Thursday, May 22, 2014

Last Call For Reparation Nation

In an Atlantic article that will be misinterpreted vilified, and unread by everyone who actually needs to read it, Ta-Nehisi Coates makes the case for American reparations to African-Americans and Rep. John Conyers's bill to study what would be necessary in order to make such a move, a bill that of course lies rotting in the GOP-controlled House and will do so for arguably the rest of my lifetime.

Scholars have long discussed methods by which America might make reparations to those on whose labor and exclusion the country was built. In the 1970s, the Yale Law professor Boris Bittker argued in The Case for Black Reparations that a rough price tag for reparations could be determined by multiplying the number of African Americans in the population by the difference in white and black per capita income. That number—$34 billion in 1973, when Bittker wrote his book—could be added to a reparations program each year for a decade or two. Today Charles Ogletree, the Harvard Law School professor, argues for something broader: a program of job training and public works that takes racial justice as its mission but includes the poor of all races. 
To celebrate freedom and democracy while forgetting America’s origins in a slavery economy is patriotism à la carte. 
Perhaps no statistic better illustrates the enduring legacy of our country’s shameful history of treating black people as sub-citizens, sub-Americans, and sub-humans than the wealth gap. Reparations would seek to close this chasm. But as surely as the creation of the wealth gap required the cooperation of every aspect of the society, bridging it will require the same.
Perhaps after a serious discussion and debate—the kind that HR 40 proposes—we may find that the country can never fully repay African Americans. But we stand to discover much about ourselves in such a discussion—and that is perhaps what scares us. The idea of reparations is frightening not simply because we might lack the ability to pay. The idea of reparations threatens something much deeper—America’s heritage, history, and standing in the world.

This is a long and significant read, I've been poring over it for the better part of a day now, just to try to find an agreeable synopsis above.  Do yourself a favor and take the time to read the entire thing.

I'll have more on this over the weekend when I've had more time to digest it.

Time To Get Our Veterans' Affairs In Order

Reminder to all Republicans screaming about how the Obama administration failed our veterans with substandard care and waiting lists:  Republicans blocked a $27 billion bill in February that would have overhauled the VA system when they weren't allowed to play politics and add Iran sanctions to the legislation.

With Democrats pressing for passage this week, Senate Republicans, backed by their leader, Mitch McConnell, attempted to attach controversial legislation calling for possible new sanctions on Iran that President Barack Obama opposes.

"The issue of Iran sanctions ... has nothing to do with the needs of veterans," complained Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Bernard Sanders of Vermont, the main sponsor of the bill.

Republicans also raised budget concerns, forcing another key procedural vote that ended up killing the bill. By a vote of 56-41, the Senate failed to waive budget rules that would have allowed the bill to proceed. Sixty votes were needed and 41 of the chamber's 45 Republicans voted against the waiver.

Referring to recent budget deals that aim to bring down federal deficits, Republican Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama said: "This bill would spend more than we agreed to spend. The ink is hardly dry and here we have another bill to raise that spending again."

The legislation had the backing of most veterans' organizations, but was doomed by deep disagreements between Democrats and Republicans that have made this Congress one of the least productive in decades.

The sad state of the criminally underfunded, terribly understaffed VA rests wholly on the shoulders of Republicans who said it was too expensive to fix our broken VA system and voted to kill this legislation that would have overhauled it. Our vets, some who gave everything in defense of America, were told by 41 Republican senators who blocked this bill that they don't matter.

Republicans don't give a good god damn about our nation's veterans.  They are nothing but political toys for them to attack Democrats with.  And now these assholes have the temerity to complain that Democrats haven't spent enough caring for vets?

Go to hell, all of you.

See Like A Hawk

The Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks visited the White House on Wednesday and President Obama welcomed them with a few notable observations.

Obama highlighted quarterback Russell Wilson, the second African American quarterback to win a Super Bowl after Washington's Doug Williams. "The best part about" Wilson's achievement, Obama said, "is nobody commented on it, which tells you the progress that we've made, although we've got more progress to make."

Amen to that.

Once inside, the president said he took special note of running back Marshawn Lynch, who was fined by the NFL this season for refusing to speak to the media.

"I just wanted to say how much I admire his approach to the press," Obama said of Lynch, who did not join the team at the White House. "I wanted to get some tips from him."

Cornerback Richard Sherman did attend the ceremony, and Obama joked he had considered allowing the outspoken Stanford graduate to take the mic.

"I considered letting Sherman up here to the podium today, giving him the mic, but we've got to go in a little bit," Obama said.

Congrats again to the Seahawks and their fans, being a North Carolinian and only getting to watch a victory parade in our state when Cam Ward, Ron Brind'Amour and the Carolina Hurricanes won Game 7 and the Stanley Cup in 2006, I know it was a long wait for the Emerald City.

Sadly, it was the only time Dubya was happy to see a Hurricane in his White House career, but I digress.


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