Weekly Address: President Obama - It's Time to Help Women and Working Families

by: JanF

Sat Nov 01, 2014 at 06:33:55 AM EDT

The President's Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.


From the White House - Weekly Address

In this week's address, the President highlighted the progress our economy is making, and the commonsense policies that could make it even stronger by ensuring that everyone who works hard has the opportunity to get ahead, especially women and working families.

This commitment has been a core part of the President's Year of Action and a priority since the start of his administration, which is why he has put forth a range of policies that would help women and working families get ahead, from raising the minimum wage, to ensuring equal pay for equal work, to increasing access to high-quality child care and paid family leave. This week's address follows remarks the President delivered on Friday at Rhode Island College, where he discussed the importance of harnessing our economy's momentum by making policy choices that will help women and all working parents fully participate in and contribute to our economy.

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In the News: Ebolinsanity

by: JanF

Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 09:58:36 AM EDT

Found on the Internets ...

A series of tubes filled with enormous amounts of non-contagious but highly infectious material


Threat of Lawsuit Could Test Maine's Quarantine Policy

A nurse who cared for Ebola patients in Sierra Leone was headed for a legal showdown with the State of Maine on Wednesday over whether the state can quarantine her against her will.

The dispute is heightening a national debate over how to balance public health and public fears against the rights and freedoms of health care workers, and troops, returning from West Africa.

"This is a tipping point in this whole process," the nurse, Kaci Hickox, said in an interview, one of several she did from her home in northern Maine on Wednesday, as state troopers and television trucks stood outside.

"So many states have started enacting these policies that I think are just completely not evidence-based. They don't do a good job of balancing the risks and benefits when thinking about taking away an individual's rights."[...]

Ms. Hickox, 33, returned last Friday from a month treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone with the rescue group Doctors Without Borders, She was isolated in a tent at a New Jersey hospital after she registered a low-grade fever on a forehead scanner, though she had not previously registered a fever and has not since.

She has never shown symptoms of the virus and tested negative for it several hours after being quarantined. [...]

"I understand how fear spreads," she added. "But if I'm a nurse and I have a patient in the hospital, it's our responsibility as medical professionals to advocate for our patients. Now, it's the medical professionals who are being stigmatized. Even if there is popular public opinion, we still have to advocate for what's right."


Connecticut father sues after Ebola fears keep daughter from school

Oct 28 (Reuters) - A father sued a Connecticut elementary school on Tuesday, saying his 7-year-old daughter was discriminated against and banned from school for 21 days based on irrational fears of Ebola because she attended a wedding in Nigeria.

Stephen Opayemi filed the lawsuit in federal court in New Haven, Connecticut. He asked a judge to order the schools in Milford, Connecticut, to immediately permit his daughter to return to her third-grade class.

Opayemi's daughter has not experienced any symptoms associated with Ebola and her health is fine, but parents and teachers were concerned she could transmit Ebola to other children, the lawsuit says.[...]

According to the suit, a city health official said in an Oct. 15 meeting that the risk of the girl infecting anyone was minor but that she ought to be quarantined because of rumors, panic and the climate of the school.


Louisiana To Ebola Experts: Stay Away

Louisiana state officials wants scientists and medical researchers who have dealt with Ebola patients not to come to the state's annual American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene conference next week in New Orleans.

In a letter to the organization, reported by Bloomberg News, the heads of Louisiana's health and homeland security departments effectively disinvited those who have recently cared for Ebola patients.

Just who are these folks who dare to gather in Louisiana?

The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH), founded in 1903, is a worldwide organization of scientists, clinicians and program professionals whose mission is to promote global health through the prevention and control of infectious and other diseases that disproportionately afflict the global poor. Research, health care and education are the central activities of ASTMH members, whose work bridges basic laboratory research to international field work and clinics to countrywide programs.

Specific ASTMH goals include:

   Improving the health of people worldwide
   Advancing research in tropical diseases
   Fostering international scientific collaboration
   Supporting career development in tropical medicine and global health
   Educating medical professionals, policymakers and the public about tropical medicine and global health
   Promoting science-based policy regarding tropical medicine and global health
   Recognizing exceptional achievement in tropical medicine and global health

Certainly there would be no discernible benefit from their meeting. Sigh.


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Getting Souls to the Polls

by: DeniseVelez

Tue Oct 28, 2014 at 15:24:57 PM EDT

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Contrary to much of the negativity being spread by some traditional media sources, and blather from black Republican tokens, black American Democrats continue our relentless pursuit of the ballot box, with efforts to turn out our voters across the nation. Souls to the Polls operations are still underway: from Minnesota, to Ohio and Illinois, to Georgia, North Carolina, Florida and more.

NPR: After Sunday Service, Georgia Churches Get Souls To The Polls

The Piney Grove church is in an area that is 55 percent African-American and therefore one part of Georgia that could help Nunn win the Senate seat this November. That's if people turn out to vote.

Former first lady Rosalynn Carter joined the congregation yesterday to help rally churchgoers to the polls and work to "help make Martin Luther King's dream become a reality in our state." "We can do it, if we all work together, if we all go to vote, if we can be sure that all of our friends and relatives and neighbors go to vote, and vote early," Carter said.

Sunday voting caused some controversy in Georgia. Republicans grumbled about it giving Democrats a boost. But Flippin says it's only fair that black voters get a chance on Sundays to mobilize. "Many of our people still do not have professional jobs that they can take off or go into work late. You know, most corporations - they allow you to come late or come early on Election Day. Well, if you're working in a factory or job like that, they can't take off," says Flippin. Piney Grove worshippers loaded up on two church buses and, with a caravan of cars following, drove to the voter registration and elections office in Decatur to vote.

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Listen to *this* Guy!

by: JanF

Tue Oct 28, 2014 at 10:11:54 AM EDT

The problem with the U.S. Senate polls heading into the final week before election day is that when you dig a little deeper, they are essentially saying that most of the races are "too close to call".

Yet that does not stop the breathless headlines: "Democrats will be crushed by Republican wave" or "Democratic majority doomed".

I recommend listening to this Guy, Guy Cecil, who says that we can win ALL the close Senate elections if we just get out the vote, even in states where there are more Republicans than Democrats.

How? Well, state by state (from the video):
- CO (mail-in means 2 million more voters than in 2010),
- AR (95,000 more AA voters, 5% bump),
- LA (900,000 new AA voters since Katrina),
- AK (Turnout among native people),
- NC (education is #2 issue which has no anti-Obama component),
- IA (D dominating early vote, non-2010 voters are voting Democratic),
- GA (New AA voters, maximize Atlanta and southern GA),
- KY (Tied, key is turnout in Louisville, high negatives for McConnell),
- SD (Not giving up),
- NH (Shaheen is up and will stay up)
- MN (Franken is a lock)
New voters, re-energized voters, non-2010 voters. Democratic voters.

So who is this Guy and why should we listen to him?

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Your Vote Counts: Countdown to the Midterms

by: JanF

Fri Oct 24, 2014 at 09:24:46 AM EDT

Are you ready? ...
Update: 8 days until November 4, 2014

It is time to step away from the polling and get to the polls.


Voter Turnout in Four Charts

A recent Pew study finds that non-voters are far more likely to oppose repealing Obamacare and support government "doing more things." While likely voters were split between Obama and Romney, each with 47 percent of the vote, non-voters supported Obama by a whopping 35 points (59 percent to 24 percent). [...]

All of this suggests that more turnout, particularly among low-income voters, would shift our political system to the left. The Median Voter Theorem postulates that democratic systems will produce policy outcomes that align with the preferences of the median voter suggests that turnout gaps as a source of policy bias toward more affluent households. Because non-voters are more economically liberal than voters, the median voter is more conservative than the electorate at large. If more low-income people voted, politicians would become more economically liberal to court the new voters. [...]

Politicians respond to voters, not non-voters.

Don't leave your lives in the hands of those who, quite literally, do not give a darn about your life. Your vote will not only elect people who believe in the value of government but it will put pressure on those politicians who think they can get away with ignoring you. Turn out and tell them NO.


The Great Kansas Tea Party Disaster

Extremist Republicans turned their government into a lab experiment of tax cuts and privatization. And now they may be losing control of one of the reddest states in the nation

"Tea Party Disaster" - my new favorite phrase. May the receding tide from the 2010 wave wash away the GOP governors who put their national party above their constituents needs.


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Seasonal Change at Mts. Baker & Shuksan

by: Ronk

Wed Oct 22, 2014 at 13:34:42 PM EDT

Mt. Shuksan in the clouds across Picture Lake

Mt. Skuksan

Last weekend appeared as if it might be last chance I could get up to Mount Shuksan  and Mt. Baker National Forest before the snows set in. So, with grand kids again, I went up to see the Fall colors and what happened to the plants that I saw on my last foray a couple of months ago.

This is largely a photo diary of Alpine scenery in the Mt. Baker National Forest and Wilderness Area.

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The Durham Manifesto

by: DeniseVelez

Tue Oct 21, 2014 at 15:31:46 PM EDT

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So much of our history, as black Americans, is often lost, forgotten or obscured. Key moments of that history often take us to North Carolina, where struggles are still being led by groups like Moral Mondays, spearheaded by Rev. William Barber.

One such historical moment was the issuance of The Durham Manifesto, as a result of the October of 1942 Southern Conference on Race Relations, which was held in Durham, North Carolina.

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Justice Ginsburg: "... racial discrimination in elections in Texas is no mere historical artifact"

by: JanF

Sun Oct 19, 2014 at 07:08:03 AM EDT

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), snuck around in the early morning hours Saturday to decree that stopping a Texas law which discriminates on racial grounds would be unfair to Republicans in Texas who have worked so hard to disenfranchise those who might vote against them.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote (another) scathing dissent which was also signed by Justices Sotomayor and Kagan.

Sadly, three votes to protect the right to vote  is as meaningful as zero votes on a court intent upon disenfranchising those who would vote against their preferred political party. It is not enough to be right, we need to win these, especially the obvious ones.

Justice Ginsburg harkens back to the mindnumbing disconnect from reality present in the majority's Shelby v Holder ruling last year that struck preclearance from the Voting Rights Act. Chief Justice Roberts declared that we are now post-racial and there is no need to consider history, blahblah, pesky facts, blahblah. But, as Justice Ginsburg notes in her dissent "racial discrimination in elections in Texas is no mere historical artifact. To the contrary, Texas has been found in violation of the Voting Rights Act in every redistricting cycle from and after 1970."

An estimated 600,000 citizens in Texas have not paid the 2014 version of the poll tax and will not have the required ids needed to vote this year.

THAT is how Republicans win: by denying the right to vote to those who are likely to vote against them. They can't win on their ideas and this is the last desperate gasp of a party soon to become a minoritea. That moment will likely be delayed unless we can convince two more justices that the right to vote is a fundamental right under our constitution and that artificial barriers to voting should be stricken.

Really, how can they let this stand? Justice Ginsburg:

The greatest threat to public confidence in elections in this case is the prospect of enforcing a purposefully dis­criminatory law, one that likely imposes an unconstitu­tional poll tax and risks denying the right to vote to hun­dreds of thousands of eligible voters.

Stop hurting America, SCOTUS. Give us back our democracy.

democracy [dih-mok-ruh-see]

1. government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.

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Weekly Address: President Obama - What you need to know about Ebola

by: JanF

Sat Oct 18, 2014 at 08:20:22 AM EDT

The President's Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.


From the White House - Weekly Address

In this week's address, the President discussed what the United States is doing to respond to Ebola, both here at home and abroad, and the key facts Americans need to know. There is no country better prepared to confront the challenge Ebola poses than the U.S. and although even one case here at home is too many, the country is not facing an outbreak of the disease. Our medical professionals tell us Ebola is difficult to catch, and is only transmitted through direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is showing symptoms.

The President made clear that he and his entire administration will continue to do everything possible to prevent further transmission of the disease domestically, and to contain and end the Ebola epidemic at its source in West Africa.

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The White House on Ebola: "We are taking this very seriously at the highest levels of government"

by: JanF

Thu Oct 16, 2014 at 08:17:44 AM EDT

From the White House Blog - Here's What You Need to Know About Our Response to Ebola Right Now

Today, a health care worker from Dallas was transferred to Emory University Hospital for treatment after contracting the Ebola virus while helping to treat Thomas Eric Duncan, the first patient to have the disease in the U.S.

After meeting with his Cabinet officials and Dr. Tom Frieden of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the President updated the country on our comprehensive strategy to contain the disease, prevent its spread in the U.S., and combat it at its source in West Africa.

"The dangers of a serious outbreak are extraordinarily low" in the U.S., the President said. "But we are taking this very seriously at the highest levels of government."

The purpose of the meeting was to review exactly what happened in Dallas and how we can make sure it is not repeated.

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The battle against poll taxes and voter repression

by: DeniseVelez

Tue Oct 14, 2014 at 15:58:44 PM EDT

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Though many people think of Jim Crow as something in our past, along with poll taxes put in place to be a "skin-color" tax to prevent people of a darker hue from voting, it isn't history. It's alive and well and being perpetrated across the U.S. and not just in the south.

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There is no place for voter suppression in a democracy. Period.

by: JanF

Mon Oct 13, 2014 at 05:32:23 AM EDT

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the largest circulation paper in Wisconsin and the paper of record for the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County, penned a scathing editorial calling out the Republican legislature for their attempt to disenfranchise those who would vote for Democrats.

The editorial is in response to the blistering opinion from 7th Circuit Court Judge Richard Posner about that court's big sloppy kiss to Gov. Scott Walker and his re-election campaign.

From the Journal-Sentinel editorial:

Five appeals court judges gave their colleagues the what-for Friday in a bark-peeling attack rarely seen in the legal genre. Led by Judge Richard A. Posner, himself a convert to the idea that voter ID equals voter suppression (good for him), the judges called the idea of voter fraud by impersonation "a mere fig leaf for efforts to disenfranchise voters likely to vote for the political party that does not control the state government."

Which is precisely what is afoot in Wisconsin.

It has been clear from the day this rancid idea began working its way through the state Legislature that this was all about winning elections and not about the integrity of those elections. Voter ID makes it harder for certain classes of voters to exercise the franchise, including minorities, the elderly and the young. The fact that those categories of voters tend to favor Democrats should tell you all you need to know about the motivations of Republican legislators.

It's about winning, baby, which is about integrity only in the sense that up is about down or that white is about black.

The editorial goes on to call out Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen who is contemplating an end around the Supreme Court's ruling that Wisconsin's voter id law cannot be used in the November 4th election. How, pray tell, does one defy the Supreme Court of the United States of America? Maybe J.B. stand for Jefferson Beauregard and he will rally the other crazee Republicans who wanted to include secession in the Wisconsin GOP platform this past summer to foment rebellion? Or maybe he is simply an idiot.  

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Weekly Address: President Obama - America Is a Place Where Hard Work Should Be Rewarded

by: JanF

Sat Oct 11, 2014 at 06:15:29 AM EDT

The President's Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.


From the White House - Weekly Address

In this week's address, the President made the case for why it's past time to raise the minimum wage. Increasing the national minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would benefit 28 million Americans, and make our economy stronger. While Republicans in Congress have blocked this commonsense proposal, a large and growing coalition of state and local leaders and owners of businesses large and small have answered the President's call and raised wages for their residents and employees.

This progress is important, but there is more that can be done. No American who works full time should have to raise a family in poverty. That's why the President will continue to push Congress to take action and give America its well-deserved raise.

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Supreme Court Watch: Voting Rights, UPDATE: North Carolina voters lose; WI voters win; Texas next?

by: JanF

Wed Oct 08, 2014 at 07:41:11 AM EDT

This week we are watching for news out of the Supreme Court.

UPDATE 2: Emergency Stay Granted to Stop Implementation of Wisconsin Voter ID
... the basis was the Purcell objection, the proximity to the upcoming election and the risk of electoral chaos.

PDF of order ("Justices" Alito, Scalia, and Thomas dissented) is here:
the Seventh Circuit's stay of the district court's permanent injunction is vacated

Texas: A federal district court struck down the Texas Voter Id Law. The ruling issued an injunction, Texas said that they will appeal, so now we watch again.

UPDATE: 4th Circuit overturned by SCOTUS, extended registration in NC cancelled
... the full slate of changes passed by North Carolina this year, increasing restrictions on the voting process, is now back in effect for the election.

Justices Ginsberg and Sotomayor dissented (PDF) noting that the courts removal of pre-clearance in the VRA led directly to this outcome:
These measures likely would not have survived federal pre-clearance. The Court of Appeals determined that at least two of the measures - elimination of same-day registration and termination of out-of-precinct voting - risked significantly reducing opportunities for black voters to exercise the franchise in violation of §2 of the Voting Rights Act.

There are two important election related emergency requests that are pending. One is for North Carolina and is in the hands of Chief Justice Roberts. The other is for Wisconsin and is in the hands of Justice Kagan. Both matters have been fully briefed. Court watchers expect the North Carolina ruling to go in favor of the state and the Wisconsin ruling to go in favor of the voters. But tea leaf readers are really just guessing because as they say, the law is an ass, and the Supreme Court does whatever the heck it wants.

More below ...

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Racism in the Secret Service

by: DeniseVelez

Tue Oct 07, 2014 at 16:03:52 PM EDT

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After the recent news release about bullets fired into the White House back in 2011, I though I'd revisit some of the worrisome thoughts I've had for years about the Secret Service and the safety of President Obama and his family. Why are we supposed to automatically trust those assigned to the protection of the President when it is patently clear that security has been lax? Could racism inside the agency be one of the variables that comes into play? In the spate of news articles and blogs about the Secret Service screw-ups recently, I find it interesting that few have linked the ongoing suit in the courts by black agents to what seems to be only slipshod security as a potential factor.  

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BREAKING: Supreme Court Denies Petitions on Marriage Ban Appeals

by: JanF

Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 10:10:40 AM EDT

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Breaking News E-mail
Gay marriages to resume as Supreme Court rejects appeals

The U.S. Supreme Court has turned away appeals from Wisconsin and four other states seeking to prohibit same-sex marriages, paving the way for an immediate expansion of gay and lesbian unions.

NY Times Breaking News E-mail

Supreme Court Clears Way for Gay Marriage in 5 States

The Supreme Court on Monday denied review in all five pending same-sex marriage cases, clearing the way for such marriages to proceed in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The move was a major surprise and suggests that the justices are not going to intercede in the wave of decisions in favor of same-sex marriage at least until a federal appeals court upholds a state ban.

This just got upended

UPDATE: What it looks like now


This morning the Court issued additional orders from its September 29 Conference.   Most notably, the Court denied review of all seven of the petitions arising from challenges to state bans on same-sex marriage.  This means that the lower-court decisions striking down bans in Indiana, Wisconsin, Utah, Oklahoma, and Virginia should go into effect shortly, clearing the way for same-sex marriages in those states and any other state with similar bans in those circuits.

Over 30 states now must allow same-sex marriage.

More news items below ...

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Weekly Address: President Obama - We do better when the middle-class does better

by: JanF

Sat Oct 04, 2014 at 08:20:54 AM EDT

The President's Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.


From the White House - Weekly Address

In this week's address, the President highlighted that six years after the Great Recession, thanks to the hard work of the American people and the President's policies, our economy has come back further and faster than any other nation on Earth. With 10.3 million private-sector jobs added over 55 straight months, America's businesses have extended the longest streak of private-sector job gains on record.

But even with this progress, too many Americans have yet to feel the benefits. The President reiterated the vision he set out earlier this week for steps that can lay a new foundation for stronger growth, rising wages, and expanded economic opportunity for middle-class families.

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Today in Voting Rights: A Win in North Carolina; UPDATED: WI voter id to SCOTUS

by: JanF

Wed Oct 01, 2014 at 14:37:23 PM EDT

Why is this man smiling?

Federal Appeals Court Blocks North Carolina Voting Restrictions in Time for Midterm Election

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals today reversed a lower court ruling that had allowed provisions of North Carolina's restrictive voting law to go into effect before the midterm election. Today's order restores same-day registration and reinstates out-of-precinct provisional voting on Voting Rights Act grounds. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice are challenging those provisions, as well as the elimination of a week of early voting.

"The court's order safeguards the vote for tens of thousands of North Carolinians. It means they will be able to continue to use same-day registration, just as they have during the last three federal elections," said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project.

"This is a victory for voters in the state of North Carolina," said Southern Coalition for Social Justice staff attorney Allison Riggs. "The court has rebuked attempts to undermine voter participation."

The ruling

Judge James Wynn, an Obama appointee, begins his opinion with a simple declaration - "[t]he right to vote is fundamental." He then holds that two provisions of the new voter suppression law, the provision eliminating same-day registration and the provision calling for a voter's ballots to be tossed out if they vote in the wrong precinct, must be suspended pending a full trial of this case on the merits.

Judge Wynn's opinion reverses the decision of a George W. Bush appointed judge who allowed the entire law to take effect.

PDF of the ruling is here (PDF): NC-Opinion

The Reverend William Barber III deserves credit for not letting up on demanding the right to vote.

UPDATED: October 2, 2014 8:20am CDT

The ACLU has requested an emergency stay of the voter id requirement for next month's election


Yesterday's Marquette University Poll of the Wisconsin governors race included polling on voter id. Roughly 30% of those polled did NOT realize that the voter id law was going into affect for this election and 1.2% of registered voters, about 44,000, do not have an id.

On Thursday, Justice Kagan asked for a response brief from the State of Wisconsin, due Tuesday, 10/7 at 5pm.

More good voting news below ...

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Let's talk about black girls

by: DeniseVelez

Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 16:05:57 PM EDT

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Much of our attention has been focused on our young black men, and rightly so, given the propensity in this culture for them to be shot in cold blood, killed and incarcerated. We've discussed President Obama's initiative for young black men, "My Brother's Keeper."

However, a new report, issued by the National Women's Law Center (NWLC) and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is important for us to pay attention to. Read the full report here.

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Elections Matter -- for Future Elections! UPDATED

by: JanF

Mon Sep 29, 2014 at 08:20:35 AM EDT

The ruling by the anti-voter judicial activists on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, the ruling which implemented newly developed and completely untested voter id rules for Wisconsin's general election on November 4, 2014, will not be reviewed by the full panel.

ACLU Comment on Federal Appeals Court Ruling on Wisconsin Voter ID

CHICAGO - The full Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals today declined to rehear a three-judge panel's order reinstating Wisconsin's voter ID law prior to the midterm election. The vote was split evenly, 5-5, meaning the panel's order stands. Neither the panel nor the full court has yet ruled on the actual merits of the law, which was found unconstitutional by a federal judge in April. The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging the law, and petitioned for a full appeals court review following the panel's order on September 12 allowing the law to take effect. The ACLU presented oral arguments to the panel that day asking the court to uphold the April decision striking down the law as unconstitutional and in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

The following is a statement from Dale Ho, director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project:

"Allowing this law to take effect so close to the midterm election is a recipe for chaos, voter confusion, and disenfranchisement. The court could have avoided this pandemonium and given Wisconsin voters a chance to cast their ballots free of obstruction. It failed to do so, and we are evaluating our next step."

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Me to GOP: Tough. YOU don't get to choose.

by: JanF

Fri Sep 26, 2014 at 10:08:28 AM EDT

In the wake of Eric Holder's announcement that he will be stepping down as Attorney General, the media is filled with right-wing bloviating (no, right-wing, Eric Holder's Justice Department is NOT "scandal ridden" ... any more than "Romney won Ohio").

This headline from The Hill stomped on my last nerve:

"GOP to Obama: Don't replace Holder in lame-duck Congress".

That article includes this quote from Ted Cruz:
"Allowing Democratic senators, many of whom will likely have just been defeated at the polls, to confirm Holder's successor would be an abuse of power that should not be countenanced".

"This shall not stand!" proclaims man whose freshness date expired months ago. "Abuse of power" and "should not be countenanced" are, of course, code words for impeachment. Go with that, GOP!! It has worked so well for you in the past. If the Republicans want to waste their time on impeachment to please their shrinking base, let them. The country needs a strong, intelligent, principled, Democratic replacement to continue the important work that Eric Holder started; if we have a better chance to get that now rather than later, with a thinner majority, we should do it.  

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President Obama: "We choose hope over fear"

by: JanF

Thu Sep 25, 2014 at 05:54:22 AM EDT

On Wednesday, President Obama addressed the United Nations General Assembly ... spoke to the people of the world.

"We choose hope over fear. We see the future not as something out of our control, but as something we can shape for the better through concerted and collective effort. We reject fatalism or cynicism when it comes to human affairs; we choose to work for the world as it should be, as our children deserve it to be."

-- President Obama to the United Nations General Assembly, September 24, 2014

President Obama:

We come together at a crossroads between war and peace; between disorder and integration; between fear and hope.

Around the globe, there are signposts of progress.  The shadow of World War that existed at the founding of this institution has been lifted, and the prospect of war between major powers reduced.  The ranks of member states has more than tripled, and more people live under governments they elected. Hundreds of millions of human beings have been freed from the prison of poverty, with the proportion of those living in extreme poverty cut in half.  And the world economy continues to strengthen after the worst financial crisis of our lives.

Today, whether you live in downtown Manhattan or in my grandmother's village more than 200 miles from Nairobi, you can hold in your hand more information than the world's greatest libraries.  Together, we've learned how to cure disease and harness the power of the wind and the sun.  The very existence of this institution is a unique achievement -- the people of the world committing to resolve their differences peacefully, and to solve their problems together.  I often tell young people in the United States that despite the headlines, this is the best time in human history to be born, for you are more likely than ever before to be literate, to be healthy, to be free to pursue your dreams.[...]

Fellow delegates, we come together as united nations with a choice to make.  We can renew the international system that has enabled so much progress, or we can allow ourselves to be pulled back by an undertow of instability.  We can reaffirm our collective responsibility to confront global problems, or be swamped by more and more outbreaks of instability.  And for America, the choice is clear:  We choose hope over fear.  We see the future not as something out of our control, but as something we can shape for the better through concerted and collective effort.  We reject fatalism or cynicism when it comes to human affairs.  We choose to work for the world as it should be, as our children deserve it to be.

His conclusion:

The people of the world now look to us, here, to be as decent, and as dignified, and as courageous as they are trying to be in their daily lives.  And at this crossroads, I can promise you that the United States of America will not be distracted or deterred from what must be done.  We are heirs to a proud legacy of freedom, and we're prepared to do what is necessary to secure that legacy for generations to come.  I ask that you join us in this common mission, for today's children and tomorrow's.

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Dear White People...

by: DeniseVelez

Tue Sep 23, 2014 at 15:33:06 PM EDT

I haven't forgotten Spike Lee's School Daze, made in 1988, which took a look at the doings of black students on an HBCU campus during homecoming weekend. Coming to a theater near you on October 17, is a new film, also looking at black college students, but this time on a white campus.

Dear White People, "a satire about being a black face in a white place," is a film offering from Justin Simien, who is making his directorial debut.  

Winner of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival's Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Talent, Dear White People is a sly, provocative satire of race relations in the age of Obama. Writer/director Justin Simien follows a group of African American students as they navigate campus life and racial politics at a predominantly white college in a sharp and funny feature film debut that earned him a spot on Variety's annual "10 Directors to Watch." When Dear White People screened at MOMA's prestigious New Directors/New Films, the New York Times' A.O. Scott wrote, "Seeming to draw equal measures of inspiration from Whit Stillman and Spike Lee, but with his own tart, elegant sensibility very much in control, Mr. Simien evokes familiar campus stereotypes only to smash them and rearrange the pieces."
There's More... :: (7 Comments, 491 words in story)
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