Sunday, December 19, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
House approves repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell'
The 250-175 vote is aimed at putting new pressure on the Senate to end the policy banning gay troops from serving openly in the military.
By Kathleen Hennessey, Tribune Washington Bureau
December 15, 2010, 2:31 p.m.
Reporting from Washington — After stumbling last week, the effort to end the policy banning gay troops from serving openly in the military received a boost Wednesday, as the House approved a measure repealing the policy in an effort to force the Senate to do the same before lawmakers go home for the holidays.
The House vote on the "don't ask, don't tell" policy -- essentially a repeat of a similar vote in May -- puts fresh pressure on the Senate leaders to prioritize the repeal as they struggle to schedule votes on a handful of last-chance priorities for Democrats.
The final tally was 250 to 175, mostly along party lines.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Published: Dec. 13, 2010 at 9:29 AMPORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Americans shouldn't forget about Haiti and the devastation remaining from a monster earthquake in January, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said.Palin, her husband Todd and her daughter Bristol traveled to Haiti to view relief work led by Rev. Franklin Graham, leader of the non-profit Samaritan's Purse and son of evangelist Billy Graham, The Miami Herald reported Monday...
...Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Richard Lugar, R-Ind., both voiced concerns about the Haitian election. Leahy last week urged Washington hold back funding to the Haitian government until officials ensure a "fair and democratic outcome" to the presidential vote.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
- Jobs are everything.
- Don't starve the government.
- Give them something to go home to.
- Waste not, want not.
- Relief is the easy part.
Friday, December 3, 2010
In a case before the Supreme Court, California Gov. Schwarzenegger is arguing that judges have no right to tell states to reduce their prison populations.By: Sherrilyn A. Ifill | Posted: November 29, 2010 at 6:05 PMAmerica's prisons, like many of our public schools, reflect our country's most shameful and profound failings. This week the U.S. Supreme Court takes on one aspect of our nation's love affair with incarceration.In Schwarzenegger v. Plata, the state of California has challenged an order issued by a three-judge federal court under the Prison Reform Litigation Act, which requires the state to reduce its prison population to deal with overcrowding. The court found that overpopulation is directly responsible for the failure of the California system to provide inmates with adequate physical and mental health services. California argues that the prison reduction order issued by the three-judge court under the PRLA goes beyond the scope of the statute and infringes on the state's power.This case is likely to play out before the court and in the media as a battle over states' rights -- in this case, the right of the state of California to manage its own prison system -- and against the encroachment of federal judges supplanting the judgment of elected leaders with their own version of appropriate public policy. Indeed, 18 states have joined in a brief supporting the state of California and making this very argument.But there's much more at stake in this case than the age-old "state sovereignty versus federal courts" story. In fact, the federal court's prison reduction order in this case is something of a last resort -- imposed only after eight years in which the state of California, while conceding the unconstitutional overcrowding in its prison system, has failed to reduce its prison population. The Plata suit stems from an action filed back in 2001. The state conceded in 2002 that prison overcrowding threatened the constitutional rights of prisoners...
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
(1) Avoice (one word) is a site about African Americans in Congress. Here is the Shirley Chisholm page at Avoice. Short but sweet.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
"We're celebrating that those 170 people risked their lives and fortunes to stand for what they believed in, which is self-government," Mr. Antley said. "Many people in the South still believe that is a just and honorable cause. Do I believe they were right in what they did? Absolutely," he said, noting that he spoke for himself and not any organization. "There's no shame or regret over the action those men took."
We assert that fourteen of the States have deliberately refused, for years past, to fulfill their constitutional obligations, and we refer to their own Statutes for the proof. The Constitution of the United States, in its fourth Article, provides as follows: "No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up, on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due."This stipulation was so material to the compact, that without it that compact would not have been made. The greater number of the contracting parties held slaves, and they had previously evinced their estimate of the value of such a stipulation by making it a condition in the Ordinance for the government of the territory ceded by Virginia, which now composes the States north of the Ohio River...
(2) From Katharine Q. Seelye at the New York Times, who reminds us: "Commemorating the Civil War has never been easy. The centennial 50 years ago coincided with the civil rights movement, and most of the South was still effectively segregated, making a mockery of any notion that the slaves had truly become free and equal.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Posted By The Editors On November 16, 2010 @ 8:07 pmAlabama case threatens to have ‘heart’ of VRA declared unconstitutional(New York) – Yesterday the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) filed a brief in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, a case challenging the constitutionality of two core provisions of the Voting Rights Act. The law requires jurisdictions with a history of discrimination to have voting changes reviewed by the U.S. Department of Justice or D.C. District Court to ensure they are free from discrimination.LDF’s brief asks the District Court for the District of Columbia to deny Alabama’s motion for summary judgment –which seeks to have the Section 5 preclearance provision declared unconstitutional based on recycled arguments that have been rejected previously. Instead, LDF asks the court to grant its motion for summary judgment on the grounds that a detailed Congressional record demonstrates that ongoing discrimination remains pervasive in those states and jurisdictions around the country where Section 5 applies...
Saturday, November 6, 2010
by Brian Edgar
Someone walking out of the theater having just seen Davis Guggenheim’s documentary Waiting for “Superman” shouldn’t be blamed for feeling a breezy confidence about the direction we should be headed with our nation’s schools. “The problem is complex, but the steps are simple,” the film assures us. We simply need to build more charter schools, get rid of lazy and incompetent teachers, create accountability regimes and—oh yeah—hire better teachers. But, first we need to get rid of the archaic bureaucracies and unions that protect these cretins. This would be great if it were true. Unfortunately, the film amounts to propaganda for the reform efforts beginning with President Bush’s No Child Left Behind initiative of 2001, not a prescription for reform.
Superman tells the story of five children as they attempt to transfer from their local public schools (and one parochial school) for better opportunities at nearby charter schools. These stories are poignant and devastating as we watch families pin their hopes and their child’s future on lottery systems to gain entry to charter schools with few openings. Guggenheim’s film creates a sense of urgency about the problem—low graduation rates, poor literacy and math skills, and the associated costs of an inadequate educational system on individuals and society. This sounds like a snoozer, but the film is emotionally charged, compelling, and well-made. While the film does a good job of depicting the overall context of reform from the policy perspective from charter schools, standardized testing, and merit pay, it cherry picks its cases to push an agenda and fails to illuminate what these reforms mean to teachers and students in the classroom, where learning presumably takes place...
More at The Brooklyn Rail
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff WriterWednesday, October 27, 2010A state can't require people to submit proof of citizenship when they register to vote, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday in overturning a key provision of a 2004 Arizona initiative.Federal law already requires voters to swear that they are U.S. citizens and meet age and residency criteria, and a state can't impose additional rules, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said in a 2-1 ruling.The 1993 national law was intended "to reduce state-imposed obstacles to federal registration," the court said.The majority included retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, a former Arizona legislator and state judge who has been temporarily assigned to various federal appeals courts.The court unanimously upheld another section of the Arizona law that requires voters to show poll workers proof of their identity. The judges cited a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing Indiana to require photo identification at the polls.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
by Dianna M. Náñez - Oct. 30, 2010 12:00 AMThe Arizona RepublicArizona's effort to ban state-sponsored affirmative action has intensified in the weeks leading up to Tuesday's election. But people on both sides agree on at least one thing: If the measure passes, it will trigger similar proposals nationwide and reignite debate over whether America has moved past the racial and sexual discrimination that spurred the 1960s civil-rights movement.Proposition 107 is a proposed constitutional amendment to outlaw affirmative action in state, county and municipal government, higher education, contracting and hiring, unless prohibiting it would result in the loss of federal funds or violate a court order. If voters approve the measure, Arizona would become the fifth state to pass an affirmative-action ban.Although such laws have spread slowly, starting with California in 1996, supporters and opponents of Prop. 107 say affirmative-action bans will gain greater publicity if the measure passes because the nation is focused on Arizona's politics and immigration laws. Opponents say they expect several of the states that plan to mimic Senate Bill 1070 to also try to pass affirmative-action bans.Passing Prop. 107 in Arizona is part of a broader strategy to target states by region, said Ward Connerly, who heads a California-based non-profit focused on dismantling affirmative action in all 50 states...
Appeals court- The U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit goes before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on Monday. Gov. Jan Brewer is appealing U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton's ruling to halt the enforcement of four parts of SB 1070...District court- Bolton dismissed a couple of the legal arguments in the lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona and several other legal groups but is moving forward with several others...
by Alia Beard Rau - Oct. 29, 2010 12:00 AMThe Arizona RepublicThe nation's toughest immigration law has been in effect for three months. But after the federal courts prevented key portions from going into effect, it has failed to live up to both opponents' worst fears and supporters' greatest hopes.Immigrant-rights groups and major Arizona law-enforcement agencies say they've heard of no arrests made or citations issued using the statutes created under Senate Bill 1070, and no Arizona resident has taken advantage of the portion of the law that allows them to sue an official or agency that is not enforcing federal immigration law to the fullest extent...But several state statutes created under SB 1070 went into effect on July 29. Individuals on both sides of the issue said after Bolton's ruling that the law still had teeth.New statutesThe statutes allowed to go into effect do several things:- Require government officials and agencies to enforce federal immigration laws to the fullest extent permitted by federal law and allow Arizona residents to sue if the official or agency adopts a policy that violates this requirement.- Allow law enforcement to pull anybody over for any traffic violation if the driver is suspected of engaging in the "smuggling" of human beings for profit or commercial purposes. This could include stopping a driver for a secondary offense such as not wearing a seat belt, which in every other circumstance can be cited only if the driver is stopped for a separate primary violation such as speeding.- Make it a crime to pick up or be picked up as a day laborer if the vehicle is stopped on a road and impeding traffic.- Make it a crime to encourage an illegal immigrant to come to Arizona or transport, conceal, harbor or shield an immigrant if the person knows or recklessly disregards the fact the immigrant is in the country illegally. This offense has to be during the commission of another criminal offense...
Sunday, October 24, 2010
State propositions are summarized with the official brief explanations here:
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
I have commented briefly elsewhere on this inanity, so let me just give a hat tip to NewBlackMan, and link to a Huffington Post article that may be the only good thing to come out of this minor media frenzy-- a reminder that harassment is not a one-time, isolated thing that just happens to people you don't know.
I Was Anita Hill
by Duchess Harris
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Bottom line on one of the objections is, I don't know whether Roland Martin knows any black farmers or not. (For the record, one of the few black farmers in Iowa was a good friend of the family and I spent enough time on the farm to claim the experience. I didn't know Thomas Jefferson or Jack Kennedy, though.)
Roland, however, does defend black farmers and I should confirm that in this space. Here's his latest, posted on his blog on Oct. 7:
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Any info (comments, suggestions, criticisms) from anyone who's read Erickson would be appreciated!
P.S. I purchased this (on sale, mind you, for 50 cents) in clear violation of the "2 out for every in" book rule I established over the summer. Apologies to my shelves.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Thursday, September 30, 2010
I was being a curmudgeon over at Prometheus6 this morning (something about coastal fog, knowing that the sun's out elsewhere). Commenter no1kstate was lamenting those wimpy Democrats (and I so fret that the phrase is becoming redundant):
So, what's the problem with the pros? Where's Donna Brazille?
Then I sez, I sez:
We don't expect (at this point) Clintonite Paul Begala to jump in on this, as he will still be employed regardless of who controls Congress. Maybe not Roland Martin either (he's sympathetic to black farmers at least but must never have known any) but somebody should be in somebody's face. Dang, I guess it's Rachel. The first 4 minutes of this is classic and should maybe be a top-level post, ahem ahem (I said I was in a mood):
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Sep 13th 2010, 17:11 by M.S.I DON'T find it at all difficult to understand how Barack Obama thinks, because most of his beliefs are part of the broad consensus in America's centre or centre-left: greenhouse-gas emissions reductions, universal health insurance, financial-reform legislation, repealing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, and so forth. Dinesh D'Souza, on the other hand, appears to have met so few Democrats in recent decades that he finds such views shocking, and thinks they can only be explained by the fact that Mr Obama's father was a Kenyan government economist who pushed for a non-aligned stance in the Cold War during the 1960s-70s. Since the majority of Democrats don't have any Kenyan parents and have no particular stake in the anti-colonialism debates of the 1960s-70s, I'm not sure how Mr D'Souza would explain their views. In any case, Mr D'Souza's explanation of Mr Obama's views doesn't make any sense on its own terms. This, for example, is incomprehensible: "If Obama shares his father's anticolonial crusade, that would explain why he wants people who are already paying close to 50% of their income in overall taxes to pay even more." Come again? Progressive taxation is caused by...anti-colonialism? Message to American billionaires and the people who write for them: many events and movements in world history did not revolve around marginal tax rates on rich people in the United States.In other words, while I don't have any trouble understanding how Barack Obama thinks, I have a lot of trouble understanding how Dinesh D'Souza thinks...
Sunday, September 12, 2010
And the World Trade Center site is not hallowed ground.By Jack ShaferPosted Friday, Sept. 10, 2010, at 5:36 PM ETEvery year, the custody battle over 9/11 becomes more contentious. The current furor over the proposed construction of an Islamic center a couple of blocks away from the World Trade Center footprint has made this anniversary of the carnage at the towers, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, Pa., more prickly than usual... [much more at link]
Saturday, September 11, 2010
The use of the term compromise has been bugging me more than usual since Barack Obama got elected and it became obvious that there would be no compromise on high-profile issues. So far it's resulted in gutted initiatives, the Republicans more than earning the "Party of NO" epithet and being proud of it to boot, etc.
Compromise has been ineffective throughout American history. The compromises of 1820, 1850 and 1877 come to mind as examples that didn't do black folk any good. You could go all the way back to the original three-fifths compromise but that's a given in this space.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Apparently, the votes of white farmers in a key state trump the USDA's settlement of long-standing discrimination complaints -- especially in an election year.By: Frank McCoy | Posted: September 2, 2010 at 5:32 PMThe ire that black farmers and their advocates are currently feeling has two targets: the Senate's failure to vote the money to complete the farmers' settlement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and President Obama's recent generous offer to white Arkansas farmers. Both examples of political expediency are bitter reminders of black farmers' second-class status.For five months, the Senate has blocked passage of legislation that contains money to fund the USDA's $1.25 billion settlement of the second bias suit lodged by black farmers. The agreement, called Pigford II, is supposed to redress past USDA racial discrimination cases...
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Black farmers ask why some get aid and they waitBy Jasmin MelvinWASHINGTON | Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:45pm EDT(Reuters) - Black farmers involved in a decades-old discrimination case are questioning why the Obama administration has promised to hasten aid for some large-scale farmers in the South while their case is held up in political wrangling.The administration pledged last week to find $1.5 billion to help farmers hit by natural disasters after it appeared unlikely the Senate would promptly fund the package.Black farmers reached a historic $1.25 billion civil rights settlement in February to compensate them for being left out of federal farm loan and assistance programs for years due to racism, but are still waiting for funding.There have been seven failed attempts by the Senate, including one last week, to fund the settlement...
Monday, August 9, 2010
It is difficult at this day to realize the state of public opinion in regard to that unfortunate race which prevailed in the civilized and enlightened portions of the world at the time of the Declaration of Independence, and when the Constitution of the United States was framed and adopted; but the public history of every European nation displays it in a manner too plain to be mistaken. They had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations, and so far unfit that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.
...for the early 21st Century we defer to this more abbreviated statement from Cnu, the author of the subrealism blog, ostensibly debating only gay rights but it's never that simple (if you think it is, let me help you onto this truck, watch your step):
Friday, August 6, 2010
Remember, when you were in school and you had to pass the U.S. Constitution test to graduate 8th grade? You had to memorize the Amendments to the Constitution…and there were groups, the two most distinct being: 1st 10 – Bill of Rights, and then the 13th, 14th, 15th Amendments, which you could shorten to SLAVERY (13), CITIZENSHIP(14), RIGHT TO VOTE(15).
So, I watch from the sidelines, as the folks on the right keep on bringing up REPEALING the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.
AND the silence from our so-called ‘ leaders’.
WHY does the right care about this Amendment?
THEY SAY, it’s because the children of illegal aliens, born in this country, and are U.S. Citizens, is a perversion of the Amendment.
So, what exactly does the 14th Amendment say:
Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Section 1 is what deserves the focus.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.
This means that the children of illegals born in this country ARE United States Citizens. They’re talking about this because the majority of the children that qualify -ARE NOT WHITE.
I simply don’t believe that they would care if the majority were from, say, Canada, Ireland, Scandinavia, and nothing will convince me otherwise...
Read the rest + comments at: Jack & Jill Politics
Thursday, August 5, 2010
One thing I'll say for labour (the British Labour Party); and that is, that it isn't as offensive as the corresponding mutatory force which now threatens culture in America. I refer to the force of business as a dominating motive in life, and a persistent absorber of the strongest creative energies of the American people. This intensive commercialism is a force more basically dangerous and anti-cultural than labour ever has been, and threatens to build up an arrogant fabric which it will be very hard to overthrow or modify with civilized ideas.--H. P. Lovecraft, 1929
Friday, July 30, 2010
There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
by Matt McDaniel July 28, 2010He's certainly smarter than the average bear, but he's always been flatter than one, too.That's changing this December when Yogi Bear makes the leap from 2D TV cartoon to 3D live-action movie. Like "Scooby-Doo" and "Alvin and the Chipmunks" before it, "Yogi Bear" will have human actors sharing the screen with computer-animated versions of the animal characters. But what is different in this flick is the big names lending their voices to the CGI stars: Dan Aykroyd as Yogi, and Justin Timberlake as his buddy, Boo Boo.
People who think Inception was “a royal piece of smoldering crap” haven’t seen enough genuinely bad movies, and really should never leave the safety of The Criterion Collection.