Why do white people think that all black people are criminals and identify with criminals? First earlier this week, we had the sorry spectacle of Mike Tyson (convicted rapist) and Don King (convicted murderer) endorsing Michael Steele (MD-Sen; convicted only of being black and supporting George Bush).

Frankly this repulses most thinking black folk
. It’s like if Ted Bundy, Charlie Sheen and Robert Downing Jr. decided to back Hilary Clinton for President. Would that inspire confidence in her as a candidate or repulse you? Would it make her more attractive a candidate or give off a whiff of desperation? My grandmother says “Yeah, those two are on the crooked side. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few hands got greased to get them involved.” My Big Mama didn’t go to college, but she’s pretty smart.

So that wasn’t humiliating enough. Then I hear about ads targeted at African-Americans using pimp/whore imagery. The ads are run by a so-called African-American organization called Black America’s PAC (BAMPAC). According to the New York Sun, they are running ads to encourage blacks to vote Republican (or at least – not Democratic) in 10 battleground states, including Ohio, New Mexico, and Nevada. Ads like this:

“If you make a little mistake with one of your ‘hos,’ you’ll want to dispose of that problem tout suite, no questions asked,” one of the men says.

“That’s too cold. I don’t snuff my own seed,” the other replies.

“Maybe you do have a reason to vote Republican,” the first man says.

Who’s really behind this, since no black person would be crazy enough to create a pro-life ad like this? Here’s another one:

“Black babies are terminated at triple the rate of white babies,” a female announcer in one of the ads says, as rain, thunder, and a crying infant are heard in the background. “The Democratic Party supports these abortion laws that are decimating our people, but the individual’s right to life is protected in the Republican platform. Democrats say they want our vote.Why don’t they want our lives?”

The article says it all, but AmericaBlog, Max Blumenthal and Jesus’ General say even more. From the NY Sun:

Mr. [J. Patrick "Ultra-Conservative Crackpot Billionaire"] Rooney, who is white, is funding ads using black voices who claim to speak on behalf of the black community.”You don’t have a lot of black billionaires who would want to fund something like this,” [conservative, African-American talk show host who voiced some of the ads and cheese-eatin' Uncle Tom: Herman Cain] said.

The past seven days have been big for Barack Obama.

Time Magazine cover.
Today on NBC.
Larry King Live.

Given the buzz and the hype and the wild extent to which white people seem to love them some Obama, my (black) friend asked, “What does it say if he’s our first black president?”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Well the fact that he’s mixed and has immigrant origins and white people will feel their work is finished.”


And I’ll add another two “Ohs” right now.

The First Oh.
Our first black president would technically be our first half-black president. Is this a problem, an issue, interesting?

Not much to me. Most of us “native” black Americans have been diluted by hundreds of years of mixing, even if the vast majority of it was involuntary.

In addition, he looks black. Sure he’s mixed and embraces the totality of his ethnic background, but like Tiger Woods, Obama’s black. Here’s a rule: if you can’t get a cab, and Kerry Healey thinks you’re going to rape her, you’re black.

The Second Oh.
Our first black president is not really a black American. He’s African. What’s up with that?

Although it isn’t discussed often publicly, there is a great deal of tension between native black Americans and our immigrant brothers and sisters. Native black Americans still suffer from centuries of white supremacist mis-education which teaches that “Africans” are backward, dirty, cannibalistic, starving and overall inferior. We also tend to be jealous of the “model minority” status afforded the black immigrant.

Meanwhile immigrant blacks get the exported pop culture version of American blacks which paints us as lazy, drug-dealing, ho-pimpin, good for nothing consumers of bling. They tell their children not to associate with those black Americans. On top of that, many immigrant blacks don’t appreciate the civil rights struggles that native blacks went through which makes their very immigration possible.

If you want to see something revealing, check the black enrollment at top tier American universities, then dig deeper and see how many of those blacks are first or second generation immigrants from Africa or the Caribbean.

As for Obama, I doubt his foreign-blackness will mean much to the native black establishment, but it will be interesting to watch.

The Third and Final Oh.
Once we have a black president, white people will announce the official end of racism and cease any existing limited efforts at true reconciliation and social change. Basically, “we gave you the White House. Now quit your bitchin.”

Interesting, but nothing ground-breaking. White folks are always itching to break out the Mission Accomplished banner and proclaim the end of major racist activities. I’m sure the first declaration was when blacks were allowed to read edited versions of the Bible and has continued through emancipation, Reconstruction, Brown v. Board, the Voting Rights Act, and various flavors of Affirmative Action.

If white people’s declaration of the end of racism were our guide, then the first day they let a Negro clean the White House toilets would be “National Freedom Day,” marked by a day off of work, used car sales and parades featuring black face characters marching down the street with plungers.

No, the fact of President Obama will do nothing to change the facts of unjustly imprisoned JoVaun or redlined Natasha or former Ninth Ward dwelling Rayshaun. It won’t repair a commercial culture which monetizes a parody of black materialistic behavior. It won’t give Appalachia an economy or Hector a living wage.

And now, finally, have I arrived at my point.

It will be nice (yes, nice) to have a president who can speak the national language and, it’s fair to assume, doesn’t let the voice of Jesus dictate his policies. It will be nice to have a president who looks different from all previous office-holders. A President Obama would be very nice.

But he will not save us, no matter how you define “save” or “us,” because the entire social, political and economic system in this country needs work, and that’s beyond the reach of any single man.

Let’s all try to remember that.

From the 2004 Democratic Convention:
“In no other country is my story even possible.” — Barack Obama

On Oprah, aired Oct 18:

“…values transcend party.” — Barack Obama

Today Oprah officially ordered Barack Obama to run for president and the nation to vote for him. America: your marching orders have been issued. Oprah has spoken. Resistance is futile. Also: Clintons — watch out. Obama didn’t answer Oprah’s direct question whether or not he was going to run for president. Yet there followed this exchange

Oprah: “If you ever would decide to run within the next five years, would you announce it on this show?”
Obama: (nervous laughter) “I don’t think I could say no to you.” And also: “Oprah, you’re my girl.”

Here’s some real proof that Obama ain’t nobody’s fool: you just don’t mess with Oprah.
Future First Lady and working mom Michelle Obama:

“In my view…I want the next president to be someone who understands what it means to be a father and a husband and is contributing. Because I don’t think he can represent those values for us as a nation if he can’t do it in his own house,” Michelle says. “Whoever [the president] may be.”

The thing people seem to like about Barack Obama is the same thing they liked about Bill Clinton: he’s a regular guy who just happens to also be pretty smart. He says he paid off his student loans with proceeds from Dreams From My Father — “That’s what happens when you don’t have a trust fund.” It’s hard for a regular middle class American not to relate to that. He’s got a couple of funny, charming lines such as: “I’ve got relatives who look like Bernie Mac and relatives who look like Margaret Thatcher.”

Oprah joked that she was hurt that Obama wouldn’t use her private jet when she offered it. Yet he says it’s part of his personal challenge to himself to not get too far from regular people. So he flies commercial.

On the issues:

Early on in the show, Obama took a strong stand on the war: “I think the facts were massaged and manipulated to make the case for war.” He discusses his new book The Audacity of Hope and the concept of using empathy as the focus of politics rather than focusing on power, especially when it comes to issues like education and healthcare.

To Oprah’s credit, she and Obama spend a lot of time talking about Darfur and the need for the U.N. and U.S. to take responsibility. He sounds a mite Clintonian and wingnuts notice it too.

The question some might be asking: is Obama’s triumphant book tour and the implications it engenders one of the reasons Mark Warner might have re-considered whether 2008 was the right year to run for president? Certainly Oprah’s strong, unambivalent endorsement of Obama after struggling to remain neutral in recent elections could give Obama a leg up on any candidate. If nothing else, I bet he’s about to be selling a mighty load of books shortly after Oprah’s confession that she was up late reading it.

For those that have not yet heard, WaPo reports:

Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele accused a leading Democratic congressman yesterday of racial insensitivity for saying the Republican candidate has “slavishly” followed the GOP.

Steele, an African American running for the U.S. Senate, was reacting to remarks by House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, who characterized Steele this week as having had “a career of slavishly supporting the Republican Party.”

The problem is obviously that Hoyer is white and probably cannot refer to a black person as slavish. I, however, am black and hereby transfer Hoyer’s inappropriate use of inside-the-fam lingo to me.


Next story.

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So how do you effectively squash the Black vote in today’s post-Civil Rights Act of 1964 America? Aren’t you wondering? I know I am.

Color of Change, a new non-profit run by a couple of bright young brothers named James Rucker and Van Jones, has some answers for you in the form of the new documentary American Blackout. I just got this email from them, and I’m fixin’ to try and see this flick. How about you? From the email:

American Blackout lays bare how the right to vote was systemically undermined in 2000 and 2004. It shows how the Black vote was suppressed, and it sets the stage for making sure it never happens again. The film has received standing ovations in screenings across the country and racked up numerous awards, including the Special Jury Prize at Sundance.

Over two hundred screenings have been scheduled across the country–most of them by ColorOfChange.org members. To find one near you, click on the link below:


To view the trailer, set up your screening, and get the video for free, use the link below.


In screenings across the country–from the rural Midwest to urban centers–American Blackout has galvanized audiences that care about the health of this country’s democracy. Not only does it expose the problems plaguing our elections, it plants the seeds for fighting back and will inspire you to act.

‘Nuff said. You know what to do.

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Several stolen elections later (2000 – FL, 2004 – OH, 2006 Primary – MD), the mighty venerable NAACP led by comfortable safe negros lulled to sleep by corporate dollars has apparently awakened looking to swat down 2006 election hijinks. Under new CEO Bruce Gordon, they’ve sent a shot across the bow of dirty tricksters looking to prevent minorities from voting in a press release dated yesterday.

The release states that “The NAACP will pay special attention to voting in 10 states, including Maryland, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Texas, Michigan, Ohio, Georgia and Pennsylvania.”

Judging from the content, it looks like Maryland, in the wake of the Donna Edwards/Al Wynn fiasco is coming under special scrutiny. Not yet toothless, the old lion’s roar was heard by the conservative Washington Times which practically copied the NAACP release word-for-word breathlessly to its Republican audience.

The other nine states were chosen because they have pivotal elections, high concentrations of black voters or a history of polling problems, including Gulf Coast states Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Texas.

The dispersal of residents from those states after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit last year prompted the NAACP to start a registration campaign to help evacuees register to vote in their new location or maintain their home-state registration.

The NAACP will also be monitoring elections in Michigan and Ohio, which had rampant complaints of insufficient voting machines, fewer polling places and polls opening late during the 2004 presidential election. (Source: Washington Times)

Anybody scared over there in wingnut world? “The groups will forward any major problems to the Justice Department for further investigation.” Hmmm…

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Oliver Willis notes the cover story all about Barack Obama, Senator Superstar entitled: “Why Barack Obama Could Be The Next President“. I too noted this on newsstands this week and had a reaction similar to one the author observes Obama often receives from fellow African-Americans. Here’s an excerpt from the article (emphasis mine):

Obama’s personal appeal is made manifest when he steps down from the podium and is swarmed by well-wishers of all ages and hues, although the difference in reaction between whites and blacks is subtly striking. The African Americans tend to be fairly reserved–quiet pride, knowing nods and be-careful-now looks. The white people, by contrast, are out of control. A nurse named Greta, just off a 12-hour shift, tentatively reaches out to touch the Senator’s sleeve. “Oh, my God! Oh, my God! I just touched a future President! I can’t believe it!” She is literally shaking with delight–her voice is quivering–as she asks Obama for an autograph and then a hug.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s no playa-hating over here. I am thrilled for a brotha who’s making it. I think though that Obama is often perceived to be a follower more than a leader compared to say, John Conyers. Even when it comes to communicating with people. On torture and habeas corpus, he was a little slow to come forward. Come forward and make a strong statement on the right side — he did that. After some prodding.

African-Americans can be proud of the one Black Senator we have. Don’t hate on us if the jury’s still out on whether or not he’s really got our back on issues we care about. Does he have Presidential Potential — absolutely. The last person that made voting-age white women scream like that was Bill Clinton. But Bill Clinton was able to demonstrate support and respect for the Black community — he was able to convey the feeling that he represented all Americans. Not just the slowly shrinking majority. Can Obama do that? I think he can. A lot of us are still holding back a little though until we can get to know him better.

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This past Sunday the WaPo ran an article titled, “Why I Gave Up On Hip-Hop” by Lonnae O’Neal Parker. While hip hop isn’t necessarily focused on electoral politics, it is overtly and passively political.

Lonnae’s point is that as a black woman who discovered hip hop in 1979, she sees the art form (the commercial version at least) falling into unacceptable depths of misogyny and materialism. She won’t let her 12 year old daughter listen to radio hip hop. I haven’t listened to radio hip-hop for years.

I have no clue who is topping the charts and I can’t name a single rap song in play.
But I swear it hasn’t always been that way.
My daughter can’t know that hip-hop and I have loved harder and fallen out further than I have with any man I’ve ever known.

It’s hard to argue that she’s wrong.

Her article reminds me of one written in 2003 by John H. McWhorter titled, “How Hip-Hop Holds Blacks Back.” Describing a group of overly disruptive black boys, he wrote:

What struck me most, though, was how fully the boys’ music—hard-edged rap, preaching bone-deep dislike of authority—provided them with a continuing soundtrack to their antisocial behavior. So completely was rap ingrained in their consciousness that every so often, one or another of them would break into cocky, expletive-laden rap lyrics, accompanied by the angular, bellicose gestures typical of rap performance. A couple of his buddies would then join him. Rap was a running decoration in their conversation.

Both of these articles address the destructive messages in today’s commercial hip hop, and I think both of their conclusions miss the mark. O’Neal has chosen a near complete retreat, and McWhorter concludes that “hip hop creates nothing.”

Yet as this country is so desperate for an expanded political participation, as media consolidation and homogeneity break the language of democracy (Gore), as we (the left) forge ahead in search of every potential microphone and town forum, we cannot afford to dismiss hip hop so blithely.

And not everyone is. To various degrees of effect, there are several movements to engage the hip hop generation in today’s electoral and activist politics. Here are a few, but if you know of any, please leave them in the comments along with your own opinion on the state of hip hop today.

Hip Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN). Created by mogul Russell Simmons

National Hip Hop Political Convention

Sweet Mother Tour

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Blackprof continues to run a census of black blogs, and we at Jack & Jill are keeping the lines open for explicitly local blogs by folks of color. I’ll add that we are not limited to the medium of text. If you know of a good podcast or video podcast that fits the bill, please let us know.

and now, the news…

From “Forward Together” to “Yall Go On Without Me” PAC

By now, the news has spread that former VA governor Mark Warner has stepped out of the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination race. I know when I first heard the news and the default excuse of “more time with my family,” I figured Warner decided that his own scandalous indiscretions were gonna remain private. The timing is just too interesting. Don’t be surprised if another shoe drops soon.

SPECIAL UPDATE 23:10 Sat Oct 14:
Well. This post really upset Jerome Armstrong (just see his comment to this post) and resulted in him deleting the post from MyDD. I’m a big fan of Jerome, except when he’s deleting my work, and hope we can move past this. As for Warner, I don’t know enough to say if I’m a fan, but the rest of my post expanded on what those feelings might have become had he stayed in the race.

I have no information about Warner being involved in any scandal. I honestly thought the timing of the Foley news was interesting and was attempting a bit of humor in the implication that Warner chose the standard “time with his family line” during this of all weeks. So I apologize for throwing that out there in a less-than-obviously humorous tone. I still think it is noteworthy timing. It is my job as a commentator to call that sort of thing out, and I am not apologizing for the spirit of the connection I made, only the words I used. Perhaps if I had replaced “his own scandalous indiscretions” with “any scandalous indiscretions he might have” that would be better?

I am new to this blog and to MyDD posting, and I do not do this full time. I have no idea what sort of comments were left on MyDD after the post because I left my home and was offline until just now, when I found that it had been deleted. I have many jobs (I’m Jamaican like that (that was a joke!)) and hope a slow response time on my part didn’t make people more upset.

However, I also put a lot of time into the roundup this week, from the titles to finding that Flickr photo. Jerome probably would have appreciated a softer, more respectful hand in my handling of Warner’s stepping down. Well, I would have appreciated a softer, more respectful hand in the deletion of my post.

Throwing this in here may not build a bridge of peace between Jerome and me, but I need to say it. It is an unreasonable response to cut my entire post. You could have flagged the offensive sentence and said “MyDD editors consider this statement irresponsible and possibly libelous and are in discussions with the author to substantiate or revise.” I cannot be the only blogger to have thrown out an unsubstantiated claim. Is this the standard response? MyDD is your site, but that’s just cold-blooded to delete all my other work in that post. I expect that sort of response from the Bush administration, but not from the “liberal blogosphere.”

If any readers want to weigh in, use the comments. I will respond as much as I can (within the bounds of my Jamaican work lifestyle). And Jerome, reach out to me and let’s discuss the matter. I do want to understand, but you have not left me much of an option in that area. My email address is on this blog. I hope you use it.

more below the fold

I also remember his blowout bash at YearlyKos to woo the liberal blogosphere and wondered what could have made him drop. I had met people who swore Warner was the Dems best chance to take the White House, and my own interest was raised to see him speak before the Congressional Black Caucus over two years before the election

Many blogospheric conversations are focusing on the impact to the Stop-Hillary wing of the party, and of course the Draft-Al movement.

I personally believe Brother Al should stay away from this race (and that’s a mighty tough thing for me to say). Keep saving the planet, Al. The US will do what it’s gonna do, but you’ve come too far to step into the soul-sucking expedition that is presidential politics.

Black Pro-Lifers hold conference
The Republican attempt to own morality as a political issue obviously blew up in their faces with Foley, but the release of Tempting Faith goes a step beyond standard hypocrisy into extraordinary contempt and manipulation of evangelical Christians. This morality play has been used to woo an increasing share of the Af-Am vote over the past two cycles (particularly with gay marriage and abortion).

So it was especially interesting to note that in Philadelphia, Life Education And Resource Network (LEARN), the largest black pro-life organization in the U.S., had its Summit For Life.

The context is complicated and interesting: a U.S. Census report states that black Americans are below the birth replacement rate for the first time in American history; Sharpton and Jackson’s recent comments about abortion not being a major black issue; and there’s an attempt to tie the fight against abortion to the fight for civil rights…

Booker Rising summarizes a point made by XY:

Dr. Alveda King, who has also had an abortion in the past, recalls memories of her childhood home in Birmingham, Alabama. It was later bombed by those who hated civil rights activism of her family. She asserted that just as she and her family should have been comfortable and safe in their own home, so should an unborn child feel safe inside of his or her mother during pregnancy

Strangely, the blogosphere is pretty silent on the conference so far as is the local Philly press. Does anyone have first-hand reactions or reports?

A new report suggests that 655,000 Iraqis have been killed since the US invasion, an order of magnitude more that the White House’s claim of 30,000. Numeric accuracy is never a strong point for the class in power, whether it’s under-counting the Million Man March, the cost of the Prescription Drug Care bill or over-stating the number of Iraqi police and military force.

Kerry Healey’s increasingly divisive and racist rhetoric against Deval Patrick in the Mass. governor’s race continues to get attention from our own Jill Tubman plus Skeptical Brotha.

African American Political Pundit has an interview with Republican Joe Lavigne who’s trying to unseat Louisiana’s money-freezing William Jefferson

Al responds to Lieberman’s dis.

JJP celebrates an unofficial educational black video day.

General Sir Richard Dannatt says it will soon be time for the British Army to roll out of Iraq, but not cut and run.

Oh yes, I suppose I was inspired by the Bush administration to leave this situation on the back burner. North Korea tested a few nukes, and the UN has imposed sanctions.

Steve Gilliard over at the NewsBlog does a solid analysis of why General Sir Richard Dannatt’s statement that the U.K. should consider pulling its troops out of Iraq “soon” is important to us here in the U.S.

Just in case you’ve missed it:

Britain’s top military commander, Richard Dannatt, said Friday that in some parts of Iraq the “mere presence” of British troops “does exacerbate” violence and that “time is against us” in Iraq. But he also said Britain stood “shoulder to shoulder with Americans and their timing and our timing are one and the same.

” (Source: Washington Post)
Steve G.:

Dannatt is just saying what CENTCOM knows, Afghanistan can be saved, but not with Iraq in the picture.

But he’s placed a turd in Tony Blair’s bed. If he fires him, the House of Commons will erupt, using his words to damn Tony Blair. It might be the trigger to force him to retire.

If he doesn’t fire him, it’s an intolerable level of insubordination from the armed forces. He’s just called Blair a liar and doomed the British mission in Iraq.

And also:

Either way, in an October of surprises, this is the worst and the most critical one Bush has gotten so far. There is no replacement for the British Army in Iraq, none. The US has three brigades, two deployable, left for any crisis in the world. The British protect the gateway to Iraq. They control the highways to Baghdad and points north. Without them Sadr and friends will. And it’s a fight to the border.

Dannatt has placed his job and his word on the line. He’s speaking for the militaries of those serving in Iraq, the US and UK. It is pretty hard to say he doesn’t have the facts or hasn’t seen the data. Downing Street’s response was lame and the White House silent. But if Blair fires him, he will be eaten alive in the Commons, if he doesn’t, he’ll be expected to step down as Prime Minister.

The brotha is right (read the full post here). This is a serious crisis for the U.K. and U.S. government’s positions on Iraq and Afghanistan. The situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan regarding the Taliban and Al-Qaeda is increasingly serious — and threatening to all of us. 5 years after 9/11, how can we feel safe if the political and military situation there is restored to the 9/10 reality of Taliban/Al-Qaeda dominance. We all remember what that looked like.

The ramifications of Dannatt’s statements will be interesting to follow over the coming days as Blair and Bush scramble to do damage control. Things are unraveling fast for them both. But that could be good news for anyone with friends or relatives dodging IEDs over in Iraq. If you believe Steve, the viability of our current mission in Iraq, already struggling — will be undermined severely if the Brits pull out.

Since the role of the images of black folk has come up several times this week here at JJP, I thought I’d keep focus on that cultural issue for one more post.

I stopped watching Desperate Housewives midway through the second season. I had seen several interviews with the creator Marc Cherry and knew he was gay. Actually, this fact was used to explain how he so accurately captured inter-female dynamics. But the male-male interactions on the show were horrible.

Also, I got bored.

Also, I got tired of the creepy basement black people.

This year, with North Korea testing its nukes, I was drawn to a CBS show called “Jericho.” Set in a small Kansas town, this show tells the story of America post-nuclear attack. In this small white town, we are introduced to one brother early on who talks sense but no one listens.

He’s a former St. Louis cop, he explains, and is just trying to help.

Also, he keeps his family (creepily) in the basement.

No one else in the town even knows they exist. With an otherwise all-white cast, the creators chose this one and only black family to be the freaks on the show. I find that problematic.

Anyone else?

I have stumbled upon a truly amazing statement in the Herald Tribune of southwest Florida:

Negron said “citizens have a right to know who they’re voting for,” and added that he was “disappointed” to hear of Anderson’s decision.

He didn’t rule out a legal challenge.

The election needs to be uniform in all of the counties,” Negron said.

A brief explanation:

Negron is Florida State Rep Joe Negron, the unfortunate soul who has to try and replace Republican Mark Foley in Florida ballot’s for this November’s elections.

Foley, of course, is the chief child abuser and hypocrite who not only harassed young Congressional pages, but committed the ultimate GOP sin of being gay (at least he wasn’t black).

The rule in Florida is that Foley’s name stays on the ballot even though he resigned.

seven of the eight election supervisors in the 16th Congressional District reluctantly agreed to post signs near each poll’s sign-in sheet telling voters that a vote for Foley would count for his replacement as the Republican candidate, state Rep. Joe Negron

Anderson is Palm Beach County Supervisor Arthur Anderson, the eighth supervisor of the crew above who said that “telling voters about the change is the Republican Party’s job, not his.”

Kudos to Anderson and boo-dos to Negron, unless he’s serious.

I recently heard the story of an election monitor in Philadelphia who witnessed Republicans actually steal ballots in the 2004 election. Ohio is notorious as well. And we’ve heard about intentional undersupplying of voting machines in Democratic-leaning, black neighborhoods.

If Negron is sincerely for uniform and fair elections, then maybe the people of Florida ought to vote Foley after all.

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Just read this article. Here’s an excerpt:

The government of Libya reached an agreement with an American nonprofit group to provide inexpensive laptop computers to all of its 1.2 million schoolchildren, The New York Times reported in Wednesday’s editions.

The project, scheduled to be completed by June 2008, could make Libya the first nation to enable all school-age children to connect to the Internet through educational computers, said Nicholas Negroponte, chairman of One Laptop per Child.

The $250 million deal, reached Tuesday, would provide the nation with 1.2 million computers, a server in each school, a team of technical advisers, satellite Internet service and other infrastructure.

That’s wonderful and great for Libya. Frankly though, I read this not with a sense of excitement but with sinking shame. If countries like Argentina, Brazil, Nigeria and Thailand think it’s important to get laptops into the hands of their schoolchildren and get all of them online, why do American children merit less than Libyan children? If the Libyan government can find $250 million USD to fund this, is there any part of the $1 billion a day we are spending on the civil war in Iraq that we as a nation could use on U.S. schoolchildren? OK, maybe not all kids if it’s “too expensive” to Leave No Child Behind. How about we start with just the poor ones living in rural or urban communities? Is it so crazy to think about getting them laptops and wi-fi access along with children in third-world countries??? I guess so…

Oliver Willis writes a good piece covering the soon-to-be-released book “Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction“. It’s written by a former Special Assistant to Bush and Deputy Director of the Faith-Based Initiative, David Kuo and unmasks the contempt Bush Republicans actually have for evangelical Christians, their values and their leaders. There’s an MSNBC article too.

He says some of the nation’s most prominent evangelical leaders were known in the office of presidential political strategist Karl Rove as “the nuts.”

“National Christian leaders received hugs and smiles in person and then were dismissed behind their backs and described as ‘ridiculous,’ ‘out of control,’ and just plain ‘goofy,’” Kuo writes.

This is important news for black folks because we all remember the pastors who got into bed with Bush for the 2004 election, most notably mega-pastor/author/movie producer/TV personality T.D. Jakes. With the help of people like Jakes, Bush’s campaign actually made inroads and attracted votes away from John Kerry.

My own mother told me that her hairdresser and her daughter both told my moms they planned to vote for Bush. Their minister had told them to do so based on his superior Christian values. She called me right after getting out from under the dryer in the parking lot, she was so shocked and disturbed. I thought she might actually start crying. That’s when I knew Kerry was in trouble.

Bush made a modest inroad into the Black community, but that’s more than enough to let Republicans crow. Surveys of voters after they left the polls indicated that 11 percent of African Americans voted for him, up at least two points from 2000. In some places, like Ohio, Bush took 16 percent of the Black vote, an increase of seven points.

Kerry won a solid 88 percent of the national Black vote, but that was two points lower than Al Gore’s African American support in the last presidential election. (Source: BET)

Based on the Foley scandal and Bush’s support for Dennis Hastert, we can all see how hollow those so-called Christian values really are. Spirituality and living your values is something I welcome like many African-Americans. But church-going brothers and sisters should all remember those folks who show up every weekend at church yet sin regularly all the rest of the week. You know who I’m talking about. The usheress who runs off with the deacon and so on. On issue after issue — education, faith-based initiative funding, Iraq, Katrina, etc — Bush sins against African-Americans. I just hope that now that the truth is coming out, that folks will be a little more careful who they vote for in the next go-round.

Interesting look at Barack Obama over yonder at FDL. Obama has become the Great White Hope (no pun intended – he is half-white, you know). Yet there is the experience thing and the leadership thing. Martin Luther King talked the talk really well — not unlike Obama. But he also walked the walk.

OK Democrats, deep breath. Despite Obama’s undeniable magnetism and star power, he’s not your guy. Not yet.

For now, Obama is a cipher, an easy repository for the hopes and dreams of liberals everywhere. He had the good fortune to run his first statewide (and nationally noticed) election against Chicago investment banker Jack Ryan, who dropped out because of a sex scandal, and then the brilliant performance artist (c’mon — you don’t really believe that guy’s serious, do you?) Alan Keyes. It’s easy to focus on lofty ideals and shining rhetoric if you don’t have an opponent and need never enter the muck of a competitive campaign.

But if Obama avoided being battle-tested in 2004 by the grace of God, it’s his own timidity that has kept his name clean since.

Given his national profile and formidable political talents, he could have been a potent spokesman for Democratic causes in the Senate. Instead, he has refused to expend his political or personal capital on a single controversial issue, preferring to offer anodyne pieces of legislation and sign on to the popular efforts of others.

Obama has led on energy reform and helped pass a landmark bill: the Coburn-Obama Transparency Bill which will create a public searchable database of public spending. The ramifications for government of this act will be astonishing when American taxpayers finally get a chance to see where their money really goes. Let’s give him (and the bloggers who helped) some credit for that.

It would be great to see this kind of leadership from Obama on healthcare, education and the “war on terror”.

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