All Articles Tagged "politics"
I became business editor here at Madame Noire on July 16. Since then, we’ve been working to bring you the most important and interesting stories about black businesses and entrepreneurs, the economy and politics, technology, and entertainment and media.
Here’s our look back at the hot stories and topics that affected the bottom half of this eventful year. Of course, we’re constantly looking for story ideas and feedback. So feel free to email me directly at email@example.com, tweet us @MadameNoireBiz, and Facebook us on our page here (which will be hosting a chat about budgeting and money-saving tomorrow at 3pm).
Thanks readers for joining us this past year… Happy holidays!!
Unemployment Numbers Get Better… Sort of
Unfortunately, unemployment is a big problem for the black community. The latest jobs numbers show that things are slowly on the upswing, but we’re still dealing with joblessness among blacks that far exceeds the national average. In an effort to get people back to work, there are programs like this. And on the topic of jobs, people around the country are asking whether workers need unions. In Chicago, the teachers union went on strike and has spoken out about what they see as racism in the public education system.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley announced her choice to replace departing Sen. Jim DeMint — Rep. Tim Scott. Elected to Congress in 2010, Rep. Scott was “the first black congressional Republican from the Deep South since Reconstruction,” reports The Washington Post.
Sen. DeMint is leaving his post to lead The Heritage Foundation, the conservative think tank. He was elected to the office in 2004 and had said he had no intentions of running for re-election in 2016. DeMint is a Tea Party favorite and has stated his belief that the new position will be “a vehicle to popularize conservative ideas in a way that connects with a broader public,” The Wall Street Journal reports. He was known for bumping heads with leaders of the Republican party. He officially steps down on January 1.
From the beginning, Rep. Scott was the favorite to step up to the position. Born in 1965, he was raised by a single mother. He first ran for office in Charleston, SC after graduating from college and running a real estate company (note WaPo‘s biographical detail about his beginnings with a mentor). His election to the Charleston City Council in 1995 was enough to thwart a lawsuit asserting that the city violated the Civil Rights Act of 1965.
He won his seat in Congress by defeating Paul Thurmond, son of 1948 segregationist candidate for President, Strom Thurmond. He declined to join the Congressional Black Caucus, saying that he appreciated the invite but his “campaign was never about race,” The Washington Post says.
Even if it isn’t about race for him, it is very much for the Republicans. When he takes his spot in the Senate, Scott will be “the first black Republican senator since Edward Brooke of Massachusetts lost in 1978; and the only currently serving black senator,” The Atlantic reports. “(Your shocking fact for the day: Brooke remains the only black senator to ever be reelected.),” the magazine continues. After he leaves the House, there will be no black Republicans in the Congressional body. Republicans struggled throughout the election cycle to reach black voters and other minority groups. So even as they oppose policies like affirmative action and certain elements of immigration reform, and (as Gov. Haley did yesterday) as they take pains to express that their sole concern is choosing the most qualified person, Republicans would also like to add a few diverse faces to their ranks. With demographic trends showing minority groups will have growing influence in future elections, the GOP has a vested interest in appealing more strongly to minority groups.
“Other Republicans insist that the candidates are a first step — that they are taking — and that having as many high-profile non-white faces will allow them to speak to minority voters on a core level that they have struggled to do in the past,” says a separate WaPo story. Hmm… Don’t think so. It’s not just what a politician looks like, but what they support.
African-American firsts are still happening, even at this late date. Virginia Democrats just elected the state’s first African-American party chair.
A House of Delegates member from Alexandria became chairwoman of the Democratic Party in Virginia, and not only is she the first African American to chair that state’s Democratic party. She is actually the first African American to lead any major political party in Virginia.
Del. Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria) was elected at the party’s Central Committee Meeting in Williamsburg on Saturday, which was attended by many of the candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor and attorney general. Herring didn’t waste time in calling the party to action.
“The one thing we can’t do is relax. We’ve got to start now to get voters engaged,” said Herring, reports The Washington Post.
It looks like Democrats in that state will have an uphill battle. “History does not favor Democrats going into 2013. In every Virginia gubernatorial election since 1977, Virginia has reversed its support for governor in the years following the presidential election. In 2009, Republicans swept the races for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. And Virginia has not had a Democratic attorney general in nearly 20 years,” writes the newspaper.
Gov. Bob McDonnell is currently in office. He campaigned for Mitt Romney and other Republicans who ran for office this past election cycle. According to a separate Washington Post article, he enjoys a good deal of popularity in his state, including among women and black voters.
Herring has a plan. She announced she will continue to focus on voter registration and turnout efforts, which she says will be critical for a Democratic win.
Herring, a lawyer by profession, is a graduate of George Mason University and Catholic University Columbus School of Law. She was elected to the General Assembly in January 2009 in a special election to fill the vacated seat for the 46th House District. She also serves as the Democratic Whip in the House of Delegates and was chair of the Legislative Reproductive Health Caucus. Through her work with the latter, Herring has been outspoken on the Republican legislation passed last session that requires women to undergo an ultrasound before being allowed to have an abortion.
Conflicts in the New York State Senate are bringing to light issues of race and power, according to The New York Times. A five-person coalition called the Independent Democratic Conference, is made up of mostly-white Republicans and dissident Democrats and emerged on Tuesday of this week as a threat to lawmakers from diverse backgrounds.
Currently, the Senate Democratic caucus is led by John L. Sampson from Brooklyn, and has been led by black lawmakers for more than 10 years. Sampson said he is worried this new coalition will try to steal power and control.
“There’s nothing for minorities. Of course it concerns me,” Rubén Díaz Sr., a Bronx Democrat in the Senate, told the Times. “What are we doing? We minorities, we’re not getting anywhere.” The Rev. Al Sharpton is also throwing his hat in the ring, saying the coalition will leave “minorities in the cold.”
Meanwhile, Senator Jeffrey D. Klein, the leader of the new coalition, told the Times that this action will actually lead to collaboration and the group would work with minority representatives on legislation that they back. But there’s concern that that will actually happen. It does look like a minimum wage increase and loosened marijuana laws could be coming, however.
While the GOP is working hard to keep Susan Rice, currently the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, from becoming the next Secretary of State, other groups are working even harder to get her approved.
A diverse group of African-American women leaders joined together today to show their support for Rice. The group teamed up with the Black Women’s Roundtable (BWR), an intergenerational civic engagement network of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, to launch a campaign to “express their unequivocal support of United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice and to encourage Senate and congressional leaders to treat the esteemed public servant with respect,” announced a press release.
“It is important that women from all walks of life come together to push back when we see someone being treated unfairly not because of her work, but due to politics. Ambassador Rice has had a stellar career and has served this country with great dignity. We can not sit back and allow those who long for the days when white male privilege persisted in America to ruin the Ambassador´s reputation,” Melanie L. Campbell, president of the National Coalition and convener of BWR, tells us via email. “It’s a new day and Black, White, Caribbean, Asian and Latino women have come together to say, not on our watch! We are demanding that Ambassador Rice be given the proper respect appropriate for any other Cabinet-level member of a sitting Administration.”
The group of high-profile women signed an open letter to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Among those who signed are: Ingrid Saunders Jones, chair, National Council of Negro Women; former Essence editor Susan L. Taylor, CEO and founder, National CARES Mentoring Movement; actress Vivica A. Fox, president, Foxy Brown Productions; and Dr. Natalia A. Francisco, founder and executive director, Women of Worth & Worship, LLC.
According to the press release, the letter sent to Senate intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and committee ranking member Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) said that Ambassador Rice “has excelled throughout her career both in the public and private sector. Her commitment to international peace and the equality of all people should be heralded, not summarily dismissed for political gain and expedience.”
The letter even addressed the Benghazi incident as it pointed out, “While some members of the Senate have pushed back on their rush to judgment in the press regarding Ambassador Rice’s prepared remarks on the attack in Benghazi, we feel that the public integrity and reputation of this brilliant woman, who serves our country with great dignity, has been unfairly and unnecessarily attacked.”
Rice also got a major show of support from the incoming Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) chair Rep. Marcia Fudge, who at a recent press conference vigorously defended Rice’s qualification and accused the GOP of being both racist and sexist. She stated, “women and minorities tend to be the target of Republican attacks when they lose to Democrats,” reports The Loop 21.
In addition to the letter there is an online petition in support of Ambassador Rice. The twitter hashtag is #SupportAmbassadorRice.
What do you think of the Susan Rice backlash?
How many of you watched the presidential debates? Many of you it seems. According to the Nielsen ratings, black TV viewers are tuning in to watch politics rather than their usual programming.
“The second Presidential debate that aired on Tuesday, Oct.16th, was the real ratings winner among TV shows for the third week of October. 4.8 million of the more than 10 million Black viewers watched on ABC, CBS and NBC. (Another 5.3 million tuned in on cable). ABC’s “Scandal” returned to the lineup and came in at No.3,” reports TargetMarketNews. “NBC edged out CBS as the most watched TV network, carrying 13 million Black viewers for eight of its shows. CBS dropped to second place with 12.8 million for ten shows. ABC had 8.5 million for six programs.” The ratings stats for the final debate were not available yet at press time.
African Americans are the largest group of TV viewers, comprising “approximately 13 percent of the 109.6 million TV households. African-Americans generally watch more television than other segments of the population,” reports Nielsen. African-American adults are avid TV watchers, averaging 210 hours per month, more than whites, Latinos and Asians by quite a bit. And black children aren’t just exposed to television that they’re watching, but TV that plays as background noise for hours on end.
Now if everyone who watched TV voted, that would be interesting. Only about 58 percent of the eligible voters in America actually vote, according to voting and registration data US Census 2008. And according to USA Today, this November about 90 million Americans who can vote won’t.
From The Root
It is not exactly a surprise that Obama supporters were less than happy with their candidate’s performance after the first presidential debate. Many talked about the night as though their favorite sports team had let them down.
“I feel like the Red Sox just blew a lead,” Greg Atkins, a die-hard Red Sox and Obama fan based in Brooklyn, N.Y., said to his wife after the president’s debate debacle. And much like the melancholy that accompanies the loss of a favorite baseball, basketball, football or hockey team, many Obama fans found themselves grappling with feelings of dismay and disappointment after his debate “loss.” It’s a feeling some Romney supporters might be feeling after the final presidential debate.
But a question that has rarely been explored is whether the performance of a particular candidate can affect supporters so deeply as to lead to actual depression. According to interviews with various mental-health experts and experts on fan behavior, the short answer is yes.
Read more at The Root
Pushing the “binders full of women” meme into completely different territory, reviewers have gone on Amazon.com and used the review section of actual binders that are for sale to leave snappy comments.
If you recall (and we know you do), Mitt Romney, when answering a question during Tuesday’s debate about equal pay, made mention of all these “binders full of women” that he used to find female staffers. Please note: He ultimately made no mention of whether he actually supports equal pay policies for women.
Anyways, the absurd turn of phrase has turned into the LOL Internet meme of the past few days, with people searching for the term online, turning it into a Facebook page, visiting a very robust Tumblr page full of bindered women, and even playing a fun computer game that will help you waste precious time at the office. Now, people have turned their attention to the online retailer. A review of the Avery Durable View Binder written by Moose Grooves from Texas reads:
This seems like a pretty good Bind Her, but is it better than the Trap Her Keep Her? Will it keep all my women in line, especially when they have to rush home to make dinner? Is it a good product to use with the BIC Cristal For Her Ball Pen? Does size matter? This is only a couple of inches.
BTW, the reference to the “Bic Cristal For Her Pen” is an actual thing.
With help from other memesters, these comments are getting bumped up to the top of the list of helpful reviews.
Ultimately, the question is whether this is really going to negatively impact Romney’s campaign. Possibly. It is focusing attention on Romney’s stance on women’s issues and deflecting from the point he was trying to make — that he has a history of hiring lots o’ ladies. And, even in that, his record is kind of not so good.
“But,” writes The Washington Post, “all of this reeks of momentary distraction — the kind of story that one side pushes for a short time in hopes of gaining traction and then backs off of, with little lasting impact.” It could, however, become a sticking point for some voters who think the quip actually reveals something true about Mitt Romney’s feelings.
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., Democratic Congressman from Chicago, is in the final stage of an FBI investigation over suspicions that he misused campaign money to decorate his Washington D.C. home. That home was put on the market briefly for more than $2 million. The investigation began before Rep. Jackson, son of Civil Rights activist, Rev. Jesse Jackson, disappeared for treatment for bipolar disorder at Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic in June. At first, the Congressman’s aides said he was being treated for exhaustion.
Rep. Jackson was approached by a reporter from The Daily over the weekend after he was seen smoking a cigar in front of his house. He hadn’t been seen publicly for four months, missing many days in the House of Representatives. He said that he has twice-daily doctor’s appointments and is “not well.” He didn’t address anything related to the investigation.
Rep. Jackson had been under investigation previously for ties he may have had to the Rod Blagojevich scandal, in which the former Illinois governor was found guilty of trying to sell President Barack Obama’s former Senate seat. Rep. Jackson was not charged with anything. The current investigation was put on hold while Jackson was at the Mayo Clinic.
Rep. Jackson is up for re-election on November 6 and is likely to win, despite his troubles (which also include talk of his nights out with women other than his wife) and his lack of campaigning. It’s believed that he has $250,000 in campaign funds. Investigators might reveal the results of their examination before Election Day.
Author, professor and MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry joined a panel on Saturday for The New Yorker Festival’s discussion of “The Fifty-one Percent,” the effort to win the female vote. Touching on topics including women’s health, “the war on women,” and the speeches delivered by First Lady Michelle Obama and Ann Romney, the conversation veered into economic territory when it turned to healthcare and discrimination.
Also on the panel: Kelly Ann Conway, an author and GOP pollster who worked for Newt Gingrich’s unsuccessful campaign for president; Margaret Hoover, an author and former adviser George W. Bush; and Cecile Richardson, the president of Planned Parenthood and former staffer to Rep. Nancy Pelosi. The panel was moderated by The New Yorker‘s executive editor Dorothy Wickenden.
Let’s start by pointing out that Kelly Ann Conway spent the entire time sighing at just about everything that came out of Cecile Richardson’s mouth, and made little comments under her breath when she disagreed with something one of the other panelists said. This isn’t to say that she doesn’t know her stuff, or that she didn’t make some perfectly fine comments. But it didn’t make her likeable at all. It was downright rude and frustrating for the audience to watch her time and time again dismiss her fellow panelists. Not cool Kelly Ann Conway.
But moving on. Most of the discussion revolved about women’s health and the role it’s been playing in politics over recent months. According to Conway, this idea of “women’s issues” is wrongheaded (“You don’t hear people talking about ‘men’s issues.’”) and the focus on women’s health issues, like birth control coverage, myopic. She said that, in her experience, there are other issues of greater importance to female voters.
“There is no issue more central… than the ability to control your own fertility,” said Harris-Perry. “You can’t separate economic and health care issues.” Both she and Richardson emphasized the significance of birth control to career, relationship and other life decisions. In this, we would have to agree.
The topic of money and lifestyle also came up when an audience member took to the microphone with her assertion that, as a lesbian, she isn’t a social issue; that the system is discriminatory in a number of ways, among them in an economic way. Because she can’t marry her partner in many places across the U.S., she can’t take advantage of the financial benefits that a marriage affords, which lowers her economic stability.
To this, Harris-Perry added a compelling argument: that without real change, discrimination will continue because “people are willing to pay a premium to discriminate.” For example, people will pay more money to stay away from those they consider unsavory. And bus companies during the civil rights movement went bankrupt to keep from integrating.
In other words, if someone doesn’t want you around, they’ll do everything in their power to keep you away.
On a much more upbeat note, there was the belief across the entire panel that, if President Obama is re-elected, there will be a number of women and men, including people of color, ready to run in 2016. We hope both of those things happen.
Feel free to take to the comments with your thoughts about women’s health as a political issue. Is it something you’ll be taking into consideration when you go to the ballot box in November?