Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Obama Trying To Cool A Fiery Wright

One has to feel sorry for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. Once considered a Golden Boy of the Democratic Party, he now finds that his image is being tarnished and his campaign falling apart by the hurricane known as Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr.

Association can be a blessing and a curse and Obama has discovered the latter is true time and time again. Wright is constantly putting his bigoted fire and brimstone sermons on national TV.

Sure, he told the National Press Club recently that the media didn’t report his message of hope when he also told his congregation on the Sunday after the 9/11 attacks that the U.S. government is responsible for inventing the HIV virus to be used against people of color or that America’s policies brought on the terror attacks.

Now, of course the media is going to cover Wright’s controversial sermon. After all, a pastor is supposed to be preaching about hope and peace; he isn’t supposed to be shooting off wild, non-factual theories.

Obama did the right thing by giving his strongest criticism yet of Wright yesterday, by calling the pastor’s remarks “appalling” and that he was “angered” by them.

Since Wright’s racial and anti-American sermons were brought to light last month, Obama had to distance himself greatly. Now, he’s doing it more so. Hopefully, this alone won’t hurt his chances.

Should Obama be ostracized for being a member of Wright’s congregation? At the moment, there is no solid evidence that the Illinois senator knew about Wright’s best known rant before it was reported to the nation last month, which seems a little hard to believe, but anything is possible. And Obama himself said he wasn’t present that Sunday.

They say you can pick your friends, but not your parents. However in this case, you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick the time they decide to go into a racial tirade. And since there isn’t any solid evidence that Obama has ever agreed with what Wright said, then in an ideal world, this shouldn’t hurt him. But it will.

Because some people, especially supporters of Obama’s political rivals, can’t or won’t separate these two men. One man is a religious leader to a certain group of people and his messages are separating and damaging this country, not unlike those who share the beliefs of the American National Socialist Workers Party or even Indiana congressional candidate Republican Tony Zirkle.

The other is a man who aspires to be the leader of every single person that this country represents and he offers true hope and unity for all.

Obama, like any politician, has his faults. If he is to be criticized, it should only be for his policies or his own political blunders. But Obama's association with Wright shouldn’t be his downfall.

Happy Birthday Dear Hitler … Oops!

We have seen many candidates commit political suicide during an election year, from Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain singing his own version of the Beach Boys’ song, called “Bomb Iran,” to his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton saying if there is a terror attack before the election, the Republicans would win the White House.

But what Indiana congressional candidate Republican Tony Zirkle did really takes the cake.

Zirkle not only gave a speech in Chicago about the targeting of young white women and pornography and prostitution to a group of neo-Nazis, but he stood in front of a picture of Adolf Hitler on Sunday, April 20, the day of the F├╝hrer’s birthday, reported the Northwest Indiana Times.

Is it important to mention that those who attended this closing-of-the-minds birthday bash were wearing swastika armbands and that there was a swastika flag in the background? (And yes, it was a birthday party, since there were letters stringed together to say “Happy Birthday” on main table in front of Zirkle as he was giving his speech.)

Now, in his defense, Zirkle said he gave the speech because he was invited by the American National Socialist Workers Party and to prove he isn’t a racist, he mentioned that he spoke on a black radio station in Atlanta.

It’s just a shame that this paper-thin excuse of an explanation doesn’t stand up to the fact that back in March of this year, Zirkle suggested that segregation between blacks and whites might solve a lot of problems.

Of course, many Republicans rightly denounced Zirkle. Sure, many candidates try to carry certain groups. For example, Sen. Barack Obama is trying to sway black voters in the South, while Clinton is trying to woo women voters. And McCain is trying to entice conservatives.

That’s normal for politicians to do and it doesn’t smack of being prejudice because they don’t normally speak to a group of people like the American National Socialist Workers Party.

But to actually have the nerve and speak to a small bunch of ignorant people who worship a ruthless, genocidal madman in the year 2008 has to be the biggest political mistake ever made.

Zirkle should be given the political equivalent of the Darwin Award, because he just did this country a great service by committing political suicide. Stick a swastika-embroidered fork in Zirkle, he’s done!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Only They Can Save A
Troubled Black Community

Some of the easiest solutions to some of the toughest problems are saying some hard truths that no one really wants to hear, or so it would seem.

Comedian Bill Cosby and Superior Court Judge Marvin Arrington, who told whites to leave his courtroom as he lectured to young, troubled black defendants to change their ways, held a forum on Thursday, in Atlanta, Ga., reported CNN.

It should come to no surprise as to what the topic was about or who it was directed to: How the black community can help themselves and at-risk teenagers.

The Dynamic Duo told the 500-member, invitation-only audience that black adults have to start behaving like adults and offer real guidance to black youths. Arrington said he sees the same type of cases before him that are committed by blacks: Drug charges, murder and even incest. Cosby told the audience about young black girls having children and condemning rap, among other things.

Cosby in recent years has been known for airing out the black community’s dirty laundry and has received both praised and criticism for it. He says that the inner-city black culture of glorifying rap and gangster life is deteriorating not only the youth, but young adults. And sadly, it is just not the black community that has succumbed to this type of degenerate lifestyle: Other communities have too.

It is because of this culture that stylizes drugs and crime that ended the life of 17-year-old Jamiel Shaw Jr., a young black high school student in Los Angeles, who was murdered because he refused to answer a gang-themed question as he was walking home. Shaw was a bright student who had colleges and universities interested in his football skills and he was not involved with gangs, according to his family and the police.

The shame of it is, is that there are thousands of Jamiel Shaws out there and they don’t get the recognition or the credit that they deserve. Too often, hard work and dedication in the community, in school and in the home go unnoticed and underappreciated. Only obtaining “street cred” is more important or getting involved in other unsavory behavior is what really matters for too many.

That’s why real black leaders like Cosby and Arrington are some of the few who have decided to speak out against what they and many other see is the needless corrosion of the pillar in the black community. They are saying: Stop blaming somebody else for your problems and fix them yourselves.

And Cosby and Arrington have earned the right to say it. They worked hard and had nothing and look what they became of themselves: One is a successful comedian who holds a doctorate in education and the other is a respected superior court judge.

And only they can say it. The most well-intentioned white man can say the same things and he would be quickly and unfairly be labeled a racist, accused of being a member of the white separatist group Nationalist Movement and quickly discarded. But what can be said if a growing number of black men who worked their way up from nothing and through hard work achieved a respectable career? Sadly, they are called “sellouts” or “Uncle Toms” by their own race, which is even more perplexing. However, it is still harder to write them off.

Of course, Cosby and Arrington’s message to young and adult blacks of bettering themselves and taking responsibility for their own actions shouldn’t be restricted to their own race: Many can benefit from their old-fashion words of wisdom, despite their skin color or background.

It can be easy to see why many blacks have condemned Cosby for his frankness of the plight of the black community. After all, any group, either whites, Hispanics or Asians, would not want a member from their own community to tell the world of their own wrong doings or how it’s their own fault.

But maybe it’s time to stop worrying about what others are thinking and start caring more about the crumbling of our society and owning up to our mistakes and responsibilities. Clearly, these are hard truths that anyone can appreciate.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Voters Are Tired Of ‘Politics As Usual’

The Pennsylvania primary is finally over and many in the Keystone State are more than happy to see the twin Democratic titans leave.

But in their wake, they left many Pennsylvanians worried about when the parties will elect their champions during the two conventions and the real fighting starts.

After all, the country placed Pennsylvania under its microscope and caught a glimpse of what to expect in the coming months.

We dealt with enough of the negative campaign attacks day in and day out and the lies told to either make their opponents look bad or to make themselves look good.

And speaking with a few supporters of Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama yesterday, some of them are seem to be very disenfranchised by how the candidates have been acting.

In fact, many of them just don’t seem to care whether it’s a Democrat or a Republican who takes the White House in November; they just want someone to fix the problems that are plaguing this country.

Maybe that is the sign of the times: People are starting to look past party lines and just want anyone to fix the country. This might be the beginning of the end of how politicians operate and the old “business as usual” in Washington. Well, let us hope anyway.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Thank God For PA’s Primary!

Tomorrow will be Pennsylvania’s primary and many residents of the Keystone State will be grateful to see the end of the six weeks of political mud-flinging between the two Democratic juggernauts.

And that’s what it’s been. It’s been negative comments or ads relentlessly between Democratic presidential candidates Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. In fact, a day before the primary, the two are still hell-bent to criticize the other.

We in Pennsylvania should be thankful that former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee quit the race, or we would have to endure twice the political attacks from him and the GOP’s virtually nominated candidate John McCain.

And not only is it bad enough that Hillary and Obama are disgustingly and pathetically attacking each other, but their supporters and fellow Democratic leaders are waist-deep in the mud.

These pointless attacks are only good for the die-hard supporters in the choir, who only nod their heads in agreement. For the rest of us who are looking for real answers to solving the very real problems this nation is facing, the blame game that politicians love to play is filling us with disgust.

These politicians, who are basically begging people to let them have the job of Commander-in-Chief, are so busy saying how the other candidate is no good that they don’t even bother telling us voters what their plans are for this country and how they are going to make those plans work.

It’s easy to say things like, “This country is in need of change,” but slogans like that are just slogans. These are empty promises for either gullible supporters or for those so desperate for real changes that anything sounds good to them.

And it’s hard to figure out the whole truth from them because they have been caught in so many lies, even the smallest ones. For example, in Obama’s TV ad, where the Illinois senator says he doesn’t accept money from oil companies, he fails to tell the audience that it’s against the law to do so. Or when New York Senator Clinton tried to buff up her image by saying she was under sniper fire, but really wasn’t.

Obama’s and Clinton’s eyes are so focused on the White House prize that they see right pass voters and the problems plaguing this country. And many of their, or even the Republicans’, die-hard supporters, with their rose-colored glasses, are also blind to the plight of America that they are not helping by attacking one another or the candidates with such vileness.

For those who are still undecided over who to vote for in tomorrow’s Pennsylvania’s primary, whether it’s Clinton, McCain, Obama or Republican candidate Ron Paul, then it’s best to seek answers from nonpartisan sources, such as Factcheck.org or OnTheIssues.org.

Voters who are not swayed by emotional political speeches, power or images and vote based on facts alone are the ones truly interested in change for this country, which says a lot (or less in this case) about some of the presidential candidates and their devious conduct to gain votes.

Vote wisely tomorrow Pennsylvania, because tomorrow depends on it.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Rally For Convicted Killer Mumia

Today will be a beautiful spring day and many will enjoy the outdoors. But a few individuals will hold a protest rally in Philadelphia, New York and St. Denis, France, for convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Mumia, birth name Wesley Cook, has been convicted for the shooting death of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner in 1982. And despite his numerous appeals for various reasons over the years, he has been denied a new trial. But what he has mysteriously won are many supporters who profess that he is innocent of the hideous crime that he has been found guilty of.

What should really baffle the mind is that this convicted cop killer — who while in jail has become an honorary citizen of many countries, was given an award for human rights, and he even had streets named after him, just to name a few — is how people can rally for this man.

In all the years Mumia has tried to overturn his conviction — and back in March 2008 the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Mumia’s conviction but overturned his death sentence — he still has not produced one, solid, credible eyewitness who can clear his name. The prosecution, however, had four witnesses to the murder of Faulkner who all said that Mumia shot Philadelphia’s Finest in cold blood.

Standing up for truly innocent men, like Alton Logan who was locked away for 26 years for a murder he allegedly didn’t commit, are worthwhile causes.

But having rallies and giving awards to a convicted murderer, who has not been able to produce a credible witness, much less been able to get another trial, not only tarnishes the life he took away, but also the lives of those who loved and care about Daniel Faulkner.

To read the 1982 court case, please click here.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Obama’s Arrogance, Bill’s Stupidity

It hasn’t been a good week for either of the two Democratic presidential juggernauts.

Just Friday it was reported that Sen. Barack Obama basically called small-town Pennsylvanians uneducated rednecks because they don’t know how to express their frustrations with the government, so they hold religion and guns close while shunning away immigrants.

And later this week, former President Bill Clinton decided to “help” his wife by reopening the old Bosnia wound. If that wasn’t enough, he even got the facts wrong and he admitted to the public that Hillary told him to shut up about it. Talk about a henpecked husband, which only further portrays the female presidential candidate as an ice queen.

But getting back to the more important issue, what is really interesting is that earlier this month Obama was trying to woo over gun owners by waving the constitutional rights flag, but not telling them his misfiring voting record. But then he tells some rich donors in San Francisco that small-town Pennsylvanians are backwoods people and how they feel that the government has failed them.

“And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations,” Obama said, as reported by The Huffington Post.

Now, this is wrong on many levels. One, it’s hypocritical of him to even mention how people seek religion for guidance, considering the controversy between himself and his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. And Obama is still dusting himself off from that political debacle.

But two, Obama is stereotyping these Pennsylvanians, which is supposed to be a huge no-no for liberals and Democrats, unless that’s stereotyping too.

In addition, he’s basically describing these Pennsylvanians as single-minded people who don’t understand the issues that this country is facing.

The Times Observer has always provided support for Obama when he was unjustly attacked, but in this case, the Illinois senator has not only made a hole for himself with Pennsylvania voters that he is trying to win over, but has opened himself up for attacks by Hillary and the likely Republican presidential nominee, John McCain.

Courting the gun vote should be one of the huge priorities for any Democratic presidential candidate if he or she hopes to win any political race. After all, in recent years Democrats are viewed as being against the Second Amendment.

And respecting how one embraces religion should be a cake walk for even a first year politician. But insulting one’s way of life will reasonably make that voter get down on his knees and take aim at Obama.

Monday, April 07, 2008

When Polygamy Stops Becoming
A Laughing Matter

When we hear of polygamy cases like the one going on in Texas right now, we usually have a good laugh at the expense of the adults involved. We may hear late night comedians shooting off lines like, “I have 20 kids … that I know about,” and we all have a good chuckle over it.

But what’s not funny is when children and teenagers are involved, such as the case in Texas.

A teenage girl, who claims to be 16, told authorities last week that she was married to a 50-year-old man and lives on a rural compound with a sect called the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

This unknown teenage girl, who so far has not been found among the 401 children taken from the compound, has told authorities that she has been abused and had a baby at age 15. She has also told authorities that young teenage girls were being forced into marriages with older men.

Flora Jessop knows the type of mistreatment that young girls face in a polygamy camp. Because she says she lived in one in her own youth. She has used words “slavery” and “abuse” to describe her hellish conditions and even with the lack of help from her state’s Division of Children and Family Services, she was finally able to escape. And it would be even more of a nightmare when there was a lack of help to rescue her 14-year-old sister, Ruby, from her marriage to her own stepbrother in 2001, Jessop stated.

That is why Jessop is the executive director of Child Protection Project, an advocacy group dedicated to raising awareness of the abuse of women and children who live in polygamy camps and religious organizations throughout the country.

At the moment, Arizona is trying to pass a bill that is designed to prevent judges from awarding custody to a parent who practices child bigamy. And while adding another law may seem like a knee-jerk reaction to trying to solve a serious problem, in this case it should be seen as welcomed ammo to protecting children and parents.

No one thinks of the children involved when they hear a case about polygamy but that needs to change. Marriage between multiple, willing grown adults is one thing and open for debate, but what shouldn’t be debated is the welfare of a young teenage girl being forced into a marriage or lives in a sect that teaches how young girls should be subservient.

To find out more, go to Child Protection Project and Help The Child Brides.com.