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Ms. Wright Goes to Washington

By Sheryl Wright

Despite their pledge during the 2010 mid-term election campaign to focus on jobs,Republicans have used their majority in the House to push abortion to the front of the Congressional agenda. On January 7, 2011, Congressman Mike Pence introduced H.R. 217(the Pence Amendment).


Bachmann Spiking the Tea

By Karima E. Rustin

One of the many things I look forward to on a Saturday morning  is reading The New York Times. And who do I see prominently figuring at the beginning of the column but Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann (R-MN)...damn, not Bachmann again!


The Politics of Union Envy 

By Sheryl Wright

Neither of my parents went to college, but both were union members—my father in the private sector and my mother in the public. In addition to their salaries, which allowed them to provide a comfortable life for our family, the benefits won by their respective unions


Roundtable: Delegitimizing Obama–The Intersection of Gender, Power & Politics  

Sheryl: Almost 800 days in office and it seems every day is seen as an opportunity for renewed criticism of the President. The latest kerfuffle is around the claim that President Obama’s decision to involve the U.S. in the action in Libya





Entries in taxes (1)


Hypocrisy, Disparities and Double Standards

By Karima E. Rustin

Living in a 24-hour media news cycle, I feel constantly bombarded by sound bites, commentaries, breaking news updates, and updates on the last updates about what is happening in our country. All the dizzying coverage on the weak economy, the stock market taking a nosedive, and the divisive rhetoric being hawked by all the current contenders for the Republican primary can be quite maddening. During the past couple of weeks, however, there were a few news items warranting my commentary.

Rep. Allen West (R-FL) appeared on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor”discussing the high unemployment  rate for black people, which is holding steady at 15.9 percent. He decided to play the blame game by criticizing black Democrats for not coming up with any concrete solutions to this unemployment dilemma. Mr. West then claimed, provocatively, that black people are still on a “plantation,” black Democrats are now the “new overseers” on that plantation, and he is the 21st century version of Harriet Tubman who wants to lead black people off the plantation to “a sense of sensibility.” Interesting, I wondered what that “sense of sensibility” would look like and what solutions he, “the 21st century Harriet Tubman” might have for getting black people back to work.

So, not only did Mr. West criticize black Congressional Democrats, he also insulted all black Democratic voters in the same breathe. Lucky for us, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) responded to Mr. West’s comments on MSNBC’s "Hardball with Chris Matthews;" she found his criticism of black Democrats odd considering he urged his unemployed brother to attend a job fair held in Atlanta, sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus, and to seek out Ms. Waters!

A recent New York Times/CBS New Poll showed that 63% of Americans support raising taxes on individuals earning $250,000 a year to help deal with our overwhelming deficit. Republicans want no part of that; during the debt ceiling talks, they fought, kicked, and held their collective breath against ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, wrote an op-ed article in The New York Times, stating enough already with the coddling of wealthy people who can pay more taxes. Mr. Buffett points to the various tax breaks the super rich enjoy while the  people who work for him pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than he does. He suggests raising taxes on incomes exceeding $1 million and $10 million, and increasing the tax rate on dividends and capital gains. Mr. Buffet is willing to pay more in taxes and states there are other investors just like him who want to contribute more to the country they love. Thank you Mr. Buffett, you are the best!

There also seems to be some outrage over President Obama's decision to take a ten day vacation with his family to Martha’s Vineyard, MA. How could he? Doesn’t he understand the economy is in the toilet and unemployment is over 9%? He needs to stay home at the White House and work on his jobs plan and suffer like everyone else who can’t afford to take ten day excursions. The nerve of him! Wait…didn’t former President George W. Bush take vacations during his presidency? Rachel Maddow compared the number of vacation days taken by the last four presidents at this same point in their presidency. George W. Bush entered into the first of two wars by this time in his presidency; that decision was so exhausting he needed a whopping 180 vacation days to recover. I don’t think there is anything wrong with our president wanting to spend quality time with his wife and daughters. He didn’t rent out a villa in Lake Como, he picked a low-key, popular vacation spot in the United States

I am interested in hearing real solutions from our elected officials, not criticism of other colleagues using baseless and demeaning speech. If the majority of Americans want to see a fairer appropriation of tax rates among the middle-class and wealthier people, the Republican Party needs to stop fighting with the Democrats, and pull up a chair to listen to some new ideas. Finally, this high level of criticism over the Obama trip needs to be dialed down—President Barack Obama doesn’t need to justify spending time with his family.