Kinky Friedman — singer, best-selling novelist, and now gubernatorial candidate — compared New York in 2005 to “a Negro talking to himself”, thinks that “Negro” is “a charming word” and that sexual predators should be thrown in prison and forced “listen to a Negro talking to himself.”

Hmmm.

But there’s more. Further back, he was fond of using the word “nigger” and used to tell this oh-so-funny joke back in the 80s:

“Yeah, reminds me of old Jimmy Carter’s Christmas card that he sent to Khomeini some time ago that said ‘Ho Ho Ho, the Niggers were the spies.”

Uhhh…

This is a guy who was invited to the Clinton White House and whose candidacy for governor of Texas is supported by Jesse Ventura, Willie Nelson and Dwight Yoakam among others. He has a cult following and will take a significant share of the vote due to his campaign’s populist and folksy appeal, though it’s unlikely he’ll win.

Still, will any political leader take a stand and actually ask Friedman to explain himself? Where is the line between politically incorrect and just plain ol’ country racism? You know, this guy and Joe Lieberman give Independent candidates a bad name.

I reserve the same God-given right to talk to myself despite my status as a “Negro”, Kinky, as anyone else. I’ll stack the quality of my self-talk against yours in a showdown anytime. Have your people call my people. Sincerely, Jill

Cross-posted on MyDD and brought to you courtesy of some soy mac and cheese with cherry tomatoes, veggie Canadian bacon and extra hot sauce. Mmmm. Hey, don’t knock vegetarian soul food til you’ve tried it.

Michael Steele With Puppy

Mind Games in MarylandPuppy-cuddling, nausea-inducing Michael Steele continues to camouflage his Republican identity to voters. A new ad airing in Baltimore from the National Black Republican Association reminds Maryland African-Americans (who comprise 30% of the state and are among the wealthiest in the U.S.) of their Republican roots. The Washington Post reports:

The ad identifies Martin Luther King Jr. as a Republican and pins the founding of the Ku Klux Klan on Democrats.

One woman says: “Democrats passed those black codes and Jim Crow laws. Democrats started the Ku Klux Klan.”

“The Klan?” her friend replies. “White hoods and sheets?”

First woman: “Democrats fought all civil rights legislation from the 1860s to the 1960s. Democrats released those vicious dogs and fire hoses on blacks.”

My own grandfather was a loyal Republican for many years only finally, reluctantly turning in the 1970s with disgust and sorrow from the party that freed his own father from slavery. (BTW, it’s not uncommon for voting age blacks to be separated only by as few as 2,3 or 4 generations from slavery.) He recognized that things had changed and hopefully Steele’s supporters and their bright idea born of desperation to win won’t bamboozle anyone. (Thanks for the photo, SparklePony)

Good Fences Don’t Always Make Good Neighbors — Ridiculous Republican efforts to build a giant fence on the Arizona border to keep the Mexicans out have hit an unexpected snag in the form of the Tohono O’odham Indians who bring a different, somehow less racist view on the matter.

Jews Don’t Eat Pork Chops, but Felix Does?– George “Macaca” Allen re-discovers his own minority heritage. It’s a little awkward for everyone.

Chavez Takes the A Train — And goes to a Harlem church after speaking at the U.N. Wingnuts delighted in his appearance with activist/actor Danny Glover, citing it wrongly as confirmation that Democrats love those that hate America. Rep. Charlie Rangel led the Dems in chastizing Hugo Chavez’s remarks in which he called Bush a “an alcoholic” and a “devil” among other personal attacks. Am I the only one humiliated though having to watch the President of Venezuela waving a Noam Chomsky book at Americans and providing the kind of aid to to the poor that American oil companies should be providing? Or is that just me? BTW, Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance is now a bestseller on Amazon, thanks to Chavez.

A Blessing from Barack — Speaking of Virginia politics, Senate Candidate against Mr Macaca, Jim Webb, receives racial absolution from Barack Obama at a recent rally. Has he managed to cleanse his sins against affirmative action? Is this the beginning of a successful comeback strategy for Webb with VA minority voters? Let’s hope so for all our sakes. George Allen has got to go.

Buying a Black PantherRepublic of T reports on Rep. Bobby Rush’s price, which is apparently about $1 million from SBC. The CBCMonitor Report was released this month and provides a scorecard on all Congressional Black Caucus members including Rush. The rankings may surprise you as popular politicians like Barack Obama and Harold Ford Jr. score poorly. Note to CBC Members — we are watching you. We can occasionally see past the color of your skin to the substance of your actions and the character of your votes.

Dear CBC Members – You are being watched. No longer can we trust that you are looking out for black folks’ interests. Some of you aren’t working for the people who voted for you. Who believed your promises of better jobs, education, healthcare. Equal opportunity to technology. Maybe a way to bring our cousins, sons, mamas, etc back from Iraq. Know now that we are clockin’ your actions and taking notes.

Some of you are working undercover or openly for corporate America. Some of you have sold out to The Man. For power, maybe or for money or a heaping hunk of both. Younger African-Americans are putting you on notice. Just because you marched in the 60s doesn’t make it OK to sell out the generations behind you now. The benjamins in your pocket — guess what, those were taken straight out of mine and every constituent you just ripped off or sold out with your last vote.

A report from VoxUnion’s CBCMonitor project has all the 411 on the CBC. There’s an Honor Society filled with do-right progressive politicians like John Conyers and Maxine Waters. Some folks may surprise you — golden boy Barack Obama only gets a C on the report based on his voting record so far.

Rep. David Scott is a stand-out example of someone who has gotten religion. Over the past year, he has moved from F status to B. But maybe that’s just because he wants to get elected. I don’t know him well — can someone set the record straight?

Al Wynn and Bobby Rush predictably score low as Underachievers. Also, take a look at influential William “Lacy” Clay and G.K. Butterfield — consummate insiders whose records are going south.

Interestingly, Harold Ford Jr. is put side-by-side with William “Never mind those bags of cash in my freezer” Jefferson at the bottom of the scorecard. What’s up with that? Harold, son, you’d better get on the good foot and watch how far you bend over for Big Biz. Chances are, those financial industy big-dollar campaign donors may want something for you in return for their support.

The report looked at legislation that was acted upon from January – September 2006, including:

• COPE/Net Neutrality Bill
• Estate Tax Repeal
• Permanent Estate Tax Repeal
• Energy & Good Jobs Act
• Credit Duolopy Protection Bill
• Immigration/Border Protection Bill
• Pension Protection Act
• Oman Free Trade Agreement
• Renewal of Voting Rights Act Provisions
• Line Item Veto

Think any of those might impact you and your wallet or your civil rights? If so, take a look at the report.

Thanks to VoxUnion.com and also to The Christian Progressive Liberal for the tip.

A couple of days ago, Sen. Barack Obama gave a speech about America’s need to get serious about our oil addiction and the risk it poses to our nation and our planet. Obama seems more interested in the economic and national security angle. That’s ok. As long as he mentions what Bill Clinton insists on calling climate change, that’s cool. (Note to Big Bill — “climate change” is a better phrase than “global warming” but it still sounds like something I can do in my car to adjust the temperature. What sounds better: “We need to act now on climate change.” OR “We need to act now to prevent climate crisis.” OR “We must urgently prevent climate catastrophe.” I mean, have you seen An Inconvenient Truth?!)

Anyway, Obama is like the opposite of African-American politicians like Bobby Rush and Al Wynn. We need more stand-up guys like him in Congress looking out for us, instead of number one, naw mean?

Here’s text from his speech earlier this week:

For years, Al Qaeda has been trying to attack Middle Eastern oil refineries as a way to wreak havoc on the U.S. economy. Osama bin Laden himself has said, “Focus your operations on oil, especially in Iraq and the Gulf area, since this will cause them to die off [ontheirown].” In the past, even minor attacks have caused global prices to jump $2 per barrel in a single day. And a former CIA agent tells us that if terrorists ever succeeded in destroying an entire oil complex, it could take enough oil off the market to cause financial catastrophe in America.

More than anything else, headlines like these represent a realization that goes far beyond the temporary rise and fall of gas prices. It’s a realization that for all of our economic dominance – for all of our military might – the Achilles heel of the most powerful country on Earth is the oil we cannot live without.

The President knows this. That thousands of autoworkers are losing their jobs. That we spend $18 million on foreign oil ever hour. That our climate is changing and global temperatures are rising.

And yet, for someone who talks tough about defending America, actually solving our energy crisis seems to factor pretty low on the President’s agenda.

And that’s because as much as George Bush might want to defend America, he also needs to defend his vision of government – and that’s a government that can’t, won’t, and shouldn’t solve great national challenges like our energy dependence.

That’s why the President’s funding for renewable fuels is at the same level it was the day he took office. That’s why his budget funds less then half of the energy bill he himself signed into law. That’s why billions of tax dollars that could’ve been used to fund energy research went to the record-profiting oil companies instead.

And that’s why it’s time to stand up for a new vision of government this November.

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Apparently there’s some sexism too (aint it always so?). Suffice it to say, the Washington Times doesn’t sound like a very fun place to work if you aren’t a bigot or a pig. This paper is a bastion of the right wing. Bully for Preston Moon, Harvard MBA and son of the founder, for trying to yank the newspaper back from the edge of paleo-conservatism and drag it, well, towards some less crazy version of conservative. The Nation has the goods. Here’s a slice:

Approaching his seventieth birthday, Pruden is
described by several sources as an “absentee landlord”
who has tacitly handed control over to Coombs. Now
Coombs is driving the paper to the far shores of the
right. Southern Poverty Law Center Intelligence
Project executive director Mark Potok credits the
Times with helping to fuel the nativism that has taken
hold this year in Republican political campaigns. “The
Times is a terrible little newspaper that
unfortunately has vastly disproportionate influence on
the right wing of the Republican Party,” Potok said.
“The vast majority of people who read it don’t realize
that this paper is in bed with bigots and white
supremacists. The Times is a key part of the radical
right’s apparatus in the United States.”

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Did Wynn sin to get his big win? If Al Wynn were white and had done this to Donna Edwards to win the Democratic primary for this House seat, what would we say? Or is it ok because he’s black too? Or should we demand more, much more integrity from African-American politicians? Black folks need to be concerned with the content of the character of our elected officials — black, white, brown or blue. Especially black since their conduct still reflects on how all other African-Americans are perceived in the public eye(like it or not) and ultimately threatens the true potential of organizations like the Congressional Black Caucus to protect the rights of people of color. We should be too proud to let someone for sale to the highest corporate bidder like Wynn win.

Here’s an excerpt of a jocular little conversation on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives (provided by the Donna Edwards team):

Needless to say, the system is deeply flawed — leaving voters with little reason to be confident. In the midst of all of this system failure and uncertainty, I wanted to share with you the transcript of an exchange that took place on Tuesday, September 19, between my opponent, Albert Wynn, and his colleague on the powerful House Energy & Commerce Committee:

BARTON: Down in Texas, we had a Democratic primary about 50 years ago that Lyndon Johnson won by 54 votes. And he got the nickname “Landslide Lyndon.” We have Mr. Wynn next. He had a little bit of a tussle last week, but he did win. And so, I want to recognize “Landslide Wynn” for any opening statement that he wishes…
WYNN: Well, thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. In fact, they’re still counting, but we’re quite optimistic. And I did take a couple pages out of Lyndon’s book, so if I win, it can be attributed to Texas know-how.
(LAUGHTER)
(UNKNOWN): Did you (inaudible)?
BARTON: I hope not. I hope you win fair and square.
(LAUGHTER)
WYNN: A win is a win
.

So this article in the Washington Post basically says that Dubya’s Faith-Based Initiative got no gravy for black churches. Even after so many African-American pastors bought into the anti-gay marriage, Bush’s-direct-line-to-God-crap during the 2004 election. Want to see what that looked like? Remember this kind of crazy talk that ministers like Rev. Clarence Page spouted to urge his parish to vote for Bush (emphasis mine):

I will vote for the reelection of President George W. Bush because:

1. He is pro-marriage. He believes marriage is between a man and a woman.
2. He is pro-life. He believes that the killing of unborn, helpless, innocent children is wrong.
3. He is willing domestically to stand for what God stands for (Faith-based initiatives prove this).
4. He has a Black woman in the White House (and she is not a maid).
5. He has a Black man as Secretary of State (and he is not a “Tom”).
6. He has a Black man as Secretary of Education (and he is not a “figurehead”).
7. He has stood by (not fired) those high profile Black cabinet members.
8. He believes that “No Child Should Be Left Behind”.
9. He has publicly honored God and welcomed the representatives of God.
10. He is willing internationally to stand for what God stands for (against sinful UN initiatives).
11. He cares about being right (though, [as all human beings] he is sometimes wrong).
12. He welcomes and seeks the advice of God’s people

Um, right. Sorry, I just need a little time to finish rolling my eyes. In the post-Hurricane Katrina America, can someone please tell me how “Christian” was it to withhold aid to storm victims as the nation watched in helpless horror? Forget “Christian” — how about just humane and decent?

Apparently only three (3) tiny percent of the many millions of dollars in this fund has actually dispersed to majority-black churches. This doesn’t even come close to proportionate — about 13% of Americans are black.

Leading pastors such as famous author T.D. Jakes have been buddy-buddy with Bush in the past and Jakes originally signed on to the Inter-Faith Katrina Relief Fund with Rev. Bill Gray, former Democratic congressman and CEO of the United Negro College Fund last December. Since then, Jakes, Gray and most of the committee members have resigned in disgust from the Fund. From CarpetBagger:

Numerous disagreements ensued, but Jakes and Gray said the last straw was the fund’s decision to cut checks to 38 houses of worship, each for $35,000, without first conducting an audit to ensure the church exists.

UGH. Sound like the Bush Administration cronyism and corruption we’ve come to know and despise? Glad to see that though Bush may have pulled the wool over some preachers’ eyes, that they might be finally starting to wake up to what this particular set of so-called-Christian conservatives really has to offer African-Americans.

Which, besides a trip to Iraq for our family members in the Armed Forces, is jack-diddly.

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Just caught this on Hip Hop Music (which is a great blog, btw). I’m pretty sure most of the people in the original, now-infamous Clinton Blogger Lunch photo have dreamed (or perhaps never even thought to dream) of being featured on the homepage of a blog devoted to hip hop. Well, dreams sometimes do come true…Be careful what you wish for though!

Update: just about all of the major political bloggers in this photo and some who aren’t have been great about responding and opening up to dialogue (whether on their blogs, on others’ blogs or behind the scenes) with minority bloggers. Though it’s been challenging, it’s good and I think some consciousness has been raised for some people (both white and non-white). It’s a healthy discussion of how black/brown blogs and other progressive blogs can grow our audience to folks who might be interested in our messages but haven’t found us yet.

Hip Hop and politics have always gone together. Like peanut butter and chocolate. Like dead and prez (the music act). Like Grandmaster and Flash.

I think some of the best suggestions that have come out of the recent brouhaha have to do with modeling the success of BlogHer and the Black Blogger panels at SXSW. Maybe a stronger focus at the next Yearly Kos on dialogue. Maybe working on stronger black and brown blog rings. Plug more into the hip hop and music blogs which also btw, blog on socio-political issues. (You know how we do — being black, you can’t avoid the politics that impacts your daily life directly.) Getting advice from supportive big-traffic bloggers on what progressive minority bloggers are doing well and hey, maybe what we could do better or more often.

Cuz our audience is out there. They are waiting for us. At places like the National Hip Hip Political Convention. The last one in 2004 received some MSM and big blog play. The 2006 NHHPC landed with more of a whisper in the blogosphere. More of a shrug and a Huh? Who?

Why is that? Should we be more on our game in blogging on this kind of signature event that happened in July or is that AlterNet’s job? 4000 young brothers and sisters interested in positive change using the political system — that’s something we need to dig beyond hip hop blog coverage. Here’s why (Big ups to Alternet and its followup story today – emphasis mine):

“There’s no difference to me,” says Salaam, who equates Grandmaster Flash’s classic “The Message” with the works of Duke Ellington and John Coltrane. “Within hip hop, we’re talking about the same things the older people talk about.”

“There is a generational divide, but it’s not the primary problem,” agrees Troy Nkrumah. A lawyer under 30, he assists political prisoners and radical youth organizations in Las Vegas, after doing similar work in the San Francisco Bay area. From Nkrumah’s perspective, it is the political timidity of established black leaders that has led to the current generational tensions. “The civil rights folks got into comfortable positions,” said Nkrumah. “In their minds, they thought they were still down with the movement, but they resisted the radicalism of the young.”

If the cutoff date for the hip-hop generation is a birthday in 1964, then a majority of black people now belong to it, Nkrumah told me. “Hip hop grows every year,” he continues. “Until it dies out, it will grow. Hip hop is not just music, dancing, graffiti — it’s activism.

Angela Woodson, the 36-year-old co-chair of the Newark convention, presents a starker view of the youth cultural scene. “There are three worlds of hip hop. There’s the corporate world, the political world — and the stupid world.

Because ultimately this need for change in this country — it’s bigger than you, it’s bigger than me, it’s bigger than the progressive blogosphere and it’s definitely bigger than hip hop.

There’s still a lot of talk in the blogs about the Clinton blogger lunch photo and there’s been a little crossover into the MSM and the wingnut brigade. It seems like folks have moved past some of the heat of the moment and have settled down into more thoughtful positions. Some great proposals have come forward from folks like Chris Bowers, Aldon Hynes, Terrance and others like Jeffrey Feldman and kid oakland.

But forget about fostering diversity and strengthening community in the progressive blogosphere. Maybe it would just be easier to shut it all down. Stop talking about race and racism all together. I mean, it’s sooo hard. And just downright uncomfortable. Let’s not get along and maybe not work together. Ha.

Just for kicks, here’s what we should consider NOT doing. Props: Hip Hop Music.

Really — a must-read. Complete with helpful, demonstrative stick-figure drawings. An excerpt:

How to Suppress Discussions of Racism

Tired of discussions of racism in literature, television, and film? (Jill: Or in the prog blogs?) Worn out from the unexpected criticism of your leisure pursuits? Exhausted by the effort of having to respond to each new argument carefully and conscientiously?


We can help!

We’ll teach you how to suppress discussion of racism in six easy steps. Soon suppressing dissent will be so easy you can do it in your sleep! [...]

Introduction

Our goal is to show you a few simple techniques you can use to suppress the discussion of racism. As you read, keep in mind that your goal is not to learn or to educate, to listen or be listened to, to increase your understanding of difficult issues, or to exchange opinions and communicate with other people. Your goal is to make discussions of race so difficult and unrewarding that not only your opponent but any witnesses to your argument will never want to discuss race in public again.

Thanks to Coffee and Ink for helping to create…er, sorry heal the digital divide inside our minds.

My gracious! Saturday’s Racial Politics Roundup reporting on the Clinton blogger lunch controversy certainly seems to have gotten people’s drawers (aka knickers for the non-black) twisted far and wide throughout the progressive blogs — particularly in the “blackosphere”, a term a buddie of mine made up. Can’t take any credit for that. Some people don’t like that word. And it’s a valid point — is there a blogosphere and a blackosphere? Separate but equal?

Or can we be one internet hippie blogosphere working for peace, truth, justice and apple pie? Can’t we all just get along???

In between some unfortunate accusations of de-linking by critics of major progressive blogs, some interesting things have happened here. One is that progressive blogs large and small are talking — really talking to the tune of 425 comments in one spot — about the role that race currently plays in the future of the progressive movement. Black folks in particular seem to be eager to have a say on this. I think it reflects some pent-up, generalized emotions and concerns re: the Democratic party’s drive-through treatment of African-American voters (thanks for the vote! see you in 2, 4, 6 years!). Um, Hurricane Katrina? Paging a real urgency on Katrina relief? Anyone?

It’s a painful conversation (as race commonly is in America – sigh) and people’s feelings are getting hurt. But is that the price of honest dialogue, even if it is awkward, nasty, strident, defensive, accusatory, self-righteous etc? I am not pointing fingers in any direction, mind you children. I think there’s some of that on all sides of the debate.

Is it productive to have the conversation rather than sweep it under the rug, even if it’s tough? I think so. The way I see it, we can either talk about it now OR we let it fester and talk louder and nastier about it later. Sometime in 2008.

I admit, I’m not used to people calling me and my ideas stupid and find it exhilarating actually. I’m tickled, Oliver, that you took the time to give my ideas some thought, though I reserve the right to think I may be onto something.

Another concept folks seem to be struggling with is the fact that the digital divide has changed. That blacks, latinos and other minorities are online big-time and that the divide breaks along class lines — education and income — rather than race nowadays. (Black men still lag behind overall though.) Bloggers are in fact even more diverse than the U.S. online population — which is saying something these days.

The progressive blogosphere may be mainly white right now. Maybe that’s true. Yet, the Democratic party is dependent — more than ever — on minority voters, a fact *finally* acknowledged in the change in the presidential primary schedule, right? Ultimately, the progressive blogosphere needs the participation and voices of minorities. This is not a current events type of issue. It’s a meta-conversation about how we can work together to affect the changes in this country we all want so badly to see.

So how can we bridge the gap and get more minorities online interested in what’s happening on the left-leaning blogs? How can we strengthen traffic to minority bloggers? Is it more breaking news, less commentary? Is it a star interested in the the socio-political like T.D. Jakes, Cornel West, Dave Chappelle, Queen Latifah, Tyler Perry or Tom Joyner coming forward to blog? Is it a new format — there are a lot of black-written music blogs out there. Would a blog that mixes music and politics — like some of the best hip hop does — catch fire? Is it conscious support and awareness from bigger blogs? Is it better coordination and dialogue at events like the Yearly Kos? What do you think?

Cross-posted at MyDD

Blogger Lunch with Bill Clinton in Harlem

This week, a controversial photo snapped at a blogger lunch in Harlem with Bill Clinton is under much discussion in the progressive blackosphere. You can follow the conversation here, here, here, and here And responses here and here. I know many of the bloggers in the photo — including Chris Bowers and Matt Stoller of MyDD — to be tireless workers against racism in America. I agree with Jeralyn Merritt at TalkLeft that:

There should have been a greater attempt made to include minority bloggers. But I think it was unintentional. I will bet that when there’s another such event, and there will be, whether it’s by President Clinton or another Democrat, there will be a greater effort to include a more diverse group of bloggers.

There’s a problem with this photo and what it implies about how the power structure is changing — and who might get left behind. Let’s not deny that and make excuses. Instead, let’s talk about how to fix it. The Republic of T has a great post on Blogging While Brown that offers a thoughtful commentary on the big picture here (pun intended).

What do you think? I invite you to help us think about how to include more diverse voices from the blogs and beyond to the table of progressive politics so that pictures like this look different from now on.

In other news:

Pope Benedict XVI contributed unhelpfully to Christian-Muslim relations worldwide and implied that Islam is an evil religion. From the NY Times:

In the most provocative part of a speech this week on “faith and reason,” the pontiff recounted a conversation between an “erudite” Byzantine Christian emperor and a “learned” Muslim Persian circa 1391. The pope quoted the emperor saying, “Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”

The pope has apologized through his Secretary of State for offending Muslims. This is having political repercussions for the Catholic Church however that I predict will continue into next week, and his divisive words may have to be addressed by the U.S. Catholic Church as well.

Al Wynn in the MD-04 congressional race is in the lead unfortunately for Donna Edwards and those living in that district. That white truck full of ballots sure did arrive mysteriously. His corporate-larded bid for HNIC may not carry the day as Edwards plans to contest the election. What do thinking, voting black people think about the MD election fiasco? Well, my grandmother who lives in Baltimore said with confidence and certainty: “Oh, they fixed it. They used to find out who had died and they would cast votes in their names. (chuckles) Guess they found a new way to do that sort of thing now.”

Will Congress see the entrance of its first Muslim member? How might Democrat Keith Ellison’s presence change the dynamic of the conversation in Washington D.C. about the war on terror, racial profiling, homeland security, immigration and other hot topics? Stay tuned to the November elections to find out.

George Allen holds an “Ethnic Rally” (don’t hold back your guffaws of disbelief and ridicule). Then a prominent Democratic state senator who happens to be African-American, Benjamin Lambert, crosses party lines to endorse Mr. Macaca dealing a blow to the Jim Webb campaign. Luckily for Webb, Barack Obama will be joining Webb at a rally next Wednesday in No. VA, hopefully with some local, well-respected African-American leaders as well.

Young Republicans at the University of Michigan get caught trying to “Catch an Illegal Immigrant” giving the GOP yet another black eye. Ken Mehlman and Howard Dean both agree this is a dumb and racist idea.

Kweisi Mfume loses the MD Senate Primary to Ben Cardin who will now face Republican Michael Steele. Will the black vote in Maryland split between the two candidates – one white, the other black? Should Democrats run scared or get smart? This should be an interesting race to watch.

Finally, in entertainment news

George Clooney urged the U.N. Security Council to take stronger action and send peacekeepers to address the race-based genocide in Darfur, Sudan.

“After September 30 you won’t need the U.N. You will simply need men with shovels and bleached white linen and headstones,” the actor warned.

Segregated Survivor launched this week. The BlackProf has a summary and some perspective on the first episode of "Slurvivor".

A friend has told me that NBC4 TV Washington is reporting Albert Wynn 50% (36,141), Donna Edwards 46% (33,290).

With 94% of precincts reporting, the difference separating Donna from victory is less than 3000 votes. There are no reports to date that she has conceded and it looks like online, most news sources this am have declined to call the race in either direction just yet. From her website,

In our democracy, voters expect to have their ballots counted. I am determined to know what happened in both Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties.

Thousands of voters made a tremendous effort to cast their ballot.

Voters need to have confidence that their vote counted. I will fight for answers and make sure every ballot is counted.

Our democracy demands it.

Update: here’s Webb’s response yesterday to Lambert’s endorsement. It’s a statement about Allen’s cutting funds to HBCUs but doesn’t for some strange reason refer to all the overwhelming support Webb has in the African-American community and the outreach he’s done. Wonder why?

If you take another look at the George Allen homepage you’ll see that he can now claim a choice endorsement from an influential Virginia state senator who happens to be an African-American Democrat — Benjamin “Benny” Lambert. The Allen campaign released a statement yesterday with the news. He’s an optometrist by trade and an Omega Psi Phi. Benny backed Harris Miller during the Democratic primary along with several other black leading politicians. It seems Webb has been unable to mend fences with Lambert and it’s rumored, many other black legislators who should be helping him get out the vote.

Whose fault is this? I have to lay it at Webb’s door. I hear a lot of excuses from white progressives, but ultimately if blacks feel that they have to choose between a vicious racist and a slightly less vicious racist, they are likely to stay home. And in a close Senate race, that’s bad news for Democrats who’d like to see Allen booted out of office. Webb needs to work now and hard to earn the trust of Black leaders to win in Virginia. The question is whether he is willing to hold a few ethnic rallies of his own, I suppose.

What’s up with Webb? Well for starters, check out a speech still available on his personal site at the Confederate Memorial that brags about the use of variations of “Robert E. Lee” as a family name and family members who fought with Nathan Bedford Forrest (founder of the KKK). There are some mixed and coded messages there that raise Black sensitivities.

Lambert is influential within his circles. Why he chose Allen over Webb and crossed party lines is beyond me. It looks on the surface a bit Uncle-Tommish. If I had to guess, though, it might have something to do with Webb’s vacillating on affirmative action and perhaps a private or public promise from Allen to spend more money on VA HBCUs. Check out this past blog post (Virginia Beach Dems) that provides some history on how some African-American VA leaders felt about Webb during the primary.

So it would seem that George Allen is surrounding himself with the yellow, black and brown in the hopes that macaca won’t stick. Fat chance with Wonkette on the case. The homepage actually calls it an “Ethnic Rally” — happened in more diverse Fairfax. Ugh — how about just calling it a Northern VA rally? What a tone-deaf, racist jerk.

I almost feel bad for Allen. Allen doesn’t get it. He and his handlers might want to take a page from the Karl Rove manual — you can only armor a candidate against charges of racism by photographing the candidate with adorable, happy, underprivileged minority children. Like George Bush during the 2000 and 2004 campaigns. Or whenever necessary/polls slip. It’s almost surprising that Bush wasn’t cuddling a tiny black Katrina victim on his lap as he gave his 9/11 speech on Mon. Vietnamese-American senior citizens just don’t have the same magical power over the press and populace, I’m afraid.

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There’s been a lot of hullabaloo about the MD-04 Congressional race of progressive Donna Edwards vs. corporation-backed Albert Wynn. There was a lot of screwy, shady stuff going on in MD yesterday. Folks are right to cry foul and the Washington Post was wrong to call a winner before the votes have been counted. This are unusual shenanigans for Montgomery and Prince George’s County, 2 wealthy and well-run counties. Just because 2 African-Americans are running, do they think we won’t notice or care how the vote goes? Or that voters will simply roll over and allow their own disenfranchisement? After Ohio and Florida, that’s a dumb attitude.

I think this may be a bitter fight. If Donna is declared the winner by a slim margin (under 1000 votes maybe), I’m willing to bet that Albert Wynn, backed with big business $$$ will take her to court and contest the election. That’s a shame because it’s time for Wynn to step aside and let a talented candidate on the right side of the issues for the district and for Americans run in the general election for the House seat. Wynn is a bad egg — a liar and a cheat. This is documented. Where is the Congressional Black Caucus to say, look, we want a clean candidate among our ranks like Donna Edwards? Especially after the embarrassment of Jefferson and the bribes in the freezer. Or have they all sold out to the Man, like Wynn, too? At what point does fraud and failure to disclose contribution sources on his part become a real issue and dis-qualifier — and why isn’t the MSM exposing that aspect of the race?

Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

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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

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