08/18/2013 archive

AC Meetup: Differences Matter-Wage and Wealth Gap for Single Mothers Of Color by Diana Zevala

The following is a guest diary by Diana Zavala. An educator, political activist and single mother of two, this is the second guest diary that Diana has written for us. Diana presented this piece as part of the panel at Left Forum 2013 organised by Geminijen.

Three years ago I found myself closing the chapter on my marriage. I did this against the advice of my friends who tried persuading me to stay for the children, for the sake of security and until I finished my studies. I had spent 10 years in an unsatisfying marriage and the thought of one more day for the sake of something/somebody else just was not acceptable. I left the marriage and while the emotional release was satisfying; but being independent and having to be responsible for my family was a reality I don’t think I fully grasped.

I decided there had to be a way that women in my situation could qualify for public assistance. Here I was a student, with two kids, huge rent bill, no health insurance, but these circumstances were only temporary I thought, and with a little assistance I would be able to overcome them and get myself back on my feet. I thought ‘hey, I’m not the quintessential “welfare queen” so demonized by society’, I’m someone who needs help and can become independent with some assistance. I discovered it wasn’t the case, that women who were in my predicament had no safety nets available for them to bounce back. I didn’t qualify for anything because I had too much money from child support which was just enough to cover the rent. The Welfare office recommended I become homeless in order to apply for Section 8 housing and I didn’t qualify for Food Stamps, nor did I qualify for Medicaid.

Here it was, I had been a high school teacher before getting married, I left teaching to care for my son while my husband’s career progressed and so did his income and retirement. I had no money and no savings and was being advised to become homeless so I could qualify for housing assistance and food stamps, so I could provide for my children.

I had walked into the office feeling like a strong feminist who had left her marriage choosing independence from a husband and who could make it on her own. I was college educated, employable, and young enough to have energy to fight and overcome. I came out of the office understanding that my situation was no different from other women who leave, that while I had education and language, my status as a single mother did not differ much from that of my mother’s when she immigrated from Honduras after she divorced my father.

Rant of the Week: John Oliver: One Crazy Summary – Carlos Danger

One Crazy Summary – Carlos Danger

New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner uses his time in a televised debate to announce his name.  

wEINER photo its_all_fun_and_games_till_someone__zps6627020b.jpg

On This Day In History August 18

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.

August 18 is the 230th day of the year (231st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 135 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution is ratified when the Tennessee General Assembly, by a one-vote margin became the thirty-sixth state legislature to ratify the proposed amendment. On August 26, 1920, Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby certified the amendment’s adoption.

It took 70 years of struggle by women of the Suffrage Movement headed by Susan B. Anthony to get this amendment passed. Gail Collins’ NYT Op-Ed recount of the story puts it in great perspective:

That great suffragist and excellent counter, Carrie Chapman Catt, estimated that the struggle had involved 56 referendum campaigns directed at male voters, plus “480 campaigns to get Legislatures to submit suffrage amendments to voters, 47 campaigns to get constitutional conventions to write woman suffrage into state constitutions; 277 campaigns to get State party conventions to include woman suffrage planks, 30 campaigns to get presidential party campaigns to include woman suffrage planks in party platforms and 19 campaigns with 19 successive Congresses.”

As Ms. Catt tells it and to no one’s surprise the Senate was the biggest obstacle, so the Suffragettes decided to take it to the states and amend all the state constitutions, one by one.

The constitutional amendment that finally did pass Congress bore Anthony’s name. It came up before the House of Representatives in 1918 with the two-thirds votes needed for passage barely within reach. One congressman who had been in the hospital for six months had himself carted to the floor so he could support suffrage. Another, who had just broken his shoulder, refused to have it set for fear he’d be too late to be counted. Representative Frederick Hicks of New York had been at the bedside of his dying wife but left at her urging to support the cause. He provided the final, crucial vote, and then returned home for her funeral.

The ratification stalled short of one state when it came to a vote in the Tennessee Legislature on August 18, 1920 and was short one vote to ratify when a young state legislator got a note from his mother:

Ninety years ago this month, all eyes turned to Tennessee, the only state yet to ratify with its Legislature still in session. The resolution sailed through the Tennessee Senate. As it moved on to the House, the most vigorous opposition came from the liquor industry, which was pretty sure that if women got the vote, they’d use it to pass Prohibition. Distillery lobbyists came to fight, bearing samples.

“Both suffrage and anti-suffrage men were reeling through the hall in an advanced state of intoxication,” Carrie Catt reported.

The women and their allies knew they had a one-vote margin of support in the House. Then the speaker, whom they had counted on as a “yes,” changed his mind.

(I love this moment. Women’s suffrage is tied to the railroad track and the train is bearing down fast when suddenly. …)

Suddenly, Harry Burn, the youngest member of the House, a 24-year-old “no” vote from East Tennessee, got up and announced that he had received a letter from his mother telling him to “be a good boy and help Mrs. Catt.”

“I know that a mother’s advice is always the safest for a boy to follow,” Burn said, switching sides.

We celebrate Women’s Suffrage Day on Aug. 26, which is when the amendment officially became part of the Constitution. But I like Aug. 18, which is the day that Harry Burn jumped up in the Tennessee Legislature, waving his mom’s note from home. I told the story once in Atlanta, and a woman in the audience said that when she was visiting her relatives in East Tennessee, she had gone to put a yellow rose on Harry Burn’s grave.

I got a little teary.

“Well, actually,” she added, “it was because I couldn’t find his mother.”

American As Apple Spy

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis 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”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

Up with Steve Kornacki: Joining Steve Kornacki at the table will be:

Hakeem Jeffries, (D) New York; Paul Butler, former Prosecutor, law professor, Georgetown University;  Phil Johnston, former Secretary of Health & Human Services in Massachusetts; Basil Smikle, Jr., political strategist, professor, Columbia University; Perry Bacon, Jr., MSNBC contributor,  political editor, TheGrio.com; Jonathan Miller, co-founder, No Labels; Eleanor Clift, contributing editor, Newsweek/The Daily Beast; Walter Mears, Pulitzer Prize-Winning reporter, Associated Press; and Bob Franken, political reporter.

This Week with George Stephanopolis: Sunday on “This Week” the guests are  Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN); House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY); New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly; and RNC Chair Reince Priebus.

The roundtable debates all the week’s politics, with Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN); former White House senior adviser and Bloomberg TV contributor David Plouffe; former Hewlett-Packard CEO and Good360 chair Carly Fiorina; and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Schieffer;s guests are Rep. Jackie Speier D-CA); New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly; House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA); and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA).

Joining him to look at the political news are Cook Political Report‘s Amy Walter; TIME Magazine’s Bobby Ghosh; and Republican Strategist Kevin Madden.

Meet the Press with David Gregory: The guest on MTP this week are New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly; Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI); Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH); NBC’s Richard Engel; and  Senior Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center, Robin Wright.

On a special panel discussing the roll of race in NYC’s Stop and Frisk program are  Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton; the family’s lawyer Benjamin Crump; and President and CEO of the NAACP, Ben Jealous.

On the political roundtable the guests are former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs; Editor of the National Review Rich Lowry; Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD); and NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Ms Crowley’s guests are Senator John McCain (R-AZ); U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Ned Walker; Middle East analyst Jon Alterman;  Rep. Justin Amash and Rep. Chris Van Hollen.

On joining her political panel are  political panel of Grover Norquist, Donna Brazile, Mo Elleithee and Cheri Jacobus

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Drone strike campaign in Yemen shows U.S. standards are elastic

The wave of attacks highlights Obama’s willingness to accelerate airstrikes even if intelligence on a terrorist plot is imprecise, analysts and ex-officials say.

By Ken Dilanian

A surge of U.S. drone missile strikes that has killed about 40 suspected militants in Yemen over the last three weeks may appear inconsistent with President Obama’s pledge in May to use drone aircraft to target and kill only individual terrorists who pose a continuing and imminent threat to Americans.

White House officials say the targeting rules haven’t changed for the 10 recent drone strikes. But analysts and former U.S. officials say the current campaign, after the pace of attacks had slowed, shows that the standards are elastic.

They say the wave of attacks highlights Obama’s willingness to accelerate lethal operations in response to terrorist threats, even though intelligence on the latest plot was imprecise about the timing or location of apparent targets.

Sunday’s Headlines:

Uganda: Rigged elections and mysterious killings … it’s the Mugabe script with a different cast

India on trial as gang rape verdict is due

Iran has 18,000 uranium centrifuges, says outgoing nuclear chief

Mexican army captures leader of Gulf cartel

Long Bien: Historic Hanoi bridge with an uncertain future

What We Now Know

In this week’s segment of “What We Know Now,” Up host Steve Kornacki shares the new things we have learned with guests Krystal Ball, MSNBC’s “The Cycle“; Rick Wilson, Republican media consultant; Sam Seder, radio host; and Nia-Malika Henderson, National Political Reporter, The Washington Post.

Area 51 Location Revealed In Government Document, Still No Mention Of Aliens

Huffington Post

The government shed some light on an age-old mystery on Thursday, releasing documents that included the location and first official government acknowledgment of the secretive Area 51 facility, a staple of conspiracy theories about alien life and futuristic government technology.

The National Security Archive at George Washington University got their hands on the report, eight years after filing a Freedom of Information Act request. The document gives previously classified information on the development of the U-2, a spy plane that was revolutionary in 1955, when a CIA agent signed a contract with Lockheed Martin to begin producing the aircraft.

Unease at Clinton Foundation Over Finances and Ambitions

by Nicholas Confessore, The New York Times

Soon after the 10th anniversary of the foundation bearing his name, Bill Clinton met with a small group of aides and two lawyers from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. Two weeks of interviews with Clinton Foundation executives and former employees had led the lawyers to some unsettling conclusions.

The review echoed criticism of Mr. Clinton’s early years in the White House: For all of its successes, the Clinton Foundation had become a sprawling concern, supervised by a rotating board of old Clinton hands, vulnerable to distraction and threatened by conflicts of interest. It ran multimillion-dollar deficits for several years, despite vast amounts of money flowing in.

And concern was rising inside and outside the organization about Douglas J. Band, a onetime personal assistant to Mr. Clinton who had started a lucrative corporate consulting firm – which Mr. Clinton joined as a paid adviser – while overseeing the Clinton Global Initiative, the foundation’s glitzy annual gathering of chief executives, heads of state, and celebrities.

NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times per year, audit finds

by Barton Gelman, The Washington Post

The National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008, according to an internal audit and other top-secret documents.

Most of the infractions involve unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign intelligence targets in the United States, both of which are restricted by statute and executive order. They range from significant violations of law to typographical errors that resulted in unintended interception of U.S. e-mails and telephone calls.

NSA Spying photo updated_2_NSA_breaches16_606_zpsf4e2f43c.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

‘The Butler’ to prevail at box office this weekend — Oscars next?

by Glenn Whipp, The Los Angeles Times

“Lee Daniels’ The Butler” will be the No. 1 movie at the box office this weekend after taking in about $9 million in ticket sales last night. That puts the historical drama on track for a $27-million weekend, significantly more than The Weinstein Company’s initial lowball estimate of $15 million.

It also means “The Butler” will open to roughly the same weekend take as DreamWorks’ 2011 civil rights drama “The Help,” which also debuted in August and brought in $26 million on its way to a $169.7-million domestic gross.

Will “The Butler,” which tracks the life of an African American man who worked for 34 years as a White House butler, have the same staying power as “The Help”? Oprah Winfrey, who stars in the film with Forest Whitaker, obviously gave the movie an initial boost at the box office, proselytizing on its behalf to her hugely loyal — and large — following. According to a Fandango poll, 72% of ticket-buyers said Winfrey increased the likelihood that they’d see the film.

Sunday Movie Showcase

Saturday Night Movie