Sunday, July 31, 2011

Representative Grijalva- I will not support this debt deal

When a crisis faces our nation, and decisions have to be made, we look to our elected officials to provide the guidance and direction that will help us persevere.  In the face of this manufactured debt ceiling crisis, many Members of Congress have failed to lead and are willing to substantially weaken many of the programs that make our nation great.

I will not support the emerging debt deal.

I will have no part of a deal that cuts Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to appease the farthest reaches of the right wing of the Republican Party.  It is unconscionable to put these programs on the chopping block and ignore the voices and beliefs of the millions of Americans who trust us to lead while continuing to give handouts to the ultra wealthy and the largest corporations.  There is no human decency in that.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Rev. Jesse Jackson: Obama Should Have Been Tougher

Published on Saturday, July 30, 2011 by Politico
by Molly Ball

Jesse Jackson said Friday that President Obama should have been “tougher” with Republicans and less compromising to keep the debt ceiling negotiations from reaching their current crisis point.
'I think they’ve gotten used to watching him at some level give more ground,' Jackson said. | AP Photo
“He has a propensity to be trusting, on the side of reconciliation,” the veteran civil-rights activist told POLITICO. “He kind of underestimates how ideological these guys are and how determined they are to destroy him.”
Jackson criticized the White House for agreeing too readily to take items such as war spending, taxes on the wealthy and corporate profits off the negotiating table, so that the only option left was cutting programs that assist the needy.
As a result, he said, extreme right-wing voices have been able to drive the debate.
“I think they’ve gotten used to watching him at some level give more ground,” he said, listing handouts to insurance companies in the health-care reform act and the extension of the Bush tax cuts as examples. “They feel they can keep pushing and he’ll keep giving. They have not seen a stiffness.”
The president could have begun by issuing an ultimatum — that if Congress didn’t act, he would act unilaterally. “To me, that line needed to be drawn in the sand earlier on,” Jackson said.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Seniors oppose cuts to Medicare

The Alliance for Retired Americans, affiliated with the AFL-CIO and some twenty unions, held a Town Hall Meeting on the Crisis in Social Security Funding today in  in the  Rancho Cordova (Sacramento,) California  district of U.S. Congressman Dan Lungren.  Some 80 people turned out to analyze the attacks on social security and Medicare in the Ryan Republican Budget.  Speakers from OWL (Older Women’s League) , the Alliance and Health Access as well as retirees from numerous unions discussed  the attacks on Medicare,  on Medicare, and the current Republican imposed crisis of  refusing  to increase the debt ceiling.  Analyses of the effects of the proposed Medicare cuts and Medicaid cuts to the specific 3rd. Congressional District of California were shared.   The current Congressperson in the 3rd. in Republican Dan Lungren who barely survived a close election challenge in 2010. Literature on each of these topics can be found at the Alliance web site at
   The meeting was attended by at least 80 people.   The great majority were over 50 years of age and affiliated with unions. The Ryan Budget bill was described by speakers  as an assault on Medicare and a repeal of  the Affordable Care Act of 2009.  Speakers also discussed the Republican sponsored effort to pass a regressive Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The American People are Angry

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Obama and the Left: A Problem for the White House?

Published on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 by
by Glenn Greenwald

In Salon [yesterday], Ed Kilgore argues that the White House ignores liberal dissatisfaction with the President because it is largely confined to the "liberal elite" and "liberal opinion leaders" but has not extended to the average liberal voter to any substantial degree. To sustain this argument, Kilgore dismisses as statistically aberrational and insignificant a CNN article from last week about its new poll which found Obama's overall approval rating driven down to 45% "in part by growing dissatisfaction on the left with the president's track record in office" and "signs of a stirring discontent on the left"; CNN added: "roughly one in four Americans who disapprove of the president say they feel that way because he's not been liberal enough." Kilgore further argues that the White House knows that liberals, no matter how upset they become with Obama, will be scared into voting for him anyway by the GOP candidate, and thus can safely ignore their complaints.
President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the National
 Council of La Raza (NCLR) on Monday, July 25, 2011.
 (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
There are several points worth noting about Kilgore's argument, one that is commonly held among many D.C. political and media figures. Initially, Kilgore picked a bad week to depict that CNN poll as aberrational, given a new Washington Post/ABC News poll which found, as the Post today put it:

More than a third of Americans now believe that President Obama’s policies are hurting the economy, and confidence in his ability to create jobs is sharply eroding among his base. . . . The Post-ABC poll found that the number of liberal Democrats who strongly support Obama’s record on jobs plunged 22 points from 53 percent last year to 31 percent. The number of African Americans who believe the president's actions have helped the economy has dropped from 77 percent in October to just over half of those surveyed.
Meanwhile, the latest Gallup poll shows that the President's approval rating among self-identified "liberals" has dropped to 70% -- the lowest it has been in many months (which means, of course, that 30% of liberals refuse to express approval for the Democratic President). Other polls have found similarly large quantities of dissatisfaction: "Nearly half of [Obama's] own base -- 45 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents -- want someone to challenge him for the Democratic nomination . . . Among pro-Democratic voters who want him challenged: pluralities of women, voters younger than 45, and those without a college degree."

Obama is NOT “Caving” to Corporate Interests

Published on Sunday, July 24, 2011 by
by Jeff Cohen

Jeff CohenIn a campaign almost as frenzied as the effort to get Barack Obama into the White House, liberal groups are now mobilizing against the White House and reported deals that would cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits. They accuse President Obama of being weak and willing to “cave” to corporate and conservative forces bent on cutting the social safety net while protecting the wealthy.
Those accusations are wrong.

The accusations imply that Obama is on our side. Or was on our side. And that the right wing is pushing him around.

But the evidence is clear that Obama is an often-willing servant of corporate interests -- not someone reluctantly doing their bidding, or serving their interests only because Republicans forced him to.

Since coming to Washington, Obama has allied himself with Wall Street Democrats who put corporate deregulation and greed ahead of the needs of most Americans:

In 2006, a relatively new Senator Obama was the only senator to speak at the inaugural gathering of the Alexander Hamilton Project launched by Wall Street Democrats like Robert Rubin and Roger Altman, Bill Clinton’s treasury secretary and deputy secretary. Obama praised them as “innovative, thoughtful policymakers.” (It was Rubin’s crusade to deregulate Wall Street in the late ‘90s that led directly to the economic meltdown of 2008 and our current crisis.)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Save Our Schools March: Sacramento

  Monty Neil:My organization, FairTest, also endorsed Save Our Schools. True, in time more specifics are needed, but the most fundamental task is to save our schools from the education ‘deformers’ who have decided that tests (the standards don’t really matter except for the tests) and punishments are the core of a ‘solution’ to the very real problem that too many students do leave school not having learned enough to be effective citizens. It is a destructive ‘solution.’
California Rally and  March
Saturday, July 30, 11am-3pm
State Capitol Building
1315 10th Street, Sacramento
Join other Californians on the Capitol steps to support public education. Sponsored by California supporters of the Save Our Schools March, National Call to Action .
Finland, by contrast, decided to build a system based on having high-quality teachers who would be prepared well (not a BA and short training course, a la TFA), engage in ongoing shared professional learning, and be largely in charge of the shape of schooling. They have brief national standards, but those are not imposed through tests. Finland does far better than the US, which chose a disastrous detour through testland. Finland also has a child poverty rate under 5% while the US is now well over 20%. Finland is more homogeneous, but has growing numbers of immigrant students (15% if memory serves) with 43 different languages. But of course US poverty is an ‘excuse’ to the deformers, who have managed to simultaneously promote damaging education ideas while deflecting attention from massive poverty.
There are many reasons why the basic framework, the paradigm, of federal and state laws and policies must be changed – I use the US failures and Finnish success simply to highlight how a different approach has produced markedly different results, though the underlying social structures and poverty also matter.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Obama is not the issue-- we are

Obama Is Not The Issue. This Is About US
by Jonathan Tasini

    The anger against the president that has been rocketing around
many circles of liberal/progressive politics is misplaced.

    The crisis we face isn’t about what the president is doing, or
failing to do.

    We are under siege, fighting the greatest class warfare in perhaps
100 years. And we can expect very little help from a political system
that has aided, without regard to party, the looting of the country
over the past 30 years.

    The crisis we face is about us: the people who count themselves as
activists and leaders.

    Certainly, it does matter if we have good elected, political
leadership—and it is legitimate to point out the lack of leadership,
or just really bad leadership.

  BUT, leadership in the absence of a mass, focused, coordinated
movement is powerless—even if leaders, somewhere deep inside, want to
do the right thing.

  And we do not have such a movement.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Congratulations Coburn

38 Minutes With Elizabeth Warren

Waxing diplomatic as she makes a premature exit from Washington, the consumer advocate still can’t manage to entirely hold her fire.

By Reid Cherlin Published Jul 22, 2011

For someone who’s just had her dream job snatched away from her, Elizabeth Warren is remarkably upbeat as she gives a sort of farewell tour of her offices at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The agency, chartered to fight consumer abuse by banks, is her brainchild, and her strenuous advocacy for its creation—against just-as-strenuous objections from the financial lobby—has made her the closest thing to a rock star the American left has seen since 2008. But when the CFPB opens the following day, Warren won’t be running it. And when a director finally does take the helm, she won’t even be in the building.

(Photo: Gary Fabiano/Sipa Press/Newscom)
“We have our Zoo Pals plates,” Warren says, holding up a stack of animal-themed paper plates, each with articulated cardboard lobes like little ears. “This is a birthday-party kind of place.” The analysts whose office she’s popped into nod adoringly and recount a particularly elaborate prank on a colleague carried out six months ago, when a menacing (even job-threatening) e-mail turned out to be just a pretext for a “Happy Birthday” sing-along. Warren describes it as a “punking.”

You could say the same thing about what’s happened to her in recent months, as President Obama declined to nominate Warren to run the agency she conceived, built, and valiantly defended over the past year. Just two days before, Warren stood in the Rose Garden as the president announced his nominee for director, Richard Cordray. Obama praised Warren as a longtime champion of the middle class and called her “very tough” in the face of “a fair amount of heat.” He did not offer his reasons for choosing someone else, though they are clear enough: Congressional Republicans deeply dislike Warren for relentlessly calling out the banking sector, and a protracted fight over her nomination would have led nowhere.

June 28, 2011

By Julia Dalton

Van Jones is calling all people of conscience who care about America to get involved, stand up and help rebuild the American Dream.

Thursday evening I attended the "Rebuild the Dream" event in New York City hosted by Van Jones, featuring the musical group ROOTS with Shepard Fairey DJing. Honestly I went to hear Jones but also to see Fairey whose "Make Art Not War" poster hangs in my living room.

I didn't know much about Jones except he was Obama's Green Energy czar and was thrown under the bus when he was labeled a radical, leftist, commie, raised by Black Panthers or some other such nonsense by the king of fear mongering and right wing echo chamber lies, Glen Beck.

I admit I was skeptical. Is this a front group for Obama's reelection campaign because honestly if that's what this is I'm not interested. I'm suffering from buyer's remorse like many progressives but decided to keep an open mind.

Jones took the stage before a packed house and proclaimed, "We are being lied to." And we're not stupid enough to fall for it. The lies we'll break down tonight are: America is broke. Taxing the rich would hurt America's economy and be a job killer. And the most patriotic thing we can do is to dismantle the government and wreck it. Okay he got my attention.

Jones is handsome, funny, articulate and reminds me of a young Malcolm X. Oops, I mean a young Sidney Poitier. No need to give the psycho hypocrites on the right any ammo cause we know how they love to spin facts into misinformation and lies.

Put the Kettle On: Van Jones tries to help create a liberal version of the Tea Party.

By David Weigel, Monday, July 18, 2011

"I've been unemployed or underemployed since September 2006," said Benito Diaz. "The only thing I've done since then is part-time jobs, not even in what I used to work in. Frustrating is not the word. Yeah, so, the most important thing to me is the issue of jobs."

There are seven of us sitting around Diaz, listening and nodding. This was the sharing portion of the meeting, when everyone got three minutes to talk about how the economy was affecting them and the poor schlubs they knew. When we were done, according to our briefing papers, we were scheduled to talk about "the time in your life when you felt most proud of your community of America." And after that, we were supposed to make some lists.

We were making history, maybe, sitting at one of the inaugural get-togethers of the American Dream movement, aka the Rebuild the Dream movement, aka the insanely ambitious project that Van Jones has been talking about ever since Glenn Beck and some bloggers succeeding in bouncing him out of the White House. This get-together, in a Quaker meeting house in Washington's Dupont Circle, started at 4 p.m. on Saturday and went on for two hours. It was one of about 1,600* such parties happening around the country last weekend, and one of 10 within a short bike or car ride from my house.

"I came here to D.C. when Nixon was bustin' into the Watergate," said Diaz. "We had Reagan after that. We've had 30 years of Reaganomics and corporate greed. And we're here in part because when Obama ran for president and got elected and all that, we thought were going to see a break. We were going to turn a page. We were going to break these 30 years of Reaganonomics. But we went to sleep. The Tea Party won the elections. We made a bad mistake."

Diaz has asked the question plaguing liberals since February 2009, when the first impromptu, blog-organized protests against the stimulus plan broke out in Seattle and Tampa. What the hell happened to liberal protests? How could the same mall that filled front to back for Barack Obama's inauguration be conquered nine months later by Tea Party activists? Why were members of Congress shouted down at town halls when they talked about health care, when every liberal could Google polls that proved the public option was popular?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Unions, MoveOn Warn Obama Not to 'Cave' in Secret Negotiations With House GOP

Published on Friday, July 22, 2011 by The Nation
by John Nichols

The Obama White House is reportedly in the process of negotiating a secret debt deal with House Republican leaders that could include deep cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The deal would not, according to media reports, significantly or immediately address the need for new revenues that can be derived from fair taxation of the wealthiest Americans.

That’s a bad deal.

Bad for American seniors and Americans who anticipate that one day they will be seniors.

Bad for the American economy.

And bad for Barack Obama politically.

So unions and progressive groups have moved to prevent any deal from moving forward., AFL-CIO, CREDO Action, Democracy for America, PCCC, AFT, Campaign for America’s Future and Change Nation organized an Emergency Call-In Day “to demand Democrats in the House and Senate stand strong and keep their promises to reject any debt deal that slashes programs for seniors and working families while doing little or nothing to make the rich and corporations pay their share.”

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bigger Than the Tea Party

by Van Jones
Posted: 7/21/11

Last month, I joined with and launched the Rebuild the Dream campaign to help give a voice to the millions of Americans who aren't being heard in Washington. This past weekend, we organized nearly 1,600 house meetings across the country -- nearly double the number of protests the Tea Party held when they launched in April of 2009. The American Dream Meetings gave more than 27,000 people, from all across the country, an opportunity to come together and discuss what the American Dream means to them and their families. They talked about how the jobless crisis and foreclosure mess is impacting their communities. They put forth creative ideas for the Contract for the American Dream -- a bold progressive vision to help fix the broken economy and rebuild our communities. The Contract has already received nearly 26,000 ideas submitted online alone and over 6 million ratings.

While I'm beyond inspired by the enormous outpour of ideas we've received thus far, it doesn't surprise me that the American people are yearning to come up with practical solutions to our economic crisis. While so many Americans struggle with joblessness and rampant foreclosures, we keep hearing from Washington that we need to reduce the deficit, even if it means slashing Medicare or gutting vital programs families depend on. Washington appears to be operating on an entirely different planet than the rest of America.

Vision: Progressives Consider Using Tea Party Tactics to Rebuild the American Dream

By Rae Gomes, AlterNet
Posted on July 19, 2011

At a "Rebuild the Dream" meeting, Brooklyn progressives ponder whether they have to act like the Tea Party in order to inspire change.

“One of the virtues of being on the liberal side of politics is that total obedience isn't required," Deepak Chopra writes in a recent column. “There are no hidden agendas. Ideology doesn't lead to unreason.”
This virtue, however, can become a liability when it comes to building a movement. Liberals, progressives and lefties of varying generations rarely agree on what truly constitutes fair-trade coffee, much less how to go about changing the current political climate.

In walks Van Jones, and his “Rebuild the Dream” movement. At the June 23rd launch, Jones went through the four lies that form the backbone of the Tea Party movement. He compared the first lie about America being broke to telling people in a burning building that all the exits are locked when they're not. Asking the super-rich to pay taxes hurts the economy was the second lie and the third was focused on the 'patriotic' anti-government rants of the Tea Party. The fourth and final lie, that we're helpless, formed an introduction to the Dream initiative. The movement will be comprised of non-Tea party sympathizers, 'ordinary Americans' who will come up with solutions to solve the social and economic problems that affect our country. He made no qualms about this movement being the more reasoned, but still impassioned answer to the Tea Party and this sentiment wasn’t lost in the follow-ups to the launch.

I attended one of the Dream meetings July 16-17 in downtown Brooklyn. The address was the former headquarters of the New York ACORN organization, now home to the newly established New York Communities for Change (NYCC). Skip Roseboro, former vice president of NY ACORN, led the meeting of an inter-generational, mostly white group. A total of 20 people settled down around the table as Roseboro -- who apologized for not being quite prepared for the meeting -- introduced himself. Introductions, we were told, should include our thoughts about what the American dream means to us, which led to an interesting range of issues being brought up.

Rebuild the Dream House Meetings Spark Action

Posted on  by Eric

In case anyone was under the impression that our house meetings were only a place for Americans to share their feelings and go home satisfied, think again. Lots of you couldn’t even wait for the looming August congressional recess to get started.
House meeting attendees file in to Sen. Patty Murray's office in SeattleFor example, in Seattle, attendees of one meeting decided that they should go immediately to a congressional office to make their concerns about Washington’s obsession with austerity known. Attendees affiliated with Working Washington and MoveOn Council Seattle went to the offices of Senator Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, met with staff, and requested personal meetings with the senators when they get back to Washington State. They also have started developing a proposal to take action during the August recess and started networking with local groups like SEIU and Fight for a Fair Economy to see what they could do together.

House meeting attendees file in to Sen. Patty Murray's office in Seattle.
We have lots more examples of similar initiative being shown by groups that formed from house meetings. Let us know what you are up to in your own area!

Thom Hartman - The Biggest Balanced Budget Hypocrisy

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Save Our Schools March- Sacramento

Save Our Schools March & National Call to Action

California Rally & March
Saturday, July 30, 11am-3pm
State Capitol Building
1315 10th Street, Sacramento

Join other Californians on the Capitol steps to support public education. Sponsored by California supporters of the Save Our Schools March, National Call to Action & the Student CTA.

Rebuilding the American Dream: Why Starting a Liberal Antidote to the Tea Party Movement Isn't Going to be Easy

By Joshua Holland, AlterNet
Posted on July 18, 2011, Printed on July 20, 2011

The latest attempt to create a liberal antidote to a Tea Party movement that's caused such a stir in American politics in recent years (there have been others) is called, “Rebuilding the American Dream.” It's the brainchild of Van Jones, a visionary and charismatic progressive who, after being victimized by a Fox News-led smear campaign, was forced to resign his position as “green jobs czar” in the Obama administration.

Jones partnered with dozens of groups, including, with its well developed list of Internet-savvy progressive activists and the infrastructure to coordinate hundreds of house parties nationwide that would kick off the new effort. On Sunday, I attended two of them in San Francisco, eager to see if liberals could inspire their own grassroots movement to push back against the right.

I had just finished reading veteran New York Times reporter Kate Zernicke's excellent book, Boiling Mad: Inside Tea Party America. As I munched on crackers and cheese at the first party, held in a nice, upper-middle-class home high in the hills overlooking the Bay, it quickly became apparent that building a progressive tea party will be no easy task.

The 15 people assembled to start a new movement were almost a mirror image of the Tea Partiers themselves. They skewed older – at 41, I was the youngest person in the room – and they were furious about what they saw happening in Washington. (Those at the second gathering, held in the Mission District, were, on average, a bit younger.) “I'm tired of just taking it,” said one participant, adding, “I'm ready to fight back.” Another said she was sickened by the fact that politicians appear to be increasingly “out of touch with the needs of ordinary American people,” and said that she had come to the party “because I want to feel empowered.”

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Elizabeth WarrenPublished on Monday, July 18, 2011 by

This is a big week for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Today, the President will announce his intent to nominate Richard Cordray to serve as the first Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. On Thursday, the CFPB makes its transition from a start-up to a real, live agency with the authority to write rules and to supervise the activities of America's largest banks.
Rich will be a strong leader for this agency. He has a proven track record of fighting for families during his time as head of the CFPB enforcement division, as Attorney General of Ohio, and throughout his career. He was one of the first senior executives I recruited for the agency, and his hard work and deep commitment make it clear he can make many important contributions in leading it. Rich is smart, he is tough, and he will make a stellar Director. I am very pleased for him and very pleased for the CFPB.
The DNA of the new consumer agency is well established. Our mission is clear: No one should be tricked in any financial transaction. Prices and risks should be clear. People should be able to make apples-to-apples comparisons. Fine print should be mowed down, not used to hide nasty surprises. And, everyone -- even trillion dollar banks -- should follow the law.
We're underway. We are working through a much-simplified mortgage disclosure form. We are designing a new consumer complaint process, with the first piece coming on line this week. We have set up a strong Office of Servicemember Affairs that reaches out to military families and is already working on problems they face. And, on Thursday, we will have cops on the beat -- making our first contacts with the 111 largest financial institutions in the country so we can monitor their compliance with the law. We have hired the people and built the systems to make all this work. And, to cap it all off, we got a strong evaluation from the Inspector General last Friday about our efficient and drama-free set up period.

Why the Rich - Corporations and Wealthy Individuals - Can and Should Pay More in Taxes

Economist Richard D. Wolff

Monday, July 18, 2011

Giant First Step in Rebuilding the American Dream

House Meeting in Memphis, TN

Posted on  by Eric
Over the weekend, over 25,000 of you met in nearly 1600 living rooms across America to share your stories and to discuss the next steps toward taking back the American Dream. You held meetings in every single one of the four hundred thirty-five congressional districts in this country. From Missoula, Montanato Midtown Manhattan, from Santa Monica, California to Van Jones’ hometown ofJackson, TN, many of you showed up for the very first time to engage in politics.
That’s huge!
By comparison, the Tea Party held only 800 meetings on its first organized day in April 2009. And that was with a full on blast of two months of promotion by Fox News. You organized your meetings strictly through e-mails from our partner organizations, word of mouth, and the good will of all the great hosts out there to open up your homes – no national cable news network necessary.

Van Jones interviewed on MSNBC

Elizabeth Warren for US Senate

Published on Monday, July 18, 2011 by The Nation
by John Nichols

President Obama was never going to appoint Elizabeth Warren to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that the Harvard professor conceptualized and created.

Wall Street speculators, big bankers and all the other insiders who make money by gaming the system -- rather than innovating, creating or contributing anything of value to the economy or the nation -- objected to being regulated by someone who would use not just the the rules but the bully pulpit to hold the robber barons to account.

So Obama went with a safer choice: former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray. The head of the CFPB's enforcement division, Cordray was hired by Warren and is a capable and honest player -- so honest that he is all but certain to face a confirmation fight of his own before he can take charge of the new agency, which will be up and running on July 21.

As Progressive Change Campaign Committee co-founder Stephanie Taylor, whose group led a campaign that collected 350,000 signatures backing Warren's nomination said, "Rich Cordray has been a strong ally of Elizabeth Warren's and we hope he will continue her legacy of holding Wall Street accountable."

Desmond Tutu: Young South Africans Don't Know What Mandela Did for Us

Happy Birthday Nelson Mandela... and Happy Nelson Mandela International Day to All of You!!
Desmond Tutu: Young South Africans Don't Know What Mandela Did for Us
Elisabeth Braw, Senior Reporter, Metro International
Huff Post World, 7/18/11

Most people can name two South Africans: Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. Today, July 18, Mandela turns 93. Because the political prisoner-turned-president is very frail, he'll celebrate his birthday surrounded only by his family. But three years ago, friends like Tutu created Mandela Day, an invitation for people to spend 67 minutes -- one minute for every year Mandela fought to end apartheid -- doing something good for society.

But exactly what is a good thing? Is South Africa a good society today? I spoke with Tutu, the former Archbishop of Cape Town, who like Mandela won a Nobel Prize for his role in bringing an end to apartheid. Earlier this year, Tutu retired from interviews and public events; this interview was an exception to honor Mandela. 

Apartheid, the system both you and Nelson Mandela fought so hard against, ended two decades ago. Have your goals been accomplished?
The most important goal has been accomplished. Blacks constitute the majority of people in this country, but under apartheid we were treated like dirt. We had no political rights whatsoever. Today we're free!
How will you spend your 67 minutes on Mandela Day?
I'll be receiving an honorary doctorate in Britain, so I'll probably tell a couple of funny stories to make them happier.
Mandela wants Mandela Day to be about younger people taking on the leadership role that people like you and he have had. Why aren't there any obvious successors?
You can ask that in almost every country. Think of Roosevelt in the United States and Churchill in Britain: there are certain people who stand out. But especially in countries where the circumstances have to change, you do need people of Mandela's stature. But those leaders don't always accomplish the changes they want. Just look at the Dalai Lama: he's incredibly popular but hasn't managed to achieve the goals he set for himself.

Why national Dems want Elizabeth Warren to challenge Scott Brown for Senate

Washington, 7/18/2011
By Greg Sargent

Now that Obama has passed over Elizabeth Warren for the post of heading the consumer protection bureau she created, national and Massachusetts Dems are really hoping she will run for Senate against Scott Brown in Massachusetts.

The DSCC is not commenting on whether its operatives are actively trying to recruit Warren for the race. But there are three clear reasons national and Massachusetts Dems want her to do it, according to a national Democratic operative involved in plotting 2012 strategy and a Massachusetts Dem familiar with the party’s thinking.

(1) Dems think Warren is well suited to draw a very clear contrast with Brown on the economy and Wall Street. Warren, of course, is the force behind the centerpiece of Wall Street reform, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. While Brown did ultimately vote for the Wall Street reform bill, he only did so after successfully watering down key reforms in the legislation that were opposed by the banking industry. Brown did this while simultaneously taking in big bucks from Wall Street firms — a concurrence that would figure heavily in a Warren-Brown matchup.

“There’s such a clear contrast on issues relating to the economy, and more specifically, Wall Street and consumer protection issues,” the top national strategist tells me, previewing attacks to come. “He has a record of doing the personal bidding of Wall Street lobbyists.”