Little observations, none of which merit a diary. I thought I'd accumulate them here, and hit the publish button when the count reached 10.
The list starts under the fold.
1. Impeachment of the President
As noted on here on dailykos, sundry Republicans want to impeach the President, for all kinds of bogus reasons. Watching the trickle of reports about NSA and drone strikes coming in, it occurs to me that both Obama, and his predecessor, Bush, in a rational world, would be successfully impeached for the national security state they've created.
2. Single motherhood
Kay S. Hymowitz had an essay in the New York Times, "How Single Motherhood Hurts Kids". This statement caught my eye:
The sociologist Kathryn Edin has shown that unlike their more educated peers, these younger, low-income women tend to stop using contraception several weeks or months after starting a sexual relationship. The pregnancy — not lasting affection and mutual decision-making — that often follows is the impetus for announcing that they are a couple.Is this true? Or is it some right-wing fantasy?
3. Single motherhood - 2
As far as I'm concerned, if adults do things with mutual consent, then they are jointly responsible for any consequences. So, in the case (2.) above, whatever the woman did on her own, both man and woman are responsible any resulting kids. But here I seem to run into a small logical glitch. To be very specific, an Amanda Marcotte would insist that if the woman wants to terminate the pregnancy, that is entirely up to her, the concerned man has absolutely no say. That's fine, but then how does the notion of joint responsibility continue? To be sure, all this is an academic argument, in the sense that no matter what way people on an online forum decide the answer, the only change can come from changing materially and substantially for the better the circumstances of the people we are talking about.
4. Wendy Doniger's book on Hinduism
I have encountered Wendy Doniger and her students - Wendy's children - a decade ago, and I would no more consult her on anything about Hinduism any more than I would consult John Yoo of torture memo infamy for anything about the law. It is sad that her book was withdrawn by the publisher (Penguin Books) from India - but you have to note that it happened by an entirely legal process, without any threat of violence or bloodshed, a process by which India's Christians and Muslims have had publications withdrawn that offended them. Still, the British-India era law needs to be struck from the books.
Wendy Doniger's book contains errors of fact, and what we Hindus think are errors of interpretation. This link is to someone who knows quite a bit about this story:
If Penguin had said that we are going to issue a new edition, thank you for telling us, sometimes books have an error issue, I think that would have made things OK.What does it say about someone who refuses to correct even errors of fact?
But, my feeling is that Wendy Doniger, as a matter of principle and arrogance, did not want to change a single word.
5. Daily Kos subscription
I had a dailykos.com subscription that was set to auto-renew a few days ago. The credit card on file though, was compromised in the recent security breach at Target, and so I would expect the subscription auto-renew might fail. But I can't figure out the status of my subscription, or how to change my credit card information. And it is entirely possible that I used a different credit card. So, I'll wait for my next round of credit card statements before I go and enter a new credit card and renew my subscription.
6. USDA inspection of chicken
When I logged into dailykos, one of those banners popped up, to sign a petition for the USDA to continue to inspect chicken. From my perspective, the factory farms in which most chickens are raised are inherently inhumane and unsafe. In this "land of the free", where the absoluteness of the freedom of speech is supposedly protected, and leads to Citizens United, (and great concern over Doniger's book in India is expressed), ag-gag laws are proliferating. What is there to hide about humane and safe operations that one needs an ag-gag law? USDA inspection cannot stem the tide of contaminated chicken. I will never sign such a petition as dailykos advocated; I would rather advocate vegetarianism.
7. New Jersey journalists
The one blessing Bridgegate has bestowed is the increased visibility of some great New Jersey journalists.
8. Laundry and drop-out rate
The NYT carried a story about reforming school discipline rules, that began thusly:
LAST month, Maryland became one of the first states to tackle the widespread injustice of overly harsh discipline policies in our schools, adopting regulations that require an end to practices that have doubled the number of out-of-school suspensions for African-American students in the past decade.The story went on to talk about the successful program in Baltimore that has cut student suspension rates and increased graduation rates. What caught my eye is in bold:
Similarly, in Baltimore, local activists worked with the school district to revise its code of conduct. The new code included graduated consequences that increased with the age of the child, incidents of misbehavior and the nature of the offense.It would not have occurred to me that having clean clothes is a problem for some children. My mental image of America being that impoverished is simply not there.
Baltimore schools have instituted other alternative programs, and administrators have been trained to routinely check to make sure that non-classroom areas, including the bus stop outside, are safe.
Smart thinking about the lives students lead has also helped head off misbehavior. One principal of a Baltimore school with a dress code installed a washer and dryer in the building so that students without access to laundries could be assured of having clean khakis and button-down shirts, and not avoid school.
The result of these reforms has been a dramatic reduction in total suspensions in Baltimore schools (8,620 in 2012-13, down from 16,739 in 2006-7). Dropout rates for African-American boys decreased by 59 percent; graduation rates for that group increased by 16 percent.
9. Going Galt
If I remember Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged correctly, as Galt & cohorts withdraw from the world, there are a variety of industrial disasters. Can't help thinking of the explosion in the fertilizer plant in Texas, the spill of industrial chemicals in West Virginia, the coal ash disaster in North Carolina, and that those states are more hospitable to Galt than most.
This commentary on Ukraine bothers me, most of all, this:
....and some American diplomats, including neocon princess Victoria Nuland (wife of Robert Kagan) have been fueling the crisis further by demonstrably siding with the opposition. This American involvement was further exacerbated when a leaked conversation between Nuland and US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt revealed Washington cherry picking the members of a future cabinet--with no consultation with Ukraine's legitimately elected government.