Wattree on Mandela: Homeward Bound
Richard Day: Cold in Minnesota, and in the Hearts of Men
Ramona On Martin Bashir
So George Will, highly renowned municipal analyst and wicked good judge of character, has once again set his sights on Detroit. Somehow--don't ask me how--I knew this would happen. I knew it would happen because the decline of Detroit, our allegedly foremost black and poor city, is in the spotlight, and it's beyond George Will's ability to say no to such delicious news.
Yesterday, The Washington Post gave us the tale of Basaaly Moalin, a 36-year-old San Diego cab driver from Somalia, who still has close family in his home country, who was recently convicted of sending $8,500 to a military group there that the United States designates as a terrorist organization. He was caught, in part, through the National Security Agency's database of phone call details. [Read more]
On one hand, I am amused that the Republican National Committee, under the direction of Subcommander Reince Preibus, is angry that NBC might produce a movie biopic about Hillary Clinton. Corporations are people, Reince. Your side saw to it that these corpersonations were endowed with the rights of free political speech. Heck, Citizens United was about the right of a corporation to fund an anti-Hillary movie.
But, of course, the RNC has free speech rights, too. If NBC or CNN is behind a pro-Hillary movie that the RNC doesn't like, then the RNC should feel free to restrict NBC and CNN access to its primary election process. [Read more]
Everyone's talking about Jeff Bezos buying The Washington Post. But it's also been a dramatic week for two newspapers close to my heart in different ways: The Boston Globe and The Cleveland Plain Dealer. Two days ago, The Globe, like the WaPo, was sold to an individual billionaire with a high profile. Today the Plain Dealer, which has not been sold, stopped delivering the newspaper. It will still be printed every morning, but it will only be delivered three days a week. Nearly one third of its reporters were laid off on Wednesday. It's not the first round of buyouts or layoffs at the PD, and it's not the second either. [Read more]
Last week I had a little stint guest blogging for Esquire while the unstoppable Charles Pierce took a vacation. On of my topics was the Larry Summers for Fed Chair debate and my take was that even if you really, really like Larry Summers there's nothing about him that makes him so singular a talent that he and only he should run the Fed. Summers faces opposition from Wall Street, Congressional Democrats and prominent women, among others. In the face of that, and given the presence of Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Janet Yellen as a perfectly qualified candidate, why all the emotional and mental energy spent on Summers? [Read more]
On Thursday, Russian officials announced that Russia had offered asylum to dissidents suffering persecution from the Russian government.
The group includes Alexei Navalny, an anti-corruption blogger sentenced to five years in a corrective labor colony; Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a former Russian oligarch imprisoned since 2005; members of punk rock protest band Pussy Riot, imprisoned since 2012; Russia's gay population; and the Chechen Republic. Russia also offered posthumous asylum to Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB agent assassinated by Russian agents after receiving asylum in Britain. [Read more]
Fox News's hostile interview with Reza Aslan has lit up the internet. (See Michael Maiello and Historiann for two of the smarter takes.) Obviously, interviewer Lauren Green's insistence that something must be very wrong for a Muslim to write a book about Jesus, and that such a book must be wrong, is a problem. But Green (and her producers) are simply peddling a toxic version of an idea that lots of us entertain in various forms. [Read more]
There is a part of the American feminist movement that drives me nuts. It's the part where all women who call themselves feminists have to be smart and sassy and so damned tough any public sign of vulnerability or weakness, particularly where men are involved, is reason enough to drum them out of the corps.
Poor Reza Aslan who participated in a cringeworthy Fox News interview about his new book about the historical Jesus only to be asked repeatedly why he would even write such a thing since he is a devout Muslim.
These are the minor incidences in life that fill me with dread. They are the reminders that it is very hard to talk to a lot of people. Worse, that other people very much control the conversation. [Read more]
Safe to say that ever since the news broke that the entire city of Detroit was filing for bankruptcy hundreds of thousands of us Detroiters and ex-Detroiters and Michiganders everywhere have been biting our nails, gnashing our teeth, pounding the walls, spending partially-sleepless nights worrying about the fate of the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA).
So, apparently Larry Summers is now the leading candidate for Chairman of the Federal Reserve. This is a bad idea, for lots of reasons, not least of which is that Summers' sudden ascendancy is a sign that The Usual Suspects are talking him up, and it's The Usual Suspects who not only got our economy into this mess but made our government's top priority not getting out of the mess "too quickly." Summers himself was one of Obama's leading economic advisers during the first term, and neither his advice nor Obama's first-term policy were effective in turning the Great Recession around. The result of Summers's advice was always too little, too late. It was Summers who insisted on asking Congress for a smaller stimulus package than the economy needed, on the theory that the smaller package would get passed. Of course, Congress took that smaller package and cut it down even more. [Read more]
The New York Times comically believes that Anthony Weiner should drop out of the New York City mayoral race because... he sexted some willing people online? Ah, we're told, it's a big deal because he kept sexting willing people online after having resigned from Congress for sexting willing people online.
Sexting willing people online. [Read more]
There are few occasions for international irritation more abrasive than the refusal by one sovereign to honor the request of another that a fugitive from justice be surrendered to the tribunals if the aggrieved nation.
Recall that the proximate casus belli for the longest war in American history was the refusal by the Taliban rump Afghan government to extradite Osama Bin Laden. [Read more]
In case you didn’t notice, with all the recent fanfare involving ground-breaking Supreme Court decisions, government spying, or the demise of a Southern cooking empire, Texas—where they do everything on a grand scale—carried out its 500th “modern execution.” Modern, that is to say, since 1982, when the death penalty was resumed in that state. [Read more]
While the public is thoroughly distracted with unending news and commentary on phone call logs, metadata, roller coaster accidents or the lack of accountability for the murder of a teen in Florida, one lonely article in the New York Times discusses how Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Blackrock are fleecing the consumer on Main Street with a game of merry go-round played with 1,500 lb. bars of aluminum in the environs of bankrupt Detroit: [Read more]
The Good Ol' Boys in Texas have decreed that they're in charge of women's reproductive decisions, and the little ladies just gotta take it. If it was just making abortions more difficult for women that would be one thing. (We expect that sort of thing when privileged men get together to use their power.) But they want to make sure women are ground down even more by setting impossible standards for reproductive clinics, by forcing ultrasounds, and by banning the Morning After pill--a most merciful choice for avoiding unwanted pregnancies. Why do all that? Because you just can't punish women enough for having sex with men. [Read more]
The vast majority of people in this country - both Black, White, and others - are good people. While we all have a strain of racism in us, it’s not a conscious racism, and most of us of normal intelligence are engaged in a constant internal struggle to eradicate it when we recognize it in ourselves. What makes it such a struggle is we’re constantly inundated by it in this country, and the reason we try so desperately to weed it out is, being of normal intelligence, we see it for what it is - a form of gross stupidity. [Read more]
Many bigots in this country are giddy with delight over what they view as a victory for bigotry in the George Zimmerman verdict. But since scientific studies have shown that racist attitudes have a positive correlation with gross ignorance (http://www.livescience.com/18132-intelligence-social-conservatism-racism...), many of them are probably not familiar with the concept of "unintended consequences?" [Read more]
White conservatives often criticize Black people for being too quick to play what they call "the race card." On the other hand, many Black people criticize America for not being sensitive enough to the reality that race plays in American life. George Zimmerman’s trial for the murder of Trayvon Martin clearly validates the Black community’s point of view. [Read more]
Dear White People,
I understand through the Internet and mainstream media that some of you are "deeply concerned about urban riots," as the Zimmerman verdict approaches. Please, white people, keep this deep concern to yourself. Your concerns sound quite patronizing to the, um, no doubt multicultural assemblage of rioters that you imagine is gathering informally on the streets of Miami.
I suppose that people might erupt into riots at pretty much any time. I'd just point out that the people interested in seeing George Zimmerman stand trial for the shooting of Trayvon Martin didn't riot when Zimmerman wasn't arrested and didn't riot when it looked like he wasn't going to be charged with anything. [Read more]