Saturday, November 29, 2008


By Norris McDonald

I was taking my daily walk to the store to pick up my newspapers and noticed that the tall weeds had been cut along both sides of the sidewalk. I thought it looked very nice and since it was a globally warmed November day, the grasshoppers were just hopping everywhere. I noticed the same owl that seemed to have staked out the two fields across the street from each other and he flew towards the street right into a car. He bounced off the windshield and fell into the street. Evidently it is not that unusual though because another Blog, Journals of an Amateur Naturalist, gives a good explanation for the phenomenon.

He was still just in the road enough so that other cars could run over him so I decided to help before that happened. I thought that even though he would probably never fly again, that I might still save his life. I picked up a rolled newspaper and was going to push him out of the street, but just as I took two steps towards him, he flew up. Unfortunately, he flew right into the path of an SUV and was hit dead on at about 45 miles per hour. This time he was dead. He was in the other lane and I waited for the traffic to clear and placed his dead body over in the brush off the side of the road.

I wondered how such a thing could happen so quickly on such a beautiful day. This Barred Owl, pictured above right, was a magnificient bird having a typical day. And it was over in a flash. Yet tragedy seemed to be added to injury by the second hit. I realize now that if I could have helped the bird, he might have survived. Yet my trying to help got him or her killed. It was just a horrible reminder that sometimes life is just not fair and death could come at any moment.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Obama Adminstration and the Congressional Black Caucus

On Environment

The 42 members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and President-Elect Barack Obama are reasonably compatible on environmental issues. Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), who represents California's 9th congressional district in San Francisco's Bay Area, has been elected Chairwoman of the CBC. These two leaders will have very interesting environmental issues to address and global warming will be at the top of the list. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and CBC Chairwoman Lee are not only geographically close but very close on environmental issues as well. It will be interesting to see how CBC members supporting nuclear power, such as House Majority Whip James Clyburn and Texas Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, will interact with CBC Chairwoman Lee, who opposes nuclear power.

Although we do not necessarily agree with some of the environmental issues selected by the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) in their voting charts, the CBC consistently scores in the upper eighties or lower nineties and are usually the highest voting caucus in Congress decade after decade. LCV also endorsed President-Elect Obama during the campaign. The CBC opposed President Bush on the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Obama voted for it). The CBC also opposed the Bush administration's Clear Skies Initiative. Obama voted against the Clear Skies Initiative legislation while a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. The tied vote along party lines with a couple of Republicans joining the Democrats killed the measure. Senator Obama and the CBC opposed Bush administration proposals for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve and the Healthy Forest Initiative.

The CBC is not monolithic in its views on environmental policy. There will clearly be disagreements between President Obama and the CBC just as there are differences within the CBC. One thing is clear though, the CBC and President Obama will do the best they can to assure that America will have as clean an environment as possible. Another item is certain too: we need African American ownership of energy infrastructure and products, including coal, oil refineries, natural gas, power plants, oil, solar and wind power farms.

AAEA has some questions for the CBC and the Obama administration:

1) Will the Obama administration be better than the Clinton administration on environmental issues?

2) Will the Obama administration and the CBC promote serious environmental justice legislation?

3) Which sector is more segregated, the GOP or the environmental movement?

4) Why do you think Blacks do not own any part of the energy infrastructure in the United States?

5) Does global warming have a more serious impact on Black communities than majority communities?

To: On Energy

Congressional Black Caucus & Obama Administration

On Energy

The 42 members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and President-Elect Barack Obama are reasonably compatible on energy issues. Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), who represents California's 9th congressional district in San Francisco's Bay Area, has been elected Chairwoman of the CBC. Although Senator Obama missed the vote on the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (H.R. 6) (on the campaign trail), he voted for the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008, which was included in the financial bailout bill (H.R. 1424: Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008).

Senator Barack Obama voted for the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (H.R. 6-different from the other one) and so did 43% of the CBC. Before Obama was elected to the Senate, 92% of the CBC opposed drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR). The majority of the CBC (57%) supported Yucca Mountain as the repository for the storage of spent nuclear waste.

It will be interesting to see how President Obama and the CBC will end up on the energy issues that will be facing the 111th Congress. They will easily agree on Green Jobs and supporting alternative technologies. But how will they fare on coal, nuclear, natural gas, liquefied natural gas and oil issues? It will alsobe interesting to see how the Obama administration and the CBC will agree or disagree on the components of global warming mitigation legislation. The CBC is not monolithic in its views on energy policy. There will clearly be disagreements between President Obama and the CBC just as there are differences within the CBC. One thing is clear though, the CBC and President Obama will do the best they can to assure that America remains dynamic in its production and delivery of energy.

Note: AAEA President Norris McDonald organized the first CBC Energy Braintrust for the late Congressman Mickey Leland in 1981.

To: On Environment

Monday, November 24, 2008

John Boyd Would Make An Excellent Agriculture Secretary

John Boyd, left, has been an advocate for the fair treatment of black farmers for over three decades. The black farmers have been locked out of receiving credit from banks, discriminated against in federal farm subsidy programs, and generally excluded from the normal channels of support that white farmers easily enjoy. Even Mike Espy, as Agriculture Secretary, was bamboozled by the Clinton administration (not supported though exonerated from minor charges). John Boyd has seen it all. And unfortunately the U.S. Department of Agriculture does not have a good record on civil rights. Appointment of John Boyd as Agriculture Secretary would help to right centuries of wrongs agains black farmers.

Who is John W. Boyd? Mr. Boyd, pictured at left with then Senator Obama, moved to his grandfather’s tobacco farm in Virginia from his hometown of Queens, New York at age 15 He completed high school and a few years of agricultural college before trying his hand at his own tobacco farm, then poultry farming with a contract to Perdue Farms on 200 acres, and now a mix of corn, wheat, soybeans, and cattle on 300 acres. But Mr. Boyd’s forte has been as a community organizer and civil rights activist. Since founding the National Black Farmers Association in 1995, Mr. Boyd has worked tirelessly from his office in town part-time, and travelled extensively. Select accomplishments:

Built up the National Black Farmers Association to a membership of 94,000.

Lobbied Congress on Capitol Hill to deliver on the Pigford Decision, which found in the 1980’s that the USDA had discriminated against African American farmers and ranchers in providing services, as well as lending, throughout its history. Unfortunately, many claims remained backlogged in the agency, and unsettled. Further, new discrimination continued to occur throughout the agency, where local officials and boards controlled access to USDA programs such as farm loans, crop loans, disaster assistance, and marketing aid.

Developed relationships with other community organizing social and economic justice groups.

Organized numerous marches and protest demonstrations in Washington of black farmers and their supporters to call attention to the needs of this voting constiuency, with the slogan “we have the mule, now where’s our forty acres?”

Friday, November 21, 2008

Harry Alford Extremely Critical of Henry Paulson Contracting

November 20, 2008

Honorable Henry Paulson, Jr.
US Department of Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20220
Re: Bailout Funding

Dear Secretary Paulson:

When you proposed the $700 billion+ bailout you urged Congress to waive the FAR Procurement Law. My fear was you were doing this to once again dupe Congress from their commitment to small and minority owned businesses. My fears now seem to be realized.

I have just read from your website a "Financial Agency Agreement for Custodian, Accounting, Auction Management and Other Infrastructure Services for a Portfolio of Troubled Mortgage-Related Assets" (dated October 14, 2008). In this agreement with Bank of New York Mellon you allow for foreign workers to participate and include the India subsidiary of this company. In essence, US tax money is being outsourced overseas to India. I suspect the purpose is for Mellon to reap obscene profits (pay India rates and pocket the rest).

We consider this a moral outrage and a betrayal of the peoples' trust. There is a myriad of minority owned firms trying to compete for this business while your people cavalierly send it overseas without bid or consideration.

Please inform this office how many of these contracts or agreements to foreign sources now exist and what dollar amount is involved. Also, please inform us which minority owned businesses have been contracted, if any, for business concerning the Bailout (names, addresses and amounts). My other fear is that there is little or none. By copy of this letter I am requesting Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to ensure that you respect this request.

As a US citizen, Army veteran and African American I find this action deplorable. May we all rise with outrage and demand a quick change. This action is hurting businesses and individuals at a time when the economy can ill afford chicanery.


Harry C. Alford
National Black Chamber of Commerce

cc: Honorable George W. Bush, President
Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House
Honorables Harry Reid, John Kerry, Barney Frank, James Clyburn, Barbara Lee, Nydia Velazquez

AAEA Field Negroes Decry Al Queda "House Negro"Comment

Al Qaeda is confused. Osama bin Laden, right, through one of his minions, called the leader of the most powerful nation on Earth a 'House Negro.' Their confusion comes from the fact that President-Elect Obama does not just 'work' in the White House, he is in charge of the White House. Note the distinction. A House Negro was a slave working in the plantation house. Today it is used to perjoratively refer to a perceived 'Uncle Tom' employee. President-Elect Obama is America's top boss. How could being the leader of the free world ever be confused with being a House Negro? Of course, if you are operating from inside a cave, it might be hard to appreciate former Senator Obama's accomplishment.

We organic field negroes at AAEA are also apoplectic that Al Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, would invoke the name of the honorable El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X) in a futile attempt to blunt Muslim enthusiasm for President-Elect Obama. Zawahiri's ruse is pathetic. Malcolm X would consider Barack Obama to be a revolutionary for justice and the fulfilment of his and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dreams.

Pimp daddy Ayman al-Zawahiri, above, should also know that American Blacks are familiar with every permutation of 'divide-and-conquer (D&C).' Whether it is al Qaeda promoting a 21st Century version D&C, or others seeking to undermine our new leader, know that we have seen and experienced every conceivable way D&C is utilized. So calling the president-elect a "house slave" who would do the bidding of his white masters will not distract us. For the terrorist cowards who flew defenseless airline passengers, including innocent women and children, into our buildings and into the ground are evil incarnate. And we invite the cave dwelling Ayman al-Zawahiri to come to Anacostia or South Chicago or Compton or the South Bronx and call our great leader a 'house negro.'

Naomi94 Recites It All In the Video Below

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Black-on-Black Violence Hurts Community & America

Why would any white person want to live in a black neighborhood when every night the news shows violence in those communities? Although it is not as bad as it looks, the nightly reminder that blacks are murdering other blacks has to be sobering. Do we want an integrated America or do we want to a segregated America? We believe the election of Barack Obama has signalled that Americans want an integrated America. And we do not see whites brutalizing blacks on the evening news. We see black mothers screaming in agony over the loss of another son. So blacks move into white communities without worries of violence, while it probably is not even a consideration by whites to move into a black community. Black-on-black murder and violence is a curse on the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who wanted us to judge each other on the content of our character.

According to the Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC)

"...a clear majority of blacks remain willing to live in areas where their group is in the minority, and show a clear perference for 50/50 neighborhoods. Nonetheless, substantial differences remain in both the meaning and preferred levels of racial integration across racial categories. For many whites, a racially integrated neighborhood is one that is majority white. To put it plainly, whites are willing to live with small numbers of blacks, but prefer to live in predominantly same-race neighborhoods."
This pattern is clear because even though Prince George's County, Maryland is the richest majority black county in America, whites still moved away in droves as high income blacks moved in. Yet looking at the violence advertised every evening on the news, who can blame whites for not wanting to live among blacks. White racism can be blamed for some of the reluctance, but common sense is another. If this violent trend does not change very soon, single black mothers should consider moving out of these violent areas. Maybe it is time for them to consider moving back down south. Better a bucolic rural existence than to lose one's son to the insanity of Black-on-Black murder.

Monday, November 17, 2008

President-Elect Obama Should Question Green Segregation

PRESIDENT'S CORNER: By Norris McDonald. Traditional environmental groups are giddy about the prospects of how an Obama administration can accelerate the goals of our movement. Yet these same groups are as segregated as they have ever been. Before they go asking the Obama administration for anything, President-Elect Obama should inquire about their historical discriminatory hiring and retention practices. Although the vast majority of groups arrogantly ignored our Diversity Survey, one peep from any Obama official will probably get a rapid response. A list of 30 groups recently provided their wish list of recommendations for the Obama transition team("Transition To Green). Notice how minority environmental groups were conveniently excluded from their list. One of the largest groups even admitted to us that they had never hired a Black person in a policy position. Yet they blindly and arrogantly attack EPA with the recommendation below:

Vigorously Investigate and Enforce Title VI claims

Despite rampant evidence of environmental discrimination, the EPA has rejected, on either jurisdictional or other grounds, all but one of the hundreds of Title VI claims submitted to the agency, and that one claim was ultimately unsuccessful. The new Administration must reverse this course by complying with EPA Title VI implementing regulations governing the review and investigation of civil rights complaints.

I have been around for 30 years and there are almost as few black professionals working for mainstream environmental groups now as there were in 1979. I was the only black professional working in the Washington, D.C.-based environmental movement then. At a very minimum the $6 billion per year green movement could create Vice President for Government Relations, or Vice President for Outreach or Vice Prisident for Human Resources the same way the industry groups and their associations do it. Mainstream green groups can continue to arrogantly run, but they can no longer hide (I hope). President Obama is going to find out. Now although America has stepped up to the plate, will the environmental movement finally integrate? Or maybe groups such as ours,, Green For All, and the National Hispanic Environmental Council, among others, will still be necesary and have to carry all the load in getting expanded perspectives included in the environmental agenda. So mainstream green groups, don't go thinking President Obama is going to fall for some 'post-racial' gobbledygook.

President-Elect Obama will not be bamboozled by the enthusiasm of the green groups. America took a great step forward in electing Senator Obama, but the environmental movement is still stuck in the pre-first-Earth Day-segregated 1960s. I voted for President-Elect Obama and so did the members of these groups. Unfortunately, they seem to be secretly proud of their racial exclusivity. At least that is my opinion. I think President-Elect Obama and his transition team should at least take a look at our Diversity Report Card and see if you can help us to get the groups to answer us. We would appreciate it.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo & Carol Browner

Update: President Elect Obama has made a powerful statement in fulfillment of the No FEAR Act by nomiminating Lisa P. Jackson to be his EPA administrator. AAEA looks forward to supporting her nomination when it is considered by the U.S. Senate.

Does President Elect Barack Obama know about the history of these two women at EPA? Does John Podesta? Dr. Coleman-Adebayo admired Ms. Browner until this former EPA administrator chose confrontation instead of cooperation in addressing discrimination against Marsha. A jury awarded Adebayo $600,000 and Congress backed Dr. Coleman-Adebayo with the NO FEAR ACT. The president signed the bill into law on May 15, 2002.

AAEA and other organizations are recommending Dr. Coleman-Adebayo to be the next EPA administrator. We believe it would send the appropriate signal to the full federal workforce that the Obama administration is serious about discrimination issues and protecting whistleblowers. Carol Browner would do well to recommend Dr. Coleman-Adebayo as the next EPA administrator since she is on President Elect Obama's transition team and there is chatter about her being appointed as the energy czar. It would clean the air and clear the record. Justice would be served and these two dynamic women could be friendly colleagues again.

Is The Black Community Still Necessary In America?

There is a black community in virtually every city in the United States. We at AAEA say that, "the black community is as American as apple pie." Yet the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States changes the racial paradigm in America. From an environmental perspective, this leads to the question in the title.

Should blacks aggressively move out of black enclaves and into white communities? Will whites accept blacks and not move out as blacks move in as has been the history in America? Obama's election clearly signals a shift in white attitudes. What about blacks? It is only natural to not want to be where you are not wanted and many, if not most, blacks still feel more comfortable in African American neighborhoods. Will the election of Obama affect the thinking of blacks? Will whites move to black communities? Gentrification has been a common complaint among blacks for some time now. Yet America seems to thrive on its 'categorization' of people.

France does not categorize its citizens by race. All people in France are French. We guess this same designation will come to America when its communities are fully integrated. Yet there are black enclaves in France too. The French simply do not place a categorical name on them. There is also prejudice and racism in France. Yet the Obama phenomenon must have blacks and whites alike thinking about what could be. Maybe what should be. Imagine that.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

President Elect Barack Obama on Energy & Environment

AAEA stands ready to work with President Elect Barack Obama to implement an effective energy strategy that will give our country abundant, reliable and affordable energy supplies while protecting the environment.

President Obama's energy and environmental positions in the Senate and during the campaign are listed below:

Supports 10 year $150 billion program to create 5 million green jobs.

Supports windfall profits tax on oil companies

Good on the global warming issue (except for auctioning offsets)

Supports Cap-and-Trade for Global Warming mitigation

Opposed expanding offshore oil drilling (changed position)

Opposes drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR)

Pro cellulosic ethanol Friendly to Coal-To-Liquid (CTL)

Luke warm on nuclear power (opposes reprocessing)

Opposes Yucca Mountain

Opposed temporary suspension of federal gasoline tax

Supports Renewables Portfolio Standards

Voted FOR Energy Policy Act of 2005

Missed vote on Energy Independence & Security Act of 2007

Opposed Global Warming Legislation in Illinois State Senate in 1997

Opposes tapping Strategic Petroleum Reserve (Changed Position)

Supported Financial Bailout Bill (Included Renewables Tax Package)