Wednesday, March 28, 2012

No Ideas, No Candidates

I am sure the GOP presidential candidates are not the only ones thankful to have completed the last pre-Iowa caucus debate. The voters must be especially thankful. What has become abundantly clear is how bereft the GOP is of new and compelling ideas.

The reason no candidate has taken a clear lead is that no candidate espouses any genuine ideas that the electorate can rally behind.
Every few weeks there is a new front-runner or new person second in the polls behind long-time presumptive frontrunner Mitt Romney.

But, why hasn’t Romney run away with the nomination? After all, he has been campaigning for four years.

Read the rest here.

Racial Divide in St. Louis Catches Attention of the BBC

Segment looks at racial divide and role of Delmar Blvd. Always noticed this divide over the years... (grew up along Delmar..although further west, along the city's border. Divide persisted there too..and still does to this day). This is the elephant in the room that people in the area are aware of on some level...but never talk about. It's the first time I have seen it reported by a major news service...or any news service for that matter. Local media never touches the subject. Knew St. Louis was one of the most segregated... but report really makes the point. See here.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Obamacare and the Black Vote

In the one high-profile case of a Black member of Congress, Artur Davis (D-AL), running for Governor, the Congressman lost – and he lost big time. One major reason: he voted against the healthcare reform bill, now the Affordable Care Act and otherwise derided (depending on how you think about it) by conservatives as “Obamacare.” And when he lost, it was in a Democratic primary, no less.

Artur Davis wanted to be governor of Alabama and correctly realized that he needed a more moderate voting record. So he publicly cast a “nay” vote against health care reform. In response, Alabama’s Black voters made a decision that they’d rather have better, more affordable health care than their own first Black governor. As a result, they turned away from him in the primary in droves and Davis’s political career was over faster than disgraced New York Congressman Anthony Weiner’s.

Read the rest here.

The Attempt to Smear Trayvon Martin

hat tip-POU:

The Digital Media students of YES Academy in Paterson, NJ produced this video in tribute to Trayvon Martin





From ThinkProgress:


What Everyone Needs To Know About The Smear Campaign Against Trayvon Martin (1995-2012)
By Judd Legum on Mar 26, 2012 at 6:59 pm



Over the last 48 hours, there has been a sustained effort to smear Trayvon Martin, the 17-year old African-American who was shot dead by George Zimmerman a month ago. Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, said, “They killed my son, now they’re trying to kill his reputation.”

Thus far these attacks have fallen into two categories: false and irrelevant. Much of this leaked information seems intended to play into stereotypes about young African-American males. Here’s what everyone should know:

1. Prominent conservative websites published fake photos of Martin. Twitchy, a new website run by prominent conservative blogger Michelle Malkin, promoted a photo — purportedly from Martin’s Facebook page — that shows Martin in saggy pants and flipping the bird. The photo, which spread quickly on conservative websites and Twitter, is intended to paint Martin as a thug. As Twitchy later acknowledged, it is not a photo of Trayvon Martin. [Examiner]

2. The Sanford Police selectively leaked irrelevant, negative information about Martin. The authorities told the Orlando Sentinel this morning that Trayvon was suspended from school for ten days “after being found with an empty marijuana baggie.” There is no evidence that Martin was under the influence of drugs at the time of his death, nor would prior possession of marijuana be a reason for killing him. It’s unclear what the relevance of the leak was, other than to smear Martin. [Orlando Sentinel]

3. On Fox News, Geraldo said that Martin was dressed “like a wannabe gangster.” Bill O’Reilly agreed with him. The sole evidence is that Martin was wearing a hoodie. Geraldo added that “everyone that ever stuck up a convenience store” was wearing a hoodie. [ThinkProgress; The Blaze]

4. Without any evidence, prominent right-wing bloggers suggested that Martin was a drug dealer. Right-wing blogger Dan Riehl advances the theory, also advanced in a widely linked peice on a site called Wagist. There does not appear to be any evidence to support this claim whatsoever. [Riehl World View]

5. Without any evidence, a right-wing columnist alleged that Martin assaulted a bus driver. Unlike Zimmerman, Trayvon has no documented history of violence. This allegation continues to be advanced by a blogger on the Examiner even after the real reason was leaked to the police and confirmed by the family. [Miami Herald; Examiner]

6. Zimmerman’s friend says Martin was to blame because he was disrespectful to Zimmerman. Zimmerman’s friend Joe Oliver said that Martin would not have been shot to death if Trayvon had just said “I’m staying with my parents.” Of course, Zimmerman was not a police officer, and Trayvon had no duty to tell him who he was or where he was going. [NBC News]

The final part of the effort to smear Trayvon Martin is to link him and his supporters to irresponsible fringe groups like the New Black Panthers and marignal provocateurs like Louis Farrakhan. Threats by these groups are serious and should be investigated, but they have nothing to do with Martin or his supporters. The leader of the effort to associate Martin with these groups is Matt Drudge. You can see how he is framing the story today here.

Ultimately, whether Martin was a perfect person is irrelevant to whether Zimmerman’s conduct that night was justified. Clearly, there are two different versions of the events that transpired on February 26, the night Trayvon was killed. There are conflicting statements by witnesses and conflicting evidence as to who was the aggressor. Zimmerman has the right to tell his side of the story. But his opportunity to do this will come in a court of law after he is charged and arrested. In the meantime, Zimmerman’s supporters should stop trying to smear the reputation of a dead, 17-year-old boy.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Redistricting Battle Royale in 2012

I last wrote about how one aspect of the 2012 elections, the battle for the Senate, is not getting the attention it deserved.

Likewise, too few people are paying attention to the role redistricting will play in the battle for partisan control of the U.S. House. Political analyst Stuart Rothenberg suspects that the net result of redistricting will be a wash with Democrats netting just one seat. As Rothenberg acknowledges, however, many states have not even drawn their new maps yet (Mississippi, for instance).

Read the rest here.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

No Apologizes: On The Killing of Trayvon Martin And Being "Good"

The Black Snob wrote about Trayvon Martin. It is one of the most piercing, wonderful pieces that I have ever read.




No Apologizes: On The Killing of Trayvon Martin And Being "Good"

In the tragic murder of Trayvon Martin, there's no safe place. There's no real excuse to cling to. None of the usual dismissals work or fit. It's just bad. Real bad. And sits there and stares at you with it's cruelty and unfairness and ugliness and says, "Take this."

Take this load. And pick it up.

Just take it. And accept it. And choke back the lumps in your throat. As it has happened before. And it will happen again. And again you will be told to "take this."

Take this burden and just accept it as your burden. It's just "how it is." You're all statistics. Take these statistics. And black people get shot everywhere everyday by everyone. Police. Non-police. Crazy people. Bigots. Their parents. Other kids. Just take it. It's part of your Life In America, Black People. Accept this tragedy and go through the motions of appealing to people's decency and demanding justice and having protests and press conferences and crying and asking why and demanding answers and then eventually getting that bad dead cold thing that just sits there and says, "Take this."

Here's your load. Pick it up.

Pass it along to the children, so they can carry a bit of it too. Let it weigh down on their worlds. Let it rob them of their childhood and innocence. Tell them to take it, so they grow up faster and accept the unfairness in life and just give up. Be cynical and fatalistic. Be cold when it happens to the next person. Or be cold themselves when they do it to another person. And as they rob that person of what was once robbed of themselves and that person asks them why or looks for recourse or retribution or answers, they can stare back unblinking in the shadow of our common oppressors and say, "Take this load and pick it up."

But I'm sorry. I'm not going to pick up this shit anymore. It's not mine.

A long, long time ago when I was young my parents told me I had to be the best to make it in this world. Averageness was something only the white and the male could afford and as a black woman, I was neither. You had to take pride in how you dress and how you spoke and how you behaved. You had to be "good," because good things happen to those who are good and bad things happen to those who are bad. And that's the lie your parents tell you because no one should tell the truth to you when you're that young. You really don't need to know. Otherwise you'd never bother.

Who wants to deal with someone already jaded at age six?

And so I was good. I was so very good. I didn't curse. I got good grades. I've never been in a fight in my life. The one time I got Saturday detention was because I was chronically late for a third period class in an over-crowded school where the only time you could go to your locker was during lunch to switch out books for the second half of the day and my locker was on one end of the crowded school, far from the other.

My teacher didn't believe me when I told her I couldn't leave lunch, go to my locker, then wade through the hallway crammed with kids to make it on my class on time.

She told me I was lying. She said she walked it once just to see what I was talking about and timed herself. But since she had to be in class waiting for me and other students, I highly doubted she did that at the height of the lunch rush.

It didn't matter that I loved my Spanish class and was an A student and never caused trouble and had no reputation for someone who would ever be tardy for anything as I was obsessed with being "good." She just didn't believe me. My mother had to get involved and my locker was eventually moved to a place easier for me to navigate to.

I was never late for third period Spanish again. No one apologized.

That same year, the eighth grade, my history teacher moved my seat in the front of the class to the back with a pair of boys who harassed me, teased me and made trouble with me every day. Then, because I'm near-sighted, my vision worsened and I needed new glasses. I couldn't read the blackboard. I told my teacher of both, the harassment and the inability to see.

He, oddly, agreed I was being harassed, but thought I was "weak" to complain. As for my inability to see, he told me I was lying.

Even though I wore glasses. We got a doctor's note from my optometrist that I needed new glasses and should sit up front until they were ready.

The teacher suddenly decided everyone in the class could sit where ever they wanted.

He never apologized.

My mother, far more blunt than I, called it what it was. I was black. My teachers were white. The school was mostly white. It was racism.




The rest of this excellent piece is at the link above.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Murder of Trayvon Martin

17 Year Old Trayvon Martin was gunned down with a bag of skittles in one hand, and a drink in the other. His murderer claims SELF-DEFENSE.

Feds open Trayvon Martin investigation
FBI, Dept. of Justice looking into case


Published On: Mar 19 2012 10:32:01 PM EDT
Updated On: Mar 20 2012 06:24:27 AM EDT

The U.S. Justice Department announced Monday night it has opened an investigation into the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

In a statement, the DOJ said along with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida and the FBI, they are looking into “the facts and circumstances of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.”

“The department will conduct a thorough and independent review of all of the evidence and take appropriate action at the conclusion of the investigation,” the statement continued. “The department also is providing assistance to and cooperating with the state officials in their investigation into the incident. With all federal civil rights crimes, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person acted intentionally and with the specific intent to do something which the law forbids – the highest level of intent in criminal law. Negligence, recklessness, mistakes and accidents are not prosecutable under the federal criminal civil rights laws. The Community Relations Service will be in Sanford, Fla., this week to meet with civil rights leaders, community leaders, and local law enforcement to address tension in the community.”























Some videos on the Trayvon Martin Case.


From Rev. Al:

17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed while walking back to his father’s girlfriend’s home in Orlando, Florida. The man accused of shooting Williams has not been charged. NBC’s Lilia Luciano and Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post discuss the latest in the case.


Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy






Rev. Al speaks with the father of Trayvon Martin:


Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy









An Election Apple Dividend for Senate GOP

Most domestic political attention focuses on the race for the White House and whether or not the $45 million Obama raised in February is enough (he raised $56 million in February 2008). In other news quite relevant to what types of policies President Obama or his eventual GOP challenger will be able to enact is which party wins control of the Senate.

Many Republicans, I believe, expect their presidential candidate to lose to the personally popular Obama. Instead, they have set their sights on capturing the Senate and retaining control of the House.

Read the rest here.

Why Romney is a flawed candidate

Romney never stopped campaigning after his failed 2008 presidential bid. That’s when he lost to a cranky septuagenarian whose only pizazz came in the form of a less-than-one-full-term governor vice-presidential selection. You can watch that HBO movie everyone is talking about, but I recommend reading the juicy details in “Game Change” the book.

Read the rest here.

3 for 1 : Choice 4, George Benson & Mayer Hawthorne

George Benson - 1969 w/o the guitar.

Parents

Dad & Mom #2


Will remove after a few days as to avoid outing myself completely. 
(Photo from approximately 25yrs ago)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The State Visit of British Prime Minister David Cameron - Part 2

The President and First Lady hosted a State Dinner for the Prime Minister of Britain, David Cameron and his wife, Samantha.



U.S. President Barack Obama steps on First Lady Michelle Obama's dress as they walk out to receive Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha as they arrive for an official dinner in their honor at the White House in Washington, March 14, 2012.
--- REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst








WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 14: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Barack Obama (R), First Lady Michelle Obama (2nd L), British Prime Minister David Cameron (3rd L) and his wife Samantha Cameron (L) pose for an official photo at the Grand Staircase of the White House March 14, 2012 in Washington, DC. Prime Minister Cameron was on a three-day visit in the U.S. and he had talks with President Obama earlier the day.
---Alex Wong/Getty Images



The State Visit of British Prime Minister David Cameron - Part 1

hat tips-The Obama Diary, 3CHICS:

More from the visit of the British Prime Minister and his wife.



WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 14: U.S. President Barack Obama (R) and British Prime Minister David Cameron review the U.S. Army's Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps during an official arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House March 14, 2012 in Washington, DC. Cameron is on a three-day visit to the U.S. and he is expected to have talks with Obama on the situations in Afghanistan, Syria and Iran.
-----Alex Wong/Getty Images








Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Why are Obama's Poll Numbers Slipping?

A recent survey of British scholars shows that our esteemed cousins on the other side of the Atlantic would rate President Obama as the eigth top President of all time. That’s if his second term were to take place today. For the sake of comparison, drum roll please, George W. Bush comes in at #31 – but, did you not see that coming? What’s funnier is that ranking is also the worst president since Warren Harding presided over the Teapot Dome Scandal.

Read the rest here.

Friday, March 09, 2012

The GOP has a WAR ON WOMEN

Say it again with me, people.

The GOP has a WAR ON WOMEN.
EXAMPLE ONE:



From Balloon Juice:
Arizona Senate Passes Bill Permitting Doctors to Withhold Prenatal Information From Women
by ABL 2.0

The Arizona Senate passed a bill this week that allows doctors to withhold from pregnant women information regarding prenatal problems because disclosing that information might lead to an abortion.

Seriously.

From Addicting Info:


It’s called a “wrongful birth” bill and it’s all about preventing women from having an abortion, even if it kills them. The Arizona Senate passed a bill this week that gives doctors a free pass to not inform pregnant women of prenatal problems because such information could lead to an abortion.


In other words, doctors can intentionally keep critical health information from pregnant women and can’t be sued for it. According to the Arizona Capitol Times, “the bill’s sponsor is Republican Nancy Barto of Phoenix. She says allowing the medical malpractice lawsuits endorses the idea that if a child is born with a disability, someone is to blame.” So Republicans are banning lawsuits against doctors who keep information from pregnant women so as to prevent them from choosing to have an abortion.


YES, YOU READ RIGHT.
is this where we are as a country? We’re withholding medical information from women because that information might lead to abortions while simultaneously passing bills in state after state with such pithy names as “Right to Know” or “Right to Know and See” or “Informed Consent” the claimed purpose of which is to make sure women are fully informed? And not only are we withholding information, but we’re immunizing doctors from liability?

What the hell?

The one person in the media who has been on this story from the beginning was Rachel Maddow.

Frank Rich, writer-at-large for New York Magazine, talks with Rachel Maddow about the effectiveness with which Democrats have held Republicans to account on women's health issues








Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Super Tuesday Results for the GOP Clown Car



Willard Romney won:

Massachusetts
Vermont (right there in New England
Virginia (where he and Ron Paul were the only two on the ballot)
Wyoming
Idaho
Alaska
Ohio*** The asterisk is because I think the following as lamh35:
I'm beginning to think that the last OH vote numbers are taking so long because they are trying to "find" enough votes to put Romney over the top.

How can they give vote totals to reporters, but not the state elections dept?

Just call us cynical, but after the ' 8 vote win in Iowa 'for Willard that wasn't.

And, the ' let's not count 3 COUNTIES in Maine' because Willard was winning.

to the ' We'll just turn away 1,500 people in Washingston state' - just cause.

Color me cynical about anything ' close' for Willard.

Bottom line: Willard outspent Little Ricky 5-1, and this was the best he could do- a dubious and questionable 1% point win.

Newt Gingrich won:
Georgia (his home state)

Rick Santorum won:
North Dakota
Oklahoma
Tennessee

. The evangelical problem is deep, as tonight demonstrates. Ryan Lizza notes:
Romney has lost evangelicals in every contest—and by an average of fifteen points. His best showing came in New Hampshire, where he lost the evangelical vote by nine points, and his worst came in Iowa, where he lost it by twenty-four points. Romney has been running for President for six years, and yet his share of the evangelical vote has declined in most states, compared with his showing in 2008.

It dropped by ten points in Iowa, eight points in South Carolina, seventeen points in Florida, ten points in Arizona, and five points in Michigan. In New Hampshire, there was modest improvement (one point), and in the low-attendance contest in Nevada, some significant improvement (eight points).


How many times folks gotta say it:

The Evangelicals ain't having no parts of the Mormon.

It's the elephant in the room that the MSM refuses to acknowledge.



The next contests for the GOP are:

Kansas - So backwards they wrote a book about them - What's the matter with Kansas? - you see them going for Willard?
Alabama- You see these folks going for Willard?
Hawaii- eh
Mississippi- you see these folks going for Willard?
Missouri - where Santorum whooped Willard already



And, who was the REAL winner of Super Tuesday?


President Barack Obama laughs during a meeting in the Oval Office, Jan. 24, 2011.
---White House Photo by Pete Souza

Sunday, March 04, 2012

The President Speaks at AIPAC-2012

hat tip-3CHICS:




From The Daily Dish:
Obama At AIPAC

The bottom line:


Iran's leaders should know that I do not have a policy of containment; I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon .... Already, there is too much loose talk of war. Over the last few weeks, such talk has only benefited the Iranian government, by driving up the price of oil, which they depend upon to fund their nuclear program. For the sake of Israel's security, America's security, and the peace and security of the world, now is not the time for bluster; now is the time to let our increased pressure sink in, and to sustain the broad international coalition that we have built. Now is the time to heed that timeless advice from Teddy Roosevelt: speak softly, but carry a big stick.




I agree with Ackerman that Obama basically repeated his Goldberg assurance, reminded the Bomb-Iran-Now crowd of how substantively pro-Israel is administration has been, and refused to take the Israeli/Greater Israel lobby bait:


Israel wanted Obama to give Iran a red line not to cross. I would argue he did. “I made a commitment to the American people, and said that we would use all elements of American power to pressure Iran and prevent it from acquiring a nuclear weapon.” That isn’t what Netanyahu wants to hear. As Noah Pollak incisively tweeted — yes, yes, snicker to yourselves, but he’s right — the Israelis want Iran not to be able to produce a nuclear weapon. Obama did not liquidate the disagreement.




Basically, Obama has refused to have the Greater Israel Lobby move the red lines to rendering Iran incapable of producing a nuclear weapon, rather than deciding to make one or actually making one. And this will be where the Greater Israel lobby shifts its support to the Christianist GOP, already committed to the Netanyahu-Lieberman position on Iran and the settlements, and now financed by Greater Israel fanatics, like Sheldon Adelson. (Here's a response to the Atlantic interview in an Adelson newspaper in Israel.) So no surprise to hear Liz Cheney was on a panel with this kind of reception: