Saturday, July 30, 2005

Roberta Flack, Willie Nelson & Stevie Wonder among performers scheduled to appear at voting rights march and rally.

Speakers and Performers Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.Congressman John LewisAmbassador Andrew Young, Dr. Joseph E. Lowery, Stevie Wonder, Congresswoman Nancy PelosiWillie NelsonJohn Sweeney President, AFL-CIOHarry Belafonte, Gerald W. McEntee President, AFCSMEAME Bishop Vashti McKenzieCongressman John ConyersAndy Stern President, SEIUCongresswoman Maxine Waters,Roberta Flack, Anne Marie Tallman President, MALDEF,Senator Richard Durbin,Barbara Arnwine Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under LawCongressman Charles Rangel,John Wilhelm UniteHereCongresswoman Corine BrownJudge Greg Mathis,Dr. Bobby Jones Gospel Artist Charles Steele President, SCLCJoe Hansen International President, UFCWThe Carpenter Ants Recording ArtistsCoach Ken CarterBruce Gordon President, NAACPStan Watson Chair, Georgia Legislative Black Caucus,Rev. Jasper Williams,Darius Brooks Gospel ArtistRev. Jerry BlackKim Gandy, President, NOWNova 4 Jehovah Gospel Hip-Hop Artist Rev. Major Jemison Leslie Cagan United for Peace and JusticeDon Dixon Recording Artist

Pro-Democracy March & Rally August 6, 2005 in Atlanta, Georgia

The 40th anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition will hold a march and rally Atlanta, Georgia to commemorate the signing of the Act and to call attention to the threats facing minorities and the poor as key provisions of the Act come up for renewal in 2007. On August 6 2005, the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition will hold a march and rally Atlanta, Georgia to commemorate the signing of the Act and to call attention to the threats facing minorities and the poor as key provisions of the Act come up for renewal in 2007.
Most Americans are not aware that the right to vote is not explicitly stated in the Constitution. The right to vote is a state right, and thus subject to differing laws and regulations as established by each individual state. This accounts for the various abuses that have been practiced at different times over the years including poll taxes, literacy tests, property ownership requirements, and the many abuses of the system we face today.
The Voting Rights Act was passed by Congress and signed by Lyndon Johnson in 1965. It provides protection for voters against actions taken by states to limit participation in the electoral process, actions most often targeted toward black, Hispanic, and low income citizens. Several key provisions of the Act expire in 2007, and Rev. Jackson and the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition are taking the lead in campaigning for their renewal. The campaign begins in Atlanta on August 6. Join us for this important event. In-depth information about the Voting Rights Act is available at: www.votingrightsact.org and www.renewthevra.org.

Friday, July 29, 2005

The George Bush Legacy.....a middle finger for the press and an arrogant smirk.

Last night I saw President Bush's smile after learning that CAFTA had passed by just two votes, and online I saw a picture of the president lifting up his middle finger to the press. I see that his presidency has reached a new low. Wasn't it just a few weeks ago that Republicans were visibly upset at Hillary Clinton for comparing President Bush to Alfred E. Newman of MAD magazine fame. At the moment I saw that ridiculously arrogant smile I couldn't help but think of Alfred E. Newman and Bush looked as if he was about to say "What Me Worry?" just like Alfred would say. He has a lot to be happy about, after all he has accomplished things that no one thought could ever be done. This LIAR hoodwinked an entire nation into going to war with a country that presented no threat to the United States at all. P.T. Barnum said a sucker is born every minute. Bush just proved him right. The criminally uninformed US masses can be easily led by the likes of multimillionaire evangelists like Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and of course Billy Graham, all avid supporters of this ethically challenged president. Members of their congregations marched in throngs to the polls to vote for Mr. Bush, who succeeded in making millions vote against their own self-interests......and they didn't have to wait in long lines for as many as eight hours like people in minority districts in Ohio. Yes, Mr. Bush must be proud of that accomplishment. Bush makes an obscene gesture and Vice President Cheney says "F__k you" to Senator Patrick Leahy and right-wing bible-toting lemmings are going to give us lectures on "morality"?
Another one of the Bush accomplishments is ignoring polls. He has said on various occasions
people have to answer to him he doesn't have to anyone. This is a statement from man who has a great amount of difficulty trying to remember his last mistake. He continues to rule with an iron fist even though his polls numbers are in the basement (41 percent of the people of the United States approve of the way he is running the country). Bush has a very supportive ally in the press, which continues to keep that smile on his face by not mentioning his obvious shortcomings. Clinton was impeached for "one" lie, a lie that caused no physical harm to anyone. George Bush has told several lies, one of them, the one about weapons of mass destruction was very deadly, almost 3,000 US troops killed and Bush knows that it will be almost impossible to impeach him because Republicans control all three branches of government. Yes these things made this arrogant liar very proud of himself and that is why we see that gleam of confidence in his eyes knowing that no Republican regardless of how forward thinking they are would dare cross the powerful King George except maybe, Scott Ritter, a Republican of conscience who was among the first to encourage all to let the United Nations complete their investigation to see if indeed there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Mr. Ritter is also a high ranking marine who opposes our nation's reckless plunder of Iraq. Mr. Ritter says that our agents were responsible for three attacks in Iran, which just enforces the Project for a New American Century theory, The US must rule the world, endorsed by the extremists of the Bush Administration who know that most Americans don't know about this sinister plan of world domination, and even if the press would allow them to hear about it the majority just wouldn't believe it anyway. There are some agonizing questions with regard to 9/11 that Mr. Bush won't touch and the press as expected won't go near them either. These questions are 1) Why did the third World Trade Center Building Go Down? 2) Why did the twin towers destruct when steel buildings don't burn? 3) Why were certain people like former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told not to come to New York City on September 11, 2000.? Your typical Bush supporting right-winger will tell you "Oh, that's ridiculous, that's conspiracy theory?" Well if that is the case why isn't the president responding to these questions? Maybe it's because anyone who has the nerve to ask him just might lose his or her job. We know already that the neocon Project For A New American Century group said that they needed a Pearl Harbor, something that would immediately rally the country behind the president. Well it took a very long time, but with a negative job performance rating I think it is relatively safe to say that the country is NOT rallying behind this president. Bush did lose only two battles thusfar, one is affirmative action, but he is still upbeat on doing away with it because he feels this matter will come up again, maybe not in his administration but maybe in President McCain's or President Frist's...unless by some miracle will actually have something we haven't had in eight years.....a fair national election. Mr. Bush is so proud of the fact that he can count on many Democrats, especially the DLC crowd to do his bidding. Yes, the consecuences of not doing it can be serious. We can only speculate as to why John McCain said nothing when Bush operatives maligned his wife(claiming she had psychological problems) when McCain showed signs of actually challenging Bush in the Republican primary and we all see what happened to former Ambassador Wilson's wife when Wilson refused to play ball and say there was evidence of WMD transaction in Niger. George W. Bush is a proud man, proud of the fact that he has gotten away with so much.....at least to this point. Is it too late for the American People to wake up? Is a phanthom government already in place?, time will tell.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Democrats Betrayed Again 217-215

CAFTA(Central American Free Trade Agreement) was headed for a certain defeat until Tom Delay pulled an illegal last minute manuver and as a result cajoling, threatening or whatever The Republicans once again were the victors. This means that jobs will be lost here in the U.S. This means that there will be lower standards for employers with regard to their employees. This means that foreign markets will be subjected to the mandates of IMF. The beneficiary here is big business, their primary interest is profits and cheap labor. The following congressmen and women are Democrats. CAFTA was passed by only two votes. If just any two the fifteen democrats had voted with the majority Democrats CAFTA would have been rejected. Twenty seven Republicans voted against CAFTA, so you can imagine how most Democrats and their constituents felt betrayed. This is something that has happened before. It has led to humiliating defeats on issues crucial to inner city residents: The bankruptcy bill, medicare and the estate tax bill. These and several other Bush endorsed legislation passed with the help of these turncoat Democrats. This time the 15 responsible (or should I say irresponsible) are Melissa Bean - IL; Jim Cooper - TN, Henry Cuellar - TX, Norm Dicks - WA, Ruben Hinojosa - TX, William Jefferson - LA, Jim Matheson - UT, Greg Meeks - NY, Dennis Moore - KS, Jim Moran - VA, Solomon Ortiz - TX, Ike Skelton - MO, Vic Snyder - AR, John Tanner - TN, Edolphus Towns - NY. Many of these legislators have been suspected of selling their votes to the highest corporate bidder, but at this time there is no definite proof. New York is a super blue state, yet Meeks and Towns both voted for CAFTA. Towns (who represents a minority district) is expected to run unopposed in his next election. The time has come for these turncoats to know that there is a price to pay for political betrayal. Progressive democrats will be carefully monitoring their voting records in the future and if they continue to do what they have done a serious effort will be made to remove them. If MoveOn.org or like organization with enviable fund raising skills put their muscle into removing a dino(Democrat In Name Only) we will see positive change.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Hillary Clinton angers progressive democrats

Hillary Clinton's endorsement of the Democratic Leadership Council has angered many on the progressive side of the party. The truth is at this point in time the majority of Democrats are progressive. Even DLC head Al From admits it in his recent statement "There has never been a time in the party when liberals outnumbered conservatives" Well, whether the DLC likes it or not that time is now and the breakdown appears to be 60% progressive 40% other(center/right). The DLC advocates a complete disassociation with Michael Moore (which at this time is ridiculous since Moore has been credited with being national eye-opener for Democrats and even some Republicans), unrestricted access to colleges and universities for ROTC and increased defense spending. The DLC just doesn't understand that we don't need two Republican parties. Senator Clinton at this time has not declared herself to be a candidate for the 2006 election but most polls show that she is the Democratic front runner at this point, yet like the DLC she seems to be out of touch with the true concerns of most Democrats. The junior senator from New York has said very little about the Iraq war which most Democrats enthusiastically oppose. The Daily Koz had this to say about the DLC - Hillary Clinton connection "If she wanted to give a speech to a centrist organization truly interested in bringing the various factions of the party together, she could've worked with NDN," the blog said in a reference to the New Democrat Network, with which Daily Kos's Markos Moulitsas is associated. "Instead, she plans on working with the DLC to come up with some common party message yadda yadda yadda. Well, that effort is dead on arrival. The DLC is not a credible vehicle for such an effort. Period."

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Bush Administration Lie Count Update: 8

John Roberts:not who he appears to be

Supreme Court Nominee John Roberts appears to be sailing smoothly along to
becoming a member of the Supreme Court since both Republicans and Democrats
find no reason to deny the Bush nominee. But suddenly some groups like the
Institute For Democracy Studies’ Alfred Ross have given us all reasons for second
thoughts by exposing Robert’s connection with the ultra conservative think tank
“The Federalist Society”, an organization that is staunchly anti-affirmative action as
well as anti-choice. According to Ross the Bush administration contacted several
daily newspapers including the Washington Post, asking them not to expose any
connection between Roberts and the Federalist Society. This move has prompted
many journalists to wonder why does Bush not want the public to know about The
views of the Federalist Society. It is more than likely that if the public knew there
would be an uproar that would force Bush to choose another nominee. Roberts is
scheduled to be confirmed any time between September 6th and September 12th,
which is too short a time to start a serious investigation. If this connection had
been revealed earlier perhaps the situation would be different.
The Federalist Society, which began in 1982, was the brainchild of a former
Supreme Court nominee who was rejected……..Robert Bork. The views of the
organization are to the extreme right of mainstream America. This is an organization
that praises the racist “Bell Curve”. Since John Roberts claims he has no
recollection of joining this organization it is odd that this name is on record for
being a member of its steering committee. John Roberts does have a brilliant
record as a lawyer, but it is also a very short one, since he has only been in the
upper echelon of the judiciary for the last two years.
It is only logical that if Democrats are determined to deny confirmation of John
Bolton to be UN Ambassador only because the Bush Administration refuses to hand
over relevant papers about Bolton to the senate, they should take the same position
toward Roberts because the Bush Administration is refusing to hand over information
regarding Roberts to the Senate also. But “logic” on many occasions has eluded
many Democrats of this particular Congress. It will be interesting indeed to see if
Democrats will take the initiative that they so often have failed to take in the last
Eight years.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Bush Administration Lie Count Update: 7

The current Bush Administration LIE count now stands at 7. I thank all of you have contributed thus far but we're all looking for more because as you know this administration lies with accelerated frequency. If you have not contributed a Bush lie to the campaign there is no time like the present, just send them via e-mail to Cch092775@aol.com. If you have already contributed and you come across a new lie by Bush, or any member of his administration send the lie or lies via e-mail to Cch092775@aol.com. All lies will be posted on September 24, 2005 the day of the massive world-wide Anti-Iraq war demonstrations. Claude Chaney, Anti-DLC Coalition, July 19, 2005

Monday, July 18, 2005

URGENT PLEA: SEND IN ALL KNOWN BUSH ADMINISTRATION LIES THAT YOU ARE AWARE OF

Everyone at one time or another tells a lie, you, me and even President George W. Bush. It would unfair for me to criticize George W Bush or any member of his administration for lying because he/they told a lie, or two, or ninety-seven or eight thousand because at one time or another everyone tells a lie. The difference between the lies that George Bush and company tell and those of others is that George Bush's lies have led to over 1750 US deaths and possibly 10,000 or more Iraqi deaths. I would like to have as many of those lies together at one place on one page. That is why I am sending out this urgent plea for you the public to send me copies of what you know to be an untruth told by George W. Bush. Due to the high frequency of lies told by the Bush administration I am going to need all the help I can get because I realize there may be hundreds possible thousands of lies that I may not be aware of. I emphasize that I would like to have not only George Bush's lies but also lies from other members of the past two Bush administrations, lies from Karl Rove, Condoleeza Rice, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Ari Fleischer, Donald Rumsfeld, George McClelland etc. Send as many lies as you can via e-mail to Cch092775@aol.com. This is an example of what I am looking for. Suppose we were doing this for the administration of King George the first. LIE: "Read My Lips......There will be NO new taxes" I will be taking all Bush Administration lies until September 24, 2005 (the day of the world-wide anti-war demonstations). All lies received will be published on this site. Please stop whatever you are doing and send me an authentic Bush Administration lie right now. This is an activity that would take less than a minute to complete. DO IT NOW WHILE IT IS STILL ON YOUR MIND! It could be a whopper like the "Saddam Huessein is harboring Weapons of Mass Destruction" or it could be one of the minor lies that didn't result in people being killed. I feel that this is the least I can do for my country and for posterity. Future generations need to know that George W. Bush was a LIAR and so were many others in his administration. Remember I promise to publish all the lies without preference and without regard to the size of the lie. A Paul Wolfowitz lie will be treated with the same blatant contempt as a Karl Rove lie. I promise not to play favorites. Your immediate action towards this urgent matter will be greatly appreciated. Thank You, Claude Chaney, July 18, 2005

Sunday, July 17, 2005

J. Kenneth Blackwell: Is he going to the state house, the out house or the big house?

J. Kenneth Blackwell's name is back in the news as the result of a lawsuit by Electonic Systems and Software claiming that Mr. Blackwell only permitted one company (Diebold) to bid for making voting machines for the 2004 presidential election in Ohio. A Diebold exec. Mr. Gallina gave $10,000.00 to Ohio Republican leader Matt Damschroder, who now states that accepting this money was a mistake after the fact that many consider this act to be improper. This may just only be the tip of the iceberg since there are others who believe that Mr. Gallina may have contributed up to $50,000.00 to Blackwell. Mr. Blackwell allowed over 34,000 so called Republican poll watchers to slow down the voting process in predominantly African-American communities in Ohio, causing people to wait on long lines for as many as seven hours to vote because said poll watchers were challenging their right to vote. Since Mr. Blackwell is an African-American this act seems traitorous to so many African-Americans, such as myself. Mr J. Kenneth Blackwell conjures up images of Clarence Thomas, Benedict Arnold and Judas. Mr. Blackwell prior to the presidential election promised he would deliver the state of Ohio to President Bush, an action that has caused speculation of impropriety due to the alleged connection between Mr. Blackwell and Diebold, whose voting machines were exclusively used in Ohio. The Columbus Dispatch reports that Blackwell's spokeman Carlo LoParo said "Pasquale Gallina tells me that he wrote a check for $50,000 for Blackwell's political interests. I have no idea "For his part Mr. Gallina doesn't confirm or deny his contribution. He only states that all of his donations have been on public record. I have no idea why he (Damschroder) would say anything other than that every encounter we've had with Matt Damschoder has shown a little bit about his character."Meanwhile, ES &S(another company that makes voting machines) wants to depose Blackwell, Gallina, Cummings and Dana Walch, Blackwell’s director of legislative affairs. ES &S sued Blackwell in May, saying it was unfairly excluded from the selection process. Blackwell ordered counties to make their selections by May 13, but only Diebold was certified to sell electronic voting machines in Ohio. ES &S said Blackwell had met secretly with officials from the North Canton company. Franklin County and 31 others joined the suit, and Blackwell agreed last month to push the deadline back to September. The change wasn’t a settlement of the lawsuit, however. Ohio must use new voting machines in the 2006 elections to qualify for federal funding through a congressionally mandated upgrade."

Friday, July 15, 2005

The DLC tries to get back in the game by appointing Gov. Tom Vilsack as new head

Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack has just been named the new head of the Democratic Leadership Council. This "Center/Right" group played a major part in the election of President Clinton by moving the Democrats to the right. These were the same people who declared that they would change "welfare" as we knew it. As a result of their efforts we have millions who are in need of services that are now not provided. The election of Howard Dean as party head was a major setback for this group that has had a strong connection to the traditional wealthy Democrat supporters. MoveOn.org has completely changed the game by seeking financial support via internet. Small donations equal or surpass those given by the wealthy few. This organization also suffered an embarrassing setback when it claimed Senator Barack Obama as one of their faithful when Senator Obama denied any connection whatsoever to the DLC. Although the Democratic Party still has a very long way to go recent actions by Howard Dean and Harry Reid continue to show intestinal fortitude (a.k.a guts) long absent from the Democrat side of the aisle. MoveOn.org has galvanized the grassroots that thusfar have made the DLC irrelevant. Gov. Tom Vilsack is a man of great integrity who will attempt to give the DLC back some of it's lost influence. This will be an uphill battle. The DLC in vain tried to make Michael Moore" persona non grata" among Democrats but that move backfired because Moore enjoys unprecedented popularity among grass roots Democrats due to his best selling books and movies that deal with grassroots issues. In recent times the party faithful have been confused by the messages of many Democrats who tell their constituencies one thing yet vote in a manner that is detrimental to the very people who sent them to Congress. How can one explain the reason why 73 Democrats supported the bankrupcy bill? Grassroot Democrats are also confused by the actions of Joe Lieberman and Joe Biden, one a definite card carrying DLC advocate and the may or may not be, it's hard to tell. Joe Lieberman is constantly seen on right wing radio and television agreeing with the likes of arch conservative Sean Hannity, while Joe Biden gave us all the reasons why Condoleeza Rice was not worthy of confirmation yet he turns around and votes for her. Joe Biden is the first Democrat to declare candidacy for the next presidential election yet he says that Howard Dean doesn't speak for him......so much for party loyalty. There will be a strong battle for the heart and soul of the Democratic Party. The DLC was very effective in the 1992 presidential campaign but the issues of 1992 and those of 2006 will be very different. Center/Right Democrats are going to have to pay a price for voting with Bush. Several organizations are already promoting progressive Democratic primary candidates to remove those who ally themselves with Republican interests. The big issue will be the war in Iraq. During the last Democratic convention deals were made to purposely avoid debate on the war because at the time it was felt that the party must be united behind John Kerry. Now with most of the country solidly against the war with almost 1800 US service men and women killed and more than 10,000 maimed, if you are an anti-war Democrat it is an advantage as more and more Democrats and even some Republicans speak out against this war that continues to drain resources from badly needed domestic projects. On September 24, 2005 the nation is going to see massive anti-war demonstrations, not seen since the Viet Nam era. With Mr. Bush's poll numbers being at an all time low for second term presidents and DLC Democrats who supported his policies also seeing a decline in their popularity, Governor Vilsack, you have a formidable task ahead of you.

Friday, July 08, 2005

So, What happens if Karl Rove is found guilty?

Matthew Cooper of Time magazine allegedly named Karl Rove as the source that outed CIA agent Valerie Plame to columnist Robert Novak. Cooper has decided he will not go to jail, claiming that he has the permission of his private source to go public. The other reporter, Judith Miller of theNew York Times apparently had the same access as Cooper, but she chose to defy the courtorder to divulge the source and as a result she has gone to jail. The big question here is......Suppose it can be proven beyond a doubt that Karl Rove endangered the life of a CIA agent only because he didn't like her husband's statement that there was no evidence of an attempt to purchase yellowcake uranium by Saddam Heussein? Will Karl Rove face jailtime for this action?If he did this, then he certainly deserves to serve time but Republicans loyal to this administration seldom serve time? Because of the Downing Street Memo we know that George Bush deliberately planned to invade Iraq without provocation under the guise of Iraq's possessing weapons of mass destruction. In spite of the demonstrations numbering in the hundreds of thousands and numerous letters sent to senators and congresspersons, to this point nothing has been done. Joe Scarborough had a dead employee in his office and he wasn't even questioned. There is no way that I can say that he did or did not commit a crime, but what bothers me is that he wasn't even questioned and the press had very little to say about it. A similar incident happened to Democrat Gary Condit and the press did not give him one moment of peace; he was eventually driven from office. Vice President Richard Cheney was summoned to appear in front of the General Accounting Office on several occasions. It was believed that he designed the nations energy policy with members of the oil industry, excluding any representatives from alternative sources of energy. Mr. Cheney just ignored the summons and the press said little about it. Rep. John Conyers and others presented numerous allegations of irregularies with the voting process in Ohio but an Ohio court ignored them. Tom Delay's gerrymanding and accusations of extortion only were recognized when they reached epic proportions. Now the outrage has subsided. All this leads me to believe that we have one set of rules for Republicans and another set of rules for Democrats. The Gannon/Guckert affair in which a reporter without the proper credentials was able to have full access to the presidential press area received little attention from the press. If this process is to continue (and I have no reason to believe that it won't: we are in a dictatorship of one party rule. The true test will be the 2008 presidential election. We know that the vote has already been manipulated twice. If President Frist or President Giulani, or President Jeb Bush is elected in a close race we will know that we are under a police state. The question will then become what are we going to do about it? Before Hitler came to power many Jews felt that there really was a serious problem. They kept saying to themselves, this will pass, reasonable people will prevail. Many people in the United States are acting in the same fashion. Closing their eyes to the fact that many high level generals have resigned, over 6,000 US soldiers in Iraq have gone AWOL, Bush administration initiatives like the patriot act are destroying our civil liberties. Bush supporters were eager to say that since Bush became president we haven't had any 9/11 incidents, ignoring the Madrid tragedy and just this morning at least forty(possibly more) London residents were killed in an underground attack. This president can do as he pleases because there are Republican majorities in both houses of government and unlike during the Nixon era when there were many Republicans who were willing to make their president answer for his actions. That type of Republican is hard to find. So, what happens if Karl Rove is found guilty.......nothing, he will probably get a slap on the wrist and be forced not to watch television and go to bed early.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Renaldo Benson (1936-2005)

July has only had four days but already we have lost two premier performers. First Luther Vandross and now Renaldo “Obie” Benson, the bass of the Four Tops
who passed away yesterday at the age of 69. The Four Tops have been together since the
early fifties when they were known as the Four Aims, which was primarily a jazz act, which at times toured with Billy Eckstein. The Four Tops and The Dells share the distinction of being the two vocal groups having the same personnel for the longest number period of time. Unlike their label mates at Motown, The Temptations, no member of the group ever aspired to go solo. The Four Tops sold over 50 million records. Their hits included
“Baby I Need Your Loving” “Reach Out I’ll Be There” “I Can’t Help Myself”. Their
career was resurrected in the seventies with the back to back hits “Keeper Of The Castle”
and “Ain’t No Woman (Like The One I Got)”. Between 1964 and 1988 the Four Tops had
26 top 40 hits.
Renaldo Benson distinguished himself as a composer also when he co-authored the
Marvin Gaye classic “What’s Going On?” in 1971. Lead singer Levi Stubbs was not able
to appear with the group due to an extended illness from which he is now recovering. The Four Tops lost Lawrence Payton in 1997 due to liver cancer. Renaldo Benson discovered he had lung cancer when he was hospitalized for a leg amputation due to a
serious problem with circulation. He will always be remembered for the humor he
injected into the group. It was Renaldo whose deep voice you heard in the hit “When She
Was My Girl” sing “Bum, bum, bum, bum, bum” On stage he had perfected his own
dance routine to accompany the song and many times he would just continue doing it long after the other members of the group had stopped singing. Theo Peoples and Ronnie
McNair are likely to become the replacements for the departed Lawrence Payton and
Renaldo Benson should Levi Stubbs’ health continue to improve.

Luther Vandross (1951-2005)

Legendary R&B balladeer Luther Vandross passed away at the age of 54.
He was considered one of the four frontline contemporary R&B balladeers of the powerful
voice (The others: James Ingram, Peabo Bryson and Jeffrey Osborne) At a time when
R&B is replaced by hip hop as the preference of today’s black youth Vandross
continued to thrive, earning eight Grammy awards and numerous platinum CDs.
You cannot sell records at this rate without appealing to all people. The Luther
Vandross story starts in the Alfred E. Smith projects of lower Manhattan where
Vandross was an avid enthusiast of popular music. He was particularly enamored
with the female voice. The Shirelles and Patti Labelle were among his early
favorites. When Vandross found out that his late father, Luther Sr., had a wonderful
singing voice he became even more inspired to be the consummate entertainer.
Luther Vandross had three siblings; two sisters and a brother. He was the youngest child Of Luther Sr. and Mary Vandross, the others preceded him in death. His siblings had offspring and Luther helped raise them. Luther Vandross never married or had children of his own but since he was so much a part of the lives of his nieces and nephews he felt like a parent. These children knew him as Uncle Ronny or Ronzoni because Luther got his name from his mother who saw that name on a box of spaghetti. The meteoric rise to world wide stardom began at the Apollo theatre where Vandross was involved in a program for young entertainers. He performed in the famous talent competition four times but never won. He did however manage to get a role in the popular long running PBS children’s program “Sesame Street”; in fact Vandross was in the very first show in 1969. Later Vandross wrote and sang the song “Everybody Rejoice” for the Broadway musical, “The Wiz”. Later Vandross became involved with two very influential bands of the disco era, Chic and Change. Luther sang background vocals on “Everybody Dance” and was the lead vocalist on Change’s “Glow of Love” and “Searching”.
Three divas played a role in the success of Luther Vandross (Dionne Warwick,
Roberta Flack, Patti Labelle) but Roberta Flack’s was really a pivotal one. She fired him
when he was her background singer. The reason that she fired him was because she
recognized his immense talent and felt that it was time that he build a career of his own.
Vandross saved his money and later released his first of many best selling albums; “Never Too Late” Every release on Epic Records was a success, in fact during those early
years the only Epic artist whose sales surpassed Luther’s was Michael Jackson. Luther Vandross was not only a great singer, but he was also a great composer. His albums contain his own compositions, usually paired with Nat Adderley Jr. or Marcus Miller.
But another feature of the typical Vandross album or CD was his uncanny ability to take
a classic song made popular by another artist and redo it with his own arrangement. Songs like “Love Won’t Let Me Wait” , “Always & Forever” and “Anyone Who Had
A Heart” but the song that received the most acclaim was the Leon Russell composition
“Superstar” which was popularized by the Carpenters in the seventies.
I thought that Brian McKnight’s “Back To One” would be the last classic soul song to top the popular music chart, but Luther Vandross proved me and others wrong when his “Dance With My Father” had a lengthy stay at the top of the charts.
Luther Vandross was a man of great social consciousness. He cancelled all his dates in Arizona when he found out that that state would not honor the national holiday, Martin Luther King Day. This “gutsy” move was made with great financial sacrifice.
Like Godfrey Cambridge and Karen Carpenter before him Luther Vandross had
numerous weight fluctuations, whether this was a factor in his demise is still unknown. Although I never knew him, we both grew up in the Alfred E. Smith projects and he was
only a few months younger than I. His death just reminds me of my own mortality. We are all here on earth for a short time. Luther Vandross did so much with the time he had
on Earth that his life will serve as an inspiration to others to follow their dreams just like he followed his.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Disney/ABC's hypocrisy offensive to many Native Americans and African-Americans

Disney would not permit it’s Miramax subsidiary to release Michael Moore’s highly successful film “Fahrenheit 911” At the time Disney executives felt the film was too biased against President Bush. The entertainment giant also felt that film would damage
Disney’s family oriented image. How strange that Disney rejects Michael Moore but
wholeheartedly endorses Paul Harvey’s nostalgic endorsement of slavery and racism. Disney recently signed a 10-year, $100 million contract with the 86-year-old Harvey.
FAIR reports “Disney/ABC radio personality Paul Harvey, one of the most widely listened to commentators in the United States, presented his listeners on June 23 with an endorsement of genocide and racism that would have been right at home on a white supremacist shortwave broadcast.” During this June 23 broadcast Harvey said “We didn't come this far because we're made of sugar candy. Once upon a time, we elbowed our way onto and across this continent by giving smallpox-infected blankets to Native Americans. That was biological warfare. And we used every other weapon we could get our hands on to grab this land from whomever."And we grew prosperous. And yes, we greased the skids with the sweat of slaves. So it goes with most great nation-states, which--feeling guilty about their savage pasts--eventually civilize themselves out of business and wind up invaded and ultimately dominated by the lean, hungry up-and-coming who are not made of sugar candy."
This doesn’t sound like family-friendly entertainment. It is more like an endorsement
of racial intolerance and arrogance. I am encouraging all peace loving people to acknowledge this blatant double standard and request an explanation of Disney. It is not as if someone had taken Harvey’s words out of context or deliberately altered his words. It is precisely the latent tolerance and or acceptance of this bigotry that is responsible forthe deteriorating image of our country in the world today. A Disney executive told the New York Times (5/5/04) that it was declining to distribute the film because, in the paper's words, "Disney caters to families of all political stripes and believes Mr. Moore's film...could alienate many." I find this to be grossly inaccurate, especially "all political stripes" ABC/Disney is giving the public a steady consistent diet of right-wing philosophy. This is the company that brings us John Stoessel, who on more than one occasion has had viewers complain about his distortion of facts. Conservative talk show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity(heard on Disney/ABC radio stations) espouse only right wing ideology, the former even puts words into the mouths of people he disagrees with by dubbing in his voice over theirs on film. Mr. Limbaugh doesn't permit anyone on his show who has an opinion different from his. This is not family friendly entertainment; it's an education in intolerence. I believe the time has come for Disney/ABC to give the public an explanation for this blatant hypocrisy. CONTACT:ABC Radio Networks John.E.McConnell@abc.comabcradio@abc.comPhone: 212-456-5387 Paul HarveyIrma.N.Aviles@abc.comPhone: (312) 889-4085 Disney CorporationPhone: 818-560-1000

Saturday, July 02, 2005

George W. Bush and the racist Mexican postage stamp

I question the timing of the Bush administration's concern about an obviously "racist" Mexican postage stamp(containing a dark-skinned grinning black with eyes and mouth wide open). This comes at a time when the president's initiatives are not resonating with the majority of the American people. As an African-American who has lived in Mexico I will not say that racism doesn't exist there, but I can say that I did not feel any overt racism while I was there, in fact I found the people on the whole to be very tolerant and friendly. Before the Bush administration points a finger elsewhere it should focus on the racism that takes place here in the US first. Can Bush explain to African-Americans his reluctance to castigate white hate groups in the US? Can Bush justify his opposition to set aside programs like affirmative action, when he was a beneficiary of a set aside legacy program at Yale? Can he explain his support for the recently passed bankruptcy law that adversely affects black Americans. Then of course there is the number one issue: When will the Bush administration admit that Bush operatives were responsible for disenfranchising black voters in Florida and Ohio the last two presidential elections.
Recently the Bush administration took an interest in the Emmet Till case; the murder of an eleven year old black child by Mississippi white men. This action, just like publicizing the racist Mexican stamp is designed to endear this administration to the black community. Bush has arrogantly said that he will change the leadership of this community. He feels he can do this because he changed the leadership of Iraq and Haiti. This lofty goal has NOT been successful since the overwhelming majority of blacks oppose the war in Iraq, feel insulted by statements that claim his new Social Security plan would benefit blacks because they usually die before age 65. Part of the get "new" black leaders campaign includes saturating the media with black conservatives. We see an increase of news commentators and Black Republican spokespersons like Tara Setmayer. ABC executives have been unsuccessful so far in their attempts to terminate "Like It Is", the popular TV magazine hosted by Gil Noble because of strong community pressure to let it continue. The program is a favorite of the New York area African-American. The show has been pre-empted and cut from an hour to a half hour. ABC picked up "America's Black Forum", which is dominated by black conservative
Republicans like Armstrong Williams, who was caught accepting $240,000 from Bush to promote the underfunded "No Child Left Behind" program, which continues to leave black children behind. Any concerns that Bush has for blacks are either low priority or no priority, which is why I question his motives when he continues to receive criticism and distrust from most blacks. This is the president who refused to meet with the NAACP. This is the president who toppled the popularly elected president of Haiti.....and then lied about it. This is the president who used Washington D.C funds for protection against terrorism for a lavish Republican victory celebration in that city. This is a president who has given millions to fight AIDS but only if the millions are also tied to US pharmaceutical companies. Is it any wonder that most blacks see any gift of Bush as a trojan horse?