by Angela Winters

Now that the RNC has started its party, we are all trapped in the never-ending political news feed. As with the DNC we're all going to OD by day three, but until then we'll try to have as much fun as possible. It's gonna be a little harder for me because I just got the 2nd season of Alias on DVD and I'm entranced.

During the DNC my objective was to see if the whole UNIFIED thing was real. I bought it. I mean, nothing can unify people more than their mutual hatred for the same person. Not necessarily healthy, but effective. In NY, I'm looking for DIVERSITY. In my poli-topics article on Race & Politics, I mentioned how effective the black vote in particular could be if we held an effective position in both parties, but the Elephants have a lot of work to do to make that happen.

Edward Brooke wrote this article in the NY Times about his hope that his party can fulfill it's commitment to diversity.

Op-Ed Contributor: A Party for All of Us

It's been a big push in this past year and I think it's mostly a result of the Republicans underestimating the anger around the Florida elections. Gillespie has put forth a strong push to diversify the party and this is their chance to show the fruits of their labor. Let's watch for how many speakers, in prime time, are women or people of color, but not just that. Visually diversity isn't what's most important and can be the most deceiving. How many speakers represent the issues in contradiction to the platform; gay marriage or choice?

Immigration is certain to be a big issue. Bush has gotten really chummy with Mexico and there are so many efforts to give a pass to illegal immigrants. On the other hand, you have some in the party that not only want to stop those efforts, but place a 'time out' on legal immigration. The party is touting the NY-Lady Liberty thing as the core of what it means to be American, so the contradictions exist. Will the left's "truth squad" expose it?

There's also diversity in the coverage. All the networks are following the conference, which is why I'll probably watch C-Span as much as I can. I can't stand the constant talking just to say something. There's already a buzz on FOX being the only network that rejected an ad by the left-leaning "The Nation". I'm a little surprised they would be that obvious, but hey...It's his network, right? BTW - I love Fox & Friends. Al Franken is actually broadcasting from The Garden. Hopefully he has bulletproof glass around his booth.

So tonight, we'll watch for some of the party's most likeable characters, McCain, Guliani (who doesn't love this guy now?). There are a couple of actors, Ron Silver and Angie Harmon and her husband, Jason Sehorn, a football player who is a kind of hot. The hollywood quotient will get some buzz. Zairab Al-Suwaji from the American Islamic Congress will be speaking this evening as well. I want to see the looks on some of the 'old party' delegate's faces while this guy delivers. Expressions speak louder than words.

There is a notable contradiction between the desire to pull the party in a centrist direction while putting forth a traditional conservative platform. Then there is 9/11, an issue that the party will be criticized for playing up but it is relevant. The President, NY...It would be crazy for them not to use it to an extent, but if you're objective, you'll know when they've crossed the line and they will because they all do.

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by Angela Winters

A lot of attention is being paid to's most recent Anti-Bush campaign featuring celebrities; most notably that they are softer than expected. From a group that has pulled no punches in their strategy to unseat Bush, it wasn't what I expected. After the Swift Boat group, I had thought all civility was a lost cause.

Ari Berman of The Nation, is one several journalists covering the new series of ads.
Populist Politics Meet Popular Culture

The campaign, "Don't Get Mad, Get Even," launched earlier this week at a night club near the future scene of the crime, as might call it, Madison Square Garden. It will feature 12 spots by famous directors (free of charge) and feature actors such as Scarlett Johansson, Janeane Garofalo (big surprise), and Matt Damon. No one is surprised by the pull of or the long list of famous folks signed up to kick Bush to the curb, but the tone has changed and I have to say it's a big relief.

Although I would say The Swift Boat ads have made me the angriest, has been behind some of the lowest blows in political advertising history. Right or wrong, the purpose was to go for the jugular and laugh while the opposition bleeds to death. Basically, they want us to believe that Bush is a lying, deceiving idiot, but that's a hard combo to sell. Usually you have to be smart to get anywhere with lies and deceit. The Bush morphing into Hitler will go down in history. After the success of Swift Boats, I expected the next campaign to go the Emeril LaGasse route and take it up a notch. Fortunately, this campaign was well in the works before the Swift Boat really took off.

The idea of Republicans convincing other Republicans that Bush has betrayed the GOP instead of Democrats or Liberals screaming bloody murder is pretty smart. The ads are targeting swing voters and young voters, two groups that have responding very negatively to dirty ads in the past.

As far as the growing fervor to reign in the 527s, says this campaign was funding by their PAC so wouldn't apply. I'm sure the right will find some way to blend it in with the bad guys and further turn the topic of discussion away from the real issues again. The left will do the same with the new batch of Swift Boat ads, and so on and so on.

We hear that in a week, 60 days to election day, these ads are supposed to wane away. Who knows if they will? We can always hope.
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by Angela Winters

I was pleasantly surprised. He actually acted like a normal person with somewhat of a sense of humor. I didn't think he had it in him, although I knew if he did Jon Stewart was the guy to bring it out.

I absolutely LOOOOOOVE The Daily Show. Everyone who knows me know that I'm about "Did You Watch The Daily Show Last Night?" I think some of my friends choose not to watch it just to spite me. Some others are very conservative and feel the show is heavily slanted to the left. It is, but what is the world coming to that we can't laugh at something funny based on party affiliation? Come on.

Unless it's someone I really want to see, I usually turn away during the guest segment of the show, it's generally the weakest part. I was a little uncomfortable during the Clinton interview a couple weeks ago because Clinton always looks so serious. He thinks too much.

Kerry was okay. He got Jon's jokes which is what usually trips up the 'serious' guests. He had a few jokes of his as well; not all of them worked. Yes, Jon made it easy on him, but remember folks...This is a fake news show, not a news show. Jon has a way of being very smart with his humor and very critical as well, but he's not going to be hard on folks. Like O'Reilly, Jon's name is on the title and its his show, so it's going to be slanted towards his viewpoints.

Good job, Kerry. Now, get back to work!

Can't wait for Jon's next book to come out:
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America The Book: A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction
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by Angela Winters

Just the other day, I wrote a column about voter discrimination tactics in Florida further mucking up the relationship between African Americans and the state. Since Jeb Bush is the Governor, this conflict is viewed as being between blacks and Republicans. If you read my Politopic statement on Race and Politics, you know how dysfunctional I think that relationship is. I believe African Americans have to be more open to the party, but it's mostly the party that has to make some serious changes and be willing to take some lumps to put a dent in that 90-10% disparity. A little advice: Don King is not the right direction. I'm not alone. Most African American conservatives will be the first to tell you the party needs to work harder at the relationship and do more to promote African American candidates.

Obviously, they aren't listening. AP came out with the story yesterday and everyone has picked up on it today. Nadia Naffe, an African-American former Field Director (so says she, this is in dispute) for the Florida Republican party has filed a federal racial discrimination lawsuit against the local party as well as the RNC and Bush-Cheney '04. Ms. Naffe, 25, says she was fired from her job after complaining about being assigned to work only on 'black' events. The only African American in that position says she was told the reason was because, "You know your people."

I'm going on the assumption that this is true. I have no proof that it is and it might not be. It got my attention because I've been through this before. Because of where I was brought up, I was in the "only black person" situation more than a few times. I was asked to speak for an entire race or asked to explain why black people do such weird things. It's very annoying. When you speak out against it or refuse to accept this belief that we are all the same, you get labeled 'defensive' or in her case, 'insubordinate'.

Some things just make sense. It may not be right, but we are different in a lot of ways, but not in the ways that really count. We tend to feel more comfortable with people who we know deal with the same problems and have the same experiences, good and bad, as us. We have an inherent level of trust that can make us more open to the same information coming from one person as opposed to another. Any smart company or organization has to use that to their advantage. It's not wrong or racist. I didn't think it was racist or sexist when my company gave me ownership of the African American and Female markets when I was a Sr. Diversity Consultant. The Democrats do the same thing. They select the most photogenic and articulate African American members of Congress or Pundits to show up for photo ops when addressing the community. These people are nowhere to be seen when they're talking to white middle-class America.

What I think the young lady had the problem with was that she was being excluded from anything else. When people decide that you can't contribute beyond areas of race or sex, that is discrimination. I don't know this woman's skills, but if she has good field expertise, I'm sure there are other areas she could have contributed to. Although I was in charge of two specific markets, my strengths were communication and writing and I was pulled into strategies and projects targeting the Hispanic, Asian and Gay & Lesbian community when those skills were needed.

Now the RNC is saying she never worked there, so someone is lying. It's not like there can be different interpretations of employment. Either she was there or she wasn't. Hopefully, the truth will come out in the next few days. I hope it isn't true, but if it is, the GOP, and anyone else who thinks this way, can learn from it. Limiting someone's contribution based on their race not only keeps you from utilizing their full potential, but can come back to bite you in the butt later.

The suit was announced at the National Press Club in D.C. Its basics can be found here: MehriSkaletPLLC

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by Angela Winters

Kerry needs to give former President Clinton a call. Bill is an ace at rising above this mess Kerry has had a great hand in keeping himself in. The Right has him crawling out of his hole instead of talking about the issues that America cares about.

I was hoping to avoid writing about the Swift Boat Vets controversy past saying that I thought it was dirty politics, but apparently it's not going to die. To put it plainly, I don't believe these guys any more than I believe the accuracy of Fahrenheit 9/11. It's all the same to me; dirty and political. The only difference is that Fahrenheit 9/11 was actually entertaining. This swift boat campaign is just mean-spirited. Veterans have a right to be angry with Kerry about his post-Vietnam hearings. He didn't just protest the war, he accused them all of being rapists and war criminals, but it's not an excuse to create a lie and tarnish the commitment and sacrifice he made.

In my opinion, it doesn't help Bush. I don't believe these guys, so the only result of bringing Kerry's service up again and again is to remind me that he served in that madness and Bush didn't. These guys are going to do what they're going to do, but I honestly believe this controversy was on its last legs until Kerry responded with the complaint. He was right to say that Bush should denounce the ads like Kerry did when dirty 527 ads came out earlier in the year against Bush. Bush's press secretary's response was pretty weak in comparison, but I doubt he actually had a hand in these ads and it wasn't like he was going to take the bait anyway. Besides, it's working for him so why would he? No matter what these guys say, they love this stuff. If Kerry had left it there, this story might not be topic #1 anywhere but FOX NEWS.

I know it's hard to resist. After all, the guy risked his life and killed for his country. He saved lives as well. It's like someone saying something about your Mama; hard to stay Christian about that. To add to it, in our current society where people take what they see on the news as the beginning and end of fact, if you say something enough it becomes true. Then there are the polls; some suggesting that this campaign is working against Kerry. So, he couldn't sit back and watch, but the complaint seems a little like a whine to me. He's on the defense instead of doing what he should do.

So the ball keeps rolling. We have editors, former vets, from the Chicago Tribune and Denver Post coming out supporting Kerry, and then Bob Dole supports the Swift Boat Vets. You know the left is going to jump on this Bush volunteer that was in the SBV commercial who recently quit. Now Bush's arrest records, drug rumors and AWOL speculations are popping up on the web again. Kerry is running the McCain 2000 ad where he tells W "You should be ashamed of yourself." No one wants to see that. I couldn't watch the Sunday talk shows, which I usually look forward to, because of this nonsense. HELLO! That was 35 years ago! Soldiers are dying today. Jobs are being lost today. Children are going hungry today. People are stealing priceless paintings from Norway for Pete's sake! I'd rather the candidates talk about the Google IPO than this.

This is where Clinton could help Kerry. During both of his campaigns, the right was on the attack non-stop. Who cares if he's smart as a whip or actually did a good job the first four years? He's a bad guy; a cheat; a liar. Clinton didn't play that game. He transitioned every attack into an opportunity to talk about the problems people were facing. Yes, everyone loves to hear about a juicy affair, but when they don't have a job, they'll forget all about that affair when you talk to that. Remember Clinton's famous phrase? "They want to attack me, but I'm going to attack the issues." People love that stuff.

In today's WSJ Opinion John Fund blames the McCain-Feingold bill for the funneling of funds into 527s. I wouldn't blame them; their intentions were good, but the road to hell...You know the rest. So all we can do is wait for it all to die out like the Fahrenheit 9/11 hoopla finally did and hope until then something is good on one of the 70 channels showing the Summer Olympics.

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by Angela Winters

Like most people, I was shocked when I heard about the voting problems people were having in Florida. Over 19,000 Jewish people voting for Pat Buchanan? I don't think so. That was bad enough, but the 2 million people who said their vote wasn't counted or they weren't allowed to vote seemed like an exaggeration to me. I thought there were a few mishaps and people were making a mountain out of a molehill because of the crazy atmosphere that came out of that election.

I was wrong. As the truth came out, fact was separated from fiction and it was uglier than I imagined. Many people take this for granted, but I don't. Voting is our American duty and it's a privilege my people have suffered and died for not too long ago. It's upsetting enough to hear about all the African Americans who refuse to participate in the election process, but to hear that up to a million who did faced the nonsense they faced (and I'm certain this wasn't only in Florida), makes me livid.

Now, I'm not going to blame President Bush for this like others want to. He had nothing to do with it. His brother...Well, he was Governor of Florida so he has to take the blame whether he wants it or not. That's part of being the boss. So much work was done to make sure this atrocity never happens again. Tons of money and technology would make lost and uncounted votes a thing of the past. So they said.

This NY Times column by Bob Herbert, "Voting While Black" details the continued suppression of the black vote and other issues facing the people of Florida.

Op-Ed Columnist Voting While Black

He's reporting that a "Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation, in which state troopers have gone into the homes of elderly black voters in Orlando in a bizarre hunt for evidence of election fraud, is being conducted despite a finding by the department last May "that there was no basis to support the allegations of election fraud."

This is scaring the heck out of a lot of elderly folks and only making people angrier. Florida just began correcting the problem of labeling people who didn't have criminal records, almost all black, as having them and informing them that they can't vote because of the criminal law.

With all the problems, not just those about race, with voting in Florida, why make more? They say this is all a misunderstanding and maybe it is. It is state government after all; they're aces at that. Still, with Jeb Bush aware of the incredible amount of anger in the black community over 2000 and the general reputation his state now has for voter issues, you would expect that any investigation tied to voting would be combed threw with a fine-toothed comb and communicated much better than this one has.
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by Angela Winters

The New York Times came out with some previously undisclosed statistics Tuesday that seem to support the idea that President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act isn't working. The NCLB Act allows and financially supports parents who want to move their children out of public schools that fail to meet Federal standards to charter or private schools owned by the community as opposed to the school district.

No Child Left Behind -

However, The Seattle Times suggest all those ready to yell "I Told You So" should hold their horses.

My Link Didn't Work So Check Them Out At:

First, the issue of No Child Left Behind is a sensitive one because it involves what we value most, our children. For me this means so much because of the dire situation African American children at inner city schools are facing. I'm a supporter of No Child Left Behind, because there are many parents in those neighborhoods that are doing their best for their child at home, only to have it contradicted at school. Plus, I am one to say why not try something new? We have to do something and this idea is better than most. Like many opponents to the law, I am afraid that this act will leave public schools on their own. They need the government now more than ever and if the only parents that care leave them, God only knows what will happen.

I also feel that NCLB is one of President Bush's lost opportunities. If he had funded the program correctly, I believe it would be the greatest achievement of his administration. Honestly, with all the mistakes that have been made, if he could make a difference in the quality of our children's education, it would all be forgiven. I don't think there would even be a discussion about Kerry winning if the administration had this program to tout. Strength and Wisdom, remember?

The NY Times suggest the new evidence shows that after measuring the program, students in charter schools were not performing the same or better, but worse than their peers in public schools. This is disturbing and I would be disappointed in the administration if they shrugged it off.

My problem with the article is that it's not completely accurate. It doesn't mention that the sample was a small sample of only seven states. This was brought out when tons of schools around the country came out with numbers retorting the statistics to combat this information.

Also, the Times says that the study covered charter schools that had a higher minority rate than the public schools they were being compared with. I'm not going to suggest this means a lot, but it is a fact that minority children moving to charter schools are there most likely because they were not being taught in public school. It is going to take more time for them to adjust to actual expectations.

The assumption that a charter school is automatically better than a public school is a fallacy in itself. There are a lot of public schools that have caring teachers and smart strategies. There are also charter schools that are mismanaged and too elitist to make certain children ever feel comfortable.

So although the program is not turning out to be what the administration promised, it doesn't mean it won't get there. It needs more funding and our patience. All in all, what the NY Times brought out was what most of us have been stressing all along; it's the parenting that counts most. You can send your kid to St. Albans, but if their home life is not supportive or encouraging it won't help them.

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by Angela Winters

When I saw this article:

The New York Times Soldier Sues Over Tour Made Longer

I had to read it.

This guy is an Army National Guardsman complaining that the military's "stop-loss" program, keeping 20,000+ Army personnel beyond their time of service, illegal. I wanted to get pissed off at him, but then I thought - "Hey, I think that is illegal." I don't know a lot about military law, but I was under the impression the contract says you have to give this till then and that's it. Then again, isn't signing up to the National Guard an agreement that if something goes down, you've got America's back regardless of your commitment?

First, I understand where this soldier, with more than a decade of service with the U.S. Marines including combat in Iraq and Somalia, is coming from. He served his time, left the army and returned offering the National Guard one year of service. He's been told that the service will be extended to two years and will be served in the Middle East in combat. Now you gotta admit, that's a lot to throw on a guy.

I remember reading an article in the NY Times (big surprise) about the frustrations of the National Guard in Iraq. They had a picture of an American jeep with "ONE WEEKEND A MONTH, TWO WEEKS A YEAR MY ASS!" written on cardboard put up against the dashboard. This was when they were being killed in strong numbers every day after major combat was declared over.

I have a lot of issues with the military because of its relationship with poor black communities. (There is no indication this guy is African American. Name and info were not given.) The army is 100 times a better option than 90% of those offered to young men and women in the projects and ghetoos, but I do think they need to work harder on being honest and forward. It's not just a way out. It's commitment of courage and sacrifice that could come back at any time and might mean their lives.

The law in question is being called a "back door draft" by the left and there are a lot of legitimate reasons to call it that. On the other side, the reasons behind the law is to keep units together as they are deployed because new recruits and recent transfers don't perform as well as those who have had time to work together. With the way we were being attacked and killed every day, I see it as a very legitimate response. However, things are changing. We are still fighting, still at risk, but it does appear that the worst (for us at least, I don't know about the Iraqi soldiers) is over.

Arguments in favor of the suit say that the National Guard contract doesn't authorize involuntary retention in military service under the present circumstances. It states that he could be involuntary retained in the military during a time of war or national emergency, but the guys rep says, "Congress has not declared war or a national emergency." With our new definitions of what war is, we have to clear this up because its a valid argument.

This isn't the first lawsuit. A soldier in Georgia sued the Pentagon during Daddy Bush's war in Iraq and lost. The National Lawyer's Guild Military Law Task Force says that they receive "thousands" of calls with complaints that the army isn't living up to their side of the contracts by protecting their jobs, their businesses, healthcare and so forth.

It's not a new thing. Since the days of the bible, I'm sure there were some men who were not on board. They may have been scared or may have been pacifist. They may not have believed in the war they were sent to die for. In cases like Pearl Harbor and 9/11, they may have been all fired up, but the zeal died away after a long time in combat. They miss their families, jobs, lifestyle, etc. In Vietnam, they protested after they came back, but taking legal action seemed a waste of time. It was a draft, so no one had a valid argument. The difference now is that these men and women think they have a right to speak up about it. It's a different world in a lot of ways, not all good or bad.

This is a painful situation for the soldiers. None of us safe in our home or in our cubicles can imagine. I have compassion for him, but I have compassion for the Army and their need to do what they have to do so that I can be safe in my home or cubicle. Although I can't honestly support this lawsuit, I think it's a good thing it was brought forth because we need to talk about this. Congress needs to sit down and figure out what they mean by war and how this changes the role of the National Guard. In a year when the army is trying desperately to increase its ranks, these understandings my be harder to explain, but it will leave no doubt as to what the deal is. If these men and women are going to risk their lives, they deserve that.

No court date has been set. The case is Doe v. Rumsfeld, 04-3361.

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by Angela Winters

I don't know about most people, but I'm actually eager to see this library and according to recent articles, I'll probably get an invitation. You might too.

Every president gets his library, a couple of buildings and a few streets after he's left office. Usually, the library is the big thing and when it opens, it's the invitation to get. Despite all the nasty things people say about the guy (and plenty has been said about Clinton), people will clamor for this opening because in the end, it's all about being seen, right?

I'm curious for a couple of reasons. It cost $165 million to build so it's gonna be something to see right in the middle of Little Rock, which is like nothing else there I'm sure. Not to mention the lakeside retreat complimenting the library and museum coming next year. If it's going to be so cool people need to stay overnight, I want to see this.

The library/museum opens on Nov 18 and the invitations have gone out. Get this -- 120,000 invitations were sent out. Are you kidding me? It's the freaking Presidential library. Send out 120K invites makes me think of the geek who sent everyone at school an invite to his party, hoping that 10 people who don't even know who he is would show up. Sounds a little needy to me. What are they gonna do when all 120K people accept? What if only 50% accept? Where are they gonna put 60K folks?

Checking out CNN, I get the deal on the invites. About 15-20,000 of them are fancy
with a gold Clinton Presidential Seal are going out to important people. Still too much if you ask me. The rest are going out to anyone who has donated to the massive foundation funding the library on simple plain white paper. I didn't donate, so I'll have to piggy back on someone who did. I'm sure I know someone. I think they're counting on these people not showing up, but the way folks act about this guy, like he's some rock star or something, I'll bet most of them will. Chaos In Little Rock caused by the Clintons; just like old times.

For all you bitter folks, unable to let go of the past and accept your losses, you can always visit the Counter Clinton library.

The Counter Clinton Library

I checked out the site. It's quite sad, I have to say.
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Today's NY Times has an article on the FBI's due diligence before the Republican National Convention at the end of this month.
The New York Times > Washington > Campaign 2004 > F.B.I. Goes Knocking for Political Troublemakers

They say the intention is to forestall violent protests. I don't know if this has been done before, but it sounds kind of weird. I would expect them to have certain people flagged if they've been repeatedly arrested or banned if they've made previous threats to the Prez. They say these people have information about violent protests being planned and have even subpeonaed(sp?) them to get the info. They say this has been happening since before Boston and only aimed at violence, not dissent, but some of those being questioned disagree.

One 21 year old girl, a war protestor, was visited by six investigators. Six? She said they tried to intimidate her, but I don't see how they thought they could get away with if they did. I mean, they're talking to the group of people who have made a living out of yelling about them. Why give them feed?

This is all about the new America after 9/11. The FBI was given more authority to deal with public events and potential problem makers, which will no doubt be bigger in New York than in Boston. After all, he is The Man. Kerry only wants to be The Man.

I bet this is a little overdoing it. There are definitely people who should be watched, but six visiting a 21 year old girl with no criminal record? I'm assuming this because I would hope that the NY Times would say so if she did. This is a growth experience for all of us. It is the first time we are dealing with these types of events since 9/11 and like with everything else, the government has to learn from their mistakes. As this goes on, they get the complaints filed, etc. etc., they'll do it better the next time and then the next time. Hopefully. God forbid they get worse. If they do, the ACLU is going to think it's Christmas all year around.
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Weird combination? Hear me out. You all know Gov McGreevey resigned yesterday announcing himself as gay and, yada yada yada. You also know Richard Hatch was the first Survivor champion and also gay. Their related how? Because their being gay has nothing to do with the issue at hand which in the Governor's case was his resignation or in Richard's case his being a big jerk and winning the competition.

I don't want to seem cold and careless because it is a very sad situation. I feel bad for the Governor as I would for anyone whose private business is thrown out into the street that way. Mostly I feel sorry for his wife, Dina who probably didn't know about this much sooner than we all did. She was standing there next to him with a stepford smile on her face, but you know the pain she's feeling not just for herself and her marriage, but especially her young child. I've always been one to believe in accepting the truth about yourself. Yeah, it's easy for a straight person to say be open about being gay, but the reality is the more you try to hide it, cover it up or ignore it, the more people get hurt. Now his family, his friends, his administration, his party and the people of NJ have been hit by his inability to deal with the truth about himself.

Enough judgment. What's important to note is that although he says he is resigning because of the pressure of his coming out of the closet, I don't think most people cared about it. Like in Survivor, once everyone found out Richard was gay, they got over it. It wasn't about that and it wasn't the focus of his victory. The problem with Gov McGreevey is what he did with his boyfriend and that was wrong. He met this guy, Golan Cipel while in Israel. The papers say he's a poet, but I'm hopeful that he was more than that. Either way, he wasn't qualified to become the Advisor to the State Office of Homeland Security at $110,000 a year. We all know that some politicians give 'jobs' to their girlfriends, boyfriends or family members, but Homeland Security? Come on! This is the safety of the entire state, the lives of millions of people in a state that is probably in the top 10 of at risk states. No one associated with that office should be anything but overqualified.

The guy couldn't even do his job if he wanted to. His non-citizen status kept him from accessing what he needed in order to be effective. He ended up resigning after it was found at that he exaggerated his credentials? You're kidding me? There was supposedly no background check on the guy either. Unbelievable. So this jerk is the bad guy. He decides to blackmail the Governor for $5 million (last I checked Governors weren't making that kind of cash) and file a sex harassment lawsuit. For him to even accept that job in the first place shows where his character is.

The citizens of NJ are angry at the Governor and it's well deserved. Gay or not, he put the state in danger by putting personal needs ahead of what was right and this would have been so if the jerk had been a man or a woman. Now, according to the media NJ has lost a rising Democratic star and it's a shame.
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Warner Books is expecting to make a bundle with the new book written by the very popular crew of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Sarah Nelson of The NY Post has written a short article previewing Warner's reasons for doubling the first prints.

New York Post Online Edition: business

I don't know about you, but I'm excited about reading this book. I absolutely love the Daily Show for several reasons but mostly because its funny, smart and a little immature which we could all use after the end of a long day.

Now I know I belong within the age group that the show targets, but I think it's a show for anyone who wants to laugh at the media and politics in general. Things get so tense and end up so disappointing in this arena, we need the release. The comedy central masters allow them so much room that most talk show hosts could only dream of. They tend to bleep the guys/gals out, but every now and then it gets through. I recall a couple of weeks ago Jon going uncensored when using...Let's say when two people love each other, they like to...

I think Jon Stewart is a comical genius and he's not just a big boy with a big toy like he tries to play so often. You can see this during his interviews with 'serious' guests. How he got Bill Clinton to go on there still confuses me because he does even dirtier jokes about him than Dave Letterman does. Then again, Clinton was on Letterman last week. Then there are the 'senior' reporters with the fake backgrounds and news pieces that make you wonder if the people they're interviewing are in on the joke or if they're just idiots. A really talented group that seems to only get better. Honestly, sometimes I wish they would just skip the interviews.

Jon wrote a book a few years ago titled "Naked Pictures of Famous People" which was very funny. It didn't have the edge The Daily Show has, but his style is still there. The new book is titled "America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction," and sells for $25. That may be a bit steep for some of the college kids that love Jon so much, but I think they'll get it anyway. I know I will.

Prediction: So many people show up at Jon's book signings that they make the news.
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So Alan Keyes has never been known to take the tactful route. He's always been direct and outspoken. I find his style of speech very rude and offensive, even when I think he's right; which is rare. I'm not a conservative even though I am conservative on some issues. I'm a moderate and I'm proud of that. Keyes to me is way off the deep end of the right and some of the comments he's made about Obama in the last couple of days alone tell me that he intends to be dirty. It amazes me how someone calls themselves a Christian and can speak so unChrist-like. There is a way to speak your mind and speak what is right, without being nasty. If you're right you're right and if you have to insult people to get the point across then you're probably not right.

Read this article in The Sun Times:
Keyes says he wants rumble with Obama

Don't get me wrong. I'm glad there are two African Americans running for Senate in Illinois, my home state. I'm glad there is African American representation in the Republican party, but not at the cost of civility. He already has a credibility problem because of his clip criticizing Hillary Clinton for trying to represent a state she doesn't live in being played everywhere. Not to mention the fact that the party ran through everyone, including ex-athletes before coming to him. He steps onto the scene and immediately attacks and makes accusations. Bringing in the "slavemaster" name calling which helps black folks how? I don't know. Does that turn anyone on? Not me.

Barack Obama is more liberal than he's being portrayed as. He's getting an easy ride because everyone is in love with him the way they are with John Edwards. Obama and Alan are very different on the issues, so if Alan just stuck with the issues, the choice would be clear. By making it dirty, he's turning off people who otherwise would have voted for him. Now, I don't see Obama sinking to that level, but he'll come out with something because you can't just let someone attack you and it will only make it worse. The polls generally say it's 70 to 30 in favor of Obama, so there isn't much to win here, but the dignity of the Republican party and the choice of backing another black republican is at stake here.
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Over the last two elections we heard about the soccer moms and Nascar dads becoming the obsession of political campaigns, but no more. Who even remembers them? This year, it's the youth vote that everyone wants and many project the strategies and work being put into this group will reap the largest number of 18-26 voters since 92 when they stormed the polls in favor of boxers over briefs.

Lesson one was figuring out how to find them. That's easy; the internet. Most 18-26 year olds have never written a letter and a few haven't read a book outside of class. They focus on the net, music (mostly rap) and television. So they go to the net first. Young, young and black, young and female and young and gay; there's a site for everyone with enough musicians, tv and movie stars to wet their appetite:
Youth Vote Coalition - Welcome!
Black Youth Vote National Coalition On Black Civic Participation
New Millennium Young Voters Project Rap The Vote
Rock the Vote - Welcome
WWE Vote

Then you have the goodies. The leather belt by Nic Norman says VOTE in rainbow colors and sells for $50. BAH has sterling silver earrings that say VOTE and sell for $215 (People mag says Brittany Murphy owns the matching necklace). Nicole Richie and Carmen Electra sport Lee Riot's $75 VOTE necklace. P. Diddy's VOTE OR DIE campaign has all types of goodies for the kids and he has Ashlee Simpson modeling his tees. Getting the theme? There are always the American Mind boxers that say VOTE across the front (memories of 92). My favorite has to be the White Trash Charms enamel pin for $38. Big red lips, an open smile, one gold tooth and VOTE in the middle. Charming and very classy:).

So now we hear that Britney Spears is performing during the Republican National Convention, a big step up from Black Eyed Peas at the DNC, so kudos. Although her reputation isn't at its highest, she is still a star and chinks away at that old, stuffy, white men armour that keeps so many young people away.

If the youth vote does come out, it's going to favor the Democrats as all the polls show, but the Republicans can still benefit. Once young people get into the game of politics, they'll go where they think they should go, but as the get a taste of it, they'll go where their conscious tells them to go and the right might steal a few of them away.
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I didn't believe it when both parties said they would stick with the issues and not the character assassinations this election; no one did. However, I am a little surprised at exactly how dirty things have gotten. I don't think that they realize how much they are turning off the American public because they are so caught up in their own world of war.

Negative advertising can be fair and unfair. Fair is pointing out that Kerry's political record as Senator is liberal and fair is pointing out that Bush's economic jobs policy hasn't worked. Then you have the unfair phrased in such a kind way that you can't fault it. Like when Clinton gave his "Courage and Wisdom Are Not Opposing Values" comment. Let's face it; he was basically saying that we can have a strong president who isn't an idiot like the one we have now. A low blow, but you can't call him on it because he delivered it so smoothly.

What we're seeing now is something entirely different. The campaigns have gotten downright nasty and they have outside help. The Bush campaign suggesting that Kerry's war record has been altered just like the Kerry campaign suggesting that Bush's national guard records were purposefully lost or altered is a low blow. It's not something you can say without definite proof.

I have to say that this latest isn't even coming from the party, although I'm sure it comes from party prodding. This Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth is a bit much. Look, they might not like Kerry, but he served his country and deserves respect for that. This book coming out called UNFIT FOR COMMAND is no different than the countless books that do nothing short of declaring George Bush the anti-Christ. It's just disgusting. I have to hand the worst award to the Right for their countless "Don't Vote For Kerry" ads. Don't they think it would be better to run on something other than you shouldn't vote for the other guy? Oh yeah, I guess that's the entire foundation of the Democratic party's campaign.

Then there is OutFoxed and Fahrenheit 9/11, both documentaries directed at the right just to keep the hate pot boiling. How do we stop it? It would be easy if only one side was doing it because we could vote our opinion. They just can't pass up a chance to dig and stab with a spoon. Until we come up with another way, we'll just have to turn the channel every time the commercials come on. These next few months aren't going to pretty, especially if you live in one of the key states. I'm in D.C. now, but I'm Midwest through and through and I'll tell you Ohio and Wisconsin, two of the swing states, aren't going to go for this. Trying to pose the other guy as the devil in human form who will send the country into hell in a handbasket doesn't fit our values and it doesn't fix the problems we have now. When will those running the campaigns get this?

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W spoke today. Okay, I could write several pages on this speech, but I'll try to be brief. All in all, he didn't do a very good job. I know Bush is not the great communicator that Reagan was or the smooth talker Clinton is, but he's been better than this. I will give him credit for showing up. He knew he wouldn't be well received, but I think he expected better than this.

I was just as disappointed by the crowd's negative reaction to him today as I was by their positive reaction to Kerry yesterday. There were plenty of times when I wanted to clap for Bush, but I didn't because it's supposed to be a journalists conference. What ever happened to objectivity. I mean I understand clapping when something makes obvious sense or when they praise something specific to the journalism industry, but these folks were doing the emotional type of clapping and I wasn't proud.

Anyway, Bush got bombarded with some very liberally phrased questions and handled them all but one. He was asked about the relationship between tribes and government and the answer was a joke at best. Bush said the word "sovereign" like 10 times. The audience was literally laughing at him. It was like something right out of The Daily Show. He also got a little snippy with one of the guys who kept interrupting him. Overall, the speech was to prop himself up just like Kerry's was yesterday.

Then the heckler came. Some guy in the back started yelling out, "Shame on you for using God's name for politics!" and some other stuff. "He's lying to you...." Blah Blah Blah. He got swarmed and was 'escorted' out. The crowd was telling him to shut up and when Bush continued to talk, he got his loudest ovation of the morning. That was a crappy thing to do. This was not a rally where I believe people can say what they want. Funny thing is the guy was white. I'm sure that the Bush team was concerned about what all the journalists of color would do, but not the clean cut white guy in the polo standing in the back. Oh well. Keeps things interesting.

Still, he maintained his dignity and kept focused on his message as frustrating as that may have been to the journalists. He made a really good point about how he forwarded diversity in Texas after Affirmative Action was gutted. He created the top 10% rule and its a successful rule which I think more schools should use instead of Affirmative Action because it rewards the right things. He also quipped a couple of jokes and people laughed, but all in all I got the feeling he was in enemy territory.

He came and that was all he could do. He has to stick to his politics and his beliefs and ride them as far as the voters are willing to support him. I'll post my picture later.
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John Kerry took the morning, Colin Powell took lunch. The sniff dogs came out, they locked the doors and the fun began:)

They did a panel discussion first with Gwen Ifill hosting. Suzanne Malveaux (I have no idea if I'm spelling this right) and some others were there. It was a good discussion but heavily on the liberal side. Gwen made a joking reference to the dating of security information, but the audience loved it. All the speakers criticized the war and what the administration was doing to it. Hmmm. Some good questions were raised by the audience, but a couple of angry folks just wanted to hear the sound of their own voice.

Then Mr. Powell came out. Standing ovation and all. Can I honestly tell you? I was bored out of my mind. Maybe its because I was tired and I haven't eaten anything but a tomato basil salad in the last 24 hours, but I ZZZZZ'd right away. I really like Colin Powell. I feel like he is one of the few people in the current administration that can combine strength and approachability. I love his life story; hard earned success. I love his courage to be true to himself and take the pain for it, but come on. Aside from the Sudan issue which concerns me so much I don't even want to talk about it, I didn't know what the heck he was talking about.

Needless to say, I jetted when the panel came back and started with the questions, but I heard Gwen Ifill's first question which was "John Kerry was here this morning and said the failure in Iraq is due to bad diplomacy. What is your answer to that?" I couldn't stay, but I'm wondering if anything went down. I'm sure Colin can handle himself, but Gwen's a good strappin' girl so he better temper his answer.

Tomorrow morning is George Bush which I'm looking forward to. I'm a big president person. I stood in line for Bill Clinton's book and to shake his hand even though I said I would NEVER do that. I'm looking forward to Bush and I will take his picture. Sorry I forgot the camera today.
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John Kerry spoke this morning at the Unity Journalist conference. I got there at 8am hoping that I could find a seat. It was first come, first serve and I knew that 7,000 people were coming to this conference. Got through the metal detector. As usual, I was selected to come to the side and be further checked. It's inevitable.

Of course there were like a million seats available. So I made friends with the guy next to me, works at the Houston Chronicle and waited. The speech was okay, but nothing like the convention speech. I fear we've seen the best of Kerry's speeches, but he saved it for when it counts. Here are the things I didn't like.

First of all, it was a campaign speech. It was THE campaign speech. This is a professional conference of journalists, not a stop on his front porch tour. He gave the whole "When I'm President...." thing and I thought it was very assumptive (is that a word?). Secondly, he did NOT answer the questions. Okay, you can only expect so much from these guys but come on. He was asked about Bill Cosby's comments. Who do you think is responsible for fixing the problem of black people; the government or the people themselves? I'm not even sure what he said, but I know I've heard him say it before.

I'm not in love with John Kerry, I'll admit that, but I think he's an intelligent guy. What really turns me off is that he is such a politician. He plays it so safe. Where is the risk? Where is the definitive answer that leaves no question left? Does anyone do that anymore? I think Bush does a better job of it even though I usually don't like the actual answer. I respect that more. That being said, I'm glad he came and he seems like a hard working guy. I would have rather seen John Edwards, but if I was getting my way both parties would have different candidates running. We work with what we have.

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I have to admit, next to Clinton, Obama gave the best speech at the recent convention. I like his story, but suspect he is very liberal. I haven't studied that much up on him. I know he's a party dream come true and destined to get into the Senate, but if he's too far to the left....

I'm from Chicago so I have a vested interest in this and all of my friends, black and white, are in worship mode over this guy. I'm tempted. I'm hopeful that he's a moderate. He seems like a level-headed person and has performed well in the interviews, but you know the media is in love so they're so nice. I like his wife a lot; she looks like a sister who is about something.

So, I knew the Republicans would go after a black candidate to run against him and I wish them luck. I don't think it will make any difference, but I'm all for black republican candidates getting some exposure. If you read my Politopics link, you'll know that I feel like black people need to be represented in both parties, so I wish more would join the GOP.

That being said, I'm hearing Alan Keyes? I don't think so. I personally think he's a little off the deep end beyond very conservative. Besides, unlike some states, people from Illinois are serious about voting for their own. Maybe if he was from another midwestern state, but he's from Maryland. Midwest folks are serious about midwest values. He doesn't have a chance.

The other candidate is former deputy drug czar Andrea Grubb Barthwell. She is also black and works for the White House in some capacity or other. She did get some of her education at Univ of Chicago and Northwestern so I'd say she has a better chance. Not to mention she is pro choice which won't turn the pro choice republican women away like Keyes would.

We'll watch this one carefully because I think if Barthwell gets in, it will be very interesting. Either of them will lose, but interesting none-the-less.

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Today was the first day of the Unity Journalism Conference. It's the largest journalism conference in the country with minority journalists from every area including photo journalist. It's at the new convention center here in D.C. and is HUGE! 300 media companies are here, but I'm not hearing a lot about blogging except for the gals from National Journal and Congressional Quarterly. I think the political world has really embraced the blog world.

I'm excited about the conference. Senator Kerry is speaking tomorrow morning at nine and Colin Powell is speaking at noon. President Bush is speaking Friday at nine. I'll let you know what I thought of their speeches. None of them are incredibly impressive speakers, but hey...we can't all be Bill Clinton (which can be a good thing however you look at it).

BTW - Did anyone see Bill Clinton on Letterman last night? How did it go? I watch Letterman all the time and he's still doing Monica jokes, so I'm curious. Let me know.
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Hey! Welcome to The Political Center. Not the most creative name, but to the point. This site is where I share my blog thoughts about politics in general from a centrist point of view. I avoided blogs for a long time now because I saw them as the ultimate in narcissism. Why would I assume that anyone would be interested in what I have to say about anything; and every day at that? That was before I got to reading the blogs around and seeing that they can be more than random thoughts, but actually ways of communicating information to forgotten segments of online readers.

Everyone is invited to The Political Center, but I built it to share political news with those who prefer not to be assaulted with a left or right slant. I've gotten sick of the idea from conservatives and liberals who suggest that centrists lack conviction; that if you're a Democrat or Republican you're supposed to fall in line with the party on every issue; that you're political views are based on your demographics. I'm African-American, Gen-X, female and Christian. If you feel the urge to box me in after hearing that, this is probably not the place for you.

For everyone else, welcome to The Political Center. Read, reply and enjoy!

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