THE FLIGHT FROM DALLAS

November 20, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Posted in First Family, Historical, Office of the President | Leave a comment
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From noon to dusk on November 22, 1963, history went dark, locked inside the closed and crowded cabin of Air Force One. Fifty years later, what happened after JFK died has fully come to light.

President John F. Kennedy

Esquire‘s Chris Jones tells the story of President Kennedy’s last flight from Dallas to Washington, DC.

Exceptional Exceptionalism

January 17, 2013 at 1:59 am | Posted in civil rights, Economy, Foreign Affairs, health, Historical | Leave a comment
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Some of the younger boys working in the Brazos Valley Cotton Mill at West. One, Charlie Lott was thirteen years old according to Family Record, another Norman Vaughn apparently twelve years old was under legal age according to one of the other boys there, Calvin Caughlin who did not appear to be fifteen years old himself. These and two girls that I proved to be under legal age were all working in this small mill. It was an exceptional case, but it it (i.e., is) likely that as the children become tired of school later in the year, there will be many more at work. Location: West, Texas. November 1913. Photograph by Lewis Wickes Hine

What’s truly exceptional about America, it turns out, is the indifference we show to our compatriots, the absence of the kind of national solidarity more evident in the nations that surpass us on all these lists.

Harold Meyerson, Washington Post

“About as genuine as polyester.”

October 10, 2012 at 9:34 am | Posted in elections, environment, Historical | Leave a comment
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Hunter carrying a large bear. c1909. (courtesy of the Library of Congress)

(Worcester Telegram & Gazette) A wildlife biologist and avid hunter, who asked not to be named and worked for the state when Romney was governor confided, “I really don’t recall the Romney administration and its appointees having much interest in sportsmen or wildlife conservation. … We were small potatoes with little political or financial power … inconsequential in their estimation. …. I recall that when the Romney administration came to power, it immediately seized all state funds, including the Inland Fish & Game Fund.

“The IFGF cannot, by law, be spent on anything but fisheries and wildlife management. … The Romneyites … held onto it for months, long enough that multiple requests (from Mass Fish & Wildlife) failed to get it back, and the United States Fish & Wildlife Service finally had to write a letter informing the governor that the Massachusetts Division of Fish & Wildlife would be forfeiting a huge sum — $3.2 million, I think — in federal funds if the IFGF weren’t returned to the control of the Massachusetts Wildlife board. This finally got the Romneyites motivated, and they finally relinquished control.

“They held a press conference, and the governor came out to field headquarters and made a speech about how good it was to help out and get this funding for the sportsmen! It was almost surreal: the guy who took the Fish and Game money and held onto it, despite many calls for reason, spins the spectacle to make it sound like he’s a hero for somehow getting it back for us! … Watching that scene play out sure convinced me that he is about as genuine as polyester.”

Five hunters with hunting dogs, carrying two deer. c1922 (courtesy of the Library of Congress)

(ThinkProgress) In response to a question about whether he would sell public lands back to the state [so they could sell them to commercial interests], Romney stated that that “I haven’t studied it, what the purpose is of the land, so I don’t want to say, “Oh, I’m about to hand it over.” But where government ownership of land is designed to satisfy, let’s say, the most extreme environmentalists, from keeping a population from developing their coal, their gold, their other resources for the benefit of the state, I would find that to be unacceptable.

Our Most Fundamental Right, Our Most Solemn Obligation

September 23, 2012 at 10:30 am | Posted in civil rights, Education, elections, Michelle Obama, Voting Rights | Leave a comment
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And make no mistake about it, change absolutely starts at home. We know that. It starts with each of us taking responsibility for ourselves and our families. Because we know that our kids won’t grow up healthy until our families start eating right and exercising more. That’s on us. We know we won’t close that education gap until we turn off the TV, and supervise that homework, and serve as good role models for our own kids. That’s on us. We know that.

But while we certainly need to start at home, we absolutely cannot stop there. Because as you all know better than just about anyone, our laws still matter. Much like they did 50, 150 years ago, our laws still shape so many aspects of our lives: Whether our kids have clean air and safe streets, or not. Whether we invest in education and job training and truly focus on the urgent challenge of getting folks back to work, or not. Whether our sons and daughters who wear our country’s uniform get the benefits they’ve earned, or not.

See, these are the types of decisions that are made by the folks in our city halls and our state legislatures, by folks in our statehouses, in our Congress, and, yes, in our White House. And who’s responsible for selecting those public servants? Who is ultimately responsible for the decisions they make — or don’t make? We are. That’s our job. As citizens of this great country, that is our most fundamental right, our most solemn obligation — to cast our ballots and have our say in the laws that shape our lives.

Michelle Obama
September 22, 2012
Congressional Black Caucus (Earthquake) Awards Dinner

The Hard and Narrow Third Path Won the Day

September 15, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Posted in Foreign Affairs, Historical, International Affairs, Obama!, politics straight up | Leave a comment
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Tobruk, Libya. One hour after Tobruk fell, such scenes as this were common. Roofless buildings stand among scattered masonry and wreckage of motor vehicles in a corner of the bomb-torn town which had been one of the main supply ports for Rommel’s army in North Africa. c.1942? (Courtesy of the Library of Congress)

I am glad that I won’t have to explain to my own children why the world stood aside, its decision allayed by an American President whom I supported, and allowed a mass genocidal massacre for the second time in almost as many decades.

thereisnospoon@Digby’s Hullabaloo

Elvis Has Left The Building

September 15, 2012 at 11:24 am | Posted in Foreign Affairs, Obama!, politics straight up, Reality Bites, State Department, terrorism | Leave a comment
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When I saw the story teaser — “Why Can’t Muslims Remain Calm?” — I was expecting more “they’re subhuman” bullshit that’s popular again after the killings of Christopher Stevens, the American ambassador to Libya, and three members of his staff. The teaser misled me. This is the gist of the author’s argument:

Tombs of the Mamluk Sultanate (photo c1867-1899, courtesy of Library of Congress)

“This week’s events have certainly reminded us that there are Americans who hate Muslims, and there are Muslims who hate Americans. And if friendship between Egypt and the United States is contingent upon no American ever saying anything that will offend the religious sensibilities of Egyptians, then it is time to declare that friendship dead. President Obama can no more control anti-Muslim bigotry in America than President Mohammed Morsi can put a lid on anti-Americanism in his country. But the haters don’t have to win the day. In this, Egyptians (and, more importantly, their political leaders) could take a lesson from the United States.”

While I believe the author is correct that the American government led by President Obama has reacted in a measured way to recent events, he gives Americans too much credit. America only appears to be better behaved.

Just as politicians and political actors in Egypt and Libya are playing on emotions to control power, the Bush/Cheney administration used the emotions of the American people after the attacks of September 11, 2001 to justify what turned out to be an enormously expensive (both in money and lives) yet ultimately failed attempt to move Iraq’s assets into the hands of a small group of people. Americans aren’t marching in the streets, throwing rocks at foreign embassies, but we don’t have to. We outsource the violence. We can — and do — sit comfortably in our Barca loungers while drones drop bombs on the people we hate. Americans are, in the end, no more adult than Egyptians or Libyans. We are just as easily manipulated by those who foment hate as a means to their particular end.

Deep Breath, In, Out, In, Out

September 7, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Posted in elections, Obama! | Leave a comment
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The Most Powerful, Nonviolent Tool We Have To Create A More Perfect Union

September 7, 2012 at 2:28 am | Posted in civil rights, elections, politics straight up, Voting Rights | Leave a comment
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John Lewis being ushered into a police patrol wagon during a racial demonstration in Nashville, Tenn., as a number of people watch. c.1964

John Lewis gave a speech on Thursday night, in the first hour of the convention, that almost nobody saw, which is too bad, because it summed up the great unmentioned subtext of this year’s election — namely, that, between the new torrents of money that are overwhelming the system, and the rise again of voter-suppression legalisms in the various states, which are in many cases products of those same new torrents of money, the election is coming perilously close to becoming a puppet show. The Republicans didn’t mention that, because they have taken in so much of the new money, and because Republican governors and legislators in the various states are behind the new voter-suppression laws, and everybody knows that. The Democrats are caught in a bind, because they have to play in the new universe of campaign finance, too, and because they’re trying to keep up with a symphony of well-financed propaganda that seeks to make voter-suppression into a good-government initiative. John Lewis is not fooled. John Lewis has seen this before. And John Lewis told the convention what he’s seeing rising in the country out of his own past.

If I were running the president’s campaign, I’d shut the hell up about Simpsonp-fking-Bowles and put John Lewis on an airplane and let him tell his story in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and everywhere else this atavistic authoritarian nonsense is going down. There’s more at risk here than anyone knows.

If you did not hear John Lewis’s convention speech, you can do so at C-Span.

President Obama Acceptance Speech at 2012 Democratic National Convention

September 7, 2012 at 12:49 am | Posted in elections, Obama Speaks | Leave a comment
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Well done, Mr. President!

September 7, 2012 at 12:44 am | Posted in elections, Obama! | Leave a comment
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Here’s a slide show of the President and his lovely family (well, you have to scroll down below Sarah Palin’s whining).

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