prospect.org — The search for the radical associations in Obama's pre-political history began almost as soon as Obama's presidential candidacy began. Some conservatives have been positively obsessed with uncovering Obama's radial associations. They have also insisted that those associations are closer than anyone thinks. And all of this is supposed to lead to something, something about Obama's presidency. Not even the craziest among the conspirators thinks that Obama is, today, taking orders from Bill Ayers. But they would no doubt assert that he doesn't have to, because in his youth Obama drank so deeply from their cup of extremist America-hating that he will be doing what the likes of Ayers want anyway. So here's my question: when do we get to see Obama's radicalism?
huffingtonpost.com — The latest grim figures for black joblessness wiped away the brief glimmer of hope that the nation's tepid and cautious recovery might finally be diminishing the chronically high unemployment levels among blacks. The GOP presidential nominee and President Obama would lose nothing by devoting some words to the crisis, and telling how chronic unemployment in one sector of the work force stunts long term recovery. The problem is that the black unemployed, like the poor, have no powerful advocacy groups and are mostly nameless and faceless. They make-up no defined constituency that politicians can court and bank on to vote for them in swelling numbers They have no voice. And in politics it takes just that a voice, a loud voice, to get any attention. There's nothing hidden about the crisis of black joblessness. It's painful, daunting and a huge barrier to the nation's full economic recovery. That's all the more reason why the presidential candidates must not be afraid to talk the crisis.
ft.com — The Republican party, without attempting to do so, has been engaged since 2009 in a great political science experiment. In the 2006 and 2008 elections the party suffered a decisive repudiation, suggesting that a hard rightward turn would result only in continued drubbings. On the other hand, the Democrats took hold of the cockpit just before the world economy nosedived into a mountain. One theory suggests voters will punish the Republican party for its extremism, and the other implies they will punish Democrats for the economy. And, of course, if the economy continues its apparent momentum into November, both theories imply the GOP will be soundly thrashed. The late economist Herb Stein famously observed that any trend that can’t go on forever won’t. Accordingly, the GOP’s rightward surge will end, hopefully before the party has reconstituted itself as a paramilitary organisation organised primarily in fortified mountain bunkers. The frightening thing is that it’s hard to see how this process can end soon.
grist.org — In an increasingly desperate attempt to save his signature, $260 billion highway bill from the junkyard, House Speaker John Boehner pleaded with fellow Republicans to get on the bandwagon this week, even threatening to go with the bipartisan Senate bill instead if they didn’t get in line. Now it looks like he has given up on passing his own bill altogether. To anyone who has been watching this saga, it comes as no surprise that Boehner’s bill is in the ditch. The original proposal, floated in late January, would have cut all designated funding for mass transit, bike paths, and safe routes to school, and tied highway building to increased oil production in the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It also included a mandate to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Not a winning combination. What is surprising is that Boehner actually seems to have believed that he could push this junk heap through Congress — or at least the U.S. House of Representatives.
inthesetimes.com — On February 29, Rush Limbaugh said something sexist, and feminists were outraged. This time, unlike the last few thousand times this has happened, he actually paid a price for it. Limbaugh's comments about Sandra Fluke have been endlessly cycled and recycled throughout the Internet: He called her a "slut" and a "prostitute," alleged that she was "having so much sex she can't afford her own birth control pills," said he wanted to see videos of her having sex, and etc. This garnered copious Internet outrage, has been covered everywhere from the New York Times to TMZ, and has cost him 32 sponsorships. But offensive comments like those are exactly what Rush Limbaugh gets paid for.
thenation.com — Some political operatives work hard to drive wedges between us. And since this nation elected its first black president, these operatives have worked feverishly to stoke fear in the hearts of white Americans. One way they have done this is by literally telling white America that black intellectuals want them dead. I wish I were exaggerating. Last night, Andrew Breitbart (apparently from beyond the grave) was at it again. This time he and his cronies at Breitbart.com released a video clip of a young Obama at Harvard law school hugging Professor Derrick Bell, a world renowned legal scholar and one of the foremost black intellectuals of his time, who passed away October 2011. Breitbart suggests that black people can’t be trusted to govern, by linking Obama to Bell. This latest round of attack on black intellectuals should deeply trouble us all.
consortiumnews.com — Americans sometimes wonder how the nation’s political process got so unspeakably nasty with vitriol pouring forth especially from right-wing voices like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Michael Savage, to name just a few. Yet, whenever called on this ugliness, conservatives insist that they are the real victims, picked on by the Left. This destructive and whiny dynamic has existed at least since the late 1960s when angry passions spilled over from the Vietnam War and grew worse after Richard Nixon exploited Democratic dissension on the war to win the White House in 1968 – and then continued the war for another four nasty years.
thedailybeast.com — Are they kidding? Barack Obama hugged Derrick Bell? Wow! This just proves everything, doesn’t it? It’s “the smoking gun,” according to some Breitbartian lickspittle, “showing that Barack Obama not only associated with radicals but believed deeply in their principles—and wanted the rest of us to believe in them, too.” It’s almost sad, watching them try to turn this unremarkable minute-and-a-half into a scandal. But the main point here is that the Bell video affair shows yet again that this “movement” that is constantly invoking the flag and patriotism and saying it represents America is far, far removed from mainstream American reality.
inthesetimes.com — During his long career as the most famous talk radio host in modern history, Rush Limbaugh has only rarely apologized for his rhetoric--so when he does, it's worth pondering the contrition's deeper meaning. Was his apology last week for calling a Georgetown University student a "slut" just a shrewd move to undercut a potential defamation lawsuit? Was it a frightened response to an intensifying backlash from advertisers? Does it prove the power of the liberal political organizations who have an ideological ax to grind against Limbaugh? The answer to all those queries is yes -- but none of those factors is the genuine news of the matter. Instead, what makes Limbaugh's apology so important is its context. Limbaugh's mea culpa -- however insincere -- is significant because it is proof that America may be both setting some basic standards for political discourse and rejecting the right-wing shrieks about "censorship" and "political correctness."
prospect.org — Two different guys. As the bleating of the Republican war caucus gets louder and louder, it's beginning to sound a lot like 2002, when the Bush administration was treating us to daily news about the terrifying threat posed by Saddam Hussein's vast arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, ready to incinerate us all in weeks if we didn't launch a war. Some of the same people who made the case then are making the case now that we need to start bombing Iran. But before we all get too frustrated, it's important to remember one thing: now matter how loud people like Liz Cheney may shout, no matter how much infantile chest-beating we get from the Republican candidates this will be a very different debate from the one we had back then. The reason is simple: We've got a different Decider.