Saturday Reads: Dr. Martin Luther King’s Dreams, Waiting for Irene, and Bernanke’s ComplaintPosted: August 27, 2011 Filed under: Barack Obama, Civil Rights, Domestic Policy, Economy, jobs, morning reads, poverty, U.S. Economy, U.S. Politics | Tags: Barack Obama, Ben Bernanke, Cornel West, Federal Reserve Bank, Hurrican Irene, I Have A Dream speech, leadership vacuum, Martin Luther King, media frenzy, oligarchy, revolution 63 Comments
Good Morning! We are approaching the 48th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (remember those?) and Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech. Perhaps it is fitting that the ceremony to be held tomorrow to commemorate the anniversary has been postponed indefinitely. After all, King’s dream of ending poverty in American has certainly been postponed indefinitely. Ironically, we now have a “Black President” who as different from Dr. King as night from day. Oh, if only King were here today to speak truth to this sorry excuse for a President!
A reminder from the Center for American Progress: Dr. King’s Legacy Relevant in Today’s Budget Battles
In the 1960s, Americans had a government that refused to deliver basic human rights to its people. Over time, after battles in the courts and the political arena, laws such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 were passed. But despite these great accomplishments the fight continued because many Americans of all racial backgrounds were still living below the poverty line.
So in 1967, Dr. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference decided to organize and lead the Poor People’s Campaign to combat poverty. The goal was to push Congress to create an “Economic Bill of Rights” that would establish how the federal government would address and solve the country’s poverty issues. It called for full employment, affordable housing, reasonable living wages, and equitable education opportunities for the poor. Momentum built up around the country, but unfortunately the campaign ended early due to the tragic assassination of Dr. King and lack of organization to continue the efforts.
Cornel West had a very appropriate op-ed in the NYT a couple of days ago: Dr. King Weeps From His Grave Here is a relevant excerpt:
The age of Obama has fallen tragically short of fulfilling King’s prophetic legacy. Instead of articulating a radical democratic vision and fighting for homeowners, workers and poor people in the form of mortgage relief, jobs and investment in education, infrastructure and housing, the administration gave us bailouts for banks, record profits for Wall Street and giant budget cuts on the backs of the vulnerable.
As the talk show host Tavis Smiley and I have said in our national tour against poverty, the recent budget deal is only the latest phase of a 30-year, top-down, one-sided war against the poor and working people in the name of a morally bankrupt policy of deregulating markets, lowering taxes and cutting spending for those already socially neglected and economically abandoned. Our two main political parties, each beholden to big money, offer merely alternative versions of oligarchic rule.
The absence of a King-worthy narrative to reinvigorate poor and working people has enabled right-wing populists to seize the moment with credible claims about government corruption and ridiculous claims about tax cuts’ stimulating growth. This right-wing threat is a catastrophic response to King’s four catastrophes; its agenda would lead to hellish conditions for most Americans.
King weeps from his grave. He never confused substance with symbolism. He never conflated a flesh and blood sacrifice with a stone and mortar edifice. We rightly celebrate his substance and sacrifice because he loved us all so deeply. Let us not remain satisfied with symbolism because we too often fear the challenge he embraced. Our greatest writer, Herman Melville, who spent his life in love with America even as he was our most fierce critic of the myth of American exceptionalism, noted, “Truth uncompromisingly told will always have its ragged edges; hence the conclusion of such a narration is apt to be less finished than an architectural finial.”
King’s response to our crisis can be put in one word: revolution. A revolution in our priorities, a re-evaluation of our values, a reinvigoration of our public life and a fundamental transformation of our way of thinking and living that promotes a transfer of power from oligarchs and plutocrats to everyday people and ordinary citizens.
Yes we need a revolution. We desperately need to revise our priorities and values and to end the transfer of wealth and power from the people to the oligarchs. Who will lead that revolution? We have never been more in need of strong, honest, caring leaders and yet we have a complete vacuum of leadership. What is to become of our country?
Of course Hurricane Irene is the more immediate focus and the object of the media sharks’ feeding frenzy for today. Nothing so pedestrian as putting people back to work or ending poverty could interest them. Interestingly, big media seems to be ignoring the fact that the hurricane has weakened significantly and that the eye has collapsed, meaning that there is unlikely to be any more intensification of the storm. I suppose it could still do quite a bit of damage along the coastline, but as a Bostonian I’ve seen so many of these huge storms fail to live up to the hype that I’m skeptical of this one. I hope I’m right this time.
Jeff Masters at Weather Underground yesterday:
Satellite data and measurements from the Hurricane Hunters show that Irene is weakening. A 9:21 am EDT center fix by an Air Force Reserve aircraft found that Irene’s eyewall had collapsed, and the central pressure had risen to 946 mb from a low of 942 mb this morning. The highest winds measured at their flight level of 10,000 feet were 125 mph, which would normally support classifying Irene as a Category 3 hurricane with 115 mph winds. However, these winds were not mixing down to the surface in the way we typically see with hurricanes, and the strongest surface winds seen by the aircraft with their SFMR instrument were just 90 mph in the storm’s northeast eyewall. Assuming the aircraft missed sampling the strongest winds of the hurricane, it’s a good guess that Irene is a mid-strength Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph winds. Satellite imagery shows a distinctly lopsided appearance to Irene’s cloud pattern, with not much heavy thunderstorm activity on the southwest side. This is due to moderate wind shear of 10 – 20 knots due to upper-level winds out of the southwest. This shear is disrupting Irene’s circulation and has cut off upper-level outflow along the south side of the hurricane. No eye is visible in satellite loops, but the storm’s size is certainly impressive. Long range radar out of Wlimington, North Carolina, shows that the outermost spiral bands from Irene are now beginning to come ashore along the South Carolina/North Carolina border. Winds at buoy 41004 100 miles offshore from Charleston, SC increased to 36 mph as of 10 am, with significant wave heights of 18 feet.
And from last night: “Irene continues to weaken.”
Satellite data and measurements from the Hurricane Hunters show that Irene continues to weaken. A 1:32 pm EDT center fix by an Air Force Reserve aircraft found that Irene’s eyewall is still gone, and the central pressure had risen to 951 mb from a low of 942 mb this morning. The winds measured in Irene near the surface support classifying it as a strong Category 1 hurricane or weak Category 2. Satellite imagery shows a distinctly lopsided appearance to Irene’s cloud pattern, with not much heavy thunderstorm activity on the southwest side. This is due to moderate southwesterly wind shear of 10 – 20 knots. This shear is disrupting Irene’s circulation and has cut off upper-level outflow along the south side of the hurricane. No eye is visible in satellite loops, but the storm’s size is certainly impressive. Long range radar out of Wilmington, North Carolina, shows that the outermost spiral bands from Irene have moved ashore over North Carolina. Winds at buoy 41004 100 miles offshore from Charleston, SC increased to 47 mph, gusting to 60 mph at 3 pm EDT, with significant wave heights of 25 feet.
New York City has ordered 250,000 people to evacuate from coastal areas.
New York City officials issued what they called an unprecedented order on Friday for the evacuation of about 250,000 residents of low-lying areas at the city’s edges — from the expensive apartments in Battery Park City to the roller coaster in Coney Island to the dilapidated boardwalk in the Rockaways — warning that Hurricane Irene was such a threat that people living there simply had to get out.
Officials made what they said was another first-of-its kind decision, announcing plans to shut down the city’s entire transit system on Saturday — all 468 subway stations and 840 miles of tracks, and the rest of nation’s largest mass transit network: thousands of buses in the city, as well as the buses and commuter trains that reach from Midtown Manhattan to the suburbs.
Underscoring what Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and other officials said was the seriousness of the threat, President Obama approved a request from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York to declare a federal emergency in the state while the hurricane was still several hundred miles away, churning toward the Carolinas. The city was part of a hurricane warning that took in hundreds of miles of coastline, from Sandy Hook, N.J., to Sagamore Beach, Mass.
From what I’ve heard, the Jersey Shore may get hit worse than NYC, but who knows? I know we have a few commenters from NJ, so I hope they will keep us updated on the situation there. In Boston, they are getting warnings about the storm surges for people along the coast and the Cape and islands.
BOSTON — As Hurricane Irene began to batter the Carolina Coast on Friday afternoon, a hurricane warning was issued for Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, New York City and coastal Connecticut.
A tropical storm warning was issued for the North and South shores, and a tropical storm watch was issued for areas of southern New England further inland….
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm. He said he is particularly concerned because Irene will likely take a path through central Massachusetts, with fierce, damage-causing winds and storm surges on the eastern, coastal side of the state, and at least 10 inches of heavy rain leading to flooding to the west.
Here’s a little comic relief. Some ESPN guy (a former golfer) got in trouble for mocking President Obama on Twitter (has the First Amendment been repealed or what?)
ESPN is coming down on Paul Azinger for mocking President Obama on Twitter. The golf analyst tweeted Thursday the commander in chief plays more golf than he does — and that Azinger has created more jobs this month than Obama has.
On Friday ESPN ‘reminded” Azinger his venture into political punditry violates the company’s updated social network policy for on-air talent and reporters.
“Paul’s tweet was not consistent with our social media policy, and he has been reminded that political commentary is best left to those in that field,” spokesman Andy Hall told Game On! in a statement.
ESPN’s Hall would not comment on whether Azinger, who won the 1993 PGA Championship, will be fired, suspended or punished in some way. “We handle that internally,” he said.
In economics news, Ben Bernanke gave his eagerly anticipated speech yesterday, and basically said that the politicians have screwed up the economy and he hopes they won’t completely sink it with their insanely stupid policies based on Reagan era fantasies. If you’re interested, here are a few links to reactions to Bernanke’s speech.
Derek Thompson at The Atlantic: Bernanke: The Debt Ceiling Debate Nearly Broke the Recovery
Andrew Leonard at Salon: Bernanke Declines to Commit Treason
Jenine Aversa at Bloomberg: Bernanke Scholar Advises Bernanke Fed Chief to Be Bold on Monetary Policy
Those are my reading recommendations for today. What are you reading and blogging about?
NYT editorial: Mr. Bernanke’s Warning
That’s about par for the course for us too, but I’m making preparations anyway in order to be safe and riding out the storm with some friends. I hope you’re right too.
Did you call work? You need to stay home today.
Just called work. I am staying home today and they said that’s fine!
Good! I figured as much.
Politicians, live volcanoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, Tsunami and tornadoes. & wars of choice.
I’ve felt the after effects of the natural forces of nature — but I do think that politicians — unnatural forces of nature have the worst long lasting after effects.
Live Volcano — Hawaii (drive up volcano — can still do damage), Caribbean volcano — nasty, Mt. St Helens — heard this one but saw no ash.
Tsunami — Hawaii, also hurricanes.
Earthquakes — California — many, a few tiny ones in WA state.
Politicians — Raygun as CA Gov and Prez. According to many economists we are still seeing the nasty after effects of the political tsunami Raygun.
Mt. St. Helens was very messy in Eastern WA — but probably the ash was helpful in the long run.
Those satellite photos of Irene are really impressive — but at least hurricanes can be seen coming a long way off — and most follow the rules. (Except hurricane Lenny which started off the west coast of Mexico and headed east.)
By the way I love that political cartoon — there is so much truth in that cartoon.
I love that cartoon too, and I agree with you about tsunami Raygun. He changed everything–and not in a good way. And he’s apparently still influencing Obama and his horrible advisers.
we saw ash from mt. st.helens here in NJ!
I’m not sure how that many New Yorkers (living in the low lying areas) are going to evacuate.
I asked my husband about that problem (since he was born and grew up just north of NYC). He was puzzled how 270,000 give or take a few thou would be able to evacuate. Does NYC have evacuation plans and designated shelters for that many people?
On the west coast there are tsunami zones and volcano hazard zones with evacuation routes marked.
Now they are saying 370,000. Where on earth are they going to go? Pennsylvania? It makes no sense, especially since the hurricane has weakened. It will probably just be a tropical storm by the time it hits NY–if that.
The evacuations are going to cause more problems than the storm.
Yep — that’s what I was thinking. I remember the stories of the evacuations before hurricane Katrina — and in that area they are somewhat used to massive evacuations.
I’ve been on a small island with a live volcano — ordered evacuations were more political than practical and the evacuations were always a bloody mess. And the numbers were just a few hundred.
In Japan they have frequent practice evacuations.
I agree — evacuations are going to cause more problems than the storm.
An evacuation “order” doesn’t make it so. (Star Trek speak).
many are already here in NJ and PA with relatives and friends. The OEM director in Cape May County told residents who decide to “ride out” the storm to put an index card with their name, address, phone #, SS# and next of kin in their left shoe. They evacuated thousands from our shore area her in NJ.
We are currently experiencing torrential rain and a bit of thunder here in Northern NJ
They’re hoping that people just go Uptown to stay with family or firends. Shelters have been opened that will hold 170,000 but the subway and the buses are going to stop working at noon today.
Thanks for the info Susala. Are you in NYC?
Ah, another Captain Picard fan.
Love the cartoon as well – so true.
Be safe all you east coasters – batten down the hatches.
Cornel West – agree with everything he said. My consternation – why don’t the black community listen to him and Tavis Smiley? BTW, I really like Tavis. I don’t have cable and cannot get his show however I search for his stuff on the internet – and I’m whiter than white.
Some people in the black community have problems with Tavis Smiley. He was treating Obama like the candidate, not the black candidate, during the nomination race. A lot of anger was directed toward Smiley for not “getting on board”.
As a canuck, is it Jean as in Jeen Louise as in Lew ise, or is it Jann Lu-ie?
I could never understand why the black community turned on Tavis. He was a known defender of their rights – Obama was an unknown. Why did they turn on Tavis for saYing he had doubts and illustrating his rationale? Makes no sense.
I googled Irene evacuations routes
Zone A — looks like an intern used a map and drew a line. Most if not all the shelters are schools — certainly not enough.
With global warming and more hurricanes I guess Zone A residents will get some practice?
The only reason Bloomberg is doing this is because he screwed up so badly with that huge snowstorm last winter. Now he’s going to make it worse. I hope it ruins his chances to be President!
By contrast, Jersey’s Chris Christie looked like Don/President in his press conference.
Watch size of Hurricane Irene not just wind speed—remember Katrina was huge in size so on land longer. Be safe.
Yes, but the damage in NOLA came from the levees breaking, not the storm itself.
We in New Orleans thank you for that statement of truth … you can’t believe how many people don’t know that it was the Corps fault more than Katrina’s
Dak, I keep forgetting we have levees here too…or maybe I want to forget. 😦 I think there are four in one area, but they aren’t very high. Sending East Coast people good thoughts, and hoping everyone makes it through this storm safe.
good news Irene has weakened.
Geraldo and msm on suicide watch ;lol:
Yeah. It started last night. They’re incredibly disappointed at CNN.
Hurricane Irene made landfall in NC as a Cat. 1 hurricane–wind speed 86 mph. LOL
Looks like Mayor Bloomberg made a big boo boo.
I think he just wanted to avoid the appearance of Snomaggedon two
Yeah, but now he REALLY inconvenienced people and he looks like an idiotic scardy-cat.
We’re not so worried about the hurricane “wind damage” as we are the flooding – those of you who are regulars here may remember that with the last rain just in early spring of this year we had friends living with us for a week because their home was flooded -after – oh, it’s the corps again – put in new dams up stream that have significantly worsened the flooding here in northern NJ.
Perhaps, Dak but if the storm “bumps” east again it will pick up more water and possibly velocity.
I don’t think Bloomberg looks bad at all. And I really hate him, actually.
Bloomberg’s actions are based not on the level of the storm, but how much rain and storm surge we are going to get. That is likely to be significant, causing flooding in the subways and tunnels, as well as low-lying areas.
No matter what the wind speed is, this storm could be very serious for NYC, because the amount of rain is going to be 6 – 15 inches on super-saturated ground. In my area, we will definitely have flooding, overturned trees (and we have HUGE trees here) and probably power outages.
It would be awesome if none of this happened, but I think we’re in for a bad day tomorrow. 😦
I hope it won’t be too bad, madamab. Sending you good vibes from the midwest!
Our Gov. Chris Christie is on WABC TV right now telling people that even with a lessening of intensity we will still get at least 10-12 inches of rain throughout NJ – he’s thanking the NFL leadership for postponing the game.
I’m looking at the Parkway and there are 2 cars on what is normally bumper to bumper on a Saturday during the summer.
He’s telling people that the shelters are open and are already housing several thousand people – he’s looking for more places where people can be dry and fed.
Many have been moved to Rutger’s Univ. campus and to the Mennen stadium – Rutgers is also providing food and beverages, cots are available at both sites.
It’s good that people are staying off the roads in NJ. I wish people in VA had done that. I can’t believe one guy was actually surfing and got killed. What a shame.
Our Lt. Gov visited the shelters and she asked for input from them to insure that they are kept as comfortable as possible.
Christie is now saying that they are also looking for more sites to hold people comfortably post-storm as well.
They are also giving the special needs folks first priority.
“If there are any people in evacuation areas – please move now because later we may not be able to help you later today or tomorrow.” Christie
American Red Cross is already almost “maxed out” so they are pulling other groups in.
Atlantic City Power Company is not going to shut off power to anyone.
None of the power companies will be shutting off power -they might lessen the power if the winds reach 75 mph to reduce the possiblity of increased dangers.
He’s commending Cape May, Atlantic and Ocean Counties and thanking them for making the job easier by evacuating and moving to safer areas.
First responders throughout NJ stand ready and are really impressive. He’s spoken with legislators to keep them up to date.
Has briefed all elected officials (over 500 participated) throughout the State of NJ.
We may very well suffer structural loss, we are confident that we are protecting our people as best we possibly can.
Working with all hospitals throughout the State to build “bridges” to other facilities where needed.
Counties have been enormously generous in their reaching out to others who might need assistance.
They did a tabletop exercise last year to prepare them to deal with hurricanes here in NJ.
They’ve gotten hundreds of busses down to the southern most counties to move people north.
He’ll be going to Rutgers to visit with displaced citizens then back to the center where they are producing infomation.
He’s not sure where he’ll be sleeping tonight.
Over a million of citizens have been moved from Atlantic county – there are over 6000 senior citizens who don’t want to leave their high rise – they have sent special busses for them.
They are still looking for other places for people to go if they have no family or friends they can turn to.
Some of these reporters are really off the wall – he’s being as gracious as possible without telling them that’s a stupid question – he’s trying to help them understand that they are just trying to get people out of harms way and can’t predict what the storm will actually do.
Folks are very concerned because we will be experiencing high tide at the same time Irene hits us. We can experience up to 75 mph winds 100 miles from the shore.
Thanks for all the updates Joanelle.
I think the main problem with this storm is the flooding. From rain or surge. The apartment we lived in down in lower Manhattan is in the mandatory evacuation area. I know that during heavy rains the area took longer to drain the water than other areas in Downtown.
Another TSA employee is arrested for molesting a child: DA charges Spring Creek man with lewdness
What a mug shot…smug bastard.
yes, flooding is our main concern at this point.
Don’t you just want to smack him?
Two people have died so far due to the hurricane –
Mayor Bloomberg has just stepped up the the microphone in NYC – he says he’s still getting the same predictions – it can be fatal.
A lot of blowing degree, tree limbs down and electrical wires coming down.
Asks again that everyone comply with recommendations – please don’t put our first responders in jeopardy by not complying.
Expecting winds to subside tomorrow afternoon. His concern is saving lives and minimizing damage.
Asking buildings to stop elevator service so people don’t get stuck in an elevator. “Please evacuate -we have free busses, police cars will stop for you.”
praying for everyone to be safe.
our Ohio task force 1 is ready to help wherever needed. 🙂
thanks to them, faxyladi -we’re hoping we won’t need them – but nice to know they’re there.
oops, sorry, doing too much typing today – foxyladi
A few links for you on Irene:
Hurricane Irene Pushes North With Deadly Force – NYTimes.com
Look at the picture of the sailboat in that NYT link.
For a science geek look at Irene in New York City: What will Hurricane Irene do to New York City? | Earth | EarthSky
And for some video of idiots flashing a Weather.com live shot: Weather Channel Flash | Man Flashes the Weather Channel | Live TV Flash | Mediaite
New York Subways Are Shut Down as Hurricane Irene Nears – NYTimes.com
How can it have deadly force when the winds are only in the 80 mph range? We get worse than than in New England with a regular nor’easter. The forecast for NYC just says thundershowers, no hurricane warning for today or tomorrow. They closed the subway for thunderstorms?? Good grief. I must be living in an alternate reality from the MSM. I just look at the weather forecast.
I know that when it rained for extended periods, walking into the Canal St. Subway was like walking in a small stream.
Bloomberg just had a press conference, he looked tired…and seemed to forget the name of the hurricane…
Live blog: Hurricane death toll at 9; Bloomberg: ‘Time for evacuation is over’ – This Just In – CNN.com Blogs
I guess after living in places where extreme weather is routine (North Dakota, Kansas, Boston, Iowa), it’s hard for me to get worked up about 80 mph winds and some flooding. I realize people in NYC don’t experience regular nor’easters like we do in New England, so we’re a lot tougher.
There have been deaths because people don’t have the sense to stay inside. Losing power is tough. I lost my power for almost a week after Hurricane Gloria–but that was a real hurricane, not 80 mph winds and rain. We’ll see.
I will say that I think it’s terrible that they are leaving the prisoners stranded on Rikers Island. Let’s hope none of them drown, or Mayor Bloomberg will really have blood on his hands.
idiots indeed – My brother-in-law and sister-in-law live in Virginia Beach – they said it’s not pretty down there right now.
One of my best friends lives there about 1 mile off the beach. Her husband thought the entire thing there was overhyped and he wasn’t keen on doing any short term vacations out of there. I hope they’re alright. Men can be such stubborn things.
The real issue is the very high tide plus a hurricane that may not have high speed winds but is gathering miles of water and dumping it on an area that is already saturated’
But the worse part is that instead of just reporting or broadcasting what our elected officials are saying the talking heads are kind of hyping this storm and not helping people’s ability to take this in stride.
Let’s just hope it’s mostly hype
I know, but if the winds were expected to be that bad by the time it gets to NY and Boston, the forecast would say so. You might get some high winds in NJ, but I’ll bet it won’t be bad enough in NYC to flood the subways. I’m sure the coastal areas in NY, CT, RI, and MA will get a lot of damage, but NJ will be worse. I hope you’re not on the coast Joanelle. If so, be careful.
No we’re in the wooded hills about 25 miles out of NYC and we should be well protected as we’re actually near the top of the Watchung Mountain range.
You’d never know we’e that close to such a big metropolis as NYC.
I eally don’t think they know what’s going to happen by the time it reaches us because it has shifted several times already.
It’s raining pretty hard here right now – but not much wind.
Wow, joanelle, I used to live fairly close to there, just over the border in NY! Hi neighbor (sort of)!
I’m glad you’re in a good place, Joanelle. Stay safe.
Winds are picking up in Philly and rain is becoming driving…just like being on a boat!
I see you are in a Tornado Warning Paperdoll, take care!