The media coverage has been extensive-I've tried to look at as much as I can find-but so far the best and most comprehensive, imho, has been the live coverage from SABC TV, South African Broadcasting Corporation.
Coverage here in the U.S. has been varied, from laudatory to much of the usual carping and racism from the right, and many media outlets are already posting overly sanitized versions of his life and history, disconnected from his role and part in a struggle larger than one man, no matter his greatness. For those of you who may have missed it, please read shanikka's Farewell Madiba, Who We Once Called Nelson Mandela
President Obama speaks, along with other world leaders, at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela.
President Barack Obama: "To the people of South Africa - people of every race and walk of life - the world thanks you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us. His struggle was your struggle. His triumph was your triumph. Your dignity and hope found expression in his life, and your freedom, your democracy is his cherished legacy."
Let us take a moment of silence to remember Madiba, Nelson Mandela, who joined the ancestors today at the age of 95.
President Obama has issued a statement, in which he said:
"He achieved more than could be expected of any man. Today, he has gone home. And we have lost one of the most influential, courageous, and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth. He no longer belongs to us -- he belongs to the ages."
From the White House - Wednesday, December 4, 2013
President Obama discusses the twin challenges of growing income inequality and shrinking economic mobility and how they pose a fundamental threat to the American Dream.
But government can't stand on the sidelines in our efforts. Because government is us. It can and should reflect our deepest values and commitments. And if we refocus our energies on building an economy that grows for everybody, and gives every child in this country a fair chance at success, then I remain confident that the future still looks brighter than the past, and that the best days for this country we love are still ahead.
HIV continues to be a major global public health issue, having claimed more than 36 million lives so far.
There were approximately 35.3 [32.2-38.8] million people living with HIV in 2012.
Sub-Saharan Africa is the most affected region, with nearly 1 in every 20 adults living with HIV. Sixty nine per cent of all people living with HIV are living in this region.
HIV infection is usually diagnosed through blood tests detecting the presence or absence of HIV antibodies.
There is no cure for HIV infection. However, effective treatment with antiretroviral drugs can control the virus so that people with HIV can enjoy healthy and productive lives.
In 2012, more than 9.7 million people living with HIV were receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) in low- and middle-income countries.
Sexual transmission of HIV reduced by half, including among young people, men who have sex with men and transmission in the context of sex work;
Vertical transmission of HIV eliminated and AIDS-related maternal deaths reduced by half;
All new HIV infections prevented among people who use drugs;
Universal access to antiretroviral therapy for people living with HIV who are eligible for treatment;
TB deaths among people living with HIV reduced by half;
All people living with HIV and households affected by HIV are addressed in all national social protection strategies and have access to essential care and support;
Countries with punitive laws and practices around HIV transmission, sex work, drug use or homosexuality that block effective responses reduced by half;
HIV-related restrictions on entry, stay and residence eliminated in half of the countries that have such restrictions;
HIV-specific needs of women and girls are addressed in at least half of all national HIV responses;
Zero tolerance for gender-based violence.
Here is their list (click the link for details):
1. States are enacting protections for undocumented immigrants.
2. Same-sex couples have more access to marriage benefits than ever before.
3. More workers are getting raises and taking sick leave.
4. Uninsured Americans are signing up for health insurance.
5. The U.S. is taking steps to address the consequences of climate change.
6. States are enacting prison reform.
7. College activists across the country are fighting back against rape culture.
8. Solar power is on the rise and prices keep dropping.
9. Number of homeless Americans on the decline.
When you look at that list, you could just as easily say "but ... but ... we didn't get it all!!!". And you would be right ... we didn't get it all ... but we did make progress.
Click Here: With the match, $1 will provide 18 meals.
When I was asked to do a blog post for a Feeding America Blogathon a few years ago, I set my Googles to the task: first, to find out what Feeding America was, and second, to find out a little bit more about food security in America and the food stamp program, SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program).
In the late 1960s, John van Hengel, a retired businessman in Phoenix, Arizona began volunteering at a local soup kitchen, and began soliciting food donations for the kitchen. He ended up with far more food than the kitchen could use in its operations. Around this time, he spoke with one of the clients, who told him that she regularly fed her family with discarded items from the grocery store's garbage bins. She told him that the food quality was fine, but that there should be a place where unwanted food could be stored and later accessed by people who needed it, similar to how banks store money.
Van Hengel began to actively solicit this unwanted food from grocery stores, local gardens, and nearby produce farms. His effort led to the creation of St. Mary's Food Bank in Phoenix, the nation's first food bank.
(I want to pause here for a minute to think about a time when a food kitchen had too much food).
Champagne Ellison, San Jose State University senior, at protest rally (Karl Mondan)
Colleges and universities are supposed to be "institutions of higher learning". They are also places we expect our children to be safe. Yet once again there are headlines highlighting racism on campus.
No - not in Alabama or Mississippi, or Georgia.
This time it's at San Jose State in California.
I'm tired of people pointing at the south as the last bastion of racism in the U.S.
I'm also tired of headlines using the term "hazing". It diminishes the severity of the racism.
Last Thursday, Senate Democrats voted to remove the threat of filibuster from most judicial and executive branch confirmations.
Not so scary, really.
Essentially, they said that the majority has the right to govern as a majority. Small-d democracy finally being applied to the Senate which has been in the hands of Big-D Democrats for the last 7 years.
The showdown that led to this rule change was remarkable in it's blatant disregard for the Constitution of the United States. Senate Republicans were attempting to nullify the law that had established that the DC appeals court would have 11 judges presiding. The Republicans did not put forward and pass a bill to change the number of judges: they blocked the Senate from voting on the confirmation of the three judges needed to fill the court's vacancies.
The Washington press corps and their sycophants in the punditry were quick to issue warnings about how terrible this would be: for Democrats. The Friday news cycle was filled with scare stories: "Democrats will pay the price", "Harry Reid's blunder", "Democratic overreach will come back to haunt them", "You did it: more Scalias for you!", "No filibuster means more rapes!!".
Of course, as is often the case, the woe-is-you'ers were completely missing the point and 100% wrong.
Iran and six world powers have reached a preliminary agreement in Geneva on curbing Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief.
In a late-night statement from the White House, President Obama called the breakthrough "the most significant and tangible progress" with Iran since he took office. It calls for specific actions over the next six months, while negotations continue on a longer-term deal.
Good evening. Today, the United States -- together with our close allies and partners -- took an important first step toward a comprehensive solution that addresses our concerns with the Islamic Republic of Iran's nuclear program.
Since I took office, I've made clear my determination to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. As I've said many times, my strong preference is to resolve this issue peacefully, and we've extended the hand of diplomacy. Yet for many years, Iran has been unwilling to meet its obligations to the international community. So my administration worked with Congress, the United Nations Security Council and countries around the world to impose unprecedented sanctions on the Iranian government.
These sanctions have had a substantial impact on the Iranian economy, and with the election of a new Iranian President earlier this year, an opening for diplomacy emerged. I spoke personally with President Rouhani of Iran earlier this fall. Secretary Kerry has met multiple times with Iran's Foreign Minister. And we have pursued intensive diplomacy -- bilaterally with the Iranians, and together with our P5-plus-1 partners -- the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China, as well as the European Union.
Today, that diplomacy opened up a new path toward a world that is more secure -- a future in which we can verify that Iran's nuclear program is peaceful and that it cannot build a nuclear weapon.
In his weekly address, President Obama says our economy is moving in the right direction. We have cut our deficits by more than half, businesses have created millions of new jobs, and we have taken significant steps to reverse our addiction to foreign oil and fix our broken health care system.
Utah is one of the remaining states still "undecided" about Medicaid Expansion. Utahns For Medicaid Expansion, chaired by a doctor in private practice (Ray Ward) has taken on the task of organizing us to support Medicaid Expansion despite our do-as-little-as-possible governor and totally useless legislature.
Just hours after pleading guilty on Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge of cocaine possession, Rep. Trey Radel (R-FL) announced that he would take a leave of absence from Congress and seek treatment to deal with his problems.
After entering his guilty plea in Washington, D.C. Superior Court on Wednesday, Radel was sentenced to one year of supervised probation and ordered to pay a $250 fine to a victims' compensation fund. If he successfully completes the probation, the court would then dismiss the case.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Tuesday that she hoped drug charges against Rep. Trey Radel (R-FL) could "humanize" Republicans' approach to food stamps.
Speaking at a BuzzFeed Brews event, Pelosi noted that when Radel allegedly purchased cocaine from an undercover federal agent on Oct. 29, the buy came "on the heels of the Republicans voting to make sure that everybody who had access to food stamps was drug tested."
The Massachusetts state Senate passed a bill on Tuesday that would raise the state's minimum wage to $11 an hour and ensure future automatic increases tied to inflation. If it were to pass the state House and be signed into law by the governor, it would be the highest state minimum wage in the country.
Federal lawmakers have pushed for a minimum wage hike for the whole country, with President Obama recently coming out in favor of a $10.10 an hour wage, something that Democrats introduced in March but was unanimously shot down by Republicans.
A federal hike enjoys strong support, with one poll showing 80 percent in favor of a raise to $10.10, including two-thirds of Republicans, and another showing 76 percent support a $9 wage, including nearly 60 percent of Republicans.
photo of 1977 Marie Laveau painting by Charles Massicot Gandolfo
Every year in two of my classes, I introduce students to the living history of Voudou-the religion, and its role in shaping the Caribbean island of Ayiti (Haiti) as well as in the Caribbean basin area of the U.S. in Louisiana-from Baton Rouge down to New Orleans.
In women's studies, I include the myths and legends, as well as modern interest in Marie Laveau, known to practitioners and tourists as Queen Marie. Most of the students have been completely unfamiliar with her, and with the history and the roles of free women of color in Louisiana and throughout the south.
This year, much to my surprise, most students knew the name Marie Laveau (sometimes spelled Leveaux) simply because of a pop culture FX series "American Horror Story: Coven" which most of them have seen.
There is a big political scandal surrounding the rollout of the latest phase of the Affordable Care Act. It is real and it is encapsulated in this quote:
"Republican hostility toward the poor and unfortunate has now reached such a fever pitch that the party does not stand for anything else ...
- Paul Krugman, economist and author
Yes, there are web site glitches at healthcare.gov and cancellations of sub-standard health insurance policies (and in some cases, insurance companies choosing to leave the health care market altogether). Yes, people who the media like to talk to are angry and upset. But who is giving a rats patootie about the people in the states with negligent governors who refuse to expand Medicaid? And a Congress that is so focused on their ideology that they deny their humanity?
A black janitor in Brooklyn almost shouted out the name when asked about his vote in the mayoral race. Bill de Blasio, he said, "knows my struggle."
In the Bronx, some African-American voters defaulted to a shorthand: "the man with the black wife." Nobody thought it necessary to explain whom they meant.
And in a Brooklyn housing project, a lifelong resident said he was tired of mayors who, in his mind, had pitted blacks against whites. Mr. de Blasio, he declared, "is black and white."
The quote that stood out and caused me to think was this one:
"His biracial family represents so many things and possibilities, too many to even get into," said Leon Ellis, a Harlem restaurateur. "When people saw his family, they felt, 'Here is someone who understands and relates to me on a level on which I can be comfortable.' "
In this week's address, President Obama commemorates Veterans Day Weekend by thanking the brave men and women who have worn this country's uniform. The President says he is proud of their service and will do everything possible to ensure America always has their back and always honors their sacrifice.
Among the icons associated with the Pacific Northwest are evergreen trees, rain, streams, and salmon. These PNW icons have existed in symbiotic relations with one another for probably millions of years. A change in one can affect the others. But apparently this fact was unknown or at least unappreciated by the early American settlers of this region. They over-logged the trees which allowed the abundant rain to wash mud and whole hillsides into the streams which became uninhabitable for the salmon that had used these streams for eons to maintain their life cycles. They also dammed up spawning rivers to provide electricity to run their sawmills and salmon canneries. The irony is that they destroyed the very things that made them wealthy.
With all the movie talk centering around the film 12 Years a Slave, the plot, the cast, the director, critical reviews and audience responses, it is important that we don't forget that this film is taken from real life...our history and yet, bound to our present.
Solomon Northup's tale is one of many narratives of the era of enslavement, and its aftermath.
Given my own interests in genealogy and history, reading his harrowing tale, and about his eventual escape, even though his fate in later years is buried in mystery, I thought about his wife, his children and his descendants.
Christie of New Jersey and McDonnell of Virginia in November 2009 ... Scott Brown of Massachusetts in March 2010 ... and then the tea party wave election in November 2010 that appeared to sweep away our country's common sense and which set up gerrymandered Republican majorities in statehouses across the country.
Today's polls seem to indicate that we have a good chance to turn the tide in Virginia but not much hope in New Jersey where Gov. Chris Christie (R) appears to be a shoo-in for re-election.
Surprise!! The media has found some people who paid less for inferior health insurance policies than they will pay for policies that actually cover their accidents and illnesses!!!
The media calls this a "shocking development" and evidence that the Affordable Care Act is a ginormous failure.
This guy (along with most thinking humans) has a different take on it.
Before the Affordable Care Act, the worst of these plans routinely dropped thousands of Americans every single year. And on average, premiums for folks who stayed in their plans for more than a year shot up about 15 percent a year. This wasn't just bad for those folks who had these policies, it was bad for all of us -- because, again, when tragedy strikes and folks can't pay their medical bills, everybody else picks up the tab.
So anyone peddling the notion that insurers are cancelling people's plan without mentioning that almost all the insurers are encouraging people to join better plans with the same carrier, and stronger benefits and stronger protections, while others will be able to get better plans with new carriers through the marketplace, and that many will get new help to pay for these better plans and make them actually cheaper -- if you leave that stuff out, you're being grossly misleading, to say the least. (Applause.)