June 28, 2013 at 9:42 am #91737
I know the MSM has not been covering it, but the First Family is in Africa. Their first stop has been Senegal.
Here are some videos.
First Lady Michelle Obama speaks to students at Martin Luther King school, an all-girls middle school in Dakar, Senegal.
Barack Obama, the first US President of African ancestry visits Goree Island in Senegal — the point of departure for the slave trade. Deborah Lutterbeck report
For some reason, I can’t post pictures here.
So, here are some links to posts with the pictures:
TGIF and Good Morning.
As you go through your day, don’t forget JJP at TWIB.
Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.
And always, have a peaceful day.June 28, 2013 at 9:43 am #91738
Good Morning, EveryoneJune 28, 2013 at 9:44 am #91739
If you would like to follow a live blog of the George Zimmerman trial, go here:June 28, 2013 at 10:28 am #91740
If Barney Frank Could Have Settled One Case, He’d Have Taken Up VRA, Not Prop 8
Former Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) said Thursday that if he had been empowered to decide one Supreme Court decision this week, he would have taken up the case on the 1965 Voting Rights Act and not the case on California’s statewide ban on same-sex marriage…
Frank, who was the first sitting member of Congress to voluntarily come out of the closet, indicated that the “terrible decision killing the Voting Rights Act” carries more urgency than the marriage equality case.
“Racial discrimination has been much worse [than discrimination against gays and lesbians] in this country and if I could have frankly picked one decision this week, I’ll be honest, it wouldn’t have been the gay marriage one,” Frank said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “I wish I could have reversed that terrible decision killing the Voting Rights Act because I think there are still serious issues there in democracy.”..June 28, 2013 at 10:31 am #91741
Mega-huge point: all 54 Dems voted for immigration reform.
3:40 PM – 27 Jun 2013June 28, 2013 at 10:34 am #91742
@AntonioTheWiser Someone should burn DVDs of Lolo Jones crying on international television, then sell it as a Trey Songz video.
Vanessa Veasley (@VanessaVeasley)
@lolojones came into my peripheral by playing victim… & now she’s a bully? She needs to have several sponsorless seats
Zeralyn Ford @Zeralyn
@lolojones that’s why you ain’t never won nothing but light skin struggle.June 28, 2013 at 10:40 am #91743
Dark-skinned and plus-sized: The real Rachel Jeantel story
Painting Rachel Jeantel as “combative” is a classic way to discredit the validity of Black women’s traumas
By Brittney Cooper
Trayvon Martin’s trial might be intriguing, fascinating cultural theater to some. To me, it is more akin to a cultural trauma: a continual reminder of how unsafe all those young Black men that I love actually are as they move through the world — and how tenuous and torturous it would be to seek justice on their behalf. Troubled, though, by the negative characterizations of Trayvon Martin’s friend Rachel Jeantel, after her first day of testimony, I tuned in yesterday in a show of sofa-based, sister-girl, solidarity.
Immediately, I heard newscasters referring to her prior testimony, which I had watched on video, as combative and aggressive. And I felt my pressure start to rise.
These kinds of terms – combat, aggression, anger – stalk Black women, especially Black women who are dark-skinned and plus-sized like Rachel, at every turn seeking to discredit the validity of our experiences and render invisible our traumas. By painting Rachel Jeantel as the aggressor, as the one prone to telling lies and spreading untruths, it became easy for the white male defense attorney to treat this 19 year old, working-class, Black girl, a witness to the murder of her friend, as hostile, as a threat, as the one who needed to be regulated and contained and put in her place.
I know these are just classic legal maneuvers of a good defense. Yet these maneuvers also provide an eerily perfect diagram of the cultural grammar that determines how Black folks move through the world, always already cast as the aggressors, always necessarily on the defensive, all too often victimized, all too rarely vindicated.
No one knows this better than Trayvon Martin.
The thing about grammars though is that they rely on language, on a way of speaking and communicating, to give them power. And Rachel Jeantel has her own particular, idiosyncratic Black girl idiom, a mashup of her Haitian and Dominican working class background, her U.S. Southern upbringing, and the three languages – Hatian Kreyol (or Creole), Spanish, and English — that she speaks.
The unique quality of her Black vernacular speaking style became hypervisible against the backdrop of powerful white men fluently deploying corporate, proper English in ways that she could not do. The way they spoke to her was designed not only to discredit her, but to condescend to and humiliate her. She acknowledged this show of white male power by repeatedly punctuating her responses with a curt but loaded, “Yes, Sir.”
There is a reason that Black people in public life learn to be as articulate as Barack Obama or Oprah Winfrey. Stakes is high. When given the opportunity to speak, you wanna make for damn sure you are heard.
But justice should be no respecter of persons, or it isn’t justice.
What we witnessed with Jeantel was a deliberate attempt by the defense to mis-hear and misunderstand her, to suggest for instance that statements like “I coulda hear Trayvon, Trayvon,” meant that in fact, she did not hear Trayvon screaming for George Zimmerman to “get off, get off,” of him.
Still she maintained her composure and clarified, “that means I could hear Trayvon.”
Gayatri Spivak once famously asked “Can the subaltern speak?” Forever, I have thought the question was wrong. The problem was not in her speaking, but in their hearing.
But those of us who came to listen heard her loud and clear. Zimmerman followed, confronted, and eventually murdered her friend, while she listened on the phone hoping simply that her friend made it back to his “daddy’s house.”
Given the hostile and combative space into which she entered, a space in which she had to fight for the integrity of her own words, combativeness seems like the most appropriate posture.
If the justification for the defense attorney’s combativeness is “he was doing his job,” then I submit: So was Rachel.
She was there to defend her friend. And herself. Though she was not on trial, she seemed to know instinctively that Black womanhood, Black manhood, and urban adolescence is always on trial in the American imaginary.
By choosing to take the stand and fight for her friend, she was fighting for so much more than simply him. She was fighting for the right of Black people to be seen and heard, for our testimony about our traumas to be believed, no matter how inelegantly stated.
Rachel Jeantel took the stand and told the gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, ugly truth. My only hope is that the jury truly listened.June 28, 2013 at 10:59 am #91746
Activist: Paula Deen allegations just the tip of the iceberg
Channel 2 Action News has learned about some new explosive allegations from an Atlanta civil rights activist against embattled celebrity chef Paula Deen.
Marcus Coleman told Channel 2′s Tony Thomas workers in Deen’s restaurants are preparing another lawsuit claiming race and equality issues.
This comes as more companies cut ties with the Georgia-based cook.
Atlanta-based Home Depot, which sold Deen’s cookware online, pulled the merchandise off its website Thursday.
Coleman said the initial allegations against Deen are just the tip of the iceberg.
“It’s sad to see people fearful when they are truly being treated unfairly,” Coleman said.
Coleman said he’s been meeting with as many as 20 current and former Paula Deen employees for 15 months.
“(It’s) a rainbow of employees, many of them Caucasian,” he said.
Coleman said they kept silent all this time waiting for a former manager’s lawsuit to begin. That lawsuit is what’s prompted the recent firestorm.
The workers are still reportedly too scared to talk on camera but allowed Coleman to speak on their behalf. He said they complain of being passed over for promotions, pay inequities and other racial issues.
“We’re talking about qualified workers with tenure that have been skipped over management positions because of their race,” Coleman said.
Paula Deen has repeatedly apologized for using racist words and her sons back her up.June 28, 2013 at 11:07 am #91748
Why Is the Obama Administration Suddenly So Interested in African Farms?
—By Alex Park
| Fri Jun. 28, 2013 3:00 AM PDT
This week, Obama is making his first major visit to Africa since taking office. One topic that’s likely high on his agenda: US investment in African agriculture.
With the global population expected to top nine billion by 2050, the Obama administration is pushing hard to use foreign development funds to expand farming in the developing world, and especially in Africa. Since 2009, when Obama made a pledge at the G8 Summit in L’Aquila, Italy to devote massive resources to global “food security,” Congress has committed more than $3.5 billion to an agricultural development program called “Feed the Future.” Congress has since renewed the initiative’s funding.
“After decades in which agriculture and nutrition didn’t always get the attention they deserved,” Obama said in an address last year, “we put the fight against global hunger where it should be, which is at the forefront of global development.”
But the US government’s motivation for investing such a large sum in Feed the Future isn’t entirely altruistic. Here’s a look at some of the other reasons behind the sudden enthusiasm for agriculture in the developing world.
I’ve heard that hunger had something to do with the Arab Spring. Is that true?
Possibly. The impetus for Feed the Future goes back to the food price crisis of 2007-2008, when prices for basic commodities like corn rose dramatically all over the world. Among middle-class consumers in the United States and Europe, the spike in prices went largely unnoticed. But in developing nations such as Cote D’Ivoire and Haiti, where families typically spend a large portion of their incomes on food, it led to riots. Some observers theorized that the price spike hastened the start of the Arab Spring.June 28, 2013 at 12:18 pm #91751
The Morning Plum: GOP doesn’t need no stinkin’ makeover
By Greg Sargent, Published: June 27, 2013 at 9:04 am
In that much ballyhooed autopsy, Republican National Committee analysts repeatedly stressed the party’s need to develop a more tolerant and inclusive aura. It noted the GOP must strive to “expand and diversify the base of the Republican Party, both locally and nationally,” and must develop a “welcoming, inclusive message” to better appeal to younger voters and to remain competitive in national elections.
But the emerging GOP response to the trio of major issues at the top of the news this morning — immigration, gay rights, and African American enfranchisement — suggests that in practice, most Republicans don’t really see the need for any such makeover.
* On immigration, the RNC autopsy said that “if Hispanic Americans hear that the GOP doesn’t want them in the United States, they won’t pay attention to our next sentence.” But right now a counter argument of sorts is now gaining steam among Republican-aligned commentators — that it would be better politically for the GOP to sink immigration reform. See Sean Trende’s much discussed piece questioning the need to improve its performance among Latinos to remain competitive in presidential elections. Also see Bill Kristol’s piece this morning, which argues that Republicans must kill the Senate immigration bill, because the alternative “would divide and demoralize potential Republican voters” in 2014.
* On gay rights, the RNC autopsy said that “for many younger voters,” issues involving “the treatment and the rights of gays” are a “gateway into whether the party is a place they want to be.” But while Republicans are unlikely to make gay marriage an issue in the 2014 elections, many are criticizing the Supreme Court decision and openly calling on states to hold the line against marriage equality, and some are even reintroducing the constitutional ban against gay marriage.
Meanwhile, as the Fix team notes today, despite shifts in national opinion on marriage equality, no 2016 Republican candidate will dare being pro-gay marriage, because social and religious conservatives in the GOP primary electorate wouldn’t stand for it.
* On African-American enfranchisement, the RNC autopsy said the GOP must build a “lasting relationship within the African American community.” But in the wake of the SCOTUS decision gutting a key provision in the Voting Rights Act that outraged many African Americans, many Republicans are privately admitting nothing will get done to fix the law in the GOP-controlled House. As Noah Rothman details, getting it wrong on the Voting Rights Act could damage the GOP further with minorities long term even as the Voting Rights decision will likely galvanize the Dem base.
Politico surmises that all of this shows that the GOP “can’t seem to outrun the culture wars.” In other words, Republicans keep getting drawn back into battles over the preoccupations of the nativists, social and religious conservatives, and others who populate the base, preventing the party from evolving. But here’s my question: Are those pushing back on the makeover talk right? Does the GOP actually need to develop a more tolerant and inclusive aura? Or are the underlying structural facts about our politics such that none of this matters, particularly in the short term?June 28, 2013 at 12:21 pm #91752
No one notices the contrast of white on white
By Steve Benen
Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:55 AM EDT
After the Senate approved comprehensive immigration reform yesterday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was asked whether his party could recover, electorally, if Republicans kill the legislation. McCain took a deep breath, shook his head, and said, “No.”
It’s a fair assessment. The Republican Party’s base is older and overwhelmingly white in a country that’s growing more racially and ethnically diverse. The fastest growing segment of the voting population are Latinos, who are moving quickly and deliberately away from the GOP. “This is,” Rachel noted on the show last night, “an un-survivable situation for a national party.”
At least, that’s what common sense would seem to suggest, though quite a few Republican voices disagree. None other than Karl Rove noted in his Wall Street Journal column today, “Some observers, including Phyllis Schlafly, Pat Buchanan and the Center for Immigration Studies, argue that if Republicans want to win back the White House, they should focus on white voters.”
They’re not alone. As Ed Kilgore explained this week, Sean Trende has become the go-to conservative voice on the subject, writing piece after piece after piece arguing that the premise is flawed — if Republicans can increase their share of the white vote to, say, 70% or so, the party can remain electorally viable for a few more decades.
How would the Republican Party increase its share of the white vote to 70%? I don’t know. In fact, the more I think about it, I’m not sure I want to know. But for Trende, that’s not really the point — if the GOP pulls that off, the demographic time bomb is put off until around 2040.June 28, 2013 at 12:22 pm #91753
Wendy Davis and the new resistance against anti-abortion laws
By Jamelle Bouie, Published: June 27, 2013 at 11:36 am
In just eleven hours — the length of her filibuster on the floor of the Texas Senate — Wendy Davis went from obscurity as a Texas lawmaker to national fame as the symbol of resistance to harsh anti-abortion laws. A Democrat from Fort Worth, Davis killed a proposal that would place new restrictions on abortion clinics and ban the practice after 20 weeks.
Her 11-hour filibuster — which lasted through Tuesday night — was one of the more exciting instances of legislative activity in recent memory. Under the rules of the chamber, Davis wasn’t allowed to sit, drink, use the bathroom, or lean against any furniture as she spoke. What’s more, she was required to speak on topics germane to the topic at hand — the Texas Senate does not allow lawmakers to simply read from a phonebook (though, if the bill in question dealt with phonebooks, it’s hard to see who would argue).
Ultimately, Texas Republicans were able to end her filibuster with a series of procedural challenges, two hours before the midnight deadline to pass the bill. But a series of parliamentary questions from Democrats — as well as a rush of activity from protesters — managed to delay the legislative session long enough for the bill to die.
The odds of it staying dead, however, are low. Governor Rick Perry has already called a new special legislative session to pass the abortion bill, and women’s rights groups — as well as Texas Democrats — are gearing up to oppose this effort as well. Davis herself has expressed interest in running statewide — and possibly challenging Republicans for control of the governorship. The timing is fortuitous; her seat is in danger of being gerrymandered away, thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision to gut the pre-clearance formula of the Voting Rights Act.June 28, 2013 at 12:25 pm #91754
June 26, 2013 3:05 PM
Doubling Down on the White Man’s Party
By Ed Kilgore
Many political observers from both sides of the partisan barricades are genuinely puzzled that so many congressional Republicans seem willing, even eager, to court “demographic disaster” by opposing comprehensive immigration reform and thus reinforcing their party’s unsavory image among Latinos and Asian-Americans, who have been trending Democratic heavily even as they make up a steadily increasing percentage of the electorate. It’s common to argue they are being willfully irrational, under pressure from their “base,” or are privately scheming to find some way to let immigration reform be enacted even if they don’t vote for it themselves.
But it’s important to recognize that a lot of Republicans in and out of Congress don’t buy the basic premise that improved performance among minority voters is the best and only path to majority status. And a lot of them are reading, or are being influenced indirectly by, Sean Trende’s series of analytical columns at RealClearPolitics suggesting that the more obvious route to a Republican majority, at least over the next couple of decades, is to intensify the GOP’s appeal to white voters (see this Phyllis Schlafly comment last month for an example of the meme).
Immediately after the 2012 elections, Trende began arguing that the big story in the Obama/Romney contest was a major drop-off in white voting:
If we build in an estimate for the growth of the various voting-age populations over the past four years and assume 55 percent voter turnout, we find ourselves with about 8 million fewer white voters than we would expect given turnout in the 2008 elections and population growth.
Had the same number of white voters cast ballots in 2012 as did in 2008, the 2012 electorate would have been about 74 percent white, 12 percent black, and 9 percent Latino (the same result occurs if you build in expectations for population growth among all these groups). In other words, the reason this electorate looked so different from the 2008 electorate is almost entirely attributable to white voters staying home. The other groups increased their vote, but by less than we would have expected simply from population growth
Trende quickly threw water on the idea—to which a lot of conservative readers might have immediately gone—that these “missing white voters” were southern evangelicals “discouraged” by Romney’s alleged moderation or his obvious Mormonism. In a subsequent article, published late last week, he was much more specific:
The drop in turnout occurs in a rough diagonal, stretching from northern Maine, across upstate New York (perhaps surprisingly, turnout in post-Sandy New York City dropped off relatively little), and down into New Mexico. Michigan and the non-swing state, non-Mormon Mountain West also stand out. Note also that turnout is surprisingly stable in the Deep South; Romney’s problem was not with the Republican base or evangelicals (who constituted a larger share of the electorate than they did in 2004).
For those with long memories, this stands out as the heart of the “Perot coalition.” That coalition was strongest with secular, blue-collar, often rural voters who were turned off by Bill Clinton’s perceived liberalism and George H.W. Bush’s elitism. They were largely concentrated in the North and Mountain West: Perot’s worst 10 national showings occurred in Southern and border states. His best showings? Maine, Alaska, Utah, Idaho, Kansas, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, Oregon and Minnesota.
This profile of the “missing white voters” of 2012—which is suggestive rather than definitive, since the Perot “coalition” Trende’s talking about arose a full two decades ago—will smell like catnip to those proposing some sort of conservative “populist” makeover for the GOP. And it would also reinforce the idea that being opposed to immigration reform might (a) not really cost the GOP votes they had no realistic chance of winning anyway, and (b) appeal in a positive way to the “missing white voters” who are reflexively nativist.
In his latest piece in the series, Trende tries to put his numbers together into a future scenario, as part of an argument that winning a higher percentage of Latino voters isn’t the exclusive GOP survival strategy it’s cracked up to be.
I’m not in a position at this point to challenge Trende’s projections for the different elements of the electorate, and do think he makes some dubious assumptions (e.g., that African-American turnout drops in 2009 and 2010 mean lower black turnout numbers in future presidential elections when Barack Obama isn’t on the ballot). But since I’m less interested in Trende’s data than in the meme that may emerge from over-simplistic repetition of his bottom line by conservative gabbers with a big ax to grind, the important thing is that he projects Republicans could win presidential elections from 2016 through 2040 by gradually increasing its percentage of the white vote (which of course will have to turn out to an extent that it did not in 2012) even if minority voters tilt even more heavily to the Democrats than they do today.June 28, 2013 at 12:30 pm #91755
Dems have more questions for IRS audit author Russell George
By Greg Sargent, Published: June 27, 2013 at 1:44 pm
Congressional Democrats have sent a letter to House Republicans formally demanding that they call the author of the now-infamous audit on IRS targeting of conservative groups to come back to the Hill and testify under oath — where he’ll be pressed to explain why the audit failed to detail that progressive groups had also been targeted.
The letter signed by every Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee – which was sent over by a source — ratchets up the stakes in the battle over the direction of the probe into IRS targeting, at a time when news outlets have cast doubt on claims that the targeting of conservative groups was politically motivated or had any ties to the White House.
The letter — which was addressed to GOP Rep. Dave Camp, the chairman of Ways and Means — is designed to put pressure on Republicans to allow the author of the audit, Treasury Inspector General Russell George, to submit to more direct questioning from Dems in light of new revelations about the “Be On the Lookout” document, or BOLO, that indicates progressive groups seeking tax exempt status were also examined by the IRS. It reads:June 28, 2013 at 12:32 pm #91756
The Senate’s Disappointing Immigration Vote Is 2006 All Over Again
BY NATE COHN
Today, the Senate voted for immigration reform by a seemingly overwhelming margin: 68-32. That might seem like a “B.F.D.” It’s not. We’ve been here before: In 2006, the Senate voted for immigration reform by a 62-32 margin. The House killed it.
Today’s vote appears more impressive than the 2006 Senate vote. But back then, there were only 39 Democratic “yes” votes, compared to 52 today (independents excluded). As that implies, there was less Republican support for today’s bill than there was in 2006: Only 30 percent of Senate Republicans voted for today’s immigration bill, compared to 42 percent in 2006. Much of that decline is due to the loss of blue state Senate Republicans who were defeated in 2006 and 2008. But over the last seven years, just two Senate Republicans—Lamar Alexander and Orin Hatch—switched from “no” to “yes.”
Today’s vote shows congressional support for immigration reform breaking along roughly the same lines as 2006, when it failed to attract a majority of Republicans in the House—despite the backing of a Republican president. And unlike the Senate, the House hasn’t become more Democratic since 2006. In fact, it’s gotten more conservative.
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