Sunday, November 30, 2008

Barack Obama - Not Black?

So says Marie Arana in The Washington Post today.

We call him that -- he calls himself that -- because we use dated language and logic. After more than 300 years and much difficult history, we hew to the old racist rule: Part-black is all black. Fifty percent equals a hundred. There's no in-between.

That was my reaction when I read these words on the front page of this newspaper the day after the election: "Obama Makes History: U.S. Decisively Elects First Black President."

The phrase was repeated in much the same form by one media organization after another. It's as if we have one foot in the future and another still mired in the Old South. We are racially sophisticated enough to elect a non-white president, and we are so racially backward that we insist on calling him black. Progress has outpaced vocabulary.

To me, as to increasing numbers of mixed-race people, Barack Obama is not our first black president. He is our first biracial, bicultural president. He is more than the personification of African American achievement. He is a bridge between races, a living symbol of tolerance, a signal that strict racial categories must go.

Of course there is much to celebrate in seeing Obama's victory as a victory for African Americans. The long, arduous battles that were fought and won in the name of civil rights redeemed our Constitution and brought a new sense of possibility to all minorities in this country. We Hispanic Americans, very likely the most mixed-race people in the world, credit our gains to the great African American pioneers of yesterday: Rosa Parks, W.E.B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King Jr.




You can read the rest of this tripe at the link above.

Let me break it down for you.

I SO am not gonna listen to a Latino tell me who IS and ISNT Black.

He was Black during the Rev. Wright brouhaha, wasn't he?

Watching Spanish speaking television in this country, no one would believe that the overwhelming majority of those brought over in the hulls of those slave ships did NOT stop in North America. Look at Spanish speaking tv - nary a Black to be found.

Hispanics are mixed race?

WTF do you think Black folk are?

'African-American pioneers'

Rosa Parks - yella
DuBois - yella
King - medium

Don't none of these folks look like present day West Africans.

Look at West Africans.

Now, look at the range of colors amongst the Black community here in America.

How the hell did we go from THAT to what we are NOW, without mixing with a whole lotta folks. Having White ancestors is nothing new for Black folk.

Barack Obama doesn't even look 'bi-racial'.

4 years ago, before his speech, take Obama and Harold Ford, Jr's pictures to the local Black barbershop anywhere in America.

Ask them to tell you who the bi-racial person was.

Would they choose Obama?

Or the green-eyed, wavy-haired Ford, Jr.?

My money's on Ford, Jr., born to 2 Black parents.

Like I said, this having White ancestors didn't begin with Barack Obama....though a great segment of White America just likes to pretend that it did.

When White folks claim bi-racial Pookey that just robbed the liquor store and shot 3 people, then I'll know it's not just about trying to divorce Obama from the Black community.

That was a great deal of the animus behind the attacks on Michelle, IMO.

She was BLACK.

Her ancestors were slaves in the bottom of those ships in chains BLACK.

All the pain, hideousy, and contradictions to the great myth that is America BLACK.

I've got relatives of the entire Black Community spectrum, and we're all BLACK.

This was left in the comments section over at Ta-Nehisi Coates:

For some people the choice of Barack and other bi-racial folks is perplexing in this day and age. Why be black if you don't have to be? Oh sure maybe a generation ago you didn't have a choice, but now you do so why not? Why not complete the transition to being post-racial (not black)? Why marry black and more black babies? This woman feels like Barack made himself "blacker" voluntarily and she doesn't understand why on earth he would do such a thing. Maybe someone should tell her it's actually kind of great.


Ding ding ding

We have a winner.

It totally perplexes some folks. You can see it.

' Why does he call himself BLACK?'

I still say that Michelle has a great deal to do with it. Why would he CHOOSE to marry Michelle?

I've written extensively about Michelle at JJP, and how I used to didn't understand why Toots and Gramps never got their ' due' when it came to Barack - they raised him for a chunk of his life, and I thought it was obvious:

Columbia
Harvard Law
President of the Harvard Law Review

that they more than deserved their ' props'.

Then, it came to me.

Michelle.

Michelle erased all that away, and ' negated it'. For, if Gramps and Toots had ' raised Barack right'...

then what's he doing married to Michelle?

And you all know, I then stepped away from that, because I didn't even want to try and understand folks who had that line of thinking.

Sorry, you're just going to have to deal with the full complexity of Black humanity.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Decision to Keep Robert Gates

President-elect Obama's decision to keep Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense is both a solid military move and political move.

In the face of two wars, the transition from President Bush to President Obama is easier for the Pentagon knowing that Gates will remain on the job for one more year.

Second, knowing there will be continuity in Iraq policy and knowing that Gates shares his belief that Afghanistan should be the true focus of our war on terror, allows Obama to focus more attention on pressing domestic concerns.

Third, this is a smart move politically because it ensures there will be at least one Republican in his Cabinet. This will potentially neuter future conservative criticism of Obama's Iraq/Afghanistan policy because it will still be a Republican running these wars for the forseeable future.

The big problem, of course, is that the anti-war wing of the Democratic Party, will feel let down that Obama isn't making a more concerted effort to immediately withdraw troops from Iraq. This is a misguided belief. The United States and Iraq have reached an understanding that U.S. troops will be (mostly) gone by 2011. Obviously, this wouldn't meet Obama's 16-month timetable, but it is a reasonable compromise between the get-out-now anti-war left and the "stay as long as it takes" foreign policy hawks.

Barack Obama - The First Celebrity President?








Barack Obama is the first CELEBRITY President. I don't mean that in a bad way. I just mean it in a factual way. He's the first President of the Modern Celebrity Culture that we live in today.

To be honest, that realization frightened me. I mean, look at the magazine racks. Obama isn't just on magazines like Time and Newsweek, the Obamas, or some combination of them are on People, US, Life & Style, OK, The Star.

Look at that list.

Within days of the election, what did we hear about the WeeMichelles? Some offer from Hanna Montana?

Then there was the article in the Wall Street Journal about Malia, her dress from Election Night, how it sold out, and maybe she's going to be a trendsetter for the ' tween' set.

I turn on the tv and see Inside Edition doing a piece on Sasha's Dress - yes, SASHA, and how it's become a sellout too.

I mean, from Disney to CNN, and Access Hollywood, there is interest in the Obamas.

I'm disturbed about it. Especially where the weeMichelles are concerned.

I started this post a few days ago, but left it alone, thinking maybe I was overreacting. And, then I read this yesterday, over at HuffingtonPost.

Access Hollywood: "We're Going To Treat The Obamas Like A Hollywood Family"

The Obama family has helped sell magazines and newspapers, as well as deliver record ratings to politically-themed program this election season. Now, entertainment TV shows look to capitalize on their celebrity by following their every move.

TV Week's Andrew Krukowski reports that "Access Hollywood" and "Entertainment Tonight" will continue to cover the Obama family in detail:

Barack Obama's election as president is fueling ratings among syndicated television newsmagazine shows--and they are returning the favor.

It's a symbiosis in which shows such as "Access Hollywood" and "Entertainment Tonight" cover the Obama family like royalty, bringing back a Camelot mythology to the White House. In return, they are enjoying a ratings bump with unexpected staying power.

"We're going to treat the Obamas like a Hollywood family," said Rob Silverstein, executive producer of NBC Universal Television Distribution's "Access Hollywood."...

The rough economy and financial belt-tightening also are driving an increased interest in politics, which is being reflected on "Entertainment Tonight" and "The Insider," said the shows' executive producer, Linda Bell Blue.

Both "ET" and "The Insider," syndicated by CBS Television Distribution, are following election-related topics that interest women, Ms. Bell Blue said. That means covering Michelle Obama's fashion choices and celebrities who are going to attend the inauguration in January.


The thought of the Obamas having to deal with not only AP and Reuters for pictures, but now possibly, the paparazzi too?

I dunno, I was like, Ok, we'll see the Obamas in magazines like People, up to the Inauguration, then post-Inauguration, it'll go back to the 'usual suspects' - Time, Newsweek, US News, etc. With the occasional article in a Jet, Ebony or Essence.

The crucible of being in The White House is harsh enough without adding the entertainment media to the mix.

Sometimes Reality Is Stranger Than Fiction



God please make it stop!

SNL couldn't come close to this. This video has been viewed almost 2.5 million times on youtube within the span of about 4 days.

Funny in a strange sort of way....but even more disturbing. This has to be one of the most disturbing, and scary women in politics. She's a walking Horror Show to me. She is surpassed only by Hillary Clinton on the Horror Scale.

I can only hope that she doesn't enter National politics again. Although it appears as though she is developing a cult following... many are the leftover Clinton supporters (no surprise that Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton in many cases share the same supporters. Two apples from the same poison tree...of which we will all be taking our dosage real soon). Charles Manson had a cult following too....

I was hoping that after November 4th, I wouldn't have to mention this woman's name anymore.... But the media doesn't seem to want to let the Horror Show end. How clueless can these Republicans get? Does it bottom out at some point....or do we just continue this downward spiral? I just read yesterday...that an RNC Chair was part of an all-white social/golfing club. This is in light of the obvious and well reported racial disparities within the Republican Party over the past several months. So the first thing they do after the election to pick up the pieces is to go even further in the wrong direction. It's this kind of foolishness that makes me want to take Michael Steele, Clarence Thomas, Ward Connerly, and all the rest of the Black Repubs...and line them up side by side.... to do one giant slap (reaching back as far as possible w/ my right).....and then asking them to reconcile their support for the GOP.

Anyway... i'm floating off in a direction that I didn't even intend to go in.... (this is what they do to me).

Caught this video over at the Culture Kitchen, thanks to Liza Sabater. See her comments.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Desiree Rogers Named First Black Social Secretary of the White House

From the Chicago Tribune:

Obamas taking Rogers to D.C.
Chicagoan will direct social events at White House
By John McCormick Tribune reporter
November 24, 2008



Chicago businesswoman Desiree Rogers will be named to the position of White House social secretary, a source in President-elect Barack Obama's transition office said Sunday.

Rogers, 49, is a close friend of the Obama family and worked on the fundraising team for the campaign. She has been a fixture on Chicago's social and not-for-profit scene for years.

Last summer, she left her job as president of Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas to create a financial social networking program at Allstate Insurance Co.

She would be the first African-American to serve in a position that is responsible for working with the first lady on White House functions and ceremonies.

Rogers, who studied at Wellesley College and later earned an MBA from Harvard, was once married to Chicagoan John Rogers, Ariel Capital Management chief and another close Obama friend and fundraiser.

Her first highly visible post was in state government. She managed the lottery for then-Gov. Jim Edgar in the '90s, appearing on TV giving away pots of money.

On Nov. 14, Rogers hosted a birthday party in her Gold Coast condominium that was attended by the Obamas in honor of Valerie Jarrett, another Obama friend who will be going to the White House as a senior adviser.

"Rogers is bright, creative, and has an extraordinary flair for style," Jarrett said. "Her professional track record and her close relationship with the Obamas uniquely qualifies her to create an Obama White House that will foster inclusiveness, vibrancy and energy that will make the White House feel open and welcoming to all."

mccormickj@tribune.com



I have to admit, this does make me go tee hee hee.

The First Black First Lady has a Black Social Secretary.

Hear the Final Segments of NPR's Race Series


Hear parts 5 & 6 of NPR's series on race and the 2008 election. In these last two segments, the participants talk about how they feel now that the election season is over. Some seemed to have softened their earlier positions on race.

Hear Part 5

Hear Part 6

Listen to Parts 1 & 2... and Parts 3 & 4.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

FSU Safety Myron Rolle Wins Rhodes Scholarship




Hat tip: Booker Rising

Florida State safety Myron Rolle earns Rhodes Scholarship
By Brian Landman, Times Staff Writer
In print: Sunday, November 23, 2008

Rolle began his Saturday in Birmingham, Ala., where, after an interview, he learned he had earned a Rhodes Scholarship, the oldest and most renowned award for international study, created in 1902. It funds two or three years at Oxford University in England. Only 32 Americans are selected each year, two each from 16 districts.

"I feel very fortunate to have been selected as a Rhodes Scholar," he said. "I've learned so much just by going through the process of application and interviews, and I am a better person for it. The interview process requires candidates to evaluate their long-term goals and plans, and it has made me think about how I can make the most impact in terms of service to society."

Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said he felt he got two wins Saturday, the first being Rolle's.

"When we found out he won the Rhodes Scholarship, to me it was like, 'We got one already; now if we can get this other,' " Bowden said.

"It was very big to me, our staff, of course to him, his family, and our team was really excited about that."

FSU officials asked for and received permission from the NCAA to charter a plane so Rolle could fly to College Park, Md., for the game against the Terrapins after his interview. Rolle got on the field and added two tackles, both coming in the waning minutes and drawing a chant of "My-ron Rolle" from the FSU fans in the stands.

Rolle joins Caroline Alexander (1976); Garrett Johnson from Tampa (2005), a track and field All-American; and Joe O'Shea from Dunedin (2007) as the only Seminoles to earn a Rhodes.

Rolle, who graduated in August after 2½ years with a degree in exercise science and a 3.75 grade point average, plans to be a neurosurgeon and practice in impoverished countries.


Have to be proud of this young man. Balancing school with a big time football program takes superb skills.

Will Diversity Be An Issue in Obama's Administration?

This is from the Christian Progressive Liberal over at Jack and Jill Politics:

http://www.allstate.com/content/refresh-images/citizenship/HEAD_citizenship_diversity.jpg

Will Obama's Administration look like this?



Before you shoot the messenger on this, please hear me out. So far in the named nominees for Mr. Obama's Cabinet, we have one Latino (Bill Richardson for Commerce Secretary) and an African-American for Attorney General (Eric Holder).

We already know that he's named a couple of African-Americans to insider posts on his personal staff (Valerie Jarrett and one other who's name escapes me). Robert Gibbs is on tap as Press Secretary.

We also know he's going with Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State, Tom Daschle for HHS Secretary, and Tim Geithner for Treasury Secretary. And Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano is tapped for Homeland Security.

We have yet to see an Asian named for any post in the Obama Administration. One of our regular posters, dcgtn, made this salient point in replying to one of my comments:
"But it will be another matter if Mr. Obama sends the message he can't find any of US who's qualified for the Cabinet."

This is what I'm saying. If you go by his picks so far, the message is that only white people are qualified to run the government and that's crazy. The cabinet is the face of the president's administration and the fact that the face of our Black president's administration is white, so far, is disturbing to say the least.

I've stated in one post that Mr. Obama has to walk a fine line regarding his Cabinet picks - too much diversity earns him a bigoted label from the reich wing. Lack of Diversity brings the protests from those of us who wore out shoe-leather, gave up time, money and energy, and believed that he was campaigning for true change in American Government. But we must also remember that none of the nominees are a done deal - they still have to get through a Senate Confirmation, and let's not be fooled - just because there's a Democratic Majority in the Senate, there is still Traitor Joe Lieberman who lurks in the Senate and was welcomed back into the fold, despite his treachery and openly campaigning for the Republican candidate against Mr. Obama.

So, how does President-Elect Obama handle this? First off, please stop acting like you can't find any qualified people of color within a 100 mile radius of Washington, DC, because the recruitment pool is full of qualified people of color/ethnicity that can pass background checks and work in the Administration.

Book Review: Rebooting America


Rebooting America is a collection of essays by various prominent and other personalities in politics, activism, nonprofit organizations, and new media. The essayists grapple with answering the question of how to reinvigorate and redefine American democracy for the Internet Age.

More than just a collection of screeds on how government processes, bureaucracies, and practices can be improved for the benefit of citizens, the book deals with a mind-bogglingly broad range of topics which included some essays as above but also what does it mean to have an educated, engaged citizenry in the Internet Age, privacy, voting methods, grassroots organizing and political campaigns, open source technology and their applications, civic engagement, media and communications, and experimental efforts currently underway to connect democratic practices to Internet technology.

The essayists are a diverse who’s who of politics, new media, and activism from a broad range of perspectives. They include Democratic Party activists Zack Exley and Joe Trippi; conservative politican Newt Gingrich; futurists Howard Rheingold and Douglas Rushkoff; Personal Democracy Forum editors Micah Sifry and Andrew Rasiej; Open Left blogger Matt Stoller; and activist Alison Fine among others.

The ideas presented in the book were also wide-ranging -- from high level concepts and theory to nitty-gritty, nuts and bolts experiments that are being implemented now. The essayists had many interesting ideas on how to harness technology to create a more transparent and democratic government and political process as well as intriguing ideas on citizen engagement.

As a citizen, reading the book was a good mental exercise for imagining what democracy might look like in the near future. I felt intrigued by many of the ideas presented but found it hard to read the book as a whole with a critical eye. With each essay averaging between 3-4 pages long, the presentation was too brief for each idea and innovation and it was not possible go into more depth and elaborate on implications of each idea. The experience of reading the book, for me, was akin to seeing a quick succession of excellent conference presentations.

The book definitely piqued my curiosity but provided little in terms of actionable items I can do right now to contribute to making democracy work better for the 21st century. Or where I can go if I am interested in delving further on the subject matter of each chapter. Which may not be entirely bad -- the editors seemed to have published a book designed for higher-level thinking across a broad range of ideas rather than a nuts and bolts instruction book.

All in all, I give the book three out of five stars. Its main strengths were its timeliness, subject matter, and diversity of ideas and perspectives represented. Its biggest weakness was the brevity of each essay so that each idea was not explored with great depth. I also would have loved to have read about efforts or real-life experiments that employed Internet technology for democracy in countries other than in North America (A couple of essays touched upon international efforts which only served to make me more curious). Rebooting America is worth a look. If technology, democracy and politics are your thing, you will find a lot to interest you and think about in this book.

Cross-posted in An Ordinary Person.

Elected Officials Clueless about Civics

No wonder the Country is in such bad shape.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

President-Elect Obama's Weekly Youtube Address

The WeeMichelles Are Going to Sidwell Friends



Obamarama: The Obamas Pick a School -- It's Sidwell Friends


President-Elect and Michelle Obama have chosen Sidwell Friends for their daughters, Malia and Sasha. They will have to go to two different campus settings, because the lower school is separate from the middle school & high school campus.

Sidwell's lower school is in Bethesda, Md., and that is where Sasha would be attending second grade. Malia is in fifth grade, and that is part of the middle school at Sidwell. The middle school is located on the same campus as the high school in Northwest Washington, a few miles from the lower school.

Sidwell has between 1,000 and 1,100 students and says that 39 percent of its students are of color. Tuition this year for elementary is is $28,442, and for the middle school, $29,442.


Well, Sidwell is already familiar with how to deal with having children of the First Family at their school. Plus, it was reported that the girls were more comfortable there because they knew that some of the Biden grandchildren attend Sidwell.

Why is gas $ 1.93 a gallon?

That was the lowest price I saw this morning on my errands.

I'm not being a smartass. I truly want to know. Six months ago, gas was $4.00 a gallon and going up. Please explain to me what happened in the world to plummet the price of gas to under $2.00. China's still demanding oil at a record pace. So is India. There wasn't some explosion of openings of new refineries in the USA. So, explain to me what happened.

Thanks in advance for the explanation.

Mr. President-Elect, it's time to end 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

Dear Mr. President-Elect:

There is some concern around the blogosphere, that you are hesitating in ending the horrific policy of
'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

This policy was WRONG when instituted under Bill Clinton.

But, back then, the United States Armed Forces was the fittest and strongest Armed Forces in the world.

This is NOT the case today, in 2008.

We have a U.S. Military stretched to its limits.

We are fighting two wars.

We have lost over 4,000 lives between those conflicts.

We have lost tens of thousands of soldiers who are permanently maimed and no good for active duty any longer.

We have lowered the entry standards so far, that it is NOT uncommon to see among recruits classes of folks that were eliminated without hesitation years ago.

What classes are those?

1. Rural Terrorists, better known as White Supremacists.
2. Urban Terrorists, better known as Gangbangers.
3. Straight up criminals.

Now, I would like for someone to explain to me, like I'm a member of Sasha Obama's classroom..

the justification for giving the United States Military Uniform to White Supremacist thugs, Gangbanging thugs, and criminal thugs..

But, stripping it from law abiding homosexuals and lesbians who want to serve their country.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Attorney General Michael Mukasey Collapses While Giving Speech

From HuffingtonPost.com

Attorney General Michael Mukasey Collapses While Giving Speech
Huffington Post/CNN | November 20, 2008 10:19 PM

11/20 at 10:44 PM EST: The Associated Press reports:

WASHINGTON - Attorney General Michael Mukasey collapsed during a speech Thursday night and was being taken to a hospital.

Associate Attorney General Kevin O'Connor said Mukasey began shaking while addressing the Federalist Society at a Washington hotel.

"He just started shaking and he collapsed," O'Connor said. "They're very concerned."

O'Connor said he did not know whether Mukasey, 67, had regained consciousness."

Mukasey was 20 minutes into his speech before he collapsed.

President-Elect Obama Raised Half a BILLION Dollars Online

So says this story in the Washington Post.

The Clickocracy
Obama Raised Half a Billion Online
By Jose Antonio Vargas


Barack Obama raised half a billion dollars online in his 21-month campaign for the White House, dramatically ushering in a new digital era in presidential fundraising.

In an exclusive interview with The Post, members of the vaunted Triple O, Obama's online operation, broke down the numbers: 3 million donors made a total of 6.5 million donations online adding up to more than $500 million. Of those 6.5 million donations, 6 million were in increments of $100 or less. The average online donation was $80, and the average Obama donor gave more than once.

"You looked at the money being raised online in the same way that you looked at the crowds who came to the rallies," Joe Rospars, the 27-year-old director of Obama's new-media department, told The Post. "You were constantly surprised at the number of people who were coming out to see him," and, when it came to online donations, "people exceeded our expectations as to what they were willing to do."

Obama also raised millions from traditional campaign bundlers -- rich, well-connected fundraisers -- but the bulk of the more than $600 million that Obama raised throughout the campaign was through the Internet, aides said. (Some of those bundlers, of course, also arranged for donations to be made online, so there is some overlap.)

In September, his single biggest month of fundraising, Obama amassed more than 65 percent of his record-shattering haul -- $100 million of the $150 million -- from online donations, aides said. After Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin dismissed the value of community organizing in her acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention on Sept. 3 -- "I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities," she said to applause -- Obama raised $10 million within 24 hours.


Read the rest of the article at the link above. The article also contains information about how the Obama campaign used social networking in the campaign. How the revolutionary phonebanking program helped the campaign. I have said for awhile that the Obama Campaign would be one to be studied for years to come, and this article just makes one stand back and go: DAYUM.

Not bad for a ' Community Organizer'.

LOL

Unions are the problem with the auto industry, according to Mitt Romney

Former Massachusetts Governor and presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has written an op-ed in the New York Times about the auto industry. Gov. Romney is uniquely qualified to comment on the industry...not only due to his personal knowledge of the business but also because his father was the president of American Motors. I was expecting, then, something that was thoughtful and insightful; unfortunately, this article included the same old Republican talking points. It could have been written by Newt Gingrich or Rush Limbaugh.

In a little less than 900 words, Gov. Romney summed up the problems of the auto industry in one word...unions. Unions are the sole problem. Not once in the article did he mention anything about management. He did not mention anything about healthcare costs. The problem was simply labor costs. The former governor mentioned that American automakers spend the extra $2000 per car. Other car manufacturers like BMW, Honda or Toyota don't have to pay this expense. Unions are the root of all evil. That's Romney's argument in a nutshell.

Nowhere in Gov. Romney's article does it mention anything about CEO pay. He doesn't mention that the CEO of General Motors, G. Richard Wagoner, is getting paid about $14.4 million per year. That is not much when compared to hedge fund managers who made hundreds of millions (some times billions) of dollars per year...but when you compare that to less than $1 million per year that the CEO of Toyota takes home everything comes into focus.
Gov. Romney, like many other Republicans, argues that America does not need to bail out the auto industry. Instead, America needs to let the auto industry go bankrupt. Once they file for Chapter 11, the auto industry can renegotiate contracts and refocus on their product.

Lee Iacocca , 1979, received loan guarantees from the United States government. His Chrysler Corporation began to produce smaller, cost-efficient carsThe Dodge Aries and the Plymouth Reliant are examples.. In 1983, Chrysler introduced the minivan to the United States. Because of these innovations, Chrysler was able to pay off its loans seven years ahead of schedule. (Iococca's silence is troubling. I hope that he isn't sick. hope that he will weigh in on this subject.)
I will not pretend to know all the ins and outs of Detroit. What I will tell you is that throughout the 1980s and 1990s they pumped out a series of cars that were unreliable, expensive and guzzled gas. During this time, Toyota and Honda chipped away at their market share by delivering small, cost-efficient and reliable cars. There is no doubt that mistakes were made both by management and labor throughout this time. For too long Detroit has continued to rely on SUV and truck sales which have large profit margins. A new model needs to be developed. Detroit has to figure out a way to develop cars quicker and faster. Detroit needs to innovate. (I know everybody uses the word innovate, too much, meaning create something.) Detroit needs to develop several types of new cars. These cars should include electric cars and hydrogen cars. There should be new fuel-efficient cars. We need to be more and better hybrid cars. The reliability of American cars should be unparalleled. Detroit should not expect Americans to buy a new car every 3-4 years. Americans don't make that kind of money anymore.

The American auto industry must take risks. In the past, the auto industry was making way too much money to take any risks. They never sqw the need to do so. They were forced to embrace seatbelts, safety glass, anti-lock brakes and other innovations. In my opinion, small divisions should be set up to take risks, while they alll design and research auto safety to see if it all works.

Finally, Detroit needs to look at several problems and work with labor unions and the government to fix these problems. These problems include (but are not limited to) healthcare costs, pension costs...labor costs. If Detroit can build a car that is as good as a Mercedes, Audi or BMW...I don't mind paying the extra $1000 - $1500 more if I know the workers are being well compensated.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Buh-bye TED! Stevens loses in Alaska!

From MSNBC.com

Stevens loses Alaska Senate seat to Democrat

Associated Press
updated 9 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - Convicted Sen. Ted Stevens lost his re-election bid to Democrat Mark Begich on Tuesday after the last large batch of votes was counted.

The longest-serving Republican in the history of the Senate trailed Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich by 3,724 votes after Tuesday's count of about 24,000 absentee and contested ballots.

That's an insurmountable lead with only about 2,500 overseas ballots left to be counted.



Rest of article at link above.

This is a positive for so many reasons.
1. Stevens is a felon.
2. Stevens has been a GOP thorn in the side of progress.
3. This nails shut any chance for Caribou Barbie to slide into the Senate.
4. Crooked #($* didn't win out this time.

Eric Holder - The Next Attorney General of the United States


And the first Black American Attorney General.

Despite my hesitance...i'm actually feeling good about this choice. Eric Holder was the first person I thought of as an AG possibility, even when Obama was still competing for the Democratic nomination. I almost did a post on Eric Holder months ago, but I never got around to writing it.

He later became a second choice, after I read about the possible skeletons that would be raised about his activities in the Clinton Administration. But he is still an excellent choice. He has the experience for the job, and in particular, he has a background as a Prosecutor in the Justice Department. I think he would repair much of the damage left behind by Gonzo and others.... and he will correct all the gutting of voting rights and civil rights offices, will hopefully get to the bottom of the U.S. attorney firings, will hopefully prevent the politicization of the Justice Department (the way Republicans used it), will correct the Bush Administration practice of using unqualified political people in important positions to interfere with DOJ activities, and will restore the integrity of the U.S. Constitution.

He's also incredibly sharp... I can't wait to see him in the job. Blacks, and Black youth in particular, will get a two for one.... :). Another reason to be proud.

This is the first decent Obama pick.

Now the challenge will be getting him through the confirmation process.

I still believe that someone like a Patrick Fitzgerald would have been an outstanding choice too... and it probably would have been a safer one. He may end up being an Asst. AG.

I'm still not happy about all the Clinton appointees though... but as this case indicates, a few are probably o.k. (and were expected). The issue will be... just how many Clinton appointees will get positions in the new Government. 2 or 3 are o.k... But Obama has reached or surpassed that number already. I'm still afraid that we are headed for "The Clinton Administration 2.0".

Mr. President-Elect, Listen to Abner Mikva

.

This is feeding off an article over at The Field, by Al Giordano:

Mr. President-Elect: Judge Abner Mikva Is Right

Who is Abner Mikva?

He's one of those folks that when they say something, you listen, because, over his long and distinguished career in public service, he has come to be known as a ' truthteller'. Being from Mikva's homestate, I can tell you that what he's saying isn't just reverberating in Democratic, but also GOP circiles, cause Mikva rolls like that.


Abner Mikva - former federal judge, law professor, member of Congress, reformer of Chicago politics, chairman of the Illinois Human Rights Commission... and former White House Counsel to President Bill Clinton - told the New York Times today:

The vetting of Mr. Clinton's myriad philanthropic and business dealings is "complicated, and it may be the complications that are causing hesitation on both sides," said Abner J. Mikva, one of Mr. Obama's closest supporters and a White House counsel during the Clinton administration. "There would have to be full disclosure as to who all were contributors to his library and foundation. I think they'd have to be made public."

While aides to the president-elect declined Monday to discuss what sort of requirements would make it possible for Mrs. Clinton to serve as secretary of state, they said Mr. Obama would not formally offer her the job unless he was satisfied that there would be no conflicts posed by Mr. Clinton's activities abroad.

Associates of the Clintons said that Mr. Clinton was likely to have to make significant concessions and that he was inclined to do so. Among other things, they said, he would probably have to agree not to take money for speeches from foreign businesses that have a stake in the actions of the American government. Another obvious issue, Democratic lawyers said, would be whether Mr. Clinton's foundation should accept money from foreign governments, businesses or individuals for the foundation's philanthropic activities and if it should disclose those donors publicly.

"The problem is it's going to require some sacrifice by him," said a former Clinton aide who is not involved in the discussions but did not want to be identified because the talks are confidential. "If he's not willing to do that, it could blow up."

One proposal, floated by Mr. Mikva and several other aides involved in the vetting process, would be for Mr. Clinton to separate himself from the activities of his foundation, including raising money.

"It's not just what he does or says - it's the fact that the foundation is involved with foreign countries, some of which might well be in conflict with U.S. policy," Mr. Mikva said. "It's more than a legal problem - there are ethical problems and appearance problems."



MOA has been upfront since the beginning of anything having to do with Hillpatine with regards to the President-elect. EVEN IF you actually believed Hillary Clinton could do a good job at anything, it's NEVER JUST ABOUT HER.

She comes with Bubba.

And, with Bubba comes those DONOR LISTS.

You know...the ones to the Library and the Foundation.

I believe, and so do a great deal of MOA readers, that Bubba made checks his butt couldn't cash...

THAT is why they were so insistent on getting Hillpatine as VP.

Now, maybe MOA readers are like me - proud, honest, tinfoil hat wearers.

Maybe we're just being ' paranoid'.

But, it sounds like Judge Mikva is wearing his own tinfoil hat.

Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzales Have Been Indicted!

Vice President Dick Cheney and former AG Alberto Gonzales have been indicted by a Texas Grand Jury.

Read more here

Obama and Intellectualism

President George Bush, deliberately or not, (I believe deliberately) cultivated a policy of disassociating policy from reason or logic. Nicholas Kristoff sees in Obama a president who will allow intellectual debate to run rampant in the halls of the White House. Kristoff sees Obama as a president who will allow intellectuals free reign to shape policy, whereas under Bush eggheads were taken out to the woodshed to be beaten by Karl Rove.

While I make light of this issue, in reality this is serious business. Ignoring the scientific community on global warming and stem cell research and Middle East experts on the true hazards of invading Iraq have only stunted American growth, prestige, and treasure.

The policy of alienating intellectuals was done for political reasons. If you'll notice, right-wing radio and Fox News repeatedly bash the "liberal elite." In their infinite wisdom, Republicans decided that since they represent "Joe the plumber," all those who aren't (metaphorically speaking) plumbers must be evil liberal elite intellectuals. This shaming of intellect has been bad for the GOP and bad for the country.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Michelle Obama - The Racial Rorschach Test - Update



On a routine basis, knowledge is dropped from the field.

From Miranda:
I honestly think some people are uncomfortable with seeing this black woman on a pedestal...because we're supposed to clean the pedestal, or build the pedestal, or help somebody up onto the pedestal or there's this wierd feminazi stance that we're supposed to be offended by the pedestal because........I really dont know why - no one's clued me in on that part.

But a bonafide sistah? we're not supposed to be helped up onto the pedestal by our King and sit up there in all our glory because that's where he wants us to be and that's where you deserve to be. Oh no....I think its really bothering some folks to see this Queen.


What set this off was a discussion about how Michelle Obama was being criticized for saying that she was going to be the ' Mom-In-Chief'. That I had seen more than one article like this one at Salon:
The momification of Michelle Obama
The next first lady is an accomplished lawyer. But with the media focused on her clothes and family, Bamalot is starting to look a lot like Camelot

You know the criticism: with all of Michelle Obama's edjumacation, why would she say that her first job would be ' Mom-In-Chief'?

I would reply:

Michelle Obama has 2 small children that she wants to prevent from becoming subjects of an ' E! True Hollywood Story'. Black women know that means HANDS ON PARENTING. Why is this so hard for people to believe that this woman means for her children to THRIVE in this world? Are they so unaccomsted to seeing a devoted Black mother that they're twitching with nervousness?

Why is it difficult to believe that Michelle Obama would put her children first? Did you not read the stories about her? How she took an infant Sasha with her to a job interview? The type of security and self-assurance of a woman who would do that? The statement, ever so quiet, but strong that it made?

She seems to have an actual MARRIAGE, which means that it will be up to HER to try and carve out a portion of the world for the future President that is REAL...that he can decompress from the pressures of being President.

Add into it that she's the first Black First Lady, and if she did everything the same that Laura Bush did, it would be different, JUST BECAUSE MICHELLE OBAMA IS DOING IT.

From where I sit, that means Michelle Obama will be busy from sun up to sun down for the next 4, hopefully 8 years.

I don't know what the hell these folks want Michelle Obama to do.

Actually, I do know...they want her to be another Hillary Clinton.

But, Michelle Obama would NEVER, and I mean NEVER, put Barack Obama in that position. She would never disrespect Barack Obama that way by overreaching. She would NEVER undermine his Presidency that way.

I have been a critic of mainstream feminism because I simply don't believe it has anything to do with Black women or their lives. I believe Black women have never wanted to be separated from the men in their lives, and don't want, in general to compete with them. Because of the legacy of our families being torn asunder, I believe we have a tradition of holding hard to our families.

And, as an astute Michelle Obama Watch commenter noted, "We’ve always had to have it all. When were we able to NOT work? You learn a lot after 350 years of “juggling."

Yes, Michelle Obama radiates the confidence of a woman that is loved and cherished. And, why not? She was, by all accounts, adored by her father. Fathers are as important to daughters as they are to sons. From the right kind of father, a girl learns self-confidence, a sense of worth, and a sense of self-value that tells you - ' Baby, don't you even think about settling for less'. And, when a girl like that, grows into a woman, she looks for- no demands - that the man who wants to be her mate, step correct. Why would she give up being valued, when she knows nothing else? So, yes, she marries a man who loves and values her. Treats her like a Queen. And in return, she treats him like a King. It does not diminish her to treat her husband like a King. It does not diminish her to have a strong, caring man as Head of the Household. It is a comfort. It is a relief. It helps a woman sleep better at night.

For the critics, I ask this:

Why shouldn't Michelle Obama have all of that?

Just what do you think she's ' given up' to be Barack Obama's wife and life partner?


Personally, I see a woman who has it all. And does it oh so well.

________________________

Related Posts

Original Post -Michelle Obama as Latest Racial Rorschach Test

Update #1- Michelle Obama as Racial Rorschach Test

Friday, November 14, 2008

Media Alert



‘60 Minutes’ Books First Post-Election Interview of Obama
By Bill Carter


“60 Minutes” has landed the first post-election interview of President-elect Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, for this coming Sunday.

CBS News announced Thursday that the Obamas would sit down Friday in Chicago to speak with the “60 Minutes” correspondent Steve Kroft. The interview is expected to fill more than one segment on the broadcast. It may fill the entire hour.

Mr. Kroft last week interviewed Mr. Obama’s senior staff about the planning of his campaign. The program attracted more than 18 million viewers, the most of any show in television last week.

In August, Mr. Kroft and “60 Minutes” also presented the first joint interview with Mr. Obama and his running mate, Joseph R. Biden Jr.


The Obamas are also on pretty much every 'life' magazine/tabloid this upcoming week: People, US, Life & Style, OK, Star.

The Obamas gave their first post-election interview to EBONY.

The following is from Ebony's announcement of its coup of its interview yesterday:

The exclusive interview and cover shoot, held at the headquarters of Johnson Publishing Co. in Chicago, will be the centerpiece of Ebony magazine's January 2009 commemorative issue, which goes on sale nationwide Tuesday, December 9.

President-elect Obama spoke to Ebony magazine editorial director Bryan Monroe on a wide range of issues, including his historic election and international reaction, the future of America and how he hopes to tap the enthusiasm of the millions of supporters who have been mobilized by his election.

"I'm very humbled by the fact that I stand on the shoulders of all the people who made these incredible contributions to lift this country up," Obama told Ebony on Thursday.

What Happens to the Obama Grassroots?

from the Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Washington -- It is the biggest and broadest American political force ever created -- a vast, electronically linked network of activists, neighborhood organizers and volunteers who raised record amounts of money and propelled Barack Obama to the White House.

Now, as Obama turns from campaigning to governing, his advisors are struggling to harness this potent web of supporters to help him move his agenda over the next four years.

But it is no simple task to convert an insurgency into a standing army.

That challenge has sparked rare discord among Obama advisors who ran a highly disciplined operation with no public disagreements throughout the long campaign.

Traditionally, the new president would blend his campaign operation with his party's national committee. Some of Obama's closest advisors lean toward that pragmatic view.

But others, who built the grass-roots organization, worry that linking it too closely to the party could cause the unusual network to unravel -- and squander an extraordinary resource.

The Obama machinery relied heavily on idealistic political outsiders committed to breaking free from old ways of doing politics. The worry is that these enthusiastic activists might drift away if they are turned over to the Democratic National Committee, where the party might ask them to support Democrats and target Republicans.

Full article at the Los Angeles Times

The key quote in the article was how do you transform an insurgency into a standing army? I would bet that many of the people who supported and voted for Obama are independents and non-ideological voters who do not have a particular affinity towards nor loyalty to the Democratic Party as exemplified by the DNC.

I agree that attempts to turn these followers into a partisan organization would only serve to alienate them (hell, it would alienate me! I consider myself an independent voter who voted for Obama). I would urge Obama's team to encourage models of political and civic participation that is not designed solely for the benefit of the Democratic Party but to model its efforts along pragmatic and realistic solutions to the country's problems based on a core set of Progressive principles. The focus should be on problem-solving. Not party politics.

Hillary Clinton As Secretary of State? Will An Obama Administration = A Third Clinton Term?

Any thoughts on this?

Most readers probably know how I feel about Hillary Clinton by now. I can't stand Bill Clinton either.

I will be posting more over the weekend about what the Obama win means for me.... but for a glimpse of future blog entries on this - part of what has been bothering me, especially over the past week, is the idea that an Obama Presidency may = a third Clinton term. Is this the "change" he has in mind?

He has already chosen a Clintonite to lead his transition team...and another to run his Government (John Podesta and Raum Emanuel respectively). Then we find out that he may be considering yet another Clintonite, Lawrence Summers, for Secretary of the Treasury. Now Hillary Clintons name is floating around. (this is among other possible Clinton appointments.)

This is looking more and more like a third Clinton term to me. This is probably not what Obama supporters were hoping for when they stood in line, sometimes for 2 or 3 hours,...sometimes in the rain, to cast their votes on November 4th.

All of this is on top of the fact that Obama appears to be embracing much of the Bush Administrations foreign policy. It's been a week and a half since the election and I am seriously questioning why I bothered to register and vote for the first time. I feel a little duped.

Even if he doesn't choose Hillary... some of his decisions so far call into question his ability or willingness to bring "change".

This is always the danger of stepping out on faith and supporting an empty suit (as stylish as those Obama suits may be). When someone like Obama mentions change, we want to grab it because it sounds so attractive at a time when things are so bad. But in our haste, we forget to demand or even ask that he explain exactly what he means by "change".

My idea of "change"...as it relates to the future, means taking the Country in a fundamentally new and different direction. Choosing Clintonites for key Cabinet positions doesn't represent the change that I had in mind.

Perhaps Obama's idea of "change" is simply thinking that he can accomplish it because he's replacing the Bush Administration. For some voters, that may be good enough.... but not for me. He's going to have to do better than that.

As for the Secretary of State.... I don't want to see Clinton or Richard Holbrooke (another hardline Clinton expansionist... he helped to lay the groundwork for the attack on Yugoslavia...which almost sparked WWIII). Basically whoever will be chosen will be a Republicrat... Because he is choosing from a pool of hardline centrists. There are no real Progressives in the mix.

I'd rather have him pick someone with a background as a diplomat, like a Bill Richardson....(yes, someone from the Clinton Administration, but someone who has fallen out of favor with the Clinton's and who endorsed Obama early on) or someone who has at least a few Progressive credentials, like a John Kerry. A little known Progressive would also be great...someone fresh and new, but who has the background for the job.

Someone like an Adm. William Fallon would make a great Secretary of Defense...
Obama should consider the long list of Generals/Admirals who opposed the way the Iraq War was handled by the Bush administration... let these men run the Pentagon.

Patrick Fitzgerald for Attorney General. As much as I'd love to see the first Black AG, like an Eric Holder, he has too many skeletons in his closet...and he was also part of the Clinton Administration. I'd rather see a top Prosecutor run the Justice Department... a career person for a "change".

Director of National Intelligence....or Secretary of Homeland Security....my choice for either of those spots would be Ronald Noble - One of the best known Law Enforcement Officers in the World. Formerly one of the highest ranking Law Enforcement Officers in the U.S.- and he's a Black man. Not that I want to fill the job with a Black American.... It's just that Ron Noble happens to be one of the best people for the job...and it's just a coincidence that he happens to be Black.
And bring Clark Kent Ervin back as Inspector General.

For CIA.... choose a qualified career man. There are several division chiefs who quit during the Bush years... frustrated about Bush policy and meddling in CIA business.

FEMA... 3 words... James Lee Witt.... and fast... This is one Clinton guy who the Country actually needs... This would be a good pick.

Agriculture .... Tom Vilsack.

Czar or Secretary of Science and Technology (if Obama could help create this new position)... Former Astronaut Eileen Collins. This could be someone who could chair a national Science Committee to help us clean up the environment, mitigate global warming, help establish energy independence within 15 years, treat energy independence like a new Manhattan project, and could help oversee the establishment of a green economy...with green collar jobs, etc. They could help oversee Space Exploration and all the rest... Eileen Collins would be an awesome choice.

Tammy Duckworth for the open U.S. Senate seat (Illinois) or Secretary of Veterans Affairs. (but i'd really love for her to get that Senate seat...hopefully the Governor of Illinois will make it happen).

My list could go on and on... but unfortunately...none of the Obama people will ever read this blog.

And another problem seems to be that Obama is taking direction from the Clinton folks... instead of charting his own path. I understand reaching out.... but this is ridiculous.

And why would Hillary Clinton want to give up her Senate seat anyway? I doubt that she would want the position...one reason is because there is no glass left for her to break in that arena... that's already been done more than once. So it would seem less than attractive to her. The only position that she might have chosen...and that would have given her satisfaction, is the VP slot...and that has obviously already been decided. She will actually have more clout if she remains in the Senate.

But we won't know for sure until she accepts it or rejects it... if it's being offered at all.

What are your thoughts on the possibility of Hillary getting such a key position in an Obama Administration (an Administration that already seems on track to be filled with a ton of Clintonites). Secretary of State and Chief of Staff are probably the two highest positions in an Administration..., not including the President and VP obviously....and for them to be filled with Clinton folks...or even by a Clinton... just seems strange for a man who ran on a promise to fundamentally change Washington D.C.

This is going to drive me nuts until someone retracts the Clinton report...or offers some sort of clarification. I'd like to hear that this is a mistake.

If Obama does this... I will have to really break ranks. During the campaign, I held back.... because I wanted the lesser evil to win the election. I was hoping that Obama would stand for some sort of Progressive principles. But now that the election is over... I won't hold back my opinions nearly as much.

Obama's Cabinet choices will tell me one of two things: #1) Whether he will pursue a Progressive agenda...and whether he believes in Peace and Progressive Principles, or #2) If he will have too much of a Centrist, pro-war, corporate, interventionist (I can imitate a Republican better than you can) type of Presidency. So far it looks as if - as a way to compensate for something...as a way to gain as much acceptance as possible...and to prove he's "tough" - he may be going out of his way to choose folks who are tough on foreign policy and other issues. This kind of overcompensation is something that I was concerned about...hopefully it won't translate into the wrong decisions being made during some sort of crisis or international incident.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Whole Lieberman Controversy

Some folks are upset at what they believe is the intervention of President-elect Obama on Sen. Joe LIEberman's behalf. Me? I think it's up to the Senate to decide his fate. Yes, he's a rat bastard, but he won't be the first or last one in the Senate. Some folks have been wondering what could be behind the rumored Obama stance on LIEberman. Here is a take on it:


What’s Really Going On With Joe Lieberman
Published by John Scalzi at 9:02 am

One of the big hobby horses with left-leaning political blogs at the moment is that despite the collective lefty howling mass calling for the obliteration of Joe Lieberman for being a traitor to the left, it looks like he might hang on and stay with the Democratic caucus, in no small part due to the intervention of Barack Obama, whose people have hinted that it would please the president-elect to have Lieberman stay within the fold.

This is causing consternation — what’s the point of being in power if you can’t settle scores? — but I believe there may be a good and practical reason that Obama has hinted that he’d be fine with Lieberman hanging about. As you might know, on the day Obama came and toured the White House, on the way back to Chicago he held a couple of other meetings with undisclosed people. I suspect one of those meetings went like this:

—-

SCENE OPENS on SENATOR JOE LIEBERMAN sitting alone in a nondescript back room at Reagan National Airport. It’s clear he’s been made to wait a long time. Suddenly, the door to the room opens and two Secret Service agents enter and examine the room. After they’ve given the all clear, another man enters the room. It is PRESIDENT ELECT BARACK OBAMA. LIEBERMAN stands.

LIEBERMAN

Hello, sir.

OBAMA

(Holds up hand to silence LIEBERMAN)

Let’s make this quick. To recap, for the last couple of years you’ve been in the pocket of the Republicans on the war and other topics. You campaigned against me and for the Republicans. You even spoke at the Republican National Convention. And now you want me to help you save your seniority with the Democrats.

LIEBERMAN

Yes, sir. Please.

OBAMA

If I do this thing, you understand the cost.

LIEBERMAN

I do.

OBAMA

Fine. Hand them over.

LIEBERMAN

Now?

OBAMA

Yes, now.

LIEBERMAN looks around at the other men in the room, who stare at him impassively. Finally, LIEBERMAN sighs, reaches down into his pants, and detaches his TESTICLES. He raises them up to look them, wistfully, then moves to offer them to OBAMA.

OBAMA

No. Give them to Carl.

OBAMA nods toward one of the Secret Service agents, who is holding up a lunch-sized paper bag. LIEBERMAN drops the TESTICLES into the bag. CARL quickly folds the top of the bag over twice, three times, and once the TESTICLES are secure, hands the bag to OBAMA, whose takes it without looking, having kept his eyes on LIEBERMAN. OBAMA raises the bag, still looking at LIEBERMAN.

OBAMA

These are mine now. I’m keeping them for the next four years. I’m going to keep them in a drawer in the White House desk. And if at any time in the next four years there’s so much as a hint that you might do something to displease or oppose me, then I’m going to take them out, and then I’m going to take this –

(OBAMA raises a large rubber mallet he’s been hiding behind his back)

– and I’m going to turn them into pate, which I will then feed to Malia and Sasha’s puppy. Or maybe I’ll just skip all of that and give them to Rahm.

LIEBERMAN

(eyes widening in abject terror at the thought of what RAHM EMANUEL might do to the TESTICLES, if given a chance)

That’s not going to be necessary, sir.

OBAMA

Let’s hope not, Joe. Let’s sincerely hope not.

(OBAMA turns to go, then pauses, jiggles the bag, and looks back at LIEBERMAN)

This bag is really light, Joe. You know, I thought they’d be bigger.

OBAMA leaves, followed by his Secret Service agents. LIEBERMAN is left in the room, still unzipped, mouth open.

—-

Now, maybe that’s not exactly how it went. But I bet it was something along that line.

----------------------------------------------------------------------


Here's another possible explanation:

Barack Obama and Harry Reid

What School for the WeeMichelles?



From The Root.com:

The Obamas' Class Struggle
By Meera Bowman-Johnson | TheRoot.com


Public? Private? The always-tough school search is even harder if you're black...not to mention the first family.

...........I guess that's why, in addition to being generally thrilled for Michelle Obama, I'm so happy that the self-proclaimed "mom in chief" is getting closer to the peace of mind that comes with finding the right school for her children. I seriously doubt her daughters had to wait on any waiting lists whatsoever, as mine did. But I can still relate to what she's going through. Because in the end, finding the right school is a cathartic moment for any concerned parent, whether they're moving to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue or not.

Most parents struggle with where to send their kids to school. But the decision can be especially agonizing for upwardly mobile black parents. There are worries about low expectations from teachers and peer pressure to value coolness over studiousness. Inevitable accusations of "acting white." Then there's an extra pressure to ensure that your children continue to carry your family forward, rather than erase the gains of the past. And of course, there is the ever-present, if often unreasonable, expectation to lift your whole community along with your nuclear family as you climb.

Earlier this week, Mrs. Obama visited several private schools in the D.C. metro area, including the Georgetown Day School, Sidwell Friends (the Quaker school that Chelsea Clinton attended) and a third, the Maret School. All three are comparable to the University of Chicago Lab Schools (otherwise known as "The Lab") that Sasha, 7, and Malia, 10, currently attend.

The Obamas' choice to send their children to private school speaks volumes about their value system. And that an investment in their children's future is the most important one they will ever make. As if Bill Cosby isn't proud enough of them already.

But months before the election, speculation swirled about what type of school the Ivy League-educated power couple would choose for their daughters. Some critics argued that by choosing a public school education, the civic-minded Obamas would make a powerful statement about their faith in the American public education system. Sending Sasha and Malia to public schools, some argued, could reignite a widespread interest in public schools among more educated, middle-class parents.



I don't think this is very hard. Until I went to college and met folks from DC, I didn't realize just how pathetic the public school system was. I mean, I just assumed that, as with other cities, there were a handful of select public schools, as good as the private, that middle-class parents who didn't want to move to the suburbs, schemed and clawed their way into. Whether in college or graduate school, I didn't meet one person, Black, White, Latino, Asian, who went to a DC Public School. Suburban VA & MD Public - yes. But, an actual, honest-to-God DC Public School - no.

The WeeMichelles aren't some political statement, and neither is their education.

Off to private school they go.

Though I do wonder why no single-sex schools have been mentioned. I'm a big fan of single-sex education.

President-Elect Barack Obama Resigns from the U.S. Senate



Effective Sunday.


Via Press Release:

"It has been one of the highest honors and privileges of my life to have served the people of Illinois in the United States Senate. In a state that represents the crossroads of a nation, I have met so many men and women who’ve taken different journeys, but hold common hopes for their children’s future. It is these Illinois families and their stories that will stay with me as I leave the United States Senate and begin the hard task of fulfilling the simple hopes and common dreams of all Americans as our nation’s next President," said President-elect Barack Obama.

A Discussion With Muslim Americans - Now That Election Season Is Over

Thanks Rikyrah for hipping me to this photo a few weeks ago.

NPR's OnPoint offers a great post-election discussion with Muslim Americans. They finally provide their perspective after they were slandered by Politicians and by the American media for the last 18 months. They discuss their disappointment with how Obama handled the fearmongering and the slandering by Republicans. But they also discuss their hopes.

Did Obama do enough to speak out for American Muslims? Could he have done more? Or was he in the best position to speak up? And can Obama help bridge the gap between America's various cultural, ethnic, and religious groups?

____________________________

Related Links

Hear about the experiences of a Muslim family living under the U.S. culture of fear after 9/11.

Colin Powell Endorses Barack Obama

A Discussion about "One Drop" and Racial Identity



NPR's Farai Chideya has a great discussion about the One Drop Rule, racial identity, and how Barack Obama has forced Americans to recognize the growing multiculturalism in American society.

In part one of the discussion, Farai talks with Lise Funderburg- author of the book Black, White, Other.

In part two of the discussion, Farai speaks with Professor Ralina Joseph, and Association of Multi-ethnic Americans President Jungmiwha Bullock.

Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Singers of All-Time

Rolling Stone Magazine just put out their list of 100 Greatest singers of all-time.

There were a few names on the list that I didn't expect to see, and of course there were a boatload of names that were left off.

I don't usually pay much attention to these "greatest" lists from entertainment magazines... most are not put together by people who really know music. Spin magazine, and others have put out some really wacky lists over the years... Greatest Bands, Greatest albums, etc. Several years back, I recall a 50 or 100 Greatest Bands list that included groups that weren't even "Bands" at all (like singing groups and Rap groups... WTH?!!!)... while actual bands, like Earth Wind and Fire, for example, didn't even make the list at all...this is despite the fact that EW&F is in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame... and had been inducted at the time that the list came out.
That's when I realized how much of a joke these lists can be.

But this list was actually not all that bad... (as compared to most of the others I have seen). I'd give this list a 5 on a scale of 1-10 (believe me, that's an improvement). I saw a few artists listed who were not really great "singers" at all. And I saw great singers listed far too low. I think Rolling Stone Magazines use of "singer" is a misnomer.

I don't think it's really possible to make a good list of Greatest Singers.. because singing talent is so relative... it depends on the perception, interpretation, and the individual tastes of the person listening. There's really no good objective way to measure who should be placed in a particular slot. And can you really ignore the great Jazz singers? No Sarah Vaughn? No Billie Holiday? That alone may be enough to invalidate the credibility of the whole list. Can you really ignore Gospel? I would argue that Mahalia Jackson easily belongs in the top 10.

What about Classical? I know Rolling Stone focuses on popular music... but Classical once dominated. Afterall, the list refers to the Greatest of "all time". Classical may be a stretch.... but not Jazz. Jazz isn't so mainstream now, but it was once the dominant music in America... so can you really casually pass over an entire genre and then call it a list of the greatest singers of "all-time"?

They also seem to focus on soloists... fine, but it skips over some great lead singers... (but notice how they tried to slide Frankie Valli in there... a group lead, as well as the Everly Brothers). Interesting. These kinds of mistakes and oversights tell me that the folks who put this together don't really know who the great singers are. If you include Frankie Valli - well... it means all bets are off.... because then you have to add Little Anthony, Frankie Lymon, Dion DiMucci, Eugene Record, Russell Thompkins, David Ruffin, Levi Stubbs, and the list could go on and on. They also shaped American music.

But moving on....

Here are the top 3 for a teaser.

1 | Aretha Franklin by Mary J. Blige

2 | Ray Charles by Billy Joel

3 | Elvis Presley by Robert Plant

See the full list here.


I wouldn't call this a list of Greatest singers. Perhaps a list of Greatest performers or entertainers might be more appropriate. The popular magazines always end up doing this... because they don't follow criteria that are the most objective; criteria which could provide the best results...

At least Etta James and Dusty Springfield made the list... those were some of the pleasant surprises for me. But then I see no Nancy Wilson, or Bessie Smith... and i'm left scratching my head again.

Perhaps a 100 list just isn't enough space. But even if it were a list of 200, I doubt if they could fill the extra space with picks that make sense.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Caribou Barbie's Rehabilitation Tour

She ran for Vice-President, but couldn't find the time to sit down seriously with journalists, and NEVER HAD A SINGLE PRESS CONFERENCE, but now that it's all done, she won't leave my tv screen.

I don't believe in kicking someone when they're down, but in her case, I'll make an exception.

The exception will be made because it needs repeating - THIS WOMAN HAD NO BUSINESS BEING PLACED IN NOMINATION.

That's why the whole ' rehabilitation' thing with John McCain is utter BS.

This man, put in place, this woman, who was patently unqualified -to be a heartbeat away from The Presidency of the United States of America.

THAT is how little regard he had for this country.

Andrew Sullivan has ALWAYS gotten it where Caribou Barbie is concerned. And spells it out today:

12 Nov 2008 12:49 pm
Why Palin Still Matters


Some readers think my continuing attempt to expose all the lies and flim-flam and bizarre behavior of Sarah Palin is now moot. She's history - they argue. Move on. I think she probably is history. Even Bill Kristol and his minions in the McCain-Palin campaign may not be able to resuscitate her political viability now. But even if she is history, she is history that matters.

Let's be real in a way the national media seems incapable of: this person should never have been placed on a national ticket in a mature democracy.

She was incapable of running a town in Alaska competently. The impulsive, unvetted selection of a total unknown, with no knowledge of or interest in the wider world, as a replacement president remains one of the most disturbing events in modern American history.

That the press felt required to maintain a facade of normalcy for two months - and not to declare the whole thing a farce from start to finish - is a sign of their total loss of nerve.

That the Palin absurdity should follow the two-term presidency of another individual utterly out of his depth in national government is particularly troubling. 46 percent of Americans voted for the possibility of this blank slate as president because she somehow echoed their own sense of religious or cultural "identity". Until we figure out how this happened, we will not be able to prevent it from happening again. And we have to find a way to prevent this from recurring.

It happened because John McCain is an incompetent and a cynic and reckless beyond measure. To have picked someone he'd only met once before, without any serious vetting procedure, revealed McCain as an utterly unserious character, a man whose devotion to the shallowest form of political gamesmanship trumped concern for his country's or his party's interest.

........................................................................................

She cannot keep even the most trivial story straight; she repeats untruths with a ferocity and calm that is reserved only to the clinically unhinged; she has the educational level of a high school drop-out; and regards ignorance as some kind of achievement. It is excruciating to watch her - but more excruciating to watch those who feel obliged to defend her.

Her candidacy, in short, was indefensible. It remains indefensible. Until the mainstream media, the GOP establishment, and the conservative intelligentsia acknowledge the depth of their error, this blog will keep demanding basic accountability.


People ask why she hasn't been called on the carpet for her obvious lack of qualification. My answer to that is, if the MSM were to do ITS FUCKING JOB NOW, the the question would HAVE TO BE ASKED:

WHY THE HELL DIDN'T YOU TELL US THIS DURING THE CAMPAIGN?

Why the hell didn't you give Sarah Palin the same rectal exam that Barack Obama was subjected to for 2 years? Why didn't, when faced with the obvious:
1. The repeated lies about that Bridge
2. The non-release of the medical records
3. The LIES about her time as Mayor
4. The neon signs saying ' ABUSE OF POWER' going back to Wasilla days
5. The preacher who said truly Anti-Semitic things
6. An actual WITCH HUNTER for a preacher
7. The whole, " I have foreign policy experience because Alaska is near Russia' defense
8. The cesspool that is Alaska Republican politics

DIDN'T YOU DO YOUR DAMN JOB?

See, it's BECAUSE they didn't do their job, you have idiots like Mika B. (MSNBC) trying to justify this woman's existence, because they know damn well that she should have been run out of town, and John McCain bitchslapped for subjecting this country to that woman.

There were some unsung heroes during this farce, with Andrew Sullivan leading the pack. Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric must be counted among them too. In retrospect, their non-hostile questioning is what exposed Caribou Barbie for the fraud that she always was. Mudflats is a hero, because he, along with the Anchorage Daily News, were blunt and honest in telling the lower 48 about McCain's Choice.

And, that's what she always will be: MCCAIN'S CHOICE.

His choice to betray this country. His choice to put this country at risk.

Thank goodness for female intuition, cause it was the women that sunk her.

Obama to Create White House Office of Urban Policy

From ABC.com


Obama to Create White House Office of Urban Policy
November 12, 2008 8:59 AM


On National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" yesterday, longtime Obama family friend and Obama-Biden Transition Team co-chair Valerie Jarrett said that the President-elect would, as pledged during the campaign, create an Office of Urban Policy.

Jarrett said the office would "have a comprehensive approach to our urban development," who will be an "advocate for cities" within the White House, taking "all the variety of different federal programs and help target them in a logical and systematic way."

"For those of us who have worked in city governments across the country, we recognize how invaluable that person will be," she says.

Obama discussed this idea in June in a speech before the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Miami.

"Yes we need to fight poverty," he said. "Yes, we need to fight crime. Yes, we need to strengthen our cities. But we also need to stop seeing our cities as the problem and start seeing them as the solution. Because strong cities are the building blocks of strong regions, and strong regions are essential for a strong America. That is the new metropolitan reality and we need a new strategy that reflects it – a strategy that’s about South Florida as much as Miami; that’s about Mesa and Scottsdale as much as Phoenix; that’s about Stamford and Northern New Jersey as much as New York City. As President, I’ll work with you to develop this kind of strategy and I’ll appoint the first White House Director of Urban Policy to help make it a reality."



The thing is, he gets this from living in a city, working in a city, and not hating people who live in cities. He also won't be locked into doing things that have been tried and failed before. He actually cares about those ' Anti-American' parts of the country.

Do you believe we'd be hearing about ' Urban Policy' from a McCain Administration? Hell no.

Who you elect does determine what is simply discussed as issues for the country.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

" I Am A Man"


Memphis Sanitation Workers, 1968

Much thanks to Truthseeker for finding this video of Michelle Bernard on Election Night:

Miriam Makeba Has Passed On

Miriam Makeba
'Mama Africa'
1932-2008



Story from NPR

Report from the New York Times

Story from Voice of America

More From Studs Terkel

Hear a great Public radio segment on Studs Terkel from "This American Life". They re-air some of Terkel's old radio interviews. Listen to podcast here. (you can fast foward to the 5 minute mark)

Topics include race relations and life during the Great Depression.