Any likelihood of one of our Confederate states producing a tourism video like this one?
I think not.
Any likelihood of one of our Confederate states producing a tourism video like this one?
I think not.
From Rhea Suh, President NRDC
Unless you’re a Republican, nowadays
❝ For once, I am excited to report that there is good news on the Flint water crisis front. The pipes at the heart of the disaster are going to be replaced. For the first time in the three years since this Michigan city’s water was turned to poison, Flint’s citizens have a guarantee that the resources are in place to replace its estimated 18,000 lead pipes. And for the first time, they know when the pipes will be gone.
Let’s be clear, Flint is not fixed. But things are going to get better.
❝ This did not happen because of the city, state, or federal governments that failed them. It happened because brave people in Flint stood up for their neighbors. They went to court. One of the genius parts of American environmental protections are the citizen suit provisions in our major environmental laws. When the government fails to protect its citizens, we are all empowered to go to court and force the government to do its job.
❝ That happened in Flint. After the city and state trashed the drinking water infrastructure through a series of mistakes and errors, we joined with the Concerned Pastors for Social Action and Flint resident Melissa Mays to petition the federal government to use its emergency powers to help the beleaguered city. They refused. So, along with ACLU Michigan, we sued the city and state. The Safe Drinking Water Act also has provisions for citizens to enforce drinking water rules. Though there have only been a handful of these kinds of cases filed under the act, we all thought Flint seemed like a textbook situation for this type of case…
And today, that suit comes to the end with a settlement that guarantees that in three years, the lead pipes will be replaced. It guarantees that the state kicks in $67 million to help fix the mistakes, along with tens of millions more from federal sources…
❝ …But for today, let’s just celebrate good news for Flint. A city that deserves far more of it in the years to come.
I’ll second that emotion. RTFA for more details, past and present. Rhea Suh is too politely politic to trash-talk the conservatives, mostly in the Republican Party – and some Democrats deserve their share of condemnation for foot-dragging.
Too many folks hold elective office who consider budgets and balance sheets more important than the lives of the human beings they represent.
❝ The religious left is the Sasquatch of American politics. It leaves footprints in the snow but recent sightings of the creature itself are rare, and not always credible.
Progressive politics is dominated by secular ideals and, increasingly, secular voters. In recent decades, the words “Christian” and “evangelical” have been commandeered as synonyms for “white conservative.” Religious liberals never achieved the power of their conservative opposites…The once-explosive growth of conservative evangelicals has stalled. Yet the religious left doesn’t appear to be benefiting much.
Instead, the ranks of the religiously unaffiliated are growing. A 2016 report by the Public Religion Research Institute stated: “Today, one-quarter (25 percent) of Americans claim no formal religious identity, making this group the single largest ‘religious group’ in the U.S.”
❝ Yet if ever there were a moment for the left to seize the mantle of religion from conservatives, surely it arrives Jan. 20 at noon. Donald Trump received the votes of four in five white evangelical or born-again Christians. Hypocrisy is as old as humanity, but even hypocrisy has a gross weight limit.
Christian conservatives are now inextricably tied to an incoming president with a long, public history of exploiting the weak, and no documented history of charity, faith or Christian communion or witness. They have endorsed a First Lady whose modeling career included a pornographic photo shoot described by the Trump-friendly New York Post as “girl on girl.” Even among the plaster saints of the religious right, Trump is a heavy burden to bear.
❝ Sojourners is one of the groups seeking to rally the religious left. “Our Constitution’s protection of religious freedom empowers faith institutions to oppose state-sanctioned bigotry and violence and creates strong sanctuaries for those Jesus called the ‘least of these’ in Matthew 25,” said Lisa Sharon Harper…
A coalition of groups has launched the “Matthew 25” initiative to fight an expected barrage of federal policies targeting the most vulnerable — including the poor, immigrants and Muslims. “These people are organizing under the banner of Jesus,” Harper said.
❝ In North Carolina, the liberal “Moral Mondays” movement has been partially credited with the election in November of Democrat Roy Cooper as governor. The success of the movement — named for weekly public demonstrations against the conservative legislature and incumbent governor — is a powerful precedent. It gained momentum not only because of charismatic religious leadership, but because of unusually aggressive Republican efforts to undermine voting rights and cut funding for education and services…
❝ Trump’s regular shocks to decency, along with an expected Republican assault on funding for the poor, will outrage both secular liberals and the religious left. But will that be enough to bring the left’s religious Sasquatch out of hiding?
I have no idea. Being an old cranky geek, I’m less likely to find myself marching than blogging, nowadays.
There was a time when I could count on cellmates who were priests, partners canvassing door-to-door who were nuns, family and friends who learned childhood ethics in Protestant Yankee denominations who dedicated time and effort to the betterment of life on earth – instead of preaching faith in Wall Street dollar$ over old-timey Christian values.
I wish Sojourners well. Same to the brave folks leading the activism of Moral Monday in Confederate and other Republican states. I respect your courage and integrity. As I always have. But, I surely wish you had more friends.
Excepting what might be forthcoming from revisions made by ballot in the Republican convention, these are the choices we have for November. Pick one each from the two parties we’re allowed.
Hat tip to Ian Bremmer
The US Census Bureau just released information on same-sex couples as part of its release of the 2013 American Community Survey data. Here are some of the highlights from the release.
Same-sex couples are a bit more educated than straight couples. While both married and unmarried gay and lesbian couples are about equally likely to have both partners holding at least a bachelor’s degree, unmarried heterosexual couples are half as likely for this to be the case as married straight couples…
…Same sex couples tend to have higher incomes than straight couples….Unmarried straight couples had the lowest average income…
Interracial marriages are more common among same-sex couples than among heterosexual couples…and we know who that pisses off.
RTFA for more demographics. To read the whole report from the Census Bureau – go here.
I think I’ll write a little bit about this photo. You see, I’m standing just to the right of the field of vision – politely nudged aside by the news photographer who wanted to get a good close-up of Dr. King speaking in one of the toughest neighborhoods in Black Chicago. Out in front of the Robert Taylor Projects.
Looking around for a photo and a news piece to reflect upon on this holiday, I bumped into this news photo from the summer of 1965 in Chicago. I spent that summer as a community activist working with other like-minded folks from the then fairly-new W.E.B.DuBois Clubs. Radicals, communist and non-communist, religious and atheist, all colors and creeds; but, convinced that it would take more than band-aids to patch up the effect of centuries of racism in America.
I met some wonderful people that summer. Not the least of whom was Dr. King. Though he wasn’t the biggest influence on my feelings, understanding of what the movement needed to do, where to go next. Most influential was Ismael Flory, founder of the African American Heritage Association, editor and stalwart in his dedication to producing an encyclopedia of African American studies. Ish could turn traffic directions into a discussion of history, turn lunch into the science of gastronomy – could make you laugh or cry over silly humanity.
I opened for Dr. King, that day in Chicago’s South Side. Back in the day, there wasn’t anyplace I sang and performed that didn’t have at least a core of the call for change in it. Newspaper articles and historic documents say this was the first time that Dr. King was booed by a Black audience. It was much, much less than that.
There were two truly tiny efforts birthing in Chicago at that time joining the early call for Black Power within the civil rights movement – and ready to exit the larger effort at the drop of a dollar bill. That day the noisiest boos came from members of the Blackstone Rangers already devolving into hustlers taking money from the Feds and using the funds to build one of the largest drug gangs in Chicago. The other silliest group was comprised of one well-known young Black man – an early advocate of separatist activism – who trotted out a line of a half-dozen or so schoolchildren, none over 6 or 7 years old, who carried anti-King signs. Dr. King chided him for his opportunism and guile.
For me, the day is remembered as the first time I met Martin Luther King, Jr.. I remember the summer sun and heat. I remember one Black teenager who liked one particular song I wrote – something I rarely did. I never wanted to be a songwriter. It was one more step away from America’s bigoted history. One more step towards a future still unrealized; but – believe me – better than it ever was.
I wrote this a few years ago. Worth reposting.
Inequality has been rising in most countries around the world, but it has played out in different ways across countries and regions. The United States, it is increasingly recognized, has the sad distinction of being the most unequal advanced country, though the income gap has also widened to a lesser extent, in Britain, Japan, Canada and Germany. Of course, the situation is even worse in Russia, and some developing countries in Latin America and Africa. But this is a club of which we should not be proud to be a member…
Singapore has had the distinction of having prioritized social and economic equity while achieving very high rates of growth over the past 30 years — an example par excellence that inequality is not just a matter of social justice but of economic performance. Societies with fewer economic disparities perform better — not just for those at the bottom or the middle, but over all.
It’s hard to believe how far this city-state has come in the half-century since it attained independence from Britain, in 1963…Around the time of independence, a quarter of Singapore’s work force was unemployed or underemployed. Its per-capita income (adjusted for inflation) was less than a tenth of what it is today…
There are at least four distinctive aspects of the Singaporean model, and they are more applicable to the United States than a skeptical American observer might imagine.
First, individuals were compelled to take responsibility for their own needs. For example, through the required savings in their provident fund, around 90 percent of Singaporeans became homeowners, compared to about 65 percent in the United States since the housing bubble burst in 2007.
Second, Singaporean leaders realized they had to break the pernicious, self-sustaining cycle of inequality that has characterized so much of the West. Government programs were universal but progressive: while everyone contributed, those who were well off contributed more to help those at the bottom, to make sure that everyone could live a decent life, as defined by what Singaporean society, at each stage of its development, could afford. Not only did those at the top pay their share of the public investments, they were asked to contribute even more to helping the neediest.
Third, the government intervened in the distribution of pretax income — to help those at the bottom, rather than, as in the United States, those at the top. It weighed in, gently, on the bargaining between workers and firms, tilting the balance toward the group with less economic power — in sharp contrast to the United States, where the rules of the game have shifted power away from labor and toward capital, especially during the past three decades.
Fourth, Singapore realized that the key to future success was heavy investment in education — and more recently, scientific research — and that national advancement would mean that all citizens — not just the children of the rich — would need access to the best education for which they were qualified…
Singapore’s success is reflected in other indicators, as well. Life expectancy is 82 years, compared with 78 in the United States. Student scores on math, science and reading tests are among the highest in the world — well above the average for the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, the world’s club of rich nations, and well ahead of the United States…
Joe Stiglitz comes to conclusions I would expect from someone well versed in the history of political economy. Democracy is more than periodic votes for a limited number of candidates. Democracy must include an economic component, a righting of past wrongs.
That last sentence includes two qualities our nation still denies. The racism central to our Civil War is still denied by most of the population. Economic democracy hasn’t been a programmatic part of the two parties we’re allowed since before World War 2.
The turnout in Paul Ryan’s Milwaukee – for President Obama
In a post-election interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee and the GOP’s 2012 vice presidential nominee, said “the president should get credit for achieving record-breaking turnout numbers from urban areas for the most part, and that did win the election for him.” Ryan’s critics noted that President Barack Obama also fared well in states like Iowa, where the urban vote is relatively small. Some even suggested that Ryan’s remarks were a kind of racial code, in which “urban areas” served as a stand-in for black and Latino voters. Yet Ryan’s observation speaks to a deeper truth that should trouble Republicans.
Although rural regions dominate the map of the contiguous United States, an overwhelming majority of Americans live in urban and suburban areas. Democrats have long dominated dense urban cores. But Democrats increasingly dominate dense inner suburbs—as opposed to sprawling outer suburbs, where Republicans still hold their own—as well, and the share of the population concentrated in dense suburban counties is steadily increasing. This is true not only among Latino, black, and Asian voters living in these communities, but of white voters as well…
Rather than fixate on ethnicity, conservatives would do well to think more about urbanity. What is it about life in America’s densest, most productive, and most economically stratified metropolitan areas that persuades voters to back Democrats? When this phenomenon was limited to the populous coastal metropolitan areas, it could reasonably be explained away as a product of regional political polarization. But the leftward trend in urban areas is chipping away at the GOP’s advantage in the South and the Mountain West as well.
The winds of change
Compulsory military service may be suspended in order to help the Ministry of Defence find the 2.7 billion kroner of cuts it has promised to make.
The news comes ahead of the start of negotiations today between the government and the parties that voted in favour of the last defence budget that expires in two years time.
Compulsory military service is written into the Danish constitution, making it difficult to abolish. That is why the government has instead proposed to suspend the tradition…
Reports suggest that the preliminary negotiations seem to have found about two billion kroner of cuts, while suspending military service is hoped to save an additional 500 million kroner a year.
Almost all 18-year-old Danish men – and a small number of women – serve at least four months of military service once they complete upper secondary school.
The tradition started in the middle of the 19th century and is now considered a rite of passage for most men while also providing the Danish military with a large recruitment ground for its professional army.
As a result, right-wing parties the Konservative (K) and Dansk Folkeparti (DF) are against suspending it.
DF’s defence spokesperson, Maria Krarup…and K’s defence spokesperson, Lene Espersen…said blah, blah, blah!
Opposition party Liberal Alliance (LA) is for getting rid of it though.
“National service belongs to the past,” LA’s defence spokesperson Villum Christensen told Ritzau. “It’s a very expensive way to educate soldiers. We would rather have a professional army.”
Overdue. Of course, even having such a discussion is beyond the comprehension of the slurry of Cold Warriors and spineless hacks we have in Congress.
Americans are divided as to whether a third major party is needed in U.S. politics today, after having given majority support to the concept in 2011 and 2010. Americans’ views today are remarkably similar to what they were in September 2008, before that year’s presidential election…
Support for a third party has varied substantially since Gallup first asked this question in 2003. It was highest in 2007 and 2010, at 58%. In between those peaks, however, support dropped to less than the majority level two months before the 2008 election, as it has in the current survey, conducted Sept. 6-9 — two months before this year’s election. Thus, it may be that in election years — particularly shortly after the parties’ conventions, as was the case for the 2008 and the 2012 surveys — Americans look more favorably upon the two dominant political parties.
As would be expected, Americans who have the weakest ties to either of the two major parties — independents — are consistently more likely to favor having a third party. The current 58% support level among independents, however, is the second lowest on record.
Republicans’ and Democrats’ support for a third party has fluctuated over the past nine years, but the two groups now have similar views, as they did a year ago. Now, 40% of Democrats support the concept of a third party, compared with 36% of Republicans…
The biggest problem – perfectly consistent with American politics – is that 3rd Party campaigns may represent a portion of grassroots identity; but, they pretty much always start at the top. It was essentially true of the Progressive Party and more recently, the Greens. It was even more so the case with Ross Perot and George Wallace.
Between impatience and self-importance, the idea of building in the style of the civil rights movement seems to require more patience than the not-so-oppressed minority of political independents can muster. In the United States that is.