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  • Budget Deal from House Ignores the Unemployed Many "serious people" are celebrating the budget deal that (finally!) managed to pass out of the House this week, but here's one reason not to celebrate it: it contains no extension of unemployment benefits for the approximately 1.9 million people for who unemployment benefits serve as their only financial lifeline. So, on this issue, Charles Blow speaks for me, not the New Republic.
  • Honoring Madiba despite the inevitable bad apples: As the world prepares to say its final farewells to Madiba upon his being laid to rest in Qunu, South Africa, on Sunday, the world's mourning has been reflected flights of beautiful whimsy. These include motorcyclists "Bikers for Madiba" scheduled to rev their engines in a last #BigroarforMadiba and take a symbolic ride in his honor to key places in Madiba's life. And the work of an Italian pianist, Marco Grieco, composing a 95-second long piece in honor of each year of Madiba's life. Sadly, this mourning period has also been marred by horrible hoaxes, the most recent being a fake photo of Madiba at rest being published on Twitter, to the horror of his family. The other being the embarrassing display at Madiba's public funeral by the maybe-fake, maybe-criminal whose disastrous gesticulations in the name of sign language interpreting effectively deprived those without hearing of full participation in the worldwide celebration of Madiba's legacy.
  • Yet another cop acquitted in New Orleans for a Katrina murder: In a surprise to absolutely no one, this week confirmed that no "Officer of the Goddamn Law" will face punishment for murdering helpless people fleeing the ravages of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Despite the involvement of the federal government in the prosecutions, on Wednesday David Warren was acquitted following his second trial for the murder of unarmed Henry Glover. Clearly, the first jury got it wrong, which is why the appellate court threw out Warren's first trial result (a conviction and sentence of 25 years) because there were "extenuating circumstances" despite the fact that there was a law enforcement conspiracy to destroy Glover's remains in an effort to avoid punishment. And, of course, Warren is left with "no regrets." Either way, the government (with an able assist from the appellate courts) continues to fail to secure convictions that stick and, thus, to hold any of the murderers of innocent people—law enforcement affiliated or not—criminally responsible for murdering Black people during Katrina and its aftermath (unless you count a conviction for lying under oath during a deposition being held "criminally responsible", that is).
  • Bill Bratton: Same as it ever was: Speaking of Officers of the Goddamn Law, it's official: Mayor-elect Bill di Blasio has chosen Bill Bratton as the next Police Chief of the city of New York. I'm sure Bratton will do the same fine job as he did while at the LAPD (or even the same fine job he did when he was at NYPD before) restoring the trust and confidence in the racial fairness and objectivity of NYPD law enforcement. After all, folks like Al Sharpton who normally have spent their waking hours complaining about (and folks who have spent their waking hours suing, like Condoleezza's sane cousin, Constance Rice) police practices that abuse the civil rights of those unfairly targeted are optimistic about it. Time will tell, but at least it's a firm goodbye to the man who nobody Black or Brown in NYC will miss, Ray Kelly.
  • Time's person (and second person) of the Year for 2013 were excellent choices: Pope Francis, who despite his short tenure is already being called "the Pope of the People," was selected Time's Person of the Year this week. The debate will never end about whether Pope Francis's exhortations to change our world's failure to live up to the Christian mandate to care for the poor are from the heart, or just brilliant PR, but his chastisement on behalf of the politically voiceless poor deserved to be heard, and deserve to be acted upon, nonetheless. Person of the Year runner-up, Edward Snowden, was honored for the important favor he did the country in exposing the continuation and expansion under the Obama Administration of the seemingly limitless NSA spying programs begun in earnest under the Bush Administration post 9-11. The debate will never end about whether Ed Snowden's person, as opposed to his actions, are what requires appreciation. But the concerns Snowden's disclosures raised about the overreach of America's government scrutiny of us all in the name of the War on Terror deserved to be heard, and deserve to be acted upon.
  • Help the world see this "Invisible Child": This incredible piece of journalism about the life of a beautiful little girl named Dasani, one of New York City's 22,000 homeless children (a record not seen since the Great Depression), has not in this author's opinion gotten the attention and discussion here at Daily Kos it deserved. This is despite the issues it raises in stark relief about our country's poor and how we fail them on so many levels, including the level of basic human understanding and empathy for the complex life that those in poverty lead, without moral judgment. So, if you missed it, here's another chance: read it. Read all 28,738 words of it. More than once. Then send it to everyone you know and begin the dialogue about what we as so-called activists should be doing. (H/T to both teacherken and chaunceydevega for trying to start the discussion.)
  • Ted Cruz survives getting rolled by the Congressional Black Caucus: Poor Ted Cruz. Gangbanged (to hear the right-wing media tell it) by not 1, not 5, but 20 members of the Congressional Black Caucus on his way to South Africa to pay congressional tribute to Madiba. It's a miracle that Cruz made it to South Africa alive, particularly after he'd already gotten eaten by his own following his attempt at a tribute to Madiba. Of course, the only real news following this 20-hour "earful" from the CBC (with another 20 hours promised by Rep. Cummings on the way back, aka being
    ganged up on) isn't news: Cruz is exploring a run in 2016. Surprise, surprise, surprise. (In case it's not clear, 40 hours of being forced to hear what's right from colleagues he'd love to ignore is not being ganged up on.)
  • It may be humor, but it's truthful humor: Finally, someone has debunked the right-wing meme known as "reverse racism" in a way that hopefully will end use of that ridiculous term once and for all.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Wow, one of my friends... (7+ / 0-)

    who is now a teacher in New Orleans recently suspended and expelled some students for doing illegal things.  One of them decided to do this to his car.

    Um, it's not obvious in that photo, but look carefully, and you'll see the student wrote that WITH ACTUAL FECES.


  •  Budget (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, LinSea, JeffW, shanikka, charliehall2

    I completely agree with you on the budget. I think it's appalling to see so many "liberal" pundits like those at TNR (one with whom I actually share a name) laud the budget deal as a "win" for Democrats. It locks in austerity funding levels (Yes, my friends, sequestration was only part of the awfulness from the Budget Control Act, and the deal only partially rolled back sequestration cuts) and is cruelly dismissive of the unemployed.

  •  Doctrow and Stross are writing of (6+ / 0-)

    post-Singularity "people," but it applies to us pres, as well, I'm afraid:

    The power to be a being of pure thought, the unlimited, unconstrained world of imagination, and we build a world of animated gifs, stupid sight gags, lame van-art avatars, stupid "playful" environments, and brain-dead flame wars augmented by animated emoticons that allowed participants to express their hanckneyed ad hominems, concern-trollery, and Godwin's law violations through the media of cartoon animals and oversized genitals.


    Give humanity a truly unlimited field, and it would fill it with Happy Meal toys and holographic sport-star, collectable trading card game art.

    Guilty as charged, your Honors. Then, again, it's rather all an Open Thread, eh?

    I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

    by Crashing Vor on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 12:24:07 PM PST

  •  "Intelligence" folks still clueless on Snowden (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, LinSea, Crashing Vor, JeffW, shanikka

    Officials Say U.S. May Never Know Extent of Snowden’s Leaks

    WASHINGTON — American intelligence and law enforcement investigators have concluded that they may never know the entirety of what the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden extracted from classified government computers before leaving the United States, according to senior government officials.

     Investigators remain in the dark about the extent of the data breach partly because the N.S.A. facility in Hawaii where Mr. Snowden worked — unlike other N.S.A. facilities — was not equipped with up-to-date software that allows the spy agency to monitor which corners of its vast computer landscape its employees are navigating at any given time.

    Six months since the investigation began, officials said Mr. Snowden had further covered his tracks by logging into classified systems using the passwords of other security agency employees, as well as by hacking firewalls installed to limit access to certain parts of the system.

    “They’ve spent hundreds and hundreds of man-hours trying to reconstruct everything he has gotten, and they still don’t know all of what he took,” a senior administration official said. “I know that seems crazy, but everything with this is crazy.”

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 12:25:35 PM PST

  •  I read about Dasani and her family twice.Wrenching (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LinSea, JML9999, randallt, shanikka, leftykook

    Conservatism is killing this country. Jayden

    by swampyankee on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 12:44:28 PM PST

  •  Megyn Kelly doubles down on teh stupid... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    randallt, shanikka

    "First, we make a commonwealth of our family. Then, we make a commonwealth of families. Then, we make of ourselves a political commonwealth. We engage in the ongoing process of self-government which, first and foremost, is a creative act." - C. Pierce

    by Superskepticalman on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 12:53:07 PM PST

  •  I really wish people could understand (4+ / 0-)

    the concept which Time Magazine tries in vain to explain every year: the Person of the Year is not supposed to be an honor. It's supposed to be a designation of who had the biggest impact, for good or for evil, on our world.

    So Edward Snowden was not "honored" for his exposure of the NSA issues. He was, more precisely, recognized.

    Time's person of the year of previous years includes such "honoree" as Hitler and Stalin. Ben Laden shared the designation with Bush.

    Have we become so celebrity-consumed that we just can't seem to wrap our heads around the idea that name recognition or fame is in itself an honor?

  •  Google now owns maker of Headless Horse Bot (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Crashing Vor, shanikka

    Google Acquires Boston Dynamics, Adding To Its Fleet Of Robot-Makers

    The rich get richer. And they also get more robots.

    Google confirmed Friday to The New York Times that it had completed the acquisition of Boston Dynamics, the Waltham, Mass., engineering company that has designed robots for the Pentagon. The company, purchased by Google for an undisclosed sum, is the eighth robotics company Google has acquired in the last several months.

    Last week, the Times also reported that Google's newest "moonshot" effort to create a division focused on building and experimenting with robots would be developed by Andy Rubin, the boss behind Google's Android operating system. Unlike Google's computerized glasses or driverless cars, these robots will be available only to businesses that want to streamline the manufacturing process.

    It's unclear if manufacturing will be Boston Dynamics' main purpose now that it is part of Google. An Oxford University study from last year predicted that 45 percent of United States jobs were "at high risk" of being lost to computerized machines.

    Boston Dynamics robots, such as BigDog, Cheetah, WildCat and Atlas, have gained notoriety over the years through YouTube videos, GIFs and "the robots are taking over" half-curious, half-terrified reactions they create. The videos show agile, four-legged robots bustling through rough terrain, or sprinting around parking lots. One recent video showed their Cheetah robot sprinting 29 mph on a treadmill, faster than Usain Bolt in the 100-meter dash.

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 12:54:07 PM PST

  •  Um, so PolitiFact says Social Security... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Crashing Vor, randallt, JeffW, shanikka

    adds to the deficit, and that Democrats are lying when we say it doesn't.  After reading through their explanation of how SS needed to use the trust fund money to stay in the black, can someone here explain why they're wrong?  Debating someone who's bashing Elizabeth Warren, and citing this Heritage report.  When asked about lifting the payroll tax, he responded:

    Lifting the cap would simply just increase payments to richer folks who paid more into it. This is precisely why the Third Way called Warren out for her pie-in-the-sky idealism, or as I like to call it, Obamaisms (ie plans that sound good in front of a crowd but make no sense pragmatically).
    •  I went and read the PolitiFact article. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, BruinKid

      The short version is, they are wrong.  

      They said that SS "is" a pay-as-you-go system.  Not true.  It used to be a PAYG system, until the early 80s when St. Ronnie noticed that there were all these baby boomers that were going to start retiring in about 20 years.  So he proposed that SS taxes should be raised to partly prefund SS to cover the baby boomers.  That seemed to make sense, so it was done.  Then the money accumulating in the SS Trust Funds made the Federal budget as a whole look like taxes were too high.  So St. Ronnie cut income taxes.  In essence, what Ray-gun did was raise SS taxes and then borrow the surplus to partly fund a tax cut mainly for the top 1%.  Now the 1% don't want to raise income taxes to repay what what Ronnie borrowed to give them then.  

      Now it's more than 20 years later, and Baby Boomers have started to retire.  Between increased payouts to extra-large numbers of retirees, and reduced income caused by the recession, the SS Trust Fund has recently begun to pay out more that in takes in.  That's not a bug, it's a feature; if all goes well, the last of the Baby Boomers will be dying off as the Trust Fund gets down to it's historic levels of holding just enough to fund a year or two of payments, and SS will be back to what it was intended to be all anong, a pay-as-you-go system.  

      "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." -- Sen Carl Schurz 1872

      by Calamity Jean on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 02:57:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Random? thoughts on a Saturday morning (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    randallt, shanikka

    is what I wound up posting in this piece, which perhaps you might peruse?

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 01:01:02 PM PST

  •  Shanikka hi (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    randallt, swampyankee, shanikka

    I saw Ken's diary on Dasani, but didn't have time to read the linked article. Thank you so much for reminding me to read it.

    Hope all is well with you.

    Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

    by ramara on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 01:18:48 PM PST

  •  Atlanta Kossacks (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka, RainyDay

    If you are out and about this weekend, stop by Lenox Square Mall and say hi to the elf! That's me. I'll be near Santa today till 8 and tomorrow noon to 6! Hohoho!

    Libertarianism is something that most people grow out of, not unlike, say, hay fever or asthma. Bob Johnson

    by randallt on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 01:37:14 PM PST

  •  One theory I've heard re: the hiring of Bratton .. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    .... was that Bill de Blasio was getting a lot of static (and not just from the right wing) about ending stop-and-frisk, and thus "Oh, the crime rate's gonna straight-up, just you wait and see!!!" was getting to him.

      The theory goes on to say that hiring Bratton ends the blow-back. And that if Bratton can successfully shift the department away from racial profiling and more towards the statistical/strategic planning that first brought him to fame, then de Blasio has immunized himself on this issue.

      Whether this was (in fact) his rationale or, more importantly, whether any of this will work: remains to be seen.

    "We should pay attention to that man behind the curtain."

    by Ed Tracey on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 02:09:34 PM PST

  •  that "reverse racism" comedy bit you link to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka, zootwoman

    Aamer Rahman makes a really valid point in his comedy routine: all you need is a time machine and the ability to completely change history.

    It's worth watching and bookmarking.

    Join the 48ForEastAfrica Blogathon for the famine in east Africa: Donate to Oxfam America

    by JayC on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 03:13:01 PM PST

    •  Well, depends on how you define racism (0+ / 0-)

      He's really talking more about white privilege and discrimination versus racism. In that context, he's correct, it's a stupid concept.

      But if we're talking about African-Americans practicing racism against whites in a manner that discriminates and in some manner disenfranchises the white person, yes, that can happen on an individual basis.

      Case in point: I used to be a pizza delivery driver.  One night I delivered a pizza to an African-American.  The bill was $18, he gave me a $20 and said keep the change.  Then he said "oh wait, you're a white motherfucker, give me my change".

      Is that reverse racism on an individual level? It's racism of some sort, however you define it.

      Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

      by absdoggy on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 07:53:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Dunno (0+ / 0-)

      I watched the routine, but something just didn't sound right about it.
      I mean, any time you dig back in history to justify current actions, to me, that elicits a red flag.
      Racism means that you treat a person based on what you perceive their racial category to be.
      In other words, you treat person A thusly as you perceive them to be "white" (whatever the hell that means), whereas you treat them in a different manner if you perceive them to be "black", "yellow", whatever.  Or vice-versa, so racism can go any which way it chooses...
      From that viewpoint, wrongs or rights committed in the past are not the issue I think.

  •  Speaking of open threads... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    charliehall2, JeffW, Calamity Jean

    Does anyone with access to the front page give a flying fuck that the House and Senate just agreed to slash veterans pensions 1% per year every from here on out?

    For a 40 year old retiree this almost a 30% cut from where they should have been in each month by the time they're 62, as it effectively compounds yearly.

    "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

    by JesseCW on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 03:27:29 PM PST

    •  It is outrageous!!! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW, JeffW, Calamity Jean

      Between that and the end to extended unemployment benefits, this is a Koch Brothers' dream come true. I can't believe that it got overwhelming support from House Democrats. I'm ready to join the Working Families Party. :(

      •  The end of ext.unemployment benefits is horrible (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calamity Jean

        but it's not the same kind of decade after decade impact.

        They've already cut about half of the extension, even though the actual job market is no better than it was.  If all the discouraged workers jumped back in, we'd be right back at 5 people per job.

        There's no excuse for cutting it back further. If anything, we should be fighting to make 52 weeks the new standard no matter what.

        But draining retirees this way is going to force a LOT of them out of semi-retirement and for years and years to come will put another drag on the job market.

        I know a lot of retired military who have part-time jobs or pursue their own small business, since they have Tri-Care FL and generally get enough pension to survive on.  

        So they tool leather or make bows or make reproduction pistols or run a barbershop in a small town 20 hours a week or they get part time jobs in someone elses machine shop or whatever.

        As this cut gets deeper and deeper year after year, they're not going to need "to keep busy and earn some extra income" anymore.

        "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

        by JesseCW on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 04:04:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Kossak Repack Rider gives Whittington an earful (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ... in the comments section of the Examiner link above re: "to hear the right wing media tell it", three cheers for Bicycle Jones.....

    "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

    by leftykook on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 03:28:19 PM PST

  •  Wrong about Kelly and Bratton (0+ / 0-)

    My wife has just been offered a job practicing medicine in the south Bronx in a poor minority neighborhood. We were wondering whether it was a safe area or not. So I looked online and found out that in that police precinct there have been two homicides this year, exactly the same number as in our own precinct in a much more expensive part of the Bronx. In 1990, before Kelly, Bratton, and Kelly, that south Bronx precinct had 44. That is a drop of NINETY FIVE PERCENT. (Ours has dropped 86%.) It is these poor minority neighborhoods that used to be deadly and are now safe that have benefited the most from the dramatic drop in violent crime that this city has had.

  •  Conceptual analysis of "racism" (0+ / 0-)

    As with many here, my involvement with civil rights goes back to the 1960s, where I was among those in a quaker group who brought food and water to the members of the Poor People's Campaign.  In later life, I championed the cause of black artists institutionally suppressed by the racist "cabaret laws" in New York City.  

    Out of a concern that this kind of work not be tainted, I should ask one what kind of confusion one intends to sew about the the very concept of "racism" itself?  

    In my mind, institutional racism by those in pwoer against those who are powerless to resist it is of primary moral concern, yes.


    The concept of "racism" itself bears no reference to particulars.  To assert otherwise is vacuous.  In the same light, there is no "reverse" or for that matter "forward" racism.  Racism as a concept bears no reference to particulars.  There is no privilege in the concept.  All may be victim-to and victimizers-of, regardless of race.

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