Tuesday, January 30, 2007

You've Come A Long Way, Baby

So Can You Please Stop Calling Me 'Babe' Now?

Lets stop calling us “Baby” or "Babes" and please call us “Madam Senator” “Madam Speaker”, “Madam Secretary”, and maybe even “Madam President”
Let’s call babies “baby”- and OK, maybe the occasional Lover- but only if she is your lover.
We have come a long way, and people forty-ish stand on the shoulders of our mothers and sisters a decade and a generation older who made enormously needed strides for all women, but we still are apparently not all there yet.
We still are denied jobs, mortgages, equal pay and respect. We still are judged by a different standard and have to work harder to prove ourselves if we can even get the job to begin with . We still are assumed unqualified for certain jobs, passed over more frequently for partnerships, derided with comments, silent sufferers of sexual harassment and stereotypical objectifications, and our competence at times threatens the male ego which has unlimited capacity to sabotage.

Did you notice that the only Presidential candidate who is a woman is called by her first name and no one else is? Maybe that is so we don’t confuse her with the other Clinton. Or, maybe its because we insist that women are “Laura” “Condi” “Hillary” and not Bush, Rice and Clinton. Why don’t we call the men Barack, Johnny and Rudy baby?
Hillary, the one who didn’t just stand by her man like Tammy Wynette, stood by her man anyway. She has to suffer the nation wondering if it is out of strength or battered wife wimpiness. Maybe she just has unlimited capacity for forgiveness and loves her husband deeply. A decade or so ago, she announced she didn’t bake cookies as if to distance herself from a version of motherhood that didn’t look professional enough. Why she felt she had to do that means that there is still a perception that motherhood isn’t professional enough.

I can only imagine what the male cadre surrounding Hillary is telling her to become;
Soften up, lighten up, give us that belly laugh Terry McAuliffe keeps talking about but don’t let it sound too fake. Smile more, wear a pink shell under-sweater, soften the make up, wear pink lip gloss (forget the lip liner), tone down the platinum blonde with a few brown streaks. Can you see the men getting advice like: put a bit of brown through your grey hair, don’t put your hands on your hips, don’t sound so aggressive. Do you hear anyone commenting on Obama’s hairstyle?
The people who attack Hillary with irrational rage use terms like “aggressive” “angry” “mean” and “strident.” When people like John Edwards get fired up over the same issues, its righteous indignation.
Do you hear anyone saying John Edwards might just be too pretty to be President?

We have come a long way to have credible a female front runner Presidential candidate.
But we still are not there. We still have to ask if she would be the frontrunner candidate if her husband were not already a former two-term President.
Joe Biden characterizes the female Senator from Alaska’s remarks on the Foreign Relations Committee as “articulate” as if you could possibly be inarticulate and succeed in getting a whole State to send you to the Senate. Cynthia McKinney had to have press conferences on her change of hair style. And no one ever accused Bob Dole of riding on the skirt-tails of Libby, a former Cabinet Secretary Harvard educated attorney.

Hillary in her own right, could very well be, as some have concluded, smarter than Bill, have received better grades at Yale law school than Bill, received higher LSAT scores, made light-years more money in private law practice before Bill was president, and people will still accuse her of only being as highly viable a candidate because of her husband and his connections.

My advice to Madam Presidential Contender would be simple; Be Yourself. It’s great enough. Laugh when you want to and don’t force a fake laugh because someone told you to lighten up. Be angry when your ire is up and if they can’t handle it –tough. Be as kind as you are, as smart as you are as principled as you are and as driven as you are. There will always be men whose egos are threatened by smart, kind, principled, driven women.
But those are very small mean men. And we are a great, large, kind and wonderful country.

My advice to the rest of the country: Be Fair.

This time if Hillary trades on her husband's reputation, maybe later some husband will get to trade on his wife's. If there is a good woman behind every good man there can be a good man
secure enough to let his wife peddle in front once in a while. That way no one gets too tired to peddle where the bike needs to go.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A Class Act Bows Out

John F. Kerry

Today, John Kerry, with dignity and firm conviction still in tact, put to rest all speculation that he would run for the nomination of President in 2008.
John Kerry, the man who asked "who will be the last man to die for a mistake" in Vietnam, asks the same question again in his long explanation of his opposition to the troop surge and Iraq policy.
Many people to this day believe he actually won and the computers rigged it against him.
He said he came close enough to tempt him to run again. That might be the understatement of the century. There are a lot of disturbing questions surrounding his quick concession that do not rest well with people. There were rumors of "unconcession" and people who hoped against all hope and invested their own time, energy and funds for months after his election to prove the official results wrong.
For the first time in about a hundred years, a Senator and Congressperson, Barbara Boxer and Stephanie Tubbs Jones refused to accept the electoral college vote counts from Ohio before a full debate based on a phrase we haven't stopped hearing in two years "election irregularities."
Standing typically Lincolnesque today, the most handsome man in the Senate by lightyears, likely as cheated from his mantle as Gore, he can savor not quite defeat in less privacy than Gore now, because he is still fighting, still in office, still in the Senate and running for Senate re-election in Massachusetts in 2008.
So don't say Good-bye to John Kerry just yet. His second act is likely to be as effective in the Senate as he could have done in the White House in terms of stopping a war.

His race kickstarted a firestorm of election protection movements and organizations fighting for truth in reporting election tallies. His determination to end the war is something we can all stand behind.

THANK YOU for being the kind of American who takes it on the chin for all of us. The kind who
jumps on the grenade of electoral politics or the kind of authentic Purple Heart that actually hears the cry of the poor and pain of the injured Veteran.
Our hearts are a bit blue but we will get over it and buck up.

I raise my right hand to my forehead and I salute you as my Veteran father taught me as a little girl.

JOHN F. KERRY, a Great American Hero.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007



Pilgrims, Patriots and Prophets here gives special recognition and Thanks for the Commitment, Vision and Perserverence of The Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr.

Jesse Jackson is currently hosting his tenth annual Rainbow Coalition/PUSH “Wall Street Project” symposium, complete with workshops, networking receptions, awards ceremonies, panel presentations and press conferences in New York at the Sheraton on 53rd and 7th Avenue. Part religious revival, part Congressional Black Caucus, part financial networking summit, part peace movement, part church, part Presidential contender showcase, part job fair, this incredibly ambitious project fuses the interests of progressive black politics with main street Wall Street financial savvy aspirations with big league democratic politics in a remarkable gathering-some would even say “Spirit filled” gathering of people who walk the talk to make America a better place for everyone. The food was great also.
With his remarkable and enviable ability to network individuals in high finance, the biggest congressional power brokers, presidential aspirants, and ordinary folk to forge policy objectives, while mingling with the likes of Magic Johnson, Chris Dodd, and schmoozing at receptions at which the Platters and Temptations sing, one is left with the impression that while he did not get elected President (he ran twice; in 1984 and in 1988) he is doing a pretty good job at it anyway.

While the Rainbow Coalition is a little light on the lighter frequencies of the spectrum with a “few invited white guests” it’s goals are no less lofty than those of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. who advocated and chose peace over war, love over hate, equality of inclusion over Jim Crow divisions and the unity of brotherhood of mankind over the haves-have nots-and have more’s splitting our current culture into a national Tale of Two Cities. The civil rights era has historically defined symphonic movements and we appear to be in the fourth; the first was to abolish slavery, the second to get the right to vote by constitutional amendment, (and later enforcement teeth in the Voting Rights Act), the third to outlaw legal Jim Crow discrimination (supplemented by title VII prohibitions against other legal forms of discrimination) The current fourth is a movement for economic equality and enfranchisement through equitable lending policies, and “greenlining the red-lines” with greenbacks. Now its time to “Show us the money.” He noted that people will sell to blacks but not lend to them and the banking industry still needs reform in this regard.
With Wall Street salaries for CEOs roughly 400 times that of the average employee as opposed to fifty years ago when it was four times greater, something is spiraling out of control with notably perilous consequences on segments of our society that will affect us all. A rising tide can only raise all boats if the boats are not stuck in dry dock.
Jackson argued that the area “north of the trees” in New York, otherwise known as Harlem was a place to which blacks mostly non-home-owning renters are exploited through various predatory lending and financial policies that keep them from breaking through to vigorous entrepreneurship. He noted the tax credits/certificates previously provided to sell radio and TV stations to black owned operations have been revoked making them less competitive. Harlem is by no means unique. He believes Wall Street was built on the commodity and exchange of the slave trade and shipping industry that fed off it, so finds it particularly poignant that African Americans are excelling in the finance arena. He toasted and applauded the 75 most influential blacks on Wall Street.

“Katrina is a metaphor for the abandoned inner city”, declared Jackson. He was disappointed that no one in the first 100 days sought to formally address the plight of Katrina victims. Nancy Pelosi did dedicate a Mass at Trinity College at the kick off of the Pelosipaloosa to the children of Katrina and Darfur while Katrina does not feature into the 100 hours agenda. Other Congressional leaders noted that 9-11 victims through the compensation fund received over a million dollars per family (some Katrina survivors are still waiting on their insurance settlements and many are still displaced over a year later) Jackson applauded John Edwards (who was not in attendance) for declaring his Presidential candidacy at a Katrina site in the 9th Ward.

Aspiring Presidential personalities (some officially declared, some not) who made an appearance in the first two days, without any official premature Jackson endorsement included Hillary Clinton, Barach Obama, Dennis Kucinich, and Chris Dodd. Chuck Schumer warmly greeted people to his beloved home city over a breakfast reception. Hillary applauded the efforts of her husband in creating enterprise zones and initiatives reaching into the inner city while Kucinich railed against the War in which we have destroyed a country, killed off about 650,000 of its citizens, killed 3,000 of our own troops (more than the disconnected 9-11 caused )and created about 50,000 severely injured and suffering amputees, brain injuries, trauma victims- all people whom we have an obligation for life to care for. Kucinich has from the beginning opposed the war and he explained well his spiritual revulsion to this war.

Barach Obama, was guardedly escorted into and quickly out of a reception as if he were already a secret service protected President (or the lead singer in the Rolling Stones) and no one could get within ten feet of him to shake his hand or congratulate him on the fine ethics legislation with Feingold and Reid that he spoke about in the afternoon with the Freshman Senators before heading up to New York. He spoke about living in the city as a student at Columbia when Jesse Jackson ran for President and noted with gratitude that it was his run that paved the way for people of color to credibly run for President now.
The conference featured two of the most powerful members of Congress, Sage Deans with a lifetime of congressional experience John Conyers, Chair of House Judiciary and Charles Rangel, Chair of House Appropriations, two long time friends of Jackson. John Conyers has the task of Chairing the Committee currently charged with Congressional oversight of the Department of Justice, and a number of other serious matters of federal enforcement and could hold hearings that investigate everything from voter fraud to fraud on the country that led us into war to various other impeachable offenses and high treason if he felt like it. For that reason, John Conyers is possibly the most powerful person in the Congress right now.

The Democrats in Congress have a mandate and know it; they don’t want to let anyone down. Jackson reminded everyone that the “Democrats are us.”
The various elected representatives noted that Congress relies on the activism of the citizenry to move the agenda. There are 300 Million of us after all and just a couple hundred Congresspeople.

Against the backdrop of Surge strategic discussions in Iraq, Dennis Kucinich gave an impassioned rally cry to stop the madness now and bring the troops home. Jackson seconded that it was nonsense to say you are against the war and continue to fund it. “If you are against the war, don’t vote to fund it.”

Jackson also noted that while the minimum wage hike is a nice gesture, it is meaningless to someone without a job. He argued it is a little like building a track for a double amputee. First he needs the prosthetics to use it. Jobs, Job training programs, and affordable high quality educational opportunity have to come into the mix first or raising the minimum wage on jobs no one has because they can’t get them or because they are shipped overseas won’t help anyone.

Hillary noted no one is going to turn the clock back on globalization because we can’t get a grasp of it so we have to prepare the nation to be competitive in the world against the forces of cheaper labor and lower manufacturing costs overseas better than we are.

As will always be the case some people don’t want to play fair. The issue of electronic voting machinery which has the open-ended potential to be hacked or programmed maliciously to tilt an election with source code protected from disclosure by trade secret protection and intellectual property laws, is still a very real threat. While some people want to call Ohio the new Florida, Clint Curtis the programmer who maintains he created a vote flipping program for Tom Feeney thinking it was to test security vulnerabilities and ran against him in Congress in 2006, with a pending House challenge underway, insists that the old Florida is still Florida. He attended the conference and was pleased that people seem to be understanding more clearly the risks. He is seeking to demonstrate the degree of unreliability of the electronic machines, not just in Christine Jennings race but throughout the entire State of Florida is so tenuous that Congress has to address legislatively national standards for federal elections or our democracy is simply a sham and 2008 a pipedream. Chris Dodd in fact has with Feinstein drafted legislative initiatives addressing voting issues.

While Jesse Jackson Jr. more or less every year proposes a constitutional amendment to make the Right to vote an affirmative Constitutional Right (as opposed to a non-discrimination mandate) other Congress people noted that Congress already has the authority to regulate Federal Elections and impose uniform standards and it should pass measures with more than all deliberate speed.
On that note, John Conyers has the ongoing ability now to issue subpoenas regarding the theft of the 2004 Presidential election and more than a few people still want to see the Mitofsky exit polling raw data to disprove once and for all the “reluctant republican” myth. Others would simply like every executive, engineer, programmer, and quality control person who ever touched an electronic DRE-Direct Recording – voting machine working at Diebold to answer for their collective sins.

Al Sharpton reminded us (without trying) that above all, whatever anyone wants to say about him he has a Preacher’s heart, and a Damn good one.
Jesse Jackson, who has traveled the world freeing hostages, freed a few more people from the limitations of their egos and small vision at the PUSH conference. You can still go tomorrow and catch the last day of it which features a reception at the UN at which Hillary is promised to make a reappearance Wednesday evening. It is worth a trip to New York- you can register on the Rainbow-PUSH website or on site.

This event was a non-stop networking fete, but with something more powerful at work- receptions and meals opened with prayer and thanksgiving to the Creator Great God who makes all good things flow- and flow they did.

As ever, leave it to Jackson to Keep Hope Alive--- To which I heartily say....