Monthly Archives: September 2007

BELL HOOKS: CULTURAL CRITICISM AND TRANSFORMATION

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FIRST MONDAY IN OCTOBER

After a summer hiatus, the United States Supreme Court reconvenes, first Monday in October.

The Supreme Court of the United States (sometimes colloquially referred to by the acronym SCOTUS) is the highest judicial body in the United States and leads the judicial branch of the U.S. federal government.

The Court consists of nine Justices: the Chief Justice of the United States and eight Associate Justices. The Justices are nominated by the President and confirmed with the “advice and consent” of the Senate. As federal judges, the Justices serve during “good behavior,” meaning they essentially serve for life and can be removed only by resignation, or by impeachment and subsequent conviction.

The Supreme Court is the only court established by the United States Constitution (in Article III); all other federal courts are created by Congress:

The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

The Supreme Court holds both original and appellate jurisdiction, with its appellate jurisdiction accounting for most of the Court’s caseload. The court’s original jurisdiction is narrowly focused, as defined in Article III, Section 2 (“In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the Supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction”). The court’s appellate jurisdiction encompasses “all cases” within the scope of Article III, but is subject to limitation by acts of Congress under the Exceptions Clause in Article III and by the discretion of the Court.

The Supreme Court meets in Washington, D.C., in the United States Supreme Court building. The Court’s yearly terms usually start on the first Monday in October and finish sometime during the following June or July. Each term consists of alternating two week intervals. During the first interval, the court is in session (‘sitting’) and hears cases, and, during the second interval, the court is recessed to consider and write opinions on cases it has heard.

Here are some of the major decisions of the Court since its inception:

The  Taney Court (1836–1864) made a number of important rulings, such as Sheldon v. Sill, which held that while Congress may not limit the subjects the Supreme Court may hear, it may limit the jurisdiction of the lower federal courts to prevent them from hearing cases dealing with certain subjects. However, it is primarily remembered for its ruling in Dred Scott v. Sandford, the case which may have helped precipitate the Civil War. In the years following the Civil War, the Chase, Waite, and Fuller Courts (1864–1910) interpreted the new Civil War amendments to the Constitution, and developed the doctrine of substantive due process (Lochner v. New York; Adair v. United States).

The  Warren Court (1953–1969) made a number of alternately celebrated and controversial rulings expanding the application of the Constitution to civil liberties, leading a renaissance in substantive due process. It held that segregation in public schools is unconstitutional (Brown v. Board of Education); the Constitution protects a general right to privacy (Griswold v. Connecticut); public schools cannot have official prayer (Engel v. Vitale), or mandatory Bible readings (Abington School District v. Schempp); many guarantees of the Bill of Rights apply to the states (e.g., Mapp v. Ohio, Miranda v. Arizona); an equal protection clause is not contained in the Fifth Amendment (Bolling v. Sharpe); and that the Constitution grants the right of retaining a court appointed attorney for those too indigent to pay for one (Gideon v. Wainwright). 

The Burger Court (1969–1986) ruled that abortion was a constitutional right (Roe v. Wade), reached muddled and controversial rulings on affirmative action (Regents of the University of California v. Bakke) and campaign finance regulation (Buckley v. Valeo), and held that the implementation of the death penalty in many states was unconstitutional (Furman v. Georgia), but that the death penalty itself was not unconstitutional (Gregg v. Georgia).

The Rehnquist Court (1986–2005) will primarily be remembered for its revival of the concept of federalism, which included restrictions on Congressional power under both the Commerce Clause (United States v. Lopez; United States v. Morrison) and the fifth section of the Fourteenth Amendment (City of Boerne v. Flores), as well as the fortification of state sovereign immunity (Seminole Tribe v. Florida; Alden v. Maine). It will also be remembered for its controversial 5 to 4 decision in Bush v. Gore in 2000. In addition, the Rehnquist court narrowed the right of labor unions to picket (Lechmere Inc. v. NLRB); altered the Roe v. Wade framework for assessing abortion regulations (Planned Parenthood v. Casey); and gave sweeping meaning to ERISA pre-emption (Shaw v. Delta Air Lines, Inc.; Egelhoff v. Egelhoff), thereby denying plaintiffs access to state courts with the consequence of limiting compensation for torts to very circumscribed remedies (Aetna Health Inc. v. Davila; CIGNA Healthcare of Texas Inc. v. Calad); and affirmed the power of Congress to extend the term of copyright (Eldred v. Ashcroft).

The Roberts Court (2005–present) began with the confirmation and swearing in of Chief Justice John Roberts on September 29, 2005, and is the currently presiding court. The Court under Chief Justice Roberts is moving full speed ahead towards the conservative end of the spectrum. Some of the major rulings so far have been in the areas of free speech (Garcetti v. Ceballos and Morse v. Frederick); the death penalty (Kansas v. Marsh); abortion (Gonzales v. Carhart); the Fourth Amendment (Hudson v. Michigan); school desegregation (Parents v. Seattle); and anti-trust legislation (Leegin Creative Leather Products, Inc. v. PSKS, Inc.). The Seattle school desegregation case especially had severe ramifications for race-based diversity intiatives used by school districts in trying to rectify past discrimination in public schools.(See my post https://kathmanduk2.wordpress.com/2007/07/09/segregation-now-segregation-tomorrow-segregation-forever/ )Below is a table of current active Supreme Court Justices, in order of seniority:

Name Born Appt. by Conf. vote First day Prior positions
RobertsJohn Roberts (Chief Justice) January 27, 1955 (1955-01-27) (age 52) in Buffalo, New York G.W. Bush 78-22 September 29, 2005 Circuit Judge, Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (2003–2005); Private practice (1993–2003); Principal Deputy Solicitor General (1989–1993); Private practice (1986–1989); Associate Counsel to the President (1982–1986); Special Assistant to the Attorney General (1981–1982)   **********
StevensJohn Paul Stevens April 20, 1920 (1920-04-20) (age 87) in Illinois Ford 98-0 December 19, 1975 Circuit Judge, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (1970–1975); Private practice (1948–1970); Lecturer, University of Chicago Law School (1950–1954); Lecturer, Northwestern University School of Law (1954–1958)    **********
ScaliaAntonin Scalia March 11, 1936 (1936-03-11) (age 71) in New York Reagan 98-0 September 26, 1986 Circuit Judge, Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (1982–1986); Professor, University of Chicago Law School (1977–1982); Assistant Attorney General (1974–1977); Professor, University of Virginia School of Law (1967–1974    **********
KennedyAnthony Kennedy July 23, 1936 (1936-07-23) (age 71) in California Reagan 97-0 February 18, 1988 Circuit Judge, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (1975–1988); Professor, McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific (1965–1988); Private practice (1963–1975)    **********
SouterDavid Souter September 17, 1939 (1939-09-17) (age 68) in New Hampshire G.H.W. Bush 90-9 October 9, 1990 Circuit Judge, Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (1990–1990); Associate Justice, New Hampshire Supreme Court (1983–1990); Associate Justice, New Hampshire Superior Court (1978–1983); Attorney General of New Hampshire (1976–1978); Deputy Attorney General of New Hampshire (1971–1976); Assistant Attorney General of New Hampshire (1968–1971); Private practice (1966–1968).    **********
ThomasClarence Thomas June 23, 1948 (1948-06-23) (age 59) in Georgia G.H.W. Bush 52-48 October 23, 1991 Circuit Judge, Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (1990–1991); Chairman, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (1982–1990); Legislative Assistant for Missouri Senator John Danforth (1979–1981); employed by Monsanto Inc. (1977– 1979); Assistant Attorney General of Missouri under State Attorney General John Danforth (1974–1977)    **********
GinsburgRuth Bader Ginsburg March 15, 1933 (1933-03-15) (age 74) in New York Clinton 97-3 August 10, 1993 Circuit Judge, Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (1980–1993); General Counsel, American Civil Liberties Union (1973–1980); Professor, Columbia Law School (1972–1980); Professor, Rutgers University School of Law(1963–1972)    **********
BreyerStephen Breyer August 15, 1938 (1938-08-15) (age 69) in California Clinton 87-9 August 3, 1994 Chief Judge, Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (1990–1994); Circuit Judge, Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (1980–1990); Professor, Harvard Law School (1967–1980)    **********
AlitoSamuel Alito April 1, 1950 (1950-04-01) (age 57) in New Jersey G.W. Bush 58-42 January 31, 2006 Circuit Judge, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (1990–2006); Professor, Seton Hall University School of Law (1999–2004); U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey (1987–1990); Deputy Assistant Attorney General (1985–1987); Assistant to the Solicitor General (1981–1985); Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey (1977–1981)    **********

As of 2006, the average age of the U.S. Supreme Court justices is 66 years.

When the present U.S. Supreme Court reconvenes its new term Monday, it will hear the following cases with a docket that includes:

-Cases on reimbursement for private education, election law and the rights of Guantanamo Bay detainees.

-Appeals on the constitutionality of requiring voters to show a photo ID before they may vote  (Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, 07-21, and Indiana Democratic Party v. Rokita, 07-25).

-To decide the constitutionality of execution by lethal drugs when the chemical protocol poses a risk of pain and suffering  (Baze v. Rees, 07-5439)

The following are court cases granted review  including descriptions of the issues involved, links to the Court’s electronic docket and, where available, PDFs of the petitions, briefs in opposition and replies:

Quanta Computer v. LG Electronics (06-937) (definition of the exhaustion of patent rights when licensee sells products containing the patent): docket, petition, brief in opposition, reply.

Kentucky Retirement Sys. V. EEOC (06-1037) (age bias in disability benefits packages): docket, petition, brief in opposition, reply.

Virginia v. Moore (06-1082) (lawfulness of search following arrest that violates state law): docket, petition, brief in opposition, reply.

Dada v. Keisler (06-1181) (postponement of agreement for alien to voluntarily leave U.S.): docket, petition, brief in opposition, reply.

Gomez-Perez v. Potter (06-1321) (federal employees protection against retaliation for complaining about age bias in workplace): docket, petition, brief in opposition, reply.

Ali v. Achim (06-1346) (definition of aggravated felony for deportation purposes): docket, petition, brief in opposition, reply.

Meadwestvaco v. Illinois Dept. of Revenue (06-1413) (tax on sale of investment in LexisNexis): docket, petition, brief in opposition, reply.

CBOCS West v. Humphries (06-1431) (race retaliation claim under Sec. 1981 of civil rights law): docket, petition, brief in opposition, reply.

Morgan Stanley Capital Group v. Public Utility Dist.1 (06-1457) and Calpine Energy Services v. Public Utility Dist.1 (06-1462) (federal regulators’ power to take an energy crisis into account in reviewing electric power sale contracts): docket, docket, petition, petition, brief in opposition, reply, reply.

Preston v. Ferrer (06-1463) (preemption of arbitration agreement): docket, petition, brief in opposition, reply.

Warner-Lambert v. Kent (06-1498) (preemption of claim of fraud on a federal agency): docket, petition, brief in opposition, reply.

Boulware v. United States (06-1509) (taxation on diversion of corporate funds to shareholder): docket, petition, brief in opposition, reply.

United States v. Rodriquez (06-1646) (crimes that qualify for enhanced sentence under armed career criminal law; specific issue involves state drug crime conviction): docket, petition, brief in opposition, reply.

Begay v. United States (06-11543) (whether felony drunk driving is a violent felony for purposes of enhanced sentencing under armed career criminal law): docket, petition, brief in opposition.

Gonzalez v. United States (06-11612) (waiver of right to Art. III judge to preside over jury selection when counsel agreed to have a U.S. magistrate instead): docket, petition, brief in opposition.

Crawford v. Marion City Election Board (07-21) and Indiana Democratic Party v. Rokita (07-25) (constitutionality of requiring voters to show a photo ID before they may vote): docket, docket, petition, petition, brief in opposition, supplemental brief in opposition, reply, reply.

Baze v. Rees (07-5439) (constitutionality of execution by lethal drugs when the chemical protocol poses a risk of pain and suffering): docket, petition, supplemental brief to the petition, brief in opposition, reply.

LINKS:

http://www.supremecourtus.gov/

http://suptct.law.cornell.edu/supct/index.html

http://www.usdoj.gov/osg/decisions.html

http://www.scotusblog.com/movabletype/

http://supreme.justia.com/

http://www.cbsnews.com/elements/2006/09/29/in_depth_us/interactivehomemenu2052553.html

VIDEO LINK:

http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/i_video/main500251.shtml?id=3312822n

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CAMPAIGN FOR THE WHITE HOUSE, 2008

Many citizens are still unsure on which candidate they want to vote for in the 2008 presidential campaign. I did some research into the candidates running for the highest office in the land to try and shed some light on what their political platforms are on the many issues that affect us all. I did a two-prong approach:

a.  Obtained the “official political platform” sites of each candidate

b.  Searched for the best non-partisan site that gave information on the candidates political platform.  

Hopefully this information will give everyone some idea on where these candidates stand, as well as give everyone added information to help them decide which candidate best represents their needs. These candidates have filed with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC), and are conducting multi-state campaigns.  I will only list these, and not those who are still in the deciding mode on whether or not to throw their hats in the ring.          

REPUBLICANS:


Senator Sam Brownback(Campaign site)
Sam Brownback, born September 12, 1956, in Kansas, senior Senator from that state. In April 2005, the Associated Press reported that Brownback, who is little known outside his home state, “is using a network of social conservatives and Christian activists to raise his profile” in such battleground states as Iowa and New Hampshire. He is well known for his social and fiscal conservative record, such as opposing abortion and instituting a flat tax alternative to the current IRS Code. He was also instrumental in Congress’ bestowing the Congressional Medal upon Mother Teresa. In his own words, “The core of my being is to rebuild the family and renew the culture.” On December 4, 2006, Brownback announced that he would form an exploratory committee. On January 20, 2007 Brownback officially announced his candidacy. Of his campaign, Brownback has said, “I’m a son of a farmer from Kansas … I still think anybody can be president. I don’t think you have to show up with $100 million to do it. … I’m the tortoise in the race. And I don’t like how the race starts; I like how it ends up.”

Rudy Giuliani former mayor of New York City(Campaign site)

 

Rudolph Giuliani, born May 28,  1944, in New York, former mayor of New York City. Giuliani said on October 2, 2005, that he would look at the possibility of running for President. On November 13, 2006, he announced that he was forming an exploratory committee. He has led several state and nationwide polls for the Republican nomination and the general election, and has been mentioned by many media sources as a possible candidate since the 9/11 attacks and a speech to the 2004 Republican Convention. Giuliani is pro-choice, and supports a type of civil union between same sex couples and agrees for legal and medical reasons that same sex relationships should get the same rights under the law. He also believes in strong restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms and agrees with harsh punishment for illegal weapons or non permitted weapons. While opinions differ, some think that these positions could help him, should he secure the nomination, in the general election; others question whether the Republican base would support a nominee with Giuliani’s social positions. On February 5, 2007, Giuliani unofficially entered the race for the 2008 US presidential election by filing a “statement of candidacy” with the Federal Election Commission, but legally keeping him at the same level as he was while running an exploratory committee. On February 15, Giuliani officially announced that he was running on CNNs Larry King Live show. If elected, Giuliani would be the first Italian-American to hold the office of president, the second Roman Catholic, following John Kennedy.


Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas(Campaign site)

 

Mike Huckabee, born August 24, 1955, in Hope, Arkansas, served as Governor of Arkansas for 10 and a half years. Huckabee has announced he will seek the Presidency in 2008.  He has made several trips to important primary states, including a four-day trip to New Hampshire in August 2006. His campaign has been focused largely on Iowa for the Ames Straw Poll on August 11, 2007 He announced that he would be running in 2008 on NBC’s Meet the Press Television show with Tim Russert and has since made an appearances on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, The Today Show on NBC and many appearances on CNN, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC regarding the 2008 Presidential ElectioN..


Representative Duncan Hunter(Campaign site)

 

Duncan Hunter, born May 31, 1948, in Riverside, California, U.S. Representative from that state and former Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Hunter formally announced his presidential candidacy in Spartanburg, South Carolina, on January 25, 2007. He is known for his strong stance against illegal immigration, support and opposition to free trade agreements like North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization.  He introduced H.R. 552, The Right to Life Act, “to implement equal protection . . . for the right to life of each born and preborn human person”; it has over 100 co-sponsors.


Dr. Alan Keyes(Campaign site)
Alan Keyes, born August 7, 1950, is a former Reagan administration diplomat, a Harvard-educated constitutional scholar, and a conservative political activist. He is also a former television and radio talk show host. He has previously run twice for President of the United States in 1996 and 2000 and three times for the U.S. Senate in 1988, 1992, and 2004 as a Republican.

Senator John McCain(Campaign site)

John McCain, born August 29, 1936, in the US-controlled Panama Canal Zone, Senator from Arizona. Often characterized as a Republican maverick in the Senate, he is well-known. In 2000, he failed in his attempt to deny George W. Bush the Republican nomination: McCain continued his ultimately unsuccessful campaign long after the other Republican candidates had united behind Bush.

McCain’s bipartisan compromise on judicial nominations and his strong support of campaign finance reform have drawn the ire of many groups, many of which have vowed to work against any McCain campaigns for the Republican nomination in 2008. However, he has a strong stance on many issues and economically falls more along the lines of traditional “fiscal conservatism.” These factors, along with his commitment to the War on Terror (including Iraq) have boosted his popularity amongst conservatives since 2004, when he emphasized these traits while stumping for Republican candidates. If elected, he would become the oldest person in history elected president, surpassing Ronald Reagan, and if elected to two terms, McCain would be the oldest sitting president in U.S. history.

On November 15, 2006, McCain announced that he would form an exploratory committee.

On “The Late Show with David Letterman” on Feb 28, 2007, Sen. John McCain announced he will seek the GOP presidential nomination, and made a formal announcement on April 25, 2007.


Representative Ron Paul(Campaign site)

 

Ron Paul, born August 20, 1935, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is a long time U.S. Representative from Texas with a strong constitutionalist and libertarian voting record. Paul has been nicknamed “Dr. NO” for his opposition to tax increases and spending bills. He has chastened his fellow Republicans for abandoning the party’s ideals, and for helping to create an unsustainable national debt now in the trillions of dollars. Paul seeks to “reinstate the Constitution and restore the Republic.”

On January 11, 2007, Paul filed papers to form an exploratory committee for the 2008 presidential race. He formally declared his candidacy 12 March 2007 as a guest on Washington Journal on C-SPAN. He is not running as a Libertarian as he did nearly two decades ago. Paul has the distinction of being opposed to the Iraq  War and interventionist US foreign policy. He is one of 7 Republican congressman who voted against Iraq War authorization in October 2002. He has also opposed George W. Bush and the majority of Republican congressmen on many other issues, including the PATRIOT Act. His record on these issues means he may draw support from some surprising circles, including anti-war activists and paleoconservatives.

On 20 February 2007, Paul’s exploratory committee posted a formal video of him explaining his reason for running on YouTube.


Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts(Campaign site)

Mitt Romney, born March 12, 1947, in Michigan, is former Governor of Massachusetts; he did not seek a second term in November 2006. Romney has made numerous trips to primary states such as South Carolina, Michigan, and New Hampshire, during recent years. Romney is running on his record as co-founder of Bain Capital, the CEO of the 2002 Winter Olympics, and his record as Governor of Massachusetts. Although he ran as a moderate for the office of Governor of Massachusetts and during his failed Senate bid in 1994, he supported more conservative positions as his term progressed. Romney formed a presidential exploratory committee on January 3, 2007, the day he left the governor’s office.

On January 9, Romney raised $6.5 million in his first fundraiser, beating both Giuliani and McCain’s fundraising efforts ($1 and $2 million respectively).

Romney has already received major endorsements, including that of former Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert.

Romney officially announced his candidacy on February 13 at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.


Representative Tom Tancredo(Campaign site)

Tom Tancredo, born December 20, 1945, in Colorado, U.S. Representative from that state and leading advocate for more restrictive immigration policies. On April 2nd, 2007, Rep. Tancredo announced his official candidacy on Iowa talk radio station 1040 WHO. Tancredo has a dedicated grassroots following among paleoconservative. He has visited early Presidential primary states such as New Hampshire, Michigan and Iowa to begin building popular support and has polled favorably amongst grassroots Republicans. Tancredo announced on January 16, 2007, that he was forming an exploratory committee.


Fred Thompson, former Senator of Tennessee(Campaign site)

 

Fred Dalton Thompson, born August 19, 1942, former Senator from Tennessee and actor, best known for playing D.A. Arthur Branch on Law & Order. There was speculation that Thompson would run for Governor of Tennessee in 2006, but he declined to run against the popular Governor Phil Bredesen. There has recently been a movement to encourage Thompson to run for President in 2008. On March 11, 2007, Thompson said “I’m giving some thought to it. Going to leave the door open. A lot of people think it’s late already. I don’t really think it is, although the rules of the game have changed somewhat. … I think people are somewhat disillusioned. I think a lot of people are cynical out there. I think they’re looking for something different.”  On June 1, Thompson announced he had established a preliminary campaign committee, thus taking his first formal step toward an official presidential bid. On September 6, he officially entered the presidential race.

DEMOCRATS:


Senator Joe Biden(Campaign site)

 

Joe Biden, born November 20, 1942, in Scranton, Pennsylvania, U.S. Senator from Delaware and candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988, although he ceased active campaigning in 1987, before the first primaries. Biden first hinted that he might run in 2008 in a December 8, 2004, radio interview with host Don Imus, saying: “I’m going to proceed as if I’m going to run.” Biden has repeatedly stated his intention to run, and did so as early as 21 March 2006. Biden’s Federal Leadership PAC is “Unite Our States”, which tracks Biden’s public appearances and policy positions. On 7 January 2007, when asked by Tim Russert on Meet the Press “Are you running for President?” he responded, “I am running for President.” He also said he plans to create an exploratory committee by the end of the month. On January 31, 2007, he officially signed the papers with the FEC to run for president.

  • U.S. Senator from Delaware: 1973–Present
Senator Hillary Clinton
(Campaign site)

 

Hillary Rodham Clinton, born October 26, 1947, in Illinois, U.S. Senator from New York and former First Lady of the United States. Clinton announced the formation of her exploratory committee on 20 January 2007, with a post on her website. She has delivered several speeches which analysts say are intended to reach out to moderates. She has also been holding fundraising meetings, including meeting with women from Massachusetts, a key constituency of potential rival and 2004 nominee John Kerry; however, these activities are consistent with the lead up to a campaign for re-election to her Senate seat in 2006. Many Republicans were hoping that Senator Clinton would not run for President, presumably believing her to be a polarizing figure. If elected, Clinton would be the first female president. Clinton announced on January 20, 2007, that she will run in 2008 (the same day she announced the formation of an exploratory committee). She has filed the official paperwork for an exploratory committee.

  • First Lady of Arkansas: 1979–1981 and 1983–1992
  • First Lady of the United States: 1993–2001
  • U.S. Senator from New York: 2001–present

Senator Christopher Dodd(Campaign site)
Christopher Dodd, was born May 27, 1944, in Connecticut and is a five-term U.S. Senator from that state. Dodd was reported to be a likely contender for the Democratic Vice President slot on John Kerry’s ticket in 2004. In May 2006, Dodd said he has “decided to do all the things that are necessary to prepare to seek the presidency in 2008”, including hiring staff, raising money and traveling around the country in the next few months to enlist support. On Jan. 11, 2007, Dodd announced his Presidential candidacy on the “Imus in the Morning” radio show with Don Imus.

  • U.S. Senator from Connecticut: 1981–Present
  • U.S. Representative from the Connecticut’s 2nd congressional district: 1975–1981

Former Senator John Edwards(Campaign site)

 

John Edwards, born June 10, 1953, in South Carolina, former U.S. Senator from North Carolina, candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2000 and 2004 Democratic vice-presidential nominee. As a presidential candidate, Edwards was famed for his populist message in his “Two Americas” speech and also for his optimistic, positive attitude. This was evidenced by his refusal to attack his opponents. In the primaries, Sen. Edwards had strong come-from-behind showings in the crucial states of Iowa, Oklahom, Virginia, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Georgi. He also won the North Carolina caucus and the South Carolina primary. Edwards has kept his Federal Leadership PAC, the One America Committee, active to help Democrats across the nation win elections in the future. On February 5, 2005, Edwards spoke at the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s fundraising dinner. On August 18, 2005, Edwards traveled to Waterloo, Iowa, to deliver an address to the Iowa AFL-CIO, a potential key supporter in the Iowa caucus. On December 26, 2006, Edwards formally announced his candidacy.

  • U.S. Senator from North Carolina: 1999–2005
  • Director of the Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: 2005–2006
  • Council on Foreign Relations

Former Senator Mike Gravel(Campaign site)

 

Mike Gravel, born May 13, 1930, in Springfield, Massachusetts. U.S. Senator from Alaska from 1969 to 1981 and an active candidate for Vice President in 1972. He is most known for playing a key role in ending the draft during the Vietnam War through the release of the Pentagon Papers and through staging a one-man filibuster for 5 months. He is also notable for advocating a guaranteed annual income, which he termed a “citizen’s wage,” of $5,000 per person, regardless of whether the person worked. On April 13, 2006, Gravel announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination. His policy announcements to date include support for direct democracy, FairTax and withdrawal from Iraq. Mike Gravel filed with the FEC in April according to various news sources. The FEC’s site has listed his reports since July.

  • Alaska State Representative: 1962–1966 (Speaker: 1965–1966)
  • U.S. Senator from Alaska: 1969–1981

Representative Dennis Kucinich(Campaign site)

 

Dennis Kucinich, born October 8, 1946, in Cleveland, Ohio. Ohio Congressman, former Mayor of Cleveland, and 2004 Democratic primary candidate. Dennis Kucinich is known by many as “The Peace Candidate”, having received the 2003 Gandhi Peace Award. Kucinich opposed the war in Iraq and the Patriot Act. Under Kucinich’s plan, United Nations peace-keepers would go to Iraq if the Iraqi citizens desire their presence. The Congressman re-introduced legislation to create a United States Department of Peace via HR 808 on February 5, 2007. He is currently campaigning to end the war in Iraq by cutting off funding, if such measures are necessary. He is the only democratic candidate who voted against authorizing President Bush to invade Iraq. He is in support of peaceful diplomatic relations with Iran, and all nations. Kucinich has received many awards praising his courage and work for peace. On December 12, 2006, Kucinich announced his candidacy at an event at Cleveland’s City Hall.

  • Mayor of Cleveland: 1978–1979
  • U.S. Representative from Ohio’s 10th congressional district: 1997–Present

Senator Barack Obama(Campaign site)

 

Barack Obama, born August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S. Senator from Illinois. A “draft Obama” movement began with his well-received 2004 Democratic National Convention keynote address. Obama was the featured speaker at Iowa Senator Tom Harkin’s annual steak fry, a political event favored by presidential hopefuls in the lead-up to the Iowa caucus. He was endorsed by talk show host Oprah Winfrey in 2006. Various recent opinion polls have seen Obama trailing only Hillary Clinton in several polls. If elected, he would become the first part black American President of the United States. Obama announced on February 10, 2007, that he will run in 2008. He has filed the official paperwork.

  • U.S. Senator from Illinois: 2005–Present

Governor Bill Richardson(Campaign site)
Bill Richardson,  born November 15, 1947, in Pasadena, California, Governor of New Mexico, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Secretary of Energy and U.S. Representative. After reportedly informing party leaders in February 2005 of his intention to run for president, on December 7, 2006, Richardson said “I am running” during his response to a prospective question about the 2008 presidential election by Fox News, however he later retracted the decision and said he would make an official decision by January. On May 21, 2007, he officially declared his candidacy.  If elected he would be the first Hispanic American to hold Presidential Office.

  • Governor of New Mexico: 2003–Present
  • United States Secretary of Energy: 1998–2001
  • United States Ambassador to the United Nations: 1997–1998
  • U.S. Representative from the New Mexico’s 3rd congressional district: 1983–1997

The non-partisan site I selected is “On the Issues”. This is the website link:

http://ontheissues.org/default.htm

To find how a candidate voted over the years on a particular issue, look at the top of the site for the word “ISSUES”. To find on where a candidate stands on abortion, civil rights, crime, drugs, etc., look for those categories at the top as well, and click on that. Names of each candidate will come up showing present, and past performance, on where they stand.

This site gives the decisions candidates have made on various issues, not just in the present, but, also in the past. This site has information on how a particular candidate stands on say, abortion, in 2007, and how that candidate stood on abortion in say, 2005.

Here is one that I thought was very interesting.

Mitt Romney on abortion.

Read it for yourself, and you decided if Romney did the old “flip-flop” on if he is pro-life or pro-choice:

IOWA ATTACK PHONE ADS NOT TRUE; I AM PRO-LIFE

“wQ: [to Brownback]: Your campaign has been making phone calls to Iowa voters about Mitt Romney:

(BEGIN AUDIO)
ANNOUNCER: Mitt Romney is telling Iowans that he is firmly pro-life. Nothing could be further from the truth. As late as 2005, Mitt Romney pledged to support and uphold pro-abortion policies and pass taxpayer funding of abortions in Massachusetts. His wife, Ann, has contributed money to Planned Parenthood. Mitt told the National Abortion Rights Action League that, “You need someone like me in Washington.”
(END AUDIO)

Q: Do you stand by that attack?

BROWNBACK: I certainly do. There’s one word that describes that ad, and it’s “truthful.” That’s a truthful ad. And that’s what campaigns are about: for getting the truth out, expressing the differences between candidates.

Q: Is everything in that ad true?ROMNEY: Virtually nothing in that ad is true. I am pro-life. That’s the truth. Every action I’ve taken as governor of Massachusetts has been pro-life.

Source: 2007 GOP Iowa Straw Poll debate Aug 5, 2007

Tired of holier-than-thou attitude about becoming pro-life

Q: [to Romney]: Are any of the specifics true in Sen. Brownback’s phone ad calling you pro-choice?ROMNEY: Abortion is a very difficult decision. We’re involved in the lives of two people: a mom and an unborn child. I’ve come down on the side of saying I’m in favor of life. The best way you can learn about someone is not by asking their opponent, but ask them, “What do you believe, and what’s your view?” And I am pro-life. And virtually every part of that ad is inaccurate. I’m pro-life. My positions are pro-life.

BROWNBACK: You can go on YouTube and see the governor speaking himself about where he is on this position in 1994.ROMNEY: Look, I was pro-choice. I am pro-life. You can go back to YouTube and look at what I said in 1994. I never said I was pro-choice, but my position was effectively pro-choice. I changed my position. And I get tired of people that are holier-than-thou because they’ve been pro-life longer than I have. But I’m proud of the fact.”

Well, readers, you be the judge.

I went to youtube to search for the video, but, unfortunately, it is no longer listed.

Hopefully this post will help everyone learn more about each candidate.

For further information on what an exploratory committee is, click on this link:

http://www.ct.gov/seec/lib/seec/forms/seec5-instructions.pdf

For information on what the Federal Election Commission does, click on these links:

http://www.fec.gov/

http://www.independentsector.org/PDFs/electioneeringrule.pdf

http://www.thefederalregister.com/b.p/department/FEDERAL_ELECTION_COMMISSION/

I will continue to search for other sites I think will better help everyone on the candidates.

As I find that information, I will update this post.

 

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HALLELUJAH

After viewing an episode of the  TV program, “Cold Case” a very beautiful and haunting song was sung near the end of the show. I had never heard that song before. Its chorus refrain “Hallelujah” stayed with me even after the song ended and the end credits came on.

 When I first heard this song I felt that it had religious connotations to it. I felt that it was a man talking to God and trying to comes to terms with his faith. That I have never read the words to it, and that I never have heard it enough to know the words by heart to be able to comprehend their meaning, caused the meaning of the song to be lost on me. I guess you could say that what many people say about rap music, I too, could have said the same about this song:

“It’s got a good beat/melody, but, what about the lyrics?”

Turns out the song has a different meaning behind it, than the meaning I had envisioned.

I stopped by Yolanda Carrington’s blogsite, The Primary Contradiction (http://genderracepower.com  ) just cruising along to see what she was posting about, when lo, and behold, she had posted about this song. While reading her words, I thought to myself:  “Hey, can this song be the one sung on that Cold Case episode?” I clicked onto the video, listened, and was happy that I stopped by Yolanda’s. I had finally found this lovely song, and could now hear it.

 Then and there, I learned the actual meaning of this song was different from what I had thought it was all this time. Here’s Yolanda’s description of “Hallelujah”:

http://www.genderracepower/?p=425

“I first heard the song above when I was nineteen, in the closing credits of an MTV documentary about the by then-late Tupac Shakur, performed by the equally late Jeff Buckley. It would be a full decade before I learned that “Hallelujah” was a Leonard Cohen composition. From the day I first heard those verses, rendered by Jeff’s ethereal voice, I have loved this song.

Here’s a clip of the Ladies’ Man himself performing “Hallelujah” on German television in that wonderful talk-sing baritone of his. As a church girl from way back, y’all know this song hits me right in the heart. Not a small feat for one of the most erotically bittersweet songs about lost love ever written. Enjoy.”

I still cannot listen to this song without thinking of religious thoughts:  God, salvation, redemption? Or secular, worldly lost love, that tears at a person, years after the lover has gone from sight?

Maybe it’s all those “Hallelujahs” that do it.

Anway click on the link above and listen to the original songwriter, Leonard Cohen, sing the song himself. (Pay careful attention to the chorus/backup singers in the background. Near the beginning when Leonard is singing, you see a couple of singers peeking from behind the columns waiting for their cue to come out singing.)

Here is Jeff Buckley’s version as well, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsa_xWLOghg&mode=related&search=

Here is Rufus Wainwright’s version which I think was the one I heard on Cold Case, since the piano was the only musical instrument used to accompany the singer’s beautiful voice, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMrZ7lChK-g&mode=related&search

Enjoy, indeed.

HALLELUJAH

Now I’ve heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you
To a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

You say I took the name in vain
I don’t even know the name
But if I did, well really, what’s it to you?
There’s a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn’t matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah

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SENATE APPROVES EXPANSION OF HATE CRIMES LEGISLATION

Today, the U.S. Senate voted, 60-39, to approve the Kennedy-Smith Amendment 3035 to H.R. 1585, expanding the present hate crime legislation. Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filed for cloture on Amendment 3035 to the Department of Defense Reauthorization bill that would give the federal government jurisdiction over virtually every purported hate crime. The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act provision adds “sexual orientation” and “perceived gender identity” as protected minorities under federal law to the list of hate crimes already covered by federal law.

 

HERE IS HOW THE SENATE VOTED:

U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 110th Congress – 1st Session as compiled through Senate LIS by the Senate Bill Clerk under the direction of the Secretary of the Senate

Vote Summary

Question: On the Cloture Motion (Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Kennedy Amdt. No. 3035 )
Vote Number: 350 Vote Date: September 27, 2007, 11:17 AM
Required For Majority: 3/5 Vote Result: Cloture Motion Agreed to
Amendment Number: S.Amdt. 3035 to H.R. 1585 (National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008)
Statement of Purpose: To provide Federal assistance to States, local jurisdictions, and Indian tribes to prosecute hate crimes, and for other purposes.
Vote Counts: YEAs 60
  NAYs 39
  Not Voting 1
       

Alphabetical by Senator Name

Akaka (D-HI), Yea
Alexander (R-TN), Nay
Allard (R-CO), Nay
Barrasso (R-WY), Nay
Baucus (D-MT), Yea
Bayh (D-IN), Yea
Bennett (R-UT), Nay
Biden (D-DE), Yea
Bingaman (D-NM), Yea
Bond (R-MO), Nay
Boxer (D-CA), Yea
Brown (D-OH), Yea
Brownback (R-KS), Nay
Bunning (R-KY), Nay
Burr (R-NC), Nay
Byrd (D-WV), Yea
Cantwell (D-WA), Yea
Cardin (D-MD), Yea
Carper (D-DE), Yea
Casey (D-PA), Yea
Chambliss (R-GA), Nay
Clinton (D-NY), Yea
Coburn (R-OK), Nay
Cochran (R-MS), Nay
Coleman (R-MN), Yea
Collins (R-ME), Yea
Conrad (D-ND), Yea
Corker (R-TN), Nay
Cornyn (R-TX), Nay
Craig (R-ID), Nay
Crapo (R-ID), Nay
DeMint (R-SC), Nay
Dodd (D-CT), Yea
Dole (R-NC), Nay
Domenici (R-NM), Nay
Dorgan (D-ND), Yea
Durbin (D-IL), Yea
Ensign (R-NV), Nay
Enzi (R-WY), Nay
Feingold (D-WI), Yea
Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Graham (R-SC), Nay
Grassley (R-IA), Nay
Gregg (R-NH), Yea
Hagel (R-NE), Nay
Harkin (D-IA), Yea
Hatch (R-UT), Nay
Hutchison (R-TX), Nay
Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
Inouye (D-HI), Yea
Isakson (R-GA), Nay
Johnson (D-SD), Yea
Kennedy (D-MA), Yea
Kerry (D-MA), Yea
Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea
Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Kyl (R-AZ), Nay
Landrieu (D-LA), Yea
Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea
Leahy (D-VT), Yea
Levin (D-MI), Yea
Lieberman (ID-CT), Yea
Lincoln (D-AR), Yea
Lott (R-MS), Nay
Lugar (R-IN), Yea
Martinez (R-FL), Nay
McCain (R-AZ), Not Voting
McCaskill (D-MO), Yea
McConnell (R-KY), Nay
Menendez (D-NJ), Yea
Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Murkowski (R-AK), Nay
Murray (D-WA), Yea
Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Nelson (D-NE), Yea
Obama (D-IL), Yea
Pryor (D-AR), Yea
Reed (D-RI), Yea
Reid (D-NV), Yea
Roberts (R-KS), Nay
Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea
Salazar (D-CO), Yea
Sanders (I-VT), Yea
Schumer (D-NY), Yea
Sessions (R-AL), Nay
Shelby (R-AL), Nay
Smith (R-OR), Yea
Snowe (R-ME), Yea
Specter (R-PA), Yea
Stabenow (D-MI), Yea
Stevens (R-AK), Nay
Sununu (R-NH), Nay
Tester (D-MT), Yea
Thune (R-SD), Nay
Vitter (R-LA), Nay
Voinovich (R-OH), Yea
Warner (R-VA), Yea
Webb (D-VA), Yea
Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea
Wyden (D-OR), Yea
       

Grouped By Vote Position

YEAs —60
NAYs —39
Not Voting – 1
       

Grouped by Home State

Alabama: Sessions (R-AL), Nay Shelby (R-AL), Nay
Alaska: Murkowski (R-AK), Nay Stevens (R-AK), Nay
Arizona: Kyl (R-AZ), Nay McCain (R-AZ), Not Voting
Arkansas: Lincoln (D-AR), Yea Pryor (D-AR), Yea
California: Boxer (D-CA), Yea Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Colorado: Allard (R-CO), Nay Salazar (D-CO), Yea
Connecticut: Dodd (D-CT), Yea Lieberman (ID-CT), Yea
Delaware: Biden (D-DE), Yea Carper (D-DE), Yea
Florida: Martinez (R-FL), Nay Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Georgia: Chambliss (R-GA), Nay Isakson (R-GA), Nay
Hawaii: Akaka (D-HI), Yea Inouye (D-HI), Yea
Idaho: Craig (R-ID), Nay Crapo (R-ID), Nay
Illinois: Durbin (D-IL), Yea Obama (D-IL), Yea
Indiana: Bayh (D-IN), Yea Lugar (R-IN), Yea
Iowa: Grassley (R-IA), Nay Harkin (D-IA), Yea
Kansas: Brownback (R-KS), Nay Roberts (R-KS), Nay
Kentucky: Bunning (R-KY), Nay McConnell (R-KY), Nay
Louisiana: Landrieu (D-LA), Yea Vitter (R-LA), Nay
Maine: Collins (R-ME), Yea Snowe (R-ME), Yea
Maryland: Cardin (D-MD), Yea Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Massachusetts: Kennedy (D-MA), Yea Kerry (D-MA), Yea
Michigan: Levin (D-MI), Yea Stabenow (D-MI), Yea
Minnesota: Coleman (R-MN), Yea Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea
Mississippi: Cochran (R-MS), Nay Lott (R-MS), Nay
Missouri: Bond (R-MO), Nay McCaskill (D-MO), Yea
Montana: Baucus (D-MT), Yea Tester (D-MT), Yea
Nebraska: Hagel (R-NE), Nay Nelson (D-NE), Yea
Nevada: Ensign (R-NV), Nay Reid (D-NV), Yea
New Hampshire: Gregg (R-NH), Yea Sununu (R-NH), Nay
New Jersey: Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea Menendez (D-NJ), Yea
New Mexico: Bingaman (D-NM), Yea Domenici (R-NM), Nay
New York: Clinton (D-NY), Yea Schumer (D-NY), Yea
North Carolina: Burr (R-NC), Nay Dole (R-NC), Nay
North Dakota: Conrad (D-ND), Yea Dorgan (D-ND), Yea
Ohio: Brown (D-OH), Yea Voinovich (R-OH), Yea
Oklahoma: Coburn (R-OK), Nay Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
Oregon: Smith (R-OR), Yea Wyden (D-OR), Yea
Pennsylvania: Casey (D-PA), Yea Specter (R-PA), Yea
Rhode Island: Reed (D-RI), Yea Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea
South Carolina: DeMint (R-SC), Nay Graham (R-SC), Nay
South Dakota: Johnson (D-SD), Yea Thune (R-SD), Nay
Tennessee: Alexander (R-TN), Nay Corker (R-TN), Nay
Texas: Cornyn (R-TX), Nay Hutchison (R-TX), Nay
Utah: Bennett (R-UT), Nay Hatch (R-UT), Nay
Vermont: Leahy (D-VT), Yea Sanders (I-VT), Yea
Virginia: Warner (R-VA), Yea Webb (D-VA), Yea
Washington: Cantwell (D-WA), Yea Murray (D-WA), Yea
West Virginia: Byrd (D-WV), Yea Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea
Wisconsin: Feingold (D-WI), Yea Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Wyoming: Barrasso (R-WY), Nay Enzi (R-WY), Nay
       

Hmm.

The U.S. Senate attaching a sexual orientation/gender identity hate crime amendment to a defense bill.

Well.

That’s an act that’s definately guaranteed to get this bill vetoed when it comes to Bush’s desk. But, then again, that is possibly the only way  to get this part of the hate crime bill sent through and approved. Sad, that a hate crime bill has to have a war-hawk portion added to it to be given validity. Of course, war is more worshipped and sanctioned by this country than the love of human life against hate crimes.

____________________________________________________________________

THE GEOGRAPHY OF HATE:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/25/opinion/25potok.html

MAP OF NOOSE HANGINGS:

http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2007/11/25/opinion/25opchart.html

CONGRESSIONAL MANEUVERING DOOMS HATE CRIME MEASURE:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/07/washington/07hate.html

PELOSI AND CONGRESS CAVING IN ON HATE CRIMES:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/10/opinion/10mon3.html

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….SO, WHAT IF I AM A BLACK WOMAN?

Preach little lady, preach!

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REMEMBERING LITTLE ROCK

Long, Lonely Walk: Fifty years ago, as one of the Little Rock Nine, Elizabeth Eckford marched into history

Will Counts / Arkansas Democrat Gazette-AP

Long, Lonely Walk: Fifty years ago, as one of the Little Rock Nine, Elizabeth Eckford marched into history

On Sept. 23, 1957, nine black high school students were greeted by an angry mob of more than 1,000 Little Rock residents protesting the integration of Little Rock Central High School. Before long, police had to escort the students to safety . This fall, Little Rock will celebrate the 50th anniversary of that pivotal moment.

  Federal troops escort members of the Little Rock Nine at Central High School in 1957.
Photo Credit: Central High Museum Collection / University Of Arkansas At Little Rock Archives Photo

REMEMBERING LITTLE ROCK

By Ellis Cose

Newsweek

Sept. 24, 2007 issue – The image is among the most iconic in civil-rights history: a dignified black girl in a prim, white-and-black dress marches through a hostile mob intent on keeping her from school. Fifty years after it first flashed around the world, that image retains its power—evoking sorrow, even anger, that one so young would face such cruelty. Now a 65-year-old woman, Elizabeth Eckford still bears scars from that long, lonely walk as one of the Little Rock Nine: teenagers charged with integrating that city’s finest high school in 1957. “I’m the only one who says I wouldn’t do it again,” said Eckford in an interview at the Little Rock courthouse where she works as a probation officer.

This month, Little Rock will commemorate the date, 50 years ago, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent the 101st Airborne to escort black children to Central High. In that moment, Little Rock became a synonym for hate. After claiming that desegregation would lead to violence, Gov. Orval Faubus ordered the National Guard to keep black children from attending the school. Meanwhile, the black students designated to integrate Central High made plans to enter as a group. Eckford’s family had no phone, so she never got the message. She came alone, only to be sent away by Faubus’s soldiers and left to the angry mob.

No black child got in on the appointed day. Three weeks later, armed with a judge’s order prohibiting Faubus from interfering, the students were spirited in through a side door (the mob was so unruly, however, police decided the Nine could not stay). In the weeks that followed, they endured unrelenting abuse. They never believed the task would be easy, but they had no idea how hellish it would become. Minnijean Brown Trickey was expelled for a fight she didn’t start. “If we knew what it was going to be, we would have been too scared to go,” says Trickey, who returned to Little Rock after many years away to care for an aged parent. Decades later, Eckford realized she suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder. For years, she could not work. In her current job since 1999, she has found a measure of peace: it has taken “a long time getting there, a long time to talk about the past without crying.”

Eckford today, at her former high school

Charles Ommanney / Getty Images for Newsweek

Now and Then: Eckford today, at her former high school


Mostly, the Nine have flourished. Many got advanced degrees. All moved away—for a while, at least—and Little Rock tried to move on. Mayor Mark Stodola says it’s time to put the past aside. He says Little Rock never deserved its racist reputation and that “the people who want to continue to look to the past are an impediment to where we want to go for the future.” Ralph Brodie, a Central High football player and student-body president at the time of the crisis, says the reputations of many were unfairly tarnished by the actions of a few. Most people at Central were receptive to the black enrollees, he says, yet the world focused on “problem students—25 maybe, a minuscule percentage.” The rest “did everything they could to make that schoolyear work,” says Brodie, a lawyer and member of Central’s 50th Anniversary Commission.

Thelma Mothershed Wair, one of the Little Rock Nine

Charles Ommanney / Getty Images for Newsweek

Overcoming: Thelma Mothershed Wair, one of the Little Rock Nine


The black students do not remember things that way. “The tone was set by a couple of hundred students engaged in this reign of terror,” says Ernest Green, one of the Nine and an executive with Lehman Brothers. “The silence was deafening. We would have appreciated some of them speaking out when all of this harassment was going on.” Eckford also dismisses Brodie’s point. Those who were silent, she says, are just unwilling to “think of themselves as bad people.”

Today, like much of the rest of America, Little Rock grapples with a continuing achievement gap in its schools, economic distress in disproportionately minority neighborhoods and mistrust among competing communities and public officials. Earlier this year Central High student Brandon Love drew a straight line from the past to the present. In an article in the Arkansas Times and elsewhere, he observed that his Advanced Placement classes were overwhelmingly white: “As an African American and the student body president, I have encountered A Tale of Two Centrals … As the only African American in most of my classes, I experience firsthand what some dismiss as ‘subtle’ racism,” he wrote. Nancy Rousseau, the transplanted New Yorker who is principal at Central, acknowledges that more whites than blacks take AP classes—but she blames differences in preparation and achievement, not discrimination. “That’s an issue that we’re dealing with, an issue that, unfortunately, is universal,” she says. “There are places that are overcoming it, and I want us to be one of them.”

The Supreme Court agrees that focusing on past racial wrongs will not yield solutions for the future—as made clear in June by its ruling against voluntary school-desegregation plans. But there is still a point in remembering how we got here, and remembering how determined some people were to keep Americans apart—if only because it reminds us of why it remains so hard for us to come together.


© 2007 Newsweek, Inc. |

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I admire the strength it took the Little Rock Nine to endure so that black students who came after them could have a right to an education that was not “separate, but, unequal”.

For nearly five decades, Little Rock Central High School has been an icon of the Civil Rights Movement.

In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. Over the next few years, schools across the country developed plans for integration; for Little Rock, high schools were to integrate by September 1957. But a few weeks before school was to begin, Governor Orval Faubus ordered the Arkansas National Guard to prohibit black American students from entering Central High.

The governor’s orders were overturned by a federal judge, but public opinion was still strongly against integration. With the arrival of the first day of school, Central High became a part of history.

Today, September 23, 2007, is the 50TH Anniversary of the integration of Little Rock Central High School. The anniversary to be celebrated in Little Rock will highlight  the opening of a new visitor center that will serve as a gateway for the Central High School experience. Personal accounts, photos, a theater, artifacts and artwork will be included.

The days surrounding the September anniversary will be marked by a festival and a ceremony on Central High’s front lawn. Check http://www.centralhigh50th.org/ for more information.

Did you know that Central High School is a part of the state of Arkansas’s National Park Service registry?

In addition to being part of the National Park Service, Central High is a fully operating high school with more than 2,300 students. If you visit today, you’ll see that the school looks much as it did 50 years ago. Across the street, the Park Service has turned a Mobil gas station into an interim visitor center; it offers ranger-led programs, interpretive displays and publications, exhibits and programs.

Free tours of the high school are by reservation only and can be made by contacting the visitor center. Info: 501-374-1957, http://www.nps.gov/chsc.

But, for a more poignant, and personal view on what Little Rock means to the original Little Rock “Nine”, please log onto the following link:

http://usinfo.state.gov/scv/life_and_culture/little_rock_nine.html
Did you know that in 1999 the Little Rock Nine each received the Congressional Gold Medal-our nation’s highest civilian honor-for their efforts to desegregate Little Rock Central High School?

Reading the news article, I am struck by how blacks and whites view the issue of race, separation, social isolation and segregation.

It wasn’t just “a few bad apples.”

The white people did not suffer from being spit on, cursed at, pelted by debris, followed around and stomped on, kicked and bruised and yelled at, and will not remember the events of Little Rock the same way Elizabeth Eckford and the rest of the Nine did.

Selective memory of the oppressor works that way. Cognitive dissonance of: “We never behaved that way. It was just a few who did”, is always the cowardly, cheap cop-out excuse given. The whole student body gave the Little Rock Nine hell EVERYDAY. The whole student body, and teachers, saw wrong done daily, and the majority of them sat back and let cruelty and mistreatment rule the day.

The very few white students who did make an effort to reach across the racial divide were told by teachers, and white parents, to stay away from the Nine. Those white students did try, but, the whole white community pushed them away from treating their fellow classmates—their fellow human beings—as normal people.

 I think of the way these brave young people were mistreated in their time, and I wonder how white students would have handled this hateful behaviour if it was directed at them under the same circumstances? White students of today who suffer a few verbal taunts with the words, “Honky” or “white cracker”, will never know what it is like to be treated as less than human in the fight to challenge a racist system that sought to destroy an entire race of people through humiliation, degradation and pathological, institutionalized white supremacy.

I cannot in anyway see what white students who attend a predominantly black school in 2007 can be compared to what the Little Rock Nine experienced. In no way have I seen vicious, savage mobs of black PARENTS, black STUDENTS, and black TEACHERS attacking and cursing at white students the way the Little Rock Nine suffered. Unless it came in under the radar, no where in this country have white students been spit on, had things thrown at them, and treated as if they had leprosy just because they were white in the EXACT SAME WAY the Nine suffered.

On a daily basis.

For days.

For weeks.

Months of isolation in classrooms.

By themselves, as if they were some disease that was catching. Just because of the color of their skin. Just because they wanted a fair education on an equal level.

Whatever white students have experienced at all-black schools, pales in comparison to what the Little Rock Nine went through.

Ms. Eckford herself stated she would not go through this again if she could do it over. She is obviously still suffering from the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. But, to say that Ms. Eckford suffered PTSD is an understatement. ALL of the Little Rock Nine suffered tremendously just to get this hypocritical country to live up to its ideals. The vitriol those brave students endured and its psychological effect is something we will never be able to comprehend.

That there are still some white parents alive now in 2007 who teach their children to hate and call black children, “Nigger”, cannot be denied. That there are still white parents now in 2007 America who teach their children to look at black people as the horrible “Others” still happens in America.

And believe it or not, those parents who teach racial hatred have not gone the way of the dinosaurs.

White people like those during the Little Rock integration had children and grandchildren, and those children learned from those relatives.

White supremacy is not dead.

You see it in housing disparity.

Educational disparity.

Economic disparity.

Judicial disparity.

Social disparity.

Every where.

White students today have never faced what the Little Rock Nine faced.

What white students go through when they attend a predominantly black or Latino school cannot begin to be compared to the same that Ms. Eckford and the Nine endured.

America thinks she is only hurting black people by not giving EVERYONE a decent and equitable education.

In the end, America only slits her own throat.

Many citizens think that if their neighborhoods get new school buildings with all the bells and whistles, that that might be a way to solve some of the issues surrounding poor student performance. As far as I’m concerned, it is not the building that houses the student that is of utmost consideration. It is the student inside who must be filled with an education that takes her  far in this life, and continues to take her beyond the life she started out with when she was born.

New buildings would be nice, but, before the school districts run out and start buying up land to build new schools, maybe they should try upgrading the present buildings they have: HVAC, mechanical, plumbing, electrical wiring, etc. Unless a building is overrun with lead paint (not many of those left around, but, some still are standing), or completely uninhabitable or dangerous for the students health [falling ceiling tiles, crumbling walls, non-working plumbing, etc.] or completely in need of demolishing, school boards can renovate the existing buildings they have now, instead of building a new school which more than likely will be located most of the time in an affluent area, as opposed to an urban area.

New buildings are nice.

But, better to work with what you have.

And if new schools are to be erected, citizens better be ready to ante up with bond elections, and higher taxes. (Which even I as a non-parent do not mind paying at all. Anything that helps ALL students, I am willing to be a part of.)

New schools are not cheap, they cost. And somebody is going to have to foot the bill.

Many citizens desire for a more “blended staff” that embodies high quality teachers with years of  superb skills and experiences under their belts, to better serve the student body. A staff that truly represents a more diverse range of racial and ethnic viewpoints and life experiences to bring to the table.

That would be wonderful, if…..

-affirmative action programs (among just a few) were not being gutted and dismantled. Remember last year’s affirmative action referendum in Michigan? AA was voted out because many whites (and overwhelmingly, white women) voted against AA because they feared the old saw, “All them minorities are stealing our jobs and our right to go to the big university”. As long as minority students get crappy educations that do not prepare them for a rigorous university curriculum; as long as minority students who DO meet the requirements of the Harvards, the Yales, the Princetons, etc., and those same students are denied admission on some excuse that they did not obtain enough points, or electives, or this test, or that test, or did not receive enough college preparatory courses, etc.; as long as minority students are barred from getting a higher education, thereby earning a degree, thereby, (hopefully) being hired to obtain skills/credentials, years of experience, as long as minority students have their legs cut out from under them with sub-standard, un-equal poor elementary/junior high/senior high school educations, and as long as every attempt they make to enter an institution of higher learning, to learn, to graduate to be hired, to be given tenure (university), to be given positions (elementary/junior/high) to pass on their hard-earn knowledge—, as long as those young people who strive to achieve and succeed are denied a chance to better themselves, we can ALL (parents and non-parents) expect many, many children to fall behind. Therefore, we can all expect to get less more highly educated, highly qualified teachers in the future.

Civil rights are under attack, and have been since Reagan. What little gains minorities have acquired have been slowly destroyed as the decades went by. And people did not have their eyes open to realize that. The past racist climate of de jure Jim Crow segregation (social, political, educational,etc.) never went away. Brown v. Board was immediately attacked after it was written into law.

And with the present Roberts SCOTUS, whatever gains that students could have received from those schools districts that willingly tried to create racial diversity, is dying and being trampled into the ground.

Highly experienced, highly credentialed teachers? Not much chance of many of them coming down the pipe in the years ahead if many universities and schools are sanctioned for trying to meet diversity that will in the end strengthen America.

Student ratios would be a different thing if the current racial climate was more true to the principles of a true democracy of equality. If difference was no longer castigated and vilified. If difference was not something to be hated and disparaged.

 In a perfect world, there would be student ratios in which no one group is in the minority. No matter what the class level, no matter what the school type (elementary/junior high/senior high). In a perfect world, there would be no extreme lop-sided majority ratios, no matter what the class, , where no one is in the minority.

Would be nice. Would be nice if segregated neighborhoods did not still exist. Would be nice if mostly affluent white homeland/bantustans did not exist. Would be nice if black/Latino/Native American, etc. homeland/bantustans did not exist, but, unfortunately they do exist.

As long as the majority white population lives in a world of white habitus, as long as non-whites, especially blacks (since this country still seeks to grind blacks into the dust more than any other racial/ethnic group) continue to live in separate apartheid enclaves; as long as the institutions of white supremacy continue, there will always be students who will be in the minority, not just due to numbers, but, due to the continued worship of devaluating the “Other”.

As long as there are white and black/Latino “churches”; white and black/Latino, etc. “neighborhoods”; white and black/Latino, etc. “social lives”; white and black/Latino, etc. “separateness”…………………as long as there is …segregation…both in body, mind and spirit….there will always be student ratios where there is someone of a group in the extreme minority.

Always.

As long as differences are exploited that serve and uphold white supremacy, figure on separation/segregation, and marginalizing the “Other”, to continue.

Until America bows to the belief that ALL have a right to an excellent education, figure on America further weakening herself from within.

Some of the hostility to true integration is the typical, “You stay the hell off my territory, my small, little piece of the world, my own space, and don’t you forget that”, mentality that saps this country of allowing all the many multi-ethnic/racial strengths to go un-used and un-incorporated into making this country into a greater and more inclusive place for all to live on a shared, equal, egalitarian level.

And that’s just the hostility that is…seen.

On the surface. In your face.

There is also the hostility that seethes and brews underneath, unseen from the outside.

The hostility that works behind the scenes that controls the pursestrings, that controls the money, that has the last say so over what one school district will get over another one.

The hostility that forments and keeps the fires of non-acceptance of difference going.

No Child Left Behind.

With the way minority children are short-changed and given dismissive, useless educations, they are the ones still being left behind.

In the end, it basically sums up to “No white child left behind'”.

And don’t get me started on bussing, which solves no problem, even if a new school is built or an existing school is renovated,  and students from all over are bussed into that school. This school will still be a turf/war-zone for differences. Even if the new school is built outside of the known neighborhood, bussing students out of the neighborhood still does not solve or seek to redress the continued existing problems that many urban and poor neighborhoods still suffer from:  inept, poorly trained teachers; horrid rotting, falling down/falling apart deteriorating schools; sub-standard, out-dated educational curriculums which are not keeping in step with the student’s daily lived experiences.

I am against bussing. I grew up when bussing was the rage, and black children/students suffered the most from it. Because that’s what bussing boils down to: “them” coming to “our” neighborhood. Whether bussing is one way, or both ways. I do not care for it.

I am a firm believer in the so-called school district allocating funds equitably across the board.

I am a firm believer that you take what you already have and learn another productive way to use it. Whatever you may have.

Existing schools. Teachers in need of upgrading their teaching skills. Parents given more information on how to help their children excel in their studies. Students given more college preparatory classes that strengthen their academic skills. School board members who get up off their rears and go out into the real world and sit down in a classroom and see what really transpires on a day-to-day basis for the teachers and the students.

I know. I know. Have to live in the real world….

….but, a girl can dream.

Yes, some schools have a stronger tax base than others, some families have more money than others, some parents have more education than others…

“To whom much is given, much is expected of.”

I know that there will always be selfish me-myself-and-I people in the world.

But, I would rather do what I can to stave off future destruction that comes from sub-standard education of today’s children, who will be tomorrow’s leaders.

Better to keep the wolf from the door that looms in the future from the mis-education of all students, by bringing up poor, urban schools to a level that meets the required preparatory level of the major colleges in America, than to face the dire consequences that will inevitably result from the insulting educations today’s youngsters are being straddled with.

I would rather see elementary/junior high/senior high schools graduate students who are prepared to enter the top 10 colleges in America, rather than to continue to see ill-prepared children who cannot take on the future world that is rapidly becoming globalized. I would rather see children in public schools taught to be critical thinkers, able to stand toe-to-toe with the rest of the world with an education that other nations would envy.

America is leaving herself behind with her hypocritical stupidity.

The rest of the world is starting to outpace America. Educating half of her population is neither beneficial nor wise in the long run.

We all lose out in the end.

We all may not be able to dismantle and tear down this system of savage inequalities all by ourselves, but, maybe we can all in some way, one child at a time, start to make a difference.

Buying books that are relevant to the various students who come to school with their unique perspective on life, and donating those books.  Offer to give volunteer time to an over-worked teacher. Volunteer to read to students at a neighborhood school. Volunteer to babysit for an overwhelmed, and over-worked young single mother. Give whatever time or effort you can. It may be a little effort to you, but, you never know who is watching. You never know who may be learning from the random acts of kindness, and senseless acts of beauty that you give selflessly to help a child, to help a teacher, to help a parent.

It would be great if this country thought more of all of its citizen’s welfare and security, but, until then, grassroots level activism and concern will always be what truly makes a difference in the end.

All it takes is one person to get the ball rolling.

Never underestimate the “power of one”.

Fifty years ago today, nine black students braved jeering, spitting, obscenity-yelling white mobs to get an education.
Black people of today in 2007 should never forget the trials, humiliation, and social isolation these young people endured to pave the way for all the young black people who came after them.

Young black people of today should never disgrace the hard-won efforts these nine young black people fought for, by saying that getting an education is “acting white.”

Getting an education is creating a living testament to all the many thousands of black people—parents, children of the black parents and the black community—put their lives on the line for.

To NOT get an education would be an insult to these nine brave young black people who faced hateful white supremacist vitriol from white mobs who sought to stop these young black people from being a part of the American Dream.

The right to an education was fought for with the blood, sweat and tears of these courageous nine black people.

For ANY young black person of the 21ST Century to not strive to be the best they can be intellectually would be nothing but spitting on the battles these nine young black people fought.

To the young black people of today, I say the following:

It is not “acting white” to get an education.

It is not “acting black” to get an education.

It is called acting intelligent, it is called showing profound respect and reverence, and it is never forgetting all the hells the many black people who came before you went through, black people who fought virulent, vicious white racist mobs that sought to beat down and prevent the many young black students who would not take anything for their journey.

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LINKS:

http://explorer.altopix.com/media/qejek3/1/2/Little_Rock_Central_High_School.htm?order=date

http://

THIS WEEK IN LITTLE ROCK:

“Unity in the Community”
September 23, 2007
1513 S Park St., Little Rock
http://www.littlerock.com/calendar/detail.asp?id=5687

Central High Integration Ecumenical Service
September 23, 2007
Robinson Center Music Hall
http://www.littlerock.com/calendar/detail.asp?id=5689

“It Happened in Little Rock – The Legacy Project”
September 23 – 30, 2007
Arkansas Repertory Theatre, 601 Main Street
http://www.littlerock.com/calendar/detail.asp?id=5426

Hearne Fine Art presents “Pictures Tell The Story: Full Circle Reflections of History”
September 23 – 30, 2007
Hearne Fine Art, 500 President Clinton Ave.
http://www.littlerock.com/calendar/detail.asp?id=6038

Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site new Visitor Center Grand Opening!
September 24, 2007
Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
http://www.littlerock.com/calendar/detail.asp?id=5129

Little Rock Nine Gala
September 24, 2007
Peabody Hotel Little Rock
http://www.littlerock.com/calendar/detail.asp?id=5691

“Daisy Bates: In Her Own Words” Book Release, Luncheon and Tour
September 25, 2007
The L.C. & Daisy Bates Museum, 1207 W. 28th Street
http://www.littlerock.com/calendar/detail.asp?id=5498

“Journey to Little Rock” screening of documentary about life of Minnijean Brown Trickey
September 25, 2007
M. L. Harris Auditorium, Philander Smith College
http://www.littlerock.com/calendar/detail.asp?id=5826

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VIDEO:

“Little Rock Central High: 50 Years Later”, Warner Home Video DVD, release date, October 30, 2007.

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