One of my favorite blogs is the Black Agenda Report. I’ve heard from publisher Bruce Dixon over there that BAR (which also publishes the excellent CBC Monitor scorecard of black legislators) is planning something extra-special for the CBC’s annual celebration of itself in Sept. It’s called the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference. It’s also a pretty good time if you believe Afro-Netizen’s inside account from a couple years back — though Chris Rabb came away notably conflicted. Oh and corporate sponsors, please take note of the branding opportunities available this year.

Were you wondering if Hurricane Katrina will come up at all during the CBC Weekend?

Or Iraq, given that 25% of the U.S. Armed Forces is African-American?

Well, wonder no longer. I searched the agenda for the keywords “Iraq”, “Katrina”, “Middle East” and “Gulf”. I found nothing. Perhaps they plan to address the subject indirectly in sessions like: Making Money in South Africa (Rep. Diane E. Watson), Contracting with Homeland Security (Rep. Bennie G. Thompson), Franchise & Finance – How to Choose and Fund Your Franchise (Rep. Gregory Meeks) or perhaps Black Love IV (Rep. Bobby Rush, who will also lead the Telecom Braintrust session).

That’s not to say that there aren’t some sessions of importance being discussed. Big ups to Barack Obama on choosing Climate Change for what is likely to be a well-attended session. Rep Jesse Jackson Jr appears to be rallying Clinton supporters in his session “In It to Win It”. There are also sessions on violence, veteran’s affairs, innovation, equal pay for equal work, HIV, prosperity for working families, environmental justice, the judiciary and more with the usual progressive heroes of the CBC selecting more substantive themes.

This split among our black power elites between greed and civic responsibility is becoming more and more stark. That’s why the 1st Annual Lawn Jockey Awards are a great way to call attention to those who may have forgotten the public interest in favor of their own. Like Rep. Artur Davis, recently profiled on Open Left who interestingly enough has chosen “Breaking the Glass Ceiling: The Future of Black Politics” as he attempts to gain more power in Alabama.

Bruce’s email said:

No less a personage than George Curry, former publisher of Emerge
magazine, has agreed to hand out the first annual Lawn Jockey Awards,
which will go to the four lowest performing African American members
of congress. It’s time to reclaim the black political conversation,
and ridicule some of our worst renegades.

The affair will be Wednesday Septermber 26 at Dukes’ restaurant in DC
(full details, address and all in this week’s Black Agenda Report on

Only four?

Oh and btw, if you are looking for a lawn jockey to style up your lawn, you can get one from Be forewarned: they ain’t cheap. The white one (painted and pictured above) costs $190. “Jocko” costs only $145. The irony is killing me, especially since the history of the black jockey is connected to the successful subterfuge of the Underground Railroad. Perhaps the redemptive power of the Lawn Jockey might help some CBC members who’ve lost their way to keep it real for the people they represent once more.

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