July 31, 2008

John McCain Sells Out to Big Oil

I notice that John McCain is becoming a one-note candidate with his constant rants in support of the Big Oil companies. Standing before a room of oil company executives in June, John McCain flip-flopped and declared support for coastal oil drilling. Now the Washington Post is reporting that, within days, oil and gas execs ponied up nearly $1 million to elect McCain.

When people think of Bush, they think "oil," but that's not true of McCain yet—even though his energy policy is almost identical to Bush's and his campaign is literally run by oil lobbyists! Check out this video for details:

What say u?

New AfroSpear Member: Vibrant Life

The AfroSpear continues to gain momentum. I'm proud to introduce our newest member ... Ruth Ferguson. Ruth created her blog, Vibrant Life (BBR #691), on 1/1/2008.

In her application she wrote, "I discovered AfroSpear earlier this year and consider it a wonderful resource for the diverse African descent voices across the Internet. The group has demostrated has been key in keeping some issues on the forefront such as the Jena 6 situation, pushing even MSM to take notice and view members as key resources. Delighted to learn a Black News Network is being formed by Comcast & Jessie Watts, however for me and many others AfroSpear already serves as THE online Black News Network."

When asked how her blog can support The AfroSpear, Ruth wrote, "While not as eloquent as many invovled, I certainly have a perspective on topics of the day. Initially my agenda was going to be on a broad range of subjects. However like the rest of the country, the 2008 Presidential race moved to the primary topic of discussion. Sometimes my blog serves as more of a conduit to other articles of interest I read. Regarding being vouched for by others - Shawn Williams of DallasSouthBlog.com can vouch for me. In fact, I am slated to be a guest blogger on DSB and I have also joined Bloggers 4 Barack that he co-launched."

Join me in welcoming Ruth Ferguson to crew of progressive Black bloggers known as The AfroSpear!

Scott Nugent, Taser-Killer Cop Fired and Facing Murder Charges

Seeking to defuse growing racial tensions in the small Louisiana town of Winnfield, the local district attorney announced Monday that he will seek an indictment against a white police officer for the death of a Black man who was shocked nine times with a Taser device while handcuffed in police custody.

Winn Parish District Atty. Chris Nevils said he would convene a grand jury Aug. 12 to consider possible charges against the officer, Scott Nugent, 21, who was fired from the Winnfield Police Department following the death of Baron "Scooter" Pikes.

Pikes, 21, died Jan. 17 within 39 minutes of being arrested on a drug possession warrant. His death has been ruled a homicide.

In his own written report of the Pikes' incident, Nugent acknowledged that he had subdued and handcuffed Pikes after a foot chase and that Pikes had not struggled or resisted arrest. Instead, Nugent wrote, he began tasering Pikes after the suspect did not respond quickly enough to Nugent's order to stand up and walk to a waiting police car.

Witnesses reported that Pikes had pleaded with Nugent and two other arresting officers to stop tasering him.

Click here to read the full story from Howard Witt.

July 30, 2008

Isabel Garcia Mocked in Hateful & Racist Manner by Tuscon Radio Station

Drumbeats from All About Race introduced us to Isabel Garcia heads up the Public Defender's office in Tucson AZ. She is a talented lawyer working to provide quality legal representation to those who could not otherwise afford it.

Apparently, she threatens the manhood of white conservatives in Arizona. One of them is Jon Justice who works for local radio station. Justice filmed a "webisode" of his show where he caressed and fondled a piñata intended to be the likeness of Isabel Garcia.

I'm pleased to see that the Latino community organized quickly to contact radio station advertisers and local Pima County officials to express their displeasure. The immediate reaction from this community is an object lesson for Black activists when we next have to deal with racism and hatred in our community!

I encourage all villagers to take any steps possible to end the racism and hate whenever it rears its ugly head!

A Day of Blogging for Justice - Against Extra-Judicial Electrocution (Tasers)

We update villagers on the overactive use of tasers by the police regularly. I am grateful to see that the Afrosphere Action Coalition called for a formal Day of Blogging Justice on this topic. The police appear to be ignoring their own policy as laid out in the Use of Force Continuum. Police killed five people with tasers in January 2008 alone!

Powerful voices in the afrosphere are talking about this topic here, here, here, here and here. I urge you to join in the discussions as well.

Here are samples of stories that we reported to you in the past:

Are we being too sensitive? Should we sweep our concerns under the carpet because the police are reasonable people doing a difficult job? Or should we continue to blog for justice whenever we see inappropriate use of tasers to executive our brothers and sisters before they get their day in court?

What say u?

July 29, 2008

Perp Walk: Sharpe James

Former Newark Mayor Sharpe James is heading to jail for the next 27 months as a result of his corruption conviction regarding sales of city land to a former mistress. He was also ordered James to pay a $100,000 fine.

Federal prosecutors were seeking up to 20 years for James, but the judge last week said such a long sentence was not warranted. Lawyers for the 72-year-old former mayor sought probation for James.

He led New Jersey's largest city for 20 years and was a Democratic state senator. Instead of being a remembered as a great politician and civic leader ... he will be known for taking the 'perp walk' straight to jail.

New AfroSpear Member: Raw Dawg Buffalo

We are proud to announce a new member into The AfroSpear. Our newest member is Torrance Stephens who created his blog, Raw Dawg Buffalo (BBR #22), on 10/9/2005. The passion that Torrance placed into publication of his novels over the years is on display in his blog.

Bro. Stephens is known for brevity in his comments. When asked how he saw the purpose of the AfroSpear, Torrance answered, "scholarship".

When asked how his blog would support that purpose, he said, "intellectual diversity".

Please join us in welcoming All-Mi-T into The AfroSpear family!

Legislative Record of Barack Obama

UPDATE: Joe Scarborough is mocking Barack Obama on his morning show today. He keeps asking 'What has Obama done?' Hillary asked the same question and we see how that worked for her. Anyhow, I thought it would be good to reprise this message originally posted in Feb 2008.

Team Clinton theme since they lost the Potomac Primaries is to denigrate Barack Obama as a candidate with "speeches, not solutions". The basic theme is that he is a brother that is articulate and speaks well ... (dayum, I hate when white folks give that particular praise) ... but, no action to back it up. They call Obama a 'hope-monger' (NOTE: doesn't that seem better than being a 'hate-monger'?)

We received drumbeats From My Brown-Eyed View with some telling information on the legislative record of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Lady Deborah noted that during the first eight (8) years of Obama's elected service he sponsored over 820 bills. These included:
  • 233 regarding healthcare reform
  • 125 on poverty and public assistance
  • 112 crime fighting bills
  • 97 economic bills
  • 60 human rights and anti-discrimination bills
  • 21 ethics reform bills
  • 15 gun control
  • 6 veterans affairs
His first year in the U.S. Senate, he authored 152 bills and co-sponsored another 427. These included:
  • The Coburn-Obama Government Transparency Act of 2006
  • The Lugar-Obama Nuclear Non-proliferation and Conventional Weapons Threat Reduction Act
  • The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act
  • The 2007 Government Ethics Bill
  • The Protection Against Excessive Executive Compensation Bill

So, let's add it up ... since entering the U.S. Senate, Senator Obama has written 890 bills and co-sponsored another 1096. This seems like an impressive record. Of course, it's so much easier to denigrate the brother for being 'All hat and no cattle than to simply look up his legislative record.

In my view, Obama is a doer and a talker and a motivator. In my view, he is just what our nation needs to follow the bumbling, stumbling, inarticulate presidency of George W. Bush. What say u?

Blogging While Brown Conference Keynoters

Angela Conyers-Benton and Markus Robinson gave the technology keynote address at the 1st annual Blogging While Brown Conference held in Atlanta earlier this month. The title of their presentation was 'The Ultimate Blog Experience' gave a good idea of the contents of their presentation.

Angela and Markus shared information neccessary to publish a top blog with specific traffic building strategie. Angela and Markus showed us how to beautify design, use widgets to your advantage, and develop engaging content.

The Black Web 2.0 creators share their thoughts in the following video:

Black Web 2.0 at Blogging While Brown Key Note Wrap Up from blackweb20 on Vimeo.

July 28, 2008

Blogging While Brown Conference Interviews

Kudos to Deborah Jones (D. Jones Productions) for taking time to interview some of the sponsors, panelists and participants at the 2008 Blogging While Brown Conference held in Atlanta earlier this month!

BWB Conference Interviews from Gina McCauley on Vimeo.

Blogging While Brown Conference is Huge Success

'Villagers', I gotta tell you that the Blogging While Brown conference that I attended over the past weekend was an unqualified success!

This event was truly momentus event for Black bloggers. The attendance was greater than expected with the polticians from the Republican and Libertarian party ... the corporate sponsors ... the three blogging ad networks ... ColorOfChange executive flying in from the Bay Area ... and a number of brothers and sisters who came because they are interested in starting a blog.

I anticipate that 5-6 new Black bloggers will spring up in the next week or so as a direct result of this BWB Conference.

I met brothers and sisters from California, North Carolina, Florida, Texas, Ohio, Massachusetts, Washington DC, New York, Georgia, Washington (state) and Connecticut.

Many others took advantage of the live streaming provided by Theo Johnson on Ustream.tv and more received onsite feedback via Twitter and live blogging posting.

One of the most remarkable aspects of the event was the number of powerful Bloggers at the top of the Black Blog Rankings who took time out of their schedule to attend in person. These powerful blogs included: Pam's House Blend (BBR #1), Necole Bitchie (#16), What About Our Daugthers (#17), Clutch Magazine (#25) and Electronic Village (#26).

The conference was held at the largest convention center in Georgia (the Georgia World Congress Center) and the hotel accomodations were outstanding ... Hilton Atlanta Downtown. The conference registrants were treated with respect with 'goodie bags' containing SWAG from conference sponsors and complimentary meals and complimentary transportation from hotel to the conference.

I can't wait to get that photo of the conference registrants ... it will be something that I cherish ... knowing that I had a part in the 1st ever international conference for, by and about bloggers of color. I've already seen benefits ... Saturday traffic to my blog was much higher than normal ... and the number of new Twitter followers that I rec'd yesterday blew me away!

Anyhow, I give nothing but props to Gina McCauley and the sponsors that made the event possible. I appreciate those AfroSpear members who were able to make it ... as well as those that supported the effort in a variety of ways. Suffice to say I look forward to being an early registrant for the 2nd annual Blogging While Brown effort.

You can see other perspectives in the BWB Facebook group! Now that the event is over ... what are your thoughts about it?

Bridges: Build, Cross or Burn?

One of the highlights of the Blogging While Brown conference was panel discussion entitled, 'Bridges: Build, Cross or Burn? Can New Media Work With the Old Guard and Old Media?'.

The panel was moderated by Kevin Ross (3 Brothers and A SISTER). Panel members included Gina McCauley (What About Our Daughters), Clarissa Goodlett (ColorOfChange), Tamera Reynolds (GlamMedia) and Necole Bitchie (NicoleBitchie.com).

The premise of the panel discussion was that there may be some friction between the new media and the traditional media. However, the true friction appeared to be between Black bloggers that want to monetize their blogs versus those that thought any movement toward monetization was a mortal sin for Black bloggers.

Sis. Reynolds is a director of the African American Network at GlamMedia. She shared some insights from the perspective of an ad network business. My learning from her was that GlamMedia was more than fashion. She pointed out to us a soon-to-be announced Blacklife section of GlamMedia.

However, the highlight of the session for me was Necole Bitchie. She is one of the few Black bloggers in the nation able to blog fulltime. In fact, the young college graduate shared with us that she signed an agreement with Gorilla Nation earlier this month. I first learned about Necole in Jan 2008 with her debut on the Black Blog Rankings at BBR #124. She became one of the hottest bloggers in America and today NecoleBitchie.com is BBR #16.

Theo Johnson (Now That's What I'm Talking About) live streamed the workshop ... so it is available for your review here.

Many Black bloggers are going to have difficult making any serious money with a blog. We need to focus on growing a loyal readership based on our consistent, high-quality blog posts first. Do you have any thoughts on this subject?

July 27, 2008

Am I Not Human? Lopez Lomong Makes Olympics Team

UPDATE: Lomong Will Carry US Flag at the Olympics!

The Electronic Village participates in the 'Am I Not Human?' blogging campaign on the 27th of each month. Our goal is to raise awareness necessary to eliminate human rights abuses in Darfur, Haiti, Tibet and elsewhere.

Joseph Lopepe "Lopez" Lomong is a Sudanese native who fulfilled his dream when he qualified for the U.S. Olympic track team.

He finished third in 1,500-meter race at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Ore. The top three finishers in the event earn Olympic berths. He made the U.S. team on his first anniversary as a United States citizen.

Lomong fled Sudan and spent 10 years in a refugee camp. He left the camp in 2001 and found a home and a family on Otisco Lake. He's one of six Sudanese boys who were taken in by Robert and Barbara Rogers.

When he became a citizen last July, Lomong said he wanted to represent the U.S. at the Olympics to show appreciation for the country that offered him a chance to start a new life.

His track career earned him a contract with Nike. Last year, he won the 1,500 meters -- almost a mile -- at the NCAA track and field competition, representing Northern Arizona University. He took time off from college to train for the Olympics. He has one more semester to finish his bachelor's degree in hotel management.

Lomong is an Olympic athlete who remembers his roots. He is a member of Team Darfur. Team Darfur is a group of Olympians using their fame to bring attention to the atrocities taking place in Darfur. I encourage all 'villagers' to cheer for any Team Darfur athlete that competes next month in the Beijing Olympics. They deserve it!

A Tandem Ride With God

I used to think of God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there, sort of like a president. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I didn't really know Him.

But later on, when I met Jesus, it seemed as though life was rather like a bike, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that Jesus was in the back helping me pedal. I didn't know just when it was He suggested we change, but life has not been the same since I took the back-seat to Jesus, my Lord. He makes life exciting. When I had control, I thought I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable. It was the shortest distance between two points.

But when He took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places and at break-through speeds; it was all I could do to hang on! Even though it often looked like madness, He said, "Pedal!" I was worried and anxious and asked, "Where are you taking me?" He laughed and didn't answer and I started to learn to trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into adventure. And when I'd say, "I'm scared", He'd lean back and touch my hand.

He took me to people with gifts that I needed, gifts of healing, acceptance and joy. They gave me their gifts to take on my journey, our journey, my Lord's and mine. And we were off again. He said, "Give the gifts away; they're extra baggage, too much weight." So I did, to the people we met, and I found in giving I received, and still our burden was light.

I did not trust Him, at first, in control of my life. I thought He'd wreck it, but He knows bike secrets, knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, jump to clear high rocks, fly to shorten scary passages. And I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I'm beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my delightful constant companion, Jesus.

And when I'm sure I just can't do any more, He just smiles and says... "Pedal."

July 26, 2008

New AfroSpear Member: Microbrother

The AfroSpear continues to gain momentum as we add blogs owned by brothers and sisters of African descent. Our newest member-blog is Microbrother (BBR #1042) operated by a blogger of the same name. His first blog post was on 10/29/2007.

When asked the purpose of The AfroSpear, he wrote, " I believe the purpose/goal of The AfroSpear is to elevate the voice of Africans and those of African descent to an international level, especially, of those who have no opportunity to be heard. This elevation will share with the world the aspirations, goals and accomplishments of our people in spite of the occasional negative characterizations depicted through main-stream media. Furthermore, to challenge, lies and myths designed to relegate our group to minor roles in decision-making as it relates to society in general."

When asked how he would contribute to that purpose or goal, he wrote, "While highlighting all of the accomplishments of our people, I will continue to voice my opinion against anyone/group who perpetuates incorrect information about our people and our interests, as I have done all of my life. By the same token, I will continue to, respectfully, challenge our people to rethink those positions that they have taken in the event that I think is wrong."

Please join us as we welcome Microbrother to the crew!

Blogging While Brown Conference Workshops

The Blogging While Brown workshop descriptions are up. Go over to the Blogging While Brown blog to read the latest.

I'm nervous about my presentation, 'Umoja: From a Black Bloggers Perspective'. My outline for the workshop is a simple one:
  1. Black Blogger - Are you alone?
  2. Black Blogging is all about...
  3. Why do Black Blogs Fail?
  4. What is Black Blogger Response?
  5. Afrosphere
  6. The AfroSpear
  7. Afrosphere Campaigns
  8. Other Places to Find Us?
  9. Black Blog Rankings

Most of you won't be able to attend in person. Feel free to ask any questions or share any of your thoughts on this workshop ... or the overall BWB Conference.

July 25, 2008

Black Blogging Beyond Obama

I didn't attend Netroots Nation conference this year. I understand that the event will be in Pittsburgh next year. My plan is to attend it next year.

Anyhow, one of the Netroots National panel discussions this year was entitled, "Black Blogging Beyond Obama".

Drumbeats from The SuperSpade inform us that this panel discussion featuring panelists Gina McCauley from What About Our Daughters, Leutisha Stills from Black Agenda Report and Jack and Jill Politics, and Andre Banks from Color of Change. The panel was honest, probing, and forward thinking.

This panel discussion provides some direction for any of us involved in Black online activism or Black blogging. My guess is that this conversation will continue this weekend at the Blogging While Brown conference in Atlanta.

Here are the questions that Brandon Q. White (The Superspade) asked his panel at Netroots Nation.
  1. What is the difference between Black online activists and Black bloggers
  2. What do Black bloggers talk about when they are not talking about Obama?
  3. How do you see the ascendancy of online activism impacting the traditional civil rights infrastructure?
  4. Who blogs locally? (hands) More often than not, the hardest place to organize is where you live. What is your relationship with offline activists in your local community and what should we do to get to the point where we can have local versions of Jena 6 and Fox/CBC debate?
  5. How can/should Black online activists going to fill the current and future void of Black leadership?
  6. We need more Black bloggers, (burnout) who in this room has encouraged or developed a new Black blogger
  7. How do you envision Black bloggers holding Obama accountable should he be elected?
  8. Are Black bloggers the flavor of the month and what is our obligation to the community once we have a known voice?
  9. There has been much talk about Obama's campaign and possible election as a sign of America's transcending race. What infrastructure and/or strategies need to be in place to continue to raise the issues relevant to the Black community and hold Obama accountable should he be elected?

Villagers, care to share your answers to any of these nine questions?

New AfroSpear Member: InkogNegro 1.75

It is with pleasure that I report a new member of The AfroSpear. InkogNegro is the owner of InkogNegro 1.75 (BBR #417) and the newest member of the growing group of progessive Black bloggers. His blog first came into the afrosphere on October 27, 2007.

In his application, InkoNegro wrote, "The AfroSpear has always appeared to be an attempt to harness the power of progressive bloggers of African Descent, organizing them and elevating them collectively. I believe I can add my skills to help speed the day where we, as people of African Descent can gain more and more control over our voice. I look forward to applying my talents and desire with like minded folk."

Join us in welcoming a new voice to The Afrospear!

Old School Friday: Luther VanDross

The theme for this week's Old School Friday meme is 'Make-Up Songs'. This one didn't take long for me. Luther VanDross nailed it on the head when he sang 'A House Is Not a Home'. Here he is singing the song live at the 1988 NAACP Awards show.

Luther VanDross sho' nuff knew he could sang! May he rest in peace.

July 24, 2008

Obama Speech in Berlin, 'A World That Stands as One'

"A World That Stands as One"
July 24th, 2008
Berlin, Germany

Thank you to the citizens of Berlin and to the people of Germany. Let me thank Chancellor Merkel and Foreign Minister Steinmeier for welcoming me earlier today. Thank you Mayor Wowereit, the Berlin Senate, the police, and most of all thank you for this welcome.

I come to Berlin as so many of my countrymen have come before. Tonight, I speak to you not as a candidate for President, but as a citizen - a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world.

I know that I don't look like the Americans who've previously spoken in this great city. The journey that led me here is improbable. My mother was born in the heartland of America, but my father grew up herding goats in Kenya. His father - my grandfather - was a cook, a domestic servant to the British.

At the height of the Cold War, my father decided, like so many others in the forgotten corners of the world, that his yearning - his dream - required the freedom and opportunity promised by the West. And so he wrote letter after letter to universities all across America until somebody, somewhere answered his prayer for a better life.

That is why I'm here. And you are here because you too know that yearning. This city, of all cities, knows the dream of freedom. And you know that the only reason we stand here tonight is because men and women from both of our nations came together to work, and struggle, and sacrifice for that better life.

Ours is a partnership that truly began sixty years ago this summer, on the day when the first American plane touched down at Templehof.

On that day, much of this continent still lay in ruin. The rubble of this city had yet to be built into a wall. The Soviet shadow had swept across Eastern Europe, while in the West, America, Britain, and France took stock of their losses, and pondered how the world might be remade.

This is where the two sides met. And on the twenty-fourth of June, 1948, the Communists chose to blockade the western part of the city. They cut off food and supplies to more than two million Germans in an effort to extinguish the last flame of freedom in Berlin.

The size of our forces was no match for the much larger Soviet Army. And yet retreat would have allowed Communism to march across Europe. Where the last war had ended, another World War could have easily begun. All that stood in the way was Berlin.

And that's when the airlift began - when the largest and most unlikely rescue in his
tory brought food and hope to the people of this city.

The odds were stacked against success. In the winter, a heavy fog filled the sky above, and many planes were forced to turn back without dropping off the needed supplies. The streets where we stand were filled with hungry families who had no comfort from the cold.

But in the darkest hours, the people of Berlin kept the flame of hope burning. The people of Berlin refused to give up. And on one fall day, hundreds of thousands of Berliners came here, to the Tiergarten, and heard the city's mayor implore the world not to give up on freedom. "There is only one possibility," he said. "For us to stand together united until this battle is won...The people of Berlin have spoken. We have done our duty, and we will keep on doing our duty. People of the world: now do your duty...People of the world, look at Berlin!"
People of the world - look at Berlin!

Look at Berlin, where Germans and Americans learned to work together and trust each other less than three years after facing each other on the field of battle.

Look at Berlin, where the determination of a people met the generosity of the Marshall Plan and created a German miracle; where a victory over tyranny gave rise to NATO, the greatest alliance ever formed to defend our common security.

Look at Berlin, where the bullet holes in the buildings and the somber stones and pillars near the Brandenburg Gate insist that we never forget our common humanity.

People of the world - look at Berlin, where a wall came down, a continent came together, and history proved that there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one.

Sixty years after the airlift, we are called upon again. History has led us to a new crossroad, with new promise
and new peril. When you, the German people, tore down that wall - a wall that divided East and West; freedom and tyranny; fear and hope - walls came tumbling down around the world. From Kiev to Cape Town, prison camps were closed, and the doors of democracy were opened. Markets opened too, and the spread of information and technology reduced barriers to opportunity and prosperity. While the 20th century taught us that we share a common destiny, the 21st has revealed a world more intertwined than at any time in human history.

The fall of the Berlin Wall brought new hope. But that very closeness has given rise to new dangers - dangers that cannot be contained within the borders of a country or by the distance of an ocean.

The terrorists of September 11th plotted in Hamburg and trained in Kandahar and Karachi before killing thousands from all over the globe on American soil.

As we speak, cars in Boston and factories in Beijing are melting the ice caps in the Arctic, shrinking coastlines in the Atlantic, and bringing drought to farms from Kansas to Kenya.
Poorly secured nuclear material in the former Soviet Union, or secrets from a scientist in Pakistan could help build a bomb that detonates in Paris. The poppies in Afghanistan become the heroin in Berlin. The poverty and violence in Somalia breeds the terror of tomorrow. The genocide in Darfur shames the conscience of us all.

In this new world, such dangerous currents have swept along faster than our efforts to contain them. That is why we cannot afford to be divided. No one nation, no matter how large or powerful, can defeat such challenges alone. None of us can deny these threats, or escape responsibility in meeting them. Yet, in the absence of Soviet tanks and a terrible wall, it has become easy to forget this truth. And if we're honest with each other, we know that sometimes, on both sides of the Atlantic, we have drifted apart, and forgotten our shared destiny.

In Europe, the view that America is part of what has gone wrong in our world, rather than a force to help make it right, has become all too common. In America, there are voices that deride and deny the importance of Europe's role in our security and our future. Both views miss the truth - that Europeans today are bearing new burdens and taking more responsibility in critical parts of the world; and that just as American bases built in the last century still help to defend the security of this continent, so does our country still sacrifice greatly for freedom around the globe.

Yes, there have been differences between America and Europe. No doubt, there will be differences in the future. But the burdens of global citizenship continue to bind us together. A change of leadership in Washington will not lift this burden. In this new century, Americans and Europeans alike will be required to do more - not less. Partnership and cooperation among nations is not a choice; it is the one way, the only way, to protect our common security and advance our common humanity.

That is why the greatest danger of all is to allow new walls to divide us from one another.
The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand. The wall
s between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down.

We know they have fallen before. After centuries of strife, the people of Europe have formed a Union of promise and prosperity. Here, at the base of a column built to mark victory in war, we meet in the center of a Europe at peace. Not only have walls come down in Berlin, but they have come down in Belfast, where Protestant and Catholic found a way to live together; in the Balkans, where our Atlantic alliance ended wars and brought savage war criminals to justice; and in South Africa, where the struggle of a courageous people defeated apartheid.

So history reminds us that walls can be torn down. But the task is never easy. True partnership and true progress requires constant work and sustained sacrifice. They require sharing the burdens of development and diplomacy; of progress and peace. They require allies who will listen to each other, learn from each other and, most of all, trust each other.

That is why America cannot turn inward. That is why Europe cannot turn inward. America has no better partner than Europe. Now is the time to build new bridges across the globe as strong as the one that bound us across the Atlantic. Now is the time to join together, through constant cooperation, strong institutions, shared sacrifice, and a global commitment to progress, to meet the challenges of the 21st century. It was this spirit that led airlift planes to appear in the sky above our heads, and people to assemble where we stand today. And this is the moment when our nations - and all nations - must summon that spirit anew.

This is the moment when we must defeat terror and dry up the well of extremism that supports it. This threat is real and we cannot shrink from our responsibility to combat it. If we could create NATO to face down the Soviet Union, we can join in a new and global partnership to dismantle the networks that have struck in Madrid and Amman; in London and Bali; in Washington and New York. If we could win a battle of ideas against the communists, we can stand with the vast majority of Muslims who reject the extremism that leads to hate instead of hope.

This is the moment when we must renew our resolve to rout the terrorists who threaten our security in Afghanistan, and the traffickers who sell drugs on your streets. No one welcomes war. I recognize the enormous difficulties in Afghanistan. But my country and yours have a stake in seeing that NATO's first mission beyond Europe's borders is a success. For the people of Afghanistan, and for our shared security, the work must be done. America cannot do this alone. The Afghan people need our troops and your troops; our support and your support to defeat the Taliban and al Qaeda, to develop their economy, and to help them rebuild their nation. We have too much at stake to turn back now.

This is the moment when we must renew the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. The two superpowers that faced each other across the wall of this city came too close too often to destroying all we have built and all that we love. With that wall gone, we need not stand idly by and watch the further spread of the deadly atom. It is time to secure all loose nuclear materials; to stop the spread of nuclear weapons; and to reduce the arsenals from another era. This is the moment to begin the work of seeking the peace of a world without nuclear weapons.

This is the moment when every nation in Europe must have the chance to choose its own tomorrow free from the shadows of yesterday. In this century, we need a strong European Union that deepens the security and prosperity of this continent, while extending a hand abroad. In this century - in this city of all cities - we must reject the Cold War mind-set of the past, and resolve to work with Russia when we can, to stand up for our values when we must, and to seek a partnership that extends across this entire continent.

This is the moment when we must build on the wealth that open markets have created, and share its benefits more equitably. Trade has been a cornerstone of our growth and global development. But we will not be able to sustain this growth if it favors the few, and not the many. Together, we must forge trade that truly rewards the work that creates wealth, with meaningful protections for our people and our planet. This is the moment for trade that is free and fair for all.

This is the moment we must help answer the call for a new dawn in the Middle East. My country must stand with yours and with Europe in sending a direct message to Iran that it must abandon its nuclear ambitions. We must support the Lebanese who have marched and bled for democracy, and the Israelis and Palestinians who seek a secure and lasting peace. And despite past differences, this is the moment when the world should support the millions of Iraqis who seek to rebuild their lives, even as we pass responsibility to the Iraqi government and finally bring this war to a close.

This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands. Let us resolve that all nations - including my own - will act with the same seriousness of purpose as has your nation, and reduce the carbon we send into our atmosphere. This is the moment to give our children back their future. This is the moment to stand as one.
And this is the moment when we must give hope to those left behind in a globalized world. We must remember that the Cold War born in this city was not a battle for land or treasure. Sixty years ago, the planes that flew over Berlin did not drop bombs; instead they delivered food, and coal, and candy to grateful children. And in that show of solidarity, those pilots won more than a military victory. They won hearts and minds; love and loyalty and trust - not just from the people in this city, but from all those who heard the story of what they did here.

Now the world will watch and remember what we do here - what we do with this moment. Will we extend our hand to the people in the forgotten corners of this world who yearn for lives marked by dignity and opportunity; by security and justice? Will we lift the child in Bangladesh from poverty, shelter the refugee in Chad, and banish the scourge of AIDS in our time?
Will we stand for the human rights of the dissident in Burma, the blogger in Iran, or the voter in Zimbabwe? Will we give meaning to the words "never again" in Darfur?

Will we acknowledge that there is no more powerful example than the one each of our nations projects to the world? Will we reject torture and stand for the rule of law? Will we welcome immigrants from different lands, and shun discrimination against those who don't look like us or worship like we do, and keep the promise of equality and opportunity for all of our people?
People of Berlin - people of the world - this is our moment. This is our time.

I know my country has not perfected itself. At times, we've struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all of our people. We've made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions.

But I also know how much I love America. I know that for more than two centuries, we have strived - at great cost and great sacrifice - to form a more perfect union; to seek, with other nations, a more hopeful world. Our allegiance has never been to any particular tribe or kingdom - indeed, every language is spoken in our country; every culture has left its imprint on ours; every point of view is expressed in our public squares. What has always united us - what has always driven our people; what drew my father to America's shores - is a set of ideals that speak to aspirations shared by all people: that we can live free from fear and free from want; that we can speak our minds and assemble with whomever we choose and worship as we please.

These are the aspirations that joined the fates of all nations in this city. These aspirations are bigger than anything that drives us apart. It is because of these aspirations that the airlift began. It is because of these aspirations that all free people - everywhere - became citizens of Berlin. It is in pursuit of these aspirations that a new generation - our generation - must make our mark on the world.

People of Berlin - and people of the world - the scale of our challenge is great. The road ahead will be long. But I come before you to say that we are heirs to a struggle for freedom. We are a people of improbable hope. With an eye toward the future, with resolve in our hearts, let us remember this history, and answer our destiny, and remake the world once again.

Barack Obama made me proud to be an American today. How long as it been since we've seen citizens in foreign countries waving American flags when an American poltician was in their homeland?

John McCain is a noble man, however, he is going to lose this election by a landslide when it is all said and done.

What did you think about the speech? or the Obama world tour?

Justice for Megan Williams

The wheels of justice continue to grind away at the sub-humans that kidnapped, tortured and raped Megan Williams last year.

Here is where we stand in the criminal cases on the perps in this case:
  1. Bobby Brewster pleaded guilty last week to second-degree sexual assault, malicious assault and conspiracy to commit kidnapping or holding hostage. Brewster's sentences will run one after the other, putting him in jail for at least 13 years and possibly up to 40 years.

  2. Frankie Brewster, 49, was sentenced in March to 10 to 25 years in prison for second-degree sexual assault. When he sentenced her, Perry said he took her prior conviction on voluntary manslaughter into consideration. Brewster also must register as a sex offender for the rest of her life.

  3. Danny J. Combs, faces charges in the case. Combs, who is charged with kidnapping, first-degree sexual assault and conspiracy, will go to trial in September.

  4. Karen Burton, the only person charged with a hate crime in the case, was sentenced in March to 10 years on that charge and 2 to 10 years each on two assault charges.

  5. George Messer and Alisha Burton each pleaded guilty to one count of kidnapping and one count of assault during the commission of a felony. Each faces up to 10 years in prison.

  6. Linnie Burton Jr. pleaded guilty to battery June 9 as part of a deal approved by Williams. Burton was given a six-month suspended jail sentence and placed on one year of supervised probation.

Hopefully Megan Williams is moving towards the hopes and dreams in her life. I'm glad to see that the criminal justice system is working well in West Virginia!

Online Activism for LaVena Johnson Gaining Momentum

Momentum is building in our efforts to gain Justice for LaVena Johnson!

The love and persistence of her family in the three years since LaVena was killed has been remarkable. The online activism of Philip Barron of Wave Flux, Shakesville has been equally remarkable. In fact, it was Bro. Barron's LaVena Johnson Petition that created the first call to action as he collected 12,000 signatures to be delivered to the Armed Services Committee.

'Original Villager' Danielle Vyas created an online petition calling on Congress and the President to re-open her case. She plans to close out her online petition when it reaches 3000 signatures. Currently, 1837 signatures have been collected. Have you signed it yet?

The brothers and sisters from Color of Change created the newest petition calling for answers in this case directed to Congressman Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Gabriel Rey-Goodlatte and his crew at Color of Change are well-known for their work on Jena Six. It is a good sign that they are on board with this fight to re-open LaVena Johnson's case.

LaVena's family conducted an interview on Amy Goodman’s radio and television show Democracy Now! I encourage all villagers to check out video coverage of the story.

You can help the momentum. I encourage you to contact your representatives directly on behalf of Justice for LaVena Johnson. This additional step may make all the difference.

I'm interested in hearing your take on the efforts to re-open the LaVena Johnson case. What say u?

July 23, 2008

End Police Pre-Trial, Extra Judicial Electrocutions and Executions

Villagers, we will join with the Afrosphere Action Coalition in a Day of Blogging for Justice focused on the extraordinary increases in taser deaths around the nation. The virtual headquarters for this online activism is a newly created blog called, "Electrocuted While Black".

We hope to raise awareness throughout the afrosphere about the inappropriate use of tasers by law enforcement officials.

The police tell us that electrocuting people in the Black community is necessary, normally harmless and in alignment with use of force policies. However, research reveals that game wardens treat 600 pound bears and half-ton mooses with greater care for their well-being than are members of the public when confronted by police officers with electrocution and execution devices in their hip pockets.

How often have you seen video of the police calling game wardens to humanely take care of lions, tigers and bears that wander into a neighborhood? Yet, the police don't have that same level of patience with Black men, blind men, women, pregnant women and children in our community.

'Shoot first, ask questions later' appears to be the operating mindset of police in North Carolina, Ohio, Louisiana, Texas, Wisconsin and elsewhere.

Please let me know if you have any thoughts on the 'pre-trial, extra-judicial electrocution and execution of Blacks'. Do you think that taser use by police is becoming the modern-day version of lynching?

Wordless Wednesday: Painted Bathroom Floor

July 22, 2008

John McCain Continues to Remind Me of Ronald Reagan

Do you remember how Ronald Reagan truly began to lose it in the final years of his presidency? Tragically, it turned out that President Reagan was in early stages of Alzheimer's Disease. I think about Ronald Reagan every time that I think about John McCain becoming our president.

So, when John McCain continues to make foreign policy errors ... it concerns me.

Did you see him on ABC's Good Morning America, when he made ANOTHER geography gaffe while trying to criticize Obama's visit to Iraq. (Just last week, McCain repeatedly referred to Czechoslovakia, a country that hasn't existed since 1993.)

Asked by Diane Sawyer whether the "the situation in Afghanistan in precarious and urgent," McCain responded: "I think it's serious. . . . It's a serious situation, but there's a lot of things we need to do. We have a lot of work to do and I'm afraid it's a very hard struggle, particularly given the situation on the Iraq/Pakistan border."

But as ABC's Rick Klein noted: "Iraq and Pakistan do not share a border. Afghanistan and Pakistan do."

I will admit that I didn't know that Iraq and Pakistan didn't share a border. However, I'm not running for POTUS on the premise that I'm the best candidate when it comes to foriegn affairs! What say u?

Blog Safari #7

Sometimes it is difficult to comment or read all of the unique and interesting blog posts out in the afrosphere. That is why we use this 'Blog Safari' concept. I hope you enjoy these blog post referrals:
Let us know if you come across any remarkable posts that should be shared in our next Blog Safari!

July 21, 2008

New AfroSpear Member: Funky Brown Chick

The AfroSpear is a better coaltion of Black bloggers today because of recent addition of Twanna Hines. Twanna is the owner of Funky Brown Chick (BBR #97). Her blog has been up & running since June 2005.

She shared the following background on her blogging career, "In 1995 I taught people how to build websites when I worked as a computing consultant in Los Angeles. We called them 'personal homepages' and 'webjournals' then. Some of my coworkers from back in the day went on to do pretty great things in tech. (My close friend Scott was a VP at Napster during their heyday, and he later launched his own media company.)"

When asked more specifically about The AfroSpear, she wrote, "The purpose of the AfroSpear to collect & disseminate information of interest to and about the African American community. I write about sex, dating and relationships from a funky brown chick's perspective. What's the cliche -- 'You change the world by changing your piece of it.' This is my piece; I'm loving it. Sex and interpersonal relationship politics are an important part of our community."

The AfroSpear just became a more eclectic crew! I invite all villagers to visit Funky Brown Chick and let us know what you think...

The Color Line Online

By Amy Alexander
Republished courtesy of The Nation

Readers of blogs and websites that focus on people of color will soon notice something different about their favorite online destinations: the majority of posts will be filed from Chicago and Atlanta.

That's because the professional trade organizations for ethnic journalists--the Asian American Journalists Association; the National Association of Hispanic Journalists; the Native American Journalists Association; and the oldest, the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) -- are meeting jointly in Chicago beginning July 23. And that same week, a small association of ethnic minority bloggers is holding its first conference, in Atlanta.

The journalists' meeting, Unity '08, has a multimillion-dollar budget and will draw thousands of black, Latino, Native American and Asian journalists together to take part in corporate-sponsored workshops and panels designed to upgrade members' skills for the new era of digital media and to network and job search. (Disclosure: I consulted with Unity organizers on the convention's program.)

By contrast, the ethnic blogger convention, Blogging While Brown, will stay in a mid-market hotel, has a shoestring budget, no corporate sponsorship, and is likely to draw about seventy-five guests and panelists.But while the thousands of minority journalists -- many representing old media outlets--troop to conference rooms and banquets at the McCormick Place convention center in Chicago under a cloud of uncertainty, their new media counterparts will hook up in Atlanta eyeing a future bright with promise.

Both gatherings are happening as the media industry is at a watershed, with the Internet creating new opportunities for independent entrepreneurs as well as big corporations, and forcing the downsizing of dozens of traditional news organizations. A consequence of all the churning and flux--one largely overlooked by the mainstream press itself in its obsessive chronicling of the shift--is that traditional news-delivery systems, while far from perfect, did provide access and influence to thousands of journalists of color. Yet the massive staff cuts at these traditional media outlets are disproportionately diminishing the ranks of journalists of color.

The American Society of Newspaper Editors reported that about 300 journalists of color lost their jobs during the past year, representing roughly 12 percent of those dismissed, while they are just 5 percent of newsroom employees. The NABJ went so far as to issue an open letter to newspaper publishers July 3 declaring, "NABJ will hold you accountable if you do not consider diversity in your hiring and, particularly, firing practices."

In this context, it is of major concern to minority journalists that the blogosphere, for all its kinetic energy and potential for progressive activism, has not produced significant numbers of high-profile nonwhite bloggers. Journalists of color look at the ascendance of the blogosphere and can't help but think, This new boss looks an awful lot like the old boss. And this situation raises some serious questions. Where will readers go for reliable, well-reported, well-documented news and information of particular relevance to people of color? Will the blogosphere accommodate the thousands of experienced journalists of color who fought for decades to gain access to mainstream newsrooms?

"The blogosphere is like the real world in many ways," says Chris Rabb, founder of Afro-Netizen.com, a blog focusing on African American news, information and activism. "Some of the same obstacles, challenges and inequalities that exist in the real world exist in the blogosphere, too." In 2004, for example, Rabb was the only blogger with a predominantly African American readership to receive credentials for the Democratic National Convention. This raised concerns among black bloggers that a cyber-hierarchy was emerging, and the nascent "A-list" blogs--The Huffington Post, DailyKos and Talking Points Memo--all seemed to reflect a white middle-class orientation. And that the DNC, by failing to credential more than one African American blogger, validated that "A-list."

Of course, there aren't supposed to be any "bosses" in cyberspace. And yes, the landscape has changed with the launch of several high-profile blogs and websites by and for people of color. I am an occasional contributor to some of them, including TheRoot.com, which is backed in part by the Washington Post Newsweek Interactive and was co-founded by Harvard Black studies professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. The independent BlackCommentator.com has also provided a forum for lively commentary by people of color. Moreover, this year's mid-July meeting of the YearlyKos Convention--now called Netroots Nation--boasts a lineup of panelists and speakers that includes dozens of Black, Latino, Asian, gay and working-class bloggers and activists.

Markos Moulitsas, founder of DailyKos, said in an e-mail interview that anyone who criticizes his site, or the blogosphere in general, on grounds of racial exclusion simply does not understand the nature of the beast. "It's an open medium. Anyone can participate, and in fact, 95 percent of the time we have no idea if a participant [at DailyKos] is white, Black, brown, female, male, gay, straight, left-handed, right-handed, or ambidextrous," Moulitsas wrote, adding that DailyKos is separate from the Netroots Nation annual gathering.

The DNC has also stepped up its outreach efforts to blogs and websites run by people of color. It issued more than a dozen credentials to ethnic bloggers for this year's convention, according to spokesman Damon Jones--although those credentials were granted after some Black bloggers, including Wayne Hicks of Electronic Village and Pam Spaulding of PamsHouseBlend.com, wrote highly critical posts about having been excluded from the first round.

In economic terms, the entrepreneurial, run-it-from-your-garage nature of the blogosphere limits the likelihood that many people of color can devote themselves full time to building a site or blog. The business model of blogs--
small staffs, modest digs, no- or low-pay contributors--shuts out those who don't have the financial resources to allow them to survive by blogging alone. "How many of us can afford to sleep on someone's couch and survive on Cheetos for five years while you're working on your blog, building it up?" asks Rabb of Afro-Netizen.

Compounding that cold-hard-cash reality, at least for journalists of color who've made careers in traditional media, is sometimes an unfamiliarity, or even discomfort, with the pungent advocacy that characterizes much of the blogosphere. The professional identities of black journalists like myself developed under the strictures of "objective" journalism, though we also learned from experience how to cover news that mattered to historically underrepresented communities.

The NABJ, the largest professional trade group for journalists of color, was founded in 1975, in large part because of the desire to protect black journalists within the industry--by providing technical training and guidance on surviving the politics of predominantly white news organizations. Yet the NABJ and the two other leading ethnic professional groups, for Latino and Asian journalists, have so far been powerless to protect their members from the rampant downsizing taking place in the news business--or to help them crack the emerging hierarchy of blogs.

Nonetheless, bloggers of color--many of whom are not journalists--are getting busy building their sites, often beneath the radar. Historians will mark 2008 as the year a presidential candidate, Barack Obama, capitalized on the vast reach of the Internet to build a powerful fundraising and information network into his campaign. Yet progressives who have been enthralled with Obama's Internet presence should know that it is rooted not just in the algorithms, e-mail lists or social networking framework of Facebook, DailyKos or TPM; it grows also from a community of independent black, women and Latino bloggers who have quietly built a parallel activist universe.

Gina McCauley, a 32-year-old Austin lawyer who organized the Blogging While Brown conference, cites some of the same motivations that led to the founding of the NABJ: a need to protect and secure its members within the larger industry. She conceived the conference last year, "after a lot of black bloggers I know complained that they weren't included in some other big blog conventions." How could that be, I asked, if the freewheeling, open-source nature of the Internet is supposed to be inherently inclusive? "Well, some folks that I know said that they felt shut out of the YearlyKos conference, and even the BlogHer meeting," McCauley said, referring to the previous incarnation of Netroots Nation and to a smaller blog community built around women, which held its first conference three years ago.

"So I thought, Well, the solution to that is simple: we need to hold our own conference," she said.

Her blog, WhatAboutOurDaughters.com, is about a year old, yet in the spring of last year it kicked up a world of trouble for at least one major corporation, the Viacom-owned cable network Black Entertainment Television. The formerly black-owned network had planned to launch a half-hour program called Hot Ghetto Mess, based on a website founded by a black woman lawyer in Washington. McCauley objected to the program's depictions of "ghetto culture" (inner-city blacks sporting gold-tooth "grills," drinking malt liquor, engaging in criminal activities) and urged readers of her blog to contact the program's corporate sponsors. Before the program even aired, the network and its advertisers were besieged by complaints. The name was swiftly changed to We Got to Do Better (the slogan of the original HotGhettoMess.com website), the premiere date was delayed and ultimately the show was canceled.

McCauley said she hadn't intended to use her blog as a cultural cudgel; she started it in April 2007 out of a desire to reach other people who share her concerns over what she sees as mistreatment of women in general, and of Black women in particular.

"I had been involved in community activism since high school, and by the time I finished my undergraduate studies, I was burned out," McCauley said by phone from Austin. "I'm not from the old school civil rights-industrial complex, and it seemed to me that the Internet was a good fit."

The accidental-activist trajectory of McCauley's blog is in contrast to some other projects run by people of color, including ColorOfChange.org and Afro-Netizen, which were formed to encourage activism and provide information for marginalized groups. ColorOfChange, headed by former MoveOn co-director James Rucker, last year accomplished another successful Internet-based action. After members of the Congressional Black Caucus announced plans for the Fox News Network to broadcast a debate sponsored by the CBC, it was deluged with calls and letters from ColorOfChange members. John Edwards withdrew his earlier decision to take part in the debate, followed by Hillary Clinton and Obama. The result: Fox was ditched, and the CBC got schooled by a quick-response, decentralized Internet campaign. Sweeter still: the "A-list" of progressive blogs also learned a valuable lesson, says Rucker, who is black.

"The 'big blogs' had made note of the Fox/CBC situation; they saw the problem...that Fox was malevolent toward blacks. But only after they saw us making a case around the racial aspect did they also say, Yeah, you know this is horrible," Rucker told me. After ColorOfChange posted a petition, it was picked up by other black bloggers, followed by DailyKos and others. "There was a certain kind of bridge-building that happened," which was encouraging, Rucker said. An indication, perhaps, that the blogosphere is capable of making adjustments on race and gender coverage more quickly and profoundly than traditional news organizations.

ColorOfChange, formed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, works with the AfroSpear, a loose collection of blogs and websites that enable readers to take part in online petition drives and e-mail blasts and that set up alert networks. Blogs affiliated with AfroSpear have drawn mainstream coverage to race-related stories that had escaped the attention of the mainstream press, including the Jena Six case in Louisiana and the mishandling of a rape case at a public housing complex, Dunbar Village, in Florida, in which a black single mother was gang-raped by local teens.

Afro-Netizen's Rabb is pragmatic about the emerging hierarchy in the blogosphere. Although some blogs and websites--DailyKos, Huffington Post, TPM--might be viewed as constituting an A-list, bloggers of color are now in a position to redefine the nature of that hierarchy, says Rabb. Critical mass alone, the growing number of bloggers of color, however, cannot force the blog hierarchy to open to nonwhites. "This is more about power dynamics than proportionality," Rabb wrote in an e-mail. "One-third of all movie-goers in this country are Black and yet African-Americans have no real power in Hollywood. Either there is a commitment to leveraging institutional power and individual behavior around involving people of color in politically compatible ways online, or bloggers of color must develop well-resourced entities that do for these communities what predominantly white ones have not," says Rabb. "I suspect the ideal situation is insisting on both."

The NABJ, meanwhile, is still awaiting a response from its open letter to the newspaper industry, and journalists of color are observing the changes around them warily. Gina McCauley told me she wishes that at least a few "traditional" journalists had signed up for Blogging While Brown: "I know a lot of bloggers like to complain about the so-called MSM, and at first I did too," she said. "But I know we have a lot to learn from journalists, about journalistic principles.... I think we have things to teach them, and that they have things to teach us, too." McCauley says that next year, she hopes to see many, many more journalists sign up for her conference. The odds are good that she will.

July 20, 2008

Who is Whining Now Phil Gramm?

Former U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm, a top adviser to John McCain, resigned from McCain’s presidential campaign after he was criticized recently for saying, "We have sort of become a nation of whiners,” he said. “You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in ‘decline’ despite a major export boom that is the primary reason that growth continues in the economy."

How the mighty have fallen!

Gramm was a presidential candidate a few election cycles ago. He was the key economic advisor to McCain. Of course, the guy is still an executive with UBS Investment Bank, so he won't be missing any meals.

The odd thing is that Gramm was simply repeating much of what McCain has been saying about the economy over the past few weeks. Check out the following video to see what I mean:

Doesn't it sound like Phil Gramm, John McCain and George Bush all think that high gas prices, high food prices, low stock market prices, increasing unemployement and other economic problems that we are experiencing are simply 'psychological'? Do they truly think that the problems are all in our heads?

Anyhow, I'm glad that Phil Gramm is now out of politics. Next we need to get George Bush and John McCain into the retirement home as well! What say u?