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Gender: Male
Hometown: Oakland, CA
Member since: Thu Oct 6, 2011, 02:00 PM
Number of posts: 10,517

Journal Archives

"Rick Perry, Republicans, and the African-American Vote"

More: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/07/rick-perry-republicans-and-the-black-vote.html

If you ask most conservatives why African-Americans vote overwhelmingly for the Democratic Party, they will typically reply that black people are either lazy moochers who want “free stuff,” or else they’ve been duped by a massive lie that the Democrats have become the party of civil rights. Rick Perry delivered an interesting speech last week, which continues to reverberate among conservative thought leaders, in which he made an important, if not unprecedented, concession. The historic defection of the black vote, Perry admitted, reflects the failings not of African-Americans but the Republican Party itself. Perry conceded that his party’s obsession with states’ rights, including his own, alienated a constituency that has depended on the federal government to protect its rights. This is an important admission about the Republican Party’s history. What Perry has failed to display is any grasp of how African-Americans have been turned away by the Republican Party’s present incarnation.

Perry makes two important, persuasive points in his speech but fails to see how they collide with each other. The first point is that states' rights is a dangerous doctrine for African-Americans, who rely on the power of the federal government to protect them from abuses by states. Perry frames this as a confession that he has overemphasized the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, which reserves for the states or the people powers not delegated to the federal government, rather than the 14th amendment, which prevents states from denying any citizen equal protection of the laws. “There has been, and there will continue to be, an important and a legitimate role for the federal government in enforcing Civil Rights,” Perry said, “Too often, we Republicans, me included, have emphasized our message on the 10th Amendment but not our message on the 14th.”

Perry’s second point is that urban policy often works to the detriment of the disadvantaged. “In blue state coastal cities, you have these strict zoning laws, environmental regulations that have prevented buildings from expanding the housing supply. And that may be great for the venture capitalist who wants to keep a nice view of San Francisco Bay. But it’s not so great for the single mother working two jobs in order to pay rent and still put food on the table for her kids.”

Perry frames the latter as an indictment of government in general. But it is actually an indictment of localized government regulation. This is an aspect of government policy where Perry can legitimately boast that his state has outperformed the blue-state model. Deregulated zoning has allowed Texas to create affordable housing that is denied residents of big coastal cities.

"Administration Announces New Initiative to Increase Solar Access for All Americans"

More: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/07/07/fact-sheet-administration-announces-new-initiative-increase-solar-access
The Obama Administration is committed to addressing climate change, promoting clean energy, and creating good paying jobs. That is why the Administration is announcing a new initiative to increase access to solar energy for all Americans, in particular low- and moderate- income communities, while expanding opportunities to join the solar workforce.

Last year, the United States brought online as much solar energy every three weeks as it did in all of 2008, and the solar industry added jobs 10 times faster than the rest of the economy. And since the beginning of 2010, the average cost of a solar electric system has dropped by 50 percent. The executive actions and private sector commitments that we are announcing today will help continue to scale up solar for all Americans, including those who are renters, lack the startup capital to invest in solar, or do not have adequate information on how to transition to solar energy. The key components of the initiative that the Administration is announcing today are:

-Launching a National Community Solar Partnership to unlock access to solar for the nearly 50 percent of households and business that are renters or do not have adequate roof space to install solar systems, including issuing a guide to Support States In Developing Community Solar Programs;
-Setting a goal to install 300 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy in federally subsidized housing and providing technical assistance to make it easier to install solar, including clarifying how to use Federal funding;

"I used to lead tours at a plantation. You won’t believe the questions I got about slavery."

More: http://www.vox.com/2015/6/29/8847385/what-i-learned-from-leading-tours-about-slavery-at-a-plantation

Up until a few weeks ago, I worked at a historic site in the South that included an old house and a nearby plantation. My job was to lead tours and tell guests about the people who made plantations possible: the slaves.

The site I worked at most frequently had more than 100 enslaved workers associated with it— 27 people serving the household alone, outnumbering the home's three white residents by a factor of nine. Yet many guests who visited the house and took the tour reacted with hostility to hearing a presentation that focused more on the slaves than on the owners.

The first time it happened, I had just finished a tour of the home. People were filing out of their seats, and one man stayed behind to talk to me. He said, "Listen, I just wanted to say that dragging all this slavery stuff up again is bringing down America."

I started to protest, but he interrupted me. "You didn't know. You're young. But America is the greatest country in the world, and these people out there, they'd do anything to make America less great." He was loud and confusing, and I was 22 years old and he seemed like a million feet tall.





"KFC Serves Man Fried Rat Instead Of Fried Chicken?"

"Likability Index: Rating NFL uniforms from best to worst"

More: http://www.thescore.com/nfl/news/759196
Guess who's tied for #1...

"Why conservatives should hate overcrowded prisons"

"IA GOP Kingmaker Mickelson Wants To Bring Back Jim Crow-Era Voting Laws"

More: http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/06/08/ia-gop-kingmaker-mickelson-wants-to-bring-back/203912

Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson, the state's self-appointed vetter of GOP presidential candidates, recently told members of the League of Women Voters that it should be harder for people to vote, suggesting it be limited to state property owners or people who pass a civics test -- both of which were used to disenfranchise black voters and others in colonial America and the Jim Crow era.

On the June 4 broadcast of Mickelson in the Morning, Mickelson hosted two representatives of the League of Women Voters. During the discussion, Mickelson declared that unlike his guests, whose group works to register more Americans to vote, he is in "the voter repression business" and doesn't want people to vote "unless they agree" with him. He also suggested that in order to vote, Americans should have to pass a "civics test" to prove they're smart enough.

Later in the show, in response to a caller's comment about who should be eligible to vote on property tax ballot issues, Mickelson suggested that only people who pay property taxes -- i.e., property owners -- should be allowed to do so, which would effectively exclude local citizens who are students or renters.

Mickelson's suggestions are a stunning endorsement of disfavored economic restrictions on the right to vote that are now presumptively unconstitutional. Owning property was a prerequisite for white males to vote in colonial America, but eventually gave way to a law requiring voters to be taxpayers. However, by the 1850's, even the tax-paying requirement was phased out in most states. Despite passage of the 15th Amendment, which sought to eliminate that litmus test, some groups, including women and African-Americans, were still denied the vote.

"Akon Launches Solar Academy That Will Supply Electricity to 600M People in Africa"

When he’s not singing or producing music, Akon is busy providing sustainable living options to people in African countries. The Senegalese-American singer’s initiative, appropriately called Akon Lighting Africa, aims to supply electricity to 600 million people in Africa who lack it with the launch of the Solar Academy.

Located in Bamako, Mali, the Solar Academy will help African engineers and entrepreneurs develop skills that will enable them to produce solar power. Experts will be on hand to help the participants with training and equipment, according to a Reuters report.

According to Akon Lighting Africa, the goal of the academy is to teach people how to maintain solar-powered electricity systems and microgrids. Both systems have been growing quickly in rural parts of Africa. In a continent that has 320 days of sun a year, roping in its natural resources will be valuable to the solar-energy efforts.

“We have the sun and innovative technologies to bring electricity to homes and communities. We now need to consolidate African expertise,” said Samba Baithily, who founded Akon Lighting Africa with Akon and Thione Niang.

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