Hey y’all: did you catch Jack Turner/@baratunde earlier today on CNN.com/live? I’ll also be on www.CNN.com/live around 1:15pm ET/4:15 PT. Tonight is President Obama’s first State of the Union address (!!!) He’s expected to cover the economy and how his initiatives on housing, education, healthcare and energy will impact a better economic future for Americans. I’m looking forward to it even though the truf is: the State of the Union is a bit grim right now. During his appearance, Baratunde gave Obama a B+ so far as president and made comments along these lines:

If the financial and ecological cost of President Obama’s travels helps deliver a more rational foreign policy, improved environmental standards and an economic recovery, it’s well worth the cost. The problem isn’t that the president is wasting money flying. It’s that the economic and environmental seams of this country and of the planet are being torn asunder.

Word. I’d be a bit more generous and give a brother an A-. It’s been a bumpy road with some key appointments such as Commerce Secretary and the housing rollout, but I think a brother is doing the best he can given the tough hand he’s been dealt.

This afternoon on CNN.com/live, we’ll have four bloggers, talking about anything and everything having to do with politics ahead of Obama’s speech before the joint session of Congress this evening. (That’s some for real black history in action, right?)

The other folks taking part (besides you, of course) will be:

Matt Lewis – AOL’s Political Beast

Erick Erickson – RedState.com

Gina Cooper – NetrootsNation

We’re gonna do the whole thing by webcam. If skype’s good enough for Oprah, I reckon it’s good enough for the rest of us. Help me out — if you’ve got points you think I should raise about the economic crisis and Obama’s solutions (including the stimulus), let me know in the comments. I’m also planning to blog in reaction to the speech tonight so stay tuned.

Cenk has posted his video response to my video response to our MSNBC appearance about the dumbass NY Post cartoon

You can also follow and participate in the conversation on The Young Turks and Huffington Post.

Tuesday Open Thread

24 Feb 2009

The President and Michaelle Jean, Canada’s Governor General.

Good Morning.

As you make it 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.

I recently read an article about the demise of Hip Hop journalism and how it was taken over by sensationalism and gossip. Coming from a a Hip Hop background I saw the points and remembered how I was first inspired to get into politics by Hip Hop.  I gloated about how I do real journalism to my Hip Hop journalism comrades. Still several of them pointed out that what I do was not to different from them. They were quick to point out that my top stories were Chris Brown and Rihanna, Dwayne Wade and STD’s and the J-Hud tragedy.

This got me thinking about the lack of positive black news or lack there of. I posted an interview I did with Professor Charles Ogletree, who is an excellent example of a positive black man who has done a lot during his career to advance the cause of black people, from clerking with Thurgood Marshall, to helping draft the South African constitution to helping mold the minds of Michelle and Barack Obama at Harvard Law. I posted the interview on both NewsOne and Jack and Jill and got an underwhelming amount of views and feedback. The only place that linked to it had it filed in a section, Postive Black News.

In contrast I did a story, Top 5 Fox News Uncle Toms, which totally took off geting dozens of links and thousands of views. Why is when I attack wack black people it gets tons of love on the internet but when I showcase positive black people, it gets none? I was reading the piece tha dNa did on Ben Jealous. I thought it was a dope piece but it seemed to get the same amount of response as my Ogletree piece. Are people going to wait until these guys to die so they can be a part of black history to comment on them or take an interest?

I also did a story on a black couple who hold the record for the world’s longest marriage. Amazingly I could not find the piece online and had to jack it off someone’s facebook note which they transribed from a newspaper. If this were a white couple, it would be all over Good Morning America, USA Today and tons of other media outlets.

Lat month I read about Myronn Rolle, a Florida State football playerthe first major college athlete to win the Rhode Scholarship since Bill Bradley. If Myron Rolle were to have been arrested for weed, drunk driving, or assault, he would’ve gotten way more press and recognition than for postponing a career in the NFL to attend one of the most prestigious Universities in the world. I don’t want to seem racially cynical but again if Rolle were white, he’d be lifted to pre-bong Michael Phelps status and held as an excellent example for children everywhere. Still I bet you way more African Americans are probably more aware of Dwayne Wade and his STD problem than of a black athlete recieving one of the most prestigious academic awards in the world.

Barack Obama was a great example of positive black news and continues to be so. Still there are hundreds of Obamas who are working as activists, community organizers, lawyers who go unrecognized while any rapper or athlete who gets in trouble with the law gets a media maelstorm.

Jack and Jill is a truly dope website that showcases involved intelligent African American posters and readers and is a good example of positive involved black people who arre concerned with what’s going on in this country. I realize that it is not a black thing to highlight negativity over postitivity as it has been how the American media has been run for many years. Still I find a lot of what I, as well as other black journalist,s do is to highlight racism inflicted on blacksmy the media, government or police, covering the negativity in the black community while disregarding the positive black people who are the real history makers. As black history month comes to an end, I think we must all be reminded to honor the black history makers while they are making history not after they’re long gone.


President Barack Hussein Obama will be giving his first State of the Union Message.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009, 9 pm EST, we will hear the following:

“MADAM Speaker, The President of the United States.”


I admit. It’s going to be a goosebump moment for me.
MADAM Speaker isn’t old to me yet.

Four Little Girls
Denise McNair, Carole Roberson, Addie Mae Collins, and Cynthia Wesley


The 16th Street Baptist Church bombing was a racially motivated terrorist attack on September 15, 1963, by members of a Ku Klux Klan group in Birmingham, Alabama in the United States. The bombing of the African-American church resulted in the deaths of four girls. Although city leaders had reached a settlement in May with demonstrators and started to integrate public places, not everyone agreed with ending segregation. Other acts of violence followed the settlement. The bombing increased support for people working for civil rights. It marked a turning point in the U.S. civil-rights movement of the mid-twentieth century and contributed to support for passage of civil rights legislation in 1964.

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The Other Black President

23 Feb 2009

So I’ve been teasing this for a while during my rather sporadic appearances on JJP for the past few months, but I told ya’ll I was working on something I thought you guys might enjoy when it was finished.  And it’s finished!

I’ve spent the past few months working on a profile of the NAACP’s new president, Benjamin Jealous, that I think is pretty relevant to the discussions we’ve been having on JJP for the past few months. Obviously we’re in a new political moment, so it’s been interesting to see how the nation’s oldest civil rights organization has decided to handle it. The crux of the piece I suppose, is the debate over how to confront the issues facing black folks in the modern era, whether the limits of advocacy have been reached and we need to focus on services, or whether there’s still a need for social justice organizations like the NAACP:

For Jealous, mass incarceration is the civil-rights challenge of this generation. Addressing it, he says, requires more than just changing draconian drug laws; it also requires confronting poverty and a failing public-education system. Young black folks, particularly the urban poor who most need an organization like the NAACP to look out for them, are facing problems of violence, drugs, AIDS, and unequal education.

Most civil-rights activists, and even their critics, agree with Jealous that this is the biggest civil-rights challenge of the modern era — they just disagree on how to meet it. John McWhorter of the conservative Manhattan Institute says that a dysfunctional black culture, not racism, is the issue, and it can only be addressed internally. “The proper thing for a civil-rights organization to do today is to go into services,” McWhorter says.

Jealous, however, argues that the NAACP needs to stick to its roots — advocating for better public policy. Providing services isn’t the NAACP’s role, he argues. “Some people would like to see us be an alternative government infrastructure for black people,” Jealous says. “I understand where that comes from; the reality is that’s what we’ve been fighting against for 100 years. What we’ve been fighting for is for the government that we already have to respond to the needs of all people. Our focus is on the needs of black America; that’s what we do best; that’s where we’re known best. But our goal is a fully functioning democracy.”

Read the whole thing!

Monday Open Thread

23 Feb 2009

The President of the United States and First Lady Michelle Obama at their first formal White House dinner for the Nation’s Governors.

Good Morning.

We begin a new week here at JJP.

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

And always, have a peaceful day.

JJP’s Oscar Post

22 Feb 2009

Today is Oscar Night.

There are two Black Actresses nominated this year:

Viola Davis for Doubt

Taraji P. Henson for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

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Benjamin E. Mays


Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays (August 1, 1895 – March 28, 1984) was an American minister, educator, scholar, social activist and the president of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. He was also a significant mentor to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and was among the most articulate and outspoken critics of segregation before the rise of the modern civil rights movement in the United States.

While working on his doctorate, Mays and Joseph Nicholson published a study entitled The Negro’s Church, the first sociological study of African-American religion and clerical practices. Four years later in 1938, he published The Negro’s God as Reflected in His Literature.

In 1926, he was appointed executive secretary of the Tampa, Florida Urban League. After two years at this post he became National Student Secretary of the YMCA.

Mays accepted the position of Dean of the School of Religion at Howard University in Washington, D.C. in 1934. At present, Mays Hall of Howard University is the home of the Howard University School of Divinity. During his six years there Mays traveled to India, where, at the urging of Howard Thurman, a fellow professor at Howard, he spoke at some length with Mahatma Gandhi.

In 1940, Mays became the president of Morehouse College. His most famous student there was Martin Luther King Jr. The two developed a close relationship that continued until King’s death in 1968; As his lifelong mentor, Mays delivered the eulogy for King.

Mays emphasized two themes throughout his life: the dignity of all human beings and the gap between American democratic ideals and American social practices. Those became key elements of the message of King and the American civil rights movement. Mays explored these themes at length in his book Seeking to Be a Christian in Race Relations, published in 1957.

After his retirement in 1967 from Morehouse, Mays was elected president of the Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education, where he supervised the peaceful desegregation of Atlanta’s public schools.

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After our appearance on MSBNC Friday talking about the dumbass cartoon (that’s how I officially refer to it BTW), Cenk and I decided to continue the conversation. Six and a half minutes isn’t enough to address the points we both were trying to make. This is an experiment in dialogue with YouTube as the primary medium.

I’ve responded to the MSNBC video with my own expanded comments on the point I think Cenk was trying to make, namely that calling the cartoon “racist” (and perhaps not just the cartoon but other such actions and incidents) can make white people very defensive and prevent the kind of conversation we need to be having in this country. I don’t completely disagree, but my priorities are different. Check out my video response and some supporting links below. Cenk should have his response up early in the week.

Here’s what I put up as “homework” in the “more info” section of the YouTube video page.

  • The MSNBC segment that launched this discussion:http://bit.ly/nqvCp
  • Here’s Cenk’s Huffington Post article that expands on the point he was making on MSNBC:http://bit.ly/7weOL
  • Here’s Baratunde’s Jack & Jill Politics post on his main point: http://bit.ly/nQ6kR
  • More on Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff’s psychological work on dehumanization and its connection to police brutality: http://bit.ly/11TarC
  • Interesting article by Rinku Sen on the difference between individual intentions and structural racism:http://bit.ly/wIZyl

In the video above, you’ll see a YouTube link to the original 1600 Pennsylvania Ave segment. Once Cenk posts his response, my video will link to his, and his will link back to mine. Over time, you’ll get a sort of threaded video commentary between us. We’ll be posting these videos to TheYoungTurks.com, Huffington Post and Jack & Jill Politics for starters.

It’s a conversation we need to have and an innovative way to have it! Happy sunday.

Sunday Open Thread

22 Feb 2009

Mary Mary – Shackles

Good Morning.

Enjoy the weekend with family and friends, but don’t forget JJP.

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

And always, have a peaceful day.

Medgar Evers


Medgar Wiley Evers (July 2, 1925 – June 12, 1963) was an African American civil rights activist from Mississippi who was murdered by Byron De La Beckwith, a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Evers was also the president of the Regional Council of Negro Leadership (RCNL), a civil rights and pro self-help organization. Involvement in the RCNL gave Evers crucial training in activism. He helped to organize the RCNL’s boycott of service stations that denied blacks use of their restrooms. The boycotters distributed bumper stickers with the slogan “Don’t Buy Gas Where You Can’t Use the Restroom.” Along with his brother, Charles Evers, he also attended the RCNL’s annual conferences in Mound Bayou between 1952 and 1954 which drew crowds of ten thousand or more.

Evers applied to the then-segregated University of Mississippi Law School in February 1954. When his application was rejected, Evers became the focus of a NAACP campaign to desegregate the school, a case aided by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education 347 U.S. 483 that segregation was unconstitutional.

NAACP Field Secretary
He was involved in a boycott campaign against white merchants and was instrumental in eventually desegregating the University of Mississippi when that institution was finally forced to enroll James Meredith in 1962.

In the weeks leading up to his death, Evers found himself the target of a number of threats. His public investigations into the murder of Emmett Till and his vocal support of Clyde Kennard made him a prominent black leader and therefore vulnerable to attack. On May 28, 1963, a molotov cocktail was thrown into the carport of his home. Five days before his death, Evers was nearly run down by a car after he emerged from the Jackson NAACP office. Civil rights demonstrations accelerated in Jackson during the first week of June 1963. A local television station granted Evers time for a short speech, his first in Mississippi, where he outlined the goals of the Jackson movement. Following the speech, threats on Evers’ life increased.

On June 12, 1963, Evers pulled into his driveway after just returning from a meeting with NAACP lawyers. Emerging from his car and carrying NAACP T-shirts that read “Jim Crow Must Go,” Evers was struck in the back with a bullet fired from an Enfield 1917.303 rifle that ricocheted into his home. He staggered 30 feet before collapsing. He died at a local hospital 50 minutes later. Evers was murdered just hours after President John F. Kennedy’s speech on national television in support of civil rights.

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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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