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Megan Rapinoe Is a Leader for Her Team, and Her Time!

Megan Rapinoe
Dear Commons Community,
Megan Rapinoe is emerging as not just a leader of the America’s Women’s Soccer Team but as person that we all are starting to notice and admire. She sees her outspoken nature as an obligation, and the World Cup as the perfect stage from which to speak her mind.She stands in silent protest during the national anthem, declining to sing or put her hand over her heart. She said she would not visit the White House if the United States won its fourth Women’s World Cup, and would encourage her teammates not to go, either. 

Her reasoning, she said, is that she did not want the American women’s team’s decades-long fight for equality and inclusivity to be “co-opted by an administration that doesn’t feel the same way and doesn’t fight for the same things that we fight for.”   Here are excerpts of articles that appeared in the New York Times and Associated Press:

“When she scored the first of her two goals in Friday’s 2-1 victory over France in the quarterfinals of the Women’s World Cup, on a cunning and elusive free kick, Megan Rapinoe ran to the corner of the field and held her arms aloft.
The gesture was not a mere celebration. It seemed to say, this is all of me. Take me for the bold, complex person that I am: big personality; social activist; champion of equal pay; national anthem protester; presidential critic; lavender-haired soccer star of ruthless and creative purpose.
Out, and out front, Rapinoe has perhaps become the representative athlete of our times — wearing the jersey of a nation that is divided, playing for a team that is not, fearless and unapologetic about demanding excellence from herself and fair and equitable treatment by others.
Many sports teams tend to retreat into a bubble when it comes to difficult topics and moments, to offer bland and insipid “one game at a time” pablum. Not Rapinoe and this United States women’s team. It sued U.S. Soccer for gender discrimination before the tournament. And once it arrived in France, Rapinoe (on camera) and her teammate Ali Krieger (on Twitter) jousted with President Trump. Krieger already had made news here, by suggesting that the Americans’ depth left the United States not only with the best team in the World Cup, but also with the second-best.
Some may consider their remarks audacious or disrespectful, but a journalist always wants to know what an athlete is truly thinking. Rapinoe and her teammates, then, are refreshingly, wonderfully candid. And Coach Jill Ellis seems uninterested in trying to tamp down any verbal brush fires or worried they will escalate into distracting conflagration. She appears to feel that self-assurance, on the field and off, is a necessary vaccine against wallflower reticence, which could hurt her team — any team — in the most demanding moments.
“You can have all the tactics in the world, but that essence of self-belief, that’s critical,” Ellis said after the United States defeated Spain on Monday, with Rapinoe again delivering both American goals.
Referring to Rapinoe, who will turn 34 on Friday, by her nickname, Ellis added, “Pinoe and other players have lived in these moments. It’s fair to say they actually want those moments. When the game is on the line, you want to feel that this is a changing moment that you’re in. I think that’s part of what they’re really good at in terms of embracing that moment.”
There are those who rebuke Rapinoe, arguing sports and politics shouldn’t mix, but the two have always been inextricable. For better or worse, there are few bigger stages than an international sporting event to make a political statement. That has especially held true at the Olympics, from the Black Power salutes of the Mexico City Games; to the 1972 massacre of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches by Palestinian terrorists in Munich, Germany; to the United States boycott of the 1980 Moscow Games in protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
It would be irresponsible not to use her international platform to try to effect change, Rapinoe has often said. She stands in silent protest during the national anthem, declining to sing or put her hand over her heart. She said she would not visit the White House if the United States won its fourth Women’s World Cup, and would encourage her teammates not to go, either.
Her reasoning, she said, is that she did not want the American women’s team’s decades-long fight for equality and inclusivity to be “co-opted by an administration that doesn’t feel the same way and doesn’t fight for the same things that we fight for.”
Her boldness is nothing new for her, or for members of her team. It can be traced to the mid-1990s among American female soccer stars — a line that extends from players like Julie Foudy to Abby Wambach and now to Rapinoe — players willing to risk criticism in order to demand equitable pay, safe playing conditions and social justice. It was Foudy, for instance, who led the way in urging that the 1999 Women’s World Cup be played in large football stadiums in the United States. The epic final that year, a penalty-shootout victory over China, drew a Women’s World Cup-record crowd of 90,185 to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
“That team laid the foundation for a lot of things,” said Jeffrey Gerson, a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell who has led a number of panel discussions about the continuing struggle for equality in women’s soccer.
He added: “They also had this sense that they were being watched and on stage and carrying the torch for equality and cultural change for girls and women. This conversation has continued. There’s a spirit that goes along with the team: anything is possible, don’t be limited by the doubts of others.”
If anyone does not appear to be limited by the doubts of others, it is Rapinoe, who told The New York Times Magazine before the World Cup that it was important to buttress her activism with her play on the field. It is what she stresses to her younger teammates.
“Everything is more and better,” she said then. “I want them to understand that it’s better because we earned it. But it’s also better because we won. The most important thing is continuing to win.”

Brava Megan and best of luck in the remaining games of the World Cup!

Tony

DeVos Finalizes the End of Obama Safeguards Aimed at Abuses by For-Profit Colleges!

Dear Commons Community,

As expected, USDOE Secretary Betsy DeVos  rescinded an Obama-era rule yesterday that was created to protect students from abusive for-profit colleges.  As reported by CNN:

“The rule, known as Gainful Employment, required for-profit colleges and career certificate programs to post debt-to-earnings ratios, proving that their students could find good-paying jobs upon graduating. If the average ratio did not meet government standards, the school’s federal funding would be revoked.

The Department of Education outlined a number of reasons the regulation was flawed in a notice posted Friday. It said the rule failed to account for factors other than program quality that could affect a graduate’s earnings.

DeVos has also criticized the rule for not requiring all nonprofit colleges to also publish the data. In May, the department released new student loan data at the program level from nonprofit colleges, as well as certificate-granting programs.

Consumer advocates slammed DeVos on Friday for rolling back the student safeguard.

“Again and again, Secretary DeVos proves she only cares about protecting for-profit colleges, no matter how many students they swindle,” said Aaron Ament, president of the National Student Legal Defense Network.

DeVos has been widely criticized by Democrats for hiring department officials with ties to the for-profit industry.

The secretary attempted to roll back another Obama-era rule on for-profit colleges, which allows students defrauded by their schools to seek loan forgiveness. But a federal judge — siding with Democratic attorneys general from 18 states and the District of Columbia — ruled that DeVos’ freeze was “arbitrary and capricious” and ordered immediate implementation of the rule in October.

Still, claims for loan forgiveness had added up while the Department of Education fought the lawsuit in court. More than 150,000 people are waiting to hear if their debt will be canceled, and DeVos was sued again over the delay earlier this week.

The Department of Education froze the Gainful Employment rule about two years ago, and it has since been under review. It was never in effect long enough to result in any cuts to funding, but schools had published the data in 2017, before DeVos was sworn in. At that time, about 800 programs serving hundreds of thousands of students failed the accountability standards.

Together, the two rules were an important part of the Obama administration’s crackdown on for-profit colleges like Corinthian and ITT Tech, which were accused of defrauding students and eventually shut down.”

Shame on DeVos!

Tony

 

Thousands Gathered Yesterday at Stonewall on the 50th Anniversary of the LGBTQ Uprising!

Image result for Stonewall Inn

Dear Commons Community,

Thousands of people converged yesterday on the Stonewall Inn for the 50th anniversary of the rebellion that catalyzed a movement for LGBTQ liberation, marking the milestone with celebrity performances, speeches and personal reflections.  As reported in the Associated Press:

“Fifty years ago, people stood up for their rights, and look where we’re at now. We’ve got flags all over the city,” said Richard Walker, 58, an airline worker from New York. “I’m getting goosebumps just really thinking about it.”

With the modern incarnation of the Stonewall Inn as the focal point, the day’s celebrations included music, speeches and an evening rally. Lady Gaga, Whoopi Goldberg, Alicia Keys, drag performers and other artists at the advocacy organization Pride Live’s Stonewall Day Concert addressed a crowd that stretched for blocks on a nearly 90-degree afternoon.

“This community has fought and continued to fight a war of acceptance, a war of tolerance,” Lady Gaga said. “You are the definition of courage.”

Robert Beaird traveled from Dallas to attend the Stonewall anniversary events a couple of years after coming out in his 50s.

“I just kind of hid who I was for my whole life, and then within the last two years, I’ve been going through this kind of cathartic experience of accepting myself,” said Beaird, 53, who had been married and fathered children. “Just to be here with all these people is pretty amazing.”

Jocelyn Burrell isn’t gay, but she made her way to the Stonewall Inn because she was struck by how welcoming it was when she stopped in there years ago, and she feels a sense of common cause with its place in history.

“Just like we fought — black people fought — for civil rights, I feel I should support other people who fight for civil rights,” she said.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio joined the rally in front of Stonewall Inn, saying “Happy Pride, everybody!” to thousands of cheering people including activists, organizers and politicians. The Democratic mayor called those who were arrested in 1969 “brave,” setting the stage for future LGBTQ rights.

In the crowd was Emma Gonzalez, who survived last year’s high school massacre in Parkland, Florida, and is a bisexual gun-control advocate. Also there was Barbara Poma, owner of the Pulse gay nightclub in Coral Springs, Florida, the scene of one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history.”

Yesterday’s events were kicking off a weekend of Pride festivities in New York including a huge WorldPride parade on Sunday.

Tony

 

Kamala Harris Selling T-Shirts after Debate Exchange with Joe Biden! 

That Little Girl Was Me | Unisex | Black

Dear Commons Community,

Kamala Harris is selling “That Little Girl Was Me” T-shirts connected to her desegregation comments at the Democratic debate on Thursday night. Many who saw the debate thought it was the most powerful moment of the evening, however, the t-shirt is being perceived by some as a cheap move.

The California senator confronted former vice president Joe Biden on Thursday for his “civil” relationship with late senators James Eastland and Herman Talmadge, who were both segregationists. “Well guess what? At least there was some civility,” Biden said last week of his working relationship with the men. “We got things done. We didn’t agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished. But today, you look at the other side and you’re the enemy. Not the opposition, the enemy. We don’t talk to each other anymore.”

But Harris told Biden at the debate, “Vice President Biden, I do not believe you are a racist. I also believe—and it’s personal…it was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country. It was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose busing.”

She said, “And you know, there was a little girl in California who was a part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me. So I will tell you that, on this subject, it cannot be an intellectual debate among Democrats. We have to take it seriously.”

On Friday morning, Harris’s campaign website was selling a black T-shirt with an imprint of the candidate as a school girl (ranging in price from $29.99 to $32.99). But the move came off to some – including Harris’s followers – as tacky.

“Hmmmm man I was like so about her at the debate tonight and everything felt and seemed so authentic and then I come on here and she already has this t-shirt ready to sell,” wrote an Instagrammer. “This just made me mad uncomfortable. Like I legit just second guessed wanting to vote for her after seeing this lol.”

One commenter stated:  “Kamala you should have waited at least a few days… WAY too soon. It makes your sentiment seem orchestrated. Come on Harris team!”

Another wrote that the move diminished Harris’s argument. ”Kamala—commercializing what I (and probably many others) believed to be a beautifully emotional/off the cuff comment to Joe Biden so soon afterwards makes your thoughtful words seem hollow and calculated. Please don’t give anyone reason to believe you’re disingenuous!! Please do better than this.”

A small error in judgment that Harris will likely overcome.

Tony

Two Supreme Court Rulings Yesterday – Implications for American Politics!

Dear Commons Community,

Yesterday the US Supreme Court handed Republicans a key victory by refusing to halt even the most extreme gerrymandered maps while Democrats may have a win at least for the time-being  on blocking the citizenship question from the census.   Here is an analysis courtesy of the New York Times:

“The rulings by the Supreme Court on Thursday in bitterly contested battles over partisan gerrymandering and the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census grappled with issues fundamental to the nation’s democracy: How power is allocated, and ultimately, how much of a voice the American people have in selecting their leaders.

But far from settling these questions, the court has unleashed even higher-pitched and partisan struggles over once-settled aspects of the country’s governance, placing greater pressures on the nation’s political system.

Gerrymandered maps were once part of an unspoken agreement between rivals that pressing for political advantage was, within limits, part of the electoral game. But in recent years Republicans, aided by sophisticated mapmaking software, have given themselves near-unbreakable power across the country.

Now, with a green light from the justices, the party has an opportunity to lock in political dominance for the next decade in many of the 22 states where it controls both the legislature and the governor’s office.

The decision will almost certainly force Democrats, who control 14 statehouses, to reconsider their belated crusade against gerrymandered maps and begin drawing their own — an eat-or-be-eaten response to Republican success in gaming the redistricting process.

“Expect the abuse to be supercharged,” said Justin Levitt, an associate dean at Loyola Law School and a Justice Department official during the Obama administration. “Now the answer will be, ‘It happens everywhere.’ Expect the disease to spread.”

The justices also did not resolve what to do about adding a citizenship question to the census, which until recently was regarded as a nonpartisan ritual every 10 years for the country to obtain an accurate head count of its residents. Now it is the object of a legal firefight over charges that it is being perverted for partisan gain.

Adding a citizenship question to the census could have a profound impact on American politics, as the country relies on population figures from the census to divvy up seats in the House of Representatives and to draw political maps at all levels of government.

The Census Bureau itself has said that adding the question would lead more noncitizens and minority residents to avoid being counted. Because most of these people live in predominantly Democratic areas, the undercount would weaken Democratic representation in states with large numbers of noncitizens, and skew the allotment of billions of federal dollars away from those areas.

But by ruling that the Trump administration offered no credible reason for proposing the question, the justices placed a daunting hurdle before the government, which must print questionnaires and other 2020 census documents within months, if not weeks, to keep the head count on schedule.

The administration would have to create a new rationale for adding the question and win the approval of a skeptical district court, which ruled that its stated reason for the question — to better enforce the Voting Rights Act — was a bald contrivance hiding some other motive.

“We are disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision today,” said Kelly Laco, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, which she said “will continue to defend this administration’s lawful exercises of executive power.”

The Commerce Department, which oversees the Census Bureau, did not have an immediate comment.

After the ruling on the citizenship question, President Trump took to Twitter to question why his administration was not allowed to ask what he called “a basic question” and said he was inquiring into whether the census could be postponed so that the justices could make a “final and decisive decision” on the matter.

But the issue could take months to resolve.

A second census lawsuit was reopened this month in federal court in Maryland, where opponents of the question claim that new evidence proves that the question is an unconstitutional effort to discriminate against Hispanics for political gain. That proceeding, which the justices made no effort to stop on Thursday, appears likely to stretch at least into late August.

In theory, the government could clear those barriers, appeal any adverse rulings and still tack the question onto the 2020 questionnaire, Cary Coglianese, a law professor who directs the Penn Program on Regulation at the University of Pennsylvania, said on Thursday. “But I struggle to see the path by which the citizenship question ends up on the 2020 census form,” he added.

In their rulings on Thursday, the justices stated pointedly that their decisions were legal opinions, not political ones.”

Lose one – win one!

Increasingly it looks like this is the John Roberts’ Supreme Court!

Tony

Takeaways/Video Highlights – Second Democratic Presidential Debate!

Democratic Debate – Candidates Night Two

Dear Commons Community,

Last night was the second debate of the 2020 presidential cycle with 10 more Democrats gathering in Miami.  

The time again was very limited for each candidate but there were more fireworks in this debate than in the first one on Wednesday.  Joe  Biden was attacked by several of his colleagues and the exchanges were heated especially the one with Kamala Harris.  Here are some takeaways.

1. Joe Biden Was Attacked by Several Candidates

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who has led in nearly every primary poll, took shots from all corners during the evening. He was pushed early in the evening by Rep. Eric Swalwell of California to “pass the torch” to a younger generation of Democrats. He was hit by Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado for saying he could work with Republicans in the Senate. Sen. Bernie Sanders hit him on his vote for the Iraq War, drawing a contrast between the pair’s foreign policy histories. The moderators pushed as well, asking him about the Obama administration’s record on deportations.

The biggest moment of the night and the one that could reverberate through the rest of the campaign was Kamala Harris confronting Biden over his nostalgic remarks about working with segregationist colleagues when he was a young senator in the 1970s. Harris, who is black, recalled being bused to school as a child in Berkeley, and charged Biden with opposing busing for integration.

“There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public school, and she bused to school every day,” Harris said. “And that little girl was me. So I will tell you that on this subject, it cannot be an intellectual debate among Democrats. We have to take it seriously. We have to act swiftly.”

Biden said Harris mischaracterized his remarks and that he hadn’t praised segregationists, and mentioned his work as a public defender, presumably to contrast with Harris’s long career as a prosecutor. His defense of his position on busing was hard to parse: He said he didn’t oppose it, but was against busing “ordered by the Department of Education.”

2. Health care for undocumented immigrants

As it was on Wednesday night, health care was a key topic in the first hour, with candidates debating single payer versus public option proposals and whether private insurance should be eliminated. (Sanders and Harris put their hands up in support of eliminating private insurance, concurring with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.) The candidates were unanimously in favor of coverage for undocumented immigrants, with all 10 raising their hands in agreement when the issue was posed.

3. Buttigieg talks police shooting

When questioned about why his city’s police force in is 6 percent black in a city that is now 26 percent black, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg flatly responded, “Because I couldn’t get it done.”

The topic spurred debate about racism in policing and police accountability after Buttigieg brought up the recent shooting of a black man, Eric Logan, who was killed by a white officer. It sparked outrage from South Bend’s black residents, forcing the presidential candidate to return home and respond.

“This is an issue that is facing our community and so many communities around the country,” said Buttigieg. “And until we move policing out from the shadow of systemic racism, whatever this particular incident teaches us, we will be left with the bigger problem of the fact that there is a wall of mistrust put up one racist act at a time.”

Swalwell suggested Buttigieg fire the police chief. Spiritualist author Marianne Williamson brought up reparations and Harris as “the only black person on stage” said the issue of race isn’t “talked about truthfully and honestly.”

4. Intorductions to Yang and Williamson

Thursday night was the national political debut for entrepreneur Andrew Yang and author Marianne Williamson. Yang mainly focused on promoting his universal basic income plan, a “Freedom Dividend” that would pay every American 18 and over $1,000 a month. Williamson was more eclectic in her positions, promoting progressive causes like the Green New Deal and reparations while calling the government’s policy of family separation a “state-sponsored crime.” She also pushed the idea of running against Trump on a platform of “love” rather than the “plans” of other candidates. She said her first act as president would be to call the prime minister of New Zealand to correct her on the best country in the world to raise a child: It is, Williamson said, the United States.

In summary, Kamala Harris probably had the best night of all of the participants.  Joe Biden did not look sharp in his responses to criticisms relying too much on what he did over his decades of service to the country.  Bernie Sanders did too much of his finger waving while answering questions. Kirsten Gillebrand seemed desperate to get the moderators’ attention.  Pete Buttigieg was the most articulate.  The Democrats have to get their field of candidates down to a manageable number of probably no more than five or six.

Below are video highlights via MSNBC.

Tony

The Photo of a Dead Migrant Father and Daughter Captures the World!

A photo from the Rio Grande captures the tragic end for a father and daughter

Dear Commons Community,

The photograph above has gone viral on social media, network news, cable news and in the halls of Congress. The graphic photograph of a dead man and child taken this week along the U.S.-Mexico border by journalist Julia Le Duc tells the story of the plight of immigrants coming across our southern border.

The photo, which was originally published by the Mexican newspaper La Jornada shows a migrant and his less than 2-year-old daughter lying face down in the murky waters on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande. The girl’s right arm rests across the back of her father’s neck.

The image encapsulated the grim reality of the border amid the growing desperation of migrants fleeing poverty and crime in Central America and elsewhere who are willing to face great dangers — at times with children — for a shot at a better life in the United States.

The man in the photo, 25-year-old Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez, left El Salvador on April 3 with his 21-year-old wife, Tania Vanessa Avalos, and their toddler, Valeria, according to accounts from relatives reported by several media outlets. The family fled to seek economic opportunity and safety, the relatives said.

The couple first requested asylum in southern Mexico, but later decided to try to reach the U.S. When they arrived at the U.S. border over the weekend, relatives said, they were told that they could not cross — because of the Trump administration’s policy of “metering,” which allows only a few dozen migrants to seek asylum at official crossings each day.

According to Le Duc’s reporting for La Jornada, the family, frustrated, decided to swim across the river separating the U.S. and Mexico on Sunday and turn themselves in to border authorities.

Martinez swam across with Valeria first and set her down safely on the U.S. side. As he began to cross back for his wife, the girl panicked and threw herself into the river. Martinez tried to rescue his daughter and managed to grab her, but they drowned.

Their bodies were discovered Monday morning near Matamoros, Mexico, across from Brownsville, Texas, less than a mile from an international border bridge.

Hundreds of migrants die while seeking to reach the U.S. each year. They drown in the swift-running Rio Grande, perish in the sweltering Sonoran Desert or suffocate in the back of tractor-trailers driven by migrant smugglers.

Tony

Carl Cameron (former Fox News reporter) explains why he left network: “Right-wing hosts drowned out straight journalism”

Dear Commons Community,

Former Fox News chief political correspondent Carl Cameron took a shot at his old network earlier this week — while announcing that he’s starting a new adventure.

Cameron announced in a YouTube video (above) on June 24 that he’s joining a new website called Front Page Live, two years after leaving Fox News after 22-years of reporting.

“The idea of fair and balanced news appealed to me,” Cameron said in the video. “But over the years right-wing hosts drowned out straight journalism with partisan misinformation.”

Cameron was one of Fox’s first hires, and said he has a deep understanding of how the right thinks, and experience of “literally thirty years” of covering Donald Trump.

Cameron didn’t sugarcoat his opinion on Trump either, calling him a “con man,” as well as accusing him of colluding with Russia and appealing to voters to be informed before the next election.

Welcome to the light side, Mr. Cameron!

Tony

 

Takeaways/Video Highlights – First Democratic Presidential Debate!

 

Dear Commons Community,

Last night was the first debate of the 2020 presidential cycle, with 10 Democrats gathering in Miami. (Tonight, 10 more Democrats —  will be on the same stage.)

The time was very limited for each candidate but there were some differences among them.   There also was a glaring technical issue when a loud hot-mic behind the stage could be heard as Chuck Todd attempted to ask questions.  Regardless here are some takeaways.

  1. The field is divided on health care

The first — and perhaps most — contentious issue of the night was health care, as the assembled Democrats compared the merits of a more comprehensive single-payer plan like Medicare For All, which would completely eliminate private insurance versus a more incremental step of a government-funded public option. The standout moment came from Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts who gave an impassioned defense of the more expansive position, her first time really doing so.

“There are a lot of politicians who say it’s just not possible, we just can’t do it, have a lot of political reasons for this,” said Warren of the fight for single payer. “What they’re really telling you is they just won’t fight for it. Well, health care is a basic human right and I will fight for basic human rights.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota made the case for a public option, pointing out that it was the position of then-President Obama in the early stages of passing the Affordable Care Act. Klobuchar said she was “simply concerned about kicking half of America off their health insurance in four years, which is exactly what this bill says.”

  1. Castro had a strong night.

One of the lower-tier candidates who managed to distinguish himself was former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro. His main push came on immigration, where he was the first Democrat to lay out an expansive plan for an issue that a recent Gallup poll found to be the most important problem overall cited by Americans. Castro, who aims to be the first Hispanic president, said the photo of Oscar and Valeria Martinez, two migrants who died crossing into the United States, “should piss us all off.” He also tussled with fellow Texan Beto O’Rourke over decriminalizing border crossings, continuing to take shots at him in the spin room following the debate.

Castro also came on strong for abortion rights, promoting “reproductive justice” and receiving cheers in the room. Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather inquired via Twitter if anyone thought Castro had a good night, receiving hundreds of positive replies — including from Castro — with many suggesting him as a running mate for Warren.

I would also give honorable mention to Amy Klobuchar.

  1. Three candidates showed off their Spanish skills

Beto O’Rourke answered his first question at Wednesday’s debate in both English and Spanish.

The former Texas congressman was asked whether he would support taxing higher-earners, as has been proposed by some of his Democratic rivals. “This economy has got to work for everyone and right now we know that it isn’t,” O’Rourke said. “And it’s going to take all of us coming together to make sure that it does.”

Without pausing, the El Paso native switched briefly to Spanish. (Later, he even fielded a question in Spanish from Telemundo’s José Diaz-Balart.)

But O’Rourke wasn’t the only candidate to flex his bilingual abilities on Wednesday. Castro and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey did so also.

  1. Corey Booker Kept Referring Back to His Neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey!

Corey Booker kept referring back to his neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey.  The first two times it was effective and squarely put him on the side of the poor and black and brown communities.   However, it got tired after a while.

It was also an historic night in that it was the first time more than one woman stood on a presidential primary debate stage as Warren, Klobuchar and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii joined seven men in the forum. It was a block noted by Klobuchar when Washington Gov. Jay Inslee mentioned his record on reproductive rights.

 “I just want to say there’s three women up here that have fought pretty hard for a woman’s right to choose,” she said to loud cheers in the room.

Brava!

Below are some video highlights via NBC News!

Tony


Religious Hypocrite Jerry Falwell Jr. Blasts Christian Leader for Criticizing Squalid Immigrant Detention Centers!

Dear Commons Community,

Jerry Falwell Jr., the head of the evangelical Liberty University and a staunch defender of President Donald Trump, is coming under fire for an attack on Russel Moore, a Christian leader who said the administration’s squalid detention conditions for migrant children “should shock all of our consciences.”  

Here are Moore’s comments on Twitter:

Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, tweeted: 

Russell Moore

✔ @drmoore

“The reports of the conditions for migrant children at the border should shock all of our consciences. Those created in the image of God should be treated with dignity and compassion, especially those seeking refuge from violence back home. We can do better than this.

The call for “dignity and compassion” didn’t sit well with Falwell. 

He fired back at Russell by demanding to know if he ever “made a payroll” or “built an organization of any type from scratch.”   Here is Falwell’s full reply:

Here’s Falwell’s full message: 

Jerry Falwell

✔ @JerryFalwellJr

Replying to @drmoore

“Who are you @drmoore ? Have you ever made a payroll? Have you ever built an organization of any type from scratch? What gives you authority to speak on any issue? I’m being serious. You’re nothing but an employee- a bureaucrat.”

Falwell inherited his role as Liberty University’s president from his televangelist father. But he suggested that building an organization from scratch and making a payroll are conditions that must be met before sharing an opinion. 

“What gives you authority to speak on any issue?” he demanded. “I’m being serious.”

Falwell is nothing more than a demagogue who is an embarrassment to his university and to honest evangelical Christians.  He will reap his just reward on Judgment Day!

Tony