Feb 09 2015
I have 3 things for your perusal this morning.
First, on the big oil worker strike going on right now:
In January there were at least four major mishaps at a U.S. pipelines that resulted in costly explosions or spills. In 2013, Texas led the country in oil and gas sector fatalities with 106. Overall, oil and gas workers are six times more likely to die on the job than average Americans. With the recent growth of the industry due to the proliferation of new drilling techniques such as fracking, safety measures can suffer. In North Dakota, which has been at the forefront of the oil boom, the fatality rate for industry workers was three times the national average in 2013.
On Friday, the local Toledo union posted on its Facebook page that the “strike is NOT about money, this is about addressing safety issues that have been ignored for way too long … 138 workers were killed on the job while extracting, producing, or supporting oil and gas in 2012 … the number was more than double that of 2009.”
Feb 07 2015
I feel the need to write about the Pope tonight. I’ve been in a couple of debates lately about him and I want to expand on how I see him.
First, let me say I have big differences with Pope Francis. I don’t like that he is still against marriage, civil unions, and adoption for my LGBT friends. I don’t like the free speech quip he gave in the wake of Charlie Hebdo, though with that, I think he was meaning we should be careful of our speech, but that’s neither here nor there; he could’ve meant we shouldn’t have it. I don’t like that he is still against any contraception save for the rhythm method. I don’t like that he didn’t do an en masse opening of files to hold all priests accountable that were in the child molestation scandal. I don’t like that he is not quite warm to considering women for priesthood. And I don’t like that he is not fully on board with the Nuns on the Bus. There are other things too, I just can’t think of them off the top of my head.
I’m a liberal, a big leftie left leftist, to be honest, so really I didn’t expect to like the Pope much, if at all. In my lifetime, we’ve never had a Pope that was even close to saying much of anything that in my opinion could help the people of the world. I was raised Catholic, and the Popes have always been hardline dogmatists, and what with my heretical beliefs, what they said never held much water with me. And like me, there are a ton of us liberals (at least post John XXIII) who’ve never really liked a Pope, and who aren’t likely to like this one, save for a Pope who effects wholesale change of most or all of the faults of Church dogma.
To many of my fellow lefties’ chagrin, I look at this particular Pope a little differently. It’s definitely not that I forgive him for those things that I don’t like about him; forgiveness of that would require forgiveness of also the Church, and unless things change in the dogma, that isn’t going to happen. And yes, I know we are supposed to strive to forgive, but I am not close to that point yet; I am only – and very – human. This brings me to the point about how I feel about this Pope.
Feb 05 2015
I have 3 articles for your
amusement disgust perusal this morning:
First up, apparently some US Generals are not happy with Boehner and Bibi:
The uniformed leaders of the U.S. military have had a testy relationship with President Barack Obama since he took office in 2009, with a number of relatively public spats revealing discord over how his administration has approached the use of military force. So it might be assumed that when a politician confronts Obama, portraying his policies on threats overseas as naive, many in the senior uniformed ranks would nod in silent affirmation. But that’s not what has happened since House Speaker John Boehner invited Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to attack Obama’s Iran policy in Congress. Instead the speech, planned for next month, has rallied senior military figures behind the president, with some warning that there’s a limit to what U.S. military officers consider acceptable criticism of the commander in chief.
Serving uniformed officers are loath to comment on an inflammatory political question – “You’re inviting me to end my career,” one senior Pentagon officer told me when asked to comment on Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu, “but, if it’s all the same to you, I’d rather not.” But a senior Joint Chiefs of Staff officer who regularly briefs the U.S. high command was willing to speak bluntly in exchange for anonymity. “There’s always been a lot of support for Israel in the military,” the officer said, “but that’s significantly eroded over the last few years. This caps it. It’s one thing for Americans to criticize their president and another entirely for a foreign leader to do it. Netanyahu doesn’t get it. We’re not going to side with him against the commander in chief. Not ever.”
Feb 03 2015
I have 3 articles for your perusal this morning.
First, now this is a guy they should have made the movie about:
During my combat tour I never saw the Iraqis as “savages.” They were a friendly culture who believed in hospitality, and were sometimes positive to a fault. The people are proud of their history, education system and national identity. I have listened to children share old-soul wisdom, and I have watched adults laugh and play with the naiveté of schoolboys. I met some incredible Iraqis during and after my deployment, and it is shameful to know that the movie has furthered ignorance that might put them in danger.
Unlike Chris Kyle, who claimed his PTSD came from the inability to save more service members, most of the damage to my mental health was what I call “moral injury,” which is becoming a popular term in many veteran circles.
As a sniper I was not usually the victim of a traumatic event, but the perpetrator of violence and death. My actions in combat would have been more acceptable to me if I could cloak myself in the belief that the whole mission was for a greater good. Instead, I watched as the purpose of the mission slowly unraveled.
Feb 02 2015
I have 2 articles for your perusal this morning.
The first is a great article by David Mizner:
Also in the New Yorker, Teju Cole wrote, “Violence from ‘our’ side continues unabated. By this time next month, in all likelihood, many more ‘young men of military age’ and many others, neither young nor male, will have been killed by US drone strikes in Pakistan and elsewhere. If past strikes are anything to go by, many of these people will be innocent of wrongdoing.”
That counts as progress. As does CNN’s decision to run a piece by Noam Chomsky that calls President Obama’s drone killings “the most extreme terrorist campaign of modern times.” And as does Seamus Milne’s piece in the Guardian pointing out that violence like the Paris attack is an extension of Western wars.
Yet these pieces are still relatively kind to the United States and its allies. They downplay the role of the West in producing the violence that its “thought leaders” blame on Islam. The truth is not merely that Team USA’s violence is far greater than that of its enemies, or that the former triggers the latter, but that Western governments and their client states have actively empowered right-wing jihadist groups.
Jan 27 2015
I have 3 articles for you today to get the blood flowing.
First, a great piece on Islam and Terrorism:
Consider the following hypothetical statement: we must kill them before the kill us. We have to protect our women and children and our land from them or they will invade us. Who could say this? So-called Islamic terrorists in the Middle East, right-wing Christians on Fox News in the US? In fact both can and do say this. Radical Islamists and war mongering in the West are both described as ‘right wing’ meaning that the structure, not the content, of their thinking is similar. This rigid and simplistic way of thinking only entrenches each side. It is a failed strategy that only exacerbates the problem.
Jan 26 2015
I have 3 articles for your perusal this Monday morning.
First, some necessary tempering about this “new” person the president has seemingly morphed into since the midterms:
So what’s not to like? The bad news is there’s quite a bit. The problem is that Obama’s deeds so often contradict his words. Indeed, examine his actions over these same two months and one could also construct a compelling counter-narrative to this tale of populist transformation.
Jan 19 2015
I have 3 articles for your morning perusal that are kind of on the darker side of things. It’s Monday, so I’m more morose anyway, lol.
First, a decent Oped on Terrorists:
Obviously, there are people who sincerely view themselves as Muslims who have committed horrible acts in the name of Islam. We Muslims can make the case that their actions are not based on any part of the faith but on their own political agenda. But they are Muslims, no denying that.
However, and this will probably shock many, so you might want to take a breath: Overwhelmingly, those who have committed terrorist attacks in the United States and Europe aren’t Muslims. Let’s give that a moment to sink in.
Jan 12 2015
I have 4 articles for you this morning!
First, 3 regarding free speech, consistency, and hypocrisy in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo killings:
But as Daniel Wickham points out (as amplified by the journalist Glenn Greenwald), many of the 40 leaders attending the rally in Paris don’t have the best record of defending the principle of free speech so viciously attacked earlier this week:
Jan 07 2015
I have 2 for you this morning on Climate Change.
The first is a big rundown with a lot of great links about the dire situation we find ourselves in with regards to the changing climate. It’s so much more than what the title says:
In this month’s Climate Disruption Dispatch, we look at how ACD is progressing rapidly on every front – and how even some diehard climate deniers are starting to recognize the dire danger we face.
Jan 05 2015
I have 3 things for you today.
First, a city in Canada is about to end chronic homelessness:
Clugston, who served two terms as an alderman before becoming mayor in 2013, said he was initially skeptical of the plan but began to champion the initiative when he realized it made financial sense because money is saved when citizens are housed.
It’s estimated the cost of reacting to homelessness through law enforcement, courts and prisons, emergency health care, shelters and hospital visits costs Canadians more than $7 billion per year.
“I’m a bit of a fiscal conservative and the old school you pay your way, if you want a place to live you can get a job,” Clugston said.
“I used to think you look after yourself first and you take responsibility for your problems and now I’ve come to realize that sometimes the best way is to help these people help themselves.”