Tag Archives: Washington Post

President Obama Urges Black Community to VOTE

In case you forgot Texas, today is Election Day.  Across the Lone Star State, voting is already happening like never before.  As of Thursday evening, over 3.7 million Texans had already voted.  This shatters previous records from 2012 when 3.1 million residents voted early, and there’s still one full day of early voting results to go!!

But even in this era of historic voter turnout, important questions remain, like who is turning out to vote at such high numbers?  According to the Washington Post, this turnout does not appear to be driven by the African-American community…

By most accounts, Hillary Clinton’s path to victory relies on substantial turnout among black and Latino voters. And while early voting numbers so far appear to favor the Democrats, reports in recent days have suggested that although Latino participation may be up, African American turnout may be lower than in 2012. How concerned should the Clinton camp be?


In 2012, African Americans overperformed in states such as North Carolina and Texas. But this year, black voting rates are trailing other groups relative to their size of the electorate, with some swings on the order of 5 to 10 percentage points.

Per the Texas Tribune, African-American Texans led the state in 2012, voting at a higher percentage of their total population than any other racial or ethnic group.  This is a very interesting fact given all of the negative stereotypes out there which suggest that the Black community is ‘uninformed’ or ‘uninterested’ in elections.  But so far in 2016, Black voters appear to be trailing other parts of the state in the early vote, and are significantly behind their landmark participation rates from 2012.

This lack of voter enthusiasm should be an alarm bell to Democrats.  How is it possible that a candidate as divisive as Donald Trump has not inspired huge turnout in all minority communities??

One prominent African-American is highly concerned, and that is President Obama.

This week on the Tom Joyner morning show, he had this to say, via Black America Web

If you really care about my presidency and what we’ve accomplished, you are going to go and vote. And if you don’t know where to vote, go to www.iwillvote.com .If you’ve already voted, but your mama hasn’t voted, your cousin hasn’t voted, your nephew hasn’t voted, I need you to call them and say that the President and Michelle personally asked you to vote. It’s not that hard. And I know it’s not that hard because we’ve done it before.

But if we let this thing slip and I’ve got a situation where my last two months in office are preparing for a transition to Donald Trump, whose staff people have said that their primary agenda is, to have him, in the first couple of weeks, sit in the Oval Office and reverse every single thing that we’ve done – all the work we’ve done to make sure people get overtime, all the work we’ve done to make sure women get paid the same as men for doing the same job, all the work we’ve done so that 20 million people get healthcare, all the work we’ve done to make sure we’re doing something about climate change, so that we don’t have a situation where the whole world is not scrambling to figure out where they’re going to live and where they get enough water and crops failing and bigger hurricanes – if I’ve got to look at that the last two months, because folks stayed home, even going on the Tom Joyner cruise won’t help me then. If I’m on the cruise, I might jump off.

So yes Black America, sadly the nation’s first Black President is not on the ballot.  It is a difficult fact to accept, but that should not be an excuse.  Donald Trump’s policies on education, banking, the economy and a myriad of other aspects of American life would decimate the black community.  He has promised time and again to pass on massive tax cuts to the wealthy, which will lead to divestment in minority communities.  If a President Trump were to actually scrap the Department of Education and end student financial aid to college, it would bring about the swift demise of universities across the country, with Historically Black Colleges and Universities among the first to close their doors.  Even if President Obama himself is not on the ballot, America needs to know that in 2016, Black Votes Matter.

Early Voting may be over for Texas, but there’s still a chance to vote this Election Day.  Don’t wait until it’s too late!!


Sent: Hillary Clinton Will NOT Face Charges Over Emails

After years of swirling controversy and thousands of hours worth of Press coverage, it appears that one of 2016’s most prominent political ‘scandals’ has finally met its end.

You know… the one about Hillary Clinton’s emails.

If you haven’t been paying attention, here’s the general run-down. Throughout her time in the Senate, Clinton used a personal email, and ran the servers from her home.  As odd as this may sound to those of us in the Tech generation, it is a surprisingly common practice for high-level members of Congress to use personal email.

When she became Secretary of State in 2009, she continued to use her personal email and maintain the servers from her home, and no one in the upper echelons of government corrected her at the time.  We must emphasize the term continued here, because for 8 years as a United States Senator, she used her private email account to no objection. This wasn’t some malicious move made the second she ascended to the office at State. Framed in context, it is possible to see the reasoning here.

But that doesn’t mean the reasoning was correct. As Secretary of State, part of the job is to have involved interactions with foreign governments, including many folks that the United States would deem as “untrustworthy actors”.  If one assumes that a personal server is less secure than those run by the federal government, any electronic communications with said actors carry a great deal of risk.  This is what FBI Director James Comey made crystal clear as he announced the results of the agency’s exhaustive investigation into the email saga.  From the full transcript of his statement via The Washington Post…

Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.

For example, seven e-mail chains concern matters that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level when they were sent and received. These chains involved Secretary Clinton both sending e-mails about those matters and receiving e-mails from others about the same matters. There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation. In addition to this highly sensitive information, we also found information that was properly classified as Secret by the U.S. Intelligence Community at the time it was discussed on e-mail (that is, excluding the later “up-classified” e-mails).

None of these e-mails should have been on any kind of unclassified system, but their presence is especially concerning because all of these e-mails were housed on unclassified personal servers not even supported by full-time security staff, like those found at Departments and Agencies of the U.S. Government — or even with a commercial service like Gmail.


In looking back at our investigations into mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts. All the cases prosecuted involved some combination of: clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information; or vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct; or indications of disloyalty to the United States; or efforts to obstruct justice. We do not see those things here.

With all the evidence present, it’s clear that the standards for what most people consider ‘best practices’ of electronic communication were not met.  But were these failings attributed exclusively to Clinton, or were they at issue in previous administrations?  According to a House Oversight Committee Report confirming widespread use of personal emails among Clinton’s predecessors, Condoleezza Rice claims that she used a .gov account, but the State Department was unable to produce conclusive records from her time in the office. Colin Powell, like Clinton, admits to having used a personal email account.  Only since Secretary John Kerry has there even been an expectation that Secretaries of State use a government email account.  In the wake of these results, it’s important to weigh Clinton’s actions within this context.  If she followed the lead set by previous office holders, why are her actions being singled out as exceptional?  Is the FBI willing to bring charges up against Secretaries Powell and Rice??  Onky if they run for President, I guess.

Surprisingly enough, there is a bright side to this controversy.  Unlike several other GOP-led attempts to destroy Democratic rivals, at least the time and money spent on this one yielded some concrete results.  Hillary Clinton’s email practices were a problem, and now she, and the whole federal government will be much less careless with their electronic records.

In any event, the message has been sent.


So Many Prisons. So Many Shattered Lives.

When someone makes the statement “the United States has a lot of prisons”, it probably doesn’t sound like a surprising fact to most.  On a daily basis, we hear about the local, state and federal prisons that are in close proximity to our communities.

But as a matter of scale, did you know that the United States actually has more prisons and jails than it does colleges?  That’s the shocking fact revealed by this article from Christopher Ingraham of the  Washington Post

There were 2.3 million prisoners in the U.S. as of the 2010 Census. It’s often been remarked that our national incarceration rate of 707 adults per every 100,000 residents is the highest in the world, by a huge margin.

We tend to focus less on where we’re putting all those people. But the 2010 Census tallied the location of every adult and juvenile prisoner in the United States. If we were to put them all on a map, this is what they would look like:

(click here to view the map)

The map shows the raw number of prisoners in each U.S. county as of the 2010 Census. Much of the discussion of regional prison population only centers around inmates in our 1,800 state and federal correctional facilities. But at any given time, hundreds of thousands more individuals are locked up in the nation’s 3,200 local and county jails. This map includes these individuals as well.

To put these figures in context, we have slightly more jails and prisons in the U.S. — 5,000 plus — than we do degree-granting colleges and universities. In many parts of America, particularly the South, there are more people living in prisons than on college campuses.


No state illustrates this stark contrast better than Texas, which has roughly 440 prisons and jails compared to only 369 degree-granting institutions of higher learning, both public and private.  There are literally more places to get locked up in the Lone Star State than there are to further one’s post-secondary education.

It’s a statistic that should rightfully warrant pause, and should also cause us to question why our government feels the need to invest so much money and time into ruining people’s lives??   You may have heard of the school-to-prison pipeline… theories that say many local education and law enforcement systems are basically rigged to discriminate, profile and persecute certain segments of the population.  After seeing these statistics as additional fact, it’s tough to produce sufficient evidence to the contrary.  This infographic from SuspensionStories (via PBS) gives some more startling facts about our nation’s prison population…

school to prison pipeline

As taxpayers, we have to expect more from our government than the expectation to be locked up by a certain age.  Some may think that President Obama’s proposal to provide free 2-year community college for everyone in the United States “for anyone who is willing to work for it” is far-fetched.  They say “we can’t possibly afford it” or “it would destroy the country” to enact such a bold idea.

But have we stopped to think of how much we’re spending to shatter the lives of our nation’s most precious resource… human lives??  If we stopped sending so many of our youth to prison and jail and started to actually invest in their future, it would only make us a better and stronger country in the long-term.  The proof lies above.  Our nation’s prison industrial complex is larger than our post-secondary educational complex.  The least we can do is change that.


Is Syria “Someone Else’s War”?

Thanks to President Obama’s somewhat surprising decision to consult Congress before any attack is waged on Syria, the United States of America is now in the throes of a vigorous debate. Here is my contribution to that debate. 

But first this is from the President’s own remarks on Syria, full text via the Washington Post…

“Let me say this to the American people: I know well that we are weary of war. We’ve ended one war in Iraq. We’re ending another in Afghanistan. And the American people have the good sense to know we cannot resolve the underlying conflict in Syria with our military. In that part of the world, there are ancient sectarian differences, and the hopes of the Arab Spring have unleashed forces of change that are going to take many years to resolve. And that’s why we’re not contemplating putting our troops in the middle of someone else’s war.”

And therein lies the question that Americans have to ask themselves… Is Syria really “someone else’s war”?

It’s a loaded question, but let’s break it down into sections for a moment. Syria is a country that is not in or near the United States. We do not share a physical border of any kind. They are a sovereign nation with their own leaders, and their own issues. Just like the United States in our Civil War, other nations mostly stayed out of our conflict, despite the fact that over 600,000 people died in the American Civil War. It was a tragedy of epic proportions, but other nations chose NOT to intervene. Were this war happening in a nation like Canada or Mexico, it would be another matter entirelyw, because what happens in those nations could quickly spill over into ours. This isn’t the case with Syria, and it never will be. 

Which leads to the next issue… Syria’s war does not pose an imminent threat to the United States. The last time we had an attack on our shores was 9/11. There’s been no coordinated effort by Syria to attack us… NONE. 
This is not to say that the US doesn’t care about Syria or its people. Everyone is horrified by the murders being committed there, whether by use of chemical weapons or not. But now that other nations are pretty sure that those weapons were used, is it OUR responsibility to do something about it if the US is not under an imminent threat? 
So the next issue… If the US isn’t under imminent threat, then who is? Nations like Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey… all US allies, and all staying out of Syria’s war. If anyone has a reason to act against Assad’s use of chemical warfare, it would be these nations. But they’ve chosen to do nothing. In fact, the entire Arab League has been mum on Obama’s plan for a punitive attack. This is a critical difference between now and 2011… When the President chose to use US forces to aid Libyan rebels and eventually overthrow Qaddafi, the Middle East nations of Jordan, Qutar and Turkey were important players in that incident. If the nations most affected by Syria’s actions are not willing to act or ask for help, why should the US bear this burden alone? We cannot and should not fight wars that no one is asking us to. 
What the President should do (and what I sincerely hope he is trying to do) is work with Syria’s neighbor nations to make them understand why chemical warfare is unacceptable. If we fire weapons into Syria without any substantial support from other nations, we are inviting ourselves to war. We’re also inviting them to attack us. It’s ironic how the Obama administration phrases their plan for Syria as “targeted and limited”. Given that the 9/11 attack didn’t involve ground troops, and occurred all within the span of a few short hours, one could argue it was very “targeted and limited” as well. Funny how a few hours can change the course of American history. Are we blind and deaf enough to think an attack on Syria would affect them any differently?? 
Americans need to stop this nonsense of trying to police the world. With all of the issues that we have internally, there is plenty to do in this nation other than meddle in someone else’s war. Sorry Team America… It’s time to retire.