I really don't how I missed this. This is Barack in South Carolina a few weeks back, channeling his inner Malcolm X. There is something so lovely about this.
Ta-Nehisi Coates is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle. More
Born in 1975, the product of two beautiful parents. Raised in West Baltimore -- not quite The Wire, but sometimes ill all the same. Studied at the Mecca for some years in the mid-'90s. Emerged with a purpose, if not a degree. Slowly migrated up the East Coast with a baby and my beloved, until I reached the shores of Harlem. Wrote some stuff along the way.
I really don't how I missed this. This is Barack in South Carolina a few weeks back, channeling his inner Malcolm X. There is something so lovely about this.
Hehe. Some fool over at The Conservative Voice argues that an Obama presidency would be bad for blacks. I'll tell you what would be bad for blacks---getting advice on what is "bad for blacks" from the conservative voice. Hehe. Read, should you need a good hearty chuckle.
Nice piece by Robert Kuttner on the hope that Obama will begin to address himself more to economic issues. A nice optimistic obsevation:
A great leader gets the music right as well as the words. It took a little while, but Obama now does both. He has the campaign's poetry, leaving Clinton with the prose.
Nice piece here. Also some audio from Barack here. Barack sounds a little pissed in the audio. In defense of Tavis--whose been catching it from all quarters of black folks--I do think that we are going to STILL need black folks to hold Barack accountable, should he win. The job of black irritant is an important one, because power--even black power--concedes nothing without struggle.
That said, we're still in the campaign phase. One point he makes is "If the issue is I should only be talking to black people, then I'm not going to win the presidency." I think what gets some folks about Obama is that things like, say, criminal justice reform don't make his stump speech, even though it's an issue that's incredibly important to black folks. The thinking is that Obama isn't talking about it because he doesn't care about it. But the fact is he does talk about criminal justice refom--he also endorses representation for Washington D.C.--it's just never in his stump. I am sorry, call me Tomming, but I have to agree with that strategy. The fact is, many of the issues important to black folks just aren't vote-getters. At some point we've gotta ask--Do we want the brother to win? Or do we want him to represent STRICTLY us and ALWAYS us?
So Tavis has been going at it with Barack Obama, because Obama has declined to appear at Smiley's State of the Black Union Conference. For anyone whose missed it you can hear all of the audio here. You can also here Michelle Obama's classic response to Tavis here. Here's Melissa Harris Lacewell, she of Gloria Stienem critical beatdown fame, at it again:
All these black leaders who spent the year telling us that Obama is not old enough, not black enough and not angry enough to earn African American votes must have noticed that Obama can deliver the black vote to himself, by himself, with little help from these self-proclaimed racial power brokers.
And Jimi Izrael bringing it:
isn't that I have a plan so much better than Tavis'. No ma'am. I take
care of mines and do what I can for my brothers and others. I just
reject the rhetoric of people being paid just to be black—they are Race
Brokers: Grievance Merchants and Professional Negroes who give white
America the word from Darktown, so no one actually has to engage race
relations in a constructive way. They put on nice suits, get in front
of microphones and tell black people how to feel and when to feel it.
They remind white folks that we are not a monolith, then reduce blacks
with generalizations and best-guesses.
It isn't that I have a plan so much better than Tavis'. No ma'am. I take care of mines and do what I can for my brothers and others. I just reject the rhetoric of people being paid just to be black—they are Race Brokers: Grievance Merchants and Professional Negroes who give white America the word from Darktown, so no one actually has to engage race relations in a constructive way. They put on nice suits, get in front of microphones and tell black people how to feel and when to feel it. They remind white folks that we are not a monolith, then reduce blacks with generalizations and best-guesses.
What people don't get is that we're witnessing the end of gate-keeping in the black community. With John Lewis and the like unable to deliver black voters to Hill, with talkers like Sharpton and Jesse basically sidelined during arguably the most important event in black America since '68, with Julian Bond on the wrong side of history, we are seeing the complete scrapping of the black America's shadow government--presidency, congress, cabinet and all. That's a good thing--it's like all the Popes of Blackness, as Jimi calls them, are coming out of their face, only to be exposed as utterly irrelevant. I told you guys earlier--anybody can get got. In the words of Cedric the Entertainer, Barack keeps trash bags on him. He's so sincere. This some sincere isht right here.
This whole thing makes me think of that great KRS line, "phone calls are made profiles are kept low..." As you guys likely know, Julian Bond, head honcho of the NAACP, recently came out to say that the Michigan and Florida delegates should be seated. Roland Martin did some digging on this and found out that Bon collaborated with some other old-school civil rights hands to get this done. This just seems like a hamfisted, clumsy attempt at politicking. The Essence:
As someone who has opposed the leverage of Iowa and New Hampshire, I'm in agreement that they should not always be first. Yet that has nothing to do with today, and Bond knows it.
What is unclear is why he waited so long (he also didn't notify the NAACP's 64-member board of the letter) and why, according to my NAACP sources, he wrote the letter with help from Mary Frances Berry, former head of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, as well as Wade Henderson, CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.
The letter was hurriedly drafted on Friday, as evidence by the three misspelled words in it. It's not clear why there was such a sense of urgency to get it out, but the fact that it came to light on Tuesday night when Obama was steamrolling Clinton in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia has some conspiracy-minded bloggers making all kinds of assertions.
So it's not clear that he's switching, it seems someone whispered in his ear late last night. But he's clearing tilting. Here's Sullivan comparing Lewis's position when endorsing Clinton and now tilting toward Obama. I want to say one thing--this is a great victory for black folks, as much as such a thing still exists. I'm big on harping on th individuality of us all, but it's hard to do that when folks are breaking 85-90 percent in one direction. My point is this--Race-baiting is a tried and true tactic in American politics. In the modern era, this extends back to Nixon's Southern strategy, through Reagan's States Rights, up to Clinton's Sista Souljah.
I want to be clear--I don't believe any black person is obligated to support Obama because he's black. But it's weak to back someone who would use your own people/constituients as a tool to garner votes. Now we have the first time that black people have truly united to make someone pay for trying to scapegoat us. In the case of Lewis, we've actually pushed it even further and said, People who stand by and defend race-baiters, better protect their neck come election season. Here's Jesse Jr. on black pols who've stood with the Clintons:
"Many of these guys have offered their support to Mrs. Clinton, but Obama has won their districts. So you wake up without the carpet under your feet. You might find some young primary challenger placing you in a difficult position"
Word up. Anyone can be got.
Nice piece in TNR about the hell to pay, for black officials who endorsed Hillary, despite the wishes of their constituents. I really can't remember a time in my life when the black vote mattered so much. I think one thing that black folks have shown is that, in the primary at least, there's a price to be paid for race-baiting. That goes double for playing it safe. The Essence:
In retrospect, the South Carolina results exposed a divide in the way the campaigns courted African American pols. The Clintons had largely operated from a top-down model--relying on personal relationships and the self-interest of black politicians and hoping their constituents would follow suit. In one now- famous episode, they went so far as to give State Senator Darrell Jackson, a prominent pastor, a consulting contract. By contrast, the Obama campaign generally observed a "no walking-around money" policy. It made the case to African American politicians by pointing to its grassroots strength (though it didn't hurt that Obama's PAC handed out nearly $200,000 to candidates and political groups in early primary states last year). "After we won Iowa, I went to a lot of leaders and said, 'You better get on the train before it comes rolling through here,'" recalls Anton Gunn, Obama's South Carolina political director. "Some laughed it off; others recognized this was for real."
Aretha Franklin pissed that Beyonce called Tina Turner the queen. Gimme a break. Celebrity is absolutely toxic for most people.
Haha. Matthew Yglesias has this ongoing joke about Hill's efforts to spin Obama's victory. The idea is basically everytime Hillary loses, her boy Mark Penn spins the loss and claims it doesn't really matter. See here, here, and here. The Essence:
Back in October 2007, Clinton was beating Obama in Maine by a hilarious 47 to 10 margin, but it seems he's carried the state today, once again by a large margin. My understanding, though, is that this doesn't really count because it's a small state, much as Utah doesn't count because there aren't many Democrats there, DC doesn't count because there are too many black people, Washington doesn't count because it's a caucus, Illinois doesn't count because Obama represents it in the Senate even though Hillary was born there, Hawaii won't count because Obama was born there. I'm not sure why Delaware and Connecticut don't count, but they definitely don't.
Like I said, Mike Scheuer gives me the creeps. I thought about this a little longer and the thing I admire about him is he really is being straight. I think I really disagree with him on some basic issues--like his point on democracy in the wider world--but I really admire his honesty--as opposed to McCain's "straight-talk." Anyway here he is on Bill Maher.
I was watching MSNBC this morning and I heard a notion that's starting to be propogated as Hillary Clinton proceeds to slip into oblivion. The idea is that the media is harder on women than it is on black people. I've noticed that this statement is most often made by people who have no experience being black. But let's leave that and examine the argument. In this race, the Clinton campaign has repeatedly race-baited--the most obvious case being Clinton's comparison of Obama to Jesse Jackson after winning South Carolina. And yet no one has accused the Obama campaign of gender-baiting. This isn't about differing morals--women make up a larger share of the electorate than black people. Thus it would be suicidal for Obama to gender-bait.
The Clinton campaign made the calculated risk that they could win by race-baiting and then bring black folks back home--and, man I am happy to say, we have repeatedly made them pay for that. Either way, after running a campaign based on subliminal appeals to racism, how you turn around and cry sexism, and then furthermore, claim that Obama blackness has somehow protected him requires considerable gall. It's also disgusting, and the definition of why I would never vote for a Clinton.
Furthermore, to hear Clintonites holler sexism, strikes me the same way as hearing Al Sharpton crying racism. I am sorry but the Clintons lie--repeatedly. They would trade on anything to win, and have proven themselves bad judges of their enemies. Obama on the other-hand could never cry racism, and has avoiding doing so. Obama isn't even allowed to express pride in the possibility of being America's first black president. Imagine how heads would explode if Obama had made that "boy's club" remark Hillary Clinton made after the debate in November, instead directing it at black people, at, say, Howard or Morehouse. He'd have been run out of the contest on a rail. These fools need to a grip.
I've gotta say this dude gives me the creeps. Give him a listen. He's a weird dude. Scheuer is basically opposed to any and all intervention--before you clap, that includes Darfur. The thing I love about him though is that he always goes to the heart of the matter. From his perspective, it's really simple--either you go out and obliterate your enemy with ruthless effeciency, or you stay home. One or the other, no in- between. In this interview, he argues that we needed half a million or three quarters of a million troops in Afghanistan, if we want to win. The thing I like about him is he seems like an honest right-winger--he doesn't believe in war on the cheap. He argues that the curb in civil liberties at home, rest on our inability to win abroad.
The thing that scares me about Scheuer is he seems really anti-democratic, the sort of dude who in another country would make a great dictator. Still, to my mind, his is the most effective to challenge to the far-left--and maybe far-right--vision of foreign policy. I say that as an avowed lefty. Anyway, listen for yourself. And then read up some here. And hell, while your at it, cop Lawrence Wright's incredible Pulitizer-winning book, The Looming Tower.
An article cataloging all the folks who've died in the name of science. Amongst the hits:
ARCHIMEDES 287 B.C.-212 B.C.
The greatest mathematician of ancient Greece, and perhaps of all time, Archimedes perfected a method for calculating the areas and volumes of curved figures, deduced the approximate value of pi, devised the first general theory of levers ("Give me a firm place to stand on and I will move the Earth."), invented the water-screw and solved the dilemma of relative density while reportedly soaking in his bathtub.
In 212 B.C., Romans invaded the Greek city-state of Syracuse, home to Archimedes. Reports vary about what exactly happened, but the most common account describes a Roman soldier coming upon Archimedes drawing geometric symbols in the sand. The soldier demanded Archimedes cease and follow him. Intent upon his work, Archimedes refused. The soldier killed him.
"Do not disturb my circles," Archimedes reportedly cried with his last breath.
Whatever you think of him, the boy is sharp. I saw him last night on MSNBC being very deferrential to Obama. I'll try and dig up that clip. Then he pivoted and took on Julian Bond and the NAACP for arguing, foolishly, that the delegates from Florida and Michigan should be counted. Shartpon made the credible argument that changing the rules--as Clinton is arguing for--basically constitutes a civil rights issue. Anyway here is some follow-up from my old friend from back in Washington, Jake Tapper.
Holler at em Tapp:
Yesterday, Clinton's side of the argument got a boost when NAACP chairman Julian Bond wrote to DNC chair Howard Dean to express "great concern at the prospect that million of voters in Michigan and Florida could ultimately have their votes completely discounted." Not seating the Michigan and Florida delegations would remind Americans of the "sordid history of racially discriminatory primaries," Bond said.
This morning, Rev. Al Sharpton sided with Obama, writing to Dean to express the opposite sentiment.
"I firmly believe that changing the rules now, and seating delegates from Florida and Michigan at this point would not only violate the Democratic party's rules of fairness, but also would be a grave injustice," Sharpton wrote. "Changing the rules in the middle of a presidential contest is patently unfair both to the candidates (including Senator Edwards) and to Democratic voters everywhere."
Sharpton said that Bond's argument of disenfranchisement "should have been made many months ago before the decision was made to strip these states of their delegates, and, once the decision was made, it should have been vigorously objected to and contested by those who felt it disenfranchised voters. To raise that claim now smacks of politics in its form most raw and undercuts the moral authority behind such an argument."
Shock of all shocks, I think Sharpton is basically right. Bond should have made this argument months ago, not mid-contest. Furthermore, I think it's quite savvy of Sharpton as it puts him on the winning side. He's always been good about navigating the shifting political terrain,
One of the great things about Obama's campaign is how everytime folks say he can't crack certain groups of voters (Latinos, poor people, white people, black people Samoans, etc.) he cracks them. The only group that he hasn't cracked is white women. Somewhere down south, there's an old-school-"Would you want a nigra marryin yer daughter?"-segregationist who's laughing. For now, we've gotta settle for Dan Balz breakin it down.
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Pardon my French
As a candidate, Barack Obama said we needed to reckon with race and with America’s…