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My guest on Virtually Speaking Susie at 9pm EST is Will Bunch, who blogs at Attytood, writes for the Philadelphia Daily News and is pretty smart, to boot! Tune in here, I’m pretty sure we’ll be arguing over Michael Vick’s new contract.

Call 646-200-3440 with questions and comments! (Pretty please? Why does no one ever call?)

Here comes another one

Tropical Storm Katia.

The Catskills

If I hear one more person talk about how Irene coverage was just “hype,” I’m gonna have to hurt them.


The young woman who shared my hospital room had pneumonia and was hacking up a storm. After she was finally moved to the ICU, I asked the staff nurse if she was contagious. Even though the nurse already told me the woman probably caught the pneumonia when she was in the hospital recently to deliver a baby, she said, “Oh, no, no.” Right.

“Well, I’d feel better if someone would clean the bathroom and empty the trashcans with all her tissues,” I said.

They finally cleaned it right before I left. And even though I wiped down what I could (considering how I was tethered to an IV stand), I now have a cold. I never get colds, it’s been years since I had one. Sigh…

‘I’m willing to testify’

“And willing to take any punishment I am due.” — Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, Larry Wilkerson, on war crimes of Bush and Cheney.

Bill O’Reilly

Using local cops to get even with your (almost) ex-wife’s boyfriend? Stay classy, Bill-O!

Look how Scott Walker saves money

Instead of union contracts, Wisconsin teachers now have to abide by local handbooks suggested by Gov. Scott Walker. What does refusing to allow workers to help a sick colleague or longer skirts have to do with saving money? And just listen to the nasty wingnuts in the audience at the New Berlin school board meeting. Via the Blue Cheddar blog:

The “tools” Walker has handed to local governments are supposedly meant to help cut costs. However the changes to the New Berlin school workplace approved August 29 don’t look like mere cost-savings to me. New Berlin Education Association President Diane Lazewski agrees in MJS: “I would be surprised to see any other handbook as punitive as ours,” I should note that all details aren’t available until 9/8 and changes occur 10/1 according to a document from the blog Teachers Against Walker

Update: This 51 page Draft of School District of New Berlin Employee Handbook – Parts A and B states that it goes into effect 9/1/11

A few of the changes:

A ‘sick bank’ which allows teachers to donate sickleave to seriously ill colleagues will be eliminated.
–No set pay for overtime; only stipends
–Elementary teachers work an added 205 hours without added pay.
–Secondary teachers work an added 95 hours without added pay.
and there are odd restrictions such as
–Dress Code: Skirts below knee, no sweatshirts, no jeans, no large logos, no open shirts, etc. and
–The loss of all microwaves, refrigerators, and coffeemakers.

I called a young teacher, E., from Racine just before the meeting. E. said New Berlin’s handbook is the worst of a new crop of handbooks he’s seen. Handbooks now serve in lieu of contracts for public school employees where contracts have expired.

E. says: “This turns back the clock. It keeps teachers on call until 5PM for I.E.P meetings (Individualized Education Programs). This is eating into the time of people. Making them do more work for less money”. More details are HERE.

E. pointed out that clearly not all school boards are heavy-handed. The Shorewood School Board has opted for a collaborative approach to its handbook.

I gathered through tweets the meeting attracted 500-600 people, with incoming drivers having to park very far away. At the very beginning of the meeting, the board met privately for a time, sending complaints of undemocratic process and even illegal meeting practices through social media [claims I have not checked into.] I got conflicting reports on the composition of the crowd. A MJS reporter tweeted that there was a 50% pro-handbook and 50% anti-handbook audience.

A mass of anti-teacher residents booed and catcalled the teachers and their allies while they gave public testimony. And I’ve now seen three reports via social media that candy pacifiers were used to taunt teachers – supposedly an idea of the Queen of mean radio ranters, Vicki McKenna.* According to WEAC, at least 3 other right wing tak radio personalities called for citizens to oppose teachers: Belling, Wagner & Charlie Sykes.


Obama blocked war crimes prosecutions.

This probably isn’t news to you. I already wrote about how the administration pressured the Spanish judiciary over possible prosecutions.

A disease

Called “being poor.”

There’s something in the water

And we (the official “we”) are all pretending it’s not there:

The fear is palpable on the docks from Galveston to Panama City. Commercial fishermen working the waters hardest hit by the BP oil spill are worried sick about their future. It keeps them up at night. Many are convinced the 200 million gallons of crude that spewed into the Gulf last year have done irreparable damage to the fragile fisheries that provide their livelihood. According to a new CBS News segment, Gulf fishermen “have started catching fish with sores, fin rot, and infections at a greater frequency than ever before.”

It would seem BP’s oil is coming home to roost in an epidemic of sick fish and devastated lives. An Aug. 15 CBS News video – that’s going viral as we speak – captures the uncertainty of tens of thousands of commercial Gulf fishermen: “I don’t think we’ll be fishing in five years,” says Lucky Russell. “My opinion. …Everybody is worried.”

Everybody includes LSU oceanography Professor Jim Cowan, who has been studying the Gulf ecosystem for years:

“When one of these things comes on deck, it’s sort of horrifying,” Cowan said. “I mean, there these large dark lesions and eroded fins and areas on the body where scales have been removed. I’d imagine I’ve seen 30 or 40,000 red snapper in my career, and I’ve never seen anything like this. At all. Ever.”

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