Wednesday Open Thread

Erica Abi Wright (born February 26, 1971),[1] better known by her stage name Erykah Badu (pronounced /ˈɛrɨkə bɑːˈduː/), is an American recording artist, record producer and actress. Her work includes elements from R&B, hip hop and jazz.[1] She is best known for her role in the rise of the neo soul sub-genre, and for her eccentric, cerebral musical stylings and sense of fashion. She is known as the “First Lady of Neo-Soul” or the “Queen of Neo-Soul”.

Early in her career, Badu was recognizable for wearing very large and colorful headwraps. For her musical sensibilities, she has often been compared to jazz great Billie Holiday. She was a core member of the Soulquarians, and is also an actress having appeared in a number of films playing a range of supporting roles in movies such as Blues Brothers 2000, The Cider House Rules, and House of D, she is also very prominent in the documentary film Before the Music Dies.

About SouthernGirl2

A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
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66 Responses to Wednesday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    This Westboro church crew are nothing but HUSTLERS. These cons run around picketing other peoples places of worship and sacred ceremonies for PROFIT.

    A Peek Inside The Westboro Baptist Church
    by Barbara Bradley Hagerty

    March 2, 2011 Westboro Baptist Church first gained notoriety in 1998, when members picketed at the funeral of Matthew Shepherd, who was murdered because he was gay.

    Since then, the members have protested at the funerals of public figures such as Elizabeth Edwards, children killed in bus accidents and soldiers killed in war. Shirley Phelps-Roper, the church spokeswoman, says the members want God to punish Americans for tolerating homosexuality. They picket funerals to make people angry, she says: They want people to reject God and be condemned to hell.

    “Our job is laid out,” she says, in comments sprinkled with biblical references. “We are supposed to blind their eyes, stop up their ears and harden their hearts so that they cannot see, hear or understand, and be converted and receive salvation.”

    Given the number of funerals they protest and their resounding victory in the Supreme Court on Wednesday, one might conclude Westboro Baptist Church is an enormous enterprise. But the church in Topeka, Kan., claims only about 100 members, almost all from the family of a man named Fred Phelps.

    And even though they call themselves Baptist, Mark Potok at the Southern Poverty Law Center says their extreme theology sets it apart from any other church.

    “Westboro Baptist Church is an organization that essentially has no friends whatsoever on the far right, the far left or anyplace in between,” Potok says.

    ‘We All Pay Our Own Way’

    The Phelpses and their church are isolated in more ways than one. Few news organizations have profiled them. One exception is Bill Sherman, the religion writer for newspaper Tulsa World. He visited them in their compound in an upscale neighborhood of Topeka. He found them polite, normal people — and a model of success.

    They’re college educated. They’re well-spoken. The daughter herself argued before the United States Supreme Court,” Sherman says. “They’re not what I expected.”

    Eleven of Fred Phelps’ 13 children have law degrees. Four are estranged from the family, and most of the rest live in the family compound and practice law.

    “They have a very well-respected law firm in Topeka,” Sherman says. “People in town said, ‘Well, we don’t like them, but if we want to win a case, we’ll go to them.’ ”

    Church spokeswoman Phelps-Roper says their booming employment and family law practice pays the bills for their travels across the country, when they shout their anti-gay message. They travel in vans to keep down the costs, which she says can add up to $200,000 a year.

    Do they have secret contributors? Phelps-Roper is adamant they do not.

    “We all work, and we all pay our own way,” she says. “We don’t ask for anything from anyone, and we don’t take anything from anyone.”

    The protests are in themselves a source of some income, according to Potok. Over the years the Phelpses have filed lawsuits against communities that try to stop them from demonstrating.

    “And as a general matter they have won,” he says. “They know their First Amendment rights very well, and they’ve been very good at defending them.”

    THIS: When they win, they often receive tens of thousands of dollars in court fees. And their winning streak is likely to continue, now that the Supreme Court has decided that Westboro’s right to free speech trumps the right of families to bury their loved ones undisturbed.

  2. Ametia says:

    February 2008 – HELP WANTED – Seeking: President of the United States


    Seeking a qualified individual to act as the President of the United States from January 2009 until at least January 2013. Employment contract may be extended for an additional four years upon successful completion of first term.

    Duties of this position are listed below. This position has the following constraints:

    •Prior to taking this position, you will be required conduct a nearly round-the-clock political campaign for over 20 months before a final decision will be made. During this time you can expect to be accused of being ineligible to run for office, unqualified for the position, of being a foreigner, of being a Muslim, and of associating with criminals/terrorists. Many lies will be told in public about you and these will be repeated by both prominent politicians as well as most mainstream media and fringe media outlets.
    •You will be required to assume office in the middle of the largest national economic crisis since the Great Depression
    •You will be required to assume office with the country in the middle of two wars, one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.

    You will need to accomplish the following tasks:

    •Freeze pay of highest-paid White House staff on first day of office while maintaining good workplace morale.
    •Make federal government more transparent by opening up records of previous administrations and instructing staff to be more amenable to Freedom of Information Act requests. This should be accomplished no later than the day after assuming office.
    •Sign Executive Order to close the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. This should be done by no later than the third day in office and should be done despite the fact that Congress will not allow you to actually accomplish this by denying any funding for it.
    •Sign Executive Order to prohibit torture. This should be done by no later than the third day in office.
    •Rescind funding ban for organizations performing abortions or counseling outside of the United States. This shall be done by the fourth day in office.
    •All Weekly Addresses shall be posted on and the White House website.
    •Direct Transportation Department to issue increase fleet mileage standards to take effect by 2011. This shall be accomplished in the first week in office. Also begin allowing states to require higher mileage standards than the federal requirement.
    •By no later than the tenth day in office, sign legislation into law that requires fair pay regardless of gender, race or age.
    •During the third week in office, direct the Secretary of Interior to cancel 77 oil and gas company leases on federal lands that were authorized by the previous office holder’s administration.
    •By the end of the third week in office, sign an Executive Order backing the use of union labor for large federal construction projects.
    •During the early part of the second month of your term, you shall begin the process of repealing or modifying a federal law protecting health workers who refuse to treat patients for reason of “conscience”. This process shall culminate no later than two years into your term, plus or minus two months.
    •Overturn rules restricting the use of federal funds for embryonic stem cell research.
    •Cancel oil shale development leases for nearly 2 million acres of federal land.
    •Create a White House Office on Women and Girls to coordinate policies and programs that affect women and families.
    •Hold the first-ever online “town hall” meeting at the White House.
    •Host the first White House Seder during Passover.
    •Rescue two large domestic vehicle manufacturers, staving off the complete collapse of one of the largest US manufacturing industries.
    •Order Navy Seals to help deal with an ongoing problem with pirates from Somalia. Include authorizing an heroic act saving the life of a sea captain involving precision sniper fire in high seas.
    •Establish four new domestic volunteer corps modeled on the Peace Corps.
    •Change policy enacted under predecessor by requiring banks receiving federal funds under the TARP program to cap executive bonuses. This shall be done no later than three weeks after taking office.
    •During the third week in office, sign into law a bill that expands the Children’s Health Insurance Program, extending health coverage to millions of poor children.
    •Negotiate an $80 billion agreement with drug companies to close the gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage and for them to not fight comprehensive health insurance reform.
    •Double the budgets of the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology and announce a national goal to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.
    •Expand Medicaid to all people under 65 years old with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty level

    Continue reading:

  3. Ametia says:

    Remember this Onion front page?

    Obama Wins! Black Man Given Nation’s Worst Job (2008)
    The Front Page You’ll Never Forget

    Own this historic Onion front page from the day America came together, eradicated racism forever, and saved the future of mankind. Featuring award-winning coverage of the most important election in the last 232 years, this special edition captures the indomitable and cloyingly optimistic national consciousness as it was on Nov. 4th, 2008.

  4. Ametia says:

    Posted at 4:12 PM ET, 03/ 2/2011
    Four national polls show solid support for public employees
    By Greg Sargent

    The First Read gang reports that the forthcoming NBC/WSJ poll, like other previously released surveys, will show strong public opposition to rolling back public employee bargaining rights:

    In the poll, a whopping 68 percent find it acceptable requiring public employees to contribute more of their pay for retirement benefits; 63 percent are fine with requiring these employees to pay more for their health-care benefits; and 58 percent are OK with freezing public employees’ salaries for one year.

    But just 33 percent say it’s acceptable — and 62 percent say it’s unacceptable — to eliminate these employees’ collective-bargaining rights as way to deal with state budget deficits.

    Yes, the poll finds strong majorities want public employees to pony up more for benefits. But the Wisconsin public employee unions have already agreed to this. On the core question at the heart of the standoff — whether it’s acceptable to roll back bargaining rights — a strong majority, 62 percent, is with the unions.

    It gets better. I asked the First Read crew to send over the question’s exact wording, which they graciously did. It asks whether people find it acceptable to “eliminate public employees’ right to collectively bargain over health care, pensions and other benefits when negotiating a union contract.”

    That wording is a pretty fair approximation of what’s being proposed in Wisconsin. So this should silence the talk in some quarters that polls showing strong support for the public employees are rooted in the public’s lack of understanding of the issue. What’s more, this is now the fourth national poll to find the public supports public employees against governors looking to roll back their bargaining rights. Gallup, the New York Times and Pew (to a slightly lesser degree) have all found the same.

    Some folks on the right got very excited this morning because a new Quinnipiac Poll finds that more support limits on the bargaining rights of public employees than oppose it, 45-42. But the question wording asks whether people favor “limiting” bargaining rights. That word lends itself to open-ended interpretations and doesn’t do justice to how transformative the proposal actually would be. And as noted above, NBC’s more accurate description elicits far more opposition.

    Indeed, the verdict is clear: Americans support public employees in this standoff. Whether that will impact the outcome of the fight, of course, remains to be seen. But the bigger story here — one that will ripple far beyond what happens in Wisconsin — is that public employees are not proving the easy scapegoat many predicted they would be, and when faced with the question of whether their fundamental union rights should be taken away, Americans have stepped up and answered with a firm No.

  5. Ametia says:

    Special ED rants about Dems in Wisconsin now, but rants on advocates that voters not voting for DEMOCRATS in November 2, 2010.

  6. Ametia says:

    Wednesday, March 2, 2011
    Why Evangelicals Enabled the Corporate Takeover of the Republican Party
    Franck Schaffer

    If you accept just one given about today’s Republican Party then I can explain why they seem bent on dismantling the U.S. government, unions (in places like Wisconsin) and defunding everything from high speed rail and NPR to Planned Parenthood.

    Here’s the “given”:

    The most powerful block in the base of the Republican Party are religious conservatives — mostly Evangelicals.

    So when you want to know why the Republicans are willing to destroy American jobs, the economy and the environment, all in the name of “small government” look no farther for “motivation” than the preoccupations of the Evangelicals that have been growing more and more irrational ever since the 1970s. Back then I was sidekick to my Evangelical leader father (Francis Schaeffer) and then became a “leader” in my own right in the antiabortion movement, until I changed my mind and got out.

    And yes, much talked about “corporate interests” dominate the Republican Party agenda, but the question is– why do the foot soldiers who are most of the Republican voters go along with the billionaire’s agenda?

    In my new book Sex, Mom, and God: How the Bible’s Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics–and How I Learned to Love Women (and Jesus) Anyway (in stores May 7) I describe what happened to religion in America due to sexual politics, hypocritical double standards and finally… insanity. But here’s a thumbnail sketch for now:

    What’s so curious is that in this religion-inflicted country of ours, the same Evangelicals, conservative Roman Catholics, and others who have been running around insisting that America had a “Christian foundation” and demanding a “return to our heritage” and/or more recently trashing health care reform as “communist” have ignored the fact that one great contribution of historic Christianity was a commitment to strong central government. For instance, as early as the fourth century, this included church support for state-funded, or state-church-funded, charities, including hospitals.

    Government was seen as part of “God’s plan” for creating social justice and defending the common good. Christians were once culture-forming and culture-embracing people. Even the humanism preached by the supposedly “anti-Christian” Enlightenment thinkers of the eighteenth century was, in fact, a Deist/Christian “heresy,” with a value system espousing human dignity borrowed wholesale from a once religious/biblical ethical system.

    In the scorched-earth era of the “health care reform debates” of 2009 and beyond, Evangelicals seemed to believe that Jesus commanded that all hospitals (and everything else) should be run by corporations for profit, just because corporations weren’t the evil government.

    The Right even decided that it was “normal” for the state to hand over its age-old public and patriotic duties to private companies — even for military operations (“contractors”), prisons, health care, public transport, and all the rest.

    Read the rest here:

  7. Wisconsin Democrats Launch Recall Effort Against GOP Senators

    WASHINGTON — The Wisconsin Democratic Party has launched a fundraising campaign to recall state Senate Republicans who have supported the budget bill by Gov. Scott Walker (R) that would strip collective bargaining rights from the state’s public employee unions.

    The email the party sent out on Wednesday afternoon is excerpted below:

    In 60 days you can take Wisconsin back. It’s that simple.

    This morning citizens from around the state took the first steps by filing recall papers against key Republican Senators who have stood with Scott Walker and pushed his partisan power grab that will strip thousands of middle class teachers, nurses, librarians and other workers of their right to collective bargaining. And we learned just last night that their disastrous budget that will cut millions from our schools and universities.

    In 60 days you can take Wisconsin back by recalling the Republican Senators who have decided to push Scott Walker’s divisive attack on the rights of workers and his assault on schools, universities and local communities. Can you contribute $60 today to support the Democratic Party’s recall efforts?

  8. Ametia says:

    Supreme Court ruling: No ‘personal privacy’ for corporations
    By Robert Barnes
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Tuesday, March 1, 2011; 8:51 PM

    Corporations have no right to “personal privacy” when it comes to government records requested under the Freedom of Information Act, a unanimous Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

    The court made short work of AT&T’s argument in a dispute with the Federal Communications Commission. The telecommunications company had contended that because “person” is sometimes defined in federal law to mean a corporation as well as an individual, the company was entitled to a FOIA exemption that relates to “personal privacy.”

    “We trust that AT&T will not take it personally,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. concluded in a relatively taut opinion that was long on examples of how adjectives do not always “reflect the meaning of corresponding nouns.”

    Because the case was argued nearly a year to the day after the court loosened restrictions on corporate electoral spending in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, it attracted outsized attention for any sign that the justices were ready to extend other privileges to corporations.

    But Roberts did not mention last year’s controversial case in his 12-page opinion, in which he seemed to find sport in spotlighting examples that undermined AT&T’s semantic arguments.

  9. Ametia says:

    GOP’s anti-immigrant stance could turn Texas into a blue state
    By Harold Meyerson
    Wednesday, March 2, 2011; 12:00 AM

    Don’t look now, but Texas is turning blue.

    Not today, to be sure, nor tomorrow. But to read the newly released census data on the Lone Star State is to understand that Texas, the linchpin of any Republican electoral college majority, is turning Latino and, unless the Republicans change their spots, Democratic.

    Figures released last month by the Census Bureau show that during the past decade, Texas joined California as a majority-minority state: The percentage of whites in the Texas population declined from 52 percent in 2000 to 45 percent in 2010, while the percentage of Latinos rose from 32 percent to 38 percent. Nearly half of all Texans under 18 – 48 percent – are Latino.

    Texas is hardly alone in this epochal demographic shift. In the first four states for which the Census Bureau released detailed information – New Jersey, Louisiana, Mississippi and Virginia – the number of whites under age 18 actually declined in the past decade. The numbers of Latinos and Asians among the young, by contrast, are soaring, and they are highest among the youngest.

  10. Vettte says:

    Serena Williams Suffers Pulmonary Embolism (that’s a stroke in the lung)

    • Vettte says:

      The greatest female tennis player EVER, undebatable. The body image envied by ALL “wimmen” (and most men-LOL!)

  11. Vettte says:

    Serena Williams Suffere Pulmonary Embolism (that’s a stroke in the lung)

  12. Ametia says:

    Breaking: Fox News Suspends Contributors Newt Gingrich And Rick Santorum
    by Colby Hall | 11:58 am, March 2nd, 2011
    Fox News anchor Bret Baier announced that effective today, Fox News has suspended its contributor arrangements with Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum , both of whom have signaled possible presidential runs for 2012. Baier explained that the suspension is effective for 60 days, and then on May 1st their contracts with Fox News will officially be terminated. Developing…

    The entirety of Baier’s statement:

    Effective today, March 2nd, Fox News has suspended its contributor arrangements with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, both of whom have signaled possible runs for the president. The suspension is effective for 60 days, then on May 1st their contracts will be terminated unless they notify Fox that they are not running for president.

    Now this has been contemplated from the start, from the very beginning, but that is effective today, the suspension of the contributor arrangements for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and also former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.

    In a post-statement exchanged with fellow host Jenna Lee, Baier seemed to hint at a future announcement dealing with other Fox News contributors who have also given indications of plans to run for President in 2012, namely Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee. Baier also added via twitter “We’ll see what’s next” while retweeting this very post.

    Watch the video courtesy of Fox News below:

    • Ametia says:

      Good luck with these FOX clowns thinking the majority of SANE Americans will vote for anyone associated with FOX Channel=LIARS & HATE-MONGERERS

  13. Ametia says:

    Mar 01, 2011
    Holder: No favoritism to New Black Panther Party
    By David Jackson, USA TODAY

    An upset Attorney General Eric Holder said today the Justice Department has not ignored a voting rights complaint against the New Black Panther Party because of race.

    Holder’s frustration over the criticism became evident during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing as Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) accused the Justice Department of failing to cooperate with a Civil Rights Commission investigation into the handling of the 2008 incident in which Black Panthers in intimidating outfits and wielding a club stood outside a polling place in Philadelphia.

    The Attorney General seemed to take personal offense at a comment Culberson read in which former Democratic activist Bartle Bull called the incident the most serious act of voter intimidation he had witnessed in his career.

    “Think about that,” Holder said. “When you compare what people endured in the South in the 60s to try to get the right to vote for African Americans, to compare what people subjected to that with what happened in Philadelphia, which was inappropriate … to describe it in those terms I think does a great disservice to people who put their lives on the line for my people,” said Holder, who is black.

    Holder noted that his late sister-in-law, Vivian Malone Jones, helped integrate the University of Alabama.

    “To compare that kind of courage, that kind of action, to say some Black Panther incident is of greater concern to us, historically, I think just flies in the face of history,” Holder said with evident exasperation.

  14. Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City

    Sang it, Bobby Blue Bland!

    layouts myspace

    layouts myspace

  15. Dr. Seuss’s birthday celebrated by Michelle Obama, schoolchildren across America

    The words of Theodor Seuss Geisel thrill and delight like few other children’s tales. His universe — a kaleidoscope-colored wonderland — lets cats in hats cause mayhem, loyal elephants hatch eggs and mysterious creatures call Loraxes fight environmental ruin.

    In his 48 books, he tied up tidy moral lessons in bright, ridiculous packaging. Rather than extolling on the virtues of experimentation, he offered up a plate of “Green Eggs and Ham” so many times his character finally relented and learned to love it. Instead of praising the spirit of Christmas, he sent in a Grinch to steal it, only to let his readers learn by the end of the book that the holiday has the power to melt even the coldest of hearts.

    He was a magician, a poet, a Pied Piper of the imagination. Wednesday marks the 107th anniversary of his birth. In celebration of the children’s author, 14 years ago, the day was designated the “Read Across America Day.” Michelle Obama will be reading Seuss classics at the Library of Congress, and smaller readings will take place across the country.

    Here’s to Dr. Seuss. Thank you for making my childhood richer. If you’ve been without Dr. Seuss in your life for some time, just listen to his book, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” No matter the age, it’s always the right time to hear it.

    “Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!/There are points to be scored. there are games to be won./And the magical things you can do with that ball/will make you the winning-est winner of all.”

    Do you like
    green eggs and ham?
    I do not like them, Sam-I-am.
    I do not like
    green eggs and ham.


  16. President Obama awards the 2010 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal

    March 02, 2011 1:45 PM EST

  17. Ametia says:

    The Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendment protects fundamentalist church members who mount attention-getting, anti-gay protests outside military funerals.

    The court voted 8-1 Wednesday in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan. The decision upheld an appeals court ruling that threw out a $5 million judgment to the father of a dead Marine who sued church members after they picketed his son’s funeral.

  18. Ametia says:

    CALL TYRONE!! Get Yo Shyt……

  19. Ametia says:

    Ed Secretary Duncan Defends $2B Increase in 2012 Education Budget

    WASHINGTON – Education Secretary Arne Duncan defended his department’s $48.8 billion funding request for FY2012 at a Senate Budget Committee hearing held Tuesday morning. The department is asking for a $2 billion, or 4 percent increase beyond the 2011 continuing resolution level, outside of Pell Grants.

    “This proposed budget reflects our administration’s dual commitment to reduce spending and be more efficient while investing to secure our future. At the very top of the list of investments we must make is education,” Duncan told the panel. “It is the blanket of security for the middle class and the path out of poverty for millions of Americans who have been left behind my a changing economy.”

    The higher education portion of the 2012 request includes a $67 million increase for TRIO programs for a total of $920 million; $323 million for GEAR UP; $651 million in combined discretionary and mandatory funding for Aid for Institutional Development programs at institutions that enroll large numbers of minority and disadvantaged students and $249 million in aid for Hispanic-Serving Institutions programs.

    To preserve the $5,550 maximum Pell award, the department proposes to eliminate summer school grants and the interest subsidy for graduate student loans. According to Duncan, these steps would help close the program’s $20 billion shortfall and save $100 billion over the next decade.

    Read more:

  20. Ametia says:

    Prayers to Serena

    Serena Williams has emergency surgery
    Updated: March 2, 2011

    Serena Williams has undergone emergency surgery connected to her earlier treatment for a pulmonary embolism, her spokeswoman told People magazine.

    “Monday Serena Williams underwent emergency treatment at [Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles] for a hematoma she suffered as a result of treatment for a more critical situation,” her spokeswoman, Nicole Chabot, told People.

    “Last week, Serena suffered from a pulmonary embolism which was discovered upon her return to [Los Angeles]. She had been in New York for doctor appointments for the ongoing issues with her foot,” Chabot said, according to the report. “Doctors are continuing to monitor her situation closely to avoid additional complications.”

    Williams, 29, has won 13 Grand Slams, including the 2010 Australian Open and Wimbledon titles.

    But shortly after her win at the All England Club, she cut her foot on broken glass at a restaurant and sustained an injury that has kept her sidelined ever since.

  21. Ametia says:

    Artsy bunch
    Jones and Taylor at W.H. for award
    By MATT NEGRIN | 03/02/11 6:43 AM Updated: 03/02/11 6:49 AM

    Quincy Jones, James Taylor and more than a dozen artists, writers and others will be at the White House on Wednesday to be awarded the 2010 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal.

    The East Room ceremony will be hosted by President Obama, and his wife will be there as well, the White House said in guidance to reporters.

    The awards will be given to 20 people, but some — Harper Lee, Meryl Streep, Daniel Aaron and Jacques Barzun — aren’t expected to be there, the White House says.

    According to the White House, the awards are going to:

    2010 National Medal of Arts

    • Robert Brustein
    • Van Cliburn
    • Mark di Suvero
    • Donald Hall
    • Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival
    • Quincy Jones
    • Harper Lee
    • Sonny Rollins
    • Meryl Streep
    • James Taylor

    2010 National Humanities Medal

    • Daniel Aaron
    • Bernard Bailyn
    • Jacques Barzun
    • Wendell E. Berry
    • Roberto González Echevarría
    • Stanley Nider Katz
    • Joyce Carol Oates
    • Arnold Rampersad
    • Philip Roth
    • Gordon Wood

  22. Ametia says:

    American History Lessons
    Melissa Harris-Perry | February 28, 2011

    We are in the final hours of February 2011. These are the last moments of this year’s Black History Month. February is always my busiest month for travel and public lectures as I join dozens of other professors whose research takes on sudden relevance for four short weeks. Typically, I spend some time in February responding to queries about the origins of the month-long observance [1]. Invariably, I am also asked to defend its continuing relevance.

    Student reporter: Do we really need a separate black history month now that we have a black president?

    Me: Can you name five important African-Americans, not including Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Obama, and tell me something about their contributions to America?
    Student reporter: (Silence)
    Me: Yes, we still need Black History Month.
    In these waning moments of yet another busy February I admit to feeling particularly defeated by our typical Black History Month approach, which tends to be rooted in a recitation of “little known black history facts” and the celebration of a few accomplished and brilliant individuals. Our contemporary political environment cries out for an urgent, collective immersion in accurate American history, including its complicated intersections with race and racism. I have a professional nerd fantasy in which I imagine every cable news program devoting a quarter of every hour to the study of American history. I can hear the ratings plummet, but I love the idea of taking just a few moments to inform the public about the broad outlines of our key historical moments, so that these moments cannot be so easily twisted, distorted and misused by ideological movements. Indulge the fantasy for a moment.

    What might happen if Americans understood Revolutionary War history? Maybe it would be considerably harder for the Tea Party to convince voters that their anxieties about a president elected with 53 percent of the popular vote by an electorate that enjoys universal adult suffrage are “just the same” as the concerns of colonists who decried taxation without representation under the rule of an absolute monarch. No sustained engagement with The Federalist Papers [2] could allow the narrow, simplistic assertions about the intent of the founding fathers so often present in Tea Party rhetoric. The Tea Party’s ability to deploy the symbols and language of patriotism requires broad and deep ignorance of American history.

    The American public is woefully unprepared to fact check their bold assertions that they are the keepers of the authentic national legacy. I do not mean to suggest that Revolutionary War history or The Federalist Papers reveal that America’s founders were actually progressive liberals, likely to have subscribed to The Nation. Rather, American history teaches us that the founders were complex, that the founding was contested and that any attempt to reduce American history to soundbite ideology is woefully inadequate. If we shared a deeper and more accurate understanding of our history we would not all be liberals, but perhaps we would be more careful.

    While we clearly suffer from a national deficit of historical knowledge in general, we seem to be particularly uninformed about the histories of marginal people: black Americans, non-white immigrants, women of all races, workers and gay Americans. I suspect secession would seem less reasonable to those who had a clear understanding of American Civil War history.

    I believe Americans might be better equipped to recognize and appreciate the consequences of the racial angst directed at President Obama’s administration if they were better versed in the decades of backlash that followed Reconstruction. I am confident that serious study of American labor history would remind voters of all that is at stake in the current battles to maintain collective bargaining rights. I have no doubt that young women would feel more urgent about protecting their reproductive rights if they were more fully versed in the history of women’s struggle for equality.

    There is no single, historical truth that will lead all Americans to conclude the same things about our future. HIstory is a collective project of making meaning out of the events of the past. But history is more than an academic exercise. It is the critical basis for contemporary political work. Textbook committees in Texas are well aware of the political relevance of history, which is precisely why they seek to sanitize and control its contents.

    The Tea Party is aware of the power of historical discourse which is why they cherry-pick heroic moments (the Boston Tea Party) and deploy vague references to historic enemies (Hitler, socialism). The results of our collective historical ignorance are profound. Every February I meet hundreds of students and adults who know very little about even the most recent racial history in America. I have witnessed ah-ha moments for many who draw connections for the first time between the narratives of past decades and the experiences of our current political era. Progressives might well invest our resources in fighting just as hard for accurate understandings of the past as we do for current policy initiatives in the moment.

  23. Ametia says:


    Senior Obama Adviser Valerie Jarrett and FLOTUS Chief of Staff Christina Tchen co-wrote the forward to a study on the state of women in America released yesterday by the White House.

    Read the report. pdf 97 pages

  24. Ametia says:

    House Advances Budget and Cuts $4 BillionBy CARL HULSE
    Published: March 1, 2011

    WASHINGTON — The House on Tuesday approved a two-week budget measure that cuts $4 billion in federal spending. Senate Democrats said they would quickly pass the bill and send it to President Obama, averting any immediate threat of a government shutdown when current financing runs out Friday.$EB8ZavCv0

  25. Ametia says:

  26. Ametia says:

  27. Ametia says:

    Rachel Maddow & Ezra Klein discuss PBO’s challenge to the GOP on healthcare reform for their states.


  28. dannie22 says:

    Good morning all!

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