Aug 182015
 

I remember Julian Bond.  In the summer of 1966, I was in a workshop he taught on techniques to manage demonstrators committing nonviolent civil disobedience, so that their resistance was completely passive. This makes it obvious to onlookers that the police violence against us was the only violence.  The three things about him that stood out to me were that he was an intellectual giant, he was a compassionate soul, and he made us understand that what we had to say was important to him.  His life makes him worthy of mourning from us all.

Here is his early history.

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Born: January 14, 1940

Nashville, Tennessee

African American civil rights leader, political activist, and politician

J ulian Bond is a civil rights leader, political activist, and politician who has spent most of his life fighting for equality in America. He has remained committed to the causes he believes in since joining the civil rights movement as a young college student.

Family and education

Horace Julian Bond, born on January 14, 1940, in Nashville, Tennessee, was the descendant of several generations of black educators and preachers. When his father Horace Mann Bond became president of Lincoln University in Oxford, Pennsylvania, the family moved into an environment that was mostly white. While in Oxford, the elder Bond caused a stir because of his protests against segregated facilities (people being required to use different facilities based on their race) and white attitudes of racial superiority. Young Julian, however, adjusted relatively easily to his new environment. He attended elementary school with white children and won the sixth grade award for being the brightest student in the class. He was sent to George School, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for his high-school education. He encountered a few instances of racial prejudice (being judged because of his race) during these years, but on the whole he adjusted well to the academic environment—although his grades were only average.

His father later became president of Atlanta University and the family moved to Atlanta, Georgia. Despite rumors of racial unrest, Bond decided to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta after his graduation from high school. Bond started college in 1957.

Early involvement in the civil rights movement

At Morehouse, Bond became the coordinator and spokesman for civil rights demonstrations. He started an Atlanta student civil rights group called the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights.

In 1960 Ella Baker (1903–1986), secretary of the civil rights organization known as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) invited students to meet at Shaw University, in Raleigh, North Carolina, to coordinate their efforts. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–1968), president of the SCLC, and Reverend James Lawson Jr., a believer in nonviolent resistance, spoke to the students and invited them to join the SCLC. Instead of joining the SCLC, several hundred students, including Bond, decided to form their own organization. They called their organization the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

Bond was appointed communications director for the SNCC. He kept this position from 1960 until 1966. He became very active in the SNCC, dropped out of college, and did not complete his degree at Morehouse until 1971.

Inserted from <Notable Biographies>

Click through for the remainder of his history.  It’s worth the read.

I have seen several video tributes to him from which to choose, but I found one of the shortest the most compelling.

Julian Bond left us a worthy example for all activists to follow.  Human rights are civil rights and we must all work together to defend and extend the the rights we all share.

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Jul 082015
 

When we think of segregation, we usually think of the South, where Republicans openly oppose anything that might taint what they consider the purity of the white race.  Many Americans do not realize that the problem is as bad in the north.  The law is frequently unenforced.  Barack Obama is working to change that.

0708projectWhen the Fair Housing Act was passed in 1968, it barred the outright racial discrimination that was then routine. It also required the government to go one step further — to actively dismantle segregation and foster integration in its place — a mandate that for decades has been largely forgotten, neglected and unenforced.

Now, on Wednesday, the Obama administration will announce long-awaited rules designed to repair the law’s unfulfilled promise and promote the kind of racially integrated neighborhoods that have long eluded deeply segregated cities like Chicago and Baltimore. The new rules, a top demand of civil-rights groups, will require cities and towns all over the country to scrutinize their housing patterns for racial bias and to publicly report, every three to five years, the results. Communities will also have to set goals, which will be tracked over time, for how they will further reduce segregation.

“This is the most serious effort that HUD has ever undertaken to do that,” says Julian Castro, the secretary of the department of Housing and Urban Development, who will announce the new rules in Chicago on Wednesday. “I believe that it’s historic.”

Officials insist that they want to work with and not punish communities where segregation exists. But the new reports will make it harder to conceal when communities consistently flout the law. And in the most flagrant cases, HUD holds out the possibility of withholding a portion of the billions of dollars of federal funding it hands out each year… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Washington Post>

Click through for more details.  I applaud this move and consider it long past due.

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Jul 082015
 

On Monday afternoon, I started to experience severe congestion.  I think I may have continued to treat myself with Ipratropium Bromide/Albuterol Sulfate longer than I needed to and dried myself out.  For over 24 hours, I was unable to cough up the junk that collects in my chest, and I could not lie down without severe coughing, so I could not sleep.  I called my helper friend.  She came, did the most hated task, helped me get to the shower, fed me and applied hot compresses to my chest and back.  I thought about going to the emergency room, but decided not to, because I was not actually running a fever and my pulse oximeter read 95%, so I knew my lungs were not seriously compromised, as they would be if I had pneumonia.  I was finally able to cough up the gunk at around 3 PM yesterday, and I slept ten out of the next twelve hours.  I’m still feeling week and tired.  Pardon my brevity.

Jig Zone Puzzles:

Yesterday’s took me 3:44 (average 5:19).  To do it, click here.  Today’s took me 3:19 (average 4:44).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Recruiting:

We still need one or two new player for Lefty Blog Friends, our fantasy football league.  Viv and her Hillbilly Lefties are now onboard. How about you?  For more information, click here.

Short Takes:

From Alternet: John Oliver was off for the weekend of Fourth of July, or the “annual American tradition of reminding the sky who runs shit,” as the “Last Week Tonight” host more aptly called it. But that didn’t stop him from uploading a brief — emphasis on brief, because we’ll come back to that — web exclusive in the show’s absence.

It’s not uncommon for HBO to upload web exclusives to tide viewers over until the following week. What is uncommon: Oliver decided to cover 15 topics (“15 shallow dives”) in one minute instead of his usual 15-minute deep-dive.

 

Pure entertainment and a welcome break.

From Daily Kos: At the Washington Post, Prof. James Loewen writes that the reason so many people believe false things about the Civil War and the Confederacy is because many of our textbooks teach those wrong things to this day.

Teaching or implying that the Confederate states seceded for states’ rights is not accurate history. It is white, Confederate-apologist history. It bends — even breaks — the facts of what happened. Like other U.S. history textbooks, “Journey” needs to be de-Confederatized. So does the history test we give to immigrants who want to become U.S. citizens. Item 74 asks, “Name one problem that led to the Civil War.” It then gives three acceptable answers: “slavery, economic reasons, and states’ rights.” If by “economic reasons” it means issues about tariffs and taxes, which most people infer, then two of its three “correct answers” are wrong! No other question on this 100-item test has more than one “right” answer. The reason is not because the history is unclear, but because neo-Confederates still wielded considerable influence in our culture and our Congress until quite recently, when a mass of politicians rushed to declare the Confederate flag unsuitable for display on government grounds.

Loewen also reiterates a point that cannot be made often enough: Modern notions that the Civil War was fought over ephemeral notions of "states’ rights" or other high-minded considerations, as opposed to an unapologetic battle for the right to keep human slaves, is a product of segregationist forces in the civil rights era. It’s hardly a coincidence that so many memorials of the war date conspicuously to the days of George Wallace, rather than Jefferson Davis.

We study history to learn from the past and avoid making the same mistakes. Republicans distort history, because they know they are making the same mistakes, don’t care, and want to keep others from knowing.

From NY Times: From environmental and work force regulations to health care and contraception, congressional Republicans are using spending bills to try to dismantle President Obama’s policies, setting up a fiscal feud this fall that could lead to a government shutdown…

…The House and Senate appropriations committees are churning out annual spending bills, dropping the bipartisanship that has long characterized the committees. The bills adhere to strict overall spending limits imposed in 2011 that Mr. Obama has already said he will not accept.

Here we go again. Am I the only one reminded of a broken record?

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Apr 092015
 

Tomorrow, I have the routine quarterly surgery to remove the growth from my foot.  It will be the forst time I have left the building in over a month and should serve as a means to measure the extent of my recovery.  However, expect only a Personal Update, and that, later than unusl.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:37 (average 4:45).  To do it, click here. How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Chuck Schumer, the expected replacement as top Senate Democrat when Harry Reid retires at the end of his term, has made a big splash in the past few days by saying he supports a bill designed to give Congress the clout to wreck a deal with Iran. He is not, of course, the only Democrat backing the Corker-Menendez bill, S. 615, the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015. Since March 26, when Schumer quietly signed on as the latest of eight Democratic co-sponsors of the bill, it’s had 21 co-sponsors, including one independent, Sen. Angus King of Maine.

But given his clout, Schumer could be key to making it okay for other Democrats to support the bill, giving it the 67 votes it would need to override the veto that President Obama has vowed to impose.

First, please sign their petition. Second, when we win the senate in 2016, under no circumstances may this man be allowed to become Majority Leader. To go from the Nevada Leg Hound to the New York Sellout is NOT progress.

From Upworthy: Here’s two students’ response to an anonymous comment submitted to their university.

They waste no breath. And every single word pulls its own weight.

 

Their anger is quite discomforting, but spot-on.

From NY Times: A 17-year-old transgender youth, Leelah Alcorn, stunned her friends and a vast Internet audience in December when she threw herself in front of a tractor-trailer after writing in an online suicide note that religious therapists had tried to convert her back to being a boy.

In response, President Obama is calling for an end to such therapies aimed at “repairing” gay, lesbian and transgender youth. His decision on the issue is the latest example of his continuing embrace of gay rights.

In a statement that was posted on Wednesday evening alongside a WhiteHouse.gov petition begun in honor of Ms. Alcorn, Mr. Obama condemned the practice, sometimes called “conversion” or “reparative” therapy, which is supported by some socially conservative organizations and religious doctors.

The petition has received more than 120,000 signatures in three months.

It’s good to see a positive response to the petition system, and fully agree that conversion therapies violate their rights.

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Republicans seem to have forgotten this event took place.

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Mar 022015
 

It’s another super-busy day, because I have the Monthly Report to write, and I have an essay to write on why prisoners’ memories of crimes committed years before, don’t always line up with police reports and victim statements.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:59 (average 4:51).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Lynn’s New Mouse:

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Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Yesterday Georgia became the first southern state to ban the box.

This policy, signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal through an executive order, postpones questions about a job applicant’s criminal history until it is demonstrated that he or she is one of the most qualified candidates. The policy also requires that the applicant have the opportunity to explain his or her criminal history before denial, and that only a relevant conviction will be used as the basis for disqualification.    – See more at: http://www.gjp.org/…

Kudos to the people of Georgia. Frankly, I’m surprised that Raw Deal didn’t veto it. In Oregon, only Multnomah County (one if the three that make up the Portland Metro Area) and the City of Portland have banned the box.

From NY Times: The Justice Department has nearly completed a highly critical report accusing the police in Ferguson, Mo., of making discriminatory traffic stops of African-Americans that created years of racial animosity leading up to an officer’s shooting of a black teenager last summer, law enforcement officials said.

According to several officials who have been briefed on the report’s conclusions, the report criticizes the city for disproportionately ticketing and arresting African-Americans and relying on the fines to balance the city’s budget. The report, which is expected to be released as early as this week, will force Ferguson officials to either negotiate a settlement with the Justice Department or face being sued by it on civil rights charges.

Oh My! The Ferguson PD is racist?!!? Are you as surprised as I am?

From Washington Post: …ISDS would allow foreign companies to challenge U.S. laws — and potentially to pick up huge payouts from taxpayers — without ever stepping foot in a U.S. court. Here’s how it would work. Imagine that the United States bans a toxic chemical that is often added to gasoline because of its health and environmental consequences. If a foreign company that makes the toxic chemical opposes the law, it would normally have to challenge it in a U.S. court. But with ISDS, the company could skip the U.S. courts and go before an international panel of arbitrators. If the company won, the ruling couldn’t be challenged in U.S. courts, and the arbitration panel could require American taxpayers to cough up millions — and even billions — of dollars in damages.

If that seems shocking, buckle your seat belt. ISDS could lead to gigantic fines, but it wouldn’t employ independent judges. Instead, highly paid corporate lawyers would go back and forth between representing corporations one day and sitting in judgment the next. Maybe that makes sense in an arbitration between two corporations, but not in cases between corporations and governments. If you’re a lawyer looking to maintain or attract high-paying corporate clients, how likely are you to rule against those corporations when it’s your turn in the judge’s seat?

If the tilt toward giant corporations wasn’t clear enough, consider who would get to use this special court: only international investors, which are, by and large, big corporations. So if a Vietnamese company with U.S. operations wanted to challenge an increase in the U.S. minimum wage, it could use ISDS. But if an American labor union believed Vietnam was allowing Vietnamese companies to pay slave wages in violation of trade commitments, the union would have to make its case in the Vietnamese courts…

This just a snippet from an article by Elizabeth Warren, explaining a huge reason to oppose the TPP. I urge you to click through to read it all.

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Jan 022015
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 58.  I spent most of the day collecting the data for our Monthly Report, which I planned to write.  Then I remembered that today The Oregon Ducks were playing the Florida State Seminoles in the BCS semifinals, and I decided to take the rest of the day off.  Therefore, this is tomorrow’s only article, but I’m pleased to announce that the Ducks, who so many experts said are not strong enough to compete with a physical team like the Seminoles, clobbered them 59 – 20. :-)

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:49 (average 5:09).  To do it, click here.  Hoe did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: Nearly 20 months after Maryland abolished capital punishment, Gov. Martin O’Malley said Wednesday that he would empty the state’s death row by commuting the sentences of four inmates who were awaiting execution.

What I thought was the sound of the wind, here in Oregon, was the howling of Maryland Republicans mourning their inability to murder the last four.

From Huffington Post: At least six people have been jailed in Texas over the past two years for owing money on payday loans, according to a damning new analysis of public court records.

The economic advocacy group Texas Appleseed found that more than 1,500 debtors have been hit with criminal charges in the state — even though Texas enacted a law in 2012 explicitly prohibiting lenders from using criminal charges to collect debts.

According to Appleseed’s review, 1,576 criminal complaints were issued against debtors in eight Texas counties between 2012 and 2014. These complaints were often filed by courts with minimal review and based solely on the payday lender’s word and frequently flimsy evidence.

Leave it to Texas Republicans to assist 1% predators to illegally deprive victims of freedom.

From Slate: The Supreme Court adds more sectarian religion to our lives.

In Town of Greece v. Galloway, the Supreme Court’s five conservatives ruled that legislative sessions in town council meetings can open with explicitly sectarian prayers. Almost immediately, town boards began inviting Christians to speak at their meetings while excluding speakers of minority faiths (and, naturally, atheists). In short order the Galloway majority’s gauzy vision of pluralistic civic tolerance began to look a lot more like a governmental endorsement of Christianity at the expense of minority religions. Increasingly, to the conservatives of the Roberts court, “religious liberty” means the freedom of religious majorities to push their religious beliefs on the rest of us.

This is just what Slate considers the least horrid of the ten worst Republican civil liberties violations of 2014. Click through for the other nine.

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Dec 082014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 33.  I spent most of the day in bed.  I still feel feverish and congested.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 5:03 (average 5:07).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Religious Ecstasy:

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A bad day for Peyton.  His touchdowns in consecutive games streak ran out at 151.

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Here we go again with a bill protecting the religiously persecuted from evil LGBT citizens hoping to pay for services and participate in the U.S. economy. Michigan’s GOP House Speaker Jase Bolger pushed through a "Religious Freedom Restoration Act," which is now headed to the state Senate for consideration.

It’s a similar bill to the one we saw in Arizona earlier this year. Michigan Republicans apparently felt a real sense of urgency after they quashed an effort the day before to help LGBT individuals hold down jobs and be productive members of society.

No matter how caring and moderate Republicans try to sound for the mainstream, focus on what they keep doing.

From NY Times: The letter to the Environmental Protection Agency from Attorney General Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma carried a blunt accusation: Federal regulators were grossly overestimating the amount of air pollution caused by energy companies drilling new natural gas wells in his state.

But Mr. Pruitt left out one critical point. The three-page letter was written by lawyers for Devon Energy, one of Oklahoma’s biggest oil and gas companies, and was delivered to him by Devon’s chief of lobbying.

“Outstanding!” William F. Whitsitt, who at the time directed government relations at the company, said in a note to Mr. Pruitt’s office. The attorney general’s staff had taken Devon’s draft, copied it onto state government stationery with only a few word changes, and sent it to Washington with the attorney general’s signature. “The timing of the letter is great, given our meeting this Friday with both E.P.A. and the White House.”

Mr. Whitsitt then added, “Please pass along Devon’s thanks to Attorney General Pruitt.”

Click through for more examples about how Republican State Attorneys General are conspiring with polluters against the interest of the people they are supposed to represent.

From The New Yorker: Two days after the release of an unusually strong jobs report, prominent Republicans appeared on the Sunday morning talk shows to question President Obama’s “suspicious motives” for repairing the economy.

“When there have been so many months of job growth, it does make you wonder what he’s up to,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). “You add in the rising stock market and falling gas prices, and the whole thing doesn’t pass the smell test.”

Appearing on Fox News, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell accused the President of “cynically fixing the economy to distract the American people.”

“This country faces serious problems, and I don’t think they can be swept under the rug by creating prosperity,” he said.

But the sternest rebuke came from House Speaker John Boehner, who warned, “If President Obama doesn’t stop fixing the economy, Congress has ways to make him stop.”

Andy may be on to something. It’s a Kenyan, socialist conspiracy.

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They’re making a list.  They’re checking it Twice.  We’d be better off, if we could trade them for lice.

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