Wednesday, May 27, 2009

SCOTUS-Ready, Aim, Fire

May 27, 2009


As the young folks would say "it's on, baby".

On Tuesday, President Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor to replace retiring Justice David H. Souter. Sotomayor, 54, a graduate of Princeton and Yale who served as a prosecutor, corporate litigator and federal district judge before joining the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in New York, a decade ago. If confirmed, she would become the nation’s 111th justice, the third woman to hold a seat on the court, and the sixth person on the current nine-member panel with a Roman Catholic background.

Republicans are perched at the ready and raring to go in the fight to block her confirmation. Surprise, surprise. The NY Times and SCOTUS blog report that the fight over her nomination will be a debate over the role that a judge’s experience should play in rendering decisions. Although Mr. Obama said on Tuesday that “a judge’s job is to interpret, not make law,” his emphasis on a nominee with “empathy” has generated criticism from Republicans, who saw that as code for legislating personal views from the bench.

News sources quote Judge Sotomayor as saying that “our experiences as women and people of color affect our decisions.” In a lecture in 2001 on the role her background played in her jurisprudence, she said, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” Another controversial statement is quoted from a conference in 2005 where she said that a “court of appeals is where policy is made,..." Republicans pointed to the comment as another sign that she would try to impose her values in rendering decisions. Opponents are latching on to the following Sotomayor's statement also: "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with richness of experience would more often reach than not reach a better conclusion than a white male." I believe if you read these quotes in the context of the entire remarks, Sotomayor's meanings are much clearer and less the focus of attack.

“Judge Sotomayor is a liberal activist of the first order who thinks her own personal political agenda is more important than the law as written,” said Wendy E. Long, counsel to the Judicial Confirmation Network, a conservative group. “She thinks that judges should dictate policy and that one’s sex, race and ethnicity ought to affect the decisions one renders from the bench.” In an appearance on HARDBALL with Chris Matthews one day after the nomination, Ms. Long laid out her case against Judge Sotomayor citing the aformentioned quotes. Again, I find it hard to believe that reading these quotes in the context of the entire remarks wouldn't change any negative views.

Some Republicans, e.g. Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh, are calling the president's choice racist and calling for her to withdraw. While conservative groups took aim, Republican senators responded more cautiously, weighing how aggressively they want to fight her confirmation. Twenty-nine Senate Republicans voted against her confirmation to the appellate bench in 1998, including Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, now the party’s Senate leader, while 25 voted for her. Of those still in the Senate, 11 voted against her and 9 for her.

Other GOP members challenge Judge Sotomayor's credentials and academic background, disregrding the fact that she has more judical background than any other nominee to the court. They discount the fact that she was second in her class at Princeton and that she was editor of Yale Law review. I've heard statemnts to the effect that she is unqualified and was only nominated because of her sex and ethnic background. Personally, I find the allegations laughable and without merit. Karl Rove says everyone from an Ivy League school isn't smart. I wonder if he's talking about our former president, George W. Bush, who barely earned a C average while at Yale.

The battle has just begun, folks. It'll be interesting to see what else "the party of No" come up with to knock the President's nominee. Since he has sufficient votes to confirm Judge Sotomayor, it might seem pointless to some to whoop and holler over something you can't do anything about. But, if you don't have anything to offer but objections, what else can we expect?

Sources: New York Times; The Caucus Blog; SCOTUS Blog; Hardball with Chris Matthews

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ten Things About Michael Steele

May 20, 2009




1. Michael Steele, who was adopted as an infant, was born at Andrews Air Force Base in Prince George's County, Md., on Oct. 19, 1958.

2. He grew up in a family of Democrats. Steele credits his mother, Maebell, and Ronald Reagan with turning him toward the Republican Party. Reagan's pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps message recalled a trait Steele's mother exhibited after her first husband, Steele's father, died in 1962 of alcoholism-related liver disease. She refused to go on welfare. Instead, she went to work as a laundress earning minimum wage to support Michael and his sister.

3. One of the first in his family to go to college, he earned a bachelor's degree in international relations from Johns Hopkins University and a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. Steele also spent a few years at the Augustinian Friars Seminary at Villanova University, in preparation for the priesthood, before deciding instead on a career in civil service.

4. After graduating from law school in 1991, Steele joined Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, an international law firm, based in Washington, D.C. In 1997, he left and worked briefly at the Mills Corp., a real estate development firm based in Virginia, as in-house counsel. He then went out on his own, starting a consulting firm, the Steele Group.

5. Steele rose quickly in the Republican Party, beginning at the local level in Prince George's County as chair of the Prince George's County Republican Central Committee from 1994 to 2000. Then, he was elected chairman of the Maryland Republican Party in December 2000.

6. Steele became the first African-American elected to statewide office in Maryland, taking office as lieutenant governor in January 2003.

7. In 2004, Steele was tapped to speak at the Republican National Convention, eliciting comparisons with Barack Obama's keynote address at the Democratic convention.

8. When Sen. Paul Sarbanes, a Democrat, announced he would not seek re-election, several prominent Republicans, including President Bush, persuaded Steele to run for the Senate seat. In November 2006, Steele lost the election to Democrat Ben Cardin

9. On Feb. 1, 2007, Steele was named the chairman of GOPAC, a political action committee working to elect Republicans to office (Newt Gingrich once held the same position).
10. A devout Catholic, Steele is a member of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Landover Hills, Md. He regularly attends services with his wife, Andrea, and their sons, Michael and Drew.

Source: U. S. News & Report
Posted by Danielle Burton
Posted April 7, 2008
Updated on 3/3/09

Monday, May 18, 2009

100 Fun Facts-Barack Obama

May 18, 2009





100 Fun Facts about the world's most famous soccer dad.


1. He watches HBO’s “Entourage”

2. He predicted UNC to win the Final Four

3. He rooted for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Superbowl

4. His favorite basketball player is his daughter Sasha

5. He plans to vacation on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts

6. He and Bill Cosby are the only people to ever get free food from Ben’s Chili Bowl

7. He reads Harry Potter stories to his daughters

8. He goes to Wizards games and roots for the Chicago Bulls

9. He cursed and used the n-word in his audio book, “Dreams From My Father”

10. He has Jay Z and Ludacris on his iPod

11. He is a fan of show-tunes and gave an iPod full of them to the Queen of England

12. He loves playing Scrabble

13. He moved to Chicago and worked as a director of the Developing Communities Project after college

14. The top contributors to his presidential campaign include Goldman Sachs, University of California, Citigroup Inc., Harvard University, Moveon.org and Time Warner.

15. He was introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper in Indonesia

16. “His first car had so much rust that there was a rusted hole in the passenger door” –Michelle Obama

17. He says his favorite children’s book is “Where the Wild Things Are”

18. He calls himself a mutt

19. His favorite president is Abraham Lincoln

20. His first date with wife, Michelle Obama was a movie. “Do The Right Thing”

21. His height is 6′ 1½”

22. His sister is a teacher

23. He learned how to play cricket in Trinidad and Tobago

24. He owns a pair of boxing gloves signed by Muhammad Ali

25. He was born at the Kapi’olani Medical Center for Women & Children

26. He traveled to Kenya in 1988 and met many of his paternal relatives

27. He traveled back to Kenya as a Senator in 2006 and was given a hero’s welcome

28. He has a beer named after him in Kenya

29. He directed Illinois’ Project Vote in 1992

30. He collects Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian comics

31. He has a comic book with Spiderman and a Barack the Barbarian comic book.

32. His favorite meal is wife Michelle’s shrimp linguini

33. He worked in a Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop as a teenager. Now he can’t stand ice cream

34. His daughter Sasha, on the other hand, is a big fan of ice cream

35. His favorite snacks are chocolate-peanut protein bars

36. He is the first President with a Blackberry

37. He uses an Apple Mac laptop

38. He is left-handed

39. His daughter’s name, Malia, is a Hawaiian name

40. He gets his hair cut once a week

41. His favorite musical artists are Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan

42. His favorite show is “The Wire”

43. His favorite artist is Pablo Picasso

44. His grandfather was affiliated with the Kenyan revolutionary Mau Mau movement

45. He and his wife donated $25,000 to the United Negro College fund

46. He changed his name from Barry back to Barack in College to assert his identity

47. He majored in Political Science at Columbia University

48. He was in the Black Student’s Union at both Occidental and Columbia

49. His late father was a senior economist for the Kenyan government

50. He keeps on his desk a carving of a wooden hand holding an egg, a Kenyan symbol for the fragility of life

51. His favorite drink is black forest berry iced tea

52. In high school, he was known as “Barry”

53. He likes Beyonce’s song, “Single Ladies”

54. His daughter,Malia’s godmother is Jesse Jackson’s daughter, Santita

55. He can’t bowl

56. He hit three straight three-pointers at a military base

57. He would have liked to be an architect if he were not a politician

58. He can speak Spanish

59. He kept a pet ape called Tata while in Indonesia

60. He can bench press an impressive 200lbs

61. He applied to appear in a black pin-up calendar while at Harvard but was rejected by the all-female committee.

62. He was given the code name “Renegade” by his Secret Service handlers

63. He doesn’t like young people wearing baggy pants

64. He can’t grow facial hair, only whiskers

65. He wears Hart Schaffner Marx suits

66. His father grew up herding goats

67. His maternal grandfather fought in World War II

68. He was only one of three black students at Punahou Academy, in Hawaii

69. He saw his father only once in 1971 for a Christmas visit

70. He is distantly related to Vice President Dick Cheney

71. His high school yearbook picture inscription thanks “Tut,” “Gramps,” and the “Choom Gang.” Choom is Hawaiian slang for “pot smoking”

72. His paternal grandfather was outright opposed to his son’s marriage to Ann Durnham because he thought his son was neglecting his ex-wife and two children in Kenya. He was also concerned that Ann was white

73. Some of his maternal ancestors were slave owners

74. He did a good imitation of Jesse Jackson while he was at Harvard

75. He does a good job imitating Marlon Brando in “The Godfather”

76. His schoolmates in Indonesia nicknamed him “Curly Eyelashes”

77. He used to work in construction

78. He once said the three men he admired the most were Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr

79. His name means “one who is blessed” in Swahili

80. His favorite book is “Moby-Dick” by Herman Melville

81. His parents met in Russian class

82. He enjoys playing poker.

83. He is distantly related to Brad Pitt

84. He used to drive a Chrysler 300m

85. He watches his daughter Sasha’s basketball games

86. He is the first President to appear on a late night talk show

87. He has said many of his friends in Indonesia were “street urchins”

88. He was nicknamed “Bear” by his late grandmother

89. He owns four identical pairs of black, size 11 shoes

90. He carries a tiny Madonna and child statue and a bracelet belonging to a soldier in Iraq for good luck

91. He promised Michelle he would quit smoking before running for president. He didn’t

92. Before he moved to the White House, he drove a Ford Escape Hybrid

93. His cousin on Michelle’s side is a rabbi

94. His old desk in his Senate office once belonged to Robert Kennedy

95. His daughter Sasha’s real name is Natasha

96. He has seven half-brothers and sisters in Kenya from his father’s other marriages

97. He worked as a summer associate at the Sidley Austin law firm in Chicago

98. He lost a Congressional election in Illinois to Bobby Rush in 2000

99. He answers one letter a day from people across the country

100. His favorite dish to cook is chili

Source: Talkin The Truth (http:www.newsone.blackplanet.com)
Casey Gane-McCalla

Gane-McCalla is a writer, editor, rapper, producer and actor. He is a Columbia University Graduate and previously worked in the non-profit sector.

Fun Facts-Michelle Obama

May 18, 2009





25 fun facts about Michelle Obama that you’re dying to know.


1. She was born on January 17, 1964, meaning she will turn 45 three days before she becomes First Lady of the United States.

2. Her father worked the swing shift in the boiler room at Chicago’s water purification plant; her mother was a stay-at-home mom until her two children were grown.

3. Within the family, her nickname is “Miche” (pronounced “Meesh").

4. Her husband calls her “my rock.”

5. She grew up with older brother Craig and her parents in a one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment; she and Craig shared the living room, which was separated by dividers.

6. As a child, she loved her Easy-Bake Oven.

7. Even though they were only allowed one hour of television a night, she committed each episode of “The Brady Bunch” to memory.

8. As a young girl, she practiced playing the piano so much that she had to be told to stop.

9. She and her brother both skipped second grade.

10. Although a great athlete, she shied away from competitive sports because, her big brother says, she hated to lose.

11. She has always been outspoken; in addition to some of the memorable things she’d said on the campaign trail, she told her teachers when she got to Princeton that they weren’t teaching French correctly.

12. She was a young lawyer and assigned to be Barack’s mentor when her future husband came to her Chicago firm for a summer job.

13. Her first impression of Barack wasn’t great; she’d seen his photo in the law firm directory and thought he had a big nose.

14. She declined Barack’s initial attempts to ask her out, saying it would be inappropriate.

15. Before agreeing to date Barack, she asked her brother to take on her suitor on the basketball court (her father and brother said you could tell a lot about someone’s character on the court).

16. Her father died of complications from multiple sclerosis when she was in her 20’s.

17. Barack proposed at a fancy Chicago restaurant; the ring came on a tray with the dessert.

18. At their wedding, they danced their first dance to “Unforgettable.”

19. Santita Jackson, Jesse Jackson’s daughter, sang at the wedding.

20. She works out “like a gladiator,” according to friends.

21. She hates pantyhose - too “painful.”

22. At the Democratic National Convention in 2004, moments before her husband was about to go on stage to give his speech, she decided to break the tension: “Just don’t screw it up, buddy!”

23. She unwinds by watching reruns of “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”

24. For breakfast, she likes fruit, eggs, and bacon. “We’re bacon people,” she said on “The View.”

25. Of her husband, she once said, “Barack didn’t pledge riches, only that life would be interesting. On that promise he’s delivered.”

Source: The Frisky (http://www.frisky.com)
Posted by Wendy Atterberry
Photo: Michelle Obama Watch (michelleobamawatch.com)

Michelle at UC MERCED



While her husband faced a mixture of criticism, rejection and warm welcomes at Notre Dame's commencement ceremonies, Michelle Obama spoke to the 500 graduates at UCMERCED. It was a beautiful love affair!

Yahoo reports the following:
"The student body had launched a full-court press last winter to lure Obama to UC Merced, sending her thousands of letters and Valentines and posting come-on-over videos online. Their message was that the 2,718 widely diverse, mostly modest-income students who attend UC's newest campus are fervent about public service, and that she and the president embody the feisty can-do attitude they believe they bring to their own pursuit to uplift themselves and those around them.

On Saturday, as her ascendance to the stage brought the class leaping to its feet, screaming and pumping fists in the air, Obama's beaming smile and wave indicated that she had taken their pleas fully to heart.

The first lady's 29-minute commencement speech, delivered to the parents, visitors and students with a forceful, building crescendo that hit climaxes akin to a preacher's sermon, couldn't have fallen on more receptive ears."

In her speech, she told them to devote their energies to public service. "We need your ideas, graduates. We need your resourcefulness. We need your inventiveness. And as the students who helped build this school, I ask you, make your legacy a lasting one. Dream big, think broadly about your life, and please make giving back to your community a part of that vision."

I found some of the down side of entertaining the First Lady in the LA Times.
"But Obama's presence also brought hassles and expenses. Because of security concerns, the audience had to show up hours before the ceremony in the campus' grassy outdoor amphitheater and sit without shade as temperatures reached the mid-90s. Eight people were hospitalized for heat-related problems, a campus spokesperson said. About 80 others were treated at the site.

The usually placid campus, which is surrounded by cow pastures, had an army of police and Secret Service agents, including snipers positioned on rooftops. The school, facing a $700,000 bill for such items as Jumbotron screens and extra guards, has raised about $160,000 in donations.

Her UC Merced speech will be Michelle Obama's only college commencement address this year. Adding to the unusual choice of Merced, she usually does not participate in Saturday public events because she tries to devote the day to her daughters, her aides said. So she returned to Washington before diplomas were awarded and granted no interviews."

Before graduation, The Press-Telegram, Long Beach, CA detailed some of the $700,000 cost of the invitation to the First Lady and questioned the wisdom of the university's action.

"Now university administrators and professors, local and state elected officials and thousands more are seeking invitations for a chance to see the first lady up close. It's a very tough ticket to get, and this event will put the newest UC campus on high-profile display.

UC officials say some corporations are helping to pay for the extravaganza. AT&T, Educational Employees Credit Union and Kaiser Permanente are donating about $80,000. The university is looking for other sponsors to help with the cost.

When you have a member of the first family visiting, the security costs go up dramatically. That is appropriate, and required. These costs will be borne by the University of California police force, the California Highway Patrol, the Merced County sheriff, Merced police. And, of course, the Secret Service. The cost for the university police alone is expected to run about $90,000. Metal detectors will add another $5,000.
The largest cost - at $300,000 - is expected to be for an audio/visual company to broadcast the first lady's speech to the thousands gathered downtown and in other nearby areas. That bill seems a bit excessive to us.

There's no doubt that this is going to be a big day for the university, and the entire region. But these are tough economic times - UC students are being asked to pay higher tuition to help balance the UC budget - and they call for wise spending.

Some of the improvements, such as new grass and landscaping, will last well beyond the first lady's visit. But $700,000 is a lot of money, and UC officials might consider stepping back and asking whether all this commencement spending makes sense in the current economic environment."

Based on the aforementioned costs, is it any wonder that the rich have opportunities that less wealthy entities can't enjoy? All things aside, the graduating class of UCMERCED had an experience that they will never forget.

"If you want to be happy, set a goal that
commands your thoughts, liberates your
energy, and inspires your hopes."
- Andrew Carnegie

Sources: as cited

POTUS Under Fire

May 18, 2009





"Abortion is murder," one protester screamed.

"That's all right," Obama said as the crowd booed.

"You are a baby killer,"

Notre Dame’s invitation for President Barack Obama to deliver this year’s commencement address stirred up a controversy the moment he accepted in March. Some anti-abortion students started a campaign against Obama’s speech, gathering more than 300,000 signatures on an online petition. And anti-abortion groups joined in the fight, with protests on Sunday. But despite the controversy, Obama received a very warm welcome when he entered the Joyce Center at Notre Dame. Some students stood on their chairs. Others snapped photographs. The provost, Thomas Burish, paused three times for students to continue giving Obama applause. Obama waved to the crowd and mouthed, “Thank you.”

Obama, who supports abortion rights and embryonic stem-cell research, called for "open hearts. Open minds. Fair-minded words" in the public debate over the issue, arguing that there was no reason to reduce the other side to caricatures. Even so, the divergent views Obama addressed in his remarks were on display among the 29,000 graduates and family members in the audience at Joyce Center. Some students put the image of a cross and two small feet on their graduation caps to denote their protest. Others anti-abortion students and their parents wore white carnations on their lapels in silent protest of Obama’s presence. And as Obama spoke a few dozen students were holding a separate ceremony in protest.

Nearly 40 people were arrested Sunday as they tried to enter the University of Notre Dame to protest President Barack Obama's appearance at commencement, police said. At least 39 people were taken into custody on trespassing charges, police Sgt. Bill Redman said. Among those arrested was Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff identified as "Roe" in the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. She now opposes abortion and joined more than 300 anti-abortion demonstrators at the university's front gate.


Some students who attended the rally carried signs declaring "Shame on Notre Dame" and "Stop Abortion Now." Many wore anti-abortion T-shirts, one of which depicted a leprechaun throwing a baby into a trash can and the words "May 17, 2009, the day the dome was forever tarnished," which referred to the school's famed golden dome. Bishop John D'Arcy, whose diocese includes Notre Dame, joined the rally and called students "heroes" for expressing their anger over the invitation to Obama. Some have called for the resignation of the Rev. John Jenkins, the university's president.


Three-quarters of Catholics either approve of or offer no opinion on Notre Dame's decision to invite Obama, and the same percentage of U.S. bishops have opted to stay out of the fight. The Vatican has stayed completely silent on the matter. The starkly different responses of some U.S. bishops and the Vatican could just be a matter of pure politics. As Obama's European tour last month showed, the Pope would hardly be the only head of state eager to start off on the right footing with the new Administration. In addition, Obama is broadly popular among American Catholics, 67% of whom gave him a positive approval rating in a recent Pew poll. At a time when the U.S. Catholic Church is losing members - a separate Pew study found that for every American who joins the Catholic Church, four others leave - Benedict may not be willing to test the costs of opposing Obama.

Among those most eager to drive a wedge between the President and rank-and-file Catholics are Catholic Republicans, who worry about losing more voters to the Democratic Party. Newt Gingrich wasn't yet a Catholic when the 2004 statement was debated and approved. But the new convert was the first to speak out against Notre Dame's commencement speaker. On March 24, the Republican former House Speaker weighed in on his Twitter account, which appears to have limits on capital letters: "It is sad to see notre dame invite president obama to give the commencement address since his policies are so anti catholic values." There's nothing like the zeal of a convert, but Gingrich may find it's awkward to try to be more Catholic than the Pope.


Sources: Time Magazine and Yahoo News

Sunday, May 10, 2009

BHO's "Swagger"-Like it or Not!

May 10, 2009


Did you see the CNN Story On Obama's "Swagga"? Some call the coverage "The Most Embarrassing Ever?" (If you missed the video, check it out on You Tube or www.cnn.com. Sorry, I haven't learned how to upload videos yet, but I'm working on it.)

I wasn't offended by the CNN story on the "Swagga". In fact, I thought it was a moment of light conversation on air about something we all talk about continuously. I believe that the majority of African Americans recognize "the swagga" and feel good about it, particularly males. "...no group of Americans is more invested in the Obama phenomenon than black men who see in his success a transformation of their own public image" says Melanie Eversley, former Washington correspondent for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Detroit Free Press. "Opportunity and hope, I think that's what Barack brings—the hope that anything is possible," said Ramone Crowe, 39, owner of The Java Exchange CafĂ© in Detroit.

I watched the Texan cowboy stance and gait of President Bush with no particular feelings one way or the other. In contrast, it makes me happy to see the President Obama rythmic moves...departing Air Force One, walking into the White House Press Conference, or taking his seat at the Bulls game (even with a beer in hand). I relish the fact that he seems to know there'll be positive and negative comments on what ever he does, so it seems to me he's chosen to be himself and let the chips fall where they may.

The most recent stories cover the President and Vice President stopping at a local upscale burger joint for lunch. Fox News coverage made negative remarks because the president asked for Dijon mustard on his burger (notthe standard regular mustard or ketchup) and a side of french fries (which the place didn't sell). Leave it to Fox to find what ever the POTUS does as a negative.

There's so much press on everything that POTUS and FLOTUS do and then, the haters come out to complain about "The Messiah". It's really a no win situation, but I love the fact that people are getting a some small lessons in African American culture whether they like it or not. I keep my sanity by reminding myself that BHO won and that he is the baddest son-of-a-gun in the valley whether some folks like it or not. I'd tell them like my daughter Krystal tells me..."suck it up...get over it!"

On another note:




Now, I have to give it to President-elect Barack Obama. When a comic book finds you worthy enough to be included in a 'special-edition' issue, you must have swagger. Marvel comics, after learning that President-elect Obama was a Spider-man fan, decided to introduce the two in the Amazing Spider-Man Issue #583.

Written by Zeb Wells with art by Todd Nauck and Frank D'Armata, the story takes place in Washington, D.C. on Inauguration Day and finds one of Spider-Man's oldest foes attempting to thwart the swearing in ceremony of the 44th President of the United States. Fans can read it in its entirety in Marvel Comics' AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #583, available in comic book shops nationwide on January 14th, 2009. Look for the special variant cover by artist Phil Jimenez featuring the President-Elect and Spider-Man!"

"When we heard that President-Elect Obama is a collector of Spider-Man comics, we knew that these two historic figures had to meet in our comics' Marvel Universe," says Marvel's Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada. "Historic moments such as this one can be reflected in our comics because the Marvel Universe is set in the real world. A Spider-Man fan moving into the Oval Office is an event that must be commemorated in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man."

Fans of Spider-Man and those wanting to own a part of another historic moment in American history, rushed to their local comic book retailer on January 14, 2009 to purchase the issue. Hope you got your copy.

Sources:

Swagger Style
Where Swagger is not an option, IT IS THE STANDARD!
http://iamswagger.blogspot.com/2009/01/obama-swagger.html

Nancy Pelosi and Torture-When Did She Know?

May 10, 2009


Hot Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, May 9, 2009 -- Newswires reported today that a top aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) attended a CIA briefing in early 2003 in which it was made clear that waterboarding and other harsh techniques were being used in the interrogation of an alleged al-Qaeda operative, according to documents the CIA released to Congress on Thursday.

The Washington Post reported that Pelosi has insisted that she was not directly briefed by Bush administration officials that the practice was being actively employed. But Michael Sheehy, a top Pelosi aide, was present for a classified briefing that included Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), then the ranking minority member of the House intelligence committee, at which agency officials discussed the use of waterboarding on terrorism suspect Abu Zubaida.

The Washington Post noted the following details:
A Democratic source acknowledged yesterday that it is almost certain that Pelosi would have learned about the use of waterboarding from Sheehy. Pelosi herself acknowledged in a December 2007 statement that she was aware that Harman had learned of the waterboarding and had objected in a letter to the CIA's top counsel.

"It was my understanding at that time that Congresswoman Harman filed a letter in early 2003 to the CIA to protest the use of such techniques, a protest with which I concurred," Pelosi said in the Dec. 9, 2007, statement.
A fierce debate was sparked three weeks ago by the Obama administration's release of Bush-era Justice Department memos that expanded the legal guidelines for CIA agents interrogating alleged al-Qaeda operatives.

The new documents released to Congress by the CIA on Thursday stated that Pelosi was briefed on the "use of" harsh interrogation techniques in September 2002, although the documents do not state that waterboarding was mentioned.

The Washington Post said the absence of any description in the new documents of her being briefed on waterboarding has become a critical distinction for Pelosi. She has said that briefers discussed waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques as legal options but that they never told her such methods were being used.

However, Pelosi never filed an official letter of protest concerning harsh interrogation techniques with Bush administration.

(Reports from newswire and blog sources)

Another Michelle-The Rear Admiral Howard

May 10, 2009


Here’s another story you won’t see in the mainstream media:

MAERSK-ALABAMA CAPTAIN RESCUED BY REAR ADM. MICHELLE HOWARD'S SHIP

Nope, this is one you sure didn't hear on the news. The ship that rescued the Maersk-Alabama's captain was skippered by a BLACK FEMALE REAR ADMIRAL! If you're like me, you briefly saw her in some news clips, and (like me) probably figured she was some medical tech. In an ideal world, this SHOULDN'T BE "news," anymore than that it should be "news" that we have female B-52 pilots or black admirals, or a black President.

Well, it isn’t an ideal world, so here’s the more about Rear Admiral Michelle Howard.

Rear Admiral Michelle Howard is a 1978 graduate of Gateway High School in Aurora, Colo. She graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1982 and from the Army’s Command and General Staff College in 1998, with a master's degree in Military Arts and Sciences. She was the senior military assistant to the Secretary of the Navy from January 2007 to January 2009 and became the first African-American woman to command a U.S. Navy ship.




Commander Howard assumed command of Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 2 during a ceremony held on board USS Boxer at sea on April 5, 2009. In addition to assuming her duties as the ESG 2 commander, Howard assumes command of several U.S. 5th Fleet task forces, including Combined Task Force (CTF) 51 and 59, as well as CTF 151, an international maritime coalition created to disrupt, deter and thwart piracy. CTF 151 is a multinational task force established to conduct counter-piracy operations under a mission-based mandate throughout the CMF area of responsibility to actively deter, disrupt and suppress piracy in order to protect global maritime security and secure freedom of navigation for the benefit of all nations.
The fact that the rescue of the Maersk-Alabama’s captain was skippered by a Black female Rear Admiral is just a foot note to Michelle Howard’s overall achievements, but is still significant and well worthy of note. Spread the word!

Sources:
The Tension (http://www.the tension@blogspot.com)
U. S. Navy Biography

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Age of Obama

May 7, 2009






Veteran journalist Gwen Ifill came to my attention when she was selected to moderate the debate between Vice Presidential Candidates Joe Biden and Sarah Palin. Ms. Ifill is moderator and managing editor of Washington Week and senior correspondent of PBS's the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. She's served as chief congressional and political correspondent for NBC News. She's been a reporter for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, and the Boston Herald American.

I heard the allegations and innuendos about her possible bias based on her upcoming book which would touch upon "Barack Obama's impact on the political landscape." I vowed to read it. Little did I know I'd be introduced to a host of young African American politicians" per Ifill, who are "forgoing a bold new path to political powers". Several months later, I read the publication and was saddened by the fact that I knew little of many contemporary politicians who form the foundation for the political future. Once again, to my chagrin, I was asleep at the wheel.

A product of political action of the Sixties and Seventies, I was familiar with the "new" Black Mayors: Richard Hatcher, Gary, IN; Kenneth Gibson, Newark, NJ: Carl Stokes, Cleveland, OH and Coleman Young, Detroit, MI. I kept track of African American progress in politics and actively participated in helping make some of our political dreams a reality. I remember the election of Senator Carol Mosely Braun of IL and Chicago Mayor Harold Washington. Every newly elected African-American office holder was a milestone, a cause for celebration. Somewhere along the way, I lost track, allowing myself to get bogged down in other interest. My face is red with shame.




In "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama", Gwen Ifill introduced me to some of the current African American Mayors: Michael Nutter, Philadelphia, PA; Michael Coleman, Columbus, OH;Adrian Fenly, Washington, D. C.; and Byron Brown, Buffalo, NY. I began to wonder how could I eat up all the news every night, following local and national news and not come across these important political figures. How could I not even hear their names? I won't mention the pundits, commentators, reporters, bloggers, etc. who fill the airways every night with thoguhts, opinions, comments, information, advice, blah, blah, blah ad nauseum. Why is it that I never hear from the likes of the aforementioned African-American elected officials? What about Artur Davis, Alabama Congressman and Eddie Glaude, Jr., a dedicated teacher at Princeton University?

I intend to get to know the New Breed more throughly and I'll share some of what I find out with you. I expect it'll be a fun journey. My first stop was the You Tube video as Michael Nutter raps at his inaugural ball a year ago. He takes the stage and breaks it down old school. I challenge you to investigate and share what you learn with others.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Meet Michele...Bachmann

May 2, 2009



Do you know Michele? No, not FLOTUS Michelle Obama, I mean Rep. Michele Bachmann, a Republican from Minnesota . If politics confuse you, don’t neglect to look into Michele Bachmann’s story. I can’t say whether it’ll frighten or entertain you, but I’m almost sure, it’ll boggle your mind.

In the past, I’ve followed Bachmann’s exploits which are often featured on Keith Olberman’s Countdown and on the Rachael Maddow Show. I first became aware of her in the now notorious October 17 incident on Hardball. Bachmann told Chris Matthews she was “concerned” that Obama “may have anti-American views,” and linked him to a Who’s Who of leftist agitators. “I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out are they pro-America or anti-America?” Bachmann said. Within days of Bachmann’s notorious Hardball gaffe, a flood of donations poured into the coffers of her Democratic opponent who pulled even in the polls overnight. The cash-strapped National Republican Congressional Committee yanked its advertising from Bachmann’s district. The NRCC’s retreat infuriated the religious right, which has promoted Bachmann with as much intensity as any female politician in recent history, even Sarah Palin.

Tony Perkins, the president of the Christian right’s leading Beltway lobbying outfit, the Family Research Council, fired off an angry letter to then NRCC chairman Tom Cole, accusing him of “abandoning social conservative candidates and the issues for which they stand, particularly if they are championed by some of the most promising female legislators in the Congress.” Warren Smith, one of the evangelical right’s leading syndicated columnists, complained that the NRCC were “cowards” who abandoned the party’s brightest star to the ravages of the liberal media. A writer for the top-rated right-wing blog, RedState.org, echoed Smith’s grievances. “Let’s just call Tom Cole…what he is,” blogger Erik Erickson wrote. “A douchebag.”

When answering the unprecedented storm of press inquiries Bachmann justified her behavior as an outgrowth of her religious convictions as she issued a mea culpa. “I may not always get my words right,” Bachmann pleaded in a campaign commercial “but I know my heart is right—because my heart is for you.” Although in a dead heat with her opponent, surprise of surprises, Bachmann snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

While Bachmann’s gaffes startle pundits, a review of her political career shows she has a habit of unusual behavior and inflammatory statements. The fact that she has gotten away with it owes to her relative obscurity and her protection from religious conservatives.

If you take a look at Bachmann’s history, as detailed by Max Blumenthal’s article “The Hate Monger of Minnesota”, her behavior should never have been a surprise. In 2004, Bachmann filed a police report claiming two vengeful lesbian constituents kidnapped her in a public restroom. As Bachmann’s recollections of the incident grew increasingly contradictory and hazy, the episode ballooned into a mini-scandal known in Minnesota political circles as “Bathroomgate.” The police never even investigated Bachmann’s compliant.

In 2006, with the congressional midterm elections approaching, Bachmann announced that God “called [her] to run for the United States Congress.” She easily vanquished a political neophyte who conducted a lackluster campaign that avoided homing in on Bachmann’s extensive history of gaffes. Arriving in Washington, Bachmann hired three full-time press secretaries to transform her into a national media star.
Yet the highly controversial statements continued. During a St. Cloud Times podcast in early 2007, Bachmann claimed exclusive knowledge of a secret Iranian plan to partition half of Iraq. After meeting Gov. Sarah Palin last summer in Alaska, Bachmann declared that “warmth” from a pipeline running through Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would make the area a “meeting ground and ‘coffee klatch’ for the caribou.” Just months later, during a House hearing on the mortgage foreclosure crisis engulfing her district, Bachmann read aloud from an editorial blaming “blacks and other minorities” for causing the epidemic.

In the more immediate past, she was complaining about President Obama’s economic policies and sought to make an analogy to the disastrous "Hoot-Smalley Tariff," which she says led FDR to turn the “recession into a depression.” Wrong again, Bachmann. In the first place, it was the Smoot-Hawley Act that raised tariffs to historic levels, not Hoot-Smalley Tariff, and it was, alas, signed by a Republican: Herbert Hoover, It passed a year into the Great Depression.

There’s Bachmann complaints about the totalitarian-style re-education camps that the Democrats have planned for America (by which she means the “Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act” for AmeriCorps). She complains that we are "running out of rich people in this country"; that her fellow representatives have "a real aversion to capitalism” and that following FDR and LBJ, Barack Obama represents “really the final leap to socialism.”

Eric Alterman, a professor of English and journalism at Brooklyn College and a professor of journalism at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism wrote a recent article in The Daily Beast on Rep. Michelle Bachmann, whom he calls Congress' mad bomber. Striking out again, Rep. Bachmann, says it’s ” interesting that it was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out then under another Democrat president, Jimmy Carter.” What exactly is “interesting” about this alleged coincidence? Even Bachmann won’t say.

Altman comments: “Michele Bachmann's newest bungle (wrongly pinning the last flu scare on a Democrat) shows disdain for both facts and logic. Actually, it’s not so interesting, it’s wrong. The truth is that while even Bachmann cannot figure out how to link these things, she might not as well bother trying because Gerald Ford was president during the last outbreak of the virus.” He concludes that “as amazingly idiotic as Bachmann’s swine-flu comments may be, they do not actually exceed her past levels of stupidity, malevolence and factual incorrectness.”

It makes me wonder. Does anyone in Republican Party—or the district in Minnesota that apparently elected her—know that this person sounds really Looney Tunes crazy? The answer must be no (but why not from the Party of NO). Her party’s leadership recently picked Bachmann—a global-warming denier—to be part of the GOP’s Energy Solutions Group. (Sample Bachmann quote: "The big thing we are working on now is the global-warming hoax. It’s all voodoo, nonsense, hokum, a hoax.") Why do voters in the sixth district of Minnesota or members of the Republican Party want to be represented by a madwoman?