Sunday, January 30, 2011


hat tip-lamh34

from Washington Monthly:

THE ODIOUS GOP PLAN TO REDEFINE RAPE.... Last week, after a rather pointless vote to repeal the entirety of the Affordable Care Act, House Republicans announced their second major initiative: the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act."

It was additional evidence that the new House GOP majority isn't exactly focused on the economy and job creation, and it seemed like another gesture to the party's far-right base. After all, existing law already restricts public funds for abortions.

Today, Nick Baumann takes a closer look at the proposal, and highlights an odious provision that proponents would use to redefine rape.

For years, federal laws restricting the use of government funds to pay for abortions have included exemptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. (Another exemption covers pregnancies that could endanger the life of the woman.) But the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," a bill with 173 mostly Republican co-sponsors that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has dubbed a top priority in the new Congress, contains a provision that would rewrite the rules to limit drastically the definition of rape and incest in these cases.

With this legislation, which was introduced last week by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Republicans propose that the rape exemption be limited to "forcible rape." This would rule out federal assistance for abortions in many rape cases, including instances of statutory rape, many of which are non-forcible. For example: If a 13-year-old girl is impregnated by a 24-year-old adult, she would no longer qualify to have Medicaid pay for an abortion. (Smith's spokesman did not respond to a call and an email requesting comment.)

Given that the bill also would forbid the use of tax benefits to pay for abortions, that 13-year-old's parents wouldn't be allowed to use money from a tax-exempt health savings account (HSA) to pay for the procedure. They also wouldn't be able to deduct the cost of the abortion or the cost of any insurance that paid for it as a medical expense.

I'm going to say this again:


Plain and Simple.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Amy Chua: Right on Substance, Wrong on Style

Could Black Parents Learn From Amy Chua?

I have been keeping up with the Amy Chua controversy over the past few weeks and honestly I think the criticism is overblown.

Chua, a Professor & author of 'Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother', caused an uproar with her recent Wall Street Journal article entitled 'Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior'. In the article, Chua explains how the Asian approach of aggressive, strict parenting is superior to modern Western parenting, specifically found in traditional American families. Chua argues that her more regimented, structured approach - which is almost boot camp-like - produces better outcomes. It is important for parents to override the natural preferences of children in order to instill values of hard work and discipline.

I am torn on where I come down on this, but I tend to side with Chua. Although her style is probably not the correct approach, the overall basis for her argument is strong. It is a fact that children with more engaged, strict, and attentive parents usually end up in a better position later on. Of course this is not the case in every situation, but there is a definite advantage to growing up in a household where you are pushed more and where expectations are high. Chua's style though provided excuse makers & critics with a reason to pounce. I particularly thought of the section in the article where Chua forced one of her daughters to sit at the piano for hours until she learned a particular song, despite the child struggling and having a nervous breakdown.

But the numbers don't lie. Strong parenting, more often than not, pays off. You can whine about Chua's style til your heart's content... but the kids of Tiger Mothers are kicking the behinds of those raised in more laissez-faire households. Critics have taken things out of context. In the article, and in an NPR interview that followed, Chua makes clear that she was not being literal in all of her comparisons. Yes, it's true that some of her comments could be seen as stereotyping... but she admits that some of her comments were tongue-in-cheek. She stated that the term "Chinese Mother" (or Tiger Mother) could be applied to immigrant parents of a variety of ethnic groups. It symbolically represented a general view about parenting, as opposed to strictly one race of people. But she was mainly referring to Chinese parenting. Her explanation made sense to me, because I have seen a little bit of the Tiger Mother in Vietnamese, Nigerian, European, and Arab immigrants. She was using images and terms to represent mothers more collectively than her critics would have you to believe.

While her methods were a little questionable... her general view of parenting is a good one. This is generally the kind of parenting that we need more of in this Country. This is especially the case in the so-called Black Community. I found it ironic that Black bloggers would come out so strongly against Chua. Strange almost, considering the condition that Black urban communities are in. The Black Community is creating monsters in record numbers who are terrorizing their own neighborhoods as I type this commentary. Black males are 5 times more likely to be arrested and sent to prison than their white counterparts. Additionally, Black males are 3 times more likely than whites and 5 times more likely than Asians to be suspended from School. And I won't even mention the deplorable dropout rate. See two of my previous posts on Education for Black males, here, and here.

Another irony is that many of the traditional black families of the past (1960/1950 and earlier) actually had parents who bore a closer resemblance to the so-called Chinese Tiger Mother, than the current less rigid American parent. That was the case in rural and urban Black families. Education was cherished, because it was seen as a way out of post-reconstruction poverty. Structure, discipline and respect for elders were key in many Black households. One other reason that Black children had to adhere to discipline at that time goes beyond the fact that it was economically important. How well children embraced discipline, structure, and listened to parents was literally a matter of life and death. They had to listen to the warnings about how to properly interact in a white world that was often hostile. Black children had to understand the importance of heeding the constant instructions from parents about societal rules on how to deal with whites in order to keep themselves alive. How many of those stories have we heard? These are the actual roots of Black existence in America, not just a bunch of outlandish, off the wall ideas. Unfortunately much of that tradition has been lost. The lack of fathers in the home obviously contributed to the problem. So I just find it interesting that Blacks (some Blacks) see Amy Chua's approach to parenting as something that is somehow foreign. It's as if Blacks are looking in the mirror after 130, 140 years and can't recognize themselves. But in a way, it explains quite a bit.

If the so-called "Black Community" had more Amy Chua's of their own- perhaps without so much of the bootcamp aspect - and homes with more attentive, present, concerned, engaged, demanding, responsible parents.. who instilled certain values...and if Black men and women (esp. Women) made better choices, I can guarantee that there would not be nearly as many problems as there are today. In fact, the same could be said for American culture in general. Outcomes in education would certainly be much better.

Instead of condemning Chua, more traditional American mothers (black, white, purple) should take notes from her. How a child is pushed, loved, nurtured, educated, etc is subject to style preference. But to suggest that stronger parenting is somehow bad for a child, citing tough methods as an excuse to trash a parent in  Chua's case, is just dishonest. Are Chinese mothers superior? I don't know if I would have framed the title in those terms to begin with. But it is clear that Chinese, Vietnamese, and immigrant parents in general tend to have a better grasp on parenting.

Even the Obama's have banned Sasha and Malia from watching TV during the week. No TV period. Only a little on the weekends. They expect only the best grades and are not pleased with a B or C, especially when they know that the girls could have done better. The President and First Lady also make sure that they keep the girls involved in other meaningful activities... such as music and dance lessons...which they have to attend, in addition to schoolwork... and btw...schoolwork gets done before the girls are allowed to do anything else. They are made to do a whole list of things that they probably don't want to do (I am sure many of their natural preferences are being overridden by Mrs. Obama), yet someone is riding their tails everyday to make sure those things get done and that responsibilities are met. The Obama's have a stricter, more regimented parenting style...not because they are the first family, but because they understand the benefits of discipline and hard work and they know what it took to get to where they are. They want their daughters to understand and enjoy those same benefits. This is not quite as strict as the Tiger Mother approach, but it bares a much closer resemblance to the Chinese Tiger Mother way (if such a style really exists) than the modern American approach. So again, it leaves me scratching my head when people, especially Blacks, see Amy Chua's experience as something completely foreign. Chua's approach is basically about keeping close tabs on children, providing plenty of structure, pushing hard work, maintaining a strong expectation of excellence, instilling the right values, stressing discipline, responsibility & accountability, embracing education, and always being a very engaged parent. Could she have produced children of the same caliber using softer methods? Probably. Her approach is a little on the harsh side, I must admit. But her overall approach worked. I think an approach of a less engaged parent, who doesn't care, who is neglectful, etc... creates a much more abusive situation and creates outcomes that are much worse...both for the child and for society.

Allen West: Keith Ellison Represents ‘The Antithesis Of The Principles Upon Which This Country Was Established’

from ThinkProgress:

Allen West: Keith Ellison Represents ‘The Antithesis Of The Principles Upon Which This Country Was Established’ (Updated)

During a recent episode of The Shalom Show, host Richard Peritz asked freshman Rep. Allen West (R-FL) how he planned to cope with regular interactions with political opponents, in particular Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), who the host described as someone that “supports Islam.” In his reply, West painted Ellison as someone who “really does represent the antithesis of the principles upon which this country was established”:

PERITZ: Since you’re with a new crowd, people you haven’t really met before, and will be very closely associating with in the future, including Keith Ellison, who supports Islam, how will you manage that, if I may ask, because it’s not really easy to be polite with individuals one totally disagrees with, which I believe may be the case.

WEST: Well I think it’s most important that I stand upon the principles that people elected me to go to Washington, DC and represent them on Capitol Hill. So that when you run into someone that is counter, or someone that really does represent the antithesis of the principles upon which this country was established, you’ve got to be able to defeat them intellectually in debate and discourse, and you to just have to be able to challenge each and every one of their assertions very wisely and very forthright.

Just what values doesn't Congressman Ellison represent? The commitment to public service? The commitment to family? The commitment to community?

Just what values is West talking about?

In case West doesn't know his American history, here are some of the principles upon which this country was founded: the genocide of the Native Americans, and that his Black behind would be considered 3/5ths of a human being. Are THOSE the principles that Ellison doesn't represent?

Mother Thrown in Jail for Sending Kids to Better School

Hopes for her own teaching career may have been maliciously ruined in the process. This is one of the strangest cases that I have ever seen. It highlights the growing cast system in America that I often mention here.

Snow Day

c/o Ari Melber

NPR Series Follows Unemployed in St. Louis

NPR is spotlighting six unemployed St. Louisans as they look for work. Listen to the ongoing series here.

A Night In Tunisia

As a broke grad student, with not much to look forward to, broken soul, stuck under a mountain of debt with no way out & with no prospects for meaningful work, I feel just as hopeless as Mohammad Bouazizi. Although I don't have the guts, nor do I intend, to set myself on fire. But events overseas over the past few weeks have shown that political change is better when it comes from within. This goes against the view that you can spread democracy by invading a country, dropping bombs, being an occupying force, imposing your will...and then using that as a launch pad to spread democracy to the rest of a region. Iraq serves as a horrible reminder of this flawed thinking. That kind of goal (spreading democracy) has to be accomplished organically.

Already there are protests in Morocco, Algeria, and Egypt as a result of the Tunisian revolution.

Perhaps I Should Look For An A-Hole Training Academy

(Someone could probably make a lot of money by starting an a**hole finishing school). Apparently I was raised wrong. I feel as if I have to be deprogrammed. I was raised to be an actual man (something that is quickly going out of style). My blueprint was an actual man. But that kind of man isn't celebrated much anymore.

I'm not actually going to change into an a**hole, because the woman who wants that isn't the type of woman I prefer in the first place. I haven't dated in years (despise the dating scene) but back when I did date briefly... I was able to see this phenomenon first hand. It came in the form of a Mexican woman who was used to being treated poorly...and didn't understand anything I was doing (it was unusual and unfamiliar to her). She was 24 & I was 30 at the time... not sure if age played a part. Instead of enjoying the time... she couldn't help mentioning the a**hole that she dated before. I ended up leaving her alone. I have a feeling that she went back to the a**hole.

Rated R

America's Next Chapter - A discussion about the current state of the nation

"Is There a Brighter Future for the Next Generation?"

Watch/Hear an interesting discussion from earlier this month on the state of America and the outlook for future generations. The event was moderated by Tavis Smiley and was held at George Washington University. I'm not all that crazy about Tavis Smiley, and you could probably pick up a hint of the animus that he still has for Obama... but despite that, the event provides a good alternative "State of the Union".

I prefer this lineup of speakers over panels that Smiley typically has for predominantly Black events. This provides a greater mix of viewpoints.

Watch the event in full here.

Or listen to the full program here.

Related Posts

The American Dream - Harder Than Ever To Attain

Arianna Huffington Discusses Third World America

Did You Get Anything From The State of the Union Speech?

I didn't. He said what he was expected to say... but beyond that, he really didn't address any pressing issues for the non-wealthy - issues concerning me. I was invisible. Post-SOTU interviews done by NPR of St. Louis listeners reflected my view... and confirmed that it wasn't just me. I am resigned to the fact that I will continue to be invisible to this Administration.

I would have loved to hear something about a bailout for the working class....and even the middle class. I would have loved to hear about some sort of relief for college graduates who can't find meaningful work, who are drowning in student loan debt and can't afford to make payments (because of America's corrupt profit driven system of higher education that leaves students in debt for much of the rest of their lives....slaves to financial institutions before they even have a chance to start families). I heard nothing about helping Americans pay for higher education.

In terms of jobs, I really didn't hear much about a robust job creation plan and how he would make it happen. We only heard a vision and a rough outline.... not much else. The outline was fairly good.... but it is about 18 months too late. I was calling for the kind of job creation that he mentioned 2 years ago. More of the stimulus money should have been directed towards green energy projects and R&D to encourage innovation and job creation. But I guess it's better late than never.

It is clear to me that the world that he sees and the world that working people see are two different images. He thinks he is rolling out a wonderful plan....with perfect timing for the election cycle... while working people on the ground - who have been talking about jobs for at least the past year - see a man who is a good year to year & a half late in terms of recognizing the issues facing real people. It's as if he woke up one day last week and realized jobs and the economy were the real issues. Of course that's not the case, but (not surprising considering how horrible the image problem is in this Administration) that's how the President often looks to political observers like myself. It just looks like he ends up devoting quite a bit of time & energy playing catch up. How often does he go to rural & urban areas to sit down with real people? I'm not talking about staged productions and photo opportunities at auto assembly plants... but really getting in touch with people and learning about what it's like to live on incomes that don't amount to living wages.

Realizing what Americans voted for last November, and understanding that nothing of real significance is going to get done over the next two years in terms of Progress and good legislation directly benefiting ordinary folks, I found it hard to be excited or remotely hopeful about anything from this SOTU.

See commentary from around the net.

State of the Union: Winning The Future

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Keith Olbermann Leaves MSNBC and Progressives Lose a Voice

I am not entirely shocked by Olbermann's departure from MSNBC this week. The timing is perplexing, but not so much the thought that Olbermann would be leaving. The writing, so to speak, was on the wall.

Another reason that it was not a shock is because it backs up my belief that establishing Progressive voices and a Progressive media infrastructure in this Country seems almost impossible. This has been the case for the past few decades. It is difficult for Progressive media to really take root.

I suspect that part of the reason for Olbermann's difficulty...and the problem with MSNBC as a whole has to do with the fact that it is hard to embark on a truth-telling enterprise using a purely corporate for-profit model. There are too many divergent and conflicting viewpoints & interests among stakeholders, which guarantees the butting of heads.

The Olbermann fiasco also exposes what most who have been paying attention already knew.... but exposes it for more to see - that there is a clear double standard in news/political media in this Country. Progressives and even Centrists (like most at CNN) are held to one standard, while Fox News, and Conservative talk radio (collectively the Republican media) is held to a completely different standard. In an organization like MSNBC/NBC (and now Comcast)... There is no loyalty to truth... all loyalty is reserved for shareholders. At NBC, there are so many different people to answer to. The ideology of board members, the company President, VP's, Department managers, executive producers etc, may not match up with the world view of the host. In fact, I would venture to guess that many of those higher ups are Republicans. So it is hard to create the conditions for good synergy. The experiment was doomed from the start. This is the fundamental cause of the double standard. This is why everything that a Keith Olbermann, a Rick Sanchez , a Rachel Maddow or Ed Schultz...or any other Progressive host says is examined down to the atom level. Company execs are overly sensitive about everything and are in a constant state of paranoia, because they don't want to get in trouble with shareholders or with the bullies of the media - the Right wing Republican media- which dominates the airwaves.

Progressives like Keith Olbermann are sent packing (often fired immediately) for minor - even trivial - issues, while Fox and Conservative talk radio hosts are allowed to make the most outlandish, ugly, racist & offensive comments as a matter of routine...and are allowed to stick around. Why? Because at Fox and with AM radio, the synergy is impressive. Everyone from Rupert Murdoch to Roger Ailes, and the executive producers down to the hosts are, more often than not, generally on the same page ideologically. Everyone has bought into the belief system of the organization. All of the stakeholders support the mission.

This double standard puts Progressive media at a distinct disadvantage. This is why there should be an effort to build Progressive media from the ground up. Progressives need their own media infrastructure that does not leave those like Keith Olbermann (and his supporters) beholden to the interests of a corporation.

Countdown was one of the few political news programs that I really enjoyed watching on a regular basis. Although I would prefer to see something more along the lines of a 60 minutes... (call me old school). We need more serious, trusted, investigative reporting. But I enjoyed Keith Olbermann's contribution.

I have a funny feeling that he won't be the only host leaving. When you get rid of the Captain of the ship.... the man who had the top political program in the line-up... well that to me is an indication that the execs at NBC may be looking at other changes. Part of it may be a reaction to the results of the November elections. MSNBC is one of those networks that reshapes itself based on the changing winds. Again... it goes back to the corporate business model... there is nothing that drives any ideological belief mission based on values like honor, truth, etc... the only belief system driving these cable networks is the belief system of making money.

Here are his final remarks on Countdown. According to whispers on the twittersphere.... he may be interested in going back into sports broadcasting..... wow. Interesting. But I can't say I would blame him if he did decide to go back into sports. The American voting public is a source of disappointment & hopelessness for me... not to mention the politicians who are supposed to serve in the public interests. I can definitely see why people would want to get out of politics.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Does More Civility Mean We Stop Telling the Truth?

Why Republicans Won't Really Change Their Tone

I have been annoyed by the commentary over the last few weeks regarding the tone of the political discourse in America. The mass shooting in Arizona set off a huge debate in this Country, much of it dishonest, about what was/is to blame in general when these events occur. It is true that we don't know what exactly set off Tucson shooter Jared Loughner. However, it is dishonest to say that it was just an isolated incident and the ugly political debate, especially on the right, plays no part in contributing to an atmosphere that makes it more conducive for these sorts of events to happen. This is just intellectually and morally dishonest on a grand scale.

Something else that gave me a headache was this effort by those on the right to make the false equivalence claim - that "both sides are doing this equally".... "both sides are guilty".... yada yada yada. They are attempting to whitewash the last two years, and rewrite history to fit their own narrative post-Tucson. Almost as annoying... the media is playing right along with Republicans/Conservatives who make this argument. Of course both sides say things that are inappropriate... that cross the line, etc. But this idea that all sides are somehow equal in doing so is just laughable. There is no equivalence whatsoever in terms of the number of occurrences, the level of ugliness or seriousness of threats, or the outcomes. Clearly right wing pundits and politicians are at the top in all three of those far. I have been watching in awe as the media has pretended otherwise....playing right along, as if they are being told what to say. Time and time again I have seen/heard hosts....whether on CNN, NPR, or my local AM news station KMOX - St. Louis (the defacto voice of the Right in the midwest) play along with Conservative guests when the equivalence argument is made...failing to challenge the right in any way.... no follow-up questions...nothing. Beyond ridiculous.

Let's review shall we...

This is not simply about the comments that are being made over the national airwaves, it is also about the context...or the backdrop in which the comments are made. It is the context that matters more here.

And what has been the context over the last two years? Well, this most recent political context took shape in 2008 (and you could probably go as far back as 2007) during the Presidential campaign. Over that period (2007-2009) we know of two major reports that news organizations put out regarding the changing attitudes & changing tone in the Country. One was about the Homeland Security assessment regarding the rise of Right Wing extremism in America, due to the recession and the introduction of a Black President...or Candidate who actually had a real shot. The other report came from the Secret Service, describing the fact that threats against Obama were at unprecedented levels, with 2-fold & 3-fold more threats than his white predecessors. So knowing this.... you would think that the responsible thing for politicians (regardless of Party affiliation) would be extra careful about language and tone, right? But we know that is not what happened. Politicians on the right lost their minds...and the tone got out of control. Open racism was allowed to take root at Republican rallies in Pennsylvania, Ohio & throughout the Country. Despite these reports of increased threats, Palin continued to be irresponsible throughout the campaign. Instead of challenging followers behaving telling them to stop racist comments.... Palin seemed to ignore them. Instead... she whipped up Republican followers and seemed to focus on a certain part of her base by using certain buzz words that challenged not only Obama's right to run for President...but questioned his citizenship and loyalty to the Country during a time of conflict and deep social/political division. By demonizing Obama & stripping him of his right to be a "real American", taking away his Americanness, suggesting he was a traitor & a terrorist, suggesting he was a socialist, and by dehumanizing a way gives the green light to any number of lone nuts. Remember the context we were (and still are) in.

Everyone is suggesting that after Tucson.... pundits and politicians (especially those on the right) are suddenly going to play nice and behave in a much more civil and respectful manner. But if history is our guide... that is probably not going to be the case. This goes back to this attempt by right wing pundits and the media to frame Tucson as an isolated incident. People are acting as if Tucson was the first incident where a nut engaged in some sort of political violence or targeted a political figure. How media pundits do this with a straight face is a mystery to me. How they get away with it is even more perplexing. Just in the last two years, the number of high profile incidents of a political/ideological/religious nature...or influenced by the national debate at some level, has been unprecedented.

Just in the last 2 years or so... we have had the following (and keep in mind...we have already established the context.... and we STILL had folks taking guns to political events, and politicians suggesting 2nd Amendment remedies... the context...the reality of how volatile the Country was didn't stop those on the right from continuing their madness.)

♦ Jim Adkisson - shot up a Unitarian church in Tennessee. Fueled by Right wing talk show pundits. The rhetoric didn't stop.

♦ Raymond Hunter Geisel - threatening Obama. Republicans didn't stop. Just an isolated incident?

♦ Richard Andrew Poplawski - killed Police officers in Pittsburgh because he internalized rhetoric on the right that told Americans that Obama was coming for their guns. Just an isolated incident? Oh yeah... Republicans didn't stop their rhetoric after this either.

♦ Scott Roeder - Killed Dr. George Tiller (nicknamed "The Baby Killer" by the right). Isolated incident? Republicans didn't stop their rhetoric after this incident either.

♦ James Von Brunn - launched terrorist attack at the Holocaust museum in Washington D.C. Isolated incident? The violent rhetoric didn't stop.

♦ Joseph Stack - out of work, anti-government activist flew plane into IRS building in Texas. Isolated incident? The rhetoric didn't stop. In fact, one GOP politician seemed to sympathize with the terrorist, who killed at least one IRS worker in the incident.

♦ Byron Williams - Was stopped by police in Northern California while enroute to attack Liberals. Fueled by Glenn Beck and others in the Right wing media. Isolated incident? Republicans refused to change their tone.

♦ Danny Ray Tollett - Brutally attacked Muslim convenience store workers in Louisiana. Shot 2 Muslims at close cold blooded attacks. Fueled by anti-Muslim theme carried by Right wing media. Isolated incident? Republicans failed to change their tone.

♦ The Denver Plot - see specifically counts 9, 11 and 12 - White supremacists planned to harm candidate Obama. Attack foiled in planning stage. Isolated incident? Republicans continued with their rhetoric.

♦ Daniel Cowart and Paul Schlesselman - Allegedly planned to harm President. Isolated incident? Republicans failed to stop their rhetoric.

♦ Michael Enright - Stabbed NYC Cabbie in the neck because he was Muslim. Ahh what the Hell... just another isolated incident. Republicans continued on with their madness (particularly about the "Mosque at Ground Zero" which really didn't exist...but they knew that framing it that way would scare the Hell out of a lot of they went with it...almost costing a father...a family man...his life).

♦ Charles Habermann - Charged just recently with threatening Rep. Jim McDermott. Just an isolated incident? Republicans carried on.

♦ Gas line intentionally cut at Congressman's home, after wrong address is posted online...with blogger encouraging followers to 'pay a visit to the victim'. Just an isolated incident? Republicans refused to stop their rhetoric that whipped followers into a frenzy over Health Care Reform.

♦ Travis Corcoran - Another right wing radical... praised the shooting of Giffords. Just an isolated event?

♦ Just in the past week, we have the backpack bomb found along the MLK commemorative parade route in Spokane Washington. Luckily...the device failed to detonate. An isolated incident?

♦ Now Conservative pundit/blogger Erick Erickson JUST THIS WEEK suggested that he may use a shotgun to threaten U.S. Census workers...gloating about it on the airwaves. An isolated incident? No condemnation by other Conservative media figures. So this is the change in tone that the goofballs on the news programs have been talking about over the past two weeks? Give me a break!

With the exception of the last three...these are incidents that took place before Tucson. So Tucson didn't happen in some vacuum... There is an abundance of context. This is what makes the behavior of those on the right so vile. And this is not even a full list.... there were threats against Pelosi....and arrests in several other cases. The list is long. I mentioned...the last two years have been unprecedented in terms of threats of political violence or actual incidents, which matches up with what the U.S. Secret Service has stated regarding their data on the increase in threats.

At what point can we stop using false equivalencies and stop suggesting these events are somehow "isolated incidents" separate from the volatile atmosphere created primarily by those in the world of right wing Conservative media?

I see nothing that would lead me to believe that some magical shift towards civility is going to take place after the tragedy in Tucson Arizona. Republican/right wing pundits are not going to stop what they have been doing for the past few years. This is their bread and butter (getting their followers riled up.... feeding them misinformation, and manipulating people). This is a key part of Republican strategy. Giffords & all the others are considered collateral damage to those on the right. Republicans can't afford to be civil because they have grown so dependent on a certain kind of volatile, ugly rhetoric to maintain media success & energize their political base. It has worked for them (unfortunately). And I see them continuing with that approach. Just this week... Rush Limbaugh... the Supreme Leader of the Republican Party & Conservative movement in America, engaged in more ugly behavior... joking about the way that the Chinese President Hu Jintao spoke during his official State visit to the U.S. Of course the media ignored this...just like it practically ignored the MLK bomb case in Spokane.

By allowing the pundits, bloggers and talk show hosts (the unofficial but true leadership of the Conservative movement) to spew the ugliest rhetoric and lies, the official political leadership and the so-called "stars" within the Republican party can get away with using the plausible deniability argument...and that's exactly what they have done here. predictably, they have used the Hell out of this argument since the Tucson attack. I have mentioned several times, including on my right wing media information page, that this is how the right operates. Of course, no one is actually suggesting that anyone on the right has given direct orders to any extremists or extremist groups.... but they have created an atmosphere conducive to violence...and in some cases, they have indirectly given a wink & nod approval for such actions (in some cases, simply by their silence when violence or threats of violence occur. Silence in this context...after they have worked so hard to rile the crazies up... equals tacit approval).

A few people on Social media (twitter to be exact) suggested that the Right has somehow been let off the hook by Obama after his call for civility. I initially wanted to agree with that. I think that the media at large may let Republicans off the hook, and networks may continue to play the false equivalence game. But I don't think Obama's speech in Tucson means that we shouldn't tell the truth. I plan to continue stating what needs to be said.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Everytime you hear about the ' honor of the Old South', NEVER forget what it was built on

I found these pictures at Zimbio:

This is a Civil War Era Slave Sale Re-enactment in St. Louis.

A mock flyer is posted advertising the re-enactment of a mid-19th century slave auction January 15, 2011 in downtown St. Louis, Missouri. Some 150 re-enactors participated in the mock-auction on the steps of the city's Old Courthouse, as the first commemorative event in Missouri marking the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. With other sesquicentennial events in the South emphasizing "states rights" as the cause of the conflict, organizers in St. Louis said they wanted to stress slavery as the central issue of the war. Before the war, St. Louis, with its location on the Mississippi River, had been a primary hub for the sale and movement of slaves. The U.S. Civil War, which lasted from 1861-1865, resulted in the death of more than 600,000 Americans, more than in all of the country's other wars combined.
----Photo by John Moore/Getty Images North America

In This Photo: Jannett White
Slave re-enactor Jannett White is led off in shackes after being "auctioned" during a re-enactment of a mid-19th century slave auction January 15, 2011 in downtown St. Louis, Missouri. Some 150 re-enactors participated in the mock-auction on the steps of the city's Old Courthouse, as the first commemorative event in Missouri marking the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. With other sesquicentennial events in the South emphasizing "states rights" as the cause of the conflict, organizers in St. Louis said they wanted to stress slavery as the central issue of the war. Before the war, St. Louis, with its location on the Mississippi River, had been a primary hub for the sale and movement of slaves. The U.S. Civil War, which lasted from 1861-1865, resulted in the death of more than 600,000 Americans, more than in all of the country's other wars combined.
---Photo by John Moore/Getty Images North America

Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy Birthday, First Lady Michelle Obama

Today is the birthday of our wonderful First Lady, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama.
I am so proud to have you as our First Lady. It's still never blase for me. You are everything this President and this country need you to be during these difficult times.

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Obama.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Happy Birthday, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Happy Birthday, Dr. King. Thank you for your work and sacrifice. We know what you gave up for us. Your bravery and brilliance will always make you one of the seminal citizens this country has ever produced.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Why Wasn't the New Speaker of the House at the Tuscon Memorial? Oh Yeah, he had something better to do.

So, while the President, First Lady, Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Former Majority Whip James Clyburn could make it to Tuscon for the Memorial Service for the victims of the domestic terrorist attack, new Speaker of the House John Boehner was not.

Why was that?

Because he couldn't get there?

No. He was offered a ride to and from Arizona on Air Force One.

So, it wasn't a matter of transportation.

Did Speaker Boehner have a family emergency?


So, why couldn't the new Speaker of the House attend the Memorial in Tuscon?


Yes, you read it right.

The Speaker couldn't go to Tuscon because he was at a fundraiser.

When I first heard this, the mind reels at the profound offensiveness of this.

Orange Julius cries his phony ass tears at the drop of a hat, but can't be bothered to place his behind on AIR FORCE ONE to attend a memorial service for the victims of a domestic terrorist attack.

They are who we thought they were.

Six People Are Murdered and Sarah Palin Plays the Victim - AGAIN.

Well, Caribou Barbie finally made a videotaped statement about the domestic terrorist attack in Arizona.

OF COURSE, she tried to wrap herself in the persona of victim.

I'm really not feeling putting the video here at JJP, so I will link to it.

Here's the so-called key sentence in it, as she tries to bullshyt the whole ' both sides do it' meme:
Journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that only serves only to incite the very hatred and violence that they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.

First of all, nobody has manufactured ANYTHING about you, and your creating of a hostile political environment, going back to the 2008 election, when you accused then candidate Barack Obama of ' palling around with terrorists'.

Nobody manufactured you putting 20 members of Congress in a graphic:

here is the Wikipedia definition of BLOOD LIBEL:
Blood libel (also blood accusation) refers to a false accusation or claim that religious minorities, almost always Jews, murder children to use their blood in certain aspects of their religious rituals and holidays. Historically, these claims have–alongside those of well poisoning and host desecration–been a major theme in European persecution of Jews.

I will remind people, Congresswoman Giffords IS A JEW.

So, in her best Miss Anne'ism, Sarah Palin, after 6 dead, including a child and a federal judge, and many more wounded, including a Congresswoman that SHE put in crosshairs, it is Sarah Palin, attempting to wrap HERSELF in the victim role.
She just doesn't know when to stop.

God bless Jim Clyburn:
Clyburn: Palin intellectually 'not to be able to understand what's going on here'
By Michael O'Brien - 01/12/11 08:37 AM ET

A House Democratic leader on Wednesday lashed out at Sarah Palin, accusing the former Alaska governor of being intellectually unable of understanding why she's faced criticism related to the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.).

Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said that Palin had missed the point by releasing a statement this morning blasting the media for "blood libel" for looking to assign blame in part to her rhetoric after the attempted assassination of Giffords last weekend.

"You know, Sarah Palin just can't seem to get it, on any front. I think she's an attractive person, she is articulate," Clyburn said on the Bill Press radio show. "But I think intellectually, she seems not to be able to understand what's going on here."

Thank you, Andrew Sullivan

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on being put on Sarah Palin's ' crosshairs' website

This is from months ago. Please note Chuck Todd being a smartass in dismissing Rep. Giffords' concerns about the ' atmosphere' that was being created, as well as the eery comments by Rep. Gifford.

Shooting in Arizona; 6 dead, Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords shot in head; Judge killed

from the Arizona Star

Rep. Giffords shot, judge and 5 others killed at Tucson event

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot point-blank in the head on Saturday at a northwest-side grocery store, but surgeons say they are "very optimistic" about her recovery.

Meanwhile, Gov. Jan Brewer's office is confirming federal Judge John Roll was among the dead.

Sheriff's authorities said there were six dead, including a child, as well as 18 wounded.

Giffords, who is in critical condition, is out of surgery at University Medical Center, said Dr. Peter Rayle, a UMC surgeon. The bullet passed cleanly out her brain, exiting her head.

Rayle said she was following commands, which is a good sign.

The shooting occurred at a Safeway supermarket where Giffords was holding one of her regular "Congress on Your Corner" events, which allows her to speak directly with constituents in her district.

A tearful U.S. District Judge Frank Zapata of Tucson, meanwhile, did not know why Roll was at the event.

"It's devastating to the courts and to me," Zapata said. "We've been friends for 25 years and he was a tremendous judge and a tremendous person."

The gunman has been identified as 22-year-old Jared Loughner, according to The Associated Press.

From Rep. Giffords' father:

The congresswoman’s father Spencer Gifford, 75, was rushing to the hospital when asked if his 40-year-old daughter had any enemies.

"Yeah," he told The Post. "The whole Tea Party."

Which brings us to Sarah Palin, who is trying to backtrack, after being the leader of fomenting the atmosphere that breeds DOMESTIC TERRORISTS like this guy.

She tried to scrub her website, but it always lives in cyberspace.

her ' lock and load' page:

Please note Rep. Giffords on the list.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Silly Women....You have no rights protecting you from discrimination...according to a SUPREME COURT JUSTICE

Scalia: Women Don't Have Constitutional Protection Against Discrimination

The equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not protect against discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual orientation, according to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

In a newly published interview in the legal magazine California Lawyer, Scalia said that while the Constitution does not disallow the passage of legislation outlawing such discrimination, it doesn't itself outlaw that behavior:

In 1868, when the 39th Congress was debating and ultimately proposing the 14th Amendment, I don't think anybody would have thought that equal protection applied to sex discrimination, or certainly not to sexual orientation. So does that mean that we've gone off in error by applying the 14th Amendment to both?
Yes, yes. Sorry, to tell you that. ... But, you know, if indeed the current society has come to different views, that's fine. You do not need the Constitution to reflect the wishes of the current society. Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn't. Nobody ever thought that that's what it meant. Nobody ever voted for that. If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex, hey we have things called legislatures, and they enact things called laws. You don't need a constitution to keep things up-to-date. All you need is a legislature and a ballot box. You don't like the death penalty anymore, that's fine. You want a right to abortion? There's nothing in the Constitution about that. But that doesn't mean you cannot prohibit it. Persuade your fellow citizens it's a good idea and pass a law. That's what democracy is all about. It's not about nine superannuated judges who have been there too long, imposing these demands on society.

For the record, the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause states: "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." That would seem to include protection against exactly the kind of discrimination to which Scalia referred.

A Supreme Court Justice has gone on record that he sees nothing in the CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES that protects women from discrimination.

Wrap your mind around that.

A SUPREME COURT JUSTICE says he doesn’t see protections against discrimination for women in the Constitution.