News and Opinion

News and commentary about the world we live in

Russ is in!!!!

Great news for Wisconsin: Russ Feingold has announced that he will run against teaparty Sen. Ron Johnson in November 2016

Feingold was defeated in 2010 in the low-turnout mid-term election and starts out the 2016 contest heavily favored. Last month’s Marquette poll (PDF) showed him beating Johnson 54% to 38%.

Here, I’ll let Russ speak for himself:

Tell Russ that you’re in too: RussFeingold.com

Restavek – “One who stays with” is the word for a child slave in Haiti.

 

Ignoring Haiti and its problems is par for the course in the United States, even when the U.S. has played a role in creating them. There was a flurry of concern around the time of the January 2010 earthquake, with monies raised by a variety of charities…some legit and some suspect, but Haiti news fell out of the headlines, and for the most part is ignored. Before the earthquake there were a host of problems and some have worsened since then. Such is the case of the “restaveks“, nearly 300,000 children who work in a state of indentured servitude which has been deemed modern day slavery by international rights organizations.

 

Restavek is a form of modern-day slavery that persists in Haiti, affecting one in every 15 children. Typically born into poor rural families, restavek children are often given to relatives or strangers. In their new homes, they become domestic slaves, performing menial tasks for no pay.

Found on the Internets: Infrastructure – derailed

From ThinkProgress: Why You Can’t Talk About The Amtrak Derailment Without Talking About Our Infrastructure Crisis

At least six people have died and more than 140 people are injured in the wake of the deadliest Amtrak derailment in recent history. Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188 rolled off the tracks while rounding a bend near Philadelphia, according to NBC Philadelphia, while carrying 238 passengers and five crew members. As officials sort through the wreckage and try to determine the cause of the tragedy, the Northeast Corridor — Amtrak’s busiest and most profitable route between Boston and Washington — will be shut down for an indeterminate amount of time.

Found on the Internets: Work Force Transition

Found on the Internets:

Becky Bowers @beckybowers

It happened: Millennials are now the biggest generation in the U.S. workforce http://on.wsj.com/1IugHMe

Interesting that the new generation, just starting to enter the workforce, is called Generation Z. I hope it is not because no one expects our planet to survive another generation. p.s. Those 70-75 still working are Republican politicians, CEOs, and desk jockeys who insist that the retirement age should be raised because working into the 70s is easy when the heaviest thing you have to lift is a pencil.

Aloha! Green Power!!


From ThinkProgress: Hawaii Will Soon Get All Of Its Electricity From Renewable Sources

The state legislature sent a bill to the governor’s desk this week that moves the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) up to 100 percent by 2045 — which means that all electricity provided by the electric companies will have to come from renewable sources like solar and wind. Nationwide, electricity generation makes up about a third of all carbon emissions.

“We’ll now be the most populated set of islands in the world with an independent grid to establish a 100 percent renewable electricity goal,” State Senator Mike Gabbard (D) told ThinkProgress in an email. “Through this process of transformation we can be the model that other states and even nations follow. And we’ll achieve the biggest energy turnaround in the country, going from 90 percent dependence on fossil fuels to 100 percent clean energy.”

Feeding the poors … Republican Style

From yr Wonkette: Wisconsin Takes Lead In F*ck The Poors Sweepstakes: Now You Can’t Buy Beans And Rice

Wisconsin is one of those states that really hates poor people. (Yeah, we know. Just like the other 49.) The state’s Republicans are particularly obsessed with what poors eat, or don’t eat, or where they buy food to eat, or whether they’re really poor enough to deserve to eat, or how best to humiliate them for wanting to eat. […]

The Legacy of NAFTA

From Al Jazeera: When the ‘refrigerator capital of the world’ lost its refrigerator plant

[The Hoisingtons] long-standing jobs with Electrolux, the multinational firm that took ownership of the plant in the 1980s, gave the couple a solid foothold into the middle class. Jim, now 56, made $16.38 an hour. Patty, now 68, made $15.71. It was enough to raise their children, pay the bills, buy a house and still put a little money away in savings at the end of the week for the nearly 30 years they worked there.

Bernie and Social Security

Chief among them is Social Security, a program he describes as one of the “most successful government programs in American history.” However, without changes — benefit cuts or tax increases — the fund that maintains Social Security won’t be able to pay-out all of its obligations by 2033, leading lawmakers to propose a series of solutions to extend the program’s solvency. Sanders has long warned against prescriptions that would cut benefits or slow their growth, upending Washington’s consensus that government needs to cut entitlement programs to keep them sustainable. Instead, he has proposed legislation to expand the program.

Bernie Sanders

Fifty Years Ago Today: “Bloody Sunday”

The president’s speech in Selma:


Rep. Terri Sewell at 1:59:20
Rep. John Lewis at 2:04:00
President Obama at 2:12:00

Transcript: Remarks by the President at the 50th Anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery Marches
(full text below the fold)

~

Today, CSPAN-3 will cover the commemoration of Bloody Sunday live at 12 noon Eastern Time.

Six hundred marchers assembled in Selma on Sunday, March 7, and, led by John Lewis and other SNCC and SCLC activists, crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge over the Alabama River en route to Montgomery. Just short of the bridge, they found their way blocked by Alabama State troopers and local police who ordered them to turn around. When the protesters refused, the officers shot teargas and waded into the crowd, beating the nonviolent protesters with billy clubs and ultimately hospitalizing over fifty people.

President Obama on this weeks events:

“When I take Malia and Sasha down with Michelle next week, down to Selma, part of what I’m hoping to do is to remind them of their own obligations. Because there are going to be marches for them to march, and struggles for them to fight”

There are many stories about the march, few as imbued with symbolism as this one Tweeted by @splcenter: The Untold Story of Why MLK Wore a Hawaiian Lei at Selma


Bright Hawaiian lei will be on full display this weekend when President Barack Obama, civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis and others march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma to mark the anniversary of the civil rights protests.[…]

In photos of the 54-mile third march from Selma to Montgomery on March 21, 1965, Martin Luther King, John Lewis and other demonstrators can be seen wearing the iconic Hawaiian flower garlands.

The journey of those flowers from Hawaii to Alabama started a year earlier, when King delivered a lecture at the University of Hawaii. It was there that he met Rev. Abraham Akaka, the brother of future U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka.

In the lead-up to the third march, as President Lyndon Johnson was making preparations to protect the demonstrators with military policemen and the Alabama National Guard, Rev. Akaka sent gifts of bright white lei from the Pacific Ocean to the Deep South to be draped on the marchers.

For the reverend, it was a symbolic gesture that affirmed Asian-American support for the civil rights movement.

Now, 50 years later, Lewis and Hawaii native Obama will join Asian-American lawmakers Sen. Mazie Hirono and Rep. Mark Takai, among nearly 100 lawmakers, to pay homage to the civil rights movement and “Bloody Sunday.”

The first black president, born in Hawaii, will be wearing a lei to honor the civil rights movement.