As Obama Commutes the Sentences of Drug Offenders, Incarceration of Minorities is Examined

President Obama hasn’t been the greatest at handling America’s race issues, or even addressing them for that matter. But he took an admirable step in that direction recently:

President Obama announced on Monday [July 13th]  that he was commuting the sentences of 46 drug offenders, intensifying a campaign to overhaul the nation’s criminal justice system as he more than doubled the number of nonviolent criminals granted clemency during his time in office.”

– NYTimes.com

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Obama Announces New Plan to Combat Housing Discrimination, While Almost a Third of Whites Think It Should Be Legal

TheConfirmationFiles

As Obama Reveals New Rules to Fight Housing Discrimination, Nearly One-Third of Whites Would Legalize It

 It’s been nearly fifty years since the enactment of the Fair Housing Act, but discrimination in housing remains a sobering reality of life in America. Despite the belief among some people that the first Black president has brought about an end to racism, public attitudes and practices show otherwise. A new survey found that many whites still prefer not to sell or rent to Blacks.

As was reported in The Washington Post, the General Social Survey, which has been conducted since 1973, gives whites two options. One choice says a homeowner “can decide for himself whom to sell his house to, even if he prefers not to sell it to blacks,” while the other says a homeowner “cannot refuse to sell to someone because of their race or color.” The second choice is part…

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We told them so: Democrats are searching for their soul… belatedly

The Secular Jurist

By Robert A. Vella

Well over a year ago, The Secular Jurist began to repeatedly warn Democrats they would lose the crucial 2014 election and seriously divide the party going forward if they didn’t coalesce around a core set of principles (see here, here, and here).  In A Blueprint for the Left, we proposed the following political platform:

  • Economic fairness through the concern for workers and for human prosperity.
  • Social justice as a principled commitment to civil rights and equal application of the law.
  • Public education as the instrument of knowledge and for developing productive citizens.
  • Secular government to ensure both freedom of, and freedom from religion.
  • Political equality via open democracy and restricting the corrupting influence of money.
  • Self-determination through the preclusion of transnational and supranational authorities.

Now, after the November debacle, some Democrats are warming-up to our idea… belatedly.  From Richard Eskow of Campaign…

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Pres. Obama Takes Big Step To Tackle Global Warming

Photo from thedrinkingbird.files.wordpress.com

Photo from thedrinkingbird.files.wordpress.com

 

From MoveOn.org,

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Thoughts on India’s New Leader

Photo from globalhopeindia.org

Photo from globalhopeindia.org

 

I’ve been reading the latest news on the election being held in India. As of now, Narendra Modi, the Hindu nationalist leader running for prime minister, is sure to win. This presents some interesting issues for India.

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Confusing New Change of Rules for Obamacare

Photo courtesy of vanhookc via Flickr

Photo courtesy of Vanhookc via Flickr

 

From the “New York Times:”

Of the 13 states that have so far said they will allow consumers to renew canceled plans, all but four are led by Republican governors and have generally been opposed to the new health care law.

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Obamacare vs. The Affordable Care Act (Yeah, They’re The Same Thing)

Photo By Center for American Progress Action Fund from Washington, DC (Barack Obama at Las Vegas Presidential Forum) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo courtesy of Center for American Progress Action Fund (via Wikimedia Commons)

 

Rachel Maddow talked about some bewildering results of a recent survey on people’s feelings about Obamacare on her news show. CNBC has reported about it as well:

29% of the public supports Obamacare compared with 22% who support the Affordable Care Act.

46% oppose Obamacare and 37% oppose Affordable Care Act.

So what’s going on? Well, it’s all in the name, of course!

The strange results are due to two things. The first is that the respondents didn’t know that Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act are the same thing (Obamacare is simply a derisive nickname given to the Affordable Care Act by those who don’t support it, whereas the Affordable Care Act is its official name). The second is that the respondents were swayed by the name used in the survey. When the term “Obamacare” was used, the results were different than when the term “Affordable Care Act” was used.

This has some troubling implications that the White House is going to have to address if they want to win the hearts and minds of those who say they don’t support his new health care plan. First, the two terms need to be clarified for people who still don’t get it. Second, the poll results show that in order for a majority of people to support it, it better be REALLY good. When it is implemented (which is still not a definite yet), it will have to work extremely well in order to overcome many people’s automatic dislike in anything Pres. Obama does.

Whether or not Pres. Obama’s health care plan is the miracle he says it will be is still unclear. Personally, after reading a lot about it, I don’t think it will be perfect. But I do think it will be a lot better than what we have now, which is a system in which way too many people are uninsured. All we can do is wait and see.

On a lighter note, Rachel Maddow shared some images put up on Twitter and Tumblr that perfectly highlight the confusion over the name of the plan. How would people feel about the plan if it was called this:

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Image courtesy of adorablecareact.tumblr.com

 

Image courtesy of adorablecareact.tumblr.com

 

Image courtesy of adorablecareact.tumblr.com

Image courtesy of adorablecareact.tumblr.com

 

Conversation Between a Black Man & a White Man About Racial Profiling

This exchange took place on CNN between CNN anchor Don Lemon, who is black, and conservative commentator Ben Ferguson, who is white.

The Raw Story (online news) titled their article about the video, “CNN’s Don Lemon schools white conservative: ‘Your privilege does not allow you to see… certain circumstances in society.’

I applaud The Raw Story for posting this frank, and at times heated, exchange. This is an issue than many feel uncomfortable talking about, but it is absolutely worth talking about. I hope you watch it.

Tell Obama to Confront Rape in the Military

Photo courtesy of thepetitionsite.com

Photo courtesy of thepetitionsite.com

 

From Care2 (petition site):

“According to the Pentagon, there were 26,000 sexual assaults in the military last year, a 27% increase from the year before. However, the problem is most likely much worse. Even individuals that are supposed to work to stop this problem have been charged with sexual assault. Not only is the rate of assaults rising, it is getting harder for victims to access, or even qualify for, the disability benefits necessary to recover from the trauma of an assault. This is cruel and inexcusable. Despite this clear problem and the lack of resources to fix it, Congress is dragging its feet on a solution.
The members of our military cannot wait any longer — it’s time for Obama to take executive action and help solve this problem. Tell Obama to act now and confront rape in the military!”
Rape in the military needs to be taken more seriously. Sign this petition at Care2 if you agree.