Friday, May 23, 2008


By Maeve Reston and Stuart Silverstein
Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
May 23, 2008
'JUST TOO MUCH': Pastor John Hagee speaks to evangelical Christians in an Israeli settlement in April. On Thursday, Sen. McCain said Hagee's comments on Jews were "just too much."

STOCKTON -- After enduring criticism for weeks, John McCain broke Thursday with two controversial televangelists whose endorsements he once trumpeted in a bid to win support from religious conservatives.

At a late-afternoon rally in Stockton, McCain said he rejected the endorsement of John Hagee after learning of a recording in which the San Antonio pastor portrayed Adolf Hitler as being sent by God to force Jews "to come back to the land of Israel."

McCain said he had not been aware of the comments -- which were made in a sermon in the late 1990s and turned up recently on the Internet -- when Hagee endorsed him in February. "I just think that the statement is crazy and unacceptable," McCain said. The pastor's words, he added, "are just too much."

Later in the day, McCain told the Associated Press that he also repudiated the support of Rod Parsley, an Ohio preacher who has sharply criticized Islam and called the religion inherently violent. "I believe there is no place for that kind of dialogue in America," McCain said.

McCain, who is viewed with suspicion by many conservatives in the Republican Party, had actively sought endorsements from evangelicals. He has had a rocky relationship with evangelical leaders, notably calling Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell "agents of intolerance" in the 2000 presidential campaign.

His experience with Hagee's endorsement, which drew even more criticism than Parsley's, recalled the controversy that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama confronted after incendiary sermons made by his former pastor became public. After the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. made similar comments in an appearance in Washington, Obama strenuously disavowed them and severed ties with his longtime mentor.

As McCain in recent weeks began distancing himself from Hagee, many Obama supporters complained that news outlets were paying more attention to Wright's statements.

In Stockton, McCain said he did not think the comparison was fair. "I've never been in Pastor Hagee's church or Pastor Parsley's church. I didn't attend their church for 20 years, and I'm not a member of their church. I received their endorsement, which did not mean that I endorsed their views."

Obama, campaigning in Florida, responded: "John McCain has to deal with Hagee, who said something that is mind-boggling. I don't attribute those statements to John McCain. Nobody thinks McCain believes that stuff."

McCain was in California on Thursday on a campaign trip. He participated in a business roundtable with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and vowed he would "compete and win" in the Golden State. At the rally later, he drew laughter when he mocked Obama, saying that "for a young man with very little experience, he's done very well."

In the sermon that led to the break with McCain, Hagee was giving a theological interpretation of the developments that led to Jews founding the state of Israel 60 years ago. Hagee cited Jeremiah 16:15 and referred to God sending "a hunter."

"A hunter is someone with a gun, and he forces you," Hagee said. "Hitler was a hunter. . . . How did it happen? Because God allowed it to happen. Why did it happen? Because God said, 'My top priority for the Jewish people is to get them to come back to the land of Israel.' "

On Thursday, Hagee released a statement saying he was "tired of these baseless attacks" and was withdrawing his endorsement. Hagee, who heads a group called Christians United for Israel, said critics were "grossly misrepresenting my position on issues most near and dear to my heart."

Hagee infuriated many Catholics with past remarks referring to the Catholic Church as a "false cult system" and the "great whore." Hagee also suggested Hurricane Katrina was God's answer to a "level of sin" that God found offensive and linked the devastating storm to a gay parade scheduled about the same time.

McCain dismissed the remarks as "nonsense" when he visited New Orleans.

However, he had said he was pleased when Hagee apologized to the Catholic League in a letter last week, and the group said it accepted the apology.

J.J. Goldberg, editorial director of the weekly Jewish newspaper Forward, said McCain might have concluded that the controversial endorsements were starting to cost him more votes than they were bringing in -- and could damage the Republican's attempts to make inroads among Jewish voters.

A Gallup Poll Daily survey released May 7 found that, in a head-to-head contest, Obama would edge McCain 61% to 32% among Jewish voters. Still, for a Republican to win nearly 1 in 3 Jewish votes would be a good showing, given the historically strong loyalties Jews have had to the Democratic Party.

McCain, Goldberg said, is likely to fare best among conservative Jews who are worried about Obama's approach to foreign policy. "The people that he needs, or that he's counting on from the Jewish community -- it's only a fragment -- are precisely the people who are the most likely to jump out of their skins when they hear 'Hitler,' " he said.

Goldberg said McCain might not have felt the need to reject Hagee's support after his comments about the Catholic Church came to light, but acted now because Jews could be "more easily offended" due to the memory of the Holocaust.

"It's not like Catholics hear a slur and immediately envision mass annihilation, but that's exactly what happens in the Jewish community," he said. "It's not based on delusion but based on fairly recent experience."

After McCain split with Hagee, religious organizations offered sharply varying reactions.

The Rev. C. Welton Gaddy, president of the Washington-based Interfaith Alliance, said he was happy McCain "did what he had to do." Gaddy, whose organization advocates keeping electoral politics separate from organized religion, said "when politicians and religious leaders try to use each other, both of them usually get hurt."

But Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, said he found it "noble" that Hagee decided to sever his ties to McCain. "He knows he has become a liability to McCain, even after he has made amends to Catholics," he said.

Donohue said Hagee visited him a week ago, after the pastor's remarks about the Catholic Church caused controversy.

"I found him to be sincere, apologetic and friendly," Donohue said. "I also found him to be the strongest Christian defender of Israel I have ever met, and that is why attempts to portray him as anything but a genuine friend to Jews -- one for whom the Holocaust is the horror of horrors -- is despicable."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Hillary: Changing the Rules Midgame

campaign in the face of mounting support for Obama. "Now is not the time for our party to have a dialogue about which states should count," she said in Florida. "We cannot move forward as a united party if some members are left out. I want to be sure all 50 states are counted and your delegates are seated at our convention." she said. "Join me in making sure your voices are raised and heard." Clinton did not always feel so strongly. In the early days of the campaign she said Michigan would not count. "It's clear," Clinton told New Hampshire Public Radio in the fall, "this election [Michigan is] having is not going to count for anything. I personally did not think it made any difference whether or not my name was on the ballot." Clinton's...
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Morehouse College faces its own bias -- against gays

By Richard Fausset
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
May 22, 2008
Openly gay senior Michael Brewer, right, leads a candlelight vigil at Morehouse College honoring victims of homophobia. The historically black all-male school was once regularly listed by the Princeton Review as among the top 20 homophobic campuses, but according to Brewer, the tide is definitely changing.

ATLANTA -- Michael Brewer, a senior at Morehouse College, was strolling purposefully around this storied campus on a hot spring day, his heavy frame dripping sweat, his hands clutching a small stack of fliers.

"No more hate," the fliers read, in a stylish typeface. "No more discrimination. No more."

"What's up, brother?" Brewer said in a lilting, cheerful voice as he approached a fellow student in a dark business suit. "Take one of these, if you will."

The young man gave the flier a glance. It was promoting what was perhaps the most ambitious week of gay rights events in the history of Morehouse, the only historically black all-male school in America.

"What the hell is this?" he said under his breath. He laughed and threw it in the trash.

But Brewer had already moved, unfazed, into the lobby of WheelerHall, where he was taping up posters. The events had been his idea, and he knew they wouldn't go over well with everyone.

"Morehouse is like this enclave where Stonewall never happened," Brewer said, referring to the 1969 New York protest that galvanized the gay rights movement. "It just doesn't exist in this realm of reality."

Brewer, 22, didn't come to Morehouse with the intent of changing it. But he found that he had no choice. He had arrived here from Oklahoma City pretty comfortable with himself: outspoken, proudly smart and, at 5 foot 9 and 300 pounds, hard to miss.

Early on, he decided he wouldn't water down his gay identity.

And that, historically, has been a problematic strategy at Morehouse. The 141-year-old college has played a key role in defining black manhood in America. But with a past steeped in religion, tradition and machismo, it has struggled to determine how homosexuality fits within that definition.

The private school was founded shortly after the Civil War with the help of Baptists sympathetic to the plight of illiterate freedmen. Over the years, it became famous for turning out the vaunted "Morehouse man" -- a paragon of virtue and strength in a society that once institutionalized the destruction of the black nuclear family.

Traditionally, its students have been expected to follow a well-worn path: They were to choose ambitious wives, preferably from Spelman College next door, a historically black school for women. They were to become captains of industry, leaders of men, saviors of a race.

But now, more than ever, students like Brewer are forcing the school to confront a vexing question: Can the Morehouse man be gay?

On a Thursday in late April, Brewer set up a folding table full of sign-up sheets in the Yard, the paved central square in the heart of Morehouse's compact, red-brick campus.

Down the street, the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel -- named for the school's most famous graduate -- was disgorging scores of students in suits who had been at a ceremony for top-performing seniors.

It was the kind of scene that has made generations of visiting black parents swoon with pride and possibility: a campus full of young, clean-cut black men, armed with book bags, talking about job prospects and big ideas.

Brewer was selling the idea of a day of silence for the victims of homophobia and asking his fellow students to sign up. He was wearing a T-shirt in the school's maroon and white colors. "Look, I'm sorry you're not a Morehouse man,"
it read. "I'm sorry you will never be a Morehouse man."

"Come on, Anderson brothers," he yelled to a couple of guys. "You're suited and booted. Look at you -- you're role models. Come sign up!"

After four years on the 3,000-student campus, Brewer seemed to know everyone who passed by -- the straight allies and the straights with hang-ups, the openly gay upperclassmen and the men on the down low, that is, straight to the world but open to gay affairs.

A trim ROTC member in a khaki uniform walked briskly by. "Renaldo, I'm looking for you to sign up, bruh!"

Some kept walking, but others stopped to catch up with their old friend.

One young man Brewer cajoled into signing worried that it would be hard to maintain silence for an entire day.

"That's OK," Brewer said, in self-deprecating mode now, giving his hands an exaggerated effeminate flourish. "You can just talk with your hands."

In Oklahoma City, Brewer attended an arts-intensive magnet high school, where his best friends were white girls and being gay wasn't that big of a deal. His senior year, a recruiter persuaded him to apply to Morehouse.

Despite its mystique -- as the school that had produced King, filmmaker Spike Lee and NAACP leader Julian Bond -- Brewer hadn't given Morehouse much thought. But the college offered him a full scholarship, and he grew intrigued by the idea of joining a brotherhood.

"I thought it was time that I started to kind of commune with my kinfolk, with guys who look like me," he said. "And the very second I saw Morehouse and stepped on campus, it was this sense of belonging. . . . I felt that I was home."

It was also difficult to ignore the fact that he had stepped into a place that had not come to terms with the presence of gay men on campus. There were the casually cruel statements from some of the straight guys and the tortuous code of silence from the guys on the down low. There were ministers-in-training who tried to convert Brewer's gay friends with prayer. There were gay seniors who advised him to tone it down.

Brewer soon realized that the campus was in a profound state of soul-searching and flux on the issue of homosexuality. For decades, he learned, Morehouse had lived with a schizophrenic reputation. The school, unfairly or not, was known for harboring a large number of gay men. "Morehouse takes your money and makes you funny," an old saying went.

Yet throughout the 1990s the Princeton Review regularly listed Morehouse among its top 20 homophobic campuses, based on student surveys. Aaron Parker, a veteran Morehouse religion professor, thinks some of that had to do with straight students being sensitive to the slights about Morehouse being a "gay" school.

But the issue may have been exacerbated by the school's special mission. "Black colleges functioned for years and years to discredit the claims that black people were somehow inferior," said Horace Griffin, a Morehouse graduate and theology professor who has written about gay history.

Back when homosexuality was considered a perversion, he said, black colleges strove to deny that it was present on their campuses.

For generations, the unspoken rule for gay Morehouse men was "don't ask, don't tell." In some cases, defiance of that rule meant trouble. University of Texas professor Jafari Sinclaire Allen was a gay student at Morehouse in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Socially ostracized after coming out -- and later forming a gay student group that eventually dissolved -- he recalled fleeing the campus one evening after a forum on homophobia turned ugly. He and his friends feared he might be beaten. Allen didn't return to campus for 17 years.

An uglier incident occurred in 2002, two years before Brewer arrived. A sophomore named Aaron Price beat a student with a baseball bat because he thought the man was making a sexual advance.

Price was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Administrators fretted over the bad publicity, and influential alumni weighed in on the best course of action for the school. Kevin Rome, the vice president of student services, joined the staff three years ago and heard some alumni suggest screening out gay applicants.

Instead, the school held diversity seminars -- an odd concept, perhaps, at a school that has only a few students who aren't black. But some faculty and staff members said the efforts encouraged students to take a more civil tone when discussing gay rights.

Meanwhile, another dynamic was also altering the climate: Students of Brewer's generation were showing up at Morehouse more comfortable with being openly gay. Parker, the religion professor, has been discussing gay rights issues in his classes for years, but it was only four years ago, he said, that a student spoke up and identified himself as gay. Now, he said, it is a regular occurrence.

The result has been a small groundswell of activity. After the beating, gay students formed a support group, Safe Space, which Brewer joined. The president of Brewer's freshman class, Jameel Smith, caused a stir when he came out soon after his election. Last year, students at Spelman produced a documentary that took a frank look at the gay and lesbian experiences on the two campuses. And a Morehouse political science major recently chose to do his senior thesis on "queer studies" -- hardly a radical move at most campuses but a bit of a shock at Morehouse.

"The other professors in the department about had a stroke," assistant professor Sharon Vaughan said. "Some of them are older. A lot of this is generational."

Isaiah Wilson, 21, a gay senior, said that someone slipped a death threat under his door during his freshman year. But he believes the school has benefited because he and others refused to conceal their sexual orientation.

"You're going to have the idea of the Morehouse man evolve over the years," he said.

Brewer agrees. He thinks he opened the mind of his freshman roommate, who came from a conservative, churchgoing family. An aspiring organizer, Brewer earned a reputation as a star in the political science department and found that straight guys who once shunned him began turning to him for homework help.

"They see I've got the game sewed up," he said. "The tide is definitely changing."

But it has only changed so much. Brewer will graduate at the end of the summer with a few regrets. Twice he tried to join a fraternity; twice he was rejected.

Each time, he said, the explanation came "through the grapevine: 'Oh, man, you had it except. . . .' "

He worries about the health of the college's fledgling gay rights movement. The Safe Space group this year only had about five active members. Brewer decided that the week of gay rights events would be his legacy to the school he loves. The centerpiece was a panel discussion on homophobia, with Brewer as moderator.

The debate was brief, earnest and freewheeling, similar to conversations other campuses have been hosting for years. Here, the topic felt fresh, and a little raw.

A student named Mahdi Massey, from Queens, N.Y., said he was raised among West Indian people who thought homosexuality violated "the natural order of things."

Vinson Muhammad, a Nation of Islam member in a purple robe, noted prohibitions on homosexuality in the Koran and Bible. "I don't have a problem with you as a person," he said to Brewer, "but with your choice."

Junior Devrin Lindsay worried that overly effeminate men were harmful to Morehouse's image in the same way men dressed in thug-wear were harmful.

What would parents think when they brought their sons to see Morehouse, he asked. Wouldn't it harm the school if they saw a Morehouse man who "swishes down the campus like he's on a runway?"

When the room cleared, Brewer was asked what he thought about Lindsay's argument. He dismissed it with a cheerful barnyard obscenity -- and with the confidence Morehouse prides itself on instilling in a man.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Racism alarms Obama's backers

WASHINGTON - Danielle Ross was alone in an empty room at the headquarters in Kokomo, Ind., a cellphone in one hand, a voter call list in the other. She was stretched out on the carpeted floor wearing laceless sky-blue Converses, stories from the trail on her mind. It was the day before Indiana's primary, and she had just been chased by dogs while canvassing in a Kokomo suburb. But that was not the worst thing to occur since she postponed her sophomore year at Middle Tennessee State University, in part to hopscotch America stumping for Barack Obama.

Here's the worst: In Muncie, a factory town in the east-central part of Indiana, Ross and her cohorts were soliciting support for Obama at malls, on street corners and in a Wal-Mart parking lot, and they ran into "a horrible response," as Ross put it, a level of anti-black sentiment that none of them had anticipated.

"The first person I encountered was like, 'I'll never vote for a black person,' " recalled Ross, who is white and just turned 20. "People just weren't receptive."
For all the hope and excitement Obama's candidacy is generating, some of his field workers, phone-bank volunteers and campaign surrogates are encountering a raw racism and hostility that have gone largely unnoticed -- and unreported -- this election season. Doors have been slammed in their faces. They've been called racially derogatory names (including the white volunteers). And they've endured malicious rants and ugly stereotyping from people who can't fathom that the senator from Illinois could become the first African American president.

The contrast between the large, adoring crowds Obama draws at public events and the gritty street-level work to win votes is stark. The candidate is largely insulated from the mean-spiritedness that some of his foot soldiers deal with away from the media spotlight.

Meeting cruel reaction
Victoria Switzer, a retired social studies teacher, was on phone-bank duty one night during the Pennsylvania primary campaign. One night was all she could take: "It wasn't pretty." She made 60 calls to prospective voters in Susquehanna County, her home county, which is 98 percent white. The responses were dispiriting. One caller, Switzer remembers, said he couldn't possibly vote for Obama and concluded: "Hang that darky from a tree!"

Documentary filmmaker Rory Kennedy, the daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy, said she, too, came across "a lot of racism" when campaigning for Obama in Pennsylvania. One Pittsburgh union organizer told her he would not vote for Obama because he is black, and a white voter, she said, offered this frank reason for not backing Obama: "White people look out for white people, and black people look out for black people."

Obama campaign officials say such incidents are isolated, that the experience of most volunteers and staffers has been overwhelmingly positive.

The campaign released this statement in response to questions about encounters with racism: "After campaigning for 15 months in nearly all 50 states, Barack Obama and our entire campaign have been nothing but impressed and encouraged by the core decency, kindness, and generosity of Americans from all walks of life. The last year has only reinforced Senator Obama's view that this country is not as divided as our politics suggest."

Campaign field work can be an exercise in confronting the fears, anxieties and prejudices of voters. Veterans of the civil rights movement know what this feels like, as do those who have been involved in battles over busing, immigration or abortion. But through the Obama campaign, some young people are having their first experience joining a cause and meeting cruel reaction.

On Election Day in Kokomo, a group of black high school students were holding up Obama signs along U.S. 31, a major thoroughfare. As drivers cruised by, a number of them rolled down their windows and yelled out a common racial slur for African Americans, according to Obama campaign staffers.

Frederick Murrell, a black Kokomo High School senior, was not there but heard what happened. He was more disappointed than surprised. During his own canvassing for Obama, Murrell said, he had "a lot of doors slammed" in his face. But taunting teenagers on a busy commercial strip in broad daylight? "I was very shocked at first," Murrell said. "Then again, I wasn't, because we have a lot of racism here."

Vandalism, bomb threats
The bigotry has gone beyond words. In Vincennes, the Obama campaign office was vandalized at 2 a.m. on the eve of the primary, according to police. A large plate-glass window was smashed, an American flag stolen. Other windows were spray-painted with references to Obama's controversial former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and other political messages: "Hamas votes BHO" and "We don't cling to guns or religion. Goddamn Wright."

Ray McCormick was notified of the incident at about 2:45 a.m. A farmer and conservationist, McCormick had erected a giant billboard on a major highway on behalf of Farmers for Obama. He also was housing the Obama campaign worker manning the office. When McCormick arrived at the office, about two hours before he was due out of bed to plant corn, he grabbed his camera and wanted to alert the media. "I thought, this is a big deal." But he was told Obama campaign officials didn't want to make a big deal of the incident. McCormick took photos anyway and distributed some.


Obama looks past W. Va. primaries
May 12: Having overtaken Hillary Clinton in what was once her formidable superdelegate lead, Barack Obama turned his attention to defeating John McCain in the general election states. NBC's Andrea Mitchell reports.
Nightly News

"The pictures represent what we are breaking through and overcoming," he said. As McCormick, who is white, sees it, Obama is succeeding despite these incidents. Later, there would be bomb threats to three Obama campaign offices in Indiana, including the one in Vincennes, according to campaign sources.

Obama has not spoken much about racism during this campaign. He has sought to emphasize connections among Americans rather than divisions. He shrugged off safety concerns that led to early Secret Service protection and has told black senior citizens who worry that racists will do him harm: Don't fret. Earlier in the campaign, a 68-year-old woman in Carson City, Nev., voiced concern that the country was not ready to elect an African American president.

"Will there be some folks who probably won't vote for me because I am black? Of course," Obama said, "just like there may be somebody who won't vote for Hillary because she's a woman or wouldn't vote for John Edwards because they don't like his accent. But the question is, 'Can we get a majority of the American people to give us a fair hearing?' "

Click for related content
Superdelegates put Obama within reach

Skilled at bridging divides
Obama has won 30 of 50 Democratic contests so far, the kind of nationwide electoral triumph no black candidate has ever realized. That he is on the brink of capturing the Democratic nomination, some say, is a testament to how far the country has progressed in overcoming racism and evidence of Obama's skill at bridging divides.

Obama has won five of 12 primaries in which black voters made up less than 10 percent of the electorate, and caucuses in states such as Idaho and Wyoming that are overwhelmingly white. But exit polls show he has struggled to attract white voters who didn't attend college and earn less than $50,000 a year. Today, he and Hillary Clinton square off in West Virginia, a state where she is favored and where the votes of working-class whites will again be closely watched.

For the most part, Obama campaign workers say, the 2008 election cycle has been exhilarating. On the ground, the Obama campaign is being driven by youngsters, many of whom are imbued with an optimism undeterred by racial intolerance. "We've grown up in a different world," says Danielle Ross. Field offices are staffed by 20-somethings who hold positions -- state director, regional field director, field organizer -- that are typically off limits to newcomers to presidential politics.

Gillian Bergeron, 23, was in charge of a five-county regional operation in northeastern Pennsylvania. The oldest member of her team was 27. At Scranton's annual Saint Patrick's Day parade, some of the green Obama signs distributed by staffers were burned along the parade route. That was the first signal that this wasn't exactly Obama country. There would be others.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Star Jones' informed and provocative response to Bill

Thanks Leatha
No matter how you feel about Star Jones, she righteously jumps down Bill
O'Reilly's throat in the communication below.

comment about having a lynching party for Michelle Obama if he finds out
> that she truly has no pride in her country.
> Bill O'Reilly said:
> 'I don't want to go on a lynching party against Michelle Obama
> unless there's evidence, hard facts, that say this is how the woman
> really feels. If that's how she really feels - that is a bad country or
> a flawed nation, whatever - then that's legit. We'll track it down.'
> Star said:
> 'I'm sick to death of people like Fox News host, Bill O'Reilly,
> and his ill thinking that he can use a racial slur against a black
> woman
> who could be the next First Lady of the United States, give a
> half-assed
> apology and not be taken to task and called on his crap.
> What the hell? If it's 'legit,' you're going to 'track it down?'
> And then what do you plan to do? How dare this white man with a
> microphone and the trust of the public think that in 2008, he can still
> put the words 'lynch and party' together in the same sentence with
> reference to a black woman; in this case, Michelle Obama? I don't care
> how you 'spin it' in the 'no spin zone,' that statement in and of
> itself
> is racist, unacceptable and inappropriate on every level.
> O'Reilly claims his comments were taken out of context. Please
> don't insult my intelligence while you're insulting me. I've read the
> comments and heard them delivered in O'Reilly's own voice; and there is
> no right context that exists. So, his insincere apology and
> 'out-of-context' excuse is not going to cut it with me.
> And just so we're clear, this has nothing to do with the 2008
> presidential election, me being a Democrat, him claiming to be
> Independent while talking Republican, the liberal media or a
> conservative point of view. To the contrary, this is about crossing a
> line in the sand that needs to be drawn based on history, dignity,
> taste
> and truth.
> Bill, I'm not sure of where you come from, but let me tell you
> what the phrase 'lynching party' conjures up to me, a black woman born
> in North Carolina . Those words depict the image of a group of white
> men
> who are angry with the state of the own lives getting together,
> drinking
> more than they need to drink, lamenting how some black person has moved
> forward (usually ahead of them in stature or dignity), and had the
> audacity to think that they are equal. These same men for years,
> instead
> of looking at what changes, should and could make in their own lives
> that might remove that bitterness born of perceived privilege, these
> white men take all of that resentment and anger and decide to get
> together and drag the closest black person near them to their death by
> hanging them from a tree - usually after violent beating, torturing and
> violating their human dignity. Check your history books, because you
> don't need a masters or a law degree from Harvard to know that is what
> constitutes a 'lynching party.'
> Imagine, Michelle and Barack Obama having the audacity to think
> that they have the right to the American dream, hopes, and ideals.
> O'Reilly must think to himself: how dare they have the arrogance to
> think they can stand in a front of this nation, challenge the status
> quo
> and express the frustration of millions? When this happens, the first
> thing that comes to mind for O'Reilly and people like him is: 'it's
> time
> for a party.'
> Not so fast...don't order the rope just yet.
> Would O'Reilly ever in a million years use this phrase with
> reference to Elizabeth Edwards, Cindy McCain or Judi Nathan? I mean, in
> all of the statements and criticisms that were made about Judi Nathan,
> the one-time mistress turned missus, of former presidential candidate
> Rudy Giuliani, I never heard any talk of forming a lynch party because
> of something she said or did.
> So why is it that when you're referring to someone who's
> African-American you must dig to a historical place of pain, agony and
> death to symbolize your feelings? Lynching is not a joke to
> off-handedly
> throw around and it is not a metaphor that has a place in political
> commentary; provocative or otherwise. I admit that I come from a place
> of personal outrage here having buried my 90 year-old grandfather last
> year. This proud, amazing African-American man raised his family and
> lived through the time when he had to use separate water fountains,
> ride
> in the back of a bus, take his wife on a date to the 'colored section'
> of a movie theater, and avert his eyes when a white woman walked down
> the street for fear of what a white man and his cronies might do if
> they
> felt the urge to 'party'; don't tell me that the phrase you chose, Mr.
> O'Reilly, was taken out of context.
> To add insult to injury, O'Reilly tried to 'clarify' his
> statements, by using the excuse that his comments were reminiscent of
> Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' use of the term 'high-tech
> lynching' during his confirmation hearing. I reject that analogy. You
> see Justice Thomas did mean to bring up the image of lynching in its
> racist context. He was saying that politics and the media were using a
> new technology to do to him what had been done to black men for many
> years -- hang him. Regardless of if you agreed with Justice Thomas'
> premise or not, if in fact -- Bill O'Reilly was referencing it -- the
> context becomes even clearer.
> What annoys me more than anything is that I get the feeling
> that one of the reasons Bill O'Reilly made this statement, thinking he
> could get away with it in the first place, and then followed it up with
> a lame apology in a half-hearted attempt to smooth any ruffled
> feathers,
> is because he doesn't think that black women will come out and go after
> him when he goes after us. Well, he's dead wrong. Be clear Bill
> O'Reilly: there will be no lynch party for that black woman. And this
> black woman assures you that if you come for her, you come for all of
> us.' -- Star Jones Reynolds

The NY & LA Times..

The New York Times
Race Over or Not, Obama Takes a Victory Lap

Mr. Obama made no public effort to pressure Mrs. Clinton from the race, and in interviews with CNN and NBC News he praised her as a formidable candidate who could not yet be counted out. But he said that he was likely to lock up a majority of the pledged delegates - those awarded by voting in the primary and caucus states - after the Kentucky and Oregon primaries on May 20, and that at that point he could declare victory.

While he was respectful to Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama seemed eager to challenge Mr. McCain. Asked on CNN about Mr. McCain's recent statement that the radical Palestinian party Hamas, considered by the United States to be a terrorist organization, would favor Mr. Obama's election, Mr. Obama said it was offensive and called it a smear.

"And so for him to toss out comments like that I think is an example of him losing his bearings as he pursues this nomination," Mr. Obama said.

In the meantime, Mr. Obama continued to scoop up more support from the superdelegates, the elected Democrats and party officials whose votes will be necessary for either candidate to secure the nomination.

Representatives Brad Miller of North Carolina and Rick Larsen of Washington said Thursday that they would back Mr. Obama. Several more uncommitted superdelegates in Congress told Mr. Obama that they would be announcing their support in the coming days, campaign advisers and House Democratic officials said.

Mr. Obama's very public arrival in the House chamber on Thursday morning underscored the fact that the most important front in the Democratic nominating fight was suddenly Washington, where many of the superdelegates were milling around on the House floor voting on amendments to a housing bill

The LA Times

WASHINGTON -- She's darting around the country like a full-fledged presidential candidate, but within Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's circle of advisors and donors, the conversation has turned to how she can make a dignified exit from the race.

Outwardly, Clinton operated Thursday as if the disappointing results from Indiana and North Carolina never happened. She made stops in West Virginia and South Dakota, while her husband held a conference call with top fundraisers. Before dawn, one of her advisors, Mark Penn, crafted a memo outlining future campaign strategy.

But for all the signs of normalcy, much of the infrastructure that keeps the New York senator's campaign going -- the aides, donors and political allies -- is resigned to the hard reality that the Democratic nomination now appears out of reach.

One Clinton aide said Thursday: "There is a profound sadness" among the staff. "I don't think anyone sees that there's a clear path to victory here."

Richard Schiffrin, a national finance co-chairman for Clinton, is scheduled to meet with other fundraisers and her next week. Schiffrin said he would tell her: "Let's look at the situation as it exists and think about whether there's a credible path to the nomination, and if there isn't, what's Plan B?"

He added: "The bottom line is she's going to make a decision that in my view will be in the best interests of the party and the country."

Clinton launched a three-state, 21-hour, cross-country marathon campaign swing Thursday. Speaking to several hundred supporters in the marble-lined dome of the state Capitol in Charleston, W.Va., she acknowledged that she had come under growing pressure to drop out. She suggested that she would stay at least until Tuesday's primary there.

"Some folks say, 'You've got to end this before you get to West Virginia,' " she said. "I think we want to keep this going so the people of West Virginia's voices are heard."

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) left the campaign trail for a star turn on Capitol Hill, where even Republican lawmakers elbowed past colleagues in the House chamber to shake his hand.

On "NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams," Obama denied that he was the presumptive nominee. "Not yet. I will be," he said, "if Sen. Clinton decides not to go on, or if we complete the six contests and we are ahead as we are now. But nothing is certain. I don't want to take it for granted."

Having invested 16 months and raised more than $200 million in the campaign, Clinton may find it difficult to quit. Her campaign persona is now built on the idea that she's working-class America's scrappy warrior. So dropping out with six contests left in the campaign season would be awkward.

And those who have spoken to her say she is reluctant to leave.

Rep. Tim Mahoney (D-Fla.) met privately with Clinton on Wednesday at the Democratic National Committee's offices in Washington. "She wasn't talking exit. She's talking winning," Mahoney said.

Chris Lehane, who served in President Clinton's administration, said: "Having worked for them, I would never, ever count out a Clinton: Bill, Hillary, Chelsea or the cat, Socks. One of the primary reasons she has remained extremely competitive in this race is that people have extrapolated she's a fighter."

But even trusted aides don't see how she can wrest the nomination from Obama.

They are divided over what course she should follow. Some believe she should not drop out until the last contests on June 3. Others contend she should exit "gracefully" sometime this month.

Ultimately, an aide said, Clinton will decide with her husband what to do; staff won't be consulted on so momentous a decision. The aide and others associated with the campaign requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak for the campaign.

Some members of Clinton's circle are thinking through the conditions under which she might concede the race.

One supporter familiar with the campaign's operations said that Clinton wanted to go out on a positive note -- say, after winning in West Virginia and Kentucky, whose primaries are May 13 and 20, respectively.

She also would want a resolution to the disputed elections in Florida and Michigan, the campaign supporter said. That would enable her to say she worked successfully to give those voters a voice.

The Democratic Party nullified the outcomes in Florida and Michigan as punishment for their leapfrogging other states on the election calendar. Clinton won both elections, but neither candidate officially campaigned in the two states, and Obama's name wasn't on the ballot in Michigan.

On Thursday, Clinton sent Obama a letter asking him to help her ensure that Florida and Michigan voters "have a voice in selecting our party's nominee."

The dispute could be resolved as soon as May 31 by the Democratic National Committee's rules panel, which has the authority to reinstate the delegations or fashion a compromise.

Given Obama's formidable lead in delegates, he could agree to seat the entire delegations from both states and still maintain his advantage over Clinton. In short, compromising with Clinton on this point might not cost Obama much.

"If you've resolved Michigan and Florida and she wins a couple of more states -- West Virginia and Kentucky -- and she still can't get the nomination barring an act of God, I don't think she stays in the race," the Clinton supporter said.

Though she is campaigning actively, Clinton is now avoiding direct attacks on Obama, choosing a more muted approach.

In South Dakota on Thursday, she didn't mention his name.

Instead, she spooled out her policy positions and spoke glowingly about the achievements of her husband's White House.

Times staff writers Bob Drogin, Richard Simon and Peter Wallsten contributed to this report.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Support for Clinton Wanes as Obama Sees Finish Line

The New York Times

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton struck a publicly defiant posture on Wednesday about continuing her presidential bid despite waning support from Democratic officials and donors. Some of her advisers acknowledged privately that they remained unsure about the future of her candidacy.

With the political world trained on Mrs. Clinton's financial and electoral viability, Senator Barack Obama moved closer to becoming the first African-American presidential nominee of a major party. Mr. Obama spent the day at home in Chicago, after increasing his delegate lead in Tuesday's primaries - a result that led David Plouffe, a top Obama aide, to say on Wednesday, "We can see the finish line here."

After a decisive loss in North Carolina and a disappointingly narrow victory in Indiana on Tuesday night, Mrs. Clinton told advisers that she wanted to start campaigning for next Tuesday's primary in West Virginia, advisers said. At 3 a.m. Wednesday, aides added a noon event there. She was also eager to get away from Beltway buzzards circling her candidacy and feeding off fresh tidbits like the revelation that she had lent her campaign $6 million to keep it afloat, aides said.

In West Virginia on Wednesday afternoon, Mrs. Clinton said that it was "still early" - even though 50 of 56 nominating contests have concluded - and that the "dynamic electoral environment" could still swing the nomination her way.

"I'm staying in this race until there is a nominee, and obviously I'm going to work as hard as I can to become that nominee," Mrs. Clinton said after an event in Shepherdstown, W.Va.
By Peter Nicholas
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- Barack Obama hasn't managed after months of political combat to force Hillary Rodham Clinton out of the presidential race, so he's about to try another approach: ignoring her.

Confident that he has built a near-impregnable lead, his campaign aides said Wednesday that Obama would begin shifting his focus toward the general election.

Obama still plans to campaign in states that remain on the primary calendar -- he is to appear in Oregon over the weekend -- but he may also start showing up in states that are considered important in the November contest: Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania. (All three have held their Democratic primaries.)

With Clinton's hopes of capturing the Democratic nomination dimming, Obama needs to prepare for the prospect of a general election matchup with the presumptive Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, aides said.

"Everyone is eager to get on with this," said David Axelrod, the Obama campaign's lead strategist.

"We've got to multi-task here . . . Sen. McCain has basically run free for some time now," Axelrod added.

Clinton's campaign cast Obama's strategy as a show of hubris. Clinton has given no signal she is dropping out of the race after Tuesday's split results, when she lost decisively in North Carolina and won narrowly in Indiana.

Showing she still believes she can win, the New York senator hastily arranged a campaign stop Wednesday in West Virginia, which will hold its primary Tuesday. "We've seen the perils of saying 'mission accomplished' too early," said Phil Singer, a Clinton campaign spokesman.

The phrase "mission accomplished" was famously displayed on an aircraft carrier in 2003, when President Bush came aboard and declared that major combat operations in Iraq had ended.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Clinton Win Virtually Impossible as Obama Lead 'Can't Be Overcome'

Chicago Tribune Clinton may have 9 lives, but she's down for the count

But no matter what she does, she can't stop Obama, the gentle faun of American politics, supported for years by a compliant, yearning media eager to portray him as a reformer and by the Chicago Democratic machine that has nurtured and protected him for years.

Obama is the fellow who stumbled and revealed he had two left political feet, one named Jeremiah Wright, the other named William Ayers, and still he'll be the Democratic Party's presidential nominee in the fall.

"Thank you North Carolina," Obama said precisely at 8:13 p.m. Chicago time, effectively embarking on the general election phase of his campaign. "Thank you so very much. I love you back. I surely do."

With soaring, highly emotional flourishes, Obama congratulated Clinton, said she won in Indiana, although precinct workers shipped over the border from Chicago would have other ideas

ABC's senior political correspondent,George Stephanopoulos is my guy, and has always spoken with the type of integrity thats too often missing from the media.Cheech...

ABC's senior political correspondent George Stephanopoulos said today on "Good Morning America." He predicted that more superdelegates will now come out for Obama, increasing pressure on Clinton to step aside. It will also be increasingly difficult for Clinton to raise the money needed to keep her campaign on the road. Nevertheless,...

Taken from the LA_Times
By Peter Wallsten
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
May 07, 2008

For most of the year, June 3 beckoned as the end of an exhausting nominating calendar, the day that the final states hold primaries to choose between Clinton and Obama. But now, Clinton is preparing to push the contest beyond the voting phase of the process and into the realm of committee meetings and credentialing rules, where her campaign believes she may have a chance to overtake Obama before the party's nominating convention in late August

For Clinton, Options Seem to Dwindle

In short, Mrs. Clinton could not have asked for a better second chance to turn this campaign around and to make her central case to superdelegates: that Mr. Obama was a damaged general election candidate who would get swallowed up by the Republican Party.

Yet she was unable on Tuesday to build her base of support substantially beyond the white, working-class voters who had sustained her for the last month. That will not be lost on the superdelegates, the elected Democrats and party leaders who will ultimately decide this fight.

And the superdelegates are where the fight is moving: after 50 nominating contests, there are only 6 left, with just 217 pledged delegates left to be elected, not enough to get either of them over the 2,025 threshold necessary to win the nomination.

Mr. Obama's aides said Mrs. Clinton would have to win close to 70 percent of the remaining pledged delegates and superdelegates to win the nomination, a shift in the campaign's trajectory that would seem possible only if some big development came along to hurt Mr. Obama.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008



Lillian Frazier Share's This Poem...

How To Dance In The Rain:

It was a busy morning, about 8:30, when an elderly gentleman in his 80s,arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb. He said he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:00 am.

I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would to able to see him.

I saw him looking at his watch and decided, since I was not busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound.

On exam, it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redress his wound.

While taking care of his wound, I asked him if he had another doctor's appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry. The gentleman told me no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife.

I inquired as to her health. He told me that she had been there for awhile and that she was a victim of Alzheimer's Disease. As we talked, I asked if she would be upset if he was a bit late. He replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him in five years now.

I was surprised, and asked him, 'And you still go every morning, even though she doesn't know who you are?'

He smiled as he patted my hand and said, 'She doesn't know me, but I still know who she is.'

I had to hold back tears as he left, I had goose bumps on my arm, and thought, 'That is the kind of love I want in my life.'

True love is neither physical, nor romantic. True love is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will be, and will not be.

The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

'Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.'



Monday, May 5, 2008

When Opportunity Knocks . . .


Our 2008 conference features a powerful line up of influential speakers:

Lynette Khalfani, former Wall Street Journal reporter for CNBC, author and award-winning financial expert best known nationally as "The Money Coach." Lynnette has appeared on Oprah, Dr. Phil, The Tyra Banks Show, Rachel Ray, Montel Williams, Tavis Smiley and a host of financial news networks.

Mr. John Benevides, President of Family Office Exchange, is an avatar whose member-based company serves the Ultra High Net Worth Family and Individual.

Melody Spann-Cooper, President of WVON Radio, and Chairman of Midway Broadcasting Corporation, the station's parent company. Spann-Cooper is the only female to hold these coveted positions in the 3rd largest broadcast market in the country.

Robert Jordan, President of Jordan and Jordan Communications and Anchorman of WGN News. Jordan produces, writes and reports news stories for weekday and weekend news as a reporter.

Author Robyn Williams, Executive Director of The Bestow Foundation, a not-for-profit literacy organization that specializes in helping children, students and parents achieve reading success.


Where Will You Be

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Crowne Plaza Hotel

733 West Madison, Chicago, IL 60661

12:00 noon - 4:00 PM

Registration is now OPEN

Looking to increase your firm's visibility? Place an ad in the event's program book!

Want to be a vendor? Being a vendor will help your company enhance its exposure. Space is Limited!

Note: Only 15 vendors will be accepted at this year's event. Must be 18 years or older!

For more information on Vendors and advertisement, go to Select the Seminar/Event site and click the attendee's registration link. Go to bottom of page and click on the downloadable Advertising or Vendor's form.

Discounted hotel prices available at the Crowne Plaza Hotel (708) 829-5000!

A $20 fee is charged for each returned check for insufficient funds.

If you require additional information, please contact Chanette Beasley at or call (708) 449-8058.

Seats are limited! No refunds.

No Children Allowed.

Sheila Downer

President & Ceo

Thursday, May 1, 2008

How we got here


First of all, let’s be clear - if anyone thought the power structure of the United States was going to rollover and let the Obama Forces coup the Oval Office under the banner of Hope and Change, they were deluded.

This is war.

So then, what are the seven calculations of warfare that must be considered?

1. Whose government is able to establish a moral cause and gain the whole people’s enthusiastic cooperation?

2. Whose generals are most capable?
3. Who can take advantage of the benefits of heaven and earth?
4. Whose orders will be carried out most successfully?
5. Whose army is the strongest?
6. Whose troops have the best training?
7. Which army’s rewards and punishments are fairest and strictest?

The answers to these questions and reliance on the principle, “know thyself, know thine enemy” help to determine success in waged war. Barack, and his enemies, knew that Reverend Wright was a liability because he did not embody the submissive, emasculated, harmless Christian pastor that would make White people comfortable. In fact, even with all of his learning that usually tames racial self-interest, he could be described as downright rebellious. Last year, Reverend Wright himself predicted an inevitable split between he and Barack. He spoke it out loud, Barack concurred, and it was printed in the New York Times - “If Barack gets past the primary, he might have to publicly distance himself from me,” Mr. Wright said with a shrug. “I said it to Barack personally, and he said yeah, that might have to happen.” Read full article from April 3, 2007

While Barack campaigned as a uniting force, the enemy knew that his close association to Reverend Wright, who personified the Angry Black Man, would severely damage Barack’s chances. Wondering if Barack secretly harbored Reverend Wright’s views is a risk most Whites, even very liberal ones, would not be willing to take. It was only a matter of time before the Reverend Wright situation would be played out.

The greatest fear of White Americans is that somehow, someway, Blacks would exact revenge, or even pursue real Justice, for the harm done to them for over 400 years so the fight for the White House by a Black man is nothing short of war. And the United States, like every militia, realizes that winning a war hinges on two vital necessities. First, the psychological convincing of civilians, and second, the strategic physical conflict. In short, propaganda and guns, and in this case, propaganda and votes. No matter how small or large the army, it is the mental capabilities of the commander that determines success.

All of the great battles attest to this conclusion. Some worthy of study are the Vietnam War, Hitler’s rise, Fidel Castro’s guerrilla takeover of Cuba, the War in Iraq, and the Crusades. Print media such as pamphlets, newsletters, and newspapers have been dropped by helicopter into civilian territories. Television, radio, movies, sound bytes, and news programs, do the same thing. The Bible itself was used as propaganda by Constantine, slave catchers, missionaries, and slave owners. Even the enemies of Jesus included the scribes. Otherwise, censorship would not have been such a huge issue in all civilizations, including America. Propaganda furthers the goal of psychologically convincing civilians that “this is for your own good and we’re only here to help” before armed takeovers.

Sean Hannity’s relentless harboring on “The Real Barack Obama” did not fall on deaf ears. He was rallying the troops against Barack and his pastor until the other news networks finally took the bait. This is one area about Whites that Blacks could take a lesson - even if every one of their groups disagree on tactics or principles, they work in tandem to further their objectives as a race.

The civilians happily feed from the main stream media and have not cared to know anything about the Black church, Black existence, or Black struggles. That is, until Barack Obama. Even Barack’s supporters were taken aback by their cluelessness in Black issues. They too were shocked in hearing sound bytes of Reverend Wright. Isn’t the Matrix grand? Who cares if it is all a hoax? Just hug me, kiss me, and tell me lies.

The “Farrakhan Test” is an easy one for them. In conversation, they regurgitate news commentators with phrases like, “he’s a hater, he’s anti-American, he’s an anti-Semite.” But, how could this crazed Reverend Wright on the video loop be our Beloved Barack’s pastor? The diehard Barack supporters who investigated further realized the job the mainstream media has been doing on Black folks since it began.

While we write and complain to the mainstream media about their inaccurate accounts of us, we should keep in mind their objective. Why waste anger and effort when they are doing what they are designed to do? Why not create institutions that further our own objectives?

A caller on WVON’s Cliff Kelly’s show said that, “we need to sound the alarm.” The alarm, dear caller, was sounded in 1965 with the release of Message to the Blackman. But, because the media had stigmatized Elijah Muhammad, Blacks turned him off and refused to listen. We didn’t know we could find value in something different while not agreeing on every point so we threw the baby out with the bath water. And, what happened?

We integrated and got what? We had our own media and now have what? We heard our music take a depraved turn and did what? We had our own movie houses and now have what? We had our own businesses and now have what? We have a Black candidate for president and he had to do what? We have thousands of Black churches and they do what? Alas, the message Do for Self was lost and we are now paying the price.

Barack has now shed the baggage of major names in the Black community. He already maintained distance from Jesse and Al and now, he and Reverend Wright have parted. He even went further on Farrakhan by saying that the only man who called two million men to Washington, D.C., including him, is not an important voice of our century. Dr. Cornel West criticized him for not going to Memphis for the Dr. King event and he is facing increasing criticism from Black civilians. Especially for dismissing the U.S. Special Virus Program which many believe created AIDS to kill Blacks. This turn has deeply affected his Black supporters but, Tavis and all of the other haters are probably loving it.

Whether these disassociations does him any good with White voters remain to be seen. What is clear is that, based on warfare, this will not be enough for his enemies. The protective hedge has been removed from Barack and his enemies are licking their chops because they got to him. They unnerved him. They manufactured a rift between he and the closest man to a father he had.

I was at the National Press Club and saw Reverend Wright first hand. His appearances on Bill Moyers Journal and the NAACP should not have been negated by the vast contrast in his demeanor. Jeremiah Wright was in the same room with the same people responsible for raking him over the coals for over forty days. If truth be told, the National Press Club was the courtroom of a hostile and unfair prosecution where Jeremiah Wright was the hostile witness.

A man sitting next to me raised his voice while describing Wright as a wacko who caters to wackos. Even Greta van Susteren was sitting a few seats away from him. Remember when someone interrupted him? It was the same reporter from Fox News who tried to ambush Father Pfleger in front of St. Sabina. For me, just seeing these people in person made my blood boil.

So, all you righteous souls, please excuse Reverend Wright if he did not “act appropriately.”

If you were the one being burned at the stake, I wonder how graceful you would be. Bronzeville Metropolis

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