From about 30 minutes ago, released here at http://www.twitter.com/WhiteHouse. If you’re on twitter, follow @whitehouse and also keep up with what’s up in Iran via #IranElection. If you ain’t on twitter, then stop being so lazy and shiftless, son and get wid it! Glad to see him comin’ strong on this…

Statement from the President on Iran

The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.

As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion.

Martin Luther King once said – “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I believe that. The international community believes that. And right now, we are bearing witness to the Iranian peoples’ belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness.

From Maccleans:

It’s ‘wife camp’ for 10-year-olds
Opinions are divided on a new summer camp for young girls

Two years ago, concert pianist Wonny Song attended a reception in Paris. The host’s 13-year-old daughter greeted guests at the door and made proper introductions. “She could speak to ambassadors, artists, business people—everyone. It really made an impression,” recalls Song, vice-director of the Lambda School of Music and Fine Arts in Montreal.

Inspired by this encounter, Song is starting a new summer program for girls. The goal of Make-over Camp is to instill poise, grace and confidence in girls between the ages of 10 and 14. For two weeks, they will learn to improve their posture, voice, table manners, conversation skills, wardrobe choices, makeup application, hostessing skills and music appreciation. “We see a lot of young ladies who can benefit from a makeover program,” said Angela Chan, director of Lambda and co-creator of the camp. “They need to develop their presence.” Marc McCreavy, an industrial designer and interior decorator, will teach the girls how to host events and decorate a table. “It’s important to learn about appropriate topics of conversation and appropriate attire,” he said.

“This reminds me of my days at French finishing school before heading off to Cambridge,” laughed Alison Silcoff, the leading force behind Montreal’s Daffodil Ball. “They taught me how to enter a room while closing an umbrella. We spent 90 minutes a day on deportment. Back then, a woman was, foremost, her husband’s wife. She was expected to host dinner parties for his business associates. But today, people realize that substance is more important than form. It’s more important to work on your career.”

Read the rest of this entry »

hat tip: Anovelista

khadijah-williams

I dare you not to have tears after reading this:

From the Los Angeles Times:

She finally has a home: Harvard

Khadijah Williams, 18, overcomes a lifetime in shelters and on skid row.
By Esmeralda Bermudez
11:03 PM PDT, June 19, 2009

Khadijah Williams stepped into chemistry class and instantly tuned out the commotion.

She walked past students laughing, gossiping, napping and combing one another’s hair. Past a cellphone blaring rap songs. And past a substitute teacher sitting in a near-daze.

Quietly, the 18-year-old settled into an empty table, flipped open her physics book and focused. Nothing mattered now except homework.

“No wonder you’re going to Harvard,” a girl teased her.

Around here, Khadijah is known as “Harvard girl,” the “smart girl” and the girl with the contagious smile who landed at Jefferson High School only 18 months ago.

What students don’t know is that she is also a homeless girl.

Read the rest of this entry »

Introducing the newest black superhero. No, not the Green Lantern. Neither Storm, Shaft nor Superfly. And definitely not Huey from the Boondocks. No: it’s Barack Obama!

Poor Barack. He’s got a lot of expectations on him, tru dat. I wonder how badly that brother really wants to sneak behind the White House for a soothing cigarette. Don’t do it — the last thing we need is for SUPERBAMA to get lung cancer…

From Mashable yesterday (thanks djchefron for the original tip):

The head honchos at JibJab, brothers Gregg and Evan Spiridellis, are debuting their latest creation in front of the President himself. The duo are showing off their soon-to-be viral video hit in front of Barack Obama at the 65th Annual Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner tonight.

He’s Barack Obama follows our new President as he tackles the challenges of the world at large in super hero form, suit and all. The video is set to a heavy metal interpretation — far from the banjo-style we’ve come to love — of the historic song, When Johnny Comes Marching Home.

The Spiridellis’ used their reputation as web video superstars to tap composer John Frizzell to direct the extra special composition. The rock star lineup includes Chris Shiflett and Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters), Chris Chaney (Jane’s Addiction), Roger Joseph Manning Jr. (Jellyfish, Beck), and Jess Harnell.

The video has just hit the Web and was sent straightaway to us, so without further ado, here’s He’s Barack Obama:

Saturday Open Thread

20 Jun 2009

slide_1796_24173_large
Female protestors in Iran.

Good Morning.

As you go through this weekend, don’t forget JJP.

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

And always, have a peaceful day.

Read the rest of this entry »

Didn’t get much notice in the mainstream media (hmm…wonder why?). Slavery still exists today and we must all continue the fight for freedom. No justice, no peace.

Wow. Could reparations be next…??? As Dave Chappelle would say: “I’m rich…beyotch!”

Thanks to Russell Simmons for breakin’ it down over at HuffPo:

Today, we celebrate Juneteenth, a day commemorating the announcement of the abolition of slavery on June 19, 1865. Yesterday, after 144 years, the United States Senate apologized for slavery. With a unanimous vote, America has begun her healing process. For our country will never be able to heal itself without atoning for the sins of our past. We have finally recognized that in order for us to move forward as a people in this beautiful nation, we need to acknowledge the pain that we all have suffered because of slavery. The pain has lasted for the past 144 years, and now with our government taking the right step in apologizing, I know that we can begin to heal. The effects of slavery on our communities have been devastating. The devastation does not stop because of the apology; however these are words that we needed to hear. We all needed to hear. This was a day that many of us have dreamed about for our entire lives. This was a day that many who were at the forefront of this struggle could not enjoy because they are no longer with us. And for those heroes, I go to work every day to make sure that they are never forgotten.

With my newly appointed position as the United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for the Permanent Memorial to the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, I vow to work on behalf of our young people to make sure that we never have to feel this sort of pain again. As we all know, slavery and human trafficking exist all around the world, at record numbers. We must remember the past, however we also must work to prevent our mistakes from happening again in the future. I will work even harder in my roles as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, and I urge you all to take a moment to recognize the importance of the actions of the United States Senate. Let the healing continue…

A friend forwarded this to me from the Democratic National Committee AKA Democratic Party HQ. I think it’s cool. Almost heartwarming. If you’d like to know more about the disturbing history of  Juneteenth AKA America’s largest conspiracy (slaves in TX were informed rather belatedly that they were btw emancipated), you can check out the Wikipedia entry or this site. If you’ve got other links to recommend, please add them to the comments along with telling us how you celebrated Juneteenth. I celebrated by coming to the Blogging While Brown conference. I met Patrice of Afrobella and Angel of Concrete Loop – 2 of the hottest black blogs out there – at the reception tonight — Having a blast! Right now there’s a raucous spades tournament on. More later.

Washington, DCDNC Chairman Tim Kaine and DNC Black Caucus Chair Virgie M. Rollins issued the following statement commemorating Juneteenth:

“On this day in 1865, emancipation finally made it west, freeing the last slaves in Texas. So today, we commemorate the end of slavery in America and honor all those throughout our history who have fought for freedom, equality and justice by celebrating Juneteenth.

“As we take time to honor this occasion, we also stop to consider the remarkable path African Americans have forged, from slavery to the White House. With the first African American President of the United States, we usher in an era of endless opportunity. A new generation of Americans will be raised with no limits to their dreams – something their predecessors, who fought for equality as slaves in the fields of Texas and Freedom Riders in the streets of Alabama, may have never been able to imagine.

“But while we have come a long way, we still have further to go. We at the DNC join President Obama and the African American community in the fight to ensure equality in education, employment, and health care for all Americans.”

###

This is welcomed, fo sho. Would have been nice if the White House had sent out a similar statement. If one was sent out, we didn’t receive it and they’re mighty good about sending us all kinds of other email. (hint hint)

Watching the way the Obama Administration is tapdancing around this subject, and with Blue Dog Democrats coming out of the woodwork and showing their asses on Fox News and Morning Joke about this subject, I really want some answers here.  There’s no reason in hell why America can’t be like other countries that provide health care to their citizens.  No reason at all.

Of course, America likes being “unique” and “not like all the rest”, but really, capitalism has gone to the point where it is literally killing us:  Here’s an example that happened last year, but it still gives me the creeps when I think about it, cause it happened in my backyard (Prince George’s County, MD).  Deamonte Drive died because of an infection that spread to his brain.  The infection came from an abcessed tooth that went untreated.

Twelve-year-old Deamonte Driver died of a toothache Sunday.

A routine, $80 tooth extraction might have saved him.

If his mother had been insured.

Read the entire, sorry story at the link I’ve provided.  And it’s easy to pawn off what happened to Deamonte on Bush’s bullshyt policies, but when President Obama begins to look like he’s going to have business as usual on the issues he promised us he’d address in a way that made us vote for him, it’s time to call it what it is.

Additionally, you know why we can’t have universal health care, free to all who needs it?

Some mofo on the Hill won’t get a fat check, that’s why.  Anytime we see something that is being implemented for the good will of the people elsewhere on this earth, you can bet your last paycheck you won’t see that shyt here in America, and those we elected to Congress to speak for us, more often than not, are screwing us over like a $2 ho, and the only ones cashing a check and getting what they want are lobbyists and congress critters.

For the next day or so, I’d like to see JJP readers chime in on this issue.  What we can do to raise hell.  Rikyrah already provided the contact information to the White House to light fires under the President’s ass on this issue.  And, I’ll do my part – a CBC Report Card, complete with CBC mofos that’s not pushing universal healthcare, will be published as soon as we can get the grades and reports out.

Why do YOU think we don’t have universal health care?  Please chime in with your thoughts and suggestions, because some people on the Hill asked me to post a blog on this issue to light fires where they need to be lit.  I committed to helping them out, becuase I’m one of those 80 million Americans that don’t have health care coverage, and barely make enough to keep a roof over my head – that demotion and loss of $250 a week, not withstanding.  I have a personal stake in the passage of legislation that gives Americans true universal health care, and not the tapdancing the POTUS is doing at the moment.  It’s not acceptable, and it shouldn’t be acceptable.  No matter how much we like the POTUS, we elected him to do a job, and he can get on with doing the job, taking firm stances and quit allowing the likes of Blue Dog Democrats cut him off at the knees.

We may agree or disagree with Dr. Jeremiah Wright, but what if he is saying Mr. Obama has become what they think he really is: A BUSINESS-AS-USUAL POLITICIAN?

I have this brotha’s back, but he needs to quit worrying about being a celebrity and do the work of the Commander-In-Chief.  Period.

Afternoon Open Thread

19 Jun 2009

Good Afternoon.

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

And always, have a peaceful day.

Read the rest of this entry »

From NMP:

health care reform is in real danger of failing and thus the Obama presidency failing and thus us failing. We really need to wake the fuck up! Democratic weasals like Baucus and Bayh are crawling out of their holes onto the set of shows like Morning Joe because they sense the President is weakened. You’re going to see more and more conservative to moderate Democrats start chanting, “we can’t deficit spend our way to health care reform.” That chant is soon going to grow into chorus and eventually it’s going to drown out calls for health care altogether. What are you going to whine about then?! If the President goes down, everything that we campaigned for goes down. We really need to get our priorities straight and our shit together before this all comes to an end.

As I posted earlier this week, but here’s another reminder:

PLEASE CALL the White House and let President Obama know that you don’t want him to consider the “7-year trigger” for the public option. Let him know that you’re ANGRY that he’s doing this. Tell him it won’t be REAL health care reform without an immediately available, strong, robust Medicare-like public option.

CALL the White House at: 202-456-1111 and E-MAIL them as well!

PLEASE CALL these Senators on the Senate Finance Committee today to demand a strong, robust affordable Medicare-like public option. Here’s a list of talking points below:

Tell Senator [Name] that you DO NOT want the 7-year trigger for the public option and take it off the table, and that you want him to support an affordable strong, robust Medicare-like public option. We NEED a strong, robust Medicare-like public option NOW OPEN TO ALL AMERICANS AND AFFORDABLE, not more of the SAME broken system that’s given us unaffordable premiums, little private insurance coverage, and rising co-pays. Also, DON’T TAX OUR EMPLOYER HEALTH BENEFITS. Instead, follow the proposal by President Obama to tax the wealthy above $250,000, eliminate the overpayments in Medicare Advantage, and put tax capital gains to help fund health care reform.

Read the rest of this entry »

Happy Juneteenth!

19 Jun 2009

juneteenth1

From Wikipedia:

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in the U.S. State of Texas in 1865. Celebrated on June 19, the term is a portmanteau of June and nineteenth, and is recognized as a state holiday in 31 of the United States.

The holiday originated in Galveston, Texas; for more than a century, the state of Texas was the primary home of Juneteenth celebrations. However, one small community in Arkansas (Wilmar) boasts that its celebration, called “June Dinner” has been consistently observed and celebrated, except for one year, since approximately 1870.[citation needed] Since 1980, Juneteenth has been an official state holiday in Texas. It is considered a “partial staffing holiday” meaning that state offices do not close but some employees will be using a floating holiday to take the day off.

Though the Emancipation Proclamation had been issued on September 22, 1862, with an effective date of January 1, 1863, it had minimal immediate effect on most slaves’ day-to-day lives, particularly in Texas, which was almost entirely under Confederate control. Texas was the most resistant state to the Emancipation Proclamation, as the entire state was heavily poor and reliant on slave labor. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day Union General Gordon Granger and 2,000 federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to take possession of the state and enforce the emancipation of its slaves. Legend has it while standing on the balcony of Galveston’s Ashton Villa, Granger read the contents of “General Order No. 3”:

The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hey — do you live in Chicago? Let us know more about what’s up there with the schools in the comments — this is the first I’m hearing about it and I plan to ask more questions while in Chicago for Blogging While Brown. Thanks, Jill

From Black Agenda Report:

In May, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan declared the Obama administration’s intent to close and “turn around” 5,000 “underperforming” public schools in poorer neighborhoods across the country. Duncan’s last job was CEO of Chicago’s public schools where he shut down dozens of neighborhood schools, practically all in lower income areas, and dismissed thousands of committed and experienced teachers, the vast majority of them African American women.

When the Chicago Teachers Union made no effort to reach out to parents, students or their communities, refused to organize teachers to oppose the wave of school shutdowns and privatizations, teachers organized what they call CORE, the Coalition of Rank & File Educators. CORE has now filed suit against the Chicago Board of Education, charging that the mass dismissal of hundreds of mostly black veteran teachers and their replacement with uncertified and generally underqualified white teachers is racially discriminatory.

“We looked at the number of teachers who lost their jobs in these ‘school turnarounds,’” CORE research director Carol Caref told BAR, “and we looked at the number of African American teachers who were employed in those same schools or in the charter schools which replaced them and there was a huge discrepancy which couldn’t be accounted for by chance. The fired teachers are disproportionately African American, and the newly hired teachers are not.”

“Even if it’s inadvertently discriminatory, it’s still discriminatory because the majority of the teachers wiped out in these turnarounds are African American,” offered Chicago teacher Wanda Evans. The fired veteran teachers, CORE also maintains, are being replaced by a much younger, much whiter and much less experienced corps of instructors graduated from a handful of accelerated programs funded by Boeing, the Bill and Melinda Gates, Bradley, Walton Family, Rockerfeller and other foundations, and favored by City Hall and the Commercial Club. “The new teachers are paid half or less what experienced teachers with advanced degrees were making.”

“The fired veteran teachers are being replaced by a much younger, much whiter and much less experienced corps of instructors.”

They are forced to work longer hours. They are reluctant to stand up for themselves or their students and tend to be fearful of participating in union and other activities. A high percentage of them burn out or are not asked to stick around after their first year,” according to Jackson Potter, another CORE teacher.

“The young, mostly white replacement teachers are de-skilled temp workers, teaching test-preparation skills. They are neither connected nor committed to the communities their students come from,” added Evans.

The prospect that Chicago’s disastrous educational policies are about to go national is frightening, say the teachers BAR talked to. “We all hoped that Obama would not fall for this okie-doke of high-stakes testing, No Child Left Behind, of demonizing teachers and dismantling public education,” Ms. Evans continued. “But he (Arne Duncan) was the president’s basketball buddy. It was a slap in the face locally to even have a CEO rather than an educator in charge of our schools here, and a slap in the face for us all nationally to have such a terribly unqualified person as Secretary of Education. Mr. Duncan has not taught in any classroom a single hour, and is in fact not qualified to teach anyplace.”

Friday Open Thread

19 Jun 2009

tehran-march-19

Good Morning.

TGIF and spend some of it at JJP.

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

And always, have a peaceful day.

Read the rest of this entry »


This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post.

Over the past two weeks, Americans struggled to make sense of tragic shootings that seemed disconnected at first glance. Anti-Semite James Von Brunn killed Stephen T. Johns, a black security guard at the Holocaust Museum. George Tiller’s murder a few days earlier seemed to be about abortion, yet his shooter, Scott Roeder, also had roots in the racial purity movement. Yesterday, it was reported that the murders of Raul Flores and his daughter in Arizona were charged to three people with white supremacist ambitions.

There’s been lots of discussion about why hate crimes are rising and how to prevent future tragedies, yet we’ve largely missed the relationship between extremist racism and the less obvious version that plays out in our political debates. These shooters all felt that people of color (along with women and Jews) have stolen the birthright of white men. In his book “Kill the Best Gentiles,” Von Brunn rails against “the calculated destruction of the White Race.” Roeder was a member of the Montana Freemen; commenters on white supremacist websites praised him for ensuring that Tiller would never “kill another White baby.” Flores’ alleged murderers appear to have been preparing for a white uprising.

Our discussion of these events has boiled down to the idea that racism is an intentional, violent act of a lone crazy white man. Underlying this idea, however, is the unspoken assumption that since we criminalized such hatred through civil rights laws, there’s nothing else we can do as a country. Collectively, we bemoan the backwardness of “some” people before we move on, thinking of racism as isolated extremism.

But social psychologists who developed the Implicit Associations Test at Harvard and the Universities of Virginia and Washington in 1998 tell us that notions of the innate goodness of white people and the equally innate badness of people of color are so deeply embedded in our minds that we’re totally unaware of making such judgments. Even I, a woman of color and racial justice activist for 25 years, have taken their online test with dismaying results. White supremacists speak their beliefs aloud, but we all have similar ideas and act on them in tiny ways that add up.

The notion that people of color get more than our share plays out again and again in our institutions and policies, expanding the racial divide. If we think that Black people manufactured the foreclosure crisis in order to get a handout, the law limits their ability to get relief. If we think that undocumented immigrants are leeching off the U.S., we will not pass an immigration reform that changes their status. If we think that children of color can’t learn, we don’t do what’s needed to improve public schools. Read the rest of this entry »


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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

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