Muhammad Ali brought this wonderful term into our national lexicon thirty-eight years ago when he fought George Foreman. I hadn't been born yet (my parents hadn't even met, hell), but the Rumble in the Jungle was enough of a famous sporting moment that even I, at 27, have long known what it's referring to. Ah yes, that — that moment in a head-to-head matchup where one deliberately plays passive defense in order to both frustrate and confuse the opposition, hoping to expose their potential weaknesses. At least, that's the metaphor. Keep your pants on, progressives, because this is why President Barack Obama won last night's debate:
Dear friends: Heard a really disturbing thing shortly ago that's really got my gander up. A friend who's active duty in the army reserves told me that having that experience on his resume has made it harder to find a job in civilian life. He described (what I'll describe as) that kind of discrimination as "epidemic" in his unit. Now, my values and faith demand that I be a pacifist and devoted progressive, and I have consistently been against both wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, I strongly support our troops, both active-duty and veterans, and was frankly shocked to hear this. It's gotten me kind of fired up and ready to go to do what I can to support those — past and present — who have made such incredible sacrifices for me.
I haven't written here for some time — a flaw I intend to remedy, as I highly value both this site and this wonderful community — but wanted to share some information with you all, and with anyone who resides in Illinois's 16th Congressional District. IL-16 encompasses the eastern half of Rockford, the third-largest city in Illinois and largest outside of the Chicago area, and extends south and east including towns such as Streator, Ottawa, Belvidere, LaSalle, and others, stretching all the way to the Indiana border. The newly-redrawn 16th split Rockford's Congressional representation into two districts; represented for the last twenty years by Rep. Donald Manzullo (R-Egan), the 16th will be represented by Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Kankakee), who defeated Rep. Manzullo in the recent Illinois primary election.
Unless we stop him.
Writing this not as a guide, but hoping to start a conversation with sisters and brothers here as well as learn better how to navigate maintaining a cordial relationship with corporate media organizations and maintaining access while making clear that our interests are not necessarily in their owners' interests. By "Our" interests, I can speak only for Occupy Rockford (Ill.), but in the spirit of the Occupy Wall Street movement and of, what, in my time lurking while pretending to take notes in class, and since, I feel to be the spirit of many involved in one way or other in this forum. I also know well there are many among us Orange Satans who can probably answer my questions and share their expertise, experience, and knowledge.
Gay people are evil. Not bad or misguided, but evil. What they do, male or female, is not only disgusting but a one-way ticket to burn in hell for eternity. Gay "rights" is a meaningless phrase, because they shouldn't have rights. They brought us AIDS and are rightfully dying from their own iniquity.
The above is what I was taught from youth into adolescence. The truth, of course, is rather different.
Not one more. In the United States of America, we do not kill women or men who might be innocent. Or women or men who are guilty; we give them justice, but justice doesn't include killing individuals. Yes, we actually do, but it's going to stop. There is not a single rational reason to murder individuals either convicted or accused of a crime, even one as horrific as homicide. "An eye for an eye" comes from a fictional book and describes 16th-c. justice.
Georgia will murder Troy Davis within hours, unless the Supreme Court stops his execution. For now -- at the moment -- they've put a hold on GA's Justice Department in order to consider whether or not GA has the right to kill him. Again, it's not about whether Troy is innocent or not -- if he's guilty, then he should face justice; if not, then he should go free or at least have a new trial.
Troy Davis will, in all likelihood, be put to death by the state of Georgia tomorrow. His request for clemency was denied by the Georgia State Board of Pardons a few hours ago, which was pretty much his last chance at avoiding being executed. Putting the ethical position of deeming it acceptable to kill criminals (a position which I personally strongly oppose) aside, Troy Davis's case is critical to our national dialogue on issues of race and criminal justice, and aside from the Reverend Al Sharpton's continuing coverage of this case, largely absent from the national media.
Fair warning: this diary was inspired by markos's twitter war last evening, of which I was a willing participant and discovered to my chagrin that many individuals don't distinguish ≠ from =. Anyway.
We have to do everything we can to re-elect Barack Obama in 2012. Yes, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth too, but here it goes again: We have to do everything we can to re-elect Barack Obama in 2012. It's an imperative and not an option to punt down the field. Barack Obama must be the President of the United States from January 20, 2013 to January 20, 2017.
I'm struggling with this list published by the New York Observer. Basically, I can't decide if it's an honest celebration of fifty truly remarkable single women, or blatant exploitation of women living in New York and living and looking like a Manhattanite. Not to rail against Manhattan... okay, maybe to rail against Manhattan. As a man, I might not have the best perspective on this, and certainly welcome any of the indoor plumbing folk to correct me. For starters, it's not the list I'd compile, were I that concerned about publicists in New York. I'm not, though I did at least recognize about half of the names on the roster. I would add women like Digby, who is just fucking awesome period, Amanda Marcotte, Amy Goodman, Temple Grandin (okay not technically "in media" but a writer and amazing woman), Rachel Maddow, Tina Fey, Barbara Ehrenreich, Jessa Crispin, Amy Poehler, Kristen Schaal, and many more -- all extremely talented and far more influential and important than many of the young folk on that list. Basically they're all fucking awesome and women who have informed me, inspired me, and made me laugh.
I've spent my morning and early afternoon reading all sorts of cheerful things about the rise of the right in Europe, as if the rise of the right here weren't cheerful enough. Specifically, I've read Ian Buruma's article in the forthcoming issue of The Nation three times now, and find it very disturbing. I've also relistened to the July 27th broadcast of Democracy Now! which featured two fantastic interviews that will make you think hard about the populist right in Europe and make you want whiskey. The first was the always fantastic Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family, C Street, and the new Sweet Heaven When I Die. Sharlet actually read the entirety of Anders Behring Breivik's manifesto -- Breivik, of course, is the extreme right-wing Christian terrorist arrested for the deaths of 77 Norwegians. The second interview was with Eva Gabrielsson, longtime partner of the late Stieg Larsson, known best for his bestselling Millennium Trilogy (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest), but who devoted his tragically short life to combating right-wing extremism in Scandinavia through his relentless journalism in the Trotskyist Fjärde internationalen, Britain's Searchlight, and the journal he founded (on which Millennium was based) Expo.
I've always had a good deal of respect for my fellow corn-loving flatlanders to the immediate west, but Iowa Republicans are really insane enough to pick Michelle Bachmann as their preliminary favorite for the Iowa Caucuses? As Barney Frank said, I hope I've led a good enough life to receive that as a reward, but still, I find it highly disturbing that someone with such regressive and reactionary views can attain such traction in contemporary American conservative politics. Yes, I'll be the first to joke about Bachmann's lunacy and fringe beliefs, but the right-wing retrenchment and anti-Enlightenment hysteria currently en vogue is a troubling thing to witness, and ultimately, will not bode well for our democracy, what's left of it. I've touched on most of these subjects in various ways, but in 2011 when one of the two major political parties views a right-of-center president as a dangerous communist intent on destroying their mythologized view of America, when what's become the mainstream of that party fervently believes that women should have no control over their bodies, that LGBT people should remain second-class citizens because we have the temerity to not fit into their misread ancient history of what love and marriage mean, when that party's mainstream denies science, and relapses into a grotesquely and ill-understood postmodernist denial of the possibility of objective fact and the concurrent sincere belief that facts are essentially irrelevant, well -- this is a problem. Bachmann epitomizes all the worst of the Know-Nothingism prevalent on the right today, and the fact that Obama has so flubbed his presidency actually (and I can't believe I'm saying this sincerely) has opened up a space for her or Rick Perry -- who's equally extreme in his views and a better and more opportunistic politician -- to become the leader of the free world. I really can't believe I'm saying this, but they both make George W. Bush look moderate.
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