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Sourceforge Releases - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 01:56
Categories: Opensource News

The Party of Big Money: Hillary and Bill Raise $1.4 Billion

World politics news from blogosphere - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 01:47
Hillary and Bill Clinton: Inside $1.4 Billion Political Fortune – TIME. Impressive! I wonder h
Categories: International News

The Canadian way: smoked meat on rye at a Palestinian film festival

World politics news from blogosphere - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 01:42

With Irish Jim O’Connell there and Scotty Jack McDonald,
There’s hunky Frederic Herzal gettin’ tight but that’s alright,
There’s happy German Trixie there with Frenchie gettin tipsy,
And even Joe the Gypsy knows its Saturday tonight.
— Sudbury Saturday Night, Stompin’ Tom Connors

On Aug. 8, when Torontonians gather at Christie Pits Park for a free outdoor screening of the Palestinian film Laila’s Birthday, they will be able to buy smoked meat on rye from a food truck emblazoned with the words: Sometimes You Just Have to Jew It Up.

The truck is going to be there because Zane Caplansky, owner of Caplansky’s Deli, is sponsoring the Toronto Palestine Film Festival, to the delight of the organizers.

Caplansky is doing this because he is disheartened by the tone of some of the public discussion about the war in Gaza.

“For a well-known Jewish business in Toronto to publicly support a Palestinian film festival makes a statement of brotherhood, sisterhood and community that I feel very strongly about,” he told me Friday. “To me, that’s the best part of Toronto and the best part of Canada is our diversity and the fact that we all coexist so well here.”

I think Caplansky is right. Peaceful coexistence is our defining national characteristic.

It’s a good idea to think about this, especially during this summer of televised horrors from distant battlefields, because we don’t want Canadians to ever fear their neighbours.

Local Input~ UNDATED - A March 2012 handout photo of Zane Caplansky of Caplanky's Delicatessen with PayPal Here credit card reader for cell phones. Handout/ PayPal.

Local Input~ UNDATED – A March 2012 handout photo of Zane Caplansky of Caplanky’s Delicatessen with PayPal Here credit card reader for cell phones. Handout/ PayPal.

 

 

We can’t assume we will always be so fortunate.

France, where the equality of all citizens is a founding principle, can’t prevent street violence related to the Gaza conflict.

Last week in Paris, pro-Palestinian protesters burned down Naouri Sarcelles, a kosher supermarket, and there have been nasty protests outside synagogues, which must be terrifying for French Jews, given the history of pogroms and the Holocaust.

“We have heard ‘Death to Jews’ one more time,” said French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, calling for the violence to stop. “It’s one time too many. Synagogues are under attack again. Our synagogues, like our churches, our temples, our mosques, are our shared heritage, indivisible parts of France, protected by our idea of secularism.”

[kaltura-widget uiconfid="23273481" entryid="0_k4f8xp22" ]

How fortunate we are that our prime minister doesn’t have to make that kind of speech.

Even the United States, a country of immigrants, has a much more difficult time maintaining social peace. This weekend, hundreds of protests will take place across the country to urge Barack Obama to expel child migrants from Central America.

In 1992, after Los Angeles police were acquitted of beating Rodney King, 52 people were killed in riots.

In Canada, in contrast, even our most painful conflicts are resolved with little bloodshed.

In 1990, during the Oka crisis, Corporal Marcel Lemay of the Sûreté du Québec, was shot and killed.

In 1970, in the October crisis, Pierre Laporte and James Cross were killed by terrorists from the FLQ.

Those are tragedies, but how many countries in the world can claim such a low death count from civil strife over the same decades?

We can list the victims of political or ethnic violence by name. In other countries they are statistics.

John Ralston Saul argues convincingly in his book Reflections of a Siamese Twin that Canada’s peaceful tradition comes from our early leaders, who avoided violence as they set about the delicate business of forming a country with two mutually suspicious language groups.

Louis Hippolyte Lafontaine and Robert Baldwin, the reformers who led the Union of Upper and Lower Canada in the 1840s, refrained from cracking heads because they “understood instinctively” that they must govern with “restraint and moderation,” Saul wrote.

There are exceptions — the hanging of Louis Riel, the imposition of the War Measures Act, wartime internments — but for the most part our government doesn’t hit people on the head or shoot them when we can find a way to settle things peacefully, as we did at Oka. (I don’t think we have yet reconciled or even acknowledged all of the crimes against aboriginals, but that’s another story.)

There’s also a grass roots, matter-of-fact consensus around multiculturalism, as Stompin’ Tom chronicled. Some Quebec nationalists believe it is a threat, but in general, Canadians are open to multiculturalism and becoming more so.

There is likely no country in the world where people from different backgrounds mix with less fuss.

Caplansky told me Friday that his deli is an example of that.

“This is Toronto,” he said. “This what you have here. I’ve got a Japanese slicer, a Tibetan manager, a French black cook all standing together behind my slicing station right now. If I was to go into the kitchen, there’s a Vietnamese guy, there’s a Filipino guy. Everyone’s from someplace else. This is Canada. We all get along really well here. If we can export that, that would be lovely to me.”

smaher@postmedia.com
@stphnmaher

Categories: International News

Crisis brews in Imo as lawmakers seek better welfare package

World politics news from blogosphere - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 01:40

OWERRI—The executive and legislative arms of government in Imo State may be heading for serious confrontation, following what the lawmakers see as executive exploitation.
Already, the lawmakers, who are mainly from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, h…Crisis brews in Imo as lawmakers seek better welfare package

Categories: International News

Crisis brews in Imo as lawmakers seek better welfare package

World politics news from blogosphere - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 01:40

OWERRI—The executive and legislative arms of government in Imo State may be heading for serious confrontation, following what the lawmakers see as executive exploitation.
Already, the lawmakers, who are mainly from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, h…Crisis brews in Imo as lawmakers seek better welfare package

Categories: International News

Obama Regime Plotting to Give Refugee Status to Thousands of South American Children...Still in South America

World politics news from blogosphere - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 01:34

Via The New York Times:

Hoping to stem the recent surge of migrants at the Southwest border, the Obama administration is considering whether to allow hundreds of minors and young adults from Honduras into the United States without making the dangerous trek through Mexico, according to a draft of the proposal.

If approved, the plan would direct the government to screen thousands of children and youths in Honduras to see if they can enter the United States as refugees or on emergency humanitarian grounds. It would be the first American refugee effort in a nation reachable by land to the United States, the White House said, putting the violence in Honduras on the level of humanitarian emergencies in Haiti and Vietnam, where such programs have been conducted in the past amid war and major crises.

Critics of the plan were quick to pounce, saying it appeared to redefine the legal definition of a refugee and would only increase the flow of migration to the United States. Administration officials said they believed the plan could be enacted through executive action, without congressional approval, as long as it did not increase the total number of refugees coming into the country.

[...]

Continue Reading…

 

Categories: International News

Obama Regime Demands Congress Reppeal Iraq War Authorization to Ensure No US Soldiers Can Return to Country

World politics news from blogosphere - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 01:31

Via the Washington Free Beacon:

The Obama administration is calling on Congress to fully repeal the war authorization in Iraq to ensure that no U.S. troops return to the country, which is under siege by the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS).

White House national security adviser Susan Rice petitioned Speaker of the House John Boehner (R., Ohio) in a letter Friday to completely repeal the war authorization, officially known as the Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq, or AUMF.

Rice’s letter was sent as Congress just hours before it approved a resolution opposing U.S. military intervention in Iraq, where the terrorist group ISIL claims to have established an Islamic caliphate.

“We believe a more appropriate and timely action for Congress to take is the repeal of the outdated 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq,” Rice wrote, according to a copy of her letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

“With American combat troops having completed their withdrawal from Iraq on December 18, 2011, the Iraq AUMF is no longer used for any U.S. government activities and the administration fully supports its repeal,” Rice wrote. “Such a repeal would go much further in giving the American people confidence that ground forces will not be sent into combat in Iraq.”

The repeal would come at a complicated – and some argue dangerous – time in Iraq’s history.

ISIL has continued to make military gains as the Iraqi army struggles to combat the terror group’s campaign.

ISIL has already moved to impose an extreme form of Islamic law on Iraqi citizens, including ordering all women to wear a face veil and threatening violence for disobedience.

The Senate has sought several times in the past years to reconsider the AUMFs pertaining to Iraq and Afghanistan as both wars winded down.

Senate Democrats have expressed a willingness to repeal the Iraq AUMF, a move that critics say would be dangerous to the United States’ ongoing fight against terror.

A repeal of the war authority could also be a boon for ISIL and would send a clear sign that the United States is not willing to stop the militant group from making gains.

“There is no strong reason to change the AUMF,” John Yoo, a former deputy assistant attorney general in the Bush administration, told the Free Beacon earlier this year, when the Senate was considering altering the AUMFs. “Over the last 13 years, all three branches have constructed a common understanding and series of practices around the AUMF in fighting the war on terror.”

“You break the dam to some extent if you break the AUMF,” a senior Senate aide also said at the time.

Congress should “tread carefully because the war on terror is not over and won’t be soon,” the source said. “You could start us down a path of repeal that you can’t turn back.”

Categories: International News

Surprise: lower tax rates lead to lower tax revenues

World politics news from blogosphere - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 01:30

Surprise, surprise.  After that substantial tax cuts (overwhelmingly benefiting NC”s wealthiest citizens) the super-charged economic growth the Republicans predicted has not materialized (yes, unemployment has improved, just like it has done pretty much everywhere).  The result, NC is coming in well-short in projected revenues (hey, I could have projected this).  Who will pay the price?  Teachers, those wanting a better education for their kids, the elderly and disabled, etc.  But hey, richer North Carolinians can now trade in their Lexus for a Mercedes.  Hooray!  From WRAL:

RALEIGH, N.C. — New figures from legislative analysts confirm the 2013 cut to individual income tax rates is costing the state far more than originally projected.

Last year, Republican leaders authored a plan to cut income taxes from a three-tiered marginal system of 6 percent, 7 percent and 7.75 percent to a flat rate of 5.8 percent for 2014 tax year.

According to a memo Thursday from legislative analyst Brian Slivka and chief economist Barry Boardman, the updated cost of the tax cut is $690 million for the current tax year.

That’s $205 million, or 43 percent, higher than the original projection of  $475 million.

The cost for the 2015 tax year is also projected to be $200 million higher than original estimates – $890 million rather than $690 million…

Republican leaders said last summer that lowering taxes would cause the economy to grow, helping more people find work and bringing in more revenue. They expressed confidence that the cost to the state would be actually be lower than initial projections.

But in the memo, Boardman and Slivka explain that North Carolina wages have not grown as quickly as projected last year.

And how’s this for some cogent economic context:

It’s not yet clear what effect, if any, the revision will have on the current budget negotiations.

However, to put the revision in context, the cost of a 7 percent average teacher pay increase, according to the House’s latest offer, is about $265 million.

The cost of a 6 percent average teacher raise, according to an earlier House offer, is about $178 million, while the cost of funding all current teaching assistants for 2015 is about $450 million.

The cost of the Senate’s earlier proposed cuts to the Department of Health and Human Services, including cutting Medicaid eligibility for thousands of blind, disabled, and elderly patients, is about $228 million.

But, gee, who could have predicted this?  Oh, I don’t know, maybe anybody who has actually paid any attention to evidence on tax rates and economic policy in recent years.  Of course, now the Republicans get want they really want– lower taxes for rich people and the ability to throw up their hands and say there just isn’t enough money for teachers, the poor, elderly, disabled, etc.  And this surely can’t be good for higher education, either.

Categories: International News

Why We Shouldn’t Raise Teacher Pay

World politics news from blogosphere - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 01:29

Why We Shouldn’t Raise Teacher Pay

By Jason Richwine

Even without the tenure obstacle, putting the best teachers in the classroom requires
more than raising teacher pay. In fact, just that could drive down teacher quality.

When a California court struck down the state’s teacher tenure system last month, it sparked a renewed interest in how to hire the best teachers. If it’s finally possible to pry the least-effective teachers from their sinecures, as reformers see it, new and better teachers can take their spots. So how should we go about recruiting, selecting, and retaining this new wave of all-stars?

It’s not so easy. Even without the tenure obstacle, putting the best teachers in the classroom is a more challenging problem than many reformers will admit. One of the most common reformist prescriptions is raising teacher pay to attract stronger applicants. The logic seems simple, even obvious. But raising teacher pay will not work. In fact, it could be counter-productive. The reason lies not just with the well-known difficulty in predicting who will be a good teacher, but also with the entrenched hiring system of public schools.

Teachers Already Earn Too Much

Everyone from Laura Bush to former Washington DC Superintendent Michelle Rhee to teachers union president Randi Weingarten has called for raising pay. They never mention that we’ve tried it already. Contrary to public perception, the average public school teacher already receives total compensation that is greater than what he or she could earn in the private sector.

But don’t teachers earn lower average wages than college graduates in most other professions? Yes, but four-year degrees are not all created equal. For example, education—the degree held by around half of public school teachers—is among the least challenging fields of study. As measures of ability go, a degree in education cannot be equated with a degree in, say, computer science or engineering. That’s part of the reason why teachers typically receive a lower wage both before they enter teaching and after they leave for another field. Combine decent wages with a generous benefits package—guaranteed pensions, retiree health care, and job security—and teacher compensation is, on average, above market levels.

So the public is already paying for more highly-qualified teachers than it is getting. If the skills of the teacher workforce have yet to match the level of current compensation, it is not clear how an additional raise would produce better results.

Schools Turn Down the Brightest Applicants

Why has increasing teacher pay not led to a corresponding increase in teacher skills? Vanderbilt University economist Dale Ballou has an  answer. Simply put, even when schools are offered highly-skilled teachers, they don’t seem to want them. Writing in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, Ballou demonstrated that many of the most attractive teaching applicants—those who graduate from more competitive colleges, earn higher GPAs, or hold degrees in specialized areas such as math or science—schools often reject them in favor of less-impressive candidates who took the traditional route of majoring in education. An education degree was generally preferred even for applicants preparing for a secondary-school position.

No one knows for sure why this happens, but perhaps it’s the institutional culture of public schools. The principals and superintendents who do the hiring are themselves the product of standard teacher training—attending a large, middling university and majoring in education. These administrators tend to hire teaching applicants whose training resembles their own. By contrast, principals who have unusually strong academic records tend to choose  higher-skilled teacher applicants.

In any case, the naively dismissive reaction to Ballou’s findings would go something like this: Sure, the public-school hiring bureaucracy operates inefficiently, but raising teacher pay will at least add more skilled people to the applicant pool. Even if public schools hire applicants randomly, the higher-quality pool necessarily means higher-quality teachers will eventually find their way into the classrooms, right?

Probably not.

Higher Pay Could Lower Teacher Quality

Ballou and fellow economist Michael Podgursky of the University of Missouri have shown that higher pay without reforms could actually lower teacher quality. Their argument starts with the observation that increasing pay reduces the number of job openings (because fewer teachers will quit or retire), and increases the number of new applicants (because the salary is more attractive). This necessarily lowers the chance that any given teaching applicant will receive a job offer.

That reduced probability may discourage certain would-be applicants from making the costly investment of time and money in becoming certified for teaching, especially if they do not perceive that schools favor them in the hiring process. And, unfortunately, the best-qualified applicants are probably most discouraged.

How so? Well, imagine two young people who are thinking about going into teaching. Ken is a brilliant college student who may pursue engineering if he cannot land a job as a high school science teacher. Sandy is a cheerful and energetic undergrad, but she is not the strongest student, especially when it comes to math. She will most likely work as an administrative assistant if she does not become an elementary school teacher. (The most common non-education job education majors hold is indeed administrative assistant, according to Census Bureau data.)

Now imagine that public schools raise teacher pay across the board. Both Ken and Sandy are initially thrilled about the prospect of earning more as teachers. But then both begin to think about their reduced chances of landing a teaching job, as a flood of new teaching applicants compete for a smaller number of openings. To Sandy, this is not a big concern. Even if she is ultimately unsuccessful with her teaching application, her time spent preparing will not have been wasted. Whether Sandy majored in education or sociology, she will likely get her admin job.

But consider Ken’s perspective. If he pursues education, he is potentially wasting valuable time and money, either by displacing his engineering studies or by delaying his entry into the workforce. In economic terms, Ken’s opportunity cost is much higher than Sandy’s. If teacher pay is raised, Ken’s expected payoff from pursuing teaching—the higher teaching salary multiplied by the lower probability of getting a teaching job—may actually decline. So Ken focuses on engineering instead. At the end of this story, raising teacher pay has increased the size of the applicant pool but lowered its quality at the same time.

Now, if Ken knew that public schools would jump at the chance to hire bright students with strong academic backgrounds, he may not be discouraged from investing in a teaching career at all. But as we have seen, Ken is perfectly justified in fearing that school administrators do not value high-ability candidates like himself. And even if Ken possessed non-academic traits that might make him a good teacher—patience, empathy, dedication, et cetera—it would be risky to count on proving these hard-to-measure qualities on a job application, especially for someone without much prior work experience.

So, What’s the Answer?

So if pay increases are not the answer, what is? Only root-and-branch reform. In a recent paper, economists Douglas Staiger and Jonah Rockoff noted that public schools structure their hiring exactly backwards. Potential teachers must obtain certifications and licenses—a process that discourages some workers like Ken from applying in the first place—before being hired. Once hired, however, teachers quickly earn tenure almost as a matter of course.

A more rational hiring system would feature reduced entrance requirements—perhaps just a college degree in any area, with no certification requirements except for upper-level courses—then very strict standards for earning tenure based on actual classroom performance over a few years. This is not exactly a revolutionary idea. Most hiring managers in other fields are under no illusion that they can foretell employee performance based on credentials alone, which is one reason why tenure barely exists in the private sector. Even the most famously tenured profession—academia—has a “publish or perish” system for winnowing talent after the initial hiring process.

Public school systems need fundamental changes in how they operate to improve teacher quality, and abolishing tenure just scratches the surface. The creeping emphasis on credentials must be reversed. School administrators must be willing to hire promising applicants who never received the standard education-school training. Objective evaluation systems must be adopted and refined. All parties must become comfortable with a process that will increase teacher turnover. And, finally, the public must maintain sober expectations about the value of high-quality teachers, understanding that their effectiveness is naturally limited by the abilities and family situations of the students themselves. To effect all these changes, pundits and policymakers must move beyond their “pay teachers more” mantra. The idea is attractive for its simplicity, but in reality it is no solution at all.

Categories: International News

The Elephant in Our (History) Room

World politics news from blogosphere - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 01:25

Maybe the only way history becomes meaningful to anyone is when it illuminates your own experience, and vice versa. As a white person who was around for the Civil Rights Movement and played a very small role in it—I rode down from Boston overnight in the vast cavalcade of buses streaming south to attend the 1963 March on Washington and hear Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. The following year, I picketed the Boston School Committee over segregation and was escorted to safety when Southies arrived in force—I thought I understood something about the realities of our bloody history. I was acutely aware of the violence faced by the people my own age who went down to Mississippi for Freedom Summer, from fire hoses and police dogs to murders and bombings. (The guy who pulled me off the Boston picket line had just returned from Mississippi.)

March on Washington, 1963

March on Washington, 1963

All of which counts for nothing. In fact, I understood very little either of the realities of the black experience in America or of the extent to which the violence of racism has shaped and warped us and our culture. Two excellent, compulsively readable books have made that plain: Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis, and Compromise, 1848-1877 by Brenda Wineapple (2013),

Ecstatic Nation

and The Warmth Of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson (2010).

The Warmth of Other Suns

I read the later book first. I’d noted the interesting reviews for The Warmth Of Other Suns, a New York Times best seller and National Book Critics Circle Award winner, but kept putting off buying it since I thought I knew the history, more or less. But while reading Ecstatic Nation (a New York Times Notable Book and a Kirkus Best Book of 2013), I saw that Wilkerson’s book would be essential; I would need to continue the story, because I didn’t really know it at all.

The first thing Wineapple showed me was that the speculation I’d encountered in my reading over the years, as to whether the Civil War was really about slavery or about something else—land, or industrialization, or states’ rights—was all canard. Slavery and race were fundamental, had been since the beginning.

I got bogged down a bit during the Civil War itself, to which I’d had a fair amount of exposure growing up, starting with the fact that my great-grandmother had been a teenager in Gettysburg during the Battle and written a monograph about it, while my grandmother lived there. I spent a fair amount of childhood time tramping around the battlefield while the menfolk rehashed the battle: Big and Little Roundtop, Seminary Hill, the Wheatfield and Pickett’s Charge. (I don’t recall The Emancipation Proclamation ever coming up.)

But when Wineapple got to Reconstruction—the chaotic period after the Civil War when the government passed and attempted to enforce the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments that abolished slavery and guaranteed citizenship, equal protection under the laws and the right to vote—doors opened in my own history. At 10, I’d acquired a Baltimore-born-and-bred stepmother, and shortly thereafter taken my first trip South. Waiting at the terminal for what she called the Kiptopeke-Cape Charles ferry that would take us across the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay to Virginia Beach, I saw my first “Colored Only” and “White Only” signs over the water fountains.

"Colored" Drinking Fountain, Mid-20th Century

“Colored” Drinking Fountain, Mid-20th Century

I didn’t ask any questions; in my family, that didn’t get you anywhere. I just stored the image away. Next to it I filed the racist jokes to which I was inevitably exposed (and to which I can recall no one on the Northern side of the family objecting); still later, there were those newspaper and TV images of the violence of the Civil Rights era.

Both books made me see, clearly, the long history of that violence. Those signs on the water fountains on that deceptively peaceful summer’s day at the ferry terminal were one manifestation of it. I saw what a short time it had been to that day in 1950 from 1876, when the Supreme Court decided that, despite the 14th Amendment, the massacre of 80 free black people quietly exercising their civil rights was not the business of the federal government. Or even from 1865, when the Civil War ended and large numbers of whites in the South became determined to reestablish, minus only legal enslavement, the status quo ante. It was all the same violence, sustained over the length of a single long lifetime. Someone could have been born in 1865, lived to see those water-fountain signs in 1950, and died believing that nothing had changed, that whites were still supreme.

It was a very short hop from 1950 to 1964 and the lynching of Mississippi Freedom Summer activists Michael Schwerner, Andrew Chaney and James Goodman. But by that time a great deal had changed: the Civil Rights Movement had gotten underway in the early 50s and now Northern whites, among them Schwerner and Goodman, were in Mississippi to register black people to vote.

FBI Poster of Missing Civil Rights Workers James Goodman, Andrew Chaney and Michael Schwerner, Summer 1964

FBI Poster of Missing Civil Rights Workers James Goodman, Andrew Chaney and Michael Schwerner, Summer 1964

When I was growing up, the routine lynchings designed to keep black people in line during the Jim Crow era—officially, 1877, when Reconstruction ended, to 1954, when, in Brown v. Board of Education, the US Supreme Court desegregated public schools—were largely invisible to people in the North.

Lynching was murder committed with impunity, whether as punishment or just because the lynchers could. Tuskegee Institute, which kept records, required at least three lynchers for a murder to qualify as a lynching. According to its records, 3,445 black people were lynched between 1882 and 1964, most from the 1890s to the 1930s.

This, it seems to me, is the central fact of Jim Crow that we who grew up white in the North could not and did not comprehend and that both books, but especially Wilkerson’s, make clear. It wasn’t just that white people could murder black people, whether for whim or reason, and get away with it. It was that every black person in post-Civil War Confederate territory lived within an impenetrable maze of written and unwritten laws, rules, customs and whims, and that, for the unwitting infraction of any or none of them, he or she could at any moment be murdered. And there was no redress.

If you weren’t physically murdered, you were psychologically murdered, living in essentially the same appalling funk as slaves had. Years ago, I’d learned something about that from another terrific book, Puttin’ on Ole Massa: the Slave Narratives of Henry Bibb, William Wells Brown, and Solomon Northup, edited by Gilbert Osofsky (1969). Their stories had made me conscious of what, instinctively, seemed to me the central psychological condition of slavery: unremitting fear, terrible confinement, a continual diminishing, rather than expanding, of horizons. The absolute inability to exert free will. Wilkerson shows that the conditions imposed on black people in the Jim Crow South were not much different.

There were all kinds of lynchings, some very public. In 1916, 17-year-old Jesse Washington, illiterate and perhaps “feebleminded”, confessed to the murder of his cotton-farmer-boss’s wife and, after being convicted in court, was burned alive in Waco, Texas before some 15,000 spectators, the event commemorated with photographs circulated as postcards.

Postcard of the Lynched Jesse Washington, Front and Back

Postcard of the Lynched Jesse Washington, Front and Back

But it seems that many, perhaps most, lynchings were secret, anonymous, dead-of-night affairs. And it’s likely that a great many of those were never captured in the official records, which seem to have relied largely on newspaper reports. According to the Tuskegee records, after 1935 the number of lynching per year fell to the single digits; the lynching of Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman seems to have been the last Tuskegee recorded. But it looks as though the lynchers never intended for that one to become public: the three Civil Rights volunteers, driving in one car, were set up by the local sheriff and the Ku Klux Klan, ambushed on a back road in the dead of night, shot and buried in an earthen dam. Locally, everyone would have known about it; that was how lynching enforced the status quo.

But of course that lynching—which had been undertaken precisely because Freedom Summer was threatening the status quo—did not remain secret. Because Northern whites had likely been killed, and because the Civil Rights Movement was in full flood and there were nationwide protests, the Federal government got involved. The FBI and the military were brought in, and within a few weeks the bodies of the three young men were found. The Klan and the sheriff had merely done what whites had been doing as a matter of course for almost a century (the searchers also found a number of lynched black bodies submerged in various rivers and creeks, some never identified). They didn’t realize that time was finally catching up with Jim Crow.

President Lyndon B. Johnson meets with Civil Rights leaders Martin Luther King, Jr., Whitney Young, and James Farmer, January 1964.

President Lyndon B. Johnson meets with Civil Rights leaders Martin Luther King, Jr., Whitney Young, and James Farmer, January 1964.

If we in the North were shocked by the violence of the response to the Civil Rights Movement, it was because we didn’t understand the simple fact that it was merely the same business-as-usual violence that had undermined Reconstruction and maintained Jim Crow—and, before that, had been built into the system of slavery that was, after all, an important underpinning of the agrarian economy of the United States. (Although lynching as such was apparently not so much a feature of slavery, there being many other forms of violence available to slave owners short of destroying their property.)

Black people subjected to these conditions began protesting against them early and in the only effective way possible: with their feet. Thousands of “Exodusters” migrated to Kansas as early as 1879. By the early 20th century the Great Migration, Wilkerson’s subject, was on—from 1915 to 1970, six million blacks fled the south. “They did what human beings looking for freedom, throughout history, have often done.” she writes. “They left.”

The great surge started during World War I for the simple reason that there were jobs in the North. The War had created a shortage of workers in the northern factories, and companies sent undercover agents down South to infiltrate black communities and spread the news, secretly. Once people started leaving, word filtered back and more saw a way out.

Wilkerson tells the story of the Great Migration through the lives of three people, each of whom left a different part of the South in a different decade, and for a different destination determined largely by the route of the railroad line that transported them, or others from their town or region who’d gone before. They couldn’t just pick up and go; Wilkerson’s account makes escaping from the Jim Crow south seem rather like escaping from the Soviet Union or East Germany during the Cold War; it required planning, guile, luck and, above all, secrecy.

Two of her three protagonists fled in fear for their lives: In 1937 Mississippi, the sharecropper husband of Ida Mae Brandon Gladney had good reason to believe that he and his wife might be targeted by the same whites who’d beaten a cousin almost to death for allegedly stealing turkeys from George Gladney’s boss. (The birds had merely wandered off.) The Gladneys made it to the Midwest, ultimately to Chicago.

In 1946, George Starling managed by a roundabout way to catch the train from Florida to New York after he’d been warned of a plot to lynch him in retaliation for trying to organize his fellow citrus pickers, who in fear for their own lives had informed on him.

Wilkerson’s third protagonist, Robert Pershing Foster, a surgeon from the small black elite, fled Louisiana for California by car in 1951 to escape what I would call soul murder: the almost total lack of options for exercising his capabilities and developing his potential as a surgeon and human being. In this context, Wilkerson cites a white woman asking, “If these Negroes become doctors and merchants or buy their own farms, what shall we do for servants?”

In the North, the migrants endured segregated housing, job discrimination, and a host of other indignities. But they would not be murdered for trying to vote—in Chicago, Ida Mae found that, “the very party and the very apparatus that was ready to kill them if they tried to vote in the South was searching them out and all but carrying them to the polls.” Their children could get a real education, not be forced to quit school to pick crops.

Wilkerson has been chastised by a New York Times critic for ignoring a book that stresses the negative impact of the Great Migration: “Wilkerson has little to say about the following generation or its problems beyond a cheerful listing of politicians, athletes, musicians, writers and film stars who got the opportunity ‘to grow up free of Jim Crow and to be their fuller selves’ because their parents had joined the Great Migration.” I’d say he’s missing the point: on the evidence of these two books, had their parents failed to migrate North those black politicians, athletes, musicians, writers and film stars, most of them iconic names, would likely simply not have existed as we know them. Wilkerson writes that “it cannot be known what course the lives of” James Baldwin, Aretha Franklin, Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson and many others would have taken. But any black person living under Jim Crow had few or no opportunities to learn, let alone develop to its highest level and practice, his or her art, sport or profession. Instead, we might have had more maids, sharecroppers, murder victims. And we would all have been impoverished.

 

Categories: International News

Florida Lawmaker To Propose Bill To Make D'Souza Film Required Viewing For Students

World politics news from blogosphere - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 01:20

s11_4787Republican state Sen. Alan Hays really really liked the film “America.” So much so that he wants to make viewing the film by conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza required viewing for all students. Hays seems entirely unaware of the inherent conflict in responding to what he views as the dangerous influence of liberal views by seeking the mandatory viewing of conservative views.


Hays reported that “I saw the movie and walked out of the theater and said, ‘Wow, our students need to see this.’ And it’s my plan to show it to my colleagues in the legislature, too, before they’re asked to vote on the bill.” He would make every student, absent parental objections, watch the film in middle and high schools. That would cover 1,700 Florida public high schools and middle schools. For many of us, such a law seems a tab Orwellian.

D’Souza has become a rallying point for conservative due to a federal investigation that was launched while he was marketing the movie. He pleaded guilty in May to a charge that he made improper donations to a Senate candidate in 2012, though he insists that the case was the result of selective prosecution.

In fairness to Hays, he said that he would not object to a pairing of the movie with Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth (which is already shown in many classes) or some of Michael Moore’s left-leaning films. However, mandating such films through legislation is a dangerous and destructive path for politicians. These classes should be left to teachers and school administrators — not dictated by the shifting alliances of the legislature. These children are not a captive audience to be tossed about by our increasing rapid political debate. While I have been a long critic of administrators over the application of zero tolerance rules and lack of accountability, this intrusion into the classroom is menacing and ill-considered.

On the slippery slope of politically mandated education, we could see a race to the bottom as liberal and conservative states implement their own agendas of education. The result will be the further reduction of educational standards in the United States and the replication of the same intolerance that we see across the country in our political discourse. I have not see D’Souza’s movie or read his book. However, I am opposed to politicians picking reading or viewership lists for students. Indeed, politicians may be the least suited for such a role. There has to be some limit on the mutually assured destruction of the two parties — some protected zone that can be free of this self-destructive internecine struggle. We should at least be able to tell politicians to keep their hands off the kinder.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

Categories: International News

Government cracking down on school bake sales

World politics news from blogosphere - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 01:19
Barely a month after federal regulations for school cafeterias kicked in, states are already pushing
Categories: International News

The Council Has Spoken: The 'D' Word Gets Needed Attention. Please Share!

World politics news from blogosphere - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 01:16

 By Isabel Matos

I am going to toot my own horn today since there are goals I will never attain like the number of views our talented Publisher has. I am only one million, ten thousand five hundred and twenty-seven shy of it (but who is counting?~!!!).

Moral victories come in all shapes and sizes so this one to me is huge because I’m SO vehemently against Amnesty and so much in favor of Deportation, a subject most politicians just do not want to touch. Its stigma is worse than Amnesty.

This is also to send a big shout to writer/blogger Marion Algier who submitted the article to a Council I am not a member of or knew about. The article placed fifth in this weeks list (Sultan Knish, first, Mark Steyn, second) with 2/3 votes. Daniel Hannan placed fourth among Council Members, Ask Marion, sixth.

Thank you to Nice Deb and Council members for motivating me to continue this crusade against the issue that is the hang-up politicians have over the ‘D’ word which they need to get over. (Complete Watcher’s Council Winners list)

Non-Council Winners

First place with 4 votes! – Sultan Knish –It’s Another “Death to the Jews” Weekend submitted by The Noisy Room

Second place with 3 1/3 votes Mark Steyn -Fields Of Blood submitted by Bookworm Room

Third place with 1 1/3 votes -The New RepublicHow The Israel/Palestine Peace Plan Died submitted by The Watcher

Fourth place with 1 vote-Between Jerusalem And Tel Aviv How do you say “Chutzpa” in British? submitted by Simply Jews

Fifth place *t* with 2/3 votes -Sic Semper Tyrannis Did Kiev shoot down MH -17? submitted by The Glittering Eye

Fifth place *t* with 2/3 votes -Tara Servatius /American Thinker -The brutal Obama policy that’s really driving the Border Crisis submitted by Nice Deb

Fifth place *t* with 2/3 votes -Isabel Matos/A Time for Choosing – What in the Heck is Wrong the the “D” Word? JUST Get Over it Already. It’s Exasperation. Readers, Chime in! submitted by Ask Marion

Fifth place *t* with 2/3 votes -To Understand The Present, Remember The Past How Obama & The Democrats Are Repeating The History of Vietnam – And Will Get The Same Resultsubmitted by Rhymes with Right

Fifth place *t* with 2/3 votes -PJ TatlerIs Sen. Elizabeth Warren a Mere Hack or an Out-and-Out Sociopath? submitted by The Watcher

Sixth place *t* with 1/3 vote -The American Interest Anti-GMO Activists Are Harming Hungry Africans submitted by The Razor

Sixth place *t* with 1/3 voteForeign Affairs How Hamas Won submitted by GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD

Sixth place *t* with 1/3 vote -Doug Ross CHANGE: Since Obama became President, 1.5 MILLION people have been added to secret “suspected terrorist” list submitted by The Independent Sentinel

Thanks again to the Council for shedding much needed attention on this issue.

Isabel

*****

Dear READERS

You can do two things TODAY to spread the word that

Deportation is NOT a Big Deal:

1. PLEASE SHARE MY ARTICLE with the You Tube clip The ‘D’ Word is not a Big Deal“. It’s important in this view be shared in my opinion by someone who happens to be an immigrant, and Hispanic as well to remove the stigma that this is about bigotry or not having a bleeding heart for children. It’s plain political manipulation to create a Democratic plurality. Like the VA scandal situation, the Deportation is about a cultural mindset, not an un-doable reality. I support Ted Cruz’s measure and thank Jeff Sessions for supporting it (he is a friend of the anti-amnesty effort). The core issue like Cruz says can be avoided by not giving the president the power to pass it;  however, since the ‘D’ word is not addressed in the bill so it doesn’t go far enough. It will take more to get on board and start demanding deportation.

2. PLEASE READ and RT the information below to let everyone you know (sky’s the limit- organizations on Facebook, politician’s pages, other groups and even pages against Amnesty) that Amnesty is not only a communist-driven agenda; it is part of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals.  Ask yourself: Why is the GOP pushing an Alinsky agenda and being deceptive about it? This is not about feelings or about helping others. It is about national sovereignty our Reps swore to protect.

https://twitter.com/isabelmmatos/status/491316527501541376

https://twitter.com/isabelmmatos/status/491315756341022720

https://twitter.com/isabelmmatos/status/491315692461760512

https://twitter.com/isabelmmatos/status/491315534697222145

https://twitter.com/isabelmmatos/status/491315447594106880

https://twitter.com/isabelmmatos/status/491315360109297664

https://twitter.com/isabelmmatos/status/491315250856087552

https://twitter.com/isabelmmatos/status/491315192454586369

https://twitter.com/isabelmmatos/status/491315070085787648

https://twitter.com/isabelmmatos/status/491314960895848448

https://twitter.com/isabelmmatos/status/491314800429789185

https://twitter.com/isabelmmatos/status/491314716124274688

https://twitter.com/isabelmmatos/status/491314616413089793

https://twitter.com/isabelmmatos/status/491314460468862976

https://twitter.com/isabelmmatos/status/491310673184690176

https://twitter.com/isabelmmatos/status/491310586706149376

https://twitter.com/isabelmmatos/status/491306699199102976

Categories: International News

American revolution 2.0

World politics news from blogosphere - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 01:14

Hello all,

I hope that you are having a wonderful day and are gearing up for your weekend.  Whatever your plans might be please take time to stop and think about the world that you live in on at least one occasion this weekend.

As the title suggests, I am going to be broaching the subject of revolution in this post. Why? Well, it seems that many people (including myself) feel that we are overdue and that there may be no other alternative.

Let’s take a look at what we can most likely agree on.  For starters, how many of us still really believe that we can send any kind of message to Washington by way of the vote?  Voting has become pointless.  You either get to vote for liar A or liar B.  Either way, we will keep getting more of what we have gotten.  I think that at some point during the campaign process, many candidates are possibly genuine.  However, the moment that they are in office, all of that changes.  They get into office, they network, they get wealthy, they have great lives and many opportunities.  They have forgotten who they are supposed to be working for.  Sure, we can “fire” them through voting.  Then we just let the next guy take his turn.  Rinse and repeat.  They then spend 50 percent of their time in office campaigning and the other 50 percent of their time networking and lining up things for their future.  So, when do they find time to do what they are actually there to do?  They don’t.  Our government is no longer “for the people, by the people”.  It is only for certain people.  You and I don’t actually matter to them.  Why should we? they have us all trained to do what they want us to do.  I bet that if you went in to work on Monday and told your employer that from now on you were only going to do whatever you felt like doing, they would feel like replacing you.  There would be no vote or investigation, they would simply replace you with somebody that would actually do the job that needed to be done.  Voting has been the masses only means of replacing liar A with liar B.  This does not seem like a good thing.  Your employer can choose from many candidates.  We however can choose (really) between only two candidates.  On top of that, our votes don’t actually matter.  Think that a vote matters?  Look at recent decisions where the people of a state voted to pass new laws in their state (or against new laws) and the supreme court or the government just says “yeah that’s great and all but we are going to do what we want to do”.  The answer to all of this, revolution!

I am afraid to say that a revolution is the only way to really get this country headed in the right direction again.  I would be willing to bet that if a few million people marched on Washington and calmly marched into congress and calmly demanded and then supervised every member of congress cleaning out their desks and then being escorted out to the street, would send a clear message to Washington.  We would find out very quickly how they would respond.   After we marched congress out we could then demand the immediate resignation of every career politician in the country.  How would the country run then?  That’s when we could use a type of lottery system to decide who steps in to fill the recently vacated roles.  Here is where it gets interesting, each person has to take certain courses in civics, political science, and history to be eligible for the political lottery.  These courses would be mandatory and I’m sure we could trim something from the budget to pay for them.  Then upon entering office, you would serve a term of only 2-4 years depending on the particular position.  You would be given a decent salary (nothing ridiculous)  and after you time in the position, you would never be eligible for office again.  I bet we would see a lot more things get done in this country.  A quote from one of my favorite movies of all time comes to mind the movie is V for Vendetta.  The quote is this ” people should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of the people”.  Do you think that our government is afraid of us?  They are not, because we continue to do nothing.  I hope that I do get to see the revolution in my lifetime but I have my doubts.   When will we declare in one voice “enough!”?  I am ready right now.  I am ready to do the radical, the unthinkable, the things that will keep us from becoming just another fallen empire.

We are quickly headed down hill and those that are at the wheel refuse to make any course correction.  It is time to act (I believe).  I will get into some of the unbelievable things that our  government is doing on a daily basis in future posts.

As always, thank you very much for reading and have an amazing day!!

 

 

Categories: International News

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