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.

2. House Democrats FINALLY stand up for themselves.  However now it is against their "Leader," President Obama.  The Democrats say the won't support the newly "negotiated" tax deal of President Obama.  A group of 53 House Democrats sent a letter to Pelosi urging her to stand her ground against the White House and called the new tax deal "fiscally irresponsible" and "grossly unfair."  However, they have left the door open to work with President Obama and the House Republicans to "improve" the proposal before it comes up for vote.  I guess the Democrats figure the in-fighting will only make them stronger.  I don't remember President Bush having these issues with the Republicans during his administration.  Maybe the Democrats should use their time in the Minority to take notes.  Unless of course Rev. Sharpton has convinces them otherwise.

3. We've talked about Palin, Huckabee, Gingrich and Romney as contenders to challenge Obama in 2012.  But today now there is word of a potential challenger who may actually pose a threat to the Obama Administration.  New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is starting to sound more and more like a potential contender in 2012 making him a very credible challenger.  Bloomberg started out as a Democrat switched to a Republican then announced he was an Independent.  He is popular in New York - which could pose a problem for him in the Red leaning states - and has spoken out against both the Right and Left.   From the Washington Post:

He attacked the "ideologues on the left" for clinging to the belief that taxing and spending can restore prosperity and for holding a government-knows-best approach to creating jobs. He attacked "ideologues on the right" for entrusting all faith in the free market and writing off any significant role for government in shaping the environment in which the economy can flourish.

If he can find the mythical balance between the Federal Government and the Free Market, he would become an attractive candidate to even me...  Stay Tuned.

4. Lastly, famed 1990's African American movie star Wesly Snipes begins his 3 year prison sentence for tax evasion.  The actor known for his roles in the Blade trilogy, Money Train, and White Men Can't Jump, will be spending his days in a minimum security prison in Pennsylvania.  According to U.S. prosecutors, the actor failed to file any tax returns for at least a decade, and owed $2.7 million in taxes on $13.8 million in income from 1999 to 2001 alone.  A former sex symbol, there was a time when Denzel Washington and Wesley Snipes were mentioned in the same breath by women across the country.  What happened?  (Insert Joke Here about instead of Passenger 57, call him Prisoner 57-23590). 
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