Besides Condi’s transparent lies on Sunday, what’s on y’all’s minds?
But the federal jury deadlocked on the more serious charge of extortion, creating a mistrial on that count. Ford was acquitted of three counts of witness intimidation.
The prosecution’s case depended heavily on showing jurors videos of the once-influential state senator stuffing his pockets with $100 bills counted one by one by an undercover FBI agent.
Ford’s defense contended that he thought he was being paid as a business consultant for a computer recycling company. But the company was a fake created for an FBI investigation of corruption among state officials.
The sting, code-named Tennessee Waltz, resulted in the arrests of five sitting or former lawmakers and several local government officials.
Ford served in the state legislature from the 1970s until May 2005, when he resigned a few days after his arrest. He is the brother of Harold E. Ford Sr. (D), Tennessee’s first black congressman, and the uncle of Harold E. Ford Jr. (D), who replaced his father in Congress and served 10 years until losing a race for the U.S. Senate last year.
COLUMBIA, S.C., April 27 — The first Democratic presidential debate did little to change the shape of the 2008 race, but it provided a post-debate flash point Friday between the campaigns of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton over the issue of fighting terrorism.
At issue is whether Obama mishandled a question about how he would respond if two American cities were attacked by terrorists: Did he fail to demonstrate the toughness and resolve that voters want in a president or was his answer a careful and comprehensive checklist for any potential president dealing with an international crisis?
The Clinton campaign seized on what happened, claiming, without mentioning Obama, that “Hillary was the candidate who demonstrated that she would know how to respond if the country was attacked.” An Obama spokesman dismissed the Clinton camp’s press release as “a sign of nervousness.”
The debate aftermath offered another example of the Clinton campaign’s determination to keep the pressure on a rival who has proved to be more formidable than some of the New York senator’s allies had expected. But it also underscored that, because Obama has served only a little over two years in the Senate, questions of experience will continue to surround his candidacy.
The moment at issue came in the second half of Thursday’s debate at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg. The moderator, NBC News anchor Brian Williams, asked how Obama would change the military posture of the United States if the terrorist network al-Qaeda hit two U.S. cities.
Obama said he first would assure there was an effective emergency response and not a repeat of what happened in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
He then turned his attention to the issue of intelligence. “The second thing is to make sure that we’ve got good intelligence, A) to find out that we don’t have other threats and attacks potentially out there, and, B) to find out, do we have any intelligence on who might have carried it out so that we can take potentially some action to dismantle that network.”
He went on to say that what the United States must avoid at such a moment is alienating the world community “based on faulty intelligence, based on bluster and bombast,” adding that “we’re not going to defeat terrorists on our own.”
His answer appeared shaped by the reaction, at home and abroad, to President Bush’s invasion of Iraq, and he was suggesting clearly that he would not follow that model in confronting a terrorist attack.
But in rapid succession, former senator John Edwards (N.C.) and Clinton offered rather different responses, sounding a far more aggressive tone in their determination to retaliate and unequivocal in their willingness to use force.
“The first thing I would do is be certain I knew who was responsible, and I would act swiftly and strongly to hold them responsible for that,” Edwards said.
Clinton, citing her experience as a senator from New York during the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, said, “I think a president must move as swiftly as is prudent to retaliate.”
“If we are attacked, and we can determine who is behind that attack, and if there are nations that supported or gave material aid to those who attacked us, I believe we should quickly respond,” she said.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson was not even offered the chance to respond to the question, but offered his views moments later. “I would respond militarily, aggressively,” he said. “I’ll build international support for our goals. I’d improve our intelligence, but that would be a direct threat on the United States, and I would make it clear that that would be an important, decisive, military response, surgical strike, whatever it takes.”
Those responses ultimately prompted a clarification from Obama, who, during a later exchange about global climate change, veered back to terrorism.
“We have genuine enemies out there that have to be hunted down; networks have to be dismantled,” he said. “There is no contradiction between us intelligently using our military and, in some cases, lethal force to take out terrorists and, at the same time, building the sort of alliances and trust around the world that has been so lacking over the last six years.”
Clinton campaign officials declined to speak for the record about Obama’s response, saying they wanted to focus publicly on her performance. But one aide who spoke on the condition of anonymity said of the Illinois senator, “I think he recognized that his answer was troubling because he came back and tried to fix it in the debate.”
First, let me address this nifty graphic that I found in South Carolina’s leading newspaper. The subliminal message is clear here, let me see if y’all are sharp enough to scope it. Anyway, everything was goin’ swimingly for our leading contenders until the end when Kucinich, Gravel and Obama got into a dust up over Barack’s understated messaging to the Jewish community about Iran. We’ve gone over this terrain before so refresh your recollection. Both Congressman Kucinich and Senator Gravel attacked the Safe Negro for essentially pandering to the Jewish community about a pre-emptive war with Iran that he had to forcefully rebut and put to rest.
Gravel went off on an earlier tangent about nuclear weapons and asked Barack “Who in the Hell are we gonna nuke, Barack? Gravel has been in the moth balls for a long time having last served in the Senate when the world was new and bell bottoms were still fashionable. He did his level best to sound unstable and irrational enough to question conventional wisdom and charge that the military industrial complex mentality has the D.C. beltway firmly in its grip.
Hillary, Barack, and Biden were clearly the winners of the evening with the responses they gave and the number of questions directed their way. Some folk will be taking a closer look at Biden especially. Bringing up the rear was Dodd and Richardson. Richardson’s explanation of his Iraq plan was sensible enough to get him serious scrutiny as a possible Vice Presidential pick or Secretary of State. He outshined Biden, Barack and Hillary on that.
Lastly comes Edwards. I was not impressed with his performance. He wasn’t unfocused per se, but he just didn’t seem to be quite there tonight.
The Obama campaign sent out the following e-mail:
You’ve already heard that after everything was counted and double-checked, we reported to the Federal Election Committee that an astonishing 104,000 donors gave over 25 million dollars to the campaign through March 31st.
What’s happened to the campaign since then has been even more remarkable.
In April alone, over 37,000 people have donated to the cause — almost 90% of them for the first time.
On the eve of the first candidate debate this Thursday night, the keepers of thestatus quo are nervous. Those invested in keeping things as they are have a hard time grasping that a movement made up of people who want a new kind of politics can actually change things.
Now’s the time for every person who supportsto make one thing perfectly clear: we’re here, we’re serious about change, and we’re going to be heard. When people come together one by one, astounding things can happen. This is just the beginning — we can continue to grow this movement, but it’s up to you.
I want to thank you for being part of the amazing showing in the first quarter. But I also want you know that the pundits are betting that people like you won’t continue to be a force for change.
Everyone is watching today — will you show that we will only grow stronger by making a donation now?
We’ve seen what happens when the will of the people is swept aside.
Corruption and incompetence paralyze our government, America’s ability to lead the world is diminished, and the fundamental fairness of our society diminishes to benefit the privileged few.
We need a movement of ordinary people to elect our next president because, for so many of us, what our president does is personal.
Here’s an example of what I mean. On Monday, Barack laid out a foreign policy vision that captured why rebuilding America’s moral leadership in the world is personal for him.
That day we asked for the same from you; what we heard back were thousands of powerful, incredibly personal reasons why we need a new era in America’s foreign policy.
We’ve heard from retired soldiers and diplomats about the decades of work undone by this president’s recklessness and failures. We’ve heard from family members of servicemembers inwho want their loved ones out of harm’s way. We’ve heard from ordinary Americans from every region and every walk of life who want to once again feel the pride of knowing that our president is truly the leader of the free world.
That’s why we need a movement behind our next president. Only by electing a president accountable to no one but the people will we restore America’s global moral leadership.
Some people don’t believe it can be done. But you can show them the way by making your donation and demonstrating that this campaign is a movement of people willing to step up and take personal responsibility for change:
So far in April, over 20,000 people have donated to the campaign over the Internet — and for more than 18,000 of them, this was their first donation to the campaign.
It’s not just happening online. Our movement continues to grow everywhere: on April 14th over 20,000 people rallied with Barack in, , the largest political rally in that city’s history.
People like you are proving that no matter what any pundit says, this campaign isn’t about what happened already — it’s about what’s going to happen.
More people are going to be involved than ever before.
People like you will have more power over the process than ever before.
And, if we succeed, we’re going to elect a president who answers to the American people for a change.
A wise person once said that you never really know a man until you get to know his wife. The same is true for Barack Obama. Obama does little for me by himself. Listening to his wife, however, is quite illuminating and uplifting. Barack, if he’s smart, will send this sistah all over the nation. She does a better job of selling him then he does.
Sometimes lofty rhetoric isn’t required. All I really need is a heartfelt and down-to-earth appeal. That’s what Mrs. Obama is good at and that’s what she should keep doing for both of their sakes. I could almost overlook my reservations based on hearing her alone. Almost.
Mrs. Obama is speaking from an authentic and true place and that is something that cannot be faked. Some have tried, most have failed. Her authentic earnestness is both heartwarming and powerful. People need to hear her talk about Barack Obama the phenomenon and the Barack Obama “that lives in my house.” They need to hear her talk about how he didn’t “put the butter up” this morning after he made his breakfast. They need to hear about the Barack Obama who can’t make a bed better than an eight year old.
This is the reason I was so furious when I went to South Carolina to hear him speak and she accompanied him and didn’t say anything. All we got was a tired sorority wave. Her law degree is from Harvard too, and I expected to hear a word from the Lord from her as well.
Sistah Obama is well spoken-not that I expected her not to be, but she is unusually easy to listen to and creates an intimacy with her audience that draws you in and reminds you of someone you know and admire.
Finally, listening to this sistah speak, it makes me visualize what the girls of the Rutgers Women’s Basketball team would feel when welcomed to the White House by Michelle Obama, the First Lady of the United States.
“The majority of Negro political leaders do not ascend to prominence on the shoulders of mass support. Although genuinely popular leaders are now emerging, most are selected by white leadership, elevated to position, supplied with resources, and inevitably subjected to white control. The mass of Negroes nurtures a healthy suspicion toward these manufactured leaders.” –Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
A tsunami of outrage has been blazing in the last ten days since Don Imus, Radio Shock jock and Harold Ford, Jr benefactor singled out the Rutgers Women’s Basketball Team with a racist and sexist epithet. In the midst of the firestorm, Tennessee’s black prince, corporate whore and senator-in-waiting, released the following obligatory and gutless statement:
I don’t want to be viewed as piling on right now because Don Imus is a good friend and a decent man. However, he did a reprehensible thing. His comments about the Rutgers women’s basketball team were hurtful and wrong. Moreover, the comments robbed these young women of an important time to celebrate a magnificent and positive moment in their lives.
I am a big believer in redemption, and I understand that Don has done many good deeds in his life. Yet, no amount of philanthropy gives anyone the license to offend innocent people—particularly when it comes to matters of race and gender. So I’m going to follow the lead of those brilliant and gracious women of the Rutgers basketball team and wait and see how the next two weeks unfold. I certainly hope Don can come to understand better the pain he has caused these young women and their families, and I will leave it to others to decide how his future in media should play out.
Is it any wonder that I have lampooned Harold as”Harold Whore, Jr” and “the Whore?”
The statement is brilliant in the way it deftly positions him as an acceptable House Negro and corporate servant, unlike Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Its brevity is telling and its faint praise and politically expedient criticism of Don Imus was not what the Anus in the Morning was hoping for. The Anus in the Morning needed a lifeline and instead, the Whore pushed his head under the water until he drowned. Harold Ford, Jr doesn’t intend to sacrifice a seat in the world’s most exclusive club for Don Imus. While grateful for the endorsement and exposure Imus provided, and God knows he enjoyed his time as Imus’s nappy-headed Ho, Harold has no use for a John that can’t pay.
Cavorting with the Anus in the Morning and his merry band of on air racists allowed Harold Ford, Jr entrée and unfettered access to the media elite of this country also prominently featured on the program as guests. He could rub shoulders with those elitist D.C. journalists and New York Media powerhouses in the green room. Most importantly, he could shamelessly appeal to a white demographic that was entertained by the Anus in the Morning’s racist satire and confirmed in their bigotry.
Before all the contretemps, everything was smooth sailing for corporate whore extraordinaire Harold Ford, Jr. After 10 years of metaphorically swinging around a pole in the House of Representatives doing nasty favors in exchange for corporate cash in his g-string, the Whore felt that his apprenticeship was done and that he was ready for the big time.
The Whore understands how power operates in this society and in whose interests. Ours is a capitalist society that comes with all of the attendant drawbacks and moral compromises, which stratify our society along, racial and class lines. He understands that for him to ascend to higher office, he must first genuflect to power and service it better than a crackhead ho on his knees. Dr. Michael Parenti, author of “Land of Idols” has eloquently written, “The problem with capitalism is that it best rewards the worst part of us: the ruthless, competitive, conniving, opportunistic, acquisitive drives, giving little reward and often much punishment-or at least much handicap-to honesty, compassion, fair play, many forms of hard work, love of justice, and a concern for those in need.”
Ruthless, competitive, conniving, opportunistic, and acquisitive are all adjectives, which couldn’t be better in describing the essential character of the Whore. In short, he loves the game and doesn’t give two sh$ts about anybody but himself. Ain’t no way in hell he intends to be sidetracked by compassion or pushing some good-government crap designed to help those in need.
Any whore who doesn’t understand the art of seduction is not really a professional but an amateur. The Whore is anything but amateurish; he is a consummate professional. He set his sights on Don Imus and the Media elite that surrounded him and he conquered them all. Don Imus’s unapologetic racism was a minor peccadillo that the Whore ignored because the D.C. and New York power elite shared the same views. For the Whore, its all about the acquisition of power.
Jack White of Time Magazine told TomPaine.com’s Philip Nobile, “Imus will be untouchable as long as influential journalists and politicians turn a blind eye to the tide of racism and sexism that passes for satire on his program. Their tolerance of his nauseating brand of humor raises serious doubts about the mainstream media’s sensitivity to a range of racial and social issues. The problem isn’t really Imus; it’s his collaborators, who go along with him to flack their books and stoke their egos, selling out whatever principles they claim to believe in for personal profit. To hell with all of them.”
MSNBC wants to spin what they’ve done in suspending and subsequently firing Don Imus from his morning simulcast on the network. They’ve patted themselves on the back and claimed that internal pressure from unnamed African American and female staff, and not external outrage and the termination of major corporate advertising on Imus’s program dictated the decision to discharge Imus by the MSNBC News president Steve Capus.
Parenti has noted, “With command over organizational structure, personnel, and budget comes command over the practices and content of the institution. Those who call the tune may not be able to exercise perfect control over every note that is played, but individuals who stray to far from the score, who create too much cacophony, eventually find themselves without pay or position.” MSNBC News President Capus said that his decision “…was about trust. It’s about reputation. It’s about doing what’s right.” BULL****.
The truth of the matter is that Philip Nobile at TomPaine.com has been crusading against Imus for the last seven years. Every single one of Imus’s heavyweight journalistic regulars has been contacted and confronted about his racism, sexism, and homophobia. They have been asked point-blank to disavow Imus’s bigotry and to stop appearing on the program. Objectionable content was no secret to those who regularly appeared on the program or any network executive who ever freakin’ listened to the program; they never felt the need to confront it or him.
Parenti postulates that, “One widely accepted myth is that we have a free and independent press in the United States. In truth, the print and broadcast media are giant profit making conglomerates, owned and controlled by powerful banks and rich, conservative individuals. The reporters and editors who work for them learn to see the world with much the same blinders as owners, advertisers, corporate heads, and White House and Pentagon officials. Journalists think twice before delving into sensitive areas. They worry about having their copy cut and rewritten, and about being removed from choice assignments, passed over for promotion, or fired. The consequence is that coverage is limited and certain questions never get asked….”
Don’t let anybody fool you about the Anus in the morning’s tactics and battle plan. He intended to do his show his way and anybody who believed anything different was delusional and as far as he was concerned and could kiss his ass. After too many over-the-top skits and one of his producers calling the Williams sisters “animals” more suited to National Geographic than Playboy, he needed a good little sycophant and lawn jockey like Harold Whore, Jr to chat up, promote, and serve as window dressing. After being called out in 1997 for using the N-Word by Mike Wallace on 60 minutes, you’d think the Whore woulda steered clear. Naw, because the Whore ain’t got no shame. Never had and never will.
For the fourth straight week, Illinois Senator Barack Obama (D) has gained ground and he has finally caught New York Senator Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic Presidential nomination. It’s now Obama 32% Clinton 32% and former North Carolina Senator John Edwards holding steady at 17%. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson is a distant fourth at 3%. Senators Chris Dodd and Joe Biden each attract 1% support. So does General Wesley Clark.
Obama has been steadily gaining ground during April. Last week, Clinton had a two-point lead. Two weeks ago, it was Clinton by five. The week before that, the former First Lady was up by seven. Our last release in March found Clinton enjoying a double digit lead. Clinton now holds a narrow edge among white voters while Obama leads by 16% among African-Americans.
A separate survey showed that Obama has the highest level of core support among all Presidential candidates—33% of voters say they’d definitely vote for him if he’s on the ballot in November 2008.
Rasmussen Reports releases national polling data on the Democratic nomination process every Monday and on the Republican race each Tuesday. The current survey of 782 Likely Democratic Primary Voters was conducted April 16-19, 2007. The margin of sampling error is +/-4 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.
Among all voters, Clinton is viewed favorably by 50% and unfavorably by 49%. Obama’s numbers are a bit stronger—59% favorable and 34% unfavorable. The two candidates are essentially even among Democrats—Clinton is viewed favorably by 74% in her party while Obama is viewed favorably by 72%. Among unaffiliated voters, Clinton is viewed favorably by 50%, Obama by 67%.
All Democratic candidates issued statements last week opposing the Supreme Court ruling on partial-birth abortion. That ruling was little noticed due to the tragedy at Virginia Tech. Just 40% of Americans knew how the Court ruled on the issue. Most who knew agreed with the ruling.
The Democrats were cautious in their statements about gun control following the Virginia Tech shootings. While there has been an increase in support for stricter gun control laws in the aftermath of that horrific event, less than half of Americans want stricter gun control laws.
Iraq remains the Democrats most potent issue—just 33% of voters now believe history will judge the U.S. mission in Iraq a success.
Yesterday was Earth Day and 45% of American voters see Global Warming as a Very Serious problem. Another 28% say it is Somewhat Serious. There is a significant divide over whether the human activity is the cause or if the Warming is simply part of a long-term planetary trend.
Sunday morning talk shows are nothing more than televised salons constructed to seduce the viewer into watching and receiving the conventional wisdom that is at its core a pernicious form of corporate propaganda. Once entangled in the web of deceit, the viewer’s mind is paralyzed and sucked dry like a dangerous spider that devours its prey. The viewer, now intellectually anesthetized is no longer a threat to the white power structure that rules this country.
Salons, from their inception, were meant to be social devices where the elite could gather in the drawing rooms of their aristocratic peers to discuss the various issues important to their class in a less formal atmosphere more conducive to free flowing dialog. It is customary for the host to lead off the discussion and insure that everyone has a crack at the question at hand. Good hosts always assemble a diverse guest list with people of various opinions and stations well represented, along with a few decorous women thrown in to keep it lively for good measure.
Nobody was better at assembling the power salon than former Ambassador to France, and Democratic Party doyenne, Pamela Harriman. A British born daughter of aristocratic privilege, Mrs. Harriman made her mark in Washington and Europe as a courtesan of power.
Courtesan, a French term which essentially means socialite whore, is an appellation used frequently by biographers of Mrs. Harriman. She learned her skills at the feet of her idol, the Duchess of Windsor, the former Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee’ who met and married the King of England, Edward VIII, in a salacious scandal which led to his abdication of the throne in 1936 to wed the woman he loved.
The Duchess imparted to her pupil the art of the salon and her unmatched ability to cocoon and control powerful men. Mrs. Harriman used her skills to land a wealthy third husband, former Ambassador to Russia and New York Governor Averell Harriman, with whom she had an elicit affair during World War II. After the death of their respective spouses, they hooked up in 1971.
The marriage led Mrs. Harriman on a grueling quest for power and recognition in Washington power circles. She resurrected and honed the gimmick of the salon to ensnare official Washington into her drawing room to raise money for Democratic Senators. She was rewarded for her dutiful service to the white neo-liberal power structure with an ambassadorship to France in the Clinton Administration.
Like the late Pamela Harriman, Tim Russert is a courtesan of Washington power. His televised salon, Meet the Press, is a seductive forum of corporate propaganda. Like a good socialite whore, he knows how to run a salon, cocoon powerful men, and wield their power as his own. He reigns supreme among his fellow television brethren for his singular ability to use his program to confer the imprimatur of power on those fortunate enough to be tapped by his fraudulent benevolence for a coveted cameo appearance.
Frequent appearances on Meet the Press are status symbols of cachet, relevance, and prestige among the Washington power elite. They are the hottest tickets in town and analogous to seats at a Washington National Cathedral Presidential Funeral. The appearances signal to anybody observant enough to keep score that the recipient has arrived.
In keeping with the ethos of privilege and exclusivity, Tim would have you to believe that his choice of important topics and important newsmakers represents the cream of the crop. Like cream, Tim’s idea of cream is almost all-white. This past Sunday was the last straw. We were treated to an all white parade that is so commonplace among the Washington Sunday Talk Shows. We heard absolutely nothing from those people that was insightful or even remotely newsworthy.
We heard from the same Bush Administration hacks that gave us No Child Left Behind and the Medicare Prescription Drug benefit. Neither Secretary Spellings or Secretary Leavitt have the capacity to think their way out of a paper bag much less come up with policy recommendations likely to avert another tragedy like Virginia Tech. They had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO SAY.
We shoulda heard from the Surgeon General, or a Mental Health expert or somebody, anybody with some muthafreakin’ expertise. All we got was the same beltway B.S. we always hear. In the past 18 months, Meet the Press has had 19 non-white guests which represent an eclectic mix of diplomats, heads of state, the same two reporters, and a few stray uncle toms like John McWhorter an Michael Steele. When we do hear from a big cheese, it is a Republican with a disappointing perm like Condi.
Apparently, Meet the Press has only three black people on speed dial: Gwen Ifill, Eugene Robinson, and Barack Obama. It was no surprise then that Gwen Ifill handed Tim his ass last week for coddling Don Imus or that this week’s talking head roundtable guests were all Imus alums gathered together in silent protest and all spouting conventional wisdom.
My favorite moment this Sunday was the irony of a roundtable of whitefolks celebrating diversity. Jon Meachum of Newsweek made the following observation of the Virginia Tech victims “One, one of the things I found so striking was the diversity of the victims. As you mentioned, the Holocaust survivor, professor who tried to—tried help and save people, the, the number of international students there in the middle of Virginia. It’s, it’s a snapshot of what the country is. And it’s, it’s a diverse country and it’s a good country.”
To bring this post full circle, the true test of a salon is its diversity and its ability to both inform and enlighten. On this score, Meet the Press fails as do the rest of Tim Russert’s white brethren. Hey, Tim, how bout a new closing? How bout, “ If it’s Sunday, It’s Meet the White Press.”
Congresswoman Juanita Millender McDonald of Carson California has died of colon and liver cancer. Mrs. Millender McDonald, a former Carson City Councilwoman, California Assemblywoman, and teacher represented California’ s racially diverse 37th Congressional District for 10 years beginning in 1997 after defeating the wife of former Congressman Tucker who went down in a public corruption probe earlier that year.
Mrs. Millender McDonald had a reputation as politically progressive and forward thinking. Unafraid to lead, she was the first member of the Congressional Black Caucus to endorse John Kerry in 2004 and she led a sit in the offices of Former North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms, an unapoligetic reationary hostile to African Americans who attempted to block the nomination of former Illinois Senator Carol Moseley Braun to an Ambassadorship in New Zealand.
The Congresswoman also had another side. She was a very high strung and abusive boss who, according to The Washington Post, “Several former staffers — some who quit and some who were fired over the past few years — report that the congresswoman is difficult to work for because she demeans staff and rarely seems pleased with their work. All asked for anonymity for fear of reprisals.
She once fired an aide for — among other issues — leaving a box of candy on her chair, said a source. Her No. 1 rule, the ex-aides say, is that aides can never walk in front of her. The sources also say she is unusually egotistical — even for a politician — and insists that staffers tout her accomplishments in news releases and other materials.”
Mrs. Millender McDonald’s diverse congressional district may change hands and the Congressional Black Caucus might lose a member. Mrs. Millender McDonald’s congressional district is only 25% African American according to the last census and more than 43% Latino. Latina State Senator Jenny Oropeza, has been identified by the Los Angeles Times as the leading contender in the special election. All of the usual African American suspects are all politicians over 72. State Senator Ed Vincent is 73, Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne Burke, a former Congresswoman is 75, and Assemblyman Mervyn Dymally, also a former Congressman is 81. In short, ain’t none of them likely to run.
African Americans likely to take a serious look at running for this seat include Compton Mayor Eric Perrodin, Los Angeles Councilmembers Jan Perry, and Bernard Parks and state Assemblywoman Laura Richardson. Whatever happens, this district will be represented by a good progressive democrat and the people will lose nothing. Expect the winner of Nancy Pelosi’s endorsement to be the odds on favorite in this district.
NEW YORK (AP) – Wooing black voters while tackling questions about his experience, Democrat Barack Obama said Saturday that his years as a community organizer and accomplishments in the Illinois state Senate have prepared him well for the presidency.
Addressing the National Action Network, a civil rights group founded by Rev. Al Sharpton, Obama touted his successes as an Illinois lawmaker in providing health insurance to children and reducing the price of prescription drugs for senior citizens. He also told of passing legislation to monitor racial profiling and to require that police interrogations of suspects in capital cases be videotaped.“I haven’t just talked about these things, I’ve actually done them,” he said, adding that he’d worked well with the Republicans who controlled the state Senate for most of his tenure there.
With just over two years in the U.S. Senate, Obama has faced questions over whether he has sufficient experience to be president.
On the campaign trail, front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton stresses her long career in public life and often warns voters that the next president will need to “hit the ground running.”
Sharpton, who ran for the Democratic nomination in 2004, has also openly questioned Obama’s credentials for the job. Obama, running to be the first black president, acknowledged those concerns. He also assured the largely black audience he did not believe he was automatically entitled to their support.
“I’ve said to Rev. Sharpton and I’ll say it today, if there is somebody – I don’t care whether they are white or black or they are male or female – if there is somebody who has been more on the forefront on behalf of the issues you care about and has more concrete accomplishments on behalf of the things you’re concerned about, I’m happy to see you endorse them. But I am absolutely confident you will not find that,” he said.
With black voters a key part of the Democratic party base, the four-day NAN convention has attracted nearly all the 2008 Democratic contenders, as well as former President Bill Clinton and DNC Chairman Howard Dean. Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd had been expected to speak but scheduling problems forced him to cancel.
A spokeswoman said Sharpton was not expected to endorse a candidate soon.
Hillary Clinton, who spoke Friday, won several standing ovations from the audience.
sung to the same tune as the Shaft Theme by Issac Hayes
Who’s the stupid dick that’s thinks he’s slick?
Al! yo’ ass is ‘bout to get the SHAFT! (Ya damn right!)
Who is the man that would risk his neck tellin’ falsehoods to shield the ignorant patrician in the White House? Al! yo’ ass is ‘bout to get the SHAFT! (Can you dig it?)
Who’s the cat that cops out in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee when there’s danger all about? Al! yo’ ass is ‘bout to get the SHAFT! (Right On!)
The Senators say this cat Al is a stupid mother . . .
“Shut your mouth!” Yo’ ass is ’bout to get the SHAFT! (Then we can dig it!)
Sung to the tune of And I am Telling You (Dreamgirls)
And I am telling you
I’m not going.
Dubya’s the best gringo I’ll ever know.
There’s no way I can ever go,
No, no, no, no way,
No, no, no, no way I’m livin’ without him.
I’m not leavin’ the Administration.
I don’t want to be free.
And he, and he, my President loves me.
Ooh, my President loves me.
And I am telling you
I’m not going,
Even though the rough times are showing.
There’s just no way,
There’s no way.
We’re part of the same place (Texas).
We’re part of the same time.
We both share the same blood (I know its a stretch, work with me).
We both have the same (mediocre) mind.
And time and time we have so much to share (hopefully not in somebody’s penitentiary),
No, no, no,
No, no, no,
I’m not wakin’ up tomorrow mornin’
And findin’ that my limo driver is not there.
Darling, there’s no way,
No, no, no, no way I’m livin’ without him.
I’m not leavin’ the Administration.
You see, there’s just no way,
There’s no way.
Throw down some damn subpeonas,
Yell, scream and shout.
You can say what you want,
Executive Privilege will bail my ass out.
Stop all legislation,
Push, strike, and kill.
I’m not tellin’ y’all nothin’ bout no U.S. Attorneys,
There’s no way I will.
And I am telling you
I’m not going.
Dubya’s the best gringo I’ll ever know.
There’s no way I can ever, ever go,
No, no, no, no way,
No, no, no, no way I’m livin’ without him.
Oh, I’m not leavin’ the Administration,
I’m not livin’ without him.
I don’t wanna be free.
And he, and he,
My President loves me.
Oh, my President loves me,
Yes, ah, ooh, ooh, love me,
Ooh, ooh, ooh, he loves me,
My President loves me.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales faced sharp questioning Thursday from Democrats and Republicans alike on the Senate Judiciary Committee as he tried to counter a tidal wave of criticism of him over the firing of eight U.S. attorneys.
“Today, the Department of Justice is experiencing a crisis of leadership, perhaps unrivaled during its 137-year history,” said the committee chairman, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). “The truth is that these firings have yet to be explained, and there is mounting evidence of improper considerations and actions resulting in the dismissals.”
Also, Leahy made clear in his opening statement, “I cannot excuse the attorney general’s actions and his failures from the outset to be forthright with us, with these prosecutors and with American people.”
Some of the toughest questioning of Gonzales, though, came from Republican Sens. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Jeff Sessions of Alabama. And Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he believed that Gonzales and other senior Justice Department officials had decided to fire the prosecutors first, then made up justifications for the firings after a crisis engulfed the department.
“Some of them sound good, some don’t,” Graham said of the justifications.
Gonzales, who publicly apologized to the fired prosecutors, said repeatedly that he could not remember any details of a critical Nov. 27 meeting at the Justice Department, where the plan to oust several federal prosecutors was discussed, or an Oct. 11 meeting to discuss voter fraud allegations with President Bush and his top political adviser, Karl Rove.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has already called for Gonzales’ resignation, engaged in a testy exchange with him over whether he lied to Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) regarding the replacement of the U.S. attorney in Arkansas and whether the Bush administration would seek Senate confirmation of a new prosecutor there.
Gonzales admitted that he had heard complaints from both Rove and Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.) about David Iglesias, the former U.S. attorney for New Mexico. Domenici is the subject of a preliminary inquiry about his contacts with Iglesias and whether he pressured Iglesias to indict local Democrats prior to the midterm elections in November.
Though he admitted to mistakes in the Justice Department’s handling of the firings and his public response to questions about them, Gonzales stuck by the decision to sack the prosecutors.
“First, those eight attorneys deserved better – they deserved better from me and from the Department of Justice, which they served selflessly for many years,” Gonzales said. “I regret how they were treated, and I apologize to them and to their families for allowing this matter to become an unfortunate and undignified public spectacle. I accept full responsibility for this.”
Gonzales added that, after conducting his own review and speaking with Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty about whether he should “reconsider the firings,” he was not going to backtrack.
“What I have concluded is that, although the process was nowhere near as rigorous or structured as it should have been, and while reasonable people might decide things differently, my decision to ask for the resignations of these U.S. attorneys is justified and should stand,” Gonzales said.
The attorney general also denied any suggestion that he had lied to lawmakers about his role in the firings. “I never sought to mislead or deceive the Congress or the American people,” he said. “To the contrary: I have been extremely forthcoming with information. … These are not the actions of someone with something to hide.”
Gonzales stated repeatedly in his opening statement and under questioning that “nothing improper occurred” in dismissing the prosecutors. There has been speculation by Democrats about whether Gonzales fired U.S. attorneys who were investigating Republican lawmakers for corruption.
Gonzales said his former chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson, was responsible for reviewing U.S. attorneys. He called it “Mr. Sampson’s project” under questioning by Specter and said that he had only a “limited role” in it.
“Putting it in context, I would say that my involvement was limited. I consider that an accurate statement,” Gonzales said.
In response to inquiries from Sessions, Gonzales said five times that he could not recall attending a Nov. 27 meeting with senior Justice Department officials, which included McNulty, Sampson and Monica Goodling, a former senior adviser who has since resigned.
“I have no memory of this,” Gonzales said. “I cannot recall the contents of that meeting.”
By the end of the morning session, it was unclear if Gonzales had made any headway in his effort to stave off the calls for his resignation.
Any way you look at this unfathomable tragedy, it becomes increasingly apparent that in all of our efforts to celebrate diversity, we as Americans don’t have a freakin clue about what that really means. The artificial social construct that is commonly known as race-matters no matter what the right-wing conservative talking point about the irrelevance of race happens to be.
From his close knit family to everyone else he encountered outside of the sanctuary of home, they failed him. Cho Seung-Hui had apparently been slowing going insane for several years and nobody with the power to set things right intervened. What intervention occurred was piecemeal and halfhearted. From published investigative reports to his writings on the internet, it is clear that Cho was suffering from some form of paranoid schizophrenia.
According to Health Square, “Schizophrenia is one of the most damaging mental disorders—causes its victims to lose touch with reality. They often begin to hear, see, or feel things that aren’t really there (hallucinations) or become convinced of things that simply aren’t true (delusions). In the paranoid form of this disorder, they develop delusions of persecution or personal grandeur. The first signs of paranoid schizophrenia usually surface between the ages of 15 and 34. There is no cure, but the disorder can be controlled with medications. Severe attacks may require hospitalization.”
It is my contention that Cho Seung-Hui’s death and the carnage his unchecked illness engendered is a result of the perniciously devastating effects of the “Model Minority” stereotype. Christopher Liang of the University of Maryland, along with other colleagues, has written extensively about the racism and stereotypes faced by Asian Americans in the United States. Ignorance about the Asian American experience is rampant.
In a paper entitled “The Asian American Racism-Related Stress Inventory,” Dr. Liang and his colleagues wrote, “As members of a minority group in the United States, Asian Americans have been targets of racism. The long history of racism toward Asian Americans has been well documented and includes the lynching and mass murders of early Asian migrants, legislation banning migration of persons from Asia, and internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. In recent years, there has been an increase in reports of anti-Asian vandalism, intimidation, and threats, and incidents involving bodily harm.”
Dr. Liang and his colleagues also succinctly explain the model minority stereotype “First coined by sociologist William Patterson, the notion of “model minority” suggests that Asian Americans embody the modern day American success story; that is, Asian Americans are functioning well in society and somehow immune from cultural conflicts and discrimination and experience few adjustment difficulties.”
Dr. Liang and his colleagues further explain that other social scientists have found that “…the model minority myth has masked the real social, economic, and psychological problems encountered by large segments of the Asian American Population and diverted attention away from discrimination and prejudice that effect their lives.”
Moreover, as other scholars sited by Liang point out and getting to my central theme, “lower rates of utilization of mental health services in comparison with other Americans…have led to a belief that Asian Americans compose a population free from psychological problems despite their minority status and experiences with racism. It is now believed that underutilization of mental health services is related to cultural factors such as loyalty to family, sensitivity to shame, preference for indigenous healers, and the mismatch between the cultural values among Asian Americans and the values inherent in Western mental health services.”
Cultural sensitivity and a requisite knowlege of the Asian American experience were completely lacking at Virginia Tech as well as the court system charged with directing a psychiatric evaluation. Both institutions were hamstrung by stereotypical notions regarding Asian Americans as, “peaceful, docile, or perhaps, less intimidating physically, and therefore less of a physical threat…thus less likely to engage in criminal behavior.”
The black professors who sounded the alarm, Drs. Roy and Giovanni, were ignored in a way they wouldn’t have been if they had been white women sounding the alarm about a dangerously unstable black boy. Had the mental health professionals directed by the court to evaluate his mental state done their jobs properly, this entire tragedy could have been averted. In the final analysis, nobody noticed this boy for who he was-an innocent victim of mental illness that was stereotyped to death.
In an interview with NY1 political anchor Dominic Carter, Mass. Senator John Kerry says radio-show host Don Imus should not have been fired by CBS – and won’t rule out appearing on a future program hosted by the controversial shock jock.
Kerry is the first high-profile Democrat not to support Imus’ ouster – who was fired last Thursday after making remarks about the Rutgers women’s basketball team.
Here is a transcript of Kerry’s remarks:
Kerry: “I think that the…you know the punishment has to fit the crime so to speak. I think a long suspension, or a strong suspension met with his appropriate level, given that the team forgave him. To me it was in the hands of the young women. They made the judgment that they thought he was genuine and they felt they could forgive him. And I think it was appropriate to pay a price on the airwaves but I’m not sure that it was appropriate to say you’re off forever.”
Dominic Carter: “If Mr. Imus has a show in the future would you appear on it?”
Kerry: “It would depend on what the context of the show was obviously. If he goes back to doing the same old same old I’d have trouble doing that, but if it’s a different show and he says it’s going to be different sure.”