I have a whole lotta respect for Russell Simmons as a zen/capitalist black man devoted to raising up the entire populace so when I first saw the WaPo article about him stumping for Steele I got that queasy feeling. As you may know, I'm NOT a party person. I think both sides pander shamelessly to get elected and then ignore us as much as they can get away with until just before the next election cycle. My problem with Steele has more to do with his light-weight, token image than his party choice. Seriously, that's what makes me blink first when I see his name in print.
But, I thought, RUSS is backin' this guy! Why not Kweisi Mfume? With democratic party leaders studiously avoiding 'special' or black interests, what happens when the other party does? Republicans printed a 2005 Civil Rights calendar even though their black pols rarely acknowledge the black struggle as worthy of much note. Sure, dems will be in black churches in October and November and may even be photographed with some black folks in the nearer future even though equality and poverty seem to have been judged losing issues by strategists who, obviously, have been hired to paint the party as struggling and disjointed. Oh, and speaking of strategists, do make note of the input by Ms Brazile, she who thinks Karl Rove is an okay guy. One of my favorite water cooler mates is an unabashed Coulter fan but I wouldn't give him a shout-out on TV for being okay except for the wanting to kill liberals part of his obviously tortured psyche because he - like Karl - would sooner bite off his tongue than say something nice about me or my ideals in front of a national audience.
Anyway, judge for yourself:
Angling for Hip-Hop Appeal
By Matthew Mosk
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 25, 2006; B01
Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele's credibility with a pivotal constituency -- African American voters -- got a boost yesterday when hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons got behind his U.S. Senate bid.
"It's extremely significant," said Donna Brazile, a Democratic political strategist. "It says that Michael Steele is someone who is comfortable with youth voters and minority voters."
Yesterday's heavily promoted announcement was just the latest example of how one of the nation's highest-ranking black Republican office holders is trying to balance two aspects of his life -- his race and his political party. Standing beside Simmons, Steele happily embraced the label "hip-hop Republican."
That title is the essence of Steele's delicate campaign strategy to draw votes from Maryland's large pool of black voters while retaining financial and Election Day support from another minority group in the state, conservative Republicans.
He might, for instance, be the only politician in America to have had fundraisers hosted this year by Russell Simmons and Dick Cheney.
Simmons, in turn, might just be the only host to throw fundraisers for both Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Michael Steele.
"I'm from hip-hop, how can I give in to labels?" asked Simmons, who as co-founder of Def Jam Records has been at the forefront of hip-hop's ascendance, as well as efforts to register black voters.
Simmons said he first came to Maryland four years ago to campaign against Steele, but Steele won him over. "Every time we've had a discussion, it boils downs to the same two things: education and opportunity," Simmons said. "The lieutenant governor is clear on his mission."
Steele's message of black empowerment -- that African Americans no longer want a seat at the lunch counter, they want to own the diner -- has resonated with Simmons and with Cathy L. Hughes, founder of Radio One, one of the nation's most successful black-owned radio networks.
Hughes's name appeared on the invitation for a fundraiser last night in Baltimore, but she did not attend.
Support from these icons of black popular culture could help burnish Steele's image for political dexterity. He almost never invokes his deep GOP roots on the trail and launched his first television ad this week pledging to "talk straight about what's wrong in both parties."
Other Democrats, though, have called his strategy a cynical attempt to divert attention from his own biography: that of a social conservative who chaired the state Republican party and worked aggressively on behalf of President Bush.
State Democratic Party Chairman Terry Lierman yesterday advised against reading too much into the endorsements.
"I think it's two individuals supporting a right-wing candidate who does not reflect the values and priorities of Marylanders," Lierman said. "When the time to vote comes, people will know that a vote for Steele is a vote for Bush."
Steele has consistently trailed in polls that match him against one of the leading Democrats in the party's crowded primary field, Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin of Baltimore. Polls have shown Steele in a statistical tie against the other Democratic front-runner, former NAACP president Kweisi Mfume.
continued here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...
(I'm a few days behind on my reading - this article is from 7/6) I haven't had to think about it before but I assume that as the composition of neighborhoods change, so do the outcomes of elections. Why, then, is it a 'bad' thing for blacks to be hard to beat in certain districts? And, why are Democrats the ones complaining about it? The obvious answer? It's harder for the Democrats to insert their chosen candidates in such seats. But, beyond that, is this complaint from Emanuel stunning only to me? Have the Democrats stepped so completely away from what the Republicans refer to as 'special interests' that they will be the ones who oppose extension of the Voting Rights Act? Perhaps I'm missing something and, if I am, please explain it to me.
White Democrats Find Resistance from Black Voters
David Yassky has a solid résumé, lots of campaign cash and plenty of ideas for improving the slice of Brooklyn he wants to represent in Congress. In another Democratic stronghold, he might be the runaway favorite.
But in New York's 11th District, Yassky's candidacy has touched off a controversy about race and turned a sleepy primary contest into an emotionally charged debate over minority political representation. The 11th District is one of the dozens of majority-black seats created in the aftermath of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act. And Yassky, unlike his three primary opponents, is white.
In the past 3 1/2 decades, the number of black-held House seats has increased fourfold, from 10 in 1970 to 40 today, a byproduct of the Voting Rights Act's intent to improve black participation in politics. Black House members hold senior status on committees including the tax-writing Ways and Means, the Judiciary and the Homeland Security committees. And the Congressional Black Caucus is an influential force within the Democratic Party.
But some Democrats have come to recognize the downside of these majority-black districts. For instance, they can spark racially polarized politics, pitting blacks against other minorities and whites, particularly as the districts become more gentrified and ethnically mixed.
In a 2001 special election before redistricting, Forbes narrowly defeated a black state senator, L. Louise Lucas, 52 percent to 48 percent. In 2002, after the boundaries were redrawn, Forbes won his seat with 98 percent of the vote. This year, when Democrats are positioned to possibly take back control of the House, Forbes is running unopposed.
Provisions of the Voting Rights Act, including a section related to legislative districts, are due to expire and are being debated in Congress. Some Southern lawmakers have protested extending special safeguards that apply to their states, but civil rights advocates assert that allowing the provisions to expire would be highly risky in light of recent cases of voting rights violations.
In fact, some want more protections for minority communities. In a February speech, Owens endorsed an idea called "power sharing," which recognizes "the necessity of minority participation in the decision making process," a step beyond the current laws that protect minority rights.
But some Democratic strategists have begun to question whether strict adherence to a 40-year-old model of minority-dominated districts could be hurting the party in the long term. Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said that at one time it made sense for the courts and state legislatures to carve out majority-black districts to break racially discriminatory practices, primarily in the South.
The rapid transformation of urban areas could force Democratic and civil rights leaders to rethink minority districts, voting rights experts say. A combination of gentrification, immigration, intermarriage and a migrating black middle class "means that race just doesn't have the power that it once did, in these kinds of settings," said Edward Blum, a fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute who has written extensively about minority districts.
Farmers: Blacks not treated fairly
Seven years ago, black farmers won a historic settlement from the USDA for discriminatory practices.
Ever since, they've been saying they're still not getting treated fairly.
In what has become a yearly occurrence, the disgruntled farmers, following the lead of the National Black Farmers Association, will make their way to Washington, D.C., April 26 to voice their displeasure with the Pigford v. Johanns settlement.
“In 1999, black farmers were awarded a settlement from the USDA for discrimination,” Mississippi Chapter President Leroy Smith said. “USDA agreed to pay the settlement, but a lot of farmers haven't received it.”
A stipulation in the settlement set a deadline for filing a claim to enter the class, a deadline the National Black Farmers Association feels wasn't properly advertised to potential litigants, thereby cutting off more than 70,000 of them.
USDA public spokesman Ed Loyd said the agency is in no way shirking the responsibilities set forth in the settlement and respects their right to be heard.
“We have moved pretty clearly in saying this is something important we want to live up to. If there is an instance where there is some kind of dispute, its something we want to know about.”
Black Farmers Follow Up on USDA Grievances
Ten years ago, black farmers began demonstrating in Washington, charging discrimination by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That led to a class-action lawsuit and a settlement worth millions of dollars. But on Wednesday, demonstrators are coming to Washington to say too many people were left out, and Congress needs to help.
This month, a study by the Government Accountability Office noted problems, but the USDA shows no inclination to revisit the claim.
Black Farmers Rally Outside Ag. Dept
A group of black farmers rallied Wednesday outside the Agriculture Department to press their claim that thousands of people were left out of the settlement of a discrimination lawsuit.
Seven years ago, the department agreed to pay farmers who could show they were discriminated against. The settlement provided for payments of $50,000 in most cases but allowed for unlimited payments in extreme cases.
As of January, the government had paid around $900 million to settle 14,300 claims. An additional 8,100 claims were denied; many are under review by a court-appointed monitor.
''We want full restitution ... so black farmers can move on with their lives,'' John Boyd, president of the National Black Farmers Association, told a crowd of about 100 people.
Boyd, a Virginia farmer who organized the event, brought two mules and a wagon, a reminder of the Civil War reconstruction order giving 40 acres and a mule to each freed slave.
More than 60,000 other people submitted claims but missed the filing deadline. Black farmers' groups have been lobbying to let those claims proceed.
A bill in Congress would allow the claims and stall government loan foreclosures until they are decided.
''In effect, the federal government has broken its promise,'' said Rep. Artur Davis, D-Ala., the bill's sponsor. ''The promise was to provide a fair and clean process for black farmers who were victims of discrimination.''
Davis' bill also calls for a more aggressive outreach campaign.
A department spokesman, Ed Loyd, said officials have not reviewed the bill but that the issue goes beyond the sole authority of the department.
Under the original settlement, there were 44 commercials aired on Black Entertainment Television cable network and 18 spots CNN. In addition, quarter-page ads ran in 142 newspapers in 18 states over a two-week period. There was also a full-page ad in TV Guide and a half-page ad in Jet Magazine.
Not everyone at the rally wanted the settlement reopened. There was plenty of word of mouth about the lawsuit, said Georgia farmer William H. Miller.
''Ignorance is no excuse, as they say,'' Miller said.
Makes ya wonder who really benefits from HSAs...
Pig Farms and Wal-Mart
What do pig farms and Wal-Mart have in common? The answer I’m looking for has nothing to do with pork. A hint? Think avian flu and health savings accounts (HSAs). The answer is that both pig farms and Wal-Mart are mixing vessels and accelerators of change. The pig farms are widely recognized as ideal containers for large numbers of colonies of bird-derived influenza viruses. Within the pigs, the viruses grow, thrive, bump into each other, and accelerate mutations and genetic exchanges that make the arrival of a version of H5N1 that could spread easily from human to human and ignite a pandemic.
As for Wal-Mart, the giant retailer of anything and everything, it too is a vessel and accelerator. Together in one site, we are beginning to see health, technology, and financial products bump into each other in search of the real mutation that would allow the infectious spread of a new insurance product, the HSA.
Last week, federal regulators completed their first public hearings on Wal-Mart’s request to launch its own bank. An initial effort in 2003 was met with sharp resistance from the financial sector, and side-stepping by Wal-Mart, as they opened their floor space to accommodate entry of 1400 partner banks and credit unions. Their current request includes permission for management of electronic financial transactions. Simultaneously, Wal-Mart has applied in Utah to open a bank as an “industrial loan company” to process credit card and debit transactions. This is the same state that approved United Healthcare’s band ownership in 2002, paving the way for direct offering of HSAs.
Why all the interest in HSAs? Well the fees for managing the projected $75 billion in IRA-like investments in the next 5 years is not bad. But the real pay-dirt is in taking a piece of the action off of each debit card transaction. Remember health care is 16% of the economy, with a positively huge amount of transactions. Follow the money. That’s what Wal-Mart is doing. Under one roof, imagine health delivery in the form of care counseling, pharmaceuticals and prevention, home health technologies set to launch in 2010, health finance management on the back of Medicare Part D, and HSAs are all mixing and accelerating. That’s quite a health care brew!
By Peter Brown
It's time to acknowledge that a strong economy in which everyone shares equally probably isn't possible in an era of globalization.
The latest evidence comes from Japan, where the end to its 15-year economic downturn is good news for the world's second largest economy, and everyone who trades with the merchants of the Rising Sun.
But, as incomes, property values and the stock market rise, and unemployment drops, there is a familiar wail from those who see the increasing gap between rich and not so rich as a terrible price to pay for prosperity.
Of course, that has been the complaint in the United States; the economic miracle that has been the U.S. economy in the past quarter century has produced uneven rewards.
There are those who see this as a fatal flaw, though it is hard to believe they yearn for the days of double-digit inflation and unemployment.
Yet they refuse to see the incompatibility of the two. They somehow believe they can repeal the laws of human nature by getting people to produce more, even if those folks aren't going to get any more out of it.
And, if you think the global economy is burying egalitarianism, just wait a few years.
When China and India become the consumer-driven, middle-class societies to which they aspire, inevitably there will be hundreds of millions of people left out.
Those societies in most have been equally poor can decide whether they like their much higher standard of living enough to tolerate the fact that not everyone is sharing equally.
Wanna bet they opt for inequality?
Posted by msgadget in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Mon Apr 17th 2006, 02:34 PM
A Primary Concern
Free Trade could be key for Democrats in ‘08
By David Sirota
Underneath the glut of stories about the now-failed proposal by a Dubai-owned company to buy major American ports was something that every 2008 Democratic presidential candidate would be well-advised to note. No, it wasn’t a new resurgence of “racism,” as many pundits in the corporate media claimed. After all, there was plenty of evidence showing that America’s national security apparatus had very concrete concerns about the deal. And no, it wasn’t merely that America wants better homeland security (although it is true—we do).
What the scandal showed was that Americans are sick and tired of “free” trade policies that prioritize corporate profits over all other economic and national security concerns. As workers’ wages stagnate, the U.S. trade deficit grows and more of our country’s assets are sold off to the highest foreign bidders, that concern is only going to become more prevalent in electoral politics.
How the candidates stack up
Key to discerning how trade will play out in 2008 is an understanding of how the current crop of potential Democratic presidential candidates breaks into four distinct categories on the issue. The first category is the ardent free traders. These are people like Gov. Bill Richardson (D-N.M.), who shepherded NAFTA through the House when he was in Congress; and longtime and loudly outspoken free trader Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), a proud member of the Democratic Leadership Council, which has pushed every major free trade pact in the last decade.
Then there are the people who have tried to have it both ways but whose devotion to free trade orthodoxy has been well-documented. These are people like Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), who supported NAFTA, WTO and China PNTR; Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who did the same; and Gov. Mark Warner (D-Va.), who also supported NAFTA and WTO (though did not support the China deal), and reiterated to the New York Times in March that he is committed to free trade.
The third category is candidates with mixed voting records on trade, but who have displayed a genuine interest in rejecting the free-trade-at-all-cost dogma. The only candidate in this category is former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), who voted against some of the corporate-written trade deals that came down the pike during his Senate term, and who has made a class-based “Two Americas” message his signature theme.
And the final category is candidates who have opposed all of the trade deals, even when that opposition has been politically unpopular. This too is a one-candidate category, and that candidate is Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.)—a lawmaker who has lashed his public image to the issue by airing ads in his Wisconsin Senate races about his courageous stands against free trade pacts.
As the early presidential jostling has started to pick up, some candidates in the first two categories have made moves to address the growing anger over free trade. They seem to sense that trade—along with the Iraq War—could be an explosive wild card in 2008. If it is, the candidates in the first two categories are rightly worried, and are rightly trying to amend their records. Because if Edwards, Feingold or another as-yet-announced candidate makes an indictment of free trade central to their campaign, they will be tapping into exactly the kind of intense outrage that fuels successful
and even though Americans are skeptical, this is worth advocating. Notice there are NO gov't incentives, what a concept!
How Germany Keeps Kids From Dropping Out
Posted Tuesday, Apr. 11, 2006
It may be hard for Americans to fathom a world in which corporations, instead of merely lamenting the shortage of skilled labor, volunteer to train vast numbers of the non-college-bound. Oh, yeah, and to pay them a bundle along the way. But under Germany's earn-while-you-learn system, companies are paying 1.6 million young adults to train for about 350 types of jobs, ranging from industrial mechanic to baker to fitness trainer. And the trainees' average annual salary of $19,913 helps explain why less than 9% of Germans drop out of high school: they can't get in on the action without a diploma.
Private-sector apprenticeships have long been a mainstay of Germany's robust vocational-education program — so much so that in 2004, 58% of students finished high school with three-year training contracts in hand. Historically, more than two-thirds of the trainees end up with permanent job offers by the time those contracts are up. And despite increasing pressure from globalization and a shrinking labor market at home, 23% of all German companies continue to offer apprenticeships, a remarkable statistic, given that it takes into account every one-man shop as well as every megacorporation.
Even more impressive: businesses don't get tax breaks or other subsidies to help foot the bill. All the German government pays for is the two days a week apprentices spend in vocational school. So what's in it for the companies? According to a recent survey, 90% of the firms that offer apprenticeships say they do so because skilled employees simply are not available on the job market.
That's why the German model has occasionally been exported, if only on a local basis, to nations that also suffer shortages of trained workers. For instance, when BMW decided ten years ago to open a factory in central England, the enginemaker struck a deal with the British government to jointly finance a German-style apprenticeship program. Likewise, in 1995 a small consortium of manufacturing companies in North Carolina — that now includes firms headquartered in Germany, Switzerland and Austria — approached high schools and community colleges in the Charlotte area to develop Apprenticeship 2000, a four-year program for students interested in technical careers. The participants, who are recruited as 11th-graders and must maintain a 2.5 grade-point average, get paid to attend community college and, upon completing the apprenticeship, are guaranteed a job offer but are not obligated to accept it. Starting salaries are generally between $34,000 and $40,000.
Curiously enough, while the financing, training facilities and guaranteed benefits are all at hand in the North Carolina experiment, the students are not. One reason may be that the closing of several manufacturing plants in the state has scared off potential recruits who often turn to the service sector and never even get the chance to learn about the consortium. The largest of its member firms, Julius Blum Inc., an Austrian-based maker of hinge, drawer and rollout systems for cabinetry, has already invested some $30 million in machinery for the training program and hired 26 of its graduates. But Blum apprentice trainer Tony Austin says the company still faces an uphill battle educating students, parents and — yes — school counselors about the value of apprenticing. Says Austin: "Recruiting is one of our biggest problems."
The mid-terms are coming up and people are frustrated but imposing tariffs on China won't solve our problems. If they're not talking about the affects of the WTO or *all* trade agreements, either they just don't get it or they're being deliberately misleading.
U.S.-China Trade: Too Much Talk?
Senators Charles Schumer and Lindsey Graham have sponsored legislation that would impose 27.5% tariffs on Chinese exports to the U.S. if Beijing doesn't let the yuan appreciate. And this spring, the Bush Administration may brand China as a "currency manipulator" when it issues a report on key trading partners.
What U.S. trade hawks rarely point out is that a big reason China's global trade numbers have ballooned is that foreign companies are prospering on the mainland. About half the exports coming out of China are actually from multinationals producing there. In high-tech, the figure is closer to 90%, led by companies such as Motorola (MOT ) and Nokia (NOK ). Global auto companies such as General Motors (GM ), Toyota (TM ), Nissan (NSANY ), and Honda (HMC ) enjoy huge market share in the Chinese auto market.
And big global banks such as HSBC (HBC ), Bank of America (BAC ), Goldman Sachs (GS ), and Citibank (C ) are making serious inroads into China's rapidly expanding banking and financial services sectors (see BW Online, 1/18/06, "Don't Be Afraid of China").
SOME REFORMS. So tariffs on Chinese exports would hit the earnings of big American companies and take their toll on U.S. stock markets. Morgan Stanley analyst Andy Xie figures a 27.5% tariff would cost companies exporting out of China about $69 billion, most of which would be shouldered by U.S. companies operating on the mainland.
For now, though, China has no intention of adopting the kind of shock therapy some in the U.S. are calling for. Schumer and others want China to let the yuan float freely against foreign currencies rather than in a narrow band, as is the case today. Others think Beijing should lift capital controls that prevent most individual Chinese from investing their savings overseas.
If the U.S. slaps punitive tariffs on Chinese goods, Beijing will surely retaliate. These tariffs will eventually get passed along to consumers in both countries, and thereby depress growth. Should things really turn nasty, the Chinese could find other uses for the $200 billion or so worth of U.S. Treasury bonds and other long-term fixed investments its central bank holds. That would put upward pressure on U.S. interest rates.
So when Hu visits the U.S. this month, expect plenty of heated language and a bit of brinkmanship about unfair trade and Chinese mercantilism. But with any luck it will be just talk, with little real action that could ultimately inflict serious damage to both sides.
Posted by msgadget in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Sat Apr 08th 2006, 12:30 AM
Now would be a good time to contact your governors to see what they've done to protect your state's sovereignity.
Governor Baldacci Safeguards Maine Jobs, Public Services and Democracy from WTO Services Expansion
Citing concerns about the threat to Maine's sovereignity and public services, Governor Baldacci removes Maine from parts of WTO services agreement.
AUGUSTA, ME - As an intensified new set of World Trade Organization (WTO) services negotions occurs this week in Geneva, yesterday Maine Governor John Balcacci took groundbreaking action to safeguard Maine jobs, public services and democracy from World Trade Organization (WTO) services expansion. In a letter to the United States Trade Representative Rob Portman, Governor Baldacci stated that Maine would not be covered by the WTO's far reaching service sector rules in the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). Citing concerns about the threat to public services and Maine's sovereignity, the Governor specifically safeguarded Maine's ability to set it's own policies in the realms of health care, land use, education and libraries by removing Maine from coverage under these sectors of the WTO agreement.
Governor Baldacci's Letter
GATS in Brief
This quote from Conservative Black Clergy Make Waves from Pulpit, an excellent 10+ minute broadcast highlighting two very different pastors - one who welcomes white evangelicals and prays for George Bush and the other who says, "...there must always be dissent..." Please, have a listen, it's encouraging despite the title.
Posted by msgadget in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Wed Mar 29th 2006, 02:20 PM
It makes sense to form an alliance to compete against China. I wouldn't have a problem with it if labor was going to be better represented and if I trusted them to fix the trade agreements.
30-31 Mar 2006. Mexican, Canadian, US leaders meet at Mexican resort
Security and Prosperity Partnership
CANCUN, MEXICO. 30-31 Mar 2006. Canada's new prime minister, Stephen Harper, joins United States President George W. Bush and Mexican President Vicente Fox in the resort town of Cancun to fine tune the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), started by the three countries in Mar 2005. The SPP is designed to make trade more efficient and borders more secure without obstructing business and traffic. It's aimed at making Canadian, US and Mexican products more competitive with imports from China and other nations and trade blocks. Harmony during the summit could be in short supply.
Bush and Fox are at odds over US construction of a border fence between Mexico and the United States and about immigration, and there are still outstanding trade disputes related to the North American Free Trade Agreement that could get in the road of any new initiatives.
An estimated 1,500 Latin Americans, mostly Mexicans, are believed to cross into the United States illegally every day. The Mexico-US wall is still a virtual fence, and the US Senate is debating whether it should stay that way or whether an actual barrier should should be built along part or all of the nearly 2,000-mile border. Washington has accused Mexico of not doing enough to stem the flow of illegal immigrants into the US. Fox has described the fence plan as "shameful," and recently told the BBC that in 10 years' time the United States would have to "beg for Mexican workers" to cover its labor needs.
The new Canadian Conservative leader is closer politically to Washington, but a long running dispute over timber imports could interfere with their efforts to clear trade barriers. Ontario announced a C$220 million ($191 million) aid package in February for its struggling forestry industry, which a U.S. official said it could prolong the lumber trade fight. Harper's new and still numerically-frail government is at risk if he is seen to be making big concessions to the United States on any trade or security issue. Mar/06
Black Politicians' Legacies Inspire Sons' Ambitions
by Jonathan Casiano
Passing political power from one generation to the next is as old as politics itself.
The Adamses. The Kennedys. The Keans. The Bushes. Names synonymous with privilege, prestige and public service.
Now, as the first generation of black leaders elected after the civil rights movement eye retirement, they are finding the successors where white politicians have always looked -- their own families.
Across the country, from Detroit to New York City, St. Louis to Atlanta, black politicians are passing the baton to offspring. Over the past decade, the children of five prominent black politicians have taken seats in Congress, and numerous others have won city and state contests.
Newark is no exception. This year's city council race will feature the sons of Newark's three most prominent politicians -- Mayor Sharpe James, U.S. Rep. Donald Payne (D-10th Dist.) and state Sen. Ron Rice. Councilman Ras Baraka, son of civil rights pioneer Amiri Baraka, also will appear on the ballot.
Though none of the four candidates is assured victory, historians and academics specializing in African-American politics say their candidacies are a watershed moment in black politics.
"It's really a critical moment," said Khalilah Brown-Dean, assistant professor of political science and African-American studies at Yale University. "The old guard of black political leaders are trying to pass the torch and they're developing a very solid base within their own families and then spreading outward."
Ronald Walters, director of the African-American Leadership Institute at the University of Maryland, said it is no surprise the second generation of black politicians will include many of the same surnames as the first, which were swept into office after the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
"They're capitalizing on the family name and doing pretty much the same thing white politicians have always done," said Walters, who served as an adviser to Jesse Jackson during both his presidential campaigns. "It looks like American politics. If somebody gets name recognition, why wouldn't young people who want to go into politics use it?"
According to David Bositis, a senior political analyst with the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington, the generational shift began around 1994 when Marc Morial succeeded his father, Ernest "Dutch" Morial as mayor of New Orleans. The following year, Jesse Jackson Jr. was elected to Congress from Illinois. In 1996, Harold Ford Jr. took his father's seat in Congress representing Memphis.
Since then, the children of black politicians have made inroads at all levels of government.
In Detroit, Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is the son of U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick. In Florida, U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek took over his mother's district unopposed.
"Plumbers' sons become plumbers. Politicians' sons become politicians," Bositis said. "It's sort of like the natural order of things."
Posted by msgadget in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Mon Mar 27th 2006, 03:00 PM
at the DHS website:
On March 23, 2005, the United States, Canada and Mexico entered into an unprecedented trilateral Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) to establish a common security strategy and promote economic growth, competitiveness and quality of life. At their meeting in Waco, TX, President Bush, President Fox and Prime Minister Martin pledged to:
“...establish a common approach to security to protect North America from external threats, prevent and respond to threats within North America, and further streamline the secure and efficient movement of legitimate, low-risk traffic across our shared borders.”
Which led to this whopper, dated today:
The pact signed in Waco last year by Paul Martin, George Bush and Vicente Fox, contains no concrete proposals to improve the lives of the continent's ordinary citizens. The agreement stems from the big business agenda and represents a giant step toward full continental integration.
The SPP initiative is intended to harmonize many Canadian and Mexican domestic and foreign policies with those of the U.S. Under the guise of protecting citizens from the threat of terrorism and also facilitating trade, this initiative would involve drastic measures such as a deeper integration of North American energy markets, harmonized treatment of immigrants, refugees or tourists from abroad, and the creation of common security policies. It also promotes steps towards harmonized standards in areas governing health, food safety and the environment.
Sold to the public as merely administrative and regulatory in nature, the SPP agenda is evolving away from the public eye. Tellingly,
According to Pierre-Yves Serinet, coordinator of the Réseau Québécois sur l’Intégration Continentale (RQIC), the SPP would not survive public scrutiny in any of the three countries. “If Stephen Harper truly believes in transparency and accountability, he has the responsibility of putting the SPP before parliament and the Canadian public. Otherwise, he should not proceed with this agenda.”
Common Frontiers, RQIC, the Mexican Action Network on Free Trade (RMALC), and the Alliance for Responsible Trade (ART-USA) are all members of the Hemispheric Social Alliance, a network that has played a central role in opposing ‘free trade’ negotiations throughout the Americas. The four North American coalitions are representative of a range of organizations including church groups, labour, student unions, women’s groups, environmental organizations, international development agencies, human rights and other social justice advocates.
Harper must come clean about the Security and Prosperity Partnership
The Democrats’ Athena only differs from Bush on the details.
..."I believe that we lost critical time in dealing with Iran,” she averred. Accusing the White House of choosing to “downplay the threats and to outsource the negotiations,” she disdained Team Bush for “standing on the sidelines.”
“Let’s be clear about the threat we face now,” she thundered. “A nuclear Iran is a danger to Israel, to its neighbors and beyond. The regime’s pro-terrorist, anti-American and anti-Israel rhetoric only underscores the urgency of the threat it poses. U.S. policy must be clear and unequivocal. We cannot and should not—must not—permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons.” To be sure, we need to cajole China and Russia into going along with diplomatic and economic sanctions, but “we cannot take any option off the table in sending a clear message to the current leadership of Iran—that they will not be permitted to acquire nuclear weapons.”
... She boasted that it was under a Democratic administration that the U.S. “changed its underlying policy toward Iraq from containment to regime change” and took credit for the bright idea of putting Ahmad Chalabi, convicted embezzler and known liar, on the U.S. payroll. Her speech reads like a Weekly Standard editorial, reiterating each of the War Party’s talking points—the bio-weapons fantasy, the links to al-Qaeda gambit, the phantom nuclear arsenal: “This much,” she maintaind, “is undisputed.”
If the Democratic establishment’s stance on the war is at odds with the party’s antiwar activist base, then their outright warmongering on the Iranian issue puts the two factions on a collision course. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi—who effectively quashed fellow California Democrat Lynn Woolsey’s resolution calling for a withdrawal timetable —has followed the Hillary-Emanuel-DLC party line, while managing somehow to assuage her constituents with plenty of pork and partisan rhetoric. When it comes to Iran, however, she is just as belligerent as the next neocon: Pelosi co-sponsored legislation imposing draconian economic sanctions on Iran and stops just short of calling another war.
If Hillary maintains her lead in the Democratic presidential sweepstakes—and with over $21 million in the bank, she’s way ahead of any potential rivals—and the party establishment effectively strangles insurgent antiwar activism at the grassroots level, an increasingly “isolationist” electorate will be faced with a choice between two interventionist candidates, giving credence to what Garet Garrett, that lion of the Old Right, bitterly observed in 1951:
Between government in the republican meaning, that is, Constitutional, representative, limited government, on the one hand, and Empire on the other hand, there is mortal enmity. Either one must forbid the other or one will destroy the other. That we know. Yet never has the choice been put to a vote of the people.
Discounter sought exemption from rules on low-income loans
From Wire Reports Mar 25, 2006
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. dropped a request that its proposed bank be exempt from federal requirements for investing in low-income neighborhoods.
The discounter wrote a March 1 letter to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. confirming it would comply with the law, Wal-Mart spokesman Marty Heires said yesterday. The retailer had asked for the exemption because it doesn't plan for the bank to make loans.
Wal-Mart abandoned the request as it faces opposition from financial institutions and community groups to its application to start a bank.
The retailer wants a charter for a special type of bank based in Utah called an industrial loan corporation that would only process Wal-Mart's millions of credit and debit card and check transactions. The chain says it wants to save costs by keeping the processing fees now paid to third parties.
Opponents argue Wal-Mart will open branches in its more than 3,300 U.S. stores.
Doing so could put community banks out of business, they argue. The opponents also fear having branches inside its stores would concentrate too much economic power in a single company.
"We had always intended to support the community," Heires said.
Last week, Heires said the chain's application states "very clearly we have no intention of opening branches."
Chris Kofinis, communications director for WakeUpWalMart.com, a union-funded campaign group that opposes the banking plan, said his group does not believe Wal-Mart's pledge that it will only operate an in-house bank.
Instead, he said it will be just a toehold so Wal-Mart can expand into full-service banking later.
Other opponents, who will testify in two hearings next month by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., were unmoved by the change yesterday.
"It's crumbs," said John Taylor, president and chief executive of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, which is scheduled to testify against the plan at the first FDIC hearing April 10 in Arlington, Va.
The fate of U.S. workers is no longer part of corporate decision making
Check out this article:
Invest in corporate America. Just don't work there
Today, there's a lot of hand-wringing over offshoring, disappearing pensions, and health benefits that deteriorate and cost more every year. But very few U.S. executives are asking much from Washington, or from anybody. That's because most U.S. companies are doing quite well—witness stock indexes like the S&P 500 that are approaching record highs—even if their American workers are worried about job security and finances. "There's a shift in the balance of power between workers and their companies," says Hira. "Nobody from industry is asking for help, because they're not losing anymore. They're taking." What they're taking, as everybody knows by now, is cheap, talented labor from low-cost countries like India and China. And that's one thing that helps American companies climb onto the Global 100 and stay there. "The fact that manufacturing jobs have been leaving the United States doesn't make us less competitive," says Dennis Nally, chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers. "You could argue it makes us more competitive."