Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Birther Conspiracy Is Rooted in Racism

(Excerpt of my weekly column in The Loop 21)

I would give birthers, those folks behind the oft-debunked claim President Obama was not born in the U.S., credit for being as persistent as they are ignorant. But folks with common sense, a trait birthers not only lack but seem unable to imitate, are helping to make their job easier.

Because really all the Birther movement seeks to do is continue spreading smoke where there was never fire. The longer good folks debunk the claims the further the political winds will spread this smoke.

Neil Abercrombie, newly elected governor of Hawaii, has taken to making a personal appeal to the birthers. He’s looking at ways the state government can legally release more information about President Obama's birth that will satisfy the uninitiated. But his modus operandi thus far has consisted of explaining how long he has known the family and the fact he saw a then-newborn President Obama shortly after his birth. This sounds logical to me. But when were birthers ever looking for logic?

The movement reminds me of the 9/11 Truthers who sought to not just blame President George W. Bush politically for the September 11 attacks but also convince the world that he was involved in the planning of them. The big difference is Truthers weren’t getting elected to state houses.

Sadly, some birthers are and some others had already been occupying office. For instance, officials like Texas State Representative Leo Berman who appeared on Anderson Cooper recently and had every single one of his claims shot down. At times while watching the video one gets the feeling the Cooper thinks he is being put on by his producers. It’s hard to watch a video like that and not think to yourself: “What the hell is wrong with these people?”

Read more here: http://goo.gl/9tGO8

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Obama Doesn't Need to Triangulate to Win

(Excerpt of my weekly column at The Loop 21)

There’s been a lot of talk recently regarding President Obama’s deteriorating relationship with progressives. Clearly, while Obama continues to edge toward the middle, he risks losing significant support among progressives and watching a strong part of his base disintegrate in the process.

Regardless of what one thinks about the merit of Obama’s tax cut compromise, I think the motive behind it is both more obvious and more troublesome.

First, the obvious. By reaching a compromise now Obama shows that he’s serious about not hampering an economic recovery with tax increases. He also avoids a rough and tumble fight with a GOP that will have 242 members, the largest amount in the House of Representatives since the 1947-49 legislative session, when the legislative session commences in January.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Season's Greetings, Congress!


Dear Congress:

I've been a good boy this year. I've tried to think about all the bad I've done, and it's pretty minimal. I haven't had ethics charges brought against me, I haven't called the President a liar, and I haven't held anybody, not even the Middle Class, hostage. This all makes me wonder: shouldn't you be writing me a Christmas letter asking me what I want for Christmas?

No. Never. You'd never do anything like that! You wouldn't capitulate and say that you've been naughty this past year. You wouldn't ask for mercy in hopes that you will regain trust. So, while you won't write a letter, you can spend your time passing repeal of DADT and DREAM Act. That would help your cause.

Yet, even if you do pass legislation, it's not going to get you any gifts. You can take heart in the fact that you did what you were supposed to do. Now, if it takes you through Christmas Day, so be it. Fly the family up (we know lobbyists pay you GOOD money) and share your Christmas Day around the table of your Congressional Office. Does this sound too harsh? I'm not trying to be the Heat Miser, but let's be honest: you've done more work in the past two weeks than you have in an entire year.

So, in the words of conservative friends, "Help Yourself." Don't expect me to help you, don't expect me to bend over backwards offering help. I've done all I can. I've been a good boy. I've called my Senators and Representatives. I've volunteered. I've been honest. I've done much to contribute to societal well-being. You've dug your own hole, now good luck getting out of it.

I know you're hoping I will help, that the American people will help you, but that's not going to happen. Perhaps some charity from others will "trickle down" onto you. Perhaps you'll get a "Coal Break." Perhaps when the final gavel slams down, you'll understand that many citizens just got their wings of equality. Perhaps.

But, you've got a lot of decisions to make. This Christmas all I want from you is conversation, not bickering; honesty not holier-than-thou; people that represent the citizens, not cheapskates.

Oh, and please, don't use the Little Baby Jesus as an excuse not to work. Get your work done BEFORE December 25th, and you won't need an excuse. It's a novel idea.

O, say, can you see? I hope you do.

With a festive smile,

Zachary


About the Author
Connect: Facebook Twitter
Zac's articles on Policy Diary
Zac Bailes is an ordained Baptist minister with native Kentucky roots. A second-year student at the Wake Forest University School of Divinity, he earned his bachelor's in Philosophy at Georgetown College in Georgetown, KY.



Passionate about social justice, Zac is intimately involved with the Institute for Dismantling Racism, an organization which seeks to create an anti-racist identity and culture that effects individuals and institutions. As a white, straight male, he constantly seeks to engage and question his privilege. It is a journey that is continually traveled on his blog Libs and Cons, and in life.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Obama's Centrist Tax Deal Helps Neither the Right Nor the Left

(Note: Excerpt of my weekly column at The Loop 21)

Late Monday the Senate cleared the way for the tax cut bill that President Obama and Republicans had hashed together a few days ago. Speaking of this "bipartisanship," Obama said: “And this proves that both parties can in fact work together to grow our economy and look out for the American people.”

I think that would depend on the definition of grow. While the tax cuts themselves clearly will allow more people to keep more of their money, how stimulative they will be is still up for discussion. What is no longer up for discussion is the politics behind the deal. If the Democrats play their cards right they will be able to sell this as a clear indication Republicans are not serious about reducing the deficit.

After all, what kind of party signs a Pledge to America promising a sharp reduction in the deficit then the first major bill they support adds nearly $900 billion to it? Republicans were more motivated to sign this deal not because they had Democrats over a barrel, but because they knew once the Tea Party express comes rolling through in January that some of them would not support this budget buster. Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) quickly denounced this deal, which "[r]amps up spending in a big way and ramps up the deficit,” Bachmann said with her usual flair for words.
    Also intriguing is the public support for the compromise plan. Monday, The Washington Post published a poll showing that there is broad public support for the plan, with 69 percent of Americans favoring it. Which measure inside the bill sparked the most partisanship? Of course, extension of the tax cuts to all Americans including the wealthy, “85 percent of Republicans say these tax cuts should be continued for all taxpayers; 38 percent of Democrats,” according to the Washington Post-ABC News poll.

    What I think may come back to haunt Democrats is the notion that the tax cuts represent some sort of stimulus plan. Yes, it’s true the plan is more stimulative than, say, raising taxes but when you look back at what caused the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the much derided former stimulus) to falter, I think you come back to the same problem -- too many tax cuts and not enough actual spending....



     About the Author
    Connect: LinkedIn Facebook Twitter 
    john [at] policydiary.com 
    A proud graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, John is currently a Master's of Public Health candidate at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University  where he is studying health policy & management. He is also a weekly contributor to theloop21.comand founder of So Educated (www.soeducated.com), an education policy and reform blog focused on widening the debate surrounding education and empowering parents and teachers - frequently the least thought of. 

    Areas of interest include health care reform and education reform, particularly: access to health care, health care exchanges, and Medicare and Medicaid; in addition, charter schools,  K-12 funding, and educational equality.
    John is wholeheartedly determined to contribute to the rapidly changing dialogue in the health care and education communities. He has made continuous contributions by conducting research, publishing articles, interviewing practitioners and professors, and engaging students through on-campus organizations.

    John's publishings have appeared in fora such as: The Orlando SentinelThe Daily VoiceWiretap magazineBlack Web 2.0The Daily CalifornianNewMajority.comClub RelafordHipHopRepublican.com and Policy Net

    Previously, he served as a legislative fellow in the offices of the Honorable David Englin (D) and  David Bulova (D) of the Virginia House of Delegates, in the 2009 and 2010 legislative sessions, respectively. John also interned in the office of the State Attorney General of Virginia, and completed a Governor's Fellowship in the Office of Gov. Bob McDonnell where he worked with the deputy secretary of health on projects regarding aging, HIT and disability. 

    Friday, December 10, 2010

    Charter Schools in Virginia

    Virginia Commonwealth University (my alma mater) hosted a forum on charter schools yesterday evening. The Richmond Times-Dispatch quoted Policy Diary's own Antione Green on the impact charter schools can have.
    "Antione Greena board member for Richmond's recently opened Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts, said his school has kept families in the city that would have otherwise moved out to the suburbs. "With this additional choice, we've encouraged them to stay here," he said.




    There is a vigorous debate occurring in Richmond (and the rest of the Virginia) due to the support charters have in Gov. McDonnell's administration as well as at the federal level in the Obama administration. It'll be interesting to see how the conversation progresses. Clearly, with our recent event that we co-hosted "A Conversation on the Future of Public Education in Virginia," we plan on being heavily invested in that debate.




       About the Author
    Connect: LinkedIn Facebook Twitter
    john [at] policydiary.com 
    A proud graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, John is currently a Master's of Public Health candidate at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University  where he is studying health policy & management. He is also a weekly contributor to theloop21.comand founder of So Educated (www.soeducated.com), an education policy and reform blog focused on widening the debate surrounding education and empowering parents and teachers - frequently the least thought of. 

    Areas of interest include health care reform and education reform, particularly: access to health care, health care exchanges, and Medicare and Medicaid; in addition, charter schools,  K-12 funding, and educational equality.
    John is wholeheartedly determined to contribute to the rapidly changing dialogue in the health care and education communities. He has made continuous contributions by conducting research, publishing articles, interviewing practitioners and professors, and engaging students through on-campus organizations.

    John's publishings have appeared in fora such as: The Orlando SentinelThe Daily VoiceWiretap magazineBlack Web 2.0The Daily CalifornianNewMajority.comClub RelafordHipHopRepublican.com and Policy Net

    Previously, he served as a legislative fellow in the offices of the Honorable David Englin (D) and  David Bulova (D) of the Virginia House of Delegates, in the 2009 and 2010 legislative sessions, respectively. John also interned in the office of the State Attorney General of Virginia, and completed a Governor's Fellowship in the Office of Gov. Bob McDonnell where he worked with the deputy secretary of health on projects regarding aging, HIT and disability. 

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    Unto the Breach!


    Obama played "Let's Make a Deal". Depending upon which side of the aisle you sit on, you either loved or hated the deal. Sure, the Republicans held the middle-class hostage, and yes, it goes against the principles of the Tea Party, and Obama 'caved' under pressure (cue Queen), and Mitch McConnell went home happy, and...I could continue, but I think the pundits are beating every horse, dead or not. Watch out – they're on a roll.

    Sure, what Obama picked behind door number 1 was not what I wanted. Yet, here we are. The deal has been made. This whole situation has been brewing for quite sometime, and I'd like to think that, well, we've never taken policy too seriously. Some will say, I'm wrong, after all, look at the anger and the outcry! Our punditry looks too much like politics: reactionary.

    Honesty and Healthcare in a Litigious Society



    A news program in New York recently did an “investigative report” about a man who went into the hospital with a stroke, received treatment for the stroke, and subsequently died because he continued to receive the blood-thinner after it was supposed to be discontinued.  The investigation wasn’t about the circumstances of the death, but the fact that there was an apparent cover-up by the hospital that withheld information from the family about what really happened.

    Monday, December 6, 2010

    When Enough is Enough! Rep. Rangel May Face More Charges

    Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted  to censure the former Ways and Means Committee chairman for violating 11 House ethics rules. Now there's word that he may be facing an investigation at the hands of the Federal Election Commission.

    According to the barely trusted, New York Post, the FEC is investigating a complaint that Rangel misused his political action committee to fund his legal defense over House ethics rules.

    Filed by the National Legal and Policy Center, a nonpartisan foundation  which claims to promote "ethics in public life through investigation, research, education and legal action," the complaint alleges Congressman Rangel used nearly $400,000 raised by his National Leadership PAC to pay his legal bills.


    Rangel’s office refuted the claims. A lawyer for the PAC had “authorized the use of its funds for [Rangel’s] legal expenses,” said Hannah Kim, his press secretary. The NLPC, she argued, “is not an unbiased organization.”

    But isn't it enough already? Charlie Rangel has been representing Harlem for over 40 years. It wasn't until he became the Chair of the most powerful committee in the House that folks started rummaging through his affairs. One might begin to wonder if the investigations were fueled by this black man having a little to much power.

    Pick on someone else. Its enough already. He's already been publicly humiliated, censured, and darn near bankrupted-- his legal bills topped $2 million.

    Leave the man alone and pick a new target.



         About the Author

    Connect:  Twitter
    Alexander J. Chenault is an Assistant Professor of Legal Studies and the Frederick Douglass Teaching Scholar at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania where he teaches courses on the American legal, constitutional, and regulatory systems.

    A graduate of Tulane University Law School, The City College of New York, and Morehouse College, Chenault is quickly emerging as a legal and policy expert. A young polished scholar and editor-in-chief of The Chenault Report, he is known for his well researched and opinionated legal, political, and social commentary. 


    Four Loko is Finally Going the Way of Sparks

    By Robyn Schelenz 

    As of Nov. 17, the FDA has deemed the addition of caffeine into seven specific alcoholic beverages “unsafe.”  Among these beverages is Four Loko, the 23.5 oz energy drink that has recently sent a number of college students to the hospital.  These students were no doubt aided by their own irresponsible choices, but Four Loko contains all the right ingredients to fuel a night of student binge drinking.  Of course, this is why the FDA demanded that the makers of Four Loko, Phusion Products, reformulate their product.

    The end of Four Loko sparked a somewhat unsurprising debate.  The same people who are outraged when the government intervenes in pretty much any domestic matter were outraged by this, calling it a “nanny state” move.  This rhetoric was heightened by drawing attention to the caffeine content in Four Loko – if that was the reason Four Loko was banned, wouldn’t they be coming for our rum and cokes next (despite the fact that a rum and coke has nowhere near the amount of caffeine that’s in a Four Loko)? 

    The truth is that the ban on Four Loko is neither unprecedented nor unwarranted.  In fact, it is a bit strange considering recent history that people are so upset.

    Why strange?  Two years ago MillerCoors LLC, at the time makers of a similar drink, the then-caffeinated Sparks, removed caffeine from its product.  On the surface the then-caffeinated Sparks and Four Loko are remarkably similar.  Sparks had higher than average alcohol content (between 6% and 8%) although not as high as the popular high alcohol version of Four Loko, which comes in at 12%. Sparks also had caffeine, although 87 mgs of caffeine in a 24 oz can seems humble compared to 156 mg of caffeine in a 23.5 oz Four Loko can.  And again like Four Loko, Sparks seemed to be designed for a younger set, with its bright packaging and sugary flavors.

    Let the Community Speak! **Updated**

    **Update**
    Special guests will include George Allen, former governor of Virginia, and Paul Goldman, former Dem. Party Chair.

    Policy Diary is proud to co-host on December 7, 2010, an education forum entitled "A Conversation about the Future of Public Education in Virginia" along with the Greater Jefferson Davis Area Community Association. This will be an opportunity to to hear the community's goals, concerns and interests related to the education of their children.

    Policy Diary contributor and former CEO of Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts, Antione Green, was instrumental in putting the forum together and he will be there sharing duties with the Association. We hope to get the event on videotape so we can stream it later.

    Check the flyer for details and spread the word!



    A Conversation about Public Education in Virginia

    Friday, December 3, 2010

    Shared Sacrifice Includes Federal Employees

    Crossposted from The People's View.

    There has been somewhat of a negative reaction on corners of the left on President Obama's announcement that he was freezing the pay of federal civilian workers for two years to help reduce the deficit.  Well, I can't say that I'm surprised that detractors of the president would do just that, but it is sad to see self-proclaimed progressives losing sight of something deeply embedded in the progressive value system: sharing, which includes, yes, shared sacrifice.

    That's what the civilian pay freeze is about: shared sacrifice.  In the past decade, as many liberal groups are quick to remind us, the real wages of Americans have fallen.  Federal wage schedules have not stagnated however, and overall compensation (wages and benefits) for federal workers grew at a much faster rate than that of private sector employees over the same decade.
    Federal workers earned an average of $81,258, plus $41,791 in benefits in 2009, for total compensation of $123,049, reports the Commerce Department. Federal compensation has grown 35.8% faster than the inflation rate since 2000 while private compensation grew 8.8% to an average of $61,051 in compensation.

    America, to the Crossroads


    In these tough economic times people are willing to do nearly anything. This is the story of one person, and their journey to the Crossroads.

    At the end of my rope, I, America, went to Crossroads Congress. I walked into the rotunda, and I fell down on my knees. Seeing that nobody noticed me, I went to Mitch McConnell’s office. There, I fell down on my knees. He would have none of my groveling. I proceeded to visit all of Congress, and I asked them for mercy, saying, “Save me if you please!”

    I meandered through the halls, walked onto the floor of the House of Representatives, and pounded the gavel. “Does anybody here have ride out of this hell I’m living? Does anybody have a way out?” I didn’t care whether it was a Republican or Democrat, I simply needed a way out. Nobody seemed to know me, America. Nobody seemed to care that I’m struggling to make it. It was almost as if they didn’t know me, America.


    I figured while I was there I’d call for the repeal of DADT and passage of the DREAM Act, but deaf ears were all around. It was as though I was just a visitor, a transient passing through the country – I had no citizenship. In that moment, those in Congress gave me the ‘right’ to vote to make me feel better ­– to make me feel like my voice actually mattered. With gavel in hand, I slammed the bench as hard as I could, but nobody noticed.

    I called for the repeal of DADT, but Congress didn’t care.
    Congress thought the DREAM Act remained only that – a dream that didn’t matter.

    I ran through Congress trying to find someone to believe in my life, believe that the building was built for me. When I told people this they laughed – they thought I was joking! “Congress? For the you? America? Pssh…silly “citizen” – progress is for kids!”

    I ran down the street to the building a man I “voted” for inhabited. Somehow, I made it past security, and found him sitting in his office, his head in his hands.

    “What are you doing? Do something! I am America! You are too! Are you giving up? Are you hanging your head in shame? Are you defeated? I even went to the Crossroads, Congress, willing to sell my soul for change!” I yelled, feeling nearly out of my body.

    Once Upon (This) Time…Race was Still an Issue in Education

    (Editor's Note: This article was cross-posted from our sister site So Educated.)


    I sometimes think that my students (and many faculty and administrators, actually) think that anything that has to do with race in education should begin with, “Once upon a time…” as if racial disparities in education are a thing of the past. This also implies a race-no-longer-matters ending to the story. I teach a graduate-level sociology of education class that examines inequalities in education and attempts to connect earlier educational inequalities that occur in primary and secondary schooling with disparities in higher education. 

    The students in the class are typically a pretty balanced mix of master’s and doctoral students, and are generally a pretty racially mixed group as well. We cover many topics, but, it is often the unit on race in education that seems to cause the most personal turmoil and most interesting discussions. During this unit, we talk about the “acting White” concept where African American adolescent males often don’t envision themselves in an educational system that was developed by and for White people and consequently, begin to disengage (Fordham & Ogbu, 1986; Fordham, 2008). 

    We also think about issues of isolation and identity, particularly for students of color on predominantly White college campuses where, for example, African American students often feel disempowered from developing their own sense of self in predominantly White spaces (Winkle-Wagner, 2009). But, we also look at concepts like housing segregation and the way this influences primary and secondary schooling experiences (Shapiro, 2004; Rugh & Massey, 2010). Segregation always hits a nerve close to home as students reflect on their own living circumstances growing up, and whether their parents had the financial means or opportunities to choose their neighborhoods.
    Numerous times during the unit on race, I have heard comments, particularly from some of my White students, such as, “I had no idea that race was still an issue in education.” Or, some students will take it personally and say things like, “This makes me mad. Why haven’t I heard about these issues?” Typically the students of color in the class say things like, “Now I finally have the concepts and empirical evidence for things I have been experiencing!” Or, some students of color have also said, “Of course race still matters. Where have you been?” Or, if the group is not quite as bonded, I will sometimes see students of color in the class glance at me and just nod. In my teaching evaluations, it is always the discussions on race that seem to make the biggest impression for students, causing them to use words like “transformative,” “enlightening,” “a relief to finally talk about,” “painful,” or “difficult” when describing these units in the class.

    Let Consumers Opt-Out of Web Monitoring

    The Federal Trade Commission is looking at a plan that would give consumers easier ways to opt out of online tracking, specifically cookies and other methods advertisers use to monitor consumer web user behavior. It's still up for debate how exactly an opt-out process would work and also what effect it would have not just on advertisers but also users themselves.

    After all, I enjoy being tracked. Really, I do. Not the tracking itself per se but the benefits that comes with it. For instance, I'd rather not type in a password every time I visit a site. And I've done the cost-benefit analysis and that works for me. It may not work for another user, however. So the idea of increased opt-out makes sense at least on the surface.

    What I found interesting was a New York Times piece that said republicans were wary of the plan. For instance, "Steve Scalise, a Louisiana Republican, worried that "do not track" could stifle innovation. "We must first look to self-regulation," Well, wouldn't "self-regulation" include additional tools at the consumer's disposal allowing them to, um, self-regulate? I understand legislators are always between a rock and a hard place in that they must protect both the consumer and the marketplace (i.e., businesses and their ability to compete and make money). But that comment is absurd. 

    Consumers do need more convenient ways to opt-out. Digital tracking will get more invasive before it becomes less so. Also, in the Wall Street Journal recently there was a piece about a gentleman identifying ways to "fingerprint" devices so advertisers would be able to monitor more than usual. As I said before, some consumers may welcome this because of the additional benefits that comes with it. Let them decide. After all, it's their computer, their internet connection, and their right. As long as republicans are OK with that. Right?

    Haiti and Cholera: A Landscape of Unclaimed Accountability"

    There is an age-old saying in public health that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

    Haiti, a country that has been ravaged by a devastating earthquake and now a cholera outbreak, has yet to garner the fruits of this weight.

    On October 21, 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) formally confirmed that Haiti was facing a cholera outbreak. To date, at least 196 people have died and 3,000 have been hospitalized by the illness, which causes diarrhea, acute fever, vomiting and severe dehydration. The CDC outlines the primary modes of prevention from contracting cholera. Among them are: 1) drinking and using safe water 2) washing hands with soap and water 3) using latrines to bury feces and avoiding defecating in bodies of water 4) Cooking food thoroughly and well and 5) cleaning up safely and thoroughly. The common denominator between each of these recommendations is not a magic bullet or even expensive technologies; it’s about having access to sanitation and personal hygiene facilities. 

    When most people think of prevention, they may think of the services that are circumscribed by the healthcare arena: vaccinations, early detection of disease through screening, or perhaps an investment in good nutrition and exercise. Yet another critical pillar to this prevention piece --and one that is sometimes overlooked --is infrastructure. Without being rooted in sound foundational structures to support everyday functioning, societies remain vulnerable to a breach in overall health. Translated into present-day context, this transgression from normal functioning is animated most devastatingly in Haiti, where a raging cholera epidemics is seen a repercussion of an absence of reliable structures.


    Wednesday, December 1, 2010

    I'm Sorry Rosa





    If you haven't heard yet, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced this Wednesday morning that Republicans will block any legislation from coming to the Senate floor until two key economic issues are addressed: funding the government and the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts.


    Today, though, shouldn't be about Senators or politics. It shouldn't be about legislating who gets aid because the policies those same Senators endorsed put people out of jobs. But it is. It should be about a woman, who on this day in 1955 sat down to rest her legs. Yes, I'm speaking of Rosa Parks.


    The heat misers we call Republicans seem fairly stuck on their own agenda. Notice, I did not say the agenda of America. They are more concerned with their own political agenda than actually helping folks. This political muscling could have waited until the next session when they have a larger power base in Congress. Yet, it seems like their greed and general meanness could not wait any longer.


    I've made a list, checked it twice, I've figured who's naughty or nice. Now, I don't think Democrats are "nice" and Republicans "naughty" – every Congressperson might get coal for Christmas. Yet, I don't think the American people, the 2 million people that will suffer loss of aid, are "naughty". I wonder if these Senators actually care, actually realize they speak for people.


    In the final analysis anybody can obstruct progress – it does not take an elevated intelligence. However, it takes courage and deep awareness to work together, not for political capital, but for the lives of common people, of working-class citizens. This will come back to haunt Republicans if they stay true to their word.


    Let's just hope they don't join in a chorus of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas". I remained amazed that our society promotes such atrocious acts. No, we're not getting bombed by a country to the North. We're not being invaded by a foreign country, or a heartless dictator. We're simply trying to make it all work, for all of us. I thought we were better than this. Maybe were not. Maybe what happened on Election Day pales in comparison to what happened today.


    Today could be about living justice, but Capitol Hill seems only interested with injustice. So, Rosa Parks, I apologize on behalf of all of us. We have missed the larger picture. We have remained interested only in money, and missed our fellow human beings. I thank you for not giving up your seat. You helped initiate a movement. You speak to me today. You tell me not to budge, because injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.


    So, on Capitol Hill today a statement was signed and spoken that missed the point of a Holiday Season, and missed the point of what makes their office relevant. They missed us today. I hope my Republican siblings will speak out against this, because unemployment doesn't know a political party. I hope the silence of good people will not occur, not this time. Whether it's refusing to give up a seat, or walking through a street, or simply initiating a conversation, I hope we all can stand up not for ideas, but for each other.


    Our society has too many divisions. Our society prides itself on angering the other to provoke a response. Today, we must sit down, and refuse to be changed. We must sit down, are refuse to become a part of the system, and propagate mindless hate. We must sit down, to stand up. I believe in America, but I believe in the people. What we saw today were the leaders of a country who serve only their own interests. They failed America.


    I'm Sorry Rosa.




    About the Author
    Connect: Facebook Twitter
    Zac's articles on Policy Diary
    Zac Bailes is an ordained Baptist minister with native Kentucky roots. A second-year student at the Wake Forest University School of Divinity, he earned his bachelor's in Philosophy at Georgetown College in Georgetown, KY.



    Passionate about social justice, Zac is intimately involved with the Institute for Dismantling Racism, an organization which seeks to create an anti-racist identity and culture that effects individuals and institutions. As a white, straight male, he constantly seeks to engage and question his privilege. It is a journey that is continually traveled on his blog Libs and Cons, and in life.

    World AIDS Day 2010: Changing the Pronoun

    Like so much of HIV/AIDS work over the past three decades, World AIDS Day has become a fixture in our world and in our collective consciousness.  It has become a day that is a mixed bag of remembrance, reflection, and calls to action.  There are messages reminding us that people are dying in Africa, Haiti, and Asia.  There are messages that blame Obama for broken promises, with well-intended but misguided calls for more funding that ignore a failed system.  There will be campaigns and messages to raise awareness to the plight of people with and at-risk for HIV/AIDS in the black and gay community, many of which will also be accompanied by more calls for funding as if money alone is the solution.