Richmond set to face Cao for Big Easy Congressional seat

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Hat Tip: New Orleans Times Picayune

State Rep. Cedric Richmond won two of every three votes cast in heavily African-American precincts and nearly half of all votes in heavily white precincts in Saturday’s Democratic primary to advance to the Nov. 2 general election for the 2nd Congressional District, an analysis of ballot results shows.

Cedric Richmond

Richmond, a three-term legislator from eastern New Orleans, will face incumbent Republican Anh “Joseph” Cao, also of New Orleans, and three little-known independent candidates to represent the district that covers most of the city and a swath of Jefferson Parish.

Cao, the first Vietnamese-American elected to the U.S. House, won the seat with strong Democratic support two years ago when he ousted nine-term incumbent William Jefferson, who campaigned under the specter of a federal corruption probe. After a trial last summer, Jefferson was sentenced to 13 years in prison and remains free on appeal.

Joseph Cao

Richmond got 60 percent of the vote on Saturday, when a dismal 8 percent of the district’s voters turned out, a poor showing that was likely a result of rainy weather and the distraction of the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

State Rep. Juan LaFonta came in second, with 21 percent, followed by former Jefferson chief of staff Eugene Green, with 10 percent, and newcomer Gary Johnson, who served a stint last year as research director for the House Rules Committee, with 8 percent.

In a district where six of 10 registrants are African-American, Richmond’s strong showing among black voters — especially in Jefferson Parish — helped secure his victory, according to an analysis by University of New Orleans political scientist Ed Chervenak.

I believe that it is a certainty that Cedric Richmond is the next Congressman for New Orleans.  His win will be the sole defeat of a Republican incumbent this cycle.

Kendrick Meek defeats billionaire

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Miami Gardens Congressman Kendrick Meek,43, defeated billionaire Jeff Greene for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate by an impressive 25%.  Meek will face Gov. Charlie Crist running as an Independent and Republican Mark Rubio in the fall.  Leading prognosticators give him little or no chance to win.

With Republicans divided, it should actually be easier for Kendrick to win if he is able to keep Democrats together and focused.  Gov. Crist will be stiff competition to keep White Democrats in the fold but it can be done.  Democrats know where Kendrick stands because of his record.  Until his polls went south, Crist was still a conservative Republican.  Now he is supposed to be “Independent” and sending private signals that he will caucus with Democrats should he be elected.  That is a weakness that can be exploited by Meek and should be.

In the race to Meek in Congress, voters selected State Senator Fredericka Wilson, 68, over a field of  eight other candidates.  Wilson defeated Haitian American Physician Rudy Moise and Miami Gardens Mayor Shirley Gibson by a wide margin to become the newest member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Senator Wilson was always the front runner in this race despite being vastly outspent by millionaire Rudy Moise by more than three to one.    Moise dropped a million into this race and came up very short.

House Ethics Committee Outlines Charges against Waters

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Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Hat Tip:  JIM ABRAMS Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House ethics committee on Monday announced three counts of alleged ethics violations against California Democrat Maxine Waters, including a charge that she requested federal help for a bank where her husband owned stock and had served on its board.

Waters, a 10-term representative from Los Angeles, has denied any wrongdoing and had urged the committee to come forth with details of the charges so that she can defend herself in a trial expected to take place this fall.

That trial would be the second handled by the ethics committee this fall. The report says Waters asked the Treasury Department to meet representatives from the National Bankers Association, a trade group representing minority-owned and women-owned banks. The discussion at that September 2008 meeting centered on OneUnited Bank. OneUnited eventually received $12 million in bailout money.

She petitioned to have the charges dismissed, but the ethics committee rejected that request.

The first count said she violated House rules that members “shall behave at all times in a manner that shall reflect credibility on the House.”

It said that her husband’s financial interest in OneUnited had declined from $350,000 at the end of June 2008, to about $175,000 in September, and would have been worthless if OneUnited had not received federal funds.

The second violation pertains to the use of improper influence that results in a personal benefit. It cites the failure of Waters to instruct her chief of staff to refrain from assisting OneUnited after she realized she should not be involved in the case.

The third count relates to the dispensing of special favors or privileges to anyone, whether for remuneration or not.

I’m still making up my mind about the seriousness of these charges and will wait for more definitive information. What’s your take?

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.”

Cohen/Tinker election results

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WITH 72% OF PRECINCTS REPORTING, CONGRESSMAN STEVE COHEN CRUSHES AUNT NIKKI, THE CORPORATE MAMMY, WITH A LANDSLIDE 60% MARGIN!!!!!!!!

STEVE COHEN 44,995 79%

NIKKI TINKER 10,676 19%

JOE TOWNS 844 1%

Black voters, especially those of us in the South, have always been able to judge our politicians by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. We’re never given credit for having that ability when racially polarizing tactics are injected into a political race by one of us, but we’ve always had it and always will. Now Mr. Cohen can go back to the halls of power confident in the knowledge that he has unequivocally earned the trust of a majority of his black constituents. In order to keep it, he must continue to provide the same common sense, progressive leadership that has been known as his trademark.

The epic collapse of the Tinker campaign is one for the history books and closes a sad chapter in the book of political rivalry between Harold Ford Jr and Steve Cohen. His transparent maneuvering to shield his allegiances to Tinker by using his wife as a conduit for campaign cash, and his politically expedient denunciation of Tinker’s tone-deaf tactics should be enough for Barack Obama to remove the Whore from any consideration for a prominent role in his administration.

Fired cop may challenge Kwame’s Mama

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Hat Tip: Robert Snell and Charlie LeDuff / The Detroit News

DETROIT — Fired Deputy Police Chief Gary Brown, fresh from beating Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick during the police whistle-blower trial, is mulling a campaign for mayor or against the mayor’s mother, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick.

Brown and one of his consultants confirmed today that polling will begin soon to gauge his support for a run at mayor next year or a campaign this year for the 13th District, which spreads from the Grosse Pointes to Downriver.

Brown insists it’s not personal and would only discuss his interest in taking on Cheeks Kilpatrick, 62. But his candidacy could turn what has traditionally been a campaign cakewalk for the six-term congresswoman into a bitter race with a subplot of the decorated deputy police chief against the mother of the man who ended his law enforcement career.

“I certainly don’t blame her for anything he’s done,” Brown said. “It’s really her record I want to run against, not him.”

Brown said he plans to seed the campaign with money from the $3 million share settlement he received last year when a Wayne County jury found that Kilpatrick ousted him for investigating the mayor and his security team.

Don’t talk about it, bruh, be about it.  

Al Wynn resigns

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Hat Tip: Open Left

Matt Stoller of Open Left wrote, “Roll Call just reported that Al Wynn resigned his seat to join a DC law firm.” 

Now “Fat Albert” can ply his trade as the corporate whore that he is free from the contraints of progressive policy that the public expects from a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, but never receives.  Looks like Miss Donna will need to run in a special election and can claim the prize she won in February earlier than she thought.  

Looks like the “Fat Albert” was a gentleman after all. 

Introducing Markel Hutchins

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Listening to Rev. Markel Hutchins preach is like listening to Martin Luther King, Jr for the first time-it gives you chills. The thirty year-old preacher has an extensive record of activism and community organizing on behalf of the voiceless and powerless.

Working with the progressive labor movement against Wal-Mart and for health care and living wages, Hutchins cuts a charismatic figure fighting for people in stark contrast to Congressman John Lewis who seems to have lost his nerve.

Lewis, a distinguished warrior during the civil rights movement, was beaten countless times by the racist stormtroopers of the confederacy. He faced down dogs and hoses only to punk out as a member of congress and to remain silent in the face of Bill Clinton’s unconscionable attempts to racially polarize the electorate for the benefit of his wife.

Only after Hutchins announcement of his candidacy did John Lewis find a pair and leave Hillary’s plantation.

What impresses the most is the level of his game, he brings it with a freshness and a skill that belies his age. His principled advocacy on behalf of the family of Kathryn Johnston, 92, who was shot to death by Atlanta Police in a botched drug raid proves to me that he is ready to lead because he is already doing it.

The Congressional Black Caucus has failed on so many levels that I cannot bear to go into an explanation. I am enthusiastic and wholeheartedly in favor of a challenge to the ossified and complacent membership of the Congressional Black Caucus. In my humble opinion, Lewis is toast. Don’t believe me, see for yourself.

As soon as I am able, I am going to send this cat a contribution. He inspires and provides the right dose of substance and charisma. While Lewis is a down the line progressive, his light does not shine brightly enough to shame his CBC colleagues into following his example or be replaced, I have every confidence that this brotha can provide the right example.

Hillary’s Handkerchief Heads: Call Them Out

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Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.)
Del. Donna Christensen (D-V.I.)
Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.)
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.)
Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.)
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas)
Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.)
Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.)
Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.)
Rep. Donald Payne (D-N.J.)
Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.)
Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif.)
Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.)
Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.)
Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones (D-Ohio)
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.)
Rep. Diane Watson (D-Calif.)

If any of the listed Negro members of Congress supporting Hillary belongs to you, they need to hear a word from the people. I propose the following letter.

Dear Handkerchief Head:

You have been unconscionably silent in the face of Bill Clinton’s racially divisive tactics on behalf of Senator Clinton’s presidential campaign. I can only surmise from your silence that you either approve of Bill Clinton’s tactics or are too gutless to publicly register your opposition. Whatever the case may be, I have taken the liberty of writing to formally register my unbridled indignation and to withdraw whatever support I may have given to your re-election campaign.

Pretending that the President’s comments were somehow taken out of context or don’t mean what they plainly imply simply will not do. Burying your head in the sand or defending the indefensible won’t do either. It’s time to do-you know what-or get off the pot. You can delay addressing these comments if you want to, but you do so at your peril.

The Sunday morning talk shows were universally caustic against the Clintons.

On “Meet the Press,” Byron York of the right-wing National Review said, “You know, I don’t think you can overstate the amount of, of anger in–created in Democrats by Bill Clinton’s tactics. I mean, they were very, very unhappy with him. I was talking to a Democratic strategist the other day who said, “My wife just got in the car. She’s driving to South Carolina to volunteer for Obama.” They were that angry at what Clinton had done. And he also said, you know, Clinton is trying to turn him into Jesse Jackson. And sure enough, after Obama wins big, what does Bill Clinton say about it? “Well, you know, Jesse Jackson won here, too.”

Neo-Con Fox News Contributor and NY Times Columnist Bill Kristol wrote, “What do Jesse Jackson’s victories two decades ago have to do with this year’s Obama-Clinton race? The Obama campaign is nothing like Jackson’s. Obama isn’t running on Jackson-like themes. Obama rarely refers to Jackson.”

 

“Clinton’s comment alludes to one thing, and to one thing only: Jackson and Obama are both black candidates. The silent premise of Clinton’s comment is that Obama’s victory in South Carolina doesn’t really count. Or, at least, Clinton is suggesting, it doesn’t mean any more than Jackson’s did.”

“But of course—as Clinton knows very well—Jesse Jackson didn’t win (almost all-white) Iowa.  He didn’t come within a couple of points of prevailing in (almost all-white) New Hampshire.  Nor did he, as Obama did carry rural Nevada. And Saturday, in South Carolina, even after Bill Clinton tried to turn Obama into Jackson, Hillary defeated Obama by just three to two among white voters. So Bill Clinton has been playing the race card, and doing so clumsily.  But why is he playing any cards.?

On “Meet the Press,” Chuck Todd, NBC News Political Director, provides a blunt answer to Kristol’s  rhetorical question,  “But, you know, it does feel like, though, that what Bill Clinton is doing is he reads a poll, and he said, “OK, when am—how am I going to get her to 51 percent.  OK. We’ve got to figure out how to drive white men away from Barack Obama. We’ve got to figure out how to drive Latinos away from Barack Obama.” That’s what works on February 5th.  And, you know, he may not ever say that, but it feels like it’s a very tactical thing that they’ve done, and I think that’s what, you know, is going to offend the Beltway corridor, the Amtrak corridor, and, and you’re seeing a lot of, sort of, the New York and Washington Democrats who are probably going to keep coming out against Clinton on this…”

Some of us were raised to believe that members of the Congressional Black Caucus were among the best Black public servants in the country.  Your actions belie that notion and constitute a slap in the face to those that came before you in the Reconstruction era.  They fought valiantly for a seat at the table for African Americans before they were disenfranchised through the white supremacist tactics of mob violence, grandfather clauses, literacy tests, and poll taxes. 

Continuing to languish on the Clinton plantation in light of these racially divisive tactics is a betrayal of the progressive ideals of the Democratic Party and to the many unsung heroes of the civil rights movement who fought to make America a functioning and pluralistic democracy.  As for me, I am through with the Clintons and I am too through with you.

Sincerely,

Skeptical Brotha, a Negro who has some damn self-respect.



 

The Clintons civil rights remarks offend James Clyburn

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Suffering from foot in mouth disease, due in part to their fear of losing their imperial grip on the Presidency to someone else, the Clintons have managed to piss off a power broker in their most loyal constituency-African Americans. Congressman James Clyburn, the House Majority Whip and the most influential and highest ranking African American on Capitol Hill, ain’t a happy camper at all. He is so displeased that he is seriously considering changing his neutrality in the Presidential nomination free for all.

 

The New York Times reports, “We have to be very, very careful about how we speak about that era in American politics,” said Mr. Clyburn, who was shaped by his searing experiences as a youth in the segregated South and his own activism in those days. “It is one thing to run a campaign and be respectful of everyone’s motives and actions, and it is something else to denigrate those. That bothered me a great deal.”

“In an interview with Fox News on Monday, Mrs. Clinton, who was locked in a running exchange with Senator Barack Obama, a rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, over the meaning of the legacies of President John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., tried to make a point about presidential leadership.”

“Dr. King’s dream began to be realized when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” Mrs. Clinton said in trying to make the case that her experience should mean more to voters than the uplifting words of Mr. Obama. “It took a president to get it done.”

“Quickly realizing that her comments could draw criticism, Mrs. Clinton returned to the subject at a later stop, recalling how Dr. King was beaten and jailed and how he worked with Johnson to pass the landmark law. Clinton advisers said her first remark had not captured what she meant to convey. And they said she would never detract from a movement that has driven her own public service.”

“She has spent the majority of her life working for poor families, poor children, fighting for the principles that Martin Luther King stood for,” said Minyon Moore, a senior adviser. “The Clintons have a track record.”

“Mr. Clyburn, reached for a telephone interview Wednesday during an overseas inspection of port facilities, also voiced frustration with former President Clinton, who described Mr. Obama’s campaign narrative as a fairy tale. While Mr. Clinton was not discussing civil rights at the time and seemed to be referring mainly to Mr. Obama’s stance at the Iraq war, Mr. Clyburn saw the remark as a slap at the image of a black candidate running on a theme of unity and optimism.”

“To call that dream a fairy tale, which Bill Clinton seemed to be doing, could very well be insulting to some of us,” said Mr. Clyburn, who said he and others took significant risks more than 40 years ago to produce such opportunities for future black Americans.”

I think that the Congressman is sending a warning to the Clintons that they had better heed. If they don’t, he will use his considerable clout against them and could bring the rest of the undecided membership of the Congressional Black Caucus with him.

On the other side of the ledger, Black Congressional surrogates are turning up with regularity to chew the fat on MSNBC.   Gregory Meeks and Stephanie Tubbs Jones appeared today to defend the Borg Queen and her consort.  Congresswoman Jones was aggressively negative saying that while Barack Obama talks about change, Hillary makes change.   She also defended the Clintons foot in mouth remarks that pissed off James Clyburn.   I like Stephanie Tubbs Jones and Gregory Meeks, but I have a deep seated mistrust of lawyers hooked up to the criminal justice system.  Both Meeks and Jones have been prosecutors and I ain’t got no love for that.

It’s one thing to criticize Barack Obama, as I’ve done, for his departures from the progressive black consensus, its quite another to be a flack and volunteer handkerchief head defending the indefensible Clinton juggernaut.

 

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.

Julia Carson laid to rest

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An honor guard member stands at attention by the flag-drapped casket of Rep. Julia Carson at the Indiana State House Rotunda Friday morning. (Matt Kryger / The Star)

Hat Tip: By Will Higgins, The Indianapolis Star

The 2,000 people who attended U.S. Rep. Julia Carson’s funeral Saturday got more than just spirited preaching. They got a look behind the curtain at the congresswoman’s legendary but little-understood influence. 

Carson, the first black and first woman to represent Indianapolis in Congress, died of lung cancer Dec. 15 at her Indianapolis home. She was 69. 

The four-hour service at Eastern Star Church in Indianapolis was followed by a procession to Crown Hill Cemetery, where a military presentation featuring a rifle salute preceded her burial. 

Gov. Mitch Daniels, Sens. Evan Bayh and Richard Lugar, former Sen. Birch Bayh and Mayor Bart Peterson were among about two dozen people who spoke during the service about the impact Carson had on their lives and on the lives of others. 

Peterson said that before he ran for mayor, he flew to Washington, D.C., for Carson‘s blessing. “I would not have been elected without her,” he said. “What may be less known is that I couldn’t have done this job without her guidance.” 

State Rep. Bill Crawford, D-Indianapolis, chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, said it was Carson who urged him to run for public office. “I’d never thought of it,” Crawford said. “Julia saw in me something I hadn’t seen.” 

Marion Superior Court Judge David Shaheed’s story was the topper. He recalled several years ago telling Carson he was interested in public office. He didn’t know which office, but the idea of service appealed to him. Later, she invited him to her home, where some movers and shakers had gathered.

“She introduced me around the room as her candidate for judge,” Shaheed said. A judge he became and remains. 

In the week since Carson‘s death, stories of her personal warmth and charisma dominated the outpouring of remembrances. There were many more such stories at her funeral.

A voice for justice

Carson‘s was a festive funeral — a “home-going,” said Jeffrey A. Johnson, Eastern Star’s senior pastor. As Carson‘s casket was carried into the sanctuary, the mourners broke into sustained applause.

Several musical selections, a Scripture reading and prayer preceded remarks by dignitaries. Daniels recalled being touched that Carson came to his father’s funeral.

“All of our political arguments are so small,” Daniels said, “compared to what Julia knew — that we’re all one in Jesus Christ.”Lugar, R-Ind., said he was thankful for the friendship he had with Carson and spoke about how much of an inspiration she was for him and others.

“It didn’t matter where she was; she kept talking about justice,” he said. “She also talked about education and health care and justice, civil justice and racial justice. She not only talked about it, but she was by far the most remarkable political figure I have ever seen in attaining all of these things.

“It is important for each one of us to have the idealism of Julia Carson.” Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., touched on Carson’s humility.“I don’t think she ever said no to anybody who needed her,” he said. He also spoke about her courage and said she didn’t think about what was popular.

“She only knew what was right and what was wrong, and was always willing to stand up for what was right.”Carson “walked with kings but did not lose the common touch,” he said, paraphrasing the poet Rudyard Kipling.

“Good night, sweet Julia”

Each speaker was greeted warmly, several drawing standing ovations, including Peterson and former U.S. Rep. Andy Jacobs.It was Jacobs who gave Carson her start in politics.

He recalled meeting her in 1965, shortly after he first won election. She was working for a labor union, United Auto Workers Local 550, and he asked her to join his staff.“She conferred with her mother,” according to the obituary in the church bulletin, “who told her that Mr. Jacobs was really a Congressman.”

His authenticity established, she took the job and had remained in politics ever since. On Friday, she became the first woman to lie in repose in the Statehouse.

Despite all the praise, Jacobs insisted there was much more to his “little sister.” Because of her modesty, Jacobs said, “the public hasn’t scratched the surface of her accomplishments. Over time, her legacy will grow.” He teared up toward the end of his remarks as he said, “Good night, sweet Julia. May choirs of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

Several of Carson’s grandchildren spoke after Jacobs gave his remarks, including Andre Carson and her eldest grandson, Sam Carson IV.

About three hours into the funeral, Sam Carson, recalling how he used to drive his grandmother and act as her security detail, told the audience: “We went to a lot of funerals together, and I have to tell you, if we’d been at this one, we’d have been gone an hour ago.”

Endorsements for a grandson 

Peterson, who recently lost his bid for re-election as mayor, was rumored to be interested in Carson’s seat after Carson said last month she did not plan to seek re-election. On Wednesday, he announced he would not be a candidate.A half-dozen others are reportedly interested in the job, including Carson’s grandson Andre, who was elected to the City-County Council last month.

Andre Carson has not announced his candidacy, but momentum for him seemed to gather Saturday, with several of his grandmother’s eulogists coming out strongly for him.U.S. Reps. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, D-Ohio, and Carolyn Kilpatrick, D-Mich., chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, were among about a dozen or so members of Congress at the funeral.

Both said they sat beside Carson near the end of her life and heard her say “Andre.” They encouraged voters to choose him to fill her seat.“If you love me, send my seed,” Kilpatrick said Carson told her. The remark drew loud applause.

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan echoed the earlier calls for Andre Carson to succeed her in Washington.“She lives in the spiritual sense,” he said. “She lives in those whom she touched. She lives in Andre. She wants him to succeed her in service to the people. She wants him to be a good servant.”

When it was his turn to speak, Andre Carson talked only of his beloved grandmother.“She was a Christian woman,” he said. “But she had a universal nature.” He referred to her celebrated ability to mingle comfortably in any group.

Bill Jefferson wants change of venue in corruption trial to D.C.

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Hat Tip: by Allen Lengel, Washington Post

Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.), indicted on federal bribery charges, said yesterday in court papers that he did nothing illegal and accused prosecutors of bringing the case against him in Virginia because there would be fewer black jurors.

The motions filed in U.S. District Court in Alexandria provided the first look at Jefferson’s defense strategy as he fights a 16-count indictment and asks a judge to dismiss 14 of the charges or move the case to the District.

A federal grand jury indicted Jefferson, the former co-chairman of the congressional caucus on Nigeria and African trade, in June. The congressman faces charges that he used his official position to solicit hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes for himself and his family, falsely reported trips to Africa as official business, sought to bribe the former Nigerian vice president, and promoted U.S. financing for a sugar factory in Nigeria whose owner paid fees to a Jefferson family company in Louisiana.

In more than 100 pages of motions, Jefferson’s attorney said the congressman did not bribe the Nigerian vice president, did nothing illegal by getting involved in private business ventures, and declared that the government concocted a flimsy conspiracy charge because the statute of limitations was set to expire on several charges.

The lawyer, Robert P. Trout, noted that the government charged that Jefferson wrote letters, made introductions, and went to meetings and foreign trips to assist businesses to land contracts in Africa.

“In essence, the indictment alleges that Mr. Jefferson was employed to help these businesses and received compensation in return. . . .,” the motion said. “In this regard, it is important to note that it is not illegal — or even a violation of House Rules — for a member to have outside employment.”

Those private business transactions were unrelated to Jefferson’s duties as a member of Congress, the motion said. “Since the bribery case the government has outlined in the indictment does not fall within the four corners of the bribery laws, the bribery related counts indictment should be dismissed.”

The papers also say that the FBI used a cooperating witness to steer the case to Virginia. Blacks account for a smaller proportion of the potential jurors there than in the District, where they make up the majority of the population.

“That venue was selected in the Eastern District of Virginia in order to obtain a jury pool with fewer African Americans,” the motion said, adding: “The court has an obligation to ensure that the forum selection in this case was not tainted by racially discriminatory motive.”

The motion prompted prosecutors to issue a statement yesterday saying that race had nothing to do with their charging decisions.

“The indictment unsealed in June alleges facts supporting jurisdiction and venue in the Eastern District of Virginia. This venue is appropriate as we have indicated in public court filings and as represented by the guilty pleas of two alleged co-conspirators in the Eastern District of Virginia,” said Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd.

The federal indictment is the first in which a U.S. official is charged with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bars bribery of foreign officials.

Jefferson, 60, a Harvard Law School graduate, was reelected last year while under investigation. He was the first black congressman elected in Louisiana since Reconstruction.

The indictment charges that Jefferson used his official position to help iGate, a Kentucky-based high-tech business, sell its technology to provide Internet and cable television in Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa. Jefferson, according to the indictment, took kickbacks from the company’s owner for his family and had stock in the company.

During a meeting with an informant wearing a recording device, Jefferson said he would need $500,000 to give to Nigeria’s then-vice president, Atiku Abubakar, to make sure the high-tech venture went through. A short time later, the informant handed Jefferson $100,000 in FBI money that had been photocopied. FBI agents found $90,000 found in a freezer at his Capitol Hill home a few days later.

Jefferson’s attorney argued in the motions that because the money never reached the vice president, no bribe of a foreign official took place.

He also wrote that the bribery statute requires that a politician take something of value in exchange for an official act such as voting or authorizing appropriations:

“There is no allegation in this indictment that Mr. Jefferson solicited anything of value in return for being influenced in any decision in a matter that was or could be pending before him in his capacity as a Member of the United States House of Representatives.”

Hormone Replacement Therapy: Hillary’s bait and switch strategy

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Hillary Clinton 

America, from its inception, has been addicted to patriarchy-the white supremacist capitalist kind. American feminists have been railing against the more ignorant aspects of patriarchy and misogyny in all of its forms for more than a century. They have been chafing under the gendered constraints of patriarchy and desire to break, at last, the ultimate glass ceiling of the Presidency.  

Symbolically, the election of a female chief executive will be a watershed event.  However, it’s practical, political import is the functional equivalent of dabbing perfume behind the ears of a pig in a pigsty.  The American political system is hard-wired never to embrace reform completely and shall not next year.  Instead, we will fall for a cosmetic subterfuge: two women exercising and extending white supremacist capitalist patriarchy into the middle of this new millennium and performing a kind of hormone replacement therapy for the nation, switching us from testosterone to estrogen.  

Yes, children, Hillary will choose a woman to run with her and in the process cement her appeal to and strength among women everywhere.  This will work because feminists-especially white feminists, have always been ambivalent about challenging patriarchy and white privilege.  If anything, they wish to exercise the prerogatives of white supremacist capitalist patriarchy alongside their men.  In my mind, nothing could be a better description of the Clintons marriage and political partnership. 

African American feminist scholar and cultural critic, bell hooks, has written, “Coming in the wake of the civil rights struggle, of black power movements which were demanding cultural revolution, a sharing of the nation’s material resources as well as an end to white supremacy, contemporary white women’s liberation movement was easily co-opted to serve the interests of white patriarchy by reconsolidating white power, by keeping resources all in the family.”  

 “It should have come as no surprise to any of us that those white women who were mainly concerned with gaining equal access to domains of white male privilege quickly ceased to espouse a radical political agenda which included the dismantling of patriarchy as well as an anti-racist, anti-classist agenda. No doubt white patriarchal men must have found it amusing and affirming that many of the white women who had so vehemently and fiercely denounced domination were quite happy to assume the role of oppressor and/or exploiter if it meant that they could wield power equally with white men (Killing Rage p. 98-99).” 

It makes me physically sick to see black people falling all over ourselves in a mad dash to subsidize our own oppression by supporting Bill and Hillary Clinton’s undercover malevolent agenda.  They have deftly exploited our political ignorance and shall harness the loving caress of the black community to propel themselves back into the Oval Office and the apparatus of imperial tyranny that it commands.  

  

It was recently discovered that hormone replacement therapy for women enduring the severe symptoms of menopause, is a cure more dangerous than the disease.  Dramatically increased risk of cancer, heart disease, and stroke are common in women after long-term treatment.  Similarly, the estrogen replacement bait and switch ruse that Hillary and her Vice President will play on the American people is equally dangerous because the excesses of American capitalist hegemony will not be cured, social and economic justice will not be advanced, and resource wars will still be waged as tools of American foreign policy.  

To whom shall Hillary turn to complete the troika of power?   That’s the $64,000 question and one I have pondered a bit.   I’ve come up with a few names:  Ellen Tauscher, Blanche Lincoln, Mary Landrieu, and Claire McCaskill.   Each woman brings a different strength to the ticket and has more experience as an elected official than Hillary has.  

A blue dog democrat, six-term Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher D-California has ready-made entrée to the more conservative wing of moderate House Democrats so crucial to maintaining legislative success and maintaining political power.  A former stock broker and the youngest woman in the country to hold a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, Ellen speaks Wall Street’s language and parlayed that ability to raise record sums for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s corporate pacification program.   An initial supporter of the Iraq War, she’s had to backtrack because of the opposition of activist groups like MoveOn and the blogosphere, which, along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, conspired to alter her district to make a primary challenge more likely, if she didn’t toe the line.  A gifted fundraiser, she can help take a burden off Hillary, a plus Hillary would greatly appreciate.   

Blanche Lincoln, a  second-term Arkansas Senator, is a right-wing good ole’ gal too comfy-cozy with the corporate power structure of Arkansas and D.C.’s legendary K street-synonymous as a headquarters of corporate lobbyist influence peddling.   Blanche was also a supporter of the bullshit in Baghdad and Bush’s plutocratic tax cuts as a member of the Senate Finance Committee.  A former congressional aide, she sized up many of the mediocre congressional membership and decided to throw caution to the wind and challenge former Congressman Bill Alexander, a profligate fool caught up in the house bank check kiting scandal.  She won, got married, had twin boys, and left the house after two terms, only to return two years later to claim Dale Bumpers seat in the Senate.  Blanche ain’t no radical and her down home twang and wholesome motherhood shtick would be a big selling point to working class women.  

Mary Landrieu, a Louisiana Senator up for re-election in 2008, is the most experienced politician of the four and brings nearly 3 decades of experience and she is only 52.  The female scion of a prominent New Orleans political dynasty, Landrieu is a tough, unflappable pol that has survived two tough races for the Senate.  A former member of the Louisiana House of Representatives and two- term U.S. Senator, she brings to the table the ability to make a deal and be taken seriously.  A member of the gang of 14 that smoothed the way for confirmation of two of Bush’s reactionary Court of Appeals judges, she kept the Senate from blowing up and shutting down if Cheney or his minions would have forced a vote by violating the Senate’s filibuster rules.  Mary Landrieu is as liberal a Senator as Louisiana will ever have-which is to say that she voted for the War and against partial birth abortion and takes great pains to look after the care and feeding of the corporate interests of her state.  Mary’s greatest strength is the ability to demagogue anything-a skill I’m sure Hillary will find a use for.  

Lastly, there is Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Senator elected last year who rid us of Richard Nixon’s philosophical son, Jim Talent, a corporate whore and wingnut with a disturbing propensity to mentor black republicans.  Claire McCaskill is an executive by temperament, a former state legislator, District Attorney and State Auditor, she ran against the sitting Governor of her party and defeated him for the nomination in 2004.   She is hard charging and decisive and came heartbreakingly close to winning the governorship.  She came back last year and was elected to the Senate to prove that there is a God, and he will not be mocked by a deceptive and sanctimonious fascist like Jim Talent.  A member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Miss Claire has yet to find any of the balls she stole from weaker men and oppose this war like she was elected to do.  A cautious moderate and policy wonk, she and Hillary will find immediate kinship.   

Maxine Waters famously said at one of the Democratic National Conventions in the 90’s that the Clinton-Gore ticket was the last all-white anything she would support.  I took a sistah at her word, and then came the Gore-Lieberman ticket, and then the Kerry-Edwards ticket. We heard some mild grumbling from ole girl about the corporate vampire that masquerades as Joe Lieberman, but that’s about it. Until Barack Obama came along, I thought that some grassroots effort to enforce diversity was in order, and then I really scrutinized the choices and examined our political system and concluded, rightly I think, that resistance is damn near futile when the choices are so circumscribed.   

Author bell hooks has said, “What I am most criticized about is the use of the phrase “white supremacist capitalist patriarchy”. It’s seen as too strident, too exaggerated, too militant. But what that criticism says is that we’re not even allowed to name the enemy. The Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh says we have to call things by their real name, and if we’re not allowed to do that, how can we have a revolution? How do we move forward? I’m not particularly attached to those terms but they seem to me to much more accurately state what we’re up against than a term like “sexism.” And I prefer the term “white supremacy” to “racism.”  

It occurs to me that diversifying the patriarchy isn’t gonna do much except create female or colored mouthpieces to propagate a reactionary program-which will, in turn, drive progressives down an ideological cul de sac and do nothing to really change things.  Hell, we can’t even agree that we need to name the thing which prevents progressive change.  If a white, sixty-five year old fascist with and itchy trigger finger can be Vice President, and progressives can tout the Vice Presidential candidacy of the not so progressive Barack Obama, why can’t we discuss the Vice Presidential candidacy of a sixtyish black woman with 17 years experience in Congress like Maxine Waters.  I think you know why.  Maxine Waters has a political agenda that wasn’t written in the bowels of a corporate think tank or in the office suites of a corporate lobbyist. 

Hillary Clinton will try to sell her all-white, all-female ticket as an affirmation of America’s diversity-it will be anything but.  What it will be is an affirmation of white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.  Again, bell hooks, “white women have a stake in white supremacy – that it is the hottest, the fastest ticket for white women to get inside the patriarchy and play the game. We can’t act like “daddy made me do it” anymore. It’s all about what white women have to gain.  What Hillary and the women who are brainwashed by her have to gain is power.     The glass ceiling may be shattered, but it will not liberate anybody except Bill and Hillary and their loyal retainers.    

House Judiciary Committee finds a pair and issues contempt of congress charges against Bolton and Miers

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The House Judiciary Committee found a pair, manned up, and issued contempt of congress charges for the White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolton and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers.   Wow.  The Republicans actually called this move unnecessary and unprecedented with straight faces.   Incredible.  

Let me get this straight, y’all can call President Clinton’s secretary to testify in front of Congress about some hat pin he gave Monica Lewinsky but Bush’s White House Chief of Staff and Counsel cannot testify before Congress about the selective firing of U.S. Attorney’s who refused to comply with orders to investigate and indict Democrats on spurious claims of vote fraud to save GOP members of Congress in last year’s election.   Hmmm.

Activist Cindy Sheehan to Challenge Speaker Pelosi

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HAT TIP: Associated Press, Washington Post

CRAWFORD, Tex., July 8 — Antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan said Sunday that she plans to run against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) unless Pelosi introduces articles of impeachment against President Bush in the next two weeks.

Sheehan’s deadline, July 23, is the same day she and her supporters are to arrive in Washington after a 13-day caravan and walking tour departing from the group’s war protest site near Bush’s Crawford ranch.

Sheehan said she lives in a suburb of Sacramento but declined to disclose the city, citing safety reasons. She added that she would run against Pelosi in 2008 as an independent and “would give her a run for her money.”

“Democrats and Americans feel betrayed by the Democratic leadership,” Sheehan said. “We hired them to bring an end to the war.”

Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly said the congresswoman has said repeatedly that her focus is on ending the war in Iraq.

“She believes that the best way to support our troops in Iraq is to bring them home safely and soon,” Daly said in an e-mail.

Sheehan first came to Crawford in August 2005 during a Bush vacation, demanding to talk to the president about the Iraq war, in which her son Casey was killed in 2004. She became the face of the antiwar movement during her 26-day roadside vigil, which was joined by thousands.