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Archive for May, 2007

Seed Newsvine

The Supremes led by Justice Alito writing for the majority found in favor of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber company on a narrow interpretation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 disallowing years of gender discrimination in which the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company underpaid one Lilly Ledbetter on average around $6000 per year less than her male counterparts doing the same work.The fascist majority on the court (fascism being defined as the seamless merging of government and corporate interests) ignore the human consequences of their actions as they support the corporate ethics that seem to say screw the workers just line my pockets with silver and gold.

The Supremes had an opportunity to do the right thing, to send the right message to corporate greed mongers that they let slip right through their fingers.

Even more egregious was the joining of this decision by Justice Thomas, the least ethical of the fascist majority and one who allegedly engaged in sexual harassment himself, as he flip flopped on his own decision to support the employee position when the discrimination lasted for periods of months or years as it did in this case. I guess Mr. Justice Thomas finally found a place where harassment and abuse have found a home. Bully for you Mr. Justice. Or should I say Mr. Injustice?

This decision, while not unexpected given the current makeup of the Supreme Court, is ugly. By supporting greed over people, narrow interpretation over ethical concerns, I fear for the future of this nation.

Just as an aside, and I am only speculating on this one, but it is highly possible that Ms. Ledbetter, a southerner, has been voting Republican (if she votes at all) and, by doing so, simply dug her own grave in this case. Wouldn’t that be ironic. Since 1980 the electorate has made it a practice to vote against its own economic interests–another proof for the fact that there is no intelligent design in the universe or, perhaps just no intelligence.

So now we can live with the consequences of the influence of the far right wing, the perfect marriage of government and corporate interests, for some time to come.

clipped from news.findlaw.com
(AP) – WASHINGTON-The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday limited workers’ ability to sue employers for pay discrimination that results from decisions made years earlier.
The court, in a 5-4 ruling, said that employers would otherwise find it difficult to defend against claims “arising from employment decisions that are long past.”
The case concerned how to apply a 180-day deadline for complaining about discriminatory pay decisions under Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Lilly Ledbetter sued Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., claiming that after 19 years at a company plant, she was making $6,000 (�‚�4,440) a year less than the lowest-paid man doing the same work.
Ledbetter claimed the disparity existed for years and was primarily a result of her gender. A jury agreed, but an appeals court overturned the verdict because she had waited too long to begin her lawsuit.
The decision broke along ideological lines, with the court’s four liberal justices dissenting.

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Clipped from Atlantic Online, this story references Alberto Gonzales’ sinister involvement in the March 2004 warrantless eavesdropping program even after the program was declared unlawful by then AG John Ashcroft, himself no constitutional bargain.The whole article is worth the time to read as it outlines the hubris of the Bush administration as they flaunt the law and the constitution for their own gain.

The bonus is that this administration has a mere 606 days left to spread its brand of authority. Of course, what I fear most, given the recent saber rattling at Iran, including sending a large Navy task force to the Persian Gulf to intimidate the Iranians into giving up their nuclear program. As Bush readies for one more military incursion in the Middle East we must ask how much more war can we take before we lose all that makes America the envy of the world? We are rapidly sliding down the path to isolation from the rest of the world, and to what purpose? The mythical enemy is not Osama Bin Laden, although I have no doubts that he is a really bad guy, rather, the enemy, as Pogo (the comic strip character central to the old Walt Kelly daily strip) once remarked “is us!”

clipped from www.theatlantic.com

E very day that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is allowed to remain in office is corrosive to constitutional governance and an invitation to further politicization of the Justice Department.

That is the main lesson of former Deputy Attorney General James Comey’s astonishing revelations on May 15 about Gonzales’s sinister involvement in a March 2004 effort to continue a then-secret warrantless eavesdropping program after it had been declared unlawful by then-Attorney General John Ashcroft and his subordinates.
Meanwhile, the May 14 resignation of Paul McNulty, Comey’s successor as deputy attorney general, further depleted the ranks of principled professionals in the demoralized department, which Gonzales has been filling with inexperienced political hacks. In the words of Arlen Specter, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s senior Republican, as long as Gonzales is in charge, “it’s embarrassing for a professional to work for the Department of Justice.”

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Originally posted by Eric Kleefeld | bio at TPC’s Election Central I thought it deserved re-presentation on my blog. Hope I don’t offend you Eric.

Wow, what a guy! Mitt Romney is going up on the air tomorrow in Iowa and New Hampshire with a new attack ad. The target? The state of Massachusetts, whose citizens extended him the honor of choosing him to to be their Governor for one term. “In the most liberal state in the country,” a sinister-sounding narrator intones over the obligatory backdrop over the obligatory backdrop of photos of John Kerry and Mike Dukakis, “one Republican stood up, and cut spending instead of raising taxes. He enforced immigration laws, stood up for traditional marriage and the sanctity of human life.

Just as an additional thought: Aside from being far brighter than George II, Romney (or any other Republican for that matter) will merely be a continuation of the failed politics of the radical right and we don’t need that anymore.

read more | digg story

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Seed Newsvine

The clip below is part of a series of clips available at http://evolutionvscreationsim.info.

What is at stake here is not evolution or creationism, quite the contrary, what is truly at stake in the United States is a reliance on rationalism vs a reliance on revelation. But, then we must ask just whose revelation trumps all others? Rationalism, thoughtful analysis of observable data or revelation, interpretation of the mythical explanations for just about everything based solely on what someone said was revealed to him or her a long time ago (unless you follow Scientology as revealed to L. Ron Hubbard just a few decades ago).

For this educator, I choose to engage in rational rather than mythological debate. Not that I don’t like a good story from time to time, and not that one can’t learn anything from a good story from time to time; it is clear that one can. Rather, I choose rationality because it requires a balance of observations to theoretical predictions that form the basis of clarity and avoids problems of logical fallacies that mythology simply cannot avoid.

clipped from evolutionvscreationism.info

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Coming from the lips of Jimmy Carter this is a real mouthful. My personal respect for Carter has never been high and it went into the toilet after he published his latest anti-semitic diatribe, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid. But, that being said, Carter’s conclusions here may be partially right.He comes down hard on George II for his policy of pre-emptive war in the case of Iraq. The disastrous results in Iraq after causing the collapse of the Saddam government were predicted during his father’s Gulf War in the early 90’s. George I stopped short of going straight to Baghdad when he clearly could have done so so as not to destabilize the country. George I’s son just wasn’t that smart.

Carter’s view of the Middle East, however, is generally tainted by his latent, though certainly not vocal until recently, anti-semitic Baptist foundations. Baptists tolerate Jews so long as they need Jews to gather again in Israel to hasten the second coming of the Messiah. Carter, actively sought peace in Israel, I would argue to hasten this ingathering of the Jews, where George II seems to be more willing to let the Israelis address the issue of war and peace on their own.

As Iraq proves, one cannot interfere in essentially local disputes by forcing compliance from afar. We tried this in Iraq and found that it simply didn’t work. Carter tried this in Israel and found that it didn’t work either.

Israel and the Palestinians must solve their own problems. I do not believe that will happen so long as either side has not had enough of war, death and destruction. No amount of outside interference or help will move the process forward until both sides have simply had enough. That is not yet the case. But we also know that it is possible in that one need only look at the recent developments in Northern Ireland to witness the results of exhaustion.

clipped from www.iht.com
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas: Former President Jimmy Carter says President George W. Bush’s administration is “the worst in history” in international relations, taking aim at the White House’s policy of pre-emptive war and its Middle East diplomacy.
The criticism, which a biographer says is unprecedented for the 39th president, also took aim at Bush’s environmental policies and the administration’s “quite disturbing” faith-based initiative funding.
“I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history,” the Nobel Peace Prize winner told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in a story that appeared in the newspaper’s Saturday editions. “The overt reversal of America’s basic values as expressed by previous administrations, including those of George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon and others, has been the most disturbing to me.”
Carter also lashed out Saturday at British prime minister Tony Blair.

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Wolfowitz resigns, can Gonzales be far behind? While the White House continues to stand solidly behind Bush’s friend, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, the storm swells that surround the AG continue to deepen.Since the White House position of backing Gonzales in the face of the fully developed scandal surrounding the procedures that led to the firing of eight federal prosecutors is politically untenable, the White House resorts to ad homenim attacks on Senator Charles Schumer (D. NY),

White House spokesperson, Tony Fratto said:

I think the attorney general is not affected by it. I think the media seems to be focused on it, which I think for some of the members who are instigating these kinds of questions, like Senator Schumer, (this) is exactly what they want,

Ad homenim attacks generally are used when there is little of substance one can argue. Substance is replaced by an all out attack on an individual or individuals rather than argue from specifics; in this case, focusing attention on Schumer and the media (whatever that might be). Tony Fratto, speaking for the president, demonstrates the desperation of the White House as it struggles to regain whatever confidence it has lost.

Desperate measures signify desperate times. What bothers me the most is that the nation is left to drift in roiling seas while Bush and his administration must pay far too much attention to self-protection and survival.

clipped from www.reuters.com
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee predicted on Sunday Attorney General Alberto Gonzales might step down in the face of a substantial Senate “no-confidence” vote on his performance.
The White House said it was unclear whether there would be such a vote and criticized those Democrats pushing for it, singling out New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer in particular.
“As for no-confidence votes, maybe senators need a refresher course on American civics,” said White House spokesman Tony Fratto, with President George W. Bush in Crawford, Texas. “What I mean is I think you find no-confidence votes in parliamentary systems, not the American system of government.”
Asked on CBS’ “Face the Nation” whether many Republicans would join the majority Democrats in voting against Gonzales possibly as early as this week, Republican Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania said, “I think so.”
“You already have six Republicans calling for his resignation,” he said.

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Seed Newsvine

I thought I would blog about the oxymoron of intelligent design for a while. What better place to start than with the remarks of President Bush on the subject. While Bush made these remarks in August of 2005, I am certain his position has not changed one iota–mostly because he has demonstrated a stubborn streak many times over when it comes to changing his mind.Mr. Bush argues that one must teach both sides of the controversy between evolution and intelligent design. So what could be wrong with that?

First, there is no controversy. Declaring something a controversy does not make it so. Simply declaring that a controversy exists (over fill in the blank) creates a straw man that allows the proponents of intelligent design to have talking points rather than to address the issues advanced by the FACT of evolution. The straw man argument is one of the deadly fallacies in logical argumentation.

Teaching the controversy is a favorite of Michael Behe who claims that evolution must not be taught unless one also teaches the controversy that surrounds it. There are two points I wish to make regarding this claim:

1. Regarding the fundamental tenets of evolution, the facts of common descent and natural selection there is NO SCIENTIFIC CONTROVERSY. To argue otherwise is an attempt to teach either pseudoscience in classrooms or to introduce a particular religious interpretation of creation into the classroom. Since it appears that the attempt to teach the controversy is based on not teaching bad science, the same standards that the ID proponents wish to apply to evolution should also be applied to ID. If that is the case then ID fails the test.

2. While there are controversies over details of how evolution proceeds, there is NO SCIENTIFIC CONTROVERSY over the foundational positions taken by evolutionary science. The controversies that do exist are not appropriate for beginning level science but, rather, are appropriate for debate among advanced students in biology or related subjects. The only controversy that exists regarding evolution is in the precise details of how relative contributions of sympatric versus allopatric speciation. The scientific controversy is not between differing creation myths versus observable science which is what the ID proponents would have us believe.

Once again the president fails to articulate a clear understanding of a fundamental issue relying, instead, on the Michael Behe straw man. the manufactured controversy, to make his case.

clipped from www.washingtonpost.com
President Bush invigorated proponents of teaching alternatives to evolution in public schools with remarks saying that schoolchildren should be taught about “intelligent design,” a view of creation that challenges established scientific thinking and promotes the idea that an unseen force is behind the development of humanity.
“Both sides ought to be properly taught . . . so people can understand what the debate is about,” he said, according to an official transcript of the session. Bush added: “Part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought. . . . You’re asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes.”
These comments drew sharp criticism yesterday from opponents of the theory, who said there is no scientific evidence to support it and no educational basis for teaching it.

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