Monday, December 31, 2007

Des Moines Register Final Poll: Obama Leads

From the Des Moines Register

New Iowa Poll: Obama widens lead over Clinton
Des Moines Register and Tribune Company • December 31, 2007

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has widened his lead in Iowa over Hillary Clinton and John Edwards heading into Thursday's nominating caucuses, according to The Des Moines Register's final Iowa Poll before the 2008 nominating contests.

Obama's rise is the result in part of a dramatic influx of first-time caucusgoers, including a sizable bloc of political independents. Both groups prefer the Illinois senator in what has been a very competitive campaign.

Obama was the choice of 32 percent of likely Democratic caucusgoers, up from 28 percent in the Register's last poll in late November, while Clinton, a New York senator, held steady at 25 percent and Edwards, a former North Carolina senator, was virtually unchanged at 24 percent.

The poll reflects continued fluidity in the race even as the end of the yearlong campaign nears. Roughly a third of likely caucusgoers say they could be persuaded to choose someone else before Thursday evening. Six percent were undecided or uncommitted.

The poll also reveals a widening gap between the three-way contest for the lead and the remaining candidates. No other Democrat received support from more than 6 percent of likely caucusgoers.

Rest of article can be read at link above.

Obama not only draws from Democrats, but Independents and Republicans.

It's time to prove the poll right.



6 Minute "How to Caucus" Video

Questions about the caucus process? Watch this 6 minute video, and you'll be an expert.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Ex-Felons Can Caucus

Any ex-felon who has finished his or her sentence, probation, or parole is allowed under Iowa law to caucus. If the ex-felon is not registered to vote, he or she may register to vote at his or her caucus location on Thursday, January 3, 2008 at 6:30 pm and then caucus.

Some ex-felons wrongly assume they cannot vote. The law was recently changed. On July 4, 2005 Governor Tom Vilsack signed Executive Order 42, which automatically restores the right to vote to ex-felons who have completed their sentence, probation and parole. Answers to common questions are here.

McCain Losing Votes to Obama in New Hampshire

Hat tip: Prometheus6

McCain losing votes to Obama in N.H.
By Maeve Reston and Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
December 30, 2007

NASHUA, N.H. -- Like many New Hampshire voters, Dave Montgomery considers himself a dyed-in-the-wool independent -- which in this state means he can vote in either the Republican or Democratic presidential primary when he goes to the polls Jan. 8.

This year, the semi-retired school bus driver from Milford finds himself torn between two candidates, one from each party: Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Barack Obama of (D-Ill.).

Montgomery likes McCain, he said, because "he seems to be enough of a rebel." He likes Obama for pretty much the same reason -- because he seems to be "his own man."

"I think either one of them could do the job," he said.

Independents like Montgomery may be the decisive factor for both major parties when New Hampshire holds the nation's first primary next week, hot on the heel's of Iowa's caucuses on Thursday. And the choices these nonaligned New Hampshire voters make almost assuredly will shape the nation's later primary races.

"This big group in the middle . . . has a chance to really transform the election," said Tom Rath, a veteran New Hampshire Republican strategist who is advising former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.). Describing the efforts to woo independents, he added: "It's more like a general election here."

If Obama bests national front runner Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), he probably will owe his New Hampshire victory to independents, a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll suggested last week.

Among the state's registered Democrats, the survey found Clinton led Obama, 35% to 28%. But among independents who plan to vote in the Democratic primary, Obama led, 37% to 24% -- turning the contest into a virtual tie.

Rest of the article is HERE.

The reason why this article is important, is because it points out the fallacy of Barack Obama's ' Unelectability'.

In the last month, poll after poll has consistently shown that Barack Obama polls well, against every major GOP Candidate in the General Election. He consistently polls BETTER than Hillary Clinton.


Because of his appeal to independents and some Republicans.

You see in this article that Hillary wasn't remotely a choice for him. It was Obama or McCain. Independents have already told the pollsters that they aren't voting for Hillary Clinton. They will consider Obama.

You win elections by trying to appeal to the broadest possible constituency. Of course you CAN win with '50%+1', but what has that brought us in this country the past seven years? Nothing but bitterness upon bitterness. Why set ourselves up for that AGAIN (with Clinton), when we don't have to. When you have a candidate that can gather a broad coalition to govern.

Barack Obama is electable.

He's NOT the one that HALF THE COUNTRY says they will NEVER VOTE FOR.

I have said it before; I'm not naive to think that Obama couldn't be victim to some sort of Bradley Effect. But, I stand by this: for him to catch up to where Clinton is RIGHT NOW?

It would have to be the size of a tsunami.


Saturday, December 29, 2007

Michelle Obama Asks - ARE YOU READY?

The Future First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, asked this question in Orangeburg, South Carolina last month.

If you need a reason to vote for Obama, if you have questions, then listen to Michelle Obama. Imagine this woman as First Lady, and then tell me again why you can't spend two hours on January 3rd to Caucus for Barack Obama.

Here is a link to the video:Michelle Obama's Speech in South Carolina

Two Key Things to do for Obama

So you don’t have time to volunteer this week and you can’t spare $2,300 for the campaign, but you support Barack Obama. How can you as an Iowan help the Obama movement? Two easy but important things:

1) Click here and complete a Supporter Card (if you haven’t already): Make sure you click on the "I will attend my precinct caucus for Barack Obama box.” It may seem meaningless, but it really helps.

2) Attend your neighborhood caucus at 6:30 pm on Thursday, Jan. 3 and support Barack Obama.

Monday is First Night Festival

Don't forget--Dec. 31 is the First Night Festival in Council Bluffs! First Night is a family-friendly New Year's Eve celebration filled with art, music, dance, and interactive entertainment. It features a wide variety of artists with a multicultural bent, including an African performance group and the Salem Church Steppers! A full schedule of events can be found at

Our Council Bluffs/Omaha Advisory Committee member Inky Westfall is chairing the event, and it looks out of this world! Have a great New Years!

Joseph Nolte,
Director of Statewide Operations
African American Historical Museum and Cultural Center of Iowa
55 12th Avenue SE Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

PS--Don't forget! To be listed in the 2007 Annual Report, Museum memberships must be postmarked Dec. 31 or be made online via PayPal by Dec. 31! For more information, visit

Friday, December 28, 2007

Barack Obama's Closing Pitch

Here's the strength of the speech for me:

The real gamble in this election is playing the same Washington game with the same Washington players and expecting a different result. And that’s a risk we can’t take. Not this year. Not when the stakes are this high.

In this election, it is time to turn the page. In seven days, it is time to stand for change.

This has been our message since the beginning of this campaign. It was our message when we were down, and our message when we were up. And it must be catching on, because in these last few weeks, everyone is talking about change.

But you can’t at once argue that you’re the master of a broken system in Washington and offer yourself as the person to change it. You can’t fall in line behind the conventional thinking on issues as profound as war and offer yourself as the leader who is best prepared to chart a new and better course for America.

The truth is, you can have the right kind of experience and the wrong kind of experience. Mine is rooted in the real lives of real people and it will bring real results if we have the courage to change. I believe deeply in those words. But they are not mine. They were Bill Clinton’s in 1992, when Washington insiders questioned his readiness to lead.

My experience is rooted in the lives of the men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I fought for as an organizer when the local steel plant closed. It’s rooted in the lives of the people I stood up for as a civil rights lawyer when they were denied opportunity on the job or justice at the voting booth because of what they looked like or where they came from. It’s rooted in an understanding of how the world sees America that I gained from living, traveling, and having family beyond our shores – an understanding that led me to oppose this war in Iraq from the start. It’s experience rooted in the real lives of real people, and it’s the kind of experience Washington needs right now.

Rest of this fabulous speech is HERE.

I agree with Senator Obama. Every generation there comes a time when you must step up and decide what kind of country you want to be. You can feel that it's time to step into a new direction. You don't know what the consequences of that movement will be; you only know that it's time we take that step. We are definitely at that moment in 2007. We thought it was 2000, but no, it's now. This really is the first election of the Millenium. What will we choose? Will we choose to vote from a position of fear? Of doubt? I will say that it's profoundly UN-American, which is why this country is in the malaise that it is. Whatever has been said about America, one of the most vocal things said about us from outside of this country, is that we are an optimistic people. Not naive; optimistic. It's time that we take back that optimism. It's time that we took back control of our country and get back to what is best for us as a country. It's time for Barack Obama.

BrownIowa's Dana Boone on BlackAmericaWeb

People of color around the nation are paying attention to Iowans of color this week, and looking for their voices about and participation in the caucuses. Tom Joyner's caught up with BrownIowa's Dana Boone. An excerpt is below.

"Dana Boone, a freelance writer and blogger based in Des Moines, Iowa, said the issues facing blacks in Iowa will prompt more to be involved this year in the party caucuses.

'We are first in the nation for the number of black men in prison. We are first in the nation for the percentage of black children suspended from school,' Boone told 'This is our opportunity to have our voices heard by participating in the caucuses.'

According to a report by the New York-based Human Rights Watch, one in every 13 black men in Iowa is in a state prison. And data published in September by the Chicago Tribune showed that blacks make up 5 percent of the statewide public school enrollment but account for 22 percent of the students who get suspended.

'There are serious problems affecting blacks in Iowa,' Boone said. 'The spotlight is on us. People want to get behind a candidate who can help improve Iowa.'

While all candidates and their camps are aggressively courting Iowa voters, Boone said she hears most blacks in her circle speak of supporting Obama."

The full story is here.

Bridge Achievement "Gulf" in Iowa

The Register has this editorial on the achievement "gulf" in Iowa schools:

"The 2008 Legislature should make sure schools have funding to provide individual [tutoring] help daily, not when a child is months or years behind. . . . To see why, look at eighth grade . . . . . White students had the highest percentage at 75.2. But African-American students again performed worst, with only 44.4 percent scoring as proficient. . . . . In other words, less than half of Iowa's black youngsters are able to read reasonably well in middle school. That appalling statistic alone should push all Iowans - parents, educators, anyone who cares about kids and the state's future - to action."

The full editorial is here.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Don't Believe the Hype

Susan Rice over at Huffington Post reveals that the "Hillary Clinton ready to lead from Day One" campaign is largely media spin. It consists of Hillary Clinton invoking her status as "First Lady" and Bill Clinton spewing rhetoric characterizing Obama as a "roll of the dice." But Rice explains that these moves distract from the fact that Hillary Clinton has failed to provide a detailed national security plan. In contrast, Obama has provided a detailed national security plan (Susan lists and links to the specifics).

Check out the post here.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Go See “The Great Debaters”

Last night I saw “The Great Debaters,” which is a true story about a debate team from a Black college in the 1930s that went up against Harvard. It was an OUTSTANDING FILM!

Please go see it and support it ASAP, because unfortunately, movies about the intellectual prowess of people of color often don't do well at the box office (e.g., Antwone Fisher, Akeelah and the Bee). Here’s a review.

The movie trailer and interviews with Oprah Winfrey and Denzel Washington are below:

Backlash Over Clinton Racial Messages

From the Washington Post:

"But an important development in the 2008 Democratic battle may be the building backlash among African Americans over comments from associates of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton that could be construed as jabs at Sen. Barack Obama's race. These officials, including Clinton aides and prominent surrogates, have raised questions or dropped references about Obama's position on sentencing guidelines for crack vs. powder cocaine offenses; on his handgun control record; and on his admitted use of drugs as a youth. The context was always Obama's 'electability.' But the Illinois senator's campaign advisers said some African American leaders detect a pattern, and they believe it could erode Clinton's strong base of black support."

The post includes quotes from Tom Joyner during an interview with Barack, "Yeah, man, they are coming after you now. . . .," Boston Globe columnist Derrick Z. Jackson, "That leaves open as to how far the Clinton campaign. . . .will go to stereotype Obama in a sinister light in a nation where black drug use and criminality is exaggerated in the media," and the Black Star News of New York "So the Clinton campaign decided to use the race card."

Full story is here.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Below find the Obama Family Holiday Greeting, and Nat King Cole singing "The Christmas Song."

Monday, December 24, 2007

Myths of My People

The Nation has a new article entitled, “Inside the Black Primary.”

I think you should read the article not because I agree with it, but because it chronicles some of the “thinking” we need to confront and counter. In particular, we need to dispel three myths:




All three myths appear in the Nation article—straight from the mouths of black folks in South Carolina (although some of our folks in Iowa probably think this). It is tempting for those of us who support Barack to overlook this chatter and hope that it fades away, either because we’re reluctant to criticize other Black folks or because we’re afraid that acknowledging the talk only fuels it. But we shouldn’t ignore it. We should confront it head on. In this first in a series of posts, I’ll respond to Myth #1.

MYTH #1: WHITE FOLKS WON’T ELECT BARACK: From The Nation article: “”I’ve heard a lot of black people saying they don’t want to vote for Barack,” Barton’s daughter Michelle told me, “because they don’t believe it would make a difference. They feel that even if a lot of white people voted for him, somebody in a higher-up position would still find a way for him not to win.” Her sister and a friend, both fellow Obama volunteers, nodded their heads, “Yeah. Yeah.” . . . Even less comfortable was State Representative Harold Mitchell, an early Obama supporter who’d defected to Clinton . . . . “She is the candidate we know we can win the general election with.” Because a black man can’t win? “I–what?” Mitchell stammered. “Let’s not even talk about the fact that he’s an articulate, sharp African-American. Hey, one day. But right now, we don’t have time for experimentation.”. . . . [P]rominent State Senator Robert Ford explained why he’d opted for Clinton over Obama. “Every Democrat running on that ticket next year would lose because he’s black and he’s on top of the ticket,” Ford told the AP. “We’d lose the House and the Senate and the governors and everything.””


a) Americans of all races will vote for Barack—he’s much less polarizing than HRC. He’s ahead in the polls in Iowa. He’s raised slightly more money ($78 million+) for the primaries than she has, and most of it has come from people other than African Americans. In the 2004 U.S. Senate race, Barack won 70% of the vote (a landslide) in a state that is 79% white.

b) Black folks, all we’re asking is that you have enough faith to get Barack through the early states and give him a good start. After that, he’ll have the momentum to win the Democratic nomination on Feb. 5, and the majority of electoral votes across the country in the general election.

Chris Rock commented on the embarrassment of Black folks who refuse to support the best qualified candidate simply because he's Black. I’m including the video (the first 45 seconds of the clip).

TRANSLATION: “I can’t call him now, I had that white lady. What was I thinking?” seems coarse to some ears--some will interpret it just as Chris Rock focused on race. But here's what it means in context, and the reason it was funny to folks in the audience. It means “I’m embarrassed. I supported her simply because she was White, and I abandoned the guy who eventually won because he was Black. I didn't have faith that a Black guy could win.” In other words, if Barack does not win, Black folks who supported him will have no regrets. He was the best candidate and we tried. If Barack wins, however, Black folks who abandoned Barack simply because they didn't have confidence that a Black candidate could win will (or should) feel seedy, timid, and embarrassed.

I look forward to your additional thoughts, and stay tuned for the next installment. . . .

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Rep. Wayne Ford Endorses Barack Obama

From the Iowa Independent:
"With Sunday's endorsement from Rep. Wayne Ford of Des Moines, Barack Obama takes the lead in endorsements from Iowa Legislators with 20 to Hillary Clinton's 19. . . . In Sunday's Obama press release, Ford said Obama will be "a President who can successfully expand economic opportunity and access to affordable housing for every American - including those who live in urban communities." The release also noted that Ford's endorsement gives Obama support from all four of Iowa's African-American legislators."

I'm very happy about this. I'm sure Rep. Ford had offers from powerful political operatives, but he held in there and did the right thing for Iowa and America. The full story is here.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Iowa's El Latino Newspaper Endorses Obama

On Thursday, the Iowa weekly Spanish-language newspaper El Latino endorsed Barack Obama:

"To Elect Barack Obama is to Elect a Better Future for Everyone

. . . Since Obama’s father was an immigrant and Obama is a minority in the US, he not only understands the Latino community, he feels it—the good and the bad. We identify with Obama and are convinced that he understands the issues that directly impact Latino families: issues like immigration, education, the War in Iraq, civil rights, and small business development. . . . No other presidential candidate, particularly divisive candidates, can unite Congress and secure the votes to finally pass comprehensive immigration reform. We believe that Obama is the only candidate with the capability to change the immigration laws to keep our families together and give everyone the opportunity to pursue the American Dream."

Hat Tip & full English and Spanish versions are here: Jenny U.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Minorities Hit Hard by Rising Health Care Costs

By Dana Boone

A new report by Families USA "Too Great a Burden: America's Families at Risk" found that a disproportionate number of the nation's minorities were uninsured between 2006 and 2007.

The report found that 44.5 percent of African-Americans, 60.7 percent of Latinos, 38.2 percent of people comprised of other ethnicities and 26 percent of whites were uninsured between 2006 and 2007.

Read more at Iowa Independent.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Just in case you thought Kerrey's apology MEANT ANYTHING

Here is Bob Kerrey's Insincere Apology to Senator Obama:

Dear Barack,

I want to sincerely apologize for the remarks I made on Sunday in Council Bluffs, Iowa, after an event at which I endorsed Senator Hillary Clinton's Presidential candidacy. I answered a question about your qualifications to be President in a way that has been interpreted as a backhanded insult of you. I assure you I meant to do just the opposite.

After you and I met during your primary campaign for the Senate, I wrote a public letter in which I said that that you were among the two or three most talented people I have ever met in politics. Nothing in your performance in the Senate or your campaign for the Presidency has altered that view.

The question I was asked in Iowa on Sunday was something like this: "Senator Kerrey, you ran for President in your first term in the Senate. If you were qualified, why isn't Senator Obama?" With the benefit of my computer's capacity to make certain that my words reflect my belief let me answer that question in this letter which you are free to use anyway you choose.

You are exceptionally qualified by experience and judgment to be President of the United States. I do not doubt that you would use the power of the Presidency to bring peace and prosperity to as many people as possible on our fragile planet. You inspire my highest hopes for that office's potential: That it be used as a force for good in America and the world.

It is your capacity to inspire hope that is your greatest God given talent. Without spending a dime of tax payer's money or changing a single law your presence in the Oval Office will send a clear and compelling message to four groups of people who will be altered for good as a consequence. That was what I was trying to say on Sunday and what I hope I said more clearly in this letter.

Again, I am sorry for the insult and wish you the best on January 3 and beyond.

Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Respectfully yours,

Bob Kerrey

Here you go for more proof that the apology was absolute garbage:

Clinton Launches Obama Attack Web Sites

ABC News has learned that the campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., has registered the names of two Web sites with the express goal of attacking her chief rival, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.

It's the first time this election cycle a presidential campaign has launched a Web site with the express purpose of of launching serious criticisms on a rival.

And, just to sum it all up for the readers, especially those who stand there, and go, ' you Obama folks are just ' too sensitive', a reader of Andrew Sullivan's summed it up quite well:

So far this month Mrs. Clinton has "apologized" for two Iowa county volunteer coordinators' forwarding Obama-is-a-Muslim emails; Bill Shaheen does the Obama-is-a-druggie routine; Howard Wolfson goes on national TV and repeats it; Bill Clinton says we're "rolling the dice" with Obama, and now Kerrey is "apologizing" for his Obama-went-to-a-Madrassa remarks. This many events in a three-week span indicate a coherent plan. If one accepts Mrs. Clinton's explanations that these events are not what they obviously are, then the only other explanation would seem to be that she cannot control her campaign staff. That seems fairly incompetent leadership for someone who claims to be ready to lead on day one.

Like I've said before....ISOLATED incidents can only be qualified as such, when they remain ISOLATED. When they stop being ISOLATED and begin to form a PATTERN, then accept the PATTERN and what it tells you.

The Southern Strategy, and its racist underbelly, is all the same, whether used in Mississippi & Georgia, or in this case, IOWA AND NEW HAMPSHIRE.

Clinton Acolytes' Racist Attacks
The Real Race Card

Why Blacks Must Caucus on Jan. 3 in Iowa

From: Dana Boone

I’ve heard people say that they will begin pay more attention to the presidential candidates after the Iowa Caucuses on Jan. 3. But, the time to pay attention is now. The time to make a choice is now. Don’t leave such an important decision in the hands of others. Don’t wait to see what the crowd is doing. Set the trend. Research the candidates now and pick one. Then participate in the Iowa Caucuses on Jan 3 and make sure your vote counts.

I attended Barack Obama’s rally with Oprah Winfrey nearly two weeks ago. Prior to the event, I researched where Obama and the other candidates stood on the issues that are important to me as an African-American woman -- issues like health care, education, employment and justice. I went to the event with an open mind and I left convinced that Obama is the only smart choice.

I’ve heard some people doubt whether this country is ready for a black president. The fact is we need a leader who understands black America and has the desire and will to make things better not just for us, but especially for us.

I’ve heard people talk about the other candidates and I remember something that Claud Anderson, president of PowerNomics Corporation of America, said during the Ongoing Covenant with Black Iowa Summit in Waterloo last month.

Anderson said blacks must learn to elect officials "who speak for you first and foremost." He warned the audience against voting for candidates who can’t deliver something specific to them.

"Quid pro quo is politics," he said. "I vote you into office; you owe me."

Serious issues affect blacks all over the country and it is irresponsible of us to lend our support to any candidate whose campaign messages, speeches and ads don’t include something specific to improve our plight as blacks.

So I can’t wait to caucus on Jan. 3 for Obama because his proposals include specifics that will improve black neighborhoods and schools, among other things. Learn about it for yourself.

On Jan. 4, I don’t want to hear people say, “Oh, I should have.” Get the information you need now to make a decision and make your voice heard on Jan. 3.

“Fewer black freshmen return to Iowa State”

From today’s Register:

“A new Iowa State University study of freshman retention shows that 85 percent of all freshmen who enrolled in 2006 returned for their sophomore year. But advocates for black students said they were concerned that the retention rate for the 123 black students in 2006 was lower, at 73.2 percent. . . .

ISU will not single out any ethnic group for academic intervention in response to the new numbers. Rather, the university's response to any faltering students will include efforts to help those who demonstrate they are at risk through indicators such as their cumulative and midterm grade-point averages, said David Holger, ISU associate provost for academic programs.

The percentage of black students who returned at ISU in 2007 is significantly lower than previous years. Eighty-six percent of black freshmen in 2003 returned for their sophomore year, ISU statistics show. . . .
The disparity between returning black students and total students is not as dramatic at other universities in Iowa.”

The full story is here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Video: Iowa Brown and Black Presidential Forum

The full three hour program is here:

Blacks Mobilize for Change

Dana Boone writes today on African-American political activism at the Caucuses:

“African-American leaders and others predict an increased number of blacks will flock to the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3 to hammer home the message that they want change.

‘I think that there is a renewed optimism among blacks, generated in large part by the viability of Barack Obama's presidential run, his message of ‘change that we can believe in’ and the fact that the previous administration has polarized this country . . .’ said Abraham Funchess (top right), division administrator for the Iowa Department of African-American Affairs. . . . .

The increased attention to politics has occurred as Funchess orchestrated a statewide push to mobilize blacks to improve their communities. Grass-roots organizations have trained blacks -- some who admitted they were uneasy in the political realm -- on how to caucus. Obama's staff has for months attended black community meetings and participated in discussions about the issues affecting blacks and advised them on how to change things through politics, which has helped connect some would-be caucus-goers to his campaign. . . . .

Iowa's population is 2.3 percent black. It's difficult to determine how many blacks have participated in past Iowa caucuses because the question is not asked of caucus-goers. Despite being a small percentage of the state's population, blacks around the state appear poised to make their voices heard. . . .

‘If nothing more, our constituency will opt less for political apathy and engage the democratic process and allow our voices to be heard, both on national and state level politics and organizing,’ [Funchess] said."

Dana Boone's full story appears in the Iowa Independent.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

United States Representative Dave Loebsack Has Endorsed Senator Obama

U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack said today he is endorsing Barack Obama for president. He said that Obama, a senator from Illinois, offers the best chance to bring about change and healing. He believes that change comes from the bottom up like in grassroots campaigns- that is one of the reasons he supports Senator Obama so much...that’s Senator Obama's approach. Senator Obama believs that everyone has a voice and that it should be heard.

Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Celebration

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday
celebrates the life and legacy of a man who
brought hope and healing to America. The King
Holiday honors the life and contributions of
America’s greatest champion of racial justice and

The citizens of Iowa who represent
these values, and have shown their dedication
to breaking racial barriers and
serving the people of their communities
will be recipients of the 2008 Martin Luther King,
Jr. Lifetime Achievement and Service Project

If interested please come to the annual
commemoration ceremony on Monday, January
16, 2008 at the Iowa Historical Building. The
Historical Building is located at 600 East Locust
Street in Des Moines. The program begins at
10:45 AM and is free and open to the public.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Obama 'Willie Horton' Watch - Back to the Muslim Smear Today

From Marc Ambinder:

Speaking on CNN tonight:

BOB KERREY: "It's something by the way I have told Barack Obama when I've met with him. It something that I've spoken about before. So this is not something that just sort of came out of the head birth out there in Iowa. I've thought about it a great deal. I've watched the blogs try to say that you can't trust him because he spent a little bit of time in a secular madrassa. I feel quite the opposite. I feel it's a tremendous strength whether he is in the United States Senate or whether he's in the White House, I think it's a tremendous asset for him.


You can be naive if you want to be. But then, I'll be telling you that you're a fool. It's all part of a coordinated effort. Remember now, not one, but TWO people have had to quit for spreading the Madrassa LIE in the Clinton campaign. And now, they have Kerrey talking about it.

If you can't see a hit job when it's in front of your face, then I feel bad for you. It's marching orders from Hillary and Company.

Video of Hill Harper on Barack

Earlier, we talked about CSI:NY TV Star Hill Harper's return home to Iowa. We don't have video of that, but we do have a 5 minute clip of Hill talking about his time in law school with Barack. Here it is:

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Clinton Campaign Should Stop Spreading Fear

First Clinton Campaign Chair Bill Shaheen suggested that the GOP would characterize Barack as a drug dealer in the general. Shaheen resigned and Hillary apologized to Barack personally.

And then Hillary appeared on “Iowa Press” a couple of days later, and suggested the same thing:

"I’ve been tested, I’ve been vetted. . . . There are no surprises. There’s not going to be anybody saying, 'I didn’t think of that, my goodness, what’s that going to mean? . . . Whoever we nominate will be subjected to the full force of the Republican attack machine, and I know that they know I know that and I have no illusions about what this race will entail."

When she was asked what she was “suggesting about Obama,” Hillary Clinton responded: "I’m only talking about myself."

Find the full account on the Politico. Granted, Hillary didn’t explicitly suggest that Barack would be dismissed as a Black stereotype as her campaign chair did. But her “wink and nod” rhetoric continues her campaign’s party line of spreading fear rather than a compelling vision for America. Voters who buy that rhetoric because they think they are being “political realists” walk right into the trap set by Washington-insiders.

Below are some of the reader comments on the Politico in response to the story:

“Yes Hillary, you have been vetted, that's why you have such high negatives and why practically half of this country wouldn't vote for you. You want us to vote for you because you have already been shown to be untrustworthy and dishonest? You want us to vote you based on your hollow theory that there MIGHT be some dirt on Obama that MIGHT cost him the general election? Are we supposed to just TRUST you on this. This type of argument is essentially equivalent to waving the white flag for the Clinton campaign. The Obama camp has run a nearly flawless campaign these last two months, whereas the Clinton campaign has been chaotic and self-imploding. They've written their own case for Clinton's un-electability. She's choked in the primaries, one only knows what will happen to her in the general election.”

Posted by Dave

“[T]his whole idea of the Republican attack machine ready to go on Obama is completely false. A dear friend of mine is a researcher at the RNC and he is told me many times that the opposite is true. They have an arsenal ready to go against Hillary, and next to nothing on Obama and Edwards. Ironically, this RNC staffer spent months on Obama oppo research and recently told me that if Obama were the Dem nominee, he would vote for him. Republicans know that they will get crushed by Obama or Edwards. They think they have a 50-50 shot with Hillary though.”

Posted by Jon

“If he hasn't been vetted, then start bringing up what you've found on him, Hillary! If you want it bad enough, then do it yourself! Oh wait, you've only found a kindergarten essay and a PAC fund that donated to you and your congressional supporters. If anything, YOU are the one who has not been vetted this election cycle.”

Posted by IndieFE

Gift Idea: Books

Books make good holiday gifts. Felicia Pride at BlackVoices has some ideas about titles. And here's the Essence 2007 bestseller list.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Latino Heritage Festival Committee Scholarships

From The Register: “The Iowa Latino Heritage Festival Committee, JoAnn Mackey, executive director, has awarded a $500 scholarship to five Latino high school seniors in the Des Moines district.” Oscar Lucatero-Trevino (East High School), Oscar Guaman (North High School), Yvette Rodriguez (Hoover High School graduate), Josue Acosta (Lincoln High School), and Juan Jacinto (Roosevelt High School) were among those selected.

CSI:NY Star Hill Harper Returns Home to Iowa

The Hawkeye has the following story on actor Hill Harper, who is from Iowa and wrote the bestselling mentoring book “Letters to a Young Brother.”

“[H]ow many Americans know Barack Obama can play hoops. . . . That scouting report comes courtesy of Hill Harper, a star on the television show "CSI:NY," who used to run the court at Hemingway Gym with Obama in their days together at Harvard. . . . .
The Iowa City native, who is an African-American, lived for a time as a child in Keokuk and spent part of middle school and high school in Fort Madison. . . . . He was back in the area Friday putting on a full-court press for his friend, Obama, now a senator from Illinois. . . . .
Harper's deepest local connections are in Fort Madison, where his family's history reaches back six generations. His grandfather, Harry D. Harper, was a physician who, with his brothers founded a medical clinic and lab that served African-Americans from four states. . . .

Harper's concern for young minority men compelled him to publish "Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny" in 2006. Modeled after Rainer Maria Rilke's "Letters to a Young Poet," the motivational book answers some life questions from Harper's fans.
Harper wasn't the only writer involved, though. A few acquaintances helped out, including his old law school friend, Barack Obama. . . .

To his audience at The Blue Shop, Harper said Obama had stayed up deep into the night while on a foreign relations trip to Israel to write his entry for "Letters to a Young Brother." It wasn't like the senator had procrastinated, though. Harper only asked him to get involved on the day before the publication deadline.

That story hints at one of the characteristics Harper clearly admires most in his friend -- his commitment to service.”
The full story is here.

Candidates Court Black Vote

Hat Tip: Booker Rising

Sunday, December 16, 2007 6:05 AM CST
Candidates court black vote
By JENS MANUEL KROGSTAD, Courier Staff Writer

WATERLOO --- A diverse field of presidential candidates, combined with aggressive, tailored outreach, has generated exceptionally high interest in the caucuses in the black community.

African-Americans in Waterloo so far seem to mirror Democrats in the rest of the state --- they're mulling the three leading presidential candidates, but leaning toward Barack Obama.

While people are quick to praise Hillary Clinton, the buzz in churches, barber shops and beauty salons seem to favor Obama less than three weeks before the caucuses.

A new poll released by Lee Enterprises, the Courier's parent company, echoed that assessment: Obama leads the pack with 33 percent, followed by Clinton and John Edwards, each at 24 percent.

"The people I talk to here, and especially with African-Americans, it's Obama, Obama, Obama," acknowledged Joy Lowe, a longtime friend and supporter of John and Elizabeth Edwards. "I've never seen anything like this, not even with (former presidential contender) Jesse Jackson."

Take a drive down East Fourth Street and through sizable African-American neighborhoods, and it's hard not to notice a similar trend in the yard signs lining the streets --- Obama, Obama, Obama. Not be ignored, though, are the splashes of Edwards and Clinton signs. Add it all up, and it could be a record year for voter turnout, said Michael Blackwell, Black Hawk County Democrats vice chairman.

"I attribute that to the number of candidates running, and also the fact there have been a lot of candidates --- some more than others --- that have sought to reach out directly to the African-American community," Blackwell said.

Campaigns have implemented unprecedented outreach efforts towards blacks in a city where the number of African-Americans roughly equals the national average --- 12 percent. It is a sizeable population, especially in a state with an approximately 2 percent black population.

Rest of article is HERE.

I am glad that the Black population of Iowa is feeling some love from the campaigns. I cannot encourage the Black community enough to get out and caucus. I would hope that it would be for Barack Obama, but just getting out and participating in the caucus has to be a good thing. It's good for democracy everywhere when more people, from diverse groups, are participating in the process. I'm sort of Old School - I believe that too many people were beaten, thrown in jail to give Black folks the right to vote for us to throw away any opportunity to be active in the process.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Calling Mentors for African-American Students

Dana Boone writes this week:

“One hour a week. . . . That's all that is needed from adult mentors to help African-American students in Des Moines who are participating in an annual academic competition. But guess what? There are more students than mentors.

‘That is a critical, critical piece. We need mentors to spend time helping the students prepare,’ said Gretchen Woods, youth adviser for the Des Moines Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).”
. . . .
For more information about becoming a mentor or providing opportunities for students to showcase their skills, call Sonya Collier, the student mentor coordinator for ACT-SO at 515-778-0845.”

Dana Boone’s full story is in the Iowa Independent.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Saturday: Free life insurance for low-income families

The WCF Courier provides this story:

“WATERLOO --- A life insurance benefit is being offered at no cost to low-income parents that would help pay for their children's college education if they die.

Insurance agent Brenda Parham (pictured top right) is signing up families Saturday for the LifeBridge program. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to noon at Zion Lutheran Church, 810 Kimball Ave. . . .

"I call it the education insurance," said Parham. "This is solely for the kid's educational expense and that kid has up to age 35 to use those funds."

"So far I've signed up about 127 people and only five of them have been rejected," said Parham, who gets no commission for those who enroll.

The sign up period was originally set to end Dec. 31. It has now been extended for two more years. Those who can't make the event can contact Parham at (319) 232-2569 or to make an appointment and sign up.”

Is Hillary Clinton trying to 'Willie Horton' Barack Obama?

In case you haven't been paying attention to politics in the past few days, the former head of Hillary Clinton's campaign in New Hampshire, Bill Shaheen, 'resigned' because of remarks that he made about Barack Obama.

Per the WashingtonPost, here is the money quote:
Shaheen said Obama's candor on the subject would "open the door" to further questions. "It'll be, 'When was the last time? Did you ever give drugs to anyone? Did you sell them to anyone?'" Shaheen said. "There are so many openings for Republican dirty tricks. It's hard to overcome."

Now, numerous previous candidates have admitted to drug use. George W. Bush spent the better part of TWENTY YEARS under some sort of influence, be it booze or drugs, and nobody EVER ASKED HIM THIS QUESTION.

But, THE BLACK MAN, who has TWO Ivy League Degrees, is ASKED IF HE'S A DRUG DEALER?

But, if Sheehan was 'acting solo'/ 'going rogue', then what the hell was Mark Penn doing on Hardball with the same slime, not an hour AFTER the debate was over.

Thanks to our friend, sagereader, over at Think On These Things, breaks it down in this post: Evidence That Clinton Camp’s Attack On Obama’s Drug Use Was Deliberate

The title of this post comes from a reply at Jack and Jill.

NMP asked:
The larger question for the hankerchief heads, as you like to call them, supporting Hillary Clinton is will they join her in effectively using a Wille Horton on Obama...using the unjust incarceration of mostly Black men as a wedge issue to scare White folks against Obama?

I have written about Hillary Clinton's stance AGAINST retroactivity with regards to drug sentencing HERE.

Here is the money quote from Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic:

Campaign aides have said that Obama's support for retroactivity in drug sentences would kill him with tough-on-crime white independents. But the Supreme Court, in a 7 to 2 decision yesterday that included Antonin Scalia, endorsed the view that judges could ignore sentencing guidelines when handing down prison terms for distributing crack versus powder cocaine, and a Bush administration panel today voted seven to nothing to impose retroactivity.

Now, her choice puts her to the RIGHT of SCALIA. It's going to be on the backs of Black Men and Women - who are the ones disproportionately incarcerated for non-violent drug offenses. She'll prove her ELECTABILITY by proving how many BLACK FOLK she can keep locked up.

First scaring the White folk in Iowa with the Obama is a Drug Dealer smear, then once she's won that, have her Handkerchief Heads, come front and center, about why Black folk should vote for her, after she's vowed to keep standing, one of the most obvious and blatant examples of Racial Disparity in the Justice System.

PS- And, don't forget, that not one, but TWO folks have had to resign in Iowa because of the Madrassa LIE.

Jealousy or Justifiable Criticism?

Presidential candidate and Illinois senator Barack Obama is a favorite among many demographic groups. He is a favorite among college employees, especially professors. College employees have donated far more money to Obama than any other presidential candidate, and his strengths as a leader are often described as including “his [professorial] ability to engage people who hold various viewpoints, scrutinize their ideas, and forge rational solutions.”

Obama is also a huge favorite among college students. For example, Obama tops Hillary Clinton “by a nearly 2-1 margin among students at four-year colleges.” As Obama travels across Iowa, he is encouraging college students, many of whom will now be away on winter break, to come back for the Iowa caucus on January 3, 2008. In so doing, he is reminding them of their civic duty to engage the political process.

But, Obama’s opponents find this tactic to be unfair. A spokesperson from the Clinton campaign has indicated the following: “We are not courting out-of-staters. The Iowa caucus ought to be for Iowans.”

A campaign supporter for Chris Dodd made similar comments, asserting:
“I was deeply disappointed to read today about the Obama campaign’s attempt to recruit thousands of out-of-state residents to come to Iowa for the caucuses. . . . ‘New Politics’ shouldn’t be about scheming to evade either the spirit or the letter of the rules that guide the process. That may be the way politics is played in Chicago, but not in Iowa.”

But are these campaign officials just jealous or justifiably upset by Obama’s push for more college participation? After all, as Obama’s campaign contends, “It’s doing nothing unusual . . . . Iowa college students have long caucused near their colleges.” But for the Iowa caucus date moving up to January 3, most of these students would be back from break to participate in the caucus anyway. Additionally, what is wrong with students caucusing in a state where they will spend at least 4-5 years of their lives? In fact, many students register to vote in the state where they attend college and participate in local politics. I attended college in Iowa and registered to vote there when I was a student. Besides, shouldn’t we be encouraging young people, who tend not to engage in politics at high percentages, to participate in the caucuses—to become more politically involved? In the last presidential caucus in Iowa, only 4 percent of participants in Democratic caucuses were between the ages of 18 and 24. Shouldn’t any politician want to see these numbers rise?
University of Iowa professor Angela Onwuachi Willig cross-blogs from

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Where there is smoke is there fire?

Seems we are hearing a lot about people in the Clinton organization resigning or being asked to step down because they aren’t playing nice politics. First there was the hoax email by a Clinton volunteer coordinator.

“Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign on Sunday requested the resignation of a second Iowa volunteer coordinator who forwarded a hoax e-mail saying Barack Obama is a Muslim possibly intent on destroying the United States” rest of article here

Now we have another Clinton advisor being booted.

“A top campaign adviser to Hillary Rodham Clinton resigned Thursday, a day after suggesting Democrats should be wary of nominating Barack Obama because his teenage drug use could make it hard for him to win the presidency.” Rest of article here

It seems like we’ve seen these types of dirty politics before, especially over the last 7 years. Now this is not to say Hilary is completely responsible for the remarks that folks in her campaign make, but it does question what type of people she may surround herself with.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

MLK Day Rap

By Stephen Bowie, reader-submitted at The Register. An excerpt:

"Every year it’s now a regular thing,
We observe a day for Reverend Martin Luther King
But it’s no time to sit back; it’s no time to sit down:
It's a time to see what page - of history we’re on."

Here are the lyrics in whole.

Federico Peña in Denison

Former Denver Mayor and Clinton Administration U.S. Secretary of Transportation Federico Peña was in Denison, and talked to Latino leaders about why he is supporting Obama. The Iowa Independent has the full story here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Kwanzaa Celebration this Saturday

The African American Museum of Iowa 55 12th Ave. SE Cedar Rapids is celebrating Kwanzaa at 1PM Saturday December 15th with a feast, entertainment, and ceremony. Price is $7 non-members and $3 for members. Buy tickets in the Museum store or call Erin Thomas at 319-862-2101 ext. 22 HAPPY KWANZAA!

Our Potential Millionaires-In-Chief

Money Magazine has outlined the net worth of the major contenders.

Candidate Net Worth

Mitt and Ann Romney ----------------$202 million
John and Elizabeth Edwards ---------$54.7 million
Rudy Giuliani ----------------------$52.2 million
John and Cindy McCain --------------$40.4 million
Hillary and Bill Clinton----------- $34.9 million
Fred Thompson ----------------------$8.1 million
Barack and Michelle Obama---------- $1.3 million

The only reason the Obamas paid off their student loans is because he wrote a couple of books; so, their net worth doesn't surprise me.
I thought Thompson's would be more. He has been an actor for forever.
I do believe that McCain's money comes from his wife.
I think it's insane that Giuliani thinks that the public doesn't have a right to know who he's been doing business with. We already know that he had no problem cashing Hugo Chavez's checks; so, what other unseemly character's checks has he cashed.
John Edwards earned his money by winning for his clients; I have no problems with that.
I do have a problem that the Clintons STILL won't pony up about whose been paying Bill to make those speeches.
As for Flipping Mitt: born rich,he's a perfect piece of plastic, which probably made him a very good businessman.

Iowa City Blackface

The Daily Iowan has this editorial “Racism Rears Its Ugly Head in Iowa City.” It chronicles pictures of white males in black face dressed as Chicago Bulls basketball players and a pimp on the website of Brothers Bar & Grill. The editorial is here, and the original Dec. 7 news story is here.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Diversity and the University of Iowa

The Register reports: "More than 80 percent of University of Iowa graduate and professional students reported that interacting with people of different races and ethnicities had a positive effect on their educational experiences at the U of I, according to survey results reported Monday." The full story is here.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Winfrey tells Iowa crowd: We need Barack Obama

Oprah Winfrey came to Iowa today.


Winfrey tells Iowa crowd: We need Barack Obama
From Sasha Johnson and Candy Crowley
CNN Washington Bureau

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) -- Saying she felt compelled to support "the man I believe has a new vision for America," Oprah Winfrey spoke passionately about Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama at a rally in Iowa Saturday.

"These are dangerous times, you can feel it. We need a leader who shows us how to hope again in America as a force for peace," Winfrey told the enthusiastic crowd.

"I believe Barack Obama will bring statesmanship to the White House," she said. "He's a man who knows who we are and knows who we can be."

Winfrey said she has voted for as many Republicans as she has Democrats over the years, so her endorsement wasn't about partisanship.

"This is very, very personal. I'm here because of my personal conviction about Barack Obama and what I know he can do for America," she said to applause. Watch Winfrey endorse Obama »

Winfrey also told the crowd that she's looking for more than a candidate with "experience in the hallways of government."

"I challenge you to see through those people who try to convince you that experience with politics as usual is more valuable than wisdom won from years of serving people outside the walls of Washington, D.C.," she said.

Obama thanked Winfrey for drawing a big crowd and coming out to the event.

"There are some people here who are here to see Oprah. I'm sort of a by-product of that and I appreciate that, but what I know is that for her to take the risk of stepping out of her comfort zone is extraordinary," the senator from Illinois said.

Rest of story is HERE.

I don't expect anyone to vote for Obama because of Oprah. I just see Oprah as a way to possibly get some people who had never come to an Obama event out to see him. It's up to the Senator to seal the deal with the voter. In such a tight race, gotta use what you can to get the votes to win.

DMPS and Hiring Blacks

Dana Boone points out here the Des Moines Public Schools should try new approaches in recruiting people of color.

Friday, December 7, 2007

MLK Friend in Des Moines

Reverend Joseph Lowery, one of the cofounders of the SCLC, spoke recently at the Corinthian Baptist Church in Des Moines. Much more is at Iowa African Americans for Change, and video of the event is below.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Latest Iowa Polling: too close to call

From Rasmussen:

The latest Rasmussen Reports poll of the Iowa Democratic Caucus for 2008 finds Hillary Clinton at 27%, Barack Obama at 25%, and John Edwards at 24%. Bill Richardson is the only other Democrat in double-digits at 10% while Joe Biden earns 4% of the vote from Likely Caucus Participants.

These results reflect little change from a Rasmussen Reports survey conducted earlier in the month. In the previous survey Clinton had 29% support with Edwards at 25% and Obama at 24%. While the race in Iowa remains very close, Clinton retains a solid lead in the national polls and double digit leads in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida. Many believe that those figures may change based upon what ultimately happens on January 3 in Iowa.

Currently, in Iowa, Clinton attracts 30% of the vote from women while Obama earns 26% and Edwards 22%. Among men, it’s Edwards 26%, Clinton 24%, and Obama 23% (see crosstabs).

In terms of second-choices in Iowa, John Edwards tops the list of candidates. He is the second choice for 28% of likely caucus participants. Obama is the second choice for 18%, Clinton for 16%, and Richardson for 15%. Second choice preferences are especially important given the nature of the Iowa caucuses. In a particular caucus setting, if a candidate receives less than 15% of the vote, their supporters will be re-allocated to other candidates.

There are many challenges to polling a caucus, primarily around the question of who will actually participate. Those challenges are magnified this year by the timing of the caucus on January 3 forcing candidates and their teams to explore tactful methods of contacting voters during the holiday season.

When only voters who are “certain” they will participate in the caucus are included in the totals, Obama is supported by 26%, Edwards by 25% and Clinton by 23%.

However, when only those who are certain which candidate they will support are included, it’s Clinton 27%, Obama 25% and Edwards 22%.

Among those who have participated in a caucus before, it’s Edwards 25%, Clinton 24% and Obama 22%.

Collectively, these results show that the caucuses remain a three-way race and no candidate has a measurable advantage at this time.

Just 8% of Likely Caucus Participants say that there is a good chance they will change their mind between now and January 3. That figure includes 10% of Edwards’ supporters, 7% of those for Obama, and 5% for Clinton.

Overall, 68% of both Clinton supporters and Obama supporters say they are certain they will vote for their candidate. Earlier in the month, 57% of Clinton supporters were certain of their support along with just 45% of Obama supporters. Sixty-three percent (63%) of Edwards supporters currently say they are certain to vote for him. That’s up from 52% earlier in the month.

Thirty-six percent (36%) of Likely Caucus Participants think that Clinton is likely to win the caucuses. An identical number think that Obama is likely to win. Nineteen percent (19%) say Edwards is the likely winner, 3% name somebody else, and 5% are not sure.

Rest of poll is here.



Obama Holds His Largest Lead Ever in Iowa Poll
by Jonathan Singer, Thu Dec 06, 2007 at 12:03:11 PM EST

Republican pollster Strategic Vision is out with new numbers from Iowa that seem to gibe with the general trends from both the Democratic and Republican primaries, with both Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee leading their respective party's field in the first early nominating state. Take a look at the latest survey of 600 likely Democratic caucus goers (11/30-12/2, MoE +/- 4.5%), along with the average out of the state (which includes this SV poll).

Candidate 12/2 (11/25) Pollster
Obama 32 (29) 26.4
Clinton 25 (29) 27.9
Edwards 25 (23) 21.8
Biden 5 (4) 4.6
Richardson 3 (6) 8.3
Dodd 1 (1) 1.0
Kucinich 1 (1) 1.2
Undecided 8 (7) N/A

These moves from two weeks ago are all within the margin of error for the poll, as is Obama's lead, so as is almost always the case with these things, one need remember not to place excessive attention on the results of a single poll. That said, looking at the trend of all polling out of Iowa, one cannot help but come away with the sentiment that Obama is on a steady rise in the state while Clinton is nearing or has already hit her peak in the state.

The other key take away from these numbers is that Bill Richardson seems to be hemorrhaging support in Iowa while Biden may be picking up a bit of support here and there. If you had asked me even a month ago what one of the most important yet insufficiently discussed aspects of the campaign in Iowa was I would have said (a) whether Richardson's 10-12 support statewide would be spread in such a way that he would be viable in a good number of caucus locations; and (b) where his support would go in those locations where he did not meet the 15 percent threshold for viability. Yet if Richardson is really down in towards 3 percent support -- four of the past five polls from the state show he's pulling in single-digit support in the state after having consistently polled in the low double-digits or high single-digits since May -- where his support goes becomes a lot less important of a question.

This has definitely gotten interesting.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Are Affirmative Action Opponents Sincere in Their Claims That They Prefer Action to Improve Education at the K-12 Level?

Often when the merits of affirmative action in higher education are discussed, opponents of the policy will contend that affirmative action is not directed at the problem because it targets students too late in their academic careers. They argue that the focus should be on education, beginning in kindergarten and ending in the twelfth grade. But, tell that to the Project of Fair Representation, which has attacked K-12 programs operated by the University of Texas at Austin. Specifically, the Project of Fair Representation has attacked programs that provide mentor services for middle school and high school aged, male students in Austin who attend the lowest performing schools in the Austin Independent School District. The programs are open to male students of all races and ethnicities, but because of the make-up of these lowest performing schools, the overwhelming majority of those served by the program are black and Latino.

Yet, the Project of Fair Representation has asked the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights to investigate these programs as discriminatory based on “suspicions that the programs in question are off-limits to certain racial and ethnic groups.” One sarcastic commenter responded best, stating:

“What an outrage! How dare a university target the lowest-performing students at the lowest performing schools. That’s discrimination pure and simple. That’s taxpayer money being hoarded for one group of so-called victims. This program must be stopped.

Hurrah to the Project on Fair Representation and their funders for rooting out corruption and waste.”

(University of Iowa professor Angela Onwuachi-Willig cross-posts from

No Place for Suppression in Iowa

David Yepsen’s column discouraging participation by young people who attend college in Iowa but grew up in another state raises concerns. Across the country, status quo political forces occasionally manipulate election outcomes by discouraging students from participating (e.g., see this Rock the Vote report which summarizes Prairie View A&M and other instances). Such activity is routinely described as voter suppression and is prohibited by courts.

Certainly, Yepsen differs from those in the deep South who suppressed the vote to stay in power, and college students differ from African Americans in the 1960s. But Yepsen's language is disturbing: "These are the Iowa caucuses. Asking people who are 'not from Iowa' to participate in them changes the nature of the event . . . . Thousands of votes are involved and it risks offending long-time Iowa residents."

Discouraging participation by Americans who are legally entitled to caucus—whether through veiled threats of political backlash against candidates who reach out to those Americans or by other means—violates government of, by, and for the people.

Suppression also compromises Iowa's special role in starting off the American presidential contest.

Iowa Undergrads may hold the key to Jan 3rd

Iowa Undergrads can be the difference in the Iowa Caucus come Jan 3rd. According to Amy Lorentzen, Associate Press, “Obama told the students in Grinnell that they have a historic opportunity to pick the next president because it could take as few as 150,000 people to determine the caucus winner”. She then goes on to quote Obama as stating, “In this election, the winner of the Iowa caucus has got a huge head start in terms of being the Democratic nominee," he said. "I don't think there should be any doubt that the Democratic nominee is going to win the presidency.” (Rest of article here)
For students (both in-state and out of state) who have questions on the Iowa Caucus or how to caucus for Barack Obama please click here

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Study of How Discrimination Hurts Iowa

Dana Boone details a study of African-American families in Iowa and Georgia. Some interesting findings:

*Iowa participants reported more discrimination than those in Georgia

*42% of Iowa participants were suspended from school (higher than Georgia)

*30% of Iowa participants experienced trouble with the law (higher than Georgia)

The unequal treatment faced by the Jena 6 is not limited to Louisiana. Dana Boone provides much more here.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Oprah in Iowa

According to KCCI Channel 8 Des Moines, talk show host Oprah Winfrey will be hitting the Campaign trails for presidential candidate Barack Obama this weekend Dec. 8th, 2007, in Des Moines, Iowa (Click here for Details). Since Senator Obama has hinted at Ms. Winfrey’s possible participation in his presidential campaign the popular question amongst political strategist has been whether Ms. Winfrey’s star power will translate into votes for Senator Obama come November ‘08’. According to author Katharine Seelye, “Back in 1992, the Bush White House deemed Oprah Winfrey's daytime talk show insufficiently serious for the incumbent president to visit. But in the intervening years, Winfrey's couch, along with the easy chairs on other chat shows, became so attractive to candidates that the political world is now wondering whether Winfrey might actually hold the Democratic nomination in her hands. (Rest of article here)This according to Seelye will be the first time Oprah has endorsed a presidential candidate.

Will we see the woman who turns unknown Authors into household names help turn a Senator from Illinois into our first African American President?


Rep. Abdul-Samad on the Desire for Change

Rep. Abdul-Samad made these comments about what has changed, and the desire for change, just after Saturday’s Brown & Black Forum.

Brown & Black Forum

Despite the ice storm, a diverse audience of 3,600 attended the Brown & Black Debate on Saturday. The event was covered across the nation, but here’s the coverage in the Register (here and here), Iowa Politics, and Radio Iowa. The ABC News coverage is below.

Racial Disparities and Prison Conference

Missed the Disproportionate Minority Confinement (DMC) Conference last Thursday? Don’t worry--Dana Boone has a great roundup here and here.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Hillary Clinton Comes out AGAINST Retroactivity for Drug Sentencing

Hat tip: a reader at Jack and Jill Politics


Money quote:

Clinton, who said she supports a federal recommendation for shorter sentences for some people caught with crack cocaine, opposed making those shorter sentences retroactive – which could eventually result in the early release of 20,000 people convicted on drug charges.

“In principle I have problems with retroactivity," she said. "It’s something a lot of communities will be concerned about as well."

Hell yeah, how about the communities that have seen their sons, grandsons, cousins, nephews and family friends, go to JAIL for disproportionate sentences since her HUSBAND helped usher in these disproportionate sentences in the first place.

What's that sound?

Oh yeah,


This is a line in the sand, people.

And all those Hillay pushers, who have been mumbling about what 'positions' Obama has taken that are in line with the Black community.


He's taken plenty of them, but here's a gimme for you.

You want one, here is one.

Obama is for retroactivity, Clinton IS NOT.

Clear as day for me, and yet ANOTHER reason why I'll never vote for her.


This initial post was written in the wee hours of the morning just after I had read about Clinton's remarks. I haven't changed my mind, in fact, I woke up pissed over this issue.

I have always had problems with Black Folks' Loyalty to the Clintons, because, quite frankly, they didn't deserve it. When the time came to expound any serious political capital on an issue that affected BLACK FOLK, the Clintons were, more often than not, M-I-A.

For those of us who see the Justice System as the ' Just-US System', NOTHING could be a better example than the drug sentencing disparity, which has fallen on racial lines.

We are now on our SECOND GENERATION of Young Black Men being turned into fodder for the Prison Industrial Complex.

Bill Clinton had the opportunity to correct this 1995.

Yes, I said 1995.

Don't believe me?

Here you go:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Clinton rejected the recommendations of the U.S. Sentencing Commission to equalize the penalties for crack and powder cocaine distribution Monday.

In a statement released by the White House, the president also refused the commission's proposals to reduce the penalties for money laundering.

"I am opposed to both of these changes," he said in a written statement.

In recent weeks, several black leaders including Jesse Jackson have complained that the penalties for crack cocaine are stiffer than those for powdered cocaine. They have pointed out that crack cocaine users are often inner city black youths while powdered cocaine users usually are more affluent white adults.

But in his statement, Clinton says "Trafficking in crack, and the violence it fosters, has a devastating impact on communities across America, especially inner city communities. Tough penalties for crack trafficking are required because of the effect on individuals and families, related gang activity, turf battles, and other violence."

Clinton called on the sentencing commission to undertake further review of the penalties for powdered cocaine users.

He says his administration will continue to go "after drug traffickers at every level of their networks."


TWELVE YEARS of Young Black Men churning as fodder in the Prison Industrial Complex.

TWELVE YEARS of those lives lost and dismantled.

TWELVE YEARS that simply didn't need to happen.

Because Bill Clinton threw Black folk UNDER THE BUS.

And now, his wife, as already told you, those of you who have someone toiling under these sentencing laws, or those who care concerned with Racial Disparity in Sentencing, that you can go f($* yourselves.

Don't give me the 3-6-9 of well, ' she's just saying this to get elected'.

Um, NO.

Not good enough here. Because, she's willing to throw you under the bus and the PRIMARIES haven't even happened...

It's a pretty good indicator of where you will be IF she's elected.

But, will those Hillary Mumblers find their voices and speak up on this? Or will they simply shuffle along, waiting for their crumbs?

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Clinton Stacking Deck at Black & Brown Presidential Forum?

Hat Tip: Think On These Things

Rumors and Accusations Cast Shadows on Brown and Black Presidential Forum
by: Chase Martyn
Thursday (11/29)

As Saturday night's Brown and Black Presidential Forum in Des Moines draws near, concerns have emerged about the way it is being organized. The forum, which is the oldest minority-focused presidential debate in the country, is one of the great traditions of the Iowa Caucuses, but local activists and campaigns have been frustrated by this year's planning and execution.

The core group helping to organize the forum has been shrunk from previous years, according to Des Moines Realtor and Latino activist Joe Henry, who was involved with the forum in its early years during the 1980s and became involved again during the 2000 election cycle. Henry, who supports Sen. Barack Obama, was not invited to participate in the planning this year.

"It's pretty evident at this point that both Wayne Ford and Mary Campos -- both old friends of mine -- have undoubtedly aligned themselves with the Clinton campaign," he said, "and the smaller, the better, for that." Campos and Ford, both respected and long-standing activists, founded the forum together in 1984 and continue to operate it as co-chairs. Ford also serves in the Iowa House.

Reached for comment Wednesday afternoon, the two organizers denied any allegations that they were favoring one candidate over others. "I don't think that question needs an answer," Ford said. "I am a little insulted that people would even think that," continued Campos.

Mark Daley, Iowa Communications Director for Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign, denied the accusations as well.

Still, concerns exist because of the uncharacteristic exclusivity of the planning for this year's forum.

Max Cardenas, a Hispanic entrepreneur from Des Moines, was involved in the 2004 Brown and Black Presidential Forum. He told Iowa Independent that he was invited to participate in the planning of that year's forum a month before it began. In the week preceding it, he was asked to organize one of several community-wide meetings focusing on specific issue areas that were of interest to the minority community. The meetings served as part of the build-up to to the Saturday forum, he said, and they helped to maximize the number of people involved in the discussion before questions were formulated and the forum took place. This year, he was not invited to participate, and there was no indication that any such meetings took place. "That's unfortunate," he said.

Although Cardenas admitted he had not seen "concrete evidence" that either Campos or Ford planned to endorse Sen. Hillary Clinton, he noted speculatively that "The guests of Mary Campos [who will be at the Forum with her] are co-chairs of the Clinton campaign.".......................

Aside from the concerns raised by past participants about who was included in the planning of the forum and who was excluded, three knowledgeable sources who asked to remain anonymous expressed frustration over the apparent secrecy with which tickets are being distributed.

Rest of article: HERE.

This bothers me for a couple of major reasons.

1. The Clintons pulled this 3-6-9 at an event in Nevada. But, this time, at least the people know about it beforehand.
2. Iowa is a state with such a small minority demographic, this is probably the lone event that even comes close to attempting to address issues of concerns to Blacks and Hispanics.

When I first heard about this event, I was so excited. So much is focused on Iowa and New Hampshire being two of the Whitest States in America. So, when I found out that there was a forum focused on Blacks and Hispanics, I was psyched. I thought that this might be a way to engage those communities, and also show the rest of the country that Iowa does have some diversity, though small.

Now, I get a sour feeling going into it; that the jig is rigged, and that the organizers would allow this event to be sullied and have a question mark thrown over it by dealing in such tactics, well, a pox on them for their lack of judgement. Because, don't think that folks won't remember this next time; their credibility will be questioned, and they are creating hard feelings when there didn't need to be any. Iowa is unlike many states; folks don't like anything that seems shady or underhanded. They actually frown on it, and when you do it, do expect for people to give the once over before they'll shake your hand.

I'll still follow this event, but I won't be trusting much of anything coming out of it.

I guess the only positive thing about it is that it's obvious how much the Obama Campaign is scaring them in Iowa.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Brown & Black Presidential Forum

The Forum is at 7 pm on Saturday, Dec. 1 at North Central High School in Des Moines. We’ll be blogging on it, and find out more here and here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Forum on Black Imprisonment Thursday Night

The forum will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 29 at Amazing Grace Church on 23rd St. in Des Moines (directions here). Iowa leads the nation for imprisoning blacks, at a rate that is 13.6 times that of whites. Dana Boone of the Iowa Independent has more info here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Barack in Waterloo

Iowa State Representative Deb Berry of Waterloo endorsed Barack today. Rep. Berry believes that Barack is best candidate to unite our country and actually get things done.

Here’s some coverage of Barack in Waterloo, and some of the challenges the community confronts:

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Turnout by Caucus-goers of Color is Critical

A lot of people talk about how few people of color live in Iowa. But turnout for the Democratic caucuses is so low (6% of registered voters) that caucus-goers of color can make a big difference.

David Yepsen at the Register had an interesting story a couple of weeks ago on racial identity and the presidential caucus/primary schedule in 2012. An excerpt:

“In this competition we have the first woman, the first African-American and the first Latino with reasonable chances of winning the White House. . . . Yet they all face questions of electability. . . Only 2 percent of likely Democratic caucus-goers are black, and only 1 percent are Hispanic, according to our Iowa Poll. . . .John Edwards, the lone white guy in the top-four tier of Democratic candidates, likes to convey the impression he's most electable. Yet to do that he's got to imply that a black or a woman or a Latino is going to have trouble with some voters. While that may be true, it's not the sort of thing he or his campaign want to get caught saying too directly. . . . All this is forcing Iowa political activists to confront the darker angels of their own nature . . . . Depending on the outcome, Iowa's image could be enhanced - or trashed. . . . You can bet all that will be used against Iowa when it comes time to decide which state goes first in the 2012 campaign.”

Yepsen's full column is here.

My take: We certainly want all Iowans to consider, on the merits, which candidate is best qualified to lead America into the future. I do think, however, Yepsen discounts the potential of caucus-goers of color. The diverse group of candidates could inspire Iowa’s African-American and Latino Democrats to come to the caucuses in such large numbers that 2008 caucus turnout is similar to the demographics of the nation as a whole. Iowa has 1.9 million registered voters, but only 124,331—or 6% of the total--participated in the 2004 Democratic Caucuses. Assuming total turnout stays relatively constant, if only 30-35% of all registered Iowans who are African-American, Latino, and Asian American participate in the caucuses on January 3, 2008 (between 40-60% is standard voter of color turnout for general elections in November), the electorate in Iowa might be more like the demographics of the nation as a whole.