Posted in C-Haze

F#@! YOU, 4 More Years!

I couldn’t have said it any better than this particular blogger did. So I won’t even try. Enjoy!

I do not plan on speaking much on this election.  I hope to say what I have to now and not much after this.  Truth is, regardless of who won we have great challenges in our nation and we have a lot of work to do.  No need to recite all the details regarding the economy, jobs, education, the military and so forth.

Still, I don’t mind acknowledging that this election was different than any other I have been involved in. The first time Barack Obama was elected it was special.  It was unbelievable to me. I never thought I would see a person of color in the White House.  And for those thinking that’s all I’m about, you would be wrong.  In other words, I could have voted for a Colin Powell presidency, while Clarence Thomas’ supreme court appointment and Herman Cain’s candidacy can go kick rocks!  Most people who look like me can joyfully celebrate accomplishments by people of color from a historical perspective of where we’ve come from, but we are not hung up on color for the sake of color sake.  As the old folks used to say, “Everyone who’s my skin folk, ain’t necessarily my kin folk.”  I voted for The President the first time because I believed in his vision and what he stood for.  His skin color was a caveat, not even close to a deciding factor.

That being said it wasn’t hard at all to recognize and understand all of the racist vitriol surrounding the White House since Obama was elected four years ago.  From the beginning as surprised as I was that he was elected, for racist Caucasians, they were equally enraged.  Rush Limbaugh exclaimed, “I hope he fails!”  Joe Wilson went ballistic with his “You lie!” blast in a display of disrespect to the office never seen before.  Mitch McConnell let it be known that his #1 priority was making The President a one termer.

jan-brewer-points-finger-at-obama

John Boehner stood opposite whatever President Obama stood for, even if Obama changed to Boehner’s position. 

The First Lady couldn’t even promote fighting childhood obesity without being attacked.

Jan Brewer put her finger in the face of The President as if she was ready to scrap!

I could go on.  But let me get to my points.  I’m exhausted.  The President, myself and a whole lot of black folks, progressives etc. have taken a lot of shit over the last four years.  We have heard it all.  Now it’s our turn.  Others can say what they need to, but I will speak for myself!  In my Cee Lo Green voice, I present “F#@! YOU” notices to the following:

Mitch McConnell: F#@! YOU, 4 More Years!  Try working for the American people and not against the black guy for a change!

John Boehner: F#@! YOU, 4 More Years! Focus more on helping our nation and less on your tan!

Rush Limbaugh: F#@! YOU, 4 More Years!  Looks like YOU failed! Send your Mexican nanny to the pharmacist for more drugs you fat assed blubbering dope fiend! 

Todd Akin: F#@! YOU, 4 More Years! Guess the women of Missouri “did that thing” to shut your ass down!

cat

Tavis Smiley and Cornel West: F#@! YOU, 4 More Years!  Yep I said it.  You have toured the nation perpetrating the fraud about a “Black Agenda” while you never asked Bush, Clinton or any other president to do the same. My president cares for all people… including black people.  It was insulting and ignorant that you tried to lay ever problem within the African-American community as his feet and expect him to focus on those and those alone.  You both are frauds!

Fox News: F#@! YOU, 4 More Years!  Hey look at it this way, your ratings will remain steady with the racist who will tune in and hear you whine, lie and avoid the real issue which is that White male domination is blowing away with the wind.  Another generation and a half, and you may only have 7 viewers listeners using a CB radio!

Sara Palin: F#@! YOU, 4 More Years!  How’s that for “shuckin’ and jiving?”

Business Owners who threatened their employees: That what foul what you did trying to intimidate your workers.  Quite desperate too!  None of Obama’s policies hurt your businesses especially.  You get every tax break in the world!  If you fail, its more likely because of your shotty business decisions. F#@! YOU, 4 More Years!

People who said Colin Powell voted for Obama because he was black:  Yea, how many of you voted for McCain and Romney because they were white?  Yea that’s what I thought…. F#@! YOU, 4 More Years!

Republicans, those who tried to disenfranchise minority voters: Them days are over!  We aren’t allowing you to get away with that any longer!  Get a clue!  You lost in every court, including the Supreme Court!  And the only people who were caught attempting to commit voter fraud were REPUBLICANS!  F#@! YOU, 4 More Years! 

Mitt Romney: Oh yea I ain’t forgot about you geechie!  F#@! YOU, 4 More Years!… sincerely the 47%!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a 4:20 flight to catch to Denver. 

FirstFam

Holla!

Posted in Barack Obama, Blogging, C-Haze, Comments, Congress, Current Events, Democrats, Elections, Fox News, Healthcare Reform, House of Representatives, Joe the Plumber, Joe Wilson, News, Politics, President, Republicans, Sarah Palin

Representative Wilson Falsely Claims Obama Lied… Will You Stand With Joe?

Representative Joe Wilson from South Carolina sure did cause a stink Wednesday evening.

Wilson was the guy who famously hollered, “You lie!” in the middle of the President’s speech about health care reform to the Joint Sessions of Congress Wednesday night. Obama was in the process of addressing a pesky falsehood about the health care bill, one stating that should the legislation pass, illegal immigrants will be offered free, government-sponsored health insurance. Mr. Wilson decided he wasn’t going to let the facts deter him, even though this particular myth has already been debunked by just about everybody.

The current legislation, in each and every version that is being debated, states unequivocally that credits for coverage will not be extended to any persons who are not legally residing in this country. According to Politifact’s Bill Adair, the bill (H.R. 3200),  goes to great lengths to make sure that “illegal immigrants do not get the credits for the health care exchange that would allow them to get free care”.

How ironic that in the process of trying to tell the world that President Obama is a liar, Rep. Wilson was, himself, perpetuating one helluva whopper.

Ah, politics at its finest.

The only reason I stop short of calling Joe Wilson a liar is because I am unsure of his motives. Afterall, I have no way of knowing whether he really believes the nonsense he’s spewing. Nor do I know if he’s consciously spreading false claims, caring not the slightest about honesty and decency, all in an effort to simply keep the bill from passing.

I would argue, however, that it doesn’t matter.

The fact remains that one of South Carolina’s elected officials willfully and knowingly openly disrespected the President of the United States during a formal speech.

This was not some informal townhall gathering in local Mayberry, USA. The yahoos who lack the common decency to respect the President when he is speaking were not supposed to be in attendance Wednesday night. That the people who do not know how to temporarily hold their tongues and allow the Leader of the Free World to speak, uninterrupted, have joined the ranks as politicians- Congressional representatives, for God’s sake- is disheartening. I expect them to behave better than this, even as they oppose the subject that is being spoken of.

Representative Wilson certainly has bad manners.

Politicians, pundits, and talk show hosts alike have ample opportunity twenty four hours a day, seven days a week to express their displeasure on anything and everything. Whether that displeasure stems from the recent actions of the President, fellow politicians, celebrities or just some Joe The Plumber type guy they happened to run into one day, there are plenty of appropriate venues in which to express oneself.

This is the age of technology, after all.

Wilson could have taken his grievance public by putting thinking cap on and writing a blog. He could have written an open letter, printed in any number of news publications, to the President to voice his displeasure. He could have called just about anyone over at Fox News and been welcomed on their airwaves and into our living rooms with open arms. He could have called a press conference to discuss his issues. He could have put a scathing statement expressing his displeasure on his website. Or he could have sent out a mass e-mail telling the thousands of folks who are no doubt on his mailing list exactly how he feels.

Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, isn’t that what Twitter and Facebook are for? Those two websites have worked wonders for Sarah Palin, after all.

In fact,  not only could he have done all of these things, he could have done them all simultaneously.

Instead, our esteemed member of Congress, hailing from the great state of South Carolina, chose to make an ass out of himself on national television by rudely interrupting the President in a bizarre outburst that truly accomplished nothing more than making him look unhinged.

He has been forced to apologize- twice now- and while Democrats were predictably outraged by Wilson’s actions, even Republicans have soundly given him the ol’ smack upside the head for using such terrible judgment.

It doesn’t appear that his outburst had any sort of negative effect on the speech itself. In fact, early numbers show that after watching Obama speak Wednesday night, Americans are beginning to change their mind about the health care bill.

While health care support was inching up, the President’s approval ratings were doing the same- the President realized a double digit jump, even as Joe Wilson’s popularity plummeted.

In fact, Wilson’s likely opponent in 2010, Rob Miller, raised an astounding $350,000 for his campaign in less than 24 hours after Mr. Wilson’s unfortunate gaffe.

Stepping neatly into the role of victim, Joe Wilson is claiming that he is being punished for speaking out against the “critical issue of healthcare”. He is begging his supporters to send him money, and “Stand with Joe”.

How sad.

Representative Wilson is not in trouble for speaking his mind. He is in trouble for his appalling lack of manners and respect. He is in trouble for lacking the self-control to keep his temper in check while the President of the United States was speaking. Most importantly, it was his own actions, his own words, his own bad timing that got him into trouble. Had he kept his mouth shut for the short time Obama was speaking, it never would have been necessary for him to apologize, or answer calls for his censure to begin with.

Poor Joe.

Posted in 9/11, Barack Obama, Birther Movement, C-Haze, Change, Congress, Conservative, Current Events, Democrats, Environment, Extremists, Fox News, George Bush, Glenn Beck, Liberal, News, Police Officers, Policy, Politics, President, Race, Republicans, Socialism, Terror, Terrorism, Truther Movement, Van Jones, War on Terror

Van Jones, Truthers, Birthers, and an Ugly Reality

We need to talk about Van Jones. We need to talk about his past, we need to talk about his resignation as the White House’s environmental advisor- and we really need to talk about whether or not he’s been victimized by the GOP.

Van Jones was made a household name by right-wing Fox News talk show host Glenn Beck. I’m not a regular Glenn Beck watcher- he’s way too emotionally unstable for me to be able to take seriously. Listening to him induces extreme anxiety, and I’m always afraid he’s this close to having a colossal meltdown. The net result is something akin to a child, trying to bravely sneak a horror movie that she has no business watching. She’s sitting in front of the TV, hands covering her face, peaking through her fingers at the screen…

… Should she watch?

But oh!

What if something happens!

Blah!

That’s me when Beck is on the air. He’s a trainwreck, and I find myself waiting for the whole show with him in tow to derail in front of my very eyes.

Quite stressful.

It’s for this reason I wish I could say Glenn Beck has finally lost his marbles, and is oh-so-wrong about all things Van Jones. Unfortunately, in some ways, the guy (Beck, that is), nutty as he may be, actually made some good points about Mr. Jones.

Van Jones, as no one in their right (err… correct, that is) mind would argue, is a polarizing character. To say he’s controversial would be an understatement. His radical views have been well-documented in the past- he is a bona-fide Truther, among other things (I don’t care what he claims, people- evidence is evidence). He feels that the Bush Administration, along with other high-level government officials either knowingly instigated 9/11, or through purposeful gross negligence allowed it to happen, all to give Bush and cronies an excuse to start an oil war in Iraq.

Now please don’t misunderstand me. I think the current downturn this country is experiencing can be traced back to that cluster-fuck we like to call the Iraq War. Do I blame the Bush Administration? Yes I do. I also, however, blame Bush Sr.’s Administration for not toppling Saddam Hussein during Desert Storm, when he was all but handed to us on a silver platter… I blame the Clinton Administration as well, for not taking down Bin Laden when a similar opportunity presented itself… and above all, I blame each and every member of Congress- both Democrat and Republican- who voted to send our men and women into that country to begin with.

Need I remind any of you that we have lost more soldiers in the War on Terror than we lost on 9/11? For what? The answer, sadly, is that we lost them for nothing, other than the need of some politicians to settle a score that they, themselves, were responsible for creating at the start.

There is plenty of blame to go around. None of it, however, centers on a vast conspiracy, but instead was created by a bunch of short-sighted people who at the end of the day couldn’t tell their asses from a hole in the ground.

It is common knowledge today that Van Jones signed a petition in 2004 that asked for hearings to determine whether politicians had knowingly allowed the events on 9/11 to occur. Personally, I think politicians did allow the terror attacks to occur, but realize that they didn’t knowingly do so. They ignored a whole lot of signs that pointed to a colossal attack, instead preferring to believe that as the Good Ol’ U.S. of A, we were invincible.

Costly mistake, but an honest one nonetheless.

Van Jones has tried to back pedal on this petition he signed… claiming that while he allowed his name to be placed on the form, he does not subscribe to any conspiracy theories regarding 9/11 or our subsequent invasion of Iraq.

It was at this point that Jones became a liar.

You see, he didn’t just sign a Truther petition in 2004. A full two years prior to that,  in 2002 he organized a march for the Truther Movement.

Yet this college educated lawyer wants us to believe he had no idea what the hell he was signing when it came to this particular petition?

Doubtful.

With regards to the actual truth, here’s what we really know about Van Jones:

Jones was born in 1968. He is an environmental activist, a civil rights advocate, author and lawyer.

After graduating from Law School, rather than take an offered job in Washington, DC, Jones instead moved to San Fransisco. He joined a controversial organization called STORM (Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement). This organization was decidedly Marxist, sympathizing with Mao-ist peasants, and was in part created to combat the issue of police brutality.

He was famously arrested for his role in the Rodney King protests, though charges were later dropped. It was during this same time period, in 1995, that Jones began actively identifying himself as a Communist.

Jones is also responsible, after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, for starting Color of Change, a non-profit organization dedicated to giving a larger political voice to Black America. That year he also began actively advocating for a Green America, becoming an environmentalist, and starting an organization called “Green for All”. Green for All promotes environmentally-friendly jobs in poor communities.

In 2008 he found moderate success when his book, “The Green Collar Economy” hit the New York Times top 12 list.

In March of 2009, Van Jones joined the Obama Administration as the environmental czar.

I would argue that Mr. Jones has done some wonderful things in his life. He has advocated for a greener world, and has worked tirelessly to help minorities succeed in this country. The problem is that he does not have the gift of words. While doing great things for millions of people worldwide, he simultaneously suffers from a terminal case of foot in mouth disease, which has proven to be his downfall.

Honestly, I don’t even care that the man once identified himself as a communist. I wish my biggest college-era transgession was to pick the wrong political party to align myself with. People change, and with age, we mature. That’s the general idea, anyway. I don’t even have a huge problem with the fact that Jones once famously claimed that white people and white corporations were purposely dumping their waste and polluting communities that predominantly consisted of people of color. Personally, given some of our nation’s history, that isn’t difficult for me to believe.

I applaud the fact that at some point, realizing that his more extreme views were not affecting the change he desired within the U.S., he decided to work within the system as it’s designed… no longer calling for revolution, no longer trying to make waves on the outer fringes of society.

It doesn’t even bother me that he recently referred to Republicans as assholes.

I live in a country where it isn’t supposed to phase me that people are calling my President a terrorist, a communist, a Marxist, a socialist… and are bringing guns to townhall meetings in hopes of shooting our Commander in Cheif like he’s a wild animal, and it’s deer season. I live in a nation where outright calls for our leader’s death, and pastoral prayers hoping he’ll keel over from brain cancer are the norm. Someone calling the GOP a bunch of assholes honestly doesn’t get me too excited.

What I cannot reconcile are the similarities between The Truthers and The Birthers. Van Jones’ affiliation with the Truther movement is exactly why he needed to resign. And every jerk Birther needs to do the same.

These two groups- they are both extreme, they are both radical, they both promote dangerously false claims, and they have no place in our government.

The problem in Van Jones’ case is that he did not convincingly leave radicalism, nor did he wholeheartedly embrace a more follow-the-rules, mainstream approach to getting the job done.

If he was honestly appalled that his name was attached to a petition espousing nonsensical conspiracy theories about our nation’s largest tragedy, he should have made those views known before he got caught by the likes of Glenn Beck.

Unfortunately for us, Jones certainly isn’t the only whacko we have our hands full dealing with.

There are Republicans in Congress (Representative Bill Posey, Florida) today that subscribe to the dangerous vitriol being spewed by the Birthers… and there are (former) Democrats in Congress (Cynthia McKinney) who subscribe to the nastiness being put forth by the Truthers.

For every lame-brained Truther petition out there, an equally ridiculous Birther petition, claiming Barack Obama is really the son of Al Qaeda, in cahoots with every terrorist known to man is in existence as well.

Prominent people are buying into both brands of idiocy.

Every last one of them needs to go.

If they won’t go willingly, we need to boot them- all of them- out the door.

We are living in terrifying times… polarizing times… where political discord is no longer an opportunity for open, honest, intelligent conversation, but is instead giving rise to left-and-right-wing maniacal idiots. It is only a matter of time before real violence erupts, and the regular people of America… you and I… need to be getting pissed off about it.

Van Jones is nobody’s victim… the only regret I have is that we aren’t kicking more radicals just like him- on both sides of the political spectrum- to the curb.

Posted in Barack Obama, C-Haze, Change, Congress, Current Events, Discrimination, Elections, Gay Rights, Homosexuality, News, Policy, Politics, President

Obama, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and Lame Excuses

Oh, Obama, you’re breakin’ my heart!

To say the least, I am extremely disappointed in Obama’s recent flip-flop on gay rights- most specifically, the military’s discriminatory Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy.

If he keeps this up, he’s gonna become nothing more than just a regular ol’ politician in my eyes.

That’s a heartbreaking thought.

Back in January Obama’s Communications Chief, Robert Gibbs, held a question and answer sessionon YouTube. One of the questions asked was whether or not the President intended to repeal the current policy regarding gays in the military.

Gibbs’ response?

A resounding yes.

Yes, yes and hell yes.

Now, however, we’re hearing something a li’l different, and it’s coming straight from the horse’s mouth.

Obama, it seems, doesn’t think the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is something he can do on his own… he says the legislative branch really needs to tackle this one, not him.

Sigh.

I believe I’m both getting whiplash and smelling some really rank B.S. all at once.

Yuck.

This guy can introduce a health care bill, a huge climate control bill, stimulus packages and everything else…

… But Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is too big a challenge?

Sorry, Mr. Prez.

I’m not buying it.

In fairness to Obama, he makes no bones about the fact that he still supports a change in the law- and that he’d like to see the change sooner, rather than later- but one kinda’ gets the impression that this isn’t the type of hot-button issue he wants to get behind right now…

… And is therefore deciding, not so gracefully, to pass the buck.

I wonder specifically, what “change” he’d like to see take place?

Beyond that, the whole thing just sounds disingenuous.

He certainly didn’t just wait for congress to decide it was time to act when he’s wanted to address other things that have been important to him during his short time in office.

He’s much more of a go-getter than that.

At least when the issue at hand is an important one- to him, at least.

I don’t know…

… Just doesn’t sit right.

Posted in C-Haze, Children, Conservative, Current Events, Elections, Fox News, Media, News, Policy, Politics, President, Presidential Campaign, Republicans, Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin, Resignation and Basketball

I just finished listening to Sarah Palin’s resignation speech, from start to finish.

Wowsers.

After almost 7 full minutes of rambling… and not a whole lot of sense-making, we learn that she is stepping down as Governor of Alaska.

It was quite disjointed, from strange basketball analogies to promises to affect political change for Alaska outside of politics, to my personal favorite, how she put her political future to her kids for a vote.

When asking them if she should resign, she got “4 yeahs and a resounding HELL YEAH”, and apparently it was the hell yeah that sealed the deal.

Man oh man.

Later, after spending the entire speech knocking politics, and complaining about how horrible mainstream media has been to her family and how this experience has basically ruined her life and the lives of her children, she  says, “I don’t want to discourage anyone from entering politics”.

Oh ok.

As long as she’s encouraging others not to give up their dreams to follow in her footsteps so that they, too, can live in their own personal hell as a result, I’m cool. (Read: Sarcasm)

The entire ordeal is bizarre, and despite the fact that Sarah Palin has never been one to make a whole lot of sense while speaking, I am still a bit shocked.

Some insiders say Palin is resigning to begin preparing for either a 2010 U.S. Senate race or is gearing up for the top-dog position of POTUS, come 2012.

I say if she truly wanted either of those, the last thing she should have done is step down as governor, having not even completed her first term.

Palin is addressing a nation, a nation in which members of her own party refused to vote for the ticket on which she was listed, because of her lack of political experience.

I don’t think “Resigned as Governor prior to completion of first term” is really a bullet she should want to have placed on her resume, should national politics be her ultimate goal.

What party would she run under?

The Party of “When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going”?

Call me cynical, but considering that she was unable to complete a single term as governor of a state in which there are fewer residents than New York City, I find it hard to imagine her next stop will be Leader of the Free World.

Even Republicans are scratching their heads, with one Senator, Lisa Murkowski, releasing a statement regarding her “disappointment” that Governor Palin has chosen to “abandon” Alaska.

There are other rumors, of course. The media has gone berserk, speculating on the various reasons why Palin really chose to step down. Right now they’re running the gambit from an unexpected pregnancy, to speculation that she has a new book deal- the financial numbers of which she would have to disclose to the state, to rumors of a very damaging criminal investigation against her.

I’m not surprised, given the reasons she stated during her press conference really amounted to nothing more than rambling. The effect was the impression of a woman trying to pull a fast one, having no intention of explaining the real motivation for her decision, instead choosing to fill dead air with a bunch of nonsense that made little, if any, sense at all.

Personally, I don’t know that the reasons for Palin’s resignation really matter too much.

The bottom line is that had she truly planned to descend on the scene, making her mark in national politics, she has just shot herself in the foot.

Abandoning ship prior to reaching the agreed-upon destination (the end of her term) was political suicide.

For her own sake, I hope the rumblings of her various insiders are true- and that Palin is leaving politics for good. Not because I’m not a fan of Palin’s, but because I believe her choosing to step down as Governor, regardless of what her ultimate designs were, has spelled the end of her political career.

I’m sure as the days develop we’ll get more clarification about this most unconenventional development.

Until then, looks like things are gettin’ kinda deep up there in Alaska.

Posted in Barack Obama, C-Haze, Conservative, Current Events, Democrats, Liberal, News, Policy, Politics, President, Race, Republicans, Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme Court

Judge Sotomayor, New Haven and Reverse Discrimination

Along with bogus charges of racism, we are now hearing rumblings of discontent regarding Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor’s ruling in the infamous New Haven firefighters’ reverse discrimination case.

First, a little background.

New Haven, CT adopted a written exam in 2003 for the purpose of determining which of the city’s fire fighters are eligible for promotion to Lieutenant and Captain within the department. The city ended up throwing the test out a year later, after determining that no eligible black workers had passed the exam.

A white fire fighter by the name of Frank Ricci scored exceptionally high on the test, and would have received the promotion, had the test not been deemed inadmissable by the city. Ricci in turn sued the city of New Haven for reverse discrimination, claiming that he was in effect losing his rightful promotion as a result of a policy that catered to blacks and minorities.

The trial court disagreed, and Frank Ricci lost the case.

Ricci appealed the lower court’s decision to the 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals, where it fell into the lap of Judge Sonia Sotomayor (and 3 other judges, as part of a panel. For the sake of this post, we’ll just talk about Sonia Sotomayor). Sotomayor rejected the appeal, upholding the lower court’s ruling. The case is currently being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, with a ruling expected by late June of this year.

Judge Sotomayor’s decision was a controversial  one, especially among conservatives, who tend to believe she should have sided with the fire fighters.

If one truly understands how the oft-squeaky wheels of justice turn, and the responsibilities of an appeals court judge, the case isn’t quite as controversial after all… and one begins to see it has less to do with Judge Sotomayor and more to do with the legal precedent she had no choice but to utilize in making her decision.

The city of New Haven did not simply throw the written test out because it felt like it, nor was the test deemed inadmissable by a single party, hell-bent on building a blacks-only department.

Hardly.

The test was found to be in violation of Title VII, which is the federal civil rights law that requires employers to consider the racial consequences of any hiring or promotion practice. Whether on purpose or inadvertent, if the practice excludes minorities, it is illegal. The New Haven test, according to the law, was an illegal promotion tool, as eligible black fire fighters were not able to pass it. As a result, the city had no choice but to throw the test out.

If one is to take issue with this situation, the issue must be taken with the law itself- Title VII- not with the city’s actions, nor the judges’ rulings on the case.

The city, as well as the trial court, and most especially the 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals, were simply following the applicable law.

Most would agree, whenever possible, it is important that a judge apply the already-written law(s) when making a ruling, and follow the constitution to its letter. Generally speaking, it is inappropriate for a judge to disregard current laws in making a decision on a case. The law is the law, no one is above it, and if a law exists when a case is heard, that law must be followed.

This is exactly what Judge Sotomayor did when ruling against Frank Ricci of the New Haven Fire Department. Her ruling was a direct result of her following an already existing law.

Period.

 The 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals was not the appropriate venue to fight the merits of Title VII, and whether or not the law lends itself to the creation of reverse discrimination. Judge Sotomayor was charged with making a decision based on the laws that are already in place- and determining whether the original trial court had correctly utilized the applicable law in making its ruling.

So that’s exactly what she did, and did so using the strong legal precedent that had already been set by her court, her jurisdiction- the 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals.

As the GOP knows all-too-well, for Judge Sotomayor to have ruled any other way, her decision would have amounted to Judicial Activism.

Ironically enough, many key Republicans have voiced concerns over Sotomayor, claiming that they are worried she may be a Judicial Activist.

Funny, considering how up-in-arms these same people are today as a result of her refusing to do just that in the New Haven case. 

Judicial Activism occurs when a judge legislates from the bench. Typically, it is a judge’s responsibility to apply applicable law- using legal precedent- in making his/her rulings. Creating new laws is the responsibility of Congress- the Legislative Branch of government. When a judge attempts to circumvent written law, he/she is called a Judicial Activist.

Some famous cases involving judicial activism include Dred Scott, Roe v. Wade, Brown v. The Board of Education and Plessy v. Ferguson. While landmark cases for sure, their rulings were the response to scenarios in which no previous legal precedent existed, and so judges had no applicable law to fall back on. Therefore, they had to interpret the Constitution, resulting in a ruling that in effect created its own legal precedent for future cases to utilize.

Generally speaking, I am no fan of Judicial Activism. I think the law is in place for a reason, and if I disagree with a law, the proper venue for me to express my dissatisfaction is with my congressional representatives. They are the people charged with making the laws, while judges are responsible for upholding them, as written.

I don’t know how I feel about the New Haven case. 

I  sympathize with Frank Ricci. I learned, while researching this case, that he is dyslexic, and had to work exceptionally hard to pass the test- let alone score as highly as he did.

However, I also sympathize with any hard-working minority, who as the result of a racially-skewed test, is effectively shut out of a promotion process that he or she deserves to be a part of as much as anyone else.

Overall, I am happy that a law such as Title VII is on the books, and I’m happier that it’s a federal law. To me, any law that makes discrimination illegal in all 50 states certainly has its merits.

If anyone, I fault the city of New Haven in this case. Had they come up with a non-biased test to begin with, both Frank Ricci and any other qualified employee would have been promoted… and everyone would be happy. I applaud the city for taking the steps necessary to correct its error by throwing out the test, but I mourn the casualties such an action created. Sometimes the right thing to do is not the easy thing to do… and sometimes when we make mistakes- even honest ones- it’s the innocent bystanders that are hurt the most.

Frank Ricci, it seems, has suffered quite a bit, as have other hard-working minority fire fighters. Every last one of them deserved a chance at bettering themselves… and yet all of them have suffered greatly.

Posted in Barack Obama, C-Haze, Conservative, Current Events, Democrats, La Raza, Liberal, News, Newt Gingrich, Policy, Politics, President, Race, Republicans, Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme Court

Sotomayor, Supreme Court and Spindoctors

One of my readers hipped me to “La Raza”, while commenting on my recent post on Judge Sotomayor- stating that she is a member of this particular group.

I didn’t know anything about the organization, and promised to research both the group and the judge’s alleged ties to it.

What I learned, not surprisingly, is that what’s often thought to be common knowledge isn’t always accurate information.

How dangerous misinformation can be.

First of all, let’s talk about that which cannot be disputed. La Raza is a Latino organization that currently operates in the U.S., and is active in 41 states. It’s a relatively large group, with over 300 local-level affiliated groups that are under the La Raza umbrella.

Officially known as the National Council of La Raza, its website claims that as “the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, NCLR works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans”. To meet its objective, La Raza gives a latin prospective via applied research, focusing on five areas: assets/investments, civil rights/immigration, education, employment and economic status, and health.

Founded in 1968, the group claims to be a private, tax-exempt, non-partisan organization that is headquartered in Washington, DC.

Now, on to a couple of misconceptions.

Some people have a lot of negative feelings about this organization, as obviously, being hispanic in nature, there is the perception that La Raza is an open-borders advocate, or a lobby group for illegal aliens. The organization has been bastardized, based on inaccurate data.

An opinion is an important thing to have, and as free-thinking Americans, our opinions will not always gel with one anothers’.

It is inconscionable, however, to base one’s opinions on something that isn’t even true.

La Raza, according to its website, does not support a United States of America that has open borders. They absolutely recognize- and support- this country’s right, as a sovereign nation, to control its borders. In fact, in 2005, the National Council of La Raza supported, in partnership with such Republicans as John McCain (R-AZ) , Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ), the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act. This bill, among other things, provided for the stronger enforcement of labor and immigration laws. It was to help secure our borders while keeping America safe in the process.

The organization certainly supports immigration reform, but it just as fiercely advocates for a strong enforcement program as well. The group has never condoned the act of illegally crossing the United States of America’s borders.

Another misconception about La Raza is its name, and what it translates to mean. Many people claim the name means “The Race”, which understandably makes quite a few folks uncomfortable. A white organization would get ten different kinds of hell, were it named “The Race”, most especially if a Supreme Court nominee were rumored to be a member.

*Shudder*

Can you imagine?

La Raza, however, does not mean “The Race”- this is merely a loose and factually inaccurate translation- but rather,  “The People” or “The Community”. Certainly “The People” has a much less Hitler-esque tone, and suddenly, the group doesn’t seem quite so threatening anymore.

Hispanics, if we are honest with ourselves, do not have an easy time in America. Obviously it is not impossible to be both hispanic and successful, much like one can be black and successful, but like many other minorities, Latinos do face a certain amount of bigotry, unfair stereotypes and all-out hatred. La Raza tries to make these speedbumps a little more manageable, fighting to make sure Hispanics are afforded the same opportunities as non-minorities (translation: white people).

Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, is a memberof the National Council of La Raza.

Some people act as if we should be shocked by this, but realistically, looking at Sotomayor’s history, along with La Raza’s stated mission, it all becomes quite understandable.

Not only that, but it isn’t a negative thing in the least.

Sonia Sotomayor, daughter to Puerto Rican parents, was born and raised in New York- in the Bronx- in a public housing project. She knows poverty and discrimination first hand, as the recipient of what amounted to two strikes against her- being both poor and hispanic. This did not make for an easy go of things. Yet she chose not to use her economic status (or lack thereof) or her race as an excuse to fail. Instead, she chose to thrive, putting herself through college and law school- Ivy League, no less- ultimately graduating from both Princeton and Yale, serving as editor of the Yale Law Review to boot.

Keep in mind, this was no trust fund baby. She did it the old-fashioned way, with her own blood, sweat and tears.

Learning of Sotomayor’s background and the adversity she has managed to overcome, it is anything but surprising to learn that she is a member of an organization whose entire purpose is to protect the civil rights and improve the quality of life of Latinos throughout America.

After law school, Judge Sotomayor went on to become the Assistant Attorney General for the city of New York, ran her own private practice for several years, and (due to then-President George H.W. Bush’s nomination), served on the bench for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The Clinton Administration later nominated her to sit on the federal bench at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd District.

The woman is on fire, and has managed to successfully navigate not one, but two Senate Confirmation hearings, after having been nominated for bench positions by two different presidents- both a Democrat and a Republican.

Recently a group of Republicans, led by Newt Gingrich, have accused Judge Sotomayor of reverse discrimination, claiming she’s racist, and therefore should not be confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice. Their claims are based on a something the judge said in 2001, while speaking to The University of California Berkley’s School of Law. She said at that time, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

Apparently, the fact that Sotomayor admits that she believes her personal life experiences make her a better judge, is offensive to some. The hypocrisy lies in the fact that Justice Samuel Alito, during his own Supreme Court confirmation hearings, said the same exact thing– only about himself, of course- and these same Republicans didn’t bother blinking an eye.

Of course, when Alito said it, we called it “empathy in judging”.

With Sotomayor, it’s racism.

I guess it’s only a problem when the statement is made by a liberal.

The GOP  wasn’t terribly concerned about her qualifications when they confirmed her in the past- twice- but now, suddenly, she’s a racist.

Ah, hypocrisy at its finest.

Though without it, I would have nothing to write about, so onward we go.

I’m not saying we should all welcome Judge Sonia Sotomayor with open arms. Legitimate questions still need to be asked, more information needs to be had. I stated in my previous post, for example, that I am a little leary of her Catholic background and how that may (or may not) translate to her decisions on such topics as abortion, gay rights and stem cell research.

In many ways, the jury is still out.

None of that, however, lessens the importance of committing to forming educated opinions based on fact. My ultimate opinion of President Obama’s nominee may or may not be a popular one, but I take comfort in knowing that my decision will be based on fact and not fear, conjecture or rumor.

Hopefully, all of you will be able to say the same, when that time comes.

Posted in Barack Obama, C-Haze, Capital Punishment, Catholic, Conservative, Current Events, Death Penalty, Democrats, Gay Rights, News, Newt Gingrich, Politics, President, Religion, Republicans, Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme Court

The Supreme Court, Barack Obama and the GOP

Obama has made his decision, nominating Judge Sonia Sotomayor to be the new Supreme Court Justice.

From a purely political standpoint, I think this is a genius move on the president’s part.

The GOP, already somewhat hampered due to the stink they made over filibusters during Justices Roberts and Alito’s confirmation hearings, can only complain so much- regardless of whom Obama names- because they don’t want to look like complete hypocrites.

During the Bush Administration, they wanted a simple up-or-down vote for judges… and… well, now they have the opportunity to put their money where their mouth is.

Normally, especially in politics, hypocrisy would be par for the course- something the Republicans need not think twice about. Currently, however, they stand to lose even more than they can afford to, considering that the GOP’s already critically injured.

Their party is on life-support.

The GOP needs the support of the Latino community… which is exactly Judge Sotomayor’s background. How can they justify fighting to exclude a woman who is Catholic, Latina, and more experienced than either justices Roberts or Alito were at the time of their confirmations?

I don’t think they can.

Gingrich can scream that Judge Sotomayor is racist all he wants to… that seems to be his current plan of attack… but really, no one’s listening to that nonsense.

Personally, the thought of another Catholic on the bench- we currently have 5, not including Sotomayor- makes me a little nervous.

Catholics typically don’t support a woman’s right to choose, gay rights or stem cell research… all things that are very important to me. Sotomayor has not had the opportunity to rule much on those issues, so we don’t really know for sure where she stands.

Hopefully, if confirmed, she will keep her religious beliefs off the bench, ruling instead to preserve the rights of all people- recognizing that the freedom to make individual decisions for ourselves is a bigger priority than exulting her own beliefs from on high.

The greater good and all that.

On the flip side, Catholics tend to be adversaries of the death penalty, and that’s something I would love to see abolished… so who knows…

It would have been nice to see a good lesbian, protestant judge nominated, but I do realize we don’t yet live in a country where such an individual’s confirmation would have been possible.

Still… a person can dream, right?

Posted in Barack Obama, C-Haze, Conservative, Economy, Liberal, News, Policy, Politics, President, Recession, Socialism, Wall Street

Pete Sessions, Socialism and Barack Obama

As big a political junkie as I am, one would think I’d be past the point of being shocked when a politician says something stupid.

I’m not.

Representative Pete Sessions (R-TX) believes Obama is both driving the stock market down and unemployment up on purpose.

He’s quoted in today’s NY Times as saying that Obama “intended to inflict damage and hardship on the free enterprise system, if not to kill it.”

Lord have mercy.

Have we been taken over by a power-crazed maniac whose sole purpose is to wipe out all that America holds dear, so that he can take over the entire world, reigning from Capitol Hill as…

… Gasp…

A socialist dictator?!?!

I suppose the fact that Sessions believes Obama to be some sort of socialist terrorist, hell-bent on thoroughly demolishing Capitalism and the free market as we know it is nothing to be surprised at.

Sessions is, after all, someone who likes to use terrorism- specifically the Taliban– as an example when speaking.

What’s surprising is his deviation from the norm

Typically, he’s the one advocating terrorist behavior…

… At least where his own party is concerned.

It was a mere 3 months ago- in February- that he suggested, during an interview with the National Journal, that perhaps the GOP needed a “Taliban-like” insurgency.

His remarks, he claimed, were the result of what he had determined to be a lack of bi-partisan politics in the House of Representatives.

So clearly, strange terror-esque statements are nothing new.

Not from this guy, anyway.

So let me get this straight.

He wants the Republican Party to act in a non-American fashion… actually going as far as to suggest the party adapt the strategy of one of the worst terrorist, anti-American groups in the entire world to survive… and then condemns Obama for non-American behavior… behavior that he not only condoned within his own party, but completely imagined and fabricated where our President is concerned.

Ok, got it.

Truly, this nonsense would be absolutely hilarious if there weren’t several actual, bona-fide yahoos out there taking him seriously.

People do believe President Obama is a closet Socialist.

People do believe that our President hates our country, its governmental structure, its free market economy, our constitution- and all the rights and freedoms we all hold both near and dear.

Never mind that he has yet to take a single fundamental right away from any of us, and in fact has spent his adult life advocating for equal rights- for minorities, women and homosexuals, to name a few.

Never mind that he inherited a real live nightmare of a mess to clean up- and has done more for the average Joe in this country in his first 100 days in office than his predecessor ever did in 8 years.

What is it about him that draws such ire?

Is it jealousy?

Is it the color of his skin?

Is it the fact that he actually cares about people other than the top wealthiest individuals and organizations, and we just don’t know how to accept that kind of compassion?

It’s funny to me how a man who has lived his life trying to protect the dignity of the impoverished and preserve the little things the middle class holds dear, can be painted as the evil villain.

It’s ok, haters.

He hears you…

… And despite your ugliness, he still wants to serve you.

You certainly don’t deserve it.

Posted in Arlen Specter, Barack Obama, C-Haze, Change, Conservative, Current Events, News, Policy, Politics, President, Race, Supreme Court

Sessions, Specter and the Supreme Court

Things are getting really exciting on Capitol Hill.

Supreme Court Justice David Souter has recently announced his retirement, paving the way for Obama’s first Supreme Court nomination.

In a coincidental turn of events- a side plot, perhaps- Representative Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) will be taking Arlen Specter’s place as the top Republican in the Senate Judiciary committee.

All of this becomes interesting when we take a look at some of the stuff Representative Sessions is best known for.

Most political junkies recognize Sessions from way back in the day, when the Democrats were dukin’ it out with President George W. Bush over his Supreme Court pick, Justice Samuel Alito.

The Dems, hating this choice of nominee, fought tooth and nail to keep him from being appointed… ultimately prolonging the process of confirming the Justice’s nomination.

Jeff Sessions was the ultra-vocal senator that felt judges needed to be appointed by a simple up-or-down vote.

Simple majority, people.

No arguing, no filibuster…

… In short, no muss, no fuss.

Just Yea or Nay.

Since the founding of the Republic, we have understood that there was a two-thirds supermajority for ratification and advice and consent on treaties and a majority vote for judges. That is what we have done. That is what we have always done. But there was a conscious decision on behalf of the leadership, unfortunately, of the Democratic Party in the last Congress to systematically filibuster some of the best nominees ever submitted to the Senate. It has been very painful. -Senate Floor Speech, Rep. Jeff Sessions, 2005

I wonder, now that President Obama is holding the reigns, if Representative Sessions still feels the same way.

Obviously, it won’t be difficult for Obama’s Supreme Court nominee to win a simple majority vote, considering the Dems control both houses.

Will Sessions put his money where his mouth is and support a straight vote…

… Or not?

Just when things begin to get interesting, the plot thickens.

You see, Representative Sessions was nominated 20 years ago to be a U.S. District Judge.

The Senate rejected his nomination.

The reason?

Sessions’ was alleged to have made racially insensitive remarks. A U.S. attorney, in fact, testified that he’d heard Sessions claim that he used to respect and admire the Ku Klux Klan-

Until he learned many of its members were pot smokers.

The deciding vote that doomed his confirmation in the Senate?

Arlen Spector.

This is gettin’ good.