- 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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