July 22, 2013 at 8:47 am #93287
As you begin a new week, don’t forget JJP at TWIB.
Drop those links. Engage in debate.
Give us trivia and gossip too.
And always, have a peaceful day.July 22, 2013 at 8:48 am #93288
Good Morning, EveryoneJuly 22, 2013 at 9:12 am #93289
Cuccinelli and ‘personal challenges’
By Steve Benen
Mon Jul 22, 2013 8:00 AM EDT
In the year’s most closely watched campaign, Virginia gubernatorial hopefuls Ken Cuccinelli (R) and Terry McAuliffe (D) faced off on Saturday in their first debate, with only about three months to go before Election Day. Cuccinelli had been prepped by the Republican Party’s highest-profile debate coach, Brett O’Donnell, who’s also the former director at Liberty University, founded by radical televangelist Jerry Falwell.
I’m not sure it helped.
McAuliffe repeatedly attacked Cuccinelli throughout the Virginia Bar Association debate in Hot Springs, VA for his record of demonizing science, women’s health, and LGBT people. Twice, McAuliffe noted that Cuccinelli had called LGBT Virginians “soulless” and “self-destructive” and that his attempts to rescind non-discrimination protections have hurt Virginia’s business climate.
Cuccinelli consistently ignored the attacks until moderator Judy Woodruff asked him directly about his previous comments. Cuccinelli responded briefly, saying, “My personal beliefs about the personal challenges of homosexuality haven’t changed.”
Cuccinelli regularly tries to position himself as a mainstream candidate, urging voters to overlook his record as a fierce culture warrior, but the fact remains that social conservatism continues to dominate the state Attorney General’s worldview. He simply can’t turn it off, even when he wants to.July 22, 2013 at 9:13 am #93290
Boehner tries to rebrand failure, defend Congress’ ineptitude
By Steve Benen
Mon Jul 22, 2013 8:36 AM EDT
This Congress is generally perceived as failing miserably when it comes to governing, and a few weeks ago, we learned this perception is quantifiably true: the 113th Congress is on track to pass fewer bills than any since the clerk’s office started keeping track in the mid-1940s.
When a reporter asked House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) late last week about the institution’s “historically unproductive” nature, the Republican balked. “That’s just total nonsense,” he snapped, before the question was even finished.
Over the weekend, however, Boehner reversed course, deciding that his unproductive tenure isn’t something to be denied; it’s something to be celebrated.
House Speaker John Boehner says Congress “ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal.”
The Ohio Republican makes the comments on an interview aired Sunday on CBS “Face the Nation.” He was responding to a question about how little Congress is doing these days.
Boehner says Congress “should not be judged by how many new laws we create.”
Let’s appreciate exactly what Boehner is trying to do here. When he and his Republican colleagues sought power, they told the electorate that they would work to find solutions to national problems. After having been unsuccessful, the Speaker of the House has decided to rebrand failure — he wants credit for his record of futility and expects praise for the fact that he and his caucus have made no legislative progress since he took power three years ago.July 22, 2013 at 9:14 am #93291
it’s Royal Baby Watch time!July 22, 2013 at 9:15 am #93292
President Obama’s Recent Race Speech Colors Purple, A Call for Truth and Reconciliation
Friday, July 19, 2013 | Posted by adept2u at 2:57 PM
There’s a scene from The Color Purple that immediately jumped in my mind after hearing President Obama’s most recent discussion on race. The family Suge Avery and her boyfriend are sitting around the table, and Mister insults Miss Celie just one time too often. She grabs a knife, curses him, and declares her independence.
It Isn’t Miss Celie I’m feeling right now, although President Obama played the role, I’m feeling Ms. Sophia.
Ms. Sophia had her face scared and her spirit broken from a completely unjust interaction with a racist criminal justice system. Remember it? The White lady wanted to pet her child, and she had the nerve to speak out against it, got attacked defended herself and was beaten down in the street.
That’s exactly how I and a great many Black people felt in the aftermath of the Zimmerman trial’s verdict.
President Obama spoke the kind of truth that Black America needed to hear to go forward, and for that I will forever treasure the two votes I cast for him.. Ms. Sophia was able to wake up from the slumber the abuse had placed her. She was able to be herself again.
I’d like to add a call for action.July 22, 2013 at 9:20 am #93293
East NY and the Myth That Nobody is Addressing Black on Black Homicide
By: Keith Brekhus
Jul. 21st, 2013
In the wake of the George Zimmerman verdict, it seems the right-wing has finally discovered the problem of black on black violence. Ben Shapiro, Rush Limbaugh and many other influential conservatives have taken to the airwaves and to social media to argue that African-American leaders ignore black on black homicides while focusing all of their attention on “rare” white on black racially-motivated murders.
These vocal right-wing commentators argue that violence in African-American communities is being pushed under the rug, because black leaders do not care unless the perpetrator is white . However, nothing could be further from the truth. Community leaders in several inner city neighborhoods all across the country have been trying earnestly to curb the violence, and in some neighborhoods those efforts have paid off. One community that has had tremendous success in reducing black on black homicides is the predominately African-American Brooklyn neighborhood known as East New York.
Twenty years ago, in 1993, the 75th police precinct that includes East New York recorded 126 homicides. in 2012, the same precinct tallied just eighteen homicides, over an 85 percent drop from the grisly year of 1993. So far through July 7th of this year, the entire precinct has had only six homicides, over a ninety percent decrease over the same period two decades ago during the same dates in 1993. In the area bordered by Linden Boulevard, Ashford Street, Pennsylvania Avenue and Cozine Avenue, an area once notorious for violent crime, a year has passed since the last shooting, thanks in part to community programs designed to curb violence. An organization called Man Up! has intervened to try to encourage peaceful conflict resolution in the neighborhood. The area they work in, which covers a population of about 20,000 residents has been homicide free for a period of 363 days and counting as of July 18, 2013.
East New York has undergone a remarkable transformation since it earned its reputation in the 1980s and 1990s as New York City’s “killing fields” . The neighborhood is remembered by many as the site of the 1984 Palm Sunday Massacre, when a cocaine user stormed into his drug dealer’s apartment and murdered two adults (one pregnant) and eight children. More people were murdered in East New York in that single day in 1984 than have been killed in the first half of 2013. For over a decade and a half after the massacre, the neighborhood continued to suffer from chronically high rates of homicide which helped solidify its reputation as one of the most dangerous places to live in the country. Even as late as 2011, the 75th precinct’s 33 homicides made it one of the deadliest sections of New York City.
However, neighborhood programs supported by city resources have turned the tide around and the number of homicides continues to drop precipitously, in this former urban war zone. Yes, crime still exists and poverty continues to be a problem in East New York, but residents are banding together to fight urban violence and to make a difference in the community, and the statistics suggest they are winning that fight.July 22, 2013 at 9:21 am #93294
Obama To Speak At OFA Event Tonight
President Barack Obama on Monday night is schedulted to speak and answer questions at an event for “Organizing for Action,” the nonprofit group born from his campaign organization. Obama is slated to begin at 8:10 p.m. ET. The event will be held at Mandarin Oriental Hotel-Oriental Ballroom in Washington, D.C.July 22, 2013 at 9:23 am #93295
For the past 2 Plus Years Republicans Have Stolen The Rights of People of Color
Jul. 21st, 2013
In the middle of the 19th century, an idea took hold in America that special virtues of the American people and their institutions were destined to expand across the continent under divine direction, and to accomplish this wonderful task, Native people were systematically swept aside to make room for white European immigrants. The unspoken “special virtues” of the American people were that they were white Christians destined to reform, re-educate, and dominate Native Americans that was not unique to America, and world history bears out that the alleged superiority of the white race resulted in a concerted effort to subjugate darker races in every country on Earth. The idea that dark-skin is tantamount to inferiority still plagues America, and it is the driving force behind efforts by conservatives to disenfranchise minorities in America regardless they are African American, Native American, Hispanic, Asian, or of Middle Eastern descent. The election of the first African American President exposed the white superiority mindset among many Americans, and it emboldened conservatives to re-assert their belief the white race is destined to dominate what they consider inferior peoples.
President Obama’s speech and reaction to the racial implications in the Trayvon Martin killing brought up some very prescient points about how many white people view African Americans with suspicion based solely on their skin color. It is an issue that was prominent during the British Empire’s conquest over foreign lands, and led to near extermination of Tazmanian and Australian aboriginal people that Europeans emigrating to America perpetuated, and British and Germans reiterated in Africa in the early 20th century. According to “racial science,” dark-skinned people were genetically inferior to the white race, and their worth was measured by how easily they could be “Christianized” and “subdued” as a compliant workforce for white overlords. Crucial to the Aryan mindset was convincing European populations that dark-skinned people were, by virtue of genetics, prone to laziness, lawlessness, and a clear threat to the white race because they multiplied faster than whites.
There are Republicans who openly warn the so-called “divine dominion” over America their “European” (read white) ancestors championed is at risk, and it fuels racial bigotry and hate from conservatives convinced white people are destined to dominate America. In his book, State of Emergency, Pat Buchanan wrote that “If we do not get control of our borders, by 2050 Americans of European descent will be a minority in the nation their ancestors created and built.” The idea that European descendants’ divine destiny to control America fuels racial bigotry toward all minorities in America, and it is more rampant among the population than the public is inclined to believe. Recently, at the MLB all-star game, American citizen Marc Anthony, of Puerto Rican descent, sang “God Bless America” that invoked rage and racial slurs by white Americans who were furious a “Mexican sang god bless America at the national pastime.” The white supremacy mindset plaguing America makes no special distinction between African Americans, Mexican Americans, or Asian Americans, because their problem is with non-white Americans.July 22, 2013 at 9:26 am #93296
The Morning Plum: John Boehner is the leader of House Republicans. Remember?
By Greg Sargent, Published: July 22 at 9:19 am
John Boehner’s appearance on Face the Nation yesterday continues to get attention over the Speaker’s claim that House Republicans “should not be judged by how many new laws we create,” but rather by “how many laws we repeal.” And that is useful confirmation of the true nature of the “post policy” posture of today’s GOP.
But the more interesting thing in the interview with Boehner was that host Bob Schieffer pressed Boehner directly on a fact that too many commentators continue to ignore: The House Speaker is in control of whether immigration reform happens or whether it dies. And in the exchange, Boehner actually seemed to suggest he is not in control over what gets a vote in the end.
Asked repeatedly by Schieffer if he would allow a bill to come to a vote that provides a path to citizenship, Boehner hemmed and hawed a bit, but finally replied:July 22, 2013 at 9:32 am #93297
Cries of Betrayal as Detroit Plans to Cut Pensions
By STEVEN YACCINO and MICHAEL COOPER
Published: July 21, 2013
Gloria Killebrew, 73, worked for the City of Detroit for 22 years and now spends her days caring for her husband, J. D., who has had three heart attacks and multiple kidney operations, the last of which left him needing dialysis three times a week at the Henry Ford Medical Center in Dearborn, Mich.
Now there is a new worry: Detroit wants to cut the pensions it pays retirees like Ms. Killebrew, who now receives about $1,900 a month.
“It’s been life on a roller coaster,” Ms. Killebrew said, explaining that even if she could find a new job at her age, there would be no one to take care of her husband. “You don’t sleep well. You think about whether you’re going to be able to make it. Right now, you don’t really know.”
Detroit’s pension shortfall accounts for about $3.5 billion of the $18 billion in debts that led the city to file for bankruptcy last week. How it handles this problem — of not enough money set aside to pay the pensions it has promised its workers — is being closely watched by other cities with fiscal troubles.
Kevyn D. Orr, the city’s emergency manager, has called for “significant cuts” to the pensions of current retirees. His plan is being fought vigorously by unions that point out that pensions are protected by Michigan’s Constitution, which calls them a contractual obligation that “shall not be diminished or impaired.”
Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan, a Republican who appointed Mr. Orr, signed off on the bankruptcy strategy for the once-mighty city, which has seen its tax base and services erode sharply in recent years. But the governor said he worried about Detroit’s 21,000 municipal retirees.
“You’ve got to have great empathy for them,” Mr. Snyder said in an interview. “These are hard-working people that are in retirement now — they’re on fixed incomes, most of them — and you look at this and say, ‘This is a very difficult situation.’ ”
On Sunday, Mr. Snyder fended off the notion that the city needed a federal bailout. “It’s not about just putting more money in a situation,” the governor said on “Face the Nation” on CBS. “It’s about better services to citizens again. It’s about accountable government.”
Many retirees see the plan to cut their pensions as a betrayal, saying that they kept their end of a deal but that the city is now reneging. Retired city workers, police officers and 911 operators said in interviews that the promise of reliable retirement income had helped draw them to work for the City of Detroit in the first place, even if they sometimes had to accept smaller salaries or work nights or weekends.
“Does Detroit have a problem?” asked William Shine, 76, a retired police sergeant. “Absolutely. Did I create it? I don’t think so. They made me some promises, and I made them some promises. I kept my promises. They’re not going to keep theirs.”July 22, 2013 at 9:33 am #93298
Anarchists of the House
The Republican Congress is testing a new frontier of radicalism—governmental sabotage.
. By Jonathan Chait
Published Jul 21, 2013
A few months ago, Eric Cantor was ready to bring his latest brainchild, the “Helping Sick Americans Now” bill, to the House floor. The move was pure Cantor—a smarmy, ultrapartisan ploy. The bill proposed to eliminate funds the Obama administration needs to set up and run the health-care exchanges that are the central mechanism in the health-care law, but then Cantor’s bill would use those funds to help a handful of sick people get health insurance. There was no chance this, or anything like it, would be signed into law, as Obama obviously would not agree to tear down a program to insure millions of Americans in return for insuring a tiny fraction of that number. It was a message vote whose purpose was “embarrassing Obamacare,” as one conservative activist gloated, by forcing Obama to deny immediate aide for the uninsured. As a soulless exercise in disingenuous spin, it was well conceived.
It failed, however, because a crucial faction of ultraconservative House Republicans threatened to vote against it. The trouble was that Cantor’s bill purported to “fix” Obamacare rather than eliminate it. “Why the hell do we want to fix it?” complained conservative pundit Erick Erickson. “We should want to repeal it.” Since they have already voted 37 times to repeal Obamacare, one might think that the House Republicans’ appraisal of the law’s general merits had been made sufficiently clear. But just the pretense of working to improve the law, even while actually crippling it, offended the right. In the face of unmoved conservative opposition, Cantor had to pull his pet bill from the floor. It wound up embarrassing the House Republicans, not Obamacare.
Spectacles like this have turned into a regular feature of life in the Republican House. The party leadership draws up a bill that’s far too right-wing to ever become law, but it fails in the House because it isn’t right-wing enough. Sometimes, as with the attempts to repeal Obamacare, the failures don’t matter much, but in other instances the inability to pass legislation poses horrifying dangers. The chaos and dysfunction have set in so deeply that Washington now lurches from crisis to crisis, and once-dull, keep-the-lights-on rituals of government procedure are transformed into white-knuckle dramas that threaten national or even global catastrophe.
The Republican Party has spent 30 years careering ever more deeply into ideological extremism, but one of the novel developments of the Obama years is its embrace of procedural extremism. The Republican fringe has evolved from being politically shrewd proponents of radical policy changes to a gang of saboteurs who would rather stop government from functioning at all. In this sense, their historical precedents are not so much the Gingrich revolutionaries, or even their tea-party selves of a few years ago; the movement is more like the radical left of the sixties, had it occupied a position of power in Congress. And so the terms we traditionally use to scold bad Congresses—partisanship, obstruction, gridlock—don’t come close to describing this situation. The hard right’s extremism has bent back upon itself, leaving an inscrutable void of paranoia and formless rage and twisting the Republican Party into a band of anarchists.
And the worst is not behind us.
Republicans in 2009 made an intellectual breakthrough of sorts when they grasped that the conventional folk wisdom of Washington, which held that they risked public scorn if they refused to cooperate with a popular new president, had it backward. Americans don’t pay much attention to legislative details, Republicans realized. If some of them supported Obama’s proposals, they would only help the proposals seem more sensible. “It was absolutely critical that everybody be together,” Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell later said, “because if the proponents of the bill were able to say it was bipartisan, it tended to convey to the public that this is okay.”
And so the Republican strategy during Obama’s first two years was almost total gridlock. Republican leaders aggressively pressured their members to withdraw support for any major Obama initiative, even denouncing ideas they themselves had previously endorsed. This obstruction strategy was not a novel invention; it was more of a Moneyball-esque refinement—one of those situations in which one team realizes how to play by the rules a little bit better.
Since the 2010 midterm elections, though, the Republican strategy has transmogrified from a particularly ruthless version of legislative opposition into one in which incidents of reckless behavior—tactics like hostage-taking, say, or economic or political sabotage—become more frequent each passing month. After they won the midterms, giddy Republicans took their victory not just as a check on Obama but as a full abrogation of his presidency. America had snapped out of the trance Obama had briefly cast over it in the haze of the financial crisis. As John Boehner announced the night he won back the House, “The president will find in our new majority the voice of the American people.”July 22, 2013 at 9:34 am #93299
Top 12 Conservative Freakouts After Obama’s Race Speech
By Scott Keyes on Jul 19, 2013 at 2:30 pm
Conservatives didn’t even wait for President Obama to finish his deeply personal remarks on Trayvon Martin’s killing and the role of race in America to go ballistic, accusing the president of being a “Racist in Chief” who is “trying to tear our country apart.”
On Twitter, Fox News, and elsewhere, many conservatives took a predictably depressing response, arguing that Obama is the true racist for having the courage to speak about race in our country.
Here is a roundup of the top conservatives attacking the president’s speech:
Fox News’ Todd Starnes:July 22, 2013 at 11:27 am #93303
Former Rand Paul aide: “I still dream of what could have been—our glorious Confederate States of America.” http://bit.ly/132l86MJuly 22, 2013 at 11:28 am #93304
Rand Paul’s ‘Southern Avenger’ departs Capitol Hill
By Steve Benen
Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:38 AM EDT
Even by the standards of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), it was an unfortunate revelation. Two weeks ago, we learned that the senator had hired Jack Hunter — also known as the “Southern Avenger” — to work in his Senate office, despite Hunter’s past as a neo-Confederate, pro-secessionist activist. Indeed, the staffer used to make public appearances in a Confederate flag wrestling mask and has boasted that he “raise[s] a personal toast every May 10 to celebrate John Wilkes Booth’s birthday.”
After Paul acknowledged having mixed feelings about Abraham Lincoln, the senator defended Hunter, saying he was just “a youth” when he wrote ridiculous things. (Hunter was 35 when he was still defending the Confederacy in print columns.)
As of now, the activist’s Capitol Hill career has apparently come to an end — Hunter has resigned from Paul’s Senate office (thanks to my colleague Tricia McKinney for the tip).
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