NFL to start season with scabs officiating

While the coverage of this issue all uses the term “replacements” there is no question that the officials working for the first week of the NFL are scabs.  The league’s negotiations with the NFL Referees Association have broken down and the officials are locked out.

NFL to use replacement refs from ESPN Aug. 29, 2012

Replacements will be on the field beginning next Wednesday night when the Dallas Cowboys visit the New York Giants to open the season, league executive Ray Anderson told the 32 teams. Negotiations are at a standstill between the NFL and the officials’ union.

The NFL Referees Association was locked out in early June and talks on a new collective bargaining agreement have gone nowhere. Replacements have been used throughout the preseason, with mixed results.

While many are quick to point out that the refs should be happy making six-figures for part-time work, that argument neglects to note that money not paid to the officials simply ends up in the leagues pockets.  While the figures are higher than for a wage dispute at a factory, mine, or business, the concept is the same.  The people who go out and do the work that generates the revenue should be well compensated for their labor.

You know what would be awesome?  The Players Association standing with the union brothers and refusing to take the field.



StreamingDisgust: GOP stream of RNC Convention for 8/29

Here’s tonight’s stream of the convention:

Still to come tonight:

Remarks: Steve Cohen

Remote & Introduction: Puerto Rico Watch Party

Remarks: The Hon. Luis Fortuño (PR) Governor

Entertainment: The Katinas (So Good)

Remarks: The Hon. Tim Pawlenty (MN) Former Governor

Video: President George W. Bush

Remarks: The Hon. Mike Huckabee (AR) Former Governor

Remarks: The Hon. Condoleezza Rice Former Secretary of State

Remarks The Hon. Susana Martinez (NM) Governor

Video: Ryan Family

Remarks: The Hon. Paul Ryan (WI) U.S. Representative

Benediction: His Eminence Methodios Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Metropolitan of Boston

StreamingDisgust: GOP stream of RNC Convention for 8/28

Unsure if this will be the stream for the next two days as well, but will post the correct one if it is not.

Still to go tonight:

Remarks Ted Cruz (TX) Candidate for U.S. Senate

Remarks The Hon. Artur Davis (AL) Former U.S. Representative

Video Switchers

Remarks The Hon. Nikki Haley (SC) Governor

Remarks Mrs. Lucé Fortuño First Lady of Puerto Rico

Remarks Mrs. Ann Romney

Entertainment Three Doors Down (World Premiere – One Light)

Video & Remarks The Hon. Chris Christie (NJ) Governor

Benediction Rev. Sammy Rodriguez President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

How much does Texas hate poor women? $700 worth each

Not happy to simply not fund Planned Parenthood clinics that perform abortions (more on this later,) Texas plans to cut off all state funding for the women’s health organization in their state.

Court Paves Way For Texas Planned Parenthood Cuts by Wade Goodwyn for NPR News, Aug. 27, 2012

Officials in Texas say they will cut off state funding to Planned Parenthood following a federal court ruling last week. The decision by a panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says the state can defund the health clinics because Planned Parenthood is associated with abortion.

Planned Parenthood warned that the cuts threaten access to health care for more than 50,000 poor women. But many Texas officials cheered the decision, which could reverberate to other states targeting the organization.

The reason this is really scary is that Planned Parenthood is the easiest and often only health care option for too many poor women–particularly in rural areas.  But Texas is like the Honey Badger, it don’t give a shit.  It is more important to score a symbolic victory over a legal medical procedure than worry about those 50,000 women.  But the effects will likely be felt far more than just those women:

In the past, federal courts have ruled that states can’t defund Planned Parenthood clinics just because they affiliate with abortion providers, on the grounds that it violates Planned Parenthood’s right to free speech and free association, as well as federal regulations.

To get around this obstacle, Perry decided to forgo federal funding, even though the federal government pays 90 percent of the cost, approximately $35 million, of the Texas Women’s Health Program.

That’s right.  Texas, the state with the highest percentage of uninsured citizens, would rather forgo $35 million in federal funding for women’s health than see an organization associated with abortion perform non-abortion related procedures. Do the math, and that means that Texas is willing to spend $700 per poor woman to deny them health care.

While on this topic–it pisses me off that states and the federal government are routinely willing to create work arounds to try to ensure that public money is not spent on a LEGAL medical procedure.  My tax dollars are routinely spent in any number of ways that I find to be morally repugnant, but I don’t expect the government to carve out exemptions and exclusions to placate me.

Crop conditions remain unchanged despite scattered rain, cooler temperatures

In other words, the only effect of the recent rain is that I had to mow.

Iowa Environmental Focus

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Monday that, despite moderating weather conditions, much of Iowa’s crops are still in poor condition.

Iowa’s corn crop is rated 23 percent very poor, 30 percent poor, 32 percent fair, 14 percent good, and 1 percent excellent. Soybean conditions appear slightly better at 14 percent very poor, 23 percent poor, 38 percent fair, 23 percent good, and 2 percent excellent.

For more information, read the full article at The Gazette.

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Hank Williams Jr., an ass and an idiot, at the Iowa State Fair

Yet another year has gone by with me not making it to the state fair.  Given Hank William Jr.’s comments during his performance this year, I guess I feel pretty good about that.

Surprising no one, Williams got in a good old ignorant jab at the President towards the end of his set:

Hank Williams Jr. brings country hits and political jabs to the fair by Joe Lawler for Metromix Des Moines, Aug. 2012

Following the song “We Don’t Apologize For America” a chant of “USA, USA” broke out amongst the crowd. Williams smiled, telling the crowd that he was their mouth piece and adding:

“We’ve got a Muslim president who hates farming, hates the military, hates the US and we hate him!”

Now, like I said, no one should have been surprised by this outburst.  Recently Williams has begun to augment his cashing in on his father’s name with public statements about the President that are equal parts hateful and misinformed.  What I was surprised and disappointed about was the crowd’s reaction:

The cheers that followed were loud and enthusiastic.

Seriously, what were the fair organizers thinking?  I disagree with rejecting musicians simply because of their political views, but courting them and promoting them in spite of frequent vocal misinformed and destructive rantings seems like poor practice to me.

As an aside, I felt the same way when Coralville had Charlie Daniels perform at 4th Fest a number of years back after his 9/11 response song stoked racial/religious hatred with the lyrics “This ain’t no rag it’s a flag / And we don’t wear it on our heads.”

It’s the end of the summer as I know it…

… and I feel fine.  My summer officially ended last Friday with my first day back at school.  Still two more pre-service days, and then students show up on Wednesday.

I teach eighth grade US history (pre-history through Reconstruction) in a relatively high poverty, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, rural/bedroom community district.  I absolutely love what I do and where I do it.

I had thought that I would be heading back to work with more reticence as I got to enjoy the summer at home with my now 14 month old daughter.  That coupled with some great short trips with the family made for the best summer I could imagine.  But ten weeks off is plenty, and I’m ready to be back in the classroom.

I am updating a presidential endorsement project that I created and taught four years ago to start the year off with.  The editor of the local paper printed three as letters to the editor in ’08, and I’m hoping for the same this year.

As I go back, I have to yet again set a goal that I wish I didn’t have to:

  • I will let neither the national/state attacks on teachers and teaching nor the drama and difficulties within my district distract from the learning environment I foster and create in my classroom.

Wish me luck!