Streams

What the Oscars Don't Tell Us About Race in America

Friday, January 28, 2011

Too often, the stories black and brown (and women) filmmakers want to tell cannot get a green light. Studios do not want to take the chance on a story that is out of what they perceive to be the mainstream. So, come Oscar time, you don’t see diversity -- in front of the camera, or behind it.

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The Silence of Friends

Friday, January 28, 2011

As Americans, we have come to expect our leaders to stand up for the rights of those who want to be free—calling on other nations to foster democracy and not to squelch it. With the situation developing in Egypt, however, we need to hear more from the White House than labored fence-straddling between what is best for our national interests and the principles we profess to uphold.

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Will Obama Keep His Word on a Government that Lives Within Its Means?

Friday, January 28, 2011

WNYC

The president offered some straight talk during his State of the Union address on the relationship between our deficit, long-term debt problems and social welfare spending. He admitted that there would have to be sacrifices to bring our deficits under control, and that only working on non-military discretionary spending barely scratches the surface of the issue.

But what do the American people want to do about this? Normally you could just look at public opinion polling, but in this case, most polls are asking the wrong questions.

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Halloran's Abominable Snow Story

Friday, January 28, 2011

When New York City Council Member Dan Halloran announced that the city’s poor response to last month’s blizzard was the result of an intentional slow down by sanitation workers, we had a chance to see how right-wing media works. Based only on his unverified claims, the story appeared in The Post, then on its sibling Fox News. Other news agencies then followed Fox’s lead, and all the attention prompted three separate probes by the US Attorney, District Attorney and the City Department of Investigations.

Halloran had his 15 minutes of fame serving the anti-worker interests of the right-wing message machine, and the workers were dubbed  “Abominable Snowmen" by the ever-classy Post.

Now the story of these “Abominable Snowmen” is proving as questionable as the yeti itself.

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Some Conservatives More Equal Than Others? Think Again

Thursday, January 27, 2011

In the recent brouhaha over the gay group GOProud being included in the "participating organizations" for CPAC, and the resulting boycott by some social conservative groups and politicians, the idea that "conservatives don't *do* identity politics in this way" just can't be counted as a legitimate reason. I understand the wish to make it not so, but the "we don't do identity politics" ship sailed a long time ago.

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Financial Crisis: Where's the Outrage?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

In 2008, the bubble popped. The financial crisis sent our economy swirling into chaos and pushed us into this Great Recession. Many Americans lost faith in our private institutions that caused this mess and in our public institutions that should have seen it coming. The fallout shined a light on the double-dealing shell game being played by our financial giants. Unfortunately, they weren’t playing with Monopoly money. The high stakes had high costs: a devastating spike in unemployment, a national foreclosure crisis based on mortgage fraud and depleted pensions and retirement accounts for working Americans.

At least those whose reckless — and potentially criminal — gambles drove us into this ditch got what they had coming…bonuses, a light reprimand and carte blanche to do it all again.

It’s enough to make you so angry you’d consider dumping tea in Boston Harbor.

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A Modest Proposal For Medicaid

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Before man had invented healthcare administrations run by the pharmaceutical-industrial complex, all he had were tough decisions. Do we leave grandpa, or carry him with us across the tundra? As time has moved on and man has become more advanced we have been able to allow grandpa some comfort in getting old, but now that our economic system is on the skids, it's time to look deep into the eyes of the elderly and tell them that tough decisions are coming.

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Obama's No Centrist

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

WNYC

A balanced look at President Obama’s actions and expressions of personal belief, in aggregate, points to a mainstream liberal, not a centrist.

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A Good Speech, But to the Wrong Audience

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Last night I watched with 100 of my fellow political junkies as President Obama gave his third State of the Union address. We tweeted along, in earnest, with mostly substantive commentary, though the tweets were laced with wry humor about John Boehner's emotional reaction to Obama's remark about his boyhood and whether Vice President Biden himself was tweeting.

I said on this page yesterday that, for Obama, this speech needed to be a big transformational moment, a speech that would evoke FDR and Kennedy, one that would remind us why we voted for him in the first place.

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This Isn't Your Grandfather's Sputnik Moment

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The build-up to President Obama’s State of the Union Address had suggested he was going to boldly challenge Americans to rise to meet the “Sputnik moment” of our generation. It was a tantalizing claim. Liberals hoped this sense of purpose would justify new investment in jobs, infrastructure and education, despite the worries of deficit hawks. Conservatives looked forward to pro-business policies behind the themes of entrepreneurship and innovation and were intrigued by the tone of American exceptionalism hinted at in the speech’s promotion.

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Your Speech was a Missed Opportunity, Mr. President

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

As I sat in stunned silence watching President Obama's State of the Union address, I couldn't help but think back to the classic 1968 James Brown hit that seemed quite appropriate for the occasion. “You're like a dull knife—just ain't cutting. You're just talking loud—and saying nothing.”

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Barack Obama Takes Us Back Into The Future

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Barack Obama's State of the Union address felt a little bit like a letter sent to me by a distant lover. It was filled with promises for fun times in the future if I could just get through these tough times right now. This wasn't a speech to rally me behind the successes of his administration (crickets...) but to gas me up on my hopes for the future. President Obama is testing my love and my loyalty to our union.

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Much Ado about Nothing

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"They say, 'What's your show about?' I say, 'Nothing.'"- Jerry Seinfeld

I was reminded of the Seinfeldian idea, the show about nothing, as I listened to the State of the Union. Don't get me wrong, President Obama said a lot, and some of the things he said I enjoyed hearing, but ultimately it was a speech about nothing.

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What Are We Up To During The State Of The Union?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

During tonight's State of the Union address, It's A Free Country has lots going on. We're hosting a watching party at WNYC's Jerome L. Greene Performance Space here in New York City. But just because you're not with us in NYC doesn't mean you can't be part of the party. Here's how:

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    What Obama Should Say

    Monday, January 24, 2011

    No doubt, even a great speaker, like President Barack Obama, will be tinkering with his State of the Union speech up to the last minute. So, here is my humble advice in two words: Think Big.

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    The President's Speech

    Monday, January 24, 2011

    President Obama has, once again, positioned himself as a political phoenix “rising from the ashes”—that is, if he can get his mojo back with this all-important State of the Union address. To that end, were I in the position of coaching him through this speech, I would admonish President Obama to remember these three key points as he ambles up to the podium on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

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    Opinion: It's Time to Reform the Filibuster

    Monday, January 24, 2011

    There are national debates we need to conduct, yet the Senate is held captive by a measure that, under the pretense of extending debate, actually prevents debates from ever taking place. Furthermore, there are times when a broad consensus exists across party aisles, yet secret steps allow individual Senators to scuttle this unity.

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    GOP Wants 'Deep Cuts' from Obama, but Their Proposal Doesn't Cut It

    Monday, January 24, 2011

    Neither party has shown any willingness to start tackling the long term deficit issues facing our country. The most recent illustration of this, spun all tightly into a well-packaged bit of public relations, is the list of proposals put forth by the Republican Budget Study Committee last week.

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    Justice Scalia Shouldn't Speak to the Tea Party Caucus

    Monday, January 24, 2011

    Simply put, this appearance creates appearance problems. It adds to the politicization of the judiciary. And so, I am forced to consider — with all due respect — whether Justice Scalia should be speaking to the caucus, and whether Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court should speak publicly, at all.

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    Stucknation: Stats You Won't Likely Hear in the State of the Union

    Monday, January 24, 2011

    In Washington and around the country, chief executives including the president, the governors, and local mayors are all giving their annual takes on reality.

    On Tuesday, from President Obama, we are going to hear about a nation that is still hurting but has turned a corner toward recovery.

    But how is it really going on America's Main Streets?

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