There is no pleading ignorance about nooses. When you use a noose against a Black person, everyone knows what you mean. Everyone one knows the threat, violence, and racism it represents. Everyone knows that you are terrorizing Black people
I have no idea how much Starbucks pays their employees, but can you imagine having a job where you have to engage customers in conversations about race? You work two jobs just to keep a roof over your head and some billionaire with nothing to do sends down a fucking edict from on high forcing you to talk about something that he or she doesn’t have to worry about, let alone talk about.
@washingtonpost “There are three things in the world that deserve no mercy, hypocrisy, fraud, and tyranny.”
Earlier this week, Starbucks—in a misguided PR stunt—announced that it would direct its employees to initiate conversations on race with customers.
The company received much derision for this initiative. It seemed less of an honest effort to engender difficult conversations than as a way to make the company look good to its core clientele. And the idea of forcing $8/hr baristas to initiate fraught conversations with people who might either not be receptive or violently hostile had an air of feudal lords imposing extra work on their serfs.
If Starbucks were truly interested in starting discussions on race, one place to start would be why its executive positions are staffed mostly by whites.
However, the hamhandedness of #RaceTogether does bring up one glaring point: We ignore the elephant in the room.
Starbucks says let’s talk about race. People say okay, tell us about your hiring practices, wages and salaries, who sits at the power table, etc. Their corporate dude deletes his Twitter account and locks his Instagram account. That’s how Starbucks talks about race. Congratulations, cowards
Corporate White Dude: Let's talk about race! 😃 #RaceTogether
POC: Uh...ok. *talks about race
CWD: NOT LIKE THAT! 😭 *deletes account
On This Day – Pete Souza: “The President shows off his dance moves as he and the First Lady waited backstage during an intermission of daughter Sasha’s dance recital at Strathmore Arts Center in North Bethesda, Maryland.” June 16, 2013
10:0 am PT: President Obama departs Palm Springs
5:30 pm ET: Arrives White House
The Week Ahead
Tuesday: President Obama will travel to TechShop Pittsburgh to deliver remarks on the economy. Following this, he will travel to New York City to attend the DNC LGBT Gala and take part in another DNC Event.
Wednesday: The President will host the first ever White House Maker Faire and meet with students, entrepreneurs and everyday citizens who are using new tools and techniques to launch new businesses, learn vital skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and fuel the renaissance in American manufacturing.
Thursday: The President will award Corporal William “Kyle” Carpenter, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.), the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry.
Friday: The President will meet with Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand.
Paul Krugman: Yes He Could – Health Care And Climate: President Obama’s Big Deals
You should judge leaders by their achievements, not their press, and in terms of policy substance Mr. Obama is having a seriously good year. In fact, there’s a very good chance that 2014 will go down in the record books as one of those years when America took a major turn in the right direction. First, health reform is now a reality — and despite a shambolic start, it’s looking like a big success story. Remember how nobody was going to sign up? First-year enrollments came in above projections. Remember how people who signed up weren’t actually going to pay their premiums? The vast majority have.
Then there’s climate policy. The Obama administration’s new rules on power plants won’t be enough in themselves to save the planet, but they’re a real start — and are by far the most important environmental initiative since the Clean Air Act….Put it all together, and Mr. Obama is looking like a very consequential president indeed.
Colin H. Kahl: No, Obama Didn’t Lose Iraq: What The President’s Critics Get Wrong
As the senior Pentagon official responsible for Iraq policy during the first three years of the Obama administration, I had a front-row seat for the internal deliberations over how to end the war. Through the first half of 2011, there was a vigorous debate within the administration about whether U.S. forces should remain in Iraq beyond December, and if so, in what numbers and with what missions. Ultimately, at great political risk, President Obama approved negotiations with the Iraqi government to allow a force of around 5,000 American troops to stay in Iraq to provide counterterrorism support and air cover and to train the Iraqi army. But, as commander in chief, he was unwilling to strand U.S. forces in a hostile, anti-American environment without the legal protections and immunities required to ensure soldiers didn’t end up in Iraqi jails. These protections, which are common in nearly every country where U.S. forces operate, were guaranteed under the 2008 status of forces agreement negotiated by the Bush administration; Obama simply demanded that they continue under any follow-on accord. Iraq’s prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, told
U.S. negotiators that he was willing to sign an executive memorandum of understanding that included these legal protections. But for any agreement to be binding under the Iraqi constitution, it had to be approved by the Iraqi parliament. This was the judgment of every senior administration lawyer and Maliki’s own legal adviser, and no senior U.S. military commander made the case that we should leave forces behind without these protections. Even Sen. John McCain, perhaps the administration’s harshest Iraq critic, admitted in a December 2011 speech discussing the withdrawal that the president’s demand for binding legal immunities “was a matter of vital importance.” Moreover, because the 2008 security agreement had been approved by the Iraqi parliament, it seemed both unrealistic and politically unsustainable to apply a lower standard this time around. Unfortunately, Iraqi domestic politics made it impossible to reach a deal. Iraqi public opinion surveys consistently showed that the U.S. military presence was deeply unpopular
Matthew Lee: Kerry: US Open To Cooperation With Iran On Chaos In Iraq
Secretary of State John Kerry says the Obama administration is willing to talk with Iran over deteriorating security conditions in Iraq and is not ruling out potential U.S.-Iranian military cooperation in stemming the advance of Sunni extremists. Kerry also says U.S. drone strikes “may well” be an option.
In a Monday interview with Yahoo! News, Kerry said Washington is “open to discussions” with Tehran if the Iranians can help end the violence and restore confidence in the Iraqi government. Asked about possible military cooperation with Iran, Kerry said he would “not rule out anything that would be constructive.” However, he stressed that any contacts with Iran would move “step-by-step.”
New data show the number of students without health insurance on California State University campuses dropped by 60% after health insurance enrollment, defying concerns that not enough young people would sign up for health insurance. According to a poll released Thursday, at the 15 largest CSU campuses, between 25% and 30% of students were uninsured before enrollment began, and 10% were uninsured after. The drop accounts for 60,000 students who became insured, and illustrates the late surge of young people who signed up for policies. “These students proved that the folks we’re calling young invincibles do want health insurance,” said William Covino, president of Cal State Los Angeles. Walter Zelman, chair of the Cal State L.A. Public Health Department and director of the project, said that he believes the 10% uninsured rate among the students is “virtually unheard of in California.”
He pointed out that the 60% drop in the number of uninsured CSU students is vastly higher than the 26% reduction in the number of uninsured nationwide that was reported by a Gallup poll this month. CSU students were perhaps more likely to sign-up for insurance than expected because many are low-income and therefore qualify for Medi-Cal, the state’s low-income health program that was expanded under the federal health care law. Natasha Buranasombati, 23, signed up for an insurance plan through Covered California. A recent Cal State L.A. grad, she’d been off her parents’ insurance for a few years, and couldn’t afford a plan on the individual market. She now pays $117 a month for her new plan. “The issue is not invincibility, it’s affordability,” Zelman said.
Bloomberg: Taliban Fighters Warn Foreign Investors To Leave Pakistan
Pakistan’s military began a full-scale operation in the Taliban stronghold of North Waziristan, prompting insurgents to warn foreign investors, airlines and multinational companies to leave the country. “We’re in a state of war,” Shahidullah Shahid, a spokesman for the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, said in a statement today. “Foreign investors, airlines, and multinational companies should cut off business with Pakistan immediately and leave the country or else they will be responsible for their damage themselves.”
The army said yesterday it would target local and foreign terrorists in North Waziristan, a tribal region near the Afghan border the U.S. has called the “epicenter” of terrorism. The operation, long sought by the U.S., comes a week after militants attacked the country’s biggest international airport. As Islamic militants capture cities in Iraq and the U.S. draws up plans to withdraw from Afghanistan, public opinion in Pakistan is shifting in favor of stronger action against fighters who were previously seen locally as more of a threat to America’s interests. The Taliban wants to impose its version of Islamic Shariah law in Pakistan, which includes a ban on music and stricter rules for women.
LA Times: Actors, Musicians Are Big Beneficiaries Of Obamacare
In 2011, actress Lynda Berg didn’t make enough money to qualify for health insurance through her union. And, on her own, she had trouble finding a plan she could afford because she’s a survivor of breast cancer, considered a preexisting condition. The uncertainty of not having a health plan was stressful and at times expensive, she recalls. A few years ago she fell and broke her hand and elbow and ended up paying $4,000 for her medical care. But all that has changed for Berg, 59. In March, she went online, signed up for a policy through Covered California, the state’s new health insurance marketplace set up under the Affordable Care Act, and now is getting medical care. More than most people, workers in the area’s vast entertainment industry are poised to benefit from the federal health law.
“When people think Hollywood, they think George Clooney and Meryl Streep, but that’s not the average person in this town,” said Dan Kitowski, director of health services for the western region of the Actors Fund, a national nonprofit that does Affordable Care Act outreach. Actress Berg, who lives in Beverlywood, now pays a premium of $145 a month for her Blue Shield of California plan. She’s using her coverage to get prescriptions for $5 a month that she was paying more than $100 to fill before. She plans to head to the doctor’s office soon for a checkup she’s been putting off. “It’s a tremendous blessing to actors and anyone who doesn’t have insurance,” she said. “Even if you get a plan with a large deductible, at least you have that safety net … and you’re not in debt for the next seven years.”
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Friday $70 million in funding available during Fiscal Year 2014 to tribal communities across the nation to improve Indian housing conditions and stimulate community development for low and moderate income families. The grants are available through HUD’s Indian Community Development Block Grant (ICDBG) Program for a wide variety of community development and affordable housing activities. Read HUD’s ICDBG Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). The purpose of the ICDBG program is to develop viable Indian and Alaska Native communities, including decent housing, suitable living environments, and economic opportunities. Recipients can use the funding to support rehabbing or building new housing or to buy land for housing. They can use it toward infrastructure such as roads, water and sewer facilities. Recipients can also spur economic development including commercial and industrial projects.
This has included community and health centers, energy conservation projects, or new businesses such as shopping centers, manufacturing plants, restaurants, convenience stores and gas stations. “Housing and infrastructure needs in Indian Country are severe and widespread, and far exceed what has been provided to tribes and their designated housing entities. This funding will go directly to the Native American and Alaska Native communities that are working hard every day to improve housing for the families who need it most,” said Rodger Boyd, HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Native American Programs. “HUD invests in people and neighborhoods across the country that promote development at the local level by those local leaders who know their communities best. This year we are committed to not only expanding housing opportunities but also helping to ensure healthier environments for those affected by mold.”
Eliza Griswold: Can General Linder’s Special Operations Forces Stop the Next Terrorist Threat?
On a searing morning this spring, Brig. Gen. James B. Linder leaned against the red-webbing seats of a C-130 as it flew over the Sahara. On his camouflaged knee, he balanced two dog-eared Moleskine notebooks and a map of Africa. Linder, who is in his early 50s, commands the United States Special Operations forces in Africa. He was on his way to visit a detachment of 12 Army Green Berets training with African troops to fight Al Qaeda and its affiliates in Niger. Through the plane’s scratched plexiglass portholes, dunes crested like waves in an ocean of sand, and hot blasts of wind buffeted the fuselage.
An hour’s flight to the south, his team of Special Forces was deployed along the Nigerian border, where the militant group Boko Haram was targeting children in its bid to establish an Islamic state. “My job is to look at Africa and see where the threat to the United States is,” Linder said as he unfolded his map and traced circles around the territories where he knew extremist groups were operating. “I see Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the Libyan problem set, Al Shabab in Somalia, Boko Haram in Nigeria, Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia, Benghazi and Darna.”
NYT: Starbucks To Provide Free College Education To Thousands of Workers
Starbucks will provide a free online college education to thousands of its workers, without requiring that they remain with the company, through an unusual arrangement with Arizona State University, the company and the university will announce on Monday. The program is open to any of the company’s 135,000 United States employees, provided they work at least 20 hours a week and have the grades and test scores to gain admission to Arizona State. For a barista with at least two years of college credit, the company will pay full tuition; for those with fewer credits it will pay part of the cost, but even for many of them, courses will be free, with government and university aid. Starbucks is, in effect, inviting its workers, from the day they join the company, to study whatever they like, and then leave whenever they like — knowing that many of them, degrees in hand, will leave for better-paying jobs.
In a low-wage service industry, Starbucks has for decades been unusual, doing things such as providing health insurance, even for part-timers, and giving its employees stock options. (Like other food and drink chains, it has also been accused of using improper tactics in fighting unionization drives.) Whether in spite of those perks or because of them, the company has been highly successful; its stock, which closed Friday at $74.69, has grown in value more than a hundredfold since it went public in 1992. The president of Arizona State, Michael M. Crow, something of an evangelist for online education, was scheduled to join Mr. Schultz and Arne Duncan, the education secretary, to announce the program on Monday in Manhattan. Arizona State has one of the largest online degree programs in the United States, with 11,000 students and 40 undergraduate majors, and one of the most highly regarded.
I’m here in Florida visiting my father, Ed Reich, who, at the young age of 100 and a half, just came up with one of the most incisive assessments I’ve heard of what’s happened in Iraq: “George W. Bush and the crooks he hired are responsible for this. If they hadn’t lied to the American people about weapons of mass destruction we wouldn’t have lost nearly 5,000 American lives and god knows how many Iraqi lives, and stirred up this hornet’s nest. Obama has spent his entire administration cleaning up Bush’s shit, like someone with a giant pooper scooper.” Dad has lived during the administrations of 17 presidents. “Bush was the worst,” he says. “Reagan the second worst.”
The Supreme Court says federal law does not allow a “straw” purchaser to buy a gun for someone else, even if both are legally eligible to own firearms. The justices ruled Monday that the federal background check law applied to Bruce James Abramski, Jr. when he bought a Glock 19 handgun in Collinsville, Virginia, in 2009 and later transferred it to his uncle in Easton, Pennsylvania. Federal officials brought charges against Abramski because he assured the Virginia dealer he was the actual buyer of the weapon, even though he had already agreed to buy the gun for his uncle.
Sen. Barack Obama greets supporters a campaign rally at Kettering High School June 16, 2008 in Flint, Michigan
Sen. Barack Obama, former U.S. vice president Al Gore and Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm appear on stage together after Gore spoke endorsing him at a rally at Joe Louis Arena June 16, 2008 in Detroit, Michigan
President Obama picks up a fly he swatted during an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood in the East Room of the White House, June 16, 2009 (Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
President Obama gives a fist-bump to personal aide Reggie Love in the Oval Office of the White House on June 16, 2009. Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is at left (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama arrives to speak the American Nurses Association House of Delegates June 16, 2010 in Washington, DC.
President Obama walks with his daughter Malia as they follow First Lady Michelle Obama into the Strathmore Music Center June 16, 2013 in Bethesda, Maryland. The Obama’s were attending a dance performance with where their daughter Sasha was performing.
Usually, we do things bigger in Texas. But right now, when it comes to covering the uninsured, some of our neighboring states are trying to beat us to the draw. In Arkansas, for example, they¹ve cut the total number of uninsured in the state by nearly 14 percent in just over a month.
There’s one big reason for that. Under the Affordable Care Act, states can choose whether or not to expand Medicaid to cover more of its citizens, and Arkansas chose “yes.” If we made that same choice in Texas, it would cover more than one million of our citizens, and save our taxpayers $1.7 billion over the next decade in unpaid hospital bills.
USA Today: Reversing CNN’s Fortunes Proves A Daunting Task
With its heavy emphasis last week on the woes of the new national health insurance exchange website’s rollout, the cable news network registered its lowest weekday primetime ratings in over a year. For the week of Oct. 28 to Nov. 1, the Time Warner-owned network averaged 385,000 viewers – lowest since Aug. 2012 – and 95,000 coveted adults between the ages of 25 and 54.
CNN’s ratings numbers have always popped with national breaking news. But the story about an insurance website – however comprehensive in coverage – likely wasn’t the kind that drives viewers to interrupt their day’s routines to tune in, says Andrew Tyndall, a longtime TV news monitor and publisher of industry newsletter Tyndall Report.
Think Progress: Texans Sharply Disagree With Rick Perry On Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion
While Perry hasn’t exactly been shy about his opposition to that ACA provision, his constituents have a markedly different view, according to a new poll by the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune.
In addition to wide-ranging support for various ACA components such as insurance subsidies for low-income Americans and tax credits to businesses for providing health coverage, the poll finds that two-thirds of Texans support Medicaid expansion. Over 35 percent of the respondents even said that they “strongly support” the policy
Washington Post: Debt Collectors Face New Rules Under Proposal From Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
The government is preparing restrictions on debt collectors, a loosely regulated industry under increasing scrutiny over complaints of abusive tactics. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is slated to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking to modernize the legal framework governing debt collection.
The government watchdog is seeking public and business comment before formally proposing the rules, which are expected to be finalized by next year. The bureau is asking Americans whether creditors and collection agencies are providing accurate information about their outstanding debts. It also wants to know whether people are receiving threatening calls at all hours of the night or being dragged into court for money they do not owe.
Jamelle Bouie: How High Black Turnout Gave Terry McAuliffe His Win In Virginia
One of the big questions of the next few years of politics is whether Democrats can replicate the “Obama model” of minority turnout without the presence of Obama on the ballot. If the Virginia gubernatorial election was a test case, then the early answer is a clear “yes.” Cuccinelli maintained the GOP’s traditional advantage with white and married women, winning the former by sixteen point spread of 54 percent to 38 percent, and the latter by a solid margin of 51 percent to 42 percent.
Where the change from 2009 was most significant was among black voters. Then, African Americans were 16 percent were of the electorate, a significant drop from the 2008 election. This year, blacks were 20 percent of all voters, which means their turnout was exactly where it was in 2012.
Put another way, for the second year in a row, African Americans turned out at a rate above their percentage of the population, and supported the Democrat by a 9-to–1 margin. This is huge. For McAuliffe, what it meant is that—for almost every black voter who went to the polls—he could count on a vote, giving him crucial support in a tight race. To wit, more than 37 percent of his vote total came from African Americans.
Sy Mukherjee: No, Obamacare Won’t Cause Millions Of Workers To Lose Their Employer Sponsored Health Plans
Forbes contributor and former Mitt Romney health care adviser Avik Roy wrote a piece claiming that the Obama administration knew “93 million Americans will be unable to keep their health plans” under Obamacare and that many of them would actually be workers with employer-sponsored coverage.
Under the “grandfather clause,” a plan issued before the ACA was signed in 2010 could remain in place as long as employers or insurance companies didn’t drastically change its terms in a way that would harm the policy holder, like increasing out-of-pocket costs or dropping benefits. However, if a plan did change, it would lose its “grandfather status.” Then, any new plan issued in its place would be subject to Obamacare’s various requirements.
“So it isn’t like all of a sudden people are going to wake up and find out I don’t have my employer coverage anymore,” said Jost. “It’s just there are going to be some minor changes in those plans that benefit enrollees, and that many employers probably already covered anyway.” These small changes might include things like covering workers’ dependent children, or adding preventative care services, according to Jost.
Yahoo: Starbucks Wants To Recruit 10,000 Vets, Spouses To Its Ranks
Starbucks Corp is looking for thousands of good men – and women. The world’s biggest coffee chain said on Wednesday it would commit to hiring at least 10,000 veterans and spouses of active military in five years.
It also said five new and existing U.S. Starbucks cafes on or near military bases will share a portion of each sale with non-profit organizations that help veterans re-enter the workforce.
Many U.S. companies have committed to hiring thousands of military veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Seattle-based Starbucks said it will have specialized recruiters to match the unique skills of veterans and their spouses with company jobs.
Alec MacGillis: The Pundits Are Wrong. The Virginia Election Was A Big Win For Obamacare
Last night, the prospects for Robin L. and the estimated 400,000 Virginians who would be eligible under a Medicaid expansion brightened considerably. The gubernatorial election was won by Terry McAuliffe. So, the election was a clear win for Obamacare, right? Nope, say the pundits.
I’m not sure when I last saw such a stark example of election spin and punditry floating away from the substantive reality of governing and its impact on actual people. There is no mention in these accounts of the greatly enhanced prospects for the Medicaid expansion in Virginia as a result of McAuliffe’s win. No, it’s all about the exit polls and what it might mean for Obama and the Democrats.
All we know right now is that after a very rough patch for the law, the guy who ran strongly in support of it beat a guy who was strongly opposed to it, in the most purple state in the country. And as a result, hundreds of thousands of working poor may get health insurance coverage. How removed from the reality of these people’s lives does one have to be to chalk up such a result as a loss for Obamacare?
The US economy grew at an annualised pace of 2.8% in the third quarter of the year, latest figures have shown. The growth rate was faster than expected, and was an improvement on the 2.5% pace seen in the previous quarter. Growth was lifted by rising exports, businesses restocking shelves and a pick-up in home construction.
Keith Boykin: Despite What Conservatives Try To Argue, Black People Do Vote For White Candidates
Although no Democrat has run New York City since Dinkins, New Yorkers on Tuesday chose a progressive white Democrat, Bill de Blasio, who was swept into office with enormous Black support, an accomplished African-American wife and a highly publicized interracial family, all of which served as a rebuke to the racial polarization of the Rudy Giuliani regime and the racist stop-and-frisk policies of the Michael Bloomberg era.
On the same day de Blasio was elected, voters also chose Letitia James to succeed him as the city’s public advocate, making her the first Black woman in New York history to hold citywide office. The real story was about the influence of Black women, who voted 91 percent for McAuliffe while only 38 percent of white women did so, according to a New York Times exit poll.
That’s a lesson Democrats should remember as they suit up for 2014 and 2016. Democrats win when they attract a wide and diverse group of voters, just as President Obama did.
President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Sasha and Malia walk from Marine One to board Air Force One at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago, the day after the presidential election.
On This Day:
President Obama hugs House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the Cannon House Office Building at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Nov. 7, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Nov. 7, 2010: “In India, the President was finally persuaded to join the First Lady on the dance floor at Holy Name High School in Mumbai.” (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet young dancers at a Diwali candle lighting and performance at Holy Name High School in Mumbai, India, Nov. 7, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama greets students following a town hall meeting at St. Xavier College in Mumbai, India, Nov. 7, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)