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Showing posts from March, 2012

That's Amore

This is a pretty clever ad. But it stands out to me because its also a pretty ballsy statement from the Democrats. They must have calculated that Rep. Ryan and his draconian budget proposal are enough of a political liability that associating him with Mitt Romney would do some damage. I think that's a good call.

Change is...

Change is the first bill I signed into law -- a law that says women deserve an equal day’s pay for an equal day’s work, because I want our daughters treated just like our sons. Change is the decision we made to rescue an auto industry that was on the verge of collapse, even when some said let Detroit go bankrupt. One million jobs were at stake, so we weren’t going to let that happen. And today, GM is back on top as the world’s number one automaker, reported the highest profits in 100 years -- 200,000 new jobs over the last two and a half years. The American auto industry is back and it's making cars that are more fuel-efficient. So that’s helping the environment, even as we’re putting people to work. Change is the decision we made to stop waiting for Congress to do something about our oil addiction. That’s why we finally raised our fuel-efficiency standards. By the middle of the next decade, we will be driving American-made cars that get almost 55 miles to a gallon

Women's reproductive health is a men's issue

I'm not one so I can't speak from experience, but from what I've heard, heterosexual men are pretty interested in having sex with women. I even hear that its on their minds a lot. ;-) Well, if that's the case, I'd suggest that one of the ways for them to achieve that goal is to fight for women's reproductive health. In other words, help women get access to birth control and be able to have sex knowing that we'll have choices about when to have a child. Speaking on behalf of women, that sorta frees us up (whether married or single) to want to engage. Just sayin...I've always wondered why this is typically cast as a "women's issue." I'd think the other half of the equation has just as much at stake.

Beyond the games and power plays

We all know that politics is a contact sport where power is too often the only end game. And while I would take issue with some of the things Nathan Fletcher (who is a California assemblyman running for Mayor of San Diego) said in this announcement about leaving the Republican Party, it struck me powerfully on many levels. In today's political environment you're expected to play the game...I could care less about playing games. Because I don't believe this is a game. If you're a small business owner who's struggling to barely make payroll, you don't think its a game. If you're a teacher at one of the schools I visited where I've seen 38 kids crammed into a classroom, you don't think its a game. If you've lost your home, your health insurance, your hours have been cut or your jobs gone completely, you definitely don't think its a game. Ezra Klein strikes the same note about the health care reform debate. As the thinking goes, if the Su

SCOTUS: All or nothing on ACA?

On Monday I talked about the four arguments SCOTUS would hear about health care reform: anti-injunction act, the mandate, severability and medicaid. While the arguments on the constitutionality of the mandate were perhaps the cornerstone, it appeared yesterday that the issue of severability is likely to shape much of the outcome. What the court will have to decide is, IF they determine that the mandate is unconstitutional, how does that affect the rest of ACA? To me the argument hinges on the role of the court. Their job is to rule on constitutionality. The only sections of ACA that are being questioned on those grounds are the mandate and medicaid expansion (we'll leave that one alone for now). The problem is that the mandate is the funding mechanism by which many of the other measures are made possible. And so the court's options are as follows if they find the mandate to be unconstitutional: 1. Throw the entire ACA out. I think this is troubling for much of the court be

"It's a big f*cking deal"

A contrast in campaign styles

As we watched happen in the 2008 election, President Obama's opponents tend to depend on campaign methods that have failed. As the LA Times points out, Romney is continuing that tradition. The spending data and interviews with campaign officials suggest that a Romney-Obama race would be a clash between distinct political philosophies, one that would test the power of an aerial bombardment through television ads against an in-person voter mobilization months in the making. They also produced a chart showing where the 2 campaigns have spent their money so far. Notice that the biggest expenditure for the Obama campaign ($20.3 million) has been on staffing (payroll) while Romney has only spent $5.3 million. On the other end of the spectrum, Romney has spent the most ($14.7 million) on media buys and production while Obama has only spent $4.3 million. That pretty much tells the story. Romney's 2008 Iowa chairman let loose with a quote that suggests the kind of message the

Prepare yourself for the great American health care reform "debate"

I suspect that the political news this week will be consumed by the debate at the Supreme Court about health care reform. Its probably a good thing that we get it all out now - but frankly, I'm not looking forward to the spin that is sure to ensue. The reality is that the real news won't happen for months...the actual ruling from SCOTUS. And in the meantime, the pundits will have a heyday predicting the outcome and spinning those meaningless predictions ad infinitum. So I've hesitated to read much in the lead-up because it will all be a test of mental gymnastics for awhile now and I simply am not up for the hysteria. But this morning I decided to take a look at Ezra Klein's column and found a very helpful primer on what the issues are by Sarah Kliff. I hadn't seen it all broken down this succinctly before so I thought I'd share the whole thing with you. Apparently there are 4 arguments in the case - each to be heard separately. Anti-Injunction Act Wha

Just sayin...

A question for you while I'm heading home

Vacation time has come to an end and I'm actually writing this on the airplane heading home. Its been an absolutely marvelous week and I am reminded once again just what a lucky human being I am! As I was packing up this morning, I read this article by Reniqua Allen titled The first black president has made it harder to talk about race in America. I think Ms. Allen has a point. Basically she's finding that white people want to be off the hook about racism now that we've elected a black president. I have encountered many people who seem to believe, subconsciously or not, that Obama’s win is proof that America has reached the mountaintop. What more is there to say about race, they ask me, after this country so proudly and overwhelmingly elected a black president? They cite success stories as disparate as Oprah Winfrey, Jay-Z and former Time Warner chief Dick Parsons. But Oprah’s billions don’t counteract the dire poverty and unemployment rates in the black community.­

What a little empathy for Republicans can get you :-)

One of the things that keeps liberals feeling defeated and disappointed is that they are often so wrapped up in their own struggles they fail to see the challenges faced by the opposition. There is a kind of empathy that they miss in not seeing the world through Republican eyes. So lets take a moment to check out what the political world looks like right now for Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader McConnell. First...a bit of a trip down memory lane. Last summer the Republicans decided to take the world economy hostage by refusing to raise the debt ceiling unless their demands for deficit reduction were met. In the end, a deal was reached, Speaker Boehner declared that he'd gotten 98% of what he wanted and WAY to many liberals bought into that line because it affirmed their defeat and disappointment. But yesterday Speaker Boehner was singing a different tune. Republicans in the House, Boehner confirmed, will advance legislation to replace automaatic cuts to the defense bu

The invisible man as President

Yesterday as I was reading what Leonard Pitts wrote about the killing of Trayvon Martin, I was struck by how his words on invisibility apply to President Obama. That's one of the great frustrations of African American life, those times when you're standing right there, minding your own business, tending your house, coming home from the store, and other people are looking right at you, yet do not see you. They see instead their own superstitions and suppositions, paranoia and guilt, night terrors and vulnerabilities. They see the perpetrator, the suspect, the mug shot, the dark and scary face that lurks at the open windows of their vivid imaginations. They see the unknown, the unassimilable, the other. They see everything in the world but you. It's not hard to see in that description to roots of birtherism, President Obama as Kenyan socialist, and the attempts by Republicans to paint him as some radical out to steal our freedoms. Whether or not those who perpetuate t

The tangle and the weave

Here's another bit of wisdom from "The Healing" by Jonathan Odell. Polly Shine is teaching her apprentice Granada the art of healing. She tells her that her mother's people in Africa were the finest weavers in the world. "She told me the secret...what made them so fine, mother after daughter after grandaughter, all the way down the line." "What was it Polly?" "She say, the difference in weavers is, some see the tangle and others see the weave. The ones that can't take their eyes off the tangle, they never rise above it." If there is anything resembling a legacy I'd like to strive for in blogging, it would be that I tried to see the weave.

The Invisible Boy

I have been waiting to read what Leonard Pitts had to say about Trayvon Martin. Not just because Pitts lives in Florida. But because he's one of those people that has a wisdom about these kinds of things that takes a hard look at reality and helps us see it for what it is. That, to me, is where justice will be found - not only for Trayvon and his family - but for all of us...if we'll listen. So here's what Pitts has to say. They do not see you. For every African American it comes as surely as hard times, setbacks and tears, that moment when you realize somebody is looking right at you and not seeing you - as if you had become cellophane, as if you had become air, as if somehow, some way, you were right there and at the same time not. Ralph Ellison described that phenomenon in a milestone novel that began as follows: "I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those that haunted Edgar Allen Poe. Nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasyms. I am a man

A "prick the skin" reminder

I haven't written yet about the killing of Trayvon Martin. The reason is that I can't seem to begin to think about it without crying. The senseless shooting of that beautiful young boy is overwhelming. But it goes beyond that. Remember the quote I used last night? "I did my best to teach the master about slaves. Told him a hundred times when he was a boy that it wasn't a black skin that made a man a slave. It's the other skin, the one that grows on the outside, that second hide made of fear and obedience. What a good master does is every once in a while, prick that skin to remind folks that it's still there and always will be. I told him that if a slave was to molt that outside skin, you no longer have a slave. 'Mark my words," I said, 'when a man's not afraid, then he's hoping. And that's when all hell breaks loose.'" The killing of that young boy is the "prick the skin" reminder to every African American boy - as

"That's when all hell breaks loose"

I spent a good portion of the day today reading "The Healing" by Jonathan Odell. I haven't finished the book and will likely have much more to say about it when I do. But today I read a portion that struck me as a powerful statement about what we see going on today. The setting is a Mississippi plantation. Silas, who has been the Master's right-hand slave since he was a boy, is troubled by the appearance on the plantation of Polly Shine...a healer who Silas suspects is subtly challenging the status quo. "I did my best to teach the master about slaves. Told him a hundred times when he was a boy that it wasn't a black skin that made a man a slave. It's the other skin, the one that grows on the outside, that second hide made of fear and obedience. What a good master does is every once in a while, prick that skin to remind folks that it's still there and always will be. I told him that if a slave was to molt that outside skin, you no longer have a sla

The Breitbart crew's latest "vetting" of an Obama administration "radical," AG Eric Holder

I'm still enjoying the Breitbart crew's so-called "vetting" of President Obama and his administration. Their latest entry: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. The right has been after Holder from the beginning of this administration. That's why I created the tab up top to document the work of the DOJ under his leadership. We need to be armed with the facts. But this latest attempt to smear AG Holder is as amusing as the rest of the revelations from this crew. They have video of then US Attorney Holder in 1995 (serving the District of Columbia) making a speech about his thoughts on how to curb gun violence amongst young people. Holder was addressing the Woman's National Democratic Club. In his remarks, broadcast by CSPAN 2, he explained that he intended to use anti-smoking campaigns as his model to "change the hearts and minds of people in Washington, DC" about guns. "What we need to do is change the way in which people think about guns, es

Sometimes its best not to say anything at all

Yes, I made it to my vacation destination. I wanted to show you the view from which I'm blogging but apparently I can't download pitctures from my ipad (I'll work on that later). Suffice it to say that, as I type, I'm overlooking the Pacific Ocean in all its graduer. YEAH! But this morning I'm once again struck by a question I used to have as a child. I'd ask my mom what would happen one day if there was no news. She'd be dismissive and tell me that would never happen. I guess that now I know what she meant. People will ALWAYS find something to report on - even if there's no "there" there. That's what I thought when I read this article at TPM. The author is trying to predict the future of the Obama campaign from the themes addressed in "The Road We've Traveled." And pulls a total fail. That's because the video was about the past we've all been through - not the future the President will campaign on. There's a

"It's Raining Mitt"

Just in case you thought any gaff by Romney during the primaries would be be forgotten. I hear President Obama looks pretty good in the rain :-)

IOKIYAW (It's OK if you are white)

I'm borrowing the acronym IOKIYAR (It's OK if you are Republican) to illustrate a great question posed by Steve M. He wants to know if you can name the person who said this: ... I hope to stand for a new harmony, a greater tolerance. We've come far, but I think we need a new harmony among the races in our country. And we're on a journey into a new century, and we've got to leave that tired old baggage of bigotry behind. Some people who are enjoying our prosperity, are forgetting, have forgotten what it's for. But they diminish our triumph when they act as if wealth is an end in itself. And there are those who have dropped their standards along the way, as if ethics were too heavy and slowed their rise to the top. There's graft in city hall, the greed on Wall Street; there's influence peddling in Washington, and the small corruptions of everyday ambition.... I wonder sometimes if we have forgotten who we are... I want a kinder and gentler natio

"The Road We've Traveled"

If you know anyone who hasn't seen this video - please make sure that they do.

If Republicans don't stop messing with women, somebody's gonna get mad

The upside to uncovering Obama's "radical" past

As most of you are aware, the late Breitbart's crew thinks there's some hay to be made by digging up minutia about President Obama's past. Their first effort revealed that he had been a panelist in Chicago at a play about the life of community organizer Saul Alinsky. And next they unveiled the video tape of the first African American President of the Harvard Law Review introducing Harvard Law Professor Derrick Bell. For those of us who care about the effects of racism in this country, what they're doing is providing us with a collection of President Obama's long-term and deep commitment to these issues (you paying attention Tavis and Cornel?) For example, the latest efforts are about President Obama's deep ties to fellow Harvard Law School grad Cassandra Butts. Oh my! We learn that she's actually committed to affirmative action and thinks race is a factor in the health disparities between blacks and whites in this country...and she's a close friend

It's a good thing nobody's paying me for this

Since there's no paycheck involved in this blogging thing for me, I can do what I want when I want...which is cool. And to be real honest with you, my head isn't in the political game today. Fair warning...I leave to go on vacation Saturday. All I can do lately is think about sipping margaritas while enjoying views like the one in the picture up above. That's where I'm headed for a week. So tomorrow is my last day of work, Friday is prep day and Saturday is travel day. I'll likely be blogging throughout. But I suspect it might be lighter fare from a different perspective. We'll see. I'm going to a resort I've stayed at many times. I remember one year I was enjoying my peace and quiet out by the pool staring at the waves when some young people arrived. They had their boom box going and it pissed me off. And then this song came on. Every time I hear it now I'm transported in my mind back to that gorgeous place. In a couple of days, I'll be

What would conservatism be without the hate?

This morning I ran across an interesting editorial by a Republican woman in Iowa. I am a proud evangelical Christian Republican and a native of Mississippi. I moved to Iowa and fell in love with the political process here during caucus season... 2011 was a big year for Republicans. We saw leaders emerge and saw candidates drop out. We saw job creation and education being seriously debated, and I felt that the concerns of the American people were heard — for the most part. What I didn’t hear much of this year was support for marriage equality from the Republican front-runners. I support marriage for gay and lesbian couples and have been vocal about my support, even when it hasn’t always been the popular thing to do in my party. I heard a lot of rhetoric about gay and lesbian Americans that didn’t fit with what I know to be true and what many Republicans believe. As an evangelical Christian Republican, I know many people who hold conservative values like equality and freedom, but

Way to bust a meme on GOP campaign cash

I just LOVE it when people challenge conventional wisdom! And that's exactly what Dan Eggen did in a recent article about GOP spending on the current presidential campaign. Lost amid all the talk about millionaires influencing the 2012 election is a striking fact: The Republican primaries are shaping up as the cheapest and most financially depressed presidential nominating contests in years. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and the other Republicans vying to take on President Obama in November have raised and spent about half as much money as the GOP field did four years ago, campaign disclosure data show. The trend doesn’t stop there: Republicans in 2000 and Democrats in 2004 posted stronger financial numbers than this year’s crop of GOP challengers have. Even adding this year’s spending by super PACs — a new kind of independent group that can raise millions of dollars at a time — the Republican contenders spent more cash in 2008 all on their own. In all our howli

Obama administration tackling the school to prison pipeline

The problem was documented well by ABC News years ago: Last summer, the Obama administration's Departments of Justice and Education came together to form the Supporting School Discipline Initiative. A new undertaking from the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education targets school discipline policies that end up pushing children into the juvenile-justice system for crimes and rule-breaking on campus—and keeping them from pursuing their education. Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan unveiled the Supportive School Discipline Initiative at a meeting of a Justice Department committee meeting Thursday afternoon. "When our young people start getting locked up early... they start to move out of schools, out of the pipeline to success," Mr. Duncan said. He recalled how when he led Chicago public schools, he found that 7 percent of schools were responsible for more than half of the arrests of young people in the city. A small group of princi

Tim Wise takes on the attacks against Prof. Derrick Bell

As you might expect, Tim Wise does an excellent job of taking on the Breitbart crew's recent attacks on Professor Derrick Bell. I highly recommend that you follow that link to read the whole article. At one point he captures the bigger picture of an overall attempt to shut down any conversation about racism in this country. To mention racism makes one racist. To speak of injustice in your own nation makes you un-American... If the right wants to argue the points made by persons like Bell, Wright, most all folks of color or those of us in the white community who echo their concerns, so be it. They are free to do so. Decent people can disagree about the extent and force of racial discrimination in the modern era. But to suggest that it is by definition racist against white people to believe in the persistence of racism against persons of color is intellectually obscene. It is an argument intended to shut down debate, to cow people of color into remaining silent about their own

"Their lack of newness"

I just read an interesting review by Steve Weinberg of the book The New Hate: A History of Fear and Loathing on the Populist Right by Arthur Goldwag. Not having read the book myself, I can't comment on it in totality. But Weinberg presents some quotes that I find intriguing. First of all Weinberg points out that most of the writing from the left about the populist right has been angry "screeds featuring the dangers and hypocrisy of the New Right," but that Goldwag takes a different approach. Goldwag wants to understand the origins of the hostility in his new book. Here is perhaps his best explanation: “The New Hate is at once the expression of a quixotic desire to turn back the clock to a mythical golden age when women and minorities and gays and foreigners were less troublesome than they are today; when the government only gave and never took; and a cynical ploy to up the turnout of Republican voters. Most of the time it’s reflexive and vindictive to its core.” Th

What a Wonderful World


The subtle racism of ascribing success to luck

For a couple of years now the chattering class has been characterizing President Obama as weak. What's interesting is that now that his political fortunes are improving, there seems to be a meme developing that he's lucky. From Rolling Stone on the contraception controversy: If this were a political mistake, Barack Obama seems impossibly lucky to have stumbled into it. Every repercussion is redounding to his favor. Dana Milbank on the economy: In politics, it’s better to be lucky than good, and Obama has come into an unexpectedly large quantity of luck. Five straight monthly drops in the unemployment rate have boosted consumer confidence and stock markets. Gary Younge on his opponents: Barack Obama has often been lucky with his enemies... Now, as he heads for reelection, he must be saying a prayer every day in thanks for Mitt Romney... The principal beneficiary would be Obama. The president should be fighting for his life. Instead, he's living on his luck.

You've seen the poll numbers, now hear their words

The New York Times talked to some of the moderate Republican and Independent women voters who are abandoning the Republican presidential candidates in droves. “We all agreed that this seemed like a throwback to 40 years ago,” said Ms. Russell, 57, a retired teacher from Iowa City who describes herself as an evangelical Christian and “old school” Republican of the moderate mold. Until the baby shower, just two weeks ago, she had favored Mitt Romney for president. Not anymore. She said she might vote for President Obama now. “I didn’t realize I had a strong viewpoint on this until these conversations,” Ms. Russell said. As for the Republican presidential candidates, she added: “If they’re going to decide on women’s reproductive issues, I’m not going to vote for any of them. Women’s reproduction is our own business.”... “Everybody is so busy telling us how we should act in the bedroom, they’re letting the country fall through the cracks,” said Fran Kelley, a retired public school

Strange bedfellows...the case for bipartisanship

If I were to pick one person on the political scene that I disagree with the most, Pat Robertson would certainly be a contender. And yet this week he re-affirmed something he's said in the past that I agree with. “I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol,” Mr. Robertson said in an interview on Wednesday. “I’ve never used marijuana and I don’t intend to, but it’s just one of those things that I think: this war on drugs just hasn’t succeeded.” On the other hand, if I were to pick the person on the political scene I most often agree with, President Obama would be tops on that list. And yet, on this one issue, I am more in agreement with Pat Robertson than I am with him. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs later clarified Mr. Obama's position: "The president opposes the legalization of marijuana…he does not think that's the right plan for America." What does that tell us? First of all, it points to the danger of single

Greenwald does it too

I'm going to use Glenn Greenwald as an object lesson. The truth is, I don't care for his style much as has been demonstrated by some of my writing. But I'm going to pick on him today mostly because he thinks of himself as morally superior to those of us who support President Obama. And yet he engages is the very thing of which he accuses us. To demonstrate, I found his last two posts at Salon to be breathtakingly hypocritical. In the first one he criticizes the authoritarian mind as evidenced by Davis Guggenheim's lack of criticism for President Obama. Guggenheim explains that nothing critical can or should be said of our President other than the fact that he is so Great that his Greatness cannot be sufficiently conveyed in a single film; other than noting the obvious — how creepy his Leader worship is and how perfect of a guest-host he’d be for several MSNBC shows — all I can say is that this is the pure face of the Authoritarian Mind, but it is as common as it

He's been a socialist all along!

I can't wait to see what the Breitbart crew does with this damning evidence of our President's complicity in radicalness!

I cried my last tears yesterday (reprised)

As we witness the hate exploding around us, I think it's important to remember that this is nothing new to this country. And it's certainly not new to an Obama campaign. What follows below is something I wrote about four years ago during a very similar situation. Re-reading it this week helped ground me. So I thought I'd share it again with you. I must admit that this has been a hard week for me. As if the collapse of the global economy weren't enough, we've witnessed a presidential campaign successfully stir up the hatefulness that lies underneath the veneer of our so-called "color-blind" society. I decided that it was time to take a tour of the diversosphere to see what they were saying about all of this. The condemnation of the McCain/Palin strategy was not that different from what I read in the rest of the progressive blogoshere. But I did find something that was amazing and just what I needed...a reservoir of strength and determination. For m