Archive for Melissa Harris Perry – Page 2

Teen on hunger strike: "My mom [was] handcuffed, pushed into van" by 10 I.C.E. officers


hunger strike immigration Cynthia Diaz teen

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Melissa Harris Perry interviewed hunger strike activist Cynthia Diaz, 18, who spoke out on the detention of undocumented immigrants, one of whom is her own mother. The hunger strike is taking place outside of the White House.

Her words and actions affected me deeply, as did Melissa Harris-Perry's:

DiazI am doing this hunger strike for my mom. She was unfairly deported in May, 2011. When I.C.E. raided our home, it was a Saturday morning, I was 15 at the time, and I have a younger brother who was 13. ...My dad's screaming out, "Cynthia, they're taking your mom!" I was confused because I didn't know what that meant and so I went to my front yard and there I saw ten I.C.E. officers all over my front yard and I saw my mom being handcuffed and pushed into a van.

And then the door shut and we were really confused.

My brother heard everything but he didn't leave his room because he didn't want to see what was happening.

That was really traumatizing for me because, like I said before, I was only 15 at the time...

I was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona... I have a brother and my dad who are U.S. residents, but I didn't know until they took my mom that, you know, she was undocumented.

MHP: So you're an american citizen. You have U.S. permanent residents in your family, and you have not eaten in days because you are trying to get your president and your government to let your mom out of detention. ...

Diaz: I talked to her last night. right now she's in San Luis, Arizona in, a private detention center. She does tell me that it's really cold there, the beds are really uncomfortable, the food is not pleasant at all.


The meaning of the name Kieran Romney


name tag

While I was away on my teensy weensy little San Francisco holiday vacay, a few stories broke that I'm only just now catching up on.

One that apparently got a lot of buzz ended with MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry tearfully apologizing for a "Year in Review" segment on her weekend show. It featured panelists offering "off the cuff" verbal captions to newsworthy photos, including quips about a Romney family portrait showing Mitt holding his adopted black grandson, Kieran Romney.

Here is video of Nerdland playing "Caption That":

And here is Melissa Harris-Perry's heartfelt apology:

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Here is what a top Romney adviser had to say:

tweet romney adviser on Kieran Melissa Harris-Perry apologyLink

While I was reading up on this story, I noticed a comment on one site that referred to the meaning of the name "Kieran." The commenter wondered, during all the uproar, why nobody had bothered to look it up:

Kieran Romney name meaningLink

Were the Romneys aware of the meaning of the name Kieran? Should the MHP Show have been? Is it relevant? Your thoughts?

UPDATE: I'm told by one of my Twitter followers that the MHP show discussed (and marveled at) the name and its meaning months ago.


"Rare black Santa... our children can relate to." Oh, and Megyn Kelly "would not have been considered 'white.'"



black Santa

Melissa Harris-Perry wrote an astute, thought-provoking letter to Santa Claus in response to the ongoing mind-boggling controversy that is still all too prevalent in the year 2013:

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Additionally, the Los Angeles Times devoted quite a bit of well-deserved print space to a heartwarming piece about a beloved Los Angeles mall Santa Claus, a 77-year-old man named Langston Patterson:

For nearly a decade, Patterson has been the main attraction at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza during Christmastime: a rare black Santa Claus in a sea of white ones.

The mall, located in the heart of black Los Angeles, is one of the few in the country with a black Santa Claus. Some say Patterson is the only black shopping-mall Santa Claus in the Los Angeles area.

As visitors approached him on a recent afternoon, it was hard to tell who was more excited: the youngsters or the adults. The parents are the most loyal. They return with grandchildren, passing on a family tradition with a deep personal meaning.

Better not tell Fox's Megyn Kelly; she might "jest" about it.

Speaking of the Megster, check out this Moment of Must Read from Juan Cole:

So while St. Nikolaos would probably be considered “white” in today’s America, he would not necessarily have been in the early twentieth century.

Likewise, a Jew from Nazareth would definitely not have been considered “white” by many Protestant Americans in the early twentieth century. There would have been social clubs he couldn’t have gotten into.

But here’s the kicker. Megyn Kelly has an Irish name, and if she is Irish-American, then she would not have been considered “white” by many Protestant northerners in the nineteenth century.

So let's get a few things straight:

Everyone is born covered with skin whose function it is to keep our blood, bones, and organs in place, and that skin has pigment, sometimes more, sometimes less. More pigment means more protection from the sun and inexplicably, more contempt and inequality. Less pigment means more vulnerability and requires a higher SPF, and inexplicably, less ridicule and torment and more privilege.

Religion is "belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods." Belief in a god or some other higher power is not innate, it is taught. We are raised a certain way, trained, and eventually accept or reject our religious/non-religious upbringing.

Prejudice, bigotry, racism, discrimination are also learned and cultivated; toddlers are not racists. Babies do not shun other babies based on their skin tone, nor are they repulsed by anyone's sexual orientation.

People are different. Their world views are different. Their colors, languages, appearances, physical, and psychological configurations are different. Their experiences are different.

We are a huge and diverse crowd that shares one planet, we always have been, we always will be.

Get over it, people. We are woefully-- painfully-- overdue to finally accept and embrace all of those myriad traits, characteristics, beliefs, non-beliefs, hues, heights, weights, and varieties of human beings that inhabit Earth. We live together in one enormous place, and not one of us is better than the other because of where we were born, who we love, what we do or don't believe in, or our genetic make-up. Not. One.

That discussions like these still consume so much media space, debate time, and human energy is bewildering. Then again, that Fox calls itself a news station and continues to draw viewers is equally bewildering.


Gun crime is up. Three cheers for austerity! Hip hip... BANG! Hip hip... BANG! Hip hip... BANG! But a CA city has a plan.


gun stories MHP

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Melissa Harris-Perry ticked off story after story of needless gun deaths in the above video segment:

"I want to pretend that these senseless deaths are not happening. But we have to face these realities because the gun lobby does not rest even as Americans lose their lives to gun violence."

We at TPC write endlessly about guns, gun violence, and the push for meaningful, sensible gun safety laws. We also quote stats such as these:

And just as all the wrangling over firearms gets even more depressing and seems increasingly futile, along comes a glimmer of hopeful news. In today's L.A. Times, there's a story about Oakland, California's effort to exempt the city from state law in order to get a major gun problem under control. I scanned the image below from my hard copy of the Times:

oakland gun stats

An 8-year-old girl, Alaysha "Ladybug" Carradine, was the latest victim of gunfire; she was killed at a slumber party when some gun-totin' loon knocked on the door and opened fire. A 7-year-old girl and 4-year-old boy were wounded. The murderer has yet to be apprehended.

So far this year there have been 3,026 gun crimes in this city just shy of 400,000 residents, which tops the list of the state's most dangerous. [...]

And so was born an unprecedented effort to seek an exemption from the California law that bars local governments from regulating the registration or licensing of firearms. [...]

No municipality has previously received such an exemption, yet Bonta called the "targeted approach" to hand this regulatory decision-making to local officials "good policy," noting that 12 children were among Oakland's 130 homicides last year — 90% of them gun-related. [...]

Oakland officials say a city licensing and registration program would help police better track local gun patterns, including thefts; locate straw purchasers; remove firearms promptly from the hands of those barred from possessing them; and allow for better gun safety education.

Guess who's opposed! Correct! The gun lobby. So much for all that local control conservatives keep championing.

And guess why the gun crime rate is rising:

[The] police force ... shrank by a fourth because of budget cuts over the last five years. While homicides and some other violent crimes have dipped slightly this year over the same period last year, robberies with a firearm are up almost 50%.

Three cheers for austerity! Hip hip... BANG! Hip hip... BANG! Hip hip...

fake gun bang flag


VIDEO-- Kansas Republican: If GOP insists on sabotaging #Obamacare, "then consumers will be the ones who suffer."


obamacare repeal 40 times MHP

Obamacare confusion

Former President Clinton morphed into the Explainer in Chief of Obamacare in this video. Plus a major new study by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation put together data from the Affordable Care Act's marketplaces in the 17 states where it is fully available. Guess what? They reported "lower than expected" premiums for new insurance exchanges.

Today's Melissa Harris-Perry Show explained further the Affordable Care Act, its benefits, and how it will be implemented. Here's a short, and effective, clip. The other segments, including the rest of this one, are below:

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Insurance marketplaces are websites where consumers who don't already receive health benefits from their employers and also don't qualify for Medicaid can shop for a health insurance plan. But many Republican-run states are preventing access to these plans.

In fact, in Kansas, Republican Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger said, "If state regulators are not going to do anything, then consumers will be the ones who suffer." Indeed.

A report in today's Los Angeles Times went into some detail about how the GOP is sabotaging efforts to help state residents get health care, which of course endangers the very lives of the voters the party is wooing. See how "pro-life" they are?

...Americans who live in states backing the Affordable Care Act will receive substantial protections and assistance unavailable to residents in states still fighting the 2010 law. That could mean confusion and higher insurance premiums for millions of consumers in states resisting the law.

Leaders in these resistant states have not set up consumer hot lines. Several state insurance regulators are refusing to make sure health plans offer new protections required by the law, such as guaranteed coverage for people who are ill.


So instead of implementing a plan that will not reject those who are sick, that will not put limits on coverage, that will allow low- and moderate-income Americans to qualify for government subsidies, Republicans in leadership positions are rejecting the law (and yes, it is the law) that also includes federal aid to expand Medicaid programs:

That means as many as 5 million of the poorest residents in these states will still not be able to get coverage next year.

To those whose hatred of President Obama trumps the health and welfare of their own fellow Americans, sabotaging the president and catering to an extremist base-- not protecting lives-- are the priorities:

[I]n Florida, the Legislature and governor stripped the insurance commissioner's authority to block rate hikes for two years. Since the new health law does not give the federal government this power, that effectively allows insurance companies to raise some premiums as much as they choose in 2014 and 2015, the first two years that Obama's healthcare law will be fully in effect.

So people will be paying more, and "consumers in states resisting the law will also get less help shopping for insurance."

Hey Republicans, how's that reinvention thing workin' for ya?

Here are the MHP segments in full. They are well worth watching:

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VIDEO: "If I didn't know any better, I would think you were exchanging your judicial robes for a GOP seat in Congress."


judge blames rape on teen MHP show

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Melissa Harris-Perry, in part:

I would like to think a safe assumption that, of all people, a district court judge in Montana is intimately familiar with the laws in Montana. but your statements in court on Monday suggest that maybe you could use a bit of a refresher. So allow me to help you out.

According to Montana law, a victim is incapable of giving consent if the victim is less than 16 years old. Incapable of giving consent. Because, Judge Baugh, a victim less than 16 years old, in this case, a 14-year-old, is a child. A child like 44% of those who are victims of rape.

And the law codifies our collective understanding that children deserve special protections because their youth and immaturity makes them inherently disempowered in a sexual, as you call it, "situation" with an adult. Which means Charisse, this child, was in no way capable of controlling or consenting to the actions of the grown man who had sex with her, and I call her a victim here, not a survivor, because while she survived for the moment, she ultimately succumbed.

So she was no more able to prevent her rape than she was to somehow age herself beyond her 14 years.

So your statement that she was older than her chronological age, along with implicating her as a participant in her own assault, amounts to excusing the crimes of an adult while laying blame on a child that he victimized.

That child, Charisse, isn't even here anymore to speak for herself.

So if she were, she might tell you that it's this kind of shaming, the idea that it is somehow our own fault, that keeps so many survivors, including me, silent after their rape. And makes survivors four times as likely to contemplate the drastic action that Charisse ultimately chose to end their own lives.

Judge Baugh, it's bad enough that thanks to you an admitted child rapist will be a free man by the end of the month, but the day after the sentencing, you defended your decision by saying, quote, "I think that people have in mind that this was some kind of violent, forcible, horrible rape. It was horrible enough as it was, just given her age, but it wasn't this forcible, beat-up rape."

If I didn't know any better, I would think you were exchanging your judicial robes for a Republican seat in Congress, because you're sounding a lot like former Senator Todd "legitimate rape" Akin before his comments got him voted out of office.

So let me remind you a couple of the same things I reminded him of. First, rape is rape. full stop.



VIDEO: Strikers, small business owners "rebelling against parent corporations" that hoard billions-- like McDonald's


minimum wage is poverty

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Tsedeye Gebreselassie, NELP (National Employment Law Project) staff attorney:

...McDonald's made $5.5 billion in profits in the last year and the money is clearly there. It just needs to trickle down to the workers.

And while a small amount of workers may make the minimum wage, the average wage in this industry for the front line workers is less than $9.

And while some, a very small few, may go on to better-paying jobs in the industry, in general, there's a real lack of upward mobility.

And that's a real problem. And you saw that with the strikes. People who have been working for more than a decade and were still making a single-digit hourly wage, because the industry pay is flat, only 2% of the jobs are managerial. The vast majority are these front line positions where the pay is very low.

Dorian Warren, Columbia University:

Remember, this is in the memory of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. And one of those demands was a $2 minimum wage, which would be about $13 and change today. So the workers like Miss Davis and their colleagues, they're right on the money, so to speak, in terms of what it will take to live a livable life...

"It's difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on not understanding it," as Upton Sinclair said once. With all due respect, we know that these companies can afford it. And in fact, the very franchisees [small business owners] are rebelling against the parent corporations, because they're getting squeezed.

So when Miss Davis goes on strike with her colleagues, she's not striking against the franchisees, she's striking against the parent corporations that make the $5 billion in profit and can afford to ease up on their franchisees, so the franchisees can then pay their workers a livable wage.

graph minimum wage compared to top wageschart vulture income disparity inequality smaller