Monday, March 31, 2008

Senator Klobuchar Endorses Senator Obama

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar announced her endorsement of Senator Barack Obama Sunday, becoming the second female senator to endorse him as the Democratic presidential nominee. She said Senator Obama represents the kind of change she ran on. Senator Klobuchar joins Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, who endorsed Obama in January. Overall, Obama has the support of 13 senators; all superdelegates who could help decide the election. Senator Hillary Clinton also has the support of 13 senators, including six women.

The superdelegates little by little are starting to slip over to Senator Obama’s side as they worry that the long campaign might divide the party and that they need to decide on one candidate, especially since it is mathematically impossible for Senator Clinton to catch up to Senator Obama in the remaining primaries. In another indignity, Pennsylvania Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr., (Senator Clinton’s home turf), who had vowed to remain neutral, joined the Obama bandwagon on Friday.

This gathering momentum has forced the Clintons into Hail Mary arguments, causing even some confidants to wonder about their logic or real aims. Bill Clinton recently pointed out that she was ahead in the popular vote in primaries, as opposed to caucuses — essentially saying she’s ahead in contests she has won (duh). “They’re trying everything, and nothing is sticking,” said a Clinton family adviser. “It is possible she’s trying to leverage all this into a spot on the ticket.”

HUD Secretary Resigns

Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Alphonso Jackson, the Bu$h administration’s top housing official resigned today. Mr. Jackson said his resignation will take effect on April 18 to ensure an orderly transition of the leadership of HUD. The move comes at a shaky time for the economy and the Bush administration, as the housing industry's crisis has imperiled the nation's credit markets and led to a major economic slowdown. He was also under criminal investigation and intense pressure from Democratic critics.

Mr. Jackson has been fending off allegations of special treatment and preference given to friends and favoritism involving HUD contractors for the past two years. The FBI has been examining the ties between Jackson and a friend who was paid $392,000 by Jackson's department as a construction manager in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The HUD chief cited personal and family matters as his reason for resigning. He did not take questions or elaborate on the family reasons he cited for the decision.

President Bush said he accepted Jackson's resignation "with regret." Jackson has a friendship with President Bush that dates to the late 1980s, when they lived in the same Dallas, Texas neighborhood. He was the first Black leader of the housing authority in Dallas and president of American Electric Power-TEXAS in Austin. Jackson said he has spent more than 30 years of his life improving housing opportunities for all Americans regardless of income or race.

In another controversy, the housing authority in Philadelphia has filed a lawsuit alleging that Mr. Jackson tried to punish the agency for nixing a deal involving music-producer-turned-developer Kenny Gamble, a friend of Jackson. At a congressional hearing this month, Jackson repeatedly refused to answer questions about the Philadelphia redevelopment deal. Last year, the inspector general at Jackson's department found what it called "some problematic instances" involving HUD contracts and grants, including Jackson's opposition to money for a contractor whose executives donated exclusively to Democratic candidates. The HUD inspector general found that Jackson blocked the money "for a significant period of time." Jackson blamed his own aides for the delay. In 2006, Jackson triggered the inquiry when he said publicly that he revoked a contract because the applicant said he did not like President Bu$h.

This is another in a series of Bu$h’s good old boys using their position to manipulate the system and showing a complete disregard for the welfare of citizens of the United States.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

LA Times Investigates Tupac Documents

The editor of the Los Angeles Times said the newspaper will conduct an internal investigation (yeah, right, investigate yourself) concerning the authenticity of documents used in a story that implicate associates of Sean "Diddy" Combs in a 1994 assault on Tupac Shakur. The editor said he ordered the review after the editor of the Web site The Smoking Gun told the newspaper he had reason to doubt the validity of the FBI records that were supposed to back up the story. The Smoking Gun said the documents seemed phony because they appeared to be written on a typewriter instead of a computer, included blacked-out sections not typically found in such documents, and other reasons. The Smoking Gun story claims the documents were created by a convicted con man and music fan with a history of exaggerating his place in the rap music world.

Diddy denies that he had any prior knowledge of or involvement in the 1994 robbery and shooting of Tupac at a New York recording studio. The Times said its March 17 story was based on FBI records, interviews with people at the scene of the 1994 shooting, and statements to the FBI by an informant. None of the sources was named. So you can basically trash anyone as long as you use the unnamed source alibi. This is how the media run stories when they do not have all the information, but still want a hot story. The story said associates hoping to get favor with Diddy — who was overseeing Notorious B.I.G.'s white-hot career at the time — lured Tupac to the studio because of his disrespect toward them. The 1994 shooting triggered the infamous feud between East and West Coast rappers that led to the killings of Tupac and B.I.G.

The Times as yet has not responded to a request for a retraction from Diddy’s attorney, Howard Weitzman. The March 17 story and related features on attracted nearly 1 million hits — more viewers than any other story on this year, the newspaper said. So, true or false they have already generated lots of cash.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Michelle Obama on Newsweek Cover

Received from my wife via E-mail:
"This week make sure you purchase a copy of Newsweek Magazine with Ms. Michelle Obama on the cover. I am VERY proud to see this beautiful, intelligent, African American woman on the cover of this internationally renowned magazine. GO TODAY, TOMORROW, or by THURSDAY and PURCHASE a copy of this publication. Make your voice and dollar count by making the newsstand sales of this issue surpass not only their projected sales but make history. We have to continue to tell the media that WE DO PURCHASE and READ magazines featuring People of Color on their covers and this is a POSITIVE thing to do, not only for the 'political correctness' of it, but because we are AMERICANS of influence, power, and our presence 'Moves the proverbial needle' and sells product ( and not just CD's, Movies, Liquor, and Clothes).

Every day we are bombarded with images of African American women NAKED and DEGRADED. As Americans, we have sent images around the world that shows Black Women as objects and mindless subjects for men's pleasure. So it's a GREAT balance of TRUTH to have Ms. Obama standing Strong, powerful, and WITH A SMILE on the COVER of NEWSWEEK. Support this issue with your DOLLARS and let this media company know. GOOD JOB!!!!!"

Senator Clinton Tries to Reignite Wright Controversy

Wow, just when I thought a new era of politics was being ushered in, up pops the same old same old. Evidently we have not left the old political ways that you say or do whatever you have to say to get elected. Well I am speaking only on the Democratic side only; I know the Republicans are digging in the trash can looking for dirt. But, what are voters supposed to believe about Senator Hillary Clinton’s back-handed criticism of Senator Barack Obama’s decision not to disown the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Jr., his former longtime pastor?

After two weeks of acting as if the cat had her tongue, Clinton coyly told reporters on Tuesday that "he [Pastor Wright] would not have been my pastor. You don't choose your family, but you choose what church you want to attend," she said. Nicely said for a person without loyalty to anyone but themselves. Senator Clinton is the type of person that would not only throw her friends under the bus, but would back up and run over them again. When she said that she was happy to have the discussion about race, it seemed as she would be taking the high road. Now as soon as Senator Clinton is caught in a lie, she tries to turn the attention to non-issue. Instead of following Senator Obama's lead and using this incident to seek racial reconciliation, Senator Clinton is further fanning the flames by attempting to paint herself as the more racially sensitive candidate. "You know, I spoke out against Don Imus, saying that hate speech was unacceptable in any setting, and I believe that," Clinton said. "I just think you have to speak out against that." Since Senator Obama has already spoken out against Wright's remarks, Senator Clinton is simply trying to milk the controversy for political advantage.

Indeed, the fact that Senator Clinton found her voice on this issue on the same day she was outed as having “misstated” her Bosnia experience is merely a coincidence. Isn’t it funny how the conversation came up at the same time some of the media were grilling her about her blown up account of her 1996 Bosnia trip? Her explanation that she “misspoke” and that she was “sleep-deprived” when she retold the bogus incident (more than once) about having to run for cover from sniper fire after landing in Bosnia is noting but a flat out LIE!! After video footage show she and Chelsea leisurely walking and talking to reporters her memory suddenly come back. Anyone who has ever had to dodge gunfire as Senator Clinton claimed to have done would certainly remember it very well.

I find it insulting that some politicians think the American people are idiots; in fact they depend on us being idiots. That is how the get elected. But what I find depressing is that some Black folks still refer to former President Bill Clinton as the first Black president. Just like her husband, who became unglued in South Carolina and began exploiting our racial divisions, Hillary Clinton is playing the same game. The Clintons are no strangers to the Black church when they are campaigning. They have heard some of these same sermons. Now Senator Clinton says that Pastor Wright wouldn't be her pastor but why then was he, along with other Black pastors, invited to the White House when President Clinton had his personal problems. She knows that Senator Barack Obama went as far as he could go in addressing this issue, and that he has left it up to the voters to decide. The Clinton strike Tuesday was a shameful attempt to manipulate those voters. Given that Senator Clinton is embracing the support of the Pennsylvania governor who has publicly declared that White men in Pennsylvania won't vote for a Black man, she isn't the one to talk. I guess the saying that Pennsylvania is made up of Philadelphia and Pittsburg and everything between them is 1960’s Alabama. Hillary Clinton is from Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Governor Richardson Backs Senator Obama

Senator Barack Obama won a coveted endorsement from former Democratic presidential candidate and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson on Friday. The backing from the Hispanic governor is a victory for Senator Obama and could improve his chances of winning over Latino voters who have leaned toward Senator Hillary Clinton. Typical for the Clinton campaign, one of her advisers dismissed the endorsement as not significant at this stage in the race, especially when each candidate is trying to win over as many superdelegates. Actually this bring Senator one step closer to gaining the Democratic nomination.

Governor Richardson, who served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and energy secretary during the Clinton administration, chose to abandon the former president and his wife, saying it was time for a new generation to lead. He told Senator Obama that his candidacy was a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our nation and that he was a once-in-a-lifetime leader, as he stood next to the senator in Oregon. Both Senators Obama and Clinton had sought out Governor Richardson's backing in part because the Hispanic politician could gather support among the Hispanic community, the fastest-growing segment of voters and a vital voting bloc.

Governor Richardson praised a speech that Senator Obama gave on race earlier this week and said it touched him as a Hispanic. "This is a man who understands us and who will respect us," he said in Spanish. Hispanics largely backed Senator Clinton in nominating contests on "Super Tuesday," with polls showing her winning two-thirds of the Latino vote in several states, and it was unclear whether they might shift to Senator Obama because of Governor Richardson's endorsement. While saying his "great affection and admiration for Senator Clinton and President Clinton will never waver," Richardson added: "It is now time for a new generation of leadership to lead America forward." A skilled negotiator and diplomat, the popular governor has been mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate or secretary of state in a Democratic administration. Wouldn't that be something; a Black/Brown president/vice president team?

If things go the way they have in this campaign, look for the Clinton campaign to come back with some sensational in the next few days to try something negative against the Obama campaign.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

State Fires Two for Looking at Obama File

Two contract employees for the State Department have been fired and a third disciplined for inappropriately looking at Democratic Senator Barack Obama's passport file, a spokesman said. The spokesman said the department itself detected the instances of "imprudent curiosity," which occurred separately on January 9, February 21 and March 14. He would not release the names of those who were fired and disciplined. (And why not?) Bill Burton, a spokesman for Senator Obama's presidential campaign, called for a complete investigation.

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

The spokesman said it was not immediately clear what the contract employees may have seen in the records or what they were looking for. He said he did not know the names of the companies they worked for. The department has informed Obama's Senate office of the breach, and a personal briefing for the senator's staff was scheduled for Friday.

This is something straight out of WATERGATE! This is out and out criminal activity and you don't fire buglary suspects, you arrest them. And what a big fat lie that they don’t know what company they worked for. Is security that slack in Washington, D.C.? Do you mean to tell me that some unnamed people who work for some unknown contract company can just dig into a United States Senator’s files at will? (Contract = code for CIA or NSA). How do you know they were looking in his passport file or that they didn’t look at other personal information? Maybe Dr. Wright wasn’t that far off in his statements.

NBA Star Works to Stop Darfur Killings

The Chicago Bulls’ Luol Deng knows the stakes in the Sudan all too well; He was born there, and he and his family ended up fleeing the African nation for their lives. The refugee-turned-NBA star drew on that personal history recently to appeal for help to stop the bloodshed in Sudan’s Darfur region, where civil strife has left more than 200,000 dead. “We all need to put a stop to this and do whatever we can to stop this”, he told a crowd at a downtown Chicago rally. “I just hope more people will get involved. The 22 year old Deng briefly told how he had left for Egypt at 5 years old.

Other speakers called on China, one of Sudan’s closest allies, to use its influence to end the crisis that has also displaced 2.5 million people. Some activists have even called for boycotts of this year’s Olympics, to be held in Beijing, unless China acts.

Fighting in Darfur began in 2003 when rebels from Black African tribes took up arms, after years of oppression by Sudan’s Arab-dominated government. The government has been accused of unleashing Arab tribal militias against civilians in a campaign of murder, rape and arson.

Deng and his family settled in England when he was ten. “As a refugee, life was tough, but I know it was a lot better than what I would have had if we had never left the Sudan,” said Deng. The six foot nine inch tall Deng is a member of the Dinka tribe that produces many of the tallest people in the world. His father, Aldo, served in the Sudanese parliament and became the country’s Minister of Transportation before escaping to Egypt to avoid Sudan’s civil war. While in Egypt, he was taught basketball by former NBA player Manute Bol, who is also a member of the Dinka tribe. In 1993, Deng’s father was granted political asylum in England.

Deng, who played college basketball at Duke, and is also a member of the Great Britain national team, has been active in several programs providing aid to Africa. Luol is one of nine children; His older brother plays professional basketball in England; another brother, Ajou, played college basketball at Fairfield and Connecticut and his sister, Arek, played college basketball at Delaware. He is very active in the Bulls’ charitable efforts; member of the Bulls’ All-Star Reading Team and participated in the team’s Read To Achieve program; awarded the Charles Lubin Award in October of 2006 for his dedication to community service; coordinated the 2nd Annual Luol Deng Thanksgiving Dinner at the Pacific Garden’s Mission Gospel League Home; made a personal donation to the Bulls’ Holiday Food Drive and Spring Food Drive; attended event honoring the Lost Boys of Sudan and Sudanese Heritage Event in January of 2007; serves as spokesperson for the World Food Program and also for the Nothing But Nets initiative, a grassroots effort to prevent malaria by delivering long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets; received the NBA’s Community Assist Award in April of 2007; during the past three off seasons he has organized a summer basketball camp sponsored by Nike in London, England for NBA hopefuls; received the 2006-07 NBA Sportsmanship Award; was a part of the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders tour to Africa in the summer of 2006 and to Europe and Asia in 2007.

Why is it that we only hear about professional athletes in trouble with the law and all the other negative media hype when many more are doing great things similar to these? It is because this does not sell newspapers, magazines and TV commercial time.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Senator Obama's Speech Echoes Kennedy's 1960 Speech on Religion

In his speech on racism in America Senator Barack Obama tried to do for race what President John F. Kennedy did for religion. The Democratic presidential candidate yesterday attempted in Philadelphia to quell a firestorm set off by incendiary sermons made in past years by his former pastor and adviser, and to challenge Americans to transcend racial prejudices. While the speech Senator Obama delivered is unlikely to win over those who oppose his candidacy because of his race, it may serve a similar purpose as Kennedy's address to Protestant ministers in Houston in 1960 -- easing concerns among some voters about his core beliefs, analysts and historians said.

Senator Obama's speech ``made clear that his own views differed'' from those expressed by his longtime pastor, just as Kennedy made clear that a Catholic president would not answer to the Vatican, said Ted Sorensen, 79, an Obama supporter who helped Kennedy write the Houston speech that was a turning point in his race for the White House. ``The parallels with Kennedy instantly came to mind,'' said political scientist Stephen Hess of the Washington-based Brookings Institution who was a speechwriter for President Dwight Eisenhower.

Senator Obama said, ``Reverend Wright's comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity.'' He added, however: ``I can no more disown him than I can disown the Black community. I can no more disown him than I can disown my White grandmother -- a woman who helped raise me, a woman who loved me more than anything and who also made racist remarks that made me cringe.” Obama said his own mixed heritage has taught him that ``we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together -- unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes.'' In his 1960 speech, Kennedy voiced similar hopes, saying he believed in ``an America where religious intolerance will someday end, where all men and all churches are treated as equals'' and where ``there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote, no bloc voting of any kind.''

In 1960, Catholics comprised almost a quarter of the American electorate, and most experts believe that Kennedy gained as much with Catholic voters as he may have lost with some Protestants. Today, Blacks comprise about 10 percent of U.S. voters and have overwhelmingly voted for Senator Obama, but contrary to what the media constantly fails to report is that he has done well in states very few Black, i.e. Idaho, Wyoming, Iowa; instead they focus on his struggle in many states to carry white male voters.

And the assault on Senator Obama, for his connection to Reverend Jeremiah Wright, from some Republicans and Democrats isn't likely to cease. Ralph Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition, said Obama -- by trying to justify Wright's comments as a legacy of bitterness among Blacks who grew up in the era of segregation -- didn't go far enough to condemn the pastor's words. It was ``an enormous missed opportunity to really assert as a very articulate and capable African-American leader how damaging Wright's expressions of hatred and animosity are to the African-American community itself,'' Reed said. (This coming from a man who criticized Gandhi; His name should never be linked with the word “Christian” – it is an insult to the term). I am pleased that Senator Obama did not throw his pastor under the bus as most politicians would have. He condemned the word but would not and should not condemn the man. This is a fundamental Christian principle that he undoubtly learned under the ministry of Dr. Wright; condemn the sin while loving and trying to correct the sinner. This shows how little conservative White America knows about Blacks in this country. Dr. Wright is well respected in religious circles throughout the U.S. and you can not judge a person for a 30 second sound bite out of a lifetime of achievement and good in the community. And let us not forget, sermons similar to this can be heard in any number of inner city churches throughout America. The civil right movement started in the Black church?

Harris Wofford, a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania who advised Kennedy on civil rights, said the barriers Obama has to overcome are higher and the message he was trying to convey more complicated than was Kennedy's. Senator Obama's speech "was aimed at White people who are having a hard time in our economy and may be distracted by the old fears related to race," Wofford, who introduced Obama at the National Constitution Center, said in an interview. It was also directed at Black people who are ``seeing everybody telling them that these White workers are voting against a Black man because he's Black.'' Race is ``in some ways a far more significant issue than Catholicism was for JFK,'' agreed Hess. ``We fought a Civil War over this one. This was a much more complicated message.'' Sorensen said while President Kennedy's address was critical in allaying the suspicions of many Protestants, there were some ``anti-Catholic bigots'' who were unconvinced. Today, he said, those who oppose Senator Obama for his race ``are probably going to continue in their bigoted attitudes.'' Exactly!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Obama: Our Country Has a Choice

Senator Barack Obama sought today to quell the most threatening controversy of his historic presidential campaign, detailing his relationship with his church and his background as a multiethnic American and presenting his candidacy as an attempt to put aside generations of racial divisions and start solving problems. In a speech delivered in a city settled by Quakers who envisioned a race-neutral society, Senator Obama explained the inflammatory comments by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright as reflective of the times in which the 66-year-old pastor grew up and “a racial stalemate we’ve been stuck in for years.”

Drawing a link between anger that has consumed both Blacks and Whites, Senator Obama said the country has a choice: It can continue to argue over race as a distraction, or “at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, ‘Not this time.’ The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we’ve never really worked through — a part of our union that we have yet to perfect," Obama said. "And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American."

He acknowledged that Wright’s comments belittle the “greatness and goodness of our nation,” and was offensive to Whites and Blacks. “I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy,” Obama said. “For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely — just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.” But Obama reiterated once again that he would not severe ties from Pastor Wright or his church. “As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me,” he said. “He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat Whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect.”

The speech was described by some as an attempt to discuss the issue of race. But it was about much more: It was a snapshot of the Black experience in America, and the common threads of their struggles with those of Whites, the love of country; It was about political toughness and campaign survival. For weeks, if not months, questions have been raised about Obama’s patriotism, a story line fueled by a picture of him not placing his hand over heart during the national anthem, his decision not to wear an American flag pin on his lapel and his wife’s statement that his candidacy made her truly proud of her country for first time in her adult life. The Wright sermons have intensified the criticism. His speech was directed to the audience there in Philadelphia, but also to the superdelegates, who are looking for signs that Senator Obama can emerge relatively unharmed from the biggest challenge yet to his candidacy.

The location carried broader significance. Pennsylvania, the next state on the primary calendar, reflects the demographics that Obama most needed to reach with this speech. Census figures show the population is older and less diverse than other key swing states and the United States as a whole (basically the same dynamics as Ohio, which he lost to Senator Clinton).

Senator Obama has used the church to explain who he is and to vouch for his Christianity against continued e-mails falsely claiming he is Muslim. In states with large numbers of churchgoers, Senator Obama draws wild applause when he tells crowds that “I praise Jesus every Sunday.”

He has used Pastor Wright’s teachings — even using a variation of his sermon as the title for his second book The Audacity of Hope — to inform his political worldview. But from the moment Senator Obama announced his candidacy more than a year ago, his affiliation with Pastor Wright and Trinity United Church of Christ have helped fuel a low-level crusade of bloodsucking bloggers aimed at raising questions about his message of hope and racial unity and his own patriotism.

Senator Obama has rarely chosen to deal with race in as direct of terms as he did today. But what he did was to now cause America to look at itself in the mirror and ask are we really ready for change or should I keep my head buried in the sand and no notice the changing world around me. He laid bare his multiethnic, multiracial background, describing in blunt terms that he was the son of a Black man from Kenya and a White woman from Kansas. He was raised by his White grandparents. “I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slave owners — an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters,” Obama said. “I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.”

I believe this was one of the most presidential speeches that Senator Barack Obama has given. This was by no means a "feel good" speech, this was a speech about the reality of race in America. He was very honest and clear about his positions. This was undeniably one of the best speeches in recent history. So many issues were addressed that I believe it will be weeks before all the critics have an opportunity to address all the subject matter. It raised many questions that America needs to think about seriously. They will say that he didn’t say enough. They will ask why he decided to stay under such a racist pastor. They will totally overlook 90% of the substance that the speech contained, and therefore will miss this major opportunity to have serious conversation about race in America. It is so much more convenient to write off Rev. Wrights comments as racial and condemn Senator Obama than it is to search for the validity in the statements, and examine why they were felt in the first place. Senator Obama made a very strong point when he said that this discussion happens in barbershops and kitchen tables in Black communities across America. People need to realize that this sentiment is real, regardless of how they personally feel about it. It is my sincerest hopes that people actually begin the discussion and not just pick it apart and disregard its points. Oftentimes truth is hard to swallow, so we just ignore the realities of life. That is why they tell people that you cannot fix something unless you first admit that a problem exists. We will see the way people try and spin this. Will America accept the challenge?

Who is Pastor Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.

Reverend Doctor Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. was born in Philadelphia on September 22, 1941. His father, Jeremiah Wright, Sr, was a Baptist minister, who pastored Grace Baptist Church, from 1938 to 1980. He completed his elementary education in that city and then went to Virginia Union University, a historically black school (HBUC). After three and a half years at Virginia Union, Pastor Wright left school and entered the United States Marine Corps. He transferred from the USMC into the United States Navy where he served as a cardiopulmonary technician. After six years in the military, Pastor Wright transferred to Howard University where he received a bachelor's degree in 1968 and a Master’s degree in English in 1969. His second Master’s Degree was from the University of Chicago Divinity School. His Doctorate was received from the United Theological Seminary. In addition to Pastor Wright is the recipient of eight honorary doctorates.

Reverend Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. became Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ (TUCC), a largely Black megachurch located Chicago, on March 1, 1972. Within a matter of months he demonstrated an understanding and deep commitment to help TUCC achieve its motto and vision. The motto, "Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian", was a phrase coined by his predecessor, the Reverend Dr. Reuben Sheares, and was officially adopted by the congregation shortly after Pastor Wright began his ministry. He retired on February 10, 2008, after 36 years of service as the senior pastor of that congregation. Since 1972, under Dr. Wright’s leadership, the membership of Trinity United Church of Christ grew from 87 members; and currently exceeds 8,000. Dr. Wright has lectured at seminaries and universities across the United States and has represented TUCC and The United Church of Christ around the world. He is recognized as a leading theologian and pastor and has published four books and numerous articles.

Relationship with Barack Obama
The title of Senator Barack Obama's book The Audacity of Hope was inspired by a sermon written by Pastor Wright. Senator Obama first met Wright and joined his church in the 1980's while he was working as a community organizer in Chicago prior to attending Harvard Law School. Obama and his wife, Michelle, were later married by Wright, and both their children were baptized by him. Senator Obama's connection to Pastor Wright first drew attention in a February 2007 Rolling Stone article that described a speech in which Wright forcefully spoke about racism. At this point, Obama claimed that Wright "is like an old uncle who says things I don't always agree with". Pastor Wright had previously told Senator Obama that the senator would probably have to distance himself from him during his campaign due to some of his inflammatory speeches. Pastor Wright was appointed to Senator Barack Obama's African American Religious Leadership Committee on December 4, 2007, and he was removed on March 14, 2008. Obama decried and denounced Wright's positions. On Tuesday, Senator Obama delivered a speech addressing not only on his relationship with the pastor, but on the role of race in his candidacy and the country as a whole.

During the course of the 2008 campaign, Pastor Wright's beliefs and past remarks have become closely scrutinized. Critics have accused Wright's Black liberation theology of promoting black separatism. Wright has rejected this notion by saying that "The African-centered point of view does not assume superiority, nor does it assume separatism. It assumes Africans speaking for themselves as subjects in history, not objects in history."

In 1984, Wright traveled to Libya and Syria with Reverend Jesse Jackson and Minister Louis Farrakhan in a peace mission which resulted in the freeing of United States Navy pilot, Lieutenant Robert Goodman who was shot down over Lebanon. (The media only said that Pastor Wright went to Libya with Louis Farrakhan to meet with Gadaffi – there is no mention that Jesse Jackson also went and nor that it was a peace mission.) Pastor Wright was quoted as saying that "When [Obama’s] enemies find out that in 1984 I went to Tripoli to visit Colonel Gadaffi with Farrakhan, a lot of his Jewish support will dry up quicker than a snowball in hell." He added that his trip implied no endorsement of either Louis Farrakhan’s views or Qaddafi’s.

In 2007, Trumpet Magazine (which is published and edited by Wright's daughters) presented the Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeter Award to Farrakhan, whom managing Editor Rhoda McKinney-Jones said "truly epitomized greatness." Wright is quoted in the magazine: "When Minister Farrakhan speaks, Black America listens. Everybody may not agree with him, but they listen...Minister Farrakhan will be remembered as one of the 20th and 21st century giants of the African American religious experience." Obama, on the other hand, has both denounced Farrakhan and rejected his endorsement.

In addition, Wright has said that Zionism has an element of "white racism"; still, the Anti-Defamation League says it has no evidence of any anti-Semitism by Wright. Another of Wright's controversial sermons took place following 9/11, when he suggested the attacks were a consequence of violent American policies and proved that "people of color had not gone away, faded into the woodwork or just 'disappeared' as the Great White West went on its merry way of ignoring Black concerns."

When tapes were put for sale by the church after Wright's retirement, ABC News publicized several controversial sermons. In the sermons, Wright accused the federal government of crimes against people of color, including selling drugs to blacks, creating the HIV virus to infect Blacks, and perpetuating racism that led to disproportionate imprisonment of Blacks. In one sermon, Wright said that the United States was responsible for the September 11th, 2001 attacks and urged Black Americans to ask God to "damn America." (They failed to mention the end of the statement…until she changes her ways and begins to treat all her citizens as equals).

Pastor Wright's comments were heavily critical of the United States Government, saying of the events of September 11, 2001: "The stuff we have done overseas is brought right back into our homes". In other sermons, he said "The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color", referring to AIDS origins theories, and "The government gives them the drugs [referring to the Iran-Contra Affair], builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God damn America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people...God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme".

Monday, March 17, 2008

Halle Berry Has a Baby Girl

Halle Berry – who recently said, "I want to stay pregnant forever" – had a baby girl Sunday and "is doing great," her representative confirmed.

Berry first announced her pregnancy in September last year, when she was three months along. During her pregnancy, the Oscar, Emmy and Razzie winner told InStyle magazine she felt "fantastic" thanks to eating right and keeping fit with yoga, swimming, light weights and an elliptical machine. "Right now I just have so much joy and energy," she said. "I can just go and go and go."

The father is Gabriel Aubry. Berry, 41, and the 32-year-old model met while shooting a Versace ad in Los Angeles in November 2005 and first stepped out publicly together three months later at the February 2006 opening of a Versace boutique in New York City.

Paterson Sworn in As New York’s First Black Governor

David Paterson was sworn in as New York's governor on today, becoming the state's first black chief executive and vowing to move past the scandal that has rocked the state Capitol. Paterson, who is legally blind, was interrupted at several times during his address with thunderous applause. Before he spoke, lawmakers gave him a two-minute standing ovation and chanted: "David! David! David!" "This transition today is an historic message to the world: That we live by the same values that we profess, and we are a government of laws, not individuals," Paterson said.

Governor Paterson rose from the lieutenant governor's office after ex-governor Eliot Spitzer resigned last week amid allegations that he hired a call girl from a high-priced escort service. It was a dramatic fall for Spitzer, who was elected with an overwhelming share of the vote and who had vowed to root out corruption at the Capitol. Paterson spoke without notes for 26 minutes with much of his speech being self-deprecating humor that helped define him as a lawmaker and lieutenant governor. It seemed aimed at smoothing the damage Spitzer did with his adversaries in the Legislature. "We move forward. Today is Monday. There is work to be done," Paterson said. "There was an oath to be taken. There's trust that needs to be restored. There are issues that need to be addressed." Paterson drew howls from the audience when he poked fun at his disability and deadpanned that he would accept an invitation to dinner with the state's top Republican, Senator Joseph Bruno, only if his "taster" could come along. He playfully teased Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco, a former small-college basketball star, that he is ready to school him on the court. And he told the story of how Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver stopped him from accidentally bringing his gavel down on a glass, saying he didn't want him to turn the Legislature into a Jewish wedding. The mood at the Capitol was cheerful and most politicians said they were hopeful that Paterson can help the state recover from the shock of the past week. Lawmakers including New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and governors from three neighboring states attended Paterson's inauguration.

Governor Paterson was the lieutenant governor for just 14 months. Before that, he was a Democratic state senator since 1985, representing parts of Harlem and Manhattan's Upper West Side. He is the first legally blind governor in the nation to serve more than a few days in office. His father, Basil, a former state senator representing Harlem and later New York's first Black secretary of state, was part of a political fraternity that included fellow Democrats U.S. Representative Charles Rangel, former New York City Mayor David Dinkins and former Manhattan Borough President Percy Sutton.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Opera Singer’s Recital Represents circle completed

Opera singer Andrew Frierson of New York City sang from his heart in Columbia, Tennessee last October for a special hometown audience of Black and White people, many of whom shared a connection to his last name from the days of slavery. The 83 year old music teacher and longtime performer with the New York Civic Opera is the grandson of a Tennessee slave.

In those days, Andrew Frierson’s ancestors worshiped from the vantage of the balcony while the master and his family sat on benches below. On this day the positions were intentionally reversed. This was the idea of Elizabeth Queener, a White Nashville resident and one of the event’s organizers. Many of the White members of the audience in the balcony at the 200-year-old Zion Presbyterian Church were descended from the man who owned Frierson’s grandfather and great-grandfather. Ms. Queener was one of them. As Frierson and Queener worked to unravel the singer’s family history, they discovered that her great-great-grandfather, Thomas J. Frierson, owned the Maury County farm where Frierson’s great-grandfather and grandfather, George and Gardner Frierson, were born into slavery. During the slave era, it was common for slaves to use the surname of their owner. “It’s sort of like a circle completed,” Queener said. “We share a common past from two different perspectives.

The recital of toe-tapping spirituals and shake-the-stained-glass arias was the kick-off for Maury County’s bicentennial. Mr. Frierson, who was born in this part of Tennessee, about 40 miles south of Nashville, said he realized as he approached the age of 80 how little he knew of his grandparents and great-grandparents. He left Maury County when he was less than a year old. “Slavery is a part of all our history,” Frierson said. “We must understand and acknowledge where we came from in order to move forward.”

Well said Mister Frierson. This country has come a long ways, but we still have a long way to go; just listen to the racial tone that has gone on recently in this election year.

North Carolina Democratic Candidates for Governor Endorse Obama

Both Democratic candidates for governor in North Carolina have now endorsed Senator Barack Obama. Lieutenant Governor Beverly Perdue recently threw her support behind Senator Obama, while her opponent, State Treasurer Richard Moore, endorsed him last month.

Perdue is attempting to become the first female governor in the state. With her support among women likely already strong, Perdue's public backing of Senator Obama two months before the primary can only help her support among Black voters, who make up more than a fifth of the state population and a large majority of whom have supported Senator Obama in primaries across the United States.

Perdue had previously remained neutral in the presidential race, but Obama is ahead in recent North Carolina polls, and leads Clinton by more than 150 in total pledged delegates. With the presidential and gubernatorial primaries both being held May 6, and the race between Perdue and Moore tight, both candidates appear to feel that backing Senator Obama is the wiser political position to take.

Senator Obama Denounces Pastor's Comments

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama on Friday denounced inflammatory remarks from his pastor, who has ranted against the United States and accused the country of bringing on the Sept. 11 attacks by spreading terrorism. Senator Obama called the statements appearing on television and the Internet "completely unacceptable and inexcusable" in a Fox News interview and said they didn't reflect the kinds of sermons he had heard from the Reverend Jeremiah Wright while attending services at Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ. Obama, who has been a member of the church since the early 1990s, said he would have quit Trinity had such statements been "the repeated tenor of the church. ... I wouldn't feel comfortable there."

Earlier Friday, Senator Obama responded by posting a blog about his relationship with Reverend Wright and Trinity on the Huffington Post. It was Wright who brought Obama to Christianity, turned the young agnostic into an avid churchgoer who often peppers his speeches with references from his Christian faith; Wright officiated at his wedding, baptized his daughters. Senator Obama's 2004 speech at the Democratic National Convention that thrust him onto the national stage was based on a 1988 sermon by Wright called "The Audacity of Hope," which is also the title of Obama's latest book outlining his hopes to change US politics. Obama wrote that he's looked to Wright for spiritual advice, not political guidance, and he's been pained and angered to learn of some of his pastor's comments for which he had not been present. Senator Obama told MSNBC that Wright had stepped down from his campaign's African American Religious Leadership Committee. "I categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country or serves to divide us from our allies," Obama said in his blog posting. "I also believe that words that degrade individuals have no place in our public dialogue, whether it's on the campaign stump or in the pulpit. In sum, I reject outright the statements by Reverend Wright that are at issue."

In a sermon on the Sunday after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Wright suggested the United States brought on the attacks. "We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye," Wright said. "We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and Black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost."

In a 2003 sermon, he said Blacks should condemn the United States. "The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God damn America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people. God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme."

In January, Reverend Wright spoke from the pulpit in praise of Obama's leadership, comparing his campaign to Jesus's struggles under the Romans. "Barack knows what it means living in a country and a culture that is controlled by rich White people," Wright said. "Hillary would never know that." He went on: "Hillary ain't never been called a nigger. Hillary has never had a people defined as a non-person." Wright also took issue with the idea that Bill Clinton was a friend to Black people. "Hillary is married to Bill, and Bill has been good to us. No he ain't. Bill did us, just like he did Monica Lewinsky. He was riding dirty."

Senator Obama told MSNBC that he would not repudiate Wright as a man, describing him as "like an uncle" who says something that he disagrees with and must speak out against. He also said he expects his political opponents will use video of the sermons to attack him as the campaign goes on. Questions about Senator Obama's religious beliefs have dogged him throughout his candidacy. He's had to fight against false Internet rumors suggesting he's really a Muslim intent on destroying the United States, and now his pastor's words uttered nearly seven years ago have become an issue. Obama wrote on the Huffington Post that he never heard Wright say any of the statements, but he acknowledged that they have raised legitimate questions about the nature of his relationship with the pastor and the church. He wrote that he joined Wright's church nearly 20 years ago, familiar with the pastor's background as a former Marine and respected biblical scholar who has lectured at seminaries across the country. "Reverend Wright preached the gospel of Jesus, a gospel on which I base my life," he wrote. "And the sermons I heard him preach always related to our obligation to love God and one another, to work on behalf of the poor and to seek justice at every turn." He said Wright's controversial statements first came to his attention at the beginning of his presidential campaign last year, and he condemned them. Because of his long and deep ties to the congregation, Senator Obama said he decided not to leave. Trinity's present congregation of more than 8,500 now draws followers from both nearby public housing projects and the Who's Who of the Black community, including celebrities like Oprah Winfrey. "With Reverend Wright's retirement and the ascension of my new pastor, Reverend Otis Moss III, Michelle and I look forward to continuing a relationship with a church that has done so much good," he wrote. Wright, who recently preached his last sermon as he heads into retirement at age 66, has long expected that his controversial views might become a problem for the candidate. After nearly two decades serving as a mentor and moral guide to Senator Barack Obama, Reverend Jeremiah Wright may become his biggest liability as he closes in on the Democratic nomination.

Such disputes are not exclusive to the Democrats. Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee, is under pressure to repudiate a televangelist supporter, the Reverend Rod Parsley, who has spoken of a clash of civilizations between Islam and Christianity and also Reverend John Hagee who called the Catholic Church the mother of all cults. Sound like pastors should concentrate more of saving souls and less time on politics. The United Church of Christ issued a statement defending Wright and his "flagship" congregation. The statement lauded Wright's church for its community service and work to nurture youth and the pastor for speaking out against homophobia and sexism in the Black community. "It's time for all of us to say no to these attacks and to declare that we will not allow anyone to undermine or destroy the ministries of any of our congregations in order to serve their own narrow political or ideological ends," John H. Thomas, United Church of Christ's president, said in the statement.

I applaud Senator Obama for staying with the church even if it comes down to costing him the nomination or the presidency after all the Word of God says what good is it for a man to gain the world and lose his soul. I saw the video of Minister Wright’s sermon from January on YouTube last night and immediately said that this is going to be TROUBLE. You know the Clinton campaign is so happy to get the past few days of heat off them. I pray that Senator Obama's campaign survives the heat that will come from this.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Unraveling the Spin

When Senator Barack Obama won in Iowa, Senator Clinton’s campaign said it's not the number of states you win, it's "a contest for delegates." When he won a significant lead in delegates, they said it's really about which states you win. When he won South Carolina, they discounted the votes of Blacks. When he won predominantly White, rural states like Idaho, Utah, and Nebraska, they said those didn't count because they won't be competitive in the general election. When he won in Washington State, Wisconsin, and Missouri -- general election battlegrounds where polls show Senator Obama is a stronger candidate against Senator John McCain -- the Clinton campaign attacked those voters as "latte-sipping" elitists.

And now that Senator Obama has won more than twice as many states, the Clinton spin is that only certain states really count. But the facts are clear. For all their attempts to discount, distract, and distort, he has won more delegates, more states, and more votes. Meanwhile, more than half of the votes that Senator Clinton has won so far have come from just five states. And in four of these five states, polls show that Senator Obama would be a stronger general election candidate against McCain than Clinton.

With his overwhelming victory in the Mississippi primary Tuesday, his lead in earned delegates is now wider than it was on March 3rd, before the contests in Ohio and Texas (Senator Obama actually won four more delegates in Texas than did Senator Clinton, so it was not the victory she claims). As the number of remaining delegates dwindles, Senator Clinton's path to the nomination seems less and less plausible. While Senator Clinton’s campaign would like to focus your attention only on Pennsylvania -- a state in which they have already declared that they are "unbeatable." But Pennsylvania is only one of those 10 remaining contests, each important in terms of allocating delegates and ultimately deciding who the Democratic nominee will be. Throughout this entire process, the Clinton campaign has cherry-picked states, diminished caucuses, and moved the goal posts to create a shifting, twisted rationale for why they should win the nomination despite winning fewer primaries, fewer states, fewer delegates, and fewer votes. The key to victory is not who wins the states that the Clinton campaign thinks are important. The key to victory is realizing that every vote and every voter matters. Senator Obama has won twice as many states, large and small, in every region of the country -- many by landslide margins. And this movement is expanding the base of the Democratic Party by attracting new voters in record numbers and bringing those who had lost hope back into the political process.

So the person that has managed and run a better campaign is leading the more “experienced politician”. Actually Senator Obama is more experienced when you look and see that he had to campaign for city council, state senator and U.S. senator, where as Senator Clinton basically won her seat on President Clinton’s name. So who is more experienced?

From Real Estate to Motorcycle Racing

Last September Peggy Llewellyn shocked the Pro Stock Motorcycle world when she became the first Black woman to win a National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) event. Her win at Dallas, Texas catapulted her onto a stage she couldn’t have imagined in her previous life in real estate. After beginning the season just glad to be racing after a five-year layoff, Llewellyn surpassed everyone expectation and made it to the final four in the PowerAde Series’ inaugural Countdown to One. Although she finished the season in fourth place she earned notoriety and respect after entering the season with just six pro starts in 2001 and no sponsorship (which explains her absence).

She had sold her bike to pay bills and was studying for her real estate license before deciding in 2004 to hone her riding skills under George Bryce, a six-time champion team owner. Bryce saw Llewellyn’s potential then, but two years passed before they reconnected through car dealer Karl and Kim Klement in a start-up operation. Bryce, who is Klement Racing’s crew chief and general manager, said he hoped she would progress at the season-opening and get better and better, but who could have dreamed she would get to this point this fast. Bryce said, “At first the bike was too fast for her, but she caught up, and it’s worked out really well; the competition didn’t see her coming.”

Peggy Llewellyn qualified in the top half of the field in nine of 14 events, solidifying her place in the Countdown by qualifying second and reaching the semifinals at Brainerd, Minnesota, before qualifying third at Reading, Pennsylvania. Needing to win in Dallas to advance to the final four, Llewellyn beat the point’s leader Chip Ellis in the semifinal before clocking 190 miles per hour in 7.020 seconds to nip defending champion Andrew Hines for the win. Her success didn’t surprise Klement, who was impressed with her determination that was demonstrated when she made more than 200 test runs the previous winter. He knew it was a matter of time before she would land sponsorship, which came in September from Rush Racing Products.

Like me, you are probably wondering how a young lady get into highly competitive motorcycle racing. The answer is that she was born and raised into it. Her dad Gene and brother Gene, Jr. helped. They built her first drag bike. She made her first passes on her brother’s Kawasaki while her Suzuki was being built. Her dad is the owner of Southeast Cycles in San Antonio, Texas and is an avid drag racer himself. Their family outings consisted of loading dad’s Honda nitro Funny Bike onto the trailer and heading out to Alamo Dragway.

Llewellyn is looking forward to the coming racing season which begins at the Gainesville Raceway March 13-16 in Gainesville, Florida.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

New Governor of New York

The state of New York is getting a new governor. Lieutenant Governor David Paterson will replace Governor Eliot Spitzer effective Monday. Governor Spitzer announced today that he is resigning, completing a spectacular fall from power for a politician whose once-promising career imploded amid revelations that he paid thousands of dollars for high-end prostitutes. A law enforcement official said that Spitzer had spent tens of thousands of dollars with the call-girl service Emperors Club VIP. Another official said the amount could be as high as $80,000. Spitzer built his political reputation on rooting out government corruption, and made a name for himself as attorney general as crusader against shady practices and overly generous compensation. He also cracked down on prostitution. He was known as the "Sheriff of Wall Street." Time magazine named him "Crusader of the Year," and the tabloids proclaimed him "Eliot Ness."

Soon-to-be Governor Paterson will become New York's first Black governor. He was not at the announcement, but he issued a statement in which he said he was "saddened by what we have learned over the past several days. It is now time for Albany, the state capitol, to get back to work as the people of this state expect from us," said Paterson. Barely known outside of his Harlem political base, the 53 year old Paterson has been in New York government since his election to the state Senate in 1985. He led the Democratic caucus in the Senate before running with Spitzer as his No. 2.
Though legally blind, Paterson has enough sight in his right eye to walk unaided, recognize people at conversational distance and even read if text is placed close to his face. While Spitzer is renowned for his abrasive style, Paterson has built a reputation as a mediator.

New York Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, Spitzer's chief rival, said, "We are going to partner with the lieutenant governor when he becomes governor." "David has always been very open with me; very forthright ... I look forward to a positive, productive relationship." The lieutenant governor's office will remain vacant until the next general election in 2010 under state law.

10 Things You Didn't Know About David Paterson

1. David Alexander Paterson was born on May 20, 1954, in Brooklyn, N.Y., to labor law attorney Basil Paterson and his wife, Portia. His father was the second Black politician nominated for statewide office in New York and served as a state senator. David was legally blind from birth, with only partial sight in his right eye.

2. When their son was denied the opportunity to attend classes with sighted students in his hometown, Paterson's family moved to Hempstead, N.Y., so that he could participate in a mainstream classroom. An excellent student, Paterson graduated from high school in three years.

3. He attended Columbia University, receiving a bachelor's degree in history in 1977. He worked at various jobs for a few years and then earned a law degree from Hofstra Law School in 1983.

4. In 1985, Paterson was elected to the New York State Senate, representing the 30th State Senate District, which encompasses Harlem, East Harlem, and the Upper West Side neighborhoods of Manhattan. It is the same district his father had represented.

5. Paterson gained national attention in the 1990s because of his efforts to preserve a Black burial ground that was discovered at the excavation site for construction of a new federal building in New York City. He worked to secure federal funding for the project and said in 1997 that "through the discovery of the African-American Burial Grounds, our history has at last come to the surface for all of us to know and respect."

6. In 2002, David Paterson was elected Democratic leader of the New York State Senate, the first nonwhite legislative leader in New York's history.

7. In 2004, he became the first visually impaired person to address a Democratic National Convention and, in 2006, he was elected New York's first Black lieutenant governor.

8. David Paterson lives in Harlem with his wife, Michelle, and their two children, Ashley and Alex.

9. Paterson is a board member of the Achilles Track Club, an international track club for athletes with disabilities. He completed the New York City Marathon in 1999. He is also on the President's Council of the American Foundation for the Blind.

10. When asked by the New York Amsterdam News about life lessons he had learned, Paterson replied, "You never get to any level of leadership where your race is not a factor." He continued, "You don't want to be the first; you want to be the first of many."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Clinton Camp Plays Race Card

Senator Barack Obama fired one of his staffers last week because of inappropriate remarks about Senator Hillary Clinton. Senator Clinton merely said she disagrees with Geraldine Ferraro, one of her fundraisers and the 1984 vice presidential candidate, for suggesting that Senator Obama only achieved his status in the presidential race because he's Black. The Obama campaign has called on the New York senator to denounce them. Ferraro, who sits on Clinton's finance committee and has spoken at her rallies, sparked the firestorm when she was quoted by a California newspaper as saying: "If Obama was a White man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman he would not be in this position. He happens to be lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept.” Clinton said, "I do not agree with that," and later added, "It's regrettable that any of our supporters … say things that kind of veer off into the personal."

"I don't think Geraldine Ferraro's comments have any place in our politics or in the Democratic Party. They are divisive. I think anybody who understands the history of this country knows they are patently absurd," Senator Obama told a Pennsylvania newspaper. "And I would expect that the same way those comments don't have a place in my campaign they shouldn't have a place in Senator Clinton's either." Senator Obama’s senior adviser David Axelrod said Ferraro should be removed from her position with the Clinton campaign because of her comments. "The bottom line is this, when you wink and nod at offensive statements, you're really sending a signal to your supporters that anything goes," Axelrod said. "There's no other way to send a serious signal that you want to police the tone of this campaign," he added. "And if you don't do those things then you are simply adding to the growing compendium of evidence that you really are encouraging that." Axelrod said Clinton has encountered problems because people view her as a "divisive and polarizing force. The best way to address those concerns is to not allow divisiveness and negativity to flourish among your supporters," he said. "And this is an opportunity for her to address that." Obama spokesman Bill Burton said that by refusing to disown Ferraro, Clinton "has once again proven that her campaign gets to live by its own rules and its own double standard."

Ferraro is a former New York congresswoman and was Walter Mondale's running mate when he was the Democratic presidential nominee in 1984. Senator Clinton called for Senator Obama to denounce and reject the endorsement of Louis Farrakhan and all she says is its regrettable; how about you denouncing and rejecting Ms Ferraro. This is the normal double standard mode of operation used in the Clinton campaign. It was just a matter of time before the race card was openly played in this campaign. These remarks follow a pattern of hidden racially tinged comments that needs to be addressed. Senator Clinton is in the desperate frame of mind and nothing she does for the remainder of the campaign should surprise us. I thought that it would come from the Republican side though. John McCain is sitting back and loading his gun with the Democrats own ammunition.

The latest controversy ripped between the two campaigns as primary voters in Mississippi cast their ballots in the latest installment of the Democratic White House race, with Senator Obama favored for another victory. (Senator Obama actually won the Mississippi primary in a landslide).

Cookie Joins HIV/AIDS Fight

Los Angeles Lakers basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson’s wife, Cookie, has joined in his effort to cut rising HIV rates among Black Americans. Cookie Johnson, who stood by his side when he called a news conference 16 years ago to announce he had been infected with HIV, has taken an active role in her husband’s “I Stand With Magic” campaign, a five-year, $60 million effort financed by the drug firm Abbott. Their goal is to cut AIDS rates among Black Americans by 50%.

For a woman who has long avoided the spotlight, this marks a major turning point. Mrs. Johnson said that she does not like getting out in front of people, but when she heard that HIV rates among Black women were 20 times those of White women she felt she really needed to get out and speak. As a woman who lives with someone who has the disease, maybe someone will listen to what she has to say or use her as an example. Maybe that will save some lives.

AIDS remains the leading cause of death of Blacks ages 25 to 44, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Blacks make up only 13% of the U.S. population, but account for 49% of all cases of HIV. Black women account for 64% of all women with HIV. The effect of the disease is most evident in Washington, D.C, where about one of every 50 people has HIV. And although Blacks account for 57% of the city’s population, they account for 81% of new HIV cases. More than 37% of the cases were spread through heterosexual sex.

In the past year Magic has traveled to 16 cities around the country with large Black populations. “The number one thing we have to do is change the mind-set and attitude in Black America,” said Magic. “I Stand With Magic” is part on a national Black mobilization by leaders who have made a commitment to end the epidemic in Black America in five years. The NAACP, Urban League, Southern Christian Leadership Conference and RainbowPUSH Coalition have been joined by Black mayors, legislators and entertainers such as LL Cool J, Common and Queen Latifah.

Cookie wants to awaken women to the realities of living in communities where a virus is being spread stealthily by people who may not know they’re infected. The way to fight back, she says, is to get an HIV test. Early detection saves lives. Her time as a wife of a celebrity dealing with HIV gives her an opportunity to reach millions of women with a message they don’t often hear: “You can live with someone who has HIV/AIDS and have a normal life.” She says her husband is healthy. He takes his medication every day. They eat healthy and exercise. They have a normal relationship. They keep their date night every Friday night.

Let’s get the word out people. Protect yourself, get tested, Please.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Obama: I’m in First Place, Don't Offer Me Vice-President

Senator Barack Obama ridiculed the idea of being Senator Hillary Clinton's running mate Monday, saying voters must choose between the two for the top spot on the fall ticket. The Illinois senator noted that he has won more states, votes and delegates than Clinton. "I don't know how somebody who is in second place is offering the vice presidency to the person who is first place," Obama said, drawing cheers and a long standing ovation from the audience in Columbus, Mississippi. Saying he wanted to be "absolutely clear," he added: "I don't want anybody here thinking that somehow, 'Well, you know, maybe I can get both.' Don't think that way. You have to make a choice in this election. I am not running for vice president," Obama said. "I am running for president of the United States of America." Senator Obama aides said Senator Clinton's recent hints that she might welcome him as her vice presidential candidate appeared meant to diminish him and to attract undecided voters in the remaining primary states by suggesting they can have a "dream ticket." Obama had never suggested he might accept a second spot on the ticket. But until Monday he had not ridiculed the notion so directly.

He told the audience that it made no sense for Clinton to suggest he is not ready to be president and then hint that she might hand him the job that could make him president at a moment's notice. "If I'm not ready, how is it that you think I should be such a great vice president?" he said, as the crowd laughed and cheered loudly. Senator Clinton and her husband, the former president, had suggested recently that a Clinton-Obama ticket would be popular and formidable against Republican Senator John McCain in November. Many political activists discounted the notion all along. They noted that the two senators do not have a warm relationship and, more important, that Obama would be ill-served by hinting he might accept the vice presidential slot when he holds the lead in delegates and hopes to win the presidential nomination. In the latest Associated Press count, Obama leads Clinton, 1,578-1,472. He has won 28 contests to her 17. Also, many insiders feel the fast-rising senator would be annoyed in the vice president's job, especially in a White House where Bill Clinton would almost surely play a huge advisory role.

So two teams are playing in a championship game and the team that is behind offers the team that is leading the second place trophy, WOW Hillary…

Senator Obama Looks for Another Win in Mississippi

Senator Barack Obama focused on tomorrow’s Mississippi primary for more momentum in his tight race with Senator Hillary Clinton after his win in Wyoming this past Saturday. Obama is favored to win in Mississippi, a southern state where Blacks make up a majority of the Democratic voters. Senator Obama has also shown strength in the Mountain West, winning Idaho, Utah, Colorado and now Wyoming. The two split Nevada and Texas, with Clinton winning the popular vote and Obama more delegates. Senator Obama trounced Senator Clinton in Saturday's Wyoming caucuses, rebounding from last Tuesday’s setbacks in a win that allowed him to retain his all-important delegate lead in his quest to become the U.S.'s first Black president. This is very interesting to me because the media’s focus is only on how well he is doing with the Black voters; however all of these states have very small Black populations. Don’t get it twisted media, Senator Barack Obama is attracting not only Black voters, but also plenty White voters and quite a few young Latinos.

Both Democratic contenders were traveling in different directions today. Senator Obama had rallies planned in Columbus and Jackson, Mississippi, as he tries to pick up the lion's share of the 33 delegates at stake there. Clinton, who campaigned last week in Mississippi, planned to take part in a rally in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the next major battleground in the campaign. Pennsylvania’s April 22 primary offers the biggest prize left in the nomination race: 158 delegates. The Clinton campaign views Pennsylvania as friendly terrain, similar to neighboring Ohio. Both are industrial states with large numbers of white working-class voters and Democratic governors who are strong supporters of Clinton, who is aiming to become the country's first woman president.

In the overall race for the nomination, Obama leads with 1,578 delegates to Clinton's 1,468, according to the latest tally by The Associated Press. It will take 2,025 delegates to win the Democratic nomination at the party's convention in late August. Senator Obama won seven delegates and Senator Clinton won five delegates in Wyoming. It is unlikely that either candidate will win enough delegates in the remaining contests to secure the nomination outright. Instead, they would need the help of the almost 800 so-called superdelegates (elected party officials) to secure the nomination.

Senator Clinton has hinted recently that if she wins the nomination she would consider sharing the ticket with Obama. But in an interview Friday in Wyoming Senator Obama shied away from that possibility. "Well, — you know, I'm running for president," Obama said. "We have won twice as many states as Senator Clinton, and have a higher popular vote, and I think we can maintain our delegate count. What I am really focused on right now, because all that stuff is premature, is winning this nomination and changing the country. I think that's what people are concerned about."

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Sprinter Marion Jones Reports to Prison

Former Olympic track star Marion Jones reported to a federal prison in Texas on Friday to begin serving a six-month sentence for lying to prosecutors about steroid use that helped her win five medals at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and her role in a check-fraud scam. Jones surrendered to authorities at Federal Medical Center Carswell, located on the Naval Air Station, Joint Reserve Base, in Fort Worth. Jones has been stripped of the Olympic medals, three of which were gold, and all of her performances as of September 2000 have been erased from the record books. In a January hearing, U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth Karas sentenced Jones to six-month behind bars and 400 hours of community service in each of the two years following her release. Judge Karas imposed the maximum sentence suggested in Jones' plea deal, ignoring her lawyers' request for a probation-only sentence. The check-fraud scheme was a major crime, and the wide use of steroids "affects the integrity of athletic competition," the judge said. "I respect the judge's orders and I truly hope that people will learn from my mistakes," a tearful Jones said.

For years, she denied using performance-enhancing drugs, but in October Jones, who lives in Austin pleaded guilty to two charges of perjury. She admitted she had lied to investigators in 2003 when she denied knowing that she took the banned substance tetrahydrogestrinone (THG), known as "the clear," before the 2000 Olympics.

Although the Carswell prison is a facility that specializes in medical and mental health services, it also incarcerates inmates who do not require such care.

Obama Leads Clinton in Wyoming Caucuses

Senator Barack Obama led rival Senator Hillary Clinton in voting returns Saturday as Democrats crowded caucuses in Wyoming, the latest contest in the close, hard-fought race for the party's presidential nomination. Obama led 59 percent, or 4,000 votes, to Clinton's 40 percent, or 2,756 votes, with 18 of 23 counties reporting. Senator Obama has outperformed Senator Clinton in caucuses, which reward organization and voter passion more than do primaries. The Obama has won 12 caucuses to Clinton's three.

Senator Clinton threw some effort into Wyoming, perhaps hoping for an upset that would yield few delegates but considerable buzz and momentum. The New York senator campaigned Thursday and Friday in Cheyenne and Casper. Former President Clinton and their daughter, Chelsea, also campaigned this week in the lightly populated state. Senator Obama campaigned in Casper and Laramie on Friday, but his powerful grass roots organization does extremely well in the caucus states. She faces defeat in Tuesday's primary in Mississippi, which has a large Black population. Senator Obama is winning the Black vote on average by 88 percent to 12 percent. In Wyoming, only 12 national convention delegates were at stake. Not including Wyoming delegates, which have not yet been allocated, Obama holds the lead in delegates, 1,571-1,463. A total of 2,025 delegates are needed to win the nomination. Although a win in Wyoming may not persuade many superdelegates, it will be one more prize for the candidates as they make their case for the nomination.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Jesse Jackson – Barack Obama: Similar Yet Different

Early in Barack Obama's political career in Illinois, Jesse Jackson helped strike him down. Even now, Jackson's son, Jesse, Jr., is a more vocal Obama advocate than his better known father. Senator Obama and the elder Jackson have much in common: The two Black men emerged from Chicago's decayed South Side as champions of poor people. Both have a gift for public speaking. Both have run to be the first Black president of the U.S. There are long-standing friendships between some members of their families.

Yet the two are not close. Jesse Jackson, the trailblazer, is twenty years older, but was never Obama's mentor. Jackson has always been more flamboyant and confrontational, Obama more willing to work behind the scenes, within the system. Eight years ago, Obama, a little-known state senator, mounted an upstart challenge to four-term incumbent Bobby Rush, former Black Panther turned Senator, for his U.S. House seat. Jackson endorsed Rush. President Bill Clinton also joined the effort to stop the newcomer. Clinton overrode his policy of staying out of Democratic primaries to back Rush, who trounced Obama more than 2-to-1. "I already had a relationship with Bobby Rush," Jackson said Friday in an interview with the Associated Press.

That's not the only time Jesse Jackson was in Senator Obama's way. In 1995, he tried to arrange for his son to get the state Senate seat that Obama eventually won. Jackson wanted the incumbent, state Senator Alice Palmer, to run for Congress so the younger Jackson could replace her. She refused to go along because she was supporting Obama, who hadn't announced his campaign to succeed her yet. Jackson's son also rejected the plan and successfully ran for Congress instead. Late last year, Jesse Jackson Jr. even fussed at his father for writing a column questioning the commitment of Obama and other Democratic candidates, except John Edwards, to the needs of Black voters. The son wrote a response in The Chicago Sun-Times with the headline "You're wrong on Obama, Dad."

Their histories reflect the changing realities between the 1960s and the 1980s for a Black man seeking to become a political leader. Jesse Jackson, a minister, was already on Chicago's South Side when Obama moved there in 1985. Jackson had the ability to rally people to action. He had used it to put together Operation PUSH in Chicago, then to transform himself from a Chicago civil rights protest leader to a national figure who traveled the country to confront private companies or public officials he felt oppressed minorities or poor people. He also became a volunteer diplomat who traveled to Syria and Cuba where he won the release of U.S. prisoners. When he first ran for president in 1984, Jackson failed to win the Democratic nomination but still waged the most successful campaign by a Black candidate up to that time. He emerged as an important but controversial figure in Democratic politics.

Getting his political start in Chicago, Senator Obama didn't choose a public role at the head of civil rights marches but rather the quiet, behind-the-scenes position of community organizer, teaching poor people how to unite so they could step forward themselves. While Jesse Jackson was thinking nationally and internationally, Barack Obama was focused on Chicago's far South Side. The area's working class was disappearing in the wake of steel plant closings. Healthy neighborhoods had decayed into collections of empty storefronts that lacked the political clout to get their share of city services. Obama's focus was on getting potholes filled, parks cleaned up and students placed in summer jobs. Politically, he paid more attention to the city's first Black mayor, Harold Washington, than to Jackson. When Obama expanded his horizon beyond Chicago, he went to law school, came back and later ran for the state Legislature. Senator Obama's run was never the long shot that Jackson's was. He not only rivaled Jackson's soaring oratory abilities; he also followed the Internet fundraising lessons of others, out-organized rival Senator Hillary Clinton on the ground in caucus states and turned the system to his advantage. Now he's closer than any Black man in history to the U.S. presidency.

Today, Jesse Jackson supports Senator Obama's campaign but mostly from the sidelines. "I've known him long enough to trust him and admire him and be his No.1 fan," Jackson said. The Chicago headquarters of Operation PUSH was not far from where Barack Obama lived in the mid-1980s. Obama would sometimes go to hear Jackson's sermons but otherwise had little connection to him. Barack Obama's 1992 marriage to Michelle Robinson brought the families much closer. Michelle Robinson had gone to high school with Jackson's oldest child, Santita. Santita sang at the Obamas' wedding and became godmother to their daughter, Malia. Michelle Obama had often visited Jackson's home and gotten to know his other children. So when Obama began dating her, he met Jesse Jackson Jr., who also attended their wedding. The younger Jackson has become a close friend to Obama. He's a national co-chairman of the Senator's campaign.

One Obama advisor said, "I would describe it as a good relationship. It's one of mutual respect. They speak on a regular basis and share many common goals and concerns." Jesse Jackson Senator Obama once told him that attending a Jackson debate during the 1984 presidential campaign made him believe a Black man could someday win the White House. And 24 years later he is close to doing it. Senator Obama readily admits he has taken one thing from Jesse, and that he concluded that he needed to be a better public speaker to get his message on TV if he wanted to be effective. Jesse Jackson was the trailblazer and Barack Obama is widening and paving the road and turning it into a highway.

Senator Obama’s Momentum Slowed by 'Archie Bunker' Types

Senator Barack Obama is having trouble with Archie Bunker. The white, blue-collar voters personified by the 1970s fictional television character cost Obama this week. Senator Hillary Clinton beat him 54 percent to 44 percent in industrial Ohio. In Ohio's 10th district of Cuyahoga County, a suburban area on Cleveland's west side that includes a large population of Polish-Americans, Clinton trounced Obama 61 percent to 37 percent, according to exit polls. In the state's Belmont County, an economically depressed Appalachian (White ghetto) border area that is predominantly White, she had a 50-point lead over Obama.

The weak showing among the white working class in Ohio reflects a larger vulnerability for Obama, said Joe Trippi, a former senior strategist for John Edwards, who had broad appeal among those voters until he dropped out of the Democratic race last month. Senator Obama has ``had a problem with lower-income, downscale, blue-collar (White) Democrats from the beginning,'' Trippi said. ``He typically appeals to better educated, upscale Democrats.'' Ohio exit polls show white Democrats voted for Clinton 70 percent to 27 percent, while Black Democrats voted for Obama 88 percent to 12 percent. Clinton beat Obama 58 to 40 percent among those with no college degree and 56 percent to 42 percent among those who earn less than $50,000 a year in Ohio. In Rhode Island, she won those with no college degree 61 percent to 38 percent, and those earning less than $50,000 by 59 percent to 39 percent. Obama's chief strategist, David Axelrod, said he doesn't think race would hurt Obama in a general election because the Illinois Senator has done well in other states with large White working-class populations.

I look at it like a basketball game. One team has the lead and then the other team makes a run, gets a dunk and a couple of three-pointers and the crowd get excited and it looks like the second team has a new life and make a comeback, and then you look up at the scoreboard and it still basically the same margin. Senator Clinton's March 4 victories in contests in Texas, Rhode Island and Ohio -- and just one defeat, in Vermont -- pumped new life into her candidacy after 11 consecutive losses to Senator Obama. The media says she now has renewed momentum heading into the next big test on April 22 in Pennsylvania, where the electorate looks much like Ohio. But in reality Senator Obama is still the Democratic front-runner and has shown strength attracting independents and younger voters. While this week's results were welcome in the Clinton camp, she barely cut into Obama's overall lead of about 150 pledged delegates. In addition, the next states to hold contests, Wyoming and Mississippi, are likely to increase his margin. Wyoming on March 8 holds a caucus, a type of contest in which Obama has generally prevailed. Mississippi, which holds a primary on March 11, has a heavy concentration of Black voters. And neither state has big populations of White ethnic voters.

Yet Obama will need to do better with the White ethnic working class in places like Pennsylvania and to build a majority in a general election if he is the nominee. Some die-hard Archie Bunker clone even say they would vote for John McCain if Obama wins the Democratic nomination. Senator Obama has had problems with similar types of voters in Chicago since he began running for public office, though he has made some progress. He beat his White Democratic rivals in the 2004 Senate primary in places like the 41st Ward, which populated by Polish-American, Irish-American, and other ethnic Whites who think like one resident who said “if Obama gets in, it’s going to be a Black thing and it’s going to be all Blacks for Blacks. Everything’s got to be equal.” Some residents still harbor resentment from 35 years ago, when a growing Black population on the city's west side pushed whites north into Edison Park and Norwood Park, said Mary O'Connor, who owns a local bakery. Brian Doherty, the 41st Ward alderman, said he was ``shocked'' by Obama's success in the 2004 Senate primary. O'Connor, a Democrat who voted for Senator Obama and recently won a seat as ward councilwoman, said a new generation that is less concerned with racial politics and history is taking over. There is hope in the next generation.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Belize Elects First Black Prime Minister

The small Central American nation of Belize, located between Mexico and Guatemala, recently elected Dean Oliver Barrow as the nation’s first Black prime minister defeating incumbent prime minister Said Musa who was accused of embezzlement scandals and financial mismanagement in recent years. Prime Minister Barrow is the leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP) that won 25 of the 31 seats in the House of Representatives. “This demonstrates that we have matured, and that Belize has reached a level where, in the words of Martin Luther King, a man can be judged on the content of his character rather than the color of his skin,” Barrow said. The UDP has promised to battle crime and government corruption.

Barrow, a native of Belize, is the father of rapper Jamal “Shyne” Barrow who is currently serving a 10-year sentence for his role in a 1999 New York club shooting involving hip-hop entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs and singer Jennifer Lopez. Shyne legally changed his name in 2006 to Moses Michael Leviy after converting to Judaism in jail.

Prime Minister Barrow, an attorney by trade, served as Deputy Prime Minister and as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Following his party's victory in the February 7, 2008 election, he became Prime Minister. He was sworn in as Prime Minister on February 8. He announced his Cabinet, including himself as Minister of Finance on February 11. Barrow, a senior counsel, is also considered one of Belize's more successful attorneys and has appeared in several high profile cases.

Maybe we will follow suit and elect the first Barack Obama as the Black president of the United States this November and Hillary Clinton as the first woman vice president. Hey, just throwing it out there.