Author: winter b

Furthermore! – Sisyphus and 9-1-1

Imagine you’re walking along a high ridge and you see a large boulder poised on the very lip. Amazingly, it’s been hanging there like that forever. Then you brush it by accident and it starts rolling. Not even Sisyphus could stop its fall. But he’ll try. We all think we’re familiar with what happens when someone calls 9-1-1. We’ve seen it countless times in movies, and we’ve even seen people make a call, discover they’ve made a mistake, and cancel the call. Well, that’s not quite true. You see, I dialed 9-1-1 by accident yesterday, and I subsequently watched an amazing, embarrassing, and ultimately astonishing boulder roll down a hill. And, like Sisyphus, I could push back against it, but it just kept rolling. I had dialed an insurance agent. I thought. Imagine my surprise when the voice that answered immediately was, “County 9-1-1. What is your emergency?” I caught my breath and answered, “I’m sorry. I don’t have an emergency. I must have misdialed.” Pleasant young man, hereafter “He”:  That’s quite all right, ma’am. Are you sure you’re all right?” Me:  “I’m fine, I just misdialed. I’m so sorry.” “No problem. It happens. But you’re sure you’re okay?” “Absolutely.” “Great. May I have your name and address please, so I can close out the call?” Now of course he had my address right off, it was on his screen. But I obligingly answered. “And you’re sure there’s no...

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Noontime News Roundup – July 5, 2010

Noontime News is a snapshot of our RSS feeds from the noon (Eastern time) hour.   Haiti quake also shaking up traditional view of women “PORT-AU-PRINCE — Cendra Guillaume walks into the dusty depot of manly machines, passes fellow female workers, and steps into the front office with a familiar look of determination.” ∞ No Dissent Allowed: Leading Conservatives Call For Steele To Resign For Daring To Question War “This past Friday, video surfaced of RNC Chairman Michael Steele speaking at a fundraiser in Connecticut about the war in Afghanistan. While some of Steele’s comments at the fundraiser were clearly inaccurate — such as his claim that the war was of “Obama’s choosing,” when it was started by his predecessor — he also made reasonable, debate-worthy arguments that engaging in a prolonged land war in Afghanistan is unwise.” ∞ BP used oil industry tax break to write off its rent for Deepwater rig. “Transocean, the company that owns the failed Deepwater Horizon rig that caused the Gulf oil spill, used well-known tax havens in the Cayman Islands and Switzerland to lower its U.S. corporate tax rate by almost 15 points. And due to a break in the U.S. tax code, BP was also allowed to write off the rent it paid to Transocean on its own tax bill, saving it hundreds of thousands of dollars per day” ∞ As...

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Furthermore! – “My walk of shame”

One of the saddest sights I’ve been seeing over the last six months is the growing number of people standing in the median at busy intersections, holding signs, and begging. These are young people, and on ratty pieces of cardboard they tell their stories. “Laid off, 4 kids, can’t pay rent.” “Laid off, 2 kids, going to be evicted.” They cram as much as they can about their circumstances in the little bit of space provided by the end of a carboard box. They walk up and down in the heat and rain, hoping someone at a stoplight will take pity. Few people seem to. There’s a tendency not to believe these signs, mainly because people who’ve never been there don’t realize how little assistance public assistance actually provides. And then an awful lot of people just think, “Get a job.” Well, if you go out for any job opening these days, even the part-time ones at fast food places, you’ll find hundreds of applicants for that small number of jobs. Job seekers are standing in line for hours to fill out applications, hoping to get an interview, and in the end only three or four will get hired. Time and again, I hear people say, “I’ve been looking for months. I never even get an interview.” It took my daughter a year and a half, but she’s 17....

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Noontime News Roundup – July 4, 2010

Noontime News is a snapshot of our RSS feeds from the noon (Eastern time) hour. Jefferson’s First Draft “The Library of Congress has just released the results of a study of the first draft of the Declaration of Independence which shows that Jefferson first used the monarchical “subjects” to refer to the American people before erasing it and replacing it with the republican “citizens”, which he used throughout.” ∞ BP wasted no time preparing for oil spill lawsuits “TALLAHASSEE — In the immediate aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, BP publicly touted its expert oil clean-up response, but it quietly girded for a legal fight that could soon embroil hundreds of attorneys, span five states and last more than a decade.” ∞ Episcopal Bishop slams GOP attacks on Saint Thurgood Marshall. “This week, Republican senators spent Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearings attacking Justice Thurgood Marshall, the legendary advocate behind Brown v. Board of Education who was recently sainted by the Episcopal Church. “ ∞ Utah radio station drops Hannity from its lineup, possibly for being uncivil. “This past week, Utah’s KSL Radio announced that it will be dropping Fox News host and radio personality Sean Hannity from its regular programming lineup. Although the company was tight-lipped about why it chose to end its relationship with Hannity, Utah’s ABC-4 speculates that Hannity’s uncivil behavior on air was behind the...

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Noontime News Roundup – July 3, 2010

Noontime News is a snapshot of our RSS feeds from the noon (Eastern time) hour. New cap may help with containing oil spill  “The first hint of a nearing end to the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was voiced Friday by Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, national incident commander in charge of cleanup efforts. “ ∞ Low on funds, Al Qaida Iraq’s latest tactic: bank robbery “BAGHDAD — A money crunch is fueling Al Qaida in Iraq’s recent string of robberies and attacks on banks as the weakened organization tries to reconstitute itself, the top U.S. commander in Iraq said. “ ∞ On The Day Obama Signs Iran Sanctions Into Law, Brown Attacks Him For Not ‘Following Through’ On Sanctions “In early June, the United Nations “leveled its fourth round of sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program,” which were hailed by President Obama as “the toughest sanctions ever faced by the Iranian government.” Yesterday, Obama signed into law “unilateral American sanctions on Iran that go beyond the penalties imposed by the United Nations last month.” The new U.S. sanctions “further restrict investment in Iran’s energy sector and cut off financing for the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps” while cracking down “on federal contractors that do business with Iran.” ∞ Stabenow, Economists: Senate Stalemate on Unemployment Extension Hurting Families “We are seeing numbers that certainly are mixed on the...

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