28
Jun
15

Two Must-Reads

Michael Cohen (The Guardian): Ten days that turned America into a better place

Some day, people are going to write books about what happened over the last 10 days in the United States. It began with a depressing reminder of what is, perhaps, the worst of America. A disturbed young man, armed with an easily obtainable and high-calibre handgun, shot down nine people in cold blood. It was a shocking act, but largely because Americans have become so inured to the daily carnage of gun violence that the only types of incidents that stand out are those that are uniquely horrific.

Of course, what made the shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, so particularly notable was the where and why – a white gunman, nine African-American victims, a historic black church in the cradle of the former Confederacy. Dylann Roof’s crime was distinctively evil, but the sentiments underpinning it were depressingly familiar. They reflect the original and ongoing sin of this nation – the more than two centuries of mistreatment, prejudice and discrimination visited by white America upon black America.

But then something amazing happened. Practically overnight, America had a national epiphany.

More here

****

Gregory Krieg (Mic): The Time Has Come to Recognize President Obama’s Game-Changing Liberal Legacy

It wasn’t supposed to go down like this. In the aftermath of the 2014 midterm elections, when Democrats ceded control of the Senate and saw their deficit steepen in statehouses across the country, President Barack Obama was widely expected to set aside his ambitions and map out a more cautious agenda.

That was eight months ago.

After a thrilling and fraught week in Washington D.C., and South Carolina, Obama’s legacy is coming into plain view — and emerging as one of the sharpest and most significant in the last century of liberal politics.

More here

****

 SmartyPants has more links here to the week’s best articles

****


147 Responses to “Two Must-Reads”


  1. June 28, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    Great articles to read. Thanks Chips.

  2. June 28, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    Good evening and thanks.

  3. 14 japa21
    June 28, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    Fantastic articles. The second one, particularly, is something anybody who calls themselves a liberal or progressive should read. I, and most of us here have been saying all along that PBO has been one of the most progressive presidents in our lifetimes (and some of our lifetimes are getting pretty long).

    No, not all of us always agree with him, which I am sure is okay with him, but we have always recognized him for what he is, a remarkable leader and human being.

    I have heard him described as somewhat like the Dutch boy who stuck his finger in the dike, in this case preventing the RW agenda from destroying this country. But that falls short. He is more like that Dutch boy preventing the dike from breaking while at the same time, getting several fields planted, building extra dikes to back up this one and getting a bunch of other kids to help him prevent a disaster.

    Unfortunately, the likelihood we will see someone else like him in my lifetime (which VC thinks may not last too much longer), is slim indeed.

  4. 17 yardarm756
    June 28, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    The sad part about all this is that minorities always take the hit. For every “revelation” only the minorities make any tangible sacrifices to move forward. Maybe it’s time for some other folks to put some skin in the game, eh?

    • 18 japa21
      June 28, 2015 at 8:17 pm

      So very very true. And actually, that is what is driving the racists into a dither. They know that at some point it will be an equal playing field (may still be a whiles away, unfortunately) and for it to become equal it means one side moves up and the other loses something. They are just terrified that they may end up being treated the way they have treated others over the centuries.

    • 19 EricFive
      June 28, 2015 at 8:44 pm

      It took a crime as horrific as slaughtering 9 Black worshippers in a church, an act so hateful and evil that it could not be blamed on the victims (these victims could not be twisted into “thugs”, no hoodies in sight), to crack the façade of white inherent innocence and expose the existence of the dark side of the doctrine of white supremacy (the ugliness and evil that allows folks to enjoy White privilege). This was the act of a single white man, but it revealed a level of hate and resentment boiling in our society that made the occurrence of such a tragedy a case of when, not if. Add to that the broadcast of family members of the victims demonstrating the grace to forgive this devil for his evil acts. An act of forgiveness that was too Godly for the “Christians” of this nation to ignore or belittle. I cannot think of the grace exhibited by those family members without literally crying. There was a POWER in that act of forgiveness that I did not know existed in this world. To quote Stevie Wonder, “just as hate knows love’s the cure”.

  5. June 28, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    Awesome article & interview with President Obama included:

    “..Oh, and the stories about Weaver. “First name is Matthew,” Weaver says, sitting on a cheap couch in a makeshift office near the White House. But no one calls him Matthew, he explains, since there are too many Matthews in any given room at any given moment. Even among D.C.’s new technorati, people view Weaver as someone separate from the fray. Maybe it’s because he once lived in a camper in the Google parking lot without going home for an entire year. Maybe it’s because he was the one guy who, if he didn’t answer an emergency call, the whole search engine might go down. Or maybe it’s because in a group of brilliant engineers, Weaver, as one of his new colleagues puts it, stands out as “someone who is, like, superhero-fucking-brilliant.” Recruited from California last year by these guys Mikey and Todd to work on the broken Healthcare.gov website, Weaver decided this year to stay in D.C. and leave behind the comfort of Google and a big pile of stock options. He recalls it in terms that suggest the transfixing power of a holy pilgrimage. “That”—he says, meaning the Healthcare.gov fix-it work—”changed my life in a profound way. It made it feel like all my accomplishments in my professional life meant very little compared to getting millions of people through the hospital doors for the first time. And that made me see that I could never do any other work without a public impact.” Weaver now spends his days in the guts of the Veterans Administration, helping the agency’s digital team upgrade their systems and website—and trying to reboot the way government works. As an early test to see if he could challenge the VA’s protocol, he insisted, successfully, that his official government title be Rogue Leader. And so he is: Rogue Leader Weaver.

    It helps that the two men have substantial “air cover,” as President Obama describes it in an exclusive, in-person interview with Fast Company. For the past year, the president explains, he has personally helped Park and his team hire talent and implement their ideas across a host of government agencies. While the reasons behind this initiative and its scope have not been made clear before, in the president’s view, the idea of building a “pipeline” of tech talent in Washington starts with practical appeal: Better digital tools could upgrade the websites of, say, the Veterans Administration, so users get crucial services that save time, money, and (for veterans in need of medical help) lives. “But what we realized was, this could be a recipe for something larger,” the president explains. “You will have a more user-friendly government, a more responsive government. A government that can work with individuals on individual problems in a more tailored way, because the technology facilitates that the same way it increasingly does for private-sector companies.” In other words, if Obama’s tech team can successfully rebuild the digital infrastructure of Washington—an outcome that is by no means certain yet—you might not only change its functionality. You might transform Americans’ attitudes about government too. And you might even boost their waning feelings of empowerment in an ideologically riven country of 320 million people. In the meantime, do you also end up with a dedicated group of Rogue Leader Weavers where none existed before? Tech geniuses who embrace public service as an essential element of their careers? The president is betting on that outcome as well. Get the country’s technologists to change Washington, the theory goes, and maybe—just maybe—you end up changing the country’s culture of technology, too….continued”

    • 24 Judith Fardig
      June 28, 2015 at 8:53 pm

      THIS is a BFD. Wish I could get my techie son to join. I sent him the article with a gentle nudge.

      • 25 jackiegrumbacher
        June 28, 2015 at 9:42 pm

        It is a BFD, Judith. And the astonishing thing is that so few people understand what a monumental change this could represent to the American view of government. Our President is simply a genius at creating new paradigms.

    • 27 jackiegrumbacher
      June 28, 2015 at 9:45 pm

      Anything that troubles Netanyahu about the Iran deal means good news for all of us.

  6. June 28, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    Obama legacy includes a new look for White House’s State Dining Room http://wpo.st/FwKO0

    “The White House’s State Dining Room, a grand and historic space that has hosted kings and queens, Nobel Prize-winners, military families and George Clooney, is not a room whose redecoration is taken lightly. Yet it gets a lot of wear and tear, with all those Manolo heels digging into the rug and martinis accidentally spilling onto the curtains. After three years of work by Michelle Obama and the Committee for the Preservation of the White House, a new look was unveiled there Friday that will be a design legacy of the Obama years. The major new statement is at the windows: elegant, sumptuously swagged striped draperies in bold peacock blue and ecru, suspended from thick carved, gilded poles. These colors should go very nicely, by the way, with the new Obama state china service in Kailua blue, unveiled in April.

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    The design of the 34 new stately mahogany chairs is based on chairs bought for the East Room by President James Monroe in 1818 from cabinetmaker William King Jr. of Georgetown. They are upholstered with period-appropriate horsehair fabric in a brown grid pattern, trimmed with brass nailheads. A blue-green rug, intricately woven with wreath motifs and oak leaves inspired by the stunning ceiling plasterwork, was installed in 2012 at the start of the project. A subtle yet stately feature of the room: the walls and detailed moldings, artfully repainted and glazed in several shades of white to highlight the architecture. All in all, it looks like a room rocking an awesome new party dress….continued”

    OLD

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    NEW

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

  7. June 28, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    Another clown crashes the circus ….

  8. June 28, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    “President Obama was sitting across from the first lady and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett on Marine One, headed to Andrews Air Force Base and then Charleston, S.C., when he shared a thought. “I may sing,” he said, as the White House and the monuments of official Washington receded into the background. A few hours later he was standing on a stage at the College of Charleston. Behind him were church elders in flowing purple robes. He could hear the strains of electric guitar and drums pulsing in the background and see the thousands of mourners for the parishioners who had been slain nine days before, urging him on throughout his eulogy. Twice he spoke the opening words of the Christian hymn “Amazing Grace.” Then he paused for 13 seconds as the hushed crowd waited, unsure what was happening. “Amazing Grace,” he sang softly in a rich baritone.

    “Ha!” one of the pastors behind him called out. “Sing it, Mr. President,” another said. Soon thousands in the auditorium were singing along with him. For years, the private Obama has remained largely that. Now, the president’s private and public persona have merged more fully.The moment in Charleston came at the end of a long eulogy in which Obama delivered an unflinching accounting of what he described as the country’s “many unhealed wounds” on the issue of race. He spoke in the cadences of the black ministry, decrying the fact that a young man named “Jamal” was less likely to get called back for a job than someone named “Johnny.” Earlier that day, Obama had described the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide — something he had opposed publicly until the spring of 2012, even though he told aides privately he endorsed the idea — “a victory for America.” Hours later the White House was bathed in rainbow colors….continued”

    • June 28, 2015 at 8:40 pm

      ….Current and former White House staff members who had worked on gay rights issues reunited on the North Lawn to watch the light show as the residence became the backdrop for thousands of celebratory selfies. One same-sex couple posed with a sign that read: “Not just gay, ecstatic,” while the image flooded social media with tens of millions of Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat posts and video views. But those images had to vie with the videos of Obama belting out “Amazing Grace” and decrying the long shadow of slavery and Jim Crow on the American psyche, a moment that surprised many Americans who had gotten used to watching their president. As for Obama, the only thing that startled him was that it took only two words before the whole crowd joined in. “He knew he would not get far before he had company,” Jarrett said.”

    • 37 MIghtyPamela
      June 28, 2015 at 9:30 pm

      During church today, I was wondering if PBO had let anyone know he might sing. He is too awesome. He is so loved. 🐻 ❤

  9. 38 GGail
    June 28, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    Helloooooo TOD!
    We have survived the additions to our TOD Peeps and they survived too 😄

    Picture to follow.

    VC, you got mail 😊

  10. June 28, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    Making it big in basketball had long been a dearly held dream for Satnam Singh. Making it happen was another matter. Growing up in a remote village in India’s Punjab province, he was destined to become a farmer — like his father and his father’s father. But that’s the thing about dreams. With hard work — and, in Singh’s case, a ginormous frame — they sometimes come true. On Thursday, he became the first basketball player from India to be drafted by an NBA team. The Dallas Mavericks selected the 7-foot-2-inch, 19-year-old with the 52nd pick in the draft.

    But his arrival is a big moment for India. For the moment, Singh is little known in his homeland, where cricket is by far the biggest sport and few follow the American National Basketball Association. But success in the United States could change that — in the same way China’s Yao Ming galvanized interest in basketball in his country. That’s certainly what the Mavs are counting on. “We certainly created a legend,” owner Mark Cuban said. “There’s a billion new Mavs fans out there right now…continued”

    IMG is where Sharapova and basically all up & coming amateur athletes go…they are branching out to Football & Basketball now:

  11. 44 EricFive
    June 28, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    This has indeed been a banner week for this country. Although I would not want them deciding elections again, I am happy to see that Justice Roberts will not easily follow the radicals on the Court off the proverbial cliff. That is a good sign for this nation, for it is vital the populace have some semblance of confidence in its institutions to follow the rule of law. On a political note, all of these victories by PBO have definitely strengthened his presidency in the view of the world (and much of this country), which will make successful trade deals and an Iran nuclear deal more likely. The treasonous behavior of the GOP and disloyalty of the Dems really hurts our nation in the eyes of the world. A house divided cannot stand. Having the President’s positions so strongly validated will no doubt alleviate this situation. Through all the noise and drama, PBO just keeps on moving toward his North Star, striving to make this country a more perfect union. I am confident that I am on the right side of history in supporting the Presidency of Barack Obama. The remake of the science fiction movie ‘Total Recall’ had PBO’s portrait on the currency of the day. I think that is a real possibility. History will be kind to our president.

    • June 28, 2015 at 9:27 pm

      “The remake of the science fiction movie ‘Total Recall’ had PBO’s portrait on the currency of the day. I think that is a real possibility. History will be kind to our president.”

      YUP!!

      • 46 Dudette
        June 29, 2015 at 7:29 am

        I remember that! The gasps of excitement that rolled through the theatre when that popped on the scene was something to behold! 😀

  12. 47 Smilingl8dy
    June 28, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/
    “Obama’s Grace
    The president delivers his single most accomplished rhetorical performance, and it’s one you should watch rather than read.”

    Completely piece!! Fallows did it justice! Amazing!

  13. 48 hopefruit2
    June 28, 2015 at 9:01 pm

  14. June 28, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    Professor in the house ….

    #TruthAndReconciliation Lesson Plan

    Let’s see how this rolls ….

  15. June 28, 2015 at 9:06 pm

    Thanks for the articles.

  16. 56 arapaho415
    June 28, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    GE TODville.

    I liked this article about the eulogy given by PBO yesterday:

    To me, this was the most important take-away from the eulogy:

    • 57 GGail
      June 28, 2015 at 9:51 pm

      I think Yardarm said something along these lines earlier. “We have all heard PBO’s words during the eulogy. Why is it necessary for people to write articles about what he meant? We heard what he said and understood what he said, it was in English, we don’t need translations that are simply other people’s opinion of what PBO said.” You can state whether you liked it or you didn’t like it, but please stop translating it.

      • 58 arapaho415
        June 28, 2015 at 10:06 pm

        The speech was 40 minutes long.

        Not everyone has 40 minutes to set aside.

        I loved every word of PBO’s eulogy, but to me, this is says in 140 characters what is needed to make progress — it says to set aside the personal and consider the long-term consequences of action.

        Just my opinion, sorry that you took offense.

        • 59 GGail
          June 28, 2015 at 10:18 pm

          Offense is not the word for what I’m feeling arapaho. I’m just tired of all of these people writing articles of what they think PBO meant when he said what he said. Simple opinion. No intention to hurt anyone’s feeling here unless you wrote an article of which I reference.

  17. 60 arapaho415
    June 28, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    For those old enough to remember, this may jog your memory (two-page article):

  18. 61 arapaho415
    June 28, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    And lastly, since Climate Change seems to be a theme of PBO’s interview of David Attenborough tonight, something to consider from Germany:

  19. 62 arapaho415
    June 28, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    One more…

  20. June 28, 2015 at 9:25 pm

  21. June 28, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    Stumbling toward the obvious ….

  22. June 28, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    My goodness, the expression of that young child reaching for the President brings an old codger like me to tears.

    The new Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Michael Curry of North Carolina, leads a march against gun violence.

  23. June 28, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    Three years ago today the Supreme Court ruled the ACA was Constitutional!

  24. June 28, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    That first pic of Rev. Pinckney’s daughter reaching up to hug PBO is a tear jerker. You can see that our PBO is enveloped in
    deep emotion. He can see his daughters in these two beautiful young girls and he fully understands what they are going through.
    Thank God for this wonderful, compassionate man of the people. He bared his heart and his soul on Friday in front of the nation
    and the world and comforted us while doing so. I thought I could not love this President any more than I already do. But,
    after last Friday’s eulogy he had me plumbing new depths. TOD, everyday I feel so blessed to be a witness of the OBAMA era.

  25. June 28, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    So. 3 greyhounds, 2 glasses of champagne, and 1 gin & tonic. And a fuckton of grilled Brazilian meats. I’m done. See everyone tomorrow.

  26. 120 99ts
    June 28, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    Well our share market has crashed in sympathy with Greece. We weathered the storm with nary a blimp when the crash came in 2008 – then we were SO stupid as to elect a right wing government – been downhill ever since.

  27. June 28, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    That top oic breaks my heart. Look how that angel is reaching up to President Obama. Knowing her daddy will not be there to pick her up again I cannot, I cannot come to terms with that

  28. 123 Smilingl8dy
    June 28, 2015 at 10:01 pm

    http://billmoyers.com/2015/02/15/black-history-month-king-end-whatever/

    “We don’t protect our most vulnerable children; we value people according to arbitrary standards blind to the image of God on every face; we are too quick to kill and to slow to forgive; we tolerate the desecration of the only earth we will ever know. We give a platform to political leaders who want to “take back our country” — by setting policies that favor the wealthiest over everyone else, selling public schools to the highest bidder, and tearing apart the safety net that sustains the elderly and assists our most vulnerable — as if their words and ideas are worth listening to, or are grounded in principles worthy of our attention or even support.”

    Our response? Too often it is tantamount to this: “Whatever.”

    • 124 amk for obama
      June 28, 2015 at 10:10 pm

      moyers – the only one I consider as a journo.

      We give a platform to political leaders who want to “take back our country” — by setting policies that favor the wealthiest over everyone else.

      exactly.

  29. 126 Smilingl8dy
    June 28, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    “We don’t protect our most vulnerable children; we value people according to arbitrary standards blind to the image of God on every face; we are too quick to kill and to slow to forgive; we tolerate the desecration of the only earth we will ever know. We give a platform to political leaders who want to “take back our country” — by setting policies that favor the wealthiest over everyone else, selling public schools to the highest bidder, and tearing apart the safety net that sustains the elderly and assists our most vulnerable — as if their words and ideas are worth listening to, or are grounded in principles worthy of our attention or even support.”

    Our response? Too often it is tantamount to this: “Whatever.”

    http://billmoyers.com/2015/02/15/black-history-month-king-end-whatever/

  30. 128 Smilingl8dy
    June 28, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    Sorry about the double post!

  31. June 28, 2015 at 10:09 pm

  32. 130 arapaho415
    June 28, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    O/T, but literally a current event:

  33. June 28, 2015 at 10:12 pm

  34. June 28, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    #TrustBarack …. because he LOVES you ….

    good night TOD

  35. June 28, 2015 at 10:31 pm

  36. June 28, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    This photo of Sen. Pinckney’s reaching for the President is so touching. Tearing up.

    • June 28, 2015 at 10:49 pm

      Dakota,I am right there with you.
      While watching the video I could not help noticing how FLOTUS gently ever so loving guiding PO toward the children and family.
      What a team we have in the WH!
      Their love flows from heart-to-heart. It overflows to us here and all over the world.

  37. June 28, 2015 at 10:47 pm

  38. 142 GGail
    June 28, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    Good nite TOD ❤

  39. 143 FoxfireTX
    June 28, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    Good evening TOD. It is indeed wonderful to see the positive media coverage although it does make me laugh. While there was a convergence of events these last ten days, as with all things most of them represent years and years of work by PBO and his crew. For those who say he deserves no credit for the SCOTUS decision on SSM, I say F… YOU! Who worked to undo DADT, undermine DOMA, extend benefits to partners of federal employees and contractors, and make this a big part of his 2012 campaign. Does anyone REALLY believe we would have seen the change in attitudes, including the Justices, without PBO’s leadership?

    Then there are the countless things he has cleaned up and never gets credit for the result. Tonight on 60 Minutes they re-aired the Bob McDonald interview from awhile back. The updating footnote at the end was that the average wait time to see a doctor is now FOUR DAYS! Unbelievable change.

    The man has been simply tireless as a president who is going to use every single minute of every single day to do what he can to improve our lives. While he would need a third term at least to complete the job, what he has accomplished simply is amazing across the federal government and society overall. He truly has transformed this country from the debacle that started with Reagan and ran rampant for decades, including through the Clinton presidency. I am looking forward to what these next 18 months will bring. He is NOT done yet!

    • 144 amk for obama
      June 28, 2015 at 11:16 pm

      And more importantly, he gave the two supremes who were the key players in the last week’s monumental decisions. And I remember all the whingeying and whining from the loony left about those two. Not ‘librul’ enough. Did ya all see their rulings? blah, blah.

      Fuck’em all.

  40. June 28, 2015 at 11:01 pm

  41. 147 cindysweatt
    June 29, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    I haven’t commented in a very long time. I just need to say again: “I love my President.”


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