Skip to main content


Showing posts from March, 2023

Move over, Hester: Speaker Mikey's in town...

Remember Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Puritan society in his novel, The Scarlet Letter?  Poor Hester Prynne violated the laws of the church, which meant that she broke society’s laws, too.  At the beginning of the novel, the reader joins Hester as she leaves the safety of the town prison and makes her way back into the society that jailed her.  Reading the book for the first time in the 11th grade, I had a hard time understanding how, in a free society, the religion of one group could also form its judicial system.  That makes the laws of God the same thing as the laws of man.   Separation of church and state was also an 11th grade U.S. history lesson, so we students figured no more Hesters could be jailed for breaking the laws of her religion .  Or so we thought.  We fought a war 250 years ago to separate the colonies from a king who was not only ruler of the government but leader of the church.  A quick walk through British history shows what a mess that ideal leads to:  remember Henry VIII

She, Sisyphus

 Sisyphus is the mythological figure doomed by the gods to roll a rock up a hill, only to have it roll back down again and restart the process. It’s kind of like the women’s movement, isn’t it ?  Women make strides in issues of health, employment, rights, only to have to begin again and roll that rock back up the hill.  So, March is the month to celebrate women, and we should reflect. This year, states have enacted abortion laws that span a draconian spectrum, from curtailing legal time for procedures to banning all abortions to criminalizing anyone involved in abortions. These regressive laws have resulted in severe illness, sterility, and births of children into poor and hungry households. We’re not even a year from the June 24, 2022 Dobbs decision, and the impact has been far-reaching and devastating.  Women will die.  This month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the ERA’s arbitrary deadline was set in stone.  Thus, even though 38 states passed the a

Beware GOP bearing gifts…

 I watched an interview with the governor of Utah this morning.  He was defending his state legislature’s recently passed law that does the following: it restricts minor’s use of social media without parental consent, restricts use of media platforms between the hours of 10:30 P.M. and 6:30 AM, and allows lawsuits against media companies that users claim harmed them.  All of this is wrapped up in the guise of parental rights, once again.   But here’s the sticking point for me:  parents already have these rights.  Parents buy the phones,  computers, and contracts that are being used by their teens.  Parents can take them away.  Parents have the right already to limit time on social media, demand that lights go out at night at a reasonable time, and fill their sons’ and daughters’ schedules with homework, sports, school programs, and family activities.  Or parents can choose not to, and let government do the heavy lifting.  But the catch is that when government makes the rules, parents h

Just Say No Didn't Work in the 80’s Either…

 I’ve got a great idea about how to extend the DeSantis plan of curtailing rights for everyone in his state.  How about “just don’t say Florida.”  No need for MaTa Green’s divorce plan:  that’s so messy and all.  Let’s just give the territory back to Spain and be done with it.  Floridians are practically living in a third world state, anyway.  After limiting women’s health care rights, banning books, and saying no to anything LGBTQ, fuzzy-brained members of the right in the state legislature have decided to ban any mention of the word “period” in schools or other public places.  Think about how this plays out.  I remember turning 11.  My birthday was perfect, with an angel food cake, lamb chops for dinner, and a host of presents. Ready to call it a day, I headed to my bedroom, happy to fall asleep with birthday visions dancing in my head while cake crumbs lingered on my breath.  Instead,  I found a grocery bag full of sanitary products sitting on my bed, followed by my mother who attem

Defund Fox !

 I have been relishing the news about Dominion v Fox News  and the embarrassing and revelatory details from the depositions of Fox News personalities and corporate executives.   What's even better is that Smartmatic has filed a defamation lawsuit against Fox  News  that is even bigger (2.7 billion vs 1.6 billion for Dominion).  And the punitive damages could be much higher. The Dominion trial starts in mid-April and an unknown date for Smartmatic.  There are many pending lawsuits against various right wing purveyors of disinformation but that is not the focus of this post. I wanted to do something to help defund Fox and here it is. I first heard about this nonprofit group, Check My Ads, in an NPR article  that has a method of draining Fox and other online disinformation sites of online advertising revenue.    It works like this - company XYZ makes educational toys for children and wants to advertise their products on the web.  The ads are distributed to millions of websites by oth

Jane’s Oppression - Part 3

Please read Jane's Dilemma - Part 1 and Jane’s Obstacles - Part 2 first. Abortions have been around as long as sex. Potions, herbs, magic, old wives tales, and quacks have provided the service to women for thousands of years, because desperate women turn to desperate measures. Problem was, many of these abortions were often unsafe, ineffective, and in some cases, deadly. Roe V. Wade changed that in the 70’s. By giving women the right to choose whether to carry a fetus to term, a host of other medical rights followed. It wasn’t simply legal abortion that gave women choices about their lives; it was also better health care that included prenatal, post miscarriage, and post-natal care. In addition, Roe ensured that a pregnancy gone wrong could be dealt with on a clinical level, without stigma or judgment. The decision opened doors to reproductive counseling and birth control accessibility, empowering women to control their futures, much like men had always been able to do. Sure, ove

Jane’s Obstacles - Part 2

Please read Jane's Dilemma - Part 1 first  If you’re old enough to remember the early 70’s, you probably remember bell bottoms, the Bee Gees, and someone who had to get married because she was pregnant. One of my best friends was the smartest person in my class. At the end of our senior year, she was a wife, a mother, and a high school graduate. What she wasn’t was heading to college, like the rest of our group, to pursue a degree, a career, and a world that was beginning to open up with choices for women. Roe happened a little too late for her and countless others who found themselves in the same position, with a choice between a hurried marriage (which didn’t work out in this case) or a back alley abortion. After 1973, the decision brought choice to those who might have made a mistake in the back of their boyfriend’s chevy and relegated themselves to a youth filled with diapers, Gerber, and dwindling chances for a career. The Roe decision not only gave women autonomy over choice

The Fed Reveals What We Value

Ready to wonk out with the Federal Reserve ? As you know, the Federal Reserve has many roles including economic research. On February 10, 2023, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York updated their report on " The Labor Market for Recent College Graduates ."  One section includes a sort-able chart detailing the major of the new college graduate, unemployment and underemployment rates, median wage in early and mid-career, etc. We are going to talk about major, median wage early career and median wage mid-career.  Let's look at the majors of new college graduates with the top ten early career median wage. Major Median Wage Early Career Median Wage Mid-Career Chemical Engineering $75,000 $120,000 Computer Engineering $74,000 $114,000 Computer Science $73,000 $105,000 Aerospace Engineering $72,000 $112,000 Electrical Engineering $70,000 $109,000 Industrial Engineering $70,000 $100,000 Mechanical Engineering $70,000 $105,000 Miscellaneous Engineering $68,000 $100,000 Business Ana

Don’t get fleeced again, Virginia

Anybody catch that CNN interview townhall with Governor Youngkin on 3/9/23 ?  Maybe you didn’t recognize him without his sleeveless fleece, but once he started talking it was vintage him in a blue suit. Usually I avoid  liars and grifters in news interviews, but a few clips on my news feed caught my eye.  So I checked out the highlights. After coy responses about a potential run for president in 2024, Youngkin turned to his favorite election lie, CRT.  Citing his executive order that said anything divisive has no place in public schools, he returned to his mantra about the importance of parents in the classroom and comfort and happiness in the hearts of all school-aged students.  After almost 40 years of teaching high school English literature, I can tell you that my goal was to make students uncomfortable, as that was what made them think.  If we aren’t uncomfortable, we don’t change.  If we don’t change, we become stagnant.  And you’ve seen stagnant water, right governor ? And about

"Show me your budget and I'll tell you what you value."

Joe Biden likes to quote his father.  Yesterday at the Philadelphia event to unveil his 2024 budget, he did it again. "Show me your budget and I'll tell you what you value" his father used to say.   Yesterday, I detailed some things in his budget here . Let's look at a few more items. Strengthens the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program -  Allows Health and Human Services (HHS) to negotiate additional rebates back to Medicaid programs from drug companies and improves purchasing power of the states and Medicaid programs.  Background - Passed in 1990, the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program (MDRP) allows the government to negotiate and lower drug prices.  More on the MDRP at KFF . Who is helped by this budget item - the state Medicaid programs, low income people on Medicaid, pregnant and postpartum women, children on various Medicaid like programs.  Drugs on a typical Medicaid formulary are incredibly inexpensive and frequently free.  This helps Medicaid patients, who are low inc

Biden Takes Care Of People And Says "I dare you!"

President Joe Biden officially announced his 2024 budget today.   So let's take a look at some of the bullet points in this proposal: Minimum tax on billionaires - 25 % minimum tax on the wealthiest 0.1%. Medicare Trust Fund solvency - households above $400,000 and certain types of wealthy investor passthrough businesses will pay a 1.2% tax into the Medicare trust fund to guarantee solvency until at least 2050.  Repealing the Trump 2017 tax cuts for the wealthy   Reforms taxes on capital gains - proposes taxing capital gains at the same rate as wage income for those with more than $1 million in income. Reversing the Trump Tax Giveaway to Large Corporations - reverses the enormous Trump Corporate tax cut and increases the minimum tax rate to 28%. Minimum International Corporate Tax - previously, Biden negotiated an international minimum corporate tax with 130 countries.  He is now proposing an increase to 21% to prevent offshoring. Expand Medicare’s Ability to Negotiate Drug Pr

Jane’s Dilemma - Part 1

Our girl Jane just finished a four-year degree program, graduating with honors in front of beaming parents who proudly watched their only daughter receive her diploma.  Unfortunately, the day after graduation, Jane discovered that all of her fears were right and she was, indeed, pregnant. Her boyfriend of the past several months had accepted a job on the other side of the country. He shouted promises that they’d stay in touch over his shoulder as he ran to catch his flight. Jane was pretty sure they wouldn’t, just like she was pretty sure her parents wouldn’t continue beaming if she told them the news. Jane looked at the three letters of interest from companies she longed to work for, lined in a row on her desk. They had made her jubilant about her future just a week ago, before she began to suspect the truth. She wondered how much interest any of these potential employers would garner if she arrived, breathless with enthusiasm and obviously pregnant. Jane twirled a wrinkled, white car

Sound the alarm and woke up !

If you’ve turned on the TV recently, you’ve probably heard some politician talking about being “woke,” while sporting an expression that looks like he just swallowed castor oil. So what is this “woke” stuff, you ask ? Woke is the past tense of the verb to wake, and in my opinion, it beats the alternative in any case. If you don’t wake up in the morning, then you sleep through the day; if you don’t wake up from a day dream, you probably slept through the last meeting you attended. And if you don’t wake up from an operation, well, we all know what that means. So why is being “woke” so bad for those on the right ? It isn’t, unless you’re a Republican in bad need of a mantra that will get you re-elected by constituents who haven’t, well, waked up to what’s happening in this country. “If woke ideology takes over, it will destroy this country. We are not going to let that happen in the state of Florida,” said Ron DeSantis in a recent speech to his constituents. Let’s dig into that. The g

News Flash ! Republicans Take Bold Step To Combat Inflation !!!!!

 Do you remember the outrage and fury last year from Republicans about the inflation rate and the blame they cast on President Biden for this problem ?   Do you remember that the Republicans ran on a midterm election promise to focus like a laser (Jewish space laser ?) on inflation and save the American people from Joe Biden's mismanagement ? Well, here it is ! H.R. 347 - Reduce Exacerbated Inflation Negatively Impacting the Nation Act It is a one page bill with the following plan: For any Executive Order (from the President) that is projected to cause an annual gross budgetary effect of at least $1 billion, the Executive Branch shall prepare a statement detailing one of the following points: Whether the Executive order is determined to have no significant impact on inflation or Is determined to have quantifiable inflationary impact on the consumer or producer price index (including a detailed description of such impact) or  Is determined likely to have a significant impact on infl

What Do Pronouns “Her” And “She" Have In Common With A Candy Company And Conservatives ?

One of my favorite Youtube commentators is “Beau of the Fifth Column”.  He looks like a redneck but is a knowledgeable and thoughtful journalist in the South. To find out the answer to the title question first watch: Let’s talk about M&Ms….   (Tucker Carlson is apparently upset with fictional spokescandies !) Then watch  Let’s talk about Hersheys and what’s happening…. (Conservatives want to boycott Hershey due to celebrating Women and pronouns). You have to hear it to believe it !