Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Django Deconstructed

Good morning family. Last night, I saw Django Unchained. Check out my review below.

What did you think about Django Unchained? Please share your thoughts.

This article is cross-posted on Jack and Jill Politics.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

President Obama Discusses Gun Control

Good morning. Yesterday, President Obama laid the groundwork for new gun control legislation. During his press conference, he responded to questions regarding the so-called fiscal cliff.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tim Scott's Appointment Doesn't Mean A Damn Thing to Black People!

The Washington Post reports that:

Timothy Eugene Scott was growing up poor and black in Charleston, S.C., the son of a nurse’s aide who worked 16-hour shifts, when Strom Thurmond, who ran for president as the standard-bearer for segregationists, was at the peak of his powers in the Senate.

On Monday, the congressman was named to fill the office once held by Thurmond (R), making him the first black Republican to serve in the Senate since Edward Brooke of Massachusetts lost his bid for reelection in 1978. It also makes him the first African American senator from the South since Reconstruction and only the seventh black person ever to serve in that chamber. Gov. Nikki Haley (R) selected him to succeed Jim DeMint (R), who is retiring.

The appointment propels Scott, 47, into the front ranks of a Republican Party trying to demonstrate that it can speak to a broader, non-white constituency. He joins Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Sen.-elect Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal in putting a more diverse face on the GOP.

“It is a great day for South Carolina. It is a historic day for South Carolina,” said Haley, the daughter of Indian immigrants who broke her own ground as the state’s first female governor, speaking at the statehouse in Columbia.

As the only black U.S. senator, Scott will become one of the most visible and important conservative figures in the country, one whose new prominence will require him to navigate a new set of political realities.

Following Romney's crushing defeat, the Republican Party has done some "soul searching." They have been forced to acknowledge that this country's demographics are changing.  The GOP realizes that white people will no longer be the majority.  At least in theory, they are looking for ways to appeal to minorities and women. Instead of modifying their repugnant policies, they have resorted to tokenism. The appointment of Tim Scott is a prime example of that tactic.

Hopefully, that tactic will not succeed. Although we all appreciate the historic significance of Tim Scott's appointment, it means nothing for black people. Based on his voting record, he will simply continue the legacy of Senator Jim DeMint in black face.

Tim Scott's policy positions are antithetical to the interests of most African Americans. He supports voter IDs laws designed to suppress black voters. He voted for the Paul Ryan budget. The Ryan budget cuts important programs such Medicare, Medicaid, Head Start and food stamps. Those cuts will have a devastating impact upon African Americans. In addition, Scott voted to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act and to hold the first African American Attorney General, Eric Holder, in contempt of Congress. As noted in the Grio, Scott embraces the racist Tea Party and rejects his own people, the Congressional Black Caucus. By the way, why would any African American co-chair segregationist Strom Thurmond's campaign?!?!

I remember when President George Bush nominated Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court. Some misguided African Americans argued that we should support him because he is black. They argued that once appointed he would become less conservative and more progressive. Today, decades later, we see how wrong they were. Justice Thomas has used his position of power to erase civil rights gains such as affirmative action. In sum, it is not about black faces in high places. It is about policy, not pigment.

This article is cross-posted on Jack and Jill Politics.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

"We Can't Tolerate This Anymore"

Tonight, President Barack Obama gave a moving speech at the vigil for the victims of the Connecticut tragedy. During the speech, President Obama asked a basic question. He asked, "Can we honestly say that we're doing enough to keep our children, all of them, safe from harm?" The President said, "The answer is 'no'." He noted that this is the fourth mass killing to occur during his presidency, and he proclaimed that "we can't tolerate this anymore."

I sincerely hope that strict gun control legislation follows the President's eloquent speech. We must contact our Senators and U.S. Representatives and demand that they enact laws to prevent such tragedies from happening in the future.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

There Will Be Justice for Jordan Davis

Shout out to Sam McClary.

Good Morning family. News One reports that:

On Thursday night, a grand jury indicted 45-year-old software developer Michael Dunn (pictured right), who allegedly shot and killed 17-year-old Jordan Davis (pictured), on a first-degree murder charge and even added counts to his charges, according to the Florida Times-Union.

Sending a strong message, a grand jury decided to upgrade Dunn’s second-degree murder charge to first-degree murder. If convicted, Dunn would face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Dunn also had three counts of attempted murder added to his charges for potentially harming the other youths that were in the car.

NewsOne spoke with Attorney Eric Guster about the murder case and he explained that this type of charge upgrade is standard when a grand jury has been presented with all of the necessary evidence:

“Being that Jordan Davis was unarmed and killed, it appears that the grand jury listened to the evidence in order to properly charge Michael Dunn with first degree murder.

“A grand jury has the right to upgrade, downgrade or dismiss charges after listening to evidence. In this case, it will be interesting since Mr. Dunn has stated he should be found not guilty because of Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground Law. After reading and researching this case, I see no way for him to be acquitted by that defense.”

When the news initially hit that Davis was murdered over loud music, Dunn’s lawyer implied that his client would invoke Florida’s Stand Your Ground law in his defense. When NewsOne asked Guster about how Stand Your Ground would hold up in his defense, he said that it was unlikely that Dunn has any case at all:

“Witnesses have stated that Jordan Davis was playing his music too loud and this caused Dunn to become angry. A confrontation occurred which led Davis to shoot Jordan. With that being the case, there is no way Stand Your Ground or any other self defense claim can be justified.”

Hopefully, this a sign that there will be justice for Jordan Davis. Keep pushing. Keep fighting.

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Friday, December 14, 2012

How Many More Wake Up Calls Must America Receive?!?

The Washington Post reports that:

A shooting rampage in this small Connecticut town on Friday morning left 28 people dead, including 20 children killed inside their elementary school, authorities said.

The dead included the suspected gunman, whom law enforcement sources identified as Adam Lanza, 20. Police said that Lanza first apparently killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, at the home they shared in Newtown. Then he drove in her car to Sandy Hook Elementary, the school at which Nancy Lanza taught kindergarten.

In the car, authorities said, were three guns: a .223 caliber “Bushmaster” rifle and two pistols, a Sig Sauer and a Glock.

At the school, authorities said, Adam Lanza shot and killed six adults — including the school’s principal — and 20 children. They were shot in two different rooms of the school, police said.

How many more wake up calls must America receive? How many more innocent people must die at the hands of deranged shooters? When will this nation finally enact strict gun control laws to keep us safe at work, at school, at the movies and at our places of worship?

This article is cross-posted on Jack and Jill Politics.

Why Didn't Obama Stand By Susan Rice?

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As the Washington Post reported,
U.N. Ambassador Susan E. Rice withdrew her name Thursday as President Obama’s leading candidate for secretary of state, saying the administration could not afford a “lengthy, disruptive and costly” confirmation fight over statements she made about the extremist attack in Libya that killed four Americans.   
Rice called Obama on Thursday morning, before sending him a letter officially withdrawing from consideration. Rice said in an interview that she had concluded early this week that what she and Obama considered “unfair and misleading” charges against her over the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi, Libya, would impede the president’s second-term agenda.   
“This was my decision,” Rice said. When asked if Obama had tried to dissuade her, she said that he “understood that this was the right decision, and that I made it for the right reasons.”    
Rice’s withdrawal was a retreat by Obama, who had repeatedly voiced support for her. In a statement issued by the White House, Obama described her as “an extraordinarily capable, patriotic, and passionate public servant.”    
But her removal from the scene is unlikely to quell the controversy that led to it: the extremist attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya that killed U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
I blame the Republican political machine for extinguishing the hopes and aspirations of another prominent African American. I am not surprised by the Republicans. The Republican Party has become the modern day White Citizens Council. They are in the business of trampling over African Americans, Hispanics and women. Frankly, as a Party, they are our political enemy. Nothing they do surprises me.

However, the President's actions surprised me. Originally, President Obama stood up for Ambassador Susan Rice. He boldly told Senator McCain and Senator Graham that "if they want to go after somebody, they should go after me." When he said those words, I was proud of the President. At that moment, I was delighted to see Obama stand up to the Republicans.

However, today, I am deeply disappointed. Unfortunately, the President's actions speak much louder than his eloquent words. The Republicans flexed and the President flinched. Regardless of the opposition, President should have nominated Susan Rice for Secretary of State.

As NBC news analyst Andrea Mitchell said on NBC's Hardball, "she (Susan Rice) did not have all of the armor of a nominee.." If Ambassador Rice was nominated, White House Counsel would have insulated her from the Republicans' unwarranted attacks. Instead, in the face of the Republican onslaught, she was left open and defenseless. Like sharks in the ocean, the GOP saw blood and they moved in for the kill. Ultimately, like former environment advisor Van Jones, Susan Rice was forced to lay on her sword in order to protect the White House. With all due respect, that was not "the right decision." It is a sign of the White House's vulnerability.  

Loyalty is priceless. It should not be sold for the sake of political expediency. One should never sacrifice one's friends and allies to appease bloodthirsty adversaries. African Americans are the President's most loyal supporters. No other group has provided such universal support for Barack Obama. In exchange for our support, we must demand that the President nominate more African Americans for key Cabinet positions. We must demand that the President defend his appointees against baseless allegations.

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This article is cross-posted on Jack and Jill Politics.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

"The Hunt is On, and Brother, You're the Prey"

In his beautiful song entitled A New World Order, Curtis Mayfield said, "The hunt is on, and brother you're the prey." Sadly, that remains true today. We are hunted by vigilantes like Zimmerman.  We are hunted by racist police officers.  And yes, we are even hunted by some of our own misguided brothers and sisters.

Earlier this year, George Zimmerman hunted and shot down Trayvon Martin for being a black teenage in a white neighborhood. After killing Trayvon, Zimmerman was free as a bird for over forty days. If we did not protest, Zimmerman would probably be free today. At least for a brief moment in time, we were outraged. We mobilized, organized, wrote, marched and spoke. Once the killer was finally arrested, we were pacified. We took off our t-shirts, put away our protest signs and went back to sleep. As Ayesha says on Lupe's new cd, "and two weeks later, it was back to normal." After all was said and done, the Stand Your Ground law remained in place as a license to kill black people.  If black people formed self-defense groups and openly brandished firearms, perhaps then Florida would repeal that law.

Now, a white man has lynched another brother, Jordan Davis. More specifically, when a group of black teenage boys refused to turn down their music, Michael Dunn fired 8 shots into the car striking Jordan Davis twice. Again, the people have righteous indignation. Again, the bloggers will blog. The civil rights spokespersons will speak. The activists may march and protest. Then, the people will go back to sleep, and "it will be back to normal."  How long will we be angry this time? 

To make matters worst, African Americans are frequently the victims of police harassment and brutality. Instead of fulfilling their oath to protect and serve, many police officers are agents of oppression. They have joined the hunt to kill black men. Remember Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, Oscar Grant, Malice Green and countless other victims. For a comprehensive list, please read Shanika's Daily Kos article entitled Hey America! Can you please stop killing our (usually) innocent Black male children?

In addition to being hunted by racist vigilantes and police officers, we are hunted and killed by our own. Such fratricidal killings are far more frequent than attacks by racists Klansmen, Nazis, self-appointed neighborhood watchmen and wannabe Dirty Harrys. Regardless of which political party is in the White House, the same cycle of violence continues. Although there are plenty of stop the violence organizations, marches and rallies, the violence continues.

On the local news, we constantly hear tragic stories about black males killing black males. For example, as reported on WBAL TV,  "a man stabbed in the neck overnight early Saturday has died, and two others were shot in separate weekend incidents in Baltimore, police said." As reported in the Chicago Tribune, "last night in the South Shore neighborhood in Chicago, five people were hospitalized after a shooting."

Here are a few sobering statistics cited in a Wall Street Journal article.
Overall, more than half the nation's homicide victims are African-American, though blacks make up only 13% of the population. Of those black murder victims, 85% were men, mostly young men.

Despite the declining U.S. murder rate, killings remain stubbornly high in poor pockets of cities large and small. In some cases, the rate is rising sharply. That increase is draining resources from police, prosecutors, social workers and hospitals.

As of Friday, Philadelphia police had been called to 223 homicides, compared with 198 last year. Chicago has recorded 337 murders, compared with 263 in the year-earlier period, a 28% jump. Public outcry there escalated after June 27, when stray bullets fired by an alleged gang member killed 7-year-old Heaven Sutton in a poor area on the city's West Side. Uproar over the little girl's death led Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to announce a gang crackdown in neighborhoods with high murder rates.
Our communities have become killing fields. Murders are so frequently that we have become desensitized to the violence. Even civil rights activists have become numb to the violence. Over twenty years ago, we listened to songs like Self Destruction and Stop of the Violence.  Unfortunately, such songs remain relevant today.  In contrast to the conscious music of the past, today's popular music glorifies guns and murder. This violence has become the new normal. Rest in peace t-shirts, rest in peace murals and makeshift memorials are common in the hood. When we do muster up the energy to hold to stop the violence rallies and marches, it is temporary. Again, things go back to normal until the next senseless killing.

As long as black men are hunted in the streets like animals, things should never go back to normal. It is time to take a real stand.  We do not need anymore "here today, gone tomorrow" protests. We must develop and sustain a true movement that addresses the systemic causes of the violence. We need leaders who will be around when the cameras leave.  We must lobby to end the Stand Your Ground laws in Florida and elsewhere.  We must lobby state legislatures, Governors, Congress and the White House to enact stronger anti-racial profiling laws. Instead of building prisons, we need to build minds.  We must empower our youth with the education that they need to build their future.

This article is cross-posted on Jack and Jill Politics.