09/05/2012 archive

The Great Latino Hope

Marco Rubio As Aired

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Going to trial with a lawyer who considers your whole life-style a Crime in Progress is not a happy prospect.

2012 Democratic National Convention: Day 2

Michelle’s dress looked really nice.

The Troubling Myths of Opportunity and Mobility in the Democratic Convention

By: David Dayen Wednesday September 5, 2012 9:40 am

That hasn’t been true for a while, I’m sad to say. American social mobility is among the lowest in the industrialized world. We like to tell ourselves these stories about rising from hardscrabble beginnings – indeed, it was the theme of BOTH the Republican and Democratic conventions – but there’s a selection bias involved. The people telling the stories can always reach back as far as they need in their history to find some poorer ancestor whose courage and confidence led to where they are today. The poor ancestors who had just as much courage, just as much confidence, but didn’t get the same breaks, whose progeny didn’t rise above a certain level regardless of their ability? They don’t get talked about because their descendants don’t have the microphone.

We have a drastically unequal society, and that makes it all the harder to the vast numbers who grow up in poverty and below the middle class to make it to the top. When you only hear from the strivers, it can sound differently, that new people and new faces can always have a chance to rise, if government just gives them the opportunity.

But that’s simply not how it works in America. The door has been slammed shut to those who don’t have the benefits bestowed on the rich and powerful. To some, it’s unseemly to say that, I guess. But it’s true; the economy has ceased to work to reinforce this myth of getting ahead through hard work and realizing potential. And what’s also true is that equality of opportunity is not enough. The meritocracy doesn’t even work this way; it pulls up the ladder rather than extending it down a rung.

I don’t think the speeches reflected that, not because America isn’t ready to hear the message, but because those who benefited from the current system cannot conceive of a different one.

5 – 6 p.m.

  • Call to Order: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa
  • Invocation: Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, 10th Episcopal District
  • Presentation of Colors
  • Pledge of Allegiance
  • National Anthem: musician Branford Marsalis
  • Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez of Illinois
  • Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado
  • John A. Pérez, speaker of the California State Assembly
  • Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino
  • Rep. Judy Chu of California
  • Steve Westly, former state controller and CFO of California
  • An Economy Built to Last video: Small Business
  • Rep. John Larson of Connecticut
  • Deputy Sheriff Ken Myers, Carroll County, Iowa

6 – 7 p.m.

  • Richard Trumka, president, American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations
  • Rep. Steve Israel of New York
  • Sen. Patty Murray of Washington
  • Pedro R. Pierluisi, non-voting member of U.S. House, resident commissioner of Puerto Rico
  • An Economy Build to Last video: Energy
  • Tom Steyer, co-founder of Advanced Energy Economy
  • Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York
  • Rep. Karen Bass of California
  • Rep. Al Green of Texas
  • Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II of Missouri
  • Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy

7 – 8 p.m.

  • Denise Juneau, superintendent of the Montana Office of Public Instruction
  • House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California
  • Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack
  • Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland
  • Education Secretary Arne Duncan
  • Progress for People video: Education
  • American Voices: Johanny Adames
  • Former North Carolina Gov. Jim Hunt
  • Video: in memoriam
  • Harvey B. Gantt, former mayor of Charlotte, N.C.
  • Live performance: singer/songwriter Jessica Sanchez

8 – 9 p.m.

  • Stronger Together video: Women’s Health
  • American Voices: Elizabeth Ann “Libby” Bruce
  • Cecile Richards, president, Planned Parenthood Federation of America
  • Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland
  • Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts
  • American Heroes video: Veterans
  • American Voices: Ed Meagher
  • Gen. Eric Shinseki
  • Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter
  • Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper
  • Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Roman Catholic Social Justice Organization, NETWORK
  • Delaware Gov. Jack Markell

9 – 10 p.m.

  • Karen Mills
  • Progress for People video: Small Business
  • American Voices: Bill Butcher
  • California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris
  • Stronger Together video: Immigration
  • Benita Veliz, DREAM Act activist
  • Cristina Saralegui, journalist, actress and talk show host
  • Sandra Fluke, attorney and women’s rights activist
  • Austin Ligon, co-founder and former CEO of CarMax Inc.
  • An Economy Build to Last video: Auto Industry
  • American Voices: Karen Eusanio
  • UAW President Bob King
  • Randy Johnson, Cindy Hewitt and David Foster: former employees at companies controlled by Romney’s Bain Capital
  • Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland

10 – 11 p.m.

  • Jim Sinegal, co-founder and former CEO of Costco
  • Elizabeth Warren, candidate for Senate in Massachusetts
  • Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, chair of the 2012 Democratic National Convention Committee
  • Former President Bill Clinton
  • Roll call vote: Alice Germond, secretary of the Democratic National Committee
  • Benediction: Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple, Los Angeles
  • Retire Colors
  • Recess

Because I’m such an incredible chauvinist I have to shout out my homes John Larson and Dannel Malloy from the Nutmeg State where we’ll sell you a piece of wood and call it nutmeg.  Elizabeth Warren and Bill Clinton are the real entertainment.

They will be having the official Roll Call tonight and I’d be surprised at a single dissenting vote.  They may or may not indulge in a round of passes to allow a selected State to put the delegate count over the top and end with a motion for unanimous acclamation which would be kind of old school.

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

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Katrina vanden Heuvel: Change We Can Believe In, 2.0

At this week’s convention, we’ll be reminded that elections matter-and they do. But electoral victories, though necessary, are never sufficient. Uprooting inequality and restoring prosperity will require much more. Last week, we got an important reminder of the importance of grassroots organizing. It came from the president of the United States.

During an “Ask Me Anything” session with readers of the website Reddit, President Obama lent his personal support to the effort to amend the Constitution to reverse the Supreme Court’s devastating Citizens United decision. [..]

Obama’s support for an amendment puts him on the right side, with over a hundred municipalities who’ve moved to amend, and against the plutocrats who want to buy our elections. It sharpens the contrast between a president committed to “We the people” and a challenger convinced that “corporations are people.” [..]

But Obama’s statement also raises the question, Given that the president gets how social movements make change happen, why does he only sometimes act like it?

Joan Walsh: Trolling Bill Clinton

Republicans and reporters are pretending the former president’s speech poses political risk and drama to Obama

Hello from Charlotte, where the diversity of the Democratic Party is an immediately obvious and welcome contrast with Tampa (even if the weather is not). Where the Republican convention seemed a blur of white hair, white faces and red, white and blue outfits, the crowd milling around downtown in the pouring rain Monday looked like America, not only in racial diversity but in class and age as well.  This is a younger party, which bodes well for its future. [..]

My favorite non-story so far involves the alleged danger President Clinton poses to Obama with his still-unvetted convention speech scheduled for Wednesday night. Some of the coverage tries to make Clinton sound like he could be the Democrats’ Clint Eastwood – an old celebrity gunslinger who might not be able to shoot straight anymore. But most of it is straight from the 2008 playbook: The two presidents don’t really like one another. Bill’s still mad about Hillary’s loss. He might even prefer a Romney win, since it could set up a 2016 Clinton candidacy.

Maureen Dowd The Comeback Vegan

I remember the first time I realized that Barack Obama was not going to be another Bill Clinton. Everyone assumed that the Secretariat from Illinois was the natural heir to the Secretariat from Arkansas. But Barry was only out of the gate for a day in 2007 before it became apparent that, while the senator had a bouquet of talents and several virtues that Clinton would never possess, he was not quite Bill’s match as a political natural.  [..]

It’s not a bromance, like Romney and Paul Ryan. It’s a transaction. Obama needs his Democratic predecessor to reassure jittery voters that the future can look like the past, with a lower deficit, plenty of jobs and the two parties actually talking. In return, Bill will have the capital to try to ensure that the past can look like the future, with Hillary as Obama’s successor.

What a wild twist. Instead of ushering in the post-Clinton era, as intended, Obama has ushered in the pre-Clinton era.

Amanda Marcotte: In 2012 Campaign Season, Anti-Choicers Show Their True Colors

Anti-choicers know that their official line is that they’re not in this because they have backwards views on gender or that they’re afraid of female sexuality. Sure, they do have these beliefs, but we are expected to pretend that there’s no connection between their “traditional” views on women generally and their opposition to abortion rights. People who fail to play along with these expectations and insist on pointing out connections get paid in screaming, yelling, and playing-the-victim antics from anti-choicers. Considering how much knowledge anti-choicers have that their backwards views on gender hurt their cause, you’d think they wouldn’t be messing it up and letting the cat out of the bag as often as they do lately.

Indeed, showing their true colors has been a theme of anti-choicers this campaign season, from Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comment to Mike Huckabee’s extolling the virtues of rape as a baby delivery system to Paul Ryan minimizing rape by calling it a “method of conception.” But even beyond making comments indicating that they don’t really think rape is a big deal—it’s not like raping uterus vessels is the same as violating people, right?—it just seems generally like anti-choicers are getting weary of play-acting like this is about “life.” The urge to say what they actually mean, to shame women for being sexual and for being independent, is just becoming too great. Decades of pretending has worn thin. Now the seams are showing, and the misogynist comments are coming out.

Marjorie Cohn: No Accountability for Torturers

The Obama administration has closed the books on prosecutions of those who violated our laws by authorizing and conducting the torture and abuse of prisoners in U.S. custody. Last year, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that his office would investigate only two incidents, in which CIA interrogations ended in deaths. He said the Justice Department “has determined that an expanded criminal investigation of the remaining matters is not warranted.” With that decision, Holder conferred amnesty on countless Bush officials, lawyers and interrogators who set and carried out a policy of cruel treatment. [..]

Amnesty for torturers is unacceptable. General Barry McCaffrey declared, “We tortured people unmercifully. We probably murdered dozens of them during the course of that, both the armed forces and the CIA.” Major General Anthony Taguba, who directed the Abu Ghraib investigation, wrote that “there is no longer any doubt as to whether the [Bush] administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.” Holder has answered Taguba’s question with a resounding “no.” [..]

There are two federal criminal statutes for torture prosecutions-the U.S. Torture Statute and the War Crimes Act; the latter punishes torture as a war crime. The Torture Convention is unequivocal: nothing, including a state of war, can be invoked as a justification for torture.

By letting American officials, lawyers and interrogators get away with torture – and indeed, murder – the United States sacrifices any right to scold or punish other countries for their human rights violations.

Daphne Wisham; The Six Stages of Climate Grief

I have discovered a new sixth stage, beyond acceptance of the truly depressing climate science: doing The Work.

Now that the hottest summer on record is drawing to a close, are we any closer to admitting that climate change is upon us? If not, why not?

It might have something to do with the five stages of grief. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross identified these stages as denial, then anger, followed by bargaining, depression, and acceptance. With record drought killing our cattle and our corn, West Nile virus sweeping the country, and Arctic ice sheets melting away, it’s no surprise that millions of people are responding to these frightening signs of environmental decline in stages.

Nobel Laureate Steve W. Running first proposed this frame for understanding the popular response to climate change in 2007. I’d like to go one step further and suggest a sixth stage: The Work.

We Built Your Uterus

What do you mean I can’t lie to get sex?  Then I wouldn’t get any sex!

All your uteri are belong to us.

They hate us, they really hate us.

How many times had he stood calmly back there on the duckboards and listened to respectable-looking people talk about raping the hotel penguins?

On This Day In History September 5

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

September 5 is the 248th day of the year (249th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 117 days remaining until the end of the year..

On this day in 1882, the first Labor Day was celebrated in NYC with a parade of 10,000 workers. The Parade started at City Hall, winding past the reviewing stands at Union Square and then uptown where it ended at 42nd St where the marcher’s and their families celebrated with a picnic, concert and speeches. The march was organized by New York’s Central Labor Union and while there has been debate as to who originated the idea, credit is given to Peter McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor.

It became a federal holiday in 1894, when, following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike, President Grover Cleveland  put reconciliation with the labor movement as a top political priority. Fearing further conflict, legislation making Labor Day a national holiday was rushed through Congress unanimously and signed into law a mere six days after the end of the strike. The September date was chosen as Cleveland was concerned that aligning an American labor holiday with existing international May Day celebrations would stir up negative emotions linked to the Haymarket Affair. All 50 U.S. states have made Labor Day a state holiday.




In a closed society where everybody’s guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.