Quote Of The Day: Ross Douthat

by TKOEd • Wednesday, Nov 7, 2012 • no responses - be the first

…getting there requires that conservatives face reality: The age of Reagan is officially over, and the Obama majority is the only majority we have.

Douthat saysthat there has been a major realignment in this country, and it favors the Democrats. One of the problems with his analysis is that he still doesn’t seem to grasp that there is a major demographic shift happening in this country. He alludes to it, and says what lots of folks have said: the GOP needs to wake up, and smell the shitstorm brewing. But like many other observers he misses that for the GOP to embrace this changing demography they have to become a very different party then they are today. A Republican party that is able to win nationally in 10 years will not be one that looks very much like the GOP of today. Not from a diversity standpoint, not from a  rhetorical standpoint, and most of not from a policy standpoint.

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5 @ 5: Hurricane Sandy & Haiti

by TKOEd • Monday, Nov 5, 2012 • no responses - be the first

My country continues to get the extreme short end of the “natural” disaster stick:

Junot Diaz + Tumblr =

Finally, we have a prominent Republican willing to admit that “voter fraud” is GOP bullshit:

Apropos of what I was talking about the other day:

The military isn’t infallible. Soldiers know this. Why won’t most politicians or media say so?:

 

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Quote Of The Day: Dwight D. Eisenhower

by TKOEd • Monday, Nov 5, 2012 • no responses - be the first

 “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed…The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete highway. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.”

Eisenhower was discussing what he described as the Military-Industrial Complex. As Aaron B. O’Connell told us yesterday in an op-ed in the NY Times, Eisenhower is responsible for popularizing that phrase. Can we imagine a president or serious candidate for president making a statement like that today? Can you imagine a Republican doing it? Yet Eisenhower was both of those things. The GOP has moved so far right from what they once were it’s absolutely mind-boggling. Not only that, our country has moved decidedly to the right. Now that has been helped along by decades of GOP falsehoods, chicanery & outright lies. The media has been aiding, and abetting the GOP bullshit for much of the last 30 years as well. It’s good to remember that we were once a country where presidents could talk about people coming 1st, and where push-back against military spending wasn’t viewed as fringe politics. If we’re willing to the work, we can have a country like that again.

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Fatherhood Saturday: “Girls Don’t Know How To Play Football”

by TKOEd • Saturday, Nov 3, 2012 • one response - join in

Two Sundays ago I was sitting on the couch watching football. My daughter came over, and sat with me. Now this was a minor surprise,  because she’s never shown any interest in watching football or any other sport. I was pretty happy. It’s just another way for us to spend time together, and something else to teach her about. What she said next though really struck me: “Daddy, girls don’t know how to play football.” I was silent for a about a minute. Then I asked her what makes her think that. “I don’t know.” I asked if she’d heard that anywhere. “My head.”

Again, I was silent.

My mind was racing. My daughter is six. She rarely watches teevee. She spends most of her time at home playing with Legos, reading or drawing. I can’t think of a single instance where we’ve said to her or in her presence that anything is for boys or girls. In fact we do the opposite. Then I think “what about non-verbal cues?” Now this is much trickier. I spend many Sundays in the fall & winter watching football, and more often than not Erika is not sitting right there next to me even though she is a football fan. That being said I still come to the conclusion that she’s this getting this from school for the most part. Mostly other kids. The kids say “girls do X and boys do X” all the time. So where do I go from here? I do what I always do. I talk. A lot. I launch into a spiel that states that plenty of women, and girls know how to play football, and furthermore, lots of them DO play football. Not in the NFL, but a few times in college, and high school. I tell her that women & girls mostly play football with friends, and in organized leagues for fun. She nodded, and smiled. I don’t think she believed me though. Trying to raise a child in a world that’s constantly telling/pushing them in certain directions simply because of their gender is hard when you’re aware of that fact. Trying to raise a Black child in that world can be even harder. This country does not value your life as much as it values white lives. It’s not invested in your well being from the cradle to the grave. Ignorance can truly be bliss. I now believe that it’s not enough that I tell my child she can be anything, and that her being a girl makes no difference. Besides the simple fact that’s not true, it ignores all the non-verbal cues. It ignores the fact that when we watch teevee the people on MSNBC doing most of the talking are men (including guests). It ignores that most retail employees places we go are women. It ignores the fact that there are no women in the NFL. So I have to take a more holistic view, and these conversations are just one part of helping my daughter to not see her choices as limited by gender…or race.

As the week went along I kept thinking about it. Then the other day I got into what I guess you could call a debate on twitter over Black folks, and violence against women. The argument was being made that no other race celebrates violence against women the way Blacks do. I vehemently disagreed, but that discussion got me thinking about celebrations of violence in America. Many people argue that football is itself a celebration of violence. I do believe that to some degree it is. We are a country that cheers that degree of violence from high school on up. Probably even younger in a few places. To what degree does the celebration of violence between the end zones creep into the rest of our society? Or is it the other way around? We are a violent species. We’ve celebrated, and enjoyed violence for a long time. Does our celebration of violence on the gridiron help reinforce that some violence off of it is ok, or should be excused? I’m just thinking in public here. These were questions that I kept asking myself. Should I even want my daughter to come to love football? Is it selfish? Will it desensitize her to violence to any extent? Has it desensitized me? I don’t know the answer to either question. Or any of the questions above. I know I love my daughter, and I want to protect her. I also want us to share some interests.

Maybe football shouldn’t be one of them.

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A Late 5 @ 5: D.L. Hughley Is A Misogynist

by TKOEd • Friday, Nov 2, 2012 • no responses - be the first

The title says it all. I’ve got a longer post on Mr. Hughley’s comments:

Foreign Policy says that many coastal cities are doomed. I think drastic measures will be taken, at least in the U.S., before we get to total disaster, but who knows:

So much for Wal-Mart having the lowest prices:

…80 percent of the stuff in Target and Wal-Mart is identical.” The prices are often identical, too. The most recent comparison by Bloomberg Businessweek found only a 46-cent difference between the two retailers per $100 of purchases. (You’ll save that 46 cents at Target, although Wal-Mart usually wins independent price comparisons.)

Rick Scott is an asshole. Is this quote sarcasm, or is he just that dense?:

“Early voting will end Saturday night,” Scott told reporters in response to the request. “But I want everybody to get out to vote.” 

Pay close attention this line:

Citing heavy turnout, Dems and League of Women Voters asked Governor Scott to restore voting this Sunday

Notice how it doesn’t mention Republicans asking for more time so that people can vote. Notice how the post also says that GOPers are the ones who cut early voting hours. Asshats I tell ya.

#ICYMI, I had a quote a former Veep economist, and a few thoughts of my own on today’s jobs report:

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On D.L. Hughley & Women

by TKOEd • Friday, Nov 2, 2012 • no responses - be the first

D.L. Hughley is an asshole. Furthermore, his ludicrous, reprehensible, and despicable answers to Michel Martin’s questions lead me to believe he’s a misogynist. I don’t know if he & Martin were in studio together, but if they were I wouldn’t have faulted Martin for smacking the taste out of his mouth. This exchange, which begins with Martin reading from his book, is more than enough to sour me on a guy who I once thought had some sense:

MARTIN: I’m sure every father feels the same way that I do about his daughters. I love them, but I don’t like them. Who likes women?

Really?

HUGHLEY: Really.

MARTIN: Really?

HUGHLEY: Really.

MARTIN: Really?

HUGHLEY: Really, darling. Really.

MARTIN: You don’t like women?

HUGHLEY: I don’t like the way they process – no, I don’t. I enjoy their company. I do not like the way that they reason. You can’t understand them

Mr. Hughley, I can’t fucking understand you. Wait, maybe I do understand you. You’re a misogynist asshole who in addition to saying women are incomprehensible, is an extremely condescending dick to boot. No surprise on the latter given the former I guess. I’m not going to read Mr. Hughley’s book just like I haven’t, and won’t read any of Steve Harvey’s books. I’m not interested in rich Black men telling our women they ain’t shit. I’m not interested in anyone doing it. Now I’m not sure what D.L. Hughley has to do with “Black manhood” (whatever that is), but Kimberly Foster is dead on when she says:

Painting Black women as irrationally angry justifies the verbal and physical violence we endure daily.

Let’s go a bit further. Mr. Hughley does not just paint Black women as “irrationally angry.” He paints them as irrational. Full Stop.

As I’ve written about before Black women in this country face an incredible amount of domestic violence. If you know that 91% of married Black women are married to Black men, and when you know that intimate partner violence is the violence that most women have to face, then you know who’s perpetuating violence against the women in our communities. Real shit, seeing someone say the things that Hughley says in this interview makes me think that maybe the police should be talking to his wife, and daughters when he’s not home.

I’m not done with that point either. Let’s pull out another D.L. Hughley quote from this interview. Bold mine:

HUGHLEY: Like black women are angry just in general. Angry all the time. My assessment, out of, just in my judgment, you either are in charge or they’re in charge, so there’s no kind of day that you get to rest(ph).

Now think about this quote. Again, the emphasis mine:

Domestic violence and abuse are used for one purpose and one purpose only: to gain and maintain total control over you.

Now I’m going to racially patholgize Hughley’s comments. They are his, and his alone. He does not speak for me or any other Black man. BUT he speaks to something incredibly pernicious in human society. Sexism. Misogyny. Patriarchy. As men, we are all responsible for our contributions to these issues. We have all contributed to them at some point. Knowingly, and unknowingly. We must do better. Black men must do better. You want men, and boys to respect your daughter? Your wife? Your mother? Respect your wife. Respect the random woman in the seat next to you. Respect the woman one lane over. Respect the women you hit on, and teach your sons, cousins, nephews, etc, to do the same.

Don’t tell me you “love Black women” if you talk like this. Don’t tell me you love Black women if you won’t speak up for them, and/or help them speak up for themselves IF they need or ask for your help. Don’t tell me you love Black women if you sit there, and chuckle when your boy/dad/son says “I had/wanted to smack some sense into her.”

If you do, I don’t understand you. I don’t like the way you process. I do not like the way you reason. Some of what Hughley does in this interview, and apparently is his book, is the same thing we always talk about when it comes to race. It’s not the blatantly obvious things any more. It’s not as obvious as saying women shouldn’t have the right to vote or that they shouldn’t be able to control their bodies, but it’s insidious all the same. And he’s talking about the women WE love. Who LOVE us. Who, often, give us everything they have. At a minimum we should speak up, but even more importantly than that, we need to self-interrogate. It starts with us. It starts with one. We have to take hold of our misogyny, our sexism, and our patriarchy.

Now I believe that we need to take the right side of this fight across all of America, not just in the Black community. We can’t successfully combat patriarchy in our community if wider society has made no changes. The Black community is not an island. Our people are affected by American society on whole. So we can’t win at home if we’re not winning all across America. In white homes, as well a Black, and all the homes in between. That being said, I’m the man that believes that Barack Obama is a great symbol, and role model for Black men & boys in this country. I’m not going to sit here, and tell you that we can’t begin to make a difference. We can. We should. We will. I’m a role model for someone. My nephew comes to mind. I’m as big of an influence on him now, at 8 years old as anything else in his life. He watches me when I talk to my daughter. He watches me when I talk to my fiance. Gentlemen, the young men, and boys in your life are watching you too. What are you going to teach them. To love, and respect Black women on their terms or will you be another D.L. Hughley?

The Choice is Yours.

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A Few Words On Today’s Jobs Report

by TKOEd • Friday, Nov 2, 2012 • no responses - be the first

Mostly from brilliant former Veep economist Jared Bernstein, bold mine:

Well, the big jobs report is out showing payrolls grew by a more-than-expected 171,000 last month and the unemployment rate ticked  up slightly, as expected, to 7.9%.  Job growth for the prior two months was revised up by 84,000, and the average monthly pace of job growth over the past four months–a useful way of smoothing out monthly noise in the data–is 173,000, a sharp acceleration over the second quarter’s pace of 67,000 per month (see figure).

The uptick in unemployment was expected after September’s 0.3 percentage point drop, but a few things are worth noting.  First, the 0.1 point increase is statistically indistinguishable from no change at all–the unemployment rate has to rise or fall about 0.2 points to be significant.  At 7.9%, the jobless rate is down significantly–by one full point–from its rate one year ago.  Second, one reason for the slight uptick was more people coming into the labor market seeking work.  We’ll need to see how this development evolves in coming months, but we may be seeing early signs of an improving job market pulling more job seekers in from the sidelines.

All told, given the acceleration in payroll growth, the upward revisions to prior months payroll gains, the trend decline in unemployment, and the pick-up in labor force participation, today’s report is generally pointing to job market that’s showing signs of improvement.

 So basically what we have here is that a decent amount of people are feeling good enough about the economy that they’ve started looking for jobs again. Furthermore, as Berstein notes, the last quarter saw a 3-fold improvement in jobs added over the previous quarter. Obviously, that’s a huge increase. We’re on the right path, and we need to stay on it. Romney, and Ryan have nothing to offer, but reheated Republican rhetoric on taxes. A teevee dinner, if you will, of trick-me now economics. Pardon, that’s trickle-down. I’m sure you’ll pardon the my confusion. 20% across the board tax reductions, Medicare as a voucher system, and promises of 12 million new  jobs? All with no specifics? Sounds like a sketchy deal all right.
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The Big Story: Get Out The Vote

by TKOEd • Friday, Nov 2, 2012 • no responses - be the first

The election is close. Very close. Let’s do a run down of what we currently believe will be the closest states on election day:

The above chart is clipped from Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight.com. The number furthest to the left is the average of the numbers to the right which are themselves either straight up averages of polls or averages with some sort of weighting system built in.

The biggest thing I noticed was the Florida average. Romney is only up by .6 points. Everything we’ve heard has pretty much said that FL was Romney’s to lose. This throws that thinking out. I lived in Missouri in 2008. It’s the only time I’ve ever lived in a state that was contested in a presidential election. It was amazing to me. Maybe that’s because I don’t watch much teevee. I was at the the Obama rally that drew 100,000 people:

Old St Louis courthouse?

On election day that year I went to an Obama field office, and volunteered to knock on doors. It was kind of difficult. Not because people weren’t nice, they were, but I just never randomly knocked on anyone’s door before. Whatever difficulty I felt though was overwhelmed by the amazing feelings I had. The feeling of civic duty was there, but most of all it was the feeling of trying to help a man who I wholeheartedly believed, and still believe, in. Not to mention he would be the 1st non-white man to be POTUS in the history of this country.

Get Out The Vote. GOTV. That’s what I was trying to do that day. This weekend we need to GOTV for this man again. The alternative is a man who inspires no one, and even those who support him see Romney as the snake oil salesman he really is:

Romney’s shape-shifting nature would induce him to govern as a center-right moderate.

Emphasis mine. That’s David Brooks today in an op-ed where he’s actually endorsing Romney for President of the United States of America. The op-ed is titled “The Upside of Opportunism.” I shit you not. Can we let this man become president? NO! Can we let a man who cares not for the right of women to control their bodies sit in the Oval Office day in, and day out? NO! Can we let a man who wants to put even more money in the pockets of rich folks become POTUS? FUCK NO! So if you live in Wisconsin, Colorado, Virginia, Florida, Ohio, New Hampshire, North Carolina or Iowa (cue Dean Scream!) we need boots on the ground. We need you to go knock on doors. We need you to be poll watchers. We need you. Our country needs you. People’s lives are at stake.

Health care is probably the most important issue in this election, because what the political press nor candidates themselves will tell you is that the president actually holds very little sway over the national economy. And as I’ve alluded to, health care is absolutely life, and death. Country to popular belief, just going to the emergency room is not health care. Not in any real sense of course. As anyone (like me) who’s actually had to use the ER as a family “doctor” will tell you, the ER sucks as health care if you’re not potentially close to death.

So we have a choice. It’s the same choice I had in 2008. Sit on my ass or Get Out The Vote. I chose the latter. I’m imploring you to do the same this year. The candidates have not talked about or only mentioned in passing many of the issues that are close to my heart, but I know who’s closest to what I believe in. I know who will actually work for the most vulnerable if pushed, and given the chance. That man is Barack Obama.

We’ve got a lot of work to do, because even if you’re not in one of the states above, we can make calls. If you do, get down to an Obama field office, and volunteer. At the very least go out, and vote. Our work will make all the difference in the election.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

5 @ 5: Us vs Them

by TKOEd • Friday, Oct 26, 2012 • no responses - be the first

No, not Democrats vs GOPers or Blacks vs whites. Much nerdier than that. Nerd hypotheticalism (yes, I just made that up) at it’s best:

Well planned take downs aren’t just for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Shakespearean plots any more:

Some truly beautiful, and awe inspiring pictures:

Using surgery to stop your dog from barking? Fuck you:

How do you stay healthy? Surround yourself with people who are just as committed as yourself:

 

 

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The Big Story: Romney’s Racism

by TKOEd • Friday, Oct 26, 2012 • no responses - be the first

“We’re taking back America” ~ Mitt Romney

Did I miss something? Was America stolen? If so, who stole it? Wait, I know. It must have been that Black guy (from the southside of Chicago no less) in the big White House in D.C. You know, the one with the militant wife. He’s shifty on the basketball court. He’s probably shifty off of it too.

Mitt Romney’s co-chair, John Sununu, is a man who has blown quite a few dog whistles in this campaign. Now he’s recycling one from the 2008 presidential elections: Colin Powell is going to vote for Obama because they’re both Black. Should I assume that Sununu is supporting Romney because they’re both white? Is he “proud” of Romney because he’s running for president, and he’s white?  Should I assume that the 57% of white men who voted against Obama in 2008 did so because he’s Black, and McCain is white? A Democrat hasn’t won the white vote since 1964. That was the year Lyndon Johnson won in a landslide against Goldwater. Interestingly enough, the Civil Rights Act passed that year. I wonder if that had anything to do with whites voting GOP for nearly half a decade? Nah, no way (#straightface).

Personally, I’m interested in any of Sununu’s apologies or retractions of his racist bullshit. I am interested in the fact that Romney has never rebuked any of Sununu’s remarks publicly. Instead Sununu continues to be on the frontlines for Romney’s campaign. Constantly sent to talk to the media. So I have to assume that, at worst, Romney agrees with his co-chair’s bigoted pronouncements or, at best, sees a political advantage to these kinds of statements. For some reason I’m very inclined to believe it’s the latter. Maybe it’s because Romney believes Black people just want free stuff from the government.

Lately, Romney wants the American public to see him as a moderate. But as I watched clips from his speech yesterday, and I heard that “taking back” line, and knew he was going to send out racist dog whistles right up to & on the day of the election. This is who Romney has decided he’s going to be. This is who the modern day GOP is. Blacks want free shit, Obama stole America, and Negroes vote for Obama because he’s Black.

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