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Showing posts from November, 2013

An Activist White House

I've been following Fast for Families on twitter since day one. Unlike a lot of "keyboard activists," these folks are showing their courage and commitment by putting it all on the line. On November 12, faith, immigrant rights and labor leaders announced the launch of “Fast for Families: A Call for Immigration Reform and Citizenship,” taking place on the National Mall, steps away from the Capitol. Leaders and immigrant members of the community will fast every day and night, abstaining from all food—except water—to move the hearts and compassion of members of Congress to pass immigration reform with a path to citizenship. I watched as union, faith and civil rights leaders visited these fasters in a show of solidarity. And then something interesting started happening. Very moving AM with @fast4families and @SEIU_Eliseo to express my deepest support for #ImmigrationReform #TimeisNow — Valerie Jarrett (@vj44) November 23, 2013 On day 1

Van Jones Weighs in on President Obama's "Race Report Card"

Given his background in dealing with the criminal justice system as founder of the Ella Baker Center in San Francisco, I was interested in reading Van Jones' assessment of President Obama's track record on dealing with racism. But I have to say that I came away disappointed. Jones limits his remarks to three symbolic incidents when President Obama commented on race: his speech in Philadelphia after the Rev. Wright controversy, his beer summit after the police harassment of  Professor Henry Louis Gates, and his comments about Trayvon Martin following the acquittal of George Zimmerman. I agree that these were all important moments. But is Jones really suggesting that we grade President Obama on these situations alone? Is the presidency really limited to the "bully pulpit" on issues that are this important to the country? Only someone who is removed from the everyday lives of people of color and has limited themselves to media critiques would think so. I've b

Gratitude as the antidote to what ails us

On this day dedicated to thanksgiving, I'd like to resurrect something written a few years ago by Nezua at  The Unapologetic Mexican . The entire post doesn't seem to be available online anymore, so we'll have to make due with some excerpts I've used before . To summarize, Nezua was looking for the common roots of the various " isms " the divide us. I prefer not to dally too long dissecting the symptoms of manifested underlying ills, but prefer to look directly at those broad reaching paradigms or beliefs that inform them...Because if we all are truly interested in forming an ongoing conversation that cuts away the the husk of empty discourse and scoops out the Essential, we have to look not only at the symptoms of hate, violence, authoritarian rule, and oppression, but at the seeds that inform them and keep them entrenched, as well as socially acceptable. These vines are by now thorny and tangled and hearty, but the seeds were planted long ago, and the no

The changing role of money in politics

For both liberals and conservatives, a common refrain we hear when a political battle is lost is that we can blame the role of money in politics. We've seen ample reason for this conclusion in the past. For example, when it comes to presidential elections we've seen the amount of money raised for candidates go from $162 million in 1980 to $2.3 billion in 2012 . Of course with the SCOTUS' Citizen's United ruling, about $550 million of the 2012 total came from outside groups (ie, SuperPACs). But I'm here to suggest that it might be time to challenge the conventional thinking about the role of money in politics. Things are changing fast in both political parties and technology is playing a BIG role in altering the landscape. When it comes to the changes in political parties, Barack Obama's campaigns have ushered in a death blow to traditional thinking about fundraising. In the past candidates have relied on big donors to fund their endeavors. But President Oba

The 10 best

A couple of weeks ago the legend known as Chipsticks from The Obama Diary took to twitter in order to document the 10 best pictures of the Obama era. Unfortunately, even legends can be wrong. So I thought that my return to the world of blogging would be a good time to set the record straight. After all, its really important that we get this one right, isn't it?   ;-) (Oops, how did that one get in there? Bad Smarty!) So there you have it: the 10 best. We all agree on that...don't we?

Steps Toward Peace

Take a minute to think about how trust if formed. And then take a look at how that process is portrayed in one of the most beautiful scenes ever filmed in the 1979 movie The   Black Stallion . President Obama has cajoled the rest of the world to engage with Iran in the very first steps of that process. To see how that has happened over the last year, please be sure to read this account from the Associated Press . Building trust is the key ingredient of the plan President Obama has followed from the beginning because it is the only way to ensure a peaceful resolution .  In that context, our argument is going to be that it is important for us to see if we can solve this thing permanently, as opposed to temporarily. And the only way, historically, that a country has ultimately decided not to get nuclear weapons without constant military intervention has been when they themselves take [nuclear weapons] off the table. And so, yesterday Iran and the rest of the world entered