Archive for June 26th, 2013

26
Jun
13

Pass Gently, Giant

A large crowd of supporters sing the South African national anthem outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria where former President Nelson Mandela is being treated

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BBC: South African President Jacob Zuma has cancelled a trip to Mozambique on Thursday after visiting former leader Nelson Mandela, 94, who remains critically ill in a Pretoria hospital.

Mr Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, has been in hospital since 8 June with a recurring lung infection.

Mr Zuma was briefed by doctors who were doing everything possible to ensure Mr Mandela’s well-being, a statement said.

On Tuesday, a cleric prayed for Mr Mandela’s “peaceful end”….

More here

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A boy holds a picture of Nelson Mandela during a candle lit vigil outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital

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26
Jun
13

To Clueless Media: President Obama’s in Africa ‘cuz it has top 10 fastest growing economies in the world

TO CLUELESS MEDIA: PRES. OBAMA’S IN AFRICA ‘CUZ IT HAS TOP TEN FASTEST GROWING ECONOMIES IN WORLD

by @zizii2

“THERE is no shortage of economic growth in Africa. Six of the world’s ten fastest growing economies of the past decade are in sub-Saharan Africa. A clutch of countries have enjoyed growth in income per person of more than 5% a year since 2007.”

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Dakar, Senegal (c) mostroneddo

Nothing demonstrates the vapidity of the corporate media than the rancid ignorance they display when they are gung-ho to score cheap shots at President Obama on important matters, rather than do basic research!!!

And so it is that on Pres. Obama undertaking a long overdue working visit to three countries on the continent of Africa, the corporate media including FOXNews universe display once again the national embarrassment that they have become. But for the fact that they’d bleat about threats to their “First Amendment Rights”, I’d rather Pres Obama left them behind to indulge in muffin stories and similar shiny objects they chase best. Foreign media ALWAYS outshine ours anyway, so their absence would actually improve the media pool at these foreign pressers. And the public would be better informed for it.

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So cynical journos like David Nakamura of @WAPO , and colleagues at AtlanticWire  @NYT , Moonie News, @ABC, @NBC, @MSNBC, @CBS, @CNN, @FOX, @YahooNews, here are 12 FACTS to get into their heads before they utter any more inanities about the President’s trip to Africa, and carping endlessly about “costs of trip” versus sequestered White House tours. Without the 80% of Coltan produced from the Congo belt running your iPhone/iPad or other tablet LED screens, they’d be pecking away at an old typewriter (well, assuming even the steel in the machine’s housing isn’t from African iron ore).

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We are talking about Africa in the 21st Century, not some Henry Stanley 19th century racist travelogue you read about “natives doing quaint tribal dances”, or as the late Literary maestro Chinua Achebe snarkily penned at the end of his seminal novel Things Fall Apart, the colonizer’s version of history in which the indigenous African only warrants a passing line about his own history. No we are talking about a forward moving continent, warts and all that brooks no nonsense from anybody, superpower or not!

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26
Jun
13

Night Owl Chat – Musical Cities

I’ve had this song stuck in my head for a couple of days, and I thought, “Hey, what a great theme for a musical chat.” So, songs about the cities we love.

The song in question: Dionne Warwick – “Do You Know The Way To San Jose”

She Wants Revenge – “…And A Song for Los Angeles”

Continue reading ‘Night Owl Chat – Musical Cities’

26
Jun
13

Bon Soir, Senegal

@petesouza

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26
Jun
13

Africa: The Week Ahead

Leaving Andrews this morning

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4:25 PM EST: The President and the First Family arrive in Dakar, Senegal

Watch here: Senegal 8 and Reuters

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Thursday: The President will participate in a bilateral meeting and joint press conference with Senegalese President Sall, and meet with regional judicial leaders. The President will then tour the Maison Des Esclaves Museum on Goree Island, where he will also drop by a civil society event at the Goree Institute. Later, the President will meet with Embassy employees, and attend an official dinner with President Sall. The President and the First Family will remain overnight in Senegal.

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Friday: The President will participate in a food security event. He will then travel to South Africa with the First Family, where they will remain overnight in Johannesburg.

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SaturdayTuesday: The President will meet with SA President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria, hold a joint press conference, then move on to Cape Town where his events include a visit to Robben Island and a roundtable with business leaders. Later, he will hold a town hall meeting with young Africans at the Soweto campus of the University of Johannesburg.

The final leg of the First Family’s journey will take them to Tanzania, where the President’s program includes talks and a press conference with President Jakaya Kikwete and a visit to the Ubungo power plant. He will also lay a wreath at a memorial to the 11 people killed in the US embassy bombing in 1998.

The First Family return to Washington on Wednesday.

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During the trip, First Lady Michelle Obama will speak to girls at a Senegal middle school, with students at a South African high school, and will participate in a first ladies summit hosted by the George W. Bush Institute. Former first lady Laura Bush also will participate, along with first ladies of African nations.

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Our handy and very expertly-fiddled-with little map again:

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See photos and videos from Senator Obama’s 2006 trip to Africa here

26
Jun
13

Texas Is You!

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Jessica Mason Pieklo: On Monday, the Texas State House voted overwhelmingly to pass a draconian proposal that would ban all abortions after 20 weeks, as well as adding stringent new restrictions on how clinics get licensed. The intent was clear: Supporters of the bill, known as SB 5, openly acknowledged that the law would have closed 37 of the state’s 42 clinics, leaving hundreds of thousands of women in Texas and neighboring states like Oklahoma with no way to access abortion care. With a conservative majority in the State Senate and the support of Governor Rick Perry, the measure seemed certain to become law. But on Tuesday, Democratic State Senator Wendy Davis, backed by an army of feminist supporters, launched an epic 13-hour filibuster and shut the whole thing down.

Just before the midnight deadline, Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst sustained a third and final challenge to Davis’ filibuster – this one on the germaneness of discussing the 2011 law that forces Texas women to undergo invasive ultrasounds – and called for a vote. Hundreds of protesters who had gathered in the senate gallery erupted in outrage. With the clock still running, Davis’ colleagues stepped up.

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State Senator Leticia Van De Putte, who arrived at the Capitol in the afternoon after spending the morning at her father’s funeral, challenged Republican leaders at the podium who did not recognize one of her attempts to speak: “At what point does a female senator need to raise her voice to be heard over the male colleagues in the room?” Van De Putte’s procedural mic drop prompted even louder, sustained cheering from the crowd; Republicans pounced on the chaos, trying to force through a vote.

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But with a gallery still packed with Democratic lawmakers and supporters – and upwards of 180,000 people around the country watching a livestream of events online – Republicans could sustain the fiction only so long. After three hours of continued protests, disputes and meetings inside Senate offices, state senators finally confirmed to the Texas Tribune the vote was invalid. The bill was dead. Like California during the 1980s, Texas is turning blue thanks to women and people of color, and the right wing has no real plan or platform to capture those voters. Instead, they had planned to hold the state by force, as Tuesday night’s events made clear. What they didn’t plan on was Davis and her feminist army. And they’re not going anywhere.

More of this fabulous article, including Sen. Wendy Davis’s amazing personal story here

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The battle for 2014 has begun in every county, city, and state. That bell has already been rung so heed its call and find out what you can do to help the DCCC, DSCC, OFA, Battleground Texas, and Individual Congressmembers. Donate, volunteer, tweet, email, call, and spread the word because yes, there is gerrymandering but we can win. Texas showed that. Texas is you. YOU are Texas so make your voice heard. To those in Blue states, do not get complacent. Find out what you can do around you and also, how you can help red states turn purple and eventually blue. Organizations like Battleground Texas need your help too. Something was stirring in Texas last week, last night and through the early hours of the morning. The fight will be tough but we will get there and we will prevail.

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26
Jun
13

With victories like these, the GOP will become the Whigs (Who? Exactly.)

Cross-posted on The People’s View.

What does the Supreme Court’s decision gutting the 1965 Voting Rights Act mean for the Republican Party? Follow me, if you will.

Yesterday, Spandan of The People’s View wrote an analysis of the decision and how the Democrats should respond to it. Basically, it’s an opportunity to do in 2014 what we did in 2012 in the face of voter suppression.

But it’s a bit more than that. Much more. To emphasize Spandan’s point about demography being destiny: both he and I live in California. Up until Prop 187, the state was more or less reliably Republican, at least in presidential elections. Things were more complex lower down, but the GOP had a lock on our electoral votes. Prop 187 was the galvanizing force which turned a reddish state into pure cerulean blue. How much so? For the first time, Democrats control a two-thirds majority in both houses of the Legislature. And all statewide elected officials are Democrats. The two-thirds majority is big, because that’s what you need to pass a budget. No more deals need to be made with the GOP. The governor, Jerry Brown, is from the fiscally conservative wing of the party; but he still supports making needed investments in both physical and human infrastructure, while living within the state’s means. And for the first time since the 1990s, the state posted a budget surplus. That’s what happens when Democrats run government.

Continue reading ‘With victories like these, the GOP will become the Whigs (Who? Exactly.)’

26
Jun
13

‘Love is Love’

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The President’s statement:

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26
Jun
13

Rise and Shine

@petesouza: POTUS and FLOTUS wave from aboard AF1, en route to Africa

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Today:

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8:45 AM: The President and the First Family depart the White House

GMT

8:25PM: Arrive Dakar, Senegal

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Heather Gerken (Slate): Goodbye to the Crown Jewel of the Civil Rights Movement – People died to pass Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, but that didn’t save it at the Supreme Court.

…. To understand why Section 5 was special, you have to know a bit about its history. The brutal attacks on civil rights marchers crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge provided the push needed to pass the Voting Rights Act. When the Voting Rights Act passed in 1965, almost no African-Americans were registered to vote in the Deep South due to brutal repression and sickening legal chicanery.

Civil rights litigators and the Department of Justice were doing their best to help. They filed lawsuit after lawsuit to make it possible for blacks to register. But every time a court deemed one discriminatory practice illegal, local officials would switch to another. Literacy tests, poll taxes, burdensome registration requirements – these techniques were all used to prevent African-Americans from voting. Southern voting registrars would even resign from their positions as soon as a lawsuit was on the cusp of succeeding, thereby sending the case back to square one. The Voting Rights Act aimed to change all of this.

Section 5 was the most important and imaginative provision in the law….

More here

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President Barack Obama gives his second State of The Union Address before a joint session of Congress in Washington, DC.

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Sahil Kapur: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg penned the fierce dissent against the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision Tuesday to invalidate a key section of the Voting Rights Act, accusing the conservative justices of displaying “hubris” and a lack of sound reasoning. “[T]he Court’s opinion can hardly be described as an exemplar of restrained and moderate decision making,” wrote the leader of the court’s liberal wing. “Quite the opposite. Hubris is a fit word for today’s demolition of the VRA.”

Joined by the three other liberal-leaning justices, Ginsburg scolded the conservative majority and its rationale for throwing out Section 4 of the law — which contains the formula Congress has used to determine which states and local governments must receive federal pre-approval before changing their voting laws. “Congress approached the 2006 reauthorization of the VRA with great care and seriousness. The same cannot be said of the Court’s opinion today,” she wrote. “The Court makes no genuine attempt to engage with the massive legislative record that Congress assembled. Instead, it relies on increases in voter registration and turnout as if that were the whole story.” “Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet,” Ginsburg wrote.

More here

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Texas Tribune: The nation watched on Tuesday — and into Wednesday — as Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis and hundreds of impassioned reproductive rights advocates stalled proceedings and ultimately defeated controversial abortion legislation in a storm of screams and shouts as the clock struck midnight.

“I am overwhelmed, honestly,” Davis said after standing for nearly 13 hours to filibuster Senate Bill 5, the abortion legislation. The outpouring of support from protesters at the Capitol and across the nation, she said, “shows the determination and spirit of Texas women and people who care about Texas women.”

…. Republican senators made a last-ditch effort to approve SB 5, voting 19-10, but by then the clock had ticked past midnight. Under the terms of the state Constitution, the special session had ended, and the bill could not be signed, enrolled or sent to the governor.

… Conservative lawmakers tried every tool in the Senate rulebook to derail the filibuster. A “three strikes, you’re out” precedent in the Senate grants lawmakers two warnings about staying germane to the bill topic … Davis received the three strikes: two were on the germaneness of the discussion and one was related to Davis receiving assistance from another senator to put on a back brace….

More here

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26
Jun
13

Early Bird Chat

What a beeeeeeeeautiful headline to wake up to!

Chat away early birds, the legend that is UT will be Rising and Shining you a little later.

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