Obama to Unveil Plan to Extend Overtime Pay to 5 Million

Obama to Unveil Plan to Bring Overtime Pay to 5 Million

Another interesting article, this time a headline over at Huffpo.  If you look at the widening wage gap between owners and workers, especially if you look at it over the course of history in the last hundred years, you will see that things have gotten completely out of whack.  Don’t take my word for it, do the research.  This looks to be a way that Obama is looking to help lessen the outrageous disparity that has arisen in this country between rich and poor.

Jailed For Being Broke

Jailed For Being Broke

Matt Taibbi writes another article that documents how the criminal justice system is tilted against the less fortunate.  I will continue to recommend his book The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap.

Bill Nye On GMO Crops

Bill Nye On GMO Crops

Here is an interesting article on GMO crops.  Apparently Bill Nye, who has been debunking pseudoscience when it comes to things like climate change, is claiming that we have an irrational fear of GMO crops.  He is not supporting companies like Monsanto and their business practices, only saying that GMO crops, if done right, aren’t necessarily anymore dangerous than many other crops.  I am still trying to learn about this topic, but I have read other articles that seem to back Nye.  I think at the very least we should all try to read more before we take a strong stand one way or the other.  The article does a good job of explaining the science behind Nye’s thinking.  A sample quote from Nye:

I’m not saying GMOs are a silver bullet to end world hunger or that I love Monsanto. And I’m not saying that there aren’t cases where individual GMOs might result in environmental issues, such as pest resistance. Debating GMOs’ benefits and risks is healthy. But making GMOs the bogeyman while giving other crops a pass isn’t.

An Alternative Viewpoint to the Brian Williams Scandal

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Brian Williams and the Smoking Gun That Isn’t

The above article about Brian Williams is extremely interesting.  It is in Rolling Stone and it is an alternative viewpoint to the scandal surrounding Williams.  I don’t personally know enough to come down one way or the other.  I think that the scandal fits a narrative that many of us hold about the mainstream media, that it is basically entertainment in the guise of news, and that many of the people that give us our news aren’t very credible.  That being said, it is also true that we often rush to judgment in our society before we have all of the facts.  We should always retain a bit of skepticism when judging someone, especially when something already falls neatly into our own personal bias of how we view the world.

The Strange Origins of Valentine’s Day

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NPR: Origins of Valentine’s Day

The above article over at NPR tells the original story behind Valentine’s Day.  To be fair I think the origins are slightly murky.  This article, and several other I read this morning, make it known that no one is quite sure of the exact origin.  Anyway, as with many holidays and traditions, it has become sanitized over time.  Sample from the article:

From Feb. 13 to 15, the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia. The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain.

The Roman romantics “were drunk. They were naked,” says Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Young women would actually line up for the men to hit them, Lenski says. They believed this would make them fertile.

The brutal fete included a matchmaking lottery, in which young men drew the names of women from a jar. The couple would then be, um, coupled up for the duration of the festival — or longer, if the match was right.

Washington Police Kill More People Than Germany

Pasco, Washington Police Have Killed More People Than Germany

The police in Pasco, Washington have killed more people in the past six months than the police in all of the United Kingdom in the past three years and the police in Germany in close to a year.  This is despite the fact that Pasco has 59,000 people and those countries have roughly 80,000,000 people.

I think when you look at something like this you have to go outside of even examining the police, though our country without a doubt struggles with issues of police brutality.  (The article says that at least one of those show was unarmed.)  What is it in our culture that leads to more violence than in other Western countries?

Hat tip to my friend J.R. 

Koch Brothers Destroy Healthcare

Kochs Kill Medicaid Expansion

The above article is from Salon and it is about how the Koch Brothers helped to kill Medicaid expansion in Tennessee and other states, essentially denying healthcare to many.  If you look at the numbers in Utah between what passing the Medicare extension would have done, vs. what was done, it is mind boggling.  Medicare expansion would have insured 146,000 people at the cost of $236 million dollars.  The plan the Republicans are backing costs $203 million dollars and only covers 16,000 people!  Something isn’t adding up?  Read the article to see the conclusion.

However, it is clear that the Koch Brothers are enemies of our democracy.  From healthcare to the environment to education, the Koch Brothers ideology is destroying real lives.  In turn I can’t help but see what they do as real crimes that deserve real punishment.