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I couldn’t make space for it in today’s column, but any affluent reader who wants a sense of what America is like for many hard-working people should read about the website McDonald’s has established to help its workers manage their family budget. The sample monthly budget they offer includes $900 from a second job; monthly rent of just $600 (which is very low even for a single-bedroom apartment in inexpensive cities, and of course ludicrous in metro New York), and zero heating expenses.
This disparity between the way many of our fellow citizens live and the lives of the 1 percent ought to inspire a lot of empathy — and to be fair, in many cases it does. On average, however, widening inequality seems to be reducing, not increasing, empathy, as the life experiences of the affluent diverge from those of ordinary workers, to such an extent that the upper class no longer sees members of the working class as people like themselves.
Of course, Rick Santorum says that this is all “Marxism talk” — even the term “middle class” — because there are no classes in America.
Love for Labor Lost
Posted by cal04 | Mon Sep 2, 2013, 10:42 AM (8 replies)
John Lewis At March On Washington: ‘I’m Not Going To Stand By And Let The Supreme Court Take The Right To Vote Away’ from Us
Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) — who was the youngest speaker during the March on Washington in 1963 — delivered a passionate address about the importance of protecting voting rights at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial fifty years later, as thousands gathered to celebrate the anniversary of the historic event on Saturday.
“When I stood here 50 years ago, I said one man, one vote is the African cry. It is ours, too. it must be ours,” he began, before connecting the demands of 1963 to today’s struggles. “Almost 50 years ago, I gave a little blood on that bridge in Selma, Alabama, for the right to vote. I am not going to stand by and let the Supreme Court take the right to vote away from us!”
LEWIS: You cannot stand by. You cannot sit down. You have to stand up, speak up, speak out and get in the way. Make some noise. The vote is precious. It is almost sacred. It’s the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democratic society and we’ve got to use it. Back in 1963 we didn’t have a cellular telephone, iPad, iPod, but we used what we had to bring about a non-violent revolution. And I said to all of the young people, you must get out there and push and pull and make America what America should be for all of us. We must say to the Congress, ‘Fix the Voting Rights Act’
“So hang in there, keep the faith,” Lewis extolled. “I got arrested 40 times during the ’60s, beaten, bloodied and unconscious. I’m not tired, I’m not weary. I’m not prepared to sit down and give up. I am ready to fight and continue to fight, and you must fight.”
Posted by cal04 | Sat Aug 24, 2013, 01:57 PM (24 replies)
Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) said Friday that although he has seen the country make much progress in civil rights since the March on Washington in 1963, there are still "forces all across our country" that seek to challenge the movement.
"If someone had told me 50 years ago that an African-American would be in the White House as the president, I probably would have said you’re crazy. You are out of your mind. You don’t know what you’re talking about," Lewis told MSNBC's Rev. Al Sharpton in an interview at the National Mall, where he addressed crowds 50 years ago. "The country is a different country, and we’re better people."
When asked to compare challenges to the civil rights movement in that era to today, Lewis, a vocal supporter of the Voting Rights Act, said the movement still faces resistance.
“Forces, not just forces in the American South, but forces all across our country want to take us back to another period and we have to say, ‘We are not going back, we have come too far now to stop,’" he said.
video at link
Love that they showed him making a speech back then
The little boy talking,Asean Johnson of Chicago: Back then John Lewis was the youngest, today I am. Love it!!
WATCH: John Lewis Speaks at March on Washington 50th Anniversary
9-year-old activist ‘youngest speaker’ at march
Asean Johnson of Chicago
Posted by cal04 | Sat Aug 24, 2013, 12:13 PM (2 replies)
Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who says he's open to making another bid for president, will travel next week to Iowa, a move that will surely stoke further speculation that Dean may run in 2016.
The former presidential candidate will speak Wednesday at the Iowa Federation of Labor convention, taking him back to the same state where he finished third in the 2004 Iowa caucuses and made his infamous "Dean Scream."
A spokesman for Dean's independent group, Democracy for America, said Dean will be talking next week about the organization's "Purple to Blue Project," a plan aimed to help Democrats win state House and Senate seats.
While the project is focused on five races in Virginia this year, the group plans to expand to other states next year, including an effort to win the majority in Iowa's state House.
The group’s “Purple to Blue” campaign has focused on five races in Virginia this year, but will expand to other states in 2014.
“This isn’t the last you’ll be hearing of Dean and Democracy for America in Iowa leading up to 2016,” the aide said.
Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, who endorsed Mr. Dean’s campaign almost 10 years ago, encouraged him to speak at the labor convention, according to the aide. Next month, at his annual steak fry, Mr. Harkin will host another former — and possibly future — Democratic candidate, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
just tweeted The Last Word
Howard Dean join us at 10pm ET on @msnbc
Posted by cal04 | Thu Aug 15, 2013, 06:12 PM (55 replies)
In Dearborn Heights, Mich., a city just outside of Detroit, a new burger joint is trying to give workers a reason to clock-in to work each day.
Moo Cluck Moo is paying its workers a minimum wage of $12 per hour, over four dollars more than Michigan’s $7.40 per hour minimum wage. The reason? Simple: “It’s just the right thing to do,” said Allen Fisher, the restaurant’s managing partner, on MSNBC Tuesday.
“We manage our costs effectively, we use the best product that we can afford, and we pass that along to our employees,” said Fisher. “It’s not an easy job to do. We demand a lot out of our people, but we pay them for that.”
In addition to higher wages, said Fisher, Moo Cluck Moo has an exclusive training program that qualifies each of its employees for a better job and a higher pay rate. The restaurant also provides uniforms, meals, and (coming soon) medical benefits, he said.
video at link
Think fast food joints can't afford to pay workers a living wage? One Michigan restaurant is already doing it.
Posted by cal04 | Wed Aug 14, 2013, 04:33 PM (69 replies)
Durbin criticized the Chicago Tribune editorial board and others in an opinion piece published Wednesday.
“The Tribune editorial page and others attacked me for trying to hinder free speech and use my position to intimidate those with political views I disagree with,” Durbin wrote. “The Tribune and others are wrong.
“ALEC and its corporate and organizational supporters have every right to participate in the political process. My concern is with the lack of transparency. As a public official, when I take a position, I stand up to explain and defend it,” he added. “I file annual financial disclosures, campaign finance reports and have to face the scrutiny of public opinion.”
Durbin has announced plans for a hearing next month on the issue of “stand your ground laws” by the Judiciary subcommittee he serves as chairman of. In the Tribune piece, Durbin said that his queries were to gather information in advance of the hearing.
Corporate Lobbying Group ALEC Put Falsified Signatures On A Letter To A Senator, Group Finds
Posted by cal04 | Wed Aug 14, 2013, 01:33 PM (2 replies)
Posted by cal04 | Wed Aug 14, 2013, 01:17 PM (33 replies)
This week, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) sent Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) a letter that claimed the Senator’s investigation into ALEC’s involvement “Stand Your Ground” laws was a form of “intimidation.” The letter was supposed to have carried the clout of about 300 state legislators who signed onto it, but, according to an investigation by progressive group by ProgressNow, many of the signatures on that letter were falsified or duplicated.
ALEC has come under intense scrutiny for its involvement in orchestrating passage of Stand Your Ground in several states. The law became a hotbed of controversy in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s death. Though it wasn’t ultimately used in killer George Zimmerman’s defense, Stand Your Ground allowed Zimmerman to walk free on the night of the killing, turned out to be central to the case at trial, and was cited by one of six jurors as a justification for his acquittal.
After the Zimmerman verdict was announced, Durbin said that he would conduct an inquiry in ALEC’s involvement in the bill.
The group hit back Monday with a letter that tried to discredit Durbin’s inquiry. The group said it was signed by 293 elected officials. But, ProgressNow found, 55 of the signatures are “blatantly invalid.”
Posted by cal04 | Wed Aug 14, 2013, 12:24 PM (2 replies)
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is the latest frontrunner in the New York City mayoral election, according to a Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday. The poll found De Blasio leading the crucial Democratic primary with 30 percent compared to 24 percent for City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and 22 percent for former Comptroller Bill Thompson.
Former Congressman Anthony Weiner was in fourth place with 10 percent and has not been at the front of the pack since news of his latest sexting scandal broke last month.
The polls in the New York City mayoral race have varied wildly over the past few months with Quinn, Weiner, and now De Blasio all spending time in first place. New York City law provides that, if no candidate in the primary earns at least 40 percent of the vote, there will be a runoff between the top two finishers. Tuesday's Quinnipiac poll also found De Blasio would beat Quinn, Thompson, or Weiner in a runoff matchup. Throughout the race, polling has showed all of the Republican candidates are far behind the leading Democrats in a hypothetical general election.
De Blasio Leads See-Saw New York City Mayoral Race, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Stop-And-Frisk Could Be Helping New Front-Runner
Bill de Blasio Is Having a Nice Day in the Press
“As many learned in May, he lives in Park Slope with his multiracial family, and talks a lot about inequality.”
So noted a New Republic story this evening on Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s sudden surge in the polls.
As Mr. de Blasio’s campaign was quick to note as well, the national page of The Huffington Post–one of the most popular left-leaning news sites around–featured the Democratic hopeful under the headline “PROGRESSIVE SURGES IN NYC.” And even the right–leaning Drudge Report took note with its own take on the headline: “Lefty surges in NYC Mayor’s race.”
To top it all, “de Blasio” is currently trending on Twitter.
Posted by cal04 | Tue Aug 13, 2013, 03:20 PM (14 replies)
Today Bradley Manning was convicted on 20 of 22 counts, including violating the Espionage Act, releasing classified information and disobeying orders. That's the bad news. The good news is he was found not guilty on the charge of "aiding the enemy." That's 'cause who he was aiding was us, the American people. And we're not the enemy. Right?
Manning now faces a potential maximum sentence of 136 years in jail. When his sentence is announced tomorrow, we'll all get a good idea of how seriously the U.S. military takes different crimes. When you hear about how long Manning – now 25 years old – will be in prison, compare it to sentences received by other soldiers:
Col. Thomas M. Pappas, the senior military intelligence officer at Abu Ghraib and the senior officer present the night of the murder of Iraqi prisoner Manadel al-Jamadi, received no jail time. But he was reprimanded and fined $8,000. (Pappas was heard to say about al-Jamadi, "I'm not going down for this alone.")
Sgt. Sabrina Harman, the woman famously seen giving a thumbs-up next to al-Jamadi's body and in another photo smiling next to naked, hooded Iraqis stacked on each other in Abu Ghraib, was sentenced to six months for maltreating detainees.
Spec. Armin Cruz was sentenced to eight months for abusing Iraqis at Abu Ghraib and covering up the abuse.
Spc. Steven Ribordy was sentenced to eight months for being accessory to the murder of four Iraqi prisoners who were "bound, blindfolded, shot and dumped in a canal" in Baghdad in 2007.
Spc. Belmor Ramos was sentenced to seven months for conspiracy to commit murder in the same case.
Sgt. Michael Leahy Jr. was sentenced to life in prison for committing the four Baghdad murders. The military then granted him clemency and reduced his sentence to 20 years, with parole possible after seven.
Marine Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich received no jail time for negligent dereliction in the massacre of 24 unarmed men, women and children in 2005 in the Iraqi town of Haditha. Seven other members of his battalion were charged but none were punished in any way.
Marine Lance Cpl. Jerry Shumate and Lance Cpl. Tyler Jackson were both sentenced to 21 months for the aggravated assault of Hashim Ibrahim Awad, 52, a father of 11 and grandfather of four, in Al Hamdania in 2006. Awad died after being shot during the assault. Their sentences were later reduced.
Marine Lance Cpl. Robert Pennington was sentenced to eight years for the same incident, but served only a few months before being granted clemency and released from prison.
Marine Sgt. Lawrence G. Hutchins III was sentenced to 15 years for murder in the Awad case but his conviction was soon overturned and he was released.
No soldiers received any punishment for the killing of five Iraqi children, four women and two men in one Ishaqi home in 2006. Among the U.S. diplomatic cables leaked by Bradley Manning was email from a UN official stating that U.S. soldiers had "executed all of them." When Wikileaks published the cable, the uproar in Iraq was so big that the Nouri al-Maliki government couldn't grant any remaining U.S. troops immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts, thus forcing the Obama administration to abandon its plans to keep several thousand U.S. soldiers in Iraq permanently. All U.S. troops were removed at the end of 2011.
My guess is Bradley Manning will spend more time in jail than all of the other soldiers in all of these cases put together. And thus, instead of redeeming ourselves and asking forgiveness for the crimes that Spc. Manning exposed, we will reaffirm to the world who we really are.
Posted by cal04 | Tue Jul 30, 2013, 07:07 PM (41 replies)