photo via Flickr courtesy of Th3 ProphetMan

I’ve read the legal scholars’ interpretations. I’ve heard the charges of hypocrisy leveled at Bush, and I think most of the analysts have been wrong. The New York Times did a fascinating thing by printing, in large block quotes, on the front page of yesterday’s paper, three statements made by Bush on the leak investigation. The first one said..

There’s leaks at the executive branch; there’s leaks in the legislative branch. There’s just too many leaks. And if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of.

“Taken care of.” There it is right in our faces. Foolish Americans, you assumed by “taken care of” that Dubya meant “held accountable” when in fact he meant “taken care of” as in “You my boy. I got you dawg.” What better way to take care of his boy than to spring him from the joint? We all just witnessed a gangsta-style prison break.

As has already been well pointed out on this blog, Scooter is lucky he isn’t black. This commutation, while technically legal and within the president’s powers, is grossly unjust. Here’s the quote that really got me:

The president’s decision means that Mr. Libby, 56, no longer faces the prospect of leaving his wife and two children, in what probably would have been a matter of weeks, to report to prison.

If we were in France, there would be a riot right now. Where is the riot here? Is black radio talking about this slap in the face? Given the ease with which America locks up poor folks and people of color, pardon me if I could give a damn about Libby’s wife and kids. For all the suffering this man promoted in his policy role and for his involvement in a case approaching treason, he gets out of jail free. Back in the day, weren’t people executed for this sort of activity?

By this point, only a fool would be surprised by Bush’s decision. At the same token, only a fool would tolerate it.

(cross-posted at goodCRIMETHINK)

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In order to understand the sheer hypocrisy of George Bush’s decision to commute Scooter Libby’s sentence so that he serves not one moment of jail time, one must understand the vast amount of people whom George W. Bush sent to their deaths as governor of Texas.

In his five years as governor of Texas, the state has executed 131 prisoners — far more than any other state. Mr. Bush has lately granted a stay of execution for the first time, for a DNA test.

In answer to questions about that record, Governor Bush has repeatedly said that he has no qualms. “I’m confident,” he said last February, “that every person that has been put to death in Texas under my watch has been guilty of the crime charged, and has had full access to the courts.”

That defense of the record ignores many notorious examples of unfairness in Texas death penalty cases. Lawyers have been under the influence of cocaine during the trial, or been drunk or asleep. One court dismissed a complaint about a lawyer who slept through a trial with the comment that courts are not “obligated to either constantly monitor trial counsel’s wakefulness or endeavor to wake counsel should he fall asleep.”

This past week The Chicago Tribune published a compelling report on an investigation of all 131 death cases in Governor Bush’s time. It made chilling reading.

In one-third of those cases, the report showed, the lawyer who represented the death penalty defendant at trial or on appeal had been or was later disbarred or otherwise sanctioned. In 40 cases the lawyers presented no evidence at all or only one witness at the sentencing phase of the trial.

In 29 cases, the prosecution used testimony from a psychiatrist who — based on a hypothetical question about the defendant’s past — predicted he would commit future violence. Most of those psychiatrists testified without having examined the defendant: a practice condemned professionally as unethical.

Other witnesses included one who was temporarily released from a psychiatric ward to testify, a pathologist who had admitted faking autopsies and a judge who had been reprimanded for lying about his credentials.

Asked about the Tribune study, Governor Bush said, “We’ve adequately answered innocence or guilt” in every case. The defendants, he said, “had full access to a fair trial.”

Indeed, Scooter Libby also had access to a fair trial. But that trial did not come to the conclusion that George Bush wanted, so he dismissed the verdict and commuted the sentence of a man who had well heeled, expensive legal defense team–much more than just “full access to the courts”.

Most of the inmates executed under George Bush’s tenure as governor were black, but this almost goes without saying. But among the executed are also those who suffered from mental illness, a factor not as influential in granting them clemency as being a friend of the president.


On the morning of May 6, 1997, Governor George W. Bush signed his name to a confidential three-page memorandum from his legal counsel, Alberto R. Gonzales, and placed a bold black check mark next to a single word: DENY. It was the twenty-ninth time a death-row inmate’s plea for clemency had been denied in the twenty-eight months since Bush had been sworn in. In this case Bush’s signature led, shortly after 6:00 P.M. on the very same day, to the execution of Terry Washington, a mentally retarded thirty-three-year-old man with the communication skills of a seven-year-old.


During Bush’s six years as governor 150 men and two women were executed in Texas—a record unmatched by any other governor in modern American history. Each time a person was sentenced to death, Bush received from his legal counsel a document summarizing the facts of the case, usually on the morning of the day scheduled for the execution, and was then briefed on those facts by his counsel; based on this information Bush allowed the execution to proceed in all cases but one.

[...]

Although the summaries rarely make a recommendation for or against execution, many have a clear prosecutorial bias, and all seem to assume that if an appeals court rejected one or another of a defendant’s claims, there is no conceivable rationale for the governor to revisit that claim. This assumption ignores one of the most basic reasons for clemency: the fact that the justice system makes mistakes.

A close examination of the Gonzales memoranda suggests that Governor Bush frequently approved executions based on only the most cursory briefings on the issues in dispute. In fact, in these documents Gonzales repeatedly failed to apprise the governor of crucial issues in the cases at hand: ineffective counsel, conflict of interest, mitigating evidence, even actual evidence of innocence.



Of no small consequence to me is the fact that among the 150 people executed with little concern to the former Governor of Texas, most of them are black. If you had to kill someone in Texas when George W. Bush was governor, killing a black person probably wouldn’t get you killed. You’d have to kill a white person for that kind of treatment.


Race was found to be a pervasive influence on how capital punishment is administered. The study concluded that prosecutors were far more likely to pursue the death penalty when the victim was white as opposed to black. Blacks and Hispanics often are likely to be excluded from capital juries. The result, the report said, is that black Texans are “least likely to serve on capital juries, but the most likely to be condemned to die.”

The Administrations’ disrespect for the Constitution of the United States, and its belief and practice that both its rights and its laws should be selectively protected or enforced based on race, class or personal ties to those in power is among the many legacies that George W. Bush has made for himself.

I’m sure it’s not the one he had in mind.

Scooter is lucky he isn’t black. Under those circumstances, Bush might have just asked Alberto Gonzales for one of his “clemency” briefings.

I really appreciated Jerome Armstrong’s recent post over at MyDD that put the fundraising coverage in perspective with Howard Dean’s presidential campaign.

Over at TechPresident.com, you can take a look at what’s happening online, how people are voting with their time and attention and stack that up against the fundraising numbers. When you look at blog post mentions by name, Hillary Clinton is discussed significantly and consistently more often than Barack Obama. Also interesting, the only truly anti-Iraq war Republican candidate Ron Paul also dominates blog mentions among Republicans.

Obama crushes Clinton though when it comes to YouTube views and Facebook/MySpace friends. Ron Paul interestingly enough is also on a steady upswing and leading the GOP pack strongly on YouTube.

The takeaway for me is that combined with John “More Troops” McCain’s cratering campaign, it’s clear that Americans are clearly stating with both their eyeballs, their mouses and their wallets that they want to fall behind candidates who stand clearly, firmly and morally against the war. So troubled is the nation that candidates that might not have had a chance ordinarily are very much in the game.

The takeaway for the campaigns and Congress should be — get strong and clear on the war. People want this over. Yesterday. And they will vote for the person who persuades them that s/he will take strong, values-based action if elected.

Clinton still hasn’t refined this message and Edwards, I think, has folks convinced on Katrina and poverty but not yet on Iraq…

Scooter’s not going to jail after all.

WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Bush has commuted the prison term of former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, facing 30 months in prison after a federal court convicted him of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to investigators.

Now, we all knew that Bush was going to pardon Libby. But, this is somewhat in the middle. No jail time, but he has to pay the fine – like that fine was a harship for Libby. This is no shock. The Constitution just doesn’t apply to him or his friends.

The Second Chance Act

2 Jul 2007

Via TalkLeft, there is an editorial in the New York Times regarding the Second Chance Act, which would shift funds to provide for community and state based programs that help reduce recidivism through treatment for non-violent offenders and assistance for newly released incarcerated persons.

Several states have instead begun to focus on developing community-based programs that deal with low-level, nonviolent offenders without locking them up. And they have begun to look at ways to control recidivism with programs that help newly released people find jobs, housing, drug treatment and mental health care — essential services if they are to live viable lives in a society that has historically shunned them.

Texas and Kansas have recently made important strides in this area. But corrections policy nationally would evolve much faster if Washington put its shoulder to the wheel. Congress needs to pass the Second Chance Act, which would provide grants, guidance and assistance to states and localities that are developing programs to reintegrate former inmates into their communities.

The current system corrections is far more focused on punishment rather than rehabilitation. While this may give some limited sense of satisfaction to some, this approach exacerbates crime rather than reducing it. The results of the punishment rather than rehabilitation approach to corrections speak for themselves, the more than two million Americans behind bars.


The United States is the world’s leader in incarceration with 2.1 million people currently in the nation’s prisons or jails — a 500% increase over the past thirty years. These trends have resulted in prison overcrowding and state governments being overwhelmed by the burden of funding a rapidly expanding penal system, despite increasing evidence that large-scale incarceration is not the most effective means of achieving public safety.

Part of the reason for America’s sluggishness on prison reform is that the problem of crime is racialized–so that crime becomes an issue of protecting white people from black people. Nixon’s “law and order” campaign was largely premised on framing the problem of crime in this fashion.

Note the racial disparities in the demographics of drug users and those imprisoned for drug offenses. While white people are far more likely to be illicit drug users than black people, blacks make up a disproportionate amount of the American prison population.


More than 60% of the people in prison are now racial and ethnic minorities. For Black males in their twenties, 1 in every 8 is in prison or jail on any given day. These trends have been intensified by the disproportionate impact of the “war on drugs,” in which three-fourths of all persons in prison for drug offenses are people of color.

The racial disparity in prison contributes to the lack of empathy Americans feel for incarcerated people, which is in turn exploited and exacerbated by like minded politicians. Simply put, your elected officials exploit racist stereotypes about blacks and crime to justify failed punitive policies rather than effective ones.

I question how much of the recent interest in rehabilitative programs has to do with the higher degree of white Americans being snared by mandatory minimum sentencing laws. It also makes one wonder, now that Brown has been overturned, will Americans lose interest in providing adequate public education for its resegregated schools? Will they rely on the words of people like Oprah to rationalize their disinterest in providing adequate resources to mostly black schools? Or will the callousness we’ve seen for so many years with regards to failed corrections policies become the rule in public education?

But maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. First, Washington has to pass a law that brings our bloated prison system back to focusing on reducing crime rather than punishing criminals. Given the Democratic Party’s cowardice on the war in Iraq, which overwhelming amount of Americans oppose, I have little faith that they will show courage on behalf of America’s incarcerated.

Republicans are even less likely to do so, even though, as TalkLeft points out, such programs reduce costs to the taxpayer.

It is a powerful cultural force that can make the Republican Party disregard an opportunity to claim they have saved taxpayer money.

Obama Is Not Playing

1 Jul 2007

Last quarter, Obama raised 25 million dollars.

This quarter, the Obama campaign has raised 31 million dollars for the Democratic Primary alone.

The pundits and political insiders questioned whether a new leader and fledgling campaign could compete with the big money and massive organization of other candidates who have been preparing to run for years, and even decades.

Well, for the second consecutive quarter, you’ve helped send a resounding answer.

I’m thrilled to report that in the last three months, the Obama campaign has set a new record for fundraising. Thanks to you, we raised at least $32.5 million including at least $31 million that we can spend on the battle for the Democratic nomination.

But as astonishing as that feat is, much more important is how we raised it.

To date, more than 258,000 Americans have contributed to this effort, much of it coming in small donations. This, too, shatters all records and sends an unmistakable message to the political establishment that the same old politics just won’t do in 2008.

Most of the money seems to have been donated for the primary. While the total is impressive, the fact that it’s all short term money suggests that even Obama’s donors are aware of the challenge the campaign faces from Hillary Clinton, who has managed to maintain a sense on inevitability surrounding her nomination despite the challenge from Obama. And don’t forget, we haven’t seen her numbers yet.

At the same time, it’s quite clear that there are hundreds of thousands of people in America who want Obama to be their next president.

Howard Debate Blog Roundup

29 Jun 2007

The presidential debate at Howard yesterday took on special significance after the Supreme Court verdict yesterday that essentially laid the way for the resegregation of public schools. What follows is a brief roundup from the distinguished group of bloggers credentialed for the event.

Pam was impressed with Obama’s statements on homophobia in the black community. Keep in mind that Howard (DC! ) Is a traditionally black university, and the debate itself was meant to focus on issues of concern to the black community.

On a question about the scourge of HIV/AIDS and its disproportionate impact on young black people — black teens represent 17% of the population by make up 69% of teenagers diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, Barack Obama took on the issue of homophobia in the black community.

He brought it out of the closet in front of the mostly black audience there at Howard and for those watching at home.

One of the things we’ve got to overcome is a stigma that still exists in our communities. We don’t talk about this. We don’t talk about it in schools. Sometimes we don’t talk about it in churches. It has been an aspect sometimes of our homophobia that we don’t address this issue as clearly as it needs to be.

This was long overdue — a presidential candidate calling out the silence that is killing people — black women are 25 times as likely to be infected with HIV than white women, as Hillary Clinton noted. If the situations were reversed it would be a national health and education emergency commanding the attention of the MSM and government. But that is not the case — there is a pitiful silence on too many levels — but not last night.

Obama’s short, but powerful statement on black homophobia is one that none of the other candidates mentioned. Is this a surprise? No — addressing the responsibility of the black community to open its eyes regarding its reticence to take on an internal bias that has allowed HIV/AIDS to ravage it touches the third rail of race. The candidates fear perceptions of a paternalistic white finger being waved at the community will result in blowback from black voters.

I’m grateful that there was a black man up on that stage to broach the subject of homophobia in this community, but the fear of the other pols needs to be overcome, all bridges need to be crossed when the statistics are this stark and horrifying.

Oliver Willis thought Hillary came out on top:

– Dems on Katrina: could this question possibly be any easier? Remotely?
– Outsourcing is bad. We need American jobs. Water is wet. Friction, damn it. Dodd, use that giant hair and hammer someone with it.
– If there’s a winner so far it’s HRC. But its kind of like Martyball – you hold the ball when you have the lead and don’t make any sudden moves.

Sherrilyn Ifill catches an exchange between Michael Eric Dyson and Clarence Page:

Dyson, clearly is feelin’ Obama. When asked by columnist Clarence Page to react to the fact that Hillary Clinton seemed to get the biggest applause of the night, Dyson said slowly, “Hillary is extremely poised and practiced.” And then the zinger: “she doesn’t live with Bill Clinton for nothin’. She knows her way around a sound bite.” I asked him whether he felt that Obama was coming up on a Cosby moment when he started talking about “valuing achievement.” He was candid. Say yes, he was concerned about where Obama was going, but felt that Obama is willing “to work on social construction (I don’t really know what that means).” We’ll ask him to explain more when he guestblogs.

Terrence at Republic of T is concerned about results on some of the issues discussed regarding Africa:

On Darfur, definitely agree with everything said re: Africa. And if we get a Democrat in office can we finally do away with the “abstinence-only” debacle we’ve been exporting to Africa, which in its own way a kind of slow genocide? And once we “stop the rapes” can we also restore funding to the women’s clinics that offer care to women who end up with fistulas as a result of multiple rapes? The funding that the Bush administration cut?

As impressed as I am by Obama addressing the issue of homophobia, it should be remembered that Obama is, like almost all the other candidates on both sides of the aisle, against Gay Marriage. I don’t know how convincing one can be at adressing homophobia if you don’t believe gay people should have the same rights as the rest of us. That said, he deserves props for being the only one with the courage to bring it up at all.

But I also have to highlight this moment from Chris Cilizza:

Speaking of nice moments, Obama showed his ease in the debate a few minutes ago. After Sen. Joe Biden (Del.) said that both he and Obama had been tested for AIDS, Obama jumped in to note that he had been tested with his wife, Michelle — jokingly adding that he didn’t want anyone to think anything “funny” was going on. The crowd laughed as PBS showed Michelle on screen. The moment showed how Obama has grown in the first three debates; he appears relaxed and comfortable tonight.

Holla.

So I watched the All-American Presidential Forum on PBS tonight. All in all, I thought it was well-run, though there were some significant audio problems. It had a well-structured pacing to it that prevented the normal boring speechification. Tavis kept a tight rein. I thought the questions were great. Tavis’recognition of 4 schoolchildren from Memphis who saved up to travel to the Forum was moving. It would have been inspiring had one of them been able to ask an actual question.

In general, it would have been great to have some audience participation of some kind. There were a lot of VIPs in the audience — many members of Congress especially your CBC members, Donna Brazile, Cornel West, Sidney Poitier (I think). Many black and latino bloggers were on hand as well (see a feed of credentialed bloggers here). It would have been interesting to hear their thoughts either before or after on the TV. Clearly though it was more of a See and Be Seen (but not Heard) style event, ya dig?

That said, I am not sure if there were any big winners. Clinton in particular did not receive the love that her husband would have had he been there and she would have been smart to bring him. Her answers were well-received in general and I particularly appreciated her take on AIDS and its impact on African-American women which received a standing ovation from some black female attendees. You’ll be hearing more about this later.

Edwards did very well in most of his answers and I was certainly impressed at his thoughtful, practical and on-point responses. The Edwards campaign reached out to me and sent me a document with his answers to the Covenant for Black America best-selling book. I especially liked #2:

Covenant #2: Education

The Covenant recommends investing in child and parental development, federal support for all levels of education, a well-rounded curriculum, well-paid and culturally sensitive teachers with small teacher-student ratios, and improved school facilities.

John Edwards believes we all pay a price when young people who could someday find the cure for AIDS or make a fuel cell work are sitting on a stoop because they didn’t get the education they needed. More than 50 years after Brown v. Board of Education, our education system remains shockingly unequal. African-American and Latino students have only about a 50 percent chance of graduating high school with a diploma. States spend $900 less per student in their most diverse school districts.

To make our system of public education the sturdy ladder of opportunity it should be, Edwards will invest more in teacher pay and training to attract the best and brightest to be teachers where we need them most while reducing class size. Edwards will also invest in preschool, fund special education, and strengthen high schools with a more challenging curriculum. Edwards will also create second-chance schools to help former dropouts get back on track.

As the first person in his family to go to college, Edwards knows firsthand the difference a college degree can make-and it is more true now than ever. That’s why in 2005, he helped start a pilot program in Greene County, North Carolina, that will help more than 125 students enroll in college next fall. It pays for one year of public-college tuition, fees, and books for anyone willing to work part-time in college, take a college-prep curriculum in high school, and stay out of trouble. Edwards has proposed expanding the College for Everyone program nationwide. As president, he will also simplify the process of applying for student aid and increase access to college counselors in high-poverty high schools.

Biden, Richardson and Dodd – sadly weak. Richardson seemed quite unprepared to discuss HIV/AIDS which was odd. Did no one tell him this is a big deal for African-Americans? Gravel played his usual role saying what no one else has the courage to say. I love that guy.

Kucinich did very well. He’s always been the sleeper candidate. The crowd loved his answers. The big three candidates would do well to pay attention to why people like him — he talks about the things people care about in ways that are compelling, down-to-earth and stunningly sensible.

And then there’s Obama. He did so well in tapping his fingers on the touchstones of our culture in thanking Howard, its president, Thurgood Marshall, the Covenant with Black America authors, etc. He referenced history and put himself in that context. He mentioned that justice in America should not be about “just us” – a well-known black in-joke. He was certainly the hometown hero. At the beginning of the session, there was a call-and-response, so intrinsic to our culture. A deep male voice rang out: “OBAMA!” And the crowd roared back in welcome and jubilation. That was a heart-stirring moment.

Still that early advantage was eroded with overall lackluster answers. He was fine, but I can’t think of many standout moments where he electrified the audience. I’m so proud of him – it’s true. But I can’t help but expect more from him.

In terms of topics, I thought Katrina, AIDS, education and today’s terrible Supreme Court decision, Darfur, and inequities in criminal justice were covered well. I am confused why Iraq which is such a strong issue in the African-American community did not receive more attention, leaving the candidates to bring the issue up themselves in their responses. Immigration also seemed to receive only a light touch with the focus instead on NAFTA and trade.

I’m looking forward to seeing some really insightful commentary and more clips online from the debate. (PBS says video will be available at 7am EST on their site Friday.)

In the meantime, here’s Tavis Smiley and his planned debate questions being attacked yesterday (using Hillary Clinton as a trope) by Fox News and Hannity & Colmes. Why did he go on their show knowing their agenda, one asks oneself at the end of the clip…Enjoy.

The ‘Comprehensive’ Immigration Bill that would have granted amnesty to 12-20 million illegal immigrants, has gone down to defeat.

From CNN.com:

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Opponents effectively killed President Bush’s long-fought and emotion-laden Senate immigration bill Thursday when members voted against advancing the controversial legislation.

The tally was 46 to 53, 14 votes shy of the 60 needed to end debate.

My answer: GOOD.

This legislation was a nightmare all the way around.
1. It didn’t have anything close to what could be called Border Security.
2. Nothing about securing our Ports.
3. It would have hurt workers on the low end of the socio-economic spectrum.
4. And, it would have hurt workers, due to the High End Visa SCAM, on the higher end of the socio-economic spectrum.

The only ones this would help were the illegals and Corporations who wanted endless supply of cheap labor, all the way around.

Despite being called bigots, and other names (yeah, I’ve gotten the names thrown at me), we either are a nation of laws, or we are not. And since laws seem to always find their way when it comes to Black folk, I’ll be frank – others should have to follow them too.

You want ‘immigration reform’?

How about take away a HUGE lobbying point of the opposition:
1. Secure the Border
2. Fully fund the Border Patrol while you expand it.
3. Secure the Ports
4. Take care of the backlog of applicants already in the system. Do you know how ludicrous it was to watch folks talk about granting amnesty to 12 million folks in one hand, and in the next news report, having anchors tell us that the Government has suspended the passport requirements for Canada and Mexico, BECAUSE THEY SIMPLY COULDN’T FILL THE PASSPORT APPLICATIONS IN TIME? They can’t fill PASSPORT APPLICATIONS in a timely fashion, and have a backlog of over 600,000 LEGAL immigrant applications that have been on hold -SOME FOR YEARS – but we’re supposed to believe that this agency is ready for 12 million new applicants for citizenship? Come on!!

IF these 4 things are done, then guess what, you take away a huge platform of the opposition.

Cross posted on: Mirror On America

Related Articles:

Senate immigration bill suffers crushing defeat

46-53, Immigration Bill Goes Down in Defeat

Incarcerex (video)

28 Jun 2007

Very little introduction needed. Short, funny and brilliant. Spread like fire, please.

Now that you’ve had that dose, let’s talk about how the War on Drugs has been a War on Colored Folks for some time now. I eagerly await your revolutionary plans in the comments section.

Some facts:

  • There are 2.24 MILLION people in U.S. prisons. America leads in absolute numbers and per capita among ALL nations in the world. For a country that touts freedom so much, we sure do lock up a lot of people. Hopefully some enlightened country like Cuba will liberate us and spread some of that freedom here
  • From drugpolicy.org: Although African Americans comprise only 12.2 percent of the population and 13 percent of drug users, they make up 38 percent of those arrested for drug offenses and 59 percent of those convicted of drug offenses causing critics to call the war on drugs the “New Jim Crow.”
  • From an interview at Truthdig: “You go back to 1925 and the black rate of incarceration is about twice that of whites. By 1990 it’s eight times the rate of whites. So what’s happening here is this extraordinary acceleration in the incarceration of black people and the single most important factor is the drug war. “

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So you’ve been heard. Here’s what the Tavis Smiley show’s top honcho had to say about your concerns (from Media Matters):

Statement from Neal Kendall, Executive Producer of Tavis Smiley

———- Forwarded message ———-

From: Laurel Lambert <llambert@xxxxx>

Date: Jun 27, 2007 10:24 AM

Subject: Producer’s statement on Frank Luntz on Tavis Smiley

To: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

The following statement has been issued by Neal Kendall, executive producer of Tavis Smiley, regarding the appearance of Frank Luntz on Friday’s Tavis Smiley latenight program:

The “All American Presidential Forum on PBS” moderated by Tavis Smiley, airing this Thursday, is an unprecedented watershed event for millions of Americans who will be seeing and hearing the candidates respond to specific issues that directly affect their quality of life.

To correct some erroneous information, please note that Dr. Frank Luntz is NOT appearing on Thursday night’s Presidential forum.

Dr. Frank Luntz is a guest the following-night, Friday, June 29th on Tavis’ regular late-night PBS program. He will be joined by a focus group of 30 people who watched the forum the night before. This group dialed in their instant responses to the candidates’ positions, using people meter technology. The primary goal of our Friday program is for Tavis to take the opportunity to converse with these 30 people and hear directly from them their thoughts and opinions on what the candidates had to say. Dr. Luntz, a consultant for many major broadcast news organizations, has appeared on our show in the past. He will discuss some of the data from the forum as part of Tavis’ conversation with the focus group.

Neal Kendall

Executive Producer

“Tavis Smiley” on PBS

Did you catch that? “Dr. Luntz” is going to be on the Tavis Smiley show Friday. Not during the forum. This ardently Republican pollster will be talking about the Democratic debate, and analyzing the Democratic debate on air with Tavis and 30 focus groups members. That’s all true. But the next day. Not Thursday.

Now, don’t you feel so much better, honey chile?

This should reassure you about Luntz’s sincerity and lack of bias as a pollster and “expert”:

- Luntz said on the October 31, 2006, edition of Hannity & Colmes: “I always use the line for [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi [D-CA], ‘You get one shot at a facelift. If it doesn’t work the first time, let it go.’ “

- Luntz was quoted in a February 24 Saturday Magazine article saying: “America won’t elect John Edwards president for the same reason we’ve never elected a used car salesman. America hates trial lawyers.”

- On the February 9 edition of CNBC’s Kudlow & Company, Luntz said of Edwards’ decision at the time not to fire two controversial bloggers from his campaign: “We all know the phrase, ‘You are judged by the company you keep.’ If this is the company that John Edwards wants to keep, he may win the Democratic primary process, but most assuredly he’s not going to be the next president.”

- Luntz said of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-NY) treatment of community activist Saul Alinsky in her senior thesis at Wellesley College on the March 2 edition of Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes: “In the language she uses, she holds him up almost like an icon. … I don’t know how to say this, but that’s like holding up some of the people from Germany in the 1930s and ’40s.”

- Luntz said on the March 13 edition of Hannity & Colmes: “We’ve been analyzing her [Clinton] over the past few weeks on your show. And she doesn’t seem to pick up the fact that there’s too much negativity. There’s too much divisiveness.”

According to Media Matters, Luntz is in Rudy Giuliani’s corner. Which is ok with me. This is America and everyone gets to choose their candidate to support. However, this is a Democratic debate. I would understand the choice of a clear partisan pollster like Luntz for Tavis’ Republican debate coming up at Morgan State Univ. That makes perfect sense to me.

Given that there are so many other neutral or left-leaning pollsters available, why fight so hard to keep Luntz as the interpretive expert for the Dem debate? What’s really going on here? Color me confused y’all…Um Tavis, care to explain?

NO BOND for Genarlow Wilson

Genarlow Wilson, the young man who was given 10 years for consensual oral sex in Georgia has been denied bond while awaiting appeal.

The law under which he was sentenced, has since been changed. A judge threw out his conviction, but the District Attorney filed an appeal, which means that Genarlow is still caught up in the legal system. And now, this judge has denied him bond during the appeal process.

He’s served over 2 years for consensual oral sex. There are no words, because the only words I feel like using would get me banned.

Cross-posted on:Mirror On America

Reference Articles:

If You’re a Black Male Teen in Georgia, Think Twice About Having Sex

Genarlow Wilson Still Awaiting Justice

Genarlow Wilson and the Uncle Tom trying to keep him imprisoned

Girl’s Mother Criticizes Prosecutor

You’d think after the whole John Conyers/Dollar Bill Jefferson screwup that Fox would be laying low and pulling its punches on Congressional Black Caucus members. But that would suppose they actually even cared about what they consider their pawns and patsies feel about being smeared as terrorists and criminals.

From ThinkProgress:

This past weekend, Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) delivered a speech commemorating the 50th anniversary of his Protestant denomination, the United Church of Christ. In the speech, Obama argued that faith in the United States has been “hijacked” by “the so-called leaders of the Christian Right, all too eager to exploit what divides us.”

Last night on Fox’s Hannity and Colmes, right-wing pundit Ann Coulter responded to Obama’s comments by implicating him as a terrorist. Coulter remarked, “Anyone named B. Hussein Obama should not use the words ‘hijack’ and ‘religion’ in the same sentence.” Host Sean Hannity added that Obama’s remarks were part of a “black separatist agenda.”

Watch it:

Fox News is still planning to hold a Democratic presidential debate cosponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus in September. Yet this sort of racist and religious bigotry aired by Fox is nothing new. Earlier this year, the network basely suggested that Obama attended a radical anti-American madrassa “financed by Saudis” as a 6-year-old old in Indonesia.

Get a full breakdown here at NewsHounds. Can someone tell me again why the CBC would consider cooperating with Fox for a minute until they change their ways? Only strong action will convince Fox to stop their attacks on Black America.

Hey y’all…I’m back. Didya miss me? I missed you.

Some of my fellow black bloggers — including Pam’s House Blend, Republic of T, BronzeTrinity and African American Political Pundit — have been talking about the Tavis Smiley/PBS Debate on Thurs night at Howard University broadcast live in primetime on PBS, 9:00-10:30 pm EST Several black bloggers are credentialed to attend and blog the conference in person and that’s a great step forward. How would it look if we weren’t involved at every level? Through having both journalists of color (3 plus Tavis) along with recognized black bloggers, it immediately puts a question mark on the status of the digital divide. Stop feeling sorry for us and start working with us as progressives on the team. From TavisTalks.com:

American Blog to Host Commentary and Dialogue for Both Forums

For both the Democratic and Republican forums, American Blog, Inc. will capture questions and send them out via the Internet across its 50-state blog network. Citizens across the U.S. can log in to the state where they live and “enter the forum”—discussing and commenting on any of the candidates’ responses.

Here’s what else you might not know about the debate though. According to some of my favorite peeps over at Media Matters, “PBS has invited Frank Luntz, a longtime Republican pollster and strategist, to provide “immediate public feedback on the performances of the candidates” during post-forum coverage on the Tavis Smiley program.” Now why would they do something like that. Let’s not forget that PBS receives substantial government funding. So guess whose bread must be getting buttered if a clearly partisan slimer like this guy is measuring the feedback of a diverse Democratic audience? Here’s more on Luntz:

* A June 2004 memo by Luntz, “Communicating The Principles Of Prevention & Protection In The War On Terror,” urged Republicans to use concepts such as “It is better to fight the War on Terror on the streets of Baghdad than on the streets of New York or Washington” and “9/11 changed everything,” which have been staples of Republican rhetoric ever since.

* Luntz’s 2002 memo “The Environment: A Cleaner, Safer, Healthier America” coached Republicans on new ways to talk about global warming and warned the party that the environment “is probably the single issue on which Republicans in general — and President Bush in particular — are most vulnerable.”

* According to a January 29, 2007, article on The New Republic’s website, Luntz “not only helped write Republican House member Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America; he was also responsible for its presentation to the public.” He also “advised Republicans trying to impeach Bill Clinton.”

Ok, but even if we put aside Luntz’s disgusting political views and activities, let’s look at The Man’s ethical and professional record:

* In September 2004, MSNBC dropped Luntz from its planned coverage of that year’s presidential debate coverage, following a letter from Media Matters that outlined Luntz’s GOP ties and questionable polling methodology.

* Washington Post polling director Richard Morin reported that the National Council on Public Polls censured Luntz “for allegedly mischaracterizing on MSNBC the results of focus groups he conducted during the [2000] Republican Convention.”

* In 1997, the American Association for Public Opinion Research formally reprimanded Luntz for refusing to release documentation in support of comments he made to the media regarding his polling work on the Republican Party’s 1994 “Contract with America” campaign platform, according to a Salon.com article.

If MSNBC dropped Luntz, shouldn’t PBS take another look at this cat? Hey Tavis, it’s not too late to uproot this snake in the grass who’s been planted with the pure purpose of striking where you least suspected it.

If you’re so inclined, contact Tavis and PBS and let them know what you think about Luntz’s curious addition to the Democratic debate on Thursday.

The Washington Post has done a series on Vice-President ” I’m not part of the Executive Branch” Cheney.

Washington Post Series:Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency

Call it what you want, but here’s the bottom line: IF you want to see the heart of darkness of the past six years, read these articles.

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Cheryl Contee aka "Jill Tubman", Baratunde Thurston aka "Jack Turner", rikyrah, Leutisha Stills aka "The Christian Progressive Liberal", B-Serious, Casey Gane-McCalla, Jonathan Pitts-Wiley aka "Marcus Toussaint," Fredric Mitchell

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