Michael Wolraich's picture

    Confessions of a Valor Thief

    I am concerned that I may soon be arrested, for I am a shameless Valor-thief. In my defense, I did not realize that it was a crime. I thought Valor was an ethereal substance like Truth, Beauty, and Mitt Romney's political agenda. But our government feels differently. In 2006, Congress passed the Stolen Valor Act and made me a federal criminal.

    Accord the act, I may be imprisoned for up to six months for falsely claiming to have been awarded "any decoration or medal authorized by Congress for the armed forces of the United States, or any of the service medals or badges awarded to the members of such forces, or the ribbon, button, or rosette of any such badge, decoration or medal, or any colorable imitation thereof."

    One of my partners in crime has already been arrested. Xavier Alvarez was an important man in his community, a member of the board of directors of Three Valleys Municipal Water District in California. At a public meeting, he told people that he had received the Congressional Medal of Honor as a Marine. It was all lies. He is a Valor-thief.

    But Alvarez is a petty criminal compared to me. I am the kingpin of a notorious Valor-theft ring based in midtown Manhattan. Over the past six years, I have claimed hundreds, perhaps thousands, of military honors that I have never received, and I fear that I may have to spend the rest of my life serving consecutive six-month sentences for Valor theft.

    William K. Wolfrum's picture

    A Straight White Man’s Burden

    Being a Straight White Male is great. It really is. I mean, the number of perks I get solely for being a Straight White Guy is just ridiculous. Did you know we Straight White Men get free ice cream on Tuesdays? Our choice of flavors. It’s fabulous.

    But life as a White Male is not all good jobs, unlimited rights and privileges and free ice cream on Tuesdays. It is mostly, mind you, but it’s not everything.

    Ramona's picture

    The Catholic Contraceptive Controversy: Where's the Health Care Part?

     

    Effective August 1, thanks to a provision in the Affordable Care Act, most working women will have their contraceptives fully paid for, without a co-pay. That's the good news. The bad news (you knew there had to be bad news, right?) is that the unenlightened among us see it as nothing more than an unconscionable threat against virile manhood.  Especially Catholic virile manhood.

    William K. Wolfrum's picture

    Stop Animal Abuse in Brazil – Crueldade Nunca Mais – Sunday, Jan. 22

    On Sunday (Jan. 22), we’ll be attending the Crueldade Nunca Mais rally in Uberlandia, Minas Gerais, Brazil. This is not just a nation-wide rally, but an international one, dedicated to strengthen extremely weak laws in Brazil against animal cruelty.

    William K. Wolfrum's picture

    Muhammad Ali & Martin Luther King Jr.: America is the better for them

    It is a wonderful coincidence that Muhammad Ali's 70th birthday comes the day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day. While the two essentially ran in different circles, as it were, both were amazing parts of a time that saw America change dramatically for the better.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Why Tenure Exists, Part 1

    Zandar, at Balloon Juice, points out that Missouri's new Creationism-in-the-schools bill, HB 1227, applies not only to K-12 schools but to the state's public colleges and universities as well. According to the bill,

    Donal's picture

    Doom is Normal


    I don't know who dubbed me "dag's doomer" over the masthead last week, but I had to laugh because I think of doomers as those guys that are predicting an imminent meltdown of society (or its cheese) but will gladly sell gold, shotguns and freeze-dried food to all comers. We're in the time of year when radio stations replay the classic songs, tv stations replay the classic movies, newspapers tally celebrity deaths, and doomers tell us just how lucky we were this year but just how bad next year will be. I'm sure James Kunstler, Dr (Doom) Nouriel Roubini, et al, will not disappoint us in the doomsaying department, but let's face it, folks, things are already bad right now. As Joseph Stiglitz writes in Vanity Fair:

    It has now been almost five years since the bursting of the housing bubble, and four years since the onset of the recession. There are 6.6 million fewer jobs in the United States than there were four years ago. Some 23 million Americans who would like to work full-time cannot get a job. Almost half of those who are unemployed have been unemployed long-term. Wages are falling - the real income of a typical American household is now below the level it was in 1997.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Free Advice for Hate-Mongers (About those Gay Troops)

    Hey there, conservatives. I know a bunch of you have had a good ride bashing on gays in the military for most of the last twenty years. (If you're a conservative who hasn't, good for you. You can ignore the following advice, with my hearty compliments.) And I know those of you who've been doing the public hating also hate to give up a good thing. Now that gays are openly serving in the military, I understand that it feels like time to double down. The issue's always been a winner for you before. Why wouldn't it be a winner now?

    Donal's picture

    City Police Evict Occupy Baltimore

    We now have kittens in PA, so we can't walk around in bare feet anymore without stepping on something they've batted under the door. Which I did Sunday evening. As I was pouring hydrogen peroxide over the hole in my heel this morning, the WBAL traffic crawler noted that a large police presence had closed traffic at Pratt & Light. At the same time, WBAL's weather cutie Ava Marie was telling us about the Festival of Lights at the Power Plant, which is not very far at all from McKeldin Square. I had the feeling that the festivities would not be including Occupy Baltimore, and I couldn't help but wonder if Darrick's taunting of the mayor at the Santa parade had set the stage for this morning's eviction.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Kevin Hogan Is a Great Teacher; Mike Beaudet's a Pornographer

    Twenty years ago I got my first teaching job, as one of two young English teachers hired by a little high school in greater Boston. The other new teacher was a guy named Kevin Hogan. Kevin was already a much better teacher than I was, assured while I was struggling, deft where I was stumbling, natural in the classroom in a way I wouldn't be until years later. The kids loved him. I liked and admired him.

    Donal's picture

    Occupy Envy

     

    Occupy Baltimore plans to "put on a show." 
    We will be having the first meeting of those theatrically minded individuals interested in performing street theater renditions of social justice related works. Our first production will be a half hour rendition of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
    Not sure how you play Dickens in half an hour.
     

    Meanwhile, in What You Don't Often Hear About Those 'Greedy' One Percenters, Forbes Magazine revives Rush Limbaugh's politics of envy trope - a tirade he aimed at anyone that dared suggest the rich were not deservedly different than you and me.

    The rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement has brought with it a renewed emphasis on the impoverishing notion of envy. To the Occupiers, along with much of the political class, society’s economic rules favor the top 1 percent at the certain expense of the other 99.

    Great rhetoric for sure, but also quite a lot of nonsense. People who should know better bemoan the economic means possessed by the 1 percent, but rarely do they consider the gargantuan efforts required by those at the top to get there in the first place.

    Ramona's picture

    Feeling Guilty about Giving Thanks. It's a Liberal Thing

     

    This year we've decided to stay home for Thanksgiving.  Our nearest family is 350 miles away but every year but one (and now this one) we've managed to be together for this holiday.  We'll be seeing them all in three weeks or so for the Christmas holidays, but I'm missing them acutely today. 

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Let's Not Have a Revolution

    Dear Authorities:

    I would like very much not to have a revolution. I know that you don't want one either. I prefer my change peaceful and democratic. You, I suspect, prefer any changes to be strictly top-down, decided upon by the existing power structure. But neither of us want lawless, spasmodic change. So please take my advice: leave the protestors the hell alone.

    William K. Wolfrum's picture

    Men Stopping Violence: Helping Men Learn About Themselves And Stop Violence Against Women

    Acts of violence by men against women do not begin with the act of violence itself. But whether it be upbringing or societal factors, there is always one factor that remains the same in every act of male violence against woman – the presence of a man willing to commit said act of violence.

    Donal's picture

    Occupy the Highway Reaches Baltimore



    My wife is staying with her mother, and I had thought about visiting Occupy DC this weekend, but I decided to work instead. On weekends the office is quiet enough that I can fully concentrate on my cad draughting chores. A fellow called Weasel used to deejay for WHFS, 102.3 FM in Bethesda, when it was a progressive rock station in the 1970s and 80s, and is now doing a Saturday show for WTMD, a public alt rock station broadcast from Towson University. So I grooved and got quite a bit done. 

    Over lunch I checked out Occupy Baltimore's website. They were planning to support a SleepOut in front of City Hall, and planned a solidarity march to welcome fifty Occupy the Highway (OtH) marchers, shown in the video above, who had been interviewed en route by WBAL, as shown in this video

    Ramona's picture

    Eyes on the Prize, Occupiers. The 99-Percenters are counting on you.

     

     For a couple of months now, we on the left have been marking the heady, exhilarating, organic spread of the Occupy Wall Street Movement and getting it that something unstoppable seems to be happening.  Think of it: The dedication, the precision, the impossible successes coming from a movement organized by ordinary hoi polloi.  No backing by agenda-driven billionaires, no pseudo-intellectual input from think-tanks, no take-over by shady cabals.  It's the stuff of miracles.  

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Racism in Paradise

    Yesterday,  I received an email from Adam Falk, president of Williams College, a liberal arts college in western Massachusetts. Mr. Falk had written to inform me--and every other alumnus on the mailing list--about an incident of racist hate speech on campus. Someone had scrawled, "All N****** Must Die," on a dormitory wall.

    Ramona's picture

    A Simple Plea: Do Not Lay Hands Upon Our Children

     

    Every hour of every day, children in our keep are being harmed.  Throughout the history of the world, adults have used their size and their physical and psychological power as weapons against our most precious assets--our children.

    Hurting them is not accidental, it's the goal, but all it takes to muddy the waters is the argument about degree.  Is spanking abuse?  Is yelling?  Is fondling?  If there are no cuts and bruises how bad is it, really?

    In the past few weeks the stories have been coming at us, fast and furious.

    Donal's picture

    Occupy Baltimore: Disperse Ye Rebels!?

    Occupy Baltimore Livestream picked up by 1100 Global Revolution viewers as OB general assembly discusses the group's responses to Parks and Recreation's deferment of issuing a permit.

    Donal's picture

    Pushback Against Occupy Sites


    The Portland Press Herald reports on the bombing of Occupy Maine:

    "We are more motivated to keep doing what we're doing," said Stephanie Wilburn, of Portland, who was sitting near where the chemical mixture in a Gatorade bottle was tossed at 4 a.m. Sunday. "They have heard us and we're making a difference."

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