Friday, April 07, 2006

McKinney's Hair

I hate discussing the politics of hair. I hate that there is such a thing as the politics of hair. But the Cynthia McKinney has unavoidably resurrected the issue, so here we go.

Her hair was looking kinda crazy at that news conference. So what?

As Washington Post reporter Robin Givhan points out:

...talk turned ugly on blogs about her news-conference hair. It became the impetus for all sorts of racially driven insults about her locks and their natural texture. A black woman's hair is an easy, timeworn source of racist mockery. It has become an exhausting cliche of self-loathing whether it is kinky, hot-combed, braided, locked or chemically relaxed. (Indeed, plenty of black folks see all kinds of dire race-traitor undertones in Condoleezza Rice's smooth, controlled cap of hair.) A black woman's hair is a bottomless source of inspiration for essays, books and documentaries.


Some of that "racially driven" commentary was better described as "racist." It included an incredible outburst by nationally syndicated radio host Neil Boortz on both his radio show and his blog which included likening McKinney's appearance to that of a "ghetto slut," "ghetto trash," and "a welfare drag queen." It was an unabridge expression of how many white Americans are uncomfortable with non-conformist black hair styles.

Then again, her hair was out of control. It wasn't just that it was in a natural style, but that it appeared completely ungroomed, which is a separate matter altogether.

Typically I find that when anybody goes out in public with such an appearance, she is trying, usually too hard, to make a statement about how non-conformist she is. I usually ignore such unspoken statements in evaluating a person -- they are too easy, to obviously designed to draw attention to themselves. If you want to show me you're non-conformist as a member of Congress, challenge unapologetically the unacceptable behaviors of the Bush administration and the Republican caucus in Congress. That alone makes you a rbel nowadays.

And on that measure, Ms. McKinney is in fact a genuine non-conformist. And that's alright with me.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Condi, You're Doing a Heckuva Job!

Maybe one day the US will learn when to mind its own business.

BAGHDAD, Iraq, April 5 — A top adviser to Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said Wednesday that the visit this week by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw of Britain had backfired, prolonging a deadlock over a new government and strengthening Mr. Jaafari's resolve to keep his post.

"Pressure from outside is not helping to speed up any solution," said the adviser, Haider al-Abadi. "All it's doing is hardening the position of people who are supporting Jaafari." He added, "They shouldn't have come to Baghdad."

His comments were echoed by several political leaders on Wednesday, including Kurds and Sunni Arabs.

[SNIP]

The visit by Ms. Rice and Mr. Straw appeared to grate even on politicians who oppose Mr. Jaafari. "They complicated the thing, and now it's more difficult to solve," said Mahmoud Osman, an independent member of the Kurdistan Alliance, speaking Wednesday about Ms. Rice and Mr. Straw. "They shouldn't have come, and they shouldn't have interfered."

Unfortunately for the Iraqis, interfering is the whole point of this exercise. The invasion was the first step in a process of installing a US/Britain-friendly puppet who sell oil rights to Western companies at friendly rates. No matter how bad things get in Iraq, the US will not waver from that goal. So get ready for more sectarian violence, guys.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

On Cynthia McKinney

All right, this whole thing has gotten way out of hand.

She was supposed to be wearing her Congressional pin when she passed through security. She forgot. Fine, it happens.

The cop didn't recognize her. Well, there can't be too many black women entering the Capitol, but that still doesn't mean the cop should be expected to recognize her. Maybe he was new.

She maybe didn't hear the cop calling out to hear. Completely plausible.

She probably reacted instinctively when the cop grabbed her -- or as my sister says, "You don't just sneak up on a black woman like that. We're gonna react."

Did she "hit" the cop with her cellphone? Or did she "poke" him? Or did she "shove" him? I'm hearing multiple descriptions of what happened. Only a videotape, it seems, can sort this out.

Seeking to press charges against her, whatever actually happened, is ridiculous. Cool heads can easily come to the conclusion that this behavior is not about McKinney's race, but about her lack of an apologetic attitude. Additionally, there are more than a few folks in Washington -- even among her Democratic colleagues -- who hate McKinney for her refusal to embrace the herd mentality that has handcuffed the congress -- especially the Democrats -- over the past several years. Whether the Capitol Police are among that group, I don't know.

McKinney is being ridiculous as well with her overreaction to the events. Her race had little to do with the incident itself, though it has a lot to do with the external reaction to the incident. But to see her go on CNN and respond to the question "did you hit the officer?" with "Well, before I bring on my two lawyers..." is embarassing.

Both McKinney and the police are acting like children at this point. This whole thing needs to be dropped immediately.

John Kerry Calls For Iraq Deadline

Holy cow! Someone in the US Senate taking a stand on something! Catch me -- I'm going to faint!

Iraqi politicians should be told that they have until May 15 to put together an effective unity government or we will immediately withdraw our military. If Iraqis aren't willing to build a unity government in the five months since the election, they're probably not willing to build one at all. The civil war will only get worse, and we will have no choice anyway but to leave.

If Iraq's leaders succeed in putting together a government, then we must agree on another deadline: a schedule for withdrawing American combat forces by year's end.



I still can't believe what I'm reading. A presidential hopeful from the Senate is actually calling for US troop withdrawal by the end of this year.

Study: Bush tax cuts making rich richer

From CNN:

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - President Bush's tax cuts for investment income have significantly lowered the tax burden on the richest Americans, reducing taxes on incomes of more than $10 million by an average of about $500,000, according to a report Wednesday. An analysis of Internal Revenue Service data by The New York Times found that the benefit of the lower taxes on investments was more concentrated on the very wealthiest Americans than the benefits of President Bush's two previous tax cuts.

The Times analyzed IRS figures for 2003, the latest year available and the first that reflected the tax cuts for income from dividends and from the sale of stock and other assets, known as capital gains.

According to the study, taxpayers with incomes greater than $10 million reduced their investment tax bill by an average of about $500,000 in 2003, and their total tax savings, which included the two Bush tax cuts on compensation, nearly doubled, to slightly more than $1 million.

These taxpayers, whose average income was $26 million, paid about the same share of their income in income taxes as those making $200,000 to $500,000 because of the lowered rates on investment income.

And in other news, the sun is hot, and the Pope, it turns out, is Catholic.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Now There Are Many Saddams

This is not the reaction the Bush crew had in mind when they proudly displayed their trophy dictator after he had been captured:

ARBIL, Iraq, April 4 (Reuters) - Many Kurds who learned on Tuesday that Saddam Hussein could soon face trial for genocide against their community shrugged their shoulders, saying they had more pressing matters to deal with.

"I am happy that Saddam will go on trial because of everything he did," said 39-year-old Sahar Ibrahim in Baghdad. "But it really won't matter. There is no security in the country now. "It is much worse than before. At least then we knew what the danger was."

[SNIP]

"There was once one Saddam Hussein, now we have many, many," said Shawan Abdul Wahab, a 33-year-old engineer. "Saddam Hussein should not be executed
because he was better than our current politicians."

Sure, We Believe You

Columbus -Secretary of State Ken Blackwell made an embarrassing announcement Monday: He accidentally bought stock in Diebold Inc., a voting machine maker that benefited from decisions made by his office.

In a required filing with the Ohio Ethics Commission, the GOP gubernatorial hopeful said his hefty portfolio included 178 shares of Diebold stock, which sold for a loss. "While I was unaware of this stock in my portfolio, its mere presence may be viewed as a conflict," Blackwell wrote in a letter that accompanies his annual financial disclosure statement.

Accident, my ass.

Ohio's place as ground zero in the 2004 presidential election has helped shine a light on what may be the most corrupt and immoral chief election official in the U.S. And I'll say it again: for a black man to be involved in such unethical behavior around the right to vote fairly is almost too painful to recognize. Can't say enough how much I hate this man.

Tom DeLay: The Hammer Falls

Nine months ago the most powerful man in Congress. Today, chicken-s___ quitter.

Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), a primary architect of the Republican majority who became one of the most powerful and feared leaders in Washington, said this morning that he will give up his seat rather than face a reelection fight that appears increasingly unwinnable.

[SNIP]

The decision came three days after Tony C. Rudy, his former deputy chief of staff, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and corruption charges, telling federal prosecutors of a criminal enterprise being run out of DeLay's leadership offices. Rudy's plea agreement did not implicate DeLay in any illegal activities, but by placing the influence-buying efforts of disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff directly in DeLay's operation, the former aide may have made an already difficult reelection bid all but out of reach.


On the one hand, I'm inclined to think: it couldn't happen to a better guy. I hope the SOB gets burried under a blizzard of indictments and convictions in the coming months and years for all the crap he pulled in Texas' redistricting and helping that sleazeball Jack Abramoff buy off the Republic Party in Washington.

On the other hand, he had a good chance of actually losing he re-election bid this November, and I would have loved to see him suffer that ignominious fate -- and then get taken down with indictments and convictions.

Monday, April 03, 2006

More of that Good News from Iraq

Schools and hospitals, schools and hospitals...

BAGHDAD -- A reconstruction contract for the building of 142 primary health centers across Iraq is running out of money, after two years and roughly $200 million, with no more than 20 clinics now expected to be completed, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says.

The contract, awarded to U.S. construction giant Parsons Inc. in the flush, early days of reconstruction in Iraq, was expected to lay the foundation of a modern health care system for the country, putting quality medical care within reach of all Iraqis.