Afternoon Open Thread

14 Feb 2011

Go, Mrs. Sherrod!

from the NYTimes:

Lawsuit Over Video

Andrew Breitbart, the owner of several conservative Web sites, was served at the conference on Saturday with a lawsuit filed by Shirley Sherrod, the former Agriculture Department employee who lost her job last year over a video that Mr. Brietbart posted at his site biggovernment.com.

The video was selectively edited so that it appeared Ms. Sherrod was confessing she had discriminated against a farmer because he was white. In the suit, which was filed in Washington on Friday, Ms. Sherrod says the video has damaged her reputation and prevented her from continuing her work.

Mr. Breitbart said in a statement that he “categorically rejects the transparent effort to chill his constitutionally protected free speech.”

free speech, my ass.

Go, Mrs. Sherrod!
…………………………..

Good Afternoon.

As you go through the rest of your day, don’t forget JJP.

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

And continue to have a peaceful day.

Below is a collection of some nice offerings from the interwebs, Twitternets and our very own comments section backed by the musical stylings of the Song Du Jour. Go ahead, get some get right.

The Big Chill: Obama Budget Cuts Include Slashing Low-Income Heating Assistance [CNN]

Obama Budget Proposal Sorta Kinda Takes A Shiny Machete To Pell Grants [Yahoo News]

A 2012 Budget Preview Involving Wonky Analyses and Opinions Aggregated By Ezra Klein [WaPo]

While Strikes Continue, Egyptian Constitutional Referendum Promised In Two Months [Voice of America]

Aaaaand Now Yemen Is Gettin’ It Poppin’ As Pro and Anti-Government Supporters Bump Heads [The NY Times]

Aretha Franklin Honored At Last Night’s Grammys [The Loop 21]

Someone Named Esperanza Spalding (?) Won the Best New Artist Grammy and Bieber Fans Were None-Too-Thrilled About It [MTV]

AUDIO:  Teju Cole, Author Of Open City, Talks About Identity, Writing the Post-9/11 Immigrant Experience [NPR]

Happy Valentine’s Day, JJPers…or F*ck that Valentine’s Day if you prefer.


Image is Everything

14 Feb 2011

By Outdoor Afro Contributor, Javaughn Fernanders

There is an uneasy predictable phrase I hear after requesting my family’s presence in the great outdoors: “You don’t see us out there!”

Seeing. We are told not to believe what we see, and yet we trust our eyes not only to reveal truths about our immediate environment, but to tell us about our cultural practices.  This is why in 2010, I created a campaign of six posters named “Your History is Waiting For You,” to encourage African-Americans to reconnect to an environmental community from which we have been visually disconnected.

The creation of the posters were part of a three-part project, which also included a comparison of photography of African-Americans in nature.

Before the Great Depression, images of Black bodies in nature could be categorized as exploited laborers, lazy workers, or as terrorized victims. Of course, these images are not our true story. African- Americans have and continue to be in nature, which includes vocations,  religious ritual, environmental justice, and in the preservation and conservation of natural resources.

Unfortunately, many mainstream environmental publications have omitted images of African-Americans positively engaged in the outdoors. And this has created a popular perception that African-Americans are not connected to environmentalism and outdoor recreation. Therefore, I encourage my fellow readers of Outdoor Afro to share family photos that depict people of all hues engaged with and enjoying the great outdoors. Share your photos with this site, or with schools, and in other places where our faces are not often visible. Also, download the posters and put them in your home, classroom, church, or environmental organization. Let’s create a new vision of ourselves outdoors and return to the history that waits for us.

Javaughn Renee is a 40 year old writer and artist currently living in South Bend, Indiana, but missing sunny California. She is a nature loving, yoga teaching, parent, striving to live simply and with love. In 2010, she completed a Master’s Degree in Liberal Arts. Her research focuses on images of African Americans and nature and their effects on stereotypes. She has written for regional and national publications and blogs regularly about her unique parenting situation at “Mezclados.wordpress.com.”

Rue Mapp is the founder of Outdoor Afro, a community that reconnects African-Americans with natural spaces and one another through recreational activities such as camping, hiking, biking, fishing, gardening, skiing — and more! Outdoor Afro uses social media to create interest communities, events, and to partner with regional and national organizations that support diverse participation in the Great Outdoors.

Monday Open Thread

14 Feb 2011

Black comedians have used their humor to not only make us laugh, but sometimes, make us think. And, their observations about life around us are usually on point.

Today, I wanted to begin with Moms Mabley.

Jackie “Moms” Mabley (March 19, 1894 – May 23, 1975) was an American standup comedian and a pioneer of the so-called “Chitlin’ Circuit” of African-American vaudeville.

Biography
Early years

Mabley was born Loretta Mary Aiken into a large family of twelve children in Brevard, North Carolina in 1894. Her father, James P. Aiken, owned and operated several businesses while her mother, Mary, kept home and took in boarders. Her father died a sudden accidental death when she was eleven. By the age of fifteen Mabley had reportedly been raped twice and had two children that were given up for adoption.[citation needed] After being pressured by her stepfather to marry a much older man[citation needed] and encouraged by her grandmother to strike out on her own, she ran away to Cleveland, Ohio with a traveling minstrel show where she began singing and entertaining.

Career

She took her stage name, Jackie Mabley, from an early boyfriend, commenting to Ebony in a 1970s interview that he’d taken so much from her, it was the least she could do to take his name. Later she became known as “Moms” because she was indeed a “Mom” to many other comedians on the circuit in the 1950s and 60s. She came out as a lesbian at the age of twenty-seven, becoming one of the first triple-X rated comedians on the comedy circuit.

During the 1920s and ’30s she appeared in androgynous clothing (as she did in the film version of Emperor Jones with Paul Robeson) and recorded several of her early “lesbian stand-up” routines, and was one of the top women doing stand-up in her heyday, eventually recording more than 20 albums of comedy routines. She appeared in movies, on television, and in clubs and performed at the Michigan Women’s Festival shortly before her death in 1975.

Mabley was one of the most successful entertainers of the Chitlin’ circuit, earning US $10,000 a week at Harlem’s Apollo Theater at the height of her career. She made her New York City debut at Connie’s Inn in Harlem. In the 1960s, she become known to a wider white audience, playing Carnegie Hall in 1962, and making a number of mainstream TV appearances, particularly her multiple appearances on the Smother Brothers Comedy Hour when that CBS show was the number one show on television in the late 1960s, which introduced her to a whole new Boomer audience.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sunday Open Thread

13 Feb 2011

Good Morning.

As you spend this weekend with family and friends, don’t forget JJP.

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

And always, have a peaceful day.

President previews new budget

The President discussed his anticipated fiscal budget as a call for Washington to live within its means. President Obama asserted that his budget will call for, among other matters, sacrifices in spending on programs that he cares deeply about, but would ultimately reduce the deficit moving forward:

“My budget freezes annual domestic spending for the next five years – even on programs I care deeply about – which will reduce the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade. This freeze will bring this type of spending to it’s lowest level as a share of the economy since Dwight Eisenhower was president.”

The Weekly Address also focused on the need to cut wasteful spending and included a reiteration of the President’s pledge to veto any bill that has earmarks. However, despite an attention to spending cuts, the President made it clear that investments in research, infrastructure, and education are investments that are worth keeping:

“I’m proposing that we invest in what will do the most to grow the economy in the years to come. This means job-creating investments in roads, high-speed rail, and broadband. This means cutting-edge research that holds the promise of creating countless jobs and whole new industries, like clean energy and biotechnology. And it means improving our schools and making college more affordable – to give every young person the chance to fulfill his or her potential, and receive the job training they need to succeed.”

President Obama’s Weekly Address:

Saturday Open Thread

12 Feb 2011

hat tip -The Obama Diary

Our First Lady was on The Today Show and Live With Regis and Kelly this week.

Good Morning.

As you spend this weekend with family and friends, don’t forget JJP.

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

Read the rest of this entry »

An inspirational message from President Obama. Worth reading or watching. Welcome to your super-sized Black History Month!

REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT

ON EGYPT

Grand Foyer

3:06 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everybody.  There are very few moments in our lives where we have the privilege to witness history taking place.  This is one of those moments.  This is one of those times.  The people of Egypt have spoken, their voices have been heard, and Egypt will never be the same.

By stepping down, President Mubarak responded to the Egyptian people’s hunger for change.  But this is not the end of Egypt’s transition.  It’s a beginning.  I’m sure there will be difficult days ahead, and many questions remain unanswered.  But I am confident that the people of Egypt can find the answers, and do so peacefully, constructively, and in the spirit of unity that has defined these last few weeks.  For Egyptians have made it clear that nothing less than genuine democracy will carry the day.

The military has served patriotically and responsibly as a caretaker to the state, and will now have to ensure a transition that is credible in the eyes of the Egyptian people.  That means protecting the rights of Egypt’s citizens, lifting the emergency law, revising the constitution and other laws to make this change irreversible, and laying out a clear path to elections that are fair and free.  Above all, this transition must bring all of Egypt’s voices to the table.  For the spirit of peaceful protest and perseverance that the Egyptian people have shown can serve as a powerful wind at the back of this change.

The United States will continue to be a friend and partner to Egypt.  We stand ready to provide whatever assistance is necessary — and asked for — to pursue a credible transition to a democracy.  I’m also confident that the same ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit that the young people of Egypt have shown in recent days can be harnessed to create new opportunity — jobs and businesses that allow the extraordinary potential of this generation to take flight.  And I know that a democratic Egypt can advance its role of responsible leadership not only in the region but around the world.

Read the rest of this entry »

Afternoon Open Thread

11 Feb 2011

hat tip-Miranda

GRANNY TOOK DOWN 6 FOOLS BY HER SELF! SHE WENT TO KICKING ASS AND WON!

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Good Afternoon.

As you go through the rest of your day, don’t forget JJP.

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

And continue to have a peaceful day.

rikyrah update: this is the statement of President Obama.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

In case you haven’t yet heard, Hosni Mubarak is no longer the president of Egypt, having officially resigned a few minutes ago and handing over power to the military. The streets of Egypt flow with jubilation right now, and I cannot help but recall our own struggles for freedom and moments of victory in the United States.

As you rock the Al Jazeera English live stream, also crank the videos below of the civil rights struggle in America. Look at the pictures. Hear the voices. Feel the global connection across space and time of people seeking, fighting for and winning something closer to freedom.

Power to the people.

Watch the full episode. See more American Experience.

And more from YouTube

Read the rest of this entry »

Yes, I know like me, you’ve been jonesin’ for some This Week in Blackness. Well Elon James White is back with some severe words for Rick Santorum trying to make like Barack Obama’s a hypocrite as a black man because he supports reproductive choices for women.

Elon says this latest episode discusses “Tyler Perry, Michelle Bachmann, Glenn Beck, Rick Santorum and the concept of “Womb Lynching.”

Look, the Tea Party stormed the House on a platform centered on the economy and the budget, yet they seem determined to take away the rights of women. From ThinkProgress yesterday:

On a conference call with reporters and bloggers this afternoon, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) characterized the GOP’s recent legislative effort to restrict access to abortion and contraception as “the most comprehensive and radical assault on women’s health in our life time,” promising to wage a campaign against the effort. Pelosi was referring to the Republican-backed H.R. 3 “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” and H.R. 358, “Protect Life Act,” as well separate measures to eliminate federal funding for family planning.

“They’re proposing raising taxes on small business,” Pelosi said of the two bills. “Under current law, women can buy insurance that covers a full range of reproductive health care. Under the Republican plan, women in private plans can’t use their private money to purchase a full range of reproductive health care, effectively taking away the right of women to spend their own money on the health care they choose.” “Small businesses that received tax credits for their employees will lose their tax credit if they choose a full range of plans that cover women’s health,” Pelosi added.

H.R. 3 would eliminate any tax breaks for health care plans that include abortion coverage, denying tax credits to employers or other entities that pay for health plans that cover abortion, while H.R. 358 would also prohibit federal funding for abortions under the Affordable Care Act and “prevent funding from being withheld from institutions that refuse to provide abortions.”

Sorry – who’s the hypocrite? Come again? I thought Republicans were all about the gubment staying out of our lives and what not. Goes to show that what’s good for the gander apparently isn’t good for the goose. Women and small businesses and hospitals and doctors and nurses stand to be hurt by the GOP’s weird obsession with getting all up in a woman’s uterus. Well, enough – I’ll let Elon take it from here. Peep the clip above and then let me know what you think. What other topics should Elon take on?

Because it’s Friday, here’s another music video just released today by Wyclef Jean inspired by the events taking place in Egypt. It’s more of a slow jam but should have your head bobbin’ a little to the rhythm. It’s one man, one guitar, one song — interspersed with some images from the struggle. He calls it: “Freedom”. Dig:

Here’s what Wyclef had to say about Egypt on his blog last Sunday:

Today’s sermon if we can call it that is not going to be long. It is about Egypt.
Genesis 4: I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again:
God said those words to Moses when he was afraid of going down into Egypt to do what he was called to. Moses didn’t want to go alone. God promised Moses he would go down with him and bring him back again. In other words, God told Moses, I have your back.
Today the situation in Egypt reminds me of Moses’s quest and what God told him. Egyptians feel like they are in bondage. For the past week we have seen them crying out for rights and freedoms. They don’t consider their government a true democracy. They consider it a dictatorship.

Living in “democracies” we often take things like freedom of speech and freedom of assembly for granted. The people of Egypt are showing the world what a desire for real democracy can do. They are peacefully expressing their right to speak freely and openly. Our message to our Egyptian brothers and sisters is that the Lord will surely bring you up again. Keep fighting for change. You are not alone. God has your back

.


I was so moved by this vid via Wired’s Danger Room that I thought I’d share it with you. These are the faces of Cairo. Who dares deny these human beings — men, women, lil kids — their freedom? These everyday folks, not unlike you and me, just want to take their country back from a brutal system crushing their dreams.

Here’s a rough translation from the video comments (via @VermilionPassion)

“I went down and I said I am not coming back, and I wrote on every street wall in my blood,

We made the people who weren’t listening listen up, and all barriers have been broken down,

Our weapon was our dream, and the future is crystal clear to us, we have been waiting for a long time, we are still searching for our place,

The sound of freedom is calling, in every street corner in our country, the sound of freedom is calling

We held our heads up to the sky, and hunger doesn’t matter to us any more, our rights are the most important thing, and writing our own history in our blood,

If you are one of us, don’t try telling us to leave our dream behind, and stop using the word “I”

The sound of freedom is calling, in every street corner in our country, the sound of freedom is calling.”

Below is a collection of some nice offerings from the interwebs, Twitternets and our very own comments section backed by the musical stylings of the Song Du Jour. Go ahead, get some get right.

VIDEO: Mubarak Refuses To Step Down, May Reconsider When Someone Puts a Shoe In Him [YouTube]

Since Hosni Mubarak Is A Clingy D-Bag, Egypt Is Bracing For Massive Backlash [AJE]

Anderson Cooper Goes In On Egyptian Prez [HuffPo]

Mubarak’s Awful Speech Made Drunk Best Men Everywhere Sigh With Relief [Foreign Policy]

Cheney Heckled At CPAC Whether Or Not He Shot The Heckler In The Face Is Unclear [Fox "News"]

Donald Trump Says He’d Make Good Candidate in ’12. Why Bother With a Punchline? [The NY Times]

Ray Allen Sets NBA 3-Point Mark; Not Enough to Escape Lakers, Acting in ‘He Got Game’ [ESPN]

Obama Wants Lots of Americans To Have Super Fast Internets [Christian Science Monitor]

Friday. A good day for ArchAndroids and young whippersnapper music. May this tune reach Tahrir Square. Keep your heads up and on a swivel.

Friday Open Thread

11 Feb 2011

hat tip-The Obama Diary

An Intimate Conversation with Michelle and Barack Obama” was conducted in 1996 for a book about American marriages …. the interview took place only four years after they married and two years before their oldest daughter Malia was born.

ABC and The New Yorker (extracts):

Michelle Obama: “It was strange, that excitement over this first-year student,” then-32-year-old Michelle recalls when describing the buzz about a new summer associate at the law firm Sidley and Austin. “So smart, so good-looking, so intelligent, everyone was talking about Barack. I’m more of the skeptical kind, I was thinking, ‘Yeah, he’s probably an idiot, whatever.’

…then on the first day, he showed up late. He was late because it’d been raining! And then he walked into the office and we got along right away because he was charming and very good-looking, at least I found him good-looking. I think we were attracted to one another because we didn’t take ourselves too seriously, like some others did. He liked my dry humor and my sarcastic comments. I thought he was a good man, interesting, and I was fascinated by his personal story, so different from mine… our relationship was first a friendship. It took off from there.”

…Barack has helped me loosen up and feel comfortable with taking risks, not doing things the traditional way and sort of testing it out, because that is how he grew up. I’m more traditional; he’s the one in the couple that, I think, is the less traditional individual. You can probably tell from the photographs — he’s just more out there, more flamboyant. I’m more, like, “Well, let’s wait and see. What did that look like? How much does it weigh?

….There is a strong possibility that Barack will pursue a political career, although it’s unclear. There is a little tension with that. I’m very wary of politics. I think he’s too much of a good guy for the kind of brutality, the skepticism.

When you are involved in politics, your life is an open book, and people can come in who don’t necessarily have good intent. I’m pretty private, and like to surround myself with people that I trust and love. In politics you’ve got to open yourself to a lot of different people. There is a possibility that our futures will go that way, even though I want to have kids and travel, spend time with family, and like spending time with friends. But we are going to be busy people doing lots of stuff. And it’ll be interesting to see what life has to offer.”

Click on the link above to read the view from Barack Obama.

Read the rest of this entry »


Who We Are

Cheryl Contee aka "Jill Tubman", Baratunde Thurston aka "Jack Turner", rikyrah, Leutisha Stills aka "The Christian Progressive Liberal", B-Serious, Casey Gane-McCalla, Jonathan Pitts-Wiley aka "Marcus Toussaint," Fredric Mitchell

Special Contributors: James Rucker, Rinku Sen, Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Adam Luna, Kamala Harris

Technical Contributor: Brandon Sheats




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