by Angela Winters

The Chi Tribune has an article about NAACP President Kweisi Mfume stepping down after nine years to explore opportunities in TV, business, politics and of course the always good "spend more time with family."

Don't be worried. He's only 56, very smart and an effective speaker. His job hasn't been easy (travel, travel, travel) and the most recent IRS investigation into the NAACP over his alleged partisan comments against President Bush probably haven't endeared him to the job. Even without that, nine years is definitely enough. There are countless opportunities out there for someone like him. His experiences provide for great perspective and his connections are very powerful and influential.

I personally believe that the NAACP, once one of the few hopes that black people had, is still a good organization but has been taken over by liberal leaders who use it as a political tool and sometimes a source of intimidation. While some of its leaders, especially the local chapter leaders, are progressive, centrist proponents of personal responsibility and believe that fixing our problems lie in our hands, the national voice of the NAACP continues to preach those words but acts in a way that supports victimization, blaming, complaining, accusing and expecting.

He also said he wants to spend time with his six sons, the youngest of whom is 14. The gossip in me, who I'm ashamed of and punish everyday for existing, is interested in what that is about. Mfume has told his story of transformation several times, so there is no surprise that he is a man who has turned his life around.

Will that be a good story in politics? Yes, the NAACP is powerful and global, but if he decides to run for the Senate, which sources say he will, he's going to have to have widespread appeal to people who don't relate to the NAACP. Not to mention an explanation for everything. Odds are in his favor because he is well known and when you hear him speak you have to respect him. Even when I disagree with what he says, he comes across with so much class, repose and intelligence, I want to keep listening.

Good luck

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by Angela Winters

Back from the holidays, I'm in sort of a haze about politics. It's amazing how grounded you become when you leave Washington, D.C. Nobody takes politics as seriously as we do. It's our religion, our Hollywood and Disneyland all wrapped up in one and that's not a good thing.

When I talk to my friends and family back home, they make it clear to me that every conversation I have either starts with or turns into politics. They think I'm obsessed and although it makes me appear intelligent, it also makes me entirely too serious and boring (their words).

I'm from Chicago, a city that is very into its politics and even to them, I'm a little frenzied. I put forth an effort to let go of politics this weekend and barely watched any news. The result is, now I feel out of touch with my world and an urgent need to catch up on all that is politik. It's the environment here and I find myself embarrassed about it when I leave and grateful to be back.

I don't think people should eat, drink and sleep politics like most of us DC Metro folks do, but they should be more involved. That leads me to this article by Hazel Trice Edney of Black America Web discussing the importance of blacks re-evaluating the political world and our place in it. I've always been a strong advocate of spreading the wealth/pressure or whatever else you want to call it when it comes to black representation in both parties which this article supports.

It also talks about a black independent party and I think we all know that's not going to work. Trust me, I know my people. What we need is to watch the news more often and talk about politics a little bit more. Read a newspaper and pick up Newsweek every now and then. Get involved on the local level and learn how the game is played.

We need to do a little less protesting and a lot more participating. Instead of demanding both parties do this or that for us, we need to evaluate ourselves, our values and choose the party that will help us do for ourselves. If neither do, become an Independent. What's important is that we stop allowing others to lead us where they think we need to go and start thinking. Research a politician's actions instead of going on his words or the other guy's words about him.

Politics isn't all about race despite what some black leaders say. Most of what politics does for us is about our values and we need to think more about that than skin color or sound bites.
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I'll be traversing the globe for the next few days, so I'll see you on Monday.

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by Angela Winters

Don't get me wrong. I respect Bill Cosby for many reasons, not just because he makes me laugh. However, it really bothers me that he continues to be the loudest voice speaking out on the decline of values and parenting within the black community. In addition, it gets me that while people are agreeing with him, no one seems to want to go beyond just saying what we're doing wrong.

Columnist Cynthia Tucker recently wrote in the Atlanta Journal Constitution that Cosby should focus on black marriage and made some great points. When you look at the statistics on black marriage and how so many of our children are being born out of wedlock, it leaves no question as to what is to blame for the situation African Americans are in. One can blame racism all they want. They can blame discrimination in the workplace or any other societal breakdown. When it comes down to it, if the family unit isn't together you don't have a chance. People go on and on about reparations and Affirmative Action, but these issues are meaningless and ineffective if we don't address our values. There isn't any amount of money or government program that can give us back our values.

I don't want to hear about marriage being a document because that's a lie and everyone knows it. Marriage is a legal, emotional, spiritual, sexual, mental and literal commitment. It's not the same as "being with" someone. It is the foundation of a strong family unit and is especially important for the children. The statistics of drugs, sexual behavior, education and crime related to this issue speak for themselves, but statistics don't seem to mean much to us.

No marriage is perfect; Cosby's own public scandal has shown us that, but it is the first step in the right direction back to the values that have sustained not just black people, but the human race throughout history. We can't begin to do what is best for our children until we repair their foundation of security and belief in love, commitment and responsibility. How do we fix it? Don't ask the single, childless girl from Chicago whose only parenting experience is a cat. I don't know what the answers are, but I know that a child's belief in their parent's commitment to them is strengthened when they see that they have made the ultimate commitment to each other.

Back to the initial topic, I'm glad Cosby is talking about it and I'm even happier to hear that more blacks seem to be agreeing with him than disagreeing. You have the occasional victimologist who attacks any person who suggest that black people might actually hold some responsibility for our situation, but its hard to argue with what is right in front of your face. There's also those among us who care more about being embarrassed than actually getting anything done, but those people are idiots and I'm not going to engage in a "don't put our business on the street" conservation. This isn't our business. It's our survival.

So what do I have a problem with? First and foremost, what comes next? What good is bringing up this topic if its only to agree this it's true and then go about our business? We all see the problem plain smack in front of us so the question isn't why have we let our children down? It should be, what are WE going to do about it. By WE, I mean US not THEM (white America) and not IT (the government).

Secondly, why is it that only Bill Cosby is bringing the topic up and then everyone reacting to his statements? Is he the only person qualified to speak about this issue? Where are our leading black politicians, religious leaders and psychologists? This is really the big letdown. I'm hopeful that the newer breed of politicians such as Obama will talk more about our responsibility and facing the reality of our choices, but as long as the self-serving victimologists and conspiracy theorists continue to make up the majority of "black leaders," I fear we'll be stuck in "talk" move for a long time; time we don't have.
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by Angela Winters

What was constantly on my mind during the ceremony yesterday was concern for Clinton. He is still thin and he looked tired. He's usually so full of energy and life, but I'm sure he'll get that back. What bothered me most was that he was out there still ailing in the pouring rain and appeared to be the only one without an umbrella. The last thing he needs now is a bad cold or something else to challenge his body while it's trying to focus on getting better. He got soaked. What was that about?

What struck me about the congregation of so many presidential and would be presidential characters for the opening was how ridiculous all this fighting is. It made me think of Clinton and how it all started with him in office. The Republicans hated him in a way that was inexcusable and their constant attempts to topple him, stop him or do whatever else they could to him only fueled the hatred and resentment of the left and confirmed the idea by all the victimologist and conspiracy theorists that republicans believe the White House is only for rich white men. Big surprise that the torch has been passed to the Democrats who assail Bush in a way that allows the nut jobs on the right to convince people that they would prefer America to suffer just to see Bush fail.

Nothing good came from the hateful scene that began in 1992 and continues today. Even yesterday, when they seemed to let their guard down for the sake of the day or the cameras, the news shows narrating the scene could only talk about the dirty, the bad things as if that's all we want to hear. His legacy is about more than his mistakes and all the people who hated him.

As far as my personal opinion of his legacy, I have this kind of bipolar relationship with President Clinton. I will always have an emotional attachment to him because he was the first President I was able to vote for and I didn't feel any connection to George Bush. I've always thought that Clinton was an exceptional genius whose perseverance and tenacity was inspiring. When I think of where he came from and see how far he went, I can't be anything but impressed.

As much as those on the right suggest that there is nothing genuine about him, I disagree. I honestly believed he wanted to make life better because he understood how hard life truly was for people which is rare for recent Presidents and Presidential candidates who always had food on their tables. His curiosity was inspiring and his communication skills were awesome. I had forgotten much about him until his book came back and I choose to wait in line to have him sign it. Then the convention came and hearing him speak, not just his perfect choice of words, but his centrist ideology and intelligence, reminded me of why I became so interested in politics. It also reminded me that the real deals don't have to go negative and certainly don't have to be overt about it.

The guy has an overwhelming personality and you can't help but love him or hate him. Very few people feel anywhere in between because a person like him can't allow lukewarm feelings. He soaks up the world and even those who think he is the devil in human form can't be anything less than obsessed with him. Hating him has made a career for hundreds. Look at Dick Morris, who has made probably millions and become famous out of judging this man which is confusing considering his own morally challenged history.

I think it's because I admired Clinton so much that his failings hurt to the degree that they did. I'm not touching on the conspiracies of murder and craziness that miserably hateful people choose to cling to. I'm talking about what we know and has been proven. Disappointment doesn't begin to touch on the way I feel about Clinton. I've gotten over my anger at him because unlike so many conservatives, I know that holding onto anger only hurts me; not the person I'm angry at.

I would be lying if I said I hadn't lost respect for him. I know that his marriage isn't any of my business and I would never suggest he owed me or anyone else outside his family anything for it. It's just painful to see someone so smart make such stupid choices. I was young and didn't want to believe someone who appeared so strong was so weak. I'm not a hypocrite like all of those people who judged him for what they were doing themselves, which disgusted me more than anything he ever did, but neither was I able to be like those who turned a blind eye to what was clearly wrong like so many women's groups had.

Lying under oath isn't forgivable. I mean, in the legacy sense. In the Christian sense, obviously everything is forgivable, but that to me was his lowest point. So you lie to the press and the people about an affair. Go ahead. Anyone who asked such a personal question deserved to be lied to, but not under oath.

In the end, Clinton will always be my President because he remains the symbol of my entry into the world of politics which I love. I can't live in this dream world that so many Democrats live in; where he is the greatest. He's not. He's a very flawed person who is self-centered and morally challenged. The only problem is, so are most people including those that suggest his mere existence is unacceptable because of it. He wasn't great because he wasn't challenged with enough to prove that he was, but he did a very good job and he cared. He showed that being a moderate meant you could have both conviction and get things done. I don't think we'll see another leader with his good qualities, but unfortunately, I think we'll see plenty with his bad ones.
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by Angela Winters

A recent article I read at The Chronicle caught my attention because of its suggestion that Affirmative Action at law schools might be harmful to black students and could be to blame for the fact that black representation in the legal field isn't at the numbers most would like it to be (I don't think anyone has made that number clear). The reality is if you admit someone into a school they simply aren't qualified for and therefore can't compete with the other students, you might not be helping them. There is no 'starter course' in Law School. You get there and off you go.

There are thousands of prospective law students saying that familiar phrase, "Just let me in your school. I'll prove myself." That doesn't fly in law school. To use my daddy's phrase, when you enter a top law school "You Have To Come With It." If you aren't prepared for what you'll get, there will be no leniency for you because you got through on Affirmative Action. The result of admitting students, black students in particular, to top schools through Affirmative Action is that they are more likely to earn poor grades, drop out, and fail their states' bar exams.

These findings are all based on a study coming out from Richard Sanders, a UCLA law professor in the November issue of the Stanford Law Review. In his 113 page study, titled A SYSTEMATIC ANALYSIS OF AFFIRMATIVE ACTION IN AMERICAN LAW SCHOOLS, Sanders puts forth an opinion certain to receive a great deal of criticism and objection. It's important to note that Sanders is a self-declared Democrat and has voiced support of AA in the past.

It's a touchy subject and bound to come up frequently over the next four years. Advocates for Affirmative Action were happy with the Supreme Court ruling via The University of Michigan Law school in 2003, but have to believe that their harder days are ahead of them with a Bush re-election and most certainly a change on the Supreme Court.

Let me say first, I didn't read the whole thing. I mean, 113 pages, come on. However, I can say that the topic is interesting because I've always been a proponent of Affirmative Action in terms of access instead of race. I don't believe that any student of color who has had access to equal education and resources as white students should get special treatment. I believe the purpose of the program is to help students who have been disadvantaged by economic or regional conditions which have prevented them from getting a chance to compete. This study seems to say that either way, it doesn't work out in favor of the students. In the end, more minority students fail or drop out and we have less minority lawyers than we would have if they had gone to law schools they were more qualified for.

Other people have a lot to say about the study; big surprise there. I'd be surprised if most people actually read it. They probably read this SUMMARY like me. Affirmative Action Not Fair
Washington Times: Affirmative action hurts blacks
FrontPage Mag: Professor Assails Anti-Bias Program
Daily Pennsylvanian: Study questions benefits of race-based admission

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by Angela Winters

Today, people seem to be more reflective on Powell's exit. There are a few here and there that considered him ineffective and weak, but the vast majority of people, regardless of political ideas, believe he is a great American, has served his country well and made a better person of anyone who has had a chance to work with or underneath him. Some are suggesting that the only voice of reason in this administration is gone. Personally, I don't think a President's cabinet should be a mutual admiration society because he is too dependent on their opinions, so I'm too happy about the departure.

So today, Condi Rice is the big story and a few people are surprised. The general consensus is that she is the closest person to him, second to his wife. It's an interesting relationship because from what I've seen, their personalities are polar opposites. She always appears angry, quiet or withdrawn and seems to be one of those excessively intellectual people bordering on Vulcan-like. Needless to say, the President doesn't come across this way.

Even though her name was floated around yesterday, many viewed her as inexperienced in terms of diplomacy and worldwide reach. Not to mention the mix of someone from NSA coming to head the State Department kind of rubs people the wrong way. Both departments have very different objectives. The role of Secretary of State requires much more than just knowing who everyone is. With the exception of Russia, her specialty, I wasn't aware she had the resume, but I don't question her ability to do it.

As a black woman, I'm always happy to see another sister make it big and this is one of the biggest posts in the world, so good for her. As far as qualifications, we have to first look at what the signs of success in this post are and see if she is achieving them. Where the diplomacy thing is concerned, obviously Bush isn't looking for that which is probably part of the reason why Powell is gone. Some suggest that Rice's only responsibility is to ask "How High" to Bush's "Jump", but others suggest she isn't the neoconservative that Bush's other top guys are which might provide for some form of dissent or a lot of problems.

Here's what others are saying about it, including those on the international stage:
The Korea Times: Seoul Has Little Worry Over Rice
IHT: Rice heads to center of world stage
BBC NEWS: Washington's bureaucratic battles
ABC News: Bush Selects Rice to Replace Powell
MSNBC: Rice is president's can-do confidante Hopes, fears for Rice appointment - Nov 16, 2004
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by Angela Winters

First thought might be that there is something wrong with the Bush Cabinet because of all of the resignations going on, but not really. All second term administrations make changes at the top. Granted, these past four years haven't been like any other four years. Still, it seems like more than usual.

Last week we saw Commerce Secretary Don Evans' resignation generally overshadowed by Attorney General John Ashcroft's resignation. Ashcroft was a lightening rod for controversy and too conservative for my taste. Many viewed him as incredibly divisive and his Patriot Act is still a major issue of contention. That his replacement, Alberto Gonzales is Hispanic is a plus, but I'm not concerned with race or gender. If Gonzales is just another version of the ultra-conservative Ashcroft, we'll just have more of the same, just in different wrapping.

Ann Veneman, Secretary of Agriculture and Spencer Abraham, Secretary of Energy have also resigned, but no one seems to be too concerned about that. Abraham's replacement can become an issue depending on who he chooses to replace him with. The Cheney/Oil/Halliburton/Energy policy issues hasn't been completely killed and the left is eager for any opportunity to try and make it relevant still.

I was surprised with Education Secretary Rod Paige's resignation. I think that lack of funding and support for No Child Left Behind has been a major failure of Bush's presidency. The program has promise and it's exactly what the government should be for; offering more choices instead of making the choices for us. Paige always seemed on the defensive and didn't come across as a strong enough advocate for such an important issue.

We all supposed Colin Powell would leave after the first term, but some suggested that Arafat's death, offering a new chance for peace in the Middle East, would make him stay behind. Colin Powell was probably the most moderate person in a cabinet full of right wing idealogues and neoconservatives. Although he was the only one among major cabinet members that had actually been in a war, no one seemed to listen to his preference for diplomacy as opposed to military action in Iraq. The truth is Colin lost the battle of wills to Don Rumsfeld and doesn't have the aggressive edge that the President is looking for.

Secretary Powell has served his country well and deserves to have his life back. This has been a difficult four years on him in ways most of us can't imagine. I don't believe the supposed infighting was a big deal. We're talking about a four star war general whose life success story is what makes America so great. A little disagreement can't sway him. I think he's just done. I wish him luck. I've always respected him and I feel the cabinet has definitely loss something with his leaving.

This doesn't have to be bad news, but I suspect that instead of seeking out someone with Powell's diplomatic strength, Bush will go for someone who is more in line with his "screw diplomacy" attitude. Well before the election I believed that voters were going to pick Bush with the idea that he would change his cabinet for a second term and get rid of the neoconservatives, but with the exception of Ashcroft, it looks like he's doing the opposite. We can't say for sure considering he hasn't replaced them all yet, but I think we get the feeling that Bush's margin of victory suggest he's moving his cabinet more to the right.
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by Angela Winters

Before I go on a negative rant about the absent black father, let me point out this article in The City Journal, by Kay Hymowitz about the positive trend in the traditional black family, almost an extinct species. It does have some encouraging signs and deserves more play.

It has always been my belief that as a race, we are stronger than the things/people that pull us apart, even if those things/peoples are within our own house. After all, we've been through some bad, bad stuff and we're still standing. Some of us barely, but still here. The future can be promising or fatal, but the return to personal responsibility and the growing awareness of what ignoring the traditional values that have gotten us through the hardest times has cost us is taking hold.

Anyone with half a brain can see the damage the destruction of the traditional black family is having on our children. Almost 70% of our children are growing up in homes without a father. The radical left would have you believe those men are absent because racism is keeping them from making a living that supports children and it's just too painful for them to look their kids in the face while 'the man' is preventing them from taking care of them. So they just stay away and suffer in silence.

Yes, there are a lot of black men out there who have it hard, but that's not the reason 70% of our children are going to bed every night without a father down the hallway. This is evident in the fact that the trend continues regardless of income. Poor, Working Class, Middle Class, Upper Middle Class and Wealthy black men are not being "parents" to their children.

Let's not talk about slavery and racism because our families were much more intact and our men were more responsible one hundred years ago when racism was much worse than it is now and the effects of slavery on our men were more powerful. This is a trend that dates back to the 1960s when government social programs began to tear at the fabric of our families and the general moral decline of society gained steam, effecting everyone regardless of race. Sorry if that sounds preachy. I'm not a radical conservative, but I am a Christian and I am a black person whose heart rips apart when I see what has happened to black families and the way society attacks our children.

It's about personal responsibility and morality. It's about parenting and we are all responsible for the fact that black men aren't doing their share. We are all to blame for its effects, watching with open eyes as the damage done to boys and girls growing up without a responsible male role model in their home effects all of us.

It's an epidemic destroying us and what makes it more powerful is the seeming refusal by blacks to own up to it. Maybe it's a Cosby thing; avoiding the embarrassment of admitting it's our fault is more important than fixing the problem? Oh yes, I keep forgetting. According to our "so called leaders", it's not our problem. Somebody else caused it so we'll just keep putting pressure on them to fix it.

The fact that the country seems to be moving more to the right is not necessarily a good thing. I would prefer a more centered society, because the conservative mindset has almost as much peril as the liberal mindset. One good thing can come from this and that is less liberal hand holding can lead to more of us realizing that the problem IS fatal, is OURS and only WE can solve it.
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by Angela Winters

Despite the continuing crime problem in the streets of L.A., black voters, usually advocates for more police to protect their streets, voted against adding more cops in this last election.

Most people are aware of the tenuous relationship between urban blacks and the police. I was clueless to the problem having grown up in a low-crime area where police were seen as protectors and role models. It wasn't until I was in college and heard about experiences of other kids that I became aware of the incredible mistrust and tension that exists. I had a boyfriend who seemed to get pulled over on a weekly basis because his BMW seemed a little too shiny and expensive for someone wearing his baseball cap backwards.

This BlackAmericaWeb article suggest the vote has a lot to do with taxes, as well as liberal congresswoman Maxine Waters opposition. She probably gets all the police protection she needs, but let's not get started on her. Others suggest it was the marketing, but how much marketing is necessary. Do you think you need more cops or not?

So, who benefits from this? In a city already considered the most under-policed of all major cities, my guess is our winners are the gangs and others who want more room to breath and move around the neighborhoods where they prey on their own people for profit.
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by Angela Winters

Continuing a tradition from the year before, The NY Times has excerpts on letters written home by soldiers who died in Iraq. It's as real as it gets to hear the words of these men and women just days before they die for their country.

Interesting bit of history on women and war. In particular, writer Gregory Kane's commentary on the first Woman to lead U.S. troops. It wasn't Capt. Linda Bray, who led American forces during the invasion of Panama in 1989, but Harriet Tubman; a familiar American hero.

A black army vet's hope for the return of black patriotism.

The Toledo Blade has an article on the mental toll that urban-style warfare is having on soldiers returning home.
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by Angela Winters

In politics, Jesus has evolved from being a niche market to being THE market. Somehow I don't think he's all that impressed. After all, he's been much more than that to quite a lot of us for about 2,000 years now.

To the youth vote, I don't know what to say. You had your chance? You were the belle of the ball in '04 but decided to go home alone before the party was over. That's not entirely fair, because you did show an interest and that's a beginning. Maybe it will pan out in '08. Either way, the VOTE OR DIE slogan will be taken from its figurative meaning in the Diddy campaign to a literal meaning in '08 by the far right.

I can see it now. "My sources have spoken to the Savior and he says, if you want to go to heaven, vote for me!" Maybe Alan Keyes was on to something after all. Oh, yeah...he got his butt kicked by the guy that Jesus doesn't like. Well, these aren't hard and fast rules.

So everyone is scrambling to understand what VALUES means. What are MORALS and where can I get them? Better yet, how can I sell them? Surveys are being put together, poll questions being analyzed and I'm sure at least a dozen new think tanks and PACS have been formed to put together the '06 congressional campaign strategies.

It's really simple folks and the first hint is, it's not about religion. It's about listening to people instead of telling them what you think they should know. It's about understanding that life on the coast is different than life everywhere else and those people living everywhere else wouldn't have it any other way. Does that make them right? Not about everything. Pushing fear and homophobia isn't anything resembling Christ, but if you try to understand where it comes from you'll be able to handle it better than if you just spit out how wrong it is.

As much as people want to say God doesn't belong here or there, he's still gonna be everywhere and unfortunately, people will take advantage of that and in a lot of places, it will work.

Okay, I take it back. It isn't simple, but if the Dems try and spend these next 3 years doing more listening than engaging in self-righteous blaming, it won't be the big surprise it was this year. They really can't afford that.

Here's what others are saying about it:
The Values-Vote Myth
On a Word and a Prayer
Morality is the new "race"
In the Fray
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by Angela Winters

I wrote about former VA Governor Douglas Wilder , Americas only black governor, running for mayor of Richmond, VA in September. Richmond has a lot of issues, most notably the rising crime rate. It's crucial they put a lock on that, because the city has a lot of potential for continued growth and investment. If the crime rate keeps growing as it has, that could all change. Well, he won. He was one of three African American mayors elected in Southern cities on Nov 2. We wish him luck. He's got a hard job ahead of him.

I hate to add Alan Keyes to a multi-blog because he has proven himself worthy of a post all his own. However, his ranting and ravings have taken on less significance now that he lost as resoundingly as we all thought he would. This Chi Town Sun Times article shares the substance (for lack of a better word) of Keyes' post-election rant where he lays blame for his loss. If he wasn't so consistent, I would think he was joking.

Yes, and Cynthia McKinney, famous for getting dumped by the voters after suggesting that Bush knew about 9/11 before it was going to happen and did nothing to stop it won her way back into Congress with a huge win in Atlanta. So, there's that.
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by Angela Winters

It's always nice to know that some things never change. Don't we all just sit back and dream for the old South to return? It was such a civil time. Women were ladies, men were men and blacks knew their place.

Voters in Alabama seem reluctant to let go of the good old days as their votes to fight an attempt to remove Jim Crow laws from the state constitution on Nov 2nd tell us. They voted it down by a narrow margin, but those gold ole boys aren't giving up yet. They're looking for a recount. After all this election is about values.


From Ron Gunzburger at
"SEGREGATION TODAY, SEGREGATION TOMORROW, SEGREGATION FOREVER." Just when you think voters in some states couldn't do anything to make themselves look more foolish, they go out and surprise you. George Wallace -- who uttered the line I used in the title of this entry -- recanted his segregationist views long before he died. Formal segregation itself was finally done away with under federal law in the 1960s. But, it sadly appears that some Alabama voters -- actually, a majority of them -- still wistfully pine for the days when blacks and white went to separate schools, rode on separate ends of the bus, and drank from separate water fountains. Amendment 2 on Tuesday's ballot proposed cleaning up the state constitution by removing some long-unenforced segregationist provisions that mandated separate-but-equal segregated schools, authorized unconstitutional poll taxes to bar blacks from voting, and specified that Alabamans have no constitutional right to public education (giving the state the power to deny funding to any integrated schools). Governor Bob Riley (R) supported the amendment. On the other side was Riley's likely 2006 primary opponent: ousted Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore. Moore -- who touts himself as "The Ten Commandments Judge" -- led the opposition to the repeal, arguing it could open the door to tax hikes in order to improve the state's public school system. The Alabama Christian Coalition also opposed the amendment, explaining that the group wanted "to ensure that reckless trial lawyers and activist judges will not be able to open the floodgates to increase taxes and that private, Christian, parochial and home-school families will be protected." The "tax hike" argument appears to be a red herring, however, as the Alabama Supreme Court already ruled in 1993 that the "no constitutional right to public education" provision was unconstitutional under the US Constitution. Out of 1.4 million votes cast statewide, Amendment 2 appears to have lost by 2,500 votes. However, the state will conduct an automatic recount.
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by Angela Winters

With Diversity being my expertise, I've found that it can be a source of encouragement to people who disagree on almost every other issue. The value of diversity is unquestionable and maybe in this deeply divided country, we can come together and agree on the belief that more diversity representation in both parties is usually a good thing.

So, here's a link to an article on newly elected Democrats and Republicans of color.

There's also this on the Republican Leadership Coalition's support of black candidate gains in 2004.

Most notable is the comparison of the makeup of America and Congress. We still have a lot of work to do. Ladies, I'm talking to you in particular.

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by Angela Winters

Febuary 14, 2005 is the most important day of the year for black people across this nation and anyone who cares about black children. So, it's pretty much an important day for everyone. No, I'm not talking about Valentine's Day. I'm talking about the second Monday of every February; National African Parent Involvement Day. NAAPID was founded by Joseph Dulin, a principal of a Child Development Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan after attending The Million Man March in DC in 95. Dulin wanted to take what the men had learned from the march back home to improve the quality of life for its members.

The connection between black men and black children is poetic. There isn't any need to regurgitate the statistics of black fathers and their absence from their children's life. Personally, it's enough to make you want to cry because it is so widespread and the damage seems insurmountable, which is why NAAPID, now a national event, is such an important day.

The day focuses on education looking to address the serious achievement gap facing African American students, who continue to lag not just behind white students, but other ethnic and minority groups. The website says, "With the many failures of African-American students in our schools, colleges and universities, something must be done to retain and support them through to successful graduation."

They site research that supports greater academic success to more parental involvement, but we already knew that was true. NAAPID isn't just focusing on parents and guardians. It calls on teachers, tutors, mentors, school boards, principals, school administrators, clergy, local businesses, community organizations and public officials. Can we just imagine the effect on the self esteem of these children if they see representatives from all of these groups showing an interest in them and supporting them? Talk about motivation.

For blacks kids to be where they should academically it will take more than a day in February of love and support. It takes discipline, raising expectations, setting examples, teaching personal responsibility, positive reinforcement and lots of love and encouragement. In other words, it takes parenting. If the commitment is only one day a year, it means nothing. If we are going to do good for our children, we have to look at ourselves and the choices we've made. What has happened to black marriage? What has happened to the traditional black family that provided the support we needed to get us through times much worse than this?

NAAPID is not the answer, but it is part of the solution. Everyone, regardless of your race or parental status, should care and get involved in some way or another. Like children of any race, the more education a black child gets, the less likely he is to fall into any of the other traps waiting for him around every corner.

--Promote African American parent involvement in their child's education.
--Promote and provide strategies for African American parents and students to take full advantage of the educational process at all levels of the educational system (preschool through post secondary).
--Identify and develop partnership efforts between all sectors of the community (business, school, home etc.).
--Create a national network on the state and local levels to achieve the mission and goals of NAAPID.
--Develop fund-raising strategies and put them into effect to finance the endeavors of NAAPID (grants, public and private donations, in-kind services etc.).
--Offer educational workshops, seminars and institutes relating to parental involvement and eliminating the achievement gap.

"Every parent wants their child to have a better quality of life than they themselves had. It is the American dream; and for many African Americans, this dream has not been realized as a result of their child's failure in school. Education is the key to success and parents are educators' greatest allies."
- Joseph Dulin, Founder

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by Angela Winters

Like everyone else, I was confused by the vast contradictions of the exit polls and the actual results of this election. If I were the news stations, I would want my money back. For all the excitement, waiting and tension, somehow I fell asleep at 10:30. When I woke up at midnight, I was like "Oh hell, here we go." Then, this morning I felt a little better about it. I don't think this will drag out for another couple of months.

My sympathies to those who worked so hard for Kerry. They really did, but I think the reality is that the country is going in a clear direction. I was surprised, but it's pretty much in plain view. America is moving to the right. The White House, The Senate, The House and pretty soon, The Supreme Court is steering us in the direction of conservative values. Well, all that except for fiscal conservatism which in my opinion is the best aspect of conservativism. Bush's spending is a mess and I'm not talking about the war.

If the Democrats are going to have a chance in any upcoming elections, they have to expand their base. They can only do that by electing more moderate, likeable candidates. Obama is a good example. Regardless of the fact that he was basically running the equivalent of unopposed, the middle is their only chance. They need a candidate who can appeal to the base and not just steal Independents, but steal Republicans the way Clinton did. They need a candidate that people want as opposed to a candidate that will do as long as the other guy doesn't win. If they continue to rely on college kids and African Americans, they are going to stay where they are. The minority party.

So here we are. A President in power with the support of a little over half the people, but more than he got the last time. What are you thinking? What are you feeling? Barring something really unusual, Bush is going to win. What do you want him to do differently? What can all politicians do to quell some of this partisan hatred?
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by Angela Winters

Okay, so I did it. I showed up at 10am and saw a long line, but I planned for that. I bought my book.

The good news, for me at least was that there were 4 lines separated by last name and the s-z line was the shortest. I'm not sure why this always happens at conventions, conferences, etc. The L-R line is always really long and the S-Z is always much shorter, so why don't they make it like L-P and Q-Z or something? I don't know.

I was in line for an hour, much shorter than many people who told me they had already been in line for an hour before I got there (too bad they had the wrong last name). My big gripe was this one chick in the L-R line next to me that kept whining about how long it was taking. She was grabbing every election worker that passed by and telling them how their operation wasn't working and this was unacceptable. Blah! Blah! Blah! I was glad to finally get to vote just to get away from her.

She didn't look like an idiot, so why did she think this was going to be like the drive thru at BK? Has it not been said every day on every channel, every station and in every paper or website that there would be a record number of voters today and that the lines would be longer than ever?

So, it's over for me. A Prez, VPrez, Congressman and 2 Ammendments. I'm still holding on to this dream that the election will be a blowout so the challenges will be limited. I don't think for a second we'll know who is Prez tonight, but hopefully it won't go on as long as the last one.

What was your experience?
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by Angela Winters

I wrote about the IRS investigating the NAACP's tax status based on some comments their chairman made. By making negative comments about the Prez, they may have violated rules that would threaten their tax exempt status. Charges of racism immediately followed.

That was round one. I was waiting for some fall out and of course....

Besides the NAACP, the Kerry campaign has asked for the DOJ to investigate the IRS's investigation of the NAACP. Take that.

Counterpunch. This AP article suggest that the IRS is not singling out the NAACP, but is investigating the group, along with as much as 60 other groups for similar reasons. Unless those organizations are all black or mostly black, this weakens the very popular "racism" complaint. Now, if they are all black or mostly black, Hmmmm.

Either way, as I said before, rules are rules and skin color doesn't exempt us from it. If the NAACP or any of those groups are making political statements to promote or attack a candidate, then OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!
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