Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The glaring case on race in America

April 29, 2008
By Tara Wall

"America is overrun by poor black people... Slavery was Africa's chickens coming home to roost... God shouldn't bless Africa, God damn Africa." Imagine these words if you will — coming from white evangelical leader the Rev. Pat Robertson. What would the public's reaction be? Total and complete outrage — at the very least.

Of course, Mr. Robertson never spoke these words, but the Rev. Jeremiah Wright did. At least the equivalent of them when he said, "God damn America" and Sept. 11 was America's chickens coming home to roost, that the U.S.A of KKK is run by rich white people and that God should damn it. Now, as he embarks on his pompous, ill-timed information tour across the country, Mr. Wright wants us to believe that this kind of speech is common fare in black churches. That it is a misunderstood part of the "black experience." I (along with a number of black Americans) would argue — to the contrary.

Just as Mr. Wright attempts to invoke the Bible in defense of his remarks, the KKK and white supremacists use the Bible to justify their hate speech too. And while Mr. Wright may think that he is helping Sen. Barack Obama with his "explanations," he couldn't be more hurtful, his timing couldn't be worse and his accusations more absurd.

It doesn't matter that Mr. Wright "isn't running for public office" as he proclaimed at the NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner Sunday night. His influence over presidential wannabe Barack Obama does matter. For a public who still knows very little about the man who could be president, garnering knowledge about the people who impacted his life and value system is completely legitimate.

This is the pastor who said America wouldn't elect a black president, heaped praise on Mr. Obama in the pulpit, prayed with him, married him, was appointed to one of Mr. Obama's campaign committees — and now wants us to believe he's not "political." Mr. Wright can't have it both ways.

He insists his words were "taken out of context," without taking any responsibility for a single one of them. The same words Mr. Obama himself rejected and condemned as offensive.

Though Mr. Obama seems to have a touch of wanting it both ways as well. He made that apparent in an interview Sunday with FOX News Channel's Chris Wallace. The senator-who-would-be-president said: "[Wright's] been the subject of pretty sharp attacks." Rightfully so!

Mr. Wright, who considers all the coverage a "devious, smear campaign," wants to blame the media for the words that came out his own mouth. The only smear is what he said about white people and America. He also called media reports "an attack on the black church." Not only is it arrogant for Mr. Wright to purport that he speaks for all black churches, but his message misses the point — as the eloquent media analyst, and (black) Rev. Joe Watkins said it best as a pastor could: "Pastors are to preach a message of love, not hate."

Assume in the "what if" scenario I painted above that Mr. Robertson asked us to understand that the damning of Africa is what goes on in white evangelical churches across America. And suppose he was the "spiritual leader" of Sen. John McCain. Can't even fathom it can you?

Furthermore, if it's our desire to expand a much-needed discussion on race in America, I would argue that it will never be a legitimate conversation as long as we keep making excuses for people like Mr. Wright while at the same resigning people like Don Imus for his "nappy headed-hos" remark and former Sen. George Allen for his "macaca" moment. It's a glaring double-standard. To dismiss away such hateful language because Mr. Wright is black is not only arrogant but irresponsible and only deepens the divide in the discussion on race.

When Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice addressed a number of us last month at an editorial board meeting at The Washington Times, she also spoke candidly about race in America. While acknowledging America's "birth defect," she also expressed an inherent love of country: "Black Americans loved and had faith in this country even when their country didn't love and have faith in them."

Love of country is a privilege, no matter the wrongs, the hate or who is in charge. We are among the founders, not immigrants of this nation (as Miss Rice emphasized). That is our legacy — as blacks, as Americans, as black Americans. We shouldn't let Mr. Wright rob us of it but hold him accountable to it.

Not only is it arrogant for Mr. Wright to purport that he speaks for all black churches, but his message misses the point — as the eloquent media analyst, and (black) Rev. Joe Watkins said it best as a pastor could: "Pastors are to preach a message of love, not hate."

Amen Pastor Watkins. If we are truly Christians than we are all parts of the same Body of Christ. We are not black, white, Hispanic Christians, we are CHRISTIANS period. And as Christians we are called to LOVE.

37Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'[a] 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Matthew 22:37-40 (New International Version)

7Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1 John 4:7-21 (New International Version)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Indiana Calling...

Business owners: New tax will cost Michigan jobs
Posted by Rick Wilson The Grand Rapids Press
April 25, 2008 17:10PM

GRAND RAPIDS - Estimated taxes due this month under the new Michigan Business Tax ignited an outcry of angry protests from businesspeople Friday, many of whom say they now prefer the once hated Single Business tax instead.
About 100 business owners, developers, and accountants testified before a panel of four Republican legislators bent on reforming the state's business tax code.
Michael DeVries, director of development and sales at Ed DeVries Properties Inc. in Grand Rapids, drew thunderous applause when he called for repealing the tax altogether.
"This tax is crushing small business," said DeVries, adding his tax liability has risen at least 50 percent. "We can talk about fixing it but the Michigan Business Tax really just needs to go away."
Perhaps the most impassioned plea came from Ron Koroleski, operator of Professional Property Maintenance, who called for Lansing to toss the new tax and cut the state budget. The 50-year-old Hudsonville man said his tax bill rose to $15,500 from $6,000. "I work 80 to 90 hours a week and I have four kids in college," he said. How can he absorb such a huge increase, he asked. "I can't pass this cost onto the little old lady who is paying me $5 to change her light bulb."
State representatives Dave Agema, of Grandville, Dave Hildenbrand, of Lowell, Arlan Meekhoff, of Olive Township and Tom Pearce, of Rockford, organized the event to gather ammunition for their fight to repeal or at least modify the tax.
The stage was decorated with a photo of billboard that said "Come on in for low taxes, businesses and housing costs -- Indiana."
Businesspeople said that the new tax -- both expensive and confusing -- is driving businesses away and keeping others from investing in Michigan.
Agema said his office has been inundated with calls from business people in recent weeks, saying the new tax, effective Jan. 1, is costing in some cases between 300 and 700 percent more than the old Single Business Tax or SBT.
The SBT was repealed last year and replaced with the MBT which is hybrid that taxes both gross receipts and business income. Lawmakers also tacked on a 22 percent surcharge on the amount, after an uproar over a service tax that was withdrawn.
"Without the surcharge, about as many people paid more taxes as paid fewer taxes," Cynthia Knoll, a CPA with The Rehmann Group accountants told the lawmakers at the hearing in Loosemore Auditorium on Grand Valley State University's downtown campus.
What also irks businesspeople is that the tax is applied to gross sales whether firms are profitable or not. Businesses were also upset that the MBT even taxes the 6 percent sales taxes that stores and other businesses collect on behalf of the state.

"That's a tax on a tax," Agema said.

"Also, you could lose money and still have to pay taxes if you have any sales at all. We've lost more jobs to the surrounding states than we have to China and Mexico just because their tax structure and business climate is more attractive."
Agema said the SBT raised about $1.6 billion but the new MBT is now expected to raise about $3 billion this year.
Marc Gilbert, a Beene Gartner accountant, told the lawmakers that the state treasury department has not given out information on how much will be collected, but he expects the tax will raise "a whole lot more money than you know."
Most attending the hearing wondered when Lansing will understand that tax increases cost jobs. DeVries noted the effect of new tax incentives for movie makers now coming to the state.
"The week after it was passed we get, what 30 applications," DeVries said. "Why don't we get that? The concept is the same."

Taxed whether business show a profit and even on the 6% sales tax!
Is it any wonder that businesses are leaving Michigan?

And why do film makers, who do not live in Michigan, get tax incentives while Michigan citizens business owner see their tax bill increase over 50%?

In addition;

According to the highly respected Tax Foundation, Michigan was ranked as having the 14th highest tax burden, but the increased levies have likely moved us into the 12th worst slot. Indiana ranks 25th and another popular outbound destination for Michiganders is Florida, which not only has a lower state and local tax burden than Michigan, it also has no individual income tax and a right-to-work law. http://www.mackinac.org/article.aspx?ID=9173

We need to join these State representatives in the fight to repeal this business killer tax!

Dave Agema, of Grandville, daveagema@house.mi.gov
Fax: 517-373-8697
Phone: 517-373-8900

Dave Hildenbrand, of Lowell, rephildenbrand@house.mi.gov
Phone: (517) 373-0846
Toll Free: (877) DAVE-086

Arlan Meekhoff, of Olive Township arlanbmeekhof@house.mi.gov
Phone: (517) 373-0838
Toll Free: (888) 238-1008

Tom Pearce, of Rockford tompearce@house.mi.gov
Phone(517): 373-0218
Toll Free:(888) 414-3684

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Other Obama
April 14, 2008;
Page A14

This has been a long Presidential campaign, but often usefully so. The Democratic Party fight is helping us learn that there's more to Barack Obama than the eloquent, post-partisan, disciplined purveyor of "hope" that he typically projects.

There's also the Barack Obama who attended Rev. Jeremiah Wright's ("God d--- America") church for 20 years, the one who emerged from the Chicago Democratic machine with friends like Tony Rezko, the one with the most liberal voting record in the U.S. Senate, and now we learn the one with a Harvard-eye view of American angst.

At an April 6 fund-raiser in San Francisco, this Obama explained to his non-blue-collar donors: "You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive Administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

As political psychoanalysis, this is what they believe in Cambridge and Hyde Park. Guns and God are the opiate of the masses, who are being gulled by Karl Rove and rich Republicans. If only they embraced their true economic self-interest, these pure saps wouldn't need religion and they wouldn't dislike non-white immigrants.

Mr. Obama's unreflective condescension is reminiscent of the famous 1993 Washington Post article that described evangelical Christians as "poor, undereducated and easy to command." And the fact that he said it so naturally in front of a San Francisco crowd suggests that this is what he may truly believe. This is Mr. Obama's inner Mike Dukakis.

The Senator went into damage-control mode on the weekend, initially defending his comments as what "everybody knows is true," then later saying he "deeply" regretted if his words "offended" some. He also tried to suggest that he really meant to say that economic anxiety prods people to focus on cultural and social issues at the polls.

"So I said, 'Well, you know, when you're bitter you turn to what you can count on. So people they vote about guns, or they take comfort from their faith and their family and their community," Mr. Obama told a crowd in Indiana. But that still diminishes the convictions of those voters who care more about the right to bear arms, or faith in God, than they do about the AFL-CIO's agenda.

Mr. Obama's comments are a gift to Hillary Clinton, who pounced on his "demeaning remarks," presenting herself as more in tune with Pennsylvania values – even reminiscing about how her father taught her to shoot a gun. Mrs. Clinton may have earned an "F" from the National Rifle Association for her Senate voting record, but she'll take any opening she can.

Senator Obama has had a mostly charmed Presidential run, but the truth is there's much that Americans still don't know about him or what he believes.

And on the tin foil hat black helicopter front:

Alicia Keys: 'Gangsta Rap' Created to Convince Black People to Kill Each Other
Saturday , April 12, 2008

NEW YORK — There's another side to Alicia Keys: conspiracy theorist.
The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter tells Blender magazine: "'Gangsta rap' was a ploy to convince black people to kill each other. 'Gangsta rap' didn't exist."

Keys, 27, said she's read several Black Panther autobiographies and wears a gold AK-47 pendant around her neck "to symbolize strength, power and killing 'em dead," according to an interview in the magazine's May issue, on newsstands Tuesday.

Another of her theories: The bicoastal feud between slain rappers Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. was fueled "by the government and the media, to stop another great black leader from existing."

Keys' AK-47 jewelry came as a surprise to her mother, who is quoted as telling Blender: "She wears what? That doesn't sound like Alicia." Keys' publicist, Theola Borden, said Keys was on vacation and unavailable for comment.

Though she's known for her romantic tunes, she told Blender that she wants to write more political songs. If black leaders such as the late Black Panther Huey Newton "had the outlets our musicians have today, it'd be global. I have to figure out a way to do it myself," she said.

The multiplatinum songstress behind the hits "Fallin"' and "No One" most recently had success with her latest CD, "As I Am," which sold millions.

Hmmm just thinking out loud here but... if Tupac and B.I.G were so great wouldn't they have figured out the government plan and not bought into to it? And of course EVERYONE knows that gangster rap was created by "whitey" to get potential "great black leaders" like Tupac and B.I.G to kill one another!

I think I can speak for every sane rational person when I say, "Alicia, shut up and sing!! PLEASSSSSSSSSSE

But Obama, YOU keep talking and exposing yourself for what you are to the American people

Friday, April 11, 2008

Huge Oil Reservoir May Lie Under Northern Plains

Huge Oil Reservoir May Lie Under Northern Plains
Thursday , April 10, 2008

BISMARCK, N.D. — The government estimates up to 4.3 billion barrels of oil can be recovered from the Bakken shale formation in North Dakota and Montana, using current technology.
The U.S. Geological Survey calls it the largest continuous oil accumulation it has ever assessed.

An assessment by USGS in 1999 found the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge had 10.3 billion barrels of recoverable oil, said Brenda Pierce, a geologist for the agency

• Click here to visit FOXNews.com's Natural Science Center.

The Bakken Formation encompasses some 25,000 square miles in North Dakota, Montana, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

About two-thirds of the acreage is in western North Dakota, where the oil is trapped in a thin layer of dense rock nearly two miles beneath the surface.
Companies use pressurized fluid and sand to break pores in the rock and prop them open to recover the oil.

Donald Kessel, vice president of Houston-based Murex Petroleum Corp., said he believes the Geological Survey's assessment of how much oil can be recovered in the Bakken may be a little on the high side.
"That's a lot of zeros," Kessel said Thursday.

Kessel said his company was the first to get a producing well in the Bakken in North Dakota three years ago. The company now has about 20 producing wells.

The report released Thursday by USGS was done at the request of Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., over the past 18 months.

A study by the USGS in 1995 found 151 million barrels of oil could be recovered from the Bakken using technology at that time.
"This is great news," Dorgan said of the new report. "This is 25 times the amount of the previous assessment."

So now the report is final. So who else will start drilling? Better hope some enviro-wacko doesn't discover some kind of wildlife that "needs protecting" in the Bakken like the Caribou in A.N.W.R

Btw how many Americans have actually been to A.N.W.R or ever plan on going there, say for vacation?

In northeastern Alaska. It consists of 19,049,236 acres. There are presently no roads within or leading into the refuge, though there are settlements there.

Traditionally, Alaskan residents, trade unions, and business interests have supported drilling in the refuge, while environmental groups and many within the Democratic Party have traditionally opposed it. Among native Alaskan tribes, support is mixed.

In the 1990s and 2000s, votes about the status of the refuge occurred repeatedly in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, but as of 2007 efforts to allow drilling have always been ultimately thwarted by filibusters, amendments, or vetoes.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Charlton Heston Dies at 84

Although best known for his roles as Ben-Hur and Moses, Heston was a
World War II Army veteran, he visited troops fighting during the Vietnam War and was a strong supporter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In 1981, Heston was named co-chairman of then-President Ronald Reagan’s Task Force on the Arts and Humanities. Charlton has served on the National Council on the Arts and was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild a record six times.

Furthermore, he has held the office of chairman and president of the American Film Institute and served four terms as president of the National Rifle Association of America. He has authored five books.
In 2003, Heston received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bush. http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2006/11/29/164907.shtml?s=ic

Heston saw McCarthyism and racial segregation as helping the cause of Communism worldwide, and opposed both.[citation needed] He also opposed the Vietnam War and voted for Richard Nixon in 1972.[13]
By the 1980s, Heston opposed affirmative action, supported gun rights and changed his political affiliation from Democratic to Republican.[14] He campaigned for Republicans and Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush.[15]

Heston resigned from Actors Equity, claiming the union's refusal to allow a white actor to play a Eurasian role in "Miss Saigon" was "obscenely racist."[citation needed] He said CNN's telecasts from Baghdad were "sowing doubts" about the allied effort in the 1990-91 Gulf War[citation needed].

At a Time Warner stockholders meeting, he castigated the company for releasing an Ice-T album which included the song "Cop Killer", which depicted the killing of police offiers.[16]
In 1996, Heston attended the Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual gathering of conservative movement organizations. There he posed for a group photo with former White Citizens Council organizer and founder of the Council of Conservative Citizens, Gordon Lee Baum, and former Republican Senator George Allen (VA), which was published in the Summer 1996 issue of the CCC's newsletter, the Citizens Informer. [17]

Heston was the President and spokesman of the NRA from 1998 until his resignation in 2003. At the 2000 NRA convention, he raised a hand-made Brooks flintlock rifle over his head and declared that presidential candidate Al Gore would take away his Second Amendment rights "from my cold, dead hands."[citation needed] In announcing his resignation in 2003, he again raised a rifle over his head, repeating the five famous words of his 2000 speech[citation needed]. He was an honorary life member.[18][19]

In the 2002 documentary film Bowling for Columbine, Michael Moore interviewed Heston in his home, asking him about an April, 1999 NRA meeting held in Denver, Colorado, shortly after the Columbine high school massacre. Moore criticized Heston for the perceived thoughtlessness in the timing and location of the meeting. Heston, on-camera, excused himself and walked out on the interview. Moore was later criticized for his perceived ambush of the actor.

According to his autobiography In the Arena, Heston recognized the right of freedom of speech exercised by others. In a 1997 speech, he deplored a culture war he said was being conducted by a generation of media, educators, entertainers, and politicians against:

"...the God fearing, law-abiding, Caucasian, middle- class Protestant-or even worse, evangelical Christian, Midwestern or Southern- or even worse, rural, apparently straight-or even worse, admitted heterosexuals, gun-owning-or even worse, NRA-card-carrying, average working stiff-or even worse, male working stiff-because, not only don’t you count, you are a down-right obstacle to social progress. Your voice deserves a lower decibel level, your opinion is less enlightened, your media access is insignificant, and frankly, mister, you need to wake up, wise up, and learn a little something from your new-America and until you do, would you mind shutting up?"[22]

In an address to students at Harvard Law School entitled Winning the Cultural War, Heston expressed his disdain for political correctness, stating "If Americans believed in political correctness, we'd still be King George's boys - subjects bound to the British crown."[23] He stated "Political correctness is tyranny with manners".[24] He went on to say that white pride is just as valid as black pride or red pride or anyone else's pride.

Heston opposed abortion and gave the introduction to a 1987 pro-life documentary by Bernard Nathanson called Eclipse of Reason which focuses on late-term abortions. Heston served on the Advisory Board of Accuracy in Media (AIM), a conservative media watchdog group founded by the late Reed Irvine.[25]

Charlton Heston was a true conservative American hero.
Brave and willing to stand up for the values and institutions that have made our country great. He is an example to be emulated and he will be missed. He now rests in His Saviors' loving arms, healed and healthy.