Suggested by commenter terry.
Two days ago, I wrote about Trayvon Martin?s killing and my fears for my own little guy. I?ve been reading about it obsessively, as I suspect many people have been. Adam Weinstein?s explainer at Mother Jones has my go-to stop for the latest developments. Sally Kohn has a good summary of the implicit bias research here. There?s been the news that the Sanford, Florida police chief might lose his job. Of course, there?s been the ?Million Hoodie March,? and more protests are planned in other cities.
Here?s the piece, though, that wrecked me, and which I?ve printed out for my own reference: one mother?s explanation of what she tries to teach her 12-year-old son to keep him from being shot. As she explains:
It?s tough finding the balance between encouraging a black boy to storm the world with confidence and at the same time to fear for his life. But that?s what I must do. I know that at this very moment some have just sucked their teeth in disgusted disbelief and decided that I?m exaggerating. I wish that I was. I?m not. If I were, Trayvon would be alive?.
Maybe I shouldn?t keep reminding Drew about the risks that come with being black and male in America. It?s just the best that I can do under the circumstances. ?
[M]y ?proverbs.? That?s what my son calls my pithy reminders of how he should dress, act, speak and respond to authority. He?s committed most of them to memory.
?Ann is a woman, not a conjunction.? ?Make inside voice your choice.? ?Disobedience is dangerous.? And of course, ?You must always look like a prospect, not a suspect.?? ?Never run in a neighborhood.?
I hate this idea, but it might be time to start the ?living while black? lessons for our little man.
Crusader vs. the PiratesCrusader Rabbit Crusade 2 Episode 15Open Thread [...]
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Fears that the euro crisis will cross the Atlantic have started to ease after European leaders took precautions to stave off default in Greece and shore up other ailing economies. ?In the past few months, financial stresses in Europe have lessened, which has contributed to an improved tone of financial markets around the world, including in the United States,? said Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner agreed: ?The European economies at the center of the crisis have made very significant progress.?
That doesn't mean the global economy is all sunshine and daisies, though. The eurozone's economy contracted at the end of 2011, and weak growth there has resulted in depressed growth here too. Also, the situation in Spain is growing more precarious by the day, with one investor saying ?it has replaced Italy as the lightning rod." Despite the ever-present risks, European Central Bank president Mario Draghi still says "The worst is over," but given the economic rollercoaster of the past few years, the statement doesn't inspire confidence.
The Obama campaign may be a formidable fundraiser, but pro-Republican super PACs are evening the playing field for the general election. Why do super PACs function better for the GOP set, and the existing campaign infrastructure for Democrats? It comes down to who's donating to whom?Republicans fare better with 1 percenters, while Democrats tend to draw more money from small donors.
Bald men rejoice! Science may have discovered the biological underpinnings of baldness, which could lead to a cure.
In her nearly two decades in the Senate, Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson doesn't exactly have the best record when it comes to women's health care. In fact, you can pretty much always count on her to oppose any bill that protects and expands women's access to health care, and if there's a bill to restrict or deny health care, you can usually find Sen. Hutchison on the floor of the Senate, arguing for it.
In 2009, she repeatedly spoke out against health care reform because, she falsely claimed, it included government funding of abortion. In 2011, she strongly supported repeated attempts by Republicans to defund Planned Parenthood and bar funding of women's health care, through bills like the Protect Life Act and the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. Most recently, she was one of the few women in the Senate to vote for the Blunt amendment, allowing employers to deny health insurance to their employees for conditions or treatments they think violate their "religious liberties."
In other words, Sen. Hutchison is no friend to women.
So it's a little surprising to hear the senator suddenly wax concern about low-income women having access to health care. And even more surprising to hear her praise Planned Parenthood for providing basic preventive health care to those very women she's spent her career trying to screw over.
HUTCHISON: We cannot afford to lose the Medicaid funding for low income women to have health care services. We cannot. We keep turning back federal funds that every state gets and then try to find money in our budget, which is already being cut in key areas like education. I do think that the governor needs to sit down with the federal government and work it out so we can have our share ? our fair share not more ? of money for Medicaid to help low-income women have their health care services.Sure, it would be nice if Sen. Hutchison put her vote where her mouth. But it's probably a safe bet that Hutchison is finding herself in the unenviable position, like her fellow Republican senator from Alaska, Lisa Murkowski, of trying to explain to female constituents why she sided with the bishops instead of women. Murkowski also voted for the Blunt amendment, only to realize what a mistake it was, express regret for her vote, and then get good and angry about those awful Republicans and their war on women. It's not unlikely that Hutchison is finding herself Murkowski'd back in Texas.
TODD: So it sounds like you think he should not be excluding Planned Parenthood?
HUTCHISON: I think Planned Parenthood does mammograms, they do so much of the health care ? the preventive health care and they?re doing that, we need to provide those services, absolutely.
Now, all of a sudden, Hutchison is concerned about making sure women have access to the very health care, from the very provider, she's spent 20 years opposing. Hutchison isn't changing her tune because she's had a change of heart. Hutchison, like the rest of her rotten party, is seeing the damage it has done to itself by waging its war on women. Like John McCain, who called for his party to back off, Hutchison is probably reading the tea leaves (and the New York Times) and doing the math.
The harder Republicans fight against women, the more they lose. That's something even the staunchest anti-woman Republicans are starting to figure out. And that's very good news?for women.
(Via Think Progress)
Rep. Paul Ryan has a tough sell on his hands. (Jose Luis Magaua/Reuters)The House Republican budget authored by Rep. Paul Ryan isn't getting a great deal of love, even from conservatives. Fred Hiatt's Washington Post editorial page slammed it as "dangerous," and the Club for Growth is opposing it because it isn't dangerous enough.
That opposition extended to Ryan's committee yesterday, where the budget was passed by just one vote, despite having 22 Republicans to just 16 Democrats.
Justin Amash and Tim Huelskamp, two of committee's most conservative members, voted against Ryan's plan. Another, Rick Mulvaney, voted for it in committee, but says he might vote against in on the House floor. As Erik Wasson reports in the Hill, "the tight vote indicates that next week House GOP leaders could face a larger floor defection than they did on last year's budget, which got every Republican but four behind it." [...]That's obviously not enough for the nihilists, which is pretty astounding. Ryan's budget is as extreme a policy document as could be imagined. As Ezra Klein says in the linked story, its breadth is staggering:
The conservative skeptics all voice the same problem with the Ryan budget: It does not go far enough, fast enough. The budget doesn't balance till 2040. The spending levels envisioned in this year's budget are slightly higher than the spending levels envisioned in last year's budget. The Medicare reforms have been moderated to preserve fee-for-service Medicare as an option, and Social Security remains untouched.
[T]he Affordable Care Act is repealed, Medicare is substantially privatized, Medicaid is turned over to the states, the tax code is flattened into two brackets, and [...] the federal government's role in infrastructure, worker retraining, education, nutrition support, veteran's benefits, and much more dwindles to nearly nothing.There's a surreality to the thought that elected representatives' primary goal is the destruction of the government they're serving. It gets even more surreal when you look at the Ryan plan, which would achieve that destruction in less than half a century, and his party responds, "That's not fast enough."
Paul Ryan sped into action with his 2013 budget resolution. After releasing it on a Tuesday, he put it up for a vote in the Budget Committee on a Wednesday. This should have been immediately unacceptable to the other 37 members of the Budget Committee[...]
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Rep. Paul Ryan has a jobs creation plan:
Wheelbarrow drivers to carry the extra cash his
budget proposal would give to the already wealthy.While House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's proposed budget is going absolutely nowhere in its intact form, that's not something he and his backers figure would happen anyway. The purpose right now is twofold: 1) giving Republicans an arguing point in the elections, and 2) continuing to nudge the tax-and-spending conversation rightward, something they've had good success at in the past few decades.
Which is why, even though the Ryan budget is dead-on-arrival in the Senate, it's important to keep talking about its potential impact. If there is any single thing that characterizes the strategy of these guys?from reproductive rights to austerity programming?it is their stubborn relentlessness no matter how many times they get blocked. Part of their persistence emerges out of the fact that they consistently win small victories. And those add up over time.
At the Economic Policy Institute, Ethan Pollack has taken a look at what impact the Ryan budget would have on jobs. "Impact" is the proper term. That budget would not just crater the modest job growth we've seen in the past three months?a monthly average of 245,000 new jobs?it would wipe out millions of existing jobs. All other things being equal, by 2014, the official unemployment rate that is now at 8.3 percent would rise to 11.9 percent if his plan were enacted.
Against a current policy baseline, the budget cuts discretionary programs by about $120 billion over the next two years and mandatory programs by $284 billion, sucking demand out of the economy when it most needs it and leading to job loss. Using a standard macroeconomic model that is consistent with that used by private- and public-sector forecasters, the shock to aggregate demand from near-term spending cuts would result in roughly 1.3 million jobs lost in 2013 and 2.8 million jobs lost in 2014, or 4.1 million jobs through 2014.As Pollack points out, Ryan also wants to cut taxes for affluent Americans. The resulting loss of federal revenue he would cover by spending less. This austerity insanity, Pollack says
...will likely result in a small job loss because it shifts the tax burden from high-earners to middle-class households. Low-income households will also face higher taxes because Ryan would allow certain tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and the American Opportunity Tax Credit to fall from their current levels. Redistributing money away from people who spend more of each marginal dollar of disposable income (low- and moderate-income households) to those with much higher savings rates (high-income households) is broadly recognized as leading to a decline in aggregate demand.And you thought the Republicans were never going to do anything about job creation.
Elizabeth Warren on the campaign trail in New Bedford, MA (Elizabeth Warren/Facebook)In an interview with the Washington Blade, Elizabeth Warren promised to provide leadership on LGBT issues in the Senate if elected, noting that a senator from Massachusetts, the first state to legalize gay marriage, was in a special position to lead.
Warren endorsed a range of equality measures and ways that they could be pushed forward. President Obama could, for instance, sign an executive order requiring federal contractors to have non-discrimination policies that included LGBT people.
Aside from such specific measures, there's the question of whether the Democratic Party will embrace the principle of equality in its 2012 platform?a question complicated by the fact that Obama's position on marriage equality is still "evolving." Warren told the Blade, "I want to see the president evolve because I believe that is right; marriage equality is morally right," and that she supports inclusion in the Democratic platform, noting, "It helps raise awareness of the impact of DOMA and it helps build support to repeal it." The Defense of Marriage Act, of course, directly affects 13,000 legally married Massachusetts couples.
The remarkable thing here is that Elizabeth Warren became known for and remains most focused on economic issues, but embraces the opportunity to be a leader on other issues. She is as plainspoken, forward-thinking, and concerned with justice on gay rights as she is on Wall Street reform.
Elizabeth Warren is right: Marriage equality should be in the 2012 Democratic platform. Sign our petition telling party leaders to support the full inclusion of all families in the life of our nation, including the freedom to marry.
According to a 21-page media strategy letter, al Qaeda operative Adam Gadahn didn't care for Fox News, thought CNN was better in Arabic and liked MSNBC better before Keith Olbermann was fired.
The undated letter, obtained from a senior Obama administration official by the Washington Post's David Ignatius, appears to have been written after November 2010, Ignatius writes. The letter was taken from Osama bin Laden's compound during last year's raid in Abbottabad.
It also mentions releasing al Qaeda videos around the time of the 2010 midterm elections, because the country was focusing on the economy and not the cost of wars abroad. Gadhan -- who was born in America and converted to Islam at the age of 17 -- speaks highly of ABC and CBS, citing "Brian Russ," as a favorite journalist -- likely ABC News' investigative reporter Brian Ross.
And finally, as Ignatius writes, Gadhan wrote about exploiting the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, with the possibility of offering "an exclusive press scoop." Then, on second thought, maybe it's better to spread bin Laden around so there will be "healthy competition."
Read Ignatius' column full column here.