Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Media Matters... Not Any More

Despite all the controversy about the value, accuracy, and objectivity of network and cable news, I share the perception that most of the media is politically biased and that the press’s fascination with personal scandals and sensationalism have taken its toll on its credibility.

Do you remember when President Bush (number one) was attending a state dinner function in Japan, got ill, and fell from his seat on to the floor? The press gave its reports minimizing the incident and assuring the public that all was well with our President. I never believed a word of their reports, not for one minute. I figured that I’d wait a few days and get the real story. It would not have surprised me if President Bush had died that night and the news would be shared with the American public as soon as it was “convenient”. As time went by and the president appeared to be well and moving about the country’s business, I realized that I no longer had faith in much of anything that was reported as “news”.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

GOP Races to Shelter Rand Paul

Rand Paul
The Obama administration faces growing criticism for not being tough enough on BP for its failure to stop the gushing flow of crude that is fouling Louisiana's ecologically sensitive coastal marshes.

Rand Paul, however, sees things differently. "What I don't like from the president's administration is this sort of, 'I'll put my boot heel on the throat of BP,' " Paul said. "I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business."

The "un-American" part is consistent with the campaign by Republican cynics and Tea Party wing nuts to delegitimize Obama's presidency. But the general idea -- that it's wrong to hold private firms strictly accountable for disasters such as the gulf spill -- appears to be something that Paul really believes, since he also dismisses the recent West Virginia mine explosion in which 29 miners were killed.

"We had a mining accident that was very tragic," he said. "Then we come in, and it's always someone's fault. Maybe sometimes accidents happen."

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Republican Charles Djou Wins in Hawaii

Republicans scored a midterm election victory Saturday when Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou won a Democratic-held House seat in Hawaii in the district where President Barack Obama grew up - the latest triumph for the GOP as it looks to take back control of Congress.

Djou's victory was a blow to Obama and other Democrats who could not rally around a candidate and find away to win a congressional race that should have been a cakewalk. The seat had been held by a Democrat for nearly 20 years and is located where Obama was born and spent most of his

Djou won the special mail-in election with 39.7 percent of the vote in the first printout, released at 6 p.m.

The first printout represented nearly all of the 170,312 returned by voters in the district, which stretches from Waikiki and downtown to Mililani.

Democrat Colleen Hanabusa was second at 31 percent, with Democrat Ed Case third at 27.8 percent.

“This is a momentous day,” Djou told a jubilant crowd at state party headquarters. “We have sent a message to the United States Congress. We have sent a message to the ex-governors. We have sent a message to the national Democrats! We have sent a message to the machine.

“We have told them that we will not stand idly by as our great nation is overburdened by too much taxes, too much debt and too much wasteful spending.”

Friday, May 21, 2010

Rand Paul: A Wake-up Call

Tea Party favorite Rand Paul, who defeated Republican establishment candidate Trey Grayson in Tuesday's GOP Senate primary in Kentucky, warned Washington to "watch out, here we come."

Paul said the Tea Party movement has a message, loud and clear.
"We have come to take our government back," he said in his victory speech, drawing thunderous applause from his supporters.

After listening to the Republican candidate for Senator, I could only wonder how Rand Paul's civil-rights views escaped media scrutiny.

The editorial board of Louisville's Courier-Journal didn't mince words following its sit-down with Rand Paul last month. Much of what the Republican Senate candidate supports, it wrote, "is repulsive to people in the mainstream," including "an unacceptable view of civil rights."

Paul's view that the federal government should not have the power to force integration on private businesses — part of 1964's landmark Civil Rights Act — didn't get the attention of the national press until Wednesday, following interviews with NPR's Robert Siegel and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow. Paul subsequently changed his position Thursday, after an intense 24 hours of media fallout.

So if Paul's view is controversial enough to dominate cable news and the political blogosphere all day Thursday, how come it wasn't an issue in the month leading up to Kentucky's primary? The national media focused on the Tea Party’s support of the candidate, who was expected to win, and the possible impact on Senate minority leader Mitch McConnel. It left the public to discover just how conservative, how radical, how extremist Rand Paul is.

Following up on his “private businesses should be allowed to discriminate” remarks, the Republican nominee for the Senate from Kentucky said President Obama’s harsh words for BP “sounds really un-American.” He went on, “I’ve heard nothing from BP about not paying for the spill. And I think it’s part of this sort of blame game society in the sense that it’s always got to be someone’s fault instead of the fact that sometimes accidents happen.”

The moral of this story warns the public about judging 30 second sound bytes and quick and dirty media coverage as a means of determining their voting decisions. It even makes us weary of the voting decisions of voters in other states and cities. We are all affected by every one of these decisions. Better wake up and smell the coffee.

Mark Souder: Another One Bites The Dust

Indiana congressman Mark Souder (R) will resign his seat after an affair with a staffer came to light. Souder, 59, and his wife, Diana, have been married for more than 35 years and have three adult children.

The congressman has touted himself as a family values conservative, saying the following on his congressional website: "I believe that Congress must fight to uphold the traditional values that undergird the strength of our nation. The family plays a fundamental role in our society."

Souder joins a succession of Members of Congress embroiled in sex scandals in recent years, including Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.), Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) and Sen. David Vitter (R-La.). Massa resigned, while Ensign and Vitter are still serving in the Senate.

Souder was elected in the GOP wave election of 1994. He represents the Fort Wayne area in northeast Indiana. The revelations regarding Souder come two weeks after he survived a serious primary challenge from car dealer Bob Thomas who spent considerable sums of his own money on the race. Souder won the primary with less than 50 percent of the vote.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

AK Senator Opposes Increases in Oil Company Liabilities

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), a longtime advocate of offshore drilling, became the face of opposition to Congressional efforts at holding oil companies accountable for their spills after blocking a bill on Thursday. The Alaskan Senator blocked a voice vote on a bill by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) that would have dramatically raised the cap on liabilities for oil companies from $75 million, likely a small fraction of the damage caused by the BP disaster, to $10 billion. Meanwhile, the White House, who backs the bill, appears to have a strong hand politically. 42 percent of Americans favor President Obama's handling of the gulf spill, versus 33 percent who disapprove and 21 percent who are neutral, a new AP-GfK poll reports.

Alaska’s senior senator blocked legislation Thursday that would have dramatically increased liability caps on oil companies, in the wake of one of the industry’s biggest disasters.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) objected to a voice vote request by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) on the bill, which would have spiked the maximum liability for oil companies after an oil spill from $75 million to $10 billion. The legislation has significant support from Democrats, and the White House has indicated it backs an increase in liability caps.

But Murkowski said the legislation is “not where we need to be right now” and would unfairly advantage large oil companies by pricing the small companies out of the market. Murkowski did signal that she would be open to "look at the liability cap and consider raising it.” Just not at this moment.

Menendez, speaking to reporters after the bill was halted on the Senate floor, said the opposition indicates that Republicans are on the side of the oil companies, not the American people. There had been no formal floor debate or roll call vote requested on the legislation.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Country's Anti-Incumbent Surge

Members of Congress face the most anti-incumbent electorate since 1994, with less than a third of all voters saying they are inclined to support their representatives in November, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Dissatisfaction is widespread, crossing party lines, ideologies and virtually all groups of voters. Less than a quarter of independents and just three in 10 Republicans say they're leaning toward backing an incumbent this fall. Even among Democrats, who control the House, the Senate and the White House, opinion is evenly divided on the question.

Still, for President Obama and his party, there are some positive signs in the poll. The public trusts Democrats more than Republicans to handle the major problems facing the country by a double-digit margin, giving Democrats a bigger lead than they held two months ago, when Congress was engaged in the long endgame over divisive health-care legislation. A majority continues to see Obama as "just about right" ideologically, despite repeated GOP efforts to define the president as outside the mainstream.

Those polled also say they trust Obama over Republicans in Congress to deal with the economy, health care and, by a large margin, financial regulatory reform. And the president continues to get positive marks on his overall job performance, with, for the first time since the fall, a majority of independents approving. Disaffection among independents with Obama's policies has been one of the major shifts in public opinion over the past year, making this small movement one to monitor over the coming months.

Bob Bennett’s defeat in the Utah’s GOP Convention clear example of just how much of an anti-incumbent and anti-establishment cycle 2010 has become. His loss will be celebrated as a victory by conservative activists who had painted him as a “Republican in name only” who was too willing to work with Democrats on issues like government financial bailouts and health care.

Bennett’s loss will also be a major victory for the anti-tax group, the Club for Growth, who had put the Senator at the top of its target list this primary season. Bennett became a top target of the Club in the wake of his efforts to help pass the Wall Street Bailout bill in 2008 and the group took a lead role in lobbying delegates to oust the three-term Senator leading to today’s convention. The Club spent heavily on its effort to lobby convention voters to dump Bennett.

The beauty of our American electoral system is that the public always get what they ask for. Cast your vote for your choice, then see how it runs. Sometimes the outcome is as expected and sometimes not. It’s the luck of the draw. However, when you decide not to vote, you let someone else control your destiny.

Sources: The Washington Post; CQ Politics;TMPDC

Jimmy Carter's Grandson wins State Senate

The eldest grandson of former President Jimmy Carter has won a suburban Atlanta state Senate seat in a special election Tuesday night. Jason Carter became the first in his family to win elected office since his grandfather took the White House more than three decades ago. Unofficial results showed Carter claiming 65 percent of the vote to fellow Democrat Tom Stubbs' 23 percent.

The 34-year-old Carter celebrated at a restaurant Tuesday night with his grandparents and other family members.

During the race, Carter focused more on the issues than on his famous grandfather. His website made scant mention of the former president, instead focusing on the younger Carter's life as a husband, father, Peace Corps volunteer, attorney and Democratic activist.

Just days before the election, however, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter stumped with the candidate, passing out fliers in an Atlanta neighborhood and surprising residents going about their usual Saturday business.

The district is heavily Democratic and Jimmy Carter is still a popular figure among some Georgia Democrats. The elder Carter served two terms in the Georgia Senate before becoming the state's governor in 1971. His son - Jason's father Jack - was the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate in Nevada in 2006 but lost to Republican John Ensign

AZ Targets Ethnic Studies

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has signed a bill targeting a school district's ethnic studies program, hours after a report by United Nations human rights experts condemned the measure.

State schools chief Tom Horne, who has pushed the bill for years, said he believes the Tucson school district's Mexican-American studies program teaches Latino students that they are oppressed by white people. Public schools should not be encouraging students to resent a particular race, he said.

Horne, a Republican running for attorney general, said the program promotes "ethnic chauvinism" and racial resentment toward whites while segregating students by race. He's been trying to restrict it ever since he learned that Hispanic civil rights activist Dolores Huerta told students in 2006 that "Republicans hate Latinos."

District officials said the program doesn't promote resentment, and they believe it would comply with the new law.

Six UN human rights experts released a statement earlier Tuesday saying all people have the right to learn about their own cultural and linguistic heritage, they said.

Brewer's signature on the bill Tuesday comes less than a month after she signed the nation's toughest crackdown on illegal immigration — a move that ignited international backlash amid charges the measure would encourage racial profiling of Hispanics. The governor has said profiling will not be tolerated.

Source: Associated Press

Monday, May 10, 2010

Elena Kagen, SCOTUS Nominee

President Barack Obama announced Elena Kagan as his second pick to the nation's highest court on May 10, 2010. If confirmed, she would join Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sotomayor in bringing the number of women on the Supreme Court to three, the highest in the court's history.

Women already represent 31 percent of all sitting justices on state Supreme Courts, according to the National Center for State Courts.

The solicitor general — known informally as the "tenth justice" — represents the United States, including defending acts of Congress, at the Supreme Court and deciding when to appeal lower court decisions.

Beyond Kagan's work as solicitor general and her time as dean of Harvard Law School, there's not much material opponents can use to attempt to forestall her confirmation.
Barring extraordinary circumstances, Kagan should win Senate confirmation on the strength of Democrats' numerical advantage. Democrats control the chamber with 59 votes, one short of what they would need to forestall the possibility of a partisan filibuster.

To stop her from becoming the nation's 112th justice, Democrats would have to abandon Obama and his second high court pick or almost all of the GOP senators would have to agree to block a vote on the nomination a little more than a year after seven of them voted for Kagan to become the solicitor general.

Elena Kagan

Biographical notes:
Born in New York City, age 50, religion, Jewish, Kagan is formerly dean of Harvard Law School and Charles Hamilton Houston Professor of Law at Harvard University. She had also been a professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School. During the administration of President Bill Clinton, Kagan served as Associate White House Counsel. She received Princeton's Daniel M. Sachs Class of 1960 Graduating Scholarship, one of the highest general awards conferred by the university, which enabled her to study at Worcester College, Oxford University. She earned an M.Phil from Oxford in 1983.[8] She received a J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1986, where she was Supervisory Editor of the Harvard Law Review. In her early career, Kagan was a law clerk for Judge Abner Mikva of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court. On March 19, 2009 Kagan became the first woman to hold the position of Solicitor General of the U.S (45th).

Sources: Wikipedia: Yahoo News

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Drill, Baby, Drill

Bobby Jindal

The governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, visited Grand Isle to assess the needs of local officials there. The Republican governor has, so far, asked federal aid several times in relation to this spill, including a request for "a federal funds should B.P. fall short of meeting the needs of our people, a request for federal unemployment benefits funding to help pay for disaster-related workforce training and job placement services and unemployment benefit services for workers displaced as a result of the oil spill, a request to the Small Business Administration to approve more loans for to small business owners, a request to the Department of Commerce for a declaration of a ‘commercial fishery’s failure’ so that more government assistance may flow."

This is the same governor who decried the stimulus package which was meant to help lessen the most painful aspects of the worst recession since the Great Depression. It is the same governor who mocked stimulus money for the monitoring of volcanoes that could create crises of near or equal proportions in other states. Of course, Jindal posed with a mock stimulus check that reached local communities in his state, despite his rhetorical protestations.

Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey quoted Jindal, "Well, you know, here we go. You know, the governor of Louisiana says the federal government should stay out of the state’s business."

MSNBC’s Keith Olberman discussed the situation with Marcos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos.

OLBERMAN: So, is Jindal essentially asking for special government aid above what another state would get in this situation, is he not?

MOULITSAS: Yes. He’s essentially asking for a bailout of his state. I mean, he’s realizing that the state now faces a cataclysmic disaster. They cannot pay for it. They can’t handle it.
And the federal government exists for a reason. There’s a reason that people like me and you have always advocated for the role of the federal government in helping those in need. And I think Bobby Jindal is starting to realize that the mighty state rights crowd doesn’t have the answers when they’re actually hit by real crisis. They now need the federal government.

And, again, I wish that they would have this kind of empathy for the rest of the country because there are times that it’s right for the federal government to come in and lend a hand, because only the federal government has the resources to make that happen.

My question is “what happened to The Republican war cry “Drill, Baby, Drill”. Ask Sarah Palin. She usually has all the answers. How is that working for you, Sarah?

Source: Daily Kos; MSNBC Countdown

FLOTUS' Commencement Address

(AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

First lady Michelle Obama spoke at commencement exercises at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in Pine Bluff, Ark., May 8, 2010.

The first lady gave an impassioned speech to 270 graduates that referenced the legacy of their historically black school, which opened in 1873 with seven students, most of whom could barely read. She told graduates Saturday to prepare to overcome adversity, building on Martin Luther King Jr. 's 1958 commencement address at the same university, when he told students to summon their courage to fight segregation.

Obama, a product of Chicago public schools who went on to attain degrees from Princeton and Harvard, said she encountered people in her youth who doubted she could succeed.

"Even today ... I know that for some of you this journey has not been easy," Obama said. "Like me, you wanted something more, right? Just like those (original) seven students."

She singled out Quinna Childress of Newport, who graduated Saturday with a 3.935 grade-point average in biology and plans to attend medical school. Childress was homeless at age 16, a high school student living out of a car who worked nights and weekends as a nurse's aide. Ms. Obama said that those struggles would make Childress an extraordinary physician and add depth to her sense of compassion.

Dr. King's Arkansas speech came a year after federal troops protected nine black students attending all-white Little Rock Central High School. Michelle Obama's speech came more than a year after the university's 260-piece band marched in the inaugural parade for her husband, the nation's first black president.

Source: Huffington Post

SelectingThe Next Supreme Court Justice

President and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor

President Barack Obama says he hopes to nominate a new Supreme Court justice to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens by the end of May. Justice Stevens announced his retirement on April 9, after 35 years on the high court. He is the longest-serving of the nine current justices, and at age 90 is the second-oldest justice ever. Although he was appointed by Republican President Gerald Ford, Stevens has, in recent years, led the more liberal wing of the court.

The president is calling for a Senate confirmation vote before the lawmakers recess in August, so the new justice can join the nine-member court when its new session starts in October.

"My hope is that we are going to be able to get a Supreme Court nominee confirmed in time for the next session," said the president. "As Justice Stevens said, I think it is very important, particularly given the important cases that may be coming before the Supreme Court, that we get this process wrapped up," he said.

Mr. Obama met with the top Senate Democrat, Majority Leader Harry Reid, and the top Republican, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Democrat Patrick Leahy, and the committee's leading Republican, Jeff Sessions, also talked with the president about his upcoming nomination. After the meeting, Senator Leahy said he wants to keep politics out of the confirmation process as much as possible.

"I am not looking for a nominee who is there for Republicans or Democrats. I want somebody who is there for the American people," said Leahy.

Susan Low Bloch, a professor of law at Washington's Georgetown University, expects opposition Republicans in the Senate to fight the nomination, whoever it may be. But she believes a nomination will be approved in a timely manner.

"I do not think the process will be quick, and I do not think it will be quiet, but yes, I do think that the person will be able to take his or her seat by the time the court convenes in October," she said.

The White House has not revealed the names of any potential nominees. If the confirmation process for the last nominee is any indication of things to come, one can expect a long, bitter debate on Justice Stevens’ successor.

Imagine: A Different Tea Party

This is very thought provoking to say the least. (I got it in an email.)

"Imagine if the Tea Party Was Black" - Tim Wise

Let’s play a game, shall we? The name of the game is called “Imagine.” The way it’s played is simple: we’ll envision recent happenings in the news, but then change them up a bit. Instead of envisioning white people as the main actors in the scenes we’ll conjure - the ones who are driving the action - we’ll envision black folks or other people of color instead. The object of the game is to imagine the public reaction to the events or incidents, if the main actors were of color, rather than white. Whoever gains the most insight into the workings of race in America, at the end of the game, wins.

So let’s begin.

Imagine that hundreds of black protesters were to descend upon Washington DC and Northern Virginia, just a few miles from the Capitol and White House, armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns, and ammunition. And imagine that some of these protesters —the black protesters — spoke of the need for political revolution, and possibly even armed conflict in the event that laws they didn’t like were enforced by the government? Would these protester — these black protesters with guns — be seen as brave defenders of the Second Amendment, or would they be viewed by most whites as a danger to the republic? What if they were Arab-Americans? Because, after all, that’s what happened recently when white gun enthusiasts descended upon the nation’s capital, arms in hand, and verbally announced their readiness to make war on the country’s political leaders if the need arose.

Imagine that white members of Congress, while walking to work, were surrounded by thousands of angry black people, one of whom proceeded to spit on one of those congressmen for not voting the way the black demonstrators desired. Would the protesters be seen as merely patriotic Americans voicing their opinions, or as an angry, potentially violent, and even insurrectionary mob? After all, this is what white Tea Party protesters did recently in Washington.

Imagine that a rap artist were to say, in reference to a white president: “He’s a piece of shit and I told him to suck on my machine gun.” Because that’s what rocker Ted Nugent said recently about President Obama.

Imagine that a prominent mainstream black political commentator had long employed an overt bigot as Executive Director of his organization, and that this bigot regularly participated in black separatist conferences, and once assaulted a white person while calling them by a racial slur. When that prominent black commentator and his sister — who also works for the organization — defended the bigot as a good guy who was misunderstood and “going through a tough time in his life” would anyone accept their excuse-making? Would that commentator still have a place on a mainstream network? Because that’s what happened in the real world, when Pat Buchanan employed as Executive Director of his group, America’s Cause, a blatant racist who did all these things, or at least their white equivalents: attending white separatist conferences and attacking a black woman while calling her the n-word.

Imagine that a black radio host were to suggest that the only way to get promoted in the administration of a white president is by “hating black people,” or that a prominent white person had only endorsed a white presidential candidate as an act of racial bonding, or blamed a white president for a fight on a school bus in which a black kid was jumped by two white kids, or said that he wouldn’t want to kill all conservatives, but rather, would like to leave just enough—“living fossils” as he called them—“so we will never forget what these people stood for.” After all, these are things that Rush Limbaugh has said, about Barack Obama’s administration, Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama, a fight on a school bus in Belleville, Illinois in which two black kids beat up a white kid, and about liberals, generally.

Imagine that a black pastor, formerly a member of the U.S. military, were to declare, as part of his opposition to a white president’s policies, that he was ready to “suit up, get my gun, go to Washington, and do what they trained me to do.” This is, after all, what Pastor Stan Craig said recently at a Tea Party rally in Greenville, South Carolina.

Imagine a black radio talk show host gleefully predicting a revolution by people of color if the government continues to be dominated by the rich white men who have been “destroying” the country, or if said radio personality were to call Christians or Jews non-humans, or say that when it came to conservatives, the best solution would be to “hang ‘em high.” And what would happen to any congressional representative who praised that commentator for “speaking common sense” and likened his hate talk to “American values?” After all, those are among the things said by radio host and best-selling author Michael Savage, predicting white revolution in the face of multiculturalism, or said by Savage about Muslims and liberals, respectively. And it was Congressman Culbertson, from Texas, who praised Savage in that way, despite his hateful rhetoric.

Imagine a black political commentator suggesting that the only thing the guy who flew his plane into the Austin, Texas IRS building did wrong was not blowing up Fox News instead. This is, after all, what Anne Coulter said about Tim McVeigh, when she noted that his only mistake was not blowing up the New York Times.

Imagine that a popular black liberal website posted comments about the daughter of a white president, calling her “typical redneck trash,” or a “whore” whose mother entertains her by “making monkey sounds.” After all that’s comparable to what conservatives posted about Malia Obama on last year, when they referred to her as “ghetto trash.”

Imagine that black protesters at a large political rally were walking around with signs calling for the lynching of their congressional enemies. Because that’s what white conservatives did last year, in reference to Democratic party leaders in Congress.

In other words, imagine that even one-third of the anger and vitriol currently being hurled at President Obama, by folks who are almost exclusively white, were being aimed, instead, at a white president, by people of color. How many whites viewing the anger, the hatred, the contempt for that white president would then wax eloquent about free speech, and the glories of democracy? And how many would be calling for further crackdowns on thuggish behavior, and investigations into the radical agendas of those same people of color?

To ask any of these questions is to answer them. Protest is only seen as fundamentally American when those who have long had the luxury of seeing themselves as prototypically American engage in it. When the dangerous and dark “other” does so, however, it isn’t viewed as normal or natural, let alone patriotic. Which is why Rush Limbaugh could say, this past week, that the Tea Parties are the first time since the Civil War that ordinary, common Americans stood up for their rights: a statement that erases the normalcy and “American-ness” of blacks in the civil rights struggle, not to mention women in the fight for suffrage and equality, working people in the fight for better working conditions, and LGBT folks as they struggle to be treated as full and equal human beings.

And this, my friends, is what white privilege is all about. The ability to threaten others, to engage in violent and incendiary rhetoric without consequence, to be viewed as patriotic and normal no matter what you do, and never to be feared and despised as people of color would be, if they tried to get away with half the shit we do, on a daily basis.

Game Over.

Tim Wise is among the most prominent anti-racist writers and activists in the U.S. Wise has spoken in 48 states, on over 400 college campuses, and to community groups around the nation. Wise has provided anti-racism training to teachers nationwide, and has trained physicians and medical industry professionals on how to combat racial inequities in health care. His latest book is called Between Barack and a Hard Place.