Bookoisseur

I read. I write. I spend all together too much time on the internet. I talk incessantly about books, TV and movies. I write for Hello Giggles, and tweet frequently as Bookoisseur.
~ Thursday, April 3 ~
Permalink Tags: Fort Hood shooting news
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~ Tuesday, February 4 ~
Permalink Tags: China military foreign policy news
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reblogged via ericmortensen
~ Saturday, December 28 ~
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An emergency federal program that acts as a lifeline for 1.3 million jobless workers will end on Saturday, drastically curtailing government support for the long-term unemployed and setting the stage for a major political fight in the new year.

The program, in place since the recession started in 2008, provides up to 47 weeks of supplemental unemployment insurance payments to jobless people looking for work. Its expiration is expected to have far-reaching ramifications for the economy, cutting job growth by about 300,000 positions next year and pushing hundreds of thousands of households below the poverty line.

An extension of the unemployment program did not make it into the two-year budget deal that was passed just before Congress left on its winter recess. When the federal program expires, just one in four unemployed Americans will receive jobless benefits — the smallest proportion in half a century.

“I really depend on unemployment,” said David Davis of Chantilly, Va., adding that the $1,600 a month he receives is helping keep him afloat while he interviews for new positions. “I’ve got a résumé that knocks your socks off. The reason for this long period of unemployment is that the work just isn’t there.”

At one point, Mr. Davis, 68, made more than $100,000 a year as an information technology expert and web designer. He is now living on ramen noodles and $140 he counted out from his change jar. Since being laid off over the summer, he has missed mortgage payments, forcing him to take out a reverse mortgage on his home. He sold his car and got a late-1990s model Ford Taurus, and is looking to cut his utility and cellphone bills. Soon, he might start taking Social Security.

“It’s very stressful,” Mr. Davis said. “At least I’ve had the ability to maneuver my finances so I don’t wind up homeless. That’s one goal, to avoid living on the street or in my car.”

Democrats on Capitol Hill are pushing for an extension of the program, though the constrained fiscal environment makes its reinstatement somewhat less likely, aides said. Members of the Republican leadership have indicated that they might be willing to extend the benefits, but only if Democrats offset the new spending with other cuts.

On Friday morning, President Obama called Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island, and Senator Dean Heller, Republican of Nevada, to extend his support for their proposal to extend emergency unemployment benefits for three months.

“The president said his administration would, as it has for several weeks now, push Congress to act promptly and in bipartisan fashion to address this urgent economic priority,” said Josh Earnest, a White House spokesman.

As the last payments are distributed, Democrats have initiated a campaign aimed at shaming Republicans — particularly those in leadership and in swing districts — for letting the program expire over the holiday season.

“I don’t know if our colleagues who have opposed passing the unemployment-insurance legislation know or care about the impact on families,” said Nancy Pelosi of California, the House minority leader. “The impact is very, very strong. It hurts the dignity of a family, of a worker.”

Americans United for Change, a liberal group, is running an advertisement on cable television stations. “You know who had a Merry Christmas? The richest 1 percent, that’s who. Republicans in Congress made sure of that, protecting billions in taxpayer giveaways,” it says. “For those facing tough times? Republicans stripped 1.3 million Americans of jobless benefits — folks who want to work, but cannot find a job — kicking them to the curb during Christmas.”

Tags: unemployment news GOP republicans politics socioeconomics economics recession job hunt
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~ Wednesday, December 25 ~
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Happy winter holiday as the year winds down to a close. Remember the things that brought us together, reminded us to tell each other of our love, and to be thankful for the wonderful things we have in our lives every day.

(via Meg Turney)

Tags: current events news video political events Boston Marathon Bombing phillipines Bangladesh factory collapse so many more moments 2013
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~ Friday, November 8 ~
Permalink Tags: news gun control
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~ Tuesday, November 5 ~
Permalink Tags: social media twitter news world events breaking news
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~ Thursday, October 31 ~
Permalink Tags: Make-A-Wish SF Batman superheroes kids adorable awwww news
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~ Monday, January 28 ~
Permalink Tags: My Damn Channel News
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~ Monday, December 10 ~
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storyboard:

‘D’ is for Divorce: Big Feelings on Sesame Street

In early 1992, a census report predicted that 40 percent of children would soon live in divorced homes. As one of the most famous children’s television programs in the world, Sesame Street was determined to take on a topic most kid’s shows wouldn’t touch. They cast Snuffy, a.k.a. Mr. Snuffleupagus, for the part of child divorcee.

With a team of its best writers, researchers, and producers, a segment was scripted and shot. It went through a half-dozen revisions, with input from the foremost researchers in the field. And on a typical sunny afternoon on Sesame Street, the furry, red, elephantine muppet known as Snuffy prepared to drop the bomb on his loyal preschool viewers. 

“My dad is moving out of our cave,” he confides to Big Bird one afternoon, distraught after knocking over a house built of blocks. “I’m not sure where,” he continues, crying. “Some cave across town.”

Big Bird, naturally, is horrified. “But why?” he asks his friend. 

Snuffy blinks his long, dark eyelashes, and pauses. We know what’s coming. Well, he explains, “because of something called a divorce.”

Read More

Tags: abby cadabby big bird divorce education elmo family feels jessica bennett lewis bernstein marriage news parenting relationships rosita sesame street sesame workshop sky dylan-robbins storyboard television time tv video
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~ Sunday, December 9 ~
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Because kids don’t have a political voice, they have been neglected—and have replace the elderly as the most impoverished age group in our country. Today, 22 percent of children live below the poverty line.

Nicholas Kristof, “Profiting From a Child’s Illiteracy”

22% is a frightening, shameful number.

(via thelifeguardlibrarian)

Tags: Lit education news politics libraries librarians
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~ Saturday, December 8 ~
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thelifeguardlibrarian:


When a humanitarian catastrophe occurs, international organizations and governments set up medical outposts, drop emergency food supplies from helicopters, and hand out clothing in disaster zones. Naturally, absolute priority is given to what we call ‘basic needs’: food, water, shelter, and health. While there is no question that organizations and governments must devote the majority of their efforts to promoting the physical well-being of disaster victims, more attention should be given to nourishing the mind as a second measure to help victims cope with catastrophe and move forward.
The fulfillment of basic needs is undoubtedly the first priority in humanitarian situations. Yet from LWB’s work in Haiti, we know that access to books and information resources improves outcomes for displaced persons. Books and expression help sustain intellectual stimulation and promote self-worth and resilience amid crisis. Whether through books, computers, legal assistance or training, access to information and cultural resources empowers individuals and gives them the tools to reconstruct what has been lost. Furthermore, libraries can improve communication within communities and among aid workers by providing phones, community mapping tools, and places for family reunification and community organizing. These types of resources can also play a decisive role in restoring a sense of normality in post-emergency situations.
With the strong belief that books, writing, and learning should not be denied to victims of humanitarian disasters, Libraries Without Borders, through this call to action, seeks to increase awareness about the need for access to information and books in post-disaster situations. Furthermore, LWB calls on international organizations to 1) expand reading, cultural and educational programs, which activate the human spirit and help individuals cope with trauma; and 2) make the provision of access to information and books a priority for international humanitarian relief.

Sign the petition here.

thelifeguardlibrarian:

When a humanitarian catastrophe occurs, international organizations and governments set up medical outposts, drop emergency food supplies from helicopters, and hand out clothing in disaster zones. Naturally, absolute priority is given to what we call ‘basic needs’: food, water, shelter, and health. While there is no question that organizations and governments must devote the majority of their efforts to promoting the physical well-being of disaster victims, more attention should be given to nourishing the mind as a second measure to help victims cope with catastrophe and move forward.

The fulfillment of basic needs is undoubtedly the first priority in humanitarian situations. Yet from LWB’s work in Haiti, we know that access to books and information resources improves outcomes for displaced persons. Books and expression help sustain intellectual stimulation and promote self-worth and resilience amid crisis. Whether through books, computers, legal assistance or training, access to information and cultural resources empowers individuals and gives them the tools to reconstruct what has been lost. Furthermore, libraries can improve communication within communities and among aid workers by providing phones, community mapping tools, and places for family reunification and community organizing. These types of resources can also play a decisive role in restoring a sense of normality in post-emergency situations.

With the strong belief that books, writing, and learning should not be denied to victims of humanitarian disasters, Libraries Without Borders, through this call to action, seeks to increase awareness about the need for access to information and books in post-disaster situations. Furthermore, LWB calls on international organizations to 1) expand reading, cultural and educational programs, which activate the human spirit and help individuals cope with trauma; and 2) make the provision of access to information and books a priority for international humanitarian relief.

Sign the petition here.

Tags: lit libraries librarians humanitarian aid education international news
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~ Tuesday, November 20 ~
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giddy-stratospheres:

war kills people from the inside out sometimes

“In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.”

i think i’ve posted this before but it’s so powerful

Tags: Truth News
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reblogged via geekmehard
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thepoliticalnotebook:

Update on Gaza, Day 6. According to the New York Times, 19 more people have been killed in Gaza since midnight local time, bringing a current death toll up to 91, with 700 wounded (200 of those being children). According to Health Ministry official Ashraf Al-Kidra, civilians make up half of the Palestinian death toll. [Update: According to Al Jazeera’s figures, it’s 96.]

This morning an Israeli airstrike hit the Shurooq media center, a high-rise in Gaza City where a number of media organizations, both local and foreign, have their offices. The building houses Hamas’ television station, Al Aqsa, and this is the second strike on the building within two days. BBC journalist Paul Danahar tweeted a photo of the media center just after the strike (included in the above photoset).

Mona Mahmood of The Guardian interviewed West Bank resident Sameeh Muhssein about demonstrations in the West Bank in solidarity with Gaza. He said:

The Palestinian Authority is trying to stop the protesters … under the pretext of not having more causalities [sic]. If the aggression continued on Gaza, I can promise you there will be a third intifada as the political solution looks really futile and people are very upset here as they learn every few minutes of more martyrs in Gaza. We can’t put our feelings in a refrigerator and just keep watching; it is really heartbreaking watching the bodies of the children under the debris. 

From Cairo, Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal has stated:

All options are available. If Israel wants a ceasefire brokered through Egypt, then that is possible. Escalation is also possible, especially as there are differences in Israeli statements. We are prepared and ready for all options.

According to Reuters reporting, Meshaal is for a truce if demands are met, demands that include an end to Israel’s attacks and an end to the siege.

Highly recommend staying updated with The Guardian’s ever-excellent live blog, and making sure you read more than what I’ve put up here, which is just a brief snapshot. And check out the Reuters live blog for a live feed of the Gaza City skyline

Photos: Gaza City/Bernat Armangue/AP; Shurooq media building in Gaza City/Paul Danahar; remains of a Hamas building in Gaza City/Yasser Gdeeh/Reuters; Hamas rockets sent toward Israel/Mohammed Saber/EPA; Gaza City residents flee their homes following an airstrike/Bernat Armangue/AP

Tags: news Gaza sad
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reblogged via teacupsandcapes
~ Friday, November 16 ~
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“We deeply regret the necessity of today’s decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike,” Chief Executive Gregory Rayburn said in a statement. “Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders,” Rayburn added. Union President Frank Hurt said on Thursday that the crisis at the company was the “result of nearly a decade of financial and operational mismanagement” and that management was trying to make union workers the scapegoats for a plan by Wall Street investors to sell Hostess.

Twinkies Maker Hostess Plans to Go Out of Business - NYTimes.com

The closing of Hostess is union-busting, pure and simple. The company is already bankrupt (and never believe a company that tells you that it is bankrupt because it paid its workers too well), and its workers weren’t going to accept more race-to-the-bottom cuts. 

I wish I had time to dig into this more thoroughly, but for now, as someone said to me on Twitter, they’re going to sell off their assets, fire all those workers, and destroy another iconic American brand in pursuit of the bottom line. 

Imagine the good press if Hostess said “We want to stay open, and we want to pay American workers good wages and benefits, and we are struggling right now but we want to keep this brand alive.” 

Instead, they’ll go the way of so many other companies that have used bankruptcy to get out of taking care of the workers that made them run.

And don’t worry, folks, you’ll still get your Twinkies: someone will no doubt buy the rights to the name and the recipe for everlasting phallic snack cakes. It’s just that you won’t know they were made by well-paid union workers anymore. 

Not that most of you ever cared. 

(via differentclasswar)

Tags: classwar twinkies hostess news labor unions
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~ Thursday, November 15 ~
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Last month, when strikers from Southern California arrived in Bentonville, Arkansas to protest Wal-Mart’s labor practices with reggae beats, pots and pans, and a Latin American-inflected protest culture, it became clear to onlookers that America’s superstore was no longer the small family business that Sam Walton had founded and grown in the cradle of the anti-labor culture of Southern evangelicaldom. But it’s also become clear that Wal-Mart’s own ambitions to become a global empire—expanding beyond southern suburbs to new regions, and continuing to erode protections for its workers—have brought the “family values” behemoth into confrontation with another kind of religious and labor rights tradition.

Wal-Mart has long been the Holy Grail for labor organizers. The nation’s largest retailer, it is notorious for its low wages, lack of benefits, abusive labor practices, and for leaving its workers dependent on public assistance while making the Walton family rich beyond imagination. And it has been nearly impossible to organize.

Until now.

Wal-Mart Faces a New Round of Historic Strikes… But Why Now? | Culture | Religion Dispatches

My dear friend and colleague Josh Eidelson has done a spectacular job of covering the nitty-gritty of the Wal-Mart strikes, and I didn’t want to simply rehash his work. So instead, I wrote about the strikes for Religion Dispatches and talked to workers for whom their faith was a motivating factor in organizing, to the brilliant Bethany Moreton about the changes in Wal-Mart’s culture as it moves into cities far from its rural white evangelical base, and to faith leaders and organizers who are fighting Wal-Mart’s low wages and lousy treatment of workers—and starting to win. 

(via differentclasswar)

Tags: my work elsewhere longreads news wal-mart strikes labor classwar
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