Thursday Open Thread

11 Jun 2009

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Good Morning.

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

And always, have a peaceful day.

Steele must have that handkerchief tied on extra tight. Wow. In the words of Three 6 Mafia, it really must be hard out here for a pimp…and a white man, apparently. Via BlackPoliticsontheWeb

In an interview with CNN’s Campbell Brown on Tuesday, the Republican Party leader insisted that white males would not be granted even-handed jurisprudence under a Court with Obama’s nominee.

“God help you if you’re a white male,” said Steele. “If you’re seeking justice, this may not be the bench you want to go before.”

The remarks come at a time when Republican officials have attempted to remove any semblance of racial politics from their opposition to Sotomayor’s nomination. Earlier on Tuesday, Sen. Mel Martinez, a Hispanic Republican from Florida, defended Sotomayor’s now-infamous “wise Latina” remarks as sensible.

Evening Open Thread

10 Jun 2009

Bo Obama getting his grooming on.

Good Evening.

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

And continue to have a peaceful day.


Music has played a major role in the struggle for African American dignity, equality and self respect. For Black Music Month it is fitting that we honor the African Americans who have provided the soundtrack to the various struggles African Americans have gone through and continue to go through. I was lucky enough to meet one of the people who has dedicated his life to representing that struggle through Hip Hop, Chuck D at Black Harvard Graduation while I was doing a story on Justin Cosby, the young man who was killed at Harvard last month.

So check out my own Top 5 Political Black Artists and Top 10 Black Political Albums after the jump. Please add some of your own as well.

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UPDATES: The incredibly courageous security guard and one brave brother at the USHMM, Stephen Tyrone Johns has died, after saving the lives of many others. I know you join me in praying for him and his loved ones.Also:

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said President Obama was “concerned” and “saddened by what — what has happened”.

What happened at the Holocaust Museum is a shame. The USHMM was a client of mine and I can tell you that they are well-prepared for attacks. Security (sadly) has always been tight. You don’t just roll up uninvited to their offices, let’s put it that way. Now an old and angry white man has taken it upon himself to threaten the lives of those who threaten him not.

The not very well coded rhetoric of some right wing pundits like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Pat Buchanan, Sean Hannity, etc, I believe, is partly to blame. It was only a matter of time before violence ensued because of speech that’s filled with hate and division. Terrorism comes in multiple forms and more than one race. It will be interesting to see if conservative hate speech moderates as a result of this incident or if they continue to stoke the flames of discontent among those confused by change. Let’s not forget the connection between homegrown whites-only terrorists, racism and anti-Semitism:

Von Brunn considered himself a student and acolyte of Rear Adm. John Crommelin, an anti-Semite who worked with Pierce, the neo-Nazi whose novel, “The Turner Diaries,” inspired Timothy McVeigh to bomb the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995.

Here’s how the terrorist describes himself, showing the strong links between race hate and anti-semitism:

James W. von Brunn holds a BachSci Journalism degree from a mid-Western university where he was president of SAE and played varsity football.

During WWII he served as PT-Boat captain, Lt. USNR, receiving a Commendation and four battle stars. For twenty years he was an advertising executive and film-producer in New York City. He is a member of Mensa, the high-IQ society.

In 1981 Von Brunn attempted to place the treasonous Federal Reserve Board of Governors under legal, non-violent, citizens arrest. He was tried in a Washington, D.C. Superior Court; convicted by a Negro jury, Jew/Negro attorneys, and sentenced to prison for eleven years by a Jew judge. A Jew/Negro/White Court of Appeals denied his appeal. He served 6.5 years in federal prison. (Read about von Brunn’s “Federal Reserve Caper” HERE.) He is now an artist and author and lives on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Very nice. Naturally, the white supremacist community is delighted. One said on Stormfront: ” James von Brunn deserves our utmost respect. The man is visionary.”

I pray for all involved, especially any children who witnessed this. As a friend told me, “This is a real lesson. The need for the Holocaust Museum continues even today.” Share your thoughts with the rest of the JJP family.

Remember this from the Bush era (circa Feb 2004)?:

The Bush administration says it improperly altered a report documenting large racial and ethnic disparities in health care, but it will soon publish the full, unexpurgated document.

“There was a mistake made,” Tommy G. Thompson, the secretary of health and human services, told Congress last week. “It’s going to be rectified.”

Mr. Thompson said that “some individuals took it upon themselves” to make the report sound more positive than was justified by the data. [...]

President Bush’s budget would cut spending for the training of health professionals and would eliminate a $34 million program that recruits blacks and Hispanics for careers as doctors, nurses and pharmacists.

It was so bad that even Dr. Bill Frist, then-Senate Majority Leader and a man known to have done some freelance experimenting on cats while a medical student, raised his voice in opposition, saying: “African-Americans and Native Americans die younger than any other racial or ethnic group…These gaps are unacceptable.”

That was a messed-up era in which facts and science were best known as inconvenient for certain folks, no matter if it was our lives on the line. All that’s different under Barack Obama’s watch. The Obama administration just released a report that gives up all the dope and it ain’t pretty. Despite having one of the most expensive healthcare systems, black folks and minorities generally are getting the shaft. I’ve got some highlights below. 

What you do need to know is that the Obama administration is ready to have some open dialogue about this with us. Kathleen Sebelius and her team at HHS are having health care  reform discussions over at Check out their Forums from around the country and also see the report from your state – it’s actually very cool. It’s a new day, I hope. Especially for all of us who have struggled to make sure our relatives and kids get the healthcare they deserve. Above, you can check out a recent vid from The Brother in Chief on healthcare reform and the White House forums project.


The United States spends more than any other nation in the world on health care – in 2007 we spent $2.2 trillion.1 Despite consistent increases in spending, disparities among demographic groups persist. Low-income Americans and racial and ethnic minorities experience disproportionately higher rates of disease, fewer treatment options, and reduced access to care. With unemployment on the rise, the disparities already apparent among these groups will continue to increase. It is vital that health reform reduces costs to make health care affordable; protects a patient’s choice of doctors, hospitals, and insurance plans; invests in prevention and wellness; and assures quality, affordable health care for all Americans.

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Afternoon Open Thread

10 Jun 2009

Good Afternoon.

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

And continue to have a peaceful day.

This was a comment from monie:

I wanted to ask this question,….

A local newpaper had an article that detailed what I felt was an issue that is probably pervasive all over the country.

In Hampton, Virginia, Blacks/AA make up about 47 percent of the population, YET the city of Hampton contracts/does only 1.6 percent of its business with minority-owned businesses. Local groups like the NAACP and so forth were basically silent regarding this issue….at least according to one local Black journalist.

The question: Is President Obama repsonsible or should be held “accountable” for this?

Now there was a JJP post that claims President Obama overlooks racial inequality…and I am not here to argue for or against the premise of that article….but when I see situations such as what has existed in Hampton, the questions becomes, who is accountable for such a disparity as that one….should Obama be held accountable for that and yet every local citizen, city council members, Black elected leaders be off the hook.

I want to see us more ENGAGED in our local government…..we must be EDUCATED about what goes on in our backyards, it may surprise you at the inequalities that exist and are right up under our noses EVERY DAY.

Hold President Obama accountable…yes for what he can DIRECTLY be held accountable for…there are many facetsof our lives that are determined by our state and local governments and yet that is where most of our apathy lies

But before we get on the megaphones saying he ain’t addressing Black/AA issues, let’s make sure we attend a city council meeting in our city/town… the mayor’s office….attend School Board meetings, who often has a LOT of say about our local schools and how they operate…..demand that funds be routed to upkeep and improve our local communities…ask that funds be directed for our young people and make sure we make a damn good case justifying it…….


Candidate Woods’ Website


From the DailyBeast:

Insurgent congressional candidate Anthony Woods’ life story reads like Aaron Sorkin wrote it—he’s a gay, black Iraq veteran with a Harvard degree. He talks to The Daily Beast’s Benjamin Sarlin about running on his biography.

In every election cycle, there’s one candidate whose life story stands out among the crowd. In 2004, it was Barack Obama; in 2006, it was Vietnam vet Jim Webb. This year, an underdog candidate for U.S. Congress in California is the clear winner and it’s not even close. Anthony Woods’ biography—he’s a gay, black Iraq vet with a Harvard degree—reads like a West Wing script Aaron Sorkin threw into the wastebasket for being too over the top.

Woods, 28, is currently running in a crowded Democratic field to replace Rep. Ellen Tauscher in California’s 10th district, which includes parts of Sacramento and San Francisco’s East Bay area. (Tauscher is leaving Congress to serve in Obama’s State Department; there’s no date yet for the special election.) Though he was briefly an aide to Gov. David Paterson in New York, Woods is the political unknown in the field, which includes California Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, and Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan.

Of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy he’s fighting, Woods said, “We’re a country fighting two wars, having trouble recruiting, yet we want to turn away some of our most talented, most well-trained soldiers?”

All that is likely to change soon, as Woods’ resume seems perfectly tuned to attract national attention. One of his top issues is repealing the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, an issue that seems to be gathering steam as liberals try to hold President Obama to his campaign pledge. Woods has already received an endorsement from Dan Choi, a fellow West Point graduate whose recent discharge for being gay made him a rallying point for activists, and popular blogger Andrew Sullivan recently took note of his campaign as well.

For Woods, the issue is deeply personal. He was forced to leave a promising Army career after he came out in 2008. He received an honorable discharge under the DADT rules.

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Thanks to dNA for the tip on this. Apparently the nation’s big banks decided that Jim Crow needed a comeback during the Bush administration. Wells Fargo actually targeted the emerging black middle class, folks making much higher than the median income – even as they called them “ghetto loans”. Putting morality aside for a second, what’s telling about this is that racism is market-inefficient and dangerous to the economy. It’s just not smart business strategy not matter how you feel about us “mud people.” Ignorant mofos. Wells Fargo will never see a dime from me, if I can help it. This article made me physically ill, y’all. Worth a read. These banks do not deserve a bailout but their victims sho nuff do, yeah. Some of these banks deserve to fail. The NAACP, making themselves useful for once, has filed a class-action lawsuit charging systematic racial discrimination by more than a dozen banks. Wells Fargo, thank goodness, is among them. From the NYT:

These loans, Baltimore officials have claimed in a federal lawsuit against Wells Fargo, tipped hundreds of homeowners into foreclosure and cost the city tens of millions of dollars in taxes and city services.

Wells Fargo, Ms. Jacobson said in an interview, saw the black community as fertile ground for subprime mortgages, as working-class blacks were hungry to be a part of the nation’s home-owning mania. Loan officers, she said, pushed customers who could have qualified for prime loans into subprime mortgages. Another loan officer stated in an affidavit filed last week that employees had referred to blacks as “mud people” and to subprime lending as “ghetto loans.”

“We just went right after them,” said Ms. Jacobson, who is white and said she was once the bank’s top-producing subprime loan officer nationally. “Wells Fargo mortgage had an emerging-markets unit that specifically targeted black churches, because it figured church leaders had a lot of influence and could convince congregants to take out subprime loans.”

Wednesday Open Thread

10 Jun 2009

President Obama visits a DC Prep School.

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.

Hello to Jack and Jill Politics Readers. Rinku Sen here from the Applied Research Center, a racial justice think tank that also publishes ColorLines magazine. We’re huge fans and friends of JJP because we share the goal of popularizing solutions to the racial divide and preparing people to fight for them. This is my first post, and I look forward to your comments and feedback.

As GM sinks and the city of Baltimore prepares to sue banks that targeted Black people for subprime mortgages, I’ve been thinking about the stories of Detroit residents featured in our new report, Race and Recession: How Inequity Rigged the Economy and How to Change the Rules. There’s Leo Shipman, a 24-year-old Black man, who had recently lost his job in an auto parts factory in Detroit, whose biggest worry is proving for his 3-year-old son. Shipman graduated from high school but hasn’t been able to enroll in a technical college. Because he was underemployed, Shipman couldn’t rely on unemployment benefits either.

Sandra Hines was in better shape than Shipman when the crisis hit, but that made too little difference. Her family, starting with her father, had gathered their little bit of wealth over 40 years, and then lost it in a fraction of that time when she couldn’t pay the rising mortgage on a subprime refinancing loan. Her sister took out the refi loan after losing her job in an auto parts factory. The house Hines and family then rented, also owned by a Black person, was itself foreclosed upon. Now they’re homeless.

As one of the last strongholds of union jobs shrinks, we have to confront a brutal truth about work in the U.S.. Across the economy, workers of color are overrepresented in occupations with high unemployment rates: the service sector, construction and transportation. That’s a great deal of the reason why Black workers have been hit especially hard by layoffs and closures. Losing auto industry jobs strikes a massive blow to the ability of workers, especially Black workers, to earn middle-class incomes, to save enough to pass on to their children and to achieve some financial stability.

In his press conference last month, President Obama was asked how the stimulus would affect Black homeowners who had suffered so much from the mortgage crisis. His response – that the disproportionate hit they took would bring a disproportionate amount of relief, and that a rising tide would lift all boats — was better than it could have been, yet not what it should have been. His answer gave the impression that sending temporary relief toward Black families would bring about their recovery. He didn’t mention the need to prevent the targeting of communities of color in the first place, nor what made Black families so vulnerable to this exploitation.

Nor did he mention the real length of time it will take to rebuild their lost wealth. In a deeply racialized economy, a “rising tide” approach is too general to drive a fully inclusive recovery. The only way to true universalism is through full inclusion, and full inclusion requires a detailed look at the conditions and causes of the crisis in each community we’re trying to uplift. That’s why the first recommendation in our report is to insist on racial impact analyses — modeled after Enviromental Impact Statements — of all legislative and program proposals coming out of Congress, corporations and local and state governments. It’s too late to prevent the crisis from hitting, but it’s not too late to ensure that communities of color aren’t left out of this recovery, as we have been from so many others.

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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