This special edition of News of the Day is dedicated to the sheer number of bang-head-into-wall stories of idiocy, discrimination, and ridiculousness that have bubbled up out of the news recently. Here we go with the short list of real gems.
1. When a female child from a Texas school was spanked by the male assistant principal, it broke the rules of the school district; not that the child was spanked, which is allowed apparently, but that she was spanked by a faculty member of the opposite sex. The mother of the teen gave permission for the corporal punishment, but then filed a complaint that the male assistant principal carried out the punishment. Rather than, you know, disciplining the man for breaking the rules (perhaps with a paddle to the ass), the school district decided the best course of action was to remove the limit on cross-gender corporal punishment. So, instead of apologizing for a punishment that broke the rules and caused significant physical harm, the school board is planning to simply normalize the behavior. Yeah, that's a reasonable response.
And not to get off on a tangent here, but this kind of corporal punishment, which left significant marks after the fact, would qualify as physical abuse of a child in some states. Just saying...
2. Once again, common sense is flying out the window at the speed of obstructionism. Congressional Democrats have produced a piece of legislation that would protect pregnant women in the workplace from being fired for failing to fulfill the duties of their job as a result of their pregnancy. For example, one woman was fired for carrying around a water bottle after she developed a bladder infection due to her pregnancy. Another was fired after a doctor told her she could not lift heavy objects after a near-miscarriage, and her boss would not let her co-workers help her. The Americans with Disabilities Act prevents this kind of thing from happening to people with disabilities, and there are laws that prevent women from being fired simply for being pregnant, but there is nothing that protects them or requires accommodation for those few months when they need it. Instead of taking the common-sense, help-the-pregnant-woman approach, House Republicans have voiced their opposition to the bill, claiming it would place an undo burden on business and eat into their profits. This was the same argument they used in opposing a bill to monitor the discrepancy in pay between men and women in America and work to correct the imbalance. Again, they said that if women are paid the same as men that it will cost businesses more money. It's nice to know we have such caring representatives in Congress...
3. Most people who pay attention are up in arms over the Citizens United ruling, which allows corporations and other groups and individuals to give unlimited amounts of cash anonymously to election campaigns. Romney has received the vast majoity of the money given in this campaign from the Super-PACs that have sprung up as a result of the ruling. But Mr. Romney recently expressed that he wanted to see Citizens United scaled back....but only to prevent teachers unions from donating money. Never mind millionaires and billionaires, never mind corporate special interests, never mind the PACs, SuperPACs, or non-profits. Romney thinks that it's the teachers unions that are going too far with their political donations. I wonder, Mitt, how much of your money came from teachers unions versus wealthy individuals and SuperPACs? Really? So, it's okay for a multinational corporation to pour millions into your campaign coffers without disclosing its identity, but if a teachers union wants to give a few grand, we need them to identify themselves? Really?
4. Don't read this one if you're not a football fan. Okay, by now most fans have heard of the debacle that is the final call of the Packers/Seahawks game on Monday night. Here are the levels of incompetence as I see them: 1) The two refs made different calls on the field, one of a touchback (the right call) and one of a touchdown (what were you thinking?!?). 2) The call on the field turned, magically, into a touchdown when the refs conferred. 3) The refs reviewed the play and still ruled it a touchdown!!!! 4)Now, the NFL itself is backing up the call, which reeks of a move to simply save face. If this isn't a clear indication that we need the usual refs back, I don't know what is. If you need a link to the political world, this is what happens when wealthy owners try to turn into union-busters and make more money on the backs of their employees. They've made the calculation that if they stand strong on a minor issue like the pensions of the refs, they'll be in a stronger position to negotiate the contracts of the players. If this is what happens when we have 2nd string refs running the games, imagine what will happen when they're using replacement players next year!
5. Finally, Rush Limbaugh has made another one of his astute observations, by blaming feminists for a study which shows that male genitalia is getting smaller. According to Limbaugh, the growing movement for equality between the sexes is demasculating our society, to the point where men are being born with smaller genitals. As if junk science turned into socio-political cannon fodder wasn't bad enough, this is Limbaugh we're talking about. If anyone should know better than to say stupid things off the cuff, it's this guy. But Limbaugh has been making a name for himself recently for his outrageous conspiracy theories. For example, he thought the hurricane threatening Florida during the RNC was a liberal conspiracy. And let's not forget the whole birth control debacle. So, when Rush Limbaugh makes gender equality sound synonymous with Fascism and Nazism, just remember that this is the guy blaming liberals for a hurricane.