My Brother’s Keeper

President Obama launched the “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative yesterday, sharing some powerful personal stories:

“I had people who encouraged me, not just my mom and grandparents, but wonderful teachers and community leaders. And they pushed me to work hard, and study hard, and make the most of myself. And if I didn’t listen, they said it again. And if I didn’t listen, they said it a third time – and they would give me second chances and third chances.

“They never gave up on me, and so I didn’t give up on myself.”

We give up on too damn many young men and women in this country. This program sounds like a good start to redressing that grievous wrong, but it’s just a drop in the bucket.

We need to do more, all of us, because we really are in this together. But how? Do y’all have any ideas about that, beyond supporting the one viable political party that acts like it gives a shit about anyone other than rich white men?

H/T: Valued commenter Lamh36

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89 replies
  1. 1
    Botsplainer says:

    So awesome – it is deliberately anti-Rand, and the polar opposite of John Galt’s speech.

  2. 2

    Beyond the thing we need to do, what do we need to do?

    Actually, I kid. I’m sure our commenters will have all kinds of ideas, but let’s be clear. If the Republicans weren’t fanatically wielding a veto power, we would have an increased minimum wage, more stimulus investment, more universal healthcare, more equal opportunity laws, immigration reform that actually helps people, and better regulations on management’s ability to be a dick to their employees. Oh, and gun control. The Democratic Party has gotten more liberal, voters have gotten more liberal, and only the Party of Hate is in the way. Even they wouldn’t be in the way much if not for an existential racist freakout.

  3. 3
    Cervantes says:

    but it’s just a drop in the bucket.

    The amount of money raised so far seems … not yet adequate.

  4. 4
    Linda Featheringill says:

    It seems to be a good idea.

    We as a society would benefit from the energy, intelligence, and creativity that is now being wasted on internecine fighting, etc.

    I do like the idea of second chances and third and fourth and whatever. Goodness knows that we all need those.

  5. 5
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Out here in the lily white Ozarks I am reduced to confronting the stupidity. I can hardly wait for my first opportunity today when some numbnut will say how Obama is giving black kids special treatment. I will reply that, “YEAH! Special treatment is only for white kids!”

    The look of confusion on their faces when they come face to face with their own stupidity is priceless.

  6. 6
    Linda Featheringill says:

    How are you, Betty?

    And how is your grandmother?

  7. 7
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Linda Featheringill: Especially in schools. End “Zero Tolerance”** now.

    full disclosure: I have first hand experience with this after my youngest was caught with a joint.

  8. 8
    Betty Cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: This post from one of the morons at Powerline sums up the wingnut reaction. That is what passes for their intellectual opposition. And many of them call themselves Christians without irony, of course.

  9. 9
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Linda Featheringill: I’m hanging in there as best I can. Keep getting blindsided by the loss, a state of affairs I expect will last awhile. My poor grandmother…there just aren’t words. If she lives to see summer, I’ll be surprised.

  10. 10
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    If the Republicans weren’t fanatically wielding a veto power, we would have an increased minimum wage, more stimulus investment, more universal healthcare, more equal opportunity laws, immigration reform that actually helps people, and better regulations on management’s ability to be a dick to their employees.

    Really? Because I seem to remember not too long age that the Dems had the largest majorities in both the Senate and the House in modern history, and all they were able to pass was a watered down stimulus package, watered down financial reform, and watered down health care reform because single payer was considered just too crazy by our Dem leadership to even contemplate.

    I agree that voters think more liberally, and some of that is trending in their voting patterns. But I disagree that the Democratic party is more liberal. If anything, it seems to be becoming the home to moderate Republicans who got kicked out (or are running from) the Tea Party.

    Personally, my feeling is if you want to change things, then get involved in the local community. You’ll get much more bang for the buck starting there :-)

  11. 11
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Betty Cracker: Thanx. My eyes are burned now. I will be all day recovering. ;-)

    Seriously tho, that is what I deal with everyday I leave my little 13 acres.

  12. 12
    JPL says:

    There was a scene when the President was talking in front of a group of young men and called out one in particular. The young man’s eyes said it all. It was so cute. I haven’t watched the entire video but it was the scene where the President talks about his mistakes.

    @Betty Cracker: It’s not easy but will get better. Please take care.

  13. 13
    Cassidy says:

    Positively influencing children is easy and doesn’t require much effort. I’d be surprised if any of our suburban liberaltarians have the constitution for anything beyond pissing and moaning.

  14. 14
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    OT: Rain! This is a yawn for those of you who are besieged by Winter storms. Here in southern OC it’s blessing. We are enjoying our first substantial rain in months. It’s 4:40 AM and I just came in from standing outside where I spent a few enjoying the sensation of the rain washing my face and dripping off the end of my geriatric nose.

  15. 15
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Betty Cracker: It takes years Betty. Even now, 8 years later, there are parts of what I went thru with my mother that still haven’t healed. Sometimes I wonder if they ever will. Be patient with yourself.

  16. 16
    Cervantes says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    full disclosure: I have first hand experience with this after my youngest was caught with a joint.

    How old? (The kid, I mean.)

  17. 17
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Cassidy:

    Positively influencing children is easy and doesn’t require much effort.

    Huh. I’ve always found that providing a consistent, positive example to children requires an incredible amount of commitment and effort. Like most truly important things, it’s not easy at all. YMMV.

  18. 18
    cleek says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    the Dems had the largest majorities in both the Senate and the House in modern history

    for about 6 months, off and on, unpredictably. and not all Dems are Pure Pony Progressives.

  19. 19
    Cassidy says:

    @Betty Cracker: In my experience, you commit and you show up on time.

  20. 20
    Cervantes says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    commitment and effort

    And honesty, which requires courage and trust.

    And having a non-zero disposable income helps, too.

    (PS: Hugs to your grandma. The loss of a child is … damn near unbearable.)

  21. 21
    C.V. Danes says:

    @cleek:

    for about 6 months, off and on, unpredictably. and not all Dems are Pure Pony Progressives.

    Just sayin’ that even when the Dems had large majorities, they were not champions of liberal ideals. Not even by a long shot. This is not to say that the Republicans haven’t earned a special place in hell; they have. But when they had the power, the Dems were only about 1/4 inch left of center, if that.

    I’ve often felt that this country is just too big to be managed by only two parties. We really need three or four strong parties. Not sure how to make that happen.

  22. 22
    RSR says:

    Stop letting grifters blow up poor school districts, and provide a fair funding formula.

  23. 23
    raven says:

    We have a dear friend, she actually introduced us, who was stricken by brain cancer three months after she retired three years ago. She had a tough time but she’s still with us. She broke her hip in a fall two months ago and has been in the hospital or care facility since then. She came home yesterday and promptly fell and re-broke it. It’s hard to imagine that she is going to get better and harder to have a sense of what her family is going through. It sucks.

  24. 24
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    But doesn’t Obama know that every time you help someone, a libertarian angel dies in Heaven?

  25. 25
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Cervantes: And love, most of all.

  26. 26
    Betty Cracker says:

    @raven: God, that does suck. I am sorry about your friend.

  27. 27
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Cervantes: He was 15. Fuller disclosure: He had a knife in his backpack that he had forgotten about too.

    Consequences there should have been, but expulsion was a step too far. He lost almost 2 years of schooling because of that and his drug addled mother. Too long a story to give full details, but it was almost 4 years later and I forget how many thousands of dollars to a private school before he graduated.

    When he needed a place of stability the most, it was taken from him. It was not until his mother was sent to prison and I got custody that his life got some sense of normalcy.

  28. 28
    raven says:

    @Betty Cracker: Thanks, my bride and another friend have really gone the extra mile to help her. I’m more of the culinary back-up. I really feel badly for her husband, he went to get her wheelchair and she popped out of the car and fell.

  29. 29
    Cervantes says:

    @Betty Cracker: And a fanatical devotion to the Pope!

  30. 30
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @raven: A few days ago I learned that a dear friend has lung cancer. We are at that age.

  31. 31
  32. 32
    Betty Cracker says:

    @raven: Culinary back-up is important! The last two times I was ever of actual use to my mom were food-related, once when I managed to make a low-sodium potato soup that she enjoyed (she was nuts about potato soup), and the last when I walked all over Gainesville to find her some ice cream at 5 o’clock in the morning.

  33. 33
    Aimai says:

    @C.V. Danes: they werent filibuster proof majorities, included a dead guy who was replaced by a republican( kennedy) and a democrat who they prevented frim taking his seat for six months (franken) and a spoiler independent ( lieberman.)

  34. 34
    raven says:

    @Betty Cracker: Yea, you have to know what you are good at. I have a giant pan of baked pasta I need to distribute now!

  35. 35
    Libby's person says:

    I’ve been mentoring a young Black man in his mid-20s who is trying to establish a small odd jobs business. He’s one of the hardest-working people I know, trying to do things the right way and earn a decent life. The system is so stacked against him, though. For example, this very bright and determined young man was short-changed by the public school system; he thought that he was stupid rather than that the system let him down. He’s a good kid and should have a promising future, but it’s all too likely that he’ll end up falling through the cracks (but not if I can help it!). It’s such an indictment of the system that the odds are so against him – if someone with his qualities can’t succeed, our society is deeply screwed up.

    I applaud Obama’s initiative. This sort of thing is desperately needed – there’s so little help out there for young Black men. What little assistance is available tends to be targeted to help single mothers with children, the elderly, or veterans, all of whom do need assistance. It’s pure chance that I met this young man and took a liking to him. Basic survival shouldn’t be a matter of low-odds chance.

  36. 36
    raven says:

    @Libby’s person: Did he get that high school credential?

  37. 37
    Elizabelle says:

    I saw President Obama’s speech, and it was terrific.

    The people mocking it mock anything he does. Small minds.

    Am sure PBO got through to kids and parents of color, and to people who respect same.

    I wish we could get more non-sneerers out to vote. That’s key.

  38. 38
    Violet says:

    I love that he’s co-opted language from the Bible. Take that self-described Christians who think that screwing over the poor and anyone who isn’t white is what Christianity is all about.

  39. 39
    big ole hound says:

    @Cassidy: I agree. Kids having to wait because of your tardiness are targets for those elements we want them to avoid plus meaning what you say for little things builds that reliability and trust in kids heads that you need when talking to them about big things. A great deal of patience (I do not have much) is needed too.

  40. 40
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Betty Cracker: Heh. Up in St Louis we have an establishment known as Ted Drewes where they sell frozen custard. Having a Concrete on a warm summer’s eve has been a St Louis tradition since before the Depression. Towards the end of my mother’s illness nothing tasted good to her…. except a Concrete of any flavor. So whenever I went to see her I would drive into the city and get her one, then drive back to the county where she was in rehab or up to Barnes-Jewish where she was in ICU.

    She dearly loved her Concretes.

  41. 41
    RuhRow_Gyro says:

    We could try to teach black people mathematics.

  42. 42
    brantl says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: I think that’s what he’s hoping for, to crack the libertarian lockup that’s going on in heaven.

  43. 43
    Cassidy says:

    @big ole hound: I’ve got four kids, so the patience, love, so on and so forth, it’s kind of a second nature thing. I call it just being a decent person and kids pick on it. But punctuality, kids know when they’re not a priority. Being there when you say you’ll be there is the most important thing I’ve found.

  44. 44
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @C.V. Danes: When you need 60 votes to pass something (because of GOP abuse of filibuster rules) and you have a total of 60 in your caucus, the opinions, views, and demands of the potential 60th vote ( in this case the most conservative Dems) are going to get far more weight than those of the median or left most caucus member.

    @Betty Cracker: Keep your chin up.

  45. 45
    gene108 says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Chinese-Americans make more money, on the average, than white Americans, the “income gap” between Jews and Gentiles is wider than that between whites and blacks, and I believe Iranian-Americans have recently surpassed Jews as the highest income group of all. The issue here is not being a “minority.” On the contrary, if one sincerely wanted to help young African-Americans, an obvious starting point would be to ask why other Americans “of color” have done so much better. But that isn’t what the White House has in mind.

    From the Powerline blog link you posted.

    The reason recent immigrants have done so much better is because the immigration system only lets in the doctors, engineers, computer programmers and PhD candidates.

    A bit of a broad brush, but outside of refugees, if you want to immigrate to America the “easiest”* path forward is through professional employment based categories. Family sponsorship has gotten a lot harder for anything put your spouse and children under 21, such as parents, siblings, etc.

    * The immigration process was never easy, but Obama’s trying to impress the knuckle draggers that he can enforce all the immigration laws to the letter and thereby get a big immigration reform bill passed; so an already difficult system has become harder to navigate for currently legal immigrants.

  46. 46
    sparrow says:

    @Cassidy: This is true, especially when the kid is receptive to mentoring but just isn’t getting it. I once had a 20 minute conversation with two teenaged girls while on an evacuation flight from Rita (daughters of a friend of a friend, never saw them again) about why getting an education is important, the difference it can make in your life, why striving to do your best and going for a career matters, blah, blah. It wasn’t even particularly insightful stuff, just something an older person can say to a young kid who thinks school is a waste of time.

    A couple years later I ran into that friend again and he said those two girls had completely turned around their schooling after that and were really motivated to go to college — he claimed because of my conversation. I was totally stunned.

  47. 47
    MomSense says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    When I saw the photos of the event at the White House, I figured wing nuts would wing out. There was a story at yahoo about the young men giving the President a father’s day card in the oval office. One of the young men said he had never signed a father’s day card before and the President replied that he hadn’t either.

    Betty, I’m keeping you and your family and grandmother in my thoughts and sending virtual hugs.

  48. 48
    Libby's person says:

    @raven: Yes, he has a high school diploma and even took a couple of community college courses, but he doesn’t write well. He presents himself well – I was impressed enough to offer to work with him!

  49. 49
    Botsplainer says:

    @raven:

    My in laws sold their house pretty much at the same time my mother in law retired, and moved to what was to be their active living dream home in Hilton Head (my father in law was a few years older, retired active duty O5 with a second private sector retirement plus SS).

    It was a good plan, save for the fact that within three months, my mother in law was diagnosed with a stubborn colon cancer that she fought hard for four years before losing the battle. Now all my father in law has is a big house, more money coming in now than it did when he was ever working, and a never ending stream of Fox News and forwarded wingnut emails.

    My wife and are putting off no experiences for retirement. We’ve both seen it happen too many times.

  50. 50
    SarahT says:

    Betty, hope you and your family are well.

  51. 51
    Hawes says:

    Things have not been easy for my eldest. He’s in a special school right now, because of…well, we’re still trying to figure it out after six years of problems.

    But he has both parents, four grandparents, two aunts, economic resources, a decent school district who is footing the bill at the therapeutic school. In short, he has the advantages that most minority students don’t. He’s a really neat kid. I realized the other day that he might be my best friend (although at age 12, we’re not exactly conversationally compatible). I think he’s going to be a really awesome adult. But by the noodly appendages of the FSM, it has been the hardest fucking thing I’ve ever done.

    I am hopeful that once he’s on his way into “honorable manhood” I can take what I’ve learned with him and apply it to others who struggle.

    At least I’ll never be bored…

  52. 52
    gene108 says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    But I disagree that the Democratic party is more liberal. If anything, it seems to be becoming the home to moderate Republicans who got kicked out (or are running from) the Tea Party.

    I think the Democratic Party has gotten more liberal. There are plenty of refugees, who voted for Bush & Co, who are now Democrats, but they are not calling the shots in the Democratic Party.

    I think the focus on the minimum wage, income inequality, etc. is a genuine liberal shift from the era of the 1980’s, 1990’s and 2000’s, where Democrats were struggling with trying to keep the New Deal coalition together. Most of the people, who made up the New Deal coalition have passed on and we are seeing a new coalition forming around Millennials and Latino immigrants.

    The problem is you are not going to override 30 years of social thinking about “government is the problem” with one massive electoral win that happened in 2008. Only by winning decisively for 2-4 election cycles can you hope to force a change at some level.

    2010 kept the nail from being driven into the coffin of the right-wingers. Plenty of the gains were rolled back in 2012 and more will be rolled back in 2014, as governors like Corbett, Walker, etc. have low popularity and may not survive their re-election bids.

  53. 53
    gene108 says:

    @Aimai:

    they werent filibuster proof majorities, included a dead guy who was replaced by a republican( kennedy) and a democrat who they prevented frim taking his seat for six months (franken) and a spoiler independent ( lieberman.

    You forgot Ted Kennedy’s brain cancer. Kennedy was absent from votes, plus Baucus got deputed to be in charge of part of HCR in the Senate, because Kennedy had brain cancer.

    It was Baucus, who held up getting a bill out of his committee before the August 2009 recess. Instead of Democrats doing a “victory lap”, when they went home for the August 2009 recess, you had the “summer of rage”, because HCR was stalled in Baucus’ committee.

  54. 54
    GregB says:

    So now all of those wingnut ass-chappers who have been saying that ‘The Blacks’ are worse off under President Obama now get to run around screaming that President Obama only cares about ‘The Blacks’.

  55. 55
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Hawes: The hardest part of dealing with a troubled child for me was never losing sight of the other.

  56. 56
    MomSense says:

    @Hawes:

    You are my hero! I only went through it for one year with my son- the most stressful year ever. I learned that a good school nurse and guidance counselor can save your life. We still have episodes but it is much better now. I hope and pray that your son will emerge from this whole and healthy.

  57. 57
    MomSense says:

    @gene108:

    Wasn’t Byrd in a hospital most of the time? I seem to remember that the anti ObamaCare Christians were praying he would die before the vote.

    Also, too the majority included Evan Bayh, Ben Nelson, Max Baucus, Blanche Lincoln, and Joe Lieberman. It’s a miracle we passed the ACA.

  58. 58
    Sly says:

    @C.V. Danes:
    India is bigger than the United States by about 900 million people, and their lower house, the Lok Sabha, has 545 members spread across 35+ parties. Ask them and they’ll tell you how effective a multi-party proportional representation system is at actually representing the varied interests of such a vast constituency: it isn’t. And it still hasn’t limited the need to form two general party coalitions in order for anything to get done.

    The problem of America’s political institutions is not one of size. It’s one of too many exploitable veto points.

  59. 59
    raven says:

    @Botsplainer: I hear ya, I’m 64 and I’ll keep working and taking the bluewater fishing trips as long as I can.

  60. 60
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Now we just arm them and call them My Brother’s Oathkeepers.

  61. 61
    Unabogie says:

    This was a beautiful thing. Thanks, Lamh36!

    And Betty Cracker, sorry for your loss. Take care.

  62. 62
    The Very Reverend Crimson Fire of Compassion says:

    @RuhRow_Gyro: Scuze the fuck outa me?

  63. 63
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    When you need 60 votes to pass something (because of GOP abuse of filibuster rules) and you have a total of 60 in your caucus, the opinions, views, and demands of the potential 60th vote ( in this case the most conservative Dems) are going to get far more weight than those of the median or left most caucus member.

    Except that it doesn’t take 60 votes to change the filibuster, if that was indeed the problem.

  64. 64
    C.V. Danes says:

    @gene108:

    The problem is you are not going to override 30 years of social thinking about “government is the problem” with one massive electoral win that happened in 2008. Only by winning decisively for 2-4 election cycles can you hope to force a change at some level.

    This much is true. And we need to get rid of the Dems who feel that government is the problem, too.

    2010 kept the nail from being driven into the coffin of the right-wingers. Plenty of the gains were rolled back in 2012 and more will be rolled back in 2014, as governors like Corbett, Walker, etc. have low popularity and may not survive their re-election bids.

    We can only hope, and this will take lots of Dems hitting the streets in local elections to make this happen.

  65. 65
    piratedan says:

    @C.V. Danes: bullshit…. in that brief amount of time and I don’t think it was even six months, remember that Coleman/Franken election took months (late June) to resolve and by that time Kennedy’s health was already in the dumper. So while that’s true in the House, look at all of the shit that Nancy Smash had passed, the Senate was already witness to McConnell’s scorched earth tactics. In that amount of time (July thru August), we saw the stimulus, Lily Ledbetter(sic) and ACA get passed while Kennedy was barely hanging on and then he gets replaced by Scott Brown and then Byrd passes and we get Joe Manchin, liberal bastions of thought, both (er, not).

    so please, stop with the myth that we had Dem veto proof supermajorities in place for two years, because it’s not true. Apologies all around to Harry Reid who completely misjudged Republican intransigence and duplicity and still “played by the rules maintaining Senate decorum” while the GOP shat all over tradition and common sense because we elected someone who didn’t look like them.

  66. 66

    @C.V. Danes:
    You have supported my point, not disproven it. It took absolutely insane ‘Do anything to block legislation’ tactics by the GOP to stop a liberal agenda parade, and even then we got some very good stuff.

  67. 67
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Libby’s person:

    For example, this very bright and determined young man was short-changed by the public school system; he thought that he was stupid rather than that the system let him down.

    If there are specific things he has trouble with (like writing), it’s very possible that he has an undiagnosed learning disability. Dyslexia is a common one, but there are a lot more than people realize. Minority kids are more likely to be sent to “special ed” (i.e. diagnosed as retarded or having intellectual disabilities) while white kids with similar problems are diagnosed as having learning disabilities and given extra help outside the ordinary classroom rather than being segregated into “special ed.”

    I could be wrong, but it does seem as though quite often someone who went through school thinking they were “stupid” had an undiagnosed LD. Heck, even famous people find out years later that they’ve had an LD their whole lives.

  68. 68
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Sly: I would consider India to be an extreme case. I said 3-4 strong parties, not 35…

    In my mind, America is “roughly” divided into at least three, maybe four, ideological regions: the liberal Northeast, the conservative South, the libertarian Flyover Country, and possibly the Pacific states (liberal libertarianism?). Hard to cover that with only two parties.

  69. 69
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @C.V. Danes: If you want to argue that Democrats made a mistake by not blowing up the filibuster, I am willing to grant that possibility. Nevertheless, they were operating under the rules as they stood. Part of the difference bwtween our side and theirs is that our side tends to respect process and does not go scorched earth when something does not go our way.

    With respect to having more than 2 political parties, I once saw a quip that in the US we form coalitions then have elections whereas other countries have elections then form coalitions. The end result is basically the same.

  70. 70
    Cervantes says:

    @RuhRow_Gyro: We could?

  71. 71
    C.V. Danes says:

    @piratedan:

    so please, stop with the myth that we had Dem veto proof supermajorities in place for two years, because it’s not true.

    I didn’t say that. What I said was that they had the largest majorities in modern history. And they only achieved that by courting the Blue Dogs. So, no, the Dem caucus is not some bastion of liberal ideals. It’s a mishmash of the center left and moderate conservatism, with an occasional rhetorical bone tossed to what constitutes the “liberal” wing to keep them mollified.

    If the Dems were really that liberal, they would be seriously talking about getting rid of the SS tax limit instead of entertaining raising the retirement age, they would be playing hardball on legislation to support collective bargaining along with raising the minimum wage by a couple of bucks, the TBTF banks would have been broken up when they were down for the count instead of being nursed back to life (and they might have had an actual trial or two), they would be fighting for real legislation on climate change as if the future of our civilization were at stake, they would have drawn a line in the sand on cutting SNAP benefits, and a whole host of other issues.

    So, the current Dem caucus may be slightly “more liberal,” whatever the hell that means, but they are certainly not liberal, not even by historical standards.

  72. 72
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Part of the difference bwtween our side and theirs is that our side tends to respect process and does not go scorched earth when something does not go our way.

    True, but some things are worth going “scorched earth,” like climate change legislation, before the Earth actually, you know, gets scorched :-)

  73. 73
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @C.V. Danes: At this point, you aren’t arguing against the liberalism of Democratic caucus but rather against their unwillingness to adopt the bare knuckle tactics of the Republicans. There is a conversation to be had about that, but it isn’t what you were originally saying.

    Also, when you think about the overall liberalism of the Democrats in Congress, you should remember that some of the folks who voted for the New Deal and Fair Deal legislation were absolute pigs on civil rights and when forced to choose, moved right on economic issues so that they could continue to support discrimination. Those guys are gone.

  74. 74
    FlyingToaster says:

    @Cassidy:

    But punctuality, kids know when they’re not a priority. Being there when you say you’ll be there is the most important thing I’ve found.

    Werd.

    And telling them the truth when you can’t be there.

    WarriorGirl knows that Dad can’t make it to Friday morning assemblies, because his job requires him to be in-office on that morning. He makes it to Friday afternoon assemblies because the meetings are over by 1:30.

    She learned last week why Grandma can’t visit her in Boston; WG was old enough to recognize the arthritic hands (she’d seen x-rays the week before at the Museum of Science) and saw her Grandma being unable to eat dinner or walk in the sun. So my excuse “Grandma can’t travel up here anymore; she’s sick” became meaningful for the first time.

    Fortunately having me as stay-at-home-mom means that at least one person can always show up; but teaching kids as they get older *why* it isn’t all about them helps as well.

  75. 75
    AxelFoley says:

    @Aimai:

    @C.V. Danes: they werent filibuster proof majorities, included a dead guy who was replaced by a republican( kennedy) and a democrat who they prevented frim taking his seat for six months (franken) and a spoiler independent ( lieberman.)

    Thank you. I can’t believe someone’s trying to spew that bullshit again.

  76. 76
    Mnemosyne says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    What I said was that they had the largest majorities in modern history.

    How are you defining “modern history”? Johnson’s majorities were far larger, and we’ve only had three Democratic presidents since then.

  77. 77
    C.V. Danes says:

    @AxelFoley:

    Thank you. I can’t believe someone’s trying to spew that bullshit again

    Again, I never said “filibuster proof majorities,” so I’m not sure what “bullshit” I’m supposed to have been spouting.

  78. 78
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    How are you defining “modern history”? Johnson’s majorities were far larger, and we’ve only had three Democratic presidents since then.

    Johnson was president over 50 years ago. I think that stretches the limits of “modern history” in this context, but I may be wrong.

  79. 79
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    At this point, you aren’t arguing against the liberalism of Democratic caucus but rather against their unwillingness to adopt the bare knuckle tactics of the Republicans. There is a conversation to be had about that, but it isn’t what you were originally saying.

    There may be some truth to that, but I would continue to argue that whatever the tactics are, the Dem leadership is more concerned achieving some kind of “centrist pragmatism” than fighting the liberal fight. Something might be better than nothing, but tell it to the people who just lost even more of their SNAP benefits so we could pass another gift to the Agricultural industry in the name of bipartisanship.

  80. 80
    brantl says:

    I keep having an idea that we have-nots should pool our money in something like a credit union, give out loans at minimal interest or a stake in the business, if it turns into a business (like 1% of profit, after the loan is paid back) and then start loaning it to each other, for worthwhile ideas. There could even be expertise sharing around the fringe, with side-deals to make sure that you don’t go broke helping someone get started, or “banking” your hours against a time you need help, and then they supply hours to help you..

  81. 81
    brantl says:

    @C.V. Danes:Not until the Republicans stop living in the 1920’s. I almost typed 1290’s which wouldn’t be too far wrong.

  82. 82
    C.V. Danes says:

    @brantl:

    Not until the Republicans stop living in the 1920′s. I almost typed 1290′s which wouldn’t be too far wrong.

    I would say, what’s a few centuries for Neanderthals, but that would be an insult to Neanderthals. Neanderthals were actually a quite peaceful race, apparently :-)

  83. 83
    Mnemosyne says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    Even by Carter and Clinton standards, Obama didn’t have an overwhelming majority. Clinton had 57 Senators (as compared to Obama’s eventual, and short-lived, 60) and 270 in the House vs. Obama’s 255 in the House.

    Anyone who thinks Obama’s numbers were “overwhelming” compared to Clinton’s is remembering wrong.

  84. 84
    Betty Cracker says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    …the Dem leadership is more concerned achieving some kind of “centrist pragmatism” than fighting the liberal fight.

    There’s a lot of truth to that. But I don’t think we can blame that on political cowardice so much as the fact that we don’t really have an organized hard left in this country, at least not in numbers large enough to move the needle on a national scale.

    It’s frustrating to fight tooth and nail for half and quarter loaves all the time, but I don’t think it’s realistic to expect more, not until we change some attitudes. Which I think we’re doing! But too slowly for my tastes as well…

  85. 85
    Cervantes says:

    Here’s (part of) someone’s take on the initiative:

    When’s the last time you saw a discussion of low-income schools on MSNBC? (A bit of advice: Start your search at “never.” You’ll be pretty close.)

    If true, why?

  86. 86
    Plantsmantx says:

    @Cervantes:

    “Perhaps with O’Reilly’s assistance”?

  87. 87

    Just saw the term “Gimmetarians” for the first time today. Seems apt.

    I find it so bizarre that self-described “Gimmetarians” are lamenting the demise of this Arizona bill. Libertarianism is the last refuge of a bigot.

  88. 88
    Cervantes says:

    @Plantsmantx: Sorry, I can’t make out your question or your point.

  89. 89
    Cervantes says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    When he needed a place of stability the most, it was taken from him. It was not until his mother was sent to prison and I got custody that his life got some sense of normalcy.

    Yikes. Good thing he made it through — with your help.

    (Thanks for sharing the story.)

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