with his daughters
...another less obvious bloc of key swing state voters helped the president win a second term.Words from prison: “The Unsilenced Voice of a ‘Long-Distance Revolutionary,’” by Chris Hedges, Truthdig, December 9. [personal communication; excerpt:]
They're the "nones"—that's the Pew Research Center's shorthand for the growing number of American voters who don't have a specific religious affiliation...They are typically younger, more socially liberal than their forebears, vote Democratic, and now make up nearly 20 percent of the country's population. Exit polls suggest that 12 percent of voters on Election Day were counted as "religiously unaffiliated."...
The religiously unaffiliated voters are almost as strongly Democratic as white evangelicals are Republican, polls show.
Their overwhelming support of Obama proved crucial in a number of swing states where the president lost both the Catholic and Protestant vote by single and low-double digits, but won the "nones" by capturing 70-plus percent of their votes....
Similar results were seen in states including Michigan, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania....
- In Ohio, Obama lost the Protestant vote by 3 points and the Catholic vote by 11, but he won the "nones"—12 percent of the state's electorate—by 47 points.
- In Virginia, Obama lost Protestants by 9 points and Catholics by 10 points, but won 76 percent of the "nones," who were 10 percent of the electorate.
- In Florida, Obama lost Protestants by 16 points and Catholics by 5 points, but captured 72 percent of the "nones." They were 15 percent of the electorate.
Nationally, Obama lost the Protestant vote by 15 points, won the Catholic vote by 2 points, and captured 70 percent of the "nones"....
I am sitting in the visiting area of the SCI Mahanoy prison in Frackville, Pa., on a rainy, cold Friday morning with Mumia Abu-Jamal, America’s most famous political prisoner and one of its few authentic revolutionaries....A couple of less graphic images than one of our other contributing editors suggested. Thank goodness. [personal communication; click to enlarge the graphics]
Abu-Jamal was transferred in January to the general prison population after nearly 30 years in solitary confinement on death row and was permitted physical contact with his wife, children and other visitors for the first time in three decades. He had been sentenced to death in 1982 for the Dec. 9, 1981, killing of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. His sentence was recently amended to life without parole. The misconduct of the judge, flagrant irregularities in his trial and tainted evidence have been criticized by numerous human rights organizations, including Amnesty International.
Abu-Jamal, who was a young activist in the Black Panthers and later one of the most important radical journalists in Philadelphia, a city that a few decades earlier produced I.F. Stone, has long been the bête noire of the state. The FBI opened a file on him when he was 15, when he started working with the local chapter of the Black Panthers....
Stephen Vittoria’s new film documentary about Abu-Jamal, Long Distance Revolutionary, rather than revisit the case, chronicles his importance and life as an American journalist, radical and intellectual under the harsh realities of Pennsylvania’s death row. Abu-Jamal has published seven books in prison, including his searing and best-selling “Live From Death Row.” The film features the voices of Cornel West, James Cone, Dick Gregory, Angela Davis, Alice Walker and others. It opens in theaters Feb. 1, starting in New York City. In the film Gregory says that Abu-Jamal has single-handedly brought “dignity to the whole death row.”
The late historian Manning Marable says in the film: “The voice of black journalism in the struggle for the liberation of African-American people has always proved to be decisive throughout black history. When you listen to Mumia Abu-Jamal you hear the echoes of David Walker, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, Paul Robeson, and the sisters and brothers who kept the faith with struggle, who kept the faith with resistance”....
On real corruption: "How Corruption Is Strangling U.S. Innovation," by James Allworth, Harvard Business Review, December 10. [personal communication; excerpt:]
If there's been one topic that has entirely dominated the post-election landscape, it's the fiscal cliff. Will taxes be raised? Which programs will be cut? Who will blink first in negotiations? For all the talk of the fiscal cliff, however, I believe the US is facing a much more serious problem, one that has simply not been talked about at all: corruption. But this isn't the overt, "bartering of government favors in return for private kickbacks" corruption. Instead, this type of corruption has actually been legalized. And it is strangling both US competitiveness, and the ability for US firms to innovate.Flying spaghetti monster, December 12. Thanks for the letter, Mr. Dean. I'll try to get that in for you in the next few days....Editor, Burlington Times-News. [personal correspondence]
The corruption to which I am referring is the phenomenon of money in politics....
Limerick of the Week:
Joseph said, "Mary, fair maid,
I implore you to be not afraid;
Though you've much to bewail,
If you tell a good tale,
From lemons you'll make lemonade."