As you’ve probably heard by now, an Ohio mom named Kelley Williams-Bolar was sent to jail for sending her kids to school in the neighboring district where her father lived.

Parents across America struggle with these questions: how do I ensure that my kids are safe, and how do I expose them to the greatest possible educational opportunity?

Kelley Williams-Bolar answered them by sending her two daughters to school in a nearby school district. Unfortunately, that decision has potentially cost their family a chance at success: Williams-Bolar is studying to become a teacher, and a felony conviction could prevent her from achieving her dream.

That outcome is clearly disproportionate to the crimes she’s been accused of. Since Friday, more than 38,000 ColorOfChange members have signed a petition calling on Ohio Governor John Kasich to lead the fight for just outcomes for Kelley Williams-Bolar. Please consider adding your voice to the petition, and asking your friends and family to do the same.

Here’s the message we sent to our members on Friday:

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Afternoon Open Thread

31 Jan 2011

Videos of our First Lady.

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.

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Where are the jobs, Mr. Speaker?

Yeah, I’m asking.   Just like the guy who ran for Governor in New York on the “Rent is too Damn High” party.  Maybe we need a “Where are all the Damn Jobs?” party, considering neither party is making a move on job creation themselves. For all the talk going on about doing any and everything to stick it to the President from the Republicans, and they ARE IN CHARGE of the House of Representatives, I’m still not hearing a damn thing about job creation, except for Orange Julius’s new schtick.  From Crooks and Liars:

Is anyone else as tired of this latest talking points by Republicans that continually goes unchallenged by the media — spending cuts are going to create jobs. John Boehner claims he’s got hundreds of economists who agree with him after Chris Wallace points out that a lot of economists don’t agree with him, but of course Wallace didn’t bother to ask him what some of their names were.

How about we fix our trade laws and quit rewarding companies for outsourcing American jobs? Heaven forbid that never seems to be part of the conversation from our politicians when the topic of jobs comes up.

I have long said that we are regretting the passage of CAFTA and NAFTA – those two trade agreements sure as hell sent the jobs out of this country, and for those of you who don’t know – those jobs aren’t coming back.

I don’t know about you, but I have YET to see spending cuts in the Federal Budget create jobs, so I’m going to guess that the Speaker has been bellying up to the local Capitol Hill bars and coming up with these foolish theories that he touts on Fake Noise.  I’ve worked in the Federal Government – every time there was a budget cut, that meant two people were going to do the work of three or four people, because that job got eliminated due to a budget cut.

Many people are among the unemployed today because of budget cuts.

No economist worth their salt and reputation is touching this.  But the ReThugs’ strategy is to repeat a lie often enough that it’s eventually accepted as the truth.

Boehner said the stimulus President Obama passed was a FAILURE.  Tell that to those states and communities that would have gone under without it:

Failed stimulus? Are we in the midst of another Great Depression? No? Wasn’t that the purpose of the stimulus, to pull us back from the brink? The only reason it didn’t do better were all the stupid concessions added to get the Republicans to sign off on it. And as far as jobs are concerned, the unemployment rate is still bleak, but to ignore that the Obama administration — even with all the obstruction placed before them by the Republican Party — managed to create more jobs in 2010 than Bush did in all eight years of his term put together is fundamentally disinforming the public.

I’m getting real tired of the stupid burning – maybe we need to put out the stupid fire so people can get real information and make informed decisions.  And when they do, maybe they’ll wise up in 2012 and send the Tea Bag gang back to their caves, while Boehner can go back to being another politician staggering around on the Hill and being of no consequence.

Monday Open Thread

31 Jan 2011

hat tip-The Only Adult In The Room:

Before I’ll forget, if you didn’t see this Rachel Maddow’ segment from the day after the SOTU, make sure you will. This is some of the best, original, educated, thought-provoking pieces of punditry I’ve seen from any journalist in the last couple of years – Let alone from the entire hysterical professional left.

Good Morning.

As you begin a new week, don’t forget JJP.

Drop those links. Engage in debate.

Give us trivia and gossip too.

And always, have a peaceful day.

Sunday Open Thread

30 Jan 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.

hat tip-lamh34

from Washington Monthly:

THE ODIOUS GOP PLAN TO REDEFINE RAPE…. Last week, after a rather pointless vote to repeal the entirety of the Affordable Care Act, House Republicans announced their second major initiative: the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.”

It was additional evidence that the new House GOP majority isn’t exactly focused on the economy and job creation, and it seemed like another gesture to the party’s far-right base. After all, existing law already restricts public funds for abortions.

Today, Nick Baumann takes a closer look at the proposal, and highlights an odious provision that proponents would use to redefine rape.

For years, federal laws restricting the use of government funds to pay for abortions have included exemptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. (Another exemption covers pregnancies that could endanger the life of the woman.) But the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” a bill with 173 mostly Republican co-sponsors that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has dubbed a top priority in the new Congress, contains a provision that would rewrite the rules to limit drastically the definition of rape and incest in these cases.

With this legislation, which was introduced last week by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Republicans propose that the rape exemption be limited to “forcible rape.” This would rule out federal assistance for abortions in many rape cases, including instances of statutory rape, many of which are non-forcible. For example: If a 13-year-old girl is impregnated by a 24-year-old adult, she would no longer qualify to have Medicaid pay for an abortion. (Smith’s spokesman did not respond to a call and an email requesting comment.)

Given that the bill also would forbid the use of tax benefits to pay for abortions, that 13-year-old’s parents wouldn’t be allowed to use money from a tax-exempt health savings account (HSA) to pay for the procedure. They also wouldn’t be able to deduct the cost of the abortion or the cost of any insurance that paid for it as a medical expense.

I’m going to say this again:


Plain and Simple.

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Winning the Future

Reiterating several key themes from the State of the Union Address, President Obama, once again, focused this week’s remarks on winning the future by out-competing other nations. The building blocks for success, as laid out by the President, are to reinvest in education and infrastructure, cut wasteful spending, and out-innovate our competitors. Particularly, President Obama restated his goal for innovation in energy, calling for 80% of electricity to come from clean energy by the year 2035.

President Obama’s case for winning the future:

“We’ll win the future by being the best place on Earth to do business. That’s what we’re called to do at this moment. And in my state of the union, I talked about how we get there.

It starts by making sure that every single child can get a good education and every American can afford college or career training. Because that’s what will help light the spark in the minds of innovators – and ensure that our people have the skills to work for innovative companies.

We also need to make sure that America can move goods and information as fast as any of our competitors, whether on the road or online. Because good infrastructure helps our businesses sell their products and services faster and cheaper.

We have to reform our government and cut wasteful spending, so that we eliminate what we don’t need to pay for the investments we need to grow, like education and medical research.”

President Obama’s Weekly Address:

Saturday Open Thread

29 Jan 2011

hat tip-The Obama Diary:

here is a homemade video from citizens in Manitowoc‬,‪ Wisconsin‬, January 2011. I loved the response from the citizens upon seeing the Presidential Motorcade.

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.

I know we’ve all heard about the plight of Kelley Williams-Bolar and being sent to jail for essentially being a good parent.  And our friends at Color of Change is on the case:

Demand justice for Kelley Williams-Bolar

Kelley Williams-Bolar tried to give her kids a better life by sending her children to the nearby majority-White school district where her father lives — and she went to jail for it.  Now her career as a teacher is in jeopardy.

Real justice requires that the punishment fit the crime; what Williams-Bolar is facing is clearly over the top.  Call on Ohio Governor John Kasich to publicly denounce her punishment and also do all he can to right this wrong.

Go to Color of Change and sign the petition if you haven’t already.

But it’s woefully apparent that the prosecutor in this case had a racially motivated agenda:

The Summit County judge who sent an Akron mother to jail after she was convicted of falsifying records so her children could attend Copley-Fairlawn schools said considerable efforts were made to resolve the case before it went to trial.

Common Pleas Judge Patricia A. Cosgrove spoke out after becoming the target of public outcry over the case, which threatens the mother’s job and her hopes to become a school teacher.

Cosgrove said the county prosecutor’s office refused to consider reducing the charges to misdemeanors, and that all closed-door talks to resolve the case — outside of court — met with failure.

And why would the efforts be met with failure?

“The state would not move, would not budge, and offer Ms. Williams-Bolar to plead to a misdemeanor,” the judge said in an interview Wednesday.

Now, in the course of my career, there were times when I’ve had to go to court, and if a judge asked you to plea something down, you did it, or risk the judge overruling you and making you look stupid, but in the case of the prosecutor, Sherri Bevan Walsh, she decided to ignore the judicial advice and throw Williams-Bolar in jail for five years.  The judge reduced it to ten days, probation and community service instead, with the opportunity to expunge Williams-Bolar’s record if she complies.

Bevan Walsh isn’t talking, but since she thought she was so RIGHT on this matter, why not justify this action of throwing the book at someone who society always implores to pull themselves up by the bootstraps?

County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh declined requests from the Beacon Journal to respond to the judge’s comments.

Judge Cosgrove is trying to deflect the heat coming at her from the public on this issue:

Late Wednesday, Cosgrove issued a news release to area newspapers and television and radio stations, citing the need to respond to ”overwhelming public interest” in her sentencing decision.

”The Summit County Prosecutor’s Office retains complete control over whether to charge a person with a felony or a misdemeanor,” the release stated.

Cosgrove’s bailiff said the office had been bombarded by calls from angry area residents, most of whom were saying that Williams-Bolar’s punishment far exceeded her crimes.

And once again, the usual suspects from the Civil Rights Industrial Complex appear to be M-I-A.  They’re going to make me say it:

Why is it when it comes to Black Women being unjustly punished by the justice system, only groups like Color of Change is speaking out?  There’s an appearance of misogynistic tendencies from Black leadership that needs to be called out and addressed in comprehensive fashion, but for now, go over to Color of Change and sign that petition, cause all Kelly Williams-Bolar is guilty of is trying to be a good parent and give herself and her children a better chance at life.

More about Kelly here:

She is a single mother with two girls, ages 12 and 16, and is only a few credit hours short of graduating from the University of Akron with a teaching degree. She was working as a teaching assistant with special needs children at Buchtel High School. She also cared for her ailing father, who was charged with multiple felonies in the residency case.

But the State Prosecutor’s office decided to waste taxpayer money in a state that has already jeopardized getting anymore federal funds, thanks to the boneheadedness of its new Governor John Kasich, who has already killed federal construction projects that would have stimulated Ohio’s economy somewhat – by trying and convicting a single parent who only used her father’s address to send her daughters to a better school.

As Don King would say, “ONLY IN AMERICA.”

Afternoon Open Thread

28 Jan 2011

The President Speaks About Egypt:

Egypt is undergoing protests. Some videos and pictures, hat tip -The Daily Dish:

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.

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Have you been following what’s happening in Egypt? I have over the past few days and am hopeful for the people of Egypt. I agree with our Prez and the Secretary of State that the people have the right to express themselves peacefully including via social media and that this is an opportunity for the government there to respond. Above, watch Egypt’s Tiananmen Square moment where a young man stands up to a tank at 1:30min. The force of his will to protect others and his silent call on those in the tank to stop hurting people is palpable. The tank even backed up for a moment in response.

Obviously, Obama and Clinton have to walk a narrow tightrope — Mubarak has been an important ally in the region. It would be super-unhelpful if he was replaced by an Iran-style regime hostile to America. We’ve invested a lot of money in Egypt — it’s one of our top recipients of foreign aid. So that’s your hard-earned money at stake right now, fyi. The current Obama administration strategy appears to be playing both sides – a dangerous, delicate dance to be sure.

Yet Hosni Mubarak is an old-school strongman and dictator, 30 long years runnin’. Egypt is a democracy in name only. He’s led that country with an iron fist for decades. Our money hasn’t really gone into making Egyptians’ lives better but goes into the pockets of the wealthy and well-connected. Much like China, Egypt’s leadership has maintained the support of the military’s top brass by giving them business interests and making them rich.

There’s a huge young population and a lot of unemployment. There are a couple of catalysts at work. One is clearly the successful overthrow of the Tunisian government by its people using social media to organize opposition. That’s given people in the region hope that they can take destiny into their own hands and stand up to a government that doesn’t serve its interests.

Another catalyst is a case of police brutality and corruption to which a lot of African-Americans can likely relate. Please allow me to introduce you to Khaled Said – from the We Are All Khaled Said Facebook page dedicated to him:

Khaled Said, a 28-year-old Egyptian from the coastal city of Alexandria, Egypt, was tortured to death at the hands of two police officers. Several eye witnesses described how Khalid was taken by the two policemen into the entrance of a residential building where he was brutally punched and kicked. The two policemen banged his head against the wall, the staircase and the entrance steps. Despite his calls for mercy and asking them why they are doing this to him, they continued their torture until he died according to many eye witnesses.

Khaled has become the symbol for many Egyptians who dream to see their country free of brutality, torture and ill treatment. Many young Egyptians are now fed up with the inhuman treatment they face on a daily basis in streets, police stations and everywhere. Egyptians want to see an end to all violence committed by any Egyptian Policeman. Egyptians are aspiring to the day when Egypt has its freedom and dignity back, the day when the current 30 years long emergency martial law ends and when Egyptians can freely elect their true representatives.

According to Associated Press, Khaled was killed “after he posted a video on the Internet of officers sharing the spoils from a drug bust among themselves”. After Khaled was killed, the Police authorities refused to investigate in Khaled’s death saying that he died because he swallowed a pack of Marijuana. When many Egyptians started to ask questions, the Police issued few statements saying that Khaled was a drug user (as if it is ok to murder and torture to death all drug addicts! – And everyone who knew khaled reject these claims completely). Another official statement said that Khaled is an army deserter (which was also proved to be false accusation afterwards and his army service report is now published showing that he has fully completed this service). The authorities then refused any further investigation. After pressure mounted, and the European Union representatives in Egypt asked for an impartial investigation, the Egyptian authorities finally decided to question and arrest the two Policemen and they were charged with two counts: “using excessive force”!!! and “unjustified arrest”!! of Khaled Said.. No one was charged with murder!

If you click through to the site, you’ll see the before photo of a young man in his prime and the gruesome aftermath post-police. Made me think instantly of Emmett Till. Much like the recent Oscar Grant case here, the police and the government’s customary coverup of their own crime was thwarted by citizens’ new ability to take pictures and video that show the crime in action. African-Americans have taken to the streets in cases of police brutality with similar emotion — it’s a common experience to feel oppressed by those who are supposed to protect you.

It’s difficult for some white people in America to fully understand or be empathetic since this is often outside their own experience. You often hear — why are they destroying their own neighborhood or it’s just one case, what’s the big deal? Let me try and explain: the outrage essentially comes from a visceral, instinctive reaction to the violation of Rousseau’s Social Contract in which individuals agree to obey certain social norms and rules and even pool resources in the form of taxes in exchange for social services and increased safety.

When it becomes clear to a given population of citizens that an individual can do everything right and obey every rule and yet have their life destroyed by the very people who are supposed to protect them and whose salaries they pay…when a people have no hope for a better life, for education, for work…when it appears that no one cares and there is no redress –> this is when people erupt with rage and feel they have nothing to lose. This is when people take to the streets to push back against the society they believe to be pushing down on them.

Many people are wondering what will happen in Egypt. It’s too early to tell. Yet my prediction is that even if Mubarak stays on, change will come to Egypt as a result of this. The best parallel is China in fact. Many people including me were disappointed when the crackdown in Tiananmen Square came in 1989 and appeared initially successful in crushing a populist push for greater freedom. Yet, 20 years later, it’s clear that the government has been forced to make significant changes in order to maintain power. Some of the societal shifts those protestors wanted have come to pass — but not democracy just yet.

So my belief is that change gon’ come, no matter what and I’d urge the White House and the State Dept to be on the right side of history here. As a major donor nation, we have a lot of say and a lot of stake in what happens there. Martin Luther King said it best: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. African-Americans can surely be sympathetic to a people unwilling to accept bullying, corruption in their communities and a lack of opportunities and supportive of a people willing to march for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in their own land. Meanwhile, our own struggle here against police brutality, repression, injustice and racial profiling goes on. Our voices on social media and our own cameras will continue to be our “weapons” in the fight for peace.

For more info on what’s happening and how social media like you and I use here at JJP is putting the power in the hands of the people, I’d recommend this Fast Company article and this great Mother Jones primer…I’ve tried to be supportive of what’s happening in Egypt over the past few days via Twitter and I’d urge you to do the same, if you can.

Since President Obama issued his State of the Union address, Politic365 had the opportunity to speak with some Black elected officials from across the country about the impact of the president’s address on them.  Here’s what some of them had to say….

Senator Sharon Weston-Broome called President Obama’s speech “unifying, visionary and challenging,” noting that “in order for communities of color to participate and advance in this changing world, we must vigorously address the dropout epidemic in our communities, while simultaneously exhorting our children towards their dreams.”

Mayor Tony Mack of Trenton, New Jersey said that “President Barack Obama spoke directly to the hearts, minds, and issues presently facing Trenton, New Jersey and the critical next steps of our nation as we stand united together for economic revival.”

Mayor Setti Warren of Newton, Massachusetts also chimed in, noting that, “as a Mayor in these difficult economic times, I applaud the President’s commitment to eliminating waste, embracing the use of technology to make government more efficient, and making smart investments in our future.”

Kansas State Representative Barbara Ballard, President of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators echoed the sentiment.  “The President can’t do it by himself,” she said, “he needs everyone to help him…it’s time for us to work together, to make changes.”

We want to know what you think.  Did President Obama lay out a progressive vision for our future? Do you feel more motivated now than before to support his presidency?

This article, Black Elected Officials React to President’s State of the Union Address,  can be viewed in its entirety on Politic365.

Friday Open Thread

28 Jan 2011

hat tip-SouthernGirl2

Tweety is hilarious as he goes off on Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann for wallowing in their ignorance.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Good Morning.

TGIF, and spend some of it here with us at JJP.

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

And always, have a peaceful day.

Let me say this – I don’t understand all this fuss about honoring the 100th Birthday of Ronald Reagan, aka “The Gipper”.

I honestly don’t.  As a youth growing up during the Reagan Administration, I bear witness to what his attempts to de-regulate the government did.  I was a freshman in college and all my state-funded grants got cut off.  Fortunately, I attended a Catholic Liberal Arts private college, who was trying to get their affirmative action on and they awarded me scholarships to cover the costs of my tuition for the remainder of my four years.

I was also an intern in Rep. Ron Dellums’s Oakland office during the attempt to bring him down because he headed the sub-committee on Armed Forces, and was openly questioning Reagan’s request for more money to go to the Defense Department when the country was in peacetime.  Yeah, we know, Reagan wanted the money for “Star Wars” projects to keep his Defense Contracting buddies in business.

And lets not forget that the architects of the “Project for a New American Century” were in strategic positions in both the Reagan and Bush, Sr. administrations, but I digress.  I really want to know why the hullabaloo about the Gipper’s upcoming 100th birthday, considering this country is now reaping the adversities of the programs and policies he set forth with a Democratic Congress and Senate, to boot.  Additionally, who can forget when Saddam Hussein was a good friend of the United States, as long as he took out Mohamar Quaddaffi – remember this pic?

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Afternoon Open Thread

27 Jan 2011

hat tip-The Only Adult in the Room

President Obama visiting Orion Energy Systems, a company that focuses on energy technology, in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

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.

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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