Newest members of the Congressional Black Caucus

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Tuesday’s primaries saw the election of two progressives to the U.S. House of Representatives, Keith Ellison and Yvette Clarke. The black caucus will welcome it’s first muslim member and it twenty-first black female member, Yvette Clarke.

Minnesota State Representative Keith Ellison won a hardfought battle against retiring Congressman Martin Olav Sabo’s Administrative assistant and a former state Senator to claim the most liberal democratic seat in Minnesota and a footnote in history as the first African American elected to Congress from Minnesota.

New York City Councilwoman Yvette Clarke follows in the footsteps of her mother Una Clarke also a former NYC Councilwoman and congressional candidate. A Carribban American, Ms. Clarke also follows in the tradition of the first African American woman elected to Congress, Shirley Chisholm a personal hero of mine as well. Ms. Clarke faced considerable odds as well in her quest for this seat because she faced a strong field of black male contenders and a white fellow member of the NYC Council, David Yassky. 

It is my hope that these two a joined by a third member, Donna Edwards, a progressive grassroots activist from Maryland.  She faces an uphill struggle in unseating 14 year incumbant Al Wynn, a black corporate whore in the Lieberman mold.  She may yet pull it out after provisional ballots in Montgomery county are tallied. 

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Ann Richards 1933-2006

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It has just been announced that one of the greatest politicians Texas ever produced has just passed from esophageal cancer. 

I have been dreading this moment for some time.  The announcement of her cancer this spring took my breath away.  I loved me some Ann Richards y’all.  Politically, there has not been a more courageous statewide politician in Texas since Ralph Yarborough.

Governor Richards was the genuine real deal.  She put her money where her mouth was on just about everything.  Her political appointments actually looked like Texas and her policies looked out for the common man.  Her tenure of office was the highlight of the twentieth century. Her successor took Texas and the nation back to the 19th century.

One of the greatest keynote speeches in history was the one she gave at the 1988 Democratic National Convention.  My favorite portion reads like a contemporary statement of principles any Democrat could run on today.

Now we Democrats believe that America is still the country of fair play, that we can come out of a small town or a poor neighborhood and have the same chance as anyone else; and it doesn’t matter if we are black or Hispanic or disabled or a woman. We believe that America is a country where small business owners must succeed, because they are the bedrock, backbone of our economy.

We beleive that our kids deserve good daycare and public schools. We believe our kids deserve public schools where students can learn and teachers can teach. And we wanna believe that social security is a pact that can not be broken.

We wanna believe that we can live out our lives without the terrible fear that an illness is going to bankrupt us and our children. We Democrats believe that America can overcome any problem, including the dreaded disease called AIDS.

We believe that America is still a country where there is more to life than just a struggle for money.  And we believe that America must have leaders who show us that our struggles amount to something and contribute to something larger–leaders who want us to be all that we can be.”

In my eyes, she was regal, a Queen.  Her wit and wisdom will be deeply missed by the entire nation.

May her soul rest in peace.

George Allen’s Deceitful Education Record

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“If a ruler harken to lies, all his servants are wicked”

-Proverbs 29:12

 

Excerpts from a July 1, 1997 Washington Post Editorial

 

Gov. Allen’s Education Legacy

 

Virginia’s reputation as a leader among states with strong public education systems still holds, but the inconsistent policies of the George Allen years have done more than a little damage.

When the Governor took office adn pressed for a tax cut while shaving education financing, top business leaders from both political parties coalesced with former governor Mills Godwin and others to object. They cited the commitments of neighboring states to schools and colleges, noting that these attract and retain businesses.

The opposition grew strong enough to induce Gov. Allen to pull back a tax proposal and to talk up, if not step up, money for education. But even as the governor was regrouping, many of his own appointees were not– and still have not eased up. The same intraparty struggle has been waged over financial aid to college students and over public school improvements.

…the Allen policies have hurt poorer students the most. …the financial aid package for a typical in-state student has dropped from 45 percent of costs for tuition, books and fees to about 33 percent.

And while total enrollment at the state’s public colleges is increasing slightly, it is falling in the histrically black universities and two-year community colleges that tend to have more lower-income students.

The governor spent a good two years fiercely resisting the Goals 2000 program for public schools and the federal money available through it. He claimed it was all a way for the federal government to intrude on state control. Local school boards all over the state adopted resolutions calling for the acceptance fo the money. But the state board–all Allen appointees–sided with him.

When, early this year, Gov. Allen agreed to accept the money, his board members were still balking. Not until last Thursday did a divided board give in to his request to approve applying for the money to buy computers for schools. Board President Michelle Easton, reflecting the earlier stand of her governor, was reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch as saying: “The federales will be dancing on the grave of Virginia soverignty tonight.”

At least Gov. Allen managed to shift some of his worst positions inthe face of strong public opposition. But when it comes to consistent, constructive policies to improve education in Virginia, the Allen years have been rough.”

Allen’s black minions have allowed themselves to be used to push the canard that he actually did something progressive and good for education as both a governor and a senator.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The GOP campaign rhetoric about Allen’s education record is a complete fabrication. If the Washington Post, which accepts Administration lies regarding the “War on Terra,” cannot abide his record, I think that is significant and worthy of note.