Hello all. Sorry that I haven't really been around that much. Life hasn't been able to stand still for even a quick second. But a lot has been going on in the news lately. So I thought I'd take some time out to share my thoughts a bit:
For starters, I'm sorry about my previous post. Looking at it in hindsight, I'd say that I sounded like a real defeatist; not a usual characteristic for me. I guess I was just suffering from election PMS.
Now that that's out of the way, let's get on with it:
- In a shocking upset (at least it was for me), the Democrats have seized control of the both the House and the Senate. While it's good to see the crooks in the GOP finally get theirs, I'm not all too thrilled about Dems being in control either. I'm curious to see how changes in the power structure will or won't lead to systematic changes in our nation's policy once Congress convenes in January.
- It was interesting to see how uncontested the Dems were in this election, especially given the high number of voting irregularities reported.
- These election results don't really prove much to me. As history suggests, power shifts may be temporary.
- The elections have paved the way for several significant shifts; which are always refreshing to see.
(1) Deval Patrick (D-MA) became Massachusetts' first black Govenor, and only the second black to be elected Govenor in the nation's history.
(2) Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) becomes the first woman to ever become Speaker of the House. But ever since I found out she gave Neocons a "get out jail free" card (despite their blunders in Iraq and all the scandals that have brewed), her stock is plummeting with me.
(3) Four Black representatives in the House will head powerful committees;
- Charles B. Rangel (D-NY) is the first black to control the Ways and Means Committee (for those of you unfamiliar with the H&M Committee, it's responsible for overseeing Social Security, taxes, trade, Medicare, and other fiscal matters)
- My main man John Conyers (D-MI) will be in charge of the House Judiciary Committee (responsible for overseeing the administration of judiciary courts and law enforcement agencies)
- Bennie Thompson (D-MS) will be in charge of the Commitee of Homeland Security (charged to oversee any actions involving national security like investigations, subpeonas, etc.)
- Henry Waxman (D-CA) is the new chair of the Committee on Government Reform (which has the power to investigate any federal programs and policies).
- I'm happy to hear that I'm not the only Black person in the country who didn't support Harold Ford Jr. (D-TN). I mean, he's apart of the Blue Dog Coalition (Democrats who are nothing by wannabe Conservatives) for Pete's sake! While many people (myself included) believe that the ads against him were loaded with racist undertones, he still didn't garner much support from the Black community. Even the Congressional Black Causus gave him a low grade (of course, anyone who gives Barack Obama a "C" and gives loud-mouth Cynthia McKinney an "A" loses some credibility with me).
- Here in Michigan, the only thing on the ballot that had any real signficance for me (No! It wasn't our election for Govenor...) was the passing of a so-called Michigan Civil Rights Initiative; a proposal to ban Affirmative Action in public institutions.
My heart is filled with both a deep hurt and fear. I feel bad about it largely because I put in a lot of effort into challenging this proposal. I, along with several people from my campus and One United Michigan (a progressive group defending the principles of Affirmative Action), went out into the streets to try and educate people on Affirmative Action. But the election results only proved how unsuccessful we were. The literature in the proposal (which, interestingly was allowed to be on the ballot even after it was deemed to be deceptive by the Michigan Supreme Court) was more influencial than our efforts to enlighten others. I'm fearful for underrepresented people (minorities, women, etc.) because of the damage that will likely ensue now that Affirmative Action will be banned. Programs, scholarship, and outreach efforts that were in place for underrepresented people (combatting the ills of racism, classism, sexism, etc.) will be eliminated. College admissions for minorities will likely be reduced. Gender inequality will likely increase.
I guess that what bothers me most is the absence of the churches and community leaders during this important election. Where were they? Where was their voice? Their immobility is further evidence to me that its easier for people to be reactive than proactive.
OK. Enough about the mid-term elections. On to other misc. news:
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has finally resigned from his position. After completely dropping the ball on any strategic planning during this nonsensical war in Iraq, this idiot finally called it quits. He insists that he offered his resignation twice, but Bush wouldn't allow it. Either way, at least he's gone now. It'll be interesting to see if the Dems go after him now that blood is in the water. Even more interesting will be how well (or how bad) Robert Gates, former CIA director, will do in Rummy's place; especially seeing how he was apart of George H.W.'s initial campaign in Iraq.
Washington D.C. Undercover?
According to this article, the Feds are looking to go undercover in the Congress. Admist all the corruption going on lately, the FBI has finally started looking into the reports. Perhaps a shift in Congressional power will curtail some of the corruption that has happened lately (of course, not if William Jefferson has anything to do with it. LOL!). But the Dems have their work cut out for them. The GOP has single-handedly destroy any stability in Congress.
China = Next Superpower?
I had an interesting conversation with the Hippie Conservative not too along. He made mention of China's recent moves to gain strong influence with Africa. This could easily help the Chinese emerge as a one of the world's new superpowers. Africa is laced with resources (economical, political, and geographical) that have been ignored by the U.S.; especially given our obsession with the Middle East. If that's not convinicing enough for you, last week the leaders of forty African nations were slated to attended the Beijing summit. The Chinese have come to play.
Saddam on the 10 o'clock "noose"
Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has been found guilty of "crimes against humanity" for his role in the execution of thousands of people; and has been sentenced to death by hanging. Interesting.
Don't get me wrong: Saddam is a major loser for what he's done. But is he any different from any other “killers” in the world? Some people have speculated that Saddam's death sentence has more to do with the fact that he is an important witness to what's been going on in Iraq and that tracks are being covered. Can anybody really dismiss those thoughts?
U.S. solider suicide?
I just read an interesting article suggesting that Army specialist Alyssa Peterson killed herself after objecting to interrogation techniques used on insurgent detainees, described by the military as "non-hostile weapon discharge".
The facts of this case don't really add up. Did she really silence herself or did some else do the silencing?
Have you heard the one about...?
Let’s all do John Kerry a favor. If he ever feels the need to tell a joke, let’s put a muzzle on him.
If the GOP didn’t shoot themselves to death from their scandals and immoral behavior, John Kerry’s bad humor about President Bush, Iraq, and Education could have lost Dems the election. During a speech to a crowd to Pasadena City College, Kerry said: "You know education, if you make the most of it, and you study hard, and you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."
I get where Kerry was coming from. His joke was intended to say “If you're not educated, you get [us] stuck in Iraq (which would have been more aimed at President Bush), but he completely “botched” it. Since then, the GOP have been all over him suggesting that he was insulting the educational level of the people serving in Iraq. Truthfully, I don’t blame them for going after Kerry. Maybe next time he’ll just shut up and stop trying to joke about Iraq. Didn’t we learn not to do that after Dubya’s infamous WMD joke?
Terrorists: get on board!
Am I the only person outraged over the website that allows people to create fake boarding passes? While the feds are putting up a hissy fit about liquids, oils, and shoes, there is an actual site out there for printing phony passes to board airplanes. How’s that for security?
Uh…is this thing on?
After reading this next article, I think I'm recanting some of my previous posts:
Apparently, a teenage girl posted some pretty intense stuff on her myspace.com page. In response to her anger about the war, she made some pretty audacious comments about the President; so bold – in fact – that she was investigated by the Secret Service. I’m not saying what she posted, because I’m not tryin’ to get in trouble (you really never know who's reading). But you can read more about it in the article.
I’ll be the first to admit that she shouldn’t said what she said; especially in this new age of surveillance and monitoring. But this is also serves as a reminder that there are MANY people out there (irrespective of race, sex, ethnicity, etc.) who are pissed about this war.
Practice what you preach
Reverend Ted Haggard was recently given the boot from his church after buying crystal meth and receiving “only” a massage from a gay prostitute. I wish I was making this one up. Seriously, I wish I was…
On the one hand, I can’t fault him for his wrongdoing. As I always maintain, there isn’t a single one of us who is completely sinless in God’s eyes. But on the other hand, stories like this have me completely convinced that the Religious Right is nothing by a sham. Haggard was the leader of the highly influential National Association of Evangelicals. He fervently condemned gay rights, homosexuality, and immoral sexual behavior; in all the while engaging in the very acts against which he spoke out (*cough, cough: Mark Foley*)
Comedian ignites Halloween controversy
Recently, controversial comedian Bill Maher drew even more heat for attending a Halloween costume dressed as the recently deceased "Crocadile Hunter" Steve Irwin. He was wearing a uniform similar to Irwin's with a stingray sticking out his chest; similar to how Irwin was killed.
Now, I'm a huge fan of Maher's. I love his commentary, his humor, his wit, and his insight. But even I think that this move was done in bad taste. Instead of finding humor in someone's death, why not use that energy in memorial?
Speaking of "memorials":
Truth be told; I really don't like celebrities that much. But my heart was hurt to learn about the deaths of CBS Correspondent Ed Bradley and singer Gerald Levert this week. I was especially hurt to hear about Bradley, who was recognized as one of the most prominent blacks in all of the media and who frequently used his position to speak to many issues facing minorities today (unlike many affluent celebs I know). I hope they're enjoying God's company right now.
I think that about does it for now. This post wound up being longer than I expected. I really need to get back to work. I'm happy to announce that my thesis committee approved my proposal. I can get started on my work. Now all I have to do is get my study approved for Human Subjects Protection. Good times are ahead, I hope...