Monday, February 2, 2009

1619 Slavery comes to North America By Today's News NJ

To satisfy the labor needs of the rapidly growing North American colonies, white European settlers turned in the early 17th century from indentured servants (mostly poorer Europeans) to a cheaper, more plentiful labor source: African slaves. Beginning around 1619, when a Dutch ship brought 20 Africans ashore at the British colony of Jamestown, Virginia, slavery spread quickly through the American colonies. Though it is impossible to give accurate figures, some historians have estimated that 6 to 7 million slaves were imported to the New World during the 18th century alone, depriving the African continent of its most valuable resource—its healthiest and ablest men and women.

After the American Revolution, many colonists (particularly in the North, where slavery was relatively unimportant to the economy) began to link the oppression of black slaves to their own oppression by the British. Though leaders such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson—both slaveholders from Virginia—took cautious steps towards limiting slavery in the newly independent nation, the Constitution tacitly acknowledged the institution, guaranteeing the right to repossess any “person held to service or labor” (an obvious euphemism for slavery). Many northern states had abolished slavery by the end of the 18th century, but the institution was absolutely vital to the South, where blacks constituted a large minority of the population and the economy relied on the production of crops like tobacco and cotton. Congress outlawed the import of new slaves in 1808, but the slave population in the U.S. nearly tripled over the next 50 years, and by 1860 it had reached nearly 4 million, with more than half living in the cotton–producing states of the South.

TPMtv: Sunday Show Roundup: Sunday Stimulation

Your Daily Politics Video Blog: Last week the House of Representatives passed the $800 billion-plus stimulus package, but without a single Republican vote of support. This week the bill goes to the Senate for consideration. It's sure to be just as intense a debate as last week's, and for a preview we turn to a roundup of the Sunday morning talk shows.

Gunmen Kidnap American UN Official in Pakistan

Gunmen kidnapped an American U.N. worker and killed his driver in southwestern Pakistan on Monday, underscoring the security threat in a country wracked by al-Qaida violence and rising criminality. (Feb. 2)

Video: Jennifer Hudson Singing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl

I agree with everyone who say Jennifer Hudson’s rendition of the National Anthem last night gave them chills. I watched her sing live (I never watch the Super Bowl pre-game events) and Jennifer Hudson killed it!

I wonder if Jen’s voice was pre-recorded like Whitney Houston’s?

Aren’t you happy that Jen decided to skip the inauguration circus and save her impressive pipes for the Super Bowl instead?

Ethiopia: Gaddafi is new AU chairman

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has been elected as the new chairman of the 53-nation African Union. He was elected by delegates at the AU summit in Ethiopia on Monday. He was widely tipped to get the node but some members of the union were said to have expressed their misgivings about his nomination.

The 12th Au heads of states summit kicked off in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia prioritizing the issue of forming the Union Government of Africa.

Leaders of more than 40 African countries including the new Somali’s Transitional Government President, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed convene for three days on major African issues with a theme, “infrastructure development in Africa”.

Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, the moderate Islamist leader won the presidency in an all-night parliament session in neighboring Djibouti at the end of January, 2009 and vowed to end conflict in the Horn of Africa nation, make peace with neighbors and rule with honesty and justice.

During the first day of meeting the leaders were expected to deal conclusively with the discussion regarding the formation of the Union Government of Africa. It was expected to give birth to a Federal government for Africa after more than half-a century of debate.

“This is an ordinary summit and a certain number of critical issues would be dealt with and concluded at this summit,” told media African Union Commission President Jean Ping. “The want to deal with the issue the Union Government during this summit,” he said.

African leaders have been discussing the formation of a Union Government of Africa for the past half a century. The founders of the Pan African debate set the ambitious goals of uniting the continent and sharing its wealth in a way that is beneficial to the continents citizenry.

So far, at least 20 African states have endorsed the creation of the Union Government of Africa. There are some eight African states which support the idea in principle but prefer a gradual movement.

Libya, the main state behind the Union Government, says any ‘gradualist’ idea towards the unity of Africa was too slow.

But, the states most Southern African region, which want the gradual formation of the Union Government, say neither the proposers nor the opposers of the idea would get what they want.

African diplomats have disclosed that a breakthrough has been reached on the emotive issue of setting up this Union Government of Africa, but major problems still remain on how to make it operational.


Michael Phelps Apologizes For “Regrettable” Behavior

Michael Phelps landed in some very hot water earlier this week after controversial photos of the Olympic phenom smoking a marijuana pipe ended up on the front pages of a British tabloid.

The champion of the Beijing Olympic Summer Games, with 8 gold medals, has acknowledged that the shot is the real deal. He released a statement on Sunday saying, “I’m 23 years old, and despite the successes I have had in the pool, I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, not in a manner that people have come to expect of me. For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public - it won’t happen again.” Check it out on his Facebook page here.

The US Olympic Committee, in their own statement, expressed disappointment but seemed to cut Phelps some slack. “Michael has acknowledged that he made a mistake and apologized for his actions. We are confident that, going forward, Michael will consistently set the type of example we all expect from a great Olympic champion.”

There has been no word yet on whether any of his endorsement contracts will be terminated by disgruntled corporations.

Check out the photo that caused the firestorm in a CNN video below.

Super Bowl Round Up - Steelers Beat Cardinals

The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Arizona Cardinals, 27-23, to win the Super Bowl. Pittsburgh’s Santonio Holmes caught a touchdown pass for the game-winning score with 35 seconds remaining.

Just when it appeared the Arizona Cardinals would turn in a Super Bowl comeback and upset for the ages, Pittsburgh receiver Santonio Holmes rescued the Steelers, making Mike Tomlin the youngest Super Bowl winning head coach.

Thousands of Steelers fans decked out in black and gold and waving Terrible Towels clogged South Side streets Sunday night, celebrating Pittsburgh’s unprecedented sixth Super Bowl title.

In one of the most memorable and dramatic Super Bowls in history, Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger completed the game-winning touchdown drive immediately after Kurt Warner turned in a great one of his own.

Arizona fans react after the Cardinals fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl 43. Fans described the close loss as severely disappointed and crushing.