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read the blog that covers the congressional black caucus: CREW of 42

Dear brooklynbadboy,
Why did the Congressional Black Caucus invite Rep-elects Allen West of Florida and Tim Scott of South Carolina to join? Remember: It was Rep-elect Allen West who controlled the narrative by feigning offense at "not being invited," like a jilted teen-aged socialite with no dance invite.  But he wasn't invited or dis-invited. No one was thinking about him one way or the other.

read the unofficial on the congressional black caucus: CREW of 42

Dear brooklynbadboy,

Why did the Congressional Black Caucus invite Rep-elects Allen West of Florida and Tim Scott of South Carolina to join?

Remember: It was Rep-elect Allen West who controlled the narrative by feigning offense at "not being invited," like a jilted teen-aged socialite with no dance invite. But West wasn't invited or dis-invited. No one was thinking about him one way or the other. He then turned the fact that there was no heralds-at-the-gate announcement of his ascendancy into an insult.  All manufactured. A month before the election many asked: Would West be invited? With the "black intolerant left wing liberals" theme aglow and stories of an impending snub, CBC Chair Barbara Lee invited him and Mr. Scott. What else could she do at that point? If she didn't invite Mr. West and Mr. Scott the CBC is then accused as "intolerant of outside views" and "closed minded," and Megyn, Bill, Sean and the gang explode. Right?

Funny how in this tech driven world the level of ignorance on basic work Congress does is high.  Who does the "CBC represent?" Try the top secret government site, THOMAS.GOV, to view the legislation they introduce for people no one else pays attention to.  The "least of these," (aka: their constituents).  Just because you're ignorant and just because their legislation doesn't lead the 5 p.m. news doesn't mean it doesn't exist.  I understand we in the press are busy reporting on what Beyonce and Kanye did yesterday but do yourself a favor: Check the facts.  You can start with Brooklyn members Ed Towns, Greg Meeks and Yvette Clarke but a complete list of members is here.    

If you look at what this "blacks-only private Congressional social club" has passed this year you'll find they focused on the  disadvantaged see here.  It was Rep. Jim Clyburn who got over $10 billion in the health care bill for community health centers.  Who does that help? read here The uninsured and the low in income. You know the health care bill right? The one Mr. Scott and Mr. West will be hot to repeal. Will Mr. Scott be acting in his constituents best interest when he does that? Those community health care centers will serve over 40 million people many of which may be his constituents.  Does this meet the standard of promoting "....the public welfare through legislation designed to meet the needs of millions of neglected citizens."

Last year, Rep. Maxine Waters' delayed the Wall Street Reform Act as she and the other nine members of the CBC members on the House Financial Services Committee held things up. Why? To push for regulation on predatory lenders and credit card fee games. This year there was a change in the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine.  Many black males have been jailed over the last 26 years for longer periods because of the mandatory minimum attached to that penalty... while their caucasian powder cocaine using counterparts walked. Rep. Bobby Scott pushed to change the law for 15 years, along with Reps. John Conyers, Sheila Jackson Lee, Mel Watt, and Waters. The result: The only mandatory minimum reduced in 40 years. "Three strikes you're out" laws turned the U.S. into the world's biggest jailer... 2,300,000 (39% black) in the pen and counting to the tune of $63 billion a year.  There are only two members of Congress who speak regularly on the American prison system: Rep. Bobby Scott and Sen. Jim Webb. That's it out of a 535 people.

Instead of worrying about Rep. Steve Cohen and West and Tim Scott, we should be asking why it is, with few exceptions (like Sen. Webb) the CBC are the only ones speaking to these issues. There are plenty of things to critique the CBC on but advocating for the disadvantaged is not one of them.

Who was it who said two weeks ago, "there's not enough attention paid to poor people" by Pres. Obama? A CBC member: Rep. Alcee Hastings. Who else? Who else even mentions the poor on the federal level? Rather than simply looking at percentages in districts look at their legislation. Can we place the spotlight of that standard on the many Republicans who represent the white working poor and continue to forward policy that does nothing to improve their lives?  So that's it brooklynbadboy. See you on Eastern Parkway (if it's been plowed...).

Truly,
Lauren Victoria "bronxbadgirl" Burke (I was born in the Bronx, I don't hide...)

read the unofficial blog on the congressional black caucus: CREW of 42

Originally posted to laurenburke007 on Thu Dec 30, 2010 at 07:14 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  thanks so much for this (10+ / 0-)

    i find that some of our front-pagers are too often sounding like republcans when it comes to talking about about the stalwart members of the CBC, the most consistently pro-democratic wing of the democratic party.  The republican meme when it comes to black political leadership is always snide, disrespectful and skeptical at best.

    To have so called progressives take the same tack without doing their research is sickening.

    "Black is the new white.."--Paul Mooney

    by vmm918 on Thu Dec 30, 2010 at 07:32:33 AM PST

    •  Well, vmm918, (4+ / 0-)

      brooklynbadboy does not actually consider himself a progressive, you know.

      I'm not sure about their (fp-ers collectively) tone with regard to the CBC specifically, as I can't recall much coverage of it on the front page (but I don't read every story). But I will say that bbb and kos, for example, seem to have that Republican/authoritarian/testosterone-driven  attitude toward almost everything and I'm not a huge fan.

      •  Military dudes (3+ / 0-)

        I have to believe it's their military background.  I don't care for it either.

        I am Blackwaterdog! I support Barack Obama and the Democratic Party!! Want some? Get some SUCKERS!!!

        by Adept2u on Thu Dec 30, 2010 at 08:05:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe, maybe not. (3+ / 0-)

          A lot of us former military dudes are not that way.
          That was one reason I got out - after 10 years and fast promotions, people begin to consider me "the answer man" and almost infallible (which comes with being a CPO) in my field, and I saw the flaws, and got away from it all.

          Some personality types fall into that rut, regardless of training or background, though it is easier to get to while in uniform.

          But it is not really something uniquely ascribable to a military background.

          My life is an open book, and I want a rewrite!

          by trumpeter on Thu Dec 30, 2010 at 11:01:10 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I've read a couple of your diaries on the CBC (9+ / 0-)

    and appreciate the focus. T&R'd. I don't really get bbb's issue with the CBC not inviting Cohen. With all the problems this country and this congress face, that just seems so trivial! And I've hardly seen any coverage of what good the CBC has done.

    •  Because in the CBC (7+ / 0-)

      I imagine they talk about White people, and they probably want to do so without having to prove that white folks can be racist.

      Steve Cohen if he were concerned about it could start the Caucus of those who are white and represent Black people, but that would have been the US congress for the vast majority of it's existence.  Frankly they didn't serve us well, so we are going to have one freaking organization in the congress, which was formed because their white colleagues at the time could give a fuck about them basically, so yes we are going to keep it, and they are going to control the membership of their private club just like the golf club in my town that wont let my black ass in or the ones that about 70% of the congress don't mind attending.  

      I am Blackwaterdog! I support Barack Obama and the Democratic Party!! Want some? Get some SUCKERS!!!

      by Adept2u on Thu Dec 30, 2010 at 08:01:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That is a good point... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blindyone, Adept2u, soothsayer99

        I had not thought of a caucus around those who are not AA but who have AA constiuents.  One question, how would that differ from the Democratic Caucus though, practically.

        the most important factor whether students succeed is not their skincolor or their ZIP code or their parents' income - it is the quality of their teacher

        by princss6 on Thu Dec 30, 2010 at 08:23:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well Only Some Districts Would Have Large (0+ / 0-)

          fractions of A-A voters. I imagine many in the midwest and NW might have negligible percentages, so presumably those reps wouldn't be directly representing A-A constituencies.

          We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

          by Gooserock on Thu Dec 30, 2010 at 08:45:51 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes... (0+ / 0-)

            agreed...Brady's district is comprised of a significant number of AAs so to your point, maybe you would say at least 20% of the district or something.  

            the most important factor whether students succeed is not their skincolor or their ZIP code or their parents' income - it is the quality of their teacher

            by princss6 on Thu Dec 30, 2010 at 08:56:21 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  The real point (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blindyone, princss6

          There is a CBC because one is needed.

          The real scandal is if such a caucus were formed about the only ones who would join would be the current CBC and Steve Cohen.

          Another thread in the discussion in BBB's diary that disturbed me is it appeared there was an objection because the 2 were Republican and from majority White districts.  It was like since they don't really serve black people they shouldn't be invited.  I mentioned more than once they were Black no one cared.  For example I happen to believe if that fine Republican Black woman Michelle Bernard that Tweety loves were elected to congress she would be a fine addition to the CBC.

          Hey want to hear a scary question?  

          How many Black legislators were elected from a district that is overwhelmingly white and what party were they from?

          My quick answer was 3 and they were Republicans.

          I am Blackwaterdog! I support Barack Obama and the Democratic Party!! Want some? Get some SUCKERS!!!

          by Adept2u on Thu Dec 30, 2010 at 08:53:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I always thought... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            blindyone, Adept2u

            Bernard was an independent, a middle of the roader.  She's a Republican?

            the most important factor whether students succeed is not their skincolor or their ZIP code or their parents' income - it is the quality of their teacher

            by princss6 on Thu Dec 30, 2010 at 08:58:05 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  And Keith Ellison (D-MN) (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            blindyone, princss6

            According to Wikipedia, Keith Ellison's district is 74% white.  It was kind of a big deal when he was elected, although the fact that he is Muslim contributed to the hoopla.

            But your point holds, that it's pretty tough for black Democrats to win office in white districts.  Either white Democrats vote for white Democratic candidates in the primary, or the district is too conservative to elect a black Democrat in the general.

  •  Very happily tipped and reccommended (8+ / 0-)

    You tell a very important story that really needed to be told.  I mentioned in BBB's posting that the CBC was flat out the most progressive organization in the congress etc. and etc, but what kills me is how the front page does not recognize Republican inspired meme.  The crack that it is the actual CBC is a racist organization is the Republicans, and in BBB's diary I got in a discussion with a person who called the CBC douche bags and it was uprated.

    Now when the CBC is called douche bag by not just a Democratic site, but one that has the nerve to call itself progressive, and it's not hr'd into oblivion is a damning indictment.

    It's always painful for me to see this place carry the Republican water for proving reverse racism.  BBB's comments were littered with ideas like that.  Lots of people saying how the CBC is some "douche bag" institution because for example Steve Cohen wasn't welcomed in.

    I am Blackwaterdog! I support Barack Obama and the Democratic Party!! Want some? Get some SUCKERS!!!

    by Adept2u on Thu Dec 30, 2010 at 07:58:12 AM PST

  •  well done, t&r! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blindyone, princss6, soothsayer99

    maybe YOU should be on the front page !

    "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

    by louisev on Thu Dec 30, 2010 at 08:01:50 AM PST

  •  As for Steve Cohen's official (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Truth

    membership in the CBC, one way or the other, I can't decide.

    Steve Cohen's AA constituents make up a significant part of his support, and the CBC supported Cohen, gave him money in his most recent election campaign.

    Being a representative of a district which has a large AA population, one which overwhelmingly elected Cohen should be the basis of some consideration.

    In a prefect world, there would be no need to have caucuses based upon group identities; but in the real world, in this reality, we need to have advocates for those who do not have power in the political system. The CBC fills that need.

    I think it's more than just coincidence or chance that the CBC is a strong advocate overall for Progressive and liberal positions. Members in the Congressional Black Caucus have lead the way on moral and ethical issues, on human rights issues. We need this continued influence in Washington.

    Steve Cohen, while not being black, does fit into those policy positions: he has shown himself to also be an advocate for the same goals and positions held by the majority of CBC members. Being a 'member' is almost an afterthought; Cohen's and the CBC's actions show mutual respect and cooperation, and that is truly what matters. If only we couldn't see more cooperation like this, the world would be a better place.

    Obama/Democrats: The Earth is round. Republicans: No! it's flat!
    The compromise: The Earth is a triangle.

    by shpilk on Thu Dec 30, 2010 at 08:05:49 AM PST

  •  Tip'd and Rec'd. (10+ / 0-)

    First of thanks for tackling the issue rather than going through the usual list of personal insults I'm starting to get used to. You stuck to the facts and didn't get into pop psychology or challenging the editorial decisions of Daily Kos. Good job.

    However, your diary doesn't get to the point of my diary. The question isn't why were the two Republicans invited. I got that part. They're black. Fair enough. The question I asked is why should Steve Cohen be kept out? That is a question you should tackle in an update.

    As to the "why this...why now' question, I have two answers. First, I believe that discrimination against anyone on the basis of skin color is wrong. I don't think that is an issue that should be swept under the rug. I believe Steve Cohen is a victim of this and I do not think it is fair to the voters in his district that this fact be swept under the rug. Now, obviously, the voters in his district don't mind that he's been kept out of the CBC because of his race. They'd rather have him fighting for them than for CBC membership, as they have shown repeatedly by their voting. So, while I believe Steve is fine with the CBC rejecting his request for membership, I'm not fine with it and the CBC needs to hear that. From me. The way I see it, it is a big blemish on an otherwise worthy cause.

    More importantly though is the issue of is this policy the most effective way to advocate for black folks. I don't think it is, but I'm willing to consider other arguments. I contend that a better approach would be to conduct the CBC the same way other ethnic caucuses conduct themselves: no permanent allies, just permanent interests. For example, when I look at the Asian caucus and see half the members are not Asian, and that it includes hispanics and blacks who have significant Asian populations in their districts, that to me sounds like a more effective way to broaden ones coalition. I think the CBC would be even more effective if allies were brought in from across the spectrum to form a bigger coalition for black issue advocacy. I personally do not feel that only black people can look out for other black people. Votes are votes if you can count em. I think if we were more strategic and broad minded in how we use black political power, we'd get better results. I think that begins by expanding the crew of 42 into a crew of 100. The Ethiopian Caucus has absolutely no Ethiopian members. Yet, they are effectively moving legislation for ethiopian Americans through congress, with both Republicans and Democrats in their coalition. That is interests first.

    So to conclude, I don't have a problem with Scott or West being members. That is fine by me. My problem is with limiting the main congressional voice for black voters to black members only. That isn't how any of the civil rights victories were won. That isn't even how the Martin Luther King federal holiday was won. That's my opinion.

    •  Is there a problem with this... (8+ / 0-)

      challenging the editorial decisions of Daily Kos.

      What people can't hold Kos' 'feet to the fire?'

      the most important factor whether students succeed is not their skincolor or their ZIP code or their parents' income - it is the quality of their teacher

      by princss6 on Thu Dec 30, 2010 at 08:12:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  How is Steve Cohen damaged (6+ / 0-)

      You are pushing a reverse racism arguement as surely as any Republican.  So, let's have you talk to the point if you would.  How is Steve Cohen damaged?  Does he lack any ability to advocate the causes of his constituents, or does he lack access to his colleagues in the CBC?  Why couldn't he for example start his own caucus and call it the Friends of the Blacks, and then see who outside of the current CBC would join.  It is always convenient to find instances where Black people can and do discriminate, but no one gives a damn that most of the Congress and even the President don't mind belonging and playing in private clubs that discriminate by race.

      Is it effective for Blacks?

      Well last month a piece of legislation sponsored by the CBC was signed by the President.  It was called the Pigford Settlement originally and I believe Barack Obama as a member actually wrote the Senate version.

      This was flat out one of the greatest victories for Black and non white americans this nation has ever seen.

      If you feel non white legislators will look out for Black people, then what do you say of the performance of the all white legislators for the first 175 odd years.

      How about the all white Senate in 2000 do we wish there were a CBC member there?

      I am Blackwaterdog! I support Barack Obama and the Democratic Party!! Want some? Get some SUCKERS!!!

      by Adept2u on Thu Dec 30, 2010 at 08:17:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        claude

        there was not a single black vote for

        The 13th Amendment
        Brown vs. Board of Education
        Loving vs. Virginia
        The Civil Rights Act
        The Voting Rights Act

        If you look at the the most significant legislation affecting black people in the last 100 years, none of it was even brought up in committee by a black member.

        •  LOL (4+ / 0-)

          Dude really?

          Tell me what black members were in the congress for the 13th ammendment

          Brown V Board was a supreme court case
          Loving V Virginia was a supreme court case
          The civil rights acts was passed in a congress with how many Black members?

          How about the Voting rights Act?

          I believe it was passed right about the time the CBC was formed, which was because no one would support the newly elected Black members.

          I am Blackwaterdog! I support Barack Obama and the Democratic Party!! Want some? Get some SUCKERS!!!

          by Adept2u on Thu Dec 30, 2010 at 08:26:01 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Speak to my points please. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          soothsayer99

          You seem to have a lovely habit of not addressing the points you are given.  You did not answer one point in my comment yet in answer made one that shows you may not know exactly what you are talking about.

          I am Blackwaterdog! I support Barack Obama and the Democratic Party!! Want some? Get some SUCKERS!!!

          by Adept2u on Thu Dec 30, 2010 at 08:27:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The point is that (0+ / 0-)

            you don't have to be black to look out for black interests.

            •  Who said you had to be Black to (5+ / 0-)

              be concerned with civil rights. Civil rights are a good for all of society, that's why Progressive white folks voted for them.  You were pressing the arguement that because Steve Cohen is not a member of the CBC that the CBC is somehow at fault.  He could press for Black causes just like all the all white congresses did if he were so inclined.  Nothing about the CBC damages his ability to do so, yet you press the reverse racism meme again just as surely as any Republican.  I've laid it out 3 times now why will you not address it.

              Steve Cohen is not damaged in anyway
              actual racism does damage people
              clubs can restrict membership anyway they want
              Bill Clinton loved to play at an all white golf course
              The only reason why people bring that crap up at all is because we're black and the only time that crap is talked about is for black people.

              I am Blackwaterdog! I support Barack Obama and the Democratic Party!! Want some? Get some SUCKERS!!!

              by Adept2u on Thu Dec 30, 2010 at 08:33:48 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I didn't say anything about civil rights. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                claude, cybrestrike

                Civil rights apply to everyone. I said "black interests."

                Nothing about the CBC damages his ability to do so, yet you press the reverse racism meme again just as surely as any Republican.

                This, by the way, is the legal argument used to justify "seperate but equal." You have to be "damaged" by discrimination for it to be okay.

                This isn't about reverse racism nor have i ever said that. I have said, repeatedly, that is both a practical and moral issue. Moral because he's being kept out because of the color of his skin. And practical because I don't think it serves black interests to do so.

                I, for one, think we should admit anyone willing to join and contribute without regard to the color of their skin. You disagree obviously.

                We can leave at that.

                •  Will not addresss the points (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  soothsayer99

                  Brown vs. Board of Education
                  Loving vs. Virginia
                  The Civil Rights Act
                  The Voting Rights Act

                  The list you provided were Civil rights acts.

                  Separate but equal failed because we were able to prove we were damaged.  So, let's apply the same reasoning the court did.  How is Steve Damaged.  What rights what privileges is he being deprived of.  None and all this kind of talk is doing is yet once again lowering the political muscle of Black electors.  No one was dying to be in the CBC when they were being called nigger and spat on in the street.  No white congressman would have had the same treatment, so I'll tell you what.  I'll join you in demanding the CBC admit white members, when White members get called the "n" word in the street.

                  I am Blackwaterdog! I support Barack Obama and the Democratic Party!! Want some? Get some SUCKERS!!!

                  by Adept2u on Thu Dec 30, 2010 at 08:43:44 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  That's your point (0+ / 0-)

              We're having a conversation.  I answer you, then you answer me.  This is me answer you, you ignore it, me answer you you ignore it.

              I am Blackwaterdog! I support Barack Obama and the Democratic Party!! Want some? Get some SUCKERS!!!

              by Adept2u on Thu Dec 30, 2010 at 08:38:16 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  You know what, I agree (6+ / 0-)

              You are right you don't... that was one thing we can agree on...

              And remember: You don't have to be black to look out for black interests... where is the accountability on the other side? Why is the CBC doing it all when it comes to the poor and people on the margins?

              Why aren't we asking John Boehner that question? Why weren't we challenging Bush on poverty? I know this isn't your fault... it's a huge media failing. just saying...

              Lauren writer, http://www.crewof42.com

              by laurenburke007 on Thu Dec 30, 2010 at 10:58:01 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Ever heard of Adam Clayton Powell badboy? (5+ / 0-)

          Do you think you can just lie and re-write black history?  Well Let me tell you. You can not.

          No blacks were in Congress until 1868 (House) and 1870 (Senate).

          Re.. The 13th Amendment (1865)? The first set of black members didn't arrive until after the start of Reconstruction -- 23 of them.

          Of course none of them voted for the 13th Amend NONE were members of Congress.  Hiram Revels arrived in 1870. John Menard arrived in 1868. If you're gonna be this stupid don't waste my time...

          On the rest you're just wrong. It was Adam Clayton Powell who moved civil rights legislation thru his committee - which is why they figured out a way to get rid of him and take away his House seat... which he later won back via the Supreme Court.  

          My street is not plowed in Brooklyn. If it was I'd find you and hand you a history book...

          But then,here it all is online: BLACKS IN CONGRESS A HISTORY http://baic.house.gov/

          Lauren writer, http://www.crewof42.com

          by laurenburke007 on Thu Dec 30, 2010 at 10:48:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Steve Cohen asked to join the CBC (3+ / 0-)

        because he felt he had something to contribute and was told no because he was white. I thought we were against that kind of thing. You know..."content of character" and what not.

    •  I have a quetion triple-b (5+ / 0-)

      Myself, I am rather agnostic on the question as to whether Cohen should receive an invite to the CBC but...

      By your standard, than Maxine Waters should be a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus since a pluraity (and maybe a majority) of her district is Latino.

    •  At least you responded respectfully, But (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      princss6

      my advice is that you should stop digging. This diary completely demolished you front page screed and you are only compounding your invidious situation by this inaccurate and immature rejoinder. You need to read up on the civil rights struggle and learn to write articles on the front page with researched facts like this diary.

  •  Good job (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StepLeftStepForward

    But it would be kind of nice if you would provide a link to whatever it was that BBB wrote that you are responding to . . .

  •  Be sure to mention somewhere that (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Adept2u, princss6, soothsayer99

    the CBC criticized the President on something or other. You'll get more attention to your diary that way.

    And, I continue to support Maxine Waters.

    -so make sure when you say you're in it but not of it you're not helping to make this earth a place sometimes called Hell- Stevie Wonder

    by blindyone on Thu Dec 30, 2010 at 08:17:42 AM PST

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