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Obama as Worst President Since 1945, Pains of Being a Black Gun Owner, Target’s Gun Ban, Killing Civil Rights

| July 2, 2014

The Eiffel Tower, green-lit for Rugby's World Cup a few years ago. (Cyrille)

The Eiffel Tower, green-lit for Rugby’s World Cup a few years ago. (Cyrille)

Today’s Live Wire: Quick Links


Black Gun Owners: Stigma and Violence

black-gun-ownersFrom the Times: “At a time when gun issues are volatile nationally and sales are increasing, minority gun owners — whether black, Asian or Latino — may feel that their weighing of the practical pros and cons of gun ownership comes up against the conservatism and unyielding stances of the N.R.A. and some other gun advocates. [Rev. Kenn Blanchard, author of “Black Man With a Gun: Reloaded”] said it could be a difficult balancing act. Blacks are less likely than whites to own a gun. In surveys from 1973 to 2012, an average of 27 percent of African-Americans nationwide said they owned a gun, compared with 47 percent of whites, according to data from NORC, a research center at the University of Chicago. Even so, their attendance at the N.R.A. convention was minuscule compared with their rate of gun ownership, let alone their presence in the population at large. […] Part of the stigma around guns among African-Americans can be traced to high rates of gun violence, particularly affecting young blacks and those who live in poor, urban communities. Blacks die from gun violence at more than twice the rate of whites, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. […] Eric Morris, an African-American who runs Black Wolf Hunting Club, an organization based in Killeen, Tex., said he got the “deer-in-the-headlights look all the time” when he told people that he was a hunter. He said his goal in founding the group was to get more blacks and other members of minorities interested in hunting. “When have you ever seen a picture of a black father and son or a black father and daughter out shooting cans?” he asked. […] The N.R.A. appears to be listening. It has added a diverse cast to its roster of N.R.A. News commentators, including Gabby Franco, a Venezuelan Olympic shooter, and Chris Cheng, an Asian-American who worked at Google and won the History Channel’s “Top Shot” competition in 2012. But perhaps the best known of the organization’s commentators is Colion Noir, an African-American “urban gun enthusiast” whose online video series, “Noir,” began on May 11.” The full story.

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Why the Civil Rights Act Couldn’t Pass Today

LBJs LegacyFrom Politico: “The climate in today’s Washington is so different from the one that produced what many scholars view as the most important law of the 20th century that celebrating the law’s legacy is awkward for Republicans and Democrats alike. Neither party bears much resemblance to its past counterpart, and the bipartisanship that carried the day then is now all but dead. Congress is deadlocked on every big question, from immigration reform to a grand bargain on taxes and spending, so it’s hard to believe the two parties once cooperated to address the single most controversial domestic issue of the day — legal equality for the races — or that Lyndon B. Johnson signed the bill 50 years ago Wednesday, in the middle of a presidential election year. Now Boehner is suing President Barack Obama for failing to faithfully execute the laws, and Reid inveighs daily about the Koch brothers’ contributions to GOP causes. […] Part of the problem is this: Although the Civil Rights Act passed the Senate by 73-27, with 27 out of 33 Republican votes, one of the six Republicans who voted against it was Barry Goldwater of Arizona, who weeks later became the GOP’s presidential standard-bearer and started the long process by which the Party of Lincoln became the party of white backlash, especially in the South. Today, Republicans hold complete legislative control in all 11 states of the Old Confederacy for only the second time since Reconstruction. […] But the position of the GOP’s congressional wing on issues from immigration, to voting rights, to the minimum wage (while helping to rack up Republican victories in individual districts) is broadly alienating to most African-American voters. So are efforts at the state level to impose new voter identification laws or other limits on access to the ballot box that disproportionately affect black voters. All that makes it hard for today’s GOP to lay plausible claim to its undisputed legacy on civil rights.” The full story.

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Target Bans Guns in Its Stores

bullseyeFrom A Bullseye View, Target’s in-house online newsletter: “Every day at Target, in everything we do, we ask ourselves what is right for our guests? We make all of our decisions with that question in mind. Questions have circulated in recent weeks around Target’s policy on the “open carry” of firearms in its stores. Today, interim CEO, John Mulligan, shared the following note with our Target team members. We wanted you to hear this update from us, too: The leadership team has been weighing a complex issue, and I want to be sure everyone understands our thoughts and ultimate decision. As you’ve likely seen in the media, there has been a debate about whether guests in communities that permit “open carry” should be allowed to bring firearms into Target stores. Our approach has always been to follow local laws, and of course, we will continue to do so. But starting today we will also respectfully request that guests not bring firearms to Target – even in communities where it is permitted by law. We’ve listened carefully to the nuances of this debate and respect the protected rights of everyone involved. In return, we are asking for help in fulfilling our goal to create an atmosphere that is safe and inviting for our guests and team members. This is a complicated issue, but it boils down to a simple belief: Bringing firearms to Target creates an environment that is at odds with the family-friendly shopping and work experience we strive to create.”

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A Joyous Future for US Soccer

Julian Green, future of US football.

Julian Green, future of US football.

From Slate: “After the United States’ heartbreaking 2–1 extra time loss to Belgium, it’s hard not to think about what could have been. What if Chris Wondolowski had put home that absolute sitter at the end of injury time? What if Thibaut Courtois hadn’t made a catlike save of a Clint Dempsey shot on that clockwork set piece in the game’s final minutes? What if Congo had never been a Belgian colony and Romelu Lukaku had followed his father’s international career path? It’s silly to think about these “what ifs,” though, because the Belgian victory was so thoroughly deserved. The Belgians outshone the Americans in every possible aspect of the game except for goalkeeping. […] So, it’s probably better not to talk about what could have been. Instead, let’s focus on what was and what could be. […] This World Cup was one of the most joyous, entertaining, and best performances ever by an American team at a World Cup. The U.S. has advanced further. At the first ever World Cup in 1930, the Americans reached the semifinals after beating Belgium 3–0 in the opener (just saying). The only other time the U.S. has advanced past the round of 16 was in 2002, when we reached the quarterfinals after beating Mexico 2–0. This followed a famous group stage win over Portugal and a draw with the hosts South Korea in the group phase. Both of those were better results than the U.S. team achieved this year in Brazil. In terms of performances, though, 2014 ranks alongside 2002 and 1930 as the best in U.S. history. If you go by recent history combined with current form, the U.S. faced the toughest schedule at this World Cup. Group G was the only one with four teams that qualified for the last 16 of the 2010 World Cup, with Ghana reaching the quarterfinals four years ago and Germany the semis. All three of the United States’ group opponents also reached the knockout round in 2006, and Portugal and Germany both reached the semifinals. These things matter in a sport where experience is crucial. Given what the U.S. was up against, making it out of the group was a fantastic result. […] If there’s one major flaw with this U.S. team going forward, it’s the one that Klinsmann has cited continually: There are not enough players at the top levels of international club soccer. Ten members of this U.S. team play in Major League Soccer. Compare that to just three Belgian players who compete in that country’s domestic league. The U.S. does need to build MLS eventually to the point where it can field similar talent to that of the big European leagues. But we’re not there yet, and the Belgian squad proves that there’s no shame in exporting your best players so they face the top competition in the four-year intervals between World Cups.” The full story.

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An Anemic Future for World Growth

global growth to 2060From the OECD: “A slowdown in global economic growth and a continuing rise in income inequality are projected for the coming decades, according to a new OECD study which looks beyond the crisis at what the world could look like by 2060. Ageing populations in many OECD countries and the gradual deceleration from current high rates of growth in the large emerging economies will bring global rises in GDP down from an annual average 3.6% in the 2010-2020 period to an estimated 2.4% in 2050-2060. Innovation and investment in skills will be the predominant drivers of growth. Policy Challenges for the Next 50 Years says unless CO2 emissions are reduced, climate change could curb global GDP by 1.5% by 2060 and by nearly 6% in South and South-East Asia. Technical advances will raise demand for high-skilled workers. Without a change in policy, OECD countries would face a further large increase in earnings inequality by 2060, bringing them close to the level seen in the United States today. Rising inequalities threaten growth, most notably by blocking economic opportunities. In the OECD’s scenario, shrinking income gaps between advanced and emerging economies will lower incentives for economic migration into advanced countries. A fall in immigration will add to demographic pressures caused by ageing populations. This double pressure could reduce the labour force compared with the baseline of current trends by 20% in the US and by 15% in the Euro area by 2060. The report shows shifting patterns of trade and industrial specialisation. The share of trade with and among the emerging economies will increase dramatically. Technological catch-up and better skills will help emerging economies develop high value-added manufacturing and services activities.” The full report.

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Obama, Worst President Since World War II?

Released by the White House's own publicity shop, the image is designed to show a president in charge. The record says otherwise.

Released by the White House’s own publicity shop, the image is designed to show a president in charge. The record says otherwise.

From Quinnipiac Polling: “President Barack Obama is the worst president since World War II, 33 percent of American voters say in a Quinnipiac University National Poll released today. Another 28 percent pick President George W. Bush. Ronald Reagan is the best president since WWII, 35 percent of voters say, with 18 percent for Bill Clinton, 15 percent for John F. Kennedy and 8 percent for Obama, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. Among Democrats, 34 percent say Clinton is the best president, with 18 percent each for Obama and Kennedy. Obama has been a better president than George W. Bush, 39 percent of voters say, while 40 percent say he is worse. Men say 43 – 36 percent that Obama is worse than Bush while women say 42 – 38 percent he is better. Obama is worse, Republicans say 79 – 7 percent and independent voters say 41 – 31 percent. Democrats say 78 – 4 percent that he is better. Voters say by a narrow 37 – 34 percent that Obama is better for the economy than Bush. America would be better off if Republican Mitt Romney had won the 2012 presidential election, 45 percent of voters say, while 38 percent say the country would be worse off. Missing Mitt are Republicans 84 – 5 percent and independent voters 47 – 33 percent, while Democrats say 74 – 10 percent that the U.S. would be worse off with Romney. “Over the span of 69 years of American history and 12 presidencies, President Barack Obama finds himself with President George W. Bush at the bottom of the popularity barrel,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “Would Mitt have been a better fit? More voters in hindsight say yes.” American voters say 54 – 44 percent that the Obama Administration is not competent running the government. The president is paying attention to what his administration is doing, 47 percent say, while 48 percent say he does not pay enough attention. President Obama’s job approval rating, inching up since a negative 38 – 57 percent in December, 2013, his all-time low, is stalled at a negative 40 – 53 percent. This compares to the president’s negative 42 – 50 percent job approval in an April 2 national survey. Today, the president gets negative scores of 10 – 88 percent from Republicans, 31 – 59 percent from independent voters, 37 – 57 percent from men and 42 – 49 percent from women. Democrats approve 79 – 13 percent. The president gets mixed grades for character as voters say 48 – 48 percent that he is honest and trustworthy and 51 – 47 percent that he cares about their needs and problems. He gets a negative 47 – 51 percent for leadership qualities. The economy and jobs are the most important problems facing the country today, 35 percent of voters say, with 12 percent listing politicians/campaigns/corruption, 6 percent each for healthcare and foreign affairs, 5 percent for the budget and 4 percent each for education and immigration.” The full poll.

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Plotting Harry Potter

From Endpaper: “n author’s mind map or story outline can be a fascinating artifact to pour over and examine (especially if you’re a huge fan of the outlined work!). Not only does it allow you to see the story in a different light but it gives you a peak at the author’s writing process and how they were able to keep track of their story’s various events, characters, and timelines. Many interesting examples can be found online but today we wanted to take a look at a page from J.K. Rowling’s map of chapters 13-24 of the 5th Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix […] It’s an interesting way to keep track of everything! Note that some columns have nothing written in them and others vary from having complex to simple details. (The initial “Order of the Phoenix” columns have very simple details: Chapter 13 is called “Recruiting”, chapter 14 says “first meeting”; chapter 20, on the other hand, just says “big meeting”.):

Click on the image for larger view.

Click on the image for larger view.


Lee’s Map of the Battle of Gettysburg

From the National Archives: Considered by many historians as a turning point in the Civil War, the Battle of Gettsburg, fought from July 1 to July 3, 1863, was a major defeat for the Confederacy and for General Robert E. Lee in his second invasion of the North. Shown here is one of General Lee’s maps of Gettysburg, showing positions of troops on July 2.

Click on the map for larger view.

Click on the map for larger view.

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Censoring Huckleberry Finn’s “Nigger”

From CBS News: “Twain’s classic book still navigates America’s river of race relations. The book uses racial slurs, words customary for Twain’s time. Today those words are radioactive. On one page of “Huck Finn,” Twain wrote the n-word six times. Should each use be edited out and replaced with the word “slave”?” The Daily Show’s Larry Wilmore has the answer:

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The News-Journal’s Drew Murphy Dies

Rick de Yampert in the News-Journal: “Drew Murphy “had no official training or background in what became his life’s work — the arts,” said Gary Libby, Executive Director Emeritus of the Museum of Arts & Sciences in Daytona Beach. “It was just a natural discovery for him.” That “natural discovery” led to a four-decades career as an arts writer for The Daytona Beach News-Journal, during which the Dallas native “was totally committed to the future of the arts in Daytona Beach and Volusia County,” Libby said. Murphy died Sunday. The Daytona Beach resident was 91. […] During his tenure, Murphy covered the Florida International Festival, which brought the London Symphony Orchestra to Daytona Beach in the mid-1960s and again biennially from 1982 to 2009. […] Though Murphy officially retired as The News-Journal’s fine arts writer in 1987, he continued writing about the arts for the newspaper until 2009. Murphy “was the consummate Southerner with his drawl and love of Cokes,” said former News-Journal reporter and editor Kathy Kelly, who first met him when she started work at the paper at age 16 in 1963. “His reviews were right on target – often with a powder puff approach.” […] A service will be held on July 11 on what would have been Murphy’s 92nd birthday.” The full story, paywalled.

Poem: Wilfred Owen’s 1914

Wilfred Owen

Wilfred Owen


War broke: and now the Winter of the world
With perishing great darkness closes in.
The foul tornado, centred at Berlin,
Is over all the width of Europe whirled,
Rending the sails of progress. Rent or furled
Are all Art’s ensigns. Verse wails. Now begin
Famines of thought and feeling. Love’s wine’s thin.
The grain of human Autumn rots, down-hurled.

For after Spring had bloomed in early Greece,
And Summer blazed her glory out with Rome,
An Autumn softly fell, a harvest home,
A slow grand age, and rich with all increase.
But now, for us, wild Winter, and the need
Of sowings for new Spring, and blood for seed.

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12 Responses for “Obama as Worst President Since 1945, Pains of Being a Black Gun Owner, Target’s Gun Ban, Killing Civil Rights”

  1. Off Target says:

    Dear Target,
    I have chosen to END my shopping experiences at your stores. If I have to worry about a criminal who DOES NOT care about your gun policies, and decides to hold someone hostage…It won’t be me. I will choice to spend my hard earned money in a store who respects America’s RIGHT to bear arms for their family’s protection and their own.

    • NortonSmitty says:

      You forgot in case the Aliens happen to land. I mean you’d have to feel pretty stupid if you left your gun in the car and the Aliens landed while you were in the Target, amirite?

  2. A.S.F. says:

    Dear Target–I will be sure to patronize your store more, now that I know I won’t have to worry about some gun-toting yo-yo having ah-ax-cee-dent.

  3. Sherry Epley says:

    Thank You TARGET for “doing the right thing” and taking a step towards civilization and peace! I always liked your stores and now love them even more! You’ve got my faithful patronage and those of my more open minded and educated friends and family!

  4. NortonSmitty says:

    I’m trying to come up with a comment on Target, but I’m still laughing picturing a black guy and his son walking in to a NRA convention to join up. They would feel lonesome as Kunta Kinte at a Merle Haggard concert. And imagine if they waltzed in with shotguns over their shoulders like the Yahoos at Target! I can see it now…

    “The toll keeps rising at the tragic NRA accidental shooting incident yesterday. So far the death count includes the father and son mistaken for Black Panther Terrorists who died at the scene along with 34 NRA members killed and 256 wounded. An NRA spokesman said today ‘The statistics clearly show that with over 10,000 bullets expended, only 36 dead unequivocally demonstrates how our constitution-hating oppositions gun-hating propaganda ridiculously overstates just how dangerous guns are in the law-abiding hands of our membership.’ Authorities say another 16 died from heart attacks and one man wearing a Tri-cornered hat was blinded when another members colostomy bag exploded near the entrance when the two Black folks walked in to the arena. Police suspect the noise of this explosion may have triggered the unfortunate incident.. Back to you Jason.”

    After laughing while writing the above rant the supreme irony hiding here finally hit me: How in the hell can any self respecting gun nut support a boycott of a store named Target? Huh?

  5. Bunnell Resident says:

    I am absolutely certain that anyone with ill intent will do a double pause and avoid shooting up any Target store due to this policy. On the other hand, bad people might feel safer to make Target the “target” knowing that people who abide by the rules will all be unarmed and helpless. I feel less safe there now so maybe I should shop elsewhere.

  6. Outsider says:

    The statement is as clear as mud. They talk about open carry, then they “request” that customers leave their weapons at home. Is concealed carry of firearms banned or not? If so, I will not shop at Target either, but again, the policy is not clarified by this statement.

  7. just saying says:

    target’s stance only works for open carry. Florida isn’t open carry friendly, and when concealed target employees will not know who’s carrying. So it’s kind of a moot point and people will continue to legally carry firearms into any place legal and continue to illegally carry firearms into places they aren’t legal. The most that target can do is start having law enforcement issue trespass warnings.

  8. ⓖⓔⓔⓩⓔⓡ says:

    On Target:

    “Every day at Target, in everything we do, we ask ourselves what is right for our guests?
    –Target

    I’d like to suggest that Target (especially Palm Coast) have more cashiers at the ready to take my money
    when I shop at the store. This “guest” HATES the fact that PAYING has to be so f*****g arduous.
    More cashiers would be “right for your guests!”
    Dare I say – better safeguarding of our credit/debit information would be a welcome step in the right direction…
    Data breaches make us turn our smiles upside-down, and bring bubbly froth to our mouths.

    I can see why Target is so concerned about its gun-toting shoppers – they tend to be an angry lot.
    Do you want frustrated hordes of people packing heat in your store? I think NOT.

    That’s today’s happy and feel-good comment from geezer. Cheers!

  9. confidential says:

    Thank you Target! I will try to shop now more often in your stores!
    Same like CVS not selling anymore cigarettes! Thank you CVS!

  10. confidential says:

    Yeah! This Obama poll…is it one of those that polled in 2012 and gave the winning numbers to Rommey!!
    What a big joke!

  11. NortonSmitty says:

    And the Aliens! Why don’t they put up “No Spaceship Parking” signs in their parking lot to keep out the Aliens? Then we could leave our guns in the car!

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