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 k / o
                                       politics + culture

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Obama/McClurkin: what's next?

I have had John Aravosis's AMERICABlog in my favorites bar for years now. I've followed John's take on the McClurkin story including his breakdown of the Obama press release and his latest blog offering...anti-Obama t-shirts.

I can't object to John arguing against Obama's choice of McClurkin or McClurkin's views. Further, it's John's right to sell whatever T-shirts he'd like. Senator Obama's a public figure...calling him a "bigot"...well, we can call that free speech.

I do think it's a fair question to ask John, however, what's next?

John, you've led this campaign highlighting McClurkin's views and, for a variety of reasons, it has became the story of the blogs for this week and even got the national press talking. Where are you going to take it from here?

Is it enough that a wave of anti-Obama rhetoric has swept the web? Was that what you were after? Or were you looking for something more....say, engagement, policy debate, coalition-building between Blacks and gays? What kind of response and challenges can we look forward to from you regarding the other Democratic presidential candidates? What is AMERICAblog doing to bring Democrats of every skin color who are sympathetic to McClurkin, who perhaps even share his mindset, into engagement and a reasoned exchange of views?

John, I look forward to reading about your outreach efforts in the days and weeks to come!

In the meantime, I am sure I'm not the only AMERICAblog reader here in Oakland who has called my Assemblyperson, Sandre Swanson, co-author of the Leno Amendment in favor of gender-neutral marriage, AB43, my Representative, Barbara Lee, supporter of the Baldwin Amendment restoring workplace protection of Transgendered persons into HR 3685 and my Mayor, Ron Dellums, who was one of 67 votes against DOMA in 1996, to express my support of marriage equality and the full equal workplace protections that all of us progressives endorse.

John, you're encouraging your readers to do just that, right? To reach out? To interact? I mean, you wouldn't be comfortable leaving the impression that you think our elected African-American leaders were bigots, John...or would you?


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Must Read / Must See

This excellent Jon Gertner piece in today's NYT Magazine on water and the Western United States is essential reading. If reading this doesn't give you a moment's pause about how utterly perilous the last seven years of the Bush Administration have been...you just don't get it.

We need a change of course in our environmental policy and we aren't getting one. Water supply is "the other global warming." The oh so confident anti-Gore naysayers don't have an answer to this. But, hey, after Katrina, what's one more major American city?

"Must see" is this local television news piece out of South Dakota. If you want to understand how the politics of S-Chip and Health Care play in a state where the GOP thought they had turned the corner, look no further.

18,000 kids in South Dakota is a lot of kids. People get that.

Unrelated update: this is the first I've read of this trend. This kind of thing has some pretty huge implications; this passsage sums it up:

Dr Byron Reeves, a professor of education at Stanford University, said some firms were taking elements from games to overcome the difficulties of working life in the 21st Century.

"The problems associated with distributed teams, collaboration and information overload right now are so severe, and the opportunities so good, that they are willing to look at anything," he said.

Dr Reeves has founded a company called Seriosity that applies game elements to workplaces.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

James Watson: racism alive and well in the USA

I've spent the last 24 hours reading as the fires ignited by Nobel laureate James Watson have spurred hundreds of racist comments on message boards across the world. The racial views espoused by Watson are not simply pernicious, they are unamerican.

The premise that you could walk out your door in the United States and make the claim, with a straight face and in a public place, that you presume that someone is less intelligent than you because of the color of their skin or ethnic background is abhorrent.

Watson claims that everyone with Black employees “knows that they are not the equals of Whites” and, somehow, that is supposed to be acceptable? We are supposed to take him seriously…as a scientist?

I don’t think so.

Watson is about to lose his job and what was left of his reputation.

The equality of every citizen, respect for each other including our differences and a sense of the potential inherent in each and every citizen, especially our children, is essential to what it means to be American citizen. We all know this. It is the premise of our entire nation.

If we give that up, we might as well erase the Declaration and the Constitution. Our history, while rife with racism and bigotry, is the story of how many have become, however imperfectly, one. That is who we are, the meaning of our national history.

We are much better than this. It sickens me to think that some online would coddle sentiments that we opposed as a nation in WWII, that some would forget so quickly. Racial supremacy is a vile sentiment that has no place in our public life whatever its source; the legacy of racism in our national history is clear.

To those Americans indulging arguments in favor of genetic bigotry in the name of some kind of intellectual flirtation with what can only be called "acceptable Nazism" I’d say this: men and women of color have risked their lives to defend our freedom and build this nation.

This link, telling the story of the Tuskegee Airmen who faced the exact same arguments that Watson makes, is just the tip of the iceberg.

Watson's views wouldn't be acceptable anywhere in public in America. That should mean something. Have we lost touch with something essential about who we are as American citizens?

I don't think so.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

NYT on China

This series is must read journalism.