Tuesday, January 31, 2012

More Of Malcolm's Personal Life Recently Revealed

In Honor of Black History Month we thought this would be a great way to get things started. For all you Malcolm X fans out there, this amazing article will shed even more light into the great revolutionary's life. Enjoy and Happy Black History Month!

From AP Wires: 

DETROIT — Documents outlining the crime that landed Malcolm X in prison in the 1940s are among some 1,000 recently unearthed items purchased jointly by the civil rights leader's foundation and an independent collector of African-American artifacts.
The documents and other artifacts belonged to late musician Malcolm "Shorty" Jarvis, who served in prison with Malcolm X and was one of his closest friends. Jarvis' 1976 pardon paper also is part of the collection, which was recently discovered by accident.
The items had been in a Connecticut storage unit that had gone into default, and were initially auctioned off to a buyer who had no idea what he was bidding on.

Operation Fast and Furious: Arizona's Fault NOT Obama Administration

After months of investigations, subpoenas, testimony and deliberation, there is finally a written report that absolves the Obama Administration of wrong doings in the gun trafficking saga: Operation Fast and Furious. According to a report to be published today by House Democrats on the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, agents in Arizona's A.T.F are responsible for the missing guns and not the Obama Administration.

In an 89-page report, titled “Fatally Flawed: Five Years of Gun-walking in Arizona,” the Democratic staff portrays Fast and Furious as the fourth investigation, dating back to 2006, in which Arizona-based agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives employed the tactic “gun-walking” — failing to interdict illegally purchased guns in an attempt to build a bigger case.
“This report debunks many unsubstantiated conspiracy theories,” Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland, wrote in a cover letter. “Contrary to repeated claims by some, the committee has obtained no evidence that Operation Fast and Furious was a politically motivated operation conceived and directed by high-level Obama administration political appointees at the Department of Justice.” 

Monday, January 30, 2012

What the Heck Happened to Gingrich in Florida??? (VIDEO)

So what happened?
Did the lackluster debate performance do Gingrich in?
Are the Super PACS responsible for this turn around of momentum from Gingrich to Romney?
Is Gingrich out?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Movie Reviews- Red Tails, Kill List and more

Red Tails

Ok, first things first about Red Tails, because this has been going around the blog-o-sphere a bit. There are no black women in Red Tails. A few are shown in photographs. One man has a relationship with a local white (actually more olive) woman. They kiss and apparently (it is after all a PG-13 film not R) do the do. Imagine that!! A man away from home and a woman with no men around actually find each other attractive. If that bothers you enough to make you clutch your pearls in shock and not want to see the movie then that's that. To each their own.  Keep your race pure, fight the power, skip the movie.

Red Tails is not a great movie. It has some rather serious pacing and script problems. This was the director's (Anthony Hemingway) big screen debut. It's not overly surprising that the dialogue is stilted with a decidedly small screen feel. Many actors are people you will recognize from The Wire, which is where the director was from.
As you already know from the hype, reaction and criticism Red Tails tells the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, African American fighter pilots of the WW2 AAF who had to battle segregation, an intensely hostile officer brass and media scorn to be able to make a contribution to the war effort.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Free Birth Control!!! (Whether you want it or not)

Conversation between Federal Government and citizen.
Maybe I should use a different finger to make my point
Well hello there subject citizen! I’m here to help you. From now on all of your birth control pills are gonna be free!! No co-pays or deductibles. Isn’t that special? You can thank me later.
What’s that friend? You say you don’t need or use birth control pills? Hmm. Well that’s no problem because future HIV screenings, breast pumps, sterilization procedures, domestic violence counseling and screening, well-woman tests, and STD counseling are gonna be free!!! Isn’t that wonderful? Aren't you just quivering with joy and gratitude? I know I would be. 

Oh. You say you’re an XY human being and not an XX human being. Well see I’m afraid these benefits apply only to people with XX chromosomes.  You XY's will just have to continue to pay on your own for gender specific issues. I think that’s fair. Since I’m the Federal government, what I say goes. I got your equal protection right here pal.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Join The Urban Politico Team: Live Chat - GOP Presidental Debate on CNN

LIVE CHAT with The Urban Politico Team TONIGHT @ 8PM EST

GOP South Carolina Presidential Primary Debate Hosted By:
CNN, CNN en Espanol, The Hispanic Leadership Network and the Republican Party of Florida

CNN will broadcast the debate starting at 8 p.m. EST.

Live Stream @ live.cnn.com

Join us this evening for a live-chat via http://www.theurbanpolitico.com/ and logging into our Chat Feature.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

President Obama's 2012 State of the Union Address: Full Speech and Synopsis

President Obama's 2012 State of the Union Address
Presidents have long used the State of the Union address to highlight their accomplishments, and layout their vision and plans for the upcoming year. This year was no different. 2012 is unique because it's an election year.  A year where the siting President is seeking a second-term and his policies are under attack by his opposition. Exemplifying the essence and persuasiveness of his oratory skills, President Obama took everyone to class giving a lesson that included a much needed walk down memory lane.  He detailed a list of his accomplishments, (ensuring to highlight the policy decisions that have worked and produced significant results, which are currently under scrutiny by GOP Presidential contenders) and provided an analysis of policy matters where both parties have been in agreement in past political climates; a quick preview into the issues he will tackle as candidate Obama. 

Ladies and Gentleman, He's Back!!!!  Class in in session.... 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Join Us Tonight - Live Chat: State of the Union Address

2012 State of the Union Address

Join us again for a LIVE CHAT TONIGHT during the President's State of the Union Address at 9:00 pm EST.

The White House will live-stream the video here:
The Open Politico

Open forum for any of our readers to discuss issues, drop links to articles or videos, or just voice your opinion about whatever is on your mind out there in Urban or Political news.

Sound Off........

Red Tails, Black in Hollywood, What's Next

After heavy promotion and a well constructed sob story for George Lucas's Tuskeege Airmen opus Red Tails, the film took the number two spot at the weekend box office. Raking in $19.1 million in its opening weekend. The Black action history flick was second only to Underworld Awakening, the vampire thriller starring Kate Beckinsale. This isn't the first time a predominantly Black film has finished its first weekend in the top three spot. But it is the first time that it's happened with a White Executive Producer begging people -- Black and White alike -- to go out and see a film or else we never get another colored picture ever again.

The doom and gloom rhetoric surrounding the plight of Black actors, actresses, directors, writers, producers and any other positions in the upper echelons of the Hollywood machine have long been highlighted in the Black community: radio shows, websites, blogs like the one you're reading. But while the problem has been highlighted the attitude has always been, "We'll show Hollywood we can be a box office smash too. We'll show Hollywood our stories are worth telling."

Now we have Hollywood's golden boy blaring the same tune on his trumpet for cinematic justice. But the question remains.... Will it make even the slightest bit of difference?

Willard's Tax Returns

It must be nice to be Willard and Ann Romney. I say this because they literally made money while they slept in 2010 and 2011. Neither Willard nor Ann had to punch a clock, report to an office or take direction from a supervisor. That says a lot about the man who wants to be the next President of the United States of America, a nation where 99% of the people MUST earn a wage.

Let's examine the wealth gap and look at the Romney's tax returns.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Is Mitt's problem Region or Religion

To the chagrin of our president, there is still a red America and a blue America. A red America, that, in the past, represented a more intellectually conservative point of view, has dissolved into a party ran mostly by Southern social conservatives. Once Strom Thurmond and his Dixiecrats made the move to the Republican Party, they helped give a voice to the disaffected Southern white voters. Eventually, with growth of like-minded communities, the South came to be the geographical representation of the Republican Party. As the Party is forced further to the right, the likelihood of Mitt Romney becoming their nominee becomes more unlikely - though not impossible.

Romney started behind the proverbial 8-ball simply because of his religious beliefs. Romney is a Mormon. However, I’m under the impression that the ascension of President Obama to the White House made Romney’s Mormon pill a little easier to swallow. After all, if a Muslim, Buddhist, Communist, Socialist, Black Liberation Theology Christian without a legitimate birth certificate can be elected to the highest office, a Christian Mormon should be fine. This has more to do with the region he’s from than his religion.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Don't Call it a Comeback, I Been Here for Years!

Ladies and gentlemen, we officially have ourselves a race!  What seemed like a foregone conclusion for Mitt Romney only a few days ago has now turned into an open 3-man contest with Rick Santorum winning Iowa, Romney winning New Hampshire and now Gingrich winning South Carolina.  And not only did Gingrich win South Carolina, but he won it walking away; he beat Romney by 13 points (over 75,000 votes).

Results for South Carolina Republican Primary (U.S. Presidential Primary)
Jan 21, 2012 (100% of precincts reporting)
1. Newt Gingrich243,15340.4%
2. Mitt Romney167,27927.8%
3. Rick Santorum102,05517%
4. Ron Paul77,99313%
5. Rick Perry2,4940.4%

What does it mean that Gingrich won by double digits?
Does this give Gingrich the momentum to carry Florida?
Did the debates give Gingrich his boost?
Is this a testament to the "Southern Strategy?"

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Music Reviews-Songs in the Key of Life, Hardcore Jollies and Etta James

Songs in the Key of Life

Stevie Wonder is often considered to be a genius. I can't call if but if he is then Songs in the Key of Life is the release that proves it. He had never created anything as fantastic before and would never do anything as sublime afterwards. This is without a doubt the best release Wonder ever created, a top ten seventies album and arguably one of the best albums of all time.
Growing up, I listened to this album obsessively. It was one of the few current pop albums that my parents also loved. There were many times that I would come home to hear this album playing. So it brings back a ton of good memories. Wonder's writing here is top notch. Listening to it makes you think why can't people write lyrics like that today? His love songs get the point across without getting lost in explicit descriptions. The blues and protest songs are angry and direct but don't slide off into pity or hatred. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Breaking News: Etta James, Dead at Age 73

Legendary Singer Etta James Has Passed Away At Age 73

From Eyewitness News:

Etta James, the legendary singer who mastered a range of styles from R&B and soul to jazz and blues, has died at the age of 73 from terminal leukemia.

The veteran singer, nicknamed The Matriarch of R&B and "Miss Peaches," had been hospitalized late December and for a time was on a respirator to handle her breathing for her. She died early Friday at Riverside Community Hospital.

James, who would have turned 74 on January 25, also suffered from dementia. She was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. Her enduring hits include "At Last" and "Tell Mama."

Reality for Black Women in Corporate America

Last week I came across an article that revealed "in-depth details" about US First Lady Michelle Obama and her relationship with White House Staff. The book titled "The Obamas" was written by New York Times Reporter, Jodi Kantor. In the book, Kantor reveals details about the First Lady's negative interactions with her husband's most senior advisers and attempts to label her as someone dictating US policy through the President. Kantor's sources are current and former white house aides. Without promoting this book and going into an in-depth report, basically Mrs. Obama is summed up as an "angry black woman" and someone who is overly ambitious of her husband's agenda and an overall force to be reckoned with in the West Wing. After reading through the various reports, it appeared to me that Mrs. Obama is simply supporting her husband (which is what a good wife is supposed to do), acting as a confidante and serving as a voice of outside reason to the President. As cited by Kantor through her sources, allegedly Mrs. Obama was unhappy with the line up of her husband's staff and often times felt they didn't have his best interests at heart with regard to certain policy matters.

Michelle Obama Debunks Kantor's Claims

Thursday, January 19, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: Perry out of Race!!

ZZ Flop, we hardly got to know you!

Texas Gov. Rick Perry will end his bid for the Republican presidential nomination today and is expected to endorse former House speaker Newt Gingrich, according to two sources familiar with his thinking.
Gingrich himself said via email this morning that all he knows is “not much. Rumors.”
Perry has called a press conference at 11 a.m. this morning in North Charleston to announce the news, which was first reported by CNN’s Peter Hamby.

Perry’s announcement comes just hours before the candidates will gather for their 16th debate of the Republican race and just two days before the South Carolina primary.
For the last several months, it had become clear that Perry would not be a major factor in the race — hamstrung by a string of lackluster debate performances that culminated in his inability to name the three federal agencies that he would eliminate if elected president.
One early Perry fundraiser, who soured on the campaign as the candidate repeatedly stumbled, said the decision “was a foregone conclusion to what has been quite possibly the worst-run presidential campaign of our lifetimes.”
Following a fifth place finish in Iowa, Perry said that he would return to Texas to reassess his candidacy. But, less than 24 hours later he announced — via Twitter! — that he would continue in the race.

1) Does this clear the field for a conservative alternative to Romney?
2) Why didn't Perry get more traction in the race?
3) Did the Texas accent remind voters of Bush too much?
4) Did you ever get the feeling that Perry's heart just wasn't in it? 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The US Military: Is it bereft of discipline?

There's a saying in the military that "There are no undisciplined soldiers.  Only untrained soldiers."  Well, if this is true, the military should immediately mandate sensitivity and ethics training across the armed forces.  Recently, a video surfaced showing four Marine snipers urinating on dead Taliban soldiers.  Now I know there are no classes entitled, "Don't pee on your enemy." But these soldiers' actions forces one to question whether these soldiers had any training at all on the laws of war.  These soldiers, who have performed one of the most disrespectful and disgusting acts possible to deceased humans, seem incomprehensibly undisciplined.  But this brings us a broader point: Why are US soldiers behaving in this manner?

Speak with any drill sergeant and they will tell you that the military has gone soft.  They'll tell you that training is less rigorous, shorter, and that current recruits are lazy and spoiled.  But that aside, shouldn't recruits come to basic training with a minimal respect of humankind?  Well apparently not.  Maybe video games and the lack of basic social and communication skills  really have corrupted our youth because they just don't give a damn.

Detroit City Council President-Broke and Busted

I don't know about you but I like to model my behavior after those who are successful at what they do. If I need to lose weight I'm not going to pick a doctor, dietitian or personal trainer who's morbidly obese. If I want career advice I won't listen to some fellow that has been in the same job without promotion for his whole life. And if I want to be successful with the opposite sex I certainly wouldn't seek counsel from a man that hasn't been on a date since the Reagan Administration. But that's just me. Evidently some good citizens of the city of Detroit feel differently.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Republican Base Boos Juan Williams: Who Are These People?

Even though they probably could have saved those last 10-or-so debates, the one positive that we can take away from watching all of these things is that we've learned a lot about the Republican base.  First they cheered for the idea of executing people in the electric chair.  Then they booed a solider currently serving in the United States military because he was gay.  Then they cheered for the idea of letting sick people die.  At Monday's South Carolina debate they did it again, only this time they booed Fox News' Juan Williams over the idea that Newt Gingrich may have made racially insensitive remarks about Black people and food stamps.

The Urban Politico: Open Politico Discussion Forum

The Open Politico

Open forum for any of our readers to discuss issues, drop links to articles or videos, or just voice your opinion about whatever is on your mind out there in Urban or Political news.

Sound Off........

Monday, January 16, 2012

Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere

We often talk about the "fierce urgency of now" on this blog.  We have a lively debate on this post discussing how easy it is for those in certain privileged positions to make laws and rules for everyone else with complete disregard for historical facts.  I feel that Dr. King's Letter from Birmingham Jail perfectly embodies exactly how I feel about these...privileged "decision makers."  I've posted an abridged version of Dr. King's letter to share with the readers.  Dr. King was a master of words.  I can do him NO justices!  However, if you'd like, you can read the letter in its entirety here

Powerful Words Below:

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct-action campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied." 

We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God-given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we stiff creep at horse-and-buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging dark of segregation to say, "Wait." But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son who is asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?"; when you take a cross-country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white" and "colored"; when your first name becomes "nigger," your middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother are never given the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you go forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness" then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. 

Thanks for reading.

The Legacy of Dr. King: The Memorial and Celebrating His Life Through Service

Celebrating the Legacy of Dr. King

Today marks the 26th anniversary of the US national holiday in observance of Dr. King's birthday. Dr. King would have been 83-years old today. In honor of Dr. King, his commitment to service and social justice, I am in Washington D.C. volunteering with a group of friends on the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service. On Sunday afternoon I took a trip to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in our nation's capitol. Let's take a look.....

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Book Reviews-Rethinking A Dance with Dragons, Just After Sunset and more

Rethinking A Dance With Dragons
A good friend started George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series on my recommendation and has read the first four books. She is finishing book five, A Dance with Dragons (ADWD). To put it mildly, so far she is less than impressed. "Dumb, Dumb, Dumb" were her exact words.

We agreed that the first three books were excellent, but that there were a few stumbles in book 4, A Feast for Crows (AFFC). I think AFFC is worse than ADWD but having now reread and discussed ADWD I would make a few additions to my original lukewarm positive review. I briefly touched on these points before but didn't emphasize them.
There are some spoilers from the first book although I will generally avoid spoilers from the other books. If you figure stuff out on your own well I can't help that. Have a cookie because you're smarter than the average bear!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Does Libertarianism Trump Decency?

Have you been paying attention to the Republican Presidential primaries? Have you noticed the strong following Ron Paul has? He finished a very respectable third in Iowa, and second in New Hampshire. Now he is taking his message to South Carolina where I suspect his message will ring nicely in the ears of their Tea Party heavy population.

While running as a Republican, Paul’s message is really one of a Libertarian. If you listen closely, you can absolutely see how a Libertarian message, on its surface, resonates with the conservative masses. It is a message of pure individuality. At its most basic form, Paul’s message is one where the constitution grants each of us individual rights that must not, and cannot, be usurped by the Federal government. A Libertarian believes that each individual has the right to control his or her own body, action, speech, and property. Simply put, as long as you do not hurt anyone else, you should be allowed to do as you please. If you want to go into business for yourself, no problem; if you want to be a career student, by all means; if you want to smoke weed or use your body to profit by performing sexual favors, who are we to say “no.” From a Republican perspective, this is small government in its truest form.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Worst. Judge. Ever.

I want to take a break from the Republican Primary, if I may, and focus on an issue of injustice on our nation's highest court.  I'm talking about Clarence Thomas.  That's right, good old "Uncle Thomas."  Nobody butchers the reading of the Constitution more than Justice Thomas.  Last March we wrote a post about a highly controversial Supreme Court decision authored by Justice Thomas where he decided that a Black man (John Thompson) had no right to sue the New Orleans District Attorney's office that had wrongfully convicted and imprisoned him for 18 years after it was discovered that the District Attorney's office had intentionally buried evidence that would have proved the man's innocence.  It doesn't get much lower than that.  In one of the most bizarre and illogical decisions ever handed down by the Supreme Court (which is really saying something), Justice Thomas, writing for the majority, said that John Thompson could not sue the New Orleans prosecutor's office because he could not prove that there was a "pattern" of hiding evidence committed by the prosecutor's office in other cases besides his own.

Tuesday of this week, the Supreme Court decided yet another case involving evidence that was hidden during a criminal trial by none other than...wait for it...the New Orleans prosecutor's office!  Once again, New Orleans prosecutors committed what is known in the legal world as a "Brady Violation"1 by hiding evidence that could have overturned somebody's murder conviction.  In this case, it was a Black man by the name of Juan Smith.  In addition to hiding the evidence in these two cases, the Orleans Public Defender's Office reports that the New Orleans prosecutor's office has hidden evidence in 28 cases.  28!

You were saying something about a pattern?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Guest Post: Romney, Gingrich, Santorum, and Paul...Oh My Enter the Future of the Progressive Party, Meet this year’s NLC Fellows

Being asked to suspend one's belief is completely appropriate when reading science-fiction or watching a magic show. To date, there has been many a moment when the GOP presidential primary race has felt like both.

However, no moment was more oddly pronounced than GOP hopeful, Rick Santorum failing at sleight of hand or lips when attempting to redact comments he made in pre-caucus Iowa. Altering, "I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money," to "I don't want to make black people’s lives better."

Romney Wins New Hampshire Primary - Is it a Wrap?

Results for New Hampshire Republican Primary (U.S. Presidential Primary)
Jan 10, 2012 (95% of precincts reporting)
1. Mitt Romney95,66939.4%
2. Ron Paul55,45522.8%
3. Jon Huntsman40,90316.8%
4. Newt Gingrich22,9219.4%
5. Rick Santorum22,7089.3%
6. Rick Perry
7. Michele Bachmann

There are 4 primaries in January, (Iowa Caucus, New Hampshire Primary, South Carolina Primary and Florida Primary), 6 in February (Nevada Caucus, Maine Caucus, Minnesota Caucus, Colorado Caucus, Colorado Caucus, Michigan Primary and Arizona Primary), and 1 in March (Washington State Caucus) ALL BEFORE the so-called "Super Tuesday" primary election on March 6, 2012:  Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida.  Mitt Romney has just made history by becoming the first Republican nominee to win both Iowa and New Hampshire.  Now he heads into South Carolina which is a state heavily populated with Christian Evangelicals who may not be as receptive to a Mormon like Romney as Iowa and New Hampshire both were.  Moreover, candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have been hammering Romney with negative TV ads in South Carolina for weeks.  Nevertheless, there's no denying that in politics, momentum can be contagious in attracting other voters so given the fact that Romney has now picked up 2 states in a row we are left with one question:

Is it a wrap?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

How Romney Destroyed Jobs and Why It Won't Matter in the GOP Primary

Mitt Romney (center) and colleagues at Bain Capital
Over the next few days you may come to hear some dirt about Republican front-runner Mitt Romney.  A 28-minute video is being released by a PAC affiliated with Newt Gingrich that was produced by somebody formerly affiliated with Texas Governor Rick Perry's campaign.  In short, the video takes shots at Romney and exposes some of the skeletons in his closet.  One of those skeletons is how our dear Mitt made his millions at the expense of workers losing their jobs.  Indeed, the Wall Street Journal recently ran an article which studied the 77 companies effected by Mitt Romney's venture capital firm, Bain Capital, from 1984 to 1999 while Romney was in charge.  From a strictly financial perspective, Bain Capital did relatively well; from 1984 to 1999 it turned $1.1 Billion in investments into gains of $2.5 Billion.  Likewise, Romney also ate well from this success; he earned between $190 Million to $250 Million personally during this time period.  Not too shabby, right?  But, again, that only tells the story from a strictly financial perspective.  When we look at the story from the perspective of the workers at these companies - many of whom lost their jobs as a result of Bain Capital's manipulations - it paints a completely different picture.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Ron Paul Calls Out the Criminal Justice System as Unfair to Blacks

Say what you will about Congressman Ron Paul, but the man went on the record during Saturday night's New Hampshire debate to speak power to truth about something that most politicians - both Democrats and Republicans - purposely avoid talking about in public: the disproportionate incarceration rates of Blacks in our criminal justice system.  Take a listen: 

Mind you, this is the same man who does not believe that government should be able to tell a private business that it must serve Blacks at a lunch counter if it doesn't want to, but as far as his comments on the issue of the criminal justice system we have to give credit where credit is due.  It is a verifiable fact that Blacks who commit the exact same crimes as Whites are convicted and receive harsher sentences than do Whites.  It is rare to hear anyone in elected office speak about this fact so we felt it was necessary to highlight Ron Paul's comments here.

  • Did Ron Paul get it right - is the criminal justice system unfair to Blacks?
  • Did he damage his chances of winning the GOP nomination by speaking publicly about this observation?
  • Why didn't the Republican audience clap for this statement the same way that they clapped for the death penalty during previous debates?
  • Why don't more politicians speak about or try to change this problem in our criminal justice system?

Who's Putting Paychecks in People's Pockets Now

Friday's unemployment numbers for the month of December did not reflect the dramatic drop we saw in November from 9 percent to 8.6 percent, but there was a drop none-the-less. The new unemployment rate of 8.5 percent for the general population, 15.8 percent for Blacks and 11 percent for Hispanics comes with the addition of 200 thousand jobs to payrolls. Friday's announcement was good news for the economy though not great; the DOW fell 55 points.

The release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics also plays a political role now that we are in full swing for the 2012 election. At a time where all of President Obama's opponents, both declared and undeclared are calling him the best foodstamp President we've ever had, he now has numbers to back up his claims he is putting Americans back to work; even if it is not as quickly as we would like.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Recess Appointment Issue Fully Explained

Just press play:

Part 1:

Part 2:

You're welcome.

Movie Reviews-Ink, Contagion and more

Have you ever had a particularly vivid dream, woke up and wondered where it came from?
Do you have sudden benevolent urges to give that indigent money, help an older person to cross the street or hold the door open for someone carrying packages? Or do you sometimes have feelings of paranoia or aggression. Do you humiliate the waitress for getting your order wrong or make a co-worker feel like crap for making a mistake? Do you lie awake thinking about what you SHOULD have said or done to someone who offended you, how angry you are that you may not see that person again and how you're not going to take it anymore?
There are some flicks which shamelessly steal from other movies and yet still manage to be inventive in their own right. Ink is such a movie. It is also a film which answers the questions posed above. Like its influences The Matrix, Dark City, Donnie Darko and a few others, Ink posits a reality that exists alongside our own and has impact on us, though we may never touch it. The movie makes a nod to the strange world of quantum physics. Ink is also at the same time a real fairy tale that may touch your internal sentimental child.

Friday, January 6, 2012

January Book of the Month: Here Comes Trouble, by Michael Moore

Here Comes Trouble

by Michael Moore

Michael Moore is a compassionate, funny, smart and very interesting man and all of this shines through beautifully in his unconventionally written autobiography. Moore does not use the typical style of writing as it relates to this particular genre. Instead of chronicling his life from beginning to present, he writes a series of cool, autobiographical sketches dealing with not only his life; but detailed accounts of early American settlers; his ancestors. 

Each of Moore's narrative's begin a whole new chapter in the Moore family. By the end, the reader will realize it is no surprise that Moore became the influential, inspiring, artist that he is today. Moore is extremely honest and does not hide some of the more undesirable truths, of how people like Moore's family felt about things during certain time periods. I guarantee you that you won't be able to hold any of it against him or his family and you'll respect and appreciate his work even more. 

If you enjoy reading about the lives of individuals with the revolutionary spirit and want to see it done in a way that is creative, inspiring and sometimes tear jerking, then you will enjoy this book. The best thing about Moore is that his genuine love for people is something that shows naturally through his work and through his personality. Moore is one of those rare celebrities that if you met on the street and ask to borrow 20 dollars he'd probably give it to you. You don't just support Moore because he is controversial or because he's entertaining you also do it because you like him and you genuinely want to see him do well. Maybe even run for office someday. Here Comes Trouble does an excellent job in describing how all this that is Michael Moore came to be.

The Return of Citizens United: Montana Strikes Back

Two years ago, we wrote about the infamous Citizens United case.  If you somehow managed to go the past 2 years without hearing about this case, or you simply need a refresher of the facts, it's actually worth (re)reading this post.  In short, this was the case where the conservative majority on the Supreme Court held that corporations have a 1st Amendment right to free speech and that this new found 1st Amendment right to free speech includes the right to spend endless amounts of money for or against political candidates through TV ads.  This decision has been ridiculed, criticized, and denounced by constitutional scholars, politicians and the general public alike because it allows corporations to dominate the political process against "We the People" in a very "David vs. Goliath" type scenario (only this time David doesn't happen to have a handy sling shot).  Indeed, one former constitutional law professor (who also happens to be our President), in a rare presidential moment, called out the entire Supreme Court during his State of the Union Address before the nation, stating that:

Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests -- including foreign companies -- to spend without limit in our elections. Well, I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, and worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people, and that’s why I’m urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong.
Although we're still waiting for Congress to answer President Obama's call to pass a bill to help reverse the impact of Citizens United, one state has taken matters into its own hands:

Montana voters in 1912 passed an initiative barring direct corporate contributions to political candidates and parties, a law that like those in many states was undone by the U.S. Supreme Court's controversial decision in 2010 that gave corporations the same First Amendment rights as citizens to spend their way into political debates.
But the Montana Supreme Court last week issued a forceful rebuke of the decision that has opened the door to game-changing, free-spending corporate contributions in the current election season. In a new opinion that draws on decades of Montana's coal-mining and copper-mining history, the court upheld the state's 1912-era corporate contribution limits, concluding, "The corporate power that can be exerted with unlimited political spending is still a vital interest to the people of Montana."
The decision applies only to state elections. But, if appealed as expected, the case could provide the long-awaited vehicle critics have sought for the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit the issue of corporate contributions.