Tag: Politics

Kamala Harris Sworn in as California’s 1st Black U.S. Senator and 1st Indian American Senator – LA Times

U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D) California [photo via latimes.com]
article by Sarah D. Wire via latimes.com

Before friends and family in a packed chamber, Kamala Harris was sworn in as California’s newest U.S. senator Tuesday morning. She became  the first black woman the Golden State has sent to the Senate and the first Indian American to ever serve in the body.

Harris, 52, a Democrat from Los Angeles, was sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden shortly after 9 a.m. PT as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and her new Senate colleagues looked on. Harris’ husband, Los Angeles attorney Doug Emhoff, her stepchildren, brother-in-law Tony West, sister Maya Harris, extended family as well as several state officials from across the country who traveled to celebrate with the now former state attorney general watched from the gallery.

“Whatever advice she wants, all she has to do is ask,” Feinstein said. “I have said to her that I would like to have a close relationship.”

Feinstein and Harris met repeatedly in the weeks since the election, with Feinstein sharing advice on how to set up the largest Senate office in the country, including how to deal with the up to 100,000 emails, letters and phone calls that can come into a California senator’s office in a given week.

Harris, one of seven new senators, replaces Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, who retired after 24 years in the Senate.

To read full article, go to: Kamala Harris sworn in as first Indian American senator and California’s first black senator – LA Times

Election Day: Have You Voted? #AllVotesMatter #BlackVotesMatter

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Just a quick reminder if you haven’t found a moment to make it to the polls yet today, there’s still time!  GBN Lifestyle/Sports Editor Lesa Lakin and I have taken the #blackwomenvote initiative seriously and hit the polls already – fortunately we had good weather – we hope you can find time to do the same if you haven’t already.  Voting is important… as our history and the poster below remind us:

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If you don’t like your local, state or federal laws or officials, get out there and help foster change by making your voice heard.  If you’re not sure where your polling place is, click here to enter your address and find out!

Onward and upward, together!

Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

Barack Obama: One of the ‘Most Successful Presidents In American History’ – Rolling Stone

Obama One Of The Most Successful Presidents In American History

Despite a low approval rating, Rolling Stone magazine has put President Barack Obama on its cover as one of the ““one of the most consequential and, yes, successful presidents in American history.”

The declaration, made by Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, is found in a story written by Krugman, who defends the commander-in-chief to prove why he’s been successful during his final two years in office.

“Obama faces trash talk left, right and center – literally – and doesn’t deserve it. Despite bitter opposition, despite having come close to self-inflicted disaster, Obama has emerged as one of the most consequential and, yes, successful presidents in American history,” Krugman wrote. “His health reform is imperfect but still a huge step forward – and it’s working better than anyone expected. Financial reform fell far short of what should have happened, but it’s much more effective than you’d think. Economic management has been half-crippled by Republican obstruction, but has nonetheless been much better than in other advanced countries. And environmental policy is starting to look like it could be a major legacy.

As successful as he claims Obama has been, Krugman notes the criticism the President has received from various critics.

“First, however, let’s take a moment to talk about the current wave of Obama-bashing. All Obama-bashing can be divided into three types. One, a constant of his time in office, is the onslaught from the right, which has never stopped portraying him as an Islamic atheist Marxist Kenyan. Nothing has changed on that front, and nothing will,” he said Krugman. “There’s a different story on the left, where you now find a significant number of critics decrying Obama as, to quote Cornel West, someone who ”posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit.” They’re outraged that Wall Street hasn’t been punished, that income inequality remains so high, that ”neoliberal” economic policies are still in place. All of this seems to rest on the belief that if only Obama had put his eloquence behind a radical economic agenda, he could somehow have gotten that agenda past all the political barriers that have con- strained even his much more modest efforts. It’s hard to take such claims seriously.

“Finally, there’s the constant belittling of Obama from mainstream pundits and talking heads,” he continued. “Turn on cable news (although I wouldn’t advise it) and you’ll hear endless talk about a rudderless, stalled administration, maybe even about a failed presidency. Such talk is often buttressed by polls showing that Obama does, indeed, have an approval rating that is very low by historical standards.

“But this bashing is misguided even in its own terms – and in any case, it’s focused on the wrong thing.”

Continue reading “Barack Obama: One of the ‘Most Successful Presidents In American History’ – Rolling Stone”

Join the #BlackWomenVote Campaign – Midterms in November Really Matter

Voters Head To Polls For DC's Primary (Photo: Getty)
Voters Head To Polls For DC’s Primary (Photo: Getty)

The Higher Heights Leadership Fund is on a mission to get more black women to vote in the upcoming midterm elections. The 2012 presidential elections had the biggest turnout for black women, with black women consisting of nearly 60% of black voters who participated. They actually had the highest turnout of any group.

And yet the number isn’t nearly the same for midterm elections. Just 46.5% of black women voted in the 2010 midterms. It’s not easy to get people excited or interested in midterm elections, but these elections do matter.

It’s incredibly important to create a more representative democracy in our country. That goes for those who vote as well as those we elect. And black women are underrepresented in our government.

So the Higher Heights Leadership Fund started the #BlackWomenVote campaign in order to get more black women to the polls during these upcoming midterm elections.

#BlackWomenVote provides information about voting and the election, like “Pledge to be a Higher Heights Voter,” “Personal Voting Plan,” “Knowing your Voter Status,” “Sister-to-Sister Calling List,” and “Activate your Online Network.”

“Black women have the potential to take this country by storm. We have the collective power to elect representatives who will champion our interests and support legislative actions that will that will improve education, health care and economic opportunities for our communities,” the Black Women Vote website states.

It’s so important to get out and vote and make our government a more representative one.

This is the only way to ensure that every voice is heard. Voters have the opportunity to make sure that their interests are being taken into account and that they have someone speaking up for those interests. The midterm elections might not seem as important as a Presidential election, but they really could have a big affect on people’s lives. Will you join #BlackWomenVote?

article by Robin Lempel via act.mtv.com

 

Mayor Bill de Blasio Says New York City Will Settle Suits on Stop-and-Frisk Tactics


Mayor Bill de Blasio with members of the Explorers youth program Thursday after announcing the stop-and-frisk case settlement. Joshua Bright for The New York Times

New York City will settle its long-running legal battle over the Police Department’s practice of stopping, questioning and often frisking people on the street — a divisive issue at the heart of the mayoral race last year — by agreeing to reforms that a judge ordered in August, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday.

In making the announcement, which he said he hoped would end a turbulent chapter in the city’s racial history, Mr. de Blasio offered a sweeping repudiation of the aggressive policing practices that had been a hallmark of his predecessor, Michael R. Bloomberg, but that had stoked anger and resentment in many black and Latino neighborhoods. He essentially reversed the course set by Mr. Bloomberg, whose administration had appealed the judge’s ruling.

“We’re here today to turn the page on one of the most divisive problems in our city,” Mr. de Blasio said at a news conference. “We believe in ending the overuse of stop-and-frisk that has unfairly targeted young African-American and Latino men.”

The judge, Shira A. Scheindlin of Federal District Court in Manhattan, found that the department’s stop-and-frisk tactics were unconstitutional, and that it had resorted to “a policy of indirect racial profiling.” At the height of the program, in the first quarter of 2012, the police stopped people — mostly black and Latino men — on more than 200,000 occasions. A vast majority of those stopped were found to have done nothing wrong.

Judge Scheindlin had ordered the appointment of a monitor to develop, in consultation with the parties, widespread reforms of the department’s “policies, training, supervision, monitoring and discipline regarding stop-and-frisk.” That process will go forward as part of the agreement.

Continue reading “Mayor Bill de Blasio Says New York City Will Settle Suits on Stop-and-Frisk Tactics”

Congress Votes To End Funding, Debt Standoff

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WASHINGTON — The government shutdown is dead. Obamacare is alive.

The Senate voted 81 to 18 Wednesday night to reopen the federal government and raise the nation’s borrowing limit, hours before the Treasury Department faced the possibility of being unable to pay all of America’s bills for the first time in modern history.  The House followed suit, voting 285-144, to end the latest damaging battle of divided government in a polarized Congress.

President Barack Obama said he would reopen the government immediately to “lift this cloud of uncertainty and unease” that settled on the nation and start fixing the damage.  “There is a lot of work ahead of us, including our need to earn back the trust of the American people that has been lost over the last few weeks,” Obama said in a brief speech at the White House.

The standoff began over the summer, when tea party Republicans, led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), demanded that the House of Representatives lock government funding in a chokehold unless Democrats and Obama defunded the Affordable Care 

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said no, at first. But but he later gave in,ignoring the advice of other Republicans, from Mitt Romney to John McCain (Ariz.) and Tom Coburn (Okla.).  Democrats opted for defend over defund, with Obama declaring he would not negotiate over his signature law, the budget or the debt while Republicans were holding hostages.

Continue reading “Congress Votes To End Funding, Debt Standoff”

Letitia James Set to Become First Black Woman Public Advocate of NYC

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As major political races heat up across the nation, one woman of color is proving that she can hold her own in a big city election.  Letitia James officially beat out Daniel Squadron for the Democratic nomination in the New York City’s Public Advocate’s runoff race Tuesday night, the Associate Press reports. She gained 60 percent of votes to Squadron’s 40 percent which secured her position and helped diversify the Democratic party nominees for city office.

Because James has no Republican rival, she is expected to be the first African-American woman to hold a citywide elected post upon final ballot counts.

“We did it. We did it. We did it,” the former councilwoman from Brooklyn said publicly during a victory celebration. “All of us broke through that glass ceiling, and I am so proud of what we accomplished together. I’m proud that we made history tonight.”

The position of Public Advocate was the only race to have a runoff in New York City and cost nearly $13 million.

article by Liane Membis via clutchmagonline.com

Karamba Diaby Elected To German Parliament, Becomes 1st Black Member

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Karamba Diaby, a Senegal-born chemist, has become Germany’s first black federal lawmaker, and a woman of Turkish origin has become the first Muslim elected to Parliament from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative party, officials said Monday.

Until now there were no black lawmakers in Parliament, despite more than 500,000 people of recent African origin believed to be living in Germany.  “My election into the German Parliament is of historical importance,” said Karamba Diaby, 51, who moved to the city of Halle in 1986 after receiving a scholarship to study in communist East Germany.

Diaby, who gained German citizenship in 2001, said his priority would be to promote equal opportunities in education. “Every child born in Germany should have the chance to be successful in school regardless of their social background or the income of their parents,” he said.

RELATED POST: Senegal Native Karamba Diaby Poised to Become 1st Black Member of German Parliament

article by Yesha Callahan via clutchmagonline.com

President Obama Backs Cory Booker for Senate Seat

images-1Newark Mayor Cory Booker received the presidential stamp of approval yesterday in his campaign for a US Senate seat.

Citing Booker’s “passion” and life’s work “building hope,” President Obama officially endorsed Booker by saying he “will be an important partner in our efforts to reduce gun violence, give every American a fair shot in a global economy, and make our country stronger.”

The endorsement came a day after GOP Gov. Chris Christie, who has worked closely with Booker, endorsed his opponent, Republican Steve Lonegan. The endorsement was awkward given that Christie ran against Lonegan in the 2009 GOP gubernatorial primary.

Obama’s backing was expected, given Booker’s close relationship with the president, which survived the mayor’s criticism last year of the president’s campaign for attacking Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital.

Obama is betting on what looks like a sure thing. Booker has a double-digit lead over Lonegan, the former mayor of Bogota, NJ, in the Oct. 16 election.  Booker has been seen as a rising star in national politics since nearly the day he took office as mayor. But he has ruled out a 2016 run for the White House.

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article by Beth Defalco via nypost.com

Cory Booker Wins Senate Primary in New Jersey

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Cory Booker moved a step closer to becoming New Jersey’s first African-American U.S. senator Tuesday when voters gave the Newark mayor a wide victory in the Democratic primary.  Booker will face Republican Steve Lonegan, former mayor of Bogota, N.J., in a special election October 16.  Turnout was low for the special election, which was necessitated by the death of Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg in June at age 89.

Booker leveraged his national name into prodigious fundraising: with the help of friends like Oprah Winfrey and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, he brought in more than $8.6 million, well ahead of his rivals. Booker defeated two members of the state’s congressional delegation, Reps. Frank Pallone and Rush Holt, as well as Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver.  “This is our victory – thank you. Please continue to run with me,” Booker tweeted to his 1.4 million Twitter followers shortly after he was declared the winner.

Booker argued that his high profile would allow him to be more effective in Washington. “I find ways to break through the noise of the country and more effectively advocate and get things done,” he told the Asbury Park Press last month.  In his victory speech in Secaucus Tuesday night, Lonegan said Booker was “anointed by Hollywood” and the candidate of “Silicon Valley moguls” who want to make him California’s third U.S. senator, the Associated press reported.

Booker, 44, was the front-runner from the moment he indicated in December that he wanted to run — even before Lautenberg had declared whether he intended to run for re-election. Lautenberg ultimately said he would not run, then died in June, setting up the special election. Booker’s choice to run for Senate disappointed Democrats who hoped he would take on popular Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who is up for re-election in November.

article by Martha T. Moore via usatoday.com