Archive for the ‘Congressional Black Caucus’ Category

Blagojevich Playing Chicago-Style Hardball; Who Will Respond?

January 2, 2009

Political circuses just don’t get any better than this — unless you happen to care about a new administration taking power in the midst of national and international catastrophes.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich knows how to make life hell for his enemies, who now encompass almost everyone in the Democratic Party, including President-elect Barack Obama. Yet “almost everyone” is the operative phrase. Roland Burris, the veteran African American politician, discovered an affection for the embattled governor after Blagojevich appointed him to Obama’s Senate seat Tuesday.

By E. J. Dionne Jr.
Washington Post

And even though the Senate’s Democratic leaders, with Obama’s support, said they would not seat any Blagojevich appointee, Burris refused to back down. “The appointment is legal,” Burris told CNN on Wednesday. That slogan lacks the power of, say, “Change We Can Believe In,” but it’s true.

Rep. Bobby Rush entered the Racial Politics Hall of Fame on Tuesday when he asked reporters not to “hang or lynch the appointee as you try to castigate the appointer.” The Chicago Democrat, who only recently said that Blagojevich did not have the standing to fill the seat, raised the stakes Wednesday on CBS by suggesting that if Democratic senators rejected Burris, they would risk comparisons with George Wallace or Bull Connor.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/
content/article/2009/01/01/AR20090
10101779.html

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Illinois: Thanks for “Nutjob New Year” (Blagoyevich, Rush, Burris)

December 31, 2008

On December 9, Illinois Congrssman Bobby Rush said, “Governor Blagoyevich should not appoint anyone to fill Barack Obama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat.”

Rush said then that anyone appointed by the Illinois Governor would be “tainted.”

The December 9 remarks by Representative Rush appeared New Year’s Eve on the Fox News Channel.

Yesterday Bobby Rush strongly supported the Illinois Governor’s appointment of Roland Burris to fill the vacant Illinois U.S. Senate seat in blunt racial terms.

“I would ask you to not hang or lynch the appointee while you castigate the appointer,” Rush said at Blagojevich’s news conference yesterday. “Let me just remind you that there presently is no African-American in the U.S. Senate.”

Rush also threatened to “take this issue to the Congressional Black Caucus” if the Senate rejected Burris.

U. S Rep. Bobby Rush speaks after Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich ... 
U. S Rep. Bobby Rush speaks after Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich announces his choice of former Ill. Attorney General Roland Burris, right, to fill President-elect Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008 in Chicago.(AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

Bobby Rush and Governor Rod Blagojevich are now on one side of this debate and President-elect Barack Obama and Senator Harry Reid are on the other.

As for Mr. Burris and his qualifications to serve, well, at Chicago’s Oak Woods Cemetery he has erected a granite mausoleum listing his many accomplishments.

Who else in the state of Illinois has a granite resume?

In summary, in Illinois we have a Governor that nobody much likes, allegedly tried to sell the U.S. Senate seat and has refused all advice.  Add to that a Congressman who isn’t sure what he said a few weeks ago and a nominee to the U.S. Senate with an ego and mausoleum the size of a condo.

Roland Burris has erected a mausoleum listing his accompishments in Chicago's Oak Woods Cemetery.
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burris1_oconnor 

Blagojevich: Giving the Finger to Obama, The Senate, Illinois and Everyone Else

December 31, 2008

In appointing veteran African-American officeholder Roland Burris to the Senate, embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich has done more than just flout the will of the Illinois establishment, the Senate and President-elect Barack Obama. With one stunning and politically exquisite act of defiance, he audaciously reasserted his authority and designed a trap that his opponents cannot easily sidestep.

“If he was going to appoint somebody, this is as clever as he could have been — in the sense it gets him back in the limelight and it puts him on the offensive,” said Kent Redfield, a professor at the University of Illinois-Springfield and the author of several books on Illinois politics. “Burris would have been an OK caretaker appointment a month ago. And he’s an African-American from Chicago who has a clean record.”

By Josh Kraushaar
Politico

Just days ago, as a result of criminal charges lodged against him in connection with the alleged attempted sale of the Obama Senate seat, it appeared that Blagojevich was boxed in, destined to leave office in disgrace with only the timing of his departure in question.

The state’s attorney general sought to have him declared too incapacitated to serve. The Legislature was moving inexorably toward impeachment. Blagojevich’s attorney said the governor would relinquish the responsibility of making the appointment if a special election was held instead.

But in a gambit as unexpected as it was politically shrewd, the seemingly powerless two-term Democratic governor suddenly turned the tables by picking a candidate whose stature and background….

Read the rest from Politico:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20081231/pl_politico/16954

Blagojevich Caper Won’t End: His Appointee Calls Him “Reprehensible”

December 31, 2008

Lincoln may be turning over in his grave.

In the Land of Lincoln, there must have been a conversation today that ended, “Let’s get distance from the guy that appointed me to the U.S. Senate yesterday.”

Former Illinois Attorney Gen. Roland Burris was appointed to fill President-elect Barack Obama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat yesterday.

Today Burris said the appointment was “legal” and that he “has done nothing wrong” and that the behavior of the man that appointed him “is reprehensible.”

When you say things that are bizarre and have never been said by sane men before: watch out.

A cast of players in this sad comedy doesn’t know that….

A former Dean of the Harvard School of Law told us: ” innocent until proven guilty rarely applies to stupidity, a crime without a statute of limitations”….

Roland Burris said Gov. Rod Blagojevich is innocent until proven guilty.

Roland Burris said Gov. Rod Blagojevich is innocent until proven guilty

Related essays:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS
/12/31/illinois.senate/index.html

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Related:
End Crazy, Archaic Practice of Governors Filling Vacant U.S. Senate Seats
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Obama’s Peace of Mind: Rick Warren and a Holy Host of Others Still Compete to Ruin It
.
 Barack Obama’s Senate Seat Not Post-Racial?

In Illinois, The Governor is Lynching The Post-Racial President-Elect

December 31, 2008

A famous politician we once knew said: “You can’t trust anyone.  Least of all your friends.”

Barack Obama must be thinking that as he lines up his putt today in Hawaii.

Because Barack Obama is suffering just from knowing the Governor of Illinois and Congressman Bobby Rush of Illinois today.

These are the kind of wingnuts that makes one wonder….

Related:
End Crazy, Archaic Practice of Governors Filling Vacant U.S. Senate Seats
.
Obama’s Peace of Mind: Rick Warren and a Holy Host of Others Still Compete to Ruin It
.
 Barack Obama’s Senate Seat Not Post-Racial?
.
Blagojevich Caper Won’t End: His Appointee Calls Him “Reprehensible”

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Barack Obama doesn’t need this, not right now.

Already, Obama’s Hawaiian vacation has been interrupted by news of an Israeli incursion into Gaza. He faces a mounting economic crisis even before he takes office.

By Carrie Budoff Brown, Jonathan Martin
Politico

And now, just as Obama was starting to distance himself from the machinations over filling his Senate seat, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s surprise pick is dragging him back in to the home-state mess – along with the kind of hard-edged racial politics Obama tries to avoid.

Blagojevich, who has been charged with attempting to sell the Senate seat, announced Tuesday he was tapping Roland Burris, the first African-American to win statewide election in Illinois and the closest thing in the state to a black elder statesman.

But Obama is backing efforts led by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to block Burris, saying Blagojevich is too tainted by corruption charges to make the pick.

In this Aug. 17, 2005, file photo Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, ... 
In this Aug. 17, 2005, file photo Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, left, laughs with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich during Governor’s Day at the Illinois State Fair  in Springfield, Ill.

It’s not clear Reid can block Burris. But Obama’s bigger headache could come from a longtime South Side congressman and one-time rival – Rep. Bobby Rush – who is unmistakably daring officials not to block the ascension of an African-American to replace Obama.

U. S Rep. Bobby Rush speaks after Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich ... 
U. S Rep. Bobby Rush speaks after Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich announces his choice of former Ill. Attorney General Roland Burris, right, to fill President-elect Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008 in Chicago.(AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

“I would ask you to not hang or lynch the appointee while you castigate the appointer,” Rush said at Blagojevich’s news conference. “Let me just remind you that there presently is no African-American in the U.S. Senate.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/
20081231/pl_politico/16952

Obama’s Peace of Mind: Rick Warren and a Holy Host of Others Still Compete to Ruin It

December 31, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama’s many well intentioned friends could still, at just about any time, ruin his day.

Such is the fun and the tragedy of American Politics.

Rick Warren still has a prayer to deliver in behalf of President Obama on his Inauguration Day, January 20, 2009.

(This essay was written before the Inaguration.  To read Rick’s Inauguration Day prayer go to:
 Rick Warren Inaugural Prayer Transcript)

We pray that Pastor Warren is reserved and cautious, but that is not his way.

Rick Warren has, at times, been the Rod Blagojevich of the ministerial tribe.

“Jesus Christ what a bad selection for the prayer,” one pundit said to us.  “What will gays say?  I thought Rick didn’t have a prayer with Obama.”

Well, gays have spoken and they are offended.

And if Rick Warren does “have a prayer” and uses the name of Jesus Christ in his invovation others will be offended too.

In fact, there is already a lawsuit to remove the words, “So help me God” from the presidential oath of office.

Then there is Blago himself and respected Democratic U.S. House of Representatives member Bobby Rush of Chicago.

By turning the Illinois U.S. Senate Seat once held by Mr. Obama into a race-reserved monolith in the Senate, all involved seem to be seeking shame and not repentance.

Then we have Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid,  Rahm Emanuel and a host of other infighters on Mr. Obama’s “side.”

Let’s hope Barack Obama isn’t swallowed by the axiom, “When you are doing this well, you can only go down….”

This year 2009 should be terrific!  Even before Barack gets “help” from Medvedev, Putin, Ahmadinejad, etc……

President-elect Barack Obama asks members of the public sitting ... 
What? Me worry? Obama truies to hush critics… and supporters! President-elect Barack Obama asks members of the public sitting on a wall to silence their cheers for him as his golf partners play the 18th hole at a private course in Kailua, Hawaii Monday, Dec. 29, 2008.(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Related:
 Obama’s Other Choices After Rick Warren for Prayer
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Obama’s Rick Warren Pick: Glib, Callous, Conscious

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By RACHEL ZOLL, AP Religion Writer

President-elect Barack Obama‘s choice of Rick Warren to deliver the inaugural invocation drew one kind of protest. Whether the evangelical pastor offers the prayer in the name of Jesus may draw another. At George W. Bush‘s 2001 swearing-in, the Revs. Franklin Graham and Kirbyjon Caldwell were criticized for invoking Christ. The distinctly Christian reference at a national civic event offended some, and even prompted a lawsuit.

Warren did not answer directly when asked whether he would dedicate his prayer to Jesus. In a statement Tuesday to The Associated Press, Warren would say only that, “I’m a Christian pastor so I will pray the only kind of prayer I know how to pray.”

“Prayers are not to be sermons, speeches, position statements nor political posturing. They are humble, personal appeals to God,” Warren wrote. His spokesman would not elaborate.

Evangelicals generally expect their clergymen to use Jesus’ name whenever and wherever they lead prayer. Many conservative Christians say cultural sensitivity goes way too far if it requires religious leaders to hide their beliefs.

“If Rick Warren does not pray in Jesus’ name, some folks are going to be very disappointed,” Caldwell said in a recent phone interview. “Since he’s evangelical, his own tribe, if you will, will have some angst if he does not do that.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081231/ap_o
n_go_pr_wh/rel_inauguration_prayer

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From Fox News
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The head of an atheist group that has filed a lawsuit against prayer at Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration says the government is picking a winner between “believers” and “those who don’t believe” and subjecting atheists and agnostics to someone else’s religious beliefs.

Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, has joined with Michael Newdow, who fought to have the words “under God” removed from the Pledge of Allegiance, in a federal lawsuit seeking to enjoin the Presidential Inaugural Committee from sponsoring prayers at the official inauguration. 

The 34-page legal complaint similarly seeks to enjoin Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr., from adding the phrase “So help me God” to the presidential oath of office.

Read the rest:
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2008/12/3
0/atheist-group-files-lawsuit-prayer-presi
dential-inauguration/

Barack Obama’s Senate Seat Not Post-Racial?

December 31, 2008

Can the people of Illinois explain this to the rest of us?

Yesterday, Rod Blagoyevich played the race card to hide his own (alleged) wrongdoing and corruption and gain voter sympathy and support.  We suppose.

And he used a respected African American member of the U.S. House of Representatives and another respected Illinois politician to do it.

After announcing that he had appointed Roland Burris as his nominee to fill Barack Obama’s seat in the U.S. Senate, Rod Blagoyevich urged the participation of Democratic U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush of Chicago.

“Let me just remind you that there is presently no African-American in the Senate,” said Rush.

Above: Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich, right, named Roland Burris to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the Senate. Photo: Amanda Rivkin for The New York Times

Excuse me?  How is that relevant?  And where did you come from?

At that point the news conference seemed to be taking a turn like that found in a banana republic or in a carnival.

Congressman Rush,  appearing at Blagojevich’s announcement at Burris’ invitation (we were told), emphasized the role of race in the appointment and seemed to use  racially charged terms to defend the appointment to the Senate.

Blagojevich said he was “absolutely confident and certain” that Burris would be seated in the Senate and Rush said, “I don’t think that anyone, any U.S. senator who’s sitting in the Senate right now, wants to go on record to deny one African American from being seated in the U.S. Senate.”

Rush also said if the Senate rejected the Burris nomination he would take the issue to the Congressional Black Caucus….

Is that a threat?

U. S Rep. Bobby Rush speaks after Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich ... 
U. S Rep. Bobby Rush speaks after Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich announces his choice of former Ill. Attorney General Roland Burris, right, to fill President-elect Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008 in Chicago.(AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

Writing for the Associated Press, Deanna Bellandi  reported, “Rep. Bobby Rush, an Illinois Democrat who was invited to speak at Blagojevich’s news conference, urged Senate leaders not to block Burris. In fact, he almost dared them to try to stop Burris’ appointment.”

The news conference had the look of  a circus and left a very bad taste in my mouth for sure…

Blago is using us all.  And he is using the black community the most, it seems….

Didn’t Groucho Marx say, “I would never join a club that would have me as a member”?

Rod Blagoyevich is running out of places where he’s welcome as a member — and now he is taking others with him…

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich shakes hands with Pastor Marshall ... 

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich shakes hands with Pastor Marshall Hatch of the New Mt. Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church as he arrives at his home with Pastor Ira Acree, right, of the Greater St. John Bible Church, and the Rev. Steve Jones, president of the Baptist pastor’s conference, Friday, Dec. 12, 2008, in Chicago. 

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Joan Walsh wrote for Salon:


I was sad to see Roland Burris diminish his political legacy by going along with Rod Blagojevich’s charade, and sadder still to see Rep. Bobby Rush bring race into the scandal. Illinois has the proud distinction of electing two African-Americans to the Senate, as well as giving America its first black president. I’d love to see a black candidate fill Obama’s shoes as well. But Rush and Burris don’t advance the cause of black political progress, or social justice, by claiming race should in any way legitimize this illegitimate choice by Blagojevich. Thankfully, Barack Obama quickly added his voice to those objecting to Blagojevich’s slick move.
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Read John Kass from the Chicago Tribune:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/
columnists/chi-kass-burris-31-dec31,
0,1367315.column

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See the Associated Press report and watch the video:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081
231/ap_on_re_us/illinois_governor

CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS
/12/31/illinois.senate/index.html