When someone says something which helps support an anti-rape culture, thank them and praise them to others.
When someone says, “Boys will be boys,” when they learn a boy has been accused of rape ask them, “Do you really believe all boys are rapists?”
When someone says, “The only way to prevent sexual violence is to teach girls and women how to avoid danger,” respond with, “And I suppose the only way to prevent gun crimes is to teach people how to dodge bullets.”
When you encounter someone who seems to be otherwise caring saying something which supports sexual violence, use the phrase, “Excuse me?” as if someone just said, “You should drink 5 glasses of vegetable oil every day if you don’t want to die next week.”
When someone says, “I don’t understand how a real rape victim could ___ (fill in the blank with any common stereotype) so I believe she’s not a real rape victim,” respond with a parallel statement such as “I don’t understand how a real human could walk on the moon so I believe no humans have ever walked on the moon.”
When someone calls a woman who is vocal against sexual violence a “man hater,” ask them, “Is that really the only reason you can think of for why a woman would find rape repulsive enough to speak up against it?”
When someone says rape is just illegal sex respond with “Yeah, and hitting a pedestrian with your car is just giving someone an illegal car ride.”
I generally don’t like using pre-set responses to arguments but these are SO GOOD
Can I just add here that there is no RAPE VICTIM MANUAL!
Will 2011 be the year of fiscal austerity? At the federal level, it’s still not clear: Republicans are demanding draconian spending cuts, but we don’t yet know how far they’re willing to go in a showdown with President Obama. At the state and local level, however, there’s no doubt about it: big spending cuts are coming.
And who will bear the brunt of these cuts? America’s children.
Now, politicians — and especially, in my experience, conservative politicians — always claim to be deeply concerned about the nation’s children. Back during the 2000 campaign, then-candidate George W. Bush, touting the “Texas miracle” of dramatically lower dropout rates, declared that he wanted to be the “education president.” Today, advocates of big spending cuts often claim that their greatest concern is the burden of debt our children will face.
In practice, however, when advocates of lower spending get a chance to put their ideas into practice, the burden always seems to fall disproportionately on those very children they claim to hold so dear.
Consider, as a case in point, what’s happening in Texas, which more and more seems to be where America’s political future happens first.
Texas likes to portray itself as a model of small government, and indeed it is. Taxes are low, at least if you’re in the upper part of the income distribution (taxes on the bottom 40 percent of the population are actually above the national average). Government spending is also low. And to be fair, low taxes may be one reason for the state’s rapid population growth, although low housing prices are surely much more important.
But here’s the thing: While low spending may sound good in the abstract, what it amounts to in practice is low spending on children, who account directly or indirectly for a large part of government outlays at the state and local level.
And in low-tax, low-spending Texas, the kids are not all right. The high school graduation rate, at just 61.3 percent, puts Texas 43rd out of 50 in state rankings. Nationally, the state ranks fifth in child poverty; it leads in the percentage of children without health insurance. And only 78 percent of Texas children are in excellent or very good health, significantly below the national average.
But wait — how can graduation rates be so low when Texas had that education miracle back when former President Bush was governor? Well, a couple of years into his presidency the truth about that miracle came out: Texas school administrators achieved low reported dropout rates the old-fashioned way — they, ahem, got the numbers wrong.
It’s not a pretty picture; compassion aside, you have to wonder — and many business people in Texas do — how the state can prosper in the long run with a future work force blighted by childhood poverty, poor health and lack of education.
But things are about to get much worse.
A few months ago another Texas miracle went the way of that education miracle of the 1990s. For months, Gov. Rick Perry had boasted that his “tough conservative decisions” had kept the budget in surplus while allowing the state to weather the recession unscathed. But after Mr. Perry’s re-election, reality intruded — funny how that happens — and the state is now scrambling to close a huge budget gap. (By the way, given the current efforts to blame public-sector unions for state fiscal problems, it’s worth noting that the mess in Texas was achieved with an overwhelmingly nonunion work force.)
So how will that gap be closed? Given the already dire condition of Texas children, you might have expected the state’s leaders to focus the pain elsewhere. In particular, you might have expected high-income Texans, who pay much less in state and local taxes than the national average, to be asked to bear at least some of the burden.
But you’d be wrong. Tax increases have been ruled out of consideration; the gap will be closed solely through spending cuts. Medicaid, a program that is crucial to many of the state’s children, will take the biggest hit, with the Legislature proposing a funding cut of no less than 29 percent, including a reduction in the state’s already low payments to providers — raising fears that doctors will start refusing to see Medicaid patients. And education will also face steep cuts, with school administrators talking about as many as 100,000 layoffs.
The really striking thing about all this isn’t the cruelty — at this point you expect that — but the shortsightedness. What’s supposed to happen when today’s neglected children become tomorrow’s work force?
Anyway, the next time some self-proclaimed deficit hawk tells you how much he worries about the debt we’re leaving our children, remember what’s happening in Texas, a state whose slogan right now might as well be “Lose the future.”
“I don’t think it does anybody any good when public employees are denigrated or vilified or their rights are infringed upon. If all the pain [of addressing budget deficits] is borne by only one group — whether it’s workers, or seniors, or the poor — while the wealthiest among us get to keep or get more tax breaks, we’re not doing the right thing. I think that’s something that Democrats and Republicans should be able to agree on.”—
President Obama, during a speech addressing the National Governors Association today at the White House.
Governor Walker’s office released a statement responding to the President’s remarks:
“I’m sure the President knows that most federal employees do not have collective bargaining for wages and benefits while our plan allows it for base pay. And I’m sure the President knows that the average federal worker pays twice as much for health insurance as what we are asking for in Wisconsin. At least I would hope he knows these facts… I’m sure that President Obama simply misunderstands the issues in Wisconsin, and isn’t acting like the union bosses in saying one thing and doing another.” [CBS News]
“We call someone a ‘pussy’ for being weak, even though the vagina contains incredibly strong muscles capable of pushing out human beings that weigh over three kilograms. When someone does something brave, we say they have ‘balls’, even though the testicles don’t seem to do much except hang around, produce sperm and get squeezed out the side of briefs as a gross party trick.”—Benjamin Law, Frankie Magazine Issue 40. (via inherhipstheresrevolutions)
“All over the world there are enormous numbers of smart, even gifted, people who harbor a passion for science. But that passion is unrequited. Surveys suggest that some 95 percent of Americans are “scientifically illiterate.” That’s just the same fraction as those African Americans, almost all of them slaves, who were illiterate just before the Civil War—when severe penalties were in force for anyone who taught a slave to read. Of course there’s a degree of arbitrariness about any determination of illiteracy, whether it applies to language or to science. But anything like 95 percent illiteracy is extremely serious.”—Carl Sagan, The Demon Haunted World (via mohandasgandhi)
“If American workers are being denied their right to organize when I’m in the White House, I will put on a comfortable pair of shoes and I will walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States.”—
“Forgive me. I must start by pointing out that three years after a horrific financial crisis caused by massive fraud, not a single financial executive has gone to jail — and that’s wrong.”—CHARLES FERGUSON, co-winner of the Best Documentary for the Wall Street expose Inside Job, accepting his award. (via inothernews)
“Teachers work twelve months in nine and spend the extra months getting more education, working on lesson plans and getting extra jobs on the side to afford to pay off the loans we took to become teaching professionals. How many jobs require continuing education—6 credit hours—every five years, but must be paid for by the individual? And do you think we should be paid less and expect to find jobs that only need us three months out of the year? Where is that job? We’re not NFL players asking for millions, we’re asking to keep what we have, the money that you would take away from our families by basing our income on a child who takes their seriousness on ISTEP on flights of whimsy and circumstance.”—
What is scarcity? It’s based on keeping products valuable. Slowing up production on oil raises the price. Maintaining scarcity of diamonds keeps the price high. They burn diamonds at the Kimberly Diamond Mine. They’re made of carbon. That keeps the price up.
So then, what does it mean for society when scarcity, either produced naturally or through manipulation is a beneficial condition for industry?
It means that sustainability and abundance will never ever occur in profit system. For it simply goes against the very nature of the structure. Therefore, it is impossible to have a world without war, or poverty. It is impossible to continually advance technology to its most efficient and productive states. And most dramatically, it is impossible to expect human beings to behave in truly ethical or decent ways.
Republicans need to figure out where they stand on children’s welfare. They can’t be “pro-life” when the “child” is in the womb but indifferent when it’s in the world. Allow me to illustrate just how schizophrenic their position has become through the prism of premature babies.
Of the 33 countries that the International Monetary Fund describes as “advanced economies,” the United States now has the highest infant mortality rate according to data from the World Bank. It took us decades to arrive at this dubious distinction. In 1960, we were 15th. In 1980, we were 13th. And, in 2000, we were 2nd.
Part of the reason for our poor ranking is that declines in our rates stalled after premature births — a leading cause of infant mortality as well as long-term developmental disabilities — began to rise in the 1990s.
The good news is that last year the National Center for Health Statistics reported that the rate of premature births fell in 2008, representing the first two-year decline in the last 30 years.
Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, the president of the March of Dimes, which in 2003 started a multimillion-dollar premature birth campaign focusing on awareness and education, has said of the decline: “The policy changes and programs to prevent preterm birth that our volunteers and staff have worked so hard to bring about are starting to pay off.”
The bad news is that, according to the March of Dimes, the Republican budget passed in the House this month coulddo great damage to this progress. The budget proposes:
• $50 million in cuts to the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant that “supports state-based prenatal care programs and services for children with special needs.”
• $1 billion in cuts to programs at the National Institutes of Health that support “lifesaving biomedical research aimed at finding the causes and developing strategies for preventing preterm birth.”
• Nearly $1 billion in cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for its preventive health programs, including to its preterm birth studies.
This is the same budget in which House Republicans voted to strip all federal financing for Planned Parenthood.
It is savagely immoral and profoundly inconsistent to insist that women endure unwanted — and in some cases dangerous — pregnancies for the sake of “unborn children,” then eliminate financing designed to prevent those children from being delivered prematurely, rendering them the most fragile and vulnerable of newborns. How is this humane?
And it doesn’t even make economic sense. A 2006 study by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies estimated that premature births cost the country at least $26 billion a year. At that rate, reducing the number of premature births by just 10 percent would save thousands of babies and $2.6 billion — more than the proposed cuts to the programs listed, programs that also provide a wide variety of other services.
This type of budgetary policy is penny-wise and pound-foolish — and ultimately deadly. Think about that the next time you hear Republican representatives tout their “pro-life” bona fides. Think about that the next time someone uses the heinous term “baby killer.”
To Write Love On Her Arms only gives 25% of its money to charities. That’s right, only a quarter of the money TWLOHA collects (mostly from the sale of their merchandise, most notably shirts) goes to charity. According to TWLOHA’s website, they donate…
"Anonymous hears the voice of the downtrodden American people, whose rights and liberties are being systematically removed one by one, even when their own government refuses to listen or worse - is complicit in these attacks," they continued. "We are actively seeking vulnerabilities, but in the mean time we are calling for all supporters of true Democracy, and Freedom of The People, to boycott all Koch Industries’ paper products. We welcome unions across the globe to join us in this boycott to show that you will not allow big business to dictate your freedom."
Things started to change in education in Oregon about ten or fifteen years ago with a number of tax measures that created huge budget cuts. I noticed programs such a band, art, and drug-abuse prevention being cut for lack of funds along with enrichment programs, swimming class, and all kinds of little things that we used to offer that could no longer be afforded. Class sizes began to grow, and my class size averages went from the low to high twenties and then eventually into the thirties.
All these things were sad and annoying, but they didn’t change how I felt about my job in the least. I just worked harder to make my lessons even more creative, and added in as much enrichment as I possibly could on my own to make up for the cuts. I spent thousands of dollars out of my own pocket to buy materials my school could no longer afford to buy. I wasn’t about to let a little thing like budget cuts stop me from my mission. The first time we cut school days in Oregon, and I had to take a several thousand dollar pay cut in the middle of a school year, it was a definite setback, but I never really thought it would become the norm.
As my class sizes increased, so did the needs of my students. Normally when I would teach something, I would have a handful of students who didn’t get it. I rarely had kids I couldn’t get to make progress. But as the classes got bigger, that began to change. More students with special needs were being mainstreamed into my classroom. I was getting kids in class who had been in America less than six months who spoke no English, with very little help or support. I crazily began to take all kinds of classes, do research on how to reach kids with autism, ADD, emotional disturbances, limited English proficiency—you name it, I studied the best ways to overcome disadvantages. I’ve always had a never-say-die attitude, so I worked my butt off to reach everyone in this increasingly diverse classroom with fewer and fewer resources.
I also began to notice that lots of things that never had been my job before were suddenly added to my list of responsibilities. A silly example, but very time consuming, was janitorial work. Due to limited resources and constant budget cuts, I now had to devote my time to things like cleaning my own classroom, doing clerical work that used to be done for me by the front office, planning my curriculum instead of just my lessons, so many things I began to have trouble keeping up. One year I started a list I called “Jobs Other People Gave Me,” but after adding 57 things to my list in less than a single year, I decided that it wasn’t really healthy for me to continue the list.
Now mind you, that through all of this I still actually loved closing my door and teaching. I continued telling myself that I had wanted a challenge, although at times I privately admitted to myself that maybe I would have liked a little less of a challenge. But I still loved my job, I still got glowing reports from principals, parents, and especially kids. That was what sustained me as things began to change.
When No Child Left Behind came into effect, it didn’t affect me that much at first. My class averages were always above where they needed to be, and I was still having good results, so I didn’t really worry about it much. Philosophically, I knew I didn’t agree with focusing so much on test scores, but I could still keep my students’ scores where they needed to be by focusing on what my experience as a teacher had taught me was best. I pretty much just worked on reaching each kid, pushing, encouraging, helping, inspiring, prodding, and let the test scores take care of themselves. I believed that great teaching overcame the over-emphasis on test scores, so I concentrated on great teaching instead.
One thing that did bother me during that time was that it became acceptable to bash teachers, schools, and education in the media. I wasn’t hearing it personally, but I didn’t like the way people were so ready to berate my passion. Maybe because I was hearing good things on a personal level, I didn’t worry too much about it. I just closed my door and taught my kids.
Then the past few years a few of the buildings in our district didn’t meet their AYP (adequate yearly progress.) The district began to look for ways to help these building to succeed. The focus on test scores escalated to a crazy level. The teachers in one of the elementary buildings in my district were told they could no longer teach anything besides reading, math, and science because those were the subjects that were tested. Our building wasn’t ever told that specifically, but it was understood that we were to focus on practices that would improve our students’ test-taking skills.
The district decided to implement required core instructional materials that were mandated to everyone. Suddenly, the creativity of the job was being removed. They wanted everybody to teach the same materials, the same way. I’ve never been one to buck the system, so I began to wrack my brain for how to use these new materials and still keep the lessons interesting for my students.
At the same time, class sizes and special needs were growing. The behavior classroom was closed and its students were mainstreamed into the regular classroom. I tried to become an expert on dealing with anger issues. I tried to learn how to help fifth graders with severe disabilities, limited mobility, and cognitive levels of very young children, all in my regular classroom now filled with 30-35 students. My job became an even greater challenge than it had always been before, but still my attitude was to think “bring it on!” I just couldn’t fathom the idea that my natural teaching ability wasn’t exactly what was needed to solve any and all challenges that came my way.
Never once in the past 34 years of teaching did I ever want to quit. I even told my husband that if we won the lottery, I’d keep teaching. My students would just have all their own computers, art supplies galore, and any book we wanted to read as a class.
So now I’m into my 35th year of teaching. Last July my district had offered a $20,000 bonus to any teacher who could retire, in order to save money. It struck me as odd that they’d want to get rid of experienced teachers. I didn’t take it because I felt I’m not ready to retire. It’s been such a big part of me forever, and I’m not ready to give it up yet. Besides I’m only 55, and even though I’ve been teaching so long, I’m just barely old enough to retire.
But then one Thursday, on the eighth day of my 35th year of teaching, I suddenly thought for the very first time ever, “I don’t want to be a teacher anymore.” It’s so weird how it just came over me like that. I don’t know if it’s like the challenges in Survivor where they keep adding water until the bucket finally tips over and the slow leak of problems finally made my bucket tip over. Or maybe this is how it happens for all older teachers.
The GOP's Biggest Assault on Jobs: The Job of My Cervix to Keep Boehners Out of My Uterus
So I’ve been thinking about why in the hell the GOP came into Congress this past election on this whole campaign of job creation, when in reality their only goal was to eliminate more jobs. I mean, with all those ridiculous budget cuts they are eliminating other jobs too, but this job is really important:the job of my cervix. I’m in no way discrediting all the other thousands of jobs that may very well disappear as a result of this GOP budget and assault on women. I’m only discussing what I think to be a really important job that they are trying to eliminate, and that is the job of my cervix. My cervix works really hard to keep Boehners from entering my uterus, but all of these anti-woman bills they are trying to get through are really just trying to take its job. If a Boehner can enter my vagina, as he and his likes have shown they really want to do, since it’s against my will it is considered rape. So what if a Boehner takes the job of my cervix, and now has complete access to my uterus? Is this double rape? Is there even a term for this? And think about the millions of cervices that will be out of work if these anti-woman bills come to pass. MILLIONS OF CERVICES OUT OF WORK. How is the GOP okay with millions of Americans out of work? Because if they can call a fucking blastocyst/embryo/fetus a human being, then why the hell can’t my cervix be called an American?
You're not gonna persuade [Islamic extremist terrorists], because, by their very nature, they're nuts. They're crazy.
They're actually not crazy.
Anybody who would kill themselves and think they're gonna get seventy-two virgins, um, you know, I gotta say, is insane.
But it's actually no crazier than believing that a cracker literally turns into the body of Jesus. It has terrible behavioural outcomes, but it is equally unsupported by evidence.
No, no, no, no, I have to challenge you there. A cracker that people believe is the embodiment of Jesus hurts no one. It's a matter of faith. It's a positive thing for those who believe it, in the sense they try to love their neighbour as themselves. These people are going out killing--
Right, different behavioural consequences.
There's a very big difference in that kind of faith.
There's a very big difference in the outcome. There's no difference at the level of rationality.
The Harry Potter series chronicles Revolution… my age group that swore by these books have to take their teachings and fight. FIGHT FOR OUR LIVES. FIGHT FOR OUR FUTURE AND THE FUTURE OF OUR CHILDREN. FIGHT FOR OUR PARENTS AND FIGHT FOR OUR NEIGHBORS AND THIS COUNTRY. Because those old billionaires sitting in their mega-mansions so far removed from reality will die and leave their billionaires to their grubby little children who also will be far removed from reality. Life does not touch these people in the same way it touches the vast majority. LET THEM HEAR US. We want a better world, a healthier world, a safer world! So stop ruining it for the rest of us you greedy assholes! Make the difference. BE THE DIFFERENCE!
“Only in America can you be pro-death penalty, pro-war, pro-unmanned drone bombs, pro-nuclear weapons, pro-guns, pro-torture, pro-land mines, & still call yourself ‘pro-life.’”—John Fugelsang (via spencerbeck)
So basically, if you make abortion illegal, you don’t save any babies. You just force women to have unsafe abortions. Are you hearing me? Making abortion illegal does not stop abortions from happening. Anywhere.
No one cares that you think a fetus is an OMG BABIEEE. 70,000 women every year die from unsafe, illegal abortions. They especially don’t care what you think. They were going to abort the pregnancy whether it was legal to do so or not. By making abortion illegal, you are condemning them to death. Oh, and none of those *precious babiez* survive when the woman carrying them dies.
So. In sum. Making abortion illegal saves zero babies and kills roughly 70,000 women. Tell me again how that’s pro-life?
YOU AREN’T SAVING ANY BABIES. ANY. WOMEN DO NOT STOP HAVING ABORTIONS JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE ILLEGAL. YOU ARE KILLING WOMEN.
abortion kills 70,000 women a year? and you think that’s wrong? abortions have killed over 168 million babies in the past 20 years. do the math and that is a lot more than 70,000 a year, just to throw that out there.
ERRRRRR! Try again! Fetuses =/= babies. Here’s the definition of a baby:
a very young child (birth to 1 year) who has not yet begun to walk or talk; “the baby began to cry again”; “she held the baby in her arms”; “it sounds simple, but when you have your own baby it is all so different”
Here’s the definition of a fetus:
an unborn or unhatched vertebrate in the later stages of development showing the main recognizable features of the mature animal
See the difference? You get the rights of legal personhood when you become a legal person at birth. But let’s assume, for one asinine fucking minute that your factually inaccurate argument has water, and the fetus is a legal person. I’m not legally obligated to use my body to save the life of any person; their rights do not subvert mine.
So, you lose the argument in all worlds, real and asinine.
What’s happening in Wisconsin is, instead, a power grab — an attempt to exploit the fiscal crisis to destroy the last major counterweight to the political power of corporations and the wealthy. And the power grab goes beyond union-busting. The bill in question is 144 pages long, and there are some extraordinary things hidden deep inside.
For example, the bill includes language that would allow officials appointed by the governor to make sweeping cuts in health coverage for low-income families without having to go through the normal legislative process.
And then there’s this: “Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the department may sell any state-owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state. Notwithstanding ss. 196.49 and 196.80, no approval or certification of the public service commission is necessary for a public utility to purchase, or contract for the operation of, such a plant, and any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest and to comply with the criteria for certification of a project under s. 196.49 (3) (b).”
What’s that about? The state of Wisconsin owns a number of plants supplying heating, cooling, and electricity to state-run facilities (like the University of Wisconsin). The language in the budget bill would, in effect, let the governor privatize any or all of these facilities at whim. Not only that, he could sell them, without taking bids, to anyone he chooses. And note that any such sale would, by definition, be “considered to be in the public interest.”
If this sounds to you like a perfect setup for cronyism and profiteering — remember those missing billions in Iraq? — you’re not alone. Indeed, there are enough suspicious minds out there that Koch Industries, owned by the billionaire brothers who are playing such a large role in Mr. Walker’s anti-union push, felt compelled to issue a denial that it’s interested in purchasing any of those power plants. Are you reassured?
“It is unimaginable that there is someone who is able to kill and bombard his own people… How can a ruler bombard his own people and say, ‘I will kill anyone who opposes me?’ This is absolutely unacceptable. I think the whole world was appalled at what happened in Libya. It was very bad behavior, and I hope they will make up for that and meet their peoples’ demands.”—
Iranian president MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, through a translator, reacting to Gaddafi’s slaughter of anti-government protesters in Libya.
To which The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart quipped, “I think Iran has finally mastered the technology to weaponize irony.”
“It wasn’t about politics,” Mr. Costanza said, adding that it was more about safety.
The anti-abortion group, Life Always, which is based in Texas, had a news conference in Manhattan on Wednesday to discuss the opening of an advertising campaign intended to reach black women. The billboard, located a half-mile from a Planned Parenthood center in SoHo, showed a young black girl in a pink dress and the words “the most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb.”
The campaign, according to leaders of Life Always and New York church leaders opposing abortion who attended the news conference, was in response to the high rate of abortions in New York City, particularly among black women. A recent report by the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said that the abortion rate in 2009 was 41 percent. The rate among black women was 59.8 percent.
Life Always officials likened abortion to genocide, and those comments, coupled with the billboard, enraged city officials.
Bill de Blasio, the city’s public advocate, on Wednesday called for the billboard’s immediate removal. Christine C. Quinn, speaker of the City Council, issued a statement saying: “To refer to a woman’s legal right to an abortion as a ‘genocidal plot’ is not only absurd, but it is offensive to women and to communities of color.”
I began my career in law enforcement as a deputy with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department in 1985. Later, I moved to Washington State to work for the King County Sheriff’s Office in Seattle, where I worked in our most difficult neighborhoods as a patrol deputy and training officer. I also did a stint as an undercover detective making drug buys, running informants and writing and executing search warrants. I long ago lost count of how many drug arrests I made.
You might think my attitude towards drug users would only have hardened over the years, but the opposite proved to be the case. Understand, I in no way condone or support the use of drugs. And crimes committed by drug users to support their habits must be punished as the crimes they are.
What I came to understand, however, is that this is really a public health and education problem and must be addressed as such. I’m old enough to remember when doctors in white lab coats were on TV hawking cigarettes. It took a long time and a consistent public awareness campaign, but tobacco use in America is down dramatically. Can you imagine the mayhem had we outlawed cigarettes? Can you envision the “cigarette cartels” and the bloodbath that would follow? Yet, thanks to a public awareness campaign we’ve made a huge dent in tobacco use without arresting a single cigarette smoker.
The “drug” problems our society is plagued with are, for the most part, actually drug prohibition problems, the result of a black market. We will never be able to legislate people away from self-intoxication. It’s been going on since the first hominid ate a piece of fermenting fruit and got high on the alcohol content. All we succeed in doing by outlawing these substances is create a gargantuan black market for drug dealers and cartels. The illicit market is estimated to be a half-trillion dollars a year. For that kind of money you can by yourself a sovereign country and in some cases the cartels seemingly have. Mexico is engaged in, basically, open warfare with the cartels. The level of violence and brutality is unprecedented.
If the colloquial definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result, what does that say about our “War on Drugs”? We’ve been pursuing this strategy for 40 years. It has cost a trillion taxpayer dollars, thousands of lives (both law enforcement and civilian) and destroyed hundreds of thousands more by incarceration. Moreover, it undermines the safety of our communities by overcrowding our jails and prisons, forcing them to give early release to truly violent offenders.
I applaud your efforts to support the rights of zygote citizens of Georgia by criminalizing miscarriages and investigating every instance of fetal death as a potential crime. The bill you are trying to pass is clear that the Georgia State Assembly knows that life begins at the moment of conception, and that any fertilized egg that dies is a human death that we should all grieve. I couldn’t agree more, and I would like to help.
As I’m sure you know, more than 50% of fertilized eggs —Georgia citizens! — naturally don’t implant, and are flushed out of the body during menstruation. I am personally concerned that my own murdering woman-body may have flushed out some human beings, and I may have flushed them down the toilet without knowing that I was disposing of Georgia citizens in such an undignified way. This must be remedied. I would like to be sure that I am not killing any more Georgia citizens — and that if I am, they are able to receive a proper funeral and not a burial at sea, and that our state police can dedicate valuable time and resources to investigating their deaths.
To that end, I attach a picture of my latest used tampon. I am preserving this tampon, as well as all of my other tampons, pads, feminine hygiene products and soiled panties from my current menstrual cycle, so that the Georgia State Police can come collect them as evidence. I would also be happy to drop the specimens off at your office, should you want to examine them yourself.
Please let me know if I can make an appointment to give you these items. Or, since I appreciate that you are a very busy man, please let me know when the police will be by my home to collect them, as my next cycle is rapidly approaching and they are starting to smell. I cannot keep them in my refrigerator for much longer.
Thanks for all the work you do to further the pro-life cause.
“While Americans want Washington to focus on creating jobs and cutting spending, the President will have to explain why he thinks now is the appropriate time to stir up a controversial issue that sharply divides the nation.”—
Well Mr. Boehner, while Americans want Washington to focus on creating jobs, you and your crew will have to explain why you think now is the appropriate time to stir up controversial issues that sharply divide the nation, precisely rape, abortion, and reproductive health clinics.
One of the first things that anyone learns about microeconomics is that supply and demand are constantly pushing prices towards an equilibrium level. Because of the dynamic nature of markets, this price can never actually be met, and is constantly changing. However, when we speak of supply and demand issues, we can surmise that there always exists an equilibrium price for all goods that will ensure that all producers and consumers involved are satisfied (think of this as an artificial construction).
So, let’s say that the equilibrium price for a bag of milk is $2.00. At this price, all the milk that is produced will be consumed and all those who demand it will be satisfied. That is to say that there is no shortage or excess of milk present. Now, let’s assume that the milk farmers don’t quite like this situation. They say that $2.00 a bag is too low, and isn’t a fair price for their product. The government agrees with them, and decrees that all bags of milk must now be sold for no less than $3.00. To put it simply, this price floor causes demand to drop, as some consumers do not wish to pay $3.00 for a bag of milk. What occurs is excess production, whereby artificially higher prices stimulate supply but are met with decreasing levels of demand. In other words, there is milk left over after everything is said and done.
Now replace the bag of milk with a factory worker. The equilibrium price at which all willing workers can effectively sell their labor to employers is $8.00/hour. Now assume the government enacts a minimum wage law, decreeing that the lowest wage that can be payed to a worker is $10.00/hour. We now have an excess of labor, as artificially high wages have led to a drop in the demand for workers. This, one will find, translates into what is called structural unemployment, and is particularly prominent amongst unskilled workers such as teenage minorities.
Just like the price floor led to an excess of milk production, minimum wage laws lead to a an excess of labor “production.” Minimum wage laws cause unemployment.
Up until recently, I thought this was all common sense. Turns out, people don’t understand the simplicity of basic economics.
Uhhh big difference here: Bags of milk don’t need to feed themselves and their families or put a roof over their head. Businesses will do whatever it takes to turn a profit (and a large one at that), and if that means locking women and children in a sweat shop, they’ll do it. If it means outsourcing jobs to countries with no labor laws, and people who will work for $0.12 an hour because they don’t live in America, they’ll do it. If it means hiring undocumented workers to work on pennies on the dollar, they’ll do it. If it means creating tax shelters in foreign countries so they can post record profits and not pay a penny in American taxes, they’ll do it. People who work minimum wage and live on that as a sole means of income cannot live in this country successfully. They aren’t just “bags of milk” to be bought and sold in a commodities market, they’re real, living, breathing people, many with families and children.
Two things here:
People are not a commodity, at least not anymore. That’s what that whole slavery thing was all about, remember that?
The things you learn in basic economics are just that: basics. The real world is much more complicated than Econ 101. Oversimplification is a big problem most conservatives/libertarians have.
Apparently all you’ve taken is microeconomics, so here’s a more accurate description of what’s really going on from someone who has taken more than one semester:
A supply and demand analysis assumes competitive markets, meaning that for each curve to exist there must be a large number of buyers and sellers; so large that each individual buyer and seller must believe that what he/she does will not influence price. This is because if there is only one seller, that seller can search along the demand curve to find the most profitable price. The buyer cannot influence the price and must either accept it and pay or move on. The ordinary consumer knows this role well: when he/she goes to the store, he/she can buy one or twenty gallons of milk with no effect on the price of milk for everyone else. The assumption that both buyers and sellers are accepting of this price is a crucial assumption for the supply and demand argument, and often it is not true for sellers. And if it is not true with regard to sellers, a supply curve will not exist because the amount a seller will want to sell will depend on marginal revenue, the profit from selling an additional unit, rather than on price.
The supply and demand model also requires that buyers and sellers be clearly defined and mutually exclusive groups. Using the milk example, few people who buy milk (the buyers) know or care about the price of cattle feed or the details of running a dairy farm. The dairy farmers (sellers) do not care about the income of the buyers or what the prices of related goods are unless they affect the price of producing the milk they sell. Thus, when one factor changes, such as the price of cattle feed, it affects only one curve, the supply curve, and not both. Further, this means that when buyers and sellers cannot be clearly distinguished, as in the labor market, where the people who are buyers (employers) one minute may be sellers (employees) the next, one cannot talk about distinct and separate supply and demand curves.
Also, we must consider the different markets when it comes to labor. The milk example will no longer work here because, alas, it has become much more complicated. The supply and demand argument when applied to employment assumes what is called a one sector market. This would mean that all workers of all labor and educational backgrounds are the same and are included in minimum wage coverage. However, as all of us who have ever searched for jobs know, this is simply not true. A more accurate model would contain two different sectors, because there will always be workers that are not included in a sector (farmworkers and the self-employed, for example, are not included under minimum wage laws). However the predictions of an excess supply as shown in the above milk example cannot be counted on as they do not carry over to a two-sector model.
Separately, empirical economic and statistical studies have shown the supply and demand model predictions to not hold up in the real world when applied to employment. While some earlier studies, pre-1990’s, showed small negative effects in employment rates, more recent work using improved sampling methods and dataset analysis techniques have show there to be nearly no to slightly positive effects of minimum wage increases on employment rates. In a book published by two distinguished economists in 1995, David Card and Alan Krueger found a positive, not negative, relationship between employment and minimum wages. For example, in one of several studies in this book, Card and Krueger compared changes in fast-food restaurant employment in two states, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. New Jersey had increased its minimum wage by nearly 19 percent while Pennsylvania had no increase in the minimum wage. Card and Krueger found no rise in unemployment rates as a result of the minimum wage; rather, they found that employment in New Jersey actually increased more than in Pennsylvania.
More recently, the California Budget Project examined the impacts of the 2001-02 California increases, a whole dollar from $5.75 to $6.75, and found that employment (not unemployment) in California grew faster than in the rest of the United States where minimum wages had not been raised as significantly.
I get it. As a libertarian, you believe in this free market that will somehow lead us to salvation if left unregulated. But personally, as a scientist, I cannot allow your ‘economic arguments’ which have been oversimplified to the point that they are blatantly fallacious and faulty economic theories based on assumptions that simply aren’t true in the real world to continue without a logical and factual rebuttal based in empirical evidence.