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In an effort to celebrate National Foreign Language Week, the administrators of Pine Bush High School in upstate New York decided to allow the reading of the morning Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic.  Reaction from the student body was immediate. Catcalls and angry denunciations amongst the students were prevalent.

School Superintendent was caught off guard by the students reaction. She described the recitation of the pledge as "something that was supposed to be good but turned out not to be." School Principal Aaron Hopmayer made an attempt to explain the context of the reading, then apologized to the students who took offense:

We sincerely apologize for having the Pledge of Allegiance recited this morning in the High School in a language other than English.

To honor National Foreign language Week, and in an effort to celebrate the many cultures and religions that make up this great country and our school district, the Foreign Language Department planned to read the Pledge of Allegiance and morning announcements in different languages this week. The intention was to promote the fact that those who speak a language other than English still pledge to salute this great country.

We sincerely apologize to any students, staff or community members who found this activity offensive. In our school district the Pledge of Allegiance will only be recited in English as recommended by the Commissioner of Education.

This announcement did little to calm the offended students, and students who supported the reading resented the apology. Of course, parents and guardians were weighing in also.

Maybe the administrators let an opportunity pass. The apology seems to have been offered only to quickly put the issue behind them.

More here:


President Obama has a winning message. Actually, several winning messages. He's taking on Republicans on several fronts simultaneously. Raising the minimum wage, equal pay for women, restoration of long term unemployment insurance--all issues with mass public appeal, and delivered forcefully. His message deserves a chorus (this means you, Democratic Congresspersons).

Some of them want to scrap the minimum wage entirely. One House Republican said, it’s outlived its usefulness. I’d vote to repeal the minimum wage. A Senate Republican said, he doesn’t think the minimum wage helps the middle class. This is a very simple issue. Either you are in favor or raising wages for hard working Americans, or you’re not. Either you want to grow the economy from the middle out and the bottom up, so that prosperity is broad based, or you think that top down economics is the way to go.

Republicans in Congress have found the time to vote more than 50 times to undermine or repeal the healthcare bill for millions of working families. Earlier this month they voted for a budget that would give the wealthiest Americans a massive tax cut, while forcing deep cuts to investments that help middle class families, but they won’t raise wages for millions of working families when three quarters of Americans support it? It makes no sense.

And on top of that, they blocked our efforts to make sure women receive equal pay for equal work. They stood in the way as we fought to extend unemployment insurance for parents who need a little help supporting their families while they’re out looking for work. Republicans have failed to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, and they’ve increasing failed to do anything when it comes to helping people who work hard get ahead.

If there’s any good news here, it’s that Republicans in Congress don’t get the last word on this issue, or any issue. You do. The American people. The voters. Change is happening, whether Republicans in Congress like it or not. So my message to the American people is this, do not get discouraged by a vote like the one we saw this morning. Get fired up. Get organized. Make your voices heard, and rest assured, I’m going to keep working with you, and Leader Nancy Pelosi, and other members of Congress who are here today to raise wages for hard working Americans. It’s the right thing to do.

If you’re member of Congress doesn’t support raising the minimum wage, you gotta let them know that they’re out of step, and if they keep putting politics ahead of working Americans, you’ll put them out of office.

It's a message that can swing the election, if we get the chorus on board.

With Republicans now running away from healthcare as an election issue, and as the general public becomes increasingly aware that the Republican Party does not represent their interests, the time for Democrats to go on the offensive is RIGHT NOW.


Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 10:53 AM PST

Jason Collins Returns to the NBA

by hotdamn

According to Newsday:

The Nets have reached an agreement with Jason Collins, according to reports, paving the way for him to become the first openly gay athlete to play in one of America's top four professional sports leagues.
Collins hasn't played in the NBA since the 2013 season. He came out while he was a free agent and was not signed by an NBA team, even though his skills are still respectable.

Comments from members of the Nets organization are encouraging:

Since the news broke Thursday of the Nets' interest in Collins, the players have made it clear they'd welcome Collins, who averaged 3.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in his 12 seasons, with open arms.
"We would accept it greatly and it shouldn't be a problem, man," Joe Johnson said. "We've got a veteran group and I think everybody is pretty comfortable in their own skin. It's about what he can do to help us out there on that court. That's what it's about."
"I'm sure the distractions will be just that: distractions," Kevin Garnett said. "But I don't think there will be issues. We are all men here. We all understand. We are professionals. We know how to coincide with one another, which is very important when dealing with distractions."
More here:

Via TPM:

David Wildstein, the former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey executive at the center of New Jersey bridge scandal, does not want to testify before state lawmakers on Thursday. And he's going to court to avoid it.
Seems his lawyers reasoning is a bit of a stretch:
Wildstein's lawsuit argues that the subpoena served to him is invalid for a number of reasons, according to the Record. The suit questions everything from Wisniewski's signature on the subpoena to Wisniewski's ability to issue a subpoena for investigative purposes.
The last thing Christie needs right now is Wildstein under oath tomorrow.

Should be fun.

More here:

Adding for levity:

Bob Somerby of the Daily Howler recently posted an article about how Rachel Maddow was SO wasting her energies reporting the TOTAL NON-STORY of Bridgegate. According to Somerby, Rachel is an extremely non-serious pseudo-journalist:


WND riles up the Crazies:

Pope Francis’ insistence in his new apostolic exhortation that “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Quran are opposed to every form of violence” is drawing negative reviews from some analysts of the religion who point to the Islamic holy book’s calls to wage war against nonbelievers.

“How does he know that? When did he become an imam?” wonders columnist Pamela Geller.

She notes as an example the Quranic passage that states: “So when you meet those who disbelieve [in battle], strike [their] necks.”

The Crazies at Free Republic eagerly take the bait, as witnessed by these responses:
I don't know why the Pope would say something that is easily proven to be untrue. The Koran is full of violence and Mohammed murdered many himself.
Totally wrong on every level.
The pope continues to disappoint.
Perhaps the pope has not read the muslim’s book
His Holiness is sadly mistaken about Islam.
The Pope is an idiot and definitely not infallible.
My sympathies to the lay Catholics and the rest of the world as well, which can use some solid philosophical guidance against Islam.
What’s next for this guy, saying Christ was a wealthy tradesman?
Perhaps Francis needs the second coming of Martin Luther?
Have they LEGALIZED marijuana in the Vatican?
This Pope is truly confused.
this pope is about as far from authentic Catholicism as any pope has ever been.
Would you be surprised if he brought a supply of “the good stuff” with him from South America?
I just wish all these people would focus on God instead of some old guy who lives in a gold mansion in Rome.
Perhaps he has some inside word on al qaidas plans to fly a plane or two into the vatican, and is trying to buy them off?
The Pope is spreading propaganda about Islam and I find that disturbing. Priests in the Jesuit order are highly educated, so it's not like he doesn't know.
I am beginning to believe the Pope has bought into the PC garbage about Mooselims or he is stupid.
I wasn’t that happy with Benedict, but Francis doesn’t even seem to be Catholic. Benedict needs to come out of retirement.
We are just going to have to hunker down and get along without a “real” Pope for a few years.
he seems to have a habit of saying something stupid almost every time he opens his mouth.
So....Freepers hate this Pope. This is pretty remarkable.

Just offering this as proof that I'm not making this up:


From the New York Times via Balloon Juice:


  In 2011, Mr. Christie held a news conference where he accused State Senator Richard J. Codey of being “combative and difficult” in blocking two nominees. Mr. Codey, a Democrat who had served as governor following the resignation of James E. McGreevey, responded that he had not only signed off on the nominations, but had held a meeting to try to hurry them along.

    Three days later, Mr. Codey was walking out of an event in Newark when he got a call from the state police superintendent informing him that he would no longer be afforded the trooper who accompanied him to occasional public events — a courtesy granted all former governors. That same day, his cousin, who had been appointed by Mr. McGreevey to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, was fired, as was a close friend and former deputy chief of staff who was then working in the state Office of Consumer Affairs.


    Later that year, the governor was pressing hard on Alan Rosenthal, the Rutgers political scientist whom Republicans and Democrats had chosen as the tiebreaking member of the commission that was redistricting the state’s legislative districts. Mr. Christie wanted Mr. Rosenthal to vote for the map put forward by the Republicans on the commission, but instead he chose the Democrats’ plan, saying it offered more stability.

    Soon after, Mr. Christie used his line-item veto to cut $169,000 for two programs at Mr. Rosenthal’s institute at Rutgers.

Reading this, my sense is that the New York Times isn't actually scouring the metro area looking for anti-Christie stories, but rather the anti-Christie stories are coming to them. If that's the case, look for many more of these in the immediate future.

More here:

And here:


A&E has placed Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson on indefinite hiatus following anti-gay remarks he made in a recent profile in GQ.

The A&E statement reads as follows:

"We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson's comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty.His personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely."
In the GQ article, Robertson waxed religious about same-sex relationships between two consenting men:
"It seems like, to me, a vagina -- as a man -- would be more desirable than a man's anus. That's just me. I'm just thinking: There's more there! She's got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I'm saying? But hey, sin: It's not logical, my man. It's just not logical."
He states that male homosexuality is a gateway to beastiality:
"Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men."
Of course, there's an app for that, specifically Corinthians:
"Don't be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers -- they won't inherit the kingdom of God. Don't deceive yourself. It's not right."
The statement from GLAAD regarding Robertson's remarks:
"Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil's lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe," GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz said. "He clearly knows nothing about gay people or the majority of Louisianans -- and Americans -- who support legal recognition for loving and committed gay and lesbian couples. Phil's decision to push vile and extreme stereotypes is a stain on A&E and his sponsors, who now need to re-examine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families."
Robertson released this statement after his suspension:
"I myself am a product of the '60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Savior. My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the Bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together. However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other."
Another non-apology apology. They're good at those.

More here:


In an interview with David Gregory, scheduled to air Sunday on "Meet the Press", Cardinal Timothy Dolan reiterated the Catholic Churches strong opposition to gay marriage in the United States.

Gregory noted that Illinois just became the latest U.S. state to legalize gay marriage and asked, "Regardless of the church teachings, do you think this is evolving in such a way that it's ultimately going to be legal everywhere?"

"I think I'd be a Pollyanna to say that there doesn't seem to be kind of a stampede to do this," Dolan said. "I regret that."

Asked by Gregory why gay marriage is now allowed in 16 states and a clear majority of Americans now support allowing same-sex couples to wed, Cardinal Dolan has a theory:
"Well, I think maybe we've been outmarketed sometimes. We've been caricatured as being anti-gay."
I'd hardly call his stance a "caricature". But that's just me.
So, who are these malicious "caricaturists"?
"When you have forces like Hollywood, when you have forces like politicians, when you have forces like some opinion-molders that are behind it, it's a tough battle."
But, he said the church will not give up on the gay marriage issue.
Hopefully, Cardinal Dolan will be checking the mail for news from Rome regarding his new assignment.

He also states in the interview that U.S. Bishops will not support the ACA because:

"it's excluding the undocumented immigrant and it's excluding the unborn baby."
More here:

Jeez, by reading the first paragraph, one would think that only Democrats are required to use the insurance exchange:

Democrats representing Long Island in Congress are getting a taste of their own medicine: The Affordable Care Act they passed requires them to use an insurance exchange to sign up for federal health insurance by the end of the year.
But they won't be using the NY exchange:
All or most of their staff members also must give up their policies from the Federal Employees Health Benefit program and go shopping for new coverage on the locally operated Washington, D.C., health insurance exchange website.
But Peter King won't be signing up:
Rep. Peter King will avoid the exchange. But that's only because he said he's covered by his retired wife's policy, not a federal insurance plan.
Schumer is still undecided, but:
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Reps. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton), Steve Israel (D-Huntington) and Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola), who is battling lung cancer, will sign up on the exchange, their aides said.
A vast majority of their staffs will also be making the switch:
All staff members of King, Bishop, Israel and McCarthy will make the switch to the exchange, aides said. But Gillibrand and Schumer have exempted some of their staff, which federal rules allow them to do, aides said.
I'd love to hear about their personal experiences with the website...

More here:



House Republicans on Tuesday evening failed to muster the two-thirds majority needed to pass a series of three partial government funding bills.
According to House rules, a 2/3 vote was needed to advance the Bill to the Senate.
The proposed legislation was anticipated to provide House Republicans with a credible way to paint Senate Democrats as uncompromising and obstructionist.

The three partial funding bills proposed by House Republican Leadership were to temporarily fund Veterans Affairs, Washington DC and National Parks and Museums.

So now they're voting on Bills that can't even pass the House.

OK, Cantor smelled failure and marched forward:

After the vote, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) told TPM that House GOP leadership knew the bills were going to fail.
"We were told that that's what they were going to do," Cantor said. "To employ some sort of scorched-earth strategy."
But there is a method to this madness:
A House Democratic aide told TPM that their side believes Republicans took the unusual procedural route because otherwise Democrats would have had a chance to put a clean spending bill on the floor, which they believe would pass. House leadership has refused to put a clean bill on the floor.
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told TPM that the House would bring the legislation up Wednesday under regular order, which would only require a majority vote.
Of course, that's where Harry Reid tells them to pound sand.

An anonymous Democtratic Legislator explains:

"They clearly know this isn’t going anywhere," the aide said after the vote. "This was solely a face-saving measure because the American people are blaming them for shutting down the government."
More here:

"The premise of your question isn't true. I didn't make that comparison."

That was Ted Cruz' response to Meet the Press host David Gregory when asked if he regretted comments made during his faux-filibuster.

According to Cruz, this is what he meant to convey:

"I went through the centuries where, over and over again, when facing big challenges, Americans have risen to the occasion. At every stage, there were the voices of conventional wisdom that said this can't be done, and every time, Americans have risen to the challenge."
So apparently his comments were misconstrued.
Here's what he actually said during his everybody-look-at-me tour de force:
"If you go to the 1940s, Nazi Germany," Cruz said. "Look, we saw in Britain, Neville Chamberlain, who told the British people, 'Accept the Nazis. Yes, they'll dominate the continent of Europe but that's not our problem. Let's appease them. Why? Because it can't be done. We can't possibly stand against them.
And in America there were voices that listened to that, I suspect those same pundits who say it can't be done, if it had been in the 1940s we would have been listening to them. Then they would have made television. They would have gotten beyond carrier pigeons and beyond letters and they would have been on TV and they would have been saying, 'You cannot defeat the Germans.'"  
See? Gregory was trying to make something out of nothing, apparently.

More here:


The whole store quit, middle of the day, during the lucrative back-to-school sale season. The Manager was not on site at the time, so the abused store workers submitted their letter of resignation by hanging a sign in the window before calling it a career.
 photo JaimeWeQuit_zps9b04f0b1.jpg
The note reads:

"Dear Jamie, since you decided to say 'Cancer is not an excuse' and think it's OK to swear at your employees like you do all the time, we quit. This is why you can't keep a store manager longer than a year. You abuse your [role] and staff. Enjoy the fact that you just lost a store manager, co-manager, and key holder in the middle of Back to School. Think next time you treat people the way you do. We aren't allowing it anymore. Nikki, Jess, TJ."
OK, from all accounts the man's been a truly terrible boss for many years now. One former employee had this to say:
“I worked for Journeys for two and a half years and it looks like I got out at just the right time…. My mom was in the hospital after having stents put in and I was so scared of [my boss] that I broke down in tears because he wouldn't let me leave two hours early to spend time with my mom who had just gotten out of the hospital.” User Sabbatai: “I quit Journey's for very similar reasons…they don’t care one little bit about their employees.”
Of course, company representatives are concerned, but don't rule out the possibility that these are disgruntled employees:
A representative for Journeys declined to comment to Yahoo Shine, however the company updated their website with this statement: "We take situations like this seriously and are currently investigating this issue. Beyond this, we have no comment." And according to a story published Wednesday on Gawker, a source close to the manager says the former employees posted the sign as retaliation after being “reprimanded for violating company policy."
To me, it looks like the labor market is expanding a bit and people are more secure in the belief that they can start being picky about who they work for. Here's hoping.

More here:

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