There is a new reality out there for many PhD’s — the reality of poverty as their ranks increase but the job opportunities don’t. Read on:
After adjusting for inflation, we pay CEOs today four times what they made in the 1970′s. Pay-for-performance is the idea behind exorbitant CEO pay, but the fact is that CEO’s make big money whether their companies perform or not. CEO pay is a problem that is affecting us all as we struggle to afford housing, health care and education in the middle class, while the 1% continues to hoard resources. We need to reach some social consensus on what to do about this problem. Otherwise, the stratification will continue. From Time: Are We Paying Our CEOs Enough: A New Survey From the Wall Street Journal and Hay Group Suggests Maybe Not | Business | TIME.com.
As promised, more on the topic of divorce and the Religious Right.
In the mid-90′s a movement emerged to create a category of legal marriage called ‘Covenant Marriage”. This was both a response to high divorce rates and an attempt to legislate religious principles into the legal contract of marriage.
In 1997, Louisiana became the first state to create covenant marriage as a legal category; since then Arkansas and Arizona have followed suit. People who are already married in these states may change their marriage to a covenant marriage.
Legislation has been introduced to create legal covenant marriage in a number of other states, including California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia; these efforts have not to date been successful.
One aspect of Covenant Marriage is pre-marital counseling, another is making it harder to obtain a legal separation or divorce. This is from an information pamphlet by the State of Arizona…
To get a divorce, any one of the following eight reasons
must be proved to the court (these are listed in Section 25-903
of the Arizona Revised Statutes):
1. The spouse against whom the divorce case is filed (the
“Respondent”) has committed adultery.
2. The spouse against whom the divorce case is filed (the
“Respondent”) has committed a serious crime (“felony”) and
has been sentenced to death or imprisonment.
3. For at least one year before the divorce case is filed, the
spouse against whom the divorce case is filed (the
“Respondent”) has been absent from (“abandoned”) the
home where the married couple resided and refuses to
return. The law allows an exception. A person may file for
divorce by claiming that the other spouse has left the home
and is expected to stay away for the one-year period. If the
spouse has not been away for one year when the court
papers are filed, the divorce case will not be dismissed
by the court. Instead the case will be put on hold until the
one-year requirement is met. During this time, the court still
may grant and enforce temporary orders for things like child
support, parenting time (formerly known as “visitation”)
and spousal support (sometimes called “alimony” or
4. The spouse against whom the divorce case is filed (the
“Respondent”) either has (1) physically or sexually abused
the other spouse, a child or a relative of either spouse who
lives permanently in the married couple’s home, or (2) committed
domestic violence (defined in Section 13-3601 of the
Arizona Revised Statutes) or emotional abuse.
5. The spouses have been living separate and apart without
getting back together for at least two straight years before
the divorce case is filed. The law allows an exception. A person
may file for divorce by claiming it is expected the spouses
will be separated for the two-year period. If the spouses
have not been separated for two years when the court papers
are filed, the divorce case will not be dismissed. Instead the
case will be put on hold until the two-year requirement is
met. During the two-year period, the court may still grant
and enforce temporary orders for things like child support,
parenting time (formerly known as “visitation”) and spousal
support (sometimes called “alimony” or “spousal maintenance”).
6. The spouses already have been granted a legal
separation by the court, and they have been living separate
and apart without getting back together for at least one year
from the date of the legal separation.
7. The spouse against whom the divorce case is filed (the
“Respondent”) has regularly abused drugs or alcohol.
8. The spouses both agree to a divorce.
The reasons for obtaining a legal separation differ
somewhat, but also are limited.
Prominent fundamentalist Christians have given support to Covenant Marriage.
In 2004, Governor Mike Huckabee had a public tax-funded event where he and his wife renewed their vows…
Huckabee said too few couples have taken advantage of the covenant marriage option since he signed a 2001 law creating it. About 600 such unions were created in three years out of about 40,000 marriages that occur annually in the state.
In enacting Covenant Marriage laws, Christians who believe that the law should reflect a Christian majority seem to have gotten exactly what they wanted. They legislated a more binding type of legal marriage, and so successfully that the ACLU found nothing to contest. This is a Red State movement, based with a large majority of voters who identify as Christian and who say that religion matters to them in politics.
But when it comes to their personal lives, they don’t choose more legal restrictions. here are some stats from About.com…
The first year that the law was in effect, only 1% of Louisiana newlyweds chose the covenant vows. That percentage has increased slowly over the last couple years, but it is still quite low.
According to Scott D. Drewianka of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, only one-fourth of one percent of couples getting married in Arizona select the covenant marriage option.
Although Arkansas has one of the nation’s highest divorce rate at 6.5 per 1,000 population, the number of Arkansas couples signing up for a covenant marriage is very small. The national average for divorce in the U.S. is 4.2 per 1,000 population.
According to William Bailey, Ph.D., of the University of Arkansas, there has been a decline in the number of new marriages choosing covenant marriage licenses. In the time frame from 2001 – 2004, only 400 couples opted for covenant marriage licenses. In 2002, the Dept. of Health, Vital Statistics reported 37,942 marriage licenses issued in Arkansas. Only sixty-seven (67) couples signed up for the covenant marriage option. Twenty-four (24) who were already married converted to covenant marriages.
It’s worth noting that a couple visiting city hall doesn’t have to walk a gauntlet of people screaming names at them. They don’t get publicly shamed for choosing the standard marriage contract. No doubt many of them get pre-marital counseling, since it’s the custom with a religious wedding, and no doubt most of them intend their marriages to last a lifetime. Given a choice, they choose to retain their personal freedom to make their own decisions if the marriage does not work out.
It’s not that divorce is painless or without consequences. It’s not that the single life is so alluring that people abandon good marriages. It’s not that Americans in Arkansas are less responsible than Americans in states where the divorce rate is lower. There are forces in society that wear on a marriage– where the recession hits hardest relationships suffer. There are all the unanticipated things life throws at you, and a large element of luck. Arkansans may simply be too smart to make some lawyers rich if they suffer the misfortune of a failed marriage. So far, the Right has not found an effective way to shame these people.
It’s shocking to hear the language used against women who support the right to birth control as a standard part of women’s health, especially considering that over 90% of women will use birth control at some point in their lives. It may also prove to be an overreach, when the anti-birth control activists seem to be gaining political power to enact their goals, contrary to the will of the American people.
Shirley Sherrod on the death of Andrew Breitbart…
Shirley Sherrod deserves high praise for speaking with such fairness and empathy about Andrew Breitbart’s unexpected death on Thursday. “The news of Mr. Breitbart’s death came as a surprise to me when I was informed of it this morning,” Sherrod said in a statement. “My prayers go out to Mr. Breitbart’s family as they cope during this very difficult time. I do not intend to make any further comments.”
Andrew Breitbart released selectively edited video of Shirley Sherrod giving a frank and honest talk about how she came to recognize the role of class in American justice, and injustice. Breitbart’s mis-representation defamed Shirley Sherrod, provoked her firing, and put her into the middle of a controversy she never asked for, all for 15 minutes of headlines…
In the full video, Sherrod related her experience in 1986 with the first white farmer to come to her for help. (On July 20 CNN received a telephone call from the farmer’s wife and learned his name was Roger Spooner.) Sherrod said that his land was being sold, and “had in fact already been rented out from under him.” At first, she felt that he had a superior attitude toward her, causing her to recall harsh aspects of her life in the South, including the murder of her father, but she went on to say that she had not let that get in the way and did not discriminate against him. They became very good friends as a result of her help. She admitted thinking at the time that white people had “all the advantages” but learned that poverty affected both races.
According to Sherrod, she did her job correctly by taking the farmer to a white lawyer who she thought could help him, and she looked for another lawyer when needed.  Sherrod rejected claims that she was racist and said she “went all out” to help the man keep his farm. She said that the incident helped her learn to move beyond race, and she told the story to audiences to make that point.
 Spooner family’s account
Roger Spooner, the farmer, said on CNN that Sherrod is not a racist, that she did everything she could for his family; more than 20 years later, he and Sherrod remain friends. The Spooners credit Sherrod with helping them save their farm: “If it hadn’t been for her, we would’ve never known who to see or what to do,” Roger Spooner said. “She led us right to our success.” His wife, Eloise Spooner, said that “after things kind of settled down, she brought Sherrod some tomatoes out of her garden, and they had a good visit.” Eloise Spooner recalled Sherrod as “nice-mannered, thoughtful, friendly; a good person.” The couple were surprised by the controversy. “I don’t know what brought up the racist mess,” Roger Spooner said. “They just want to stir up some trouble, it sounds to me in my opinion.” Eloise Spooner said that on seeing the story of Sherrod’s resignation, “I said, ‘That ain’t right. They have not treated her right.’”
 Full video
The extended unedited video of her speech released by the NAACP showed that in her full speech, Sherrod emphasized what was only touched on in the excerpt: she learned from the incident that poverty, not race, was the key factor in rural development. She said she ultimately worked hard to save the farmer’s land.
One aspect of this story that stays with me is that Shirley Sherrod was collateral damage in an ideological war, or maybe just a self-promoter’s strategy for shaping the narrative with a casual attitude to the truth and the real people affected.
Breitbart used selective editing to distort the words of a woman who had never done anything but to serve our country conscientiously. A woman whose father was murdered by a white man. A woman who did not give in to hatred, but instead fought racism, and bravely spoke about the evolution of her understanding.
He never was man enough to look her in the eye and own up to the damage he did to her career and reputation…
“This was never about Shirley Sherrod,” Breitbart interrupted.
“So apologize to her,” said Boehlert. “Post a correction. Apologize to her.”
But Breitbart ignored Boehlert and stuck to his talking points. “This was not about Shirley Sherrod. This was about the smears that have gone against the Tea Party,” he said.
They’re calling Andrew Breitbart a ‘warrior’, as if warriors are admired for ambushing the innocent. Andrew Breitbart was simply an opportunist. As is so often the case, he used the politics of white racism to advantage. He didn’t find a convenient example of institutionalized black racism, so he created one.
Shirley Sherrod will decide whether to proceed with her defamation suit, given the untimely death of the defendant.
I am not well read on Christopher Hitchens, and I find his support of the Iraq War inexplicable, but on the other hand he had the nerve to take on Mother Theresa.
Are they sipping tea together somewhere on the edge of eternity, or is there a space large enough in collective memory that spirits can rest, or unrest?
He suffered a terrible final illness with grace and without self-pity. Not so unusual, but a fine example to leave us. He was a passionate and compulsive writer– of his many vices, most of all addicted to the word.
Here’s a link to my minister, who posted one of Christopher Hitchens’ bravest moments, on the waterboard.
BBC has a nice eulogy.
Nomi posted a nice link to one of Christopher Hitchens’ best sayings, on the difference between dogs and cats.
I’m linking to Xavier Onassis, EMT because once again we see in the news that a fire department stood by while a house burned.
This is the second incident of this kind from Obion County, Tennessee.
When I blogged about this the first time, Xavier responded with a passionate and informed comment in defense of the firefighters, who have seen their resources stretched to the breaking point. As so often is the case, this may be good workers and citizens caught in a failing system.
He challenges Progresives…
A very popular position among progressives:
The firefighters who responded and did not control the fire are immoral cowards, motivated by Tea Party or Libertarian ideology;
they are so petty that they think it serves that woman right to lose her home because she did not pay $75;
they are too stupid and incapable of independent decision making to know when to break the rules.
From this position, the guilty parties are the first responders on scene and the mayor of South Fulton, Tennessee. Blame is placed at the very bottom of the chain of command, for not refusing to follow departmental guidelines when someone is in need. Support for these firefighters is viewed as immoral under this breakdown.
The rest of his post outlines the damage, starting with Reaganomics, to the essential foundations of a working community. Go visit Medic 343 for another view than what you will see in the headlines.
And thanks to friend, Sekanblogger, at Kansas Mediocrity, for help finding the link.
The following is from Kmareka’s West Coast correspondent, Elaine Hirsch.
Elaine Hirsch is kind of a jack-of-all-interests, from education and history to medicine and videogames. This makes it difficult to choose just one life path, so she is currently working as a writer for various education-related sites and writing about all these things instead. Currently, she writes for onlinephd.org.
The Silent Passing of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
Ten days after the solemn ceremony commemorating the tenth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, a momentous piece of legislation was enacted in the United States. Any student of history should remember September 20th, 2011 as the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and as the beginning of a new era for gay rights in America, but instead the moment was eclipsed in the national news.
The history of DADT and its eventual repeal is an important chapter for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights community. In the all-male American military service of yore, sodomy was considered a grave violation which merited discharge, but homosexual preferences or tendencies were not specifically addressed until around World War II. Military psychiatrists deemed homosexuality a deviant behavior, and thus not suitable among servicemen. This rather extreme and disparaging view was soon eschewed and replaced by a more tacit “no sex between servicemen” regulation, although gay members of the military continued to be unfairly discharged. The issue of homosexuality in the military was mostly an afterthought during the Vietnam War era, when simply maintaining troop levels was the main concern.
The notorious cases against Fannie Mae Clackum and Leonard Matlovich of the United States Air Force led to the adoption of a policy by the Department of Defense which essentially outlawed homosexuality in the military. By the 1990s, the LGBT rights community raised awareness of this unfair policy and public opinion began to sway against the narrow-minded stance it represented.
It took the brutal murder of a gay sailor serving in Japan to bring the issue to a level of national interest. Radioman Petty Officer Third Class Allen R. Schindler, Jr. was only 22 years old when he was stomped to death by a shipmate because of his sexual orientation in 1992. The young sailor’s murder prompted presidential candidate Bill Clinton to announce his intention to repeal anti-gay military policy, but Congress quickly moved to make it federal law instead. This was a shrewd political move that forced the Clinton White House to attempt a repeal. The Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy is the compromise reached in lieu of overturning the gay ban in the military.
Originally the policy was called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue.” This was the phrase chosen by sociologist Charles Moskos, who was instrumental in drafting a policy that didn’t explicitly permit homosexuals to serve in the military, but neither allowed them to be discharged as long as they “served in silence.” The original name of the policy was shortened almost as soon as the policy was adopted, but it was also known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Harass.”
As an official policy, DADT was challenged numerous times. The inadequacy of the policy was depicted in at least two films: Serving in Silence (1997) and Soldier’s Girl (2003). Serving in Silence is based on the life of Colonel Margarethe Cammermeyer, an Army nurse who served in the Washington National Guard. Colonel Cammermeyer was honorably discharged in 1992 against her will when she came out as a lesbian. She appealed the discharge in federal district court and was reinstated and allowed to retire.
Soldier’s Girl portrays the tragic murder of Private First Class Barry Winchell, an infantryman in the 101st Airborne Division who was brutally murdered by a fellow soldier who believed PFC Winchell was involved in a relationship with transgendered showgirl Calpernia Addams. PFC Winchell’s murder infuriated President Clinton, who immediately ordered a review of the DADT policy. Lieutenant General Timothy Maude, a top Army officer who sympathized with the LGBT military community, personally met with PFC Winchell’s grieving parents.
The White House under President George W. Bush didn’t do much to advance the repeal of DADT, but presidential candidate Barack Obama made it a campaign promise. In 2010, efforts to repeal DADT and grant homosexuals the right to serve in the US military began in earnest. The efforts were silent but swift, and ultimately successful. The lack of news media attention shouldn’t detract from the sheer significance of the change represented by the repeal. The end of DADT marks a major achievement in the progress of civil rights in America. It may’ve passed in relative silence, but it should be remembered with fanfare.
From the Occupy Providence Facebook Page, a public service announcement…
On Saturday, October 15th at 5pm Rhode Islanders will gather in Burnside Park (Downtown Providence) to express a feeling of mass injustice and stand in solidarity with those occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square. This will be done as part of an international day of action in conjunction with the occupation of dozens of other cities around the country and the world.
If you feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world, the members of the Occupy Providence General Assembly (OPGA) are your allies. Members of the OP General Assembly have been meeting in Burnside Park everyday since Oct 1st, and are committed to non-violence; to maintaining a safe, alcohol free, drug free, and harassment/discrimination free space for all voices to be heard. The OP General Assembly does not endorse any political candidate or party in any way.
The Occupation of Burnside Park will begin at 5pm, followed by:
1. A rally & march against corporate greed and corporate crime
2. An autonomous picnic: bring your own food but also consider that an unaffiliated group known as “Food Not Banks” suggested that it may be bringing enough share!
3. The October 15th Occupy Providence General Assembly (where folks share ideas, come to agreement, and vote on how to move forward)
4. Entertainment (songs, stories, dancing, meditation, music, and more)!!
This is an inclusive event for people and families of all ages:
Drugs, Alcohol, Discrimination, Harassment, and Violent behavior are NOT WELCOME.
The Occupation starts at 5p and will last, I hope, for as many days, nights, weeks, and months (?) as it takes to come to a consensus on how best to challenge corporate greed, which places profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality; the corporations which run our government, destroy our environment, and control our lives.
We are the 99%, standing in opposition to rule by the 1%.
Come to Burnside Park at 5pm on October 15th and let your voice be heard!
THINGS TO BRING:
lanterns, flash flights, batteries, video cameras, signs (your sign is your legal proof of political expression and your right to exercise free speech), writing materials, tarps, sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, warm clothes, food, water, games, yoga mats, books, patience, respect, ideas and information to share, friends who are lawyers, friends with CPR and medical training, friends with non-violence training, & other fitting supply donations for an indefinite occupation!
THINGS NOT TO BRING:
bullhorns, amplifiers, amplification systems, generators, propane grills, gas grills, anything with an open flame, drugs, alcohol, weapons, excess garbage; anything the police can say violates a noise or other city ordinance or requires a permit we don’t have; any thing that will give the police leverage to disrupt the occupation
OP GENERAL ASSEMBLY SAFE SPACE REQUIREMENTS:
*Occupy Providence is a completely non-violent movement; violence and property destruction/defacing are not welcome, and do not represent us.
*Discrimination or harassment based on race, sex, gender, orientation, age, or anything else are not welcome. This includes any sexist, homophobic, trans-phobic, racist, or ageist behavior, speech, chanting, writing, etc.
*We are a drug and alcohol free assembly and occupation. Cigarette smokers are asked to please smoke at a respectful distance from non-smokers.
Please forward widely this invite WIDELY.
If you have ideas on how to help with press stuff, please contact: OccupyProvidenceMedia@gmail.com
(member of the Occupy Providence Direct Action Working Group)
The Providence Journal reports that organizers are coordinating with public safety officials…
PROVIDENCE — Members of the grass-roots group Occupy Providence met Thursday with Public Safety Commissioner Steven M. Paré for what were called fruitful and amicable discussions about a protest planned for Saturday in a downtown city park.
The city is willing to waive the $10 application fee for the park-use permit and a requirement that the group get $500,000 in liability insurance, as is typical for gatherings of 100 or more, Paré said.
“The thought is we’re going to accommodate them,” Paré said late Thursday. “They certainly have something they want to say. They are, in my mind, a peaceful group.”
Occupy Providence is an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street, a protest in New York City’s financial district that has stretched across a month and attracted thousands of supporters dismayed by the state of the economy and the political system. Protests, which emphasize nonviolence, are planned Saturday in 1,400 cities, including Providence.
As of this writing, the sun is up, the sky is blue– looks like good weather for a day in the park.
CIVIC: Today at 10am, a group from Occupy Providence is cleaning the park, and would welcome volunteers. Please carpool if you plan to attend any Occupy events today.
DON’T FORGET: Dr. Martin Luther King’s ‘nonviolence strategy’ was not just moral, it was pragmatic. Anyone trying to incite may be a provocateur, or just a loose cannon. Civility is the tool of the powerful, and we have the power.
Violent crime has shown large declines in the past two years..
Violent crime fell significantly last year in cities across the U.S., according to preliminary federal statistics, challenging the widely held belief that recessions drive up crime rates.
The incidence of violent crimes such as murder, rape and aggravated assault was down 5.5% from 2008, and 6.9% in big cities. It fell 2.4% in long-troubled Detroit and plunged 16.6% in Phoenix, despite a perception of rising crime that has fueled an immigration backlash.
The early figures, from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, indicate a third straight year of decreases, along with a sharply accelerating rate of decline.
This good news, of course, is due to multiple factors, though the Wall Street Journalarticle does mention that stimulus money helped keep police on the street. I wonder if the greying of America is part of the picture? You get old, mellow out, just don’t get into robbing banks the way you used to. Just a thought.