Al Green Says President Obama “nailed” Let’s Stay Together at Apollo Theater (TMZ)

From TMZ.com

Al Green just told TMZ … he thinks President Barack Obama‘s version of “Let’s Stay Together” was “terrific” and, “He nailed it.”

Green, of course, is referring to Obama singing part of the first verse of the song last night at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.

Green said, “I was thrilled that the President even mentioned my name, and if the President can get the economy going again and get everything going that he wants to, then we’ll all be together.”

Politics aside, Obama’s singing is pretty awesome.

ShawnPWilliams.com thanks to Casey Carver of TMZ.com for permission to use this story.

CNN should do some soul searching after South Carolina GOP debate

“It is as close as despicable as anything I can imagine. I’m frankly astounded that CNN would take trash like that and set it to open a presidential debate,” Newt Gingrich said after CNN’s John King asked about his ex-wife’s assertion he wanted an open marriage.

Gingrich was pretty accurate in his assessment.  For John King to lead a presidential debate with that question was horrific. King’s answer for why he asked the question may have been worse.

King talked about how the ABC interview was the story of the day and that you’re “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” ask the question. But Ari Fleischer made a great point after the debate when he said that the Gingrich story occupied the time and mind share of politicos and pundits.  Those in the media who eat and breathe politics placed too much importance on the story.

ABC should not have allowed for the interview in the first place.  Not now for sure.

What could we possibly have learned in the interview that we didn’t know?  A man who we know (because he’s said so) cheated on his wife wanted an open marriage?  So what.  The issue (as MSNBC continues to ask about this) is that these allegations are from 1999.  We’ve been there, he’s moved on with his life, he’s remarried, next subject.

CNN should not have allowed ABC to dictate their debate.  The interview had not even aired yet, so King was going off a marketing clip used to get eyeballs on television sets.

There were many important issues to focus on: Romney tax returns and Cayman accounts, Perry exit and endorsement of Gingrich.  Why even go there CNN?

The CNN panel save Fleischer seemed to be in agreement that King needed to ask the question. The majority of the people I have followed and spoken with disagree.  CNN gave Newt Gingrich a gift that he didn’t deserve, but for which I’m sure he and his supporters are thankful.

Romney won by 8, Santorum wins by 34 – Media misses by a mile

The national media’s whole goal these days is to be the first to predict a winner.  The Iowa GOP told us on the night of the Iowa caucuses that Mitt Romney received 8 more votes than Rick Santorum.  Eight vote difference and the entire media was a willing partner of promoting the myth that Romney won Iowa.

No one thought that there would be a potential recount? Even without the recount, 8 votes in a primary should not a winner make. Remember when we used to get delegate updates?  Has anyone seen one of those lately?

When the media talks about a surge Romney received out of Iowa, they say it as if the media is not the conduit.  Sensational journalism is the name of the political game and don’t let anyone tell you different.  If you don’t believe me watch ABC’s interview with Marianne Gingrich.

Rick Perry’s Out of the Race, Endorses Newt

It was only a matter of time before Governor Rick Perry dropped out of the presidential race. He hadn’t even met the threshold to participate in the last CNN debate but they let him slide in anyway.

It’s tough to call exactly when Perry’s star was put out.  It wasn’t just the oops moment when he forgot the third agency he would eliminate.  Perry couldn’t cut it on the debate stage and his ideas where extreme by extreme measures.

Perry has endorsed Newt Gingrich which will further consolidate Republican support against Mitt Romney. The 33% or so South Carolina voters who are supporting Romney means that 2/3 of the GOP electorate prefer someone else.  If those votes continue to go to Santorum or Gingrich, Romney’s going to be faced with a math problem.

President Obama’s Osawatomie speech sounds like guy we used to know

Remember President Obama’s speech on race (A More Perfect Union), at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia when he was running for President in 2008?

How about State Senator Barack Obama’s 2004 Democratic National Convention Speech?

Where has that guy been for the last couple of years?

I tend to blame President Obama’s advisor’s for his in ability to inspire the country during these tough times.  He has to take responsibility for his part in creating a team where nearly everyone either went to Harvard or is from Chicago.

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But in Osawatomie, Kansas, at least for today, the President recaptured some of the magic  that defined his run for the White House. He challenged his Republican haters without demonizing them.  He focused on how we’re more alike (i.e. suffering financially) than different.  And he used America’s past, this time a speech by Teddy Roosevelt, to look towards America’s future.

Full text of President Obama’s Osawatomie speech.

The reaction to the speech has been largely positive, like this excerpt from an editorial about the speech.

After months of Republican candidates offering a cascade of bad ideas about the economy, President Obama’s speech in Osawatomie, Kan., Tuesday came as a relief. He made it clear that he was finally prepared to contest the election on the issues of income inequality and the obligation of both government and the private sector to enlarge the nation’s shrinking middle class.

New York Times

Of course it will take more than the oh so important teleprompter to win over independents between now and next November.  So much of what’s been lacking lately is confidence.  Confidence in institutions, confidence in legislators, confidence in the executive branch.  Today the President was able to capture the moment and frame the debate.

I believe that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, and when everyone plays by the same rules.

President Obama

The President hasn’t been out-idead by the right, he’s been out messaged.  The Democratic Party has not a clue when it comes to messaging as they are the party of 50 or so issues, with every constituency ready to jump ship our sit out 2012 if their demands aren’t met.  With today’s speech, the President took hold of the Bully Pulpit made famous by Teddy R., which is a good sign for his 2012 Presidential campaign.

Neil Foote and Aaron Tobin with their copies of Blogging While Black.

Top 9 GOP responses to 8.6 Unemployment Rate (November 2011)

10. Unemployment is still 9 if you round up.

9.  You mean the economy is improving?  That’s not good.

8.  I thought we told our supporters to stop hiring.

7.  Wouldn’t you guys rather talk about Herman Cain?

6.  Hey, that means less people to take the payroll tax holiday away from.

5.  Nah, just kidding, we’re gonna extend the payroll tax holiday, we’re not that stupid.

5.  I know President Obama was still unpacking his stuff in March 2009, the last time unemployment was this low, but trust me it was still his fault.

4.  Why is Hillary Clinton in Burma?

3. Is it Burma or Myanmar?

2.  Yeah but the debt….

1.  President Obama obviously doesn’t understand the economy….because I said so.

Veronica Torres Hazley and holding her copy of Blogging While Black (available at Amazon.com, Outskirts Press and Barnes and Noble)

Democrats should look to Kentucky, Ohio and West Virgina for 2012 lessons

I’ve said before and I’ll continue to say that Democrats’ biggest mistake from 2008-2010 was governing as if they had a mandate.  Much of the legislation pushed through Congress (as much as it was needed) alienated voters in the ideological center.  It wasn’t that is was ill-conceived, mostly poorly executed. Voters made them pay in the 2010 midterms.

Tonight Ohio voters confirmed the rights of union workers in their state, rejecting efforts by their Republican Governor to thwart the collective bargaining power of public employees.  Kentucky reelected a Democrat as governor.  And Mississippi voted against the “personhood” ammendment.  Oh by the way, Mississippi elected a Republican governor as well.

Voters kicked Democrats out of Congress for the same reason that they removed Republicans in 2006: for spending too much money and not coming together to find solutions.  Liberals and far right conservatives don’t want their parties to give an inch on any issue.  But those of us in the middle can stomach a compromise, like the lame duck budget deal, much better than the political theater that defined the debt ceiling “debate.”

Democrats should recognize that in the 2006 and 2010 midterms (and in some ways the 2008 presidential) the electorate voted against incumbents, against business as usual, against uber partisanship.  It’s possible that in 2012, voters will cast their ballots in favor of candidates who are willing to bring ideas and solutions to the table.

To date, congressional Republicans haven’t brought any ideas to the table in near year they’ve controlled the House.  The only GOP presidential candidate to bring an idea to the front is Hermain Cain (I didn’t say it was a good idea).  Democrats should ask themselves a these questions moving into 2012:

How did we win the governorship (via reelection) in Kentucky?

Why did voters in Ohio support collective bargaining. Why did Ohio voters reject their governor’s attempts to overreach.

How did our governor in West Virginia win a special election last month.

How would we defeat Scott Brown if we had it to do over again.

I’m not hopeful that Democrats will actually take an objective look at these fundamental issues that could help them win in 2012.  President Obama is the only one who’s been willing to try to compromise, and if you look at the numbers, independents credit him for that.  It’s the liberals in his base that punish him for not getting enough, even though any victory he wins is more than they had in the 8 years prior to his arrival.

Herman Cain Not Able To Take The Heat

A few weeks ago I took a little heat for posting the following to my Facebook page:

Herman Cain is surging because when he speaks he makes sense and is not pandering.

Some of the comments I received went like this:

Really, Shawn? I hope you are being sarcastic…Please tell me that you are. –DEMOCRATS ROCK!

This is undoubtedly a joke, I can’t imagine anyone thinking that he is not pandering when he says the things he says, or recently mentioned someone like Tom Deleay as a potential VP pick.

is this spam?

Shawn got jokes.

But Cain went from punchline to frontrunner in the polls by shooting somewhat straight, sticking to his (failed) plan and holding to the talking points that score with conservatives.

This week Politico rocked Cain’s world by digging up sexual harassment allegations of two former employees of the National Restaurant Association, a group once headed by the GOP candidate.  The problem really hasn’t been the allegations.  As one of my friends put it, we all could get accused at some point.

It’s how he has handled the allegations.  First not recalling any allegations, then not remembering an agreement.  Then remembering an agreement but not a settlement.

America has proven over and over and over and over again that it is willing to forgive politicians for just about anything, from stained dresses to trysts with prostitutes.  But America doesn’t care much for lying or dodging the truth, and Herman Cain seems to be doing both right now.

These interviews and allegations are the price of being part of the national conversation. Some of the dirt on Michelle Bachmann has yet to stick because her campaign has yet to take hold.  Cain was living his live like it was golden two weeks ago, but now he’s stuck between playing the race card (Cain accuses the left while absolving the right of race politics) and blaming the Perry camp for his misery.

This is what a candidate has to go through if he wants to be the big dog. Presidential campaigns have become less about issues and more about your religion or your pastor or your credit card bill or your settled sexual harassment lawsuits.

Bill Clinton had Jennifer Flowers and Barack Obama had….well any number of things.  And stop comparing this to Clarence Thomas, it makes no sense.  But since Cain is talking about an issue that was settled under a nondisclosure agreement, me thinks we’ll be hearing from his accusers in the not to distant future.

NABJ: Major News Outlets Reject Black Talent in Prime Time

The Wire (NABJ)

In reaction to an ostensible trend in cable news to pass over African American talent for prime time programming, the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) continued discussions this week with several civil rights organizations to address the matter and direct a definite course of action.

“We appreciate the support of like-minded organizations stepping up to affect change as black journalists are ignored and in turn, black communities get shortchanged in the coverage of important issues,” said NABJ President Kathy Y. Times. “We are dedicated to getting this issue resolved.”

Less than two weeks ago, Times released a letter to NABJ’s membership and supporters expressing her disappointment with CNN regarding yet another missed opportunity to diversify its nighttime lineup. The NAACP also released a statement that criticized the network’s stance. The forthcoming departure of former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer as host of two short-lived prime time shows for the network opened up a void that was ultimately filled by former CNBC anchor Erin Burnett – a move seen by some as more than coincidental.

“I don’t understand any major network’s rationale for not being as inclusive as possible,” said Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Executive Director Barbara Arnwine. “This lack of representation has been brought to the major networks’ attention repeatedly over the years. It is time for them to walk the walk of diversity at all levels, including prime time talent positions.”

Currently, there are no African American anchors hosting prime time news hours for any major cable network. While MSNBC is reportedly on the verge of offering civil rights activist Al Sharpton his own prime time slot, there are no black journalists who can tout a similar promotion.

NABJ Executive Director Maurice Foster also conveyed his frustration with CNN and other major news outlets for their apparent unresponsiveness.

“Our presence in the prime time slot makes a big difference in terms of shaping public opinion of each issue,” said Foster. “The suggestion that black journalists can’t do it just doesn’t cut the mustard. [Cable Networks] know the talent is there, they just don’t believe in them.”

Prominent civil rights organizations like the National Urban League, NAACP, as well as the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law have all pledged their support for a drastic course of action should this matter continue to be overlooked.

“We have a machine here poised to do a lot of things,” said Foster, speaking of the potential for these various groups to mobilize. “We are deeply serious about this.”