Thursday Open Thread

27 Jan 2011

Media Alert- The First Lady will be a guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show today.

Good Morning.

As you go through your day, don’t forget JJP.

Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.

And always, have a peaceful day.

No member of Congress is beyond reproach. Every member of Congress should be open scrutiny of their record, and every member should be judged by his or her record. It’s critical to an effective democracy.

Last week, Congressman Bobby Rush’s record of carrying water for big telecom corporations — at the expense of the communities he represents — came back to haunt him when he lost his bid to become Ranking Member of the subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet. Rep. Rush had been almost certain to get the position until more than 16,000 members opposed his candidacy because of his record of advocating against net neutrality.

Now, Congressman Rush is trying to change the subject. But it won’t work — not now, at a time when a politician’s statements and voting record are readily available for the public to see and evaluate.

Corporate money has a huge influence over politicians and the policy they make — and it’s a major problem for our democracy. Black politicians are no exception. For years, corporate interests have carefully sought support and loyalty from Black leaders with carefully targeted donations to campaign committees and non-profit organizations. The blessing of Black politicians and organizations can — and too often does — give corporate America the cover they need to ruthlessly pursue their interests at the expense of ours.

We started to make government more accountable to the interests of African-Americans. But we will only get so far if we have a double standard for that accountability — one for Black politicians and another for everyone else. The truth is that on certain key issues, there are a significant number of Black leaders and organizations that are beholden to corporate interests, and act against their constituents’ interests because of it. To give anyone a pass on those issues, even if they have been great on many others, would only weaken our efforts.

Earlier this week, Rep. Rush attacked with a circular argument that said we are undermining Black interests by challenging him. But he has never addressed the substance of our opposition to his now-failed candidacy to be the Ranking Member of the subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet: his vocal opposition to net neutrality.
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Afternoon Open Thread

26 Jan 2011

Tweety went all in against Bachmann and the Tea Party. It was pretty good. He called Bachmann a ‘ Balloon Head’.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Good Afternoon.

As you go through the rest of your day, don’t forget JJP.

Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.

And continue to have a peaceful day.

from ThinkProgress:

Allen West: Keith Ellison Represents ‘The Antithesis Of The Principles Upon Which This Country Was Established’ (Updated)

During a recent episode of The Shalom Show, host Richard Peritz asked freshman Rep. Allen West (R-FL) how he planned to cope with regular interactions with political opponents, in particular Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), who the host described as someone that “supports Islam.” In his reply, West painted Ellison as someone who “really does represent the antithesis of the principles upon which this country was established”:

PERITZ: Since you’re with a new crowd, people you haven’t really met before, and will be very closely associating with in the future, including Keith Ellison, who supports Islam, how will you manage that, if I may ask, because it’s not really easy to be polite with individuals one totally disagrees with, which I believe may be the case.

WEST: Well I think it’s most important that I stand upon the principles that people elected me to go to Washington, DC and represent them on Capitol Hill. So that when you run into someone that is counter, or someone that really does represent the antithesis of the principles upon which this country was established, you’ve got to be able to defeat them intellectually in debate and discourse, and you to just have to be able to challenge each and every one of their assertions very wisely and very forthright.

Just what values doesn’t Congressman Ellison represent? The commitment to public service? The commitment to family? The commitment to community?

Just what values is West talking about?

In case West doesn’t know his American history, here are some of the principles upon which this country was founded: the genocide of the Native Americans, and that his Black behind would be considered 3/5ths of a human being. Are THOSE the principles that Ellison doesn’t represent?

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Wednesday Open Thread

26 Jan 2011

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 25, 2011. Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is at rear. U.S. President Barack Obama challenged Republicans on Tuesday to adopt limited spending cuts and invest in new research and education to generate a job-creating “Sputnik moment” for America in a speech designed to revitalize his leadership.
—Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Pool

Good Morning.

As you make it through Hump Day, don’t forget JJP.

Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.

Of course tonight, it will be Orange Julius up there unfortunately.
Here’s the Enhanced State of the Union courtesy of the super-geeks at the White House. Below, check out the livestream of the SOTU plus charts, photos and statistics side by side in the video. The Prez is gettin’ all jiggy with the technology. After the SOTU speech, folks from the White House will be taking questions from both the online and in person audience. So stay tuned!

Some heroes from Tucson and the Chilean Miners rescue, some executives, some enterprising geeks — there’s definitely an emphasis on those helping to create America’s economy of the future. And…there’s also some grateful white people. Yes, white people… who got a loan from the SBA through their bank thanks to the Recovery Act. Young, attractive, white people who are making ice cream in America the way the founders made it. What’s more American than ice cream? They made this video thanking the very same gubment that the Tea Party would have you think is so evil and oppressive for making their dreams come true and for helping them hire a bunch of workers and vendors along with ordering from some local farms. Suck it, Tea Partiers — clearly no one’s looking out for the white man better than Barack Obama. That goes double for you, Michele Bachmann.

You can check out the response video/phone call they got from VP Joe Biden here.

Here’s the full list of folks who will be kickin’ it tonight with Michelle Obama. It’s an interesting group of folks and not all of them are white, either.

First Lady Michelle Obama

Dr. Jill Biden

Phil Schiliro, Assistant to the President and Director, Office of Legislative Affairs

Gary and Robert Allen (Rochester Hills, MI)

Gary and his brother Robert have been partners in the family business, Allen Brothers Inc., a roofing products manufacturing company, for 25 years.  With the help of $500,000 from the Recovery Act, the Allen brothers were able to retool half of their manufacturing facility in order to manufacture solar shingles and launch a whole new business, Luma Resources.  A graduate of Saginaw Valley State University, Gary, his wife Diane, and their six children are residents of Rochester Hills, Michigan.  Robert lives in Oakland Township, Michigan with his wife Nicole, and their three children.

Ursula M. Burns (Norwalk, CT)

Ursula M. Burns is the chief executive officer of Xerox Corporation. She joined Xerox in 1980 as a mechanical engineer summer intern and later assumed roles in product development and planning. From 1992 through 2000, Ms. Burns led several business teams including the office color and fax business and office network printing business. In 2000, she was named senior vice president, Corporate Strategic Services, heading up manufacturing and supply chain operations. She then took on the broader role of leading Xerox’s global research as well as product development, marketing and delivery. In April 2007, Ms. Burns was named president of Xerox, expanding her leadership to also include the company’s IT organization, corporate strategy, human resources, corporate marketing and global accounts. At that time, she was also elected a member of the company’s Board of Directors. Ms. Burns was named chief executive officer in July 2009. Ms. Burns earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Polytechnic Institute of NYU and a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia University.  Ms. Burns was named by the President to help lead the White House national campaign on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education in November 2009, and is on the board of Change the Equation, a coalition of over 100 CEOs focused on STEM education that the President announced in September 2010. She was appointed vice chair of the President’s Export Council in March 2010.

Amy Chyao (Richardson, TX)

Amy, a sixteen-year-old high school junior from Richardson, Texas, has developed a photosensitizer for photodynamic therapy (PDT), an emerging cancer treatment which uses light energy to activate a drug that kills cancer cells. After her freshman year biology class, Amy became interested in cancer research and came up with an idea for improving the way medicine is designed.  So over her summer vacation she taught herself some basic chemistry and began her research.  With her work, Amy won the first place Gordon E. Moore Award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, a program of Society for Science & the Public, in May 2010. Since taking home the top prize at the Intel science fair, she and her teacher have received inquiries from researchers who are actually implementing the therapy and are interested in her work. Amy, whose parents came here from China, is also a cellist and tutors younger children in her spare time. Amy met the President at the October 2010 White House Science Fair.

Kendra Baker and Zachary Davis (Santa Cruz, CA)

Business partners Kendra Baker and Zachary Davis had a dream of opening an organic, homemade ice cream shop in Santa Cruz, California, but had trouble finding a lender that would help finance their dream. With the help of a Recovery Act SBA loan of $250,000, Kendra and Zack were able open the doors to The Penny Ice Creamery in August 2010.  The SBA Recovery Act funding allowed them to not only open the shop, but also to employ eleven people, purchase American-made equipment, and to hire nearly twenty local businesses to design and renovate the space.  Kendra and Zack were so thankful for the financing help, that they posted a video on YouTube thanking the Administration and Members of Congress for their Recovery Act SBA loan.  As a result of the video, the Vice President called them in November 2010 to thank them for the video and wish them good luck.

Brandon and Julie Fisher (Berlin, PA)

Brandon Fisher is the owner of a small business, Center Rock, in Berlin, Pennsylvania that specializes in a new kind of drilling technology.  Last summer, Center Rock manufactured the drill bits and other equipment used to find and rescue the 33 trapped Chilean miners.  The technology enabled a considerable shortening of the rescue timeline.  Brandon and his wife, sales director Julie, spent 37 days in Chile working to drill the rescue shaft. Brandon, along with some of the Americans involved in the Chilean mine rescue efforts, met the President in October 2010.
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Afternoon Open Thread

25 Jan 2011

Another Ebony remake: Blair Underwood remakes Sidney Poitier.

Good Afternoon.

As you go through the rest of your day, don’t forget JJP.

Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.

And continue to have a peaceful day.

Unca Clarence’s Excuse For Not Reporting his Wife’s Income on his Tax Returns….since 1996

Seems like Unca Clarence is in trouble for failing to report on his tax returns all that scratch his wife was earning from organizations that would have upcoming cases before the Supreme Court.

Clarence’s excuse for not including his wife’s income for the past several years?  THE DOG ATE IT:  From POLITICO:

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has amended 13 years’ worth of disclosure reports to include details of wife Virginia Thomas’s sources of income, documents released on Monday show.

The documents indicate that Thomas’s wife, who goes by Ginni, had worked for Hillsdale College in Michigan, the Heritage Foundation and the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, among other entities.

Like all federal judges, Thomas must file annual disclosure reports on his personal finances, but he had omitted details of his wife’s earnings in what he wrote was a “misunderstanding of the filing instructions.”  (emphasis mine). He also had checked a box marking no spousal income.
First off, if any of us did that shyt, we’d have to call a lawyer.  As long as anyone has filed tax returns, how the hell could a Supreme Court Justice, a constitutional SCHOLAR, misunderstand the filing instructions, when it clearly states ” fill in your spouse’s income“?
While unemployed, I still get taxed on my benefits, and if anyone should catch a break from paying taxes until gainfully employed, are the UNEMPLOYED.  So Clarence’s explanation ain’t makin’ it. Additionally, he thinks his revised tax forms will shut everyone up about Miss Ginni’s last job:
Thomas did not include in his new submissions any information about Ginni’s work for Liberty Central, a tea-party-affiliated group. The group’s 2009 990 tax form did not include any payments to her and she stepped down from her official role with the group in November.
The ambitious gang at Daily Kos are calling for Unca Clarence to be impeached.  While that’s probably the fantasy of every self-respecting person in America, and especially Black people, hell will freeze over and Satan will have snowball fights with Dick Cheney before that happens.
And the folks at Common Cause ain’t buying Unca Clarence’s excuse, either:

Last week, watchdog group Common Cause reported that none of the nearly $690,000 the Heritage Foundation said it had paid Ginni Thomas between 2003 and 2007 had been reported on Justice Thomas’s annual financial disclosure forms.

In a statement Monday, the group said did not believe Thomas’s explanation.

“Justice Thomas sits on the highest court of the land, is called upon daily to understand and interpret the most complicated legal issues of our day and makes decisions that affect millions,” said Bob Edgar, Common Cause’s president. “It is hard to see how he could have misunderstood the simple directions of a federal disclosure form. We find his excuse is implausible.”

Until 1996, Thomas included his wife’s income on his disclosure forms.

We all know the ReThugs are going to cover this up, but as a Supreme Court Justice, this is but another example of Clarence Thomas’ incompetence as he sits on the Nation’s highest court and continues to perpetrate his self-hatred on anything Civil Rights, Equal Opportunity or Due Diligence.
Let me just say this: “If Clarence Thomas was a Democrat, _________”

You know how on CNN they give a studio audience special dials where they can approve or disapprove of what the President is saying in real time while he’s talking during the State of the Union? Ever think they were totally smoking crack? Ever notice that it’s a very small group that doesn’t always reflect what our community thinks?

Well, now’s your chance to evaluate how Obama’s doing — all with your smart phone and your own bad self.

As Pew noted and  Rikyrah reported last August, the proliferation of mobile broadband cut the digital divide between Blacks and Whites in half in just one year. Last December, Pew came out with another report noting that 28% of all cell phone users used their mobile phones to participate in the 2010 election. Among African Americans the percentage was a whopping 30% compared to Whites and Hispanics of whom only 25% reported using their devices for election related activities. This is a big deal and a huge opportunity for bringing more Black people into the political space.

JJP is teaming up with a number of progressive organizations and a software company, SurveySwipe, to take big leap into the mobile political world with a polling project centered around tonight’s State of The Union Address, and we need you to help make this effort a success.

Here’s how you can help:

If you own a smartphone, go to our SurveySwipe landing page and sign up to participate in the State of the Union 2011 Mobile Polling Initiative. You’ll be asked to register and download the SurveySwipe app onto your phone. Or just head for the App Store and look for “SurveySwipe” – it’s a free download and you can register in the app itself. Then, later tonight, you will receive a notification, reminding you to watch the State of the Union Address. At that point you will also be asked 12 questions about how you perceive the state of our national politics. During the address, we may pulse you other questions if something interesting happens that lends itself to instant feedback. At the end of the address and within seconds of concluding statements, we will poll you again. The image above is a snapshot of the app.

Our goal is to get the purest information possible about what you think. By creating a system for collecting instant feedback, we also create a system that collects opinions unspun by punditry, and we think that is good news for the future of political research.

The SurveySwipe app is still in beta, so there are kinks to be worked out. If you encounter issues (hopefully not) or have suggestions on making the product better (hopefully you do) let us know and we’ll pass that information along.

The best part, though, is the opinions you provide. Soon after the final question is asked, the data will be available for reporting. So we can then give you instant feedback on our entire community’s thoughts, and compare those with others who are also participating in this project.

So sign up and show those folks at CNN what you think. As He-Man would say — you have THE POWER! (also — tell your friends!)

Tuesday Open Thread

25 Jan 2011

hat tip-The Obama Diary:

US First Lady Michelle Obama speaks in the East Room at the White House on January 24, 2011 during an event unveiling efforts to better coordinate and strengthen the Federal government’s support for military families.
—- JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden unveil new measures to strengthen and better coordinate the Federal Government’s support for military families. January 24, 2011.

Good Morning.

As you go through your day, don’t forget JJP.

Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.

And always, have a peaceful day.

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Have you seen the special site that the White House has created for the State of the Union? Senior White House officials and the President himself will be using all kinda internets including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to hear from you after the SOTU. BTW, there’s also a cool new (and free, cuz a brother knows you ain’t got the billz stacked like you used to) White House iPhone app you can download.

President Obama released a video over the weekend as a warmup to give a preview of his speech — consider it like a teaser. Basically he’s planning to focus on the subject of why you and/or your cousin Peanut still ain’t got no job and what he plans to do about that. Plus education and innovation so that Peanut’s kids will also have a job someday. Also, he will address the deficit – so we don’t go broke as a nation in the course of the aforementioned Peanut-focused initiatives. Video below.

A standout quote from the video for me:

The fact of the matter is, we’ve got millions of our fellow Americans who are out there struggling every day, don’t have a job or haven’t seen a raise in a long time, paycheck is shrinking at a time when costs are going up.

And so my principal focus, my number one focus, is going be making sure that we are competitive, that we are growing, and we are creating jobs not just now but well into the future.

And that’s what is going to be the main topic of the State of the Union.

I’m focused on making sure the economy is working for everybody, for the entire American family.

So…just to be clear, Barack Obama is aware of your family’s Peanut problem, which is the nation’s Peanut problem, and apparently is working on some kind of plan. You may think me flip but really, unless America solves the Peanut problem — which is under-educated people who are chronically unemployed because they haven’t been trained for the jobs of the future (which is now) — we stand a great risk of losing our long term strength & prosperity as a nation.

It’s Obama’s third SOTU and honestly, I can still say I’m excited. I really appreciate the fact that Obama gets that this is not a one way conversation and that we’re going to have some questionThe White House is keen to provide as many holla back opportunities for you as the President gives the nation a whazzup y’all. I hope you’ll consider watching the SOTU with your family Tues night or checking out the archive afterwards. I also hope you’ll join me in taking the President and his team up on their offer to speak with us online. After all, Obama may be giving us his version of the State of our Union and that’s cool — we should also give him our version of how things look out here.

Here are all the ways this week in which you can talk live online to folks at the White House after the State of the Union address including the Prez himself:


Following the President’s Address, senior White House officials will take your questions about issues covered in the speech live from the White House.

Brian DeeseRoberto RodriguezDavid SimasBen RhodesKalpen ModiSarah Bernard

Brian Deese: Deputy Director, National Economic Council
Roberto Rodriguez: Special Assistant to the President for Education Policy
David Simas: Director and Aide to the Senior Advisor
Ben Rhodes: Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications


Kalpen Modi: White House Office of Public Engagement
Sarah Bernard: White House New Media


You can send in questions during the address or throughout the panel.

1. On Twitter: Reply to @whitehouse using the hashtag #sotu
2. On Facebook: Post your questions to the White House wall
3. On through the webform
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Afternoon Open Thread

24 Jan 2011

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama watch as President Hu Jintao of China greets daughters Sasha and Malia before the start of the State Dinner reception in the East Room of the White House, Jan. 19, 2011. Marian Robinson is pictured at right.
—Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Good Afternoon.

As you go through the rest of your day, don’t forget JJP.

Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.

And continue to have a peaceful day.

Monday Open Thread

24 Jan 2011

Good Morning.

As you begin a new week, don’t forget JJP.

Drop those links. Engage in debate.

Give us trivia and gossip too.

And always, have a peaceful day.

Outdoor Afro fans learned about Barbara Hillary, of Queens, NY back in 2009, when she shared how she not only survived lung cancer, but also took on a trek hardly imaginable to most to the North Pole on skis at age 75!

Not willing to remain still, this month the venerable Hillary started on another trek, this time to the South Pole.

See the Expenews feed for futher details and to read the rollercoaster of events leading to today.

We wish Ms. Hillary, and her team the best of luck for a safe trip to the pole and back home, and recognize the inspiration she is to us all!

Learn more about Barbara Hillary, including booking information for speaking engagements by visiting her website.

Who We Are

Cheryl Contee aka "Jill Tubman", Baratunde Thurston aka "Jack Turner", rikyrah, Leutisha Stills aka "The Christian Progressive Liberal", B-Serious, Casey Gane-McCalla, Jonathan Pitts-Wiley aka "Marcus Toussaint," Fredric Mitchell

Special Contributors: James Rucker, Rinku Sen, Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Adam Luna, Kamala Harris

Technical Contributor: Brandon Sheats


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