Sunday, October 22, 2006

News Dump

I originally meant to have a running feature here -- if you've been around since the blog started, you may remember it -- called "People in Suits Who Can't Read." My first one was David Brooks, who remains the paradigm example, but it sort of petered out. Anyway, the news dump has become a sort of de facto feature. It's not quite as regular as Daily Kos, but you still can't get all this news in one place anywhere else.

Just Remember There's a Whole Universe Out There

Parts of it look like this. I don't know why, but seeing this sort of thing makes me not care about looking especially trendy when I go outside.

New Searchable Database for Congressional Employee Salaries

You wouldn't believe how much wacky fun we have with this handy little doodad at work. We know most of these people and they're almost all alarmingly overpaid. Some of them should probably be in prison for their own protection instead of drawing a paycheck.

Unions Getting Busted Good and Proper

I'll let this speak for itself.

In a move that surprised exactly no one, the NLRB voted along party lines yesterday to reclassify 8 million workers as "supervisors" who will no longer have any protection under U.S. labor laws. It no longer matters whether you hire, fire, or discipline. If you do so much as make out a shift schedule or monitor the quality of other employees' work, bingo! You're a supervisor!


This is, by the way, the kind of thing I'm talking about when I say that Republicans have made it steadily harder over the years to organize unions. Most people will never hear about this ruling, just as most have never heard of the dozens of other under-the-radar rulings, laws, regulations, and court decisions that have slowly chipped away at the ability of unions to organize over the years. But believe me: business lobbies have. And since this ruling mostly affects service industries, they can't pretend that globalization has forced their hand. They just want to eliminate any organized pressure to pay their workers more.

Violence Against Children Generally Accepted Worldwide

Sad news from the U.N., but what is anyone doing about it? It's one of those things that reaaaally doesn't lend itself to a bumper sticker campaign. Cultural attitudes mashed together with economic depression and traditional religious beliefs make the child's lot in life, at this late stage of world development, still pretty bleak.

"Many people, even children, accept violence as an inevitable part of life," said the 45-page study by independent expert Paulo Sergio Pinheiro.

International Labor Organization data showed that in 2004 there were 218 million child laborers of whom 126 million did hazardous work, the report said. WHO estimates up to 140 million women and girls have undergone genital mutilation, it said.

"I urge states to prohibit all forms of violence against children, in all settings, including all corporal punishment, harmful traditional practices -- such as early and forced marriages, female genital mutilation and so-called honor crimes -- sexual violence and torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment," Pinheiro said.

The report also calls for the appointment of a U.N. special representative to act as a high profile global advocate to promote prevention and elimination of all violence against children.


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