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Must Reads July 9, 2013

Hey, folks! So. What am I reading this morning? Here’s your list of the must read articles in news for July 9, 2013.

Talking Points Memo: 

Armageddon rhetoric about the deficit? Not according to The White House. The budget deficit is projected to shrink by $759 billion.

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/white-house-projects-budget-deficit-will-shrink-to-759-billion.php?ref=fpb

Republican obstruction on immigration reform? You bet.

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2013/07/conservatives-immigration-reform-excuse.php?ref=fpb

The Washington Post: 

The resurrection of Eliot Spitzer and his return to politics.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/eliot-spitzer-looks-for-political-redemption-in-new-york-city/2013/07/08/e3d1ee66-e805-11e2-8f22-de4bd2a2bd39_story.html

Speaking of political comebacks, who will be the next comeback story?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/07/09/who-will-mount-americas-next-big-political-comeback/

The New York Times: 

Ever wonder how much it costs to get a House seat?

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/09/how-much-does-a-house-seat-cost/

David Brooks’s column on secular America.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/09/opinion/brooks-the-secular-society.html?ref=politics&_r=0 

The Money Cage: 

Democrats and Redistricting

http://themonkeycage.org/2013/07/09/are-the-democrats-still-at-a-disadvantage-in-redistricting/

BBC: 

Gridlock from the Muslim Brotherhood

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-23237852

Local election troubles in Mexico’s Baja region

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-23238613

Why is the US avoiding the word “coup” when describing what happened in Egypt?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-23234153

Al Jazeera: 

Failure at Gitmo

http://www.aljazeera.com/humanrights/2013/07/20137324426228887.html

Student proests in Chile

http://www.aljazeera.com/video/americas/2013/06/201362710120373612.html

Asylum for Eric Snowden?

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/europe/2013/07/201372133546912614.html

 

There you go! Have at it!

dpn

 

 

9 Jul 2013

Rick Perry is Out

In case you haven’t been watching the news, Texas governor Rick Perry announced today that he will not be seeking a fourth term. He will leave office as the longest serving governor in Texas’s history. The news broke on twitter just a couple of h0urs ago.

This leaves a lot of questions open about Rick Perry’s future. Will he decide to run for president again? Will he retire quietly to a farm in Texas and stay out of politics forever? No one is really sure. But, the speculation has already started. One such speculator if Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post. In a new blog post, he attempts to remind Gov. Perry of the potential pitfalls of running for president.

Why Rick Perry Shouldn’t Run For President Again

It would be worthwhile for Gov. Pery to heed the advice of Mr. Cillizza. But, if the primary taught us anything, he will probably forget it and run anyway.

220px-Rick_Perry_by_Gage_Skidmore_8

 

dpn

8 Jul 2013

WHY……?! Prime time court cases

Every morning (well, late morning/early afternoon during the summer), I wake up and turn on the news. Seems normal, right? It is just my way to start the day. Now, when I turn on the news, I  expect to see actual news. This morning, I turn on MSNBC (as I always do) and immediately I am greeted with wall-to-wall coverage of the George Zimmerman trial. No politics, no world events, and no pressing environmental or other issues.

Why do we do this? Prime-time trials are nothing new in American journalism. OJ Simpson was, perhaps, the first major trial to get giant amounts of publicity. Casey Anthony was another, Stephen Grant (for those in Michigan who know what I am talking about), and now George Zimmerman. For some reason, news networks and the people who run then feel that trials and court cases should be huge news events.

I find this so completely stupid. Let me be the first to say that no serious watcher of the news gives a damn about the George Zimmerman trial. Sure, there any many racial and cultural, as well as political, implications of this trial. Was Zimmerman using profiling in judging Trayvon Martin? How does this relate to the broader conversation about race in America? Or, the current state of racism? Finally, gun laws. Would this have been prevented if FL did not pass the “stand your ground” law? All that said, this is STILL not justification to dedicate complete coverage to this trial.

Trials should not be news events. They just shouldn’t. I assure the leaders of major news networks that there are MORE IMPORTANT matter that need covering. World events, politics, and economics. These are issues Americans care about, or at least SHOULD care about. Quit being accomplices to the dumbing down of America by not talking about actual issues. Please. Give me my news back.

8 Jul 2013

Response to a Conservative

This blog post is a response to a young conservative who has recently written a column lambasting Democrats and their record on supporting minorities, human rights, and economic assistance to the poor. She asserts that Republicans, and not Democrats, have always and continually been the true defenders of human rights and freedom. Moreover, she goes on to argue that in pursuing policies as stated above, Democrats have engineered a de facto slavery among those who their policies are aimed at helping (this is all done with a nice little picture of handcuffs).

Democrats do not criticize Republicans for their stance on minorities lightly, it is done so with great seriousness. The reason for this is simple: Republicans continually display a stunning lack of both empathy and concern for the conditions of minorities. During election cycles, both Hispanics and African Americans are paraded around as being the heart and soul of the Republican Party, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz have both related their stories to conservatism. What happens when it comes time to govern? The interests of minorities are completely forgotten. Simply put, minorities are tokens and props used to convey the image that Republicans care. Well, guess what? They don’t.

How do we know they don’t care? The 2012 election returns are a very good place to start. If, as Elissa says, Republicans do care about minorities, they would have done better than losing Latinos to Obama by a sweeping margin of over 50 points. Republicans oppose immigrant reform, they oppose the DREAM Act, they oppose social safety nets, they oppose SNAP programs, and they oppose every other attempt by government to improve the standard of living of all Americans.

The most laughable point in this entire column is the notion that Republicans have been the true defenders of freedom throughout history. This is simply not true. She cites the founders, President Lincoln, and Ronald Reagan as heroes in the human rights movement. I hate to burst her bubble, but the founders were radical leftists, liberals who believed in such absurd (at the time) ideas as equality and fundamental rights to freedom. In the 1700s this wasn’t a conservative idea; it was a radical left one. Moreover, President Lincoln may have been a Republican, but he was a progressive. From fighting slavery to women’s rights and to civil rights, the battles for freedom have been waged by those on the LEFT, by progressives, not Republicans. Finally, her notion that President Reagan supported human rights should be considered a joke by anyone with a mind. Both President Reagan (and Margaret Thatcher, since she started this post by quoting her) supported the murderous regime of Augusto Pinochet in Chile (which resulted in the deaths of over 100,000) as well as the tyrannical dictator in El Salvador. Human Rights Watch frequently said President Reagan uses human rights as a language of convenience rather than conviction, because he does not stand on the notion that human rights should be supported, he uses it to create the illusion that he does.

Freedom must mean more than the symbolic idea that you can earn more money. The more we praise capitalism and allow markets to control our lives, the more we become enslaved to them. This is why, in the entire history of the world, nothing has enslaved and harmed more people than the free market. Its greatest product is the United States, the most unequal advanced country on the planet. Her definition of freedom is so one-sided and simple. If freedom only means you can earn more money, then our founders’ idea of freedom is lost forever. Instead, freedom must mean ensuring that everyone lives a dignified life and EVERYONE has the ability to pursue their own interests. Capitalism doesn’t allow this; it allows the funneling of wealth and opportunity straight to the top. In light of this reality, Democrats have pursued policies to address this and assist those who are affected most by it: minorities. They don’t do this to buy votes or call de facto racism on opponents. They do it because they, unlike their heartless counterparts on the right, care about more than themselves and recognize that unless we look out for everyone, NO one is really free.

The post, by Elissa Roberson, is linked below:

http://thecollegeconservative.com/2013/06/27/the-new-form-of-slavery-a-letter-to-minorities/

 

DN

28 Jun 2013

Friday Morning Humor

Articles like this are precisely why I enjoy reading The New Yorker. They provide material that is usually always serious (especially articles about politics) but even their humor is informative while being funny. If you aren’t a grammar nazi, you may not enjoy this article. For those of you who do obsess over grammar, this is perfect and will make you laugh. Enjoy!

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/shouts/2013/06/its-all-good-a-guide-to-usage.html#entry-more

28 Jun 2013

Intolerance Against Islam

I don’t look for stupid things on the internet. Although it is a pretty safe assumption that there is plenty of BS parading around as serious commentary, I do not go looking for it. Every once in a while though, there is something that really makes you wonder about the intelligence of people. For example, in the video below, British comedian Pat Condell makes an erroneous attack against Islam. Condell continues to spread the incorrect notion that jihad means holy war and is code for violence against all those who are not Muslims.

Muslims must reject jihad

As a college graduate, I can’t figure out why I am wasting my time responding to a wannabe intellectual. I guess I feel obliged to because part of being an intellectual, part of being an academic (and I hope to be a professor one day), is using light to disinfect ignorance and stupidity. This video is a perfect example of the pure idiocy exhibited by millions of people in the age of terrorism and violence in the Middle East.

25 Jun 2013

Been a Long Time…

Whenever I start a new writing project such as a blog, the first few weeks are always the most fruitful. After that, the realities of everyday life slowly set in and I lose both the time and energy for writing. Leonard Bernstein once said that in order to be great, one of the things you need is not enough time. I never really believed this quote until I began to spread myself too thin with a lengthy list of goals I wanted to accomplish. All that said, now I find myself on summer vacation and have both time and energy to write and share my experiences with the world.

Logging onto the website this afternoon, I read my old posts, and realized that I never wrote anything explaining what this blog was for and what I wanted to accomplish. My inaugural post should have been this mini declaration of intents and purposes but alas it never appeared. So, that is what this new post is for. My hopes, my visions, and my goals that I want to achieve using this new medium which I am still new to. While I am an avid user of social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, my experience on actual blogs is relatively limited. I guess you could say I am used to microblogging but not actual blogging.

So, what do I want to accomplish with this blog? Well, here goes.

1.) Discuss salient political issues. In doing so, I hope to foster a profound sense of respect among people who disagree, a general feeling of openness to voice whatever opinion you may have, and an atmosphere where no one feels as if they aren’t contributing to the discussion.

2.) Share MY thoughts, ideas, and feelings with the world. I do this selfishly, after all, it is my blog.

3.) Share information that you might not get anywhere else.

4.) MUSIC. Always, music. I will always post links and info about my favorite pieces (I am a huge classical music fan).

5.) Inspire my readers to possibly start their own blog or begin sharing their own thoughts with the rest of the world. Also, hopefully assist my readers in understanding both the depth and power of online communication and new media. Just imagine how much our world is shaped by forces of technology.

6.) Talk about Detroit, and not in the sense that you are accustomed to. As a native Detroiter, I am inspired to make this city better and do whatever I can to repair it’s image around the country.

That is a short list of what this blog will be about. Topics will range from music to politics to food to Detroit. Generally speaking, what I post is the result of a hat toss between competing ideas in my head. I have a strong tendency to think randomly and quickly, often with multiple ideas flying through my mind at the same time. It is often a chore to decide what exactly I want to post…mostly because there are so many things I could post!

And, there you have it. These will be my notes in the margins, the candid commentary and random thoughts of a Michigan college student who hopes to share his life with the world one day. Buckle up and welcome aboard!

DN

24 Jun 2013

What Would George Orwell Say?

George Orwell created Big Brother in his novel “1984,” a parody on life in a society completely controlled by government. Other writers such as Ray Bradbury and Aldous Huxley continued this tradition after Orwell. Recent events about the Obama Administration and his Justice Department are bringing new and contemporary meaning to this phrase.

As reported by the New York Times yesterday:

“The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative’s top executive called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news.

The records obtained by the Justice Department listed outgoing calls for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, for general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and for the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP. It was not clear if the records also included incoming calls or the duration of the calls.”

This is an important issue and one we should be looking into. If there was a legitimate national security concern that was used to justify these actions by the government, then I believe it is permissible. However, if the government did it just for the hell of it, then there should be serious consequences. Orwell’s novel was not meant to predict the future, it was meant to warn us of a possible future in which we could be subjects of the government. That being said, we should cautious and not rush to judgement, but also weary of what the consequences of actions such as these.

 

14 May 2013

The Real IRS Story

The conservative media bubble is exploding with a real scandal! President Obama, the brutal and tyrannical leader, allowed the Internal Revenue Service to unfairly target conservative groups. This is serious. George Will is even floating around the idea of impeachment.  This is, surely, a violation of the civil rights and liberties of American citizens in the most exemplary sense of the word and Obama should be punished for it. Last night on Sean Hannity’s show, Sen. Rand Paul was blatant in his condemnation of President Obama’s actions. You see, the final nail in Obama’s coffin has been hammered in and his political death is at hand. Lets get the Clinton era impeachment gear on and sit back for some prime time political drama.

If you watch Fox News all day, you are probably thinking these very thoughts. Obama and scandal are imprinted in block font across your TV screen and conservative pundits are whining and crying about yet another scandal. After all, manufacturing scandals has been a great talent of the conservative media and Republicans in Congress. Let us not forget, these fake scandals are usually far removed from reality. So, what did happen?

Yes, the IRS did target conservative groups. Why? Not because they were conservative and not because they were cheer leaders for the Tea Party. Conservative groups were targeted because they filed for status as a 501c4, which is a “social welfare” status. These groups do not have to file taxes or disclose a list of donors. The catch? They cannot be involved in purely partisan activities. Unfortunately, many conservative groups applied for this status and were investigated because they are NOT social welfare organizations, they are political machines. This is why they were investigated. It has nothing to do with Obama and his administration attacking those who disagree.

As reported in the New Yorker:

“So the scandal—the real scandal—is that 501(c)(4) groups have been engaged in political activity in such a sustained and open way. As Fred Wertheimer, the President of Democracy 21, a government-ethics watchdog group, put it, “it is clear that a number of groups have improperly claimed tax-exempt status as section 501(c)(4) ‘social welfare’ organizations in order to hide the donors who financed their campaign activities in the 2010 and 2012 federal elections.”

The article goes on to say:

“Some people in the I.R.S. field office in Cincinnati took the names of certain groups—names that included the terms “Tea Party” and “patriot,” among others, which tend to signal conservatism—as signals that they might not be engaged in “social welfare” operations. Rather, the I.R.S. employees thought that these groups might be doing explicit politics—which would disqualify them for 501(c)(4) status, and set them aside for closer examination. This appears to have been a pretty reasonable assumption on the part of the I.R.S. employees: having “Tea Party” in your name is at least a slight clue about partisanship. When the inspector-general report becomes public, we’ll surely learn the identity of these organizations. How many will look like “social welfare” organizations—and how many will look like political activists looking for anonymity and tax breaks? My guess is a lot more of the latter than the former.”

This isn’t a scandal, it is an issue of campaign finance. If Benghazi has been any indication so far, conservatives are going to use this manufactured scandal to smear President Obama and obstruct effective and competent governance.

14 May 2013

The American People Are Angry

Bernie Sanders is my favorite politician. Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy with Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow (my Senators from Michigan) but there is absolutely no one else in Congress quite like Bernie Sanders. He is one of two Independents and has managed to remain one of the most popular politicians in the country. His constituents are consistently pleased with his performance and he won reelected in 2012 by an overwhelming majority over his opponent. Most remarkable though are his political beliefs, which are unabashedly far left, he considers himself a Democratic Socialist. How has an open socialist managed to keep a seat in the Senate, in a country that is dominated by two parties? Well, he is from Vermont (obvious argument first). Aside from that, he speaks directly to the people and he do so in a way that is far removed from the normal pomp, circumstance, and condescension that comes from most politicians. The link below is a speech he made on the floor of Senate in which he talks about why the government should pay attention to workers, the middle class, and not the super rich. In short, he says what needs to be said, what has not been said. This is why he is my favorite.

The American People Are Angry

10 May 2013