Just after the New Year, Hostess Brands, the largest producer of baked goods in the United States, filed for bankruptcy. Formerly called Interstate Bakeries Corporation, the company had previously filed for bankruptcy protection in 2004. It emerged from what became the most protracted bankruptcy process in history in 2009 and renamed itself Hostess Brands. The resolution of that previous bankruptcy filing was secured through major concessions by the company’s unionized employees in exchange for equity in the company, infusions of cash from GE Capital and three private equity companies--one of which, Ripplewood Holdings acquired a 50% share of the company--and the termination of public trading of the company’s stock.
I see the headlines — how Romney is supposedly gaining in the polls, and I want to tell people to watch this video and listen to the voice of your President, and understand that he is the only one who will keep us on a course that will sustain what we have left of the middle class.
In case you harbor any delusions of grandeur that you or your children will someday rise to fame and fortune in academia, let me gently harsh on your mellow. The truth is, most of our higher education faculty members are now adjuncts, or under a more fancy title, contingent faculty. As this article details, many adjuncts earn about $10,000 a year.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Well, this applies to other people but not to my little Johnny because he is going to be a scientist.” Good luck with that. Science jobs are also getting harder to come by in academia, or anywhere.
Finally, before the reality party is over, I invite you to take a trip to 100 Reasons Not to Go to Graduate School. It is extremely well-written and well cited (the links all work and bring you to current and relevant articles).
And, on a note of full disclosure, yes, I did apply to graduate school this past year. And yes, I am not going.
Diane Ravitch provides the full text of Randi Weingarten’s response to “Won’t Back Down,” the hollywood film that Walden Media is releasing in September. The purpose of the movie seems to be not only to demonize teachers, but to direct everyone to vote for the parent trigger laws in November so we can hasten the privatization of public education. Randi Weingarten responds with scathing criticism of the movie on Diane Ravitch’s blog.
The silly picture is from another website I learned about through Ravitch’s blog, Last Stand for Children.
I just finished a biography of J.Frank Norris called ‘The Shooting Salvationist’ by David R. Stokes. Norris was America’s first megachurch media star in the 1920′s, but his reputation dimmed somewhat when he succumbed to compassion fatigue. Instead of counseling a troubled soul who came to his office he shot the man dead.
Texas in the 1920′s was Klan Kountry. Like many other politically connected men of ambition; Norris enjoyed a friendly relationship with the
fraternal terrorist organization. They shared common enemies– Catholics and saloon owners, and the Klan never bothered anyone who mattered.
So, speaking of people who matter, why in the 21st Century am I ragging on Pat Robertson? He’s so old he’s almost cute, in an evil gnome kind of way.
Well, like the elderly Rupert Murdoch, he sits on top of a media empire. Pat Robertson’s 700 Club broadcasts it’s own version of the news across America and the world. If my informal survey of what’s on TV when I make nurse visits is any indicator, Christian Broadcasting Network has a large following, and they vote. That’s why politicians take Robertson seriously.
For the Left, he’s always good for an outrageous sound byte, like this explanation for the murderous attack on the Sikh Temple…
“What is it?” the TV preacher wondered. “Is it satanic? Is it some spiritual thing, people who are atheists, they hate God, they hate the expression of God? And they are angry with the world, angry with themselves, angry with society and they take it out on innocent people who are worshiping God.”
“And whether it’s a Sikh temple or a Baptist church or a Catholic church or a Muslim mosque, whatever it is, I just abhor this kind of violence, and it’s the the kind of thing that we should do something about,” he added. “But what do you do? Well, you talk about the love of God and hope it has some impact.”
Yes, we abhor this kind of thing…
Whether they burn crosses on your lawn or a pile of leaves it’s untidy and ruins the grass.
Whether they spray a swastika on a synagogue or a tagger’s initials it’s graffiti vandalism, how deplorable.
Whether it’s a terrorist symbol or a gauche fashion statement, a white hood is not something a minister should wear in church.
“But what do you do?” Robertson asks after blurring distinctions and making a false equivalence.
Any gathering, for worship, music or politics, could suffer a mass shooting, especially with guns so cheap and available. But this attack on the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin was carried out by a man who was active in hate groups and had his intentions tatooed all over his body. He was a crime waiting to happen.
It doesn’t let you off the hook if you wear you hood backwards and claim you don’t see.
Robertson is giving talking points to an audience of millions. Stuff happens. Atheists are terrible people so all crimes must be the fault of atheists. Or the devil. And what do you do anyway? Talk about the love of God. Don’t call out sin when some of your best friends might take offense. There’s nothing we can do about this poor old world. Let’s move on and unite against our real enemies, the
feminists, gays, atheists.
Hey, a revolving enemies list is nothing new. J. Frank Norris got quite chummy with the Catholic Church in his later years when they found a common enemy in the Red Menace (that’s Communism, not the Republican Party.)
Are any of the megavangelists going to come out powerfully against hate, against prejudice, against the hostility to immigrants, to those who are different from the majority. Will Evangelicals confront the sad history of the Klan, enabled by too many Christian Churches? It wasn’t a question mark they burned, after all.
Fortunately, the secular law of the United States does recognize organized crime and will pursue this vicious murder of innocent people in their place of worship– will investigate the collaborators in the crime. Church members, and everyone who wants to exercise the right to peaceably assemble should be grateful that there is something we can do.
There is crazy– like the guy I saw at the IMH who spent his days eating dirt off the floor– and then there is acting out a script.
Posts on Twitter report a shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Ridge Milwaukee.
According to information broadcast over police radio, a witness to the shooting told law enforcement the shooter was a white male, bald, with a heavy build. He was wearing a sleeveless T-shirt, according to Oak Creek Patch. He was last seen with two handguns.
We don’t know yet who or why, but this has the familiar feeling of the angry man who goes out in a blaze of glory. We know the script, why do we give then the props?
Is this the new normal? Like when pubs were bombed in Ireland in a pattern that made sense to political terrorists but was random to the innocent people killed and injured? Sikhs are a minority within a minority in the US. Some members of the religion stand out as ‘other’ by their dress and observance. Are we supposed to be learning a lesson here? To be more afraid? To buy more guns? Is this repeated violence serving anyone’s purpose? Maybe just the perpetrators, and all the angry souls who build a private arsenal and feel the power of what they could do.
UPDATE: The Chicago Tribune–
Seven people, including the suspected shooter, are reported dead and three are wounded, including a police officer who killed the gunman, after a shooting this morning at a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee.
Greenfield, Wis., Police Chief Brad Wentlandt said in a press conference that four people had been found dead inside the temple and three people were found dead outside the temple. Officials say three people are in critical condition at a Milwaukee hospital.
Wentlandt said that after a 10:25 a.m. call to 911, officers were sent to the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, 7512 S. Howell Ave., in Oak Creek, just south of Milwaukee along Lake Michigan.
“A police officer responded to the scene and when he arrived, he engaged an active shooter,” the chief said. “Gunfire was exchanged and the gunman shot the officer multiple times.”
A HATE CRIME: Today’s CNN tells a story that is too familiar…
Oak Creek, Wisconsin (CNN) — The man who shot six people to death and wounded three others during a rampage at a Sikh temple in a Milwaukee suburb was an Army veteran who may have been a white supremacist, according to a law enforcement source involved in the investigation.
The name of the shooter, who himself was killed by police after wounding an officer, may be released as early as Monday morning, the source added.
Earlier, the FBI said that it had not determined a motive for the Sunday morning shooting and that investigators were looking into whether the attack might be classified as domestic terrorism.
The article goes on to list incidents of violence against members of the Sikh religion since 9/11. Observant Sikh men wear turbans and have been mistaken for Muslims.
The investigation is just beginning, but this type of crime– a mass shooting of unarmed, unsuspecting people who exercised their right to peacefully assemble, to worship as their conscience dictates– has happened too many times in the last three decades to be called an aberration.
There’s a phrase, ‘suicide magnet’ for places like the Empire State Building, where multiple incidents finally lead to the construction of barriers.
We need to look at ‘homicide magnets’. We need to discredit the hateful ideologies that motivated a violent few, and stop giving them what they want– a glorious martyrdom. And we have to put the ‘well-regulated’ back into the 2nd Amendment and reinstate the assault weapons ban. All freedoms are moderated by all other freedoms. Our right to peaceably assemble is under attack. It’s time for sensible gun control and time for politicians to dial down the rhetoric and look at what unites us.
My father-in-law told me a story about self-defense with a gun.
The family lived far out in the country, and in Alabama in the 1930′s there was no justice for Black people in the courts of law. One day when the adults were away, a gang of racists drove out to the house planning some act of terrorism. The sight of a rifle barrel poking through the window persuaded them to move on. My father-in-law laughed at the fact that the rifle was held by a twelve year old boy.
A rifle in a farmhouse, though it saved a family that day, could not protect the Black community of Selma from many other crimes and violations. It took the intervention of the Federal Government to bring equal protection under law to those citizens.
For some people a gun is a means of self-defense. But where is the self-defense in an assault weapon? How many rounds of ammunition does it take to stop a housebreaker?
Why are our politicians so afraid of an extreme fringe that confuses self-defense with the ‘right’ to build a private arsenal and buy weapons of mass destruction? Who does it serve when one gun is not enough, when accountability is seen as an intrusion on individual rights. When each senseless, horrific murder of innocent people is a murder of our right to peaceably assemble– without high security, without fearing our neighbors.
Before we get bombarded with news stories about the shooter, feeding into the myth that will inspire the next criminal to grab a gun and the headlines– here’s from Associated Press…
Twelve people who died in the Colorado movie shooting have been identified by the Arapahoe County coroner.
—Jessica Ghawi, 24, of Denver; aspiring sports journalist
—Veronica Moser-Sullivan, 6, whose mother was critically injured
—Matt McQuinn, 27, of Denver; technical support provider
—Alex Sullivan, 27, of Aurora; worked at Red Robin restaurant
— Micayla Medek, 23, of Westminster, Colo., student at Aurora Community College
—John Larimer, 27, of Buckley Air Force Base, Navy cryptologist
—Jesse Childress, 29, of Thornton, Colo., Air Force cyber-systems operator
—Gordon W. Cowden, 51, of Aurora, small business owner and father of two teens
—Jonathan T. Blunk, 26, of Aurora, worked at a hardware store, served five years in the U.S. Navy.
—Rebecca Ann Wingo, 32, of Aurora customer relations representative at a mobile medical imaging company
—Alexander C. Teves, 24, of Phoenix, earned master’s degree in counseling psychology in June from University of Denver
—Alexander J. Boik, 18, incoming freshman student at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design who planned to become an art teacher
While being a member of Congress definitely has its benefits, it seems to be a pretty frustrating job these days. Take, for instance, this article by Ezra Klein outlining why this is the worst Congress ever:
Nevertheless, some people are trying to get work done, or at least make it look that way. In fact, some are willing to stay up all night if that’s what it takes to get some attention:
Senate Democrats to Hold “Midnight Vigil” on DISCLOSE Act
If GOP Blocks Effort to End Secret Election Spending, Democrats Will Continue Debating Past Midnight and Ask for Second Vote Tomorrow
Washington, DC – With Senate Republicans threatening to block debate this evening on the DISCLOSE Act, Senate Democrats are sending a clear message that they won’t back down easily. If Republicans succeed in blocking a key procedural vote on the measure today, a group of Democrats have pledged to hold onto the Senate floor late into the night tonight in an effort to bring greater attention to the issue and force a second vote on the bill tomorrow.
The late night “midnight vigil” effort will be led by the members of the Citizens United Task Force, which includes U.S. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Al Franken (D-MN). The group was organized by U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, the Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, who will also take part in tonight’s effort.
“We recognize that you don’t win every fight in round one, and this is a fight worth continuing,” said Whitehouse, the lead sponsor of the DISCLOSE Act. “Putting an end to secret election spending by special interests is an essential step in protecting middle class priorities. For that reason, we are committed to continuing the debate on the DISCLOSE Act late into the night and asking for a second vote tomorrow if need be. We can’t let the special interests off the hook after just one round.”
The DISCLOSE Act requires any organization that spends $10,000 or more during an election cycle to file a report within 24 hours, identifying any donors who gave $10,000 or more. It will require political groups posing as social welfare organizations to disclose their donors and will prevent corporations and other wealthy interests from using shell corporations to funnel secret money to super PACs.
“We are determined to prove that transparency is not a radical concept,” said Udall. “Our bill is as simple and straightforward as it gets – if you are making large donations to influence an election, the voters in that election should know who you are. The American people are blessed with common sense. They know that when someone will not admit to something, it is usually because there is something to hide.”
“This is too important an issue to let it lie quietly,” Shaheen said. “New Hampshire voters were subjected to a flood of negative ads this primary season, many of them fueled by unregulated, secret money. It isn’t right. We need to stand up for accountability and fairness in our politics.”
“Tonight we will debate whether we truly believe in the first three words of our Constitution: ‘We the People.’ The flood of secret money unleashed by Citizens United is drowning out the voice of the people,” said Merkley. “Indeed, those who oppose disclosure are seeking to replace ‘We the People’ with ‘We the Powerful.’ This is wrong in so many ways. It’s way past time to shine a light on the darkness and discover who or what this money really stands for.”
“Coloradans have been inundated with attack ads funded by a small number of people through anonymous groups,” Bennet said. “Disclosure would at least provide information about who is behind these ads and bring accountability that bolsters democracy in our elections. Unfortunately, a minority of senators are poised to block progress on the DISCLOSE Act and prevent necessary transparency in our election system.”
“The DISCLOSE Act will not fix all of the evil effects of Citizens United, but it is certainly a step forward,” said Sen. Franken. “And it will bring much needed sunshine to our political system, which will go a long way toward reducing the number and dishonesty of negative attack ads that further corrode our public dialogue and ultimately threaten our democratic system.”
“We believe that all of the unlimited cash allowed by the Citizens United decision must at least be disclosed,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer. “This legislation seeks to limit the damage of the Supreme Court decision that has given corporations and the very wealthy unprecedented sway over our elections, and represents one of the most serious threats to the future of our democracy.”
Individuals are encouraged to follow the floor debate throughout the night on Twitter, using the hashtag #DISCLOSEVote.
With a vote of 5-4, the Supreme Court of the United States has upheld the Health Care Reform legislation with the exception that the federal government's power to terminate states' Medicaid funds is narrowly read. Read the opinion here.
While Justice Anthony Kennedy was thought to be the swing vote, he ultimately dissented and Chief Justice John Roberts' vote ultimately saved the historic legislation.
A reader submitted this post:
It tells the now-familiar story of how an unwary person was conned by Michelle Rhee's Students First. The reader was going through her email, and along came a "puppies-and-kittens" petition from Change.org, and "Click!"
Too late: "And suddenly, there it was…the wolf in sheep’s clothing, the Trojan horse of all Trojan horses: Join the Fight to Save Great Teachers…