The scab officials did an utterly abysmal job in last weekend’s NFL games. But nothing reached the extreme incompetence of last night’s Denver-Atlanta game, and that doesn’t even count the Broncos not showing up. Essentially, the first half of that game was unwatchable between the continued missed calls and official conferences to figure out what to do, the challenges on obvious referee screwups, and the near brawl that broke out which the officials were totally unable to control. The sports world has had enough; this morning brought the biggest condemnation from an ESPN writer yet. Players and coaches are biting their tongues because they don’t want to get fined, fanbases are outraged. The integrity of the game is at stake, to the extent it has any left.
This is all because Roger Goodell and the billionaire owners don’t want to pay into a referee pension plan. That’s the single important issue here.
Rahm Emanuel is outraged. He thought he made a deal with Karen Lewis, head of the Chicago Teachers’ Union, to end the teachers strike.
But see, Rahm doesn’t understand very much about unions. In a democratic union, the kind of union supposedly liberal commentators say they want when they complain about “union bosses” and such, the members get to VOTE on the union contract. Rahm doesn’t actually like democracy. Authoritarianism is more his speed. So the idea that something he agreed to has to be voted on, well that can’t be!
The CTU is a highly democratic union. It looks like the contract is mostly pretty good for the union–3 year deal rather than the 4 wanted by the city, pay raises, increased staff for the longer school day, and the lowest amount of teacher evaluation by testing allowed by the law (thanks to Arne Duncan for that being in Illinois state law to begin with). But there were a lot of concerns for these teachers. They want to review the contract for themselves and decide what to do. Almost certainly the membership will pass it. Unless Rahm goes through with his threat of an injunction, which could outrage the already empowered teachers to more radical action. If he’s smart, Rahm will let this play out and school will start in a couple of days. Unfortunately, this is Rahm we’re talking about. So who knows. And let’s face it, the idea that Rahm and CPS is basing their injunction on a health and safety danger is pretty funny coming from the same people who threw kids into classrooms without air conditioning during a Chicago summer.
Somewhat to my surprise this morning, I discovered that Conservapedia actually has an entry on the Pequot War. For you non-colonialists out there, the Pequot War was a war of extermination waged by the Puritans in Massachusetts and Connecticut against the Pequots in 1637. Unlike traditional indigenous warfare, the Puritans sought to maximize enemy casualties and destroy Pequot society completely. Essentially, they took the brutal practices of 17th century European religious warfare and applied it to Native Americans. This shocked even the Puritans’ Narragansett allies, who had certainly never seen anything like it before. The war culminated in the Puritan burning of the Pequot settlement at Mystic, Connecticut, killing 500 men, women, and children. As William Bradford said, “It was a fearful sight to see them frying in the fire.” Most of the survivors were enslaved and sent to the death traps of the Caribbean sugar plantations.
Turns out the people behind Conservapedia see historians calling this genocide, which it certainly was, as part of the broader “revisionist” academic attack upon good white people who were just defending their homes or something even though they were part of a conquering force who introduced total warfare to the….oh why bother. A choice quote, based upon their (mis)interpretation of a Steven Katz 1991 article:
Such a view, founded on presentist notions of outrage and moral sanctimony, obfuscates the fact that native tribes fought on the side of the English, both sides were mutually responsible for the onset of hostilities, and the colonists were rightfully concerned with threats to their survival. Historians holding to the thesis of genocide overinterpret and occasionally misinterpret their sources to advance their argument.
This is what happens when historiography gets enslaved to the desires of conservatives to shut up criticism of historical white people. While it is possible that using terms like “genocide” may apply modern ideas to the past, it is absolutely certain that conservatives absolving the Puritans because, hey everybody does it!, is also applying modern ideas to the past. If “revisionism” is an actual thing, no one can do it like the modern conservative, whether to the Pequot War or Ronald Reagan.
The NFL lockout of its referees is about one thing–the NFL wants to take their pensions away. Why? Because other workers don’t have them so the NFL doesn’t want the refs to have them either. Really, it’s that simple.
The NFL has replaced one of its replacement referees just hours before NFL games kick off.
Referee Brian Stropolo was pulled from the New Orleans Saints – Carolina Panthers game after it was revealed that he is a fan of the Saints. On his Facebook page, there are several pictures of Stropolo at a tailgate party for the Saints. In the photos, Stropolo is wearing Saints-themed gear.
Any claims that the NFL takes player safety or professionalism seriously are laughable.
First, the girls who were killed that day weren’t small children. They were adolescents — three were fourteen years old, and the fourth, Denise McNair, was eleven. They were kids, but they weren’t the little kids of popular memory. Their lives were taken from them as they were on the verge of becoming young women.
Second, they weren’t the only black people killed in Birmingham that day. As tempers flared throughout the city a white police officer shot and killed 16-year-old Johnny Robinson. Robinson, who was shot in the back, had earlier thrown rocks at a car draped with a Confederate flag. Later that day, Virgil Ware, thirteen, was riding on the handlebars of his brother’s bike when he was shot by Larry Joe Sims, a white sixteen-year-old returning from an anti-integration rally.
The teen who killed Virgil Ware was convicted of second-degree manslaughter and sentenced to two years probation. The officer who killed Johnny Robinson was never charged with a crime.
There is a mythology to our collective memory of the civil rights movement, a mythology in which the righteousness of the integrationist cause is sometimes misrepresented as innocence. Teenagers become — as in the title of Spike Lee’s magnificent documentary on the church bombing — “little girls.” A teenager driven by anger to throw rocks at racists disappears entirely.
Education is a political act. For over half a century, the conservative movement has waged a political war on liberal arts education. They have waged this war because they know that without the skills we are provided by a liberal arts education citizens must abdicate our power. They know, like the Greeks and Romans did, that only those with the ars liberalis can do the job of citizens. That is why we must not allow the liberal arts to be further attacked, economically or ethically. A democracy without citizens will not long survive and citizens are only those who have mastered the ars liberalis.
If those sex workers were to form a labor union and demand better working conditions and pay though, it seems Kristof would oppose them. Yesterday, Kristof wrote an awful editorial attacking the Chicago Teachers’ Union, not for asking for more money which so many have talked about, but for trying to resist the idiotic standardized testing tied to job security. Once again, we have a supposedly liberal pundit talking about accountability in a profession where complete incompetence is rewarded with lifetime sinecures.
As Mike Elk reports, it seems that Kristof is just anti-union period. A former member of the Newspaper Guild and a man who has relied on the Times overseas employees on his sex worker swoop-ins, he refused to support the overseas workers organizing to protect their pensions. These are people who often risk their lives for stories, and in fact some have lost their lives. Over 600 Times employees signed a letter in support of the overseas workers. Kristof and all of the other columnists (except possibly Krugman, this is unclear) refused.
“I was one of the several authors of the letter. At the time, I wrote individually to all the columnists [except Krugman] asking them to consider signing it. Because some had been foreign correspondents and had depended on those people who were being unilaterally screwed out of their pensions and who had no union protection, I hoped they would step forward,” says New York Times science reporter Donald McNeil. “But not one signed. Not one even answered my note. Since then, I’ve hoped that at least one or two would weigh in on our struggle here. But nothing. Silence.”
In fact, the Times is not great on labor issues at all and could face some labor actions coming up, particularly over health insurance, for which they force their employees to pay nearly half the cost. But no one should expect Kristof to help unless he can swoop into the Philippines for another fantasy.
….So I deleted this briefly because people were so outraged that I applied basic psychology to Kristof’s saving brown women fantasies and suggested there might be a bit something more to it, if you know what I mean. And to be clear, I didn’t delete it because I was wrong. I deleted it because I didn’t want to have the next 24 hours taken up by people shaming me for making obvious observations. I decided to repost it because Kristof’s anti-unionism is so important. So I changed the wording. But basically, if you don’t like the suggestion that Kristof’s fantasies might have a dark side, you may want to read a bit deeper into these issues. Or not take yourselves so seriously. Whatever works for you.
I have trouble understanding people who don’t believe in the theory of evolution. This is like not believing in gravity or climate change. Oh yeah, these people don’t believe in that either. Anyway, I was struck by the recently discovered lesula monkey in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. How can you see this and not believe that humans and monkeys are related?
Of course, they, and all the other species in the forest recently explored by scientists for the first time, will all probably be extinct in 20 years anyway. And then we can go back to denial! Monkeys, aren’t they like unicorns?
Back in July, I spent a week on California’s North Coast, doing research for my book at Humboldt State, hiking, sampling the area’s amazing beers, and thanks to Scott Greacen, director of Friends of the Eel River, interviewing some participants in the movement to save the redwood forests. Scott, a reader and commenter on this blog, was not only generous with his time, but he also invited me on the radio show EcoNews Report, which he co-hosts, for a long-form interview. It’s available at archive.org (Part 1 here, Part 2 here). Yes that’s right. A full hour of me. As I recall I talked about politics, capitalism, the internet, and the various issues I am writing about in my book. I also realized that while I have become pretty good at developing short answers on political questions, I go on and on and on about my research. Have to work on that one. Anyway, enjoy if you are so inclined.