Wednesday, November 9, 2011


A victory for collective bargaining and public employees in Ohio, but securing the rights of public employees is only part of the battle. For the moment, it seems that the Republicans' attempt to pit the secure middle class versus the less-secure by sowing seeds of resentment has failed, but to ensure the survival of the middle-class, public sector unions need to fight for private sectors unions, too:

Republicans gladly acknowledge the divide in our economy that often places many of private sector workers on the side of have-nots—only to exploit it by mobilizing resentment against those with relative security. Public unions should be thinking of ways to help pull up their embattled fellow laborers in the private sector—or risk being dragged down themselves.


[L]et’s not pop too much champagne yet. … [P]ublic sector workers everywhere will be vulnerable until workers can find ways to make the private sector give up a greater share of its wealth to its workers. The divide among workers between haves and have-nots isn’t sustainable for much longer. What remains to be seen is whether it will be resolved to the benefit of workers at all. 

Back in February, in the context of the radical right-wing assault on treating workers decently and humanely, Harvard labor economist Richard Freeman noted that:
Some working-class people see so few possibilities for their lives that it is eroding the aspirational nature that has long been typical of Americans.

“It shows a hopelessness,” he said. “It used to be, ‘You have something I don’t have; I’ll go to my employer to get it, too. Now I don’t see any chance of getting it. I don’t want to be the lowest one on the totem pole, so I don’t want you to have it either.’”

Seems like the 99% showed some class solidarity and won this round. But no doubt that Repubs will continue to shit on the middle-class and attempt to divert the public from their class warfare through the politics of resentment that Kasich, Walker, and others have played on throughout 2011.


When people realize just how much government programs they don't usually think of favor the rich (i.e., the “hidden qualit[ies] of social welfare benefits in the tax code”), they don't like it. (More posts worth reading on the invisible welfare state here.)

Go to Wal-Mart to get medical care. Hmm, maybe they'll offer me discounted chemo once my insurance maxes out?

The War on Drugs failed long ago, but that hasn't stopped the Obama administration from continuing with the same old bullshit as they fight against medical marijuana.

Privatizing the prison industrial complex has a plethora of problems, and now the Supreme Court is deciding whether private prisons can be exempt from the Eighth Amendment.

Traffic jams are killing you. Less sprawl and more public transit, please.

WalkScore just got better.
Apparently, California's disastrous experience with Proposition 13's capping of property taxes didn't dissuade Indiana voters from doing the same last year. Now voters have to face the havoc they wrought in their anti-tax fervor, as some school districts are charging a monthly fee to ride the school bus. The response of many: drive their kids to school themselves, increase traffic, spew emissions.

Shrinking the digital divide with discounted internet access and cheap, refurbished computers for poor families, thanks to the FCC.

Watch the video for Tom Waits' “Satisfaction.”

Really? The Pop Group just got its widest exposure ever, I imagine. St. Vincent appeared on The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon, and rather than promoting her excellent new album Strange Mercy, she instead decided to cover The Pop Group's excellent 1979 classic “She Is Beyond Good and Evil.”

Carl Zimmer's new book on science tattoos (slideshow here) gets turned into a lesson plan.

Better Homes and Gardens knows what's up. Their list of handmade gifts for the holidays includes a DIY Sashiko Kit from Saké Puppets. I've told you once before, but I'll tell you again: Ang's kits make an excellent present for your favorite crafty friend.

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