So said Newsweek Magazine last week. But, I’ve been saying this for the past few months.

So while this Administration continues its LIES to try and justify an upcoming attack on IRAN, the REAL threat to GLOBAL SECURITY – PAKISTAN, remains low on the American’s public radar – a MISTAKE.

What happened today in Pakistan should trouble people who worry about Global Security.

Pakistani PM: State of emergency to last ‘as long as necessary’

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) — Pakistan will be under a state of emergency for “as long as it is necessary,” Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said Sunday, a day after Pervez Musharraf suspended the constitution and widened his powers as president and military chief.

In a commentary written for CNN on Sunday, opposition leader Benazir Bhutto called Musharraf’s plan “a step to entrench his dictatorship” and called for elections under an independent caretaker government.

But Aziz said it could be months before parliamentary elections — scheduled for January — will take place.

“The parliament could give itself more time, up to a year, in terms of holding the next elections,” Aziz said. “However, at this point, no decision has been made.”

The state of emergency had been imposed to “bring more harmony to the pillars of state” and to protect against extremism in the country, Aziz said.

Hundreds of people have been detained.

Earlier in the day, Musharraf’s spokesman, Information Minister Tariq Azim Khan, said on Dubai-based GEO TV that parliamentary elections would be delayed indefinitely.

Aziz stressed that despite the emergency measure, Musharraf’s government is “committed to pursuing our parliamentary form of government” and “making sure elections are held.”

Before imposing the state of emergency, Musharraf had vowed to hold elections no later than January 15.

The move has put the United States in a precarious position and has raised fears about widespread chaos in Pakistan, a nuclear nation.

Rest of Article Here.

Bhutto’s commentary on CNN.com-No Time for Dictatorship

Secretary of State Rice has indicated that there will be U.S. Review of Aid given to Pakistan, which has topped 10 Billion Dollars. I don’t expect for this to be anything more than some saber rattling from the USA. While they don’t have to like what Musharraf has done, the USA deals with a lot of not-so-nice folks. But, whatever his faults, Musharraf is OUR present devil that we know. If the USA could be assured that one of Musharraf’s opponents, who also happen to fall into the Moderate Muslim Category that goes against Islamist Extremism, like Mrs. Bhutto, could get complete control over the country, they’d back that person in a heartbeat. But, good or bad, Mr. Musharraf’s tenuous control is still control, and the alternatives could be worse for the USA. Keep an eye out for the happenings in Pakistan.

One of the reasons why we shouldn’t even be talking about IRAN, is because, whatever we have left of our Armed Forces, needs to be able to do something in Pakistan, in case it falls.

The Sharpton Debate

31 Oct 2007

Ta-Nehisi Coates:

This “black Jesus” paradigm has become even more useful in the era of the 24-hour news cycle. It allows a struggle — indeed, millions of people — to be boiled down to a single, preferably colorful, person. The problem is that the past 30 years have seen the rise of a generation of African Americans with unparalleled opportunities. From their ranks have sprung leaders in nearly every field. If there is a message in the Obama candidacy, it’s that being president of black America is irrelevant in an age when you could take the whole thing.

But the many competing and cooperating strains of black activism are impossible to capture in a sound bite or a five-minute “Crossfire” segment. Thus Sharpton is invoked as shorthand, as a way to avoid the time it takes to show complexity, nuance and humanity.

Charles King of NAN:

As Coates acknowledges, Sharpton is having a “banner year,” as even the poll he cited proves — a 50 percent approval rating is testament to his leadership. Even so, opinion polls are not a true measure of leadership. Great leaders do not always take the most popular positions. Think of Abraham Lincoln or Winston Churchill. Neither Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (the one black leader Coates gave short shrift to ) nor Malcolm X, for example, enjoyed widespread popularity within the black community until after they were tragically taken away from us. Same with Lincoln or Churchill.

In Coates’ last, desperate attempt to mislead the Post readers on Sharpton’s relevance, he examines his activities in the electoral arena, focusing on a subset of primaries in the 2004 presidential campaign. Coates claims that his run left him “far afield” of the White House — neglecting to mention that Sharpton won every black district in the District of Columbia, for example, as well as the city of Detroit.

Defining black leadership by presidential primary victories misses the point of Sharpton’s critical contribution to that presidential campaign — and his role as a national black leader. More African-Americans were attuned to the presidential campaign because Sharpton was a candidate. Like Shirley Chisolm and Jesse Jackson before him, Sharpton raised issues that no other presidential candidate would raise. He kept John Kerry and others honest when discussing how well this country was doing in protecting civil rights.

Polls show that Sharpton would likely do well if he were to run for office in New York City. However, that is not how he views role as a civil rights leader. In the spirit of Martin Luther King, Sharpton believes that he needs to be free to fight against injustice no matter where that fight takes him. He has been outspoken against friend and foe alike when they have been on the wrong side of justice issues.

They’re both right, although who can doubt that Coates is the better writer? Sharpton’s presence is a result of the laziness of the media in approaching black perspectives, but that also makes him relevant. It just doesn’t necesarilly make him representative. After disliking him for so long, I grew to appreciate his presence once I realized that he could draw attention to an issue that would otherwise go completely ignored.

The issue isn’t Sharpton. The issue is a racist media that thinks it can get everything it needs to know about black people from one person.

A recent Op-Ed by a Jena reporter that may have first appeared in the Christian Science Monitor is making the rounds on the Right wing blogs, supposedly “debunking” the Jena controversy, and has now even made it to ABC News’ website. The will to believe that the entire incident in Jena was a Sharpton/Jackson concocted conspiracy is so strong that Jimmie at Sundries Shack even described the fact-challenged opinon piece as an “article”:

Apparently, though, much of what’s being reported about Jena and the Jena 6, as the 6 students have come to be called, doesn’t appear to be completely true. Michelle Malkin has reprinted an article from the Christian Science Monitor written by a reporter lives and works in Jena. It’s worth a read, if for no other reason than to give you a side of the story that’s not likely to enrich Jesse Jackson and the rest of the professional race-baiters.

Well the “article” being referred to is almost identical to a piece in the Jena local newspaper that I made fun of months ago, and contains all the same amusing errors and what appear to be willful fabrications.


Myth 1: The Whites-Only Tree. There has never been a “whites-only” tree at Jena High School. Students of all races sat underneath this tree. When a student asked during an assembly at the start of school last year if anyone could sit under the tree, it evoked laughter from everyone present – blacks and whites. As reported by students in the assembly, the question was asked to make a joke and to drag out the assembly and avoid class.

Myth 2: Nooses a Signal to Black Students. An investigation by school officials, police, and an FBI agent revealed the true motivation behind the placing of two nooses in the tree the day after the assembly. According to the expulsion committee, the crudely constructed nooses were not aimed at black students. Instead, they were understood to be a prank by three white students aimed at their fellow white friends, members of the school rodeo team. (The students apparently got the idea from watching episodes of “Lonesome Dove.”) The committee further concluded that the three young teens had no knowledge that nooses symbolize the terrible legacy of the lynchings of countless blacks in American history. When informed of this history by school officials, they became visibly remorseful because they had many black friends. Another myth concerns their punishment, which was not a three-day suspension, but rather nine days at an alternative facility followed by two weeks of in-school suspension, Saturday detentions, attendance at Discipline Court, and evaluation by licensed mental-health professionals. The students who hung the nooses have not publicly come forward to give their version of events.


Myth 3: Nooses Were a Hate Crime. Although many believe the three white students should have been prosecuted for a hate crime for hanging the nooses, the incident did not meet the legal criteria for a federal hate crime. It also did not meet the standard for Louisiana’s hate-crime statute, and though widely condemned by all officials, there was no crime to charge the youths with.

Myth 4: DA’s Threat to Black Students. When District Attorney Reed Walters spoke to Jena High students at an assembly in September, he did not tell black students that he could make their life miserable with “the stroke of a pen.” Instead, according to Walters, “two or three girls, white girls, were chit-chatting on their cellphones or playing with their cellphones right in the middle of my dissertation. I got a little irritated at them and said, ‘Pay attention to me. I am right now having to deal with an aggravated rape case where I’ve got to decide whether the death penalty applies or not.’ I said, ‘Look, I can be your best friend or your worst enemy. With the stroke of a pen I can make your life miserable so I want you to call me before you do something stupid.’”


Set aside your disbelief at the fascinating series of coincidences required for this rendition of events for a moment. The most glaring omission connected to myths 1, 2, and 4 is the reaction of Jena
high’s black students to the nooses, which was to protest. The protest was why Reed Walters was called to the school in the first place.


JACQUIE SOOHEN: A few days after the nooses were hung, the entire black student body staged an impromptu demonstration, crowding underneath the tree during lunch hour. Justin Purvis, the student who first asked to sit underneath the tree, described how the protest came about.

JUSTIN PURVIS: It was like, the first beginning, in the courtyard, they said, “Y’all want to go stand under the tree?” We said, “Yeah.” They said, “If you go, I’ll go. If you go, I’ll go.” One person went, the next person went, everybody else just went.

JACQUIE SOOHEN: The school responded to the protest by calling police and the district attorney. At an assembly the same day, the District Attorney Reed Walters, accompanied by armed policeman, addressed the students.

Why leave that out? Because it changes the meaning of both the supposed “joke” at the assembly, Reed Walters later comments and calls into question the supposedly intimate relationship the noose hangers had with all their black friends. If everyone was so close at Jena, why did black students feel like they had to protest in the first place, thus “necessitating” Reed Walters visit, accompanied by police no less?

Yet, Crawford says:


Mr. Walters had been called to the assembly by police, who had been at the school earlier that day dealing with some students who were causing disturbances. Teachers and students have confirmed Walters’s version of events.

“Disturbances”. No mention or description of the nature of those disturbances, because the protest itself calls into question the idea that the white tree thing was a “known joke”. As for teachers and students “confirming Walters’ version of events,” “students an teachers” told Democracy Now something entirely different.

As for “myth” number 3, “local journalist” Craig Crawford might want to read the newspaper. Because the U.S. Attorney for Louisiana put the lie that “there was not hate crime” to rest a few weeks ago, while testifying to Congress.


U.S. Atty. Donald Washington also said for the first time that the hanging of nooses from a shade tree in the Jena High School courtyard in September, 2006, by three white students–a warning to stay away from the tree directed at black students that triggered months of interracial fights in the town–constituted a federal hate crime, but that federal authorities opted not to prosecute the case because of the ages of the white youths involved.

That particular “fact” would have been obviously false to anyone paying attention to the Jena Six case for even the last two weeks. Which is why Malkin and her followers had no idea.

Moving on:


Myth 5: The Fair Barn Party Incident. On Dec. 1, 2006, a private party – not an all-white party as reported – was held at the local community center called the Fair Barn. Robert Bailey Jr., soon to be one of the Jena 6, came to the party with others seeking admittance.

When they were denied entrance by the renter of the facility, a white male named Justin Sloan (not a Jena High student) at the party attacked Bailey and hit him in the face with his fist. This is reported in witness statements to police, including the victim, Robert Bailey, Jr.

Months later, Bailey contended he was hit in the head with a beer bottle and required stitches. No medical records show this ever occurred. Mr. Sloan was prosecuted for simple battery, which according to Louisiana law, is the proper charge for hitting someone with a fist.


Except if you’re black. In which case, the charge is Murder Two. As for Robert Bailey’s injuries, given the omissions and distortions already present in this man’s “reporting,” I’m going to trust the established version of events until someone reputable says otherwise. As for the “it’s not an all white party, it’s a private party” statement, well, how is either quality exclusive to the other?


Myth 6: The “Gotta-Go” Grocery Incident. On Dec. 2, 2006, Bailey and two other black Jena High students were involved in an altercation at this local convenience store, stemming from the incident that occurred the night before. The three were accused by police of jumping a white man as he entered the store and stealing a shotgun from him. The two parties gave conflicting statements to police. However, two unrelated eye witnesses of the event gave statements that corresponded with that of the white male.

This is my favorite. “This nice white man was walking and these niggers came and stole his shotgun which he just happened to be carrying for no reason!”

Moving on:


Myth 7: The Schoolyard Fight. The event on Dec. 4, 2006 was consistently labeled a “schoolyard fight.” But witnesses described something much more horrific. Several black students, including those now known as the Jena 6, barricaded an exit to the school’s gym as they lay in wait for Justin Barker to exit. (It remains unclear why Mr. Barker was specifically targeted.)

When Barker tried to leave through another exit, court testimony indicates, he was hit from behind by Mychal Bell. Multiple witnesses confirmed that Barker was immediately knocked unconscious and lay on the floor defenseless as several other black students joined together to kick and stomp him, with most of the blows striking his head. Police speculate that the motivation for the attack was related to the racially charged fights that had occurred during the previous weekend.


I’m not going to justify the attack on Justin Barker, but the kid walked away from the hospital and attended a school function later that day. Getting beat up sucks, but it’s not attempted murder, or conspiracy, or worthy of 15 years in jail.

Myth number 8:

Myth 8: The Attack Is Linked to the Nooses. Nowhere in any of the evidence, including statements by witnesses and defendants, is there any reference to the noose incident that occurred three months prior. This was confirmed by the United States attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, Donald Washington, on numerous occasions.

The only one that appears to be “true”. It is of course, a non-sequitur. What does whether or not the nooses were motivation for the attack have to do with the fact that the charges were excessive? It doesn’t.

“Myth” number 9, another “see no evil” approach:


Myth 9: Mychal Bell’s All-White Jury. While it is true that Mychal Bell was convicted as an adult by an all-white jury in June (a conviction that was later overturned with his case sent to juvenile court), the jury selection process was completely legal and withstood an investigation by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Court officials insist that several black residents were summoned for jury duty, but did not appear.

Oh right, this is the same Civil Rights Division that tried to keep black people from voting right? The one that couldn’t even retain it’s black employees because the atmosphere of racism was so thick they referred to it as a plantation? I’m sure they were very thorough. I wonder why no black jurors showed up? (Except I don’t, because my family is from Georgia.)


Myth 10: Jena 6 as Model Youth. While some members were simply caught up in the moment, others had criminal records. Bell had at least four prior violent-crime arrests before the December attack, and was on probation during most of this year.

Yeah, well in this country, even if you’re not a model youth, you have rights. I know that’s hard for some people to understand.


Myth 11: Jena Is One of the Most Racist Towns in America. Actually, Jena is a wonderful place to live for both whites and blacks. The media’s distortion and outright lies concerning the case have given this rural Louisiana town a label it doesn’t deserve.

Fantastic objective reporting there, Craig.


Myth 12: Two Levels of Justice. Outside protesters were convinced that the prosecution of the Jena 6 was proof of a racially biased system of justice. But the US Justice Department’s investigation found no evidence to support such a claim. In fact, the percentage of blacks and whites prosecuted matches the parish’s population statistics.

Yeah there’s no bias. None at all. That’s why the case against Mychal Bell was thrown out by a judge after Walters tried to prosecute him as an adult.

The most telling circumstance here is not the Jena reporter defending his town, but the Right Wing blogs who ignored the Jena Six controversy and the ensuing racist backlash almost entirely until someone told them there was no racism. Then, only then, did the issue become a priority. That’s because the Right isn’t interested in fighting anti-black racism as much as it is in justifying it. Unless there’s some way to cast black people as oppressing themselves, the Right will ignore it.

Malkin’s conclusion:


As with the Duke Lacrosse case, the truth about Jena will eventually be known. But the town of Jena isn’t expecting any apologies from the media. They will probably never admit their error and have already moved on to the next “big” story. Meanwhile in Jena, residents are getting back to their regular routines, where friends are friends regardless of race. Just as it has been all along.

Well, not exactly:


JENA, la. (AP) — The Nationalist Movement, which describes itself as “pro-majority,” will hold a rally in Jena, La., on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the group announced.

The organization issued a statement this week saying “Jena Justice Day to Empower the Majority” would be held on Jan. 21, 2008, the day set aside to celebrate the birthday of the slain American civil rights leader.

The statement said the Nationalist were “bringing their tools for empowerment to Louisiana to defeat the demands of Al Sharpton.” The events planned include a two-mile parade, speeches, ceremonies and petitions “as a centerpiece to abolish King Day.”


Huh. Imagine that. Oh wait, the Mayor of Jena already did, when he told white supremacists he appreciated what they were trying to do” by rallying.

But you know, there’s no racism in Jena.

I wonder if we’ll see Malkin there? I’m sure many of the protesters have read her writings at the white supremacist website VDARE.

From HuffingtonPost.Com

GOP ‘Scheduling Conflicts’ Postpone Another Black Voter Forum
October 30, 2007

In recent weeks, Republican presidential candidates have found time in their busy schedules to speak or debate before the Republican Jewish Coalition, “Value Voters,” conservative Floridians, even Wyoming Republicans, who hold virtually no sway in the primary race. They’ve also agreed to appear at the CNN/YouTube debate they at one point shunned.

But it appears that some GOP frontrunners are once again letting an opportunity to appear before African-American voters lapse, just as they decided to sit out a Black voter forum hosted last month by Tavis Smiley.

The Congressional Black Caucus Institute announced in September that it had scheduled a debate for November 4 on Fox News for Republican presidential candidates. But a spokeswoman for the group confirmed to the Huffington Post that it has now been postponed, with no new date set.

“The debate will not take place on November 4, and we’re still considering the debate schedule,” said CBC Institute spokesperson Georgella Muirhead.

Republican candidates have cited scheduling conflicts in resisting new proposed dates, Muirhead said.

“It’s the same issue they had with some of the other debates,” she added. “We’re getting a new working date, that’s what’s being considered.”

The CBC Political Education and Leadership Institute is a non-profit organization linked to the Congressional Black Caucus, which includes 43 African-American members of the House and Senate.

The leading GOP campaigns were coy about whether they planned to attend the rescheduled CBC/Fox News debate when contacted by the Huffington Post. Of the frontrunners, only Mitt Romney’s campaign said he was considering attending.

“The debate was canceled before we confirmed our participation one way or another,” said spokesman Stephen Smith. “We were considering this debate before it was canceled. As soon as we have rescheduled dates, we will consider them, it depends on when it’s scheduled.”

The campaign of Rep. Ron Paul said he would “try very hard” to attend the rescheduled event.

In September, the Huffington Post reported that the Republican frontrunners would all sit out the African-American voter forum at Baltimore’s Morgan State University. The debate’s hosts set up four empty lecterns to highlight the absence of the leaders in the race for the 2008 nomination. The candidates who did appear, such as Paul and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, criticized their opponents for failing to reach out to African-American voters.

Earlier this month, the question of reaching out to minority voters again emerged when Senator McCain confirmed he would attend a December Spanish-language forum hosted by the Univision network.

The CBC Institute has confirmed a January 17 debate on CNN featuring the Democratic presidential candidates. Earlier in the year, all but three of the Democratic hopefuls had boycotted another debate planned by the CBC Institute and Fox News after party membership objected to the idea of appearing on the conservative-oriented network.

Folks cannot be surprised about this in the least. It was going to be ON FOX NEWS – how fixed could it get for them, yet alas…they had ‘ scheduling conflicts’.

Hat Tip: Field Negro

I found this on the sidebar at Field Negro and thought it was of interest, because it points out AGAIN how this administration is against The Little Guy, and keeps on using his Uncle Toms to do the dirty work.

Dear *[field negro]*,

I’m coming to you as a big time reader (and troll, I never comment).

There’s an issue on my radar that has been overwhelmingly disregardedby the mainstream media. The Bush administration, helped by Uncle TomAlphonso Jackson, is eliminating downpayment assistance programs that have helped hundreds of thousands of people gain first time homeownership.

This is about modern civil rights, wealth creation and asset ownership. To me, breaking the chains of poverty means gettingthe downpayment assistance necessary help working families and adultsmove into their own homes.

Eliminating downpayment assistance is just another way to put Blacks into a modern day sharecropping systemon the apartment renting plantation. Unfortunately, fake liberal Dem Prez candidate Chris Dodd is siding with the Bush admin to close this program… here’s a little mini blog post I wrote below.

If you could help promote this issue or at least mention it, that’d be great. Keep doing what you’re doing, Field…Presidential hopeful Chris Dodd, Chairman of Banking, Housing & UrbanAffairs Committee, is making the remarkable move of closing down a Federal program that has historically helped hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged groups and the poor achieve first time homeownership.

Dodd is siding with Senate Republicans (like Senator Richard Shelby,R-AL no less) to give a slap in the face to Blacks and minorities across the country. Dodd is supporting Bush’s HUD Secretary AlphonsoJackson in his move to eliminate downpayment assistance programs.According to the GAO, the move to get rid of downpayment assistance programs will bar approximately 40% of African-American homebuyers from utilizing Federal Housing Administration insured loans. Also affected are potentially 30% of Latinos.

What Senator Dodd is doing will screw the poor, minorities, and many single parent mothers from ever owning a home. True progressives Rep.Maxine Waters and Rep. Barney Frank have showed their leadership insecuring a bill in the House to protect this program. In the Senate,Senator Dodd holds the keys.

Sign this petition and call Senator Doddnow. For more information on this issue, see below.[for blogs, often you may post the long portion of your text in a'below' or 'read more' section]Here’s the lowdown. Downpayment assistance programs allow nonprofits to assist home buyers in providing the minimum down payment requiredfor Federal Housing Authority (FHA) loans. Shutting down this program will effectively destroy the nonprofits seeking to help first time home buyers achieve their dreams of home ownership. From 2000 through 2006, more than 650,000 buyers got their down payments through nonprofits.

HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson believes with the recent foreclosures occurring because of subprime loans, an increased number of borrowers will seek downpayment assistance and place enormous fiscal stress on the FHA. However, Secretary Jackson is overlooking the fact that if downpayment assistance programs are shut out, even more borrowers will be FORCED into predatory loan agreements and subprime loans. The reality is, downpayment assistance programs are needed more than ever now, and to remove the program is to put families onto the street and to keep an entire segment of the population continually renting from landlords.

Write or Call Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee Chairman Chris Dodd to tell him:”Please do not shut down the downpayment assistance program. This program helps hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged families acrossthe country achieve the American dream of homeownership.”Banking Committee Contact:534 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510 P: (202) 224-7391 F: (202) 224-5137 U.S. Senator Chris Dodd Contact:448 Russell Building Washington D.C., 20510 Tel: (202) 224-2823 Fax: (202) 224-1083

Wow.

The largest dam in Iraq is in serious danger of an imminent collapse that could unleash a trillion-gallon wave of water, possibly killing thousands of people and flooding two of the largest cities in the country, according to new assessments by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other U.S. officials.

Even in a country gripped by daily bloodshed, the possibility of a catastrophic failure of the Mosul Dam has alarmed American officials, who have concluded that it could lead to as many as 500,000 civilian deaths by drowning Mosul under 65 feet of water and parts of Baghdad under 15 feet, said Abdulkhalik Thanoon Ayoub, the dam manager. “The Mosul dam is judged to have an unacceptable annual failure probability,” in the dry wording of an Army Corps of Engineers draft report.

And then, no surprise, of course:

At the same time, a U.S. reconstruction project to help shore up the dam in northern Iraq has been marred by incompetence and mismanagement, according to Iraqi officials and a report by a U.S. oversight agency to be released Tuesday.

According to this WaPo article, the collapse of the dam could happen any day now. So this is the Bush administration, right? They were warned well ahead of time about the fragile state of the levees by officials both inside and outside the federal government. And a massive humanitarian disaster was…not…averted. This sounds like a disaster on a scale that would give that nasty old bizzatch Katrina nightmares. Wonder how well the Bush administration is dealing with this? What’s the status of security for the dam in case some crazy insurgents try to blow it up? How’s the contingency and relief planning — in case the worst happens (which, since Iraq is basically worst case scenario central right this minute, seems reasonable) going?

How many brown people are maybe about to die needlessly under the less than watchful, less than interested eye of George Bush and cronies this time, if forfend, the Mosul dam breaks? What terrifying, heartless face will “compassionate conservatism” manifest this time?

I’m confident that there is a lot more backstory to this article than meets the eye. And like the checkered, racist history of the levees and the continuing failure to protect New Orleans from the next hurricane, it probably wouldn’t make me feel better about the situation.

It broke this weekend that Stanley O’Neal is out at Merrill Lynch.

Risk-Taker’s Reign at Merrill Ends With Swift Fall
By LANDON THOMAS Jr. and JENNY ANDERSON
Published: October 29, 2007

The six-year reign of E. Stanley O’Neal at Merrill Lynch has been one of contradictions. He was a loner in an industry that places a premium on relationships. And he pushed Merrill into risky investments despite his experience as chief financial officer, where assessing risk was one of his responsibilities.

Now after an $8.4 billion write-down and an unauthorized merger approach to a rival bank, Wachovia, Mr. O’Neal has lost the confidence of his board and is expected to resign as chairman and chief executive as early as today.

Directors, having decided Mr. O’Neal should leave, met through the weekend to determine who should succeed him.

Rest of article here.

But, don’t feel too bad for Mr. O’Neal:

The Price of Any Departure Will Be at Least $159 Million
By ERIC DASH
Published: October 27, 2007

Merrill Lynch’s directors may be weighing E. Stanley O’Neal’s future, but one thing is already guaranteed: a payday of at least $159 million if he steps down.

Mr. O’Neal, the company’s chairman and chief executive, is entitled to $30 million in retirement benefits as well as $129 million in stock and option holdings, according to an analysis by James F. Reda & Associates using yesterday’s share price of $66.09. That would be on top of the roughly $160 million he took home in his nearly five years on the job.

Rest of article is here.

Now, that’s what I call getting P-P-P-PAID! They could give me a pink slip in a nanosecond with that kind of severance check in the envelope.


I mean, seriouly speaking, can you even imagine the long arm of the law locking up a white under-18 teenager who got a consenting blowjob from another teenager separated by only 1-2 grades in school? There would be a whole lot of white kids in jail right this minute, fo’ sho’! Come on now. Let’s get real.

I am glad the law was changed in Georgia. It’s essential to protect our young people from danger, especially in the form of adult sex predators looking to victimize children. (Paging Dateline’s Chris Hansen) It’s also important to recognize the difference between an actual crime and normal teenage behavior when you see it.

One piece of context missing from this story is the ethnicity of the consenting young lady. How much do you wanna bet she was white and that this law was used as a form of legal lynching as a warning to other young black male high schoolers looking for a good time at their next New Year’s Eve no-parents house party? Because otherwise, you have to scratch your head at the illogical nature of the whole mess. Quite a bit of energy has been expended on prosecuting this young man and making an example of him. And it’s still unclear — Why?

From CNN:

In the decision, Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears wrote that changes in the law “represent a seismic shift in the legislature’s view of the gravity of oral sex between two willing teenage participants.”

“Although society has a significant interest in protecting children from premature sexual activity, we must acknowledge that Wilson’s crime does not rise to the level of culpability of adults who prey on children,” the court’s majority found.

“For the law to punish Wilson as it would an adult, with the extraordinarily harsh punishment of 10 years in prison without the possibility of probation or parole, appears to be grossly disproportionate to his crime,” the majority opinion concluded.

As some of you might recall, this unfortunate turn of events happened quite recently:

Monroe County Superior Court judge ruled that Wilson’s punishment was cruel and unusual and voided it on constitutional grounds.

The judge reduced the sentence to one year and said Wilson should not be put on Georgia’s sex offender registry, as the old law required.

Wilson’s jubilant attorneys had hoped that ruling would free him from state prison. But shortly after it was handed down, Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker announced he would appeal the decision, a move that kept Wilson behind bars.

The high court said unanimously that the decision to deny Wilson bail was correct.

Wilson’s plight drew pleas for his release, including from former President Carter, an ex-Georgia governor, and even some of the jurors who convicted him.

Well, according to the New York Times, Mr. Thurbert (Uncle Tom) Baker had this to say in response to the Georgia Supreme Court’s decision yesterday:

State Attorney General Thurbert Baker said he accepts Friday’s ruling.

Baker said he hopes the ruling will ”put an end to this issue as a matter of contention in the hearts and minds of concerned Georgians and others across the country who have taken such a strong interest in this case.”

Translation for Black People:

“All y’all negros and negro lovers around the nation can stop callin’, emailin’, bloggin’, writin’ me up in the papers, makin’ me look bad on the teevee, shakin’ your fingers at my momma in the supermarket, protestin’, generally raisin’ a ruckus and makin’ my life a living hell. I Give Up.”

We won, y’all!

Good luck, Genarlow and god speed.

Hat tip:WVON 1690 AM-Santita Jackson Show

From ABCNews.com

Giuliani Defends, Employs Priest Accused of Molesting Teens
October 23, 2007 7:00 AM
Brian Ross and Avni Patel Report
:

Presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani hired a Catholic priest to work in his consulting firm months after the priest was accused of sexually molesting two former students and an altar boy and told by the church to stop performing his priestly duties.

The priest, Monsignor Alan Placa, a longtime friend of Giuliani and the priest who officiated at his second wedding to Donna Hanover, continues to work at Giuliani Partners in New York, to the outrage of some of his accusers and victims’ groups, which have begun to protest at Giuliani campaign events.

“This man did unjust things, and he’s being protected and employed and taken care of. It’s not a good thing,” said one of the accusers, Richard Tollner, who says Placa molested him repeatedly when he was a student at a Long Island, N.Y. Catholic boys high school in 1975.

At a campaign appearance in Milwaukee last week, Giuliani continued to defend Placa, who he described to reporters as a close friend for 39 years.

“I know the man; I know who he is, so I support him,” Giuliani said. “We give some of the worst people in our society the presumption of innocence and benefit of the doubt,” he said. “And, of course, I’m going to give that to one of my closest friends.”

The accusations against Placa were made in testimony before a Suffolk County grand jury in 2002.

Tollner, now a mortgage broker in Albany, N.Y., says he was one of three people to testify about Placa.

“This man harmed children. He still could do it. He deserves to be shown for what he was, or is,” says Tollner.

Appearing publicly for the first time today on ABC News’ “Good Morning America,” Tollner says the abuse started when he and Placa were in the high school making posters for a Right to Life march.

“As he started to explain how these posters should be done, I realized that something was rubbing my body,” Tollner said. “After a minute or two, I realized that he’s feeling me, feeling me in my genital area.”

The grand jury report concluded that a Priest F, who Tollner says is Placa, abused the boys sexually “again and again and again.”

“Priest F was cautious, but relentless in his pursuit of victims. He fondled boys over their clothes, usually in his office,” the report said.

The report concluded that Priest F, and several other priests under investigation from the same Long Island, N.Y. diocese, could not be prosecuted because the statute of limitations had expired.

Several former students from the same high school say they were asked by the “Giuliani organization” to contact ABC News and vouch for Placa.

“There was absolutely not a hint of rumor of a speculation or a whisper, in four years, or in decades after of any sexual predatoriness on the part of Rev. Placa,” wrote Matthew Hogan in an e-mail to ABCNews.com.

Hogan says he recalls that Placa did give “special attention” to his former schoolmate Richard Tollner and remembers seeing Tollner in Placa’s office “laughing, on opposite sides of a desk with Mr. Tollner happily animated sitting up on the couch talking.”

But Hogan says the school area where Tollner says he was molested “was CONSTANTLY trafficked even on off days and hours.”

“I will gladly help take apart in public anything that seriously overlooks the above. I’ll be watching The Blotter like a hawk,” Hogan wrote.

In addition to the allegations that Priest F was personally involved in the sexual abuse, the grand jury also said that Priest F became instrumental in a church policy that used “deception and intimidation” to keep the church scandal quiet.

Placa served as a lawyer for the diocese in dealing with allegations of abuse against other priests and, according to the grand jury report, claimed he had saved the church hundreds of thousands of dollars in his handling of possible litigation.

Lawyers for alleged victims say Placa would often conduct interviews, in his priest garb, without making it clear he was the church lawyer.

“He was a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” said Melanie Little, a lawyer for several alleged victims of sexual abuse by other priests in the diocese.

“He was more concerned with protecting the priests, protecting the reputation of the diocese and protecting the church coffers than he was protecting the children,” said Little.

Since going to work for Giuliani Partners, the former mayor and the priest have continued to be close.

Placa accompanied Giuliani and his wife Judith on a trip to Rome earlier this year.

Through a spokeswoman at Giuliani Partners, Sunny Mindel, Placa declined requests to comment on the allegations to ABCNews.com.

Mindel also declined to specify what Placa does for the firm or how much he is paid.

OK, GOP MOTHERS out there.

Please tell me how you can support a man who stands by someone accused of molesting children. I would like to know.

You already knew what kind of character he didn’t have because he was a man who brought his whore to live in the house with his WIFE AND CHILDREN.

Now, you know that he’s PAYING a man accused of MOLESTING CHILDREN and defending it.

Please explain it to me.

Leslie Southwick was confirmed by the Senate, 59-38.

Democratic Traitors:

Akaka (Hawaii)
Byrd (West Virginia)
Conrad (North Dakota)
Dorgan (North Dakota)
Feinstein (California)
Johnson (South Dakota)
Lieberman (Independent-Connecticut)
Lincoln (Arkansas)
Nelson (Nebraska)
Pryor (Arkansas)

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Stop Judge Leslie Southwick

Watson Resigns

25 Oct 2007

Wow. That was fast. Good.

This past Monday, show producers of global call-in show “World Have Your Say” on BBC World Service contacted JJP, inviting us to comment on the James Watson story. Jill and I both wrote about the nutty professor last week.

The show topic is represented on the BBC blog.

The show was broadcast live, worldwide (except for Africa) from 1pm-2pm eastern time this past Monday. I managed to get about 40 seconds in at the very end of the show (minute 51). There was a second broadcast starting at 2pm (covering the African continent) in which I was able to comment a bit more at length. However, there is no online version available for the 2pm show.

Here’s the 1pm version of the show, streaming (Real Player required).

What was most troubling about some comments made on the show were people who insisted that “scientists should have a right to ask the question ‘are black people less intelligent?’” It became less about Watson and more about so-called academic freedom and free speech. I maintain that such “freedom” is really a smokescreen for pursuing harmful, discriminatory and racist policies.

The points I tried to make in both shows:

  • The Dr. is beyond the science completely. There’s no scientific definition of race and no scientific consensus for a measure of intelligence. He’s wrong on both sides of his statement
  • Unsubstantiated statements have no place in this discussion and no bearing on the real world. I happen to believe a good test for witchcraft is whether or not a woman floats when tossed into a lake. Should my concept be seriously considered??
  • As a Nobel prize-winning doctor, Watson’s statements get more attention and credibility than they deserve. He may have a theoretical right to say what he wants, but he does not have a right to spread bad science
  • Whenever inflammatory situations like these arise, we are always tempted to focus on the white man who said the bad thing. This is misguided, because we forget the victims. Dr. Watson may be a crazy old man, but his words cause real harm to black people around the world. He provides aid and comfort to those who seek to dehumanize black people and will use his statements to justify their own prejudices and unequal treatment.
  • Here we go again. There is always some so-called scientist looking for support for their little racist perspective on the world. Such bad science was behind “eugenics” and countless other attempts to dehumanize black people. If we can prove black folks aren’t as intelligent, then we can prove they are less human and thus less deserving of human rights. We can enslave them, deny them justice, etc.

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Because the government won’t help you. However, if you’re upper middle to upper-class, living in a mostly white area with a Republican governor you’ll be fine.

The evacuation operation was going smoothly Tuesday afternoon, and National Guard troops sent to maintain order were described as polite and helpful.

AT&T provided Internet access to the evacuees and charged their cell phones for free. Volunteers offered massage therapy, yoga, kosher food and art projects for kids.”There was a call for artists last night,” said Brian Patterson, who manages community programs at the San Diego Museum of Art. “And I thought, ‘this is what I do, anyway,’ so I came down here,” he said.

Evacuees also had access to information on insurance and got medical help. They were given snacks and drinks and necessities such as baby wipes, tooth brushes, toothpaste and hand sanitizers.

Yoga and Kosher food. It took the Bush Administration five days to get a fresh bottle of water into New Orleans, but in San Diego they have Yoga classes and the government is taking into account religious dietary restrictions.

Even the Associated Press noticed the contrast in the Bush Administration’s treatment of evacuees from Hurricane Katrina and the San Diego Fires.

Like Hurricane Katrina evacuees two years earlier in New Orleans, thousands of people rousted by natural disaster fled to the NFL stadium here, waiting out the calamity and worrying about their homes.

The similarities ended there, as an almost festive atmosphere reigned at Qualcomm Stadium.

Bands belted out rock ‘n’ roll, lavish buffets served gourmet entrees, and massage therapists helped relieve the stress for those forced to flee their homes because of wildfires.

“The people are happy. They have everything here,” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared Monday night after his second Qualcomm tour.

Of course, this was after the article had gone through several re-writes, including a change of headline. The original AP headline was “Civility Reigns at San Diego Stadium,” as if to draw a contrast between the scene in San Diego and those savage Hurricane Katrina evacuees.

The headline is especially galling considering much of the violence reported in the wake of Hurricane Katrina was exaggerated and made up.

Maybe conditions in the Superdome would have been better if the evacuees had massage therapists to help them cope with the stress of being abandoned and left to die for five days; but I’m inclined to think that maybe food, water, and shelter would have been enough.

Had New Orleans been a mostly white city, they would have gotten all that and more.

There are many factors at work here, the fact that the governor of California is a Republican and the Bush Administration would like to keep it that way, the fact that the evacuees here are financially better off than those in Hurricane Katrina, and the fact that the evacuees are not overwhelmingly black. But it really comes down to the same thing, which is that in America how the government treats you hinges entirely on your race, class, and assumed political affiliation.


The digital divide has taken on a new twist as the chart shows below. Blacks, Hispanics and ahem, everybody else (?) are adopting new mobile and internet technologies at a higher rate than Caucasians. Here’s an example — Take a look at the chart above for more details by age, gender and ethnicity. Not new data (it’s from over a year ago) but I just got it in the mail today…

One of Donnie McClurkin’s biggest hits goes as follows:

“We fall down
But we get up
For a saint is just a sinner who fell down
and got up…”

As it turns out, Barack Obama is the one who has fallen down this time. Will he rise a saint or a sinner?

Folks are up in arms over Donnie McClurkin’s ministry and views on homosexuality. He sparked controversy by his decision to sing at the GOP Convention in 2004. Here’s what the Washington Post had to say at the time:

Gospel singer Donnie McClurkin, who has detailed his struggle with gay tendencies and vowed to battle “the curse of homosexuality,” said yesterday he’ll perform as scheduled at the Republican National Convention on Thursday, despite controversy over his view that sexuality can be changed by religious intervention.

“I can’t let off. I didn’t call myself — God called me to do what I do,” McClurkin told The Post’s Hamil R. Harris. The Grammy winner declared, “If this is a war, we are willing to fight. Not a war of violence, but a war of purpose.”

McClurkin wrote on a Christian Web site in 2002 that he struggled with homosexuality after he was molested by male relatives when he was 8 and 13. “I’ve been through this and have experienced God’s power to change my lifestyle,” he wrote. “I am delivered and I know God can deliver others, too.”

McClurkin, who said he’s sung for Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, blamed “the hatred of a few activists, not the gay community,” for the flap. “They act as if my singing on the ticket is the same as singing at a Nazi rally endorsing Nazism. The bottom line is that I sang at the Democratic convention” in 1992.


Keith Boykin wrote a powerful push-back
to McClurkin’s ministry on his blog several years ago.

I don’t know if Donnie McClurkin is homosexual, bisexual, heterosexual or asexual. Quite honestly, I don’t care. But I do know that his experience is not the same as everyone else’s. I’ve met thousands of gay men and lesbians across the country, and very few of them were raped or abused as children. Even fewer would say they “chose” their sexual orientation. Why would anyone choose to be a victim of discrimination?

In fact, because Donnie McClurkin said he had no control over the circumstances that led to his own early sexuality, McClurkin himself never chose to be gay. But he did apparently choose to be heterosexual, largely because he wanted to change.

It’s highly unlikely that God changed McClurkin’s sexual orientation. It’s far more likely that McClurkin was confused about it all along. Whatever the case, McClurkin should not make the mistake of assuming everyone else is the same as he is.

My opinion is this:

Donnie McClurkin is a MAJOR gospel star with chart-topping hits beyond gospel with a strong R&B/hip hop crossover audience. I submit to you the 308 videos of him on YouTube along with the millions of views to date that they represent.

Obama’s team was likely thinking about turnout and yes, probably wanting to represent a wider range and bigger tent. I am a big gospel fan and frankly was not aware of his “personal struggles” until this came up. I’ve sung along to McClurkin’s songs on the radio after tough days at work. His music has meant a lot to my life.

In fairness, I think there are probably a lot of people like me who will associate first with his inspiring and accessible, non-political music. And post-Katrina/post-Iraq fiasco, there’s been a big backing away from conservatives by some African-American church leaders such as T.D. Jakes who’d flirted with and even supported George Bush. So while I disagree vehemently with McClurkin’s views, I can see how this may have come to pass. Obama’s fallen down — into a dark ditch where church and sexuality, well, don’t necessarily meet as friends. Frankly, it’s hard to imagine the Clinton team stumbling this badly given the sensitivity of this topic in the black community.

For the Obama team to “repudiate” the gospel tour and/or Donnie McClurkin as Earl Ofari Hutchinson advises?

Well, this would probably a move that would be poorly received in the black community — it’s more than just music for many people. “Redemption” in its many forms is an important value. Repudiating gospel is a non-starter. Better probably to acknowledge the controversy around McClurkin’s ministry/activism and embrace the man and his music while distancing as gracefully as possible from some of his viewpoints.

I understand AmericaBlog’s insistence that Obama drop McClurkin from the tour as a “statement”. Culturally speaking, however, there are a lot of different ways that people will view Donnie McClurkin — both as saint and as sinner among African-Americans. I view McClurkin personally as a talented, tragic, confused and angry man.

I think Obama’s best hope is that McClurkin will step down from the tour and decline to be embroiled in further controversy. But given McClurkin’s enormous fan base, I think it will be difficult and perceived badly as rude and believe or not — intolerant — by many of the African-Americans Obama hopes to re-engage to dis-invite McClurkin directly. It wouldn’t sit well with the older female church-going, reliably voting demographic. In getting back up, the question is how Obama will balance their opinions with that of other progressives.


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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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