TSON News | Archives | 2016 | February

The stereotypical black roles required to win; #OscarsSoWhite


Consider: In the history of the Oscars, 10 black women have been nominated for best actress, and nine of them played characters who are homeless or might soon become so.

All 10 performances for which black women have received best-actress nominations involve poor or lower-income characters, and half of those are penniless mothers.

A few more commonalities to note: Seven of the 10 best-actress nominees played characters with absent or incarcerated husbands, boyfriends, or fathers. And six of the characters suffer physical abuse, with five of them being raped.

The academy has tended to honor black men for different sorts of roles, and it has honored them more often. Black men have been up for best actor 20 times, with four nominations going to Denzel Washington, three to Morgan Freeman, and two each to Sidney Poitier and Mr. Smith.

Thirteen of the recognized performances involve being arrested or incarcerated.

From the NY Times.

Justice Scalia was a hypocrite and a phony


I will give just three out of many possible examples. In affirmative action cases, Scalia insisted over and over again that the 14th Amendment required the government to follow color-blind policies. There is no basis for this claim in either the text or history of the amendment. Indeed Scalia simply ignored a rich historical record that reveals, among other things, that at the time the amendment was ratified, the federal government passed several laws granting special benefits to African-Americans, and only African-Americans.
No honest originalist reading of the Constitution would conclude that it prohibits affirmative action programs, but Justice Scalia was only interested in originalism to the extent that it advanced his political preferences.

Similarly, the men who drafted and ratified the First Amendment would, it’s safe to say, been shocked out of their wits if someone had told them they were granting the same free speech rights to corporations they were giving to persons.

Via Scalia was an intellectual phony: Can we please stop calling him a brilliant jurist?

Is this highly-educated Mexican-born immigrant our next Supreme Court Justice?


Tino Cuellar, the next SCOTUS nominee?

Here’s a name you need to get to know: Tino Cuellar. Who is Tino Cuellar? The potential Supreme Court nominee who could tie the Republican Party in the most Gordian knots of any of them, and who could thereby alter the presidential race dramatically as well.

Yes, yes; Barack Obama should choose the person best qualified for the job with whom he is most intellectually comfortable. But should that person be Mariano Florentino Cuellar, there could be plenty of benefits aside from having a brilliant, young, Latino person on the court.

Cuellar, 43, is an associate justice on California’s State Supreme Court. He was born in Mexico. He is a naturalized U.S. citizen. He grew up on the border, and his family moved to California’s Imperial Valley when he was a teenager. He was smart and decided he wanted an education. He got one, all right. Get this resume: undergrad, Harvard; law school, Yale; master’s and doctoral degrees, Stanford.

Via Daily Beast.

Flint paid the highest prices for their dirty water while Nestle gets nearby clean water for free, with tax breaks

You might expect a city in the desert such as Tucson to have to deal with dirty water out of necessity, but instead it is a city, Flint, Michigan that is surrounded by the Great Lakes, which has:

Flint cut off its citizens from the heart of Great Lakes water

Flint cut off its citizens from the heart of Great Lakes water

6 quadrillion gallons of fresh water; one-fifth of the world’s fresh surface water (only the polar ice caps and Lake Baikal in Siberia contain more); 95 percent of the U.S. supply; 84 percent of the surface water supply in North America.

Not only is it evil that Flint is getting contaminated water when it is literally surrounded by the Great Lakes, it is also wrong that Nestle is making profits of this water supply while paying nothing for its 400 gallons per minute usage:

One of the most surprising things about this story is that, in Mecosta County, Nestlé is not required to pay anything to extract the water, besides a small permitting fee to the state and the cost of leases to a private landowner. In fact, the company received $13 million in tax breaks from the state to locate the plant in Michigan.

Meanwhile citizens of Flint are paying the highest prices in the nation for the poison that is coming out of their taps.

(Article continued below)

Not only did Flint residents drink tap water contaminated with lead and other chemicals throughout 2015, but they were also paying the highest prices in the country to keep that poisoned water flowing through their pipes.

report released by Food & Water Watch on Tuesday confirmed what many residents had long suspected: that their water bills, averaging $140 a month, were the highest in the country.

Via ThinkProgress.

That’s how much they are paying for the dirty water. If they want clean water, guess which bottled water is being supplied to them? From Nestle…

Today’s Democracy Now! is devoted to the Flint Water Crisis — “Thirsty for Democracy: The Poisoning of an American City” — and it is not to be missed. Watch/Listen while you work today.