conversations with accounts set up in the voices of Game of Thrones characters, and it sure didn’t hurt me. But then, I was enjoying engaging with the fiction, rather than being deceived by it. There’s a level of safety in detachment.
The Census’ preliminary numbers for May show a drop in retail sales (PDF) confirming the other bad data:
The good news here is that the bad news was all in automobiles. That, in turn, seems to have been driven by supply disruptions in Japan that caused dealers to cancel discounting. So this indicator ought to come bouncing back to a normal level in the next couple of months.
The Food and Drug Administration has announced new guidelines that will “require sunscreen manufacturers to test their products’ effectiveness against sun rays that pose the greatest risk of skin cancer.” Products “that don’t protect against both ultraviolet A and B rays and have a sun protection factor, or SPF, below 15 will have to carry warning label.”
Today in a letter to President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told the Commander-in-Chief that he must explain to Congress the legal basis for participating in NATO’s air campaign against Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi within the next five days:
Five days from now, our country will reach the 90-day mark from the notification to Congress regarding the commencement of the military operation in Libya, which began on March 18, 2011. [...]
[I]t would appear that in five days, the Administration will be in violation of the War Powers Resolution unless it asks for and receives authorization from Congress or withdraws all U.S. troops and resources from the mission.
According to the War Powers resolution, a president who commits the U.S. military to war must explain his or her legal reasoning within 60 days. The 60-day period could then only be extended to 90 days if the president comes to Congress requesting more time to end the military campaign in question.
Obama has not made any such certification effort. So the White House has technically been in violation of the Act since May 18. Yet on June 1, Boehner said that the President was in compliance with the Act, Politico reported at the time:
The Ohio Republican told reporters on Wednesday that Obama was ?technically? in compliance with the War Powers Act, despite criticism from the left and right over U.S. involvement in the Libya campaign.
?There are a lot of questions that remain out there, and frankly I think members on both sides of the aisle are looking for answers about this, and they?re looking for some clarity,? Boehner said. ?Legally, they?ve met their requirements [under] the War Powers Act.?
Boehner’s letter today appears more about political grandstanding than any real concern about violating the War Powers Act. Indeed, even some in his own party have warned about playing politics with the war. “I would say to my Republican friends: If this were a Republican president, would you be trying to impose these same conditions?” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) asked.
Last week, Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) — the usually ultra-conservative governor who signed Arizona’s controversial immigration law — called a special session of the state Legislature in order to extend unemployment benefits that were about to expire. ?Extending benefits for the unemployed is the right thing to do both for our local economy and for Arizona families,? Brewer said. “With the state unemployment rate still at 9.3 percent ?- and even higher in many rural areas — we can?t pretend there aren?t thousands of our fellow citizens who remain jobless and in need of assistance.”
This welcome move, however, ran into a wall of opposition from Brewer’s own party. After failing to vote to extend benefits on Friday night, the state legislature met again on Monday, but adjourned without extending benefits. Their justification — in addition to repeating the false Republican claim that benefits encourage people not to look for work — was that they wanted extended benefits to be paired with corporate tax cuts:
House Speaker Andy Tobin, R-Paulden, said any aid for the long-term unemployed should be paired with policies that would stimulate job growth. In the Senate, President Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, said he and many of his fellow Republicans want tax cuts scheduled to begin in 2013 to take effect now. “We want to see immediate relief for businesses,” he said. “We need jobs now.”
“Eventually we have to quit paying unemployment benefits,” said Republican state Sen. Ron Gould. “And when does it stop being unemployment benefits and begin just being cash assistance?” For the record, Arizona’s unemployment benefits are the second lowest in the nation.
All of this comes at a time when Arizona’s unemployment rate is 9.3 percent. As we’ve documented, unemployment benefits are key to combating poverty and significantly help to boost the economy at the same time.
?I?m disappointed the Legislature was unable to muster the support needed to extend federal assistance for jobless Arizonans,? Brewer said after legislators adjourned. “I remain concerned and deeply saddened for those families whose unemployment assistance will shortly expire, especially in this uncertain job market.?
Mitt Romney and Ron Paul had an interesting exchange in last night's Republican Presidential debate. Mitt Romney appeared to say that it's time to bring the troops home from Afghanistan, but he then hedged to the familiar refrain of having to base the[...]
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I sincerely hope this heralds the return of an aggressive National Labor Relations Board, after decades of shirking its duties while corporations murdered unions with impunity.
In another example of disaster capitalism, the Boeing company decided in 2009, at the height of the devastating loss of jobs in this country, to build a new plant to produce the "Dreamliner" aircraft. That sounds like it should be good news, no? Well, according to the NLRB, it was a union-busting move.
Instead of building the plant in Washington State where most of the Boeing aircrafts have been built for decades, Boeing decided to locate its new plant in South Carolina. SC is a so-called "right to work" state with not much labor movement to speak of. Which allows Boeing to hire non-union employees to staff the plant.
The crux of this dispute: Was Boeing's decision just a case of the company building a plant where they are assured there will be less union activity, and thus less chance that strikes that would delay the production of the 787's? Or was it done to weaken the power of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, the union representing 25,000 Boeing workers?
This lead to a dispute before the National Labor Relations Board, and now the Board is bringing suit against Boeing for unfair labor practices.
Catherine Fisk, a law professor at the University of California at Irvine, said the Boeing case is similar to a string of NLRB actions going back decades in which the labor agency charged companies with shifting jobs from union to non-organized workers.
"The heart of the NLRB case (against Boeing) is that opening the South Carolina plant was done for purposes of intimidating the Washington employees from striking again or from being unduly aggressive in their wage demands," Fisk said
Boeing claims that the IAMAW would not give them enough of a guaranty that they would not strike to make it worth the company's while to keep production in Washington. This falls flat when you learn that the Union offered a 11-year guaranty that they would not strike. Boeing was holding out for a 20-year guaranty.
Think about that for a second. Boeing is saying it had to do this for business reasons because they big bad Union was only willing to give up its primary leverage with management for more than a decade, but not the two decades that Boeing wanted. Unions are allowed under federal law to bargain away the right to strike, but to me it is never a good idea. Even when the Union was willing to take this very bad path (after all at the time the economy was shedding jobs at close to ? of a million a month) it was not enough for the managers are the aircraft company.
Unfortunately these things take forever to resolve. In the two years since the compliant was filed, Boeing has built its plant and is now training non-union workers to start up production. Since this case will go to court and can be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, it could be several more years before it is finally decided. During that time Boeing will be able to build its planes and hold a stick over the head of the IAMAW. After all if they strike, well, Boeing could move more of its manufacturing to this new plant.
Of course there is a political dimension to all of this. South Carolina Senator and second runner up for the worlds biggest jackass (okay I made that last part up) Jim DeMint has decided that he is also going to try to intimidate the unions and the Obama administration over this. After all, there was the anti-union windfall of the criminal Bush administration and we can't have the NLRB going back to actually doing its job.
In the 1960s, during the heat of the civil rights, student rights and anti-war movements, women,[...]
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The Energy Report: It may be too soon after Japan’s crisis at Fukushima to judge, but at this point, what’s your take on the worldwide infrastructure for nuclear energy and demand for uranium?
Brent Cook: Uranium’s interesting right now and certainly a contrarian play. Global warming is a fact and the overwhelming majority of the legitimate research, and I mean legitimate peer-reviewed scientific research, points to anthropogenic CO2 as the primary cause of global climate change. So we have a serious environmental issue, and none of the green energy alternatives will solve it on their own. They can produce only a relatively small fraction of the energy we’re going to need. Nuclear power is the only non-CO2 emitting energy . . . → Read More: Rick Rule & Brent Cook: Clean Energy Smart Investments
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