Sunday, November 12, 2006

The election and other news...

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:

Mid-term elections:
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;

- 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:

Rums-failed
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...

- ACL

10 "Insiders" spoke their mind. Join in...:

green eyed girl on planet earth said...

Hello My Greeneyed Handsome Man

I am glad to see you pop your head up for air , I read your email you sweet thing , one on the way asap .You sure your not interested in running for political office , I swear you know more about the political scene than anyone in political office :}

I have followed it in the media and it is like a three ring circus ! Hard to know all the players from this side but thanks to your post it helps to keep it straight .
I seen the Rev Ted Haggard denile on a news break , guess he thought himself mightier than thou until caught , he is not a great on camera , you could see it in his face !!!!! His eyes were wild , apparently so is he ,LOL

Congrats are in order I see ,thesis committee approved your proposal. started on your work???????.OK are you like Matt Damon in Good will Hunting ??????? approved for Human Subjects Protection.??GULP this makes it sound like a MAD scientist !!!!! Hoping for your Good times ahead to be more than any expectations you could ever dream :}
Congrats again ,
Greeneyes

Cynthia said...

Wow. Lots of interesting stuff to read here. I disagree about your comments on Cynthia McKinney (she's bearing my name so that MUST tell you something), but your post was for the most part enlightening.

Sorry to hear about the Affirmative Action ban. I hope it doesn't make its way down south, though I think it might. First California (a blue state), and now Michigan (another blue state). Its only a matter of time before the former racist ways of the South will rise again.

Stay strong, brother!

Andre said...

@ Greeny: This weekend has been another pretty busy one. I don't think that things will return to normalcy (for me, that means being able to goof around and do nothing all day) until I'm COMPLETELY finished with school. I'm hitting the stormy part of the program now so I've got my work cut out for me.

I don't claim to be a political expert. I'm not a pundit and I'm not a good anaylst. The stuff I "know" is a product what I read and what I watch on TV (further evidence that the media could be dangerous if it's controlled by certain people). Also, I'd NEVER consider running for any office. I know people should "never say never", but I'm NEVER doing it. I play enough politics on my job and in school. I don't need it to be a full time occupational thing for me. ;-)

I got a chuckle out the Ted Haggard story...not because of seeing a member of the body of Christ fall (at least I think he's a member), but because of his hypocrisy and the hypocrisy of many Evangelicals. Rather than embracing "sinners", they villify them; even when they're sinners themselves. I suppose that we all do that (some may argue that I'm doing it RIGHT NOW). But I'll always believe that we need to be less about beating up on sinners and more about uplifting them (refer to the parable of the Good Samaritan).

I assure you: "Human Subjects Protection" isn't as diabolical as it sounds. It's just a process that academic researchers have to take to ensure that participant rights are protected during a person's study. Sure, it includes protecting a person's physical well-being (Frankenstein would've loved that), but also their mental, psychological, and emotion well-being. If you ever have time, you should read about the Tuskegee Syphillis Study, the Nazi War Crimes, the Nuremberg Trials, etc. It's a pretty shameful part of our history, but its pretty interesting to know about.

Anyway, thanks for the wishes and the kind thoughts!

Talk to ya later, my queen.

@ Cynthia: I guess that we'll always have disagreements about some black leaders. I tend to think that people like Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson, and Cynthia McKinney go to the "race" well too often; while guys like Obama are more about change (not only though rhetoric, but through action). I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this one.

But, I'm completely with you on Affirmative Action. I just hope that people in Georgia and everywhere else put up a better fight than we did in Michigan and California. It's one thing to complain about things. It's another to actually DO something about it.

Thanks for your comments.

"Still fed up" said...

Man. You don't do anything but complain, complain, complain. For somebody who claims to be an "intellectual", I haven't heard anything insightful from you but whining and boo-hooing.

Enough already!

Andre said...

@ "Still fed up": If you're "still fed up", then I'm "still laughing" at you for "still coming around".

Honestly, I don't know what results you're trying to generate from calling me out for my "complaining". But -- whatever it is -- it doesn't seem to be working well. Maybe you should rethink your approach. You're not a very good insult-slinger.

Pssst. I'll let you in on a little secret: This is my blog where I post my thoughts on issues that spark my curiosity. To give you the "if you don't like it, you can click on the red box with the X in it" line would be pointless. You already know the drill.

KC said...

Hey Dre,

I tried to link to the article about the girl and the Secret Service, but it was a dead link. I found a similar article to it. Just wanted to make sure it was the same story. It probably is.

Good post anyway. You really dug deep with this one.

Andre said...

@ KC: What's up? Thanks for the heads up about the link. The original article was from the Associated Press so you can probably find it anywhere. But, I changed the link to direct you to another copy of the same article.

Later.

thehc said...

Hey Dre,
Excellent political coverage. I don't think there should be even one person that doesn't think it's about time Rummy left. Ed McNamara most be proud to finally not be the most vilified Sec. of State ever. You should know that Ted Haggard was only buying that meth to help out an addict, he then threw it away.(his story LOL) A small correction; On your A.A. story, the Michigan Supreme Court refused to hear the case http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-03-30-michigan-affirmative-action_x.htm?csp=34 I think what you were refering to was U.S District Court Judge Ann Katherine Johnston Diggs Taylor's ruling. The Bill Maher thing really got me thinking though. I saw the same bit on South Park weeks ago. It made me wonder which came first. Somebody's a thief and I think it's Bill. On the China thing; now there's two of us that see the future, are you scared yet? Once again, thanks for the plug. Watch for my next piece on getting the hell out of there. Last thought. Heaven just got one of the best commentators in the business R.I.P. Ed Bradley.
P.S. Did you get the jerky I sent over? I don't trust the mail staff.

green eyed girl on planet earth said...

Andre My Gem

Hope you had a great weekend , as I know you are always busy so I need'nt ask .

About the reading if I have time , well some of what you mentioned I have read about ,there is a endless amount of info on the subjects. I have even veiwed a movie on the Tuskegee Syphillis Study,it was out for a few years .It never surprises me what can go on when people think no one knows what they are doing .

Unfortunately my personal feeling is that this still goes on in todays world in areas Goverment assist . If I am not mistaken they are presently using people with aids in Africa as guinea pigs for major pharma drug co.

There actually was something I seen that is going on in the States right now with a Blood product , a product which top Pharm co. has created , it can be used in place of blood or blood products and is being used as we speak in ambulances etc and it is a rotated way of using it ,one yes one no etc. Anyway the Goverment approved this and the catch is the public was not aware ,and unless they object before hand (and wear a certain armband to state this )the Medical staff can use it with no questions . the problem is the general pop doesnt know about it at all . Some people had problems some dont as of right now and I havent heard anything since on it .like it disappeared .The Goverment had to approve it , it is an actual trial on humans without their consent ,but when asked ,they had legalized it with the loophole of "before hand consent" .I cannot remember what it is called but it was on CNN and from a 20/20 show .

This pales when compared to some of the books you mentioned but it is the tip of the iceberg of todays world gone mad.
The world is a scary place at times ,thats why I am glad I have met you .you brighten my day ;0)

Greeneyes

Andre said...

@ HC: I wouldn't be so sure about Rummy taking Ed Mc's title, but it'll be close. We'll have to wait until the judges finish their scorecards.

I'm done with the Haggard story. I've got my gripes out. All I can say is that I hope the religious folks out there remember this story.

Thanks for the clarification on the A.A. case. I heard a lecturer say that the case was presented, but the literature was still allowed. But, since you're more of a trusted source, I'm taking your word on this one!

I think you're right about South Park/Maher. I think that S.P. got to it first. I would expect that from them (yet, I'm still disappointed). But I don't think I would've expect Maher to hit that low.

I'm not any scared of China as I was yesterday. I mean, about $450 billion of our national debt is owned to the Chinese government. They're some major players in the game.

You're right about Mr. Bradley. Not only did the media lose a great one, but the whole world did. I'm doing a piece on him that I'll probably post this week (if I have time).

I got the jerky. I was meaning to thank you for it but I completely forgot. I'm not a huge jerky fan, but it great! Thanks. If you "accidentally" deliever some more to me through campus mail, I won't be mad.

Thanks for stopping by Hipster. *Also, your blog is doing crazy things again. What's the deal?!

@ Greeny: Wow! You gave me far more insight about human experimentation that I did. Now who's the intellectual?! ;-)

I wouldn't be suprised if clandestine governmental and medicinal agencies were out there getting away with these types of activities. While we're all "Dancing with the stars", lots of things are going on right under our noses. Most of the infractions (like the Tuskegee Syphillis Study) were only brought to light after someone FINALLY looked into it. It's scary to wonder what would've happened with these organizations if they weren't exposed.

Greeny, I think I'm gonna have to ban you from my blog. I think I'm turning you into a conspiracy theorist. LOL!