Social Policy & Programs Consulting
Training and Services for agencies working toward social and economic justice
A Perpetual Chronicle of Cerebral Morsels
This is a continuous list of ideas, opinions, questions,
and random thoughts.
George Carlin used to call them brain droppings.
I'll be posting here frequently.
Please drop by often to see what's new.
November 17, 2017
Leanne Tweeden has accepted Al Franken’s apology for assaulting her on a USO trip in 2006.
Perhaps we should, too.
For what it’s worth, I published this article on October 16, 2009.
Jeff Sessions and John McCain both voted to protect rapists.
“In 2005, Jamie Leigh Jones was an employee of KBR, a former subsidiary of Halliburton and a US government contractor in Iraq. The details are too horrible to recount here, but Ms. Jones was drugged, gang raped, threatened, harassed, and imprisoned by her colleagues and her employer. She was not alone. Several American women reported similar situations. KBR responded by waving the women’s employment contracts in their faces. According to Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), “That contract contained a clause which required her to arbitrate any future dispute against her employer. This means it forced her to give up her right to seek redress in court if she was wronged. At the time, Ms. Jones had no idea what implications this seemingly innocuous, fine-print clause would have.” (The details were posted on Franken’s Senate website at the time.) … He’s a member of the Employment and Workplace Safety subcommittee of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee.
On October 1, (2009) Franken offered an amendment to HR 3326, a Defense Department appropriations bill. The amendment prohibits federal funds to Halliburton, KBR, or any other contractor that requires employees or subcontractors to sign mandatory arbitration clauses giving up their rights to sue the company for certain offenses. Franken made an eloquent statement explaining the reason for the amendment on the floor of the Senate.
In the end, Franken’s amendment passed by a vote of 68 – 30.
But thirty United States Senators voted to protect rapists and the government-paid companies that employ them.
Those senators are all Republicans, and they are all men. They are:
· Lamar Alexander, Tennessee
· John Barrasso, Wyoming
· Christopher Bond, Missouri
· Sam Brownback, Kansas
· Jim Bunning, Kentucky
· Richard Burr, North Carolina
· Saxby Chambliss, Georgia
· Tom Coburn, Oklahoma
· Thad Cochran, Mississippi
· Bob Corker, Tennessee
· John Cornyn, Texas
· Mike Crapo, Idaho
· Jim DeMint, South Carolina
· John Ensign, Nevada
· Michael Enzi, Wyoming
· Lindsey Graham, South Carolina
· Judd Gregg, New Hampshire
· James Inhofe, Oklahoma
· Johnny Isakson, Georgia
· Mike Johanns, Nebraska
· John Kyl, Arizona
· John McCain, Arizona
· Mitch McConnell, Kentucky
· James Risch, Idaho
· Pat Roberts, Kansas
· Jeff Sessions, Alabama
· Richard Shelby, Alabama
· John Thune, South Dakota
· David Vitter, Louisiana
· Roger Wicker, Mississippi”
I sent email messages to all 30 of the senators on this list.
I got no replies.
Because of Al Franken, DOD contractors can no longer cover up rapes in their midst.
To Franken’s credit, he hasn’t mentioned any of this during the discussion of his assault on Tweeden.
He has accepted responsibility for his actions, and has not made excuses.
He has asked for a Senate Ethics Committee investigation on himself.
How many people would do that?
I hope you noticed that Jeff Sessions and John McCain both voted to protect rapists.
This is the record from Congress.gov
I haven’t commented on Franken’s situation until now because I’ve been thinking about this.
I still support Al Franken and his work.
Just putting this out there.
October 9, 2017
Conservatives are shallow, selfish, and greedy.
They respect objects - flags, anthems, and offices.
They don't respect PEOPLE.
They demand that everyone honor a song and a piece of cloth when we should honor the principles of THE REPUBLIC FOR WHICH IT STANDS in the LAND OF THE FREE.
That's what #blacklivesmatter is all about.
WHY is this so difficult to comprehend?
September 17, 2017
Today is Constitution Day.
230 years ago today, state delegates to the constitutional convention approved and signed the United States Constitution and sent it to the state legislatures for ratification.
Ratification was complete, and the Constitution became formally effective, by June 21, 1788.
Most Americans have no clue what the Constitution is, or how it works, because our schools deliberately teach it wrong.
If they were teaching it properly, then Americans would understand it. They don't.
Despite the fact that millions of Americans must swear an oath to uphold the Constitution as part of their jobs, they still don't bother to read it.
It only takes an hour.
So why not do it today?
This explains the background.
This is the Constitution itself.
These articles explain more about our world-changing document.
May 19, 2017
People need to understand the differences among a special prosecutor, special counsel, and independent commission.
The media is doing a horrid job of explaining it.
A special counsel leads the investigation into what might be a crime, like a detective.
A special prosecutor is like the district attorney.
S/he leads the prosecution once someone has been charged with a crime.
They look into past actions.
An independent commission looks to the future, to find ways to prevent the problem from happening again.
Robert Mueller is not the special prosecutor for the Trump/Comey obstruction of justice issue.
He's the special counsel.
At this point, no special prosecutor has been appointed.
April 22, 2017
In March, Judge Derrick Watson, of the US District Court for the District of Hawai'i, which is in the Ninth Circuit, issued an order blocking Donald Trump's immigration ban.
Jeff Sessions doesn't understand why a judge "on an island in the Pacific" can halt a president's executive order.
He can because that's the way the American judicial system works.
And the Attorney General of the United States of America is supposed to know that.
But Sessions doesn't know it because his racism won't let him see anything else.
March 27, 2017
A little proactive commenting here.
A recent story is circulating that is 100% false.
It claims that if Trump is found to have colluded with the Russians to influence the election, then the entire election is invalid and Hillary will be declared president.
THAT IS A LIE.
The US Constitution says no such thing.
There are only four ways to remove a president:
death - resignation - conviction upon impeachment - a 25th amendment takeover.
IF Trump is found to have falsified the election, the House of Representatives would have to impeach him, then the Senate would have to convict him, and then sentence him to removal from office.
And then we get Pence.
Hillary lost, folks.
Get over it.
If you run across this crap, PLEASE tag it for what it is - FAKE NEWS.
Call the poster out on it. And report it to Facebook.
Thank you. You may now return to your regularly scheduled life.
Oh yeah. Read the Constitution.
January 30, 2017
Saturday, January 28 was a remarkable day.
Save Sunday's newspaper.
Show it to your grandchildren.
I've lived through a lot, and I've only seen this many Americans on the same page a few times in my life:
The moon landing, the fall of Saigon, the release of the Iranian hostages, 9/11, and Saturday.
Donald Trump issued an executive order banning everyone from seven countries from entering the U.S.
Hundreds of travelers bound for the U.S. were stranded at airports around the world, including many in the States.
Immediately, real Americans raced to those airports to demonstrate their solidarity.
American Civil Liberties Union lawyers filed a challenge to the order.
And won a temporary stay.
Most of us agree that Donald Trump must be stopped.
We will stop him, but it won't be today.
It will take some time.
But we can do it.
The past year has shown us that Trump has a very thin skin.
He can't stand the thought that not everyone loves him.
He can not handle criticism.
He can't handle pressure.
So keep up the pressure.
Aggravate. Agitate. Annoy. Needle. Nit pick. Protest. Demonstrate. Lobby. Stuff envelopes. Door knock. Canvass. Donate. Disrupt. Organize.
Write letters. Make phone calls. Hold bake sales.
Proudly display your buttons, bumper stickers, signs, and flags.
He is weak.
We are strong.
Whatever it takes, RESIST.
He will crumble.
And we will rebuild.
October 24, 2016
Tom Hayden, founder of Students for a Democratic Society, member of the sixties Chicago Seven, and perennial activist, passed away last night.
When I was 13 years old, I sat alone, late at night, on the living room floor watching Chicago cops beat the crap out of college students protesting the Vietnam War at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
It lasted for days. I knew nothing about the politics of the war at the time.
But I thought that, if the students wanted the beating to stop, all they had to do was to get into their cars and go home. But they didn't. They stayed.
And I thought that if people believed in what they were doing so much that they were willing to endure that, there must be some merit to their position.
I was right.
That moment politicized me.
Tom Hayden was one of the leaders of that demonstration.
Richard Dailey led the riot.
He worked all his life to make ours better.
Thank you, Tom.
September 25, 2016
The elite tells the middle class how very important we are so that they gain our confidence.
And then suppresses and punishes us because they're afraid of us.
They know we're close enough to poverty to understand it, and rich enough to do something about it.
September 22, 2016
America's Police Problem: Cause and Cure
Our greatest power is within our grasp
I'm usually a news junkie.
I watch/read/listen all day long.
But lately, I can't bear it.
Everyone is yammering and wailing.
"What do we do?"
"How do we make it stop?"
"We need more/better/longer police training."
The solution is so painfully obvious.
September 1, 2016
How to cure American political ignorance
Every state requires schools to teach civics and government to some degree.
But Americans are frightfully ignorant about how their own government works.
And that is by design.
The schools teach it wrong deliberately.
We must improve our civics education in eight steps.
1. Stop lying to the students. The president is not the "chief legislator".
The bureaucracy is not the "fourth branch of government".
2. Stop babying students. Teachers routinely treat students as though they're two years younger than they actually are. They give them asinine lessons and assignments. Students will live up - or down - to our expectations.
3. We do not allow unqualified teachers to teach physics, chemistry, or calculus.
But we let anyone off the street teach civics.
Teachers must be qualified.
4. Civics education must start in kindergarten.
If done properly, schools do not have to cave out special time for civics ed.
5. Integrate civics into every other class - reading, spelling, dictionary and research skills, map reading, history, geography, and math. Yes. Math. Read the Constitution.
6. Stop teaching that express-implied-reserved-delegated-concurrent-magic-super powers crap.
They've been teaching it that way for generations. And generations of Americans are politically ignorant.
7. Use current events to teach the Constitution, in factual and relevant lessons with relevant assignments.
8. Teach students what they need to know to be fully functional adults.
- help them register to vote
- who, when, where, why, and how to lobby.
- how to use the Freedom of Information Act
- how to file complaints with and about government agencies
- their rights as citizens, consumers, and employees
And then MAYBE, sometime in the future, teachers and NEWS REPORTERS won't be politically ignorant.
July 18, 2016
There are many types of education.
All workers deserve dignity, respect, fair wages, and good treatment on the job.
My husband never set foot in a college classroom, but he has more education beyond high school than some people with master's degrees. He was a track vehicle mechanic in the army. That's tanks and stuff, folks.
He graduated from a three-year apprenticeship in the Ironworkers Union, which included both classroom and field training. He worked for 35 years in that profession. Then he completed extensive post-graduate training in many additional areas.
He can walk on a four-inch wide beam, 40 stories in the air, wearing a 15-pound tool belt with uneven weight distribution. He is a certified welder. He can assemble and disassemble the giant cranes that you see on construction sites. He can organize a new site so that all of the different trades – ironworkers, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, laborers, etc. can work without tripping over each other, and 18-wheelers can deliver supplies and equipment. He uses many tools, but he can tell you by sight, without a level, whether something is crooked.
He can hook a 30-ton steel or concrete beam to the crane, accounting for height, distance, and wind so that, when it rises, it falls and spins without hitting the building in progress, neighboring buildings, or people, parked cars, or anything else. And then he can use one finger to direct the operator to put that piece within inches of where it needs to be, many stories in the air. He can do many other things that I can't explain because I don't understand them. And I have two college degrees.
Meanwhile, as a foreman, he has to deal with people who don't want to work, show up late, or don't show up at all. And all of that is on a good day. In every kind of weather. Ten and twelve hour days are routine. Can you do that?
Then people tell him he's paid too much and that he can easily be replaced with untrained, non-union workers.
Yet our society considers him to be "uneducated". When completing various forms, like the US Census, there is no education category relevant to his education level, so he has to list "high school".
He didn't learn any of that stuff in high school.
He had to retire at 61 because his knees were so bad that he could hardly walk anymore.
But yeah. Let's raise that Social Security retirement age.
He's also cute as hell and handy to have around the house.
Keep this in mind the next time you ridicule blue collar workers.
May 24, 2016
I've published a small book on Amazon Kindle:
The Ten Biggest Lies in America.
Please check it out
May 17, 2016
I am sick and tired of stupid people.
They should all crawl back under the rocks they came out from.
May 10, 2016
The U.S. Constitution's "general welfare" clause does not refer to government aid programs. It means that Congress has the power to make any laws that it decides are in the nation's best interest. At various times in history, several congresses have declared that medical care, housing, education, and welfare protection programs were in our best interest. Get a dictionary.
Voters know that one vote can change an election. They do not believe that one politician can change their lives.
In Philadelphia, you can stand at the bus stop at the corner of Fourth Street and Independence Avenue, reach through the wrought iron fence around the churchyard, and touch Ben Franklin's grave. It's the coolest thing about the city.
The last thing any republican wants is an educated workforce. Or electorate.
Sometimes, children are tried for crimes as adults. No. You can't drive until you are EXACTLY sixteen. You can't vote, get married, join the military, or sign contracts until you are EXACTLY eighteen. You can't drink until you are EXACTLY twenty-one. We must not try children as adults until they are EXACTLY eighteen. If our juvenile justice system is inadequate, then FIX IT. And stop pretending that our adult justice system can fix children.
The National Rifle Association is a terrorist organization.
Why don't any Pittsburgh restaurants serve chipped ham?
Our troops are not "protecting our freedom. They are fighting, killing, and dying to protect the status quo for a bunch of rich, old, white men who will treat them like shit all of their lives. And they can't see it because the republicans who control our schools make damn sure to produce politically, economically, and socially ignorant citizens.
Jeffrey Romoff is personally responsible for the Highmark/UPMC mess in Pittsburgh, and is destroying UPMC's reputation and credibility. The hundreds of people on the 67 UPMC corporate boards of directors are Jeffrey Romoff's bosses. They need to assert their authority and get rid of him.
I do not understand why people can hate children, especially their own kids, so much that they can't stand the thought of having a simple conversation with them. A parent's job is not to protect kids from life. Our job is to teach them how to handle it. Kids who are babied grow up to be useless idiots.
The Confederate flag is about the history of slavery, violence, racism, oppression, and hate.
That heritage does not deserve honor.
There is no such thing as "Congress and the Senate".
Congress consists of the House of Representatives AND the Senate.
HOUSE + SENATE = CONGRESS. Get it?
Republicans will force our daughters to fight the same battles that our grandmothers won.
If we let them.
May 4, 2016
Those who know me know that I am rarely speechless.
But I am now.
I have no words to express my disappointment, anger, disgust, and despair over our current political condition.
I will not vote for Trump under any circumstances.
I still wholeheartedly support Bernie and everything he stands for.
As much as I would love to vote for and see a woman president, I am not a Hillary fan.
Someone will be president and, at the very least, Hillary is not batshit crazy. She can be lobbied.
That counts for something.
So what do I do between now and November?
Our only hope is two contested convetions.
If you live in a state that hasn't held a primary or caucus yet, PLEASE VOTE.
If you want to vote for Bernie, you must register AS A DEMOCRAT.
If you have a problem with that, you can always change it again later.
The purpose of a primary/caucus is for the PARTY MEMBERS to choose the PARTY CANDIDATE. It's not rocket science.
if you're not a Green, Libertarian, or Communist, do you think you have a right to choose their candidates?
April 30, 2016
The argument that closed primaries disenfranchise independent voters is bunk.
The purpose of a primary election is for each party to CHOOSE its own nominee.
When you CHOOSE to register as a Democrat, you get to CHOOSE the Democratic nominee.
When you CHOOSE to register as a Republican, you get to CHOOSE the Republican nominee.
When you CHOOSE to register as an independent, you DON'T GET TO CHOOSE a nominee.
Do you think you have the right to CHOOSE the Green, Libertarian, or Communist nominees when you CHOOSE not to belong to their parties?
April 28, 2016
Mourn for the Dead. And Fight Like Hell for the Living.
Workers Memorial Day 2016
Mother Mary Jones was an invincible activist for all working people, especially children. She often spoke those words to inspire us to keep fighting for justice. Today is the 28th annual Workers' Memorial Day, to honor people killed or injured at work.
April 9, 2016
So many people gripe that the presidential nomination process is undemocratic. Yes, it is.
They don't understand that the nominating process and the election process are two entirely different things.
Political parties are essentially private clubs.
They can make any rules they like to nominate their candidates for public office.
If I want to, I can create my own party and declare myself to be the nominee.
And if I can get enough petition signatures and pay the filing fees, I can get on the ballots in every state.
Federal and state laws control the ELECTIONS.
Not the nominations.
Our schools are supposed to teach this stuff, but they don't want you to know it.
Number 2 on the "Ten Biggest Lies in America" list.
I object to the notion that, if elected, Hillary Clinton will follow blindly in Bill's presidential path.
It's sexist to assume that a woman will necessarily agree with all of her husband's political opinons.
She deserves to stand or fall on her own merit.
That said, Bernie 2016!
We won't have common sense gun laws until we amend the Second Amendment.
It will cost about a billion dollars and take about ten years of serious community organizing and a massive lobbying effort.
Who is willing to take on that job?
April 5, 2016
You can't eliminate abortions by making them illegal.
There will be abortions as long as there are pregnant women.
Rich women will travel to places where abortion is legal, safe, and available.
Poor women will use coat hangers or vacuum cleaner hoses.
Or they will douche with bleach, ammonia, drain cleaner, or gasoline.
Anything that works.
That is how poor women get abortions.
That is how they die.
If you want to reduce the number of abortions as much as possible, then you FUND and offer REAL sex education, contraceptive education, birth control, and support services for poor women.
The right to life does not end at the cervix.
This is not about preventing abortions.
Abortion restrictions guarantee that women will die from the abortions that they do get.
Republicans want to kill poor people.
Stop helping them.
March 29, 2016
UPMC workers won $15/hour BY 2021.
That's good, and it's a victory of sorts.
But that's SIX years from now.
By 2021, workers will need at least $20 an hour just to stay even.
A lot of people have learned the value of demonstration and community organizing, but how are people's lives going to be any better than they are today?
Jeffrey Romoff is personally responsible for this mess and is destroying UPMC's reputation and credibility.
He's laughing his backside off at the organizers right now.
The hundreds of people on the 67 UPMC corporate boards of directors are Jeffrey Romoff's bosses.
They need to assert their authority and get rid of him.
If you know anyone who is on any of the UPMC Boards of Directors, please show this to them.
Pennsylvania Can Solve UPMC Charity Status Debate
What the Pittsburgh Media Won't Tell You
March 23, 2016
People, please stop spreading all of your ridiculous online petitions.
No one in any position of authority ever sees them.
Their ONLY purpose is to collect names, email addresses, and MONEY FOR THEIR SPONSORS, so that they can send more junk mail and phone calls to people, asking for more money.
If you want to make a difference in your world, then START LOBBYING.
Yeah. That's right folks. SHE SAID LOBBYING.
Your legislators, the corporate media and the Republicans who control our schools don't want you to know that Lobbying is the ONLY thing that can restore our democracy.
They don’t want you to know that YOU have the power to influence Congress. But YOU refuse to use it.
"Giving buckets of money to legislators" is not lobbying.
Lobbying is the act of contacting local, state, and federal officials to discuss the issues that you care about, and trying to convince them to support or oppose legislation and policies reflecting your positions.
Legislators listen to corporate lobbyists BECAUSE THEY ARE THE ONLY ONES DOING THE TALKING.
If you want your representatives to listen to you, then START TALKING TO THEM.
If the 99% would do more lobbying, the 1% would have less power.
LOBBYING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN VOTING.
Everyone can do it.
And it doesn't cost a dime.
March 21, 2016
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Patricia A. O'Malley
Social Policy & Programs Consulting ~ Community Matters
P.O. Box 97803 ~ Pittsburgh, PA 15227 ~ 412-310-4886 ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright Patricia A. O'Malley ~ All rights reserved