Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's only taken 11 years, but the Black Farmers will FINALLY get their money

from The NYTimes.com

November 30, 2010, 7:24 pm
Black Farmers Settlement Approved

The House has given final Congressional approval to a bill that would provide more than $4.55 billion to settle tens of thousands of longstanding claims brought by African Americans farmers and American Indians.

The bill provides $1.15 billion to African Americans left out of a 1999 settlement of a lawsuit, Pigford v. Glickman; in that settlement the federal government agreed to compensate black farmers and would-be farmers who said Agriculture Department officials denied or cheated them out of federal aid. To be eligible for money now, claimants must have farmed or attempted to farm between 1981 and 1986, have filed a discrimination complaint before July 1, 1987, and have filed a claim after the deadline in the original settlement.

The bill provides another $3.4 billion to American Indian plaintiffs who claim that Interior officials mismanaged royalties from leases of tribal land used to harvest oil, minerals and timber. Plaintiffs will receive $1.4 billion directly, while the government will use $2 billion to repurchase Indian lands broken up under the Dawes Act in the late 19th and early 20th century. Another $60 million will fund scholarships for American Indian students.

Representative James Clyburn, the majority whip, said the bill helped right historic injustices.

“Today we removed the stain on our country’s history and rectified these injustices,” he said, thanking several Republicans for helping with the bill. “What happened to our nation’s African American farmers and Native Americans was wrong, and we have made it right.”

The vote in the House was 256-152. President Obama is expected to sign it soon.

In a statement Tuesday, Mr. Obama applauded the bill’s passage, and pledged to continue efforts to resolve similar claims brought by women and Hispanic farmers. “Yet, while today’s vote demonstrates important progress, we must remember that much work remains to be done,” he said.

Well, it's past time, but it happened. Finally.

And to Republicans like Rep. King of Iowa, who has this to say:

He then said the claims -- which stem from discrimination against black farmers in the 1980s and 1990s -- are "slavery reparations."

"We've got to stand up at some point and say, 'We are not gonna pay slavery reparations in the United States Congress,'" he said. "That war's been fought. That was over a century ago. That debt was paid for in blood and it was paid for in the blood of a lot of Yankees, especially. And there's no reparations for the blood that paid for the sin of slavery. No one's filing that claim.

The Pigford claimants, he said, "They're just filing a claim because they think they can get away with it." Standing up against the settlements, while unpopular, he said, is "a matter of justice and equity."

Go somewhere, sit down, and STFU.

I didn't know Sarah Palin was running for First Lady

She has to be, since she's decided to attack First Lady Michelle Obama.

From Huffington Post.com
Palin Slams Michelle Obama Again, This Time For Anti-Obesity Campaign
From Caribou Barbie on Laura Ingraham's show:

I think she has got a different worldview and she is not hesitant at all to share what her worldview is. And I will take heat again for saying it on your show Laura but she encapsulated what her view of America is, I believe, unless she has evolved and things have changed in the last two years, but she said it on the campaign trail twice that it was the first time that she had been proud of her country when finally people were paying attention to Barack Obama. I think that's appalling. We can think of this infinite number of reasons to be proud of American exceptionalism and it baffles me that anybody would have that view and then allow that view to bleed over into policy.

I'll ask...what other Presidential candidate decides to run by attacking THE FIRST LADY?

Oh, there's so much here. But, let's begin with worldview.


Michelle Obama has a worldview? What worldview would that be?

One in which this country respected working mothers and honored what they do and gave them the support they needed to fulfill their promise and help keep their families on track?

One in which the families of our military personnel were truly respected and not given the short shrift?

One in which the arts were honored and respected, and what the positive that they bring out in our children is honored?

One in which our young men and women are challenged and given the opportunity to get their chance in this country, no matter what their socio-economic background, and how that can be done through hard work and education.

I've followed the First Lady in nearly every public appearance she's made since they went to the White House, and THOSE are the themes that Michelle Obama has repeated over and over.

Proud exceptionalism?

W-T-F is she talking about?

Surely she doesn't count her no-talent, ill-educated, scribble-on-the-hand self as an example of American Exceptionalism.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Poor Michael Steele....they wanna kick him to the curb....LOL

from Black Politics on the Web
Steele on thin ice at helm of Republican Party
By The Admin on November 26, 2010

A significant bloc of Republican National Committee members wants embattled chairman Michael Steele to step aside, but the rank and file have failed to settle on a clear alternative, according to Associated Press interviews with committee members.

More than four dozen interviews with members of the 168-member central committee found fear that a badly damaged Steele could emerge from the wreckage of a knockdown, drag-out fight to head the party as it challenges President Barack Obama in 2012. While most agree that Steele’s time has been rough — and costly — the members also recognize that a leadership fight could overshadow gains that Republicans made in the midterm elections.

With balloting set to take place in just two months, many just want Steele to go.

“You can’t keep spending the kind of money they’re spending every month just to operate the RNC,” said committee member Ada Fisher of North Carolina. “I would hope he would step aside.”

“The question is who should be hired for the next two years, It’s not a matter of firing anybody,” said James Bopp, a committee member from Indiana who holds great sway among social conservatives on the panel. “I just don’t think Steele has performed at the level we need for the presidential cycle.”

In interviews with 51 committee members, 39 said they preferred Steele not be on the ballot when they meet near Washington in mid-January to pick their leader.

For his part, Steele hasn’t said whether he will pursue the 85-vote majority needed for a second term. Already, members have been hearing from others interested in that quest.


Steele started the job with a $23 million surplus; the RNC raised more than $79 million this year and has spent all of it. Some went to places that previously saw little RNC cash or interest, including five U.S. territories that each has three votes on the central committee.

Oh MC Steele.....

You can't be surprised by this, can you?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The First Couple on 20/20

The Full Interview with President and Mrs. Obama on 20/20 Friday.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The First Lady and the WeeMichelles Welcome the White House Christmas Tree

hat tip-The Obama Diary:

The First Lady and the WeeMichelles received the White House Christmas Tree yesterday. I LOVE Christmas time at the White House - just nothing but goosebumps for me.

US First Lady Michelle Obama (L) with daughters Malia (C) and Sasha (R) walk to check out the White House Christmas tree after it was delivered by horse drawn carriage on November 26, 2010 at the White House in Washington, DC.
---TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images

Obama and the Democrats Still Don't Get It - Fix the PR & Messaging, and Pick the Right Battles

The Midterm (S)elections ended pretty much as expected. Confused Americans tired of gridlock in Washington DC, voted for more gridlock. This is frustrating because I know many of those white Republican voters are poor working class and middle class people. Many have been greatly impacted by the economy. I don't understand how they believe Republicans will make their lives any better. Afterall, a Republican White House was at the helm when the economy crashed. Republicans will aim to cut projects and services that many of their own constituents depend on... food stamps, medicare, unemployment insurance, S-chip, infrastructure investments, money for Police and Teachers...you name it. The next two years will be very constraining for President Obama, due to a Republican House of Representatives that will block his remaining agenda.

I have been annoyed and dejected about politics and the direction of the Country (still going in the wrong direction) over the past several weeks and have not been motivated to write anything. Voters and the Country have been disappointing more often than not over the past several years. Things started to go downhill politically in the late 1990's when Republicans and Ken Starr turned the Clinton affair into a circus. Then the U.S. made a number of foreign policy mistakes... under Clinton, which didn't help the U.S. at all...and caused more harm. That was followed up by the 2000 elections. A year later... we had the 9/11 catastrophe. The U.S. hasn't been the same since. Every major negative event that happened after 2000 and 2001 can be traced back to the major events of those two years (the Election of Bush/Cheney, and 9/11)....every major negative event. The nation is still licking its wounds from 2000 and 2001.

What annoyed me most about the Democrats, Post-election, was the fact that there didn't seem to be any effort whatsoever to understand what helped lead to the sharp losses. There was no recognition at all of Progressive/Democratic Party strategy. It was back to business as usual. The first major sign that the Democrats didn't get it was the fact that they chose Nancy Pelosi to continue as the Party's leader in the House of Representatives. This would have been a good opportunity to start fresh with a new leader. Pelosi, in my view, was never very effective as Speaker. Not only does the choice of Pelosi provide more motivation for Republicans over the next two years, but it sends the signal that Democrats are, to some extent, tone deaf. Democrats never seemed to have their finger on the collective pulse of the American public. Despite the need to focus on jobs and the economy.... Democrats chose Healthcare. That in of itself was not the fatal blow. It was the way that they went about selling Healthcare Reform that sunk them. Democrats never seemed to understand the importance of messaging and PR... how to grab and maintain the initiative in the information war. As a result, they lost the information war early on and were never able to regain control of the debate. Democrats also failed to grasp the fact that the U.S. is a centrist to center-right nation, and that governing may sometimes require a centrist approach. However, this is also a nation, as centrist as it may be, where people like populist ideas...some of which are Progressive ideas. In other words...large complicated bills that few people understand are often frowned upon due to costs and the image of too much government. But when you separate Progressive ideas into smaller slices, Americans often like them.... the populist side of the Country kicks in. Democrats failed to exploit the way that Americans understand and perceive policy. It's as if Democrats didn't bother gauging public sentiment at all to determine the best strategy for proceeding.

They were able to pass a bill....many observers, including myself, predicted that. But the cost was probably too high...politically and otherwise. A better strategy might have been passing the bill in pieces which would have been less confusing. They should have focused on passing (and branding) the popular aspects of reform....making it difficult for Republicans to confuse and misinform voters.

President Obama himself doesn't seem to get it. Not only doesn't he seem to understand the larger issues that I mentioned regarding Democrats... he also doesn't seem to understand how his position and approach as President will have to change. During his post-election press conference, the President once again extended an olive branch to Republicans and talked bipartisanship. This was after (Speaker elect) John Boehner and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, made it clear that they had no intentions on pursuing a bipartisan approach.

"This is not a time for compromise, and I can tell you that we will not compromise on our principles," Boehner said during an appearance on conservative Sean Hannity's radio show.

McConnell made similar statements, basically saying that his priority would be to make sure that Obama is defeated in 2012. The only way to do that is to sabotage the remaining two years of Obama's Presidency....which is exactly what they plan to do. It's the same approach that they used during his first two years in office.

The Republican plan is basically to continue the approach of obstruction...and run out the clock on Obama's time in office. They don't want to allow Obama to claim credit for anything positive. They are even reluctant to allow Obama to sign the New START Treaty. The START Treaty is part of a family of Treaties going back to the SALT Treaties under Ford and Carter. They have been the cornerstone of arms control & arms reduction between the U.S. and Russia for four decades. Senate approval of these treaties is usually a formality. All out delays, opposition, sabotage & interference is extremely unusual... not just over the past four decades, but throughout the history of the Republic.

Is Obama tone deaf? He doesn't seem to understand that Republicans have declared war on his Presidency. He also doesn't seem to understand that Democrats/Progressives are in the midst of an information war...and they are losing. I can understand his desire to remain cordial. That's the professional thing to do... but behind the scenes he has to have a two track strategy if he wants to avoid being a one term President.

There is a way that Obama could minimize Republican obstructionism and even put pressure on Republicans. I'm not very optimistic, because the Obama strategy team and the strategy approach of the Party as a whole has been so ineffective over the past two years. But he could position himself to be competitive in 2012, if (along with the Democratic Party) he takes the following approach:

1. Vastly improve the messaging and PR. This has been dismal lately. Work to establish a media infrastructure and communications network for Progressives that could rival the Republican media apparatus (which dominates TV news, and Talk Radio, and has a growing presence on the net). The Democrats and the Obama Administration also must understand the importance of branding. Also, re-establish the PR response effort that was in place during the 2007-08 campaign. Dismantling this after the election was a huge mistake. Put the PR war room back in place.
Without making strides in the information war... Obama's re-election could be in doubt. You can have the best ideas in the world.... but if you have no way to get your message out... no way to compete on the airwaves, no way to combat and prevent distortions... then it doesn't really matter.

2. Keep making efforts to work with Republicans, but behind the scenes, rely on a two track approach. The real approach should be to cut out Congress altogether when necessary.... earlier than usual. Instead, talk directly to the American people about proposals. Talk to Americans during prime time (yes... interrupt them) once or twice a month to provide regular status updates. Tell them what legislation you want/and that the nation needs and point out when Republicans are blocking those efforts. Focus on popular pieces of legislation at least initially. This could work to basically turn the tables on Republicans and force them to govern ...and make tough decisions. Call their bluff on debt issues... make them explain the painful cuts to programs that people depend on. Make them explain why tax cuts for the rich were more important than a poor family's unemployment benefits or food stamps... down to earth, real world programs that people depend on to keep food on the table. Programs that people are depending on more than ever now...ironically due to an economic collapse that took place under a Republican President. Some of those people that will be impacted by Republican cuts are going to be white, working class Republicans. If Republicans block everything (even popular, sensible legislation)...the hope is that American voters will notice and at the very least give Obama another four years. Not that i'm a huge Obama fan (never was)....although I am proud. The reality is... there is no alternative. The idea of a President Romney, Gingrich, Barbour or the ultimate nightmare Sarah Palin, scares the daylights out of me.

3. Obama has to bring in a more effective, more creative strategy team. It's almost a full month after the elections and I see no improvement on the media/PR front.

4. Democrats have to choose their battles more carefully...concentrating on issues that the American people are most concerned with, keeping their fingers on the collective pulse of the nation, and choosing battles that would give them a chance to be effective and to win. Once a battle is chosen... stand up and fight for the Democratic/Progressive position....but be open to compromise when practical and sensible, and when the other side is acting in good faith (which is almost never). But the hope is...by choosing populist positions, the public will be on the side of Progressives, making Republican obstructionism much more difficult. This is why it is important to explain proposals in terms of how they would make life better for average Americans.... how a proposal would create jobs...etc. Speak in terms that middle America can understand.

5. Democrats/Progressives should invest heavily in a public/voter education initiative, both through public school curriculum's and through not-for-profit groups. Such a campaign should be a sustained long term effort, lasting years.

Why Did Americans Jump on the Republican Bandwagon?

1. Republicans are much more effective when it comes to PR and branding. Republican marketing/PR is so strong that they could sell just about anything. It's all in the packaging. Republican strategists understand how to use information or misinformation to change, and control public opinion. Yes, it's manipulative....but it works for them. They were basically able to convince enough voters that the economic pain that they were feeling was somehow the fault of President Obama (not because of the jackasses who came before, who were asleep at the wheel for 8 years). Yes, the Party controlling the White House typically loses seats in Congress after Midterm elections, however, the losses this year were made worse by deliberate efforts by the GOP (and its allies) to confuse and misinform voters.

2. Well I will let Pollster founder Charles Franklin say it. Sadly he's right. He basically says what I have been pointing out for years. I don't bring this up as a way to make fun of voters. Quite the contrary. I don't believe it's necessarily their fault. It's easy to fall victim to misinformation, especially in the digital/internet age. It's that much easier to fall victim when you may not have all the tools to navigate through the nonsense and lies, and to determine what good information is vs. bad information. Public School systems and colleges don't put enough emphasis on basic civics, government, political science, history, geography, and cultural instruction. This is why voter education has to be a fundamental part of the Democratic Party's strategy.

Discussion on Long Term Unemployment

Hear a pretty good discussion on long term unemployment from NPR. (under-employment is also discussed). How has the economy impacted you?

I posted a general plan/vision for dealing with unemployment back in 2009, and again a few months ago. Unfortunately, Obama and his advisers are not seeking the kind of approach I presented (massive incentive programs centered around green jobs, research/innovation, and other job creation strategies). The Republican Congress would never support these ideas anyway. But I still believe that the vision I described is generally the way to go. Without major investments in infrastructure and programs that would produce long term sustainable jobs, the unemployment rate will likely remain high for years.


Rikyrah, this might interest you...

Difficulties faced by women in the workplace

Women file suit against Citigroup

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The President's Thanksgiving Day Message

Three Kings of Blues

The Three Kings of Blues (Blues guitar more specifically): Freddie King, B.B. King, and Albert King. There's only one left. Blues more generally is a dying art. Another American original art that's disappearing. There aren't many great musicians around playing raw blues anymore. Taj Mahal and a handful of others are still going, but there isn't much of a next generation after that. The same seems to be happening with Jazz, although there are a number of programs (not enough) that still teach this art. America seems to be losing its culture. The problem is made worse by the fact that school systems are cutting back on programs for the arts.

Ain’t No Sunshine

Have you Ever Loved a Woman

I like to Live the Love

I Believe to My Soul

I Got The Blues

Blues Power

New Education Study Shows Bleak Picture for Black Boys

Another study was released this month showing that educational achievement for Black males has reached a crisis level and may be worse than previously thought. The report, entitled "A Call for Change: The Social and Educational Factors Contributing to the Outcomes of Black Males in Urban Schools", was funded by The Council Of The Great City Schools. This is yet another report which indicates that the disparities in educational performance cannot simply be blamed on poverty.

From the New York Times:

Poverty alone does not seem to explain the differences: poor white boys do just as well as African-American boys who do not live in poverty, measured by whether they qualify for subsidized school lunches.

Perhaps the toughest finding from the report is the fact that Black male students with no disabilities, are barely even with White male students who are learning disabled. Read more from The Loop21. See a summary of the CGCS report (pdf).See the Full Report.

Hear an in-depth discussion about the findings of the report from NPR.

The CGCS report seems to confirm the Policy Bridge report from a few years ago, which had a similar focus and generally presented many of the same findings. However, I believe the CGCS report may be more extensive. It also echoed information from The Schott Foundation report. So just within the last 3 or 4 years you have 3 major reports on the same issue... from Policy Bridge, the Schott Foundation, and now CGCS which are all generally reporting the same findings. Not to mention all of the other reports and studies over the last decade.

The Black establishment focuses on "The system" and "poverty" as the culprits for these problems, but those arguments can no longer be used as excuses. I have stated here several times that the core problem has to do with culture, as the Policy Bridge Report points out. The problem also lies with parents. I think the Black establishment (Civil Rights Inc. etc) uses these excuses as a way to somehow protect Black culture or Black parenthood. I made my argument in a previous commentary regarding the Black male achievement gap. You can also find links to the Policy Bridge study there as well. So I won't repeat my argument again. But it is clear that the old arguments are not going to cut it anymore.

In terms of conclusions... I was a little disappointed to see that the CGCS report did not seem to focus on the cultural gap. It seemed to tiptoe around that issue... perhaps for the purpose of political correctness...who knows. This is where I think the Policy Bridge study really shined. It came out and addressed the elephant in the room... "culture".... today's "Black/Urban culture" in particular. Instead of focusing on the real causes... the CGCS report simply calls for "a White House Conference", and more studies (although this issue has probably been studied more than anything known to man). We don't need more huge studies or commissions... we need a cultural shift and parents willing to take responsibility for raising and educating their children.

Hear a discussion with Dr. Ron Ferguson of the Achievement Gap Initiative from Harvard University. (From KMOX RAdio in St. Louis)

Hear full discussion.

I am also annoyed by the effort to demonize teachers and use them as scapegoats. The Black establishment, and even "the system" have joined together to focus the blame on teachers. A teacher in California recently took his own life because the test scores for his students were released by a major newspaper (with no context whatsoever). The newspaper report (which I will not link...nor will I provide clicks for the newspaper in question) gave the impression that the teacher was not doing the best he could. It turns out...the teacher who killed himself was one of the hardest working and most dedicated instructors in his school and his district. The test score issue is a red herring, used by school administrators (misused) to intimidate teachers. The fact is, standardized test scores are not usually a good reflection of the dedication or quality of a teacher. This is especially the case in urban schools.

Teachers have a hard enough time already. They are undervalued and under-appreciated considering the role they play in society, particularly in shaping America's future. They are underpaid and they often have to work in awful work environments where their safety is in question and where they are not given the support they need from school administrators. It's the same nonsense at every urban school district in the Country (and even in some suburban districts). Sure there are bad teachers...but they don't make up the majority. There are ways to evaluate teachers and get rid of the bad apples (by sending in panels of experienced instructors from other schools to watch the teachers in class and provide objective feedback, and by getting feedback from peers and from students. It should not be done through test scores alone). In the case of the California teacher...he was also dealing with a language barrier...with a significant number of his students having trouble with English or not having English as their first language - yet another variable that is not taken into account.

A great example of the kind of insanity that I am referring to can be seen in the A&E program Tony Danza: Teach. The taping of the program takes place in an urban high school in Philadelphia. Unfortunately this show didn't get renewed for another season...but despite that, it provides insight into what is ailing the American public school system. In episode #7, one of Danza's Black students- Algernon- is given numerous chances to turn in a simple homework assignment, but fails to do the work. Can you guess who the school principal jumped on for that? Yep... the principal took a bite out of Danza's ass for the student not listening and refusing to turn in his homework. The student was coddled. The principal is the typical urban school administrator. This is the kind of nonsense that makes my conservative side kick in.... and it is one of the things that annoys me about liberals... sometimes their way of thinking goes too far to the left with no rhyme or reason. Overall... i'm progressive, but I have a few conservative tendencies. I don't embrace many of the positions on the far left. The proper, logical response from this principal (or any principal) should have been to call the parents in...and sit down together with the student, and the teacher to try to find a solution. This would be an opportunity to give the parents a kick in the ass (encourage them to get more involved... provide them with options...and challenge them). But instead of holding the student and his parents responsible for the students performance...she blames the teacher. INCREDIBLE! If this is going on all over the Country (and I know it is)... then America is screwed if it stays on this path. I know this is one reason why the turnover is so high for urban schools. Good teachers don't want to stick around to deal with that kind of nonsense. They pack up and leave for better suburban schools and private schools, where they get more support from administrators and where the working conditions tend to be better.

Watch The Full Episode:

The Silent Truth - LaVena Johnson Documentary Released

Film was shown in special screening this month in St. Louis. No word on national distribution. Read more from the Huffington Post.



More video about rape in the military. This is more common than the general public knows.

There have been numerous mysterious deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan (and elsewhere) over the past few years. Too many to list...but one of the latest cases is Spc. Morganne M. McBeth. It is unclear what the exact cause of death was in her case...or what the circumstances were. Her case appears, on its face, to be similar to the Johnson case. McBeth's death was originally called an "accident". However, it is now being investigated as a homicide. You aren't going to hear much about these cases on the national news. But the cases reached epidemic levels over the past few years. The media silence is frustrating because the Johnson case dwarfs the Pat Tillman case, which received tons of coverage from the national media.... perhaps because of the way that war loving Republicans pumped him up so that they could use him as a political prop. That was indeed shameful. The "friendly fire" death in of itself was not actually a scandal.... it was the cover-up that followed. To me, the Tillman case was more about politics. There was never evidence of a serious crime (other than the Bush Administration sending U.S. troops to fight without enough backup or the equipment they needed in Afghanistan...and the fact that the mission was probably one that could never be achieved). The Johnson case, on the other hand, is a different story. Here you have signs of a cover-up to gloss over serious crimes - murder and possibly rape. But the national media has given Kim Kardashian, Mel Gibson, (pick a celebrity).... and other idiotic stories hours of valuable news coverage (it's no wonder that so many people in this Country are stupid). Yet the Johnson case has garnered almost nothing besides a couple of 1 minute blurbs in the past 5 years.


Hear a discussion from Amy Goodman's Democracy Now about assaults against women in the military.

Happy Thanksgiving!


The President pardons a couple of turkeys-Apple and Cider- this year.

U.S. President Barack Obama walks by "Apple", the National Thanksgiving Turkey, after it was pardoned, as National Turkey Federation Chairman Yubert Envia looks on in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, November 24, 2010. Obama is joined by his daughters Malia (2nd R) and Sasha.
----REUTERS/Jim Young

Enjoy this day with family and friends. Good food and football.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tom DeLay Convicted in Corruption Case - Headed to Prison

I don't think they have "Dancing with the Stars" in prison...or perhaps that should be "Dancing with the Corrupt Politicians". He may have to dance, duck & dodge to survive in Texas though. I don't think Texas has any "nice" minimum security prisons. My guess is, there will be a deal to house him in a Federal facility or he will end up getting some sort of community based supervision. Although he could get 99 years, the actual sentence won't be anything close to that unfortunately.

Justice took too long in this case. Being rich and powerful affords you the ability to delay Justice. The case should have been concluded a long time ago. The country (the small percentage of people who actually pay attention to this stuff...10% perhaps) has forgotten about Tom DeLay.... but this is still a good story because it sends the message that these jackasses don't always get away with it. Sometimes they go to jail. And it could be the starting point for a serious discussion about reforming the inherently corrupt political system.... I know... that's not very likely to happen. I am more likely to find a great job, find the woman of my dreams and actually live a wonderful, fruitful life as a Black man in America, than I am to see any significant reform of the corrupt U.S. political system during my lifetime. It's definitely not going to happen with Republicans in charge - the GOP is one big brothel full of corporate whores. But this case could at least add to the debate about why the system needs to be fixed. DeLay wasn't some greedy character who acted on his own or operated outside of the cultural norms of Congress. Instead, his quid pro quo activities were encouraged and facilitated by the system in place at the time.

From the New York Times

AUSTIN, Tex. — Tom DeLay, one of the most powerful and divisive Republican lawmakers ever to come out of Texas, was convicted Wednesday of money-laundering charges in a state trial, five years after his indictment here forced him to resign as majority leader in the House of Representatives.

After 19 hours of deliberation, a jury of six men and six women decided that Mr. DeLay was guilty of conspiring with two associates in 2002 to circumvent a state law against corporate contributions to political campaigns. He was convicted of one charge of money laundering and one charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

As the verdict was read, Mr. DeLay, 63, sat stone-faced at the defense table. Then he rose, turned, smiled and hugged his wife and then his weeping daughter in the first row of spectators. He faces between 5 and 99 years in prison, though the judge may choose probation.

A few minutes later, Mr. DeLay said outside the courtroom that he would appeal the decision. He called the prosecution a political vendetta by Democrats in the local district attorney’s office, and revenge for his role in orchestrating the 2003 redrawing of Congressional districts to elect more Republicans.

“This is an abuse of power,” he said. “It’s a miscarriage of justice. I still maintain my innocence. The criminalization of politics undermines our very system.”

The verdict ends the latest chapter in a long legal battle that forced Mr. DeLay to step down. The trial also opened a window on the world of campaign financing, as jurors heard testimony about large contributions flowing to Mr. DeLay from corporations seeking to influence him, and about junkets to luxury resorts where the congressman would rub shoulders with lobbyists in return for donations.
Read more

More from the Huffington Post

Kamala Harris Elected Attorney General of California

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, in front of City Hall on November 12, 2008 who filed for 2010 campaign for Attorney General.
---Photo by Mona T. Brooks / monabrooks.com

from the L.A. Weekly
Kamala Harris Defeats Steve Cooley For California Attorney General

We've been saying for a while that the math didn't look good for Steve Cooley. But now we can go ahead and make it official.

Steve Cooley has lost. Kamala Harris will be the next attorney general of California.

Out of an abundance of laziness caution, we've held off until now. But we're getting tired of waiting for the AP to call this thing, and Eric Garcetti has already beaten us to the punch anyway.

A mathematical explanation/justification after the jump.

The Secretary of State's office has been keeping track of the uncounted ballots on its website. That report lists 394,000 untabulated votes as of this morning, but that's out of date. There are no more than 154,000 ballots remaining, and there are probably less. Update at 2:50 p.m.: With updates from four counties, there are now 124,000 ballots left, at most. (Explanation below.)

The county websites have more up-to-date figures in some cases than the Secretary of State. Using those numbers, we can say that Harris is leading by 49,535 votes. (2:50 update: 51,141 votes.) Given the geographic breakdown of the remaining uncounted ballots, we expect her to expand her lead by another 10,000 votes or so, ending up with a margin of six tenths of a percent (46.0-45.4).

In order to win the race, Cooley would have to win the remaining uncounted votes by a margin of 66-26. (Update at 2:50: Cooley would now have to win by 72-20.) The likelihood of that happening is extremely close to zero. One of his best counties was Orange County, and his margin there was only 60-31.

​If we knew nothing about the remaining ballots, you might say that Cooley has at least a chance. But we do know where the ballots are coming from -- they're mostly from counties that favored Harris -- and we know that they're mostly provisionals, which have also favored Harris.

We'd expect Harris to win the remaining votes by a tally of about 50-42. That's just based on geography and doesn't factor in her advantage from provisionals.

We now have much more information about how this race will end up than the AP and the L.A. Times did when they called the governor's race for Jerry Brown at the stroke of 8 p.m. on Election Night.

It's time to call it. Harris has won.

Congratulations, Ms. Harris. Job well done.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dr. Margaret Burroughs, founder of the DuSable Museum of African-American History, passes away at 93

from theChicago Sun-Times:

Margaret Burroughs, founder and Director Emeritus of the DuSable Museum of African American History, is pictured in June 2009.

DuSable Museum founder, cultural leader Margaret Burroughs dead at 93
November 21, 2010

Margaret Burroughs, an artist, poet, educator and founder of the DuSable Museum of African American History, died early Sunday morning at her home surrounded by her family.

Mrs. Burroughs legacy reaches across the spectrum, and is a distinctive contribution to black culture.

“Every individual wants to leave a legacy; to be remembered for something positive they have done for their community,” Mrs. Burroughs once told Ebony magazine. “Long after I’m dead and gone, the DuSable Museum will still be here.”

Mrs. Burroughs, 93, was born in St. Rose, La., and had a lifelong passion for learning. She moved with her family north to Chicago where she attended Englewood High School. She would go on to attend Chicago Normal College, Chicago Teachers College and the School of the Art Institute.

The DuSable got its start in 1961 during a meeting at Mrs. Burroughs’s home. Originally called the Ebony Museum of Negro History and Art, it was relocated in 1971 from Burroughs’ home to Washington Park and renamed for Haitian trader Jean Baptist Pointe DuSable, Chicago’s first permanent settler.

Mrs. Burroughs was the author of children’s books and volumes of poetry that spoke to the African-American experience.

Mrs. Burroughs taught art for more than 20 years at DuSable High School.

She worked in sculpture and painting but it was her skill as a printmaker that she became best known for. Her linoleum block prints featured images relevant to African-American culture.

At Mrs. Burroughs request, there will be no funeral service. A public memorial will be held after the holidays.

She was a legend in Chicago. Respected and revered, far and wide.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

President Obama’s Weekly Address

President to Senate: Ratify New START Treaty

This week, President Obama made another push for ratification of the New START Treaty (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) that he signed with President Medvedev back in April 8th of this year.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

The 2010 Midterms

I haven't felt this bad since 2004. I seriously had the blues for about a year after that election.

No other way to put it- the Democrats got shellacked, plain and simple.

For those of you who got out to vote, thank you. You can complain for the next 2 years. Those of you who sat on your behinds and had better things to do because you don't think voting is important - STFU for the next 2 years.

Now, the GOP has to govern. They actually have to do something, outside of saying no. I went through a really vengeful mood for the past 48 hours, and couldn't post until I calmed down. That said, I gotta say this:

For all you teabaggers running around talking about 'socialized medicine' and ' Obamacare', when the GOP brings up giving you a voucher for your Medicare services, STFU.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

President Obama's Post Election Press Conference

And he's still talking about bipartisanship. I'm not quite sure that he gets it.

Democrat losses tied to fear, vengeance and ignorance

Last night, Democrats managed to hold on to the Senate, but lost the House. There are three clear explanations for this development: fear, vengeance and ignorance.

Republicans skillfully exploited Americans’ angst about high unemployment, and successfully sowed deeds of doubts in the minds of many Americans that the bailout package failed and that the stimulus was unsuccessful. This resulted in millions of Americans going to the polls yesterday voting not based on reason or rationality but on an unproven accusations that the Democratic majority was somehow eroding liberty and freedom.

Read the rest at The Loop.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Eyes on the prize: The races to watch in today's election

You’ve heard all pundits say that the midterm elections will be nothing but doom and gloom for Democrats – and they’re probably right. When I’m watching the elections returns roll in there are several races I’m going to pay attention to. First, I’m watching these races to see if strong Democrats that defend health care will do better than weak Democrats like Mississippi’s Travis Childers who consistently denounce Nancy Pelosi.

Second, I’m watching these races to see how large an impact the tea party has. If Republicans win, but many tea party candidates lose, maybe the movement will fizzle and die. If tea party candidates like Sharron Angle in Nevada and Christine O’Donnell in Delaware win, expect a lot more tea party talk the next two years.

On to the races.

Read the rest at The Loop.