Obama speech at Hampton University

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Here is a small clip and a small transcript.

It is an honor to be here at Hampton University. It is a privilege to stand with so many ministers from across this country and we thank God and all His blessings for this wonderful day.

A few weeks ago, I attended a service at First A.M.E. Church in Los Angeles to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the LA Riots. After a jury acquitted 4 police officers of beating Rodney King-a beating that was filmed and flashed around the world- Los Angeles erupted. I remember the sense of despair and powerlessness in watching one of America’s greatest cities engulfed in flames.

But in the middle of that desperate time, there was a miracle: a baby born with a bullet in its arm. We need to hear about these miracles in these desperate times because they are the blessings that can unite us when some in the world try to drive a wedge between our common humanity and deep,
abiding faith. And this story, too, starts with a baby.

We learned about this child from a doctor named Andy Moosa. He was working the afternoon shift on April 30 at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood as the second day of violence was exploding in the streets.

He told us about a pregnant woman who had been wearing a white dress. She was in Compton and on her way to the supermarket. Where the bullet came from nobody knew. Her sister-in-law noticed a red spot in the middle of her white dress and said that I think you’ve been shot. The bullet had gone in, but it had not exited. The doctor described the ultrasound and how he realized that the bullet was in the baby. The doctor said, “We could tell it was lodged in one of the upper limbs. We needed to get this baby out so we were in the delivery room.”

And here’s the thing: the baby looked great. Except for the swelling in the right elbow in the fleshy part, it hadn’t even fractured a bone. The bullet had lodged in the soft tissue in the muscle. By God’s grace, the baby was fine. It was breathing and crying and kicking. They removed the bullet, stitched up the baby’s arm, and everything was fine. The doctor went on to say that there’s always going to be a scar to remind that child how quickly she came into the world in very unusual circumstances.

I’ve been thinking and praying about that story. I’ve been thinking that there’s always going to be a scar there, that doesn’t go away. You take the bullet out. You stitch up the wound and 15 years later, there’s still going to be a scar.

Many of the folks in this room know just where they were when the riot in Los Angeles started and tragedy struck the corner of Florence and Normandy. And most of the ministers here know that those riots didn’t erupt over night; there had been a “quiet riot” building up in Los Angeles and across this country for years.

If you had gone to any street corner in Chicago or Baton Rouge or Hampton — you would have found the same young men and women without hope, without miracles, and without a sense of destiny other than life on the edge — the edge of the law, the edge of the economy, the edge of family structures and communities.

Those “quiet riots” that take place every day are born from the same place as the fires and the destruction and the police decked out in riot gear and the deaths. They happen when a sense of disconnect settles in and hope dissipates. Despair takes hold and young people all across this country look at the way the world is and believe that things are never going to get any better. You tell yourself, my school will always be second rate. You tell yourself, there will never be a good job waiting for me to excel at. You tell yourself, I will never be able to afford a place that I can be proud of and call my home. That despair quietly simmers and makes it impossible to build strong communities and neighborhoods. And then one afternoon a jury says, “Not guilty” — or a hurricane hits New Orleans — and that despair is revealed for the world to see.

Much of what we saw on our television screens 15 years ago was Los Angeles expressing a lingering, ongoing, pervasive legacy-a tragic legacy out of the tragic history this country has never fully come to terms with. This is not to excuse the violence of bashing in a man’s head or destroying someone’s store and their life’s work. That kind of violence is inexcusable and self-defeating. It does, however, describe the reality of many communities around this country.

And it made me think about our cities and communities all around this country, how not only do we still have scars from that riot and the “quiet riots” that happen every day-but how in too many places we haven’t even taken the bullet out.

Look at what happened in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast when Katrina hit. People ask me whether I thought race was the reason the response was so slow. I said, “No. This Administration was colorblind in its incompetence.” But everyone here knows the disaster and the poverty happened long before that hurricane hit. All the hurricane did was make bare what we ignore each and every day which is that there are whole sets of communities that are impoverished, that don’t have meaningful opportunity, that don’t have hope and they are forgotten. This disaster was a powerful metaphor for what’s gone on for generations.

Of course, the federal response after Katrina was similar to the response after the riots in Los Angeles. People in Washington wake up and are surprised that there’s poverty in our midst, and that others were frustrated and angry. Then there are panels and there are hearings. There are commissions. There are reports. Aid dollars are approved but they can’t seem to get to the people. And then nothing really changes except the news coverage quiets down.

This isn’t to diminish the extraordinary generosity of the American people at the time. Our churches and denominations were particularly generous during this time, sending millions of dollars, thousands of volunteers and countless prayers down to the Gulf Coast.

But despite this extraordinary generosity, here we are 19 months later – or 15 years later in the case of LA — and the homes haven’t been built, the businesses haven’t returned, and those same communities are still drowning and smoldering under the same hopelessness as before the tragedy hit.

And so God is asking us today to remember that miracle of that baby. And He is asking us to take that bullet out once more.

Share your thoughts with me on this. 

The Whore takes sides in Maryland

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HAT TIP: by Rosalind Helderman at the Maryland Moment Blog, WaPo.com

About 1,000 people showed up for a kick-off fundraiser for U.S. Rep. Albert Wynn (D) at Prince George’s Camelot banquet hall in Upper Marlboro. Wynn survived a tough challenge from local activist Donna Edwards in last September’s Democratic primary.

Because of the quirks of the presidential primary calendar, Wynn’s campaign for reelection is already very active. That’s because when Maryland voted to hold its Presidential primary earlier than ever, it also meant other primary races, including for Congress, got pushed up. The Wynn-Edwards rematch for the Democratic nomination from Maryland’s 4th district will now take place on Feb. 12, just a bit more than a year after Wynn took office.

That might be why Wynn’s aides wanted for a big turnout at this morning’s event, at which they were hoping to raise $250,000. (One attendee said he received on the order 10 calls urging his appearance.) Their work must have paid off–much of the county’s state legislative delegation was in attendance, as were several members of the County Council, Comptroller Peter Franchot, Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and County Executive Jack B. Johnson.

“Make no mistake about it–it’s on!” Wynn told the room. “Let’s go get ‘em!”

There was a bit of buzz at the event, however, about Wynn’s selection of a keynote speaker for the event–former representative and candidate for Senate Harold E. Ford, who is now head of the Democratic Leadership Council. Edwards’ campaign has been built on attacking Wynn from the left, especially because he voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq in 2003. Ford, meanwhile, is widely seen as a fairly conservative Democrat.

“He’s not representative of the district–I don’t think he represents the Democratic party,” said Del. Victor R. Ramirez (D-Prince George’s). “I don’t see how it helps [Wynn].”

“I was a little disappointed in Mr. Ford’s comments on Iraq,” said Del. Doyle L. Niemann (D-Prince George’s). “I thought they were not necessarily representative of where Al Wynn stands.”
The comments Niemann was referring to took place during the breakfast event’s speechifying. Wynn told the crowd, “We’ve got to bring our troops home from Iraq.” He noted, however, that doesn’t mean abandoning the war torn country. Instead, he said the United States needs to let regional players like Egypt and Jordan work out a peace plan.

Ford, meanwhile, offered scathing criticism of how President Bush has managed the war, but specifically noted “I don’t think we can leave Iraq right away.” Ford went on to say, “As much as didn’t do it right, we have to get it right because there are people over there who want to do us harm.”

In an interview, Wynn called Ford “a tremendous young talent in our party.” Wynn said he believed Ford made it clear he wants the United States out of Iraq, but “he also made it very clear that we need to think beyond cliches. My race is not going to be a bunch of cliches…We’re going to talk about issues, substance and policy. We’re going to try to bring some depth to how we deal with the 21st century.”

Edwards will hold her campaign kick-off at Watkins Park on June 30.

Tacking to the left and voting correctly as of late was meant to defang his Primary opponent,  Donna Edwards.  Wynn has undone all of his recent efforts by cavorting with Skeptical Brotha’s least favorite corporate Whore, Harold Ford, Jr.  I guess stupid is as stupid does.  

Colin Powell finds his voice on Guantanamo

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HAT TIP : Reuters/WaPo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Sunday the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay for foreign terrorism suspects should be immediately closed and its inmates moved to the United States.

Powell, who in a 2003 speech to the U.N. Security Council made the case for war against Iraq for possessing weapons of mass destruction that were never found, said the controversial prison in Cuba had become a “major problem” for the United States’ image abroad and done more harm than good.

“Guantanamo has become a major, major problem … in the way the world perceives America and if it were up to me I would close Guantanamo not tomorrow but this afternoon … and I would not let any of those people go. I would simply move them to the United States and put them into our federal legal system,” Powell told NBC’s Meet the Press.

“Essentially, we have shaken the belief the world had in America’s justice system by keeping a place like Guantanamo open and creating things like the military commission. We don’t need it and it is causing us far more damage than any good we get for it,” he added.

The United States is holding about 380 foreign terrorism suspects at Guantanamo.

Rights groups and foreign governments have called for the prison to be closed, saying holding prisoners there for years without trial violated legal standards. But Washington says the prison is legal and necessary to hold dangerous individuals.

“I would get rid of Guantanamo and the military commission system and use established procedures in federal law,” Powell said, saying some leaders around the world were using Guantanamo to hide their own misdeeds.

“It’s a more equitable way, and more understandable in constitutional terms,” he added.