Post-Obama, Whither Black Uplift?

Mark Anthony Neal asks the same question I'm wondering now that Obama is President-elect—whither black progress:

Obama showed a particular disdain throughout his 21-month campaign with being thought of as a black candidate or as a broker for black issues. The President-elect will likely show the same disdain for a black political establishment wholly wedded to the race politics of a quarter century ago.

If the NAACP, National Urban League and Congressional Black Caucus aim to remain relevant in the future, it is this new coalition of progressives that they will need to provide leadership for, taking advantage of the political will that Obama's campaign has generated.

How do groups like the NAACP and Urban league play a leadership role in a broad progressive movement—in which race is only part of a broader platform centered on traditional issues of social justice (policing, incarceration rates, equitable wages), tax relief for middle income families, a repeal of No Child Left Behind and what Van Jones, in the name of the Green Industry, calls Eco-equity?

Mark (my almost-homey/beloved 'boy') is too well-mannered to answer his own question, but I will: The old school Movement apparatus won't play a role in the social justice movement as long as it stays wedded to its old tactics.

Real as racism remains, the only way to move forward using the algorithm that Obama pioneered—cross-class, cross-racial, cross-age—is by including everyone. Maddening as it is for blacks, America's most oppressed minority, we have to accept that the country must move to class- and problem-based formulations of both problems, and solutions—not just demands for America to admit to its race- and classism.

The only way a broad swath of Americans will agree to anything smelling of affirmative action is if a broad swath can benefit from it. So blacks have to join the rainbow coalition calling for WPA-type responses to the rampant unemployment we're facing, educational reform and investment based on the socio-economic class of underserved communities and not just 'black' schools, criminal justice system reforms that include rednecks and trailer parks, not just 'hoods. Don't believe me?

Check this.

Beating the Clock

BEATING THE CLOCK....A few days ago I linked to a Washington Post story about all the new regulations and executive orders the Bush administration is rushing to put into effect before they leave office. Their deadline is November 20, because executive orders don't take legal effect for 60 days and they want them on the books before Obama takes over. Froude Reynolds explains how they're getting this done:

In an effort to amend the Endangered Species Act to say it doesn't really apply to big federal projects like power plants or dams, the Bush administration claimed it reviewed 200,000 comments in four days. Not all by themselves. They called in fifteen extra people from around the country to work on it all week! With that kind of manpower, each person only had to read seven comments every minute!

You know, I'd almost be disappointed if they weren't doing stuff like this up to the very end. The good news, Reynolds says, is that this behavior is practically guaranteed to be ruled "arbitrary and capricious" by an administrative law judge in the near future after some environmental group or another takes them to court. That being the case, let's hope the true believers in the Bush administration treat all their last-minute regs with the same care and respect for the law that they've shown for the past eight years.

Out, Damned Spot

OUT, DAMNED SPOT....Andrew Tobias isn't quite ready to let go of his bitterness over the Bush years. Me neither! Today he adds yet another chapter to the chronicles of the Mayberry Machiavellis:

I know . . . it's probably not constructive and perhaps not even good sportsmanship to keep piling on....And yet I feel the need to share the story of Skip Orr, whom I met Tuesday night in Grant Park watching President-elect Obama take the stage. A long-time Obama supporter, Skip had flown in from Japan for this....As President of Boeing Japan, he found himself at a Democrats Abroad meeting pitching John Kerry — and then found himself outed as a Democrat in the New York Times. The next day Karl Rove called Boeing headquarters noting his displeasure — and referring to the great deal of business Boeing does with the government. Basically, he wanted Orr fired.

Sweet bunch of guys, aren't they? They can't leave town soon enough for my taste.

MoJo Audio: PETA President on Chicks and Clicks

PETA is best known for two things: animal rights and outrageous ads. Its campaigns have featured naked women galore, caged ladies in bikinis, and even an online striptease. Feminists accuse PETA of being sexist, but the organization's founder and president Ingrid Newkirk says that's "rubbish." The campaigns are designed to get people to go to PETA's educational site, she says, and they work. To hear more from PETA's president about why the organization goes with such controversial tactics, and why her new book isn't just about animals, click here.

Northern Exposure

NORTHERN EXPOSURE....The recount in Minnesota hasn't even started yet and Al Franken's deficit has already been cut to 238 votes. It makes Florida 2000 look like a landslide.

And in other post-election news, Jonathan Stein points to this Washington Post piece about the odd goings-on up in Alaska. The official turnout figures are oddly low and the final results are wildly off from the final polling numbers. There is apparently much scratching of heads up in Anchorage and Juneau.

Iraq Update

IRAQ UPDATE....Two days ago I was reading stories about how the Iraqis were still flatly opposed to the U.S. version of the security agreement they were being asked to sign. But now everything is different:

Iraqi Shiite politicians are indicating that they will move faster toward a new security agreement about American troops, and a Bush administration official said he believed that Iraqis could ratify the agreement as early as the middle of this month.

"Before, the Iraqis were thinking that if they sign the pact, there will be no respect for the schedule of troop withdrawal by Dec. 31, 2011," said Hadi al-Ameri, a powerful member of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, a major Shiite party. "If Republicans were still there, there would be no respect for this timetable. This is a positive step to have the same theory about the timetable as Mr. Obama."

Translation: we don't trust George Bush to actually observe the terms of the agreement. But Obama will. Apparently Iraqis are pretty shrewd judges of character, aren't they?

A Note from Africa 450 Years in the Making

From Kuwait to Kenya, Barack Obama's win Tuesday ignited global celebrations the likes of which we've never seen. And on the African continent, well beyond Obama's father's homeland, where crises dwarf what we are dealing with in our Great Recession, the sense of pride is humbling. The following is a note from a friend of a filmmaker friend who is a Zimbabwean living in South Africa. I thought it worth sharing:

Public School for the Obama Girls, Please?

Dear President-elect Obama,
I'm writing to you as a resident of the District of Columbia, where you'll soon be moving with your two lovely children. I would like to respectfully request that you seriously consider sending your kids to DC public schools—and not a charter school, either, but a full-on traditional neighborhood public school. I realize that you've already taken some flack for ensconcing your daughters in a private institution in Chicago. I don't intend to pile on. I understand that choosing a school is fraught with anxiety and it's the most private of decisions. But you are a public figure, so I think it's fair to ask that you give the public schools a boost of confidence by electing to send your kids to one.
Full disclosure: I send one of my children to public school, and the White House is within the same school boundary as my own home. After 5th grade, my kids would attend the same school as yours. So I have a vested interest in where your kids end up, as any school that lands the president's kids is likely to see a host of improvements. But my self-interest aside, whatever happens with your administration, you could at least leave a lasting impact on hundreds of poor, mostly minority kids languishing in schools that routinely fail to teach them to read simply by sending your kids to public schools.
Bill Clinton greatly disappointed city residents when he and Hillary Clinton opted to send Chelsea to the tony Sidwell Friends School. His argument at the time was that he and Hillary wanted to protect their daughter's privacy, an argument some found disingenuous, given that private schools are crawling with the children of the media elite who rarely, if ever, set foot in DC's crappy public facilities. City residents were immensely disappointed that the leader of the free world did not seize the opportunity to help improve one of the nation's worst school systems, without having to spend a dime.

Nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue

NIGHTMARE ON PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE....The unemployment rate is at its worst in 14 years. October retail sales were the worst in 37 years. The ISM manufacturing index is at its lowest level in 26 years. And the service sector index is at its lowest level ever.

Welcome to Washington, president-elect Obama. I think you'd better get used to hearing the phrase "at its worst level since ______ "

The Senate Run-Off in Georgia Is Underway: New Ad Up

In the Saxby Chambliss (R) vs. Jim Martin (D) Senate race in Georgia that Nick wrote about a week ago, the incumbent Chambliss garnered more votes but failed to reach the 50 percent threshold Georgia state law demands for victory. Thus, the state finds itself in a run-off. The third party candidate (a libertarian who took 3 percent) has been eliminated and voters will head to the polls again on December 2.

Martin has released his first ad in the new campaign and, as you can see, it's heavy on Obama: