Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Sherrilyn Ifill; Chief Terry Cuningham of the International Association of Chiefs of Police
The ones who were afraid in Baton Rouge
Were the ones carrying the “red sticks”
Not the warrior queen who visited from the north
On behalf of her five-year old son
So she might invest in
His having a better life.
A better life
Than the sons of other mothers
She had gone there to mourn with
And stand proudly for.
She repelled the “red sticks”
Who were few in number
But seemed to grow into
A wall before her
As she stood her ground
Quietly in front of them.
She was a nurse who cared for others
Who said she was now “a vessel”
Doing God’s work.
The young queen arrived in regal garb
Regal in that it adorned her presence
Regal in that it could almost be said
To adorn ours.
She dressed for the moment
So that – standing in the hot sun
Of righteousness and pride –
She could feel as though
She were floating
In God’s air
In Baton Rouge.
The “red sticks” took her away
Took her away from her son
Took her away from her duties
Took her away from the cameras
And the tributes.
But the imprint she left
In the hearts and minds and souls
Of all of us
As though someone had gone out
And built a statue
Of a modern-day goddess
In every town in America.
The young queen
In the flowing garb
With diamonds in her closed eyes
With grief in her open heart
Sharing the secret:
How to be a woman
How to be a mother
How to be the vessel
How to show us the way
To Baton Rouge.
She stood silently on the gravel
She never spoke
But when we close our eyes
We can almost hear her say
“Ain’t I a woman?”
So that someday her son may say
“I am a man.”
President Barack Obama talks with paralympic athletes at the U.S. Olympic Training Facility in Colorado Springs, Colo., Aug. 9, 2012. Broadcast of the gold medal ceremony for the U.S. Olympic women’s soccer team plays on the TV in the background. Photo by Pete Souza
DeRay McKesson: Ferguson And Beyond: How A New Civil Rights Movement Began – And Won’t End
Mike Brown should be alive today. He should be home from his first year at college, visiting friends and enjoying summer as he prepares to return to campus. The movement began one year ago as Brown’s body lay in the street of Canfield Drive here in Ferguson, Missouri, for four and a half hours. It began as the people of St Louis came out of their homes to mourn and to question, as the people were greeted by armed and aggressive officers. In the past year, the movement has focused primarily on police violence that can be seen and its impact, centered on broken bodies and death. But the police are violent in ways that cannot always be seen – the violence against the hearts, minds and souls of black folk. We must begin to address the sexual and emotional violence inflicted upon us by the police, too. We must begin to address the assaults on our self-worth and potential, too.
Beyond Ferguson: how a new civil rights movement began – and how we will win | DeRay McKesson trib.al/ZhdaOQO
Naming this violence means one thing: the police and the state must change. It is not our job to shift the skin and identities into which we were born. It is up to systems of law enforcement, and the systems and structures that sustain its presence, to change. As much as this fight is about systems and structures, it is also a fight about hearts and minds. We will work hard to teach people that the safety of communities is not predicated on the presence of police – that safety is a more expansive notion than policing. Safety is strong schools, access to jobs, workforce development and access to healthcare, among many other things. The solution-work will likely fall into two separate but critically related areas: removing barriers, and building and rebuilding. There is much to be done to tear down systems and structures that oppress people, like mandatory minimum sentencing, broken-windows policing and police contracts that provide officers with protections that ensure they will never be held accountable for the crimes they commit.
President Barack Obama talks on the phone with President François Hollande of France in the Oval Office, Aug. 9, 2014. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama looks back towards a group of students before signing H.R. 1911, the “Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013,” in the Oval Office, Aug. 9, 2013. Photo by Pete Souza
Members of the audience listen as President Barack Obama delivers remarks on higher education and the economy at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas, Aug. 9, 2010. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama walks to the podium on the South Lawn of the White House to deliver a statement on Iraq, Aug. 9, 2014. Photo by Amanda Lucidon
President Barack Obama, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper, left, Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon, second from left, and governor Emilio Gonzalez, right, walk across the main courtyard at the the Cabanas Cultural Center during the North American Leaders’ Summit in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Aug. 10, 2009. Photo by Pete Souza
Paralympic swimmer Michael Prout watches as President Barack Obama signs a board for athletes during a visit to the U.S. Olympic Training Facility in Colorado Springs, Colo., Aug. 9, 2012. Photo by Pete Souza
On This Day: President Barack Obama hugs Vicki Kennedy as he touches the coffin of her husband, Senator Edward Kennedy during his funeral at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica in Boston, Aug. 29, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
Today (all times Eastern)
11:30: Press Briefing by Josh Earnest
12:30: President Obama departs the White House
1:55: Arrives Westchester County, New York
2:40: Attends a DNC fundraiser, private residence, New Rochelle, New York
4:35: Attends a DNC fundraiser, private residence, Purchase, New York
5:20: Departs Westchester
6:10: Arrives Warwick, Rhode Island
7:35: Delivers remarks at a fundraiser for House Democrats; private residence, Newport, Rhode Island
8:50: Departs Rhode Island for DC
President Obama talks with staff during a meeting in the Oval Office, Aug. 28, 2014 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Steve Benen: Obama crafting plan for ISIS threat in Syria
For good or ill, President Obama sometimes offers candid, shorthand assessments without much regard for how they’ll be perceived by the political world – or how easily the comments might be taken out of context. From a distance, I get the sense he just doesn’t care what offhand phrase might send the Beltway into a tizzy and generate a half-dozen Politico items. After nearly six years on the job, Obama just seems to have bigger things on his mind.
But those of us who regularly swim in these waters – and who’ve internalized Republican talking points to the point at which we can visualize Fox News segments before they even air – tend to see the pointless uproars coming.
Alarm is growing in Kiev and the West over Russia’s role in eastern Ukraine. But what is Russian President Vladimir Putin trying to achieve?
The indications are clear that Russia is being more confident and less discreet about the presence of its troops and equipment in eastern Ukraine.
As well as sightings of Russian tanks, and reports of Russian paratroopers not only captured by Ukraine but also killed “while carrying out their duties”, statements by separatist leaders have changed too.
After months of calling for assistance from Russia, separatist leaders now say that they can “do without outside help”. All this could indicate that Russian planners felt the military situation of Russian-backed separatists was severe enough to need more direct assistance.
Equally, it could be that Russia is simply less concerned at this stage about discretion and deniability.
Was I the last person on planet earth to see this splendiferous suit? I was? Okay. And am I the last person on earth to learn that the media didn’t listen to a single word he said, they were too busy commenting on the suit? I am? Okay……
TPM: Obama Did A Huge Thing For Workers, Now States Should Do The Same
This weekend marks the unofficial end of summer as well as a chance for us to reflect on the achievements of American workers. This year, workers across the country have a lot to celebrate, thanks in part to a series of executive orders signed by President Obama, including the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, which cracks down on federal contractors who violate labor laws.
In a significant step towards greater accountability for private contractors, corporations will be required to report their labor violations in updates to government agencies every six months, and contractors will also be responsible for making sure any subcontractors are playing by the rules as well. Additionally, the report directs contractors not to require employees to enter into pre-dispute arbitration agreements for sexual assault and harassment crimes, as well as violations of the Civil Rights Act.
Most importantly, any contractor that’s found to violate labor laws will be restricted from competing for certain contracts, and government agencies will have additional guidance on how to take labor violations into account in their process of awarding contacts. This will help keep taxpayer dollars out of the coffers of companies that are guilty of repeated violations that endanger the lives of workers and cheat employees out of pay.
I went out yesterday for a minute for a worky thing and didn’t get home until after one in the morning – does this phenomenon happen anyone else on a regular basis?
Any way, wasn’t ready for sleep, so began watching PBS’s Emmett Till documentary that I’d recorded a while ago. There were so many details about the case that I’d forgotten, and I’d forgotten too what an extraordinary woman Mamie Till was.
The Emmett Till and Michael Brown cases were, of course, hugely different, but they had the same outcome: ie murdered black boys. And, I fear, Michael Brown’s family will receive as much justice: none.
What struck me last night, though, was the part about the locals raising money – a lot of money – for Emmett’s murderers, and I thought of the people donating huge money to Darren Wilson.
Not content with cheerleading the killers of black boys, they are intent on helping them profit from their crimes too. For reasons of pure, unadulterated hate.
So, I went to sleep thinking, some things just never ***ing change.
Bloomberg: Obama’s Advisers in Final Review of Immigration Options
President Barack Obama’s lawyers are finishing months of work on a legal rationale for unilateral action on immigration that will have to withstand Republican assaults in the courts and during the congressional election campaign.
With a self-imposed deadline three weeks away, Obama has kept his deliberations closely held, even among White House advisers, while requesting information from staff, according to an administration official. The legal review of his authority hasn’t been presented to Obama yet, the official said.
No announcement is likely until after Obama returns from a trip next week to Estonia and Wales, according to the official…
I’m seriously late posting this after a crazy week or two – apologies Tally, and thank you!
A Word From Tally
Why Health Care Matters, and why the US is still vulnerable
The US is the only country on Earth where it’s legal to make a profit on someone’s illness. I understand why; it’s a giant conflict of interest. But because of that profit, the system is still out of reach for many, especially in red states with asshole GOP governors who refused the Federal Medicaid expansion funds.
So…… what if something like the West Africa Ebola outbreak happens here?
If EVERYONE doesn’t have affordable access to healthcare, how do you contain such an outbreak?
As awesome as the ACA is, Obamacare doesn’t cover all our citizens yet, and we must clear the way for everyone in this country to have access to healthcare, yes, even illegal aliens and people visiting here from other countries.
Viruses don’t care where you were born, how much money you make, what color your skin is, what sex you are, what religion (if any) you practice, what your sexual orientation is, who you voted for, what flavor of ice cream you prefer, or where you live.
They’re equal opportunity killers, and you aren’t magically protected from getting a virus from someone who is uninsured, even if you are.
The US is a sitting duck when it comes to this, and healthcare access should be a National Security issue. We’re the country who’s population never take vacation, and suck it up when we’re sick by going to work anyway, less we appear weak. By doing so, we’re spreading our germs everywhere, allowing the virus to spread far and wide, mutating in the process.
It would be easy to lay us low between our work-at-all-costs attitude, and lack of access to affordable care.
There’s a reason other countries have Nationalized health care systems, and don’t drive their citizens into financial ruin if they get sick. It’s better, and healthier when people just go to the doctor when they’re sick, then go home and get better.
It’s only in the US where working yourself to death is a badge of honor, and denying citizens health care is acceptable to some.
On This Day
The white draped casket of Senator Edward Kennedy sits before (from left) the Senator’s son Edward Kennedy Jr., his widow Vicki Kennedy, former President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former president George W. Bush, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden and his wife Jill Biden, and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter and former President Jimmy Carter during funeral services at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Boston, Mass. on Aug. 29, 2009. (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama wait to be introduced at Xavier University in New Orleans, La., before delivering remarks marking the five-year anniversary of hurricane Katrina, Aug. 29, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
First Lady Michelle Obama shakes hands with spectators at Xavier University on August 29, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet members of Maude Smith’s family at her home in New Orleans, La., Aug. 29, 2010. The President and First Lady were visiting New Orleans to mark the five-year anniversary of hurricane Katrina (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama walks with daughter Malia Obama on August 29, 2010 upon their return to the White House. The First Family completed their 10-day vacation on Martha’s Vineyard and spent August 29, in New Orleans, Louisiana
First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a “Pop the Question” question and answer segment during a taping of the “Rachael Ray Show” at Chelsea Television Studios in New York, N.Y., Aug. 29, 2012.
First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Mehmet Oz jump rope during a taping of the “Dr. Oz Show,” at Rockefeller Plaza in New York, N.Y., Aug. 29, 2012.
President Obama reacts after recognizing actress Sissy Spacek in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 29, 2012. The President happened upon Spacek while greeting people following a stop in the town (Photo by Pete Souza)
AS the predominantly black, disproportionately poor community of Ferguson, Mo., erupted in protest after the shooting death of Michael Brown, critics excoriated President Obama for his failure to empathize. Michael Eric Dyson, for example, called the president’s statement about the case on Monday a “stunning epic failure.” Mr. Obama’s defenders point to his second-term commitment to issues that touch the lives of poor communities of color, especially his initiative to assist young minority men, My Brother’s Keeper. But what both sides are ignoring is the president’s first-term record.
A true measure of a president’s priorities lies hidden in plain sight in his budget proposals. Under that standard, Mr. Obama has been more committed to communities like Ferguson than any Democratic president in the past half century. … …. Even after accounting for the higher numbers of poor people caught in the Great Recession, Mr. Obama’s record outshines his predecessors’. His proposed first-term spending per poor individual was $13,731 to Mr. Clinton’s $8,310 and Mr. Carter’s $4,431, in 2014 dollars.
Kyle Niere, 23, was arrested on Monday night in Ferguson, Missouri, for “refusing to disperse” as he attempted to leave the QuikTrip station, where hundreds have gathered to protest the police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen. As he later relayed to NBC News, Niere, along with 12 other protesters, was arrested after cops told him and his friends that they “looked like the type that were going to stir up drama and go start looting.” According to Niere, police officers dragged him “face-first on the ground” and were “stepping on the back of our heads.” Niere and the others were held overnight and released. This has been the pattern for more than a week: Dozens of legitimate protesters arrested for essentially doing it wrong, which can be variously described as protesting about issues of race, refusing to stop protesting about issues of race, and in many cases, perhaps most outrageously, protesting while black.
It’s virtually impossible to square the law enforcement definition of illegal protest with the snuggly warm vision of political protest put forth by a unanimous Supreme Court only two months ago in McCullen v. Coakley. That was the case in which the high court struck down a Massachusetts law barring any protests within 35 feet of an abortion clinic. That law was passed after two clinic workers were shot and killed at clinics in 1994. But there is a crucial difference between the abortion opponents whose speech rights were feted by the court in McCullen and the garden variety protesters who can still be rounded up in free speech pens and summarily arrested on the streets of Ferguson: The court was careful to explain that the protesters in Massachusetts are not actually “protesters.” They are “counselors.” This presents an obvious solution for the outraged citizens who have taken to the streets of Ferguson and been met with tear gas, rubber bullets, and incarceration: rebranding. From this day forth you should consider yourself “sidewalk counselors.”
Years ago I learned a very cool thing about Robin Williams, and I couldn’t watch a movie of his afterward without thinking of it. I never actually booked Robin Williams for an event, but I came close enough that his office sent over his rider. For those outside of the entertainment industry, a rider lists out an artist’s specific personal and technical needs for hosting them for an event- anything from bottled water and their green room to sound and lighting requirements. You can learn a lot about a person from their rider. When I got Robin Williams’ rider, I was very surprised by what I found.
He actually had a requirement that for every single event or film he did, the company hiring him also had to hire a certain number of homeless people and put them to work. I never watched a Robin Williams movie the same way after that. I’m sure that on his own time and with his own money, he was working with these people in need, but he’d also decided to use his clout as an entertainer to make sure that production companies and event planners also learned the value of giving people a chance to work their way back. Thanks, Robin Williams- not just for laughs, but also for a cool example.
Nick Timiraos: Foreclosed-Property Sales Fall to Lowest Levels Since 2008
Thursday’s home-sales report offers the clearest evidence that the housing market is moving out of the emergency ward and into a rehab facility. The National Association of Realtors reported that home sales rose for the fourth straight month in July to the highest seasonally adjusted annual rate since last September. But the real sign that the housing market is out of critical condition comes courtesy of a separate survey the NAR does of its members. That survey estimates the share of distressed home sales in July fell to 9% of all sales, the lowest level since the trade group’s tally began in October 2008.
the drop in foreclosed-property sales deserves attention. Sales of non-distressed homes, using crude estimates derived from the NAR’s survey, are up slightly from a year ago. Prices are still rising, but not as sharply as they were a year ago. And higher prices could be drawing out more sellers. Inventories are at their highest levels in nearly two years—and this time, they appear to be rising because Joe and Jane Homeowner, not a bank or mortgage-processing company, wants to sell.