On Bobby Brown. “Whitney shall be mine!” cried Osama as he pointed out the specially outfitted cave he has prepared for his true love…

Just kidding.

Seriously, 74% of Americans polled in an Opinion Research Poll believe that Bin Laden is planning an attack on the U.S. That seems obvious to me too especially in light of recent attacks, both successful and foiled. The implications of this and the other findings of the poll bear some attention. Are those 74% the same who disapprove of the President’s performance? His approval rating is in the low 30s at this point.

Also, people have become discouraged about our ability to catch Bin Laden — about 58% think it’s possible. And people are unclear how much the war in Iraq has impacted our ability to bring him to justice. So cluelessness still reigns in America — folks are still struggling to sift through all the propaganda and mis-information.

That percentage, however, has dropped from past years; in 2004, 66 percent of poll respondents said it was likely [the U.S. would capture Bin Laden], and in 2001 the figure was 76 percent.

Respondents were nearly evenly split on whether the U.S.-led war in Iraq has hampered the nation’s ability to capture or kill bin Laden.

Forty-seven percent said it was either “very likely” or “somewhat likely” that bin Laden would have been captured or killed had the United States not become involved in the Iraq war. Fifty-one percent said bin Laden would not have been captured by now regardless of the Iraq war.

The Taliban, the allies and protectors of Al-Qaeda, are re-taking Afghanistan. And we’re not doing much about that because most of our troops are in Iraq. Bush just said in his press conference that we will not leave Iraq while he is still president. This in the face of an increasingly aggressive Al-Qaeda threat launching attacks around the world. This president’s priority has never been addressing the real threat presented by those who attacked America. It has been settling old scores. We invaded a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 and Bush has yet to fully admit that. Do you feel safer?

According to Matt Stoller of MyDD, Sen. George Allen via his Karl Rove Jr./campaign manager Dick Wadhams has retracted his apology. Frankly it looks to me like Allen AKA “Mr. Macaca” never apologized in any way that seemed sincere or contrite. From the beginning, his first instinct was to apologize for being politically incorrect because he “made up a nickname.” He went on to say that any other “insinuations” were false. Which is a nasty and hostile word to use when apologizing. My favorite part of the original apology is the fact that Allen never refers to the victim of his little “joke” as a fellow Virginian or as a constituent yet chooses to remind us that S.R. Sidarth is still his enemy:

“Even though he has signed onto my opponent’s campaign, I look forward to seeing him on the trail ahead.”

No hard feelings, right monkey man? I mean, sh*thead? That’s just not apologizing. That’s racist. And no person of color was or is fooled. Watch as important voting blocs turn away from Allen and toward Webb this fall. I love it when someone is hoist on his own petard.

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Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times is following Sen. Barack Obama on his trip to Africa. If it weren’t so very important that we be kept up-to-date on what JonBenet Ramsey alleged killer is having for lunch today, maybe this might make the TV network news.

Former Archbishop Desmond Tutu teased Obama about being president one day and Obama shows South African men what a real man is made of and pledged to take an AIDS test in his father’s home village in Kenya. Read Sweet’s column here.

Watch videos of his trip to South Africa here.

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A number of other black blogs are talking about Osama Bin Laden’s crush on Whitney Houston and thoughts of assasinating Bobby Brown. Truth, child, is so much stranger than fiction. Just when you think you know every thing there is to know about Al-Qaeda. Interesting that Osama’s not into big butts since usually that’s a major attraction point that so many men feel women of African descent have to offer! Maybe Osama and Whitney could double-date with George W. Bush and Condi Rice? Who knew Dubya and Bin Laden shared more than a passion for explosives?

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There have been a lot of excuses put forth as to why it took five (5) days for the residents of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast to receive help from the federal government. There were several offered in Spike Lee’s documentary “When the Levees Broke” — something about states rights, not enough information from the ground, inadequate resources, etc. I’m sure we will hear more as the anniversary of the Katrina disaster nears.

Soledad O’Brien, news correspondent, points out in “When the Levees Broke” that it only took 2 days for the U.S. to provide material assistance in remote Banda Aceh in Indonesia in the wake of the December 2005 tsunami. I would posit to you that every word out of every Bush administration official’s mouth after the levees broke was a cold, bald lie. Why?

Read this U.S. Dept of State eJournal account — offered on an official U.S. Government website no less — of the heroic aid that the U.S. Armed Forces and U.S. Government at their best provided to Indonesian tsunami victims. Here are a few excerpts:

Significantly important in the U.S. military support was the availability of almost 60 U.S. helicopters, which flew over 2,200 missions, shuttling relief supplies from U.S. ships and other staging areas to hard-hit towns and villages. U.S. fixed-wing aircraft, mostly C-130 and C-17 cargo aircraft, flew another 1,300 plus missions shuttling much-needed relief supplies and equipment into and throughout the affected regions. In Indonesia, which bore the brunt of the damage, the first fresh water many survivors saw was delivered by U.S. military units that rushed to the region even before the full extent of the damage was known. All told, through mid-February the U.S. military had delivered over 24 million pounds of relief supplies and equipment.

Six Maritime Preposition Ships from Guam and Diego Garcia also were dispatched to the area to provide critical drinking water: each can store about 90,000 gallons of fresh water and is capable of producing 36,000 gallons daily. Adequate fresh water supplies helped prevent widely-predicted, but largely avoided, outbreaks of malaria and other diseases.

American ambassadors in the stricken countries immediately offered financial and technical assistance and called upon U.S. military and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) experts to begin assessing the damage. U.S. ships were given orders to begin deploying to the region within hours of the tragedy—well before the extent of devastation was clear or any government had officially requested their assistance —in order to be there if and when called upon. Within 24 hours, U.S. Navy P-3 Orion reconnaissance aircraft began flying missions over the affected areas to help assist in the search and rescue effort and to assess the extent of the damage. This, despite the fact that U.S. military forces continue to be severely over-extended and many had seen recent duty in Iraq. (The forces, rather than complaining, willingly and eagerly came to the rescue, despite in some cases having their holiday rest and recovery curtailed.)

Let me get this straight — before there was full information and without governmental request, the Bush administration and the military took action! Soldiers on leave from Iraq were enlisted in the effort! But wait there’s more!

Within 48 hours of the tragedy, with news reports still estimating that “20,000 people are feared dead,” the U.S. Pacific Command was already establishing a joint task force to coordinate and conduct humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. Access approval was requested, and quickly obtained, from the Thai government to allow its massive Utapao Air Base to serve as the regional hub for the relief effort. Meanwhile, U.S. defense attaches were arranging overflight and landing rights and making initial contacts to allow U.S. forces, if and when authorized to assist, to more effectively interact with their regional counterparts. As Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz subsequently testified, “the ability of the Department of Defense to respond so quickly would not have been possible without the relationships developed over many years with the militaries of countries in the region, particularly with Thailand.” The joint force (denoting the involvement of more than one military service) quickly became a combined force as other militaries became involved in the coordination effort. The task force also transformed into a non-doctrinal support force.

So apparently Americans in need did not merit this incredible level of coordination, cooperation, organization and resource allocation. It took international shame and national approbation to motivate any action or aid whatsoever, which when it arrived, was less that it should or could have been. The Canadian Mounties arrived in New Orleans before the federal government in the midst of the worst disaster our nation has seen to date. Doesn’t that make you angry. Or concerned.

The BlackProf recommends that folks bring friends and neighbors together around the anniversary of Katrina and host events. That’s a good idea because if there is one thing we should all take from what happened last year and what continues to happen to the victims of Katrina — it’s that the Bush administration and the Republican-controlled Congress have no intention of protecting American citizens. We need to organize in order to bring about some “regime change” that will ensure the safety of all Americans, not just the privileged few. Yet a special mention for Democratic LA Governor Blanco has to be reserved. In what ways could she have done more or acted more decisively? Should she also be held accountable?

As Harry Truman said famously, “The Buck Stops Here.” President Bush himself bears the greatest responsibility for the tragic and needless loss of life during Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath. He ran and hid during 9/11 when the planes first struck our national landmarks and he did the exact same thing during Katrina. When — when will this person be held accountable and why is it not as much of an election rallying cry as Iraq? The Bush adminstration was fully capable of providing significant aid and comfort to American citizens during an hour of dire need immediately — and did not. Everything else they say is simply an insulting lie.

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Watching the first half of the Spike Lee documentary at a friend’s house, I cried. With both pride and shame. Pride at an indomitable people — whose culture is imitated the world over — who after days of living in a hellhole without medical attention, food and water (I refer here to the Astrodome) with family members dying all around them, rose up singing. Singing “This Little Light of Mine” which is an “old Negro spiritual” as some folks like to call them that is frequently sung at funerals.

I admit I had to break down and cry to witness such bravery under stress.

One of my friends who was watching with me also cried. She has worked in international disaster relief for many years. She said that even during crises in Africa, she had never seen people treated this way by their own government. Worse than animals.

George W. Bush said in his press conference yesterday when asked:

“Is there anything that’s disappointed you about the recovery, the federal response?”

Bush: You know, I was concerned at first about how much Congress and the taxpayers would be willing to appropriate and spend. I think $110 billion is a strong commitment, and I’m pleased with that.

Just so we are clear: $110 billion has been pledged so far for U.S. citizens. Over $300 billion and counting has been spent on Iraq to date. I’m on the same page as Prometheus 6: If I had to choose which Bush-exacerbated disaster I have to pay for, I would probably choose Katrina.

How can our commitment to our own citizens not meet or exceed that to another nation? Are African-Americans worth so much less than other people? That is the question you will soon be seeing in the faces of your Black friends and co-workers. In fact, here’s a fun game you can play. Count how many different emotions you can see on any given Black person’s face as the Katrina anniversary plays out. Grief, rage, bewilderment, fatigue, resolve. The potential list goes on.

While the betrayal of the local, state and federal governments of the Gulf Coast residents is appalling, the failure of minority representative organizations like CORE and the NAACP to advocate effectively for rebuilding and resources is shocking to me. My disappointment in leaders like Jesse Jackson to take strong stands on Katrina and demand greater accountability is high. African-Americans were and continue to be abandoned by those whose charge it is to protect and serve them. It’s a shame.

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The Democratic party has taken a lesson from the Republicans on re-structuring their 2008 primary schedule, according to CNN. I disagree with this type of thinking that tries to justify the status quo of having the Democratic Presidential Primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire. I understand that New Hampshire is upset about becoming less important to America’s political process. But you know what, I’m actually ok with that. NH is a tiny state that remains homogenous even as the rest of America is changing dramatically.

Look, Blacks and Hispanics held their nose and voted for Kerry/Edwards not because they were inspired but out of a desire to get rid of Bush/Cheney. The Dem party machine operatives seem to struggle to get this — and the fact that the base of minority support actually eroded in favor of Bush in 2004. Choosing a couple of red states with some measure of diversity is a great way to test messages and candidates and see how people really respond. John Kerry’s dry, wooden, equivocating style probably wouldn’t have passed muster or caught any sort of fire in places like Nevada or South Carolina. Finally someone (like Howard Dean?) has decided that the Dems had better get serious and stop taking minority voters for granted…

The old system doesn’t work anymore. Surely we can all see that now. It’s time to get competitive and try some new ideas if we really want change in this country.

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Prometheus 6 points to Alternet’s analysis of the sanitized Bush-friendly version of Spike’s pitch to watch his Katrina documentary beginning tonight on HBO. Interesting, no? Nice catch.

Here’s my beef though. Spike, why HBO? Only a minority of Americans (maybe about 10-13%) can even access it at best and um, a lot of them ain’t black. Who is the target audience? Spike wants to wake people up, but which people? Maybe rich white people?

I plan to watch tonight over at a rich white friend’s house. I am not happy about that being my only option, though I feel fortunate to have one nearby…

Spike Lee was on George Stephanopoulos’ show earlier today. You can see more the extended video here. I admit, I share Spike’s confusion as to why the U.S. Government took 5 days to respond to a forecast disaster. It wasn’t like 9/11 when a beautiful Tuesday morning went terribly, shockingly wrong. No, the administration saw this coming, saw the inadequate emergency response and did…nothing.

Black folks are America’s canaries in a coal mine. We show the symptoms of institutional decline first whether it’s healthcare, stagnant wages, failing schools, struggling schoolboys, armed forces recruiting and so on. Much of what happened during Katrina happened because of racism, poverty and poor coordination, no doubt. But no American of any race or ethnicity should feel safe when looking at the pictures and videos from one year ago. It could and will happen to you if you continue to support this Congress and the Bush adminstration.

You would think that black folks would be up in arms with a huge march planned on Washington D.C. to protest the failure of this administration to take responsibility for the loss of one of America’s great cities and the largest humanitarian disaster our nation has ever seen. There is not one mention of Katrina on the NAACP site nor on the CORE site. There is a reference below the fold on both the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and on the National Urban League homepage. While certainly raising the minimum wage is an important goal, the nation looks back to Katrina and asks “what happened?” and “are we safer”? Only these moribund institutions — toothless tigers in the post-civil rights era — blink back and pursue another corporate-approved agenda. Don’t be angry. Don’t ask any questions, especially ones like, where did all that Homeland Security money go? And: how much have we spent on rebuilding Iraq vs rebuilding New Orleans? Or: why are Katrina victims sleeping in their cars?

Fortunately new leaders are on the horizon and I am glad to see that Tavis Smiley and Color of Change have their priorities in order. Because Kanye wasn’t wrong.

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For some reason, progressive bloggers are so focused on Sen. George “Don’t Call Me Macaca” Allen that they may have overlooked another Member of Congress sticking his foot in his mouth. Over at RedState, though there’s a lively discussion in the comments about whether or not Tramm Hudson running for the odious Katherine Harris’ old seat was actually racist when he discussed his thoughts on the inferior aquatic abilities of African-Americans or whether he just sounded racist and was stating a known fact.

Interesting.

From a black person’s perspective, let me clarify since the RedState folks seem sincerely confused. Oh — it’s racist. While it is true that access to swimming pools is often lacking in poorer black neighborhoods, we can be taught to swim just like everyone else. Our swimming abilities and related muscle mass and bone density vary on a case-by-case basis. Just like they do for white people. Because we are human beings. Just like white people. Funny that this seems like an old war story he’s told many times and it’s only through the magic of the internet that the mask is ripped off for all to see.

On the political question, does this hurt Hudson as this gets around? Did he “destroy himself?” Maybe. Unless you prefer to vote for clueless racism. Bonus points to Hudson though for a sincere sounding apology that will likely dull the outrage. Allen, you might want to take notes, son!

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Only an incumbent who wanted to lose would fail to take responsibility for his supporters ripping up his opponent’s signs and beating up on one of his opponent’s supporters. That type of thuggish behavior is inspired from the top down.

Donna Edwards is waging a strong campaign against Rep. Albert Wynn in a critical Congressional district that happens to be home to a large base of affluent, well-educated black people. She’s a great progressive candidate who is pushing Wynn on votes that have hurt blacks in the long run such as his support for the Iraq War — a vote he now concedes was a mistake.

Yet this altercation makes both candidates look bad and re-inforces the appearance of blacks — no matter how affluent, powerful and well-educated — as at best, thugs and at worst, animals. Wynn’s campaign in particular walks away with a black eye (so to speak). Bullying behavior is not a way to win. Which may be just as well for those who would like to see a candidate like Edwards enter Congress representing Maryland’s 4th District.

Meet New York Times Bestseller Tavis Smiley — the most popular African-American leader today that you, non-Black person, have probably never heard of. Smiley just re-launched his website based on his book/phenomenon The Covenant with Black America. It’s pretty cutting-edge — there are toolkits, signups, even a blog. Tavis Smiley is a man to watch.

What Is the Covenant with Black America?

It is a national plan of action to address the primary concerns of African Americans today. As we move toward the national elections of 2006 and 2008, Black Americans are entitled to have questions answered and visions shared of where our leaders want to take this country and a blueprint for how we get there.

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To call a woman a “chickenhead” in the Black community is to call her a woman of loose virtue and looser affiliations. Joe Lieberman is a fair weather friend and perhaps worse, a serious chickenhead when it comes to kissing up to and then repudiating Black leaders. He’s an opportunist. He’ll take what he can get in terms of rounding up African-American voters and use whomever necessary to survive and stay in the Senate.

In contrast, Ned Lamont is a man who has voluntarily taught some probably bad-ass, sassy kids in Bridgeport. He didn’t have to do that. But he wanted to give something to some kids in what is today one of the least glamourous jobs besides garbage collecting: teaching.

Which person do you think is worth your vote? Read this Salon article to learn more about Lieberman’s ever-changing relationships with Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan and Al Sharpton.

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Maybe you, non-Black person, are really wondering — “Gosh, what do Black people think about this whole George Allen macaca business?” There seems to be a lot of discussion and investigation into what he really meant and did he really apologize? Should he apologize? Was he sincere? Was it enough and does it even matter? But Black people don’t seem to be very vocal about this. Why you may ask?

Black people are pretty much done discussing the whole Affaire Allen. Why? Because to us, it’s obvious that he is racist. He is a racist man. He was racist before and he is racist now. He clearly signaled his feelings about Black people before by wearing Confederate flags and nooses on ficus trees, etc.

And now to keep up with modern times, he’s moved on to the “new niggers” which would be anyone who looks like they might be one of them A-rab terrorists. Which for some apparently is anyone brown who might possibly have South Asian or Middle Eastern ancestry though Latinos and Blacks with the right features might get swept up in the confusion/hysteria.

Welcome to America indeed. Enjoy the racial profiling. It’s free!

The bottom line, folks? Black people (and probably a lot of other shades too) have stopped talking about it and have started to decide to vote for someone other than Allen.

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One of Sen. Allen’s new excuses of use of the word “macaca” is some sort of combined mohawk meets caca (a synonym for shit) explanation. Is anyone really buying this? Why isn’t this man on his knees begging for forgiveness. Virginia is increasingly diverse. Even if this floats there, he has now built up what will be a tough-to-shake rep as a hard-bitten, only semi-apolegetic racist outside of VA.

John McCain continues to lose my respect. How could a man with an adopted daughter from Bangladesh, knowing that Allen would readily refer to her as a monkey behind his back, want to be seen near this man, let alone campaign for him. Does he believe what Allen believes? Or is he so desperate for party approval and support to run for president that he will align himself with this man despite knowing that he is a smug, smirking racist who calls people different from him “shithead” or “monkey” depending on which story you believe? McCain — find a spine. Haven’t we evolved past this as a nation YET?


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