“I want to be a public servant. I want to work toward government being accessible to the people.”, says Ieshuh Griffin, who’s running for Wisconsin’s 10th District State Assembly seat. But her lofty campaign ideal is not the issue that has garnered her a significant amount of local and national media attention. Griffin (who served as valedictorian for her high school) has ruffled a lot of feathers with the purpose statement that she submitted to election officials. As an Independent candidate she’s afforded a five-word platform descriptor, to be placed underneath her name on the voting ballot. Apparently, she prefers to be recognized as “NOT the white man’s ‘bitch’”.
State election officials deemed her purpose statement to be obscene/derogatory and rejected it. Thus, her name will appear on the ballot without any purpose statement. However, she does have the right to use the statement in any literature or advertisements that she chooses to have published.
According to Griffin, her statement implies that she won’t rollover (like a dog) to the power structure of society. She says she didn’t anticipate the amount attention the actual statement has garnered and received no complaints from the 250 residents who signed her candidacy petition in the district, where she canvassed door-to-door.
The obvious question goes to why Griffin chose to articulate herself in such a manner. If she believes that her choice of words best resonates with the people in her district, should she be concerned about the not-so-positive light, in which she portrays herself and her potential constituency? Should she be concerned that her gesture perpetuates some of the negative stereotypes given to African-Americans? I would like to think that she is savvy enough to know that type of language would likely be counterproductive during Assembly and lobbying sessions.
I do not think we are at a point in society where blacks are generally benefited by the use of such provocative gestures to obtain political influence and power (or anything short of selling rap albums). I also understand that we will likely never get to a point where the dominant culture genuinely respects the human dignity of blacks, such that these gestures are given the same dismissal as those by the Limbaughs and Gingrichs’. Whether the attention will benefit her push for office, we’ll find out. Nevertheless, my friend and I wouldn’t have been discussing this in my kitchen, last Sunday afternoon, had she not made the gesture.
Fresh off the Republican primary scene, Tea Party candidate (and Republican Party spoiler) Christine O’Donnell is stomping the pavement to repair internal Rep. Party division caused by her victory in Delaware’s Senate primary elections. She defeated nine-term Representative, Mike Castle, to run against Democrat Chris Coons in November’s general elections.
O’Donnell is trailing Coons in the polls to win the Del. Senate seat, once held for several decades by Vice President Joe Biden. Opposition are already reviving old soundbites from O’Donnell where she’s made statements like, “The Bible says that lust in your heart is committing adultery. So, you can’t masterbate without lust.” This is but one of the [alleged] many unflattering statements made by O’Donnell, which will be used to portray her as unfit to lead. Apparently, Republicans around the country have deemed her unelectable and immediately began to express their disapproval of her nomination.
At today’s Values Voters Summit, O’Donnell attacked her opponents, saying, “They call us wacky.” Well, I’m not so sure that those soundbites, the Sarah Palin endorsement (credited for catipulting O’Donnell to victory), or the Palin physical and vocal makeover doesn’t hurt their argument…
Milwaukee, Waukesha and Grant counties were all recently denied federal disaster assistance for individual homeowners who experienced significant damage to their homes, resulting from the major floods during July. The decision was delivered about a week after President Obama issued a disaster declaration for the area, which makes local governments eligible to apply for federal aid that can be used for county cleanup efforts. More peculiar, the decision was issued a day after the President made a campaign appearance on behalf of gubernatorial candidate and current Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Meanwhile, hundreds of families have been devastated by the destruction of their homes, to the tune of over an estimated 50 million dollars in damage.
The responsibility to provide assistance to local citizens in the event of a major disaster rests primarily with the local government. However, Barrett stated, during a press conference a couple weeks ago, that he was refraining from making a decision to use local resources pending the outcome of FEMA’s decision. This is questionable judgment, as the odds that FEMA would provide individual assistance had decreased with every day that the decision had been up in the air.
More recently, Milwaukee Common Council President Willie Hines, Jr. has drafted legislation that will enable homeowners with flood related demolition orders to purchase a comparable city-owned single-family foreclosed home for $1. According to Hines, this move will not only provide relief to the flood victims, but also will “reduce municipal expenses, decrease the tax burden for other residents, expand the tax base for the city by increasing home ownership and add revenue for essential services”.
Hopefully, the move will get approved. (I’ll keep the timeliness commentary to myself.)
In typical polished politician fashion, President Obama backpedaled on statements he had made during a White House dinner on Friday, in which he ‘supported’ the construction of an Islamic community center near Ground Zero. “That includes the right to build a place of worship and community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances.”, said Obama, in regards to Muslims having a right to practice their religion like everyone else.
The following day, the President ‘clarified’ his remarks, stating that he “was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom to build a mosque there.” …Awww, bummer; such a short lived victory for the supporters of the community center and civil rights advocates. I suppose it got a lil’ too hot in the kitchen, as critics began coming out in full force to attack the President’s judgment for seeming to support the location of the mosque.
We can find protests against the construction of local mosques in practically every region of the country. Yet, the critics of center are asking that the developers have respect for the victims of 9/11 and not build the center so close to G.Z. I’m not sure if the critics are aware that many muslims were killed in the attacks. They’re also probably not concerned that the majority of muslims would certainly distance mainstream Islam from the extremists who commit acts of terror in the name of Allah. God forbid we actually stoop so low as to judge an entire group of people by the actions of a few, or honor the civil rights of a group of people simply because the law mandates it.
President Obama cited historic presidence for religious tolerance during a speech he gave on Friday, in which he offered support for an Islamic community center. Plans to build the $100 million dollar center have been met with a lot of controversy, as its developers have received approval to build the center three blocks away from Ground Zero.
I was almost impressed that Obama had decided to take a definitive position on a controversial issue, until I read that NYC Mayor Bloomberg had taken the same position a week ago. I’m not surprised that the so much controversy is being raised arround the issue. During a recent episode of The Daily Show, John Stewart pointed out the many protests against the building of mosques, which are not located within such close proximity to Ground Zero, although the proximity seems to be the main argument driving the protests against the center. He noted opposition to local mosques that reach as far away from G.Z. as California. It doesn’t even surprise me that the opposition has pegged it a mosque, when in fact the development also includes a performing arts theatre, swimming pool, culinary school & restaurant and a gym.
An issue that does concern me is that the developers are comfortable and adamant about building the center in that area; It seems to already be a target for hate. It also concerns (but doesn’t surprise) me that the opposition to the center has directly credited Islam with the 9/11 attacks. I suppose now that Saddam’s regime has been toppled, we need another scapegoat to misdirect our hurt and anger towards.
In what was certain to be the case, today the Senate approved President Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court. Beginning her term in October, she will be replacing retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. Only five Republicans and one Democrat voted against her, making her the third woman to currently serve on the court and the fourth to ever do so.
Women rights advocates have to be proud of the president today, as Kagan is the second woman to be confirmed under his administration so far. The failed pitch of being “a uniter, not a divider” during Bush’s 1st campaign, his appointment of 2 cookie cutter right-wing conservatives to the court clearly threw that notion right out of the window (as if everything else prior to hadn’t already done so). Nevertheless, Kagan’s nomination was met with the same political rhetoric that we’ve heard time again and should expect to hear forever more, regardless of which president from whichever political party appoints whomever. I can’t recall the last time a president’s nomination to the court getting denied. I vaguely recall some instance of it maybe happening under the Clinton administration.
I anticipate Kagan will soon be further demonized by anti-abortion and anti-gay groups, who suspect that she will likely produce votes that will hinder their efforts. These issues will certainly come before her during her term.
I will be open and blatant about my bias: I don’t support the movement against Proposition 1070 (AZ), because it further hinders the wage rate for legal workers in the U.S. From that, you can deduce that I don’t support any effort that hinders the wages for legal workers.
The bill goes into effect today, after a federal judge blocked some of the controversial items in it. The governor of AZ was swift to respond with an intent to appeal the judge’s ruling to the district appeals court. It’s all but certain that this battle will make its way to the USSC.
I sympathize with the protesters of the bill, but it’s no wonder to me that they seek to secure illegal advantages. I’m all in favor of protection from racial profiling and enforcing civil rights, but this ultimately comes down to people residing in the country illegally and being a burden on already diminishing resources (namely, jobs).
It’s no secret that undocumented workers are highly preferred over other demographics for certain aspects of the workforce.
My observation of the protests show an overwhelming force of Hispanic & Latino peoples. If they would have joined the fight against racial profiling, with similar force sooner, their argument would have more legitimacy and 1070 may have never stood a chance of being brought to the floor of AZ’s legislative body.