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Thursday Night Story: Sundays at Rocco’s

That’s when everything changed
Arts • Views: 30,224

For more stories, go to storycorps.org

Nicholas Petron’s grandfather, Rocco Galasso, moved to New York City from Italy with the hopes of making a better life. For eighteen years Rocco served as owner and superintendent of an apartment building where much of his family resided—until the day they were given notice that their building faced demolition to make way for new apartments. As Nick remembers, that’s when everything changed.

Funding provided by:
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National Endowment for the Arts
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Benghazi Boogaloo: Susan Rice Simply Relayed the CIA’s Benghazi Talking Points

Ludicrous fake scandal is ludicrous
Politics • Views: 26,846

CBS News has obtained the talking points prepared by the CIA for Susan Rice following the Benghazi attack, and of course there are no surprises — Rice simply passed on the information she was given by the CIA: CIA Talking Points for Susan Rice Called Benghazi Attack ‘Spontaneously Inspired’ by Protests.

The CIA’s talking points read as follows:

“The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the US Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the US diplomatic post in Benghazi and subsequently its annex. There are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.

This assessment may change as additional information is collected and analyzed and as currently available information continues to be evaluated.

The investigation is on-going, and the US Government is working with Libyan authorities to bring to justice those responsible for the deaths of US citizens.”

For the record, here’s the video of Rice’s appearance on Meet the Press, and as you can see she was very clear that this was not the final word, but simply the best information they had at the time.

Meanwhile, as the Republican Party continues flipping its lid over this ludicrous non-scandal, John McCain is calling for a Watergate-style special committee to investigate the Obama administration’s handling of the Benghazi attack, but couldn’t find the time to attend a classified briefing on the Benghazi attack yesterday. Classic.

UPDATE at 11/15/12 2:41:10 pm

When questioned today by CNN about missing the Benghazi briefing, McCain snapped and yelled, “Who the hell are you to tell me?”

Rebuttal: Bobby Jindal’s Risible Op-Ed for CNN

Creationist governor says everyone else is stupid
Politics • Views: 28,120

It’s almost comical to see Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s efforts to position himself as the voice of reasonable conservatism. Remember, this is the Republican governor who’s had more success than any other in sneaking creationism into public school science classes; make no mistake, Bobby Jindal is 100% in line with the most extreme right wing religious fanatics on this.

So here he is again with an op-ed at CNN, sharing his view on How Republicans Can Win Future Elections.

Let’s go through this point by point, shall we?

1. Stop looking backward. We have to boldly show what the future can look like with the free market policies that we believe in. Conservative ideals are aspirational, and our country is aspirational.

Nothing to refute or even argue here — these are just empty feel-good words lacking anything concrete.

2. Compete for every single vote. The 47% and the 53%. And any other combination of numbers that adds up to 100 percent. President Barack Obama and the Democrats can continue trying to divide America into groups of warring communities with competing interests, but we will have none of it. We are going after every vote as we try to unite all Americans.

Completely opposite to reality. We just went through an election in which the Republican Party’s entire strategy consisted of dividing the country into the good productive wealthy people, and the ignorant unwashed masses who just want “free stuff.”

But apart from Jindal’s denial of his own party’s blazingly obvious strategy of fear mongering and race-baiting, again there’s nothing here besides empty words. “Compete for every vote?” Well, duh.

3. Reject identity politics. The old notion that ours should be a colorblind society is the right one, and we should pursue that with vigor. Identity politics is corrosive to the great American melting pot and we reject it. We will treat all people as individuals rather than as members of special interest groups.

This is another risible statement, coming from a representative of a party whose entire appeal is based on identity politics. Jindal can say “we reject it” all he likes, but is there anyone naive enough to believe this will ever happen?

4. Stop being the stupid party. It’s time for a new Republican party that talks like adults. It’s time for us to articulate our plans and visions for America in real terms. We had a number of Republicans damage the brand this year with offensive and bizarre comments. Enough of that.

Again we see Bobby Jindal calling others stupid, while he himself promotes creationism and religious charter schools that teach anti-science mind rot to children. If he wants to stop being the “stupid party” he needs to start right there where he lives.

5. Stop insulting the intelligence of voters. We need to trust the smarts of the American people. We have to stop dumbing down our ideas and stop reducing everything to mindless slogans and tag lines for 30-second ads. We must be willing to provide details in describing our views.

Sorry, but I just can’t help laughing. A creationist lecturing others on “insulting the intelligence of voters?” Jindal’s lack of self-awareness is breathtaking. And “mindless slogans,” coming from the guy who became a laughing stock for his ignorant criticism of volcano monitoring programs?

6. Quit “big.” We are not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes, or big anything. We must not be the party that simply protects the well off so they can keep their toys. We have to be the party that shows all Americans how they can thrive. We are the party whose ideas will help the middle class, and help more folks join the middle class. We are a populist party and need to make that clear.

Again, where’s the beef? Lots of nice sounding words, but how exactly does Bobby Jindal think the GOP is going to be the “populist” party when they’re totally in the pocket of big business, with elections bankrolled by billionaires?

7. Focus on people, not government. We must stop competing with Democrats for the job of “Government Manager,” and come up with ideas that can unleash the dynamic abilities of the American people. We need to lead the way with policies that can create prosperity. We believe in organic solutions, not big government solutions. We need a bottom-up government that fits the digital age. Right now we have an outdated centralized government trying to manage a decentralized economy.

OK, that’s his final point. We got all the way to the end without a single concrete suggestion about changing the Republican Party in any real or meaningful way, just empty platitudes.

One last quote from Jindal’s ridiculous piece:

There are many challenges facing our country. For example, our education system seems to be in the Stone Age and miserably outdated.

Said the creationist, who signed into law a bill sponsored by the creationist think tank called the Discovery Institute. Jindal’s idea of “updating” education is to inject more religion into it.

Bottom line: just another deceptive, non-specific bunch of happy talk, from a Republican who is guilty of everything he’s criticizing.

Jindal’s function right now: he’s a right wing band-aid. He’s trying to stop the bleeding. Any reasonable conservatives who remain in the GOP are probably looking at their fellow travelers like Todd Akin and thinking, “Good grief. Who ARE these people?”

Bobby Jindal is trying to reassure them, to give them a reason not to bail out on the Republican Party. The scent of desperation is unmistakable.

Maine GOP Chairman Investigates Cases of Voting While Black

What Republican racism?
Politics • Views: 26,026

The chairman of Maine’s Republican Party, Charlie Webster, is investigating a very suspicious case of voting while black.

Webster made the claim in a wide-ranging, post-election interview this week with Don Carrigan of WCSH-TV.

“In some parts of rural Maine, there were dozens, dozens of black people who came in and voted on Election Day,” he said. “Everybody has a right to vote, but nobody in (these) towns knows anyone who’s black. How did that happen? I don’t know. We’re going to find out.”

When Carrigan pressed Webster on where it happened, Webster provided no specifics or proof of his claims, but said the party would investigate further.

Mr. Webster is, of course, totally outraged at suggestions that his suspicions may have racial motivations.

When asked about the issue in an interview Wednesday with the Portland Press Herald, Webster again refused to provide specifics.

He said his point is not that the new voters were black, but that they were not recognized by town officials.

“I’m not talking about 15 or 20. I’m talking hundreds,” he said Wednesday. “I’m not politically correct and maybe I shouldn’t have said these voters were black, but anyone who suggests I have a bias toward any race or group, frankly, that’s sleazy.”

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The ONLY thing that seems to band all nations together, is that their governments are universally bad.... -- F.Z. in German television interview