William Saunderson-Meyer at the Johannesburg Mail & Guardian writes—Nelson Mandela: A giant leaves the world to pygmies:
There have been many well-wishers who in the past weeks have articulated that Mandela should be allowed “to now let go”. But this is a man who by every instinct honed over a lifetime of resistance, has followed poet Dylan Thomas’ advice, “do not go gentle into that good night”. And so, he hasn’t.Yitzhak Laor at Haaretz asks Israeli readers—Would you have freed Mandela?:
With the National Party indeed history, it is unsettling with Madiba’s impending passing to be reminded of a time when, though very much physically alive, he was to all official intents dead: coffined for 27 years in a eight-foot by eight-foot prison cell, not only his words banned in his land but even his visage. [...]
A giant is about to depart, leaving political pygmies to divide his cloak and squabble about who is rightful heir. The media will be wall to wall with plaudits, the world will groan with grief.
Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years for membership in a terror organization that sowed destruction and was responsible for widespread killing in a struggle against the apartheid regime in South Africa. At the same time Mandela was also one of the leaders of the African National Congress. His period of imprisonment ended suddenly, as we recall, when the leaders of apartheid pleaded with him in 1990 to leave prison.Rosemary Joyce at the Los Angeles Times writes—DOMA, Prop. 8 and marriage: An anthropologist's view:
Our media would have called Mandela a “terrorist.” In Israel he would have been included in the category of “security prisoners,” in other words political prisoners, who were arrested with the help of draconian laws and were tried for criminal offenses in military prisons that had about as much to do with the legal system as the Pardes Hanna firefighters’ orchestra has to do with the music of Beethoven. The evidentiary laws in those courts are absurd. For 47 years Israel imprisoned tens of thousands in the same way. [...]
Every time we loudly demonstrate our anger at the release of prisoners, we should ask: “And would you have released Mandela?”
[S]tudies of human social life show that marriage is not solely important for children. As Borneman and Kain Hart wrote, "In most societies known to us, everyone marries; it is an expected rite of passage and part of the normal life course of all adults."Below the fold, more pundits.
This is what people intuitively understand, and what the court, in calling marriage "a dignity and status of great import," recognized. There is no reason that some adults should be denied the opportunity for that dignity, and no history that should prevent us from opening opportunity to all who want that status.
Shannon Price Minter at The Advocate urges the LGBT movement and its allies to—Keep the Momentum Going:
for most LGBT people in this country, everyday life is still rife with discrimination, economic and social inequality, violence, and the threat of violence. The reality is, nearly 30 states still do not recognize same-sex relationships in any way and treat even longtime partners as legal strangers to one another.Paul Krugman at The New York Times barely controls his fury in—War On the Unemployed:
Many states still provide no way for both partners in a same-sex couple to be legal parents, which can mean that one of the parents has no ability to provide health insurance or make medical decisions for a child, and that the child may end up in foster care if the legal parent dies. Twenty-nine states still have no statewide protections against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, and even more — 34 — have no statewide protections against discrimination based on gender identity. [...]
But if past performance is any indication of future trends, we can change this. We came to this moment because countless LGBT people and our friends, families, and allies stood up time and again and pushed for a better world. We have come so far, but we are not done and we are not leaving anyone behind.
[North Carolina's] government has just sharply cut aid to the unemployed. In fact, the Republicans controlling that government were so eager to cut off aid that they didn’t just reduce the duration of benefits; they also reduced the average weekly benefit, making the state ineligible for about $700 million in federal aid to the long-term unemployed.[...]Eugene Robinson at the Washington Post says—Paula Deen’s slurs are a bitter pill to swallow:
The average unemployment benefit in North Carolina is $299 a week, pretax; some hammock. So anyone who imagines that unemployed workers are deliberately choosing to live a life of leisure has no idea what the experience of unemployment, and especially long-term unemployment, is really like.
The woman is 66, not 96. She was all of 7 when the Supreme Court issued its Brown v. Board of Education decision, which means she’s had plenty of time to get used to it. She has spent her adult life in an America where black people are not compelled to be subservient to whites. She has made her fortune in an America where most people, white as well as black, consider warm-and-fuzzy nostalgia for the days of slavery and Jim Crow to be highly offensive.Robert Kuttner at the Los Angeles Times urges—Seize the mortgages, save the neighborhood:
I’ll put it in terms that someone who missed the last 50 years might understand: All black people are uppity now. Every one of us, I’m afraid.
The Obama administration's mortgage relief program has helped only about 10% of the more than 13 million households still at risk of foreclosure because of "underwater" mortgages — those worth more than the value of the homes. The program did not target those most in need, and it can't reach mortgages turned into securities by private Wall Street firms. [...]The New York Daily News Editorial Board praises President Obama for the wrong thing in More gas, less hot air:
Now, however, a more drastic approach is gaining support. Local governments could use eminent domain to take mortgage-backed securities (instead of land), pay their owners fair market value and turn the securities back into whole mortgages. For example, if a security backed by mortgages likely to default is trading at 40% of its face value, eminent domain could reduce the mortgage debt by 60%.
President Obama’s big speech on climate change held an important message for those who would stand in the way of natural gas drilling in upstate New York:Fred Grimm at the Miami Herald wonders how Florida will roll in his column, Crippled Voting Rights Act should inspire a new level of clever election ‘reforms’:
They are blocking a source of clean, cheap fuel that would enormously benefit both the economy and the planet.
Just two hours after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the 1965 Voting Rights Act last week, Texas celebrated by reinstating a discredited voter ID law, designed to tamp down those damn nuisance minority voters. Mississippi was not far behind.Dave Johnson at Blog for Our Future warns—Republicans Are Sabotaging Obamacare by Keeping the Public in the Dark About Benefits:
Florida, I expect, will be more subtle. The politics hereabouts, in an evenly divided state, are a bit more delicate. [...]
But you’ve got to worry, with the Voting Rights Acts crippled, with the good ol’ boys in Texas and elsewhere in the Confederacy raring to push another round of election “reforms,” that the gang in Tallahassee might get inspired to come up with new and novel ways to limit the turnout of certain demographics.
During the first years of the Obama administration the Republican strategy was to obstruct efforts to improve the economy and bring more jobs. Then, at election time they went to the public saying, “Obama hasn’t made things better.” But now they are moving into outright sabotaging things that government does for people, like the new health care plan, with election plans to campaign on the failure of government to do things for people.Ronald Brownstein at the National Journal writes—Time Is Ticking for Obama’s Climate Agenda
As President Obama reboots his campaign against climate change, his most formidable obstacle is no longer the coal industry or congressional Republicans. It’s the calendar.
In his first term, Obama sought legislative limits on the carbon emissions associated with global climate change but failed when the Senate shelved the “cap-and-trade” legislation the House passed in 2009. Obama this week announced he would pursue the same goals, primarily through the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of carbon emissions from existing power plants. [...]
Obama’s announcement is already generating political storms. But for institutional, economic, and political reasons, he has more leverage now than during his first-term legislative failure. The flip side is that because he’s relying on regulatory, not legislative, authority, his decisions will be easier to reverse if he cannot armor-plate them before January 2017, when a Republican could regain the White House. That’s why associates say the president already feels the clock ticking.