ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
Barack Obama will deliver that change. Barack Obama will reform our tax code. He’ll cut taxes
for 95 percent of the American people who draw a paycheck. That’s the change we need.
Barack Obama will transform our economy by making alternative energy a genuine national priority
The America George Bush Has Left Us
Text of Joe Biden speech
Beau, I love you. I am so proud of you. Proud of the son you are. Proud of the father you’ve become. And I’m so proud of my son Hunter, my daughter Ashley, and my wife Jill, the only one who leaves me both breathless and speechless at the same time.
It is an honor to share this stage tonight with President Clinton. And last night, it was moving to watch Hillary, one of the great leaders of our party, a woman who has made history and will continue to make history: my colleague and my friend, Senator Hillary Clinton.
And I am honored to represent our first statemy stateDelaware.
Since I’ve never been called a man of few words, let me say this as simply as I can: Yes. Yes, I accept your nomination to run and serve alongside our next President of the United States of America, Barack Obama.
Let me make this pledge to you right here and now. For every American who is trying to do the right thing, for all those people in government who are honoring their pledge to uphold the law and respect our Constitution, no longer will the eight most dreaded words in the English language be: “The vice president’s office is on the phone.”
Barack Obama and I took very different journeys to this destination, but we share a common story. Mine began in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and then Wilmington, Delaware. With a dad who fell on hard economic times, but who always told me: “Champ, when you get knocked down, get up. Get up.”
I wish that my dad was here tonight, but I am so grateful that my mom, Catherine Eugenia Finnegan Biden, is here. You know, she taught her childrenall the children who flocked to our housethat you are defined by your sense of honor, and you are redeemed by your loyalty. She believes bravery lives in every heart and her expectation is that it will be summoned.
Failure at some point in everyone’s life is inevitable, but giving up is unforgivable. As a child I stuttered, and she lovingly told me it was because I was so bright I couldn’t get the thoughts out quickly enough. When I was not as well dressed as others, she told me how handsome she thought I was. When I got knocked down by guys bigger than me, she sent me back out and demanded that I bloody their nose so I could walk down that street the next day.
After the accident, she told me, “Joey, God sends no cross you cannot bear.” And when I triumphed, she was quick to remind me it was because of others.
My mother’s creed is the American creed: No one is better than you. You are everyone’s equal, and everyone is equal to you.
My parents taught us to live our faith, and treasure our family. We learned the dignity of work, and we were told that anyone can make it if they try.
That was America’s promise. For those of us who grew up in middle-class neighborhoods like Scranton and Wilmington, that was the American dream and we knew it.
But today that American dream feels as if it’s slowly slipping away. I don’t need to tell you that. You feel it every single day in your own lives.
I’ve never seen a time when Washington has watched so many people get knocked down without doing anything to help them get back up. Almost every night, I take the train home to Wilmington, sometimes very late. As I look out the window at the homes we pass, I can almost hear what they’re talking about at the kitchen table after they put the kids to bed.
Like millions of Americans, they’re asking questions as profound as they are ordinary. Questions they never thought they would have to ask:
* Should mom move in with us now that dad is gone? * Fifty, sixty, seventy dollars to fill up the car? * Winter’s coming. How we gonna pay the heating bills? * Another year and no raise? * Did you hear the company may be cutting our health care? * Now, we owe more on the house than it’s worth. How are we going to send the kids to college? * How are we gonna be able to retire?
That’s the America that George Bush has left us, and that’s the future John McCain will give us. These are not isolated discussions among families down on their luck. These are common stories among middle-class people who worked hard and played by the rules on the promise that their tomorrows would be better than their yesterdays.
That promise is the bedrock of America. It defines who we are as a people. And now it’s in jeopardy. I know it. You know it. But John McCain doesn’t get it.
Barack Obama gets it. Like many of us, Barack worked his way up. His is a great American story.
You know, I believe the measure of a man isn’t just the road he’s traveled; it’s the choices he’s made along the way. Barack Obama could have done anything after he graduated from college. With all his talent and promise, he could have written his ticket to Wall Street. But that’s not what he chose to do. He chose to go to Chicago. The South Side. There he met men and women who had lost their jobs. Their neighborhood was devastated when the local steel plant closed. Their dreams deferred. Their dignity shattered. Their self-esteem gone.
And he made their lives the work of his life. That’s what you do when you’ve been raised by a single mom, who worked, went to school and raised two kids on her own. That’s how you come to believe, to the very core of your being, that work is more than a paycheck. It’s dignity. It’s respect. It’s about whether you can look your children in the eye and say: we’re going to be ok.
Because Barack made that choice, 150,000 more children and parents have health care in Illinois. He fought to make that happen. And because Barack made that choice, working families in Illinois pay less taxes and more people have moved from welfare to the dignity of work. He got it done.
And when he came to Washington, I watched him hit the ground running, leading the fight to pass the most sweeping ethics reform in a generation. He reached across party lines to pass a law that helps keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists. And he moved Congress and the president to give our wounded veterans the care and dignity they deserve.
You can learn an awful lot about a man campaigning with him, debating him and seeing how he reacts under pressure. You learn about the strength of his mind, but even more importantly, you learn about the quality of his heart.
I watched how he touched people, how he inspired them, and I realized he has tapped into the oldest American belief of all: We don’t have to accept a situation we cannot bear.
We have the power to change it. That’s Barack Obama, and that’s what he will do for this country. He’ll change it.
John McCain is my friend. We’ve known each other for three decades. We’ve traveled the world together. It’s a friendship that goes beyond politics. And the personal courage and heroism John demonstrated still amaze me.
But I profoundly disagree with the direction that John wants to take the country. For example, John thinks that during the Bush years “we’ve made great progress economically.” I think it’s been abysmal.
And in the Senate, John sided with President Bush 95 percent of the time. Give me a break. When John McCain proposes $200 billion in new tax breaks for corporate America, $1 billion alone for just eight of the largest companies, but no relief for 100 million American families, that’s not change; that’s more of the same.
Even today, as oil companies post the biggest profits in historya half trillion dollars in the last five yearshe wants to give them another $4 billion in tax breaks. But he voted time and again against incentives for renewable energy: solar, wind, biofuels. That’s not change; that’s more of the same.
Millions of jobs have left our shores, yet John continues to support tax breaks for corporations that send them there. That’s not change; that’s more of the same.
He voted 19 times against raising the minimum wage. For people who are struggling just to get to the next day, that’s not change; that’s more of the same.
And when he says he will continue to spend $10 billion a month in Iraq when Iraq is sitting on a surplus of nearly $80 billion, that’s not change; that’s more of the same.
The choice in this election is clear. These times require more than a good soldier; they require a wise leader, a leader who can deliver changethe change everybody knows we need.
Barack Obama will deliver that change. Barack Obama will reform our tax code. He’ll cut taxes for 95 percent of the American people who draw a paycheck. That’s the change we need.
Barack Obama will transform our economy by making alternative energy a genuine national priority, creating 5 million new jobs and finally freeing us from the grip of foreign oil. That’s the change we need.
Barack Obama knows that any country that out teaches us today will out-compete us tomorrow. He’ll invest in the next generation of teachers. He’ll make college more affordable. That’s the change we need.
Barack Obama will bring down health care costs by $2,500 for the typical family, and, at long last, deliver affordable, accessible health care for all Americans. That’s the change we need.
Barack Obama will put more cops on the streets, put the “security” back in Social Security and never give up until we achieve equal pay for women. That’s the change we need.
As we gather here tonight, our country is less secure and more isolated than at any time in recent history. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has dug us into a very deep hole with very few friends to help us climb out. For the last seven years, this administration has failed to face the biggest forces shaping this century: the emergence of Russia, China and India as great powers; the spread of lethal weapons; the shortage of secure supplies of energy, food and water; the challenge of climate change; and the resurgence of fundamentalism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the real central front against terrorism.
In recent days, we’ve once again seen the consequences of this neglect with Russia’s challenge to the free and democratic country of Georgia. Barack Obama and I will end this neglect. We will hold Russia accountable for its actions, and we’ll help the people of Georgia rebuild.
I’ve been on the ground in Georgia, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and I can tell you in no uncertain terms: this Administration’s policy has been an abject failure. America cannot afford four more years of this.
Now, despite being complicit in this catastrophic foreign policy, John McCain says Barack Obama isn’t ready to protect our national security. Now, let me ask you: whose judgment should we trust? Should we trust John McCain’s judgment when he said only three years ago, “Afghanistan–we don’t read about it anymore because it’s succeeded”? Or should we trust Barack Obama, who more than a year ago called for sending two additional combat brigades to Afghanistan?
The fact is, al-Qaida and the Talibanthe people who actually attacked us on 9/11have regrouped in those mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan and are plotting new attacks. And the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff echoed Barack’s call for more troops.
John McCain was wrong. Barack Obama was right.
Should we trust John McCain’s judgment when he rejected talking with Iran and then asked: What is there to talk about? Or Barack Obama, who said we must talk and make it clear to Iran that its conduct must change.
Now, after seven years of denial, even the Bush administration recognizes that we should talk to Iran, because that’s the best way to advance our security.
Again, John McCain was wrong. Barack Obama was right.
Should we trust John McCain’s judgment when he says there can be no timelines to draw down our troops from Iraq–that we must stay indefinitely? Or should we listen to Barack Obama, who says shift responsibility to the Iraqis and set a time to bring our combat troops home?
Now, after six long years, the Bush administration and the Iraqi government are on the verge of setting a date to bring our troops home.
John McCain was wrong. Barack Obama was right.
Again and again, on the most important national security issues of our time, John McCain was wrong, and Barack Obama was proven right.
Folks, remember when the world used to trust us? When they looked to us for leadership? With Barack Obama as our president, they’ll look to us again, they’ll trust us again, and we’ll be able to lead again.
Jill and I are truly honored to join Barack and Michelle on this journey. When I look at their young childrenand when I look at my grandchildrenI realize why I’m here. I’m here for their future.
And I am here for everyone I grew up with in Scranton and Wilmington. I am here for the cops and firefighters, the teachers and assembly line workersthe folks whose lives are the very measure of whether the American dream endures.
Our greatest presidentsfrom Abraham Lincoln to Franklin Roosevelt to John Kennedythey all challenged us to embrace change. Now, it’s our responsibility to meet that challenge.
Millions of Americans have been knocked down. And this is the time as Americans, together, we get back up. Our people are too good, our debt to our parents and grandparents too great, our obligation to our children is too sacred.
These are extraordinary times. This is an extraordinary election. The American people are ready. I’m ready. Barack Obama is ready. This is his time. This is our time. This is America’s time.
May God bless America and protect our troops.
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Democrats: Don’t Make Afghanistan Your WarIn his convention speech Wednesday night, Vice-Presidential nominee Joe Biden sounded hawkish notesnot only in flagrantly misrepresenting the Georgia-Russia crisis but in talking about Afghanistan. (This holds true not just for the two Senators, but for too many Democrats in Washington who argue, mantra-like, that we need to leave Iraq in order to free additional troops to serve in “the right war. . . .
We need to think beyond the reflexive response of troop escalation and begin the necessary, tough search for sane alternatives. If Americans are given a clear choice, how many would support bleeding more lives and resources in another failing occupation as an effective strategy of combating terrorism and promoting our national security? Alternet
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Second in Command
By Shea Howell
As the Democrats celebrated A New Tide of Hope in Denver, Vice President Dick Cheney quietly announced that he will be traveling to Georgia. This raises serious questions for all of us.
Long considered one of the most war-like in the Bush administration, Cheney is reported to have argued unsuccessfully for increasing military aid to Georgia. His trip is certain to further confuse an already tense and difficult situation.
Cheneys interest in Georgia is part of a larger, dangerous world-view. While Secretary of Defense under Bush I, Cheney was a member of the group which decided that U.S. policy should be to prevent any reemergence of Russian political power following the
collapse of the Soviet Union. This policy was most vigorously expressed in the push to expand NATO by bringing emerging East European nations under its wing. Pursuing this doctrine, the U.S. now has military bases across Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The Bush II administration is now preparing to put nuclear missiles aimed at Russia in these countries.
Meanwhile, neither the U.S. press nor the political leadership has done much to help Americans think about what is really behind the Georgian affair.
The press has repeatedly cast the story as one of Russian aggression against a small, defenseless democracy. President Bush denounced Russia for having invaded a sovereign neighboring state and threatening a democratic government. In the press coverage of the event, from news talk shows to headlines, it soon became almost impossible to remember that it was Georgia who attacked Russian troops.
Further, the press has cast South Ossetia as a part of Georgia, ignoring the fact that since the fall of the Soviet Union, South Ossetia and Abkhazia have been engaged in a separatist fight against the Georgian government. Georgia has never been able to establish control of the area, and as in other contested grounds in the region, establishing boundaries that are acceptable and fair to all requires a commitment to negotiation and compromise.
Such a commitment is impossible to achieve as long as the U.S. continues to promote only pro-western, anti-Russian bases throughout the region. In addition to establishing U.S. military bases, the United States during the Clinton administration started developing an oil pipeline that is designed to weaken the ability of the Russians to control energy supplies to western Europe.
Thus the world view that casts Russia as a target, rather than as a nation with whom we can and must collaborate to create a more peaceful world, is not limited to Cheney and his friends but is shared by many Democrats.
Chief among these Democrats is Joe Biden, who was anointed this week as Barack Obamas running mate. Almost everyone agrees that it was the Georgian situation which pushed Obama to select a Vice Presidential candidate with foreign policy experience.
Biden has that experience, but the press has done littler to report on what that foreign policy actually entails.
In matters related to Russia, Biden shares many of the views of the Bush-Cheney administration. He visited Tbilisi during the fighting and is reported to have assured Georgias pro-U.S. President Mikheil Saakashvili of his support for that countrys early admission into NATO.
This sort of statement is exactly the wrong message. It also contradicts long-standing NATO policies against admitting any nation that is involved in territorial conflicts. Many NATO allies oppose this move and it is certainly opposed by Russia.
Bidens visit to Georgia and his hard line stance may have helped his VP credentials, but it also raises serious questions about the man who selected him. Many of us have hoped that Barack Obama would restore a commitment to dialogue as the foundation for U.S. global relationships. But his choice as vice president is far too similar to the one we have now.
Source: Michigan Citizen, Aug.31- Sept. 6, 2008
See Also: Reaganite Denounces Bush?
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Obama and the Working ClassObama has failed to say anything meaningful about these matters, and as the campaign drags on, he moves ever further to the right. And if he doesnt speak to the white working class, how could it be said that he speaks to the black or Hispanic working class either? What about the more than one million black men and women in prison? The gutted and ruined inner cities? The lost manufacturing jobs? The millions of immigrants now being treated as criminals, imprisoned and sometimes tortured before being shipped off to their native lands?
I doubt that we will get much from Obama to inspire working men and women, of whatever part of the country, of whatever age, race, or ethnicity. Now he has chosen a pathetic old hack, Joe Biden, to be his running mate. What exactly has Biden done for workers in his more than thirty years in the Senate? That a man who has been in this elite body (whose members stock portfolios have performed better than almost anyone elses) this long can be called ‘working class’ by Obama himself tell us just how lame U.S. politics are.
It is a shame that some white workers are racist. I chalk most of this up to the abject failure of the labor movement to attack the race issue head on many years ago. But Obama might have won over the voters Hillary Clinton got by pretending she was still a working class woman from Scranton, while she slugged down shots and a beers in local bars. CounterPunch
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Union leader: Racism keeps Obama from building leadA prominent union leader on Tuesday blamed racism for Sen. Barack Obamas (D-Ill.) failure to build a big lead over GOP rival Sen. John McCain. Gerald McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), said many workers are considering voting for McCain (R-Ariz.) because of his military service and status as a hero of the Vietnam War. . . . There are some local union presidents that are afraid yes, thats the word, afraid to hand out literature for Barack Obama, said McEntee. . . . McEntee said McCain is not a friend of unions and members must campaign for Obama and spread the message of his support for labor. He said unions will be in deep trouble if Obama is defeated for the presidency. TheHill
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The Bush Administration Checkmated in GeorgiaIt is hard not to conclude that Russian prime minister goaded the rash Saakashvili into invading South Ossetia by encouraging Abkhazian and South Ossetian irregulars to attack Georgian outposts and villages on the peripheries of the two enclaves. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reportedly told Saakashvili not to respond to such provocations when she met with him in July. Apparently her advice fell on deaf ears. Far more enticing, it seems, was her promise of strong U.S. backing for Georgia’s rapid entry into NATO. Other American leaders, including Senator John McCain, assured Saakashvili of unwavering U.S. support. Whatever was said in these private conversations, the Georgian president seems to have interpreted them as a green light for his adventuristic impulses. On August 7th, by all accounts, his forces invaded South Ossetia and attacked its capital city of Tskhinvali, giving Putin what he long craved — a seemingly legitimate excuse to invade Georgia and demonstrate the complete vulnerability of Clinton’s (and now Bush’s) vaunted energy corridor.
Today, the Georgian army is in shambles, the BTC and South Caucasus gas pipelines are within range of Russian firepower, and Abkhazia and South Ossetia have declared their independence, quickly receiving Russian recognition. TomDispatch
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#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane
#10 – Covenant: A Thriller by Brandon Massey
#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva by Ashley and JaQuavis
#12 – Don’t Ever Tell by Brandon Massey
#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide by Ntozake Shange
#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree
#15 – Homemade Loves by J. California Cooper
#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper
#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber
#18 – Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare
#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King
#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey
#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe
#22 Thug Matrimony by Wahida Clark
#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark
#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber
#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter
#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson
#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History by Ahati N. N. Toure
#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley
#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell
#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore
#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit by RM Johnson
#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins
#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell
#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard
#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris
#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice
#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields
#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class by Lisa B. Thompson
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A Novel by Jesmyn Ward
On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family thats about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrinas inexorable winds is the voice of Wards narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her familys raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brothers blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt. Her fathers hands are like gravel, while her own hand slides through his grip like a wet fish, and a handsome boys muscles jabbered like chickens. Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isnt usually just metaphor for metaphors sake. She conveys something fundamental about Eschs fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, whats salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.
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By Melissa V. Harris-Perry
According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel. The selfless Mammys behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own familys needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.
Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.
As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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posted 30 August 2008
Related files: America, We Cannot Turn Back Obligation to Fight for the World as It Should Be The American Dream is Under Siege Time to Take Back the Country We Love The America George Bush Has Left Us