Columnist Molly Ivins passes


Molly Ivins

At the request of Rikyrah, I have written the following recollection of a great woman.

Columnist Molly Ivans was gifted writer and storyteller that could make a Vulcan laugh.  She possessed a singular gift to needle the powers that be with her lacerating wit.  She revealed their manifold sins and unfathomable ignorance.   She once mocked GOP House Majority leader Dick Armey by saying, “If ignorance ever goes to $40 a barrel, I want drillin’ rights on that man’s head.”   

She had special contempt for the ignorant patrician in the White House that she dubbed “Shrub.”  She has said of him, “Let me say for the umpteenth time, George W. is not a stupid man. The IQ of his gut, however, is open to debate. In Texas, his gut led him to believe the death penalty has a deterrent effect, even though he acknowledged there was no evidence to support his gut’s feeling.  When his gut, or something, causes him to announce that he does not believe in global warming — as though it were a theological proposition — we once again find his gut ruling that evidence is irrelevant. In my opinion, Bush’s gut should not be entrusted with making peace in the Middle East.” She was right on target and I think thirty years from now, when I am the same age as she was, historians will bear out her harsh judgment of this President’s basic ineptitude. 

I have been regaled by her stories for years.  I enjoyed her so much that I bought two of her books on tape when I traveled.  She could caress you with a story and teach you something profound in between the side splitting laughter.  I read with dismay several months ago that she was again ill with Cancer.  I sent her an e-mail and prayed for her recovery.   

My saddest realization upon her passing is that she died during the Bush Administration that she so effectively lampooned, that to me is quite disheartening.  Every time I post I try to channel a bit of her irreverence and sometimes I succeed. May God Bless her and keep her in his arms forever and may he give comfort to those who loved her and deeply miss her wit and wisdom.


Pregnant sistah sues police after loosing baby


The video is sickening, have you ever heard of this happening to a white woman?

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A woman whose premature baby died the day after she was arrested has sued the Kansas City Police Department and two officers who repeatedly ignored her pleas for medical help while they were arresting her.

A police videotape released Tuesday shows Sofia Salva telling police officers numerous times on Feb. 5, 2006, that she was pregnant, bleeding and needed to go to a hospital. After the ninth request, a female officer asked: “How is that my problem?”

Salva, a Sudanese native, was held overnight on traffic violations and outstanding city warrants. After being released the next morning, she delivered a premature baby boy who died after one minute, according to a lawsuit Salva filed Friday in Jackson County Circuit Court.

Salva sued officers Melody Spencer and Kevin Schnell and the Police Department for wrongful death, personal injuries and failure to provide medical assistance. Salva is seeking actual damages exceeding $25,000 and punitive damages to punish and deter such conduct in the future. “The officers went into this with a preconceived idea of who and what they were dealing with, and they were wrong,” said Salva’s attorney, Andrew Protzman.

“It’s tragic.” The videotape was released to the media after The Kansas City Star requested it under Missouri’s open records law. Police have opened an internal investigation to determine exactly what happened, department spokesman Capt. Rich Lockhart said. “It’s a matter of trust. … We want to make sure the community trusts us to get to the bottom of this regardless of the way it reflects on the police department,” Lockhart said.

The officers stopped Salva after they saw her affixing a fake temporary tag on the back windshield of her car. After the officers tell her why she was arrested, Salva is seen telling the officers she is having a miscarriage and is bleeding. “Do you want to check me?” Salva asks on the tape. “I’m bleeding. I have a 3-month baby inside.”

Schnell, who has worked for the department for less than two years, walks away from the car and tells his partner: “She just gave me a line of excuses. She said she’s bleeding. She said you can check her.” Salva said: “I’m three months pregnant and I’m bleeding.” Spencer, a four-year veteran, replied: “OK. Why are you driving to the store and then putting a fake temporary tag in your car?” “I took it because I want to go to the hospital,” Salva said.

The officers made Salva sit on the curb as they searched her car, purse and grocery sacks. Salva again tells the officers that she is bleeding and asks them to check her underwear and says she wants to go to the hospital. “Well,” Spencer said, “that will be something you can take care of when we get done with you.” After a drawn-out process to get Salva’s identifying information, Salva is clearly upset. “I have a baby in my stomach and I’m bleeding and I open my underwear for you to see.” “Stay seated!” Schnell yelled. “If I die here, will you take care of me?” Salva said. “If I die here?” “Fair enough,” Schnell said.

Officers are then told Salva has outstanding city warrants for mistreatment of children, trespassing and several traffic violations, with bonds totaling $4,600. After Salva is handcuffed, she again tells Schnell she is bleeding. “I don’t doubt that you’re possibly bleeding, but you got a lot more problems with us,” Schnell said.

Brandy sued for $50 mill


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LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) — Singer-actress Brandy was sued for $50 million Tuesday by the family of a woman killed in a four-car freeway crash which police have blamed on the 27-year-old performer.

The wrongful death lawsuit by the parents of Awatef Aboudihaj, 38, was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court a day after police recommended that prosecutors charge Brandy with a misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter.

The California Highway Patrol found that the entertainer, whose full name is Brandy Norwood, was at fault in the December 30 accident for failing to prevent her Land Rover from hitting the car in front of her when traffic suddenly slowed, CHP spokesman Leland Tang said this week.

Aboudihaj was killed when her vehicle slammed into a third car, careened into the freeway’s center divider and was hit broad-side by a fourth automobile, police said.

The lawsuit, filed as a three-page form complaint, says her death was caused by “reckless driving” by Brandy. It seeks $50 million in compensatory and punitive damages.

Investigators have ruled out alcohol and drugs as factors in the crash and say there was no evidence that Brandy was using a cell phone or was otherwise distracted. She was in her car alone, Tang said.

Brandy’s spokeswoman, Kelly Mullens of the 42West agency, said in a statement “the accident was a terrible tragedy and Brandy’s heart goes out to Awatef Aboudihaj’s family. But for legal reasons we cannot comment on this lawsuit.”

The Highway Patrol referred the case to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office for further review with the recommendation that the former star of the TV comedy “Moesha” be cited with a misdemeanor charge of vehicular manslaughter.

A misdemeanor offense carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Obama rips U.S. effort after Katrina


By Mike Dorning
Chicago Tribune national correspondent

January 30, 2007

NEW ORLEANS — Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama blasted the Bush administration Monday for the slow pace of Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts, saying reconstruction no longer seems to be a White House priority.

“There is not a sense of urgency in this administration to get this done,” said the senator from Illinois. “You get a sense that will has been lacking in the last several months.”

Obama, the Senate’s only African-American member, was in New Orleans for a field hearing on Gulf Coast rebuilding conducted by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

In the days after Katrina hit, the devastation of New Orleans and the botched federal response turned into a dramatic international emblem for charges of incompetence in the administration and of indifference to the plight of poor people, particularly blacks and other minorities. The flooding and tardy rescue efforts had the greatest impact on low-income black residents, many of whom did not have personal transportation or financial resources to evacuate easily on their own.

The broken homes and vacant streets of the city’s flood-damaged neighborhoods remain a potent political symbol. Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards kicked off his campaign in December outside a damaged home in one hard-hit neighborhood.

After Monday’s field hearing, the Senate committee took a bus tour of the city’s Lower 9th Ward, a low-income black neighborhood where many ruined homes sit empty and bear the painted X-marks used in the chaotic weeks after the hurricane to show they had been searched for survivors.

Mayor compares city, Iraq

Testifying to the committee, New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin said he still doesn’t see “the will to really fix” his city and suggested that race was a factor.

“I think it’s more class than anything, but there’s racial issues associated with it also,” said Nagin, who is black.

Nagin complained that disputes with federal officials over the value of damaged buildings and cumbersome paperwork have slowed the money flow.

“And then I look at what we’re doing in Iraq and how we spend money at an unprecedented level there, how we can set up temporary hospitals and designate money to rebuild their economy, and we have this dance going on in New Orleans,” he said.

The hearing is one of the first that the Homeland Security Committee has scheduled since the Senate passed to Democratic control. No Republican members attended.

The session follows criticism of Bush for not including any mention of the New Orleans recovery effort in last week’s State of the Union address. Obama echoed that criticism, noting that Bush had traveled to the city shortly after the disaster and promised to do “what it takes . . . as long as it takes” to rebuild New Orleans.

But “17 months later, we heard not a single word, not one word in President Bush’s State of the Union address,” Obama said. “Those of us who are concerned all across the country wonder if we’re in danger of forgetting about New Orleans, and that’s shameful.”

Federal officials involved with rebuilding efforts defended their work in testimony before the committee. Donald Powell, federal coordinator for Gulf Coast reconstruction for the Department of Homeland Security, said that when the history of the recovery effort is written “it will also be a story of modern renaissance.”

“President Bush is committed to rebuilding the Gulf Coast and rebuilding it better and stronger,” Powell said.

Obama introduces Iraq troop redeployment bill


“Our troops have performed brilliantly in Iraq, but no amount of American soldiers can solve the political differences at the heart of somebody else’s civil war,” Obama said. “That’s why I have introduced a plan to not only stop the escalation of this war, but begin a phased redeployment that can pressure the Iraqis to finally reach a political settlement and reduce the violence.”

Hollywood says only white people can save us


It seems one of the most powerful notions in Hollywood is that black people can’t do anything for themselves. I’m sorry; I just have trouble understanding why nearly every movie about African Americans portrays us as having a weakness only white people can help us overcome. It’s starting to be a bit annoying, not to mention redundant. I’m sure we have all seen the preview that sounds something like this:

Kai Beasley

Announcer: “In a world where people of color from the inner city act like blatant stereotypes, one woman understood how to touch them better than they understood how to touch themselves. When no one else cared, there was one white woman who was willing to give them a chance. Michelle Pfeiffer in . . . “Dangerous Minds.”

Two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank is starring in a similar film. Maybe you’ve seen the preview. It sounds something like this:

Announcer: “From the producers of all those other movies where white people are the only people who can save poor ethnic kids comes the same freakin’ story that you’ve seen over and over. When a bunch of unruly ethnic kids don’t want to listen to anyone, a random white woman is able to reach them. This time, it’s for real. This time, it’s for the future. This time . . . It’s not Michelle Pfeiffer. Hillary Swank in . . . “Freedom Writers .”

I mean, COME ON! African Americans don’t need white actors to help them do stuff. So what if Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise helped me write this article; that’s the exception, not the rule. So what if John Travolta helps me dress myself every morning, it can just as easily be Samuel L. Jackson. The fact that I can’t eat breakfast in the morning without being spoon-fed by Bruce Willis means nothing; Jamie Foxx can spoon-feed me anytime.

But seriously, are we as helpless and naive as our characterizations in film portray us? No! Do white people really care about our problems as much as they do in films? No! That’s the reason things are they way they are. If people cared as much as they do in the movies, there wouldn’t be any more movies like that, because society would have changed. But what really grinds my gears is that few movies give black people credit for the things we do for ourselves. In fact, the only thing they do give us credit for being good at is drug dealin’, rappin’ or pimpin’. Now I don’t know about you all, but I stopped pimpin’ a long time ago, and I would like to think that I have moved on to better things.



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January 27, 2007

Calling it “one of the most difficult decisions that I’ve had to make in politics,” Rep. Bobby Rush said Friday he is backing Barack Obama for president — despite Rush’s long friendship with rival White House hopeful Hillary Clinton and her husband.

“Barack is a favorite son, and I’m going to be with Barack,” Rush said of his fellow South Side Democrat. “I intend to work very hard with him and for him. And this challenge is going to be enormous, but I’m going to be with him. … We come from the same neighborhood and represent the same constituency, and I’m going to be with my constituency and Sen. Obama.”

In 1991, Rush was the first elected official in Illinois to back Bill Clinton’s first presidential run. He went on to serve as national director of voter registration for the Clinton-Gore ticket in 1992.

Rush said it was Clinton who called him on the night of the Illinois primary that year with the news that Rush had won the Democratic nomination for the South Side’s 1st Congressional District.

“I was trying to … get the results and everything, and he called me and congratulated me and informed me that I had won,” Rush said. “It’s one of the most difficult decisions that I’ve had to make in politics. Bill Clinton and the Clinton family are very close.”

‘We buried the hatchet’

Rush’s relationship with Obama has been more rocky. It soured when Obama waged a failed bid to oust Rush from his congressional seat in 2000. Clinton helped Rush in that race, giving a rare primary endorsement and cutting 30-second radio spots singing Rush’s praises.

The incumbent congressman won with 61 percent to Obama’s 30 percent in a four-candidate field — an outcome a chastened Obama later laughingly called “a big spanking.”