Archive | December 2015

If It Wasn’t Clear before This, It Is Now: Arne Duncan Intends to Be Mayor of Chicago


Arne Duncan's Final Speech as SoE

Saving Our Kids’ Lives

Arne Duncan’s Last Speech as U.S. Secretary of Education

In his final speech as Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan will deliver remarks at Saint Sabina Church on 12:00 PM ET in Chicago. Duncan will call for continued work to save the lives of America’s children by protecting them from violence, combatting disconnectedness from society, and creating hope and opportunity for every student.

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Ringing in the New Year with Celebratory Gunfire! — Really?!?


Has celebratory gunfire really become a holiday ritual in the U.S.? I have never witnessed it—or heard it. Some of my neighbors do go out onto their lawns and set off firecrackers or bang pots and pans. I have never counted myself lucky to have such neighbors, but I guess that I do now.

As if the dangers are not obvious, the following article from The Trace warns against the unintended consequences of celebratory gunfire:

The Sometimes Tragic Physics of Celebratory New Year’s Gunshots

Today, we’re updating one of the first articles we published on The Trace. Written by contributor Patrick Blanchfield, it originally ran over the Fourth of July weekend, and explores the havoc that celebratory gunfire can unintentionally wreak.

New Year’s Eve is another night when some Americans cap their festivities by firing guns into the air. And 10-year-old Aaliyah Boyer is one of the casualties of that tradition. In the first minutes of 2013…

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You Do Really Have to Want to Be President


O'Malley w Lone Voter at 'Rally'

At least partly because of the bad weather, only one Iowa voter showed up at an event for the O’Malley campaign.

Here is the description below the photo distributed by CNN’s Politics newsletter:

“Martin’s only man: Opposite the former governor is ‘Kenneth,’ as he was identified in a tweet by reporter Sarah Beckman, who also served as the photographer. The bearded (and uncommitted) Iowan braved a nasty winter storm for his sit-down with O’Malley, who made his case but left without securing Kenneth’s vote. The “who” clause at the end seems to me to be like kicking a guy not just when he’s down but when he’s already been kicked a few times.

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Art, Entertainment, and Politics


The Far-Right news service Newsmax has provided the following summary of an interview conducted by Mario Lopez for the entertainment-news show Extra:

“Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood praised Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson—saying that either ‘would be better than what we got.’ . . .

“’I think there’s quite a few of them who are really good people’ in the 2016 Republican field. . . .

“Eastwood praised Trump as someone who might possess the qualities that voters want in a candidate.

“’People are looking for somebody who is outspoken and who isn’t afraid,’ he said. ‘And he seems to have kind of a fearless attitude.’

“’I like Ben Carson because he is kind of a common-sense guy.’ . . .

“Referencing his much-maligned speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Eastwood said he did not think he would be invited to next year’s parley…

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Mind-Numbing but Unabashed Ignorance


Here is an item written by Larry Klayman for the Far-Right media site World Net Daily:

“As we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and rejoice in the greatness of His and the Father’s universe, we turn to the New Year. A traditional ritual is reflecting on the past year, and as Time Magazine does, anointing the most prominent person of 2015. Indeed, 2015 has been for all practical purposes the ‘Year of the Muslim.’ So I will satirically recognize the most influential “Muslim of the Year,” someone who has cleverly through various means, radically changed the world order and most furthered the Islamic caliphate based on the death of all infidels to Allah.

“The contestants were Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran; Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, leader of ISIS (Islamic State); Bashar al-Assad, the dictator president of Syria; Mullah Akhtar…

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The Diction of Mass Murder


Very obviously, we have every reason to fear Islamic extremists who may wish to replicate a large-scale attack on the U.S. comparable in scope to the 9/11 attacks, or perhaps even worse.

But the Islamic religion of the San Bernardino mass murderers has taken our attention completely away from the immediately preceding massacre at the Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs—even though the scale of the two events and the ambiguous and volatile mix of religious, political, and personal motives for both of those shootings seem to me to make them much more similar to each other than the San Bernardino mass murder is to the 9/11 attacks.

Perhaps Donald Trump’s completely unrestrained xenophobia and his rhetoric of racial and religious exclusion are giving us some room to reconsider the rhetorical assumptions and the themes that are framing our responses to mass murders in this country. For a long time…

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Working Families Party Endorses Bernie Sanders


Writing for Huffington Post, Samantha Lachman reports:

“The Working Families Party endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) bid for the Democratic presidential nomination Tuesday, after an overwhelming majority of its members backed the progressive candidate. It is the first time the party has formally backed a candidate in a national election.

“Over 87 percent of Working Families Party members voted for Sanders, compared to 11.5 percent for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and 1.1 percent for former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. The final endorsement decision was based on both the membership vote and the votes of the group’s national advisory board. . . .

“The Working Families Party, which has chapters in 10 states, elected its first state legislator on its own party line in a Connecticut state Senate special election in February. It has also elected members to city council and school board seats. The party typically endorses Democrats…

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When Everyone’s a Trump-et, It May Be Hard to Think through the Noise


This week’s “Sunday Show Wrap-Up” from The Hill (see below) seems particularly instructive.

The one thing on which the GOP presidential candidates uniformly agree is that President Obama is an ineffectual leader (or, worse–because Donald Trump is now suggesting, something much more sinister).

Moreover, other than Trump himself, of course, all of them agree that Trump is too much of a loose cannon to be the eventual nominee.

Yet, for the most part, in attempting to position themselves as alternatives to Trump, the other GOP candidates seem to be searching for any talking points that will attract the same sort of media attention that just about all of Trump’s remarks have been commanding. That strategy amounts to their trying to sound more Trumpian than Trump as a way of emphasizing why his candidacy is ultimately an impossible option for the party. It seems a much more desperate than coherent political…

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