The sleepy little district on the east side of the Hudson River, north of New York City, was lucky enough to get some federal funding to fix infrastructure that probably had been broken since the time of Rip Van Winkle. Then, what did they go and do? They elected a Tea Party candidate who promised to banish earmarks.

Guess they thought earmarks were expensive gifts to other people, you know, like those city folk who seem to have so much to begin with. Kind of like "Government, get your hands off my Medicare."
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From The New York Times
February 4, 2011

District Liked Its Earmarks, Then Elected Someone Who Didn’t
By Raymond Hernandez

In the villages, towns and cities of the 19th Congressional District north of New York City, the signs of federal largess are all over: money for a library in South Salem, road improvements in Peekskill, renovations on an aging old bridge in Dover and a communications network for the Police Department in Tuxedo.

The projects have drawn strong support from community activists, business leaders and local politicians of both major parties. But the stream of federal money that has long financed such purchases, in this Hudson Valley district and elsewhere in the nation, is about to dry up.

And some residents of the district may be surprised to learn who one of the main instigators is: Nan Hayworth, the district’s new representative, who was swept into office last fall along with other  Tea Party-backed candidates bent on changing Washington’s way of doing business.

Congress, prodded by outspoken newcomers like Ms. Hayworth, this week essentially imposed a temporary ban on earmarks, money for projects that individual lawmakers slip into major Congressional budget bills to cater to local demands. 

For the complete story, go to:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/05/nyregion/05earmarks.html?_r=1&hpw


 
 
Here’s the beginning and the end of an essay by anti-racism activist and writer Tim Wise of Nashville, Tennessee. Follow one of the links at the bottom to read the entire piece.

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Imagine: Protest, Insurgency and the Workings of White Privilege
By Tim Wise
April 20, 2010

Let’s play a game, shall we? The name of the game is called “Imagine.” The way it’s played is simple: we’ll envision recent happenings in the news, but then change them up a bit. Instead of envisioning white people as the main actors in the scenes we’ll conjure—the ones who are driving the action—we’ll envision black folks or other people of color instead. The object of the game is to imagine the public reaction to the events or incidents, if the main actors were of color, rather than white. Whoever gains the most insight into the workings of race in America, at the end of the game, wins.

So let’s begin.

Imagine that hundreds of black protesters were to descend upon Washington DC and Northern Virginia, just a few miles from the Capitol and White House, armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns, and ammunition. And imagine that some of these protesters—the black protesters--
spoke of the need for political revolution, and possibly even armed conflict in the event that laws they didn’t like were enforced by the government? Would these protesters--these black protesters with guns--be seen as brave defenders of the Second Amendment, or would they be viewed by most whites as a danger to the republic? What if they were Arab-Americans? Because, after all, that's what happened recently when white gun enthusiasts descended upon the nation's capital, arms in hand, and verbally announced their readiness to make war on the country's political leaders if the need arose.

Imagine that white members of Congress, while walking to work, were surrounded by thousands of angry black people, one of whom
proceeded to spit on one of those congressmen for not voting the way the black demonstrators desired. Would the protesters be seen as merely patriotic Americans voicing their opinions, or as an angry, potentially violent, and even insurrectionary mob? After all, this is what white Tea Party protesters did recently in Washington.

...

To ask any of these questions is to answer them. Protest is only seen as fundamentally American when those who have long had the luxury of seeing themselves as prototypically American engage in it. When the dangerous and dark “other” does so, however, it isn’t viewed as normal or natural, let alone patriotic. Which is why Rush Limbaugh could say, this past week, that the Tea Parties are the first time since the Civil War that ordinary, common Americans stood up for their rights: a statement that erases the normalcy and “American-ness” of blacks in the civil rights struggle, not to mention women in the fight for suffrage and equality, working people in the fight for better working conditions, and LGBT folks as they struggle to be treated as full and equal human beings.

And this, my friends, is what white privilege is all about. The ability to threaten others, to engage in violent and incendiary rhetoric without consequence, to be viewed as patriotic and normal no matter what you do, and never to be feared and despised as people of color would be, if they tried to get away with half the shit we do, on a daily basis.

Game Over.


To read the entire piece, go to :
http://www.facebook.com/#!/notes/tim-wise/imagine-protest-insurgency-and-the-workings-of-white-privilege/10150151948920459
or
http://www.sanfranciscosentinel.com/?p=70545