Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Hope In Every Season

The year has gone, its ashes cold and blown away
A year of desperation, a year when all men cried
A year of tribulation, a year when no one tried
To hear the voices of the young men just outside the door
Crying for the stolen childhood vanished in some war
Tired and poor and hungry they ask this and nothing more today
Let every season of next year bring hope our way
As winter snowfalls fly, and spring brings clear pure rain
And summer's bright blue sky, leads into fall again
Let us hold our hands together let us start tonight
Let us work to heal the wounds, let's work to make things right
Build a world where children can grow tall and strong and never fight
Let every season bring us hope and love and light.

Claude Chaney, Margery Hauser, Marilyn Boccadoro
(c) 1984, 2006 Electra-City Music

Monday, December 25, 2006

James Brown (1933 - 2006)

James Brown, the "Godfather of Soul" has died at the age of 73 from pneumonia. Brown is among a select group of entertainers ( like Marvin Gaye, Fats Domino, Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Elton John, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Temptations, The Supremes, Elvis Presley, and Madonna) who can lay claim to having 30 or more hits during the Rock era. Brown revitalized his career in 1987 with the song "Living In America" from one of the Rocky sequels. Brown's unforgettable dance numbers "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag", "I Feel Good (I Got You)","Cold Sweat" "There Was A Time", "Licking Stick", "Soul Power", "Hot Pants (She's got to use what she got to get what she wants)" are all legendary but Brown also had a sensitive side which was seen on hits like "It's A Man's, Man's, Man's, Man's World" "I Cry" and "Please, Please, Please". In his lifetime Brown did have problems with the law regarding car theft (in his youth) and drug use, but what I will always remember James Brown for was his appeal for calm during the Harlem riots of 1964. Brown went out among the people and spoke to his fans, disregarding his own personal safety during a riot. A few years later he recorded the song "Say It Loud I'm Black And I'm Proud" , which became an anthem. Like Ray Charles, Brown came from very humble beginnings. He did buck dancing for troops stationed in Georgia. He danced for the nickels and dimes that they threw at his feet. It is ironic that in the same year 2006 we lost "Soul Brother #1" and "Soul Brother #2 (Wilson Pickett). Cch’s all-time James Brown favorites:

1.There Was A Time
2.Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag
3.It’s A Man’s, Man’s Man’s Man’s Man’s Man’s World
4.Living In America
5.Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud
6.I Got You (I Feel Good)
7.I Cried
8.Cold Sweat
9.Get On The Goodfoot (Part One)
10. Out Of Sight

Friday, December 22, 2006

Mike Evans (1949-2006)

Actor/Writer Michael Jonas Evans succumbed to throat cancer today at the age of 57. Mike immortalized the role of Lionel (the son of Louise and George Jefferson) on the immensely popular CBS series "The Jeffersons" a spinoff from "All In The Family". Mike Evans was also co-creator and principal writer of long running TV show "Good Times", which starred Esther Rolle and Jimmie (J.J) Walker. Because of Evans' commitment to "Good Times" he had to leave his role of Lionel in order to be a creative force for "Good Times".

Ahmet Ertegun (1923 -2006)

One of the true giants of the production of modern music has passed away. Ahmet Ertegun, president of Atlantic Records died because of an injury during a Rolling Stones benefit. Ertegun had a strong love for American Rhythm and Blues music. His label, formed in 1947 (with Herb Abramson) became the leading producer of R&B with a stable of superstars that included Ray Charles, Ruth Brown, Big Joe Turner, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and Roberta Flack. In the 4os, so-called race records seldom found their way on mainstream radio. Ahmet Ertegun played a major role in changing that simply by recording irresistable music that made the listener feel good. Atlantic in the early years was a good example of people of different religions and ethnicities working together for the common good. Ahmet and his brother Nesuhi were Muslims, their partner Jerry Wexler and principal composers Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller were Jewish. The major artists in the early years were African-American. Nesuhi Ertegun, Ahmet's older brother had a great love for jazz. It is because of Nesuhi that the public got a chance to hear John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Rasaan Roland Kirk, The Modern Jazz Quartet and Eddie Harris. Fellow Turk Arif Mardin made major contributions as an arranger for many artists on the label, including the highly acclaimed "Young Rascals". In the 60s Atlantic distributed the Memphis based Stax Records bringing forth a new cadre of R&B superstars which included The Staple Singers, Otis Redding, Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, Johnnie Taylor, Eddie Floyd and composer, soon to be performer Isaac Hayes. Atlantic Records and Motown Records cornered the R&B market and even more notably the pop market in the 60s and 70s. These two independent record companies both had distinct sounds but you could easily distinguish the Motown artist from the Atlantic artist. The late Billy Eckstine was among the few to work with both companies. After the British invasion the music changed and although R&B continued to be popular the market did change being more attracted to English rock bands. Artists like the Shirelles, who had two #1 songs and 11 top forty hits disappeared from the charts never to return again. Ertegun had to change with the times in order to survive. Atlantic signed hard rock acts like Led Zeppelin, Cream, Yes along with such blockbuster attractions as The Rolling Stones, Genesis, Phil Collins and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (who Ertegun convinced to join CSN). People like Ahmet Ertegun, Berry Gordy and Herb Alpert will always be remembered for starting very high quality independent music companies on a shoe-string budget. This type of rags-to-riches story in impossible to achieve in today's market because of the mega-mergers that have left us with basically five or six record companies. Until the time of his death Armet Ertegun at 83 years of age was still the leader of Atlantic Records eventhough he was forced to accept a distribution deal with Time-Warner over the objections of his partner Jerry Wexler. Ahmet Ertegun rest in peace and thank you for a job well done.

Peter Boyle (1935-2006)

Emmy award winning actor Peter Boyle passed away earlier this week. Boyle was a very versatile actor who gained fame playing extremely diverse characters from the bigot in "Joe" to the tap dancing monster in "Young Frankenstein" to the grouchy father of Raymond in "Everybody Loves Raymond" Boyle survived a stroke and a previous heart attack (which took place on the set of "Everybody Loves Raymond"). John Lennon was the best man at Boyle's wedding.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

2006: The Year In Review (Film)

I didn't go to the movies very much in 2006. I am certain that there were several outstanding movies made, but most of them I did not see. Two movies that I consider the most memorable were "Sideways" in which Paul Giamatti was justly nominated for an Academy Award in his role as a 8th grade teacher who accompanies a friend on a series of extended bachelor parties prior to a wedding. The bloody "Flags Of Our Fathers", the Clint Eastwood film about the soldiers who raised the flag on Iwo Jima was also a standout. This was about a justified war as opposed to the ones in Viet Nam and Iraq. The viewer was given insight to the agony of a true American hero, Ira Hayes, who died practically penniless after outstanding service to his country.

Augusto Pinochet dies at 91

One of the world's most notorious dictators, Augusto Pinochet expired today at the age of 91. Mr. Pinochet gained infamy as being one of the most brutal dictators of modern times. This site has a tradition of honoring the deceased , who in life excelled in a specific area or one who did outstanding service to others. This is the first time where I acknowledge the passing of an individual who has done neither. Yet I feel that it is important to note the passing of such a nefarious person because there will be those who will deny that he was responsible for the deaths of over 3,000 people. For United States citizens this is the equivalent of the deaths of the 9/11 victims. Salvador Allende Gossens was elected president by the Chilean people. Allende promised to nationalize Chilean copper. US operatives, specifically those with connections to multi-national copper organized this infamous coup d'etat in which people were herded into sports stadiums and massacred. It was painfully obvious that the United States played a vital role in Allende's death and Pinochet's reign of terror from 1973 to 1990. It rings hallow when you hear US politicians go on and on about freedom and democracy when most of them were very quiet when massacres were taking place in Chile, Argentina and other countries of South and Central America. The School of The Americas (now called the World Center for Hemispheric Cooperation, or something similar) trained people to kill their own people for blood money and US corporate interests. It is a shame that these massacres were committed in our name and that people, like Henry Kissinger (who allegedly also was part of this massacre) are considered heroes by US media when in reality they are criminals. There are people who have witnessed world reknown guitarist Victor Jara have both of his hands cut off in front of Pinochet's laughing soldiers who asked him to play now. This type of unbridled savagery also took place in the Congo, Argentina, Nicaragua and more recently in Iraq, all done in our name. I am convinced that most US citizens deplore this savage conduct. It is my hope that US citizens contact their elected officials and let them know that murder is not a value of The United States of America. I have a genuine concern for Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, who like Allende has the full support of his people but unless US citizens stand up to multi-national corporations and right wing elements within the US government Chavez could suffer the same fate as Allende.

Monday, December 04, 2006

2006: The Year In Review (Sports)

The 2006 Major League Baseball All-Star game was simply amazing. The AL continues to dominate the NL by lopsided laughers to breath taking squeakers. The 2006 contest was definitely the latter. With two outs in the ninth inning I thought the game was over. I turned off the television and went to bed. When I woke the next morning I was surprised to see that the American League won it again.
The 2006 Playoffs and World Series were also exciting to watch even though the teams that I rooted for lost. Congratulations must go out to Tony LaRussa, who proved once again he knew how to get the best from his players, especially those on the bench. On several occasions Taguchi came through with the big hit, in one game it was a pinch-hit home run. Series MVP David Eckstein exploded in the World Series after a tepid start in the playoffs. Going into the playoffs The Saint Louis Cardinals seemed to be the weakest of the six contenders. Albert Pujols got off to a rather slow start but he came out of the slump to help make the Cardinals the '06 victors. Yadir Molina was just a 216 hitter during the regular season, but was one of the stars in both the playoffs and the World Series. The New York Mets were favored but losing three top starters and a relief ace put them in hole. Pedro Martinez, Orlando Hernandez and Steve Trachsel(after being hit with a pitch in a playoff game) were unavailable for the World Series. Relief specialist Duaner Sanchez was in a car accident, making his participation impossible. Yet injuries are part of the game. We can't take anything away from the Cardinals well deserved victory. I must say that I am surprised that Willie Randolph was not given the manager of the year award. Randolph in two years took made a last place team into a contender. Once again not to take anything away from Joe Girardi but his team finished below .500 and Girardi was fired.
In basketball Pat O'Riley returned to the winners circle by leading The Miami Heat to their very first NBA Championship. The injured Shaquille O'Neal must really be savoring this one after a few near misses in Los Angeles.
In football The New York Jets and The New York Giants seem to be going in opposite directions. The Giants losing two back to back heartbreakers find themselves behind their old nemesis The Dallas Cowboys, while the New York Jets (as of Dec. 3, 2006) are ahead of their division at 7-5 with four games left. The Bears, The Colts and The Chargers look really good but we won't know who will be the champ until 2007. All in all 2006 was an exciting year in sports.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

2006: The Year In Review (Music)

In 2006 I didn't get a chance to listen to music radio as often as I did in previous years. Most of my leisure time was spent listening to Pacifica Radio and
Air America radio. But when I did listen to music radio and sparingly watched videos I was once again impressed with John Legend, who is a major talent whose best years are still ahead of him. "Please Baby Don't", a collaboration with Sergio Mendes, from the "Timeless" CD was one of the standouts of '06. Mendes once again has re-invented himself. The "Timeless" CD does contain stellar performances by India.Arie,
Stevie Wonder, Gracinha Leporace and the aformentioned John Legend, but most of the CD is Brazilian classics redone in hip-hop. Such classics like Joao Donato's "The Frog" and Gilberto Gil's "Berimbeau" just don't sound right in Hip-Hop. I have been a big fan of Sergio Mendes since the 60's. I have 17 Sergio Mendes albums/CDs and eventhough I may not be too enthusiastic about "Timeless" I am thrilled to see him in the spotlight again.
George Benson's "Softly As In A Morning Sunrise" was in my opinion his best effort since the "Collaboration" CD with Earl Klugh. This song received considerable airplay on Jazz outlets all over the country. But the song I have chosen as "Song Of The Year" has to be Neil Young's "Let's Impeach The President" I was amazed at how many justifications for impeachment he presented in just one song. Young reunited with Crosby, Stills & Nash and toured the US to huge audiences in major cities. Because the corporate media avidly supports Bush there was little to no mention of the tour. I was also impressed with British newcomer Corinne Bailey Rae, whose unique vocal style is remeniscent of another era. She will be heard and seen in bigger venues in 2007 and beyond. That's the way I saw 2006 musically.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

2006: The Year In Review (The Person Of The Year)

Last year it was relatively easy to choose Cindy Sheehan as the person of the year because of the tremendous influence she has had in turning the citizenry of the United States against the war in Iraq. In 2006 making the choice was not easy. One strong candidate was newly elected Minnesota congressmen Keith Ellison. What Mr. Ellison was able to do was a miracle: Being an African-American, he won in a district that was 93% white. It is always refreshing to see people vote on issues instead of race. In addition to being an African-American, he also is a Muslim. Mr. Ellison also played an active roll in assisting Somalis to live in The United States. I was angered when I saw Keith Ellison on the Glenn Beck program where he was subjected to obviously bigoted interrogation, but through it all Ellison remained positive and even polite. Beck had the nerve to use the typical bigoted jargon "I have friends who are Muslims" and "I have been to mosques" and "I am not questioning your patriotism.....BUT" When in actuality that was exactly what he was doing...questioning Ellison's patriotism. Ellison remained calm and implied that
the people who elected him had no doubt in his love and commitment to his country. I was impressed by Keith Ellison but this site's "Person Of The Year" award goes to Howard Dean. Mr. Dean suffered the embarrassment of being the frontrunner in the quest to win his party's nomination for president and then lost primary after primary until he was elimnated completely. In spite of this painful defeat Dean was elected to lead the Democratic Party. Dean decided to take a completely different approach: campaign in ALL 50 states. Dean was challenged tooth and nail by prominent Democrats Rahm Emmanuel of Illinois and Charles Shumer of New York who felt that the Democratic Party would be best served by spending precious time and money in states that are Democratic strongholds....in other words preaching to the choir. As a result of Dean's foresight Democrats now control areas that one would never dream of being lead by a Democrat. Even Tom Delay's seat is held by a Democrat. The war between the Progressive Democrat and the corporate connected DLC Democrat is far from over, but under Dean's leadership it looks as if the progressives are at least at this time calling the shots.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Michael Richards' tirade only proves racism is alive and well in the USA

Michael Richard's flurry of racial epithets directed at African-Americans at The Laugh Factory in West Hollywood continues to be the talk of the town. Richards publicly apologized nationally on the David Letterman show. We have all at one time or another said something that we wished that we could take back, but in Richard's case this is more than just something that slipped out. It showed deep feelings of contempt and racial hatred that may or may not have been long dormant. Richards'
showed his hatred for not only the African-Americans who were present at the Laugh factory but for all African-Americans. What would he have done if the hecklers were white? Jesse Jackson, (who also unleashed a racial epithet when he referred to New York City as Hymietown) said that he was willing to accept Richard's apology. Jackson's statement never went farther than the word "Hymietown" but Richard's statements were far more offensive. When addressing his
black heckler he repeated used the n word and said "If this were fifty years ago you would have a fork up your - - -?" and "That's what happens when you interrupt a white man.". Al Sharpton was in no mood to accept Richard's apology at this time stating that Richards remarks reflect deep-seeded racism and that Richards should get help.
As an African-American I have no tolerance for ethnic humor it doesn't matter what race, creed or color the comedian (or comedienne) may be. It's just not funny. I remember Jackie Robinson saying many years ago to Black Americans of the 1950s "Don't accept any derogatory statements directed at any other ethnic group because when the people who say such things are not in your company it is more than likely that they have racial insults about you" Race is a hot topic among comedians( and comediennes) and I have noticed that it is far more frequent among white than black. No one really knows what is in Richards' heart....is he genuinely sorry or is he sorry that he got caught? That was not the first time that Richards has publicly used racial epithets. Jewish audience members were insulted by Richards statements at another comedy club where Richards blamed Jews for "killing Christ", so we see a pattern developing. I cannot accept Richards' apology at this time either, but that doesn't mean that I might not change my mind at some time in the future. It will all depend on his actions. I remember when I was much younger I heard a statement attributed to Elvis Presley "The only things I want from Negros are to shine my shoes and buy my records" At that time I decided to never buy an Elvis Presley record again....and I didn't. But after hearing the late Red Foxx talk about a discussion he had with Elvis when he confronted Presley about that statement Presley said "I don't recall saying that but I may have, if I did it was because of the type of people I was around at that time. Those types of people are not around me today and as a result that is not the way I feel today." Foxx was convinced of Presley's sincerity. Later I found out that Presley was a very generous man who gave automobiles and thousands of dollars to people who were complete strangers to him, many of these people were African-Americans. My impression of Presley really changed when I heard glowing comments from Cissy Houston, who had nothing but praise for Presley. She became an integral part of Presley's show when she and the Sweet Inspirations (a black female quartet) became Presley's background singers. I also had a very negative opinion of another Elvis, Elvis Costello who made a derogatory statement about the late Ray Charles. As a result of using a racial epithet he was decked by vocalist Bonnie Bramlett. Costello apologized and went on to be a leading voice in the fight against apartheid in England. Will Richards be like Presley and Costello, I don't know but I hope so.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

2006: The Year In Review (Census)

In Memorium.......James Brown, Wilson Pickett, Ahmet Ertegun, Mike Evans, Peter Boyle, Ruth Brown, Steve Irwin, Mike Douglas, Jack Palance, Ed Bradley, Gerald Levert, Red Auerback, Trevor Berbick, Buck O'Neill, Billy Preston, Floyd Patterson, June Pointer, Gordon Parks, Lou Rawls

2006: The Year In Review (Politics)

The Year In Review (Politics)

In general I would have to say 2006 was a good year politically. It seemed as if the American people for the first time in years woke up to the misdeeds of the
Republican party. I am very proud of the African-American voter, who was not
fooled by the pro-Bush media, nor the push for the increase in black enrollment
in the Republican Party put forth by Ken Mehlman. Blacks proved that they would
vote on the issues and not the ethnicity of the candidate even if the candidate happens
to be one of their own. Micheal Steele of Maryland, Lynn Swann of Pennsylvania
and J. Kenneth Blackwell of Ohio all learned this valuable lesson in 2006 when
Black voters in their states ALL chose their caucasian opponents. African-Americans
played a vital role in the victories of many progressive Democrats in races where
both major candidates were white. 88.1 percent of the African-American voters chose
Democratic or Independent candidates.
The movement for the impeachment of George W. Bush is gaining momentum.
You would never know this if you read the major newspapers or the watched the
corporate news media but there are several indicators that there is a determined
segment of the population that wants George W. Bush and Richard Cheney to pay
for their alleged crimes. It is ironic that the same person who initiated the undoing of
Richard Nixon is getting the ball rolling for the impeachment of George W. Bush.
Elizabeth Holtman has written a book entitled « George W. Bush : The case for
Impeachment » and the sales are brisk. Democrats won both the House and the Senate. Delay, Cunningham, Foley and Abramoff were just a few of the Republican operatives
who found themselves indicted for crimes ranging from extortion to endangering the
welfare of minors. Every remaining member of the Newt Gingrich revolution of 1994
is gone. Of course not all the political news of 2006 was good. The massacres in Darfur
continue and the rest of the world is trying to act as if it doesn’t notice. Arms dealers
in the United States have been accused of selling weapons to the heinous Sudanese
Butchers. Very quietly Ward Connerly triumphed in Michigan, eliminating affirmative
action in that state as he did in two others. The unusual factor in this case is Mr.
Connerly IS an African-American. This sellout( I really hate using this word but in this
case the shoe really fits) has to be reckoned with before we have
50 states without affirmative action instead of just three.
Lynne Stewart, the New York lawyer who was hotly pursued by the Homeland
Security contingent of the Bush administration was given a light sentence, 28 months for defending the notorious sheik who was convicted of playing a major role in
earlier attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. This case showed the
venom of the Bush Administration whose goal was to put Ms. Stewart behind bars for
the rest of her life for treason. The government had a very weak case against Stewart which was evident to both the judge and the jurors. Ms. Stewart, who is battling breast cancer is very active in her community, often defending people other lawyers wouldn’t even think of defending. Members of the community did not forget the service Ms. Stewart has given them over the years and as a result they packed the courtroom. Bush, Ashcroft, Gonzalez and company were trying to send a message to all lawyers who attempt to defend the defenseless but this time it didn’t work. The New York Post and New York Daily News ran headlines condemning the decision but in the end Lynne Stewart and the people triumphed. In 2006 it seems as if finally we have seen « checks and balances » in action. George W. Bush has been humbled into a lame duck. Nancy
Pelosi’s primary concern is ending the war in Iraq as soon as possible. This now
seems more of a possibilty than ever before. Mr. Bush is going to find it much
harder to push through ultra conservative candidates for the Supreme Court. In
summation politically speaking 2006 was a very good year.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Ruth Brown 1928-2006

R&B pioneer Ruth Brown died today as a result of a stroke and a heart attack.
Ruth Brown was one of the major artists responsible for the popularity and eventual growth of Atlantic Records. Brown had several classic R&B hits in the early 50s which
included « So Long » « Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean » and the #1 « Teardrops
From My Eyes » Brown resurrected her career in the 80s making Broadway appearances
in « Black & Blue ».

Sunday, November 12, 2006

An Open Letter To "Meet The Press"

Dear Mr. Russert,
In view of the Democratic landslide, don't you feel Meet The Press should feature two bonafide Democrats. After the Republican landslide of 1994 you had Phil Gramm and Alphonse D'Amato, two right wingers. Why have the potential 2008 Republican party presidential candidate( John McCain) on with a staunchly pro-war independent (Joseph Lieberman). The views of the majority are not being expressed. Is this because NBC is now owned by GE which is the world's leading manufacturer of weapons? Peace, Cch092775

Fall 2006

Jack Palance (1929 - 2006)

Veteran actor Jack Palance has passed away at the age of 87. He will be remembered as the TV host of "Ripley's Believe It Or Not" but even more significant is the fact that Palance won an Academy Award for best supporting actor in the film
"City Slickers" an accomplishment done at the age of 73.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


The following statement appeared in a previous post entitled "Democrat Landslide Makes George W. Bush a lame duck president" "Progressive Democrats still have a monumental task ahead because the elected Democrats were Conservative Democrats who are aligned in one way or another to the DLC." That statement was made in error. After further research I have found that the majority of Democrats elected were Progressive Democrats, in fact according to the Progressive Democrat Alliance there were actually 71 Progressive Democrats chosen for the new House of Representatives. Republican sources were responsible for promoting that statement and I admit I should have known better to carefully scrutinize any statement coming from the current Republican braintrust.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Ed Bradley (1941-2006)

Ed Bradley will always be remembered as one of the principal anchors of the long running CBS news program "60 Minutes". Bradley captivated TV audiences with his investigative reports for more that two decades. He was an eleven time Emmy winner.
Bradley's face will be missed. He succumbed to Leukemia.

Gerald Levert (1966-2006)

It is with regret we acknowledge the passing of Gerald Levert, soul singer, composer and producer who died in his sleep on November 10, 2006. Gerald was one of the relatively few R&B performers of the classic style that we just don't hear on the radio any more. Gerald was the son of the legendary Eddie Levert of the O'jays. Young Gerald and his brother would accompany their famous father around the US and the world. He was so amazed at what his father's group did onstage that he decided to follow in his father's footsteps. Gerald Levert's career took off with the release of the song "Casanova" in September of 1987( recorded with brother Sean Levert and Marc Gordon). This tune reached as high as #5 nationally on the Billboard chart. Gerald Levert returned to the top 40 with "Baby Hold On To Me"(with father Eddie Levert), "I'd Give Anything", Thinkin' Bout It" and "Taking Everything" My favorite Gerald Levert performance was when he appeared in the movie "Standing In The Shadows of Motown" where he performed a rousing rendition of Junior Walker's "Shotgun" accompanied by Tom Scott on the saxophone. It was one of the most memorable performances in a movie that was filled with many. It is indeed a tragedy that he has been taken from us a such a young age because I truly believe that although he has achieved tremendous success his best years as a singer-composer were still to come. At a mere 40 years of age he has left us too soon.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Democrat landslide makes George W. Bush a lame duck

It appears as if George W. Bush is a lame duck president. Democrats(with the recent victories of Tester in Montana and Webb in Virginia) now control both the House of Representatives and The Senate, giving the president complete rejection on his policies, especially his Iraq War policy. To make things even better Donald Rumsfeld has finally decided to step down. I am ecstatic that J. Kenneth Blackwell lost. Mr Blackwell, an African-American played a pivotal roll in the suppression of the black vote in Ohio by permitting Republican goon squads to intimidate black voters and he also did not provide functional voting machines to minority areas of Ohio. Katherine Harris, like Kenneth Blackwell also supressed the black vote in Florida by removing the names of eligible black voters from Florida voting lists. Like, Blackwell she also got what she deserved.... a lopsided loss to Bill Nelson. Republican George "Macaca" Allen lost a squeaker to Democrat Jim Webb. Bob Casey Jr. defeated the #3 Republican in the Senate, Rick Santorium. Democrat Claire McCaskill was victorious in Missouri. Carpin defeated Steele in Maryland and Democrats won the vast majority of the governorships. Although this is a blessing Progressive Democrats still have a monumental task ahead because the elected Democrats were Conservative Democrats who are aligned in one way or another to the DLC. The '06 election was not without its disappointments to progressive Democrats. Ward Connerly was successful in dismantling affirmative action in Michigan, a state with an unemployment rate of 7.1 (primarily African-American). Michigan became the third state to follow this trecherous path. The Republicans turned out in force to elect Joe Lieberman in Connecticut. Everything did not go well for the Progressive Democrat but things look a lot better now that Bush for the first time in his presidency is not going to have a rubber stamp Congress. Conyers, Rangel and Diggs will find themselves at the head of powerful Congressional commitees because of their seniority. It is my hope that John Conyers pursues the impeachment of George W. Bush. Time will tell.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Dems Will Win ONLY If There Is A Fair Election

Until recently the media has been telling us that the Democrats are heavily favored to take back the house and possibly the senate. All of a sudden today, November 6, 2006 they are telling us the Democratic lead is suddenly becoming more and more narrow. Karl Rove continues to say that his polls tell him the Republicans will remain in firm control of both houses of Congress. I may be wrong but the smug way in which he says this (as I have said so many times before )indicates something sinister that he knows and we don't. I know that the do nothing Congress has given George W. Bush the right to declare ANYONE an "enemy combatant" and at the same time new prisons have been built to house thousands of people. This indicates to me that the Bush administration foresees widespread opposition to election results and plan to incarcerate those who oppose its policies. Already people of Mexican descent in Texas have received phone calls and letters telling them that polling places have been changed, when they have not. The same dirty tricks used to steal presidential and gubernatorial elections in 2000 and 2004 will also be used in 2006. The Bush Administration is counting on fear and apathy. The October surprise we were promised came a little late on November 6, 2006 when we were told that Saddam Huessein will be hanged in Iraq. The criminally gullible masses here in the U.S.(especially those followers of Limbaugh, Dobson and Robertson) will no doubt look upon this as a momentous occasion when actually in the scheme of things it is insignificant. Saddam Huessein is no boy scout. He is responsible for the murder of over a hundred Kurds, but George W. Bush is responsibe for giving the orders that lead to the death of over 500,000 people, 3,321 of which were U.S. soldiers. After this massacre took place there was a picture taken of Donald Rumsfeld and Saddam Heussein shaking hands. This tactic of glorifying the execution of Heussein may help the Republicans as much as the "dirty tricks". At this time we don't know but we will know by tomorrow. Polls continue to show Strickland leads Blackwell, Nelson leads Harris, Casey leads Santorum, Brown leads Dewine, Menendez leads Kean Jr., George "Macaca" Allen and James Webb are in a toss up as well as Burns and Tester. If just overnight all the Republicans who trail miraculously become triumphant we can not come to any other conclusion except "foul play". The Republicans (I should say the Bush Republicans because I don't believe that all Republicans condone this outrageous conduct) are desperate and will do anything they can to hold on to power. Unfortunately the Democrats have been far too eager to roll over and play dead. I hope that we will not be hearing the same sappy concession speeches where the Democrat concedes for what he or she would call "the good of the country" (TO BE CONTINUED ON NOVEMBER 7, 2006).

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Red Auerbach (1917-2006)

One of the most successful professional basketball coaches passed away yesterday at the age of 89. Red Auerbach coined the phrase "Show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser" The feisty yet inspiring coach made the Boston Celtics the premier basketball team in the United States, winning consecutive titles from 1959 to 1966.
Auerbach played a major role in the Celtics' 16 titles, of which 7 were won as general manager. Those players who excelled during the Auerbach era include Bill Russell, KC Jones, Larry Bird and Bob Cousy (just to name a few). It was in part because of men like Red Auerbach that basketball has become the major sport it is today.

Trevor Berbick (1954-2006)

Former heavyweight champion Trevor Berbick was found murdered in his native Jamaica. Berbick will be remembered for his unorthodox method of boxing which made it possible for him to defeat such notable boxing greats as Muhammad Ali. Berbick's reign as champion was short lived due to a crushing defeat to then 20 year old boxing sensation Mike Tyson.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

When October Goes

by Johnny Mercer and Barry Manilow

And When October goes
The snow begins to fly
Above the smokey roofs
I watch the planes go by
The children running home
Beneath a twilight sky
Oh, for the fun of them
When I was one of them
And when October goes
The same old dream appears
And you are in my arms
To share the happy years
I turn my head away
To hide the helpless tears
Oh how I hate to see October go
I should be over it now I know
It doesn't matter much
How old I grow
I hate to see October go

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Barbra Streisand handles Madison Square Garden heckler

Superstar singer/actress Barbra Streisand appeared at Madison Square Garden this week, the third stop of her twenty city farewell tour. During the concert a member of the audience who took objection to her lampooning George W. Bush began to heckle her. Ms Streisand hurled a few well deserved expletives at the heckler and told Madison Square Garden officials to refund his money. Ms. Streisand is a true democrat who has raised huge amounts of money for Democratic candidates and causes. It is indeed a pleasure to see a Democrat give back what has been hurled at her. George Bush supporters have such sensitive ears. They can dish it out but apparently they can't take it. Most Democrats like to be morally correct, but most conservatives don't give a damn about morals.....and I am including most Religious conservatives in this group too. Democrats are always expected to be polite. Some polite Democrats took offense at what Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said about George Bush being the devil. Yet they had practically nothing to say about Dick Cheney saying "F____ you" to Senator Patrick Leahy or Rush Limbaugh, the drug addicted pundit calling David Benoir "a devil". The time has come to give them back what they give us. The time for being Mr. or Ms. Nice Guy (or Girl) has gone. We are living in a time where people have lost their jobs for having bumper stickers that endorse candidates other than Bush. People have been forced to leave airplanes and change clothes if they are caught wearing anti-Bush apparrel. Kudos to people like Barbra Streisand, Kanye West, Keith Olbermann and the Dixie Chicks who continue to speak out against this unpopular president.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Franklin Township Democrats Have A Picnic At Johnson Park

(Franklin Township Democrat Leader Roz Sherman and Councilman Elia)
Between 75 and 100 Democrats of Franklin Township, New Jersey met to discuss the issues at the Johnson Park facility in Piscataway. Several area politicians were present including Congressman Frank Pallone, Councilman Ricky Sumpter and Councilman
Daniel Sullivan, among others. The morning to afternoon event was very upbeat with almost everyone being optimistic about Democrat success in November. The Democratic candidates locally and nationally are ahead or tied in most major races. Many could not explain how Joe Lieberman has opened up a ten point lead over Ned Lamont in Connecticut but Menendez is now ahead of Kean Jr. in New Jersey, Rendell leads Swann in Pennsylvania where Casey has a dwindling but still comfortable lead over Santorum. Carter is within striking distance of Ensign in Nevada. In Ohio Strickland has a comfortable lead over Blackwell. The way things look on this cloudy to sun shiny day indicate a Democratic triumph in November. But there are always the intangibles, Greg Palast says that the GOP mechanisms to steal the '06 election are already in place. What new attempts to disenfranchise the voting rights of minorities in general and African-Americans in particular will be seen. Even more important what will the reaction by the Democrats be...will it be vigorous protest like we are seeing in Mexico now with the alleged theft of Lopez Obrador's earned presidency or will we see wimpy acceptance like we saw with Gore and Kerry in 2000 and 2004? Many in attendance agreed that it could take over fifty years to undo the harm George W. Bush has done to the environment, the nation and the world. I was happy to discuss the issue of the "Fairness Doctrine" with Mr. Pallone who also agrees that this is an issue Democrats should wholeheartedly endorse. There was once a time when network television was obligated to present both sides of an issue during a news broadcast. Ronald Reagan destroyed this practice as a result we see the reason why people like Pat Robertson, Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh have risen to prominenence. They don't have anyone to challenge their lies so the people believe what they say is the truth. Rush Limbaugh refuses to have Randi Rhodes being broadcast on the same network as him. When Ms. Rhodes appears on cable television she usually has at least two conservative commentators present. The playing field is NEVER even. MSNBC has only one middle of the road commentator, Keith Olbermann and we are constantly hearing how his job is in jeopardy. NBC had no problem giving conservative Ann Coulter eight unchallenged minutes to promote her vitriol. I contend that the battle to bring back the Fairness Doctrine should start at the grass roots level because the average person has no idea what it was. Those of us who were around when it existed are more likely to appreciate it and share it with those after the Reagan era. At this time I don't know how many Democratic Senatorial, Gubernatorial and Congressional candidates are affiliated with the DLC. If "DLC" Democrats are elected there will be very little change with regard to foreign relations. The war in Iraq will not only continue the war in Iran will begin and the 45 million uninsured in this country will get no relief. It maybe good that Harold Ford Jr (a known DLC affiliate and the man who uttered the words "I love my president" when referring to George W. Bush) has a lead over Ray Corker, but what guarantee do we have that Ford won't become a Republican after he wins as a Democrat. These were just a few of the discussions I had with fellow Democrats at the picnic. All in all an excellent time was had by all.

The Last Rose Of The Summer

Buck O'Neill (1911-2006)

Buck O'Neill was one of the great players of the Negro Leagues. The Kansas City Monarch was also one of the great ambassadores of the game. O'Neill was the first
African-American major league bench coach who played and integral role in the signing of two of baseballs perennial all-stars, Ernie Banks and Lou Brock. The Hall of Fame chose to deny O'Neill entry, but it does seem likely that he will make it posthumously. It is a shame that O'Neill will not be alive to witness his well-deserved entry.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Congressionally Sanctioned Torture To Become A Reality

It is hard to believe that in 2006 the Congress of the United States is about to approve TORTURE! It appears as if the only obstacle to this becoming a reality is George W. Bush's refusal to sign this piece of legislation (which is highly unlikely since he is it's most ardent advocate). Once again I must ask myself "Where is the Democrat opposition?" or do the majority of Democrats approve torture too? Why do most of them continue to be "silent" when they should be screaming with indignation? Could they be blackmailed? I just don't know, but there has to be some explanation. Congress is on the verge of giving George W. Bush the approval to interpret the Geneva accords any way he sees fit. This action is going to hurt our soldiers in the Iraq and future wars because all any enemy has to do is respond in kind. Since you tortured our soldiers we will torture yours. The United States has the advanced technology to obliterate any specific community but that is only helpful when your goal is a military victory. What seems to be never taken into account is the political victory. Fallujah was flattened by a US bomb, but in the passing of time the idealogically driven survivors and sympathizers of the insurgent cause are returning to Fallujah. As poet Michael Frante says in one of his works "You can bomb the world to PIECES but you can't bomb the world to PEACE." One would have thought that this lesson was learned in Viet Nam...but it wasn't. The Iraqis who hung the charred bodies of US contractors on a bridge near the Tigris river were reacting to the torture of Iraqis (and others) in places like Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. How could George W. Bush have the audacity to call someone else an "evil doer?" How could a prominent Democrat like Charles Rangel be furious with Hugo Chavez for calling George W. Bush a "Devil" when the actions of Mr. Bush and his partners can only be described as "diabolic". Only recently have we learned about how the Bush administration told Pakistani leader Pervez Musharref that if he didn't cooperate with the "War on Terror" the US would blow Pakistan back to the stone age. So, Musharref had to become an unwilling partner. It didn't stop there either: the US paid thousands of dollars to Pakistani citizens to expose their fellow countrymen as members of Al-Qaida. If you didn't like your neighbor or if you needed a lot of money (Six thousand dollars will go a long way in Pakistan) what better way to get this money than giving the US names of people who work with Al Qiada (even if they really didn't)? Vice president Richard Cheney bluntly told Vermont senator Patrick Leahy "F___ You" Where were the New York Post and the Daily News then? Both "newspapers" had front page headlines that not only denounced Hugo Chavez but insulted him as well. Major media is staunchly supporting all Bush endeavors, but it is doing so in varying degrees, FOX is overt and everyone else is covert. (Keith Olbermann, Pacifica and Air America are the only exceptions) I was not aware of any sense of outrage from Rangel or any other Democrat when it came to the assault on Senator Leahy. It is now common knowledge that torture, besides being morally wrong is also ineffective. Anyone would say anything to stop the pain of a torturous act. Once again I can't help but make the comparison between Germany at the time Hitler was gaining prominence and the United States today. Little by little Congress is letting Bush get by with one blatant attack on the Constitution after another: just like the "good" German did in Hitler's time. Although thousands of people have been incarcerated and illegally transported to places in Morocco, Afghanistan and Jordan to be tortured (under the guise of "extraordinary rendition" ) there have been shocklingly just two convictions, while thousands of law abiding citizens with no involvement of war activity have been frightened (and in some cases attacked) by vicious dogs, deprived of sleep, exposed to extremely cold temperatures and high decibel rock music as well as being sexually humiliated all in the effort to export "Democracy". We don't have "Democracy" here in the United States anymore, how could we possibly attempt to bring it anywhere else. George W. Bush's brand of "Democracy" in very different from the true definition of Democracy and many people around the world are seeing it more clearly day by day. We should not be fooled into thinking that when George W. Bush leaves office in 2008 that this will be the end of Bushism. IF... he decides to leave office it is likely that his successor will either continue the same policies or a modified version of these policies. Even if a Democrat wins in 2008 we may have token advances domestically but I fully expect for the war game to continue intact. I say this because most Democrats continue to support the war financially. Many Democrats speak out against the war (probably most of them) but at the same time MOST of them continue to vote for the funds to continue the Iraq war) Only 22 Democrats have voted to stop funding this illegal Iraq war. The same forces that stole the 2000 and 2004 elections are poised to do the same in 2008 (Visit www.gregpalast.com). The Bush machine has a very powerful ally, who is primarily white, lower middle class and a born again Christian who votes religiously following the orders of Dobson, Falwell or Robertson. He (or she) doesn't give a damn about his (or her) self-interest when it comes to health care and insurance just as long as he (or she) can identify with affluent properous predominantly white upper class and at the same time be able to look down on others like the non-white minorites. These are the people who vote in large numbers!!!! at a time when just a little over 50% of US citizens go to the polls. The "other" people who vote......their votes are siphoned off or discarded. We never hear about voting machine problems in Boise, Idaho or the suburbs of Indiana. So many who aren't part of the racist, Bible-toting conservative constituency are saying things like "Why should I vote? My vote is not going to count anyway." This is exactly what the Bush people want "them" to think. That is also why TORTURE will be approved in the United States of America under the auspices of the George W. Bush administration.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Evo Morales: A man of integrity

An interview of newly elected Bolivian President Evo Morales by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez (www.democracynow.org) gives much insight into the mindset of the often maligned (in US press) Bolivian head of state. This relatively young man undoubtedly has the support of the vast majority of his people. In this interview you can plainly see that Mr. Morales is a man of integrity, humility and most of all honesty. He has been portrayed in the US media of being a drug dealer because of his
support of the decriminalization of the coca leaf. Mr. Morales justified his position in a speech at the United Nations where he brought the green coca leaf to the assembly and stated that the leaf is not only harmless but has medicinal purposes as well as being part of traditional ceremonies of the Bolivian people. It is the white coca leaf that is detrimental and can be used to make cocaine. To bolster his argument Mr. Morales uses a scientific study made in the United States at Harvard University. Mr. Morales also asked the UN General Assembly "Why is the coca leaf illegal for the Bolivian people yet perfectly legal for use by the Coca Cola company?" Upon becoming President Mr. Morales immediately raised the minimum wage and cut his own salary by 50%. He has nationalized the country's natural gas industry, which is a very bold move at a time when this commodity's demand has risen
to record breaking heights. He has also given Bolivian control to many, if not most
international businesses in Bolivia without forcing any foreign entity to leave the country. Mr. Morales invited not only those from US businesses, but those from around the world to come to Bolivia for commerce but "as partners, not as bosses".
Mr. Morales also shows himself to be a man with a great sense of humor when he tells the story of how the United States' ambassador told the Bolivian people NOT to vote for Mr. Morales: because if they did international business support for Bolivia will decline. Mr. Morales says with a grin "Since my election international relations are better than they have ever been." Mr. Morales also speaks of the racial discrimination that was rampant in his country during previous administrations when he talks of how his mother (an indigenous person) was not allowed to be in the vicinity of the "Feria de Santa Cruz". Now the president of Bolivia IS an indigenous person who will not permit this type of racism to endure.
It would be beneficial to all US citizens to see this interview just to get another perspective because the Bush administration is already actively working to overthrow the Morales government. Evo Morales has the characteristics I would like to see in politicians here in the United States "Independence, Honesty and a genuine commitment to the people".

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Hugo Chavez calls it as he sees it

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez raised eyebrows all of the world when he called George W. Bush "the devil" Chavez characterized Bush as being a spokesman for imperialism. Hugo Chavez was in a position to speak his mind because he has something The United States needs.....oil. Undoubted representatives of many other nations felt the same, but dared not say anything for fear of retribution which would mean the loss of urgently needed aid. Mr. Chavez is ceratinly a champion for the poor...even in the United States where he has offered gas to selected urban communities at a 40% discount through Venezuela's CITGO oil. When Mr. Chavaz talks about democracy he speaks from experience having been elected four times. When Mr. Bush talks about democracy it rings hallow because he has NEVER been elected. Mr. Chavez sees Mr. Bush as the world's most dangerous threat; with the carnage in Iraq and the planning stages of an equally disastrous military misadventure in Iran I find it quite difficult to disagree with Mr. Chavez' assessment.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Mexican Politicians Disrupt Vicente Fox's Farewell Speech

Outgoing Mexican President and George W. Bush confidant Vicente Fox got a rude reception from members of the Mexican legislative body. This underreported news story should be of particular interest to people of The United States of America because Mr. Lopez Obredor the declared "loser" in the Mexican Presidential contest with Felipe Calderon gives Al Gore and John Kerry a lesson in what you should do in the case of a stolen election. Lopez Obredor is not just going to fade in the woodwork. He has big plans to disrupt the Mexican government until true justice prevails. He has huge numbers of people on his side. Even if he doesn't prevail he will leave an imprint that will be a stain on the presidency of Felipe Calderon for the next six years. Representatives from the various 22 Mexican states held signs with Fox's picture that said "Traitor". When Fox attempted to speak he was overcome with a chorus of "boos" while the followers of Lopez-Obredor disrupted traffic. I believe that this is only the beginning!

Americans?.....Point of Clarification by Joy Elizabeth Chaney

Spain (Where the Spanish language originated -- derived from the now defunct Latin) was the first country to send men to the "New World". Cristoforo Colombo (Cristobal Colon) was Italian and he with the other colonialists (I wonder where the origin of this name came from...hmmm?) decided that they were going to make the land of its original inhabitants theirs... oh and in the name of God, BTW.

Now. The Spaniards took up a lot of territory, there was territory alongside the continent of Africa, in Africa, the Phillipines (named after King Felipe), the Caribbean, North America (including what is now Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Wyoming, Nevada, and California), and practically all of Central and South America with the exception of Belize, Suriname, French Guyana, Guyana, and Brazil. Hmm. "MY COUNTRY speaks English!!!" Hmm. Verry interesting...

Oh, and the name of this continent and country is America, named after Amerigo Vespucci.

We are the country that does not know what to call it's citizens. America is a continent, there is North and there is South. And we should be called United Statesens.
But then there is Los Estados Unidos de Mexico. That is actual the name of their country. The world calls it Mexico. Are Mexicans Americans? Yes, as Mexico is on the continent of North America. Are Argentinians Americans? Yes, they are on the continent of South America. So, what is with us calling ourselves Americans when it is no big deal that we already are just like the other Americans on the North and Southern continents?!!!

Our country?... What?? What...?

All we had were 13 colonies. And we had the fundamentalist Pilgrims who burned witches alive. Then we took away; stole or bought the land that originally was territory of the Spaniards.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

New Orleans: A year later......little progress

A year after what was probably the country's worst natural disaster there has been little improvement in the quality of life of most inhabitants of New Orleans even though you would never know that by listening to George W. Bush who seems to be most excited about the beaches of New Orleans. George Bush talks about how Trent Lott lost his home. This is ridiculous. The well known wealthy Mississippi politician's loss pales in comparison to his Mississippi constituents who didn't have his resources. In a year's time we get a much clearer picture of what happened. Katrina appears to have given an opportunity to racist real estate developers to ethnically cleanse New Orleans. Plans have been found that include luxury homes and golf courses in the 9th Ward. We know that in Louisiana parishes far away from the most affected areas received the highest amounts of money. We know that many victims of Katrina were put in trailers filled with formaldahyde. We know that the good hands people of Allstate are trying to avoid the claims made by their customers. We know that the mayor and other people of great influence in New Orleans tried to grab land from the victims by forcing them to gut their homes within an unreasonable time period or lose them. Fortunately the housing advocate organization ACORN was able to prevent this from happening. We know that George W. Bush tried to eliminate the Davis-Beacon Act that stated that after natural disasters those working to rebuild must be paid minimum wage. It is estimated that 60% of the garbage Katrina left a year ago is STILL there. Of course not all that has happened since August 29, 2005 has been bad. Harry Connick Jr., Kanye West and Celine Dion are just a few of the many who spent their time and money coming to the aid of the Katrina victims. Many organizations from all over the country immediately sent food and offered other types of assistance. We know that 2/3 of New Orleans' pre-Katrina population has NOT
returned. Only 17 percent of the busses are operating. We now know that Michael Brown states in a recent Playboy article that he was told to take one for the team. According to Brown Bush wanted him to take the blame even though Brown repeatedly stated that unless something was done a disaster was immenent.I remember an interview Long Island congressmen Peter King had with one of the networks. In this interview he praised Bush as a strong politician who would protect the country from all dangers within our borders and outside of our borders. I wonder what Rep. King is saying now.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Congressional Election Nullified - Nobody Noticed

Speaker of the House Nullified
San Diego Congressional Race

By Michael Collins
“Scoop” Independent Media
Washington, DC

It appears the US media overlooked one of the great political stories of the year. In what is becoming something of a pattern, here’s a brief chronology:

On June 6, 2006 Republican Brian Bilbray allegedly slightly outpolled Democrat Francine Busby in the special election for California’s 50th Congressional District, despite Busby’s lead in the polls going into the election. There were immediate cries of foul following the election due to major irregularities, including electronic voting machines sent out to the homes and cars of volunteers for up to 12 days prior to the election, and irregular election results like huge mega-precincts of absentee ballots where turnout was thousands of percent more than registered voters.

On June 13, 2006, Bilbray flew to Washington, DC and was sworn in as a member of the United States House of Representatives by House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

On or about June 30, 2006, 17 days after Bilbray was sworn in as a member of the House, Mikel Haas, Registrar of San Diego County, officially completed the audit of election results required for certification, and officially certified the election of Bilbray over Busby based on 163,931 votes cast, of which 2,053 votes were said to be cast on Diebold TSX touchscreens, and the remainder scanned via Diebold Accuvote OS computers.

On July 31, 2006, the Contestants filed an election contest, seeking a hand recount and to invalidate the election on several grounds, not only including the affirmative evidence of irregular results, but also including the stonewalling of citizen information requests and the pricing of recounts at an estimated $150,000 that made it difficult or impossible for any citizen to tell who won the election.

On August 22, 2006 the defendants moved to dismiss, arguing that the swearing in of Bilbray deprives everyone else of jurisdiction including specifically the San Diego Superior Court because Art. I, sec. 5 of the US Constitution has been held to mean that the House and Senate are the judges of the Qualifications of their Members, one of those qualifications is supposed to be “election.”

There is some thing very wrong with this sequence. Elections are not complete, anywhere, until they are officially certified by local authorities. How can a citizen get sworn in as a member of the House of Representatives before his or her election is certified? Only Speaker Dennis Hastert, his team, and Bilbray have the answer.

In a filling in San Diego Municipal Court yesterday, attorney Paul Lehto outlined the core in stark terms:

Defendants are in effect arguing for the remarkable proposition that unilateral self-serving actions by a majority party in the House of Representatives to shuttle in a member of the same party can be effective, even if those actions do violence to and amount to circumvention of other sections of the US Constitution as well as the California constitution. Document available here.Lehto is one of the two attorneys representing citizens who are challenging the election. Shortly after the last vote was cast, citizens discovered disturbing facts. Prior to Election Day, several poll workers had taken home voting machines for periods of a day to a week at a time without supervision or even consistent tracking procedures. Other irregularities like vote switching on touch screen machines emerged. Brad Friedman of www.BradBlog.com conducted an extensive investigation that uncovered a series of sloppy procedures by County Registrar Haas.

The election became an immediate cause for citizens, supporters of the losing candidate, and national voting rights activists. The results were also challenged by Howard Dean, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

A suit was filed by two local citizens challenging the election. The initial filing relied on the right of citizens to know that their votes are and counted correctly in order to assure that the candidate designated as the winner is in fact the winner. Part of the suit is a request, denied to date, for a recount of the ballots cast on Election Day.

In response to the suit, the County of San Diego filed a response questioning the authority of the local court to decide the case since (a) membership in the house was the province of the House of Representatives and (b) the speaker had already sworn in Bilbray.

Lehto and Simpkins filed a withering response to this argument. They point out that elections are the province of local and state authorities for all elections including federal contests, unless otherwise specified in the constitution. The following is form the filing yesterday:

Clearly, the swift swearing in did not end the election in the 50th Congressional District, and it did not render everything, including the certification of results weeks later, nugatory and without “jurisdiction.” If this swearing in had this effect, then in the course of dismissing this case the Court would be bound to conclude that the certification of the results after the swearing in of Bilbray was without force and effect, without jurisdiction, and in contravention of principles of federalism, as Defendants argue. That conclusion, however, requires either an absurdity, or the conclusion that our Congressional election was canceled by decision of the Speaker of the House, before all the votes were fully counted, and well before certification. Document available here.So there you have it. Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the United House of Representatives, called “the peoples’ House,” now has the authority to nullify elections simply by swearing in candidates and claiming federal privilege based on one narrow section of the constitution, while completing ignoring the others, including the one stating that members of the House shall be elected every two years “by the People,” and not selected in Washington DC. Once again, the country is faced with a Bush v. Gore style selection manufactured in Washington DC, and if only the people did not know which party benefited and which party was hurt by the selection, the country would be unanimous in denouncing this power grab.

Ongoing support and interference by the House of Representatives or persons associated therewith continues in San Diego. Paul Vinovich, Counsel to the House Administration Committee, Chaired by Bob Ney, R, of Ohio, had a letter delivered to San Diego Superior Court presiding Judge Yuri Hoffman, with a number of arguments in favor of the Judge dismissing the case. This type of communication with members of the judiciary, particularly when another government authority is involved, is covered by strict rules. One such rule is that the ex parte communication be provided simultaneously to counsel for all involved. In his own hand, Vinovich says to plaintiff’s attorney Lehto, “Letter delivered to court last evening.” Lehto received the fax at 8:56 a.m. Thursday morning, many hours after the letter was admittedly provided to the judge by Vinovich.

In the letter, Vinovich admits the time sequence of a July 13 swearing in followed by a July 29th certification of the election and then, through circular reasoning, tries to use the certification as justification for the swearing in ceremony. He fails to note that Speaker Hastert would have needed psychic powers on June 13th to know that the swearing in of Bilbray would be justified by a June 29th certification.

We’re clearly at the point where members of the ruling party are making up rules post hoc to justify whatever actions they wish to take. We are also at a point where there is little if any opposition to this. The House is silent. With the exception of local and national voting rights activists and Chairman Dean, the opposing party is silent. The Defendants literally argue that the Courts are powerless to stop them (without jurisdiction). Friday will reveal whether the courts are powerless to stop this abuse of power and premature termination of elections.

Will Judge Yuri Hoffman carry on the emerging tradition of silence, or will he take us back to the courage and integrity shown by Judge John Sirica, a Republican appointee, who made history by demanding the truth from the Watergate burglars?


Friday, August 25, 2006

Lamont Rebounds?

Recent Quinnipiac and Rasmussen polls now show that Joe Lieberman and Ned Lamont are neck and neck among the voters of Connecticut in their pursuit of becoming a senator of the state. Immediately after the Lamont victory in the Democratic Primary Republicans were motivated and polls showed that Lieberman had up to a 12%. Now Lieberman has a 2% lead. Once again I must say that I have very little confidence in the electoral system in this country. The exit polls can show one thing and the actual results can show the complete opposite. Recently Joe Lieberman has made public appearances with Republican candidates infuriating Democrats. At least two Democratic groups have initiated a movement to remove Lieberman from the race due to Connecticut Democratic laws that state that candidates cannot claim to align themselves with the Democratic party if they have not been endorsed by the Democratic party voters in a primary election.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

New CBS Survivor Program Promotes Racism

Recently we have seen a series of publicly "racist" statements made by celebrities like Mel Gibson, Andrew Young and George Allen. Now Viacom owned CBS television wants to get in on the action by promoting its new Survivor series in which contestants will be grouped according to their ethnicity. This is a promotion for racial profiling. Whites vs. Blacks, Orientals vs. Hispanics et al. This is an outrage! ABC tried to launch a similar format which was met with widespread opposition before the program even aired. It is my hope that the same thing happens to this program. Right-wing radio personalities see nothing wrong with it. Tucker Carlson says this is all the fault of the "liberals" who he claims have put us all into tribes. Not only is that conclusion fallacious, it is also ridiculous. If this type of program would have been part of the Fox fall lineup I would oppose it as vehemently as I oppose this CBS entry, but there is a difference. We all know that Fox is a conservative, pro-Bush organization. CBS until recently was percieved as being fair and to a degree universal. This is just another in a long series of actions this network and its parent organization have made that cause me to re-evaluate my opinion of the network. 1) The Viacom purchase of BET(Black Entertainment Television). BET was at one time the most successful Black owned and operated entity on cable television. When Viacom purchased it, no longer was it Black owned and operated and although Viacom claims it will not influence programming I see a remarkable decrease in issue oriented programming and an increase in sexually oriented videos with scantilly clad females. The problem here is the time of day these videos are able to be viewed, if they were on exclusively during the late night hours I would have not objections. Education programming seems to have diminished. 2) The president of Viacom once said what is good for Bush is good for Viacom. This shows that one of the nation's primary entertainment outlets is at odds with the majority of the people of the United States who vigorously oppose Bush policies. 3) Viacom fired Dan Rather, an established anchor because of Rather's attempt to verify the absence of proof of George Bush's military obligations to his country when he was eligible to serve. There are those who would say this is no big deal because there was African-American opposition to the CBS show "All In The Family" when it premiered in the early seventies. Yes, the main character Archie Bunker was a racist, but there was always Edith Bunker to show him the error of his ways. Archie always ended up on the short end of the stick anyway. This show will promote divisions by positioning members of different racial groups against each other. The same energy that cancelled the ABC show should be used to cancel this one. I expect strong reactions from the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

George Bush's abstinance policy is a miserable failure in Ohio

The abstinance only policy of George W. Bush and the religious right with regard to pre-marital sex was a catasthrophe in Texas, well now we see that it is also a catasthrophe in Canton, Ohio. Since the city implemented the Bush endorsed policy the city has seen a dramatic rise in the number of unwanted pregnancies among teen-agers. The people of Canton have decided to discontinue the abstinance program. This type of archaic thinking has been imposed on the people of Africa. Because of this totally ineffective policy Africans are dying because the Bush administration is denying them contraceptives, and to add insult to injury African nations are still waiting for the money Mr. Bush promised he would give to fight A.I.D.S. The consistency of this administration is astounding. Everything Midas touched turned to gold. Everything George W. Bush touches turns to ___________(expletive deleted).

Friday, August 18, 2006

Two racist statements: Two different responses

The mainstream media was very anxious this morning to inform the public of the "racist" remarks made by Andrew Young, the African-American former United Nations Ambassador in the Carter Administration. Mr. Young was hired to bolster the image of Wal-Mart, especially among African-Americans. Apparently Mr. Young became frustrated and quit. He basically said something to the extent that Jews and Koreans have been selling stale bread in the black communites for years. The media wants to equate that racist statement with the one made by Virginia senatorial hopeful George Allen, who used a derogatory term "macaca" to refer to the only person of color in an all white audience. Racism is racism. Andrew Young's statement is just as abhorrent as George Allen's statement, however there is a significant difference between the way the two men reacted to the criticism of their statements. Andrew Young immediately took reponsibility for his statement. He apologized, admitting that it was wrong. George Allen went down a different road. He seemed to try to wiggle his way around accepting responsibility for th his racist statement. First Allen said that he wasn't really sure of the meaning of the word. It wasn't until the uproar of criticism that he actually apologized. Allen supporter talk-radio icon Rush Limbaugh wasted no time in coming to Allen's defense by saying that he spoke to his Spanish speaking maid and she told him that "macaca" means "clown". That statement is not only wrong but it is insulting to the intelligence. As someone who teaches Spanish for a living I can tell you that the word for "clown" in Spanish is "payaso". Years ago Al Franken wrote a book with the title "Rush Limbaugh is a big fat idiot" Now I see what Franken was talking about.

Lieberman Moves Ahead?

It is very unusual that the latest Quinnipiac University poll (as of August 18, 2006) gives Joe Lieberman a 12% lead over Ned Lamont. Should Lieberman win it would be another in a series of questionnable GOP/DLC victories. Even though Lieberman would be an Independent it would still be a GOP/DLC victory. Earlier it was reported by Rasmussen that Lieberman had a 5% lead, so this is disturbing news that could strengthen the Republicans in November, having a victory in a blue state. Lamont supporters inside and outside of Connecticut must get out and agitate, motivate and register.
It appears as if after Lamont's primary victory they felt the battle was over! In the event that Lieberman does win Harry Reid should be pressured to strip him of every post he had as a Democrat. Johnson's victory over McKinney is also questionnable, but in Georgia Republicans are permitted to vote in Democratic primaries, but that being so McKinney still won 44% to 41% yet she lost in the general election by a wide margin. This is suspicious. The Republican mantra after Mondale lost in Minnesota and Kerry and Gore lost in the two previous presidential fiascos was "Democrats are sore losers" and "Let's move on" Democrats are going to have to demand that every vote be counted and that there be a paper ballot. If you legitimately lose you have to accept it, but that is not the case in recent U.S elections where the exit polls show one thing and the election results show the opposite. Democrats should also focus on Texas, where the Republicans have been forced to have a write in candidate to replace Tom Delay. As a result Texas Democrats gloat and feel that the election is "in the bag". Although it appears as if the Republicans will have TWO write-in candidates Democrats should not be complacent. Even in this election Democrats should be wary of dirty tricks. The Bush Administration's approval rating has fallen to 36%, falling two points this week alone. It would appear to be out of the ordinary if Bush's party remains in control of both houses of Congress. We must keep in mind that the state of Florida has passed legislation making paper ballots and counting every individual vote illegal. How many other "red" states are contemplating the same action? So many districts have been gerrymandered (especially in Texas) to insure incumbent victories. Most Republicans are counting on Democrats to blow off some steam and as time goes by accept Republican rule and things will go on as usual.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Ironic Timing of George Allen's racist statements.

We have been told by some Republicans that "racism" played a decisive role in the defeat of Joseph Lieberman in the Democratic Primary of Connecticut. That obviously ridiculous claim is a slap in the face for all Democratic voters in Connecticut because it assumes that they didn't notice that he was Jewish when they sent him to Congress for eighteen years. It is "ironic" that further south in Virginia Republican senatorial candidate George Allen would show us who the real racist was. Mr. Allen had a rally of whites only and he just happened to notice that there was a person of color in the audience with a video camera who was taping him. Mr. Allen took advantage of this moment by attempting to embarrass this young 20 year old man of Indian descent who was working for his opponent Jim Webb, when he said "Welcome To America" Just because S.R. Sidarth had brown skin he immediately assumed that he was a newly arrived immigrant. Sidarth was born in the United States to Indian parents. To make matters even worse Allen refers to Sidarth as "Mr. Macaca" "Macaca" is a French derogatory term used for North Africans. Macaca sounds alot like the Spanish "Mi caca" in which "Mi" means "My and "caca" is one of several words for excrement. Whether Allen meant the French or the Spanish it still comes out as blatently racist. The good old boys were "whoopin' and hollerin' " for Republican George Allen, who was the star of the show. You can tell a lot about the people of an area by those they have chosen to represent them in Congress. Apparently racism is still alive and well in Virginia.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Ordeal of Christi Ketchum

The reports of police brutality or misconduct with regard to people of African descent are so numerous that the public has become numbed, almost to the state of indifference. It is no accident that the infamous Angola prison is filled with African-Americans. One must ask how many of them were forced to plea-bargain and even admit to crimes they didn't commit. How many of them were represented by lawyers who really didn't have their best interest at heart. Why do we have a black woman executed only because she bought a life insurance policy for her husband while a white man who was responsible for the beheading of a black man has his life spared? These two incidents happened in the state of Texas where in another community there was a police attempt to incarcerate an entire black community (including its senior citizens) on a ficticious drug charge. Fortunately through the efforts of people like the late "Grandpa" Al Lewis and comedian-activist Randy Credico the black people of Tulia, Texas were acquitted mainly because of the effort to bring this case to public scrutiny. White House Press Secretary Tony Roberts would have us believe that the days of blatant racial discrimination are over, but in reality it is alive and well.Recently I was informed of the case of Christi Ketchum. Here you will find an account of her ordeal in her own words.................. INCIDENT STATEMENT
The following is a factual statement regarding events that occurred to me on Saturday, June 10, 2006. I, Christi H. Ketchum with Damon Bowman patronized the El Ranchero Restaurant on Old National Highway. We enjoyed appetizers and I had a Sweet Tea. We left the restaurant after about 45 minutes and Damon went to pay the bill and go to the Bathroom and I proceeded to the parking lot and got in the car. It was very hectic in the parking lot with a lot of people and cars passing by so I backed out of the parking space to give someone else the spot. After I put the car in park there was an unidentified male with a royal blue t-shirt & black pants on the right side of my car and as I went forward to wait for Damon on the side of the building, he shined a flashlight into my car and smiled at me. I waved and continued forward then I heard a hard banging on the trunk of my car. I stopped the car and asked him “Is there something I can help you with?” He then came to the driver side acting very casual striking conversation asking “OHHHow I was doing,” “Why didn’t I stop,” “Where was I going,” and series of other questions including “Did I have any thing to drink?” I attentively listened and replied that I had a “Sweet Tea.” He continued to badger me for a few more minutes when he asked me to show him my Driver’s License. I asked him who he was and why he wanted to see my license. He asked the question over again and I told him No! He became very angry, raising his voice and I felt very vulnerable and scared as I was alone in my car, in a dark parking lot with a man hovering over me. I have seen men attack women in similar situations and intuitively the situation was going to very volatile, very quickly. I told him that I was leaving, put my car in Drive, and proceeded out of the crowded parking lot, stopped at the intersection waiting for the intersection to clear and made a right onto Old National Highway then waited at the intersection of Old National and Godby Road for oncoming traffic before turning left. As I proceeded down Godby I called Damon to let him know what happened to me. I was sitting at a Red Light then the light turned Green and I saw the flashing lights of police car and I pulled over. Officer Ivy came to my car he asked me where I was coming from and I told him the Mexican Restaurant and told him I just had an altercation with an unidentified man, he interrupted me and asked for my drivers license and informed me that the unidentified man was a Police Officer when two more police officers approached my car. I retrieved my driver’s license and tried to tell the officers what happened when Captain Kuzniacki and other officers told me to ‘Save it for the judge’ and Officer Ivy told me if Officer Bailey, the original man who approached me, identified me as the suspect I was going to jail. Also, he stated that by law he didn’t have to identify himself to me. A police car arrived with Officer Bailey, who got out of the car and told me to put my hands behind my back and told Officer Ivy to tell me what I was being charged with, Aggravated Assault against a Police Officer. I was completely shocked as I was put in the police car and was told my car would be impounded. I was taken to the College Park Police Station. As I arrived inside the holding area Officer Wade asked why I was there jokingly. I proceeded to tell him what happened - he said “Whatever” and I was handcuffed to the bench. I was given a Blood Alcohol Test by Officer Ivy. The results came back .000 he put a copy inside my purse and told me I should talk to Officer Bailey when he came to do the report. I was then placed in a holding cell with another lady. I waited in the cell and had to use the bathroom when Officer Bailey came to the cell. I came to the door and he told me I was being charged with Aggravated Assault against a Police Officer and Eluding a Police Officer. I pleaded with him that I was unaware that he was a Police Officer; I was really tired because I had just finished coordinating a week-long Youth Leadership Academy and could he please drop the charges. He told me that was too bad and he would be back after he wrote up the tickets. He came back and I was told to sign the tickets which was now a total of 4 charges/tickets that included the following: Aggravated Assault on Officer, Reckless Driving, Obstruction of Officer, Eluding a Police Officer. I asked why there were 2 more charges and he said there would have been another charge but he couldn’t find the code for it. I signed the tickets and continued waiting in the cell. After I was in the cell for approximately 3 hours, I was told to come out to get booked. When I came to the booking/reception area there was 3 other officers along with Office Bailey & Wade. They were very disrespectful as I waited to be booked. Some of the comments included “Them Dykes at Rice Street Going to Love you” by Officer Wade and one of the other Officers in the area said “I was lucky my brains weren’t sitting in the passenger seat.” I was also called the “Shitty Girl” because I had to defecate while in the holding cell. It was a totally demeaning, humiliating experience as I was ridiculed for quite some time. At one point when I was being fingerprinted Officer Wade told Officer Bailey he should “drop these bullshit charges” and Officer Bailey responded “I know.” I again pleaded with the Officers to no avail. After the booking was complete I was sent back to the holding cell. After the shift change later that morning I was transported by a Police Van handcuffed to another inmate in the back of a transport van. I was taken to Fulton County Rice Street Jail. There I was told I would not be able to bond out until my court date the next day, Monday, June 12th at 11 AM. During my Pre-Trail interview the staff lady told me to share my case with Sergeant Shaw, I told him about the incident and his response was “It sounds like a misunderstanding, and all I can say is I’m sorry that this happened to you.” I had to give a urine and blood sample and be given a TB test, along with being fingerprinted and photographed a second time. I was in the intake area on June 11 – from 9 AM –to well after 1 AM when I was taken to a cell. I was escorted to court the next morning. My case was heard first and I was represented by Attorney Ted Johnson. The Judge was very adamant about his disgust with the case and even said “the Officer was the one doing the assaulting.” The case was dismissed completely. The Attorney told me it would take 8 to 24 hours for me to be released. I was released Tuesday, June 13, 2006 at 3 AM.

I am a child of a wonderful single mother, Patricia A. Franklin who has instilled great qualities of life for me to be an upstanding & outstanding women and professional. I have led a life that reflects responsibility, courage, and perseverance. In High School I was on the Honor Roll & Who’s Who of American High School Students. I graduated from Clark Atlanta University and have been a program director with Project South: Institute for the Elimination of Poverty & Genocide for 6 years. I work with youth ages 13-18 in their development as leaders and critical thinkers. I have always worked to make a difference in my community and be a role model.

My life will forever be changed by this horrible and traumatic experience. The things I endured during the 51 hours I was held are unreal. This has been especially disheartening as me along with youth leaders as we prepare for our 6th Annual Youth Day. The leaders have been working hard but this ongoing harassment and interference has interfered with my capacity to give these deserving youth my complete attention. In this clear case of misuse of power and privilege I am still feeling the effects. Friday, July 7th, I received a letter from Superior Court that the District Attorney’s Office took my case to a Grand Jury and I have to appear in court on July 31st, 2006 at 9:30 AM. I am outraged by this system and how I have been criminalized and victimized. I must tell my story because this happens every day and could happen to anyone.

THE FACTS………………………
I was on Private Property which limits jurisdiction
There was no probable cause to approach me or my vehicle
The unidentified man at the restaurant did not properly identify himself
The officer was off duty acting as a ‘peace officer’

One of the most devastating confirmations are the comments made by an Officer at the restaurant who made several comments in front of Damon on how they were going to make-up charges on me; they were going to use this as a case study; and how College Park rookies are being trained as attack dogs. I was sexually harassed, and falsely charged and targeted with intent to punish cruel and unusually based on the severity of the charges.

I need people who can actively give critical advice re: officials that I should contact
Call and/or send letters to the College Park Police Department, (404) 761-3131 to voice your outrage re: the practices of their officers. Address: P.O. Box 87137, College Park, GA 30337.
Be ready to attend and mobilize for any future hearings, actions etc.
I really need your support & love as I endure this personal attack. I will be in touch and keep you all updated.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Lamont Victory in Connecticut SHOULD send message to DINOS

The voters of Connecticut have spoken. They voted for a change that will send a message to all "Democrat" enablers who passively support Republican policies. I hope that this message reverberates to all DLC Democrats. Ned Lamont, a virtual unknown came from nowhere to defeat Joseph Lieberman, an influencial Senator with 18 years of experience. Throughout Lieberman's concession speech he kept championing the cause of "bipartisanship" as he emphasized working with Republicans and extending an arm across the aisle. This was something I could not understand. The Republicans control all three branches of government, squandered billions of dollars on an illegal war, given tax breaks to the wealthiest 1% of the country and made an attempt to dismantle Social Security. Why on Earth would a Democrat want to work with the Republican administration that is determined to take from the poor and give to the rich? Mr. Lieberman and the media tried to portray Ned Lamont as being a one issue candidate. Mr. Lieberman and Mr. Lamont have different perspectives on a host of issues. Mr. Lieberman (and other DLC Democrats) went right along with the new unjust bankruptcy bill. Mr. Lieberman acquiesed with legislation that favored the pharmaceutical companies. Mr. Lieberman was willing to accept the removal of the estate tax for the wealthy in order to get an increase in the minimum wage for the rest of us. Mr. Lieberman also voted to increase the salaries of Congress members. This is the congress that has been dubbed the "Do nothing Congress" that can't raise the minimum wage but has no problem providing 200 million dollars for the Alaskan bridge to nowhere. There was a time when Joe Lieberman once said to Lowell Weicker that it was time for a change after 18 years, well in the 2006 primary the voters of Connecticut have come to the same conclusion with regard to Joe Lieberman.......after 18 years it is time for a change. As Michael Moore so aptly put it "It's all about who you sleep with" and for far too long Joe Lieberman has been sleeping with Conservative Republicans. What I found particularly disturbing about this election was the unexpectedly narrow margin of the Lamont victory. Even though pollsters at one time or another gave Lamont as much as a 20 point lead Lamont won by an uncomfortably close 52% to 48%, which should make the general election in November a close contest also. Will Republicans vote for their candidate Alan Schlesinger or will they support their buddy and Bush confidant Joe Lieberman? Will the general election be tampered with? Are we being set-up?.......again. Since 2000 the integrity of the electoral process must ALWAYS be under scrutiny. I hope that other DINOS (Democrats In Name Only) take notice of the Lieberman defeat.......especially Ford of Tennessee. There are 63 lobbyists for every elected member of Congress, who is under pressure to do the bidding of agents of foreign governments as well as multinational corporations while the cost of being elected becomes more and more expensive. The progressive wing of the Democratic party has to make its voice heard not only in Connecticut but across the country. DLC democrats like Joe Lieberman do not represent the will of the people who sent them to Congress. Republicans and DLC Democrats are quick to praise Lieberman for going his own way on the Iraq war , but they have to realize that Lieberman was elected to do the will of the people and if the people want him to go one way and he goes another he is neglecting the will of the people that should always take precedence.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Allegations of fraud stain Mexican presidential election

It appears as if outgoing Mexican President Vicente Fox has learned a few things about stealing an election from his buddy George W. Bush. Greg Palast predicted that Calderon would win and that chicanery would play a major role in his victory. Palast was among the first to expose how Katherine Harris removed the names of eligible African-Americans from Florida's eligible voters list. Reports of a possible theft continue to grow with regard to the recent Mexican presidential election. Even MSNBC reported "Lopez Obrador said his lawyers would give the Federal Electoral Court evidence of fraud, including computerized manipulation of the results, a day after he held a mammoth rally in Mexico City’s historic center and called on his supporters to help keep his hope alive." The recent winning streak of leftist candidates in Latin America (Brasil, Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia) has finally gotten the attention of the Bush administration, which did not want such a government at its borders. The Fox administration has the support of the Mexican upper class but it has the disdain of the lower and lower middle classes. Bush administration supported policies like NAFTA have hurt the poor forcing many of them to find a better life in the United States. It is important to keep in mind that proving wrongdoing does not necessarily mean invalidation of election results in the United States. We know that there was tampering with telephones in New Hampshire by Republican operatives. We are well aware of documentented irregularities in Ohio and Florida, but it has meant absolutely NOTHING here in the USA. Only a handful of Democratic candidates even mention it. Whether or not this will be the case in Mexico remains to be seen. At the present time George W. Bush's party has made a slight gain in US public opinion but being at 41% is far below what would be needed to take congress and the White House in 2008. I feel that it will be a little more difficult for the right wing powers that be to steal the '08 election but it is NOT impossible as long as they continue to benefit from a supportive national media, an apathetic electorate and an inexplicably docile opposition party. Even now Greg Palast is telling us how the Republicans will steal The White House in '08.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Fair Elections.......still THE issue

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I have told anyone who would listen that the first priority of Democrats should be the stolen elections of 2000 and 2004. Some Democrats are doing exactly that I commend Rep. John Conyers for the outstanding work he continues to do along with a few colleagues in Congress. But among the "major" Democratic candidates for the presidency in 2008 I hear nothing or next to nothing. Today's USA Today headine says "Democrats Are Slipping In Race For Statehouses" I don't know if this is true or not, it could be wishful thinking on the part of a publication that is more inclined to be on the right, but what if it IS true? then what? For the past three months Democrats have been in a state of euphoria with countless Republican scandals and Bush's poll numbers in the toilet. But it looks as if Democrats are very close to controlling the Senate and possibly the House too.......if the elections were held today. But we have to look at a few things carefully....1) Busby lost in California. I know there are those who say that Duke Cunningham's district was heavily Republican and that it is a miracle the Busby did as well as she did...BUT once again there were allegations of foul play....and once again Democrats were silent. It looksas if Karl Rove is going to get off scott-free. He will have plenty of time to create chicanery for Republicans. What the morally challenged Republicans hope for is that the polls narrow so that they can steal it again. We are going to be told in '08 that Bill Frist is not George Bush, or thatJohn McCain in not George Bush, or that Rudy Giuliani is not George Bush.... and it's true theyaren't but what major Bush policy did they oppose......NONE. Only 38% of the people of the United States vote and of the 38% more than half of them can be fooled into voting against their own interest by the media so the political waters are not as rosy as some Democrats would have us believe. The heart of the matter is that if we want an end to Republican cronyism, racism and classism we are going to have to fight with the same bulldog tenacity of Karl Rove. This president believes he is above the law and there are very few Democrats who have the intestinal fortitude to challenge him. At a time when Howard Dean is trying his best to increase the number of Democratic voters in traditionally Republican states Senators Schumer and Emmanuel are advocates of following the same losing stragedy by preaching to the choir in spending heavily in Democratic states. This is a prescription for failure. Senator Schumer also played a pivotal role in discouraging the candidacy of a vocally Anti-Bush Democrat (Paul Hackett) who just happened to be an Iraq war veteran for running in Arkansas. It is the common people who must determine who is the real progressive Democrat and who is the DLC stooge. Here we find really the only bright spot. Democratic funding raising is surpassing Republican fundraising because the common man and woman's small donations are surpassing the huge fat cat donations to the Republicans. But this too will mean nothing if we don't have the guarantee of fair elections.
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Billy Preston 1947-2006

It is mind-boggling...the frequency in which we are losing bona-fide R&B legends. We must now add the name of Billy Preston to the evergrowing list of entertainers who have recently lost their lives. Billy Preston was a child prodigy. His career began as the pianist/organist for gospel legend Mahalia Jackson while in his early teens. Preston then was signed to Sam Cooke's SAR/Derby label but shortly after the signing Cooke was killed. Preston was a fixture on the ABC teen-oriented dance show "Shindig", where he became known as the fifth Beatle. Preston's ties with the Beatles became even stronger towards the end of the sixties when Preston played the organ on the Beatles' classic "Get Back". Billy Preston was the only artist American or otherwise to share label credit with the fab four. The single "Get Back/Don't Let Me Down" read "The Beatles With Billy Preston" George Harrison recorded the original version of "My Sweet Lord" for Billy Preston. After the Beatle break up in 1970 Preston began to tour with the Rolling Stones.
Billy Preston's solo career took off with the Quincy Jones' produced "I Wrote A Simple Song"
I was living in Spain at the time and I remember how frequently you would hear this song on the radio. When I got back to the United States I was suprised to see that "I Wrote A Simple Song" was the B-side in the States and that the hit was the rousing instrumental "Outa-Space" which won Preston a Grammy Award in 1973. After "Outa-Space" there was a succession of vocal and instrumental hits making Preston among the most versatile entertainers of the era. Both "Will It Go "Round In Circles" and "Nothing From Nothing" went to #1 nationally, more instrumental hits came with "Space Race" and "Struttin" Then Joe Cocker had a huge hit (#4) with Billy Preston's composition "You Are So Beautiful" After some troubles with drugs and the law Preston resurfaces in a somewhat unusual pairing with Syreeta Wright to produce the beautiful ballad "With You I'm Born Again" (#4 in 1980). Before the kidney problems began to challenge his mobility Preston made sporadic appearances touring with Ringo Starr's Hall Of Fame Band, but through most of the late 90s Preston was encarcerated or fighting kidney disease. One of Billy Preston's last appearances on CD was on the late Ray Charles multi-platinum recording "Genius Loves Company" Preston was the consummate entertainer, outstanding singer and instrumentalist. He will surely be missed.