Category: Opinion Written by CNN
by Sandra Guzmán
(CNN) -- When does a romantic anniversary trip with your hubby to celebrate five years of marital bliss become an international kerfuffle, complete with calls for you to be prosecuted for treason? Well, when it's Cuba, where Americans are banned from traveling to for tourism, thanks to one of the most enduring embargoes in the history of mankind.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 May 2013 16:30
Category: Opinion Written by Bill Fletcher Jr.
BILL FLETCHER JR.
(NNPA)—The Obama administration is preparing for an expansion of U.S. military involvement into areas from which it should keep its nose clear: Syria and Mali. The news reports are unsettling even as there are attempts by the administration to assure the U.S. public that all is well and that there is no intention for a grand military intervention.
In both cases we are witnessing civil wars unfold. In the case of Syria, it is not only a civil war—that began as peaceful protests—but there has been the active involvement of outside powers, including the states around the Arabian/Persian Gulf such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iran. The brutality being committed by both sides has been widely reported and there remains a grave danger that this conflict will spill over into Lebanon, and perhaps Iraq.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 May 2013 14:40
Category: Opinion Written by NNPA News Service
by Lee A. Daniels
For someone who seems to revel in being silent during the Supreme Court’s traditionally lively oral arguments – when a public display of his professional competence would be appropriate – Clarence Thomas’s out-of-court comments are extraordinarily revealing.
They show a man whose exalted position has brought him no inner peace, a man who continues to see himself as being victimized by this or that person or cabal.
Last week, it came to light that during an early-April interview with C-SPAN, Thomas tried to diminish President Obama’s achievements. Asked about Obama’s being the nation’s first Black president, Thomas said, “I always knew that it would have to be a Black president who was approved by the elites and the media because anybody that they didn’t agree with, they would take apart.”
He went on to say “that will happen with virtually, you pick your person, any Black person who says something that is not the prescribed things that they expect from a Black person will be picked apart. You can pick anybody, don’t pick me, pick anyone who has decided not to go along with it. There’s a price to pay. So I always assumed it would be somebody the media had to agree with.”
Thomas didn’t identify which “elites” and which “media” he was referring to.
But presumably the latter doesn’t include Fox News or the Wall Street Journal and other conservative-leaning newspapers and publications nor the innumerable conservative pundits and talk-show jockeys that have been hammering Obama since he won the Democratic nomination in 2008.
And presumably the elites don’t include the long-list of wealthy conservative elites who’ve spent millions upon millions opposing the president’s initiatives and his re-election. But then, Clarence Thomas has never been one to let facts undermine his raging self-pity.
We’ve seen this facet of Thomas’s character ever since he used that ugly phrase, “high tech lynching,” during his 1991 Senate confirmation hearings. That phrase came from a man who had become a conservative favorite by asserting that Black liberals always unjustifiably blamed racism for Black Americans’ troubles.
We later learned by his own words that that self-pity had long been a part of his character, when he revealed that all through college and law school he never voluntarily spoke up in class because he felt classmates would make fun of his deep Southern accent.
One need not have gone to an elite college and law school, as Thomas did, nor be a psychiatrist, to have immediately considered that Thomas neither got over his embarrassment about his accent nor sought out a language specialist to help him get rid of it precisely because he wanted to hold onto it – the better to feed his seeing himself as a victim.
In fact, Thomas’s attempt to diminish the president just underscores what they have – and don’t have – in common.
Both men are products of elite colleges and law schools. But while Thomas hid behind a self-perceived “defect,” Barack Obama took an active role in the life of the institutions he attended. At Harvard, he sought and won membership on the law review, and then, the approval of the review’s members to be their president.
Clarence Thomas drew no job offers from law firms when he graduated in 1974. He’s claimed this was the result of the “taint” of affirmative action. But numerous articles over the years have shown that Thomas’s Black Yale Law peers have a decidedly different view of their experience.
One such article, in The American Lawyer, of June 2, 2008, “Did Affirmative Action Really Hinder Clarence Thomas?,” available on the web site Law.com, should be required reading. It found “in interviews with a dozen African-American lawyers who attended Yale in the same years” that they described their Yale experience “in largely positive – even glowing – terms.”
The most striking contrast between Clarence Thomas and Barack Obama, of course, is what they’ve done after law school.
Thomas, taken up by then-Senator John Danforth, a Missouri Republican, shortly after graduation, has been a government appointee his entire adult career – while declaring that Blacks as a group are too dependent on the government. With, at best, minimal qualifications he was appointed to the two most prestigious positions in the federal judiciary, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and less than two years later, the Supreme Court.
Barack Obama, on the other hand, spurned lucrative offers from law firms and potential federal court clerkships, to become a community organizer in Chicago. There, he began his career of standing for elective office at the local, statewide, and national level. His galvanic speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention instantly made him a future presidential contender. He won the presidency twice in the toughest kind of combat outside of actual warfare by out-thinking and out-organizing his Republican opposition to garner the approval of millions of voters.
Personal and professional jealousy is always unseemly – the more so in a Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
Lee A. Daniels is a longtime journalist based in New York City. His most recent book is Last Chance: The Political Threat to Black America.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 May 2013 15:15
Category: Opinion Written by Ulish Carter
Will the gunshot surveillance cameras curtail shootings and deaths in Homewood and the East End?
City Council recently approved, 7-2, a bill that would install surveillance cameras throughout the Homewood area. These cameras don’t just film the shooters and victims, but it automatically zooms in on where the gunshots came from thus capturing the shooter on camera. This is very high tech and very expensive, $1.5 million, but Rev. Ricky Burgess, the front man and six other members of council felt it was important enough to invest the money.
How much is a human life worth?
An estimated 60 high-definition pan-tilt-zoom cameras and 54 gunshot detectors will be installed in the Homewood area.
I have mixed emotions about this. First I think of how many people all this money could help. Think of the renovated homes, the startup money for small businesses. The scholarships that could be handed out to kids wanting to go to college but can’t for the lack of funds.
But because we have a bunch of fools running around with guns thinking they are in the Wild Wild West, where they can gun down any competition or anyone they don’t like or who infringes on their territory, all this money must go into cameras.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 May 2013 14:39
Category: Opinion Written by Debbie Vargus
First we have to thank Sen. Pat Toomey for his remarkable candor.
Toomey said a bipartisan proposal to expand background checks for gun sales failed in part due to his fellow Republicans’ desire to prevent President Barack Obama from winning a victory on a major policy initiative.
“In the end it didn’t pass because we’re so politicized,” said Toomey, who crafted a proposal with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., to extend background checks to firearms purchased at gun shows and online. Toomey said the measure failed to win the 60 votes it needed to win passage due to Republican politics.
“There were some on my side who did not want to be seen helping the president do something he wanted to get done, just because the president wanted to do it,” Toomey added.
Toomey clearly suggested his fellow Republicans were not motivated by policy positions but by a desire to deprive Obama of a legislative victory.
Obama appeared to allude to a similar view when speaking at a news conference about the parts of his agenda that have stalled in Congress.
“Their base thinks that compromise with me is somehow betrayal. They’re worried about primaries,” Obama said. “And I understand all that. And we’re going to try to do everything we can to create a permission structure for them to be able to do what’s going to be best for the country. But it’s going to take some time.”
Both Toomey and Obama are understating the problem. This is about more than background checks or appealing to the base. Republicans in Congress have been motivated by politics and not policy since the president first took office.
Senate Minority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said in an interview with the National Journal on Oct. 23, 2010 that: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”
Most of the polls show that the majority of American voters side with the president on universal background checks and other issues.
The president must expose the Republicans obstructionist policies and devise a strategy to unify Democrats, reach out to those Republicans willing to work with him on common sense solutions and encourage voters to hold lawmakers accountable for choosing politics over policy and principle.
(Reprinted from the Philadelphia Tribune)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 May 2013 14:41
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