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Apr 27: A Women’s Place is in the House (of Representatives)
Apr 27th, 2012 by Sam

On the show:

First –

Paul Brandus, White House Bureau Chief and founder of the West Wing Report, will give us the latest about about the presidential race and the impact of the latest bad economic news on the campaigns. We’ll also touch on why Obama went to Colombia and whether he was successful.

Then –

Are women politicians in America oppressed or is American politics better left for the boys? The United States is currently tied for 79th in the world with liberal powerhouse Turkmenistan for percentage of women in national government. Who is number 1? Rwanda. Who’s number 3?  Cuba.

To get a clearer picture of where American women stand in The Land of the Free, we’ll talk with Siobhan “Sam” Bennett, President/CEO of She Should Run and Women’s Campaign Fund will join to discuss America’s dismal position in the world for women in politics.

Call in at 617 237 1234 to join the conversation.

Mar 10: Don’t know much about…education!
Mar 13th, 2012 by Sam

In case you missed the show:

Part 1: Samantha commentary on education 2012-03-10-samantha-clemens-p1.mp3

Part 2: James Burnett, Boston Globe 2012-03-10-samantha-clemens-p2-james-burnett-globe.mp3

Do American Schools need help? (yes)

Is college for snobs? (No)

Should all who want higher education have the opportunity to advance themselves? (yes)

Do Republicans want an educated populace? (Apparently not)

Join Samantha this Saturday, March 10, 2012 as she discusses the Republicans’ war on education.

“But what about people like Mr. Romney? Don’t they have a stake in America’s future economic success, which is endangered by the crusade against education? Maybe not as much as you think.

“After all, over the past 30 years, there has been a stunning disconnect between huge income gains at the top and the struggles of ordinary workers. You can make the case that the self-interest of America’s elite is best served by making sure that this disconnect continues, which means keeping taxes on high incomes low at all costs, never mind the consequences in terms of poor infrastructure and an undertrained work force.

“And if underfunding public education leaves many children of the less affluent shut out from upward mobility, well, did you really believe that stuff about creating equality of opportunity?

“So whenever you hear Republicans say that they are the party of traditional values, bear in mind that they have actually made a radical break with America’s tradition of valuing education. And they have made this break because they believe that what you don’t know can’t hurt them. “
Ignorance Is Strength, Paul Krugman

 

“Consider the fact that SAT scores (a big factor in college admissions) correlate closely with family wealth. The total average SAT score of students from families earning more than $100,000 per year is more than 100 points higher than for students in the income range of $50,000 to $60,000. Or consider that a mere 3 percent of students in the top 150 colleges, as defined by The Chronicle of Higher Education, come from families in the bottom income quartile of American society. Only a very dogmatic Social Darwinist would conclude from these facts that intelligence closely tracks how much money one’s parents make. A better explanation is that students from affluent families have many advantages — test-prep tutors, high schools with good college counseling, parents with college savvy and so on.”
Colleges and Elitism, Andrew Delblanco

 

“What’s more, Mr. Santorum’s family background shows the profound value of education in lifting the disadvantaged into the middle class and beyond. The campaign likes to leave the impression that he grew up in the coal fields of Pennsylvania, but young Rick actually came of age in a home where the father earned a doctorate and worked as a clinical psychologist while the mother toiled outside the house as a well-credentialed administrative nurse; it was his immigrant grandfather who worked the coal mines.”
Michael Medved: Meet the Republicans, Education Bashers

Samantha also welcomes James Burnett, writer for The Boston Globe. The two will discuss the Somerville Music Progam…a program that brings the wonders of music to low income children.

“Gee whiz! Poor kids learning how to play music – discipline, teamwork, and beauty – what’s not to love?”
In era of cuts, students in Somerville play on – The Boston Globe

Jan 7: Bachmann, Santorum, Overdrive!
Jan 7th, 2012 by Sam

Martha Fuller Clark

2012-01-07-samantha-clemens-martha-fuller-clark-vice-chair-nh-democratic-party.mp3

Glen Johnson

2012-01-07-samantha-clemens-glen-johnson-boston-globe.mp3

This Saturday’s show:

Santorum’s Surge
Romney’s Rage
Bachmann’s Bowing Out

Join Samantha on her first show of the New Year as she welcomes Boston.com’s Political Intelligence editor, Glen Johnson!

The two will break down the recent Iowa Caucus and prepare us for the New Hampshire primary!

  • Will it be Romney on top again?
  • Will Santorum pick up where Bachmann left off?
  • Is Perry next to go?

Also joining the show: Vice Chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, Martha Fuller Clark!

This is not your mother’s New Hampshire.  Free Staters and ALEC are all having an impact on the state. Get the lowdown on how NH has changed, the tactics in use, and what it portends for other states and the country.   Check this out…

In New Hampshire, Republican state legislators seem to believe education is no longer something they should require. Via ThinkProgress:

Today the GOP-controlled Senate passed HB 542, which effectively ends compulsory education for New Hampshire students. Their House colleagues approved the measure earlier last year.

No, seriously. It ends compulsory education, and it’s been passed by both houses of the Legislature? Really? Really.   Here’s what it says.

 IX-c. Require school districts to adopt a policy allowing an exception to specific course material based on a parent’s or legal guardian’s determination that the material is objectionable. Such policy shall include a provision requiring the parent or legal guardian to notify the school principal or designee in writing of the specific material to which they object and a provision requiring an alternative agreed upon by the school district and the parent, at the parent’s expense, sufficient to enable the child to meet state requirements for education in the particular subject area. The name of the parent or legal guardian and any specific reasons disclosed to school officials for the objection to the material shall not be public information and shall be excluded from access under RSA 91-A.

As worded, any parent could object to the entire curriculum and substitute whatever they wanted instead, with no measurement or assessment or accountability for that “alternative material” requirement, which means compulsory education would be dead, dead, dead.  Crooks and Liars, January 5, 2012

Aug 2: Filling for Michele McPhee on WRKO
Aug 2nd, 2011 by Sam

Samantha fills in for Michele Mcphee on WRKO’s afternoon show.

 

She and the WRKO nation listened to President Obama’s Speech After Senate Passed Debt Solution and then bantered about a range of things, including:

A solution is Finally Passed on Debt Ceiling

Debt Ceiling Deal Finally Reached in Washington

Well, I guess we spent two hours talking about the debt ceiling, how Washington works, whether businesses make decisions solely based on tax rates (NOT!), who raised taxes the most, and how we can get away from this polarized political environment.  Whew!  What a great time.

Let me know what you think about it all…

 

Apr 30: West Wing Report & Affirmative Inaction – Asians left behind?
Apr 30th, 2011 by Sam

Guests:

  • Paul Brandus, White House Bureau Chief, West Wing Report
  • Sam Museus, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Higher Education and Asian American Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston

Obama’s trip

@West Wing Report: Independent White House journalist. Paul’s bio: 5 yrs Moscow, 5 yrs network TV, 5 yrs Wall St.; foreign correspondent, private investor. 53 countries & counting

We’ll talk about the threat from Pakistan, Pentagon/CIA, birth certificates/college transcripts/SAT scores.  What about Trump’s FICO score??

Affirmative Inaction

Are Asians held to a higher standard for college admissions?  What does the research show?  Are there some groups affected more than others?  What is the purpose of college admissions?  Can schools choose who to admit without any government interference?  What about legacy admissions?  What about girls performing better than boys?

Sam Museus, Assistant Professor of Higher Education and Asian American Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston:

“My personal perspective is that if institutions are using race to keep Asian-American students out, it’s based on a fear [among non-minorities] that these ‘other’ students are taking over our institutions or taking ‘our spots’ at the best institutions.”  Competitive disadvantage: High-achieving Asian-American students are being shut out of top schools around the country. Is this what diversity looks like now?, Boston Globe, April 17, 2011

Aug 21: 1/5 think Obama is Muslim?
Aug 20th, 2010 by Sam

2010-08-21-samantha-clemens.Mp31 in 5 Americans believe Obama is a Muslim?? What is wrong with this country? If you oppose his policies, then fine. Oppose them. But this made-up stuff?

The Rev. Franklin Graham Says President Obama was ‘Born a Muslim’

“I think the president’s problem is that he was born a Muslim, his father was a Muslim. The seed of Islam is passed through the father like the seed of Judaism is passed through the mother. He was born a Muslim, his father gave him an Islamic name,” Graham told CNN’s John King in a televised interview that aired Thursday night.

Doesn’t seem to matter WHAT anyone says…

Factcheck.org: The truth about Obama’s birth certificate

In June, the Obama campaign released a digitally scanned image of his birth certificate to quell speculative charges that he might not be a natural-born citizen. But the image prompted more blog-based skepticism about the document’s authenticity. And recently, author Jerome Corsi, whose book attacks Obama, said in a TV interview that the birth certificate the campaign has is “fake.”

Obama a Muslim? Rumors gain steam, defying facts

NEW YORK — “President Obama is a Muslim.” “He’s not an American citizen.” “He wasn’t even born here.”

Blame it on the media, or on human nature. All presidents deal with image problems – that they’re too weak or too belligerent, too far left or far right. But Obama also faces questions over documented facts, in part because some people identify more with the rumormongers than the debunkers.

Are Americans total numbskulls?

God help us. Could so many Americans really be that dumb, ill-informed, paranoid, gullible and goofy? It must be tricky being Barack Obama, winding down the U.S. presence in volatile Iraq, trying to keep Afghanistan from degenerating, pondering war with Iran, even as, according to the latest bulletin, one in five Americans thinks he is a Muslim.

Why not just believe he’s an alien from outer space? Or a Manchurian Candidate, programmed by, say, the Chinese to bring America to ruin?

Crazy times.

It’s also dismaying that so many Americans are opposed to the mosque near Ground Zero. In America you can worship wherever you want, regardless of religious belief. We protect religious minorities here. This isn’t merely the law: It’s a core value. This goes back to the Pilgrims, I seem to recall. The backers of the mosques are the good guys, the ones who preach tolerance. There should be no hedging on this at all from American leaders: If we can’t allow a mosque in lower Manhattan we might as well close shop for good and turn out the lights.

Don Leka: Our Independent Judiciary and Other Myths
Jul 5th, 2010 by Sam

Presented on July 3, 2010…

Let’s picture a country that touts the independence of its judges.  But whenever a citizen sues the government, say for breach of contract, and the government worries that embarrasing facts may come out during the litigation, then a standard ritual takes place.  A government official certifies that the case must be dismissed because State Secrets might be revealed in the course of the litigation.  So the judge dutifully accepts the certificate at face value and dismisses the case.  Now the question is:  what country are we talking about?

You might say it could be Russia, and this is a practice left over from the Soviet system.  Or you might say it shows that China still controls the judiciary as tightly as it controls internet access.  Or maybe the Ayatollahs in Iran are at it again.  But nay, I speak of The United States, the land of three co-equal branches of government as we all learned in school.  Except our judiciary has abandoned its independence when it comes to holding the government to the same conduct as all other defendants.  And the scary part is the judges do it consistently, enthusiastically, and with full patriotic fervor.

The State Secrets doctrine grew out of the case of McReynolds versus United States, decided by the Supreme Court in 1953.  Chief Justice Vinson wrote the opinion, holding that when a trial court receives a statement from a responsible government official informing him that the case before him would likely lead to disclosure of state secrets or information jeopardizing national security, the judge should give serious consideration – in other words, defer – to the request from that government official.  The McReynolds case was wrongly decided, a product of cold war hysteria.  But the thing about the law is, when a legal doctrine veers in the wrong direction it often fails to correct itself – the erroneous thinking just expands organically.  And so the State Secrets Doctrine has extended its reach over the years.  For example, the government doesn’t have to be a party to the case – it can intervene in a private suit between two private companies and get the complaint dismissed.  And the claim for privilege (and therefore dismissal) doesn’t have to involve classified information.  The government has successfully argued that the pattern of public information as disclosed during the litigation may reveal something to foreign spies.  And even if the plaintiff claims that it does not need and will not disclose any sensitive information for its case, the government simply says it can’t defend itself without revealing such information, regardless of what the plaintiff says.  Case dismissed.

So you can look at this doctrine two ways.  First, this certificate claiming a State Secrets Privilege is given by a responsible government official, and we know the offical would not falsify a claim because that would be irresponsible.  Nowadays in the Obama administration, a really, really responsible official – Attorney General Eric Holder – signs the certificate so we really, really know we can rely on it.  The other view says that our government is predicated on separation of powers – each branch is subject to checks and balances against the other branches.  This principle holds that the executive branch should not be the final judge of its own claim of privilege.

I suppose we could call this topic the ultimate moot point, since by definition no one gives independent scrutiny to the government’s claim – not even a judge, much less the media or the public.  So the claim can never be disproven.

But wait.  There was one instance where the information became available to the public, 40 years later.  And it happened in McReynolds vs. United States itself, the case that started the whole doctrine.  The case arose from the crash of an Army Air Foce B-27 in 1948, carrying several civilian engineers.  The engineers were testing out a guidance system for missiles – the system was not guiding the airplane, it was measuring accuracy along ground monitoring stations.  Widows of three engineers aboard the plane brought a wrongful death suit against the government for negligence.  The plaintiffs asked for a copy of the accident report – the report of the investigation conducted by the Inspector General after every airplane accident.  Lawyers for the Army Air Force refused to provide it, saying the engineers were on a secret mission (that much was true) and the accident report would reveal highly important military secrets.  They argued the material was so sensitive they were not allowed to share it even with lawyers for the Department of Justice who would be trying the case.

The trial judge used standard procedure when a party refuses to turn over relevant documents, even to the judge for independent scrutiny.  He defaulted the Government and went on to assess damages.  The government appealed, and the circuit court, again using standard precedents, confirmed the dismissal.  It was the Supreme Court, led by Truman’s poker buddy Fred Vinson, who reversed the judgment and sent it back to the trial court.

But in the interim the Records Department had declassified the accident report, using standard procedures, even while the case was going through appeals.  No one realized this, and the document sat in storage until President Clinton, in 1993, made most government records available to the public if they were older than 40 years.  And when the original plaintiffs (or their offspring) finally were able to read the report – guess what?  It contained not one word about the secret mission.  It was a damning catalogue of negligence and inattention, ignored safety upgrades, and sloppy maintenance and operating procedures that led the plane inevitably to fail while in flight.  The record makes it obvious that the Secretary of the Army Air Force perjured himself in his sworn declarations and government lawyers participated in defrauding the Supreme Court.  When the plaintiffs tried to point this out, in the late 1990’s, no court wanted to be bothered with this sort of challenge to our patriotic State Secrets Doctrine.  The denial of justice to the families of those engineers was a dead issue.

So, even though the state secrets doctrine was founded on a fraud, it continues to survive.  It was Coleridge who once said patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.  We now know that the scoundrel’s first refuge is claiming the privilege of secrecy.

This is Don Leka from the Cause and Effect World.

Obama: I Don’t Want BP ‘Nickel And Diming’ The Gulf
Jun 5th, 2010 by Sam

Health Reform Myths
Mar 12th, 2010 by Sam

Paul Krugman clears up some of the baloney that’s been going around about the health care reform effort…

  1. President Obama is NOT proposing a “government takeover” of 1/6 the economy.
  2. The proposed reform DOES help control costs.
  3. Healthcare reform IS fiscally responsible.

Don’t believe it?  Read the article.

Jul 7: Sam on “Mark Levine’s TV The Inside Scoop”
Jul 7th, 2008 by Sam

Sam appeared as a guest on Mark Levine’s TV Inside Scoop:

  • Foreign companies buying American – are they taking over?
  • The Obama fist-bump on the New Yorker?  ugly smear or clever satire?
  • Will the price of oil ever go down again?
  • Is Obama a moderate pretending to be a progressive or a progressive pretending to be
    a moderate?
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