Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Male Authors and Joss Whedon

After coming across a post about Esquire's list of "75 Books Men Should Read" that included only one woman author (and only four non-white men) and reading the idiotic comments on the apparent lack of diversity, I thought it'd be nice to post this video of Joss Whedon giving a speech at Equality Now:

You can find a transcript of the speech here.

The plus side is people are talking about women authors. Joyland Publishers even wrote the post "250 Books By Women All Men Should Read." While I firmly believe people shouldn't read books solely because the author is a woman or POC, it's a bit silly to assume books written by alternative viewpoints are inherently less prestigious or relatable. This list also highlights how silly those "what about the boys?" conversations that get brought up every once in and a while.

Update in Wisconsin: 6 GOP Senators Recalled

In my post How the Recall in Wisconsin Works (and an update on the effort) I explained how the Government Accountability Board was scheduled to decide if the recalls are to go forward on May 23 and May 31. Well, on May 23rd the GAB ruled that the petitions against three GOP Senators were sufficient for recall and today the board added three more GOP Senators to the recall list. As for the three Democratic Senators that were also scheduled to be ruled on, the GAB has requested more time to hear the disputes.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
State election officials on Tuesday approved recall elections against three Republican senators but declined for now to take up recall petitions against three Democrats.

Republicans decried as political the decision to take up the petitions against GOP senators but not Democratic senators. Officials with the Government Accountability Board denied that, saying they haven't had time to review detailed challenges by Democrats to the petitions filed against them.

"What the GAB has done is purely partisan and intended to discredit our recall," said a statement from Dan Hunt, who led the effort to recall Sen. Bob Wirch (D-Pleasant Prairie).

Shane Falk, an attorney for the board, said the board has been working overtime to review all the petitions, with half a dozen board employees working on them over the Memorial Day weekend. The board has also had to put in long hours because it just finished overseeing a recount in the April 5 race for state Supreme Court - the first statewide recount in more than two decades.

"We've attempted to work concurrently on all the petitions but we simply don't have enough staff," Falk told the board.

Thomas Barland, chairman of the board, said he was concerned about public perception because some may believe the board is trying to schedule the Democratic recall elections later than the Republican ones.

The board is composed of six retired judges and was specifically designed by the Legislature to be as non-partisan as possible.

"Politics has never been part of our interest or part of our agenda," said board member Thomas Cane.
While I can definitely see why people would think the board is being biased (some Conservative groups are even calling for calling on a state elections official to resign), the board has given a sufficient reason for their holdup in my view. Though both Republicans and Democrats have challenged the recall petitions, the Republicans claimed the way the papers were filed was an issue so it was easier for the GAB to decide on the claim. The Democrats, however, have claimed the Republican petition has signatures that were gathered in fraudulent ways which is causing the hold up.

No matter the reason for the holdup though, the GAB only has until Friday to finish deciding on all recall petitions. While the GAB has said they will try to seek a second extension from the courts, it's unknown how sympathetic the judge will be to the GAB's claims.

The six GOP Senators up for recall are: Sens. Randy Hopper of Fon du Lac, Dan Kapanke of La Crosse, Luther Olsen of Ripon, Sens. Alberta Darling of River Hills, Robert Cowles of Green Bay, and Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls. Democratic Sens. Bob Wirch of Pleasant Prairie, Jim Holperin of Conover, and Dave Hansen of Green Bay still have the possibility of being recalled as well.

If the courts approve the plan, then the recall elections will be on July 12th (there is always the possibility the courts could change the schedule). If there's more than one challenger in any race, July 12 election would become a primary and the general recall election would be Aug. 9 according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. One the recalls have been certified, the only way senators can stop the recall elections is by going through the courts.

From the GAB Recall Manual for Congressional, County and State Officials:
Appeal of Determination of Sufficiency: Within 7 days after an official makes a final determination of sufficiency or insufficiency of a recall petition, the petitioner or the officer against whom the recall petition is filed may file a petition for a writ of mandamus or prohibition with the circuit court for the county where the recall petition is offered for filing. Upon filing of such a petition, the only matter before the court shall be whether the recall petition is sufficient. The court may stay the effect of the filing officer's order while the petition is under advisement and may order the filing officer to revise the election schedule contained in the order, if a revised schedule is necessitated by judicial review. Whenever the recall petitioner files a petition, the officer against whom the recall petition is filed shall be a party to the proceeding. The court shall give the matter precedence over other matters not accorded similar precedence by law.
Following on the heels of the decision of Wisconsin Judge Maryann Sumi to strike down the controversial bill that stripped some unions of collective bargaining rights, it's been a good two weeks for Democrats in Wisconsin. Sumi's decision will help Democrats claim Republican Senators abused their power by violating the state’s open meetings law. Of course, there's always the possibility Republicans could retain their six seats and even gain three if all Democratic Senators are recalled and lose their elections. At this point it looks like Wisconsin Democrats think it's worth the risk.

Previously: Wisconsin Anti-Union Law Struck Down By Judge
How the Recall in Wisconsin Works (and an update on the effort)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Dark Girls: Preview

I came across this clip from an upcoming documentary "exploring the deep-seated biases and attitudes about skin color." I found it particularly moving.

I know this isn't a new issue, but I think it's really important because of the direct impact young children experience when they believe they aren't pretty or smart just because of the color of their skin.

The film is said to be coming out in the fall/winter of this year. You can "like" the Dark Girls page on facebook to receive updates.

Pre-School Graduation


Mr. Holden graduated pre-school yesterday. His class sang a few songs and they had a little graduation ceremony. It was all very cute. Holden struggled with some things during the year, but he ended on a high note. I'm very proud of my little monster.

The side-by-side picture is Holden on the first and last day of school. It doesn't seem like it was long ago when school started, but he looks so little on the left. It's crazy.

Now I got to find a bunch of things to do during the summer so neither of us go crazy.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Reid vs Rand on PATRIOT Act Amendments

I just saw Senator Reid make some really disappointing remarks about the Patriot Act and Senator Paul Rand. He uses the very same language that was used against Democrats just a few years ago and it's just sad. It's like we blinked and it's 2001 again.

Reid speaking on the floor of the Senate:

Rand's response:

It's no secret that I think Rand is a bit cooky, but I hope he stays firm on this issue. Reid's comments are completely ridiculous and don't hold up logically. Also, only parts of the PATRIOT Act would expire.
From Please Tread on Me:
Let's be clear: What is at stake here is not the PATRIOT Act in its entirety but amendments that would provide more checks on its powers -- and force the government to report on how useful and effective they are. The three expiring provisions are the never-used "lone wolf" provision, orders that give the government authority to seize private records, and the roving-wiretap provision. The lone-wolf provision allows the government to track foreigners it believes are planning terrorist activity, even if the targets lack established connections to terrorist groups. Section 215 lets the government obtain "any tangible thing" deemed relevant to a terrorism investigation, usually business records. Roving wiretaps allow investigators to monitor any avenues of communication, such as phone calls or e-mail addresses, it believes the target of a terrorism investigation is using, without even having to name the target in a warrant. Monday, eight Senators -- including three Republicans -- voted against cloture, and yesterday, 12 opposed Reid's effort to circumvent changes to the bill.

Over the past decade, Congress has had little trouble reauthorizing PATRIOT Act provisions regardless of which party controlled Congress or the White House. But over the past few months, the Republican Party's libertarian wing and liberal-to-moderate Western Democrats have joined forces to rein in the PATRIOT Act and provide more oversight over the use of its broad powers. "We've been working in cahoots on this since February," says a Senate aide.

On Monday, a bipartisan amendment introduced by Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and co-sponsored by Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky would have also required the government to conduct more audits of PATRIOT Act powers. Paul and Leahy's reforms also would have let the provision for national security letters, which allow the government to subpoena communications records without a warrant, expire in 2013, four years earlier than Reid's deal. They also would have made it easier for recipients of NSLs and 215 orders to challenge the gag orders that come along with them. Civil-libertarian advocates believe sunsets are crucial opportunities for revisiting laws they see as too broad. Democratic Sens. Mark Udall and Ron Wyden also proposed an amendment that would force the government to provide more information to Congress or the courts before it makes use of the expiring provisions.
Unfortunately for Rand, the Senate has voted 79-18 to end debate on the bill. I know I should be over the bitter disappointment I feel every time something like this happens, but I just can't help it. You can read Rand's amendments here if you're interested. Read what horrible provisions had to be squashed for yourself.

Wisconsin Anti-Union Law Struck Down By Judge

Wisconsin Judge Maryann Sumi ruled that the controversial bill stripping some unions of collective bargaining rights violated state law. The state’s open meetings law requires 24 hours notice of any meeting. Though that notice can be shortened to two hours if “good cause” was shown, the Republicans failed to sufficiently do so.

From Watchdog.org:
Lawmakers violated Wisconsin’s open meetings law in passing the collective bargaining legislation this spring, and therefore, the bill is null and void, ruled Dane County District Judge Maryann Sumi today.

“It is not the court’s duty to determine whether 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 is good public policy or bad public policy; that is the business of the legislature,” according to the ruling. “It is this court’s responsibility, however, to apply the rule of law to the facts before it.”

Sumi ruled that lawmakers failed to give enough notice for the Joint Committee on Conference meeting held March 9, during which lawmakers settled on the final version of the collective bargaining bill. The bill requires most public union employees to contribute more to their health care and pension plans and limits their collective-bargaining powers to salary negotiations.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on June 6 to determine whether it will consider the case, but Republicans claim they will simply re-vote on the issue if necessary. Either way this ruling helps the recall effort because Democrats can claim Republicans violated state law and abused their legislative power.

And when the "activist judge" cries come out in full force, remember she was appointed in 1998 by Republican Governor Tommy Thompson.

ETA: Gov. Scott Walker has confirmed Republicans will do whatever they need to in order to pass this law. You can read all about it here.

Wordless Wednesday Thursday

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Here's you one stop shop for random things I've come across online! You're welcome.

Random Picture:

How Many Americans Have a Passport? The Percentages, State by State by Colin Grey

Federal audits accuse top five mortgage firms of defrauding taxpayers:
The audits accuse the five major lenders of violating the False Claims Act, a Civil War-era law crafted as a weapon against firms that swindle the government. The audits were completed between February and March, the sources said. The internal watchdog office at HUD referred its findings to the Department of Justice, which must now decide whether to file charges.

The federal audits mark the latest fallout from the national foreclosure crisis that followed the end of a long-running housing bubble. Amid reports last year that many large lenders improperly accelerated foreclosure proceedings by failing to amass required paperwork, the federal agencies launched their own probes.
Eating incompetence:
“Most fat people do not binge eat, and many binge eaters are not obese. Conflating compulsive overeating with fatness is not just inaccurate, it can be dangerous. Fat people going to doctors for non-eating-related complaints may be told to stop binge eating, even if they don’t binge eat. (I have been.) And thinner people who do experience binge eating — which is a type of eating that is not exactly optional, voluntary, pleasant, and definitely not the result of gluttony, greed, or general immorality — may go undiagnosed and untreated.”
5 Things Progressives Should Do—and Not Do:
#1 Don’t talk, write or argue about Obama, who has proved himself irrelevant to the progressive project, no matter how narrowly that project is defined. Similarly, don’t conflate progressives with Democrats, since the latter category prominently includes Obama.
Very short but poignant post!

Presenting the Interesting Man's Guide To Penning That Privilege-Based Rape Apology:
Ahh, the vita is always dolce when you are an Interesting Man. And rape? This is not a crime that Interesting Men dismiss out of hand, necessarily. But it's a tawdry and declasse sort of thing that happens to downmarket people. It's not supposed to rile up the lives of the world's elite. Game recognizes game, after all. And shame? That's for lesser people. And so while it can be acknowledged that the possibility exists that DSK is the perpetrator of a crime (Levy: "I do not know what actually happened." Stein: "...it's possible indeed, maybe even likely, that he is guilty as the prosecutors charge."), the important thing to do right now is remind the world that in this life, Interesting Men are never supposed to experience shame, let alone experience it publicly. Isn't that the greater indignity?

The good news for Interesting Men is that they need never again spend too much time wondering how to defend their fellows from such base charges, as Levy and Stein have discovered the formula by which such a defense can be mounted.
This post is about Bernard-Henri Levy and Ben Stein's defense of would-be French presidential candidate Dominique Strauss-Kahn who is accused of raping a hotel maid. One of the more amusing posts I've read in a while.

Confronting the Mass Incarceration Mindset:
Mass incarceration is not just about the number of people actually behind bars. It’s also about a cultural mindset that turns to the criminal justice system—either literally or as a model—as the first response to almost any problem or disruption, even something so minor as a schoolchild’s misbehavior. In his book Governing through Crime (Oxford, 2007), Berkeley law professor Jonathan Simon argues that over the past 40 years, our society has reconceptualized virtually every social problem—extreme poverty, educational inequality, mental illness, undocumented migration, etc.—through the lens of crime, creating a culture of fear in which every citizen is defined first and foremost as a victim. At the same time, this culture also defines certain members of our society as criminals—everywhere they go.
Great read.

If Democrats are the big spenders, why do Republican states get the money?
The "red" states up in arms about government spending receive the largest share of it. This is not a new finding, but research by economist Gary Richardson at the University of California-Irvine backs it up. Richardson provides insight into how the paradox came about and what it means for the future.

It isn't surprising that the more Republican a state leans, the more likely it is to be furious about government spending. But what is surprising is that states with the highest anti-spending sentiment appear to be the largest beneficiaries of government spending. Not only do red states swallow the lion's share of government spending, but Richardson found a linear relationship between the extent of GOP support in a state—and, by implication, the fervor of its anti-government sentiment—and the amount of federal largesse the state receives.
This post is from December, but I thought it was really interesting.


Ron Paul "It's Only Been In RECENT Years That We've Been Bogged Down In This War on Drugs:"

Breakdown of Netanyahu's Appearance in US Congress:

John Kriesel: This Amendment Does Not Represent What I fought For:

Thumbs Up:

1. Kathy Hochul won the special election in New York's 26th district. You would think the GOP could figure out how ridiculous it is to come out against Medicare by now. That saying about insanity and expecting different results with the same action comes to mind.

2. A new Gallup poll shows that for the first time ever more Americans support legalizing same sex marriage.

Special STFU:

Eric Cantor saying disaster relief has to be offset by other spending cuts before it can be approved:

Of course a program for green energy gets cut. Never waste a national disaster eh? You can see some pictures of the tornado aftermath here. It's completely devastating.

Random Quote:
“The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other. It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich. Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied…but written off as trash. The twentieth-century consumer economy has produced the first culture for which a beggar is a reminder of nothing.” — John Berger

Monday, May 23, 2011

Overweight Women Denied By Ob-Gyns

I just saw this video and I think it brings up an interesting dilemma:

From the article:
In a nation with 93 million obese people, a few ob-gyn doctors in South Florida now refuse to see otherwise healthy women solely because they are overweight.

Fifteen obstetrics-gynecology practices out of 105 polled by the Sun Sentinel said they have set weight cut-offs for new patients starting at 200 pounds or based on measures of obesity — and turn down women who are heavier.

Some of the doctors said the main reason was their exam tables or other equipment can't handle people over a certain weight. But at least six said they were trying to avoid obese patients because they have a higher risk of complications.

"People don't realize the risk we're taking by taking care of these patients," said Dr. Albert Triana, whose two-physician practice in South Miami declines patients classified as obese. "There's more risk of something going wrong and more risk of getting sued. Everything is more complicated with an obese patient in GYN surgeries and in [pregnancies]."
The article then goes on to remind people that doctors have the right to turn away patients for any reason (except for sex, race, or sexual orientation), that this is only taking place in South Florida where there are a lot of malpractice suits, and that a lot of physicians think this practice is wrong. So where does this leave us? For me, there's a few problems I have with turning people away because of their weight:

1. This policy doesn't consider health. Not that I think health should be a reason why someone is allowed to be treated, but 200 pounds is a bit arbitrary. What if the woman is tall or an athlete?

2. The excuse about the equipment table is ridiculously insulting and undermines these doctors claims. Excluding that, one physician does mention that ultrasounds are more difficult when a patient is overweight in the article though. Personally, I think this is a completely valid concern. Does this mean patients should be turned away? No. Instead of turning patients away for the medical industry's failure, new and more reliable means of treating overweight patients should be implemented.

3. These doctors have every right to turn people away. As long as the doctor is providing the patient with a list of fat-friendly doctors, then I can't get too worked up about this. Because at the end of the day, these are the very doctors overweight people try to avoid.

4. My biggest concern about this story is the way it further stigmatizes being overweight. We tell people they need to lose weight and be healthy, but we also make it difficult by mocking overweight people when they exercise and shaming them when they go to the doctors. Excluding "obese" people from health insurance or refusing to treat them does not solve any problems. It's just intellectual laziness.

5. This sort of thing smacks of condescending judgement calls. There's often a moral side of being overweight that goes unnoticed. The real question isn't if these doctors should or shouldn't see overweight patients. Not at the heart of it. The question is whether or not being obese makes a person less worthy of care. That's what's really at stake when these conversations come up. If we decided that obesity is a choice and people should suffer for that choice, then where does it stop? Pregnancy is a choice that has a lot of risks. So is driving. Do these people deserve treatment? I'm not saying there are no reasons to be concerned about being overweight, but there seems to be a bit of obesity hysteria that I just can't get into.

And isn't visiting the ob-gyn annoying enough?

Weekly Address: Replacing "No Child Left Behind" This Year

Most of the weekly addresses are pointless, but I like this one. No Child Left Behind is completely ridiculous and I hope it can be replaced with something more productive.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Jon Stewart Goes Head-to-Head Bill O'Reilly

It should be no surprise that Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly disagreed about Common going to the White House. They decided to sit down and chat about it. Here's the result:

Is Thomas Drake an enemy of the state?

I just read an incredible article, by Jane Mayer, about Thomas Drake and the Obama Administration's persecution of whistle blowers. I can't even explain the tangle of emotions I feel after reading it.
On June 13th, a fifty-four-year-old former government employee named Thomas Drake is scheduled to appear in a courtroom in Baltimore, where he will face some of the gravest charges that can be brought against an American citizen. A former senior executive at the National Security Agency, the government’s electronic-espionage service, he is accused, in essence, of being an enemy of the state. According to a ten-count indictment delivered against him in April, 2010, Drake violated the Espionage Act—the 1917 statute that was used to convict Aldrich Ames, the C.I.A. officer who, in the eighties and nineties, sold U.S. intelligence to the K.G.B., enabling the Kremlin to assassinate informants. In 2007, the indictment says, Drake willfully retained top-secret defense documents that he had sworn an oath to protect, sneaking them out of the intelligence agency’s headquarters, at Fort Meade, Maryland, and taking them home, for the purpose of “unauthorized disclosure.” The aim of this scheme, the indictment says, was to leak government secrets to an unnamed newspaper reporter, who is identifiable as Siobhan Gorman, of the Baltimore Sun. Gorman wrote a prize-winning series of articles for the Sun about financial waste, bureaucratic dysfunction, and dubious legal practices in N.S.A. counterterrorism programs. Drake is also charged with obstructing justice and lying to federal law-enforcement agents. If he is convicted on all counts, he could receive a prison term of thirty-five years.

The government argues that Drake recklessly endangered the lives of American servicemen. “This is not an issue of benign documents,” William M. Welch II, the senior litigation counsel who is prosecuting the case, argued at a hearing in March, 2010. The N.S.A., he went on, collects “intelligence for the soldier in the field. So when individuals go out and they harm that ability, our intelligence goes dark and our soldier in the field gets harmed.”

Top officials at the Justice Department describe such leak prosecutions as almost obligatory. Lanny Breuer, the Assistant Attorney General who supervises the department’s criminal division, told me, “You don’t get to break the law and disclose classified information just because you want to.” He added, “Politics should play no role in it whatsoever.”

When President Barack Obama took office, in 2009, he championed the cause of government transparency, and spoke admiringly of whistle-blowers, whom he described as “often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government.” But the Obama Administration has pursued leak prosecutions with a surprising relentlessness. Including the Drake case, it has been using the Espionage Act to press criminal charges in five alleged instances of national-security leaks—more such prosecutions than have occurred in all previous Administrations combined. The Drake case is one of two that Obama’s Justice Department has carried over from the Bush years.

Gabriel Schoenfeld, a conservative political scientist at the Hudson Institute, who, in his book “Necessary Secrets” (2010), argues for more stringent protection of classified information, says, “Ironically, Obama has presided over the most draconian crackdown on leaks in our history—even more so than Nixon.”
Read the rest here. Be prepared to be seriously pissed off and disappointed.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Is College Right for Everyone?

I heard an interesting discussion about whether or nor college is for everyone on the Diane Rehm show on NPR Monday. The segment was called "Is College Right for Everyone?" and I really enjoyed it.
President Obama has called on every American to receive at least one year of higher education or vocational training by 2020. For most young people, that means heading to campus in the pursuit of a college degree. But for a small, influential group of educators and economists, pushing the college experience is wrong. A recent report from Harvard backs them up. It found that only one-third of future jobs will need a bachelor’s degree. The report’s researchers said it’s time to offer stronger alternatives. The debate over the value of a college degree is not new, but the current economic crisis has renewed discussions. Diane and her guests re-examine the “college for all” movement.
You can follow the link to listen to the conversation. Even though it's almost an hour long, I found it really thought provoking.

There were a few different points the guests talked about:

1. It's a myth that having a bachelors degree opens all kinds of doors. This is not to say people don't need any post-secondary education, but that four year degrees shouldn't be seen as the only option.

2. A lot of work is devalued and therefore other forms of education are devalued. Technical schools and trades are just as rigorous, and even more so than some majors, but are seen as less valuable. This is obvious but interesting to think about from an academic point of view.

3. Student debt is a burden, obviously, so people should focus on going to good local schools rather then funneling money into "prestigious" schools. Being half a million in debt doesn't help anyone.

4. Over-education is a major problem. How it works is people get masters degrees for jobs that only require bachelors. So then people with bachelors degrees are taking jobs from people who only have associates and so on. This also pushes out skilled workers who may have more work experience but less education.

5. We've romanticized the "college experience" in our culture which is actually working against against us since it reinforces the four year mentality.

6. There's a disconnect between the job market and what people are learning in college. People aren't majoring in the fields where jobs are needed.

There was also a lot of talk about why people go to college. Is it to get job training or is it for the sake of learning itself? Since people tend to disagree on the why, they also seem to disagree on how higher education should be handled. All in all it was pretty interesting.

I'm a firm believer that college isn't for everyone and it's wrong to equate intelligence with degrees. Obviously someone with a chemical engineering degree is probably going to be intelligent, but we know at least one person with a degree who is not the sharpest tool in the shed. Plus there are tons of people who decide not to go to college that are ridiculously clever. There are a lot of ways to learn and college is only one way. If you're going cause you think you have to, then I think that's the wrong reason. Then again, everyone should do whatever they want and just ignore me. In my experience though, school is much more satisfying and enriching now that I want to be there and value the experience.

I also don't think you should major in something just to get a job (unless you need a specific skill like technical schools or medicine). In a perfect world everyone would take classes that inspire them but the problem of the job market also complicates things. If we should major in things based on the jobs that are available then we may end up hating college and/or our jobs. If you major in something that doesn't have a lot of job options then you risk loving college but then not being able to get a job at all in the field you wanted. Either way it looks like you're at risk of being screwed.

ETA: I saw this on tumblr and thought it perfectly highlighted some of the points mentioned above.

You can read more at "So, How's That College Degree Working Out For You?"

A Brief Note About Not Feeding The Trolls

I meant to post this video by Jay Smooth when I first saw it but I totally forgot. Turns out even Rachel Maddow is a Smooth fan. I knew she was clever.

Here's the whole video:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Historically Hardcore

Don't you hate it when you have posts sitting in your drafts forgotten about for months? I even have drafts dated as far back as 2009 that I abandoned. Makes me feel tired just thinking about it. So while I'm sure many of you have seen these posters already, there definitely worth posting just in case.

Created by "art director Jenny Burrows and copywriter Matt Kapple," these posters were made as an art project apparently. Too bad the Smithsonian doesn't do something similar. This is just the sort of thing parents and teachers can use to draw kids into a subject that doesn't always get much love: history.

Roosevelt was shot before his speech, but I still like it.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


It feels like I've done a lot of these lately, but there's just so much news. Too bad I can't stock up for when nothing interesting is happening, but news isn't really like that. Oh well.

Random Picture:

“The government pisses on us and the press says it’s raining.”
Graffiti in La Paz, Bolivia via Angry White Kid.


“There are some people who don’t wait.” Robert Krulwich on the future of journalism:
So for this age, for your time, I want you to just think about this: Think about NOT waiting your turn. Instead, think about getting together with friends that you admire, or envy. Think about entrepeneuring. Think about NOT waiting for a company to call you up. Think about not giving your heart to a bunch of adults you don’t know. Think about horizontal loyalty. Think about turning to people you already know, who are your friends, or friends of their friends and making something that makes sense to you together, that is as beautiful or as true as you can make it.
This post is long, but it is very good. I love the idea of horizontal loyalty and I really want to find a group of people I admire and want to work with to make something happen. It's something I've thought about for a while now and Krulwish solidified some things for me.

For Fox News, Common Controversy Was As Important As Mississippi Floods:
According to TVeyes.com, for all of Wednesday and up until noon today, "Mississippi" was mentioned in approximately 50 segments that aired on Fox, while "rapper" was mentioned in more than 40. Which means for those making decisions about news coverage at Fox, a rapper's White House visit was basically just as important as the historic flooding unfolding along the Mississippi.

By contrast, at CNN over the same time span this week, "Mississippi" was mentioned in approximately 90 on-air segments, while "rapper" was referenced about ten times.
Shut Up About My Body, Glenn Beck by Meghan McCain:
You’re a full-grown man with teenage daughters who are probably dealing with the sexist, body-obsessed media environment that is difficult for all women. Is this really the legacy you want to be leaving for yourself?

As a person who is known for his hot body, you must find it easy to judge the weight fluctuations of others, especially young women. If any of your daughters are ever faced with some kind of criticism of their physical appearance or weight, they should call me, because women’s body image is another issue I feel passionate about, and have become accustomed to dealing with and speaking with young women about on my college tours.
Black by Choice by Melissa Harris-Perry:
By displaying all these tropes of traditional whiteness, Obama's candidacy disrupted the very idea of whiteness. Suddenly whiteness was no longer about educational achievement, family stability or the command of spoken English. One might argue that the folksy interventions of Sarah Palin were a desperate attempt to reclaim and redefine whiteness as a gun-toting ordinariness that eschews traditional and elite markers of achievement.

Obama's whiteness in this sense is frightening and strange for those invested in believing that racial categories are stable, meaningful and essential. Those who yearn for a postracial America hoped Obama had transcended blackness, but the real threat he poses to the American racial order is that he disrupts whiteness, because whiteness has been the identity that defines citizenship, access to privilege and the power to define national history.
This post is excellent. If you only read on of these links it should be this one. It's not very long and yet Perry hits the nail on the head. You can't believe how many times I've had this very conversation with people who claim Obama is being denied his whiteness (of course they don't phrase it like that). Perry's last paragraph is perfect.


The fake outrage over Common performing at the White House pissed me off to no end. So here's two videos from Jon Stewart that

Tone Def Poetry Jam:

Tone Def Poetry Jam - Lyrics Controversy:

Obama Engaging In Class Warfare:

It's only class warfare when the rich is asked to pay taxes apparently.

Random Quote:
“The personal, as everyone’s so fucking fond of saying, is political. So if some idiot politician, some power player, tries to execute policies that harm you or those you care about, take it personally. Get angry. The Machinery of Justice will not serve you here – it is slow and cold, and it is theirs, hardware and soft-. Only the little people suffer at the hands of Justice; the creatures of power slide from under it with a wink and a grin. If you want justice, you will have to claw it from them. Make it personal. Do as much damage as you can. Get your message across. That way, you stand a better chance of being taken seriously next time. Of being considered dangerous. And make no mistake about this: being taken seriously, being considered dangerous makes the difference, the ONLY difference in their eyes, between players and little people. Players they will make deals with. Little people they liquidate. And time and again they cream your liquidation, your displacement, your torture and brutal execution with the ultimate insult that it’s just business, it’s politics, it’s the way of the world, it’s a tough life and that it’s nothing personal. Well, fuck them. Make it personal.” —Altered Carbon, by Richard K. Morgan

Friday, May 13, 2011

McCain on Toruture and Osama bin Laden

Senator John McCain gave a moving speech on the Senate floor about the torture debate. It's a bit long, but definitely worth the watch:

Welcome back Senator. As the Daily Kos said, "The Maverick is getting mavericky again." Hop over there for more details.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Stewart: Who Killed Osama bin Laden?

Perfect as always:

Rachel Maddow had a segment about the obvious bias Sunday Morning shows gave to former Bush administration officials regarding Bin Laden:

"The Sunday shows are supposedly the apex of political debate, the pulsing throbbing heart of what is going on in American politics. Is the biggest story in American politics right now retirees from the Bush administration and how they feel about stuff? Plus Dick Lugar?"
ETA: I just read an interesting post that argues with Maddow's conclusion. Though more former Bush staff were given interviews, the few Democratic interviewees were given more time. So I guess it's a question of quantity versus quality? I have two objections to this: 1. The members of the Bush administration are well known and I think their familiarity works in their favor. I doubt former Obama Communications Director Anita Dunn and National Security Adviser Tom Donilon are the reason people stayed tuned. 2. Even if these GOP members were given less face time, their sheer numbers makes them appear to be saturating the Sunday shows. This adds weight to what they say, even if it is not entirely accurate.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011