Cara Live!

'Setting the Record Straight'

11/14/2011 08:26 PM

Candidate for LTNC Tribal District 7

When I was asked to endorse this candidate, I paused and thought ‘really, you want my support’? After much deliberation, I realized that I’m probably the best person to give this endorsement since I’ve known the candidate for Lumbee Tribal Council, Eric R. Locklear, since pre-school.

Mr. Locklear was born and raised in Pembroke, North Carolina – home of the Lumbee Tribe. Upon graduation from Guilford College and a Masters in Education from North Carolina State, he spent his career with the American Indian Tribal Government Administration in Washington, DC. Working with this federal government agency, he was able to gain a network, as well as, a national perspective on tribal affairs, which will be beneficial in the Lumbee Tribe obtaining federal recognition.

Mr. Locklear returned to Robeson County in 2007. His tireless commitment to the community is evident by the challenges he submits to the tribe, as well as, his editorials to the local publication, The Robesonian. Just search his name in their site. You will find that through his writings, he is energized and dedicated. It is always good to see a candidate who is not afraid of a debate.

I believe with a strong presence like Eric, the existing weaknesses that you currently find with the Lumbee Tribe will cease to exist. Eric is a leader and people just naturally follow his ideas and beliefs.

If you want to see a Tribal Councilman take office who will listen to the needs of the people and stand strong against the things he believes are not in your best interests, Eric R. Locklear, is your man.

Elections are only a day away and you deserve a say in who runs the Lumbee Tribe. On Tuesday, November 15, 2011, I strongly encourage you to vote for Eric R. Locklear. I, for one, cannot think of anyone more suited to the job.

03/19/2010 04:12 AM
Al Sharpton Selects Munson Steed Media Mogul To Direct Madison Avenue Project‏


Contact: Rachel Noerdlinger
Executive Vice President of Communications
(646) 981-5903

New York, New York (February 2, 2010)— Rev. Al Sharpton, president and founder of National Action Network (NAN) and one of the country’s foremost civil rights leaders will announce during NAN’s upcoming national convention in April, the appointment of Munson Steed as Director of the Madison Avenue Initiative (MAI), a program under the National Action Network that addresses fairness in advertising, Mr. Steed is the CEO of Steed Media Group, Inc., a multimedia conglomerate that includes newspapers, magazines, television programming, internet properties, custom publications, signature events and more. Over the course of more than ten years, Mr. Steed, a noted and much sought after motivational speaker and thought producer, has not only moved the company’s flagship publication, rolling out, into national prominence as the largest chain of African American-owned weekly papers in the nation, he has also soundly established a consummate urban lifestyle brand. The rolling out brand denotes a lifestyle characterized by an unyielding passion for enhancing access for people of color in the media and advertising industries along with community conscious behavior. Steed's acute industry acumen is often credited with cutting edge applications for technology and best use practices. Well known for his melding of iconic relationships to benefit those impacted by a fluctuating economy, he regularly leverages his company's resources to generate greater dexterity in media relations.

Since its inception the MAI has addressed the needs of minority-owned companies that do not receive their fair share of corporate and governmental advertising expenditures and the Initiative has already helped redirect millions of dollars to Black and Latino media. MAI has successfully pushed for corporations to make advertising purchases that approach the level of minority consumer patronage of their products in specific markets. According to Rev. Al Sharpton: “Munson Steed is the right person to accelerate this vision in 2010 and his background and business acumen within the media and advertising industry exemplifies a vision of equal access and inclusion for minority-owned media outlets.”

A part of the MAI philosophy has been to encourage corporations to step up their efforts as it relates to working with businesses of color. For example says Rev. Sharpton: “If we're talking to a company that does 40% of its sales with blacks and Latinos, we expect a lot more from them than a company that might do marginal sales." He also says that NAN has been successful in explaining how advertising to minority consumers is beneficial to their company's growth, and is not a philanthropic gesture. When negotiating with advertising agencies, Sharpton says that he will negotiate more than media placements. He says he wants to deal with "everything from employment to jingles and how they deal with a lot of black artists' material but won't hire black artists."

Munson Steed is a graduate of famed Morehouse College, with a bachelor’s degree in political science. The accomplished publisher is directing a concerted effort to develop partnerships and internship positions with marketing corporations, advertising agencies and media related technology companies. "We can assess the focus and commitment of an entire company based on the inclusion of interns, strategic partners and diversity in their business portfolios as well as the boardroom," says Steed. As the director of MAI, the media expert intends to concentrate his considerable skills and resources to instituting strategic partnerships and relationships to enhance industry diversification and forge fertile and economically rewarding experiences. Corporations which are traditionally unfamiliar with individuals and companies of color will be encouraged to expand their business interests to include the aforementioned and avail themselves of their valuable contributions to media and technology companies as well as the overall industry climate.

"We'll offer a creative workshop which will facilitate internships and incorporate a national creative workshop tour to highlight future workplace opportunities in the areas of technology, science, marketing and design. It is critical that the future generation is clear as to where their focus needs to be and that they extend themselves beyond simply listening to music and playing video games to embrace the economic opportunities enveloped in the creation and marketing of those activities," Steed explains. The new partnerships planned will provide the foundation for NAN to develop creative workshops as a future training ground and industry incubator for media and business development forums.

06/25/2009 01:16 AM
Why Is My Birthday So Special?
After I turned 30, I’ve jokingly said each year thereafter that I don’t celebrate my birthday anymore and treat it like any other day. This year, my approach is much different.

Within the past 6 months, I’ve lost two friends. The first was Ellen. When I first moved to Atlanta, I knew very few people – less than 5. One of my friends from NC mentioned that he had a “home girl” living in Atlanta who was also from NC. He thought that we had much in common and would probably get along. So, he forged an introduction and we immediately became ‘fast friends.’

Ellen was a Bennett girl who pledged Delta and did her graduate studies at Columbia. She was full of life. Last year while I was working on the Obama campaign, she would call so we could chat about politics. We were political sisters. I attended the Democratic Convention in Denver and was at the Invesco Field speech. So on election night, assuming that I was in Chicago, she called to scream in my ear about Obama’s win. She said, “I may have missed Denver, but I will definitely be in DC for the Inauguration.” From that day forth, we began making plans for the Inauguration…….checking for ball tickets, what to wear, etc. Every week that past, the excitement was building.

Then just one week before the big event, she was gone.

The second of my friends was Harold. While I was a student, I began my first part-time off campus job as a sales clerk in a clothing store. Little did I know at the time, that the acquaintances made in that store would become life-long friendships. Harold fell in that category. After I moved to Atlanta, he & I didn’t talk as often, but I would occasionally stop by when driving through Charlotte. When I eventually moved back to Charlotte, our offices were next door to each other. So, we would chat in the parking lot when leaving work. Then, a few years later, I moved to DC. After moving, we rarely talked, but was always an email away.

Just two weeks ago, I had received an email from him on some national news. If he thought I was interested in something, he would always forward and vice versa. So, after the tragic event at the Holocaust museum, I was awaiting an email from him to get his commentary.

Unfortunately, I received an email from a guy that I did not know with Harold’s full name in the subject. My sick sense told me it was bad news before I even clicked it open. The sender, Thomas, had taken an email blast previously sent by Harold and replied to all of the recipients. He informed that Harold was in a fatal automobile accident.

Here are two people who started their day like any other day. Both left their homes and went to work. Then in the middle of their work day, their lives ended…..just like that.

I reminisce on the conversations Ellen & I shared the last two months of her life. We had so many plans, but GOD held the master plan.

This life that is given to us is a gift that we must cherish. Many of us wish for Friday beginning on Monday morning…..literally, wishing our lives away. Not taking the time to savor each and every day as if it is our last.

My friends Ellen & Harold could not have imagined that they were going to die so soon. Understanding how sudden their deaths were should be an example of how we should live. We all have a chance to live each day as if it is our last. We can apologize to those we have wronged; we can tell love ones how much we love them; we can assure that we have no regrets; and continue to pray for guidance.

So, as I relish the day of my birth, I want to thank GOD again for letting me see another day and another year. I hope that with each year passed, that I’ve gained wisdom and a closer relationship with HIM.

Lastly, I want to thank everyone who sent me cards, emails and birthday wishes via Facebook for sharing this wonderful journey with me called life.

05/06/2009 09:06 PM
What The GOP Can Learn From Jack Kemp’s Legacy?

This past weekend, Jack Kemp succumbed to cancer in Bethesda, MD. Before politics, Kemp was drafted into the NFL in 1957 at a time when integration was just taking root. As a player, he was often privy to the mistreatment of his fellow African American players. His early experience of observing the exclusion of his minority teammates shaped his future political platform.

Kemp served in the House from 1971 – 1989 and was seen as a rising star in the GOP during the Reagan years. He eventually ran for president against Bob Dole and George H.W. Bush in 1988.

As a politician, he urged his party to reach out to minority voters. In a 1997 appearance on Meet The Press he called race “the single most important issue facing America at the turn of the century and the millennium. He continued by adding, “I would like to see an America where black and white actually listen to each other. I want to see the Republican Party in this debate.” Although he ran unsuccessfully as the Vice President nominee with Bob Dole on the Republican ticket in 1996, the Republican Party made a concerted visual effort at the following convention in 2000.

Although Kemp considered himself a “bleeding-heart conservative,” he understood the changing demographics of the country and that the party’s survival depended on change and inclusiveness of all Americans in the political process.

The Republican Party was able to show a united front during the 2008 convention, although all were not impressed with the vice presidential nominee, Governor Sarah Palin. Since the election, the divisiveness is startling for a party which stood united just months earlier. If GOP continues to follow the conflict-ridden message of McCain/Palin campaign, the ideas of Rush Limbaugh, the discordant points of RNC Chairman Michael Steele or the nix proposals of Cantor, then they may likely become a remnant of the Whig Party of 1833-1856. They not only oppose the president, they also oppose each other.

This weekend also marked the kick-off of the townhall meeting tour presented by the National Council For A New America with Rep. Eric Cantor (VA), Former Governor Jeb Bush (FL) and Former Governor Mitt Romney (MA) in an effort to be re-engaged with voters. Saturday, Cantor noted that the Republican Party has to find a way to attract the younger voters and Hispanics.

During the 2008 election, Republicans had not pursued the younger voters because they were convinced that they would not turn out to vote, therefore, that would be a waste of time. In addition, they took the Hispanic vote for granted.

Cantor failed to mention other key groups like women, African Americans (or any other minority group) older voters, etc.

The Wall Street Journal informed that the 2008 election was the most diverse electorate in the history of the US with nearly one in four votes cast were by nonwhites with the nations’ three largest minority groups – Blacks, Hispanics and Asians casting unprecedented shares of the vote.

Cantor, as well as, other Republican politicians seem confused with what has happened to their party especially as it relates to minority voters. The phrase of “we’re the party of Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt” resonates from their lips frequently as if the minority voter should embrace them for this fact. They fail to forget that they are also the party which embraced the Dixicrats in the 1940s and did not support civil & voting rights in the 1960s. Also, in 1980, Ronald Reagan described the Voting Rights Act as “humiliating to the South.” Reagan exploited the behavior of the exodus of Southern whites from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party during the 1960s – 1970s. This way, Reagan was able to benefit from racial polarization.

The Republicans have totally ruled out the Black vote, but what they fail to recognize is that African-Americans are ideologically conservative with issues such as abortion, gay marriage, immigration, etc, but the party does not know how to translate that into votes. Because their message remains unchanged and the based of the party has not move beyond the past of the Dixicrats, Barry Goldwater and their hero, Reagan, then the minority vote will remain at a distance. Jack Kemp described a template for the party in the release of ‘A Letter To My Grandchildren’ on November 12, 2008, “……our nation doesn’t require uniformity or unanimity; it does require putting the good of our people ahead of what’s good for mere political or personal advantage. The party of Lincoln needs to rethink and revisit its historic roots as the part of emancipation, liberation, civil rights and equality of opportunity for all.”

Keep in mind I’m a Democrat and a boxing fan, so I don’t necessarily want to the Republicans to make a comeback, but I do like a see a good fight.

01/04/2009 10:18 PM
A Profile of Hope

I've finally completed my new book!!! Mission Accomplished!!!


12/23/2008 09:53 PM
I've taken a hiatus from Cara Live in order to complete my new book, A Profile of Hope, by Inauguration Day. I'll be back January 2009.


11/19/2008 07:47 PM
Should Clinton Be Secretary Of State?
Let’s rewind the tape and think back over the course of the campaign season. Which campaign camp was consistently leaking information? When Obama secured the Democratic nomination, who’s surrogates was lobbying for the Vice Presidential bid?

Fast forward to last week, mysteriously there was an alleged leak from the Obama camp that she is being offered the post of Secretary of State. Did someone from Obama-Biden Transition Team actually divulge this information to media sources? I don’t ever recall Obama's surrogates ever leaking anything. I'm almost incline to believe that this was not released by his team. It’s uncharacteristic based on their past. Was it deliberate? If it was deliberate, then what is the strategy, especially if they are unable to vet Clinton's because her husband, President Bill Clinton, does not or will not release the contributors of the Clinton Foundation or the Clinton Library?

After Obama secured the nomination there was an effort to pressure him into picking Clinton as his running mate immediately, although almost all presidential candidates wait until right before their party’s convention to do so. Clinton surrogates were pressing the issue to the media, who in turn, awaited a prompt response.

Based on the above history, I get the feeling that Clinton is actually lobbying for the position of Secretary of State. It’s as if the Clinton camp acts on the premise that if they add enough media buzz, therefore, it shall be done. In the past year, that does not work with Obama. Note, it did not take an Act of Congress (no pun intended) for Obama’s decision on Chief of Staff or Attorney General.

Obama and Clinton met last week in Chicago. No statement has been release by either of them on their discussion. Therefore, the media has been speculative on the meeting's agenda especially as it relates to her becoming Secretary of State.

Would Clinton be great as Secretary of State? That’s still debatable. Although she has the expertise to be excellent in this role, the debate begins with -- will she follow Obama’s agenda v. her own? That is still of question, which is why the decision to pick her has not been made hastily. This will be interesting as it plays out.

11/18/2008 08:53 PM
Why Guilt By Association Did Not Work?
It all started with the South Carolina debate between Clinton, Edwards and Obama. Clinton interjects Tony Rezko in the conversation by stating that “I was fighting against those ideas when you were practicing law and representing your contributors Rezko in his slum landlord business in inner city Chicago.” There began the guilt by association spin.

It wasn’t long before Fox News anchor, Sean Hannity, included his efforts by looping a 3 minute segment of Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Although, McCain insisted that he would not include Jeremiah Wright as a part of his smear campaign, Bill Ayers was of focus because his participation in with the Weathermen in the late 1960s.

During the entire campaign, Obama was defending himself or having to denounce someone because of their statements or actions including Rapper Ludacris, Minister Louis Farrakhan and Congressman John Lewis.

Ludacris released a rap about the election. Although he is a supporter of Obama, he was not in any way affiliated with the campaign, but of course Obama was expected to denounce the lyrics. The lyrics were tainted with:

“Said I handled his biz and I'm one of his favorite rappers
Well give Luda a special pardon if I'm ever in the slammer
Better yet put him in office, make me your vice president
Hillary hated on you, so that bitch is irrelevant “


“Paint the White House black and I'm sure that's got 'em terrified
McCain don't belong in any chair unless he's paralyzed
Yeah I said it cause Bush is mentally handicapped
Ball up all of his speeches and I throw 'em like candy wrap
'cause what you talking I hear nothing even relevant
and you the worst of all 43 presidents”

During the Ohio Debate, NBC’s Tim Russert read a headline from the Chicago Tribune which stated that Louis Farrakhan backs Obama from President at Nation of Islam Convention in Chicago. Russert proceeded to ask, “do you accept the support of Louis Farrakhan?” Obama exclaimed that he has been clear in his denunciation of Farrakhan’s anti-semitic comments. He further noted he did not seek out his support.

Farrakhan tackled this subject during his Savior’s Day message by asking the question, “What is wrong with Farrakhan that you have to make Farrakhan a litmus test? For any black person who strives for betterment for society, let’s give them the Farrakhan test. Now, I’ve taken test. I’ve never been in a class where the test is given to one person. Don’t single out one man and give him the Farrakhan test. Why not give it to Hillary?”

Minister Farrakhan had a valid point. Why does Obama or any other Black have to be compared or aligned with the other when all Blacks have individual perspectives and views? It’s as if all Blacks are identified as one, therefore, as a group it is interpreted that all Blacks think as one. Once society moves pass this perception, the closer we unify as a nation.

Then, Governor Sarah Palin hit the campaign trail as McCain’s VP nominee. At every stop she would say that Obama pals around with domestic terrorists (i.e. Bill Ayers). At one point, Obama’s middle name, Hussein, was added to the script, as well as, implications that he was not patriotic and maybe Muslim. For many who gathered, the formula equated to terrorists + Hussein + Muslin = Arab which was verbally indicated by a 75 year old supporter at the rally speaking with McCain. In addition, in the midst of the crowds you could hear shouts of “Treason,” “Terrorist,” and “Kill Him.” Clips began to circulate on YouTube and the internet of supporters prior to the rallies which looked like a scene from the clips from the 1950s integration of Little Rock High School where people were yelling obscenities.

For John Lewis, a civil rights pioneer, it was just too much. Lewis released a statement comparing McCain's campaign to that of incendiary segregation advocate George Wallace in the 1960s. "What I am seeing reminds me too much of another destructive period in American history. Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse."

Because Lewis compared McCain to Wallace, again Obama was pressured to denounce his statement, although it was given as a separate entity of his campaign and merely the opinion of the congressman.

With this said, for the Right (conservatives), there was a concerted effort to make Obama viewed as radical and just to simply put it, “an angry Black Man.”

The insinuations regarding statements and associations did not work. With 24-hour news cycles, the vast majority of the general public began their own analysis and scrutiny of the candidates. Once the debates began, Obama ease of temperament exuded and most began to see him as presidential. His staffers even tagged him as “No Drama, Obama.”

His denouncement of his associations with Rezko, Wright & Ayers and statements from Ludacris, Farrakhan & Lewis were dissected by the media and Republicans until the day of the election.

Just for argument sake, I do not recall the same scrutiny of Senator Clinton or Senator McCain as it relates to associations. For instance, John McCain has been a Senator over 20 years with Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms and Robert Byrd. Would it be safe to assume that because he was friends and colleagues with these gentlemen that his outlook on the world is parallel with their own? Also, McCain sought the endorsement of Revs. John Hagee and Rod Parsley, who in their own right are controversial. Does this mean that he is agreement with all the words echoed by them in their sermons? The answer to these questions are no.

When voters logically viewed the efforts of the media and the opposing campaigns efforts to apply guilt by association with in regards to Obama, they were able to sift through the commentary and derive at their own viewpoint. Therefore, when the above questions were pinned at Obama, again the answer was a resounding no. Regardless, Obama prevailed despite these obstacles, as well as, the underlining tone of this issue which is Race.

11/03/2008 09:31 PM
Would Martin Luther King, Jr. Support Republican Party?

On I-95 in the northbound lane, but south of Richmond, VA, there is a billboard stating “Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Republican.” It is an advertisement by the National Black Republican Association which may be a subliminal message that maybe MLK would probably vote for McCain or that his support would be for the Republican Party.

Back on October 19, 1960, just one month shy of the Presidential election of John F. Kennedy (D) v. Richard Nixon (R), Martin Luther King was arrested at an Atlanta sit-in and would be imprisoned on various charges for five days. Democratic nominee, John F. Kennedy intervened by first calling King’s wife to offer support, then applying pressure until King was released. King had deliberately avoided making political endorsements and didn’t officially back Kennedy, but his father did – switching his allegiance from Nixon in a strong statement of support. It can be assumed that gesture also switched King’s own support to the Democratic Party.

Based on King’s dream and the goal of the civil right’s movement, I am 99.9 percent sure that his support would be for the Democratic nominee, Senator Barack Obama.

10/30/2008 08:43 PM
Has Obama Changed The Political Landscape?
There have been many moments in this campaign that have stood out as pivotal moments – especially for the Obama camp. From the beginning of his presidential candidacy, Obama has made his run symbolic. He announced his bid for president on a freezing day in February 2007 standing on the ground of the Old State Capitol, where Lincoln delivered his famous "House Divided" speech ( against slavery in 1858.

"I recognize there is a certain presumptuousness -- a certain audacity -- to this announcement,"Obamae said. "I know I haven't spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington. But I've been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change."

Hence, his message was simple -- Change!

Obama was obviously the underdog as a freshman senator from IL. In the Democratic Primary, he was running against a formidable opponent, Senator Hillary Clinton – formally known as the Clinton Machine. She started her campaign as the frontrunner with the biggest purse in the first quarter. Obama made it clear that he would not be taking money from lobbyist or corporate entities. Although the opposition was laughing, it wasn’t long before his online fundraising efforts began to pay off with big dividends. Obama use the model of Howard Dean who ran in 2004 and enhanced it greatly.

While Obama was running as the candidate who happens to the Black, the Senator from NY attempted to help America define him as the Black Candidate, though. It wasn’t long before clips began to run of his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright in loop on the 24 hour news channels. Because Rev. Wright describes his message as Black Liberation Theology mainstream equated it and Obama as being a Black Radical. At that point in time, Obama decided to change the trajectory of the race. In March 2008, he delivered a speech, ‘A More Perfect Union,’ at Constitution Center in Philadelphia, PA which was across the street from Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence was adopted and the Constitution of the United States was signed.

“But I have asserted a firm conviction — a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people — that, working together, we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice if we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.”

Into the General Election, Senator John McCain, taunted Obama on his foreign experience. He noted that Obama had not been to Iraq and suggested that they go together. Obama declined. He later made the trip on his own terms which meant that he not only went to Iraq, it became a European tour, with a stop in Germany. He drew a crowd of 200,000 people in Berlin at the Victory Column at Tiergarten Park where he delivered “A World That Stands As One.”
“People of Berlin - people of the world - this is our moment. This is our time.”

Then, there was the Democratic Convention. Obama’s acceptance speech was scheduled to be 20,000 seat venue of the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. Just weeks prior, the Obama camp requested a change of venue to Invesco Field which has a seating capacity of 76,000. This was unprecedented, but it was more inclusive than the Pepsi Center.

"We cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done... At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future."

Obama's fundraising efforts, speeches and web savvy has earned him clout in the Democratic party -- regardless of Presidential win. His stance on not accepting money from special interests or lobbyist has changed how campaigns will be run in the future. Based on his campaign endeavors, it will be interesting to see what will happen in 2012.

10/29/2008 09:09 PM
Is The Republican Brand In Trouble?
I never thought I would see the day when members of staunch conservative families such as Goldwater, Nixon, Eisenhower and Buckley would cross party lines to support a Democrat. Well, that’s exactly what has happened. Chris Buckley (son of William F. Buckley) C.C. Goldwater (granddaughter of Barry Goldwater) and Julie Nixon Eisenhower (daughter of Richard Nixon – daughter-in-law of Dwight Eisenhower) have all given their support to Senator Barack Obama.

Then, there are the former members of the Bush Administration, Colin Powell and Scott McClellan who are endorsing Obama.

In addition, conservative columnist and radio talk show hosts are riding the wave of Obama – Peggy Noonan, David Brooks, Kathleen Parker and Michael Smerconish.

Former Republican elective officials, Massachusetts Governor Bill Welch, Iowa Representative Jim Leach, Maryland Senator Mac Mathias and Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chafee have openly given Obama a nod.

There’s something profound happening in presidential politics of 2008. This is astonishing when major players break rank.

Although most conservatives were not happy with the nomination of John McCain, they were initially willing to show a united front and support their candidate even though they were skeptical about his pick for VP, Governor Sarah Palin. While they were supporting him and waiting for the Democratic primary to end, McCain became complacent. With all the down time, the campaign did not work on their ground game. When it appeared that the Democratic Nominee would be Obama, it was as if they didn’t think they would have to work hard. My guess is that the McCain campaign was relying on race being a defining factor of voters which would have been true in the past.

While conservatives are crossing party lines, there is also dissention in the McCain camp. There are reports that staffers started distributing their resumes in an act of defeat; advisors are calling the VP candidate, Sarah Palin, a diva; and staffers are also leaking information that McCain and Palin were not speaking to each other on a recent ride on the “Straight Talk Express.”

If Senator McCain loses on November 4, 2008, what will the Republicans do? As their numbers shrink, how will the brand persevere?

10/28/2008 03:24 PM
Was Sarah Palin Fully Vetted?
A caller on Cara Live who identified himself as the ‘Black Conservative’ wanted to know sources regarding Sarah Palin’s vetting process.

As noted, most Presidential candidates have a committee that review potential VP candidates. In addition, the candidate usually decides on someone that they are familiar and comfortable with as their political partner. It has been of question whether Governor Palin was actually vetted, especially since it is a known fact that Senator John McCain only met Governor Sarah Palin once in January at a Governor’s Conference in Washington.

Reports during the RNC gave an indication that they were still scrambling in an attempt to vet her.

Although, Palin energized the base of the Republican Party at the convention, she lacked luster in coming weeks because of mainstream interviews which caused concern of her knowledge for the position. She was unable to answer questions such as publications that she reads, Supreme Court decisions that she’s in disagreement and stated that her foreign experience equates to her being able to see Russia from her home.

Marc Ambinder reported in The Atlantic a piece titled “What McCain Didn’t Know About Sarah Palin,” Below he states that the campaign didn’t know the following:

1. The campaign “bragged that Palin opposed the famous "Bridge to Nowhere," only to learn that Palin supported the project and even told residents of Ketchikan that they weren't "nowhere" to her. After the national outcry, she decided to spend the funds allocated to the bridge for something else. Actually, maybe it's more fair to say that coincident with the national outcry, she changed her mind. The story shows her political judgment, but it is not a reformer's credential.”

2. “Though she cut taxes as mayor of Wassila, she raised the sales tax, making her hardly a tax cutter.”

3. “She denied pressuring the state's chief of public safety to fire her sister-in-law's husband even though there's mounting evidence that the impetus did indeed come from her. Ostensibly to clear her name, Palin asked her attorney general to open an independent investigation—the legislature had already been investigating. (I am told that the campaign was aware of the ethics complaint filed against her but accepts Palin's account.)”

4. “McCain's campaign seemed unaware that she supported a windfalls profits tax on oil companies and that she is more skeptical about human contributions to global warming than McCain is.”

5. “They did not know that she took trips as the mayor of Wasilla to beg for earmarks.”

6. “They did not know that she told a television interviewer this summer that she did not fully understand what it is that a vice president does.”

With the above noted, it is hard to believe that Gov. Palin was vetted by the McCain campaign. Unfortunately for them, she was vetted by news outlets and the general public.

Because of her unplugged comments, it appears that with only a week until the election, the campaign is trying to use her as a scapegoat of a potential loss. Is this fair? Probably not, when the process started with them in vetting.

10/23/2008 04:03 PM
Does Barack Obama Have Executive Experience?
Last night on my show, I was asked the question if Senator Barack Obama has Executive experience? This has been one of the talking points of conservatives since the selection of Gov. Sarah Palin.

Let’s outline the characteristics of an Executive. Webster defines an Executive as “having administrative or managerial responsibility.” Keeping this definition in mind, in order to manage a successful political campaign, it must be well-organized, have the right ideals, efficient and effective delivery of message, money, volunteers, and time to manage the campaign’s goals.

The campaign solely begins with the candidate. He/she must outline the objectives and select the team. Actually, this is probably the most critical judgment call and will set the tone for the entire campaign.

Now, let’s take a look at the Obama campaign strategy. Obama began with 5 key advisors. The first objective was fundraising. While other candidates were maintaining status quo through the traditional routes, the Obama campaign’s decided on a different approach which seemed risky at the time for a virtually unknown candidate from a national perspective. His management style guided the team to successfully out raise the establishment candidate, Senator Hillary Clinton. As the campaign has progressed in the General Election, he has continued to out pace his opponent. Last month alone, he raised a record $150 million with over 600,000 donors which gave less than $100 each.

Secondly, the campaign’s message was simple – Change. The word change encompassed a change candidate, change in politics, change in ideals, change in Washington, etc. The word ‘change’ resonated with voters. By the last of quarter of the Democratic primary and even the last quarter of the General election, the other opposing candidates, Clinton and Senator John McCain also adopted the philosophy of change.

With the Change message, the Obama campaign also included hope in the delivery of the message. It was effective and efficient. Although the pundits, as well as, the other opposing candidates exclaimed that there was no substance, just rhetoric, the Obama campaign maintained their composure and stride. After securing the Democratic nomination, the rally speeches became more defined to his platform – The Blueprint for Change.

Thirdly, from the very beginning Obama outlined his goals. Prior to Iowa, he knew that the state was vital in his survival. He took Iowa by storm, literally. The state was saturated with copies of the Blueprint for Change weeks before the Iowa caucus. In addition, the campaign took a map of the country and highlighted the number of delegates needed for each state, then prioritized must win states. With that, they sent volunteers to states that have never been active in the primaries to capture wins that were not conceivable in prior months.

Lastly, there has been much said about Obama being a community organizer. It appears that particular piece of his resume has been actually advantageous. This skill has been useful in his efforts to attract volunteers to his campaign. By becoming a member of the campaign website, you are connected with people from around the country who have organized in their own communities in an effort to elect Obama. They are canvassing, making calls and fundraising. Because of this, the general contingency feels involved in the process, as well as, it being the campaign of the people.

Because this is a talking point of the conservatives as a comparison of the #1 candidate of the Democratic ticket to the #2 of the Republican ticket as it relates to experience, let’s look at these facts:

Obama – Harvard Law graduate
Palin – Attended 5 Universities/Colleges, in 5 years before completing degree requirements. No graduate work.

Obama – Former State Senator of District 13 (IL) population 45,486
Palin – Former Mayor Wasilla, AL population 5469

Obama – Former community organizer. Developed a multi-million dollar campaign machine (see above dissertation)
Palin – Former Mayor was Wasilla (50 employees) with $12 million a year. Left the city with a $20 million in long-term debt.

Obama – Senator in Illinois – Population of District – 653,547
Palin – Governor of Alaska – Population 683,478

Based on the above, Senator Obama, as the executive of his campaign, has been very proficient in conducting the operations of his campaign. As of this date, without his guidance, he would not have become the Democratic nominee or be the candidate who is up by at least 10 points in the polls as of this date. He has taken the novelty of becoming president to a virtual reality by sticking to his principals, managing time, money and volunteers.

Regardless of the above, George W. Bush taunted executive experience. Did that make him a successful president? Therefore, this conservative talking point has no merit.

10/07/2008 07:26 PM
Is Negative Campaigning Fruitful?
John McCain has said on numerous occasions that he would run a respectful campaign.

With the economic crisis looming and his poll numbers declining daily, McCain has decided on a new static. From all indications, his campaign is in desperate mode. There is only 28 days until the election and they have no strategy or how to attack the bread and butter issues. The only way they feel that they can succeed is by attacking Barack Obama’s character. By questioning his association with Bill Ayers with paralleling him as a domestic terrorist, factoring his middle name in play “Hussein,” and resurging his former minister, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, in an attempt to make him militant and angry.

The above attacks have now put Obama on the defensive. The Obama campaign has put together a website ( to counter McCain’s attacks.

During this time of economic decline due to mishandling of financial institutions, this is extremely damaging given the fact that the Keating Five was a Savings and Loan scandal.

No one wins with the negativity. It’s time to get back to the issues that matter to the American people. Let’s start with the ECONOMY.

10/03/2008 06:03 PM
What Made The 1st Presidential Debate Significant?

On September 25, 1962, James Meredith was blocked from entering Ole Miss by segregationist, Governor Ross Barnett, despite a Court order. He was later admitted on October 1, 1962 as the first black student at the university. His entrance caused riots which left two people dead, 48 soldiers injured and 30 US Marshals with gun wounds. The Governor was fined $10,000 and sentenced to jail for contempt but never paid the fine or served time. This was a pivotal moment in the history of civil rights in the United States.

Forty-six (46) years later, September 26, 2008, Ole Miss is the site for the first presidential debate. With the crude history of the school, it is astonishing to note that the school is hosting the first debate which includes a Black Democratic nominee, Barack Obama. Days earlier it was questionable to whether the debate was going to take place.

It was about a year ago, that the Republican nominee, John McCain, admitted that he did not know much about the economy.

After becoming the nominee, McCain tapped Phil Gramm as his economic adviser. Gramm later said that we are in a “mental recession” and that we have become a “nation of whiners.”

Since the conventions, there has been trouble with the nation’s major financial institutions -- Washington Mutual, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, American International Group (AIG), Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and Wachovia. Although this was broadcasted daily in the news, Monday, September 15, 2008, John McCain noted that the economy was fundamentally sound. Tuesday, he explained that he meant to say American workers are fundamentally sound and the economy itself is in “crisis.” He added that the crisis did not warrant bailing out AIG. Wednesday, he said the rescue of AIG was regrettable, but unavoidable. On Thursday, he stated that if he were president he would fire Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox. Obviously, McCain didn’t realize that if he was president, he would not have the authority to fire Cox.

The following week, Wednesday, September 24, 2008, McCain advised in a press conference that he was going to suspend his campaign. He indicated that he would return to Washington until the financial crisis was resolved. This would include postponing his debate with Obama with only 42 days left until the election.

It was rumored that McCain wanted to postpone it until October 2, 2008, so that he could cancel out the vice presidential debate with Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin v. Delaware Senator Joe Biden.

The campaign of Senator John McCain was apparently in trouble. The polls were dropping significantly because of the above listed comments and Governor Palin’s interview with CBS’s Katie Couric. Palin could not answer questions such as -- McCain's record on regulation issues, her foreign policy credentials, her preferred news sources of news, and a Supreme Court case she disagrees with. She also appeared to stumble when relating her views on the financial bailout.

So his response to suspend his campaign was not a big surprise. Also, it was no surprise that Obama said that he would still be going to Mississippi. The moderators were going to revamp the format for just one candidate, Obama. There was no way that McCain could afford to allow Obama 90 minutes of free air time. He was forced to attend the debate whether he liked it or not.

I attended the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) viewing party for the debate. Of course, the audience was a little bias favoring Senator Obama. It was interesting to watch the audience reaction during some of the comments. McCain played the sympathy card, the experience card and the fear card, but to no avail. His body language showed distaste and anger. He would not look at Obama or in his direction. The moderator, Jim Lehrer, even made reference to this fact by attempting to get them to talk to each other. In contrast, Obama was very concise and precise with his responses, which was different than his appearance at Rick Warren’s Compassion Form. Because of the failing economy and McCain’s lack of experience with this issue, Obama was the successor. Although, conservatives wanted to conclude that the debate was a tie, Obama was the clear winner.

09/12/2008 03:36 PM
Can The Republican Party Survive Without Diversity?
During the Republican National Convention of 2000, the GOP flaunted diversity. There were minority speakers, performers and delegates galore. The Republicans were trying to meet the challenge of presenting the “illusion of inclusion.” With this presentation, it allowed them to make an argument that the Democrats are taking the minority vote, specifically the Black vote, for granted.

In 2004, 290 of the party’s 4853 delegates and alternates were African American. This year that number dropped significantly. As the cameras panned the audience of the Xcel Energy Center, in Minneapolis, MN, it became apparent to the viewers that the audience did not look like the majority of Americans. It was obvious to viewers that the demographic was age 50+ and white. The numbers indicate that there were only 2300 delegates and 36 were African American. Based on the projected number of minorities in this country by 2040 which will out number their white counterparts, how does the GOP intend to survive?

Historically, African Americans were drawn to the Republican Party because it was the party of Lincoln. By the 1940s, the pendulum began to swing. Blacks began to leave the party because of President Franklin D. Roosevelt who had brought the country out of the Depression Era with the New Deal. The New Deal provided programs such as Social Security, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC) and the Federal Housing Administration (FDA). These programs were successful for getting the country back on track and offered equal access and relief to minorities who also had the obstacle of ‘Jim Crow’ in the South. Because of the New Deal, many whites felt that this was allowing Blacks to advance which caused their support to weaken in the Democratic Party. Also, Roosevelt’s wife, Eleanor, was an asset to the Democrats because she was socially progressive.

The other defining decision of minorities to convert happened in 1948 at the Democratic National Convention. As noted above, white support was already weakening in the Democratic Party. During the 1948 Democratic National Convention, Southern delegates were upset by President Harry S. Truman's executive order to racially integrate the armed forces. The Mayor of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Hubert Humphrey gave a speech urging the party to adopt an anti-segregationist plank, causing thirty five delegates from Mississippi and Alabama to walk out. When President Truman endorsed the civil rights plank, governor of South Carolina Strom Thurmond helped organize the walkout delegates into a separate party, whose platform was ostensibly concerned with states' rights.

The group of walkouts became formerly known as the Dixicrats. Their slogan was “segregation forever.” Although the Dixicrats dissolved after 1948, they assimilated into the Republican Party. When members like Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms switched their party affiliation to Republican, their legacy remained imprinted on the minds of minorities. Although Republicans adopted a “conservative platform,” many see their policies and views comparable of those of the former ‘states rights party.’

Lastly, minorities’ affinity to the Democratic Party was sealed in the 1960s with the signing of the Civil & Voting Rights Act which abolished segregation and allowed all people to vote without intimidation. With the influence of Barry Goldwater, the Republican Nominee of 1964, the Republicans adopted their conservative platform based on the principles of his book, 'The Conscience of the Conservative.' His book outlined his opposition to Civil Rights. As a Senator, he voted against it because he did not agree with Title II which outlawed discrimination in hotels, motels, restaurants, theaters, and all other public accomodations engaged in interstate commerce. Republicans aligned themselves as "Goldwater Conservatives." In the 1980s, these values were reshaped by Reagan. As the demographics of the country changes, it will be hard for the Republicans to move center away from their core structure in order to attract a culturally mixed base.

On Sunday (09/07/08), John McCain was on CBS Face The Nation. He was asked by Bob Schieffer, “how can you survive as a party if you become just the party of white people?”

Although McCain exclaims that he will become "the president of everybody,” it is not convincing when he is unable to answer questions like, “what have you done to improve lives of African-Americans?”

It will be hard to convince minorities to consider the Republican Party, if the party continues to practice the same politics. With that said, how will the RNC survive?

09/09/2008 06:24 PM
Why Did McCain Announce His VP Nominee On August 29, 2008?
There are two distinct reasons for this occurrence.

First, on August 28, 2008, Barack Obama made an exceptional acceptance speech. Even the harshest of critics had a hard time attacking it. In order to eliminate the positive coverage and impact of the speech, McCain had to change the media coverage cycle. The way to do this was to announce his Vice Presidential Nominee the following day.

Secondly, McCain celebrated his 72nd birthday on August 29th. It went without any fanfare and barely mentioned in the media. His campaign did not want to bring additional attention to his age.

Because he is a 4-time cancer survivor who just turned 72, his choice for the #2 spot is now a major factor because of his age. Although no one anticipates the worse for Senator McCain, if he becomes president and an unforeseen fatal event occurs, Sarah Palin would be president. Is Palin ready to lead?

09/09/2008 03:12 PM
What Barack Obama's Speech Meant?
While in Denver, I'd heard a rumor the day before the anticipated speech that a line would begin forming at Invesco Field at approximately 10am. Pursuant the tickets, gates would open at 1pm with the event starting at 3pm. The Democratic Presidential Nominee, Barack Obama, would take the stage at 8pm. I knew instantly, that there was no way I could sit out there that long.

I arrived at Invesco Field minutes before Stevie Wonder took the stage which was about 5:30pm. I had taken my time roaming the 16th Street Mall, eating and picking up souvenirs. Fortunately, when I arrived there were no tremendous lines. The stadium was packed. As I approaching my section, I was given a flag and sat down. Later, signs with ‘CHANGE’ also included the Obama campaign website were distributed.

The crowd was incredible. There was an indescribable love in the air which I felt on the streets of Denver earlier in the day. People had a general respect for one another. During those hours in the stadium and into the next day, everyone present was on a natural high. This being the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech, for once in my life, I felt that his dream had been fulfilled. It appeared that people saw people and not the color of their skin. For a moment, the crowd began chanting ‘Si Se Puedes.’ The lady next to me asked, what are they saying? I replied ‘Yes We Can’ in Spanish. With that, she began to chant too. I smiled because I realized that this is what his dream was all about.

As I sat there, I also remembered that August 28th was the date of the assassination of Emmitt Till. He was just 14 years old when he was killed because he whistled at a white woman. After his mother decided on an open casket which revealed her son's mangled body, his death in 1955 catapulted the civil rights movement. That incident started a chain of events which eventually evolved into the August 28, 1963 March on Washington.

While Barack Obama was outlining his platform and how he actually plans to bring change to the White House, for many, he brought back memories of a time gone and hope for the future of this country. At that moment in time, on August 28, 2008, he embodied the past and the future of America.

"We cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done... At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future." - Senator Barack Obama, August 28, 2008

09/05/2008 08:53 PM
Does God Answer Prayers?
On Thursday, the day of Obama’s acceptance speech, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Regardless, of the fact that James Dobson group was praying for rain. His follower, Stuart Shepard, made a request that Christians pray for “abundant rain, torrential rain … flood-advisory rain.” He adds, “I’m talking about umbrella-ain’t-gonna-help-you rain … swamp-the-intersections rain” at Invesco Field during the exact time of his speech.

Shepard’s prayers were answered. He received the type of rain that he described in his prayer. Hurricane Gustav's arrival in the Gulf was the cause of delay with the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Sometimes, you must be careful with your prayer requests.

God always answers prayers. As the Negro spiritual says, “he may not come when you want him, but he’s always right on time.”

09/05/2008 05:13 PM
What Is The Point Of Voting?
On Wednesday, during the Democratic National Convention, I was live on location covering the event on my radio show. During the last three minutes of the show, I received a call from a man who identified himself as “Max.” He asked “what is the point of voting?” Out of curiosity, I immediately looked down at the switchboard on my screen and noticed that the call was from Florida. Initially, I paused because I wanted to see if he had an additional comment to include as to why he posed the question. Then, I realized that he is serious.

At that moment, I didn’t know what to say. He was asking this question to someone who could not wait for the opportunity to register to vote. I actually registered two months prior to my 18th birthday, so that I would be ready to vote on my birthday. Voting was a right of passage, like getting my driver's license.

My maternal grandparents left an indelible mark on my psyche regarding the voting process. For as long as I can remember, my grandfather was a poll worker. I never asked him why, but knowing his character, it was probably one way he could make sure that the process was fair. Also, local candidates were always stopping by our house to chat with my grandfather. What the adults didn't realize was the kid was paying close attention and absorbing every single word. It didn't take me long to grasp that those types of discussions influenced the power structure of my small town. I also learned quite a bit which shaped my own involvement in the political process.

When I was in the second grade, I made my first trip to the polls with my grandmother. I stood in the voting booth and had many questions. Because I didn’t know that voting was a private matter, I proceeded to ask loudly, "who are you voting for; why are you voting; what’s a Democrat……" until she finally shhhhhh me and said she would explain it to me later. Although the height of the civil rights movement had ended a few years earlier, my grandmother never ever mentioned anything about the issues of race vs. voting. She never told me that people lost their lives in order to be granted the right to vote. Although I grew up in rural North Carolina, the reason that she didn't mention it could be because my community was isolated from the cruelties of most the South had endured. My community was predominately Native American – over 90%. Therefore, we were minorities among a larger group of minorities. The Native Americans had officially ran the KKK away from my county, so the Jim Crow effects were not as prevalent. After she explained the differences in the candidates, the importance of exercising the right to vote and that each vote counts, I knew I wanted to vote. I wanted my voice heard too.

So, when Max asked the question "what is the point of voting," it was incomprehensible to me that anyone would pose such a question. I was speechless. I only had three minutes left in the show and there was no way I could run down all the many reasons he should register and vote. My featured guest, Scott Lindsey, responded that “in my view, the point of voting is, you’re in a Democratic society where you can freely express without punishment who you are for – who you think will improve your life and you have a voice. The point of voting is to express that voice.”

Then, another caller who identified himself as "Black Achievement" answered by asking “what’s the point of stopping at a red light?” Scott responded, “one is so that you don’t get run over by oncoming traffic.” His response was a great metaphor for why you should vote, so that you don’t get run over.


09/05/2008 03:24 PM
Who Is The 2nd African American To Be Elected Governor?
While attending the Congressional Black Caucus in September 2005, I stopped at an unknown candidate’s table in the exhibition hall. I listened intensely and even watched the quick video displayed about the candidate. The candidate and his staff were abreast of the issues of their state of Massachusetts and vigorously fundraising right there on the spot. I took his contact information and made a mental note to watch his campaign.

As the year went by, I watched the polling for him. By December 2005, the current popular Republican office holder decided not to run for re-election. This guy now began to gain traction. I admired his tenacity, but I never thought he could win – at least not in the state of Massachusetts.

Well, a year later he wins the election and becomes Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts -- the second African American in history to be elected to this office. The first was Governor Douglas Wilder of Virginia, although P.B.S Pinchback of Louisiana served for 35 days during Reconstruction. Anyway, I was elated. I knew then that the tides were turning in politics.

On Wednesday of the Democratic National Convention, I’d just arrived at the ‘Big Tent’ which was designed for new media covering the event. As I was logging onto my laptop to check my email, I looked up at the table in front of me, to my surprise, Governor Patrick was there blogging.

What a difference three years can make. He is now a rising political star in the Democratic Party.

09/03/2008 09:17 PM
Is Denver A Nice City?

The “Mile High City” is very beautiful. The hospitality and customer service was outstanding. It was noticeable from the time my feet hit the ground in Colorado. I’m a frequent traveler and a member of the Emerald Club at National Car Rental. Sometime the car rental shuttle drive will offer a map, sometime they don’t. In Denver, the driver not only offered the map, he also proceeded to give directions on how to leave their hub. He did this for every single person (individually) on the shuttle. As a member of the Emerald Club, I am able to bypass the counter and choose a car that is in a specific row for members. The shuttle drivers normally just let me out and roam the lot. Because it was already dark, he actually waited until I found the car of my choice and then drove the rest of the customers to the hub. When exiting, the rental attendant also asked if I needed a map and gave explicit directions which saved me at least 10 minutes of time. I thought to myself, that particular facility is really customer service oriented. Until I got to my hotel!

My hotel was approximately 12 miles south of the city and about 27 miles from the airport. Wednesday morning about 9:45 am, I asked the hotel attendant where is the light rail. She said, what time do you want to go. The owner can take you at 10am. She was not aware that I had a rental. I just said sure and proceeded back to my room. I logged onto my laptop and started to check my email. At 10am my hotel phone started ringing. I was a bit surprised, because none of my friends actually knew where I was staying and they would normally just call me via my mobile phone. It was the hotel attendant who happened to remember what room I was in and reminding me of the ride to the light rail. I was astonished. Even in the South, southern hospitality is not this good (By the way, I’m from the South).

I finally arrived downtown to get my credentials. I slipped into a an Italian restaurant, Old Chicago. I ordered the lasagna , salad and had two tall glasses of lemonade. When she dropped off the check at my table, I was like this has to be a mistake. It had noddle $7.88.with tax included. In comparison, this meal would have cost me a minimum of $12.00 in the Washington, DC. So, I stopped the waitress who said, “that’s right sweetie.”

Although the customer service was great, there was one downside to the city. Denver did not seem prepared for the over 80,000 people that in fluxed the city. Most vistors of the city, we were at a lost when exiting the light rail. There were no signs to point us in any direction. Also, after Obama's acceptance speech at Invesco Field, it was a little chaotic because no one knew which way to go, and again, there were no signs.

Denver is one of the few metropolitan cities in the US not built around a railroad or body of water. It is beautifully landscaped. As you know, first impressions are lasting ones – and the city did, indeed, leave an impression. I’m not planning any drastic moves, but overall, I could probably live in Denver.

08/27/2008 03:22 PM
Why Am I In Denver?
During my flight to Denver today, I had a lot of time to think about the enormous magnitude of this week’s event.

As I’ve mentioned in past blogs, I grew up in a neighborhood with older citizens --most of whom were grandchildren of slaves. As the Old Negro proverb says, “it takes a village to raise a child,” well the entire neighborhood influenced my upbringing. As I think about my pilgrimage to Denver, I can’t help but think of all of them. I sat on their porches frequently and listen to stories of the past. Most of whom had big dreams that they were never able to see come to fruition. I would always ask why? As I think back, no one ever mentioned the lack of opportunities because of race, though.

In contrast, my life has been very different than they could have dreamed for me. As I watched Ted Kennedy speak last night, I began to marvel at the past and began to look at the possibilities. I met Senator Kennedy about 2 years ago. At the moment my hand met his, the tears began to swell inside. I could hardly contain them. In that one instance, I flashed back to my hometown and my old neighbors. My grandparents and neighbors had a photo of President John F. Kennedy in their living rooms. He embodied the hope that they carried in the 60s. I realized that my hand was grasped in the history of the Kennedys. The emotions began to flow. Keep in mind, I don’t normally excite easily. I worshipped weekly with Coretta Scott King when I lived in Atlanta; I’ve dined with professional athletes like Hakeem Olajuwon; hung out with music & movie shakers; I was 1 of 50 attendees at a function at Senator Clinton’s home; but that kind of stuff does not phase me. There is something special about the Kennedy legacy that grabs me, as well as, most Americans as a whole.

As I said earlier, President Kennedy embodied HOPE -- the hope of a new nation, the possibility of civil and voting rights. Here I am over 40 years later in Denver, Colorado to watch Senator Barack Obama accept the Democratic Nomination for President of the United States. This is a defining moment in American History. Even though, African-Americans have made tremendous strides in this period of time, just a year ago this still was not imaginable. So, watching Senator Kennedy brought this full circle. His appearance and endorsement at the convention says that crossing this bridge takes us all to another place and chapter in history. That is why I am in Denver!

08/11/2008 03:05 PM
What Does Bernie Mac's Death Mean?

Bernard (‘Bernie Mac') McCullough died this weekend from complications of pneumonia. Back in 2006, Bernie Mac was hospitalized at which time they released his diagnosis. He had been sick for years with a condition formally known as Sarcoidosis. It is reported that Sarcoidosis was the underlining factor in his death.

Sarcoidosis is a common disease that can go undetected because it can be mistaken for several other diseases. The disease may produce inflammation in the form of bumps or discolored areas which are granulomas. It may affect the skin, liver, lymph glands, spleen, eyes, nervous system, heart, brain and kidneys, but it most often starts in the lungs. Although anyone can get sarcoidosis, the risk is greater if you are a young black adult and no one knows why.

When I initially heard about Bernie Mac’s illness a couple years ago, I would check news sources frequently for his progress. It was very personal because I’m a sufferer of sarcoidosis, too.

In late November 1994, I woke up in a pool of blood on my pillow. My first thought was that maybe I had a nose bleed while I was asleep (by the way, I’ve only had one nose bleed in my life when I was in the second grade). I ran to the bathroom to try to determine the source. When I opened my mouth, I could see that my tongue was stained with blood. I, then, called my physician who asked that I come in. After a series of test within the month, which included a scraping of my lungs, I was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis. The only treatment plan rendered was Prednisone (steroids) which I attribute to my puffy look and cheeks. At that time, I had many questions that the doctor could not answer. Of course, my number one question was “how did I get it”?

Although physicians are unable to pinpoint the source of the condition, I’ve always blamed living in Atlanta as the culprit. Atlanta’s air is extremely polluted with pollen in the spring, so much so, that you can actually see it. Cars are covered in green at the beginning of each day, therefore, creating poor air quality.

I first moved to Atlanta from Charlotte, NC in April 1991. After being diagnosed in 1994, I began to look at what is now obvious as my symptoms. For one, I always sounded like I had a cold and needed to clear my throat often while talking. Even though, I didn’t feel ill, I was always sluggish and tired. I could never get enough rest. Also, I had a lump on my leg which grew into the size of a baseball. Even though I kept having it removed, it would grow back bigger than the last time. Lastly, my skin would become irritated easily. For instance, it would be hard for me to get a relaxer (perm). If you were a frequent viewer of Cara Live, you probably noticed that I changed hairstyles often. When I am plagued by sarcoidosis, I have to cut my hair in order to deal with it. Fortunately for me, my hair grows back quite fast.

In October 1996, I made a decision to move back to North Carolina. In 1998, my voice finally cleared up and I no longer sounded as if I have a cold. Secondly, I had the growth removed again in 2001 and it hasn’t grown back. Finally, my last episode with my skin/hair was in 2006. So, I’m in remission.

Until now, my closest friends were not even aware that I’ve been sick. When I try to explain it, I find it difficult to make anyone understand especially when I look like the picture of health. Coincidentally, two weeks ago, my best friend and I were discussing it. So, they ask that I put a face to the disease, “can you tell me someone famous that has it?” Bernie Mac was the first person that came to mind. My hope is that Mr. Mac’s death brings heightened awareness and additional research for a condition in which little is known, but is so prevalent in the African-American community.

08/06/2008 01:53 PM
Who's Playing The Race Card - Obama Or McCain?

Two weeks ago, Obama was in Europe capturing the media's full attention. McCain did all he could to get some publicity. Obama returned to the states on Sunday, July 27, 2008. The next day, the McCain camp released a fallible ad. The ad which shows Obama shooting a basketball narrates "and now he made time to go to the gym, but cancelled a visit with wounded troops. It seems the Pentagon wouldn't allow him to bring cameras."

The first thing wrong with this ad is that clip was taken when he was at a gym during his visit with troops in the Middle East -- NOT GERMANY. As a matter of fact, blurred in the background of the clip, the troops are watching him. Secondly, his visit with troops in Germany was cancelled because Pentagon & White House informed his campaign just a day prior that he would not be able to visit without the House Delegation (Chuck Hagel, R-Neb. & Jack Reed, D-R.I.). Otherwise, it would have been in violation of campaign rules as it relates to funding of the trip and viewed as a campaign trip funded with taxpayers money. In order to be compliant, he did not visit the troops, which in turn, gave McCain the opportunity to seize upon the cancellation.

When they realized that this particular ad campaign was not working, on Wednesday McCain release the "Celeb" ad mocking Obama's celebrity.

The first time I saw it, I laughed. My reaction was "is he serious." Obama's response to McCain was "is that the best you can come up with?"

I recently saw an Obama supporter noting that this ad had a subliminal message for white southerners who would have an issue with the ad pinning Obama with two white women (Britney Spears & Paris Hilton). I think the reason for his analysis is because of a negative ad ran in the 2006 Senate race with Harold Ford of Tennessee.

There was an implication that he likes white women which would be a deal killer in Tennessee.

The irony of the Celeb ad is that Paris' parents, Rick & Kathy Hilton are contributors to McCain's campaign. When the ad was released, Kathy Hilton was offended (see article). She said "it is a complete waste of the country's time and attention at the very moment when millions of people are losing their homes and their jobs, and it is a completely frivolous way to choose the next president of the United States." Oh yeah, in addition, Paris has released her own response to McCain in a "presidential-like" ad where she implies that McCain is old.

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die

I wonder if the Hiltons are still supporting McCain.

On Sunday, ABC's This Week with George Stephanpoulos featured a roundtable with George Will, Donna Brazile, Jake Tapper & David Gergen. While everyone was attempting to be politically correct regarding McCain's ad, David Gergen was the most candid. He said that "as a native of the south, I can tell you when you see the Charlton Heston---The One (released Friday) -- That's code for he's uppity. He ought to stay in his place. Everybody gets that who's from a southern background. We all understand that."

Basically, Gergen is saying that although McCain is not overt, the code remains the same for the white viewer especially those with a southern background. McCain realizes that there are voters who are still straddling the fence between two candidates -- one who is viewed as another Bush administration and the other is BLACK. Although Obama had a very successful trip to Europe, he did not get a substantial jump in the polls. The reason for this is race. Voters want change, they want the war to end and a better economy, but are afraid to be led by someone who is different than any president of the past. That is scary for many and described as risky by Republican pundits

To be honest, I'm disappointed in McCain. In 2000, McCain was my favorite Republican. As a matter of fact, I was hoping that he would beat Bush in the Republican Primary that year. I was rooting for a Gore v. McCain runoff. McCain was very moderate. In this election, he is taking plays from the Karl Rove game book. He will do anything to appease the conservative base, who do not necessarily like him either. That is why he is practicing the same ol' politics.

For the past few months, Obama has used the same phrase "so what they are going to try to do is make you scared of me. He's not patriotic enough. He's got a funny name. He doesn't look like all those other presidents on those dollar bills."

Obama was making these statements as a matter of fact. As we all know, he doesn't look like anyone who has held the office in the past and he doesn't have a mainstream name. Does that mean this is racial? McCain's camp has decided to do a prexemptive strike and flip the script by saying that based on this comment, Obama is playing the race card. It appears that when every other strategy fails, the race card always works. What McCain, the media and even the Clintons forgot is that, although Obama identifies as Black, he still remains half-White. Which card is McCain implying is being played -- the Black card or the White card? With that said, how does someone who is bi-racial (equally mixed) play the race card?