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President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama

This week President Barack Obama signed an executive order establishing a White House Council on Women and Girls.
Valerie Jarrett Senior White House Advisor

Valerie Jarrett Senior White House Advisor

The much needed council will fall under the umbrella of White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett.

President Obama noted in his speech, that inequities for women continue to persist despite the significant advances that have been made by women. This is especially true when it comes to wage disparity and subprime loans.

Further black women have and still suffers the most in both categories.

As to wage disparity, women of color earns only 68 cents for every dollar earned by their white male counterpart. This is also 10 cents less than their white female counterparts.

This wage gap continues to severely hinder the women’s ability to support themselves and their families. Black women are more likely than white women to be the head of the house–45.8 percent of Black households are headed by women versus 13.6 percent of white households.

That dynamic also plays into the current subprime-lending crisis.

Black women received far more subprime loans than white men. A recent report by the Consumer Federation of America notes that subprime loans have gone disproportionately to women, and that African-American and Latina women have the highest rates of subprime lending when compared to all other Americans, especially white men who receive the lowest share of subprime loans. Moreover, the disparity increases as income increases. In fact, upper income African-American women are five times more likely to receive a subprime mortgage than white men.

On Friday in Los Angeles, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People filed suit in federal court against two major banks alleging that they intentionally assigned black customers subprime mortgages while giving whites better rates. The civil rights group is accusing Wells Fargo and HSBC of forcing blacks into subprime mortgages while whites with identical qualifications got lower rates.

The White House Council on Women and Girls will be composed of the heads of every Cabinet and Cabinet-level agency and will coordinate a federal response to issues that have a distinct impact on the lives of women and girls, including strengthening women’s economic security and reducing domestic violence and unintended pregnancies. It will also explore how to assist women-owned businesses, increase the participation of women in the science, engineering and technology workforce, and will provide recommendations and assist in the development of policy proposals of special concern to women and girls.

The question is whether this will work its way down to state and local levels. We know that the impact of the stimulus package on blacks is now questionable in the state of South Carolina. It is apparent that Mark Sanford the state’s governor will not allocate monies to repair a dilapidated predominantly black J.V. Martin Junior High School in Union, S.C. Instead, he will use it to retire the state’s debt. It’s obvious that the rebuilding of the school will not only create an environment condusive of learning, but it will create jobs and stimulate the economy. Retiring of the debt will not. It appears that Mark Sanford can’t shake that confederate mentality.

Anyway, will this too avoid the plight of the poor Black and Latino communities?

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    Posted 5 years, 7 months ago.

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    The Autobiography of Malcolm X: Autobiography or Memoir?


    Aex Haley & Malcolm X

    Malcolm X was assassinated 46 years ago in the Audubon Ballroom located north of Harlem in Washington Heights. Malcolm who adopted the new name El Hajj Malik El-Shabazz collaborated with writer and journalist Alex Haley in the writing of his autobiography.

    The Autobiography of Malcolm X is now widely recognized as a major landmark in American literature, and considered essential reading for anyone interested in African American literature, culture and politics. It tells the remarkable story of Malcolm X’s personal, religious and political transformations, and is said to be the most comprehensive text we have for understanding and interpreting Malcolm X’s life.

    Manning Marable, Director of the Institute of African American Studies at Columbia University

    Professor Manning Marable does not agree and has worked for the last eight years on the biography of Malcolm X. Marable insist that the Autobiography is a memoir and not a biography. A memoir provides the highlights of a life whereas a biography gives all the facts details.

    In his own words, Marable tells of the three missing chapters deleted from the autobiography, and other missing information that will be available in his new book entitled Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention. According to Marable, the book is due out in 2010 under the Viking Press.

    Click Above Haley & Malcolm photo to access the interview.

    Register and or sign in under comments and sound off as to whether you agree with Marable on The Autobiography being a Memoir.

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      Posted 5 years, 8 months ago.

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      Michael “How Do You Like Me Now” Steele Sparring With The FBI

      BY: Sam Curtis: It’s The Same Ole Schickardy!

      Michael Steele New RNC Chairman in Hot Water over Allegations Of Campaign Inproprities

      Michael Steele New RNC Chairman in Hot Water over Allegations Of Campaign Inproprities

      After emerging victoriously in the election for chairman of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele first offered his congratulations to President Obama with a follow up on it being an honor to spar with the new President. Mr. Steele punctuated his message by arrogantly asking “how do you like now”.

      It appears that Mr. Steele has set himself too high. Instead of sparring with President Obama who is busy with the nation’s economic recovery, Mr. Steele is under investigation over an allegation that he made an improper payment to his sister’s company during his 2006 Senate run.

      A check in the amount of $37,262.00 was made out to Monica Turner’s defunct Brown Sugar Unlimited catering and web service business after it had been dissolved.

      Turner, a pediatrician and former wife of ex boxing champ Mike Tyson had legally dissolved the company some eleven months before the check was proffered.

      Steele, who was Maryland’s lieutenant governor from 2003 to 2007, said the claim of improper payments to his sister’s defunct business and other allegations reported Saturday in The Washington Post were leveled by a “convicted felon” and are “all false.”

      The man behind the allegations is Alan B. Fabian, a once-wealthy GOP fundraiser who was finance chairman for Steele’s Senate run. Fabian, 44, made the claims last year during plea negotiations with the U.S. attorney’s office in Maryland after he was charged with orchestrating multimillion-dollar frauds unrelated to the campaign, according to a confidential court document.

      Hoping prosecutors would recommend a lighter sentence, Fabian provided them with information about Steele and said he would be willing to testify against him, according to the document, a sentencing memorandum prepared by Fabian’s attorney and filed under seal in the fall before Fabian’s sentencing in federal court. The U.S. attorney’s office did not recommend a shorter prison term, and Fabian was sentenced in October to nine years behind bars.

      The sealed document was inadvertently sent to The Post by the U.S. attorney’s office after the newspaper requested the government’s sentencing memorandum, which was not filed under seal.

      In the defense memorandum, Fabian cited four specific transactions. In addition to the payment to Steele’s sister, Fabian said that the candidate used money from his state campaign improperly, that Steele paid $75,000 from the state campaign to a law firm for work that was never performed and that Steele or an aide transferred more than $500,000 in campaign cash from one bank to another without authorization.

      Curt Anderson, a spokesman for Steele, said the payments from Steele’s state campaign fund were proper. In the case of the law firm, Baker & Hostetler, it was paid $75,000 for earlier work on a redistricting challenge in Maryland, according to Anderson and a lawyer who worked on the case. In the case of the bank transfer, Steele had authority over the account in question, Anderson said.

      The payment to Steele’s sister was the focus over the weekend as the allegations were reported on the Sunday morning talk shows where Steele made appearances.

      During Steele’s Senate campaign, Turner revealed in a campaign ad on her brother’s behalf that she suffers from multiple sclerosis.

      Turner is also the ex-girlfriend of a renowned convicted drug kingpin named Eugene Byrd. Turner and Byrd are the parents of a daughter who was born 5 months before Byrd’s felony drug conviction. Turner’s relationship with Byrd who was married at the time, was prior to her marriage to Mike Tyson.

      How do we like you now, Mr. Steele? It looks like the same ole schickardy, but a different butt hole named Michael Steele.

      Posted 5 years, 8 months ago.

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      Ben’s Chili Bowl A Must On The Inaugural Itinery

      Click Photo To Access Video

      Click Photo To Access Video

      Many arriving inaugural tourists dived right into Washington rituals. At Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street NW — which was upgraded from a local to a national icon this month when Obama dropped in for a chili half-smoke and sweet tea — crowds got so big that the staff started turning them away at 10:25 a.m. Many were directed to another D.C. favorite: the Florida Avenue Grill. Click the above photo for some history and interviews on Ben’s.

      Below is a Washington Post article describing the Saturday arrivals into our Nation’s Capitol for the big historical event

      Visitors Pour Into D.C., Loaded With Luggage But Lightened by Hope

      By David A. Fahrenthold
      Washington Post Staff Writer
      Sunday, January 18, 2009

      They were rolling north, at the end of a four-hour drive from Durham, N.C., almost there. The rest of the car was focused on the directions to a hotel downtown.

      Then the Washington Monument appeared in the distance.

      Anjanée Bell pointed it out, but the others were distracted. So she savored her thrill in silence.

      “That was the moment to say, you know, ‘We’re really here,’ ” said Bell, 31, the artistic director for a dance company. She had visited Washington before, but Bell said she could feel something different in the capital at that moment yesterday — even if, technically, she was still in Virginia.

      Inauguration fever broke out across the Washington region yesterday as thousands of visitors began filtering into spare bedrooms, rundown motels and four-star lobbies. They came with Obama action figures, with snoozing babies, with homemade signs and with a more noble view of the capital than most of its full-time residents can sustain.

      And many came with memories that made this occasion — the swearing-in of the first African American president — seem wonderful and a little unreal.

      “I lived through segregation,” said Marion Garrison, 87, of Bakersfield, Calif. She and five friends were settling in at a Comfort Inn along New York Avenue NE. “I waited for this. It finally came.”

      Yesterday was expected to be one of the busiest arrival days for inaugural guests: All but 400 or so of the District’s 29,000 hotel rooms were booked.

      But the rush didn’t seem to strain the seams of a city used to conventions and tourists. Highways flowed smoothly. Airports were busy — Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport reported 28,000 passengers, up from 20,000 on a normal day — but didn’t feel Thanksgiving-crowded.

      “I worked so hard on the campaign that I just wanted to see the fruits of my labor. I’m excited. I’m elated,” said LaRue Henderson, 73, who had flown in from Atlanta with her daughter and a friend.

      They were waiting at Reagan National Airport for a ride to a relative’s home in Falls Church, where they will stay for the long weekend. The group brought along Obama T-shirts and caps, although they needn’t have worried. Every business in the region with a roof and a cash register seemed to be selling inauguration souvenirs yesterday.

      For some airline passengers, the celebration of Obama’s swearing-in began even before they touched down. Len Solak, 59, of Albuquerque arrived at BWI wearing a homemade sign around his neck. “We The People get our country back in THREE days! (Loyal opposition is welcome, but cynics can go home!),” it said.

      “It was the most photographed sign on the plane,” said Solak, who bought his ticket to Washington in September despite his wife’s fears that he would jinx the election. “Of course, it was also the only sign on the plane.”

      Many arriving tourists dived right into Washington rituals. At Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street NW — which was upgraded from a local to a national icon this month when Obama dropped in for a chili half-smoke and sweet tea — crowds got so big that the staff started turning them away at 10:25 a.m. Many were directed to another D.C. favorite: the Florida Avenue Grill.

      Some visitors were inventing their own rituals. The Hauldren family, from the Chicago suburb of Northfield, Ill., brought along a small plastic action figure of Obama, which they planned to photograph at major Washington landmarks.

      Such as . . . the Court House Metro station.

      “We took a picture of him on the plane, and we took a picture of him here,” said Julia Hauldren, 43, a stay-at-home mother who was at the station yesterday morning with her husband and four children. She said the idea was inspired by Flat Stanley, a children’s toy that is supposed to be photographed in strange and exotic locales. “We thought we’d do sort of [a] Flat Stanley, but with Tiny Obama.”

      On a Greyhound bus from Pittsburgh, Gloria Moore was talking about living in segregated Selma, Ala. She was taking her 13-year-old granddaughter to see a black man become president and thinking about those who didn’t live to see it.

      “I wish my grandmother who never learned to read and worked in the cotton fields of North Carolina could see this,” Moore said. She thought of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., too. She added: “I believe God orchestrated this. It is time for a change.”

      And as they were arriving, Washington was getting ready. Thousands of National Guard soldiers filed into the D.C. Armory, carrying green duffle bags and wearing fleece jackets under their camouflage uniforms for warmth. As many as 10,000 Guard members from 25 states and territories will be involved in Tuesday’s festivities, the largest deployment of citizen-soldiers for any inauguration.

      Other preparations ranged from the elaborate to the mundane. In the lobby of the Capitol Hilton downtown, Brooks Brothers had set up a satellite office for pre-gala fashion emergencies, selling formal coats and giving bowtie lessons. At Frager’s Hardware on Capitol Hill, people began streaming through the doors at 7:15 a.m. to buy hand warmers (still some left) and toe warmers (all out), plus space heaters and weather stripping for houses full of guests.

      And keys. Lots of keys. At midday, 15 people were snaked down a narrow aisle of the store waiting to have copies of keys made for their inaugural guests.

      “I noticed the lines back there, but it didn’t dawn on me why it was,” said general manager Nick Kaplanis. “It has been extra heavy back there all [day] long.”

      In the lobby of the Mayflower hotel downtown, florist Jerome Williams, 60, was touching up his displays, wearing a plaid shirt in a lobby full of suits. Among other arrangements, he had made eight special ones with red roses, white orchids and blue hybrid delphiniums.

      Now Williams was checking the flowers again, wanting them to be perfect. He plucked out a rose that was turning slightly more crimson than the rest of the bouquet.

      Williams, who lives in Charles County, said he sensed a special enthusiasm among the hotel’s employees, most of whom voted for Obama. Williams said he thought the man himself might walk down this hallway, past these flowers.

      “I just want to show my best” in case Obama passes, he said. “Wanted to show the things in my repertoire.”

      Even for the workers who didn’t get to see the visitors arriving, the first day of the inaugural weekend brought a special electricity. Renee Sullivan-Norris, 47, of Prince George’s County spent the day in a closed-in office behind the front desk at the Marriott Wardman Park, manning the hotel switchboard.

      Throughout the day, she talked to tourists who wanted directions from the airport or updates on their seats for Inauguration Day events.

      In five of those conversations, she said, people had spontaneously told her, “Congratulations!”

      Why would that be?

      “Because I live in D.C., and I guess they figure we need some help about now,” she said. “I say, ‘Thank you, and congratulations to you, too.’ “

      Posted 5 years, 9 months ago.

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      Sam Curtis: The Same Ole Schickardy, From Powell To Burris

      Governor Rod Blagojevich with Roland Burris(right)

      Governor Rod Blagojevich with Roland Burris(right)

      The embattled Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has named Roland W. Burris to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the Senate. Controversy has arisen because Blagojevich has been arrested and charged by the U.S. Attorney Office on allegations of attempting to sell the vacated seat to the highest bidder.

      The Illinois Secretary of State has vowed not to certify the appointment. Harry Reid and the Democrats in Congress with the blessings of our President -elect, Barack Obama are yelling to the top of the Capitol dome that they will not seat Roland Burris.

      It’s all a big smoke screen diverting attention away from Congress’ automatic pay raise and their failure to provide safeguards to assure appropriate spending of the bailed out Corporations.

      First, in spite of the allegations surfacing about the pay for play scheme, Blagojevich who is presumed innocent, is still the Governor and has the sole power to make the appointment. The Secretary of State of Illinois is the keeper of the official records, laws, and Great Seal of the U.S. state of Illinois. These duties have remained unchanged since Illinois became a state in 1818. The Secretary of State shall perform all duties that may be prescribed by law. This mandatory language does not give Mr. Jesse White, the current Secretary of state, any discretion in the matter, leaving him with no choice but to certify the selection.

      As to Harry Reid, President -elect Obama and the rest of the Democratic lawmakers, please go and read Powell v. McCormack, 395 U.S. 486 (1969). This case involves Congress’ refusal in 1967 to permit a re-elected Adam Clayton Powell Jr. to take his seat with the 90th Congress after being embroiled in scandals (allegedly refusing to pay a judgment ordered by a court in New York, misappropriating Congressional travel funds, and illegally paying his wife a Congressional staff salary for work she had not done).

      In the 1969 case, the United States Supreme Court had to answer the question of whether Congress can exclude a person, who has met the requirements written in the text of the U.S. Constitution and who has been elected to Congress, from serving in Congress.

      The majority opinion written by Chief Justice Earl Warren held that Congress does not have the power to develop qualifications other than those specified in Art. I, § 2, cl. 1-2.

      Article I, section 5, of the U.S. Constitution states that “each house shall be the judge of…qualification of its own members,” but then immediately states that each House has the authority to expel a member “with the Concurrence of two thirds.” The Court which found that it had a “textually demonstrable commitment” to interpret this clause found that the clause meant that expulsion was the only method for a House after determining that the member is unqualified to serve. The Court reasoned that the authority of Congress in the Powell matter was post facto, i.e., after a member elect had been so created by his/her election under the laws of the state in which the congressional district resided; after his/her qualification for standing in such an election according to the qualifications specified in the U.S. Constitution; and after accepting the oath of office and enrollment into the Congress. In other words, Congress only remedy of expulsion cannot occur until the member elect actually takes the oath of office and of course there must be some wrong doing on the part of that member.

      The Court found that if the Congress went beyond a determination that a candidate member had satisfied the Constitution’s qualifications for membership (and had been duly chosen by, and through the laws of their state) it could not (under the Constitution) go further in examining and possibly rejecting a candidate member before administering the oath of office, and seating them. Thus, the Court found that Powell was wrongfully excluded from his seat.

      Although we are talking about an appointment and not an election, the Burris appointment was made properly under the laws of the State of Illinois, and therefore fits snugly in the ruling of Powell v. McCormick Id. Therefore, Congress must permit Mr. Burris who incidentally, is a Howard School of Law graduate to take the oath and be seated.

      We cite the Howard law affiliation because Herbert O. Reid, a Howard University School of Law graduate and professor, represented Adam Clayton Powell Jr. and argued this landmark case before the U.S. Supreme Court. A distinguished Constitutional law professor, Mr. Reid had the assistance of the Howard law school students on the case as legal researchers and practiced his oral argument in Howard University Mock Courtroom. Prior to the Powell case, Mr. Reid taught Mr. Burris who graduated with his Juris Doctors in 1963. Now some forty odd years later, the late Professor Reid is still reminding us of our rights and obligations under the U.S. Constitution.

      Mr. Burris has an outstanding record as the first African American official elected statewide in the State of Illinois. As such, he served three terms as the state’s Comptroller and also served as the states’ Attorney General. Unlike Jesse Jackson Jr., Mr. Burris who unsuccessfully sought the Senate seat early in his political career is not tainted under the current cloud of the alleged Blagojevich pay for play scandal. He at no time voted himself for an automatic pay raise which is something that the current have no shame Congress can say. Further as the Illinois State Attorney General, he did not green-light any pardons of a rich fugitive, reeking with the appearance of impropriety. In essence, the democratic Congress have no reason to bring him up for expulsion.

      We should also note that Governor Blagojevich has not been convicted of any wrong doing in a court of law and as stated earlier he is presumed innocent.

      Although Americans overwhelmingly voted for change in the November elections, it appears that we will start the year 2009, with the same Ole Schickardy from mostly the same ole butt-holes in Congress. We need to vote their butt-holes out the next time.

      Posted 5 years, 9 months ago.

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