September 26, 2013 at 8:38 am #97109
by Lilly Workneh | September 25, 2013 at 4:01 PM
Twenty-four talented individuals were recognized Wednesday morning after they were named the 2013 class of MacArthur fellows – an honor given to an extraordinary group made up of individuals who have achieved much success in their personal creative pursuits.
This year, three African-Americans — Kyle Abraham, Tarell McCraney and Carrie Mae Weems – have been identified by the MacArthur Foundation and join the group of fellows who are each awarded $625,000 to use as they wish towards their creative visions.
“This year’s class of MacArthur Fellows is an extraordinary group of individuals who collectively reflect the breadth and depth of American creativity,” said Cecilia Conrad, Vice President, MacArthur Fellows Program.
“They are artists, social innovators, scientists, and humanists who are working to improve the human condition and to preserve and sustain our natural and cultural heritage. Their stories should inspire each of us to consider our own potential to contribute our talents for the betterment of humankind.”
In particular, the work of these three visonaries attempts to teach lessons and transform the ideas associated with the African-American experience.
Abraham is a New-York-based dancer and choreographer whose work is often inspired by some of his childhood memories growing up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Through his moves — and the music that provides the groundwork for his work — Abraham tells stories that reflect ongoing issues in the urban community like gang and police violence. He is able to express these themes through a variety of powerful portraits that also include spoken word, multimedia and an eclectic range of songs.
As for McCraney, his creative work is presented through a more verbal and theatrical platform.
As a playwright, the 32-year-old Miami native often adapts classic works and creates more contemporary pieces of literature that reflect different components of the black experience.
The Yale University graduate has also made efforts to bring theater to elementary schools in undeserved communities in Miami.
“When I received the call about this fellowship, I put the phone down for a long period of time just so I could pick it up again and make sure they were there,” he said in a video interview taped by members of the foundation. “I’m extraordinarily honored and that feeling is rising every day.”
Lastly, Weems, 60, is an established photographer and video artist who has captured images over the years that provide depth in understanding black culture.
Her endeavors to create video projects and still portraits revolve around her personal mission to portray the realities of discrimination in regards to race, class and gender.
As a social activist, Weems has used her work to help enrich the lives of others. She has contributed to projects and public art campaigns that bring awareness to goals of ending gun violence as well as training the youth through visual workshops in Syracuse, New York.
As you make it through the 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.September 26, 2013 at 8:38 am #97110
Good Morning, EveryoneSeptember 26, 2013 at 8:43 am #97111
Top Nevada GOPer: 2014 Will Be ‘Great’ For Party Because Minorities, Young People Won’t Vote
The top Republican in Nevada’s state assembly predicted earlier this week that his party will triumph in 2014 in part because minority and young voters will be more apt home in a non-presidential year.
State Assembly Minority Leader Pat Hickey (R) made the comments in an interview with conservative talk radio host Dan Mason.
“We have some real opportunities in 2014,” Hickey said Tuesday. “This is a great year in an off-presidential election. Seemingly no Democrat on the top of the ticket against [Gov. Brian] Sandoval. No Harry Reid. Probably where we had a million voters turn out in 2012, we’ll have like 700,000. A lot of minorities, a lot of younger people will not turn out in a non-presidential. It’s a great year for Republicans.”
Hickey told The Huffinton Post on Wednesday that he was merely discussing historical trends in off-year elections.
“What I was trying to say, in Nevada, historically, off presidential years have historically been lower turnout models,” Hickey said, while defending his record on issues important to the Hispanic community.
“We certainly in Nevada are encouraged by Governor Sandoval, being a Hispanic sitting governor who is enjoying broad support,” Hickey said. “Persons like myself in the Legislature supported a resolution for comprehensive immigration reform and driver’s license cards. That is helping the standing of Republicans in Nevada, especially in state legislative races.”September 26, 2013 at 8:49 am #97112
The Affordable Care Act: a personal experience
By Liberal Librarian
The media is swamped with news about the roll-out for the Affordable Care Act, from newspapers and broadcast media outlets and blogs giving primers on the act’s machinery, to Republicans mounting a last ditch and futile effort to derail it. The efforts to derail it are laughable, and veer into Looney Tunes territory; the fact is that the law will be in effect come next Tuesday, and a tsunami wave of information about it is starting to come out detailing its parameters and costs. Politically, this means that the act will be the defining topic for the 2014 elections; once people start applying for coverage, and fully discover all the benefits, they’ll start to appreciate it, and look very askance at any politician who wants to repeal it.
You can’t swing a dead fly on Twitter without hitting a tweet about Obamacare’s imminent birth. But this one struck me quite strongly:
Senator Harry Reid ✔ @SenatorReid
Next year, 129 million with pre-existing conditions can #getcovered. Tell Republicans to stop shutdown threats over health reform.
4:34 PM – 25 Sep 2013
Let that sink in. Over 100 million of our fellow citizens have a pre-existing condition. Before Obamacare, if they had insurance from their job, lost that job, and found work with a company which didn’t provide health coverage, they would either be denied coverage on the open market, or only be able to buy expensive and almost useless insurance.
I’m one of those 129 million people
When opponents of Obamacare fulminate about repealing it, what they mean is that they want to allow insurance companies to discriminate against people like me and my wife, who have pre-existing conditions. They want to toss 129 million Americans onto the tender mercies of an unregulated market, where the conditions mean that, if they have insurance through employers, they are tied to those employers in a semi-feudal state; if they have no coverage from their workplace, then they’re out of luck.
“Affordability” takes on many guises in this act. Yes, the premiums people will pay are proving to be even cheaper than first envisioned. But affordability extends to no copays for yearly exams, mammograms, and cancer screenings. Affordability extends to closing the prescription doughnut hole for Medicare recipients. Affordability extends to forcing insurance companies to spend 80% of the money it collects in premiums on health services, not overhead and administration. And affordability means that 129 million Americans with pre-existing conditions will be able to get affordable health coverage, not tied to work, something which was denied to them for decades.
I have no intention of leaving my job any time soon. I love the work I do. But now many people who would stay with a job they hated solely for the benefits can strike out and try something new—write a novel, start a new business, work for a non-profit—without worrying that they’re one illness away from homelessness. Telling someone that they can’t get health coverage for a condition which is the entire point of getting health coverage is not the mark of a civilized society. That it’s the inferred position of one of the two major political parties is very instructive of their ideology, and how they see the people whom they say they wish to serve.September 26, 2013 at 8:55 am #97113
McCain: ‘The people spoke’
By Steve Benen
Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:21 PM EDT.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) heard Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) argue last night that his critics remind him of Nazi appeasers, and to his credit, the Arizona Republican criticized his right-wing colleague this afternoon, calling Cruz’s comments “a great disservice.”
But that’s not all McCain said (thanks to my colleague Mike Yarvitz for the heads-up).
For those who can’t watch clips online, here’s a partial transcript of the senator’s remarks:
“Many of those who are in opposition right now were not here at the time, and did not take part in the debate and I respect that. But I’d like to remind them that the record is very clear of one of the most hard-fought, fair — in my view — debates that has taken place on the floor of the Senate in the time that I’ve been here.
“And then I’d remind my colleagues that in the 2012 election, ‘Obamacare,’ as it’s called — and I’ll be more polite, the ACA — was a subject that was a major issue in the campaign. I campaigned all over America for two months, everywhere I could, and in every single campaign rally I said, ‘And we have to repeal and replace Obamacare.’
“Well, the people spoke. They spoke, much to my dismay, but they spoke and they reelected the president of the United States.”September 26, 2013 at 8:59 am #97114
School board lifts heavily-criticized ban on Ellison’s ‘Invisible Man’
By Arturo Garcia
Wednesday, September 25, 2013 20:44 EDT
The board of education for Randolph County, North Carolina voted on Wednesday to rescind its ban of Ralph Ellison’s book Invisible Man, the Asheboro Courier-Tribune reported.
The 6-1 vote reverses the board’s Sept. 16 decision to remove the novel from school libraries in the district. The ban was instigated by a parent’s complaint about its content.
“I didn’t find any literary value,” board member Gary Mason said at the time. “I’m for not allowing it to be available.” The Courier-Tribune reported that he was the only board member on Wednesday who voted to uphold the ban.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the book’s removal prompted at least two offers of free copies of Invisible Man for students, as well as an increase in orders from the county library. Readers of the Courier-Tribune also voiced their complaints on its website.
“Yet another reason why the South will never rise,” one reader posted at the time. “The ignorant squeaky wheels hold others back. Invisible Man is an incredibly important book, not just for its historical importance, but for its literary merits. If anyone had suggested sensible gun laws or taxing churches, the same yahoos who wish to ban a book would have been enraged and threatened revolution and/or secession.”
Both the Times and the Courier-Tribune reported that board members have refused to comment on the initial ban.September 26, 2013 at 9:05 am #97115
Chris Matthews rips Ted Cruz: ‘He seeks to divide, he seeks to destroy, he seeks to demoralize’
By Arturo Garcia
Wednesday, September 25, 2013 23:17 EDT
MSNBC host Chris Matthews tore into Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Wednesday, accusing him of appropriating the legacy of Matthews’ personal hero, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
“Cruz is out to make a name [for himself] — not by uniting a country in danger, as Churchill did, not by building up a country’s defenses and morale, as Churchill did,” Matthews argued. “His calling card is just the opposite: He seeks to divide, he seeks to destroy, he seeks to demoralize until the country is so divided, its ability to govern so destroyed, its morale so depressed, that even someone like the freshman senator from Texas starts to look credible.”
Matthews also criticized Cruz, who completed a 21-hour speech on Wednesday railing against the Affordable Care Act (that included his recitation of a Dr. Seuss story) for then turning around and voting alongside everyone else in the Senate to pass a spending plan that will be eventually include funding for the law, fending off the government shutdown Cruz had called for before passing the buck to House Republicans on the issue.
“Ted Cruz, whatever else we decide he is or he decides he wants to be, is no Winston Churchill battling Hitler, any more than Snoopy was battling the Red Baron,” Matthews said dismissively.September 26, 2013 at 9:15 am #97116
Kerry backs arms treaty; right preps major freak-out
By Steve Benen
Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:53 PM EDT.
Following up on a segment from last night’s show, Secretary of State John Kerry took a sensible step today that the right won’t like at all.
The United States signed a U.N. Arms Trade Treaty regulating the $70 billion global trade in conventional arms on Wednesday and the Obama administration sought to allay the fears of the powerful U.S. gun lobby which says the pact will violate the constitutional rights of Americans.
The treaty, which relates only to cross-border trade and aims to keep weapons out of the hands of human rights abusers and criminals, still requires ratification by the U.S. Senate and has been attacked by the influential gun rights group the National Rifle Association (NRA). [...]
The United States, the world’s No. 1 arms exporter, became the 91st country to sign when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry put pen to paper on the sidelines of the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations.September 26, 2013 at 9:17 am #97117
A Malevolent Agenda
Thu Sep 26th, 2013 at 08:45:59 AM EST
A few minutes into his long-winded speech, Sen. Ted Cruz said something that made me want to punch him in his throat.
“Yet I will tell you, Madam President–you and I have both served in this institution some 9 months, not very long, but in the time we have been here we have spent virtually zero time even talking about jobs and the economy. It doesn’t make the agenda. It apparently is not important enough for this body’s time. We spent 6 weeks talking about guns, talking about taking away law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights, and we spend virtually no time talking about fundamental tax reform, about regulatory reform, about getting the economy going. And politicians wonder why it is that Congress is held in such low esteem. This is unfortunately a bipartisan issue, on both sides.”
Set aside the idea that we responded to the murder of twenty first-graders and their teachers with an effort to take “away law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights.” What really angered me was the idea that Congress isn’t focused on jobs because it isn’t on the agenda.
Let’s talk about what is on the Republicans’ agenda. Right now, the leaders in the House are cobbling together a bill that is supposed to pay our debts so we don’t destroy the full faith and credit of the United States of America. Let’s take a look at the goodies that Boehner is attaching to that bill.
The debt-limit measure, which was still being loaded with new provisions late Wednesday, amounts to a grand conservative wish list. In addition to delaying implementation of the health-care law for one year, the bill would establish a timetable for tax reform, squeeze $120 billion from federal health programs over the next decade — in part by tightening medical malpractice laws — and cut federal civil service pensions.
The measure also would approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline and advance other GOP economic goals, including increasing offshore oil drilling, blocking federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions and restricting most forms of federal industry regulation.
About the only major piece of the Republican agenda missing from the bill is a ban on late-term abortions — and some lawmakers who oppose abortion were arguing to add that, GOP aides said.
Quite a “jobs” agenda, isn’t it? Slashing people’s pensions, cutting down on their earned benefits, denying them medical attention, making it harder to sue bad doctors, allowing and enabling people to pollute the environment with impunity…these are supposed to be job-creating policies. And the Senate Democrats and the president are supposed to go along with these policies or we get to default on our debts.September 26, 2013 at 9:38 am #97118
These young people simply don’t get it. Not only will they be made an example of now that they are ‘guests’ of the criminal justice system, the folks in the know are just laying a trap…letting so many of this incidents happen…so, that when they decide to lower the boom, and the ones that try this nonsense in a bit wind up in the morgue…nobody’s gonna say anything and those that do complain will be dismissed.
3 girls arrested following South Loop pepper spray attacks
SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE September 26, 2013 7:05AM
A group of girls shot two women with pepper spray during separate attacks in the South Loop Wednesday night.
Police said the first attack occurred about 10:30 p.m., when a group of three girls approached a 24-year-old woman on foot and sprayed her as she stood outside in the 1100 block of South State Street. The woman was treated and released from Mercy Hospital, police said.
Shortly after, a 26-year-old woman was also sprayed in the 1300 block of South State Street. The woman’s injuries were treated on the scene, police said.
Three female juveniles were in custody for the attacks early Thursday. Charges against them are pending, police said.
Police could not offer a motive for the attacks.September 26, 2013 at 9:40 am #97119
September 25, 2013 5:03 PM
Voting Down: Hooray!
By Ed Kilgore
At some point Republicans are going to figure out that it just doesn’t sound very good when they express joy over people not voting. But that day hasn’t arrived yet, per this statement by a Republican legislative leader in Nevada:
Veteran Nevada political reporter Jon Ralston comments:
This is not the last you wiil hear of this: Assembly Minority Leader Pat Hickey, sitting down with a friendly interviewer (Dan Mason) on conservative talk radio, got careless and talked about how great for the GOP that young people and minorities won’t turn out in presidential year numbers in 2014.
The Democrats had an energize-the-base missive out about it shortly after he said it, saying in part: “Yes, you heard that right — the Republican Party is so out-of-touch with Nevada families they are finally admitting the only way they can win an election is for as few people to vote as possible.”
How hard is it to talk about “favorable turnout patterns” or something? I guess it’s pretty hard if you are fundamentally wired to think an awful lot of voters—say, 47% of them—aren’t objective enough to vote in the first place.September 26, 2013 at 9:42 am #97120
Republicans ready to trade one hostage for another
By Steve Benen
Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:00 AM EDT
There are just five days remaining for Congress to pass legislation to prevent a government shutdown, and overnight, the odds of some modicum of success appear to have improved. In the Senate, where a spending measure was on track to pass Sunday night, a bipartisan agreement was reached that will “accelerate” the process — the chamber should now wrap up its work on Saturday.
In theory, this could give House Republicans time to reject the Senate bill, push another far-right alternative, and practically guarantee a shutdown, but all evidence suggests that’s unlikely. As National Journal reported, “Conservative Republicans in the House appear ready to back off their demands that the short-term funding resolution Congress must pass to avoid a government shutdown also defund or delay Obamacare.”
So, for those hoping congressional Republicans don’t shut down the government, this is good news, right? On the surface, yes. Based on overnight developments, a shutdown appears less likely than it did a few days ago.
The problem is, as the Washington Post and others are reporting, GOP lawmakers appear eager to trade one hostage for another — and the next hostage crisis will be far more serious.
With federal agencies set to close their doors in five days, House Republicans began exploring a potential detour on the path to a shutdown: shifting the fight over President Obama’s health-care law to a separate bill that would raise the nation’s debt limit.
If it works, the strategy could clear the way for the House to approve a simple measure to keep the government open into the new fiscal year, which will begin Tuesday, without hotly contested provisions to defund the Affordable Care Act.
But it would set the stage for an even more nerve-racking deadline on Oct. 17, with conservatives using the threat of the nation’s first default on its debt to force the president to accept a one-year delay of the health-care law’s mandates, taxes and benefits.September 26, 2013 at 9:48 am #97121
September 25, 2013 3:50 PM
Clintonism and Obamaism
By Ed Kilgore
The relationship between the 42d and 44th presidents of the United States has gotten sufficiently cozy that no one saw anything surprising in this development, as reported by WaPo’s Philip Rucker:
The pair of presidents settled into their plush armchairs Tuesday, crossed their legs and tried to demystify the new health-care law, which, as President Obama explained, has become “a little political.”
On this afternoon, on the glistening stage of his annual charitable gathering, former president Bill Clinton asked the questions. And Obama, as is often the case, wasn’t short with his answers.
The two men who stand as bookends for the modern Democratic Party made a united sales pitch to millions of uninsured Americans to enroll when new insurance marketplaces open Oct. 1.
“I don’t have pride of authorship for this thing,” Obama said of the law that could determine his legacy. “I just want the thing to work.”
The incident should serve as a reminder of a couple of big-picture realities that are easy to forget: Clinton and Obama are simply two figures in a long struggle for universal health coverage that dates back to Harry Truman. And Obama, the first since LBJ to succeed in a major step in that direction (though Clinton did make some incremental progress in health care for kids), wound up basing his plan on the very individual mandate that Hillary Clinton embraced in her 2008 primary fight with Obama.
More generally, as memories of that 2008 fight fade, and as some of the more chiliastic expectations of Obama’s presidency are buried, it’s probably time to suggest that the two men are part of the same political tradition that has dominated the Democratic Party—and to a remarkable extent the country—for a long time.September 26, 2013 at 10:00 am #97122
#MSNBC rating in free fall. But #MSNBC’s privileged folks are obsessed with PBO’s poll numbers. Please Proceed, #MSNBC.
8:37 AM – 26 Sep 2013September 26, 2013 at 10:01 am #97123
Yesterday at 2:38 PM
Someone Tell Ted Cruz the Obamacare War Is Over
By Jonathan Chait
Last week, the Wall Street Journal editorial page compared Ted Cruz and his band of Obamacare defunders to kamikaze pilots. Today, as he neared the end of his long, weird diatribe against Obamacare, Ted Cruz thanked the staffers who “endured this Bataan Death March.” So now Cruz and his critics agree that the most apt comparison to Ted Cruz is the World War II–era Japanese military. The analogy does capture the defunders’ sheer obsessive determination to resist and utter inability to formulate a plausible strategy.
The Obama administration today released the final numbers on the premiums in the state health exchanges. This is the single most important piece of data we have to gauge the plausibility of the exchanges, which are the crucial mechanism of Obamacare. The premiums are not spin, they are the collective judgment of the marketplace. The conservative judgment of Obamacare has been a ceaseless litany of doom — rate shock, fumbling bureaucracy, unreasonable regulations. If that indictment were true, insurers would be charging higher rates than the administration initially forecast. Instead, the premiums are clearly lower than forecast — 94 percent of customers in the exchanges will have the chance to pay below-forecast premiums.
In 2010, conservatives were highly confident that the inherent awfulness of Obamacare was such that premiums would rise. James Capretta, writing at National Review, criticized the Congressional Budget Office for issuing “rosy premium scenarios.” Capretta argued “this CBO analysis is terribly optimistic … the premium estimates are based as much on judgment as analytics, and CBO’s judgment is clearly on the optimistic side.” Too optimistic! Clearly! Conn Carroll, then at Heritage, enthusiastically endorsed Capretta’s critique.
But now we know the CBO’s forecasts of the premiums were not too optimistic but too pessimistic. Surely this might budge their evaluation of Obamacare, even a teeny bit, right? Their response? Total silence.
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