Friday, January 28, 2011

Joan Rivers Calls Michelle Obama 'Blackie O'

Joan Rivers Calls Michelle Obama 'Blackie O'
Joan Rivers may have outlived her time. On the Howard Stern radio show, Rivers noted that she was going to use a joke onstage, but chose to self-censor, primarily because she knew it would be offensive to African Americans.

But, of course, when Stern asked her to tell the joke, she said it on national radio, referring to First Lady Michelle Obama's sense of style:

"We used to have Jackie O," Rivers said, "now we have Blackie O!"

Stern and Rivers then spent their time complaining about how everything's off limits, when it comes to African Americans.

Apparently, they both seemed disappointed about not being able to use racially disrespectful rhetoric that we've been forced to listen to for the past 400 years.

Stern's co-host, Robin Quivers, didn't have much to say either, but then again, that seems to be the role of the trusty black sidekick these days: to give a racial pass when someone says something that might be deemed offensive (perhaps we can call this the "I have black friends" defense).

Don Imus of the "nappy-headed-ho" fame also has a black co-host, who is, of course, a comedian, since black people are so much more fun when they make everyone laugh.

In all seriousness, though, Rivers did try to squash some of the criticism of her joke by saying that she wouldn't be offended if someone were to refer to her as "Jewie O."

The problem with that comparison is that "blackie" is an incredibly derogatory term with indisputable roots in racial degradation.

It is similar to referring to black people as monkeys, showing us eating watermelon or calling us the N-word.

Part of me feels sorry for Rivers.

She grew up at a time when offending black people was simply not a big deal. She gets one plastic surgery after another to hold on to the youth that is slipping through her fingers, and she's as persistent as any entertainer when it comes to maintaining her relevance.

I actually respect her, find her to be very funny and don't consider her words to be malicious, but one thing that Rivers has to understand is that if your goal is to remain truly hip and relevant, you have to realize that America is slowly working to move beyond its racist past.

Calling the First Lady of the United States "blackie" only makes Rivers look like an entertainment dinosaur, which is the opposite of what she's trying to be.

By Boyce Watkins, PhD

10 Myths About Single Black Mothers

Myth 1: Single black moms have low-incomes: The ‘single black mom’ is most often portrayed as struggling and welfare-bound. She is not self-sufficient and because of this her children suffer.

Truth: Until you’ve seen or heard the reality of the situation with your own eyes and ears, reserve judgment. Many single, black mothers manage to maintain excellent jobs which allows them to support themselves, their children and anyone else she feels so inclined to bless.

Myth 2: A single Black mom raises delinquent children: Rarely does the media show a single black mother whose children can ‘do right.’ The child of a single Black mom is often portrayed as leading a doomed life filled with drugs, run-ins with the law, and illegitimate children.

Truth: Who among us doesn’t personally know someone who consistently overcomes obstacles, triumphs over any task and just so happened to be raised by a single mother. There are thousands. Never underestimate a black woman on a mission to raise a strong, successful child. Neither one of them can be stopped.

Myth 3: The single Black mom is just a ‘baby mama’: Most often, the assumption is that a single Black mom is and will always be a ‘baby mama’. She was not and will never be married and she is likely to continue to have children out of wedlock.

Truth: Many black women who have children out of wedlock do eventually marry the father of their children. When you have children with someone, you two will always share something and it’s difficult to walk away from that. Even if the mother and father of that particular child never get married, their situation may be beyond our understanding. The couple may not believe in a formalized, legal commitment, or more frequently the mother will find another man to marry.

Myth 4: Single Black moms are bad role models: Because they don’t have the “normal” family unit—mom, dad, and baby—many people assume that they are setting a poor example for their children and that their children are destined to do the same.

Truth: Single mothers can often serve as some of the best role models for their children. In any parenting situation, if the mother is honest, the child can learn from her mistakes, even if becoming a single mother wasn’t one of them. Portraits of single, black mothers often fail to include the possibility of death. Besides that, there are several single mothers who raise their children, obtain degrees, and serve as an inspiration for their children as well as others in their communities.

Myth 5: The father isn’t involved: When you’re a single Black mom—there is always the assumption that your child simply doesn’t have a father. As though, the child was just a product of some careless decision void of vows, love, or relationship.

Truth: There are countless examples of parents who aren’t together as a couple, but manage to stand as a united front when it comes to their children. If the parents are still together as a couple there are even more opportunities for him to bond with his children. Regardless of the situation there have always been black men who are invested in the rearing and nurturing of their little ones. This false assumption reflects poorly not just on black women but black men as well. Click here for more

Recalling the Challenger Disaster

By Richard A. Lee

Twenty-five years ago, the Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, and all seven of its crew members perished. It was one of the moments, like the JFK assassination and the 9/11 attacks, which we always remember where we were and what we did in the aftermath of learning the news.

At the time, I was a State House reporter for The News Tribune, and what I remember vividly was the Associated Press taping photos on the walls outside its bureau office – photos of the launch, the crowd cheering the takeoff, and then the smoke plume from the falling aircraft. It was long before the days when the Internet brought breaking news, photos and videos to our computers and telephones. Later in the day, I spoke with members of New Jersey’s Congressional delegation for a sidebar on the state’s reaction to the tragedy.

Over the years, the Challenger disaster became part of a speechwriting lesson I taught as part of a public relations course at Mercer County Community College. I would ask my students to put themselves in the place of Peggy Noonan, who wrote the speech that President Reagan delivered to the nation the evening of the Challenger disaster. Then, after they explained how they would go about preparing the President’s remarks, I would explain the steps that Noonan took, as described in her book What I Saw at the Revolution: A Political Life in the Reagan Era.

Noonan made the speech personal by making sure the President mentioned the names of all seven crew members. She made sure he spoke directly to children because so many had been in school watching the shuttle’s launch and explosion on television and because a school teacher had been among the seven astronauts. Noonan also included words reassuring the public that, despite the tragedy, the U.S. would continue to move forward with its space program.

Years later in 2003, when the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas on its way back to earth, I was working as Deputy Communications Director for Governor McGreevey. It was a Saturday morning, and as I was watching the initial television reports, something clicked in my head and I realized the Governor was going to need a statement.

I quickly drafted something and got it to the Governor, who was preparing for his annual budget address. After a few tweaks, we were done. The statement went out, and in a matter of minutes, it was being read on TV as part of the coverage.

The short statement was a far cry from the classic speech that Noonan crafted. But knowing how she went about her task on that fateful day in 1986 made my job a little bit easier when another space shuttle tragedy took place 17 years later.

# # #

Richard A. Lee is Communications Director of the Hall Institute. A former State House reporter and Deputy Communications Director for the Governor, he also teaches courses in media, politics and government at Rutgers University, where he is completing work on a Ph.D. in media studies. Read more of Rich’s columns at richleeonline and follow him on Twitter.

GOP Split On Bankruptcy For States

The Hill:
A split between prominent Republicans emerged Thursday over whether Congress should allow states to declare bankruptcy.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) wrote in the Los Angeles Times that Congress should authorize a new law allowing states to declare bankruptcy, a move that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has derided as a “bailout of the states.”

Gingrich, who is mulling a bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, wrote the op-ed with another prominent Republican, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the brother of former President George W. Bush.

“The new Congress has the opportunity to prepare a fair, orderly, predictable and lawful approach to help struggling state governments address their financial challenges without resorting to wasteful bailouts,” Gingrich and Bush wrote. “This approach begins with a new chapter in the federal Bankruptcy Code that provides for voluntary bankruptcy by states, a proven option already available to all cities and towns across America.”
Gingrich has previously floated the idea of state bankruptcy, but publicly pushed the option again after Cantor all but ruled it out earlier this week. That Bush signed onto the article could add significant heft to the option among conservatives. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) flagged the article on his Twitter account on Thursday.
“I think some … have mentioned this Chapter 9 equivalent for states is somehow going to stave off some kind of federal bailout — we don’t need that to stave off a federal bailout. There will be no bailout of the states,” Cantor told reporters earlier this week. “States can deal with this, and have the ability to do so on their own.”

At issue are the massive amounts of debt that some state have accrued after years of running deficits. The existing state debts are only exacerbated by massive liabilities in state pension accounts in coming years, which have made it difficult for states to meet their obligations.

A new bankruptcy law would allow states to enter court protection to help reorganize their finances. The New York Times has reported on the political sensitivities surrounding the situation, and most lawmakers have been careful not to stake out positions on the possible solution.

Gingrich was more pointed, however, and it is notable his op-ed ran in a newspaper in California, the state facing perhaps the most intense budget crisis.

“Federal bailouts must come to an end. Federal taxpayers in states that balance their budgets should not have to bail out the irresponsible, pandering politicians who cannot balance their budgets,” Gingrich and Bush wrote. “Congress must allow a safe, orderly way under federal bankruptcy law for states to reorganize their finances.”

Republican governors like Chris Christie in New Jersey have scored political points for taking on local unions and seeking concessions in the state’s pension liabilities. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, also a Republican, has sought similar reforms, as have some new Democratic governors. These moves have been met with stiff resistance by labor unions that represent state and municipal employees, who worry their workers will be shortchanged by state budget crunches.

Posted By Pat Dollard.

Federal Budget Deficit to Reach Record $1.5 trillion in 2011

At WSJ, "Deficit Outlook Darkens: Stark Warning for 2011 Fuels Battle Over Government Spending and Taxation":

WASHINGTON—The federal budget deficit will reach a record of nearly $1.5 trillion in 2011 due to the weak economy, higher spending and fresh tax cuts, congressional budget analysts said, in a stark warning that will drive the growing battle over government spending and taxation.

At that size, the deficit—up from $1.29 trillion in 2010—would be roughly $60 billion more than the White House projected last summer, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday. Last year's tax-cut package alone will add roughly $400 billion to the deficit, the CBO said. As a percentage of the nation's economic output, the 9.8% deficit would be the second-largest since World War II, behind only the 10% level in 2009.

The grim outlook landed a day after President Barack Obama outlined plans to push for new spending that he said would help keep the U.S. globally competitive in his State of the Union speech, and the data could complicate that effort. Republicans have dismissed the president's plans as ignoring the more pressing need to reduce the deficit.

Wednesday, the battle lines sharpened. "This report is a reflection of the gross mismanagement of our nation's finances," said Rep. Tom Price (R., Ga.). "It should make every American think twice about the latest calls by the president to increase spending at a time when Washington can clearly not afford to pay its bills."
More at the link.

RELATED: At Fox News, "CBO Director: Trillion-Dollar Deficits Risk 'Fiscal Crisis' in U.S."

2011 NBA All-Star Starters Announced -- Kobe Bryant Topped All Players In Votes

2011 NBA All-Star teamsThe 2011 All-Star teams were announced on Thursday evening (January 27), and it's many of the usual suspects and superstars around the league.

In the West, the starting five are: Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, and Yao Ming.

Melo, who has been the talk of the NBA as of late, is headed to his fourth All-Star Game, and third as a starter. With all the drama he's doing through, and the boos he's been receiving at home, in Denver, he's just happy to be chosen.

"It feels good especially at the time with everything going on," Anthony told of his support. "I've been able to stay focused and it feels good that the fans recognize that. I appreciate it."

Kobe has been voted as a starter 13 times now -- only Jerry West, Karl Malone and Shaquille O'Neal, with 14 straight nods each, have more -- and this season is the leading vote-getter.

Paul will go into his fourth game, and second start, and rightfully so. He's currently third in the league in assists and first in steals.

Durant is a certified star in the league now, and he's only 22. He made his first All-Star Game last season, and this year, led all West forwards in voting. Durant is also leading all NBA players in scoring, averaging 28.1 points a game.

As for Yao, well, it's his eighth starting All-Star selection, but he won't play for the second time, due to problems with his feet. Right now, his return is iffy, at best. says Pau Gasol, Tim Duncan, and Denver's Nene couple fill out the spot -- the choice is at commissioner Stern's discretion.

In the East, the starting five are: Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Lebron James, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Dwight Howard.

Orlando Magic center, Dwight Howard, is the second leading vote-getter overall, behind Kobe, and first in the East, earning 2,099,204 votes. It's his fifth year as an All-Star.

"It's a great honor and I thank the fans for voting for me," Howard said. "It means a lot to be to be a guy that the fans voted for. It's the best when the fans are voting for you. That's the highest praise. The All-Star Game is still a lot of fun, and I always like being around the other guys."

James will represent the Heat for the first time, and will be participating in his seventh All-Star Game. He's currently third in the league in scoring (25.9) and 12th in assists (7.2).

D-Wade, also repping the Heat, is an All-Star for the seventh time. He's averaging 25.1 per night.
Both Rose (Chicago) and Stoudemire (New York) are starting for the first time. Stoudemire has been there six previous times though, but this will be his first as a New York Knick.

"Representing New York at the NBA All-Star Game is a huge honor for me," Stoudemire said. "If it wasn't for the support of the most loyal fans in the world, I wouldn't be in this position today."

Rose earned his second All-Star selection and first career start. He's single-handedly carried the Bulls through injuries to Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah, and has Chicago running away with the Central Division.
The NBA's 60th All-Star Game is being broadcast live Feb. 20 from Staples Center in Los

Celtics Hold Off Blazers 88-78

Ray Allen scored  a game high 18 points while Paul Pierce added  17 more as the Boston Celtics out lasted the Portland Trail Blazers at the Rose Garden Thursday night as they would get the win by a score of 88-78. LaMarcus Aldridge racked up a double-double for the injury depleted team from Portland as he knocked down 17 points and grabbed 16 boards in the loss. The contest was the first of a four game West Coast swing for the Celtics which will include a rematch of last season’s NBA Finals on Sunday as the club travels to the Staples Center to take on the Lakers.

Neither team was an offensive juggernaught in this game but the Celtics were just a tad better than the Blazers in each of the contest’s four quarters. Marquis Daniels hit a pair at the line with 1:29 left on the clock in the first and that would be good enough to give Boston a 21-18 advantage at the end of the period. Portland would grab the lead with 3:29 left in the second when the veteran point guard Andre Miller drove the lane putting the ball up and in and making it a 34-33 affair. The Celtics though would have momentum on their side down the stretch and would enter the locker room as the game reached the half on top 41-37.

Boston looked like they were ready to take over the proceedings with 3:23 remaining in the third as Allen had a lay up giving his team the upper hand at 62-52. The Blazers would reduce their deficit by the end of the period and trailed at the end of the period 64-58. Portland could never get closer to their opponents than being five points down in the final 12 minutes and the Celtics would begin their road trip with a victory.

Allen dropped 18 points, 2 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 block in the Celtics win. Paul Pierce scored 17 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 blocks while Rajon Rondo had 11 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. Kevin Garnett just missed a triple-double as he put up 10 points, 9 assists, 9 rebounds and 1 steal while Kendrick  Perkins came off the bench with 10 points, 9 rebounds and 1 block.

LaMarcus Aldridge recorded a double-double with 17 points, 16 boards, 2 steals, 1 assist and 1 block while Miller added 14 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds and 1 steal. Wesley Matthews scored 12 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 assist while Rudy Fernandez came off the bench and had 11 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds and 3 steals, Boston improves to 35-10 and will play Friday night in Phoenix as  the face the Suns while Portland now sits at 25-22 and are off until Tuesday when they will host the San Antonio Spurs.

Official Statements From Tennesee Titans and Jeff Fisher

Statement from the Titans: “We will be forever appreciative of Jeff Fisher’s leadership and accomplishments through his time with our franchise. We reached some of our greatest heights and experienced some unforgettable moments during his tenure.

“After the season was complete, we had numerous discussions on the direction of the team and were pleased that we were moving forward with Jeff at the helm. Since that time, it became evident that consensus was increasingly hard to find and reality wasn’t matching the vision we discussed. It is unfortunate that this decision is coming at this juncture, but we believe that we have reached the point where change is in the best interest of both parties.

“We will start the head coaching search tomorrow. We expect to talk to a broad and diverse group of candidates. We are confident the coaching pool still has a number of quality candidates that can lead our football team.”

 Statement from Jeff Fisher: “I want to thank Mr. Adams and the organization for a special 17 years. I can’t thank the fans enough for the support they showed us through the years; it has been a tremendous experience. We all did our very best and I think I can look back with fond memories and be very proud of what we accomplished. I want to wish the organization, the current players and the fans nothing but the best in the future.”

by TMR Newswire

Nelson Mandela spends second night in hospital

Johannesburg, January 28,2011:Former South African President Nelson Mandela is spending a second night in a hospital under medical supervision, amid growing concerns over his health.

The president’s office said Mr Mandela, aged 92, was undergoing “specialised” tests in Johannes burg and “there is no need to panic”.Friends and family visited Mr Mandela on Thursday.

Security was tight outside the hospital and police were called to control traffic as a scrum of journalists grew.
Journalists have also gathered outside Mr Mandela’s home in Houghton, near Johannesburg.

In a statement on Thursday, the South African presidency said it wanted to “assure the nation and the world that the former president is in high spirit”.

“Dr Mandela suffers from ailment common to people of his age, and conditions that have developed over years. We may recall that he has suffered from tuberculosis whilst on Robben Island and has had previous respiratory infections.”

President Jacob Zuma earlier said Mr Mandela had flown from Cape Town to Johannesburg and had gone to the Milpark Hospital on Wednesday for a check-up.

Mr Zuma, speaking from Davos in Switzerland where he has been attending the World Economic Forum, said: “Given his age he has been taken into a hospital for a check-up. I’m sure check-ups are more frequent than when he was a healthy young man.”

Children at a local school have hung messages of support outside the Milpark Hospital.

Word has quickly spread that Mr Mandela is in hospital, with US President Barack Obama adding his voice and wishes for a speedy recovery.

Homicide Bombers and Explosive Imams Crossing Over the Border

Here is an update on the recent border stories ......... homicide bombers, OTMs, and devout, jihadi imams.
Muslim cleric arrested by US border agents

In 2007, Jaziri was deported from Canada to Tunisia for lying on his refugee application about jail time he served in France years earlier. His supporters said Canadian officials targeted him for his Islamic fundamentalism, according to news reports in Canada.
As imam of the Al-Qods mosque in Montreal, Jaziri was well-known for being outspoken on behalf of Sharia, a strict form of Islamic law, including his denunciation of homosexuality.
News reports also said he was a notable figure on issues related to reasonable accommodation, which in Canada refers to the debate over whether anti-discrimination laws require the government, schools, businesses and others to change certain practices to honor minorities’ cultural and religious beliefs.

Iranian book celebrating jihad-martyrdom suicide bombers found in Arizona desert

Underscoring yet again that border control is a national security issue, obscured as it is by spurious charges of "racism." "Iranian Book Celebrating Suicide Bombers Found in Arizona Desert," by William La Jeunesse for, January 27 (thanks to Anne Crockett):
EXCLUSIVE: A book celebrating suicide bombers has been found in the Arizona desert just north of the U.S.- Mexican border, authorities tell Fox News. 
The book, "In Memory of Our Martyrs," was spotted Tuesday by a U.S. Border Patrol agent out of the Casa Grande substation who was patrolling a route known for smuggling illegal immigrants and drugs.
Published in Iran, it consists of short biographies of Islamic suicide bombers and other Islamic militants who died carrying out attacks.
According to internal U.S. Customs and Border Protection documents, "The book also includes letters from suicide attackers to their families, as well as some of their last wills and testaments." Each biographical page contains "the terrorist's name, date of death, and how they died."...
Statements from U.S. officials, including FBI director Robert Mueller, have raised serious concerns in recent years over "OTMs" -- or illegal immigrants other than Mexicans -- who have crossed the southwest border at alarming rates.
Mueller testified before the House Appropriations Committee in March 2005 that "there are individuals from countries with known Al Qaeda connections who are changing their Islamic surnames to Hispanic-sounding names and obtaining false Hispanic identities, learning to speak Spanish and pretending to be Hispanic."
Just last year, the Department of Homeland Security had in custody thousands of detainees from Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. U.S. Border Patrol statistics indicate that there were 108,025 OTMs detained in 2006, compared to 165,178 in 2005 and 44,614 in 2004.
Authorities would not release a picture of the book to Fox News, or reveal how long they believe it was lying in the desert. Immigration officials have previously discovered items along the U.S.-Mexico border from Middle Eastern origin, including Iranian currency in Zapata, Texas, and a jacket found in Jim Hogg County, Texas, that was covered in patches including an Arabic military badge that illustrates an airplane flying into a tower.

Illinois Supreme Court Holds Rahm Emanuel Is Eligible to Run for Mayor of Chicago

The opinion is here; here’s an excerpt from the concluding paragraph:
This court’s decision is based on the following and only on the following: (1) what it means to be a resident for election purposes was clearly established long ago, and Illinois law has been consistent on the matter since at least the 19th Century; (2) the novel standard adopted by the appellate court majority is without any foundation in Illinois law; (3) the Board’s factual findings were not against the manifest weight of the evidence; and (4) the Board’s decision was not clearly erroneous.
More on the now-reversed Appellate Court decision here. Two Justices concurred in the judgment, but opined that the law was not as clear as the majority said it was, and that it was therefore “unfair of the majority to state that the appellate court majority ‘toss[ed] out 150 years of settled residency law,’ adopted a ‘previously unheard-of test for residency,’ or was engaged in a ‘mysterious’ analysis.”
Thanks to commenter Morbo for the pointer.

It’s On In Egypt – With Videos

See what happens when you’re not too psyched out by fear?
CAIRO (AP) — Thousands of Egyptian anti-government protesters clashed Friday with police in Cairo, who fired rubber bullets into the crowds and used tear gas and water cannons to disperse them. It was a major escalation in what was already the biggest challenge to President Hosni Mubarak’s 30 year-rule.

Police also used water cannons against Egypt’s pro-democracy leader Mohamed ElBaradei and his supporters as they joined the latest wave of protests after noon prayers. Police also used batons to beat some of ElBaradei’s supporters, who surrounded him to protect him. A soaking wet ElBaradei was trapped inside a mosque nearly an hour after him and his supporters were water cannoned. Hundreds of riot police laid siege to the mosque, firing tear gas in the streets surrounding it so no one could leave. The tear gas canisters set several cars ablaze outside the mosque. Several people fainted and suffered burns.

Large groups of protesters, in the thousands, were gathered at at least six venues in Cairo, a city of about 18 million people. They are demanding Mubarak’s ouster.

There were smaller protests in Assiut south of Cairo and al-Arish in the Sinai peninsula. Regional television stations were reporting clashes between thousands of demonstrators and police in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria and Minya south of Cairo.

At the upscale Mohandiseen district, at least 10,000 of people were marching toward the city center chanting “down, down with Mubarak.” The crowd later swelled to about 20,000 as they made their way through residential areas. Residents looking on from apartment block windows waved at them and whistled in support. Others waved the red, white and black Egyptian flags.

At Ramsis square in the heart of the city, thousands of protesters clashed with police as they left the al-Nur mosque after prayers. Police used tear gas and rubber bullets and some of the tear gas was fired inside the mosque where women were taking refuge.
Clusters of riot police with helmets and shields were stationed around the city, at the entrances to bridges across the Nile and other key intersections.

Near the city’s main Tahrir Square downtown, hundreds of riot police clustered together and moved in, anticipating the arrival of a large crowd of protesters. A short while later, thousands of protesters marched across a bridge over the Nile and moved toward the square, where police began firing tear gas into the crowds.

Internet and cell-phone services were disrupted across Egypt starting overnight and throughout the day as authorities used extreme measures to hamper protesters from organizing the mass rallies called after Friday prayers.

Mubarak is Washington’s closest Arab ally, but Washington has signaled that he no longer enjoys its full backing, publicly counseling him to introduce reform and refrain from using violence against the protesters. He has not been seen publicly or heard from since the protests began Tuesday.

Friday’s demonstrations were energized by the return of Nobel Peace laureate ElBaradei on Thursday night, when he said he was ready to lead the opposition toward a regime change. They also got a boost from the endorsement of the country’s biggest opposition group, the Islamic fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood.

Posted By Pat Dollard.