Monday, March 31, 2008

Senator Amy Klobuchar Endorses Obama


Obama picks up new endorsement Mon Mar 31, 9:55 AM ET

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (AFP) - US Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar has endorsed Barack Obama to become the party's presidential nominee, adding new pressure on trailing rival Hillary Clinton, Obama's campaign announced Monday.

Obama "has inspired an enthusiasm and idealism that we have not seen in this country in a long time," Minnesota Senator Klobuchar said in a statement. She said that he speaks "with a different voice, bringing a new perspective and inspiring a real excitement from the American people."

"My endorsement reflects both Barack's strong support in my state and my own independent judgment about his abilities," Klobuchar said.

"Barack has been a proven agent for change and advocate for middle-class Americans."

The announcement of support came in the wake of Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey's endorsement of Obama last week, and Senator Patrick Leahy's call for Clinton to drop out of the race, saying that there was no way she could win it.

According to Obama's campaign, Klobuchar is the 64th "superdelegate" to the party's August convention to endorse the African-American senator since the February 5 Super Tuesday primaries gave him a solid lead over Clinton in regular committed delegates.

Rest of story linked above.

There seems to be a good story coming out with the North Carolina Congressional Delegation.....keep your eyes open.

Obama Wins Texas

This is from the BurntOrangeReport:

This past weekend, the Texas Caucus Conventions were held. And, Senator Obama won it, and combined with his Primary Finish, wound up winning the State of Texas.

Current State of the Texas Primary

Produced by Burnt Orange Report

TX Primary-Chosen Results (March 4)

Primary Delegates

Clinton - 65
Obama - 61
TOTAL - 126

Texas Caucus Chosen Results

Clinton - 30
Obama - 37
TOTAL - 67

Texas Delegate Results TOTAL

Clinton - 95
Obama - 98
TOTAL - 193

Friday, March 28, 2008

Condoleeza Rice - Conflicting and Confusing for me

I had read this article because of a link I found somewhere. A reader brought it up again, and though I've read it a couple of times, it just brings up the confusing feelings Condi Rice brings up in me.

Here's the article in the Washington Times:

Rice hits U.S. 'birth defect'
By Nicholas Kralev
March 28, 2008

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said yesterday that the United States still has trouble dealing with race because of a national "birth defect" that denied black Americans the opportunities given to whites at the country's very founding.

"Black Americans were a founding population," she said. "Africans and Europeans came here and founded this country together — Europeans by choice and Africans in chains. That's not a very pretty reality of our founding."

As a result, Miss Rice told editors and reporters at The Washington Times, "descendants of slaves did not get much of a head start, and I think you continue to see some of the effects of that."

"That particular birth defect makes it hard for us to confront it, hard for us to talk about it, and hard for us to realize that it has continuing relevance for who we are today," she said.

Rest of the article is at the link above.

There's something accurate and almost elegant in calling Black folk ' A Founding Population'. It's very true. For all the talk about the ' Founding Fathers', we did found this country as much as anyone.

Dr. Rice confuses me, because, every once in awhile, she lets stuff 'slip' to let folks know she's not clueless in the least. She's just one big shade of gray.

Senator Bob Casey Endorses Barack Obama

Hat tip:

Senator Casey endorses Obama
Fri Mar 28, 2008 7:43am EDT
By Matthew Bigg

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania endorsed on Friday Barack Obama's campaign for the Democratic nomination for president in a boost for the Illinois senator.

Obama aides said Casey would appear later at an Obama campaign event in Pennsylvania, where the candidate is vying with New York Sen. Hillary Clinton for support in the April 22 primary election.

Casey also would join part of Obama's six-day bus tour across the state, due to start in Pittsburgh, they said.

Endorsements by politicians state can bolster a candidate's credibility in a state with a specific section of the electorate, although their precise impact on voters is often unclear.

"The endorsement comes as something of a surprise," Dan Pfeiffer, Obama deputy communications director, said in a statement. "Casey ... had been adamant about remaining neutral until after the April 22 primary. He said he wanted to help unify the party."

"Obama strategists hope Casey can help their candidate make inroads with the white working-class men who are often referred to as 'Casey Democrats,'" Pfeiffer said, adding that the group is liberal on economic issues, supportive of gun rights and opposed to abortion.

Obama's campaign has spent $1.6 million in television advertising in the state in the past week, the statement said.

Rest of article is HERE.

Casey appeals to those Democrats in Pennsylvania that Obama's having trouble with, so having his endorsement and joining him on the bus tour can only be a good thing.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Booman - Clintons have crossed the line

I have been very frustrated the last couple of days. The blog has been screwing up. The politics of separate and divide are being used by the Clintons. It started with the 3 am commercial and it has just continued. Not only do we need to tear down Barack Obama but we also need to elevate ourselves. Instead, of telling the truth about what she has accomplished we have that Lying Man from Saturday Night Live (I know I'm dating myself). "And I was ... dodging sniper fire. yeah, that's it. Sniper fire. And everyone had to sit on their bulletproof vests. Yeah, that's right. And I solved the Northern Ireland conflict while I was brushing my teeth. Yeah, that's right. That's the ticket."

Booman from Booman Tribute has a great post on the anger that many of us, progressives, feel against Hillary Clinton and the rest of the Clinton gang.

From Booman: Hillary Clinton has gone too far. In a conversation with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Clinton presumed to tell Barack Obama where he should worship his God. She suggested that Reverend Wright is guilty of 'hate speech' and compared him to Don Imus.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, in a wide-ranging interview today with Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporters and editors, said she would have left her church if her pastor made the sort of inflammatory remarks Sen. Barack Obama's former pastor made. "He would not have been my pastor," Clinton said. "You don't choose your family, but you choose what church you want to attend." ..."You know, I spoke out against Don Imus (who was fired from his radio and television shows after making racially insensitive remarks), saying that hate speech was unacceptable in any setting, and I believe that," Clinton said. "I just think you have to speak out against that. You certainly have to do that, if not explicitly, then implicitly by getting up and moving."

Hillary Clinton has a lot of gall to question her opponent's choice of church considering her own kooky associations. And I think it would be equally repulsive if Barack Obama chose to make an issue of her decision to worship with Sam Brownback and Rick 'Man on Dog' Santorum. Obama certainly could question her faith and what her faith suggests about her political commitments. As Kathryn Joyce and Jeff Sharlet reported in Mother Jones last fall...
Clinton's prayer group was part of the Fellowship (or "the Family"), a network of sex-segregated cells of political, business, and military leaders dedicated to "spiritual war" on behalf of Christ, many of them recruited at the Fellowship's only public event, the annual National Prayer Breakfast. (Aside from the breakfast, the group has "made a fetish of being invisible," former Republican Senator William Armstrong has said.) The Fellowship believes that the elite win power by the will of God, who uses them for his purposes. Its mission is to help the powerful understand their role in God's plan.

The Fellowship leader is Doug Coe, who Clinton has described as "a unique presence in Washington: a genuinely loving spiritual mentor and guide to anyone, regardless of party or faith, who wants to deepen his or her relationship with God."
Coe's friends include former Attorney General John Ashcroft, Reaganite Edwin Meese III, and ultraconservative Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.). Under Coe's guidance, Meese has hosted weekly prayer breakfasts for politicians, businesspeople, and diplomats, and Pitts rose from obscurity to head the House Values Action Team, an off-the-record network of religious right groups and members of Congress created by Tom DeLay. The corresponding Senate Values Action Team is guided by another Coe protégé, Brownback, who also claims to have recruited King Abdullah of Jordan into a regular study of Jesus' teachings.

But Barack Obama has not made Clinton's kooky right-wing church into an issue on the campaign trail because he understands that a person's faith is an intensely personal and (hopefully) non-political affair.

Clinton's decision to question Obama's choice of church is a bigger problem than her personal tastelessness. Her decision is an arrow aimed directly at the heart of the black community. It is one of the worst acts of public betrayal I have ever seen committed by a Democratic politician in my lifetime, and the most shortsighted and toxic decision I can recall.

White Americans may be surprised by their introduction to the style of black sermonizing in the figure of Rev. Wright, but the black community sees nothing particularly out of place in his rhetoric. This may or may not be a political vulnerability in the general election, but a far greater vulnerability is opened up by telling the black church-going community that Rev. Wright is the equivalent of Don Imus and his 'nappy-headed hos'. The suggestion that Rev. Wright was engaged in 'hate speech' of a kind so loathsome as to require leaving his church is deeply offensive. The black community is feeling besieged by the national spotlight on Rev. Wright and the ensuing white backlash. They are looking around for allies, and find Hillary Clinton piling on and throwing them under the bus.
Clinton is not only presumptuous, she is vicious and divisive and hurtful. She should be defending Barack Obama against unfair attacks, and defending and contextualizing the tradition of black sermonizing. In his speech, Barack Obama sought to educate and bring reconciliation. Clinton's response is to throw it all back in his face and suggest that there is something wrong with him for attending his church.

If Clinton succeeds in pushing this racial polarization to the point that white people will not vote for Obama, the black community will never, ever, forgive her. This is especially true because she can only win on the backs of the superdelegates.

At this point it is absolutely imperative that the party leaders step in and stop the Clinton campaign from inflicting lasting damage to the relationship between the party and the African-American community. She cannot be allowed to even try to win the nomination this way, let alone actually win it.

This is poison of the worst possible kind. It will destroy the party's electoral viability more swiftly and more surely than anything I can think of.

I call on Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid, Chairman Dean, and the other leaders of the party top step in right now and call this contest.

The Clintons absolutely must not be permitted to do this. It must be stopped.

The Latest War Profiteer is 22-Years-Old. 22!

Hat tip:

Supplier Under Scrutiny on Arms for Afghans
Published: March 27, 2008
This article was reported by C. J. Chivers, Eric Schmitt and Nicholas Wood and written by Mr. Chivers.

Since 2006, when the insurgency in Afghanistan sharply intensified, the Afghan government has been dependent on American logistics and military support in the war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

But to arm the Afghan forces that it hopes will lead this fight, the American military has relied since early last year on a fledgling company led by a 22-year-old man whose vice president was a licensed masseur.

With the award last January of a federal contract worth as much as nearly $300 million, the company, AEY Inc., which operates out of an unmarked office in Miami Beach, became the main supplier of munitions to Afghanistan’s army and police forces.

Since then, the company has provided ammunition that is more than 40 years old and in decomposing packaging, according to an examination of the munitions by The New York Times and interviews with American and Afghan officials. Much of the ammunition comes from the aging stockpiles of the old Communist bloc, including stockpiles that the State Department and NATO have determined to be unreliable and obsolete, and have spent millions of dollars to have destroyed.

In purchasing munitions, the contractor has also worked with middlemen and a shell company on a federal list of entities suspected of illegal arms trafficking.

Moreover, tens of millions of the rifle and machine-gun cartridges were manufactured in China, making their procurement a possible violation of American law. The company’s president, Efraim E. Diveroli, was also secretly recorded in a conversation that suggested corruption in his company’s purchase of more than 100 million aging rounds in Albania, according to audio files of the conversation.

This week, after repeated inquiries about AEY’s performance by The Times, the Army suspended the company from any future federal contracting, citing shipments of Chinese ammunition and claiming that Mr. Diveroli misled the Army by saying the munitions were Hungarian.

Mr. Diveroli, reached by telephone, said he was unaware of the action. The Army planned to notify his company by certified mail on Thursday, according to internal correspondence provided by a military official.

But problems with the ammunition were evident last fall in places like Nawa, Afghanistan, an outpost near the Pakistani border, where an Afghan lieutenant colonel surveyed the rifle cartridges on his police station’s dirty floor. Soon after arriving there, the cardboard boxes had split open and their contents spilled out, revealing ammunition manufactured in China in 1966.

“This is what they give us for the fighting,” said the colonel, Amanuddin, who like many Afghans has only one name. “It makes us worried, because too much of it is junk.” Ammunition as it ages over decades often becomes less powerful, reliable and accurate.

AEY is one of many previously unknown defense companies to have thrived since 2003, when the Pentagon began dispensing billions of dollars to train and equip indigenous forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. Its rise from obscurity once seemed to make it a successful example of the Bush administration’s promotion of private contractors as integral elements of war-fighting strategy.

But an examination of AEY’s background, through interviews in several countries, reviews of confidential government documents and the examination of some of the ammunition, suggests that Army contracting officials, under pressure to arm Afghan troops, allowed an immature company to enter the murky world of international arms dealing on the Pentagon’s behalf — and did so with minimal vetting and through a vaguely written contract with few restrictions.

In addition to this week’s suspension, AEY is under investigation by the Department of Defense’s inspector general and by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, prompted by complaints about the quality and origins of ammunition it provided, and allegations of corruption.

Rest of article is HERE.

As we move past 4,000 soldiers dead.................
Tens of thousands permanently maimed.....................
A TRILLION DOLLARS in costs................

ALL based on LIES.....

Reading stories about war profiteers like this just makes the blood boil.

Crooks all.

Hillary " Tonya Harding" Clinton's NON-Transparency

Hillary " Tonya Harding" Clinton's claim that she's the most 'transparent' candidate is about as accurate as her Bosnia LIE.

She says that she's been vetted.

The truth is, she hasn't been vetted AT ALL.

I've said, for some time, one of my main reasons for supporting Barack Obama is his plans for transparency in government...something that Hillary " Tonya Harding" Clinton does NOT share.

How could she?

When she won't come clean about
1. Taxes
2. Earmarks

Hat tip: Daily Dish

What Hillary Is Hiding
Her tax records, pork...
By Amanda Kathryn Hydro

"I think I’m probably the most transparent person in public life," Sen. Hillary Clinton recently declared.

Much like her husband’s infamous Monica Lewinsky testimony, in which then-President Bill Clinton haggled, "It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is," Hillary’s claim depends on what her definition of "transparent" is.

If Sen. Clinton thinks she’s transparent now that thousands of pages of scheduling records from her days as first lady have been released — because the group Judicial Watch and others sued to have them made public — sure, she’s transparent.

And if not disclosing her sources of income and sharing her tax returns since leaving the White House equals transparency, then yes, those Clintons are one transparent couple. On government disclosure forms, Sen. Clinton reports they have assets worth somewhere between $10 million and $50 million. That’s a lot of paid speeches and book sales. For a point of contrast, Sen. Barack Obama’s reported belongings, on the same disclosure forms, are worth between $456,000 and $1.1 million.

How have the Clintons amassed most of their wealth since leaving the White House? Where did that $5 million that Sen. Clinton pumped into her own campaign earlier this year come from? Who has donated to the presidential library’s coffers?

If Sen. Clinton really were the "most transparent" public official in the country, we’d know the answers to these questions. Instead her campaign hems and haws and says they’ll try to release some tax returns on or around April 15.

And then there’s the transparency that every taxpayer is interested in: How is Sen. Clinton spending our tax dollars?

The Los Angeles Times reports "Clinton has earmarked more than $2.3 billion in federal appropriations for projects" since joining the Senate. The Times also points out that it’s lucrative to be a Clinton contributor, reporting, "Since taking office in 2001, Clinton has delivered $500 million worth of earmarks that have specifically benefited 59 corporations. About 64 percent of those corporations provided funds to her campaigns through donations made by employees, executives, board members or lobbyists."

Rest of article is HERE.

Hillary " Tonya Harding" Clinton Attempts to Mess with the Voting in Texas - AGAIN

Hat tip- a reader.

Clinton campaign looks to locals to challenge Obama delegates
By KELLEY SHANNON / Associated Press

Spurned by the Texas Democratic Party in its effort to stall this weekend's county conventions, Hillary Clinton's campaign said Wednesday it is mobilizing caucus supporters and helping those who want to challenge the legitimacy of some Barack Obama delegates.

The Clinton campaign itself won't challenge Obama's delegates at the approximately 280 county and state Senate district conventions Saturday, said Clinton state chairman Garry Mauro.

"I have always known the grass roots to generate credentials questions," he said. "There's no systematic approach that we're taking to challenge anybody at any level."

But the campaign is using a behind-the-scenes strategy. It is giving legal advice to some voters who are mounting challenges and is having volunteer lawyers closely watch the proceedings, Mauro said.

"Are there going to be corrections in mathematical errors? Yes," he said, describing hypothetical examples of how a local delegate count might be changed.

Obama's campaign also has people looking closely at delegate counts and individual counties, said spokesman Josh Earnest.

"Our people are there to ensure that the process goes well and not to try to obstruct the process, and hopefully that's what their people will be doing as well," Earnest said.

Both campaigns have staffers in Texas to round up supporters and hold training sessions before Saturday's convention caucuses.

Hundreds of thousands of people attended Texas Democratic precinct caucuses after the party's primary concluded March 4. Those caucuses began the selection of 67 pledged delegates to the Democratic National Convention. The next step is the county conventions this weekend, which will pick delegates to the state convention in June.

The candidate with the most supporters signing in at each convention level will benefit in the awarding of caucus delegates.

Last week, the state Democratic Party refused a request from Clinton's campaign to postpone county conventions and take extra steps to verify the signatures of election night caucus-goers.

Rest of Article is HERE.

From the beginning, she has attempted to de-legitimize the Caucus part of the Texas voting process.

Just keeping you up-to-date on her chicanery.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Donna Brazile on the Wright Situation

Hat tip Jack and Jill Politics:

From the LA Times "Top of the Ticket" blog:

Donna Brazile -- an uncommitted superdelegate of the Democratic National Convention and one of television's few black, female political pundits -- interjected an intriguing observation this afternoon into a discussion on CNN about Hillary Clinton's stiff-arming of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

In short, Brazile provided a pointed reminder that some voters (African Americans, in particular, we would think) might recall that Wright did not turn on Clinton's husband during an hour of need for him.

Her comments assured another burst of attention on the Obama-Wright connection -- something her campaign didn't have to do during the white-hot heat of the controversy. And it took part of the media spotlight away from her faulty memory (or, less kindly, utter fabrication) about her visit to Bosnia when she was first lady.

Clinton could have contented herself with decrying Wright's messages without saying, in essence, that no way would she tolerate an association with the likes of him.

That's what Brazile picked up on, making a reference to Wright's willingness to join dozens of other religious figures in attending an annual White House prayer breakfast just as the Starr report on Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky -- in all its lurid detail -- was about to come out. No doubt ...

... those at the event -- at least the vast majority of them -- highly disapproved of Clinton's behavior. But they were not willing to shun him.

Brazile's none-too-subtle point: There's a potential downside to turning away, with nary a forgiving nod, from those who once stood by you.

Wright, by the way, remains out of the public eye. He had been invited to preach tonight, Wednesday and Thursday at a church in Tampa, but his appearance was canceled because of security concerns.

-- Don Frederick

I would like to thank Donna Brazile for speaking up once again.

Hillary "Tonya Harding" Clinton Big Dollar Donors Threaten Pelosi & DCCC

From DailyKos:

Clinton big dollar donors threaten Pelosi and the DCCC
by kos
Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 02:52:01 PM PDT

Certain people still think they can bully politicians by waving their checkbooks in their faces.

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the US House of Representatives

Office of the Speaker
H-232, US Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Madame Speaker,

As Democrats, we have been heartened by the overwhelming response that our fellow Democrats have shown for our party's candidates during this primary season. Each caucus and each primary has seen a record turnout of voters. But this dynamic primary season is not at an end. Several states and millions of Democratic voters have not yet had a chance to cast their votes.

We respect those voters and believe that they, like the voters in the states that have already participated, have a right to be heard. None of us should make declarative statements that diminish the importance of their voices and their votes. We are writing to say we believe your remarks on ABC News This Week on March 16th did just that.

During your appearance, you suggested super-delegates have an obligation to support the candidate who leads in the pledged delegate count as of June 3rd , whether that lead be by 500 delegates or 2. This is an untenable position that runs counter to the party's intent in establishing super-delegates in 1984 as well as your own comments recorded in The Hill ten days earlier:

"I believe super-delegates have to use their own judgment and there will be many equities that they have to weigh when they make the decision. Their own belief and who they think will be the best president, who they think can win, how their own region voted, and their own responsibility.'"

Super-delegates, like all delegates, have an obligation to make an informed, individual decision about whom to support and who would be the party's strongest nominee. Both campaigns agree that at the end of the primary contests neither will have enough pledged delegates to secure the nomination. In that situation, super-delegates must look to not one criterion but to the full panoply of factors that will help them assess who will be the party's strongest nominee in the general election.

We have been strong supporters of the DCCC. We therefore urge you to clarify your position on super-delegates and reflect in your comments a more open view to the optional independent actions of each of the delegates at the National Convention in August. We appreciate your activities in support of the Democratic Party and your leadership role in the Party and hope you will be responsive to some of your major enthusiastic supporters.


Marc Aronchick
Clarence Avant
Susie Tompkins Buell
Sim Farar
Robert L. Johnson
Chris Korge
Marc and Cathy Lasry
Hassan Nemazee
Alan and Susan Patricof
JB Pritzker
Amy Rao
Lynn de Rothschild
Haim Saban
Bernard Schwartz
Stanley S. Shuman
Jay Snyder
Maureen White and Steven Rattner

The Obama campaign responds:

"This letter is inappropriate and we hope the Clinton campaign will reject the insinuation contained in it. Regardless of the outcome of the nomination fight, Senator Obama will continue to urge his supporters to assist Speaker Pelosi in her efforts to maintain and build a working majority in the House of Representatives," said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton.

One side is looking to build a consensus and win on the strength of voters, the other side is looking to divide and harm the party. It's easy to see which is which.

When people say that Dems can kiss and make up, I don't know about that.

Because, at the heart of this battle is what you want the Democratic Party to look like.

What you believe it should be.

I believe Hillary " Tonya Harding" Clinton, her donors, and the DLC are parasites that have been sucking the life of what Democrats should stand for. They are TOP DOWN.

Barack Obama is of the vision of BOTTOM-UP. Barack Obama is the one who believes in the 50 State Strategy. That all Democrats are worth fighting for, even in the red states. That you plant seeds in order for them to grow in subsequent elections.

What do you believe in?

50% +1


50 State

That's what this battle has become, and I'm glad that they're being obvious about it. THE EXTORTION of it all.

If you'd like to drop a line to Nancy Pelosi:

Office of the Speaker
H-232, US Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-0100

Hillary " Tonya Harding" Clinton on Wright - ' He would not have been my pastor.'

About Jeremiah Wright, Hillary " Tonya Harding" Clinton had this to say:

"He would not have been my pastor," Clinton said. "You don't choose your family, but you choose what church you want to attend."



This is what our fellow blogger, Field Negro had to say:

Today again the "Ice Queen" took a shot at the "O" man and suggested that he should have left his church. "We don't have a choice when it comes to our relatives, we have a choice when it comes to our Pastor." Maybe you can "Ice Queen", but black folks just don't go switching their church. Maybe that's how you white folks do shit, but religion is personal to black people. As a black man I take that shit personally when you attack the black church to make a political point. And when you do it for political expediency to deflect the news from your own little problems. "Oh stop it field, you don't even go to church". Yes but I understand that importance of the church in our community, and, unlike moi, most black folks do go to church and believe in the institution it represents. So the longer this shit goes on with the "O" man's pastor, the more upset I get. If Hillary had a clue she would have left that shit alone. Her husband is supposed to be the "first black president", they should know that there are certain things that we hold sacred and just should not be fucked with.


And here is my reply. A reply that goes to heart of why the attacks on Jeremiah Wright are offensive and personal to Black people.

Thank you, FN.

I have been making the rounds of ' MSM' Blogs to make this point.

There was a Rasmussen Poll done on Wright.

Poll on Wright

Here's the money section for me:

Overall, voters are evenly divided as to whether Obama should resign his membership in the Church—42% say that he should while 40% disagree. White voters, by a 46% to 33% margin, say that Obama should leave the Church. African-American voters, by a 68% to 16% margin, say he should not. Wright retired last month as Pastor of the Church.

While there was a 13 point difference FOR among Whites, look at the gap among Blacks - 52%.



Church isn't some simple place where you go on Sunday to listen to the pastor for 30 minutes.

Church, in the Black Community, is all about COMMUNITY.

It's why, it's literally an all-day affair.

Black people do not change churches like they do purses. I am in my 30's, and outside of school, I've had exactly 2 church homes in my life. It took nearly 2 years to find the second one, but I found it. Commitment to a church isn't something that's done fly-by-night. It's not some fleeting commitment. It is a given that you will find something that you don't like about any church you attend; which is why it is the general COMMUNITY that will ultimately make that decision.

The Black Church is the ONLY institution, in the history of The United States of America, which, from its conception,

Validated, Supported, Incubated, and Treasured.



Don't think I'm correct, then name me another institution which has done so.

The attack on Trinity is seen as an attack on the Black Church, and thus, by extension, an attack on the Black Community as a whole.

During times of slavery and Jim Crow, the Black Church was what reinforced Community.

Post Civil Rights and Integration, the Black Church is now what brings Community together, considering that the Black Community, like the rest of America, is becoming more stratified along the lines of class. The Black Church is really the only place in Black America where you will consistently find the doctor and welfare mother in the same building, with the same purpose. It's the place to break down those walls of class that are building up.

To disown Wright and Trinity would be to disown the Black Community itself, which is why Obama said in his speech he couldn't. He understood that fundamentally about the Black Community, and he understood that political expediency would mean the doubting of the existence of his soul by the Black community. Obama would never be trusted again by Black folk if he had disowned Wright & Trinity. Even Black folk that don't go to church understand that you don't mess with the Black Church - it's just not done.

And the Handkerchief Head Mammy that Clinton has running her campaign KNOWS THIS.

Hillary "Tonya Harding" Clinton's Former Pastor Backs Jeremiah Wright

From The

Pastor Of Clinton's Former Church: Don't Use Wright To Polarize


The Reverend Jeremiah Wright is an outstanding church leader
whom I have heard speak a number of times. He has served for
decades as a profound voice for justice and inclusion in our society.
He has been a vocal critic of the racism, sexism and homophobia
which still tarnish the American dream. To evaluate his dynamic
ministry on the basis of two or three sound bites does a grave
injustice to Dr. Wright, the members of his congregation, and the
African-American church which has been the spiritual refuge of a
people that has suffered from discrimination, disadvantage, and
violence. Dr. Wright, a member of an integrated denomination, has
been an agent of racial reconciliation while proclaiming perceptions
and truths uncomfortable for some white people to hear. Those of us
who are white Americans would do well to listen carefully to Dr.
Wright rather than to use a few of his quotes to polarize. This is a
critical time in America's history as we seek to repent of our racism.
No matter which candidates prevail, let us use this time to listen again
to one another and not to distort one another's truth.

Dean J. Snyder, Senior Minister
Foundry United Methodist Church
March 19, 2008

Well, at least he has principle.

The Tonya Harding Reference is to this report from a Democratic Superdelegate:

The question is -- what will Clinton have to do in order to achieve it?

What will she have to do to Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, in order to eke out her improbable victory?

She will have to "break his back," the official said. She will have to destroy Obama, make Obama completely unacceptable.

"Her securing the nomination is certainly possible - but it will require exercising the 'Tonya Harding option.'" the official said. "Is that really what we Democrats want?"

Monday, March 24, 2008

U.S. Death Toll In Iraq Hits 4,000

U.S. death toll in Iraq reaches 4,000
White House calls milestone 'a sober moment'

updated 2 hours, 43 minutes ago
BAGHDAD - U.S. officials said Monday they will press forward in the fight against extremists in Iraq a day after the overall U.S. death toll in the five-year conflict rose to 4,000.

The White House called the grim milestone “a sober moment” and said President Bush spends time every day thinking about those who have lost their lives in battle.

“He bears the responsibility for the decisions that he made,” White House press secretary Dana Perino said. “He also bears the responsibility to continue to focus on succeeding.”

The American deaths came Sunday, the same day rockets pounded the U.S.-protected Green Zone in Baghdad and a wave of attacks left at least 61 Iraqis dead nationwide.

No group claimed responsibility for the Green Zone attacks, but suspicion fell on Shiite extremists based on the location of the launching sites.

The deaths of four U.S. soldiers in a roadside bombing about 10 p.m. Sunday in southern Baghdad pushed to 4,000 the number of American service members killed as the war enters its sixth year. Another soldier was wounded in the attack, the military said.

The Associated Press count of 4,000 deaths is based on U.S. military reports and includes eight civilians who worked for the Department of Defense.

Rest of article is HERE.


I just wanted to note this moment. A war costing 1 Trillion Dollars; begun on a lie; making war profiteers rich, costing 4,000 lives, permanently injuring tens of thousands more, not to mention the Iraqi lives lost.

And, the Evil One's response this week when asked about the anxiety of the American People?

" So."

From a soulless rat bastard who ' had better things to do' than to serve in Vietnam when his country called him to service.

They have no conscience. Not an ounce worth between the entire cabal.

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick Charged With Perjury

From The Associated Press:

Detroit mayor charged with perjury
Associated Press Writer

DETROIT (AP) -- Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, a one-time rising star and Detroit's youngest elected leader, was charged Monday with perjury and other counts after sexually explicit text messages contradicted his sworn denials of an affair with a top aide.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy also charged the popular yet polarizing 37-year-old mayor with obstruction of justice and misconduct in office. Kilpatrick, who was to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon, could face up to 15 years in prison and be expelled from office if convicted.

"Some have suggested that the issues in this case are personal or private," Worthy said. "Our investigation has clearly shown that public dollars were used, people's lives were ruined, the justice system severely mocked and the public trust trampled on. ... This case is about as far from being a private matter as one can get."

Speaking two hours later, Kilpatrick said he expects to be cleared. He did not deny wrongdoing and did not address the calls for his resignation.

"I look forward to complete exoneration once all the facts have been brought forth," Kilpatrick said. "I will remain focused on moving this city forward."

Former Chief of Staff Christine Beatty, 37, who also denied under oath that she and Kilpatrick had a romantic relationship in 2002 and 2003, was charged with perjury and obstruction of justice. A message seeking comment from Beatty's attorney, Jeffrey Morganroth, was not returned.

The charges could signal the end of Kilpatrick's six-year career as mayor of one of America's largest cities. Calls for his resignation have surfaced since late January and the Detroit City Council asked him to step down last week.

Worthy began her investigation the day after the Free Press published excerpts of the embarrassing text messages in late January. The messages called into question testimony Kilpatrick and Beatty gave in a lawsuit filed by two police officers who alleged they were fired for investigating claims that the mayor used his security unit to cover up extramarital affairs.

Rest of story is at the link above.


I have refrained from posting about Mayor Kilpatrick, well, because, I find him to be trifling.

But, he's a Mayor of a major American city, and this is news.

Contrary to what Mayor Kilpatrick and his defenders say..

This has absolutely NOTHING to do with ' The Man'.

' The Man' didn't force him to cheat on his wife.

' The Man' didn't make him use government-issued property to carry on said affair.

' The Man' didn't force him to commit perjury.

He did this all on his own.

But, make sure of this..

' The Man' will surely hang him with the rope that Mayor Kilpatrick has provided.

Semi-Retiring from Blogging

Rikyrah will be the main voice of this blog for the foreseeable future.

I am moving on for the reasons that I have already mentioned. However, I will still remain on as "Editor In Chief".... Shadow editor.... silent partner...yada yada. I will be sharing the admin. responsibilities. This is something that was necessary to prevent cobwebs from forming around here.

I will be taking more of a guest blogging role.

It will be interesting to see what Rikyrah will do with this place.

Obama and Race: Echoes of W.E.B. Dubois

One of the things that struck me about Obama's speech last week was how much it echoed or reflected the struggle that W.E.B. Dubois described more than a Century ago. Obama provided a modern touch to an age old discussion. Dubois offers a prophetic view of the enduring issue of race in America.


Between me and the other world there is ever an unasked question: unasked by some through feelings of delicacy; by others through the difficulty of rightly framing it. All, nevertheless, flutter round it. They approach me in a half-hesitant sort of way, eye me curiously or compassionately, and then, instead of saying directly, How does it feel to be a problem? they say, I know an excellent colored man in my town; or, I fought at Mechanicsville; or, Do not these Southern outrages make your blood boil? At these I smile, or am interested, or reduce the boiling to a simmer, as the occasion may require. To the real question, How does it feel to be a problem? I answer seldom a word.

And yet, being a problem is a strange experience,—peculiar even for one who has never been anything else, save perhaps in babyhood and in Europe. It is in the early days of rollicking boyhood that the revelation first bursts upon one, all in a day, as it were. I remember well when the shadow swept across me. I was a little thing, away up in the hills of New England, where the dark Housatonic winds between Hoosac and Taghkanic to the sea. In a wee wooden schoolhouse, something put it into the boys’ and girls’ heads to buy gorgeous visiting-cards—ten cents a package—and exchange. The exchange was merry, till one girl, a tall newcomer, refused my card,—refused it peremptorily, with a glance. Then it dawned upon me with a certain suddenness that I was different from the others; or like, mayhap, in heart and life and longing, but shut out from their world by a vast veil. I had thereafter no desire to tear down that veil, to creep through; I held all beyond it in common contempt, and lived above it in a region of blue sky and great wandering shadows. That sky was bluest when I could beat my mates at examination-time, or beat them at a foot-race, or even beat their stringy heads. Alas, with the years all this fine contempt began to fade; for the worlds I longed for, and all their dazzling opportunities, were theirs, not mine. But they should not keep these prizes, I said; some, all, I would wrest from them. Just how I would do it I could never decide: by reading law, by healing the sick, by telling the wonderful tales that swam in my head,—some way. With other black boys the strife was not so fiercely sunny: their youth shrunk into tasteless sycophancy, or into silent hatred of the pale world about them and mocking distrust of everything white; or wasted itself in a bitter cry, Why did God make me an outcast and a stranger in mine own house? The shades of the prison-house closed round about us all: walls strait and stubborn to the whitest, but relentlessly narrow, tall, and unscalable to sons of night who must plod darkly on in resignation, or beat unavailing palms against the stone, or steadily, half hopelessly, watch the streak of blue above.

After the Egyptian and Indian, the Greek and Roman, the Teuton and Mongolian, the Negro is a sort of seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world,—a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world. It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness,—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.

The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife,—this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self. In this merging he wishes neither of the older selves to be lost. He would not Africanize America, for America has too much to teach the world and Africa. He would not bleach his Negro soul in a flood of white Americanism, for he knows that Negro blood has a message for the world. He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American, without being cursed and spit upon by his fellows, without having the doors of Opportunity closed roughly in his face.

--W.E.B. Dubois from "The Souls of Black Folk"

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Obama & The Right Wing: Is it All About Race, Or Not?

I enjoy surfing the net to find interesting articles, and I came upon one that I thought was pretty good. I don't know if I completely agree, but it has its merits.

This is from Brian Francis at, and I yield the floor to him:

Saturday, March 22, 2008
All About Religion NOT Really About Race

In the wake of the pastor Wright faux-controversy....the guy said some crazy stuff, but he is preacher and it wasn't uttered or affirmed by Obama....I think that we on the left need to determine and investigate The Right's motivations for pushing the Wright storyline. In the era of dog whistle and just the surface media coverage, every network and even the major papers have called this a problem of race. That Obama goes to a black church with a black pastor and they discuss black issues and America isn't ready for this. America is taken aback by what these black people say in their churches. Do they hate America? Do they really believe that America is a bad place....etc., etc. It is all utter non-sense.

They have a total of 60 seconds, or there about, of Wright saying some very crazy and off the wall things...and they were crazy. Obama has said he believes what Wright said is reprehensible and he doesn't agree with it, as well as he doesn't believe or support a lot of Wright's political views. Obama had to give a major, and brilliant, speech on race on Tuesday about this issue because of how bad the media coverage has been of this issue. Obama distanced but didn't disown Wright or leave the church. He had to do this to try and ease the fears of working class white people. To that end, by the end of the week, the media coverage in the papers and most of the network news casts had shifted...but not Fox News and Right Wing Radio. The clips of Wright continue to play endlessly on Fox News and Right Wing Radio. "How can a man be trusted who goes to that church?" they're saying. "What, exactly, does Barack Obama believe?" followed by "What kind of Christian is Barack Obama, anyway?"

The Right is assuredly happy as hell to use race against Obama. They were going to do it with or without Wright. The Right is happy as hell to use patriotism against Obama. The Right desires to portray Obama as less American, and they would have done this regardless of Wright because of the lapel pin and pledge controversies they already created. But what they have never attacked until Wright, and what they fear the most, is Obama's Christianity. This is why the Muslim smears started the moment he entered the race in February 2007. The Right is deathly afraid of Barack Obama, not because he is a liberal, not because of his policies, not because of his race, but because of his religion, and his ability to recast the democratic party as faith-friendly. Barack Obama threatens the stranglehold that The Right has on the moral high ground in this country...a stranglehold they achieved by portraying the left as hostile to religious freedom, religious values, and the institution of religion. They have used this moral high ground to stack courts and school boards, as well as get us into an ill conceived war, which McCain's spiritual adviser says will help bring about Judgment Day. The left has been openly hostile to Christianity in many ways...which plays directly into The Right's hands and perpetuates this cycle and the same old arguments/divisions about morals in this country.

Some on the left are uncomfortable with Obama's Christianity. It makes them suspicious of him because of the abortion and gay marriage battles of the past, as well as how religion has been used to demonize liberals and the left. But 80% of Americans call themselves Christian, and just because you disagree with the fringe/fanatic elements of the Christian religion, who seem to dominate the discourse on The Right, doesn't mean you antagonize, nor write off, this electorate. It is bad marketing and just plain dumb to ascribe the views of the far far right of the Christian religion to Christians as a whole. The most reliable bloc of democratic voters, black people, have some of the highest proportions of Christianity in the country. It is a mistake to discount those who call themselves Christian because the views/statements of others. We can't argue on one hand say that you can't demonize Obama for pastor Wright's views/statements, but then say all Christians are intolerant because 10% of the Christians on the right make intolerant and inflammatory statements...READ: Hagee, Robertson, Dobson. That makes us no better than Fox News, Right Wing Radio, and The Right. I'm not trying to say that democrats should all the sudden find religion and tailoring their message, as that would be empty and easily spotted by Christians. What I'm saying is that if we have a candidate that can cast the widest net possible, and break open the electorate in ways that bring new groups with widely ranging, and some diametrically opposing, views together, we as democrats should embrace that as it will be good for the party's long term health as well as improve Democratic performance in election after election yet to come.

Barack Obama means the end of The Right's dominance in the religious arena. He is the first openly and unapologetically Christian democrat on a national level. He refuses to run from his Christian faith. He speaks the language of the Christians who have ushered in Republican dominance in the south and in the swing states like Ohio and Missouri. By using the Christians and issues like gay marriage and abortion, Republicans employing Rovian tactics have won election after election, not on real issues like healthcare, the economy, trade, energy, etc., but on social issues. We all know the terms: west-coast liberalism....liberal morals....San Francisco morals. Liberalism became a dirty word because of spineless democrats as well as The Right's successful campaign to make the cause of every controversial issue a social and religious issue. Liberals are cast as hating religion and being amoral. Christians on the right actually fear that democrats, if in power, will take away their right to worship freely. This is how successful The Right has been.

But Obama represents the convergence of two things in politics: Obama's unique abilities to inspire which we all know are unparalleled in recent memory and talk the language of Christians but also the fact that Christians aren't getting what they voted for when they voted for The Right. To quote pastor Wright..."The chickens are coming home to roost". The issues Christians on The Right have with their own party, not taking into account Iraq, the economy, and issues that affect everyone, are threefold in my estimation(these affect everyone too): Ethics; Conservatism; Poverty and Hate. These three issues represent things Christians thought they were voting for but have been disappointed by The Right at every turn. If a candidate comes around who can recast the democratic party as Christian-friendly, this large voting bloc is back up for grabs. Obviously, there will be certain Christians who demagogue the left for everything and will never be convinced that the democrats are faith-friendly, but the people who are fed up with the issues below are listening.


Corruption scandals like Tom Delay

Sex scandals like Larry Craig and Senator Vitter

Lying to the American people about Iraq and other issues


Christians are by nature conservative...they avoid excess and waste
The budget and spending and debt are enormous and have increased exponentially under Republican leadership of the Senate, House, and White House
Conservative principals have been trampled on with regard to energy as well as individual rights

Poverty and Hate:

The Christian faith prides itself on helping those in need....Katrina, Healthcare, The Poor, etc. all have shown The Right to manage the country contrary to these principles.

Believe it or not, Christians on the right don't want to hate democrats. They're just as sick of the infighting and the division as we are.

All of these issues make this key electorate ripe for the picking. All it takes is the right candidate to speak their language and crystallize what they're already feeling as issues that democrats care about and will manage the country by. Not to demonize them as fanatics, as democrats do with ease, but to say we disagree on gay marriage/rights and abortion, but here is where we do agree.

John McCain is also an issue here which leads to The Right's motivation to push the Wright storyline. He is viewed as a hypocrite and Christians on the right are deeply skeptical of him. Back in 2000 he was openly critical of them. Now, he is seeking them out. They don't trust him.

So to recap, The Right recognizes their base of Christian voters is getting jittery because of their nominee and the Republican track record of conduct and management. Barack Obama, to them, represents a real threat to make Christians on the right question their unflailing commitment to the Republican party. So why push Wright? Because it makes Obama look like a fanatical Christian and not part of mainstream Christianity. They are trying to diminish his Christian credentials. They are trying to suggest, clip after clip, segment after segment, that he isn't really Christian like you but part of some American-hating fringe religion. They will continue to remind the American Christian populace over and over and over that Obama is a Christian, but not a real one and certainly not one you can trust. His church hates America, and by extension that means he does too. You CANNOT trust Barack Obama.

No one doubts Obama's ability to speak to the majority of Americans on complicated issue and at least get them to listen. Fully 70% of people thought he gave a good speech on Tuesday on race and that he sufficiently explained his relationship with his pastor. The remaining 30% of people split between not likely to vote for him to more likely to vote for him. I highlight this to say with the hottest of political potatoes, Obama threaded the needle and pulled it off. Now imagine him talking about issues that Christians care about...poverty, ethics, coming together, and not wasting tax payer money or intruded into people's personal lives. A common quote you hear from Christians and Republicans in general is that they feel when Obama speaks he doesn't hate them for their views...which is the feeling they always got from democrats and why they aligned with The Right. So here comes an intelligent, unthreatening, Christian democratic leader who is going to speak to them using speeches sprinkled with bible quotes and reframe Left v. Right issues in terms of Right v. Wrong issues. Given that, you can see why The Right has an interest in making Obama as threatening as possible, either as a black man who may be a Christian, but who hates you and America.

The right is deathly afraid of Barack Obama, and they're only hope for survival in November, at the presidential and in each of the down ticket contests, is to make him as unpalatable as possible to Christians on the right. They are trying to protect they're flank. The question is will they succeed?

posted by Brian Francis at Saturday, March 22, 2008

Agree? Disagree?

Well, I think he sees in Obama what Andrew Sullivan does:

I have never felt more convinced that this man's candidacy - not this man, his candidacy - and what he can bring us to achieve - is an historic opportunity. This was a testing; and he did not merely pass it by uttering safe bromides. He addressed the intimate, painful love he has for an imperfect and sometimes embittered man. And how that love enables him to see that man's faults and pain as well as his promise. This is what my faith is about. It is what the Gospels are about. This is a candidate who does not merely speak as a Christian. He acts like a Christian.

From David Kuo:

One of the biggest problems in modern American Christianity is the "church-hopping" phenomenon. People stay in churches for a certain period of time, get bored, find someplace new and repeat.

We've had this discussion with two of our dear friends who are also part of the church. They understand the issues but they have taken a different approach. They have jumped into the middle of the church. This church, they've said, is their home. And the Bible, they say, calls them to be vibrant, vital parts of their church home, not people hovering on the outside.

They are right. Our church isn't perfect. No church is. But it is our spiritual home and we are blessed by it and we understand our job isn't to take and take and take from it but to give and give and give.

Barack Obama understands this approach. That is why he didn't just rip the church wily nilly. Lots of American Christians should use his faithfulness to his church as an example in their own lives.

He didn't forego his spiritual home for political convenience. Whether or not that is good politics is yet to be seen. That it is good spiritually should be applauded.

Bill Clinton Says There are TWO Patriots in this Race...and guess who's NOT included?

From The Daily Dish:

"I think it would be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who loved this country and were devoted to the interest of this country," said Clinton, who was speaking to a group of veterans Friday in Charlotte, N.C. "And people could actually ask themselves who is right on these issues, instead of all this other stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics."



As Angry Black B($*# says:

The Sh%t Aint Subtle, and You Aint Slick.

There are few things that will automatically increase my blood pressure than to have White folk challenge the PATRIOTISM of a Black person. For those who most often wrap themselves in the flag are the ones you need to keep all eyes on, for they can't be trusted.

There are some of y'all that continue to insist that folks 'must' vote for the Democratic candidate - whomever that be.

And, I continue to tell you that sometimes, you have to draw a line in the sand, and just stay behind the line. Sometimes, accept a little bitter, because, in the end, it will come out sweeter for you.

Or, how about the premise of fundamental self-respect.

But, a big HELL NO to EVER voting for her.


Friday, March 21, 2008

The Jeremiah Wright/LBJ Connection

Hat tip - Prometheus6:

Did you know that there was a Jeremiah Wright/LBJ connection?

Jeremiah Wright was part of a medical team that took care of LBJ when he had some medical problems.

Just trying to help spread the word.

Picture of Wright on Medical team (he's on the right):


Scan of Letter from LBJ to Wright:





A Blog for You:

The TRUTH About Trinity

Another Black Preacher Confronts America About War

"God didn't call America to engage in a senseless, unjust war. . . . And we are criminals in that war. We've committed more war crimes almost than any nation in the world, and I'm going to continue to say it. And we won't stop it because of our pride and our arrogance as a nation. But God has a way of even putting nations in their place. .............And if you don't stop your reckless course, I'll rise up and break the backbone of your power."

Who is this 'unpatriotic' person that DARES to invoke God this way against the United States?

Martin Luther King, Jr. - Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on Feb. 4, 1968.

CONTEXT, people.

Not only CONTEXT within a sermon, but CONTEXT culturally.

Important, isn't it?

The EJ Dionne column from which this quote was taken can be found HERE.

Gov. Bill Richardson Endorses Barack Obama

Here is Richardson's Letter:

Dear Friend,

During the last year, I have shared with you my vision and hopes for this nation as we look to repair the damage of the last seven years. And you have shared your support, your ideas and your encouragement to my campaign. We have been through a lot together and that is why I wanted to tell you that, after careful and thoughtful deliberation, I have made a decision to endorse Barack Obama for President.

We are blessed to have two great American leaders and great Democrats running for President. My affection and admiration for Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton will never waver. It is time, however, for Democrats to stop fighting amongst ourselves and to prepare for the tough fight we will face against John McCain in the fall. The 1990's were a decade of peace and prosperity because of the competent and enlightened leadership of the Clinton administration, but it is now time for a new generation of leadership to lead America forward. Barack Obama will be a historic and a great President, who can bring us the change we so desperately need by bringing us together as a nation here at home and with our allies abroad.

Earlier this week, Senator Barack Obama gave an historic speech. that addressed the issue of race with the eloquence, sincerity, and optimism we have come to expect of him. He inspired us by reminding us of the awesome potential residing in our own responsibility. He asked us to rise above our racially divided past, and to seize the opportunity to carry forward the work of many patriots of all races, who struggled and died to bring us together.

As a Hispanic, I was particularly touched by his words. I have been troubled by the demonization of immigrants--specifically Hispanics-- by too many in this country. Hate crimes against Hispanics are rising as a direct result and now, in tough economic times, people look for scapegoats and I fear that people will continue to exploit our racial differences--and place blame on others not like them . We all know the real culprit -- the disastrous economic policies of the Bush Administration!

Senator Obama has started a discussion in this country long overdue and rejects the politics of pitting race against race. He understands clearly that only by bringing people together, only by bridging our differences can we all succeed together as Americans.

His words are those of a courageous, thoughtful and inspiring leader, who understands that a house divided against itself cannot stand. And, after nearly eight years of George W. Bush, we desperately need such a leader.

To reverse the disastrous policies of the last seven years, rebuild our economy, address the housing and mortgage crisis, bring our troops home from Iraq and restore America's international standing, we need a President who can bring us together as a nation so we can confront our urgent challenges at home and abroad.

During the past year, I got to know Senator Obama as we campaigned against each other for the Presidency, and I felt a kinship with him because we both grew up between words, in a sense, living both abroad and here in America. In part because of these experiences, Barack and I share a deep sense of our nation's special responsibilities in the world.

So, once again, thank you for all you have done for me and my campaign. I wanted to make sure you understood my reasons for my endorsement of Senator Obama. I know that you, no matter what your choice, will do so with the best interests of this nation, in your heart.


Bill Richardson

This is positive news.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Clintons Using Wright to Hurt Obama

While nobody should be surprised, just trying to keep folks informed.

Hat tips: poster at JJP and DailyKos

Here are three articles of note:

Yes, Clinton Campaign Is Pushing The Wright Story

Clinton Doesn’t Deny Campaign is Pushing Wright Story to Superdelegates

Clinton Facing Narrower Path to Nomination

I'm only going to point this do I put this.....not that the Clintons care, but the Democratic Party should....Black folk aren't going to take too kindly to using a Minister that is revered against Obama. Silly me....what am I thinking.....they can win those Blue Midwestern and Eastern states without Blue cities, right, and the Black voters that live there? I forgot. Hillary's found a new group of Democrats to vote in those Blue states...

Obama's State Department Records Illegally Accessed in January 2008

Heard this on Countdown.

2 people, so far, have been fired for illegally accessing Barack Obama's State Department Records.A third employee has been disciplined. It happened in January 2008 - Obama only recently found out.

Who knew what?
Why did they access it?
Who did they tell, WITHIN the State Department and OUTSIDE of the State Department?
WHY did it take so long for the State Department to tell the Obama Campaign?

Article I found through a link at DailyKos:

Obama demands probe over passport breach
Posted by Foon Rhee, deputy national political editor
March 20, 2008 08:21 PM

Barack Obama's campaign tonight is demanding a full investigation of reports that his passport files at the State Department were viewed without authorization.

“This is an outrageous breach of security and privacy, even from an Administration that has shown little regard for either over the last eight years. Our government’s duty is to protect the private information of the American people, not use it for political purposes. This is a serious matter that merits a complete investigation, and we demand to know who looked at Senator Obama’s passport file, for what purpose, and why it took so long for them to reveal this security breach,” Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement.

NBC News is reporting that several low-level State Department employees have been fired over the January incident, and the department is conducting an internal investigation.

UPDATE- From DailyKos:

Barack Obama's passport file was breached without his consent, in violation of the Privacy Act, at least three times this year (on Jan. 9, Feb. 21, and Mar. 14). On Thursday night State Department spokesman Sean McCormack blamed the snooping on mere curiosity. Two of the three contract employees of the Bureau of Consular Affairs reportedly involved were fired, and the third disciplined.


On Thursday evening, the Obama campaign emailed to Daily Kos the following statement.

"This is an outrageous breach of security and privacy, even from an 
Administration that has shown little regard for either over the last eight 
years. Our government's duty is to protect the private information of the 
American people, not use it for political purposes. This is a serious 
matter that merits a complete investigation, and we demand to know who
looked at Senator Obama's passport file, for what purpose, and why it took so long for them to reveal this security breach," said Obama campaign
spokesman Bill Burton.

Update: Some interesting questions found at DailyKos (debatablepolitics's diary):

The State Departments explanation is lacking. Here are 5 questions that need to be asked:

1. If these 3 incidents were purely innocent curiousity why no access breach of Clinton, McCain or any other candidate?
2. Who is this contractor employed by the State Department?
3. Who sits on their board? Who is the CEO?
4. Is there any link to other political campaigns to this contractor at any level?
5. Why were these guys fired prior to the proper inspector general investigation?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Obama & Wright: Another Perspective

Sometimes, you see stuff on other blogs that's deep and you want to share.

Hat tip: Prometheus6

I yield the floor to ptcruiser:

A Talking Point For Obama Supporters
Posted March 19th, 2008 by ptcruiser

Many of the alleged pundits and so-called analysts who appeared on television and radio yesterday to offer their interpretation of Obama's speech were quick, in fact, too quick, to decry the analogy that Obama drew between his relationship with his maternal grandmother and his relationship with Rev. Wright. Many of the talking heads and far, far too many of the black males and females who appeared on these programs dismissed this connection because, as they stated, one can easily choose to find another minister as opposed to finding a replacement grandmother.

This line of argument has a certain logical appeal because the church one chooses to join is a matter of choice. That is, one can choose to belong to this church or that church or no church at all. Whereas one has no choice over selecting one's grandmother. People are continually born into a world that is always older than they are and they have no choice as to who is their grandmother. Natality and chance rule over this process.

The problem here is that this way of looking at Obama's decision tree ignores the very specific circumstances of his life and biography. When Obama likens Rev. Wright to an uncle and describes him as being a member of his family he is quite sincere and, more importantly, he is, psychologically speaking, correct. Obama's biological father was entirely absent during his formative years and he was dead by the time Obama became an adult. In addition, Obama had no contact with his father's male siblings and adult male cousins. In other words, he had no older adult black males in his life with whom he could form close and enduring bonds until he met Rev. Wright.

Consequently, when Obama says that Rev. Wright is like an uncle to him and that he could no more disown him than he could disown his maternal grandmother he is expressing a deeply felt and psychological true statement. Rev. Wright may or may not be crazy (I don't believe that he is crazy or intemperate although I disagree with him about the origins of the AIDS epidemic.) but he is someone who Obama has chosen to be his uncle.

What Obama did is no different from what tens of thousands of gays and lesbians have had to do when they were rejected by their families because of their sexual preferences. They went out and over time created their own families. I met a young sister, for example, in graduate school who later came out to me. She and I became very close friends and when she unexpectedly died several years ago I felt as if I had lost one of my own biological sisters. I miss her a great deal. She considered me to be a member of her family because her own family looked askance at her sexual preferences. The human need for familial association and acceptance is an evolutionary fact.

Obama's relationship with Rev. Wright should and must be seen in this context instead of through the superficial and grossly over simplified choice of simply switching ministers. His bond was with Rev. Wright and the community he found at Trinity United Church. Expecting or demanding him to sever those bonds would be tantamount to asking him to exile himself. Cutting off all of his ties to Rev. Wright would be exactly like asking him to kill his maternal grandmother. Blood may be thicker than mud but the ties that are created when you choose to call someone family are no less thick and lasting.

Obama's - 'More Perfect Union' : Some Afterthoughts

I knew that Obama would HAVE to give a speech like this one day. I believe HE knew that he would have to give a speech like this. I believe he thought it would be later on, in response to the REPUBLICANS. I don't think that he thought he'd have to give it in response to race-baiting that began with a fellow DEMOCRAT.

For me, the moment that I began to cry was this:

He (Wright) contains within him the contradictions – the good and the bad – of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community.

To be honest, I realize this was all I wanted from this speech.

In these two sentences Obama stood up for Black Humanity.

What was wrong with the Wright statements weren't that they were made - we have freedom of speech, he could say whatever he wanted. What was wrong with them was that White folk heard them, as Mama told me.

And, a kneejerk reaction, as is wont by those who have never wanted to understand any CONTEXT behind any Black Anger that could be considered justified. Condemn the remarks, wrap yourself in a flag, and of course, use that tried and true accusation of unpatriotic that can get thrown towards a Black person in a nanosecond. Collapsing a 36 year career of preaching into a 5 minute soundbite, AS IF that is the sum total of a man's life's work.

Obama stood up and said no, I won't let you collapse this man into this soundbite.

No, I will not let you dismiss the anger and the background from which is springs forth.

No, I will not let you turn the strength and the best of the Black Christian Tradition into something to be ashamed of, just because YOU don't understand it and have not bothered to try and understand it.

He stood up for Black Humanity - in all of its complexities.

Roland Martin (who did yoeman's work yesterday) kept on making this point: for all the talk about politics and religion, Barack Obama displayed his Christianity full force with that speech. Obama, in the above lines, mined one of the most persistent overarching themes in the Black Christian Church:


Redemption is what makes Mama welcome home Pookie, Ray Ray and Big Boy back into her home after ANOTHER stint in prison. Because Mama is hoping that the prayers of her, Big Mama, and the women in Bible Study have reached his heart, and this time, he will become The Prodigal Son.

Redemption is what makes this community so unwilling to throw away anyone...after all, some of y'all are still holding out hope for Uncle Clarence (STOP, he's lost) and OJ (though I think you've come around on that one).

Redemption is a cornerstone of the Black Christian Tradition.

Barack Obama's candidacy was always, if it lived out its potential, going to be a turning point for America. Going to be that Racial Rorschach Test. Thrown into a crucible and pushing forth. Obama could have gone safe and conventional with his speech. He didn't. He put it out there, and chose the harder road. It was the most Presidential thing I've seen in a candidate in my lifetime. I feel like I've been waiting for it my whole life.

I want to thank Senator Obama.

I thought this image was powerful and wanted to end with it:

Michelle Obama in Philadelphia Yesterday

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Obama's Speech Today

"A More Perfect Union"
Remarks of Senator Barack Obama
Constitution Center
Tuesday, March 18th, 2008
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

As Prepared for Delivery

"We the people, in order to form a more perfect union."

Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America's improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation's original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.

Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution – a Constitution that had at is very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.

And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part – through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk - to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.

This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign – to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America. I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together – unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction – towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren.

This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story.

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton's Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I've gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world's poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners – an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

It's a story that hasn't made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts – that out of many, we are truly one.

Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity. Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans.

This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either "too black" or "not black enough." We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.

And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.

On one end of the spectrum, we've heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it's based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we've heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren't simply controversial. They weren't simply a religious leader's effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

As such, Reverend Wright's comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems – two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way

But the truth is, that isn't all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God's work here on Earth – by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I described the experience of my first service at Trinity:

"People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out, a forceful wind carrying the reverend's voice up into the rafters….And in that single note – hope! – I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion's den, Ezekiel's field of dry bones. Those stories – of survival, and freedom, and hope – became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn't need to feel shame about…memories that all people might study and cherish – and with which we could start to rebuild."

That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety – the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity's services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions – the good and the bad – of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America – to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.

The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we've never really worked through – a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, "The past isn't dead and buried. In fact, it isn't even past." We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.

Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven't fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today's black and white students.

Legalized discrimination - where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments – meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today's urban and rural communities.

A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one's family, contributed to the erosion of black families – a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods – parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement – all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.

This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted. What's remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.

But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn't make it – those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations – those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright's generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician's own failings.

And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright's sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don't feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience – as far as they're concerned, no one's handed them anything, they've built it from scratch. They've worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they're told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren't always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze – a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns – this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.

This is where we are right now. It's a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy – particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

But I have asserted a firm conviction – a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people – that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice is we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances – for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs - to the larger aspirations of all Americans -- the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives – by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.

Ironically, this quintessentially American – and yes, conservative – notion of self-help found frequent expression in Reverend Wright's sermons. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change.

The profound mistake of Reverend Wright's sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It's that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country – a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen – is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope – the audacity to hope – for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past - are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds – by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world's great religions demand – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother's keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister's keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle – as we did in the OJ trial – or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina - or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright's sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she's playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we'll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, "Not this time." This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can't learn; that those kids who don't look like us are somebody else's problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don't have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn't look like you might take your job; it's that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should've been authorized and never should've been waged, and we want to talk about how we'll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

I would not be running for President if I didn't believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation – the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

There is one story in particularly that I'd like to leave you with today – a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King's birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.

There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that's when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.

Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother's problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn't. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice.

Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they're supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who's been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he's there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, "I am here because of Ashley."

"I'm here because of Ashley." By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins.