Sunday, November 7, 2010

Soledad O’Brien Slams Rev. Jesse Jackson For Questioning Her “Blackness” In New Book

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In her new book, Soledad O’Brien talks about her struggles with her racial identity growing up, and how Rev. Jesse Jackson once questioned her “blackness.”

Below is an excerpt from her book “The Next Big Story.”

Even though I am not sure what he is saying, I can tell he is angry. Today he is angry because CNN doesn’t have enough black anchors. It is political season. There are billboards up sporting Paula Zahn and Anderson Cooper. He asks after the black reporters. Why are they not up there? I share his concern and make a mental note to take it back to my bosses. But then he begins to rage that there are no black anchors on the network at all. Does he mean covering the campaign, I wonder to myself? The man has been a guest on my show. He knows me, even if he doesn’t recall how we met. I brought him on at MSNBC, then again at Weekend Today. I interrupt to remind him I’m the anchor of American Morning. He knows that. He looks me in the eye and reaches his fingers over to tap a spot of skin on my right had. He shakes his head. “You don’t count,” he says. I wasn’t sure what that meant. I don’t count — what? I’m not black? I’m not black enough? Or my show doesn’t count?

I was both angry and embarrassed, which rarely happens at the same time for me. Jesse Jackson managed to make me ashamed of my skin color which even white people had never been able to do. Not the kids in the hallways at Smithtown or the guys who wouldn’t date me in high school. I remember the marchers behind me at the trial about the black youth/kid who beat the Latino baby. The folks that chanted “biracial whore for the white man’s media,” even they didn’t even make feel this way. I would just laugh. Biracial, sure, whore, not exactly, white man’s media, totally! Whatever. But Reverend Jesse Jackson says, “I don’t count?”

I am immediately upset and annoyed and the even more annoyed that I am upset and pissed off. If Reverend Jesse Jackson didn’t think I was black enough, then what was I? My parents had so banged racial identity into my head that the thoughts of racial doubt never crossed my mind. I’d suffered an Afro through the heat of elementary school. I’d certainly never felt white. I thought my version of black was as valid as anybody else’s. I was a product of my parents (black woman, white man) my town (mostly white), multiracial to be sure, but not black? I felt like the foundation I’d built my life on was being denied, as if someone was telling me my parents aren’t my parents. “You know those people you’ve been calling mom and dad — they aren’t really your parents. What?” The arbiter of blackness had weighed in. I had been measured and found wanting.

U.S. Military To Expand It's Presence In Asia

US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates arrives in Melbourne, Australia on November 7, 2010. Press TV

US Seeks To Expand Military Presence In Asia -- BBC

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has said the US wants a larger military presence in Asia.

On his way to Australia for annual security talks, Mr Gates said closer ties with Australia would help the US expand its role in South East Asia.

The US would focus on fighting piracy, improving counter-terrorism, disaster aid and cyber-security, he said.

He said the US move was not to contain China, which is engaged in various territorial disputes in the region.

Mr Gates said Washington had no plans for more bases in the region.

Read more ....

PM hosts dinner for Obamas

7 Nov : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday night hosted a private dinner for visiting US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle which was attended by political bigwigs, business leaders, actors and sports personalities.
The Obamas drove to the 7, Race Course Road residence of Singh from ITC Maurya where they are staying.

They were warmly welcomed by Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur.
The guests included UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, senior Union Ministers Pranab Mukherjee, A K Antony, P Chidambaram, S M Krishna and Sharad Pawar, senior BJP leader L K Advani and AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi.

Top business leaders Azim Premji, Ratan Tata, Swati Piramal and N R Narayanamurthy were among the guests which also included Bollywood personalities Aamir Khan, Shabana Azmi and Javed Akthar.
Chess wizard Viswanathan Anand and Environmental Activist Sunita Narain was also present at the dinner.
Ahead of the dinner, Singh and Obama were closeted for a one-on-one meeting for about 25 minutes during which the two leaders were understood to have taken stock of bilateral ties and ways to push these to higher levels of strategic partnership.

The two leaders are believed to have taken an overview of the bilateral relations, which have grown substantially over the last few years.

Earlier in the day, Singh set aside protocol and went to the Indira Gandhi International airport to receive the US First Couple who arrived in New Delhi on Sunday on the second leg of the visit after a hectic 26-hour stay in Mumbai.

Union Ministers who attended the event included Anand Sharma, Prithviraj Chavan, Salman Khursheed and US Ambassador to India Timothy J Roemer.

As Obama reached the Prime Minister’s residence, 30 camel-mounted BSF personnel welcomed him by playing bugles and trumpets.

The personnel in their traditional uniform played different tunes which were enjoyed by the US President and Michelle.

PM, Obama meeting ahead of formal talks
On the eve of their formal talks, PM Manmohan Singh and President Barack Obama had a meeting in New Delhi on Sunday night during which the two leaders are understood to have taken stock of bilateral ties and ways to push these to higher levels of strategic partnership.

Singh and Obama had a one-on-one meeting for about 25 minutes before the private dinner hosted by the Prime Minister for the visiting leader and his wife Michelle at his 7, Race Course Road residence.
The two leaders are believed to have taken an overview of the bilateral relations, which have grown substantially over the last few years.

Singh and Obama, who will hold wide-ranging talks on Monday, are understood to have discussed ways in which the two countries could raise their cooperation to higher levels, particularly in economic, security, agriculture and science and technology.

The two sides will be issuing a Joint Statement on Monday which will outline new areas of cooperation at bilateral and multilateral levels.

Affordable Care Act Drives Cost Savings Of $3,500 for Medicare Beneficiaries in Next Decade

A new report released by the  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that under the Affordable Care Act, average savings for those enrolled in traditional Medicare will amount to more than $3,500 over the next 10 years.  The report cites that savings with the new program maybe even higher for those who have high prescription drug costs.  The report, authored by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), shows that the Affordable Care Act helps lower costs for those on Medicare by slowing the growth of cost-sharing in Medicare. 

"The Affordable Care Act makes Medicare stronger and reduces the burden of health care costs on some of our most vulnerable citizens," said Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.  "The law improves benefits for seniors and people with beneficiaries who rely on Medicare and ensures that Medicare will be there for current and future generations by extending the life of the Medicare Trust Fund.  These benefits and savings are only possible with the continued implementation of the Affordable Care Act."

According to the ASPE, the progress made to close the Part D coverage gap known as the "donut hole" will produce the greatest cost savings as next year people in the donut hole will receive 50 percent discounts on covered brand name Part D prescription drugs and have access to a number of recommended preventive services and annual wellness visits at no additional cost.  Total savings per beneficiary enrolled in traditional Medicare are estimated to be $86 in 2011, rising to $649 in 2020.   For a beneficiary with spending in the donut hole, estimated savings increase from $553 in 2011 to $2,217 in 2020.

"The savings that seniors and people with disabilities on Medicare are seeing are due to critical improvements the Affordable Care Act makes to Medicare," said Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Sherry Glied.  "Reducing waste, fraud and abuse, improving the quality of care beneficiaries receive, and making the program more efficient all contribute to lower cost increases across the system."

The see the full analysis:  Medicare Beneficiary Savings and the Affordable Care Act

Vikings Rally for Crazy Childress-Saving 27-24 Win

To the dismay of many in Viking Nation, Brad Childress‘ job appears to be safe for one more week.  This after the Vikings rallied from 24-10 down to record a stunning 27-24 overtime win over the Arizona Cardinals.

For a moment, it really looked like we had seen the last of Chilly as Vikings coach.  After looking totally flat in the first half, the Vikings started the second half by watching Percy Harvin fumble the opening kickoff to the Cardinals’ Michael Adams who returned it for the touchdown, giving Arizona a 21-10 lead.  Those who had already given up on the Vikes assumed this was the end of Minnesota’s season.  And if they didn’t think it then, they surely thought it after Brett Favre threw a red zone pick to Rashad Johnson, on a play where Bryant McKinnie whiffed on a block and allowed the pressure to alter Favre’s pass.  At that moment, the Vikings’ 2010 campaign truly seemed lost.

A team that had completely given up on its season would’ve surely packed it in there.  But, the Vikings didn’t – a strong indication that, despite the week’s alarming developments, the Vikings locker room is still together.  Over the last 4:39 over regulation plus overtime, the Vikings played their most brilliant ball of the year, scoring two touchdowns, stuffing the Cardinals on defense and, in the overtime period, setting up Ryan Longwell for a game-winning field goal.

The game’s heroes included Jared Allen, who shook off his season-wide slumber to almost single-handedly blow up the Cardinals’ defense on its last two possessions.  Offensively, it was all about Brett Favre, Bernard Berrian, Visanthe Shiancoe and Adrian Peterson.  The cynics out there will surely point out that, with the season on the line, Childress had no choice but to put the game in the hands of his players, who then went out and played with the kind of free-wheeling abandon that has been missing all year thanks in part to Chilly’s overly-conservative style of offense.  I don’t know if this is true or not…I just know that the Vikings scored 17 unanswered points today from late in the fourth quarter on, and a team that can do that has not given up on its coach or its season.

Now we’ll see if this emotional victory carries over to next week.

AUTHOR: danzinski

Will Allen West Be Admitted to the Congressional Black Caucus?

I've argued for a long time that race-based caucuses shouldn't even exist in 2010, but as long as they do, I don't see anything wrong with a black conservative trying to get in:
Congressman-elect Allen West announced on WOR's Steve Malzberg Show that he will be a voice of reason and conservative values in the Congressional Black Caucus. Oh, to be a fly on the wall.
There's audio here.

Boy is he gonna tick off the racial grievance crowd. I doubt they'll even admit him. They'll come up with some nonsensical reason to keep him out because the last thing they want are conservative values and reason in the Congressional Black Caucus.

Morgan Stanley financial adviser escapes felony charges for hit-and-run 'because it could jeopardise his job'

Daily Mail - Martin Joel Erzinger, 52, was set to face felony charges for running over a doctor who he hit from behind in his 2010 Mercedes Benz, and then speeding off.

But now he will simply face two misdemeanour traffic charges from the July 3 incident in Eagle, Colorado.
His victim, Dr Steven Milo, 34, is meanwhile facing 'a lifetime of pain' from his injuries.
But prosecutors claim the decision is theirs to make.

'Justice in this case includes restitution and the ability to pay it,' said District Attorney Mark Hurlbert.
He said Erzinger, a private wealth manager who manages more than $1billion in assets at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Denver, is willing to take responsibility and pay restitution.

'Felony convictions have some pretty serious job implications for someone in Mr. Erzinger's profession, and that entered into it,' he said.

'When you're talking about restitution, you don't want to take away his ability to pay.'

Dr Milo is a physician living in New York City with his wife and two children, where he is still recovering from his injuries, court records show.

He suffered spinal cord injuries, bleeding from his brain and damage to his knee and scapula, according to court documents.

Let the GOP explain why

If President Barack Obama totally caves to the yammering Republicans on the extension of Bush tax cuts issue, and gives them everything they want, he may never recover the ground he would sacrifice in the process. In a nutshell, he will look like an absolute wuss.

Without an agreement of some kind in Congress the tax cuts will expire for everyone. So, in a brutal sense, time is on Obama's side. Obama, the good poker player, must calmly wait for the Republicans to recover from their victory party hangovers and offer the Democrats a compromise worth considering. After all, this is a showdown he has known was coming for a long time.

Moreover, this is precisely the perfect time for the president to demonstrate the bottom line veto power of the presidency and play some whoever-blinks-first hardball politics. Either it's a meet-in-the-middle compromise about this dollars and good sense issue, or the time just expires.

Obama can't cave on this one -- scared money never wins. If the time runs out, let the GOP explain why it allowed taxes to go up for 98 percent of the people.

-- Words and art by F.T. Rea

Chris Christie: Delaware “missed opportunity” for the Senate

Associated Press: WASHINGTON (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says the Senate race in Delaware was "a missed opportunity" for his fellow Republicans to pick up the seat long held by Democrat Joe Biden.
Tea party favorite Christine O'Donnell won the GOP nomination in an upset over moderate Rep. Mike Castle. But she lost the general election Tuesday to Democrat Chris Coons.
Christie says he was proud to have endorsed Castle.
O'Donnell ran a nontraditional campaign that opened with a TV ad saying "I'm not a witch." National Republicans had hoped the race would help them win the majority in the Senate.
Christie told NBC's "Meet the Press" that "I think Delaware was a missed opportunity to have a really good U.S. senator." 
I am going to have to disagree with my governor on this one.   First, Christine O’Donnell was a weak candidate.  Sorry to say it but it is true.  As a Tea Party candidate, the left, the GOP establishment and the media was going to play pile on.  We saw it time and time again throughout this election.  So, when Christine O’Donnell’s turn for the assault came along, she should have been prepared. She simply could not handle the onslaught.

That being said, Mike Castle was the wrong man for the times.  From now to 2012 Republicans are going to have to face some very tough votes in order to bring spending and the deficit under control.  In order to pull that off, every Republican and a few Democrats will be needed in the Senate.  Time and time again, we have seen liberal Republicans like Mike Castle, foil GOP plans by failing to live up to conservative principles.  Both Republicans and the nation cannot afford such fickleness now.

So while Chris Christie may believe that it is important to have another R on the team, the reality is that the quality of the R’s in the senate matter more. 
Perhaps a strong willed man like Chris Christie could keep wayward senate Republicans in check; but I have little faith in Mitch McConnell doing so.

You can see the full video of Chris Christie on Meet the Press at The Right Scoop.

Defense Sec. Robert Gates Urges Senate To Repeal DADT In Lame Duck Session

Today Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said Congress should hurry up and repeal DADT before the new members arrive in January. But it doesn't sound like he thinks they will.
"I would like to see the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" but I'm not sure what the prospects for that are," Gates said Saturday, as he traveled to defense and diplomatic meetings in Australia. Unless the lame-duck Congress acts, the repeal effort is considered dead for now. The current, Democratic-controlled Congress has not acted to lift the ban, which President Barack Obama promised to eliminate. In his postelection news conference Wednesday, Obama said there would be time to repeal the ban in December or early January, after the military completes a study of the effects of repeal on the front lines and at home.

posted by Joe

GOP Senator: US Needs to 'Neuter' Iran

Sends ripples through an international audience in Halifax
"HALIFAX, Nova Scotia -- A U.S. lawmaker sent ripples through an international audience Saturday saying his country should be prepared to launch a military attack on Iran that would "neuter" the hard line regime......

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Saturday his party would support military action against Iran that would destroy its ability to fight back while allowing its people to rise up.
Graham surprised attendees at the Halifax International Security Forum with his hawkish rhetoric, saying an attack could cripple Iran's nuclear program as well as its armed forces.....
Graham created the biggest buzz at the second annual security conference that MacKay is hosting in his home province. Graham serves on six senate committees, including armed services, homeland security and veterans' affairs. He also serves in the U.S. military as an active member of the Air Force reserves.

"Nobody would like to see the sanctions work any more than I would because I'm still in the military and I get to meet these young men and women on a regular basis and I know what it's been like for the last nine years," he told an audience of foreign politicians, diplomats and academics.

"And if you use military force, if sanctions are not going to work, and a year from now it's pretty clear they're not going to work, what do our friends in Israel do?"......"
posted by Tony

Christie’s Road to the White House is Filled with Detours and Roadblocks

By Richard A. Lee

Speculation that Chris Christie will end up on the Republican Party’s national ticket in 2012 makes for interesting copy and conversation, but the odds are slim that the popular New Jersey Governor will be on the ballot as a candidate for President or Vice President.

Sure, there are plenty of reasons why a Christie candidacy sounds feasible. With no strong frontrunner for the GOP nomination, he has emerged as a rising star in the Republican Party. A year ago, he managed to attract enough independent voters and frustrated Democrats to win election in a blue state -- and he still has a 51 percent approval rating. No wonder he was in high demand this fall and spent time campaigning with fellow Republicans in Iowa, California, Indiana and several other states.

However, as many others before him have discovered, the road to the White House is filled with detours, roadblocks and more.

In Christie’s case, let’s start by putting things into context. He is not the first New Jersey Governor to take office and quickly find his or her name mentioned as a national candidate. In fact, this occurs on a fairly regular basis simply because of the election cycle. New Jersey and Virginia are the only two states to hold gubernatorial elections in odd years, so the winners always receive considerable attention – although the amount of interest in Christie has been greater than the norm.

All attention aside, the next presidential election is two years away – a lifetime in politics. At the moment, President Obama and the Democratic Party are licking their wounds, but things change quickly in politics –especially in today’s world when voters hungry for change have little patience. Two years ago, the Republican Party suffered devastating defeats in the Presidential and Congressional elections. The GOP rebounded this year, but the party could find itself on the outs if it fails to deliver over the next two years. Should that be the case, why would Chris Christie be willing to jeopardize his political future for a race he might not win? He is still a young enough man to run in 2016, when there may not be an incumbent at the top of the ticket – and he also will have a few more years of experience as Governor under his belt.

That experience, however, is a double-edged sword. The longer Christie is in office, the more difficult it becomes to blame his Democratic predecessors for the state’s problems– something he has managed to do quite effectively. At some point, those problems become his problems.

To date, Christie’s approach to fiscal issues and public policy has been bold and controversial – and his future may very well be determined by the fate of the steps he has put into motion. Should his initiatives work and the economy recover, he could have a smooth ride to the White House. On the other hand, if property taxes remain high, the quality of education suffers from cuts to school aid, and tuitions at state colleges and universities continue to rise, he will get the blame – fairly or unfairly – since the Governor is the most visible public figure in the state.

While the jury still is out on how the chips will fall, Christie’s record does not fully support his rhetoric – and this also is likely to become an issue that could work against him. Should he become a national candidate, he would be subject himself to the scrutiny of the national media, as well as the opposition research of his GOP primary opponents. Savvy out-of-state journalists already are raising questions about the Governor’s record.

For example, Perry Bacon Jr. of The Washington Post noted that New Jersey’s state budget “is hardly the conservative panacea that Christie has cast it as. The budget was balanced by deferring $3 billion the government was to pay into its state pension system and eliminated a tax rebate homeowners were supposed to receive.”

Such actions run counter to what Christie said on the campaign trail last year, Eric Zorn wrote in a Chicago Tribune column after the New Jersey governor visited Illinois to campaign for GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady.

“During last year's campaign, Christie pledged to restore cuts (then Governor Jon) Corzine had made to the rebate program, cuts he blasted then as tantamount to ‘war on the middle class’,” Zorn noted. “Christie also campaigned against the ‘unconscionable’ practice of state borrowing to make required annual payments into pension funds. His solution after he was sworn in earlier this year? He skipped the $3.1 billion pension payment altogether.”

And back home in New Jersey, The Asbury Park Press suggested that before GOP hopefuls in other states start promising to follow in Christie’s footsteps, they take a closer look at his record. “Maybe it's the jet lag, but the last time we looked, the governor hadn't actually finished much of anything he has set out to do,” the newspaper wrote in an October 28 editorial.

Perhaps, the biggest reason we won’t find Christie on a national ticket in 2012 comes from the Governor himself, who has consistently and adamantly denied any interest in throwing his hat into the ring. “Short of suicide, I don't really know what I'd have to do to convince you people that I'm not running,” Christie told reporters this week. “I've said I don't want to. I'm not going to,” he added. “There is zero chance I will.”

The usual reaction to such comments is to take them with a grain of salt because a common scenario is that the individual in question really does have his or her eyes set on higher office. But Chris Christie is not a usual politician nor does he follow common scenarios, so perhaps we will just have to wait and see which path he chooses to take.

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Richard A. Lee is Communications Director of the Hall Institute of Public Policy – New Jersey.  Contact him at