Blogging the PBS Debate with Tavis Smiley at Howard University

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It is on and poppin’ at Howard University.  Share your thoughts.

What we do without long Negro introductions?

First question: Does race matter as it did for Du Bois at the  beginning of the 20th century?  Hillary-strong.   Obama-weak.  Couples personal responsibility with institutional racism.   Richardson looks uncomfortable talking about race.  Dodd-surpisingly strong.   Biden-strong.  Gravel and Kucinich hearts in the right place.

Now the journalists get a crack.

Dewayne Wickham questions Biden.  What do you attribute the inequity between the unemployment rate of black high school grads and white high school dropouts?  Biden starts rambling and unfocused.  Richardson-higher teacher salaries, at risk programs and parental involvement, full day kindergarten and pre-k programs and college education.

Edwards-No one single cause of poverty.  When young brothas surrounded by poverty and hoplessness its reinforcing.  Work needs to pay for young men-raise min wage, right to organize. 

Obama- early childhood education is key.   Parents and counselors needed.   $ left behind for No Child Left Behind.  The reason we have consistently had underperformance from our children is because we haven’t had a president take ownership and recognition of all children.

Kucinich-need to see connection between war and education.  need to cut 15%.

Gravel-people on this stage are all guilty for not placing enough emphasis on education rather than war.

Michel Martin’s question-69% of African American teens are HIV positive, what is the plan?

Richardson-rambles.    Edwards has facts together and has visited treatment center.  1, find a cure.  2. Fully fund Ryan White AIDS program, 3. Fully fund HIV/AIDS drug treatment.

I may remove all this stream of consciousness stuff later on, but for now I will leave it.   A lot of time was wasted intially with the long and unnecessary Negro introductions and perorations about their importance.   Did anybody mention reparations?

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Roberts court overturns Brown v. Board of Education

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The racial reactionaries on the Roberts Court, the ones neither Hillary or Obama could be bothered to aggressively filibuster, have overturned Brown V. Board of Education without tacitly acknowledging that fact.  And have, once again, used the equal protection clause of the constitution, placed there to protect the rights of black folk, to defend white privilege.

The opinion and dissents are here.

The U.S. Senate, in another development, also killed Immigration reform for the year.

Campaign Mailbag: Barack’s deceptively funny spiel

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Barack Obama

Dear White Liberal,

It has now been over four months since we began this campaign for the hearts and minds of gullible liberals like your dumb ass. And let me tell you about the damn fools I’ve seen: there is an “awakening” taking place in white liberal America today.

From New Hampshire to California, from Texas to Iowa, we are seeing huge crowds we never dreamed possible. Foolish white liberals are falling up in my political events united in the delusion that it will mean something profound if I am elected President. It won’t-but you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll ride this wave of stupidity all the damn way to the oval office.

They’re coming because they know that America stands at a crossroads—but also because of the Hope hustle I’ve perfected-Jesse had, “Keep Hope Alive” and I’ve got the,“Audacity of Hope.” It really ain’t nothing but a suburban friendly marketing ploy aimed at middle class yuppie’s who have the credit rating to afford more than a $1,000 contribution.

We’re facing a set of challenges we haven’t seen in a generation. We all know what these challenges are—Who’s gonna raise Anna Nicole’s baby, the scoop on the twin Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan meltdowns, endlessly obsessing over the missing white woman of the month nobody ever heard of, and the unfair length of Paris Hilton’s jail time-not to mention the smaller issues like the health care crisis, an education system that’s not teaching every child, and the disastrous war in Iraq.

We also know that what’s stopped us from meeting these challenges is not the absence of sound leaders like Cynthia McKinney and Barbara Lee—it’s the smallness of the penises of the politicians leading this country down the path of failed leadership that’s really to blame. Mine is bigger—much, much, bigger and it IS true what they say….

In the last several years, we’ve seen Washington become a place where our problems are talked to death, while little is done to really solve them-I’m a prime example. Leaders who talk about real solutions get the Cynthia McKinney-isn’t-she-a-scary,-racist-Negro-treatment. Leaders who quietly acquiesce to the corporate agenda and front like they’ve done somethin’ get the cuddly, cutesy, corporate media darling, beautiful Negro treatment I’ve been gettin’ on the regular.

The time for the can’t do, won’t do, won’t-even try style of politics is over. Hold up! That’s what got me into position to run for President in the first damn place-Never mind what I just said, I just hafta keep saying that shit because it sounds earnest and y’all fall for it like a cuddly white newborn babe.

If you want the same kind of tired, DLC corporate friendly politics, please break me off a substantial contribution to Obama for America today.

I’m running or President because I believe it’s time to turn the page.

It’s time to turn the page on health care–This is the part where I’m supposed to say that if elected, I will enact a health care plan that will lower a family’s premiums by an average of $1000 and give every American access to the same health care members of Congress receive. In actuality, I haven’t even passed gas in the Senate, much less a damn bill of substance, so I’m a little short on the experience needed to radically change one fifth of the freakin’ economy. It’s just some pie-in-the-sky rhetoric I’m obligated to serve up to get your vote.

It’s time to turn the page on education—Again, this is where I’m supposed to say that we must move past the slow decay of indifference that says some schools can’t be fixed and some kids just can’t learn. Y’all heard this same song and dance from Bubba, Dubya and his daddy before him. The reality is that most of them hood rats are in schools that function as holding cells until they end up in damn jail or dead. It don’t really matter as long as I can steal their Mama’s vote away from Hillary.

With my book advance and royalties, I can afford private education for my babies and most of y’all already send your kids to damn near white public and private schools and are just like the gold digger Kanye rap’s about-you “ain’t messin’ with no broke nigga’s” in the hood and sure don’t want ‘em sitting next to your precious Biff and Buffy in the same classroom.

It’s time to turn the page on energy—Insert your favorite eco-liberal Sierra Club bullshit here. Ain’t none of that mess gonna help turn the page on the war in Iraq. –a war I claimed to be against and then I voted for every funding supplemental that came down the pike until political expedience dictated a vote against the one up this month. Resource wars are just a fact of life and I’m sure there will be at least one I wage to keep gas prices palatable for the touchy suburbanites I need to win re-election.

It’s time to show the world that I am still the last, best hope of the earth. This President may have sat his narrow behind in the seat of power in the Oval Office, but for the last six years, the position of leader and defender of the capitalist power structure has been open.

It’s time to fill that role once more with me-a safe Negro. Whether it’s Britney or Lindsay, Paris or Anna Nicole, America cannot meet the challenges of being the most celebrity obsessed, right-wing, imperialist country in the world alone. It’s time for us to lead.

We are America. We are the nation that liberated a continent from a madman, that lifted ourselves from the depths of depression after Elvis, John Lennon, and Curt Cobain died, that won civil rights, women’s rights, and voting rights for all people and then allowed George W. Bush to freakin steal the White House in plain sight.

What I’m saying is that I understand that Americans suffer from a profound political and racial schizophrenia. We preach compassion to others in need while we allow black bodies to float down the streets of a major American city. That’s who we really are. If y’all think that voting for me absolves you of all of your political and racial bullshit-I’m o.k. with that as long as y’all give me the power to put my finger on the button to annihilate all life, as we know it as your President.

Now, I am confident about my ability to lead this country. But I also know that I can’t do it without white idiots like you. This campaign is a corporate backed snow job-cynically calculated to be about your patriotic fantasies and desires for racial absolution because there are too many obstacles in basing a campaign on the universal truths that should bind us together as a people but never freakin’ have or will.

That’s why change has never really happened and why wealth and power is so concentrated along rigid racial and class lines. And that’s exactly why I will never be able to change a damn thing as President—nobody will in the coming months and years because that’s the genius of the system the framers designed.

I’m so grateful for the confidence you’ve already wasted in us and all that you’ve stupidly given. And I hope you’ll continue to be a dupe and stand with us. But while there are a number of ways you can help our fraudulent campaign-the only thing I really want is for you to break out the checkbook and write a damn check with three zeros to Obama for America.

With your moolah, I can maintain the status quo for my corporate affiliated contributors and reign like a damn King in the White House. In so doing, I can rid myself of the fear of failing like my father by accommodating the power structure like a kiss ass.

Sincerely,

Senator Barack Obama

P.S. Like munchkins who foolishly believed in the Wizard of Oz, I need white liberal munchkins like you to continue to believe so that I can mine the seemingly endless depths of white liberal guilt and continue down the political brick road to defeat, out-raise, and politically kill, the evil Wicked Witch of the East-Hillary Clinton.

It’s time to turn the page of your child like naïveté. It’s time to turn the page for capitalism. It’s time to turn the page and write the next chapter of imperial tyranny in the great American story. And we must write that story together. Please continue your foolish and delusional support of our campaign. And please cut a damn check today.

Obama reels in 242,000 donors in six months

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Hat Tip: By Nedra Pickler, Associated Press, Washington Post

WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has improved on his stunning support in the race for campaign cash, raising his total number of donors to nearly 250,000 people in the first six months of the year.

The freshman Illinois senator impressed rivals in the first quarter when he reported 104,000 donors, but he surpassed the mark in the second quarter with 138,000 more opening their wallets, the campaign announced Thursday.

The campaign won’t say yet how much the donors have given, but the large number suggests their fundraising will be competitive with the $25.7 million he raised in the first quarter. A campaign official speaking on the condition of anonymity tried to tamp down expectations by disclosing that the average donation in the second quarter is likely to be less than the roughly $247 in the first quarter.

The campaign said it’s goal is to attract 250,000 donors by midnight on Saturday, the next money reporting deadline, and was running a live tally on his Web site to help bring in more. It was about 6,000 short as of Thursday morning and said that 10,000 people had already donated this week.

The campaign said it collected more than 337,000 contributions _ meaning that many individuals made repeat donations _ and its goal will be to reach 350,000 by the deadline.

“This campaign has become a vehicle for hundreds of thousands of Americans who believe that the people can take control of the political process again,” campaign manager David Plouffe wrote in an e-mail to supporters that includes video links from donors.

“There are some who don’t think it’s possible,” Plouffe said. “But the reality is clear: Individual people with purpose, with passion and willing to make a small sacrifice can build a movement unlike anything presidential politics has ever seen. And we’re only just getting started.”

Obama’s campaign announced the final push for cash on the same day as a Democratic presidential debate, an announcement that could rattle his rivals.

Aides to his top competitor, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, say she will match her $26 million from the first quarter. That another candidate could even approach her fundraising prowess was unthinkable six months ago. But the freshman senator from Illinois has drawn supporters who have been inspired by his long-standing opposition to Iraq, his message of hope and his chance to be the first black president.

Like Clinton, Obama has attracted the Wall Street executives, Hollywood moguls and other rich donors who traditionally have fueled political campaigns. But Obama has also concentrated on smaller donors who can give just $25 or $50 each, a practice that other campaigns said they also have adopted in the second quarter.

Obama still trails Clinton in national and most state polls, but the money will give him the ability to fund an aggressive challenge to her front-runner status. He began his television ad campaign this week, with a spot in Iowa highlighting his biography.

The Obama campaign said it believes the number of donors is a record for six months of fundraising. Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean built a reputation for unprecedented grass-roots support when 70,000 people contributed about $10.5 million in the first two quarters of 2003.

Like Dean, much of Obama’s money comes in small-dollar donations made over the Internet.

Campaign experts say a large base of small donors can help build a candidate’s support in ways beyond funding. Michael Malbin of the Campaign Finance Institute said Obama sees small contributions as a leverage to get people to come out and volunteer.

“I don’t think most of the other candidates are at that point. That’s not what they’re doing,” he said.

He did point out that Clinton has the potential to tap a sizable donor base, noting that she had more small donors in her 2006 Senate effort than any other Senate campaign.