March 15, 2015 archive

ACM: 24 hour Childcare – A “Revolutionary” idea that is an obtainable reform! by NY Brit Expat

Today is Mother’s Day in Britain (aka “Mothering Sunday”) and this topic is extremely appropriate. The idea of accessing 24 hour childcare is an old one … the questions that arise are why this is an important issue and why we should we be advocating for it? The next obvious question is how can we actually obtain it, in other words, what policies can ensure that this is viable and offers a positive transformation (that offers fulfilment to women and children where their needs and wants are covered) rather than a negative one?

How do we understand the oppression of women? Is it something that can be easily solved with reforms within the system (e.g., unequal pay, equality under the law, access to education and work)? Or does our oppression derive from the nature of class societies, property ownership, and our role in social reproduction? For me, it is the latter and that is why I do not think that reforms are sufficient, but they certainly can be done and must be done, if only to address inequality. These reforms may not affect our oppression much (which will require the overthrow of class societies based upon property), but they will make our lives easier and they will also get allies to understand the nature of our oppression. I do not know about you, but I simply refuse to wait until the revolution for women’s oppression to be understood and inequality to be addressed. We are raised in the context of our societies and if we do not address this before we transform society, then, I am certain that those raised in these societies will never understand the need for change (or it will always be put off as there are other more immediate things that need to be addressed, as usual).

Sunday Night Movie

Engineering In Action!

I’m talking about the brassiere of course which was developed by Howard Hughes’ aeronautic department to be ‘dynamic’.  In Public Domain, no respect for the crazy Billionaire who used empty Kleenex boxes instead of slippers (hey, you gotta do something with them!).


As a leader you sometimes pursue policies that you know are not going to work to persuade those who advocate them of their ineffectiveness.

I think many of the leaders of SYRIZA, especially Yanis Varoufakis who has been writing about it for years, are ready to leave the Euro-Zone tomorrow (not at all the same as leaving the EU, sorry Andrea) but there is still a bare plurality in Greece that think some kind of reconciliation can happen.

They are misguided of course, but they need to be convinced of that and this is the convincing period.

Syriza – a Necessary Compromise or Avoiding an Inevitable Conclusion?


On This Day In History March 15

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

March 15 is the 74th day of the year (75th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 291 days remaining until the end of the year.

In the Roman calendar, March 15 was known as the Ides of March.

On this day in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson addressed a joint session of Congress to urge the passage of legislation guaranteeing voting rights for all.

Using the phrase “we shall overcome,” borrowed from African-American leaders struggling for equal rights, Johnson declared that “every American citizen must have an equal right to vote.” Johnson reminded the nation that the Fifteenth Amendment, which was passed after the Civil War, gave all citizens the right to vote regardless of race or color. But states had defied the Constitution and erected barriers. Discrimination had taken the form of literacy, knowledge or character tests administered solely to African-Americans to keep them from registering to vote.

“Their cause must be our cause too,” Johnson said. “Because it is not just Negroes, but really it is all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome.”

The speech was delivered eight days after racial violence erupted in Selma, Alabama. Civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King and over 500 supporters were attacked while planning a march to Montgomery to register African-Americans to vote. The police violence that erupted resulted in the death of a King supporter, a white Unitarian Minister from Boston named James J. Reeb. Television news coverage of the event galvanized voting rights supporters in Congress.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. §§ 1973 – 1973aa-6 is a landmark piece of national legislation in the United States that outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the U.S.

Echoing the language of the 15th Amendment, the Act prohibits states from imposing any “voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure … to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.” Specifically, Congress intended the Act to outlaw the practice of requiring otherwise qualified voters to pass literacy tests in order to register to vote, a principal means by which Southern states had prevented African-Americans from exercising the franchise The Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, a Democrat, who had earlier signed the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law.

The Act established extensive federal oversight of elections administration, providing that states with a history of discriminatory voting practices (so-called “covered jurisdictions”) could not implement any change affecting voting without first obtaining the approval of the Department of Justice, a process known as preclearance. These enforcement provisions applied to states and political subdivisions (mostly in the South) that had used a “device” to limit voting and in which less than 50 percent of the population was registered to vote in 1964. The Act has been renewed and amended by Congress four times, the most recent being a 25-year extension signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2006.

The Act is widely considered a landmark in civil-rights legislation, though some of its provisions have sparked political controversy. During the debate over the 2006 extension, some Republican members of Congress objected to renewing the preclearance requirement (the Act’s primary enforcement provision), arguing that it represents an overreach of federal power and places unwarranted bureaucratic demands on Southern states that have long since abandoned the discriminatory practices the Act was meant to eradicate. Conservative legislators also opposed requiring states with large Spanish-speaking populations to provide bilingual ballots. Congress nonetheless voted to extend the Act for twenty-five years with its original enforcement provisions left intact.

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Cyclone Pam leaves ‘most’ of Vanuatu population homeless

    29 minutes ago


Vanuatu’s president has told the BBC most of his people are homeless after the devastating cyclone that ravaged the Pacific island nation on Saturday.

Speaking from Japan, Baldwin Lonsdale said Cyclone Pam had destroyed most buildings in the capital Port Vila, including schools and clinics.

A state of emergency has been declared in the tiny state of 267,000 people, spread over 65 islands.

At least eight people are reported to have been killed.

However, it is feared the toll will rise sharply as rescuers reach outlying islands.

Thousands of people spent a second night in shelters.

The category five storm, with winds of up to 270km/h (170mph), veered off its expected course and struck populated areas when it reached Vanuatu early on Saturday local time (+11 GMT).

Sunday’s Headlines:

Rakhat Aliyev: Claims of murder over death of rival to Kazakhstan’s president in an Austrian prison

Kurds accuse IS of using ‘weaponized’ chlorine in Iraq

On war-torn frontier, Israelis feel government has forgotten them

Nigeria: Boko Haram bomb factory uncovered in troubled northeast

Dark side of Japan revealed in film about Internet cafe living

The Breakfast Club (more Irish)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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Breakfast Tune: Dave Hum of Huckleberries Playing Bluegrass & Irish Reel in Bournemouth

Today in History

Julius Caesar assassinated in Rome; Johnson urges passage of Voting Rights Act; Worldcom CEO Bernard Ebbers convicted of fraud; Elizabeth Taylor marries Richard Burton; “My Fair Lady” debuts on Broadway.


Boston’s St Patrick’s Day parade to allow two gay and lesbian groups to march

Saturday, March 14, 2015 by Jana Kasperkevic – The Guardian

The president of Boston Pride is preparing to make history. Alongside the military veterans’ group OutVets, Sylvain Bruni’s organisation will march in Boston’s St Patrick’s Day parade on Sunday. Until this year, the parade has barred such groups from participating.

Twenty years ago, the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, which organizes the parade, took the issue all the way to the US supreme court. The court upheld the council’s decision to ban such groups, ruling unanimously that being forced to include such groups would violate the free speech rights of the private citizens organizing the event.

Since then, Boston mayors have made a point of boycotting the parade. This year, Mayor Marty Walsh will participate in the annual celebration. …

More Breakfast News, Blogs & Irish Below

Late Night Karaoke

Jon Stewart – The Chronicles of Gridlock

Adapted from Rant of the Week at The Stars Hollow Gazette

The Chronicles of Gridlock