Archive | 8:09 pm

The Next Battle for Hillary

20 May

The ranks are forming against Hillary and Wal-Mart. But, remember, !

? It’s only a proud label if you know what it means!

Get a job!

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Muslims in America

20 May

than one thinks, or so Gregory Kane finds out:

Amir Muhammad, who is with an organization called Collections and Storage of American Muslims, took me on a quick tour of the exhibit.

"We start with the early Muslims in America," Muhammad said, pointing to a painting of Estevanico, the Moor who accompanied Spanish explorers to the southwestern part of what would become the United States. I already knew Estevanico’s name from reading several history books. When Muhammad got to the part of the exhibit featuring Bilali Muhammad and Salih Bilali, two Fula Muslim slaves in Georgia, I found I was somewhat familiar with the names. They’re in the book African Muslims in Antebellum America.

Ditto for Abrahim Abdul Rahman ibn Sori, who’s the subject of the book Prince Among Slaves. Rahman was also a Fula Muslim. There’s a picture of him in the exhibit, and he bears a striking resemblance to Frederick Douglass, who some scholars say had Fula ancestors. One historian even suggested that Douglass’ birth surname of Bailey was an Anglicization of the Fula name Belali, which is also spelled Bilali.

Sori was captured in Africa, became a slave in Mississippi, married and fathered nine children before he won his freedom and returned to Africa. (Rahman is referred to as Abd Rahman Ibrahima in the book.)

But I didn’t know that Robert Abbott, the founder of the Chicago Defender newspaper, had an African Muslim ancestor. I didn’t know that at least 292 Muslims fought for the Union during the Civil War. And I had no idea that when Union forces burned the University of Alabama, the only book saved from the school’s library was a copy of the Quran.

Moving quickly from exhibit to exhibit — Muhammad was taking time from his afternoon prayers to give me the tour — my guide explained that a map of Saudi Arabia was found in the Quran rescued from the University of Alabama library. Then he told me about Maryland’s Mahammitt family, who were descendants of Muslim slaves who settled in Frederick, according to the 1860 census.

By 1880, there were Mahammitts living in Baltimore. The exhibit features an obituary for Jerry Mahammitt, along with a photograph of his tombstone. Census figures from other years show that Muslims from Africa weren’t the only practitioners of Islam in America: Others emigrated from countries like Albania, Turkey and Syria.

There were other fascinating tidbits of information: Muhammad explained that the name Sambo, which came to be a racial pejorative, is actually a Fula name that means "second son." Uncas, the last of the Mohicans made famous in the James Fenimore Cooper novel, had a grandson named Mahomet. (That happened from the intermarrying of blacks and American Indians. Those black folks who claim they are "part Indian" may, in fact, be part Indian.)

No mention of Sunnis and Shias, though.

Far Too Early

20 May

Here’s some reasons why it’s far too early for considering a White House ticket now:

1. Bloomberg/Hagel or Hagel/Bloomberg? Need I say more? Who cares? About all I can think of is of abolishing the office of the Vice-President. The line used to be: I’m thinking of forming an exploratory committee. Now, it’s a third-party nomination.

2. about…well, I don’t know.

"We see . . . a media culture that sensationalizes the trivial and trivializes the profound, in a 24-hour news network bonanza that never fails to keep us posted on how many days Paris Hilton will spend in jail but often fails to update us on the continuing genocide in Darfur or the recovery effort in New Orleans or the poverty that plagues too many American streets," he said.

The senator from Illinois urged the graduates to rise above a culture that "too often tells us our principal goal in life is to be rich, thin, young, famous, safe and entertained, a culture where those in power too often encourage these selfish impulses."

Building his message on the themes of empathy for others, taking risks and persevering, Obama said much rides on whether the young generation rises to the challenges facing the country and the world, including fixing a broken health-care system, combating global climate change, stopping genocide in Darfur and restoring the U.S. image abroad.

3. .

Wednesday’s vote was purely for show, but it could resonate. All four Democratic senators seeking the nomination are on record supporting a withdrawal strategy that remains controversial, even within their own party. Two Democrats regarded as experts on military matters, Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl M. Levin (Mich.) and Sen. Jack Reed (R.I.), voted against the Feingold-Dodd proposal, along with 17 other Democrats. "It sends the wrong message to the troops," Levin said.

Clinton, Obama and Biden all played down the vote by stressing its symbolic nature — it was an amendment to an unrelated water bill, and procedural at that — a response that helped underscore Dodd’s newfound fervency. Obama noted that he still preferred his own proposal, a more flexible March 31, withdrawal goal. Clinton told reporters she was not sure she would back a funding deadline in the future — and then hours later offered her unequivocal endorsement.

4. It’s definitely .

The Republican National Committee has threatened to take away half the state’s delegates if the primary is before Feb. 5. The Democratic National Committee said the state would lose half of its delegates and all its superdelegates. The DNC said a candidate who campaigns in Florida for a primary earlier than Feb. 5 will be ineligible for receiving any of its delegates.

But Greer sees the nominating convention, set for September 2008 in Minneapolis, as a procedural matter and thinks Florida’s loss of delegates won’t diminish its influence.

"The convention is a big party," Greer said. "We’re going to be there, and we’re going to be there in force, but as far as voting delegates, we’re going to be cut in half on the floor."

This guy should be impeached.

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