Sunday open thread

This thread is for anything on your mind this holiday weekend.

President Obama gave a great speech this morning at the Vermont Avenue Baptist Church on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's legacy:

[UPDATE] Jerome Armstrong:

Three more polls out since yesterday. Brown leads by 10% in an MRG poll and a PJM/CT poll (my posting their numbers isn't a validation of their results-- its info), and PPP has Brown leading by 5% in their final poll. In the final week of the election, only one poll (BMG/R2K) has shown a Coakley lead. My own calculations show Brown/Coakley/Kennedy at 51-47-2.

Looking at the PPP results, they show Coakley's favorables to have dropped from 50 to 44% over the past week, while Brown's favorables have dropped from 57% to 56% in the same time frame. Brown pulls in "64-32 with independents and is winning 20% of the vote from people who supported Barack Obama in 2008" which tells us that Brown has been able to pull off the similar task that Obama did in '08-- when he was an empty vessel for which the voters filled with their own wishes and expectations.

Ya kind of have to chuckle at the two-step pattern that the Obama administration does with these 'losses' ahead of time. Gibbs/Axlerod/Emanual go off the record to lower the boom that they expect Coakley to lose, with only an Obama-inspired miracle to to hope for... and then trot Bill Burton out to say on the record, 'no no no' and play the line. For the media, its a game, a bit of a secret they are in on, and so, who is the joke on?


Letter From A BirminghamJail [UPDATED]

This diary has been updated with comments by Juan Williams in today's WSJ comparing Martin Luther King and Barack Obama. They are a little further down. I am also inserting this video of Bobby Kennedy's announcement of Martin Luther King's assassination: object width="425" height="355">

This is not the diary I was planning to write in behalf of my candidate for the democratic party's nomination, Hillary Clinton, on the 40th Anniversay of Martin Luther King's assassination.

But I got swept up! Casting about on the internet doing research for this diary I got tossed here and there,  and I started reading something. It turned out to be way more compelling than I anticipated. It is also long, but I couldn't stop.

Now I want to share it with you. It is a manifesto, a blueprint, an oupouring of indignation, a defense and a battle cry for justice.

It is Martin Luther King Jr's "Letter From a Birmingham Jail."

While reading the Letter I kept thinking about Hillary and her history of standing up for civil rights. She is King's  figurative daughter and I think that is why Jaqueline Jackson, Jesse's wife, has endorsed her.

But before you jump into the Letter here is Juan Williams in today's Wall Street Journal remembering Martin Luther King and comparing him to candidate Barack Obama:
Martin Luther King Jr. died at age 39; today, the 40th anniversary of his death, is the first time he has been gone longer than he lived. Figures such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have tried to claim his place on the American stage. But at most they have achieved fame and wealth. What separated King from any would-be successor was his moral authority. He towered above the high walls of racial suspicion by speaking truth to all sides...
And then on Barack Obama.
But as his campaign made headway with black voters, Mr. Obama no longer spoke about the responsibility and the power of black America to appeal to the conscience and highest ideals of the nation. He no longer asks black people to let go of the grievance culture to transcend racial arguments and transform the world. He has stopped all mention of government's inability to create strong black families, while the black community accepts a 70% out-of-wedlock birth rate. Half of black and Hispanic children drop out of high school, but he no longer touches on the need for parents to convey a love of learning to their children. There is no mention in his speeches of the history of expensive but ineffective government programs that encourage dependency. He fails to point out the failures of too many poverty programs, given the 25% poverty rate in black America. And he chooses not to confront the poisonous "thug life" culture in rap music that glorifies drug use and crime. Instead the senator, in a full political pander, is busy excusing Rev. Wright's racial attacks as the right of the Rev.-Wright generation of black Americans to define the nation's future by their past. He stretches compassion to the breaking point by equating his white grandmother's private concerns about black men on the street with Rev. Wright's public stirring of racial division. And he wasted time in his Philadelphia speech on race by saying he can't "disown" Rev. Wright any more than he could "disown the black community." No one has asked him to disown Rev. Wright. Only in a later appearance on "The View" television show did he say that he would have left the church if Rev. Wright had not retired and not acknowledged his offensive language. As the nation tries to recall the meaning of Martin Luther King today, Mr. Obama's campaign has become a mirror reflecting where we are on race 40 years after the assassination. Mr. Obama's success has moved forward the story of American race relations; King would have been thrilled with his political triumphs. But when Barack Obama, arguably the best of this generation of black or white leaders, finds it easy to sit in Rev. Wright's pews and nod along with wacky and bitterly divisive racial rhetoric, it does call his judgment into question. And it reveals a continuing crisis in racial leadership. What would Jesus do? There is no question he would have left that church.

Here it is from April 16, 1963:

Letter from a Birmingham Jail

My Dear Fellow Clergymen:
While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities "unwise and untimely." Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.

I think I should indicate why I am here in Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the view which argues against "outsiders coming in." I have the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization operating in every southern state, with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. We have some eighty five affiliated organizations across the South, and one of them is the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. Frequently we share staff, educational and financial resources with our affiliates. Several months ago the affiliate here in Birmingham asked us to be on call to engage in a nonviolent direct action program if such were deemed necessary. We readily consented, and when the hour came we lived up to our promise. So I, along with several members of my staff, am here because I was invited here. I am here because I have organizational ties here.

But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their "thus saith the Lord" far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.

Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.

There's more...

Obama trying to be JFK and MLK

You know I am a Democrat because of two families who I respect greatly.  One of those families has seen great tragedy over and over and survived to continue fighting for what is right.  The other family has overcome great odds and fought to ensure they can continue to support and help working class americans.  

The first family as i'm sure you can guess is the Kennedy family.  If i had to name one person who affected and influenced my life more than anyone else on earth it would have to be President Kennedy.  I was born years after he was assasinated that day in Dallas.  I never got to see him speak on television or see him at a campaign rally, but i have read his speeches, his books and feel i have a good understanding of what he believed.  

The second family is the Clinton family.  President Clinton himself has a special place in his heart for President Kennedy, as do I.  As President Bill Clinton did everything he could to help people in the middle class, as well as trying to improve the lives of people in poverty all over the world.  If i had to pick a second most influential person on my life it would be a tie.  Hillary and Bill Clinton.  I have been to rallies and seen the President on television in this instance, and i know that the Clintons care about the American people.

There is a man today who i used to respect as a politician and a rising star in US politics, who I can no longer respect.  That man is Barack Obama.  This is a man who would have the audacity to run around the country with no plan for how he will fix the problems we have, but campaigns instead on the nebulous idea of change.  This man further has the audacity to compare himself to great American leaders such as my beloved President Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr.  

There's more...

Civil Rights Advocate, No More

People for the American Way has obtained a strategy memo from the Alliance For Marriage (AFM), a rightwing organization intent on cultivating a "fifty state strategy" against marriage equality.  AFM says they're fighting an "historic struggle" to beat back the "acceleration" of marriage equality on the state level by promoting "a non-binding Marriage Protection Resolution; a joint resolution passed by state legislatures calling upon the state's congressional delegation and congressional leadership in Washington, to send the federal Marriage Protection Amendment to state legislators for ratification."

In the memo, AFM President Matt Daniels writes, "It is safe to predict that the trend in the courts will continue in the direction of Massachusetts and New Jersey" -- which ignores the fact that the NJ state legislaturepassed civil unions and will hopefully advance to marriage equality in the next two years.

But the more remarkable part of the memo is this:

There's more...


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