Elizabeth Edwards passes

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Hat Tip: Reuters

(Reuters) – Elizabeth Edwards, a best-selling author and a driving force behind her husband John Edwards’ political career before it was destroyed by his infidelity, died on Tuesday at age 61.

“Today we have lost the comfort of Elizabeth’s presence but she remains the heart of this family. We love her and will never know anyone more inspiring or full of life,” the statement said.

Edwards was first diagnosed with breast cancer and treated in 2004. In 2007, the cancer returned and spread.

She wrote two best-selling books, “Resilience” and “Saving Graces,” about her battle with cancer and the scandal surrounding her husband, a wealthy trial lawyer who served as a U.S. senator from North Carolina and twice ran for president.

President Barack Obama in a statement called her “a tenacious advocate for fixing our health care system and fighting poverty,” and said the county “has benefited from the voice she gave to the cause of building a society that lifts up all those left behind.”

John Edwards’ personal and political fortunes changed after the National Enquirer, a tabloid newspaper, began reporting on his affair with a campaign aide named Rielle Hunter as he sought the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. Elizabeth Edwards and her husband announced in January 2010 that they had separated after 32 years of marriage.

On December 6, 2010, she said in a Facebook posting: “I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces, my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope.”

National Enquirer: John Edwards to be indicted

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Hat Tip: National Enquirer

The ultimate fall from grace,  a Federal grand jury is about to indict John Edwards, The ENQUIRER has learned exclusively.

In another shocker, close sources say Edwards’ estranged wife Elizabeth could help send the former presidential candidate to jail!

Edwards, the disgraced two-time Presidential loser, is being investigated by the feds, including the FBI and IRS, for possible campaign violations related to paying his mistress Rielle Hunter.

John Edwards: Selfish, Egotistical, Narcissistic

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I guess y’all heard. I found out in the middle of a damn staff meeting that John Edwards supposedly stopped lying today when he finally admitted to an affair with actor/director Rielle Hunter. In so doing, he confirmed the persistent blog chatter and consistent drumbeat of salacious revelations generated by the National Inquirer.

According to ABC News:

“Two years ago I made a very serious mistake,” Edwards said, blaming the prominence of being a vice presidential candidate. “All of which fed a self-focus, an egotism, a narcissism that leads you to believe that you can do whatever you want,” he said.”

“Edwards also denied he was the father of Hunter’s baby girl, Frances Quinn, although the one-time Democratic Presidential candidate said he has not taken a paternity test. He said he would be happy to take one.”

“…Since becoming pregnant, Hunter has lived under assumed names in a series of expensive homes in North Carolina and, more recently, in Santa Barbara, Calif. …Edwards denied paying any money to Hunter to keep her from going public but said it was possible some of his friends or supporters may have made payments without telling him.”

“…Late today, Edwards’ former national finance chairman said he had provided assistance to Hunter and others without the knowledge of Edwards.”

Wow.

His two-year old mistake looks suspiciously like an ongoing affair, an effort to preserve a political future, or both when one recognizes:

a.) He’s sneaking out to the Left Coast without telling Elizabeth he’s seeing Rielle.

b.) She’s living under assumed names both here and Cali.

c.) the “help” she’s been receiving from Edwards intimates.

What the hell kinda help does she really need? If you paid me $114,000 to produce a documentary in 2006, I’d still be living on it. Despite the denial of paternity, maybe the child really is his and he is as deluded about the paternity of baby as he was about winning the presidency.

What I know for sure is that he impressed the whole family into service for his selfish, egotistical, and narcissistic fantasy of becoming President. They did this even though they new that he strayed. What an A hole. After attending the first Hardball College tour during his first run in 2004, I left there mumbling, “He ain’t ready.” I later changed that view; I guess I should always go with what my gut tells me. What’s your opinion?

Too Little, Too Late

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Hat Tip: By CHARLES BABINGTON, Associated Press

Democrat John Edwards is endorsing former rival Barack Obama, fresh signs of the party establishment embracing the likely nominee even as Hillary Rodham Clinton refuses to give up her increasingly long-shot candidacy.

Edwards was to appear with Obama in Grand Rapids, Mich., as Obama campaigns in a critical general election battleground state, the Obama campaign said Wednesday.

The endorsement comes the day after Clinton defeated Obama by more than 2-to-1 in West Virginia. The loss highlighted Obama’s work to win over the “Hillary Democrats” — white, working-class voters who also supported Edwards in large numbers before he exited the race.

Clinton campaign Chairman Terry McAuliffe said in a written statement, “We respect John Edwards, but as the voters of West Virginia showed last night, this thing is far from over.”

Edwards, a former North Carolina senator and the 2004 vice presidential nominee, dropped out of the race in late January.

Both Obama and Clinton immediately asked Edwards for his endorsement, but he stayed mum for more than four months, even as the campaign focused on his home state in recent weeks.

Edwards considered making an endorsement in the weeks after leaving the campaign. People who talked to Edwards privately at the time said he was concerned about Obama’s readiness for the presidency and his electability. Clinton worked harder to woo both Edwards and his wife and impressed them both, those Edwards confidants said, but Edwards would have had a hard time endorsing her after criticizing her so much during the primary.

A person close to Edwards, speaking on condition of anonymity because the individual wasn’t authorized to talk to the media, said the former lawmaker wanted to get involved now to begin unifying the party. Obama also signed on to Edwards’ anti-poverty initiative, which he launched Tuesday with the goal of reducing poverty in the United States by half within 10 years.

When he made his decision, Edwards didn’t even tell many of his former top advisers because he wanted to make sure that he personally talked to Clinton to give her the news, said the person close to him. Edwards’ wife, Elizabeth, who has said she thinks Clinton has the superior health care plan, did not travel with him to Michigan and is not part of the endorsement.

John Edwards, the real champion of working class voters, doesn’t want to be associated with the blatant racism of West Virginia Democrats and for whatever its worth, and it ain’t worth much anymore, he’d rather be associated with Obama. Friends of mine have breathlessly told me of Edwards desire to get back in the game and win the second spot on the ticket. I told them that its too little, too late. He should have done it back in February before Super Tuesday. It means nothing now because the fight is all but over. He will not be considered by Obama because he did nothing to merit consideration.

Breaking News: Edwards Drops Out

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Hat Tip: Nedra Pickler, Associated Press, photo by alexdecarvalho of fickr.

DENVER – Democrat John Edwards is exiting the presidential race Wednesday, ending a scrappy underdog bid in which he steered his rivals toward progressive ideals while grappling with family hardship that roused voters’ sympathies, The Associated Press has learned.

The two-time White House candidate notified a close circle of senior advisers that he planned to make the announcement at a 1 p.m. EST event in New Orleans that had been billed as a speech on poverty, according to two aides. The decision came after Edwards lost the four states to hold nominating contests so far to rivals who stole the spotlight from the beginning — Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.

The former North Carolina senator will not immediately endorse either candidate in what is now a two-person race for the Democratic nomination, said one adviser, who spoke on condition of anonymity in advance of the announcement. Both candidates would welcome Edwards’ backing and the support of the 56 delegates he had collected.

Edwards waged a spirited top-tier campaign against the two better-funded rivals, even as he dealt with the stunning blow of his wife’s recurring cancer diagnosis. In a dramatic news conference last March, the couple announced that the breast cancer that she thought she had beaten had returned, but they would continue the campaign.

Their decision sparked a debate about family duty and public service. But Elizabeth Edwards remained a forceful advocate for her husband, and she was often surrounded at campaign events by well-wishers and emotional survivors cheering her on.

Edwards planned to announce his campaign was ending with his wife and three children at his side. Then he planned to work with Habitat for Humanity at the volunteer-fueled rebuilding project Musicians’ Village, the adviser said.

With that, Edwards’ campaign will end the way it began 13 months ago — with the candidate pitching in to rebuild lives in a city still ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. Edwards embraced New Orleans as a glaring symbol of what he described as a Washington that didn’t hear the cries of the downtrodden.

John and Elizabeth Edwards are tenacious advocates for whomever they fight for and they brought a touch of class and compassion to this race. I wish them and their family well.

Kerry endorses Obama, Richardson leaves race

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Starting fresh after his New Hampshire debacle, Barack Obama unveiled the high profile endorsement of Senator John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic Presidential nominee.    Strategically, the endorsement is meant to undercut the criticicism leveled by Hillary Clinton that Obama is unprepared for the Oval Office.  

Senator Kerry followed his prepared script and delivered the following line with conviction, “Who better than Barack Obama to bring new credibility to America’s role in the world and help restore our moral authority.”  Kerry’s validation and assistance will surely pay dividends in both campaign cash and headlines in tomorrow’s newspapers.  The most important benefit, however, will probably be the credibility it gives Obama in the black community.   What could be more powerful than an endorsement from the man most of us voted for four years ago.

Today also marked the end of the road for New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson’s presidential ambitions.   Savvy, experienced and gregarious, Bill Richardson attempted to make real the West Wing TV drama’s depiction of a Latino presidential contender.   Running a racially inclusive and mainstream campaign, Richardson fell short of his mark.  The upside of the Governor’s groundbreaking candidacy is that it will allow a latino youngster to one day reach again for that dream.

Hillary’s Campaign on life support

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Chaos has descended over the Clinton camp and talk of unconditional surrender is surfacing from loose lipped generals further damaging Hillary’s declining prospects to claim America’s Imperial Throne. I’m a big jazz fan and this scenario reminds me of one of my favorite Nancy Wilson tunes: Face it, Girl. It’s Over.

In an eerie replay of the 1984 Democratic Presidential Nomination battle, Hillary, the tired establishment has been, is Mondale. Obama, the charismatic fresh face with “new ideas,” is Gary Hart. Only this time, Obama’s campaign isn’t a hastily thrown together crusade, rather, its a well-oiled machine with spot on polling and good message discipline.

Nobody wants to hear about the Clinton Administration anymore and are desperate to “turn the page” on the whole sorted era of hubris and sex. After enduring 35 years of shameless philandering, Hillary’s arrogant sense of entitlement has her indulging the delusion that America owes her the Presidency. The electorate is slowly disabusing her of that notion.

As predicted by many, Hillary’s national polling lead has collapsed, “The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Monday shows that Hillary Clinton’s national polling lead has collapsed. Before the Iowa caucuses, Clinton held a seventeen-point lead over Barack Obama. Today, that lead is down to four percentage points in a survey with a four-point margin of sampling error. In the race for the Democratic Presidential Nomination, it’s now Clinton 33%, Barack Obama 29% and John Edwards 20%.”

Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania told Mica Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough that according to his wife, a Bush Republican, the Obama’s were the “Kennedys of our generation,” were “regal” and possessed with a “common touch.”

Whether justified or not, the Obamas have captured the imagination of the nation. I had an extended conversation with one of my best friends yesterday and he expressed some strong reservations surrounding Obama’s readiness to be President. I had the same, I told him, but then I ran down the case against Hillary: Iraq, Rwanda, NAFTA, GATT, WTO, Welfare Reform, etc.

I told him part of leadership is convincing people that you can lead in the direction they want you to go, otherwise they’ll tune you out. If she can’t convince people that she’s about change, she’ll lose. Despite the fact that she’s female, all people see is Bill’s pale, ghostly apparition blathering on, boring people, and that ain’t change.

I am loving every moment of this. Pass the popcorn, somebody.

Iowa Caucus Today

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Speaking to unprecedented crowds all across Iowa, in fact, the largest by far, it is undeniable that Obama is going into this thing with some momentum.   All three major candidates have pulled out the stops and performed with maximum effort.   We are only 3 hours to prime time now and the anticipation is bout to kill me.  I didn’t leave the house until late and could barely sleep.  I have never seen anything like this before, unless you take Obama’s first Senate Campaign and Deval Patrick’s Gubernatorial Campaign into account.     This is really something.     I’ll be back later to update with my thoughts and opinions.

Today’s Political Developments

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Following the surprise announcement of Senator Trent Lott’s resignation, his successor has been revealed. After much speculation, most of it ludicrous, such as the appointment of an African American, Mississippi Republican Governor Haley Barbour named Congressman Roger Wicker, a north Mississippi Republican, to Trent Lott’s vacant seat in the U.S. Senate. The White Citizens Council is presumably pleased.

Although the presence of racial discrimination and an undying fealty to the principles of the confederacy and white supremacy remain unabated, Congressman Wicker, in the face of unrefutable evidence that it is still needed, voted to gut the re-extension of the Voting Rights Act of 2006 by voting for a series of GOP amendments designed to make the act unconstitutional and unenforceable.

This follows the time honored tradition of southern white politicians of both parties paying lip service to the cause of voting rights and frustrating its implementation at every opportunity. The African American citizens of Kilmichael, Mississippi, in 2oo1, were treated to disgusting display of segregationist shit when city elections were postponed on the eve of the election, in violation of state and federal law, because it appeared to white city fathers that African American candidates were going to win.

There is no bigoted southern stereotype that Mississippi has not earned. According to the Leadership Council for Civil Rights, “The entire state of Mississippi is required to submit all voting changes to the Department of Justice (DOJ) before enacting them because the state for so long consistently and aggressively denied blacks the right to vote. Since 1969, DOJ has objected 169 times to voting changes in Mississippi–112 of which occurred after the 1982 reauthorization.”

“Many of DOJ’s objections involved efforts to dilute minority voting strength, mostly by creating majority-white districts or changing election procedures to favor white candidates. Because of repeated DOJ objections to these redistricting plans, Mississippi has had at least one black representative in Congress since 1986.”

“McDuff concludes that Mississippi has a long way to go before voters in black-white elections cast their vote based on non-racial factors. For example, in the 2003 State Treasurer election Gary Anderson, the director of the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration, lost the election with 47 percent of the vote to a 29-year-old white candidate with no experience beyond working in a bank. Of the 57 majority-white counties, Anderson won only 18 and lost 39.”

“In addition, federal observers have been sent to monitor Mississippi elections on 250 separate occasions since the 1982 reauthorization, the most for any state. Mississippi accounts for 40 percent of the overall elections to which federal observers have been sent since 1982.”


He supported every questionable judicial nomination put forward by the Bush Administration, for example, Judge Charles Pickering, a long time GOP activist opposed unanimously by the Congressional Black Caucus. According to Roger Wicker, “While I was in college, Charles Pickering was one of the bright new faces in the
Mississippi Republican Party, Wicker said. “He’s been so progressive and so courageous in the area of equal rights for all that it is so unfortunate and so unfair that he’s been accused of being otherwise.”


But Pickering, according to Salon.com, “Instead of “trying to
establish better race relations” in the 1960s, Pickering worked to support segregation, attack civil rights advocates who sought to end Jim Crow, and back those who opposed national civil rights legislation, above all the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. Or, in the words of a public statement he signed in 1967, Pickering wanted to preserve “our southern way of life,” and he bitterly blamed civil rights workers for stirring up “turmoil and racial hatred” in the South.”

 

Back in the day, when Judge Pickering was a politician, state senator and a lawyer in private practice, he teamed up to practice law with a segregationist, former Lt. Governor Carroll Gartin. As I am sure y’all are aware, I have a low tolerance for bullshit and an even lower tolerance for bastards like Pickering and their enbablers that don’t have the courage to tell the world that they still support white supremacy. Having come from Mississippi stock, I am always a bit touchy about their blatant racism.

Also, the New York Times is reporting that New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg is fixing to cock block Barack Obama or John Edwards should they be successful in knocking the Queen off her throne. This is a significant development. Bloomberg, a billionaire, is prepared to spend a record shattering billion to claim the imperial throne. He made noise earlier in the year that he would forgo a bid should the Queen and Giuliani make it to the finish line. I guess his high profile meeting with Obama some weeks back ain’t go well despite the favorable publicity it generated. The centrist non-partisan smokescreen his operatives and their willing political hacks are putting forth are not credible in the least. Bloomberg is prepared to make Ross Perot look cheap.

Meanwhile, the Iowa Caucuses are Thursday, nobody has a lead and its all just a sophisticated ground war now. The Washington Post catches us up on the tactics of Obama, and the rest of the pack in these closing days. Brotha has as good a shot as any at this point, contrary to my pessimistic assessments earlier in the year and that is an impressive achievement. Lastly, the fourth quarter ends today and I expect to hear some numbers soon from the candidates although I don’t know if we’ll hear anything before caucus day.

National Enquirer report: John Edwards has a love child

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The National Enquirer is reporting as fact the juicy tidbit that  Presidential candidate John Edwards, aka”the Breck Girl,” has allegedly gotten a campaign staffer knocked up with his love child.  The struggling presidential contender might do well to be perceived as a Clintonesque rogue and alpha male so that folks would get off the dime nationally and support him. Of course, straight-laced Iowans might feel differently about him if faced with the nauseating prospect of more Oval Office hanky panky.   If Clinton fatigue means anything, it means folks are tired of the Clinton style soap opera, Bush style B.S., and just want some damn competence. If Mrs. Edwards comments publicly and alludes to not being a Tammy Wynette stand by your man patsy and to a vast right-wing conspiracy, then we’ll know what’s up. 

Weekend Developments

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U.S. REPRESENTATIVE JULIA CARSON 1938-2007

As I am sure you’ve heard, Indiana Congresswoman Julia Carson, 69,  passed over the weekend after a short bout with lung cancer.  The Congressional Black Caucus lost another trail blazer and progressive stalwart.   Mrs. Carson’s career in public service was long and distinguished by her grace, wit, determination, and compassion.   Holding public office for 35 years, she is the first African American woman to be elected to both Houses of the Indiana legislature, local elective office, and the U.S. Congress. 

The second African American woman elected to Congress from Indiana, and the first to be re-elected, Julia Carson stands alone in a class by herself.  In 35 years in elective office, Miss Julia never lost a race.   Her devotion to the down and out was legendary and so was their affection for her.   On Friday, Miss Julia will break down one last barrier when she becomes the first African American woman to lie in state at the Indiana State Capitol.     Well Done, Sistah.  Well Done.

Also this weekend, the endorsements of the major papers in the first caucus and primary states came out.   In a surprise move, the Des Moines Register endorsed the Hillary Clinton, a.k.a the Borg Queen.   It was just what she needed to right her listing ship of inevitability. I was expecting them them to either re-endorse Edwards or to endorse Obama.   Not to be left out, Obama picked  up the endorsement of the Boston Globe, a major coup because New Hampshire has long been considered a bedroom community to Massachusetts.  

 Mitt Romney at CPAC

Finally, Mitt Romney appeared on Meet the Press yesterday to have his chesnuts roasted over an open fire.  He and Tim Russert had this interesting exchange.  

 MR. RUSSERT:  You, you raise the issue of color of skin.  In 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court, Brown vs.  Board of Education, desegregated all our public schools.  In 1964 civil rights laws giving full equality to black Americans. And yet it wasn’t till 1978 that the Mormon church decided to allow blacks to participate fully.  Here was the headlines in the papers in June of ’78. “Mormon Church Dissolves Black Bias.  Citing new revelation from God, the president of the Mormon Church decreed for the first time black males could fully participate in church rites.” You were 31 years old, and your church was excluding blacks from full participation.  Didn’t you think, “What am I doing part of an organization that is viewed by many as a racist organization?”

GOV. ROMNEY:  I’m very proud of my faith, and it’s the faith of my fathers, and I certainly believe that it is a, a faith–well, it’s true and I love my faith.  And I’m not going to distance myself in any way from my faith.  But you can see what I believed and what my family believed by looking at, at our lives.  My dad marched with Martin Luther King.  My mm was a tireless crusader for civil rights. 

You may recall that my dad walked out of the Republican convention in 1964 in San Francisco in part because Barry Goldwater, in his speech, gave my dad the impression that he was someone who was going to be weak on civil rights.  So my dad’s reputation, my mom’s and my own has always been one of reaching out to people and not discriminating based upon race or anything else.  And so those are my fundamental core beliefs, and I was anxious to see a change in, in my church.

I can remember when, when I heard about the change being made.  I was driving home from, I think, it was law school, but I was driving home, going through the Fresh Pond rotary in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  I heard it on the radio, and I pulled over and, and literally wept. 

(Romney becomes teary-eyed) Even at this day it’s emotional, and so it’s very deep and fundamental in my, in my life and my most core beliefs that all people are children of God.  My faith has always told me that.  My faith has also always told me that, in the eyes of God, every individual was, was merited the, the fullest degree of happiness in the hereafter, and I, and I had no question in my mind that African-Americans and, and blacks generally, would have every right and every benefit in the hereafter that anyone else had and that God is no respecter of persons.

MR. RUSSERT:  But it was wrong for your faith to exclude it for as long as it did.

GOV. ROMNEY:  I’ve told you exactly where I stand.  My view is that there–there’s, there’s no discrimination in the eyes of God, and I could not have been more pleased than to see the change that occurred.

I am so “moved” that a grown man wept about his church embracing the twentieth century, 10 years after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr, and deigning to allow black folk to participate fully in the church’s ministerial ranks.  But the unanswered question is what did Mitt Romney and his parents do before then to make this change occur?   The answer is probably nothing.  Because if Mama and Daddy or Mitt had done anything, we’d have heard about it before now and he certainly woulda said so yesterday.  Whatcha’ll think?

Jesse disses Obama in Chicago Sun-Times Op-Ed piece

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Brotha Jesse is pissing outside of the tent again, this time its in the form of an op-ed piece in the Sun-Times. After reading it, give me your take.  Is Jesse’s criticism valid and is his timing right?  He’s endorsed the brotha and is pulling even with Miss Hillary in Iowa.  This piece begs the question of whether Jesse really wants Obama to win.

Hat Tip: By Rev. Jesse Jackson, Chicago Sun-Times  

Can Democrats get the votes they need simply because they’re not Republicans? You might think so in this presidential campaign. African-American and urban votes are critical to any Democratic victory. Bill Clinton won two terms without winning the most white votes. His margin was the overwhelming support of black voters. George Bush learned that lesson; that’s why his campaigns spent so much effort suppressing the black vote in key states like Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004. His victory margin was the tally of votes suppressed or uncounted.

Yet the Democratic candidates — with the exception of John Edwards, who opened his campaign in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward and has made addressing poverty central to his campaign — have virtually ignored the plight of African Americans in this country. The catastrophic crisis that engulfs the African-American community goes without mention. No urban agenda is given priority. When thousands of African Americans marched in protest in Jena, La., not one candidate showed up.

Democratic candidates are talking about health care and raising the minimum wage, but they aren’t talking about the separate and stark realities facing African Americans.

The civil rights movement succeeded in ending segregation and providing blacks with the right to vote. But the end of legal apartheid did not end the era of discrimination. And the ending of institutionalized violence did not end institutionalized racism.

Patterns of discrimination are sharply etched. African Americans have, on average, about half of the good things that whites have, and double the bad things. We have about half the average household income and less than half the household wealth. On the other hand, we’re suffering twice the level of unemployment and twice the level of infant mortality (widely accepted as a measure of general health).

African Americans are brutalized by a system of criminal injustice. Young African Americans are more likely to be stopped, more likely to be searched if stopped, more likely to be arrested if searched, more likely to be charged if arrested, more likely to be sentenced to prison if charged, less likely to get early parole if imprisoned. Every study confirms that the discrimination is systemic and ruinous. And yet no candidate speaks to this central reality.

African Americans are more likely to go to overcrowded and underfunded schools, more likely to go without health care, more likely to drop out, less likely to find employment. Those who do work have less access to banks and are more likely to be ripped off by payday lenders, more likely to be stuck with high-interest auto and business loans, and far more likely to be steered to risky mortgages — even when adjusting for income. And yet, no candidate speaks to this central reality.

The result is visiting a catastrophe on the urban black community. I and many others campaign for young people to stay in school, to graduate and not to make babies until they are prepared to be parents. My son and I write and teach about personal financial responsibility. Personal responsibility is critical. But personal responsibility alone cannot overcome the effects of a discriminatory criminal justice and economic system in generating broken families and broken dreams.

The Rev. Martin Luther King saw the movement to end segregation and gain voting rights as the first stage of the civil rights movement. The second stage — to gain economic justice and equal opportunity in fact — he knew would be more difficult. Now, 40 years later, it is no longer acceptable for candidates to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to entrenched discrimination and still expect to reap our votes.

The Queen stumbles

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Borgqueen

Yes, I watched the debate up until Kucinich was asked about UFO’s.    And, from what I can tell, the Borg Queen stumbled and was almost knocked off her throne by Edwards and Dodd.  The two questions about giving undocumented immigrants drivers licenses and Bill Clinton requesting that the National Archives not release Hillary’s papers between her office and the President, revealed Hillary to be a dissembler.   Obama and Edwards conspired to attack on the neo-con Iran resolution she voted for and Edwards got the better of the exchange.   

Hillary, although she sounded strong for most of the night, ended up looking like a battered woman because she took several punches to the head from Tim Russert on Social Security and the candidates capable of slowing her coronation.   If her numbers show a significant slide as a result of her one night stumble, I’ll be forced to revise my opinion that the race is not yet over.  What do you think?

Hillary claims lead in Iowa

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Hat Tip: Associated Press

NEW HAMPTON, Iowa – Hillary Rodham Clinton has taken the lead among Democratic presidential candidates in an Iowa poll, an encouraging sign of progress toward overcoming a big hurdle in the race.

Although the New York senator is the clear front-runner in national surveys, Iowa has remained an elusive prize. She has been in a tight race with John Edwards and Barack Obama in the state that begins the primary campaign voting in three months.

But her campaign has focused on boosting her appeal in Iowa, including two visits with her husband, former President Clinton, by her side over the summer. The effort appears to have paid off, according to the poll of likely Iowa caucus-goers that was published in Sunday’s Des Moines Register.

Clinton was supported by 29 percent of the 399 respondents to the poll conducted Oct. 1-3, compared with 21 percent in May.

Edwards and Obama are not far behind, ensuring that all three campaigns will continue their intense efforts in Iowa, which leads off voting in the 2008 primary contests.

“I’m doing everything I can to earn the support of Iowans,” Clinton said during a stop in New Hampton. A standing room only crowd at a community center was warmed up by listening to disco hit “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now.”

Edwards, Obama in statistical tie
“I pay absolutely no attention to what any poll says or what any pundit on TV says,” the former first lady said. “I have absolutely interest in that. Nobody has come to a caucus yet. Nobody has cast a vote yet.”

While Clinton visited small towns in eastern Iowa, Edwards was in the midst of a four-day tour of the state that included stops in 17 counties. The new poll showed his support falling from 29 percent, good enough for first place in May, to 23 percent. That is a statistical tie with Obama’s 22 percent.

The poll has a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points.

Edwards told reporters in Davenport that he sees it as a close three-way race, with his two chief rivals rising recently because “they spend millions of dollars on television advertising.”

“But, I think it’s much more important to Iowa caucus-goers to see you in the flesh — see you stand before them, look them in the eye and answer their hard questions,” the former North Carolina senator said.

Clinton got one of those hard questions in New Hampton, and it led to a heated exchange.

Randall Rolph of Nashua challenged her for voting last month to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization. Some Democrats said they feared that such a designation could be interpreted as a congressional authorization of military force in Iran.

‘Past mistakes’
Rolph compared Clinton’s vote on the Iran measure with her vote to authorize war in Iraq. “It appears you haven’t learned from your past mistakes,” he said.

Clinton responded that his interpretation was wrong and suggested that someone put him up to asking the question. The man said he did his own research and was offended that she would accuse him of getting it elsewhere. She apologized but insisted he must be looking at the wrong version of the bill.

Their exchanged grew heated as he insisted the bill would authorize combat. Clinton snapped back, her voice rising, “I’m sorry, sir, it does not.”

“I know what we voted for, and I know what we intended to do with it,” she said. She said it gives the authority to impose penalties.

Many in the crowd applauded her in an effort to cut off the exchange, although afterward at least a couple others in the room came up to thank Rolph. He said he is still undecided about which Democrat he will support, but it will not be Clinton

Laura Richardson coronation today

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The run-off election to replace the late Juanita Millender McDonald will take place this evening and California State Representative Laura Richardson can take her place as the newest member of the Congressional Black Caucus.   There has been little news to report in the last several days and I’ve been trying to put some finishing touches on a few opinion pieces. 

This past Sunday’s debate was interesting in that it didn’t really make any news.  Obama did quite well and Hillary held her own as usual and tried to stay above the fray.   The state of the Iowa race is still in flux but it now appears that from two of the latest polls that Mrs. Clinton has opened up a lead in both Iowa and South Carolina.   Her South Carolina lead is statistically insignificant over Obama.   If Iowa doesn’t go Hillary’s way, South Carolina will become a significant battle ground.

Tell me what’s on your minds.   Consider this an open thread.