Friday, March 30, 2007

Memphis Hosting Inaugural MLB Civil Rights Game

I'm proud to say that my hometown Memphis Redbirds will play host to the inaugural MLB Civil Rights Game Saturday in a game that will be televised on ESPN at 5:30 ET. The game will culminate a two-day celebration of both Memphis's and baseball's part in the civil rights movement.

Here's an excellent article from the Memphis Commerical Appeal about how Memphis Redbirds president Dave Chase came up with a promoted the idea.

Unfortunately, the National Congress of American Indians, while commending MLB for implementing the Civil Rights Game has said that it is irresponsible to include the Cleveland Indians, "whose buck-toothed Indian mascot promotes blatant racism, mockery and negative stereotypes of Native Americans." I can't say I disagree with them. However, overall kudos to Memphis and MLB for putting this together. Hopefully next year they will use another team besides the Indians; or, better yet, hopefully Cleveland will have changed its mascot by then.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

A Way for Young People to Serve Their Country

Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) has headlined the call for the creation of a U.S. Public Service Academy. Modeled after the military service academies, the Public Service Academy will provide a four-year, federally-subsidized college education for more than 5,000 students a year in exchange for a five year commitment to public service following graduation.

The U.S. Public Service Academy Act has bipartisan support, and by all means should be fast-tracked and signed by the President. It is an outstanding idea, and will give young Americans the opportunity to both get a college education and also commit to serving their country.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Update: McCain - I Never Said That

As we noted just earlier today, Senator John McCain, the head non-White House cheerleader of the Iraq War, has been called out by CNN reporters for simply lying about how safe it is in Baghdad. When asked about it just hours ago on CNN, McCain lied again, saying that he never said these things, and equated the fact that the President goes around America with protection to the fact that no one can walk around anywhere in Baghdad without fear of being murdered unless they are heavily armored.

He also maintained the clearly erroneous line of right-wing spin that it's the media (and, by the way, a large majority of U.S. citizens) who are behind the curve when it comes to the great progress being made in Iraq:

"I mean that there are neighborhoods safe in Iraq and he does go out into Baghdad and the fact is there has been significant progress and people are stuck in a time warp of three months ago. Of course, it’s still dangerous. Of course it’s still very dangerous. We only have two of the five brigades there and we are already seeing significant progress."

The only significant progress being made is by the media itself, who are no longer rolling over when the Bush Administration and its warmongering cheerleaders claim that "all is well" in Iraq, and that we should keep sending our soldiers over there to die while policing a civil war which we in fact started.

Wednesday Links

  • In a great article on Salon, Gary Kamiya talks about how the Bush II presidency has dealt a devastating blow to both the GOP and conservative ideology, one from which it may not recover for many years.

  • Democrats suggested that they may use appropriations legislation to block Bush administration plans to gut the 1973 Endangered Species Act.

  • The House approved a two-year extension of a program offering tax credits for construction of low-income housing in areas hit by Hurricane Katrina.

  • Burger King said yesterday that it would begin buying eggs and pork from suppliers that did not confine their animals in cages and crates.

  • And finally, doesn't it seem like we're always talking about Missouri? Yesterday, a House committee voted to advance a resolution designed to overturn the the voter-approved Stem Cell Initiative. So in Missouri, crazy right-wingers think that what they want is more important than what a majority of its citizens actually voted for.

McCain Losing More Credibility On Iraq (Wait, Did He Have Any Left?)

To the extent that he had any credibility on Iraq left, Sen. John McCain has continued to lose his grip on it the last two days.

First, on Monday McCain told Bill "The Gambler" Bennett that "there are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through." He then chastised Wolf Blitzer for saying that it's not safe for Americans to even leave the Green Zone, saying "General Petraeus goes out there almost every day in an unarmed humvee. I think you oughta catch up. You are giving the old line of three months ago. I understand it. We certainly don’t get it through the filter of some of the media."

When asked about McCain's claims about the overall safety of Baghdad and General Petraeus, CNN reporter Michael Ware, who has been in Iraq for the last four years, called McCain's statements "ludicrous" and said that the military people he had spoken to had even laughed at McCain's statements about Petraeus. Watch the video on ThinkProgress here.

McCain has big problems when it comes to Iraq and his presidential candidacy. He more than anyone else has tied himself to this escalation in Iraq, and with that has aligned himself even more closely to Bush. He has everything riding on the war working out, and because of that he has been more and more willing to say outlandish things about things going well there. It's one thing for a clown like Joe Lieberman to say ridiculous things like "There's no civil war in Iraq." Everyone knows Lieberman is a Bush lackey and he doesn't even pretend to be anything different. But McCain is supposed to be Mr. Straight Talk Express, and to the extent that people still think he's a maverick, despite his kowtowing to the religious right, flip-flopping on torture and campaign finance reform, and so many other political maneuverings, looking like a quack on Iraq is going to be what ruins his dreams of the White House for good.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Monday Links

  • Last week we praised Missouri Governor Matt Blunt (R) for standing up for workers' rights. Unfortunately, Blunt has taken a few steps backwards, announcing that he will cut off all program funding to Planned Parenthood and redirect it to other health clinics. This despite the fact that fewer than one in ten clients comes for abortions, and less than 30% of 860 Planned Parenthood clinics in the U.S. actually provide abortions.

  • As if it were 1984 and not 2004, teams of undercover New York City police officers traveled to cities across the country, Canada and Europe for at least a year before the 2004 Republican National Convention to conduct covert observations of people who planned to protest the convention. And now, lawyers for the city, responding to a request to unseal records of police surveillance leading up to the 2004 Republican convention in New York, say that the documents should remain secret because the news media will “fixate upon and sensationalize them,” hurting the city’s ability to defend itself in lawsuits over mass arrests.

  • In yet another sign of the increased interest in investment in alternative energy, the New York Mercantile Exchange will soon offer alternative energy index futures and options contracts on its Globex electronic trading platform.

Airport Reading

I was traveling this past weekend and picked up a copy of the April issue of Mother Jones in the airport. We make a lot of recommendations on this site, but instead of simply saying, "Subscribe to Mother Jones," here are a few highlights from the magazine and websites of those featured.

  • The article "Separated at Birth" is about GOP congressman and long-shot presidential candidate (and anti-immigrant) Duncan Hunter and his brother John, who heads up Water Station, a volunteer organization that provides water for migrant workers in California.

  • "Nanny 411" highlights Juana Nicolas and the Household Workers Project, a grassroots labor group made up of immigrant women who cleans houses and provide childcare in the Los Angeles area.

  • Bill McKibbon's "Reversal of Fortune" is an excellent look at the current state of the American economy, and asks the question, "Why is making more money no longer making us happier?"

  • Ava Lowery is what's commonly known as a heroine. She's a 16-year old homeschooler from Alexandria, AL whose anti-war website,, with its poignant videos and hopeful spirit, has gotten her a lot of positive attention and even some unfortunate (although predicatable) venom from conservative bloggers as well as anonymous threats.