It's Friday, and I actually get to leisurely enjoy my Cuban coffee prior to venturing out to make the green stuff. Here's hoping your day starts out as well.
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: Dream Deterred
Because I Can: ALEC - Rotten to the Common Core
Populist Review: 1945
Round up by Swimgirl.(tweeter @miamiswimmer) Send tips to mbru AT crooksandliars.com
A variety of links to articles/interviews/speeches on current issues that may be of interest.[...]
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Carla Hall at The Los Angeles Times:
[A]ll of Romney?s actions make up the whole of his character. And in this case [bullying others as a student], whether he did it or didn?t do it or can?t remember, he should be, today, nothing less than mortified at the idea of anyone doing what his former classmates told the Washington Post he did.David Horsey at The Los Angeles Times:
But sensitivity is not Romney?s strong suit. This is the man who, as a Mormon lay leader, according to a New York Times report, showed up at a hospital once to confront and warn a woman against having an abortion -- which her doctors had advised her to undergo -- when she was being treated for a dangerous blood clot. And this is the same guy who tied his dog in a crate on the roof of the car for hourslong family road trips years ago. Even there, he couldn?t muster any regret. Asked by ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer if he would transport his dog like that again, he chuckled and said, ?Certainly not now with the all the attention it?s received.?
No one ever accused Romney of not being pragmatic.
After Romney?s campaign spokesperson initially denied the story, Romney went on Fox radio to say he did not remember the incident, but he was sorry about it anyway. ?I?m a very different person than I was in high school, of course, but I?m glad I learned as much as I did during those high school years,? Romney said in the radio interview.Amy Davidson at The New Yorker:
Well, I assume he is different, just as Obama is different from the kid he was. Still, Romney could not seem to suppress a nervous chuckle as he talked about the bullying episode, just as the same chuckle erupts when he talks about firing people. It makes a person wonder if the guy has empathy for people who are different from him, who have not lived the privileged life he has enjoyed.
The rap on Obama has been that he is a little too cool and aloof. The rap on Romney may be that he is just plain callous.
And how far has Romney moved? This story is resonant because one can, all too easily, see Romney walking away even now, or simply failing to connect, to grasp hurt. How he talks about this incident will be impossible to divorce from how he talks about same-sex marriage in the wake of President Obama?s announcement, and about questions of basic dignity for gay and lesbian Americans. But unless he deals with it soundly, it will also be present as people wonder about his compassion for anyone not as well situated and cosseted as he has always been. Who else might he walk away from? Until now, the campaign has talked about his fondness for pranks as a way to humanize him; his wife called him wild and crazy. Is this what they think that means?Benjy Sarlin at TPM:
Can Romney, in the end, see this story from anyone?s perspective but his own? There were two vantage points on the campus of Cranbrook that day: Romney?s, looking at Lauber; and that of Lauber, who was figuring out who he was, with his newly dyed hair ?draped over his eye,? or earlier, at a mirror, wondering how it looked. One hopes he decided it was beautiful, and never changed his mind.
Mitt Romney clashed with a state commission tasked with helping LGBT youth at risk for bullying and suicide throughout his term as Massachusetts governor over funding and its participation in a pride parade. He eventually abolished the group altogether.Speaking of callous...Jonathan Bertsein at The Washington Post:
[T]he spending Republicans are protecting with today?s vote ? on the military ? is among the very least popular category of federal spending. As John Sides noted last year, only ?culture and the arts? spending polled worse than ?military and defense.?Todd S. Purdum pens a must-read in Vanity Fair:
So House Republicans prefer a cut-spending-only approach that is unpopular, and within that they are protecting relatively unpopular defense spending by slashing more-popular spending on social services. And to top it all off, they?re doing it on yet another vote that they don?t need to take, given that it?s going nowhere now that it?s passed the House. Just as they did, of course, by twice passing Paul Ryan?s budgets, cutting funding to Planned Parenthood, and several other votes.
Either House Republicans don?t believe the polling; or they want to excite their base supporters; or they believe their own spin that the public will reward them for trying to do something ?serious? about spending; or they want to give Members a vote on steep spending cuts before negotiations with Dems get serious. Whatever it is, all these votes will make for some devastating Dem attack ads in many House races this fall.
In recent decades the Republican Party has become something it really has not been since the Civil War: a radical insurgency bent on upending the prevailing practices of the national government seemingly at any cost. For most of its history the Republican Party was something else entirely: a steward of the status quo. It was the Democrats who were historically on the barricades in the fight for radical change. But the Democrats these days have turned into the stewards?beleaguered defenders of the government and country we have evolved into. The two great national parties have, in some fundamental sense, switched roles during the past 50 years. This inversion?the Big Flip?isn?t neat or exact, but it?s a substantial reality and it?s substantially complete.Jonathan Alter:
We can already see the next six months in American politics: Tit for tat. Blow for blow. You?re Richie Rich. You?re Jimmy Carter. This is what presidential elections have been about since 1800. The only difference is that we have YouTube instead of the Pony Express, so the noise is louder and more constant.Paul Krugman at The New York Times:
But discerning voters need to understand the deep philosophical distinctions between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama even if they don?t lend themselves to campaign slogans or barbs.
Labels such as ?conservative? and ?liberal? are worn out. ?Right-wing? doesn?t fit Romney, who describes himself as ?severely conservative? but isn?t a wing nut. ?Left-wing? is an inaccurate description of the president, whose most ?leftist? initiative -- Obamacare -- is modeled on plans proposed by those noted Bolsheviks Bob Dole and Howard Baker.
A more useful distinction may be between venture capitalists and human capitalists.
What does it mean to say that we have a structural unemployment problem? The usual version involves the claim that American workers are stuck in the wrong industries or with the wrong skills. A widely cited recent article by Raghuram Rajan of the University of Chicago asserts that the problem is the need to move workers out of the ?bloated? housing, finance and government sectors.The New York Times editorial board:
Actually, government employment per capita has been more or less flat for decades, but never mind ? the main point is that contrary to what such stories suggest, job losses since the crisis began haven?t mainly been in industries that arguably got too big in the bubble years. Instead, the economy has bled jobs across the board, in just about every sector and every occupation, just as it did in the 1930s. Also, if the problem was that many workers have the wrong skills or are in the wrong place, you?d expect workers with the right skills in the right place to be getting big wage increases; in reality, there are very few winners in the work force.
All of this strongly suggests that we?re suffering not from the teething pains of some kind of structural transition that must gradually run its course but rather from an overall lack of sufficient demand ? the kind of lack that could and should be cured quickly with government programs designed to boost spending.
For more than a year, House Republicans have energetically worked to demolish vital social programs that have made this country both stronger and fairer over the last half-century. At the same time, they have insisted on preserving bloated military spending and unjustifiably low tax rates for the rich. That effort reached a nadir on Thursday when the House voted to prevent $55 billion in automatic cuts imposed on the Pentagon as part of last year?s debt-ceiling deal, choosing instead to make all those cuts, and much more, from domestic programs.
In all, the bill would cut $310 billion from domestic programs; a third of that comes out of programs that serve low- and moderate-income people. Other provisions would slash by half the budget of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was set up after the financial meltdown to protect consumers from predatory lending and other abuses, and reduce the pay of federal workers.
Fortunately, it will never be taken up in the Senate, where the majority leader, Harry Reid, has said it would ?shred the social safety net in order to protect tax breaks for the rich and inflate defense spending.?
Joe Arpaio has been here before. At another time, during another Democratic administration, the tough talking Arizona sheriff was hit with a federal civil rights lawsuit designed to end the abusive practices of his agency.
It was 1997 when the sheriff, then 65, took to a press conference in Phoenix to react to news that the U.S. Justice Department was suing him for what it alleged was a longstanding mistreatment of inmates in his jails.
According to news reports from the time, he promised he would not back down. Everything was going to stay the same. "Nothing changes," he said.
Flash forward 15 years and Arpaio's words have turned out to be spot on. He is older now, pushing 80, but the Republican lawman is again facing off with Justice Department lawyers who allege he and his men have violated the civil rights of Arizonans.
This time, the government's accusations are a little different. They deal largely with the way Arpaio and his office treat Latinos. The suit claims the massive law enforcement agency, which polices a metropolitan area of 3.8 million people, 30 percent of whom are Latino, has a pattern of racial profiling and bias. But the suit goes even further, accusing the sheriff and his deputies of failing to properly investigate hundreds of sex crimes while simultaneously pursuing bogus investigations against his political enemies.
While the latest accusations are more sweeping than those of the past, a look back at the 1997 case shows the sheriff had success standing his ground against the federal government.
Documents from that era, which were provided to TPM this week, also reveal that Arpaio has been using many of the same tactics these days that he used back then. Arpaio's office has even hired the same private Phoenix law firm of Jones, Skelton & Hochuli that represented it him the last investigation.
The similarities make some of his longtime critics skeptical that the Justice Department will have much of a lasting effect with its latest case.
"I'm pretty confident the one thing you can guarantee is that nothing will change," said Phoenix attorney Joel Robbins, who provided the archive documents to TPM and who has won numerous lawsuits against Arpaio over the years on behalf of people who were mistreated in the jails. "He doesn't tend to learn things. His policies seem to be dictated by whatever gets him press coverage and positive feedback from the public. It has nothing to do with what a federal court says or whether a jury tells him to change."
The last time Arpaio went to war with the federal government, he was facing off against a rising star in Democratic politics named Janet Napolitano.
At the time, she was serving as the U.S. attorney for Arizona, having been chosen for the post by President Bill Clinton. Today, after having been elected as the state's attorney general and then later as governor, she serves as the U.S. secretary of homeland security under President Obama.—
The Justice Department first began its investigation of Arpaio's jails in 1995 after receiving complaints that inmates were being injured and killed in altercations with detention officers.
A DOJ inquiry completed that year found a "pattern of excessive force" by the sheriff's staff. It said officers were using dangerous tactics to deal with inmates, including hog tying them and using stun guns on them when they were already detained with handcuffs or strapped into restraining chairs. The investigation found the jails were overcrowded and understaffed. It said internal investigations into use of force by officers were often lacking in details and conclusions.
"Overall, the excessive use of force by staff must be addressed immediately," investigator Eugene Miller wrote in the report, dated Jan. 10, 1996. "In this regard, there are some systemic issues...which allow instances of excessive force to slip between some administrative cracks and thus, go either undetected or unconfronted."
Arpaio's office quickly complained. In an undated response, sheriff's officials said it was impossible for them to respond to the allegations because the investigator didn't provide them with all the evidence he collected.
"These are significant allegations but no specifics have been provided," the sheriff's office wrote in its response. "Thus, it is impossible to provide a factual response, recommend disciplinary action or take individualized corrective action."
Arpaio has used the very same complaints in the current case against him.
After the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division revealed its three-and-a-half year investigation into the sheriff's treatment of Latinos last December, the sheriff complained he wouldn't be able to respond until the feds handed over all their evidence. That included, he said, the identifies of his agency's alleged victims.—
The tactic worked in the 1990s. It convinced the Justice Department to hire a different and independent investigator to go back and look at Arpaio's jails. The new investigator, George Sullivan, was agreed on by both the sheriff's office and the DOJ.
Sullivan's investigation took about two months and piggybacked off of the work that had already been done by the Justice Department. His report, dated May 14, 1997, was longer and more detailed than Miller's. It included details about specific use of force complaints.
Sullivan's report said the sheriff's office had already addressed some of the issues by the time he began looking into them. But he said the agency still needed to fix systemic problems. Among them, he said the sheriff's office should do away with its use of restraint chairs and train its detention officers how to better deal with inmates in volatile situations.
Just like in the current case, Arpaio said at the time he was willing to discuss the findings with the Justice Department. "If they find anything that may be wrong, I'll sit down with them and correct the problem," Arpaio said, according to an Associated Press story published when the investigation was first launched.
Also like the current case, the Justice Department expressed optimistism that Arpaio and his men would cooperate throughout the investigation. An example of that came in a March 25, 1996 letter sent to Maricopa County officials by Deval Patrick, who was then the assistant attorney general in the DOJ Civil Rights Division. Patrick is now the governor of Massachusetts.
"The professionalism and good faith which have pervaded the response to our investigation," Patrick wrote, "makes us optimistic that we will be able to resolve the issues raised in this letter in an amicable and efficient manner."
But, he warned, if the sheriff's office did not cooperate, "the Attorney General may institute a lawsuit."
When the second investigation was finished, Robbins, the Phoenix attorney, remembers thinking the Justice Department had the sheriff in a vice grip. Two probes had found widespread problems in the jails. Reform appeared to be almost certain.
"They had him," Robbins told TPM. "They had him dead to rights."
Napolitano and other DOJ lawyers began to negotiate with the sheriff, his office and his attorneys on those reforms. But what happened next still remains somewhat hazy after all these years.
After saying it hoped to avoid taking the case to court, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Arpaio's office on Oct. 21, 1997. It alleged many of the same things that had been laid out in earlier reports. The rights of inmates were violated by the continued use of force.
Ten days later, Arpaio and Napolitano held a joint news conference in Phoenix. They said that the lawsuit didn't represent a breakdown in talks. In fact, they said, it was part of a settlement they negotiated.
Napolitano called it a "technicality" and described the lawsuit merely as "a lawyer's paperwork," according to a Phoenix New Times story from the time. She said it would be dropped if the settlement went according to plan.
As the Arizona Republic reported later, that's when Arpaio took to the microphone to declare, "nothing changes."—
Not long after the news conference, Napolitano left the U.S. Attorney's Office to run for state attorney general. The civil rights lawsuit was dismissed on July 6, 1998. Napolitano won the election that November.
Critics of both Arpaio and Napolitano saw that as an important moment for both of them. Arpaio was politically popular and Napolitano was poised to run for political office. A heated and ugly lawsuit could have complicated things for both of them.
In 2002, when Napolitano was running for governor, Arizona Republic columnist Richard Ruelas described the 1997 arrangement as "a favor" to the sheriff. The way it was handled did little to change how Arpaio's agency treated inmates.
"Now," Ruelas wrote, "five years later, he has paid her back."
Napolitano was deep in an ugly three-way race for the top office in Arizona, going up against a Republican and an independent, when she was attacked by one of her opponents over a child molestation case she prosecuted as U.S. attorney.
To the surprise of many in the state, including many Republicans, Arpaio crossed party lines to tape a television ad defending her. "She was the Number One prosecutor of child molesters in the nation," the ad said. The boost helped. Napolitano ended up winning the race with 46 percent of the vote.
"Arpaio's ad is correct," Ruelas wrote at the time. "Napolitano's record on prosecuting child molesters is stellar. It's her record on prosecuting inept public officials that's dismal."
In a conference call with reporters on Thursday from Phoenix, Thomas Perez, the current head of the DOJ's Civil Rights Division, said he hoped things would work out better this time. He said the problem with the last lawsuit was that it was never enforced.
"As a result, the reforms proved not to be sustainable," he said. "So history in the jail process is repeating itself in today's complaints."
Additional reporting by Ryan J. Reilly
TV debates may not be everything that they've been told it is, but it's probably better than the old dictatorship. Hopefully the new president will bother to listen to the people and make some efforts towards democracy but they shouldn't get their hopes up. The Guardian:Millions of Egyptians tuned into the first ever presidential debate in the country's history on Thursday night between...
I don't do drugs. I am drugs.
Born May 11, 1904
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“I feel so relieved to be at the stage I’m at in my life right now. Because you know if I want to wear my glasses I’m wearing my glasses. If I want to wear my hair back I’m pulling my hair back. You know at some point it’s just not something that deserves a lot of time and attention. And if others want to worry about it, I let them do the worrying for a change” – Secretary Hillary Clinton in an interview with CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty
CLINTON’S STYLE QUAKE has shifted the American universe and provided yet another Hillary Effect moment, one that rattled the confines of post-feminism and the concept of raw power among girls. There is no woman on planet earth who could cheerfully, defiantly and unflinchingly remove the stigma of a working woman’s persona from being tied to glam duty more thoroughly.
Here’s the hub of it. Women being able to choose their look, without expectations of false eyelashes and mandatory movie-esque makeup, when sometimes less of all of it is who she is. Rachel Maddow wouldn’t wear Gayle King’s high heels and bright hues, but the style Maddow opts for works for her, same for King.
Drudge began the latest conversation with the “Hillary Au Naturale” headline (seen below), which Fox News and others picked up (see above), launching another salvo in the war on women, this one targeting our looks and age as vulnerabilities. Expectations that because a female doesn’t appear dolled up it’s worthy of headline news instead of a deliberate decision because it suits her.
Teens and twenty-somethings get away with a scrubbed face, but aging shouldn’t relegate us all to chasing the vanity mirror unless we want to.
It follows what Drudge did when Clinton was a presidential candidate, which is covered in my book, with both he and Rush Limbaugh getting the scrutiny they deserve. Flashing back on the event when candidate Clinton was eviscerated on Drudge for a picture showing her natural wrinkles, which comes with age regardless of gender. Progressive new media blogs were also guilty of posting unflattering pictures of Clinton on purpose, but none came close to the Drudge-Rush treatment. As the Kathleen Hall Jamieson of Annenberg Public Policy Center relayed to Bill Moyers in 2007, negative images are purposefully used in politics to make the onlooker feel bad about a politician. However, when it’s done to a woman through highlighting her age it hits our juvenile nation in its solar plexus, though the air it knocks out is that of the woman being targeted, while telling other femmes to stay in the beauty box.
When Rush picked up on the Drudge wrinkle photo back during the ’08 race, he used his signature shrill sexism for the occasion.
“Will Americans want to watch a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis? And that woman, by the way, is not going to want to look like she?s getting older, because it will impact poll numbers. It will impact perceptions.? – Rush Limbaugh (December 2007, source: The Hillary Effect)
“America loses interest in you,” Rush opined.
Today, where Hillary is concerned, nothing could be further from the truth.
Virginia Clinton Kelly, William Jefferson Clinton’s late mother, had moments of pause upon meeting Hillary Rodham, because Mrs. Kelly was a full makeup kind of girl. Hillary wasn’t. She now isn’t again, at least at times.
Just be careful when trying this if you’re plodding up the professional ladder, because we all know how long it took Hillary to ascend and be accepted, what it cost, and people still have expectations. But the Hillary Effect just might make it easier to decide to be different.
That Drudge got creamed this time ’round from all quarters was a thing of beauty to watch. That Clinton gave him the middle finger with a casual smile in an interview while she was on yet another grueling globetrotting tour as America’s chief diplomat was a fitting and long overdue f-you.
We’ve come a long way from ABC’s headline in 2007 asking “Is It Sexist to Discuss Hillary?s Wrinkles?” to articles in the Washington Post defending her, to Jezebel’s Hillary “GIVES ZERO FUCKS” graphic.
But that won’t stop outlets like the UK Daily Mail from doing the misogynistic deep dive on “Make-up free Clinton shows the strain of her busy travel schedule,” complete with pictorial walk-through over the last months and years meant to prove she’s worse for wear.
There’s not one woman who doesn’t know what the “tired” trap means. It means she can’t take the heat, because she looks like she’s melted without makeup. The girl’s not up to it. It’s the ultimate sexist slap driven into our confidence that we can’t matter once we’re beyond youth and motherhood, because of our mind alone. That the way we think isn’t actually a huge part of our beauty, with the confidence to live originally making us hotter with age, because the fact is it does.
The people I’ve talked with who know Secretary Clinton have said she is exhausted and looks forward to a long holiday and rest, which has been reported in every outlet you can name; some supporters puzzled over her relaxed hair and makeup. It’s not for everyone and it shouldn’t have to be. You fly 700,000 miles doing a pressure cooker job and see how you feel about every two to three weeks keeping a short haircut maintained and daily sculpted, highlights regularly, the mask of cosmetics every morning, even when you’ve had little sleep, it’s hot as hell where you are and you couldn’t name where that is without an aide. I’m not saying Clinton can’t name it, but I’ve had jet lag on puny little holiday trips, so I can’t imagine reality with her itinerary.
America is an airbrush nation.
When the first HD TV blasted across the country we all got a look at the infotainment pundits and talking heads who shouldn’t be blamed if they started looking for plastic surgeons, dermatologists, or doctors who practice laser therapy, women in particular.
Look at the films and the few female actresses who continue to work over 40.
It’s a testament to the women in film and television who have stood up and shown what they look like before they get their glamour on. KLG and Hoda did it, Natalie Morales and Meredith Vieira, too. Trendy magazines have done pictorials of actresses without makeup, with People the latest, which included Jessica Paré, who plays Don Draper’s wife on “Mad Men.” Her freckles are fabulous. In the Golden Age of Hollywood that fact would have been hidden on pain of the publicist’s life. A way to an Oscar is also seen through beauties going beastly who are considered brave. Remember Charlize Theron in “Monster”?
But not everyone is a Hollywood actress, let alone the brilliant Hillary Rodham Clinton, who’s seen more pressure come her way on looks than most and finally rejected the reviews outright.
Could yet another part of the glass ceiling have cracked when Hillary “au naturale” hit the headlines this time? Traditional and new media, as well as most of television, minus misogynist central on the traditional right, didn’t just shrug, but said you look good to us, Hillary.
Taking the cue from Secretary Clinton, we backed her up and because of it some of us over 40 or 50 and beyond, took note. A space had been made to breathe. A moment crafted where the most admired American female leader said, whether I have makeup on or not in the middle of a work day “it’s just not something that deserves a lot of time and attention.” Let others worry about the trivial, I’m helping run the world, or my family while juggling a job, or running a small business.
As a girl who chose the pageant system to help pay for college, did the national commercial and Broadway babe thing where talent and looks combined made a difference, then on from there to eventually write about things that matter, all the while trading on talent and face to help get in doors or in a talking head chair to help pitch my points, I’m now at an age where it takes a lot more work for a lot less bang for my MAC buck. Sometimes I enjoy the paint and sometimes not, but I never go public in my work without it.
Let’s hope Hillary cracking the makeup ceiling shatters convention.
I’m never going to forget it and am grateful for it.
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Earlier this week we learned that North Carolina is First in Flight and Last in Equality ? (and what a proud history it is). The Wright Brothers and the God Botherers. How can North Carolinians be against gay marriage, their State seal is a clear[...]
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