Sunday, May 31, 2009

Black Scholars: Michael Eric Dyson v. Barack Obama

Is Michael Eric Dyson being critical Obama, loving him, hating him, or holding him accountable?  Dyson has joined a chorus of individuals in the black community asking for the President to show some love to his community.  Click the image to watch his interview!

Black Finance Expert Breaks Down Obama Legislation

Click the image below to hear what Dr. Boyce Watkins has to say about the new credit card legislation signed by President Barack Obama:


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Black Politics: Republicans and their silly politics


The RNC criticized the Obamas for taking a day off to visit New York city for a date night.  Read some of what they had to say:


Obama Says He Understands Americans' Economic Troubles

Obama: "There Are Still Too Many Americans Out Of Work, And Too Many Who Still Worry That Their Job May Be Next. There Are Still Too Many Families Struggling To Pay The Bills, And Too Many Businesses Struggling To Keep Their Doors Open." (President Barack Obama, Remarks At Nellis Air Force Base, Las Vegas, NV, 5/27/09)

Obama Said He Carried Stories Of Struggling Workers With Him To The White House. "We're talking about people who've lost their livelihood and don't know what will take its place. We're talking about parents who've lost their health care and lie awake at night praying their kids don't get sick. We're talking about families who've lost the home that was the corner, their foundation for their American dream, young people who put that college acceptance letter back in the envelope because they just can't afford it. That's what those numbers and statistics mean. That is the true measure of this economic crisis. Those are the stories I heard when I came to Elkhart six months ago, and those are the stories that I carried with me to the White House." (President Barack Obama, Remarks On The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Elkhart, IN, 2/9/09)


Click to read more.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Black News: Black Woman Dragged Out of Obama Briefing

A black pastor was dragged away from LAX as President Obama was boarding Air Force One.  Click the image to hear her side of the story.


Automaker Bankruptcies: How are We affected?

There was a time, not very long ago, when getting a job on the production line at a big automaker meant an instant ticket to the American dream, even for someone with little formal education. Not anymore.

"The minute you signed the paper, you were instantly vaulted into the middle class," said Mike Smith, director of Wayne State University's Walter P. Reuther Library in Detroit, named for the founder of the United Auto Workers, the union that represents auto workers.

A shrinking paycheck. As the auto industry undergoes a sea change, the government has demanded that Chrysler and General Motors (GM, Fortune 500) bring their labor costs in line with foreign competitors operating non-unionfactories in the U.S.

Today, an entry-level auto-worker will be making $14 an hour, compared to the $28 "base rate" the job had earned before, according to a summary of Chrysler's contract agreement.


Click to read.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Black News: Reverse Racism Case Plagues Obama Nominee

A reverse discrimination lawsuit filed by a group of Connecticut firefighters is shaping up to be the most contentious case in whichSonia Sotomayor participated, one sure to provoke sharp questioning when the Senate begins consideration of her nomination to theSupreme Court.

In 2008, Sotomayor was one of three judges on a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit who upheld a trial court's ruling rejecting the reverse discrimination claims by 19 white firefighters, one of whom was also Hispanic. The plaintiffs claimed that the city of New Haven violated their rights by throwing out the results of an officers' promotion exam in which minority candidates received disproportionately low scores.

The substance of that 2008 ruling, which the Supreme Court is now considering, is proving less problematic than the manner in which Sotomayor and the other two judges on her panel handled the case.

At first, they issued only a brief, unsigned summary order noting the trial court's "thorough, thoughtful, and well-reasoned opinion" rather than offering a full opinion of their own. Four months later, as the full circuit court was about to issue a ruling on whether to take up the case, they withdrew the unpublished order and issued an equally brief unsigned opinion.


Click to read.

Michelle Obama Gets Dissed by Comedian

100.3 “The Beat” in Philly asks whether or not a comedian was insulting Michelle Obama by making jokes about her height and the way she looks.  Click the image to listen!

Black News: Obama Works for Peace in the Middle East

Israel must halt West Bank settlement activity and the Palestinians need to increase West Bank security to advance the Middle East peace process, President Obama said Thursday after meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, left, meets with President Obama Thursday.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, left, meets with President Obama Thursday.

"I am confident that we can take this process forward if all the parties are willing to ... meet all the obligations that they have committed to," Obama said after meeting with Abbas at the White House.

Abbas said his Palestinian Authority was committed to fulfilling its obligations under the 2003 Middle East road map, and both men called for immediate progress in the peace process.

The talks came days before Obama is scheduled to meet with Saudi King Abdullah in Riyadh and deliver a long-awaited speech on relations between the United States and the Muslim world in Cairo, Egypt

Last week, Obama pushed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a firm Israeli commitment to Palestinian statehood as part of the so-called two-state solution -- a position strongly advocated Thursday by Abbas.

Netanyahu has committed to removing illegal settlement "outposts" but has also pledged to continue expansion, or "natural growth," of existing settlements.

At the same time, Netanyahu has refrained from endorsing Palestinian statehood, arguing that Israel first needs security guarantees and a clear Palestinian partner for peace talks.

Click to read.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Does the NCAA Exploit Black America?

Between 60 and 80 percent of athletic departments' revenue in Division IA of the National Collegiate Athletic Association comes from "activities that can be described as commercial," according to a studyissued Tuesday by the Congressional Budget Office.

While athletic officials have long tried to describe their activities as fundamentally similar to the rest of their institutions, the Congressional report suggests otherwise. It finds that the proportion of commercial revenue is seven to eight times that for the rest of the institutions' activities. As a result, athletics programs may have "crossed the line from educational to commercial endeavors," the Congressional review found. (Outside of the NCAA's top division, it found significant, but much reduced commercial revenue -- 20 to 30 percent in the rest of Division I).

Some critics of big-time college athletics have hoped that this study would prompt challenges to the tax-exempt status enjoyed by college athletics, but the report suggests otherwise.

"Removing the major tax preferences currently available to university athletic departments would be unlikely to significantly alter the nature of those programs or garner much tax revenue even if the sports programs were classified, for tax purposes, as engaging in unrelated commercial activity," the report says. "As long as athletic departments remained a part of the larger nonprofit or public university, schools would have considerable opportunity to shift revenue, costs, or both between their taxed and untaxed sectors, rendering efforts to tax that unrelated income largely ineffective. Changing the tax treatment of income from certain sources, such as corporate sponsorships or royalties from sales of branded merchandise, would be more likely to affect only the most commercial teams; it would also create less opportunity for shifting revenue or costs."

Click to read.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Black Children are Dying: Does Anyone Care?

Two weeks ago, 3-year-old Jaquan Reed was fatally shot on Chicago, Illinois', West Side.

Men participate in the Million Father March to support children going to school.

Men participate in the Million Father March to support children going to school.

While the case shook the city, such shootings involving children are no longer rare in the Windy City. Within the current academic year, 36 Chicago-area students were killed. spoke to Phillip Jackson, a well-known political activist in the city and also founder of Black Star Project, a Chicago-based community outreach group, about what is being done to end the senseless shootings involving children.

The following is an edited version of that interview:

ESSENCE: There have been so many shootings and deaths. Please tell us what's happening in Chicago? ESSENCE: Xerox names Ursula Burns CEO

Phillip Jackson: This is a national catastrophe that is happening while we as a country do nothing. We're asking for national attention. This is a pandemic. We will not be able to solve this problem in Chicago unless they can solve this same problem in Houston [Texas] and other cities. Video Watch our panelists talk about the growing violence in Chicago »

ESSENCE: The nation's first black president is from Chicago. And you still do not feel like there is enough attention placed on this problem?

Black Professional Break Down: Ursula Burns is the first Black Woman to Run a Fortune 500 – What Does that Mean?


With Ursula Burns being recently appointed as the first Black CEO of a Fortune 500 company, the Black community had a lot to say.  Most importantly, Black women and men in academia, law, and the professional world shine light on various points of view that should be considered as the nation celebrates the achievements of Burns and the Xerox Corporation.

Dr. Julianne Malveaux – President of Bennett College for Women:

“Glass ceilings are shattering and sisters are celebrating this amazing milestone. After the dust clears, let’s focus both on the glass ceiling and the sticky floor that suppresses the wages and salaries of most working women.”


Dr. Mary Stoddard, Attorney at Law – Stoddard,  Parks & Associates, PLLC:

“Having the first black female CEO of a Fortune 500 company is greatly past due. The value of a segment of the population that has been the fundamental cornerstone to the growth and development of this country is long due our nation. Because one black female has been bestowed the job, that does not remove the many who are qualified and denied the opportunity because they are a black woman.”


Click to read more comments.

Your Black News: Black Woman is First to Lead a Fortune 500 Company

Xerox named Ursula Burns to succeed Chief Executive Anne Mulcahy, in a move that makes Burns one of the most prominent African-Americans to head a Fortune 500 company.

Mulcahy, 56, an economic advisor to Barack Obama during the U.S. presidential transition, will retire as CEO on July 1. She is a 33-year veteran of Xerox, where she became CEO in 2001.

An avid biker, Burns, 50, will join a list about 15 women CEOs of a Fortune 500 company and become one of only a handful of African American CEOs. She joined Xerox in 1980 as an engineering intern, was named president in 2007, and had been groomed as the next CEO by Mulcahy. [ID:nN19438536]

Mulcahy, who has been credited with revitalizing the world's top supplier of digital printers and document management services, and also serves on Citibank's (C.N) board of directors, will remain as the company's chairman.


Click to read.

Black News: Black Unemployment Spins Out of control

by Dr Boyce Watkins

About a week ago, I received a call from a radio show host who was practically screaming through the phone. I wasn't sure if she was in labor with her first child, running from a mass murderer, or had just seen Denzel Washington in her bathroom shower. I figured that whatever she was screaming about, it had to be important.

When the radio show host informed me of the source of her discomfort, I was ready to scream myself. The black unemployment numbers, while typically absurd, had reached (in TSA language) threat level orange. During the month of April, while white unemployment nation-wide rose by only .1% (to 8.0%), black unemployment rose by a shocking 1.7% (to 15%). This means that black unemployment grew by 17 times more than white unemployment and is nearly double the rate of white America. Yes, it's time to be alarmed.

Unemployment has dropped in 21 states. The US is starting to see scant signs of an economic recovery (I'll admit that my stock portfolio is no longer on life support). The stock market has risen dramatically over the past 2 months and could be even more bullish after this week. Yet, black America is getting hammered relentlessly by the economic downturn. Not trying to bother you President Barack Obama (I know you're kind of busy with that whole North Korea thing), but do you have anything to say about this?

Continue reading Dr Boyce Money: Barack Obama and Alarming Black Unemployment

Did Obama REALLY Cut HBCU Funding?

by Kim Lampkins

When it comes to President Obama 'cutting' funds to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) ... Oh NO, he DIDN'T!

Contrary to the internet chatter stating otherwise, the Obama administration education budget DOES NOT cut funds to Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

North Carolina A&T

An AP headline and story sparked outrage last week with accusations that President Obama had "turned his back on black college students." The writer says Obama 'cut' budgets, when in fact the Obama administration increases funds to HBCU's.

The blogosphere has been absolutely rabid with criticism of President Obama's proposed education budget, and what's been described as a "cut" in funds to over a 100 of the nation's federally recognized HBCU'S--Historically Black Colleges and Universities. At issue, a temporary 2-year grant created by Congress in 2007 to supplement the already existing Title III provisions. On the issue, the shouts of "hold the President accountable" are ricocheting throughout cyberspace! On this issue,my voice is not part of the chorus.
** Title III: The program helps eligible institutions of higher learning to become self-sufficient and expand their capacity to serve low-income students by providing funds to improve and strengthen the academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability of eligible institutions.
**In 2007 Congress passed sweeping legislation to make college more affordable for students across the nation, via the College Cost Reduction and Access Act. (CCRAA) As part of this landmark piece of legislation 170-million dollars (85-million each for fiscal years 2008 and 2009) was targeted for 105 HBCU's via Title III. The funds were part of an overall 510-million dollars included in an over 18-BILLION dollar piece of legislation. Hispanic, Native American and other minorities institutions also benefited from this 510-million dollar provision to help offset years of underfunding.
Fast forward:
When the Obama Administration's Fiscal Year 2010 budget was released last week, many were dismayed that this 2-year supplemental grant--85-million dollars each year--was not extended beyond its expiration date. Many, in my viewmischaracterized this as a budget 'cut'. It was, in my view, mischaracterized as a sign of President Obama's indifference to Black college students and HBCU's. I didn't buy it!
In an effort to find out how HBCU officials were interpreting the news, I spoke with a Title III Administrator at an HBCU in the northeastern U.S. This official acknowledged that he, "never expected to receive the extra funds past the 2009 expiration date." He said, "It was understood that they were temporary grants for 2008 and 2009."
He was however, concerned that the budgetproposal submitted by President Bush in June of 2008 did NOT include the extra funds, but had actually cut traditional discretionary funding by 85-million dollars, while using the temporary Congressionally mandated grant funds to make up the difference. He was concerned about how that proposed cut would pan out beyond 2009.
Our conversation took place Tuesday (5/19) before he saw the actual numbers in the Obama administration education budget; however he learned the answers today (Thursday 5/21) after receiving and reviewing the budget.
Via email this HBCU official writes: "I just reviewed a copy of President Obama’s budget request for the Department of Education. In that request, President Obama is recommending $296,595,000 for the HBCU and HBGI (Historically Black Graduate Institutions) programs and an additional $85,000,000 for the CCRAA in fiscal year 2009 that begins on October 1, 2009.

As I indicated previously, it was understood that the CCRAA grant is a two year grant, the first award received in Fiscal Year 2008.

President Obama’s budget for FY 2010 shows increases in the appropriations for HBCU ($250,000,000) and HBGI ($61,425,000); together, this request represents a $20,830,000 increase in the appropriation over the preceding year.

How can this be interpreted as not supporting Black Colleges? Someone is sorely misinformed about the President’s support. What President Obama has initiated, so far, indicates more than ever that he supports Black Colleges."
End of email

Still, there is a move a afoot on Capitol Hill by UNCF officials and others to have the temporary grant made permanent. Requests have been made to House and Senate Approriations Committees for a line item increase in the budget. UNCF President and CEO Dr. Michael Lomax states, "I'm confident that if the request is made, President Obama will not reject it."

I close with this: I understand the calls to hold the President accountable, we should absolutely hold all of our elected officials accountable. But WHO was holding then President Bush accountable when HE proposed to decrease the HBCU's budget and make up the difference with funds from the Congressionally mandated College Cost Reduction and Access Act (CCRAA)? That budget proposal basically amounted to a proposed misuse of funds. IMHO

Monday, May 25, 2009

President Obama Gets Tough with North Korea

President Obama assailed North Korea Monday for new missile tests, saying the world must "stand up to"Pyongyang and demand that it honor a promise to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

Appearing on the White House steps, Obama said that its latest nuclear underground test and subsequent test firings of short-range ground to air missiles "pose a grave threat to the peace and security of the world and I strongly condemn their reckless action."

It was his second statement within hours of the tests, the latest in a number of nuclear actions that Obama said "endanger the people of Northeast Asia." He called it "a blatant violation of international law" and said that it contradicted North Korea's "own prior commitments." Obama had released a written statement chastising the North Koreans in the early morning hours of Monday.

In his statement in the White House Rose Garden, he noted that the latest tests had drawn scorn around the world. Pyongyang's actions "have flown in the face of U.N. resolutions" and had deepened its isolation, he said, "inviting stronger international pressure."

"North Korea will not find security and respect through threats and illegal weapons," the president said. "We will work with our friends and allies to stand up to this behavior. The United States will never waver from our determination to protect our people and the peace and security of the world."


Click to read.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Black News: Obama Signs a Major New Bill

U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law on Friday sweeping reforms that restrict credit card interest rates and fees, marking a victory for Democrats trying to help recession-weary consumers and a setback for banks seeking to retain sorely-needed revenues.

The law is expected to hurt profits of major card issuers such asCitigroup Inc, Bank of America Corp, JPMorgan Chase & Co andCapital One Financial Corp. Banks say the changes may cut the flow of credit to consumers because it will make it more difficult for issuers to set rates based on the risk their customers pose.

"With this bill we are putting in place some common sense reforms designed to protect consumers," Obama said at a signing ceremony at the White House.

"We're not going to be giving people a free pass and we expect consumers to live within their means and pay what they owe. But we also expect financial institutions to act with the same sense of responsibility that the American people aspire to in their own lives," he said.

Enactment marks the crest of a backlash against the card industry after years of rate and fee hikes and aggressive marketing programs that have angered consumers, analysts said.


Click to read.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Black Scholar Says Public Intellectuals are Failing Their Communities

Houston Baker was at the first one-day Celebration of Black Writing party 25 years ago, when he was a professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

Today, Baker, 66, is a distinguished professor at Vanderbilt University, whose latest book, "Betrayal: How Black Intellectuals Have Abandoned the Ideals of the Civil Rights Era" advances his reputation as a no-holds-barred cultural critic.

In his book, Baker contends that many of the black public intellectuals who appear on network and cable television talk shows have essentially turned their backs on poor African-Americans.

"They are saying if people are in a bad place - if they are impoverished and disproportionately imprisoned and racially-profiled and killed in drive-by shootings - it's a result of bad behavior," Baker said in a telephone interview last week.

"It has nothing to do with municipal or state or federal laws and policies such as those that put some drug users in rehab and others in prison."

Among the black intellectuals that Baker is most sharply critical of are well-known conservative writers and thinkers such as Hoover Institute senior fellow Shelby Steele, Manhattan Institute fellow John McWhorter and comedian Bill Cosby, who has criticized poor black parents, Baker said, "for the way they talk and dress when they probably don't have two quarters to put together."


Click to read.

Funny News: CNN Headline - Notice the Typo?

With a company that made $47 Billion dollars in revenue last year, you would think that they would check the lead story of their headlines page for typos.   Hilarious

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Why Tenure must be Reformed at American Universities

Dr. Billy Hawkins, University of Georgia

A typical error Black academics make is to believe that the academy is open and accepting of new ideas and insights. They initially welcome us with open arms, but we soon find out that the shelf life of this welcome is brief and that their minds were never really open and accepting. I have come to think of it in terms of the structural deficiencies and inability of these institutions to sincerely assimilate fresh new perspectives and energies into their paradigms. Therefore, in the context of the phrase “new wine in old wineskins” the evolutionary Messiah, Jesus Christ, informs of the perils of progressive thinking within an archaic system.

Dr. Boyce Watkins lack of tenure at the University of Syracuse speaks to this issue and to the broader issue of how Predominantly White Institutions are conservative and myopic in their agendas, curricula, and missions than they are progressive and bastions of forward-thinkers. The tenure process has always worked as a mechanism to temper and corral the radical embers that spark change from the status quo and challenge previous preconceive notions. Inherent in the tenure and promotion process are prescriptions for appropriate behavior and academic inquiry. Speaking truth to power is not one of the prescriptions rewarded in this process, especially if you are a Black professor.

Click to read.

Obama: Bush Policies Weakened America

President Obama said Thursday that some of the terror suspects now being held at Guantanamo Bay may end up in the nation's "supermax" prisons, and he said the United States may have to indefinitely hold others if it is clear that releasing them would endanger the American people.

Obama said an ad hoc, ineffective legal framework set up to fight terrorism by the Bush administration has "weakened American national security" since the 9/11 attacks.

In a speech at the National Archives aimed at explaining his policies toward detainees and hushing critics who say he could put the nation at risk by closing the Guantanamo prison, Obama vowed to continue dismantling flawed policies that he said have been used as a rallying cry for terrorists.


Click to read.

Black Money: Are Credit Card Companies Just Financial Drug Dealers?


Dr Boyce Watkins doesn’t like the way credit card companies exploit college students.  He argues that credit card companies should be regulated and that there should be greater controls over how much access these companies have to students.  He also feels that Russell Simmons has a great idea with the Rush Card, but that the fees should be reduced to avoid the perception of predatory banking.

In this interview, Dr Boyce Watkins and NPR host Michel Martin discuss The Rush Card, college students and credit cards.  Click the image to watch!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Malcolm X’s Birthday Reminds us of his greatness

America doesn’t care to remember the birth date of Malcolm X, but many of us do.  Malcolm was a respectful and educated child.  But the horrors of racism can breed an anger inside a man that is difficult to describe.  Continuous dehumanization, having others questioning your capabilities, and living in a world of double standards is enough to burn a man’s psyche.  It takes time and maturity to eventually let go of the anger and focus on strength through love.  That is what Malcolm represented, as he was one of the most articulate, focused and visionary leaders of the 20th century….in a fair world, he would have been President of the United States.

To this day, many are still ignorant about Malcolm’s actual legacy.  But the truth is that he was one of the greatest Americans who ever lived.  In fact, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would never have been successful had it not been for the leadership of Malcolm X.  Malcolm made the sacrifice, Dr. King’s followers received some of the benefits.  We miss you Malcolm and we love you.  Thank you for being such a patriot.

A video of one of his speeches is below.  Click the image to watch. Enjoy!


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Black People Suffering the Most During Recession

Storefront after storefront are closed and buildings are boarded up and falling into disrepair in Selma.

To cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge into Selma is to share a stage with history. And these days, it is to come face-to-face with a bleak present.

Storefront after storefront is closed, and many of the buildings in the famous photos from the days of the historic March 1965 events have fallen into disrepair.

"It is very depressing," Selma Mayor George P. Evans tells us during an evening walk down Broad Street in downtown. "People are not buying. People are not spending. Businesses are going out of business."

This is the heart of Alabama's "Black Belt," and Selma is a reminder that a recession that has punished so many across America has hit hardest in places that were already struggling.

"A double whammy," Evans says. "It does seem to be those cities with the largest population of minorities that has taken the biggest hit."


Click to read.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

“Gay Marriage Will Hurt Small Business” – Chairman Michael Steele

Republicans can reach a broader base by recasting gay marriage as an issue that could dent pocketbooks as small businesses spend more on health care and other benefits, GOP Chairman Michael Steele said Saturday.

Steele said that was just an example of how the party can retool its message to appeal to young voters and minorities without sacrificing core conservative principles. Steele said he used the argument weeks ago while chatting on a flight with a college student who described herself as fiscally conservative but socially liberal on issues like gay marriage.

"Now all of a sudden I've got someone who wasn't a spouse before, that I had no responsibility for, who is now getting claimed as a spouse that I now have financial responsibility for," Steele told Republicans at the state convention in traditionally conservative Georgia. "So how do I pay for that? Who pays for that? You just cost me money."

As Steele talked about ways the party could position itself, he also poked fun at his previous pledge to give the GOP a "hip-hop makeover."

"You don't have to wear your pants cut down here or the big bling," he said.

Click to read.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

NY Times Poll Reveals Flaws in Race Analysis

metzlerBy Dr. Christopher J. Metzler

A recent New York Times/CBS poll concluded that race relations are improving in the wake of the election of President Obama. According to the survey, about 66 percent of Americans said that race relations are generally good compared with 53 percent in July of last year. Fifty-nine percent of African-Americans – along with 65 percent of whites – now characterize the relationship between Blacks and Whites in America as ‘good,’ The New York Times proclaimed with glee, “Barack Obama’s presidency seems to be altering the public perception of race relations in the United States.” The Huffington Post also chimed in claiming that “Obama’s race relations effect is real.”

It seems that the single event of the election of President Obama has erased America’s racial transgressions in one fell swoop and has improved the relationship between Blacks and Whites overnight. The problem, however, is not relations between Blacks and Whites; there is no evidence yet that the election of President Obama has had more than a symbolic (but important) effect on America’s still unresolved and conflicted relationship with race.

Obama’s election has not changed the fact that in this economic downturn, Black unemployment is at approximately 15 percent while White unemployment is at approximately eight percent. Since his election, racial profiling has not stopped, the educational achievement gap between Blacks and Whites has not narrowed. In addition, the President did not attend, nor did he send a delegation to the World Racism conference in Geneva. Thus, it can be argued that Obama’s election has had nothing but a symbolic effect on race. The difficulty with this argument is that it suffers from the same flaw in logic that is inherent in the New York Times/CBS News poll.

First, the question in the poll was about race relations. That is, the interpersonal relationship between Blacks and Whites. But, the issue is not race relations, it is whether the President will use his bully pulpit to eradicate the substantive racial inequalities that afflict Blacks in America. Much like he will use it to bring peace to the Middle East.

Click to read more on our Black Scholars Blog.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Why Does Notre Dame Hate Obama?

Greer Hannan will mark President Obama's attendance at her University of Notre Damegraduation Sunday by having a cross and a pair of baby feet printed on her mortar board. Some of her classmates plan to skip the ceremony to lead a protest across campus. The local bishop and former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican say they won't even show up to share the stage with a man who supports abortion rights.

Obama's first pass at the annual springtime rite for presidents — delivering commencement addresses at a couple of universities or colleges and one military academy — has caused controversy at two of the three schools the White House selected from dozens of invitations.

At Arizona State University, where Obama speaks on Wednesday, officials have been scrambling for weeks to explain why they won't give the president an honorary degree, a routine gesture at many universities for those invited to speak on graduation day.

The biggest controversy, though, is at Notre Dame, the South Bend, Ind., Catholic university where President John Jenkins says he is "delighted" Obama is coming, but the local bishop says the invitation has caused a breach with the church.


Click to read.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Black News: Jesse Jackson Plans to Visit Iran

KUALA LUMPUR, April 22 (Bernama) -- Prominent American civil rights and political activist Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr plans to lead a delegation to Iran to appeal for and secure the release of Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi who had been sentenced to eight years jail for allegedly spying for the United States.

Jackson, who is the president and founder of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, an organisation fighting for social change, said visas had been applied for and he hoped that they would get the necessary approval to undertake the mission to Tehran.

"I hope our appeal to release her (Saberi) will be heard and we will be allowed into Tehran to make the appeal and gain her freedom," he told reporters after delivering a talk on "Building A Culture of Peace and Development in a Globalised World", here today.

The event was organised by the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations (IDFR) under the series, "Bridges-Dialogues Towards a Culture of Peace".


Click to read.

Comedian Wanda Sykes Slams Rush Limbaugh

Wanda Sykes at The White House Correspondent’s dinner: “

“I think RushLimbaugh was the 20th [Sept. 11th] hijacker, but he was so strung out on Oxycontin he missed his flight” – Click the image to watch!

Dick Cheney Slams Colin Powell

Former Vice President Dick Cheney took an extraordinary public swipe at Colin Powell Sunday, questioning in a TV interview whether the former Bush administration secretary of state was even a Republican anymore.

Cheney, appearing on CBS's Face the Nation, said he was taking the side of Rush Limbaugh over Powell in the ongoing dispute in the GOP between the conservative talk show host and moderate retired general.

"Well if I had to choose in terms of being a Republican, I’d go with Rush Limbaugh," Cheney told moderator Bob Schieffer.  "My take on it was Colin had already left the party -- I didn't know he was still a Republican."

A somewhat taken-aback Schieffer asked: "You think he's not a Republican?"


Click to read.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Study Says Non-Threatening Black Men Get More Shots at Leadership Opps

Black Fortune 500 CEOs with a "babyface" appearance are more likely to lead companies with higher revenues and prestige than black CEOs who look more mature, an upcoming study says.

In contrast with research showing that white executives are hindered by babyface characteristics, a disarming appearance can help black CEOs by counteracting the stigma that black men are threatening, according to the study from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.

The study is scheduled to be published in the journal Psychological Science in September.

A babyface is characterized by combinations of attributes, including a round face, full cheeks, larger forehead, small nose, large ears and full lips, the study says.

Decades of research has shown that people believe babyfaced adults to be more trustworthy, and respond to them with greater patience, sensitivity and compassion, according to Robert Livingston, co-author of the study and an assistant professor of organizations and management at Kellogg.

In the study, a group of 21 college students was shown photographs of 40 current and past CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Eleven of the students were white, 10 were Asian and 10 were female.

Of the 40 CEOs, 10 were black (only 10 blacks have ever led Fortune 500 companies). For every black CEO, a current or former white CEO from the same company was included. Another 10 CEOs were white women, and 10 white male CEOs were chosen at random.

Participants rated each photo on scale of 1-4 for "babyfaceness," leadership competence and personal warmth.



Click to read.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Black News: Rush Limbaugh Tells Colin Powell to Leave Republican Party

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh Wednesday that if former Secretary of State Colin Powell is going to keep criticizing the GOP, he may as well leave the party and become a Democrat—adding that Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama was “purely and solely based on race.”

“He's just mad at me because I’m the one person in the country that had the guts to explain his endorsement of Obama,” Limbaugh said on his radio show. “There can be no other explanation for it.”


Click to read.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

DC Mayor Adrian Fenty Works with Hip Hop

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D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) showed his love of hip-hop today when Darryl McDaniels, better known as DMC of legendary Run-DMC, helped the city launch its month-long campaign to increase foster homes.

DMC are McDaniels's initials, but Fenty said, "I thought it stood for devastating mic control," referring to the lyrics of "King of Rock."

That led to a brief, impromptu rap by McDaniels with Fenty chiming in.
Fenty said he remembered seeing a concert at the 9:30 Club. McDaniels said that had to be 1986. "I was in high school," Fenty said after the press conference at the the Post Permanency Family Center in Northeast, a support center for foster and adoptive families.

On a serious note, McDaniels, 44, said he learned he was adopted nearly a decade ago, giving him a a larger purpose than being a celebrity. His story became an award-winning documentary, and he now dedicates his life to helping and inspiring foster and adopted children.

He will be in the District for the next two days, visiting children and filming an ad for the city's foster care program, made possible with a $100,000 donation from Freddie Mac Foundation.

The city's Child and Family Services Agency, long troubled by a backlog and other problems, has access to 1,224 license foster homes, but only 438 are within the city's borders.

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Obama’s Choice of the Next Supreme Court Justice

Dr. Christopher Metzler

2009 seems to be the year that the American electorate is turning left of center.

Evidence of this include the election of President Obama, the election of a Democratic controlled Congress, the Supreme Court of Iowa sanctioned same sex marriage, Vermont allows same sex marriage and several other states are soon to follow. Is this left of center shift better for the country than the right of center shift? To be sure, the shift is attributed to the disappearance of the liberal wing of the Republican Party and the disappearance of the conservative wing of the Democratic Party. Is there a need to balance this shift?

Justice Roberts and President ObamaNoticeably absent from the left of center direction is the Supreme Court of the United States. On the issue of race, the Roberts Court seem poised to adopt the legal and amorphous fiction of a "color blind" America. For example, on school desegregation the Court limited the ability of school boards to implement voluntary school desegregation plans, raised significant legal and procedural hurdles for plaintiffs bringing discrimination law suits. On the Court's docket are three cases with racial implications Ricci (Affirmative Action), Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Mukasey (Voting Rights), and Padilla v. Kentucky (Immigration and the right to counsel).

Addressing the right of center approach to jurisprudence, the first bill signed by President Obama was the Lily Ledbetter Act which sought to correct the doctrinal and ideological shift of the Roberts Court on pay discrimination in particular. The new law amends Title VII, by providing, "unlawful employment practice occurs, with respect to discrimination in compensation in violation of this title, when a discriminatory compensation decision or other practice is adopted, when an individual becomes subject to a discriminatory compensation decision or other practice, or when an individual is affected by application of a discriminatory compensation decision or other practice, including each time wages, benefits, or other compensation is paid, resulting in whole or in part from such a decision or other practice."

The Ledbetter Act is a clear rebuke of the right leaning ideological shift of the court. Of course, a President cannot govern by gaining the political muscle to overturn decisions of the United States Supreme Court. Thus, he uses his appointments to the ostensibly independent judiciary to further his political agenda. Obama will not be the first President to do so. In fact, the right of center ideological shift is due to both Presidents Bush.

Despite the claim that Presidents appoint Supreme Court justices based on Qualifications and not on ideology, the ideological and political tilt of the Roberts Court and courts before it reflects the ideology of the appointing President (with the exception of Justice Souter). So fittingly, with Justice Souter resigning and President Obama set to name his replacement, what factors will the President consider?

As a candidate for President, Obama said, "I will seek somebody with a sharp and independent mind, and a record of excellence and integrity," he said. "I will seek someone who understands that justice isn't about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a case book, it is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people's lives, whether they can make a living, and care for their families, whether they feel safe in their homes, and welcome in their own nation. I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with peoples hopes and struggles as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes."

Thus, by his own admission the President seems poised to select someone who is left of center and thus solidify the ideological left of center and right of center divide that infects the judiciary. To be sure, his appointment will not change the constitution of the court since Souter is left of center. This however, is not the question. The question is where a President promises "change that we can believe in", does that change include not changing the ideological shift of the Supreme Court of the United States? If it does, were Americans voting for change in the politics of ideology or were Americans voting for change in party? If Americans were voting for a change in party and not ideology, then the President would have a difficult time appointing a white man or one who many in the left of center bloc would argue "thinks like a white man" to the Supreme Court of the United States. Just like race was a factor in the Bush 41 decision to appoint Justice Thomas to the Court, so too will race, gender, and age be a factor in Obama's decision. A major consideration for the President is going to be appointing a young judge who can shape the ideological intestines of the Court interminably.

Also by him own ingress, the President will select someone who understands the reality of everyday Americans. This unshrouds the President's view of altering the landscape of the Court by appointing justices now and in the course of his Presidency who are unlike the current Supreme Court where all of the Justices have come from the Federal Courts of Appeal. The model of course will not be aboriginal. The Court that decided Brown v. Board,(the law declaring separate is unequal) Gideon v. Wainright (the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution required that indigent non- capital criminal defendants be provided with counsel), Miranda v. Arizona (Miranda rights), and Loving V. Virginia (which allowed inter-racial marriage) was comprised of those who "combined empathy and understanding" in its judicial decisions.

Of course, it is not the kind of "empathy and understanding that the Roberts Court have shown on the issue of race. It has chosen, instead to employ the juridical framework of formal equality and the aspirational, controversial rhetorical of a "color-blind America." Let's be clear. The nomination of a Supreme Court justice is among the single most political decision that a President will make. Thus, advocacy groups on all sides of the issue will pressure the President to alter the judicial landscape in their favor.

Responding to the vitriolic attack on Senator Leahy by advocacy groups who supported current Chief Justice Robert's confirmation, then Senator Obama said, "These groups on the right and left should not resort to the sort of broad-brush dogmatic attacks that have hampered the process in the past and constrained each and every senator in this chamber from making sure that they are voting on the basis of their conscience." But, elections matter and the question is how will the President's conscience blend with the politics of race, age and gender as well as ideology?

Dr. Christopher J. Metzler is associate dean at Georgetown University and the author of The Construction and Rearticulation of Race in a Post-Racial America.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Marc Lamont Hill: An Intellectual Leader


TEMPLE UNIVERSITY hip-hop scholar Dr. Marc Lamont Hill and I are sitting side-by-side on a Friday-afternoon Acela to Washington where he will be on a too-large panel giving a report card to President Obama.

Hill is Philadelphia's best-known and most visible African-American academic specializing in hip-hop, youth culture and controversial opinions.

The panel, at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, draws about 225 interested citizens, more than 95 percent African-American. Most have grievances about America and no panelist hands Obama a straight A grade. Hill gives him a C.

I take a seat in the back of the fifth-floor hall, one row in front of a Beyonce-beautiful woman in a skin-tight, let's-go-clubbing dress and push-up bra.

Hill traveled to D.C. on his own dime, not even taking expense money. As a much-in-demand speaker, he feels obliged to scatter some freebies among the 50-plus appearances he makes each year.

Like his mentor, former Penn prof Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, he describes himself as "public intellectual."



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Friday, May 1, 2009

Michelle’s Stock Rises Higher than Her Husband

Heather Ferreira works in the slums of Mumbai, India, where she has watched thousands of women live under a "curse."

The women she meets in the squalid streets where "Slumdog Millionaire" was filmed are often treated with contempt, she says. They're considered ugly if their skin and hair are too dark. They are deemed "cursed" if they only have daughters. Many would-be mothers even abort their children if they learn they're female.

Yet lately she says Indian women are getting another message from the emergence of another woman thousands of miles away. This woman has dark skin and hair. She walks next to her husband in public, not behind. And she has two daughters. But no one calls her cursed. They call her Michelle Obama, the first lady.

"She could be a new face for India," says Ferreira, program officer for an HIV-prevention program run by World Vision, an international humanitarian group. "She shows women that it's OK to have dark skin and to not have a son. She's quite real to us."



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