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    • Obama’s Just the Enemy And Always Was
      One of the most amusing things about the 07/8 primary season was how often Obama praised Reagan and how few people took him seriously. Obama thought Reagan was great, and said so repeatedly. “He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like, you know, […]
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Saturday: Al Franken wins recount in MN

The Minneapolis Star Tribune says it is over:

Norm Coleman’s term as a U.S. senator ended at noon Washington time on Saturday, and by evening his hopes of winning a second term had been dealt an expected but serious setback as state officials counted previously rejected absentee ballots in St. Paul.

DFLer Al Franken held an unofficial lead of 225 votes over Coleman, according to a newspaper tally of the officials’ count of the absentee ballots. Franken had led unofficially by 49 votes going into the day and gained a net 176 votes from the new ballots.

With the recount complete, focus immediately shifted to the Minnesota Supreme Court, which continued to consider a request from the Coleman campaign to alter the process and add more absentee ballots to be reconsidered. But by early evening there was no word from the state’s highest court as to when it would rule or hear arguments.

Sounds pretty definitive to me but Republicans don’t give up easily so expect them to drrrraaaaagggg this out until the middle of next term. But it sounds like it is possible for Franken to be seated next Tuesday along with the other freshman.

We expect great things from Franken. Frank Lautenberg is no Borscht Belt comic but he did an adequate job with the Chickenhawk concept.

Now, we’re not saying that this wasn’t funny but someone in the Senate graphics department is suffering from a failure to imaginate funny chickens.

On the other hand, Al is going to have to try really hard to top Senator Ted Stevens’ description of the internet.

LOLOLOLOLOL!!!

{{Catching breath, wiping eyes, clearing throat}}

But seriously, Al Franken is a serious liberal who used humor to get his point across during the gloomiest days of Movement Conservatism.

We need him more than ever in the session to come. So, Congratulations, Al.

Now, get to work.

On the 2008 Weblog Awards front: The 2008 Weblog Awards site features a lot of finalists in categories we’d never heard of before.  Over the next week, we’d like to spotlight a few for your consideration.  Our first one, recommended by myiq2xu, is Nice Deb, from the Best Small Blog category.  Tonight, Deb takes a look at Obama and his menagerie of magical creatures in I Don’t Get It and poses this important etiquette question: when is it appropriate to appear in the nude with a magical creature?  Take a look and send some mojo Deb’s way.

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Lock The Doors! Scary Black Man A-Comin’!

44331566-blago-burrisBig ol’ scary Roland Burris says he’s the Senator from Illinois so make way.  The Obamacrats say the idea of Burris sullying the sanctity of the Senate is so terrifying,  they’ll do whatever they have to do to keep him out and keep the country safe.  “Hide the women and children, go to the root cellar, get under the desks, run for your lives, for God’s sake, hide!”

Oh please.  For the Democrats in the Senate to say they’ll block the doors to prevent Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s appointed replacement for Barack Obama (the not scary black guy)’s Senate seat, Burris (the scary black guy) from taking office, just because they’re miffed, is just plain silly and pretty durned funny.  So, too, is Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush (a formerly scary black guy)’s insistence on being…well, Bobby Rush, and warning people against “lynching and hanging”  just because they want to bar entrance to the hallowed halls of the Senate by the scary black guy just like George Wallace wanted to keep scary black kids out of school.  But, never you mind, the fun doesn’t stop there, no sireee, Bobbo!  Being scary on command can be a hoot.  I mean, like The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates pointed out, quoting KristenMcQueary, it’s not like Bobby Rush never endorsed a white person over a black one:

He went so far as to compare Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to former Alabama Gov. George Wallace, who in 1963 stood in the doorway of a University of Alabama school building to block two black students from entering. Reid and Senate Democrats pledged to refuse any appointee sent by Blagojevich, even Burris, who would be the chamber’s only black member.

Rush’s lecture, however, seems quite two-faced considering he chaired Blair Hull’s 2004 U.S. Senate campaign.

Hull is white.

If sending a black senator to Washington is so important now, why didn’t Rush support a black candidate four years ago? Not only was Obama on the Democratic ballot, but Joyce Washington, a black woman and health care executive, was as well.

Never mind that Rush endorsed Obama for president over his good white friends, the Clintons, or that Rush crushed Obama when Obie made an ill-advised bid for Bobby’s Congressional seat, or that Obama’s hit man David Axelrod took Hull down hard on his way to the Senate, it’s a black thing, only summa y’all unnerstan’.  But, hey, let the good times roll on.

And, lest you think Senate Majority Leader Reid doesn’t like black people, not just because of the Wallace-esque door-blocking thing, but also because he tried to block Blagojevich from appointing any other black men, too, pish tosh, put those thoughts aside.  I’m sure he knows there haven’t been a whole lot of black people in the Senate; as Earl Ofari Hutchinson reminds us, it’s always been a “good old boy’s club” and, by golly, everybody just likes it that way!  Nothing personal, move along.  And those black folks agitating on Roland Burris’ behalf?  Misguided malcontents, the whole lot of ’em.  So what if there are no black Senators, y’all got a black president, how dare you play the race card?

Oh, the delicious irony.  Now it can be revealed just how racially manipulative the Obamacrats have been.  Just because Barack Obama received overwhelming support from black voters, easily deceived sycophants and other fools could be convinced that all black people love and support him alike.  Ha, ha.  What those sycophantic fools choose to ignore is that the illusion of monolithic support is easy to attain if you keep the relevant questions narrow.  In other words, if you ask 1,000 black people how they feel about, oh, health care, you’d probably get answers as varied as if you asked a similar number of white, Asian, short, or stupid people the same thing.  But if you ask them if they’d rather have a black Democratic president or a white Republican one on the 45th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech, you’d probably be horrified if anybody picked the white guy.

Duh.

Oh, but now, the vilified, but shrewd Blagojevich has flipped the script.  By appointing Burris, and deliberately, in his familiar, yet inimitable “in your face” style, calling bullshit, Blago has forced the Obamacrats to paint themselves into a corner of hell in much the same way they manipulated him into the role of the face of Illinois corruption, hoping to deflect attention from their own systemic culplability.  And, since there’s no easy way out for either side, the yuckfest continues.

The Senate Democrats have no leg to stand on, and will have to abandon their saber rattling bluff.  Blagojevich is most likely guilty as hell, but, under our legal system that doesn’t count, especially since he hasn’t even been indicted for anything, merely arrested pending formal charges.  While that may be enough for the Illinois branch of the Obamacrats to achieve the desired results in their now accelerated, year long, Blagoenemy Madigan Clan led impeachment attempt, it’s hard to see how that would invalidate the Burris appointment.  Would a conviction subsequent to the appointment legally nullify it?

Add the Al Franken coup attempt to the drama and you’ve got Oscar worthy high camp comedy.  Shouting “we won!” while trying to squeak Franken through the Burris-blocked Senate doors could prove to be a tad embarrassing.   I mean, how can you certify Franken, when he hasn’t even really won, and not certify the legally appointed Burris, without looking like a bunch of modern day racist bigots using token black people, like the president-elect and Illinois Secretary of State, to do your quota-maintaining bidding?

Ya can’t.

Advantage Blago/Burris/Rush.

And, once we get the answers to the “why did U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald step in and arrest Blagojevich to prevent a ‘crime-spree,’ when he could have caught at least two high-profile, guilty as hell people redhanded,” and “who are all these new ‘multiple witnesses‘ and what are they and the people on the ‘thousands of intercepted converations‘ saying that’s intersting enough to make Fitzy file a motion seeking an extension,” it might be game, set, match.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The Ultimate One-Hit Wonder

Israel begins ground assault in Gaza

gaza_strip_may_2005

Talk about it here, but keep it civil.

Clown Opera

Rico somebody (for madamab)

Uncle Barack Wants Your Kids

uncle-barack-wants-you1It’s not often that I agree with unrepentant terrorist, and Obabuddy, William Ayers, but when the man is right he’s right.  Seems Ayers’ neighbor, the Obapresident-elect, and his partners in government crime, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and newly appointed Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, “haf plans” for your children.

Black Agenda Report‘s Bruce Dixon interviewed “Chicago educator and activist, George Schmidt,” who calls Obama’s education secretary and basketball buddy Duncan “an underqualified stooge and privatizer” of education, and is highly critical of the job Duncan has done with the Chicago Public School System, and dropped this interesting tidbit of information:

Beginning in the first days of the 21st century, literally Chicago instituted military high schools. And we’re not talking about high schools that have ROTC programs, we’re talking about high schools that are run by and for the military. The first of those was established in the heart of Bronzeville, the south side community at 35th and Giles, in the old armory there. It’s now the Chicago Military Academy. Since then they’ve set up two more army high schools. Carver and Phoenix, a Marine high school and a naval academy which is named the Hyman Rickover Naval Academy inside Senn High School.

Since I was totally unaware of this program, I decided to do a little research, and yes, the military runs 5 inner city schools:

Today, Chicago has the most militarized public school system in the nation, with Cadet Corps for students in middle-school, over 10,000 students participating in JROTC programs, over 1,000 students enrolled in one of the five, soon-to-be six autonomous military high schools, and hundreds more attending one of the nine military high schools that are called “schools within a school.” Chicago now has a Marine Military Academy, a Naval Academy, and three army high schools. When an air force high school opens next year, Chicago will be the only city in the nation to have academies representing all of these branches of the military. But Chicago is not the only city moving in this direction: The public school systems of other urban centers with largely Black and brown low income students of color, including Philadelphia, Atlanta and Oakland, are being similarly reshaped.

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley is very proud of the military program.  In the fall of 2001, he had this to say:

Congratulations to Oakland mayor Jerry Brown on his plan to open a military academy (see “A Few Good Schools,” Summer 2001). Chicago’s experience with military academies has been overwhelmingly positive. I hope Oakland’s is equally successful.

In 1999 Chicago opened its first public military high school, the Chicago Military Academy at Bronzeville, in a historic African-American neighborhood. Last year the city began converting Carver High School on the Far South Side into its second military school. Both schools are part of the Chicago Public Schools system, not charter schools like Mayor Brown’s academy.

We started these academies because of the success of our Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) program, the nation’s largest. JROTC provides students with the order and discipline that is too often lacking at home. It teaches them time management, responsibility, goal setting, and teamwork, and it builds leadership and self-confidence.

Not surprisingly, the high-school graduation rate for JROTC students in the Chicago Public Schools is 20 percent greater than the citywide average. It’s a little early to measure the success of our academies, but the first class at Bronzeville scored 40 percent better than the citywide average in reading and 30 percent better than the average in math. Perhaps a clearer sign of success is that 1,300 students applied for 110 openings in Bronzeville’s next entering class.

Though a military academy isn’t for everyone, for some it is just what they need in order to make something of their lives.

While proponents claim that the schools do not recruit, and that their ultimate goal is prepare students for college, there’s some evidence that those people are full of hooey.  For one thing, these schools call their students “cadets,” require them to wear uniforms, stress discipline, and teach them to shoot guns.  From AFP:

Dozens of teens dressed in uniforms provided by the US Marines stand at attention in the gym of a Chicago public high school as a drill sergeant goes through a list of the day’s do’s and don’ts.

Bring your books to class. Come for extra help if you need it. And wear your uniform with pride.

“Young men, you think you can get a haircut and say I’m done for two or three weeks. WRONG,” Sgt. Major Thomas Smith Jr. intones.

“Young ladies. There’s been no problem with your uniforms but there is a problem with your ties. Again, I will go through it again. Wear your ties when you come to my class.”

One in 10 public high school students in Chicago wears a military uniform to school and takes classes — including how to shoot a gun properly — from retired veterans.

Also, the webpage of Chicago Military Academy-Bronzeville stresses it’s military curriculum:

Chicago Military Academy (CMAB) is the city’s first comprehensive military academy for high school students. The multicultural school, accepts both male and female students citywide. CMAB has a four-year college prep curriculum in addition to a mandatory Army Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) component. Our last two graduating classes earned over $1.5 million in scholarships and grants. Two of our graduates have been accepted to West Point, and four candidates were accepted to the Citadel. Advanced Placement (AP) classes are offered in four subjects. Honors classes are offered in all core subjects. Virtual courses are also offered.

A student, Natassa Bourkas, had this to say about the advantage of military prep education:

“When people see that we went to a military school, they know we’re obedient, we follow directions, we’re disciplined,” Natassa Bourkas, 16, a student at the Naval academy, told the Tribune.

Needless to say, these schools are not without controversy.  The transcript of a PBS Newshour discussion contains this exchange:

ELIZABETH BRACKETT: Minorities make up 92 percent of the cadet population. Only 4 percent are white, compared to 8 percent of the general Chicago public schools population.There are no public school military academies in Chicago’s suburbs. That disturbs Pauline Lipman, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Education.

PAULINE LIPMAN, University of Illinois at Chicago: When we talk about how these are good schools for these kids, one of the things we want to think about is, why are they not in upper-middle-class white communities? Why are they good schools for low-income African-American and Latino students and not good schools for affluent white kids?


And are we saying that those students need a different kind of discipline, a different kind of regulation, a different kind of option? And I think that’s a form of racial discrimination, and that’s really concerning to me.

It concerns Bill Ayers, too.  On his web page, Ayers, Therese Quinn, and Erica Meiners make the case against the militarization of the school system, summarizing his “radical” ideas on the subject this way:

We live in a city awash in the randomly, tragically spilled blood of our children. We live, all of us, in a violent nation that is regularly spilling the blood of other children, elsewhere. It sickens us to think of students marching and growing comfortable with guns.

In an October, 2007 Chicago Tribune article featuring the dedication of a new Marine Academy, Arne Duncan weighed in:

The dedication of the Marine Military Academy on the Near West Side comesa few days after Chicago officials announced plans to open an Air Forceacademy high school in 2009. If that happens, Chicago will become the onlypublic school district in the nation to have academies dedicated to the Army,Navy, Air Force and Marines.
District officials say the military-themed schools give students morechoices and provide an opportunity to enroll in schools that providestructure, discipline and a focus on leadership. They say the schoolsemphasize academics, not recruitment.
“We have to think outside the box, and what existed before simply did notwork for far too many students,” said Chicago Public Schools Chief ArneDuncan. “These schools are popular and have waiting lists, so that tells meparents want more of them.”

Rahm Emanuel thinks the program is a very good idea too. From his Congressional website, Oct. 15, 2007:

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives joined Mayor Daley and CEO of Chicago Public Schools Arne Duncan at the Marine Military Academy, to officially Commission the launch of the new school.  Chicago Public School’s Marine Military Academy provides Chicago’s young men and women with a college prep education that focuses on Math and Science. Emanuel secured $300,000 in federal funding for the Military Academy in the Fiscal Year 2007 Department of Defense Appropriations Act.

“Our Nation’s success depends on the quality of our children’s education. Chicago Public School’s Marine Military Academy is a pioneer of educational excellence and will become a model for public education across the country.”

Not all of Arne’s plans for privatizing the school system include the military, of course:

Chicago teacher Jesse Sharkey writes, “In the past couple years, Arne Duncan [Obama’s pick for Secretary of Education who hails from Chicago] has been turning public schools over to private operators–mainly in the form of charter and contract schools — at a rate of about 20 per year. Duncan has also resuscitated some of the worst ‘school reform’ ideas of the 1990s, like firing all the teachers in low-performing schools (called ‘turnarounds’). At the same time, he’s eliminated many Local School Councils and made crucial decisions without public input.”

On this website, the effectiveness of Duncan’s efforts is debated, here, the JROTC makes its own case, and here, in a 2003 National Catholic Reporter article, the genesis of the military push is traced to Colin Powell:

The four-year course, offered as an elective in lieu of physical education at a traditional high school or as a requirement at a military academy, comes with its own curricula and instructors, who are retired military officers certified by the branch of the armed services they represent. Army JROTC instructors receive their certification at Fort Knox, Ky., which is also headquarters for Army recruiting.

According to the military, impetus for JROTC’s growth in the last decade came from Gen. Colin Powell, now secretary of state, after the Los Angeles race riots in 1992. Powell, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, surveyed the ruins of southern Los Angeles and decided that what the nation’s youth needed was the discipline and structure of the military. Critics say JROTC expanded substantially in the early ’90s because the military needed more skilled recruits and youth interest in enlistment had declined. As a recruiting tool, JROTC is undeniably effective. According to defense department estimates 40 percent of all JROTC graduates enlist after high school.

While I haven’t yet had the time to process all the information, I have to admit to being outraged.  Considering that both Obama and Emanuel are advocates of mandatory volunteer service, and “civilian defense,” my initial reaction to the notion that children are being militarily indoctrinated at the high school level is WTF!?!

What say you?