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Moyers: Imagine If America Had Adopted Martin Luther King's Economic Dream

April 6, 2013 in Blogs

By Bill Moyers, James Cone, Taylor Branch, BillMoyers.com



From Billmoyers.com.

BILL MOYERS: Welcome. You may think you know about Martin Luther King, Jr., but there is much about the man and his message we have conveniently forgotten. He was a prophet, like Amos, Isaiah and Jeremiah of old, calling kings and plutocrats to account, speaking truth to power.

Yet, he was only 39 when he was murdered in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4th, 1968. The March on Washington in ’63 and the March from Selma to Montgomery in ’65 were behind him. So were the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. In the last year of his life, as he moved toward Memphis and fate, he announced what he called the Poor People’s Campaign, a “multi-racial army” that would come to Washington, build an encampment and demand from Congress an “Economic Bill of Rights” for all Americans — black, white, or brown. He had long known that the fight for racial equality could not be separated from the need or economic equity – fairness for all, including working people and the poor. That’s why he was in Memphis, marching with sanitation workers on strike for a living wage when he was killed.

With me are two people steeped in King’s life and work. Taylor Branch wrote the extraordinary, three-volume history of the civil rights era, “America in the King Years.” The first of them, “Parting the Waters,” received the Pulitzer Prize. He now has distilled all that work, adding fresh material and insights to create this new book, “The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Right Movement.”

James Cone, a longtime professor of theology at New York’s Union Theological Seminary, wrote the ground-breaking books that defined black liberation theology, interpreting Christianity through the eyes and experience of the oppressed. Among them: “Black Theology and Black Power,” “Martin and Malcolm and America,” and this most recent bestseller, “The Cross and the Lynching Tree.”

Before we talk, let’s listen to these words from Martin Luther King, Jr., spoken at Stanford University just a year before his assassination. It’s as if he were saying them today.

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR: …read more
Source: ALTERNET

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How to Talk About a Woman’s Looks

April 6, 2013 in Blogs

By Irin Carmon, Salon



There were, perhaps, stupider things said recently than “How did it become so difficult to call a woman good-looking in public?” but I didn’t happen to hear them. So congratulations, Dylan Byers of Politico. Your commentary on the president calling California Attorney General Kamala Harris “by far, the best looking attorney general” made my brain hurt.

It is not “difficult to call a woman good-looking in public,” not in a world where women’s looks are considered public property, to be commented on, uninvited, whether it’s on the street, in a job interview, or in the press. Many people find it quite easy to do, many of them men, and many people who should know better, like Barack Obama.

This is hardly the first time Obama has been smarmily sexist under the guise of paying a compliment. In the same New York magazine story on Christine Quinn in which Mayor Michael Bloomberg was notoriously quoted saying, “Look at the ass on her,” Obama got a pass for a more politely phrased brand of creepiness. According to the piece, Obama said to a Republican legislator, 32-year-old Nicole Malliotakis, that she didn’t look a day over 23. Quinn promptly joked that Malliotakis should become a Democrat, and the president chimed in, “Come on, honey! I said you’re pretty! I said you look 23!”

Yes, women who seem young and are considered pretty by men obtain certain advantages in our society. That doesn’t mean that the purportedly progressive president of the United States needs to do his part to enforce all that. (Don’t get me started on “honey,” or “sweetie.” No, I can’t take a fucking compliment.) Yes, people notice and appreciate attractiveness in men and women, which is not incompatible with being smart or successful. But women, above all, are subject to a can’t-win calculus in which the desires of men, rather than their objective qualifications, determine how they’re treated — for better or worse. It applies wherever women exist in public, even when looks are entirely irrelevant to the issue at hand.

Almost as obnoxious as the men talking about how put-upon they are by p.c. harpies who aren’t interested …read more
Source: ALTERNET