Pinky Links


this oil spill is really bumming me out. ~.m. by maria b.

i don’t really want to get into it too much because it’s really depressing to talk about, but the oil spill in the gulf is really, really horrible. with the effects on the wildlife and on the ecosystems, the oceans, the gulfstream running along florida and up the east coast, not to mention the 11 guys that died in the initial explosion and the many, many people whose livelihoods depend on shrimping and fishing in the gulf, i honestly can’t even read another article, watch another news story or look at another picture of the effects there. it’s just really a bummer. our clusterfuck of a government had better damn well make sure BP pays for ever red cent of cleanup of this shit, for the next fucking century.



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.



quote of the week: Feb. 14, 2010. ~.m. by maria b.

“Now here’s an amazing statistic. In a recent poll almost ninety percent of Tea Baggers said that they thought taxes had either gone up or stayed the same under Obama. Only two percent thought they went down. But the reality is taxes have gone down for ninety five percent of working families.

Think about that. Only two percent of the people in a ‘movement’ about taxes named after a tax revolt have the slightest idea what’s going on…with taxes.”

-Bill Maher on teabaggers “the tea party” teabaggers




the best rebuttal for the tebow super bowl ad: facts. ~.m. by maria b.

regardless of the plot behind the benign-looking ads themselves, the facts behind Pam Tebow’s extremely touching (/sarcasm) story–the facts about the risks of her pregnancy–are not rosy. this article at Slate points out that a significant portion of the women who made the same choice as Pam Tebow are not around to make commercials about their dangerous pregnancies and defiance of doctors’ advice because they, like the doctors warned they might, actually died.

sorry to be grim, but that’s the reality. the details of the Tebows’ story are in the article, but the gist of it is this: the stories of the many people who gambled and lost when they made the same decision as Pam Tebow do not get to tell their story because they’re, you know, deceased. just because one lady got lucky, lived through her risky pregnancy and had a healthy baby who then also defied the odds and won a Heisman trophy and will, in all likelihood, play in the NFL doesn’t mean that’s how all risky pregnancies play out.

they might as well have made a commercial about how everybody who buys a lottery ticket wins millions of dollars every time. or even $10 every time. sheesh. irresponsible, but hey, what do you expect from Focus on the Family?



andrew sullivan: pot, meet kettle. ~.m. by maria b.

as if we needed another example of Sarah Palin’s hypocrisy.
SARAHTRIGBillPugliano:Getty

note: regarding the categories, while religion and sexism isn’t explicitly mentioned in this post, how can i not tag something about Sarah Palin “sexism” and “religion ugh”?



high points and low points from this past week. ~.m. by maria b.

Highs:

Lows:

  • Alito revealed in this week’s SOTU his political leanings (like we didn’t know.) the hypocrisy from the right is incredulous, overdramatic, hypocritical and unsurprising.
  • more right wing hypocrisy, this time re: Hawaii.
  • paul shirley, former NBA player for the Bulls, is an asshole, elitist, bigot and all-round piece of shit. his post begins: “I don’t know if what I’m about to write makes me a monster.” so he’s already questioning his ideas. short answer: fuck yes, go fuck yourself. with a condom, obviously. this is so wrong i don’t even know where to begin.
  • iPad: haha, women have periods. eeeeww! so gross! get over it. it’s a fucking computer. (nuanced point: i think it’s funny to joke about how Apple might market tampons and pads, but this reaction smacks of second-grade humor. “they said ‘pad’! teehee!)
  • Howard Zinn & J.D. Salinger bite the dust. bummer.