Friday, October 31, 2008

106-Years-Old and Voting For Obama

From CNN: "Ann Nixon Cooper, 106 years old, has seen presidents come and go in her lifetime and has outlived most of them. On a sunny fall morning, she left her weathered but well-kept home in Atlanta, Georgia, to vote early — this time for Senator Barack Obama. Ann Nixon Cooper, 106 years old, lived during a time when blacks and women did not have the right to vote. The centenarian remembers a time not long ago when she was barred from voting because of her race. Now she hopes to see the day that Obama is elected as the nation's first Black president. 'I ain't got time to die,' Cooper said with a smile. 'Even if he didn't win, I was happy for him just to be nominated,' said the former socialite. 'The first Black president — isn't that something, at 106 years old?'"

I really hope Senator Obama wins just so people like Ann Nixon Cooper can see what was once thought impossible.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Obama Takes Hold of Race: Five Days to Go

Five days out and Senator Obama has wrested control of the presidential race with his disciplined style and Senator McCain is going to have to scramble to take it from him. And Obama is not letting up; consider the long day he had Wednesday. Framed by 30 minutes of primetime television where Obama did not even mention the words "John McCain." It was also masterfully executed. Senator McCain would never go on TV for 30 seconds at this stage of the race without mentioning Obama. But that was just a warm up for Obama. He followed the 30 minutes up with a late-night rally in Florida with former President Bill Clinton. The pair, introduced as 'the 42nd president and the next president,' took the stage to cheers from a crowd of 35,000.

Senator Obama highlighted not just himself but the idea he represents. It delivered a message on a tactical level, with solutions for all the hot-button issues, yet mostly it worked on an inspirational level; getting voters to believe in something bigger than themselves, which made Obama's candidacy possible in the first place.

Wednesday may not be the night he clinched anything, but it may end up being the night he made the turn for home. Six days before the election, Obama's team produced a 'shock and awe' Wednesday, throwing up a stunning number of assets at McCain. Every single line during those 30 minutes was something that the campaign knows works and appeals to those undecided voters. It was a highly competent, professional, performance. The very fact that they could go 28 minutes in and hit live to a campaign rally in Florida and right down to the final Obama/Biden logo even showed how much planning and detail went into it. One of the things the campaign knows is that the most optimistic presidential candidate always wins. It aired on seven network and cable stations. He effectively knocked on every door in the nation Wednesday night.

It was in keeping with Senator Obama's strategic plan this year: Make voters comfortable with the idea of him in the Oval Office while at the same time presenting him as a candidate who can connect with everyday, middle-class voters struggling through the toughest economic times in generations.

Senator Obama’s goal is to maximize face time on local news broadcasts and to cover as much ground as possible before he votes Tuesday in Chicago.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Ralph Gilles is an automobile designer who grew up in Montreal, Canada after his parents immigrated to New York from Haiti.

Gilles joined Chrysler in 1992. Currently he is Vice President of Jeep & Truck Design at the Chrysler Group. Gilles gained fame for leading the styling of the 2005 Chrysler 300.
Mr. Gilles designed the Chrysler 300 sedan and the Dodge Magnum wagon. Both vehicles helped Chrysler achieve a rare feat in Detroit: the division's operating profit surged to $1.3 billion in the first nine months of 2004 in contrast to a loss of $806 million in the period a year earlier.

Motor Trend Magazine named the Chrysler 300 its Car of the Year for 2005, ahead of 24 competitors including the Porsche 911, Lotus Elise, and BMW 6. Together, Gilles' cars led the way in an amazing turnaround for DaimlerChrysler.

For Ralph Gilles the creative spark appeared early. He was five years old, visiting his Aunt Gisele on Long Island, New York, and, like a lot of kids, drawing what he saw. What differentiated Gilles from the pack at that early age was the fact that his drawings were clear and made sense. "My aunt saw my sketches," Gilles recalls, "and she turned to her husband and said 'Hey Mike! My Nephew can draw! Give him some paper to draw on."

So he began sketching wherever he went, passing dull moments in school with fanciful drawings of cars and other modes of transport. At 15, Gilles wrote a letter to Chrysler head Lee Iacocca, asking what it would take to become a design artist for the giant car company. "And wow, they wrote me back," he said. "I was so impressed. They wrote giving the different names of colleges they hire from, and that was all I needed."

He was a bit disappointed that the letter came from Neal Walling, then vice president of design, instead of the legendary Iacocca himself. "But I felt a certain loyalty to Chrysler because they wrote me, and it changed my life."

He spent a semester in engineering school in Canada, but decided he'd rather draw. "Design is creative," Gilles said. "Engineering is like art work, but they're not the same. As designers, we are in charge of the way a car looks and the emotions you get when you look at it.

So he followed Walling's advice, attending the College of Art and Design in Detroit, which provides about 40 percent of the company's designers, and went to work for Walling after graduating in 1992. It did not take him long to work his way up the ranks, and in 2001 he took over Studio 3, in Auburn Hills, Mich., one of seven Chrysler design studios.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

U.S. Citizens Overseas Support Obama

Nubian Epistle Followers

People tell me that they follow my blog but I don't have any proof. Let me know if you are a follower. Please free to subscribe or click on the sidebar of followers to be added. Thanks to all who come and visit. Luv ya, Coach Roy

Call Center Workers Walk Off Job in Protest Rather Than Read McCain Script Attacking Obama

Some three dozen workers at a telemarketing call center in Indiana walked off the job rather than read an incendiary Senator McCain campaign script attacking Senator Barack Obama, according to two workers at the center and one of their parents.

Nina Williams, a stay-at-home mom in Lake County, Indiana, tells us that her daughter recently called her from her job at the center, upset that she had been asked to read a script attacking Senator Obama for being "dangerously weak on crime," "coddling criminals," and for voting against "protecting children from danger." Williams' daughter told her that up to 40 of her co-workers had refused to read the script, and had left the call center after supervisors told them that they would have to either read the call or leave. The call center is Americall, located in Hobart, Indiana. "They walked out," Williams says of her daughter and her co-workers, adding that they weren't fired but willingly sacrificed pay rather than read the lines. "They were told [by supervisors], `If you all leave, you're not gonna get paid for the rest of the day." The daughter, who wanted her name withheld fearing retribution from her employer, confirmed the story. "It was like at least 40 people," the daughter said. "People thought the script was nasty and they didn't wanna read it."

A second worker at the call center confirmed the episode, saying that "at least 30" workers had walked out after refusing to read the script. "We were asked to read something saying [Obama and Democrats] were against protecting children from danger," this worker said. "I wouldn't do it. A lot of people left. They thought it was disgusting." This worker, too, confirmed sacrificing pay to walk out, saying her supervisor told her: "If you don't wanna phone it you can just go home for the day."

The script coincided with a robo-slime call running in other states, but because robocalling is illegal in Indiana it was being read by call center workers.

So what I am wondering is that if this is true, why isn’t the main street media carrying this story?

Maybe someone should tell Senator McCain to look at these people and see what it means to have standards and be honorable. He could learn a lot from them. And tell him that talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words.

These people put their jobs on the line. These are true American heroes.

Monday, October 27, 2008

49ers Interested in Condi Rice as Team President

The San Francisco 49ers have already made a coaching change this season. Now they apparently have their eyes on an even more high-profile front office move.

The 49ers have expressed interest in Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as a possible candidate for team president.
"If she's interested in talking to us, I'm interested in talking to her," one high-ranking 49ers official told Rice has expressed a desire to be an NFL team president as recently as last week, according to the report.
Ms. Rice has already indicated that she will return to Stanford University in January, a school where she served as provost from 1993-99, which would put her in the San Francisco Bay area. She has a long and documented interest in football, and has often been asked football questions during otherwise political interviews.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Alaska's largest newspaper endorses Obama

The Anchorage Daily News, Alaska's largest newspaper, endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama Sunday after declaring Governor Sarah Palin "too risky" to be one step away from the Oval Office. "Like picking (Republican presidential candidate John) McCain for president, putting her one 72-year-old heartbeat from the leadership of the free world is just too risky at this time," The Daily News said. The newspaper said Obama "brings far more promise to the office. In a time of grave economic crisis, he displays thoughtful analysis, enlists wise counsel and operates with a cool, steady hand."

The Daily News said since the economic crisis has emerged, McCain has "stumbled and fumbled badly" in dealing with it. "Of the two candidates, Senator Obama better understands the mortgage meltdown's root causes and has the judgment and intelligence to shape a solution, as well as the leadership to rally the country behind it," the paper said.

The Daily News said Palin has shown the country why she is a success as governor. But the paper said few would argue that Palin is truly ready to step into the job of being president despite her passion, charisma and strong work ethic. "Governor Palin's nomination clearly alters the landscape for Alaskans as we survey this race for the presidency — but it does not overwhelm all other judgment. The election, after all is said and done, is not about Sarah Palin, and our sober view is that her running mate, Senator John McCain, is the wrong choice for president at this critical time for our nation," the paper said.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

“Christian” Right (More Like Wrong) Intensifies Attacks on Obama

Imagine the following scenarios: terrorist strikes on four U.S. cities. Russia rolling into Eastern Europe; Israel hit by a nuclear bomb; gay marriage in every state; the end of the Boy Scouts. In an imaginary “Letter from 2012 in Obama’s America”, produced by a so called Christian group Focus on the Family Action, these and other things happen with Senator Barack Obama as president.

The imagined look into the future is part of an escalation in peddling fear from so called Christian right activists who are trying to paint Senator Obama in the worst possible picture as we enter the final stretch and polls show the Senator Obama ahead.

"It looks like, walks like, talks like and smells like desperation to me," said the Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell, an Obama supporter who backed President Bush in the past two elections and recently officiated at his daughter’s wedding. Pastor Caldwell called the 2012 letter "false and ridiculous."

One of the clear targets is younger Christians who might be considering Senator Obama. The letter rightly suggests that young Christians will provide the margin that let Senator Obama defeat Senator McCain.

The Christian right attacks show that some Christian conservative leaders fear that Senator Obama's faith-based appeals to voters are working. Young Christians (like most people) are tired of speeches which are fear-based, which tries to strong-arm the listener, and state opinion as fact. This will only cause division. Younger voters are hungry for information and balanced discussion.

Hard-edge attacks are common late in campaigns, but the tone of this election year is sharper than usual and the volume has turned up as we get closer to this historic election.

The publisher of Charisma magazine, a Pentecostal publication, titled one of his recent weekly e-mails to readers, "Life As We Know It Will End If Obama is Elected." A group called the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission posted a series of videos on its site and on YouTube called "7 Reasons Barack Obama is not a Christian." I believe the Bible teaches against judging others. And if that is not bad enough the commission accuses Senator Obama of "subtle diabolical (of the devil) deceit" in saying he is Christian. I believe that God will have the final say.

The Christian right is actually caught between a rock and a hard place since they are not enthused with Senator McCain and are afraid of Senator Obama. The Bible teaches that God has not given us the spirit of fear…

Don’t you think it strange that most Black Christians are supporting Senator Obama? Like saying goes, “the most segregated place in America church at 11 o’clock on Sundays. God can not be pleased with that. We ALL need a change.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Secret Life of Bees

This is a MUST SEE!! Yes, I know it’s a chick flick but it is great. I didn’t think so when it was over, but the more I thought about it the more I like it. It was really emotional for me – brought back some memories from my childhood. It carries you through all the emotions, happy, sad, anger. It features an all-star cast: Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson, Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda), Tristan Wilds (The Wire), Nate Parker (The Great Debaters), and Dakota Fanning.

It's been a while since Gina Prince-Bythewood directed a film ('Love and Basketball' and 'Disappearing Acts'), but this proves that she has not missed a beat. She reminds of that people of different races have more in common, than not even while showing glimpses of the racial tension and violence that existed in the South in the 1960s. The movie is very entertaining and emotional. And the chemistry between the cast translates on screen. And it was produced by Will and Jada Smith.

They say men don't cry but this movie brought tears to my eyes throughout the whole movie. I don't want to give anything away. But I’ll bet those of you who know every line in Love and Basketball and The Five Heartbeats will be watching this one every time it comes on TV too. Definitely Oscar material; the only problem is which one to nominate. Guess I’ll have to read the book. Oh yeah, make sure you take plenty of tissue...

P.S. Please keep Jennifer Hudson in your prayers (mother and brother found dead).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Racism Raises Its Ugly Head in Elections

Less than two weeks before an election that could install the first Black U.S. president, racial incidents have reflected a residue of hatred from a past generation among some segments of White America. A few examples include a cardboard likeness of Senator Barack Obama was found strung from fishing wire at a university (a fine example of higher learning), the Democratic presidential nominee's face was depicted on mock food stamps, the body of a black bear was left at another university with Obama posters attached to it.

The news media would have us believe that the incidents are irregular and isolated, but they stirred up memories of the violent racial past of a country where segregation and lynchings only ended within the last 50 years. And some have feared that Senator Obama could be a target for people who reject him on racial grounds alone.

The head of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups, recently said many Whites feel they are losing their country right before their eyes. And feels what we are seeing is only the beginning of a real backlash. Many racist see the rise of minority rights, gay rights, and women’s rights as a threat to the world they grew up in and that their parents grew up in. And now they see a Black man who is very close to becoming president of the United States. They see it as a symbol the end of the world as they know it.

The latest incident occurred on Monday when the body of bear cub was found on the campus of Western Carolina University in North Carolina. Obama campaign signs were placed around the dead animal's head. And par for the course school officials said it was a prank. Earlier a cardboard likeness of Obama was strung up with fishing wire from a tree at a university in Oregon and an Ohio man hung a figure bearing an Obama sign from a tree in his yard. The man told local media he didn't want to see an African-American running the country. Why is this not a hate crime and why is this man not being prosecuted?

Racism in the 21st Century remains the most burning social problem in the U.S. It had taken on more subtle forms than the lynchings and mob violence seen decades ago in some parts of the country. But when we see the things going on daily we know that overt racism was just hiding under cover. As we get closer to the election the rest of the world will see the true character of the U.S. – whether good or bad we will all see.

In California, a Republican group said it intended no racial overtone when its October newsletter depicted a fake food stamp bearing a likeness of Senator Obama's head on a donkey's body surrounded by fried chicken, watermelon and other images evoking insulting stereotypes about Black Americans. A derogatory billboard in West Plains, Missouri, went up last month showing a caricature of Senator Obama wearing a turban.

We as Black people can protest and complain until we are old and gray, but this crap will only stop when this kind of stuff is fully prosecuted as hate crimes AND other White people stand up and stop just shaking their heads. Oh yes, and another thing that could speed up the eradication of racism would be to have a charismatic, inspirational, transformational Black president. Senator Obama leads Senator McCain in polls ahead of the November 4 election and has a big following in many sections of Americans, from liberals to conservatives, Black, White, Brown, Red and Yellow, rich and poor, old and young.

Connect the Dots

The Other Presidential Candidate: Cynthia McKinney

Cynthia Ann McKinney is the 2008 Green Party nominee for President of the United States. She served as a Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993–2003 and 2005–2007. She is the first Black woman to have represented Georgia in the House.

She was born in Atlanta, the daughter of Billy McKinney, one of Atlanta's first Black policemen, and a former Georgia State Representative. McKinney once described how as a young girl she was exposed to the Civil Rights Movement through her father, an activist who regularly participated in demonstrations across the south. As a police officer, McKinney's father would challenge the racially discriminatory policies of the Atlanta Police Department that were in effect at the time by publicly protesting in front of the station, often carrying young McKinney on his shoulders. After years of protesting social injustice in this way, McKinney's father decided it would be a more effective strategy to actually make public policy than to protest it. Ms. McKinney says that it was this early experience that opened her eyes to the power of government and its potential to guarantee social justice through legislation.

Her political career began in 1986 when her father, a representative in the Georgia House of Representatives, submitted her name as a write-in candidate for the Georgia state house. She got about 40% of the popular vote, despite the fact that she lived in Jamaica at the time with then-husband Coy Grandison. In 1988, McKinney ran for the same seat and won, making the McKinneys the first father and daughter to simultaneously serve in the Georgia state house.

In the 1992 election, McKinney was elected in the newly re-created 11th District, and was re-elected in 1994. When her district was redrawn and renumbered McKinney was easily elected from the new 4th District in the 1996 election, and was re-elected twice without much opposition.

McKinney was defeated Denise Majette in the 2002 Democratic primary, in part due to crossover voting in Georgia's open primary election, which permits anyone from any party to vote in any party primary. McKinney protested the result in court, claiming that thousands of Republicans, knowing they had no realistic chance of defeating her in the November general election, had voted in the Democratic primary against McKinney in revenge for her anti-Bush views and her allegations of voter fraud in Florida in the 2000 Presidential Election. Another reason for her defeat may have been due to her "controversial profile, which included a suggestion that the U.S. had advance knowledge of the attacks and that President Bush may have been aware of the attack but failed to warn New Yorkers, allegedly due to his father's business interests: "It is known that President Bush's father, through the Carlyle Group, had–at the time of the attacks–joint business interests with the bin Laden construction company and many defense industry holdings, the stocks of which have soared since September 11." Other factors in her defeat were her opposition of aid to Israel and a perceived support of Palestinian and Arab causes and alleged anti-Semitism by her supporters. On the night before the primary election, McKinney's father stated on Atlanta television that "Jews have bought everybody ... J-E-W-S" in the election, referring to Dekalb County's large Jewish community. During the 2000 presidential campaign, McKinney wrote that "Al Gore's Negro tolerance level has never been too high. I've never known him to have more than one black person around him at any given time." The Gore campaign was outraged and responded by pointing out that Gore's campaign manager, Donna Brazile, was Black.

McKinney was re-elected to the House in November 2004. In Congress, she advocated unsealing records pertaining to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and continued to criticize the Bush Administration over the 9/11 attacks. She supported anti-war legislation and introduced articles of impeachment against President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

She was defeated by Hank Johnson in the 2006 Democratic primary, after finding herself in the national spotlight again over the March 29, 2006 Capitol Hill Police Incident. She left the Democratic Party in September 2007.

Members of the U.S. Green Party had attempted to recruit McKinney for their ticket in both 2000 and 2004. In 2004, attempts were made to convince McKinney to run on the Green Party ballot line for president and on December 11, 2007, McKinney announced her candidacy for the Green Party nomination for President of the United States in the 2008 presidential election.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Men Vote Barack Obama "Most Influential Man"

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama was voted the most influential man of 2008 in an online poll released on Tuesday that asked men to decide who most impacted the way they behave, buy and think. He was ranked No.1 by readers on the lifestyle Web site, beating Apple chief executive Steve Jobs and Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps, who landed in the No. 2 and No. 3 spots, respectively.

Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain was ranked No. 10 on the list, which was compiled on the basis of 200,000 votes from readers of the Web site whose average age is 27-28 years-old.

Last year's winner, British soccer star David Beckham, fell to No. 25 on the 2008 list, which asked men to go beyond professional success and likeability when picking their top 49 choices.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Derrick Ashong on Barack Obama: A Young Generation Speaks

Oba Ma Song

106-Years-Old Voter Chooses Obama

From CNN: "Ann Nixon Cooper, 106 years old, has seen presidents come and go in her lifetime and has outlived most of them. On a sunny fall morning, she left her weathered but well-kept Tudor home in Atlanta, Georgia, to vote early — this time for [Senator] Barack Obama. Ann Nixon Cooper, 106 years old, lived during a time when Blacks and women did not have the right to vote. The African-American centenarian remembers a time not long ago when she was barred from voting because of her race. Now she hopes to see the day that Obama is elected as the nation's first Black president. 'I ain't got time to die,' Cooper said with a smile. 'Even if he [doesn't] win, I was happy for him just to be nominated,' said the former socialite. 'The first Black president — isn't that something, at 106 years old?'"

I really hope Senator Obama wins just so people like Ann Nixon Cooper can see what was once only a dream to some people and the unimaginable to others. My father never would imagine that a “colored man” would be president whereas; my mother always said that one day things are going to change. I dearly love for them to be alike to experience this.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Will Colin Powell Endorse Senator Obama?

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell will appear on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday and is rumored to be set to endorse Senator Barack Obama for president.

By listening to his previous comments I predicted that Mr. Powell was voting for Senator Obama. But I don’t believe he will be publicly endorsing anyone. I do believe he will vote for Senator Obama.

His endorsement of Obama would be wonderful, since he is one of the most highly respected persons throughout the world.

Colin Powell received my admiration when he left the Bu$h administration after disagreeing with Dubya. He tried to reign in the stubborn president but was drowned out by the dunta dunt yes men that surround Dubya. I still trust his opinion and would have voted for him had he decided to run for president. I hope he will play a significant role in Barack Obama's administration. He is another voice of calm reason, much like Senator Obama himself.

Now the bloggers are saying that Mr. Powell is only endorsing Senator Obama because he is Black. And these are the people that say racism no longer exists in America. They would rather vote for a ticket that includes a woman who today called any part of the country against Senator McCain un-American. So we should dismiss all those White military generals who have endorsed Senator Obama as unpatriotic too?
And what about the media that has not covered the Keating scandal one bit. It was people and companies like Keating that got us in the financial trouble that we are in today. They have not mentioned that Plumber Joe was a plant and now found out to be a fraud. They have not mentioned that our troops overseas support Senator Obama something like 6-1.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

And A Child Shall Lead

Republican Group Portrays Senator Obama with Watermelon, Ribs and Fried Chicken in Newsletter

A San Bernardino County, California Republican group has distributed a newsletter picturing Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on a $10 bill adorned with a watermelon, ribs and a bucket of fried chicken.

Linking Senator Obama to demeaning racist stereotypes drew denunciations from various Republican officials after the illustration appeared in the October newsletter of the Chaffey Community Republican Women, Federated, a Riverside, California newspaper reported Thursday.

The newsletter was sent to club members and associates last week by mail and e-mail. The club is a volunteer group that is not directly responsible to the state party, said California Republican Party press secretary, who denounced the newsletter.

The president of the group said she had no racist intent. "I never connected," she told the newspaper. "It was just food to me. It didn't mean anything else." She said she had received the illustration in e-mails and decided to reprint it to poke fun at a remark by Obama that he doesn’t look like other presidents.

The newsletter, says if Obama is elected his image will appear on food stamps instead of dollar bills like other presidents. The statement is followed by an illustration of "Obama Bucks" -- a phony $10 bill featuring Obama's face on a donkey's body, labeled "United States Food Stamps." Does that sound like she didn’t know what she was doing?

She said she also wasn't trying to make a statement linking Obama and food stamps, although her introductory text to the illustration connects the two: "Obama talks about all those presidents that got their names on bills. If elected, what bill would he be on????? Food Stamps, what else!"

Yeah, that really sounds like she didn’t connect this to racism. I have been reading way too many blogs with this kind of junk. And when they are called out on it they claim ignorance. Ignorance is when you don’t know something. Stupid is when you know better and still do something.

Sheila Raines., a Black member of the club, complained about the image to the president of the club. "This is what keeps African-Americans from joining the Republican Party," she said. "I'm really hurt." Ms. Raines said she has worked hard to try to convince other minorities to join the Republican Party and now she feels betrayed.

The newsletter prompted a rebuke from another Black member of the organization. Acquanetta Warren, a Fontana councilwoman, who said the item is rude and requires a public apology. "When I opened that up and saw it, I said, 'Why did they do this? It doesn't even reflect our principles and values,' " Ms. Warren, who served as a Republican delegate to the national convention in September and is a regional vice chairwoman for the California Republican Party. "I know a lot of the ladies in that club and they're fantastic. They're volunteers. They really care -- some of them go to my church."

My advice to you both is to stop being pals with people who view other people in such a negative manner.

Warren forwarded an electronic version of the newsletter to the California Republican Party headquarters, where officials also were outraged Wednesday and denounced the illustration.

Hector Barajas, the party's press secretary, will attend the statewide California Federation of Republican Women conference this weekend in Los Angeles to handle any news media there to cover the controversy.

The newsletter is not the first such episode Mr. Barajas has had to respond to this week. The Sacramento Bee on Wednesday posted an image it said was captured from the Sacramento County Republican Web site that showed Senator Obama in a turban next to Osama bin Laden.

It said: "The difference between Osama and Obama is just a little B.S." The site also encouraged members to "Waterboard Barack Obama," a reference to a torture technique. The Sacramento County party took down the material Tuesday AFTER being criticized.

Mark Kirk, a spokesman for the San Bernardino County Republican chairman, said these kinds of depictions hurt the party's ongoing efforts to reach out to minorities. You think.

State Senator Bob Dutton, a Republican from Rancho Cucamonga, criticized the illustration as inappropriate and irresponsible. He pointed out that his wife, a member of the club, is of Mexican heritage and has battled criticism that the Republican Party is not the party for minorities. The club's newsletter undercuts efforts to rise above racism, he said.

As we get closer to this historic election it seems that we are seeing more and more of these kinds of attacks. Let's come together as a country and speak out against this negativism and talk about the issues. It's imperative that people speak out about these kinds of depictions no matter how small the organization. And this group says this supports the Republican effort in California - in what way? Are these the values they want to teach to their children?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Congressman Calls Western Pennsylvania 'Racist'; But Thinks Obama Should Win

Democratic Representative John Murtha said Wednesday his home base of western Pennsylvania is racist and that could reduce Senator Barack Obama's victory margin in the state by 4 percentage points. The 17-term congressman told a Pittsburgh newspaper Wednesday that: "There is no question that western Pennsylvania is a racist area."

Murtha said it has taken time for many Pennsylvania voters to come around to embracing a Black presidential candidate, but that Obama should still win the state, though not in a runaway. Murtha said Obama has a problem with voters' racial attitudes in western Pennsylvania that could trim his winning margin on November 4.

Murtha's district outside Pittsburgh encompasses Johnstown and many small towns once dominated by steel and coal.

A spokesperson for Congressman Murtha told The Associated Press: "It's naive to think that race or gender doesn't play a role in a voter's perception of a candidate. Mr. Murtha makes the point that while race may be an issue for some, it's evident that voters today are concerned about the issues that truly matter; issues like the economy, health care, and energy independence."

Murtha said that the older population has been "more hesitant" to support Obama. But in the past three months, he said groups he deals with regularly, such as veterans and senior citizens, have decided to back Senator Obama.

Senator Obama's 'Diplomacy' Wins a Republican Endorsement

The ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee parted ways with his party's presidential nominee Wednesday by endorsing Democratic Senator Barack Obama's approach to diplomacy. In a speech at the National Defense University, Indiana Republican Senator Richard G. Lugar weighed the benefits of talking to foreign leaders, including U.S. enemies, against other actions, such as military force. The issue marks one of the sharpest divides between Senator Obama and Senator McCain, who has called the Democratic nominee naive for suggesting that he would sit down with leaders such as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Senator Lugar praised Obama, noting that isolation often does not resolve contentious issues. "He correctly cautions against the implication that hostile nations must be dealt with almost exclusively through isolation or military force," Lugar said in a prepared remarks released before his speech. "In some cases, refusing to talk can even be dangerous."

Lugar cited North Korea, which was just removed from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terror, as a diplomatic success story and urged more contact with Syria and Iran.

This is not the first time senators Lugar and Obama have seen eye-to-eye on foreign policy issues. Lugar noted back in July that he was "pleased" to have worked with Senator Obama on nuclear proliferation issues after an Obama ad ran mentioning Lugar by name.

Friday, October 10, 2008

'Rednecks for Obama' Bridging Culture Gap

When Barack Obama's campaign bus made a swing through Missouri in July, the unlikeliest of supporters were waiting for him holding a banner that read: "Rednecks for Obama."

In backing the first Black nominee of a major party for the U.S. presidency, the group is on a grassroots mission to bridge a cultural gap in the United States and help usher their preferred candidate into the White House. Tony Viessman, age 74, and Les Spencer, age 60, got politically active last year when it occurred to them there must be other lower income, rural, beer-drinking, gun-loving, NASCAR race enthusiasts fed up with business as usual in Washington.

Mr. Viessman had a red, white and blue "Rednecks for Obama" banner made, and began causing a stir in Missouri, which has emerged as a key battleground in the run-up to the November 4 presidential election.

"We believe in him. He's the best person for the job," Viessman, a former state trooper from Rolla, Missouri said of Senator Obama, who met the pair briefly on that July day in Union, Missouri. Senator Obama stepped off his bus and jogged back towards a roadside crowd to shake hands with the men holding the banner. claims more than 800,000 online visits. In Denver, Colorado, Viessman and Spencer drew crowds at the Democratic convention, and at Washington University last Thursday they were two of the most popular senior citizens on campus.

"When most people think 'redneck,' they think conservatives, anti-change, even anti-integration," said one 18 year old student. "But America's changing, breaking stereotypes."

Comedian Jeff Foxworthy defines the stereotype as a "glorious lack of sophistication". “Philistines or not,” he said, “most rural southerners are no longer proponents of the Old South's most abhorrent ideology -- racism -- and that workaday issues such as the economy are dominating this year's election.”

"We need to build the economy from the bottom up, none of this trickle down business," Mr. Spencer said. "Just because you're White and southern don't mean you have to vote Republican."

Racism "has softened up some, but it's still there," Viessman acknowledged from Belmont University, site of Tuesday's McCain-Obama debate in Nashville, Tennessee.

Despite representing the heartland state of Illinois and having a more working-class upbringing than his Republican rival John McCain, Barack Obama has struggled to shoot down the impression that he is an elitist.

The South traditionally votes Republican (victories for southerners Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter were exceptions) but with less than a month to election day, four states in or bordering the South are considered toss-ups: Florida, Missouri, North Carolina and Virginia. Viessman says he'd like to think his grassroots movement could sway enough people in small-town America to make a difference. "There's lots of other rednecks for Obama too," he said. "And the ones that's not, we're trying our best to convince them."

Monday, October 6, 2008

John H. White (photojournalist)

When John H. White was nine years old, a teacher told him that he would grow up to work on a garbage truck because he was slow in math. At home, his father told him to grow up to his best, to look for the best in others, and if he were to work on a garbage truck, fine...just be sure he is the driver. White has said that this was a turning point in his life.

White's father also played a pivotal role in his photography. At age 14, White's church burned down and his father asked him to take photos of the destruction and reconstruction. White now credits this first assignment with his focus on photo stories.

White joined the staff of the Chicago Sun Times in 1978 and still works there today. He also teaches photojournalism at Columbia College Chicago, and formerly taught at Northwestern University. In 1973 and 1974 White worked for the Environmental Protection Agency`s DOCUMERICA project photographing Chicago and its Black community. White's photographs show the difficulties facing residents as well as their spirit and pride.

White was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Photojournalism in 1982 for his "consistently excellent work on a variety of subjects." White has also won three National Headliner Awards, was the first photographer inducted into the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame, was awarded the Chicago Press Photographer Association's Photographer of the Year award five times, and, in 1999, received the Chicago Medal of Merit.

White is one of the best photographers at capturing the everyday picture. White has published a book about Cardinal Bernardin, but he has yet to publish a book of his work outside the religious realm.

White has said that he lives by three words: faith, focus, flight. "I'm faithful to my purpose, my mission, my assignment, my work, my dreams. I stay focused on what I'm doing and what's important. And I keep in flight—I spread my wings and do it."

Friday, October 3, 2008

Vogue Italia Goes Black

It’s been a while since we’ve seen an ebony sista modeling on the cover of a fashion magazine. However, Italia Vogue is looking to change that - their July issue featured only Black models with in-demand (in England) 17 year old model Jourdann Dunn as the covergirl.

Vogue Italia magazine knows Black is not beautiful but profitable. The July issue of the magazine was its first ever “Black” issue featuring only Black models and articles pertaining to Black-related subjects. The original run sold out in the United States and England in less than 72 hours. It reprinted 30,000 copies for U.S., 20,000 for Italy and 10,000 for Britain.

Editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani said she was inspired by the candidacy of Senator Barack Obama and the untapped potential of Black models. She said that nobody is using Black models and that there are so many beautiful Black models. She also said that all of the other Vogues will be incorporating not only Black models, but other under represented minority groups in their magazines much more than usual over the next few months.

We'll reserve our applause until we start seeing some of this "diversity" in on the magazine stands, but it's nice to know people are finally starting to open their eyes.

It is well documented that there is a clear lack of diversity in the fashion industry. All of the runways, editorials, advertisements, and fashion covers have been completely White-washed in the past. Former model agency owner Bethann Hardison, who use to represent supermodels Tyson Beckford and Naomi Campbell, had to convene two summits to discuss the refusal of some of fashion's most powerful to embrace Black beauty. A letter was sent out prior to fashion week urging designers to incorporate models of all ethnicities onto their catwalks. However, after the fall '08 fashion season concluded, the runways were as bland as ever.

The leading British photographer Nick Knight says: "The fashion industry and the advertising industry are steeped in racism. You just have to look around at the number of Black [models] you see in ads – virtually nil. Among the main fashion brands, they are completely under-represented. It's shocking and atrocious."

Mr. Knight blames business people at the top of the industry. A common attitude among them, he says, is that Black models are "not inspirational" or "don't sell in Asia".

The lack of diversity in the fashion industry has been a point of contention for decades, and recently there’s been lots of talk on the issue. After the Spring 08 shows in NYC, for instance, America’s Next Top Model’s Nigel Barker took note of the sameness on the runway, saying, “Everyone is always talking about the weight issue, I think they should be talking about race.”

Naomi Campbell has always been outspoken about racism in fashion and newcomer Jourdann Dunn, who is famously seen in London advertisements, recently added her voice to the debate.

“London’s not a White city so why should all our castings be White? I go to castings and see several Black and Asian girls, then I get to the show and look around and there’s just me and maybe one other colored face.”

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Ready for the NBA: Stephanie Ready

To Stephanie Ready, it was simply a job that she enjoyed to the fullest. To basketball fans across the country, it was history in the making. Stephanie Ready made history from 2001 to 2003 as the first female coach in men's professional sports when she was introduced as the assistant coach of the now defunct Greenville (South Carolina) Groove of the NBA's minor league, the National Basketball Developmental League (NBDL).

Ms. Ready said the experience was nothing but positive. And despite what detractors may have believed at first, the team responded to her with mutual respect.

Before joining the coaching ranks of the Groove, Ready had just made history as an assistant men's basketball coach at Coppin State College. She was the first woman to recruit for an NCAA Division I men's basketball program. Ron (Fang) Mitchell, the director of athletics and men's basketball coach at Coppin State, which is Ready's alma mater, says he hired Ready because he believed that she could handle the job with grace and excellence. "I saw her as a person who had a lot of potential and ability when I had the experience of watching her play and coach," Mitchell says. "You don't have a lot of people who have her intelligence--she graduated cum laude--and her work ethic.

Ready first experimented with coaching while a high school student in Takoma Park, Maryland when she coached an eighth-grade basketball team at a local Boys and Girls Club. She later attended Coppin State and became a two-sport star in basketball and volleyball. She was a four-year starter and captain of both teams during her senior year. She finished her basketball career ranked in the school's all-time top 10 in points, rebounds, assists and steals.

Ready graduated from Coppin State in 1998 and was named the head women's volleyball coach. Mitchell added Ready to his staff as an assistant men's basketball coach in 1999. While serving as both the women's volleyball coach and assistant men's basketball coach for two years, she attracted national attention. It was in the spring of 2001 when Ready received a phone call from National Basketball Developmental League executives who called to inquire about her services.

Ready was hired last August 2001 as the assistant coach of the Greenville Groove in the then new National Basketball Developmental League. As an assistant coach, she performed a variety of duties, including scheduling practices, breaking down film on upcoming opponents and compiling scouting reports. Ready participated in all drills on the court.

"The players saw me more as a big sister than anything else, which is how it was at Coppin also," Ready said. "I was the buffer between the head coach and the players and front office. If there was something that they needed, more likely they were going to come to me first."

The ultimate test for Ready came when Groove head coach Milton Barnes was suspended for a game. In his absence, Ready handled all coaching duties --selecting the starting lineup, inserting substitutions and calling plays. Greenville defeated Huntsville (Alabama) 84-82 in overtime. The victory proved once again that Stephanie Ready was indeed ready and capable of handling her own.

Stephanie Ready is currently a TV sideline reporter for the Charlotte Bobcats of the NBA. She was an assistant coach with the Washington Mystics of the WNBA. Ready was also a sideline reporter for The NBA on TNT during the 2006 and 2007 NBA Playoffs, and the WNBA Playoffs on ESPN2 during 2006. Also in 2006 and 2007, Ready worked as a sideline reporter during the first and second rounds of the Women's Final Four of college basketball for ESPN2.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Gwen Ifill Moderates the Vice Presidential Debate

The Vice Presidential debate at Washington University will be moderated by Gwen Ifill, a highly respected correspondent and moderator for nationally televised public broadcasting news programs on PBS. Gwen Ifill is moderator and managing editor of "Washington Week" and senior correspondent for "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer." She is also frequently asked to moderate debates in national elections, including the Vice Presidential debate during the 2004 election. Ifill is also the author of the forthcoming book The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. During the 2008 campaign season, Ifill brought Washington Week to live audiences around the country on a 10-city tour.

Now in its 40th year, Washington Week is the longest-running news and public affairs program on public television. Each week, Gwen Ifill brings together some of the best journalists in Washington to discuss the major stories of the week. Ifill has bolstered the program's journalistic roots and its commitment to hearing from the reporters who actually cover the news. Ifill joined both Washington Week and The NewsHour in 1999, interviewing newsmakers and reporting on issues ranging from foreign affairs to politics.

Before coming to PBS, she spent five years at NBC News as chief congressional and political correspondent, and still appears as an occasional roundtable panelist on Meet The Press. Ifill joined NBC News from The New York Times where she covered the White House and politics. She also covered national and local affairs for The Washington Post, Baltimore Evening Sun and Boston Herald American.

Ifill was born New York City, the fifth child of African Methodist Episcopal minister, Urcille Ifill, Sr., a Panamanian of Barbadian descent who emigrated from Panama and Eleanor Ifill, who was also from Barbados. Her father's ministry required the family to live in several cities throughout New England and the Eastern Seaboard during her youth. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts in 1977.

Ifill has received more than a dozen honorary doctorates and is the recipient of several broadcasting excellence awards. She serves on the board of the Harvard University Institute of Politics, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Newseum and the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

Ms. Ifill dismissed conservative questions about her impartiality because she is writing a book that includes material on Senator Barack Obama. Ifill said Wednesday that she hasn't even written her chapter on Obama for the book "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama," which is scheduled to be published by Doubleday on January 20, 2009, the day a new president is inaugurated. She said it was the publisher, not herself, who set the Inauguration Day release date. It will be released then whether Obama wins or loses.

In its online description of the book, Doubleday says that Ifill "surveys the American political landscape, shedding new light on the impact of Barack Obama's stunning presidential campaign and introducing the emerging young African American politicians forging a bold new path to political power." Ifill said Obama's story, which she has yet to write, is only a small part of the book, which discusses how politics in the Black community have changed since the civil rights era. Among those subjects is former Secretary of State Colin Powell, as well as other up and coming Black politicians such as Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick and Newark, New Jersey mayor Cory Booker. The publisher says of the book "Drawing on interviews with power brokers like Senator Obama, Vernon Jordan, Jesse Jackson, and many others, as well as her own razor-sharp observations and analysis of such issues as generational conflict and the 'Black enough' conundrum, Ifill shows why this is a pivotal moment in American history."

"I've got a pretty long track record covering politics and news, so I'm not particularly worried that one-day blog chatter is going to destroy my reputation," Ifill said. "The proof is in the pudding. They can watch the debate tomorrow night and make their own decisions about whether or not I've done my job." Although the topic of Ifill's impartiality was raised the day before the debate, the PBS journalist said that Time magazine noted she was writing a book in August, and that it has been available for pre-sale on The book also is mentioned in a September 4 interview she gave the Washington Post.

Ifill questions why people assume that her book will be favorable toward Obama. "Do you think they made the same assumptions about Lou Cannon (who is White) when he wrote his book about Reagan?" said Ifill. Asked if there were racial motives at play, she said, "I don't know what it is. I find it curious." In 2004 Ifill was accused of favoring the Republican? There was much concern about her friendship with Condoleezza Rice.

While Joe Biden and Sarah Palin may have listened to dozens of mock questions in their debate preparation, they're sure to get one or two from Ifill that they don't expect. What she asks might touch on any topic imaginable under the negotiated rules, which call for Biden and Palin to be situated behind lecterns with short discussion periods and two minutes each for closing statements. Given Gwen Ifill's hard-news background, her questions are unlikely to be softballs.

Down Home with the Neelys

As co-owners of Neely's Bar-B-Que, Patrick (Pat) and Gina Neely have turned their family restaurant into one of the most successful barbecue restaurants in the South. Now they share the secrets behind their favorite dishes and their passion for food, family and fun on Food Network's Down Home with the Neelys.

After its February 2 premiere, Down Home with the Neelys became the highest-rated series debut in the five-year history of Food Network's "In the Kitchen" weekend block and continues to be a top ratings performer. By the end of 2008, the Neelys will have filmed four seasons of the popular show in their hometown of Memphis. The meals served on the show come from passed-down recipes of grandmothers, mothers, aunts and uncles. Some favorites include their BBQ Spaghetti, Sweet and Spicy Coleslaw, Get Yo Man Chicken and Grilled Pound Cake Sundaes.

Beginning in July 2008, the Neelys launched a second Food Network show, Road Tasted with the Neelys, a cross-country search for specialty stores and family-run businesses that make hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind edibles.

Patrick began working in the restaurant business at the age of 15, learning the art of barbecue from his uncle Jim Neely who taught Patrick and his brother Tony the methods of slow cooking southern barbecue using indirect heat. In February 1988, Pat and his three brothers (Gaelin, Tony, and Mark) opened their first restaurant in downtown Memphis with just a few tables and chairs, one barbecue pit, and $20,000 borrowed from their grandmother. Building on a reputation of hard work, great food and consistently good service, the Neelys now have two locations in Memphis and one in Nashville. Additionally, they operate several concessions in the Memphis FedEx Forum and their products are sold online and in grocery stores nationwide.

High school sweethearts in the 80s, Pat and Gina reunited at their 10-year high school reunion and were married in 1994. For years the two have learned to balance their roles in the family as well as in the family business. They reside in Memphis with their two daughters, Spenser, 19, and Shelbi, 13.

Gina handles the catering division of Neely's Bar-B-Que, which she has expanded to more than 25 percent of the restaurant's total sales. She is also responsible for sales of all Neely's products including sauces, seasonings, shirts, hats, and aprons. Before joining her husband in the family business, Gina served as branch manager at National Bank of Commerce in Memphis and was an events coordinator for The Carter Malone Group, a local public relations firm.

Patrick is a board member of the Memphis Regional Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Shelby Farms Conservancy Board, and the immediate past chairman of board for the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau. In 2007, Patrick was named Restaurateur of the Year by the Memphis Restaurant Association.

Gina is a member of the Memphis Restaurant Association, on the steering committee for The Women's Empowerment Summit for the Memphis Housing Authority, and on the PTSA of Cordova High School. She is also a member of The Dreamers Club for the National Civil Rights Museum and an active member at Cummings Street Missionary Baptist Church where she serves in the Hospitality and Greeters ministries.

Gina and Patrick support Memphis youth by sponsoring 25 children to attend every NBA Memphis Grizzlies home game. They are long-time supporters of Melrose High School and Central High School athletics and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Basketball Tournament.

Neely's Bar-B-Que was awarded the 2007 Business of the Year by Memphis MED-Week (Minority Enterprise Development) and a Blue Ribbon Small Business by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C.

The Neelys have also appeared on Food Network's Paula's Home Cooking, Paula's Party, Road Tasted hosted by Jamie and Bobby Deen, and BBQ With Bobby Flay as well as on Good Morning America, The Big Idea With Donny Deutsch and Extra. They also have been featured in USA Today, Family Circle, Cooking with Paula Deen and Jet among others. Down Home with the Neelys airs Saturdays at 11 a.m. ET/PT.