It is hard to believe that women earned the right to vote only 90 years ago with the passage of the nineteenth amendment to the US Constitution. My grandmother could not vote and affect her own destiny until she was 30 years old! What a precious gift courageous men and women won for us! It is important for women to be part of the decision making process.
As a public school teacher, principal and administrator, I successfully encouraged women to express their convictions and affect their own destinies.
My son, Vincent Sheheen, is a candidate for governor of South Carolina. He was raised in a family of strong women, as well as men, and has been influenced by their beliefs and guidance. He has always respected and listened to the women in our family, including his Mother. He is committed to an administration which would include women in key positions. I promise you his governorship will be a positive milestone for the progress of women in South Carolina.
It is time to stand; be counted; and make a real difference for South Carolina! Sincerely, Rose Rose S. Sheheen
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Patrick Fitzgerald ain't done with Rod Blagojevich.Also, charges dropped against Blago's brother, which may be an ominous sign. Rod Blagojevich - Patrick Fitzgerald - United States - Chicago - Arts[...]
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Templo Beth-Shalom in Havana, Cuba (Photo credit: Anya Landau French)
This post originally appeared at The Havana Note. An earlier version, "In Cuba, a Hostage of International Brinksmanship," appeared in today's Jewish Daily Forward, the online home of the weekly Forward. Arturo Lopez-Levy is a lecturer and doctoral candidate at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies of the University of Denver. Mr. Lopez-Levy worked as analyst for the Cuban government between 1993 and 1994 when he resigned from his post. Between 1999 and 2001, Lopez-Levy was secretary of the Bnai Brith in the Cuban Jewish Community.
Alan Gross, a Jew, an American, a U.S. AID contractor, has sat in a Cuban prison for more than eight months. Jews, whose entire history is bound together by stories of exile and return, captivity and freedom, mourn his confinement and long for his release. Cubans who have been weary bystanders for decades in the games of brinkmanship between their government and ours know a political pawn when they see one. Concerned policy makers in Washington have now taken a hostage of their own; some have made their votes on legislation to end America's failed and feckless ban on travel to Cuba contingent on Gross's release. None of this is likely to shorten his hard experience living under the "hospitality" of Cuba's government.
Why is Gross in prison? While the U.S. has intervened in Cuba to control its government or shape its system for more than a century, this story has more recent roots. The Bush administration produced two reports in May 2004 and July 2006 about how to "liberate" Cuba. The reports recommended a package of irresponsible measures to move the moderate and independent activities of Cuban civil society toward the regime change strategy envisioned by Section 109 of the Helms-Burton law. The U.S Congress approved an annual budget of tens of millions to use U.S agency for International Development contracts for this purpose - an approach that has continued under the Obama Administration.
Most sympathies among Cubans on the island for Alan Gross are based on the idea that he is a victim of a policy promoted by hardliners in the exile community - which profit from hostility between the two countries. Gross was not arrested because he is Jewish, nor is it likely that he was detained because of his alleged activities in helping the Cuban Jewish community with technology, which already had a computer lab, e-mail and access to Internet before he arrived to Havana on his several visits. As a recipient of one of these U.S. AID contracts, Alan Gross was perceived by Cuba's government as a participant in the asymmetric political war between the U.S and Cuba; a promoter of regime change caught in enemy territory.
On my recent trip to the island, in conversations with many of my brothers and sisters in the Jewish communities, including some of the leaders, they expressed a hope to see Gross released as soon as possible but did not refrain from rejecting the so-called "Democracy Programs." These programs are not invigorating but jeopardizing the development of Cuban civil society by forcing a regime change agenda on religious groups without their consent.
Jews in Cuba- like other religious groups - congregate in their community centers to pray and study the Torah, and to enjoy the benefits of a community pharmacy, a sports center, an ORT computer lab, learn about their beloved state of Israel, etc. What they don't do is gather in the synagogue to conspire with the political opposition, because that would jeopardize the cooperation with the government that is necessary for activities such as the emigration to Israel program, the Birth right project, by which young Cuban Jews travel to Israel every year, or to process humanitarian aid. To protect what matters most, they keep themselves as far as possible from misconceived U.S political interventions in Cuba's internal affairs.
Secretary Clinton's appeal to American Jewry to rally for the release of Alan Gross must be welcomed, but some clarifications are necessary. Gross went to Cuba not working for any Jewish organization but for the USAID. The last thing Alan Gross needs is to become another tool in the arsenal of those promoting the U.S policy that brought him to his captivity. A good help to Gross's release would be to make a serious revision of the programs under which he was sent to Cuba and create clear regulations by which the informed consent of any Cuban civil society organization involved would be requested.
The cause of Gross' release will be advanced not by more hostility but by reaffirming American Jews' support for ending the travel ban, so that any American may freely travel to Cuba through the front door, rather than on a risky semi-covert government-funded mission. The travel ban is the cornerstone of an interventionist regime change strategy. Thus, any attempt by Congress to condition the end of the travel ban on Alan Gross' release would only hurt both causes.
Ending the travel ban would make easier for Jews and other Americans to go to the island and mobilize a compassionate constituency there in favor of Gross's release without carrying the stigma of any identification with the unpopular and counterproductive regime change strategy. Ending the travel ban would also liberate U.S soft power enabling Americans to flood Cuba with information and their good spirit, and offer a stark contrast to the restrictions which Cuba's government places on its own citizens while exposing the futility of the U.S. regime change policy in Cuba.
A freedom-based policy would best serve the national interests and the democratic values of the United States. It will create a climate most conducive to Alan Gross's release.
-- Arturo Lopez-Levy
I'm not sure but I think Jeff Goldberg's Iran war manifesto failed to accomplish its goal. In part because he made the mistake of elaborating on the downside of an Israeli attack -- thousands of deaths including Americans, Israel's conversion into a "leper among nations," attacks on Jews in the diaspora, skyrocketing oil prices, involving the US in its worst Mideast crisis ever -- few outside of Neocon Nation (President, John Bolton) endorsed the Goldberg thesis.
I doubt he is all that disappointed. He wants America to endorse an Israeli attack on Iran. But he does not need that to happen tomorrow. He just wants Americans to gradually accept that bombing Iran is inevitable. So if it happens, Americans will simply yawn -- at least until Americans are attacked.
In that effort, using humor is a tool. Get us to laugh at the Iran situation and going to war becomes all that easier. That is why Jovial Jeffrey appeared on Colbert the other day. This excellent piece by Ali Gharib explains what the happy man is up to.
I do have to say that Goldberg has done one good thing. He has endorsed the Islamic Center in lower Manhattan. He is an influential guy and his position opposing the haters helps. Of course, I don't think many of his critics have ever accused Goldberg of hating Muslims in general. He is just an Israel-is-always-right hawk, who is putting his considerable talents behind promoting an Iran war to benefit the Netanyahu gang, just as he did with Iraq.
He's wrong. But, unlike the nuttier neocon Muslim bashers (i.e, the Commentary crowd), he is not just about hate. And I don't think he sits in his house trembling in fear, and fulminating with hate, as the Commentary crackpots do.
Most of the commentary on ex-Senator Alan Simpson's Macaca Moment has focused on the Macaca, on the utter offensiveness of it.
But as Dean Baker points out, Simpson is also profoundly ignorant about Social Security, not a feature in the co-chair of a commission that sees its duty as "fixing" the program. Mr. Baker:
I was also a recipient of one of Simpson?s tirades. As was the case with the note he sent to Carson, Simpson attached a presentation prepared for the commission by Social Security?s chief actuary. Simpson implied that this presentation had some especially eye-opening information that would lead Carson and myself to give up our wrong-headed views on Social Security.Baker also discusses Simpson's ignorance of the world of Social Security recipients, hinted at in Simpson's "people on Social Security who milk it to the last degree" comment. (Only your crowd, Mr. Simpson, drives their Lexus to the mailbox, as it were.)
While I opened the presentation with great expectations, I quickly discovered there was nothing in the presentation that would not already be known to anyone familiar with the annual Social Security trustees? report. [...] It was disturbing to see that Simpson seemed surprised by what should have been old hat to anyone familiar with the policy debate on Social Security. After all, he had been a leading participant in these debates in his years in the Senate....
His determined ignorance in the face of the facts is the most important reason why he is not qualified to serve on President Obama?s commission.
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On two separate occasions this week -- first on Monday and again Wednesday -- Glenn Beck on his Fox News show has played up President Obama's line from his January 2009 inauguration address:
"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and non-believers."
This in the middle of rants explaining why Americans suspect him of being a Muslim -- which is, of course, all Obama's fault. Fox News and Rush Limbaugh had nothing to do with it.
And it's a funny thing, watching Glenn Beck proclaim that the day of Obama's inauguration was a "great day" for America, because we all recall how he proclaimed back then that Obama was going to install Marxism.
Indeed, you may recall that at the time of the inauguration, Beck wasn't disturbed by this line in the least. What got his knickers in a bunch was a line from the Rev. Joseph Lowery suggesting that white people need "to do what's right." You may also recall that Rev. Lowery was one of the closest allies and friends of Martin Luther King -- whose legacy Beck now wants to claim for himself.
But what's really funny is that Beck never explains what's wrong with Obama's observation, other than that "no president" had ever put it that way before. (Well, duh! If he had used someone else's formulation, Beck and Co. would have accused him of plagiarism.) It's really a pretty simple statement about how our nation is home to a broadly diverse set of religious beliefs. Does Beck disagree with that?
Apparently, Beck thinks Obama should only have recognized Jews and Christians. Muslims and Hindus have no business being on the list of Americans.
And what about Mormons like Glenn Beck? After all, they too practice a "Christianity that many Americans just don't recognize".
We wonder if maybe Glenn can explain just what is wrong with that remark a little better for us.
This Saturday is Fox News host Glenn Beck’s highly-anticipated “Restoring Honor” rally, and in recent days, cable new channels from Beck’s Fox to MSNBC have devoted significant air time to the upcoming event. Meanwhile, a Google News search of just the past week delivered over 420 print news articles and blog posts discussing the rally. But Republican National Committee Communications Director Doug Heye apparently missed all this coverage, telling the Washington Post, “I don’t know about any Glenn Beck event:”
“In general, people coming to Washington, being organized and active is a good thing,” said Doug Heye, a spokesman for Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele. “But I gotta be honest with you – I don’t know about any Glenn Beck event.”
For someone whose job it is to monitor political news coverage, Heye’s ignorance seems dubious, but it is apparently not unique. “Operatives at virtually every Republican committee in Washington claimed little or no knowledge of the event,” the Post reported. “They might well have cause to be squeamish,” the Post continued, noting the irony of Beck — who called President Obama a “racist” with “a deep-seated hatred of white people” — holding an event on the anniversary of, and in the same location as, Martin Luther King’s bridge-building “I Have A Dream” speech.
ABC News Political Director Amy Walter tweets:
Joe Miller not doing any interviews. Has he learned lessons from Paul/Angle? Or just b/c he has a 7 hr drive home?
Here's the good news for reporters frustrated by Miller holding himself back: they can talk to his Democratic opponent, Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams. McAdams -- who is anything but a DC-insider -- has an interesting story to tell: unlike Miller, he's a native Alaskan, he's got experience as a small-town Mayor, and he's worked as a deckhand on fishing boat in Alaska. In other words: there's more to Alaska than just right-wing fringie Republicans.
The American Future Fund (AFF) is a 501(c)(4) organization that bills itself as an institution designed to “elect candidates who reflect our values through a variety of activities aimed at influencing the outcome of the next election.” Its latest ad takes aim at Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) and is focused on the subject of the proposed Park 51 Islamic community center that is going to be built near Ground Zero in New York City.
The ad ominously warns that, “for centuries, Muslims built mosques where they won military victories. Now, they want to build a mosque at Ground Zero…It’s like the Japanese building at Pearl Harbor.” It goes on to say that the “Muslim cleric building the mosque believes America was partly responsible for 9/11, and is raising millions overseas from secret donors.” It then says, “Bruce Braley supports building a mosque at Ground Zero.” Watch it:
Many of the ad’s claims are offensive, some are wildly misleading and others are outright lies. The Sufi Muslim founders of Park 51 have no connection to Muslim conquerors (Muslims do not think as a hivemind) in Europe centuries ago, and aren’t building a mosque at Ground Zero — they’re building an Islamic community center two blocks away from the site of the attacks. As even the conservative Daily Caller admits, “you can’t even see the [site] from there!” The Japanese actually have built in the area of Pearl Harbor, with a few Shinto and Buddhist shrines near the location of the Japanese attack that occurred decades ago.
Park 51’s Imam Abdul Rauf did not say America was responsible for 9/11. He called the attacks a “crime” that America did not deserve, and merely noted that certain American policies have served to radicalize Muslims over the years, an admission also made by Donald Rumsfeld’s Defense Department and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). And Rauf is not “raising millions overseas from secret donors.” His organization has barely even started fundraising for the project — the last financial report filed with the state found that it had raised $18,255 so far.
To be able to put out a misleading ad smearing a minority group like the one above, AFF turned to a dubious cast of “experts.” One of the organization’s key media strategists is Larry McCarthy, who is president of media firm McCarthy Marcus Hennings. “In 1988, McCarthy produced the infamous, racially tinged Willie Horton television ad” in the Dukakis-Bush race that helped tank the Dukakis campaign by ginning up racial animus against African-Americans.
AFF’s founder Nick Ryan confirmed to the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) that McCarthy produced the ad. Ryan also told CPI that McCarthy “does a lot of ads for the fund.”
Unfortunately, AFF is far from a fringe organization. This special interest group using racially-charged ads has deep ties to the Republican establishment. Although it has scrubbed its official website of the details of its lecture series, a search through its web cache reveals that in recent months it has hosted such GOP heavyweights as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Iowa Republican gubernatorial candidate Terry Branstad.
Here?s Peter Wehner, linked approvingly by the homphobe K-Lo, trying to have us all believe that conservatives really don?t care much at all about teh gay.[...]
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