September 30th, 2011


Police Officers and Firefighters to take Begging. Don't Worry, Charities Will Pay for Them.

Safety is a Not a Right. It's a Privilege. Finally, We can Run the Government Like a Corporation! Where is My Big Bonus?

Ohio’s Anti-Union Law Jeopardizes Public Safety With Depleted Staff, Slower Response Times

In March, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) signed an overwhelmingly unpopular anti-union bill into law that stripped the state’s employees of almost all of their collective bargaining rights. While Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) more infamous union-busting law in Wisconsin actually let police officers and firefighters off the hook, the Washington Independent notes that Kasich’s law forces these public safety workers to beg for the resources they need to do their jobs.

Jay McDonald, president of the Fraternal Order of Police in Ohio, says that if SB 5 is not repealed, about 51,000 public employees across the state could lose their jobs — two-thirds of them public safety workers:

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ED: I noticed that there is no "Firefighters" or "First Responders" tags.

PETA says sexually objectified chicken is "downright offensive"

The "pin-up" style photo of a raw chicken lounging seductively ran in Wednesday's food section of the New York Times along with a story on the appeal of crispy, savory chicken skin. Now the animal cruelty prevention organization is aiming their laser-beam target at the old gray lady.

"When I saw it I just couldn't believe that an editor of The New York Times would find it acceptable," PETA's founder and president Ingrid Newkirk told The Atlantic Wire. "It's downright offensive, not just to people who care about animals but almost to everyone. It's a plucked, beheaded, young chicken in a young pose," she said.

Tina Loit, the Times photo editor who commissioned the shoot didn't see it that way. "That chicken had attitude," she said of the model, who was propped into a come-hither position with the help of weights and wire.

The image was intended as a humorous, eye-catching approach to your standard food fetish art. But PETA's Newkirk is calling it necrophilia.

Maybe he's mad that the Times stole a signature PETA move. For years, their print and commercial campaigns have relied on sex, particularly naked women, to attract media attention. Sex has become so synonymous with PETA, they're launching a pornography site linked, inexplicably, to their animal rights message. So what's so bad about a lounging chicken?

  • homasse

Just Look at What You Did!

Just Look at What You Did!

Kennedy Odede and Jessica Posner in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, with some of the beneficiaries of their programs.

In a Mother’s Day column in the spring, I suggested that readers commemorate the day not only with flowers but also with a donation to lift up women around the world. Readers showered one group that I mentioned,, with more than $135,000 that was forwarded to a slum empowerment group in Kenya.

So while in Kenya recently, I dropped by to see what was being done with your money. In the grim alleys of the Kibera slum in the capital of Nairobi, I found a dazzling girls’ school being built with some of those donations — and, yes, I found a love story.

The saga begins with a young man named Kennedy Odede who grew up in the slum. He never received a formal education and lived homeless on the streets after the age of 10, but he was exceptionally bright and taught himself to read.

When he was about 15, a visiting American gave him a book about Nelson Mandela — a biography that captivated Kennedy. Another American visitor, charmed by hearing of the impact of the first book, gave him a biography of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “That book changed my life,” Kennedy recalls.

Dazzled by Mandela and King, Kennedy resolved to fight for social justice. Already active in Kibera, he bought a soccer ball and announced the formation of a youth soccer club that would wrestle with social issues.

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Why Are Religious Conservatives So Scared of Gay Sex?

Anti-gay bigotry is just one piece of a larger picture of conservative fear and loathing of all forms of sexuality.

September 29, 2011  |  The past year has been a remarkable one for moving the ball forward for gay rights: the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the addition of New York to the list of states where gays can marry legally, and the Obama administration first declining to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, and then going on the record opposing it as unconstitutional.

Subsequently, those on the right who are still willing to strongly oppose gay rights are becoming more shrill in their opposition. The National Organization for Marriage, which already had a gold medal in the "bigotry Olympics," felt the need to respond to these changes by appointing a new leader who had criticized the supporters of Prop. 8 in California for not being bigoted enough, saying that any rights given to gays in relationships was too marriage-like for his tastes.  

What gives with all the hatred for gay people coming from conservatives, even as the rest of country is beginning to get over long-held prejudices? Part of it is just straight-up protectiveness of heterosexual privilege. Part of being conservative is relishing things (like rights) other people don’t have, and so of course they object to letting gay people have the things that straight people have always had. But quite a bit of what’s going on is that anti-gay bigotry is just one piece of a larger picture of conservative fear and loathing of all forms of sexuality. 

In socially conservative circles, sex is seen as illicit behavior at best, and criminally perverse at worst. The liberal model that imagines sex as a fun, life-affirming way to spend your time simply doesn’t compute. When you think of sex in terms of subversion and criminality, gay sex looms large in your imagination as the filthiest, most sexy-sex there is. Social conservatives simply can’t get past the images in their minds of dudes sticking it to one another, and it completely skews their ability to think logically and fairly about extending basic human rights to gay people.  

While right-wing pundits speaking to a national audience have learned to temper their remarks about homosexuality and try to steer the conversation away from opportunities to say ignorant things about gay people’s sex lives, the religious leaders and more underground right-wing media is still singing the same song. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, recently went on the record saying that gay rights will bring in “an outright sexual paganization of society.” Anti-gay activist Scott Lively was on WorldNetDaily again recently suggesting that being gay is a matter of having a philosophy of “sexual anarchy,” as opposed to it simply being a sexual orientation. It’s common for conservatives to suggest that accepting homosexuality means accepting pedophilia, because they see both as outrageous perversions instead of making the distinction between non-consensual and consensual behavior.  

The ex-gay movement is further evidence of the religious right’s obsession with gay sex that stems from a larger obsession with sex. The very premise of “ex-gay” therapy is that all it takes to stop being gay is to stop having gay sex. Many “ex-gay” people describe themselves as continuing to lust after members of their own sex, but identify as not-gay because they don’t do anything about it. This reduces being gay to a behavior, when of course most people understand gay as an identity. Just as you don’t stop being straight when you find yourself going through a dry spell, you don’t stop being gay because you’re not having gay sex. But the religious right is so obsessed by sex that they simply can’t get past it to look at people as whole human beings.  

The religious right looks at sex the way most of us look at drugs. In their eyes, straight, married sex is an indulgence like a glass of wine at dinner--oh, you know you probably shouldn’t, but they shrug it off, especially if they view you as a wealthy, privileged sort who can “handle” the responsibility. You can extrapolate from there: premarital sex between engaged couples is like smoking pot, cohabitation is like having a cocaine habit, and hooking up casually is like doing meth. In their worldview, gay sex is like heroin, and they insist it’s actually as dangerous as heroin.   

The overt hostility to most sex, and only tacit acceptance of in-the-dark-missionary-position-married-once-a-month-sex is pretty much the defining feature of the religious right. Many religious-right leaders are beginning to clue into the fact that their overt anti-pleasure attitudes aren’t good for PR, so there’s been some attempts to remake their arguments against all sex outside of heterosexual marriage to create something more enticing. Ted Haggard, for instance, tried to sell the line that if you’re Christian and wait for marriage, you’ll have "the best sex life." Even when he was pushing the line initially, it seemed forced, but later revelations that he did not, in fact, think he had the best sex life and instead chose to have meth-fueled gay sex with prostitutes proved exactly how dishonest his claims really were. 

Slightly more convincing are various grassroots attempts by religious-right women to actually live the claims that chastity before marriage means nothing but hot sex after marriage. (And of course, you have unmarried fundamentalists like Lila Rose working the “sexy virgin” angle as hard as they can.) It’s understandable that
fundamentalist women feel the need to take this approach.

The hostility toward sex for pleasure hasn’t prevented men in red states from becoming the biggest consumers of porn. Their claims that anti-feminism makes women happier has to butt up with images of sexually liberated feminists doing whatever they want to please themselves sexually. But even a site like Christian Nymphos is shot through with the belief that sexual pleasure is a dangerous force that must be strictly controlled, and that women may only have it if they
sacrifice their autonomy and dignity to a Biblically mandated female-submissive marriage. At their site, single women are not even allowed to leave comments or ask questions. Even knowledge of sex is considered too much for a woman who isn’t under direct control of a man. And for married couples, all sexual thoughts and fantasies are to be directly strictly toward their spouse, erasing their individual sexual natures. In other words, even pro-sex right-wing Christianity is still hostile to the concept that individuals have a right to their sexuality.

The religious right is much more comfortable treating sex like it’s dirty, and then obsessively cataloguing how dirty each act is in comparison with other acts. For an entertaining look at how outrageous this can get, I highly recommend watching this clip from “The Dildo Diaries,” in which the Texas legislature debated whether or not to make anal sex illegal. When challenged about whether or not the law should ban it even for married couples, Rep. Warren Chisum said it should be banned “especially” for married couples, and added, “I can’t believe anyone would do that if they was married.” Much hilarity on the floor of the legislature ensued, but the moment really stands out in history as a crystallization of the social conservative attitudes toward sex: it really shouldn’t exist at all unless it’s within in the confines of marriage and with as little imagination and frequency as possible.  

Once you grasp how the social right sees this issue, many of the other issues that matter to them make sense: their hatred of Hollywood for suggesting that sex might be something people do for fun; their jihad against pornography; the war on birth control and Planned Parenthood; objections to abortion rights; support for abstinence-only education; and their objections to the HPV vaccine. And of course, extending any rights whatsoever to gay people. It all goes back to sex, and their sense that it’s a filthy thing to do in all circumstances, though of course filthier in some more than others. But the idea that sex is anything but a naughty thing you should try to avoid seems as much an anathema to them as adding a daily glass of wine to the food pyramid would be to teetotalers. 


I rather like the tack that this takes on the world-view of the Religious Right when it comes to Gays and Gay-sex. 

Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Really? Writer Equates Respected Black Scholar With KKK

Really? Writer Equates Respected Black Scholar With KKK
Elon James White

Race in America is a difficult subject. When it comes to race America has the mental maturity of a 7 year old that, on occasion will plug its ears with its fingers and sing “La, la, la.” Being American and Negro I understand this. I don’t really have any choice but to understand it. I can’t decide that racial matters or discussions are silly because I’m actually affected. I can’t speak of it philosophically and talk racial theory because for me its NOT theory. I’m Black. This is real. End of story.

Last night I came across an article that I was so offended by that I reserved comment until I had a full nights sleep. I thought to myself that it was so insulting, so idiotic that it couldn’t be as bad as I was perceiving it to be. I needed to literally go to bed, take a mental break, and come back. That article was Gene Lyons “Obama’s Bridge too Far” on The article, a poorly thought out and terribly executed piece which wasn’t even cohesive as a whole should have been axed in the editorial process. But it wasn’t. Take a look.

This just in: Not all the fools are Republicans. Recently, one Melissa Harris-Perry, a Tulane professor who moonlights on MSNBC political talk shows, wrote an article for the Nation titled “Black President, Double Standard: Why White Liberals Are Abandoning Obama.”

See, nobody ever criticized Bill Clinton, another centrist Democrat who faced a hostile Republican congress. Indeed, he was “enthusiastically re-elected” in 1996. Therefore, “[t]he 2012 election is a test of whether Obama will be held to standards never before imposed on an incumbent. If he is, it may be possible to read that result as the triumph of a more subtle form of racism.”

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Edit - Here's a link to a piece Melissa Harris-Perry wrote in response to some of the criticism of her article:

The Epistemology of Race Talk

It includes this nugget of joy:

Which brings us to a second common strategy of argument about one’s racial innocence: the “I have black friends” claim. I was shocked and angered when Salon’s Joan Walsh used this strategy in her criticism of my piece. Although I disagree with her, I have no problem with Walsh’s decision to take on the claims in my piece. I consider it a sign of respect to publicly engage those with whom you disagree. I was taken aback that Walsh emphasized the extent of our friendship. Walsh and I have been professionally friendly. We’ve eaten a few meals. I invited her to speak at Princeton and I introduced her to my literary agent. We are not friends. Friendship is a deep and lasting relationship based on shared sacrifice and joys. We are not intimates in that way. Watching Walsh deploy our professional familiarity as a shield against claims of her own bias is very troubling. In fact, it is one of the very real barriers to true interracial friendship and intimacy.

Edit #2 - Gene Lyons responds to people calling him out in the comments:

OK, let me take another run at this.

Maybe the KKK line was over the top. Not substantively wrong, but too provocative. The idea was to make people think, not emit steam from their ears. But I only get 800 words, and I wanted to pivot to praising President Obama's recent performance.

On the other hand, it did get everybody's attention, didn't it? Worse than accusing us "white liberals" of covert racism? I don't think so.

Maybe academia's not the only place in American life where it's possible to throw such a grave charge around and expect people to react by earnestly trying to prove their innocence. But it's definitely one of them.

Somebody needed to tell Harris-Perry she's full of it, so I volunteered. My point's simple: anybody who thinks race is everything, and that everything comes down to race ends up resembling their own worst enemies.

She doesn't help President Obama, she makes him look weak. Or would if anybody took her essentially frivolous allegations seriously. As it stands, she appears to be saying there are no legitimate terms in which a black president can be criticized.

As for my own academic credentials, or lack thereof, my bio's readily available online. Judge for yourself.
The Gang
  • acmeeoy

The due-process-free assassination of U.S. citizens is now reality

It was first reported in January of last year that the Obama administration had compiled a hit list of American citizens whom the President had ordered assassinated without any due process, and one of those Americans was Anwar al-Awlaki.  No effort was made to indict him for any crimes (despite a report last October that the Obama administration was "considering" indicting him).  Despite substantial doubt among Yemen experts about whether he even has any operational role in Al Qaeda, no evidence (as opposed to unverified government accusations) was presented of his guilt.  When Awlaki's father sought a court order barring Obama from killing his son, the DOJ argued, among other things, that such decisions were "state secrets" and thus beyond the scrutiny of the courts.  He was simply ordered killed by the President: his judge, jury and executioner.  When Awlaki's inclusion on President Obama's hit list was confirmed, The New York Times noted that "it is extremely rare, if not unprecedented, for an American to be approved for targeted killing."

After several unsuccessful efforts to assassinate its own citizen, the U.S. succeeded today (and it was the U.S.).  It almost certainly was able to find and kill Awlaki with the help of its long-time close friend President Saleh, who took a little time off from murdering his own citizens to help the U.S. murder its.  The U.S. thus transformed someone who was, at best, a marginal figure into a martyr, and again showed its true face to the world.  The government and media search for The Next bin Laden has undoubtedly already commenced.

What's most striking about this is not that the U.S. Government has seized and exercised exactly the power the Fifth Amendment was designed to bar ("No person shall be deprived of life without due process of law"), and did so in a way that almost certainly violates core First Amendment protections (questions that will now never be decided in a court of law). What's most amazing is that its citizens will not merely refrain from objecting, but will stand and cheer the U.S. Government's new power to assassinate their fellow citizens, far from any battlefield, literally without a shred of due process from the U.S. Government.  Many will celebrate the strong, decisive, Tough President's ability to eradicate the life of Anwar al-Awlaki -- including many who just so righteously condemned those Republican audience members as so terribly barbaric and crass for cheering Governor Perry's execution of scores of serial murderers and rapists -- criminals who were at least given a trial and appeals and the other trappings of due process before being killed. 

From an authoritarian perspective, that's the genius of America's political culture.  It not only finds way to obliterate the most basic individual liberties designed to safeguard citizens from consummate abuses of power (such as extinguishing the lives of citizens without due process).  It actually gets its citizens to stand up and clap and even celebrate the destruction of those safeguards.



No 1curr about cybercrime

According to Symantec’s 2011 Cybercrime Report, “Cybercrime is bigger than the global black market in marijuana, cocaine and heroin combined ($288 billion) and approaching the value of all global drug trafficking ($411 billion).”

The global market is being bombarded with an array of viruses, malicious software and criminal schemes. The most basic ones consist of trojan horse programs, worm programs, botnet exploitations, phishing, and social engineering.

Symantec’s report stated that 69% of the people surveyed in 2010 said they were a victim of a cybercrime. Some 75% of millennial responders (who are between the ages of 18 to 31) said they were often the victims of cybercrime. Adults in the developing world are more likely to be the victim of a cybercrime than an adult in the developed world by a ratio of 80% to 64%.

In short, cybercrime is a global problem with real and serious consequences and presents a pressing conundrum for policymakers around the world.

What have policymakers done to make cyberspace safer for the average citizen? The FBI, and Departments of Homeland Security and Defense are all taking active measures to secure U.S. networks in their respective domains of operation and legal prerogative. But if one wants to report a cybercrime in the U.S., the FBI has set up a task force to handle all reports of cybercrime with the Justice Department’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section.

The trouble is that most local law enforcement institutions do not have the resources or capacity to respond to reports of cybercrime. Though the FBI website shows that many cyber criminals arebrought to justice this may be misleading. Many cyber criminals are not brought to justice due to the high anonymity allowed by cyberspace by its nature and the skills of the cyber criminals themselves.

The cyber security skills of the FBI are weak due to lack of personnel and training according to a Justice Department study.

There has been significant progress on the law enforcement side. The recent arrest of Jeffrey Parson, a high school senior from Minnesota accused of causing damage through spreading a variant of the Blaster Worm, was a “rare victory” in cyber policing. It was “rare” because the original creators of Blaster Worm and many other perpetrators of cybercrime have yet to be caught and are not likely to be caught anytime soon.

full article: Source

Well that's reassuring....
The Gang
  • acmeeoy

The Best Among Us - Chris Hedges

 There are no excuses left. Either you join the revolt taking place on Wall Street and in the financial districts of other cities across the country or you stand on the wrong side of history. Either you obstruct, in the only form left to us, which is civil disobedience, the plundering by the criminal class on Wall Street and accelerated destruction of the ecosystem that sustains the human species, or become the passive enabler of a monstrous evil. Either you taste, feel and smell the intoxication of freedom and revolt or sink into the miasma of despair and apathy. Either you are a rebel or a slave.
To be declared innocent in a country where the rule of law means nothing, where we have undergone a corporate coup, where the poor and working men and women are reduced to joblessness and hunger, where war, financial speculation and internal surveillance are the only real business of the state, where even habeas corpus no longer exists, where you, as a citizen, are nothing more than a commodity to corporate systems of power, one to be used and discarded, is to be complicit in this radical evil. To stand on the sidelines and say “I am innocent” is to bear the mark of Cain; it is to do nothing to reach out and help the weak, the oppressed and the suffering, to save the planet. To be innocent in times like these is to be a criminal. Ask Tim DeChristopher
Choose. But choose fast. The state and corporate forces are determined to crush this. They are not going to wait for you. They are terrified this will spread. They have their long phalanxes of police on motorcycles, their rows of white paddy wagons, their foot soldiers hunting for you on the streets with pepper spray and orange plastic nets. They have their metal barricades set up on every single street leading into the New York financial district, where the mandarins in Brooks Brothers suits use your money, money they stole from you, to gamble and speculate and gorge themselves while one in four children outside those barricades depend on food stamps to eat. Speculation in the 17th century was a crime. Speculators were hanged. Today they run the state and the financial markets. They disseminate the lies that pollute our airwaves. They know, even better than you, how pervasive the corruption and theft have become, how gamed the system is against you, how corporations have cemented into place a thin oligarchic class and an obsequious cadre of politicians, judges and journalists who live in their little gated Versailles while 6 million Americans are thrown out of their homes, a number soon to rise to 10 million, where a million people a year go bankrupt because they cannot pay their medical bills and 45,000 die from lack of proper care, where real joblessness is spiraling to over 20 percent, where the citizens, including students, spend lives toiling in debt peonage, working dead-end jobs, when they have jobs, a world devoid of hope, a world of masters and serfs.
The only word these corporations know is more. They are disemboweling every last social service program funded by the taxpayers, from education to Social Security, because they want that money themselves. Let the sick die. Let the poor go hungry. Let families be tossed in the street. Let the unemployed rot. Let children in the inner city or rural wastelands learn nothing and live in misery and fear. Let the students finish school with no jobs and no prospects of jobs. Let the prison system, the largest in the industrial world, expand to swallow up all potential dissenters. Let torture continue. Let teachers, police, firefighters, postal employees and social workers join the ranks of the unemployed. Let the roads, bridges, dams, levees, power grids, rail lines, subways, bus services, schools and libraries crumble or close. Let the rising temperatures of the planet, the freak weather patterns, the hurricanes, the droughts, the flooding, the tornadoes, the melting polar ice caps, the poisoned water systems, the polluted air increase until the species dies. 
Who the hell cares? If the stocks of ExxonMobil or the coal industry or Goldman Sachs are high, life is good. Profit. Profit. Profit. That is what they chant behind those metal barricades. They have their fangs deep into your necks. If you do not shake them off very, very soon they will kill you. And they will kill the ecosystem, dooming your children and your children’s children. They are too stupid and too blind to see that they will perish with the rest of us. So either you rise up and supplant them, either you dismantle the corporate state, for a world of sanity, a world where we no longer kneel before the absurd idea that the demands of financial markets should govern human behavior, or we are frog-marched toward self-annihilation. 
Those on the streets around Wall Street are the physical embodiment of hope. They know that hope has a cost, that it is not easy or comfortable, that it requires self-sacrifice and discomfort and finally faith. They sleep on concrete every night. Their clothes are soiled. They have eaten more bagels and peanut butter than they ever thought possible. They have tasted fear, been beaten, gone to jail, been blinded by pepper spray, cried, hugged each other, laughed, sung, talked too long in general assemblies, seen their chants drift upward to the office towers above them, wondered if it is worth it, if anyone cares, if they will win. But as long as they remain steadfast they point the way out of the corporate labyrinth. This is what it means to be alive. They are the best among us.
Click here to access OCCUPY TOGETHER, a hub for all of the events springing up across the country in solidarity with Occupy Wall St.


DW Tardis wank

Need some help with that indoctrination?

Glenn Beck To Launch Children's TV Show

It's not Nick News, The Electric Company or even the Magic Treehouse. Starting next Monday, talk show host Glenn Beck hopes to educate a young audience with his new children's program, Liberty Treehouse. As he told Politico, his kids' show "will not only entertain children and young adults, but it will respect them and their knowledge and passion for history, art, science and current events."

In a recent interview with Newsmax, Beck said the one-hour program is intended to teach children aged eight through 14; and it's supposed to help parents share values "that go with the United States government in an entertaining sort of fashion." It's available on his subscription web channel, GBTV.

Beck's foray into children's programming is the latest vehicle from GBTV, which boldly proclaims "The Truth Lives Here". Last June, his company Mercury Radio Arts formed the streaming media channel, where Beck moved his eponymously named radio show after parting ways with Fox News.

As NPR's David Folkenflik explained on Talk of the Nation, Beck's departure came after he and Fox faced increasing anger over several comments described as racist and anti-Semitic. Although he doesn't have the same sizable cable audience, he's quickly grown popular with online subscribers, according to the Wall Street Journal. GBTV started with about 80,000 paying viewers, but the Journal reports in a few months, that number swelled to more than 230,000.

Little is known about Liberty Treehouse, other than its focus is history and will produce original content, such as science features. There'll be clips from old TV shows like Ozzie and Harriet and Superman cartoons. There's no trailer or web page yet, but the show's host, Raj Nair, has tweeted a few lines revealing his excitement about the upcoming show and a fondness for quotations by Christian writers.


Like he has any idea what either science or history are...
  • moropus

Say what?

Bachmann says Obama policies led to Arab spring

CONCORD, N.C. -- Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann says President Obama's Middle East policy is to blame for the popular uprisings against autocratic regimes across the Arab world.

At a fundraiser here, Bachmann said she thinks the president "laid the table for the Arab Spring by demonstrating weakness," and particularly noted his call for Israel to return to its borders prior to the 1967 war with Egypt.

Bachmann, who has a track record of jumbled facts and sometimes false assertions, also drew an analogy between Obama's treatment of Israel and the fall of the shah of Iran during the Democratic administration of President Jimmy Carter, an event she maintained led to the rise of radicalism in the Islamic world.

"Just like Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s didn't have the back of the shah of Iran, we saw the shah fall, and the rise of the ayatollah, and we saw the rise and the beginnings of radical jihad, which have changed this world and changed this nation," Bachmann said. "So, too, under Barack Obama, we saw him put a lot of daylight between our relationship with our ally, Israel. And when he called upon Israel to retreat to its indefensible 1967 borders, don't think that message wasn't lost on Israel's 26 hostile neighbors.

"You want to know why we have an Arab Spring. Barack Obama has laid the table for an Arab Spring by demonstrating weakness from the United States of America."

Bachmann's campaign hit a high point when she won the Iowa straw poll in mid-August, but it's been mostly downhill for Bachmann since. She has trailed in national polls and struggled to keep pace with her rivals in fundraising.

If Bachmann thinks that people uprising against oppression is a bad thing, maybe she'd like us to be a colony again.
The Gang
  • acmeeoy

Some Black Critics of Obama Are Right by Dr. Wilmer Leon

It's not just the Cornel-Tavis caravan taking the president to task -- and for good reason.

Harvard Law School professor Randall Kennedy recently penned an opinion piece for CNN entitled "Why Obama's Black Critics Are Wrong." He contends that President Obama's African-American critics have focused on his "racial bona fides" and that "throughout President Barack Obama's political career, he has been dogged by ... accusations that he is not 'black enough.' " I respect Kennedy and appreciate his contributions to scholarship, but in this instance his analysis is unsupported by the data.

There is a very troubling pattern developing within certain segments of the African-American community, a concerted effort to silence those who are offering honest, valid and well-thought-out criticism of the Obama administration. Kennedy has joined a growing number of African Americans, such as radio hosts Tom Joyner and Steve Harvey and professor Melissa Harris-Perry, who are more focused on personal sentiment than policy.

African Americans can ill afford to base their analysis of President Obama on the politics of sentiment. Like every other political constituency, we must stay focused on policy outcomes that work to further the best interests of the African-American community. We should not have permanent friends or enemies, only permanent interests.

In his article, Kennedy attempts to compare race-based taunts that Obama isn't "really" black, made by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) and failed Republican U.S. Senate candidate Alan Keyes as they were battling Obama in elections, to Rep. Maxine Waters' (D-Calif.) admonishment of the president for failing to craft policies that explicitly target black unemployment. Kennedy is comparing personal attacks made during a heated state campaign to a demand by a member of Congress that the president support targeted national legislation that would assist individuals disproportionately impacted by the economic downturn.

Waters and others like her are doing their jobs as elected representatives in Congress. That's not the same as over-the-top campaign rhetoric. Trying to draw similarities between the two is not comparing apples and oranges; it's more like comparing apples and automobiles.

Kennedy attributes the critiques of President Obama to "a special anxiety about the loyalties of high [African-American] achievers, especially when their success is largely dependent on whites and others who are not black." He fails to explore the possibility that these critiques of President Obama are not comparing him with some abstract standard. In most instances, this "anxiety" is based upon a comparison of Obama with Obama.

Candidate Obama pledged to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay, to fight for the public option, to end the Bush-era tax cuts and to give America "change we can believe in." Instead, many blacks are now seeing that the more things change, the more they look like George W. Bush.



When food prices rise, some blame investors

The news Friday that American corn supplies are larger than many had expected sent corn futures prices down, which some might take to mean that at some point people get a better deal on everything from corn chips to soda.

After all, that's the basic law of supply and demand.

But these days, some say those types of assumptions are no longer applying to food.

Reuters reported Friday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture pegged U.S. corn stocks as of Sept. 1 at 1.128 billion bushels, above estimates of 964 million bushels. Although supplies are larger than expected, the corn supply is still at its lowest level since 2003.

The weather worked against farmers this year, as they grappled with an unusually wet spring followed by sweltering heat.

Earlier this month, the German news magazine Der Spiegel published an in-depth article, called "Speculating with Lives" looking at what’s driving up food prices.

The authors argue that while some of the factors we hear a lot about, such as global warming, biofuels and  population growth, are small contributors to rising food prices, they aren’t the main culprit.

Instead, the article points a finger at investors who have increasingly fled the financial markets and started trading in commodities such as silver, gold and, yes, food.

The article relies heavily on recent research from the United Nations.

From the Der Spiegel story: “The fact that bread and butter are mutating into an object of speculation for Wall Street has much to do with a fundamental shift in the way the food system works, one which the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) describes in a recently published study: the metamorphosis of the food market into a financial market.”

While some fret about the effect these price spikes could have on poor people, especially in underdeveloped nations where food is the major household expense, many traders see it as capitalism at work.

"The age of cheap food is over," one trader, Alan Knuckman, told Der Spiegel. "Most Americans eat too much, anyway."

Warm tone butterfly (by fruitpunch_it)

People like Rory Weal can't be leftwing on planet Mail

Rats, I knew this was too good to be true: Rory Weal strides into conference with his wonderful orating style, making Primark look like a million dollars and politics look worthwhile, as young as a young William Hague but never as pompous, with a closing line that makes me want to be a member of the Labour party again for the first time since I sent Tony Blair a grain of rice (can't remember the symbolism: most probably deaths in Iraq) – "It's up to us in the Labour party to create a vision of what a better Britain looks like." Simple, unarguable, inspiring. Fools. Of course he was too good to be true. What do you think this is, Hogwarts?

You cannot fault the Daily Mail here, they are like a regulatory body, checking the land registry every time somebody is leftwing to make sure they're poor enough: Ofscum, they call themselves. They have found out Weal's true circumstances: he may have had his childhood home repossessed and owe his existence to the welfare state, but previous to that his family was rich. His father, in his heyday, owned homes worth £2.25m, and sent Rory to a private school. It was only after the dad went bust and the marriage ended that the family were in real financial trouble.

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I found this interesting, related to the debate surrounding ideas of who is best qualified to be speaking up for any community in a more general sense.  IMO there is a distinction between an ad hominem attack (because you disagree with the narrative of an argument) and the idea that some people are just not qualified and/or entitled to speak on behalf of a particular social group.