Friday, March 30, 2012

UNDERSTANDING OBAMA: THE CONUNDRUM OF RACE - Charles Ogletree Lecture, Harvard Law

In February of 2011, Harvard Professor Charles Ogletree gave a three-part lecture at the W.E.B. Du Boise Institute for African and African American Research.  The title of the lecture series was "Understanding Obama" - focusing on Obama's life from Hawaii to the White House. Because each lecture is roughly 90 minutes long, I have clipped portions that I think people will find interesting. You can, however, see the lectures in their entirety here and I would encourage readers to do so.


In the final lecture of his "Understanding Obama" series, Charles Ogletree explores what he calls "the conundrum of race." Ogletree is introduced by a man who sums up the previous two lectures in this way: "The first one took us through the intersection of race and Obama's earlier life then last night we followed him and race, I don't know why they're so intersected." The term "intersection of race" is an interesting term...I'm not sure why, but it's ringing a "Bell".

Ogletree correctly points out that not every criticism of President Obama is racist. Kudos for that, Professor!  He plays the clip of Obama talking about the Louis "Skip" Gates incident and notes Obama's history of highlighting racial profiling. He claims that people looked for ways to disagree with Obama, noting that Glenn Beck's ratings went up when he started criticism Obama. Ogletree applauds Obama's appointment of a "diverse" group of Circuit Court judges - gays, African-Americans, women, etc. 

When asked if Obama will play the "class card", Ogletree says "he already has!" and then explains how Obama has carefully framed the argument for class warfare by using the term "middle class" instead of "poor." Ogletree plans to publish a book about Obama, but says he will wait until after the election. He says that "WE" do want government in our lives, to help us and give us stuff. Ogletree wonders if we will ever be post-racism, because he claims racism is so deeply embedded.

Please watch the video and share it with your friends, family and tweeps. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

UNDERSTANDING OBAMA: THE EMERGENCE OF RACE - Charles Ogletree Lecture, Harvard Law

In February of 2011, Harvard Professor Charles Ogletree gave a three-part lecture at the W.E.B. Du Boise Institute for African and African American Research.  The title of the lecture series was "Understanding Obama" - focusing on Obama's life from Hawaii to the White House. Because each lecture is roughly 90 minutes long, I have clipped portions that I think people will find interesting. You can, however, see the lectures in their entirety here and I would encourage readers to do so.


In this second lecture, Professor Ogletree focuses on racism and its impact on President Obama and his 2008 campaign. He refers back to the video of a young Obama introducing Derrick Bell at a protest in 1990 and reminds listeners that Obama referred to Bell as "the Rosa Parks of the legal profession." He takes a question from Henry Louis Gates Jr. - yes, Beer Summit Henry "Skip" Gates - about the inevitable emergence of "Obama 2", insisting that Obama "fell" (disappointed members of the black community) but that he will be resurrected as "Obama 2." Ogletree also notes that Obama was crucified but will rise again, clear analogies to Jesus Christ. Perhaps what they are saying is that once he is resurrected (2nd term), he will have more flexibility.

Professor Ogletree points to examples of racism by Bill Clinton, Glenn Beck and some in the Black community. He explores the false claims of Obama being Muslim and other claims that were apparently grounded in racism. Discussing what Obama must do to get the economy going and to win reelection, Ogletree says, "He will have to announce a multi-million jobs plan of his own very soon - that's unavoidable - a multi-million person - it's multi-billion dollars- but a multi-million person jobs plan that's going to get people back to work. It may have to be - and you taxpayers may cringe at this- it may have to be over a trillion dollars. So, we keep talking about money spent in 2009-2010; it was a drop in the bucket. It wasn't enough to transform the economy..."

With regards to health care, Ogletree claims that ObamaCare is easy to understand and the Obama Administration has done a terrible job explaining it to the American people. He says it "helps the African-American community substantially...we're at the bottom of the rung so we're going to benefit from it." He predicts that Obama will be upheld by the Supreme Court (this was back in November of 2011) and that the term "ObamaCare" will become a positive term. 

Please watch the video and share it with your friends, family and Tweeps.

UNDERSTANDING OBAMA: FROM BARRY TO BARACK - Charles Ogletree Lecture, Harvard Law

In February of 2011, Harvard Professor Charles Ogletree gave a three-part lecture at the W.E.B. Du Boise Institute for African and African American Research.  The title of the lecture series was "Understanding Obama" - focusing on Obama's life from Hawaii to the White House. Because each lecture is roughly 90 minutes long, I have clipped portions that I think people will find interesting. You can, however, see the lectures in their entirety here and I would encourage readers to do so.


Professor Ogletree spends a significant time talking about race and how President Obama's feelings about his "black side" shaped him and his views. He also speaks extensively about Obama's struggle to find a religion that would support his community organizing and accept him. Ogletree explains the deep friendship between Obama and Jeremiah Wright, as well as the impact that Derrick Bell had on this young African-American Harvard law student.

Ogletree claims that Obama is not a socialist; but is a moderate Democrat. (What?) Ogletree is extremely reluctant to point out "mistakes" made by the Obama Administration (Because he doesn't want people to use it as ammo in the 2012 election), but he claims the one "shortcoming" of Obama is that he has been too deferential to Congress on issues affecting the American people. (What?) He says that Obama has learned that bipartisanship does not work but that Obama still believes he can "bring the world together." 

Please watch the video and share it with your friends, family and tweeps. You can watch the second and third lectures by following the link below.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


The phrase "King Obama" is apparently inscribed into the sidewalk at Punahou School in Hawaii.

Derrick Bell on Clarence Thomas

It's an insult to place a man on the court who looks black and thinks white." - Derrick Bell, Milwaukee Sentinel, July 3, 1991.

MSNBC Misses Opportunities With Misleading Zimmerman "Quote"

As reported on, MSNBC recently used ill-placed elipses to make George Zimmerman look racist.  Reporting on a call that Zimmerman made about Trayvon Martin, MSNBC quoted Zimmeran as saying: 

“This guy looks like he’s up to no good … he looks black,” Zimmerman told a police dispatcher from his car. His father has said that Zimmerman is Hispanic, grew up in a multiracial family, and is not racist.

Here's the entire transcript (with red text depicting what MSNBC left out):

ZIMMERMAN: This guy looks like he's up to no good, or he's on drugs or something. It's raining and he's just walking around, looking about.

911 DISPATCHER: Okay, is this guy, is he white, black, or Hispanic? 

ZIMMERMAN: He looks black.

I would also point out that they should have changed the capital "H" in Zimmerman's response to "...[h]e looks black." to signify that they had changed the entire structure of the sentence. That is journalism 101...who are these people?

Well, I think they missed an opportunity here and I blame it on a serious lack of creativity.  Here are some examples of what they could have done to really make Zimmerman look racist:

ZIMMERMAN: "This guy looks like he's up to no good, or he's on drugs or something. It's raining and he's just walking around,"

ZIMMERMAN: "This guy looks like he's up to no good, or he's on drugs or something. It's raining and he's... black."

ZIMMERMAN: "This guy looks like he's up to no good...he's on drugs...he'"

ZIMMERMAN: "This guy...'s up to no good...on drugs...he's"

ZIMMERMAN: "This guy...he' good... he'"

As you can see, MSNBC missed a huge opportunity here. It's not like anyone respects their journalistic integrity (have they any?) so they might as well go for the Gold. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

More Hypocrisy From Rick Santorum!

Rick Santorum called into the Neil Cavuto show to address (whine about) criticism over his recent comparison of Romney and Obama. As usual, Rick was highly agitated in the interview and failed to actually answer the questions put to him. His go-to defense was simple incredulity. You can watch the entire interview below and then read my five observations.

1. Santorum: "Might as well stay with [Obama]..."

Santorum said this in San Antonio: "If you're going to be a little different, we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk with what may be the Etch-a-Sketch candidate of the future."

Rick called the criticism of his statement "laughable"; "absurd"; "a hatchet job"; "not even worth printing"; and "a joke." He then attempted to explain the statement while questioning those who could possibly misunderstand what he was saying.

He then explained this to Neil Cavuto: "I meant that if we don't have a choice then the american public may decide to keep Barack Obama...We meaning we the people might; not me. A 'we' meaning a general 'we.'" So, when he says 'we' he means 'the people'.

So, let's plug his definition of "we" into his original statement: "If you're going to be a little different, [the people] might as well stay with what [the people] have instead of taking a risk with what may be the Etch-a-Sketch candidate of the future."  He didn't say "the people might stay with..." He said "the people might as well stay with..." I guess it depends what the definition of "we" is. Thanks for the clarification, Rick!

2. Santorum's "True Conservative" endorsement 

Regarding his 2008 endorsement of Romney, Santorum said: "I took him for his word; I shouldn't have."

"It's not the campaign, this is Rick Santorum. I think everyone knows, no one puts words into my mouth. The words out of my mouth were that if you want a Conservative as the nominee of this party, you must vote for Mitt Romney." - Rick Santorum, 2008.

When Santorum was confronted by George Stephanopoulos about a "controversial" portion of his book about women, Santorum responded..."Well, that section of the book was co-written, if you want to be honest about it, by my wife, who is a nurse and a lawyer."

"No one puts words in my mouth." "That section of the book was my wife."
I don't see "Karen Santorum" on that cover so it seems like he let her put words in his mouth. In addition, not only did he not give her credit for "co-writing" the book; but he also threw her under the bus when confronted about a portion of it.

3. "I don't play those games!"

"I don't play those games. I'm more focused on what the voters care about and what they care about is what you're going to do as President, not whether your campaign can spin a story."

"I don't play those games"

4. "Romney has failed to convince people..."

"[Romney] has failed to be able to convince the people of this country and Republicans and Conservatives that he is actually worthy of their support."

Romney has failed to convince the people...that he is actually worthy of their support."
Romney has 1,318,930 more votes than Santorum as of March 24, 2012

5. "ObamaCare is the most important issue of the day..."

Santorum repeatedly says that repealing Obamacare is "the most important issue of the day."  And yet, every exit poll suggests that the economy is the most important issue. 

Illinois Exit Poll: Most Important Issue

Alabama Exit Poll: Most Important Issue

Mississippi Exit Poll: Most Important Issue

Ohio Exit Poll: Most Important Issue

Hmm...even in the ultra-conservative states, the economy is the most important issue.  Yet, Rick says its ObamaCare.  Could Rick be spinning this because he knows Romney is far superior to him on the economy? Nah, Rick doesn't play those games.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Barack Obama's Sermon at Jeremiah Wright's Church in 2005

The following article appeared in the Chicago Tribune on June 22, 2005.  The article provides an excerpt of a Father's Day sermon given by then Senator Barack Obama at Trinity United Church of Christ of Chicago - the church of Jeremiah Wright.  It appears to have been a fine speech, though I was a bit shocked to learn that, not only did Obama sit in Wright's church all those years, but he actually gave at least one sermon there. When running for President in 2008, Obama gave another Father's Day speech, though the NY Times pointed out at the time that he "did not take his Father's Day message to Trinity Church of Christ..."  There was no mention that Obama had taken his previous message to Wright's church.
Here's what it takes to be a bona fide `full-grown' man
June 22, 2005 | By Barack Obama.
In a Father's Day sermon Sunday at a South Side church, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) appealed to fathers in the black community to begin acting like "full-grown" men in order to earn the devotion and respect of their loved ones. The following is an excerpt of that challenge.
I was reflecting in Scripture in preparation for this discussion. I came upon 1st Corinthians, Chapter 13: Verse 11, ... "When I was a child I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child, but when I became a man I put away childish things."
It raises for me the issue of what does it mean to be a full-grown man. Because there are a lot of folks, a lot of brothers, who are walking around and they look like men. ... They've got whiskers, they might even have sired a child, but it's not clear to me that they are full-grown men. What I mean by that is one of the difficulties that African-American men in particular face is that many of us grew up without fathers.
My father was not in the home. I knew him from the stories my mother and my grandparents told me, but I didn't actually meet my father until I was 10 years old ... I met him for a month and then after that I did not see him again. I am not alone in that. A lot of men don't know their fathers. And then there are some of us who had fathers in the house, but they were so distant. ... We might live a whole lifetime with them and not have a sense of who they really are. ...
As a consequence of that, a lot of us had to go and try to figure out how to be a man by ourselves. We've got to kind of piece it together. ... If we're lucky, we've got an uncle or a cousin or somebody in the neighborhood. ...
As a consequence, there are a lot of 30-, 40-, 50-, even some 60-year-olds who never quite grew up, who still engage in childish things, who are more concerned about what they want than what's good for other people, who may not treat their women the way their women deserve to be treated, who may not engage their children and nurture their children in the way their children need to be engaged.
So, the question is, what do we have to do, as a community, to lift up an ideal of being full-grown?
Now, I don't have all the answers.... But there are a couple of things that I think all of us should reflect on in terms of being full-grown.
The first is setting an example of excellence for our children.... If we are to pass on high expectations to our children we've got to have high expectations for ourselves. It is wonderful if a black man has a job, but it's even better if a black man owns a business.... It is a wonderful thing that you are married and living in a home with your children, but don't just sit in the house watching "SportsCenter" all weekend long....
We know that our children's future is in education. The day when you could walk into a steel mill, and if you had a strong back and were willing to work you would be able to support a family--those days are over. Our children are competing against not just folks from Indiana ... our children are competing against folks in China,... playing the world game, which means we have to achieve the highest educational levels.
Sometimes I go to an 8th-grade graduation and there's all that pomp and circumstance and gowns and flowers. It's just 8th grade, people. They've got to get out of high school, then they've got to go to college, then they've got to get a graduate degree if they want to compete. ... An 8th-grade education is not going to cut it! Just give them a handshake. Congratulations, now get your butt in the library.
I know that our schools don't have all of the equipment. ... I understand that the school-financing system in the state is screwed up. ... I understand that our teachers need more money. And I understand that we need more computers and equipment. I understand all those things, but let me say this: That is no excuse.
We have to get beyond making excuses if we are going to be full-grown.... To be full-grown, you have to live out your values, and teach your children to live out your values, not just give them lip service to your values. You can tell what's important to somebody, not by what they say, but by what they do. Where they put their bite, where they put their energy, where they put their time....
One of the values that I think men in particular have to pass on is the value of empathy. Not sympathy, empathy. And what that means is standing in somebody else's shoes, being able to look through their eyes. You know, sometimes we get so caught up in "us" that it's hard to see that there are other people and that your behavior has an impact on them. And sometimes brothers in particular don't like to feel empathy, don't like to think in terms of "How does this affect other people?" because we think that's being soft. There's a culture in our society that says we can't show weakness and we can't, therefore, show kindness. That we can't be considerate because sometimes that makes us look weak. That sometimes we can't listen to what our women say because we don't want to act like they're in charge.
And our young boys see that. They see when you are ignoring your wife. They see when you are inconsiderate at home. They see when you are thinking only about yourself. And so we've got to learn to pass on the value of kindness.
One of the things that I learned about being a man is that you're not strong by putting other people down, you're strong by lifting them up.
The last thing that's required for being a full-grown man is hope.
Sometimes when we think about our history ... it's hard to feel hopeful sometimes. And yet Scripture reminds us that what makes hope hope is that you can't see it right there.... It seems to me that the greatest gift that we can pass on to our children is understanding that God is looking after us in this difficult journey, and that, even if we don't realize it, there's a plan for us.
And that, if we do what we must do ... if we try to be true to the example of our father and use the gifts that he's given us, then not only can we be full-grown, but ultimately that we can raise the kinds of young men that will make us all proud.

- Barack Obama, Here's what it takes to be a bona fide ‘full-grown’ man, June 19, 2005, Father's Day address at his Trinity United Church of Christ of Chicago (in Chi. Trib., June 22, 2005, at 27).

Santorum - The REAL Etch-a-Sketch Artist...

Back in 2008, Santorum said Romney was a Conservative

At a rally in Texas yesterday, Rick Santorum said (comparing Romney and Obama) “[i]f they’re going to be a little different, we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk of what may be the Etch A Sketch candidate for the future.”  Translation = Obama is preferable to Romney.

Well, Santorum has officially lost his mind! He has become so wrapped up in his own divinely inspired Presidential campaign, that he has lost sight of what is important; beating Obama. He seems to be staying in this race against all hope, logic, math, finance, dignity and probability just to stick it to Romney. The problem is, the MSM is too busy pointing out how crazy he is on social issues and many right-wing talkers are too busy propping him up and protecting him, that almost no one is actually challenging him on his hypocrisy.  Well, I did here and here

And so he goes on making illogical statement after illogical statement.  How is it not a bigger issue that Santorum endorsed Romney as a true conservative in 2008 even though RomneyCare was enacted in 2006? Did Rick just shake the Etch-a-Sketch on that one? Right to work? Shake! College education for everyone? Shake! Unite behind eventual GOP nominee? Shake! First amendment freedom, but use Gov't to crack down on pornography? Shake! Get Gov't out of our lives but use it to regulate contraception (allegedly)? Shake! Increase the debt ceiling? Shake! Earmarks? Shake! Individual mandate? Shake! Shake again! When it comes to Santorum, there's a whole lotta' shakin' goin' on!


Thursday, March 22, 2012

'Liberal In Nature' FREE on Kindle!

For a limited time, my book - Liberal In Nature - will be available for FREE on Kindle. Please check it out and leave a glowing review! :) Below is a synopsis of the story:

Following a crushing political defeat, Andrew, a self-proclaimed liberal, flees society to live in the wilderness. He settles in a beautiful, isolated valley that is rich with mountains, streams, animals and lush vegetation. Andrew feels he has finally found Utopia, even as he struggles to find his purpose there.

After several months of observing the patterns and cycles of the valley, Andrew realizes that nature is not the natural utopia he once believed it to be. He sees squirrels that gather more nuts than others, a bear who dominates and bullies the other animals, a misunderstood wolf who is the victim of prejudice, trees that don’t get as much sunlight as others, salmon who can’t spawn because of oppressive waterfalls, deer who have to work too hard for their food and much more. With each organism seeking only its own self-interest, there is no one to regulate the valley and promote fairness among the plants and animals.

Andrew takes it upon himself to bring hope and change to the valley by encouraging fairness and equality. Applying his liberal ideology, he intercedes on behalf of oppressed and underprivileged organisms as he strives to fundamentally transform the valley. He sees himself as a savior to the valley and he tries to earn the animals’ trust by easing their burdens. His meddling, however, disrupts the balance of nature eventually producing unexpected and undesirable consequences.

Is nature fair? Is there redistribution of wealth in the wilderness? Can you create a welfare state amongst animals? Are there winners and losers in the animal kingdom? Can fairness be achieved? What happens when certain animals become too dominant? Liberal In Nature addresses these questions and more while touching on important social and political issues such as: abortion, affirmative action, the death penalty, the economy, education, energy, global warming, gun control, health care, homeland security, immigration, private property, the relationship between religion and government, social security, taxes, the Tea Party, terrorism, and welfare.

Liberal In Nature is a witty, satirical political novel aimed at anyone who has an interest in politics. It is layered with parables, metaphors, irony and humor, making it an extremely entertaining read for Conservatives, Liberals and everyone in between!

Friday, March 16, 2012


The following is Q & A between Kristyna C. Ryan, of the Young Lawyer Journal, and Barack Obama back in 2004.

18-NOV CBA Rec. 46
CBA Record
November, 2004
Young Lawyer Journal
Kristyna C. Ryana1
Copyright © 2004 by The Chicago Bar Association; Kristyna C. Ryan
Barack Obama burst onto the national political scene this summer as the keynote speaker for the Democratic National Convention. Before gaining such high visibility in the national party, Obama was unknown to most of the United States, but he was not unknown in Illinois politics.
A graduate of Columbia University with a degree in political science, Obama worked as a community organizer on the south side of Chicago. He went on to Harvard Law School, where he graduated magna cum laude and served as the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review.
After graduating from Harvard, Obama returned to Illinois and organized one of the largest voter registration drives in Chicago history to help Bill Clinton’s election campaign. He worked for Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland as a civil rights attorney and is a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School.
In 1996, Obama was elected as the Illinois State Senator for the 13th District, where he has served for the past eight years. His most recent run for the U.S. Senate is not his first foray into national politics; Obama ran an unsuccessful campaign for Congress in 2000. Obama, who will be Illinois’ Junior Senator in Washington, kindly responded in writing to the following questions.
Q: The United States frequently bears the brunt of criticism for being overly litigious. Do you think there are too many attorneys in the United States, or do you think that increasing legal education results in a more informed electorate?
A: Though it may be true that we have too many lawsuits in some areas, I do not think that means that we have too many lawyers. We are too quick to malign and caricature lawyers, and we sometimes forget the good work that lawyers have done and continue to do. From Abraham Lincoln to Thurgood Marshall, lawyers have done a tremendous service to our society and, on occasion, even changed the world.
For me, legal education has always been about an exchange of ideas about the ideal for our society: how to create community and what obligations to impose on its members; how to achieve justice for the vulnerable and less fortunate in that community; how to reconcile our freedoms with our commitments to our community. There are, of course, competing visions and ideas about these issues. But in law school, you find people raising these important questions, discussing them, debating the facts and consequences. Through the process, there were times as a student and a professor where I observed that the discussion led the participants to reach areas of consensus. And I’ve always been encouraged by that, and I think it explains why those who have been privileged enough to obtain a legal education have played leading roles in our public life.
Q: More specifically, what would you do about escalating health care costs resulting from high judgments against doctors in the medical profession?
A: No one can deny that malpractice insurance premiums are going up — in Illinois and nationally — and making it too expensive for doctors to provide the care our citizens need in crucial areas. Something must be done, in both the short-and longterm, on a state and federal level. That is why I supported the medical malpractice reform bill sponsored by Illinois doctors in Springfield and why I want to go to Washington to fight for those reforms on a federal level. Any malpractice reform package must attack the problem at all levels — reducing frivolous lawsuits by cracking down on bad lawyers and shaky lawsuits, reducing insurance premiums by cracking down on malpractice insurance companies [that] are driving up doctors’ payments in order to make their own profits increase, and reducing medical errors by cracking down on bad doctors.
Q: What do you think is the most important responsibility of young lawyers, and what advice would you give young lawyers today?
A: I’m a strong believer in the idea that, at its core, the law is a profession in service of the public interest. I think what brings many students to the profession is this commitment to doing good, to justice and service, and I understand that it is sometimes difficult at the beginning of their careers to think about how to continue that commitment. I think whether young lawyers pursue public interest work directly in the non-profit or government sectors, or instead from the base of a law firm or corporation or in academia, there are many ways to serve.
So my advice to young lawyers would be to constantly look for ways to give back and to serve. Not only will their doing so do a lot of good for our communities, it will also enrich their careers. And it will go a long way toward improving that image of lawyers you asked about in the previous question.
*47 Q: Winston Churchill said, “Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has no heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains.” In mainstream American politics, our populous seems to be growing increasingly moderate. What do you feel are the roles of the liberal and conservative extremes in American politics?
A: I have said repeatedly that I am wary of labels. I think it is too easy to create caricatures of what it means to be liberal or conservative. And those caricatures do not always hold up to a closer scrutiny of the facts or of a person’s record. Moreover, I worry that they feed into the divisiveness and bitter partisanship that is afflicting Washington.
Your observation that the populous seems to be growing increasingly moderate, I think, reflects that there are shared values that unite Americans across political divides: we all want quality education for our children; access to healthcare, especially for the most vulnerable among us; good paying jobs. These common values cannot be reduced to easy labels, and I think we are witnessing a convergence in the electorate that shows that our nation is perhaps not as divided about certain core issues as some pundits would have it.
Q: It seems that young lawyers today do not have the desire or drive to help those less fortunate than lawyers in previous generations. Why do you think this is, and what do you think can be done to increase compassion in today’s young lawyers?
A: I think that the premise of this question is perhaps based on an unfair generalization. As a constitutional law professor, I have encountered many young lawyers who, I think, are just as passionate about using their degrees to do good as were my own law school classmates. I think what some see as disinterest may reflect a series of changes over the last few decades on several fronts. For example, the rising cost of legal education means that young lawyers are unfortunately saddled with debt approaching six figures when they graduate, forcing many to go into private practice and delay entering public service careers. But that does not, I think, mean that those lawyers are any less compassionate or committed to service.
Q: How should the United States go about balancing human rights and security? Are there constitutional rights which should be curtailed in this country to allow the government to fight the war on terror? Does the USA PATRIOT ACT adequately balance the two needs?
A: [The idea of] Freedom and equality for all under the law is among the core values that make this country great. We must protect these core values from attacks from both without and within. The war on terror should not be an excuse to roll back the fundamental rights on which our nation stands. If we sacrifice the rights to privacy and due process in the face of threat or attack, we are, in effect, sacrificing our democratic way of life. While I believe in ensuring that our intelligence and law enforcement officials receive the utmost assistance in *48 their efforts to keep us safe, such efforts can and must remain within Constitutional bounds. Never has the need for an independent judiciary been so clear. We must have judges who ensure that the Administration’s actions do not go unchecked. We must also guarantee the right of habeas corpus so that those judges can review unjust convictions and sentences.
I do not believe that the USA PATRIOT ACT strikes the appropriate balance between the goals of national security and civil liberties. While I believe the USA PATRIOT ACT made many reasonable and necessary changes in the law to ensure that law enforcement has access to expanded types of information, such as being allowed to intercept cell phone calls and not just land-based calls, [it] goes too far in violating our fundamental notions of privacy, thus seriously eroding the very ideals at the heart of our country’s greatness.
Two provisions underscore the USA PATRIOT ACT’s flaws. Section 215...allows law enforcement officials to compel people such as librarians and others to disclose evidence regarding third parties without the third party’s knowledge and without probable cause that the suspect has engaged in criminal activity. Another section provides for “sneak and peek” warrants, which enable searches to be conducted outside the presence of the person being searched and without prior or contemporary notice. Not only do such provisions violate our fundamental notions of privacy, but the lack of probable cause and notice requirements under Section 215 erode a cornerstone of our democracy — namely, that the actions of a sometimes overzealous and overreaching Executive Branch are subject to challenge by the target of governmental action. I would support the repeal of these provisions.
Q: How do you feel about the recent Supreme Court decisions in Rasul v. Bush and Hamdi v. Rumsfeld? Do you feel the Court has hampered the ability of our armed forces to prosecute the war on terror? Or, do you think that it has struck a blow for civil liberty and the rights of American citizens?
A: I think that the Rasul and Hamdi decisions reaffirm that our country remains a nation of laws, and not of men. In Hamdi, the Court ruled that American citizens detained in the United States as enemy combatants must be given a fair opportunity to contest the government’s claims before an impartial adjudicator. In Rasul, the Court held that foreign terrorism suspects detained by the United States at Guantanamo Bay have the right to challenge the legality of their detentions in court. I do not think that those decisions have hampered our ability to fight the war on terror, but merely reaffirmed our country’s long-standing principle that the government may not place any person beyond the reach of the law.
I understand the difficult circumstances in which we find ourselves today. Homeland security is one of our greatest and most important challenges, and we must be aggressive and vigilant to ensure that those who seek to commit violence against us are apprehended and brought to justice. I agree with the Supreme Court that there are very narrow circumstances [under] which a suspect should be detained for a specific and determined period — circumstances [under] which an immediate threat can be prevented as a consequence of information that [an] individual possesses. However, we must refrain from approaches that result in the wholesale suspension or denial of our rights under the guise of necessary wartime precautions. Any measures we take to assist or expedite our antiterrorist efforts must keep the Constitutional guarantees of our nation firmly in mind.
We must be sure that our treatment of those we detain conforms to the values of America and its military. We must be aware that we are high profile players on an international stage and that our treatment of those we detain informs the opinions and actions of those with whom we must work. We also must make sure that our actions regarding foreign detainees do not jeopardize the fair and humane treatment of American citizens who might fall into enemy hands, or our ability to demand that they be treated in line with international standards of justice.
Q: Which three projects do you think are of most importance to Illinois? What would you do to see them become a reality?
A: First, we must address the need for greater airport capacity in our state’s northeastern region. We must share economic growth throughout our region by modernizing *49 O’Hare, constructing a new airport near Peotone, and expanding operations at our existing regional airports like the Greater Rockford Airport. [Such changes would be] good for our national aviation system, as well as for interstate, and international, commerce. I will work in Washington to reconcile opposing views through respectful negotiation and principled compromise, as I so often did in my eight years in the Illinois Senate and in many years of community involvement before that.
Second, we must continue to invest in the infrastructure that is so vital to economic expansion. I will fight to ensure that Illinois receives its fair share of federal transportation money — including highway, transit, and highway safety funds. Specifically, we should invest in CREATE—a great example of a public-private partnership—which is needed to upgrade and improve the freight rail system in Chicago. This project will improve freight traffic, benefit Metra and Amtrak, contribute to cleaner air, and spark needed economic development along the five corridors. It could bring $3.8 billion in economic benefits and an annual 2,700 full-time construction jobs to the region.
A third priority of mine will be investment in research. Over the years, American business has prospered greatly from basic research funded by the federal government. Yet the current federal budget proposal would move us in the wrong direction, cutting research funding for 21 agencies — including the National Institutes for Health. At this critical time, when we’re facing so many challenges to our global economic leadership, I believe we must not lose our scientific and technological advantage to foreign competitors. Specifically, I will fight to maintain a steady stream of federal support for Illinois’ own Fermilab and Argonne National Laboratory, work to make permanent the R&D tax credit, and champion funding to study innovative production techniques to find new uses for Illinois crops.
Kristyna C. Ryan is a Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Young Lawyers Journal of the CBA Record and a solo practitioner. She can be reached at

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Here are yet another article dealing with Critical Race Theory, not as a benign exploration of race and law, but as an exposé about white supremacy and white privilege.

Minnesota Law Review
June, 1999
Essays in Response to Beyond All Reason
Jerome McCristal Culp, Jr.d1
Copyright (c) 1999 Minnesota Law Review Foundation; Jerome McCristal Culp, Jr.
Toni Morrison once explained how deeply meaning can be buried in a text. She was asked where in the text of her novel, Beloved, Sethe killed the baby. She answered the questioner by replying confidently that it had happened in a particular chapter, but when she went to look for it there she--the author-- could not find it. Meanings can be difficult even for the authors of a text. The same thing is true for the texts written by the multiple authors of a movement. What did we mean and where is a particular event or idea located? These are questions that are difficult for any one person, even someone who, like myself, has at least been a participant in the writing of the text. There may be meanings--unintended meanings--that we who participate are not aware of and it is important to ferret them out.
Ten years after its formal beginning, critical race theory is under assault by those inside and outside the legal academy for supposed ugly things contained within the texts that make up the body of its work. Our movement has been almost exclusively a written and spoken community. We have met to facilitate those words, and the product of those meetings and that collaboration is strewn among law reviews and books that have become central to aspects of the legal academy. Unfortunately, some of our critics have claimed to find within those multiple-authored multiple texts anti-Semitism, anti-white, anti-white male, anti-Asian and other uncivil by- *1638 products. The critics of critical race theory have attempted to find this message of hate buried in the clear testament of hope and a requirement of transformation stated in the pages of the law reviews and books written by many authors. I do not believe that an evil message is there and certainly none of the critics have come close to naming it. These critics do not understand that there are critical race theories. There are many theories that unite and divide everyone who could be accused of being or claim to be members of the critical race theory movement, but there is a common belief in an opposition to oppression.
In making this charge the critics of critical race theory have failed to acknowledge the deeply embedded message of critical race theory. That message is that race is only skin deep, but white supremacy runs to the bone.1 Race is only skin *1639 deep because it is always a social construction (but a very important social construction) and the work of critical race theory is to go beyond the socially constructed boundaries and is exactly about understanding race’s importance but scientific insignificance.
The second and related part of the construction of critical race theory is that white supremacy goes to the bone. White racism in its many guises is deeply buried in the structure of the law and the legal academy.2 This view of the world reverses the way that race has traditionally been seen in the legal academy. To the traditional legal scholar race, in the words of Neil Gotanda, is simply formal race--race is biologically connected and socially insignificant and racism is something that can only be done by Bull Connor or George Wallace before his salvation. The racism of proposition 187 or Amendment 2 in Colorado or the racism that is part of sexism are not possible. The people of California or Colorado or most men [white and nonwhite] are simply not racist or sexist. To the legal world before critical race theory, race went to the bone, but racism was only skin-connected and deep. The whole process of critical race theory has been to construct a new and powerful story. Part of the argument of American legal scholarship, like Sethe’s baby, is dead and haunts our present. The ghost here is our loyalty to the status quo and a certain part of liberal theory. Ultimately, the part of liberal theory and the status quo that we must reject is the white privilege embedded there. The problem of course is to find it and our own privilege with it, and to keep it from continuing to haunt our present.