Monday, May 31, 2010

Can We Discuss the 51st State and its UNACCOUNTABILITY?

I first saw this story on BooMan Tribune.
Israel Massacres Pro-Palestinian Activists

by BooMan
Mon May 31st, 2010 at 09:43:45 AM EST

Here's how Haaretz tells it:

The left-wing activists on board a flotilla carrying aid to the Gaza Strip tried to lynch the Israel Navy commandos who stormed their Turkish-flagged ship early Monday, Israel Defense Forces sources told Haaretz.

The commandos, who intercepted the Turkish ferry Mavi Marmara after it ignored orders to turn back, said they encountered violent resistance from activists armed with sticks and knives. According to the soldiers, the activists threw one of their comrades from the upper deck to the lower after they boarded.

Activists attacked a commando with iron bars as he descended onto the ship from a helicopter, the army said. The IDF said its rules of engagement allowed troops to open fire in what it called a "life-threatening situation".

The soldiers said they were forced to open fire after the activists struck one of their comrades in the head and trampled on him. A senior field commander ordered the soldiers then to respond with fire, a decision which the commandos said received full backing the military echelon.

At least 10 people were killed and several more wounded after the Israel Navy troops opened fire on the six-ship flotilla. Unofficial reports put the death toll at between 14 and 20.


I mean, do you honestly believe this is how it went down?

I'll admit that I don't believe it for one second. The Israelis EXECUTED these people.


This boat was in INTERNATIONAL WATERS, and they executed these people.

Why Black Farmers Are Broke

Today is the deadline for the government to pay Black farmers more than one billion to settle a class-action lawsuit that began more than a decade ago. For decades, the U.S. Department of Agriculture denied or delayed small loans to Black farmers. The USDA even admits it is guilty.

Read the rest at The Loop.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Thought Leaders in the Black Community - NY State Senator Eric Adams

Host Marvin King interviews NY State Senator Eric Adams from the 20th district (D-Brooklyn). We get Adams's take on the Stop the Sag campaign, frisking by police, and getting parolees the right to vote.

Wonder if Rand Paul would defend THESE folks' PROPERTY RIGHTS?

hat tip-a JJP reader based on a comment from ms martin


”To discuss whether or not Rand Paul is a racist is a waste of time, he clearly is; only a true and real racist would give power to racism.

If one would wish to start a debate about "property rights" I would think one would focus on eminent domain or something of that nature, I would hardly think they would start with what race of people they are required to let into their businesses. The very nature of that is purely racist, purely racist and everyone that is discussing this knows it is purely racist.

If Rand Paul wants to discuss property rights, let's get real. Let's discuss the rights of the people who owned the property that is the United States before it was stolen from many. That's a property rights discussion I would love to hear. “

In The Cross-Heirs

A loophole in real estate law pits families against developers and each other. Some say there’s more than money at stake.
Posted May 1, 2009 11:40 PM CDT
By Anna Stolley Persky

Standing on a bare stretch of beach in early February, Billy Freeman is not alone. His memories, his family, his ghosts are here with him in North Carolina, at the edge of the ocean.

It is here where Freeman played in the sand with his cousins. It is here where his family, for generations, fished, cooked and watched the tide with an intimate familiarity. And it is here where his family built Freeman Beach, nicknamed “Bop City,” a beachside haven where African-Americans could enjoy the summer months—even in the days of segregation.

“It’s a part of me,” says Freeman, 68, digging a heel into the sand, facing the cold winter wind. “We’ve always had the land. No money—but land.”

Freeman can trace his heritage and land to his great-great-great-grandfather, Alexander Freeman, a freed slave who in 1855 bought 99 acres near Myrtle Beach Sound. But Freeman and his relatives are in danger of losing part of that original plot, Freeman Beach. A developer claims to have majority ownership interest in the land and has filed court documents requesting a partition sale.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Wyclef Jean survives criticism, works to uplift Haiti

During election seasons, Republicans love to blast liberal, Hollywood actors for spouting off their political beliefs. In reality, it’s quite hypocritical, but that’s another story. Yet, Wyclef Jean and Sean Penn continue to make mincemeat of conservative critics that claim that Hollywood entertainers are dim-witted glamour hounds. Our collective thanks should to these two, who continue to toil away even when there are no cameras around.

Read the rest at The Loop.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Why Rand Paul Matters - Rachel Maddow Explains

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Alabama Teacher Gives Interesting Math Lesson

Just read for yourselves.

I think I have Tea Party fatigue, racist/bigot fatigue, and politics fatigue. 2 & 1/2 more years of this s---?

The State Dinner for Mexico

Here are pictures and the toast for the State Dinner for the country of Mexico:

US President Barack Obama waves as he stands with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, his wife Margarita Zabala, and US First Lady Michelle Obama, as the Mexican President arrives at the White House May 19, 2010 for State Dinner ceremonies, at the White House in Washington, DC.
----PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

WASHINGTON - MAY 19: First Lady Michelle Obama and her husband U.S President Barack Obama wait for Mexican President Felipe Calderon and his wife Margarita Zavala to arrive for the State Dinner at the White House on May 19, 2010 in Washington, DC. President Obama welcomed President Calderon to the White House today for an official state visit that is taking place amid tension over immigration politics and Mexico's deadly drug war.
---- Mark Wilson/Getty Images

REST OF POST INSIDE (with video)

4 for 1: Brothers Johnson, Tom Scott, Newbirth, Mayer Hawthorne

Documentary - Before The Music Dies

Rated PG-13

When Will The Feds Go After Ken Cuccinelli?

Ken Cuccinelli, The Attorney General of Virginia, is not even trying to hide his unethical activities. Rachel Maddow destroyed him tonight.

Are the Federal Prosecutors in Virginia asleep? This guy has done just about everything except wear a sign that reads "Feds... please investigate me".

Thursday, May 20, 2010

More Crazy From The Tea Party Crowd - They Want to Hang Him Then Torch Him

Damn. They want to hang him first, then set him on fire.

For those who may not be clear on the history of lynching in America, this was once par for the course. It was tradition for whites in some parts of the Country to have lynching parties (like barbecues), where people would bring food. The hanging of a Black victim was the centerpiece of the social gathering. They would often lynch the victim first.... then torch him... as everyone stood and watched. (They would also bring their children to these gatherings... just like a social picnic). (check our archives for posts on "lynching").

A group of Tea Party folks from Wisconsin (or those sympathetic to the Tea Party) were reminiscing recently about this great American pastime.... and were crazy enough to record it. 

Anyone still in denial about America at this point? If you are... then you are out of your mind.

Common Nonsense: Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance

A new book by Alexander Zaitchik -Common Nonsense: Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance -reveals untold truths about con artist Glenn Beck. Finally we have a book that peels back the layers of fraud on Beck and challenges some of the lies. Finally people will have a chance to see that Glenn Beck a lie. It's a false persona. It's the same kind of phony act that Beck used when he was a cheap shock jock on a radio morning show. The only difference now is that his audience is much bigger...and the American people, like boneheads, have fallen for the act.

To me, Glenn Beck's popularity says a lot about the American public. In fact, it says more about the people of this Country and their gullibility for con artist entertainers like Limbaugh, Hannity & Beck, than it says about the man himself.

The book is due to hit the bookstores in June, but I am sure it can be pre-ordered.

See a review.

The Field Negro also posted on this gem.

Information from the publisher

See My Previous Commentary on Glenn Beck

Black Kids Still Showing Bias Towards White or Light Skin

CNN project basically rehashes the famous doll test.

Why do we always seem to see the same results?

Michelle Obama Looked Fierce at State Dinner For Mexico's President

Michelle Obama looked especially fierce for this weeks State Dinner for Mexico's President and First Lady.

Although the Republican Party's right wing media trashed her.

The Experience of Blacks in Nazi Germany

Check out an interesting post from Heidi Durrow about the experience of Blacks in Hitler's Germany.

Rand Paul on NPR - ADA and Racial Discrimination Should be Dealt With Locally

Hear Rand Paul's NPR interview from yesterday...where he reiterated his views... on the same day that he tried to downplay his position on Maddow. I guess he's like John McCain. Some days, he's a maverick, and other days (depending on the political winds) he's not. Paul is a part time racist then in the same way I guess.

Wow... It is amazing how America has moved to the extreme right. Hear interview. This is, in part, the result of the Conservative media controlling the narrative for so long.

Paul says he has a Tea Party mandate... (in other words, he believes a mandate from the racist Tea Party = A national mandate). What is sad and scary about that is.... he may be correct. With the nations swing to the right... and with the idiocy of the American electorate... anything is possible.

There is a good chance that this man will be in the Senate after the November elections. A Tea Party Senator.

See a previous more detailed post on this from Rikyrah.

Janet Napolitano In the Middle Of Gulf Oil Spill Crisis

Paraphrased by the New York Times in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Disaster as saying:

'she did not know if the Defense Department even had equipment that might be helpful'. (They did...and have for years).

Lesson - This is why politicians have no business in these kinds of positions -- Director of Homeland Security, FBI director, FEMA director, TSA chief, OSHA chief, EPA chief, CDC director, HHS Secretary, FDA director, Consumer Product Safety Commissioners (CPSC), director of MMS, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Secretary of Defense, etc. These are crucial positions that involve emergency management & response, public safety, and national security/defense. They require leaders to have a clue about what the Hell is going on. Heads of these agencies and departments should have some level of expertise and experience in the kinds of work that they are directing.

This is one of the big reasons why I didn't care for her selection for DHS director. She's a politician. Not a national security person. Not an emergency manager. Not a public safety person. Not a law enforcement person. Not a security expert. Not a first responder. You should have some practical experience in at least one of these areas if you are going to be the Homeland Security chief.
There were tons of more qualified individuals (including some Black Americans... although I don't have a racial litmus test) who could have been chosen for this position.

Arizona Threatens To Cut Off L.A.'s Electricity

This would be in retaliation to the L.A. boycott of Arizona's racist immigration law.

What The ***k?!!!!

See for yourself.

I say let em secede. Cut off Federal funding to these jackasses. As a matter of fact. They can have the South if they want it. Can't stand the South. Never liked it. (although I am not ready to give up Florida or Texas.... two of my adoptive home States). I would be ready to fight for Texas or Florida. But the rest, they can have. lol

Gulf Coast Oil Spill In Pictures

See Additional Photos from The Sacramento Bee


Dozens of Animals Found Dead

Spill Much Larger Than Initially Reported

Report from NPR

Large Oil Plumes Found Under the Surface of Gulf

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Rand Paul thinks you being a 2nd Class Citizen - in the laws of the land - is quite ok.

In a meeting with the Editorial Board of the Louisville Courier Journal, Republican Candidate for the United States Senate, Rand Paul, said he wouldn't have voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

This is the teabaggers' boy, y'all.

He wouldn't have voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

They are who we thought they were. Plain and simple.

Rand Paul is as much a racist as his father is.

He can talk all the bullshyt he wants to about 'commerce clauses', but at the end of the day, he's a proponent of STATES RIGHTS, and in his world, I guess my families in Mississippi and Tennessee just IMAGINED that they were oppressed by the foot of JIM CROW for nearly 100 years.

IF you say that you wouldn't have voted for making me a 1st Class Citizen in the laws of this land, then you are saying that it's ok that I don't have those rights. I consider that non-negotiable, and you a racist.

Watch him bob and weave on the Rachel Maddow Show.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


The State Visit of President Calderon of Mexico

President Obama welcomes President and Mrs. Calderon

The Presidents have a Press Conference:

The First Lady was questioned on immigration:

Monday, May 17, 2010

Both Sides of The Loop Podcast

On this week's episode, Marvin King and Lenny McAllister cover minorities getting the frisk from NYC cops, Arizona's immigration law and civil rights, the anti-incumbent mood in American politics and Elena Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court.

Walking while Black or Brown will get you frisked

Police are nine times more likely to stop and frisk minorities in New York City than they are to do the same to white men. Yet, these stops are no more likely to produce arrests of Black and Latino men than white men. In fact, these stops produce an arrest rate of more than 6 percent of white men, with an arrest rate of less than 6 percent of black men after a thorough frisking.

Read the rest at The Loop.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

What Part of ' If You Ain't White', don't you understand?

Well, when Arizona Law SB 1070 passed, a whole lotta Black folks were like, ' good', because they have resentments towards the Latino community.

Let me make this clear. I believe I'm to right of the rest of the FP bloggers when it comes to immigration. I don't only dislike illegal immigration, I'm not too fond of legal immigration. The whole ' nation of immigrants' thing - try it on someone whose ancestors weren't brought here stacked up in the hull of slave ships.

But, for me, this wasn't about immigration. Even Rev. Al admitted that on The Ed Show: he was like, ' yeah, I guess we gotta do immigration reform, but that's not why I'm against this bill'.

Rev. Al saw it as I did:


There's a Black person, more likely, a Black Man, racially profiled EVERY DAY in this country.

The only way that we've remotely been able to fight this, is because it was ILLEGAL.

Now, if this happens when it's ILLEGAL, what do you think is going to happen if they make it LEGAL?

Well, I'm not willing to find out.

IS there a Black person out there that thinks that doesn't recognize THAT WE ARE NEXT ON THE LIST?

Please point to me something in the history of Black folk and Law Enforcement in America that could make me conclude anything OTHER than this.

So, it's opposition to SB1070 for the selfish reason of SELF-PRESERVATION for me.

But, you couldn't possibly have thought that they were going to stop with SB 1070, did you?

President Obama's Weekly Youtube Address

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Whistleblower Says BP Had History of Cheating on Blowout Preventer Tests

BP apparently had a history of falsifying safety tests, particularly on their blowout preventers, which are designed to prevent gas pressure from rushing up the well and causing explosions. To save money, BP and some of its subcontractors, cut corners.

Kings Go Forth

Bonus: Willie Hutch

Not Ecstatic About Elena Kagan

Kagan talking about Obama during a 2005 Celebration of Black Alumni at Harvard Law School:

I thought for sure that Obama would choose a safe pick for the Supreme Court - someone non-controversial. But it turns out that he took a risk. Kagan is a nominee who is drawing criticism from both Progressives and Conservatives. Kagan's nomination seems to resemble something closer to cronyism than opportunity for Obama to do something for someone that he knows or has worked with in the past. Not very different from David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel, Arne Duncan, Valerie Jarrett, etc. Yes, she may be qualified, but if he were interested in choosing someone who did not necessarily have experience on the bench, then there were certainly stronger candidates that he could have chosen. The list of scholars, constitutional lawyers, and those who have both litigation and academic credentials is quite long. Kagan probably falls somewhere near the middle or the bottom of that list. I'm o.k. with a nominee without Judicial experience.... as long as the person is not a politician. But Kagan is probably the closest thing to a politician that Obama could have nominated, without nominating an actual politician. Remember, much of her experience comes from serving in the executive branch.

Critics have been expressing concern about the lack of a paper trail for Kagan...that we don't have much to go on. But I think there is plenty of information available. I, for one, have seen just about all that I need to see in order to raise doubts about this nominee. I am bothered more by the little that we do know about her, as opposed to what we don't know. What bothers me the most is her position on civil liberties. I am not much of a civil liberties critic, but in this case, (and since they seem to be under attack lately) questions should be raised. Kagan is on record agreeing with Bush era policy regarding indefinite detention and enemy combatants. Of course the Bush rules on enemy combatants were thrown together to avoid providing due process and standard criminal trials to those captured in Afghanistan. That may have been a legitimate concern at the time, because there was no functioning Afghan government, Bush didn't want to use the Geneva Convention rules, and didn't want to set up a system through the UN or ICC. Since then, however, Republicans have tried to apply these provisions to militants still captured in Afghanistan and Iraq, those captured in other parts of the world, and terror suspects captured in the U.S. There is a huge difference between what Donald Rumsfeld was trying to do in 2002-2003 and what Republicans are trying to do now.

Kagan appears to believe that military tribunals (which the Federal courts have already determined were unconstitutional under Bush) are sufficient for providing due process. Worse.... Kagan believes that the "battlefield" in the war on terrorism can be anywhere that we decide it is...and anyone picked up on that battlefield could be subject to some sort of alternative due process legal system. (And I thought that the Obama Administration decided to get rid of the term "War on Terror". It looks like he may be ready to resurrect that too.... all for some sort of political expediency). A Supreme Court nominee who is so shaky about fundamental civil liberties and the Constitution should be examined with caution IMO.

Here is her testimony touching on these issues, taken from her 2009 confirmation for Solicitor General:

Her connections to former Bush attorney Jack Goldsmith should also raise some eyebrows. And it may be hard to package Elena Kagan as someone who understands the lives of ordinary Americans when she has worked for the likes of Goldman Sachs in the recent past, although only in an advisory role. She doesn't strike me as a champion of the little guy, and few Supreme Court nominees actually come from the real world and could take on that role anyway. Once Kagan is confirmed, the entire Court will consist of justices with Ivy League University backgrounds.

If Obama was hoping that a lack of a paper trail would make confirmation easier, he may have miscalculated. I don't think Kagan's confirmation will be as easy as the Administration had hoped. But I see no obstacle that would stop her from being confirmed.

With that said.... I am not completely against this nominee.... but I am not for her either. I think that a better choice could have been made. The last time I felt this kind of strong ambivalence about a Supreme Court pick, was when George H. W. Bush nominated Clarence Thomas. I was actually offended by Thomas's pick as a replacement for Thurgood Marshall. But I had the ambivalence too because I felt that if Bush wanted to really pick a highly qualified minority, there were many other more qualified candidates that he could have chosen.

Obama Caving to the Right On Miranda?

Once again I get the sense that Obama is caving to the Right on important, core issues. He did it on the issue of prosecuting terrorists in civilian Federal courts (something this nation has always done), and now Eric Holder has signaled that the Administration is willing to tinker with Miranda to give law enforcement more flexibility when dealing with terror suspects. There have been several other examples of this caving to Conservatives. I have honestly lost count.

Now the Congress is even flirting with the idea of stripping citizenship from people involved in terrorism, sometimes even before the disposition of a trial; and Speaker Pelosi thought that it might be a good idea. What in the World is going on? One question that immediately comes to mind for me is.... will this law be applied to the Right wing terrorists and their organizations? I'm talking about the McVeigh's, the Eric Rudolph's, the Jim Adkisson's, the Matthew Hale's, the James Von Brunn's, the Benjamin Nathaniel Smith's, and the James Kopp's. Certainly they are terrorists. Will they be banished from the Country? Will they be stripped of their rights as citizens?

Of course the Obama administration is flirting with the idea of changing Miranda (which he can't change in any significant way because it is protected by Supreme Court precedent), all to sort of pacify Conservatives who are complaining about the way he is handling terror suspects...some suggesting that Miranda should be banished altogether, even for terror suspects who are citizens.

The fact is, Miranda doesn't need any significant changes. The investigative process has been working fine, for the most part, under the current law. In fact, a public safety exemption already exists, when it comes to Miranda. The exemption has been around for 25 years and was established in the case of New York v. Quarles. In it, the Supreme Court concluded:
"concern for public safety must be paramount to adherence to the literal language of the prophylactic rules enunciated in Miranda."

Law enforcement authorities already have flexibility in how they use Miranda. Obama, a Constitutional law scholar, has to know this. I think (and hope) these moves are designed to try to blunt Republican talking points....which have been driving the debate on just about everything. I hope this is not a signal that Obama is willing to change basic civil liberties. As much as some may disagree, even terrorists have rights in this Country.

The irony in all of this is the fact that since 9/11, the Country has proclaimed that it would not allow terrorists to change the American way of life. But by tinkering with core principles of due process, miranda, etc, the Country is signaling that it is willing to change its most fundamental values. The terrorists win every time a nutty Republican tries to divide the Country on issues of fundamental rights.

Arizona Quickly Modifies Immigration Law To Get Around Legal Challenges

The Arizona legislature modified their racist and unconstitutional immigration law earlier this month because they knew that the original law wouldn't hold up in Federal court. The move was made in anticipation of a mountain of lawsuits that would have likely made the legislation null and void in the Federal appeals courts.

The original law would have allowed (and in many cases required) police in Arizona to use an immigration check as the reason to make initial contact with an individual. Now the law states that officers can check immigration status as a consequence of some other violation of the law or some other contact, which could be just about anything. The provisions in the modification, for the most part, always existed. This is currently part of normal police practice across the country. Police officers already contact immigration authorities to report suspects who may be undocumented, when the issue comes up as a consequence of other violations of the law. So if that's the case, why have a law that codifies what is already the normal practice? Because that was not the original intent of the law. Arizona is trying to be slick with this move.

The changes will help the State defend against legal challenges, and will make the law tougher to kill in the courts. However, the law is still racist and unconstitutional. The law will still require some level of racial profiling. It still violates equal protection rights. It would still require a certain segment of the population to show proof of citizenship, while not requiring the same from others. The only way that this law could be constitutional, would be if everyone in Arizona were required to carry proof of citizenship and all were scrutinized equally. Gov. Brewer herself tried to claim that she didn't know what an immigrant looked like (in an attempt to blunt criticism.... and to try to show that the law would be applied to everyone....of course that's a lie. Of course this whole issue is about Mexicans). It is inherently racist...even with the changes....the changes only lessen the degree of the racism. The law also tries to trump Federal laws and Federal jurisdiction, another problem for Arizona as it tries to come up with a defense. Unfortunately those who want to challenge the law will have a steeper hill to climb.

The modifications were aimed at fixing some of the 4th amendment problems. But the problems with the 14th amendment are still there. Fortunately, this law was so horribly bad to begin with, that there are a number of routes to kill it. The modifications only plug one hole in the dam. This is why I believe the law was never really meant to be practical. I think it had more to do with Arizona wanting to send a message to Washington.

Read the Text of the Actual Law with the Modifications

Xenophobia in Arizona Is Officially Going Out of Control

Arizona is clearly trying to make a statement. They want to make it known that they are hostile towards Latinos. And the Whites in the State appear to be embracing this campaign.

Now there is a push (part of a string of actions over the last few months) to remove teachers from the classroom because of their accents. Think about this for a minute. Arizona is a State, much like California, Texas, and New Mexico, that is naturally going to have teachers in the classroom who have accents. These teachers are often Hispanic and speak both English and Spanish so that they can serve their students. I haven't been to Arizona, but I have lived in central Texas...and having bilingual teachers and teachers of different ethnic backgrounds was a normal part of life in my high school.

Arizona is collectively going crazy. And now other States are thinking about using Arizona's approach, by codifying xenophobia and racism.

Perhaps we should allow Arizona to secede from the Union. I would rather have Puerto Rico as a replacement.

Police Officer Shoots Himself, Tries to Blame Black Suspect

Philadelphia police officer Robert Ralston reported last month that he had been shot by an unidentified Black man (how convenient). But his story slowly began to unravel. Luckily with today's forensic technology and with good investigative work, the truth usually comes out in these cases. It turns out that Ralston made up the whole story. Fortunately no one was hurt during the manhunt for the suspect who didn't exist.

I was immediately reminded about Susan Smith who drowned her children in 1994, and then blamed it on a Black man. I was also reminded of a case that was worse than the Susan Smith debacle - the case of Charles Stuart, who murdered his pregnant wife in Boston back in 1989, and blamed a Black man (remember that?). That case almost ripped Boston apart. There have been other lesser known examples of this over the years, but these are the two incidents that always come to mind for me because they are seared into my brain.

Myth About Sarah Palin's "Real American" Family Values Debunked

The Right loves to promote the idea that their Conservative family values are superior. Sarah Palin does this in just about every speech, when she talks about her mythical "Real America". Of course for Palin, and many others, "Real America" is code for Southern values, rural, Conservative, and white.

But new research from the authors of the book "Red Families vs. Blue Families", shatters this Conservative myth into a thousand pieces. Hear story....

Veterans Still Being Denied Benefits - Pentagon Labeling Troops With "Personality Disorder" to Avoid Responsibility

Caught a crazy story about the treatment of veterans over the weekend. My first thought was- "is this still going on?". I recall first hearing about this under the Bush Administration when it was running rampant. But apparently veterans are still dealing with this problem. In a recent public radio interview, Investigative journalist Joshua Kors talks about the impossible situation veterans have been faced with when they try to get their benefits.

Eric Shinseki (Head of VA) and Robert Gates were supposed to correct this. Some improvements have been made, but there are so many applications for benefits, the system may be overwhelmed. According to NPR and the VA, the number of outstanding benefits claims is somewhere in the neighborhood of 500,000. Unbelievable.

This is part of the cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq - a cost that often isn't included in the actual war cost calculations. The final cost could be mind boggling when you factor in the funding needed for long-term treatment.


Hear an entire NPR series called "The New Veteran".

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

With Kagan, It's All About The Politics

No doubt Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan’s credentials are impressive. She taught at the prestigious University of Chicago Law School, was a lawyer in the Clinton White House, has private practice experience, served as Dean at Harvard Law School and most recently served as Solicitor General, representing the United States in front of the Supreme Court. Even better is that she’s developed a reputation as a consensus builder everywhere she’s gone.

Read the rest at The Loop.

The Case for and against Elena Kagan on the Supreme Court

The case FOR Kagan by Lawrence Lessig.

The case AGAINST Kagan by Glenn Greenwald.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Democrats Should Go On The Offensive

Latest Gallup Poll results have (somewhat) good news for congressional Democrats, and by extension, for President Obama. In the early spring, Republican voters were “very enthusiastic” about the upcoming November congressional election. Democrats were “less enthusiastic” and more sanguine about the election. You got the feeling that all the Republicans were shouting at the top of their lungs while Democrats collectively went “meh” at the thought of the election. Funny what time does to the political landscape?

Read the rest at The Loop.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Lena Horne Has Passed Away at the Age of 92

From the NYTimes:

Lena Horne, Singer and Actress, Dies at 92
Published: May 9, 2010

Lena Horne, who was the first black performer to be signed to a long-term contract by a major Hollywood studio and who went on to achieve international fame as a singer, died on Sunday night at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York. She was 92 and lived in Manhattan.

Her death was announced by her son-in-law, Kevin Buckley.

Ms. Horne might have become a major movie star, but she was born 50 years too early, and languished at MGM in the 1940s because of the color of her skin, although she was so light-skinned that, when she was a child, other black children had taunted her, accusing her of having a “white daddy.”

Ms. Horne was stuffed into one “all-star” musical after another — “Thousands Cheer” (1943), “Broadway Rhythm” (1944), “Two Girls and a Sailor” (1944), “Ziegfeld Follies” (1946), “Words and Music” (1948) — to sing a song or two that could easily be snipped from the movie when it played in the South, where the idea of an African-American performer in anything but a subservient role in a movie with an otherwise all-white cast was unthinkable.

“The only time I ever said a word to another actor who was white was Kathryn Grayson in a little segment of ‘Show Boat’ ” included in “Till the Clouds Roll By” (1946), a movie about the life of Jerome Kern, Ms. Horne said in an interview in 1990. In that sequence she played Julie, a mulatto forced to flee the showboat because she has married a white man.

But when MGM made “Show Boat” into a movie for the second time, in 1951, the role of Julie was given to a white actress, Ava Gardner, who did not do her own singing. (Ms. Horne was no longer under contract to MGM at the time, and according to James Gavin’s Horne biography, “Stormy Weather,” published last year, she was never seriously considered for the part.) And in 1947, when Ms. Horne herself married a white man — the prominent arranger, conductor and pianist Lennie Hayton, who was for many years both her musical director and MGM’s — the marriage took place in France and was kept secret for three years.

Ms. Horne’s first MGM movie was “Panama Hattie” (1942), in which she sang Cole Porter’s “Just One of Those Things.” Writing about that film years later, Pauline Kael called it “a sad disappointment, though Lena Horne is ravishing and when she sings you can forget the rest of the picture.”

Even before she came to Hollywood, Brooks Atkinson, the drama critic for The New York Times, noticed Ms. Horne in “Lew Leslie’s Blackbirds of 1939,” a Broadway revue that ran for nine performances. “A radiantly beautiful sepia girl,” he wrote, “who will be a winner when she has proper direction.”


President Obama Gives Commencement Address at Hampton University

The President gave the Commencement Address at Hampton University this morning.

US President Barack Obama recieves the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws after presenting the commencement address at Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia, May 9, 2010.
----JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

I've always loved the long standing tradition of HBCU's having graduation day on Mother's Day.


Media Alert- President Obama's Commencement Speech at Hampton University

President Obama's Commencement Speech at Hampton University will be shown on C-SPAN today at 10:30 am EST.

Friday, May 07, 2010

The First Lady hosts a Mother's Day Tea

Sometimes, you read things and go 'WOW'. Marco Rubio has made me do that.

hat tip-djchefron

I have to admit, I didn't believe it could be true.

But, the headline confirmed it:

Marco Rubio says deport all the immigrants

Yes, you read right.

Marco Rubio says deport all the immigrants

Are there words?

Here is a quote from Rubio:

Then Rubio explained that he is against letting illegals become legal:

Rubio also rejected the notion of a "path to citizenship" or "amnesty," despite "the human stories."

"There are going to be stories of very young kids that were brought to this country at a very young age who don't even speak Spanish that are going to be sent back to Nicaragua or some other place. And it's gonna feel weird and I understand that," he said, suggesting that those hardships would be a price worth paying.

Hah! That's a quote from Marco Rubio, son of Cuban refugees. Cubans were, for decades, welcome to settle in America without visas or papers or anything, and they are still allowed to enter the the U.S. via Mexico without fear of being deported.

But Nicaraguans? Ugh, no. Marco Rubio says GO HOME.

Ain't that a bitch?

IFFFFF they were from any other country (cough, Haiti, double cough), Cubans would be considered ILLEGAL and SHIPPED BACK.

They aren't here through legal channels.

But, HE and HIS have made it, and the rest of you can go f-yourselves.

All the Latinos in Florida who are thinking of giving Rubio a chance in part because of ' Latino Pride'...


when the chips are down, and he needed to take a stand...

look what stand he took.

Look who he sucked up to.

Look whose ass he kissed...

He's showing you who he is....

we have a term for folks like Rubio in the Black of my current favorite terms is Slave Catcher.

may your vision be clear as you look at Rubio.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Thoughts On Obama's Foreign Policy

Barack Obama's presidency has led to a phenomenal improvement in America's standing around the world. He has returned moral leadership to the USA. Public opinion polls show America's popularity in Europe, Asia and the Middle East much higher than when George W. Bush was in office.

Read the rest at The Loop.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Republican Crazies Are Complaining About The Handling of Times Square Terrorist

I expected that the crazies would start complaining about the Times Square event. It didn't take them long at all. The idiots claim that providing miranda to a citizen is somehow out of step with Federal law and our legal norms. Of course this has been done since Miranda V. Arizona almost half a century ago. But who cares about the facts? Who cares about facts when you are a Republican and you live in a fantasyland where you can make up your own reality - a reality that you can get gullible American voters to buy into?

John McCain, one of the main complainers, is a U.S. Senator and should know the laws in this Country. This man scares the Hell out of me. I always thought he was somewhat of a whackjob. It's amazing that he almost became President. In fact, McCain would probably be President right now if not for Bush's economic crisis. Even with the unpopularity of Bush and the Republican Party, McCain was headed for victory (according to polling) against Obama prior to the economic collapse in the Fall of 2008. We definitely dodged a bullet.

Joe Lieberman took the crazy a step further by suggesting that Shahzad should have his citizenship taken away in order to eliminate the need for miranda or a trial in the Federal Courts.

From Huffpost:

Lieberman argued that if an act of terrorism was coordinated with a group designated as a terrorist organization, then an American involved with such a group would lose citizenship and the constitutional protections that come with it.

Ummm, excuse me Mr. Lieberman, but does that also include the Right wing Christian Conservatives, the Tea Party radicals, and White Supremacist terror groups that have been embraced by the Republican Party, either tacitly or out in the open? What about the members of Congress who are associated with radical extremists on the right and who stoke fear? I wonder how that would work out.

Faisal Shahzad Arrested for Attempted Times Square Attack

Possible Co-conspirator(s) Arrested Overseas

Lessons Learned? Unfortunately There Probably Won't Be. It May Even Send The Country Into A Deeper State of Complacency.

Faisal Shahzad, a 30 year old originally from Pakistan was arrested in the nick of time at JFK airport overnight. He was apparently taken off an aircraft, just before departure. More here.

I knew it would be just a matter of time before we started to see this kind of activity here in the U.S. (Car bomb attempts, IED's, etc). More of these events are probably inevitable. Unfortunately, the level of security in the U.S. is woefully inadequate for dealing with these types of threats. It was luck that prevented a disaster in Times Square.

The U.S. still has gaping holes in its security. At the moment, there is no effective comprehensive or cohesive security strategy. The U.S. system relies too heavily on the intelligence community on one extreme, and too heavily on conventional military power on the other extreme. In the middle lies a big hole (domestic security). I have always been baffled by this notion that the intelligence community should be able to stop every event. Traditionally, this has never been the role of intelligence. It was never meant to be 100%, 90% or even 80% effective in thwarting terrorist attacks. Intelligence - which began as a military concept - is just a tool in a much larger toolbox. It was traditionally meant to be used in conjunction with other resources, not as the end all be all. But due to sensational media coverage since 9/11, Americans have come to believe and expect that intelligence could magically stop everything. Events that go undetected are often mistakenly labeled as "intelligence failures"....regardless of whether they are really failures or not. In an open society like the one we have in the U.S., the best intelligence system will only stop about 50% of incidents like the Times Square event (and that's pretty good).

That "middle" that I mentioned includes an immigration system that should be more effective at screening who enters the country, should have a more effective vetting system for entrants from certain parts of the globe, should have a more selective system for determining who receives residency status, citizenship, etc. The "middle" also refers to a better ability to track suspects, the need for a system to limit or prevent the purchase of ingredients that could be used for IED's (ammonium nitrate for example), and soft targets, including high value targets, that are wide open. Our passenger rail systems, metro train systems, bus systems, and passenger ships are all inadequately protected. Commercial rail, which transports tons of hazardous materials through heavily populated areas, also lacks adequate security measures.

The U.S. also needs to utilize biometric ID technology. State ID's and drivers licenses should be tamper proof. Federal law should require ID and information to be recorded whenever there is a private transaction involving the sale of automobiles,
hazardous store-bought ingredients that could have dual uses, etc. Certain items shouldn't be available for sale at all, unless the customer can demonstrate a legitimate use for the materials. Americans would be surprised at what kinds of materials are available over the counter.

The biggest part of the gaping hole in the "middle" is the private security sector. We have a private security industry in the U.S. that is a complete joke. While other countries such as India, Israel, and much of Europe have nationalized most aspects of their security (like the nationalization of Health Care for example), the U.S. maintains a weak private, for-profit, security system. In the years to come, Americans will unfortunately begin to see how bad this really is. It's one of those gaping holes that has always been there, but won't be fully understood until there is a catastrophe. I recall flying from Germany one year (way back in the 80's) to come home for some kind of family visit, and I remember how strong the security was. The screening agents, even back then, worked for the State (West Germany at the time). It took a tragedy like 9/11 to get the U.S. to nationalize its screening operations (although the private screeners were not directly responsible for 9/11... they were used as a convenient scapegoat). But there have been other cases where private screeners, which worked directly for the airlines, proved inadequate. It was nonsensical to put airlines in charge of their own security screening operations. The whole concept was flawed from the beginning.

Hopefully the U.S. will wake up and strengthen its security posture before these sorts of events become the new normal.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

The President Gives the Commencement Address at The University of Michigan

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The President's Political Gamble on Offshore Drilling is a bust

When the President announced his support for limited offshore oil drilling, I was disappointed. I felt this was a political calculation, not one of any sudden change in beliefs, considering that he had been against it during the campaign.

This disaster off the coast of Louisiana is the nightmare that those of us who are against offshore drilling feared would come to pass.

They are already comparing this to the Exxon Valdez.
VENICE, La. -- An oil spill that threatened to eclipse even the Exxon Valdez disaster spread out of control with a faint sheen washing ashore along the Gulf Coast Thursday night as fishermen rushed to scoop up shrimp and crews spread floating barriers around marshes.

Hours before the spill started washing ashore in Louisiana late Thursday, members of Congress issued new calls for Obama to abandon his plans for expanded offshore drilling, and White House officials conceded that the spreading oil slick could cause the president to rethink his position. "We need to figure out what happened," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said. "Would a finding of something possibly affect that? Of course."

The outlook in the Gulf of Mexico remained bleak in the wake of the April 20 explosion that sank the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and killed 11 workers. A change in the weather and choppy waters prevented a second burn of oil at sea and slowed efforts by a flotilla of ships to skim the oily mixture from the surface of the gulf, federal officials said. Continuing efforts to use remote-controlled robotic submarines to activate a malfunctioning blowout preventer lying on the sea floor in 5,000 feet of water failed.

I can't speak for everyone else who is against offshore oil drilling, but I can only bring my own reasons - the possibility of disasters like this. No, I don't trust the oil companies as far as I could spit. Combine that with the local industries that will be destroyed as a consequence- in this case, the fishing and tourism industries, and it's just not worth it.

But, the main reason why the oil companies can't be trusted, is because their is no monitoring apparatus in place by government to keep a control over the oil companies. I don't think folks truly understand how much Bush, The Evil One and their buddies absolutely GUTTED those in the government who would protect the environment. Not just the political appointees, but they proceeded with a systematic gutting of the 'permanent government' employees - those employees that keep the structure of the departments going, despite who is the President of the United States. They took flunkies from the oil industry, those who could care less about protecting the coasts, and only see them as a place to rape, pillage, plunder and make money, no matter what the costs to the peoples who would be effected if something would go wrong. AND, because of the way they cut corners, something WOULD ALWAYS GO WRONG.