Cynthia's Interests


The world as it unfolds - told from an African American woman's perspective...

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Sometimes, I wish...

Looking at all the bad news, it can be depressing. Sometimes, I really do wish I could rewind time to a point where life was simpler, a time when I believed in some type of religion, a time when I didn't understand the world around me, a time when I just believed in dichotomies, such as good and evil, right and wrong, you're either with me or you're against me. I wonder why I see the lies; I wonder why I see all the deception instead of accepting what those in charge are passing on to all of us. Maybe life would be easier, more palatable if I returned to a simpler time when I followed everyone else and I conformed to some type of prescribed notion of life that was laid out by someone else who for whatever reasons were privileged enough to be in charge to dictate to us what we should believe and how we should believe.

In many ways, I do understand why some people want America to become a Christian nation. Those in charge will be able to easily predict the actions of the people and these same people will be easily manipulated if everyone can be convinced that their actions are against God. If you look at other societies that are controlled by religions, this is what they have done. Why is this wrong for America?

If you believe in the bible, and some would argue that I’m taken this out of context, then one can conclude that most people are being led astray. For instance, the bible says and this is paraphrased “broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many will enter, while narrow is the road that leads to life and only a few will find it ”. Isn’t this reflected in today's society? Most people are busy living their lives believing what is being told, without questioning, without any regards for morality that contradict their on little narrow view of life and God. If I wanted to, I could philosophy about the merits of believing in a religion, but somewhere along the way, the evil, the hypocrisy, the lies, have shown me that if God exists, it doesn't exists in the fashion that people thinks. Life would be so easy, if I could bury my head in the sand. I would see no evil, hear no evil, nor will I be able to speak evil...

Sometimes, I wish I could go back to a time when life was simpler, a time when I didn’t question. At least then, I would be less aware of all the evil in the world that is beyond my control anyway.

Sometimes, I wish…

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This is the correct Part 5 of a 5-part series by Steve Weissman

You have to love the title of Part V, "The Ayatollah of Holy Rollers". And, as I stated before, I’m a sucker for catchy titles. Initially - I posted this article, but the more I thought about the article, I thought the parts I posted were too much sensationalism, so I removed it and kept it as a draft. In the meantime, Scud whom I'm watching with one eye - made an interesting comment, which incidentally, I am agreeing with parts of it. So, for that reason, I am reposting this article not because I believe everything that the article says, but to show that we sometimes have to disagree or discard some things from people that we once agreed with and accept some things from people we once disagreed with. Doesn’t that make me a flexible individual?

Scud, I don't want you to get a big head because I'm only agreeing with you this time. The next time, I'm sure we're going to be on opposite ends of the spectrum. Now, don't you think that having constants in your life is a good thing? And, our disagreements are one thing that are constant...

If you can get past "The Ayatollah of Holy Rollers" part the author makes some interesting points.




America's Religious Right - Saints or Subversives?

Part I: The Lure of Christian Nationalism
Part II: Hang Ten and Fight!
Part III: A Deadly Culture of Life
Part IV: Pie in the Sky
Part V: "The Ayatollah of Holy Rollers"

Excerpts:

Death by stoning for atheists, adulterers, and practicing male homosexuals.

Stoning - or possibly burning at the stake - for atheists, heretics, religious apostates, followers of other religions who proselytize, unmarried females who are unchaste, incorrigible juvenile delinquents, and children who curse or strike their parents.

And, oh yes, death to witches, Satanists, and those who commit blasphemy.

Does this sound like a radical Islamist nightmare, a replay of Afghanistan under the Taliban?

Welcome to the United States of America as Christian Reconstructionists hope to run it. Not as a democracy, which they see as secular heresy. But as a reconstructed Christian nation, complete with biblically sanctioned flogging and slavery.

The Bible rules, OK? And, in its name, a small elect of true believers are now seeking capital-D Dominion over every aspects of our government, laws, education, and personal lives.

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What Are You Going to Do with That?

Courtesy of the Church Secretary

Exerpt:

Whether you know it yet or not, you have doomed yourselves by learning how to read, learning how to question, learning how to doubt.

Finding yourself forced to see the gulf between what you are told about the world, whether it's your government doing the telling, or your boss, or even your family or friends, and what you yourself can't help but understand about that world -- this is not always a welcome kind of vision to have. It can be burdensome and awkward and it won't always make you happy.

Our officials believe that power can determine truth, as an unnamed senior adviser to the President explained to a reporter last fall:

"We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. [1]

1. See Ron Suskind, "Without a Doubt," the New York Times Magazine, October 17, 2004.

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Administration 'flip-flops' on Amnesty

Taken from the Truthout blog. You have to admit - this is kind of funny. It is ok to quote an organization for your own purpose and then when the shoe is on the other foot, then it is time to discredit it as some type of liberal ran organization where the people lack morals...

By Peter Daou,


In a post entitled "The Bush Administration Was For Amnesty International Before It Was Against It," Faiz at Think Progress addresses the Bush administration's response to Amnesty's 'gulag' report: "In the past, when it was convenient to the Administration, they did not hesitate to cite Amnesty to make its case. And nowhere did the Administration need more help than in selling the Iraq war. Secretary Rumsfeld repeatedly turned to Amnesty to highlight the repressive nature of Saddam's regime."

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Monday, May 30, 2005

Singer, songwriter Oscar Brown Jr. dies

Singer, songwriter and playwright Oscar Brown Jr. died Sunday in Chicago after a brief illness, his family said. He was 78.

Brown was hospitalized in mid-April following emergency surgery to stop the spread of an infection in his lower spine. Before the surgery, he had complained of severe pain and suffered paralysis to both of his legs.

Chicago Sun-Times article.

Professor Kim has written a very nice tribute about Oscar Brown Jr. We have truly lost a talented and special individual. He will be missed by all who knew and loved him..

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Book of the Year - The Transfer Agreement - A must read for anyone who wants to know the truth about the Israel/Palestinian conflict

It is interesting that some things in history is being re-written to suit whatever the victors want the public to know and this is one of those subjects (Jewish involvement in their holocaust and the US/Jewish relationship). Keith from the blog Little Bit Tired, Little Bit Worn seemed hell bent on believing any lie that is told by America. He has a problem with a statement from a comment that was extracted from the Truthout blog, in particular, the US support/involvement in the Jews ethnic cleansing for 50 years of the Palestinians. Therefore, I thought he should be aware of a book about the Jewish involvement or role in their own holocaust and what led to the creation of the Israeli State. Maybe, this will help him to understand why some people will never buy all the lies that are being spoon fed to the public. This is stuff you will not learn from history books.


The Transfer Agreement

Book Description

In 1933, the Zionist movement concluded a controversial pact with the Nazi government transferring 60,000 Jews and $100,000 to Jewish Palestine. In return, the Zionists halted the worldwide Jewish-led anti-Nazi boycott that threatened to topple the Hitler regime in its first years. The debate tore the pre-WWII Jewish world apart. Ultimately, the Transfer Agreement saved lives, rescued assets and seeded the infrastructure of the Jewish state.

The Transfer Agreement stands out as a still controversial example of a mass Jewish rescue that occurred before the genocide started. The terrible choices its negotiators undertook must now be viewed in the light of the Holocaust.

Edwin Black presents certain truths that have long eluded historians - the financial nexus that served Hitler's obsession with expelling the Jews as an essential prelude to conquering Europe, together with the Zionists' resolve to bring their dispossessed people to Palestine. The American Jewish involvement is of special interest as the author reconstructs the magnitude of the pro- and anti-boycott meetings and the passion invested in them.

The author spent five years on three continents researching and writing this work. He was aided by a team of researchers and translators who unearthed previously suppressed and widely dispersed documents and archives. Already acclaimed by dozens of experts and Holocaust scholars, The Transfer Agreement was described by Dr. Sybil Milton of the Simon Wiesenthal Center as "a spellbinding, exciting book."

About the Author
Edwin Black is the son of Jewish survivors of the Holocaust. He was the founder of Chicago Monthly and frequently contributed to the Chicago Tribune and other publications. He lectures and writes extensively on Jewish and Israeli subjects, and is the author of the Apocalyptic techno-thriller Format C:

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When Neo-Cons and Theo-Cons Meet at Armageddon

For background information see:
Steve Weissman The Religious Right - Saints or Subversives?

Will future historians portray George W. Bush as the heroic leader of a new world empire and reborn Christian nation? Or, will they treat him as one of America's worst presidents ever ?

It all depends on who wins and who loses.

As Winston Churchill cautioned, history is written by the victors, and the current battles have only just begun, whether in Iraq, Iran, or at home. But, even in the early rounds, it would be shortsighted and self-defeating to give Mr. Bush too much credit - or blame - for the direction our country is taking.

With or without his hand at the helm, two areas of concern - religion and oil - now drive our nation's destiny, and how Americans resolve them will determine who writes the history of our times.

Terrorism falls somewhere down the list, though Mr. Bush, the Congressional GOP, and too many Democrats have handled faith-based and oil-related issues in ways that greatly help Osama bin Laden and his allies.

According to published intelligence leaks, in 2001 we faced only a few thousand terrorists. Today, no one knows how many thousands more suicidal bombers the war in Iraq has helped to recruit. Far worse, terrorists are winning the political support of several hundred million Muslims who do not want "Crusader Christians" to dominate their countries, disrespect their cultures, or control their oil.

Now in TO's feature column, "The Religious Right - Saints or Subversives?" shows how America is going through a massive Christian revival, and how right-wing religious activists now dominate the GOP.

Former Republican Senator John Danforth, an Episcopalian Minister, eloquently protested the takeover of his party by these theological conservatives, even as current Senate Republicans pack our federal courts with reactionary, "pro-Christian" judges.

Full

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Saturday, May 28, 2005

So much hypocrisy.

So much outrage; So much hypocrisy.

In recent weeks, plenty of scandal fodder has become public:

-More corrupt contracting in Iraq;

-Allegations that Air Force Academy cadets are coerced into becoming evangelical Christians;

-New evidence that the military tried to cover up the details of the friendly-fire death of Pat Tillman (who turned down an NFL contract to serve as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan);

- Most notably, the Downing Street memo, which is the latest indication that the Bush Administration misled the nation on the way to war.

Full article...

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Why Has Black Unemployment Risen (Yes, Risen!) In The "Bush Boom"?

Recent employment reports show steady, if undramatic, increases in hiring. Some Administration pundits talk, without irony, about a "Bush Boom."

The "jobless recovery" may be over for some—most notably Hispanics. But the story is very different for Black Americans. Blacks are faring worse than they did at a similar stage in the previous recovery at the end of Bush I’s term. Amazingly, thirteen quarters into the "Bush Boom," Black unemployment has risen.

Here are the comparative results for the first 13 quarters of this economic recovery as compiled by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI): ["African Americans in the current recovery," April 6, 2005.]

Total unemployment rate: down 0.2 percentage points now; down 0.4 points in the early 1990s recovery

-White unemployment: down 0.4 points now; down 0.4 points then
-Black unemployment: Up 0.8 points now; down 0.6 points then
-Black male unemployment: Up 1.4 points now; down 0.7 points then
-Black female unemployment: Up 0.3 points now; down 0.5 points then

Black unemployment generally responds to changing economic conditions more quickly than white unemployment, reflecting the over-representation of Blacks in manufacturing and other highly cyclical sectors of the economy. The trend held in the early 1990s. It abruptly ended with Bush II’s recovery.

Link

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Burning crosses signal return of Ku Klux Klan

I guess with The White House leading the way, this is no surprise that the KKK is on the rise again...


Police in Durham, North Carolina, have launched an investigation after three crosses were set alight in one night - triggering fears that the Ku Klux Klan may have targeted the city. Yellow leaflets, purportedly produced by the KKK, were found at the site of one of the burning crosses.

The KKK retains a strong presence in parts of the US South, where there are said to be between 30 and 50 cross burnings reported every year. Many of them are known to be carried out by the Klan.

Joe Roy, chief investigator for the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Centre, an Alabama-based campaign group, said that North Carolina had 37 active "hate groups", including neo-Confederate and neo-Nazi organisations. Of all of these, the Klan is most active.

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Friday, May 27, 2005

There's Their Way or the Galloway

So now we have the worst of all worlds: the prospect of some rotten new federal judges and the survival of the filibuster, which the Republicans have consented not to abolish and the Democrats have pledged almost never to use.

As Senator Russ Feingold said, "Democrats should have stood together firmly.... Confirming unacceptable judicial nominations is simply a green light for the Bush Administration."

Link

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Obama and CBC split on cloture

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) broke ranks with the rest of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) this week by endorsing the bipartisan deal on judicial nominees aimed at averting the so-called “nuclear option.”Some political observers see Obama’s decision as a move to the center, to the right of where the CBC has traditionally stood.

This is an interesting development..

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The President's Stem Cell Theology

President Bush seems determined to thwart any loosening of the restrictions he has imposed on federal financing of embryonic stem cell research, despite rising sentiment in Congress and the nation at large for greater federal support of this fast-emerging field. His actions are based on strong religious beliefs on the part of some conservative Christians, and presumably the president himself. Such convictions deserve respect, but it is wrong to impose them on this pluralistic nation.

Link

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Thursday, May 26, 2005

Health Concerns of African Americans

This month WVON has devoted an hour segment to African American health issues. Only one doctor from the University of Chicago suggested concrete tangible things that people could do to improve their overall health. He stated that we should eat more organic fruits and vegetables to circumvent the health issues facing our community. He also stated that it is almost impossible to buy organic food on the south side of Chicago, a predominantly black community. I was impressed with his words since this was the first time a guest speaker gave concrete advice as to ways people can begin the process of improving their health. He didn't go into any details why anyone should incur the extra costs to purchase organic fruits and vegetables; he just stated that this is the best way to improve your health.

Recently, I posted an article on my blog about two studies done in Europe looking at the effects of GM foods fed to rats. One study demonstrated that GM potatoes damaged the immune systems, brains, livers and kidneys of rats, while the other study discovered that rats fed GM corn had smaller kidneys and variations in the composition of their blood raising fears that human health could be affected by eating GM foods. These results are astounding, especially since it was said that this research was 1) carried out secretly by Monsanto, the GM food giant and 2) in the U.S. it is estimated that 60 to 70 percent of all foods on the supermarket shelves today contain genetically modified ingredients. This year, 80 percent of the soybeans planted in the United States and 38 percent of the corn will be genetically engineered, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Now, if people are consuming these types of products, it is easily conceivable to understand why any particular group could suddenly have a health crisis, especially with all the complications that were found in rats fed those products. Some scientists also believe that GM foods are less nutritious, while others believe that the nutritional value remains the same. Let's assume that GM foods are less nutritious (this is what I believe), then one will require more of this type of food to satisfy the body's need for nourishments. As a result, you will inevitably see an increase in obesity and obesity related diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, etc., etc., etc., because of the increase consumption of food that is required to maintain the body.

Although we are getting sub-standard health care compared to our white counter parts, this is not the root cause of our problem since as a people living in this country, we’ve never gotten the same quality of health care and yet, we did not have these health issues in the past that we are constantly being told have reached epidemic proportions. While many white Americans are consuming organic food (normal) because of some type of perceived detrimental impact of GM foods on their health or the environment, African Americans on the other hand, are consuming GM foods on a daily basis, which have been shown to cause health problems in another mammal (rats). It is then conceivable that this could account for the health disparities observed between the two groups (whites and blacks) at least in this country.

Furthermore, it is interesting to note that one of the conditions that is created by consuming GM foods in rats - if this condition was found in humans; it would be defined as HIV/AIDS (the damage to the immune system). From these studies, one can clearly hypothesize that there are other factors that are avoidable that could cause harm to either the immune system directly independent of HIV and those same factors are contributing to the worsening of the health conditions of African Americans.

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Interesting comments taken from the Truthout Blog about America's dismal human rights record...

US and human rights

Let's face it, this report from Amnesty Intl. should come as no surprise. Over the past half-century, the crimes of the United States around the world have dwarved every other state-horror anywhere.

The US has also added to this shameful record a hefty dose of hypocrisy, what with all the crapola about "bringing democracy", "advancing freedom", and assorted self-serving nonsense!Americans, like all other major cultures, have a great internalized talent at refusing to face facts, and being unable to view themselves as criminals: "Surely, my great and wondrous country, the shining beacon of good in these dark times, cannot possibly be that evil and fiendish!".

Let's look at the SHORT list of Amerikan crimes around the world over the past two generations:

-Hiroshima/Nagasaki

-Arbenz/Guatemala

-Mossadegh/Iran/The Shah/Savak

-The endless row of charnel houses in Latin America, complete with "friendly" military dictatorships and US-trained and inspired death-squads, first in Brazil, then Stroessner in Paraguay. Duvalier in Haiti. Somoza in Nicaragua. Pinochet in Chile. Viola/Videla et. al. in Argentina....... On and on ad nauseam...

-Marcos in the Philippines

-Park Chung Hee in South Korea

-Suharto and the massacres in Indonesia in 1965, upward of 500,000 dead

-The Southeast Asian holocaust: Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia. 3 to 5 million dead, who can count that many corpses or what's left of them after napalm and phosphorus and Speedy Express.....!!!???

-Indonesia's invasion of East Timor, blessed by Kissinger and Jerry Ford to Adam Malik the day before the invasion started, resulting in a greater percentage of deaths relative to population than in Pol Pot's Kamputchea at the exact same time

-Support for 50 years of Israeli ethnic cleansing-a decade of sanctions of mass-destruction against Iraq, half a million dead most of them children-upward of a hundred thousand dead Iraqis since bringing them Demokracy!!

Please add those I forgot in this ONGOING list? Let's trust Amerika with the talent and ability to add to this anywhere at anytime!! by Michepol (mpol1fr@yahoo.fr) on Wed May 25th, 2005 at 01:27:40 PM EST

And - this Keith over at Little Bit Tired, Little Bit Worn had the nerves to say that and I quote "you have demonstrated in full that you are nearly 100% ignorant of the world in which you live". This man got to be kidding. Keith, can you tell me what you have been smoking that damaged your brain that you are willingly ready to live and believe in lies?

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House Defies Bush on Stem Cells (Here is some good news coming out of D.C.)

50 Republicans Help Pass Bill to Repeal Restrictions on Federal Funding

Defying President Bush's threat to impose his first veto, a broad swath of House Republicans voted with an overwhelming number of Democrats yesterday to repeal his restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research and plunge the government deeper into the controversial science that supporters say could lead to cures for debilitating diseases.

The 238 to 194 vote, unusual because 50 Republicans broke with Bush and top House leaders, followed a highly personalized, occasionally tearful debate in which a parade of lawmakers recounted medical tragedies that had afflicted their families, while opponents contended that the science is built on destroying human lives. Link...

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Get AIDS, Get a House - By Cliff Kincaid

The American people would be outraged if they knew how HIV/AIDS was draining money away from the federal health care budget.

AIDS deaths were counted by the federal Centers for Disease Control in 2003 at 18,017 (and this is an estimated number of deaths as I've shown before from the CDC website). Cardiovascular disease kills 930,000 every year, yet receives over one-half billion dollars less than AIDS in research funding. This is shameful. HIV/AIDS is an illusion and these figures attest to that fact. Mainstream HIV/AIDS dogma is all about peddling fear and death. It is also clear that there is more money to be made treating sick people than trying to maintain a healthy population.

This site shows the leading causes of death in the U.S. and HIV/AIDS did not make the list as a major factor that contributes to the mortality and/or morbidity affecting anyone in the US population. It is interesting to note that this site shows actual number of deaths not those illusive estimated deaths like what is reported for HIV/AIDS by the CDC. You really have to wonder why this alleged deadly (contagious) disease can't even be proven (in the US) as a minor inconvenience let alone an epidemic?

These figures are being publicized by the FAIR Foundation, which exposes disparities in federal funding of known diseases. The FAIR Foundation does the job because the media won't. It's also drawing attention to a federal program offering free housing to AIDS patients.

The American people would be outraged if they knew how HIV/AIDS was draining money away from the federal health care budget. But most members of the press ignore the story because AIDS is a politically correct disease and both political parties insist on spending more and more money on it. The FAIR Foundation estimates that current U.S. Government spending on HIV/AIDS totals just under $20 billion. That includes $11 billion care, cash & housing assistance for patients. The U.S. Government has spent $170 billion since the day that the government announced that HIV was the cause of AIDS. No cure is in sight and some experts say that anti-AIDS drugs don't work. Some scientists still doubt that HIV causes AIDS.
Full Story

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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

U.S. leads global attack on human rights -Amnesty

I'm not surprised that America is the leader of the pack when it comes to human rights violations around the world. Are you? Where are the right-wing evangelicals, the vanguards of holiness and righteousness in America?

LONDON, May 25 (Reuters) - Four years after the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington, human rights are in retreat worldwide and the United States bears most responsibility, rights watchdog Amnesty International said on Wednesday.

From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe the picture is bleak. Governments are increasingly rolling back the rule of law, taking their cue from the U.S.-led war on terror, it said.

"The USA as the unrivalled political, military and economic hyper-power sets the tone for governmental behaviour worldwide," Secretary General Irene Khan said in the foreword to Amnesty International's 2005 annual report.

"When the most powerful country in the world thumbs its nose at the rule of law and human rights, it grants a licence to others to commit abuse with impunity," she said.

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Zimbabwe, Long Destitute, Teeters Toward Ruin

This article is a good example as to what can happen to developing nations who try to gain autonomy from the West once it has adapted its economy after the conditions prescribed by those said nations and don't have the infrastructure in place to sustain itself. It also shows what could happen to any system that is based on sustaining itself with an unsustainable product like petroleum and its by-products.

BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe - In the weeks before parliamentary elections in March, the leaders of this threadbare nation threw open the national larder, wooing voters with stocks of normally scarce gasoline and corn and a flood of freshly printed money. Link

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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Compromising Democracy - Deal struck by 'moderates' preserves Senate, screws the rest of us


The Black Commentator's cartoonist known as Twenty Nine draws his own conclusions about Bush's thoughts regarding soon-to-be-federal-judge Janice Rogers Brown..

Judgment day must be near: Discourse is rough everywhere in America except where it should be—in Congress. Striking a blow against democracy, the entrenched members of the nation's most exclusive club preserved their civil atmosphere Monday but poisoned the civic atmosphere for the rest of us.


As the Washington Post notes this morning:

Fourteen Republican and Democratic senators broke with their party leaders last night to avert a showdown vote over judicial nominees, agreeing to votes on some of President Bush's nominees while preserving the right to filibuster others in "extraordinary circumstances." The dramatic announcement caught Senate leaders by surprise and came on the eve of a scheduled vote to ban filibusters of judicial nominees, the "nuclear option" that has dominated Senate discussions for weeks. The deal clears the way for prompt confirmation of three appellate court nominees—Priscilla R. Owen, Janice Rogers Brown, and William H. Pryor Jr.
If you don't know who Janice Rogers Brown is, you haven't been reading The Black Commentator, which recently wrote:

Brown is a disciple of the Federalist Society, far-right lawyers who hate almost everything that has occurred since ratification of the Constitution, with the exception of the establishment of corporations as virtual legal persons.
In an October 2003 profile of Brown, The Black Commentator, borrowing from the Guardian (U.K.), noted:

The California state judge “has such an atrocious civil rights record she makes Clarence Thomas look like Thurgood Marshall," said Rep. Diane Watson (D-CA) at a Congressional Black Caucus press conference, last week. "She's cut from the same cloth as Clarence Thomas," declared Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District of Columbia's non-voting representative in the House, and one of the caucus's leading legal lights. Full link

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An interesting, but disturbing conversation with another graduate student

African Americans have an image problem around the world

Today I was talking to a Chinese woman (graduate student) and discovered the following: she asked me was I one of the smart Black people. I said I don’t know if I’m smarter than anyone else. I was shocked and before I could proceed, she said I don’t see any other Africans (black people) in any of my classes. I only see whites and other Asians so you must be smart for black people. I then explained to her that in America the educational system is not the same across the board. I’ve always gone to mixed schools and that afforded me an advantage over many blacks that attended inner city schools. The quality of your education is directly depended upon your socio-economic status. I told her I felt like I was one of the lucky ones to have gotten a good education in my formative years.

In fact, there was a PBS special, which followed people who were valedictorian in their high schools, who struggled to maintain a C average once they went to college. And, this is not an isolated story. When I finished talking, she said she had no idea that everyone in the US did not get the same quality of education and said this is not fair. I said no, it isn't, but this is the reality. She said that news changes everything.

African Americans truly have an image problem. Instead of asking the Mexican President to apologize for his statement, we should self-reflect and discuss ways to improve our image, our status, etc. Surely, for anyone to make these types of statements, we have a problem since it assumes that most of us are not smart.

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Adverse effects of Rats being fed GM corn

Two articles about Rats being fed GM corn due for sale in Britain developed abnormalities in blood and kidneys

The Independent on Sunday can today reveal details of secret research carried out by Monsanto, the GM food giant, which shows that rats fed the modified corn had smaller kidneys and variations in the composition of their blood raising fears that human health could be affected by eating GM food. According to the confidential 1,139-page report, these health problems were absent from another batch of rodents fed non-GM food as part of the research project.


2nd article

Dr Arpad Pusztai was then the bogeyman of the British scientific establishment. No less a figure than Lord May - then the Government's chief scientific adviser, now president of the Royal Society - had accused him of violating "every canon of scientific rectitude", and ministers and top scientists had queued up to denounce him.

His crime had been to find disturbing evidence that the GM potatoes he was studying damaged the immune systems, brains, livers and kidneys of rats - and to mention it briefly in a television programme before his research was completed and published.

His punishment was draconian; his research was stopped, his team disbanded and his data confiscated (see box). He was ostracised by his colleagues, forced into retirement and gagged for seven months, forbidden to put his case. I was the first journalist to interview him at length, spending six hours with him.

Those who were the vanguards of asking for scientific proof that HIV causes AIDS also lost their funding and were ostracized by their colleagues. You really have to question this type of practice.

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Senators Avoid Fight Over Filibusters - What Good is the Democratic Party?

Judicial nominee Priscilla Owen gets the vote she's been awaiting for more than four years, the most immediate beneficiary of a deal worked out by Senate moderates to avoid a debilitating fight over filibusters. Link

I wonder if America/Americans gained anything by this compromise. The Republican Party can do whatever they want to and when they want to. All they have to do is tell the Democratic Party, we are going to change the rules unless you let us have our way. Either way, we will win.

On the other hand, was this an elaborate ruse coming from the Democratic Party to mislead the American people into thinking that we have two separate parties and they (The Democrats) were willing to fight for what was right, when in reality there is only one single party with one single goal? I think this is a sad state of affairs for American in particular and the world at large. The Republican Party appears to be un-stoppable. I'm beginning to think the Democratic Party need to be disbanded and in this way, we will not be duped into thinking we have a bipartisan government when in fact we have a partisan government with many of the members complicit in the corruption and will make sure the status quo is maintained at the expense of the average American.

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Where the World's Views of America Come into Focus - U.S. Propaganda a Prelude to Attack, Pyongyang Says

North Korea's party mouthpiece, Rodong Sinmun, charges that it is standard procedure for Washington to attack the image of nations it intends to target for aggression and/or invasion.

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Neo-Victorian America?

Stirling Newberry is by far becoming my favorite writer. His views have consistently given me an understanding of how "The West" thinks and how this society is perpetuated. I am hooked…


By Stirling Newberry


Excerpt

In 1776 Americans revolted, less against taxes than against what those taxes were designed to enforce: triangular trade. Americans were required to sell raw materials to England, and buy from the rest of the world from British monopoly companies. The Tea Tax sparked the Boston Tea Party, not because it increased the price of Tea, but because it blocked Americans from entering into the lucrative tea market.

In the end, Americans separated from England, politically and monetarily. The British system of triangular trade fell apart.

This "first era of globalization" expanded trade, but it also created misery in Britain, as wages raced down to parity with colonial wages, and it caused famines in Ireland and India, as the price of food raced upward to the price that the British were willing to pay for it. The Irish potato famine was one example: even as people starved, food continued to be sold to Great Britain. Famine is not caused by a shortage of food for people, but by the people having a shortage of money to buy the food they need.

As with the British before us, when triangular trade failed, we turned to hegemony, and the implementation of it came to have a name, "The Washington Consensus." This system used the dollar, and the access to oil that it brought, as a lever to open the capital markets and economies of developing nations. The profits from this would be used to keep the dollar as the gateway to a commodity which was both the gold and the coal of the new system: petroleum.

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Monday, May 23, 2005

Centrists compromise, averting filibuster faceoff - Agreement preserves Senate rules, clears way for nominee votes

To me - this comprise suggests that if you are willing to be unreasonable, and if you wine long enough, you will get your way. I think we may all be guilty of this. If it is not going to be my way, it isn't going to be yours either. Maybe, this is the American way or maybe this is just one of the bad sides of our human nature.

In a dramatic reach across party lines, Senate centrists sealed a compromise Monday night to clear the way for confirmation of many of President Bush’s stalled judicial nominees, leave others in limbo and preserve venerable filibuster rules.

In a Senate that has become increasingly partisan and polarized, the bipartisan center held,” said Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., one of 14 senators — seven from each party — to pledge their “mutual trust and confidence” on the deal.

“The Senate is back in business,” exulted Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., reflecting the view that a showdown would have had a long-term detrimental impact on Congress’ ability to conduct the nation’s business. Link

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Someone else also wants "GW" to be impeached

I thought Bush should have been impeached because of all the election fraud. However, I don't care what reason(s) he is impeached on, as long as he is impeached. I also think he should be charged for war crimes. If the reason given for the war is a lie, then those responsible or who profited should be held accountable for all those who were killed and/or maimed...

I know everyone was anxiously waiting for someone to start a petition to have Bush Impeached. Well, here it is!!!!

Republican Demands Bush's Impeachment
Submitted by Bob Fertik on May 21, 2005 - 9:36am. Impeachment

Paul Craig Roberts is a former Treasury official in the Reagan administration. He is now a right-wing John M. Olin fellow at the Institute for Political Economy and a senior research fellow at the right-wing Hoover Institution.

So it is stunning that he is demanding Bush's impeachment on the basis of the Downing Street Memo.

On May 6, 88 members of Congress (led by John Conyers) demanded an explanation from Bush about the memo. On May 17, Scott McClellan told reporters the White House saw "no need" to respond.

In that case, we have no choice but to impeach Bush, Cheney, and the rest of these war criminals. Please sign our petition at ImpeachCentral.com and join our ImpeachBush Meetup.

A Reputation in Tatters

George W. Bush and his gang of neocon warmongers have destroyed America’s reputation. It is likely to stay destroyed, because at this point the only way to restore America’s reputation would be to impeach and convict President Bush for intentionally deceiving Congress and the American people in order to start a war of aggression against a country that posed no threat to the United States.

America can redeem itself only by holding Bush accountable.

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We Shouldn't Let Bush Get Away With This Crap -The Downing Street "Memo"

The Downing Street "Memo" is courtesy of Robert Rouse at the blog A little Left of Centrist.

The Downing Street "Memo" is actually a document containing meeting minutes transcribed during the British Prime Minister's meeting on July 23, 2002—a full eight months PRIOR to the invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003. The Times of London printed the text of this document on Sunday, May 1, 2005, but to date US media coverage has been limited. This site is intended to act as a resource for anyone who wants to understand the facts revealed in this document.

The contents of the memo are shocking. The minutes detail how our government did not believe Iraq was a greater threat than other nations; how intelligence was "fixed" to sell the case for war to the American public; and how the Bush administration’s public assurances of "war as a last resort" were at odds with their privately stated intentions. More


In addition, take a look at the following letter written by Robert Ruse - An open letter to the extreme Right. Everyone should be concerned irrespective of their party affiliation with the direction this country has taken.

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An Ally From Hell - CIA's close relationship with Sudan's government enables genocide there to continue

I know many people are squeamish when it comes to religious people doing evil things to others. In defense, they always say that this is un-this or un-that, even when the reality of the situation is different. At some point, these people will have to atone for their evil deeds.

In Um Seifa, a dusty village in Sudan's western region of Darfur, a crowd of white-robed children stood outside their newly reopened school. . . . 'The government never gave us education, development, health [services or] equality,' said the headmaster. . . . So the people of Um Seifa built their own school. A week after your correspondent visited it, it was burned to the ground, and eight children murdered [by Sudanese army forces and the Arab Janjaweed] —The Economist, April 2, 2005 ...

During George W. Bush's campaign to spread the spirit—and eventually the letter—of freedom and democracy to other lands, he has made some nightmarish allies. Torture of prisoners, homegrown or supplied by the CIA, has been endemic in Jordan, Yemen, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Uzbekistan. In the latter's prisons, the specialty of the house is boiling prisoners, including political prisoners, to death. Can you believe in this day and age, people are doing this to others? Where is their God!!!!!

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Koreans Report Ease in Cloning for Stem Cells

South Korean researchers are reporting today that they have developed a highly efficient recipe for producing human embryos through cloning, and then extracting their stem cells.

Writing in the journal Science, the researchers, led by Dr. Woo Suk Hwang and Dr. Shin Yong Moon of Seoul National University, said they used their method to produce 11 human stem cell lines that were genetic matches of patients who ranged in age from 2 to 56.

The method, called therapeutic cloning, is one of the great hopes of the stem cell field. It produces stem cells, universal cells that are extracted from embryos, killing the embryos in the process, and that, in theory, can be directed to grow into any of the body's cell types.

This is good news, but I don't think America will see any benefit from this research anytime soon. An article in the New York Times entitled "In Rare Threat, Bush Vows Veto of Stem Cell Bill". The president expressed concerns about a report that South Korean researchers have developed a method of cloning human embryos to extract stem cells that, theoretically, could be used to develop treatments that are exact genetic matches for patients.

The House bill, which is limited in scope, does not address cloning. Bush said "I'm very concerned about cloning. "I worry about a world in which cloning becomes acceptable."

I think Bush's statement is just more propaganda to appease his rightwing conservative evangelical Christian base. Hey Bush, what about worrying about a world that allows others to be killed, tortured in the name of religion, profits, etc? I guess it is ok to kill people as long as they are alive. What hypocrisy...

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Sunday, May 22, 2005

GOP sets stage for filibuster showdown

While it takes 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, Republicans intend to supersede the rule by a simple majority vote. With 55 seats, Republicans could afford five defections if all 100 members vote and still prevail on the strength of Cheney's ability to break ties.

Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada - told a group of columnists during the day he was within two votes of having the strength to prevail in a showdown, indicating that four Republicans have agreed to break ranks and side with the Democrats.

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Saturday, May 21, 2005

Why pensions are becoming even scarcer

This is a response courtesy of the owner of WC Varones' blog to my post why pensions are becoming even scarcer. Since peoples' pension plans are at stake (under funded) and companies are filing for bankruptcy, WC has graciously offered some good advice that we all should be aware of about our respective companies. Before Grad school, I was in a pension plan, which guaranteed me a 10% annual growth rate. For some reason, I thought this was a little high, but I never thought they could be deceiving me in any form or fashion. In order for anyone to guarantee a 10% annual growth rate, you have to assume that they are projecting at least a 10% growth rate on their investments (stocks and bonds). Now I have to seriously consider rethinking the idea of leaving the money in this plan although I get a statement ever year with the new 10% adjustment added. WC has some very interesting things being discussed on his blog. It is a must read...

Comment by WC Varones

Most of the PBGC commentaries avoid getting at the root cause of the problem: unrealistic pension assumptions. Extremely loose accounting standards basically allow companies to make up whatever numbers they want when forecasting investment returns. So if a company wants to stop putting money into its pension plan, it just says, "No worries! We believe our pension investments will grow 10% per year forever. So we don't have to fund the pension plan any more!"To see how unrealistic these return assumptions are, do the math.

Assume a typical 60% stock / 40% bond pension plan. If the fund is earning 5.1% on its bonds, a full percentage point over the 10-year Treasury yield, it has to earn more than 13% annually on its stocks to make the total fund return 10%. With dividend yields at a sickly 2%, that means we'd need earnings growth of 11% annually for the long term. How the entire stock market grows earnings 11% annually in an era of 3-4% GDP growth is beyond me.If you are an employee of a company with a traditional pension plan, or if you are a shareholder, find out what your company's pension return assumptions are. They are in the annual report. If it's anywhere near 10%, you're not dealing with an honest company.

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Friday, May 20, 2005

Early Version of New Patriot Act Gives Administration Everything It Asks for, GOP Aides Say

WASHINGTON (AP) - The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee is working on a bill that would renew the Patriot Act and expand government powers in the name of fighting terrorism, letting the FBI subpoena records without permission from a judge or grand jury.

Much of the debate in Congress has concerned possibly limiting some of the powers in the anti-terrorism law passed 45 days after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

But the measure being written by Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., would give the FBI new power to issue administrative subpoenas, which are not reviewed by a judge or grand jury, for quickly obtaining records, electronic data or other evidence in terrorism investigations, according to aides for the GOP majority on the committee who briefed reporters Wednesday.

This country has turned into a governmental free for all. It appears people have absolutely no protection from this government. They can do whatever they want and no one can stop them.

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Condoleezza Rice Misfires

Few things are as repulsive as Black conservatives trying to advance the Republican agenda by mischaracterizing the Civil Rights Movement or distorting history. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice provided a textbook example of this during a recent appearance on CNN’s “Larry King Live.”

When asked her thoughts on gun control, Rice replied: “Well, Larry, I come out of a – my personal experiences in which in Birmingham, Ala., my father and his friends defended our community in 1962 and 1963 against White nightriders by going to the head of the community, the head of the cul-de-sac, and sitting there armed. And so I’m very concerned about any abridgement of the Second Amendment…”

Moments later, she added: “…We have to be very careful when we start abridging rights that our Founding Fathers thought very important. And on this one, I think that they understood that there might be circumstances that people like my father experienced in Birmingham, Ala., when, in fact, the police weren’t going to protect you.”

This expert on Soviet history obviously hasn’t studied enough American history. There is no evidence that the Founding Fathers – or the Fondling Fathers, as I like to call some of them – were in the least bit worried about African-Americans being able to protect themselves against White supremacists. In fact, half of them owned slaves. So did nine U.S. presidents. More

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Dying Too Often, Too Soon

Cyrus posted the following article about the Abysmal Health Care of Black Women , which is another new study that finds that black women are dying at a rate higher than any other group in America. If you look at the statistics below, you have to agree that Black women should be placed on the endangered species list.

Between 1991 - 2000, researchers discovered that more than 800,000 African Americans died during that decade because they didn't receive the same health care as their white counterparts

Black women are in the vanguard of those receiving inferior health care, with greater incidence of and mortality from nearly every major disease, including diabetes, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, hypertension, and some forms of cancer:

Diabetes rates have tripled among African Americans over the past three decades.
- ~12% of black women over 20 have diabetes - 25% of black women over 55 have this condition.

* 40% of black women have high blood pressure.

* Black women are 69 percent more likely to have heart disease and heart attacks, and they have a 70 percent greater chance of dying of heart disease.

* Black women accounted for 69 percent of new HIV diagnoses from 2000 to 2003 and have a rate of HIV/AIDS infection that is 18 times higher than that of white women. This is the only part of the study that is not verifiable. The rest is unfortunately true.

* Although cancer is the second-leading cause of death for all women, black women have the greatest number of deaths from cancer of the breast, colon, pancreas, and stomach.

The Root of the Problem according to the study

*Lack of access to adequate health care isn't the only racial disparity.
* Bad Habits: (This may be true in certain circumstances)
* Education:
* Environment:

* Nutrition: Many black women have poor nutritional habits because they live in neighborhoods that don't always offer affordable, healthy food options. The level of physical activity is also often lower in the African-American community than it should be. As a result, African-American women are more likely to be overweight or obese than white women.

Excess weight has been linked to increased rates of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, and certain cancers. None of us can deny that many Black women are too heavy, who am I kidding, severely overweight. The increase in weight corresponds with the onset of the health conditions that are being observed. It's all about nutritional habits. A change of diets can reverse the unhealthy trends. At some point, I think I need to illustrate what is happening with the food.

* Poverty: Though African Americans make up only 13 percent of the U.S. population, they account for 24 percent of the nations poor.

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Now Hiring: The Hot Jobs of the Moment (Petroleum Engineering is among the Hot Jobs)

New York - This year, Ernst & Young hopes to hire 9,000 new accountants in the United States.

EnerDel, which makes lithium batteries, no longer hires people when it needs them. Rather, it hires them when it finds them.

And Marietta College in Ohio is proud that every one of its 14 petroleum engineers who graduated this spring has a job offer.

Accounting, electrical engineering, oil and gas specialists: These are just some of this year's hot jobs.

Although experts are quick to agree that the job market is not quite up to the late 1990s, when the economy was creating about 300,000 jobs per month, there are nevertheless numerous professions that are hiring as fast as the résumés come in. Many positions require math or science skills, such as the 158 job openings in the state of Pennsylvania for those who can apply technology to manufacturing and production. In Phoenix, meanwhile, plumbers are in such demand that one company calls them an endangered species. And in Dallas, a job fair at Richland College attracted 75 employers - in healthcare, accounting, and customer service - which is up from 45 companies in the fall.

The hot jobs are in the forefront of technology and medicine, or they are in the sweet spot of where the economy is growing like energy, healthcare services, financial controls, and international," says John Challenger of the Chicago outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. "Of the hot jobs, the most sustainable will be those where you can't be outsourced."

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Thursday, May 19, 2005

Malcolm X Remembered - Happy Birthday to one of the greatest men ever lived

Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska. His mother, Louise Norton Little, was a homemaker occupied with the family's eight children. His father, Earl Little, was an outspoken Baptist minister and avid supporter of Black Nationalist leader Marcus Garvey. Earl's civil rights activism prompted death threats from the white supremacist organization Black Legion, forcing the family to relocate twice before Malcolm's fourth birthday.

Regardless of the Little's efforts to elude the Legion, in 1929 their Lansing, Michigan home was burned to the ground. Two years later, Earl's body was found lying across the town's trolley tracks. Police ruled both incidents as accidents, but the Little's were certain that members of the Black Legion were responsible. Louise suffered emotional breakdown several years after the death of her husband and was committed to a mental institution. Her children were split up amongst various foster homes and orphanages. More..

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Media Matters for America put together a list of the 'Top 10 filibuster falsehoods'

With Senate debate on two of President Bush's most controversial judicial nominees beginning May 18, the heated rhetoric over the so-called "nuclear option" to ban Senate filibusters on judicial nominations has reached its boiling point. The rules of the Senate thus far remain intact, but filibuster opponents have pulled all rhetorical stops, advancing numerous falsehoods and distortions, and, as Media Matters for America documents below, the media have too often perpetuated that misinformation by unskeptically, and sometimes even deliberately, repeating it.

Top 10 filibuster falsehoods

Falsehood #1: Democrats' filibuster of Bush nominees is "unprecedented"

Falsehood #2: Bush's filibustered nominees have all been rated well-qualified by the ABA; blocking such highly rated nominees is unprecedented

Falsehood #3: Democratic obstructionism has led to far more judicial vacancies during Republican administrations than Democratic administrations

Falsehood #4: "Nuclear Option" is a Democratic term

Falsehood #5: Democrats oppose Bush nominees because of their faith, race, ethnicity, gender, stance on abortion, stance on parental notification ...

Falsehood #6: Public opinion polling shows clear opposition to judicial filibusters, support for "nuclear option"

Falsehood #7: Filibustering judicial nominees is unconstitutional

Falsehood #8: Clinton's appellate confirmation rate was far better than Bush's rate

Falsehood #9: Sen. Byrd's alterations to filibuster rules set precedent for "nuclear option"

Falsehood #10: Democrats have opposed "all" or "most" of Bush's judicial nominees

More insights on the falsehoods

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Has White Supremacy Won? - from a Chinese-American perspective

White supremacy is a system of order and a way of perceiving reality. Its purpose is to keep whites on top and set them free. Colored minorities in white reality are stereotypes . . . If the system works, the stereotypes assigned to the various races are accepted by the races themselves as reality . . .

The general function of any racial stereotype is to establish and preserve order between different elements of society, maintain the continuity and growth of Western civilization, and enforce white supremacy with a minimum of effort, attention, and expense. The ideal racial stereotype is a low maintenance engine of white supremacy whose efficiency increases with age, as it became "authenticated" and "historically verified." Excerpt taken from Black Ambition

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Immigration's not-so-hidden costs hurt American workers

Since 1965, the traditional trickle of new immigrants, which averaged a little more than 200,000 a year over the nation's history, surged upward to an estimated 2 million a year, about half of them illegal.That puts pressure on wages, of course, at a time when low-skilled jobs have dried up.

1) Increased immigration was one of five major factors that led to that job decline, as Harvard sociologist William Julius Wilson recounts in his 1996 book "When Work Disappears.

"The other four were

2) the nation's shift from a manufacturing-based to a service-based economy,
3) the increased outsourcing of low-skilled work to countries where labor is cheaper,
4)advances in technology that have increased demand for high-skilled workers while reducing demand for low-skilled workers and
5) the decline of unions that traditionally drive up wages and benefits.

Yet we continue to hear about how illegals only take the "jobs nobody wants." Ideally, there is almost no job that somebody would not want and make themselves available to do, if you offer them enough money to do it. Whenever I hear someone talk about the "jobs nobody wants" what I really hear is: "jobs that pay less than most Americans need to support their families."

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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

A Coward's Response to the Tribute to Emitt Till

Some people don't want to be reminded of the ugliness of the past of America and they insist on blaming the victims to cover up their own evil deeds. They also don't want the world to see them for who they really are because their behavior of the past is still being practiced in the present. Who ever this anonymous person is - is a reflection of the evil of the past that still exists today. In some peoples mind, African Americans don't have the right to scream about any injustice that has been unleashed upon them. What child, especially a Black child in the 1950s would be stupid enough to go down in the deep south where it is commonly known that Black people are killed for sport routinely by the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and commit an act that everyone knows would lead to his death. This is something that every child was taught to stay live in the south. A 14-year-old child in the 1950s knew better than to behave like this. The KKK is an icon of a certain kind of acceptable behavior in America. In the past, they wore sheets and white hoods, now they wear a badge and a gun. I'm annoyed at this stupid comment!!!

Anonymous said

I find the Till case intriguing, not only because of its significance to the civil rights movement, but also because of the inconsistencies in the story. If his mother was so worried about him getting into trouble in the south, why was that? Was she having problems with him, and like many mothers even today, sending him to stay with relatives to help straighten him out? His father was a serial rapist and murderer, convicted and sentenced to die by Army courtmarshall in Europe during WWII - was she afraid he was turning out like his father? She said she was worried about him going south, afraid something would happen to him - so if she was so worried and loved him so much, why did she send him down there if that was so? The story goes that he went into a store, bought some candy and then went between the counters and grabbed a grown woman, saying "I've been with white girls before" and his friends went in and dragged him out. When they were leaving, he said Bye baby and whistled at the woman. Now, what innocent 14 year old boy acts like that? In my little town, a person who did something like that, regardless of their age, would most likely be charged with assault, a crime. 14 year old boys don't act that way. The woman was probably scared half to death, wondering if he'd come back and rape her or something. Those men that went to question him in the middle of the night probably wanted an apology to her for his behavior, because what he did was very wrong, and dishonorable towards a lady, and an assurance that he was not going to try anything else. He was not sorry, and acted all big and bad - they got mad. I'm not saying they had a right to kill him, they didn't, but he was not just a "po black chile" that was murdered for no reason. The NAACP saw a chance to use a family and a tragedy, and has never even suggested that there was anything wrong with the way this boy acted, who by accounts was very tall and big and looked like a grown man. I just hate that people act like the rest of us are fools who will believe any spin they choose to put on something.

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Our entire way of life is at stake

And now the ''nuclear option.'' Republican Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist vows to blow up the Senate by getting the Republican majority to outlaw any filibuster against President Bush's judicial nominees. Democrats have approved 208 of Bush's 218 nominees, but are blocking 10 as too extreme. This is a 95% approval rate. That is unacceptable to Frist and apparently to Bush also.

In a direct insult to his opposition, Bush renominated the same handful of extremists previously blocked. Now he demands an up-or-down vote on them -- essentially ordering Frist to blow up the Senate. As in the run-up to the war in Iraq, he's intent on winning, with little sense of the costs and consequences of what he's driving the country into.

Outside groups on both sides are mobilizing. The right of the Republican Party has called blocking a handful of Bush's nominees an assault on ''people of faith.'' (The president apparently is so infallible that to question even 10 of more than 200 nominees is to risk eternal damnation.) Liberals have started touting the filibuster as the bedrock of democracy.

But this debate isn't about freedom of religion. And it isn't about the filibuster. It's about the judges and the direction of the country.

Bush isn't nominating conservative judges as his father did; he's nominating radicals, vetted by the right-wing Federalist Society, and dedicated to advancing the movement's agenda through the courts. He's naming judges who will overturn precedents that the conservative movement doesn't like -- from Roe vs. Wade that gave women the right of choice, to Brown vs. Board of Education that outlawed segregation, to the core jurisprudence of the New Deal.

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Why pensions are becoming even scarcer - More old-line industries may follow United Airline's move to default on pension obligations

I was invited to an African conference recently and one of the speakers was giving financial advice about retirement plans. The speaker suggested that everyone should consider max-ing out your 401K plan as one of the best ways to prepare for your retirement. Being the skeptic that I am, I was thinking this is not a good idea. I can't believe the various corporations are going to pay out all those millions of dollars when it is time for people to retire. If you look at what happened to the employees of International Harvester, The Steele industry and recently Fannie Mae Candies, one can then begin to get a clearer picture of what could happen to you if you trust your financial security to the company you are working for.

Someone once told me, you can never go wrong if you invest your money in real estate, as this is the safest industry. They said - if you look at all the wealthy individuals, you will notice that they all own real estate. I guess this was sound advice after all if you compare it with the way peoples' pension plan is disappearing.

Excerpt

More than three-quarters of the nation's traditional private pension plans are underfunded - which means they currently don't have enough assets to cover the benefits already promised to their workers and current retirees.

And the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC), the government insurer that is supposed to guarantee workers some protections if companies go under, is facing a deficit of almost $30 billion.

For millions of retirees, like former United pilot Bill Muller, the holes in the current system have already taken a toll. He retired in 2002, expecting to live comfortably on the six-figure pension he'd been accruing since he first went to work for United in 1969. Instead, he expects to lose 75 percent of that, even if the company successfully emerges from bankruptcy

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Blacks and Jews Split – again – over Farrakhan

I like this article. It really should go down in the Guinness book of world record as the article with the most balls.

This is just bizarre and too silly for words and if it wasn’t in print, I wouldn’t have believed it. Who do these people think they are? And why do they think that they have so much power over us that they can insist that our leaders do anything, let alone stay away from Farrakhan. They must think we are as silly as they sound. I can assure you, this will never happen. We are Black before we are Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Pagan, etc. etc.

WASHINGTON (NNPA) – A prominent Jewish leader’s insistence that African-American leaders distance themselves from the Millions More March organizer Minister Louis Farrakhan is more likely to stir up more anti-Semitism rather than soothe frayed relations between Blacks and Jews, says Hip Hop mogul Russell Simmons.He was reacting to criticism from Abraham H. Foxman, national director of Anti-Defamation League (ADL). In a letter addressed to national Black leaders, Foxman said it is unacceptable that mainstream African-American leaders would participate in a march whose conveners include Farrakhan and Malike Zulu Shabazz, head of the New Black Panther Party.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Jurists Picked for Showdown on Filibuster - Democrats Stand United against Republican Abuse of Power

"The time has come for Republican senators to decide whether they will abide by the rules of the Senate or break those rules for the first time in 217 years of American history, "It is time to say no to this abuse of power." Link

The Republican leadership in the Senate is proposing to fundamentally alter the function of the US government. Their gambit to streamline the approval process for President Bush's judicial nominees by eliminating the 200-year-old practice of filibustering would effectively do away with the last vestige of the system of checks and balances deliberately constructed by the founding fathers as a fire-wall against tyranny. President Bush himself should speak out against it at once. That is, of course, unlikely.

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Mexican President's Comment Angers African-Americans

Excerpt from the article:

The Mexican President - Vicente Fox has issued a written statement expressing his respect for minorities, a day after he made a controversial remark about African-Americans.

In a public appearance Friday, Mr. Fox said Mexicans are willing to do jobs in the United States "that not even blacks want to do." The Mexican president made the remark a day after Mexico announced it will formally protest recent U.S. immigration reforms. The comments drew cries of racism from some Mexican newspapers. U.S. civil rights leader Reverend Jesse Jackson condemned the comparison with African-American workers and called on Mr. Fox to leave race out of the ongoing debate over U.S. immigration policy.

A statement released Saturday from the president's office said Mr. Fox was only trying to highlight the important contribution of Mexican workers in the United States. Some of this information provided by AP.

Many people are talking about this story. You have these notable right slanted Blogs such as Rambling's Journal, LaShawn Barber's Corner, The Immigration Blog, and a few others who agree that President Fox's comments were racist. In addition, Professor Kim - who hosts a notable moderate blog, posted the story without any comments to sway the reader's thought. Even while I was listening to the Cliff Kelly show, every caller thought that Fox’s remarks were racist.

I think I must be the only person that will openly admit that the President of Mexico made those remarks innocently enough to make a point about the jobs that Mexicans actually perform in this country and he made those comments only in defense of the new immigration laws that are being passed. So what's the harm in letting illegal Mexicans come into this country to work in jobs that not even Blacks want to do? Now, I thought this was clear to many people - that Mexicans are indeed doing jobs that Americans don't want to do period (black or white). But, I guess since he only singled out African Americans, then many people including Black leaders like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharton feel compelled to condemn him for uttering those words with all of its racist connotations. I bet he will be more careful the next time he decides to utter the words African Americans and anything in one complete sentence.

This is one of those topics that everybody knows is true, but it is taboo to say in public (outside your respective groups). What hypocrites on all sides. I can't count the number of times I've heard this in the African American (community) and this very thought is pervasive throughout the white American culture too. Many ethnic groups have come into this country and this very theory applies, each group moving out of the way for those who are considered the new lowest class people in the society, in this case Mexicans. This is the American way. But, I guess since we are not saying this in the privacy of our respective cliques, then it is a racist statement to openly admit this insidious little truth about the American society. I wonder how many other people were thinking the same thing, but knew there would be repercussions if they uttered those words in public so we better condemn it, like the good little hypocrites we are.

It is interesting to note, no one ever denied his words, they only said they were racist since those words implied that Blacks are the lowest group in this society. Isn’t this the way we are treated in this society? A baby can see that, otherwise how did this President come to this conclusion if there isn’t some truth in his statement. I don’t know if I think it is right to make this man apologize for the way America is treating African Americans in this country. This is what I hate about America the most, the hypocrisy. I only wish that instead of condemning the Mexican President for uttering words from how he perceived the conditions in America, a true dialogue would had come out of this, forcing Americans to address their dirty little secret.

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EPA on Threshold of Brave New World of Human Testing

Under its new policy, EPA would accept all human chemical dosing studies "unless there is clear evidence that the conduct of these studies was fundamentally unethical… or was significantly deficient relative to the ethical standards prevailing at the time the study was conducted." Since industry is not required to disclose the conditions under which experiments were conducted, it is not clear how EPA will ever learn of "fundamentally unethical" practices. Moreover, EPA is unwilling to define what ethical lapses would disqualify an industry submission from being used for regulatory purposes.

"The Bush Administration is setting the ethical bar so low that only the most sleazy cannot limbo under it," stated PEER Program Director Rebecca Roose. "The basic problem is this: the safeguards that apply to experiments involving development of drugs to help people are far more stringent than EPA's standards for experiments to determine how much commercial poisons harm people."

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Monday, May 16, 2005

Where the World's Views of America Come into Focus


Falluja Residents Bitter Over Slow Pace of U.S. Assistance

After the city was destroyed by Coalition forces, the U.S. promised $100 million of aid. But many of Falluja's residents remain desperate for any kind of reconstruction assistance

What a novel idea, the victims actually looking for the perpetrators to pay. Will it happen? I guess the U.S. really need to find out whose behind the embezzeling of the nearly $100 million in reconstruction funds. Take a look at the following article: U.S. Officials Suspected of Embezzlement in Iraq. The U.S. government has opened a criminal inquiry into suspected embezzlement by officials who failed to account for almost $100 million they disbursed for Iraqi reconstruction projects, federal investigators said Wednesday. What will come of this?

Obama said recently on the Cliff Kelly show that since the Republicans represent the majority in congress, they will not grant them a hearing on these issues. He also said, the media told them they will not report on any of these issues unless the Democrats can get the Republican led government to grant them a hearing. It is these types of antics that show African Americans have reasons to be suspicious/paranoid of Republicans and American politics in general. It is annoying to many of us that some people have the nerves to question our abilities and rationale when it comes to U.S. politics, as if we are completely naive. This shows that we may not necessarily know all the details, but our instincts are correct when it comes to the U.S. and its politics.

What really happened to Falluja - The amoral behavior of the US military that the American media is hiding from the American people...

One of These Days - William Rivers Pitt

Excerpt

Jamail stated that the Americans have taken to using 'collective punishment' against large segments of the population to try and dampen the violence. In one instance, a road leading out of a remote farm community was blown up and blocked to punish the residents, and the only nearby gas station was machine-gunned and blasted by a tank.

The most glaring example of collective punishment took place within the city of Fallujah. You will clearly recall the events of March 31, 2004, when three mercenary contractors from Blackwater were pulled from their car, butchered, burned and hung from a bridge in that town. The American corporate news media carefully described these four repeatedly as 'American civilians, failing to note that some 30,000 highly-paid military mercenaries just like these four are operating in Iraq, beyond the laws and rules of American military justice. These mercenaries stand accused by the Iraqi populace of a variety of crimes including rape and theft.

It was a despicable and horrifying act of violence, to be sure. Yet the American populace was left with the impression, reinforced by the media, that these 'civilians' were targeted by the entire city of Fallujah. In fact, the act was committed by perhaps 50 people, and the Imams in the mosques spoke with one outraged voice against what was done to those four.

This did not matter. The collective punishment of Fallujah began days later. Civilians were targeted by snipers. Helicopters and bombers rained fire and steel indiscriminately on the city. After a while, a truce was called so the city could bury its dead, and so medical supplies could be brought in. No supplies made it into the city, but the casualties were entombed in soccer fields that were renamed 'Martyr's Graveyards.' Jamail photographed the fields of burial mounds, and translated the names on many of the headstones. A majority of those stones bore the names of women and children.

In the lull between attacks, the citizens of Fallujah flooded the streets in a massive victory celebration, unaware that the worst was yet to come. The rage they vented on the Fallujah streets was proof enough that American tactics are manufacturing resistance fighters every day.

Not long after, the second phase of the punishment of Fallujah began, this time as an aerial bombardment of the city that left thousands dead and wounded. Bodies remained unburied in the streets to bloat in the sun and be gnawed by dogs.

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CBC support on CAFTA in flux

A dozen corporate lobbyists, who happen to be black (this is an interesting statement) will start pressing members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) to support the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), including those who already have announced their opposition to the measure.

The lobbyists include Jarvis Stewart of Stewart Partners, who represents FedEx and Wal-Mart; Tiffany Moore of the Kellogg Co.; Lionel Johnson of Citigroup; Kimberly Wordard of Wal-Mart; Lauryl Dodson Jackson of PhRMA; Orson Porter of Nike; and Tanya Lombard of Altria. They met Tuesday at Altria’s Washington office.

As a first step in their informal effort, they will request a meeting with the new U.S. trade representative, former Rep. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), to discuss ways to get CBC members to support CAFTA.

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The MOVE Bombing, 20 Years Later: Reliving, Reflecting and Remembering



After a nearly daylong siege, authorities dropped a bomb on the roof of the rowhouse Africa and some dozen others called home. The bomb soon burst into fire, consuming 11 inside the house – including five children – and swept some 60 other homes into its devastation as authorities stood and watched a middle-class black neighborhood disintegrate.

Today, there is little left to the 6100 block of Osage Avenue that resembles what once was – an area where generations of black people struggled to earn their corner of the American Dream, and pass it on to their children. Now, there are scantily inhabited replacement homes – many residents took buyouts a decade or so ago – that neighbors still claim were sloppily constructed. A judge recently agreed with them, demanding that the city pay $12.8 million in restitution to the 24 homeowners who insist the city did not do right by them, neither in the rebuilt properties nor its previous $150,000 buyout offer.

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Sunday, May 15, 2005

Geneticists Link Modern Humans to Single Band Out of Africa

A team of geneticists believe they have shed light on many aspects of how modern humans emigrated from Africa by analyzing the DNA of the Orang Asli, the original inhabitants of Malaysia. Because the Orang Asli appear to be directly descended from the first emigrants from Africa, they have provided valuable new clues about that momentous event in early human history. Link..

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Saturday, May 14, 2005

One of These Days - By William Rivers Pitt

Good insights into understanding the current state of affairs or predicament of America/Americans.


The corporate media does not report the news anymore. They create consensus, they manufacture the common fictions under which we are expected to live. With the TV media, this behavior is all the more insidious because TV reaches everyone. Television is the most extraordinarily effective tool of mass control that has ever been invented by anyone anywhere.

Times reporter Judy Miller hunkered with convicted embezzler and alleged Iranian spy Ahmad Chalabi, and reported on the pages of the Times that Iraq was absolutely covered with weapons of mass destruction. This helped Chalabi, you see, because he had been chosen by the Bush folks to run Iraq after the war. So far, he has only gotten to be the Oil Minister...yes, the embezzler is now the Oil Minister, but that's a whole different mess.

The point is that like it or lump it, the Times is the flagship of American journalism. If they say it, it must be true, and so when Miller reported that Iraq was covered with weapons, it became axiomatic. Then the TV outlets felt safe in saying it, and we were off to the races.

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David Scott Went to Congress as Part of a White Republican Deal


Worst Black Congressperson
(David Scott of Georgia)

This is a good example why people should know the records of their elected officials. This is shameful that Scott was elected in the first place, let alone a second time. I really do wonder who voted on him.

Most of you don’t even know his name. David Scott (rhymes with rot) is the most non-representative Black person in the U.S. Congress. The very worst. Rep. Scott, whose district lies south of Atlanta, runs with a gaggle of renegade rightwing House members that includes Harold Ford, Jr., of Memphis, Alabama’s Artur Davis and fellow Georgian Sanford Bishop. Scott leads the pack, having managed to vote with Republicans more than any other member of the Congressional Black Caucus on issues tracked by Techpolitics.org, the authoritative site run by veteran political researcher Ken Colburn. Rep. Scott is lavishly rewarded for his loyalty to corporations.

He ranks fourth in campaign contributions among Black House members ($803,334), according to Techpolitics, right behind Rep. Davis ($918,781), Ford ($1,344,398), and New York Congressperson Charles Rangel ($1,446,027). As the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, and having served in the Congress since 1970, Rangel deserves the money. The other three are whores to big business, and Rep. Scott is the worst.

According to OpenSecrets.org, 76 percent of Scott’s political action committee (PAC) campaign funds came from corporations in the 2003-2004 election cycle. We know who he serves. Like Artur Davis, Scott was elected to Congress in 2002, the year the corporate Right launched its electoral offensive against Black America. Corporate money and media unseated Georgia Rep. Cynthia McKinney and Alabama’s Earl Hilliard, replacing them with Denise Majette and Artur Davis, respectively. McKinney regained her seat, in a district to the north and east of Atlanta, last year. Nobody challenged Scott in 2004, whose district is arguably the most gerrymandered in the state, contorted around the highways and byways of four counties.

Many people in Illinois helped Cynthia McKinney (GA) regain her seat. Several people from here not only gave financial contributions, but they physically went to Georgia to assist with her campaign.

Many also know that politics in America are corrupt. Unless you understand and accept this fact, you will never know the truth. How can the CBC clean house if there are implants in their midst and these implants were sponsored and now being controlled by corporate America who is willing to spend big bucks for their cooperation? Some people are fooled into believing that America is this model for democracy, when in fact it is one of the most corrupt undemocratic countries in the world and in my opinion, devoid of any morality when it comes to the manipulation of others. There are no boundaries. And, for this reason, I think black people have rationalized the fact that when they vote, they are voting for the lesser of the two evils. The American political system needs a complete overhauling.

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Thursday, May 12, 2005

We are experiencing a cataclysmic collapse of African American Electoral Leadership

Ten of the 41 CBC members voted for the Republican bankruptcy bill

A crack has opened in the historical Black continuum. 2005 will be recorded as the year that the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) came apart at the seams, the victim of an unprecedented rightwing money and media offensive in Black America, rank treachery by a hardcore handful of Caucus members, and the indiscipline and gross irresponsibility of many more.

The CBC’s collective failure to stand for its constituents and the struggle-birthed legacy of African Americans is also, ironically, a product of historical Black political practice and instinct: the imperative toward unity, which has up to now been the salvation and defining characteristic of the African American polity.

Black progressives, seeking unity above all else, have allowed the Congressional Black Caucus (and other Black institutions) to be neutered by the machinations of a small and unrepresentative group of corporate collaborators who are paid specifically to create the illusion of vast new fractures in African American public opinion. These mercenary men and women profit by bearing false witness to their own constituents’ core beliefs on issues of peace, social and racial equality, public power vs. corporate domination, elemental fairness in the marketplace and public sphere, and the struggle to abolish privilege.

Six members make up the core of defectors from the historical Black Political Consensus – deviants from the CBC’s proud 36-year progressive tradition: Harold Ford, Jr. (TN), Artur Davis (AL), David Scott (GA), Sanford Bishop (GA), Albert Wynn (MD), and William Jefferson (LA). All but Jefferson are members of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) and/or the Blue Dog Coalition, vehicles for corporate funding and intrigue in the Democratic Party. Having reached critical mass with the election of Alabama’s Davis and Georgia’s Scott in 2002, the corporate-allied faction’s influence is greatly enhanced by the DLC’s institutional and financial clout.

I've heard before that GA had a few elected Blacks officials that were bought and paid for by corporate collaborators so they do not surprise me by their actions. Nor am I surprised by anybody coming out of Louisiana. I was born in LA, and if you ever visit there, you will see so much racism, so much non-progressiveness from the Black community it will sicken you. A friend taught at Southern in Baton Rouge for two years and said, while living there, they couldn't get any pertinent news about the world until they went on vacation. They said they couldn't believe how the people were kept in the dark about the world around them. As for the rest of the CBC who defected, this is a sad commentary for African Americans. This is why we must address this type of behavior like what Maxine Waters was doing when she called out that unscrupulous Ken Blackwell.

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