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Member since: Wed Jan 18, 2012, 10:29 PM
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"Welfare": differing connotations?

Hello all, hope you are having a good day (and if not, that's OK too: I won't judge. ).

I was wondering about how the word "welfare" seems to have a different connotation in other countries from the way it is currently used in the U.S. If I am not mistaken, "welfare" has a meaning in other countries that is similar to how it is used in the preamble to the U.S. Constitution (i.e. "promote the general welfare").

However, in the modern-day U.S., "welfare" has a connotation that is essentially the same as that of "the dole" in England (social spending and government assistance to the poor and underprivileged). Moreover, there is a (wrong, but still-powerful and all-too-common) perception that this type of spending only benefits the "undeserving" poor (i.e. those who are perceived as abusing the system, or "mooching" off of the "taxpayer.") and that most working-class and middle-class Americans are subsidizing "laziness" or "dependency."

I know that "welfare" in the U.S. has been heavily racialized (particularly by the Right, using coded - and sometimes, not-so-coded language), yet I do wonder if there is any political significance to the difference in connotation of the word "welfare" in America vs. much of the rest of the world.

What do you all think? Is there "something to this", or not?

It's fascinating to me how in America, "ethnic" has meant, to a certain extent, not-assimilated...

Consider the term "White Ethnic." This has been used to describe Italian, Polish, Jewish, Russian, and other immigrant groups that may have qualified as "white" (although even that wasn't true initially) but weren't (to the dominant culture, anyway) the "right" kind of white.

Notice, however, that as these groups have become more assimilated into the dominant white culture of America, the "ethnic" identification has become more and more downplayed or even lost altogether. I guess the dominant American culture will welcome most anyone, provided they have relatively fair skin color and "act the part."

Kind of a tangent here, but I find this fascinating.

Cecil's rich entitled asshole killer is a Republican donor

Surprise, surprise!

The Minnesota dentist who authorities say killed a beloved Zimbabwe lion named Cecil donated to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.

Federal Elections Commission (FEC) forms show Walter James Palmer, a dentist in Eden Prairie, Minn., donated $5,000 to the Romney campaign in 2012.

Palmer also donated $250 to former Rep. Jim Ramstad (R-Minn.) in 1990 and $250 to Ramstad in 1992.


No one should get a "pass" on racial insensitivity. Not even progressive giants like Jon Stewart.

First, a disclaimer: I have been a huge fan of The Daily Show for several years now. I have done my best to catch every showing since I "discovered" it, and I am pretty bummed that Jon Stewart is moving on from the show.

That being said: As much as I am deeply grateful for all of the great humor, critique, and insight that Stewart has brought to America (and the world), as much as Stewart has done for progressives and liberals everywhere, and as much as I will miss his presence on the show...I have to agree with the points that the following article makes.

In the next two weeks, expect to see plenty of Stewart tributes, listicles, celebrity remembrances and weighty assessments of the host's place in history among comedy and broadcast greats alike.

But longtime Daily Show correspondent Wyatt Cenac isn't as nostalgic about his time on the show, which he candidly discussed on Marc Maron's WTF Podcast this week.

And Cenac's criticisms of his former boss make an important point, one that can't be forgotten as we assess Stewart's legacy. Four nights a week, the host has challenged Daily Show viewers to question the leaders and institutions they trust. As his Daily Show comes to a close, we must give him the same treatment.

Later in the writers' room, Cenac questioned Stewart about the (racially insensitive Herman Cain) bit. Stewart wasn't happy:

(Stewart) got incredibly defensive. I remember he was like, What are you trying to say? There's a tone in your voice ... And then he got upset. And he stood up and he was just like, "(Expletive) off. I'm done with you." And he just started screaming that to me. And he screamed it a few times. "(Expletive) off! I'm done with you." And he stormed out. And I didn't know if I had been fired.

I represent my people, and I try to represent them the best that I can. I gotta be honest if something seems questionable, because if not, then I don't want to be in a position where I am being untrue not just to myself but to my culture, because that's exploitative.

Nobody's requiring Stewart to be the perfect host. The Daily Show's brilliant comedic run isn't invalidated because the show couldn't best Hollywood's deeply-ingrained representation issues. And over the next two weeks, the show's accolades will surely outnumber its criticisms.

But Jon Stewart, week after week, has called on viewers to kill our idols and distrust our systems. The Daily Show is, undeniably, an American institution, but idolizing Stewart while glossing over his missteps goes against everything the show stands for. And by ignoring these darker parts of the Daily Show's history, we miss out on an important discussion about the less-than-inclusive state of comedy, and entertainment, as a whole.

So while we're enjoying Stewart's final run, let's keep asking questions. How can we empower minorities and women in Hollywood? What kind of inclusive humor do we expect from our comedians? If we're not satisfied with the face of TV, both in front of and behind the camera, how we can support art that's created more mindfully?


As bad as racial insensitivity - and general callousness toward issues of diversity- is (or should be, at least) coming from anyone, it is all the more upsetting when it comes from people that you admire and respect. Oftentimes, our "idols" or "heroes" aren't who we think they are. And as upsetting as this may to be to me and other fans of The Daily Show, I am grateful to Wyatt Cenac for calling Stewart out on his unacceptable behavior, and for Maeve McDermott and USA Today for (respectively) writing and publishing this article.

Obama Arrives in Kenya, on Personal and Official Journey (NYT)

NAIROBI, Kenya — President Obama arrived on Friday in Kenya, his father’s home country, for the start of a four-day swing through East Africa, combining a personal journey with a geopolitical mission that reinforces a shared campaign against Islamist extremism while wrestling with tough messages about democracy and gay rights.

Mr. Obama, the first sitting American president to visit Kenya, arrived on Air Force One after dark to a deliberately low-key, even anticlimactic, reception, with none of the pomp that is being saved for daylight on Saturday. He was greeted on the tarmac by President Uhuru Kenyatta and an 8-year-old girl who handed him flowers. He then shook hands with dignitaries along a red carpet and signed a guest book before getting into his armored car.

In choosing Kenya and Ethiopia for his fourth visit to sub-Saharan Africa, though, Mr. Obama opted to go where no president has gone before. In a continent rife with corruption and autocracy, visiting American presidents usually stick to a handful of what one analyst called “safe-bet countries” with largely functioning civil societies, like Ghana, South Africa, Senegal and Tanzania. They stayed away from places like Kenya and Ethiopia.

“That’s why this visit is so important, because he’s sort of breaking out of that mold, and I think that’s an important step,” said Witney Schneidman, a fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Africa Growth Initiative.


They are conditioned by our racist culture to fear black people, to see them as a threat

"The Other" seems scary and threatening in that context.

Also, many whites identify with power, authority, and the social hierarchy. Hence, around 60 percent of white voters voting for the Republicans (ugh) while the rest of the country pretty overwhelmingly votes for the Democrats. And it goes beyond two-party politics, sad to say.

Jeb Bush is deadly serious when he says he wants to "phase out" Medicare

This is among the many reasons why Democrats need to keep the White House in 2016, and rebuild our congressional majorities....


They're going after Planned Parenthood

The young man behind two undercover videos targeting Planned Parenthood seemed to come out of nowhere. No one had heard of David Daleiden, or his non-profit, the Center for Medical Progress, when he first accused the health care provider of illegally selling aborted fetal baby parts last week. But in fact, the 26-year-old has been helping to create similar sting videos for years and has ties to larger well-known groups that oppose abortion.


In a letter to Congress, Planned Parenthood complains that it is once again the victim of "a group of extremists who have intimidated women and doctors for years — in their agenda to ban abortion completely."

The videos have surfaced just as Congress is debating next year's budget. Leaders in both the House and Senate have said they expect to see amendments that revive longtime calls to defund Planned Parenthood.


American history has shown that when white people dominate social movements

persons of color are almost inevitably excluded from said movements.

"It's not race, it's class!" is easy to say if you're not being oppressed by racism. The lesson here is that persons of color can't and shouldn't depend on white activists - regardless of how "progressive" or "well-intentioned" they are - to advocate for them.

Who are you to tell people - black people, specifically and in this case - that they are being "divisive" and that their issues are "distractions" from those that "really matter?" From my POV, black activists ( like those associated with #BlackLivesMatter) are asserting themselves and their rights, and frankly, they don't really give a shit about whether some white people get offended or get their egos hurt.

Don't want to be seen as a part of the problem? Be a part of the solution. A good place to start is to acknowledge the political power and efficacy of these activists of color, and recognize that their issues are every bit as important as the issues that you care about. Furthermore, stop assuming that everyone sees the political context in which we live as you see it (and this is a generalized "you", FWIW, not just for the OP). Just because you believe that talking about race and racism is "divisive" or "benefits the GOP" doesn't mean that others see it that way.

The sooner that we learn to respect each other's differences, that we understand where the marginalized and minoritizied communities and voices are coming from, and that we recognize the strength in diversity, then - somewhat counter-intuitively - we can begin to bridge our differences and achieve real unity.

-My $0.02.

Mayor de Blasio on Trump: "We're certainly not looking to do any business with him going forward."

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday that his city may not be able to break its business contracts with Donald Trump but will avoid future deals with the 2016 GOP contender.

"My impression is that unless there has been some breaking of a contract or something that gives us a legal opportunity to act, I'm not sure we have a specific course of action," the Democratic mayor told reporters Monday, according to CNN and Capital New York.

"But we're certainly not looking to do any business with him going forward," de Blasio added.

De Blasio indicated Monday that he has yet to receive a final analysis on whether the city could get out of several contracts with Trump, a celebrity real estate developer turned presidential candidate.

New York City officials began reviewing the contracts, including a Central Park carousel, two rinks and a Bronx golf course, several weeks ago in light of Trump's controversial remarks on immigrants./div].

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