There is something deeply wrong with Juan Williams attempt to conflate the issue of whether black Americans see themselves as a single race (I’m not sure when that idea wasn’t a fabrication) with the issue of class.

Conventional wisdom about black America is being turned on its head. Nearly two out of five black people (37 percent) surveyed in a new Pew poll, done in association with NPR, said that blacks “can no longer be thought of as a single race.” Only half of all black people in the country (53 percent) say it is possible to think of blacks as one race. And young black Americans — ages 18 to 29 — are more likely than older blacks to say that blacks are no longer a single race.

The growing perception of two races is really a divide over values.

Over half of all Americans — people of all colors — believe that the values of poor and middle-class blacks are becoming more different. When the question is limited to black people, the answer is even more definitive: 61 percent say values are now more different between middle-class and poor blacks. The perception of a class divide in black America has increased nearly 20 points since a similar question was asked of black people in 1986.

There is a clear break with the historic convention that black people are one race. Racism, stereotypes and segregation laws long enforced the idea of a single black race by keeping down black people no matter their education and class. But just over 50 years after the Brown v. Board of Education decision set in motion the modern civil rights movement, with a unified black America pressing for political and social equality, there are significant numbers of people with dark skin, and racial discrimination battles, who say black people do not have enough common experiences and values to be thought of as one race.

Well that’s interesting. Race is now a consequence of “experiences and values” and not actually what you are? How delightfully arbitrary. Blacks befuddled about Juan Williams decision to write a book criticizing reparations for slavery (I’m guessing the sequel is on preventing the tooth fairy from leaving money for your kids…oh wait, the tooth fairy doesn’t exist either) and whites who agree that Juan Williams is not really black because he doesn’t say “motherfucker, where’s my iced tea,” will be pleased.

I agree that black people in America face a wide range of experiences based on class and cultural background, but I don’t see that as a “racial” distinction. That argument seems like it has little to do with what we understand as race and more to do with what Juan Williams thinks being black means.

And Juan tells us.

This comes down to black Americans who believe in family, education and personal responsibility vs. those who point at “the man” or the “system” for the added weight on black Americans.

So now, given to William’s paternalistic summary of black political views, we are to determine that black people are “two races,” the good and the bad, the poor and the bougie? When was the last time being white was predicated on your pay stubs or credit rating?

That is some sick shit.

From OpenLeft.com

Transformative Proposals from Obama (+)
by: Matt Stoller
Wed Nov 14, 2007 at 11:29:51 AM EST

Today, Obama is throwing down the gauntlet on a internet freedom, telecom lobbyists, and on opening up government in general to the public. It’s some genuinely radical stuff, and it includes the use of blogs, wikis, and openness in government hearings. Significantly, Larry Lessig has endorsed Obama’s platform.


Specifically, Obama wants the public to be able to comment on the White House Web site for five days before legislation is signed.

Several well-known local figures are expected to announce their support for Obama’s plan, including two former FCC chairmen under President Clinton: Stanford University legal expert Larry Lessig and John Roos, chief executive of Palo Alto law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

Roos, one of Obama’s top fundraisers, said Silicon Valley start-ups will be encouraged by Obama’s call this month for a clean technology venture capital fund backed by a whopping $50 billion in federal money over five years.

In the plan, Obama also calls for more aggressive government support of broadband access. Specifically, he says subsidies for phone carriers should be given only to those offering both regular phone service and Internet broadband to rural areas. To date, carriers offering merely phone service have been able to claim subsidies from the so-called Universal Service Fund, giving them little incentive to roll out out broadband.

Obama also calls for reviewing the decision by the Federal Communications Commission to open the wireless spectrum for competition. He thinks the FCC may not have gone far enough with its recent ruling, according to campaign managers who asked not to be named. He wants to conduct a multiyear review but is leaning toward pushing for the opening of some spectrum on the 700 MHz band so third parties can lease it on a wholesale basis.

This is to ensure that the winners of a pending auction for the spectrum – expected to be large phone carriers like Verizon – don’t just sit on the spectrum and not use it. Some fear they may do that to block others from competing with them.

Obama’s proposals are supported by Google, which is expected to bid on the wireless spectrum.

The candidate also is in favor of network neutrality, a policy that would prevent Internet service providers from charging companies like Google extra to ensure the speedy transfer of data over the Internet.

It’s a little difficult to discuss just how significant these proposals are, since we don’t have a great frame of reference. Take the Universal Service Fund, and his plan to move the money that is currently subsidizing rural phone service and ensuring that broadband is subsidized as well. High speed broadband is a core tool for citizens to engage politically; it’s not an accident that Color of Change emerged in 2006-2007, after massive growth in broadband to African-Americans. Building this network out, as Obama is putting forward, and opening up government could create organizing opportunities the likes of which we haven’t dreamed. Imagine the innovative spirit of Silicon Valley combined with the power of government and the movement building organizing capacity of the netroots, and that’s a start. Of course, what’s possible is not necessarily what will happen, and it’s all in the execution, but this is reaching for something bold.

And then of course there is spectrum and net neutrality. Both Edwards and Obama have made it clear they will break the power of the wireless gatekeepers, the telecom lobbyists who gut our laws, and the Comcast traffic shaping tyrants. Clinton, though, has been a noted absence in the debate about spectrum, mumbling about it incoherently at Yearlykos, and her plan for broadband was written by the telcos and doesn’t include net neutrality. She still hasn’t come out clearly on retroactive immunity, as her campaign’s ties to telecom lobbyists are not trivial, and it looks from her possible FCC choices that her administration would be a continuation of the Clinton-Bush years of media and telecom deregulation.

Rest of article is here.

I don’t really understand all of it, but the key phrase for me was net neutrality, something that I fought for last year when the House was in danger of giving it up. The openness in government and investment in technology can’t be anything but good for the country, since it is the future, business-wise. I think these are all positive moves by Obama, and further distinguishing himself from Clinton.

UPDATE: Entire Platform Posted on Obama’s Site

Michelle Obama has done an interview with MSNBC, and some folks are up in arms.

If you want to hear the Michelle Obama interview, go here.
Transcript is here.

Here’s the ‘controversial’ quotes by Michelle Obama:

BRZEZINSKI: The polls are showing your husband is trailing Hillary 46% to 37% in the African-American community. What is going on here?

OBAMA: First of all, I think that’s not going to hold. I’m completely confident. Black America will wake up and get it, but what we’re dealing with in the Black community is just the natural fear of possibility. You know, when I look at my life, you know, the stuff that we’re seeing in these polls has played out my whole life. Always been told by somebody that I’m not ready, you know, I can’t do something. My scores weren’t high enough. There’s always that doubt in the back of the minds of people of color. People who have been oppressed and haven’t been given real opportunities that you never really, that you believe somehow, someone is better than you. You know, deep down inside you doubt whether you can do it because that’s all you’ve been told is, no, wait. That’s all you hear. And you hear it from people who love you, not because they don’t care about you, but they’re afraid. They’re afraid that something might happen.
…………………………………………

Brzezinski: It’s interesting you say that, excuse me, because the stewardess yesterday, a 52 year African American and I asked her are you interested in Barack Obama and would you vote for him and she said I don’t think so because he probably can’t win because he’s black.

Obama: That’s right, that the physiology that’s going on in our souls and our heads and I understand it, I know where it’s coming from you know and I think it’s one of the horrible legacies of racism and discrimination and depression you know it keeps people down in their souls in a way where you know sometimes they can’t move beyond it. But the truth of the matter is that that’s something we’re gonna have to get over as a community and you do it by forging ahead fearlessly. I would not be where I am, I wouldn’t have gone to Princeton, I wouldn’t have gone to Harvard I certainly wouldn’t be a practicing attorney, neither would Barack if we listened to that doubt. You know, and there are a lot of kids who I know who aren’t pushing themselves or going for what they know they can do because of that doubt. We have to move beyond it not just for Barack in this Presidency, but for the future of our community we’ve got to show people of color a different possibility. And I think that once they see what’s possible then they own it, they believe it, I think that some black folks think that Barack won’t win because the white people won’t vote for Barack.
………………………………..

Brzezinski: Now it seems like you are almost, or you are speaking directly to the Black community here about this psychological barrier this fear of possibilities, you have Wall Street journal doing a front page article about whether or not a qualified African American can win the While House, to those who say Barack Obama cannot possibly win the election because he is black what do you say?

Obama: I say wait and see you know wait and see. Barack has been doing stuff he’s not supposed to, I’m used to doing stuff that people told me I wasn’t supposed to do that’s my whole life. It’s like ok here we go again you know telling me I can’t do something before I even try. I mean, that’s just not healthy. It’s just not healthy. It’s not healthy for people, it’s not healthy for young people to hear those messages from anyone because it’s not true. It’s like me going into your house and telling your daughter who she’s going to be today. You wouldn’t allow that.

Brzezinski: And she wouldn’t either.

Obama: And she wouldn’t either, but fortunately she already has the self-assurance to know who she can be. Now you imagine millions of children who don’t have that. They don’t have parents who were affirming them you know they don’t go to schools where teachers were affirming them. Everyday they hear what they can’t be. The Wall Street polls don’t even begin to touch on that. That’s why I’m like give it up, stop it, because you can’t start polling now, you’ve gotta start at the root cause of this. This stuff is deep and we haven’t touched it as a nation. We don’t deal with pain that has been caused by racism and division. We don’t deal with it. And then we’re surprised when it rears its head among whites and blacks. We haven’t dealt with it and it’s hurting all of us. It’s hurting all of us. We can’t afford to have generations of children of any race believing they can’t be exactly who they think they should be.

Are we really going to say that Michelle Obama is lying? That she’s imagining about the fear in our community? Or have I not read the articles that I’ve read about Obama and the Black Community. I don’t have to read any articles about Obama and the Black community – I live Obama and the Black community. Most days my radio is tuned into the Black Talk Radio station where I live. I hear the views of those active who want to discuss the issues, and I’ve heard it all when it comes to Barack Obama.

I have my own family and our discussions about Obama. The generational split is pretty evident: I, my sisters, my cousins, 50 and younger, we were on board with Obama from the beginning. We’ve actually had to discuss, to debate, to convince our older relatives about Obama.

Black folk, by nature, are a conservative lot. Our survival in this country has depended upon it.

If you accuse Michelle Obama of imagining what she said, dare I remind you of a NYTimes article not one month ago.

Money quotes:

“I’ve got enough black in me to want somebody black to be our president,” she said in her tiny beauty shop, an extension of her home, after a visit from an Obama organizer. “I would love that, but I want to be real, too.”

Part of being real, said Ms. Vereen, whom everyone calls Miss Clara, is worrying that a black president would not be safe.

“I fear that they just would kill him, that he wouldn’t even have a chance,” she said as she styled a customer’s hair with a curling iron. One way to protect him, she suggested, would be not to vote for him.

…………………………………………….

Another striking theme that emerged in the interviews was how often these women described an almost maternal concern for Mr. Obama’s safety, which they take seriously by noting that he was given Secret Service protection in May, earlier than any presidential candidate ever except Mrs. Clinton, who already had protection as a former first lady. The assertion this year by Mr. Obama’s wife, Michelle, that as a black man he could be shot “going to the gas station” has done little to quell their fear.

This was a topic in Carrie’s Magic Touch. One customer, Maria Hewett, 63, a retired factory worker, told the others she would probably vote for Mr. Obama despite her fear that he could be a target.

“Things happened with presidents in the past, and they weren’t African-Americans,” Ms. Hewett said, sitting in one of two big barber chairs, her hair in curlers. “President Kennedy was a good person, and somebody took him down,” she said, prompting a chorus of “that’s true, that’s true.”

Still, she added, “Hillary’s husband has a lot of wisdom and knowledge, and that will help her.” This elicited another round of “that’s right, that’s true.”

“Whoever it is,” she concluded, “we just ask the Lord to bless them and take care of them.”

Gilda Cobb-Hunter, a Democratic state representative from Orangeburg, S.C., who has not endorsed anyone in the primary, said she had heard black women say they were afraid for Mr. Obama. “This really troubled me,” Ms. Cobb-Hunter said. “Maybe it’s a Southern thing. They want to protect him from the bad people, and in order to protect him, they won’t support him. They want to see him around, making a difference.”
…………………………………………………………………

Tonya Thomas, 46, and Tina Thompson, 45, both involved in early childhood education, discussed their internal struggle over whom to support as they talked with a reporter after the breast cancer walk. Ms. Thomas said she liked Mrs. Clinton but was not “totally sure.”

“Men have been running the country for a while, and I’d like to see a woman in office,” she said. “Personally, I don’t feel the country is ready for an African-American,” she said, adding matter-of-factly, “He would be killed.”

………………………………………………………………………….

From the Washington Post:

Most of Bell’s customers have said they are looking hard at Clinton and Obama. Former senator John Edwards of North Carolina is a distant third, polling in the low single digits among black women here. Bell initially found the candidates so similar on the issues that they were hard to distinguish, so she made her decision based on her sense of their electability.

“I’m not even thinking about color, but I guess in a way I am. I think basically white people won’t vote for him,” Bell said of Obama. “Isn’t that what voting is all about? You are voting for a person that you feel could be a winner.”

That pessimism that a black man could ever become president is a powerful force, even for Obama supporters such as Gaynell Wise, 51, an accountant who was getting her hair cut the day Champaign came into Passion Slice.

“I’m voting for him. I’m old-school. I know what’s going on,” she told Champaign. “He’s trying to take this country someplace it’s never been before. It’s going to take a lot for him to win. I know that. I know the system is not set up for him to win. It’s going to take a miracle and a lot of prayers for him to win. If you can get us to vote . . .” Most of the salons Champaign visits are frequented by younger women, who polls show have been more likely than their elders to vote for black presidential candidates.

Now, explain to me how these previous passages don’t reek of fear. Tell me how Mrs. Obama’s comments don’t directly address the issues raised in the above stories. To Mrs. Obama’s critics – if you’re Black, please stop pretending that she’s getting these ideas from the sky; you know better.

Since the beginning of his campaign, I have said routinely that I DO NOT KNOW if White People are ready to SERIOUSLY vote for a Black man for President of the United States of America.

I only know that I want THE ANSWER TO THE QUESTION.

I don’t know many Black folk that have drunk the ‘ Kool Aid’; I think far more are just willing to give the man a chance to run the best race possible. I respect his sheer nerve to get out there and run for President. I believe that every month he lasts in there, has to be a positive. It has to be. This republic has to know that a credible Black candidate can run for the Presidency, and the country won’t fall apart. That it will survive for another day.

UPDATE: An Article from Alabama that makes Michelle Obama’s Point.

Hat Tip: Countdown with Keith Olbermann

From NYTimes.com

Ex-Publisher Says News Corp. Official Wanted Her to Lie to Protect Giuliani
By RUSS BUETTNER
Published: November 13, 2007

Judith Regan, the book publisher who was fired by the News Corporation last year, asserts in a lawsuit filed today that a senior executive at the media conglomerate encouraged her to mislead federal investigators about her relationship with Bernard B. Kerik during his bid to become homeland security secretary in late 2004.

The lawsuit asserts that the News Corporation executive wanted to protect the presidential aspirations of former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Kerik’s mentor, who had appointed him New York City police commissioner and had recommended him for the federal post.

Ms. Regan makes the charge at the start of a 70-page filing that seeks $100 million in damages for what she says was a campaign to smear and discredit her by her bosses at HarperCollins and its parent company, the News Corporation, after her project to publish a book with O.J. Simpson was abandoned amid a storm of protest.

In the civil complaint filed in state court in Manhattan, Ms. Regan says the company has long sought to promote Mr. Giuliani’s ambitions. But the lawsuit does not elaborate on that charge, or identify the executive who she alleged pressured her to mislead investigators, nor does it offer details or evidence to back up her claim.

Ms. Regan had an affair with Mr. Kerik, who is married, beginning in the spring of 2001, when her imprint, Regan Books, began work on his memoir, “The Lost Son.” In December 2004, after the relationship had ended and shortly after Mr. Kerik’s homeland security nomination fell apart, newspapers reported that the two had carried on the affair at an apartment near Ground Zero that had been donated as a respite for rescue and recovery workers.

Mr. Kerik, who in 2004 said he withdrew his nomination because of problems with his hiring of a nanny, was indicted last week on federal tax fraud and other charges.

“Defendants were well aware that Regan had a personal relationship with Kerik,” the complaint says. “In fact, a senior executive in the News Corporation organization told Regan that he believed she had information about Kerik that, if disclosed, would harm Giuliani’s presidential campaign. This executive advised Regan to lie to, and to withhold information from, investigators concerning Kerik.”

Officials of the News Corporation were asked in a telephone call for comment on the lawsuit, but had yet to issue a statement.

One of Ms. Regan’s lawyers, Brian C. Kerr of the firm Dreier L.L.P., said she possesses evidence to support her claim that she was advised to lie to federal investigators who were vetting Mr. Kerik. But Mr. Kerr declined to discuss the nature of the evidence.

“We’re fully confident that the evidence will show that Judith Regan was the victim of a vicious smear campaign engineered by News Corp. and HarperCollins,” Mr. Kerr said.

The News Corporation controls a vast array of media outlets worldwide, including Twentieth Century Fox, the New York Post and the Fox News Channel, where Ms. Regan once hosted a talk show.

I don’t watch Faux News, so I’ll take the word of those that do that it’s been carrying the water for Rudy for awhile now.

So, now, they’re trying to get folks to lie for Rudy.

Um, ok.

I’ll remind folks again…

This is the man who had his WHORE in the House with his WIFE AND CHILDREN.

His PUBLICLY FUNDED HOUSE.

This is the man who has ON HIS PAYROLL, A PRIEST accused of MOLESTING CHILDREN.

And, now this.

Doesn’t surprise me in the least.

Watching Dan Abrams – he said that in July, in the ‘ Gossip’ columns, said that Ms. Regan has TAPES. If she does…..GOOD! She knew the types of folk she was dealing with….SNAKES ALL.

UPDATE: The Smoking Gun has a copy of the lawsuit HERE

Middle-Class Dream Eludes African American Families
Many Blacks Worse off Than Their Parents, Study Says
By Michael A. Fletcher
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 13, 2007; Page A01

Nearly half of African Americans born to middle-income parents in the late 1960s plunged into poverty or near-poverty as adults, according to a new study — a perplexing finding that analysts say highlights the fragile nature of middle-class life for many African Americans.

Overall, family incomes have risen for both blacks and whites over the past three decades. But in a society where the privileges of class and income most often perpetuate themselves from generation to generation, black Americans have had more difficulty than whites in transmitting those benefits to their children.

Forty-five percent of black children whose parents were solidly middle class in 1968 — a stratum with a median income of $55,600 in inflation-adjusted dollars — grew up to be among the lowest fifth of the nation’s earners, with a median family income of $23,100. Only 16 percent of whites experienced similar downward mobility. At the same time, 48 percent of black children whose parents were in an economic bracket with a median family income of $41,700 sank into the lowest income group.

This troubling picture of black economic evolution is contained in a package of three reports being released today by the Pew Charitable Trusts that test the vitality of the American dream. Using a nationally representative data source that for nearly four decades has tracked people who were children in 1968, researchers attempted to answer two questions: Do Americans generally advance beyond their parents in terms of income? How much is that affected by race and gender?

“We are attempting to broaden the current debate” beyond the growing gap between higher- and lower-income Americans, said John Morton, Pew’s managing director for program planning and economic policy. “There is little out there on the question of mobility across generations, and we wanted to examine that.”

The data source, called the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, followed 2,367 people from across the country, including 730 African Americans, since 1968. The study participants have been repeatedly interviewed about their economic status through the years, allowing for income comparisons across generations.

The Pew reports found that in many ways the American dream is alive and well. Two out of three Americans are upwardly mobile, meaning they had higher incomes than their parents. About half the time, moving up meant not only that they earned more money than their parents, but also that they were better off in relation to other Americans than their parents were.

That growth was most evident among lower-income people. Overall, four out of five children born into families at the bottom 20 percent of wage earners surpassed their parents’ income. Broken down by race, nine in 10 whites were better-paid than their parents were, compared with three out of four blacks.

Median family income for adults now in their 30s and 40s rose by 29 percent, to $71,900 between the two generations covered in the reports. And as incomes grew, households shrank, from an average of 3.1 individuals in 1969 to 2.3 in 1998 — meaning that income per person grew even more.

Julia B. Isaacs, a researcher at the Brookings Institution who authored the three reports, noted that between 1974 and 2004, the median income for men in their 30s actually dropped 12 percent. But because more women entered the workforce, and earned much more than their mothers, median income for women more than tripled during the period, to $20,000.

“The growth we’ve seen in family incomes is because of the increase in women’s income,” Isaacs said. “Without that, we would not have seen an increase, because men’s earnings have been flat and even declined.”

Again, the reduction has been more dramatic for black men than whites. And income for white women, who were less likely than black women to work outside the home a generation ago, has grown faster than it has for black women. Black women earned a median income of $21,000 in 2004, almost equal to that of white women. Black men had a median income of $25,600, less than two-thirds that of white men.

Rest of article is here.

There are a lot of things at work here. The lack of WEALTH amongst Black families is hurting us, and can be pointed to here. Also, our lack of marriedness. The rise in family income comes from WOMEN. But, if Black men and Black women are not married to one another, then of course, our income will not be rising. We can see the impact upon the problems of the Black male in the workplace coming back to haunt, considering that the Black male is earning less than 2/3 of what the White male earns. Add it all up, and the findings are not surprising, but disappointing. We haven’t even brought into it the potential loss of Black wealth due to this subprime lending meltdown.

In an excellent piece (and I’m not saying that because she wrote about Jack & Jill Politics or quoted me or used my photo :)), Vanessa Jones of the Boston Globe wrote a story titled “Blog is Beautiful: People of color challenge mainstream views online” which ran in today’s paper.

Here’s what I like

  • she doesn’t just focus on black bloggers
  • she doesn’t make the story about bloggers of color struggling for a seat at the table of “white bloggers” as so many other stories do
  • i think she captured a good part of the nature of blogging as a conversation and follows that conversation into posts, comments and the airwaves of mainstream media, showing blogger influence well beyond the blog itself

While I think all of us bloggers can, at times, get an inflated sense of importance thinking we are the revolution, there is no doubt that we’re an important part of it.

Keep on keepin on.

The Post is reporting that penalties for selling crack cocaine could be reduced, and the sentences imposed retroactively, allowing thousands to be be freed. The penalties for crack-related crimes are far harsher than those for crimes involving powder cocaine.

Should the panel adopt the new policy, the sentences of 19,500 inmates would be reduced by an average of 27 months. About 3,800 inmates now imprisoned for possession and distribution of crack cocaine could be freed within the next year, according to the commission’s analysis. The proposal would cover only inmates in federal prisons and not those in state correctional facilities, where the vast majority of people convicted of drug offenses are held.

By far the largest number — more than 1,400 — of those who would be eligible for sentence reductions were convicted in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, which has jurisdiction over Northern Virginia and the Richmond area, according to an analysis done by the commission. Nearly 280 inmates convicted in federal courts in Maryland would be eligible, as well as almost 270 prisoners found guilty in the District of Columbia.

The commission is taking up one of the most racially sensitive issues of the two-decades-old war on drugs. Jurists and civil rights organizations have long complained that the commission’s guidelines mandate more stringent federal penalties for crack cocaine offenses, which usually involve African Americans, than for crimes involving powder cocaine, which generally involve white people. The chemical properties of the drugs are the same, though crack is potentially more addictive.

Nearly 86 percent of inmates who would be affected by the change are black; slightly fewer than 6 percent are white. Ninety-four percent are men.

The commission’s proposal does not change sentencing recommendations for powder cocaine.

A few things come to mind: Given the incredible amount of people in prison for nonviolent drug offenses, this is really a trickle. Also, releasing people from prison really isn’t enough; to reduce recidivism inmates have to have the kind of vocational or educational skills necessary to find gainful employment and avoid the traps of their former lives.

Naturally, the Bush Administration is opposed, because cocaine makes people dangerous, irrational, paranoid, and possibly prone to messianic delusions. Of course, Mr. Bush is only speaking from his own personal experience.

Well, that’s not exactly what they said.

The Bush administration opposes the new plan, arguing that it would overburden federal courts and release potentially dangerous drug offenders. In a letter to the commission, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher wrote that the release of a large number of drug offenders “would jeopardize community safety and threatens to unravel the success we have achieved in removing violent crack offenders from high-crime neighborhoods.”

But many federal judges, public defenders, parole officers and civil rights advocates favor the move, asserting that the penalties for crack cocaine charges have fallen disproportionately onto black people.


Were the Bush Administration concerned with creating sound policy rather than moralizing, they would propose a plan to help inmates re-enter society safely and with the proper career tools to help them avoid a life of crime. Even from a conservative point of view; recidivism is a disaster for taxpayers.

But black people don’t vote Republican. So isn’t it better to have as many of us disenfranchised and unable to vote as possible?

A quick update:

Michael Baisden, DJ, apologizes to Color of Change (sort of). At least he acknowledges that he didn’t quite have his facts straight and credits CoC for their work. Hmph.

An excerpt:

The Michael Baisden show and staff were given inaccurate information regarding donations made by the public and David Bowie. We apologize to our listeners and to ColorofChange for not seeking more reliable sources. According to documentation provided by the organization through their web site, all the funds collected by ColorofChange have been distributed to the families as promised.

We do, however, respect the right of four of the Jena 6 families who have insisted that ColorofChange discontinue collection of any monies on their behalf. But this should not reflect on the integrity of this organization which has collected and distributed over $200,000 to their legal defense.

The problems with his “apology”:

a) it’s buried deep within his listener forums and there’s no link on his main website that I can find.
b) clearing Color of Change’s name merits an on air apology as loud as his false accusations against them (and those of us who supported them)
c) when will Color of Change have the opportunity to share their side on Baisden’s show?
d) while Baisden is pointing fingers, it would be interesting to hear an accounting of where his fundraising for the Jena 6 families has gone.

I’ve heard that James Rucker of CoC is on the Tom Joyner Morning Show this am which is great. I have a lot of respect for both parties and am looking forward to hearing the recording. The TJMS has a wider reach than Michael Baisden so this is good news.

Howard Witt of the Chicago Tribune
set the record straight:

Michael Baisden, a nationally syndicated black radio host who is leading a major fundraising drive on behalf of the Jena 6, has declined to reveal how much he has collected. Attorneys for the first defendant to go to trial, Mychal Bell, say they have yet to receive any money from him.
[...]
Only one national civil rights group, Color of Change, has fully disclosed how the $212,000 it collected for the Jena 6 via a massive Internet campaign has been distributed. The grassroots group, which has nearly 400,000 members, has posted images of cancelled checks and other signed documents on its website showing that all but $1,230 was paid out in October in roughly equal amounts to attorneys for the Jena youths.
[...]
On the eve of the Sept. 20 civil rights march, Baisden advertised a book-signing and solicited cash donations for the Jena 6 families at a rally in Alexandria, La., but his business manager, Pamela Exum, declined to specify how much was collected or how the money was distributed.

Color of Change officials call Baisden’s broadcast comments slanderous and say they are contemplating legal action.

“We are trying to clear our good name,” said Mervyn Marcano, the group’s spokesman. “It’s distressing that right now the conversation around the Jena 6 is on a ‘Jenagate’ that doesn’t exist, not the actual issues of how justice is administered in that town.”

On Friday, after several prominent African American bloggers criticized Baisden for his comments, the radio host issued a statement apologizing to Color of Change “for not seeking more reliable sources.”

Civil rights groups report that donations to the Jena 6 defendants had already slowed to a trickle in recent weeks, as the story fell out of the national headlines and the complicated legal cases slowly made their way through the courts.

A spokesman for the NAACP, which collected nearly $20,000, including a $10,000 check from musician David Bowie, said it is winding down its Jena 6 fund and preparing to distribute the remaining cash to the attorneys for the six youths after deducting some of its own organizing expenses.

Black bloggers — this story is proof that we CAN make a difference even up against the seemingly overpowering voices on the air (with a little help from our friends). And dig:

NAACP: 500,000 members, almost $20,000 raised for Jena 6, 0% of funds disbursed to families and lawyers to date

Color of Change: 400,000 members, over $200,000 raised for Jena 6, 100% of funds disbursed to date

As African American Political Pundit points out, which of these organizations looks more competent, effective and credible in terms of black leadership to you?

The Black blogs helped to spread the word about Jena 6, keeping the story alive and encouraging folks to donate to Color of Change which has been in the trenches in Jena. Between black blogs and CoC — looks like there are some new leaders in the African American community. Ya betta recognize…

Michael Baisden is an emerging figure on African-American radio with a syndicated drive time show. For reasons that appear at best, self-serving, he and another DJ have gone on the attack against the laudable leadership Color of Change has shown in bringing needed attention to the plight of the Jena 6 families. They have provided real on the ground support. Despite direct communications with Michael Baisden and his staff, Baisden has chosen to air falsehoods promoted by one of the Jena 6 father, Marcus Jones. Other bloggers like Prometheus 6 and Eddie Griffin have the dope.

This is a shame. It’s really a shame because it threatens to divide a successful organizing coalition that happened online among our own community and spread from there across the nation and the world. As a card-carrying member of Color of Change, I am outraged by the unjustified slander against them by a man known mostly for his advice to the lovelorn and not his civil rights activism. It’s ok if he wants to be like Tom Joyner when he grows up. But not by climbing on the backs of sincere brothers and sisters trying to make a difference.

You can see more about what’s going on here at Color of Change’s pages of documentation of exactly how they’ve worked side-by-side to provide real financial help pooling the lil bits and lil bits of your money and mine online to give to the families and their legal teams.

Color of Change is asking for help in pushing back on Baisden. If you have time, please send a message to him and to his bosses saying “This ain’t right!” Baisden may think he’s got the mike but let’s reverse the megaphone in the words of Seth Godin and talk right back to him. Please take a quick sec to send a message to ABC Radio and tell them to leash their dog, Baisden. Baisden — you still have a chance to rescue your credibility and Step Off. I just sent my message and dang it if didn’t feel good, y’all. This type of cynicism and exploitation cannot — will not — be tolerated.

Here’s more info from the email CoC sent out today to members like me:

Baisden’s claims and suggestions are completely false, and he and his staff know it. After you’ve read the facts below, can you take a moment to send Michael Baisden and his producers an email asking that he publicly apologize for slandering the movement we’ve built together?

You can listen to the damaging segments of the show, review the facts, and send him a message here:

http://colorofchange.org/baisden/?id=1489-129670

The real story about your donations

Since July, 17th, ColorOfChange members have donated $212,039.90 for the legal defense of the Jena 6, six Black boys being unjustly railroaded by the criminal justice system in Jena, Louisiana. ColorOfChange has already sent $210,809.90 to the six legal teams defending these young men. You can view the cancelled checks here:

http://colorofchange.org/jena/baisden/documentation/checks.html

On Michael Baisden’s show this week, Mychal Bell’s father, Marcus Jones, made allegations on air that the Jena 6 families have had no contact with ColorOfChange and that we do not have their authorization to collect money. It’s simply not true. ColorOfChange has had contact with all of the families for several months. A member of each family has signed a letter authorizing the payments from our defense fund to their attorneys. This includes Marcus Jones. Marcus also asked us on air to stop fundraising for the Jena 6, and implied that he speaks for all of the families, but he does not – none of the other families have said they want this. All but Marcus are thankful and appreciative. Michael Baisden knows all this, yet he provided a forum for this attack and backed it up. You can view the authorization letters, and the full details, here:

http://colorofchange.org/jena/baisden/facts.html?id=1489-129670

ColorOfChange has not taken a single penny of these funds, not even for overhead or administrative costs. We absorb all the fees from every transaction, ensuring that every dollar donated goes directly to legal defense. Aside from the latest donations that are still being processed, every penny that has come in to help these young men is in the hands of lawyers who have been fighting hard to achieve justice.

Baisden has the facts, so why is he on the attack?

Michael Baisden and his staff know the facts. As early as September, we explained our procedures to Baisden and his staff. In October, we helped them contact the families and lawyers so that they could verify for themselves that the money was being distributed. By mid-October, Yvonne Gilliam, who works for Baisden, indicated by phone that every lawyer she’d contacted had properly received their checks from us.

So why does Baisden resort to slandering us on the air now, after seeing for himself exactly how funds were managed? He’s promoting his own fundraising effort this week and is trying to position himself as the only trustworthy source for fundraising around the Jena 6. He’s stated explicitly that he started his fund because he thinks other efforts are untrustworthy. Discrediting us is a great way to promote himself and his fund.

But there is no excuse for his behavior, especially from someone who claims to be part of a movement.

We hope Baisden can raise a lot of money for the Jena 6. The families need all the help they can get. But when someone with his reach builds himself up by spreading slanderous accusations about an organization doing innovative and powerful work on behalf of the Jena 6, it damages the entire movement. And it must be called out.

From CNN.com:

NEW YORK (CNN) — U.S. safety officials have recalled about 4.2 million Chinese-made Aqua Dots bead toys that contain a chemical that has caused some children to vomit and become comatose after swallowing them.

Scientists have found the popular toy’s coating contains a chemical that, once metabolized, converts into the toxic “date rape” drug GHB, or gamma-hydroxy butyrate, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission spokesman Scott Wolfson told CNN.

“GHB is this drug that in low doses actually causes euphoria,” said Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent. “In higher doses, it can cause people to go into a coma. It can cause seizures. It can cause something known as hypotonia, where all your muscles just become very flaccid.

“And it can cause people to become amnestic, … which is why it became a date-rape drug,” Gupta said.

“So this is nasty stuff, and it appears that the chemical is actually converting into it in the body.”
The arts and craft beads, aimed at children 4 years and older, have been selling since April at major U.S. retail stores as “Aqua Dots” and in Australia under the name “Bindeez Beads.”

CPSC spokeswoman Julie Vallese said anyone with Aqua Dots at home should immediately take the toy away from children and contact distributor Spin Master Ltd. to return for free replacement beads or a toy of equal value.

The toy was named toy of the year in Australia and recently made Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s list of top 12 Christmas toys.

Wal-Mart on Thursday listed Aqua Dots on its Web site as “out of stock online” and had removed them from its top toy list.

Toronto-based Spin Master stopped shipping Aqua Dots and asked retailers to pull them off their shelves, where they had sold for $17 to $30.

Melbourne-based Moose Enterprise Pty. Ltd. recalled Bindeez Beads on Tuesday after three children in Australia swallowed large quantities of the beads and were hospitalized.

“I was so frightened because I thought she wasn’t going to make it,” Heather Lehane told CNN affiliate Network 7 of her 10-year-old daughter, Charlotte, who was sickened by the beads.

In the United States, the Washington-based safety commission said it has received two reports detailing the severe effects of the digested beads.

The CPSC said a boy nearly 2 years old “swallowed several dozen beads. He became dizzy and vomited several times before slipping into a comatose state.” The toddler was hospitalized and has since fully recovered, the commission added.

In the second incident, a child vomited, fell into a coma and was hospitalized for five days. It was not immediately clear whether the child had made a full recovery.

The recall is the latest to target Chinese-made toys.

Last month, U.S. government safety officials and retailers recalled at least 69,000 Chinese-made toys over concerns of excessive amounts of lead paint, which can cause lead poisoning.
CNN’s Janine Brady, Jason Carroll, Laura Dolan, Julie O’Neill and Leslie Wiggins contributed to this report.

Toys turns into ‘ date rape’ drug?
Just when you think you’ve heard it all, you hear something like this. This is just so bizarre.
Another product from China…..just thought I’d remind folks.
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm……

Pat Robertson Endorses Rudy: Deems Him ‘More Than Acceptable to People of Faith’

Pat Robertson, one of the most influential figures in the social conservative movement, announced his support for Rudy Giuliani’s presidential bid this morning at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Robertson’s endorsement of Giuliani is a significant blow to Mitt Romney, who has worked hard to court evangelical leaders. Robertson’s support was coveted by several of the leading Republican candidates and provides Giuliani with a major boost as the former New York City mayor seeks to convince social conservatives that, despite his positions supporting abortion rights and gay rights, he is an acceptable choice as the GOP nominee.

Rest of article is here.

Ok, you want to roll like that, Rev. Robertson?

Then, here’s how it’s going to go.

Not ONE MUMBLING WORD about MORALITY or VALUES.

NOT ONE WORD.

Not when you are supporting a man who:

Brought his WHORE into the HOUSE with his WIFE AND CHILDREN.

Has on the payroll a PRIEST accused of MOLESTING CHILDREN.

Not one mumbling word from any of you Bible Thumpers about MORALITY or VALUES.

Found this Black America Web article interesting

Yet if BET wants to use its award shows to trot out black people who have been wronged by the criminal justice system, I’m all right with that. I’m all right with that because there are lots of those people to go around – and many with cases more compelling than that of the Jena 6.

One of those people is Michael Anthony Williams.

Williams is 43 now. Like the Jena 6 he lives in Louisiana. Like the Jena 6 he was a teenager when he was accused of a crime; he was accused of raping and beating his high school tutor.

Unlike the Jena 6, though, he did wind up in prison – Did 24 years hard time in the notorious Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, in fact.

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Al Sharpton and others are repeating a call made last month for a march on the Civil Rights Division to protest the Bush DoJ’s failure to prosecute hate crimes:

A group of national civil rights leaders came to Washington yesterday to reiterate calls for a massive march next week on the Justice Department to protest what they said was the federal government’s failure to prosecute hate crimes.

Headed by the Rev. Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III, the son of the legendary civil rights leader, the group said the march will start at noon Nov. 16 and proceed seven times around the department’s headquarters, at Ninth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW.

[...]

“It is our feeling that with the increased amount of hate crimes and hate signs — hanging nooses, swastikas — that have gone on around this country unaddressed . . . this Justice Department has been silent, and absent . . . on the cases of civil rights in our times,” Sharpton said.

The DoJ tried to spin its record, saying its prosecuted more civil rights cases than any other in history. Of course, the nature of those cases is different from the original aim of the Civil Rights Division, and they certainly haven’t been on behalf of black civil rights.

Last year, the department charged 22 people with hate crimes. That was down 71% from 76 in 1997.

Meanwhile, the department has charged more people with police misconduct and human trafficking. For example, since 2001, the department has prosecuted 360 people on charges of human trafficking, compared with 89 in the six years before that.

FBI figures show that hate crime reports fell 11% from 1997 to 2005, the most recent year available.

A New York Times article a few months ago pointed out that the entire focus of the Civil Rights Division had shifted to one more suited to the Christian Rights’ agenda, including protecting religious groups that want to descriminate on the basis of religious background or sexual orientation:

The changes are evident in a variety of actions:

¶Intervening in federal court cases on behalf of religion-based groups like the Salvation Army that assert they have the right to discriminate in hiring in favor of people who share their beliefs even though they are running charitable programs with federal money.

¶Supporting groups that want to send home religious literature with schoolchildren; in one case, the government helped win the right of a group in Massachusetts to distribute candy canes as part of a religious message that the red stripes represented the blood of Christ.

¶Vigorously enforcing a law enacted by Congress in 2000 that allows churches and other places of worship to be free of some local zoning restrictions. The division has brought more than two dozen lawsuits on behalf of churches, synagogues and mosques.

¶Taking on far fewer hate crimes and cases in which local law enforcement officers may have violated someone’s civil rights. The resources for these traditional cases have instead been used to investigate trafficking cases, typically involving foreign women used in the sex trade, a favored issue of the religious right.

¶Sharply reducing the complex lawsuits that challenge voting plans that might dilute the strength of black voters. The department initiated only one such case through the early part of this year, compared with eight in a comparable period in the Clinton administration.

The actual number of civil rights cases prosecuted by the Bush DoJ is misleading. Those cases were mostly filed on behalf of their Right leaning religious interests, not in the interest of protecting the civil rights of ethnic minorities.

Of course, there hasn’t been any lack of challenges to black voting rights, some of which have come from within the Civil Rights Division itself.

Nice try guys. But you’re not fooling anyone.

Hope they’ve got their books straight.

Grassley Probes Televangelists’ Finances
By JUSTIN JUOZAPAVICIUS 11.06.07, 7:36 PM ET

Acting on tips about preachers who ride in Rolls Royces and have purportedly paid $30,000 for a conference table, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee said Tuesday he’s investigating the finances of six well-known TV ministers.

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa said those under scrutiny include faith healer Benny Hinn, Georgia megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar and one of the nation’s best known female preachers, Joyce Meyer.

Grassley sent letters to the half-dozen Christian media ministries earlier this week requesting answers by Dec. 6 about their expenses, executive compensation and amenities, including use of fancy cars and private jets.

In a statement, Grassley said he was acting on complaints from the public and news coverage of the organizations.

“The allegations involve governing boards that aren’t independent and allow generous salaries and housing allowances and amenities such as private jets and Rolls Royces,” Grassley said.

“I don’t want to conclude that there’s a problem, but I have an obligation to donors and the taxpayers to find out more. People who donated should have their money spent as intended and in adherence with the tax code.”

Those ministries that responded Tuesday either said they were cooperating or committed to financial transparency and following the law.

The investigation promises to shine new light on the kind of TV ministries that were crippled by sex and money scandals in the 1980s. Experts also say it stands out as an unusual case of the government probing the inner workings of religious organizations.

Most of those under investigation preach a variation of the “prosperity gospel,” the teaching that God will shower faithful followers with material riches.

Grassley’s letters went to:

_ Kenneth and Gloria Copeland of Kenneth Copeland Ministries of Newark, Texas, a $20 million organization and prosperity gospel pioneer. Questions were raised about the transfer of church assets to a for-profit company, Security Patrol Inc., a $1 million loan from Gloria Copeland to the group, and a “personal gift” of more than $2 million given to Kenneth Copeland to mark the ministry’s 40th anniversary.

A Copeland spokeswoman released a statement saying the ministry is working on a response to Grassley’s letter, follows all laws and best practices governing churches and religious nonprofit groups, and “will continue to do so.”

_ Creflo and Taffi Dollar of World Changers Church International and Creflo Dollar Ministries of College Park, Ga. Grassley’s letter asks for records on private planes, board makeup, compensation and donations and “love offerings” to visiting ministers. In a statement, Dollar called his ministry an “open book” and said he would cooperate. He also questioned whether the investigation could “affect the privacy of every community church in America.”

_ Benny Hinn of World Healing Center Church Inc. and Benny Hinn Ministries of Grapevine, Texas, is asked about use of a private jet, a home in Dana Point, Calif. and “layover trips” while traveling on ministry business. Hinn did not respond to requests for comment.

_ Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and Bishop Eddie Long Ministries of Lithonia, Ga., was questioned about his salary, a $1.4 million real estate transaction and whether he, and not the board, holds sole authority over the organization. Long plans to fully comply with the Senate’s request, and his church has “several safeguards” to ensure transactions comply with laws governing churches, according to a statement from Long’s spokesman.

_ Joyce and David Meyer of Joyce Meyer Ministries of Fenton, Mo., who were quizzed about receiving donations of money and jewelry and the handling of cash from overseas crusades. They also were asked about expenditures at ministry headquarters, including a $30,000 conference table and a $23,000 “commode with marble top.”

The ministry’s lawyer released a statement describing the ministry’s work and public release of several years’ worth of audits. He also said the IRS found in October that the group continues to qualify for tax-exempt status.

_ Randy and Paula White of the multiracial Without Walls International Church and Paula White Ministries of Tampa, Fla. are asked about home purchases in San Antonio, Texas, Malibu, Calif., and New York, credit card charges for clothing and cosmetic surgery and the reported purchase of a Bentley convertible as a gift for Bishop T.D. Jakes, a prominent Texas preacher and televangelist. An e-mail to a spokeswoman for Jakes was not immediately returned.

Rest of article is here.

I have a problem with Prosperity Preachers. It’s just not the Christianity I grew up with; it’s foreign and hostile to the teachings that I learned as a child. They seem to be long on prosperity and very short on social/community empowerment.

Per NYTimes.com

Parsons to Depart as Time Warner Chief on Jan. 1
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: November 5, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) — Jeff Bewkes will succeed Dick Parsons as the CEO of Time Warner Inc. on Jan. 1, the company announced Monday, completing a widely anticipated succession at the top of the world’s largest media conglomerate.

Parsons, who is 59 years old, will stay on as chairman. He had taken over in 2002, just as the company was reeling in the aftermath of its disastrous decision to be acquired by AOL. A former lawyer and skilled negotiator, he helped restore the company’s stature and rebuild its relations with Wall Street.

Bewkes, who is 55, was chief executive of HBO for seven years and helped transform the cable TV channel into a hugely profitable network that also consistently won critical acclaim with original programming including ”The Sopranos” and ”Sex and the City.”

Investors will now be looking to Bewkes to take dramatic action to revive the company’s long-suffering stock, which is still stuck at about the same level as when Parsons took over five years ago.

Bewkes had long been groomed as Parsons’ successor, with only the exact timing of the changeover yet to be finalized. Bewkes was named to the Time Warner board this year, and took the title of chief operating officer two years ago.

Parsons, one of the most prominent black executives in corporate America, has spent much of his tenure repairing the damage from Time Warner’s combination with AOL in 2000.

Rest of article here.

Not as hostile as Stanley O’Neal’s departure, but I’m still sad to see Mr. Parsons go.


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