Saturday, February 27, 2010

So...You Were Saying Something About a "Black Agenda"???

Yesterday, February 26, 2010, President Obama signed an Executive Order specifically aimed at supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU's) after he chronicled their history and defended their continuing relevance in America.  This gesture is particularly poignant as it comes on the heels of a highly contested debate (see Tavis Smiley vs. Al Sharpton) that has been unfolding recently within the Black Community regarding Obama's focus, or lack thereof, on a "Black Agenda."  This action tends to contradict those in the "Tavis" camp who feel that the President has either done "nothing" or "not enough" with respect to programs and initiatives that are specifically aimed at the Black Community.  See the White House video below:

Questions: Even after this recent development, will critics within the Black Community maintain that Obama has done "nothing" to help the Black Community?  If so, why?  Is this event not proof positive that Obama, in fact, does care about the Black Community?  In addition to the clear support towards HBCU's signaled by this Executive Order, what else does Obama need to do for the Black Community to win over the hearts of critics?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Philly Street Fight: Philadelphia Politics at it's Finest

There has been much talk throughout the City of Philadelphia about the upcoming race for State Representative of the 190th Legislative District. Freshman, incumbent Rep Vanessa Lowery Brown, has brought fresh, new, constituent-services-oriented flavor to this seat, one that constituents say has not existed for years.

Philly has been quick to push into the spotlight the odd family feud that seems to be brewing as a result of the opponents who challenge Representative Brown’s House seat. Sharif Street, son of former Philly Mayor, John Street and Thomas Blackwell, son of the late US Rep Lucien Blackwell and stepson of powerful City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, who by the way has put her support behind Sharif Street and NOT her stepson. Sounds like Representative Brown, who is new to the political game, has a tough race ahead right? Well maybe….But let us consider the facts.

Thomas Blackwell who held the house seat for one term prior to Brown being elected, was disqualified from the race for his re-election because of forged signatures on his petitions. Rep Brown went on to win that seat. Sharif Street, who lost a race for City Council at large a few years ago, recently moved into the district specifically to run for this house seat. Which raises the question, is he running because he wants to help the people in his community, or does he just want to get elected somewhere? As all 3 candidates hustle for petition signatures, the tensions rise on the streets as community leaders, business owners and other elected officials choose sides. But which candidate is actually worthy of representing their district in Harrisburg?

The Urban Politico strongly put its support behind State Rep Vanessa Brown, who has a proven track record of fighting for people, way before she was elected into political office. This single mother of a teenage son is a survivor of domestic violence, and a brief stint of homelessness, only to rise up as a block captain and committee person. She has fought hard for women’s issues, homelessness and poverty within her community and overcome tremendous odds to become the first woman to represent the 190th Legislative District. She has stated that her reason for running for office was that she was tired of having doors closed in her face and she wanted to do what she could to make a difference in people’s lives who were dealing with the same issues she had struggled to overcome.

Get Off My TeeVee: Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) Edition

What a disgrace.  Jim Bunning (R-KY) refuses to allow the Senate to vote on a measure to extend benefits that include unemployment, COBRA, and other desperately needed funds.

He is blocking this money from going to the families who need it desperately it.  This is not brave, this is disgusting.

Politico is reporting that when another senator begged him to remove his objection, he said, "tough sh*t."

In this back and forth debate which went on until nearly midnight, Senator Bunning also complained about missing a basketball game.

Republicans sure are the party of family values.  Video after the jump:

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Urban Beat - February 25, 2010

1. The SIX HOUR LONG LIVE Healthcare Reform Summit took place today.

2. Madoff whistleblower talks.

The Heath Care Summit (Live)

Give your comments on the Health Care Summit taking place today 10am Eastern.

Watch the Live Stream Video HERE.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tavis vs. Sharpton

Lately, an ideological rift has formed within the Black Community with regard to President Obama that has effectively divided the Black Community and its "leadership" into two camps: one group feels Obama should be focused specifically on the Black Community - the other group feels Obama should focus on the country as a whole. Voices from the former group tend to express disappointment and even resentment towards Obama for what is perceived to be a retreat from the acknowledgment of race and all issues effecting the Black Community. Voices from the latter group tend to express approval of Obama's acknowledgment of race through race-neutral policies that still target and benefit the Black Community. Perhaps nowhere was this contrast made more stark than during a discussion argument between community figures Rev. Al Sharpton and Tavis Smiley which took place recently during one of Shaprton's radio shows. To provide a bit of context, Sharpton, along with guest Harvard Law professor Charles Ogletree, were discussing the February 18, 2010 meeting called by Obama where he met with various leaders within the Black Community (including Al Sharpton) to discuss the effects that the down economy is having on Black people. Tavis Smiley, having recently organized a meeting in Chicago to discuss the need for Obama's Black agenda, called into Sharpton's show to discuss. Listen HERE. Our take after the jump:
***Again, Big Ups to The Root for giving us a shout out for this post***

The Urban Beat - February 24, 2010

1.  We've got a jobs bill!

2.  Congressional Democrats aim to get their messaging straight on healthcare before tomorrow's televised bipartisan summit.  It's about time!  Sheesh.

2a.  Click here to see a side-by-side comparison of the Senate bill, the REPUBLICAN proposal from 1993, and the piece of crap bill the GOP put out this year.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dodging the Sean Bell Bullet

I remember walking down 125th street in Harlem back in April of 2008 when the announcement came down that the 3 cops who shot Sean Bell were acquitted.  Instantly, you could almost feel the emotion sweep through the City like a dark plague.  I saw Blacks and Latinos walking down the street with frustration and tears in their eyes; one elderly Black man walked straight up to a police officer and asked "is a Black man's life still worth nothing?!"  I remember thinking to myself as a brand new lawyer at the time: "Wow.  How in the hell do you beat a case like that? 50 bullets fired.  3 unarmed men shot.  One man dead (on his wedding night to boot).  And not even so much as a manslaughter charge?  Wow."   I got that feeling all over again when it was just recently announced that the same 3 cops who were acquitted back in '08 dodged yet another bullet.  As it turns out, the Department of Justice has decided to drop the Federal Civil Rights charges against them.

Utah is Stupid: Outlaws Miscarriage

What the eff is Utah thinking?

It is one thing to be pro-life, but it is quite another to be an idiot. The legislators in Utah have proven that they are the latter.

Utah has just passed law OUTLAWING MISCARRIAGE.


It is absolutely unacceptable for a state to criminalize miscarriage.

Did your husband or boyfriend throw you down a flight of stairs last night causing you to miscarry?

 Your miscarriage might fall under Utah's new legal standard for "reckless" conduct and you could be prosecuted and face a life sentence.  Think that couldn't happen in 2010 America?  It already did.

You might even be able to be prosecuted if you forget to buckle up and get into a bad car crash and lose your baby.  Sorry lady, jail for you. 

Am I the only one who thinks this sounds completely insane? Pro-life activists are anti-woman.  You disgust me.

The Urban Beat - February 23, 2010

1. The public option lives! or dies? Confusing.

2.  The Daily Show takes on CPAC!

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
CPAC 2010 - Rage Within the Machine
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

3. The victim in last week's terrorist attack in Austin, Texas is a TRUE HERO.

4. Utah bill criminalizes miscarriage. What.The.Eff.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Urban Beat - February 22, 2010

1.  Read the White House Health Reform Plan below.  Ezra Klein on the politics of this plan and what it means in the big picture here.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Audacity of Bi-Partisanship: My Personal Letter to President Obama

President Obama, you ran your dynamite campaign partly on the premise of Bi-Partisanship. After eight years of Republican tyranny, you knew that the people were tired of politics as usual and the party vendetta’s spilling out onto the House/Senate floor and being played out on the public stage. Your promises of a bi-partisan government were spoken under the context of what had occurred in politics over the previous eight years and the changing dynamic of the political landscape, sparked by the Reagan Administration. We were finally beginning to see that our country would fall apart unless we united and began to push the agenda’s that we could agree on, which for a time seemed to be increasingly abundant. We all agreed that bonuses given to the financial institution czars after being bailed out by Washington was wrong. We also agreed that the war in Iraq was bogus, the health care system was broken, and that our reputation around the world needed to be reinvented if this country would ever take back its place as the international super power that it is.

Get Off My TeeVee: Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) Editiion

He really seems to compare the anger of the terrorist who flew into a building in Austin yesterday to the anger that swept him into office.  Um what???????

The Urban Beat - February 19, 2010

1.  New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) diagnosed with stomach cancer

2.  For those that care here is the Tiger Woods presser.  Warning: It's kind of boring but I look forward to all of the parodies that will certainly be made mocking it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

It Is Terrorism: What If His Name Was Mohammed And Not Joe Stack?

After the Fort Hood tragedy, I did a post about how the media rushed to call that incident terrorism simply based on the fact that the suspect was a Muslim and had a Muslim name.
Well, today a man named Joe Stack wrote an anti-government rant manifesto before setting his house on fire (with his family still inside), allegedly stealing getting in his own airplane, and flying it into a IRS office building with hundreds of federal employees inside working.  The media is describing him as a frustrated guy who chose to commit suicide.  Um what???????

How is this not terrorism?

According to United States law terrorism is defined as:
premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets (read the rest of the definition here)
And here's another definition provided by the FBI:
Domestic terrorism is the unlawful use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual based and operating entirely within the United States or Puerto Rico without foreign direction committed against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof in furtherance of political or social objectives.
Some people are arguing that he was not part of a larger plot or that he did not have the goal of terrorizing the populace.  Um really?  He flew an airplane into a government office building with people INSIDE OF IT.  I'm pretty sure that qualifies as more than just committing suicide.  By this logic, every suicide bomber is just a little disgruntled at the government.  Please.

We don't know all of the facts yet, but based on what we know now, this sounds a lot like terrorism and not a guy off his antidepressant.
There is not a credible definition of terrorism that does not include the act of flying a plane into a building filled with civilians as a political statement. Stack is evidently not religiously motivated, but that does not change the definition at all. If he acted alone, then he’s what the Department of Homeland Security has recently taken to calling a lone-wolf extremist.

Get off My TeeVee: CPAC Edition

I'm sure there will be a lot of videos coming out of the CPAC convention to post here so I'm leaving this one open.

Republican Marc Rubio mocks Obama for teleprompter while standing in front of teleprompter.  I think he read joke about the teleprompter off of the friggin teleprompter! WTF!

The Urban Beat - February 18, 2010

1.  Must see clip of the day! Watch and share with everyone you know!

2.  Republicans are such hypocrites.  They bash the stimulus and at the same time take credit for the jobs it created in their districts.

Rachel Maddow calls specific hypocrites about by name.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Urban Beat - February 17, 2010

1.  How come more people aren't listening to this guy?  Al Qaeda can be defeated in just 24 months? Sign me up!
2.  The stimulus worked.

Get Off My TeeVee: Senator Chris Dodd Edition

Yes, Senator Dodd changing the filibuster rules so we can actually PASS legislation is just so foolish.

Is that really what you meant to say?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Get Off My TeeVee: Dick Cheney Edition

He admits to waterboarding, bashes Obama's handling of HIS ADMINISTRATION'S Iraq debacle and generally makes me want to throw things in the direction of my teevee.  Back to the bunker Dick!

The Urban Beat - February 16, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Urban Beat - February 12, 2010

1.  Must read of the day: Republicans and Medicare by Paul Krugman

2.  Attorney General Eric Holder looks to be backing away from holding the terrorism trials in New York.  Sigh.

Get Off My TeeVee: Marc Theissen Edition

Try to count the number of lies out of former Bush speechwriter Marc Theissen's mouth without running out of paper.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Urban Beat - February 11, 2010

1.  President Clinton hospitalized with chest pains.

2.  No go for the bipartisan jobs bill.  Sigh.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Get Off My TeeVee: Faux News Edition

Fox News Logic: It is snowing, therefore Global Warming does not exist.


The Urban Beat - February 10, 2010

1. John Edwards allegedly engaged to his mistress. Thank goodness this guy wasn't the Democratic nominee! Phew.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Black Like Me Vol. 2: Society's Bi-Racial Conundrum

In a previous post, we explored society's understanding of the term "African American." In this post, we're hoping to shed some light on a topic that has given our label-obsessed, check-the-box-oriented, racial-stereotype-driven society a headache since its inception: bi-racial people. In the 1800's, many states adopted the so-called "One-Drop Rule," whereby any person who had so much as "one drop" of Black blood was considered Black. As Langston Hughes once wrote in The Big Sea, an Autobiography: "You see, unfortunately, I am not black. There are lots of different kinds of blood in our family. But here in the United States, the word 'Negro' is used to mean anyone who has any Negro blood at all in his veins. In Africa, the word is more pure. It means all Negro, therefore black. I am brown." The one-drop rule laid the foundation for the many anti-miscegenation laws that were enacted to outlaw inter-racial relationships in America. (Those laws remained on the books until the 1960's) We'd like to believe that, as a society, we have progressed beyond the "one-drop rule" mentality, but have we really? Who decides where bi-racial people "belong" in our society? Does our society pressure bi-racial people to pick one race over the other? Specifically within the Black community, how are bi-racial people received, and how does that reception square with the Black community's inner struggle of light skin vs. dark skin? Our take after the jump.

The Urban Beat - February 9, 2010

1. Senator Dick Shelby gives up! Finally will stop blocking all of President Obama's nominations.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Get Off My TeeVee: Sarah Palin Edition

Sarah Palin is an idiot.  She calls for Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel to be fired for his use of the word "retarded" in a private conversation, yet she defends Rush Limbaugh's use of the word on his nationally sindicated radio show, because you know, Rush is a comedian using satire...oh wait.

The Urban Beat - February 8, 2010

1.  Congrats to the New Orleans Saints on their Superbowl win yesterday! Who Dat!

1b. 5 Things We Learned From the Superbowl

2.  The White House set to meet for a televised Healthcare Reform summit to discuss ideas with the GOP. (Read: They are on offense.  They are set to change the narrative.  FTW).

A little Hip-Hop to get U through UR Monday

"Exhibit C" by Jay Electronica


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Get Off My TeeVee: Tom Tancredo Edition

What in Jim Crow hell is this idiot talking about?!
Is there any part of this clip that is NOT overtly racist?

Friday, February 5, 2010

It's Time for Some Self-Reflection: Stop Talking About Being Single, No One Cares!

I cannot count the number of times I see a headline or a magazine cover talking about finding a man by using just 10 simple steps to basically trick someone into liking you.

A few months back, I did a post about a new book coming out titled, Bitch is the New Black, and I said then that I was really turned off by the title of the book and the interview with the author in the Washington Post, titled Successful, Black, and Lonely.

The book's author, Helena Andrews has penned a few recent articles for The Root about being single, called "Single-Minded" and although I was hesitant at first to present counterarguments, I could no longer resist.

Black History Month Fact of the Day

It's Black History Month Again!

We at the Urban Politico are proud to be in a position to share information about the rich History of African American people. Although Black History Month is great, it is impossible to acknowledge all of the great accomplishments, inventions and movements, that have come about by Black Folks in only one month, but we are excited about highlighting some little known facts about our history.

Black History is just that OUR History, so I hope that all of our readers will enjoy!!!

1) Did you know that Black History Month originated in 1926 by Dr. Carter G Woodson, Author of "The Mis-Education of the Negro," originally as Negro History Week? The month of February was chosen in honor of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, who were both born in that month.

2) Did you know that in 1991, a Black engineering graduate of Tuskeegee University by the name of Lonnie Johnson invented the now famous "Super Soaker" water gun?

The Urban Beat - February 5, 2010

1.  What in Jim Crow hell?  Tea Party Convention opening speaker and former Congressman Tom Tancredo says we need to bring back literacy tests so that less black people will be able to vote.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Is Gay the New Black?

During last Wednesday's State of the Union Address, you might recall the military brass who respectfully yet firmly remained seated when President Obama announced his aim to eradicate the military's controversial "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. If there was ever any doubt before, the moment provided a crystal clear contrast between the Gay Rights Movement and the leadership of the United States Military.

There is a consensus among those of us here at The Urban Politico that Gays and Lesbians should not be treated as second-class citizens, including service in the military as well as the right to marry. We also note the extreme level of irony in the case where people who have never served in the military somehow feel they have the right to tell anybody, let alone Gay people, that they don't have the right to serve in something that they themselves have never signed up for. However we here at U.P. do disagree on one thing. When making the argument for Gay Rights, it has become increasingly popular to compare or, sometimes, to even equate the Gay Struggle with the Black Struggle. Gay is the "New Black," or so the slogan goes. Just as within the Black Community, some of us feel the two struggles are the same, while some of us feel that the two cannot, and should not, be compared. The Urban Politico staff weighs in after the jump.
(*special thanks to The Root for shouting us out on this topic*) 

NBC Fail: Black History Month Menu=Fried Chicken and Collard Greens

The picture above was posted by The Root's Questlove from the NBC Universal cafeteria.

I mean did the watermelon for dessert just not make it into the image because I really think that's all that's missing.


The Urban Beat - February 4, 2010

1.  Senator Collins EPIC FAIL. 

Best.Political.Ad.Ever. - Demon Sheep

The interwebs had so much fun making fun of this one! 

Question:  If you are Carly Fiorina and you are totally losing your Republican primary race for Senate in California what's the best way to attack your opponent?

Answer: Well, duh! Call him a Demon Sheep!

"The funny thing about this ad, aside from the clumsy over-the-top quality, is the metaphor... And what's the metaphor the ad uses? Sheep. But not in a disparaging way. The good politicians are sheep, doing what Grover Norquist tells them to do. Campbell, the ad tells us, is only pretending to be a sheep, but he's really a wolf. So vote for the sheep." --Jonathan Chait
Check it out after the jump!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Urban Beat - February 3, 2010

1.  Attorney General Eric Holder blasts Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for terrorism hypocrisy.  Holder wins and torture still doesn't work!

2.  New information has come out relating to the Christmas not-bombing investigation.  Watching the Republicans squirm is rather entertaining.

3.  President Obama does Question Time 2.0 but this time with Senate Democrats.  Check out a clip after the jump.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Urban Beat - February 2, 2010

1. Jon Stewart on President Obama's complete and total annihilation of the House Republicans last Friday. Hilarity!
2. Is Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner going to be replaced? Maybe.

Monday, February 1, 2010

February Book of the Month - Game Change

Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime
John Heilemann and Mark Halperin
You ever wonder why Hillary didn't run for President in 2004?  Or why Obama decided to run in 2008?  Or why McCain actually picked Sarah Palin and what was going on inside the McCain-Palin camp after the cameras turned off?  If so, then this is  your book.  This is the ultimate back-stage pass which tells us exactly what was said behind closed doors away from the American public during the historic 2008 election.  

Get Off My TeeVee: Joe Scarborough Edition

Nothing specific about this clip, I just found it interesting and I just want Joe and Mika off generally forevermore. 

The Urban Beat - February 1, 2010

1.  Secretly, President Obama has transformed government in a way that liberals would love but most of us weren't paying enough attention to the details.

2.  Is President Obama tougher on Al Qaeda than George W. Bush?

3.  If you care at all about the John Edwards scandal click here

Grade Obama's First Year *UPDATED*

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 marks the official one-year anniversary of Barack Obama's presidency.  It's amazing how much has transpired in such a relatively short amount of time.  When we think about where we were a year ago and where we are today, the thought conjures up much controversy and emotion, especially within the Black community.  We've been no stranger to these debates here at The Urban Politico as of late, and therefore think it is only fitting that we pose the question: Considering EVERYTHING that has happened from the Inauguration until today, how would you grade Obama's first year as President?

This same question was recently discussed on BlogTalkRadio (big ups to brother Max Reddick for inviting us, check out his blog HERE) where, more or less, the general sentiments expressed were different renditions of disappointment regarding Obama's first year performance, ranging from (i) his lack of attention to the Black community to (ii) his general lack of aggression when faced with opposition to (iii) his apparent adoption of Republican/Bush policies.