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Arizona’s new slut law

By Susie
When I was 18, I worked for a publishing company that was a little bit strange. The female department head was a fundamentalist Christian and a member of Jews for Jesus who used to hold Tuesday morning prayer meetings before work. It was well known that if you never did attend a prayer meeting, you could forget about ever getting a raise.

My immediate supervisor was a young woman named Janice. One morning, while Janice was in the restroom, the department head went rummaging in her purse and found her birth control pills. Instead of talking to her, she called all the editorial clerks and assistants into her department and announced that we were no longer permitted to socialize with the editors, and that we were nothing more than “Jezebels, sluts and whores of Babylon”. (I found this particularly ironic since one of my co-workers graduated from a genteel and well-known Southern women’s Christian college. She’d confided in me that both her father and grandfather—church elders—had raped her. The father raped her shortly after she tearfully confided in him that she’d been raped by her grandfather. “The family that prays together”, etc. …)

The department head also announced that if it was discovered that anyone was using birth control pills, she would be fired immediately. And that if anyone didn’t like it, well, she could just resign.

So I went back to my desk and typed up a resignation letter. I also took another piece of paper, drew a swastika and taped it to the department head’s door. (What can I say? I was young.)

This was my introduction to the fact that there are these kinds of people in the world. And now the modern Republican party has adopted the untrammeled craziness that was my former department head. For evidence, see this from the Jezebel blog—yet another draconian, slut-shaming (and most likely illegal) law proposed in a Republican state:

A proposed new law in Arizona would give employers the power to request that women being prescribed birth control pills provide proof that they’re using it for non-sexual reasons. And because Arizona’s an at-will employment state, that means that bosses critical of their female employees’ sex lives could fire them as a result. If we could harness the power of the crappy ideas coming out of the state of Arizona, we could probably power a rocket ship to the moon, where there are no Mexicans or fertile wombs and everyone can be free to be as mean a cranky a**hole as they want at all times! Arizona Heaven!

Yesterday, a Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed Republican Debbie Lesko’s HB2625 by a vote of 6-2, which would allow an employer to request proof that a woman using insurance to buy birth control was being prescribed the birth control for reasons other than not wanting to get pregnant. It’s all about freedom, she said, echoing everyone who thinks there’s nothing ironic about claiming that a country that’s “free” allows people’s bosses to dictate what medical care is available to them through insurance. First amendment. The constitution. Rights of religious people to practice the treasured tenets of their faiths, the tenets that dictate that religious people get to tell everyone who is not of faith how they’re supposed to live, and the freedom to have that faith enforced by law. Freedom®.

Further, Lesko states, with a straight face, that this bill is necessary because “we live in America; we don’t live in the Soviet Union.”

Pig

by Susie
I’d suggest writing to ABC and ask them why they’re featuring a common criminal on their new afternoon show:

Celebrity chef and “The Chew” co-host Mario Batali and his business partner, Joseph
Bastianich, have agreed to pay $5.25 million to current and former employees for bilking a portion of their tips.

As many as 1,100 waiters, bartenders, captains and other staff members of his New York restaurants including Babbo and Del Posto may be compensated, the Associated Press reports.

The class-action suit was filed in a Manhattan federal court in 2010, with claims that Batali and Bastianich had a standard policy of deducting as much as 4 to 5 percent of the tip pool each night.

‘Why I am leaving Goldman Sachs’

by Susie
An executive director resigns with a public letter. Let the howls of outraged bankers with hurt fee-fees begin!

Today, many of these leaders display a Goldman Sachs culture quotient of exactly zero percent. I attend derivatives sales meetings where not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients. It’s purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them. If you were an alien from Mars and sat in on one of these meetings, you would believe that a client’s success or progress was not part of the thought process at all.

It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off. Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as “muppets,” sometimes over internal e-mail. Even after the S.E.C., Fabulous Fab, Abacus, God’s work, Carl Levin, Vampire Squids? No humility? I mean, come on. Integrity? It is eroding. I don’t know of any illegal behavior, but will people push the envelope and pitch lucrative and complicated products to clients even if they are not the simplest investments or the ones most directly aligned with the client’s goals? Absolutely. Every day, in fact.

It astounds me how little senior management gets a basic truth: If clients don’t trust you they will eventually stop doing business with you. It doesn’t matter how smart you are.

by Susie
Robert Reich:

Republicans have morality upside down. Santorum, Gingrich, and even Romney are barnstorming across the land condemning gay marriage, abortion, out-of-wedlock births, access to contraception, and the wall separating church and state.

But America’s problem isn’t a breakdown in private morality. It’s a breakdown in public morality. What Americans do in their bedrooms is their own business. What corporate executives and Wall Street financiers do in boardrooms and executive suites affects all of us.

There is moral rot in America but it’s not found in the private behavior of ordinary people. It’s located in the public behavior of people who control our economy and are turning our democracy into a financial slush pump. It’s found in Wall Street fraud, exorbitant pay of top executives, financial conflicts of interest, insider trading, and the outright bribery of public officials through unlimited campaign “donations.”

Political scientist James Q. Wilson, who died last week, noted that a broken window left unattended signals that no one cares if windows are broken. It becomes an ongoing invitation to throw more stones at more windows, ultimately undermining moral standards of the entire community

The windows Wall Street broke in the years leading up to the crash of 2008 remain broken. Despite financial fraud on a scale not seen in this country for more than eighty years, not a single executive of a major Wall Street bank has been charged with a crime.

Austerity

The money lenders should be very proud of themselves.

Doo-Occupy

Details here.

Be prepared

by Susie
Here’s some cheery news!

(Reuters) – For the nearly 5 million people who live along the U.S. coasts from Maine to the Gulf of Mexico and the West Coast, rising seas fueled by global warming have doubled the risk of so-called once-a-century floods, according to a trio of environmental reports released on Wednesday.

These new reports – one from the non-profit group Climate Central and two others published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Research Letters – offer a detailed picture of where the most severe risks are along coastlines of the contiguous 48 states.

Based on 2010 U.S. Census population data and a fresh analysis of high tide lines by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Climate Central report’s findings can be seen online at surgingseas.org

South Florida may be “indefensible” against floods caused by higher seas and the bigger storm surges that are expected to result, said Ben Strauss, an expert on ecology and evolutionary biology who is chief operating officer of Climate Central. He co-authored the two journal reports and the online report.

An estimated $30 billion in taxable property is vulnerable in southeast Florida alone, according to a preliminary independent analysis cited in the report.

In California, some places that have never seen severe floods could be vulnerable to them in the next decade or two, Strauss said.
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The wrong language

by Susie
I think one of the reasons why I never became a heavy hitter in the liberal blogosphere is that I absolutely reject the idea that wonking people out is a winning strategy. It’s just not, but liberals seem to want to double down on it, anyway. Whatever the arena – Facebook, Twitter, blogs, cable news — there’s always some liberal trying to respond to conservatives by being “logical” and “rational.”

Yeah, it’s worked great so far, hasn’t it?

So George Lakoff gets no argument from me on this:

I think Democrats need much better positive messaging, expressing and repeating liberal moral values — not just policies– uniformly across the party. That is not happening.

One of the reasons that it is not happening is that there is a failure to understand the difference between policy and morality, that morality beats policy, and that moral discourse is absolutely necessary. This is a major reason why the Democrats lost the House in 2010. Consider how conservatives got a majority of Americans to be against the Obama health care plan. The president had polled the provisions, and each had strong public support: No preconditions, no caps, no loss of coverage if you get sick, ability to keep your college-age child on your policy, and so on. These are policy details, and they matter. The conservatives never argued against any of them. Instead, they re-framed; they made a moral case against “Obamacare.” Their moral principles were freedom and life, and they had language to go with them. Freedom: “government takeover.” Life: “death panels.” Republicans at all levels repeated them over and over, and convinced millions of people who were for the policy provisions of the Obama plan to be against the plan as a whole. They changed the public discourse, changed the brains of the electorate — especially the “independents” — and won in 2010.

For several decades now, I’ve been telling Democratic candidates the same thing: Telling people they’re stupid for supporting the other guy (because he’s corrupt, unfair, a hypocrite, etc.) is a losing strategy. You have to offer them something, like a big idea.

Democrats keep getting bogged down in the minutiae. It’s why voters roll their eyes and say, “Oh, there they go again.”

Whenever I argue politics, I do it from a moral perspective. It connects with people. Making them feel stupid doesn’t.

Battle of who could care less

After, what, 13 years? This song still cracks me up. Ben Folds Five:

Sweet baby James

Happy birthday to my son James. James Taylor and the Dixie Chicks:

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