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Member since: 2002
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I know a Wobbly, & though it's tempting to say, "and you, sir, are no..." I'm sure you feel cloaked...

…in righteousness. Nonetheless, a person can still learn.

I’ll keep the DiFi issue short, because the last time I tried to lay it out cogently, the post I was responding to was gone before I was done.

My Senator is not an “untouchable darling of DU” as someone called her. She’s a woman who has spent her life in service to Democratic principles and to the people of California.

If she were an old-time Southern politician still able to breathe and vote, she’d be wheeled out onto the floor of the Senate until the age of 100, cherished by the voters who sent her there and by her fellow Southern politicians.

But not us Dems, oh no, because age and experience mean nothing to some of our cohort, even absent a little forgetfulness. The proof of that was the big push to get rid of Nancy Pelosi in favor of someone still wet behind the ears.

Critics from which century? In its time it was a powerful indictment against slavery...

… not just the US, but around the world. President Lincoln, on being introduced to Harriet Beecher Stowe, is said to have remarked to her, “So you’re the little lady whose book started this great war…”

Whatever criticisms we may have in the 21st century, however we may cringe at the long-suffering piety of Uncle Tom or fail to be moved by the travails of Little Eva crossing the ice floes — in the 19th century the portrayal of the suffering of slaves, the callousness of their owners, and the brutality of Simon Legree pounded home the lesson of this stain on our country to people in the non-slave states who were not already abolitionists and gave strength to the impassioned arguments of those who were already abolitionists.

People around the world were moved. Plays based on the book were performed — one such appears in The King and I / aka Anna and the King of Siam.

But enough. I simply believe in historical and cultural context, and not denigrating and dismissing literary works that don’t pass muster in today’s world in every aspect.

My friends & I worked so hard that year, ages 20-21. It was my big intro to politics...

A friend who was going to Long Beach State College came back to and told us about Senator Eugene McCarthy being the first to run on an antiwar platform, and away we went.

Another friend who had some kind of connection to Bobby Kennedy (I never figured out what) went to work on his campaign; but McCarthy got there first, so my friends and I were loyal, yay us.

The night of the primary election we hung out in our headquarters on the town’s main street, watching the returns on TV. Some older guy tried to kick in the door, but it was locked. We watched, until it was clear that we lost. I went home to my little apartment, where all I had was a transistor radio, the battery of which of course gave out, so I went to bed.

The following morning I went downstairs to see the old couple whose house it was; they were glued to the tv in shock, still in their nightclothes. In a montage of the commentary, we watched Mankiewicz age about a century overnight. I could weep now for that memory.

And that was it. I knew it was all over for those of us trying to elect an antiwar candidate.

1968 was a terrible year for assassinations — how could it get even worse? Yet it did. We got to see the Chicago Dem Convention’s police riots unfold, and my friend from Long Beach State had friends who were there in person — one of whom was in his political party office minding his own business when the cops stormed in and threw him against the metal filing cabinets.

I could hardly wait to leave California, and had already been accepted to the university back where I came from in 1965. At LAX as I headed for my plane back to Hawai’i, I saw passengers from Chicago coming back, wearing black armbands.

How could it get worse? Well, we got Richard Nixon, didn’t we?

As for Hubert Humphrey, poor guy. I had to grow up some more to gain perspective on him — he had an exemplary record as a progressive from Minnesota, before agreeing to run with LBJ. And over many decades, LBJ himself was considerably re-evaluated, coming up as one of our great presidents on social justice policy — if only it had not been for the Vietnam War.

RIP, Bobby. You gave your all.
RIP to our other liberal Democratic politicians of that time, who each in their own way gave their all, even if not brought down by an assassin’s bullets.

RIP to our youth.


What a nightmare! Some people who run hotels -- shouldn't, at all, ever...

My sister and I have a story, but it’s about being turned away from someplace where we had a reservation. Their parking lot was not full, but we were told they had no rooms. Sis was exhausted from extensive driving and just about ready to blow a gasket, so I suggested she wait to one side while I talked to the man sweetly about calling around to find another place for us.

While waiting, we asked to use the restroom and were turned down. Two happy young couples came in, dressed up for an evening out, and were accommodated immediately. Seriously.

Hm. To my mind we looked like two respectable middle aged ladies dressed for travel: slacks or jeans, blouses, walking shoes, clean and neat, no biker tatts or anything off-putting. Most people look at us and can tell we are sisters, though Sis is 8” taller than I am.

Finally the proprietor gave me an address. When we were back in the car and heading down the pitch black highway, I asked what the hell just happened there? She said through gritted teeth: “He thought we were lesbians.” Shocked the shit out of me, but Sis is bi- so her youthful experiences were somewhat different than mine.

But the night was not yet over.

Far down the road it was obvious we’d passed the address we were given, so we turned into an industrial park, got lost in there, made it back to the highway.

Finally saw the hotel sign. Dark, broken. But at the end of a huge parking lot there was a building with lights on in the entry and cars clustered just there. We pulled in to the parking lot, slowly. It was dark, empty. We stopped not far from the road and watched, with the engine running: almost the only lights on were at the front door, people coming and going from their cars. After awhile I said: “Do you want to go up there?” “Oh HELL no,” said she and took off.

We had just enough energy left to briefly laugh like crazy and make up stories about what kind of business they were doing at that Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Place.

We stopped at the first gas station/convenience store we saw and parked in the brightly lit parking lot by the brightly lit store. From there, Sis called Trip Advisor and explained the situation, so she could make sure to stop payment to the hotel we were refused at. I took the phone at some point to tell the story of the Very Bad Place we were told to go to by that asshole, and the woman on the other end of the line was suitably appalled. She told us to sit tight, that she was going to find us a place to stay — and after quite awhile, she did.

It was probably 2:00 a.m. by the time we got there, and the proprietress was sweet and kind. The room was clean and comfy. Sis walked into the bedroom, shut the door, and crashed. I unfolded the couch, found the extra bedding, and did likewise.

We were okay. Someone had actively wished us ill — but we were okay.

Michael Hiltzick, econ & govt policy writer for the Los Angeles Times, references this today...

(Darn, the screen jumped and I hit the “post” button. Will try to finish shortly. // update: Done)

Recommend the whole thing. He references Dollar General, where people are sometimes required to work off the clock in “wretched” conditions.

Southern governors in particular think the federal assistance is a “dangerous entitlement” and are stopping people from getting it. They seriously believe workers should be driven back to work by starvation for 1/2 of what it takes to live — because, reasons. Maybe they should be under the lash, like the olden days? Maybe their little children should sleep under the looms at the textile mills? Whistle while they work?

He uses words like “demeaning” and “insulting” and “threatening” for the ways that employers and politicians talk about workers.

On a salient note, he writes of a woman who was unable to find enough workers for her ice cream parlor to be open 7 days a week all summer, until she advertised wages of $15/hour, at which point she had “thousands” of applications.


Can’t find workers? Don’t blame federal aid

The notion that unemployment benefits are keeping able-bodied workers home has become an article of faith among employers and their lobbyists, despite a lack of any evidence that this phenomenon is endemic.
In some places, the business community hasn’t been shy about demeaning workers who aren’t clamoring to join their staffs. Typically they portray the workforce as an army of layabouts.
Here’s the insulting way that John Kabateck, California state director for the small business lobby group the National Federation of Independent Business, put it: “The federal government’s extra $300 it added to state unemployment benefits comes to an end in early September, so it will be a matter of time before showing up for work is a better-paying proposition than remaining on the couch watching reruns of Gilligan’s Island.”
NFIB, by the way, has sued to overturn California regulations requiring employers to maintain safe workplaces during the pandemic. That hints at one reason why people might feel uncomfortable about taking jobs with its member companies. The lawsuit is pending in state court in San Francisco.


The question is not whether employers are scratching for staff, but why.
“Employers simply don’t want to raise wages high enough to attract workers,” observes Heidi Shierholz, a former chief economist for the Department of Labor who is now policy director at the labor-affiliated Economic Policy Institute. “I often suggest that whenever anyone says, ‘I can’t find the workers I need,’ she should really add, ‘at the wages I want to pay.’”
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell referred to the wage question during a news conference on April 28. “We don’t see wages moving up yet,” he said. “And presumably we would see that in a really tight labor market.”

Powell listed numerous other factors that might produce a temporary labor shortage in some sectors.
“One big factor would be schools aren’t open yet, so there’s still people who are at home taking care of their children, and would like to be back in the workforce, but can’t be yet,” he said. “There are virus fears that are weighing on people, so some people don’t want to go back to work.”


For some employers, the intuitive conclusion that workers are just waiting out their unemployment benefit trumps its empirical falsity. For others, too, it’s far easier, and even cheaper, to complain about lazy workers than to entice them into work with a living wage.
As has been the case in other economic recoveries, the pace of rehiring is almost entirely in employers’ hands. Their tools are workplace conditions and wages. They just have to use them.

Not exactly off-topic, but I read a memoir of a *real* big-game hunter from over a century ago...

I disapprove of the practice, but that is beside the point; I was mainly interested because it was about the exploits of two women who had to overcome all the usual obstacles to entering a man’s world, including the snickers about how cute they were as they were setting out in Africa, before they left all the men in the dust.

That said, the author and friend went about the business of stalking and slaughtering creatures that fought back. It was fascinating, in a blood-soaked sort of way. Their trophies were many and acquired at real risk of death to themselves. Then I shut the book and was glad that times, in part, had changed, that most safaris these days are made with tripods and cameras.

The LaPierres and the Trump Boys as hunters? — yes, they are disgusting, but they are also laughable. They like to kill things, but do so at no risk to themselves or their expensive outfits. How fitting for the man who enables mass slaughter of schoolchildren and churchgoers. How fitting for the spoiled sons of a rich man who wants the government overthrown, but will in no sense appear on the barricades themselves.

I'm sorry to have to say this, but the scenario is so racist it boggles the mind. Additionally...

California was settled by Spain, as was Florida — and Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada.

The Spanish Empire extended into the Caribbean and the Pacific, as well, not just Mexico, Central America, and South America. Thus the Spanish language, you see? Brazil only speaks Portuguese because the Pope at the time was asked to intervene between between Spain and Portugal and divvied up South America.

The United States purchased some territory, took some territory as spoils of war, and seized some. Some have been states so long that white Americans appear to be completely clueless... But our country, our government, we have a responsibility for the territories we hold, and if the people are poor and ill-educated that’s on us. If the people are brown, take it up with God Almighty and don’t set about planning for cultural extinction. We have enough of that in our history.

Wow. I lived in Hawai'i for about 20 years -- I was in grade school when we got Statehood...

One of the arguments in the US Senate against statehood was exactly the racist one you articulate: it was full of brown people, Asians and Polynesians and an lot of white folks who had zero problem with interracial marriage.

Hawai’i was and is geographically isolated, and you know, to this day there are people on the Mainland who think it is some kind of foreign country.

Now to Puerto Rico. The Spanish language is not a surprise to millions upon millions of Americans who either speak it themselves or have neighbors who do. How is this a problem? Puerto Ricans are — as Hawai’ians were before them — United States citizens. Treat them as such.

You note Puerto Rico is (all caps) poor. Pardon me, but that is on us and our federal government.

"Beware those in whom the urge to excuse away murder is strong" - Hekate

We saw murder done before our very eyes. We saw the face of a cold-blooded killer staring straight at the cell-phone camera, daring anyone to stop him.

JUSTICE needs to be done, and justice needs to be SEEN to be done. We have a long, long way to go in this country, but Justice was done this day.

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