Elliot D. Woods has an intriguing piece up at the Virginia Quarterly Review about the mineral wealth and mining practices in Afghanistan. The piece is an excellent essay looking at the current situation and the potential of Afghanistan. I think what it misses is the larger ramifications of nearly all mining practices no matter what the social or economic climate of the region being mined. To note that Afghanistan doesn’t meet international safety standards seems to me to fall flat when compared to the mining disasters occurring in far more stable regions. Where the strength lies in Woods’ work is in his overall descriptions of the condition of the industry in Afghanistan and the response to the Pentagon’s report about mineral resources that he cites early in the essay. His piece is well worth a thorough read.

Absence & Revision

Since my last post life has both been much more stressful thanks to another round of term finals and relaxing thanks to Spring Break. Obviously those two factors have intervened with my attempt to keep up with my linking of recent issues with labor relations in the midwest. I’m certain that I’ll return to that style of posting off and on in the future. The most significant problem for me in this blog is frankly keeping pace with events and the amount of reading and research I’m already doing for my own work and teaching. As one of my dissertation committee members recently pointed out, my PhD work is inherently in a long format that cannot keep up with the pace of events nor in some ways should it. Frankly, the deep investigations I’m doing into historicity, labor and literature need the benefit of time for a thorough investigation. On the other hand, current events not only deserve a deeper engagement, in the case of Wisconsin and the current labor issues facing the nation, they demand further investigation due to their potential for long reaching ramifications. My attempt to keep this blog is my own defense against the oscillation between the two polls of deep reflection and the immediacy of tracking events. I’m not certain that I’ve struck the particular balance I was envisioning. Instead I ended up with a link blog. That’s well and good in the fact that I am attempting to record certain issues and I’m sure I’ll fall back on that in the future as well, but when I started posting with some level of commitment earlier this year I was  hoping to coax myself into writing a bit more than I have been. I had hoped that this could be a clearing ground to explore issues in an informal fashion.

And, you know, post various links related to Sleater-Kinney apparently (or honestly whatever other sundries catch my attention. This is ultimately a personal blog as opposed to an entirely professional one. I mix the two here specifically to fend off burn out on one side and simply ignoring the other).

An odd set of goals in the end, but one I wanted to remind myself of in the long run.

Links for Wisconsin Labor Issues 3/10

Here are some links I’ve been collecting. I’m afraid I have not been able to keep up with the fast pace of events in Wisconsin.

Via Huffington Post: An overview of the end run the Wisconsin GOP and Governor Walker used to move the anti-labor bill through the Senate as things stood last night.

Via Talking Points Memo: Gov. Walker states that the anti-union provisions are fiscal in nature. This would appear to be problematic since the method the GOP utilized to get the bill out of the Senate was a method that would be illegal if it’s a bill with fiscal . Also, the Senate Republicans declare that they did not need to provide notice for their surprise session to pass the anti-union legislation. Finally, a write up on the Wisconsin State Assembly’s passing of the bill.

A brief piece from Leigh Elion, a University of Wisconsin graduate student, about speaking at the Wisconsin capitol against the bill at the Boston Review.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports on the scene at the Wisconsin capitol after the surprise passage of the bill in the State Senate.

Links for 3/3: Labor Legislation and Protests

Lots of issues and links lately. Here they are in no particular order:

Defend Wisconsin. Via Virginia, a colleague who’s in the midst of things in Wisconsin right now.

The Wisconsin Senate (that is, the Republican members present in the state) have ordered the arrest of its missing Democratic members if they return to the state. It’s uncertain if such a maneuver is legal.

TPM reports on one Democratic senator from Wisconsin who managed to get his paycheck despite Republican efforts to keep him from it for leaving the state. Maybe that’s the reason for the arrest order. Ohio passed its legislation regarding union rights yesterday, but the Republicans were only able to by resorting to (well, let’s face it) shenanigans. While we’re on TPM links, this is a good piece about the efforts of Fox News to report on this historic uprising of apparent bullies. (As a side note, I spotted a story earlier, but have since lost the link, of someone being cited for unplugging Fox News equipment. First off, I don’t condone unplugging equipment, but is anyone really surprised that the protesters don’t like Fox given the narrative that Fox is presenting?)

Huffington Post on criticisms of the coverage of Wisconsin protests. In particular they cover a pretty big correction by the Times regarding an interview one of their reporters did with a supposed “union man” who has, in fact, never been in a union. This mistake undercuts what was a provocative article that Governor Walker was using as evidence for widespread support of his proposals. The whole article is pretty deeply undercut with the correction.

New York Times article focusing on teachers wondering where all the vitriolic scorn towards them is coming from lately. Knowing as many teachers as I do (and being one myself) I can say it’s a bit mind boggling. I grew up in a small school district that wasn’t particularly well funded. I’m pursuing a PhD and a career in education thanks in no small part to the constant sacrifice and commitment of the public school teachers I had the privilege of learning from. What would be nice is if rather than placing blame on teachers for poor performing students or the budget mismanagement of state and federal governments, we began to treat education with the gravitas it deserves. Maybe smaller classroom sizes, and more one on one time with students would be the place we as a nation could agree to begin. Yes, that means more money, but I take the political rhetoric that comes out each election cycle about the importance of education as more than empty words. Budgets are a problem, but scapegoating teachers and removing resources aren’t going to help answer these problems.

Striking a similar tone, Jon Stewart & the Daily Show’s take on the same issue.

Abe Sauer reports on Governor Walker’s budget speech at the Awl. has a statement of support for Wisconsin’s 14 Democratic Senators here.

Huffington Post has an AP report on a court order for protesters to leave the Wisconsin capital building after business hours.