Today's topic at my blog "Resurgence" on BigThink.com:


Grant Hill Takes A Charge From Jalen Rose



The Grant Hill Jalen Rose debacle captivated black bloggers all last week. I was out of town at the time the Fab Five special produced by Jalen Rose aired on ESPN, and out of my normal all internet/ no TV routine, so I actually saw parts of the show while channel surfing. I don’t know if was serendipity, or happenstance, but I obviously flipped channels during all of the most controversial statements Rose made on the program, because I was surprised this week to see so many comments at so many places on the web about this. The Grant Hill op-ed in the New York Times last Thursday was an eye opener on so many levels. Saturday’s response by Jalen Rose in the Wall Street Journal, by contrast, sounds a lot like those apologies politicians make after they make controversial statements.


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Today's topic at my blog "Resurgence" on BigThink.com:


Empirical Accuracy And Logical Rigor Elude Foreign Policy Experts




I used to think, when I heard the words “foreign policy expert”, that it really meant something, the way the phrase “nuclear power expert” connotes the image of someone who has an impressive level of comprehension of vast amounts of empirical data about the care and feeding of radioactive isotopes in a nuclear reactor. But these days, I am more inclined, when I see the moniker “foreign policy expert”, to picture someone more along the lines of a sports betting handicapper, who routinely divines the future outcome of basketball or football games as if the incomplete and often contradictory information he has access to about a team’s past performance is always indicative of its future results.

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I got this email from the guys at Color of Change a couple days ago - couldn't have said what they'vee written here better myself:
 

There was once a time in this country when Black folks would work 12-hour days for less money than their White co-workers who worked only eight. The key to leveling the playing field for Black workers was collective bargaining — and now Republicans around the country are attacking this basic right.
The right of workers to negotiate as a group for better wages, benefits and working conditions has been important for everyone, but it's been especially meaningful for Black Americans. Before we could collectively bargain, we had little control over our working conditions and no protection from racial discrimination in the workplace.
That's why it's critical that we stand with the workers in Wisconsin, Ohio, New Jersey, and everywhere else collective bargaining is coming under attack. Please join us in sending a message of support to all those fighting this battle on the front lines. It takes only a moment:
In Memphis in 1968, Black sanitation workers worked in dangerous, inhumane conditions under abusive White supervisors for little pay. After two workers were crushed to death by a malfunctioning city garbage truck, the city's Black sanitation workers sought to unionize. They demanded better wages, safer working conditions, and the right to collectively bargain for these things. They took to the streets of Memphis bearing signs that read, "I am a man." During the strike, police attacked and jailed Black workers for peaceful protest. Months later, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who said that "all labor has dignity," joined these workers on the front lines. He was assassinated while leading the effort to win collective bargaining rights for these workers.1
Collective bargaining has helped Black workers vulnerable to workplace discrimination win needed on-the-job protections. “Black workers have an interest in unions as all workers do, because they give them power in the labor market to improve working conditions, and allow them due process and fairness on the job,” says labor scholar Stephen Pitts. “Any sort of institution that allows due process procedures and reduces arbitrary behavior in decision making is positive for black folks.”2
More than just protection from discrimination, collective bargaining has won Black workers fairness in pay and advancement, access to health insurance and retirement savings, and basic worker safety protections.3 This is especially true for Black public-sector workers. Twenty-five percent of all Black college graduates work in the public sector, and government work is second only to health and education services in concentration of Black workers.4 As scholar Michael Honey points out, "The one toe-hold many black and minority workers (and especially women among them) still have in the economy is in unionized public employment.5
Now, Republicans in state legislatures around the country are attacking public employees' collective bargaining rights. The battle began in Wisconsin, when Republican Governor Scott Walker offered a bill that would strip public employees of their collective bargaining rights. In response, thousands of regular people filled the state capitol in protest — with many camping out there for days or even weeks. To stop the bill and force Republicans to negotiate, 14 Democratic state senators left Wisconsin, (preventing Republicans from voting on the bill). Despite the overwhelming public opposition to the bill, Republicans were eventually able to pass the law using procedural tricks late last week.6 But the protesters in Wisconsin drew the world's attention to this fight, and exposed the attack on collective bargaining rights as hugely unpopular and politically motivated. And right now they're working to hold Republicans accountable in powerful ways.
Wisconsin is one of many states where collective bargaining is under attack. Republicans in Ohio just passed a law similar to Wisconsin's, and states from Indiana to New jersey are prepared to follow suit.
Republicans say that their effort to roll back collective bargaining rights is necessary to curb spending in times of economic hardship, but that just doesn't square with the facts. In no state are public employees' salaries or pension benefits a major cause of their current financial problems.7 The Republican efforts are part of a strategy to attack public employees' unions, which overwhelmingly give money to Democratic interests. Without the strength of the unions, many expect that President Obama and other Democrats will have a tougher time raising funds for the 2012 election.8
DePaul University law professor Terry Smith says that, "Dismantling bargaining rights will disproportionately affect African Americans."9 This right has played a vitally important role in Black Americans' move into the middle class. For Republicans, the economic well-being of Black folks (and all workers) is only collateral damage in a political battle. It's shameful.
That's why it's important that we stand with the brave workers around the country fighting to preserve the right to collectively bargain in their states. They're on the front lines, and your message of support will help them keep going even as circumstances get tougher. Please join us in telling these workers that you stand with them, and then ask your friends and family to do the same.
Thanks and Peace,
-- James, Gabriel, William, Dani, Matt, Natasha and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
   March 15th, 2011
Help support our work. ColorOfChange.org is powered by YOU — your energy and dollars. We take no money from lobbyists or large corporations that don’t share our values, and our tiny staff ensures your contributions go a long way. You can contribute here:
References:
1. “How Unions Helped Bring Economic Justice to Black Workers," AlterNet, 2-25-2011
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/785?akid=1932.1020101.-S56jl&t=8
2. See Reference 1
3. "Gutting Unions Hurts the Black Middle Class,” The Root, 3-11-2011
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/779?akid=1932.1020101.-S56jl&t=10
4. “Black Workers Central to National Union Battle,” ColorLines, 3-1-2011
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/780?akid=1932.1020101.-S56jl&t=12
5. “It’s 1968 All Over Again and King’s Fight for Unions Is Still Essential,”
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/781?akid=1932.1020101.-S56jl&t=14
6. “Wisconsin Union Law to Take Effect on March 26,” Wall Street Journal, 3-14-2011
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/782?akid=1932.1020101.-S56jl&t=16
7.“Unions aren’t to blame for Wisconsin’s budget,” The Washington Post, 2-18-2011
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/783?akid=1932.1020101.-S56jl&t=18
8. “WI Senate GOP Leader Admits On-Air That His Goal Is To Defund Labor Unions, Hurt Obama’s Reelection Chances,” Think Progress, 3-9-2011
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/784?akid=1932.1020101.-S56jl&t=20




I will be on the radio tonight at 8:30 pm EST with Sean Yoes, senior reporter at The Afro American, giving my own two cents on the citizens rebellion in Libya, the populist uprising in Wisconsin,  and the steamy memoirs of the ex-girlfriend of Clarence Thomas, and the . Yoes is the host of "The WEAA/AFRO First Edition", an hour-long political talk show on Baltimore's NPR affiliate WEAA-FM (88.9 FM), which airs Sunday nights at 8 p.m.

In any case, it will be an entertaining segment, with plenty of information about the plight of the Libyan freedom fighters, the disgrace in Wisconsin, and the foreign policy challenges facing the Obama administration going forward.

You can click this link and push the "Listen Live" button at the top of the page to hear the show.

Enjoy!





I was talking to my buddy from Alabama last night when he mentioned that "Snoop" from The Wire had been arrested. So today, after taping a segment for the AFRO/First Edition political show, I asked host Sean Yoes about it, since he played Lt. Brent Hoskins on the same show.

"Actually," he said, "I wrote about it for Black America Web today."

'The Wire' Star's Arrest Imitates Her Real Life

Irish writer and poet Oscar Wilde once wrote, “Life imitates art far more often than art imitates life.”

Felicia “Snoop” Pearson, who portrayed the diminutive but cold-blooded drug assassin with the same name on HBO’s “The Wire,” has unfortunately lived out the life she played on cable and has landed in legal trouble again

As much as I enjoyed her authenticity, I had hoped that the dope game was a life she could finally leave behind.




Today's topic at my blog "Resurgence" on BigThink.com:


Hillary Clinton Pins The Tail On The News Media



Hillary Clinton, of all people, made my day last week when she said the news in the United States consists of “…a million commercials and, you know, arguments between talking heads…” To add insult to injury, she held up Al Jazeera, the Arab news station, as a model of responsible information dissemination. But Clinton is absolutely right - our national nightly news shows and cable news channels are mostly a waste of time, whether you are looking for domestic news or world news. When you spend as much time on the internet as I do, not only do you already know all the details of stories they run, you can see how little information these elaborately produced newsroom efforts actually impart to viewers.


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President Obama, Stay The Hell Out Of Libya




Mr. President, there are too many white boys on your staff and in the news media and in the cartoon character gallery (this means you, Newt Gingrich), white boys that have never served a day in their god damned lives in any branch of this country’s military who have a got a tremendous hard-on these days for simply whipping out the artillery and going to town on some Libyan ass.

Contrary to popular belief, blue balls have never killed anybody. But can I guarantee you, Mr. President, that if you start sending our troops to Libya, less of them will come back alive than you sent there. Men with loaded guns in foreign countries, even when they are on humanitarian missions, can turn small battles into huge regional conflicts overnight. And in case the geniuses on your staff forgot, WE DON”T HAVE ENOUGH SOLDIERS LEFT TO FIGHT ANY MORE WARS RIGHT NOW than we are already in.

One private plane leaving the country with Gaddafi on it is all it takes to end this.

I’ve actually kind of gotten to like your posturing on the world stage, Mr. President. It is a lot cheaper for you to make pronouncements to the world than to tell the Joint Chiefs of Staff to gas up the tanks and the C-130’s. And in case you have forgotten what happens when the people in a country aren’t quite ready to push out their dictator, tell the boys at the Pentagon to send some highlight reels from their triumph in Iraq over so you can watch them in the White House movie theater. Meanwhile, even as the freedom fighters in Libya call for help, they have put a whole lot of pressure on Gaddafi to leave the country with the secret CIA troops we've given them all by themselves.

Another 30 days of civil war is about all Gaddafi can stand. It doesn't look good on the nightly news, but the citizenry of Libya who want to be free of their dictator have done a helluva job with the secret CIA troops we've given them all by themselves. The financial starvation diet you and your European allies have put him on is working, but it will take a little more time for him and his family to see the light.

What’s more dangerous to you right now than Gaddafi are these wannabe war mongers who are itching to let the world know that America can still blow shit up when it feels like it. Your “less is more” doctrine of letting events unfold according to their own timetable is driving the group of Type A control freaks you are surrounded with absolutely batshit crazy. They are all longing for the day when they can go out for some drinks after work with their buddies and brag about how many of the enemy our military killed today.

I mean, if the U.S. was really all that committed to being the humanitarian police, half of our troops would have already been scattered all over the African continent anyway, with a big ass military presence in Darfur and Somalia and Sudan.
If the oil flowing out of Libyan wells is important to America, just say so, and tell the people of Libya that their revolution will benefit as a result. But please, please, Mr. President, let’s leave all this he-man posturing that nitwits like Newt Gingrich want you to engage in with a “no-fly zone” alone, and keep your own counsel a little bit longer.

You have proven over the last two months that a little diplomacy and lot of lip service can go a long way in the Middle East.


Because 43 Billion Is Not Enough



It’s a great day in the morning when you get billionaires crying the blues in the Wall Street Journal op-ed section.

It’s an even greater one when that particular billionaire is Charles Koch, who has elected this year to play the role of the obscenely rich autocrat who is just fed up with all this cauterwauling from the masses about how much money he makes and how little taxes he really pays. He is just TIRED of people worrying about what government programs his corporations gladly participate in, because when you live in KochWorld, the government is only supposed to provide services and funding and tax breaks to those who hold the reins of commerce – all the rest of you lazy, good for nothing, molly coddled proletariat who just want police and schools and roads TO GET TO WORK ON to make KochWorlder types even more billions be damned.

"The interest of the second order, that of those who live by wages, is as strictly connected with the interest of the society as that of the first. The wages of the labourer, it has already been shewn, are never so high as when the demand for labour is continually rising, or when the quantity employed is every year increasing considerably. When this real wealth of the society becomes stationary, his wages are soon reduced to what is barely enough to enable him to bring up a family, or to continue the race of labourers. When the society declines, they fall even below this."

An inquiry into the nature and causes of the Wealth of Nations, Volume 1 By Adam Smith


It’s as simple as this for KochWorld inhabitants – all regular, non-millionaire and non-billionaire rank and file employees, or "second worlders", as Adam Smith puts it, whether you make $20,000 a year or $200,000, DO NOT DESERVE WHAT YOU MAKE.

You are overpaid, in the eyes of KochWorlders, if they are handing out anything more than it takes to sustain life. A dollar a day and a bowl of rice, in their calculations, would still leave you ahead of your Chinese counterparts in total compensation, and finally level the playing field enough, once those pesky TAXES and GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS have been removed, for them to make REAL MONEY.

It’s a fantasy most KochWorlders go to sleep by.

But that’s all it will ever be (have my TV economists all gone to sleep on the job? Or are they trying to figure out the exchange rate of a bowl of rice?), just a fantasy.

Because rich people can’t buy enough of anything to keep our economy running.

Because cutting corporate taxes doesn’t have anything to do with job creation. The trillions sitting on corporate balance sheets right now aren’t funding any new hiring initiatives, because there aren’t enough people with any money left to stimulate any kind of sustainable demand for any more goods or services than we consume right now. Cutting taxes saves a corporation money. Cutting taxes does not grow top line revenue, one of those bothersome but necessary results that happen when demand for a company's good or service actually increases. Cutting consumer wages in an economy driven by consumer spending seems to be the quickest way the United States can emulate the Roman empire's death spiral.

Putting even more money into the hands of people who won’t spend it (have you ever seen a billionaire back up a tractor trailer at a one day sale?) on anything but a raft of tax consultants to help them figure out how to avoid paying any taxes on it would stall an already unbalanced fiscal equation even further.

You are probably reading this at work. You need to quit reading and work harder, so the people on Wall Street who pushed the buttons that blew up the economy in the first place can be assured that you produce enough surplus value for your company and your 401(k) so they can roll the dice again.

Why has the nation’s toilet paper king has taken to writing op-eds? Because YOU PEOPLE JUST DON'T GET IT. His billions aren’t coming in fast enough. It’s high time someone had some sympathy for the rich and THEIR PROBLEMS, instead of worrying about paying EMT technicians and schoolteachers and firefighters – you know, those lowly Americans who buy practically every product KochWorld sells.


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