The cool thing about having your own blog is that you can write about whatever you want. And this evening seems as good as any for an impromptu discussion on how, if not for evolution , male human beings might have penises studded with "small, hard spines". That's right, spiked penises ladies and gentlemen. Female humanoids might take this opportunity to send gratitude out to the Universe for the evolutionary forces that intervened on their (and our) behalf. Crazy stuff, yo.
Okay so I don't really intend to defile the hallowed ground of this blog with an essay devoted to penises. But I did come across this today and thought it was kind of disturbing and unique and I thought my distinguished readers might also find it as amusing, interesting, and grotesque as I did. So enjoy.
One thing I do feel compelled to comment on, completely unrelated to the spikey penis thing, is this brouhaha in Wisconsin; and by brouhaha, I mean this latest assault on people who work for a living - the lower 99%, economically speaking.
Wisconsin republicans managed to pass their cynically and euphemistically named "budget repair" bill last night. Many conservative, working class Americans are very enthusiastic about this because hey, now public employees in Wisconsin will be that much closer to sharing the same level of powerlessness, job-insecurity, and lowered standards that they currently enjoy.
Teaching school is a very modestly paid and noble profession. And God knows it's a difficult profession, dealing with insolent, sometimes gun-toting, and heavily medicated kids, and apathetic or belligerent parents. One can't imagine a person making that career choice for the financial rewards. I know it's cliche, but there are few outside figures who will have a more lasting impact on a person than one's school teachers. Yes, like any profession, there are bad ones. But there are also really, really good ones. It's hard to think of a profession that contributes more to society and that we have somehow been persuaded to demonize school teachers is appalling and embarrassing. Only in a society that's gone horribly wrong can public school teacher become a symbol of greed and extravagance.
Make no mistake, this move on the part of Governor Walker has nothing to do with balancing the budget. The teachers union agreed to the pay and benefit cuts that were requested. What they did not agree to was surrendering their collective bargaining rights, without which their union would be effectively neutered and meaningless. This bill was not about saving taxpayer money, it was about striking a blow to what's left of organized labor in this country. Solidarity among working people, public or private sector, terrifies the corporate oligarchy and must be crushed by whatever means necessary.
They started this assault back when His Holiness The Ronald Reagan fired the unionized air-traffic controllers and made it cool to hate unions. Union membership in the US has fallen from almost 30% of the workforce in the late 70s to less than 8%currently. And the American middle class has suffered accordingly, as can be seen in the various studies that compare income/wealth inequality trends over the past 40 years.
And it's not just wealth and income that has deteriorated for the working class. Long before public sector unions existed, private sector employees once enjoyed guaranteed pensions and generous health benefits. As political power and therefore policy has shifted further in favor of the economic elite, these benefits have eroded for private sector employees. Pensions have been replaced with 401Ks, shifting risk and expense from employer to employee, and the amounts employees contribute to their health insurance premiums have exploded.
The Wisconsin situation is just another move to disempower the working class, ensuring cheap labor for the corporate elite. And if busting public employee unions becomes the trend it will affect more than just public employees and will be a significant factor contributing to further economic inequality in the US. Class war at it's finest.