All Articles Tagged "senate"
Barbara Charline Jordan is not your typical African-American historical household name, like Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Park. But her contributions to the Civil Rights movement and the Senate in the Deep South could not have had more impact in the mid-20th century. As the first African-American elected to the Senate in the state of Texas and the first Southern African-American female to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, Barbara Jordan paved a way for African-American women to gain recognition and respect in the government sector.
Born in Texas on February 21, 1936, Barbara’s early life consisted of putting education first. An honor student throughout grade school, Barbara, the daughter of a Tuskegee graduate Baptist preacher and public speaker, went on to attend college at Texas Southern University to earn a B.A. in Political Science, ultimately graduating with honors in 1956. Texas Southern also afforded Jordan the opportunity to join the Delta Sigma Theta sorority and to become a national champion debater, defeating Ivy League universities Yale and Brown. From there, Jordan went on to Boston University’s School of Law. After teaching for a year, Barbara returned to Texas to pass the bar in 1960 and began her career as a lawyer, starting her own private practice while working as a judiciary administrative assistant.
Working on the John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign in 1960 would be the beginning of Jordan’s political career journey, where she managed a highly effective get-out-the-vote campaigns in some of Texas’ most popular African-American wards. After her experience campaigning for the future U.S. President, Jordan decided to campaign for the Texas House of Representatives, failing to be elected twice in 1962 and 1964. But these losses did not sway her motivation to be a political figure in Texas. In 1966, Jordan won a seat on the Texas Senate dominated by 30 male white counterparts, becoming the first African-American female to do so. In her Senate seat, Jordan campaigned for statewide minimum wage laws, anti-discrimination laws in business contracts, and many other monumental legislation.
In 1972, Jordan became the first woman to represent the state of Texas when she was elected to Congress, a push from President Lyndon B. Johnson personally. From there, Jordan’s political career became one of the few African-American female notable political careers, becoming a member of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee and the first African-American woman to give a keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 1976.
After a great political career, Barbara Jordan retired at the end of the 1970s and became an adjunct professor at the University of Texas at Austin, and continued to advocate for legislation, including being a huge supporter for immigration reform, until her death in 1996.
Jordan’s accomplishments and historical political career has paved the way for African-American females in the world of politics, including Texas Congress member Sheila Jackson Lee and countless other women of color. Acknowledging her feats of motivation, determination and advocacy, Barbara Jordan was truly a woman of her political word, who words from her historical Democratic National Convention keynote address still reign true today:
“A lot of years passed since 1982, and during that time it would have been most unusual for any national political party to ask that a Barbara Jordan deliver a keynote address…but tonight, here I am. And I feel that notwithstanding the past that my presence her is one additional bit of evidence that the American Dream need not forever be deferred.”
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A Senate update to the Video Privacy Protection Act will allow Netflix to add social functions to its site, letting customers share notice about the movies they’ve watched on Facebook and Twitter. Once President Obama signs the law, it will go in effect next year.
The previous law required a police warrant or approval before sharing video rental history. With the new sharing capability, people will automatically share the movies they’ve watched on social networks.
“Social video sharing under the new bill will come with two stipulations: Netflix and similar companies will be required to give users a ‘clear and conspicuous’ option to stop automatically sharing their views, and customers must be asked once every two years if they would like to continue sharing their views,” says Mashable.
Word-of-mouth sharing is an important factor for the success of a film when it’s released in the theaters. Whether it’s controversy — as in the cases of Zero Dark Thirty and Django Unchained, as discussed here on The Atlantic Wire — or buzz surrounding a smaller film that otherwise doesn’t have the budget to compete with something as massive as, say, The Hobbit, the act of sharing praise or interest person-to-person makes money.
In this case, Netflix would benefit more than any one film. But the question is whether people will be rushing to add this notice to their social media updates. Movie buffs might be eager to talk about what they’re watching, but do you want to add one more thing to the long list of updates that you’re posting to your social media feeds?
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley announced her choice to replace departing Sen. Jim DeMint — Rep. Tim Scott. Elected to Congress in 2010, Rep. Scott was “the first black congressional Republican from the Deep South since Reconstruction,” reports The Washington Post.
Sen. DeMint is leaving his post to lead The Heritage Foundation, the conservative think tank. He was elected to the office in 2004 and had said he had no intentions of running for re-election in 2016. DeMint is a Tea Party favorite and has stated his belief that the new position will be “a vehicle to popularize conservative ideas in a way that connects with a broader public,” The Wall Street Journal reports. He was known for bumping heads with leaders of the Republican party. He officially steps down on January 1.
From the beginning, Rep. Scott was the favorite to step up to the position. Born in 1965, he was raised by a single mother. He first ran for office in Charleston, SC after graduating from college and running a real estate company (note WaPo‘s biographical detail about his beginnings with a mentor). His election to the Charleston City Council in 1995 was enough to thwart a lawsuit asserting that the city violated the Civil Rights Act of 1965.
He won his seat in Congress by defeating Paul Thurmond, son of 1948 segregationist candidate for President, Strom Thurmond. He declined to join the Congressional Black Caucus, saying that he appreciated the invite but his “campaign was never about race,” The Washington Post says.
Even if it isn’t about race for him, it is very much for the Republicans. When he takes his spot in the Senate, Scott will be “the first black Republican senator since Edward Brooke of Massachusetts lost in 1978; and the only currently serving black senator,” The Atlantic reports. “(Your shocking fact for the day: Brooke remains the only black senator to ever be reelected.),” the magazine continues. After he leaves the House, there will be no black Republicans in the Congressional body. Republicans struggled throughout the election cycle to reach black voters and other minority groups. So even as they oppose policies like affirmative action and certain elements of immigration reform, and (as Gov. Haley did yesterday) as they take pains to express that their sole concern is choosing the most qualified person, Republicans would also like to add a few diverse faces to their ranks. With demographic trends showing minority groups will have growing influence in future elections, the GOP has a vested interest in appealing more strongly to minority groups.
“Other Republicans insist that the candidates are a first step — that they are taking — and that having as many high-profile non-white faces will allow them to speak to minority voters on a core level that they have struggled to do in the past,” says a separate WaPo story. Hmm… Don’t think so. It’s not just what a politician looks like, but what they support.
-The Senate has voted to preserve the Bush-era tax cuts for people making less than $250,000 per year. This is great, in the sense that something actually made it through Congress without all the drama we’ve grown used to. But the argument is still being made that this is the worst Congress ever.
-Nas’ new album “Life Is Good” debuts at number one, selling 149,000 copies, according to Nielsen Soundscan. This is the artist’s sixth number one album. It’s his ninth number one on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Frank Ocean’s “Channel Orange” slips from number two to number four.
-The drought that’s currently plaguing about two-thirds of the country is going to cost at least $12 billion, the most since 1988. The figure is an estimate right now, but an August 10 report will put the damage to crops into clearer relief. Insurance payouts to farmers promises to be huge, and food prices are going to increase, perhaps as much as three or four percent.
-Hope your mailbox can handle the massive size of the fashion magazines heading your way. The September issues, typically one of the biggest of the year for a number of titles, is going to be a record-breaker for a number of mags, including Elle, Marie Claire, Vogue and People StyleWatch.
-The London Olympic Games kick off tomorrow and NBC says they’ve sold $1 billion worth of television and digital advertising for the event. Even with that huge figure (it’s $150 million more than what was sold for Beijing in 2008), the network doesn’t expect to turn a profit. ???!
-The backlash against Chick-Fil-A is coming at them fast and furious. First because the company’s president and CEO Dan Cathy gave interviews in which he condemned same-sex marriage (Chick-Fil-A is known to have donated nearly $2 million to anti-gay organizations). Now because it appears the chicken chain has created a fake Facebook page to defend itself.
Since the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 – the document that expresses the want, will, and hopes of the people – the country’s political system has reflected a disproportionately low number of women. Black females are even scarcer. However, some black women have been trailblazers in the political arena, shaping history and leaving a legacy that cannot be erased.
Patricia Roberts Harris
Patricia Roberts Harris broke several racial and gender barriers throughout her distinguished political career. In 1965, she became the first black female ambassador when President Lyndon Johnson appointed her as U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg. Two years later, she returned to her alma mater, Howard University, where she became the law school dean, making her the first black female law school dean in the country. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter appointed Harris to serve in his cabinet as secretary of housing and urban development. She was the first black female in a presidential cabinet.
It’s only a matter of time before the GOP gets their wish of making abortions illegal in the state of Virgina. Yesterday, the House passed two of the most stringent anti-abortion bills that have been seen in a long time, including one that says a person’s rights begin as soon as sperm and egg unite.
In a 66-32 vote, Bob Marshall’s Personhood at Conception bill was passed, followed by another bill requiring transvaginal ultrasounds before women are allowed to abort a baby. That item went through with a 63-36 vote.
In her opposition of the bill, Tarina Keene of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, said, “The General Assembly is dangerously close to making Virginia the first state in the country to grant personhood rights to fertilized eggs,” and she’s right. The bill will now go to the Senate which already passed a companion to Del. Kathy Byron’s ultrasound measure. While there is no legislation in the Senate that mirrors the personhood bill, Sen. Bill Stanley, won passage on Tuesday of a measure that would permit wrongful death civil lawsuits against those who kill a fetus.
Totally disregarding the variety of circumstances that lead women to seek abortions, Del. Todd Gilbert had no sympathy for any of it:
“We hear the same song over there. The very tragic human notes that are often touched upon involve extreme examples. But in the vast majority of these cases, these are matters of lifestyle convenience.”
Although he later apologized for his remarks, but it’s clear from the passage of these measures that most in his party agree with him.
Del. Eileen Filler-Corn, although initially defeated, said she’s determined to fight these restrictive bills.
“I cannot sit quietly today and do nothing while this body decides what rights will be stripped away from my daughter and others in regard to their own health,” she said. “I do not want to see a day when the only option for women and men to obtain the contraception of their choice is to leave our state and go to (Washington,) D.C. or to Maryland.”
The state appears to be extremely close to making that a reality; hopefully other states won’t follow suit.
What do you think about these bills? Are you surprised they were passed?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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By now you’ve probably noticed that there’s no Wikipedia today, and that Google has blacked out its logo, or that some of your favorite blog sites have faded to black. The effort is part of a protest of two bills before Congress, the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House, which would censor the Web and impose some stiff regulations on online businesses.
The purpose of the bill, which is backed by many in the music and film industries, is to stop online piracy which has been running rampant for several years now and some say is costing hundreds of thousands of jobs and millions, possibly even billions, of dollars in lost revenue. But opponents of the legislation who have turned their sites dark in a move of solidarity say the legislation infringes on freedom of speech and could even “break the Internet.”
According to the Washington Post, the bill would “enable copyright holders and the Justice Department to get court orders against sites that ‘engage in, enable, or facilitate’ copyright infringement. That could include, say, sites that host illegal mp3s or sites that link to such sites. Courts could bar advertisers and payment companies such as PayPal from doing business with the offending sites in question, order search engines to stop listing the accused infringers, or even require Internet service providers to block access entirely. The bills contain other provisions, too, like making it a felony to stream unauthorized content online.”
Although the Digital Millennium Copyright Act was passed in 1998, requiring any site hosting or linking to pirated material to take it down once notified, sites aren’t required to actively police their sites, which copyright holders say isn’t enough. So, with this new law, “Rather than receiving a notification for copyright violations, sites now face immediate action — up to and including being taken down before they have a chance to respond.” As the Washington Post points out:
“Intermediary sites like YouTube and Flickr could lose their ‘safe harbor’ protections. Nonprofit or low-budget sites might not have the resources to defend themselves against costly lawsuits. And, meanwhile, larger companies like Google and Facebook could be forced to spend considerable time and money policing their millions of offerings each day for offending material.”
As far as the idea of breaking the Internet, sites in violation of the bill could be de-listed from the Domain Name System, meaning U.S. service providers would have to act as though the site didn’t exist at all. Users might then seek out foreign servers to host their material which brings a whole other issue of security into question.
Obviously, the entertainment industry has a right to want to protect its revenue streams, but do their rights come before those of all Americans? The way in which the bills seek to eliminate piracy could very well eliminate the business models Google and Reddit have built entire companies around, or even your everyday blogger who has created a business for herself by killing the very thing we admire most about the internet: information that is readily accessible and can be easily shared. It may be necessary for Congress to approach this issue from another angle.
The Senate is expected to vote on the issue Jan. 24, meanwhile Google is asking Americans to sign a petition to end piracy, not liberty.
What do you think about the PIPA and SOPA bills? Do you oppose or support the legislation? What do you think would be a better way for Congress to address Internet piracy?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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Blagojevich was found guilty on 17 (count ‘em) counts of corruption for what were deemed as his attempts (click for audio) to sell or trade Obama’s senate seat, money extortion and and lying to the FBI. Blagojevich’s reaction to the ruling was that he was “stunned,” as I’m sure he didn’t really believe he’d be convicted of so many counts since he was mighty cocky after last year’s fluff trial.
While the counts numerically add up to a hefty prison sentence, analysts say Blagojevich could face about 10 to 15 years of his sentence. His legal team is looking to appeal, but the former governor’s own main focus after leaving court yesterday was to go home and see the kiddies:
“Patti and I are obviously very disappointed. I, frankly, am stunned.”
We want to get home to our little girls and sort things out. I’m sure I’ll be seeing you guys soon.”
If this teaches us anything other than the obvious, it’s probably to not go on reality TV shows when the nation thinks you’re a creep, and to watch what you say and how you say it. Cause you’ll look mighty crazy (and guilty) if it winds up on tape…
What do you think of yesterday’s guilty verdict?
(New York Times) — Frustrated by routine filibusters and other procedural blockades, Senate Democrats are urging their leadership to negotiate with Republicans to change the rules that govern how the Senate does business. The Democrats would leave intact the ability of the minority party to filibuster legislation and nominations, meaning that in most cases it would still take 60 votes to get anything done. But they want to require senators to be on the floor if they intend to try to debate a bill to death and would make other changes to streamline the Senate’s operations, including ending the practice of secret “holds” by a single senator on legislation or nominees.
(Richmond Times Dispatch) — The U.S. Senate, after the 10th try, approved nearly $1.15 billion yesterday for the National Black Farmers Association to settle long-standing claims of discrimination in federal farm lending programs. ”It’s been a very, very long fight,” said John W. Boyd Jr., president of the association and a cattle and grain farmer from Mecklenburg County. The money has been held up in the Senate since February as Democrats and Republicans fought over how to pay for it.