Sunday, July 31, 2011

Congress Reaches a Deal on the Debt-Ceiling: Did President Obama Sell Us Out?

Did President Obama Sell Us Out?




Late Sunday evening President Obama along with House Republican Leaders and Senate Democrat Leaders, reached a deal on raising the debt-ceiling before the August 2nd deadline. After months of bickering and an intense stalemate, leaders from both parties have agreed to a "compromise" that should pass both chambers of Congress. All heads are now turned from the soap-opera that has been the debt-ceiling debate, to the actual fine-print of the compromise and how it will effect the people and the economy going forward. According to several new reports this evening, this deal is very close to the original Boehner deal that lacked the votes for passage on Thursday evening.


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Book Reviews-Barack Obama and The Jim Crow Media, Gotrek and Felix, Island and more


Barack Obama and the Jim Crow Media
by Ishmael Reed
This is a collection of Ishmael Reed's writings on the phenomenon of Barack Obama (and black people in general and black men in particular) as viewed through the lens of the US media. Reed argues that white supremacy still remains a potent force in American society-especially the media. Many of these essays were previously published at Counterpunch or at Konch, Reed's personal site. 


A recurring theme of Reed's non-fiction is that the segregated media tells lies about black people. This causes great ignorance among everyone, because those lies are rarely if ever challenged (there is no black CNN/MSNBC/FOX) and often become received wisdom-even among black people. Reed views it as one of his highest responsibilities to tell the truth and shame the devil.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Holding America Hostage: Why the Tea Party of Today = the Dixiecrats of Yesterday

The year was 1964.  America was faced with passing a piece of legislation that would fundamentally change our country forever as we knew it - the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  This single piece of legislation changed America from a country where segregated lunch counters were commonplace into a country where, today, the only segregated lunch counters we've ever heard of are the ones we read about in history books. A crucial vote came to the floor of the United States House of Representatives to pass this law and make desegregation a reality in America.  The Democratic party, at that time, was the Majority party in the House, outnumbering the Republicans 248 to 172.  However, there was a very determined faction of renegade Democrats within the Democratic party known as the "Dixiecrats" (the word "Dixie" being a reference to the South where most of the members were from), and the Dixiecrats had successfully defeated Civil Rights legislation in the House since the 1950's.  The national sentiment at the time was one that embraced the change of racial harmony.  The American people wanted change, but the recalcitrant Dixiecrats didn't care.  They held the country hostage to their own desires, even though they were an extreme minority of approximately 90 members of the 248 Democrats in the House.  The entire democratic concept of "Majority Rule", or the will of the American people for that matter, was lost on these people.

Does any of this sound familiar to anyone?

Rosa Parks' Estate Squabble


Rosa Parks' is a civil rights icon and hero to many. Since her death in 2005, Ms. Parks has become a pawn in a legal tug-of-war. Her estate which included memorabilia once valued at $10M and a cash value of $370K, is now in the midst of dysfunction. A New York City auction house is in possession of her memorabilia and legal fees have drained her estates cash value.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

More Racial Politics: Is it Better to Look Like You or Work For You?



 Choice is an illusion created between those with power and those without.

California’s latest Supreme Court news has sparked a debate that some colleagues and I’ve been having for years.  Governor Jerry Brown’s decision to nominate Goodwin Liu has become a controversial decision. Many feel that Brown passed over several Latino and African American candidates to nominate Liu, an Asian who by all accounts is a liberal and strong supporter of civil rights.  So we find ourselves asking the question again.  Which is more important: that you have a person that looks like you in a position of importance or you have a person who will work for you in a position of importance?

Now clearly I understand that these two things are not mutually exclusive.  I believe we would all agree that having someone with a similar racial and/or ethnic background who also has a point of view that runs parallel with the majority of folks within that same background would be preferable.  However, I fear those days may be behind us.  I hate to be cynical – no, I don’t – but am I the only one who believes that someone like Thurgood Marshall, an “Anomaly,” a champion of civil and individual rights, State accountability, and Federal oversight, would not get the support of a Senate comprised of Tea Partiers? 

The Debt Ceiling Saga Continues: Grover Norquist vs. Lawrence O'Donnell (VIDEO)

In case you're wondering who Grover Norquist is, he's a conservative lobbyist in D.C. who got the Tea Party freshmen in the House to sign onto a pledge to shrink the size of government until it's so small that you can "drown it in a bathtub."  The pledge requires its signatories to refuse to compromise on raising taxes under any circumstances whatsoever.    From the KC Star:

236 of 242 House Republicans and 41 of 48 GOP senators - including every Texas Republican - have signed his pledge to oppose any increase in tax rates or any elimination of deductions and credits not used to lower rates.

BTW, the Pledge has the following text:

I, ______, pledge to the taxpayers of the state
of , _______and to the American people that I will:
ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax
rates for individuals and/or businesses; and
TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and
credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.

Today on Morning Joe, Grover came up against one of his biggest critics, progressive MSNBC talk show host and former Congressman Lawrence O'Donnell.  Let's just say the two of them had a few choice words for each other:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Crushing the Country Does Not Crush Obama: An Open Letter to Donald Trump

It's six days and counting until the country defaults on its debt by not raising the debt ceiling. The impact of failing to complete a routine action will be catastrophic not only for this country and its citizens but for people around the world. IMF Chief Christine Lagarde is already nervous and Tuesday, August 2nd is not even here yet. But you know who's not nervous about the debt ceiling? You know who doesn't care if the United States defaults on its debt for the first time ever? You know who doesn't give two turds about the elderly not receiving social security, taxes increasing, the economy faltering, military contracts not being paid out, or the United States government rendered incapable to run because it has become incapacitated, strangled by the chokehold of its mounting debt and lack of money to pay said debt? You know who doesn't care.... Motherfreaking Donald Trump.

Oh yeah the Donald is back and with a vengeance.

He says Republicans shouldn't cut a deal unless they get 100 percent of what they want. 100 percent. This is despite the fact that even Thomas Jefferson didn't believe this. As the President quoted Monday night:

"Every man cannot have his way in all things. Without this mutual disposition, we are disjointed individuals, but not a society."

Yet in still Trump thinks the Republicans should get everything that they want. If they don't get all the debilitating spending cuts then they should let the debt deadlock turn into default and let Obama take the blame so that he doesn't get re-elected. But don't take the paraphrasing from me. Hear it out of the man's mouth.



Monday, July 25, 2011

DSK Accuser Speaks Out!

The Guinean woman who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault, Nafissatou Diallo, has come out publicly to tell her side of the story. You can watch her here on Good Morning America. She also gave an interview with Newsweek here. This is evidently pretty unusual for an alleged rape victim. Given that everything seems to indicate that the prosecutors do not intend to move forward with the case, this could be her method of pressuring them not to drop the case. Diallo will be doing a Nightline interview on Tuesday.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Movie Reviews-Insidious, The Devil's Rejects, Big Trouble In Little China



Insidious
Many modern horror films go for the gross out. Usually this involves buckets of blood and/or torture. I don't often like those sorts of films. So it was surprising that the creators of Saw could also make a throwback horror film like Insidious, which is full of such cliched but still effective moves like jump cuts, wide shots from above, creepy sounds in the dark and being alone in a dark house and thinking you saw something move. Really one of the most frightening things is to be alone or to lose control. When you go to sleep at night what are the noises that you hear? Is it just the house settling? If you dream is that just as real as what's going on during your waking hours? Insidious uses these fears quite well for the first 2/3rds of the film. It also gives a nod to classic horror themes explored in HP Lovecraft's "The DreamQuest of Unknown Kaddath"

Friday, July 22, 2011

Allen West and Black Conservatives

You may have heard about the tiff between Representative Allen West (R-Florida) and Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.(D-Florida) If not you can read about it here.  In short , DWS criticized West's support for Medicare cuts, given the high number of seniors living in his district and West went ballistic, firing off this email.

From: Z112 West, Allen
Sent: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 04:48 PM
To: Wasserman Schultz, Debbie
Cc: McCarthy, Kevin; Blyth, Jonathan; Pelosi, Nancy; Cantor, Eric
Subject: Unprofessional and Inappropriate Sophomoric Behavior from Wasserman-Schultz
Look, Debbie, I understand that after I departed the House floor you directed your floor speech comments directly towards me. Let me make myself perfectly clear, you want a personal fight, I am happy to oblige. You are the most vile, unprofessional ,and despicable member of the US House of Representatives. If you have something to say to me, stop being a coward and say it to my face, otherwise, shut the heck up. Focus on your own congressional district!
I am bringing your actions today to our Majority Leader and Majority Whip and from this time forward, understand that I shall defend myself forthright against your heinous characterless behavior......which dates back to the disgusting protest you ordered at my campaign hqs, October 2010 in Deerfield Beach.
You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!
Steadfast and Loyal
Congressman Allen B West (R-FL)
Now this is pretty pathetic because it shows among other things that West is incapable of taking criticism without reacting personally. It was pretty over the top behavior for someone who is supposed to be a cool calm leader. But ok. Congress has seen worse. But West wasn't done of course. He went on the Mark Levin radio show where he saw fit to drop these words of wisdom.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Bundling of Subprime Loans by Asset Managers...Again!

Per the Wall Street Journal, there are at least two private investment firms out there that are still leveraging riskier "subprime" loans: Athas Capital and New Penn Financial. Since the subprime financial collapse of 2008, banks have progressively implemented stricter guidelines for lending, especially on mortgages.  In an attempt to keep this crisis from happening again, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall-Street Reform Act in 2010, but it doesn't appear to have completely stopped investment firms like Athas and New Penn.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

TV, Politics, and Al Sharpton

Yesterday I was channel surfing and I stop on MSNBC which I haven't watched in a long time and who do I see on my TV screen... Motherfreaking Al Sharpton. Like dude was in an anchor chair and giving me the news.

I was confused. I thought I had been bamboozled. I was waiting for the cameraman the director anyone in the control room with knowledge of the board to switch the shot but it never happened. I mean Al was giving me the news, his opinion, and commentary and I was just so beside myself I couldn't even pick my up my bottom lip.

So what did I do. I took to twitter to see if anybody else was seeing what I was seeing. After a series of tweets no one responded. Then I went twitter stalking people I don't know but find interesting (don't judge me) and found this:


I never thought I'd see the day al sharpton became relevant. but here it is. here it is. I am so humbled by this startling change of events.


I haaaaaatttttte that al sharpton INSISTS on giving me liffffffffeeeeeeee these days.....this ASSHOLE just played "He's Got the Whole World"



This is somebody I find smart and absolutely hilarious telling me via twitter that Al Sharpton is giving her life. For real though. I mean that's how you really really feel about life. Okay so let me give the Rev a shot.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Why the Obama Admin should be Praised - not Scolded - for Filing Gay Rights Brief

On Friday, July 1, 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a brief on behalf of the lesbian plaintiff in the case of Golinski v. U.S. Office of Personnel Management in the federal district court for the Northern District of California. The brief took a strong position against the Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA") and urged the court not to dismiss the plaintiff's claim against the federal government.  The brief also called DOMA unconstitutional and urged the court to adopt a new standard under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment as it relates to discrimination against people on the basis of sexual orientation.  Currently, laws which discriminate against gays and lesbians on the basis of their sexual orientation must only pass what is known as the "rational basis test," which is the lowest of the 3 scrutiny levels under the Equal Protection Clause.  The Obama Administration argued that "strict scrutiny" should be applied to all laws which seek to discriminate against gays and lesbians on the basis of their sexual orientation, which is the highest and most difficult level of scrutiny under which a law can be reviewed by a court.  In addition, the DOJ's brief chronicled the history of the government's specific role in discriminating against the LGBT community in America.  Lastly, the brief squarely addressed and dismissed the position taken by the private attorney, Paul Clement, who was hired by House Speaker John Boener on behalf of House Republicans to argue in favor of DOMA.  In short, the brief demonstrated in unequivocal terms the Obama Administration's referendum against DOMA.

Given the unmistakable position in favor of LGBT rights taken by the Obama Administration in this case, it is difficult to see how anyone in favor of LGBT rights would take issue with such a measure.  However, that didn't stop gay blogger J didn't want the mainstream media reporting on the filing of the brief because Obama is ashamed to be associated with LGBT rights.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The GOP vs. the Consumer Protection Agency: Will Cordray be any different than Warren?

One would think that after the type of recession that America just experienced (and to a large degree is still currently experiencing), which was created, in part, by the unregulated predatory lending practices of large financial institutions, that the creation of an agency to help the people avoid being preyed upon in the future would be a no-brainer.  But alas, this is America.  The land of the brave and the home of the stupid.  Here, in this country, we like to fight policies that would help us, and we like to support policies that go against our interests.  Case in point, the recent rally by Republican leaders to fight the Consumer Protection Agency.  From the L.A. Times:

In the eyes of some opponents of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Congress and on Wall Street, Richard Cordray is no better a choice to direct it than Elizabeth Warren would have been.  In nominating former Ohio Atty. Gen. Richard Cordray to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, President Obama avoided the highly controversial choice of liberal favorite Elizabeth Warren — but not the controversy..."He was a crusading state attorney general who went after financial firms," said Jaret Seiberg, a financial services policy analyst for MF Global, a major derivatives broker. "The industry has good reason to be suspicious."

During his short time as Ohio attorney general in 2009-10, Cordray initiated several high-profile class-action cases against major financial firms on behalf of the state's pension funds. In separate securities fraud lawsuits, he obtained a $1-billion settlement from giant insurer American International Group Inc. and a $475-million settlement from Bank of America Corp. related to its acquisition of investment banker Merrill Lynch & Co.

A theme of Cordray's tenure filling the expired term of his predecessor was "Holding Wall Street Accountable." He narrowly lost reelection to Republican Mike DeWine last fall and was hired in December as the fledgling bureau's head of enforcement.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said it had "deep concerns" about how Cordray would use the agency's powers. As part of the agency's leadership, Cordray has worked with other regulators and state attorneys general to help settle investigations into botched foreclosure paperwork...

But Cordray faces a tough fight in the Senate. In May, 44 Senate Republicans — enough to mount a successful filibuster — promised to block the nomination of anyone to head the agency unless major changes were made in its structure. Among the changes they want is replacing the single director with a five-member bipartisan commission.

Obama said Monday that he opposed those changes, which he said were being pushed by "an army of lobbyists and lawyers."

The agency, the centerpiece of last year's Wall Street reform law, starts operations Thursday. Obama said the bureau was crucial to preventing the abuses that led to the financial crisis.



So even though Obama gave the position to Warren's second in command, will it make any difference with the GOP?
If not, should he have just kept Warren in the position anyway?
Is the Consumer Protection Agency a good idea?
Does the Consumer Protection Agency actually have teeth to get the job done that it was designed to do (help the people against large corporations)?



Happy Birthday Nelson Mandela!

Nelson Mandela Celebrates His 93rd Birthday

Today the former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela celebrates his 93rd Birthday. Nelson Mandela has become a global public servant and humanitarian. He is one of the most recognizable faces, in the global fight against AID/HIV.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Economic Empowerment: How to Form Your Own LLC (In Plain English)

The Notorious B.I.G. said it best: "Either you slang crack rock or you got a wicked jump shot."  The profoundness of this lyric has become increasingly apparent during these hard economic times where millions of people have worked so hard making other people rich only to find themselves unemployed in return.  Far too often we hear our conservative brethren tell us that in order to make it in America we need to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps.  Although that proposition mistakenly assumes that any of us are born with boots in the first place, the underlying point is not far off from the point made by Biggie: the only way for any of us to become wealthy is if we take matters into our own hands.  In other words, you have to start your own business because you're never going to be financially sound working for somebody else.  Especially in this economy.

Realizing that you need to start your own business is the easy part.  That's the "pull yourself up" assumption of the bootstraps mantra.  Understanding HOW to go about starting your own business, on the other hand, is the hard part.  Nobody ever talks about that part of the mantra.  That is, until today.  In this post I will discuss the 411 on forming your own Limited Liability Company (LLC), which can help make the journey of starting your own business a whole lot easier.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Music Reviews-Eight Women Guitarists

Etta Baker as a young woman
Whether it is cross-cultural socialization or biological coincidence, most guitarists are men. However if there's one thing I firmly believe it's that one's skills are not determined by birth. Anyone can succeed at virtually any endeavor if he or she is willing to put in the time and work needed to do so. With that in mind here are eight women guitarists whose work you might be interested in. They are not listed in any particular order. I am not saying these are the ONLY women guitarists who ever did anything of note. They are just some of the better ones I've heard. YMMV of course. I've left out a few for space concerns.

Friday, July 15, 2011

President Obama News Conference - Debt Ceiling



President Obama made an appearance in the White House Briefing Room this morning, to give the nation an update on the ongoing debt ceiling debate. As we're all very aware, the debt ceiling must be raised before August 2nd to ensure that the US doesn't default on its financial obligations. The President spoke in clear terms and gave us a better understanding of the issue at hand. In an attempt to give you an overview of the three plans on the table, I attempted to contact US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and US House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, unfortunately their lines were busy. I was forced to contact my New York Senator Chuck Shumer's office, where I was given a clear explanation of the three plans. Here are the options before the US Congress and President:

A Product of Our Environment?



"The problems of failing neighborhoods might be blamed on failing schools." - David Guggenheim

I often sit in deep thought analyzing the complexities of our economy and its connection to the American school system. Saturday evening I watched an episode of Lockup, a show I never watch and quite frequently gripe about for it's staring presence on MSNBC's weekend lineup. Something compelled me to not turn the channel and for a good reason. The words of a an inmate sparked me to make a connection between the US economy, the US unemployment rate of 9.2%, the education system, poverty, the prison system, crime and the competitiveness of the US within a global economy.

Book of the Month: The Kid by Sapphire

The Kid
by
Sapphire


From Amazon:
Fifteen years after the publication of Push, one year after the Academy Award-winning film adaptation, Sapphire gives voice to Precious's son, Abdul.
In The Kid bestselling author Sapphire tells the electrifying story of Abdul Jones, the son of Push's unforgettable heroine, Precious.
A story of body and spirit, rooted in the hungers of flesh and of the soul, The Kid brings us deep into the interior life of Abdul Jones. We meet him at age nine, on the day of his mother's funeral. Left alone to navigate a world in which love and hate sometimes hideously masquerade, forced to confront unspeakable violence, his history, and the dark corners of his own heart, Abdul claws his way toward adulthood and toward an identity he can stand behind.
In a generational story that moves with the speed of thought from a Mississippi dirt farm to Harlem in its heyday; from a troubled Catholic orphanage to downtown artist's lofts, The Kid tells of a twenty- first-century young man's fight to find a way toward the future. A testament to the ferocity of the human spirit and the deep nourishing power of love and of art, The Kid chronicles a young man about to take flight. In the intimate, terrifying, and deeply alive story of Abdul's journey, we are witness to an artist's birth by fire.

About the Author

Sapphire is the author of two collections of poetry and the bestselling novel Push. The film adaption of her novel, Precious (2009), received the Academy Award for Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress, in addition to the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Awards in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at Sundance. In 2009 she was a recipient of a United States Artist Fellowship. She lives in New York City.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Politics of CatCalling


Not since the turmoil of the 1960's has the American political culture been more divided, more split, more fractured than of course if you consider the political climate between the sexes from the beginning of time. We here at The Urban Politico discuss a multitude of topics daily before actually bringing you our loyal viewers thorough analysis on said topics. One of those topics was on the issue of catcalling.

Shady_Grady brought this lovely video to our attention: (start at the 4:30 mark)



Girl gets hit on, declines, and goes on to make a video about being hit on and declining because she was still mad that she got hit on. While 4:30 in the morning is not the most appropriate hour for casual conversation on atheism over coffee, I will give props to the man for trying.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tips on Corporate Life from Ned Stark

This week I will begin the latest installment from George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series which started with the book A Game of Thrones. HBO recently completed an adaptation. The book describes human rivalries in a world similar to our own past. As humans haven't really changed over the years it became apparent that Ned Stark, a key character from A Game of Thrones, provided us an excellent example of how not to win in Corporate America. I thought it would be amusing to list some of Ned's mistakes to see how they relate to our own workplace challenges.

This has some spoilers-including a pretty big one-so if you intend to read the book or watch the series when it's released on DVD/Blu-Ray and don't want to know anything about it you need to skip this post. On the other hand if you've already read the book/watched the series or are just curious by nature hopefully this post will be humorous.
SERIOUSLY. IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO READ SPOILERS DO NOT READ PAST THIS POINT!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

We're Not Really Broke: Return to Chains (Part 2)

The economy has gotten progressively worse since the first piece in the "Return to Chains" series. Unemployment as reported on Friday increased again, this time to 9.2 percent. Only 18,000 jobs were added to the economy in the month of June. The President delivered a sobering speech from the Rose Garden with the news-ready message, "We've got a long way to go." But as the economy for the majority of us regular working folks has gotten worse, it's gotten progressively better for the economic puppet masters on Wall Street.

U.S. companies have taken in record profits, yet your share in those profits has continued to decrease. "Since the 1980s, income for the richest one percent of Americans has exploded, while hardly budging at all for everyone else." (source) Additionally, your favorite big bank CEO's have seen their pay rise 36 percent according to the Financial times.
"Two of the industry's biggest names - Jamie Dimon, the JPMorgan Chase chief executive, and Goldman Sachs' Lloyd Blankfein - were paid more than 15 times their 2009 earnings. Mr. Dimon received nearly $21m in 2010, topping the FT's survey of the salary and bonus packages awarded to 15 top bankers. Mr. Blankfein earned $14.1m, including a $5.4m cash bonus - up from $863,000 in 2009."
Is your pay rising 36 percent? No. Has your income just continued to explode since the 1980s? No. Instead you're working harder for less and by the time you retire there will be no cushy Social Security check coming in like clockwork which you will still need to subsidize with other income -- hopefully a 401k -- to make ends meet.

These sad facts come at a time when the representatives and leader of this Nation have 9 days left to reach a deal to increase the debt limit or else the U.S.A. defaults on its loans and we see an economic collapse that could make the Great Depression look like a cakewalk; the 14th amendment clause be damned.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Movie Reviews-The Eagle, Battle:Los Angeles, Elizabeth and more

The Eagle
The Eagle gives a different take on the Roman Ninth Legion's disappearance, which was source material for the film Centurion which I watched earlier. The Eagle starts the story about two decades past the events shown in Centurion. Marcus Aquila (Channing Tatum) is a Roman centurion who is the son of the Ninth's commander. He comes to Britain to wash away his family's shame by recapturing the Legion's standard, the eagle. 
Everyone thinks this is ridiculous but after Aquila proves his mettle as garrison commander he wins his soldiers' respect. However they still have no wish to follow him north of the wall, the massive fortification which separate the wild lands of Caledonia (Scotland) from Roman conquered Britain. And once the injured Aquila is forcibly retired from the Army, his men are under no obligation to help him regain the standard. And they don't. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Affirmative Action in Michigan


In 2006 Michigan voters, via a voter's referendum, constitutionally banned public sector affirmative action for race and gender in education, employment and contracting. This meant that race or gender could officially no longer be taken in account when deciding who was accepted to a given school, which company won the bid for a state or local contract, or who got hired to a public sector job. This referendum was named Proposition 2 and passed easily by a 58-42 margin. The impact of this was mixed to say the least, as there is a Federal Executive Order 11246 ,which under certain circumstances requires federal contractors (ie. public universities) to have affirmative action programs or goals. 

But honestly few people in Michigan cared too much about the impact on employment or contracting so much as they did about the impact on education. Proposition 2 was passed as a reaction to two cases involving the University of Michigan and two different plaintiffs,  Jennifer Gratz (pictured above with Ward Connerly) and Barbara Grutter, who upon being denied admission to the undergrad program and the law school program respectively, threw the mother of all temper tantrums and literally decided to make a federal case out of it. Ultimately Gratz won her case and Grutter lost, for reasons which I am sure The Janitor can explain in great detail. Basically the Supreme Court decided that the undergrad affirmative action admissions policy was too strict and too close to a quota while the law school admissions policy was more narrowly structured, although Justice Sandra Day O'Connor noted that she did not expect that the law school's policy would be necessary 25 years from her decision approving it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Guest Post - LAW & ORDER SERIES Part 1: Disestablishing Paternity - The Case of the Vanishing Equitable Remedy

Today's Guest Post comes from our friend Old Guru.  Show him some love with conversation and questions in the comment section.

***

Imagine this.  A couple meets and begins dating.  We’ll call them Jane and Dick.  After a year of dating, Jane and Dick learn that they are expecting.  When the baby is born, Dick and Jane sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity, which is a contract hospitals provide to establish the legal parents of a baby. They raise their baby together for a few months but break up after only six months. The baby remains with Jane but Dick maintains an active role in his child’s life.


Ok, so fast forward 13 years and Dick has been paying support the entire time.  One day while Dick is picking up the child, Jane asks Dick to be her boyfriend again and Dick says no.  Not to be denied, Jane screams that the baby is not Dick’s anyway and that Steve is the real father.  Dick then buys a DNA kit from CVS and swabs the child, which proves that he is not the biological father.  Dick immediately files a motion with the D.C. Family Court to disestablish paternity of the child, which means he wants to be removed as the legal father.
 
So, we get to the question: Will Dick have to pay child support for the thirteen-year old even though he has proof that the child is not his?

Rules of Engagement

I think there is a pretty strong consensus that marriage proposals and engagements supposed to be special, memorable, and – dare I say – conditional.? I think it is safe to say that there are rules that most folks would agree too. Of course, these rules are… fuzzy…and can be subjective. But for the most part, you would get most folks to agree that there were a couple of things that went wrong in Roy Williams' proposal to his girlfriend Brooke Daniels.

Let me give you the background in a nutshell. Just before Valentine’s Day, Williams, an NFL wide receiver with the Dallas Cowboys, attempted to propose to his girlfriend Daniels, a former Miss Texas. This proposal, which was sent by mail (yes, mail – USPS), consisted of a signed baseball for her brother, money for school and dental bills (Destiny’s Child – Pay My Bills?), a recording of his proposal, and a $75,000 engagement ring. Got all that? He mailed a baseball, money for school and dental bills, a recording of his proposal, $75,000 engagement ring. After receiving her care package, Daniels rejected Williams leading to him asking for his ring back. Daniels said she lost the ring so Williams filed an insurance claim on the “lost” ring. Of course, the insurance company isn’t going to just pay the claim on a near $80K ring – right? Of course not; they investigated. During their investigation, they found that, in fact, the ring wasn’t lost; it was in the possession of Daniels’ father. Neither Daniels nor her father had plans to the ring to Williams. So, what started off as an act of “love” ended up as a law suit for a $75K platinum ring.

The Urban Beat: Casey Anthony Sentencing/Release Date ***UPDATE***



Casey Anthony Not Guilty

After 33 days of testimony and just over 10 hours of deliberations by the 12-panel jury, Casey Anthony has been found Not Guilty on the charges of 1st Degree Murder, Aggravated Child Abuse or Aggravated Manslaughter of a Child; Guilty on four counts of providing False Information to Law Enforcement for the 2008 death of her two-year old daughter, Caylee Anthony.



Wednesday, July 6, 2011

He Say, She Say: The DSK Case

Rich man flirts with poor woman. Flirting becomes aggressive sexual advances. Agressive advances become F*** me and I'll pay you. Poor woman sees the payday and agrees. After it's all over she decides to cry rape.

Sound familiar?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Debt Ceiling: Is Refusing to Raise it Unconstitutional?

In an earlier post about the Debt Ceiling, we examined what the Debt Ceiling is and why it has become a big deal all of a sudden.  The import of our earlier discussion is that if Congress refuses to raise the bar on the Debt Ceiling by a certain date, the United States will be forced to default on its obligations to repay money that it borrowed on the "Full Faith and Credit" of the United States.  Once that happens, the credit rating of the United States will be on par with Bernie Madoff, world markets would lose confidence in U.S. treasuries thereby negatively impacting America's ability to raise money around the globe, interest rates will rise, the stock market will fall, and the U.S. economy would likely find itself in an economic depression that makes this latest recession seem like a nice walk in the park.  With the August 2 deadline for the debt ceiling quickly approaching and with apparently no end to the political brinkmanship in sight, some members of Congress, Constitutional scholars, and others have begun to ask a new question that would supersede the current political games:  all this talk about raising or not raising the debt ceiling might make for great political theater, but Constitutionally speaking, do we even have a choice here?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July from The Urban Politico

America the Beautiful: What America Means to Me



Today many of us will gather with friends and family over food, drinks and fireworks. We celebrate our nation's independence and commemorate the Declaration of Independence. We are reminded of our country's plight and it's long standing commitment to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. We are a nation rich in diversity, filled with patriotism and optimism. Regardless of current flaws, ideals or our nations stained past - America is still, the best country on earth. We here at The Urban Politico are proud to be Americans.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Music Reviews- Earl Greyhound and Joe Tex


Earl Greyhound
Earl Greyhound is a power trio rock band from Brooklyn, that has been tagged as the "next big thing" for more than a few years now. Unfortunately and rather strangely they've never quite lived up to expectations in terms of sales or media attention. They give very energetic live shows though and could well be one of the better rock bands no one's ever heard of. Earl Greyhound consists of Kamara Thomas on vocals and bass, Matt Whyte on vocals and guitar and Ricc Sheridan on drums.
Yes, in some respects they are a seventies revivalist rock band but if that hook can propel the Black Crowes and Lenny Kravitz to fame and fortune, why not Earl Greyhound? Anyway they're more than seventies wannabees. That they are a mostly black band working in what has come to be a mostly white genre may not help matters as well as the fact that they only release an album every four years or so. It's hard to build excitement and following with such a leisurely release schedule. But these days albums are just about dead anyway. Hmm.

Friday, July 1, 2011

International Treaties and Texas

Humberto Leal Garcia
Texas has given us a lot of good things:  Albert Collins. James Lee BurkeFreddie King.  ZZ Top. Cornell Dupree.  Barbara Jordan.

Texas has also given us a justice system that makes it very clear that if you do the crime you most definitely are gonna do the time. Texas has no issue with the death penalty. Since the death penalty was allowed again, Texas has executed more people than anywhere else. Texas also has a reputation for not really seeming to care too much about that whole dotting the i's and crossing the t's thingie when it comes to getting convictions.