Pinky Links


can this “anti-government” lambasting be directly harmful? ~.m. by maria b.

i would argue yes, but not just in the sense of all these right-wing militias springing up.

count me among the people who were truly saddened to hear that the four missing miners from the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion last week were found dead. like a lot of people, i was really hoping for a miracle and that those four men would somehow be found alive (there were numerous references to the airtight safety chambers in the mines that had food and water in them.) it’s a scary enough thought thinking about working in such a dark, dirty and foreboding place for 40 hours a week, walking in tunnels miles and miles long over 1,000 feet underground. add to that all the health problems that can accompany this job–from a relatively mild vitamin D deficiency to the infamous Black Lung. sure, these people do alright financially, but even if they have health insurance and other benefits that come with the job, it is far from a stable occupation. having health insurance doesn’t prevent these workers from having health problems (unlike most other occupations, this one causes health problems.) and once the mining company decides that there is no longer a large enough payoff in working the mine, they close it up and the jobs are gone.

add to this situation, then, the fact that these mining companies, including Massey Energy who runs the Upper Big Branch Mine,  are actively and vocally opposed to government regulations to better ensure the physical safety of the men who work in the mines. it’s not enough that these mining companies speak and work against rules to improve mine safety, but they have found loopholes in the system whereby they can basically indefinitely avoid paying the monetary penalties–usually no more than several hundred thousand dollars–and avoid having to change anything about the way the mine functions (they appeal the citation/violation and it is hung up in court for years.) mining companies are very reluctant to close down a mine because it costs them a lot of money to shut down, fix the problem and then start up from a dead stop. purely a profit motive–risk the lives of the people in the mine to save a buck. so that means that, in places like the Upper Big Branch mine, despite the hundreds of safety violations the mine was cited for, the company can choose to simply pay no fine and nothing about the state or function of the mine changes. this, i would argue, then directly contributes to the mining disasters we’ve seen all too often in the past few years.

note to energy and mining company CEOs (like Don Blankenship) about government regulations: they are having to write these regulations because YOU are not doing enough to ensure the safety of your employees.

note to others who have problems with the government regulating industries: this system of capitalism focuses on monetary profits, NOT on quality of life improvements; it rewards the people who can get the most out of their employees for the least money, NOT the people who work more than 40-hour weeks. and, historically, if it had been left up to private companies and businesses to regulate themselves, we would have no weekends, no limit to how many hours an employer can ask us to work, no minimum wage, employers would be able to discriminate based on whatever basis they chose, the list goes on and on.

instead of Don Blankenship railing against the government and saying (ever so disingenuously) that it’s ridiculous to say that the government cares more about worker safety than he does, he should put his money where his mouth is. he should work WITH the government to establish standards, systems and rules that do a better job of ensuring the long- and short-term health and safety of the people who work the mines instead of allowing the effect on their families and physical well-being to be a crapshoot.

on a final note, i’ve never seen a person more brazenly motivated by money than this man–his political positions are based solely on his job and what political rules (or lack thereof) will make it easiest for him to make a profit, and that’s it. he’ll throw the environment under the bus (like so many, unfortunately), but he’s also willing to risk the lives of the people who work for him. so i completely disagree with him–the government NEEDS to get involved. the system NEEDS to be changed to shift the economic incentive to match up with the action that will best care for the mine employees.

Don Blankenship says that “politicians get emotional” about disasters. fuck yes, anyone with a soul would be emotional about the senseless and PREVENTABLE deaths of 29 people, the soulless fucktard who cares more about his profits than the loss of family members sees it as an inconvenient glitch in his mine’s production.



my beef with catholicism. ~.m. by maria b.

this picture makes it too easy. let me just say that so far, 2010 is definitely the year of the priest. but probably not for the reasons the pope and his marketing team wanted.

my mom sent me this (unsolicited) e-mail, yes, on Good Friday. if there’s anything i can’t discuss with my dear, Conservative mother, it’s two things: religion and politics. yet i found this in my inbox.

Today, On Good Friday, Heres Why I Remain Catholic
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125493179&sc=emaf

This message was included:

This article best explains, why I am a practicing Catholic.  I hope this will enlighten you to my faith.  Love you, MOM

*Listen/Watch on NPR.org*
Many stories at NPR.org have audio or video content. When you visit the link
above, look for a “Listen” or “Watch” button.
For technical support, please visit NPR’s Audio/Video Help page:
http://www.npr.org/help/media.html

the gist of it is that everything has two sides: America, our families, ourselves, yadda yadda yadda. it glosses over the sex and pedophilia scandals with euphemisms and emphasizes the good the church does and hope for the future blah blah blah. a generic Catholic homily, suited for any occasion at all. whatever. so i sent her this back. (credit goes to Krco for the majority of the info in this e-mail.)

noted. and i hope this will enlighten you as to why i am not a Catholic:

Bishop Camara said “When I fed the poor they called me a saint, when I asked why the poor had no food, they called me a Communist.”

Bishop Camara’s nickname was “The Bishop of the Slums.”  He was really into land redistribution and progressive welfare politics.  He was the head bishop of Brazil when the USA helped the military overthrow the Brazilian democracy and spoke out against the repressive government despite death threats–even when the dictator was sitting in his pews.  The Brazilian military government only allowed two political parties; Camara started his own illegal political party anyway to push the social justice thing.  It didn’t go anywhere because too many potential members got shot, but it was probably worth a try.  He basically kept trying to do stuff like that until democracy was restored two decades after the military coup, when he retired.  He started a bunch of programs to help the poor, improve the slums, and organize against the repression, but when he retired, he was immediately replaced by a conservative papal yes-man who undid all the social justice programs that Camara had started.  Here’s a pretty good biography if you’re interested: http://clericalwhispers.blogspot.com/2009/07/bishop-of-slums-dom-helder-camara-and.html

Some other quotes from him:

How can a Christian collaborate with a communist?

— For me, men are not divided into believers and atheists, but between oppressors and oppressed, between those who want to keep this unjust society and those who want to struggle for justice.

Have you forgotten that Marx considered religion to be the opium of the people?

— It is the bourgeoisie which has turned religion into an opium of the people by preaching a God, lord of the heavens only, while taking possession of the earth for itself.

And, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize four times, but conservative churchmen like the current pope worked behind the scenes to make sure he never got it.

Now, compare this to a modern day, conservative, American bishop (Morlino, from the church in Madison) who was talking about the association of Catholic Hospitals (which is huge) and all the nuns in the USA:

So, we had a trade organization — the Catholic Health Association — which calls itself “Catholic” and we had religious Sisters who call themselves Catholic, saying, “Sorry, bishops, you got it wrong, here is the teaching of the Church.” The Lord Jesus Christ, unworthy though the bishops are, called the bishops to lead the people in faith; He did not call anybody in the Catholic Health Association and he did not call any of the Sisters in Network.

The bishops are called to teach, sanctify, and govern. But, as I said before, with regard to the Holy Father, if people will not recognize authority, then they cannot lay responsibility at the feet of those to whom they are disobedient. The pope and the bishops are only responsible when their authority is accepted. The then-Cardinal Ratzinger himself has said, in our contemporary world, the word “obedience” has disappeared from our vocabulary and the reality of obedience has been anathematized.

So doubtless, you heard about the priest in Milwaukee who sexually assaulted 200 deaf boys?  And how the bishop, pope, and current pope knew about the situation as it was happening?  This quote from Morlino comes from the exact same day that that story came out.  How can someone from Wisconsin pick a time like now to talk about people being obedient to the bishops?  What a contrast between the conservative syphocants of today and the Latin American badasses of the 60’s.

But seeing as how the Catholic Church is less a religious organization and widely considered to be the world’s largest corporation, it’s no wonder that people like Morlino and Benedict/Ratzinger ended up with leadership positions and people like Camara are suppressed or, like now, don’t even see a connection between the philosophy of social justice and Catholicism. It seems that today’s Catholic leaders would prefer a church made up of rich, obedient lemmings instead of people who are looking to actually find practical ways to apply the ideas in the beatitudes to their lives (not that the ideas in the beatitudes are exclusives to Catholicism or Christianity.)

Anyway, I’m not trying to get into an e-mail debate with you. I just thought i’d tell you why I am not a Catholic since you told me why you are. Hope you had a good day!

Love, .m.

i was as nice as i could be. and i let a lot go unsaid, so i think as far as not being offensive i did a pretty good job (albeit while sacrificing thoroughness.) now i can only hope that she doesn’t shoot me back an e-mail about how she’s still praying for me. fucking christ.

p.s. this is a great blog about how creepy, manipulative, subversive, absurd and ridiculously arrogant the Catholic church is regarding both legislative and cultural issues in America today. it has a point of view, sure, but i do think it’s pretty fair. considering.



did he just say that. ~.m. by maria b.

timothy mcveigh. timothy mcveigh the guy that blew up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City and killed or wounded more than 800 innocent people and caused more than $652 million worth of damage timothy mcveigh? timothy mcveigh who was found guilty of this and put to death for it in 2001? timothy mcveigh whose crime was, until September 11, 2001, the most significant act of terrorism on American soil timothy mcveigh? timothy mcveigh who did all that to revolt against what he considered to be a tyrannical federal government? timothy mcveigh who railed against taxes and called them  “a joke”? timothy mcveigh who said at Waco in 1993 that “I believe we are slowly turning into a socialist government. The government is continually growing bigger and more powerful and the people need to prepare to defend themselves against government control”? that timothy mcveigh? you consider him a patriot? what fucking universe are you living in where killing innocents is an honorable thing? if that’s how you feel, then you are no better than the religious radicals you purport to consider evil, and you are a hypocrite.



i’m passing this on to all the teabaggers. ~.m. by maria b.

not that they’d be reading this blog, though. anyway, there’s this great blog i check in on every once in a while (here’s another one while i’m at it), and i came across a post there that i had to make sure i had on record for myself. i’m putting my favorite part on our blog, but the rest of it is here.

I can’t help but recall hearing a whole lot of patronizing advice from these same people [Conservatives] a few years back when anyone breathed that President Bush might not have legitimately taken office since he lost the popular vote, his brother manipulated the system in Florida and he was was installed by a partisan supreme court decision. Back then it was all “get over it,” and “I’ve got political capital and I’m gonna spend it!” Now, these same people are all screaming that it’s a usurpation if the Democrats win the majority and then pass legislation that they don’t like.

It’s fairly clear that Republicans don’t understand how democracy works. You campaign, people vote, you win elections, you get a majority, you pass legislation. They seem to think Democracy means that that elections are irrelevant, majorities are meaningless and that all legislation is contingent upon the permission of the Republican Party.

I’m sorry these people are so unhappy. I know how they feel. I used to hate it when the Republicans passed some disgusting initiative that went against everything I believe in. But I don’t recall having a mental breakdown at the notion that they could do it even though I didn’t want them to. The idea that they were obligated to do my bidding didn’t actually cross my mind.

As they used to say repeatedly, “elections have consequences.” If the people don’t like this bill, they have every right to turn the Democrats out of office and repeal it. But screaming hysterically that it’s cheating to pass legislation with a majority just proves that these folks’ great reverence for the constitution is based more on their love of wearing funny hats than anything that’s written in it.

ugh, seriously. get over it, already. btw…





this week in hypocrisy: March 8, 2010. ~.m. by maria b.

actually, that's totally consistent. practically speaking. get it? ew.

i was just doing my usual perusing of blogs, and  i came across this story which set off my hypocrisy trigger. this was too much in one day, i was overcome with frustration at all these people trumpeting their beliefs and advocating the/attempting to impose them on other people, then turning around and acting completely contrary to their aforementioned beliefs. so here are the big stories i read today that immediately came to mind when my hypocrisy trigger tripped: Continue reading



my word of the week: SCROTUS. ~.m. by maria b.

SCROTUS: the Supreme Court Republicans Of the United States; the SCOTUS conservative activist judges that overturn precedent to further contemporary Republican/conservative ideology. (ex: Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts make up the current SCROTUS, which was instrumental in upsetting precedent in the Citizens United case.)