Jeff Madrick: “How Austerity Is Killing Europe“
The European Union has become a vicious circle of burgeoning debt leading to radical austerity measures, which in turn further weaken economic conditions and result in calls for still more damaging cuts in government spending and higher taxes. The European debt crisis began with Greece, and that nation remains the European Union’s most stricken economy. But it has spread inexorably to Ireland, Portugal, Italy, and Spain, and even threatens France and possibly the U.K. It need not have done so. Rarely do we get so stark an example of bad — arguably even perverse — economic thinking in action.
Sady Doyle: “The Percentages: A Biography of Class“
Because the 99 percent includes C, who I envied and exploited while pretending to be her friend. The 99 percent most likely includes the boy in the John Deere hat, and maybe even the Juliana Hatfield roommate, who made me feel so dirty and ashamed and angry that to this day I make too many mean jokes about Brooklyn. The 99 percent includes my father, wherever he is. But it includes my mother, too. The work of occupying my specific space between them, the work of understanding that each of them had privileges forever denied to the other, growing up to understand how I can exist as the product of them both without imploding from the contradictions and hostilities, is the work I have to do to understand the idea of a “99 percent.” Everyone I see on the street in Queens, most likely, is a 99 percenter, and that doesn’t mean I don’t inevitably benefit from the oppression of many or most of them, or that they don’t inevitably benefit from my oppression about 49% of the time. Embracing a “99 percent,” for me, means that solidarity is not sameness; it never was. I don’t want that fucker in the John Deere hat representing my Aunt Mimi; he’d hate Aunt Mimi, and fear her, and to be honest if it were a bad day Aunt Mimi would probably give him a few reasons. I don’t want to believe that he’s only pretending not to laugh at her, right now, because he had a hard time getting a job after he left college. And I don’t want to believe that, if she were still alive, and if I visited her trailer now, I’d still give her a reason to kick me out.
(Thanks to QXZ and Invisible Neutrino for this link.)
Gov. Chris Gregoire, “Marriage Equality Speech, Jan. 4, 2012“
Today, I’m announcing my support for a law that gives same-sex couples in our state the right to receive a marriage license in Washington – the same right given heterosexual couples.
It is time, it is the right thing to do, and I will introduce a bill to do it. …
Some argue that the state must deny a marriage license based on religious beliefs.
With a marriage license, couples marry in civil or religious ceremonies.
In issuing the license, the state should not involve itself in an applicant’s religion.
The responsibility of the state is to license only. The right of a church is to decide whom to marry, and the state will honor the religious freedom of all faiths. …
As Washingtonians and Americans, we have serious problems to address – a far-off war, the Great Recession, more than 13 million people looking for work, worldwide economic competition.
Loving, committed married couples of any sexual orientation can only help us. They can help us defend our Democracy, help our neighbors, and build strong communities. And they will.
Fellow Washingtonians: Throughout our history, we have fought discrimination. We have joined together to recognize equality for racial minorities, women, people with disabilities, immigrants, religious sects.
Please answer the call to support equality again in our great state. It is the right thing to do and it is time.
Peter Enns: “Evolution, Evangelicals, and their Bible“
The Bible is ancient literature that speaks from an ancient point of view. An awareness of the Bible’s ancient cultural influences – even a minimal awareness – helps alert us to the kinds of questions the Bible is prepared to answer. Science is not among them.
But too many expect the Bible to give the final word on all sorts of things – as if it were an owner’s manual or some sort of reference work that speaks to any and every issue. Thinking this way creates problems – like the kind we often see when evangelicals talk about evolution.
Supposedly, it is unworthy of God to speak through ancient stories of origins that are neither historical nor scientific. God is the God of Truth. He would never stoop so low.
Uh … actually … yes he would. God is all about stooping low – way low. That’s how God rolls — at least the Christian God.