Serendipity SOUL | Saturday Open Thread |

Happy Saturday, Everyone! 3 Chics hopes you’re enjoying your weekend with family and friends. Here’s some Ella Fitzgerald with Summertime. We could use a bit of heat here in the Minni-apolis.

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43 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Saturday Open Thread |

  1. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 10:11 AM ET, 06/07/2013
    Organic Chemistry: Two tracks of schooling raise questions about class, race and community
    By Natalie Hopkinson

    Cookie-cutter school reforms cement class and race divisions and hide the black genius in our backyards.

    In 1992 and fresh out of Yale, David Levin was on his way to becoming what has become a stereotype of the Teach for America recruit: white, privileged, well-meaning and utterly unprepared to manage his class of mostly poor students of color in Houston.
    Then he watched educator Harriett Ball in action. Even sitting down in front of the chalkboard, she was a physically imposing woman, over 6-feet, skin the rich color of coffee, shoulders bouncing, neck bopping to the beat. A youtube clip showed the classroom wizard at work:

    “Not the two liter,” she says in a smoker’s rasp. She thrusts a two-plus inch acrylic fingernail toward the kids. “But the one liter. How long is a decimeter? That’s a half a hand.” Her Texas drawl unfurled. “And the centimeter? My nail bed. Come on, brag to me. Look, look! That’s what I sayyy-yed.”

    She applied units of measurements to their local landscape: how far from the McDonald’s? How big is a coke bottle, a paper clip, bag of sand? The kids and Ball chanted the final verse in unison: “It doesn’t matter, how long or short it is. It doesn’t matter how heavy or hot it is. I know how to measure! So ask us, it’s our pleasure!”

    Ball mentored both Levin and his fellow TFA enlistee, Mike Feinberg, according to Post reporter Jay Mathews’ admiring book on the origins of KIPP, “Work Hard. Be Nice.” The pair used Ball’s techniques, chants, “finger rolls” and behavior-management to create the nation’s largest franchise of public charter schools called Knowledge is Power Program (named for one of Ball’s chants.)

    As it built into a national network, KIPP students’ test scores soared, attracting media attention, and then millions in corporate and public support. It seemed, they had perfected the “formula” for student success– at least for poor, black and brown kids anyways: Long hours, militaristic discipline, constant and scientific assessment, and teachers working around the clock. For many deep-pocketed reformers, these elements have become the gold standard for how “urban” students can and should learn. Public schools that do not show similar “results” are being privatized or closed.

    The franchise approach to urban school reform raises some uncomfortable questions about class, race and community. It is creating two permanent tracks of schooling: one for the wealthy and one for the black and brown, and poor. It also raises questions about what public schools should be for poor and black children. Are they organic, self-sustaining parts of the urban fabric? Are they charities? Are they for-profit companies?
    Then he watched educator Harriett Ball in action. Even sitting down in front of the chalkboard, she was a physically imposing woman, over 6-feet, skin the rich color of coffee, shoulders bouncing, neck bopping to the beat. A youtube clip showed the classroom wizard at work:

    “Not the two liter,” she says in a smoker’s rasp. She thrusts a two-plus inch acrylic fingernail toward the kids. “But the one liter. How long is a decimeter? That’s a half a hand.” Her Texas drawl unfurled. “And the centimeter? My nail bed. Come on, brag to me. Look, look! That’s what I sayyy-yed.”

    She applied units of measurements to their local landscape: how far from the McDonald’s? How big is a coke bottle, a paper clip, bag of sand? The kids and Ball chanted the final verse in unison: “It doesn’t matter, how long or short it is. It doesn’t matter how heavy or hot it is. I know how to measure! So ask us, it’s our pleasure!”

    Ball mentored both Levin and his fellow TFA enlistee, Mike Feinberg, according to Post reporter Jay Mathews’ admiring book on the origins of KIPP, “Work Hard. Be Nice.” The pair used Ball’s techniques, chants, “finger rolls” and behavior-management to create the nation’s largest franchise of public charter schools called Knowledge is Power Program (named for one of Ball’s chants.)

    As it built into a national network, KIPP students’ test scores soared, attracting media attention, and then millions in corporate and public support. It seemed, they had perfected the “formula” for student success– at least for poor, black and brown kids anyways: Long hours, militaristic discipline, constant and scientific assessment, and teachers working around the clock. For many deep-pocketed reformers, these elements have become the gold standard for how “urban” students can and should learn. Public schools that do not show similar “results” are being privatized or closed.

    The franchise approach to urban school reform raises some uncomfortable questions about class, race and community. It is creating two permanent tracks of schooling: one for the wealthy and one for the black and brown, and poor. It also raises questions about what public schools should be for poor and black children. Are they organic, self-sustaining parts of the urban fabric? Are they charities? Are they for-profit companies?

  2. rikyrah says:

    Howard trustee says university in ‘trouble’

    By Nick Anderson, Published: June 7 E-mail the writer

    A vice chairwoman of Howard University’s board of trustees recently told the board that the historically black school in Northwest Washington “is in genuine trouble” because of fiscal and management problems, according to a report published Friday.

    “Howard will not be here in three years if we don’t make some crucial decisions now,” Renee Higginbotham-Brooks wrote in a letter dated April 24, which the Chronicle of Higher Education published on its Web site.

    Among the concerns Higginbotham-Brooks cited were competition for students from less expensive public colleges, the possibility of a reduction in federal appropriations, expenses associated with the university’s hospital, the absence of a robust fundraising system to offset declines in tuition revenue and a university workforce that she said is too large.

    Rachel Mann, a spokeswoman for Howard, said Friday afternoon that the university would refer questions about the letter to the board chairman, Addison Barry Rand, who was traveling and was unavailable for an interview.

    “Spirited debate and discourse are part of the culture of higher education,” Rand, who is chief executive of AARP, said in a statement. “The board and the university’s leadership team continue to work tirelessly to address many of the tough issues facing colleges and universities like Howard.”

    Higginbotham-Brooks, a Howard graduate who is a lawyer in Fort Worth, did not immediately respond to e-mail and telephone messages left with her office. She has been on the board since 1997 and vice chairwoman since 2005.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Britain has said sorry to the Mau Mau. The rest of the empire is still waiting

    British colonial violence was brutal, and systematic. If there is any justice, the Mau Mau’s stunning legal victory should be the first of many \

    On Thursday nearly 200 elderly Kikuyu people travelled from their rural homesteads and sat before the British high commissioner in Nairobi. Over half a century had passed since many were last in front of a British official. It was a different era then in Kenya. The Mau Mau war was raging, and Britain was implementing coercive policies that left indelible scars on the bodies and minds of countless men and women suspected of subversive activities.

    In the 1950s they experienced events in colonial detention camps that few imagined possible. Yesterday they gathered to witness another once unimaginable thing: the much-delayed colonial gesture at reconciliation. The high commissioner read extracts from William Hague’s earlier statement in parliament. Hague acknowledged for the first time that the elderly Kikuyu and other Kenyans had been subjected to torture and other horrific abuses at the hands of the colonial administration during the Mau Mau emergency. On behalf of the British government he expressed “sincere regret” that these abuses had taken place, announced payments of £2,600 to each of 5,200 vetted claimants, and urged that the process of healing for both nations begin.

    The faces of the elderly camp survivors betrayed the day’s historical significance. Tears rolled down faces lined from years of internalised pain and bitterness. Many sat motionless as the high commissioner read the statement. Others let out audible gasps, and cries of joy. Some burst into song.

    By any measure the announcement was stunning. With it, Britain jettisoned its appeal of the Mau Mau reparation case in the high court. Filed in 2009, the case was the first of its kind against the former British empire. Archival documents amassed for my book, Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain’s Gulag, were submitted in support of the case, together with other historical evidence.

    As it dragged on, more evidence emerged, this time from the British government. In early 2011 it announced the discovery of some 300 boxes of previously undisclosed files in Hanslope Park. As expert witness I reviewed many of these documents, hundreds of which offered additional evidence of colonial-directed coercion and torture. Facing a mountain of damning facts from imperial yesteryear, the British government chose to settle.

    Britain’s acknowledgement of colonial era torture has opened as many doors at it has closed. Kenya was scarcely an exception. British colonial repression was systematised and honed in the years following the second world war. First in Palestine, and then Malaya, Kenya, Cyprus, Aden, Northern Ireland and elsewhere, British coercive counter-insurgency tactics evolved, as did brutal interrogation techniques. The Mau Mau detention camps were but one site in a broader policy of end-of-empire incarceration, torture and cover-up.

  4. rikyrah says:

    NSA Bombshell Story Falling Apart Under Scrutiny; Key Facts Turning Out to Be Inaccurate
    By Bob Cesca · June 08,2013

    It turns out, the NSA PRISM story isn’t quite the bombshell that everyone said it was. Yes, there continues to be a serious cause for concern when it comes to government spying and overreach with its counter-terrorism efforts. But the reporting from Glenn Greenwald and the Washington Post has been shoddy and misleading.

    We shouldn’t shrug off our weakened privacy as a merely a side effect of the digital age, either. We ought to fight to preserve as much of our personal information as possible. So if there’s any benefit to the NSA news, it’s to serve as a reminder that, yes, the government is serious about attaining information in its war on terrorism and that we should be aware of what’s going on — checking it when it gets out of control.

    But with new contravening information emerging since the original stories were posted by Greenwald and the Washington Post, it’s clear that the reporting by each news outlet was filled with possibly agenda-driven speculation and key inaccuracies.

    Greenwald told CNN, “It’s well past time that we have a debate about whether that’s the kind of country and world in which we want to live.”

    Canonizing bad reporting as a means of inciting a debate is as bad as no debate at all. Attachment to empirical reality must remain a central trait of the left, otherwise the progressive movement is no better than the non-reality based propagandists on the right who will say and do anything to further the conservative agenda. So perhaps some positive changes on domestic spying are eventually achieved, but at what cost? Greenwald, who doesn’t really care about “left and right,” isn’t concerned with anything other than his personal agenda and clearly he’s willing to do whatever it takes in pursuit of those goals. Specifics presently.

    It’s a shame because there’s a way to have this debate without selling out to misinformation. Instead, we appear to be careening way off the empirical rails into hysterical, kneejerk acceptance of half-assed information.

    Here’s how this story has played out since late Thursday.

    1. Both Glenn Greenwald and the Washington Post reported that the NSA had attained “direct access” to servers owned by Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Apple and other big tech companies in order to attain private user information via a top secret government operation called PRISM. Initially, this appeared to be a major violation of privacy. The implication is that the government enjoyed unchecked, unrestricted access to metadata about users any time it wanted.

    2. Then, naturally, heads exploded throughout the blogs and social media. Left and right alike.

    3. While everyone was busily losing their shpadoinkle on Twitter and the blogs, Google, Facebook, Dropbox, Yahoo, Microsoft, Paltalk, AOL and Apple all announced in separate statements that not only were they unaware of any PRISM program, but they also confirmed that there’s no way the government had infiltrated the privately-owned servers maintained by these companies. Furthermore, Google wrote, “Indeed, the U.S. government does not have direct access or a “back door” to the information stored in our data centers. We had not heard of a program called PRISM until yesterday.” Google also described how it will occasionally and voluntarily hand over user data to the government, but only after it’s been vetted and scrutinized by Google’s legal team.

    4. The freakout continued.

    5. Furthermore, Glenn Greenwald used the phrase “direct access,” as in unobstructed direct server access, four times in his article, most prominently in his lede, “The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.” Unless the tech companies were collectively lying, Greenwald’s use of “direct access” is inaccurate. And if it’s inaccurate, the most alarming aspect of this NSA story is untrue.

    On Twitter, Greenwald defended his reporting by reiterating that the NSA said within the PRISM document that there has been “collection directly from the servers of these US service providers: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook…” But this could mean that the data was drawn from the servers, vetted and handed over to the NSA per Google’s stated process of legal vetting. And if the data was made available, it’s possible that the tech companies posted it on a server for the NSA analysts to download, just as you might download a file from work or a friend via Dropbox or an FTP server. Regardless, it seems as if Greenwald’s entire story hinges on a semantic interpretation of the PRISM language. And his mistake was to leap from “collection directly from servers” to “direct access.”

    6. More exploded heads anyway. Anyone relaying the new information is accused of being an Obamabot.

  5. rikyrah says:

    June 08, 2013 10:38 AM
    “The sequester will help the economy”: another right-wing fairy tale debunks itself

    By Kathleen Geier

    Remember all those fearless predictions by the usual grinning idiots on the right about how the sequester was going to work miracles for the economy? Well guess what? That never happened.

    I know, I know. I’m still reeling from the shock.

    The sequester took effect on March 1, so we now have three months’ worth of jobs data that have been released in its aftermath. The results have been underwhelming, to say the least. As Brad DeLong observed this week, we are still in a depressed economy. And as Ed noted yesterday, the latest monthly jobs report was thoroughly mediocre.

    I particularly wanted to highlight the point the New York Times’ Annie Lowrey made: that the report shows that the sequester is already, specifically beginning to have a negative impact on employment. Yesterday’s report shows that the federal workforce, which has suffered cutbacks due to the sequester, is shrinking at a dramatically accelerated rate:

    Federal employment had been on a downward trend since the start of 2011, with the government shedding about 3,000 or 4,000 positions a month through February. Then sequestration hit on March 1. And in the last three months, the federal work force has shrunk by about 45,000 positions, including 14,000 in May alone.

    Those newly unemployed federal workers, of course, now have less money to spend, which will also slow down the economy. In addition, the sequester is also causing cuts in programs like unemployment benefits and benefits to low-income people such as aid for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Benefits to the unemployed and low-income folks act not only as a social safety net, but also as stimulus, since poor people and the jobless are likely to spend every penny they’ve got. Now, less of that money will be going into the pockets of those people and thus into the economy at large. That will also hurt the economic recovery, such as it is.

    So, for those of you keeping score at home? The right wing/free market fundamentalists/austerity caucus? They are wrong. Again. And once again, they are continuing to drive the economy, and the country, into the ground.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal
    June 08, 2013 4:54 PM Twilight of the Elites, the Saga Continues: Susan Komen Foundation Edition

    By Kathleen Geier

    On Thursday of this week, the Washington Post’s Jena McGregor noted something very strange: Nancy Brinker is still the CEO of the Susan Koman Foundation. Not only that, she’s enjoying a big fat brand new 64 percent pay raise!

    You all remember Nancy Brinker, don’t you? She’s the right-wing operative who forever tarnished the brand of the Komen breast cancer charity when, over a year ago, she led the organization’s drive to defund Planned Parenthood. That fateful decision fueled a huge backlash. High-level Komen staffers resigned, donations to the organization plummeted, and corporate sponsors and members of Congress pressured Komen to reverse itself, which it eventually did, albeit reluctantly.

    Earlier this week it was clear that the organization still had not recovered from the debacle. On Monday, it announced that it was canceling half of its annual multi-day events for 2014, citing declining participation rates.

    Doesn’t sound too good, does it? Above all, it sounds like Komen desperately needs some new leadership. Last August, CEO Brinker announced her resignation, so that was a huge step in the right direction, right? Then why, pray tell, ten months after her announced departure, is Brinker, the architect of the Planned Parenthood disaster, still installed as CEO? Even worse, why on earth was she rewarded for her spectacular incompetence with a gigantic 64 percent raise? The board is supposedly still searching for a new CEO, and apparently, the raise was set in 2010, before the Planned Parenthood fiasco. Still, considering what happened, it’s unseemly that the board went through with the raise at all, and even more so that Brinker accepted it.

    Also, tell me, when was the last time you or anyone you know got anything close to a 64 percent pay raise? Especially if they work for a nonprofit?

  7. rikyrah says:

    June 07, 2013 1:29 PM
    Behind the Obamacare Derangement Syndrome

    By Ed Kilgore

    At TNR today, Noam Scheiber looks at the deep investment Republican pols and conservative scribblers and gabbers seem to have in the failure of the Affordable Care Act of 2010, and sees a concentration of the biases we have all called the Obama Derangement Syndrome on this one issue.

    To Scheiber, this can only be “derangement,” because it makes little sense; in his view, no matter how badly the implementation of Obamacare goes, it won’t affect most people and will give most of those it does affect something they didn’t have before.

    But I’d offer three rational—if empirically dubious—motivations for the conservative obsession with killing or disabling the ACA:

    (1) They view it as a turning point in American political history. Remember that most conservative activists, and certainly the “constitutional conservatives” who are dominant in their ranks—view the mid-to-late late twentieth century as one long hellwards slide away from everything that made American great, with the exception of the false spring of the Reagan years. They’re not happy with the existence of Medicare and Medicaid. And this is why even those who are ready to live with Obamacare are inclined to use it as a way to undermine the public role in health care more generally. That’s the big contest, and the success or failure of Obamacare will determine which way the arrow points going forward.

    (2) They think they’re on the right side of public opinion as well as of history. It’s sometimes hard to remember how rarely Republicans, even when they are winning elections, are on the positive side of public opinion on a specific issue. The polls showing consistent majorities of the public disliking Obamacare is a deeply satisfying phenomenon for the Right. It’s so satisfying, indeed, that conservatives to a remarkable extent almost never come to grips with the evidence that a sizable chunk of Obamacare opponents support a larger government role in health care—such as the socialist abomination of Medicare For All—and that an even larger chunk seem to favor nearly all the individual elements of the ACA. Never mind: consistent majorities oppose Obama’s namesake accomplishment, and that’s a firm rock on which all other political strategies and messages can and must depend.

    (3) They’re very worried it will eventually seduce some Americans into greater dependence on government. Scheiber finds derangement in the fact that although conservatives all say they think Obamacare will fail, they are acting as though it must be stopped immediately lest it succeed. I find this pretty natural given the typical conservative attitude towards the psychology of what they consider socialism: it doesn’t work, it isn’t generally popular, but for the weak of mind and spirit, it’s highly addictive. In particular, those people—whether we are talking about the working poor who would obtain Medicaid under the original ACA framework, or those higher on the income scale who would get access to affordable and non-deniable health insurance—the parasites and moral lepers who haunt the American conservative vision of their fellow-citizens, would form additional bonds with Leviathan that would be difficult to dissolve.

  8. Ametia says:

    Joy Reid is definitely HOLDING it DOWN sitting in for ED today.

  9. rikyrah says:

    WE need these videos

    June 8, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    Gawwwd….Joy Reid is fantastic. She’s calling out cowardly Democrats for not selling ObamaCare and leaving Pres. Obama out there on his own. She called out CBC – Congressional Black Caucus – members for not going into African-American communities and selling ObamaCare which will greatly benefit millions of African-Americans when they know African-Americans are favorable to the law.

    Joy Reid: “I look forward to the day Tea Partiers are saying keep your government hands off my ObamaCare.”

    Me too…because that day is coming.

    • Ametia says:

      MSMBC online will post these videos soon. Joy is taking NO PRISONERS. See this it what big ED would be saying too. Thus, Chris Hayes =FAIL He had that Jeremy Schall or whatever his name is on his show several times this week to DRONE on about DRONES. MOFOs are out there selling books and bashing PBO.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Nerdy Wonka @NerdyWonka

    How did @TheReidReport begin the #EdShow? With Jay-Z’s ‘Dirt Off Your Shoulder’ and Pres. Obama brushing his shoulders off. YES Ma’am!
    4:04 PM – 8 Jun 2013

    • rikyrah says:

      Nerdy Wonka @NerdyWonka

      Media whine over Amb. Rice’s pick and NSA; Pres. Obama brushes his shoulders off. Joy Reid: “See that guy? That guy is done playing.” BOOM!
      4:06 PM – 8 Jun 2013

  11. rikyrah says:

    Whole Foods opens in Detroit, threatening stereotypes everywhere

    By Claire Thompson

    Because any positive economic activity that happens in Detroit is apparently national news, the opening of a Whole Foods Wednesday in the city’s Midtown neighborhood has caused more fanfare than possibly any grocery-store debut in history. Hundreds reportedly waited in line to enter the store, and Whole Foods Co-CEO Walter Robb was present for the occasion, accompanied by “a marching band, speeches by civic leaders, specialty food vendors handing out samples of pickles, granola and other products, and a festive air of celebration,” according to the Detroit Free Press.

    Why all the hoopla? After all, as Aaron Foley at Jalopnik Detroit points out in a level-headed post, the city, despite being labeled a “food desert,” already has its share of real grocery stores, including independent chains like Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe, not to mention its famous Eastern Market, the largest permanent farmers market in the U.S. So it’s not like Whole Foods is suddenly swooping in to deliver fresh vegetables where only Twinkies and Top Ramen existed before.

    Much has been made of Whole Foods’ potential to attract further economic development, “a magnet for retail, in particular, and for development more generally,” as Free Press editor Stephen Henderson puts it. “A grocery store as a creator of density.” But would a concentration of high-end retail and condos in one neighborhood do anything to address this troubled city’s structural problems? Local investors and government officials seem to be betting so; the store was financed with the help of $5.8 million in state and local grants and tax credits.

    But really, what seems to be causing the freakout over Whole Foods’ unlikely new location is just that: its unlikeliness, and the racist and classist assumptions underlying that assessment. Just listen to Kai Ryssdal of public radio’s Marketplace question CEO Robb at the opening. Ryssdal calls Whole Foods “a place that does not have the reputation of perhaps being a place where people would shop in Detroit,” and even asks, “Did you have to teach people how to shop here?” — as if navigating a Whole Foods requires some special sixth sense not innate to black and low-income people. Ryssdal, assuming Detroit doesn’t have the kind of customer base that could support a Whole Foods, goes on to ask Robb what the company plans to do if the store starts losing money. Robb responded that they’ve made a 25-year commitment to the location. “People perceive Whole Foods as only serving particular communities, and I don’t like that,” he said.

    We’re all for Whole Paycheck making an effort to be more accessible. But Robb went so far as to say that Whole Foods, with its Detroit store, is “going after elitism, we’re going after racism.” The notion that a bourgie grocery store could meaningfully address racial inequality is ridiculous. If it has any effect at all, it could just as easily set in motion the kind of unchecked gentrification that deepens racial divisions.

    Foley, for his part, sees the new Whole Foods neither as a vehicle for economic rebirth nor as a harbinger of hipster domination:

  12. rikyrah says:

    Go Local! Must-Win 2013 Nationwide Elections
    By zizi2 109 Comments

    The off-year election calendar is already hurtling full steam ahead and we better get in the trenches.Julian Castro (D) already won re-election in San Antonio last month. Great, but we have got a lot of work to do NOW. Ed Markey needs a helping hand for June 25 senate elections in MA, as does Steve Ortega in the El Paso mayoral election on June 16, 2013.

    Bedwetters are gonna wet beds, GG-Grifters gonna grift, Code Pink & the Sturtzes are gonna heckle, but their tantrums don’t translate into political power. In fact, that’s their business model to parasite off Democrats in power. They thrive in the political sewer. For us 99%ers, Voting, Organizing and Long Term strategizing are the ONLY means to power. It is in our economic interest to STOP Republicans at every level from getting power and doing very bad things to us little people. Raining hellfire on the nuisance Greenwalds and Sturtzes or whatever is the GOP/corporate media fauxrage of the week, is cathartic fly-swatting every once in a while, but it doesn’t mean a hill of beans if we liberals do NOT hold power.

    President Obama was handily reelected and we have an Agenda to enact for the American people at the national level. But state and Local elections are even more important in off-years. That’s where the most damage is done. Democrats fail to take these bread and butter races seriously, then watch American Taliban elected unopposed to statewide offices.

    Koch brothers & ALEC are vampires destroying democratic (with a small ‘d’) governance in devastating ways at the local level. They’ve bought state legislatures at bargain basement prices who are dismantling our commonweal brick by brick as we speak. Democrats should NEVER cede any territory uncontested to Republicans. Not on schoolboards (that’s how we got the odious Texas curriculum change nightmare & Arizona ban of Hispanic Studies), or District Judges, or City Council, or Land/Agric Commissioner, or poisonous Ballot initiatives.

    The last category lies at the core of GOP base mobilization tactics. Bush used anti-gay ballot initiatives to drive religious fundamentalists to the polls and won reelection in 2004. We have to be similarly savvy to rally against odious Initiatives and also craft some ourselves to advance our interests and mobilize our base.

    So let’s get to it. Bookmark this post. Find a campaign or two to volunteer on THIS year. Heck, consider running for some local races yourself. Why Not? Have you heard the caliber of wingnuts who flood City Hall or school board? If we don’t challenge them, they make decisions that destroy our kids’ education, ruin our tax revenue projections, and sell off our towns and cities to the corporate cabal, democracy be damned (See Michigan and weep!)

    Critical Ongoing Need

    1) Voter Registration Very Important – Without new voters, our demographic advantage means squat

    2) Battleground Texas Project :

    This is the big kahuna. Democrats weaponize our demographic potential in Texas, and Republicans will never win national elections again. Ever! We know it, they know it. GOP is pulling out their stops to stop us. Led by Obama for America guru Jeremy Byrd, we’ve already put brains, boots & $$$ on the ground. Get involved NOW here , and also Facebook, Twitter @BGTX . Bonus: They are even hiring folks if you need a job

  13. rikyrah says:

    MHP had those involved in Motown, The Musical.

    can you get both segments?

    and, there is a Harlem Arts School that paid tribute to Michael Jackson..can you get that video too?

  14. rikyrah says:

    Monkeying With Polls No Longer Works

    by BooMan
    Sat Jun 8th, 2013 at 11:21:42 AM EST
    Before I went to bed last night, I saw that two polls had been released, both of which indicated that Rep. Ed Markey has a strong lead in his campaign to win John Kerry’s seat in the U.S. Senate. The special election will take place on the 25th of June. When I woke up, however, I was confronted with a poll that says the race is a statistical tie. Of course, that is at variance with most polls, which show Markey with a double-digit lead.

    The Republicans have two ways of dealing with polling numbers that they don’t like. The first is to assert some kind of hidden bias or “skew” in the polls. In other words, the polls are wrong and the GOP will do much better than predicted. The second strategy is to produce their own polls, which invariably show them doing better than the findings of reputable pollsters.

    This is quite different from how Democrats operate. Democrats monkey around with polls, too, but not in such an egregious way. Democratic politicians hire their own pollsters, but they tend not to release their findings unless they are favorable. You can tell that a Democrat is losing if they don’t rebut unfavorable polls with their own internal polling.

    Polling firms that do internal polling are under pressure to show good results, which is why internal polling is inherently less reliable than independent polling. But Democrats do not systematically solicit nakedly fraudulent polling, nor do they routinely disparage independent polling as skewed. I won’t say that it never happens, but it certainly isn’t routine.

    The Republicans are beginning to pay a price for the way they treat polls.

    Massachusetts Republican Senate candidate Gabriel Gomez is facing an unsettling dilemma going into the final stretch of the special election campaign.

    Gomez needs the support of big-spending outside GOP groups and donors to win, but those groups and donors are holding back until he proves he can win.

    How do you “prove” that you can win? You produce polls showing that you are in a dead heat. Literally nothing else will do the job. The problem is that Republicans tried that strategy with Mitt Romney and Republican donors now realize that they were lied to and fleeced of their money. Outlier polls that give a false sense of optimism are no longer believed.

    The GOP is the party that cried wolf.

  15. rikyrah says:

    The Wrong Debate

    by BooMan
    Sat Jun 8th, 2013 at 12:33:00 PM EST
    Maybe Matt Taibbi feels that he is just balancing the ledger. If a bunch of hack reporters are unjustly trashing Bradley Manning and making the debate about his trial too much about Manning’s personality quirks, then Taibbi is justified in airbrushing out the seriousness of Manning’s crimes. In reality, Taibbi is as guilty of hackdom as the reporters he excoriates.

    The following paragraph is dead wrong.

    Because in reality, this case does not have anything to do with who Bradley Manning is, or even, really, what his motives were. This case is entirely about the “classified” materials Manning had access to, and whether or not they contained widespread evidence of war crimes.

    Why the parentheses around the word classified? Does Taibbi dispute that Manning was complicit in the dumping of 270,000 classified documents on the internet? How many of those documents involved war crimes or other behavior that warranted public disclosure?

    The trial has everything to do with who Bradley Manning is and what his motives were, because he is being accused of knowingly aiding the enemy. If he had restricted himself to disclosing videos and cables that indicated that the government was covering up war crimes, then his motive would not be in question. He would be an unambiguous whistleblower.

    What he did, however, was to unilaterally declassify our State Department’s internal communications. I think it’s important to realize that he didn’t intend for it all to be published, but he is the one that made it possible for others to publish it. This is not whistle-blowing. It is leaking on the grandest scale. And it goes beyond embarrassment. It impacted our ability to do diplomacy.

    As an institution, our government is never going to agree that it is rotten to the core and that its employees have the right to expose that anytime they want. Even if there are problems with over-classification, we have a system in place for declassifying documents. We can improve this system but we can’t abandon it wholesale. It’s true that the public can learn many things that it ought to know if we make all our diplomatic cables public, but it’s also true that the State Department cannot function if it can’t have the reasonable expectation that it can communicate in confidence.

    If there is anything being under-discussed in the debate over Bradley Manning, it is the importance of deterring a repeat of leaks on this scale. How do you best assure that no one will ever get it into their head again that it is a good idea to leaks hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables? That’s a completely legitimate question. And the prosecution of Bradley Manning is the government’s answer to that question.

    Unless Manning’s supporters are willing to come up with an alternative answer, rather than simply defending Manning and criticizing the government, then they won’t have any say in this debate.

    His trial might have been about war crimes if all he had revealed were war crimes. But that isn’t even close to what happened.

  16. Ametia says:

    Corey Booker just announced his bid for NJ Senator.

  17. Ametia says:


    Serena Williams defeated defending champion Maria Sharapova on Saturday to win her second French Open championship.

    With Saturday’s 6-4, 6-4 victory, Williams extended her winning streak to 31 matches.

    Williams now holds 16 Grand Slam singles titles. She won her first French Open title 11 years ago.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Goldie Taylor @goldietaylor

    So wait, dude “broke” news that Congress had already been briefed on?… Now, that’s a nice business model…

    allanbrauer @allanbrauer

    @goldietaylor I’d like to see the internal emails between the Guardian and Greenwald about the timing of his fund drive.
    11:29 AM – 7 Jun 2013

  19. rikyrah says:

    In this week’s address, President Obama says that the United States Senate will soon take action to fix our broken immigration system with a commonsense bill, and urges lawmakers to act quickly to pass this bill so that we can continue to live up to our traditions as a nation of laws, and also a nation of immigrants.

  20. rikyrah says:

    They Can’t Even Fake It

    by BooMan
    Fri Jun 7th, 2013 at 06:00:16 PM EST
    I am disgusted by the amount of energy that is being wasted by people who pretend to take Eric Cantor seriously. He has this stupid bill called the Kids First Research Act. It would “end taxpayer funding of presidential campaigns and party conventions and divert that money instead to the National Institutes of Health to fund pediatric research.” It’s typical for conservatives to tie new funding for pediatric research to the destruction of any sense of civic duty to support our electoral system.

    Why is Cantor doing this? Because research shows that people don’t respond to his party’s all-austerity-all-the-time message. They’d rather come down with hepatitis B than listen to Eric Cantor drone on about government spending. So, he’s pushing some bills that might almost seem compassionate (it’s for the kids!) and then he can accuse the Democrats who oppose them of preferring campaigning to helping the sick little children.

    What an asshole, right? You probably won’t be surprised that the article details Cantor’s difficulties in lining up support for the sick little children. Turns out, most Republicans just want to take the money they save from making our elections 100% corporate-sponsored affairs and give it to rich people.

    So, you know, they’re talking to the Democrats. And some Democrats are so desperate to see the House authorize a nickel or two to any kind of non-abstinence related research that they’re actually ready to gut public spending on elections.

    The thing is, this bill isn’t going anywhere. The president wouldn’t sign it even if it passed the Senate. It’s all a joke. Cantor is trying to prove that his party can appear concerned about childhood disease and he’s discovering that they can’t. They can’t even fake it.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Why Did Ellen Sturtz Think It Was Okay to Heckle the FLOTUS While She Spoke About Black Youth in Crisis?

    So, what was Michelle Obama talking about when that GetEqual heckler interrupted her? When I first read about First Lady Michelle Obama’s confrontation with Ellen Sturtz of the gay rights group GetEqual, I laughed. The first lady was keeping it real. Sturtz clearly did not know who she was messing with, I thought.

    It’s no secret that the FLOTUS does not handle as well as her husband the disrespectful ways in which her family’s been treated while her husband’s been in office. She admitted as much at least three times when she and the POTUS appeared on Oprah last year. Is it possible Sturtz then knew exactly who she was messing with and heckled the first lady hoping to get a rise?

    Over at Policymic, feminist activist Laura Rankin has a provocative, well-reasoned post about the first lady’s confrontation with Sturtz. Rankin’s post is entitled “White Lady Heckles Michelle Obama — What Happens Next is Something Black Women Know All Too Well.” And at The Root, Tracy Clayton’s collected tweets from some black folks on Twitter about the incident under the headline “Why heckling Michelle Obama doesn’t pay.” These two writers have pretty much covered all the angles, including how quickly black women, even the FLOTUS, gets slapped with the angry, black woman label, and they’ve linked to others. So, I won’t do a rhetorical analysis here.

    Instead, I’ll discuss what occurred to me as I listened to the audio of the exchange between the FLOTUS and Sturtz.

    To me, it sounded as though Mrs. Obama was talking about the plight of children of color in urban communities. It’s a shame Sturtz drowned that out, but I wasn’t sure, so I searched the Internet for the speech. None of the articles I found discussed what Mrs. Obama was trying to say when Sturtz chose to interrupt her. They merely said that she was speaking at a Democratic Party fundraiser.

    When I found the transcript of her at, I discovered Mrs. Obama had been talking about the plight of black youth at Harper High School on Chicago’s South Side, where she grew up. Sturtz’s decision to interrupt the speech at that point is worthy of contemplation. Why did she think it was okay to heckle the FLOTUS while the FLOTUS talked about black youth in crisis? Why did Sturtz deem that discrimination against gay people deserved more attention than black children under threat daily, living in communities overridden with drugs, gangs, guns, and murder?

    Perhaps Sturtz placed her cause above black children and youth in crisis in American cities because she knows that in this nation she’s destined to assume a higher place. I won’t go so far as to say that she doesn’t give a damn about black youth because I don’t know her, but I do think that if she cared at all about black children–if she didn’t think gay rights in the workplace were more important at that moment than the rights of black children and young people on the streets–then she would not have chosen to heckle the FLOTUS during that particular speech.

    I say this as someone who’s helped plan political strategy before and as someone living in New Orleans where we face the same kind of crisis Chicago is facing. Just last month I observed how quickly our problems fade from the headlines. We had a mass shooting on Mother’s Day. By Monday night, the story had vanished from national news. Such fleeting interest in even a bleeding lead makes me think that not enough powerful, privileged people care what happens to black children and youth in urban communities. But drawing attention to this crisis is personal for me and apparently it is personal for Michelle Obama as well.

    I also speak here as someone who thinks there’s nothing wrong with citizens protesting and sometimes heckling officials and as someone who disapproves when one minority is pitted against the other in the battle for Civil Rights and social justice. So, then, you may ask why bring up the words Sturtz chose to interrupt if those words force us to look at race? Why don’t I just applaud Sturtz’s right to heckle and shut up?

    Well, I won’t because I can’t. I must recognize the moment Sturtz chose to heckle the FLOTUS because Sturtz failed to recognize the moment herself. She failed to recognize that the moment did not belong her but to those children, and she took their moment because on some level she must know that white privilege, even shielding the body of a gay rights activist, still trumps blackness in America.

    • Ametia says:

      Good job, rippdemup. Ain’t NOBODY got time for WHITE PRIVILEGE.

    • Liza says:

      The missing piece of information is when did Ellen Sturtz signed up for the fundraiser. If she signed up after Medea Benjamin interrupted PBO’s May speech on foreign policy, then I would say there is a strong possibility that she was inspired by Benjamin and was hoping for the same level of media exposure. She would see this as a good thing for her cause, and you can bet she doesn’t give a flip about the content of the First Lady’s speech.

      The people who were attending the fundraiser paid $500 each to see and hear the First Lady. I know that if I were one of them, Sturtz’s rude and disrespectful interruption would have made me really angry and even more so if Michelle Obama quit and left the premises. I think it is important to emphasize that these hecklers not only disrespect the speaker (which is egregious behavior, in my opinion), but they also disrespect the entire audience. In the case of Benjamin, that would be the tens of millions of people who tuned in to listen to their democratically elected president.

  22. rikyrah says:

    POU has some comments about that heckler of FLOTUS’.


    GOVCHRIS1988 •

    I read the piece that Ms. Sturtz wrote, and I can say without a shadow of doubt that this is EXACTLY why the LGBT movement is shit. It does nothing but codifies these old ass white folks who wanted to be hippies in the 60’s, but were too punkass to do it or these Woodstockian hippies who believed they were changing the world just by having sex with 25 people in their weed blazed Vanagon with the doors open. The common denominator here is OLD white folks. In the current LGBT roster of leaders, I haven’t seen anyone young or minority in this movement. Nobody who can bring it brain power by getting the issues into smaller Democratic races such as state houses, state senates, and city councils. Instead, they waste their money going to $500 to $10,000 a plate fundraisers intending to make asses out of themselves. These folks are doing more harm to their movement because they are acting out of selfishness of their own plight rather than looking out for the future. Its not productive, it doesn’t make people you deem to have common cause with (Black folks, Latinos) even sympathetic to your side because you seem hellbent on attacking them more than your ACTUAL oppressors (White Republicans in your own family)

    • rikyrah says:


      Also, I was watching the “Newlyweds” show on Bravo which followed 4 different couples during the first year of marriage, one of which is a gay white male couple.

      The older male in the marriage has been disowned from his family. in one scene they show the arrival of his parent’s RSVP to their nuptials, of which they chose not to attend. He knew what the response would be beforehand. His parents long decided that they would rather miss every day left in his life than to accept his sexual orientation.

      But yet article after article, the Black communities views are being scrutinized giving the impression that we, along with PBO, are holding back the gay rights movement which ironically only found its fire and footing when PBO was elected.

      • rikyrah says:


        Iwas just thinking about this:

        The Black Civil Rights Movement, in which these media barking LGBT members want so badly to emulate but fall significantly short, was about TRUE consensus building.

        Fanny Lou Hamer, MLK Jr, Whitney Young and so many others could have easily said, “we really can’t trust White folks, because how do I know you aren’t setting me up to brutalize, bomb, or kill my family and I.” Instead we saw, Black, White, Jew, Latino, Union Workers walking hand in hand, building a coalition that was respectful, inclusive and most importantly DIGNIFIED.

        Yet the vocal and incessantly petulant LGBT class flouts their so-called impatience with the first Black president as a token of honor. But if it was 2005, we would have said ” GetEqual who?” Funny how that works. And then they have their main players along with silly ass columnists like Kelli Goff and others, who push that Blacks are the most homophobic group, yet there has NEVER been a Black legislator anywhere, federal or in the 50 states who has ever authored a piece of legislation targeting them.

        But the one Black politician, with the highest visibility of them all, advocates and signs decades long repeals and they repay he and his wife with the most disgusting behavior.

        And let me say this, is there ridicule with being LGBT, sure? Do they deserve decency and respect? Absolutely.

        But I am not convinced that deciding to acknowledge and announce your sexuality after carefully and methodically keeping it a secret for all of your life makes you an automatic civil rights hero. Jackie Robinson comparisons…stop it. Just my opinion,,, if one is offended, sorry. But I am at the end of my rope. There are so many other issues that are pressing and it is indeed nauseating at this point to hear about second class citizenry from people who have second class manners and consensus building.

      • rikyrah says:


        Sucking all the air out of the room. Privilege white person “I’m a second class citizen” meanwhile FLOTUS was trying to address the plight of kids in Chicago who are terrified of the gun violence:


        And where are all of the “PBO/FLO do nothing for black people” n*ggalosophers on this demonstration of how privileged white people dominate the discourse, the media, and even tried to dominate the First Lady into discussing something other than the black and brown kids she was asking people to show more concern for? The above website isn’t always on point, but they are 100% correct here.

      • rikyrah says:


        This couldn’t be a more clear demonstration of white privilege. The First Lady recognizes that the plight of kids like the ones she was discussing has faded into the background and was exhorting more people to become invested in a solution. Ellen Sturtz and her actions have eclipsed discussion of that and turned it back to gay issues and the dubious allegation that she’s a “second class citizen” (i.e., oppressed on par with Jim Crow). This just couldn’t be more blatant, I’m so tired of it. And weak black voices will co-sign this passive aggressive, whiny woman-child and help her to veer discussion away from those kids in crisis. Right up there with Joe “you lie!” Wilson in terms of extreme disrespect towards PBO/FLO

  23. rikyrah says:

    Interesting that the heckler started shouting at First Lady when she was talking about disadvantaged kids, but privilege does that to you.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Good morning, Everyone :)

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