Republicans Causing Over 200,000 To Lose Unemployment Benefits

Because of Republicans blocking unanimous consent of a temporary spending measure over 200,000 people will have their unemployment benefits cut off on Monday. They might be restored retroactively, but many of these people are probably do not have spare money to hold them over. The Hill reports:

Starting Monday, more than 200,000 unemployed Americans won’t see jobless benefits they’re expecting because Congress failed to act.

The interruption in benefits will last two weeks at a minimum, according to Judy Conti of the National Employment Law Project (NELP), since lawmakers return from spring break on April 12.

As the two-week recess began, Congress was at an impasse over how to extend the emergency unemployment insurance program and other expiring provisions, including increased COBRA health insurance subsidies for the unemployed, the Medicare doctor payment rate and federal flood insurance.

Senate Republicans said the $9.3 billion, 30-day extension preferred by Democrats should be paid for, while Democrats said the bill’s cost didn’t need to be offset because the program was “emergency spending.”

Making matters worse, the Republicans are trying to play politics and blame the Democrats for the problem. They insist upon paying for this emergency spending now, but had no problems in the past with conducting the Iraq war or passing George Bush’s Medicare changes without funding them. They also have had no problems with the increases to the deficit caused by George Bush’s tax cuts which were initially provided to only the ultra-wealthy. Republicans have also blocked efforts to achieve a permanent fix to the flawed Medicare payment formula.

Harry Reid has scheduled a cloture vote for when Congress returns on April 12 but even if passed this delay can cause hardship for many who are now unemployed and dependent upon the benefits for day to day expenses.

Looking For Hot Pictures of Karen Gillan?

The BBC premiere today of Doctor Who has led to an unprecedented amount of traffic from Google searches for pictures of Karen Gillan, who plays The Doctor’s new companion, and Kissogram girl, Amy Pond. Because of the amount of traffic I have had to move pictures from some old posts to a new server.

Links to the old posts with these pictures will still work but, as the original pictures have been moved, you will receive an error message if you go to the link for the actual picture files.

The Holocaust Was Not Rated G

There is a protest against the local high school for showing Schindler’s List as part of the state’s requirement to include  the Holocaust in the American History class, which is taught in tenth grade locally:

A winner of seven Academy Awards recently shown in a sophomore history class has struck a nerve with one Grand Haven High School parent.

Last week, sophomores in 20th Century History classes at GHHS watched “Schindler’s List” over the course of three days. The R-rated movie depicts Oskar Schindler’s portrayal of how he first used Jews to start a factory in Poland during World War II, but discovered the horrors they were subjected to under the Nazi regime and begins to save them. It includes scenes with full frontal nudity of men and women, violence, adult intimacy, and profanity.

The mother of a student who lodged the protest is concerned about the language, apparently oblivious to the language which high school students are already exposed to on a daily basis:

As a parent, DeWitt questions why the school’s student code of conduct, which does not allow harassment or profanity on the premises, is not adhered to during the classroom viewing of an R-rated movie.

“If my son were to stand in the hallway and yell profanities, there would be disciplinary action,” DeWitt said. “… Yet they can sit in a classroom for 70 minutes hearing words that the school does not condone. … We don’t use that language at home and we don’t use that language at Grand Haven High School.”

While the intimate adult scenes in “Schindler’s List” were edited out for the classroom viewing, Evink argued that editing out the film’s violence and profanity would alter the historical and tragic lesson that is the Holocaust. She said showing the film in an educational setting provides students with the opportunity to raise questions and discuss their feelings about the film among their peers, as well as discuss how the message relates in today’s society.

This all started with former Republican Governor John Engler. The school district continued making an exception for this R-rated movie with a policy which certainly makes sense:

When “Schindler’s List” debuted in movie theaters nationwide in 1993, Gov. John Engler provided grant money to allow GHHS teachers to take their 10th-grade history students to watch the film at a nearby movie theater, school officials said. The movie has since been shown in the American history class every year, GHHS Principal Scott Grimes said.

While the school district has a policy to not allow R-rated movies be shown in classrooms, films deemed to have an extraordinary educational value are allowed.

“It is our practice to now allow R-rated movies in classrooms,” GHAPS Superintendent Keith Konarska said. “In the case of ‘Schindler’s List,’ an exception has been made because of the tremendous educational value it brings to the classroom. I believe it allows students a better understanding and feeling for what occurred during the Holocaust than what a textbook could.”

When we have a G-rated holocaust we can limit instruction to G-rated shows from the History Channel. Otherwise we should consider movies based upon their educational value, not based upon whether they tone down the language.