By Michelle Chen
Sep 2, 2011
For a typical boshttp://www.inthesetimes.com/working/entry/11885/could_georgias_unpaid_labor_scheme_bring_relief_to_the_nations_jobless/s, there’s only one thing better than getting away with not paying your workers: getting the government to supply you with people who will work for free. It’s an employer’s dream that may soon become reality around the country, as President Obama has moved toward incorporating it in his emerging job-creation agenda.
The job-creation flavor of the week is GeorgiaWork$, a job program that has for several years funneled unemployed workers into job slots as “trainees.” Under this half-internship, half-indentured servitude scheme, a worker can earn a $240 weekly stipend on top of regular unemployment benefits for eight weeks, working 24 hours per week. Unlike other job subsidy programs, which use generally use public dollars to supplement workers’ regular earnings, GeorgiaWork$ allows the state to capitalize on existing unemployment payments while giving a free boost to private employers. Workers, often hired in service sectors like child care and restaurant work, can only hope that their bosses will hire them after their preliminary test run ends.
This system fits well with Obama’s anti-spending, quasi-pro-stimulus double-speak, and his forthcoming jobs plan may include a federal version of Georgia’s virtually free labor system.
While there may be many desperate people ready to forfeit labor standards for any form of paid work, the Huffington Post reports that so far, the program doesn’t seem to live up to its promise of sustainable job growth:
We should know by now that the Vatican is incapable of telling people the truth about anything.
From the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/04/world/europe/04vatican.html?scp=1&sq=vatican&st=cse
By Rachel Donadio
Published: September 3, 2011
VATICAN CITY — In a strong rebuke to the Irish government, the Vatican said Saturday that it had never discouraged Irish bishops from reporting the sexual abuse of minors to the police and dismissed claims that it had undermined efforts to investigate abuse as “unfounded.”
The statement was the latest salvo in a tense diplomatic standoff since the Irish government released a report in July accusing the Vatican of encouraging bishops to ignore guidelines requiring them to report abuse cases to civil authorities.
Days later, Prime Minister Enda Kenny assailed the Vatican as having tried to block an inquiry into sexual abuse by priests and placing its interests ahead of protecting children. The speech led the Vatican to recall its ambassador.
In its first public statement on the issue since then, the Vatican said Saturday that it “understands and shares the depth of public anger and frustration at the findings” of the July report, “which found expression in the speech” by Mr. Kenny. But it said both the report and the speech hinged on a “misinterpretation” of an important letter.
The Vatican also dismissed as “unfounded” a statement by the Irish Parliament that the Vatican’s intervention “contributed to the undermining of the child protection framework and guidelines of the Irish state and Irish bishops.”
The July report, the fourth in a series of scathing Irish government reports into sexual abuse by priests and evidence of a widespread cover-up, found that clergy members in the rural diocese of Cloyne had not acted on complaints against 19 priests from 1996 to as recently as 2009. The guidelines adopted by Irish bishops in 1996 required that abuse cases be reported to the police.
The report pointed a finger at Rome for encouraging bishops to ignore the reporting guidelines.
The report cited a confidential letter to the bishops of Ireland from the Vatican ambassador in 1997, in which he said that he had “serious reservations” about the child-protection guidelines, and that they violated canon law.
Wake up and smell the McCafé: Cold cereal, donuts and orange juice are breakfast staples because somebody somewhere wanted money.
By Anneli Rufus
September 2, 2011
Not all of it. But nearly every breakfast staple — cold cereal, donuts, yogurt, bagels and cream cheese, orange juice, frappuccino — is a staple only because somebody somewhere wanted money. Wake up and smell the McCafé.
Seeking to provide sanitarium patients with meatless anti-aphrodisiac breakfasts in 1894, Michigan Seventh-Day Adventist surgeon and anti-masturbation activist John Kellogg developed the process of flaking cooked grains. Hence Corn Flakes. Hence Rice Krispies. Hence a rift between Kellogg and his business partner/brother, who wanted to sweeten Kellogg’s cereals in hopes of selling more. Guess who won.
In pre-Corn Flakes America, breakfast wasn’t cold or sweet. It was hot, hearty and lardy, and it had about 4,000 calories.
“Breakfast was the biggest meal of the day. Eaten before you headed out to do a whole day of farm chores, it had to keep you going until dinner,” says food historian Andrew F. Smith, author of Eating History: Thirty Turning Points in the Making of American Cuisine (Columbia University Press, 2009). Pre-industrial Americans loaded up on protein-rich eggs, sausages, ham and American-style belly-fat bacon along with ancient carb classics: mush, pancakes, bread.
The Great Cereal Shift mirrored — and triggered — other shifts: Farm to factory. Manual to mechanical. Cowpuncher to consumer. Snake-oil superstition to science. Biggest of all was food’s transition from home-grown/home-butchered to store-bought.
From Climate Story Tellers: http://www.climatestorytellers.org/stories/james-hansen-white-house-and-tar-sands/
By James E. Hansen
September 2, 2011
Tar Sands Action organized a civil disobedience sit–in at The White House to oppose construction of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline that began on August 20 and will culminate in a big rally on September 3rd. On August 29 I joined 60 religious leaders and other fellow protestors. I was arrested that day. But before I was handcuffed, I addressed fellow activists who had gathered outside The White House with these words:
Let us return for a moment to the election night in 2008. As I sat in our farmhouse in Pennsylvania, watching Barack Obama’s victory speech, I turned my head aside so my wife would not see the tears in my eyes. I suspect that millions cried. It was a great day for America.
We had great hopes for Barack Obama — perhaps our dreams were unrealistic — he is only human. But it is appropriate, it is right, in a period honoring Martin Luther King, to recall the hopes and dreams of that evening.
We had a dream — that the new President would understand the intergenerational injustice of human–made climate change — that he would recognize our duty to be caretakers of creation, of the land, of the life on our planet — and that he would give these matters the priority that our young people deserve.
We had a dream — that the President would understand the commonality of solutions for energy security, national security and climate stability — and that he would exercise hands–on leadership, taking the matter to the public, avoiding backroom crippling deals with special interests.
We had a dream — that the President would stand as firm as Abraham Lincoln when he faced the great moral issue of slavery — and, like Franklin Roosevelt or Winston Churchill, he would speak with the public, enlisting their support and reassuring them.
Perhaps our dreams were unrealistic. It is not easy to find an Abraham Lincoln or a Winston Churchill. But we will not give up. There can be no law or regulation that stops us from acting on our dreams.
Continue reading at: http://www.climatestorytellers.org/stories/james-hansen-white-house-and-tar-sands/