Saturday Reads: In Memory of MLK and Jeannette Rankin

"Martin Luther King, Jr." by Danny Daurko (click image to visit fineartamerica.com for a larger view)

Good morning, news junkies!

Today is January 15, 2011… Eighty-two years ago, in 1929, Martin Luther King, Jr. was born. Thirty-nine years later, in 1968, the Jeannette Rankin Brigade gathered in DC to protest the Vietnam War (links go to two great photos). At the end of the march, the 88-year old Rankin–on behalf of a delegation of women that included Coretta Scott King–presented to then-House Speaker John McCormack a petition calling for an end to the war (link takes you to another amazing photo).

I dedicate my Saturday offerings this weekend to Dr. King, his family, congresswoman Rankin, and everyone who stood with them in the fight for nonviolence, a movement largely spurred on in the twentieth century by Gandhi and his strategy of nonviolent resistance — satyagraha.

And, with that, I’ll dive right into my current event picks, the first of which takes us to Gandhi’s homeland. From earlier in the week, at the NYT Opinionator: A Light in India,” in which David Bornstein discusses the exciting new ‘frugal innovation’ of turning rice husks into electricity that is “reliable, eco-friendly and affordable for families that can spend only $2 a month for power.”

Husk Power is bringing electricity AND jobs to poor villagers — what a story! Check it out.

The top story on memeorandum right now is the developments coming out of Tunisia with President Ben Ali fleeing amid protests. Mother Jones‘ Nick Bauman has a helpful primer up which brings the Wikileaks connection into focus: “What’s Happening in Tunisia Explained.” Joe Coscarelli at the VV‘s Runnin’ Scared blog also has a post up called Tunisia in Turmoil: Where to Learn the Most Quickly with some good links to CNN, Salon, and an AOL News piece by Theunis Bates.

Is a video game really grist for a reality show to "bring Pac Man to life"? Click on image to read the rest of the story.

Also, saw this story on Runnin’ Scared while I was there — it’s a bizarre headline that I heard yesterday as well:Pac Man to Get Reality Series… I’m a child of the ’80s. I grew up on Pac Man. I really don’t get it. The blogger at VV says suggests that this is the moment “‘reality tv’ jumped the shark.” Funny, I would have said that television jumped the shark with infotainment and reality tv!

And, while we’re on the subject of games–in national political news, looks like the RNC played musical chairs on Friday.CNN: RNC bounces Steele, taps Wisconsin GOP leader as new chairman.” The NYT has more info on the new head of the RNC, Reince Priebus.

Over at US News & World Report‘s Washington Whispers blog, Paul Bedard has the scoop on Ron Reagan’s upcoming book: “Reagan Son Claims Dad Had Alzheimer’s as President.”

I have a lot of ground to cover from this week, so stay tuned for more after the fold. Read the rest of this entry »


Thursday Reads

Out of Town News, Harvard Square

Good Morning!!

Gee, it’s great to be back in Beantown, even though my house looks like it was hit by a tornado. I already had books stacked all over the place because of my book selling project. I brought more books with me from Indiana, and I haven’t completely unpacked and put my stuff away. I’ll be cleaning up for a couple of days. At least I got everything out of the car today and went to the grocery store. Driving 1,000 miles in two days makes me really spacey though, so if I don’t make sense in this post, please try to make allowances.

You’ve probably heard already that Robert Gibbs plans to leave the White House in February to be an “outside political adviser” to Obama’s 2012 campaign. It’s the top story on Memeorandum right now.

“Robert, on the podium, has been extraordinary,” Mr. Obama said, declining to answer questions about who he intends to hire for any position. “Off the podium, he has been one of my closet advisers. He is going to continue to have my ear for as long as I’m in this job.”

Mr. Gibbs will remain part of the president’s inner circle of political advisers, along with David Axelrod, a senior adviser, and Jim Messina, a deputy chief of staff, who also are leaving the White House to focus on the president’s re-election effort. Mr. Gibbs will defend Mr. Obama on television – and will expand his presence on Twitter and other Internet platforms – as well as beginning to define the field of 2012 Republican presidential candidates.

“Stepping back will take some adjusting,” Mr. Gibbs said in an interview Wednesday morning. “But at the same time, I have a feeling that I will keep myself quite busy, not just with speaking, but continuing to help the president.”

He said he has no intention of establishing a political consulting or lobbying business, but he intends to work from the same downtown Washington office where David Plouffe has spent the last two years.

When I first heard this news, my first thought was about the role that Gibbs played in 2004, when he resigned from the Kerry Campaign and joined an “independent” group that produced the infamous attack ad that showed a photo of Osama bin Laden while the announcer described Howard Dean’s supposed deficiencies in foreign policy. It sounds like Gibbs will be more out front in 2012, but I’m betting he’ll still play the attack dog role–smearing opponents and generally saying the things Obama doesn’t dare say himself.

According the NYT story,

The leading potential replacements for press secretary include Jay Carney, a spokesman for Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., along with Bill Burton and Josh Earnest, who work as deputies to Mr. Gibbs. Other candidates also could be considered, an administration official said.

Emptywheel says Robert Gibbs will now become part of the group he derided as press secretary: “the professional left.”

Back when Gibbs was attacking the Professional Left, he made a distinction between the Progressives outside of DC and those inside DC squawking on the cable programs.

But if Gibbs is going to stay in DC, hanging out on Twitter, and appearing on the speaking circuit, doesn’t that make him a card-carrying member of the Professional Left?

Except the bit about him being so conservative, of course.

LOL

Out in the land of real Americans, 1 of 6 of us lives in poverty–including many senior citizens.

Read the rest of this entry »