Monday, June 21, 2010

Dancing Baby Doing The Samba In Brazil -

Video: Rep. Speaks on BP Document CBS

Michael Jordan's Son Talks Major Smack About Kobe Bryant

It would seem that the last person to criticize Kobe Bryant for not living up to the legacy of Michael Jordan would be either of Michael Jordan's sons. Marcus Jordan, the son of Michael, has spent his entire life being ridiculed for the fact that he never has been or will be even a fraction of what his father once was. No one dogs Marcus out for the fact that he can't live up to Michael, because no one really can. The problem is that Marcus decided that he was going to attack Kobe Bryant (you know, the guy in Los Angeles with five championship rings), for not matching up to his father's playing ability.

On his Twitter page, Marcus decided to tweet the following (I will spell and capitalize exactly the way Marcus posted it):

NO ONE.....and I mean NO ONE should EVER com par kobe Bryant to my dad an say that he is anywhere near close to my dad He's jagging this game

Later during the game, ABC posted some statistics comparing Jordan and Bryant in the championship, and Marcus went on to tweet:

I know y'all just seen the stats too" and "no comparison

You see, the things that Marcus Jordan says to defend his father are certainly worthy of consideration. Many basketball fans might agree with him. The problem for Marcus is that he shouldn't be the one saying any of this, because Marcus is....well....a scrub. Long considered to be the more talented of the Jordan sons, Marcus averaged a "stellar" eight points and 3.1 rebounds for mighty Central Florida last season. Don't get me wrong: Central Florida might be better than some of the other schools named after a section of their home state, but it's not as if he's playing for Duke. It's also not as if being Michael Jordan's son wouldn't have given him the chance to show his skills at any school in the country.

I find Marcus Jordan's words to be the musings of a confused college student who is proudly stuck under his father's shadow. He may never have learned what it means to work hard for things, since he has been royalty since birth. While Kobe's dad was also an NBA player at one point, Kobe had to fight hard to claim his space on a team that was dominated by Shaquille O'neal, in one of the largest media markets in the world. He also had to overcome the humiliation of rape allegations to rebuild his image and find a way to win championships under the harshest media scrutiny imaginable. To start and successfully complete such a daunting mission after skipping college as a 17-year old kid puts Kobe in a whole different universe from the guy who started as Michael Jordan's son and ended up as a mediocre player at Central Florida.

Marcus Jordan may want to be quiet and let his father's fans defend his record. He's not one to say anything.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and the author of the new book, "Black American Money." To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

Foreclosures by Race and Ethnicity: The Demographics of a Man-Made Disaster

The ongoing foreclosure crisis has slashed hundreds of billions of dollars in wealth from communities of color, a new CRL research report shows, as an estimated 17% of Latino homeowners and 11% of African-American homeowners have already lost their home to foreclosure or are now at imminent risk.  The wealth drain is the result of direct losses from foreclosures and also the decline in neighboring property values each foreclosure brings.

The report—"Foreclosures by Race and Ethnicity: The Demographics of a Crisis,"—shows that foreclosures will continue to climb and losses will continue to mount. From 2009 to 2012, those living near a foreclosed property in African-American and Latino communities will have seen their home values drop by more than $350 billion—possibly exceeding the damage the Gulf States suffered from Hurricane Katrina. And high levels of unemployment that were caused by reckless lending and the collapse of the housing and financial markets continue to exacerbate the foreclosure crisis.

"Whether we're talking about oil spills or housing catastrophes, it's clear that America needs to invest in prevention, clean-up and recovery," said CRL President, Mike Calhoun.  "As Congress finishes financial reform legislation, the rules on home lending need to get stronger, not weaker. We need to make sure a foreclosure crisis of this type never happens again, and, though so many homes have been lost, it's not too late to prevent more damage."

The percentage of homes in some stage of foreclosure in the United States is the highest on record and five times the norm, but little study has been done to quantify this trend. This report provides the most detailed estimate yet of how many foreclosures have been completed since the crisis started in 2007, how many more homes are on the brink of being lost, and how this man-made disaster has disproportionately damaged African-American and Latino communities.

No single set of numbers exists to tell this story. Instead, CRL used several databases to compute reasonable, even conservative, estimates that together add up to a grim picture: The United States has tolerated a dysfunctional lending system that has disproportionately eroded the wealth of communities of color and set them even further behind other groups on the economic ladder.
Among the report's findings:
  • An estimated 2.5 million foreclosures were completed from 2007 – 2009 and an estimated 5.7 additional ones are imminent. (Independent estimates have suggested that up to 13 million homes will be lost through 2014.)
  • On completed foreclosures, most on mortgages made between 2005 and 2008, we estimate that 56% involved a white family.  But African American and Hispanic families have received a disproportionate share, even when accounting for income: Nearly 8% of both groups have already lost a home, compared to 4.5% of white borrowers.
  • The great majority of homes lost were owner occupied, as are those at imminent risk of being lost.

Here are several civil rights leaders' comments on the report:

"The findings in this report describe the devastating impact that the casino culture of Wall Street and the mortgage industry is having on communities of color. Instead of owning a piece of the American dream, these hardworking families have borne the brunt of an anything-goes regulatory system that has turned a blind eye toward predatory lending and the needs of vulnerable consumers, who may never recover the wealth they have lost. The report demonstrates why we need a strong, independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and why mortgage servicers must act swiftly to help more families keep their homes." - Wade Henderson, President and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

"We know that with the right tools, every family in America can share in the American Dream. Knowing this makes these recent findings very disturbing. Latino homeownership will retract by 17% by the time we feel the full effects of the fallout from the credit crisis. That's more than one million Hispanic households, an outstanding figure and higher than other groups. This crisis is moving our community in the wrong direction and it's unacceptable." - Janet Murguia, President and CEO of NCLR (National Council of La Raza.)

"With 17 percent of Latino and 11 percent of African-American homeowners having essentially already lost their homes and estimates that many more foreclosures are on the way, we need Congress to hurry up and pass an independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency.  We also need servicers to do whatever is necessary to stop this hemorrhaging now.  Enough is enough." - Shana Smith, President and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance

About the Center for Responsible Lending
The Center for Responsible Lending is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and policy organization dedicated to protecting homeownership and family wealth by working to eliminate abusive financial practices. CRL is affiliated with Self-Help, one of the nation's largest community development financial institutions.
SOURCE Center for Responsible Lending

Editorial: Democrat Senate to Promote Rapist, Serial Killer Apologist to 2nd Circuit Court

This week, the Senate may take up the controversial nomination of Robert Chatigny for the 2nd Circuit Court of Appleals, after being reported from the Judiciary Committee on June 10th. Chatigny currently serves for the U.S. District Court of Connecticut, where he made his claim to fame by ordering a stay of execution in 2005 for convicted serial rapist and murderer Michael Ross.
In a last-minute hearing before Ross’ scheduled execution, Chatigny infamously opined that Ross, who had confessed to raping and killing eight young women aged between 14 to 25, “never should have been convicted”. In that hearing, Chatigny chastised Ross’ attorney, T.R. Paulding, and threatened to have his law license pulled for not more vigorously pursuing Ross’ defense.

Although the hearing was supposed to be examining Ross’ competence to waive his right to appeal, Chatigny saw a wider context for presiding authority. He said, “looking at the record in a light most favorable to Mr. Ross, he never should have been convicted. Or if convicted, he never should have been sentenced to death because his sexual sadism, which was found by every single person who looked at him, is clearly a mitigating factor.”

Of course, having confessed to the rape-murders, coupled with overwhelming evidence, Ross most certainly should have been convicted. Nobody would dispute the sadistic nature of the crimes involved, either. Clearly Ross took pleasure in what he did. But by no means was Ross’ motive a “mitigating factor.” Instead, it recommended a death sentence.
Get full story here.

Political Class Pursues Costly, Counterproductive and Irrelevant Policy Schemes with Alacrity

By Kevin Mooney
What is the connection between the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster and the stated need for anti-emissions regulations and higher energy prices? This question goes unexplored in the front page coverage the New York Times devoted to President Obama’s address to the nation last week.

Obama has called for a renewed commitment to “clean energy” policies that would de-emphasize fossil fuels and reduce oil dependence. He has also imposed a six-month moratorium on deep water offshore drilling.

“Today, as we look to the gulf, we see an entire way of life being threatened by a menacing cloud of black crude,” Obama said in his speech. “We cannot consign our children to this future. The tragedy on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace clean energy future is now.”
In its coverage, The Times does an effective job of hitting on some of the highlights. The report, for example, discusses the President’s “adversarial tone” toward BP officials at some length and touches on regulatory failures evident within the Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service.

However, the relevance of a “cap and trade” bill to the environmental challenges that now beset the Gulf of Mexico is debatable. Moreover, as TimesCheck has previously reported, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who has supported earlier versions of the legislation, now concedes that regulatory schemes have no connection with climate change.
Get full story here.

Disclosure is Overrated

By Robert Romano
Last week, after being on the fast track, campaign speech restrictions on corporations and not-for-profit organizations became sidetracked in the House of Representatives by Congressional Democrats, prompting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to pull the bill off the floor prior to any vote.
Ironically, the legislation, the so-called DISCLOSE Act, was not delayed because it violated First Amendment rights to freedom of speech, of the press, and of association. It was held up because it did not violate those rights enough.

Specifically, so sleazy was the exemption granted to the National Rifle Association, that the Congressional Black Caucus withdrew its support. They want the NRA to disclose its donors, too, information the organization has sworn to protect.

Conservative groups blasted the NRA exemption as well, but not because they want the campaign restrictions extended to them, but because they believe all groups should be exempted. For them, the carve-out harkened back to the ObamaCare Cornhusker Kickback and Louisiana Purchase, when senators were granted special benefits in return for supporting the legislation they otherwise would not have.
Get full story here.

Monday status conference: Clinton on Kagan

Picture it: the White House, 1995.

A cadre of economic advisors had advised President Bill Clinton against vetoing a bill aimed at stopping frivolous securities fraud lawsuits. Clinton asked the advice of his new legal adviser, Elena Kagan.

She analyzed the legislation and came to the conclusion that the bill would not only halt frivolous suits, but also meritorious securities fraud actions by shareholders. Bucking the economic team, she recommended that the president veto the measure.

“There she was, in her mid-30s starting out in her career, with the entire economic team, all of them against her position, and she knew it,” Clinton told The New York Times last week, recalling Kagan’s first White House presentation. “She stood there and defended her conclusion. It was very impressive. She was composed, direct and totally unfazed that all those guys wanted a different outcome.”

Clinton’s comments came as lawmakers and the media pored over emails from Kagan’s White House tenure released by Clinton’s presidential library on Friday. Now most of the 160,000 pages of documents identified by the library on the Supreme Court nominee have been released. And Kagan has emerged, for the most part, unscathed from the scrutiny one week before her confirmation hearings are set to begin.

And that, according to the Associated Press, was by design. Obama administration officials, working with Clinton, have worked to ensure that Kagan’s involvement with more controversial issues that could provide fodder for critics of her nomination remain shaded from public view. Those sensitive subjects include the Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit that led to Clinton’s impeachment.

Meanwhile, the current justices of the Supreme Court are set to release more opinions this morning. Among the issues yet to be decided this term is whether public and private officials can face criminal action for depriving their “honest services” to the public or to their employers. We’ll update newsworthy developments here later this morning.

In other news,

Emanuel out? The London Daily Telegraph reports that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is expected to leave his job after the midterm elections because he is fed up with the “idealism” of President Barack Obama’s closest advisers. (Fox News)

Too soon to say the f-word: Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said it’s still too soon to say whether Republicans might try to filibuster Kagan’s nomination. (AP)

Slow claims process: BP has paid less than 12 percent of claims submitted by individuals and businesses for damage caused the Gulf oil spill, according to the House Judiciary Committee. (AP)

K Street help for BP: Meanwhile, the company is enlisting the help of a high-priced lobbyists and consultants to help weather the firestorm over the massive spill. (Washington Post)

By Kimberly Atkins

It Might Be Cheaper To Smoke Weed

Hell, at this point it might be more affordable to just smoke crack.

New York governor David Paterson is proposing a tax on cigarettes that will raise the cost of a pack of cigarettes to a whopping $10 per pack, making it the most expensive in the country. The tax increase has been proposed as a method to help close the gaping budget deficit which is currently sitting at over $9 billion. Ouch.

Smokers in NYC: rent is already sky high, it might be time to invest in that Nicorette patch or you’ll be smoking on the sidewalk…. which doubles as your home.

Post By Likkle Miss

Time Is Running Out For Democrats to Pursue Charges Against Bush, Cheney


Of all the disappointments that progressives have endured in recent years, one of the biggest is the Democratic politicians' failure to pursue any charges of wrongdoing by George W. Bush or Dick Cheney.

And now, with the mid-term elections only five months away, it's clear that the window of opportunity is closing, perhaps forever.

There is a reasonably good chance the GOP will retake the House in November. And if that happens, the Dems can kiss goodbye any opportunities to investigate any wrongdoing by the Bush White House.

Not that the GOP will not show any such restraint if it retakes the House. Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California is already chomping at the bit to go after President Obama.

If the GOP captures the House, Issa will become chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He'll have power to subpoena White House officials to appear before the committee under oath.

Issa has made it clear that he plans to vigorously pursue investigations against the White House. And no doubt, other Republicans will do the same. In fact, it's likely the GOP will appoint a special prosecutor with an unlimited budget and subpoena power to go after President Obama as vigorously as Ken Starr pursued Bill Clinton.

It doesn't really matter if such a partisan witch hunt actually uncovers any real wrongdoing by Obama. That's not the point, anyway. The point is to harass the White House and bury it under an avalanche of subpoenas, creating distractions, and making it difficult for Obama to govern.

And while the Republicans have no qualms about pursuing a witch hunt against Democrats on purely cynical political grounds, the Dems lack the backbone to investigate a president who did untold damage to America and its standing in the world.

It's incredible that the Dems have yet to investigate anything that Bush did from 2000 to 2008. The Iraq War fiasco alone deserves a special, major investigation. We already know that Bush lied the nation into a pointless, immoral, $3 trillion war that killed 1.2 million Iraqi civilians.

And that's just for starters when one examines the record of Bush/Cheney.

The list goes on and on. PlameGate. Halliburton. Abu Ghraib. NSA warrantless wiretaps. Failure to comply with Congressional subpoenas. 2000 and 2004 election irregularities. Obstruction of 9/11 investigations. The failed Hurricane Katrina response.

The American people deserve justice. They deserve to know exactly what happened in the White House during the Bush/Cheney years. They deserve to see the veil of secrecy lifted and the lies exposed.

But thanks to the timid, cowardly Democrats, the window of opportunity for justice is slowly closing shut, perhaps to never re-open again. Bush and Cheney will ride off happily into the sunset, with smirks on their faces, and will likely never face any charges.

Obama’s Latest Shakedown

By David Limbaugh
President Obama’s oil spill speech revealed, once again, how stunningly shameless he is. This relentless ideologue is not even marginally competent at masking his ongoing crusade to apply a wrecking ball to every sector of our economy and remake it in his own image.

And I do mean “his” own image. Once again, his speech was loaded with first-person references, from “I refuse to let (Gulf Coast residents lose their way of life)” to “I expect (the new commission tasked with determining the cause of the explosion) to do that work thoroughly and impartially” to “I am happy to look at other ideas and approaches from either party.” More on that last howler in a moment.

Obama’s MO is so predictable that sophisticated practitioners of Marxist transformation should be embarrassed. Then again, Obama doesn’t need to be subtle; he is the president — a president who rejects the constitutional limitations that applied to his mortal predecessors.

After sitting on his hands for months, he comes out rhetorically swinging with both barrels of his teleprompter blazing. First, declare a crisis — meticulously distorting the facts, especially those relative to what caused the crisis. Second, isolate a scapegoat (along with the awful, resource-exploiting, oil-inhaling, pre-Obama America) to be demonized and bullied into conspiring with him to launch his transformational solution — a solution that has nothing to do with solving the “crisis.” In the meantime, shield the true culprits from any blame. Third, unveil his grandiose plan for salvation by the federal government, provided it first acquires structurally new powers. All the while, he not only downplays the government’s culpability in all of this but also overstates its (and his) response to date.
A returning space traveler watching his speech would have assumed Obama actually had been “kicking tail” throughout this “crisis” instead of partying and playing golf. Upon watching the speech, the traveler would not have experienced the megadoses of deja vu felt by the rest of us, who had watched this movie — starring this very president — many times before.

To be sure, the oil spill has been terrible, and BP doubtlessly bears much blame. But do any of us know all the facts? Should the president be unilaterally declaring BP’s strict liability as if he were the final judge, jury and executioner — without even affording the company any opportunity to defend itself?
Alinsky-starved radicals might find it gratifying for a dictatorial president to beat up on such an evil agent of capitalism, but some of us find his approach unseemly and disturbing. Besides denying the company any semblance of due process and fairness, how about his habitual expenditure of negative energy — pointing fingers — instead of employing a constructive approach?

No matter how culpable BP is ultimately determined to be, Obama’s bullying should not deflect our attention from another culprit here: environmental extremists.

Just as Obama blamed Wall Street and exempted government (liberal policies) and quasi government entities (Freddie and Fannie) for their complicity in the financial meltdown and just as he blamed doctors, pharmaceuticals and insurance companies for soaring health care costs caused mostly by socialistic governmental policies, he is summarily blaming BP and exempting unreasonable liberal environmental policies for shutting down more conventional and safer drilling methods — and venues. As usual, he and his ilk greatly contribute to problems and then use those problems as catalysts to justify even greater doses of their destructive socialistic prescriptions. It’s maddening.

Just as Obama browbeat and bought off the American Medical Association and big pharma to go along with Obamacare, he summoned BP executives to his office. Flanked by Attorney General Eric Holder, who has threatened criminal action against BP, he shook down BP into forking over a $20 billion installment to defer the government’s further wrath. BP is but another prop Obama has chosen to advance another plank of his statist agenda — this time his plan to shut down our conventional energy industry in favor of new, quixotic alternative energy methods that will succeed only in propelling this nation even faster toward Third World status.

I’m surprised Obama didn’t give another “shout-out” to “Joe Medicine Crow” as he began his speech designed to pretend he cares about the victims of the oil spill (even his lib media enablers aren’t buying it this time) — for the sole purpose of passing cap and trade on their backs. Cap and trade has already failed, but so had health care before he finally crammed it through.

Just as Obama fraudulently promised to listen to Republican ideas at his bogus health care summit after he’d shut them out of the process from the beginning, he promised to “look at other ideas and approaches from either party” on his cap-and-trade fiasco. Oh, yes, he’s all about considering the ideas of others and the will of the American people. And I’m all about advancing liberalism. LOL.

France To Boot Anelka From South Africa

The soap opera that is the French national team will not stop churning. After the revelation that Yoann Gourcuff is a hermit and no one likes him, we now have the post-Mexico fallout.
Niclas Anelka was taken off at the half. Most probably assumed it’s because he’s rubbish for France, and he is, but apparently there’s a bit more back story. Like he called Domenech a few mean names in the dressing room at halftime, becoming a French national hero in the process.
Small bit about a premature ticket back home too.

The Chelsea forward, who has now not recorded a shot on target in 429 consecutive minutes’ play for Les Bleus, was apparently criticised by Domenech for straying out of position during a goalless first half.

According to French sports newspaper L’Equipe Anelka exploded in rage in the dressing room, verbally abusing the coach. He is reported to have said, “Go fuck yourself you son of a whore.”
The brilliant thing would’ve been for Domenech to headbutt Anelka. Alas, the narrative is destroyed,
But this may be the only time Domenech has been right in the last four years. When did Nicolas Anelka up and decide he’s a holding midfielder? Did a good bit of the same at Chelsea as well, but France ain’t quite Chelsea.
And the kicker will be he’s likely going home:

French Football Federation vice-president Christian Teinturier believes if there is any basis to the reports about Anelka then he should be sent home from the tournament immediately.

“If the words we have just heard have been used, he has nothing to do there [at the World Cup],” Teinturier told France Info radio.
Reports in France suggest a disciplinary hearing has been convened by France Football Federation officials this afternoon.
Canal+ claim Anelka will be sent home from South Africa tomorrow.
Insulting Dom’s mother is a crime to be sure, but he should be sent home for tactical disarray first and foremost. That’s just unacceptable.

Breaking News: Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel Quitting White House

Rahmbo Says Goodbye
Turn out the lights.  The party is over.  White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is calling it quits.  He’s taking his ball and going home.  The man with the ear of the President reportedly says he’s leaving before the year is out.  Why?
Washington Insiders have told the London Telegraph that Emanuel can’t take it anymore.  He’s leaving his position in 6-8 months according to the New York Daily News.  Supposedly many in the White House are ready to get rid of the man known for working Chicago-style politics.  The Telegraph quotes a leading Democrat who spoke anonymously on the issue:
“Nobody thinks it’s working but they can’t get rid of him – that would look awful. He needs the right sort of job to go but the consensus is he’ll go.” – Democrat Anonymous Insider
The White House has yet to comment on the issue, but Emanuel has complained in the past of the heavy work load and some believe he wants to be Mayor of Chicago.  Emmanuel told 60 Minutes last March:
“It’s seven days a week, constant. And even at night, you’re never really calm sleeping. No matter how exhausted, you’re not calm. You’re never kinda off.” – Rahm Emanuel
Many have complained that Emanuel’s style is just too rough.  He is expected to quit  shortly after the midterms.  It won’t be any surprise to see multiple Obama staff leave at that time – especially if November gives Obama’s party a crushing defeat.
Emanuel may be the canary in the coal mine.  His exit could be the first of many.

Cop, Dallas police chief's son dead after shootout

LANCASTER, Texas — Authorities say shootings at a suburban Dallas apartment complex have killed a police officer and two other men, including the son of Dallas' police chief.

Lancaster police say the officer was responding to a reported domestic disturbance around 6 p.m. Sunday when the call was upgraded to shots fired. When the officer arrived, an exchange of gunfire erupted.
Lancaster Police Chief Keith Humphrey said late Sunday that the 37-year-old officer had two children and was a five-year veteran. His name hasn't been released.

Dallas police say David O'Neal Brown Jr., the adult son of Dallas' police chief, also was killed. It's unclear if he was shot before police arrived or during the officer-involved shooting.
The third victim hasn't been identified.