Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free Press has won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for “his columns on the financial crisis facing his hometown, written with passion and a stirring sense of place, sparing no one in their critique.”
“There is still greatness there and excellence,” Henderson says of his hometown of Detroit . “I feel like it’s ironic, almost, that I’m being honored for work about perhaps…
The former secretary of state endorses the Senate’s bill and calls on the House to pass a fix to the system.
A 19-year-old undocumented immigrant confronted Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state and not-quite-presidential candidate, about immigration reform at an event hosted by the Clinton Foundation Thursday.
An hour into the panel discussion, which featured Clinton and her daughter, Chelsea Clinton, the moderator, actress America Ferrera, called on a young woman at the front of the room to ask a question. “I have a very different glass ceiling than some of the girls here,” the 19-year-old woman explained, fighting back tears. “For the first time publicly I want to say that I am an undocumented immigrant.” She went on to explain that her family had illegally brought her to the US from Croatia when she was five-years-old. “It’s been very hard,” she continued, “because I don’t have the documentation to get a job, to vote—which is essential obviously to women representation—to buy an apartment, to take out a loan to go to college, so I couldn’t even go to my dream college because of that, to get no financial aid.”
Clinton immediately sympathized. “I believe strongly that we are missing a great opportunity by not welcoming people like you,” she said, “and 11 million others who have made contributions to our country, into a legal status.”
You can watch the exchange here, beginning at the hour and 20-minute mark.
Clinton continued, saying that she favors “immigration reform and a path to citizenship.” The former secretary of state shied away from offering an opinion on how exactly she thinks the government should offer citizenship to those residing in the country without documents, but she endorsed the reform bill that the Senate passed last year. Without naming the party, she called out the Republican leaders of the House of Representatives and said that they should allow a vote on the bill. “I think that’s a big missed opportunity for our country,” Clinton said, “because part of the reason we’re going to do really well in the 21st century is because we are a nation of immigrants. We keep attracting people like you and your family who want to make a contribution. It’s not only because we want to make life better for people like yourselves who is already here, it’s good for us.”
The Clintons were speaking at an event for the family foundation’s No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project, which focuses on advancing women’s rights worldwide. The younger Clinton made news herself at the event by announcing that she is pregnant.
Clinton supported the failed bipartisan efforts to reform the immigration system during George W Bush’s second term. The Senate’s latest stab at fixing the system is more modest than the Bush-era proposal.
Source: Patrick Caldwell for Mother Jones
'Noah' screenwriter attempts to explain why everyone in his movie is white. "The race of individuals doesn't matter."
If you’ve seen Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, you may have noticed something a little weird about the semi-Biblical, semi-apocalyptic cast of the movie: they’re all white. Even the extras.
In an interview with The Higher Calling, Noah screenwriter Ari Handel spoke about the reasoning behind the lack of racial diversity in the cast.
“From the beginning, we were concerned about casting, the issue of race. What we realized is that this story is functioning at the level of myth, and as a mythical story, the race of the individuals doesn’t matter. They’re supposed to be stand-ins for all people. Either you end up with a Bennetton ad or the crew of the Starship Enterprise. You either try to put everything in there, which just calls attention to it, or you just say, ‘Let’s make that not a factor, because we’re trying to deal with everyman.’
Looking at this story through that kind of lens is the same as saying, ‘Would the ark float and is it big enough to get all the species in there?’ That’s irrelevant to the questions because the questions are operating on a different plane than that; they’re operating on the mythical plane.”
In summary, white people are stand-ins “for all people,” and no other race could possibly qualify for “everyman” status. Ari Handel’s reasoning is that the only way to dispense with the issue of racism is to remove everyone who isn’t white. Asking what happened to all the other races is akin to nitpicking about whether the arc would float or not. It’s just silly, OK? “The race of individuals doesn’t matter,” which is why they made absolutely sure that all of those individuals were white. Or something.
Unintentionally, Handel managed to illustrate everything that’s wrong with the ongoing attitude towards casting actors of color in major Hollywood movies. White people are the norm, and everyone else is just a distraction. God forbid anyone attempt to be as diverse as the cast of the Star Trek, which debuted in 1966 and included a grand total of two non-white characters.
Normative whiteness at work.
"The race of individuals doesn’t matter"…as long as they’re all White
metaphors are as dumb as analogies
—a simile (via officialunitedstates)
The 1% wants to ban sleeping in cars - it hurts their ‘quality of life’
April 16, 2014
Across the United States, many local governments are responding to skyrocketing levels of inequality and the now decades-long crisis of homelessness among the very poor … by passing laws making it a crime to sleep in a parked car.
This happened most recently in Palo Alto, in California’s Silicon Valley, where new billionaires are seemingly minted every month – and where 92% of homeless people lack shelter of any kind. Dozens of cities have passed similar anti-homeless laws. The largest of them is Los Angeles, the longtime unofficial “homeless capital of America”, where lawyers are currently defending a similar vehicle-sleeping law before a skeptical federal appellate court. Laws against sleeping on sidewalks or in cars are called “quality of life” laws. But they certainly don’t protect the quality of life of the poor.
To be sure, people living in cars cannot be the best neighbors. Some people are able to acquire old and ugly – but still functioning – recreational vehicles with bathrooms; others do the best they can. These same cities have resisted efforts to provide more public toilet facilities, often on the grounds that this will make their city a “magnet” for homeless people from other cities. As a result, anti-homeless ordinances often spread to adjacent cities, leaving entire regions without public facilities of any kind.
Their hope, of course, is that homeless people will go elsewhere, despite the fact that the great majority of homeless people are trying to survive in the same communities in which they were last housed – and where they still maintain connections. Americans sleeping in their own cars literally have nowhere to go.
Indeed, nearly all homelessness in the US begins with a loss of income and an eviction for nonpayment of rent – a rent set entirely by market forces. The waiting lists are years long for the tiny fraction of housing with government subsidies. And rents have risen dramatically in the past two years, in part because long-time tenants must now compete with the millions of former homeowners who lost their homes in the Great Recession.
The paths from eviction to homelessness follow familiar patterns. For the completely destitute without family or friends able to help, that path leads more or less directly to the streets. For those slightly better off, unemployment and the exhaustion of meager savings – along with the good graces of family and friends – eventually leaves people with only two alternatives: a shelter cot or their old automobile.
However, in places like Los Angeles, the shelters are pretty much always full. Between 2011 and 2013, the number of unsheltered homeless people increased by 67%. In Palo Alto last year, there were 12 shelter beds for 157 homeless individuals. Homeless people in these cities do have choices: they can choose to sleep in a doorway, on a sidewalk, in a park, under a bridge or overpass, or – if they are relatively lucky – in a car. But these cities have ordinances that make all of those choices a criminal offense. The car is the best of bad options, now common enough that local bureaucrats have devised a new, if oxymoronic, term – the “vehicularly housed”.
People sleeping in cars try to find legal, nighttime parking places, where they will be less apparent and arouse the least hostility. But cities like Palo Alto and Los Angeles often forbid parking between 2am and 5am in commercial areas, where police write expensive tickets and arrest and impound the vehicles of repeat offenders. That leaves residential areas, where overnight street parking cannot, as a practical matter, be prohibited.
One finds the “vehicularly housed” in virtually every neighborhood, including my own. But the animus that drives anti-homeless laws seems to be greatest in the wealthiest cities, like Palo Alto, which has probably spawned more per-capita fortunes than any city on Earth, and in the more recently gentrified areas like Los Angeles’ Venice. These places are ruled by majorities of “liberals” who decry, with increasing fervor, the rapid rise in economic inequality. Nationally, 90% of Democrats (and 45% of Republicans) believe the government should act to reduce the rich-poor gap.
It is easy to be opposed to inequality in the abstract. So why are Los Angeles and Palo Alto spending virtually none of their budgets on efforts to provide housing for the very poor and homeless? When the most obvious evidence of inequality parks on their street, it appears, even liberals would rather just call the police. The word from the car: if you’re not going to do anything to help, please don’t make things worse.