Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hillary, It is Time to be Great!

Eight years ago, when many in the US thought that it really didn't matter who was president and that the country could run on automatic pilot, George Bush was elected. At the time, he was thought to have had the greatest foreign-policy team of all time. Colin Powell. Dick Cheney. Condoleezza Rice. Incredible credentials. Yet, after the last eight years, to describe President Bush's foreign-policy as being a disaster is simply being kind. He's made little or no progress in the Middle East. As a matter of fact, some may suggest at this point that his administration has actually taken the peace process backwards five or ten years.

On January 20th, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have to hit the ground running. The lack of American leadership is palpable around the world. Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip for the last four days. They did this in retaliation to multiple rocket attacks into southern Israel from the Gaza Strip. This is a typical scenario. Israel takes a pounding and then retaliates disproportionately. The retaliation inevitably causes an international outcry. Sometime soon thereafter, Israel stops the offensive and we go back to square one. Soon-to-be Secretary of State Hillary Clinton must break this cycle.

Personally, I think it is important that we support Israel. The Palestinians, though, are living in abhorrent conditions. Their standard of living must be raised. If you have something to live for, then you are less likely to want to turn yourself into a human bomb. Hillary Clinton must find the balance that has escaped George H. W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and her husband, Bill Clinton. She must find a way to get all the parties involved to begin the discussion and to find a solution to the problem. This means including Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon. (Some of these Arab countries have treated the Palestinians like unwanted stepchildren.)
From a political standpoint, this is a huge time bomb. If Barack Obama spends a lot of political capital early in his presidency on trying to fix the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and can't find a solution, that will hurt some of his domestic agenda. On the other hand, we have seen what eight years of neglect does. On the surface, this seems to be a lose-lose proposition. But, as an optimist, I think that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will need to (and, with luck, will be able to) balance this with the many other crises around the world. We do need to defeat Al Qaeda. We do need to do better in Afghanistan and make it a functioning nation. We also need to help Pakistan, not only with its relationship to India, but also with its relationship to Afghanistan. We need to get out of Iraq and develop a presence in Africa. We need to bolster Africa's attempt to control some of its violence within its own continent (the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Darfur for come to mind). As a nation, we cannot ignore the problems of South and Central America. In addition, the growing challenges of Asia, which include the vulnerability of some Asian countries to Al Qaeda, may be as daunting as any challenge that I've yet mentioned. I have to make a special mention of North Korea, of course, since it was an original member of the Axis of Evil.

If history shows us anything, it is two definitive paths which have not yet led to the settlement of this long conflict. The first path was taken by President Clinton, which was to wait to the end of his presidency then throw his whole weight behind the peace process. He, like Bush, was a lame duck and, because of that, could not get an agreement. Then there is President Bush's way... ignore the problem and hope it will go away, which doesn't work either. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton must choose a different path. It is time for Hillary Clinton to be great.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Weatherizing Works

A good idea from the government. Instead of shelling out more cash each and every winter helping the poor pay their energy bills, the government is now "weatherizing" homes. A few hours of work can save the poor, the government and taxpayers thousands in the long run. President-elect Obama hopes to increase the number of weatherized homes from 140,000 to more than 1 million.

This is an example of new liberalism. Smart government aid that still helps the poor, but in a more efficient and energy-conscious manner. This type of thinking might even spur confidence in the government.

My wife and I recently "weatherized" our home. Two cold winters and outrageously high heating bils finally convinced us to shell out a few bucks on weather stripping and caulking and the difference has been dramatic.

Blago Selecting Roland Burris to fill Obama's Senate Seat?


The word is that Rod Blagojevich is going to appoint Roland Burris to fill Obama's Senate Seat.

Who is Roland Burris?

He's the former Comptroller and former Attorney General of the State of Illinois.

Quite frankly, if White folks had been doing right, he'd be the Governor of Illinois.

For all the talk of the Bradley/Wilder effect, Burris is never mentioned, but should be.

Burris, an African-American, had held TWO statewide offices. He wasn't born in Chicago. He was born and raised in downstate Illinois, so it's not like the downstate folk didn't know him.

But, when push came to shove, they didn't vote for him in the Democratic Gubertorial Primary against the White nobody from Chicago with the odd name.

Burris is a standup man, and wouldn't be a bad caretaker for the Senate seat. He was the first African-American to win statewide office. Character-wise, he's sterling.

PS- I told you so - that Blago wouldn't resign...LOL



From Politico--

Reid: Burris Won't Be Seated

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has issued a statement on the appointment of Roland Burris as the next senator from Illinois, saying he would not be seated next Congress. Here's the full statement:

“It is truly regrettable that despite requests from all 50 Democratic Senators and public officials throughout Illinois, Gov. Blagojevich would take the imprudent step of appointing someone to the United States Senate who would serve under a shadow and be plagued by questions of impropriety. We say this without prejudice toward Roland Burris’s ability, and we respect his years of public service. But this is not about Mr. Burris; it is about the integrity of a governor accused of attempting to sell this United States Senate seat. Under these circumstances, anyone appointed by Gov. Blagojevich cannot be an effective representative of the people of Illinois and, as we have said, will not be seated by the Democratic Caucus.

Read more here

But it's not really clear whether Reid has the authority to keep Burris out. Reid is making empty threats at this point. No backbone.... and probably no authority to make good on his earlier statements. Pathetic.

They would have to expel Burris. ....and this is why Blago is wanting to appoint him... to use race as a wedge for his own purposes.

Continued inaction from Illinois Dems helped lead to this fiasco... just as I have suggested.

And have we heard from Burris? Is it even confirmed that he has accepted? Because it would be so illogical for him to even accept and take part in this foolishness. Like I mentioned... it appears that Blago is just using Burris.

Blago is like a Cancer... he wants to damage his own Party as he goes down.

-- The Angry Independent



Just as I expected, the Congressional Black Caucus's Bobby Rush is calling for the Senate to accept Burris. Apparently having a seat of power is more important to Rush and Burris than integrity. They don't mind being under the cloud. To me, this just shows the corrupt nature of many in the CBC. If I were a CBC member... I would want Burris appointed under better circumstances, where there were no clouds or questions hanging over the appointment. Most normal people would. And I knew that the CBC would quickly inject race....and apparently Blago knew too....and he was betting on it.

Mission Accomplished for Blago - Create a wedge and rift in the Congress and in the Country by sending someone to the Senate who would create an atmosphere of chaos. By sending someone who would be hard for the Senate to refuse....and who would create a battle within the Democratic Party. This will keep the narcissistic Blago on the front pages for weeks (probably his biggest goal in all this).

Blago may be a little crazy.... but he's a crude, conniving politician.

-- The Angry Independent



Here is the video of the press conference.

I just watched the video. I thought it was pretty hilarious and straight up Chicago.

Let's get this clear, for all of Harry Reid's blustering, I don't know if they have the law on their side. The closest Supreme Court precedent is Adam Clayton Powell's case, and the House lost that one.

As for Jesse White (Secretary of State of Illinois) bullshitting that he won't certify it, let's just say he's old and Black folk aren't going to tolerate that BS from him. They won't be forgiving.

LMAO at Bobby Rush. Absolutely hilarious.
I guess I take a different view of this because this is local. But, politics in Chicago hasn't been this entertaining since the days of Council Wars.

-- Rikyrah

Blago: "I have enjoyed the limelight i've had over the past couple of weeks".

This says it all... it fits right into what I have been saying.

-- The Angry Independent

(rikyrah here) UPDATE: I was asked in the comments if I'm ok with this.

I am absolutely OK with this. I look at this through a local lens. Roland Burris is totally fine as a candidate. Black folk in Chicago want to put a Black person in the Senate. We see absolutely nothing wrong with Burris being the choice. Can he win in a Democratic Primary in 2010 - who knows. But, by 2010, Blago will probably be in an orange jumpsuit, and taken down several other folks with him. Burris will have the incumbency and his own voting record. At the very least, even if he doesn't run for election, you would have given another Black candidate, the chance to begin from the starting line just like anyone else. This is about local politics, and we wish the President-Elect the best, but we have to take care of local Black folks. And, like I said, I wanna see Harry Reid take this to court.

And, as I pointed out, Black folk are ' suspect' of the entire Blago takedown. Doesn't sound right to us. Plus, if you've lived under King Richard Daley II, who has had pretty much EVERYONE around him arrested, indicted and convicted - it will take a lot to convince Black folks that Blago is the worst person, or even the worst Illinois crook. Blago's only been around 7 years, and he's been fighting with all the folks that have made Black folks' lives miserable in Illinois for a long time before we heard his name. He probably is stupid. Crooked - yep. But, consider the crookdom that we've seen up close and personal, Blago just isn't this scary bogeyman national media wants to make him out to be.

We Beg Your Pardon America

Appropriate, since this is Pardon season.... especially as we have an Administration throwing the documents in the fireplace on their way out... (the scene from the Movie "The Longest Day" when the Germans were panicking comes to mind). And as Madoff is sitting at home...likely to do time at a "Club Fed" facility, and Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove, Gonzales, and a long list of others allowed to walk freely into the sunset pretty soon... and with the AIG Execs getting their bonuses...not to mention a new Congress saying that they don't plan to seek Justice or snoop around too much.... Jeeezz... Can't we at least establish what the Hell happened and find out exactly who did what, so something could be done to make it harder for it to happen again?

I wish I could get a Pardon. I wish I could have my student loan debt Pardoned. I wish I could get a Pardon for being Black.... so that I could get a fair shot (and no... i'm not the type who screams about "The Man" holding me back), I wish the ladies could Pardon me for being a broke Grad student, I wish I could be Pardoned for all the stupid ---- i've done over the last 35 years.... but no Pardons or bailouts for me...

This track was done 30 years ago... and somehow it still applies so well today. Gil Scott always seems to be on time.

We Beg Your Pardon (Pardon Our Analysis) - Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson

More Race Nonsense from the Christian Values Folks

The Republican Party’s Latest Attempt at Restoring Their Relevance - Play Up the Racial Divide - also known as... The Southern Strategy

It turns out that the good people at the RNC have been caught peddling racial nonsense targeting President- elect Barack Obama. Not the KKK, not the Skinheads, not the Nazi’s or any other hate group. Nope… this is the official governing body of the Republican Party.

Chip Saltsman, former head of the Republican Party in Tennessee and leader of Mike Huckabee’s Presidential Campaign, apparently distributed a Christmas CD to RNC members featuring the song “Barack the Magic Negro”. Rush Limbaugh must be proud.

At a time when the Country faces a perilous economic situation, with another wave of home foreclosures on the horizon and more layoffs coming, with a health system that only works for a privileged few, and with their Party in shambles, this is how they have been spending their time? Where is their plan for the Country? And Saltsman is someone who is running for the RNC chairmanship.

They can’t lie and say that it wasn’t meant to be an attack on non-Whites, because that was the whole theme of the CD, which also contained material mocking Mexican immigrants. (see the New Yorker Article below). Apparently Mexican immigrants are fine for the wealthy GOP corporate elites and business owners who need cheap labor… but once they are of no use to them, they become evil aliens who have to leave.

Saltsman’s response was typical…. He didn’t have any regret for sending out the CD… and he didn’t admit that it was boneheaded… instead he reacted to the backlash by releasing a statement saying:

"our party leaders should...refuse to pander to the media's desire for scandal."

What? He distributes a racially targeted song to commemorate “Christmas” and that’s supposed to be ok?

Needless to say, Obama supporters (and even a few non-supporters) don’t find this to be very amusing. Is there any wonder why Republican events are almost exclusively White….with the exception of a few symbolic token minorities? And they always try to say that they are genuinely interested in reaching out to other groups…that they want their Party to be diverse. Nonsense. They have never been genuinely interested in diversity. It’s been a White Party for the last 30-40 years…. as Blacks really began switching their support during the late 1960's. This is why Republican events look nothing like the actual ethnic and cultural make-up of America.

Here is the reaction from MSNBC news host Tamron Hall, as Republican minion Kate Obenshain attempts to rationalize & sanitize the song as a legitimate parody.

See more from ThinkProgress

As expected, the GOP trotted out one of their Black representatives for damage control… Ken Blackwell quickly defended Chip Saltsman:

"When looked at in the proper context, these concerns are minimal," he said. "All of my competitors for this leadership post are fine people."

But Jim Greer, the Chairman of the Florida Republican Party, had a different response according to CBS News:

"As the GOP Chairman in one of our nation's most ethnically and culturally diverse states, I am especially disappointed by the inappropriate words and actions we've seen over the past few days," he said. "I am proud of those party leaders who have stood up in firm opposition to this type of behavior."
"Actions such as the distribution of this CD, regardless of intent, only serves to promote divisiveness and distracts us from our common goal of building our party," added Greer.

This just shows how far out in the wilderness the Republican leadership is… they remain tone deaf. It particularly shows how out of touch Ken Blackwell is, when many of his White Republican colleagues saw Saltsman’s comments as inappropriate, racially insensitive, and not in the best interests of the Party.


Also See Article from the New Yorker Magazine

Worlds Most Dangerous Flashpoints for 2009

Here is my new list of the Worlds most Dangerous Flashpoints.

Here is the list from the previous year.... and it looks like I was pretty close on a few. In parenthesis below, you will see last years spot for each location or conflict zone. Notice which locations and conflict zones moved up.

New list (for the coming year, 2009)

1. Israel - Iran (4) **
2. Persian Gulf/U.S. - Iran (3) (How will Obama’s Neo-Con Light Foreign Policy Team approach this situation? It bothers the Hell out of me…I have been let down by the signals given by Obama’s transition so far). **
3. Georgia (6) **
4. Pakistan (1)
5. Afghanistan (10)
6. Russia (13) (Russia can officially be called a dictatorship) **
7. Pakistan - India (14) **
8. Caspian Region (12) **
9. Ukraine- Russia (17) **
10. Darfur (Sudan) (5)
11. Iraq (2)
12. Somalia (22)
13. Chad (7)
14. Congo (15)
15. Turkey/Iraq border (Turkey's battle with Kurds) (11)
16. Chechnya, Russia (18)
17. Israel- Lebanon (9)
18. Israel - Syria (8)
19. China - Taiwan (16) ** (now that the Olympics are over... and with the global economy tanking, China may again make a push to take Taiwan. A Nightmare scenario. The good news is... a much less bellicose Government is now in charge in Taiwan-- the confrontational Pro-Independence Party was recently defeated-- which may decrease the chance of a conflict with China).
20. North Korea (the North Koreans have been waiting for a Democratic Administration… but with the Neo-Cons simply being replaced by Obama's Neo-Con Light, it is unclear how negotiations will play out.) **
21. Kosovo (23)
22. Thailand (new to the list)
23. China - Japan (26)
24. Poland - Russia /NATO vs. Russia (new to the list) Not so unthinkable anymore, thanks mostly to U.S. foreign policy. In fact, it’s more likely today than 30 years ago during the height of the Cold War. Eastern Europe is nearing powder keg status once again thanks to Bush's plan to place an anti-ballistic missile system in Poland- one of many Bush policies that Obama and his Neo-Con Light crew are likely to continue.
25. Israel- Palestine (new to the list) I typically think of this long never ending conflict as being isolated to the region. That's mostly true...but it still manages to heighten tensions and affect negotiations elsewhere.
26. Greece- Turkey (25)

Dropped from list: Myanmar/Burma, Sri Lankan Civil War, Venezuela

** = locations and conflicts of particular interest.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Freddie Hubbard (1938-2008)

Frederick "Freddie" D. Hubbard

Trumpeter Freddie Hubbard passes on at age 70.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Tough love or too tough?

From the Press-Telegram:

Tough love or too tough?
Dad punishes son for vandalism by making him advertise his offense
By Pamela Hale-Burns, Staff Writer
Posted: 12/16/2008 09:33:49 PM PST

With his father keeping an eye on him, Dennis Baltimore Jr. walks along Cherry Avenue at Willow wearing the sign advertising his vandalism at Wilson High School. The teen must also perform chores at the school during the winter break. (Scott Smeltzer/Staff Photographer)Cruel and unusual punishment or just good, old-fashioned discipline?

Dennis Baltimore Jr. was caught vandalizing school property at Long Beach's Wilson Classical High School.

He was sentenced by his dad to walk the streets of Long Beach and Signal Hill on Tuesday for five hours in two locations wearing a sign saying, "I am a juvenile delinquent who should be punished. I have wasted your tax money with dumb acts of vandalism in the public schools."

When Dennis Baltimore Sr.'s phone rang Monday, he didn't know the call from his son's school would cost $875, the price of the vandalism.

"In a time of this uncertain economy, I'm sure the public is not going to like it," he said. "So one way I am going to discipline him is to have him walking around with a sign stating his crime."

Baltimore Sr., who works in the engineering department of DirecTV, moved to California a few years ago from Washington, D.C., where he worked for CNN and Fox News. He has a three-day assignment to do video for Fox News for the presidential inauguration in January.

The father got the sign idea from a news story of an unemployed man in New York who recently advertised his resume on a board and walked the streets in search of a job.

"I didn't come up with this idea myself. I want to thank the guy in New York," he said. "When I saw that, I went to the store, bought the supplies and made the sign."

According to his dad, the 10 th-grader was trying to get attention when he painted graffiti of a fictitious gang on school property.

"I was thinking about being a gangbanger, but once I saw what the punishment was, I was like, no," Baltimore Jr. said.

The 16-year-old also cringed from the attention his punishment drew as onlookers laughed, pointed and took pictures while reading the sign.

"I want him to feel all of those things because I want him to always question himself before he makes a decision," his father said. "You have to make conscious decisions. He's a good son; he just made a bad decision, and he has to pay for it."

Baltimore Sr. encourages other parents to take the steps to make a positive difference in their children's lives.

"I'm a concerned parent. I'm frustrated, and I'm sure I'm not alone," he said. "I'm sure there are some other parents who want to take actions like this and I encourage them to do it."

The father knows there will be those who will disagree with the discipline, but he feels that it will change his son's view of responsibility.

"I'm doing what I have to do to make him a man. That's my job," he said. "This is nothing compared to what could happen to him. He could get shot in the streets for something he thinks is minor."

Onlookers agreed.

"It's not harsh; I think it's pretty decent," said Ted Ybarra. "It's a way of disciplining him, for him to be embarrassed and show people what he did wrong."

Baltimore Jr. was suspended for four days, and as part of the school's punishment, he will spend several days of his holiday vacation doing community service at Wilson. He will be painting over graffiti and doing other chores assigned by the school.

"He has to understand that there are consequences and reactions," his father said. "This is a negative reaction."

Another passerby, Adrian Paxton - released from prison in October - believes the punishment will help keep the younger Baltimore out of even worse trouble.

"He won't want to do that again," he said. "And it's better than his dad putting his hands on him and beating him."

Something as simple as a father's involvement could make a major difference in a child's life, Paxton said.

"If my dad had did something like that to me when I was doing my thing, it probably would have helped me," he said.

Spectators' responses helped drive home the father's point.

"He looked embarrassed," said Briana McCoy. "I think he's learned his lesson."

And they just may be right.

"Right now I feel dumb and I regret everything I've done," Baltimore Jr. said. "I know my little sister is going to follow me and I'm going to tell her no."

"I want him to realize this is a crime and he had to answer to that," Baltimore Sr. said. "I want kids to know that what they do, even if they think it's small, there are consequences. This is a felony crime in California."

Although it wasn't his first time vandalizing, the teen said it will definitely be his last.

"I'm really mad, confused and I feel dumb at the same time, but I understand what my dad is saying," he said. "I know he wants me to learn how to be a man and step up to my mistakes and learn by being punished. I did it, but I'm going to do better now. It's not worth it.

"I'm done."


This is nothing but good, OLD SCHOOL parenting.

If the son was so bad and 'tough', then be ' tough' walking around, telling folks what you did.

This is about SHAME. SHAME worked a great deal ' back in the day'.

This young man is lucky he has a father that cares.

BET, TVOne Plan Extensive Inauguration Coverage

From The Associated Press:

BET, TV One plan extensive inauguration coverage
By DAVID BAUDER – 2 hours ago

NEW YORK (AP) — BET and TV One, the television networks aimed primarily at a black audience, haven't paid much attention to presidential inaugurations before. This time will be different.

Both are planning extensive coverage for Jan. 20, when Barack Obama is sworn in as the nation's 44th president. While it will be followed as a news event, network executives said the installation of the first black president will be as much a celebration as a story.

"This is an opportunity to be the best we can be," said Stephen Hill, BET's programming chief. "We see this as an opportunity to inform and inspire our audience, which is what we always try to do."

BET marked President George W. Bush's last inauguration with a news brief, to say "Oh, it happened. What a shame," he said.

This time, BET will cover the swearing-in and parade from four locations, including ground and rooftop sites on Pennsylvania Avenue. Anchoring the coverage will be Hill Harper of CBS' "CSI: NY," former CBS "The Early Show" host Rene Syler and Jeff Johnson, who hosts a weekly BET news program.

The networks will take a particular interest in speaking to people who have traveled to Washington to witness the event. On election night, their ratings peaked shortly after the general news networks declared Obama the winner — when black viewers turned to the stations to soak it in with the people on the air.

"They talked about the emotion of it," said Johnathan Rodgers, TV One's president. "Everyone talked about their own relatives and how they grew up. Almost everyone could not believe that it happened in our lifetime."

TV One plans to follow the inauguration for 21 straight hours, from 6 a.m. EST on Jan. 20 to 3 a.m. EST the next day. Radio talk-show host Joe Madison and Art Fennell of CN8, the Comcast Network, will be the hosts. It's already a big week for TV One: Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday the weekend before marks the fifth anniversary of the network's launch.

With all that time on the air, TV One will do its best to give its audience a real flavor of being there, Rodgers said.

"We will show the parade," he said. "We will not overwhelm the parade with a lot of pundits and other stuff."

The connection between King's work and Obama's election will be a major theme for the networks; BET will speak to King's children for their thoughts on Obama and is making a special, "King to Obama: Repurposing the Dream."

BET is preparing several reports to air during the coverage, including a look at Michelle Obama; on the people who helped elect the new president; on his international appeal; and on his security, asking, "Who is willing to take a bullet for a black man?" BET, as the older of the two networks and the one with the wider reach, believes it has an advantage over TV One because BET is the only one with a news division.

BET will include simple historical explainers about presidential inaugurations throughout the day; the network reasons that many who will be watching have never seen one before.

"This is the first time in a long time a lot of people in our audience feel they are really part of the process of selecting a leader for the United States of America," Hill said.

BET is planning a prime-time entertainment special taped earlier, "Yes We Will: The BET Inaugural Celebration," and will also sponsor its own inaugural ball, which will be featured in live cut-ins. TV One is reporting from the scenes of Obama's inaugural balls from 10 p.m. EST to midnight.

General news networks are still formulating their coverage plans. It's unclear whether reporters will be assigned specifically to cover the black perspective on that day, but it obviously will be a big part of the story, said Paul Friedman, CBS News senior vice president.

"I don't know how you don't cover that story virtually all the way through," he said.

I just can't watch BET. I did watch TVOne's coverage of the DNC Convention and Election Night.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Eartha Kitt Passes Away At Age 81

Kitt's Christmas Classic - Santa Baby


(CNN) -- Singer and actress Eartha Kitt has died, her publicist, Patty Freedman, told CNN on Thursday.

Kitt, 81, died in New York, where she was being treated for colon cancer, Freedman said. Her daughter, Kitt Shapiro, was by her side.

She was performing almost until the end, taping a PBS special six weeks ago in Chicago, Illinois. The show is set to air in February.

Her recording of the saucy Christmas song "Santa Baby" was certified gold last week.

Kitt was well known for her distinctive voice and made a name for herself in her portrayal of Catwoman in the television series "Batman." That role produced Kitt's recognizable sultry cat growl.

She worked in film, theater, cabaret, music and on television during her lengthy career. According to Kitt's official Web site, she was nominated for a Tony three times, a Grammy and Emmy twice.

According to the biography on that site, Kitt lived in Connecticut near her daughter and four grandchildren.

Kitt was ostracized at an early age because of her mixed-race heritage, the biography says. At age 8, she was sent from the cotton fields of South Carolina by her mother to live with her aunt in New York City's Harlem neighborhood, the site said.

As a teen, she auditioned for the famed Katherine Dunham Dance Troupe, was hired as a featured dancer and vocalist, and toured worldwide with the company.

This launched Kitt into a life of roles in the entertainment field.

According to the book "Contemporary Black Biography," she was adored in Europe in the 1950s as a cabaret singer.

In the United States, her dance career led to a critically acclaimed stint on Broadway, including the play "New Faces of 1952," which was later made into a movie.

Broadway stardom landed Kitt a recording deal that led to a string of best-selling records, including "Love for Sale," "I Want to Be Evil," "Santa Baby" and "Folk Tales of the Tribes of Africa." She recorded more than 20 albums, worked in hundreds of television and movie roles, and was invited as a guest to the White House several times.


What it didn't say was that Kitt took a hit professionally in the United States due to her political stances, especially her stance against the Vietnam War. She was able to survive financially because of her ability to work in Europe.

And, of course, she was my favorite Catwoman.


Merry Christmas


(tell us, Linus. Tell us what Christmas is all about.)

Merry Christmas from all of us here at Mirror On America!

You have a wonderful day with family and friends.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

President-Elect Obama's Holiday Youtube Address

Just Some Christmas Videos

(It was never Christmas Season, until I heard Nat King Cole)

Some Oldies:

(The moment I hear this, I just feel like bopping around the house.)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It's A Thin Line Between Love and H8

...At least that’s the case for Gays and Lesbians who overwhelmingly supported Barack Obama for President. Here is a group who loved the former Senator and had hope that he would be an advocate for their rights, even though he was not an all out supporter of “marriage” as a title or as a matter of Government law.
The dustup over Pastor Rick Warren being chosen to participate in Obama’s inaugural ceremony is the latest sign of discontent among Obama’s base. Here is another segment of Progressives who feel betrayed.

Some believe that this was a good move for Obama, because it will pay off in the long run. By triangulating early to get more evangelical support, he will have more latitude to get the kind of legislation he wants from the House and especially the Senate. I’m not so sure that this was a good move. It’s another example of Obama overcompensating in order to widen his appeal. Does he believe that in 2012, he will be able to count on the support of all those he is betraying…. Progressives, Liberal Democrats, Gays & Lesbians, etc? Does he believe that he will be able to gain enough support from Conservatives and Red State Evangelicals by 2012 to make up for the loss of support from many within his own base? Or perhaps he believes that because of the current economic situation, no one is really paying attention to these other issues of “principle” and the fact that he is already going back on many of the campaign promises he made.

I’m not so sure that he can count on Evangelical Conservatives, and traditional Red State Republicans making up for the possible weakening of his own base. Obama runs the risk of having Gays and Lesbians, Liberal Democrats, and Progressives….even a few independents, staying home in 2012. This is especially the case if he doesn’t fix the economy. If he has a lot of failures over the next 4 years, one thing he could rely on would be the loyalty from his base… but he seems to be cashing those chips in early for a Centrist/Right of Center gamble.

I am no staunch supporter of Gay marriage….at least not as a title. Although I believe that there should be Domestic Partnership rights and Federal laws protecting Gays and Lesbians. Now if Gays & Lesbians want to have private ceremonies of their own…they can call it what they want. But I won’t argue that point here…whether Gay marriage is right or wrong. What I want to point out is that I am annoyed that a man could so easily abandon those who have given him so much support and could so easily & quickly abandon principles for the sake of political expediency. That’s bothersome to me.

Rick Warren is a man who was a strong supporter of Proposition 8, the referendum outlawing Gay marriage in California. But in addition to that, Warren has made troubling comments about the Gay and Lesbian community, likening those in that lifestyle to criminals, and child rapists. I understand Obama’s attempts to reach out….but it’s how far he is willing to reach, and how contorted he is willing to get, for his own political benefit that is so troublesome. Even a man who is willing to reach out should be anchored by at least some core principles. Abe Lincoln had them, and Obama is using (at least in part) Lincoln’s reaching out as a basis for his attempt to build a good Cabinet. Reagan also had these core Principles. As did Kennedy, MLK, Mandela, and FDR. All of the great leaders of the past Century were anchored by certain core values and these values typically weren’t for sale. Is this something that Obama is misunderstanding about great leaders and coalition builders…that there are certain values that you should try to avoid abandoning, as well as people you shouldn’t want to abandon?

From what I understand, there were many other Pastors who could have been considered for the inaugural invocation…. Moderate Conservative Pastors who could have accomplished what Obama wanted to accomplish by placating both of the Constituencies that Obama should have been concerned with. Instead, he offended one…and is perceived by some as abandoning one constituency for another.

Yes, this may help Obama in the long run politically… but at the risk of alienating entire segments of the American populace. He runs the risk of looking like a man who is almost too calculating and someone who few will want to trust. When he needs the Progressive vote in 2012 it may be a harder sell. I doubt that the new Republican voters he is campaigning for now will be willing to vote for him in 4 years.

It’s another Obama gamble… in what is becoming a long list of gambles. I have a hard time believing that all of these moves will turn out as he planned.

Random Thoughts and Stories On My Radar....

* The great staff at Think Progress has been keeping track of Bush's last minute efforts to turn back the clock. Will Obama reverse these actions? With Obama's recent efforts to morph into a Republican.... it's hard to really tell what he will do once he is sworn in.

* The American Mafia known as the RIAA has decided to change tactics. Its extortion campaign apparently didn't have the desired impact. But will the new tactics be even worse? We shall see.

* Here's an example of why I don't date Black women. Tyra Skanks Banks celebrated the career of rapper thug Ludacris this past week on her program.... and did the same with another a few weeks ago...treating them as GODS and giving them a heroes welcome on her Talk Show. Of course the dingbats in her audience went wild for the "gangster rappers". This represents the core of why I hate modern Black American culture....and why I have a "Why did God make me Black?" moment at least twice a day.

When I mentioned this to a few black bloggers (women) they saw no problem with the Tyra episodes. No big deal. Black women so often embrace the parts of their culture that degrade them. It's one of the strangest ironies about Black American Culture. It supports the "Black women and their Race to the Bottom" idea.... it is proven right a hundred times a day.

I'll ask again... why are these characters continuously celebrated by Blacks...especially by Black women? Just look at the comments left on the Tyra Banks website (by Black women). These men (rappers in particular) are idolized by Black women. It leaves me scratching my head.

The worst of Black manhood is always pushed to the forefront...and often becomes representative of the "Black male".... which is why I hate waking up everyday as a Black man. It drives me crazy.

* Al Franken has pulled ahead in the Minnesota Senate Recount against incumbent Norm Coleman. It appears that Coleman may have shot himself in the foot with his own recount strategy. Karma indeed.

I guess this will mean 59 Dem votes in the Senate....although it's more like 58, because Lie-berman doesn't really count anymore. But with 58, it may be an easier task to find a few moderate Republicans to support the agenda for the next four years. Of course there are a few Conservative Democrats in the Senate that Obama will also have to convince.

* The Center for Public Integrity recently issued a report listing 128 policy failures of the Bush Administration.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Progressives and Independents

I: Kicking the Left with Impunity

There was an interesting discussion at the Open Left blog today in the wake of Barack Obama picking conservative evangelical pastor Rick Warren to say the convocation at his Presidential inauguration:

[T]here are clear benefits for Democrats who are able to generate public, left-wing outrage against their actions…This is a widely held view, and is openly shared by Democrats as high ranking as Rahm Emanuel. As long as the generation of public, left-wing outrage toward their actions is understood to be politically beneficial to Democrats, then many Democrats will continue to undertake actions that have the direct or indirect goal of generating public, left-wing outrage at their actions. This is pretty straightforward. As long as the cost of annoying progressives is not only zero, but actually a net positive, then Democrats will continue to annoy progressives ad infinitum.

For a solution, the article argues:

Progressives must make the political cost of such actions unacceptable to the Democrats who are willing to undertake such actions for political benefit. At the congressional level, I accept kos's premise that the only means of holding Democrats accountable for angering progressives are primary challenges (sitting on your hands or supporting third-party candidates just doesn't work). Or, to be a bit more accurate, the only way for outsiders like us to engage in progressive accountability for Democrats in Congress is to spend actual resources attacking a member of Congress in his or her district.

The commenter “leftvet” observes:

The only accountability that works for politicians are political consequences. The left is currently unable to exact political consequences on any politician, so we are, of course, ignored or vilified. Chris has summed it up very well. Progressives have no real choice but to continue to support mainstream Democrats, no matter how many times they f**k us over, because there is no other electoral option available to us. The Dems know it, and continue to exploit that situation.

This conversation is fascinating to me on so many levels. As someone who self-identifies as a Progressive, it is truly maddening to witness case after case after case of Democrats kicking Progressive values and politics to the curb once they get elected even after they ran on the promise and symbolism of Progressive idealism. It is as if once elected, the best way to gain political credibility is to take gratuitous potshots at liberals and left-wingers who supported them in elections.

The discussion at Open Left, although it hits upon many of the right points, completely misses a very big point -- not everyone agrees the best strategy to enact a Progressive agenda is to elect Democrats into office. Many people who are potential supporters of any Progressive movement are NOT Democrats, have absolutely no intention of being Democrats, and do not have any particular loyalty to the Democratic Party given the party’s record on many issues Progressives care deeply about.

No one seems to be seriously talking about appealing to and bringing Independents into the fold -- and this comes at a time when satisfaction with government is at an all-time low and the number of people who are self-identifying politically as anything other than Democrats and Republicans is at an all-time high. I don’t claim to be an all-knowing political guru but I am tired of Progressives getting their asses kicked by Democrats in the process of playing by the rules of the game of American electoral politics.

Is the only viable goal for Progressive activism to elect Democrats into office (even if they are better Democrats)?

II: The Fight for Open Primaries

Here’s an idea: how about Leftist Progressive activists join Independents in efforts for radical structural reform? One effort they can join very easily right now is the effort by Independents for Open Primaries. A petition is circulating right now to ask President Barack Obama to:

• Initiate and support federal legislation to create open primaries for election to federal office in all 50 states that guarantees full access for independent voters;

• Establish a Presidential Task Force on Political and Electoral Reform that includes representatives of the broad movement of independent voters to consider sweeping nonpartisan reform of the electoral process and its administration;

• Use the bully pulpit to speak out on the importance of open primaries and the inclusion of independents in all aspects of the electoral and political process.

They are trying to reach 1,000 signatures by Inauguration. This is one way Progressives can get themselves introduced to the burgeoning movement among Independents who, increasingly, are becoming aware of their political potential. It is one way Progressives can form a bridge with Independents to join in an effort they care about (and which stands to benefit voters and political parties who seek a viable alternative to the Democrats).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Attacks on Big Tobacco Continue - Good!

Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that plaintiffs can proceed in state courts against Big Tobacco in their claims that the tobacco companies knowingly misled consumers with claims that light cigarettes would deliver less tar and nicotine.

I'm not a fan of smokers. I have little sympathy for them when they develop cancer or the like. I know I should, but I don't. However, I cannot abide by duplicitous companies that deliberately profit on distortions of the truth.

Keep in mind, the Supreme Court did not rule that what Big Tobacco did was illegal, they simply allowed the suits to proceed in state courts. This is a big blow for the purveyors of cancer sticks - they'll have to defend in court after court now. Oh well, they profit handsomely in China right now. They can afford it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Senator Caroline Kennedy?

From The NYTimes

Caroline Kennedy to Seek Clinton’s Senate Seat
Published: December 15, 2008

Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of an American political dynasty, has decided to pursue the United States Senate seat being vacated by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York. The decision came after a series of deeply personal and political conversations, in which Ms. Kennedy, whom friends describe as unflashy but determined, wrestled with whether to give up what has been a lifetime of avoiding the spotlight.

Kennedy made calls on Monday morning to alert political figures to her interest.

Gov. David A. Paterson of New York confirmed that she was interested in being appointed.

“She told me she was interested in the position,” Mr. Paterson said at a news conference. “She realized it wasnot a campaign, but she was talking to other people because shethought that a number of people, she felt, should know that she’sinterested in the position. She’d like at some point to sit down andtell me what she thinks her qualifications are.”

I have no qualms with this. And Gov. Paterson should make this appointment and be over with it. Kennedy-Schlossberg is as qualified as carpetbagger Hillary Clinton was when she ran, plus, she's an actual New Yorker.

Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education?



I don't want to hear any BS about him hiring the most qualified.

Under no circumstances is Arne Duncan the most qualified person for the job. I will not even entertain the argument.

Duncan's entire career has been nothing but an exercise in White Privilege. There is no Black person, that I have ever seen, get to the levels of this man, without having the BASIC proper credentials.

With all the Black folk who have PhD's in Education, he chooses Duncan, who has a sociology degree.

A sociology degree.

I didn't say Masters in Sociology. I didn't say PhD in Sociology.

He has a damn Bachelors in Sociology.

He is a flunky tool crony choice of King Richard Daley II. He has done nothing for the Chicago Public School system. Not for the children that need it the most.

Bump Hillpatine being Secretary of State, THIS is the worst appointment that Obama has made.

And Black and Brown children - who make up the majorities of the Urban School Population - will have to pay for it.

Edited to say this: I am from Chicago. I have seen, up close and personal, Duncan's mediocrity and the harm he has done to Urban school children. The other folks suggested for Sec. of Education, I didn't know about them. I know Duncan's incompetence.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Iraqi Journalist Throws Shoe At Bush

Book Review: In the Balance of Power

In the Balance of Power: Independent Black Politics and Third Party Movements in the United States by Omar Ali

In the Balance of Power was a fascinating book. It is, on one level, an historical account of African-American participation in the American political process, written from the vantage point of African-Americans’ history as independents -- outsiders to the political system dominated traditionally by two major parties. It starts from slavery in the 1770s, to the Civil War and Reconstruction, to the major hallmarks of U.S. history as it relates to African-Americans’ historical struggle for equality: the collapse of reconstruction, Jim Crow and segregation, the Civil Rights movement, the social and cultural upheavals of the sixties and seventies, through the present-day Independent movement of the Ross Perot era and the various organizations that were offshoots of that effort. It culminates in Barack Obama’s historic, insurgent candidacy and win over Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President in the 2008 Presidential elections.

If one reads the book as a chronological history of African-American political participation, one can still come out with a rewarding experience and perspective. I derived an appreciation for the role of third parties and independent movements in pushing the envelope of political discourse to make certain things we take for granted a reality – the eight-hour workday and civil rights, for example, or womens’ suffrage.

I found myself constantly bowled over by one unexpected historical insight after another on the political activity of African Americans. More than just being passive, oppressed subjects as traditional historical accounts have tended to portray them, African-Americans have a rich history of organized, anti-Establishment political activity dating back to the days of slavery and through modern times.

For most Americans, their familiarity with African-American political activity begins with the Civil Rights Movement, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, etc. But African-Americans, historically, have been active participants in the country’s democratic political institutions even at points when they were most marginalized.

As early as the 1700s all the way to the 1900s and beyond, African Americans were forming political parties, having political conventions, running for office, running sophisticated political campaigns and forging alliances with other insurgent political movements and political parties. Most amazingly, there were actual instances of these efforts winning and African-American candidates taking office as early as the 1800s on the local level and even at the state level.

Most telling were the risks and opposition that these efforts faced which can run along the lines of unfair practices to keep them out of participating in electoral politics, restrictions to ballot access, disenfranchisement of their voting rights, to the more crude threats of lynchings, harassment, death threats, and organized mob violence. Most interestingly, much of this opposition was state-sanctioned and came from the highest levels of the major parties at the time.

I also found insightful the later accounts of African-American political participation in the post-segregation era. Martin Luther King Jr. warned of the perils of over-reliance and dependency on one major political party (in this case, the Democrats) and to pin all of one’s hopes and political efforts in that arena. Ali describes a disconnect between younger generations who do not necessarily have a loyalty to nor a perception of the Democratic Party as being the best vehicle for African-American political expression and the old guard of the Civil Rights era who are overwhelmingly loyal to the Democrats.

This disconnect touches upon my own thoughts and interests as an Independent that I have written about frequently. I do not consider myself a Democrat -- I will support Democratic candidates and politics. But I have found that my brand of Progressive politics plays only a marginal role, at best, in the Democratic Party. Moreover, as a Progressive, I do not see myself in any capacity supporting Republicans. Where does that leave me politically but supporting marginal third parties or not voting at all?

This dilemma mirrors the options Ali laid out (p. 151) on the options to African-American political empowerment in the post-Civil Rights era as they evaluate the role of political participation in their community and the Democratic Party:

1) Instigating Black-led reform of the Democratic Party
2) Forming a Black political party
3) Practicing political eclecticism and putting support on whoever can be most helpful to you at the time
4) Charting a course that is most beneficial to the black community and the Republican Party
5) Following the fusion populist approach: building a base for independent politics among African-Americans and creating coalitions with white independents

In the Balance of Power deserves to have a wide readership. As an academic study and as a work of political analysis the book is an example of top-notch scholarship. More than a scholarly work, the subject matter is timely and relevant to current events as:
Increasingly less tied to the Democratic Party, black voters have been looking for new electoral options in the face of bipartisan failures at home and abroad. Sixty-six percent of all Americans believe that “the nation is on the wrong track;” 89 percent disapprove of the job being done by Congress; 71 percent disapprove of the job being done by the president. Among African-Americans, the feeling and experience are even stronger. Whether people are concerned about the failure of our public schools, our health care system, or the war in Iraq, there is widespread recognition that the two-party establishment is either unwilling or unable to address the current state of affairs in a developmental or democratic manner (Ali, p. 2).

The Liberal Arts Dude gives In the Balance of Power five stars out of five.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Media Alert: White House Week on C-Span

December 14-20, 2008

White House Page at

White House Documentary

On Sunday, December 14 C-SPAN premieres "The White House: Inside America's Most Famous Home," an original feature documentary. The event kicks off a week of programming on the C-SPAN networks & C-SPAN Radio giving viewers the most extensive look at The White House ever on television.

Sunday, December 14th, 9pm EST
The White House: Inside America's Most Famous Home

Monday, December 15th, 9pm EST
White House Tours by Presidents and First Ladies

Tuesday, December 16th, 9pm EST
Behind the Scenes: The Working White House

Wednesday, December 17th, 9pm EST
The White House Gardens and Grounds

Thursday, December 18th, 9pm EST
The Lincoln White House

Friday, December 19th, 9pm EST
Encore documentary presentation followed by The Making of the Documentary

Saturday, December 20th, 9pm EST
Interview with President and Mrs. Bush

"The Malia and Sasha Effect"



The Malia and Sasha Effect
Gwen Ifill

When I was about the age Sasha Obama is now, I received a wonderful present. It was a cocoa-colored baby doll with shiny black hair. So thrilled was I with this tiny little look-alike that I vowed to take very good care of her. This meant never washing her hair so it would remain shiny and straight. (This was the 1960's when sitting by the stove with a hot comb on Saturday night was mandatory.)

Now here come Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, perfectly lovely little brown girls with toothy smiles and brainy parents. They are a delight to watch, but I worry about them a bit because they are still so young. Children living in the White House come of age under the most intense scrutiny. As the girls walked onstage in their little party dresses the night their daddy was elected president, a spotlight shone on them that may never switch off. They are about to become the world's most famous children.

I have been studying them, occasionally up close but mostly from afar. Malia, the older, more serious one, seems most like her father-ever observant and a bit cerebral. Sasha, the younger, is the child who sometimes waves irrepressibly at crowds and at other times hides in the campaign bus when supporters want to sing "Happy Birthday" to her. Mostly they are just children thrust into an impossible limelight when all they want is a dog and perhaps the chance to sneak some contraband ice cream at Grandma's house.

I am taken by what America will now see in these two little brown girls. Not victims, like the little girls who died at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in 1963. Not hoochie mamas, like the Black girls who shake their rumps in music videos. Just two happy, playful, well-adjusted future Black women.

Barack Obama was the one who first got me thinking about the image of these two girls in the White House. It was at a Black journalists convention in 2007 when he mused . about what it would mean for other children to see his daughters running around on the South Lawn. "That changes how America looks at itself," he said. "It changes how White children think about Black children, and it changes how Black children think about Black children."

It is an utterly compelling image-two bright and pretty little girls clearly delighted to be in their parents' com­pany. They are well behaved, and they're shining examples. For me, it's a relief that our daughters have a more realistic reflection of themselves than cocoa-colored dolls.

I agree about the WeeMichelles. To see them, when we get to see them, dressed like little girls, not like wannabeHooochies. Them and that dog. Them meeting their father as he gets off Marine One. So many moments over the next 4, hopefully 8 years.

Jesse Jackson, Jr. on CNN

President-Elect Obama's Weekly Youtube Address

Color me skeptical on this man. Considering that Bloomberg is gentrifying everything, and throwing out working class and middle class people from New York so that they can't afford to live there, I'm skeptical on this choice.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bernard Madoff arrested over alleged $50 billion fraud

From Reuters:

Bernard Madoff arrested over alleged $50 billion fraud
By Edith Honan and Dan Wilchins Edith Honan And Dan Wilchins – Fri Dec 12, 12:40 am ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Bernard Madoff, a quiet force on Wall Street for decades, was arrested and charged on Thursday with allegedly running a $50 billion "Ponzi scheme" in what may rank among the biggest fraud cases ever.

The former chairman of the Nasdaq Stock Market is best known as the founder of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, the closely-held market-making firm he launched in 1960. But he also ran a hedge fund that U.S. prosecutors said racked up $50 billion of fraudulent losses.

Madoff told senior employees of his firm on Wednesday that "it's all just one big lie" and that it was "basically, a giant Ponzi scheme," with estimated investor losses of about $50 billion, according to the U.S. Attorney's criminal complaint against him.

A Ponzi scheme is a swindle offering unusually high returns, with early investors paid off with money from later investors.

On Thursday, two agents for the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation entered Madoff's New York apartment.

"There is no innocent explanation," Madoff said, according to the criminal complaint. He told the agents that it was all his fault, and that he "paid investors with money that wasn't there," according to the complaint.

The $50 billion allegedly lost would make the hedge fund one of the biggest frauds in history.

Rest of story at link above.

He's a straight up THIEF.


How does one steal FIFTY BILLION DOLLARS?

This puts the 'T' in TRIFLING. No room at the Inn for the future First Family

From The

December 12, 2008, 1:11 pm
Sorry, We’re Booked, White House Tells Obamas
By Helene Cooper

Updated 3:12 p.m. CHICAGO—The White House has turned down a request from the family of President-elect Barack Obama to move into Blair House in early January so that his daughters can start school on Jan. 5.

The Obamas were told that Blair House, where incoming presidents usually stay in the five days before Inauguration Day, is booked in early January, a spokesperson to the Obama transition said. “We explored the idea so that the girls could start school on schedule,’ the spokesperson said. “But, there were previously scheduled events and guests that couldn’t be displaced.”

It remained unclear who on Bushes guest list outranked the incoming President.

“It’s not a public schedule,” said Sally McDonough, spokeswoman for First Lady Laura Bush, in refusing to disclose who was staying at Blair House. “It’s not a question of outranking the Obamas. Blair House will be available to them on January 15.”

Ms. McDonough said “there’s nothing more to say other than that it’s not available and won’t be available until January 15.” She added that “you’re trying to make a story out of something that’s not a story.”

A State Department official said he didn’t know of any foreign dignitaries staying at Blair House in early January.

You know, I ....

I'm gonna let MOA readers comment on this.

Roland Martin on Valerie Jarrett and the Senate Seat

From From Roland Martin @

December 12, 2008
The back story of Valerie Jarrett, Illinois U.S. Senate Seat and the White House

No one with President-elect Barack Obama's transition team has identified his close friend and adviser Valerie Jarrett as Senate candidate #1, as mentioned in the criminal complaint against Gov. Rod Blagojevich, but it's clear that she is the person often mentioned.

There is a wide assumption by many that Jarrett "mysteriously" dropped out of the race for the U.S. Senate, and I've even heard some suggest that the Obama team got wind of Blagojevich's alleged scheme to broker a deal for the seat appointment.

But there is nothing mysterious about what happened.

One week before the Nov. 4 election, Jarrett had multiple conversations with Sen. Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, with regards to the Senate position. This was in response to a number of Chicago allies asking her to consider taking an appointment for the remaining two years of the seat.

That doesn't come as a surprise to those familiar with the city's politics. A former top official with Chicago Mayor Richard Daley who is now CEO of a real estate company, she has served in many civic positions, and has had her name mentioned for various posts, including even running for mayor one day.

At the same time, multiple sources have told me that supporters of Jarrett were sending out feelers to black ministers and community activists to gauge the level of interest in her going after the job as a way to solidify support before it coalesced around another candidate or candidates.

Then after Obama's victory, the speculation immediately turned to whether she would go after the job. It was well known that Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. wanted the post, and many were placing bets as to which way Obama would go, especially since the congressman was one of his national co-chairs. It was assumed that Obama would side with Jarrett, but he had not made a decision one way or another on who should take his place in the U.S. Senate.

One of the reasons Obama didn't declare her as his choice for the seat is because he was considering who would serve as his key advisers. Now that he was headed to the White House, his world is even smaller than it was when he was running for president, and he is further walled off from the rest of the world. He often said that Jarrett was one of his most trusted advisers, and having her at his side was important for a variety of reasons.

That's why on November 9, while she was in New York on business, he offered her the job as senior advisor to the president and assistant to the president for intergovernmental affairs and public liaison. This position has her reporting directly to him and places her in the inner sanctum of the president of the United States, and ensures that her voice will be heard on nearly every issue.

I know the date well because on November 10, she confided in me that she had been offered the job, but I couldn't report anything until the announcement was about to be made. I had been working the phones to ascertain what jobs were being offered to a litany of Obama campaign officials, and she was certainly high on the list because of her relationship with Obama.

On November 12, with speculation increasing that she was going after the job, she announced that she was not interested. And on November 14, I reported that she had been officially named to the post. And on November 16, Obama officially resigned his U.S. Senate seat, putting the choice for a replacement into overdrive.

No one still knows whether the Obama camp found out about Blagojevich's alleged wheeling and dealing for the seat. But the notion that Jarrett's decision to drop out of the running because of Pay Rod just doesn't jive with the facts.

Thanks to Roland for telling us this.

Was Jesse Jackson, Jr. Wrong To Do The Press Conference?

I was listening to Hardball today, and I saw the guy from BET (I would get into it how I can't see Ron Daniels, Ron Walter, Charles Ogletree, Bev Smith, etc. as political commentators, yet get someone from BET.....but I disgress.) said that Jesse Jr. took a wrong turn with the Press Conference, and seeing as he had spent the last decade running away from being like his father, that this was JUST like his father.

Do you agree or disagree about the Press Conference.


I don't know. I think Jr. was damned either way any how from the moment this broke, in that he was attached to this in any way. He should have taken the hint when an ambitious weasel like Luis Gutierrez bowed out - that was the neon sign to run for the hills.

I want to make it clear. I've been pretty upfront. I thought Jackson, Jr. SHOULD get the Senate seat. He was more than qualified for it. I understood the apprehensions - could he actually win votes downstate? I had serious doubts about it myself, but I thought the 2 year headstart that he would have, proving himself on the job, plus doing old-fashioned retail politics, I gave him a 50/50 chance in 2010. I knew nobody would work harder to win over those downstate doubters. I knew his wife would be a big help - she is a smart, charming, disarming woman. I thought the two of them would pretty much live downstate if he got the appointment.

But, Jr. broke the cardinal rule for Black folks, and you know what it is - you can't have a whiff of corruption around you. He already had 1 1/2 strikes against him because his last name was Jackson. This mess this week - well, it just shortcircuited his ambition for a decade. And, I think that's a damn shame.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Auto Bailout Talks Collapse In the Senate

From The New York Times:

Auto Bailout Talks Collapse in the Senate
Published: December 11, 2008
Filed at 11:36 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A $14 billion emergency bailout for U.S. automakers collapsed in the Senate Thursday night after the United Auto Workers refused to accede to Republican demands for swift wage cuts.

The collapse came after bipartisan talks on the auto rescue broke down over GOP demands that the United Auto Workers union agree to steep wage cuts by 2009 to bring their pay into line with Japanese carmakers.

Majority Leader Harry Reid said he hoped President George W. Bush would tap the $700 billion Wall Street bailout fund for emergency aid to the automakers. General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC have said they could be weeks from collapse. Ford Motor Co. says it does not need federal help now, but its survival is far from certain.

The White House said it was evaluating its options in light of the breakdown.

''It's disappointing that Congress failed to act tonight,'' a White House statement said. ''We think the legislation we negotiated provided an opportunity to use funds already appropriated for automakers and presented the best chance to avoid a disorderly bankruptcy while ensuring taxpayer funds only go to firms whose stakeholders were prepared to make difficult decisions to become viable.''

The Senate rejected the bailout 52-35 on a procedural vote -- well short of the 60 required -- after the talks fell apart.

The implosion followed an unprecedented marathon negotiations at the Capitol among labor, the auto industry and lawmakers who bargained into the night in efforts to salvage the auto bailout at a time of soaring job losses and widespread economic turmoil.

The group came close to agreement, but it stalled over the UAW's refusal to agree to wage cuts before their current contract expires in 2011. Republicans, in turn, balked at giving the automakers federal aid.

Reid called the bill's collapse ''a loss for the country,'' adding: ''I dread looking at Wall Street tomorrow. It's not going to be a pleasant sight.''

''In the midst of already deep and troubling economic times, we are about to add to that by walking away,'' said Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., the Banking Committee chairman who led negotiations on the package.

I have watched, as the Republican Rat Bastards and their ilk in the media, have attacked the Auto Industry, mainly by maligning the unions.

Because, that's what this is all about.

Those lowlife mofos, want to bust the auto unions. They want everyone to live in constant and consistent fear of losing their jobs, and being abused as they are in those plants in the south. Mofos like Richard Shelby want all states to be as ass-backwards as his Alabama.

They didn't say SHIT about how much the folks on Wall Street were making. BUt a blue collar guy, making a decent wage, oh no, we can't have that, now can we.

I'm so mad about this, I can barely type.

There are MILLIONS of jobs attached to the auto industry. But, these blood sucking mofos could care less. They could care less about the American Worker making a living that is actually decent. That has something like benefits. That has a wage where he can live with his family, and maybe even save up.

Have the auto companies been mismanaged? Of course they have. Nobody doubts this.

But, to listen to the constant refrain of the GOP rat bastards trying to place this on the UAW - fuck that.

I want all those ' working Americans, White Americans' to take good, hard look and see who wants to make you all serfs of the corporations. Every last one of them mofos has an ' R' behind their names.

We have a Mainstream Media that is too pathetic, and probably doesn't even know anyone whose family has made a living. Whose family got out of poverty and into the middle class because of those union jobs. This is what I mean about having ideological diversity on the Obama economic team. Give me a couple of folks who have FAMILY that actually WORKS in this country, over 5 more Chicago PhDs.

Rachel Maddow says it nicer:

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Obama's Grassroots Network

The Other Transition: Whither Obama's Movement?
By Micah L. Sifry, from Personal Democracy Forum
While most of the country's attention is focused on the transition underway in Washington, another vitally important transition is taking place right now in Chicago. I'm referring, of course, to the future of the Obama movement and network, or what some organizers refer to as "OFA2" (as in, Obama for America II). Thanks to reporting by Peter Wallsten in the Los Angeles Times, we know that "This weekend, hundreds of field staffers and some key volunteers are planning a marathon closed-door summit at a Chicago hotel to begin negotiating details of what the network might look like when Obama takes office in January. A group of field organizers from battleground states has been enlisted to draw up a plan."

What exactly is going on? The Obama people are saying very little. For a team that has been refreshingly open about the transition in Washington--not only posting an extensive list of transition staffers and donors but inviting public comments on top issues like health care and the economy, letting everyone see those comments and rate their value, beginning to engage in open dialogue via YouTube and mass conference calls and community discussions, posting the names of the outside groups lobbying the transition as well as the text of their position papers, asking for comments on same--the transition to OFA2, which seems to be de facto centered in Chicago, has been a totally top-down, one-way affair.

Yes, the Obama political team has been asking for input from its supporters about the future of OFA2. features a big online "supporter survey" and the campaign (I guess that's what we still have to call it) has urged supporters to schedule local "Change is Coming" house parties for the weekend of December 13-14. "These meetings offer supporters a chance to reconnect with one another and talk about the issues that are most important to them," says Obama staffer Christopher Hass, "as well as an opportunity to discuss what they can do to support Barack's agenda and how they can continue to make an impact in their own communities....Your input, through the online surveys and through these upcoming house meetings, will help guide the future of this grassroots movement."

But what kind of guidance can isolated individuals and disconnected house parties give, other than vague affirmations of the need for "change" and their desire to pitch in?

Full article at the Personal Democracy Forum

Obama and the Courts

If you'll notice, the tenor of our political discussions have mellowed since November 4th. Partly, this is because the mass media has stopped covering politics 24/7, partly this is because Sarah Palin isn't whipping her supporters into a frenzy calling PEBO a "socialist" who "palls around with terrorists," and partly because many conservatives are pleased with Obama's transition effort - to date.

Obama is building his political capital. He knows that liberal and moderates will give him a few month honeymoon when he takes the oath of office on January 20, but he can extend his honeymoon by making the occasional overture to conservatives. Keeping Gates on as Sect. of Defense and Paul Volcker to be one of his economic advisers does this.

In so doing, many are already talking of Obama building an era of post-partisanship. We should only be so lucky.

Governor Rod Blagojevich Has Been Arrested

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has been arrested on corruption charges.

He was caught on FBI wiretaps just within the past few weeks.... wiretaps that (if he had a brain) he had to have known were likely put in place for the other accusations he faced. How stupid can this man be? Apparently he was caught attempting to sell Obama's open Senate seat.

Meanwhile.....Obama's FBI briefing has been Cancelled!

Apparently Rezko did a lot of talking about Blagojevich as part of his agreement with the Court.

From the Politico:

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was captured on tape saying that unless he received “something real good” for the appointment of a top adviser to Barack Obama to fill the president-elect’s Senate seat he would appoint himself, according to the criminal complaint.

“Unless I get something real good [for Senate candidate 1], s***, I’ll just send myself, you know what I’m saying,” Blagojevich was taped saying on November 3rd, the day before Election Day.

Blagojevich, a Democrat, added that the Senate seat “is a f***ing valuable thing, you just don’t give it away for nothing.”

Continue reading the Politico report

Patrick Fitzgerald - a Federal Prosecutor who no politician should ever want to face off with - is doing a number on Blagojevich. In addition to being really really stupid Blago is also turning out to be one of the most corrupt politicians in modern history.

One of the subjects of the wiretapped phone calls was apparently a member of Obama's new White House staff.

A major part of the Chicago (and State of Illinois) political machine has been toppled today....and it's not clear how much (if at all) Obama will be ensnared in all this. I had been following the story of Blago's corruption scandal off and on for the past few months...and apparently this was a huge investigation....involving a lot of people. The net was apparently pretty wide. We shall see.

More Updates to Come Throughout the Day


See a copy of the official criminal complaint (pdf)

I'm still reading through the court papers... tons of charges

See report from the UK Times

See a timeline of the investigation from the Chicago Tribune


"Feel Free To Tape My Conversations" -- Blago just a day before his arrest.


He also states... "I have nothing but Sunshine hanging over me".

Well Blago... it looks like you will have more than Sunshine hanging over you... in Prison. Perhaps a new boyfriend will be hanging over you... under you...and all around you in that cage. That's if they don't send you to one of those fancy low security College Dorm prisons....also known as "Club Fed".

And then he says.... (paraphrasing) "any efforts by others to record him and get him on something smells like Nixon and Watergate" Well Blago.... It's actually YOU who smells like Nixon and Watergate. You and your Chief of Staff John Harris.

This guy is unbelievable!


The Official Press Conference with Patrick Fitzgerald, announcing the arrest.

See video of Fitzgeralds Full Statement


"If Illinois is not the most corrupt State in the Country it is certainly one hell of a competitor" - FBI SAC Robert Grant (See clip)


Illinois State Legislature to begin impeachment proceedings immediately.


A silver lining for Obama in all of this?

Reports suggest that Obama "would not play ball" in Blagojevich's scheme....and that Raum Emmanuel may have aided Federal authorities.

Well I would hope that they wouldn't be stupid enough to take part in this...especially at this point. Common sense would tell you not to get involved with someone who is likely under FBI surveillance and possibly being wiretapped. It just shows that they (unlike Blago) had enough brains to recognize the obvious.