Monday, December 27, 2010

Holiday Conversations Back Home re Obama and Black Folk

*special hat tip to the FreshXPress for featuring our article on their front page*

One of the best parts about going back home for the holiday season is, of course, catching up with old friends and family who you haven't seen in ages.  And in turn, one of the most interesting parts about catching up with all these people are the conversations that take place; "what have you been up to lately?", "how's the job/job search going?", "how's the wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend and the kids/dog/cat, etc.?"   And then of course once those pleasantries are established, invariably somebody will kick if off with "can you believe [insert current event here]" and that will then of course lead to a conversation about President Obama.

This question produces different results in different communities. Perhaps nowhere does this question produce a more polarizing response than in the Black Community.  Don't get me wrong, there's still an overwhelming sense of support and admiration from the Black Community for Obama at the end of the day.  While the national approval numbers for Obama hover around 50% give or take a few points, the approval numbers for Obama in the Black Community remain around 91%. But that number doesn't tell the whole story, because despite White concerns that Obama has catered too much to minorities and women, there are a number of Blacks among that 91% who feel that Obama has not done enough - or anything according to some - for the Black Community. It's with this later group where I take issue.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from The Urban Politico

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Domestic Monitoring: The Beginning of the End?




By now I'm sure everyone has heard about the new domestic monitoring program that has recently came about as a result of the terrorists attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001. Nine years later the government has assembled an extremely vast domestic intelligence program to monitor and collect information about everyday Americans. Even everyday Americans, who have never been accused of a crime. This system is being called the largest and most technologically sophisticated in American history.

Made up of FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators, the goal of the program is to essentially filter all city, state and federal information regarding potential terrorists straight to Washington. By adopting many of the military tactics currently being utilized in Afghanistan and Iraq, the program will essentially fuel the FBI's counter terrorism program and ensure that each ship (city, state, fed) is sailing in the same direction. This will eventually close the gap of communication between agencies, basically making sure that nothing goes down without Washington knowing about it. And like most situations when the manifestations of how much of our freedom is slowly being ripped away, surfaces to show it's Dubya looking face, we remember that it is being done for our safety.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

DADT Repealed After 17 Years This Wednesday (VIDEO)

17 years after DADT was enacted by Democratic President Bill Clinton, Democratic President Barack Obama will add its repeal to his list of accomplishments.  The House voted in favor of the Repeal on December 15th with a vote of 250 to 175, and the Senate followed suit this past Saturday, December 18th with a vote of 65 to 31. Every Republican voted against it except for 8, 1 of which, interestingly enough, was newly elected Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts who as you might recall was hastily voted in by a bunch of conservatives in Massachusetts who were so concerned about voting down Health Care that they didn't really stop to check Brown's conservative credentials.  This cat has voted with the Democrats on more than one occassion on big issues in the Senate.  Good job, conservatives. Way to think long-term.

At any rate, the White House has announced that on Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 9:15 a.m., President Obama will sign the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010 into law in a signing ceremony at the Department of the Interior. See video after the jump:

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ricky Gervais: "Why do YOU believe in God?" A Holiday Message????

Ricky Gervais is a comedian from England.  The largest part of his fame and notoriety is due to his hit show "The Office."  He is also an atheist.  He speaks openly about not believing in God, and if you've seen his stand up show, or his movie "The Invention of Lying" then you pretty much know his perspective.  Today, he wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal about why he doesn't believe in God.  I know we can have some very good discussions here, so I was curious to read the reaction, if any.

So, take a moment, read his piece and let me know your opinion.  While he does make some generalizations and comparisons infused with humor, he makes points that I've heard other atheists make.  After the jump, let me know your opinion.



Friday, December 17, 2010

It's a Wrap - Congress Passes Tax Cuts

The more I think about this thing the more I wonder if this was the right move or not.  I'm conflicted.  On the one hand it keeps the cash flowing to the people during a recession, whether they are rich people or poor people.  On the other hand, it will continue to put us further into debt.  But what I'm really trying to figure out is why the group that has jumped up and down and thrown a fit about anything that that so much as adds one penny onto the deficit is now the very same group that is adding a a couple trillion pennies onto the very same deficit.  From NBC News:

Acting with uncommon speed, Congress sent President Barack Obama sweeping, bipartisan legislation late Thursday night to avoid a Jan. 1 spike in income taxes for millions and renew jobless benefits for victims of the worst recession in 80 years.
The measure also will cut Social Security taxes for nearly every wage-earner and pump billions of dollars into the still-sluggish economy.
The 277-148 vote came the day after the Senate cleared the bill, 81-19.

So we'll fight you if you dare to spend money on unemployed people during a recession, but if we can give some tax cuts to millionaires everything is peachy?  I don't get it.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

You Play Ball Like a GIRL!!!!!!!!!!! Boehner Cries...Again

I mean what's with this guy?  He's crying more than Tammy Faye Baker.  This is the leadership of the Republican party?  I find this amusingly ironic that the party that berates and calls into question Obama's fortitude to be a tough leader has this guy as it's poster child.  Say what you will about Obama but at least he's not buckling under the enormous pressure of the Presidency and crying every night on national television.  Obama's grandmother, who had practically raised him since birth, died just before she could see him win the Presidency of the United States and the most that happened was Obama shed a tear while he maintained his focus and kept his eye on the prize.  Boehner, on the other hand, cries every time he recalls a story where he pulled himself up by his own bootstraps.  From the Washington Post:
To those who have followed Boehner (R-Ohio), it was standard operating procedure: The 60-year-old's proclivity for showing his emotions is legendary. He's cried during retirement speeches by other lawmakers. He's cried during victory speeches. He's cried while eulogizing close friends. He's cried at gala dinners, and he's cried in closed meetings. 
Don't get me wrong, there are times to cry, just like there are times to laugh, but it seems that every other political leader is able to do this job without crying every 5 minutes.  Could you imagine how many sexist comments would have been thrown at Hillary Clinton or Nancy Pelosi if they had cried HALF as much as this guy?  Their entire fitness for leadership would have been immediately questioned and they would have been ridiculed straight out of politics in under 60 seconds flat.  But this guy gets to make a rep on boo-hoo'ing everytime they put him on stage.

Somebody get him a kleenex.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Blocking Judges? Really? What happened to "Country First?"

I had an interview with the US Department of Treasury for an attorney advisory position a while back.  During the interview, which apparently went pretty well based on the feedback I got afterwords, the interviewer took off his glasses, put his pen down, and said: "look, I'm just gonna level with you...you've got the right credentials for the job but we can't bring you or anybody else in for this position because the supervisors for this position don't even exist yet.  We're still waiting on Congressional approval."  After that interview I kept a tab on Congressional approvals for federal government positions and, much to my dismay, I saw Republicans time and time again drag their feet on positions that they knew were uncontroversial and that should have been approved.  Yet, every time it looked like they were going to get around to approving the positions in the department I was applying for, invariably they would come up with another reason for delay.  That was about 2 years ago.  Needless to say I never got the job.  So to say that I'm just a little bit sick of this crap is the understatement of the decade.  I don't know which is worse, the fact that Republicans have obstructed these and many other Obama appointments in the federal government or that its so common that we're not even shocked to discover that it is still happening anymore.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

NO LABELS: Not Left. Not Right. Forward


If what they say is true, that necessity is the mother of invention, then NO LABELS is the offspring of today’s hyper-partisan politics. With the growing popularity of “extreme” media (FOXNews, MSNBC, Limbaugh, etc.), the systematic removal of moderates from the public arena and the rise of extremely vocal and divisive partisan groups like MoveOn and the Tea Party, the “necessity” has never been greater.

From the Washington Post:

A coalition of Democrats, Republicans and independents came together at Columbia University on Monday to launch a group aimed at taming the nation’s hyperpartisan politics.


No Labels is not a third party, its leaders said, but rather a home for Americans turned off by deepening divide between Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals.
On Monday, December 13, the group had is kickoff event, with speakers including, Mayors Michael Bloomberg and Antonio Villaraigosa, Senators Bayh and Lieberman, and Governor Charlie Crist just to name a few.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Our Guest Post at The Intersection of Madness & Reality


We have a Guest Post up today entitled "Republican Swagger" on our boy Rippa's blog, The Intersection of Madness & Reality.  Check it out HERE and drop your 2 cents.

Weekend Recap


1. So by now you've likely heard that Bernie Sanders has staged a good old fashioned Filibuster in the Senate against the Obama-GOP Tax Deal.  Although the GOP has been threatening to Filibuster for the past 2 years on everything Obama has proposed, but Sen. Sanders actually conducted the first real live Filibuster in the Senate since 1992.  He spoke for 9 hours straight.

2. The Dream Act that was passed by the House last week is stalled in the Senate while Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) attempts to round up the votes necessary to pass it.

3. Bernie Madoff's son, Mark Madoff, was found dead in his SoHo apartment in New York City on Saturday after an apparent suicide.  His death occurred on the second anniversary of his dad's arrest for the biggest ponzie scheme in recent history.

4. Republicans vote down a bill that would have funded medical aid to 9/11 Responders.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Guest Post: The Blame Game: The White House vs. House Democrats

Today's guest post comes from none other than Big Brother All-My-Tee himself, Rippa, who blogs at The Intersection of Madness & Reality.   Rippa's known around the blogosphere for stirring up a good debate so drop your 2 cents in the comments below as we discuss the latest debacle between the White House and the Democrats:

***


So now everyone has taken lead from Obama's recent press conference chastisement of his fellow republi... oops, I mean democrats, liberals, and or progressives alike. Yes, we have moved into "let's blame the democrats" mode. Uh-huh, even the White House today is in on that act. Yep, like a guy who has just cheated on his wife with her sister, the White House is now absconding responsibility and blaming his penis...

"My penis has a mind of it's own, baby... I love you, but it ain't my fault. As a matter of fact, it's partly your momma and daddy's fault! They shoulda known better than to make two of you with a nice fat booty and big titties!"

My man Kriss from The Insanity Report has a post up over at theFreshXpress which makes a good case for pointing fingers at House democrats for Obama's compromise with republicans. But I'm sorry, I just can't buy the excuse for Obama's "compromise" much like many people are; to me, there's no acceptable justification. But hey, like Obama, I'm "itching for a fight" about this in the comment section below - take ya best shot, you just might convince me.

Will the extension of these tax cuts create jobs as being sold by the administration and the Republicans? NO! Is it morally corrupt to borrow $900 billion under the guise of “stimulating the economy” when only 2% of the wealthy own small businesses (which are the engine of the economy) while people making $40K and less will see a tax hike? YES!! Oh yeah, individuals earning less than $20K and families making less that $40K will see a tax hike under this proposal, while the wealthy will, well, get even richer at the expense of tax payers.

I'm sorry, but I think Barack Obama should own his sh*t; and the people defending his compromise should realize the error of their actions. I mean, this is in fact the same black president who stood up in a black church on Father's day and preached responsibility to black men and the black community at large while pandering to other members of the then electorate, no? Yeah, that damn "R-Word" can be a bitch at times; I know, I hate it as much as you do.

But anyway, I won't even waste your time talking about Paul Krugman's piece explaining how the economic ramifications of this deal could seriously affect Obama's re-election chances in 2012. I mean who wants to talk about boring shit like the economy or another hostage situation December, 2011. Instead, I'm gonna end by asking: Should Barack Obama fail to get re-elected to a second term, who exactly do we blame?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Urban Beat: Politics, Pickets, and Prison


1. The controversial Rev. Fred Phelps and his church have plans to picket the funeral of Elizabeth Edwards with signs that say "God Hates Elizabeth Edwards.  Phelps has made the news several times in the past.  Most recently, his church picketed the funerals of dead solders returning from war because they felt the solder's death was punishment from God for America's tolerance for homosexuality and abortion.  Rev Phelps' church was sued by the family of a deceased Marine.  Yet another question before the court on the limits of the First Amendment.

The Return of the King: Michael Jackson's New Album "Michael"

Michael Jackson has returned and is speaking from the grave through his new album, Michael. The album is scheduled to be released on Monday, but you can listen to it now at Michaeljackson.com. So why is this a big deal? Well aside from the fact that Michael Jackson is the greatest performer to ever walk the earth, the album is actually really good, particularly compared to MJ's last couple albums. A compilation of previously unreleased studio recordings, the album Michael is classic MJ, with somewhat of an urban twist. MJ was always very meticulous about who he collaborated with during his career, but there are some great guest appearances on this album.

One way that urban twist has manifested itself is through none other than rapper 50 Cent. His guest appearance on the album, with the song Monster and Akon's guest appearance on the song Hold My Hand, gave the work a nice modern hip-hop feel. I'll be the first to admit how much of a 50 Cent fan I am NOT, but the song Monster is definitely my favorite track on the album. This album is classic MJ at his best, from the beats, to the riffs to the lyrics, MJ takes us on one last ride through his tormented, genius mind and shares with us the gift that is spawned from this fusion.

After listening to the album twice so far, the conclusion is that this album is a must have for any MJ fans out there who were affected by his tragic death. Many of us have been waiting years to here new material from MJ and now that content is here. The album solidifies his reign as the King of Pop, who was never dethroned. This is the return of the king.

Listen to the new Michael Jackson album here.

DREAM Act Passes in the House - 216 to 198

Wednesday night the House put the DREAM Act to give approximately 850,000 students who were brought here at a young age a path to citizenship.  The Bill passed 216 yeas to 198 Nays; 8 Republicans voted FOR the Bill, while 38 Democrats voted AGAINST it.  The Bill now goes to the Senate where it is expected to face heavy opposition from the 42 Republican Senators there.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Obama's Press Conference on the Tax Cuts (VIDEO)

Obama held a press conference yesterday to explain the decision to extend the Bush Tax cuts and to explain just how the hell we got here.  He breaks down the conflict between his desired plan, which was to help the unemployed and middle-class through tax breaks and unemployment benefits, vs. the Republican plan, which was to give tax breaks to the wealthiest 2% and the infamous "trickle-down" economic theory.

After you listen to the intro, jump ahead to a few seconds before the 28:00 minute mark and play to the end from there.  Does he finally get the narrative right here or is this too little too late?

Check out the video after the jump:


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Collapse of a Nation?

History has shown us that every great civilization has collapsed.  Why do we think America would be any different?  There was a time when I convinced myself that it was impossible do to the global economy.  Meaning that the existence of America was financially beneficial to many people throughout the world, as such, they wouldn't let it collapse.  With the recent economic woes, I'm not as confident. 

Normally I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but I do believe that those that shrug EVERYTHING off as mere conspiracy, leave themselves open and unprepared to all types of potentially harmful future events.  If we are honest with ourselves, the conspiracy is really only in the timing since all major religions and science say the end is coming... eventually.

Civilizations collapse for any number of reasons; from economic downfall and WAR, to disease , political turmoil, as strong as America is today, we may not be immune.  History has shown us the even the most powerful empires like Roman Empire or the Han Dynasty aren't immune.  Soviet Union anyone? 

Monday, December 6, 2010

TheUrbanPolitico.com Bowl (why not?)

See how I did that... I made up our OWN bowl.  I figure if the State of New Mexico or Beef O' Brady could make one up... why couldn't we?

 For those DIE HARD college football fanatics, who scream that a playoff system would "hurt the bowl" system... *clearing throat* 

STFU!!!!!

Please excuse my language. 

This is my Love/Hate time of year.  I LOVE football season, I love the both the college and pros (not to mention the further back they push everything, eventually there will be a seamless transition from BCS to March Madness!)  What I HATE is the BCS.  Don't get me wrong, it is MUCH better than what we had before... but not by much.  Now, instead of pulling the National Champion out of a hat, they simply pull the two teams who will be PLAYING for the National Championship out of a hat. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Last Stand over the Bush Tax Cuts ***UPDATE***

I hated Econ in college. It was one of those classes where the professor took a subject that was already complicated and made it into mission impossible.  So I won't make the same mistake of boring you with mathematical formulas and what have you.  Let's keep this thing as simple as possible, cool?  Alright then.  We all know that there's basically one way our federal government makes money: taxes.  What we may not realize is that there are actually 2 ways that our federal government can "spend" money:  (i) by funding programs; and (ii) by giving tax cuts.  That last one may seem kind of counter-intuitive because we don't really think of a government "tax cut" as government "spending."  But look at it this way: the government is entitled, by law, to tax X amount of dollars from the American people each year.  This number (X) becomes known as the annual federal budget.  Let's say for the sake of argument, that the annual federal budget is 100 bucks a year (a Republican's dream, right?).  The federal government is then entitled to tax 100 bucks a year from the American people, so when it gives up this right to tax the American people by, say, $10 bucks for example, it has the same effect as if the government had actually spent the $10 bucks on a program.  Either way, that $10 bucks is gone from the annual budget.  Either way, regardless of whether we chose to literally spend the $10 dollars or give a tax cut in the amount of $10, our annual budget goes from $100 bucks/yr to $90 bucks/yr.  Make sense?  Alright.  If you can understand this basic concept then you are a helluva lot smarter than a lot of our elected officials in Washington right now who do not seem to be able to make the connection that keeping the Bush Tax Cuts will actually cost us money. (to continue our example, a Bush sized Tax cut would take our $100/yr budget down to about $50/yr

So That's How It's Gonna Be, Tim Scott?

32 Black Republicans ran for Congress this year, and of those 32 only 2, Tim Scott and Allen West, were elected this past November during the midterm election.  Traditionally, the Black members of Congress have recognized the value of working together and thus formed the Congressional Black Caucus ("CBC").  It's pretty much a given that if you are Black and you are in Congress (House or Senate) then you are a part of the CBC...until now.  Drawing a distinct line in the sand, Scott made it clear that he will not be joining the CBC.  Per Politico:


"While I recognize the efforts of the CBC and appreciate their invitation for me to caucus with them, I will not be joining at this time. My campaign was never about race," Scott said in a Wednesday evening statement.
More from his release:

"My campaign has been about themes that unite all Americans--restoring the American dream by reducing the tax burden, decreasing government interference in the private sector, and restoring fiscal responsibility, and I don't think those ideals are advanced by focusing on one group of people. I believe that by promoting our conservative values we will grow the economy, which will make everything else possible. The black community, like all communities, will benefit when businesses can use their profits to hire more workers instead of paying higher taxes; when companies decide to locate in America instead of overseas; and when our government no longer saddles our children's futures with ever-increasing debt. I therefore plan to dedicate my time and energy in Congress to working on these areas."
On the other hand, Florida Rep.-elect Allen West said right after the election he plans to join the CBC, becoming the first GOP member since 1996.
So I guess this means we won't be seeing Scott during CBC weekend next year.  But seriously though, why does "reducing the tax burden" or "restoring fiscal responsibility" mean you can't link up with the CBC?  Are you saying that the two are mutually exclusive? Look, (A) - you are Black; (B) - 20% of your constituents in South Carolina are as well and need somebody to speak to their issues; and (C) EVERY OTHER BLACK MEMBER OF CONGRESS - Republican or Democrat - has joined the CBC.  Why?  Because there's strength in numbers.  And if the argument is that the CBC won't vote for the things that you would like to vote for, then get in and make the persuasive argument on why it should! But don't just cop out without even trying.  Besides, there are hardly enough of us in Congress that we can afford to start turning our back on our own people under the pretext of "tax burdens." 


Is Scott making the courageous move into a Post-Racial America or is this brother just lost?
Does Scott's reasoning for not joining the CBC hold water after his fellow Black Republican, West, stated he will be joining the CBC (just as fellow Black Republican JC Watts did before him)?
Do we have to shed our Blackness in order to tackle tax burdens and fiscal responsibility and other core Republican issues?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Final Word on Sarah Palin

[hat tip to FreshxPress for featuring our post]

There's a well-known mantra in the blogosphere that every website administrator has come to appreciate over the years: "Don't Feed the Troll."  You see, a Troll, per the Urban Dictionary, is "[o]ne who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument."  The rule is, when you spot a Troll on your website, you do not, under any circunstances, dignify their comments with a response because, if you do, it will only "feed" their appetite for disruption.  A Troll is not in it for dialogue; they're only in it for aggravation. Namely yours.  Despite the media's recalcitrant insistence on reserving a seat for the former half-term governor (hereinafter "FHTG") at the table of our national political discourse, Sarah Palin is a Troll.  As such, I try not to dignify anything she says or does.  Ever.  (that would be "feeding" the Troll)  However, in light of the fact that Hell hath frozen over (see Republican Joe Scarborough PWN!!! Palin in his latest Poltico article) I'll make an exception just this once and then I will likely never do a post about FHTG Palin ever again unless she actually runs for President in 2012.  So listen up 'cause I'm only gonna say this once.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em???: Obama Freezes Federal Employee Pay

To Cave or not to Cave? That is the question that was answered yesterday when President Obama agreed to take a page from the Republican talking points and freeze Federal employee salaries for 2 years - an undeniable step towards SHRINKING government. And as we all know, the Republicans love the idea of shrinking government.  As the Wall Street Journal reports:

it is more than this Administration has ever been willing to consider, and it suggests that Mr. Obama, post-midterm-shellacking, realizes he must show some willingness to restrain the growth of government.

But does this move really help anything?  As the LA Times reports:


The move would affect 2 million federal workers and save about $5 billion over two years.

The national debt is currently running at about $13 Trillion, and the annual deficit is currently running at about $1 Trillion/year in the red.  That's 12 zero's:  1,000,000,000,000.  Cutting $5 Billion off of the deficit is literally like paying $5 bucks on your credit card bill when you owe a thousand dollars.  So clearly this is a symbolic gesture to a symbolic request, which sends the message that Obama has catered to the Republicans in spite of his Democratic base who has blasted the move:

American Federation of Public Employees President John Gage yesterday derided President Obama's federal pay freeze as a "slap at working people."



Did Obama make the right move here economically?
Did Obama mkae the right move here politically?
Does the general public which voted on November 2 actually believe that Republican policies are good for the economy?
Is it smart policy to succumb to the same ideology that created the deficit in the first place?

Monday, November 29, 2010

From Scottsboro to Gitmo: Owning Up to America's Lynch Mob Mentality

In honor of the 4-day weekend with friends and family, my friends and I decided to treat ourselves to a Broadway show in Times Square.  We saw the Scottsboro Boys, named after the infamous and tragic true-life story of the 9 young Black men wrongly accused of raping 2 White women in the deep South in the 1930's.  The national public outcry was heard from coast to coast; it was like the Jena-6 of its day.  (for more details go here and here)  It would be the understatement of the century to say that none of the young men received a fair trial (or rather, trials, plural) in Alabama where they received the Death Penalty by an all-White jury for the alleged rapes of the White women (not to downplay the seriousness of rape but it typically does not warrant the Death Penalty).  Even after one of the two White women later recanted her story on the witness stand and admitted that the charges were false, the men were still re-convicted of rape and given the life sentences again on their retrial.  I was familiar with the story of the Scottsboro boys before I went to see the Broadway show, but while hearing it again this weekend something stood out to me when the local Alabama Sheriff, after debating whether or not to have a trial, finally said to his deputy "well before we hang 'em we should probably have a trial first."  I found this interesting because, since 9/11, we've been hearing the same argument in modern form as to whether or not terrorists deserve to have a trial. America seems to struggle historically with the inconvenience of following its own rules whenever somebody does something that we find to be repugnant.  As a nation, we'd like to think that we've progressed beyond the days of lynch mobs, but even in 2010 we're still having national debates about whether or not people who have allegedly wronged us deserve a trial in our courts.  In other words, America has not shed its lynch mob mentality.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Urban Beat - Thanksgiving Weekend 2010 Edition

Hope you have all had a good turkey day weekend. Here's a recap on the Urban Politico news of late:

1. Congress is looking to take a vote on the Dream Act this week.  With Republicans coming into the House majority in 2011, many say this is the last chance the Dream Act will have for years to come.

2.  Sarah Palin calls for the United States to stand with it's ally, "North" Korea.  Perhaps she meant to say "South" Korea.

3. Would-be Christmas Tree Bomber in Portland, Oregon is nabbed by the Feds before he can execute his plan to blow up a van during the Christmas Tree lighting ceremony.

4. Obama gets a rough elbow shot during a basketball game and ends up needing 12 stitches.

5. China gets involved in the latest North-South Korea feud and calls for everybody to come to the table and break bread.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

HAPPY THANKSGIVING: FROM THE URBAN POLITICO



As Thanksgiving Day rolls around,
It brings up some facts, quite profound.
We may think that we're poor,
Feel like bums, insecure,
But in truth, our riches astound.
We have friends and family we love;
We have guidance from heaven above.
We have so much more
Than they sell in a store,
We're wealthy, when push comes to shove.
So add up your blessings, I say;
Make Thanksgiving last more than a day.
Enjoy what you've got;
Realize it's a lot,
And you'll make all your cares go away.
By Karl Fuchs
 





From The Janitor, GODSON and The Fed, Happy Thanksgiving.  We are Thankful for our readers, writers and contributors.  Enjoy your friends and family.  May God Bless.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Airport Security: Where's the line?

We live in a country where people can and will protest any and everything.  If you are flying anywhere this Holiday season, please give yourself PLENTY of time.  People are PISSED about the TSA's new procedures on pat downs and screening.   Now, when you go through security, you may be asked to step into a screener that takes an x-rayed "picture" of you.  However, this has become highly controversial and many people are "opting out" and going for the every-so-personal pat down, which is, ironically, just as controversial as the x-ray screening.

I thought we had come to terms with the fact that we can't bring liquids of any kind on a plane including the deadly, lotion, cologne, shampoo or soda.  We learned to avoid this by simply putting those items in our checked baggage...then they tripled the rate of our checked bags....BASTARDS!!!   I thought we were okay with getting undressed, removing all belts, watches, chewing gum foil wrappers, shoes, coats, jackets, even sweat shirts that could be worn as a jacket.  We gave a pass to the "random" checks AFTER walking nearly naked through a medal detector, the need to show up at the airport 3 hours earlier than usual and we didn't mind profiling if it was used to detain someone with a "funny" sounding name or a towel around their head.  Before, ALL of that was fine.  It was generally accepted that it was ALL in the name of National Security and the War on Terror.  An opinion writer in the New York Times from 2007, expresses how baffled he was that the American Public was so tolerant of being "humiliated":
In the end, I’m not sure which is more troubling, the inanity of the existing regulations, or the average American’s acceptance of them and willingness to be humiliated. These wasteful and tedious protocols have solidified into what appears to be indefinite policy, with little or no opposition. There ought to be a tide of protest rising up against this mania. Where is it? At its loudest, the voice of the traveling public is one of grumbled resignation. The op-ed pages are silent, the pundits have nothing meaningful to say.  - NYT Opinion Pages December 28, 2007

Why were we so tolerant back then... but not so much now?  If you've been watching the news or listening to the radio AT ALL, you would've heard the latest "issue" with airport security.  Apparently, NOW it is just simply too intrusive.  Sure, there were grumbles here and there... but I've NEVER seen the TSA Chief (John Pistole) on television this much! 

So, my mind began to wonder...I must admit... my first thoughts (right or wrong) were that now that there is an African American Administration, there is just a general need to bitch and complain about everything to make life hell for the President.  But that wasn't fair... Was it?  My next thought was that the Republican spin machine was/is AMAZING!!!  Not only did they make it so you didn't care that you were poked and prodded and stripped down as you went through airport security, they made it so that you felt it was your patriotic duty to do so!  Now that my friends is PR for your ass!

Then I thought the outrage must be due to the scanners... but after a little digging, I learned it wasn't the scanners...even with fake pictures, Americans support scanners for security 2 to 1. So that wasn't it either. The outrage is actually due to the new pat down techniques.  Have you heard about these? It's the pat down were the public draws the line.  You can take an x-ray picture, but don't "touch my junk!"

So where IS the line?
If a terrorist hides a bomb under his...um... "Tea Bag" and blows up a plane or bomb, THEN would it be okay for more aggressive pat downs?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Feds Up, Ho's Down: Ahmed Ghailani's Conviction and the Military Tribunal Myth

Let's get one thing straight right off the bat - If you are a true American patriot who cares about bringing terrorists to justice, then Military Tribunals are NOT the way to go.  Last week, the first Guantánamo Bay detainee to be tried in federal court under the Obama administration, Ahmed Ghailani, was convicted of Conspiracy to blow up U.S. buildings in the 1998 African Embassy bombings - a crime that caries a 20-years-to-life sentence. (We'll come back to the Conspiracy crime later - for now, just know that the crime of conspiracy is where two or more people agree to commit a crime in the future).  However, because Ghailani was acquitted by the federal jury on the 284 counts of murder charged against him, conservative Military Tribunal advocates are calling the 20-year-to-life conviction a "failure."  It didn't take long for folks like Peter King (R - NY), Liz Cheney and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to start running off at the mouth with the usual talking points.  McConnell, who likes to characterize his inner thoughts as "the American people," had this to say:
“Most Americans wondered why we would even take the chance,” McConnell said today. “And now they’re wondering when the administration will admit it was wrong and assure us just as confidently that terrorists will be tried from now on in the military commission system that was established for this very purpose at the secure facility at Guantanamo Bay, or detained indefinitely, if they cannot be tried without jeopardizing national security. When it comes to terrorism, we should err on the side of protecting the American people.” [substitute "Mitch McConnell" for "The American People/Most Americans" to get the true translation]
So why didn't Ghailani get convicted on the murder charges?  Short answer: because the federal prosecutors did not present any evidence on the murder charges.   Of course, this begs the follow up question, well why didn't they? We presented a more in depth break down HERE but the cliff notes version is this: the murder evidence was inadmissible because it was obtained from illegal torture. (note: the Feds conceded this point)

The pro-enhanced interrogation technique torture crowd, who all seem to be suffering from the same preconceived notion that anything goes in Military Tribunals, pointed to this admissibility problem as proof positive that if this trial had happened in a Military Tribunal things would have been different.   ALL evidence is admissible in a Military Tribunal...or so the argument goes.  If you let the Republicans tell it, in Military Tribunals, terrorists can't "lawyer up" because in Military Tribunals there are NO Constitutional Rights. Heck, there aren't even any lawyers.  It's just a room full of military bad-asses with big guns and itchy trigger fingers. To put terrorists on trial in Federal Courts (aka "Civilian Courts") is reckless, un-American and does not keep us safe.  And if you believe any of that, I have some land to sell you in Florida.

The fact that these myths are still being sold as viable arguments on all the cable news shows lets us further know that the main stream media is either too lazy or too inept at dealing in reality on the Military Tribunal issue.  On this blog, however, we like to deal in facts (lord forbid) so, if you don't mind, let's break this thing down, ok?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Guest Post: Al Sharpton Calls on FCC to Stop Rush Limbaugh

Today's Guest Post comes from a regular contributor to the blog who goes by the name Sadbone.  Be sure to drop a few comments down below and engage our guest as we discuss the latest with Reverend Al and our good pal Rush Limbaugh.

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Al Sharpton calls for the FCC to enforce standards that forbid racially charged language against Clear Channel’s golden boy, Rush Limbaugh.

For years, Rush has created a virtual database of compiled comments that violate basic decency standards set for federally controlled airwaves. Sharpton says that since the license of the stations that carry Limbaugh’s show is granted by the federal government, inappropriate racial comments are not covered by the laws of free speech.

He said, "I think that even if his advertisers can't be stopped with boycotts, the FCC must step in and deal with standards on how they give station clearances to people that just want to race-bait."

Liberal talk show host, Ed Shcultz has taken up Shaprton’s cause and the two are making some noise.  Fox News even picked up the story and has reported on their website, ”If the left can’t get Rush by reviving the Fairness Doctrine, maybe the race card will work.”


Also standing up to Rush is Radio One talk show host on XM’s The Power, Joe Madison, who said that he was going to gather support from civil rights groups to do “exactly what the anti-defamation league would do,” which is contact Limbaugh’s affiliates, sponsors, and the FCC to take action and regulate or boycott the indecency of Rush’s program.

What is Limbaugh’s reaction?  He’s a victim, of course.  He says that the left is out to get him and that his statements were taken out of the context of humor.  What he fails to realize is that he was the only one laughing. Rush has allies too.  His partner-in-racism at Big Government, Andrew Brietbart, is in Limbaugh’s corner, so his drones are upping the stakes by racial comments of their own, calling Clyburn a “House Negro.”  They are also claiming that it is “professional envy” that is motivating Ed Schultz to join Sharpton’s cause.

With the holidays coming and Rush going into hiding, how will all of this pan out?  Will Rush weather yet another firestorm of controversy, which has fueled his entire career?  Or, will time, Sharpton, and the FCC bring an end to the reign of ignorance from Clear Channel?

It is hard to answer because Rush’s show is not commercially successful anyway.  Clear Channel forces the show on its affiliates, even when PD's don’t want it.  And, it is given away for free.  Salesemen from local affiliates forced to carry the show hate it because the Limbaugh show is impossible to sell.  How does it make money then?  Answer: The “Barter” system.  In exchange for carrying the show and filling what would be dead air, Limbaugh’s syndicator, Premiere Radio Networks, gets about 15 minutes in an hour of advertising time to, again, force-feed pre-sold national ads.  For example, Gold Bond has been a long-time supporter of the show, and you can hear their ads on the most remote locations in the U.S.

Considering these facts, it is easy to see why Rush has not been pulled off the air for a litany of inappropriate comments.  Also, he has not had the FCC on his back for a number of reasons, like cronyism, unspecific charges, and a lackadaisical attitude since none of the forbidden 7 have ever been uttered by Limbaugh.

Maybe now, his time has come.

Do you think so?