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marmar

marmar's Journal
marmar's Journal
January 19, 2021

Michigan designates Wednesday as 'What's Going On' Day as Marvin Gaye single marks 50 years





(Detroit Free Press) The State of Michigan is saluting an ageless homegrown classic.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, in tandem with the Motown Museum, is officially recognizing Wednesday as “What’s Going On” Day — on the 50th anniversary of Marvin Gaye’s groundbreaking, still-timely single.

The museum said the designation is kickoff to a year of commemorative activities tied to the album of the same name, which was released four months after the single as Gaye embraced ambitious new sounds and a socially conscious direction.

A “special tribute” document signed by Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist calls “What’s Going On” an influential piece of soul music that inspired other artists to convey “their own feelings, concerns and messages.” ............(more)

https://www.freep.com/story/entertainment/music/brian-mccollum/2021/01/19/whats-going-on-day-michigan-marvin-gaye-anniversary-whitmer/4209408001/




January 19, 2021

US presidential pardons: a potted history of a shabby convention


(Guardian UK) Donald Trump is hardly unique in his controversial use of presidential pardons, which have been a sometimes sordid feature of US politics for well over two centuries.

In his final hours in office, Trump is expected to pardon more than 100 people, including political allies, friends and cronies. He has already granted clemency to principal figures from his 2016 campaign.

In seeking to promote his self-interest, Trump is merely following in the footsteps of White House predecessors. Under article two of the US constitution, presidents enjoy broad and unchallengeable powers to pardon individuals for federal crimes. This right is “without limit”, the supreme court has ruled.

The exercise of this prerogative has long been a source of argument. In 1795 George Washington amnestied two men who had masterminded the Whiskey Rebellion against a federal tax on alcohol. In the 20th century, Gerald Ford pardoned a disgraced Richard Nixon after the Watergate scandal. ............(more)

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jan/19/us-presidential-pardons-potted-history-donald-trump-white-house




January 19, 2021

Can Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff reinvigorate the Black-Jewish alliance?


Can Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff reinvigorate the Black-Jewish alliance?
Georgia's newly-elected senators could revive the historic partnership that battled white supremacy in the '60s

By JACQUES BERLINERBLAU - TERRENCE L. JOHNSON
JANUARY 18, 2021 11:00AM


The stunning victories of the Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in the Georgia Senate runoff elections on Jan. 5 provide some hope amidst the gloom of the attempted coup that occurred the next day at the U.S. Capitol. The unlikely triumph of these two men — an African-American pastor who preaches from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s former pulpit and a youthful, liberal Reform Jew — evokes fond memories of the storied Black-Jewish civil rights coalition. That now-defunct "Grand Alliance" battled the same forces of white supremacy whose ideological descendants stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6. While Warnock and Ossoff's twinned political activism does display some surface similarities with the mid-century alliance, in many ways it is different. These differences suggest ways to bridge the divide that led the coalition's collapse in the late 1960s.

The Warnock/Ossoff campaigns inspire many to reminisce about the relationship between Dr. King and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. There is no image more iconic in American Judaism than their march alongside one another in Selma. Their intervention occurred a few weeks after Black protesters, including the late John Lewis, were viciously assaulted by state troopers as they tried to cross the Alabama River. The fact that campaign ads for Republican incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in the recent Georgia races were not above racial and anti-Semitic innuendo makes the comparison more compelling. (A Loeffler ad apparently darkened Warnock's skin, while a Perdue ad lengthened the size of Ossoff's nose.) These visual slurs underscored a truism noted in the occasional Black-Jewish dialogues that took place during the Trump era: A common foe was re-emerging. That foe was a white American Christian nationalism, seemingly hellbent on affirming that Blacks and Jews were neither whites nor Americans nor worthy of Christian fellowship.

As the Black-Jewish alliance imploded in the late 1960s, many Blacks complained that Jews had lost sight of that foe. Perhaps with that we drive to the heart of what caused the crack-up of the Grand Alliance. Blacks and Jews have bickered over many issues in the past half century. They have argued over affirmative action. They have staked out opposing positions over the state of Israel. They have disagreed on the promise of liberalism (whose promise was kept to one group, but not to the other). Their contentions devolved into quack conceptions of racial inferiority peddled by Jewish neoconservatives, while Black demagogues trafficked in slanders about Jewish complicity in the slave trade. Yet perhaps no charge complexified and threatened their alliance as much as the one that Jews had become white. ...........(more)

https://www.salon.com/2021/01/18/can-raphael-warnock-and-jon-ossoff-reinvigorate-the-black-jewish-alliance/



January 19, 2021

How two losers created Stop the Steal


(Salon) In January 2013, a 26-year-old right-wing blogger named Ali Akbar joined the campaign of Curtis Bostic, a former Charleston, South Carolina, city councilman and Tea Party conservative who was running against disgraced former governor Mark Sanford in a Republican congressional primary. Bostic narrowly lost to Sanford (who served two more terms in the House before getting primaried out in 2018), and the campaign disassociated itself from Akbar, whose history as a convicted felon and hack political operative had caught up with him once again.

But over those first three months of 2013, Akbar — now known to the world as Ali Alexander, architect of the 2020 Stop the Steal movement — befriended the candidate's son, Daniel Bostic, then a 20-year-old aspiring model and actor who over the next eight years would partner with Ali in a number of failed ventures, including a cryptocurrency project, a listless consulting agency, a defunct MAGA gossip blog, and a scam donation project created with right-wing trolls Jacob Wohl and Laura Loomer. The partnership's lasting contribution to the world, however, came earlier this month, when the massive pro-Trump rally they organized on the National Mall on Jan. 6 turned into a violent siege of the U.S. Capitol, defiling the seat of American democracy and leaving half a dozen people dead, including two police officers.

Back in 2013, Akbar (as he was then known), a fast-talking aspiring strategist from the Dallas-Fort Worth region, had been casting about for a new gig after Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential bid failed, taking with it his own efforts to make inroads with mainstream Republicans. Conservatives had grown increasingly wary of Akbar's felony fraud convictions and other allegations of improper conduct, such as asking donors for personal information. Akbar's political journalism project, known as National Bloggers Club, was struggling, too, after its founder's history and conduct created complications for top advisers to the Romney campaign. (Akbar was first anti-Romney and then pro-Romney.) He claimed the site was a nonprofit but apparently never registered it as such with the IRS. Its current status is "revoked," according to federal tax records.

"Akbar was a Libertarian, a Reagan conservative, and a Tea Party journo all at the same time," said freelance reporter Ron Brynaert, whose complicated history with Akbar/Alexander stretches back more than a decade. "He's always been a delusional liar with a messiah complex, who talks out of both sides of his mouth and contradicts himself." ...........(more)

https://www.salon.com/2021/01/19/how-two-friends-farcical-failed-schemes-ended-with-the-biggest-fail-of-all-stop-the-steal/




January 19, 2021

This Michigan marijuana dispensary is giving free weed to anyone who got the COVID-19 vaccine


(Detroit Metro Times) To help encourage Michiganders to get vaccinated against COVID-19, a local marijuana dispensary is offering a "Pot for Shots" promotion.

Anyone who brings in written proof that they received a COVID-19 vaccine to the Greenhouse of Walled Lake will get a free pre-rolled joint, the dispensary says in a press release.

"Our goal is to raise awareness of the importance of getting the COVID-19 vaccination as we as a community battle this horrible pandemic," owner Jerry Millen says in a statement. "'Pot for Shots' is our way of showing our commitment in assisting helping the community get back to normalcy. We support the safe and responsible use of cannabis and hope this is the beginning of the end of this insidious pandemic." ........(more)

https://www.metrotimes.com/detroit/this-michigan-marijuana-dispensary-is-giving-free-weed-to-anyone-who-can-prove-they-got-the-covid-19-vaccine/Content?oid=26261127




January 19, 2021

Colombia's 'cocaine hippos' must be stopped, scientists warn





Pablo Escobar’s hippos are taking over the marshlands of Colombia — and need to face the same fate as their late owner before they become impossible to control, scientists have warned.

The so-called “cocaine hippos” were illegally imported to the country by the notorious drug lord, who was shot dead by authorities in 1993, the Telegraph reported.

But the rapidly breeding beasts have grown to become the largest invasive species on the planet — and could reach dangerous numbers in the next two decades.

“Nobody likes the idea of shooting a hippo, but we have to accept that no other strategy is going to work,” ecologist Nataly Castelblanco-Martínez told the outlet. ..........(more)

https://nypost.com/2021/01/17/colombias-cocaine-hippos-must-be-stopped-scientists/




January 18, 2021

Drunk Florida man arrested for allegedly stealing floating tiki bar

A drunk Florida man was arrested after he was caught operating a floating tiki bar that was reportedly stolen, the US Coast Guard announced.

Agents from the Coast Guard’s Key West station found the man on the stolen tiki hut near Hawk’s Channel off the coast of the Florida Keys, the agency wrote in a Wednesday tweet.

“Don’t drink and boat!” the tweet quipped.

The man appeared intoxicated and was taken into custody by officers from Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Coast Guard said. ......(more)

https://nypost.com/2021/01/15/florida-man-arrested-for-allegedly-stealing-floating-tiki-bar/




January 18, 2021

Can Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff reinvigorate the Black-Jewish alliance?


Can Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff reinvigorate the Black-Jewish alliance?
Georgia's newly-elected senators could revive the historic partnership that battled white supremacy in the '60s

By JACQUES BERLINERBLAU - TERRENCE L. JOHNSON
JANUARY 18, 2021 11:00AM


The stunning victories of the Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in the Georgia Senate runoff elections on Jan. 5 provide some hope amidst the gloom of the attempted coup that occurred the next day at the U.S. Capitol. The unlikely triumph of these two men — an African-American pastor who preaches from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s former pulpit and a youthful, liberal Reform Jew — evokes fond memories of the storied Black-Jewish civil rights coalition. That now-defunct "Grand Alliance" battled the same forces of white supremacy whose ideological descendants stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6. While Warnock and Ossoff's twinned political activism does display some surface similarities with the mid-century alliance, in many ways it is different. These differences suggest ways to bridge the divide that led the coalition's collapse in the late 1960s.

The Warnock/Ossoff campaigns inspire many to reminisce about the relationship between Dr. King and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. There is no image more iconic in American Judaism than their march alongside one another in Selma. Their intervention occurred a few weeks after Black protesters, including the late John Lewis, were viciously assaulted by state troopers as they tried to cross the Alabama River. The fact that campaign ads for Republican incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in the recent Georgia races were not above racial and anti-Semitic innuendo makes the comparison more compelling. (A Loeffler ad apparently darkened Warnock's skin, while a Perdue ad lengthened the size of Ossoff's nose.) These visual slurs underscored a truism noted in the occasional Black-Jewish dialogues that took place during the Trump era: A common foe was re-emerging. That foe was a white American Christian nationalism, seemingly hellbent on affirming that Blacks and Jews were neither whites nor Americans nor worthy of Christian fellowship.

As the Black-Jewish alliance imploded in the late 1960s, many Blacks complained that Jews had lost sight of that foe. Perhaps with that we drive to the heart of what caused the crack-up of the Grand Alliance. Blacks and Jews have bickered over many issues in the past half century. They have argued over affirmative action. They have staked out opposing positions over the state of Israel. They have disagreed on the promise of liberalism (whose promise was kept to one group, but not to the other). Their contentions devolved into quack conceptions of racial inferiority peddled by Jewish neoconservatives, while Black demagogues trafficked in slanders about Jewish complicity in the slave trade. Yet perhaps no charge complexified and threatened their alliance as much as the one that Jews had become white. ...........(more)

https://www.salon.com/2021/01/18/can-raphael-warnock-and-jon-ossoff-reinvigorate-the-black-jewish-alliance/




January 18, 2021

When Exactly Do Democrats Take Control in Washington?


(Washington Post) Democrats have run the U.S. House of Representatives since the beginning of 2019. At noon on Wednesday, Joe Biden, a Democrat, becomes president. That means that once Democrats secure their ever-so-narrow majority in the Senate, they will control both the executive and legislative branches for the first time since 2011. Exactly when that happens involves multiple moving parts that may influence, among other things, when the House-approved impeachment article against outgoing President Donald Trump is sent to the Senate for a trial.

1. Who controls the Senate now?

Since Jan. 3, when the 117th Congress was sworn in, the Senate’s composition has been 51 Republicans, 46 Democrats and two independents who vote with Democrats. That’s why the top Senate Republican, Mitch McConnell, has remained majority leader. Since Georgia had two runoff elections on Jan. 5, one of that state’s Senate seats is temporarily vacant, and the other will be held for a few more days by Kelly Loeffler, a Republican. The two Democrats who triumphed in the runoffs, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, will be seated once that election result is certified.

2. When will Ossoff and Warnock be seated?

Georgia election officials expect to certify the results by end-of-day on Wednesday, the day of Biden’s inauguration. Ossoff and Warnock then must bring their certification papers to Washington to be sworn in. Such swearings-in often occur the day after state certification. The addition of Ossoff and Warnock would bring the Senate’s balance of power to an even split, 50-50. ..............(more)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/when-exactly-do-democrats-take-control-in-washington/2021/01/17/b97eb158-590e-11eb-a849-6f9423a75ffd_story.html




January 18, 2021

NY Penn Station track expansion included in Gov. Cuomo's proposed $306 billion infrastructure plan





NY Penn Station track expansion included in Gov. Cuomo’s proposed $306 billion infrastructure plan
The governor’s State of the State detailed projects that will enhance and improve transit operations, including a new PANYNJ Bus Terminal, the LIRR Third Track Project and Phase 2 of the Second Ave. Subway Extension.

Mischa Wanek-Libman


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has included a $306 billion infrastructure proposal as part of his larger 2021 agenda. The infrastructure proposal is the largest in the state’s history and will include plans to transform Manhattan's Midtown West neighborhood, rebuild the state's airports and improve transportation infrastructure – including several transit focused initiatives.

"I sit in the office and live in the home occupied at one time by FDR. Part of Roosevelt's genius was that he understood that it was not the buildings and programs themselves that actually turned around the economy, it was the people," said Gov. Cuomo. "Building new projects enhances day-to-day life. Seeing progress lifts peoples' spirits. And building with bricks and mortar also builds public optimism and confidence."

He added, “Altogether, we are expanding our infrastructure plan to invest $306 billion in the future of New York. That's not just the largest infrastructure plan in New York history. It's the largest, most ambitious plan put forward by any state in the nation."

The governor’s plan calls for a $51-billion program to redevelop Midtown West in New York City to build new outdoor spaces and affordable housing, as well as improve public transit and pedestrian connections. .............(more)

https://www.masstransitmag.com/technology/facilities/article/21206062/ny-penn-station-track-expansion-included-in-gov-cuomos-proposed-306-billion-infrastructure-plan




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