Eric Byler and I have been traveling around America with the goal of trying to understand why Washington is so gridlocked and the people apparently divided 50 years after the March on Washington. In Alabama, we encountered some dramatic expressions of that division. We also found people showing great leadership and working towards reconciliation such as Chief Kevin Murphy, the Montgomery Police Chief.
In Selma, we came across a situation where the people celebrate and honor two different versions of history of Selma and America. There is the community of people honoring the sacrifices made by people in 1965 on Selma's Edmund Pettus Bridge as they tried to march to Montgomery from Selma for voting rights for all people in America and were brutally beaten, an event known as Bloody Sunday. Every year in the month of March, there is a celebration and a re-enactment of the march from Selma to Montgomery attended by people from across the country. [MORE]
Astronauts return to earth with a message that makes everything down on earth seem small.
They want to tell us about a new way of thinking. The 'Overview Effect' is what they call it, and when one understands, they will have a new perspective for everything that happens down on earth. With this new way of seeing things, all of the divisive discourse and hyper-partisanship means little when it is seen that we are all in this together.
Thanks to an enforced climate of fear, law enforcement and security agencies remain deeply suspicious of photography in public places. Despite the fact that most public places are now covered in cameras erected by law enforcement and security...
VIDEO: #ALEC Limo Maims "Only a Bill" Character from School House Rock
Many of us were introduced to our federal legislative process through School House Rock, which was mixed in with our Saturday morning cartoons. This updated video confronts us with the corrupt process we have today, due in large part to a shadowy quasi-legislative body called ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council).
Above: the man at the center of the storm, Jason Richwine, speaks in July 2008: "On The Importance of Race and IQ in the Immigration Debate." Below: an excerpt from Jennifer Rubin's column in the Washington Post.
...[T]he Heritage Foundation is in a tailspin. To Politico and then to me, Heritage’s vice president of of communications, Mike Gonzales, denied that he or Heritage has hired acrisis management firm. If not, Heritage should. More details about the unsavory work of one of its anti-immigration report authors are coming to light. Chris Moody reports: “Heritage Foundation analyst Jason Richwine, the co-author of a study claiming the immigration reform bill pending in the Senate would cost taxpayers $6.3 trillion, wrote two articles in 2010 for a website founded by Richard Spencer, a self-described ‘nationalist’ who writes frequently about race and against “the abstract notion of human equality.”
Another report suggests that “Richwine is not the only scholar conservative immigration opponents in the current debate have relied on and who’ve published eyebrow-raising views in the past. The Heritage Richwine snafu will bring fresh scrutiny to other scholars, immigration advocates said.”
Former vice president of research Burton Pines is also denouncing Heritage’s work. He is quoted as saying; “It’s a new Heritage and it’s one that’s not standing by the principles of Ronald Reagan. I’m puzzled why they came out with this study and I’m more puzzled why they seem to be against immigration.”
In a word, it’s a mess. Only four months on the job, former senator Jim DeMint, who came to Heritage with no scholarly credentials, is caught in a firestorm of Heritage’s own making. A backlash that tarnishes the report and anti-immigrant forces more generally may undermine opponents of the Gang of Eight. But to the extent it raises questions about whether Heritage is still a respected think tank (and not a political oppo center), DeMint will find himself under the gun. A conservative scholar at another think tank emailed me, “I just don’t understand why [former president Ed] Feulner among others did not see this disaster coming.” More conservatives will be asking the same thing, I imagine. [Full article]
Coffee Party USA's insight:
White supremacy is the original, and, really only argument against immigration. Without being hateful in return, let's hear out the Heritage Foundation's anti-immigration scholar, who has gotten new leader Jim DeMint in a heap of trouble thanks to a dubious "study" published recently opposing Comprehensive Immigration Reform. —Eric Byler
Thom Hartmann comments on the news for Monday, March 25, 2013.
Margaret Reeve Panahi's insight:
"In today's On the News segment: Minutes before 5am, early Saturday morning, members of the Senate did something they haven't done in four years - they passed a budget; there is an extreme wealth divide between the 1% and the 99% in our nation. But it turns out, the divide between the 1% and poorest in our nation is jaw-dropping; Rupert Murdoch has been trying to convince lawmakers to revise media ownership rules that prevent him from acquiring The Los Angelos Times, and more."
Annabel Park recently spoke to Diane Rufino, leader of the Eastern North Carolina Tea Party, at the "Honor the Oath" rally at the State Capitol in Raleigh.
Diane had drawn applause during her speech when she praised North Carolina's role during the Civil War, yet, she said that Rev. Dr. William Barber is wrong to remind us of historic struggles for racial equality in order to counter the TEA Party, and address modern day injustices. "Time to move on," she said.
Diane is eager to change the perception that the TEA Party and Republican party are dominated by white men. In her interview, she explained that catch phrases like "take our country back" do not imply going back to a time before the Civil Rights movement. Instead, she argued, TEA Party members and other conservatives want to go back to a time when there were "parameters."
"When was that?" Annabel asked. Diane's fascinating answer provides a window into the complexity and agony of TEA Party conservatives struggling to respond to changes in America.
After the interview, Annabel remarked that she really appreciated Diane's openness and willingness to engage her in dialogue. "Despite whatever differences we may have, I respect her strength and her spirit of engagement. I think it's critical to open up dialogue like this to heal America's divide." [MORE]
The journey of Darren Wagner will help you touch the surface of an ocean of despair that has washed over Newtown and Sandy Hook, Connecticut. We had to stop filming after Darren told this story to Annabel. She was overcome with tears and could not muster a follow-up question. Behind the camera, I was crying too.
When we resumed, Annabel asked Darren about parenting, and social expectations of masculinity. Not so implicit was the fact that he had been crying, and his two teenage sons were right upstairs.
Before the Sandy Hook massacre, Darren had never really talked to his sons about his 11-year career as a Deputy Sheriff in Ohio. He had never told them about the horrific gun violence he had investigated, the tragedies he had witnessed, the "regret to inform" conversations he'd had, over and over again. He had never told them how gun violence had caused him to leave the law enforcement field and seek a peaceful life, a journey that led him to their mother, Georgia, and a quiet life in Australia, where Georgia and their two sons were born. [READ MORE]
In her debut appearance today at a Senate Banking Committee hearing, Sen. Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts made federal regulators uncomfortable when she asked a simple question: When was the last time you took a big Wall Street bank all the way to trial? [READ MORE]
Augustine Carter, an 85-year-old voter in Richmond, Virginia, tells her story of the trouble she went through to vote in 2012. Born in 1928, she never had a birth certificate and she never got a driver's license because she decided years ago that driving wasn't for her. Her baptism certificate was sufficient for all identification purposes until the 2012 election. She had to go through a Kafka-esque bureaucracy including being told by someone at the Motor Vehicle Administration that she couldn't prove that she was not a terrorist. [MORE]