Cover of the new issue of The New Republic, February 2013
Marsh grew up under Jim Crow. He had a ten-mile round-trip walk to his one-room schoolhouse—an awfully long trip for a seven-year-old—while white kids took a bus to a modern school. Marsh didn’t let racism hold him back. He didn’t just graduate from primary school, but went onto college. When he was a senior at Virginia Union University, the Byrd Machine was organizing “massive resistance”—shutting down public schools rather than comply with Brown v. Board of Education—and Marsh got involved, testifying against the policy before the General Assembly. In doing so, he met famed civil rights attorney Oliver Hill; at Hill’s encouragement, he got a degree in law from Howard University, and later went into private practice with Hill, focusing on civil rights law. Marsh and his practice were responsible for huge advances in civil rights over the decades, eliminating “separate but equal,” busing, and racial discrimination in hiring. Along the way he became the first black mayor of Richmond, and was elected to his Senate seat in 1991. Today he chairs the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Commission and created the Martin Luther King Jr. Living History and Public Policy Center.
So it bears repeating: today was a very big day for Henry Marsh. He must have taken a great deal of satisfaction in seeing his life’s work culminate in the first black president’s reelection, being sworn in on Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday. It was a very, very good reason to miss a day’s session.
Today was also a big day for Senate Republicans. They knew that Henry Marsh would be at the inauguration today, and that the 20–20 split in the Senate would become a 20–19 split while Marsh was 100 miles north, among the throngs on the National Mall. So today was the day that they decided—without hearings, advertisements, notifications, or warnings—to take a chunk out of Marsh’s district, along with a handful of others, to ghettoize black voters in a majority-minority district and put 45% of voting-age citizens into new districts.
This story does not end well. Which is how you can describe pretty much any story where Republican politicians get their way. In this case, Republicans in Virginia behaved with deliberate disdain for Martin Luther King, Henry Marsh, President Obama, and all Virginians. The governor may yet veto their disgraceful maneuver, but it’s hard to say whether he will elect to protect his state over his embarrassing party affiliation.
2012 Unseen Movies, Ai Wei-Wei: Never Sorry
LANSING — Changes to the concealed weapons law passed the state House and Senate late Thursday, allowing trained gun owners to carry their weapons in formerly forbidden places, such as schools, day care centers, stadiums and churches.
A separate bill also requires the Michigan State Police, rather than local law enforcement, to maintain gun-permitting records. Police said it was crucial to have at least one agency hold on to records, citing the I-96 corridor shooter case last month, which was solved in part by going back through gun records. That bill was waiting on concurrence by the Senate early today.
The bill expanding where concealed weapons can be carried now goes to Gov. Snyder for his signature.
This bill was passed by the Republican majority in Michigan’s state Senate. Just yesterday.
People are glad Romney didn’t win, but it’s worth noting that the real difficulty — and the places where the Koch Brothers and other people of extreme wealth are pouring their money — is in more local and statewide races. That’s where the local judges and legislators can do real damage with ridiculous things like relaxed gun laws. But also ‘tort reform’, diminishment of women’s rights, damage to education, violation of worker rights and worker empowerment, discouragement of new energy sources, and lifting of pollution controls. Mayors, state representatives, state senators, governors, and state judges can do a *lot* of damage, even without controlling the US Congress or Presidency. Especially with the justices currently on the Supreme Court.
Some day, someone will write a riveting psychological portrait of this guy. I’m not criticizing; if he had run, the person in this photo might have won. Just saying it must be a really interesting story.
Rep. Kris Crawford, a Republican [member of the SC statehouse] from Florence and also an emergency room doctor [who was convicted of tax evasion in November 2012], supports the expansion but expects the Republican caucus to vote as a block against the Medicaid expansion.
“The politics are going to overwhelm the policy. It is good politics to oppose the black guy in the White House right now, especially for the Republican Party,” Crawford said. (via 'Opposing Black Guy in the White House' Is 'Good Politics' for This South Carolina Medicaid Flip-Flopper - Alexander Abad-Santos - The Atlantic Wire)
Joyce Linehan is the former manager of the Lemonheads, Sub Pop’s Boston rep, and the manager of songwriter Joe Pernice. Courtney Love wrote “Doll Parts” staying at Linehan’s place.
But she’s also the Massachusetts-based activist whose supportive urging helped convince Elizabeth Warren to run …for Senate. So you might say that Joyce Linehan gets shit done.
Now Linehan’s most recent undertaking is also pretty fantastic: a push to make the Modern Lovers’ “Roadrunner” the official rock song of Massachusetts.
This just may just happen. Yesterday, State Representative Marty Walsh, Linehan’s friend, filed HD3506: “An Act designating the song ‘Roadrunner’ as the official rock song of the Commonwealth.” (via Wicked Pissah: The Bid to Make the Modern Lovers’ “Roadrunner” the Rock Song of Massachusetts Is Official)
It is no secret that young voters tilt left on social issues like immigration and gay rights. But these students, and dozens of other young people interviewed here last week, give voice to a trend that is surprising pollsters and jangling the nerves of Republicans. On a central philosophical question of the day — the size and scope of the federal government — a clear majority of young people embraces President Obama’s notion that it can be a constructive force, a point he intends to make in his State of the Union address on Tuesday.
“Young people absolutely believe that there’s a role for government,” said Matt Singer, a founder of Forward Montana, a left-leaning though officially nonpartisan group that seeks to engage young people in politics. “At the same time, this is not a generation of socialists. They are highly entrepreneurial, and know that some of what it takes to create an environment where they can do their own exciting, creative things is having basic systems that work.”
Here in Montana, a state that backed John McCain in 2008 and Mr. Romney last year, voters under 30 have helped elect two Democratic senators and a new Democratic governor. Nationally, young voters have since 2004 been casting their ballots for Democrats by far wider margins than previous young generations — a shift that could reshape American politics for decades. (via In Montana, Young, Liberal and Open to Big Government - NYTimes.com)
FREEDOM, a legendary anarchist bookstore in east London, was firebombed on Friday morning. This is the store that Peter Kropotkin helped found in the 19th century, and the home of a monthly newspaper that published Emma Goldman. No one was hurt, and no one seems to know who did it, or why. The store was uninsured.
From Paul Krugman:
Recently, Robert Gordon of Northwestern University created a stir by arguing that economic growth is likely to slow sharply — indeed, that the age of growth that began in the 18th century may well be drawing to an end. Mr. Gordon points out that long-term economic growth hasn’t been a steady process; it has been driven by several discrete “industrial revolutions,” each based on a particular set of technologies.
The first industrial revolution, based largely on the steam engine, drove growth in the late-18th and early-19th centuries. The second, made possible, in large part, by the application of science to technologies such as electrification, internal combustion and chemical engineering, began circa 1870 and drove growth into the 1960s. The third, centered around information technology, defines our current era. And, as Mr. Gordon correctly notes, the payoffs so far to the third industrial revolution, while real, have been far smaller than those to the second. Electrification, for example, was a much bigger deal than the Internet.
It’s an interesting thesis, and a useful counterweight to all the gee-whiz glorification of the latest tech. And while I don’t think he’s right, the way in which he’s probably wrong has implications equally destructive of conventional wisdom. For the case against Mr. Gordon’s techno-pessimism rests largely on the assertion that the big payoff to information technology, which is just getting started, will come from the rise of smart machines.
So machines may soon be ready to perform many tasks that currently require large amounts of human labor. This will mean rapid productivity growth and, therefore, high overall economic growth.
But — and this is the crucial question — who will benefit from that growth? Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to make the case that most Americans will be left behind, because smart machines will end up devaluing the contribution of workers, including highly skilled workers whose skills suddenly become redundant. The point is that there’s good reason to believe that the conventional wisdom embodied in long-run budget projections — projections that shape almost every aspect of current policy discussion — is all wrong.
(Photo: J. Scott Applewhite / AP)
South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, an influential Republican who has helped prod his party rightward, will step down from his seat in January to become the next director of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.
Good riddance to bad rubbish. Let’s hope this is a sign that he believes his whack-o wing of a nutty Party (capital ‘P’) is losing influence. But it’s probably just about the money and better parties (lower-case ‘p’) he’ll enjoy working (and I use that word loosely) at a think tank.