Freedom from Want. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers was one of the recipients of the 2013 Roosevelt Institute's 2013 Four Freedoms Awards. The Coalition received the award for Freedom from Want. "The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is a farm worker organization that is spearheading the national movement for Fair Food. With its Fair Food Program, launched in 2010 in over 90 percent of Florida's $600 million tomato industry, the CIW has created a sustainable blueprint for worker-driven corporate social responsibility, winning fairer wages; work with dignity; and freedom from forced labor, sexual harassment, and violence in the workplace for nearly 100,000 workers." -- Roosevelt Institute
The First European Thanksgiving Celebration in America. Kenneth Davis, in a New York Times op-ed, November 2008: "Long before the Pilgrims sailed in 1620, another group of dissident Christians sought a haven in which to worship freely. These French Calvinists, or Huguenots, hoped to escape the sectarian fighting between Catholics and Protestants that had bloodied France since 1560. Landing in balmy Florida in June of 1564, at what a French explorer had earlier named the River of May (now the St. Johns River near Jacksonville), the French émigrés promptly held a service of 'thanksgiving.'" Thanks to contributor P. D. Pepe for the lead.
** "A WalMart Thanksgiving." Labor Prof. John Logan, in the Hill: "The disastrous economic consequences of Walmart's bad jobs and worker intimidation are now well known. Taxpayers pick up the tab for the company's poverty-level wages. The company's employees are often so poor that they and their dependents are among the nation's biggest users of food stamps, health programs for low-income individuals and other forms of public assistance. This public subsidy of the nation's largest corporation, owned by its richest family costs taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars per year. But those who suffer the most from poverty-level wages are its employees.... Walmart could immediately stop intimidating workers, improve their conditions and pay a minimum wage of $25,000 per year for full-time work. Last week, the think tank Demos reported that if Walmart stopped buying back shares of its own stock -- which adds nothing to its productivity -- it could afford to raise employee wages by almost $6 per hour without increasing retail prices. In 2012, the company spent $7.6 billion to buy backs shares." ...
Dominic Rushe of the Guardian: "Retail workers and union activists are preparing for a record day of action across the US on Friday, protesting wages and conditions on the busiest shopping day of the year. Retailers, including Macy's, are opening their doors on Thanksgiving for the first time this year, joining other store giants including Target, Sears and Kmart. But it is Walmart, the nation's largest private employer, which has attracted the focus of protests. Protests are planned at more than 1,500 of Walmart's 4,000 US stores on Black Friday, the day after the Thanksgiving holiday and traditionally the start of the festive shopping season."
Thanksgiving Eve News Dump. Robert Pear of the New York Times: "The Obama administration announced Wednesday a one-year delay in the element of the new health care law that allows small businesses to go online to buy insurance for their employees through the new federal marketplace website.... The announcement of the delay, just before Thanksgiving, is reminiscent of the way the White House announced, just before the Independence Day weekend, a one-year delay in the requirement for larger employers to offer health insurance to employees." ...
... Sarah Kliff of the Washington Post: "Small businesses will still have the option to purchase SHOP health insurance plans through a broker or agent, who will assist the employer with filing a paper application. The federal government expects to process those filings for eligibility within three to five days...."
The Christology of Sex. Linda Greenhouse: "The religious-based challenges that have flooded the federal courts from coast to coast -- more than 70 of them, of which the Supreme Court agreed on Tuesday to hear two -- aren't about the day-in, day-out stuff of jurisprudence under the First Amendment's Free Exercise Clause: Sabbath observance, employment rights, tax exemptions. They are about sex." ...
... Steve Lemieux in the American Prospect: "... it's not just economic libertarianism -- the challenge to the mandate is rooted in misogyny and puritanism as well. Employers are free to have reactionary views about economics and gender, but these beliefs are not protected.... The idea that a secular, for-profit corporation can 'exercise' religion is a strange concept that would be inconsistent with a substantial body of precedent." ...
... An Online Magazine Is a Blog Is a, a Tabloid! Eden Foods chairman & founder Michael Potter didn't much like it when the Sixth Circuit cited his remarks to Irin Carmon of Salon when it rejected his fake religious objection to providing contraceptive care. Potter didn't claim he had been misquoted, just that it didn't count because he made the remarks to a reporters on a blog or a tabloid.
New York Times Editors: President Obama's claim during his speech Monday that "it would be illegal" for him to halt deportations was "misleading.... While the president cannot throw out whole sections of immigration law to bypass Congressional inaction, he does have discretion in choosing how to enforce it wisely.... He can undoubtedly expand administrative efforts to protect other immigrants left stranded by legislative failure."
Glenn Greenwald, et al., in the Huffington Post: "The National Security Agency has been gathering records of online sexual activity and evidence of visits to pornographic websites as part of a proposed plan to harm the reputations of those whom the agency believes are radicalizing others through incendiary speeches, according to a top-secret NSA document. The document, provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, identifies six targets, all Muslims, as 'exemplars' of how 'personal vulnerabilities' can be learned through electronic surveillance, and then exploited to undermine a target's credibility, reputation and authority."
Mark Landler of the New York Times: "With the United States sending two B-52s to reinforce its protest over China's attempt to control the airspace over the islands, it served as a timely reminder that President Obama wants to turn America's gaze eastward, away from the preoccupations of the Middle East. Mr. Obama's shift ... has always seemed more rhetorical than real. But when Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. travels to China, Japan and South Korea next week, the administration will have another chance to flesh out the policy."
Maria Golovnina & John Chalmers of Reuters: "President Hamid Karzai's stubborn refusal to sign a pact that would keep thousands of U.S. troops in Afghanistan after 2014 is a high-risk gamble that Washington will give in to his demands, one that has left him isolated as the clock runs down on his presidency. Diplomats said he may have over-played his hand, raising the risk of a complete U.S. withdrawal.... It also risks a backlash at home by critics who believe he is playing a dangerous game with the country's future security." ...
... Tim Craig of the Washington Post: "President Hamid Karzai is facing a growing backlash from Afghan political leaders over his reluctance to sign a long-term security agreement with the United States."
What a Difference a Year Makes. Steve Benen: A year ago departing Sen. Joe Lieberman promised he would never become a lobbyist. Uh, he's a lobbyist now. CW: Hard to believe Joe would go back on his word. (Medicare for 55+.)
David Edwards of the Raw Story: "Fox News host and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) on Wednesday said that Lara Logan's botched reporting on Benghazi made her a 'hero journalist' and he was shocked that CBS News would force her off the air." ...
... Huckleberry himself is losing his radio show, billed as an alternative to Rushbo. Having failed to unseat Rush, Huckleberry is thinking of running for POTUS. CW: The White House is a consolation prize, I guess.
The Pompous v. the Pontiff. ...
... Eric Dolan of the Raw Story: Fox Business host Stuart Varney lectures Pope Francis on capitalism & religion. With video. ...
This is just pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the pope. -- Rush Limbaugh
Kirk Johnson of the New York Times: Alaskan Democrats like former Half-Gov. Sarah Palin's tax on oil companies. CW: Half-Gov. Palin's tax was totally socialistic Robin Hood stuff, which -- as I recall -- just happened to especially benefit large families. It provided a per capita payout & kids were capita.
CW: I hadn't planned to post much today, but the jerks just don't take a holiday, do they? It's hard to keep up with them.
New York Times: Afghanistan's "President Hamid Karzai lashed out at his American allies again on Thursday after word came that at least one, and possibly two, NATO drone strikes had killed civilians in southern Afghanistan."
New York Times: Despite "brisk winds and an occasional gust," Macy's parade went ahead as scheduled today.
AP: "A wintry blast of heavy rain, wind and snow across the eastern United States disrupted Thanksgiving travel plans on Wednesday for some of the millions of Americans hitting the roads and taking to the skies on the busiest holiday travel day of the year. While the travel delays were not as bad as many had feared, meteorologists warned that falling temperatures could create icy road conditions for those who put off travel until Wednesday night."
AP: "After keeping away inspectors for two years, Iran has invited the U.N. nuclear agency to a facility linked to a still unfinished reactor that could produce enough plutonium for up to two warheads a year, the agency's head said Thursday."
Washington Post: "Both Japan and South Korea said Thursday that they'd flown surveillance aircraft through China's newly claimed air defense identification zone, the latest challenge to an airspace that China has vowed to defend. flights drew no unusual response from Beijing, but they intensify the game of dare being played above Asia's contested maritime territory." ...
... New York Times Update: "China sent fighter jets on the first patrols of its new air defense zone over disputed islands in the East China Sea on Thursday, the state news agency, Xinhua, said. The patrols followed announcements by Japan and South Korea that their military planes had flown through the zone unhindered by China."