Suspended coffee

This reminds me of the story about my neighborhood diner, where people paid the checks for the people after them:

Can’t afford coffee? No matter. In Bulgaria, an old Italian tradition that sees good souls buying hot drinks for those who struggle to make ends meet has taken hold after weeks of tensions over deepening poverty.

More than 150 cafes across Bulgaria have joined a goodwill initiative modelled on the Italian “caffe sospeso” tradition, which literally means “suspended coffee”, according to a Facebook page devoted to the movement.

The tradition — born in the cafes of Italy’s southern city of Naples — sees people pay in advance for one or several coffees without drinking them.

A customer-in-need can then later ask if there is a “suspended coffee” available and have a hot drink without having to pay for it.

Poverty in Bulgaria — the European Union’s least wealthy country — is increasingly sparking social unrest, with several desperate people setting themselves on fire in the past month.

Weeks of street protests also forced the right-wing government to resign on February 20.

Most cafes that decide to join the “caffe sospeso” initiative — which has been covered extensively on television — have posted pictures of payment slips issued for free coffees on the Facebook page.

A letter to Victoria’s Secret from a father

Amen!

Dear Victoria’s Secret,

I am a father of a three year old girl. She loves princesses, Dora the Explorer, Doc McStuffins and drawing pictures for people. Her favorite foods are peanut butter and jelly, cheese and pistachios.

Even though she is only three, as a parent I have had those thoughts of my daughter growing up and not being the little girl she is now. It is true what they say about kids, they grow up fast. No matter how hard I try I know that she will not be the little ball of energy she is now; one day she will be a rebellious teenager that will more than likely think her dad is a total goofball and would want to distance herself from my embarrassing presence.

I know that this is far down the line and I try to spend as much time as I can with her making memories of this special time.

But as I read an article today posted on The Black Sphere, it really got me thinking that maybe the culture that we currently find ourselves in is not helping the cause.

Recently I read an article that Victoria’s Secret is launching a line of underwear and bras aimed at middle school aged children. The line will be called “Bright Young Things” and will feature ” lace black cheeksters with the word “Wild” emblazoned on them, green and white polka-dot hipsters screen printed with “Feeling Lucky?” and a lace trim thong with the words, “Call me” on the front.”

As a dad, this makes me sick.

I believe that this sends the wrong message to not only my daughter but to all young girls.
I don’t want my daughter to ever think that her self-worth and acceptance by others is based on the choice of her undergarments. I don’t want my daughter to ever think that to be popular or even attractive she has to have emblazon words on her bottom.

I want my daughter (and every girl) to be faced with tough decisions in her formative years of adolescence. Decisions like should I be a doctor or a lawyer? Should I take calculus as a junior or a senior? Do I want to go to Texas A&M or University of Texas or some Ivy League School? Should I raise awareness for slave trafficking or lack of water in developing nations? There are many, many more questions that all young women should be asking themselves… not will a boy (or girl) like me if I wear a “call me” thong?

I want my daughter to know that she is perfect the way she is; I want my daughter to know that no matter what underwear she is wearing it does not define her.

I believe that this new line “Bright Young Things” thwarts the efforts of empowering young women in this country. “Bright Young Things” gives off the message that women are sex objects. This new line promotes it at a dangerously young age.

I implore you to reconsider your decision to start this line.

By doing so you will put young girls’ self-esteem, self-worth and pride above profits.

Sincerely,

Rev. Evan Dolive
Houston, TX

Hat tip to John Yannone

Guns don’t kill people, Americans kill people

“There is something wrong with the American character as to why we believe as society and officially as government that violence is a means to an end, that violence is OK to solve our problems, if we think somebody might have some weapons of mass destruction, it`s OK to go and invade their country and kill hundreds of thousands of civilians.” — Michael Moore, MSNBC, March 22, 2012

Killing the spider plant

spiderplant

I recently killed a spider plant. I did my best to keep it alive, but the southern exposure was too intense and even a spider plant couldn’t handle it. Still, it’s depressing, being the kind of person who managed to kill a spider plant.

The U.S. economy is a lot like that spider plant — almost impossible to kill, and yet, we did it anyway.

Incomes for the bottom 90 percent of Americans only grew by $59 on average between 1966 and 2011 (when you adjust those incomes for inflation), according to an analysis by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston for Tax Analysts. During the same period, the average income for the top 10 percent of Americans rose by $116,071, Johnston found.

To put that into perspective: if you say the $59 boost is equivalent to one inch, then the incomes of the top 10 percent of Americans rose by 168 feet, Johnston explained to Alternet last week.

Walmart sues union

I wonder when it will occur to these 1%ers that if they keep it up, they will never again be able to go out in public without a backlash:

(Reuters) – Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) has sued a major grocery workers union and others who have protested at its Florida stores, the latest salvo in its legal fight to stop “disruptive” rallies in and around its stores by groups seeking better pay and working conditions.

Wal-Mart does not have union-represented workers in its U.S. stores. Nevertheless, it has long faced opposition from various labor groups including the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), and from a small but vocal group of current and former employees backed by the union and known as OUR Walmart.

SCOTUS hears Prop 8 arguments today

It really is an idea whose time has come. If not this decision, another one — because the tide has turned, finally.

A four-year legal battle to extend the right of marriage to same-sex couples no matter where they live gets its moment before the Supreme Court on Tuesday in historic oral arguments difficult to imagine even a decade ago.

The first of two days of oral arguments over what supporters call marriage equality brings the boldest of the claims that gay rights activists will make — that there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage that states may not deny.

The nine justices will consider California’s Proposition 8, which voters passed in 2008 to define marriage as between a man and woman and to overturn a state Supreme Court decision earlier that year that approved same-sex marriage.
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A confederacy of reformers

Go read it all:

Rather than trying to fix the schools which have poor students who are performing poorly, Reformers believe it’s better to close the doors and shove all those kids into higher performing schools, no matter how high the class size gets. Just this past week Rahm Emmanuel closes 54 schools in Chicago and shuffled all those kids to other schools. I have not seen any studies that show this strategy works. I have seen some that show these students are more likely to feel disaffected by school, by the longer bus rides, the cramped classrooms, by the loss of all their friends and teachers, and tend to perform worse the next year and even drop out. You won’t see any studies showing this is effective, because it’s not. What you will see is “school” scores which Reformers point to and say things are going swell. What they don’t tell you is they routinely change these formula from year to year to make them say whatever they want to say. Pre-school closing and privatizing they say how horrible the scores are. After a few years of destructive policies they boost the scores by adding points or changing the test and say all is going well and pat themselves on the back. For the schools that even the most generous boosts are insufficient they simply exclude from the rankings. You can’t be disappointed by what you can’t see. To make sure you can’t see it they usually stop providing data to researchers and remove all traces of historical or current school data from their websites, as Louisiana has done.

So what’s my point do you ask?

I could go on, and maybe I will later when the fancy strikes me, but I hope this is enough for you to start seeing the picture I am.

What I am seeing is a purposeful plot to destroy public schools, and to profit from the destruction. These folks say they are data conscious and want to rely on “data driven decisions” but if that were true the data already readily available shows that everything they are doing is having the opposite effect of what they are purporting to provide. There is too much coordination for this to be accidental, and they are too successful for me to believe they are simply not competent enough to understand the data that disproves everything they claim. These groups have gone out of their way to spin the data, falsify the data, or simply hide or destroy the data to prevent people from seeing what is going on. These groups are fully aware of what they are doing – destroying public education in our country. Some of them are doing it purely for profit driven motives, but there is more going on here. These are some of the puzzle pieces I have and what I see. Now if we allow this to continue, what do you see?

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