Art offers his perspective as a movement progressive activist.

The TV series, Roseanne, is seeing a surge in popularity again because the show talked alot about blue collar America. Here is a classic clip making the YouTube hits list. When a state house candidate shows up at her door to talk about tax breaks:

Must see TV. Trumka on Countdown about his plan for labor. Key word “accountability” for our pols:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1HPQljSvE0

Richard Trumka in Huffington Post on AFL-CIO’s new strategy: focus on the local level and build a progressive infrastructure. Trumka has some harsh words:

“I think the President made a strategic mistake when he abandoned talking about the jobs crisis and job creation and focused completely on the politically manufactured debt crisis,” he said when asked for a review of the administration’s economic record. “You have one very obvious way to make a dent in the deficit crisis, which is to get people back to work.”

But you don’t have anyone actually talking about jobs,” Trumka said. “And when you bring it up to people at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, their almost universal response is we have a Congress that won’t do it. So what do you do? You do what leaders do, you lead.”

On strategy:

“What we are now focused on is doing a couple of things differently,” Trumka said. “In the past, we would build our structure six to eight months before the election,” he added. “Now we’re not going to do that. We’re going to focus our resources on building a structure that has total fidelity towards America’s working people, both union and non-union working people. We’ll do it 12 months a year, so they’ll be able to transition from electoral politics, to advocacy, to accountability with no effort. And it will continue to build greater strength for workers after the election and in between elections.”

I told you folks like Reps. Waters and Conyers will make headlines until they are heard. It appears the WH is starting to hear them and is considering executive reallocation of funds to help the black community. Why? This scene in Miami at the CBC jobs fair has got the Obama Whitehouse’s attention:

At the Miami church Monday, Waters and other lawmakers expressed frustration about what they said was a reluctance by the first black president and his aides to speak directly about the pain African Americans are feeling.

When Graves said that “certain communities have been hit harder than other communities,” Waters cut him off.

“Let me hear you say “˜black,’ “ she said sternly. As the crowd cheered, Graves responded quietly: “Black, African American, Latino, these communities have been hard hit.”

Bishop Victor Curry, head of the Miami-Dade NAACP, drew thunderous applause when he described black economic struggles in the age of Obama as the “300-pound elephant in the room.”

“We don’t want to come across as being critical of the president,” Curry said. “But if the president can count on 90 percent of the African American vote, then the African American community should expect something from the man who’s getting 90 percent of their support.”

And what else has the WH worried? The GOP and dirty tricks:

..Republicans have begun pointing to the economic strain on blacks, maybe hoping to dampen voter excitement about Obama next year. Campaign staff members for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, for instance, attended the Congressional Black Caucus’s jobs fair Tuesday in Miami, seeking to interview people who are unemployed. And former House speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.), appearing Wednesday with Fox News host Sean Hannity, lamented the “level of personal pain, family pain” associated with black unemployment and noted that “virtually every African American church in this country has members who are now unemployed.”

For years the black vote was taken for granted by Obama. Now unemployment and a newfound outspoken set of black voices in the community may force the post-racial Obama to do more for Black America.

Kudos to the Obama administration for at least highlighting to the press and the public how outrageous it has been for the GOP to block so many judicial nominations. 97 out 155 of Obama’s nominees have been confirmed. That is only 62 percent. Obama has nominated more women and minorities than any other president in American history. More of this please from the Whitehouse.

Town hall mayhem continues! This time Rep. Gibson (R-Ny) gets taken on by a small businessman on why he won’t vote to raise any taxes. And Norquist’s pledge as well:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=s0w-eY-B6ew#at=100

How serious is Elizabeth Warren’s senate campaign for progressives? Huge:

If the Harvard Law School professor who became the chief advocate for real banking reform and the development of a federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau runs and defeats U.S. Scott Brown, R-Massachusetts [2], she will instantly become an essential spokesperson for progressive values in national economic, regulatory and fiscal policy debates.

Put Warren next to stalwarts like Oregon Democrat Jeff Merkley, Minnesota Democrat Al Franken, Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin, California Democrat Barbara Boxer, a reelected Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders, a reelected Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown, as well as progressive newcomers like Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin, and Hawaiian Democrat Mazie Hirono, both expected candidates open Senate seats, and you’ve got the makings of what Paul Wellstone [3] always wanted: a Senate Progressive Caucus. [4]

Warren’s:

… ability to grab the spotlight and use it to push the discourse to the left on economic issues that the media so frequently neglects makes the prospect of her candidacy and Senate service potentially transformative for movements and a party that will — no matter what the 2012 presidential election result — begin pondering sometime next year the challenge of identifying leaders of the post-Obama era.

Progressives know Warren’s value. That is why National Nurses United, a powerful player these days, has already backed Warren.

A new book is out on the American Left and why it has not been as powerful as in the Left in Europe. Michael Kazan’s work has some interesting thoughts namely that in the 1930s America was primed for the New Deal because of the Gilded Age and the progressive movement. And in Europe the Left has wild success due to how powerful class lines are there and thus how parties are aligned.

Kazan sees the American Left as most effective on the civil rights front for minorities and women. If the Left here wants to impact economic policy more it must build institutions like the Right did to train, educate and organize generations. This is what labor now is trying to do.

In the good news front progressives are successfully working in states to have the public vote on laws passed by the Tea Party. The hope is to get these laws abolished. We know this November Ohio voters will vote on killing Governor Kaisch’s SB5 which nixed collective bargaining. In Idaho voters likely will have the chance to nix Governor Otter’s restrictions on union rights. In Maine the voters may well get the chance to reverse a newly passed bill which ends 38 years of same day voter registration. More here.