Sarah Palin: John McCain’s Right-Wing Covergirl

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The selection of the “easy, breezy, beautiful” Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is the boldest act of political jujitsu seen in decades. I told y’all that Barack Obama should have chosen a woman to close the opening that this selection runs right through. Machiavelli would be proud.

You’ve heard the Republican talking points about John McCain’s right-wing covergirl. She’s a hockey mom, political reformer, and female trailblazer that has served as a city councilwoman, Mayor, State Oil and Gas Commissioner and Governor. This post is about what you may not know or haven’t considered.

While the Democratic establishment is widely panning the selection of an untested and unknown Governor Palin, I think that most are missing the bigger picture. They have panned this choice as a nakedly illogical pander to white women, which is certainly true, but politics is not about what’s logical, it is about what people really feel and will never say. The most diehard Hillarycrats and PUMA activists have already pledged their support to John McSame, a rigidly pro-life conservative opposed to women’s reproductive rights, feminism and the concept of equal pay for equal work. Hillarycrats have panned Barack Obama as an empty suit and unqualified usurper who screwed Hillary Clinton out of her divine right to become the Democratic nominee.

As Tim Wise has written, the various excuses thrown out by Hillarycrats, like gender solidarity, blaming Barack for Hillary’s sexist manhandling by the media and Obama’s qualifications, conveniently masks Hillarycrats undercover racial resistance to the idea of electing a black president. He writes:

How is it that you have managed to hold your nose all these years, just like a lot of us on the left, and vote for Democrats who we knew were horribly inadequate–Kerry, Gore, Clinton, Dukakis, right on down the uninspiring line–and yet, apparently can’t bring yourself to vote for Barack Obama? A man who, for all of his shortcomings (and there are several, as with all candidates put up by either of the two major corporate parties) is surely more progressive than any of those just mentioned.

And how are we to understand that refusal–this sudden line in the proverbial sand–other than as a racist slap at a black man? You will vote for white men year after year after year–and are threatening to vote for another one just to make a point–but can’t bring yourself to vote for a black man, whose political views come much closer to your own, in all likelihood, than do the views of any of the white men you’ve supported before. How, other than as an act of racism, or perhaps as evidence of political insanity, is one to interpret such a thing

Karl Rove underscores the purpose of this pick for the uninitiated:

“It(s)… a clear sign from the McCain campaign that they were going to be making a very strong bid for the women whom they see up for grabs — both the traditional, swing independent suburbanites and then the Hillary Clinton supporters who remain disillusioned.”

McSame’s power move echoes the third law of power in Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power.

Law 3

Conceal your Intentions

Keep people off-balance and in the dark by never revealing the purpose behind your actions. If they have no clue what you are up to, they cannot prepare a defense. Guide them far enough down the wrong path, envelope them in enough smoke, and by the time they realize your intentions, it will be too late.

Governor Palin’s selection represents McCain scraping the bottom of a very shallow conservative barrel.

The Nation’s Christopher Hayes sights an Associated Press blurb from 1999:

Pat Buchanan brought his conservative message of a smaller government and an America First foreign policy to Fairbanks and Wasilla on Friday as he continued a campaign swing through Alaska. Buchanan’s strong message championing states rights resonated with the roughly 85 people gathered for an Interior Republican luncheon in Fairbanks. … Among those sporting Buchanan buttons were Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin and state Sen. Jerry Ward, R-Anchorage.”

Anybody who supported any of Pat Buchanan’s presidential campaigns is a hard-right troglodyte obsessed with immigration, “states rights,” the ever-increasing numbers of colored folks in America, and the religious right’s scorched earth culture war against abortion, homosexuality and the civil rights of the GLBT community.

Governor Palin opposes abortion rights—period. No exceptions. And the Governor is also a lifetime member of the gun nut NRA. She is a cynical sop to the hard right and to fanatical feminist dead-enders who refuse to listen to the entreaties of Hillary Clinton to vote for Barack Obama.

JOHN MCCAIN IN A DRAG

The conservative woman with the ideal resume to break the glass ceiling in Republican politics was New Mexico’s Heather Wilson. With a resume that reads like a political consultant’s wet dream, Congresswoman Wilson, the first female Air Force academy graduate elected to congress, is a Rhodes Scholar possessing a doctorate in international relations and an extensive background in military intelligence. Wilson served on the President’s National Security Council before her election to five terms in congress.

As a member of congress, Mrs. Wilson serves on the House Select Committee on Intelligence. The congresswoman has a couple of problems though. First, she is a nominally pro-choice Republican who supports stem cell research that is anathema to the pro-life lobby. Second, she sat on the House Page Board and claimed to know nothing about Congressman Mark Foley’s sick trolling for male pages. Additionally, she covered up incriminating case files detailing an investigation of her husband for playing grab ass with a teenage boy.

That was clearly not going to work. However, there were certainly others to whom McSame could turn.

THE OTHERS

Every senior Republican woman on Capitol Hill is more qualified than Sarah Palin—every woman. Maine Senator Olympia Snowe—the senior woman Republican on Capitol Hill, has served in congress for 30 years, longer than John McCain. She sits on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison has been in the Senate for 15 years having first served as a state legislator and state Treasurer. Miss Kay is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and serves on both the Defense and Military Construction subcommittees.

Maine Senator Susan Collins, Joe Lieberman’s Republican concubine, has been on the Hill for 20+ years. Collins served as chief of staff for her Senate predecessor and was subsequently elected to office in her own right. A senator for 12 years, she is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and chaired the Senate Committee on Homeland Security in the last congress.

Every single one of these woman is nominally pro-choice and neither would have solved McSame’s problems with the reactionary base of the Republican Party. In no way is this a choice based on the merits—it’s hardball politics calculated to woo white voters, especially women, wary of electing a black man to the highest office in the land.

Don’t sleep on John McCain’s right-wing covergirl. Palin defeated the incumbent Governor of her own party and the state’s last Democratic Governor to assume power in the incestuous cesspool that is Alaska politics. Her personality and forthright demeanor are her greatest asset and are the single biggest reason for her 80% approval rating. She can appeal to disaffected Hillarycrats without doing much of anything. PUMA’s Darragh Murhpy described her selection as, “Bold and Brave” on tonight’s Hardball.

In my estimation, this selection confirms the Machiavellian genuflection to Rush Limbaugh’s Operation Chaos and is an ominous symbol that the GOP is still wedded to the exploitation of race as wedge issue. So much for Obama’s attempts to be post-racial.

DNC day three: Obama Nominated By Acclamation

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I am just so overwhelmed and I can’t write anything coherent. It has finally happened at long last and all I can do is take it all in.  

Bill Clinton has finished his address, what say you?

Obama Assassination Plot uncovered

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Hat Tip: By John Ensslin, Judy Villa, April Washington, Rocky Mountain News

— Federal authorities are downplaying a possible assassination plot against presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.

“We’re aware of the matter discussed tonight by the Aurora Police Department,” said Colorado U.S. Attorney Troy Eid in a statement late Monday night. “Federal law enforcement is working hand-in-glove with the Aurora Police Department. Because this matter is currently under investigation, there is little we can say right now.

“We can say this: We’re absolutely confident there is no credible threat to the candidate, the Democratic National Convention, or the people of Colorado.”

At least three people had been arrested in connection with a possible plot to kill Obama at his Thursday night acceptance speech at Invesco Field at Mile High, according to CBS4 News. The suspects are being held on either drug or weapons charges.

Aurora police arrested a suspected drunken driver at 1:30 a.m. Sunday during a routine traffic stop. The man was seen “weaving,” sources said.

Aurora police seized from the suspect’s rental pickup a bullet-proof vest, two rifles, one of which was stolen and one with a hunting scope, ammunition, drugs and walkie-talkies.

Detective Marcus Dudley, a police spokesman, would not comment on reports that the men were involved in a plot to kill Obama. He told reporters gathered in a parking lot behind the police station that he could not discuss the “federal implications” of the case or whether others beside the three men had been arrested. However, he did confirm that federal authorities were involved in arresting two of the men.

“Clearly, we feel there are federal implications. Beyond that I can’t elaborate,” he said.

He said the U.S. Attorney for Colorado will hold a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

Earlier Monday, CBS4 had reported one of the suspects told authorities that they were “going to shoot Obama from a high vantage point using a … rifle … sighted at 750 yards.”

Law-enforcement sources told CBS4 that one of the suspects “was directly asked if they had come to Denver to kill Obama. He responded in the affirmative.”

A second source told CBS4 News that they are concerned they may have come upon a possible “assasination plot.”

Dudley identified the three suspects as:

* Tharin Robert Gartrell, 28, who was carrying a Colorado identification card that listed a Centennial address. Gartrell was erratically driving a rented 2008 blue Dodge Ram truck that was not registered in his name. The guns, ammo, drugs and other equipment were found in the truck.

* Nathan Johnson, 32. About three hours after Gartrell’s arrest, police from Aurora, Denver and Greenwood Village, and federal agents arrested Johnson at a hotel near Interstate 25 and Belleview Avenue. He is being held on drug charges in Denver. His bond amount was not available.

* Shawn Robert Adolf, 33. Police and federal agents arrested Adolf at the Cherry Creek Hotel at 600 South Colorado Boulevard in Glendale around 5 a.m. Sunday after he jumped from a sixth-floor window. Adolf was injured when he fell four stories onto the second-floor roof of the hotel kitchen. He then jumped again onto the ground around the hotel, where police caught him a short time later. Johnson was hospitalized with unspecified injuries from his fall. He is being held on 7 outstanding warrants with bonds totaling $1 million.

The Secret Service, ATF, FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office are investigating.

Democratic National Convention Opens

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Today marks the first day of the deceptive quadrennial infomercial that formally introduces and markets a presidential candidate to disillusioned Americans as a must-have product and miracle elixir for all of our public policy ills.  The man good Democrats are hoping and praying becomes the 44th President of the United States is by all accounts an enigma and a man difficult to define despite the clarity of the prose in his bestselling and revealing autobiographical narrative. 

Wrestling with the meaning of Obama’s story and reconciling it with his path to power is what I’ve spent the better part of two-years doing unsuccessfully.  It will be fascinating to watch it come together as Michelle Obama and Ted Kennedy mount the podium in the Pepsi Center tonight.

Democrats are excited to hear from the extended Obama clan and the speechifying will culminate in an address by Michelle Obama.  Her task tonight is twofold. First, she must reassure White America that her husband is a common man just like them and that he is uncommonly prepared to lead the free world. Second, she must debunk all of the right-wing messaging that seeks to paint the couple as angry, dangerous, subversive and un-American.  

If sistah Michelle does her job tonight, she will humanize Obama enough for people to confront the racism behind some Hillarycrats irrational resistance. Presentation is key.   I look forward to seeing a stylish, svelte, and coiffured sistah present her husband and children to the world with aplomb.   Her peroration extolling the virtues of family, Mom and apple pie is sure to be a convention classic. 

Unfortunately, what Democrats are really selling is the same old wine of assimilationist neo-liberalism in the new bottle of Barack Obama.  I’ve been attempting to read the fine print of the new black politics and it’s a morally bankrupt creed that seeks cross-over appeal and social acceptance in exchange for a place at the ruling class table of capitalist patriarchy. 

On the eve of the 45th anniversary of Dr. King’s I have a Dream speech, this is not a progressive triumph—its an elaborate charade.  Dr. King wrote:

The majority of Negro political leaders do not ascend to prominence on the shoulders of mass support. Although genuinely popular leaders are now emerging, most are selected by white leadership, elevated to position, supplied with resources, and inevitably subjected to white control. The mass of Negroes nurtures a healthy suspicion toward these manufactured leaders.”

With $9,262,732 million raised from the securities and investment industry and over $21,746,468 raised from the most powerful lawyers and law firms in the country alone, we ain’t gonna get much change we can believe in without organizing some kind of progressive social movement that forces change out of a recalcitrant Washington power structure.

Lastly, God willing, we will be treated to the valedictory address from an ailing icon, Ted Kennedy.   Senator Kennedy, the Lion of the Senate, has been fighting the good fight for the entirety of his 46 years on Capitol Hill.  His battle is over but ours is just beginning.  In the words of my favorite scripture in Jeremiah “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.”   Jeremiah Wright is spot on.  Obama may become our president, but we will still need to fight for progressive change.

Senator Edward M. Kennedy addresses the convention:

 

Michelle Obama Bio Video:

Mrs. Michelle Obama addresses the convention

 

Obama-Biden:Unconditional surrender to the Washington Establishment

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Late in the midnight hour, the Washington press corps informed the world definitively that Barack Obama had reached deep into the senior ranks of the Senate’s comb-over caucus of corporate has-beens to recycle Delaware’s ponderous windbag, Senator Joe Biden, as his running mate. Obama’s selection signaled his unconditional surrender to the tribal Washington power structure and the corporate media voiced its approval through endless rounds of substance free adoration and praise.

Receiving the campaign’s tired little text message this morning was anti-climatic given the aggressive reporting the night before. This Skeptical Brotha is unimpressed. I am assuming that you’ve chewed it over some. What say you?

It Must Be A Woman

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I’ve grown weary of hearing from the irrational dead enders in Hillary Clinton’s cult of personality. I’m tired of their racist demands that either Obama fold his candidacy and yield to her superior experience or accede to their arrogant demands that she join his ticket. I am deeply offended by their unwillingness to accept Hillary’s defeat and their oft repeated intention to cast a vote for John McCain instead. Moreover, it chaps my hide for the faux feminists in Hillary’s suicide cult that claim to be insulted by Obama’s consideration of another woman.

 

 

Moreover, nobody can tell me that a woman Governor who wins four statewide elections in a red state and still manages to govern progressively and with compassion and common-sense shouldn’t be considered to become the first female Vice President of this country.

 

 

 

Kathleen Sebelius is the total package and she happens to be a woman. I share the goal of the White House Project and the feminist community. I supported Carol Moseley Braun when the bulk of the faux feminists pretended that she was neither qualified nor viable. She was both and would have been able to prove that with their support. I didn’t support Hillary Clinton for reasons I’ve already stated in full and won’t rehash them here. But I am sincere in the belief that Obama’s running mate must be a woman. The time has come for a woman to be next in line to become President of the United States and Barack Obama would do well to text-message the name of Kathleen Sebelius to an anxiously awaiting public today.

After two decades in public life, she has just as much to offer as Hillary Clinton, if not more. During her time as Governor of Kansas she has twice reached across the aisle to chose a Republican as a running mate and has governed from the center and been productive while dealing with a Republican legislature. She protected a woman’s right to chose by vetoing draconian legislation, protected the environment by blocking smog producing coal plants, balanced Kansas budgets without raising taxes, protected funding for K-12 education, and as Insurance Commissioner for 8 years, protected consumers by preventing the state’s Blue Cross non-profit from being bought up by a managed care conglomerate that would have jacked up premiums.

It’s hard for me to understand why women who helped Hillary break the glass ceiling in American politics wouldn’t at least want another woman to be considered if their favorite daughter didn’t make the cut. Otherwise, what was the damn point of their efforts? Hiliary’s feaux feminists were the same people who excused Bill Clinton’s serial philandering and humiliation of their feminist icon and now they have the temerity to attempt to crucify Barack Obama, a man who has never publicly humiliated his wife by straying, on the cross of sexism. Please tell me that you see the racist double-standard in that.

I’m with Robert Schlesinger on this one. It is insulting to all the women in public life to suggest that all they bring to a ticket is gender and particularly insulting to the woman who made the final four, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius. Moreover, to answer Schlesinger’s rhetorical question of whether the women’s movement should be subsumed to one woman’s movement? I think the answer is clear. It cannot be and should not be.

Stephanie Tubbs Jones 1949-2008

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The reaction to the death of Ohio Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones has been swift.

 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi:

“On behalf of all Members of Congress, I express my deepest condolences on the sudden death of our friend and colleague, Chairwoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, to all who loved her, particularly her son, Mervyn Leroy Jones, II, and her sister, Barbara Walker. 

 

Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones was a tremendously vibrant presence in the halls of Congress.  She believed in all the best things about our nation, and was a tireless force for justice, equality, and opportunity.  As a leader in election reform, she fought on behalf of voting rights to ensure that every American voter can vote.  She loved her hometown of Cleveland, and she believed that serving her constituents was the best job in the world. 

 

…Stephanie Tubbs Jones was always full of enthusiasm for the work of the Congress and for life in general.  In our sadness at her sudden passing, we remember that she seized every opportunity and enjoyed every moment that she was given.  I hope it is a comfort to Chairwoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones’s family and friends that so many people mourn their loss and are praying for them at this sad time.”

 

President and Senator Clinton:

 

“There are few words to express the shock we feel at this time. Our deepest condolences are with Stephanie’s son, Mervyn, her family, and her many loved ones, friends, and supporters.

 

Stephanie’s friendship meant the world to us, a friendship that deepened through every trial and challenge. We could always count on her to be a shoulder on which to lean, an ear to bend, a voice to reassure. Over the course of many years, with many ups and many downs, Stephanie was right by our side—unwavering, indefatigable.

 

It was that fighting spirit—safely stowed behind her disarming smile, backed by so much integrity and fiery intelligence—that allowed Stephanie to rise from modest beginnings, to succeed in public service, to become a one-woman force for progress in our country.

 

All of us who were lucky to know her and love her can only hope now to live like her—to be as passionate, loyal, hard charging, and joyful in life’s pursuits.  Stephanie was one of a kind. We will miss our friend always.”

 

Senator and Mrs. Obama:

 

“Michelle and I are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones. Stephanie was an extraordinary American and an outstanding public servant. It wasn’t enough for her just to break barriers in her own life. She was also determined to bring opportunity to all those who had been overlooked and left behind – and in Stephanie, they had a fearless friend and unyielding advocate. It was an honor to serve with Stephanie in Congress, and I know her legacy will live on in all those who walk the trails she blazed and walk through the doors she opened. Our hearts and prayers are with all those who knew and loved her.”

 

 

Iconic, intelligent, and irreplaceable, Ohio Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones is being remembered today for her zest for life, law and politics.  A trailblazer in law and politics, she was the first African American woman to sit on both Cleveland’s Municipal Court and Cuyahoga County’s Court of Common Pleas.  After losing a 1990 race for the Ohio Supreme Court, she entered the race to become Cuyahoga County Prosecutor and served until her election to Congress to replace a legendary member of the Congressional Black Caucus, Louis Stokes. 

 

As a member of congress, she became the first African American woman to sit on the House Ways and Means Committee and chair the House Ethics Committee.   A fighter of legendary prowess, she challenged the counting of Ohio’s electoral votes in the aftermath of deliberate subterfuge perpetrated by Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, a black wingnut who subsequently ran for Governor and lost, and his Republican minions who deliberately understaffed polling places with machines and personnel in Democratic areas to create long lines that frustrated voters and compromised their right to vote.

 

With the congresswoman’s passing, she leaves a void to be filled.   According to MyFox Cleveland:

 

With just four months remaining in Tubbs Jones’ current term of office, Governor Ted Strickland is required to issue a writ of election setting the dates for both a special primary and a special general election. The winner of these contests would be elected to serve until the current session of Congress ends in January.”  

 

“… The Cuyahoga County Democratic Party Central Committee must also decide who will replace Tubbs Jones as the party’s nominee on the November general election ballot.  Party chairman Jimmy Dimora has until October 27 to hold a meeting to select a replacement.”

 

Cuyahoga County Commission President Peter Lawson Jones, Cleveland City Councilwomen Nina Turner and Sabra Pierce Scott and State Representative Michael DeBose are some of the obvious names that should be looking into a race to succeed the late Congresswoman.

Obama chooses his number two

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Hat Tip: Beth Fouhy and Nedra Pickler, Associated Press

Barack Obama said Thursday he’s chosen his running mate, but coyly kept all the details to himself as he campaigned with one leading contender and planned a major rally to present the Democratic ticket Saturday in Illinois.

Obama refused to say whether he’d notified his pick or when exactly he would send cell phones buzzing with the answer delivered via text message.

He didn’t reveal his choice to Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, considered to be on Obama’s short list, even after they met Thursday, according to two people close to the governor. They spoke on a condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

Obama seemed to relish the frustrations of scores of reporters following him this week in anticipation of the announcement.

“Wouldn’t you like to know?” he said with a grin when an Associated Press reporter asked when the text would be sent.

“I’ve made the selection, that’s all you’re gonna get,” Obama said as he visited a store selling roasted Virginia peanuts as nonchalantly as any other day campaigning in a battleground state.

Obama planned to appear with his pick Saturday at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Ill., where he launched his presidential campaign in February 2007. Obama then planned to travel to the battlegrounds of Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri and Montana before arriving in Denver to accept his party’s nomination Thursday.

One person who had been vetted for the position told The Associated Press there had been no contact from Obama or his campaign about the decision. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Obama campaign asked candidates not to speak about the decision.

The Illinois senator was widely thought to be considering Kaine, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas and Sens. Joe Biden of Delaware and Evan Bayh of Indiana. None of them gave anything away — at least not in words.

Obama spent part of the day with Kaine, who reportedly told a colleague Wednesday that he believed he was on the short list. West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin said Kaine told him although he hadn’t heard anything from the Obama campaign on where he stands at the time, “he really thinks he has a chance at the short straw.”

Kaine and Obama met privately with the governor’s staff for 15 minutes at a Richmond hotel. Afterward, Kaine said he would let the Obama campaign speak about whether the candidate asked him to be his No. 2. But two people close to Kaine said the governor was still in the dark.

Kaine plans to fly Friday night directly from Virginia to Denver, site of next week’s Democratic National Convention, three people with knowledge of the governor’s travel plans said. The plans could be changed if Kaine is told he needs to fly to Springfield instead.

Biden had a family gathering at his home Thursday afternoon, with his wife Jill, niece Missy Owens and son Beau, Delaware’s attorney general, coming and going past reporters staked outside.

Biden is a favorite for the vice presidential nomination among Democrats who think Obama could use his experience and tough campaign style. Biden has served 35 years in Congress, while Obama has served three.

Sebelius, campaigning for Obama in Iowa, said being mentioned as a potential running mate is something of “an out-of-body experience.”

“Whoever it is, I am an enthusiastic supporter,” she said but added she would leave the announcement to the campaign.

Bayh worked in his Capitol Hill office and later spent time at his home in Washington. He left wearing shorts and a baseball cap but told reporters outside he had no news to share. “Not tonight, sorry,” he said.

Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, a national security expert who has been mentioned as a possible candidate, was at his home in Jamestown on Thursday. He told an AP reporter that he was not Obama’s choice and that he had not been asked for any background information.

New polls out this week show Obama is neck-and-neck with GOP rival John McCain and still has yet to win over some supporters of Democratic primary rival Hillary Rodham Clinton. The polls sparked fresh discussion of whether Obama would make a surprise selection of Clinton as his running mate.

Clinton had other plans for the weekend. She was scheduled to visit the New York State Fair Friday and speak in Fresno, Calif., Sunday at the United Farm Workers of America’s 18th Constitutional Convention.

Stephanie Tubbs Jones stricken by aneurysm; Dies

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Hat Tip: Cleveland Plain Dealer

U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, the first African-American woman to represent Ohio in Congress, is in critical condition after suffering a burst aneurysm last night, officials said this afternoon.

Officials updated her condition this afternoon after conflicting reports that the congresswoman was dead. Numerous media outlets – including The Plain Dealer on its Web site cleveland.com, CNN and the Associated Press – reported that Tubbs Jones had died.

Tubbs Jones, 58, served as a Cuyahoga County judge and prosecutor before succeeding U.S. Rep. Louis Stokes. She has served five terms in Congress and is expected to easily win her sixth in November.

She was driving in Cleveland Heights Tuesday about 9 p.m. when a police officer pulled her over for driving erratically. The officer found Tubbs Jones unconscious but breathing. She was rushed to Huron Hospital.

The mood of supporters around noon was somber. Cleveland Councilman Roosevelt Coats was seen sobbing outside the hospital. He said Tubbs Jones was unconscious and her friends and relatives were preparing for the worst.

Tubbs Jones has long been one of the region’s most recognizable politicians. Often clad in red — the color of her sorority Delta Sigma Theta — she is a regular at parades, senior centers and schools. Her annual Labor Day picnic at Luke Easter Park is a must-stop for any serious Democratic candidate running in the city, county or state.

She has been outspoken in her support of black candidates. She backed Raymond Pierce in his unsuccessful bid for mayor in 2001. Four years later, Tubbs Jones played a key role in helping Frank Jackson defeat Jane Campbell. She also stumped for countless black judicial candidates.

Tubbs Jones drew attention this year for her staunch support of U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton’s bid for the Democratic nomination for president. Tubbs Jones drew some criticism for her support of Clinton and not U.S. Sen. Barack Obama.

Her husband, Mervyn Sr., died unexpectedly in 2003.

UPDATE:  Stephanie Tubbs Jones has passed. 

U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones’ family and officials at Huron Hospital have announced that the five-term congresswoman has died.

She was 58.

This is the statement:

Tubbs Jones Family, Huron Hospital and Cleveland ClinicAugust 20, 2008 – 6:40 p.m.

“Throughout the course of the day and into this evening, Congresswoman Tubbs Jones’ medical condition declined. Medical doctors and neurosurgeons from Huron Hospital and Cleveland Clinic sadly report that at 6:12 p.m. Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones died.

She dedicated her life in public service to helping others and will continue to do so through organ donations.

Please keep her family and friends in your thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time.”

Isaac Hayes’ Homegoing service

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Hat Tip:  By Jody Callahan, Memphis Commercial Appeal

A collection of musicians, politicians, celebrities and activists said goodbye to Isaac Hayes in a three-hour tribute at Hope Presbyterian Church today.

Hayes died Aug. 10 after suffering a stroke. He would have turned 66 Wednesday.

Stax veteran William Bell, serving as host, introduced Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, who began the stream of speeches and anecdotes.

Next came noted saxophonist Kirk Whalum, performing Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven,” accompanied by a guitarist.

Although most of those speaking references Hayes’ musical and humanitarian efforts, several made pointed references to Hayes’ beliefs as a Scientologist. Many of the celebrities at Hope were Scientologists.

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Memphis) made the first reference to Scientology, adding that Tom Cruise, also a member of that organization, was in Memphis at a private memorial Sunday to pay his respects.

Memphis filmmaker Craig Brewer spoke about Hayes’ movie career, referencing “Escape from New York” and “Truck Turner,” and talked about the impact Hayes had on Memphis music.

“I have a 7-year-old and a 6-month-old daughter, and rest assured, they’ll be raised on ‘Hot Buttered Soul’,” Brewer said.

A montage of clips from Hayes’ movie and television career ended with a poignant clip featuring Hayes and Bernie Mac in a promotion for Mac’s Fox sitcom. Mac died at age 50 one day before Hayes. They star together, along with Samuel L. Jackson, in the upcoming movie, “Soul Men.”

Actress Anne Archer (“Fatal Attraction,” “Patriot Games”) read a quote from Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. She’s a member of the group.

The back of the program handed to visitors as they entered has a quote from Hubbard: “A culture is only as great as it’s dreams, and it’s dreams are dreamed by artists.”

Another Scientologist, actress Kelly Preston (co-star of “Jerry Maguire” and wife of John Travolta), reminisced about Hayes and a Scientology-backed educational program he helped introduce into some schools.

Stax veteran Al Bell remembered his contribution to the title of Hayes’ landmark record. In Jamaica, a bottle of “hot buttered rum” caught his eye and he knew the term was perfect for Hayes’ sound. “I’m going to moss him terribly. I already do,” Bell said.

Jazz musician Chick Corea (piano) and noted film composer Mark Isham (trumpet) played a piece they dedicated to Hayes. Then Hayes’ daughter, Veronica, told the crowd, “We will persevere and keep my father’s legacy going.”

David Porter, Hayes’ songwriting partner for more than 40 years, recognized all the Stax veterans in the audience, as well as the star of the movie “Shaft,” Richard Roundtree. He also pointed out Public Enemy founder Chuck D and renowned bassist Bootsy Collins.

Bernie Mac’s Homegoing Service

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Hat Tip: By Kelly Carter and Mary Owen, Chicago Tribune

Thousands of fans of late comedian Bernie Mac streamed into a South Side memorial service Saturday to hear Hollywood and political celebrities remember a Chicagoan who made people laugh on both TV and the big screen.

Mac’s fellow “Original Kings of Comedy” brought the house down as they broke down in tears, unable to contain their grief. In the same sentence, Cedric the Entertainer, Steve Harvey and D.L. Hughley would flip a joke, causing the crowd to scream in laughter.

“This dude is a very popular guy,” Cedric said of Mac. “You know y’all were like `let me get four tickets to the funeral!’ He’s still the hottest ticket in town.”

Hughley recalled Mac’s well-known taste in clothes. “Bernie would wear colors that crayon hadn’t even invented,” he said.

Rev. Jesse Jackson told the audience “Bernie Mac is a serious funnyman” who loved his family and cared about the tomorrow’s youth. Jackson recalled that Mac recently told students at Crane High School that they should “live above their circumstances” and not “self-destruct.”

“Between birth and death is a dash,” Jackson said. “But between that dash between birth and death, he made a statement.”

Mac, a 50-year-old funnyman, died a week ago from complications due to pneumonia after being hospitalized at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Mac suffered from sarcoidosis, a rare autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in tissue, most often in the lungs.

Oprah Winfrey, Sen. Barack Obama. Rep. Maxine Waters and the O’Jays sent their condolences.

“Michelle and I were so deeply sad to hear about your loss. … He … (made) us laugh and laugh hard,” read Obama’s statement.

Obama went on to write that Mac could say things others couldn’t. “Bernie Mac will be sorely missed,” he wrote.

Actor Samuel L. Jackson is scheduled to speak in the second hour of the service, organizers said. Jackson is set to star with Mac and singer Isaac Hayes, who also died last weekend, in the December movie “Soul Man.”

Mayor Richard Daley recalled Mac coming to City Hall a few weeks ago to take photos with employees. Mac wanted to talk about the 2016 Olympics, but more importantly, recent gun violence against the city’s youth, Daley said.

“He represented Chicago in a way (that) he knew the street, he knew the people and that’s why he’s the king of comedy,” Daley said. “He wanted to do something personally to get children away from the life of violence … he had a heart and passion … That’s why as the king of comedy, he never lost his soul in Chicago.”

Actor Andy Garcia, who starred with Mac in “Ocean’s 11,” sent along remarks, saying “I’ll see you upstairs.” Don Cheadle, another actor from that film, was in attendance.

Comic and actor Chris Rock also took the stage.

As part of the acknowledgments, they aired a tribute to both Mac and Hayes, playing snippets of some of Mac’s famous comedy routines — the profanity was bleeped out — over some of Hayes’ more famous compositions.

Inside the church, rows of burgundy-colored soft cushion chairs were set up in front of the stage. On either side of the stage, two large projector screens flashed photos of Bernie Mac’s life. The photos showed film stills from Mac’s career, red carpet photos from events like the Golden Globes and private moments with friends and family members.

Large floral arrangements adorned the pulpit, and boxes of tissues were placed sporadically throughout the worship hall while piped-in gospel music boomed from speakers. “When I Call on Jesus” was one of the songs played. Some fans who were seated in the permanent pews — the front rows were reserved for friends and family — wore silk-screened t-shirts printed with Mac’s face.

The crowd inside cheered and clapped when new celebrities arrived. People took photos and hugged celebrities that they were able to call over.

Some people slept outside overnight to guarantee a place inside the 10,000-seat House of Hope at 752 E. 114th St. Doors opened at 10:30 a.m. for a memorial that began about a half-hour after its scheduled noon start.

People caravaned to the event and others arrived in chartered or school buses. Traffic backed up on the Dan Ryan at the 115th Street exit.

Out in the nearly-full parking lot, vendors sold t-shirts that read “In memory of Bernie Mac” for $10.

“This shows support … from the whole Chicago area and how much he will be missed,” said Pamela Gordon of Chicago, one of hundreds of people who lined up hours before the memorial started.

“He was a good man, a beautiful husband and he was real,” she added. “And he was handsome, honey.”

Vera Gordon said she came to pay tribute to the comedian who made her mother, who suffers from dementia, laugh.

“She watched the `Bernie Mac Show’ every night,” Vera Gordon said of her mother, Margaret Berston, 79. “She would just sit there and laugh. You could see the sadness when I told her. I came here to represent my mother.”

She said Mac had a gift for highlighting and shining humor on life’s most simple interactions and challenges. “He was very special,” she said. “It’s like God sent him here on a mission. He left something here that will never be forgotten.”

Joseph Gilmore, 35, of Chicago, said Mac was like family.

“Him dying was like losing an uncle or brother,” said Gilmore, who remembers seeing Mac perform stand-up at the Chicago Theatre 15 years ago. “He made himself very personal with the people he was entertaining.”

Bernie Mac’s late-breaking but rising career included a self-titled TV series that ran for several years and movie roles in “Ocean’s Eleven,” “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” and “Transformers.”

D.L. Hughley’s remarks at the funeral:

Cedric the Entertainer’s remarks at the funeral:

Evidence mounts against Kilpatrick in Murder

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Hat Tip: Ben Schmitt and Jim Schaeffer, Detroit Free Press

A Detroit Fire Department EMS supervisor said he talked with a swollen-faced Tamara Greene the night she was supposedly assaulted by the wife of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, according to a court filing today.

Lt. Michael Kearns signed an affidavit with Birmingham attorney Norman Yatooma in which he says he interviewed Greene, a stripper, at a gas station on Jefferson and Conner in the fall of 2002.

“The woman was very upset and had swelling over her left eye,” Kearns said, adding she and a friend “were dancing at a party at the Manoogian Mansion and that the Mayor’s wife, Carlita Kilpatrick, threw a fit, hit her and the other dancer, then kicked them out of the house.”

Yatooma filed the disclosures today in U.S. District Court in connection with a lawsuit that accuses the city of thwarting an investigation into Greene’s April 30, 2003, killing.

In his affidavit, Kearns said Greene was also talking with Detroit Police officers and an EMS unit arrived and subsequently transported her to a hospital. The affidavit does not name any of the EMS workers or police officers.

Kearns said the incident occurred on a Friday or Saturday night, but he did not remember the date.

He said he never came forward: “out of fear for my career and my safety.”

Kearns said in his affidavit that he told his story to Lt. John Morrell in the Detroit Police Department homicide section in June of this year. Morrell asked Kearns to submit to an interview with another homicide detective, Mike Carlisle, Kearns said. He said he ran into Carlisle on a police run about two weeks ago, but still has not been interviewed.

Carlisle said today when contacted by the Free Press that Kearns didn’t have enough specific information.

“At the time I spoke with him, he was unable to provide enough information for me to actually conduct any type of interview,” Carlisle said. “I advised him that if he could give me some solid information on dates and times when this occurred that we would set up a time and date to talk. To this day, I have not heard back from him.”

A second EMS supervisor, retired Lt. Walter Godzwon, gave an affidavit saying he saw Mayor Kilpatrick at Detroit Receiving Hospital with his bodyguards one night in the fall of 2002. He did not give a specific date.

He said he learned through conversations that the mayor’s bodyguards brought an injured woman to the hospital.

Reached today, Godzwon told the Free Press he is a city resident and has a pension and “I’m in the middle of this and I’m not a willing participant. This is a stage of my life I would like to forget about.”

Godzwon said he also saw former Detroit emergency medical technician Douglas Bayer at the scene.

Bayer recently filed a whistle-blower’s lawsuit against the city, alleging he was retaliated against for providing the Michigan State Police with information about the rumored party at the Manoogian Mansion.

“I made these statements because they’re the truth,” Godzwon said. “Someone put me at the scene and asked me specific questions. I don’t lie.”

Issac Hayes 1942-2008

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I am just really undone. First, Bernie Mac and now Issac Hayes.

Legendary soul music performer Isaac Hayes died this afternoon after he was found unconscious in his Shelby County home. He was 65.

A family member found the entertainer next to a running treadmill at about 1 p.m. Sunday, said Steve Shular, spokesman for the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.

Hayes, born Aug. 20, 1942, was rushed to Baptist Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 2:10 p.m.

Hayes’ wife, their 2-year-old son and another family member had gone to the grocery store around noon, Shular said. When they returned, they found Hayes unresponsive.

Rescue workers responded to a 911 call, and they performed CPR at Hayes’ home at 9280 Riveredge in the eastern part of Shelby County, near Forest Hill Irene and Walnut Grove.

The Sheriff’s Office is conducting a routine investigation, said Shular, but “nothing leads us to believe this is foul play.”

Family members told authorities Hayes had been under the care of a physician for “medical conditions,” but no other information was available on what those conditions were.

A musical prodigy from childhood – Hayes began singing in church at age 5, and by his teen years had mastered several instruments. Hayes hustled on the local club scene in the early ’60s, leading a series of combos before gravitating to the fledgling Stax Records label in South Memphis as a session player.

There, along with his writing partner David Porter, Hayes would go on to compose some of the seminal songs in the soul music canon, penning hits for Carla Thomas (“B-A-B-Y”), Johnnie Taylor (“I Had A Dream”) and most notably, the duo Sam & Dave (“Soul Man”; “Hold On I’m Comin”).

An outsized character even among the colorful crew at Stax, Hayes was noted for his then novel shaved head and outlandish dress sense, elements that would become cornerstones of his distinctive persona later on.

As his songwriting and production achievements continued to grow, Hayes made a rather inauspicious debut as a solo artist for Stax, with 1967’s jazz-flavored Presenting Isaac Hayes. But it was his follow-up LP in 1969, Hot Buttered Soul, that would take him from behind-the-scenes player to front-and-center star. An adventurous and experimental LP, Hot Buttered Soul shattered traditional R&B conventions. Comprised of four lengthy songs — moody, languid and epic reinterpretations of pop hits like “Walk On By” and “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” — the tracks were transformed by Hayes’ complex arrangements and the sheer power of his rumbling baritone. Surprisingly, the album became both a critical and commercial success and catapulted Hayes into a fulltime performing career.

While Hot Buttered Soul would represent his commercial breakthrough — a streak he would keep alive with two more chart-topping efforts, 1970’s …To Be Continued and The Isaac Hayes Movement — it was his work on the soundtrack to Gordon Parks’ pioneering 1971 “blaxploitation” film “Shaft” that would forever cement Hayes’ place in history. The film’s title track – an irresistible mingling of wah-wah guitar, orchestral flourishes and Hayes’ proto-rapping – became a pop sensation topping the Billboard charts. The tune would go on to earn Hayes an Academy Award for “Best Original Song.”

By the early ‘70s Hayes had become both cottage industry and the lynchpin of Stax’s shift toward a kind of new black consciousness. He would continue to evolve his music with albums like the Grammy-winning “Black Moses” and another soundtrack for the film “Truck Turner” (in which he also starred in the title role) and was the headliner for the massive 1972 Wattstax concert in Los Angeles.

Despite his numerous successes, the rapid demise of Stax and personal management woes forced Hayes to declare bankruptcy in 1976. Hayes took an extended five-year break from music in the early-’80s — his career as an actor blossomed. He appeared on a number of television shows (“The Rockford Files,” “Miami Vice”) and films (“Escape From New York,” “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka”) and became familiar to a whole new generation with his role as Chef in the popular animated series “South Park.”

As an artist and stylistic innovator Hayes exerted a major influence throughout the decades, his work anticipating and contributing heavily to the evolution of disco, rap, house music and modern R&B. That legacy was honored when Hayes was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

Bernie Mac 1957-2008

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Hat Tip: Frazier Moore, Associated Press

Bernie Mac blended style, authority and a touch of self-aware bluster to make audiences laugh as well as connect with him. For Mac, who died Saturday at age 50, it was a winning mix, delivering him from a poor childhood to stardom as a standup comedian, in films including the casino heist caper “Ocean’s Eleven” and his acclaimed sitcom “The Bernie Mac Show.”

Though his comedy drew on tough experiences as a black man, he had mainstream appeal — befitting inspiration he found in a wide range of humorists: Harpo Marx as well as Moms Mabley; squeaky-clean Red Skelton, but also the raw Redd Foxx.

Mac died Saturday morning from complications due to pneumonia in a Chicago area hospital, his publicist, Danica Smith, said in a statement from Los Angeles. She said no other details were available.

“The world just got a little less funny,” said “Oceans” co-star George Clooney.

Don Cheadle, another member of the “Oceans” gang, concurred: “This is a very sad day for many of us who knew and loved Bernie. He brought so much joy to so many. He will be missed, but heaven just got funnier.”

“This is a very sad day for many of us who knew and loved Bernie,” said Don Cheadle, a member of the “Oceans” gang. “He brought so much joy to so many. He will be missed but heaven just got funnier.”

Mac suffered from sarcoidosis, an inflammatory lung disease that produces tiny lumps of cells in the body’s organs, but had said the condition went into remission in 2005. He recently was hospitalized and treated for pneumonia, which his publicist said was not related to the disease.

Recently, Mac’s brand of comedy caught him flack when he was heckled during a surprise appearance at a July fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate and fellow Chicagoan Barack Obama.

Toward the end of a 10-minute standup routine, Mac joked about menopause, sexual infidelity and promiscuity, and used occasional crude language. Obama took the stage about 15 minutes later, implored Mac to “clean up your act next time,” then let him off the hook, adding: “By the way, I’m just messing with you, man.”

Even so, Obama’s campaign later issued a rebuke, saying the senator “doesn’t condone these statements and believes what was said was inappropriate.”

But despite controversy or difficulties, in his words, Mac was always a performer.

“Wherever I am, I have to play,” he said in 2002. “I have to put on a good show.”

Mac worked his way to Hollywood success from an impoverished upbringing on Chicago’s South Side. He began doing standup as a child, telling jokes for spare change on subways, and his film career started with a small role as a club doorman in the Damon Wayans comedy “Mo’ Money” in 1992. In 1996, he appeared in the Spike Lee drama “Get on the Bus.”

He was one of “The Original Kings of Comedy” in the 2000 documentary of that title that brought a new generation of black standup comedy stars to a wider audience.

“The majority of his core fan base will remember that when they paid their money to see Bernie Mac … he gave them their money’s worth,” Steve Harvey, one of his co-stars in “Original Kings,” told CNN on Saturday.

Mac went on to star in the hugely popular “Ocean’s Eleven” franchise with Brad Pitt and George Clooney, playing a gaming-table dealer who was in on the heist. Carl Reiner, who also appeared in the “Ocean’s” films, said Saturday he was “in utter shock” because he thought Mac’s health was improving.

“He was just so alive,” Reiner said. “I can’t believe he’s gone.”

Mac and Ashton Kutcher topped the box office in 2005’s “Guess Who,” a comedy remake of the classic Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn drama “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” Mac played the dad who’s shocked that his daughter is marrying a white man.

Mac also had starring roles in “Bad Santa,” “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” and “Transformers.”

But his career and comic identity were forged in television.

In the late 1990s, he had a recurring role in “Moesha,” the UPN network comedy starring pop star Brandy. The critical and popular acclaim came after he landed his own Fox television series “The Bernie Mac Show,” about a child-averse couple who suddenly are saddled with three children.

Mac mined laughs from the universal frustrations of parenting, often breaking the “fourth wall” to address the camera throughout the series that aired from 2001 to 2006. “C’mon, America,” implored Mac, in character as the put-upon dad. “When I say I wanna kill those kids, YOU know what I mean.”

The series won a Peabody Award in 2002, and Mac was nominated for a Golden Globe and an Emmy. In real life, he was “the king of his household” — very much like his character on that series, his daughter, Je’niece Childress, told The Associated Press on Saturday.

“But television handcuffs you, man,” he said in a 2001 Associated Press interview before the show had premiered. “Now everyone telling me what I CAN’T do, what I CAN say, what I SHOULD do, and asking, `Are blacks gonna be mad at you? Are whites gonna accept you?'”

He also was nominated for a Grammy award for best comedy album in 2001 along with his “The Original Kings of Comedy” co-stars Harvey, D.L. Hughley and Cedric The Entertainer.

Chicago music producer Carolyn Albritton said she was Bernie Mac’s first manager, having met him in 1991 at Chicago’s Cotton Club where she hosted an open-mike night. He was an immediate hit, Albritton said Saturday, and he asked her to help guide his career.

“From very early on I thought he was destined for success,” Albritton said. “He never lost track of where he came from, and he’d often use real life experiences, his family, his friends, in his routine. After he made it, he stayed a very humble man. His family was the most important thing in the world to him.”

In 2007, Mac told David Letterman on CBS’ “Late Show” that he planned to retire soon.

“I’m going to still do my producing, my films, but I want to enjoy my life a little bit,” Mac told Letterman. “I missed a lot of things, you know. I was a street performer for two years. I went into clubs in 1977.”

Mac was born Bernard Jeffrey McCullough on Oct. 5, 1957, in Chicago. He grew up on the city’s South Side, living with his mother and grandparents. His grandfather was the deacon of a Baptist church.

In his 2004 memoir, “Maybe You Never Cry Again,” Mac wrote about having a poor childhood — eating bologna for dinner — and a strict, no-nonsense upbringing.

“I came from a place where there wasn’t a lot of joy,” Mac told the AP in 2001. “I decided to try to make other people laugh when there wasn’t a lot of things to laugh about.”

Mac’s mother died of cancer when he was 16. In his book, Mac said she was a support for him and told him he would surprise everyone when he grew up.

“Woman believed in me,” he wrote. “She believed in me long before I believed.”

Mac’s death Saturday coincided with the annual Bud Billiken Parade in Chicago, a major event in the predominantly black South Side that the comedian had previously attended.