Daily Archives: November 19, 2009

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce hates rape victims, a great new “Glee,” and stuff I learned in the bathroom today

With all the good and positive change going on in America since Barack Obama took over, there are still constant reminders of the disgusting activities that took place over the past eight years.

I’m not laying this one at the feet of the Bush administration, though. Still, it’s grotesque.

Let me tell you a little bit about Jamie Leigh Jones. In 2005, she was a 23-year-old employee of Halliburton/ KBR, a military contractor working in Iraq. While in Iraq, she says she was brutally gang-raped (is there any other kind than brutal? by seven U.S. contractors, and held in a shipping container by two guards. She was drugged, severed severe injuries, and was denied food and water.

She has been trying, for years now, to get some kind of justice for the pain and suffering she went through.

But thanks to the laws of these here United States, according to this ABC News story, Jones is still waiting for her day in court. Because the alleged rape happened overseas, she can’t press charges in a U.S. Court.

And apparently, when she signed on as an employee, she unknowingly agreed to waive any rights to a jury trial in any criminal proceeding, and was forced into having her claims decided through secret, binding arbitration.

Anyway, up to the present: A bipartisan group of Senators, led by Al Franken, has won an amendment to a defense appropriations bill, allowing private contractor employees overseas access to the U.S. Court. Specifically, Franken’s amendment would withhold defense contracts from Halliburton and the like if they restrict their employees from taking workplace sex assault, battery and discrimination cases to court.

To my utter amazement, thirty Republican Senators voted against this, and the Pentagon AND the U.S Chamber of Commerce argued against the amendment as well, saying in a letter that it could set a dangerous precedent.

Franken’s amendment may not survive the final vetting of the bill, which is disgusting.

Even after Bush and Chaney are gone, Halliburton and their buddies still get their way.

And rape victims like Jones have to wonder when they’ll ever see justice.

***Another excellent episode of “Glee” on Wednesday night. Loved the “Endless Love” duet, and the harrowing scene at Quinn Febray’s house (with the guy who played Logan’s dad on “Gilmore Girls” in it!) when she tells her parents she’s pregnant.

One big complaint with the show, though: No Sue Sylvester! I need my Sue’s Corner segment. I need her biting and caustic remarks! Looks like she’s back next week, and that Rachel Berry is turning into Sandy from “Grease.” Can’t wait.

**Finally, I leave you with some bathroom knowledge. Literally. So I’m in the Lakeland Center in Lakeland, Fla, Wednesday, covering the state volleyball tournament, and I go to the restroom.

While there, I discover this brand-new handle on the toilet, that tells me that, to save water, I should push the handle up if there’s a No. 1 issue, and down if there’s a No. 2 issue. I was totally unaware of this breakthrough in conservation and toilet technology. I think it’s brilliant, though I want to know exactly HOW they determine how much water is required to flush a No. 2.

Boy, first the no-touch automatic flushing, and now this. What will they think of next?