Monday, February 28, 2011

The Week In Review, Feb. 20-27 2001

Tenacious protests challenging Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's plan to eliminate collective bargaining by teachers continued to grow and to spread across the nation as other states, like Tennessee, ponder similar plans. Despite Gov. Walker's claims, the teachers benefit package is actually the result of deferred compensation rather than extra taxpayer burdens.

The AP reported WI state workers have not had a pay increase in 2 years, and under Gov Walker's predecessor, Gov. Doyle, state workers were forced to take furlough days that amounted to a 3% pay cut; also, despite claims of excess earnings and benefits for state workers, studies show that nationwide they earned 11 percent less and local workers earned 12 percent less than private workers with comparable education levels.

Republican legislators in Tennessee continue their efforts to eliminate collective bargaining for teachers as protesters statewide begin their efforts to halt such legislation, from Nashville to Johnson City. One Tea Party protester in Johnson City says "
We don’t need intellectual freedom in public schools.

Protests turned violent in Libya as failing dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi sent privately funded mercenaries to attack rebels, though cities and government officials continue to abandon the dictator in the face of mass killings. and a video mash-up of Gaddafi and dancing girls storms the internet. The NYTimes reports that the widespread failures of Arab dictators has been fueled by popular protests and the violent terrorists of Al Qaeda have played no role whatsoever.

Carl Gibson, of Kentucky, successfully mounts nationwide protests through a group called US Uncut to challenge US tax policies which offer immense rewards to corporations. He tells In These Tiimes that "
I have one dollar in my wallet. That's more than the combined income tax liability of GE, Exxon Mobil, Citibank and the Bank of America. That means somebody's gaming the system."

US Army officers in Afghanistan reportedly used "Jedi mind tricks" to convince visiting Senators to increase and continue funding of the war effort.

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld releases his book "Known and Unknown" about his career and his role in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, claiming on CSPAN that the run-up to the war was really Secretary of State Colin Powell's idea and he is questioned on radio as to whether or not he is a "flesh-eating space lizard".

Tennessee legislators Ketron and Womick introduced a bill demanding all presidential candidates prove they are US citizens. Sen. Ketron says he does not think President Obama is a US citizen.

Also introduced, a bill from Sen. Ketron to criminalize following "sharia law", though some doubt he understands what that law is and how US courts already supersede it:

"Other than the fact that such bans are unconstitutional -- a federal court recently held that a ban would likely violate the Supremacy Clause and the First Amendment -- they are a monumental waste of time. Our judges are equipped with the constitutional framework to refuse to recognize a foreign law. In the end, our Constitution is the law of the land."

Republican Knoxville legislator Bill Dunn filed a bill identifying scientific topics such as evolution, cloning, and global warming as controversial therefore must be presented as such by public school teachers.

Rep. Dunn also filed a lengthy bill describing how sex education should be defined and taught, relying on "abstinence" and warnings of "gateway sexual activity".

Actor Charlie Sheen claimed in a radio interview that he was a "Vatican assassin warlock" and that he has "fire-breathing fists", and CBS promptly shut down production of his TV show.

Suze Rotolo died at age 67. She was an artist and most famously appeared arm-in-arm with singer Bob Dylan on the cover of his first album, "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" and was the inspiration for his songs "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right", "Boots of Spanish Leather" and others.


(Libyan protesters take a tank, via The Big Picture)

The city of Christchurch, New Zealand just after a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck; click to enlarge (via The Telegraph)


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