I don't know too many liberals who shop at Walmart. The primary reason is principle?the company is notoriously cruel to its largely low-wage workforce, works to crush the faintest hint of a desire for collective bargaining with a ferocity that would be the envy of any early 20th century industrialist, and imposes vicious cost-cutting all the way down its supply chain. But not shopping at Walmart is also easy. The stores are rare in the urban areas where lots of liberals live, and elsewhere, there's probably a Target nearby where you can get stuff just about as cheaply (Target's own corporate citizenship is a complicated topic for another day). So it isn't like not shopping at Walmart is some kind of hardship or costs them any money.
But what about Amazon? A few months ago, Harold Pollack explained why he no longer shops there: nearly every sin of which Walmart is guilty, Amazon also commits. And the online world has its own particular sweatshop: the fulfillment center, where people who work not for the place you bought your book or toothpaste from but for a logistics company or a temp agency toil in conditions that are absolutely hellish. That's the topic of Mac McClelland's article in the latest Mother Jones, in which she spent some time working at a fulfillment center and reports on the physically brutal, psychologically dehumanizing, low-paid work that drives the cyber-economy.
I tried to find one excerpt to give the flavor of the piece, but you really have to read the whole thing to grasp the full awfulness of what it's like to work at one of these places, where you're treated like crap, you run around like a maniac for 10 hours getting objects ready for shipping, and despite the low pay you know there are a dozen people back at the temp agency eager to take your place if you slip up. If you've ever ordered something off Amazon or a similar retailer and said, "How the hell can they sell that thing for only three bucks?", this is part of the reason why.
So where does that leave us consumers? It's awfully hard, if you're just getting by yourself, to choose to pay more for the things you get every day. And unlike walking by the struggling Mom & Pop's Grocery to go to Walmart, where you interact with the people whose working conditions you know to be substandard, online you interact only with a bright, cheery website where all you have to do is click "Add to Cart" and you're done. The moral implications of your consumer choices are physically remote and concealed. But as online retailers, particularly Amazon, grow bigger and bigger, it's a question all of us are going to have to confront. I'll confess that I haven't yet begun my own personal boycott?the prices are just too damn good. But the moral questions are getting harder to ignore.
While few were watching the Senate committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Higher Education advanced SB 275 after a series of 4-3 party line votes created a bill that would disband the Milwaukee Area Technical College Board. The four who voted in favor were:
It is pretty hard to be farther from Milwaukee than these four water carriers for the Republican donors. ...
- Dale Schultz, Chair (R-Richland Center)
- Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls)
- Neal Kedzie (R-Elkhorn)
- Terry Moultin (R-Chippewa Falls)
Without going into more detail, SB 275 will remove small business, public service, and citizen representation and essentially define all of the current minority board members out of their board positions. This bill is remarkable in the amount of damage it will do. It is essentially a Private for-profit take over of a publicly funded college.
Each day more and more people send me warnings of creeping fascism. Just saying,
And now for something I didn't think in January I would have reason to update: the abortion bills across the country which mandate that the women receive an ultrasound before getting the legal medical procedure. Virginia gave up, for now, forcing[...]
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Mitt Romney just did a press availability and gave a revealing answer when asked about his problems exciting the GOP base. It's very easy to excite the base with incendiary comments. We've seen throughout the campaign if you're willing to say really[...]
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It's election day in Michigan. And we seem to be closing on controversy or actually pseudo-controversy about robocalls -- specifically, calls from Rick Santorum and others from a GOP PAC encouraging Dems to vote for Santorum to send a message to Romney.[...]
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RedState, home of CNN's Erick Erickson, front-paged this masterpiece of wingnuttery on Monday about Rick Santorum which begins,
Left-leaning elitist pundits are scratching their heads. After two weeks of liberals trying to convince women that Rick Santorum wants to rip the birth control out of their hands and put them in the kitchen, more and more women are supporting Rick Santorum. ?How could this be?? they ask. Answer: We are smarter than you think.
If by "women" this blogger means "Republican women not in Arizona" -- and if by "more and more" she means "some" -- then yes, this statement is technically correct.
But just what is a "Femi-regular" you ask?
Let me offer a little primer on American women to the liberal elitist folks who spend too much time in New York and Washington DC and not enough time where Femi-regulars live. ?Femi-regulars? is a term I coined during the 2008 election when leftists just couldn?t grasp the appeal of gun-toting Sarah Palin. Palin, I explained, like most women, was a femi-regular, not a femi-nazi (a tag coined by Rush Limbaugh to label rabid, man- hating feminists).
It's never a good sign when you have to explain your neologism. But this blogger isn't referring to the same Sarah Palin who is one of the most reviled figures in American politics, is she? Because Palin's "appeal" seems difficult for the entire country to grasp, not just New York liberals.
Most women are femi-regulars. They are strong women who are too busy accomplishing important things to worry about the divide and conquer strategies of leftists. They are more interested in voting for principled, honest, strong, America-loving folks who will stand up to evil, advance liberty and let our free enterprise flourish?all things that they see in Rick Santorum. They don?t vote as women; they vote as Americans.
Let's take a look at how "most women" have voted in the last, say, three presidential elections.
Obama 56 percent, McPalin 43 percent
Kerry 51 percent, Bush 48 percent
Gore 54 percent, Bush 43 percent
Those Femi-regulars sure love them some Democrats!
Anyway, I'm not sure I follow the logic here.
Most women are Femi-regulars who vote Democratic.
Most Femi-regulars support Rick Santorum.
Therefore, most Democratic women support Rick Santorum.
Sadly, this is what happens when your only three news sources are Faux News, Rush Limbaugh and Newsmax.
Most of us know someone who is a cancer survivor or is currently fighting this ravaging disease. I’ve taken a strong interest in cancer prevention and survival largely because I’m shocked over and over at how confused many healthcare providers and consumers appear when it comes to cancer and nutrition. I’ve met several people who tell me that their doctors believe there isn’t a connection between nutrition and cancer. Yet some nutrition professionals and researchers argue that the cancer-nutrition …Someone who is thinking my thoughts — that medicine is not giving clear enough messages on what we can do to prevent cancer through good nutrition and a healthy environment.
In his latest column and a related blog post, Paul Krugman revisits the Europe problem, which turns out to be two problems.
The first problem is, How do the struggling European economies ? the GIPSIs, meaning Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and Italy ? right themselves economically?
The second problem is, How (and why) do people persistently misstate and misunderstand the first problem?
Krugman looks at the second problem first. He sees three stories (explanations) of what went wrong in Europe. From the blog post (my emphases):
There are basically three stories about the euro crisis in wide circulation: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth.Why is the first the "Republican" story (more about those quotes in a second)? Because they love to tell that story, says the Professor in his column:
The Republican story is that it?s all about excessive welfare states ... [and] the German story is that it?s about fiscal profligacy, running excessive deficits.
This story is, by the way, a perennial right-wing favorite: back in 1991, when Sweden was suffering from a banking crisis brought on by deregulation (sound familiar?), the Cato Institute published a triumphant report on how this proved the failure of the whole welfare state model.And it's false, as this chart shows (click to open in a new tab). The red bars are the GIPSI states, the rest are in blue. Tall bars mean higher "welfare state" spending. Note that of the GIPSIs, only Italy is in the top six of welfare spenders, behind four rather healthy economies.
[T]he German story ... is that it?s all about fiscal irresponsibility. This story seems to fit Greece, but nobody else. Italy ran deficits in the years before the crisis, but they were only slightly larger than Germany?s (Italy?s large debt is a legacy from irresponsible policies many years ago). Portugal?s deficits were significantly smaller, while Spain and Ireland actually ran surpluses.And the truth?
[T]he creation of the euro fostered a false sense of security among private investors, unleashing huge, unsustainable flows of capital into nations all around Europe?s periphery. As a consequence of these inflows, costs and prices rose, manufacturing became uncompetitive, and nations that had roughly balanced trade in 1999 began running large trade deficits instead. Then the music stopped.Where did the GIPSIs (and the U.S.) go wrong?
[I]f you?re running a peripheral nation, and the troika [European Commission, IMF, World Bank] demands austerity, you have no choice except the nuclear option of leaving the euro, coming soon to a Balkan nation near you.Count on it.
Last October, when the Supreme Court announced that it would hear Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, we labeled this case the “mother of all corporate immunity cases” because it seems like it was ripped from a bad screenplay parodying a Supreme Court interested in advancing as many right-wing stereotypes as possible in a single case. Sadly, the case is not fiction, and it actually does give the Court’s five conservatives an opportunity to declare that corporations who hire foreign military forces that engage in torture are immune from a law holding the most atrocious human rights violators accountable to international norms. The case will be argued today.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) — a co-chair of President Obama’s re-election campaign — has announced her support for including marriage equality in the Democratic Party’s 2012 platform, creating some awkwardness for the Obama’s re-election campaign. “I’m proud to join Freedom to Marry?s ?Democrats: Say, I Do? campaign,? Shaheen said in a statement:
Along with the more than 20,000 Americans who have already signed the online petition, I call on the Democratic Platform Committee to affirm the freedom to marry in our party’s national convention platform this September. Any Democratic statement of core beliefs about the importance of families must include all our families, gay and straight. Our party has a long tradition of leading the charge on important questions of justice. Now is the time for the Democratic Party to stand up for the rights of same-sex couples and their families.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and the co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus — Reps. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) — have also publicly thrown their support behind the effort. Meanwhile, President Obama insists that he is still evolving on the issue.