Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Will Class Trump Experience & Race and Make Caroline KennedyThe Next NY Senator

Not as far as New York activist Al Sharpton is concerned. He said in a statement that he is neutral but also defended Caroline Kennedy.

"I unequivocally disagree with those that say she is not qualified," he said, adding that Kennedy'sMore HERE I guess Al Sharpton feels that she deserves to be eased into a U.S. Senate seat because of her class and name? I guess her calls Sharptonblack folks hard hit in this economy. civic involvement makes her qualified. worked. Al must believe that she will fight harder NY residents and

Caroline Kennedy

AAPP: Hey, Rev. I understand that Caroline Kennedy is a very nice women. But Al, stop kissing up! You don't represent how all black people feel about Caroline Kennedy or for that matter Jesse Jackson Jr. There are many differing views.

Get this Rev. Al, as the New York Times reported, "She has not held a full-time job in years, has not run for even the lowliest office." More HERE Rev. Al you know here background, just as much as the NY Times who are reporting that she has no real work experience, aside from a 22-month, three-day-a-week stint as director of strategic partnerships for the New York City schools, her commitments generally involve nonprofit boards: the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc., the American Ballet Theater, the Commission on Presidential DebatesJohn F. Kennedy Library Foundation. More HERE and the

Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg speaks at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Rev. Al, you know, News Day also reports that Caroline Bouvier Kennedy, JFK's only surviving child, has spent a lifetime on one podium or another, but has never sought elected office, a gap in her resume that is leading some fellow Democrats to ridicule the notion of naming her as Hillary Rodham Clinton's replacement in the U.S. Senate. More HERE

AAPP: Not everyone in Black NY or in Black Chicago are kissing up like Al Sharpton. But I will tell yah, the possibility of two or three black U.S. Senate seats seems to be over. It seems that black leadership in America is quiet of the Kennedy issue, or are kissing up... big time. There are many grassroot black folks who are concerned about the message being sent about Class and Race in the U.S. and whether OBAMA's CHANGE in his backdoor support of another Kennedy, or Biden, is just another day of old-school American politics that people are sick of. For me, I don't get this, is Carolyn Kennedy's only claim to fame, that she was raised on New York's Fifth Avenue after the assassination of her father, President John F. Kennedy?

Is there not more of a standard other than, "civic involvement," whatever that means. Why is it that Kennedy can be a front runner because of her name - with no experience, yet, a black person can have years of experience and be at the bottom of the list?

Is class and race involved? Of course it is. But guess what, Hillary Clinton is said to like the idea of Buffalo mayor Byron Brown. No idealist, he'd bring a hardball game to Washington. He'd be the first black Senator from New York. More HERE

As Karen Tumulty of the Times.com also noted, "The state has no shortage of more seasoned politicians who are also interested in the job. Among those who are being mentioned as possible candidates are Kennedy's former cousin-in-law, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo; at least four current House members, including Kirsten Gillibrand, Carolyn Maloney, Brian Higgins and Steve Israel; Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown; and Nassau County executive Tom Suozzi. Last week, New York Congressman Gary Ackerman said he didn't know of any qualifications that Kennedy has, "except that she has name recognition — but so does J. Lo." (See other possible candidates for Clinton's Senate seat.)" More HERE

Kennedy, daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy and niece of another Kennedy who previously held the seat — the late Robert F. Kennedy — decided "after a series of deeply personal and political conversations, in which Ms. Kennedy, who friends describe as unflashy but determined, wrestled with whether to give up what has been a lifetime of avoiding the spotlight." That, according to the Times' Nicholas Confessore, who reports that Kennedy will ask Gov. David Paterson (D) for consideration for the appointment. Source: NPR's Political Junkie

Historic Kennedy family campaign buttons.

Two years after JFK was elected president, his brother Ted won a Senate seat in Massachusetts, and brother Bobby was elected in New York two years after that. JFK's grandfather John "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald, mayor of Boston, failed in a 1916 Senate bid against Republican Henry Cabot Lodge. Source: NPR's Political Junkie

As NPR's Political Junkie notes, "There has been no shortage of names thrown in the mix of potential candidates for the Senate post. As we wrote on Dec. 2, the list is thought to include state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand from upstate, Rep. Brian Higgins of Buffalo, Rep. Carolyn Maloney of Manhattan, and Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi." More HERE

As reported by Elizabeth Moore of Newsday, Kennedy campaigned with her "Uncle Teddy" to elect Hillary Clinton to the Senate. But it was Obama, not Clinton, who got her endorsement at a critical moment this year, in words that not so subtly slighted Bill Clinton as well.

"I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them," she wrote in a New York Times op-ed in January. "But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president."

Elizabeth Moore notes that Clinton allies -- and those of state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who is divorced from one of Kennedy's cousins -- were blunt last week in airing their doubts on Kennedy's fitness for the office. It's a debate that is fast becoming a proxy for the larger turf battles within the Obama-era Democratic Party. More HERE

Like the Political Junkie I also have to wonder how much warmth there is between Caroline and Hillary. The Clintons had lobbied hard for the endorsement of Sen. Ted Kennedy, and many in the Clinton camp were thrown for a loop when Ted and Caroline joined the Obama bandwagon.

Caroline Kennedy, right, and Hillary Clinton wave to the crowd following a campaign speech for Clinton's Senate race on Oct. 17, 2000. Kennedy, from a famous political family, has decided to pursue the Senate seat of Clinton, who has been nominated Secretary of State.
Reuters file photo

AAPP: I have been reading a lot about Caroline Kennedy lately, and as John Mecurio recently wrote in the National Journal, "Caroline Kennedy seems like an intelligent, competent woman. Her family should be proud of how she has conducted her life: as a (relatively) private citizen who, unlike many of her more ambitious relatives, has never openly sought advantage, political or financial, from her famous family name. She's never shown any enthusiasm for a job that people work tirelessly to acquire. Which is why she would be a bizarre choice." More HERE

John Mecurio also notes, "The choice is particularly curious in the wake of Obama's victory last month. I've always found it awkward to watch Obama embrace the Kennedy legacy as part of his mantra for "change." In some ways, they couldn't be more different. The story of Obama, who spent the past two years calming Americans' concerns about his untraditional family tree, centers on the claim that anyone can achieve anything, regardless of race or class. The story of the Kennedys, meanwhile, is America's most beloved bow to political dynasties and inherited prominence.

Democrats can... Read MORE HERE

African American Political Pundit is a 2008 DNCC Credentialed Democratic National Convention Blogger, and writes for African American Political Pundit Blog.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

oops He Missed! Man Shows Iraqi Resentment, Throws Shoes at George W Bush - Video

Get this folks, as reported by the NY Times and the LA Times an Iraqi journalist shouted in Arabic — “This is a gift from the Iraqis; this is the farewell kiss, you dog” — and threwshoes at the president, who ducked and narrowly avoided being struck. As chaos ensued, he threw his other shoe, shouting, “This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq.” one of his
The second shoe also narrowly missed Mr. Bush as Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki stuck out a hand in front of the president’s face to help shield him. More HERE

The incident will serve as a vivid reminder of the widespread opposition to the US-led invasion of, and subsequent war in, Iraq - the conflict which has come to define Bush's presidency says Aljazeera.

WaPo and Reuters, are also reporting on how George Bush arrived in Baghdad today for a farewell visit. WaPo reports Bush staunchly defended a war that has taken far more time, money and lives than anticipated, saying the conflict "has not been easy" but was necessary for U.S. security, Iraqi stability and "world peace."

But during a press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Bush received a taste of the immense resentment many Iraqis feel toward toward his policies: an Iraqi journalist took off his shoes and hurled both of them at Bush, one after the other.

The incident lent an air of chaos and farce to a trip intended to highlight improving security conditions in the war-torn country.

An Iraqi man throws a shoe at President George W. Bush during a new conference with Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Sunday, Dec. 14, 2008, in Baghdad. A man threw two shoes at Bush, one after another, during the news conference. Bush ducked both throws, and neither man was hit. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

"This is the end!" the man, identified as Muntadar al-Zaidi, a reporter with the Cairo-based network Al Baghdadia Television, yelled as he threw the first shoe at Bush. The president narrowly missed being hit, according to on-scene reports.

The man then managed to toss a second shoe close to Bush before a scrum of security agents tackled him to the floor and removed him from an ornate room where the press conference was taking place.

Bush was not injured and joked about the incident. "All I can report is it is a size 10," he said.

Zaidi was seated in the second row of seats, about 12 feet from Bush's lectern. Zaidi, colleagues said, was kidnapped by Shiite militiamen last year and was later released. Throwing a shoe at someone is considered the worst possible insult in Iraq, and is meant to show extreme disrespect and hatred towards someone More HERE

AAPP: I guess his trip like his troubled presidency is nothing more than a horrible joke to the American people and the world. As US News notes Bush, "thought his presidency would somehow conclude on a high note despite his abysmal job-approval ratings and his unpopular policies." More HERE

Friday, December 12, 2008

Few Blacks and Minorities In Obama Administration (Thus Far)

OK, So the American people seem to be happy with Barack Obama's appointments thus far.

Get this, President-elect Barack Obama approaches the White House with a deep well of public support, according to a new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll. they report that nearly three-quarters of those surveyed felt positive about Obama's election as president. I do too, but


I must say, "I'm still concerned that Barack Obama has failed to reach the bar created by Bill Clinton who promised to change the government's complexion. Bill Clinton did a great job at it." Black Americans waited in long lines to vote for Change. African-American voters waited more than twice as long as others to vote in last month's presidential election, and Hispanics were asked to show identification more often-More HERE. Bill Clinton appointed blacks into his administration in great numbers, Why can't Barack Obama?

Voters line up outside Rosemont Middle School in Norfolk, Va., on Election Day. African-American voters reported waiting for an average of 29 minutes to vote on Nov. 4, compared with an average wait of 13 minutes for others.

Photo: Eileen Blass, USAToday

Last week I posted on how many blacks and other minorities are in Barack Obama's Cabinet? In the post I noted that "Black folks, yes Blacks and Latinos Americans, like all Americans, are watching the new Obama administration closely regarding his Cabinet appointments. Many are wondering if diversity will be an issue in Obama’s Administration? In fact, many are wondering, will Obama's Cabinet favor whites? Black folks are even wondering if will get better Access to the White House."

I pointed out that US Today noted a number of years ago, until Bill Clinton, Presidential Cabinets were overwhelmingly the province of white Anglo men. They made up 85% of the appointments by President Reagan, who over eight years had only one African-American and one Hispanic in his Cabinet. White Anglo men made up 71% of the first President Bush's Cabinet. (The Cabinet statistics in this story reflect those offices designated by law as Cabinet posts. Some presidents have chosen to give other officials comparable Cabinet-level status.) More HERE

Clinton promised to change the government's complexion. "My commitment is to give you an administration that looks like America," he said during the 1992 campaign. "I would be astonished if my Cabinet and my administration and my staff ... is not the most fully integrated this country has ever seen."

Over eight years and 29 appointments, Clinton had in his Cabinet five women, seven African-Americans, three Hispanics (one of them named to two posts) and one Asian-American.

Over four years and 24 appointments, Bush has named to his Cabinet five women, four African-Americans, three Hispanics and two Asian-Americans.

Before Bush, no person of color had been named to any of the four most prestigious Cabinet jobs — at the departments of State, Treasury, Defense and Justice. Now he has named two blacks as secretary of State and a Mexican-American as attorney general.

When Clinton was elected to his first four-year term in 1992, one of the first things he did was appoint Blacks to his Cabinet. Among the Black Cabinet appointees during his two terms in office were Ron Brown, U.S. Secretary of Commerce; Mike Espy, Secretary of Agriculture; Alexis Herman, Secretary of Labor; Hazel O'Leary, Secretary of Energy; Rodney Slater, Secretary of Transportation; Jesse Brown, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, who was succeeded by Togo West, and Dr. Jocelyn Elders, U.S. Surgeon General, who was succeeded by Dr. David Satcher.

Clinton also appointed nine Blacks as assistants to the president--the highest rank in the White House. Among those appointments were Ben Johnson, director of the President's Initiative for One America; Maggie Williams, the first lady's chief of staff; Alexis Herman, director of public liaison, White House, who later became labor secretary; Minyon Moore, director, political affairs; Terry Edmonds, director of speech writing; Thurgood Marshall Jr., director of Cabinet Affairs; Mark Lindsey, director of administration, and Bob Nash, director of personnel. Source

In Clinton's first term, 47% of those he appointed to the Cabinet were women or people of color. Bush had precisely the same percentage in his first term. By the end of Clinton's second term, his figure had risen to 52%. Source

As part of the post I asked a question: what will Barack Obama do?

Well let's take a look at the Obama administration, which appears to be the province of white men and women.

President’s office/staff:

-- Chief of Staff: Rahm Emanuel (Deputies: Jim Messina, Mona Sutphen -Woman)

-- Senior Advisers: Valerie Jarrett Black, Peter Rouse, David Axelrod

-- Political Director: Patrick Gaspard

-- Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs: Phil Schiliro

-- White House Counsel: Greg Craig
-- Press Secretary: Robert Gibbs
-- Communications Director: Ellen Moran- Woman (Deputy: Dan Pfeiffer -- Director of Scheduling and Advance: Alyssa Mastromonaco Woman
-- Staff Secretary: Lisa Brown Black
-- Cabinet Secretary: Chris Lu Minority
-- Special Assistant to the President and White House Social Secretary: Desirée Rogers Black Woman-- Director, White House Military Office: Louis Caldera

Vice President’s office:
-- Biden’s Chief of staff: Ron Klain
-- Counselor to the Vice President: Mike Donilon
-- Domestic Policy Advisor to the Vice President: Terrell McSweeny
-- Assistant to the Vice President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Liaison: Evan Ryan

First Lady’s office:
-- Michelle Obama’s Chief of Staff: Jackie Norris Woman (Deputy: Melissa Winter-Woman)

-- Commerce: Bill Richardson Latino
-- Defense: Robert Gates
-- Homeland Security: Janet Napolitano Woman
-- Justice (AG): Eric Holder Black
-- State: Hillary Clinton Woman (Jim Steinberg-deputy
-- Treasury: Tim Geithner
-- Veterans Affairs: Eric Shinseki Minority
-- HHS: Tom Daschle
-- Energy: Steven Chu

Read More HERE

Friday, December 5, 2008

The N.A.A.C.P. is still facing a battle over its future.

Back in 1993 the NY Times ran a story on how the N.A.A.C.P. was facing a battle over its future. You know, the NAACP, one of the oldest civil rights organizations in the country. Founded in 1909. Yeah, it played a leading role in opposing lynching laws and legal segregation until the demise of Jim Crow three decades ago. Today it is struggling to be relevant to most African Americans. Many young political activists, bloggers and just plain old black folks see the NAACP as irrelevant. I can see why black bloggers like Francis L. Holland are concerned with the NAACP leaderhip and it's future.
Also, back in 1993, the new head of the NAACP, Rev. Dr. Ben Chavis didn't waste any time furthering the causes of the nation's oldest civil rights group, mapping out strategies to deal with environmental waste hazards in Black communities, racial tension in Los Angeles and extending membership to other minorities.He left the NAACP after he used NAACP funds to settle a sexual harassment suit.
Then there was 1995, when the NAACP searched for a leader to replace then outgoing president Kweisi Mfume, the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization, which some said was at a crossroads, a changing of the guard that would redefine its identity with younger black Americans who, unlike their parents, do not immediately think of the group when they think of civil rights.

Mfume, who is credited with bringing financial stability and credibility to an organization reeling from scandal and mismanagement when he took over announced his resignation, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family.

at the time, Mfume dismissed persistent rumors among the organization's membership that he was forced out because of a rift between himself and Chairman Julian Bond. Mfume had no role in a nine-member committee that Bond assembled to find his successor.

Then in 2005, there was Bruce Gordon, who in became the new chief executive of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, a former telecommunications executive. Mr. Gordon succeeded Kweisi Mfume.
I'm reminded of an interview with Bruce Gordon, when he said: "I think that what we first do is attract 20- to 35-year-olds because they are underrepresented in the membership base of the organization and therefore underrepresented in the leadership of the organization. I think I have some ideas on how to do that. And as we do that, we're going to start to broaden the focus, not change the focus but broaden the focus to address issues that this particular demographic cares about. And as that happens, I believe we will find a more vibrant NAACP, a more relevant NAACP, and then maybe we can start to deal with the children in the schools that you've heard are visited."
Bruce Gordon abruptly resigned as President last year.

That was then, this is now.

Now, in 2008, The NAACP Board named a new President and CEO following last year's abrupt resignation of former president Bruce Gordon. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has chosen 35-year-old Ben Jealous to lead the organization.


Benjamin T. Jealous, National President-CEO NAACP

Now the word on the street is that the NAACP Chairman, Julian Bond is thinking about not resigning from the Chairmanship of the NAACP. Yes, Julian Bond is reconsidering his plan to step down as

Many are wondering if a bunch of the old guard national board members are asking Julian to reconsider? This writer hopes not. I agree with Julian Bond when he said, "This is a time for renewal. ... The country has a new president in Barack Obama; the organization has a new CEO in Benjamin Jealous, and we'll soon have a new chairman of the NAACP board."

AAPP: I also am well aware of Mr. Bond's great work back in the day, but, Mr. Bonds vision is blurred in many ways, not just by father time, but also due to changes in the black community. It's time for Mr. Julian Bond and other old-timers to step aside and let a new NAACP board and leadership rise. Benjamin T. Jealous needs to be able to address the issues that political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson noted sometime ago, when he wrote:

"The NAACP became the political springboard for this fast emergent black middle-class ... But these battles do not have the remotest bearing on the lives of the black poor. They have grown more numerous, more desperate, trapped in segregated or re-segregated neighborhoods plagued by crime, drugs, and gangs. They shuttle their children off to abominably failing public schools, or are stuffed into bulging jail cells ...

The NAACP can reclaim its cutting edge leadership and activism by mounting a no-holds barred assault on such problems as the glaring iniquities in the imposition of the death penalty, the racially skewed mandatory drug sentencing laws, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the lack of comprehensive health care for the poor, and grossly underserved, under-performing inner city schools, and chronic double digit black joblessness."

Now I understand that NAACP CEO Benjamin Jealous said in a statement that the civil rights organization looks forward to Bond's continued active involvement. That's all well and good, but if Benjamin T. Jealous is to be successful he needs to be able to address the needs and issues of people that political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson said are "trapped in segregated or re-segregated neighborhoods plagued by crime, drugs, and gangs. They shuttle their children off to abominably failing public schools, or are stuffed into bulging jail cells."These are some of the issues the current National NAACP Board and Bond have refused to address for many years.

Benjamin T. Jealous will need the help of NAACP National Board Vice Chairman Roslyn Brock and other standout NAACP local branch leaders like Kevin Myles to move the national organization forward. Let's Celebrate the 100th Anniversary in style by bringing in new leadership throughout the board. It's time for real change within the National NAACP.

Candidly, Board Vice Chairman Roslyn Brock should be the next Chair of the NAACP National Board, and Kevin Myles, Branch President of the Wichita NAACP should be recruited to serve on the National NAACP Board. Like the new President and CEO, Benjamin T. Jealous, both Kevin and Roslyn truly want to take the NAACP to the next level, all three have the talent, understanding of what needs to get done, and they have my support.

Cross Posted on African American Political Pundit.com