Daily Archive: December 17, 2009


Capitol culture: Preparing for Obama Christmas is no small feat

by Nancy BenacAssociated Press Writer WASHINGTON (AP)—- Christmas at the White House isn’t for sissies. Take quantities that might work in a private home—guests, cookies, parties, cards, whatever—and add some extra zeros to get a feel for a White House-sized holiday season. As in 50,000 guests, 28 parties and open houses, a couple hundred thousand holiday cards and untold quantities of cookies, cakes, brownies, truffles and the like to feed the Obamas’ holiday throng. CAROLING—Mary J Blige, President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama sing during Christmas in Washington at the National Building Museum in Washington Dec. 13.


This Week in Black History

Week of December 18-24 December 18 1865—Congress passes the 13th Amendment to the Constitution officially abolishing slavery in America. The actual ratification of the amendment had been completed on Dec. 6. Reconstruction began and legendary abolitionist Frederick Douglass considered retiring to a farm after urging the nation to ensure Black voting rights. But a February 1866 meeting with President Andrew Johnson shocked him out of retirement. Johnson told the Douglass delegation that he intended to support the interests of Southern Whites and would oppose giving voting rights to the ex-slaves. Johnson’s racism led to a radicalized Congress passing pro-Black legislation over his vetoes. RUBY DEE and OSSIE DAVIS


Speakout…What does Christmas mean to you?

“The joining of families together in traditions, of course African traditions celebrating the food and festivities of keeping families together, also the closeness of family. Of course the birth of Jesus, but more so, just the gathering of families together and to fill those bonds that sometimes we lose.”Donna DavenportNorth Hills DONNA DAVENPORT, TAMERA JACKSON, SANDRA BRYANT


Editorial: Obama must show he deserves peace prize

Congratulations to President Barack Obama on receiving the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize last week. He has the remainder of his term to prove that the honor was not premature. Obama became the first chief executive to receive the peace prize so early in his tenure. A recent Associated Press article correctly noted that: “Obama was chosen for the award more for his aspirations and approach than his accomplishments thus far. The Nobel committee honored him for changing the tenor of international politics and pursuing goals that the winner himself says will take a world effort, like nuclear disarmament and reversing global warming.”



Prevention instead of rehab or jail

For a number of years I’ve been a staunch advocate of prevention programs, but it’s obvious that new gold mines are called institutions of incarceration where the inmates are just housed. Formal education and the opportunity to learn a skill craft are almost nonexistent, and once they are released rehabilitation kicks in. Where was the rehab while they were locked up? The outrageous statistics of the percentage of Black men incarcerated are printed and discussed everyday and a multitude of reasons given to some are valid but too many are excuses. The time is upon us that all of these people who run afoul of the law can’t be helped—much less saved, and too many people fool themselves that everybody can be saved. A number don’t want to be saved. In fact, large numbers fanaticize their lifestyle. I’ve heard them brag about how they got over with the ladies, burglaries, robberies of honest people and dope dealers and laugh at honest hard working people.



Heisman Award does not hide Alabama’s past

(NNPA)—University of Alabama running back Mark Ingram was awarded the Heisman Trophy Saturday night, the first Crimson Tide player to ever win college football’s most prestigious honor. And that is saying a lot when you consider such ’Bama greats as Joe Namath, Ken Stabler, Lee Roy Jordan, Ozzie Newsome and Cornelius Bennett. The sophomore sensation’s on-field exploits would have never been recognized at the awards ceremony in New York, certainly not as a representative of the Crimson Tide, had it not been for the efforts of Vivian Malone and James Hood, two African-Americans who defied Gov. George C. Wallace’s famous 1963 “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door” at Foster Auditorium.



Tareq Sahali needs a one-way ticket to Guantanamo Bay

(REAL TIMES MEDIA)—For those who haven’t been watching the news lately, Tareq and Michaele Salahi have become the newest group of people to get famous for being famous. The couple, who are wannabe socialites in the D.C. area and erstwhile philanthropists, managed to sneak into the first official state dinner of the Obama White House. They shook hands with the president and first lady in the greeting line, took pictures with Joe Biden and hobnobbed the evening away without any proper identification or tickets to get into the event.


National Urban League’s plan to put Americans back to work

(NNPA)—Last week, in response to a growing chorus of progressive voices, President Obama hosted a jobs summit at the White House. The November jobs report shows that overall unemployment now stands at 10 percent while African-American joblessness tips the scales at a hefty 15.6 percent. Obviously, unemployment has now reached crisis proportions. Prior to the White House summit, I sent a letter on behalf of the National Urban League to National Economic Council director Larry Summers and Congressional leaders outlining our six-point plan to create 3 million jobs that are desperately needed, especially in communities of color.


Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize speech

(NNPA)—As one of the first to defend President Obama’s selection for the Nobel Peace Prize, I also believe that his speech was much more than an adequate expression of the contradictions in which he found himself by being selected. The first contradiction was created by the fact that Obama was selected by the Nobel Committee essentially because he presented to the world a new vision of American leadership in the global arena that rejected the failed policies of George Bush and that pointed the way to resuming collaboration with its allies for productive purposes.


Harry Reid and slavery

The classical poet A.E. Housman wrote, “For nature, heartless, witless nature…” He might have said the same thing about history, which like nature is neither cruel nor kind, right or wrong; it is simply indifferent. It has, as they say, no dog in the fight. If, however, one is looking back and telling history, it might then be said that one is right or wrong about history. One might say as much about Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who was wrong about history in his remarks accusing Republicans opposed to Democratic health care reform of using the same stalling tactics as the defenders of slavery and Jim Crow.