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Member since: Mon Jan 30, 2006, 06:07 PM
Number of posts: 103,148

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Dear White America


Dear White America,

I have a weighty request. As you read this letter, I want you to listen with love, a sort of love that demands that you look at parts of yourself that might cause pain and terror, as James Baldwin would say. Did you hear that? You may have missed it. I repeat: I want you to listen with love. Well, at least try.

We don’t talk much about the urgency of love these days, especially within the public sphere. Much of our discourse these days is about revenge, name calling, hate, and divisiveness. I have yet to hear it from our presidential hopefuls, or our political pundits. I don’t mean the Hollywood type of love, but the scary kind, the kind that risks not being reciprocated, the kind that refuses to flee in the face of danger. To make it a bit easier for you, I’ve decided to model, as best as I can, what I’m asking of you. Let me demonstrate the vulnerability that I wish you to show. As a child of Socrates, James Baldwin and Audre Lorde, let me speak the truth, refuse to err on the side of caution.

This letter is a gift for you. Bear in mind, though, that some gifts can be heavy to bear. You don’t have to accept it; there is no obligation. I give it freely, believing that many of you will throw the gift back in my face, saying that I wrongly accuse you, that I am too sensitive, that I’m a race hustler, and that I blame white people (you) for everything.

I have read many of your comments. I have even received some hate mail. In this letter, I ask you to look deep, to look into your souls with silence, to quiet that voice that will speak to you of your white “innocence.” So, as you read this letter, take a deep breath. Make a space for my voice in the deepest part of your psyche. Try to listen, to practice being silent. There are times when you must quiet your own voice to hear from or about those who suffer in ways that you do not.


Bernie Sanders has taken money from Hillary's PAC before.

Does that make him corrupt, too?


WASHINGTON (AP) — New York Sen. Hillary Clinton shared her wealth in March, doling out $190,000 in contributions to Democrats in Iowa, New Hampshire and elsewhere, according to a campaign report filed late Thursday.

Clinton's political action committee, HILLPAC, raised $272,477 and spent $327,484 in March, according to the group's filing to the Federal Election Commission.


Clinton spokeswoman Ann Lewis said the donations were aimed at strong candidates in key election battles around the country. She said the Iowa and New Hampshire donations were part of a larger effort to help Democratic candidates for governor in 2006.

The Senate Democrats' campaign committee, the House Democrats' campaign committee and the national committee each received $15,000.

Two congressmen trying to make it to the Senate also got boosts from Clinton. Rep. Bernie Sanders, who is running for the seat held by retiring Vermont lawmaker Jim Jeffords, received $10,000, as did Harold Ford Jr., of Tennessee, who is campaigning for the seat being vacated by Majority Leader Bill Frist.

Why a Michigan style upset is highly unlikely. Two words:

closed primary.

In Michigan, Hillary won Democrats by an 18% margin. Bernie carried the state because of his strength among Independents.

But in New York, the primary is closed to Independents, unless they switched to Democrat by last October. Newly registered voters may participate but the deadline was almost a month ago -- no same day registration.

538: To maintain her current lead, HRC's target is 122 out of 247 NY pledged delegates.

Slightly less than half.

Everything above that is gravy.


Law and order Bernie's solution on crack/cocaine sentencing disparity: INCREASE penalty for COCAINE!

The sentencing disparity on crack and cocaine means poor people are much more likely to be subject to mass incarceration.

Bernie's solution in 1994? Increase the penalties for cocaine users. Mass incarcerate crack AND cocaine users.


The story gets worse for Sanders. Over the weekend, an excerpt of remarks Congressman Sanders had inserted into the Congressional Record in 1995 started making the rounds. A debate was raging at the time about the crack-powder cocaine sentencing disparities (black people were more often arrested on crack charges, for which the sentencing guidelines were much harsher). The U.S. Sentencing Commission had recommended to Congress that it eliminate the disparity (PDF). It meant that Congress should do so by lowering the guidelines for crack so that they’d be equal to those for powder. Most Democrats, of course, supported this change.

Sanders? Well, he wanted to eliminate the disparity—but by raising the powder guidelines to those for crack! Here are the salient sentences, from the Record of Oct. 18, 1995, tweeted over the weekend by James E. Carter IV, President Carter’s grandson:

“This Congressman thinks that drugs are a scourge on America, and I strongly believe we must fight cocaine use in any form. We should be addressing the fairness issue by raising the punishment for powder cocaine, not lowering the sentence for crack offenses. I am deeply disturbed that this was not given as an option today.”

Well, I’ll give him this much. The Sanders option would have eliminated the disparity. But it would have done so by throwing millions more people behind bars for years, ruining that many more lives, black, white, and otherwise. It’s totally at odds with Sanders’s rhetoric, which I agree with by the way, about how we need to give young people from difficult circumstances more opportunity. Bernie wanted to give young people from all circumstances less opportunity. He may never have used the word “superpredators,” but he sure seems to have believed in their existence.

Why was Sanders such a law-and-order type? It’s hard to know, since of course he never talks about it and now says just the opposite, with all that imperious moral thunder that some find bewitching and others bothersome or bewildering. But this excellent Yahoo! News piece from early February lays the record out. He even voted against a bill in 1995 that would have established separate drug courts and taken steps to demilitarize police departments, preventing them from using any money in the act in question (which failed) for the purchase of Army-style tanks or aircraft.


That "obscene" amount of money Clooney helped raise?

Guess where it's going? The vast majority is going to the 50 state parties and to the DNC to help elect OTHER DEMOCRATS.

A maximum of $2700 per person or $5000 per couple will go to Hillary. Far more will be given to the party for other Democrats.

Without OTHER DEMOCRATS we won't be able to pass legislation for our next President to sign.

Why is Bernie encouraging his people to protest fundraising for other Democrats? How does he think he would accomplish anything if he is President unless we get more Democratic Governors and more Democrats in the U.S. Congress?

Bernie should be helping to fundraise down-ticket, not protesting Hillary's efforts to do so.


Still, bundled together, the Clooney events, attended by roughly 100 people each, will easily surpass the $8 million the candidate raised in mid-December at a Hillary Victory Fund event where Sting performed at Manhattan’s St. Regis hotel. And in fact, I hear that once the final math is done on tonight’s event in SF and tomorrow’s in L.A., Clinton’s min-Cali tour could top the Obama re-election fundraiser that the then-unmarried Clooney hosted at his L.A. home nearly four years ago.

If those numbers seem high under what is allowed under primary rules, they are – but they also are perfectly within what’s permitted. Like the Sting event and the Radio City Music Hall event of March 2, this weekend’s two Hillary Victory Fund affairs take only the allowed $2,700 per individual or $5,000 a couple directly for the Hillary for America ledger. The rest of the dough is divided up between the Democratic National Committee and state parties from Arkansas to Wyoming for the general election.

HBO's CONFIRMATION, the movie about Anita Hill starring Kerry Washington, premieres today.

You don't have to get HBO to watch it, I understand, because individual shows can also be seen through HBO GO.


Anita Hill and Kerry Washington both know the power of restraint.

For Hill, whose accusations of sexual harassment against Supreme Court nominee (now Justice) Clarence Thomas are the centerpiece of HBO’s sturdy Confirmation (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET/PT, *** out of four), restraint became a watchword. In the midst of the media frenzy during Thomas’ 1991 confirmation hearings, faced with senatorial inquisitors who attacked everything from her morals to her memory to her sanity, she maintained a quiet, dignified calm that refuted every attempt to label her as “hysterical,” the typical attack used on women who dared to speak up.

Given the steady deliberation Hill displayed, Washington might seem an odd pick to portray her. Most of us, after all, know her from Scandal, where she's given a weekly invitation to express every emotion and mood, no matter how big, unlikely or nonsensical.

In Confirmation, her role constrains her — and, paradoxically, liberates her to do what may be her best work yet. She expertly captures Hill’s emotionally drained speaking style, a necessity these days, when anyone can watch clips for comparison. Yet what’s equally impressive is her use of silence, in the way she watches Thomas on TV, breathing slowly and weighing whether she should put herself forward, or the way she closes her eyes and gathers herself before she speaks.


The angry sexism of Bernie's "YES or NO!"

For those who can't read English very well, when a person says, "Are you or are you not. . " and someone else replies "I am" -- then that reply means "Yes."

In Hillary's case, she IS supporting raising the cap, but she is ALSO supporting expanding the tax to investment income, and she would support any bill that Congress passes that expands funding with either or both of these approaches.

She has said this again and again in the other debates and Town Halls and it's impossible that Bernie doesn't understand this.


HIM: Are you or are you not supporting legislation to lift the cap on taxable income and expand Social Security for 58 years and increase benefits...

HER: I am...


My reaction? “How astoundingly sexist and arrogant!”

There was so much male privilege wrapped up in his performance, from the constant finger-wagging and waving, to laughing, but it peaked with this.

What was the privilege?

First, the privilege was the idea that there is only one simple solution to a complex problem, and he had it. It’s pretty typical, frankly, and any female in an office has seen it. A guy gets an idea and then demands everybody agree, rather than consider other ideas, or even that a big problem may have multiple solutions. How many of us have been there, where a guy has an idea, and if a woman says, “well, I think we should think about X, too, because it’s not so simple,” he answers, “you’re trying to change the subject — answer whether you agree or not”?

Second, the privilege was the idea that he, not the moderator, gets to demand that she answer his question, and not just answer it, but answer it exactly and only in his words, and not hers. Ladies, have you ever heard this before?

The Pope sends his apologies to all the meeting participants

via a hand-written note read aloud by a Bishop.

He's very busy preparing for another meeting in Greece tomorrow, so unfortunately he will not be able to attend.


It was very clear to every Catholic I know that in the aftermath of Pope Francis getting tricked into a personal meeting with Kim Davis (an event that resulted in a forced retirement for a top diplomat), he was not going to let himself get berned this time.

Where does bucolic VT house many of its prisoners? In private prisons, thousands of miles away

in places like Kentucky, Michigan, and Arizona -- wherever it's cheaper. Kind of like how they deal with their dangerous waste -- ship it off to Texas.

But imagine the barriers to families who are trying to stay connected to loved ones in prisons -- most of whom will be released some day and will need to be re-integrated into society.


A crime is committed in a state. The suspect’s tried, convicted, and sentenced there, and there’s a general expectation that then the punishment will play out close to home — unless it happens that one lives in a state like Vermont, with a correctional system so overcrowded that some prisoners must be shipped away to a facility somewhere else.

There are currently hundreds of Vermont individuals being held in a facility in Michigan, with space slotted for as many as 675. Vermont, which has only 7 adult in-state correctional facilities, has contracted with private prison companies for years, sending their prisoners to out-of-state locations capable of holding the overflow prison populations.

Since 2004, the Green Mountain State has been paying Corrections Corporation of America for space in Florence Correctional Center in Arizona and the Lee Adjustment Center in Kentucky. That contract was not renewed upon its completion at the end of June, and a new agreement was penned with its rival, GEO Group, for space at the then-vacant North Lake Correctional Center.

At the price of $61.80 per diem, the Boca Raton-based correctional giant beat out CCA and bids for fewer beds at facilities in nearby Albany ($68 per diem) and Rensselaer ($110-120).

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