Kagan confirmed 63-37

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Hat Tip: By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, Associated Press

WASHINGTON – The Senate confirmed Elena Kagan Thursday as the Supreme Court’s 112th justice and the fourth woman in its history, granting a lifetime term to a lawyer and academic with a reputation for brilliance, a dry sense of humor and a liberal bent.

The vote was 63-37 for President Barack Obama’s nominee to succeed

Justice Elena Kagan

retired Justice John Paul Stevens.

Five Republicans joined all but one Democrat and the Senate’s two independents to support Kagan.

Kagan watched the vote with her Justice Department colleagues in the solicitor general’s conference room, the White House said.

Obama, traveling in Chicago, said her confirmation was an affirmation of her character and judicial temperament, and called the addition of another woman to the court a sign of progress for the country.

Kagan is the first Supreme Court nominee in nearly 40 years with no experience as a judge, and her swearing-in will mark the first time in history that three women will serve on the nine-member court together.

Her lack of judicial experience was the stated reason for one fence-sitting Republican, Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, to announce his opposition to Kagan’s confirmation Thursday, just hours before the vote.

“The best umpires, to use the popular analogy, must not only call balls and strikes, but also have spent enough time on the playing field to know the strike zone,” Brown said.

In my skeptical opinion, Scott Brown cast a political vote wholly without merit in order to preserve his future political viability as a Republican presidential candidate.

We’re in Hell

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I remember it like it was yesterday.  In the fall of 1994, I was an intern for the North Carolina Democratic Party. The 1994 elections were a watershed of fear, racist projection, and ignorance. The election night parties were full of tears and slack jaws as damn near everyone went down.  I went home with my tail between my legs.

Devastated by the previous evening’s events and looking for solace I stepped into the HBCU counseling center office of my play mom, Ms. Chisholm.  A South Carolina native, she made everyone feel like family but wasn’t a stereotypical, syrupy sweet, southern Mom. She looked up and saw the newspapers I had collected announcing the Republican sweep and said gravely, “we’re in Hell.”

This week has felt like that as a veil of ignorance and fear descended over Washington in the wake of Scott Brown’s election to the United States Senate in Massachusetts.  A wake up call to be sure, it provoked some interesting reactions and farcical moments.   As the president finally located his stones and called for a broad tax on the predatory banks to recoup the trillions in bailout largess they extorted from the U.S. Treasury, the Supreme Court reversed a century of precedent and plunged the United States back into the Gilded Age of Robber Barons and monopolistic trusts.

President Obama only had a year-long window to make any kind of change and he squandered it by trying to compromise with the Republicans, the banks, and the insurance companies.  Everything from here on out will be filibustered unless Harry Reid uses reconciliation.  But even that handy little tool will be useless with the new toy the Supreme Court has given our corporate overlords.

Campaign Finance Reform, an issue I care deeply about but never discuss was front and center yesterday as the Supreme Court struck down any limits on corporate independent expenditure campaigns on free speech grounds.  They now have the power to use their general treasuries and their billions in profits to buy every friendly politician in sight or mount saturation level campaigns targeted at their political enemies.

Scared by the browning of America and the Presidency of Barack Obama, the Supreme Court finally pulled the trigger on fascism, shredded the constitution under the guise of interpreting it, and effectively destroyed our Democracy.  The Republicans will finally be able to rely on an endless tsunami of cash to fund their campaigns and elections will be nothing more than contests to see who can most effectively whore out to the corporations.

I refuse to participate in, to borrow a phrase from Keith Olbermann, a “farcical perversion.” I will finish this election season out and work for the candidates I have committed to but this is Skeptical Brotha’s last campaign.  I’m done.  I am going to do what I should have done years ago and finally learn Spanish and French.  I am going to leave this country and go somewhere that doesn’t elevate the rights of corporations over the rights of people.  I love my Momma.  I love my Daddy.  I love my family, but I refuse to stay here and be a slave on this corporate plantation.

Michael Steele: Concern Troll

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The blackface minstrel the Republican Party installed as its chairman has had the audacity to call on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to resign.  Yesterday on Meet the Press, the preeminent Salon of Sunday talk, Steele was asked if Senator Reid should resign for saying Barack Obama was a viable Presidential candidate because he was “light-skinned” and because he did not speak with a “Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”

I refuse to defend Harry Reid, but even an idealist like me knows the difference between a Majority Leader who advances the agenda of a black president and a Majority Leader who defended segregation.

Steele said, “[F]rom my perspective, whether he steps down today or I retire him in November, either way, he will not be the leader in 2011.” That is mighty curious statement because The Steele Sambo felt differently when Trent Lott found himself in a similar predicament.

The Politico has the scoop:

The Washington Post reported on Dec. 14, 2002: “Lt. Gov.-elect Michael S. Steele said last night that he was personally upset by U.S. Sen. Trent Lott’s praise for Sen. Strom Thurmond and his segregationist past, but said Lott should not be forced to relinquish his leadership position in the Senate. ‘Trent Lott apologized, but he needs to keep apologizing because this is a very sensitive issue to the black community,’ Steele (R) said at an event celebrating his election as Maryland’s first black lieutenant governor. ‘I know Trent Lott personally, and I know that this is not his intent. But it’s still unfortunate. And I think he needs to apologize a little bit more.’”

The New York Times quotes Steele:

What’s interesting here is when Democrats get caught saying racist things, an apology is enough,” Mr. Steele said. “If that had been [Senate Republican Leader] Mitch McConnell saying that about an African-American candidate for president of the United States,” Democrats would be “screaming for his head, very much as they were with [Former Senate Republican Leader] Trent Lott.

What the record proves, what it always proves, is that when Republicans say racist things an apology is usually enough and The Steele Sambo will be there to back them up.

Perhaps y’all remember this little tidbit from last year in Politico:

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele says he has reached out to Rush Limbaugh to tell him he meant no offense when he referred to the popular conservative radio host as an “entertainer” whose show can be “incendiary.”

My intent was not to go after Rush – I have enormous respect for Rush Limbaugh,” Steele said in a telephone interview. “I was maybe a little bit inarticulate. … There was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership.

Class, let’s review what The Steele Sambo has enormous respect for.

Rush Limbaugh has said:

Have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson?

Look, let me put it to you this way: the NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it.

The NAACP should have riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies.

[To an African American female caller]: Take that bone out of your nose and call me back.

I would be honored if the Drive-By Media headlined me all day long: “Limbaugh: I Hope Obama Fails.” Somebody’s gotta say it.

[On Justice Sotomayor] “So here you have a racist. You might want to soften that, and you might want to say a reverse racist. And the libs, of course, say that minorities cannot be racists because they don’t have the power to implement their racism. Well, those days are gone, because reverse racists certainly do have the power to implement their power. Obama is the greatest living example of a reverse racist, and now he’s appointed one.”

At every turn, The Steele Sambo has used his race and status as a Republican leader to defend the most aggressive purveyors of the racism he now claims to be offended by. In the blogosphere we called creeps like The Steele Sambo concern trolls. It is a delicious epithet because they damn sure ain’t the least bit concerned about whatever they comment on. And they are almost always an ugly wingnut troll. To be fair, Michael Steele is not ugly, but the racism he consistently defends as the Chairman of the Republican Party is.

While I am no fan of Barack Obama’s safe establishment politics, I hope The Steele Sambo’s book and his rancid political agenda fails.

Senate Leader tells Burris the Clown to step down

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burris-the-clown

Hat Tip: Politico.com

Sen. Dick Durbin urged Sen. Roland Burris on Tuesday to quit his job as the junior senator from Illinois, but the embattled senator has no plans of leaving the Senate.

In a private meeting that lasted nearly an hour, Durbin told Burris that the growing controversy over his appointment would make it difficult for him to continue serving in the Senate. Durbin also expressed disappointment that Burris did not reveal his extensive contacts and his fund raising efforts for the ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who appointed him to the seat on Dec. 30.

“I told him that under the circumstances, I would consider resigning if I were in his shoes,” Durbin said. “He said he would not resign. That is his conclusion. At this point, I suggested to him that he had to do everything in his power to bring all the facts out as completely as possible.”

Durbin warned Burris that he would lose a Democratic primary if he were to run in 2010, but Burris said he has not made a decision on whether to run next fall.

The meeting was a remarkable chapter in the controversy involving Blagojevich, the ousted former governor who was arrested last December for allegedly trying to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat to the highest bidder.

Blagojevich defied party leaders Dec. 30 by announcing that Burris was his choice to fill Obama’s seat, setting off a battle over whether the Senate should seat Burris. Under enormous pressure, Democratic Senate leaders seated Burris and swore him in on the condition he present valid paperwork and testify truthfully before state legislators in the Blagojevich impeachment case.

Some Senate Democrats are now privately regretting that they relented and seated Burris in the first place.

The most recent controversy started Feb. 14 when news broke that Burris had submitted an affidavit saying he’d spoken with several Blagojevich associates, including the governor’s brother, Rob, about his interest in the seat. That statement appeared to diverge from his Jan. 8 testimony to state legislators where he only discussed one contact with the former governor.

And last week, Burris dropped another bombshell saying he tried to raise money for the then-governor at the time of expressing his interest in the seat.

“The fact that he did not volunteer – volunteer the names like people like Rod Blagojevich’s brother was troubling to me,” Durbin said.

I Don’t Care What You Say…

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Daschle-Confirmation Hearing

You fight for the ones that were with you from day one. Tom Daschle encouraged Barack Obama to run for President and not be intimidated by the Clinton Juggernaut, which he ultimately defanged and defeated. All the Senate old heads sat a brotha down and schooled him. “Your chance, if it comes at all, won’t come but once—grab it.” He did, and retired old heads like Daschle provided wise counsel along the path to ultimate power. Daschle, apart from being the ultimate Senate insider, health care expert, and former Majority Leader, knew the internal machinations of the Senate and its formidable personalities. His addition to the Obama cabinet and on the White House staff signaled that Tom was back in the saddle and czar of the most formidable reform effort, aside from the economic recovery, on Barack Obama’s plate. This is and was a serious portfolio and his tax status, irrelevant as it is, was no reason to cast him aside when his skill set is in short supply and his discipline, focus, and ideological purity on health care reform is so badly needed.

 

I simply don’t buy, given the reaction of Senate Democratic old heads, that Daschle removed himself from consideration. He was pushed—by whom, besides arse clowns like John Ensign, remains to be seen. This is a fine mess and I no longer have any warm and fuzzy feelings about health care reform in this Administration.


Nobody can tell me that throwing Daschle overboard and then fishing Judd Gregg’s right wing behind out of the soup is “Change We Can Believe In.”

About face on Burris

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Illinois Governor

It has been several days now and I’ve had time to chill and collect my thoughts. During that time, I have come to realize that my opposition to the seating of Roland Burris as the Junior Senator from Illinois is a mistake and a histrionic reaction to Rod Blagojevich’s mischievous and Machiavellian appointment of a qualified African American.

 

There is no way in hell that accepting Blagojevich’s appointment was the rational act of a black politician concerned about fair black representation in the upper house. Instead, it was the juvenile and selfish maneuvering of a washed up politician who equates the legitimate desire of the African American community to be represented by at least one African American Senator with his appointment. They are not one and the same.

The man or woman chosen to replace the President Elect should have been academically, politically, and professionally the best our community could put forward. Burris fails on that score. He is relatively undistinguished but qualified and is definitely over the hill.

 

But what’s done is done and the President Elect and the Democratic Caucus need to deal rationally with the unsavory politics of this appointment without casting aspersions, as many, including me, have done.

 

This is a legally unassailable appointment. Period. Rod Blagojevich retained the legal authority to make this selection and he made it because the Illinois legislature declined to strip him of this authority. Given the time-frame he constitutionally has to decide whether he would sign or veto any piece of legislation, he probably would have been able to stall long enough to make the appointment anyway and we would still be here. Most reasonable folk understand that he had no moral authority, but the law doesn’t require that.

 

Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times dropped the dime on Blagojevich the other day. Reid actively maneuvered against any African American appointment. He opposed Jesse, Danny Davis, and Emil Jones. The fact of the matter is that no Senate Democratic leader has done any heavy lifting to benefit a black Senatorial candidate in a contested situation. Nobody has ever attempted to clear the field to benefit a brotha or sistah. Nobody has ever attempted to dry up a white candidate’s fundraising to help out a black senate candidate. It happens for whites all the time. Steny Hoyer, the House Majority Leader, actively sought to dry up Kweisi Mfume’s money to benefit Ben Cardin in 2006.


 

The Senate Majority Leader has never done anything to benefit a black Senate candidate before appointment or before a contested primary. It’s a damn shame I didn’t see that before, but I see it now. Despite Bobby Rush’s clumsy, cartoonish injection of race into the initial press conference—he happens to be right. He also happens to be the worst messenger of the truth because of his unwillingness to support Barack Obama for this seat in the first place.

Rikyrah, CPL, y’all are right, and I was wrong.

What is baffling to me though is why some of the same black people who advocate seating Burris don’t castigate Barack Obama for siding against qualified black representation.

 

Obama-Biden:Unconditional surrender to the Washington Establishment

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Late in the midnight hour, the Washington press corps informed the world definitively that Barack Obama had reached deep into the senior ranks of the Senate’s comb-over caucus of corporate has-beens to recycle Delaware’s ponderous windbag, Senator Joe Biden, as his running mate. Obama’s selection signaled his unconditional surrender to the tribal Washington power structure and the corporate media voiced its approval through endless rounds of substance free adoration and praise.

Receiving the campaign’s tired little text message this morning was anti-climatic given the aggressive reporting the night before. This Skeptical Brotha is unimpressed. I am assuming that you’ve chewed it over some. What say you?