Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Problem with Black Marriage Day

Getting married is easy. Staying married is hard.

That opening is catchy, but it isn’t true–unless you are white, heterosexual and middle class. The rest of us (even some folks with privilege) are having a hard time at both.

Black Marriage Day is Sunday, March 28. It was created by Nisa I. Muhammad to strengthen black families. Black Marriage Day has been celebrated every fourth Sunday in March since 2002. I love black people. I love black families. I support black marriage, but they’re going about it all wrong.

The online promotional push for Black Marriage Day glosses over the history of black marriage, disregards the economic impediments to marriage and ignores black gay marriage.

Celebrating Black Marriage Day without talking about slavery is a gloss-over of epic proportion. After the slave trade ended, African slave descendents were workers and breeders. Because plantation owners could not import new black bodies, they birthed them stateside. These babies were not people; they were property. There was no institutionalized black marriage because black families weren’t recognized.

After slavery, black folks set out to put their families back together, but the models for marriage were poor. Patriarch slave owners were not exactly exemplars of fidelity. Many of them regularly snuck out on their wives to rape female slaves. Too many black men modeled themselves after what they saw on the plantation. What they saw was a system that subordinated women to men.

Fast-forward–through migration and black nationalism–to today. Patriarchy still interferes with loving black marriages, and money does too. Throughout black history, men often left home to provide for the families. By racist murder, misfortune or choice they sometimes never returned home. Welfare bed checks meant the government only provided public assistance if there was no man in the home. Public outcry eventually stopped this paternalistic policy, but economic unattractiveness still lingers as a deterrent to marriage.

As a result of the racism that stemmed from slavery, black people remain on average more economically disadvantaged than white people. In 2009, researchers Anthony E. O. King and Terrence T. Allen discovered that both black women and men want a partner who earns more money than they do. But economically viable partners are hard to find because racist and sexist social constraints interfere with black fiscal mobility.

Black people have always had a tenuous relationship to marriage. Historical memories remind us that the only reason our society needs a Black Marriage Day is to acknowledge how far African Americans have come and how much further African Americans must go to secure and sustain healthy marriages. And the final problem? The Black Marriage Day silence surrounding same-sex marriage is deafening.

To really celebrate black marriage, let’s be honest about it. The 12-year-old who declared in Joy Jones’ now-infamous 2006 Washington Post article that “marriage is for white people” was talking about not just race but also class. Yet Black Marriage Day promotions present a rosy view of class. The holiday is officially partnered with Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too, premiering nationwide on April 2, which depicts an upper-middle-class ethos that is entirely foreign to Perry’s target working-class audience.

If black children think that marriage is not for them, it’s because the initiatives that support black marriage make it clear that it only supports a certain type of black marriage—heterosexual and middle class, absent any racial histories. This Black Marriage Day, I propose that the proponents of black marriage commit themselves to discussing the social realities black people must struggle with to get and stay married.

 by Ebony Utley

If The Irish Crisis Goes All The Way To Spain, It Could Be The End Of The Euro

By Gregory White Reuters BreakingViews editor Hugo Dixon spoke to CNBC about the Irish crisis. After his comments on Ireland, Dixon talks about the Fed potentially dropping its employment mandate.
  • 0:13 EU's Rompuy is overdoing it in, Ireland's leaders are over doing it, both are using extremist language on the state of Ireland.
  • 0:55 The worst thing that can happen is a knock on series of bailouts, behind Ireland and Portugal, to Spain. The money becomes too big, and eventually Germany and others say no. Then the euro has a problem.
  • 1:50 What's most likely to happen is that Ireland's banks will get a bailout, then Ireland will get a second bailout, then Portugal will get one too.
  • 2:25 These are small economies. (suggesting when it gets to Spain it isn't)
  • 2:55 I don't think these bailouts are going to accelerate the idea of fiscal union. The Germans are not pleased about making transfers, rather than loans.

Gingriches Wax on Religion, Politics


STEUBENVILLE - Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and his wife, Callista, came to Franciscan University of Steubenville on Monday to talk about Pope John Paul II, the fall of Poland's communist government in 1979 and American politics today.

Gingrich, who converted to Catholicism in 2009, said the late pontiff "was amazing because of what he lived through under the Nazis and later the Soviets." The Gingriches presented the film "Nine Days That Changed the World" about the pope's nine-day visit to his homeland after his election to the pontificate.

"When Pope John Paul II went to Poland in June 1979 and held an open air Mass, 3 million people showed up. They looked around and suddenly realized, 'There are more of us than there are of them. Why should we be afraid of them?'" Newt Gingrich told an audience of about 750 people in the university's Finnegan Fieldhouse.

"Pope John Paul II in 1979 called upon the Holy Spirit to come down upon the world and bring change to the world, Poland and eastern Europe. This teaching of the pope applies to every country and every person today," Newt Gingrich added. "I would urge you to think about your life and your country and how John Paul II grew up under the Nazis and later the Soviets with much more greater danger than we face today."
According to a news release issued by the university, "the movie was inspired in part by the recent wave of negative coverage of the Church by the media."

"Newt Gingrich, well aware of how scandal can obscure great achievements, decided to highlight one of the great lasting contributions of Pope John Paul II. The Communist authorities were fearful of the impact of the pope's visit to Poland, and so they did everything in their power to minimize its effect. Most of the television footage still extant features wide shots panning the audience as well as distant shots of the Pope, often with his voice drowned out by commentary," said a university spokesperson.

During a brief meeting with news reporters before the airing of the film, Gingrich said he was "very pleased and happy that John Kasich won the governor's race in Ohio and that John Boehner will be the next speaker of the House of Representatives."

He said Congress should focus on creating jobs, maintaining tax cuts for all Americans and repealing Obamacare.

"John Boehner is a very solid and competent guy," he added.

Gingrich also said the Tea Party movement "represents populist conservatism similar to supporters of Ronald Reagan and Ross Perot. Without that support we would not have accomplished the Republican Revolution in 1994."

Gingrich also said Tea Party members should watch the government carefully "and complain loudly when the wrong thing is done."

"Bipartisanship is possible if both parties are willing to understand the American people," said Gingrich.

Breaking News: Eva Longoria Parker & Tony Parker To Divorce!

Eva Longoria Parker and Tony Parker pics Eva Longoria Parker & Tony Parker To Divorce!
Eva Parker Longoria’s husband Tony Parker has filed for divorce!  Read more on Eva and Tony’s split below.

Basketball star Tony Parker filed for divorce on Monday in Texas.
The couple married in France in July 2007.

There are not many details available on their split but Eva canceled her appearance at the Anderson Cooper CNN Heroes of 2010 television special this Saturday.

Eva and Tony became engaged in November 2006 and married in July of 2007 in Paris, France.
The Desperate Housewives actress met Tony Parker after a Spurs game, when she and her father were invited to meet the players.

Eva has Tony Parker’s initials tattooed on her body as well as his jersey number “nine” on the back of her neck.  We guess someone will be investing in a tattoo cover piece or laser removal soon!

The European Union - the New Soviet Union?

Pennsylvania’s Lame Duck Robbery

By Bill Wilson
Why put off until tomorrow that which can be fixed today?
In its lame-duck session, the Pennsylvania legislature on November 15th considered HB 2497, a bill whose sole purpose is to underfund the state’s pension system by approximately $2.9 billion over the next thirty years. Sadly, it passed easily with support from both political parties by a vote of 165 to 31.

All 31 members who voted “no” were Republicans. They rightly saw that underfunding the pension system for 15 years would mean that the difference would have to be made up in the 15 subsequent years.

The bill also passed the commonwealth’s Senate 41 to 8, which Republicans control. Again, all 8 members who voted no there were Republicans. But in both houses, most Republicans and all Democrats voted for the bill, and with Democrat Governor Ed Rendell’s support it will become law.

This, therefore, is a bipartisan failure.

Get full story here.

Pardon Yourself



Get permalink here.

NYT Does a Great Disservice to its Readership on Climate Change Coverage, U.N. Critic Says

By Kevin Mooney
Precious little progress has been made from the alarmist perspective since the United Nations climate change conference held last December in Copenhagen, Denmark, a blogger for the New York Times concedes. Looking ahead to the next conference, which opens at the end of November in Cancun, Mexico there is now speculation that this may be last gathering.

Although green activists continue to push for a binding international agreement to lower emissions, government officials are unlikely to advance any substantive measures.

“Now many are wondering whether the process itself, under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, is so flawed that it should be scrapped,” the blog says. “Is it realistic to expect that 200 nations with vastly different interests, from China to Saudi Arabia to Bolivia to Micronesia, can come together to address a problem that will affect them in vastly different ways? Is there a better way to attack a global problem largely caused by a handful of large industrialized countries? Should the next so-called `conference of the parties’ be the last?”

Get full story here.

The 2010 Person of the Year: The Political Outsider

By David Bozeman

Whenever the dominant political culture starts calling for moderation and a return to civility, it usually means that conservatives are exercising their Constitutional rights again. The recent Rally for Sanity on the national mall was reportedly tongue-in-cheek, but it underscored a mindset that regularly reminded us throughout the Bush years that dissent was not only proper, it was downright patriotic. Today, by contrast according to the mindset, “All you uneducated hicks in all the Podunkvilles need to lower your voices — a great man is re-aligning society on your sorry behalf, so show a little gratitude.”

But tea partiers, acting in concert and not under the sway of a titular charismatic orator, dominated the daily discourse in 2009 and reshaped the political landscape in 2010. The current administration is now playing catch-up, but Republicans were placed on high-alert, as well.

Get full story here.

Whose Debts Will We Take Over Next?

PIIGS stuffing

It sounds like George has buckled and that we're now in for £7bn of the Irish bail-out:
“Ireland is our closest neighbour. And it's in Britain's national interest that the Irish economy is successful and we have a stable banking system. Britain stands ready to support Ireland.”
Did he have a choice?

In the circs, probably not.

Take a look at the handy chart above. It's taken from last week's IMF report on the UK economy, and it shows UK banks' exposure (aka loans) to Ireland along with their exposure to three of the other PIIGS. As we can see, they are in for well over £100bn to the Emerald Isle, and getting on for £300bn to the group as a whole (ex Italy).

In theory of course, we should be able to say to the banks, that's your problem mate - you lent the money on all those housing estates in the peat bogs, now you can reap the rewards.

But in practice, we're stuffed. Post-Crock, we rediscovered the fact that taxpayers have to protect retail bank depositors here at home. And that means guaranteeing retail banks. Which as things stand, means guaranteeing all UK banks.

But let's hope George is at least insisting on some pretty tough conditions - no backsliding on spending cuts and close IMF monitoring.

We've only got to look at Greece to understand what could lie ahead in Ireland. Their existing government is going down, and its successors will look for every opportunity to backtrack and obfuscate. We must not accept that.

Who's next?

Well, as the chart shows, UK banks have chunky exposure to Spain, and if you're going to do Spain you might as well chuck in Portugal. We Northern Europeans will soon be on the hook for the whole lot.

It doesn't bear thinking about, but here's a small suggestion - when it comes to the crunch (ie outright default) HMG should do a debt for villas swap. Hard-pressed UK taxpayers could then be offered cheap villa holidays in the sun to take their minds off their 70% tax rates.

Apart from that, Tyler can see no light in the Euro-gloom.

EU President Admits That Europe Is Fighting For Survival, Invokes M.A.D. Card

When the president of the EU says that the fate of the second worst experiment of the last century (the worst being monetarist-Keynesian-central banking fundamentalism) is on the ropes, people listen. Perhaps people will also finally listen to those who are warning that no matter the words of encouragement, said experiment is doomed: the latest confirmation coming from Greece which has been now caught lying not once, not twice, but five times in a row just to preserve its EU backstops, and allow it insolvent banking system to exist for a few more days. In the meantime, the fate of Europe's bankers lies in the hands of a few good Irishmen, who can precipitate the mark to market (aka zero) catch 22 should the country finally force senior creditors to be impaired. Then not even the Fed will be able to backstop the continent's $50 or so trillion in interlinked assets, which also happen to be the continent's liabilities. In the meantime, here is Herman Van Rompuy doing what bureaucrats and bankers in power are so good at doing when they have no other choice: threatening with global assured destruction if they don't get their way.
From Dow Jones
The European Union won't survive if it fails to overcome a debt crisis plaguing the single currency area, the bloc's president Herman Van Rompuy said Tuesday.

"We're in a survival crisis," Van Rompuy said in a speech in Brussels hours from an assembly of euro finance ministers with Ireland and Portugal each teetering on the brink.

"We all have to work together in order to survive with the euro zone, because if we don't survive with the euro zone we will not survive with the European Union. But I'm very confident we will overcome this."

Ireland admitted Monday that it was holding talks about a rescue package of emergency aid, six months after EU nations had to rush to the rescue of Greece with a EUR110 billion bailout.

Portugal has also warned it is at "high" risk of needing financial support, unable to borrow money on open markets other than at prohibitive rates.
h/t London Dude Trader

African-Americans are Twice as Likely to Go Hungry Than Whites

Tuesday Nov 16, 2010 – By Liane Membis

According to data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, twenty-five percent of African American households, compared to eleven percent of White households, suffered from food insecurity in 2009. Households that are food insecure are those that struggle to put food on the table at any point in the year. Nearly 35 percent of African-American children live in households that are food insecure.

“The national figures are record-breaking, but the fact that such a disparity exists between African-Americans and Whites shows that we must call on Congress to do more—especially for communities with the greatest need,” Rev. Derrick Boykin, northeast regional organizer for Bread for the World, said. “Congress must act now to ensure that programs designed to mitigate hunger are well-funded.”

Nationally, 14.7 percent, or one in seven, of U.S. households experienced food insecurity last year.

Coincidentally, there has been a record increase in usage of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. African-Americans are amongst the 22.6 percent of 42 million Americans who receive SNAP benefits each month. It is predicted that 90 percent of African-Americans will receive SNAP benefits at some point before the age of 20. Nationally, only 49 percent of all U.S. children, regardless of ethnic background, are predicted to receive it.

Bread for the World is a faith-based organization that works to influence national decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad.

What do you believe we can do as a nation to end hunger in America?

Suspected Russian arms trafficker arrives in US

NEW YORK, November 17, 2010: Suspected Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout arrived in New York late Tuesday and was taken to a high-security prison in Manhattan after being extradited from Thailand, the US Justice Department said.

Bout, who arrived aboard a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) charter plane, is due to appear in a US federal court on Wednesday before US District Judge Shira Scheindlin.

“Viktor Bout has been indicted in the United States, but his alleged arms trafficking activity and support of armed conflicts in Africa has been a cause of concern around the world. His extradition is a victory for the rule of law worldwide,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.

The former Soviet air force pilot’s surprise extradition from Thailand follow
ed a long legal battle and intense opposition from Moscow, which denounced the move as “extreme injustice” and said it would support him “by all means”.

Escorted by dozens of armed police commandos and with snipers deployed along the route, Bout was whisked from a maximum security Bangkok prison to a waiting US government plane on Tuesday before his wife had a chance to say goodbye.

The inspiration for the Hollywood movie “Lord of War,” Bout allegedly used a fleet of cargo planes to run guns to combatants in conflicts in Africa, South America and the Middle East.

He was arrested in March 2008 in Bangkok after a sting by US Drug Enforcement Agency operatives posing as buyers for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, a leftist guerrilla group.

US authorities allege he agreed to sell the undercover agents millions of dollars’ worth of weapons, including surface-to-air missiles and armor piercing rocket launchers, for use against US helicopters in Colombia.

“Viktor Bout allegedly jumped at the chance to arm narco-terrorists bent on killing Americans with an arsenal of military grade weapons,” US Attorney Preet Bharara said.

He said the extradition “underscores our commitment to protect Americans on our own soil and throughout the world.”

(News Agency)