Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Do You Have Words of Wisdom?

Hat tip: Prometheus6

A Wall of Wisdom for my eldest daughter (help needed)
October 31, 2007
By: Lester Spence
Category: black family, announcements

My daughter turns 13 next week. A teenager.

What my wife and I are interested in doing is building a “wall of wisdom”. A collection of ideas and sayings from people we’ve come across in our physical and virtual sojourn.

If you could tell a teenager one thing, what would it be? Because we’re actually building something we’d like whatever you write to be short enough to put on a note card of some sort.

Oh. Feel free to link to this…I’m interested in getting responses from as many people as I can.

To leave Words of Wisdom, go HERE.

Congress Grills Justice Department Voting Rights Chief

Congress set its sights on the Justice Departments Civil Rights Division in hearings yesterday. John Tanner, the head of the Civil Rights Division's Voting Rights Unit testified before the House Judiciary's Subcommittee on Civil Rights.

Congressmen Keith Ellison, Artur Davis, and others grilled Tanner until he was well cooked. Members of the Committee specifically called attention to Tanner's recent controversial comments about Blacks dying early....

From TPM:

Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL) laid into voting section chief John Tanner during the hearing today over his comment earlier this month that "our society is such that minorities don't become elderly the way white people do. They die first." Tanner made the remarks as justification for his conviction that voter ID laws actually discriminate against whites. In Tanner's calculus, since minorities don't age "the way white people do," the effect of voter ID laws on the elderly means that whites are disproportionately affected. And since younger African-Americans frequently carry IDs because of racial profiling and the need to cash checks at "a check cashing business," voter ID laws actually favor African-Americans.

Watch a short video of Tanner's comments and his exchanges with members of the Sub-Committee on Civil Rights. Congressman Davis crushes the rationale for Tanner's comments.

Committee members also focused on the lack of overall enforcement of existing voting rights laws, and the lack of enforcement by the Justice Departments Civil Rights Division In General. A former employee of the Voting Rights Unit testified about how Tanner has contributed to the politicization of the Justice Departments Civil Rights Division. There have been numerous reports about the lack of enforcement from within the Civil Rights Division, due to political interference. Several experienced career attorneys have left the Civil Rights Division within the last several years (under the Bush Administration).

Under the Bush Administration, the Civil Rights Division reportedly moved away from aggressive enforcement of Civil Rights Laws to more of a political wing of the White House, engaging in actions having little to do with Civil Rights and Voting Rights. The Division has been involved in numerous efforts that appear to be motivated by politics...such as aggressive enforcement of certain voting rules, in certain key battleground States at election time.

Watch Full Video of Hearing

(video may only be available for approximately 15 days from date posted) ____________________________

Related Postings

See PBS Investigative Report on Voter Suppression efforts under the Bush Administration

Greg Palast Reports on Fired U.S. Attorney David Iglesias

The Justice Department and Voter Suppression

Two St. Louis Sheriff's Deputies Suing After Noose Incident

Two St. Louis Sheriffs Deputies have filed a lawsuit after a noose was found hanging in a City Court building last year. The two Deputies, Pat Hill and Jacques Hughes, decided to file suit as a last resort, after other efforts to find a resolution were either ignored or rebuffed.

The noose hanging did not occur in a vacuum. It appears to be part of a pattern of problems within the Sheriffs Department and in City government overall. The City has been racially divided for decades, but City government in particular has a racial divide, a divide recently put on display with the recent demotion (and resignation) of the Fire Chief.

Hear a recent interview with Deputy Hughes, from the radio news station KMOX.


Host Paul Harris talks with deputy Jacques Hughes about the lawsuit he and deputy Pat Hill filed over a noose hung near the holding cells in the St. Louis courthouse, which they claim created a racially hostile work environment.

Listen To Interview

Read more on this story from St. Louis' NBC affiliate KSDK TV.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Cartoon Roundup

GOP Bails on CBC/Fox News Debate - Surprised? NOT!

From HuffingtonPost.Com

GOP 'Scheduling Conflicts' Postpone Another Black Voter Forum
October 30, 2007

In recent weeks, Republican presidential candidates have found time in their busy schedules to speak or debate before the Republican Jewish Coalition, "Value Voters," conservative Floridians, even Wyoming Republicans, who hold virtually no sway in the primary race. They've also agreed to appear at the CNN/YouTube debate they at one point shunned.

But it appears that some GOP frontrunners are once again letting an opportunity to appear before African-American voters lapse, just as they decided to sit out a Black voter forum hosted last month by Tavis Smiley.

The Congressional Black Caucus Institute announced in September that it had scheduled a debate for November 4 on Fox News for Republican presidential candidates. But a spokeswoman for the group confirmed to the Huffington Post that it has now been postponed, with no new date set.

"The debate will not take place on November 4, and we're still considering the debate schedule," said CBC Institute spokesperson Georgella Muirhead.

Republican candidates have cited scheduling conflicts in resisting new proposed dates, Muirhead said.

"It's the same issue they had with some of the other debates," she added. "We're getting a new working date, that's what's being considered."

The CBC Political Education and Leadership Institute is a non-profit organization linked to the Congressional Black Caucus, which includes 43 African-American members of the House and Senate.

The leading GOP campaigns were coy about whether they planned to attend the rescheduled CBC/Fox News debate when contacted by the Huffington Post. Of the frontrunners, only Mitt Romney's campaign said he was considering attending.

"The debate was canceled before we confirmed our participation one way or another," said spokesman Stephen Smith. "We were considering this debate before it was canceled. As soon as we have rescheduled dates, we will consider them, it depends on when it's scheduled."

The campaign of Rep. Ron Paul said he would "try very hard" to attend the rescheduled event.

In September, the Huffington Post reported that the Republican frontrunners would all sit out the African-American voter forum at Baltimore's Morgan State University. The debate's hosts set up four empty lecterns to highlight the absence of the leaders in the race for the 2008 nomination. The candidates who did appear, such as Paul and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, criticized their opponents for failing to reach out to African-American voters.

Earlier this month, the question of reaching out to minority voters again emerged when Senator McCain confirmed he would attend a December Spanish-language forum hosted by the Univision network.

The CBC Institute has confirmed a January 17 debate on CNN featuring the Democratic presidential candidates. Earlier in the year, all but three of the Democratic hopefuls had boycotted another debate planned by the CBC Institute and Fox News after party membership objected to the idea of appearing on the conservative-oriented network.

Folks cannot be surprised about this in the least. It was going to be ON FOX NEWS - how fixed could it get for them, yet alas...they had ' scheduling conflicts'.

Roundup of the Democratic Debate In Philly

The Democrats squared off at Drexel University in Philly tonight for yet another highly controlled debate event. I would rather see another Youtube style debate, or a debate where the audience gets to ask real questions (and where they are allowed to follow-up).

But that day will never come. Unfortunately we will have to settle for these staged PR events.

I knew that there was going to be a debate tonight...but I was not sure exactly where. When I saw the news clips, I noticed that they had my hometown in the background for some reason, even though they were in Philly. Wouldn't it make more sense for the City of Philly to be the backdrop...uummmmm since they were in Philly? I prefer Philly's skyline anyway (apologies to my hometown). Anyway... when I saw my city in the background I went into WT_ ... Hell mode. "There was a debate here, and I didn't know it?.... That can't be, as much as I keep up with the news".

But of course I figured out that it was at Drexel.

St. Louis will have its chance once the big dance starts though. St. Louis should get one of the major General Election Debates next it has for the last several elections.

This meeting was more focused on domestic issues. It was also hyped as the moment when Hillary was going to be confronted by the other candidates. However, they did not seem to put together any meaningful attack against the media's chosen favorite.... despite the fact that there were plenty of things that her opponents could have thrown her way.

Here is a play by play of the festivities from a NY Times liveblogger: (scroll down and read from the bottom up).

Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants 10:58 p.m. Interesting discussion on whether illegal immigrants should be able to get drivers’ licenses, as New York’s governor has proposed. Mrs. Clinton had said two weeks ago in New Hampshire that it made “a lot of sense,” but tonight gave a pretty indecipherable answer. She said that “what Governor Spitzer is trying to do is fill the vacuum left by the failure of this administration to bring about comprehensive immigration reform.”

Mr. Dodd said a driver’s license was a privilege and to extend it to illegal immigrants was “troublesome.” Mrs. Clinton came back to say that she didn’t say it should be done, but that she recognized what the governor was trying to do. She and Mr. Dodd got into a spat about what she had said. She dismissed it as a “gotcha” question.

Both Mr. Edwards and Mr. Obama called her on what seemed to be a shift in her statement. Mr Edwards said, “Unless I missed something, Senator Clinton said two different things in the course of about two minutes just a few minutes ago.” And Mr. Obama uttered a devastating phrase for anyone who remembers the 2004 campaign: he said he couldn’t tell if she is “for it or against it.”

Alternative Minimum Tax 10:39 p.m. The final third of this debate is considerably less intense than the earlier portions. The audience tends to drop off as these things go along, and reporters tend to turn their focus to preparing their stories for looming deadlines. So the moderators try to bring out any “news” early on.

Still, Mr. Russert tries to nail down Mrs. Clinton on whether she supports proposal by Representative Charlie Rangel to eliminate the alternative minimum tax and institute a surtax on those with higher incomes. (The alternative minimum tax was created to prevent millionaires from using loopholes to avoid all federal income taxes, but it can hit people with incomes as low as $50,000.)

Eventually, she says, she will not campaign on Mr. Rangel’s plan, but on the way to saying that, she noted that she and Mr. Clinton had never expected to be in the nation’s top income bracket, that it was a new experience and one she wasn’t entirely comfortable with.

Mr. Obama also said he would not campaign on the Rangel plan, but here he made a smart tactical move, turning the discussion to problems faced not by the richest people in the country but by struggling single mothers.

Social Security 10:13 p.m. Mrs. Clinton is getting a tough grilling tonight from Mr. Russert and she’s being very assertive, very adamant, in making her points. She spurns a suggestion that she has had one position on raising the Social Security payroll tax that she discussed privately with a voter in Iowa and another that she stated in public. In saying she won’t advocate a “specific fix” for Social Security, she reveals a little of her own strategy: “I’m not going to be repeating Republican talking points,” and says that to act like Social Security is in crisis is a “Republican trap.” Mr. Russert quotes Bill Clinton saying that Social Security is in crisis and asks if that was a Republican talking point.

Mr. Obama says he agrees that everyone is against privatization of Social Security, but then raises his bigger objection to Mrs. Clinton, which is an inclination to “muddle through and give convoluted answers” and says Mrs. Clinton “hasn’t been truthful.”

Mrs. Clinton says “I don’t see a difference here,” and that she supports a bipartisan commission on Social Security.

Biden on Giuliani 10:03 p.m. Mr. Biden rises above all this and says he’s not running against Hillary Clinton and turns on …. Rudy Giuliani! As he did in the last Democratic debate, Mr. Biden says Mr. Giuliani is “the most uninformed person” on American foreign policy, adding that all of Mr. Giuliani’s sentences, he says, consist of “a noun, a verb and 9/11.”

On Second Thought 9:44 p.m. Bill Richardson suggests that the candidates should not be going after Mrs. Clinton: “You know what I’m hearing here, I’m hearing this holier-than-thou attitude toward Senator Clinton. That it’s bothering me because it’s pretty close to personal attacks that we don’t need.”

Christopher Dodd raised the question of Mrs. Clinton’s electability, but also adds, “Look, at the end of this process here, we need to have a Democrat in the White House come Jan. 20, 2009.”

Releasing Documents 9:43 p.m. After the break, Mrs. Clinton says that in a “perverse way,” the Republican obsession with her means they think she is “communicating effectively” about what she’ll do as president.

Mr. Russert asks her whether she will let the National Archives release her documents from your years as First Lady? She says the archives is releasing documents “as they do their process.” Mr. Russert notes that Bill Clinton had written a letter saying that their private communications should not be made public; would she lift that ban? She says it’s not her decision.

Mr. Obama steps in here, which is a place where he makes a clear distinction with Mrs. Clinton. Not releasing these records, when she is making the claim that her years as First Lady are the basis for her experience, he says, is part of the problem. “We need to rebuild trust,” he says and that means being open and accountable. He adds that the Republicans are obsessed with her because it’s a fight they’re comfortable having, and that means she can’t change things. Mr. Edwards continues along these lines. Mr. Richardson urges his fellow Democrats not to bash her, even as he notes his own differences with her. “We need to stay positive,” he says.

‘Tell-the-Truth Mode 9:38 p.m. John Edwards’ experience as a trial lawyer shows, making his case very clearly to the jury. He suggests that Mrs. Clinton voted for the Iran resolution because she was moving from primary mode to general election mode. “Our responsibility should be in tell-the-truth mode,” he said. Mrs. Clinton calls this a semantic difference.

Pledge 9:31 p.m. Interesting exchange when Tim Russert, the moderator, asked Mrs. Clinton to “pledge” that Iran would not develop nuclear weapons on her watch. She said she pledged to “do everything I can” to prevent Iran from doing so. He notes that she’s not making a full pledge. She repeats that she pledged to do everything she could. Whether this works for you probably depends on your definition of pledge. Mr. Edwards will also not make an air-tight pledge, but says, “What I will do is take all the responsible steps that can

be taken to keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.”
Mr. Obama says, “I think all of us are committed to Iran not having nuclear weapons,” and adds: “I think there is a larger point at stake, Tim, and that is we have been governed by fear for the last six years, and this president has used the fear of terrorism to launch a war that should have never been authorized. We are seeing the same pattern now.”

Iran 9:11 p.m. Mrs. Clinton is asked why she voted for the measure declaring the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. She’s certainly not defensive about it. She says her vote was an expression of support for using economic sanctions and “vigorous diplomacy,” not a rush to war. Will this be enough to quell her critics? Mr. Obama says the resolution doesn’t send the right signal to the region and weakens our capacity to influence Iran but does not draw a clear distinction with Mrs. Clinton (he missed the vote himself). Mrs. Clinton, in her clarity of her position, also blurs the lines with her fellow Democrats, saying everyone on the stage “agrees” that President Bush has “made a mess” of the whole situation. Mr. Edwards again is the one who picks up where Mr. Obama left off, saying the resolution “looks like it was written by the neo-cons” and gave Mr. Bush everything he wanted, playing on the idea that Mrs. Clinton is a hawk and part of the Washington establishment.

Out of the Gate 9:02 p.m. Barack Obama is given his chance off the bat to distinguish himself from Hillary Clinton. (And to make the first “Rocky” reference.) After a long wind-up, he says Mrs. Clinton has been on both sides of Nafta, torture and Iraq and says, “I think what we need right now is honesty with the American people about where we would take the country. That’s how I’m trying to run my campaign.”

But wow, if that was his opening shot, it was pretty soft. Mrs. Clinton got the signal and goes after the Republicans, not Mr. Obama. But John Edwards picked up the baton from Mr. Obama and also starts in on Mrs. Clinton and says, “I think it is crucial for Democratic voters and caucus-goers to determine who they can trust, who’s honest, who is sincere, who has integrity.”

The Fight in Philadelphia 9 p.m. Hi everyone. We’re watching the Democratic debate in Philadelphia tonight from South Carolina. This one goes for two hours. All aboard!


Iraqi Dam Seen in Danger of Deadly Collapse

Hat tip: Jack and Jill Politics

Iraqi Dam Seen In Danger of Deadly Collapse
By Amit R. Paley
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, October 30, 2007

AT THE MOSUL DAM, Iraq -- The largest dam in Iraq is in serious danger of an imminent collapse that could unleash a trillion-gallon wave of water, possibly killing thousands of people and flooding two of the largest cities in the country, according to new assessments by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other U.S. officials.

Even in a country gripped by daily bloodshed, the possibility of a catastrophic failure of the Mosul Dam has alarmed American officials, who have concluded that it could lead to as many as 500,000 civilian deaths by drowning Mosul under 65 feet of water and parts of Baghdad under 15 feet, said Abdulkhalik Thanoon Ayoub, the dam manager. "The Mosul dam is judged to have an unacceptable annual failure probability," in the dry wording of an Army Corps of Engineers draft report.

Water rushes down a spillway at Mosul Dam. As engineers monitor the structure to determine leakage, machines constantly pump grout deep into its base. (U.s. Army Corps Of Engineers)

At the same time, a U.S. reconstruction project to help shore up the dam in northern Iraq has been marred by incompetence and mismanagement, according to Iraqi officials and a report by a U.S. oversight agency to be released Tuesday. The reconstruction project, worth at least $27 million, was not intended to be a permanent solution to the dam's deficiencies.

"In terms of internal erosion potential of the foundation, Mosul Dam is the most dangerous dam in the world," the Army Corps concluded in September 2006, according to the report to be released Tuesday. "If a small problem [at] Mosul Dam occurs, failure is likely."

The effort to prevent a failure of the dam has been complicated by behind-the-scenes wrangling between Iraqi and U.S. officials over the severity of the problem and how much money should be allocated to fix it. The Army Corps has recommended building a second dam downstream as a fail-safe measure, but Iraqi officials have rejected the proposal, arguing that it is unnecessary and too expensive.

Rest of article here.

I'm going to be honest with you. I'm going to put on my tinfoil hat. I think this article is just cover. I won't be surprised if the dam is ' blown', and the blame happens to come down on Al Qeda. And trusting the Army Corps of Engineers just doesn't seem to be a smart thing. On top of it, why am I NOT surprised to read that the project has been hurt by corruption and incompetence. Just another project for the War Profiteers to make more money, all the while delivering garbage. That malfunctions in THIS project could mean hundreds of thousands of lives matters not to this bunch. They don't listen to the Iraqis when it comes to oil, but suddenly they're listening to Iraqi officials when it comes to this? How convenient.

Bush Administration Wants to Eliminate Downpayment Assistance Programs

Hat Tip: Field Negro

I found this on the sidebar at Field Negro and thought it was of interest, because it points out AGAIN how this administration is against The Little Guy, and keeps on using his Uncle Toms to do the dirty work.

Dear *[field negro]*,

I'm coming to you as a big time reader (and troll, I never comment).

There's an issue on my radar that has been overwhelmingly disregardedby the mainstream media. The Bush administration, helped by Uncle TomAlphonso Jackson, is eliminating downpayment assistance programs that have helped hundreds of thousands of people gain first time homeownership.

This is about modern civil rights, wealth creation and asset ownership. To me, breaking the chains of poverty means gettingthe downpayment assistance necessary help working families and adultsmove into their own homes.

Eliminating downpayment assistance is just another way to put Blacks into a modern day sharecropping systemon the apartment renting plantation. Unfortunately, fake liberal Dem Prez candidate Chris Dodd is siding with the Bush admin to close this program... here's a little mini blog post I wrote below.

If you could help promote this issue or at least mention it, that'd be great. Keep doing what you're doing, Field...Presidential hopeful Chris Dodd, Chairman of Banking, Housing & UrbanAffairs Committee, is making the remarkable move of closing down a Federal program that has historically helped hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged groups and the poor achieve first time homeownership.

Dodd is siding with Senate Republicans (like Senator Richard Shelby,R-AL no less) to give a slap in the face to Blacks and minorities across the country. Dodd is supporting Bush's HUD Secretary AlphonsoJackson in his move to eliminate downpayment assistance programs.According to the GAO, the move to get rid of downpayment assistance programs will bar approximately 40% of African-American homebuyers from utilizing Federal Housing Administration insured loans. Also affected are potentially 30% of Latinos.

What Senator Dodd is doing will screw the poor, minorities, and many single parent mothers from ever owning a home. True progressives Rep.Maxine Waters and Rep. Barney Frank have showed their leadership insecuring a bill in the House to protect this program. In the Senate,Senator Dodd holds the keys.

Sign this petition and call Senator Doddnow. For more information on this issue, see below.[for blogs, often you may post the long portion of your text in a'below' or 'read more' section]Here's the lowdown. Downpayment assistance programs allow nonprofits to assist home buyers in providing the minimum down payment requiredfor Federal Housing Authority (FHA) loans. Shutting down this program will effectively destroy the nonprofits seeking to help first time home buyers achieve their dreams of home ownership. From 2000 through 2006, more than 650,000 buyers got their down payments through nonprofits.

HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson believes with the recent foreclosures occurring because of subprime loans, an increased number of borrowers will seek downpayment assistance and place enormous fiscal stress on the FHA. However, Secretary Jackson is overlooking the fact that if downpayment assistance programs are shut out, even more borrowers will be FORCED into predatory loan agreements and subprime loans. The reality is, downpayment assistance programs are needed more than ever now, and to remove the program is to put families onto the street and to keep an entire segment of the population continually renting from landlords.

Write or Call Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee Chairman Chris Dodd to tell him:"Please do not shut down the downpayment assistance program. This program helps hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged families acrossthe country achieve the American dream of homeownership."Banking Committee Contact:534 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510 P: (202) 224-7391 F: (202) 224-5137 U.S. Senator Chris Dodd Contact:448 Russell Building Washington D.C., 20510 Tel: (202) 224-2823 Fax: (202) 224-1083

Testing, testing, testing.....

I am just testing a new embedded Flashplayer.

I have also been doing maintenance for the past few days.... notice the wider margins, etc. This will allow me to do more with the blog.... and it will hold video better.

I'll leave this up for a while....

Monday, October 29, 2007

FEMA's Fake News Conference

The recent FEMA episode involving the fake news conference falls right in line with what the Bush administration has been doing for years. FEMA took a page right out of the White House playbook. (The White House is known for planting its own friendly "reporters" within the Press Corps). The White House Press Corps is basically no different from the FEMA employees. The Press Corps has been tagged with being too cozy with the Bush administration.... and asking mostly softball questions of the President and his Press secretary.

FEMA was only emulating what they have seen from the top. There has been a pattern of these kinds of mistakes. Point is... this is a cultural problem from within the Bush administration; a problem not unique to just FEMA.

At least Chertoff seems to be holding people accountable for this nonsense. The FEMA PR chief John Philbin admits that he should have cancelled the faked event....and event that even he apparently took part in. Philbin was apparently one of the FEMA workers who posed questions to deputy FEMA Director Harvey Johnson.

See/Hear Report from Democracy Now

Stanley O'Neal out at Merrill Lynch

It broke this weekend that Stanley O'Neal is out at Merrill Lynch.

Risk-Taker’s Reign at Merrill Ends With Swift Fall
Published: October 29, 2007

The six-year reign of E. Stanley O’Neal at Merrill Lynch has been one of contradictions. He was a loner in an industry that places a premium on relationships. And he pushed Merrill into risky investments despite his experience as chief financial officer, where assessing risk was one of his responsibilities.

Now after an $8.4 billion write-down and an unauthorized merger approach to a rival bank, Wachovia, Mr. O’Neal has lost the confidence of his board and is expected to resign as chairman and chief executive as early as today.

Directors, having decided Mr. O’Neal should leave, met through the weekend to determine who should succeed him.

Rest of article here.

But, don't feel too bad for Mr. O'Neal:

The Price of Any Departure Will Be at Least $159 Million
Published: October 27, 2007

Merrill Lynch’s directors may be weighing E. Stanley O’Neal’s future, but one thing is already guaranteed: a payday of at least $159 million if he steps down.

Mr. O’Neal, the company’s chairman and chief executive, is entitled to $30 million in retirement benefits as well as $129 million in stock and option holdings, according to an analysis by James F. Reda & Associates using yesterday’s share price of $66.09. That would be on top of the roughly $160 million he took home in his nearly five years on the job.

Rest of article is here.

Now, that's what I call getting P-P-P-PAID! They could give me a pink slip in a nanosecond with that kind of severance check in the envelope.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Bush & Co. Requests Nearly $200 Billion More For War

Hear an NPR interview with House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey.

An additional report on Iraq War spending.

The cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has reached $600 billion so far. The cost of the wars over the next decade could reach $2.4 trillion....or $8000.00 for every American.

A Roundup of the Weeks Events

Hear a discussion of the past weeks events from the On Point public radio program.

The new budget request for Iraq...and the 2.4 trillion projected total price tag (I hear that will be $8000.00 for each and every American... Isn't that just wonderful? how do you plan to pay your bill?)

Other topics...New Iran sanctions (really designed to cripple Irans finance and business sector) , The California Wildfires..and the government response, falling home sales, "China rising" to the moon, and more...

Another good guest line-up as well.

Listen Here

A little Slip of the Tongue

Really? With Rush and his - Obama - Osama routine. The message has stunk with some folks. if there is an association which is all that the Republicans wanted. Barack Obama. Osama Bin Laden. They just wanted a hint of doubt in the minds of Americans. Once you start thinking that you aren’t sure who the Senator is and who is the terrorist then they have won.

So, did Romney really make a “mistake” yesterday when he said, “Actually, just look at what Osam _ Barack Obama _ said just yesterday. Barack Obama, calling on radicals, jihadists of all different types, to come together in Iraq. That is the battlefield. … It’s almost as if the Democratic contenders for president are living in fantasyland. Their idea for jihad is to retreat, and their idea for the economy is to also retreat. And in my view, both efforts are wrongheaded.”

His campaign said it was just a slip of the tongue. Really? So, is Romney the absent-minded politician or is he the business genius that his campaign is painting? It can’t be both.


Saturday, October 27, 2007

Stephen Colbert Garners 1 Million Supporters

From Personal Democracy Forum:

He's done it: The Facebook group set up to support Stephen Colbert, the newest addition to the presidential race, has now gained more than one million members. Its name, "1,000,000 Strong for Stephen T Colbert," is an homage to the Barack Obama group, "One Million Strong For Barack," which still hasn't broken the 400,000 mark. The fact that Colbert, who is a joke candidate, gained so many online supporters in so little time means that either political support on Facebook is still poorly understood, or Colbert is actually catching on. Either way, it's now primary time. Is South Carolina ready?

Full article here

Indian tribes expel members


Indian tribes expel members

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island (AP) -- Dennis Champlain's grandfather helped win federal recognition for the Narragansett Indian Tribe. Champlain himself has danced in tribal powwows and teaches his children that they are Narragansetts.

Dennis Champlain and his extended family were removed from the rolls of the Narragansett Indian Tribe.

Yet the Narragansetts say he is no longer a member of the tribe.

Champlain and his extended family are among thousands of people removed from American Indian tribes in recent years, often amid tribal squabbles or when a casino comes to town. In Rhode Island, the Narragansetts' removal of about 140 of roughly 2,400 members has become an issue in Saturday's election for the tribe's chief sachem, or leader.

Tribal officials say they have the right to decide who is a member and to prevent fraud by people angling for a share of gambling money. But many of those kicked out complain they have little recourse to fight what amounts to an attack on their identity.

"We're in the process of a redefinition of tribal identity at its core," said David Wilkins, a political scientist at the University of Minnesota and a member of North Carolina's Lumbee Tribe. "It's ramping up in a way that's really quite frightening to a lot of Native people."

Wilkins traces most purges to four factors: internal political squabbles, stricter racial requirements for membership, punishment for gang or drug-related crime and, most often, during debates over sharing casino profits.

A 1978 U.S. Supreme Court ruling said the federal government should not intervene in most tribal membership disputes, leaving appeals up to the tribes.

Tribal casinos generated $25 billion in revenue last year, according to the National Indian Gaming Commission. Tribes often split the profits by making payments to members. Fewer members can mean a larger paycheck for those left.

But that paycheck can lure people with dubious claims of ancestry. The Pechanga Band of California said it was deluged with membership claims after it opened its casino in 1995.

John Gomez Jr., 39, a Pechanga member since childhood, was kicked out in 2004. He said gambling profits were one factor: He lost free health care and a $15,000 monthly payment. But he said he and others had questioned leaders before a tribal election.

"I think a lot of it has to do with the money, but there's a lot of it that's also about the politics," said Gomez, who co-founded the American Indian Rights and Resources Organization, a group that lobbies against expelling tribe members.

The Pechanga council has said it cut members who should never have been let in.

It's not clear how many people have been removed from tribes in the last few years. There are 562 federally recognized tribes, and tribal governments are not required to report citizenship decisions. But the number is in the thousands.

Gomez's advocacy group counts at least 1,500 people ousted from 13 tribes in California.

In Michigan, the Saginaw Chippewa want to remove about a tenth of their 2,700 members due to rules that require them to be at least one-quarter Indian. Critics said it's an attempt to cut casino payments.

The Cherokee Nation voted in March to deny citizenship to an estimated 2,800 descendants of tribal slaves.

In the Narragansett election, Paulla Dove Jennings, a historian, is running an underdog campaign against the incumbent, Matthew Thomas, saying it is unfair to take people's identities as Narragansetts away.

The tribe began a review of its roster about three years ago amid a failed push to build a casino -- but there is a dispute over why. Thomas said a tribal assembly, similar to a town meeting, voted to verify all tribal membership before adding several children to the roster.

But Leslie Champlain, a cousin of Dennis Champlain, said she attended the meeting and believes the tribe did not approve an audit. She suspects tribal leadership wanted to root out dissent after her sister, a tribal councilwoman, demanded a detailed audit showing how the tribe spent millions of dollars, some of it from the gambling company Harrah's Entertainment Inc.

Thomas called Champlain's claim "ridiculous" and said he is bound by the decisions of the tribal assembly and cannot be held responsible for someone else's ancestry.

Members were asked to prove they descend from ancestors listed on an 1880 census using birth, death and marriage certificates. The Champlains had used other documents as recently as 1994. This time, it was not enough.

Dennis Champlain said he learned his family was kicked out by reading about it in a newspaper. Thomas said members can appeal to a tribal court, but the Champlains say no one ever told them how to appeal.

Dennis Champlain does not blame his fellow Narragansetts, but he calls the process unjust.

"It's not a matter of whether it's right or wrong," he said. "It's a matter of who has the power. The tribe has the power -- we don't."

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press.

How come everytime I read one of these stories, the corresponding picture of the person kicked out has a serious tan? Could it be that they're ridding themselves of their BLACK mix-ins? Are they kicking out their WHITE mix-ins with such fervor? Just wondering......

Friday, October 26, 2007

Framing The Race: Clinton Is No Dean

Political pundits (amateur and professional alike--the difference being professionals get to appear on television) have a tendency to frame a race in comparison to the most recent political cycle. While such a comparison can occasionally lend insight, it can just as often be misleading, which seems to be the case with one comparison in particular this cycle.

Earlier this month, Democratic contender John Edwards told reporters, "I lived through the inevitability of Howard Dean." It was a not so veiled shot at frontrunner Hillary Clinton, who has been widening her lead of late in Iowa, New Hampshire, and national polling. Many in the media and across the blogosphere bought into the idea, for a variety of reasons. Some are simply anti-Hillary, willing to write anything that ends with the grand collapse of her campaign. Others are in Hillary-denial mode, hoping she won't win the nomination and thus eager to buy into the Dean comparison. Those in the media who expound the comparison most likely do so because it makes for a better story--covering a runaway is just no fun.

Comparisons of the '03-'04 campaign of Howard Dean to the current Clinton campaign--and yes, we're guilty of doing it too--are simply not that accurate. It's true that both Clinton and Dean were Democratic frontrunners for the nomination in the months leading up to the Iowa caucuses. It's also probably true that Clinton has inflated poll numbers because voters haven't become fully engaged in the process and the support is softer than it would be in January--a similar case could be made for the former Vermont governor. While Clinton, like Dean, may end up losing the party's nomination, it won't be because she ran a comparable campaign or was a truly similar candidate.

First, there is a great deal of difference between Clinton's frontrunner status now and Dean's frontrunner status in late 2003. Clinton has been running as the establishment frontrunner since the campaign began, while Dean was a little known outsider challenging the system. Clinton is married to the last Democratic president and has picked up more Congressional endorsements than all of her top rivals combined. Dean campaigned against the Democratic establishment--noting in a speech to the Democratic National Committee in early 2003 that he represents the "Democratic wing of the Democratic Party." His endorsement from former Vice President Al Gore was more an outlier than a representation of party support.

Second, Dean's support was never as strong as Clinton's poll standing is now. At this point in 2003, Dean was locked in a tight contest with Dick Gephardt in Iowa, while he had a comfortable lead in New Hampshire, and national lead. Clinton is also engaged in a close Iowa battle, though polling shows her beginning to pull away somewhat. Their New Hampshire leads are similar, but several national polls have shown Clinton eclipsing 50% support--something Dean never came close to accomplishing. Clinton has thrived as the frontrunner, while Dean faltered when forced to carry the label.

The two also ran in vastly different environments. In 2003, the party was still conflicted on how to address the Iraq War, while coming out of the 2006 elections the party was more united than at any point in recent history. Though it was Dean's anti-Iraq message that helped them regain control of Congress, it was deemed too radical in 2004. And because the party remains largely united today--Democrats are very satisfied with their candidates and are firmly together in their opposition to President Bush--they may be more willing to overlook Clinton's weaknesses or policy differences.

Clinton also has not seen the field unite against her as strongly as the field pushed against Dean in late 2003. Dean was a constant target in Democratic debates and the Gephardt campaign's late negative push in Iowa may have sealed Dean's fate (and Gephardt's as it turned out). On the contrary, Clinton has generally received positive debate reviews--avoiding mistakes and minimizing opportunities for her opponents to attack--and no rival has been as blunt as Gephardt in attacking her electability.

Finally, Clinton is running a savvier campaign with more money and a better strategy. Dean was the leading fundraiser going into Iowa, but his haul was nothing compared to the perhaps $100 million Clinton will raise this cycle. Dean also put all his eggs in one basket--he was so heavily invested in an Iowa victory that his chances of winning the nomination essentially ended with his disappointing third place finish there. He had little money left to make any comeback, while his support quickly evaporated in New Hampshire and around the country. Clinton, however, is far better positioned to survive a defeat in Iowa. In fact, she has been able to lower expectations there, which would help her explain away an Obama or Edwards victory and making any potential Clinton victory in Iowa all the more significant. Her campaign is also well prepared for the de facto national primary on February 5, ready to pump a great deal of money and resources into states across the country.

Yes, it's wrong to suggest that Clinton has the nomination locked up months before any voting has taken place. But it's also wrong to believe that because Howard Dean faltered, Clinton will too. The 2008 cycle bears little resemblance to the 2004 cycle--the landscape is different, the mood of voters in both parties has changed, and Hillary Clinton is no Howard Dean.

Cross-posted at Political Realm.

Genarlow Wilson Finally FREE- Georgia Supreme Court Rules

Hat tip: WVON 1690 AM-Santita Jackson Show


Court orders Wilson freed in teen sex case

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- The Georgia Supreme Court on Friday ordered that Genarlow Wilson be released from prison, ruling 4-3 that his sentence for a teen sex conviction was cruel and unusual punishment.

Genarlow Wilson's case received national attention and led to changes in Georgia law.

Wilson, 21, was convicted in 2005 of having oral sex with a consenting 15-year-old girl when he was 17.

He has served more than two years in prison.

Wilson's attorney, B.J. Bernstein, told CNN she is working to gain his quick release, which could come "some time today." She said she called the prison warden, who has informed Wilson.

"We've been praying for it every day," Bernstein said of the court's decision. Wilson can go free as soon as a Monroe County judge issues a new order and it is served to the attorney general and the department of corrections, she added.

"We want him home," Bernstein said. "In the end it shows this: That the courts can work, the courts do work." She added that Wilson's mother, Juannessa Bennett, is "overjoyed." Watch what has to happen before Wilson goes home »

A spokesman for Georgia Attorney General Thurbert E. Baker said there will be no further appeals.

"I respectfully acknowledge the Court's authority to grant the relief that they have crafted in this case," Baker said.

"I hope the Court's decision will also put an end to this issue as a matter of contention in the hearts and minds of concerned Georgians and others across the country who have taken such a strong interest in this case," he added.

Georgia Supreme Court's order
Friday's decision came after a protracted legal battle that has galvanized international attention and drawn the involvement of civil rights leaders. Partly as a result of Wilson's conviction, state legislators changed the law to make such consensual conduct between minors a misdemeanor, rather than a felony.

At the time of Wilson's conviction, Georgia law made the crime punishable by 10 years in prison. Changes in the law made such conduct "punishable by no more than a year in prison and no sex offender registration," the court noted.

But those changes were not made retroactive, so they did not apply to Wilson.

The Georgia high court upheld the decision of the Monroe County judge. In a 48-page opinion, the court said the "severe" punishment Wilson received and his mandated sex offender registration make "no measurable contribution to acceptable goals of punishment."

The case revolves around a New Year's Eve party outside Atlanta in 2003 when Wilson engaged in the sex act with the girl.

Under a now-changed Georgia law, Wilson was convicted of felony aggravated child molestation. He was acquitted on a second charge of raping a 17-year-old girl -- who prosecutors maintained was too intoxicated at the party to consent.

The 10-year sentence was mandatory under the law.

In the decision, Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears wrote that changes in the law "represent a seismic shift in the legislature's view of the gravity of oral sex between two willing teenage participants."

"Although society has a significant interest in protecting children from premature sexual activity, we must acknowledge that Wilson's crime does not rise to the level of culpability of adults who prey on children," the court's majority found.

"For the law to punish Wilson as it would an adult, with the extraordinarily harsh punishment of 10 years in prison without the possibility of probation or parole, appears to be grossly disproportionate to his crime," the majority opinion concluded.

The dissent noted that the Georgia Legislature had made clear that the changes in the law were not to be applied retroactively.

Justice George Carley, writing for the dissenting justices, said, "The General Assembly made the express decision that he cannot benefit from the subsequent legislative determination to reduce the sentence for commission of that crime from felony to misdemeanor status."

The majority countered that it was not applying the 2006 amendment retroactively, but instead factoring that "into its determination that Wilson's punishment is cruel and unusual," the court said in a news release.

The court said this kind of decision is unusual: "The majority opinion points out that this court rarely overturns a sentence on cruel and unusual grounds. But twice before, it did so following a legislative change."

Monroe County Superior Court judge ruled that Wilson's punishment was cruel and unusual and voided it on constitutional grounds.

The judge reduced the sentence to one year and said Wilson should not be put on Georgia's sex offender registry, as the old law required.

Wilson's jubilant attorneys had hoped that ruling would free him from state prison. But shortly after it was handed down, Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker announced he would appeal the decision, a move that kept Wilson behind bars.

The high court said unanimously that the decision to deny Wilson bail was correct.

Wilson's plight drew pleas for his release, including from former President Carter, an ex-Georgia governor, and even some of the jurors who convicted him.

Legislation that would make the change in Georgia's child molestation law retroactive to free Wilson failed to win approval earlier this year.

CNN's Mary Lynn Ryan contributed to this report

Never should have been in jail in the first place.

Trying to Bring More To The Blog

I'm trying to learn how to use embedded audio (podpress in particular), so that I can get back to doing my own playlists. I want to embed more video as well... although I don't have my own DVD recording capability. Teaching myself= a slow process. I'm somewhat technologically challenged.

I should have it figured out by the Holidays (maybe). If anyone could suggest a good file host (free or low monthly rate) or if you know how to use podpress with blogger... let me know. I am slowly figuring it out... but it is like trying to learn something or put something together with Chinese instructions.

Why Have Democrats Been Obsessed with the Armenian Genocide?

The Democratic leadership in Congress has now decided to put their Armenian Genocide vote on hold. But why have they been so obsessed with this in the first place?

This took place almost a Century ago, yet the Democrats have decided to bring this issue up out of the blue. Meanwhile there are genocides taking place right under their noses... Live and in their face, right on the African Continent. And it gets almost no attention from the Congress (and that has been under both Republican and Democratic leadership). It is yet another example of how Black lives are perceived to be of less value by the Western powers.

I can still vividly recall how the Western world rallied to take action on behalf of the Albanians in Kosovo, after only a few thousand parished & people had their villages set on fire in what was essentially a civil war. But when tens of thousands die in Africa... there is not nearly the same sense of urgency. Although Jimmy Carter says Darfur doesn't meet the criteria of a Genocide. Yet there is violence along ethnic lines. Tens of thousands have been murdered. Villages have been systematically burned to the ground and people have been driven from their homes in massive numbers. Women and girls have been gang raped. Men have been shot and beheaded in front of their families... and this doesn't qualify as genocide? Just how many Black Africans have to die before it is considered genocide Mr. Carter?

This effort to label the Armenian slaughter a genocide (after all these years...) seems to be some symbolic political move, aimed at improving relations with Armenia so that the U.S. can move even further into Eastern Europe...and it also could be part of an effort to gain another possible launching point for any future military conflict with Iran.

Alberto Gonzales May Face Prosecution Soon

For More, See Independents Unbound.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Giuliani Defends, Employs Priest Accused of Molesting Teens

Hat tip:WVON 1690 AM-Santita Jackson Show


Giuliani Defends, Employs Priest Accused of Molesting Teens
October 23, 2007 7:00 AM
Brian Ross and Avni Patel Report

Presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani hired a Catholic priest to work in his consulting firm months after the priest was accused of sexually molesting two former students and an altar boy and told by the church to stop performing his priestly duties.

The priest, Monsignor Alan Placa, a longtime friend of Giuliani and the priest who officiated at his second wedding to Donna Hanover, continues to work at Giuliani Partners in New York, to the outrage of some of his accusers and victims' groups, which have begun to protest at Giuliani campaign events.

"This man did unjust things, and he's being protected and employed and taken care of. It's not a good thing," said one of the accusers, Richard Tollner, who says Placa molested him repeatedly when he was a student at a Long Island, N.Y. Catholic boys high school in 1975.

At a campaign appearance in Milwaukee last week, Giuliani continued to defend Placa, who he described to reporters as a close friend for 39 years.

"I know the man; I know who he is, so I support him," Giuliani said. "We give some of the worst people in our society the presumption of innocence and benefit of the doubt," he said. "And, of course, I'm going to give that to one of my closest friends."

The accusations against Placa were made in testimony before a Suffolk County grand jury in 2002.

Tollner, now a mortgage broker in Albany, N.Y., says he was one of three people to testify about Placa.

"This man harmed children. He still could do it. He deserves to be shown for what he was, or is," says Tollner.

Appearing publicly for the first time today on ABC News' "Good Morning America," Tollner says the abuse started when he and Placa were in the high school making posters for a Right to Life march.

"As he started to explain how these posters should be done, I realized that something was rubbing my body," Tollner said. "After a minute or two, I realized that he's feeling me, feeling me in my genital area."

The grand jury report concluded that a Priest F, who Tollner says is Placa, abused the boys sexually "again and again and again."

"Priest F was cautious, but relentless in his pursuit of victims. He fondled boys over their clothes, usually in his office," the report said.

The report concluded that Priest F, and several other priests under investigation from the same Long Island, N.Y. diocese, could not be prosecuted because the statute of limitations had expired.

Several former students from the same high school say they were asked by the "Giuliani organization" to contact ABC News and vouch for Placa.

"There was absolutely not a hint of rumor of a speculation or a whisper, in four years, or in decades after of any sexual predatoriness on the part of Rev. Placa," wrote Matthew Hogan in an e-mail to

Hogan says he recalls that Placa did give "special attention" to his former schoolmate Richard Tollner and remembers seeing Tollner in Placa's office "laughing, on opposite sides of a desk with Mr. Tollner happily animated sitting up on the couch talking."

But Hogan says the school area where Tollner says he was molested "was CONSTANTLY trafficked even on off days and hours."

"I will gladly help take apart in public anything that seriously overlooks the above. I'll be watching The Blotter like a hawk," Hogan wrote.

In addition to the allegations that Priest F was personally involved in the sexual abuse, the grand jury also said that Priest F became instrumental in a church policy that used "deception and intimidation" to keep the church scandal quiet.

Placa served as a lawyer for the diocese in dealing with allegations of abuse against other priests and, according to the grand jury report, claimed he had saved the church hundreds of thousands of dollars in his handling of possible litigation.

Lawyers for alleged victims say Placa would often conduct interviews, in his priest garb, without making it clear he was the church lawyer.

"He was a wolf in sheep's clothing," said Melanie Little, a lawyer for several alleged victims of sexual abuse by other priests in the diocese.

"He was more concerned with protecting the priests, protecting the reputation of the diocese and protecting the church coffers than he was protecting the children," said Little.

Since going to work for Giuliani Partners, the former mayor and the priest have continued to be close.

Placa accompanied Giuliani and his wife Judith on a trip to Rome earlier this year.

Through a spokeswoman at Giuliani Partners, Sunny Mindel, Placa declined requests to comment on the allegations to

Mindel also declined to specify what Placa does for the firm or how much he is paid.

OK, GOP MOTHERS out there.

Please tell me how you can support a man who stands by someone accused of molesting children. I would like to know.

You already knew what kind of character he didn't have because he was a man who brought his whore to live in the house with his WIFE AND CHILDREN.

Now, you know that he's PAYING a man accused of MOLESTING CHILDREN and defending it.

Please explain it to me.

Leslie Southwick Confirmed in Senate

Leslie Southwick was confirmed by the Senate, 59-38.

Democratic Traitors:

Akaka (Hawaii)
Byrd (West Virginia)
Conrad (North Dakota)
Dorgan (North Dakota)
Feinstein (California)
Johnson (South Dakota)
Lieberman (Independent-Connecticut)
Lincoln (Arkansas)
Nelson (Nebraska)
Pryor (Arkansas)

Related Articles:

Acquiescing to white supremacy by any means necessary

Still Opposing Southwick Nomination

Dianne Feinstein's Betrayal on Southwick Nomination

Stop Judge Leslie Southwick

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hillary Clinton and Electability

Every now and then I like to go over to the Daily Kos...and smack folks around. :-)

It's fun.... I can't help it. I love stirring the pot, especially on such an important subject (who will be the next President).

The Democrats have fallen in love with Hillary Clinton; so much so, that they don't even question her positions anymore. And when someone does challenge her, they are accused of working for the enemy. She recently scolded an Iowa voter just for asking a question about her Iran vote in the Senate. See Video.

They also hate raising the issue of "electability". I raised the issue of her policy positions and her electability at Daily Kos...and the Clintonians didn't waste time ganging up to attack me. You would have thought I said something bad about the Pope at a Catholic Convention. But they couldn't dent my armor.

See My Daily Kos Post on Hillary

Valerie Plame Comes Out Swinging in New Memoir

Review by Chuck Leddy
Boston Globe, Oct. 22, 2007

When former undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson's identity was revealed by columnist Robert Novak in The Washington Post, she found herself at the center of a political and media maelstrom. Novak's July 14, 2003, column appeared a week after Plame's husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, had attacked President Bush for faulty intelligence claims prior to the Iraq invasion.

Wilson's New York Times op-ed piece contradicted Bush's contention that Saddam Hussein had tried to procure yellowcake uranium (used for developing nuclear weapons) from Niger. Wilson himself had gone to Niger the year before to investigate these claims and had found them baseless. Instead of answering Wilson directly, the White House went into attack mode.

Plame gets her book title from Karl Rove's assertion that Joseph Wilson's wife was "fair game." Plame meticulously describes the "smear campaign" orchestrated from the vice president's office intended to discredit her husband. Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, Scooter Libby, revealed Plame's identity to Novak and other media members, leading to Libby's indictment and a 30-month prison sentence. No charges were brought against Cheney or Rove, and on July 2 of this year President Bush used his executive power to commute Scooter Libby's 30-month prison sentence.

Plame, who worked on nuclear nonproliferation while at the CIA, remains disillusioned with both the White House and the media: "I believed in our democratic institutions," writes Plame, "I believed that the truth would prevail, but I would soon find out that in Washington, the truth is not always enough." Ironically, Plame's book seems to support the Bush administration's basic claim that Saddam's Iraq was a real threat. She describes pre-war Iraq as "dangerous and erratic," although she contends the White House oversold dubious intelligence to the public.

Plame admits to being shocked when she heard President Bush make the Niger yellowcake claim in his 2003 State of the Union address, and while watching Secretary of State Colin Powell's televised presentation to the UN regarding Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction (WMD): "I had been tracking Iraqi WMD efforts carefully for some time and the facts I knew simply did not match up with what Powell had just presented." Plame explains in great detail exactly why these pre-war intelligence claims were unreliable, despite being trumpeted by the White House as some sort of "slam dunk" case for war. Plame had a front-row seat on both the politicization of pre-war intelligence and White House efforts to stem post-invasion criticism.

Plame describes pervasive efforts to shut her and her husband up. Plame labels it "classic Karl Rove": "Their tactics would have made Joseph McCarthy proud: fearmongering, defamation of character, shameless disregard for the truth, and distortions of reality." Indeed, Plame's book was reviewed by the CIA prior to its publication, and she hasn't been allowed to disclose some of the relevant facts, which the CIA deems classified. Plame wonders whether her book, like her formerly covert CIA status, has been compromised because of political imperatives coming from the White House. Readers may be left thinking, "it wouldn't exactly be the first time."

Exhausted from court battles and a seemingly-endless smear campaign, Plame packed up her belongings and left Washington earlier this year, moving with her husband and two kids to Santa Fe "We had told the truth and tried to live honorably," Plame writes in her tale's final paragraph. The fact that her story ends in a symbolic retreat says something worrisome about our nation. Valerie Plame Wilson can be viewed as a canary in the proverbial coal mine, and her book reads like a grim testament to the noxious atmosphere of our current politics.

Related Links

Audio Report From NPR

MSNBC Report... including the CIA's effort to redact much of the book.

Coverage from Bradblog, including video from a recent 60 Minutes Interview.

Cheney Implicated in Plame Leak

New Documentary - Cheney's Law

Two More Female Service Members Murdered

This raises the question....what is going on at these military bases? I think this will also be ammunition for those who say that women should not serve with men.

From the Stars and Stripes

MANAMA, Bahrain — Two female sailors who were fatally shot by a colleague in their barracks in Bahrain were identified Tuesday by the Pentagon.

Seaman Anamarie Sannicolas Camacho, 20, of Panama City, Fla., and Seaman Genesia Mattril Gresham, 19, of Lithonia, Ga., had just joined the military last year. Camacho enlisted in June; Gresham in November.

The military has not released the name of the third sailor, who allegedly shot both women early Monday morning before turning the gun on himself. He remains in critical condition at a local hospital, the Navy said Tuesday.

Lt. John Gay, a spokesman for the 5th Fleet and U.S. Naval Forces Central Command in Bahrain, said the incident remains under investigation and he was not aware of any charges being filed.

The three served as master-at-arms sailors assigned to the Naval Support Activity Bahrain security forces department. A memorial has been tentatively scheduled for Sunday.

Sources who would only speak on the condition of anonymity have said the male shooter shot his former girlfriend around 5 a.m. and her roommate before shooting himself. It is not yet known which of the two women was the shooter’s girlfriend.

He had threatened her in the past and was ordered to stay away from her, they said. What exactly led him to go to the barracks is not known.

The Navy has released few details about what happened but acknowledged the three “were acquainted.”

As investigators tried to learn what happened, a team of chaplains, crisis counselors and mental health specialists cared for those affected by the tragedy.

Anger and grief has rippled across the heavily protected installation, affecting those who were first on the scene, who knew the sailors involved or who lived just down the hall from the crime scene.

“Some are still in disbelief,” said Lt. Rean Enriquez, a Catholic priest on base. “Some are still in shock, and they’re trying to handle it the best they can.”

Not surprisingly, the shootings have hit members of the base’s security forces department, where the three worked, the hardest. As masters-at-arms, the three served as military police.

Counselors have taken considerable care in monitoring how they and those first on the scene are handling their range of emotions. Many are finding it difficult to cope with what happened.

One sailor was so traumatized by what he saw in the barracks that counselors recommended that he not go back there.

Dorothy Benford, director of the Fleet and Family Support Center, said her staff members have met with members of the security unit and the small medical command on base. She said counselors are trying to do anything they can to help, including counseling those who are infuriated by the loss of their friends.

“We’ve been told there have been incidents like arguments and fights, and so I said to the leadership, ‘Please let us deal with these angry issues,’” Benford said.

“And they have a right to be angry because suppose you are a friend of the shooter and someone else is a friend of the victim. They may say things and that’s going to spark things.”

Cmdr. Aaron Jefferson, also a chaplain, rushed to the command center to help soon after he heard that something had happened.

He said some people have expressed guilt over what happened and wonder whether they could have done anything to have prevented the shootings.

The pain of guilt has also touched Jefferson. He went home Monday around 8 p.m., but didn’t fall asleep until 2:30 a.m.

“I’m thinking, you know, what could I have done?” said Jefferson, a Baptist minister. “Could I have prevented this? Could I have ministered to the troops? What could I have done better? How could I help?



Related Post

Will The Apologists and Excuse Makers For Black Degradation Ever Let Up?

I’m so sick and tired of Blacks making excuses for all sorts of degradation within "Black Culture".

On yesterdays Black Bloggers Roundtable (from NPR), the issue of the N-Word came up. As expected, one of the panelists defended the use of the word by Black Americans, rappers in particular. The discussion centered around rapper NAS. I don't own one Rap CD, and have been Rap free for the past 17 years or so. And I can't stand the stuff today... in fact, I think I may be allergic. That being said, I don't support the use of the word by these rappers. No, the N-word is not the most crucial problem facing urban America, but the liberal use of the word is a reflection of a much deeper problem within so called "Black America" regarding cultural values....or the lack thereof. When a culture allows this kind of thing to go on freely, what does it say about that group or culture?

The Blogger on yesterdays News and Notes program who gave his support to the word was Christopher Rabb of Afro-Netizen. Rabb commented:

Nigger is (an acceptable) part of the Black dialect”.

Says who.. Christopher Rabb? The Rappers? Bull.... That kind of comment lumps all Black folks together in something that I don't think all would agree with. Rabb doesn't speak for me... and I doubt that he speaks for the other 36 million + Black folks in this Country.

Here is my response to this issue given to the blogger Field Negro... who made similar claims as the blogger above. (I am still a regular reader of the Field Negro...but we don't always have to agree).

You stepped into a mine"Field" with this one.

You already know how I feel.

Why continue making excuses for the use of this word...especially for those who are capitalizing from it?

You are like Michael Meyers...who recently said that nooses are no big deal... that they aren't harmful. The same historical context as "Nigger", etc... so should we allow nooses? Perhaps Katt Williams was wearing his noose as a symbol of Black pride (a symbol of endearment). Will nooses become a new fashion statement in a few years? I can see Black folks walking around using the excuse that "hey... by wearing these nooses we are taking the power away from the symbol". Hmmm.

Come on Field. As Rikyrah stated so well... you are a travelled, educated & cultured man. It would seem that you would know better.

And you say Hip Hop is a world wide phenomenon... that's the problem Field. It just means that these negative images are spread around the world even faster. The fact that Hip Hop is a world wide phenomenon means that it's the perfect trojan horse for spreading this poison. The fact that this stuff is mainstream is really what's killing our image. It means that young kids in Europe repeat the word "Nigger" (God Bless em) not really understanding what the hell they are saying...because they don't have any point of reference or context to draw least not in the way that we have here.

Obama Under Fire For Gospel Tour With ' Anti-Gay' Singer

From USAToday:

Obama under fire for gospel tour with anti-gay singer

Under the headline "Did Obama just lose the gay vote?", Todd Beeton at writes on what he calls the growing firestorm over Barack Obama's "Embrace the Change" gospel tour set to start Friday in South Carolina.

Singers on the tour include Donnie McClurkin, who has crusaded against homosexuality and who says he is a former homosexual. For information on his book Eternal Victim/Eternal Victor, in which he describes his "bout" with homosexuality, click here. For a conservative take on his views, click here.

In a statement on his website, Obama said he disagrees with McClurkin's views on homosexuality, but he did not cancel the appearance. Read the full statement here.

Among those asking Obama to cancel the event was Wayne Besen, executive director of the gay advocacy group Truth Wins Out. “Obama’s statement was inadequate and we are disappointed that he failed to sever ties with Donnie McClurkin," Besen said today on the group's website.

Political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson got the ball rolling Friday on Huffington Post with a post headlined "Obama Should Repudiate and Cancel His Gay Bash Tour and Do It Now." Today he notes that Obama has not canceled his appearances with McClurkin and wonders, "How hard will Obama fight as president for tolerance, specifically against anti gay bigotry?"

Stops on Obama's gospel tour are Charleston on Oct. 26, Greenwood on Oct. 27, and Columbia on Oct. 28. Joshua DuBois, the campaign's religious affairs director, said in announcing it: "This is another example of how Barack Obama is defying conventional wisdom about how politics is done and giving new meaning to meeting people at the grassroots level. This concert tour is going to bring new people into the political process and engage people of faith in an unprecedented way.”

Posted by Jill Lawrence at 10:34 AM/ET, October 23, 2007

SHould he have asked Sex Freak and Addict Kirk Franklin instead?

Just asking.

On a serious tip ...Mr. McClurkin’s viewpoints will get more than a few ‘Amens’ in the barber and beauty shops.

ESPECIALLY South of the Mason/Dixon.

I’ll remind you of a poll this year of Black South Carolinians:

A look at how black South Carolinians view faith

Percentage of those surveyed who said religion is very or fairly important in their lives; 88.4 percent said very important

Percentage who said they are Protestant

Percentage who said they believe “the Bible is the literal word of God and without error”

Percentage who said they attend church at least twice a month; 57 percent said they go every week

So, YOU tell me if you think that Obama’s going to take heat in South Carolina for having McClurkin.

I'm also going to say something that is unpopular; - I hope Obama does NOT pull McClurkin.

It will be seen as but another way that Obama is disrespecting the Black community for others OUTSIDE of the community. That is how it will be seen, and that's not how Obama needs to be seen in the Black community of South Carolina right now.

As someone else pointed out on another board, they felt this Gospel Tour was Obama's attempt to make up for his disrespecting of his pastor, Dr. Jeremiah Wright - for DISinviting him to say the opening prayer at his kickoff in Springfield. I have to agree with that assessment, which is why Obama is stuck like Chuck over this McClurkin thing. Disrespecting Black folk and the church ONCE is one thing. But, doing it a SECOND TIME? In such a highly religious state? I don't think so.

Black folks are not gay friendly, but doesn't mean that we're hostile either. But, we have made up our minds.

In the usual suspect polling, in the high 60's, Blacks are AGAINST discrimination towards homosexuals and lesbians when it comes to JOBS and HOUSING.

On the other hand, ALSO in the high 60's, Blacks are OPPOSED to Gay Marriage. Period.

And, as a community, we don't see any conflict with those positions. We would not be against someone trying to feed themselves or clothe themselves. But, marriage is seen as a religion-based institution, and Blacks are too conservative, religiously - to believe in Gay Marriage.

Doesn't make us anymore homophobic than the general populace, but Blacks in the South see the gay marriage issue the same way as their White evangelical brethren - you don't have to like it, but it is what it is.

He will not be able to win the general election without White votes. But, he'll never get the nomination without Black Votes.

So, IMO, McClurkin stays unless HE pulls out, but even that, I believe, would not reflect well on Obama.

As for Dr. Hutchinson -he's so in Hillary's corner, puleeze. He's written nothing but Obama hit pieces from day one.

And before I am bombarded with those asking me about our Black Homosexual and Lesbian Brothers and Sisters:

I believe homosexuality/lesbianism is genetic and am awaiting for it to be discovered through this search of the human genome.

Once that has happened, we all can begin to turn the next page.

Because...if we all our God's Creatures...and it's in the DNA to be a homosexual/lesbian, then it was part of God's plan after all.

I'm just waiting for it to be confirmed - that it's genetic.

I have nothing against my Black lesbian and homosexual Sisters and Brothers, but I know the world in which we live.

I stand by what I said - Black folk have made up their mind about this. They don't see the conflict between their positions on Housing and Jobs, and Gay Marriage. Now, you can debate with them, but they believe they have more important issues to deal with in the community.

Related Article:
JASMYNE CANNICK: Obama: Blacks, Gays, and Homophobic Gospel Singers

250,000 Flee California Wildfires

California wildfires destroy more than 600 homes, and more than 100 businesses. Hundreds of other homes and businesses threatened.

As if earthquakes aren't bad enough. Californians have to deal with the threat of wildfires, particularly during the Fall fire season.

It seems as though wildfires are getting worse, and in many ways they are, due to drought. But it has just as much to do with people building habitats in areas where they did not exist in such high concentrations 20 or 30 years ago, particularly near forests.

As beautiful as California may be, I am not sure I would want to live there and have to deal with the Natural disaster risks. Although other parts of the Country also have risks.... like in Missouri (Tornado, Floods, & even the low risk of Earthquakes). But if given the choice, I would rather stick with the Midwest.

Hillary Clinton - The Media's Choice

New Co-bloggers Added

Two new co-bloggers have been added.

Andy from Political Realm, and Dr. Errington Thompson have been added to the list of co-bloggers. I don't know how Dr. Thompson finds the time to blog, let alone podcast. But I am glad he agreed to post here as time permits.

Andy and Pamela Jolly have been shy so far...but I look forward to reading the posts of all the co-bloggers eventually.

Take a listen to the latest podcast from Errington Thompson (The Errington Thompson Show), dated Oct. 20th.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Color and Money: How Rich White Kids are Winning the War over College Affirmative Action by Peter Schmidt

I have read Schmidt’s reports of the affirmative action wars in the Chronicle of Higher Education and visited his information-rich blog. I had high expectations from the wide acclaim and widespread buzz the book has received in blogs that dealt with race and culture issues.

The book is a fantastic read and did not disappoint. I read and finished it in one weekend and could not wait to go to the computer to write a review. It is that good and I highly recommend it as a useful resource for anyone who wants to learn more about affirmative action and where it is headed in the near future.

In a nutshell, Schmidt’s book provides a wide-ranging, historical and big picture view of affirmative action as a social policy. From its origins in the 1960s as a response to social unrest and black militancy, to how it has been administered in elite schools over the years, the political battles and turmoils that have surrounded its implementation, and the court and legislative battles to challenge and strike it down.

He deals with affirmative action as it is practiced in selective, elite schools such as Harvard, Stanford, the University of Michigan, etc. But he does not shy away from writing about the implications of affirmative action to the larger philosophical and moral questions of equality, fairness, and the continuing disparities among American racial and ethnic groups (and socioeconomic classes) in income, academic achievement, educational quality of primary and secondary schools, and the role of diversity in all of these.

According to Schmidt, glaring in its absence from the affirmative action wars is a serious consideration of socioeconomic class (which includes poor and working class whites) and legacy admissions that give preference to wealthy and connected whites who are routinely admitted to selective universities despite not meeting the same academic standards by which more deserving but less-connected and less-wealthy students of all races are scrutinized and judged. In this vein, Schmidt explores social science research such as those undertaken by Anthony Carnevale on modifying how to judge SAT scores, and race-neutral policies that target student admissions according to factors such as family income and geographic region, and strategies such as those used in Texas that have resulted in higher minority admission and enrollment to state universities than race-specific criteria.

Schmidt’s analysis also includes a potent critique of affirmative action as an instrument of attaining social justice and equality. Whether or not such policies do benefit those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds and whether or not diversity is a compelling enough argument for keeping affirmative action out of legal challenges. He also details the recent court battles in Michigan and California as well as background on the main players in the recent challenges to affirmative action by voter referendum in California and Michigan. Schmidt then takes the story all the way to the Supreme Court and in the White House and gives background information on the decisions of the Court as well as the political stances and public pronouncements on the issue by politicians and Presidents from Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton.

Of course, the question will eventually be asked – is this a pro or anti affirmative action book? Is Peter Schmidt part of either side of the debate and if so which side is he on?

I am happy to say that I did not read Schmidt to be a partisan on either side of the issue. If he is a partisan, he is more for the larger moral and philosophical issues of justice, equality and fairness—which includes poor and working class whites in the equation.

If I can sum up the spirit of the book with a quote I choose this one from page 109:

Truth be told, colleges probably benefit from such false assumptions [of whites believing they or someone they know will be rejected by a college due to an unqualified minority applicant]. After all, if well-qualified whites or Asians are angry because they believe they were rejected in favor of Blacks, Hispanics, or Native Americans, colleges can try to claim the moral high ground by accusing them of being racially insensitive, failing to understand the educational value of diversity, or refusing to own up to their own racist past. If on the other hand, people are angry because they believe they were rejected in favor of applicants with more money or better connections, about all they can be accused of is being too na├»ve to realize that money talks, it isn’t what you know but who you know that matters, and life just isn’t fair.

I highly recommend Color and Money to anyone interested in the affirmative action debate and issue. It is an honest, painstakingly researched report and exploration of the issue and what it means for social justice, race relations, and how far American society still has to go to come to grips with achieving equality of opportunity.