The Arc of History’s Late Summer Bender

Ray Abernathy

I’m probably leaning on the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., far too often these skitzy days, but the man still brings us hope. When he so confidently intoned, “The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice,” he surely must have had August/2010 in mind. Sunday, August 1. The Washington Post ignores the serial ethical transgressions of DC Mayor-for-Hype Adrian Fenty, endorses him for re-election, and assures us that City Council Chair Vince Gray will be elected in November to replace him. Goodbye insouciant adolescence, hello mature moxie. Monday, August 2. Elena Kagan pounds up through the marble floor to become the third woman to gain a seat on the United States Supreme Court, with Al Franken presiding over the Senate and announcing the vote count. President Barack Obama kisses her on the forehead. Tuesday, August 3. Wyclef Jean’s campaign for President of Haiti opens to a driving beat, despite a mountain of media mangling ( no, he’s not a hip-hop artist, he’s a world music artist; yes, he left Haiti when he was 8, but he’s spent more time there than Michael Bloomberg spends in New York City; no, his charitable works aren’t suspect, his Yele Foundation has long-since been cleared of an earthquake-ily serendipitous right-wing smear job). Also on Tuesday. New York Congressman Anthony “The gentleman will sit down” Weiner tells the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, “I think the problem is that we’re not yelling enough,” and says of his Democratic colleagues, “We sometimes come into knife fights carrying library books.” Wednesday, August 4. The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission infuriates Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin and the morally-challenged Anti-Defamation League by approving the demolition of an old building to make way for construction of a $100 million Muslim community center and mosque two blocks from Ground Zero. /On a down note, Weiner joins Gingrich and Palin. The NYC Building Trades Council is silent./ Also on Wednesday. Kamal Abu ‘Eita and Kamal ‘Abbas receive the AFL-CIO George Meany-Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award on behalf of the Egyptian independent workers movement. Thursday, August 5. Medicare trustees issue a new report saying that because of cost controls in President Obama’s health care reform legislation, Medicare will stay solvent without any adjustments until 2029, 12 years longer than previously projected. Friday, August 6. For the first time in history, the United States files a complaint against a trading partner, accusing Guatemala of failing to ensure workers of the freedom of assembly, the right to form and join unions and collectively bargain, and safe working conditions. Steelworkers’ union president Leo Gerard kisses Barack Obama on the forehead. Saturday, August 7. Nationals pitcher Levan Hernandez, who fled Cuba in 1995 at age 20, retires the first 10 batters he faces and goes seven innings, only to see the Dodgers win 3-2 in the tenth; Cuban president and big-time baseball fan Fidel Castro surfaces publicly for the first time in months; sales of Subway Cuban Pulled Pork Sandwiches skyrocket in the U.S. Sunday, August 8. Charles M. Blow, art director of National Geographic and former graphics editor of the New York Times decides he’s qualified to pen a NYT political op-ed proclaiming world music artist Wyclef Jean isn’t qualified to be president of Haiti. Thus assured of election, Clef does not raise the question, “Why do brothers who reach the top of the ladder turn and pee on the head of brothers still trying to climb the ladder?” Also on Sunday. We celebrate the 36th anniversary of Richard M. Nixon’s resignation as the second most pathetic president of the United States in history; George W. Bush does not issue a statement. Monday, August 8. Jet Blue flight attendant Steven Slater lands a blow for workers everywhere by upbraiding an asinine passenger, delivering a purple intercom address to the rest of his charges, swiping a beer from a serving cart without paying for it, triggering an evacuation chute, and sliding into infamy. /Disclosure: I am a proud Honorary Member of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) for helping them with their successful strike against American Airlines some years ago./ Tuesday, August 9. Nancy Pelosi’s approval rating with her House colleagues goes in the toilet as she calls them away from their campaign trails and back into session to pass a $26 billion bill providing state aid to keep teachers, firefighters, nurses and police officers on the job. Her approval rating with voters goes up when they discover she’s forcing corporations who are sending jobs overseas to pick up the tab. This post originally appeared on Ray Abernathy's blog, From the Left Bank of the Potomac.

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Ray Abernathy has been a political, labor and public relations consultant for more than 40 years, working exclusively for labor unions and nonprofits. His blog, From the Left Bank of the Potomac, is at www​.rayaber​nathy​.com. He is co-author of The Inside Game: Winning With Worksite Strategies and author of A Practical Press Guide for Local Labor Unions.
Democratic Rep. Summer Lee, who at the time was a candidate for the state House, at a demonstration in Pittsburgh for Antwon Rose, who was killed by police, in 2018. Lee recently defeated her 2024 primary challenger.
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