Monthly Archives: December 2008

Bobby Rush Daring Anyone To Challenge Roland Burris As Obama’s Replacement In The Senate!Is The “Race Card” Being Played?

Time and time again, you hear accusations of the “race card” being played.Oftentime it’s debatable whether or not that was really the case. For instance, there was ample reason to bring up race in O.J. Simpson’s murder trial because of folks like Mark Fuhrman. That made a whole lot of sense to me. But in the case of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s appointment of Roland Burris to replace Barack Obama in the Senate, I don’t see the purpose of bringing up the skin color of Burris. Rep.Bobby Rush was being completely candid & honest when he pointed out that there would be no African-Americans in the Senate if the Burris pick was rejected. But,that speaks to the ongoing problem with race that still plagues America. Remember the CD that Republican National Committee chairman candidate Chip Saltsman sent to his fellow RNC members? You know,the one with the infamous “Barack the Magic Negro” song on it.

Bobby Rush should have focused on Roland Burris’s accomplishments instead of his race. Roland Burris is qualified to replace Obama. He should get it based on merit, not race.This is truly an instance where the “race card” is being played. I don’t think that this should be about putting another African-American in the one seat that was vacated. It should be about putting a qualified person in Obama’s Senate seat. And if they happen to be African-American then that’s great! I think this was Gov. Blagojevich’s way of trying to force his pick down everyone’s throat.

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How A NPR Reporter Handled News Of Her Layoff By Incorporating It Into The News!

Ketzel Levine was a senior correspondent for National Public Radio until she got laid off. The irony in her situation is that she created a series for NPR that looked at how Americans were dealing with the economic decline. It was called “American Moxie: How We Get By” & it had just started in December! So when she received word that she would be laid off, Ketzel Levine included her own story in the final episode. Here’s more from NY Times:

“But there was an unexpected ending. Midway through her reporting, Ms. Levine found out that she had been laid off as part of a 64-employee cut at NPR.

Ms. Levine, who has worked at NPR since 1977, said she decided the final episode, and her final piece for NPR, should be about her own situation.

Ellen McDonnell, the director of morning programming, was not immediately sold on the idea. “I had some natural hesitation,” she said. “As a reporter, you never want the story to be about you.” At the same time, she said: “I also recognized a very unique opportunity for Ketzel to tell a story that lots of people can relate to. She found out in a very personal way what it’s like to have to start over again and to have that moxie she spoke about.”

The end result “was kind of eerie,” Ms. McDonnell said. “The whole concept that one person in the story would lead to another, and then it would all end with her, was not something any of us anticipated.”

In the short piece, which first ran last week just after a “Moxie” story about a Chicago landscaper, Ms. Levine took a personal approach. “It’s only today that I’m sane enough to tell you” about her having been laid off, she told listeners.

Ms. Levine, who lives in Portland, Ore., said she had no idea what she would do next. “Every story that we all do, we’re always looking for the perfect ending,” she said. “And suddenly it was handed to me. It was not one of my choosing, but as a storyteller, what could make a better story?”(End of Excerpt) Read the entire article here:(http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/29/business/media/29levine.html?_r=2

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American Teens Like Spencer Brodsky For Helping Women In Darfur!

What A Compassionate Young Man!

What A Compassionate Young Man!

While most teens are obsessed with video games & hot chicks, Spencer Brodsky is more concerned with helping provide the women of Darfur with fuel-efficient stoves. He has sent 420 stoves to Darfur so far. It’s great to see a young man that can empathize with the pain & suffering of others instead of being totally self-absorbed. Here’s more on his humanitarian efforts from CNN:

“But, from his suburban home, one Maryland teen has dedicated himself to making life a little safer for those women.

The United Nations estimates that 300,000 people have been slaughtered in the ongoing violence in the north African country. Countless others have been forced out of their homes and are living in refugee camps.

People living in the camps are relatively safe, but there is danger for the women and young girls who leave the compounds in search of firewood to cook meals. Firewood in the desert is scarce, and the women often have to walk up to seven hours to gather enough wood to bring back to their camps. Some women have been targeted, sexually assaulted and killed.

Spencer Brodsky, 17, learned about the violence and decided to raise money to purchase fuel-efficient stoves to send to Darfur. The stoves burn 75 percent less firewood.

Brodsky reasons that if he can do something to keep Sudanese women in the camps, this would decrease the likelihood of violence.

“We need to be able to benefit them in any way that we can so they don’t have to be out as many times of their compound,” he said.

Brodsky, who is Jewish, said his elders have compared the genocide in Darfur to the Holocaust. He believes that his peers should not stand for such injustice in their lifetime.

They always taught about what was happening in that region in that the social injustice that’s happening. And how you know how people said during the Holocaust during World War II — you know this can never happen again.”

At $30 per stove, Brodsky has raised enough money to ship 420 stoves to Darfur.

The project is a joint effort between Brodsky and CHF International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the economic conditions of people in some of the most troubled regions of the world.

Naila Mohamed, leader of the stoves project at CHF International, has witnessed the reaction of Sudanese women when they receive the stoves.

“These women are so grateful for this initiative and actually thankful to the American people who are so passionate to let these women know that there is help out there,” Mohamed said.

Together, Brodsky and CHF International want to continue raising awareness around the world of the plight of the Sudanese.”(End of Excerpt) Read the rest here:(http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/africa/12/27/stoves.darfur/index.html

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The Top 10 List About Annoying “Americanisms”!

After Christmas, everyone looks forward to the coming year. And we reflect on the current year. I enjoy some of the various top ten lists, especially this one. Here’s an excerpt from the Telegraph.co.uk:

“The term “Happy Holidays” is certainly one that grates on this British ear and I confess it’s not the only one. Every day, I have to navigate the common language which, as George Bernard Shaw put it, divides our two nations.

But I don’t mean simple Americanisms like stroller (pushchair), diaper (nappy), ladybug (ladybird), Mom (Mum), entrée (main course), Santa (Father Christmas), takeout (takeaway), pre-owned (secondhand), mad (angry), chill (calm down), Santa (Father Christmas) etc etc but the phrases that really make you want to go postal.

Here are the top 10 that, after nearly seven years here, infuriate me most:

1. “Happy Holidays.”

Translation: “Merry Christmas but I realise you might be Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Bahai, something even more exotic, agnostic or Godless and I don’t want to offend you.”

2. “Have a Nice Day.”

Translation: “I would like you to have a pleasant time today” or “I hate you” – or anything in between.

3. “You’re welcome.”

Translation: Meaningless Pavlovian response to thank you.

4. “Do the math.”

Translation: “Work it out yourself, stupid.”

5. “Let’s visit with each other.”

Translation: “We should spend time together.”(End of Excerpt) To read the entire list go here:(http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/toby_harnden/blog/2008/12/23/top_10_most_annoying_americanisms

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The Self-Proclaimed “Toughest Sheriff” In America Has His Own T.V. Show!

This guy is such a pompous ass! Joe Arpaio delights in self grandioseness & he is always in the spotlight.Whether you love him or hate him, Fox has decided that enough folks will be interested in a reality show featuring “America’s toughest sheriff!” Here’s more from MSNBC:

“In Arizona, seeing Joe Arpaio on TV is nothing new. But the self-described “America’s toughest sheriff” now has a national platform to pursue lawbreakers that stretches beyond the 5 o’clock news.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, which oversees the state’s most populous county, has a starring role in “Smile … You’re Under Arrest!,” a new reality show debuting Saturday on Fox Reality Channel.

A cross between “Punk’d” and “Cops,” the program sets up elaborate sting operations to snare people wanted on outstanding warrants. Actors and undercover deputies play along in faux scenarios where scofflaws are enticed to have a good time; the drama comes when cast members reveal the prank and waiting deputies slap on handcuffs.(End of First Excerpt)

“The sheriff is known for overseeing the Tent City Jail, where inmates are housed under surplus military tents. In Maricopa County jails, inmates don old-fashioned prison stripes and work on chain gangs.

But Arpaio has fielded harsher criticism in recent years for how things operate behind the scenes. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has paid millions of dollars in settlements involving dead or injured inmates.

“The reality is the man has lost complete touch with reality,” said Michael Manning, a Phoenix attorney who has won settlements for clients against the sheriff’s office. “He’s spending time on something like this as opposed to getting those felony warrants executed on our streets. … If it weren’t so serious, I’d say it would be funny.”

County officials have generally approved of inmates’ treatment, and Arpaio said he’s just doing his job. His critics, he said, are the ones out of touch and gunning for publicity.

“It’s the same little group of people that try to get me defeated. Well, I was just re-elected for the fifth time. The people like what I’m doing,” Arpaio said.”(End of Second Excerpt) Read the rest here: (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28393237/

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Jack Johnson: It’s Been One Century Since He Became The First Black Heavyweight Champion & Now There Is An Online Comic-Book Bio On Him!

Online Comic Book About Jack Johnson's Life!
Online Comic Book About Jack Johnson’s Life!

Jack Johnson was one of the greatest boxers of all time & he was an African-American. In fact, he became the first black heavyweight champion a century ago. Jack Johnson paved the way for the Mike Tysons of the world. He was a huge panther-like man who had a clever boxing style. Johnson beat the holy crap out of  Tommy Burns in the fight that earned him that title. Before Jack Johnson demolished him, the camera was cut off because it just wouldn’t do for an even wider audience to witness a black man knock out a white man. I mean, racist views would not permit some caucasians to accept that Jack Johnson could be a better boxer than any white boxer. Here’s more from Wikipedia:

“After Johnson’s victory over Burns, racial animosity among whites ran so deep that even a socialist like Jack London called out for a “Great White Hope” to take the title away from Johnson — who was crudely caricatured as a subhuman “ape” — and return it to where it supposedly belonged, with the “superior” white race. As title holder, Johnson thus had to face a series of fighters billed by boxing promoters as “great white hopes”, often in exhibition matches. In 1909, he beat Victor McLaglen, Frank Moran, Tony Ross, Al Kaufman, and the middleweight champion Stanley Ketchel. The match with Ketchel was keenly fought by both men until the 12th and last round, when Ketchel threw a right to Johnson’s head, knocking him down. Slowly regaining his feet, Johnson threw a straight to Ketchel’s jaw, knocking him out, along with some of his teeth, several of which were embedded in Johnson’s glove. His fight with “Philadelphia” Jack O’Brien was a disappointing one for Johnson: though scaling 205 pounds (93 kg) to O’Brien’s 161 pounds (73 kg) , he could only achieve a six-round draw with the great middleweight.

In 1910, former undefeated heavyweight champion James J. Jeffries came out of retirement and said “I am going into this fight for the sole purpose of proving that a white man is better than a Negro”.[2] Jeffries had not fought in six years and had to lose around 100 lb (45 kg) to try to get back to his championship fighting weight.

At the fight, which took place on July 4, 1910 in front of 22,000 people, at a ring built just for the occasion in downtown Reno, Nevada, the ringside band played “All coons look alike to me”. The fight had become a hotbed of racial tension, and the promoters incited the all-white crowd to chant “kill the nigger”.[3] Johnson, however, proved stronger and more nimble than Jeffries. In the 15th round, after Jeffries had been knocked down twice for the first time in his career, his people called it quits to prevent Johnson from knocking him out.

The “Fight of the Century” earned Johnson $225,000 and silenced the critics, who had belittled Johnson’s previous victory over Tommy Burns as “empty,” claiming that Burns was a false champion since Jeffries had retired undefeated.

United States, from Texas and Colorado to New York and Washington, D.C. Johnson’s victory over Jeffries had dashed white dreams of finding a “great white hope” to defeat him. Many whites felt humiliated by the defeat of Jeffries and were incensed by Johnson’s comments.[1]

Blacks, on the other hand, were jubilant, and celebrated Johnson’s great victory as a victory for the entire race. Black poet William Waring Cuney later highlighted the African-American reaction to the fight in his poem “My Lord, What a Morning”. Around the country, blacks held spontaneous parades, gathered in prayer meetings, and purchased goods with winnings from backing Johnson at the bookmakers. These celebrations often drew a violent response from white men.”(End of Excerpt) Read the entire entry here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Johnson_(boxer)

This is a part of America’s past that should never be forgotten. And thanks to an online comic-book about Jack Johnson’s life it will not be. Here’s more on that from the NY Times:

“The legend of Jack Johnson, who became the first black heavyweight champion 100 years ago Friday, keeps growing. His story was already inspiration for a stage play and a feature film. Now he has inspired an online comic-book biography, “The Original Johnson.”

The comic, which is being serialized in weekly installments at www.comicmix.com, is written and illustrated by Trevor Von Eeden, and is unflinching in its depiction of racism in America, the brutality of the boxing ring and the tragedies and triumphs of Johnson’s life, including his sexual conquests. New chapters are scheduled to be posted every Wednesday.

“Trevor has really put his heart and soul into this,” said Mike Gold, an editor at ComicMix who worked on the biography. “He’s been researching for years and years,” and he has filled his story with what he uncovered in news clippings and books. “(End of Excerpt) Read the rest here:http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/25/sports/othersports/25comic.html?_r=1&em

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Christmas Is Legal Everywhere In The U.S.!

Did you know that early Americans did not celebrate Christmas? They considered it to be a pagan holiday. Aren’t you glad that isn’t the case nowadays?Although, you do have a lot of folks who get offended if you say “Merry X-mas” to them. Here’s how Christmas came to be what it is today, according to World Net Daily:

“Every December, a call goes out from the nation’s pulpits to “put Christ back into Christmas,” but growing numbers of Americans – including fundamentalist Christians – are claiming Jesus Christ had nothing to do with the holiday, and news items from across the country this week indicate that the U.S. has become the new battleground for Christmas.

Cases in point:

“The fact that atheists view Christmas with disdain is not astonishing, since they’ve attempted to remove the phrase “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance and “In God we trust” from U.S. currency, as well as Ten Commandments displays from numerous publicly owned places.

What may be surprising, though, is that some devout Christians, many dating all the way back to the days of Jesus, never celebrated the birth of Christ, nor sought to. America’s early colonists banned observance of Christmas, and still today, there are many Christians abstaining from what millions more of their brethren joyfully celebrate as God’s coming in human form.

The Catholic Encyclopedia states, ‘”the word for Christmas in late Old English is Cristes Maesse, the Mass of Christ, first found in 1038, and Cristes-messe, in 1131.”

It explains “Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church,” pointing out “first evidence of the feast is from Egypt” around A.D. 200 with attempts by theologians to assign not only the year of Christ’s birth, but also the precise date.

Historians agree that through the subsequent centuries, traditions from ancient pagan (non-Christian) religions became intertwined with those of Christianity, and depending upon one’s point of view, either paganism became Christianized, or Christianity became paganized.

In 1644, the English Parliament outlawed the holiday, compelling shops to be open that day, and condemning plum puddings and mince pies as “heathen.”

In his Pulitzer Prize finalist, “The Battle for Christmas,” historian Stephen Nissenbaum at the University of Massachusetts documents the American development of the holiday now ensconced in popular culture.

“In New England, for the first two centuries of white settlement,” writes Nissenbaum, “most people did not celebrate Christmas. In fact, the holiday was systematically suppressed by Puritans during the colonial period and largely ignored by their descendants. It was actually illegal to celebrate Christmas in Massachusetts between 1659 and 1681 (the fine was five shillings). Only in the middle of the nineteenth century did Christmas gain legal recognition as an official public holiday in New England.”

Nissenbaum agrees with other historians that the first recorded observance since the New Testament recounted Christ’s birth took place hundreds of years after Jesus’ resurrection.

It was only in the fourth century that the Church officially decided to observe Christmas on Dec. 25. And this date was not chosen for religious reasons but simply because it happened to mark the approximate arrival of the winter solstice, an event that was celebrated long before the advent of Christianity. The Puritans were correct when they pointed out – and they pointed it out often – that Christmas was nothing but a pagan festival covered with a Christian veneer.”(End of Second Excerpt) Read the article in it’s entirety here:(http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=29995

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NORAD’S Santa Tracking Program Is Absolutely Delightful!

One of the things that’s great about Christmas is that we have picked this day to celebrate the birth of Jesus. But, all some people really care about is what Santa’s got in his sack tonight! There is so much anticipation on Christmas Eve for the young ones that it’s almost too much for them to bear! So, thanks to NORAD for letting the little children track Santa’s whereabouts! Happy holidays to you all! Here’s more on the Santa tracking program from the Telegraph.co.uk:

“Millions of children will be able to track Santa Claus on his global rounds via the internet and mobile phones thanks to a new programme from Google and the American defence organisation.
The programme, developed by the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) and the search engine Google, has become an internet sensation with close to a billion hits since its inception last year.

The Colorado-based centre usually provides aerospace warning and control for North America every day but on Christmas Eve they traditionally turn their attention to Santa’s journey from the North Pole.

Last year the organisation and Google developed the internet programme “NORAD tracks Santa” to allow excited children log on to see how Father Christmas is getting on delivering their gifts.

So far about 10 million people from more than 200 countries have visited the website last year.

NORAD, which is also responsible for defending the US and Canada from incoming nuclear missiles, claims it can follow him with their radar and satellite technology as well as the infra-red signature left by Rudolph’s red nose.

Children can also follow his progress with three dimensional “Santa Cams”.
Google will use its mapping service to give up-to-the-date analysis on where he is.

NORAD has been “tracking Santa” since 1955 when a child acidentally called up the organisation asking to speak to Santa.”(End of Excerpt) Read the rest here: (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandtechnology/technology/google/3935017/Santa-tracking-programme-reveals-Father-Christmas-global-flight-path.html

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Symbolism Is Important To President Obama! He’s Using Abe Lincoln’s Bible For His Swearing-In!

Click On The Picture To Link To Site Where This Photo Of Lincoln's Bible Came From!

Click On The Picture To Link To Site Where This Photo Of Lincoln's Bible Came From!

President Obama is a man who really enjoys using symbolism in his life. This time, he is using Abraham Lincoln’s bible to symbolize just how far America has come since the time of the Great Emancipator! Here’s more from the Washington Wire:

“President-elect Barack Obama will be sworn in on the same Bible as former President Abraham Lincoln when he takes the oath of office on Jan. 20, the Presidential Inaugural Committee said today.

Obama will be the first president to use Lincoln’s bible since it was first used in 1861. The book is part of the collection at the Library of Congress.

As the PIC notes, there is no constitutional requirement for presidents to use Bibles for the ceremony, but history dictates that president-elects generally select a volume of historical significance.

The President-elect is committed to holding an Inauguration that celebrates America’s unity, and the use of this historic Bible will provide a powerful connection to our common past and common heritage,” said PIC Executive Director Emmett Beliveau in a statement.”(End of Excerpt) Read the rest here:(http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2008/12/23/obama-to-use-lincoln-bible-for-swearing-in/

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The Heated Debate Over Obama’s Decision To Have Rick Warren Deliver The Invocation At His Inauguration!

Anderson Cooper hosted a lively debate over the homophobic views of Rick Warren & whether or not Obama should have picked him to deliver the Invocation at his Inauguration.I understand why President Obama picked Rick Warren. It’s all a part of his strategy to bring the country together. Those who did not vote for him should be inspired by the fact that he wants to be all-inclusive.I find it interesting that Melissa Etheridge is not taking issue with Rick Warren.Here’s an excerpt from a post that she wrote on The Huffington Post:

“Well, I have to tell you my friends, the universe has a sense of humor and indeed works in mysterious ways. As I was winding down the promotion for my Christmas album I had one more stop last night. I’d agreed to play a song I’d written with my friend Salman Ahmed, a Sufi Muslim from Pakistan. The song is called “Ring The Bells,” and it’s a call for peace and unity in our world. We were going to perform our song for the Muslim Public Affairs Council, a group of Muslim Americans that tries to raise awareness in this country, and the world, about the majority of good, loving, Muslims. I was honored, considering some in the Muslim religion consider singing to be against God, while other Muslim countries have harsh penalties, even death for homosexuals. I felt it was a very brave gesture for them to make. I received a call the day before to inform me of the keynote speaker that night… Pastor Rick Warren. I was stunned. My fight or flight instinct took over, should I cancel? Then a calm voice inside me said, “Are you really about peace or not?”

I told my manager to reach out to Pastor Warren and say “In the spirit of unity I would like to talk to him.” They gave him my phone number. On the day of the conference I received a call from Pastor Rick, and before I could say anything, he told me what a fan he was. He had most of my albums from the very first one. What? This didn’t sound like a gay hater, much less a preacher. He explained in very thoughtful words that as a Christian he believed in equal rights for everyone. He believed every loving relationship should have equal protection. He struggled with proposition 8 because he didn’t want to see marriage redefined as anything other than between a man and a woman. He said he regretted his choice of words in his video message to his congregation about proposition 8 when he mentioned pedophiles and those who commit incest. He said that in no way, is that how he thought about gays. He invited me to his church, I invited him to my home to meet my wife and kids. He told me of his wife’s struggle with breast cancer just a year before mine.

When we met later that night, he entered the room with open arms and an open heart. We agreed to build bridges to the future.

Brothers and sisters the choice is ours now. We have the world’s attention. We have the capability to create change, awesome change in this world, but before we change minds we must change hearts. Sure, there are plenty of hateful people who will always hold on to their bigotry like a child to a blanket. But there are also good people out there, Christian and otherwise that are beginning to listen. They don’t hate us, they fear change. Maybe in our anger, as we consider marches and boycotts, perhaps we can consider stretching out our hands. Maybe instead of marching on his church, we can show up en mass and volunteer for one of the many organizations affiliated with his church that work for HIV/AIDS causes all around the world.

Maybe if they get to know us, they wont fear us.

I know, call me a dreamer, but I feel a new era is upon us.”(End of Excerpt) Read the rest here: (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/melissa-etheridge/the-choice-is-ours-now_b_152947.html

Well said, Melissa Etheridge!

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