Our Common Good

Walsh said he was against abortion “without exception,” including rape, incest and in cases in which the life or health of the mother was in jeopardy.

Asked by reporters after the debate if he was saying that it’s never medically necessary to conduct an abortion to save the life of a mother, Walsh responded, “Absolutely.”

“With modern technology and science, you can’t find one instance,” he said. “… There is no such exception as life of the mother, and as far as health of the mother, same thing.”

(via Walsh, Duckworth clash on Medicare, abortion - chicagotribune.com)

On Thursday, after his debate against Demcorat Tammy Duckworth, Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) told reporters that an abortion exception is never necessary to save a woman’s life, explaining, “with modern technology and science, you can’t find one instance” of a woman dying from childbirth. Walsh claimed pro-choice advocates simply used the prospect of maternal death “to make us look unreasonable.”

Walsh went on to assert that women whose health would be jeopardized if they carry their fetus to term are simply using the exception as a “tool” to get an abortion for “any reason.”

In fact, pregnancy-related deaths have increased in the US, climbing to a rate of 15.1 deaths for every 100,00 live births. Walsh’s own colleague, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), spoke on the House floor in 2011 about getting an abortion because her life was in jeopardy.

Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) encouraged supporters at a recent campaign event to scare their employees into voting for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

In a video released by progressive super PAC CREDO and first reported on by the Chicago Sun-Times, Walsh can be seen advising business owners and managers to apply a little suggestive pressure on their workers.

"If you run, manage or own a company tell your employees. What was the CEO this week that said, ‘If Obama is reelected, I may have to let all of you go next year? If Obama’s reelected, if the Democrats take Congress, I may not be able to cover your health insurance next year,’" Walsh said. "If there’s ever a year where people who run, manage, or own their companies are going to energize their employees, it better be this year. We’re up against it."

As I posted a while back, Romney did the same thing in a conference call.  We can thank Citizens United for this BS as well. 

thepeoplesrecord:

Riot police arrest peaceful protesters rallying for striking Walmart workers
October 2, 2012

Hundreds of people gathered at a major Walmart distribution center Monday in Elwood, Illinois to stand in solidarity with workers who have been on strike since mid-September in response to unsafe working conditions and unfair wages.

“No one should come to work and endure extreme temperatures, inhale dust and chemical residue, and lift thousands of boxes weighing up to 250lbs with no support. Workers never know how long the work day will be- sometimes its two hours, sometimes its 16 hours. Injuries are common, as is discrimination against women and illegal retaliation against workers who speak up for better treatment,” Warehouse Workers for Justice states at its official website.

The discrimination aspect of this list of grievances includes widespread sexual harassment and intimidation of female warehouse workers, an epidemic largely ignored by the establishment media, even among individuals, such as the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof, known for focusing on female worker equality and empowerment in other countries.

“When I worked at the Walmart warehouse in Elwood, I was sexually harassed on a regular basis…I literally got locked inside a trailer because that’s what the men thought I was there for…I reported it to my supervisor, but he didn’t do anything about it,” said Ulyonda Dickerson, a worker at the Walmart warehouse in Elwood, in a report released by Warehouse Workers for Justice.

“I told the supervisors about it, but they definitely don’t listen. One supervisor I had tried to tell said, ‘I didn’t see that.’ Just because you didn’t see it, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen,” said Samantha Rodriguez, another Elwood warehouse employee, in the same report. “When I went to another supervisor about the harassment, he asked me out on a date. I said no, and eventually I got fired.”

In response to Monday’s peaceful protester, riot police from Will County and Elwood were unleashed on the crowd, and witnesses tweeted a series of disturbing photos, including officers in full riot regalia (face shields, clubs, body armor,) and what appears to be a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) vehicle.

There was some confusion about the police’s jurisdiction on Twitter with individuals speculating the officers were private police given their “paramilitary” appearance.

Photos from the protest show officers restraining some protesters with zip-ties after police declared the event an “unlawful assembly.” Ultimately, 17 peaceful protesters were arrested, and activists sang “We Shall Overcome” as they were cuffed and walked to a police transport unit.

Elwood police Chief Fred Hayes said, “Police officers always have to prepare for the worst thing that could possibly happen.”

Among those arrested were Will County Board member Jackie Traynere, the Rev. Craig Purchase of Mount Zion Tabernacle Church in Joliet, the Rev. Raymond Lescher of Sacred Heart Church in Joliet and Charlotte Droogan, lay minister at Universalist Unitarian Church of Joliet, Southtown Star reports.

Mike Compton, one of the striking warehouse workers who walked off the job, said after working at the warehouse for three months, he was a veteran worker because the turnover is so high. He said everyone quits because “They call us bodies and that’s what we feel like.”

Wal-Mart, famous for union-busting and employee abuse, is heavily subsidized by the state i.e. U.S. taxpayers with many of its employees relying on food stamps and state-run health insurance for survival.

Despite these dire working conditions, Wal-Mart claims the WWJ is out to fulfil a nefarious agenda.

This isn’t really about Walmart at all,” said company spokesman Dan Fogleman. “… The union is focused on fulfilling its own agenda.”

WWJ is a “union-funded, union-backed” organization that wants more union members who pay dues that can be used by union bosses on their political agenda, Fogleman said.

WWJ spokeswoman Leah Fried responded, saying WWJ is 95 percent funded by foundations and donations, and while the union is supporting the group, so are many others.

“It’s so incredible that his response for people not getting paid for heavy, difficult labor is to say it’s just a union-backed thing,” she said. “They feel it’s somehow OK for this to go on in their warehouses.”

The action in Elwood follows a walkout of non-union workers at a large Walmart warehouse near Riverside, California, that recently ended after 15 days due to workers’ family financial problems. In These Times journalist David Moberg credits the Riverside workout for inspiring the Sept. 15 walkout by 30-plus workers at Wal-Mart’s huge Elwood warehouse.

Source

Almost exactly a year ago, Stanford University took a bold step. It opened up an online version of three of its most popular Computer Science classes to everyone around the world, for free.

Within weeks, close to 100,000 students or more were enrolled in each of these courses. Cumulatively, tens of thousands of students completed these courses and received a statement of accomplishment from the instructor. This was a real course experience. It started on a given day, and the students would watch videos weekly and do homework assignments. These were real homework assignments for a real grade, with a real deadline.

One of those classes was taught by my co-founder, Andrew Ng. In his on-campus Stanford class, he reaches 400 students a year. It would have taken him 250 years to reach the number of students he reached through that one online course.

The Stanford endeavor showed what is possible. It showed that it is possible to produce a high quality learning experience from some of the top instructors in the world at a very low cost.

[…]

This Stanford project led to the founding in early 2012 of Coursera, a social entrepreneurship company that hosts around 200 free courses from 33 of the world’s best universities, including Princeton, Stanford, Penn, Michigan, Caltech, Duke, Illinois, Washington and others.

The courses span a spectrum of topics: physics, biology, computer science, engineering, medicine, literature, sociology, poetry, business and many more. The courses are full courses complete with short video lectures, quizzes and assignments. For some courses, papers or projects are assessed through a peer grading system. They serve a rich community of learners from all over the world, crossing geographic, ethnic and language boundaries. More than 1.4 million students have enrolled to take these great courses, opening new intellectual horizons as well as opportunities.

One of the greatest opportunities of this technology, one that is yet untapped, is the window that it opens into understanding human learning. The data that one can measure is unprecedented in both the level of detail and in its scale.

The article focuses on classes from more ‘elite’ educational institutes, but the success of the Khan Academy also illustrates how the Internet can feed the desires of people the world over for an excellent education. 

A couple of weeks ago, a young single mother I work with was expressing her fears of not passing a college class she was enrolled in because her math skills were so rusty.  I directed her to the Khan Academy and on Monday she came in ecstatic after spending most of the weekend with one of the Khan classes.  After a couple of hours with the class, she talked her mother into watching her children so she could better concentrate on what she was learning and then spent the rest of the weekend bringing her skills back up.  Now she feels confident she will do well in her current college class and intends to also continue with the Khan class.

The opportunities the Internet bring for education - and for educators to test new ways of teaching, really are a bright way forward for our world.

stoneagechronicles:

At a campaign stop Saturday in Addison, IL, Walsh, who faces a tough reelection battle, went on a self-described rant about Fluke, attacking her support for contraception coverage and telling the law student to “get a job.”

Again: This man has NO BUSINESS being in Congress. NONE.

Donate to his opponent, Tammy Duckworth, here. (Or sign up to volunteer at that same link if you’re in her district.)

And also, Sandra Fluke’s Facebook page has been under attack from conservative fuckwits the last couple days. Give her your support here and drown out the hate.

Chicago teachers have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike in response to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s demand for a contract extending their work hours by, in theory, 10 percent, but in reality significantly more, while giving them a 2 percent raise. The threshold for a strike authorization was that 75 percent of all teachers, not just of those voting on the issue, had to support striking. This was a policy explicitly put in place by Emanuel, the state legislature, and corporate education policy group Stand for Children to make a strike impossible. But nearly 90 percent of Chicago teachers voted yes, shattering what was supposed to be an impossible goal.

[…]

Chicago teachers are running straight into a buzz saw of corporate “reform” money aimed at breaking unions, extracting corporate profit from public schools, and putting kids’ actual interests way, way down the priority list. Teachers are fighting not just to be paid for their actual work hours but to keep a voice in what happens in the classroom. And if they don’t fight this, the inevitable result will be an acceleration of the dismantling of public education, taking resources out of public schools in the name of “choice” that doesn’t serve all children equally, putting decisions about education in the hands of billionaire philanthropists and for-profit testing companies.

Illinois’ Attorney General’s office alongside the Cook County office have both conceded the state’s ban on gay marriage is unlawful.

This comes as the state faces two separate lawsuits challenging the statutory prohibition on same-sex marriage.

mohandasgandhi:

theatlantic:

Video of the Day: An Illinois Lawmaker’s Epic Freak-Out

Speaking in the Illinois State House Tuesday, Mike Bost lost his marbles during a discussion of pension reform. Like Beale, the longtime Republican representative from a southern Illinois district was mad as hell and he wasn’t going to take it any more, unleashing an epic rant at Speaker Mike Madigan.

The top moments are undoubtedly early in the clip, when he tosses a bunch of papers in the air, then punches them on the way down; and when he shouts, “Let my people go!” But stay with it until the end for his excellent variation on the old rap-battle mic drop. Also worth noting: the faces on his colleagues around him, trying to maintain a sense of dignity, except the woman in the burgundy behind him who seems willing to indulge her amusement.

Did he throw his papers in the air and try to punch them?

think-progress:

CAUTION: There’s radioactive material beneath your feet. 
Red Gate Woods, Illinois
via

think-progress:

CAUTION: There’s radioactive material beneath your feet. 

Red Gate Woods, Illinois

via

justinspoliticalcorner:

URBANA, Ill. • U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson insisted on Thursday that his tear-choked retirement announcement was “100 percent” about grandchildren he’s missed, along with an unspecified private family issue.

“There are more important things than the next election,” the six-term Urbana Republican told a packed room at the Urbana City Council Chambers. “I know some of my constituents better than I know some of my grandchildren. That’s going to change.”

But it appeared during the emotional surprise announcement that Johnson — one of a dwindling number of centrists in an increasingly polarized Washington environment — might be shedding tears for lost political civility as well.

He lashed out at a system he said has become more toxic than he’s seen in four decades. He said a “grossly gerrymandered congressional map” created by Illinois Democrats would have forced him into a district in which he hadn’t previously represented two-thirds of the residents, including parts of the Metro East area.

And rancor in both parties in Washington, he said, “has reached a pinnacle.”


“I’ve never seen a more dysfunctional state of affairs,” said Johnson, co-chairman of the Congressional Center Aisle Caucus, which promotes civility and bipartisanship in Congress. “We have become so bogged down … by partisanship and anger.”

Johnson issued a warning to his fellow politicians about today’s tone: “I think the American people are fed up.”

Johnson easily won the GOP primary for re-election against two challengers less than a month ago, and all indications were that he would be on the general election ballot in November as a ‘safe” GOP incumbent.

His departure sets in motion a scramble among Republicans to select a nominee. Fourteen county chairmen will cast weighted votes to select a replacement to oppose David Gill, a Bloomington physician who won the Democratic primary.

Speculation about Johnson’s possible replacement as the Republican on the November ballot includes state Rep. Chapin Rose, R-Charleston; state Rep. Adam Brown, R-Decatur; state Sen. Sam McCann, R-Carlinville; former Johnson chief of staff Jerry Clarke; and Rodney Davis, former executive director of the Illinois GOP.

Also a possibility is Michael Firsching of Moro, one of the two Republicans who lost to Johnson in the March 20 primary.

Firsching, a veterinarian who works in Edwardsville, said he is “definitely going to let people know in the Republican structure that I’m interested” in being the candidate in November.

“It’s a little surprising,” Firsching said of Johnson’s decision. “I had a feeling (during the campaign) that he didn’t feel engaged in the process.”

Johnson’s other GOP opponent, Glen Carbon businessman Frank Metzger, couldn’t be reached for comment.

The development is certain to bring national attention and heavy spending to the race, with Democrats seeing a potential pickup in their uphill challenge to retake the House.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is expected to pour resources into the race, said in a statement that “Republicans are not going to find a new candidate who can defend the Republican’s agenda that fails Illinois’ middle-class families.”

My pick for replacement for Johnson: Chapin Rose.

h/t: Kevin McDermott at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

An Election Day snag across Illinois is creating problems at the polls, where judges have found that ballots won’t fit into counting machines.

The issue centers on the fact that some of the ballots are too big, CBS 2 investigator Pam Zekman reports. The Illinois State Board of Elections said the problem affected at least 25 of the state’s 102 counties.

Judges are being told to cut the ballots by hand, so that they can fit into the machines, Zekman reported. Some ballots will be shipped to county clerk offices where they will be cut and counted. All counties in Illinois, except Vermillion, have an option to ask voters to cast their ballots by touch screen.

justinspoliticalcorner:

Hilarious, but effective.

Vote David Gill in the IL-13 Democratic Primaries today!

p-yt:

yeahdrums:

sarahlee310:

GOP presidential challenger Rick Santorum faced three tough questions from high school students Friday afternoon on his education, health care and economic policies.

The questions he faced afterward from reporters at an Italian restaurant in suburban Chicago about the year he lived in Illinois seemed almost gentle by comparison.

[…]

Seventeen minutes into his speech, the faculty advisor interrupted him.

“Excuse me — I know we’re on a tight schedule here. We have some students who would like to ask some questions if you’re ready to entertain those,” the faculty member said. Santorum nodded.

The 3 questions students got to ask:

1.

“You recently commented on how you don’t believe everyone should go to college,” Becky Pauwels, 17, told Santorum. “Yet countries such as Germany and Japan, whose governments offer college to any motivated student, experience high rates of socio-economic mobility, which, by your own admission and all academic studies, is lagging in the United States.”

Since President Barack Obama proposes expanded access to college and training programs, how do his proposals differ from Obama’s, she asked.

2

“Your main competitor, Mitt Romney, donated 16.3 percent of his income to charity and you donated only 1.7 percent of your $923,000 salary to charity,” Vucicevic said. “Your explanation was that you have to provide for seven children, one of which has special needs. … How do you expect middle-class Americans who are in similar situations to pay for it? Isn’t your situation the exact reason why we need a universal health care system like most other nations have?”

The auditorium erupted in applause at the question.

3

Hannah Johnstone asked if Santorum’s economic policies weren’t “just giving the upper 1 percent more of the advantages they had under George Bush’s lower tax rates and deregulatory policies which is very similar to what you are proposing?”

THIS WAS ME! I WROTE THOSE QUESTIONS!!!

Proud to be among such an intelligent group of students.

I was there to ask a question, but got shooed away by Santorum’s staff when they decided that Hersey kids were TOO SMART for Senator Dumbass!

Tumblrs represent!

GOP presidential challenger Rick Santorum faced three tough questions from high school students Friday afternoon on his education, health care and economic policies.

The questions he faced afterward from reporters at an Italian restaurant in suburban Chicago about the year he lived in Illinois seemed almost gentle by comparison.

[…]

Seventeen minutes into his speech, the faculty advisor interrupted him.

“Excuse me — I know we’re on a tight schedule here. We have some students who would like to ask some questions if you’re ready to entertain those,” the faculty member said. Santorum nodded.

The 3 questions students got to ask:

1.

“You recently commented on how you don’t believe everyone should go to college,” Becky Pauwels, 17, told Santorum. “Yet countries such as Germany and Japan, whose governments offer college to any motivated student, experience high rates of socio-economic mobility, which, by your own admission and all academic studies, is lagging in the United States.”

Since President Barack Obama proposes expanded access to college and training programs, how do his proposals differ from Obama’s, she asked.

2

“Your main competitor, Mitt Romney, donated 16.3 percent of his income to charity and you donated only 1.7 percent of your $923,000 salary to charity,” Vucicevic said. “Your explanation was that you have to provide for seven children, one of which has special needs. … How do you expect middle-class Americans who are in similar situations to pay for it? Isn’t your situation the exact reason why we need a universal health care system like most other nations have?”

The auditorium erupted in applause at the question.

3

Hannah Johnstone asked if Santorum’s economic policies weren’t “just giving the upper 1 percent more of the advantages they had under George Bush’s lower tax rates and deregulatory policies which is very similar to what you are proposing?”