Cross-posted at MyDD

Blogger Lunch with Bill Clinton in Harlem

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

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

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

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

In other news:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finally, in entertainment news

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

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

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

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