Monday, December 30, 2013

Our two lives . . .

Women's Rights Advocate Paid Her Nanny Three Dollars An Hour,”, 15th Dec 2013: “An Indian diplomat who championed women's rights is being criminally charged in New York for paying her female nanny $3.31 an hour and lying about it on the woman's visa application. [She] was arrested and handcuffed this week as she dropped her daughter off at a Manhattan school. Although [she] was actually the acting head of the consulate at the time of her arrest, the United States is denying diplomatic immunity, saying that visa fraud isn't covered under the Vienna convention. In addition to the women's affairs part of her job title, [she] has repeatedly put herself out in the press as an advocate for “underprivileged” women’s rights. According to the US Attorney's office, however, [she] was doing the opposite at home. Authorities say she helped her nanny fill out fake visa forms which said [she] was paying her $4,500 per month, or $3,927 a month more than the woman's actual $3.31-an-hour salary, which they documented in a secret contract.”

From, 18th Dec 2013: “The AFL-CIO urged MSNBC hosts Wednesday to defy “fear and concern” and break their silence about NBC’s alleged anti-union “hypocrisy.” None of the five high-profile progressives they’ve targeted – Rachel Maddow, Al Sharpton, Lawrence O’Donnell, Chris Hayes and Ed Schultz – has so far directly and publicly addressed allegations that NBC-owned Peacock Productions exploited fear tactics and legal tricks to avert unionization. NBC and the five hosts did not immediately respond to Wednesday morning inquiries, or to prior requests for comment over the past week.”

“These hosts have a particular responsibility,” AFL-CIO organizing director Elizabeth Bunn told Salon. “They have respect and they have clout that producers alone don’t have, and they’re part of the larger progressive movement.” She said the five anchors were “uniquely positioned to hear the stories of what their parent company is doing to workers, and broadcast that to the larger American public.” She urged them to follow the “inspirational example” of workers at Peacock Productions – a company that produces some MSNBC programming – who’ve chosen to take collective action.”

Indeed, we live our two lives. And every now and again, the two women in my life would remind me that it applies to me too. For example, my daughter’s Christmas letter reads: “A Kantian Christmas . . . Admittedly, with minimum self-examination, I fail Kant's stress test on a daily basis. (And Dan, this letter doesn't change a thing about . . . what I want for Christmas). But please don't allow my personal failings to upset certain facts that remain. Each action has an outcome. Each inaction has an outcome. Can we all act or abstain in the same way and sustain that outcome . . .”

But beyond my wife and my daughter, it has been Pope Francis that has consistently been providing us the mirror to remind us of our two lives. And so he is the first to admit: I am a sinner. Pope Francis doesn’t need us to echo his thoughts. Yet I religiously keep to this blog, soon to be on its fifth year, and my daughter reminded me why – and it could in fact remind freedom-loving people what freedom is about – when she quoted Mandela: "I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended."

My family joins me in wishing one and all a blessed Christmas and a joyful new year!

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