The workers of the just-formed New Era Windows cooperative in Chicago?the same workers who sat in and forced Serious Energy to back down on a hasty shutdown of their Goose Island plant a few months ago, and famously occupied the same factory for six days[...]
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We do too much "heroification" in America, according to James W. Loewen, author of Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong (one of his several books that ought to be on everybody's shelf). Like me, he thinks the word hero has been cheapened, ending up more often a description for football quarterbacks who throw perfect last-minute passes than for, say, the passerby who risks her own life to pull a child from a flooding river.
Heroification describes what textbooks, too many teachers, and the likes of Lynne Cheney have done to historical figures such as the deeply racist Woodrow Wilson and a multitude of other notable Americans. The process of heroification not only turns the notorious into role models but many people who actually deserve the praise pressed upon them into one-dimensional stereotypes without flaws. As if we couldn't stand to see our heroes as human beings who don't always get things right, who, in fact, sometimes behave deplorably and hypocritically.
Despite his flaws, my number one personal hero is?and has been since I was introduced at age 14 to his autobiography?Frederick Douglass, the runaway slave whose persistent eloquence was one of the leading factors persuading Abraham Lincoln to bring black soldiers into the Union Army. Without them, it is uncertain that the Union would have survived. As historian Eric Foner wrote in 2004:
At an Independence Day meeting sponsored by the Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society in 1852, the former slave Frederick Douglass delivered one of the nineteenth century's greatest orations. His theme was the contradiction between American slavery and American freedom.Here is an excerpt of the scathing speech Douglass gave 160 years ago, in Rochester, N.Y., where he founded the abolitionist newspaper, The North Star:
Douglass did not mince words. He spoke of a government that mouthed the language of liberty yet committed "crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages"; of patriotism reduced to "swelling vanity"; of hypocrisy destroying the country's "moral power abroad." Although slavery is gone, Douglass's critique remains as relevant as in 1852. But so too does his optimism that the days of empire are over, and that in the modern world abuses cannot permanently be hidden from the light of day. Douglass, not the leaders of a slave-holding republic, was the genuine patriot, who called on his listeners to reclaim the "great principles" of the Declaration from those who had defiled and betrayed them. That is a truly patriotic goal for our own Fourth of July.
Fellow citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here today? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?
Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold that a nation's sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation's jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that the dumb might eloquently speak and the "lame man leap as an hart."
But such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence bequeathed by your fathers is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me by asking me to speak today? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn that it is dangerous to copy the example of nation whose crimes, towering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrevocable ruin! I can today take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people.
"By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down. Yea! We wept when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there, they that carried us away captive, required of us a song; and they who wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How can we sing the Lord's song in a strange land? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth."
Fellow citizens, above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! Whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, today, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those bleeding children of sorry this day, "may my right hand cleave to the roof of my mouth"! To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world. My subject, then, fellow citizens, is American slavery. I shall see this day and its popular characteristics from the slave's point of view. Standing there identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine. I do not hesitate to declare with all my soul that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this Fourth of July! Whether we turn to the declarations of the past or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the Constitution and the Bible which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery-the great sin and shame of America! "I will not equivocate, I will not excuse"; I will use the severest language I can command; and yet not one word shall escape me that any man, whose judgment is not blinded by prejudice, shall not confess to be right and just....
For the present, it is enough to affirm the equal manhood of the Negro race. Is it not as astonishing that, while we are plowing, planting, and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical tools, erecting houses, constructing bridges, building ships, working in metals of brass, iron, copper, and secretaries, having among us lawyers doctors, ministers, poets, authors, editors, orators, and teachers; and that, while we are engaged in all manner of enterprises common to other men, digging gold in California, capturing the whale in the Pacific, feeding sheep and cattle on the hillside, living, moving, acting, thinking, planning, living in families as husbands, wives, and children, and above all, confessing and worshiping the Christian's God, and looking hopefully for life and immortality beyond the grave, we are called upon to prove that we are men!...
What, am I to argue that it is wrong to make men brutes, to rob them of their liberty, to work them without wages, to keep them ignorant of their relations to their fellow men, to beat them with sticks, to flay their flesh with the lash, to load their limbs with irons, to hunt them with dogs, to sell them at auction, to sunder their families, to knock out their teeth, to burn their flesh, to starve them into obedience and submission to their masters? Must I argue that a system thus marked with blood, and stained with pollution, is wrong? No! I will not. I have better employment for my time and strength than such arguments would imply....What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass-fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy-a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States at this very hour.
Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.
A version of this diary first appeared at Daily Kos in 2008.
The issue of Scientology is likely to complicate the impending divorce between Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise, according to a source with knowledge of the case as well as some legal experts. The source, who talked to The Times on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the case, said Scientology and what role it would play in Suri’s upbringing was a key factor in the split. Cruise is a prominent member of Scientology. – Scientology complicates Katie Holmes-Tom Cruise divorce casent member of Scientology
THE POLITICS OF RELIGION in a relationship is compounded when parents disagree about how their children should be raised, but that’s usually figured out at the time people get married. Religions come in all stripes, but the Episcopal Church doesn’t require maniacal devotion or secrecy. I wouldn’t trust any religion that would, whether it’s Scientology, Mormonism or some other faith.
It’s interesting to me that over the many years I conducted interviews with people on their relationships and marriage, I never once encountered a man converting to the woman’s religion. Katie Holmes, once a Catholic, came as close to converting to Scientology as it comes when she married the die hard fundamentalist Cruise, whose religion obviously doesn’t require any fidelity to the sanctity of marriage. This is Cruise’s third marriage.
As for keeping Suri away from Scientology, Katie Holmes won’t get sole custody unless she’s holding something over Tom Cruise’s head. The gossip on that score is running wild.
Independents are fairly close to the general numbers, though they are likely to be disappointed by the Teabagging extremists who will want to continue fighting.In the latest survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 56 percent of respondents said they prefer Obamacare opponents "stop their efforts to block the law and move on to other national problems," while 38 percent said they prefer those...
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I have to agree with former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm here and that's if Republican governors across the country think they can run on taking away medical coverage for the people who live in their states, good luck with that.
We've already seen the threats out of the likes of Bobby Jindal with more joining him this week. Even if these governors don't have one iota of care for the poor and those who don't have much of a voice in our society, they're going to be hearing from hospitals and others in the medical community and not just constituents who are fed up with their nonsense.
Here's more from Current's site on Granholm's commentary: Granholm: Health care issue is real and personal, not abstract and political :
The health care debate isn?t about political theory or semantics, it?s about people?s lives. Jennifer Granholm says voters will see through the rhetoric and defy Republicans who push for taking away people?s coverage, who fight against the freedom people should have to live without fear of sickness and crippling debt. Granholm says, ?Republican leaders, you want your campaign slogans to be: ?Vote for me and I?ll take your child?s health insurance away? Good luck with that.?
Two new state polls were released this morning, with the common thread that both of them were in the field after the Supreme Court decision on the president's signature legislative achievement (ACA) last Thursday.
And, if you put stock into them, they tell you that the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the ACA had minimal impact on the state of play in the presidential race. Put more specifically, it might have helped the president slightly in one poll, and hurt him slightly, according to the other.
Like I said, a minimal impact, at best. But that might be expected during a holiday week where most folks (except for y'all, and bless you for that) are not focused on the electoral sweepstakes just four months into the future.
On to the numbers:
PRESIDENTIAL GENERAL ELECTION TRIAL HEATS:
NATIONAL (Gallup Tracking): Obama d. Romney (48-44)DOWNBALLOT POLLING:
NATIONAL (PPP for Daily Kos/SEIU): Obama d. Romney (48-45)
NATIONAL (Rasmussen Tracking): Romney d. Obama (47-44)
FLORIDA (We Ask America?R): Obama d. Romney (46-45)
NORTH CAROLINA (SurveyUSA for Civitas): Romney d. Obama (50-45)
HI-SEN?D (Benenson Strategy Group for Hirono): Mazie Hirono 53, Ed Case 38A few thoughts, as always, await you just past the jump ...
OH-16 (Normington Petts for SEIU/House Majority PAC): Rep. Betty Sutton (D) 41, Rep. Jim Renacci (R) 38
Rick SnyderMichigan's Republican Gov. Rick Snyder isn't going to be invited to many Republican cocktail parties now. He's proved himself insufficiently committed to keeping would-be Democratic voters away from the polls by vetoing three voter suppression bills passed by the Republican-dominated legislature this session.
The vetoed bills required voters present photo ID to pick up an absentee ballot, required voters to check a box on their ballot affirming their U.S. citizenship, and imposed restrictions on third-party registration organizations that would have curtailed voter registration drives.
Snyder in a release said he appreciates the issue of ensuring voters are eligible and U.S. citizens, but believes the bills would have created voter confusion among absentee voters.How did the Republican sponsor of the bill respond to this betrayal? With some crazy, of course.
Snyder also said he supports the concept of training individuals involved in voter registration, but said the changes with the registration of third party voter registration organizations, and the timing and training of those entities, may cause confusion with ongoing voter registration efforts.
?It is not unreasonable to expect that people handling voter registrations should receive some basic training. People who believe they are registering to vote should have confidence in the process so they know their registrations are being handled properly. Antics by unscrupulous groups such as ACORN have proven that protecting the voter registration process is vital if we hope to preserve the integrity of ballots cast by every eligible voter,? he said in a release.ACORN!!! Which of course no longer exists, and which never interfered with the integrity of cast ballots. Because when some bad apple ACORN workers filled out voter registration forms for Donald Duck, Donald Duck wasn't going to be showing up at any polling station to try to vote. Never mind, that, ACORN!!!!!!
The legislature would have to muster a two-thirds majority to override Snyder's a veto, a hurdle the House is unlikely to clear.
Overall, the FiveThirtyEight forecast was essentially unchanged, with Mr. Obama given a 68.3 percent chance of winning the Electoral College.
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The Tour de France 2012, the world's premier cycling event kicked off last Saturday with the Prologue in Liège, Belgium and will conclude on July 22 with the traditional ride into Paris and laps up and down the Champs-Élysées. Over the next 22 days the[...]
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Is there a way to rescue Medicaid in Red States? After all, if Republican governors value their positions, they'll fall in line with the prevailing opinion of their hardcore base, which clearly falls on the side of rejecting government-run health care[...]
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