Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tasers: Not As Simple As Black & White

I'm a little torn on the issue of taser use. I have a clear understanding of use-of-force issues from my experience in the God forsaken private security industry and from my college studies. The Taser was adopted as an alternative to pepper spray and the asp, or as sort of a middle ground between the two, designed to be a more effective means of controlling suspects. On one hand, the taser can be an effective law enforcement tool and has been shown to be safe in some studies. On the other hand, high profile deaths, and misuse by police officers have raised too many questions in the last few years.

Black bloggers have started a campaign of sorts against the use of tasers. They are looking at this problem through the narrow prism of race, as a Black/White issue. I take more of a middle ground. I have been in situations where I have had to fight & wrestle with suspects and I wished I had a taser. My life and well-being aren't worth putting at risk for the job.

I am glad they are raising this issue, although I may not agree with all of their conclusions. I know the problem of Taser abuse and misuse can't be completely separated from the wider problem of police misconduct and Race, but there have been plenty of people from all stripes who have been victims of taser misuse. Recently they have framed several deaths after police/taser encounters as racially motivated incidents where victims were "tasered to death". While I understand their frustration, these depictions may not be accurate. Framing this problem as a race issue doesn't move the discussion forward. Race will always dominate the discussion while issues of public policy, improving procedures, and finding solutions will be overshadowed.

There are three fundamental problems with how the issue of tasering is being viewed by some bloggers, Black bloggers in particular.

1. These cases are clumsily lumped together. But each tasering incident is different....they come with different facts and circumstances and should be looked at individually, free from bias and prejudgment.

2. In most cases, suspects do not die from the actual tasering, but they die from some other circumstance, such as known or unknown medical conditions, drugs, a form of trauma, or from a complication of the taser that is not yet well understood (I will come back to that later). But to say in blanket fashion that people are being "tasered to death" is probably inaccurate. In years past, there have actually been more injuries from asps and batons. In fact, a Canadian study found just that- more injuries from batons than from Tasers. This is a fact that is often missed in the discussion.... many of those who are looking at this issue and who are critical about tasers don't have this important point of reference and therefore many of the discussions lack the proper perspective.

3. Many don't consider the acts of the suspects. What events led to the tasering? In most cases, critics are reading newspaper articles or they are getting information from one side. Video may not be available in all cases. Bloggers may be too quick to take the side of the suspect. Critics are not at every scene where a taser is employed, and video is not always sufficient. They are not at these events, yet they make blanket statements as if they were eye witnesses. And they also bring their bias to each event.... (and I point back to item #1... look at the merits of each individual case.).

Woman tasered multiple times

Austin Officer Thomas O'Connor's Misuse of Taser

With all that being said, I believe that there is a serious problem with tasers. A few years ago, I thought that tasers were a great tool that would end confrontations quickly and more safely. However, it is pretty clear that taser misuse is a growing problem (seems to be growing as more police departments are getting these devices). One of the biggest problems that I see is the problem of stupid police officers. How do you fix that? That seems to be a problem that is systemic and institutional. Add to that a lack of training, and lack of national guidelines on taser use, and you have the mess that we are seeing now. The taser is simply a toy to the police officer who always wanted to shoot his gun on duty, but could not. With a taser, he/she is, in a way, given a green light to play Cowboys and Indians on the job. The lack of common sense seems to be widespread. Now I understand that there are some cases where officers may not know (and cannot possibly know) the complete medical history of a suspect...or know if every female suspect is pregnant, particularly in the first few months of pregnancy. They don't have time to do a pregnancy test when they are attempting to arrest an unruly suspect. Whenever you read the newspaper reports, the headlines usually read, "police taser pregnant woman". All of the other facts surrounding the incident that may provide perspective always seem to be missing. And responsibility never rests with a pregnant suspect who should not be involved in activity that may put herself at risk. I have seen plenty of pregnant women who commit crimes, shopliftings, assaults, and will fight when approached by police or security. Who's fault is that?

But there are other cases where Police have clearly acted in an irrational, unprofessional manner, often violating their own policy on taser use. One case that is a perfect example of improper taser use, is the case of Phillip McDuffy, who was tased on an overpass in Columbia Missouri, while clearly at risk of falling. The McDuffy case showed a complete lack of common sense on the part of police. The second shot from the taser (as well as McDuffy walking out onto the edge of the overpass) led him to fall more than 15 feet, causing serious injury. Or the case like the one above where the male officer tases a female suspect repeatedly, despite the fact that she is putting up minimal resistance, and he probably outweighs her by close to 200 pounds. One other thing I noticed from that particular video is they way that he is telling her to put her hands behind her she is being electrocuted. Barney clearly did not understand that she did not have control over her motor skills at that point and could not possibly comply. It was his job to place her in handcuffs after the first or second shot from the taser. Then there is Eugene Snelling and his encounter with Austin Police Officer Thomas O'Conner on Thanksgiving Day 2006. Even O'Conner's fellow police officers agreed that the use of the taser was inappropriate. O'Conner received a suspension and reprimand for the incident.

Possible Solutions

1. There is a need for more robust and more frequent medical studies on the consequences of taser use on the body. How does it affect the heart, the Central Nervous System, breathing, etc.... Can it knock the heart out of rhythm?

2. There needs to be clear national guidelines on taser use. Currently, there are different policies from State to State, County to County, and from police department to police department. One blogger, The Villager, was nice enough to post the Use-o-Force Continuum...a Universal guide for Use of Force in the United States. But even this seems inadequate. There have been too many cases where the Use of Force standards have been ignored. The problem seems to run deeper than Use of Force guidelines and the lack of adherence to them. There must be specific rules and laws for the use of tasers. The Use-of-Force Continuum is simply a framework for how officers can control a situation. Officers are given a long leash regarding how they want to use that framework. That's why most departments who use the taser had to create additional policies, specifically for taser use.

But there needs to be a national standard. Once a clear national standard is in place, it will be easier for victims of taser misuse to hold officers and departments legally liable. This alone will have a certain deterrent effect against officers who may want to misuse the taser.

3. Limit the number of police officers who can carry a taser. Only senior officers and Supervisors who have the proper training & good judgment should carry these devices.

4. Increase police officer training. It is clear that officers know how to use this device, but many don't seem to understand when & under what circumstances they should use it.

5. Only Police Departments that have reached a certain standard (as a department) should be allowed to have tasers. Why? If you allow any Mayberry Police Department to have tasers and they don't have adequate hiring standards and training standards... they should be nowhere near a taser. Even if they can train their officers on how to use it, the hiring standards may be so bad that the weapon will be placed in the hands of someone who does not have the proper judgment to have possession of it in the first place.

6. Taser use by police should be given nearly the same oversight as gun use. The use of the Taser should be subject to some of the same review procedures as a police shooting, and conversely, the administrative (and sometimes legal) penalties for improper use should be just as serious. The officer should not be in an environment where he/she is second guessed every minute, but they must be able to justify the use of this device, each and every time.

7. A ban on the use of these devices on women should be considered. Officers often have no way of knowing whether a female suspect is pregnant or not, especially if she is in the first trimester. More medical studies are needed regarding the impact of tasers on pregnant women.

The issue of taser use is not as simple as Black & White, both in terms of its complexity as an issue, and in terms of the racial perspective. Each case has to be looked at individually, and the proper perspective must be given. I can recall all of the problems surrounding the use of Pepper Spray. People died from that too...or they died as an indirect result of being sprayed, especially suspects who had heart conditions, Asthma or other respiratory problems. And the asp and nightstick sometimes left broken bones.

I believe the taser issue has become a particularly big issue because of the "I-Report", "Caught on Camera" culture that we live in today. There are cameras everywhere... they have pretty much become standard on cellphones now. This was not the case 20, 15 or even 10 years ago. The same goes with the cameras in police vehicles. We are in a Big Brother culture now. But it also may be creating a situation of distorted perspectives. Cameras have highlighted the few bad cases of taser use, the few that are shaping public opinion, while the majority of cases, which have been safe and justified are ignored.

On the other hand, there are clearly problems with the way these devices are used. And these problems go beyond just tasers.... they have to do with hiring standards, training, legal and administrative oversight, common sense, and judgment, as well as a lack of a national standard for taser use.


Problems with Wake Forest Study?
(which is why more research is needed)

Another Post on Tasering, including several incidents of misuse

From Purple Zoe

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ted Stevens And The Bridge To Federal Prison?

Ted Stevens, the longest serving Republican Senator in history, has been indicted on Federal corruption charges (7 felony counts). Stevens was caught taking gifts from an Alaskan oil services company and then lying to authorities in an effort to cover it up. (It's probably no coincidence that the Republicans have been so adamant about drilling for oil in Alaska). This could not have come at a worse time for Republicans. It will surely remind voters of "The Republican Swamp" of corruption that helped fuel the mid-term election rebuke from American voters back in 2006.

What was once a safe Republican Senate seat in Alaska will now be up for grabs in November, with Democrat and Mayor of Anchorage Mark Begich looking to unseat Stevens. The Democrats will need all of the Senate seats that they can get this November to get over the Liar-berman obstructionist problem, and to gain the 60 votes they need. I don't think they will quite get to 60, but the closer the better. There are a handful of Moderate Republican Senators who may be willing to join Democrats and a Democratic President in order to get things done.

The fact that Stevens is the longest serving Republican Senator carries a certain level of symbolism...the kind of symbolism that Republicans probably don't want.

Hopefully this will cause the media to finally take a look at other Republican members of Congress and to take another look at John McCain in particular to examine his relationship with lobbyists, especially those who have been connected with his campaign.

I am hoping that the Stevens case drags on well into 2009, after Bush leaves office. That way, Bush won't be able to set his buddy free. Hopefully, if Obama can win in November by some strange miracle, Stevens will actually have to face punishment. Unless Obama sets him free. Hopefully Obama is not going to bring that kind of "Change" to the White House. Of course Stevens's lawyers will site his age as a reason to keep him out of prison (which would be club Fed anyway).

Read the Indictment (pdf)

More from NPR

Obama and the New Yorker Revisited

Hear an interview with Richard Prince of the Maynard Institute & The National Conference of Editorial Writers, courtesy of KDHX radio in St. Louis- from the program "Reality Now". Prince talks about why the New Yorker's "satire" didn't work.

Some of my thoughts:

I understand the "satire" angle. I immediately "got it". However, in this case, the satire was misused and misplaced. The use of the image was irresponsible, and it should not have been done in the current political climate.

If someones baby died during delivery, I wouldn't send them a greeting card saying "congratulations on the new baby". Even though there is nothing wrong at all with the card itself, if viewed in a vacuum...just on its own. The card may be a wonderful gift. But when placed in the wrong environment, in the wrong context...when given at the wrong time, it can be a negative.

So what political environment am I referring to that is so bad.... that constitutes wrong timing? Well, we are in a Country where tens of thousands of potential voters still believe that Obama is a Muslim and terrorist sympathizer. NPR did a segment a few weeks ago that featured a Moderate Latina Political group that was going around spreading misinformation about Obama's religion...and this was a so-called informed political group. There are many within the general public who are just as poorly informed.

Obama is in a situation where he has a chance to make headway among moderates, independents, and White Southern voters in certain States. Included in these populations are folks who have been sitting on the fence regarding who they will vote for in November, and they may not be all that informed about Obama. Many voters have been introduced to Obama for the first time over the last 5 or 6 weeks. They may not know the backstory about the whisper campaigns, the misinformation campaigns, etc. Obama can do without anything that might blow his chances with these voters.

The New Yorker Magazine cover, while it might be satire, and "we" may understand it, might not send the same message to others. Others may not "get it". There are a lot of folks out there who are just plain dense and out of the loop on this stuff, especially in parts of the Country where Obama has a chance to flip States and districts from Red to Blue. Some may see the cover and not read the story inside that explains everything. Remember, Americans by in large have been turned into zombies by this soundbite culture. If folks don't get enough information from the cover (such as an explanation of what they are seeing) then they will walk away with the image and little more. An image that will play into fears that they already have from the previous rumors. This cover feeds right into the misinformation efforts that racist neo-Conservatives have put into the mainstream.

Did you read the Washington Post report about the experiences of Obama staffers in West Virginia, and other parts of the South and Midwest? The sentiments are real. The damage from the misinformation campaign is very clear. There is no excuse for anything that plays into that fear, satire or not, especially from a so-called friendly progressive magazine.

The New Yorker should have known that such an image could be misinterpreted and that this was not the right climate to publish it. But they chose to do so anyway, to create controversy and to sell more magazines, at Obama's expense. Print media has been suffering of late, due to the increase in the number of Americans who choose to get their information from other platforms. So they have a motive for engaging in this kind of behavior.

Yes, I know what the satire is. You know what the satire is. Many progressives know what the satire is...and they may even read the article. But there is a large segment of the American populace that won't get it, and won't bother to read the article. The use of the image was irresponsible and a little racists at best. Yes, there are Americans who just won't get it... remember, many of these people are the same folks who voted for Bush twice....or voted for Nader in 2000 and swung the, they insured the (s)election. These are the same people who saw the Twin Towers burning on 9/11 and wondered why anyone would want to harm America...and believed that the terrorists attacked us because they had a vendetta against "our American Freedom", and that they hated our domestic political system (complete nonsense...but they bought it hook, line, and sinker...and now the U.S. is in a war that it will be stuck in for at least another decade). So yes, there are tons of Americans who are just plain stupid...and they are armed with voter registration cards (deadlier weapons in the hands of stupid people, than any handgun in the possession of a responsible citizen).

Would the New Yorker have dared to do this for any other progressive candidate? Would they have engaged in this kind of a stunt for a white Democrat? Would they have painted any other progressive candidates patriotism, religion, allegiance, race, or character in this same way, satire on not? I don't think so. For some reason, Whites (many, but not all) of various backgrounds- progressive, Moderate and Conservative- feel comfortable & safe doing this to Blacks. Even against the best and the brightest who don't deserve anything close to this kind of treatment. Why the feeling of safety and comfort?

The New Yorker had to know that this was not a good idea.... that it was misplaced and just plain irresponsible under the circumstances.

Related Posts

The Field Negro talks about why a spoof (Satire) of the McCain's doesn't work because the imagery is actually true.


In a somewhat related note.... am I the only one who noticed a negative media slant regarding Barack Obama's foreign trip? There seemed to be a double standard regarding how the pundits viewed Obama as compared to other politicians and Presidential candidates.

Media, Politics, and Sun Myung Moon

Washington Times Editor John Solomon discusses the future of the newspaper and its interesting Conservative religious origins in the Unification Church. John Gorenfeld, author of "Bad Moon Rising", is also on the program. This segment highlights the importance of keeping religion out of politics.

Transcript from NPR's "On The Media" program

Is Great Britains Gun Ban Making Country Safer?

Not necessarily, according to recent reports showing that violent crime is still a big problem in the UK. Criminals are simply finding other ways to create bloodshed and terrorize the citizenry- knives. This is a perfect example of why gun bans don't work.

The UK is often used by the anti-gun crowd as an example of a modern, peaceful, safe utopia because of its very strict gun laws. The British Bobbies (police) aren't even allowed to carry firearms, although some special units are allowed to have them, and they are carried in some of the police vehicles, accessible only in emergencies and with a supervisors permission (as if that's going to help an unarmed officer who is about to be shot by a suspect- "excuse me Mr. Gunmen, could you please hold that position while I check with my Supervisor to get permission to obtain a gun, so that I can kill you"?). But the revelation about knife attacks shows that the UK is nowhere near the utopia that the anti-gun folks would have you believe.

What the reports show is that the gun laws in the UK have only created a nation full of sitting ducks, vulnerable to violent thugs (the same environment that thug sympathizers and anti-gun advocates want to create here in the U.S.). The laws have done little to prevent violent crime. People can't even feel safe in their own homes.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Obama's Trip To Berlin From the German View

Interesting Article: Obama In Europe- Continuity We Can Believe In

Giuliani Lies About Obama's Foreign Experience

And The Mainstream Media Lets Him Get Away With It

Rudy Giuliani claimed (while at a Yankees game a week ago with McBush) that Obama was making his "first" World trip. I saw the report from ABC late news....and my jaw hit the floor.... No challenge or correction from the MSM whatsoever. He was allowed to get away clean with that bold-faced lie. See quote.

Of course Rudy was lying his *** off. This ignores Obama's work (and travels) as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senate Homeland Security Committee, as a co-sponsor of the WMD Proliferation and Threat Reduction Initiative which took him to Russia and to the Former Soviet Republics (see the Lugar-Obama Act), his trips to Kenya (both as a private citizen and as a Senator), and not to mention his time growing up overseas- in Indonesia... the Worlds largest Muslim nation by population. Obama also studied international politics in College.

The implication from 9/11 hero imposter Giuliani was that since Obama was not a prisoner of war like McCain, he is clueless about the World. But the fact is, Obama has a better understanding of the World than most American politicians.... something that he does not get enough credit for. This may be because such experience is not appreciated amongst most of the American electorate, who tend to have a more nationalist bent.

As a young man who spent several years growing up overseas, I can tell you that it gives you a different perspective on the World and makes you more aware of what is going on and more attentive to changing events.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sorry Senator Obama, Even Your Prayers Are 'Public Domain'


Nothing is private anymore.

Not even a prayer at a place as sacred as the Western Wall.

Someone dug out Senator Obama's prayer at the Western Wall.

Here it is:


Protect my family and me. Forgive me my sins and help me guard against pride and despair.

Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just.

And make me an instrument of your will.

There's something very bad about our society, the world's society, that a man's prayer can't be kept private between him and his God.

No, it wasn't our ' right' to know. This was none of our business.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

CNN's ' Black In America', Day One - Open Thread

I know that Mirror On America readers are going to have a lot to say about this series.

So, debate, discuss....tell us what you think of it.

Is this YOUR Black Family?

Time to Expand the 'Family'

Sometimes you see things on other blogs, and they inspire you.

This idea is straight from Ta-Nehisi Coates and The Black Snob:

I was a little hesitant to go against Negro Code.

We all know Negro Code, passed from generation to generation. A basic Black Folk 'Do's and Don'ts'.

Well, this little part of Negro Code is:

Thou Shalt Not Out Passing Negroes.

For most of us who didn't have family that was 'passing', we got our introduction to the topic when Mama would let you stay up past your bedtime to watch, on 'Latenight Feature' ..

Imitation of Life (either version, but I like the Lana Turner one better).

You sit there, watching it with Mama, and when Annie plays along that she's Sarah Jane's servant, you naively turn to Mama and ask, ' Why did she go along with her, Mama? Why did she lie like that?'

Mama, in her sage voice would reply, ' Because Annie knows just how much pain Sarah Jane is in.'

Child: 'Pain? Mama, she didn't look hurt.'

Mama: ' She's hurt in the soul, Child. To the bottom of her soul.'

Thus the lessons learned about 'Passing'. And while most Black folk will study ' SUSPECT' folks, for the most part, we follow Negro Code.

But, you know, we're now celebrating ' Post-Racial' and ' Race Transcendant' America, so I guess all those Negro Codes should be thrown out the window. And CNN is celebrating being ' Black in America', and tonight is about ' The Black Family'

So, let's give a shoutout to ' Family' that might be hesitant as to whether they'll be allowed to pick up their ' Black Card'.


Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Former Congressman Bob Barr

Now, this reminds me of that Whitney Houston joke:
I'm not saying that she's a crackHEAD...I'm just saying, she's crackISH.


I'm not saying that Bob Barr is Negroid....but, he does seem to be NegroidISH.

Guess Who's Back? - Tavis Smiley

Guess who's back?

Yes, Tavis is back.


Tavis Smiley Tackles Obama And Race
KINNEY LITTLEFIELD | July 21, 2008 04:14 PM EST

LOS ANGELES — Tavis Smiley is all wound up. His voice is rough from too much vocalizing, but the host of public television's "Tavis Smiley" talk show and public radio's "The Tavis Smiley Show" is on an oratorical roll about race, politics, and his fellow African-American, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.

"There is no such thing in America as race transcendence, and Obama's going to find that out real soon," says Smiley, leaning into his words. As he sermonizes, he sheds suit jacket, tie and belt in succession, getting comfy in his spacious suite at KCET in Los Angeles after taping two installments of "Tavis Smiley" (Monday-Friday in various time-slots on PBS stations).

Despite the peaceful vibe inside his sanctuary, with its African masks and scented candle, Smiley frowns. "There's no such thing as 'post-racial' in America, because if you push the envelope too far, you're going to hear about it."

Smiley should know. For months he has been the object of an Internet firestorm for his perceived negative comments about Obama on commercial radio's syndicated "The Tom Joyner Morning Show."

Smiley found himself between race and a hard place when he criticized Obama on-air for choosing not to appear on Smiley's annual State of the Black Union cablecast on C-SPAN in February. Smiley's remarks sparked a blaze of invective by African-American bloggers, who questioned Smiley's loyalty, motives and ego.

Rest of article at link above.

We're going to take it point by point.

"There is no such thing in America as race transcendence, and Obama's going to find that out real soon,"

Uh huh.

I didn't know precisely why this bothered me until taritac wrote this:
Tavis sounds like a broken record. What in the hell does he mean about Obama finding out about "race transcendence?" Obama is no fool. I am sure he recognizes the racism that has come his way during this campaign, but he sure as hell understands that crying "racism," even when it's true, only shuts white people's ears off.

Tavis is uttering his same nonsense. Obama will find out that there's no ' race transcendence'.


Color me clueless, but I would have already bet that Barack Obama already KNOWS about that.

And, he didn't find out through anything that the GOP has done.

No, we stopped the race transcendance train due to the Dogwhistle Racial PoliTRICKS of Camp Clinton.

Tavis is trying to perpetrate, everyone.

He's trying to perpetrate that the Dogwhistle Racial PoliTRICKS of Camp Clinton didn't happen.

That the incidents at the ClintonAttacksObama Wiki Page, were all our 'imagination'.

Because, if they DID happen, and he was a MUTE during this time, then what does that say about his ' Race Man' credentials?

Ah yes....

Uh huh.

GOTCHA, Tavis.

And, you have to love folks trying to do the shorthand version of what happened between Tavis and the TJMS audience.

Black folk have never had a problem with 'constructive criticism' of Obama.

But, Tavis ran into the following:
1. It began to be perceived that it went PERSONAL for him and Obama.
2. Then, it began to be perceived that it wasn't even personal for TAVIS, but that he was doing it for Camp Clinton.
3. Then, he disrespected the offer to send Michelle Obama to the SOTBU, and LIED about it. And no one remotely believes that if it had been reversed - if BILL Clinton had been offered, HE would have been turned down.
4. When Hillpatine gets to the SOTBU, he was MUTE and didn't 'challenge' her on #($*. Nada.
5. You wanna talk about someone who was talking down to Black folks...rerun those TJMS commentaries for the last 6 months. He acted like Black folks had no sense.

THAT is why the TJMS audience told Tavis to go somewhere and sit down and take a chill pill.

NOT for simple-simon ' Obama didn't go to the SOTBU' nonsense.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Today show: McCain states that Obama doesn't understand Iraq

I do not need to go to Iraq to understand that Kurds, Sunnis and Shia don't like sharing the region. Just as you don't have to go to Watts (Los Angeles) to know that it is an extremely dangerous neighborhood. I also don't need to go to Iraq to understand that it was a mistake to invade that country in the first place. So, I really don't follow John McCain's reasoning. He has been arguing for months that Obama has to go to Iraq to understand the situation. Briefings and newspaper reports are worthless in John McCain's world.

So, Barack Obama goes to Iraq and Afghanistan. It appears that Senator Obama does know what he is talking about after all. Maliki has clearly stated that the position of the Iraqi government is to have US troops out of their country by 2010. Wow. 2010. That sounds a lot like what Barack Obama has said. John McCain is now stuck. He has taken Bush's position which never made any sense to anyone who wasn't an insecure neocon.

From HuffPost: "Prime Minister Maliki is the leader of a country and I'm confident he will act as the President and the Foreign Minister both told me in the last several days," said the presumptive Republican nominee. "It will be directly related to the situation on the ground -- just as they have always said. And since we are succeeding, I am convinced, as I have said before, we will withdraw with honor, not according to a set timetable."

McCain has only a couple of positions as I see it -
1) He can state that the Iraqis really don't know what's going on. The US, like a protective mother, knows best. I just don't see this going over with anybody.
2) McCain can try and play this with a little body-English and say that the US wants to withdraw as soon as possible. We agree that the end of 2010 is a goal if conditions on the ground support that goal. This is somewhat transparent but it may be the best option that McCain has.
3) Senator McCain can pressure Admiral Mullen and General David Petraeus to say that conditions on the ground have improved enough to push a complete and total withdraw by the end of 2010. This is almost laughable since Petraeus hasn't come close to saying anything like this but it may have merit since McCain and Bush have held up Petraeus as all knowledgeable.

Actually, all 3 of those positions are very lame but that is the best that John McCain can do. He has painted himself into this corner. It is hard to see any easy way out.

Watch John McCain struggle through this interview on Iraq policy on the Today Show.

Attack injures 5 near Obama's Jerusalem hotel

From Senator Straight Talk ' accidentally' leaking Obama's travel plans, this trip always had security concerns.


Attack injures 5 near Obama's Jerusalem hotel

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- The driver of a backhoe was shot and killed after driving the construction machine over a number of vehicles near the Jerusalem hotel where Sen. Barack Obama is scheduled to stay Tuesday night, according to police.

Israeli police identified the driver as a Palestinian from East Jerusalem.

The construction vehicle struck several other vehicles, including a No. 13 city bus, before an Israeli border policeman and a civilian shot and killed the driver, an Israeli government statement said.

One person was "moderately to seriously wounded," and four others sustained minor injuries in Tuesday's attack, the statement said, citing Jerusalem's police chief.

Senator Obama should remain in our prayers.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Michelle Obama's Being Defended - One Article at a time

Hat tip to Michelle Obama Watch for pointing out these four interesting articles on Michelle Obama.

In Black.Female.Accomplished.Attacked

Sophia Nelson writes a good article on how many Black Professional Women see themselves in Michelle Obama and the attacks that have been placed at her feet.

There she is -- no, not Miss America, but the Angela-Davis-Afro-wearing, machine-gun-toting, angry, unpatriotic Michelle Obama, greeting her husband with a fist bump instead of a kiss on the cheek.

It was supposed to be satire, but the caricature of Barack Obama and his wife that appeared on the cover of the New Yorker last week rightly caused a major flap. And among black professional women like me and many of my sisters in the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, who happened to be gathered last week in Washington for our 100th anniversary celebration, the mischaracterization of Michelle hit the rawest of nerves.

Welcome to our world.

We've watched with a mixture of pride and trepidation as the wife of the first serious African American presidential contender has weathered recent campaign travails -- being called unpatriotic for a single offhand remark, dubbed a black radical because of something she wrote more than 20 years ago and plastered with the crowning stereotype: "angry black woman." And then being forced to undergo a politically mandated "makeover" to soften her image and make her more palatable to mainstream America.

Sad to say, but what Obama has undergone, though it's on a national stage and on a much more prominent scale, is nothing new to professional African American women. We endure this type of labeling all the time. We're endlessly familiar with the problem Michelle Obama is confronting -- being looked at, as black women, through a different lens from our white counterparts, who are portrayed as kinder, gentler souls who somehow deserve to be loved and valued more than we do. So many of us are hoping that Michelle -- as an elegant and elusive combination of successful career woman, supportive wife and loving mother -- can change that.

This article dovetails and is reinforced by one at the Detroit Free Press:

Michelle Obama credited with helping recast image of U.S. black women

There's a new joy and excitement among many of the patrons of the Spiral Collective, a collection of businesses owned by black women in Detroit.

Their happiness centers on Michelle Obama, a woman they say puts a refreshing face on America's image of African-American women.

"People who come in here are absolutely in love with Michelle Obama," says Janet Webster Jones, who owns the Source Booksellers, one of the four businesses in one building at the corner of Cass and Willis in Midtown. The others are an art gallery, a natural hair care salon and an eclectic boutique.

Jones and others say that Michelle Obama knocks down old stereotypes of black women: Sapphire, the angry black woman; Mammy, the caretaker and nurturer of her own children and everybody else's, and Jezebel, the loose woman.

Jones' daughter, Alyson Jones, 34, says the modern-day jezebels are booty-shaking hoochie mamas popularized in hip-hop videos.

"So Michelle comes along and she completely dispels all that," Janet Jones says. "She represents someone who came from humble beginnings to achieve a high level of education. She has a strong self-identity as a female.

"You know she likes to wear dresses and high heels and she's almost 6 feet tall. And she's a loving wife and a great mother."

"She normalizes black women," says Alyson Jones, an elementary teacher at Nataki Talibah Schoolhouse, a charter school in Detroit. "She's not the bitter black woman pundits have tried to make her out be."

I wrote awhile ago about my belief that part of the burden that Michelle has on her shoulders is :
1. recasting the narrative of the Black Family
2. beating back the stereotypes of the Black Woman

The Black Family - her own story, which flies in the face of all the stereotypes and pathologies that are shoved by the MSM. And, then, the family that she has created with Barack.

Tavis Smiley had Frank Rich on a few months after Obama announced. He asked Rich if America was ready for a FIRST FAMILY- were they ready for a Black First Lady and 2 little Black kids running around the White House. Rich obviously hadn’t thought of it, and naively said, he didn’t think it mattered. I believe it does, but I think the Access Hollywood interview was very good in order to present another image of the Black FAMILY.

I agree with the Free Press story.

No, it’s not fair to place that burden upon Michelle Obama, but nobody said life was fair, and this is the price she has to pay in order to help her husband become President.

The final two stories are

Michelle, Meritocracy and Me
By Theola Labbé-DeBose

In it, Ms. Labbé-DeBose discusses how her belief in the so-called meritocracy that is supposed to be America, slaps up against the reality of being Black in America, no matter how talented said Black person is.

Princeton, for those who don't know, was the LAST of the Ivies to integrate. So while Harvard, Yale, etc., didn't have 'Colored Folk' running around in massive numbers, they DID actually have Black folk at their schools. Princeton lagged behind them by nearly a century. Black folk were only admitted into Princeton mid-20th century.(First Black Graduate -1947) When Michelle Obama was on that campus, they had barely completed a generation of integration. I didn't blame Michelle Obama one iota for what she wrote in her Senior Thesis. Made perfect sense to me, if you were a thinking Black person with some semblance of Black consciousness. I'm Black Ivy too, though I see Michelle Obama and her contemporaries at the other Ivy League Schools as part of the group that paved the way for later students like myself.

The final article is from a German Publication:
Michelle Obama: A 'Revolutionary' That'll Be Good for America

I don't agree with everything in the article, and find parts of it awkward, but I do give them credit for at least putting it out there that Michelle as First Lady truly will be 'revolutionary' for this country. So many folks attacking Michelle Obama won't even admit to that point, so in that respect, it's a positive.

I was so excited to see two articles written by Black women defending Michelle Obama.( I do not know the race of the Free Press reporter). Written by Black women who understand Michelle Obama's story, and know it to be valid. I hope, as time goes on, we see more of these. More of the Invisible Black America as it emerges from the shadows.

Update: I have been informed that Cassandra Spratling is Black. So, we had three of the selected articles about Michelle Obama written by Black women.

Obama's Updated Financial Numbers -Return of 'Watch Out For the Snakes'

Senator Barack Obama raised 54 million dollars in June, just shy of his record. Before you feel good about that, you always have to see the forest for the trees. Some of you out there see the forest, and bring up things from time to time. Keep your eyes on the ball and remember what our pal Craig Hickman says:

Barack is STILL running for the nomination.

Craig might wear the tinfoil hat, he might not, but he's not lyin' on this one.

Brian Francis over at, has strung together the forest pretty well:

$52 Million in June WITHOUT Hillary's help....

Obama raised $52 Million in June without the help of Hillary's top fundraisers who gave him only $20k.

That is astonishing, but raises some very very major red flags with me.

1. This proves the Obama campaign doesn't need these people.....and when you don't need someone they either suck up to you or they find a way to undermine you

2. These are POWERFUL people who have just had their last 20 years of ascendency taken from them...literally having all the relationship building and image building and money donated for one singular purpose swept out from under them. Everything they worked for now means nothing. They will not go quietly into the night.

3. Hillary hasn't released her delegates

4. Some of Hillary's superdelegates are trying to band together to nominate her for the VP at the convention, with a more radical group trying to nominate her for President

5. The fit is going to hit the shan when Obama names his VP next week and it isn't her

Yes, the next few weeks will be very interesting to watch indeed. Snakes abound, ladies and gentlemen. Trust your instincts while watching. You're not being paranoid, IMO.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Do You Doubt MSM Bias? This Maliki Statement Should Settle That

Just in case you didn't know, the Iraqi PRIME MINISTER - Nouri al-Maliki - has, in essence, given his stamp of approval to Senator Barack Obama's Iraqi Withdrawal Timetable.

I will repeat, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of Iraq, has stated, by name, his support of Senator Barack Obama's Iraq Withdrawal Timetable.

From Daily Dish:

What Maliki Said
20 Jul 2008 10:34 pm

By Patrick Appel
The NYT gets ahold of the audio:

The following is a direct translation from the Arabic of Mr. Maliki’s comments by The Times: “Obama’s remarks that — if he takes office — in 16 months he would withdraw the forces, we think that this period could increase or decrease a little, but that it could be suitable to end the presence of the forces in Iraq.”

He continued: “Who wants to exit in a quicker way has a better assessment of the situation in Iraq.”

Does it get more clear than that?

Now, riddle me this, Ladies and Gentlemen, considering that this war has cost the USA:
1. Nearly 1 TRILLION dollars
2. Over 4,000 lives
3. Tens of thousands permanently maimed
4. Our status in the world community
5. ANY leg to stand on in the Arab World

Wouldn't the statement of the head of the government of Iraq supporting, CLEARLY, the plan of ONE of the U.S. Presidential Candidates...


Or, is it just me?

There are those who say that the tinfoil hat wearers just are 'too sensitive'.....

But, is this news, or is it my imagination that this is MAJOR news?

Oh rikyrah, you mean like,
a) John McCain flip flopping on his stance in Afghanistan and basically agreeing to Barack Obama's position
b) After being mocked and ridiculed for being 'naive' and ' dangerous', the United States taking up BARACK OBAMA'S POSITION and entering into meetings with IRAN?
c) That, for the first time, after it was labeled ' cut and run', and ' losing the war', the Bush Administration has agreed to a timeframe for withdrawal..

Silly me...I thought these were HUGE stories, seeing as it's a sea change for the GOP, and, what, oh yes, basically validates everything Senator Barack Obama has been saying in the foreign policy realm for YEARS.

But, I thought Obama was the 'gamble' when it comes to foreign policy, yet, everyone seems to be coming around to HIS positions? What does that say?

And, why isn't this getting the play in the media that it should?

I dunno readers, could it be that the ONLY area in which John McCain has a discernable edge over Obama is the ' foreign policy', ' Commander-In-Chief' Threshhold...and, if these stories were reported in say, the way that BITTERGATE, REV. WRIGHT, were reported, then the last hope for John McCain would go by the wayside?

What, rikyrah, are you saying that the MSM is being complicit in UNDER/NOT reporting these major stories because they would benefit Senator Obama?

My answer to that would be - the Democratic Party Pledged Delegate race was OVER the night of the WISCONSIN PRIMARY - yet, was it my imagination, or were they complicit in the smoke and mirrors of Camp Hillpatine until MAY?

I'm not alone in this tinfoil hat observation. From

Media Withholding Favorable Obama Polls:

ABC withheld information favorable to Barack Obama last week when it released its latest poll. They withheld the actual results of the poll which had Obama winning 50-42 over McCain if the election was held tomorrow. The did however release the number we have been hearing about for a week....that 70% of people see McCain as commander and chief like while only 50% see Obama that way.

The Commander and Chief Test....ABC Cheated

Remember, all the moronic finance teams that budgeted for 2008, and predicted Clinton-McCain or Guiliani battle, expected HUGE fall revenues from advertisements from the intense political interest. They expected a bloodbath which would in turn mean higher revenues. If it is a blowout, they don't get paid and their companies lose a lot of money. THEY CAN'T, FINANCIALLY, LET OBAMA WIN THIS IN A WALK, and they will do everything they can to prevent it.

And, if you want analysis of what the Maliki statement means for McCain, they explain it well over at Daily Dish...

Here's further explanation from Chuck Todd on Meet The Press (notice how useless shill David Gregory tries to parrot GOP talking points).

Though my favorite reaction is from a GOP strategist:

We're fucked.

Obama Unveils New Campaign Plane


Barack Obama Unveils New Campaign Plane As World Tour Kicks Off
Chicago Sun-Times Lynn Sweet July 20, 2008 09:35 PM

In a newly painted 757--with the Obama sunrise logo on the tail and "Change we can believe in" painted on the sides--the Middle East and Europe bound Obama campaign press plane was poised to lift off Sunday evening from Midway Airport to meet up with presumptive presidential Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) after he finishes visits to Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq.

Obama's newly reconfigured plane is divided into first class for the candidate and his closest advisors--such as strategist David Axelrod, who is on the flight; business class seats, occupied Sunday by foreign affairs advisors such as Denis McDonough and coach, where 41 journalists who are part of the traveling Obama press corps are seated.

I like this better than the seal.

DNC Tells Hillary Holdouts - ' Time to Get Real'

From TPM Election Central:

Seems as if the DNC is finally tired of the ridiculousness from some Hillary supporters. Tired of the threats, pouts, and whining. Tired of the meetings with McCain fundraisers. Tired of leaks to the media about what gymnastics Obama is supposed to do to get their support.

So, they've sent a letter to some holdouts:

Dear Democratic Friends:

2008 is a Democratic year-at all levels in all the states. The opportunity is ours. We just have to seize it.

We experienced an exciting, intense, sometimes difficult, campaign to nominate our presidential candidate. Now it's over. Barack Obama won.

I supported Hillary Clinton and am proud and pleased that I did. But she lost. Barack Obama won. It's over.

It is time for all Democrats, supporters of Senator Clinton and all other contenders for the nomination, to stand with him to secure his election and the election of Democrats at all levels of competition.

I must confess a bit of fatigue and irritation with people who continue to carp, complain, and criticize the results of the primary and lay down conditions for their support. The Los Angeles Lakers didn't establish conditions to recognize the Boston Celtics as NBA Champions; Roger Federer did not demand concessions before recognizing that Rafael Nadal defeated him at Wimbledon.

It is time to act in a mature and resourceful fashion. It's time to put the primaries behind us. It's time to support Barack Obama without conditions or demands.

It's time to WIN for Barack Obama, the Democratic Party, America, and our future. We have an unparalleled opportunity. I hope we will all do everything we can to seize the moment.

See you at the Inauguration.


Don Fowler
DNC Member At-Large, South Carolina
Former Chair of the Democratic National Committee

Alice Germond
Secretary, Democratic National Committee


Don't care what they do, but this needed to be said. Stop coddling them. Either they'll support Obama or they won't. But, not one more nanosecond of pretense that folks should even give a rat's ass about them.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Memo to Press: Barack Obama is NOT running for Entertainer-In-Chief

Sometimes, you see these ' Memes' developing within the MSM, and you gotta say,

The latest?

When is Barack Obama gonna turn into Bill ' Bojangles' Robinson and entertain us?

Think I'm kidding?

From Jack Cafferty:

FROM CNN’s Jack Cafferty:

Obama in danger of taking himself too seriously?
Posted: 01:24 PM ET

One of the jobs of American presidents, whether they realize it or not, is to make us laugh........

But what about Barack Obama? The writers for the late night television shows admit they’re having a tough time coming up with jokes about the presidential front-runner. Letterman and Leno lampoon John McCain on a regular basis, but not Barack.........

Maureen Dowd:

At first blush, it would seem to be a positive for Obama that he is hard to mock. But on second thought, is it another sign that he’s trying so hard to be perfect that it’s stultifying? Or that eight years of W. and Cheney have robbed Democratic voters of their sense of humor?

Certainly, as the potential first black president, and as a contender with tender experience, Obama must feel under strain to be serious.

But he does not want the “take” on him to become that he’s so tightly wrapped, overcalculated and circumspect that he can’t even allow anyone to make jokes about him, and that his supporters are so evangelical and eager for a champion to rescue America that their response to any razzing is a sanctimonious: Don’t mess with our messiah!

If Obama keeps being stingy with his quips and smiles, and if the dominant perception of him is that you can’t make jokes about him, it might infect his campaign with an airless quality. His humorlessness could spark humor.........

I'm watching MSNBC, and you have Tweety asking if Obama were an elitist because you can't joke about him.

Then I have to suffer through David Gregory actually having as a discussion point: Should Obama tell more jokes.

I get the Memo. You believe Barack Obama needs to 'entertain' you.

If you need Black folk to ' entertain' you, call up Flavor Flav, Eddie Griffin, Mo'Nique and any rapper you want.

SENATOR Barack Obama is NOT here to 'entertain' you.

He's NOT trying out to be the next host on Showtime at the Apollo.

But, what's REALLY the problem here?

The Raving Black Lunatic took this subject on, quite well:

Shuffle, Shuffle, Dance, Jig Dance
Where is Barack Obama's funny bone?

1. Do we really need more laughs?

Okay, this is an easy one. If I understand correctly, the media are saying that after the bumbling sideshow that our government has become over the past eight years, they think we need more stuff to laugh about?


2. Racist jokes are easier

I think it's interesting that so many white comedians feel like they can't come up with acceptable jokes about Obama without offending someone. It really shows how uncomfortable and ignorant most white people are about black people. ...........................................................................

The problem for most white comedians is not that Obama doesn't do anything that is funny. It's not that there is nothing humorous about his campaign. The problem is that they lack the skills to find the funny stuff. They don't understand black people and their culture enough to make a joke that doesn't involve rims, grills and gold chains. That's the real problem.....

3. That nigger better be funny

And we've arrived at the real reason I wrote this post. It goes beyond the idea that people in this country should have had enough laughs thanks to George Bush. No, it goes to the idea that Obama needs to make white people comfortable with him, and the easiest way for them to get comfortable with a black man is if he's making them laugh.

Serious black men confuse and frustrate white people. Well, unless they are criminals. Serious thugs are easy for white people to understand and deal with. They fit into the proper box. The one with bars.........................................................................................................................................................................

Black people are not here to entertain white people. We are not here to make them laugh, we are not here to make them cry, we are not here to make them angry. We are human beings living our lives just like them. We are under no obligation to make them "smile."

Barack Obama is running to be the most powerful politician in America during one of the most unsettled times in this country's history. And white folks are wondering if he is going to lose because he doesn't make them smile?

Thank you.

Barack Obama tells Glamour: "Debate me, not Michelle"

Hat tip: Michelle Obama Watch

Barack Obama did an interview with Glamour Magazine.

GLAMOUR: An AP poll shows that while the positive ratings on Michelle are higher than those of Cindy McCain, her negative ratings are higher as well. I'm curious about how as a husband that makes you feel. Does it mystify you? And what do you want to say to those Americans who don't know the woman that you know?

SENATOR OBAMA: It's infuriating, but it's not surprising, because let's face it: What happened was that the conservative press—Fox News and the National Review and columnists of every ilk—went fairly deliberately at her in a pretty systematic way...and treated her as the candidate in a way that you just rarely see the Democrats try to do against Republicans. And I've said this before: I would never have my campaign engage in a concerted effort to make Cindy McCain an issue, and I would not expect the Democratic National Committee or people who were allied with me to do it. Because essentially, spouses are civilians. They didn't sign up for this. They're supporting their spouse. So it took a toll. If you start being subjected to rants by Sean Hannity and the like, day in day out, that'll drive up your negatives.

Everybody who knows Michelle knows how extraordinary she is. She's ironically the most quintessentially American woman I know. She grew up in a "Leave it to Beaver" family. She is the best mother I know. And our kids are a testimony to that, because she's really had to raise them, oftentimes without me being there. She's the most honest person I know, she's smart, she's funny, so yeah, it infuriates me. And I think that it is an example of the erosion of civility in our political culture that she's been subjected to these attacks, and my attitude is that the people who have attacked her in the ways that they have...if they've got a difference with me on policy, they should debate me. Not her.

Rest of article is HERE.

Yes, there's an obvious double standard with the treatment of Michelle Obama as compared to the Pill Poppin' Piece-On-The-Side.

Hope-fully Change-ing Perceptions



Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Update: Michelle Obama As Racial Rorschach Test

One of the first posts I blogged was entitled:

Michelle Obama - The Latest Racial Rorschach Test
I have believed from the moment Barack Obama announced his candidacy that his very running would be a test for America. I stated over a year ago, when Michelle Obama was first put out there by the campaign:

The entire Obama candidacy is about what I call a Racial Rorschach Test. The first phase were those idiotic articles about whether Obama was ' Black enough' for Black folks, which was insane, and off the point. Once that dog didn't hunt, we finally got around to whom the 'Black enough' test was really about, and that was White folk. While they're still mulling around this question and deciding whether to deal with it or not, we've got a new angle to this test- Michelle Obama.

I'm back to report as to how I see the Racial Rorschach Test is going, specifically as it concerns Michelle Obama.

The attacks have been coming fast and furious against Michelle Obama, with a depth of viciousness that is unwarranted, but deserves study.


What is it about this woman that evokes this vehemence against her?

We have very bright posters who often crystalize thoughts with their comments.

Miranda wrote in the comments section:

I have a theory that as hard as it is to accept a black president, it's even harder to accept a black first lady. First Lady has always held a beloved sentimental mother/wife of the nation symbolism. Conservatives are not ready to have to look at this very BLACK woman with her degrees and her fierceness and see her as the epitome of the American mother/wife. Black people have never had an emotional connection to the First Lady to worry about losing. Laura Bush is just another white woman to us. This will be a first for white people. I hadn't thought about the separation anxiety of them not having their mother-in-chief.

To piggyback on that, in the comments section about the racist New Yorker cover, ms. martin challenged me:

I've just come to the conclusion that this is about Michelle. They do not want this black woman in the Whitehouse as their first lady. This cartoon is about Michelle - she is the focal point of the cartoon.....

Of course it's about Obama's presidency, but I think the cartoon is about Michelle. Look closely rikyrah, the look on her face and his agreeing eyes lead me to believe that she is the leader, the one starting the "revolution" they want you to imagine............

If you read the comments on pages of Obama supporters, during the toughest times of the primary season, you would see folks speaking on behalf his whiteness (it makes him more tolerable to some). Trust, there are many who if they could, would love to have him without her......

Accomplished with her whole black in tact and non-apologetic for it. Raising beautiful bright children who no doubt will also be accomplished strong black women who won't need to apologize for who they are................................

MSNBC's Chris Matthews said, in the course of covering the Obama candidacy, and I'm paraphrasing,
" He (Barack Obama) brings none of the ' bad stuff', you know?"

By 'Bad Stuff', he meant the legacy of enslaving Africans in this country and then keeping them as second-class citizens until 1965, a mere 11 years before this country celebrated its 200th anniversary. So, for 189 years from its official founding as a country, and tack on another 150 years pre-Revolutionary War, and you've got the ' Bad Stuff' done to people of African descent. You know, 'the original sin', or ' the birth defect', as Condi Rice called it.

But, guess what.....despite being ' oh so smart' by supporting Barack Obama, the 'Bad Stuff' smacked White America in the face.

First, with the revelation that his White Side was still involved in 'the bad stuff' (slavery), only as SLAVEOWNERS.

I had a good chuckle on that.

But, also, he comes home every chance he can, to 'the bad stuff'.

To the ' Bad stuff' wife and ' Bad stuff' children he had with said wife.

And there it is: the 400 years of ' Bad stuff', wrapped up in Michelle Obama.

When that came to me on the elliptical machine this morning, it all made sense.

Michelle Obama is a direct threat and lightening bolt against White Superiority.

Because, she's Black...


But, does not, in any way, shape, or form, contour to the acceptable Black Pathologies that enable White Supremacy to sigh with relief.

One of the many reasons why I am thankful for the blog - Michelle Obama Watch - is the diligence of the Administrators to gather any and all writings about Michelle Obama. Having it catalogued in one place, it's a great reference site. From a recent article in London,

Michelle’s pitch is far from sophisticated, playing heavily on her humble beginnings and traditional values: “I was raised in a working-class family on the south Side of Chicago. That’s how I identify myself, a working-class girl,” she has told the voters, time after time.
It helps that she cuts a fine figure on the stump, tall and slender with a hair ‘flip’ reminiscent of Jackie Kennedy. And it does no harm that, while Barack, 46, comes from mixed Kenyan and white parentage, Michelle, 44, is authentically (sic) African-American, giving the Obamas an unmatched breadth of appeal. [...]
Yet even they have failed to scrutinise her seemingly remarkable story, or question how her homely rhetoric, full of jokes about Barack’s domestic failings, squares with the reality.
When The Mail on Sunday went back to the gritty district of Chicago where Michelle LaVaughn Robinson was raised, we found a rather different picture from the one so single-mindedly promoted by Camp Obama.
Instead of the one-room tenement that now appears in most accounts of her upbringing, we found a well-kept neighbourhood of red-brick Arts and Craft-style houses which have long been home to respectable [sic] black families.

Ain't that a bitch?

Michelle wasn't POOR ENOUGH.

Yes, she wasn't 'poor enough'.

See, if Michelle was from:
a) Da Projects
b) Her mother with a handful of children
c) One of them at least revolving in and out of jail
d) Of course, no father to be found
e) Working some demeaning job (maid, janitress, cook, washerwoman, MAMMY)

Then Michelle would be acceptable.

But, Michelle was raised in a neighborhood. In a home. With TWO parents. No child revolving in and out of jail. Raised by a Black man who not only provided for his family, but did so, WITH A DISABILITY. Her mother had a working class job - secretary- but it was taken ONLY after she had seen her youngest child settle into HIGH SCHOOL.

Michelle Obama's poise, her confidence, her aura - that was created by that humble Black man, who by all accounts, adored her. He told her that she worthy, and so, when you have that told to you by the first man who loves and protects you, you seek that validation of that in your choice of the mate, because you'll settle for nothing less, and Michelle hasn't.

You see, Michelle Obama, doesn't fit any of the acceptable Black pathologies. And when you don't fit the acceptable Black pathologies, then you must be destroyed. John Edwards' parents only graduated high school. I don't remember one story about whether Edwards' parents were 'poor enough' to shape his narrative.

For clarification against the article: Her mother and father graduated from high school, and that's it. He got a city job, like a lot of White working class men whose wives stayed at home. Rolling in the dough, they were not. They don't fool me. They don't know one iota of the differences between Black neighborhoods in the least. I know those bungalows; I grew up in one of those bungalows. If you're a family of four living UPSTAIRS in one of them, it's no mansion. It's an apartment. Period.

They're mad that Michelle's not from ' Da Projects', which is all they would qualify as ' typical Black housing'. If you had running water, then suddenly you were rich.

I know the area where Michelle Obama grew up - wasn't no White folks there. No ' integration'. It was called ' White flight'. Remember, Chicago has long been one of THE most segregated cities in the USA. When she was growing up, there was ONE 'integrated' area - it's where she currently lives - Hyde Park. Black folk and White folk don't live side by side in Chicago....not when she was growing up. 'White professionals in the area'....BS.

Michelle Obama is perfectly honest when she says that there's nothing extraordinary about her. She's right on the money with that.

Michelle doesn't have some 'White family' that raised her.
Michelle didn't go to an expensive private school for her education.

She was raised by two Black, average high school graduates, who impressed upon her the importance of education, and that the only way she and her brother wouldn't have to have their parents' lives was to work hard, educated themselves, using the Public School System and whatever extras they could get from it.

Guess what? She, her brother, and scores of other Black folk had the same set of parents - the names were different, they lived in different cities, but they said the same things to THEIR children who also listened to them, and guess what, they were able to take advantage of opportunities that their parents could not have dreamed of when they were young.

These folks were in the shadows; ignored by the MSM, who has only wanted to focus on Black pathology, and never Black success, UNLESS it could be quantified in the category of EXTRAORDINARY. But, these folks were ALWAYS there.

Michelle Obama has become the face of the Black America whose very existence has been denied by this country.

Think about it.

In ONE generation, the Invisible America would have gone from living on the top floor of a bungalow, to living, possibly in The White House.

And, when you have, in your face, an example in Michelle Obama, who refuses to say " I'm special", and thus give you your security blanket, what should be done?

Beat it down and into submission.

Well, I say no.

And Michelle Obama Watch says no.

And Michelle Obama Fan #1, The Black Snob says no.

The Black Progressive Blogosphere says no.

And, why do we say no?

I found this in a reply at Michelle Obama Watch, and thought it was so on the money:


I love Michelle Obama because she represents the African American woman and everything we want our daughters to be. When we as African American women stand up for her we stand up for ourselves. No other women in the world are more neglected and abused as African women period. She looks like my daughter, her daughters look like my daughter and therefore I see my daughter and all that I want her to be. I love the way Barack looks at her and looks at his daughters. The Obamas are the hope for many of us that we can be loved by our men and they will support us in whatever we do. You can tell she is a loved woman and her daughters are loved and we should not only defend her as African American women, but her husband who is the “hope” of this country and little African American girls who need a vision and dream of what it would be like to be loved by a man who looks just like them. Michelle Obama I got your back girl! If we can say no to the Don Imus’ of this world we can say no to anybody calling us outside of who we are as women. We are the ones we have been waiting for….

Jul 6th, 2008

This is why we say no.

Michelle Obama doesn't seem to be ' worthy' enough of defense by the Feminist Establishment, thus their silence on the attacks against the Double Ivy League Degree Professional Woman, Loving Wife and Mother.

So, it's up to us to make that line in the sand. To be the retaining wall against those who would want to wash away everything that makes up the core of Michelle. AS IF there's something wrong with her, and by extension, US - that Invisible Black America.

I conclude this post with a quote by yogo over at Skeptical Brotha. The moment I read it, in May 2007, it touched me to the core. And, seeing as it seems how the attacks on Michelle Obama seem to be escalating, it seems more appropriate now than ever:

I joke a lot about these two, but something sticks out at me about the whole campaign, especially after seeing this interview:

I like her. And not because of any strong this and that, she just seems genuine.

Is America ready for a First Lady who looks like her? A regular black woman? Not a passable biracial curly girl that they call black, but a regular black woman from the south side of Chicago? With dark skin?

Is she going to be the face of The Woman on the largest pedestal in the country? A self-confessled "loud-mouth" black woman?

If they succeed, it turns white supremacy upside down. And not, in my opinion, because a black man is in the White House; it's because a black woman is in there. And she didn't have to come in the back door to lie in bed with the president.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Just WHO is the ' Affirmative Action' Candidate?

First request:

Go to the Jed Report and DIGG THIS VIDEO

Now, onto the post.

We have had instance of Barack Obama being called ' Affirmative Action Run Amok'.

The undercurrents against him and Michelle Obama, well, we know the drill.

But, just EXACTLY who is the Affirmative Action candidate?

The one who graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard Law School?


The one, by his own words...
John McCain: I graduated fifth from the bottom of my class
That's 894th of 899.

And who only got into Annapolis because Daddy and Granddaddy (BOTH Admirals) pulled strings - that's AFFIRMATIVE ACTION FOR THE ELITE, just in case you didn't know.

So, you
a) get in because of family pull and NOT because you're qualified
b) graduate at the bottom of your class...

But, the BLACK guy who graduates with highest honors is the ' Affirmative Action' Candidate.

Uh huh.

Why does this remind me of the Chris Rock line:

A Black ' C' student can't get hired to be a Manager at Burger King..

A White 'C' student can become President of the United States..

Low Achievers Embracing. Just in case you didn't know, Dubya wasn't smart enough to get into the University of Texas. So, he went to Yale..yeah, you guessed it, on Affirmative Action - called LEGACY Admissions. McSame have SO much in common, don't they?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Obama's Speech To The NAACP

It is always humbling to speak before the NAACP. It is a powerful reminder of the debt we all owe to those who marched for us and fought for us and stood up on our behalf; of the sacrifices that were made for us by those we never knew; and of the giants whose shoulders I stand on here today.

They are the men and women we read about in history books and hear about in church; whose lives we honor with schools, and boulevards, and federal holidays that bear their names. But what I want to remind you tonight -- on Youth Night -- is that these giants, these icons of America's past, were not much older than many of you when they took up freedom's cause and made their mark on history.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was but a 26-year old pastor when he led a bus boycott in Montgomery that mobilized a movement. John Lewis was but a 25-year old activist when he faced down Billy clubs on the bridge in Selma and helped arouse the conscience of our nation. Diane Nash was even younger when she helped found SNCC and led Freedom Rides down south. And your chairman Julian Bond was but a 25-year old state legislator when he put his own shoulder to the wheel of history.

It is because of them; and all those whose names never made it into the history books - those men and women, young and old, black, brown and white, clear-eyed and straight-backed, who refused to settle for the world as it is; who had the courage to remake the world as it should be - that I stand before you tonight as the Democratic nominee for President of the United States of America.

And if I have the privilege of serving as your next President, I will stand up for you the same way that earlier generations of Americans stood up for me - by fighting to ensure that every single one of us has the chance to make it if we try. That means removing the barriers of prejudice and misunderstanding that still exist in America. It means fighting to eliminate discrimination from every corner of our country. It means changing hearts, and changing minds, and making sure that every American is treated equally under the law.

But social justice is not enough. As Dr. King once said, "the inseparable twin of racial justice is economic justice." That's why Dr. King went to Memphis in his final days to stand with striking sanitation workers. That's why the march that Roy Wilkins helped lead forty five years ago this summer wasn't just named the March on Washington, and it wasn't just named the March on Washington for Freedom; it was named the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

What Dr. King and Roy Wilkins understood is that it matters little if you have the right to sit at the front of the bus if you can't afford the bus fare; it matters little if you have the right to sit at the lunch counter if you can't afford the lunch. What they understood is that so long as Americans are denied the decent wages, and good benefits, and fair treatment they deserve, the dream for which so many gave so much will remain out of reach; that to live up to our founding promise of equality for all, we have to make sure that opportunity is open to all Americans.

That is what I've been fighting to do throughout my over 20 years in public service. That's why I've fought in the Senate to end tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas and give those tax breaks to companies that create good jobs here in America. That's why I brought Democrats and Republicans together in Illinois to put $100 million in tax cuts into the pockets of hardworking families, to expand health care to 150,000 children and parents, and to end the outrage of black women making just 62 cents for every dollar that many of their male coworkers make.

And that's why I moved to Chicago after college. As some of you know, I turned down more lucrative jobs because I was inspired by the Civil Rights Movement and I wanted to do my part in the ongoing battle for opportunity in this country. So I went to work for a group of churches to help turn around neighborhoods that were devastated when the local steel plants closed. And I reached out to community leaders - black, brown, and white - and together, we gave job training to the jobless, set up afterschool programs to help keep kids off the streets, and block by block, we helped turn those neighborhoods around.

So I've been working my entire adult life to help build an America where social justice is being served and economic justice is being served; an America where we all have an equal chance to make it if we try. That's the America I believe in. That's the America you've been fighting for over the past 99 years. And that's the America we have to keep marching towards today.

Our work is not over.

When so many of our nation's schools are failing, especially those in our poorest rural and urban communities, denying millions of young Americans the chance to fulfill their potential and live out their dreams, we have more work to do.

When CEOs are making more in ten minutes than the average worker earns in a year, and millions of families lose their homes due to unscrupulous lending, checked neither by a sense of corporate ethics or a vigilant government; when the dream of entering the middle class and staying there is fading for young people in our community, we have more work to do.

When any human being is denied a life of dignity and respect, no matter whether they live in Anacostia or Appalachia or a village in Africa; when people are trapped in extreme poverty we know how to curb or suffering from diseases we know how to prevent; when they're going without the medicines that they so desperately need - we have more work to do.

That's what this election is all about. It's about the responsibilities we all share for the future we hold in common. It's about each and every one of us doing our part to build that more perfect union.

It's about the responsibilities that corporate America has - responsibilities that start with ending a culture on Wall Street that says what's good for me is good enough; that puts their bottom line ahead of what's right for America. Because what we've learned in such a dramatic way in recent months is that pain in our economy trickles up; that Wall Street can't thrive so long as Main Street is struggling; and that America is better off when the well-being of American business and the American people are aligned. Our CEOs have to recognize that they have a responsibility not just to grow their profit margins, but to be fair to their workers, and honest to their shareholders and to help strengthen our economy as a whole. That's how we'll ensure that economic justice is being served. And that's what this election is about.

It's about the responsibilities that Washington has - responsibilities that start with restoring fairness to our economy by making sure that the playing field isn't tilted to benefit the special interests at the expense of ordinary Americans; and that we're rewarding not just wealth, but the work and workers who create it. That's why I'll offer a middle class tax cut so we can lift up hardworking families, and give relief to struggling homeowners so we can end our housing crisis, and provide training to young people to work the green jobs of the future, and invest in our infrastructure so we can create millions of new jobs.

And that's why I'll end the outrage of one in five African Americans going without the health care they deserve. We'll guarantee health care for anyone who needs it, make it affordable for anyone who wants it, and ensure that the quality of your health care does not depend on the color of your skin. And we're not going to do it 20 years from now or 10 years from now, we're going to do it by the end of my first term as President of the United States of America.

And here's what else we'll do - we'll make sure that every child in this country gets a world-class education from the day they're born until the day they graduate from college. Now, I understand that Senator McCain is going to be coming here in a couple of days and talking about education, and I'm glad to hear it. But the fact is, what he's offering amounts to little more than the same tired rhetoric about vouchers. Well, I believe we need to move beyond the same debate we've been having for the past 30 years when we haven't gotten anything done. We need to fix and improve our public schools, not throw our hands up and walk away from them. We need to uphold the ideal of public education, but we also need reform.

That's why I've introduced a comprehensive strategy to recruit an army of new qualified teachers to our communities - and to pay them more and give them more support. And we'll invest in early childhood education programs so that our kids don't begin the race of life behind the starting line and offer a $4,000 tax credit to make college affordable for anyone who wants to go. Because as the NAACP knows better than anyone, the fight for social justice and economic justice begins in the classroom.

But it doesn't end there. We have to fight for all those young men standing on street corners with little hope for the future besides ending up in jail. We have to break the cycle of poverty and violence that's gripping too many neighborhoods in this country.

That's why I'll expand the Earned Income Tax Credit - because it's one of the most successful anti-poverty measures we have. That's why I'll end the Bush policy of taking cops off the streets at the moment they're needed most - because we need to give local law enforcement the support they need. That's why we'll provide job training for ex-offenders - because we need to make sure they don't return to a life of crime. And that's why I'll build on the success of the Harlem Children's Zone in New York and launch an all-hands-on-deck effort to end poverty in this country - because that's how we'll put the dream that Dr. King and Roy Wilkins fought for within reach for the next generation of children.

And if people tell you that we cannot afford to invest in education or health care or fighting poverty, you just remind them that we are spending $10 billion a month in Iraq. And if we can spend that much money in Iraq, we can spend some of that money right here in Cincinnati, Ohio and in big cities and small towns in every corner of this country.

So yes, we have to demand more responsibility from Washington. And yes we have to demand more responsibility from Wall Street. But we also have to demand more from ourselves. Now, I know some say I've been too tough on folks about this responsibility stuff. But I'm not going to stop talking about it. Because I believe that in the end, it doesn't matter how much money we invest in our communities, or how many 10-point plans we propose, or how many government programs we launch - none of it will make any difference if we don't seize more responsibility in our own lives.

That's how we'll truly honor those who came before us. Because I know that Thurgood Marshall did not argue Brown versus Board of Education so that some of us could stop doing our jobs as parents. And I know that nine little children did not walk through a schoolhouse door in Little Rock so that we could stand by and let our children drop out of school and turn to gangs for the support they are not getting elsewhere. That's not the freedom they fought so hard to achieve. That's not the America they gave so much to build. That's not the dream they had for our children.

That's why if we're serious about reclaiming that dream, we have to do more in our own lives, our own families, and our own communities. That starts with providing the guidance our children need, turning off the TV, and putting away the video games; attending those parent-teacher conferences, helping our children with their homework, and setting a good example. It starts with teaching our daughters to never allow images on television to tell them what they are worth; and teaching our sons to treat women with respect, and to realize that responsibility does not end at conception; that what makes them men is not the ability to have a child but the courage to raise one. It starts by being good neighbors and good citizens who are willing to volunteer in our communities - and to help our synagogues and churches and community centers feed the hungry and care for the elderly. We all have to do our part to lift up this country.

That's where change begins. And that, after all, is the true genius of America - not that America is, but that America will be; not that we are perfect, but that we can make ourselves more perfect; that brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand, people who love this country can change it. And that's our most enduring responsibility - the responsibility to future generations. We have to change this country for them. We have to leave them a planet that's cleaner, a nation that's safer, and a world that's more equal and more just.

So I'm grateful to you for all you've done for this campaign, but we've got work to do and we cannot rest. And I know that if you put your shoulders to the wheel of history and take up the cause of perfecting our union just as earlier generations of Americans did before you; if you take up the fight for opportunity and equality and prosperity for all; if you march with me and fight with me, and get your friends registered to vote, and if you stand with me this fall - then not only will we help close the responsibility deficit in this country, and not only will we help achieve social justice and economic justice for all, but I will come back here next year on the 100th anniversary of the NAACP, and I will stand before you as the President of the United States of America. And at that moment, you and I will truly know that a new day has come in this country we love. Thank you.