Thursday, June 25, 2009

The King Of Pop

Michael Jackson, the proclaimed "King of Pop", died today in Los Angeles. Yes, he truly was a strange character with some extremely odd and questionable behavior, both morally and ethically, that I will never condone, but what a talent he was. Fifty years old is too young to leave this earth. I hope he finally has found the peace in death that has eluded him in life.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

Albany has gone from the ridiculous to the sublime. I'm referring to the Senate of the great state of New York, whose members have apparently lost their minds.

In a show of partisanship at its worst, the Democrats and Republicans decided to have their own legislative sessions - in the same chamber, at the same time. That's right. Separate podiums, gavels and votes on bills. The Hatfields and McCoys blood feud was reenacted on the Senate floor complete with arguing, yelling and almost fisticuffs. Even Governor David A. Paterson, who has pulled some questionable stunts during his time in office, thought this display of juvenile behavior was beyond the pale.

The question is, are any of the bills that were passed by the Democrats (14) and the Republicans (85) during their "separate but equal" quorums, valid? Nobody, including the Governor knows for sure.

Hopefully, calmer heads will prevail and these legislators can get back to doing the "peoples business" that they were elected to office to do in the first place. Can you imagine how the debate will be later this week when the Governor wants them to vote on legislation legalizing same sex marriage?

Did You Know:

Fact: In 1920, The Republican National Convention declared that African-Americans must be admitted to all state and district conventions.

Fact: In 1960, Jackie Robinson, the first Black Major League baseball player, endorsed Richard Nixon for President.

(Source: Meck GOP, Timeline of Black Republican History)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Supreme Court Upholds Voting Rights Act of 1965

The United States Supreme Court found itself in a bit of a conundrum today - do they decide on whether the key provision of the law is unconstitutional, or do they allow it to go forward and thus stave-off a nasty showdown with Congress, which in 2006 found that the Voting Rights Act was still necessary?

Current racial conditions vs. past discrimination seemed to be at the heart of the debate. Chief Justice Roberts wrote, "The evil that section 5 is meant to address may no longer be concentrated in the jurisdictions singled out for preclearance. The statute's coverage formula is based on data that is now more than 35 years old, and there is considerable evidence that it fails to account for current political conditions." (Washington Post, June 22, 2009).

So basically this is the result. The court is hesitant to determine if an Act of Congress is unconstitutional, and are not willing to take up the matter- just yet. However, it seems as if they have put off the inevitable. Needless to say, this is a huge constitutional law case. The question is, are the original conditions which necessitated the enactment of this voting rights protection for minorities, no longer relevant and evident?

Conservatives argue that with the election of an African American President, along with a number of other minority officials, makes the Act unconstitutional. Civil rights activists argue that the discriminatory conditions still prevail.

I think the Act is living on borrowed time. It will probably be in effect for the redistricting after the 2010 census, but not much longer after that in its current form.

Did You Know:

Fact: Martin Luther King Jr., was a Republican ("A Covenant With Life: Reclaiming MLK's Legacy, by Dr. Alveda C. King - niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Food For Thought

Shelby Steele, a noted sociologist once wrote, "Politically, black America is almost socialistic. There's a feeling that the government is the vehicle that's going to lift us to equality, and without government, we'll never make it. Black America has suffered from this delusion since the 1960's. It's gotten to a point where we've now made affiliation with the democratic party an aspect of the Black American identity. No matter who the democratic nominee is, they get 90% of the Black vote in every single election. If you are black and not a democrat, it's said that you're not authentically black - the civil rights leadership enforces that. So you have this disjuncture in black life: we're culturally conservative, but politically, we are far, far left." (Source - "Live " with Shelly Steele," April 2006, www.taemag.com/issues/articleID.19044/article_detail.asp.)

Did You Know That:

Fact: The Texas Republican Party was founded on July 4, 1867 - by black folks (Source - "African Americans in Texas Politics," www.texasgop.org).

Fact: More Republican legislators voted for the passage of the 1964 Civil Right Act than Democrats - (R) 80% to (D)64% (Source - "Civil Rights act of 1964," Wikipedia, www.en.wikipedia.org)

Fact: Republicans support education vouchers so parents can choose school for their children and not the government. Urban blacks overwhelmingly support education vouchers. ( Source -"In Praise of the Other Milton Friedman," Centre Daily Times, November 26, 2006)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Safe Internet Act: Time For Bi-Partisanship

There is an interesting and timely bill in Washington called the "School and Family Education about the Internet Act of 2009" (Safe Internet Act).

The bill, S.1047, is sponsored by New Jersey United States Senator Robert Menendez. In a nutshell, the legislation is designed to teach students, parents and educators about responsible Internet use by providing $35 million in competitive grants to state and local educational agencies and nonprofit organizations, for the purpose of integrating Internet safety curricula into our schools.

Approximately 93% of 12 to 17 year olds are online and 89% of 13 to 19 year olds have profiles on social networking sites. while the Internet offers tremendous positive benefits, unfortunately, according to the Internet Safety Technical Task Force, almost half of all children surveyed say they have been cyberbullied, mostly by other minors.

Senator Mendendez is looking for cosponsors among his collegues for this critically important legislation. While the actual bill details need further review, especially the guidelines for the monitoring and use of the grant money, I hope that Democrats and Republicans can find a way to support this legislation.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Does GOP Survive After 2025?

Does the GOP and Conservatives have a race problem? Let's think about this.

Fact: Demographic data shows that by the year 2025, minorities become the new majority in this country. Fact: According to a recent Gallop Poll, about 89% of people who identify themselves as Republicans are white.

Fact: Only 11% of people of color classify themselves as Republican.

Now, common sense tells you that if your base numbers are dwindling, to survive you need to do what? That's right, get more folks to join your party from the groups that will have the overwhelming numbers very soon.

How do you do that? Well again, common sense tells you that to get people to join your group, tou must engage and go after them like you mean it! Make folks feel welcomed and, oh by the way, show them that your message is really their message too! And yes, you must put folks in positions of real responsibility and power, not just for photo's to say "see we got some too!" Minorities aren't that stupid or naive to think that those kinds of actions mean inclusiveness.

For those who think that long-term stability for the GOP means only doing that which is necessary to solidify the "base," well guess again. That kind of thinking will continue to drive minorities, women and young folks away from the Republican Party. But then again, for some within the party, maybe that's the plan after all.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

GOP's Big Tent Shrinking?

It appears that the much ballyhood "big tent" the Republican party tried to institute a few years ago to swell its' numbers, is undergoing a shrinking phase. Michael Steele, the newly minted GOP chair as much said so. Now he is referring to it as a "hat" instead of a "tent". Well, all you had to do was ask us folks on the ground if the big tent was real or not. I'm thinking the "majority of minorities" (no pun intended) would say they are still waiting to see this "big tent" get erected. We all know that it takes time for real change to take place, but geez, this "with all deliberate speed" (circa Civil Rights Movement) process the GOP is utilizing causes me to wonder if they really want to open the "big top" at all. Hmmm.....

Monday, June 15, 2009

Another Republican with Foot in Mouth Disease

Politics Daily reported today that South Carolina GOP activist Rusty DePass compared Michelle Obama to an escaped gorilla. Apparently, over the weekend a gorilla had escaped from the zoo in Columbia and this genius decided to say, "I'm sure its' one of Michelle's ancestors - probably harmless." I guess this guy didn't get the memo regarding the GOP's attempt to "diversify" and grow the party. Or maybe he did get the message and is attempting to sabatoge the effort by issuing such a racist and ignorant remark. Or maybe he really thought he was funny..Ha..ha...I'm laughing. With these kind of folks as the "face" of the republican party, is it any wonder that minorities don't feel welcomed, and also view the "outreach" efforts of the party as bogus? These kind of remarks sure make it harder for us of color within the party to sell the inclusiveness angle.