A Belated Martin Luther King Day Post: The Reverend Dr. Barber Brings the Heat Edition

Yesterday the Reverend Dr. William Barber, who is the Chair of the NAACP’s Legislative Action Committee, as well as a bishop, decided he’d had enough of people who actively work to stymie the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s goals and objectives and then selectively quote MLK. In this case it was Tennessee’s new governor Bill Lee. Including several gratuitous shots about what Dr. King would have thought of the President’s proposed wall. I’ll give Governor Lee credit, he sat their and took his medicine without so much as a spoon full of sugar. Here’s Bishop Barber bringing the heat:

Every potential Democratic candidate for office in 2020, regardless of the office they’re running for, should be taking notes from Bishop Barber.

That’s going to leave several marks!

Open thread!



NFL Teams To Loathe In The Age Of Trump*

Today’s NFL is a league in which billionaire white guys** own franchises, 70% of whose players are black.

Our politics are now dominated by an overtly and viciously racist president and an indoor-voice racist Republican party.  Which is why, I think that Sports Illustrated chose to post without comment an article about the political donations of the owners and top execs of each NFL franchise.

A fair number of team owners took what I see as the “don’t bother me” approach to donations — often skewing GOP, but in modest amounts and with an eye to local incumbents.  But several were more active, even hungry in their love of Trump and/or Republicans or PACs that function as Trump enablers.

See, e.g., Bob McNair of the Texans:  literally millions this year to the Republican national campaigns while “his list of 2018 donations, all Republican, is too long to fit on the page. Results can be found here.”  Huge Trump cash supporter in 2016 as well.  He’s the worst of the worst.

I never liked John Elway, and I like him less now that I know he’s a slow but steady GOP donor — though as a Raiders fan as a kid and Patriots one now, I can’t say I needed more reasons to dis Denver.

Then there are those who are trying to scattershot GOP success all over the map, well beyond their own territory. Jimmy Haslam of the Browns, is one, as is the Cardinals’ Mike Bidwell

Jerry Jones is everyone’s fool, so I guess I can laugh at his 2016 six figure support of Chris Christie.  There’s one born every minute. But I’m less inclined to forgive the Tampa Bay owners, the Glazers, for their persistent and substantial support for the RNC this time out.

What’s interesting, though, is how many owners, many of whom have been big GOP donors in past cycles, have sat out this one.  I count 14 who in 2018 either donated only to the NFLPAC or not at all.  And there are a couple who clearly lean our side — notably Wilf of the Vikes and the Falcons’ Blank.

So there you have it. The Krafts have been lying low, and despite Robert’s documented friendship w. Trump (feh!) seem to lean a little more D than R, so I guess I can keep on hoping the Patsies do well, even as I try to wean myself from this young-man’s-mind-wrecking sport.  But I’m done seeing Cleveland as lovable underdogs to root for; may they lose every game they play under current ownership.  And Tampa Bay is a crater. Sorry, Betty, but f**k ’em.

Last thought: I’m not going to interpret information for which I have clearly insufficient contextual knowledge.  But my prior here is that the large number of non-contributors, with more minimal donators who could be added to the list, reflects an impact of the kneeling demonstrations.  Whether it’s hearts and minds changing or a “who-needs-the-grief” impulse this looks to me like a potentially causal connection that will be tested, perhaps confirmed, as we go into the next presidential cycle. (Thank you, Rev. Bayes, and/or M. Laplace.)

And with that, pointless railing at the behavior of old rich white men over. Open thread.

*Yes. It is obviously ridiculous to care about NFL teams by ownership. But it’s also ridiculous to root for laundry, or which town happened to give the super rich a tax break etc., and we do it anyway. So there.

**Almost exclusively — Shahid Khan of the Jaguars is the only owner of color, and there are seven women on the principal ownership roles, either with other family members or on their own.

Image: Pierre-Paul Prud’hon, Innocence preferring love to wealth1804



Some Thoughts On Martin Luther King Day From The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Himself

There is really nothing I can say about what the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King was trying to teach us all and motivate us all to accomplish that he did not say himself. Given that reality, here he is in his own words. The Other America (1967):

The Three Evils of Society (1967):

Beyond Vietnam (1967):

Finally, as I wrote in last year’s Independence Day post, during the years prior to the Great Rebellion, America abolitionists rewrote the lyrics to My Country Tis of Thee. This abolitionist variant, done in a minor key, becomes a haunting spiritual begging the divine providence cited by the Founders in the Declaration, Constitution, and their other writings to finally bring liberty to all. This variant is below:

I will only say, in honor of the day and the man it is named after, that if one is not considered equal, then none of us are equal. And if one is not free, none of us are free. That has always been the challenge of America’s ideals versus America’s reality. It is up to us to do the hard work, small and large, to bridge that gap and to truly form a more perfect Union. Open thread!



Here’s a Little Bit of Hope on What Seems to be a Hopeless Night

 

Between the racks of canned beans and rolls of toilet paper in a bodega in Borough Park, Brooklyn, a staircase hides beside the shelves.

It leads to a cavern where, for the past 14 years, the bodega owner has quietly housed scores of homeless men, some with violent pasts and mental illness. He takes them in, from local park benches and street corners, unable to bear the idea of anyone out in the cold.

Here, beneath the shelves of instant soup and paper towels is an unauthorized shelter in its most primal form — a dank unfinished basement, cavelike and fetid, where the men sleep on pallets amid pools of dark water on the cement floor.

But there is real warmth, the men say. It comes from behind the deli counter, where seven days a week, stands the welcoming bodega owner, Candido Arcángel.

The shop is zoned for commercial use, and the basement does not have the required certificate of occupancy to permit people to live there. Mr. Arcángel has not made the necessary applications to the Department of Buildings to convert it into habitable space, which would require an inspection to determine if it is safe to do so.

The absence of permits has not deterred Mr. Arcángel, who says his reasoning for opening his basement to the homeless is simple. “Because they don’t have,” he said. “And I do.”

Mr. Arcángel recognizes the limitations of the crude shelter he provides; its rawness, he imagines, will prevent anyone from getting too comfortable. He aspires to be a way station for men who don’t get such things, but he fears his refuge becoming a crutch. “I tell them this: “Gentlemen, here, there’s no way out,” he said. “‘Take off like a dove, flying. You’ll learn to fly on your own. When I die, where will you go?’”
Here’s the kicker:

Mr. Arcángel grew up in the Dominican Republic, with dreams of becoming a baseball player. He played professionally on a Venezuelan team for one year, he said, before a shoulder injury ended his career and he left for America in 1989. It was his experience as a boy playing on teams — where children from working-class families like himself played alongside street children — that showed him how providing some structure, even in the form of uniforms, bats and gloves, transformed his teammates’ lives.

“These youths that were lost, you have to find them, and bring them in, so they could love God,” he said. “This is not a personal mission; it’s a mission for the good of society.”

That’s right, Mr. Arcángel immigrated from a country the President no doubt considers a shithole. Yet it is Mr. Arcángel who is doing his part to maintain and extend America’s civil society, not tear it down through petty bigotry.

Stay frosty (and warm)!

Open thread.



The Follow on Effects of the Weinstein Sexual Assault Allegations

As I’ve written in comments a couple of times over the last few days, I think from early indications from reporting coming out of some state capitols, that you’re going to see allegations of sexual improprieties wash through elected and appointed officials in the states and at the Federal level. This is going to get real ugly real fast once momentum picks up. What I think we’re going to see is three different types of allegations. There will be allegations dealing with sexual predation – harassment, assault, rape. There will also be allegations dealing with infidelity leading to calls of hypocrisy, with some of the infidelity involving lobbyists leading to accusations of sex for favors. Finally, there will be allegations of officials, elites, and/or notables who are closeted LGBTQ Americans. Some will be outed for hypocrisy. Some will also be accused of engaging in predation a la Speaker Hastert or Congressman Foley or Kevin Spacey. This last type will also include just plain old infidelities just like their heterosexual colleagues. Their will also, unfortunately, be some who are likely to just get outed as it all finally comes out even though they weren’t ready to come out. Essentially they’ll be collateral damage.

There are also going to be other effects. The first is that as the floodgates get forced open this is going to spread. It won’t be contained to the entertainment industry or to elected and/or appointed officials – it is going to spread from industry to industry and a long overdue reckoning will hopefully take place. Including changes in business practices, as well as new laws, rules, regulations, and eventually prosecutions for crimes where that is still a possibility.

At the same time there will likely be attempts to weaponize allegations against one’s political or business rivals. False allegations will eventually be created to ruin business or political rivals. If this happens, and I think it’s likely, it will also be used to undercut the legitimacy of the real accusers and undermine their allegations. If this does happen it will provide the opening for pushback from the forces of reaction that never want any progress to be made on any important issue because it makes them uncomfortable or challenges their authority or their privilege. And this will likely muddy the waters enough to allow for the beginning of what will be the inevitable push back. There has never been a period of progress, especially fast progress that resulted from long suppressed calls for justice, that wasn’t immediately followed by a fast and concerted push back. Including attempts to roll back all the gains and reestablish some imagined and idealized golden age before all the unfortunate and unnecessary change was pushed through. The forces of reaction are strong and they are always waiting for a chance to try to go back to get to a better future.

One of the things we all have to be prepared to do is to specifically support those we know who decide to come forward as we are generally supportive of those who come forward that we do not know. We have to set the conditions for those women and men, and in some really terrible instances girls and boys, to feel safe and supported enough to make this stand and fight this fight. And we have to be prepared to be supportive of those who wind up as collateral damage – and there will be collateral damage here. Finally, we have to hold the line for them when the inevitable pushback begins.