Allen West warns readers not to fall into his own trap.

graphic h/t

If we can’t write diversity into sci-fi, then what’s the point? You don’t create new worlds to give them all the same limits of the old ones.

Jane Espenson (from interview with\

I dunno how many which ways this needs to be said

(via aragingquiet)

Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway.
Eleanor Roosevelt (via kushandwizdom)
Weekend Reader: ‘Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism And Wrecked The Middle Class’

Today the Weekend Reader brings you Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class by Ian Haney López, Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley where he focuses on racial justice in American law. In Dog Whistle PoliticsLópez outlines the connection between modern racism and an unstable middle class. Republicans gain votes from wealthy white Americans by using hinted-at (and sometimes blatant) racism. Republican leaders promise to put an end to undocumented immigration, they promote Islamophobia, devote themselves to slashing crime, and campaign on creating more opportunity for the middle class, all in an effort to gain the approval of white people who will vote Republican despite their best interests. In actuality, once elected, these leaders do the exact opposite—giving more opportunities to corporations, cutting taxes for the wealthy, and limiting social services. 

You can purchase the book here.

In the final month of the 2008 presidential campaign, a newsletter distributed by a local California Republican group claimed that if Obama was elected his image would appear on food stamps, instead of on dollar bills like other presidents. The broadside featured a phony $10 bill, now relabeled as “Ten Dollars Obama Bucks” in seals on each corner. In the middle, superimposed on the body of a donkey, was Obama’s face, eyes twinkling and with a wide grin. Above that, the mock bill read “United States Food Stamps.” Rounding out the racial parody, on the left there was a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken and a slab of ribs; on the right, a pitcher of Kool Aid and a large slice of watermelon.

In the swirl of controversy that erupted, the group’s president, Diane Fedele, accepted responsibility for circulating the cartoon, which she had received in a number of chain e-mails before she decided to reprint it, and she was quick to apologize: “I absolutely apologize to anyone who was offended. That clearly wasn’t my attempt.” She was, nevertheless, just a little befuddled by the outrage.

In what way could this be construed as racist, she wondered? Nothing about the imagery suggested race, she explained, as fried chicken and ribs, Kool Aid and watermelon were “just food.” “I didn’t see it the way that it’s being taken. I never connected,” she said. “It was just food to me. It didn’t mean anything else.” Fedele also said she was making no effort to connect Obama to welfare, or to food stamps in particular. Yet her text introducing the cartoon said “If elected, what bill would he be on????? Food Stamps, what else!”

What, then, was the intent behind circulating the cartoon? Fedele claimed she meant to criticize Obama—ironically, for nothing less than injecting race into the presidential campaign. Over the summer Obama had warned an audience in Springfield, Missouri, that John McCain’s campaign might stoop to scare tactics, charging: “Nobody really thinks that Bush or McCain have a real answer for the challenges we face, so what they’re going to try to do is make you scared of me. You know, he’s not patriotic enough. He’s got a funny name. You know, he doesn’t look like all those other presidents on those dollar bills. You know, he’s risky.”

Buy From

Fedele was incensed. “I thought his statement was outrageous and uncalled for and inappropriate and everything else I can think to call it.” According to a local reporter, Fedele circulated the cartoon “to criticize Obama for saying over the summer that he doesn’t look like the presidents whose images are on dollar bills. She said she didn’t think it was appropriate for him to draw attention to his race.”

One more detail deserves to be mentioned before we step back to assess this contretemps. The cartoon’s original creator was a liberal blogger who held a minor position with the Minnesota Democratic Party and who planned to vote for Obama. He created the cartoon and posted it on his website “to lampoon Republicans who are afraid of government welfare programs and fearful of a Democratic president. He said that ‘there’s some people that are never going to get it.’ ” He was more right than he knew, as apparently many of those he sought to lampoon instead embraced and circulated his cartoon as a biting impeachment of Obama.

Punch, Parry, and Kick

Even as late as the 1950s, it was commonplace for racial epithets to lace public discourse, while today direct references to race make relatively few appearances. Yet as we’ve seen, race has hardly disappeared from politics. The once pervasive use of epithets has morphed into the coded transmission of racial messages through references to culture, behavior, and class. We live in a political milieu saturated with ugly racial innuendo.

But if so, why is there so little pushback from liberals? Why is racial pandering allowed to continue virtually unchallenged? Partly, conservative race-talk has adopted several strikingly effective strategies to insulate constant race baiting.

Pages →  1 2

Paul Ryan Breaks The Silence Surrounding Poverty In America

Cover your eyes and hide the kids: A Republican is talking poverty.

This has not been a pretty picture in the recent past. Who can forget then-South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer likening poor people to animals one feeds from the back door and Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning calling them stray raccoons? And let’s not even get into Mitt Romney’s wholesale slander of the so-called “47 percent.”

So one receives with a certain trepidation the news that Romney’s running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, has issued a proposal aimed at curbing poverty. But Expanding Opportunity in America, produced by the House Budget Committee Ryan chairs, is a surprise — serious, substantive and sprinkled with interesting ideas. Not that you should take that as a blanket endorsement.

We lack the space to analyze it in detail, but in a nutshell, Ryan proposes an “Opportunity Grant,” consolidating federal anti-poverty programs into 50 chunks of money to be administered by each state as it sees fit. The states would be encouraged to experiment and find creative ways of providing the necessary services to their citizens.

This is in keeping with GOP orthodoxy which holds that anything crafted by Washington will lack flexibility to meet the needs in local municipalities and thus it makes more sense to empower states to create programs tailored to their specific conditions.

Some of us are skeptical of the idea that giving states more power is a panacea. Some of us fear all that does is take one problem and turn it into 50. But to his credit, Ryan’s proposal imposes performance standards and requires accountability. It is a blank check, but with strings attached.

One critic, Washington Post blogger (and former Obama administration economic adviser) Jared Bernstein, thinks the proposal reflects the GOP’s “pervasive assumption that all you have to do to get a job is want a job.” In that context, it’s worth noting that Ryan was chastised in March for essentially blaming poverty on the laziness of black and brown men. In a radio interview he lamented “this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work…”

This, of course, ignores the fact that most poverty is neither black nor brown, but white. What “tailspin of culture” keeps Appalachia poor? Somehow that question is never addressed. The thing Ryan apparently does not know, but should, is that urban poverty is driven not by a lack of people wanting to work, but by a lack of work — and skills and transportation.

Worse, Ryan cited as an authority Charles Murray, the infamous social scientist (he co-authoredThe Bell Curve), who argues the intellectual and moral inferiority of black and brown people. Which suggests Ryan, like too many in his party, still needs to wean himself from the noxious notion of poverty as a defect of character or heritage.

All that said, give him credit for what he’s done here.

It is a national disgrace that the problem of poverty has been all but invisible in our culture and politics since the era of Lyndon Johnson. The only politician over that half-century who lifted it to the level of national discourse was John Edwards — and then he went and got his career caught in his zipper.

Thus, one welcomes even this flawed proposal. One hopes it presages renewed GOP interest in an issue the party has largely ceded to the Democrats and spurs us all to reconsider what we can — and should — do to erase the specter of want in a land of plenty. For too long, we have responded to that urgent need only with silence.

So the best thing about Paul Ryan’s proposal is the simple fact that it exists.

Insufficient Punishment


'Our war with Spain'

The Spanish–American War was a conflict in 1898 between Spain and the United States, the result of American intervention in the Cuban War of Independence. American attacks on Spain’s Pacific possessions led to involvement in the Philippine Revolution and ultimately to the Philippine–American War.


'Our war with Spain'

The Spanish–American War was a conflict in 1898 between Spain and the United States, the result of American intervention in the Cuban War of Independence. American attacks on Spain’s Pacific possessions led to involvement in the Philippine Revolution and ultimately to the Philippine–American War.


The 2008 Ehud Olmert Peace plan map.


The 2008 Ehud Olmert Peace plan map.

I tell my students, ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.’

Toni Morrison (via ethiopienne)


(via queenoftheswirl)


Woman live tweets IBM execs discussing why they don’t hire women, tries not to throw up

Toronto-based editor Lyndsay Kirkham has started a firestorm this week after overhearing what was apparently an incredibly sexist conversation between IBM executives at lunch — and live-tweeting it.

Unaware that they were transmitting sexist nonsense to cyberspace, the IBM executives openly discussed “why they don’t hire women.” If you take Kirkham’s account at its word, it actually gets way worse.

But wait, there’s more Follow micdotcom

Follow ZekeTheFreak67 on Twitter