Monday, June 24, 2013

Best wishes and thank you to Pam Spaulding…

Pam Spaulding has announced that she is shutting Pam’s House Blend down.

Although I’m saddened by this news, I can only thank Pam for her years of on and offline activism…and wish her and all the bloggers of PHB the very best. 


Here’s the PHB post on the Pam’s House Blend segment from the Melissa Harris-Perry Show.

Good luck, Pam!

Monday, June 10, 2013

On the domestic spying story...oh, and a digital fruit basket for Frontline!

Happy Monday!

Okay, maybe not “happy”…but, coffee makes everything better.

Shall we?


Shocked, I tell you!

Not by the scope. 

Not by the companies and agencies involved. 

No, I was shocked by the shock…

…and apparently Brother Rob Thurman was too.

Longtime readers know that Brother Rob gave this bitch my blog for my birthday many years ago…and that he has since moved back to Kentucky to get his farm on…oh, and that he freakishly jumps up in my head by having the exact same reaction to news-based shit.

Anyhoo, I came home one day late last week and fussed with at my sister C-Money about the fact that this spy story shouldn’t have shocked people. 

I understand and agree with the outrage…I understand and agree with the disapproval…and the reason I do is sourced in the reality that the probability of this shit was revealed by Frontline on PBS years ago.

Later that night Rob Thurman called.

“Pamela, I’m confused.”

“By what, Rob Thurman?”

“Well, have you heard about the domestic spy story breaking all over the place? Didn’t this story break years ago?”

That’s when I screamed at Brother Rob to get out of my fucking head.

Mercy.

Tis true that the details are new…the companies and agencies involved are newish…and the masses have reason to be outraged.

But we couldn’t help feeling for the folk at Frontline who gave us a damn good look at the probability of this shit back in 2007.

Frontline worked their asses off to produce a very entertaining and informative “Y’all need to keep an eye on this shit the way meteorologists keep an eye on severe storms” investigative report… 
“President Bush described his anti-terrorist measures as narrow and targeted, but a FRONTLINE investigation has found that the National Security Agency (NSA) has engaged in wiretapping and sifting Internet communications of millions of Americans; the FBI conducted a data sweep on 250,000 Las Vegas vacationers, and along with more than 50 other agencies, they are mining commercial-sector data banks to an unprecedented degree.” Frontline - 2007
…but this story is being reported like a brand new breaking news story of never before heard of shit.

And that’s got to work a reporter's last nerve.

So, Brother Rob and I decided to gift the good folk at Frontline with a digital fruit basket.

We were watching, good Frontline folk! 

Blink. 

Thursday, June 06, 2013

More on speaking truth to power – when they tuck tail and run…

Can I just tell y’all how much I adore coffee?

I love coffee!

And clearly I’ve had a wee bit too much of it.

Blink.

Shall we?

As I mentioned in my previous post, speaking truth to power is important and finding the balance between a successful engagement and a media circus can be challenging.  Another challenge is that those in power…those folks who can pass progressive policy or shit the bed…well, some of them are cowards who fear the masses.

For example, leaders in the Missouri General Assembly worked their asses off to derail Medicaid expansion this session.  They talked a big game to the press and gleefully engaged in public displays of callous disregard for months.

When thousands of Missourians showed up to lobby the issue, the GOP caucus fled the scene.

Literally.

They left the Capitol and met offsite, presumably to discuss how annoying it is when Missourians show up to ask them what the hell they are doing.

Now, I’ve lobbied for years on a lot of different issues.  And I’ve always been impressed with legislators who took meetings, listened to my concerns, and then explained why they disagreed and planned to vote the wrong way. 

The way I see it, if you can’t look the people in the eye and listen to them then you don’t belong in public office.

Oh, I also understand the fear. 

I get it, for real.

When you don’t have a good argument for doing something, the last thing you want to do is be confronted by thousands of people asking why the hell your ass is blocking Medicaid expansion.

Still, it was a shocking display of tuck tail and run. 

Anyhoo, the people will not be ignored.

Cue Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones and his magical fantastical listening, but not to you, tour of 2013.  Missourians have been following Speaker Jones all over the state in an attempt to get him to listen to them about Medicaid Expansion.  By the time the tour reached Eureka, Speaker Jones was so moved that he closed an open meeting. 

Blink.

But speaking truth to power can also get generate progress.

Speaker Jones recently announced that he will appoint a special commission to study Medicaid expansion. 

That brings me back to the balance between a successful engagement and a media circus. 

One person’s action is so often another person’s circus.

Just ask Speaker Jones.

All I know is that as long as those in power continue to tuck tail and run, they can expect the people to follow and speak their truth.


A fluff of the Afro to Missouri Medicaid expansion activists – let’s do this!

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Pondering action, ENDA, and speaking truth to power…

I know, I know…it has been forever and a day since I last posted.

I’ve been practicing the fine art of bitchitude offline…

…but now I’m back.

Shall we?

Yesterday, an activist interrupted a speech by Michelle Obama to demand an executive order from President Obama granting civil rights and protections to LGBT people.  I support those who stand up and speak truth to power, even when folk take that stand in locations the powerful feel are activist free.  

This shit had truth but methinks it was misdirected.

Let’s back up and review what happened.

Michelle Obama was giving a speech.  An activist stood up and shouted out the demand for an executive order.  According to witnesses, Michelle Obama stopped her speech, said, "One of the things that I don't do well is this," and approached the activist.  Michelle Obama then inviting the activist to "listen to me, or you can take the mic, but I'm leaving. You all decide. You have one choice." The crowd said they wanted FLOTUS to continue her speech…the activist was escorted from the event.

As I said, I support folk who speak truth to power. 

The problem here is that FLOTUS doesn’t have the power to issue an executive anything. 

Now the donors in the room certainly have power…but I’ll get back to that in a bit.

So, the activist that was escorted from the event responded with…

"Basically, I was asked by the first lady to be quiet, and I can't be quiet any longer. ... I was surprised by how negative the crowd seemed to be. It was actually a little unsettling and disturbing."

And…

"She obviously thought she was going to make an example of me or something. I wasn't scared at all."

Pause…sip coffee…continue.

I have the feeling that if Michelle Obama wants to tell someone to be quiet…she tells that person to be quiet. 

In this case, she didn’t tell the activist to be quiet. She made it clear she wasn’t going to try to talk over someone…acknowledged the activist by approaching her…and even offered to mic to said activist.  If anyone told the activist to be quiet it was the crowd in attendance to hear Michelle Obama speak. 

That same crowd that was full of donors…yeah, I’ll get to that soon.

As for the activist’s “surprise” over how the crowd reacted, I call bullshit. 

What exactly did she expect?  And I’m being serious here.  I’ve interrupted my fair share of events…to speak to folk who are hard to get access to and who actually have the power to do the shit I was demanding…and I can tell you that my ass expected all kinds of reactions and wasn’t surprised by any of them when I did that shit.  This was a DNC fundraiser of some sort and you’d have to be one hell of a na├»ve activist to expect that crew to stand up and cheer you on when you interrupt Michelle Obama.

Pause…shake head…continue.

For the record, I too want to see an inclusive ENDA passed.  Hell, I even like the idea of an executive order…Lawd knows the House isn’t going to pass ENDA unless we can make the case that LGBT people are actually a firearm. 

Sigh.  

Okay, tis time to get to that shit about the donors in the room!

Given the Democratic Party’s lack of energy for ENDA, both in grooming candidates and educating the electorate, methinks the activist should have stood up and turned toward the audience and told those folk to pressure the administration to grant an executive order…or at least said something to them about ensuring that their donations go toward supporting folk who will get ENDA passed.

Because money still talks…and if the money in that room qualified for a speech by Michelle Obama then the money in that room probably has the power to make shit happen. 

The last time I checked, political activism is about moving toward the prize. 

Otherwise tis just poorly staged and badly acted theatre.

That brings me back to what the action was supposed to accomplish and we can evaluate that through how it is being covered. 

If the activist was trying to talk to Michelle Obama, that shit didn't work out well.

If the activist was talking to motivate the crowd to support an executive order, that shit didn't work either.

Are people talking about ENDA and why we need it?

Or are folk talking about how Michelle Obama reacted to a public display of a lack of home training?

Sigh.