07 February 2004

Black History Question:
President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802 in June of 1941. It created the Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC). The order banned racial discrimination in any defense industry receiving federal contracts by declaring "there shall be no discrimination in the employment of workers in defense industries or government because of race, creed, color, or national origin." The order also authorized the FEPC to investigate complaints and take action against alleged employment discrimination.

What year did the bill finally reach the House of Representatives and what was its final disposition?

Black History Question Answer from February 6:

Black History Question:
Beginning in the 1940s through the 1960s, this "premiere summer resort", near Baldwin, Michigan attracted affluent and middle-class Americans of African descent. Black vacationers from the entire country made the trek to this popular northern resort.

What was its name?

Black History Question Answer from February 5:
Langston Hughes

06 February 2004

White People Have Confused the Hell out of Howard Dean

During the build up to the primaries, white Democrats across the country said they were ready for a strong fighter to go against Dubya and his corrupt regime. They cheered with abandon for Dean when, in his passionate way, he spoke of Smirky's poor economic record, his lies about Iraq, and his questionable policies. Being the diehard Democrat that I am, I cheered with them.

Then came the disappointing outcome of the Iowa Caucuses. During a speech to his supporters afterwards, Dean was his usual fiery self. He was beaten but unbowed, and he wanted the crowd to know he would continue his candidacy with the same determination. After rattling off the states his campaign would move on to, he ended with the throaty grunt of an athlete heaving a shot put. That single moment of humanity has led to a growing stream of ludicrous commentary about Dean.

A few days after the Iowa speech was mischaracterized as the "screaming" incident, Senator Tom Harken publicly waffled in his support of Dean. Though Harken later said he'd stand by him, the damage was done, in a major way —he is now labeled unpresidential.

Anyone who has seen the former frontrunner since Iowa, has seen a beaten man. Gone is the enthusiam and passion. He has become as wooden and milquetoast as John Kerry and John Edwards. His very vocal supporters apparently wanted him to change his demeanor to suit the whims of GOP-leaning political pundits, and he has done just that.

The problem is he no longer seems comfortable in his own skin. When he speaks he sounds stilted. As he stands at the podium, his posture is unrelaxed and his movements look mechanical. Ironically, his body language is reminiscent of Al Gore, and Democrats stupidly agreed with rethuglicans that Gore was "too stiff".

Poor Dean . . . white folks aren't showing any courage of their convictions, and he's paying the price.

05 February 2004

Black History Question:
On February 1, in 1902 what prolific poet and author of the Jess B. Semple series of columns was born in Joplin, Missouri.

Black History Question Answer from February 4:
The Schomburg Center — named after Arthur A. Schomburg
Bad Intelligence on Iraq

Either the American public's collective memory is short, or most of us are not paying attention. It was only a year ago that people like .:Scott Ritter:., former Iraq Weapon's inspector, .:Hans Blix:., former U.N. Weapons Inspector Chief, and the International Atomic Energy Agency, were dismissed by officials in the Dubya administration, and the media, as being non-credible, whacked out, or pro-terrorism nuts.

The general public was warned by these people, as well as the millions of ordinary folks comprising the anti-war contingency, that the charge of hording or stockpiling weapons of mass destruction was actually a smokescreen of weapons of mass distraction. Scott Ritter appeared on a number of news shows telling all that he knew and learned while he was a weapons' inspector. Hans Blix was adamant that the non-violent inspections be allowed to continue because he saw no indications that WMD existed. The .:IAEA fact sheet:. from April 25, 2002, entitled "Iraq's Nuclear Weapons Programme", stated "There were no indications that there remains in Iraq any physical capability for the production of amounts of weapons-usable nuclear material of any practical significance."

It is amazing that the White House can now say, with a straight face, that all the intelligence it had to rely on said there was WMD in Iraq. There should be a hue and a cry from a nation's citizens when they are lied to so blatantly. But, no real protest of any kind can be heard.

How could the tumultuous events of a short 12 months ago be so quickly forgotten?

04 February 2004

Terrorism by Any Other Name is Still Terrorism

Here are some little known U.S. history facts:

The Ambassador to Chile in 1973 was .:Ed Korry:.. That year the U.S. sponsored the overthrow of the democratically-elected Salvador Allende, and helped install one of the most brutal dictatorships in the hemisphere's history—Pinochet.

Before Allende's victory, Ed Korry publicly said:
"Once Allende comes to power we shall do all within our power to condemn Chile and Chileans to utmost deprivation and poverty."

.:Dan Mitrione:. was the head of the U.S. Office of Public Safety in Uruguay. Apparently, his job was to instruct Uruguayan police and military officials how to torture political enemies. Torturers need practice, so Mitrione instructed his pupils to abduct homeless beggars off the streets and test out the many devices of torture on them. That included electric shock to the genitals. The usual ending for test subjects was murder.

As karma would dictate, Mitrione was kidnapped and killed by an Uruguayan rebel group in 1970. Then Secretary of State William Rogers attended his funeral. Celebrities Frank Sinatra and Jerry Lewis staged a fundraiser for his family. White House Spokesman Ron Ziegler described Mitrione's work as
"devoted service to the cause of peaceful progress in an orderly world will remain as an example to free men everywhere."

.:Robert Martens:. served in the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta when an Indonesian coup brought Suharto to power in 1965. The consequence of that coup was the mass murder of an estimated 500,000 people. Apropos to how the CIA provided the Indonesian military with the names of supposed subversives to assassinate, Martens blithely said:
"It really was a big help to the Army. They probably killed a lot of people, and I probably have a lot of blood on my hands, but that's not all bad. There's a time when you have to strike hard at a decisive moment."

We've been a great example to al-Qaeda.
Black History Question:
This center, which includes material by and about Blacks throughout the world, was established within the New York Public Library system by a Puerto Rican man of African descent. What is its name?

Black History Question Answer from February 3:

03 February 2004

Black History Question:
On February 5th of what year was an amendment passed to the Freedmen's Bureau bill that authorized the distribution of public land and confiscated land to freedmen and loyal refugees in forty acre lots?

The measure was defeated in the House by a vote of 126 to 37. A Black delegation, led by Frederick Douglas called on President Johnson and urged ballots for former slaves. Meeting ended in disagreement and controversy after Johnson reiterated his opposition to Black suffrage/voting.
Democracy is Not a Spectator Sport

What's being done by this administration, in a government of, by, and for the people, is antithetical to our best interests as individuals and as a nation. Though it's being done under our noses, most of us don't find out what happened until the event is run through the spin machine of mainstream media and comes out the other side as meaningless pap.

Like many others, we are consumed by work, paying bills, attending school, finding a job, caring for aging parents, paying rent, dealing with sullen teenaged children, maintaining a marriage, etc. Living one's life takes all 24 hours in the day. Just be aware, the proverbial powers that be count on us being too blinded by the daily grind to see their malicious political manuevering for what it is.

As I am wont to do, I encourage everyone to take time and find out what's going on around them. To paraphrase Booker T. Washington, "cast down your buckets where you are." Simply put, do what you can, when you can to ensure this country lives up to its ideals. We have a participatory democracy in this republic of ours; if we don't participate, it will cease to exist.

If it's an online petition, sign it.

If an effort you believe in needs donations, send in your ONE DOLLAR—those single dollars add up to millions.

If legislation is being proposed and you're solicited to send an email in protest or support, learn about it and send it!

Make use of online news sites (most offer free email notification of new editions). You'd be surprised how much information is not televised, or excluded from major print publications. A short adviso: avoid internet sites that encourage "barbershop talk". Those are topics about things like interracial dating, best rap video, nappy hair vs. chemically-treated hair, Black "racism", etc.

Here are some sites to sharpen your critical thinking:
If there's a zoning committee or city council meeting coming up that affects your part of the city, attend it.

When school board or city commission meetings are televised on your local PBS station, watch them if you can't attend. Remember this: All politics is local; national politics is a reflection of city & state politics. Ignoring local elections is done at the expense of national elections.

When Dubya or his cronies propose a program to help you, be afraid, be very afraid.

Though the journey is long and the burden is heavy, our backs must remain unbent.
Win or Lose, Who Will be There for You?

Al Sharpton .:spoke:. to the people of Aiken, South Carolina on the afternoon of Super Bowl Sunday. The Reverend, once again, proved how much his intelligence has been underestimated by the media, and the general public.

Using self-deprecating humor and tongue-in-cheek conceit, he exhorted the crowd to think for themselves. He explained just how ludicrous the accusation is that his candidacy is killing the party, and described it as "already dead". Al recounted how the 2000 mid-term election was proof that the cowardly tendency of Democrats to imitate Republicans doesn't work. Even with Clinton as president, the Democrats could not gain control of either the House, or the Senate. He also reminded them of the one obvious fact that political talkingheads ignore when speaking of his chances to win the nomination— only one candidate will win, and six others will not.

Al expertly put the references to his purported attempt to take over Jesse Jackson's media-bestowed title of Black leader into perspective. He delineated the many Civil Rights era leaders who were outspoken and respected in the same period of time. People like MalcolmX, Martin Luther King, Fannie Lou Hamer, Ralph Abernathy, Hosea Williams, Ralph Bunche, Adam Clayton Powell, A. Philip Randolph, et al, shared the glare of the media spotlight with at least one other Black man or woman of their day. There is no rule, unwritten or otherwise, that precludes more than one Black man or woman from galvanizing people on various issues. The way the media rails against Al Sharpton, one would think that there was.

Finally, the Reverend obliterated the false assertion that the primaries are a win/lose (either/or) proposition. Winning delegates, he explained, enables the candidate who best represents one's interests to attend the Democratic Convention. Their attendance will insure that the issues of importance to the voters will be incorporated into the eventual nominee's platform. He doesn't have to receive the nomination for his supporters to win!

Like the people of Aiken, SC, Democrats across the country must ask themselves serious questions . . . which candidate has always voiced concern for issues that affect my life, will the candidate make a real difference if his ideas are watered down versions of the GOP's, and will this candidate remember my support if he receives the nomination, and ultimately wins the presidency?

02 February 2004

Oh' Janet!

Whether Janet Jackson's .:boob exposure:., during the super bowl's half-time show, was an accident or intentional is inconsequential to the current brouhaha bubbling over into today's news. It was a just breast, a breast covered by an interesting sun-shaped piece of body jewelry, no less. It wasn't her genitals . . .thank goodness! It certainly wasn't any more shocking than seeing Lil' Kim's barely-covered breast during the awards show she attended several years ago, and it had more air-time. There wasn't even the hint of lesbianism that happened with Lil' Kim —Diana Ross wasn't there to reach out and touch it.

FEC Chairman, .:Michael Powell:., is outraged they say. Boy, please!! You have more important issues to mull over than the alleged accidental appearance of Janet's right boob. You've been a reckless shill for media consolidation, and CBS' refusal to air both the story about Ronnie "I can't remember" Raygun and the Moveon.org ad is the direct result.

MTV has apologized. Justin Timberlake has apologized. CBS has apologized.

What more do other outraged citizens want to happen? Get over it. Children will not be forever traumatized if they caught a peek of a Black woman's tittie. The sun will still rise and set each morning.

Please, don't carry on so.
Brief Sports Break — by a non-fan

How about those Patriots, huh'! Way to go!!
Squandered International Goodwill

The .:Boston Globe:. reports:
Last month in Lahore, Pakistan, a two-day meeting of Muslim clerics to celebrate the centenary of Maulana Maududi, founder of Jamaat-I-Islami, speaker after speaker spoke of a Muslim world under attack and siege, saying that Bush's call for democracy was a cover for imperialistic designs to undermine Islam and spread Western culture.
Their suspicions are dead on accurate. The .:Project for The New American Century:. lists as one of its principles:
• we need to accept responsibility for America's unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.
Sadly, many unthinking Americans see nothing wrong with trying to remake the entire world in our image. That is why, in spite of the absence of the ballyhooed WMD, there are still so many American cheerleaders for the war in Iraq.

One day they'll realize,we cannot take on the world.