Friday, July 31, 2009

Blue Dogs: Ain't Nothing Centrist About Them
by Katrina Vanden Heuvel
At this moment -- when 72 percent of the nation supports a public plan option and 14,000 people lose their healthcare every day -- the House Blue Dogs and conservative Democratic Senators are doing just about everything they can to cripple real health care reform.
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Howard Dean Talks Health Care
Will Bill and Betsy Kill Again?
Kristol and McCaughey helped derail Clinton's healthcare reforms with misinformation -- and now they're at it again
By Joe Conason
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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thom Hartmann: The myths and truths about Canadian Healthcare
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
So You Think You Can Douche
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
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Political HumorJoke of the Day

Still, the media won't talk about the economic interests that profit from hate-preachers like Beck and Limbaugh
by Joan Walsh

Fwd: Animal Humor




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Date: Wed, 29 Jul 2009 04:56:37 -0700
From: lani@audiogodz.com
Subject: Animal Humor
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 Have a Happy Day.  

 
 








































 
 

 




Windows Live™ Hotmail®: Celebrate the moment with your favorite sports pics. Check it out.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Right-wing Racism On The Rise
Even as a few GOP leaders try to dial back the crazy, Limbaugh and Beck spew hate, claiming Obama is a "racist"
by Joan Walsh
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The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Henry Louis-Gate - Race Card
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Political HumorJoke of the Day

Why I play golf.

July 29, 2009
Op-Ed Columnist

59 Is the New 30

Last April I took a break to caddy for the former U.S. Open champion Andy North when he teamed up with Tom Watson to defend their title in the two-man Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf tournament in Savannah, Ga. So it was with more than a casual spectator's interest that I watched in awe on Armed Forces television from Afghanistan as Watson made his amazing run at winning the British Open at age 59. Watson likes to talk about foreign affairs more than golf. So to let him know just how many people wanted him to win, I e-mailed him before the final round: "Even the Taliban are rooting for you."
Indeed, I have been stru ck at how many golfers and non-golfers got caught up in Watson's historic performance — tying for the lead after four rounds at Turnberry, but losing in a playoff to the 36-year-old Stewart Cink. I was not alone in being devastated that Watson was not able to par the last hole and clinch the win. Like millions of others, I shouted at the TV as his ball ran across the 18th green — heading for trouble — "STOP! STOP! STOP!" as if I personally had something at stake. Why was that?
Many reasons. For starters, Watson's run was freaky unusual — a 59-year-old man who had played his opening two rounds in this tournament with a 16-year-old Italian amateur — was able to best the greatest golfers in the world at least a decade after anyone would have dreamt it possible. Watching this happen actually widened our sense of what any of us is capable of. That is, when Kobe Bryant scores 70 points, we are in awe. When Tiger Woods wins by 15 strokes, we are in awe. But when a man our own age and size whips the world's best — who are h alf his age — we identify.
Of course, Watson has unique golfing skills, but if you are a baby boomer you could not help but look at him and say something you would never say about Tiger or Kobe: "He's my age; he's my build; he's my height; and he even had his hip replaced like me. If he can do that, maybe I can do something like that, too."
Neil Oxman, Watson's caddy, who is a top Democratic political consultant in his real life, told me: "After Thursday's round with Tom, when we left the scoring tent I said to him, 'You know, this is a thing.' He understood what I meant. On Sunday morning, the two of us were in the corner of the locker room without another human being around, sitting in these two easy chairs facing each other behind a partition. We were chatting about stuff, and I said to him, 'For a lot of people, what you're doing is life-affirming.' I took it from a story about when Betty Comden and Adolph Green — the writers of "Singin' in the Rain" — showed Leonard Bernstein the famous scene of Gene Kelly. Bernstein said to them, 'That scene is an affirmation of life.' What Tom did last week was an affirmation of life."
Also, as Watson himself appreciates, the way he lost the tournament underscored why golf is the sport most like life. He hit two perfect shots on the 18th hole in the final round, and the second one bounced just a little too hard and ran through the green, leaving him a difficult chip back, which he was unable to get up and down. Had his ball stopped a foot shorter, he would have had an easy two-putt and a win.
That's the point. Baseball, basketball and football are played on flat surfaces designed to give true bounces. Golf is played on an uneven terrain designed to surprise. Good and bad bounces are built into the essence of the game. And the reason golf is so much like life is that the game — like life — is all about how you react to those good and bad bounces. Do you blame your caddy? Do you cheat? Do you throw your clubs? Or do you accept it all with dignity and grace and move on, as Watson always has. Hence the saying: Play one round of golf with someone and you will learn everything you need to know about his character.
Golf is all about individual c haracter. The ball is fixed. No one throws it to you. You initiate the swing, and you alone have to live with the results. There are no teammates to blame or commiserate with. Also, pro golfers, unlike baseball, football or basketball players, have no fixed salaries. They eat what they kill. If they score well, they make money. If they don't, they don't make money. I wonder what the average N.B.A. player's free-throw shooting percentage would be if he had to make free throws to get paid the way golfers have to make three-foot putts?
This wonderful but cruel game never stops testing or teaching you. "The only comment I can make," Watson told me after, "is one that the immortal Bobby Jones related: 'One learns from defeat, not from victory.' I may never have the chance again to beat the kids, but I took one thing from the last hole: hitting both the tee shot and the approach shots exactly the way I meant to wasn't good enough. ... I had to finish."
So Tom Watson got a brutal lesson in golf that he'll never forget, but he gave us all an incredible lesson in possibilities — one we'll never forget.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Battling the Blue Dogs
by Steve Hildebrand
Barack Obama's National Deputy Campaign Manager
Blue Dogs view themselves as centrists. I look at the term centrist and think of politicians who are afraid to take positions on issues that might cause heartburn with swing voters.

Gates Got Arrested Because He Hurt Sgt. Crowley's Feelings?!
by Michael Fauntroy
Professor, Author, Columnist, and Commentator at MichaelFauntroy.com.
For every Henry Louis Gates, with resources, notoriety, and connections, there are countless others like him who have to live with the reality of racism in anonymity.
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500 years a colony.

Puerto Rican Nationalism and the Drift Towards Statehood
 by Arienna Grody, Research Associate
Council on Hemispheric Affairs (July 27, 2009)
 
Near the Caribbean islands of Hispaniola and Cuba lies another, smaller island, the inhabitants of which have never experienced sovereignty. The arrival of Christopher Columbus [Colón] to its shores in 1493 heralded an era of enslavement and destruction of the native Taíno population at the hands of the Spanish colonial system. Four centuries later, the decadence of the Spanish royalty had significantly weakened the once-formidable imperial structure. The Spanish-American War of 1898 became the capstone of the demise of the Spanish empire and the Treaty of Paris ceded control of several Spanish-held islands to the United States. Of the territorial possessions to change hands in 1898, Puerto Rico is the only one that persists in a state of colonialism to this day.
 
"Puerto Rico has been a colony for an uninterrupted period of over five hundred years," writes Pedro A. Malavet, a law professor at the University of Florida who has studied the subject extensively. "In modern times, colonialism - the status of a pol ity with a definable territory that lacks sovereignty because legal [and] political authority is exercised by a peoples distinguishable from the inhabitants of the colonized region - is the only legal status that the isla (island) has known." Puerto Rico's legal and political status has not, however, precluded the development of a national ethos. On the contrary, Jorge Duany, a professor of anthropology at the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras, explains that Puerto Ricans "imagine themselves as a nation [although they] do so despite the lack of a strong movement to create a sovereign state." Furthermore, this perception of a unique Puerto Rican identity had already developed and become established under Spanish rule. Puerto Rican cultural nationalism has persisted through various stages of history, through drives for independence and efforts at assimilation. This puertorriqueñismo is apolitical. In fact, some of the strongest cultural nationalism is exhibited by Puerto Ricans living in the United States.
 
Nevertheless, the lack of association between puertorriqueñismo and sovereignty, or even of a clearly mobilized independence movement with widespread support, does not diminish the necessity of finding a just and permanent resolution to the question of the status of Puerto Rico.
 
American Imperialism Called to the Colors
 
In 1898, the United States won Cuba, Guam, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico from Spain. As U.S. troops invaded Puerto Rico, they proclaim ed that their intentions were to overthrow the ruling Spanish authorities, thereby guaranteeing individual freedoms for the inhabitants. However, as Michael González-Cruz, an assistant professor at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, writes, "the occupation and recolonization of the island did not improve basic rights such as health or labor conditions but rather reinforced the barriers that increased social inequalities among the population." Although the U.S.' initial promises of liberation and democracy won the support and assistance of many anti-Spanish Puerto Ricans, it soon became clear that "the United States' interest in conquering land did not extend to accepting the colonized people as equals."
 
Far from promoting the democratic republican ideals associated with the U.S.' own independence movement and its aftermath, the new colonial regime on the island promptly instituted military rule. It "sought to consolidate its military and economic authority by repressing any activity that might destabilize it or threaten its economic interests." U.S. military forces protected landowners against the tiznados, or members of secret societies dedicated to the independence of Puerto Rico, rendering the landowners dependent on their presence and rejecting any movement towards sovereignty for the island. Additionally, the period was marked by media repression and censorship as "journalists were systematically pursued, fined and arrested for reporting on the behavior of the troops of the occupation." These were the first signs that island=2 0residents were not going to be treated as the equals of mainland Americans, but they were by no means the last.
 
The Insular Cases
 
According to writer, lawyer and political analyst Juan M. García-Passalacqua, the Insular Cases - the series of Supreme Court decisions that ultimately determined the relationships between the United States and its newly acquired territories - "made it clear that the paradigm was the governance of the property of the United States, not of a people." This point is illuminated by the fact that the Insular Cases primarily addressed tax law. In De Lima v Bidwell (1901), the Court determined that Puerto Rico was not a foreign country - at least for the purpose of import taxes. But in Downes v Bidwell (1901), it held that the island was not part of the U.S. per se. Malavet points to the fact that it gave Congress "almost unfettered discretion to do with Puerto Rico as it wants" as the biggest flaw in the Downes decision.
 
The decision was neither undisputed nor unqualified. For example, Justice Edward Douglass White concurred, but on the condition that "when the unfitness of particular territory for incorporation is demonstrated the occupation will terminate." Justice John Marshall Harlan II (best known for his dissent in Plessy v Ferguson (1896)) dissented emphatically, arguing that "the idea that this country may acquire territories anywhere upon the earth, by conquest or treaty, and hold them as mere colonies20or provinces, - the people inhabiting them to enjoy only such rights as Congress chooses to accord them, - is wholly inconsistent with the spirit and genious, as well as with the words, of the Constitution."
 
Despite these warnings, however, Congress (with the assent of the Supreme Court) continued to construct Puerto Rico as a dependent colonial possession, a status from which, more than a century later, the island has yet to escape. The civilian government introduced under the Foraker Act (1900) was appointed primarily by the president of the United States. The Jones Act (1917) can be said to have bestowed or imposed U.S. citizenship on Puerto Ricans. But this citizenship does not include the full rights guaranteed to citizens in the fifty states. In the case of Balzac v Porto Rico (1922), the Supreme Court held that personal freedoms, while considered a constitutional right on the mainland, were not legal entitlements on the island because of its status as a territory merely "belonging" to the United States, rather than as an "incorporated" territory. Malavet maintains that Balzac "constitutionally constructs the United States citizenship of Puerto Ricans as second class," affirming Congress' colonialist agenda and denying Puerto Ricans both the right to self-determination and the option to assimilate on equal grounds.
 
Americanization
 
Before Puerto Rico's destiny to be a colonial possession indefinitely had been sealed, the United States instituted a=2 0policy of Americanization, centered on linguistically assimilating the islanders by establishing English as the language of public school instruction. Malavet has described this Anglo-centric agenda as "the most obvious effort to re/construct Puerto Rican identity," which was made possible by the early view of Puerto Ricans as "overwhelmingly poor, uneducated people who could nonetheless be 'saved' by Americanization." As Amílcar Antonio Barreto, Associate Director of Northeastern University's Humanities Center, points out, clearly "an implicit assumption underlying Americanization was the presumed superiority of Anglo-American socio-cultural norms and the concurrent inferiority of Puerto Ricans."
 
Americanization, although focused primarily on English language instruction to facilitate assimilation, included persecution of the independence movement. Significantly, Puerto Ricans, who had developed a national identity under Spanish rule, rejected the efforts at forced cultural substitution. According to Barreto, the Americanization project "endow[ed] the Spanish language with a political meaning and a social significance it would not have held otherwise," laying the foundation for a cultural nationalism centered on the Spanish language and heritage.
 
Economic Dependence
 
Not only was the U.S.-imposed government unresponsive to cultural demands of the population, it allowed American corporations to control the island's economy and exploit its resources, effectively plunging it into long-term dependency.
 
One of the most fateful decisions the government made was to promote sugarcane as a single crop. The dominance of sugarcane production undermined the coffee and tobacco economies in the mountain areas, allowed sugar corporations to monopolize the land and subjected workers to the cane growing cycle, forcing them into debt in the dead season and exacerbating the problems of poverty and inequality already present on the island. Furthermore, "the island became a captive market for North American interests."
 
The economic policy of the early 20th century was a disaster for Puerto Rico. Its accomplishments were limited to widening the gap in Puerto Rican society, intensifying poverty on the island and creating the conditions of dependency on the United States from which it has yet to escape.
 
The Independence Movement
 
The American indifference to Puerto Rican cultural objectives, political demands and economic needs led to an initially determined drive for independence. One of the most prominent figures of the independence movement was Pedro Albizu Campos. A lawyer and a nationalist, he gained recognition when he defended the sugar workers' strike of 1934.
 
The 1934 strike was a response to the wage cuts imposed by U.S. sugar corporations. Faced with a reduction of already marginal incomes, the workers organized a nationwide strike that paralyzed the sugar industry. Albizu Campos took advantage of his position as the primary advoca te of the strikers to link the workers' demands to the struggle for independence.
 
Albizu Campos based his argument for independence on the fact that Spain had granted Puerto Rico autonomy in 1898, before the Spanish-American War and before the Treaty of Paris. Therefore, he contended that Spain had no right to hand over Puerto Rico to the United States as war plunder. Unfortunately for Puerto Rico, autonomy does not equate to sovereignty. Sovereignty is not a condition that Puerto Rico has ever experienced. But there has been a significant push for an independent Puerto Rico. Nevertheless, this movement has been consistently and violently repressed.
 
In 1937, a peaceful protest in support of Puerto Rican independence was organized in Ponce. Shortly before the demonstration was to begin, then Governor General Blanton Winship revoked the previously issued permits. Police surrounded the march and, as it began, opened fire on the activists, leaving 21 dead and 200 wounded. The Ponce Massacre is one of the better known examples of the use of violence to silence the independence movement, but by no means was it an isolated event.
 
Assimilationism
 
The United States, despite its disregard for the Puerto Rican people, placed a high premium on the use of the island for military purposes. This was highlighted by the location of both the Caribbean and South Atlantic U.S. Naval Commands in the 37,000 acre naval base Roosevelt Roads, which closed=2 0in 2004.
 
The obvious alternative to independence is statehood, an option which entails a certain degree of assimilation. González-Cruz posits that "the extreme economic dependency and the U.S. military presence provide favorable conditions for Puerto Rico to become a state."
 
As Governor of Puerto Rico in the 1990s, Pedro Roselló of the Partido Nuevo Progresista (PNP) proposed instituting a form of bilingual education, allegedly because of the advantages associated with both bilingualism and speaking English, but more plausibly to boost the island's chances of becoming a state. In 1976, President Gerald Ford declared that it was time for Puerto Rico to become fully assimilated as the 51st state. But there was strong opposition, not only from island independentistas, but from American politicians, some of whom were determined to refuse Puerto Rico admission to the union without instituting English as the official language of the island.
 
In the 1990s, there was lingering xenophobic objection to Puerto Rican statehood as well as echoes of the linguistic intolerance exhibited in the 1970s. The American intransigence on language and assimilation is likely what pushed the Roselló government to try to institute bilingual education on the island.
 
"Because of the uncertainty of the status question, the proannexationist government [...] steered the island toward a neoliberal model in which statehood would not generate additional costs for the United States," writes G onzález-Cruz. They catered to the U.S. Congress as much as possible in order to try to direct the future of the island toward full incorporation into the United States.
However, this assimilationist push for statehood, embodied by the proposed education reforms was flatly rejected by the population. The Partido Independentista Puertorriqueña (PIP), may have never been able to garner more support than what it needs to barely survive, but assimilation is also perceived by many modern islanders as contrary to the needs, desires and interests of the Puerto Rican people.
 
Puertorriqueñismo
 
Puerto Ricans favor neither independence nor assimilation in crushing numbers. They are reluctant to forego the benefits of U.S. citizenship and unwilling to give up their identity as Puerto Ricans. Malavet argues that "cultural assimilation has been and positively will be impossible for the United States to achieve." This is because Puerto Ricans perceive themselves as "Puerto Ricans first, Americans second." Yet, in spite of this apparently strong nationalist sentiment, Puerto Ricans reject legal and political independence. In the words of Antonio Amílcar Barreto, "Puerto Ricans are cultural nationalists [but] the island's economic dependency on the United States [...] outweighs other considerations when it comes to voting."
 
"Culturally speaking, Puerto Rico now meets most of the objective and subjective characteristics of conventional views of the nation, amo ng them a shared language, territory, and history," writes Jorge Duany. "Most important, the vast majority of Puerto Ricans imagine themselves as distinct from Americans as well as from other Latin American and Caribbean peoples."
 
This cultural nationhood emerged in the 17th and 18th centuries. As more Spaniards were born in Puerto Rico, they developed a distinct criollo cultural identity, inextricably linked to the island. Towards the end of the 19th century, the criollos began to push for greater independence from the distant fatherland. In March 1898, the first autonomous government was established under Spanish rule. Despite its imperfections, the autonomous charter indicated the growing nationalist sentiment on the island. Unfortunately, the United States invaded the island before it was ever granted independence.
 
Nevertheless, this criollo culture was sufficiently strong and entrenched to withstand the onslaught of the Americanization effort. One side effect of the attempted imposition of American culture and values was the development of a puertorriqueñismo largely defined in terms of anti-Americanism. Rather than simply creating a unique Puerto Rican identity, early nationalists defined Puerto Ricanness strictly in contrast to Americanness. Thus, "Puerto Rican nationalism throughout the 20th century has been characterized by Hispanophilia, anti-Americanism, Negrophobia, androcentrism, homophobia, and, more recently, xenophobia," writes Duany. To a large extent, this accounts for the rejection of English (or even bilingualism) in favor of Spanish, which is perceived as an important part of contemporary Puerto Rican identity. Even Puerto Ricans living in the United States are often not considered real Puerto Ricans by island nationalists.
 
Nationhood
 
Duany describes a nation as "a 'spiritual principle' based on shared memories and the cult of a glorious past, as well as the ability to forget certain shameful events." It is not inextricably linked to statehood. As legal scholar and political leader of the Puerto Rican independence movement Manuel Rodríguez Orellana explains, "Even before the phenomenon of the political unification of nations into states, the French were French and the English were English. Michelangelo was no less Italian than Mussolini." It is this separation between the concepts of nation and state that allows Puerto Ricans to assert their Puerto Rican nationalism without demanding independence, instead defending their U.S. citizenship.
 
Although Rodríguez Orellana describes puertorriqueñismo as a "political act on the colonial stage," it has generally lost its political undercurrents. As Rodríguez Orellana himself says, "the daily life of Puerto Ricans runs, consciously or unconsciously, along the track of their national identity." Puerto Ricans are always Puerto Ricans. This is not a political act, but a cultural fact. Although independentista intellectuals like the relatively early and highly influential scholar Manuel Maldonado-Denis worry that "the colonization of=2 0Puerto Rico under the American flag has meant the gradual erosion of [Puerto Rican] culture" and argue that "Puerto Rico is a country that is threatened at its very roots by the American presence," the evidence is to the contrary. In fact, migration "has produced an affirmation of puertorriqueñismo as a nationality in the continental United States that is stronger and may be more important than the development of it on the island." Puerto Ricans clearly continue to exhibit a strong sense of cultural identity and nationalism in spite of their failure to connect it to independence.
 
A Century of Colonialism
 
In the words of Maldonado-Denis, "Puerto Ricans are a colonial people with a colonial outlook," meaning that neither the Puerto Ricans on the island nor Puerto Ricans in the United States have yet achieved "a true 'decolonization,' either in the political or in the psychological sense of the word." In spite of Puerto Rican complacency and in spite of the fact that the United States has managed to design "a process of governance that hides Puerto Rico in plain view," the colonial relationship that persists between the two polities cannot last forever. 111 years after the acquisition of the island, the time to decide the future of Puerto Rico is overdue.
 
The Future of Puerto Rico
 
Malavet identifies the three legitimate postcolonial alternatives for Puerto Rico as independence, non-assimilati onist statehood and "a constitutional bilateral form of free association," arguing that "it is unconstitutional for the United States to remain a colonial power [...] for a period of over one hundred years." The territorial status is only valid as a temporary, transitional status. It must lead to either independence or incorporation.
 
Given the unacceptability of Puerto Rico's current colonial legal and political status, the question becomes: what is the best viable option for Puerto Rico?
 
Independence
 
García-Passalacqua writes that, "with the reemergence of all sorts of nationalisms, [sovereignty] has become the logical aspiration of any and all peoples in the new world order." There is no reason why this wouldn't be true for Puerto Ricans. The $26 billion drained from the island by U.S. corporations each year is sufficient justification to push for separation from the United States. The unequal treatment of island residents, embodied by the phrase "second class citizenship," provides further grounds for dissociation from the imperial power. Additionally, Puerto Ricans self-identify as a nation.
 
There appears to be no reason for Puerto Rico to continue as anything other than an independent nation-state. In this vein, then Governor of Puerto Rico, Anibal Acevedo Vila, spoke before the UN General Assembly last year, accusing the Bush administration of denying the island its right to chart its own course and demonstrat ing a sense of frustration with the aimless direction in which the United States has dragged Puerto Rico. This seems to imply preference for autonomy, if not sovereignty. But while Puerto Ricans certainly insist upon their autonomy, there is no such consensus on independence - that option has never garnered more than five percent of the vote in any of the status plebiscites.
 
Statehood
 
Puerto Ricans are not ready to give up their ability to hop across the blue pond on a whim. Despite the fact that the United States continuously exploits the island - its resources and its people - , most Puerto Ricans perceive the benefits of their relationship to the United States as outweighing the costs.
 
Puerto Rico is "consistently losing its ability to achieve self-sustaining development, and the current economic course" makes it less likely that there will ever be "any significant degree of political and economic sovereignty." Furthermore, the presence of U.S. military bases on the island reduces the likelihood that the Pentagon would easily let go of the valuable strategic outpost. The greatest opposition to Puerto Rican statehood would come from xenophobic American politicians arguing that Puerto Ricans are inassimilable.
 
This combination of factors could tilt the balance in favor of statehood over independence. Because Puerto Ricans perceive their economic interests as being tied to their connection to the mainland, they are likely to opt for a20status that allows them to maintain the current relationship virtually unaltered. While the majority of island intellectuals may advocate independence, it is important to note that the majority of islanders are not intellectuals.
 
A New Proposal
 
Last month, Pedro Pierluisi presented a new bill in the Committee of Natural Resources in the U.S. House of Representatives, seeking authorization from Congress to allow Puerto Rico to conduct a series of plebiscites to determine the preferred future status of the island. However, the bill does not commit Congress to act on the results of the plebiscites and, although it presents Puerto Ricans with and opportunity to choose a reasonable permanent status, it also allows them to perpetuate themselves in an unacceptable state of colonialism indefinitely.
 
Malavet writes that "perhaps the biggest harm perpetrated by the United States against the people of Puerto Rico can be labeled 'the crisis of self confidence.' This form of internalized oppression that afflicts the people of Puerto Rico leads them to conclude that they are incapable of self-government. Under this tragic construct, Puerto Ricans believe that they lack the economic power to succeed as an independent nation - that they lack the intellectual and moral capacity for government." This U.S.-imposed inferiority complex will almost certainly lead Puerto Ricans to vote against independence if given the option. They have consistently expressed no desire whatsoever to be categorized as a sovereign state.
 
Because Puerto Ricans do not connect their cultural nationalism to sovereignty and because of the island's extreme dependency on the United States, the most likely eventual outcome for Puerto Rico will be statehood. Although this is not necessarily the ideal status for the island, it is undeniably preferable to its current second-class existence. What is most important is that the island ceases to be a territorial possession. In the words of Manuel Maldonado-Denis, "colonialism as an institution is dead the world over. Puerto Rico cannot - will not - be the exception to this rule."
 
The Hope of a Nation
 
With any luck, Congress will pass Pierluisi's bill (or a more forceful version that pushes for change) and Puerto Ricans will be given the opportunity to vote on their future. In spite of the strong cultural nationalism that permeates contemporary Puerto Rican society, the economic benefits of statehood are likely to be the most influential factor in a status vote.
 
Statehood entails a certain degree of assimilation. For instance, Puerto Rican athletes will now have to compete for spots on the U.S. Olympic team before heading to the international event. This absorption into the United States certainly erodes the sense of Puerto Rican nationhood as Puerto Rico is no longer able to represent itself as a specific entity on a world stage. However, this should not hugely effect the continuation of a thriving Puerto Rican culture distinct from American culture.
 
Moreover, there are definite advantages to becoming a state, not least the expansion of Medicare and the ability to vote. If the territory joins the Union, it will be nearly impossible for the U.S. to rationalize the perpetuation of the poverty currently found in Puerto Rico.
 
And if the population decides that the economic benefits of statehood do not outweigh the cultural costs, perhaps the shock of losing their Olympic team will spark a widespread Puerto Rican independence movement.
The 10 Dumbest Arguments Against Health-Care Reform
by Paul Waldman
The health care debate has been overwhelmed by grumbling resistance. Too bad the complaints are largely groundless.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Let NRA-Loving Senators Practice What They Preach
By E.J. Dionne —
Isn’t it time to dismantle the metal detectors, send the guards at the doors away, and allow Americans to exercise their Second Amendment rights by being free to carry their firearms into the nation’s Capitol building?
An Incoherent Truth
by Paul Krugman
On health care, the Blue Dogs aren’t making sense. The conservative Democrats can’t extract major concessions on the shape of health care reform without dooming the whole project.
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Friday, July 24, 2009


How will network solve serious problem with its premier host?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Politics of Tenacity**By E.J. Dionne —
Wow, what big and unexpected news! Reforming the health care system is really hard, and Republicans want President Obama to fail. Imagine that.
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Gates and the Post-Racial Project
by Melissa Harris-Lacewell:
When police arrested Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., they managed to handcuff and detain the living embodiment of post-racial possibility.
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Born Identity
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
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Political HumorJoke of the Day

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Obama’s Aces in the Hole**By E.J. Dionne —
It was not the soaring rhetoric that is Barack Obama’s signature, but he recently offered the sound bite that may define his presidency: “Don’t bet against us.”

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Frank McCourt, ‘Angela’s Ashes’ Author, Dies at 78
Frank McCourt, a former New York City schoolteacher who turned his miserable childhood in Limerick, Ireland, into a phenomenally popular, Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir, “Angela’s Ashes,” died in Manhattan on Sunday. He was 78 and lived in Manhattan and Roxbury, Conn.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Raw Roundup - RNC Chair Offers Blacks Fried Chicken

They Got Some ’Splainin’ to Do by Frank Rich
The Sotomayor show reduced the antics of Washington’s clueless ancien-régime to a spectacle as ridiculous as it was obsolescent.

Pharisees on the Potomac by Maureen Dowd
Republicans are still practicing the ancient political art of Tartuffery, of course, just without their former aplomb.

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The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
White Men Can't Judge - Sotomayor: Judgment Days
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
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Political HumorJoke of the Day

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Watch video highlights of Walter Cronkite's career

The days of mass audiences for network newscasts may be over, but there was a time when Walter Cronkite could be described as "the most trusted man in America" without any irony. The CBS icon, who died Friday night at the age of 92, delivered the news to millions of people each night. Watch some video highlights of his most famous moments on the air below.

1963: John F. Kennedy's assassination



Cronkite had interviewed Kennedy two months before the president was killed in Dallas, launching the new, 30-minute "CBS Evening News" broadcast. Announcing his death, he nearly lost his composure and had to pause.

1968: Vietnam War


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Cronkite's pronouncement that the Vietnam War had become "a stalemate" helped convince President Lyndon B. Johnson that public opinion was turning against him. "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost America," Johnson reportedly said after seeing the CBS editorial.

1968: Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination



Under Cronkite's direction, CBS had covered the civil rights movement as it evolved. "Walter was one of the few people in power positions that got behind that and pushed the story," filmmaker Spike Lee told WCBS in New York.

1969: Apollo 11 moon landing



For years, Cronkite had followed NASA's space exploration enthusiastically. As Apollo 11 took off on its mission, he had urged it on: "Go, baby, go!" He stayed on the air for 27 of the lunar landing's 30 hours.

1981: Final broadcast



On March 6, 1981, Cronkite signed off the air for the final time, making way at age 65 for Dan Rather to take over. As always, his final words were, "And that's the way it is."

― Mike Madden
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Friday, July 17, 2009


Pedro Espada Plays Moneyball
The new Senate majority leader heads straight for the bank
By Tom Robbins

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

For the Republicans outraged at “wise Latina” Sonia Sotomayor, being white and male is seen as a neutral condition, the natural order of things. Any “identity”—black, brown, female, gay, whatever—has to be judged against this supposedly “objective” standard.

Monday, July 13, 2009

SOTOMAYOR SPEAKS




The Real Court Radicals
By E.J. Dionne Jr.
This week's hearings on Judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court represent the opening skirmish in a long-term struggle to challenge the escalating activism of an increasingly conservative judiciary.
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Sunday, July 12, 2009


By SCOTT SHANE
The Central Intelligence Agency withheld information about a secret counterterrorism program from Congress for eight years on direct orders from former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

McNamara’s Evil Lives On By Robert Scheer —
It was the stark evil Robert McNamara perpetrated as secretary of defense that must indelibly frame our memory of him. To not speak out fully because of respect for the deceased would be to mock the memory of the millions he caused to be maimed and killed in a war that he later freely admitted never made any sense.

Friday, July 10, 2009




The losers who gave us Sarah Palin

The GOP operatives who championed her should be held accountable for endangering the country
By Joe Conason

Monday, July 06, 2009


Al Franken, who will be sworn in Tuesday as Minnesota’s new senator, is working hardest at proving that he is no longer a comedian. He spoke to reporters with Harry Reid.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

What was Sarah Palin thinking?
No one knows why the governor's resigning, or what she'll do next -- but her base likes the move
by Alex Koppelman

The Republicans need a White House candidate with ideas, steadiness and the ability to unify. That's not Alaska's departing governor.
by Doyle McManus
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By GAIL COLLINS
Truly, Sarah Palin has come a long way. When she ran for vice president, she frequently became disjointed and garbled when she departed from her prepared remarks. Now the prepared remarks are incoherent, too.
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Friday, July 03, 2009

Rush Limbaugh is still a big fat idiot
By Joe Conason
And so are his Fox News pals, who lambasted Sen. Al Franken's "stolen election"
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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Suddenly, a Trillion Dollars Is Too Expensive?
By Joe Conason
The senators who now claim we cannot afford to spend a trillion dollars to make long overdue changes in health care know exactly what that amount can buy. They know because they have spent it, year after year, on military misadventures and subsidies to big banks and corporations.
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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Oscar, Emmy-Winning Actor Karl Malden Dies at 97
Karl Malden, 97, an Academy Award-winning actor who excelled in plainspoken, working-class roles.

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