Can you shimmy, watusi, do the monkey, jerk, the funky broadway, the football, the shotgun, tighten up, mashed potatoes, twist, the rock, the bop, hustle, cabbabe patch, running man, mississippi slide, Texas two step? Want to learn a few steps of the oldies but goodies? Stay with 3 Chics this week, as we get down with it. don’t hurt yourselves, now!
Anita Hill Speaks 20 Years Later
All-day conference looks at gender and racial identity
October 15, 2011
The letters that make Obama long for his community-organizing days
By Eli Saslow, Published: October 14
It had become one of President Obama’s signature routines in the White House, a habit he mentioned in dozens of meetings and hundreds of speeches: Every night just before bed, he read 10 letters pulled from the 20,000 that Americans sent to him each day. The notes reminded him of why he wanted to be president, he liked to say. He called them his most intimate link to the people he governed.
But by the time I visited the president in the Oval Office earlier this year to talk about the letters, some of his aides had begun to wonder if Obama’s affection for the mail had outworn its usefulness. Gone were the post-inaugural thank you notes. Instead, Obama sometimes received letters addressed to “Dear Jackass,” “Dear Moron” or “Dear Socialist.” People wrote because they had lost their jobs, their homes or their relatives in the wars. Each day’s mail brought another deluge of hard luck and personal struggle, a wave of desperation capable of overwhelming the senses.
Most sobering of all for Obama, his self-described “direct connection” to Americans had also awoken him to a growing disconnect. People wrote because their problems demanded immediate attention, and yet the process of governing the nation was so slow that Obama sometimes felt powerless to help them.
A few times during his presidency, Obama admitted, he had written a personal check or made a phone call on the writer’s behalf, believing that it was his only way to ensure a fast result. “It’s not something I should advertise, but it has happened,” he told me. Many other times, he had forwarded letters to government agencies or Cabinet secretaries after attaching a standard, handwritten note that read: “Can you please take care of this?”
“Some of these letters you read and you say, ‘Gosh, I really want to help this person, and I may not have the tools to help them right now,’ ” the president said. “And then you start thinking about the fact that for every one person that wrote describing their story, there might be another hundred thousand going through the same thing. So there are times when I’m reading the letters and I feel pained that I can’t do more, faster, to make a difference in their lives.”
For the past year, I had been reading Obama’s mail and traveling across the country to spend time with some of the letter-writers. I had learned firsthand that people tended to write to the president when their circumstances turned dire, sealing a prayer into an envelope as a matter of last resort.
I had also read many of the president’s handwritten responses, in which he sometimes assured in black ink that “things will get better,” even if he wasn’t so sure himself. I had watched him correspond with a Michigan woman while she went through bankruptcy; with a fourth-grader while she attended one of the country’s worst schools; with a mother while she waited to hear from her son in Afghanistan; with a cleaning woman while she battled leukemia and worried about paying her medical bills.
Months after these people wrote to the president, when I mentioned their letters to Obama, he remembered the details of their lives. Their letters had shaped his speeches and informed his policies, but it was their personal stories that stuck with him. “Reading these letters can be heartbreaking,” he said. “Just heartbreaking.”
Business groups call Cain’s 9-9-9 plan a job killer
By Marc Caputo | The Miami Herald
Called a job killer at worst or a detail-free slogan at best, Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan is getting tepid-to-awful reviews from some of the nation’s most-influential business groups.
The National Retail Federation strongly opposes the Republican presidential candidate’s plan because it would institute a first-ever national sales tax of 9 percent that, the federation says, will dampen consumer spending.
“This will hurt demand and slow the economic recovery,” the federation’s tax policy expert, Rachelle Bernstein, said. “You definitely do not want to do this.”
But Cain said the economy will boom and suggested people will see an overall tax savings due to the big reductions in the income-tax and corporate-tax rates. Each rate would drop to 9 percent.
“They have the flexibility to decide on how much they want to spend on new goods, how much they want to spend on used goods,” Cain said Tuesday during a nationally televised debate.
Cain’s plan became the main focus of the debate as his Republican opponents bashed it for lacking specifics and being politically unrealistic – criticisms now echoed by the retail federation and, to a slightly lesser extent, by the National Association of Homebuilders.
Until Tuesday’s debate and his recent surge in the polls, Cain’s 9-9-9 plan was a political plus. Catchy and bumper-sticker simple, it enabled the candidate to answer succinctly in previous debates where he didn’t have to defend the plan because he was a lower-tier candidate on a crowded stage.
Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/10/14/127254/business-groups-call-cains-9-9.html#ixzz1auAK9y2M
Corporations That Received Money From Perry’s Jobs Fund Gave Him $7 Million In Donations
By Pat Garofalo on Oct 14, 2011 at 10:30 am
The Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) — a pot of taxpayer dollars that Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) used to try enticing companies to move to the Lone Star State — has already come under scrutiny for outsized jobs claims. As the Wall Street Journal reported, Perry’s claim that the fund has created more than 50,000 jobs “[has] been inflated by counting employment gains far removed from the actual projects.”
In fact, according to a new report from Texans for Public Justice, Perry’s enterprise fund seems to have done more for his campaign coffers than Texas job creation:
This report finds that 43 companies that landed a total of $333 million in TEF awards contributed almost $7 million to Perry’s campaign and the Perry-affiliated Republican Governors Association (RGA). TEF companies sometimes made corporate contributions directly to the RGA, while company PACs, owners or executives gave to both the RGA and to Perry’s campaign (which cannot accept corporate funds).2 These contributions included $1,652,159 to Perry’s gubernatorial campaigns and $5,331,701 to the RGA. The 43 TEF recipients that contributed to Perry and/or the RGA represent about half of the 90 companies that received TEF awards but received 76 percent of all TEF-awarded funds.
In one glaring example, General Electric received TEF money, donated more than half a million to Perry, but has yet to create the jobs in Texas that it promised:
TEF awarded $4.2 million in 2011 to General Electric ($640,700 to Perry/RGA ) for a Fort Worth train factory that promised to create 775 jobs. GE’s new TEF project has yet to face job-creation targets. GE also is a junior partner involved with the $25 million that TEF awarded in 2005 to the University of Texas System’s MD Anderson Cancer Center to create the Center for Advanced Biomedical Imaging. This project pledged to create 2,252 jobs. To pump up job-creation numbers, however, this TEF project does not just count new jobs at the TEF-funded imaging center.
Much of Perry’s job creation record breaks down upon close inspection. It certainly seems like the TEF is no exception.
The 10 Percenter
Henry Louis Gates Jr. is having lunch at New York’s Union Square Cafe, hoping Danny Meyer’s chicken soup will soothe his allergies. He has just returned from Newark, where he interviewed Mayor Cory Booker for his new PBS series, “Finding Your Roots.” After lunch he’s catching a flight to Martha’s Vineyard for Bill Clinton’s birthday party. Author of 14 books, editor in chief of the online publication The Root, documentary producer and presenter, Gates, 61, is a one-man multimedia industry.
“I have no plans to slow down,” he says cheerfully.
A clear line runs through Gates’s myriad projects. “I want to get into the educational DNA of American culture,” he says. “I want 10 percent of the common culture, more or less, to be black.” Gates’s love of technology has been a boon in this regard. He is always thinking about new ways to circulate his ideas. “The Norton Anthology of African-American Literature” (1996) included a CD of oral literature with recordings of poets like Langston Hughes reading their work. He followed up “Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African American Experience” (1999) with Microsoft’s Encarta Africana on CD-ROM. The success of The Huffington Post inspired him to start The Root, The Washington Post’s online African-American publication. “I’m a tech geek. Whenever I read about something new, I think to myself, How can I take this and make it black?”
Gates has always wanted to reach a wider audience than scholarship alone could attract. In 1995, he and his family rode 3,000 miles through Africa for the BBC documentary “Great Railway Journeys.” His genealogy series on PBS — “Faces of America” and “African American Lives” — drew 25 million viewers. This latest installment, the first to run in prime time, might beat that. “It would take a thousand years for my book ‘The Signifying Monkey’ to get to that many people,” he says.
Which isn’t to say that he has abandoned print. In November, Knopf will publish “Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African-American History, 1513-2008.” Accessibly written and lavishly illustrated, it’s aimed at readers who may have shied away from his earlier, encyclopedic compendiums. It is also quirkier. Alongside requisite sections on the Emancipation Proclamation and the civil rights movement, it includes entries on the television show “Soul Train” and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Gates’s slant on African-American history has been influenced by the research he did for his most recent book and television series, “Black in Latin America.” In a move sure to raise eyebrows, he opens this latest volume with Juan Garrido, a free black conquistador who accompanied Ponce de León on his 1513 expedition to Florida. The year 1619 is when most historians date the presence of African slaves in the colonies, so why does Gates start 106 years earlier, and with an “oppressor” rather than with the oppressed?
“The thing about black history is that the truth is so much more complex than anything you could make up,” he says. “One principle I’ve been fighting for that doesn’t endear me to a lot of people is that black people can be just as complicated and screwed up as white people. Our motives can be just as base and violent. Suffering does not necessarily ennoble you.”
Gates’s belief in the complexity of American culture has only been reinforced by the genetic research that has informed his recent books and television programs. In them, Gates explores the lineage of Americans like Chris Rock, Meryl Streep, Yo-Yo Ma and Tina Turner. Using genealogical and historical resources, he traces their family stories as far back as he can. When the paper trail runs out, he resorts to DNA tests.
An ’80s Scandal Comes to a Quiet End
By ERIC WILSON
Published: October 14, 2011
SID R. BASS, the billionaire investor, certainly did not give the impression of an unhappy husband on the night of Sept. 26, when he attended the black-tie opening of “Anna Bolena” at the Metropolitan Opera. Whenever a photographer took a picture of his wife of nearly 23 years, Mercedes T. Bass, the philanthropist and fashion plate whose name appears on the Met’s Grand Tier, Mr. Bass was there by her side, his white pocket square complementing her Oscar de la Renta dress.
Though it was not entirely obvious that night, there was a message in their harmonious appearance together, even as Mr. and Mrs. Bass were finalizing the details of their impending divorce, which had been rumored for months and would be announced the following week. In a joint statement to The Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Oct. 6, the couple said they had “mutually agreed to end their marriage” and that they “continue to love each other and remain good friends.” It was all very amicable, you know.
“They were putting out there to the public that it is O.K.,” said David Patrick Columbia, who reported the possibility of a Bass split in December on New York Social Diary, the online chronicler of gilded soirées, “and that they are O.K.”
Peculiar as the grounds for divorce may sound, the story is that Mr. Bass, 69 and a resident of Fort Worth, had taken up painting and had tired of the social circuit, the longtime domain of Mrs. Bass, 67, who is the vice chairwoman of the Metropolitan Opera and one of its biggest financial supporters. Mr. Bass, it is said by friends of the couple, never really liked opera.
Nevertheless, while their divorce may have been the talk this week of wealthy enclaves and the cultural institutions they support, it was nothing like the huge scandal their union created in 1986, causing a riff in New York society, when Sid and Mercedes, both married to other socially prominent people at the time, were discovered staying together at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris.
“Mercedes Hooks Her Bass” was the headline on the old broadsheet version of W after they left their respective spouses. Mr. Bass’s divorce from Anne Hendricks Bass, under the common-property laws of Texas, involved an enormous settlement that included the transfer of what amounted at the time to 1 percent of the stock of the Walt Disney Company to his ex.
“Mercedes was always charming and vivacious,” said Liz Smith, the gossip columnist, “but marrying a man who paid $200 million to be free, it was pretty heady stuff at the time.”
That news was broken by Aileen Mehle, the gossip columnist better known as Suzy, as she satisfyingly recalled this week. At the time, it was a big shock, she said. “People have been talking about them since they found out there was a Sid Bass,” she said, speaking very much like her columns once read in Women’s Wear Daily. But was she surprised to hear they were now getting a divorce?
“Not at all,” said Ms. Mehle, now retired. “He wanted to live his way, and his way and her way do not always jibe. Mercedes was in love with the opera. Sid was out of love with the opera. I always sat next to them in the box, and Sid would sit in the back seat. He was not interested at all.”
Mr. Bass, a great-nephew of a Texas oil wildcatter, had been married for more than 20 years with two teenage daughters when he ran off to Paris with Mercedes Tavacoli, an Iranian-born beauty who at the time was the wife of Francis L. Kellogg, a special assistant to Secretaries of State William P. Rogers and Henry A. Kissinger. Neither denied the affair when Ms. Mehle reached them at their hotel, but they asked her to give them a day, so that Mrs. Kellogg could tell her husband she was leaving him.
“They were very good about it,” Ms. Mehle said.
AS CAC DOES…
Questions About Ad Dogged Perry in 1990 Race
By JAY ROOT
Published: October 15, 2011
Critics largely gave Gov. Rick Perry a pass for hunting on a deer lease that once carried a racist name. Even the White House accepted Mr. Perry’s explanation that his family found the word abhorrent and had painted over it at the first opportunity
But a television advertisement that helped put Mr. Perry over the top in his 1990 race for agriculture commissioner is still making racially tinged waves, two decades after that campaign ended in his first statewide victory.
The Perry presidential campaign declined to release the controversial ad this week, and a search on YouTube and similar sites turns up nothing. But The Texas Tribune found a copy — for review purposes only — at the Political Commercial Archive at the University of Oklahoma.
The 30-second attack ad prominently features Mr. Perry’s Democratic opponent in that race, the incumbent Jim Hightower, posing triumphantly with the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Their hands are clasped above their heads, and the two men are smiling.
These words flash on the screen: “Does Hightower share your values?” Then, under the photo of the two men: “Jesse Jackson’s chairman.” (Mr. Hightower had endorsed Mr. Jackson for president in 1988 but was not his Texas campaign chairman.)
Mr. Perry’s aides said then and insist now that the ad was designed only to tie Mr. Hightower to a well-known liberal, but at the time it prompted a furor among black lawmakers. They compared it to the 1988 Willie Horton ad, which used pictures of a menacing-looking criminal, a black man who had been furloughed from prison when Michael S. Dukakis, the Democratic presidential nominee, was the governor of Massachusetts.
“The whole point was: there I am with a black man,” Mr. Hightower recalled in an interview last week. “It was an overt play to the racist vote.”
Mr. Hightower is speaking out now, after years of silence, because he finally received a detailed description of it two decades after it aired. Neither Mr. Hightower nor any of his former senior campaign staff members could find a copy of it either, and he said he felt like he needed to refresh his memory.
Mr. Hightower, who had been heavily favored to win re-election, remembered that the ad gave Mr. Perry, then a state representative, momentum in the closing days of the campaign. Mr. Perry narrowly won the race, with 49 percent of the vote to Mr. Hightower’s 47 percent.
After the ad began running, supporters told Mr. Hightower that “a white hand and black hand together” was hurting him.
“I think today people would reject it,” Mr. Hightower said. “I don’t know that you would run an ad like that today.”
After the commercial was broadcast, black leaders called on Mr. Perry to pull it. Representative Larry Evans, Democrat of Houston and the chairman of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus in the House, wrote Mr. Perry a letter complaining that it bordered on “race baiting.”
In Private, Wall St. Bankers Dismiss Protesters as Unsophisticated
By NELSON D. SCHWARTZ and ERIC DASH
Published: October 14, 2011
Publicly, bankers say they understand the anger at Wall Street — but believe they are misunderstood by the protesters camped on their doorstep.
But when they speak privately, it is often a different story.
“Most people view it as a ragtag group looking for sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll,” said one top hedge fund manager.
“It’s not a middle-class uprising,” adds another veteran bank executive. “It’s fringe groups. It’s people who have the time to do this.”
As the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations have grown and spread to other cities, an open question is: Do the bankers get it? Their different worldview speaks volumes about the wide chasms that have opened over who is to blame for the continuing economic malaise and what is best for the country.
Some on Wall Street viewed the protesters with disdain, and a degree of caution, as hundreds marched through the financial district on Friday. Others say they feel their pain, but are befuddled about what they are supposed to do to ease it. A few even feel personally attacked, and say the Occupy Wall Street protesters who have been in Zuccotti Park for weeks are just bitter about their own economic fate and looking for an easy target. If anything, they say, people should show some gratitude.
“Who do you think pays the taxes?” said one longtime money manager. “Financial services are one of the last things we do in this country and do it well. Let’s embrace it. If you want to keep having jobs outsourced, keep attacking financial services. This is just disgruntled people.”
He added that he was disappointed that members of Congress from New York, especially Senator Charles E. Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, had not come out swinging for an industry that donates heavily to their campaigns. “They need to understand who their constituency is,” he said.
Generally, bankers dismiss the protesters as gullible and unsophisticated. Not many are willing to say this out loud, for fear of drawing public ire — or the masses to their doorsteps. “Anybody who dismisses them publicly is putting a bull’s-eye on their back,” the hedge fund manager said.
John Paulson, the hedge fund titan who made billions in the financial crisis by betting against the subprime mortgage market, has been the exception. His Upper East Side home was picketed by demonstrators earlier this week, but Mr. Paulson offered a full-throated defense of the Street, even going so far as to defend the tiny sliver of top earners attacked by the Occupy Wall Street protesters — whose signs refer to themselves as “the other 99 percent.”
“The top 1 percent of New Yorkers pay over 40 percent of all income taxes, providing huge benefits to everyone in our city and state,” he said in a statement. “Paulson & Company and its employees have paid hundreds of millions in New York City and New York State taxes in recent years and have created over 100 high-paying jobs in New York City since its formation.”
The messages coming from the protesters are by no means in accord. They have myriad grievances, though many see Wall Street as the most powerful symbol of the income inequality and “economic injustice” they are railing against. There is ample indignation over banks being bailed out while their customers are being foreclosed upon, and over banks handing out hefty bonus checks and severance packages so soon after the crisis erupted.
Similarly, executives keep getting generous payouts when they leave. Just last week, Bank of America disclosed it was paying a total of $11 million in severance to two executives forced out in a management reshuffle, Sallie Krawcheck and Joe Price, even as the company said it would begin laying off roughly 30,000 employees over the next few years.
“Wall Street continues to underestimate the degree of anger among citizens and voters,” said Douglas J. Elliott, a former investment banker who is now a fellow at the Brookings Institution. For the most part, bankers say that they see the protests as a reaction to the high unemployment and slow growth that has plagued the American economy since the recession and the financial crisis of 2008. Despite all the placards and chants plainly indicating otherwise, some bankers suggest that deep down, the protesters are not really all that mad at them.
Tackling Infant Mortality Rates Among Blacks
Amanda Ralph is the kind of woman whose babies are prone to die. She is young and poor and dropped out of school after the ninth grade.
But there is also an undeniable link between Ms. Ralph’s race — she is black — and whether her baby will survive: nationally, black babies are more than twice as likely as white babies to die before the age of 1. Here in Pittsburgh, the rate is five times.
So, seven months into her first pregnancy, Ms. Ralph, 20, is lying on a couch at home as a nurse from a federally financed program listens to the heartbeat of her fetus.
The unusual attention Ms. Ralph is receiving is one of myriad efforts being made nationwide to reduce the tens of thousands of deaths each year of infants before age 1. But health officials say it is frequently disheartening work, as a combination of apathy and cuts to federal and state programs aimed at reducing infant deaths have hampered progress, with dozens of big cities and rural areas reporting rising rates.
The private nature of infant mortality has made it a quiet crisis, lacking the public discussion or high-profile campaigns that accompany cancer, autism or postpartum depression.
The infant mortality rate in the United States has long been near the bottom of the world’s industrialized countries. The nation’s current mark — 6.7 deaths per 1,000 live births — places it 46th in the world, according to a ranking by the Central Intelligence Agency.
African-Americans fare far worse: Their rate of 13.3 deaths per 1,000 is almost double the national average and higher than Sri Lanka’s.
Precisely why the black infant mortality rate is so high is a mystery that has eluded researchers even as the racial disparity continues to grow in cities like Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and Boston.
In Pittsburgh, where the unemployment rate is well below the national average, the infant mortality rate for black residents of Allegheny County was 20.7 in 2009, a slight decrease from 21 in 2000 but still worse than the rates in China or Mexico. In the same period the rate among whites in the county decreased to 4 from 5.6 — well below the national average, according to state statistics. Figures for the past two years, which are not yet available, have most likely increased the gap significantly, county health officials said.
While Pittsburgh’s struggles are illustrative of problems in other cities, it also faces its own particular issues, including the county’s privatization of many of its health care services over the years.
With the county taking a reduced role, Healthy Start, a federally financed national nonprofit group, is now responsible for Pittsburgh’s most vulnerable pregnant women. None of its $2.35 million budget, much of which is used for 6,000 annual home visits, comes from the county. The group’s budget has not increased since 1997.
Even with its high-risk clients, Healthy Start has had success: in 2007 there were no child deaths among its participants countywide. The numbers though, have begun to creep up, and in 2010 the mortality rate among participants was 13.9.
“As a city you want to be known for your football and baseball teams, but you don’t want to be known as a place where babies die,” said Cheryl Squire Flint, who leads the group’s Pittsburgh branch.
That, however, is precisely what is happening.
“We have one of the top schools of public health and one of the top schools of medicine, yet the problem is hidden,” said Angela F. Ford, executive director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Minority Health, which works to address health disparities.
Recent studies have shown that poverty, education, access to prenatal care, smoking and even low birth weight do not alone explain the racial gap in infant mortality, and that even black women with graduate degrees are more likely to lose a child in its first year than are white women who did not finish high school. Research is now focusing on stress as a factor and whether black women have shorter birth canals.
“It is truly one of the most challenging issues, because it is multifactorial,” said Dr. Garth Graham, a deputy assistant secretary in the Office of Minority Health at the Department of Health and Human Services. “And nationally, the disparity has remained despite our best efforts.”
Dr. Bruce W. Dixon, Allegheny County’s health commissioner for the last 19 years, said the primary cause for the growing disparity is an inequity in health care access.
“It’s not medical care, it’s social issues,” he said.
Chris Tucker Facing Foreclosure on Mansion
By: Nsenga Burton | Posted: October 14, 2011
MSN is reporting that actor-comedian Chris Tucker’s financial woes are worsening. He is facing foreclosure on his $6 million Florida mansion after failing to keep up repayments, according to a report.
The Rush Hour star was hit with a staggering $11 million tax bill last year after allegedly falling behind on fees in 2001, 2002 and 2004 through 2006. The star is said to owe $4.4 million to SunTrust Bank, which holds the mortgage on the property.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Tucker’s estate is located in the Bella Collina development, a nearly 2,000-acre community with waterfront homes and estates that overlook a massive golf course. 2007’s Rush Hour 3 was Tucker’s last film. He is currently on tour in the United States with upcoming dates in Houston, Seattle and Sacremento.
He may need to extend that tour and get back into acting if he intends to address his financial woes. We could be cynical, but why kick a man when he’s down? We suppose the recession is just as hard on celebrities as it is on the rest of us.
Barack Obama’s lonely presidency
by Clarence Page
October 12, 2011
News media depict presidencies as long-running soap operas. The story doesn’t end, but it goes through changes.
In this, President Barack Obama’s autumn of discontent, a new and potentially disastrous media narrative is emerging about him: He’s the kind of liberal who loves humanity but hates people.
Such was the subtext of a stinging full-page essay that has political junkies all abuzz. Headlined “The loner president,” the essay by White House correspondent Scott Wilson in Sunday’s Washington Post says Obama has a “people problem.”
“This president endures with little joy the small talk and back-slapping of retail politics, rarely spends more than a few minutes on a rope line, refuses to coddle even his biggest donors,” Wilson observes. “His relationship with Democrats on Capitol Hill is frosty, to be generous. Personal lobbying on behalf of legislation? He prefers to leave that to Vice President (Joe) Biden, an old-school political charmer.”
Of course, it is fair to ask: Is that a bad thing? After all, it is fair to say, Obama was elected by voters who sounded a lot like today’s Republican primary voters do. His supporters wanted a new face who was not part of the back-slapping, glad-handing, noddin’-and-winkin’ and donor-coddling Washington insider establishment.
But, oh, what a difference a bad economy and a stubborn congressional opposition can make. Many Obama supporters who were looking for a return of John F. Kennedy’s charisma now wish they had another Lyndon B. Johnson, a tough-minded, back-slapping arm-twister. Hey, he got things done.
Most damaging to Obama’s narrative is Wilson’s depiction of the “No-Drama Obama” we all know as a nine-to-five president. That’s unlike, say, Bill Clinton, whose former senior adviser Rahm Emanuel, now mayor of Chicago, is quoted as remembering Clinton lobbying lawmakers at 3 a.m. to secure passage of his crime bill. “After hours, Obama prefers his briefing book and Internet browser,” Wilson writes, “a solitary preparation he undertakes each night after Sasha and Malia go to bed.” Of course, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush were not midnight oil burners, either, but that’s probably not a comparison Obama welcomes.
Sure, Obama barnstormed the country, pitching his American Jobs Act, casting himself once again as a man alone against the Grand Old Party’s stubborn congressional leaders. But to put real pressure on the House Republican majority, he needs the Senate to pass some version of the bill. Unfortunately, his political capital on Capitol Hill is running out as lawmakers face re-election races of their own.
And some of Obama’s allies in the Congressional Black Caucus and the left-progressive activist communities continue to grumble that he’s treating them like a stand-by date — a reliable companion for Saturday night, only to be forgotten for the rest of the week.
Left-progressive activists, including his former White House green jobs adviser Van Jones, hardly mentioned Obama’s name at their Take Back the American Dream Conference, an annual gathering of liberal activists in Washington, D.C. Obamamania has dimmed as Obama, in the words of one activist leader, has become “too cautious” and “pre-compromised.”
But, before Obama’s rivals on the political right become too gleeful over his political misfortunes, they should take his tale as a cautionary note about presidential campaigns in both parties: The qualities that look most attractive in a presidential candidate can prove to be disastrous in a president.
We loved Bill Clinton’s jolly, freewheeling charm and lust for life — before those qualities looked in the White House like a serious lack of discipline and organization, costly to the power and majesty of his office.
And we similarly were wooed by candidate George W. Bush’s folksy, straightforward and resolute certainty. But after debacles like Hurricane Katrina and Iraq’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction, his reassuring certainty looked like old-fashioned, irrational stubbornness.
We think we’re voting for candidates, but we’re really voting for narratives, the grand epic presidential story that we hope will come true. President Barack Obama offers us yet another case of a winner whose narrative is turned unfavorably on its head by his presidency. He has a year to turn his story around or, at least, hope his opponent spins a narrative that sounds even worse.
L.A. Exhibit Salutes City’s Elite Black Artists
Native sons and daughters call this show at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles long overdue.
By: F. Finley McRae | Posted: October 15, 2011 at 12:25 AM
Works by Los Angeles’ premier black artists, many signifying the political turmoil that marked the 1960 and 1970s, are finally on display in one of the city’s major exhibition spaces.
The works, some 140 by 35 artists — many of them among the nation’s artistic crème de la crème — are currently on view at Westwood’s Hammer Museum in “Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960-1980.”
Sponsored by Pacific Standard Time, the Getty Foundation’s cultural initiative to explore Southern California’s post-World War II art scene, “Now Dig This!” is one of more than 60 such regional efforts enabled by a $10 million grant.
Featuring emotionally gripping pieces by Samella Lewis, John Outterbridge, Charles White, Betye Saar, David Hammons, William Pajaud, Noah Purifoy and Melvin Edwards, among other noted artists, the exhibit, running until Jan. 8, 2012, has raised its flag across a broad cross section of Angelenos and substantial numbers of African Americans. The exhibit drew 2,000 visitors on its opening day.
Curated by Kellie Jones, Ph.D., an associate professor of anthropology and art history at Columbia University, the exhibit opens a window on the genius of artists long denied the acclaim and recognition merited by their works and artistic stature. Eight remaining lectures and performances are scheduled as part of the exhibit, including a Dec. 15 appearance by musician Jason Moran, a 2010 MacArthur Fellow (and Root 100 2011 selection), and “Hammer Conversations” with Jones and her father, poet-professor Amiri Baraka, on Jan. 8.
Unlike their white L.A. counterparts — Ed Ruscha, Larry Bell, John Baldessari and Robert Irwin, to name a few — whose careers blossomed from the late 1950s to the 1980s, most black artists of talent struggled in relative anonymity to eke out a living. The exhibit, according to museum, “chronicles the vital legacy of the city’s African-American artists animated by the civil rights and Black Power movements, reflecting the changing sense of what constituted African-American identity and American culture.”
Lewis, an internationally regarded printmaker, art critic, scholar and historian, told The Root that the exhibit “has a tremendous significance for us. The works of African-American artists,” she recalled, “[no matter how outstanding] have never been shown in this city, in this way or with this kind of respect.”
The award-winning author commended Jones on her curatorial effort and said the Columbia University professor has created “an impressive” exhibit. Yet Lewis was also candid in her comments. “We [the African-American artists whose works are exhibited] deserve this presence. They didn’t give it to us; we earned it by working very hard for a very long time,” said Lewis, who has authored seven books and five films.
The First Invisible Lady?
Single-Minded: It seems inconceivable that Michelle Obama recently walked through Target undetected.
By: Helena Andrews | Posted: October 14, 2011 at 12:43 AM
If Michelle Obama were wearing fluorescent fuchsia Hammer pants and a furry Kangol, I’d still recognize her. She could be buying breath mints at CVS just for the $20 cash-back offer or sprinting up the left side of the escalator and I’d stop to gawk. She’s the first lady of the United States, and I know what she looks like.
Last month an Associated Press photographer snapped a picture of Obama in a Nike hat and shades while she anonymously shopped at a Virginia-area Target. CBS News ran an incongruously serious segment on the paparazzi photo:
“Do you recognize this woman? Yes, in that ball cap, behind those sunglasses, is the first lady of the United States. She spent about half an hour in the store pushing her own cart, but apparently the only person who recognized her was the cashier.”
Really? That’s it? The cashier? No one else in the entire mega-store noticed that one of the most recognizable women in the free world was getting her Target on?
On Wednesday in an interview with Today’s Al Roker, Obama confirmed that she likes to “sneak out as much as possible” in an effort to “keep our kids’ lives normal.
“I do that more frequently than people realize, and it’s amazing how people don’t recognize you. They don’t expect to see me at Starbucks or at Chipotle,” she said.
“I’ve been in Baskin-Robbins a number of times. You know how the kids aren’t really paying attention. They’re looking right through you; they don’t know it’s me.”
Is it just me or is recent “news” that the president’s wife, the closest thing Americans have to a royal highness, traipses about unnoticed a bit unsettling? Shouldn’t most people with working eyes know what she looks like?
Conservative conspiracy theorists, also known as commenters, might say that because of increasingly hostile political storm clouds gathering around “class warfare,” Michelle Obama is simply doing her part to ease tensions. Her down-to-earth sneak attacks, in which she appears as the American Normal Woman, are actually expertly choreographed photo shoots. I doubt that.
Cain wants to be their ABC -plain and simple.
October 15, 2011 10:40 AM
How not to run for president
By Steve Benen
When it comes to Herman Cain’s presidential campaign, even if we put aside every other consideration — his unfamiliarity with current events, his unwillingness to put together a policy agenda, his frequent staff resignations, his lackluster fundraising — it’s still often hard to tell if the guy is actually running for public office.
The New York Times noted the other day, for example, that Cain arranged a “whirlwind trip through New York City” last week, which included some media appearances and power lunches, but Cain “did all but one thing — campaign.” The same piece looked at his public campaign calendar of events and found that “19 of the 31 days of October are blank.”
Occasionally, Cain does make public appearances, but Politico reports that he tends to avoid Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina — the four early nominating states — where the candidates are campaigning aggressively.
A POLITICO analysis of candidate schedules reveals that Cain has logged less time in the kickoff states and held far fewer town halls and small town meet-and-greets than any of his competitors. In a nomination fight in which the first four states to vote hold a position of exaggerated importance, Cain has taken a different route — a haphazard approach that regularly takes him to places far from the primary and caucus action.
While presidential candidates don’t typically confine themselves to the early state campaign trail, Cain’s peripatetic schedule has nevertheless led to head-scratching…. The lack of focus on any of the key early states is at the heart of questions about just how serious Cain is about winning the GOP nomination.
“People are confused by it. They want to see the candidates and ask them questions. Some people haven’t met him for the first time yet,” Chuck Laudner, a former Iowa GOP executive director, told Politico. “There’s a lot of anxiety here when someone’s riding high in the polls and doesn’t want to take advantage of it. It’d be very easy to do.”
That’s an important point. Cain, thanks to a variety of factors, is actually doing very well in early nominating states, despite the fact that he’s not even trying. If he actually started showing up in places like Iowa and South Carolina, Cain would presumably solidify his position as an inexplicably top-tier candidate.
But he doesn’t bother. Cain hasn’t stepped foot in Iowa in over two months, and he spends even less time in New Hampshire, where polls show him running a credible second.
What’s he thinking? Cain’s spokesperson said this is all part of a larger strategy — one that only seems to make sense to the candidate and his immediate aides — though I suspect the truth is more mundane. First, it’s likely Cain knows a lot of retail politics would expose him as a fraud — in debates, he can recite a few soundbites in 30-second answers and do just fine. At a town-hall event in Ames, it’d be pretty clear this guy has no idea what he’s talking about.
And second, I imagine Cain doesn’t actually have presidential ambitions. His campaign is a vanity exercise, intended to help him sell books and line up a post-2012 media career.
For what it’s worth, if this is Cain’s plan, it seems to be working fairly well. He won’t be the Republican presidential nominee, but by 2013, he’ll be charging a fortune on the lecture circuit, and very likely have his own Fox News show.
Cain is a shuckin , buckin, jiggin; wiggin, jivin’ conivin’, coonin’, hanky-headed GRIFTER.
WASHINGTON DC WASHINGTON JOBS & JUSTICE MARCH
Hello everyone. Just wanted you all to know how much I love this site.
Hola’, PB. We love having your dear presence gracing 3 Chics. Thank you!!! Enjoy your weekend. :-)
Hola, backatcha, Ametia.
Been tooling around looking for coverage of Rev Al’s March. The pickings are slim. I don’t know if it’s the same old MSM blackout or if it’s that combined with the progressive sites all OWS, all the time focus.
It’s streamin live on CNN
We love having you here!
Sean Penn On Tea Party: ‘Get The N-Word Out Of The White House Party’
Sean Penn has long mixed politics and show business, and Friday night, he urged President Obama to do the same.
“I would love to see Barack Obama be Bulworth,” he told Piers Morgan on CNN, referring to the Warren Beatty film about a President who starts speaking truth to power during the run up to an election. “I’d love to see what I’ve always wanted to see, somebody run as a one term President and show me that people aren’t stupid. They do care about each other. And when he does the right things and takes on the controversies, he’s going to win the next election.”
Penn got more dramatic from there, outlining a problem for Obama far beyond anything economic: the Tea Party.
“You have what I call the get the ‘N’ word out of the White House party, the Tea Party, this kind of sensibility, which is much more of a distraction,” he said. “At the end of the day, there’s a big bubble coming out of their head saying, you know, can we just lynch him?”
Sorry Sean, the office of the POTUS is NOT HOLLYWOOD.
We got your one term, dude. OBAMA/BIDEN 2012
The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom: Documentary Footage (1963)
Obama Bundlers Raise $55.5 Million For President’s Re-Election
WASHINGTON — The re-election campaign of President Barack Obama has a wide base of small-dollar donors and a small base of big-dollar bundlers. A total of 352 bundlers helped collect at least $55.5 million for the president’s re-election from April through September, according to an analysis of a new bundler list released by the Obama campaign on Friday afternoon.
The Obama bundler team features such well-known names as Vogue editor Anna Wintour, DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine and Miramax head Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein is one of 114 brand-new bundlers who have joined the campaign from July through September.
The $55.5 million raised by the bundlers went to both Obama’s campaign committee and the Democratic National Committee, which have combined to raise $70.1 million so far in 2011. Bundlers have collected checks that account for 35 percent of the total raised for Obama’s re-election.
Five of the new bundlers raised at least $500,000, the top range reported by the campaign. They include Weinstein; HBO executive James Costos; Microsoft attorney John Frank; Ambassador to Sweden Matthew Barzun, who is also the Obama 2012 national finance chair; and President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities member Christine Forester, a veteran Obama fundraiser.
Gap closings: Gap to close 189 US stores; sets sights on China
Gap closings will reduce US locations to 700 by 2013. With Gap closing hundreds of stores around the country, where will Americans shop now?
By Schuyler Velasco, Correspondent / October 14, 2011
The Gap flagship store in San Francisco is pictured in this file photo. Gap will be closing 189 of its US locations by 2013, while simultaneously expanding its presence overseas. The Gap closings will provide room for competitors to expand in the US.
Gap Inc., the clothing retailer which runs the Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic retail chains, announced Thursday that it would be closing 189 Gap locations across North America by the end of 2013. The move comes as part of the struggling retailer’s goal of reducing its presence in North America. By 2013, there will be an estimated 700 in the region, down from 1,056 in 2007.
Worldwide, the company will have closed 34 percent of its so-called “namesake” stores by the end of 2013.
“In North America, we’re taking a number of steps to improve sales in the near term, and I’m confident that with a strong management team in place, we’re well positioned for sustained growth across the business, ” Glenn Murphy, chairman and CEO of Gap Inc. said in a statement.
“The brand plans to continue downsizing its fleet in North America, and expects to potentially remove another 1 million square feet by fiscal year end 2013,” a company release read.
Their Beautiful Minds
Sat Oct 15th, 2011 at 09:37:18 AM EST
The Bush Crime Family is known for their sense of noblesse oblige. For example, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Poppy Bush and his wife Barbara joined with Bill and Hillary Clinton in announcing the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund. As part of that effort, they all decided to visit the Astrodome which was housing thousands of displaced people from Louisiana. People remember the visit best for the comments former First Lady Barbara Bush made on the radio show Marketplace:
“Almost everyone I’ve talked to says: ‘We’re going to move to Houston,’ ” Mrs Bush said late on Monday after visiting evacuees at the Astrodome with her husband, former president George Bush.
“What I’m hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality,” she said.
“And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this – this is working very well for them.”
That is the kind of attitude you expect from the Republican aristocracy, but the current governor of Texas, Rick Perry, is supposed to be different. He’s the anti-Bush. He didn’t go to Yale and Harvard. He went to Texas A&M. He’s a man of the people. So, let’s listen to his wife talk about the unemployed:
Anita Perry said today that she could sympathize with unemployed people because her son Griffin had to resign his job at a bank in order to campaign for his father, Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Mrs. Perry’s words came in response to David Von Schmittou, 45, who said he had lost a high-paying job during the recession and now worked odd jobs as a handyman to make ends meet.
“I’m just sympathizing. Let me tell you. Our son has resigned his job because of the federal regulations Washington has put on us,” she said. “He resigned his job two weeks ago. Because he can’t go out and campaign for his father because of SEC regulations. He’s got a wife; he’s got a job. He’s trying to start up a business. So I empathize with you.”
Which reminds me of a story from last June:
TAMPA, Fla. — Mitt Romney sat at the head of the table at a coffee shop here on Thursday, listening to a group of unemployed Floridians explain the challenges of looking for work. When they finished, he weighed in with a predicament of his own.
“I should tell my story,” Mr. Romney said. “I’m also unemployed.”
He chuckled. The eight people gathered around him, who had just finished talking about strategies of finding employment in a slow-to-recover economy, joined him in laughter.
“Are you on LinkedIn?” one of the men asked.
“I’m networking,” Mr. Romney replied. “I have my sight on a particular job.”
Let’s take a look at a picture of Mitt Romney when he did have a job. Here he is celebrating the huge amount of money he made at Bain Capital through the outsourcing of jobs
Anita Perry, Rick Perry’s Wife, Blames Obama Administration For Son Losing Job
Anita Perry, the wife of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, said she sympathized with the unemployed Friday because her son resigned from his job at Deutsche Bank to campaign for his father, reports CNN.
“He resigned his job two weeks ago because he can’t go out and campaign with his father because of SEC regulations,” she said at a Pendleton, S.C. diner, in response to a middle-aged voter who lost his six-figure job and now works as a handyman. “My son lost his job because of this administration,” she added. CNN reports that the SEC recently adopted stricter rules for investment advisers undertaking political activity.
She is mad hungry to be First Lady. Ain’t gonna happen! She shed tears because Governor good hair has dropped in the polls. The gall of this woman to compare her son quitting his job to folks LOSING their jobs! GTHOOH, Anita!
This muthaFO, RESIGNED. He didn’t get fired or lay off. Take your ass back to work, dude. Anita and her son can go straight to HELL.
BITCH , PLEASE!
First family visits new MLK memorial
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama followed through Friday night on his longtime plan to take his two daughters to see the new monument to Martin Luther King Jr. on the National Mall.
Two days before Obama is to speak at the dedication of the memorial to the civil rights pioneer, the president, first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha made an unannounced visit to the site. Reporters were held in vans on a service road and could not see the Obamas as they viewed the memorial.
At a ground-breaking ceremony for the memorial five years ago, Obama, then a senator from Illinois, spoke about what it would be like to bring his daughters to see it.
“I know that one of my daughters will ask, perhaps my youngest, will ask, “Daddy, why is this monument here? What did this man do?” Obama said.
The young senator is now president, and the King memorial is complete, having opened to the public in August. On Sunday, the country’s first black president will be a featured speaker at the dedication ceremony.
Inspiration for today
The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.
Good Morning, Everyone at 3CHICS!!
Good Morning, Ladies & Everybody! :-)