Saturday Open Thread

Good Morning. I hope you’re enjoying this weekend with family and friends.

It was nearly 4 years ago this week that Senator Barack Obama accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination in Denver.

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30 Responses to Saturday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    Laurie Penny: It’s nice to think that only evil men are rapists – that it’s only pantomime villains with knives in alleyways. But the reality is different

    As the story of Julian Assange has unfolded, a disturbing fact has emerged: to many powerful men, some kinds of rape don’t count. In a searingly honest piece that some readers will find upsetting, Laurie Penny describes the night she learnt how wrong that assumption is

    This week, everybody has been arguing about rape, and what it means. Following the Assange case, standing in the crowd to hear him deliver his Evita speech from the balcony of the Ecuadorean embassy, debating with men and women online, I’ve heard a great many people from all parts of the political spectrum tell me that the women who accused the WikiLeaks founder of sexual assault were lying, or they were duped, or they were “honey traps”, or, most worryingly and increasingly often, that their definition of rape is inaccurate.

    The people saying this are not all prize imbeciles like George Galloway or frothing wingnuts like the Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin. Some of them are just everyday internet idiots who happen to believe that if a man you have previously consented to sex with holds you down and fucks you, that isn’t rape. If you were wearing a short skirt and flirting, that isn’t rape. If a man penetrates you without a condom while you’re asleep, against your will, that isn’t rape, not, in Akin’s words, “legitimate rape”.

    Old, white, powerful men know what rape is, much better, it seems, than rape victims. They are lining up to inform us that women – the discussion has centred around women and their lies even though 9 per cent of rape victims are men – do not need “to be asked prior to each insertion”. Thanks for that, George, not that it’s just you.

    There’s an army of commentators who also believe “that’s not real rape” is both a valid defence of a specific political asylum-seeker and objective truth. Women lie, they say. Women lie about rape, about sexual assault, they do it because they’re stupid or wicked or attention-seeking or deluded. The observation that the rate of fraud in rape cases remains as low as the rate of fraud in any other criminal allegation – between 2 and 4 per cent – has no impact. Women lie, and they do it to ruin men in positions of power.

    As a culture, we still refuse collectively to accept that most rapes are committed by ordinary men, men who have friends and families, men who may even have done great or admirable things with their lives. We refuse to accept that nice guys rape, and they do it often. Part of the reason we haven’t accepted it is that it’s a painful thing to contemplate – far easier to keep on believing that only evil men rape, only violent, psychotic men lurking in alleyways with pantomime-villain moustaches and knives, than to consider that rape might be something that ordinary men do. Men who might be our friends or colleagues or people we look up to. We don’t want that to be the case. Hell, I don’t want that to be the case. So, we all pretend it isn’t. Justice, see?–that-its-only-pantomime-villains-with-knives-in-alleyways-but-the-reality-is-different-8079403.html

  2. rikyrah says:

    Why Race Is Still a Problem for Mormons

    I BELIEVE that in 1978 God changed his mind about black people,” sings Elder Kevin Price in the Broadway musical “The Book of Mormon.” The line is meant to be funny, and it is — in part because it’s true.

    In a June 1978 letter, the first presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints proclaimed that “all worthy male members of the Church may be ordained to the priesthood without regard for race or color.” Men of African descent could now hold the priesthood, the power and authority exercised by all male members of the church in good standing. Such a statement was necessary, because until then, blacks were relegated to a very second-class status within the church.

    The revelation may have lifted the ban, but it neither repudiated it nor apologized for it. “It doesn’t make a particle of difference,” proclaimed the Mormon apostle Bruce R. McConkie a few months later, “what anybody ever said about the Negro matter before the first day of June of this year, 1978.”

    Mr. McConkie meant such words to encourage Mormons to embrace the new revelation, and he may have solemnly believed that it made the history of the priesthood ban irrelevant. But to many others around the country, statements of former church leaders about “the Negro matter” do, in fact, matter a great deal.

    They cause pain to church members of African descent, provide cover for repugnant views and make the church an easy target for criticism and satire. The church would benefit itself and its members — and one member in particular, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee — by formally repudiating the priesthood ban and the racist theories that accompanied it.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Nobody Likes Mitt

    by BooMan
    Sat Aug 25th, 2012 at 07:07:11 PM EST

    The Economist is disgusted with Mitt Romney.

    …competence is worthless without direction and, frankly, character. Would that Candidate Romney had indeed presented himself as a solid chief executive who got things done. Instead he has appeared as a fawning PR man, apparently willing to do or say just about anything to get elected. In some areas, notably social policy and foreign affairs, the result is that he is now committed to needlessly extreme or dangerous courses that he may not actually believe in but will find hard to drop; in others, especially to do with the economy, the lack of details means that some attractive-sounding headline policies prove meaningless (and possibly dangerous) on closer inspection. Behind all this sits the worrying idea of a man who does not really know his own mind. America won’t vote for that man; nor would this newspaper…
    Mr Romney may calculate that it is best to keep quiet: the faltering economy will drive voters towards him. It is more likely, however, that his evasiveness will erode his main competitive advantage. A businessman without a credible plan to fix a problem stops being a credible businessman. So does a businessman who tells you one thing at breakfast and the opposite at supper. Indeed, all this underlines the main doubt: nobody knows who this strange man really is. It is half a decade since he ran something. Why won’t he talk about his business career openly? Why has he been so reluctant to disclose his tax returns? How can a leader change tack so often? Where does he really want to take the world’s most powerful country?

    When a Republican former CEO of a private equity firm can’t even win over The Economist, you know he’s a sure loser.

  4. rikyrah says:

    First man on moon Neil Armstrong dead at 82:

    Former U.S. astronaut, Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, has died at the age of 82, U.S. media reported on Saturday.

    Armstrong underwent a heart-bypass surgery earlier this month to relieve blocked coronary arteries.

    As commander of the Apollo 11 mission, Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969.

  5. rikyrah says:

    AP’s @BenFellerDC Dutifully Reports Romney Lie About Stance on Abortion Ban

    By Imani Gandy (ABL) August 25th, 2012

    Women need the media to be better at its job.

    Look. If you’re going to be a journalist, you are required to provide facts. When dealing with a liar of a candidate like Mitt Romney, if you report his stated position on an issue without examining all of the other stances he has taken on that very same issue, then you are not doing your job.

    To wit, Ben Feller, White House correspondent for AP is not doing his job:

    Obama alluded to the provocative issue of abortion, suddenly thrust to the fore this week when Republican Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin said the female body has a way to “shut that whole thing down” when a woman is the victim of “legitimate rape.”
    The Republican platform in Tampa calls for a ban on abortion with no specific exceptions for rape or other circumstances. Obama predicted that a President Romney would not “stand in the way” if Congress gave him a bill that stripped away women’s control over their reproductive health.

    Romney is on record, however, as not opposing abortion in cases of rape and incest or if it will save the mother’s life.

    Polling shows social issues such as abortion represent perhaps Obama’s best opportunity to draw support from Romney. Obama already holds a broad lead as the candidate more trusted to handle those social issues among Democrats and independents. The issue is one of Romney’s biggest vulnerabilities among moderate and liberal Republicans.

    Romney is on record as not opposing abortion in cases of rape and incest—as of this week. But for the past five years, Romney is on record as supporting an Eggs Are People Too (“Personhood”) Amendment.

    Knowing as you do, Mr. Feller, that abortion represents Obama’s opportunity to draw support from Romney, and knowing as you must that Romney’s abortion views have severe repercussions for the personal bodily autonomy of half the population in this country, why do you do your readers a disservice by failing to accurately report Romney’s stance on abortion?

  6. rikyrah says:


    were is that cooning graphic?

    DNC ad slams Artur Davis for contradicting himself

    by Carrie Healey | August 24, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    Former Democratic Alabama Congressman Artur Davis, once an Obama supporter, is now Republican and will be speaking at the GOP convention. This week the Democratic National Committee released an ad pointing out Davis contradicting his own words from just four years ago. Davis’ old allies in the Democratic Party aren’t letting his change of political views go without drawing attention to his prior support for the president.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Entitled Pandering Pathological Liar Mitt Romney Adds Racism to His Resume

    By: Rmuse
    August 25th, 2012

    Nearly anyone who has been in a relationship will agree that it takes a fair amount of time to really get to know another person and understand their deep-seated beliefs. It is virtually impossible to know much about any politician because without intimate knowledge of their background and interpersonal relationships, one must depend on how they respond to questions, their public record, and especially past performances. It has been trying for voters to understand Willard Romney because he never adheres to a particular agenda, and his recent conversion to ultra-rightwing extremism is but another shift to curry favor with Republicans.

    Over the past two weeks, and particularly the past two days, Romney has provided a wealth of information regarding his ideology and he accomplished that primarily in two speeches that validate his critics’ assertions throughout the campaign. The American people know very little about Romney except that he is extremely wealthy, but political observers and critics have asserted for some time that he is a pandering pathological liar, who is power-hungry, arrogant, secretive, and a racist.

    Yesterday in Michigan, Romney told an audience that, “No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate,” and by pandering to the birther crowd, he revealed that that he is a racist who is willing to go to any lengths to achieve the most powerful office in the land. His nod to the birthers signals that Romney is not the leader he purports to be. Next week at the Republican convention in Tampa, there are no less than seven birthers speaking to convention-goers including Romney’s friend Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee, Florida governor Rick Scott, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, and three other well-known racists who contend President Obama is a Kenyan and ineligible to serve as President. Romney, who is supposed to be the party’s standard bearer going into November, is more than willing to consort with racists because he is desperate in his lust for power.

    On Thursday, Romney unveiled his energy plan at an oil-services company in New Mexico that allegedly accomplishes North American energy independence by 2020. Willard said energy independence requires opening up more federal lands and waters to oil and gas drilling, giving states approval power over federal land, and building Keystone-like pipelines between Canada and Mexico to take fuller advantage of their oil resources. The plan, written by the oil industry is essential summed up in three words; “drill baby drill.” What was missing from his plan was any reference to renewable and green energy, safety standards for increased oil and gas drilling, or any mention of climate change. However, it did include repealing EPA limits on carbon dioxide pollution from power plants, criticism of President Obama’s moratorium during the BP oil spill, and eliminating regulations that destroy jobs, paralyze industry, or bar the use of resources like coal.

    Willard’s plan exposed his anti-environmental position that puts Americans in danger of dirty air, polluted water, and blatant disregard for the environment to be sure, but it also exposed his belief that winning in November makes him king of North America. Earlier in the campaign, Romney said “I’ll build the Keystone pipeline and get that Canadian oil we deserve,” and it ignores two simple facts. One, the Canadian oil does not belong to America, and two, that any oil from Canada, Mexico, or America belongs to the oil industry that will sell it on the foreign market to Europe, China, and Central America. Does Romney know how the oil industry works, and that a president is not able to “get that oil we deserve” from sovereign nations and oil companies? If he does know it, then he has a distorted self-image that has its basis his religious upbringing.

    According to Sue Emmett, a great-great-granddaughter of Mormonism’s Brigham Young, Romney was raised in a culture that “gives men power when they are 12 years old,” and that as a bishop, “Mitt was used to having people defer to him and not challenge him throughout his entire life.” She continued that “it is a position where everyone defers to you. What a bishop says goes. People come to them to receive blessings, and as the world can now see, Mitt has a very hard time being questioned and criticized because he’s had so little of this in his life.”

    Romney’s religious background may also contribute to his racist tendencies manifest in his latest birther statement. The Mormon cult held that dark-skinned people were cursed by god until Willard was 31 years old, and bringing up the President’s birth certificate appears to be an integral part of his racially-tinged campaign. Willard’s campaign said President Obama needs to “learn to be an American,” and Romney said the President’s policies “are foreign to America.” Whatever the reason for Romney’s drift into explicit racism, it appears that in his lust for power he is getting desperate to openly embrace birthers.

    After the past couple of weeks, Americans are getting to know who Romney is, and they are not enamored with him like he expected. He angered the African American community with his racist remarks about “free stuff,” and his stance on immigration has not garnered love from Hispanics. His choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate alienated senior citizens and reminded many Americans of George W. Bush’s vice president; oil man Dick Cheney. His energy plan is a sellout to the oil industry and a disaster for the environment, and his assertion that he will achieve energy independence for all of North America informs a sense of arrogance as well as ignorance of national borders or the foreign oil market. However, he impugned his own character when he embraced birthers (racists), and it is another sign that his arrogance and lust for power supersedes good judgment.

    Romney may have stifled discussion by disallowing questions about his record as head of Bain Capital, governor of Massachusetts, the Salt Lake City Olympics, Todd Akin, and abortion, but he defines himself as an arrogant, secretive, tax avoiding elitist with every new speech or statement to the press. Maybe Brigham Young’s great-great-granddaughter is correct that Romney is so used to everyone deferring to him that he really believes any lie, or offensive policy statement is going to garner automatic reverence from the American people, but Americans want a leader who listens, not commands. When Willard said he would achieve energy independence for all of North America, or that no-one asked to see his birth certificate, he really told Americans that he is a pandering racist who thinks too highly of himself when the reality is he is a desperate rich guy who expects the same adoration he commanded as a religious leader. His problem is that Americans are not transfixed by LDS religious fervor, and they demand a president who looks out for their interests, and it is the one thing Willard cannot deliver because he is a self-aggrandizing rich guy who is desperate for wealth and power, and the American people are on to him.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Fear of a Misreading of History

    Let me start by saying that I like the body of work that Ta-Nehisi Coates has produced over the past few years. I believe that he is one of the best writers of my generation, and I read him regularly because I want to see how I might strengthen my own craft. In particular, I admire the ways that he has invoked black history to talk about our present in substantive and nuanced ways. So I was thrown off this week by his article, “Fear of a Black President,” which appeared in the Atlantic this month.

    So I wrote a rant. I should probably edit this more carefully, but I don’t want to spend tons of time deconstructing an author I usually really like. So here is my quick response.

    What irritates me about the Coates piece is that he turns Obama into Booker T. Washington. And in this article, it’s used as a sort a faux historical shorthand for “sellout.” Which is fine if he had just said, “sellout” but not fine to say Washington, because Washington’s power was predicated on complete acquiescence on the question of not only segregation but also black disfranchisement. I’m enraged by the comparison between the person who silently co-signed some the greatest political violations in American history such as the Wilmington Race Riot of 1898 and the Atlanta Race Riot of 1906 and Obama, whose candidacy made way for the most radical enfranchisement of people of color and the young in American history.

    Washington didn’t simply “endorse segregation and proclaim the South to be a land of black opportunity” as Coates quickly asserts. In the wake of violence Washington actually bent to the false notion of the threat of the black male rapist and pleaded for continued opportunities to allow blacks to become more civilized with more non-controversial schools and businesses. At the basis of Washington’s politics was a promise not to advocate for the victims of lynching, to ignore the profound shaming that was racial segregation, and to chose voicelessness in the face of the erosion of black citizenship.

    Obama is not a segregationist. And he has not stood silently by in the face of the erosion of black citizenship. I’d argue that the Obama administration has done profound work to expand the franchise and is taking heat for the work that Holder and the Justice Department are doing to contest a wave of unjust voter ID laws, race based redistricting, and voter purges written into state law by Republican legislatures throughout the nation.

    And even though Coates goes on to implicitly blame President Obama for politicizing the murder of Trayvon Martin, his voice on Martin’s behalf stands in stark contrast with Washington’s silence in the face of lynching. In the case of the most symbolically horrific murder of our day, it is very relevant that the President did speak. Obama not only spoke but he basically said, I am Trayvon, he could have been my child. When did Booker T. Washington ever stand with a lynching victim and say he could have been my son? To me, that matters. So this tired, reductive effort to make the President into Washington, this effort to reinforce a false dichotomy between racial accommodationism and radicalism is just a misreading of black history. But most people don’t know anything about African American history and the mere mention history and race makes the Coates piece look brave.

    And the other searing irony here is his discussion of Shirley Sherrod. In a piece that is devoid of black women as historical actors, he concludes with a black woman. But here he mentions Sherrod as a prop. She is here simply to prove that Obama does not know “the struggle.” Coates doesn’t engage with Sherrod primarily as activist or thinker, but instead as a weeping grandmother worried about what her grand kids will think. Sherrod becomes proof that Obama is a failed black nationalist patriarch who did not to protect the old black woman even though she wants to protect him. Coates interviews Sherrod, but her voice is largely absent as are many of the facts surrounding the Brietbart attack. Didn’t the administration offer her the job back after they realized their grievous mistake? Didn’t Ben Jealous, head of the NAACP also fail to know who she was and fail to properly advocate for her rights? And who is the rights organization here, the Obama administration or NAACP? Coates here takes Sherrod, and her history as a SNCC activist out of a nuanced context and uses her to say that Obama is an insufficiently manly black man.

    At the bottom of all of this is that Obama is not Washington or Al Roker (or W.E.B. DuBois or Frederick Douglass or anyone else ever) he is a fundamentally new thing. We shouldn’t use sloppy black history facts to understand what he is. He is this new possibility so amazing that he scares every white supremacist still breathing. And he’s bigger than himself, he makes space for young folks, women, people of color, not to be just like him, but to be heard. Would Coates have a column, would MSNBC have so many black voices? Would people be listening to what black bloggers have to say from small video cameras in their living rooms? Would you be reading my tumblr? People want to hear from the young and people of color because he blew something open. Is he the realization of our dreams? Hell no, but is that his responsibility too? At this moment, when folks are trying to whitecap black voters at the polls, why is Coates’ implicit response, “Mr. President, you are so insufficient.” Really?

  9. rikyrah says:

    August 24, 2012 5:21 PM
    Mitt’s Biography 2.0

    By Ed Kilgore

    Those of you who spotted Mitt Romney’s Wall Street Journal op-ed today, entitled “What I Learned At Bain Capital,” might have been surprised that the GOP nominee was Going There at this sensitive point in the general election campaign. Hadn’t his association with Bain become a handicap? Isn’t he still struggling with questions about his control of the company during a crucial juncture, and still fighting to hide exactly what he did with the vast sums he earned there and in his severance package? Yes and yes. But he doesn’t have much choice but to try to reboot his efforts to make his career an ever-upward spiral of virtue, hard work and success, all perfectly designed to prepare him to become America’s Turnaround Consultant.

    So in the WSJ piece, you get a better presentation of the supposed connection between what he did at Bain and what he’d do in the Oval Office than he presented earlier on the campaign trail: he soft-pedals the job-creatin’ claims that got him into trouble earlier, and instead poses as someone who was forever presented with extremely difficult management challenges and again and again snatched victory from the jaws of corporate defeat by insisting on innovation, respecting human capital, and most of all: Making the Tough Decisions, the quality his campaign claims Barack Obama does not possess. If this self-presentation occasionally makes him come across as someone who takes inordinate pride in having risked a small fortune to make a very big one, that’s something that probably resonates with a lot of upper-middle-class voters who still dream of that McMansion or that fabulous vacation home, or maybe early retirement.

    We’re going to see a lot of this Mitt Biography 2.0 next week, as the campaign tries to rebuild the candidate as someone who does not appear to have been born on another planet. We’ll get the full-on treatment about the Winter Olympics, now that he’s safely a few weeks past the fiasco in London. We’ll get a carefully bowdlerized account of his governorship of Massachusetts, with budget-balancing and tough-decision-making emphasized and everything else vaporized. We’ll supposedly get a glimpse of his religious life—presumably the parts of it that stay a million miles away from LDS theology or history. And we’ll get lots and lots of family, as evidenced by the very high-profile role his wife will play in Tampa.

  10. rikyrah says:

    The Age of Niallism: Ferguson and the Post-Fact World

    People who believe facts are nothing think you’ll fall for anything. Call it Niallism.

    This is my last word (well, last words) on Niall Ferguson, whose Newsweek cover story arguing that Obama doesn’t deserve a second-term has drawn deserved criticism for its mendacity from Paul Krugman, Andrew Sullivan, Ezra Klein, Noah Smith, my colleagues James Fallows and Ta-Nehisi Coates and myself. The problem isn’t Ferguson’s conclusion, but how Ferguson reaches his conclusion. He either presents inaccurate facts or presents facts inaccurately. The result is a tendentious mess that just maintains a patina of factuality — all, of course, so Ferguson can create plausible deniability about his own dishonesty.

    Exhibit A is Ferguson’s big lie that Obamacare would increase the deficit. This is not true. Just look at the CBO report Ferguson himself cites. Paul Krugman immediately pointed this out, and asked for a correction. How did Ferguson respond? He claims he was only talking about the bill’s costs and not its revenues — a curious and unconvincing defense to say the least. But then Ferguson reveals his big tell. He selectively quotes the CBO to falsely make it sound like they don’t think Medicare savings will in fact be realized. Here’s the section Ferguson quotes, with the part he ellipses out in bold. (Note: Pseudonymous Buzzfeed contributor @nycsouthpaw was the first to notice this quote-doctoring. The italics below are Ferguson’s).

  11. rikyrah says:

    7 Birthers Speaking At The Republican Convention

    By Annie-Rose Strasser, Aviva Shen and Josh Israel on Aug 24, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Mitt Romney’s invocation of birtherism on Friday took his campaign to a new level of involvement with the bogus idea that President Obama is actually Kenyan-born and therefore ineligible to serve as Commander-in-Chief. But that dog-whistle theory has already been embraced by many major Republicans with whom Romney has long been happy to consort.

    Indeed, as Republicans head down to Tampa for their convention next week, they are preparing to see a veritable festival of politicians who have dabbled in — or fully embraced — birtherism.

    Here are the members of the birther bunch who will be speaking in Tampa next week:

    1. Donald Trump. The famed billionaire/birther king Donald Trump has been the most vociferous — and most closely connected to Romney — person alleging that the President wasn’t born in the United States.

    2. Actress Janine Turner. The Northern Exposure star who has her own conservative radio show wrote a long screed titled “Reasoning ‘Kenyan Born.’” In it, she complains that anyone who questions the president’s citizenship is deemed a racist: “If this were a legal case in court, [Obama’s] book bio stating that Obama was ‘born in Kenya’ would be taken into consideration.”

    3. Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens. During a town hall captured on video (at 3:5), Olens said, “You know the state of Hawaii says he’s produced a certified birth certificate… so on one hand I have to trust the state of Hawaii follows the laws. On the other hand it would be nice for the President to say, here it is, I have a copy.”

    4. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. On one radio appearance during Huckabee’s bid for president, the former governor said, “I would love to know more [about where Obama was born]. What I know is troubling enough.” He later walked back the statement.

    5. Florida Gov. Rick Scott. In 2010, the Orlando Sentinel reported than an audience member at one of Scott’s campaign events asked “what he would do about President Obama’s ‘birth certificate’ and whether he could legally appear on the 2012 ballot in Florida.” Scott responded, “I’ll have to look into it.”

    6. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). The Vice-Chairman of the House Republican Conference once told reporters “Oh, I’d like to see the documents.”

    7. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. Jindal was willing to sign a “birther” bill into law. It would have required all presidential candidates to release their birth certificate in order to qualify for a spot on the state’s ballot.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Young, Fabulous and Female in New York

    Hundreds of black women attended a lively discussion on career advice led by news host Tamron Hall.
    By: The Root Staff |Posted: August 23, 2012 at 2:28 Pm

    (The Root) — More than 200 black women in New York City packed Openhouse Gallery in lower Manhattan Wednesday evening for “Young, Fabulous and Female,” a panel discussion and networking gathering that is part of a series of events The Root has held in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta.

    NBC News correspondent and host of MSNBC’s NewsNation Tamron Hall moderated the conversation, which focused on various ways that black women can find inspiration and act confidently in their professional lives. She was joined by a diverse group of panelists that included sustainable-living advocate and radio-show host Majora Carter; architect and global head of design and construction at MetLife Pamela Abalu; Black Girls Rock! founder and DJ Beverly Bond; and A Belle in Brooklyn author and advice columnist Demetria L. Lucas, who is also a contributing editor for The Root.

    “In the five years I’ve been in New York, [these are the] most beautiful black women I’ve seen in one place,” said Hall.

    But the event was less about cheerleading black beauty than about providing firsthand testimonials about the often bumpy road to success. Hall described her own experiences, including times when she had difficulty dealing with antagonistic bosses, being the only African-American woman on staff and handling an under-qualified co-worker who also happened to be a black woman.

  13. rikyrah says:

    On Hampton’s Hair Rules

    A years-old cornrow-and-dreadlock ban highlights a culture mired in the “politics of respectability.”
    By: Mychal Denzel Smith|Posted: August 24, 2012 at 12:54 AM

    When I hit the campus of Hampton University as a senior in the fall of 2007, I had one thing on my mind: Free the Jena Six.

    The Iraq War made me pay attention, Hurricane Katrina angered me, the murder of Sean Bell left me disillusioned, but when I heard the story of the six young black men facing years in prison for what amounted to a schoolyard fight, I decided that it was time to get off the sidelines.

    I spent that entire summer getting involved in the online activism that pushed the case to national prominence. I would be entering school that fall as the editor-in-chief of the campus newspaper, the Hampton Script, and I let it be known that my number one objective was to be an advocate for those teens from Jena, La. The summer was long and lonely, but I knew that when I got to school, I’d have the support of one of the nation’s oldest and most celebrated HBCUs.

    It didn’t exactly work out that way.


    The administration likely maintains to this day that it was all a misunderstanding, but from where my classmates and I sat, it felt as if they didn’t want us getting involved in any form of activism — at least, not with anything that could be seen as controversial or “radical.” And when I look back at our experiences over the four years there, that seems pretty consistent with the administration’s views.

    Which is why it surprises me every time someone is outraged to find out that Hampton’s business school has a long-standing policy against Afros, braids and dreadlock styles. (The dean recently offered this as a reason for the rule: “When was it that cornrows and dreadlocks were a part of African-American history? I mean, Charles Drew didn’t wear it, Muhammad Ali didn’t wear it, Martin Luther King didn’t wear it.”) People are shocked to hear that it’s a dry campus where freshmen face a dorm curfew for their first few months.

    Hampton, like many other HBCUs, is a bastion of conservatism.

    It’s not political conservatism, though Hampton’s president, William R. Harvey, is a big-business Republican; it’s lowercase-c conservative. The administrations at HBCUs often view college not as a place for discovery, experimentation or the fostering of new ideas but as a stepping-stone to a good job with benefits. Their role isn’t to rage against the machine but to train the next generation of the talented tenth on how to become integral parts of the machine.

    They are lifelong devotees to the politics of respectability, rooted neither in reality nor present-day concerns. Whether it’s Hampton’s policy on hair or Morehouse’s dress code banning sagging pants and “women’s clothing,” the goal of these rules is noble, if misguided.

    These schools still see their role as producing the best and the brightest of black America, those who can go out into the world and defy the stereotypes and shift the country’s ideas about black folks until all the barriers to our success come down. What they don’t understand is, not only is this a different era from when that ideology held currency, but what we should have learned by now is that no amount of clean-cut respectability can rescue us from racism,1

  14. rikyrah says:

    August 25, 2012 6:46 AM
    The World’s Shortest Book, or, The “Humor” of Mitt Romney

    By Kathleen Geier

    Mitt Romney is now claiming that yesterday’s racist, nativist, birtherist remarks were not meant as a “swipe” against President Obama. His comments, you see, were all about the “humor”: “This was fun about us, and coming home. And humor, you know — we’ve got to have a little humor in a campaign.”

    That Mitt Romney — what a card! Personally, I’ve heard better material from Carrot Top. But hey, no less a luminary than Peggy “Dolphin Lady” Noonan heroically argues, in her current Wall Street Journal column, that humor is “natural” to Romney. Noonan provides this example from the ol’ Mormon mirthster:

    On a conference call recently, he asked a question of his staff. No one answered. Mr. Romney waited. “Bueller? Bueller?” he said, in a perfect imitation of Ben Stein.

    Well hey, I’m sure none of us have ever heard that one any less than a hundred times or so before, ammirite? And can I just say how much I hate, hate it, when some dude in a suit/person in authority/priest/powerful-person-that-a-group-of-people-feels-vaguely-intimidated-by cracks some lame, corny joke, and everyone around them starts laughing like a pack of hyenas, in the most cringingly servile way, like it’s the freshest, most hysterical thing they’ve ever heard?

    All right, moving on. There are a couple of salient points to be made about the Mittster’s “joke” about our Kenyan Muslim Socialist-in-Chief. First is that, as the invaluable Think Progress notes, the Republican National Convention is featuring no less than seven birthers among its roster of speakers. That in itself speaks volumes about the cuckoo-for-cocoa-puffs essence of the contemporary GOP.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Obama camp seizes on Romney birther ‘humor’
    By Steve Benen
    Sat Aug 25, 2012 8:35 AM EDT.

    Mitt Romney aimed awfully low yesterday, telling a Michigan audience, “No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate — they know that this is the place that we were born and raised.”

    By last night, the Obama campaign had already unveiled a new video on the subject.

    For those who can’t watch clips online, the voice-over tells viewers, “Holding out hope Romney had a vision for the middle class? Think again.” After showing a clip from the Michigan rally, the clip ads, “Embracing unfounded conspiracy theories, distracting from real issues. America doesn’t need a Birther-in-Chief.”

  16. rikyrah says:

    Washington Post: As Jamila Gatlin waited in line at a northside Milwaukee elementary school to cast her ballot June 5 in the proposed recall of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, she noticed three people in the back of the room. They were watching, taking notes.

    Officially called “election observers,” they were white. Gatlin, and almost everyone else in line, was black.

    “That’s pretty harassing right there, if you ask me,” Gatlin said in the hall outside the gym. “Why do we have to be watched while we vote?”

    Two of the observers were from a Houston-based group called True the Vote, an offshoot of the Houston tea party known as the King Street Patriots. Their stated goal is to prevent voter fraud, which the group and founder Catherine Engelbrecht claims is undermining free and fair elections.

    …. “If you listen to all their rhetoric, it’s clear what their intent is,” Ray said. “Their intent is to try to act out on this belief … they have that the only reason Barack Obama got elected is because a bunch of ‘those’ people cheated on their ballot.”

  17. rikyrah says:

    Colbert I King (Washington Post): Mitt and Ann Romney are deluding themselves if they believe that calls for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee to release more of his income tax returns are simply a campaign instigated by Barack Obama’s supporters….

    …. voters want to know why this fantastically rich seeker of the presidency is being so secretive about his tax payments and how he made his money.

    Does he have something to hide?

    If everything in his tax returns is above reproach, why won’t Romney follow the bipartisan tradition established by the presidential campaign of his father, George Romney, in 1968, and release more of them?

    It’s not enough for Romney to say he’s paid all taxes that are “legally required.” A person who wants to be president should also be able to say, and to demonstrate, that no ethical lines have been crossed.

    Romney has offshore accounts. Voters are within their rights to ask why this man who wants to be president would divert income from U.S. financial institutions to foreign tax havens.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Elspeth Reeve (Atlantic Wire): The recent direction of Mitt Romney’s campaign may seem perplexing — the candidate’s birther joke, those ads accusing Obama of gutting welfare reform, John Sununu’s jab that Obama needs to learn how to be American, and veep pick Paul Ryan’s s pride at bitterly clinging to guns and God — but it can all be explained with just one number: 61 percent, which is the share of the white vote Romney needs to win.

    …. if the Republican primary taught us anything — think back to Donald Trump’s birther bubble and Newt Gingrich’s South Carolina victory after doubling down on his charge that Obama is the “food stamp president” — these racially tinged campaign barbs are sure crowd pleasers among white Republicans.

    …. In other words, Romney needs to be more loved by white people and Obama needs to be more disliked by them for Romney to win. Romney made a step toward that goal Friday with his birther joke, “No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised.” Romney defended his comments, saying of his mostly-white audience, “the crowd loved it and got a good laugh.”

  19. rikyrah says:

    found this in the comments at TOD:

    August 24, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    Yup ready to go,
    Pres. Obama is consolidating his coalition, registering new voters to compensate for those lost in the last 4 years to apathy or voter suppression of drift. Romney is fighting to play an inside straight with White voters only, cuz he thinks they are the only ones he can pitch his garbage to. Isn’t that insulting to White voters anyway? Appealing to assumed racial grievance rather than win them with a forward-thinking message like Pres. Obama is trying to do?

    As Ron Brownstein’s column said today. Romney needs 61% of white voters to win cuz of the many minority and women voters he has lost. He’s currently got 53% of white votes. The strategy is so sickening. it truly is their last chance to destroy this country as they wish and they can smell the demographic time bomb so much they are raving mad to steal power by any means necessary.

    :Let us with determination show them that their religion of HATE is not gonna win them elections. Let’s work like our very breathing depends on . And in many ways it does.

    OUR GOAL: Pres. Barack Obama the Victor announced at 11:00 PM EST on Nov 6 2012. Democratic congress elected to return sanity to this country’s governance.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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