Three apologies were offered by New York Post editors and its owner, Rupert Murdoch, for an editorial cartoon said to compare President Barack Obama to a chimpanzee. None of these apologies were accepted. Project 21 Chairman Mychal Massie says it is time to recognize the protests for what they are: revenge and an attempt to silence conservatives.
"When Al Shaprton was investigated for tax evasion, it was the New York Post that broke the story. Now Sharpton seems to be blowing this cartoon out of proportion to get even. I also think others are using ambiguous allegations in a larger attempt to punish Rupert Murdoch and his media empire for not toeing the liberal line," said Project 21 chairman Mychal Massie. "There is a tenuous link, at best, between this cartoon and Obama."
In a February 18 editorial cartoon in the New York Post, drawn by Sean Delonas, two policemen have shot a chimpanzee. One cop says to the other: "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill." Al Sharpton calls the cartoon proof of the paper's "racism" and has led two protests at the Post's headquarters. He is now asking the Federal Communications Commission to reconsider a waiver awarded to Rupert Murdoch - who as also owns the Fox News Channel - to own more than one newspaper and television station in a city.
A petition circulated by the NAACP claims: "Your publication sadly reminded me of the reality that even in 2009, when an African-American man holds the highest post in the nation, racism is alive and well in the United States." The NAACP petition also implies that the cartoon itself could encourage an attempt on Obama's life. Murdoch offered an apology to those who were offended, but noted that "[t]he only intent of that cartoon was to mock a badly written piece of legislation."
The cartoon specifically recalls a recent chimpanzee attack in Stamford, Connecticut. The depiction of the chimpanzee bears no physical resemblance to Obama. Furthermore, Obama is not the author of the economic "stimulus" legislation referred to in the cartoon. In his address to Congress on February 24, Obama noted: "I asked Congress to send me a recovery plan... I am grateful that this Congress delivered."
Project 21's Massie noted: "If these critics had tried to tie the cartoon to black congressmen such as James Clyburn or Charlie Rangel, they might have had a leg to stand on. They aimed bigger, and this misfire exposes them. Sharpton is now asking the FCC to investigate the validity of Murdoch's media holdings. It's just another step along the path to their true goal of silencing conservative speech. This is just a battle in a larger war to reinstate the so-called 'Fairness Doctrine' so liberals can impose their political agenda on a free-market-driven talk radio."
"The criticism of cartoonists and parodies is also selective," added Massie. "Why aren't Sharpton and the NAACP complaining about much more blatant Bushorchimp.com? Where was the outrage when syndicated cartoonist Ted Rall called Condoleezza Rice 'Aunt Jemima' and depicted her calling herself a 'house nigga'? How about when Jeff Danziger portrayed Rice as Prissy from 'Gone With the Wind'? Their failure to condemn those blatantly racist acts exposes the petty political motivations of their current attack on Murdoch and the Post."
Fear Of Massive Deficits And Tax Increases Is "Insensitive"
Hauling out the most overworked and overheated rhetorical weapon in the Democrats' arsenal, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and others accused the Republican governors who are threatening to refuse some of the "stimulus" funds for their states as, you guessed it, insenstive. Other Democratic critics weren't so, well, sensitive.
Critics such as Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina say the Republican resistance is a political, even racist, ploy to withhold critical help from the nation's poorest and most hard-hit communities.Indeed, Clyburn, the Democratic Majority Whip in the House, seems to view the Republican opposition as almost a racist conspiracy:
The governor of Louisiana expressed opposition. Has the highest African-American population in the country. Governor of Mississippi expressed opposition. The governor of Texas, and the governor of South Carolina. These four governor's represent states that are in the black belt. I was insulted by that.... All of this was a slap in the face of African-Americans.Here's an example of the racist slap, as administred by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (did I mention that he's not white?), as quoted on Bloomberg (linked above):
Republican Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press," said he is rejecting $100 million in unemployment assistance in the stimulus plan because it would force the state to raise business taxes to pay for the extra aid once the federal dollars run out. "It requires us to make a permanent change in our law," he said. "It's like spending a dollar to get a dime."Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said the same thing. But that just proves Clyburn's case: everybody knows that whatever Southern Republicans do is racist, no matter what they say.
Triumph for human rights and psycho jihadists
Comment from Britain by Rod Liddle
This has been an excellent week for Muslim psychopaths. First, Abu Qatada - "Osama Bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe" - has been given leave to stay in Britain by the European Court of Human Rights - and has also been bunged some money to compensate him for having been banged up in the first place.
And no sooner have we cleared the champagne flutes away and banished our hangovers after this celebration than it is reported that Binyam Mohamed is on his way back too. Binyam has been in Guantanamo Bay for a while, having been accused by the Americans of wandering around the Hindu Kush looking for infidels to murder, like a sort of well-armed Norman Wisdom with a grievance. He says he's innocent and has been tortured by America's flunkeys.
Binyam is an Ethiopian who was never awarded full citizenship here, so it's a real stroke of luck that we end up with custody of the man. Old Abu, meanwhile, is wanted on terrorism charges in half of Europe and Jordan as well, but the European Court has decided in our favour: we can keep him while it mulls things over for a while.
Qatada was the supposed inspiration and spiritual guide for the fabulously inept shoe bomber Richard Reid, the chap who tried to blow up an aeroplane with explosives hidden in his trainers but forgot to take a lighter with him and couldn't manage to strike a match properly. Qatada also believes that Muslim states should have no truck with infidel cockroach western democracies, although he seems to have quite enjoyed living here these past few years, denouncing the Jews and playing jihadist war games on his PC.
In this he is a little like the giggling, bearded Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed, who railed against our filth and decadence for years until he was peremptorily deported to Lebanon, whereupon he immediately pleaded to be allowed to return home to his semi in Edmonton, in case he was blown to pieces by an Israeli shell. No, mate, you stay where you are: should have been a bit nicer while you were here, shouldn't you? There is a certain train of thought that insists all these people should be either imprisoned indefinitely or deported to one or another dusty Middle Eastern satrapy, where their views might accord with those of a greater proportion of the population. My own view is that they shouldn't have been allowed into the country in the first place.
In almost all cases we knew they weren't the sort of people with whom you might share a convivial weekend, but were implacable Islamists who loathed us even more than the countries from which they fled. But in most cases we couldn't send them back because those countries might treat them in an uncivilised manner - pulling out their fingernails, shooting them in the back of the head and so on.
The fact that each arriviste yearned for regimes in their native countries even more unpleasant than the ones from which they had escaped, and also to blow us up at the same time, cuts no ice with international law. International law, then, must change. It was constructed in less barbarous times - the times of Hitler, Stalin, people like that.
Once here, though, and granted citizenship, they should be given due process. Treating people decently and with due process is about our only trump card in this wearying and debilitating battle against the jihadists. They, of course, think our adherence to the letter of the law is a weakness to be derided, which is why it is such a propaganda coup when they really are transgressed against, when they are treated differently from how we would treat any suspected criminal. So much for your democracy, they say.
Abu Qatada should not have been allowed into the country, but once here he should not have been imprisoned indefinitely when there was clearly insufficient evidence to convict; the same applies to Sheikh Abu Hamza al-Masri, still incarcerated in Belmarsh while the Americans cobble together evidence against him by fair means or foul. If we are stupid enough to let them in, then we should be stupid enough to treat them like normal human beings too.
Black Fatherhood In The Age Of Obama
Former rap producer and family policy advocate Bill Stephney asks President Obama to consider a comprehensive analysis of fatherhood in America, not just the "Deadbeat Dads," but also the "Denied Dads."
In his Father's Day speech of 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama decried the state African-American fatherhood: "Too many fathers. are missing," Mr. Obama said, "missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it."
Mr. Obama's speech focused on those fathers not "stepping up." This "deadbeat dad" characterization winds its way effortlessly through political discourse and news coverage. Yes, there are too many fathers who have been unsupportive of their families. But what about those fathers who, while putting forth efforts to be responsible parents, are discouraged from doing so? What about the other side of the "deadbeat dad" phenomenon: the "denied dad"? What about the fathers who've had to turn themselves into a multi-tasking blend of Dr. King, Thurgood Marshall, Mahatma Ghandhi and Suge Knight just to obtain a meaningful presence in their children's lives?
Men like Chris Gardner, who transformed the challenges of being a homeless single father into tremendous success as a millionaire stockbroker and motivational speaker, inspiringly portrayed by Will Smith in the box office smash "The Pursuit Of Happyness."
Or men like Wesley Autrey, the New York construction worker - dubbed the "Subway Hero" - who jumped onto tracks to save a man from an oncoming train because he didn't want his two nearby daughters to witness a tragedy.
The president, despite growing up without his own father, the late Barack Obama, Sr., is no stranger to positive fatherhood. One needn't be too intrusive into the personal affairs of the First Family to observe from afar, the warm, mutual love between two precious daughters and a doting, devoted father.
In that Father's Day speech last year, the president missed an opportunity to discuss those fathers who do make every attempt to fulfill their moral, spiritual, ethical and financial obligations as parents. These fathers have been rebuffed by the legacies of slavery and Jim Crow, harmful government family policies, a faulty family law process, too many mothers conditioned to be indifferent and sometimes hostile to father relevance, and a popular culture that often parodies fatherhood literally into cartoonishness. My friend Donald is one of those "denied dads."
One Father's Story
Donald is currently married to a wonderfully supportive wife, and they have a precocious two-year-old boy. But Donald is also divorced. After a brief marriage, he separated from his ex-wife, with whom he had a daughter. My friend Donald did not spend any time with his daughter this past Christmas. In fact, since 2004, Donald has not spent a Christmas - or any day, for that matter - with his daughter, despite paying child support, attending court-ordered parenting classes, retaining court-ordered therapists and law guardians, and obtaining contempt orders and awards of lawyer reimbursement fees against his ex-wife. For all the lip service paid to encouraging responsible fatherhood, actually facilitating it has been another story.
Donald is a hard-working family man, an African-American father who has spent tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees (mostly with lawyers indifferent to his family's welfare or the law) attempting to remain a meaningful presence in his daughter's life. A judge last year opined over Donald's fight to co-parent his daughter: "Affirmative action needs to be taken to ensure that she is permitted to love and have a relationship with her father as well as her mother." Donald's struggle for his daughter was even featured in the July 2008 issue of Ebony Magazine. He was lucky. Most "denied dads" don't get that kind of exposure.
Thabiti Boone, a Brooklyn-based community and family activist (chosen as a "CNN Hero" in 2007), who raised his now-adult daughter alone as a struggling single father, tells stories of being turned down for support by New York social service agencies because he wasn't a mother. Harlem educator Kevin Williams was denied court-enforced child support while he was a custodial parent. In the tragic case last year of Long Island mother Leatrice Brewer, who stabbed and drowned her three young children to death, the fathers of her children had petitioned local family courts to award custody to them, citing Ms. Brewer's obvious mental illness and instability. The courts rebuffed the fathers, cementing a horrific fate for their children.
The Problem of Missing Fathers
For many African-American families and communities, father disengagement and marginalization has become not a cultural shame, but a cultural norm. According to a recent Child Trends DataBank report, 69.5% of African-American children are born to unmarried mothers, in comparison to 47.9% of Hispanic children, 25.4% of White children, and 16.2% of Asian/Pacific Islander children. Most Black, two-parent families with children don't break up - they never form to begin with.
So, when we examine the severe disparities in educational outcomes between, let's say, African-American and Asian-American children, why are we so reluctant to consider the radical difference in how families are structured?
How Public Policy Made It Worse
These problems were brewing back in 1965, when a little-known Assistant Secretary of Labor (and later New York senator), Daniel Moynihan, issued a study titled "Crisis of the Negro Family: The Case For National Action." In the report, Moynihan argued: "At the heart of the deterioration of the fabric of Negro society is the deterioration of the Negro family. It was by destroying the Negro family under slavery that white America broke the will of the Negro people. Although that will has reasserted itself in our time, it is a resurgence doomed to frustration unless the viability of the Negro family is restored."
The condition of the Black family, and of absent Black fathers, was called within the report "a tangle of pathology." Moynihan's clumsy use of the term "pathology" to describe family formation (or lack thereof) for 1960s African-Americans created a political firestorm, and undermined the harsh but incredibly accurate family observations in the report.
Responding to the Moynihan report, sociologist Herbert J. Gans declared: "The matriarchal family structure and the absence of a father have not yet been proven pathological, even for the boys who grow up in it." The theory that held sway from the 60s through the 80s - presumably from experienced sociologists, thinkers and analysts - was that Black families were more "resilient" than even their White, two-parent, middle class counterparts because of "larger-than-life" single mothers. These views may have seemed complimentary to some African-Americans at the time, but it obscured the reality - a reality that saw families drawn into deeper forms of social disconnection, poverty and violence. What soon developed was a malady not in existence even during slavery and Jim Crow: fatherless Black housing projects and neighborhoods. As communities became fatherless, they also became man-less. The removal of Black adult males from these areas (due to homicide, incarceration, unemployment, military service, drug treatment, mental institutionalization and divorce) occurred at a rate usually reserved for high-casualty wars.
In the 1992 best-selling book, "Two Nations: Black, Separate, Hostile and Unequal," author Andrew Hacker quoted the now-infamous observation of Johns Hopkins sociologist Andrew Cherlin, stating that the problem with so many black single mother families was "not the lack of a male presence, but the lack of a male income."
In essence, in Cherlin's view (and that of many others of that generation), fathers served no particular purpose to families other than to monetarily fund single mothers and their children. It was the "Daddy-as-ATM" theory. This "theory" served as the engine that still drives public policy to focus on aggressive child support collection from fathers, rather than encouraging strong, comprehensive relationship (moral, spiritual, ethical and financial) connections between fathers, mothers and children.
It has been nothing short of amazing how the 30-year campaign that essentially promoted single Black motherhood and "fathers-are-not-necessary" policy (see the Diahann Carroll/James Earl Jones classic 70s film, Claudine, for cinematic example), has almost been obliterated from our present-day discourse on family responsibility. To paraphrase the adage: Failure doesn't have a single-parent. It indeed is orphan.
For all the criticism flung directly at hip-hop (some of it valid), many rappers have revealed through song and statement, how far off the mark the social scientists of the 60s and 70s actually were. From Tupac and Biggie, to Jay Z and Juelz Santana, the "had to grow up my own `cause Pops bounced" rhyme composition has become an album staple in the genre. Tupac told MTV News shortly before his death that "growing up without a father is what made me cold and bitter."
What President Obama Can Do
Next year will be the 45th Anniversary of the Moynihan report. President Obama should consider revisiting and updating it. One highly effective move by the president would be to recruit the First Lady, Michele Obama, to lend her status legal experience and credibility to a re-examination of the report, along with a current assessment of the critical issues that have so divided many families, such as the high out-of-wedlock birthrate, and radically fatherless African-American and urban neighborhoods.
Mrs. Obama currently commands a respect that has been generally reserved for cherished figures such as Coretta Scott King and Betty Shabazz. Not only did she evidence unflagging support for her husband, she was critical to his success during primaries. (Do we truly believe that Mr. Obama dominated Black women's vote during the primary because of his smooth jumper from 15 feet out?) Their daughters, Malia and Sasha conduct themselves with a grace that seems sampled from their parents. Michelle and her brother Craig were raised to exemplary success on Chicago's South Side by her mother and late, cherished father. According to a 2008 New York Times piece, Mrs. Obama loved her father so much "that she would curl up in his lap even as an adult."
By engaging her own personal story, her advocacy on family issues could be incredibly crucial in stressing the ways in which connected fathers can positively impact the lives of their daughters, especially for communities where the majority of girls are raised fatherless - leaving them highly vulnerable in so many ways. Let the campaign for healthy family development emerge with someone who knows well the value of responsible parenthood.
Donald and Me
Back to Donald. He has more legal hearings coming up, with the hope that the courts in his area will one day commit to their statutory and compelling public interest responsibility to enforce his parenting rights, and his daughter the right to benefit from his involvement.
How do I know Donald? Well, the ex-wife denying him access to his daughter is also my ex-girlfriend, with whom I have a wonderful son, born unfortunately without the benefit of his parents being married. After several years of being denied court-ordered access to my son, I petitioned for custody in 1998. Donald and I encountered each other during those custody hearings, within which all of us were mired. He had just married my ex. At the time, we only shared an occasional, stoic glance. Yet, we held the door open for each other in the courtroom a couple of times, in a quiet attempt to show that even under the most difficult of circumstances, sometimes brothers just have to put it all behind us and cooperate. In 1999, I was awarded residential custody of our son by an African-American judge. By 2000, the court declared me my son's "permanent sole custodial parent." Donald and I would occasionally see one another when he would drop my son off after a visit. In 2003, we met up and made a pact to continue to work together for the benefit of our children, who are brother and sister. I hadn't spoken to Donald for four years when we reconnected in 2007 - only to find out that we were kindred spirits in circumstance more than even I had imagined.
I had been our son's custodial parent for nearly ten years when our mutual ex, after many legal attempts too numerous to quantify here, regained custody of him some six months ago. Despite my having a court order to split summer vacation time and the holiday season with our son, our mutual ex, once again, has refused to allow him to visit me. My entire family, which also includes his ten year-old brother and six year-old sister (who only know life with him living with us) were crushed not have him around during the holiday season for the first time in their lives. Needless to say, Donald and his young daughter were not allowed to enjoy and part of the holiday together, either. Like Donald, I'm on my way back to court, too. There are moments where I get the feeling that some would rather see us do drive-bys on one another than cooperate for the best interests of our children.
The next time the holidays roll around, hopefully Donald and I will be able to celebrate with our children without difficulty. But another lovely gift I'd like to see under our tree from our new president would be an honest and fair reform of family policy in this nation, and a return to healthier, more cohesive families and communities. Now that's a Santa you can believe in.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
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