WTF?!? Racist Insanity

[1] Louisiana Republican has a novel way to end poverty:

[2] Republican message to Nevada Hispanics: don’t be the new n******.

We don’t want (Hispanics) to become the new African-American community… And that’s what the Democratic Party is going to do to them, create more programs and give them handouts, food stamps and checks for this and checks for that. We don’t want that…

I’m very much afraid that the Democratic Party is going to do the same thing that they did with the African-American culture and make them all dependent on the government and we don’t want that.

– Didi Lima, GOP communications director in Clark County, Nevada, according to USA Today. Lima has since been releived of her duties.

[3] Obama the Anti-Christ, again.

Fort Mill, SC Mayor Danny Funderburk says he was “just curious” when he forwarded a chain e-mail suggesting Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama is the biblical antichrist. “I was just curious if there was any validity to it,” Funderburk said in a telephone interview. “I was trying to get documentation if there was any scripture to back it up.”

Funderburk apparently sent the e-mail from his business account at Gastonia Sheet Metal where he works as a business agent.

The e-mail, which has circulated in the last six months since Obama secured the Democratic nomination, claims the biblical book of Revelation says the antichrist will be in his 40s and of Muslim ancestry.

There is no such scripture. And Obama is not a Muslim. But that hasn’t stopped the e-mail.

When asked if he believed Obama was the antichrist, Funderburk replied, “I’ve got absolutely no way of knowing that.” Funderburk said it “probably does give that impression” that he believed the e-mail was true “but that was not my intent.”

“I am curious about current events and their connection to the Bible,” he said.

– From the Charlotte Observer.

[4] Obama Effigy Hung From Tree at Christian College.

So much for the Christian spirit.

A custodian at the Christian school George Fox University found an effigy of Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama hanging from a tree on campus on Tuesday, University President Robin Baker told The Associated Press.

University spokesperson Rob Felton said the figure hung from the branch of the tree with fishing line around its neck, an image that recalls lynching of Blacks and Latinos, outraging students and school administrators alike.

Taped to the cardboard cutout of Obama was a message targeting participants in Act Six, a scholarship program intended to increase the number of Black, Latino and low-income students at several Christian colleges, mostly in the Northwest. The message read “Act Six reject,” according to the article.

It is ironic that such an effigy would be hung at George Fox University, a school founded by Quaker pioneers in 1891. (Quakers opposed slavery.) “It has been my dream to establish a university that more adequately represents the kingdom of God,” said Baker at a school assembly, according to the article. “This act causes some to question our commitment.”

From Diversity

[5] Fear of a black president?

The content of a racially insensitive flier regarding presidential candidate Barack Obama, distributed in some Roxbury, NJ neighborhoods last weekend did not violate any criminal statutes and is speech protected by the First Amendment, according to a review by the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office.

Prosecutor Robert Bianchi, in a formal statement, said he found the flier to be “reprehensible literature” but its distribution and content was not illegal. He pledged, however, to carefully monitor the situation and “aggressively prosecute any person who crosses the line and commits a criminal offense or bias crime.”

The flier was left on driveways in a neatly packaged plastic envelope and distributed by a group named the League of American Patriots, which listed a Butler mailing address. It questioned, “Do You Want A Black President?” and stated “Black Ruled Nations most unstable and violent in the world.”

”Why should we seal our fate by allowing a black ruler to destroy us?” said the flier, which also detailed what it contended to be a series of facts on black unemployment, poverty, HIV and crime rates, while pointing out woes of a couple of predominantly black-populated countries.

From the Star-Ledger

[6] Let them eat cake, er, Obama Waffles:

The Family Research Council is a Christian right non-profit think tank and lobbying organization that was formed by James Dobson. This was a hot selling item at the Council’s 2008 Values Voter Summit, which was held in mid-September in Washington in Washington, D.C:

[7] The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Marianna Middle School is located in Jackson county, Florida, which borders Alabama and Georgia. A teacher there had a special lesson for his students:

The day went as usual at Marianna Middle School, but one thing is different: 7th grade teacher and coach Greg Howard is no longer an employee. He was suspended without pay for 10 days starting Thursday for making racial slurs at presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Our source told us Howard asked his students what “change” stood for and proceeded to write out the acronym “change”- come help a n(word) get elected.

Jackson County’s Deputy School superintendent says he’s received conflicting reports, but he can confirm change and the n-word were used.

According to Jack and Jill Politics, the class had six African American students.

[8] They forget to include a picture of arugula.

The latest newsletter by an Inland Republican women’s group depicts Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama surrounded by a watermelon, ribs and a bucket of fried chicken, prompting outrage in political circles. (The Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario Metropolitan Area of southern California is commonly referred to as the “Inland Empire”.)

The October newsletter by the Chaffey Community Republican Women, Federated says if Obama is elected his image will appear on food stamps — instead of dollar bills like other presidents. The statement is followed by an illustration of “Obama Bucks” — a phony $10 bill featuring Obama’s face on a donkey’s body, labeled “United States Food Stamps.”


Sheila Raines, an African-American member of the club, was the first person to complain about the newsletter. Raines, of San Bernardino, said she has worked hard to try to convince other minorities to join the Republican Party and now she feels betrayed.

“This is what keeps African-Americans from joining the Republican Party,” she said. “I’m really hurt. I cried for 45 minutes.”



How Obama Won the First Debate: What Americans Saw That the Pundits Didn’t

The early polls for the presidential debate between John McCain and Barack Obama are in, and the results are clear. Obama won the debate over McCain:
• CNN: Round 1 in debates goes to Obama, poll say: 51% of those polled thought Obama did the better job in Friday night’s debate, while 38% said John McCain did better.
• CBS Poll: Obama Boosted Most By Debate: In a survey of almost 500 uncommitted voters, 40% say Obama won; 38% says it was a tie; 22% say McCain won.
• Frank Luntz (Fox/RNC Pollster) Debate Focus Group Favors…Obama! The focus group consisted of undecided voters, half of whom voted for either Bush or Kerry in 2004. The majority said that Obama won.
• A Time magazine focus group of undecided voters thought Obama won the debate. 38% said Obama won, 27% said McCain won, and 36% said it was a tie.

Yet, many of the pundits felt than McCain was victor. Even on the progressive/pro-Democrat site, a lot of folks felt that Obama did not do well.

What did the American public see that the pundits and even the liberal die-hards did not? I think it’s a combination of the following.

It’s the economy, stupid.

First, understand this: going into the debate, a CBS poll of registered voters indicated that almost half of Americans believed Obama wanted to raise their taxes, while only one-third of them believed that McCain would do so. But in fact, the Obama plan would cut or freeze taxes for 95% of American families. So if Obama could simply educate people about the facts of his tax plan, that would be a big win for him.

Obama guaranteed himself of no less than a tie by talking up his tax plan right out of the box. In answer to the second debate question, he said that McCain’s plan will provide for $300 billion of tax cuts for the rich or businesses. And he further stated that his plan would provide provide a tax cut or freeze for people making under $250,000.

People got it: Obama is out to help the middle class; McCain is out to give tax breaks to the rich (including, by inference, wealthy Wall Street executives). That probably didn’t resonate with the punditrocacy, who either knew the true details of the Obama tax plan or didn’t care about those details. But for “ordinary” Americans, it made all the difference in the world.

People Get It About Iraq.

I myself don’t think Obama did a god job of countering McCain’s filibuster about the surge. I think that for every second that McCain talked about the surge, Obama should have talked twice as long about how the Iraq War was the biggest foreign policy mistake in American history, a $500 billion blunder that is bleeding our country dry.

But at the Lutz focus group, the strongest reaction the entire night came when Obama said McCain was wrong on the war, WMD, etc, etc. View this video clip to see for yourself.

Again: the people get it. They recognize that the Iraq War was a huge mistake. And all of McCain’s verbal gobbledygook on the surge is not going to erase that from people’s minds.

Obama Agreed Too Much? SO WHAT!?!

This is the clearest case of the pundits getting it all wrong. Chris Matthews of MSNBC threw a hissy fit that Obama “agreed so much with McCain.”

Can there be a sillier “issue” than this? Think about this people: if Obama agrees with McCain on certain things, then that also means McCain agrees with Obama on the same things… how is that a problem for Obama?

Americans don’t care about where the candidates agree; they care about where they disagree. Obama did the viewers a service: by not wasting time on false or petty disagreements, it was easier for viewers to see what the actual issues are between the candidates.

And even more, it may have helped Obama in an unanticipated way. Many people who saw the debate observed that McCain was condescending and sarcastic. That feeling was no doubt heightened by Obama’s willingness to voice agreement when it was appropriate to do so.

In other words: Obama showed gravitas; McCain showed hubris. As noted by Time in its write-up on their debate focus group of undecideds,

The audience did not like it when McCain went after Obama for being “naïve” or used his oft-repeated “what Senator Obama doesn’t understand” line. When the two clashed directly in the second half of the debate, with Obama repeatedly protesting McCain’s characterization of his statements or positions, the voter dials went down. Voters appear to have judged McCain too negative in those encounters and Obama more favorably.

That’s why I have to laugh at this post-debate McCain campaign commercial that says “McCain is Right” because Obama agreed with him several times during the debate. I guarantee, that will not resonate as much as this ad from Obama, titled the “Zero” ad, which observed that during the 90 minute debate, McCain never once used the words “middle class.”

These ads show the ongoing strategy of the two campaigns. The McCain campaign is trying to make this an election about personality and character; the Obama campaign is making this a campaign about issues, particularly the economy.

To the McCain folks, I say: good luck with that. Their problem is, McCain is accumulating a lot of baggage concering his own character:
• The press is taking the McCain campaign to task for its false and misleading campaign ads.
• In the Luntz/Fox focus group that was mentioned earlier, almost all felt that McCain’s faux campaign suspension earlier in the week was a political stunt and not a principled stand.
• Most voters think McCain chose Palin as his running mate to help him win in November, not because she is well-qualified for the job.

A theme is emerging: McCain is a “bad character” who will say or do anything to get elected. McCain’s dismissive and condescending attitude in the first debate certainly didn’t do much to make people feel better about him. Isn’t it ironic? In his attempt to win based on personality, McCain is making himself disreputable to the voters.

SO: was the debate a big win for Obama? No. But Obama had the lead in the polls before the debate, so even a so-so performance is good for him. Perhaps the McCain campaign can take solace in the fact that the pundits gave him a thumbs-up for his debate performance. But I think the Obama campaign is more than happy to get a similar gesture from the American public.

Morning Joe’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski seem to have it figured out:

Through a Glass, Darkly: How Whites See Blacks, How Politics Color Everything.

There’s been a lot of buzz on the Internet about an Associated Press-Yahoo News poll of the attitudes of whites toward blacks, and the possible effect of those attitudes on the presidential election. This is a summary of the poll results, from the AP article Poll: Racial views steer some white Dems away from Obama:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Deep-seated racial misgivings could cost Barack Obama the White House if the election is close, according to an AP-Yahoo News poll that found one-third of white Democrats harbor negative views toward blacks — many calling them “lazy,” “violent,” responsible for their own troubles.

The poll, conducted with Stanford University, suggests that the percentage of voters who may turn away from Obama because of his race could easily be larger than the final difference between the candidates in 2004 — about two and one-half percentage points.

More than a third of all white Democrats and independents — voters Obama can’t win the White House without — agreed with at least one negative adjective about blacks, according to the survey, and they are significantly less likely to vote for Obama than those who don’t have such views.

“There are a lot fewer bigots than there were 50 years ago, but that doesn’t mean there’s only a few bigots,” said Stanford political scientist Paul Sniderman who helped analyze the exhaustive survey.

The pollsters set out to determine why Obama is locked in a close race with McCain even as the political landscape seems to favor Democrats. President Bush’s unpopularity, the Iraq war and a national sense of economic hard times cut against GOP candidates, as does that fact that Democratic voters outnumber Republicans.

The survey of 2,227 adults was conducted Aug. 27 to Sept. 5.

Some of the more troubling findings of the poll are summarized in this graphic:

That graphic is worth a thousand words, all of them disheartening. When you consider that less than 30% of whites surveyed consider African Americans to be Law-Abiding, Hard-Working, Smart at Everyday Things, Intelligent at School, or Dependable… that is extremely troubling.

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Sunday Sing – 9/21/08: I Won’t Complain

John Legend sings “I Won’t Complain.”

The late Bishop William Abney sings a stirring version of “I Won’t Complain.” There is a 30 second break in the video in the middle of the song, but keep listening; it’s worth it.

Karen Clark Sheard and the FAMU Gospel Choir with a thunderous version of “I Won’t Complain.”

Hmm… why not this long version of the song by Marvin Winans? The organ has a little bit of flavor to it…

And finally, Stevie at the Luther Vandross funeral.

Getting Out the Black Vote: Struggle in Mississippi, Enthusiasm in Atlanta

As noted in an earlier post, the voting rate for blacks is way behind the white voting rate. In 2004, 67.2% of voting-age whites voted in that year’s presidential elections, versus just 60% of voting-age blacks.

The challenges in mobilizing black voter turnout are discussed in this excerpt from The State of Black America 2007, which was published by the National Urban League:

In the past, the conventional wisdom among many political operatives has been to motivate African american voters through one of two strategies:

1. A Sacrifice-Privilege strategy highlighting how the right to vote has been won through blood, death, and tears.

2. A Losing Ground strategy designed to motivate black votes into the voting booth to protect gains recently accomplished through programs and policies.

Regardless of the strategies used to motivate voters, we have heard an increasing level of discontent among black voters about the political establishment. African American voters over the age of 40 are more responsive to the Sacrifice-Privilege strategy, but express frustration with the lack of communication from some elected officials and government itself.

Conversely, for voters born twenty years after the passage of the Voting Rights act (in the 1980s), the Losing Ground strategy is not an effective motivating tool because their social equilibrium is balanced less through historical reflection and relevance and more through a self-analysis of how they see their lives and experiences in the language of political policies and messages crafted to motivate them. Consequently, their voting rate is less predictable and more inconsistent than voters who reached adulthood in the 1960s and 1970s.

The big news of the Obama campaign has been its success in attracting both old and young black voters.

That success can be seen in these two mini-documentary/campaign ads which were produced by the Obama campaign. The first mini-doc looks back at the struggle to register Mississippi voters in the mid-1960s; and looks forward to the elections of this year. It’s a moving piece; have a look:

The enthusiasm of the folks in the video just warms the heart.

And it’s more than matched by these students at the Atlanta University Center (with a guest appearance by actress Jasmine Guy):

It still remains to be seen if any of this will be enough to help Obama win the general election. But if Obama does lose, at least these folks can say, it wasn’t because we didn’t try hard enough.

Note: The quote from The State of Black America 2007 is from Essay 10: Who’s Going to Take the Weight? African Americans and Civic Engagement in the 21st Century, by Dr Silas Lee.

PS: See also:
• Video: Obama Supporter Brittany Washington
• Democrats Hope for a Huge Black Turnout

Obama Campaign Addresses Black Economic Issues; Did You Hear About It?

{Hats off to the South Florida Times, an African American news source, for the article referenced below.}.

Some observers of the Obama campaign complain that it is not doing enough to speak to the specific concerns of the black community.

But what if the campaign was speaking to the concerns of the black community… and nobody knew it?

Consider this article in the South Florida Times, in which the Obama campaign does speak specifically to African American economic issues. I don’t recall any reporting of this in the mainstream press. But then, this is not of real interest to the “general public”:

Black unemployment in the United States reached 10.6 percent last month, up from 9.7 percent in July and an average of 8.8 percent during the first quarter of 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

On Tuesday, Sept. 9, the Obama campaign seized on the statistic to attack both the Bush administration and the John McCain campaign.

The McCain campaign in Florida did not respond to a request for comment.

“I wish we could say that reaching 10.6 percent is the highest unemployment we’ve had under this administration,” said former Bill Clinton administration Labor Secretary Alexis Herman during a conference call with members of the black press Tuesday. “But we’ve actually seen rates as high as 11.5 percent.’’

Herman and other surrogates said economic issues would take center stage in an Obama presidency, and they assailed what Herman called “a constant economic deterioration for the African-American community” under George W. Bush. The overall unemployment rate rose to 6.1 percent last month, with unemployment for whites at 4.9 percent and for Hispanics at 7.7 percent.

“We’ve actually lost more than 500,000 jobs in the African-American community,” since Bush took office in 2001, including 55,000 jobs since December 2007, Herman said, citing U.S. Department of Labor statistics and contrasting the grim numbers of what she called record low unemployment, “the lowest since the Department of Education began collecting the data” during the Clinton years.

“The fact is that when you look at the unemployment numbers” under Bush, she said, “we have lost good jobs in our community, particularly in construction and manufacturing, where we are disproportionately employed. Any attempts to continue to open the doors of the middle class and to move us up the economic ladder really have been stopped dead in its tracks by this administration.”

Herman said that by contrast, Obama has proposed increasing the minimum wage from the current $6.55 to $9.50 by 2011, which she said would disproportionately help black women, plus a “long-term plan to target urban areas” for economic development, rebuilding the infrastructure of American cities, ending tax breaks for employers who ship jobs overseas and providing tax breaks for companies that create jobs in the U.S.

It is worth noting that the comments from the Obama campaign on the black economy were made around the same time as the “lipstick on a pig” controversy. Guess which of those two news stories was widely reported, and which was not?

I encourage you to go the South Florida Times’ website to read the rest of the article, and browse through the site’s other contents as well.

Democrats Hope for a Huge Black Turnout

In an earlier post, I made reference to the Bradley effect: the tendency of political polls involving black candidates to be incorrect and misleading, because the whites being surveyed, fearful of seeming racist, are unwilling to acknowledge they won’t vote for a black person. The result is that black candidates may be doing worse among voters than the polling numbers indicate.

But there is another issue with current polls that raises the possibility that Barack Obama is doing better than his poll numbers show: the polls don’t accurately reflect the almost certain increase in black voting this year.

Polls are based in part on the voting numbers from prior years. According to the Census Bureau report Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2004, Table B, 67.2% of voting-age whites voted in that year’s presidential elections, versus just 60% of voting-age blacks (and 47.2% of voting age Hispanics). So this year’s polls are based in part on that experience. But adjustments are also made to reflect the expected turnout for the current year.

Voting Rates for Blacks and White, by Region, 2004 Election
Percentage of Voting Age Persons Who Voted

Source: Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2004, US Census Bureau

And it certainly looks like this year’s African American voting will be very different from prior years, for two reasons: a massive voter registration and turn-out effort by the Democratic Party, and the enthusiasm of African American voters toward Barack Obama. This article from Black Voice, a news website in the Riverside/San Bernadino section of California, echos comments from articles in dozens of news sources throughout the country:

Call it Obama fever, frustration over joblessness and a crumbling economy, or just plain fed up with the much maligned Republican-led Bush administration, Black voter registration is on fire swelling the rolls in numbers unheard of. Although Republicans are vigorously signing up white voters in the suburbs it appears the GOP is out-organized by Democrat-led drives in Black and Brown precincts in the Inland Empire and across the nation.

According to a “Vote America” analysis, Democrat-affiliated groups “have added tens of thousands of new voters to the rolls in the swing states of Ohio and Florida, a surge that has far exceeded the efforts of Republicans in both states. In California a review of county-by-county data shows new registrations since January have tripled over the same period in 2004. In comparison new registrations have increased just 25 percent in Republican camps.

Rapidly rising registration rolls, facilitated by mountains of money and Black determination to avenge the “Great Theft of 2000”, are creating a 2008 electorate more diverse and volatile than the arbiters of corporate news and polling are accustomed to measuring. Pollsters traditionally assign more weight to voters they deem “likely” to turn out on Election Day.

Despite record numbers of voters who turned out during the presidential primaries last spring, eight million African-Americans or 32 percent of eligible Black voters are still not registered to vote according to Rick Wade, African American vote director for the Obama for America presidential campaign.

During a teleconference of Black media representatives recently Wade illustrated the importance of the 50-state Black voter registration initiative.

“The stakes are extremely high. In 2004, African Americans made up approximately 11 percent of the vote nationwide. If the percentage of African-Americans was a mere two-and-a-half percent higher at 13-and-a-half percent, Democrats would currently be running for reelection in 2008,” he said. For example in the state of Ohio in 2004, Democrats lost by 2% or 100,000 votes. There were 270,000 unregistered African-Americans. So the African-American vote can absolutely make a difference in this election.”

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