Tuesday, March 31, 2009
By DENISE LAVOIE
My Way News Writer
BOSTON (AP) - Barack Obama's Kenyan aunt lost her bid for asylum more than four years ago, and a judge ordered her deported. Instead, Zeituni Onyango stayed, living for years in public housing.
Now, in a case that puts the president in a tough position both personally and politically, Onyango's request is being reconsidered under a little-used provision in U.S. immigration rules that allows denied asylum claims to be reheard if applicants can show that something has changed to make them eligible.
Such as the ascension of her nephew to the presidency of the world's most powerful country.
"If she goes back to Kenya, she is going to be much more in the limelight, and that, in and of itself, could put her at a greater risk. The chances of her going back and keeping a low profile are gone at this point," said Boston immigration attorney Ilana Greenstein.
Onyango, 56, the half-sister of Obama's late father, moved to the United States in 2000. Her first bid for asylum was rejected, and an immigration judge ordered her deported in 2004; she continues to live in public housing in Boston.
In December, a judge agreed to suspend the deportation order and reopen her case. An initial hearing is scheduled Wednesday in U.S. Immigration Court in Boston.
Obama has said repeatedly that he didn't know his aunt was living in the United States illegally and believes that laws covering the situation should be followed. If she wins asylum, he could look soft on immigration enforcement. If she loses, he could face criticism from immigrant advocacy groups.
The White House says Obama is staying out of it.
To read more, follow the link below:
Mar 31 07:06 PM US/Eastern
WASHINGTON (AP) - Health and Human Services nominee Kathleen Sebelius recently corrected three years of tax returns and paid more than $7,000 in back taxes after finding "unintentional errors"—the latest tax troubles for an Obama administration nominee. The Kansas governor explained the changes to senators in a letter dated Tuesday that the administration released. She said they involved charitable contributions, the sale of a home and business expenses.
Sebelius said she filed the amended returns as soon as the errors were discovered by an accountant she hired to scrub her taxes in preparation for her confirmation hearings. She and her husband, Gary, a federal magistrate judge in Kansas, paid a total of $7,040 in back taxes and $878 in interest to amend returns from 2005-2007.
Several Obama administration nominees have run into tax troubles, notably the president's first nominee for HHS secretary, former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle. He withdrew from consideration while apologizing for failing to pay $140,000 in taxes and interest.
Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., quickly issued a statement supporting Sebelius.
"Congress is going to need a strong partner at the Department of Health and Human Services to achieve comprehensive health reform this year, and we have that partner in Gov. Sebelius," Baucus said. "There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Gov. Sebelius has the political experience, determination, and bipartisan work ethic to get the job done with Congress this year. She's the right person for the job."
There was no comment from the White House.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Click the image to watch the video.
Updated Monday, March 30th 2009, 1:37 PM
Oprah Winfrey's elite boarding school for girls in South Africa has been rocked by its second sex scandal in fewer than two years.
Seven students were suspended last week for sexually harassing their schoolmates, the "Afrikaans on Sunday" newspaper reported.
One 15-year-old was accused of preying on another pupil and forcing other girls to lie to investigators about it, the paper reported.
"You have been found guilty of physical contact of a sexual nature with another pupil on campus, harassment, bullying other girls on campus and of being dishonest by not telling investigators the whole truth," a letter to her parents read.
Other girls were caught fondling each other or trying to get other girls to join them in lesbian liasons, the paper reported.
Oprah's spokesperson, Lisa Halliday, confirmed the girls had been suspended from the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy School for Girls - but gave few details.
"It is because they contravened the school's code of conduct," she said. "We regard the incident as confidential."
To view entire article, click the following link below:
Per Fox News
Wayland Chevrolet blames the shutdown on the downturn in the auto industry and the scheduled closing of General Motors Corp.'s metal stamping factory this year in the Grand Rapids suburb of Wyoming.
By Ian Swanson
Posted: 03/30/09 01:53 PM [ET]
President Obama didn’t want any advice from Congress on the decision to ask GM CEO Rick Wagoner to resign, according to Carl Levin (D), Michigan’s senior senator.“He didn’t ask us about it, he informed us,” Levin told reporters in a conference call Monday afternoon. “The president said he’d already decided.”
Levin said he and three other lawmakers were informed of the decision in a phone call Obama made from the Oval Office. Obama told the members of Congress that Wagoner needed to resign so that the administration could show the public it was making an effort at a fresh start with helping the auto industry, according to Levin.
Levin repeatedly described the decision as “sad,” and noted that Wagoner had given a lifetime of service to GM. He praised Wagner’s willingness to voluntarily “retire” from his post, and did not say whether he disagreed with Obama’s decision. Obama formally announced Monday morning that he was rejecting restructuring plans submitted by GM and Chrysler because they would not make the two automakers viable. He also made it clear that Wagoner was asked to resign as a condition for GM getting more aid.
Levin did not directly criticize Obama’s decision, but did say there is a “double standard” in the treatment of U.S. automakers and the financial industry, which has received tens of billions more in aid from taxpayers. “It’s something we’ve got to fight and overcome,” he said of Michigan lawmakers.
Obama suggested both companies might need to into a controlled bankruptcy to restructure, a suggestion Levin said could hurt Chrysler and GM by lowering consumer confidence.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Slain attorney Chiquita Tate was such a believer in the legal system that she had a tattoo of Lady Justice on her back, college friend T. J. Crawford recalled.
Chiquita Tate was in the midde of a high-profile murder trial when she was stabbed to death in her law office.
"She just had an attachment to justice and doing what's right by people. She was always very serious about that," said Crawford, a teacher and community organizer in Chicago, Illinois.
But Tate, described by colleagues as a tenacious defense attorney who fought for her clients, could not save herself.
Family members and friends in Chicago; Atlanta, Georgia, and Tate's adopted home -- tiny Baker, Louisiana -- are reeling from the grisly details of Tate's slaying, and police say it was at the hands of her husband, Greg Harris. They had been married about 14½ months.
Harris, 37, is in custody, accused of stabbing Tate to death. He is charged with second-degree murder and the illegal use of a dangerous weapon. A judge last week set his bond at $500,000.
In a phone interview with CNN, Harris' attorney, Lewis Unglesby, said police have the wrong man.
"Greg Harris by all accounts ... is innocent. I don't know anybody that thinks he did it, except the police," Uglesby said. "There's nothing in his background. He has cooperated completely with the police; he's signed everything they've asked him to sign. He's let them search his house, his car."
Tate, 34, had started her own law firm in downtown Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and was doing well, family and acquaintances said.
"She was up and coming," said Cpl. L'Jean McKneely, a police spokesman in Baton Rouge.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Three more states in the US recorded jobless rates of more than 10 percent in February, bringing the total thus far to seven, according to data released Friday by the Labor Department. Nevada (10.1 percent), North Carolina (10.7 percent) and Oregon (10.8 percent) last month joined the four other states that had previously soared above 10 percent. Michigan, at 12 percent, remained the state with the highest unemployment rate, followed by South Carolina at 11 percent and Oregon at 10.8 percent. California (10.5 percent) and Rhode Island (10.5 percent) are the other states with double-digit unemployment.
The new data on state jobless levels followed the Labor Department's report on initial jobless claims for the past week, released Thursday, which showed a higher-than-expected increase to a seasonally adjusted figure of 652,000, up from the previous week's figure of 644,000. The total number of people claiming benefits for more than a week jumped 122,000 to 5.56 million, exceeding analysts' projections of 5.48 million and marking the highest level since records began in 1967. The level of continuing jobless claims set a record for the ninth consecutive week.
To read more, visit the following link:
Friday, March 27, 2009
Per MTV News
Mar 27 2009 11:24 AM EDT
By Jayson Rodriguez
ATLANTA — A Northern Georgia District judge sentenced T.I. to one year and one day in prison on felony weapons charges Friday (March 27), calling the rapper's plea deal "experimental" but a success.
Judge Charles Pannell Jr. told the rapper he had more than exceeded the court's expectations, and he hoped his case would inspire similar plea deals.
As a part of the plea deal T.I. (real name: Clifford Harris) struck last March, the year-and-a-day sentence was expected. The rapper is also required to complete 1,000 hours of community service before turning himself in, and another 500 hours after completing his sentence. He also must pay a $100,000 fine.
Tip is scheduled to report to prison voluntarily within the next six to eight weeks. However, the judge acknowledged that the rapper has agreed-upon commitments what will not allow him to enter prison before May 19.
To read more, follow the link below:
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Here is the schedule for coming media appearances related to the call for NCAA reform by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Finance Professor at Syracuse University.
Boyce Watkins to discuss NCAA and Black athletes on WBCP Radio, Champagne, IL - 3/27/09
Boyce Watkins to appear on Gtown Radio - 3/26/09
Dr. Boyce on NPR to discuss NCAA - 3/26/09
Dr. Watkins to appear on XM Satellite Radio - 3/27/09
Dr Boyce in the Baltimore Sun-Times - 3/25/09
Dr. Boyce discusses the NCAA at Loyola College in Maryland - 3/24/09
Monday, March 23, 2009
By Lee Ross
Masscahusetts Rep. Barney Frank called Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia a "homophobe" in an interview released Monday on a gay online news site, and said he hoped a challenge to a federal law widely disliked in the gay community will not be heard before the high court until new justices are seated on the bench.
Frank, who is gay, made the remark in responding to a question about legal challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act. The 1996 law says the federal government and states have no obligation to recognize same-sex marriages even if other states allow them.
"At some point, [the Defense of Marriage Act] is going to have to go to the United States Supreme Court," the congressman, a Democrat, said. "I wouldn't want it to go to the United States Supreme Court now because that homophobe Antonin Scalia has got too many votes on this current court."
Last month a controversial judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals declared the 12-year-old law unconstitutional. That's the second time a judge from the notably liberal court has made such a ruling.
But both rulings were administrative in nature and offered no precedent, thus making it unlikely they would be appealed to the Supreme Court. Nonetheless, a judicial marker has been set that has clearly drawn the interest of the gay community.
To read more, visit the following link:
Thursday, March 19, 2009
By EVAN PEREZ
WASHINGTON -- Attorney General Eric Holder said some detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, may end up being released in the U.S. as the Obama administration works with foreign allies to resettle some of the prisoners.
Mr. Holder, in a briefing with reporters, said administration officials are still reviewing individual cases of the approximately 250 detainees to determine which will be put on trial and which may be released to comply with plans to close the detention facility by next year.
Six weeks into his tenure, Mr. Holder is still trying to assemble much of the Justice senior leadership, with several nominees awaiting Senate confirmation. He said he has reviewed the department's handling of white-collar criminal cases in response to the financial crisis and is considering ways to increase coordination on financial fraud among federal prosecutors and state officials. He said he is trying to increase the budget dedicated to white-collar crime, while maintaining funding for national security.
European justice ministers met with Mr. Holder earlier this week and pressed for details on how many Guantanamo prisoners the U.S. planned to release domestically, as part of any agreement for allies to accept detainees. Mr. Holder said U.S. officials would work to respond to the questions European officials have over U.S. Guantanamo plans.
See more from the following link: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123741378746277081.html
"A couple of questions:
1. Which state will they be released to?
2. How will our state/federal criminal system deal with a person who basically has little to no ability to be rehabilitated when they are willing to sacrifice their lives to kill all American or Jewish life for their religious belief?
I am reminded of WWII where the Japanese performed Kamikaze missions on US ships before President Truman dropped two automic bombs before the Emperor of Japan conceded in defeat.
Will a person who wants to do this type of kamikaze mission on American citizens require the same result?" - Syreeta L. McNeal, CPA, JD
Post your thoughts please....
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Posted: 05:56 PM ET
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Senate Banking committee Chairman Christopher Dodd told CNN’s Dana Bash and Wolf Blitzer Wednesday that he was responsible for adding the bonus loophole into the stimulus package that permitted AIG and other companies that received bailout funds to pay bonuses.
On Tuesday (March 17, 2009), Dodd denied to CNN that he had anything to do with the adding of that provision.
Also per FoxNews:
Sen. Dodd Admits Adding Bonus Provision to Stimulus Package
Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., said Wednesday the Treasury forced him to add language to the stimulus bill last month that exempted all executive bonuses made before February 11, 2009.
By Trish Turner
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
In a dramatic reversal Wednesday, Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., confessed to adding language to the stimulus bill last month that exempted all executive bonuses made before February 11, 2009.
Dodd told FOX News Treasury officials forced him to make the change.
"As many know, the administration was, among others, not happy with the language. They wanted some modifications to it," he said.
"They came to us, our staff, and asked for changes, and the changes at the time did not seem that obnoxious or onerous," he said.
Dodd said the argument put forward by Treasury was that a "flood of lawsuits" would come forward if the change was not made.
Dodd said he was unaware of the AIG bonuses at the time the bill was being written back in early February. He also said he has no reason to believe Treasury officials making the argument knew about the AIG bonuses.
When asked how administration officials have this kind of leverage over members of Congress,
Dodd said, "The administration has veto power...No one suggested a veto to me, I don't want to imply that to you. But certainly that's not an insignificant tool."
On Tuesday, Dodd told FOX News that he didn't add the exemption.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
- Crack down on bonuses, retention awards and incentive compensation: Bonuses can only be paid in the form of long-term restricted stock, equal to no greater than 1/3 of total annual compensation, and will vest only when taxpayer funds are repaid. There is an exception for contractually obligated bonuses agreed on before Feb. 11, 2009.
- For institutions that received assistance totaling less than $25 million, the bonus restriction applies to the highest compensated employee; $25 million to $250 million, applies to the top five employees; $250 million to $500 million, applies to the senior executive officers and the next top 10 employees; and more than $500 million applies to the senior executive officers and the next top 20 employees (or such higher number as the Secretary determines is in the public interest).
President Obama latched on to the latest round of populist anger over corporate greed Monday, ordering his Treasury secretary to "pursue every legal avenue" to stop insurance giant AIG from giving $165 million in bonuses to some of the executives who drove the company into financial ruin before it was rescued by a government bailout.
"How do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat?" Obama demanded of the company that last month posted the largest corporate quarterly loss in history, $61.7 billion.
Obama's scolding of American International Group came after his top economic advisers — Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, White House chief economist Christina Romer and Larry Summers, director of the National Economic Council — also blasted AIG over its doling out bonus checks ranging from $1,000 to $6.5 million to executives after accepting up to $180 billion in government bailout money.
Monday, March 16, 2009
- At least 2,149 attorneys have been laid off in 2009, according to Lawshucks.com
- Private firms are trying to place unemployed attorneys in public interest firms
- One firm will pay deferred associates $60,000 a year to work in the public sector
- Harvard Law School assistant dean: Tough times can be "tremendous opportunity"
(CNN) -- It was the best of times in 2004, when attorney Dave Dineen graduated from Boston University School of Law and landed a job at a top Massachusetts corporate firm, Foley Hoag LLP.
By 2007, the National Association for Law Placement was reporting the most promising year in two decades. Nearly 92 percent of graduating attorneys were employed, and the median starting salary at private practices had increased by $13,000 --to a total of $108,500 a year.
But times have changed.
In the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, the legal industry is taking an unprecedented beating from the sputtering economy and housing meltdown. Dineen, 37, lost his job as layoffs and salary freezes have spiked at law firms across the country during the past three months.
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Friday, March 13, 2009
By MELISSA TRUJILLO
Associated Press Writer
BOSTON (AP) - Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told law students there could be an opening on the Supreme Court soon but didn't hint at who might be leaving.
Ginsburg spoke Friday at New England Law's annual "Law Day."
In a question-and-answer session, she said the nine justices only take pictures together when a new member is added. She said: "We haven't had any of those for some time, but surely we will soon."
She declined to take questions from reporters at the event.
See the entire article: http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D96T9UQG0&show_article=1
Many Boston teens surveyed say Rihanna is at fault for assault
By Milton J. Valencia and Jenna Nierstedt
Globe Staff and Globe Correspondent / March 13, 2009
Here's a conversation starter: Nearly half of the 200 Boston teenagers interviewed for an informal poll said pop star Rihanna was responsible for the beating she allegedly took at the hands of her boyfriend, fellow music star Chris Brown, in February.
Of those questioned, ages 12 to 19, 71 percent said that arguing was a normal part of a relationship; 44 percent said fighting was a routine occurrence.
The results of the survey, conducted by the Boston Public Health Commission across the city and equally among boys and girls, are startling for local health workers who see a generation of youths who seem to have grown accustomed, even insensitive, to domestic violence.
"I think you'd have to be pretty jaded if you weren't startled by it," said Casey Corcoran, director of the health commission's new Start Strong program.
To read more, follow this link: http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/03/13/many_boston_teens_surveyed_say_rihanna_is_at_fault_for_assault/
Thursday, March 12, 2009
* Companies seek Swiss domiciles despite tax row
* U.S. political climate may be helping
* Appeal as corporate location may outlast offshore dispute
By Sam Cage
ZUG, Switzerland, March 12 (Reuters) - The tidy towns and mountain vistas of Switzerland are an unlikely setting for an oil boom.
Yet a wave of energy companies has in the last few months announced plans to move to Switzerland -- mainly for its appeal as a low-tax corporate domicile that looks relatively likely to stay out of reach of Barack Obama's tax-seeking administration.
In a country with scant crude oil production of its own, the virtual energy boom has changed the canton or state of Zug, about 30 minutes' drive from Zurich, beyond all recognition. Its economy was based on farming until it slashed tax rates to attract commerce after World War Two.
It still has a chocolate-box old town with views over a lake to the high Alps, but is now surrounded by gleaming corporate offices -- including commodity trader Glencore and oil refiner Petroplus -- shopping malls and housing developments.
Local authorities say about 13 percent of full-time jobs in Zug canton are in the raw materials sector.
Over the past six months companies including offshore drilling contractors Noble Corp and Transocean, energy-focused engineering group Foster Wheeler and oilfield services company Weatherfield International have all announced plans to shift domicile to Switzerland.
"Switzerland has a stable and developed tax regime and a network of tax treaties with most countries where we operate," Transocean Chief Executive Bob Long said in a statement in October, when it announced its move. "As a result, the redomestication will improve our ability to maintain a competitive worldwide effective corporate tax rate."
Guido Jud, head of Zug's tax office, said about 1,200 companies had set up shop there in 2008 -- in line with the long-term average, though it is difficult to assess how many of those are foreign companies until they file tax returns.
Swiss cantons are free to set their own tax rates. For example in Zug, corporate tax is about 16 percent but can fall as low as 9.5 percent for companies that do most of their business outside Switzerland. That compares with an average global corporate tax rate of 25.9 percent, according to consultancy KPMG.
"One trend that we see is that particularly Bermuda-based companies are now moving to Switzerland," said Martin Frey, a partner at law company Baker & McKenzie. "That may only partly be obviously for tax reasons, but also for security reasons and the fact that the Obama administration may go after them."
To Read More, follow link below:
WASHINGTON - A D.C. Office of the Chief Technology Officer employee and a private contractor have been arrested in a federal bribery sting, sources tell WTOP. D.C. Office of the Chief Technology Officer employee Yusuf Acar and Advanced Integrated Technologies Corporation (AITC) President and CEO Sushil Bansal have been arrested, sources tell WTOP.
Acar, 40, was taken into custody Thursday morning by FBI agents at his home in Northwest D.C.
In 2008, Bansal's firm received .Net Development Support and Peoplesoft Consulting Support contracts from the D.C. Office of the Chief Technology Office totaling $350,000.
AITC has also received contracts from the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles. In 2008, Bansal received the Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the Association of Indians in America, according to AITC's Web site.
The FBI is now serving a search warrant at the office of D.C.'s Chief Technology Officer, WTOP has learned.
"We are there as part of a continuing ongoing criminal investigation," FBI Washington Field Office spokesperson Katherine Schweit tells WTOP.
Schweit would not comment on the details of the investigation.
More than a dozen FBI agents - including evidence technicians - are at the office, located at 1 Judiciary Square on 4th Street in Northwest, WTOP's Mark Segraves reports.
Most of the employees have been told to go home. Other employees have been segregated into a waiting room.
Segraves reports the FBI's search has expanded from 9th floor offices to 10th floor offices.
The 10th floor has been closed to the public while the FBI searches the offices that house the Administrative Services Modernization Program, Segraves reports.
A spokesman for D.C.'s U.S. Attorney tells WTOP he cannot discuss the investigation, as it is currently sealed.
On March 5, President Barack Obama named D.C. Chief Technology Officer Vivek Kundra as the federal government's chief information officer.
Kundra's last day was March 4.
Kundra, who was in charge of technology in the District since 2007, has been a consultant to Obama since he won the election.
Kundra has not been linked to Thursday's raid.
To read the entire article: http://www.wtop.com/?nid=596&sid=1622618
Monday, March 9, 2009
President Obama will sign an executive order Monday lifting limits on human embryonic stem cell research and will direct federal agencies to "restore scientific integrity" to decision-making, White House aides said Sunday.
Obama's order follows years of wrangling over stem cells and scientific decision-making in the Bush administration.
"Public policy must be guided by sound scientific advice," said Nobel Prize winner Harold Varmus, co-chair of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, discussing the order and memorandum Sunday.
Melody Barnes of Obama's Domestic Policy Council added that the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy will set standards for federal science advisers, insulating them from political interference.
The executive order will reverse President George W. Bush's 2001 decision to withhold federal support of research on newly collected colonies of embryonic stem cells, the master cells from which all tissues are formed. Bush, who opposed the destruction of embryos necessary to harvest the cells, limited research funding to 21 stem cell colonies, or lines, already in existence.
Baltimore City police arrested the vice president of Baltimore's NAACP on Thursday after heroin and marijuana were recovered during a search of his car.
Joe Sviatko, a spokesman for the State's Attorney's Office, said prosecutors have declined to prosecute the case because they do not believe it can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Police said Ellis L. Staten Jr., 44, who is also an executive committee member of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People Maryland Conference, was in the driver's seat of a car that had stopped near Pennsylvania Avenue and Dolphin Street.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Rihanna's attorney says the singer would testify against Chris Brown if called as a witness in her boyfriend's assault case. Donald Etra, who is representing the 21-year-old Barbados native, said Friday that Rihanna would be required by law to testify if prosecutors subpoena her.
Etra appeared in court Thursday when Brown made his first appearance on charges of assaulting and making criminal threats to his superstar girlfriend. Brown's arraignment was postponed until April 6.
Etra said Rihanna did not want a "no contact" order issued against Brown, but that she will report any violations of an order prohibiting the 19-year-old singer from threatening, harassing or harming his girlfriend. A court order grants her the authority to record any violations of the order.
The order is not uncommon in cases where a victim says he or she doesn't want to completely cut off communication with a person, said Steve Cron, a Santa Monica criminal defense attorney who has represented celebrities such as Paula Poundstone and Scott Weiland.
"There are limits to when you can record phone calls and conversations," Cron said. "She can record those conversations if it's for the purpose of showing there's a violation of the restraining order."
Etra said Rihanna, whose real name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty, wants the case over with quickly. "She wants to get along with her life and career," he said.
by Dr. Marc Lamont Hill
Over the past week, the political world has been tuned into a highly unusual soap opera involving Republican Committee Chair Michael Steele and conservative radio jock Rush Limbaugh. After Limbaugh was publicly lambasted for stating that he wanted President Obama’s agenda to fail, Democratic leaders wisely used the moment as an opportunity to anoint the polarizing pundit as the de facto leader of the GOP. Steele, the actual leader of the party, dismissed Limbaugh as a mere “entertainer” whose show trades in “ugly” and “incendiary” remarks. Limbaugh soon fired back, telling Steele to do his job and to stop acting like a “talking head media star.”
Of course, partisan infighting is not uncommon in politics –though such public spats are typically the property of the Democrats. The difference, however, has been the party’s response. Instead of rallying around its newly appointed leader Steele, GOP honchos have either taken the side of Rush Limbaugh or remained conspicuously silent. Even Steele himself caved into Limbaugh, apologizing for his remarks and removing any lingering doubt about who the real don is.
By allowing Michael Steele to be publicly undressed by a party extremist, Republicans have tacitly confirmed what many of us already knew: they haven’t changed one bit. Despite their post-November promises to rise above bitter partisanship, the GOP decided to cosign Limbaugh’s antipatriotic machinations. Instead of living up to their promise to broaden their message and appeal, Republicans have instead opted to defer to the steward of its most vile, ignorant, and bigoted constituency. Most disturbingly, they have legitimized their antidemocratic enterprise by hiring a black man, but giving him no more political muscle than the queen of England.
To be clear, I am not trying to diss Michael Steele, who I know personally and like a great deal despite our political differences. My concern is that the seductive aroma of power and prestige have diverted his attention from the harsh realities of his circumstance.
Like many prominent African Americans, Steele has climbed the heights of white society under the false premise that he is being judged purely on merit rather than color. This couldn’t be further from the truth. While the Republican party is willing to use Steele’s black face to celebrate its ostensible progress, it is equally committed to reducing him to nothing more than a paper champion. Hopefully, Brother Steele will stop drinking the Kool-Aid long enough to recognize this and come back home.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Republicans attacked President Obama's proposed $3.6 trillion budget Tuesday as offering "red ink as far as the eye can see," and Democrats even suggested that the president might be trying to solve too many problems at once.
As administration officials trekked to Capitol Hill to defend Obama's budget, they were met with skepticism from both sides of the aisle because of the huge changes the president has promised to make in taxes, health care, energy and education.
THE OVAL: Proposals and analysis
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and White House Budget Director Peter Orszag, in separate appearances, stuck to the administration line that the president's budget would benefit 95% of working Americans.
Higher taxes for affluent Americans would not come until 2011 once "we are safely into recovery," Geithner told the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.
"I'm confident this is the right path for the country," he said.
But Republicans disagreed.
"The president's budget increases taxes on every American, and does so during a recession," Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., told Geithner.
Camp also complained about provisions that would limit the size of charitable deductions that could be taken by families earning more than $250,000 a year.
Orszag faced similar questioning before the House Budget Committee.
Over the weekend, Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele called Rush Limbaugh's rhetoric "incendiary" and "ugly" and insisted that he, not Limbaugh, is in charge of the GOP.
"Rush will say what Rush has to say; we'll do what we have to do," RNC Chairman Michael Steele has said.
But that was two days ago. Monday, after a blistering response from the conservative talk-radio kingpin, Steele told the online journal Politico that he "was maybe a little bit inarticulate."
"There was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership," Steele said. He added, "There are those out there who want to look at what he's saying as incendiary and divisive and ugly. That's what I was trying to say. It didn't come out that way."
Steele's original remarks came from an interview on CNN's "D.L. Hughley Breaks the News," which aired Saturday. They came as Democrats, including White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, have tried to paint Limbaugh -- who has said he wants to see the Obama administration "fail" -- as the effective head of the opposition party.
Steele rejected the idea, saying, "I'm the de facto leader of the Republican Party."
"Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer. Rush Limbaugh's whole thing is entertainment," Steele told CNN. "Yes, it is incendiary. Yes, it is ugly." iReport.com: Limbaugh and Steele show divisions in GOP
Limbaugh fired back on his radio show Monday, saying the Republican chairman appears to be supporting President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He said Steele appears "obsessed with seeing to it President Obama succeeds."
"I frankly am stunned that the chairman of the Republican National Committee endorses such an agenda," Limbaugh said. "I have to conclude that he does, because he attacks me for wanting it to fail."