Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Conversation with Kay Coles James

Kay Coles James, President and Founder of the Gloucester Institute, is interviewed by Gordon president, Michael Lindsay - Gordon College Convocation.


‘Understanding Black Youth': Its Cultural Vibrancy And Its Challenges

Listen to Orlando Patterson on WBUR’s Here & Now (and at their website, read an excerpt from The Cultural Matrix):

The Cultural Matrix seeks to unravel a uniquely American paradox: the socioeconomic crisis, segregation, and social isolation of disadvantaged black youth, on the one hand, and their extraordinary integration and prominence in popular culture on the other. Despite school dropout rates over 40 percent, a third spending time in prison, chronic unemployment, and endemic violence, black youth are among the most vibrant creators of popular culture in the world. They also espouse several deeply-held American values. To understand this conundrum, the authors bring culture back to the forefront of explanation, while avoiding the theoretical errors of earlier culture-of-poverty approaches and the causal timidity and special pleading of more recent ones. 

There is no single black youth culture, but a complex matrix of cultures—adapted mainstream, African-American vernacular, street culture, and hip-hop—that support and undermine, enrich and impoverish young lives. Hip-hop, for example, has had an enormous influence, not always to the advantage of its creators. However, its muscular message of primal honor and sensual indulgence is not motivated by a desire for separatism but by an insistence on sharing in the mainstream culture of consumption, power, and wealth. This interdisciplinary work draws on all the social sciences, as well as social philosophy and ethnomusicology, in a concerted effort to explain how culture, interacting with structural and environmental forces, influences the performance and control of violence, aesthetic productions, educational and work outcomes, familial, gender, and sexual relations, and the complex moral life of black youth.

Race and Liberty in America The Essential Reader

Since its emergence, the United States’ two-party political system has been criticized for polarizing public opinion. Instead of objective deliberation of such major issues as race relations, partisanship has too often undermined the process and distorted the outcome. One group of thinkers, however, has refused to be defined by either conservative or liberal classifications—classical liberals have shaped the history of the nation by fighting for abolitionism and the allied struggles against Chinese exclusion, abuse of native Americans, Japanese internment, and Jim Crow and other racial distinctions in the law. Nonetheless, the nation’s preoccupation with left-versus-right politics has overshadowed how classical liberals have been decisive in shaping the history of race and liberty in America.

Race and Liberty in America explains the major themes of the anti-racist, classical liberal tradition of individual liberty and equality, demonstrating how it has inspired individuals to improve race relations in the United States. Rooted in the Judeo-Christian natural-law tradition, classical liberals have advocated freedom from governmental interference, abolition of prejudicial law, equality under a uniform rule of law guaranteed by the Constitution, and market-based entrepreneurial opportunity.

The book offers numerous documents, from the Declaration of Independence to the 2006 Open Letter on Immigration and beyond, as well as government statutes, sermons, party platforms, and speeches that demonstrate how classical liberalism was at the forefront of the fight to change America’s racial inequality. Each chapter investigates a specific time period in American history, ranging from the Revolution to the present, and addresses major events and concerns. The commentary assembled here covers the antislavery movement, post-Civil War reconstruction, Progressive Era, Republican era of the 1920s, the Great Depression and World War II, and the civil rights era. Citing such influential Americans as Thomas Jefferson, Louis Marshall, Frederick Douglass, and Booker T. Washington, plus those missing from other books and heretofore lost to history, Bean demonstrates the major impact of classical liberal thought on race relations and investigates how it has helped shape both law and public opinion.

Monday, March 23, 2015

African symposium examines how states mismanage common goods

In nations without strong property rights or a consistent rule of law, there tends to be little or low-quality provision and management of public and common goods. Governments don’t have the incentives, resources, or institutional structure to manage them effectively, and private efforts are informal, inconsistent, and often outright barred by law. Atlas Network partner Audace Institut Afrique (AIA), based in the Ivory Coast, organized a February symposium to explore the problems with common goods in Africaand how they affect prospects for development throughout the continent. Produced in collaboration with ARIS-intelligence, the event included contributions from professors with backgrounds in economics, philosophy, history, and law.
One participant, philosopher and professor Yahot Christophe of the University of Bouaké, outlined how African governments often ignore the terms of their fundamental governing documents and don’t maintain a separation of powers, so that “the three branches of government maintain an incestuous relationship.” The lack of an ability to plan and manage resources effectively leads to widespread contempt for the law. “For want of a functioning system of checks and balances, state behavior is not controlled,” he notes. “Civil society is underdeveloped if not inexistent, and always very politicized.”

Akil Alleyne ― Stephen A. Smith is Right: Blacks' Monolithic Loyalty to Democrats is a Shame

The black Libertarian writer argues that it's self-defeating for African-Americans to guarantee the Democrats their support--but ultimately Republicans deserve the blame for it.

A Black Libertarians beef with the (SJW) transgender community...

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Prof. Susan L. Brown ― Privatization and Globalization

Prof. Susan L. Brown addresses the topic of women and minorities through a historical and anthropological overview of human history. She traces the evolution of human society and sociability from the beginning of the species, through hunter-gatherers, early agriculture, the emergence of the state, to the present day. Through this history, she shows how human society evolved from egalitarian to more unequal societies, and how markets and globalization help the plight of disadvantaged groups

Adamu Shauku ― Franklin Graham and Ferguson

A.K. Shauku was named a Humane Studies Fellow for the academic year 2011-12. This libertarian award was granted by the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS). The IHS provides support to students and scholars with research interests in individual liberty. A.K. Shauku is a law student at the University of Alabama School of Law and a PhD student in Political Science at the University of Alabama Graduate School.

Franklin Graham recently posted the following statement on his Facebook page:
“Listen up—Blacks, Whites, Latinos, and everybody else. Most police shootings can be avoided. It comes down to respect for authority and obedience. If a police officer tells you to stop, you stop. If a police officer tells you to put your hands in the air, you put your hands in the air. If a police officer tells you to lay down face first with your hands behind your back, you lay down face first with your hands behind your back. It’s as simple as that. Even if you think the police officer is wrong—YOU OBEY. Parents, teach your children to respect and obey those in authority. Mr. President, this is a message our nation needs to hear, and they need to hear it from you. Some of the unnecessary shootings we have seen recently might have been avoided. The Bible says to submit to your leaders and those in authority ‘because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account.’”
Certainly there is a degree of wisdom in these words. That many police shootings would be avoided if the individual who finds himself confronted by a law enforcement official complies with all instructions, makes no threatening movements, and is generally polite seems an unassailable proposition. But one wonders to whom this statement is directed.
It does not appear to be directed to those who recently suffered the devastating loss of a loved one at the hands of a police officer. It lacks the empathy and compassion that surely Mr. Graham would evince if he were speaking face-to-face with such a person. Surely Mr. Graham would not respond to the grieving mother ushered into his office with such sound advice about how her remaining children are to avoid such instances in the future. Surely he would not console her with the conclusory “It’s as simple as that.” Looking into her eyes, he would know better. 

The GOP Turnout Myth

To win the next presidential race, the GOP will have to understand what went wrong in 2012. To do that, they've got to come to grips with what did, and did not, happen with turnout.

Even as Republicans have engaged in some agonizing over their candidate and agenda, many have sought comfort in the notion that a big part of the loss came down to simple mechanics. President Obama had a stunning Election Day operation, which turned out his base. Mitt Romney's shop, by contrast, failed to get people to the polls. That explanation is soothing because it suggests that, in the future, all the GOP needs is a slicker piece of get-out-the-vote software.

It's also broadly wrong.

Read more:

J. Hunter ― Colin Powell and the “Dark Vein” of Intolerance

Colin Powell irked Republicans on Sunday with comments he made during his appearance on “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos. Asked about his years’ old professions about racism in the GOP, Powell said that he still sees a “dark vein” of intolerance in some parts of the Republican Party. This assertion comes on the same weekend of the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Selma that led to the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Each of these points represent perfectly aligned stars forming the constellation “Teachable Moment” for every Republican to see. Getting Republicans to look skyward, though, can be a difficult task.
The “dark vein” Powell sees happens not to be a vein at all—it is, in fact, the Optic Nerve. Republicans hasten to rebut Powell’s assertion in our usual fashion, by noting that the first black elected to the Senate since Reconstruction is Republican Tim Scott; that blacks fared far better under George W. Bush than they are currently, under President Barack Obama. Ironically, these statements about the GOP’s race problem come from the first black Secretary of State who served under Mr. Bush and was succeeded by the second black to hold that position—Condoleeza Rice. Substantive Republican apologetics can continue (ad nauseum), but they fail at attacking the problem at its root—Republicans fail miserably at optics.
Read more here:

March 20, 1854 birth of the GOP and the beginning of the end for slavery.

The Republican Party was founded this week by anti-slavery activists in 1854.

Alvan Bovay had been waiting, and now his time had finally arrived. Long a passionate advocate for halting the expansion of slavery, Bovay had been making plans for a new party as early as 1852. During the Whig Convention of 1852, at a dinner meeting in New York with Horace Greeley, editor at the New York Tribune, Bovay made his case. Greeley, and his newspaper, had long been supporters of the Whig party, and held much influence. While the two men discussed the likely nomination of General Winfield Scott as the Whig candidate for president (over the incumbent Millard Fillmore), telegrams were arriving every five minutes with data confirming their foresight. The real debate then turned to the upcoming Presidential election. Greeley thought Scott could win, Bovay was sure he couldn’t. And Bovay proved to be right—Democrat Franklin Pierce’s eventual victory over General Scott during the 1852 Presidential election devastated the Whig party and, to Bovay, signaled the end of the Whig Party’s ability to challenge the Democrats.

With the Whigs no longer able to assert enough political influence to challenge the Southern-controlled Democratic Party, Bovay realized the immediate need for a new party—one not interested in compromising, but fully opposing the expansion of slavery. While the Whig Party was weakening in 1850, new compromises were being enacted, allowing new territories the popular sovereignty to decide whether to be slave or free-states. Part of the Compromise of 1850, the Fugitive Slave Act deemed all runaway slaves captured in the North legally must be returned to their southern owners.

To Bovay, and many other northerners, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was a further example of southern slave policies expanding into the North—and with the weakening of the Whig party, who was to stop further expansion?

Why Is Support for Government Redistribution Declining Among African-Americans and the Elderly?

Since income inequality has grown significantly over the past few decades, you might expect support for government redistribution to grow as well. As Americans see the rich get richer and the middle class shrink, the theory goes, they would support higher taxes on the rich and a larger safety net. But that hasn’t happened. In fact, Americans have become slightly less supportive of government policies that reduce income inequality over the past 30 years, and support for redistribution has declined most for two groups of Americans that disproportionately benefit from redistributive policies: the elderly and African-Americans.

Read more 

Will Heart Surgery Always be Expensive? - Professor Martin Elliot

In an age of austerity, surgeons are looking for ways to cut costs in vital surgeries, Martin Elliott looks to the future of his profession and explains what innovations are on the horizon, and what factors must be over come to reduce the cost of heart and lung surgery. 

Martin Elliott is Gresham Professor of Physic. Information on his ongoing series of free public lectures is available here:

More information on Professor Elliott can be found here:

Tara Setmayer vs. the Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore

Tara Setmayer is a Republican Strategist, CNN Commentator and former Communications Director on Capitol Hill. She talks to Erin Donley about her Feb. 23rd appearance on the Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. The purpose of this interview is to PUT POLITICS ASIDE and allow women to get a "behind the scenes" view of what it's like to be a strong, opinionated, intelligent, female public voice. 

Here's an article with links to Tara's Nightly Show appearance:

Mass Governor Baker’s eyes and ears in Washington

(The Boston Globe)
Since 2001, she has worked for the Republican National Committee, the White House during the first term of President George W. Bush, and the Department of Education. She also worked on the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign and as a senior adviser for Marco Rubio’s bid for Senate in 2010.
Luis Fortuno, former governor of Puerto Rico, said in an interview that the Baker administration and citizens of Massachusetts will be well served by having Ahern on the job. Fortuno hired Ahern as his director of government affairs when he was elected Puerto Rico’s 10th governor. He got to admire Ahern’s work ethic while serving as Puerto Rico’s congressman between 2005 and 2008.
“I knew I wanted her on my team,” he said. “She was thorough in everything she did. She was hard working and very results oriented.”

Dr. Anthony Bradley ― Mass Incarceration: The New Eugenics?

The  United States currently has over 2.3 million prisoners incarcerated in federal, state, and local jails around the country. According to an April report by the Sentencing Project, that number presents a 500 percent increase in incarcerations over the past 40 years.

 This increase produces "prison overcrowding and fiscal burdens on states to accommodate a rapidly expanding penal system" despite the evidence that incarceration is not working. How did this happen? The culprit is usually identified as the failed policies associated with the War on Drugs. Because blacks are disproportionately swept up in the campaign against drugs, some scholars refer to the results of mass incarceration as the new "The New Jim Crow." While the original intentions may have been well-meaning the long-term consequences may be worse: The War on Drugs may actually be class-based eugenics by another name.


This chart should terrify Republicans

The next two majority-minority states, Maryland and Nevada, should arrive in the next five years. After that, there should be four more in the 2020s: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and New Jersey.

(The Washington Post

I've written many times -- including in the best-selling(ish) "Gospel According to The Fix" -- that Republicans are staring a demographic disaster straight in the eye. That disaster is the party's increasing inability to win over Latino voters at the same time that Hispanics are comprising an ever-larger portion of the overall population and electorate.

A terrific new study called "States of Change" conducted by the Center for American Progress, the American Enterprise Institute and Brookings, of which I will have LOTS more to say in this space later (and that Dan Balz has written eloquently on already), contains a chart of the tipping point at which states will become majority-minority. The results are striking -- and should be terrifying for Republicans. 

Here's the chart:

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Rene & Angela - My First Love


Dr. C.H.E. Sadaphal — Why Politics Fails

Why politics fails is simple: it sacrifices people for ideology. Unfortunately, people are the cogs in the diabolical machinery behind politics.

From this core ethos stems three specific reasons that politics fails, which I will get to later.
I recently watched the February 23, 2015, episode of The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. (I highly recommend viewing the discussion panel in the last half of the show.) On that episode, Mr. Wilmore hosted a group of four people, including the Republican strategist and CNN political commentator, Tara Setmayer, who happens to be a black woman. Mr. Wilmore said to Ms. Setmayer, “You can handpick the next president. Okay. Here are the choices … either a racist Republican who you know will be tough on terror … or a Democrat who’s a black woman who is your best friend and your first friend in the world … [who you know] is really soft on terror.” Then he asked her, “Who do you choose?” Her earnest response was the racist Republican.
Ms. Setmayer’s logic actually follows a consistent path: she has chosen to follow an ideology that targets, demonizes, and seeks to exterminate a select group of people—terrorists. So, it makes perfect sense that in the pursuit of an anti-person ideology, she has deemed it acceptable to trample upon another select group of people. Yet in this erroneous logic, protecting Americans equates to discriminating against Americans.
She, as a woman of color, admittedly would follow an agenda that purposely labels certain races as inferior, and therefore unworthy of equal justice, treatment, and fairness. And she makes this assertion being a member of that exact racial class that would face discrimination. This means Ms. Setmayer, and everyone who thinks like her, believes that people are dispensable but ideology isn’t, which is a corrupt perversion of natural law. The pursuit of ideology at the expense of people is a formula used by the most malignant, corrupt, vile, and malicious regimes this world has ever seen, and the single-minded, blind obedience to dogma is what allowed systems such as Nazism to flourish. Once you begin to dismiss people to achieve the desired end, you have rejected everything that is America, as well as the genuine meanings of liberty and freedom.

Jennifer O'Connell — Things on the Democrat side are getting interesting. The Obama v. Clinton battle continues

(Communities Digital News)

According to Ed Klein in the New York Post, Valerie Jarrett, President Obama’s right-hand woman, is the engineer behind the leaks of Hillary’s current email troubles, among other potentially nefarious dealings when Hillary was Obama’s secretary of state.

“Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett leaked to the press details of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email address during her time as secretary of state, sources tell me. But she did so through people outside the ­administration, so the story couldn’t be traced to her or the White House.”
Color me not surprised. It has been obvious for a long time that there is no love lost between President Obama and Hillary Clinton. The Clintons have powerful political ties and engender strong loyalty within the party; but now that the Chicago Way has changed the typical status quo, it seems that strong loyalty may not be enough to keep the Clintons in political good graces.