Well, I usually start these things with a “Good Morning” but with the disappointing news from last’s nights ridiculous display by Prosecutor Bob McCulloch.
St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch announced on Monday night that Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted for the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in a press conference that many found baffling, unwieldy and inflammatory.
McCulloch said the grand jury “gave up their lives” while deliberating.
The prosecutor also repeatedly lashed out at the media, blaming the internet and “the 24-hour news cycle” for the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, where Brown was shot and killed in August. He continued talking for several minutes before revealing the much-anticipated grand jury decision.
“The most significant challenge encountered in this investigation has been the 24-hour news cycle and its insatiable appetite for something, for anything to talk about, following closely behind with the non-stop rumors on social media,” he said.
“Social media isn’t the problem,” author Maureen Johnson said. “Shooting children is the problem.”
Go to the link to see the full statement via video. You can also see how some folks reacted to it from last night’s live blog.
Another look at the funky ass statement here: Bombshell evidence laid out in death of Michael Brown – NY Daily News
I don’t know about “bombshell” there was nothing new in the information…just confirmation of what was “leaked” earlier to the press.
Next up, I will first give you two links…they are both to the same thing, the huge document dump as promised by McCulloch at his press conference.
That link has the items in large files, you will need to download them and then extract the documents.
The Guardian has the documents individually:
Both have search features.
Photo below of Michael Brown’s mother when she heard the decision:
When you get a chance, take a look at these links:
I’ve been dreaming of death. Seeing pictures of death. Seeing pictures of bloody sheets hanging on clotheslines.
Just days before Michael Brown and his brown body encountered a white police officer and a gun in Ferguson, Missouri, the 18-year-old child said that to his stepmother. She told the world of this foreshadowing during Brown’s funeral two months ago, as anger turned to tears, and this small community ignited a wave of protests and activism that would continue for more than 100 days – and will begin anew, starting right now.
In the months since, all of the leaks and all of the tweets warning that there would be no indictment for Darren Wilson – that instead there would be black“violence” and a perpetual “state of emergency” – have served as constructed preparations to manage our disappointment, for the big reveal that our criminal justice system was still as broken as it ever was. And now that the grand jury’s decision has arrived in the form of a smirking white prosecutor, all of the agony of that wait has culminated in nothing more than the sum of our grim expectations, to ignite cynicism and an old rage.
Today, Mike Brown is still dead, and Darren Wilson has not been indicted for his murder. And who among us can say anything but: “I am not surprised”?
As BB pointed out yesterday: It’s Incredibly Rare For A Grand Jury To Do What Ferguson’s Just Did | FiveThirtyEight
A St. Louis County grand jury on Monday decided not to indict Ferguson, Missouri, police Officer Darren Wilson in the August killing of teenager Michael Brown. The decision wasn’t a surprise — leaks from the grand jury had led most observers to conclude an indictment was unlikely — but it was unusual. Grand juries nearly always decide to indict.
Or at least, they nearly always do so in cases that don’t involve police officers.
Former New York state Chief Judge Sol Wachtler famously remarked that a prosecutor could persuade a grand jury to “indict a ham sandwich.” The data suggests he was barely exaggerating: According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. attorneys prosecuted 162,000 federal cases in 2010, the most recent year for which we have data. Grand juries declined to return an indictment in 11 of them.
Brown family attorney Benjamin Crump has been critical of the Grand Jury process in Fergusonsince before the decision was announced Monday evening, and he remained so Tuesday morning in an interview with Savannah Guthrie on Today.
“[Bob McColluch] didn’t recommend any charges or anything,” Crump said. “He put all the evidence out there and said let’s just be fair to everybody. And this is different than what I’ve ever seen in my twenty years of practicing law.”
“So the question becomes, if for 28 years he has been prosecutor before the grand juries and he didn’t do it this way, was he being unfair to them? Why change the rules now when it’s our children lying on the ground? We want the same justice, we want equal justice, that you do for everybody else. Don’t change the rules on our children.”
This is an open thread….feel free to post links to anything you like.
The above picture is from St. Louis….see Mediaite link below.
There is activity inside the “Justice Room” in Clayton, MO where the announcement will be made shortly…so I thought I would put up a live blog. Chris Hayes just reported that the Prosecutor Bob McCulloch, will give a twenty minute statement…and then take questions.
On Maddow they are reporting that documents will be released online within an hour after the statement. WTF?
A prosecutor is set to unveil a grand jury’s decision on whether to indict Darren Wilson, the white police officer who shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown on a street in Ferguson, Missouri, in August.
The announcement is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET.
The grand jury, which considered evidence for three months, had the option of returning a charge as severe as first-degree murder against Wilson, 28. They also had the option of a lesser charge, or no charge at all.
Ferguson and neighboring communities were on edge ahead of the announcement. Businesses boarded up windows, and schools closed early for the following day. Police beefed up patrols, and Gov. Jay Nixon readied the National Guard.
— Erin McClam
INDICTMENT OR NO?… Missouri Gov. Appeals For Calm… St. Louis County Prosecutor Will Release Records If No Indictment… NYT: Wilson Not Yet Told To Turn Himself In… What You Need To Know About The Grand Jury… TIMELINE: The Death Of Michael Brown… LIVE UPDATES…
Consider this an open thread….
I’m going to try to go light and easy this morning since we’ve had enough trauma recently. Here are some interesting reads! For those of you who are fans of Joanie Mitchell, there’s a great set of interviews with her on the occasion of her 71st birthday and her release of new and old music. Mitchell has been a nearly life long muse for me.
Q: You’ve voiced concern over what you call the “push-button generation of today.” What is impairing us the most?
A: Everything is about channel changing. It has ruined attention spans. I spaced out in school but I didn’t develop attention-deficit issues because I placed attention on my imagination and ignored the curriculum. I didn’t have a million newsfeeds to contend with. It is just like when I have people over to my house to watch a film—it’s like living in a Robert Altman movie! They are always talking over each other. We are all losing the plot. It’s an addiction to phones and too much information.
Q: What repercussions do you think future generations will feel now that everyone is on their phone during concerts, etc.?
A: Here’s an example. My grandson and I were sailing on a boat and he said, “It’s boring.” I asked, “How can you say it’s boring? The sun is shining, we’re going across the water so fast . . . ” And he said, “Not fast enough.” Technology has given him this appetite.
Another inspiration from my high school and university days was Jack Kerouac. I live less than a block where he used to jump off the train–you’ll hear it frequently if you’re on the phone with me–and hang out at one of my neighborhood bars. It seems the Neal Cassady letter that described Joan Anderson and inspired “On the Road” has been found and will be sold at auction. It’s been lost for 60 years.
It’s been called the letter that launched a literary genre — 16,000 amphetamine-fueled, stream-of-consciousness words written by Neal Cassady to his friend Jack Kerouac in 1950.
Upon reading them, Kerouac scrapped an early draft of “On The Road” and, during a three-week writing binge, revised his novel into a style similar to Cassady’s, one that would become known as Beat literature.
The letter, Kerouac said shortly before his death, would have transformed his counterculture muse Cassady into a towering literary figure, if only it hadn’t been lost.
Turns out it wasn’t, says Joe Maddalena, whose Southern California auction house Profiles in History is putting the letter up for sale Dec. 17. It was just misplaced, for 60-some years.
It’s being offered as part of a collection that includes papers by E.E. Cummings, Kenneth Rexroth, Robert Penn Warren and other prominent literary figures. But Maddalena believes the item bidders will want most is Cassady’s 18-page, single-spaced screed describing a drunken, sexually charged, sometimes comical visit to his hometown of Denver.
“It’s the seminal piece of literature of the Beat Generation, and there are so many rumors and speculation of what happened to it,” Maddalena said.
Kerouac told The Paris Review in 1968 that poet Allen Ginsberg loaned the letter to a friend who lived on a houseboat in Northern California. Kerouac believed the friend then dropped it overboard.
“It was my property, a letter to me, so Allen shouldn’t have been so careless with it, nor the guy on the houseboat,” he said.
As for the quality of the letter, Kerouac described it this way: “It was the greatest piece of writing I ever saw, better’n anybody in America, or at least enough to make Melville, Twain, Dreiser, Wolfe, I dunno who, spin in their graves.”
British physicist Matt Taylor, who was involved with the Rosetta comet landing, recently found himself in the middle of a controversy about sexism and bad taste, after he was interviewed wearing a tacky shirt featuring pin-up girls toting guns. In true Internet fashion, the incident was labeled ShirtStorm, and it sparked a debate about sexism in the sciences. Taylor has since apologized, issued a series of mea culpas, and showed as much contrition as one person could for a sartorial offense. Some of his female colleagues even came to his defense.
But all of this raises a question: Why is it that the sciences look like a feminist nirvana compared with the economics profession, which seems to have a built-in bias that prevents women from advancing?
Consider this 2011 blog post by George Mason University economist Robin Hanson. Hanson writes that “gentle, silent rape” of a woman by a man causes less harm than a wife cuckolding her husband:
I [am puzzled] over why our law punishes rape far more than cuckoldry…[M]ost men would rather be raped than cuckolded…Imagine a woman was drugged into unconsciousness and then gently raped, so that she suffered no noticeable physical harm nor any memory of the event, and the rapist tried to keep the event secret…Now compare the two cases, cuckoldry and gentle silent rape.
There was no outcry whatsoever over these remarks, nor any retraction that I could find.
Or consider this similar post from 2013 by University of Rochester economist Steve Landsburg:
Let’s suppose that you, or I, or someone we love, or someone we care about from afar, is raped while unconscious in a way that causes no direct physical harm — no injury, no pregnancy, no disease transmission…Ought the law discourage such acts of rape? Should they be illegal?
The blog post sparked protests at Landsburg’s university, but silence from the economics profession itself. Landsburg later apologized, stating that some readers “got the impression that I was endorsing rape, while my intent was to say exactly the opposite.” Although it’s good that he apologized, Landsburg has made other sexist remarks on his blog. In 2012, he seemed to call pro-contraception activist Sandra Fluke a “prostitute,” and defended Rush Limbaugh’s demand that Fluke post a sex tape for the world to view.
In physics, a shirt depicting scantily clad women is a big deal, but in economics, everyone just sort of expects these things.
These aren’t just anecdotes. There is quantitative evidence showing that economics is uniquely biased against women. According to a new paper by economists Donna Ginther and Shulamit Kahn and psychologists Stephen Ceci and Wendy Williams, sexism in econ is much more severe than in the sciences.
Oh, and that’s economist Joan Robinson up there if you don’t recognize her. She was an major influence on J.M. Keynes. She extended Keynes’ analysis in to the long run in the 1950s and also took Keynesian analysis to Marx’s works. She’s also a mentor to Joseph Stiglitz and one other Nobel Laureate.
It has been claimed that Joan Robinson did not mind upsetting people with her work: “Never one to mince words, possessor of a civilized wit, sometimes bleakly rude, not always fair but always honest, as hard on herself as on those she criticized, Joan Robinson more than any other economist of the twentieth century became a model for progressive radicals, fearlessly following arguments to conclusions no matter how incompatible they proved to be.”
A Journalist’s arrest during a protest near the Ferguson, Mo., police headquarters early Sunday drew renewed attention to disputes over 1st Amendment rights in the wake of a white police officer’s killing of an unarmed black man.
Trey Yingst, a reporter with News2Share, was accused of unlawful assembly and taken into custody, according to St. Louis County police. News2Share publishes stories by freelance reporters online.
A police summary notes that Yingst was among a group that was obstructing traffic at South Florissant Road and Compton Avenue.
“The group of subjects were gathered on the street and sidewalks at that intersection. The on-scene commander engaged the crowd and instructed them that they were impeding the flow of traffic and would be subject to arrest if they did not exit the roadway,” the police summary says. “The crowd ignored the commander’s verbal commands to exit the roadway and continued to impede the flow of traffic.”
Police say most of the crowd dispersed, but Yingst and another person, David Rodriguez, 26, did not, so they were taken into custody. Several witnesses said Yingst was on the sidewalk when he was arrested.
Shortly after his release from jail, Yinsgt said on Twitter that he had been “arrested for exercising my 1st amendment rights on a public sidewalk.”
The protests in Ferguson began Aug. 9, when police Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot an 18-year-old unarmed black man, Michael Brown. In August, some journalists were arrested while covering the demonstrations.
On Sunday, the American Civil Liberties Union said it was “unclear what legal authority police officers would have had to order him to disperse.”
“We are deeply troubled that the 1st Amendment rights of the media are still being violated in spite of the recent court order we secured against such action by the County of St. Louis,” said Jeffrey Mittman, executive director of the ACLU of Missouri, in a statement. “We will continue to monitor the situation and if necessary swiftly pursue aggressive action to ensure that unlawful interference with the press comes to an end.”
A 12 year old boy that was playing in a play ground with a toy gun was shot and killed by the Cleveland Police. I’m sure you don’t have to guess the race of the child that law enforcement is now characterizing as a “young man”.
The 12-year-old boy wielding what turned out to be a BB gun when he was shot by police outside a Cleveland recreation center died early Sunday morning, a police union official confirmed.
The boy, whose name has not been officially released, was shot in the stomach at Cudell Recreation Center, at Detroit Avenue and West Boulevard, about 3:30 p.m. Saturday, police said.
He was taken to MetroHealth Medical Center in serious condition, EMS officials said. Throughout the night his condition deteriorated and he died early Sunday, Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association president Jeff Follmer said.
The shooting came after a man at the park adjacent to the rec center called police when he saw “a guy with a gun pointing it at people.“
The caller twice said the gun was “probably fake” and told dispatchers the person pulling the gun from his waistband was “probably a juvenile,” according to audio released by police officials late Saturday.
Sunday news shows including shows of white men defending a system where police indiscriminately shoot black children. The worst of them was ABC where Rudy Gulliani blamed black people for causing white police presence in their neighborhoods. I seriously wish these guys would actually come live some place other than white enclaves with gates everywhere and see what the real deal is.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) got into a heated argument about race and crime with Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson during a discussion on Ferguson, Mo.
“But the fact is, I find it very disappointing that you’re not discussing the fact that 93 percent of blacks in America are killed by other blacks. We’re talking about the exception here,” Giuliani said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” while discussing whether police forces reflect the demographics of the communities they serve.
Dyson called this a “false equivalency.”
“Can I say this, first of all, no black people who commit crimes against other black people go to jail. Number two, they are not sworn by the police department as a agent of the state to uphold the law,” he said. “So in both cases, that’s a false equivalency that the mayor has drawn, which is exacerbated tensions that are deeply imbedded in American culture.”
Later in the argument Giuliani argued that while police officers are only present in certain communities because black people are committing crimes.
“It is the reason for the heavy police presence in the black community,” he said. “White police officers won’t be there if you weren’t killing each other 70 percent of the time.”
Dyson shot back at Giuliani and said, “this is a defense mechanism of white supremacy at work in your mind.”
So, that gives you a choice of the serious and the interesting to read this morning. What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
I started to write this post at 7:00 am this morning. But…and this is a big but, I must have fallen back to sleep while waiting for my WordPress account to login because next thing I know Boston Boomer is asking me if I was going to be able to do the post today. Ha, thanks for waking me up BB!!!! (My phone was next to my laptop on my bed, and consequently under my head when I dozed off this morning. So you see, the thing was vibrating and making noise when BB sent her emails.)
The thread today is going to be mostly cartoons. I can’t muster enough coherent language skills for anything else.
Now this next one is from Gary Varel who was recently in the news:
The caption for this was missing on the AECC website, but was written in the notes on the cartoon’s page:
- Cartoon Title: Cartoonist Gary Varvel: Obama’s immigration
- Keywords: Gary Varvel,The Indianapolis Star,Creators Syndicate,U.S.,Mexico,border,Immigration,politics,illegal
- Caption: The impact of President Obama’s immigration order may encourage more illegal, I mean, undocumented immigrants to enter the U.S.
Now this is the cartoon and story that I mentioned up top…
Gary Varvel of the Indianapolis Star is known for “expressing his strong views” on the Obama administration, but his turn to overt racism had the paper pulling one of his cartoons today after receiving numerous complaints.
Take a look at the C&L link for the changes made before the newspaper pulled the cartoon.
In response to this, a look at how Luckovich reacted to the Obama speech…11/18 Luckovich cartoon: Illegal aliens | Mike Luckovich
Did you all see this?
Now just a few more links:
There is a real village called Fucking Hell?
When I read this next headline….I thought the last word was turd.
And no, this headline and story is not a fucking joke…Kentucky Fire Chief Refuses to Help Family of Stranded Motorists Because They Are Black | Alternet
Photo Credit: via WDRB News
A Kentucky fire chief is being criticized for racist comments after he refused to help a family of stranded motorists because they were black, and then suggested that an Asian-American television reporter did not understand English.
In a Bullitt County Sheriff’s deputy’s body camera recording obtained by WDRB, Southeast Bullitt County Fire Chief Julius Hatfield can be heard discussing a car accident on I-65 in September.
Hatfield first goes out of his way to provide assistance to Loren Dicken, who is white.
“You got a jack, ain’t you?” Hatfield asks the driver. “If you show me where them things is at, I’ll get my guys to start changing the tire for you.”
At first, Dicken turns down the offer, but Hatfield insists, saying, “It will save you a bill.”
Firefighters working for Hatfield even picked Dicken up from the hospital and took him back to the firehouse, where his car was ready and waiting.
But Hatfield treats the family of four black motorists completely differently.
“Well, I’ve got a family of four from Cincinnati, I got to do something with,” the Bullitt County deputy tells Hatfield over the radio.
“We ain’t taking no n*ggers here,” Hatfield replies, laughing.
Instead of offering to help driver Chege Mwangi, the deputy recommends that he call the AAA motor club.
Ha…that is so funny. /snark full of bullshit.
Mwangi told WDRB that he noticed that the firefighters had provided assistance to other motorists, but his family wasn’t injured so he didn’t think much of it. However, he said that the sheriff’s department was helpful.
And when WDRB’s Valerie Chinn attempted to ask Hatfield about the financial management of Southeast Bullitt Fire Department at a town meeting, he suggested that she didn’t understand English, and threatened to have her arrested.
“Do you understand English darling?” he says in video recorded at the public meeting by WDRB cameras. “Do you understand English?”
“Turn that camera off,” Hatfield barks. “I’ve asked you that in a nice way. Buddy, call the cops and get them here.”
“I asked you once tonight if you understand English,” the fire chief adds after Chinn presses the issue. “I’m speaking English.”
Video at the link.
This is an open thread, have at it!
President Obama’s executive action on immigration tops the news today. Ferguson is a close second. I’ll be focusing mostly on those two stories in this post.
Before I get started, I want to point you to a new post by Darren Hutchinson of Dissenting Justice. It will give you some reality-based ammunition to deal with crazy wingnut friends, relatives, and Facebook and Twitter followers.
ATTENTION: Before you can argue that the government has violated a law, you must actually READ the law.
FACT: Congress has the exclusive power to pass laws regarding immigration (U.S. Const. Article I, Section 8, Cl. 4).FACT: Executive Power of the US is vested in the President, which means the President, not Congress, executes the immigration laws (U.S. Const. Article II, Sect. 1, Cl. 1)….
FACT: Consistent with the Constitution, the INA gives the Executive Branch (President, Homeland Security, Attorney General, and Secretary of State) the power to enforce immigration laws (8 U.S.C. Sect. 1103-1104)….
FACT: The Executive Can “Cancel” the Removal of Certain Deportable Individuals.
The INA allows the Attorney General to cancel removal (deportation) or adjust the status of certain categories of undocumented individuals. The statute explicitly spells out the criteria for doing so. Thus, the statute provides an “intelligible criteria” for the Attorney General to follow. (8 U.S.C. Section 1229b(a)-(b))….
The Executive Can Give Temporary Protected Status to Certain Deportable Individuals. The INA also allows the Attorney General to grant “Temporary Protected Status” (TPS) to deportable individuals from certain countries that the Attorney General has placed on a TPS list. As required by Supreme Court doctrine, the INA gives SPECIFIC guidelines – or an intelligible principle – for the Attorney General to follow when determining whether to give TPS designation to a country. The statutory factors include serious conditions in the individual’s home country, like armed conflict; natural disasters; a request for temporary protected status by the country; or “extraordinary and temporary conditions” that preclude the safe return of the individual, so long as TPS does not conflict with the interests of the US.
(8 U.S.C. Sections 1254a-i)
Those are the highlights. There’s more at the link. I plan to save Hutchinson’s post for future reference. I’m thinking of printing it out in case I get in a political argument with my brother over Thanksgiving dinner.
Obama has been vilified from day one by people who obviously have never read the Constitution or any U.S. laws dealing with their various political hobby horses, and I’m sick and tired of it.
You all know I not a fan of Obama when he ran for president in 2008, and I still think he’s a conservative technocrat who is far to willing to support privatization of public services. But he is the President of the United States now. I support his efforts to reform immigration laws. He’s only taking executive action because Congress is full of stupid and irrational people who are too lazy or stubborn to cooperate with him. Sadly, the DC media is largely made up of wealthy, privileged people who got their jobs because through nepotism and/or because they attended elite universities and are too lazy or stupid to provide accurate information to the public. Therefore, people who don’t focus on politics like we do get false information from TV news or “journalists” who do not understand what journalism is.
A few more links on the immigration story:
Washington Post Wonkblog, Flow chart: Who qualifies for Obama’s immigration offer?
The president’s executive action would delay deportation for the undocumented mother of a child born in the U.S. on Thursday — but not an undocumented mother who gave birth here one day later. Similarly, the president has offered deferrals to children brought to this country by their parents before their 16th birthday — but not a few weeks after.
Such deadlines serve a purpose: They’re meant to discourage new immigrants from coming in the future, or to dissuade women already here from giving birth with the goal of securing deferrals. But they also show that the president’s action falls far short of a comprehensive solution. It offers, instead, a fragmented answer that will leave many immigrants disappointed.
Check out the flow chart at the link for details.
Greg Sargent at The Washington Post, Bringing perspective to Obama’s move on deportations.
Now that President Obama has announced his executive action to temporarily shield millions from deportation, confirming the administration’s view that this move is well within his authority, the battle now shifts to a political fight over the policy itself, and over whether it violates “political norms.” Is this action so provocative an affront to Congress that it sets a precedent for future GOP presidents to use discretion to selectively enforce laws liberals like?
Embedded in the legal opinion that the Office of Legal Counsel released to justify the move is an important nugget that should, in theory, help take the steam out of the idea that this move is a flagrant violation of political norms.
Obama’s action temporarily shields from deportation the parents of children who are U.S. citizens and legal residents, and also expands the program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) to protect people brought here illegally as children. But it excludes parents of DACA recipients.
The reason for this offered by the OLC memo is that protecting parents of legal residents is in line with Congressional intent, as expressed in statute, while protecting DACA parents isn’t:
[T]he parents of DACA recipients are differently situated from the parents of U.S. citizens and LPRs [Legal Permanent Residents] under the family-related provisions of the immigration law. Many provisions of the INA [Immigration and Nationality Act] reflect Congress’ general concern about separating individuals who are legally entitled to live in the United States and their immediate family members….But the immigration laws do not express comparable concern for uniting persons who lack lawful status (or prospective lawful status in the United States with their families…Extending deferred action to the parents of DACA recipients would therefore expand family-based immigration relief in a manner that deviates in important respects from the immigration system Congress has enacted.
This legal opinion probably precludes any future expansion of this program to cover parents of DACA recipients. And it underscores two things: First, that the proposal is heavily focused on providing relief from humanitarian hardship endured by U.S. citizens and permanent residents, a longtime intention of Congress, as expressed in statute. Second, it shows that the proposal’s legal rationale is tightly circumscribed to reflect that Congressional intent.
Follow me below the fold for much more . . .
Read the rest of this entry »
We’re seeing some movement from the Clintons which may signal that Hillary is seriously considering the presidential run. Hillary went on record supporting the President’s move on immigration last night.
Clinton – the Democratic front-runner for the 2016 presidential race — took to Twitter to thank Obama, moments after his speech from the White House.
“Thanks to POTUS for taking action on immigration in the face of inaction,” she tweeted. “Now let’s turn to permanent bipartisan reform. #ImmigrationAction.”
And so what I would like to do tonight is to say: We’re all pretty familiar with what’s happened in the last 100 years, but I think it’s important not to airbrush it too much. And by that, I mean that every attempt to make America’s republic new, every attempt to form a more perfect union (inaudible) every attempt to create a world we would like to live in and we would like our children and grandchildren to grow up in and flourish in, all of those were met with obstacles, had periods of great hope, followed by setbacks, followed by small steps, followed by struggles.
History is a messy thing. We like to think, you know, it’s just a rushing river. It may be, but there’s a lot of rocks in the river. And all of this you have chronicled. And people all along the road who have read it have benefited.
Now, you say the theme of this night is a new century of idealism and innovation. Well, the good news is, there’s plenty of innovation. It’s interesting, I pick up the paper in New York and I know I’m an old guy reading about a new world when the big struggle is, should Uber be allowed to drive along with the cabs and should Airbnb be allowed to put people up along with the Regis, St. Regis Hotel? I mean, it’s an interesting time to be alive. There’s lots of innovation. And the social networks are flourishing.
And on a more serious note, we’re getting profound benefits from the sequencing of the human genome. I spent $3 billion of your tax money on that. And it was worth every penny.
It really was. I worry about us underfunding basic research and science and technology, but…
But we announced the first sequencing in 2000, but, boy, it’s exploded since then. And there was a study about a year ago that said already $180 billion worth of economic benefits had flowed just to the United States from this effort, never mind what’s happening around the world.
Some folks just know how to see the bigger picture. Then, there are the Republicans. Here’s a sample of what Republican officials have said in the last few days. First up, some social commentary from the incoming Speaker of the Nevada house who has an issue with black people and appears to be a Neo-Confederate, misogynist, racist, and homobigot all wrapped up in one great big bald-headed, white, package.
He also referred to public schools as a form of “educational slavery,” writing that “[t]he Democratic coalition would split asunder if the NAACP & co. actually promoted what black Americans truly desire — educational choice. The shrewd and calculating [black] ’leaders’ are willing to sacrifice the children of their own race to gratify their lust for power and position. The relationship of Negroes and Democrats is truly a master-slave relationship, with the benevolent master knowing what’s best for his simple minded darkies.”
Hansen registered further displeasure with the “simple minded darkies” more directly, too, noting that “[t]he lack of gratitude and the deliberate ignoring of white history in relation to eliminating slavery is a disgrace that Negro leaders should own up to.”
His thoughts on homosexuality and feminism are equally regressive. For years, he wrote, he kept a “rough tally on homosexual/heterosexual molesters as reported locally,” and found that “roughly half of all molestations involve homosexual men preying on boys,” citing as further evidence the existence of the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) and the Catholic church molestation scandals as evidence of gay male depravity.
As for women, he wrote that their proclivity for filing sexual harassment suits made them unfit to serve their country, claiming that “[t]oday, when Army men look at women in the ranks with ’longing in their eyes’ it very well may constitute ’sexual harassment.’ The truth is, women do not belong in the Army or Navy or Marine Corps, except in certain limited fields.”
Another Oil Rig has exploded off the Louisiana Gulf Coast. It killed one person and injured 3. The rig was not in production so there appears to be no leaking oil at the moment.
One person is dead and three people are injured after an oil platform explosion 12 miles off the coast of New Orleans, according to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.
The three injured are being treated at an offshore medical facility. One person, who hasn’t been identified, died in the explosion, BSEE officials say. All other employees have been accounted for.
The platform is operated by Houston-based Fieldwood Energy, which reported the explosion of its Echo Platform, West Delta 105, just before 3 p.m., according to the BSEE.
The platform was not in production at the time of the explosion. Officials say no pollution was reported, and no damage to the facility was done.
I’m assuming we’ll find out more today and tomorrow.
The Obama administration appears to be pressuring a Senate Committee that’s been studying US torture and detentions during the Bush years. Will we ever find out what those criminals did in our name? Why does the Obama administration want the report suppressed?
The White House is fiercely resisting the release of an executive summary of a 6,300-page Senate report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program, Senate aides tell Foreign Policy, raising fears that the public will never receive a full accounting of the Bush administration’s post-9/11 torture practices.
At issue is the report’s identification of individual CIA officers by pseudonyms. The CIA and the White House want the pseudonyms and references to other agency activities completely stricken to further protect the identities of CIA spies. Senate aides say many of those redactions are unnecessary and render the report unreadable. Now even after Senate Democrats agreed to remove some pseudonyms at the White House’s request, the Oval Office is still haggling for more redactions.
“The White House is continuing to put up fierce resistance to the release of the report,” said one knowledgeable Senate aide. “Ideally, we should be closing ground and finalizing the last stages right now so that we can release the report post-Thanksgiving. But, despite the fact that the committee has drastically reduced the number of pseudonyms in the report, the White House is still resisting and dragging this out.”
A White House official denied the accusation. “The president has been clear that he wants the executive summary of the committee’s report to be declassified as expeditiously as possible,” said the official. “We share the Intelligence Committee’s desire for the declassified report to be released; and all of the administration’s efforts since we received the initial version have been focused on making that happen, while also protecting our national security.”
Up until recently, Barack Obama’s administration had avoided taking sides in the public spat between the CIA and the Senate Intelligence Committee over the report — a $40 million, five-year study that is harshly critical of the agency. However, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough is now personally negotiating with Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein of California for further redactions, which is rankling some Democrats.
Congressional climate wars were dominated Tuesday by the U.S. Senate, which spent the day debating, and ultimately failing to pass, a bill approving the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. While all that was happening, and largely unnoticed, the House was busy doing what it does best: attacking science.
H.R. 1422, which passed 229-191, would shake up the EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board, placing restrictions on those pesky scientists and creating room for experts with overt financial ties to the industries affected by EPA regulations.
The bill is being framed as a play for transparency: Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, argued that the board’s current structure is problematic because it “excludes industry experts, but not officials for environmental advocacy groups.” The inclusion of industry experts, he said, would right this injustice.
But the White House, which threatened to veto the bill, said it would “negatively affect the appointment of experts and would weaken the scientific independence and integrity of the SAB.”
Yes, it’s going to be crazy go nuts the next few years.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
The three major networks will not be showing the President’s speech tonight. We will be doing this tonight on our blog because it’s an extremely important issue. You will be able to watch it on the cable news networks and of course, Univision who will be delaying its live telecast of the Latin Grammys to give airtime to Obama at 8 p.m. EST.
Here’s some background information.
How does America feel about Immigration and immigration reform? Here’s seven charts that break out poll results.
He then opened up the program to callers, including “Steve” – who asked the Republican elected official what typically happens in history “when one culture or one race or one religion overwhelms another culture or race.”
“When one race or culture overwhelms another culture, they run them out or they kill them,” the caller said, warning that immigrant groups sought the return of former Spanish territories in the U.S.
Kobach initially threw cold water on the caller’s suggestion before implying President Barack Obama was tacitly endorsing violence against whites.
“What protects us in America from any kind of ethnic cleansing is the rule of law, of course,” Kobach said. “The rule of law used to be unassailable, used to be taken for granted in America, and now, of course, we have a president who disregards the law when it suits his interests.”
“So while I normally would answer that by saying, ‘Steve, of course we have the rule of law, that could never happen in America,’” Kobach continued, “I wonder what could happen. I still don’t think it’s going to happen in America, but I have to admit, things are strange and they are happening.”
There’s some interesting analysis out there on what all the reactions by Republicans will do to the next two years.
Republican leaders who had hoped to focus on corporate tax reform, fast-track trade pacts, repealing the president’s healthcare law and loosening environmental restrictions on coal are instead being dragged into an immigration skirmish that they’ve tried studiously to avoid for most of the last year.
That’s largely because the question of how to handle the estimated 11 million immigrants living illegally in the U.S. bitterly divides Republicans, and the party has been unable to agree on an alternative to the president’s plan.
To many, stark warnings from Boehner and McConnell sound more like pleas to the president to avoid reenergizing the GOP’s conservative wing, whose leaders are already threatening to link the president’s immigration plan to upcoming budget talks.
Another government shutdown is not what McConnell and Boehner had in mind when their party won control of Congress this month.
In fact, McConnell said flatly a day after the election that another shutdown would not happen. But calls by firebrand Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to use “all procedural means necessary” during Congress’ lame-duck session to block the White House’s immigration plans have left leaders scrambling to tame their rebellious ranks.
Republican leaders are increasingly concerned that if Obama follows through, the anti-immigrant fervor in their party will rise to an unappealing crescendo and the rank-and-file’s desire to confront the president will overtake other party priorities.
So, hang on until it’s all announced at 8:00 pm EST and we’ll see if all hell breaks loose like Crazy Tom Coburn is projecting.
Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn warns there could be not only a political firestorm but acts of civil disobedience and even violence in reaction to President Obama’s executive order on immigration Thursday.
“The country’s going to go nuts, because they’re going to see it as a move outside the authority of the president, and it’s going to be a very serious situation,” Coburn said on Capital Download. “You’re going to see — hopefully not — but you could see instances of anarchy. … You could see violence.”