Posts Tagged ‘civil


President Obama Holds a Civil Society Roundtable


A Civil Society

 3:0 EDT: President Obama Holds a Civil Society Roundtable

White House Live * C-Span * CBS

You can see the video here


Chat Away

@petesouza: Pres Obama meets w mayors from across the country to discuss reducing youth violence



The Dream Relived & Its Lasting Legacy…


“3000 miles to history”

“Some people pooh-poohed the idea. They didn’t think it was going to work. They thought there was going to be a lot of violence, and so our committee met every weekand we said, O.K., what do we need to move this really large group of people from all over, to bring them in? We needed public relations. We needed to have a medical corps of nurses and doctors on hand. We needed to have Porta-Pottys, arrange transportation. Once we had charter buses, regular buses coming in—what’s going to happen to those? Where are people going to park?”

MARCH-WIRE 13.jpg 1aa 1b




Harry Belafonte


As a kid, there was not much I could aspire to, because the achievement of black people in spaces of power and rule and governance was not that evident, and therefore we were diminished in the way we thought we could access power and be part of the American fabric. So we who came back from this war having expectations and finding that there were none to be harvested were put upon to make a decision. We could accept the status quo as it was beginning to reveal itself with these oppressive laws still in place. Or, as had begun to appear on the horizon, stimulated by something Mahatma Gandhi of India had done, we could start this quest for social change by confronting the state a little differently. Let’s do it nonviolently, let’s use passive thinking applied to aggressive ideas, and perhaps we could overthrow the oppression by making it morally unacceptable.”


 The bus was on fire and was filling up with smoke. -Hank Thomas


“Separate, but equal” drinking fountains in North Carolina, photographed by Elliott Erwitt in 1950.



“When I first met Dr. King, I was 16, and he came to speak at our high school gathering. They have kids from all over the country come as representatives of their part of the country. So there were a couple hundred of us, and we would meet in groups and discuss politics, and we were discussingnonviolence because it was a Quaker-based group. And then Dr. King came and spoke, and I was just stunned, because this man was doing what we had talked about. They had just started the more publicly seen and known boycotts in Montgomery, and I just wept through the whole thing, because it made something real to me. It was real, but I hadn’t seen an example of it in my daily life, and there it was.”

Continue reading ‘The Dream Relived & Its Lasting Legacy…’


Rise and Shine

Completely random old pic (Portsmouth, N.H., Sept. 7, 2012)


Today (all times Eastern)

11:0: President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

11:45: Meets with senior advisors

12:45: Josh Earnest briefs the press

2:15: President Obama meets with independent financial regulators


A sign along Harding Hill in West Tisbury, Massachusetts, August 18


USA Today: Coming off a week’s vacation, President Obama deals Monday with new rules on the financial system.

Obama holds a closed-door meeting with financial regulators to discuss the impact of new laws, the White House says, including the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform bill and the Consumer Protection Act.

The guest list includes the Comptroller of the Currency, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).

Also: The chairs of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (FRB), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the National Credit Union Administration, and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).


Times Tribune: Biden to join Obama in Scranton

In a rare occurrence, Vice President Joe Biden will join President Barack Obama in Scranton for the last stop on the president’s two-day bus tour promoting affordable higher education.

…. The president is scheduled to appear Friday at Lackawanna College, a school spokeswoman and the White House confirmed Friday. The school will be the last stop on a tour that takes Mr. Obama on Thursday to the University of Buffalo in Buffalo, N.Y., and the State University of New York and Henninger High School in Syracuse. Hours before the Scranton stop, the president will take part in a town hall at Binghamton University.

“At each stop, the president will discuss the importance of ensuring that every American has the opportunity to achieve a quality education by reducing cost and improving the value of higher education for middle-class students and their families,” a White House official said…



ThinkProgress: How Testicular Cancer Convinced A Former Republican Staffer To Leave His Party

Before he could realize the value of affordable health care, one Republican campaign staffer had to experience what it’s like to be without it.

Clint Murphy, who’s been involved with Republican campaigns since the 1990s, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2000 when he was 25 years old. Four years and four rounds of chemo treatment later — all of which was covered by insurance — Murphy was in remission. Insurance wasn’t a problem in his subsequent political jobs — he worked on John McCain’s election campaign in 2008 — but when he quit politics in 2010 and entered real estate, he realized just how difficult obtaining insurance with a pre-existing condition could be.

…. That’s why Murphy had this to say to his Republican friends who oppose Obamacare on Facebook last week: “When you say you’re against it, you’re saying that you don’t want people like me to have health insurance.”

More here




Steve Benen: Far-right ‘ready to erupt’ over health care?

President Obama’s weekly addresses tend to be pretty tame, at least as far as political rhetoric goes, but over the weekend his latest weekly message included some fairly pointed language about Republican efforts to sabotage the federal health care system.

Some congressional Republicans, Obama said, are “working hard to confuse people, and making empty promises that they’ll either shut down the health care law, or, if they don’t get their way, they’ll shut down the government…. A lot of Republicans seem to believe that if they can gum up the works and make this law fail, they’ll somehow be sticking it to me. But they’d just be sticking it to you.”

And while the White House pushes against the GOP shutdown threats, far-right activists continue to push in the opposite direction.

More here



Paul Krugman: One Reform, Indivisible

Recent political reporting suggests that Republican leaders are in a state of high anxiety, trapped between an angry base that still views Obamacare as the moral equivalent of slavery and the reality that health reform is the law of the land and is going to happen.

But those leaders don’t deserve any sympathy. For one thing, that irrational base is a Frankenstein monster of their own creation. Beyond that, everything I’ve seen indicates that members of the Republican elite still don’t get the basics of health reform — and that this lack of understanding is in the process of turning into a major political liability.

On the unstoppability of Obamacare: We have this system in which Congress passes laws, the president signs them, and then they go into effect. The Affordable Care Act went through this process, and there is no legitimate way for Republicans to stop it.

More here


Reuters: Illinois expands background checks to all gun purchases

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a gun-control measure into law on Sunday that expands background checks to cover all firearms purchases in the state, closing what he said was a loophole that exempted gun sales between private parties.

The new law also requires all gun owners to report any lost or stolen firearms to local police within 72 hours.

“Guns are a plague on too many of our communities,” Quinn, a Democrat, said in a statement. “Making sure guns do not fall into the wrong hands is critical to keeping the people of Illinois safe. This commonsense law will help our law enforcement crack down on crime and make our streets safer.”

The expanded background checks go into effect on January 1, 2014.

More here





Michael Tomasky: Julian Assange Loves Rand Paul and His ‘Very Principled Positions’

Julian Assange, who back when he roamed the earth freely used to do things like show up on the steps of St. Paul’s to protest the wrongs of capitalism, has now apparently placed his faith in the man who is arguably the capitalists’ single biggest lickspittle in Washington, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). In and of itself, this is only mildly interesting. But Assange’s admirers on the left are so seduced by his oppositionalist posture and his desire to stick it to the man (as long as the man is the government of the United States) that they seem willing to follow him off any cliff, maybe even the cliff of voting for Paul in 2016. It’s a jejune politics, and ultimately a politics of leisure. No one whose day-to-day life is materially affected by the question of who is in office has time for such silly games, and therefore, no one who purports to be in solidarity with those people should either.

… these seemingly left-wing anti-establishment types should never be trusted. These are just playtime politics, luxuries for the leisure class. If you want a real left-winger, I say stick with Marx. At least he understood that politics is chiefly about economic relations. Anyone who doesn’t understand that is sending you down blind alleys, knows little about politics to begin with, and should be shunned by anyone who claims to be anywhere on the broad left side of the spectrum.

Full post here





Ari Berman: Time to March on Washington — Again

They carried signs that demanded “Voting Rights,” “Jobs for All” and “Decent Housing.” They protested the vigilante killing of an unarmed black teenager in the South and his killer’s acquittal. They denounced racial profiling in the country’s largest city.

This isn’t 1963 but 2013, when so many of the issues that gave rise to the March on Washington fifty years ago remain unfulfilled or under siege today. That’s why, on August 24, a broad coalition of civil rights organizations, unions, progressive groups and Democratic Party leaders will rally at the Lincoln Memorial and proceed to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial to honor the fiftieth anniversary of the march and dramatize the contemporary fight. (President Obama will participate in a separate event commemorating the official anniversary on August 28.)

The Supreme Court’s decision gutting the Voting Rights Act in late June and the acquittal of George Zimmerman less than three weeks later make this year’s march “exponentially more urgent” with respect to pressuring Congress and arousing the conscience of the nation, says Ben Jealous, president of the NAACP, a co-sponsor of the march.

More here





a very lovely civil war

The Guardian: Barack Obama’s strategists find rich pickings as feuding Republicans attack Mitt Romney …. The fierce fight for the Republican presidential nomination, which is likely to see Romney emerge as the party’s candidate, is offering an arsenal of potential ammunition for the Democrats…..

…. Republican infighting has already done much of the work for President Obama and his re-election planners. Over the past week, two of Romney’s major rivals, Gingrich and Perry, have brutally attacked Romney’s time as head of Bain Capital….

…. The civil war is disturbing the Republican establishment who are concerned that Perry, Gingrich and their allies are doing the Democrats’ work and causing huge damage to the Republican name….

….In order to woo social conservatives in the Republican base, Romney has embraced an anti-abortion stance and come out strongly against gay marriage. However, as governor of Massachusetts Romney had quite different and much more moderate positions. Such “flip-flops” are a powerful weapon to be used in any election campaign and Romney has become notorious, even among Republicans, as someone who has switched beliefs for political gain.

…. The really significant story about the 2012 fight between the Republicans and Obama might be unfolding outside South Carolina, as the US economy gradually but noticeably revives …. If the upturn lasts, the anti-Romney playbook already being devised will continue to write itself

Full article here

Thanks Desertflower


rise and shine


US News: She’s best known as America’s First Mom, the First Beekeeper, and Veggie Gardener-in-Chief. But first lady Michelle Obama is also getting quite a name in military circles: First Booster for the troops. “Certainly other first ladies and presidents have taken an interest,” says Joyce Raezer, executive director of the National Military Family Association. “But to make supporting military families [a priority], and not just to make it one of the things you do, this is a game-changer,” adds an appreciative Raezer.

Often teamed with her lieutenant, Jill Biden, the vice president’s wife, Obama has organized and attended more events for and with military veterans and their families than any previous first lady, according to veterans groups. This year alone, for example, she’s participated in 50 events, many out of the eye of the media, and even dedicated the White House Christmas tree to supporting veterans. “There is this sense that this is genuine,” says Raezer. “We haven’t had this kind of visibility from the White House – ever.”

Full article here

Thanks Donna


President Obama and his family will leave Hawaii early Monday evening, the White House announced Sunday, bringing their Christmas vacation to an end.

The first family will depart Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Honolulu at 5 p.m. local time (that’s 10 p.m. back in Washington). They’re expected to land at Joint Base Andrews on Tuesday morning.


Mediaite: In an interview with Candy Crowley on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, Ron Paul slammed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, saying it “undermined the concept of liberty” and “destroyed the principle of private property and private choices.”

“If you try to improve relationships by forcing and telling people what they can’t do, and you ignore and undermine the principles of liberty, then the government can come into our bedrooms,” Paul explained. “And that’s exactly what has happened. Look at what’s happened with the PATRIOT Act. They can come into our houses, our bedrooms our businesses … And it was started back then.”

More here



Morning everyone ;-)


derrick bell 1930 – 2011

NYT: Derrick Bell, a legal scholar who worked to expose the persistence of racism in America through his books and articles and his provocative career moves — he gave up a Harvard Law School professorship to protest the school’s hiring practices — died on Wednesday in New York. He was 80.

… Mr. Bell was the first tenured black professor at Harvard Law School and later the first black dean of a law school that is not historically black. But he was perhaps better known for resigning from prestigious jobs than for accepting them.

In his 20s, while working at the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, he was told to give up his membership in the N.A.A.C.P., which his superiors believed posed a conflict of interest. Instead, he quit the Justice Department, ignoring the advice of friends to try to change things from within.

Thirty years later, when he left Harvard Law School, he rejected similar advice. At the time, he said, his wife, Jewel Hairston Bell, asked him, “Why does it always have to be you?”

…. At a rally while a student at Harvard Law School, Barack Obama compared Professor Bell to the civil rights hero Rosa Parks.

Full article here

Thank you Claire


fred shuttlesworth, 1922 – 2011

Democratic Presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama pushes civil rights activist Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth during a march to the Edmund Pettus Bridge to commemorate the 1965 ‘Bloody Sunday’ Voting Rights, March 4, 2007 in Selma, Alabama

MSNBC: The Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth, who was bombed, beaten and repeatedly arrested in the fight for civil rights and hailed by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. for his courage and energy, has died. He was 89.

Princeton Baptist Medical Center spokeswoman Jennifer Dodd confirmed he died at the Birmingham hospital Wednesday morning.

Shuttlesworth, a former truck driver who studied religion at night, became pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., in 1953 and soon was an outspoken leader in the fight for racial equality.

In his 1963 book “Why We Can’t Wait,” King called Shuttlesworth “one of the nation’s the most courageous freedom fighters … a wiry, energetic and indomitable man.”

He survived a 1956 bombing, an assault during a 1957 demonstration, chest injuries when Birmingham authorities turned fire hoses on demonstrators in 1963, and countless arrests.

“I went to jail 30 or 40 times, not for fighting or stealing or drugs,” Shuttlesworth told grade school students in 1997. “I went to jail for a good thing, trying to make a difference.”

2008: Fred Shuttlesworth watches the results of the historic presidential election from his hospital bed at St. Vincents Hospital in Birmingham. Shuttlesworth watched the returns with his wife Sephira and close friend Cathy Crenshaw.

Read more on Fred’s life here


President Barack Obama today issued a statement about the passing of the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth.

“Michelle and I were saddened to hear about the passing of Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth today. As one of the founders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Reverend Shuttlesworth dedicated his life to advancing the cause of justice for all Americans.  He was a testament to the strength of the human spirit. And today we stand on his shoulders, and the shoulders of all those who marched and sat and lifted their voices to help perfect our union.

I will never forget having the opportunity several years ago to push Reverend Shuttlesworth in his wheelchair across the Edmund Pettus Bridge – a symbol of the sacrifices that he and so many others made in the name of equality. America owes Reverend Shuttlesworth a debt of gratitude, and our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Sephira, and their family, friends and loved ones.”



Live here



Morning everyone, hope you’re all doing well.

I haven’t had a chance to read all the comments the last few days, but having looked through a few …. just a small request: please be civil to each other!

I know this is a miserably tense time, but let’s try to keep our heads and stay united through it all. That doesn’t – needless to say – mean we won’t disagree, sometimes passionately, on the issues currently being debated, but let’s try to do so in a respectful way.

Also, please don’t bring ‘professional’ left/GOP spin and lies here – as we all know, those two groups are united in their opposition to any form of compromise in these talks for the sole reason that they believe it would reduce the President’s re-election chances. It’s all about destroying Obama – if the American economy is trashed in the process, so be it. Honestly, we don’t need their pitiful talking points repeated here, we know where to go if we want to read them.

So, when the President is up against that level of mindless hostility and opposition I think we should all just try to dig a little deeper, stay calm, wait to see what happens – and stay united. By all means disagree with each other, but try to be nice while doing it!

Thanks ;-)


clara luper (May 3, 1923 – June 8, 2011)

Read about Clara Luper’s life here

January 2009NewsOK: Clara Luper clapped and let out a cheer as Barack Obama finished taking the oath of office and became president of the U.S.

The graying matron of Oklahoma City’s civil rights movement was surrounded by about two dozen people at the Freedom Center, 2500 Martin Luther King, for an inauguration watch party.

Though her health has dwindled in recent years, Luper said she never doubted she’d see a black president in her lifetime.

“I hadn’t planned on dying until I saw this day,” she said. “If I die now, I’m OK.”

On the walls of the center, large pictures hung showing Obama and Martin Luther King Jr. Other pictures showed black children staging a sit-in at a lunch counter and Luper being led away from a protest by police.

Luper said the struggles of those days never got her down because she knew today would eventually come. “I came from a family of believers,” Luper said. “We believed in the sun when it didn’t shine. We believed in the rain when it didn’t fall.”

Benetta Williams, Luper’s caretaker, said Obama’s election has re-invigorated the 85-year-old, who organized sit-ins to protest segregation in Oklahoma City beginning in 1958. She was invited to the inauguration, but could not attend because of her health.

“Ms. Luper cannot stand by herself,” Williams said. “The night that Obama was elected, she stood. She got up for the first time in two years and stood by herself.”

Watching Luper as she sat in front of a 12-inch TV and listened to Obama’s speech Tuesday, Williams said she was struck by how much Luper gave for this moment.

“Tears just streamed down my face as I looked at her,” Williams said.


‘ron paul: civil rights optional’


‘code-word fears’

GOPolitico: Rev. Jesse Jackson told POLITICO today that the birther movement is part of a larger pattern of rollbacks against civil rights and and an attack on the legitimacy of the nation’s first African-American president..

“Any discussion of his birthplace is a code word,” said Jackson. “It calls upon ancient racial fears. Trump has trumpeted this cause. For him to go down this low is a bit surprising,” Jackson said, making explicit what many black leaders have suggested. “He is now tapping into code-word fears that go far beyond a rational discourse.”

Jackson also pointed to a broader pattern of hostility towards civil rights – pointing to a number of events, including the battle over public sector unions, a transportation policy that he says disadvantages poor minority city dwellers, and a renewed interest in policies like voter ID.

“I’m saying there’s a pattern here. It’s not just name calling of Barack. We’ll win that battle,” said Jackson ‘There is a retreat – a pronounced, documented retreat on civil rights enforcement.”

“This is the most personal attacks on any president ever,” said Jackson. “Whose personal religion has ever been challenged before? That has strong racial overtones.”


‘an impossible dream’

The Selma Civil Rights March (March 21, 1965) – From left: U.S. Representative John Lewis (D-GA), an unidentified nun, Ralph Abernathy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Bunche, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Rabbi Heschel and the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth

President Obama presents Rep. John Lewis with the 2010 Medal of Freedom

AP: Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. Lewis was chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and helped organize the first sit-ins at lunch counters that refused to serve blacks. In 1965, he led a march for voting rights from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., and was nearly beaten to death along with others in what became known as “Bloody Sunday”.

President Obama said Lewis “knew that change could not wait for some other person or some other time.” Lewis speaks often and loudly in his booming voice on issues of justice and equality, and is known as the “conscience” of Congress.

He told reporters later that the award was all the more special coming from Obama, the nation’s first black president.

“If someone had told me that one day I would be standing in the White House and an African-American president would be presenting me the Medal of Freedom I would say, ‘Are you crazy? Are you out of your mind?'” Lewis said. “It’s just an impossible dream.”

November, 2008:


55 years ago today…..

On December 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks, age 42, refused to obey bus driver James Blake’s order that she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger – Parks’ action sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Parks’ act of defiance became an important symbol of the modern Civil Rights Movement and she became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. She organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including boycott leader Martin Luther King, Jr., helping to launch him to national prominence in the civil rights movement.

“My resisting being mistreated on the bus did not begin with that particular arrest…I did a lot of walking in Montgomery.” Parks had her first run-in on the public bus on a rainy day in 1943, when the bus driver, James F. Blake, demanded that she get off the bus and re-enter through the back door. As she began to exit by the front door, she dropped her purse. Parks sat down for a moment in a seat for white passengers to pick up her purse. The bus driver was enraged and barely let her step off the bus before speeding off.

After a day at work at Montgomery Fair department store, Parks boarded the Cleveland Avenue bus at around 6 p.m., Thursday, December 1, 1955, in downtown Montgomery. She paid her fare and sat in an empty seat in the first row of back seats reserved for blacks in the “colored” section, which was near the middle of the bus and directly behind the ten seats reserved for white passengers. Initially, she had not noticed that the bus driver was the same man, James F. Blake, who had left her in the rain in 1943. As the bus traveled along its regular route, all of the white-only seats in the bus filled up. The bus reached the third stop in front of the Empire Theater, and several white passengers boarded.

Blake noted that the front of the bus was filled with white passengers and there were two or three men standing, and thus moved the “colored” section sign behind Parks and demanded that four black people give up their seats in the middle section so that the white passengers could sit. Years later, in recalling the events of the day, Parks said, “When that white driver stepped back toward us, when he waved his hand and ordered us up and out of our seats ….

…… I felt a determination cover my body like a quilt on a winter night.”

By Parks’ account, Blake said, “Y’all better make it light on yourselves and let me have those seats.” Three of them complied. Parks said, “The driver wanted us to stand up, the four of us. We didn’t move at the beginning, but he says, ‘Let me have these seats.’ And the other three people moved, but I didn’t.” The black man sitting next to her gave up his seat. Parks moved, but toward the window seat; she did not get up to move to the newly repositioned colored section. Blake then said, “Why don’t you stand up?” Parks responded, “I don’t think I should have to stand up.” Blake called the police to arrest Parks. When recalling the incident for Eyes on the Prize, a 1987 public television series on the Civil Rights Movement, Parks said, “When he saw me still sitting, he asked if I was going to stand up, and I said, ‘No, I’m not.’ And he said, ‘Well, if you don’t stand up, I’m going to have to call the police and have you arrested.’ I said, ‘You may do that.'”







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