Monday, March 31, 2008

Are Kenyans Worth Good Leadership?

There is a saying that goes like this-

"you can take a cow to the river but you can not force the cow to drink water!"

Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Masinde Muliro and Martin Shikuku (etc) led us to the river trekking through treacherous terrain, stepping on venomous snakes along our path to the drinking hole. However as soon as we reached the river bank, we were so dazed and confused that we couldn't quench our democratic thirst; since 1992 we have been staring at River Democracy blankly and yet still very painfully thirsty for a drink. We beat all odds on the way to the river, sometimes trekking in the middle of the night daring the leopards and the hyenas, but when we reached the river, we got scared of the Phrynobatrachus Keniensis a.k.a Kenyan River Frogs.... Now we have been waiting for the frogs to let us drink, begging them to please just share the water with us and they have refused. What a quagmire we face?



Dr. Fredrick Shamalla Masinde
Brooklyn, NY

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Obama Related to Bush, Ford,Johnson, Madison, Churchill, Cheney!

President George Bush

Vice President Dick Cheney

President Lyndon Johnson

Prime Minister Winston Chuirchill

President Gerald Ford
BOSTON - This could make for one odd family reunion: Barack Obama is a distant cousin of actor Brad Pitt, and Hillary Rodham Clinton is related to Pitt's girlfriend, Angelina Jolie.

Researchers at the New England Historic Genealogical Society found some remarkable family connections for the three presidential candidates — Democratic rivals Obama and Clinton, and Republican John McCain.

Clinton, who is of French-Canadian descent on her mother's side, is also a distant cousin of singers Madonna, Celine Dion and Alanis Morissette. Obama, the son of a white woman from Kansas and a black man from Kenya, can call six U.S. presidents, including George W. Bush, his cousins. McCain is a sixth cousin of first lady Laura Bush.

Genealogist Christopher Child said that while the candidates often focus on pointing out differences between them, their ancestry shows they are more alike than they think.

"It shows that lots of different people can be related, people you wouldn't necessarily expect," Child said.

Obama has a prolific presidential lineage that features Democrats and Republicans. His distant cousins include President George W. Bush and his father, George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford, Lyndon Johnson, Harry S. Truman and James Madison. Other Obama cousins include Vice President Dick Cheney, British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill and Civil War General Robert E. Lee.

"His kinships are across the political spectrum," Child said.

Child has spent the last three years tracing the candidates' genealogy, along with senior research scholar Gary Boyd Roberts, author of the 1989 book, "Ancestors of American Presidents."

Clinton's distant cousins include beatnik author Jack Kerouac and Camilla Parker-Bowles, wife of Prince Charles of England.

McCain's ancestry was more difficult to trace because records on his relatives were not as complete as records for the families of Obama and Clinton, Child said.

Obama and President Bush are 10th cousins, once removed, linked by Samuel Hinkley of Cape Cod, who died in 1662.

Pitt and Obama are ninth cousins, linked by Edwin Hickman, who died in Virginia in 1769.

Clinton and Jolie are ninth cousins, twice removed, both related to Jean Cusson who died in St. Sulpice, Quebec, in 1718.

The New England Historic Genealogical Society, founded in 1845, is the oldest and largest nonprofit genealogical organization in the country.

Monday, March 24, 2008


Haunting Obama's dreams
By Maureen Dowd Published: March 23, 2008

WASHINGTON: It is a tribute to Hillary Clinton that even though, rationally, political soothsayers think she can no longer win, irrationally, they wonder how she will pull it off.

It's impossible to imagine The Terminator, as a former aide calls her, giving up. Unless every circuit is out, she'll regenerate enough to claw her way out of the grave, crawl through the Rezko Memorial Lawn and up Obama's wall, hurl her torso into the house and brutally haunt his dreams.

"It's like one of those movies where you think you know the end, but then you watch with your fingers over your eyes," said one leading Democrat.

Hillary got a boost from the wackadoodle Jeremiah Wright. As a top pol noted, the Reverend turned Obama - in the minds of some working-class and crossover white voters - from "a Harvard law graduate into a South Side Black Panther."

Obama blunted the ugliness of Wright's YouTube "greatest hits" with his elegant and bold speech on race. But how will he get the genie back into the bottle?

Pressed about race on a Philadelphia radio sports show, where he wanted to talk basketball, he called his grandmother "a typical white person, who, if she sees somebody on the street that she doesn't know, well there's a reaction that's in our experiences that won't go away and can sometimes come out in the wrong way."

Obama might be right, but he should stay away from the phrase "typical white person" because typically white people don't like to be reminded of their prejudices. It also undermines Obama's feel-good appeal in which whites are allowed to transcend race because the candidate himself has transcended race.

Even swaddled in flags, Obama is vulnerable on the issue of patriotism. He's right that you don't have to wear a flag pin to be patriotic, and that Republicans have coarsely exploited patriotism for ideological ends while failing to do truly patriotic things, like giving our troops the right armor and the proper care at Walter Reed.

But Republicans are salivating over Wright's "God damn America" imprecation and his post-9/11 "America's chickens coming home to roost" crack, combined with Michelle Obama's aggrieved line about belatedly feeling really proud of her country.

On Friday in Charlotte, North Carolina, Bill Clinton - the man who once thanked an ROTC recruiter "for saving me from the draft" during Vietnam - sounded like Sean Hannity without the finesse.

Extolling John McCain as "an honorable man," and talking about McCain's friendship with his wife, the former president told veterans: "I think it would be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who loved this country and were devoted to the interest of this country. And people could actually ask themselves who is right on these issues, instead of all this other stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics."

Some people consider the Clintons to be the "stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics." Tony McPeak, a former Air Force chief of staff and an Obama adviser, accused Hillary's hatchet husband of McCarthyism.

After the Hillary camp lost - and trashed - Bill Richardson and was outmaneuvered by the Obama forces on mulligans in Michigan and Florida, Hillary's hopes dwindled down to the superdelegates.

If Jimmy Carter, Al Gore and Nancy Pelosi are the dealmakers, it won't take Hercule Poirot to figure out who had knives out for Hillary in this "Murder on the Orient Express."

Carter, who felt he was not treated with a lot of respect by the Clintons when they were in the White House, favors Obama.

"The Clintons will be there when they need you," said a Carter friend.

Al Gore blames Bill Clinton's trysts with Monica for losing him the White House. He resented sharing the vice presidency with Hillary and sharing the donors with her when she ran for Senate as he ran for president.

"There's no love between him and Hillary," said one ex-Clintonista. "It was like Mitterrand with his wife and girlfriend. They were always competing for the affection of the big guy."

Like Carter and Gore, Nancy Pelosi was appalled by Bill's escapades with Monica. And, as The New York Times' Carl Hulse wrote, the speaker has been viewed as "putting her thumb on the scale for Mr. Obama" in recent weeks. As a leading China basher, the San Francisco pol tangled bitterly with President Clinton over his pursuit of a free-trade agreement with China, once charging him with papering over China's horrible record on human rights. And she has been put off by the abrasive ways of some top Hillary people.

If Hillary's fate falls into the hands of Jimmy, Al and Nancy, the Clinton chickens may come home to roost.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

'I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community' Obama

March 18, 2008
Sen. Barack Obama: "A More Perfect Union"
Delivered March 18

"We the people, in order to form a more perfect union."

Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America's improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation's original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.

Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution – a Constitution that had at is very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.

And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part – through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk - to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.

This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign – to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America. I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together – unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction – towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren.

This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story.

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton's Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I've gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world's poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners – an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

It's a story that hasn't made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts – that out of many, we are truly one.

Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity. Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans.

This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either "too black" or "not black enough." We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.

And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.

On one end of the spectrum, we've heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it's based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we've heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren't simply controversial. They weren't simply a religious leader's effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

As such, Reverend Wright's comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems – two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way

But the truth is, that isn't all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God's work here on Earth – by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I described the experience of my first service at Trinity:

"People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out, a forceful wind carrying the reverend's voice up into the rafters….And in that single note – hope! – I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion's den, Ezekiel's field of dry bones. Those stories – of survival, and freedom, and hope – became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn't need to feel shame about…memories that all people might study and cherish – and with which we could start to rebuild."

That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety – the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity's services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions – the good and the bad – of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America – to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.

The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we've never really worked through – a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, "The past isn't dead and buried. In fact, it isn't even past." We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.

Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven't fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today's black and white students.

Legalized discrimination - where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments – meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today's urban and rural communities.

A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one's family, contributed to the erosion of black families – a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods – parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement – all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.

This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted. What's remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.

But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn't make it – those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations – those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright's generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician's own failings.

And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright's sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don't feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience – as far as they're concerned, no one's handed them anything, they've built it from scratch. They've worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they're told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren't always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze – a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns – this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.

This is where we are right now. It's a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so na├»ve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy – particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

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

For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances – for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs - to the larger aspirations of all Americans – the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives – by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.

Ironically, this quintessentially American – and yes, conservative – notion of self-help found frequent expression in Reverend Wright's sermons. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change.

The profound mistake of Reverend Wright's sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It's that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country – a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old – is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know – what we have seen – is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope – the audacity to hope – for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past - are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds – by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world's great religions demand – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother's keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister's keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle – as we did in the OJ trial – or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina - or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright's sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she's playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we'll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, "Not this time." This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can't learn; that those kids who don't look like us are somebody else's problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don't have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn't look like you might take your job; it's that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should've been authorized and never should've been waged, and we want to talk about how we'll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

I would not be running for President if I didn't believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation – the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

There is one story in particularly that I'd like to leave you with today – a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King's birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.

There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that's when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.

Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother's problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn't. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice.

Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they're supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who's been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he's there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, "I am here because of Ashley."

"I'm here because of Ashley." By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins.

Monday, March 17, 2008


WASHINGTON - After a weekend of campaign adversity, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and her husband separately prodded Democratic Party leaders on Monday to look beyond mere delegate strength in picking a presidential nominee at this summer's national convention.

"I don't know that it will be an easy decision, but that's what leaders sign up for," said the former president, declaring that a candidate's ability to win a general election should be considered.

The former first lady, who trails rival Sen. Barack Obama in the delegate chase, concurred. "I think it's a question about everything and I think people are going to have to take everything into account," she told reporters.

Made in different settings, the remarks underscore the debate roiling the Democratic Party as the primary season nears an apparently inconclusive end — while Republicans have begun to close ranks around Sen. John McCain for the fall campaign.

They also ran contrary to sentiments expressed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the weekend. "If the votes of the superdelegates overturn what's happened in the elections, it would be harmful to the Democratic Party," she said in an interview.

Compounding Clinton's delegate woes, Obama padded his advantage over the weekend at county conventions in Iowa, the state whose precinct caucuses kicked off the presidential race.

Obama gained nine more delegates in the state on Saturday, largely by picking up the backing of supporters of John Edwards, who has dropped out of the race. In addition, Clinton lost one Iowa delegate.

Obama leads Clinton, 1,617-1,498, in The Associated Press' count. That advantage masks a larger lead among pledged delegates, which are won in primaries and caucuses. Obama leads Clinton by 155 pledged delegates, 1,404-1,249, while she leads 249-213 among superdelegates, a margin of 36.

A total of 2,024 delegates is required to win the nomination. It has long been clear that neither Obama nor Clinton would be able to reach that level through primaries and caucuses alone, leaving the convention's 800 or so superdelegates with the balance of power.

But former President Clinton went one step beyond that when he suggested his wife may wind up trailing among delegates picked by voters.

"If Senator Obama wins the popular vote, then the choice (at the convention) would be easier," he said on ABC's "Good Morning America." "But if Hillary wins the popular vote but can't quite catch up in the delegate vote, then you have to just ask yourself which is more important and who's more likely to win in November."

Hillary Clinton had intended to make the Iraq War her campaign topic of the day, pegged to this week's five-year anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

But that was before the economy intervened, in the form of extraordinary overnight action by the Federal Reserve to reassure jittery financial markets.

At a news conference, Clinton declined to expressly support or oppose the actions, saying, "I'm not going to second guess the Fed."

The Federal Reserve helped assure the sale of the troubled bank, Bear Stearns, to JP Morgan Chase, and assumed the risk for some of the riskier mortgage loans that were part of the deal. The Fed also lowered a key interest rate.

In her speech on the war, Clinton criticized President Bush and Sen. John McCain, the certain Republican nominee, as well as Obama.

"I have concrete, detailed plans to end this war, and I have not waivered in my commitment to follow through on them. One choice in this election is Senator McCain. He's willing to keep this war going for 100 years. You can count on him to do that.

"Another choice is Senator Obama who has promised to bring combat troops out in 16 months, but according to his foreign policy adviser, you can't count on him to do that.

In uncertain times, we cannot afford uncertain leadership," she said.

Campaigning in Pennsylvania, Obama responded quickly.

"... The truth is, the judgment of Hillary Clinton and John McCain gave President Bush a blank check for war. ... Because of that vote, we have fought a war that has cost us thousands of lives and will cost us a trillion dollars," he said.

McCain was overseas on a trip that included a stop in Iraq, and his campaign issued a statement accusing Clinton of misrepresenting his position. "The differences between Senator McCain's position, that we must win this war, and Senator Clinton's position, withdrawal and de facto surrender on Day One, are important enough to have an honest debate over," said Jill Hazelbaker, communications director.


From Leo Odera Omolo

The utterances of the three members of Parliament from the diverse constituencies in Kipsigisland over the weekend are loud and clear indication of the on going undercurrent but intensive lobbying for ministerial positions within the ODM.

On the other hand William Ruto (Eldoret North) and Pentagon members has publicly confirmed that he is backing his fellow Pentagon member W.Musalia Mudavadi for the Deputy Prime Minister slot. The Sabatia MP was the running mate of Raila Odinga in the much flawed general election of December 2007.

Raila’s headache,however, is the latest demand echoed by the three Kipsigis MPs that the community had contributed a lot of votes to the ODM. And that it deserved to be compensated .The Kipsigis voted on a man to man basis for the ODM. The community captured all the 8 constituency for the ODM plus one in the Diaspora.

The three MPs were addressing mourners in Bureti district during the burial of the late J.K Kirum a former civic chairman of Litein Town Council .They were Kipkalia Kones,(Bomet) Dr.Kones (Konoin) and Franklin Bett (Buret)

The ODM bagged 33 parliamentary seats in the Rift Valley most of them having come from the two most populous sub-clans, namely,the Kipsigis and Nandis followed by Tugen Keiyo and Marakwet.

The Nandis comes the second after the Kipsigis.this particular community delivered four seats in Nandi South and North namely Aldai,Emgwen,Mosop, and Tinderet.Other areas outside Nandi inhabited districts are Cherangany in Trans Nzoia ,Eldoret North and South bringing the total to seven strength within the ODM group .t

The Tugen sib-clan comes third for having delivered the Baringo North ,Baringo Central ,Eldama Ravine,Rongai and Mogotio.,but loosing the only odd seat that is Baringo East in which Minister Hassan Kamama was returned uniopposed on a PNU ticket.

Keiyo is lying fourth for delivering Keiyo North and South and also one seat in Eldoret East which was captured by Prof Margaret Kamara ,Baringo East seat was captured by Mrs Lina Chebii Kilimo on Kenda ticket.

Back to the Kipsigis the community the many ministerial materials in the name of Zakayo K Cheruiyot(Kuresoi) Kipkalia Kones (Bomet) Isaack K Ruto (Chepalungu) and Franklin Bett (bureti)

And only one MP successfully defended his seat that is Hon Charles Keter (Belgut) but the legislature though survived last December onslaught that swept all his seven other colleagues in the 9th parliament the youthful legislator is still being associated with the Moi family.

He is said to be a close political and business friend f of Gedeon Moi with whom they business partners in newly built and recently commissioned privately owned Tea factory in Belgut.He is also said to be in partnership with Gideon and former Ainamoi MP Eng.Kipngeno Arap Ngeny in a medium size white Sugar cane factory which is located in lower Belgut.Gedion is the majority shareholder in the factory a medium size production around 300 bags of white sugar per day.

Keter’s alleged association with the Moi’s family now leaves the field open for the likes of Zakayo Cheruiyot,Kipkalya Kones,Isaack Ruto and Franklin Bett as the most credible men for possible consideration for cabinet appointments .Both Kones and Ruto had served in the previously KANU regimesunder the retired presdent Moi.

In Nandi in the North Rift Raila Odinga is facing a tough choice between the two Kosgeis Henry Kosgey(Tinderet) is the National Chairman of the ODM.He had already served in the cabine tbefore under Moi.

But the other Kosgey (Dr.Sally Kosgey) appear to be the darling of the Nandi ODM members who says she has something unique to offer to the ODM due to her experience in world of civil service in the Moi’s last regime.

She is credited for being calm and approach issues diplomatically.If at all there is anyonet to be sacrificed ,the Nandis says Raila could leave out of the cabinet list Henry Kosgey for Dr.Sally Kosgey.The community has already had one MP in the diaspora whose ministerial appointment who is slated to be ushered into the cabinet and that is William Ruto (Eldoret North)

If only one Kosgey is appointed to the government ,then this will give Raila room to look further north Rift and pick either one of the MPs in either Keiyo or Turgen for the cabinet appointment while others might servea as deputy Ministers.

In Gusii a small community which has a total 4 Pernanent Secretatries in the current PNU government headed by President Kibaki as opposed to only one Luo PS radical changes is considered as an occupational regime by the Luo are expected.

The community has already have the experienced Prof Sam Ongeri in the cabinet (Education) and can only expect one more cabinet slot.This will obviously be given to Omingo Magara the party’s national treasurere though there is the presence of Chris Mogere Obure the MP for Bobbasi who had served in the previous KANU regime as Finance Minister . But one of the two will have to settle in deputy minisertial slot.

Another area which is need to be handled carefully by Raila is the Maasailand.Both veteran politician William Ole Ntimama{Narok North} and the major general (rtd) Joseph Nkaiserry of Kajaido [Kajiado Central} could be accommodated in the cabinet though the presence of Prof George Saitoti (Kajiado North) could complicate matters for the two.

For Luo-Nyanza Raila Odinga big hjeadache will be the larger South Nyanza region .This region is demanding for two slots and the names making the round is that of Joshua Orwa Ojodeh

[Ndhiwa) and Dalmas Otieno (Rongo) ,Also considered is the experienced iof the Mbita MP Otieno Kajwang

Looking North James Orengo (Ugenya) and Prof Anyang Nyongo Kisumu Rural}seemed to be the natural choice of the people. Perhaps with one of two deputy ministerial slots in Kisumu and Nyando districts.

ODM appears to be in full control of Western Province where Chris Okemo (Nambale) Ababu Namwamba (budalangi) and George Khaniri are likely to land lucrative ministerial appointments and join Musalia Mudavadi deputy Primear docket. John Sambu the man who flored the Ford Kenya national chairman Musikari Kombo could be the best deal in Bukusu land.

Cyrus Jirongo could have benn the natural source that the belted out of the ODM shortly before the December 2007 general election.

Arguably the Kalenjin region had produced the best gender representative to the August house for the ODM than any other region.

These are Dr.Sally Kosgey (Aldai) ,Prof Margaert Chepkoech (Eldoret East),

Ms Lorna C Lebaso (Sotik) and Prof Hellen Chepkemoi Sumbili{Mogotio}. These are African ladies of substantial meains and high profile academic background and status within the society.Anyone among the flying ministerial flag will not be a let down to anybody .Anyone of the them appointed to the ministerial position would not be a let down to the party.

There are ladies of high profile and vast experience in government matters.This is likely to give Raila a lot of headache but we are sure he will take qualities into action when distributed whatever he has.

Published by API africanpress@getmail.no

KENYA LAW REPORT: Contract for sale of land must be in writing!

Lawyer Monica Achode

Publication Date: 3/17/2008
Pleated Industries (K) Ltd & another vs Allied Industries Limited [2007] eKLR (www.kenyalaw.org)
Court of Appeal at Nairobi, December 20, 2007
P. K. Tunoi, E. O. O’Kubasu & W.S. Deverell JJ A

A group waving title deeds after their land was taken away at Barget Settlement Scheme in Likia. Photo/ FILE
The Court of Appeal last December upheld the decision of High Court that had dismissed a verbal contract for the sale of land between the appellant, Pleated Industries (K) Ltd, and the respondent, Allied Steal Industries Ltd.

Briefly, the case put forward by Pleated Industries (K) Ltd was that by a verbal agreement made in 1986 with Allied Steal Industries Ltd, and evidenced in various correspondences, they agreed on transfer of a parcel on Baba Dogo Road in Ruaraka within Nairobi from Allied Steal Industries Ltd to the plaintiff.

In pursuance of the agreement, Pleated Industries (K) Ltd proceeded to pay the initial deposit of Sh120,000, the amount being 10 per cent of the total purchase price to Allied Steal Industries Ltd who then later refused to transfer the property to the plaintiff. Allied Steal’s attempt to pay back the Sh120,000 to Pleated Industries (K) Ltd through their advocates was repelled as the cheque was returned.

The parties had neither entered into a written agreement with regard to the transaction nor had the plaintiff ever enjoyed vacant possession or any type of possession of the premises.

The High Court found in favour of Allied Steal Industries Ltd that there had neither been written contract for the sale of the property nor had Pleated Industries (K) Ltd taken possession of the land.

It further held that Pleated Industries had failed to prove an enforceable agreement for sale and proceeded to dismiss the suit.

Being aggrieved, Pleated Industries (K) Ltd filed moved to the Court of Appeal.

Part performance

In dealing with the grounds raised by Pleated Industries (K) Ltd, the Court of Appeal noted that the firm had based its claim on an agreement made in 1986 and that they did not allege a written agreement between themselves and Allied Steal Industries Ltd. The appellate court further noted that the plaintiff had not relied on the doctrine of part performance.

The essence of this doctrine was captured under section 3(7) of the Law of Contract. This section set out the two exceptional circumstances under which a verbal contract could be enforced in court. These were; where the intending purchaser had in part performance of the contract taken possession of the property or any part thereof or; where the intending purchaser being already in possession, continued in possession in part performance of the contract and had done some other act in furtherance of the contract.

Allied Steal Industries Ltd on their part denied an agreement of any kind between the two parties had ever been entered into in the first place. They conceded to the fact that there had been some discussions, as evidenced in various correspondence, with regard to the possible sale of the suit property at the price of Sh1,200,000 but maintained that such discussions were preliminary and they had never materialised into an agreement, verbal or otherwise.

In their view, Pleated Industries (K) Ltd had never taken possession of the property at any time before, during or after the negotiations and as a result could not rely on the doctrine of part performance. They were only entitled to a refund from Allied Steal Industries Ltd.

The Court of Appeal, in reaching its decision, examined the line of submissions on the finding by the High Court. The court had considered the fact that Pleated Industries (K) Ltd had made an initial payment of Sh120,000 and that they had been given permission by Allied Steal Industries Ltd to develop the property.

However, this arrangement had been on condition that the plaintiff would sign an agreement drawn up by Allied Steal for the sale of the property which would contain the terms and conditions regarding the purchase and payment of the said property. The court also considered the fact that Pleated Industries (K) Ltd never accepted the agreement as proposed.

The appellate court, in re-evaluating the evidence, noted the High Court’s assessment of the fact that neither of the parties involved had a meeting of the minds. Such mutual comprehension of the facts was essential to a valid contract and it was clear the parties had not even agreed on the terms of the contract.

Various letters

The appellate court agreed with the decision that the various letters of correspondence between the two parties did not constitute an agreement for the sale of the suit property as was alleged by the plaintiff. The parties could not agree on possession either.

The plaintiff refused to pay fifty per cent of the outgoings on the property which was a pre-condition that the defendant had set before allowing vacant possession.

The appellate court further agreed with an earlier ruling stating: “No suit shall be brought upon a contract for the disposition of an interest in land unless the agreement upon which the suit is founded, or some memorandum or note thereof, is in writing and is signed by the party to be charged or by some one authorized by him to sign it.”

The appellate court found no merit in the appeal on any of the grounds brought forward and were satisfied on their own assessment that the High Court had acted on the correct principles of law in reaching its decision.

The grounds argued by the appellant failed and the case was dismissed.

The author of this story is an advocate of the high court.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


CUNY Grad Students Deserve the Same Health Insurance as SUNY Grad Students.

With the Democratic campaigns focusing on the subtle differences between Senator Clinton’s platform of mandatory (but “affordable”) health insurance for all and Senator Obama’s platform of mandatory insurance for children and “affordable” insurance for all, the language used in their debates reminds me so much of our own struggle as CUNY graduate students for adequate and affordable health insurance.

In addition to being a graduate student in History at the CUNY Graduate Center and an adjunct in History at Hunter College, I also work at the GC as a part-time student administrator in the Office of Student Affairs, helping my fellow graduate students determine whether or not they are eligible for Healthy NY or Family Health Plus, the New Yotk State public health insurance programs, or if they can afford (or should bother to buy) the GHI or NAGPS student insurance plans. The irony of my employment is that even though I hold two jobs at CUNY, one of which is as a health insurance advocate, I myself remain under-insured because all I can afford is a basic hospitalization policy.

Because of my job in Student Affairs, people often ask me why CUNY students enroll in public health insurance programs — many times these people are faculty, GC staff, or new, unsuspecting graduate students. They are shocked when I tell them that CUNY does not offer its undergraduate or graduate students mandatory, affordable, or even adequate health insurance. The real kicker is that for some reason, the other university system in our state, SUNY, does offer comprehensive, affordable, and mandatory coverage to its graduate students. The annual premium for individuals at SUNY is $114.96 and for families is $996.72 (http://www.sunysb.edu/hr/benefits/state/student_premiums.shtml). Compared to the GHI insurance offered to CUNY Students, which costs $2,396.76 per year for individuals and $6,830.88 for families — we are getting a raw deal. Many students cannot afford GHI, and many others find it grossly inadequate. SUNY students get vision, dental, and prescription drugs; CUNY students do not. The NAGPS insurance offered by CUNY is priced by age; many students over 35 cannot afford it and many others find the reimbursements to be inadequate and difficult to obtain.

This disparity is outrageous. I am saddened that the options available to CUNY graduate students (many of whom are employees of the State of New York through the CUNY system) are inadequate and generally unaffordable. I encourage everyone to follow President Kelly’s email request and go to www.supportcuny.org to encourage legislators to treat CUNY students with more equity. Hopefully a decision will be made to include CUNY students in the SUNY program — an obvious solution to a serious disparity.

In the mean time, CUNY graduate students are left with the decision between inadequate and over-priced student health insurance (GHI or NAGPS) and the NY state public programs. While I know that Albany must be thrilled to hear that some CUNY students are taking advantage of Healthy NY or Family Health Plus, I can tell you that most can’t afford or don’t qualify for one of the two programs offered. In my experience, CUNY graduate students with fellowships receive stipends of between roughly $13,000 and $20,000/year, which is only slightly higher than the requirements to qualify for the free state plan, Family Health Plus, and yet not enough to afford the approximately $2,772/year for the individual standard Empire BlueCross Plan with prescription drug coverage through Healthy NY. Additionally, there are many students who elect to sign their children up for the Child Health Plus public insurance, while they themselves, as parents, remain uninsured or under-insured because of the prohibitive costs of NY state public health insurance and CUNY student insurance. Asking CUNY students to rely on NY state public insurance is irresponsible; most don’t qualify or can’t afford it.

Many students at the CUNY Graduate Center serve either as adjunct lecturers at the other CUNY colleges or as administrators in the various CUNY offices, or both (like me). We are poorly paid in both salary and benefits, while Albany saves money by not having to exclusively employ full-time, competitively salaried professors and administrators (after all, why buy the cow when you can get the milk at a discount?). While the Professional Staff Congress union offers some adjuncts health insurance (after two semesters of service), the graduate students teaching as part of CUNY (state-funded) fellowship packages are excluded from this benefit while they perform the same tasks as those who are paid as adjuncts and receive benefits from the PSC.

The issue of “affordability” that has arisen in the Democratic nomination debates touches a raw nerve with me every day in the Office of Student Affairs as I explain the limited health insurance options to countless, disappointed graduate students. If Senator Clinton thinks that her own state’s Healthy NY program is “affordable” — she’s mistaken. I haven’t seen any figures from Senator Obama gauging what “affordable” means to him, but I hope whomever wins the nomination will consider the fact that anything over $50/month is NOT affordable for those on limited incomes. If Clinton thinks that Healthy NY is affordable and CUNY thinks that GHI is affordable — they both are wrong. SUNY’s insurance for graduate students is affordable and should serve as a model for CUNY.

Everyone in the GC community should follow President Kelly’s advice and lobby Albany to include CUNY in the SUNY program, or offer a comparable benefit to CUNY graduate students. While this would not solve the issue of health insurance for CUNY undergraduates, at least it would be a start.

PS: I welcome any GC student who needs help wading through the sea of underwhelming health insurance options to contact me at the Office of Student Affairs: (212) 817-7408 or ezitani@gc.cuny.edu. Until adequate, affordable insurance is offered, we can sit down together to weigh the differences of the public and student options so that you can make an informed decision that will best serve your and your family’s needs. You can also evaluate your options at: http://www.gc.cuny.edu/current_students/StudentHealth/index.htm#C.

Ellen Zitani is a Doctoral Student of History, CUNY Graduate Center, an Adjunct Professor of History at Hunter College, and the Graduate Student Administrator for the CUNY Graduate Center Office of Student Affairs. The opinions in this essay are the opinions of the author and do not represent those of the City University of New York or the Office of Student Affairs at the CUNY Graduate Center.

If you are an international student in the Midwest Region and your health insurance is higher than the one offered by SUNY please let me know.

Gerald Baraza
International Students Coordinator,
Email: barazage@gvsu.edu


When we won Iowa, the Clinton campaign said it's not the number of states you win, it's "a contest for delegates."

When we won a significant lead in delegates, they said it's really about which states you win.

When we won South Carolina, they discounted the votes of African-Americans.

When we won predominantly white, rural states like Idaho, Utah, and Nebraska, they said those didn't count because they won't be competitive in the general election.

When we won in Washington State, Wisconsin, and Missouri -- general election battlegrounds where polls show Barack is a stronger candidate against John McCain -- the Clinton campaign attacked those voters as "latte-sipping" elitists.

And now that we've won more than twice as many states, the Clinton spin is that only certain states really count.

But the facts are clear.

For all their attempts to discount, distract, and distort, we have won more delegates, more states, and more votes.

Meanwhile, more than half of the votes that Senator Clinton has won so far have come from just five states. And in four of these five states, polls show that Barack would be a stronger general election candidate against McCain than Clinton.

We're ready to take on John McCain. But we also need to build operations in places like Pennsylvania, Indiana, North Carolina, and Oregon that will hold their primaries in April and May.

With our overwhelming victory in the Mississippi primary yesterday, our lead in earned delegates is now wider than it was on March 3rd, before the contests in Ohio and Texas.

And thanks to your help, we have dramatically increased our support among so-called "superdelegates" -- Governors, Members of Congress, and party officials who have a vote at the Democratic National Convention in August.

As the number of remaining delegates dwindles, Hillary Clinton's path to the nomination seems less and less plausible.

Now that Mississippi is behind us, we move on to the next ten contests. The Clinton campaign would like to focus your attention only on Pennsylvania -- a state in which they have already declared that they are "unbeatable."

But Pennsylvania is only one of those 10 remaining contests, each important in terms of allocating delegates and ultimately deciding who our nominee will be.

We have activated our volunteer networks in each of these upcoming battlegrounds. We're putting staff on the ground and building our organization everywhere.

The key to victory is not who wins the states that the Clinton campaign thinks are important. The key to victory is realizing that every vote and every voter matters.

Throughout this entire process, the Clinton campaign has cherry-picked states, diminished caucuses, and moved the goal posts to create a shifting, twisted rationale for why they should win the nomination despite winning fewer primaries, fewer states, fewer delegates, and fewer votes.

We must stand up to the same-old Washington politics. Barack has won twice as many states, large and small, in every region of the country -- many by landslide margins. And this movement is expanding the base of the Democratic Party by attracting new voters in record numbers and bringing those who had lost hope back into the political process.

Push back against the spin and help build the operation to win more delegates in these upcoming contests:

Thank you for your support and for everything you've done to build a movement that is engaging voters and winning contests in every part of this country.

David Plouffe
Campaign Manager
Obama for America

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Networking and Cocktail Etiquette Party!

Host: Graduate and Professional Students Association
Location: Lubber-Exhibition Hall - Outside of Loosemore Auditorium
401 W. Fulton - Building E, Grand Rapids, MI 49504 US

When: Friday, March 14, 5:00PM
Phone: 616-734-9107

Looking for a job or wondering how to act at a party? The Graduate and Professional Student Association presents our Networking and Cocktail Etiquette Party. Please Join us from on Friday, March 14th from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Refreshments available, $0 charge. Co-sponsored by Pew Student Services and Graduate Studies and Grants Administration.

Gerald Baraza,Vice President
Graduate & Professional Students Association
Grand Valley State University

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Girl Found Dead In Thomasville Woman's Car
Deputies: Girl Was Killed In Thomasville

THOMASVILLE, N.C. -- Authorities in Georgia said an 11-year-old girl was discovered dead in the car of a Thomasville woman Sunday.

Nancy Kasera, 38, of Thomasville, has been charged with first-degree child cruelty in the death of her daughter.

Police said Kasera called 911 from a travel center in LaGrange, Ga., reporting that the girl wasn't breathing.

A Georgia coroner who performed an autopsy Monday said the girl's body had a "horrendous amount of injuries that ranged from healed and healing wounds to recent injuries."

Authorities said the injuries were indicative of "long-term ongoing severe physical abuse."

Davidson County deputies executed a search warrant at Kasera's Thomasville home and discovered a crime scene consistent with human trauma, Troup County deputies said.

Deputies said the girl's death happened at the home in Thomasville and Davidson County deputies were planning to extradite Kasera and charge her with her daughter's death.

Another 8-year-old daughter was also discovered in Kasera's vehicle.

She has been placed in the custody of Georgia child services personnel.

Kasera, who is from Kenya and in the country on a VISA, was being held without bond in a Troup County jail.

The victim's name was not released.

Stay with WXII12 News and WXII12.com for more details.
Copyright 2008 by WXII12.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Death Of A Kenyan In North Carolina .

Dear Kenyans,

The Kenyan residents of Charlotte and Greensboro,North Carolina, deeply regret to announce the death
DOMINIC KIPKOSKEI which occurred on Wednesday JULY 18th 2007 in Greensboro, NC. Mr. Dominic Kipkosgei hailed from Eldoret.

It is reported that Dominic may have collapsed and died while jogging around 10.00pm. Initial reports
indicate Dominic's body was discovered by a passerby who informed police. The following day in the
afternoon, police brought the sad news to his wife, Nancy Kasera. Further information will be available
when the autopsy report is released.

Dominic is survived by his wife, Nancy Kasera, two daughters, Nicole and Natalie. It's the most sorrowful
thing that death must rob a father/husband from such a young family.

As I spoke to the bereaved mother, these were her words, "I am kindly asking for your assistance to take
my husband home for burial." And she broke into tears... The process of preparing and taking Dominic's body home will be an expensive ordeal for Nancy. It's the reason I am writing to ask Kenyans to assist in
raising funds so we may send Dominic's body home for burial.

Let me specifically request the assistance of Kenya African Community Abroad (KACA), Public Eye Group, the Association of Kenyans in Greensboro, Kenya Community Abroad and the Kenyan community of Charlotte. I must invoke the advice of Bob Odhiambo of Raleigh, James Sang of DC, Andrea Onwonga of KIC, Peter Momanyi of Raleigh, Excellency the Ambassador Peter Ogego, and all Kenyans.

We have organized prayers and funds drive in Charlotte, NC on Friday July 27, 2007 at 7.00pm. The
function will be held at Millicent Malit's residence on the address shown below:

Millicent Atieno Malit
11134 Nolet Court
Charlotte, NC 28215.

Tel: (704)577-1003.

Our people around the USA may make donations to the following Truliant Federal Credit Union account:
Name: Nancy Kasera; Account# 0007001388370.

The routing number is 253177832.

Donations may also be mailed directly to Nancy at:

Nancy Kasera.
142 N. Main Street
High Point, NC, 27260

Tel: (336) 882-1225

You can also make deposits to Nancy's Account. Account details are as follows:

Nancy Kasera,

Bank of America,

Account Number 237006040785

Routing Number 053000196

Her mailing address is:

142 N Main Street,

High Point, NC 27260.

Tel: (336) 882-1225

Henry Gichaba.
Concord, North Carolina.


Thursday, March 06, 2008


Our Midwest Regional conference will be held next week, March 14-16 at
Michigan State University. Please make an effort to come; networking
really benefits advocacy efforts. Also, elections will be held, so
this is your chance to have a say in the direction of the Midwest
committee for the remainder of the year! Registration ($30, which
includes social events like bowling, several meals, AND the Saturday
banquet) can be completed on the NAGPS website: www.nagps.org.
Sheila has organized a great program of professional and social events
and the banquet dinner for the Council of Graduate Students' 40th
anniversary should really be a knockout. Whether or not you are able
to attend, but *especially* if you cannot make it, it is crucial that
you send me an email report, if you have not already, about what your
local and state concerns are as a graduate student, any quality of
life/professional development issues, legislative updates, etc. I need
something from EACH of you so that your constituency can be properly
represented. NAGPS is gearing up for its big membership drive to
coincide with Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week (end
of March, beginning of April). GPSAW will help raise awareness about
us and increase our visibility on the national level (and will
demonstrate our political clout to legislators). The more involved we
are with each other the better we look to others!
Please save my aching synapses and register!
And send those emails!
Sam, President
Midwest Region

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


A Kenyan man was shot and killed in an apartment complex parking lot in Essex, Baltimore, USA around 1 a.m. Tuesday 4th March, 2008. Joram Shijenje, 34, died in the shooting, according to Baltimore County Police. Authorities said they responded to the 1100 block of Tace Drive after they received calls from people who heard shots fired in the area. The late Joram, 34, died in the early morning of Tuesday in the hands of assassins while on his way home from work. Until his death, Joram lived in Baltimore, MD with his younger brother Gilbert. While alive, Joram was a hard working young man, easy going and dedicated to the works of God.

He believed in the law of "Love thy neighbour as you love thy self." A cheerful giver who didn't hesitate to help people in need. Family and friends are meeting daily at 6pm for prayers and funeral arrangements at the late Joram's home at 1118 Tace Dr, APT 2A, Essex, MD 21221. For more information please contact: Gilbert (Joram's brother): Cell: 410-330-4322, Home: 410-878-6331, Malala: 443-690-8471, Kizito: 443-653-0509 or Victor Elolo: 443-846-4100. Any financial assistance towards the cost of the repatriation of the body to Kenya will be much appreciated and can be paid to: Account Name: Gilbert Imbayi, Bank: Bank of America, Routing number: 052001633, Account No: 446001730551.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Abraham Lincoln: Lessons for Kenyan Leaders!

The momentous issue during Abraham Lincoln's time was the civil war and he studiously sought to bring it to an end. The momentous issue in Kenya today is honoring the signed peace-deal and implementing it's noble contents. Like Abraham Lincoln, each of our leaders led by President Mwai Kibaki and Hon. ( Prime Minister designate ) Raila Odinga need to boldly tell all their lieutenants that the government will not assail them... That they have no oath registered in Heaven to destroy the government and the nation of Kenya, and they shall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect and defend it. Secession from that peace deal is illegal and Kenyans and the international community are willing to use any force to defend that peace-deal and the nation.

Like Lincoln, President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga should highly resolve that the Kenyans who lost their lives as a result of the post-election violence did not die in vain--that the nation of Kenya, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom--and that a government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

May this precious words of Abraham Lincoln guide President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga: "With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds.... "

Saturday, March 01, 2008


In politics timing is a crucial thing. It can determine whether you float or sink. It can determine whether you fly or drop down dead. It can decide whether you hit the jackpot or you wash out! For Hon.Kalonzo Musyoka this is his nightmare. He will always remember this lesson until he goes to his grave.

The late President Gerald Ford learned this lesson the hard way. Instead of waiting until he had been elected for his second term before pardoning Prseident Nixon for the Watergate scandal, President Gerald Ford followed his (Gerald's) heart and pardoned President Nixon before the elections. The Americans could not take it. They fumed with rage and waited for the elections to come. When time came they voted President Ford out and replaced him with a very "useless" guy, Jimmy Carter. What mattered to them at that time was just "teaching Gerald Ford a lesson".It did not matter to them that President Ford had united the country at a crucial moment when both the Republicans and Democrats had reached a point of no return. It did not matter to them that President Ford was the most honest and staright forward president that they had ever had in a long time time. All that mattered to them was the fact that he had forgiven a "rascal" and he deserved to be punished!

Back home in Kenya, soon after the fraudulent General election results were announced last year by his Kamba counterpart, Samuel Kivuitu, Hon.Kalonzo Musyoka had a golden opportunity to show himself as a selfless, visionary and impartial leader. When Hon.Mwai Kibaki appointed him Vice President, Hon.Kalonzo should have turned down that appointment and called on Hon.Mwai Kibaki and Hon.Raila Odinga to join him in ironing out the discrepancies that had been pointed out by ODM, the people of Kenya and the international observers.

Instead, Hon Kalonzo hastely dived into bed with PNU and started running around as Hon.Kibaki's errand boy. He seemed so overwhelmed by the fact that he was in the Vice President's office that the cries of Kenyans and the observations of the international community did not matter to him.Unfortunately, his "dream" did not last long. Today he is despised by everybody even in his own home area. It's going to take a miracle for him to regain his lost stature. His miscalculation has given his challengers enough reason to despise him more and gain clout in his own home turf. Right now he is wasted tissue and no one cares whether he is there or not.He has joined the likes of Dr.Alfred Ng'ang'a Mutua who are never taken seriously by anyone.Only a few leaders in Kenya like Hon. Musalia Mudavadi understand what it takes to win the confidence of people once you have lost it. Maybe Hon.Kalonzo Musyoka should spare some time to glean a few valuable lessons from the young King of Mululu.

By Dr. John C. Maxwell Printer-friendly version

The Law of Timing – When to Lead Is As Important As What to Do and Where to Go

In my experience, the toughest law of leadership to teach is the Law of Timing. As an intuitive skill, timing is intangible, which makes it extremely difficult to explain. Many veteran leaders describe their timing for major decisions with phrases such as, “I had a gut feeling the moment was right,” or “I sensed we couldn’t wait any longer.” For an aspiring leader in search of answers, this lack of concreteness can be more than a little frustrating.

The goal of both this lesson and the next issue of Leadership Wired is to de-mystify the Law of Timing by identifying six areas of awareness that affect timely decision-making.

Awareness powers a leader’s internal clock so that he or she can exercise the right timing in decision-making. In this edition of LW, we’ll unpack three of the six areas of the environment to which a leader must be attuned for proper timing. Within each area of awareness, we’ll also look at tests that can be applied to assure the potential success of time-sensitive decisions.

Timing’s Areas of Awareness
#1 Awareness of the Needs Around You
Leaders interact in an environment abounding with needs. Customers, partners, and co-workers all have needs.

Needs are all around us, but they are also within us. Leaders are able to look beyond their own needs to sense and respond to the needs of others.

The Listening Test - “Am I aware of other people’s needs?”

The philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “If a man can make a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mousetrap than his neighbor, though he builds his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door.” But Emerson was wrong! You must beat a path to the customer’s door to find out what he wants and needs. Stunning innovation and brilliantly designed new products are only part of the answer. Fortunately, Mr. Emerson made his living as a philosopher – not as a company president.

The Values Test
- “Who am I?”
The legendary Greek philosopher, Socrates, implored his pupils to “Know thyself.” As true now as it was for the ancient Greeks, leaders clarify the needs around them when they get in touch with their deeply held beliefs and convictions.

The Mission Test - “What is my purpose?”
Discern the connection between the needs around you and the calling within you. At this intersection, you will make decisions that make a difference.

The Priority Test - “Should I do this?”
Eradicating world poverty, widening the roads causing traffic congestion in your neighborhood, and finding copy machines that jam less frequently are all valid needs, and each may resonate within you. However, with limited time and resources, leaders must prioritize attention and effort to be effective.

In the words of W.E.B Dubois, “Nature makes men narrow in order to give them force.”

The Reality Test
- “Can I do this?”

Before taking action, a leader must honesty assess present resources to determine whether or not the timing is realistic to pursue the remedy for a perceived need.

#2 Awareness of the Reality Before You
Decisions have consequences—positive and negative, intended and unintended. Leaders with a flair for timing are able to foresee the implications of their courses of action.

The Murphy’s Law Test - “What could possibly go wrong? Could I accept the consequences?”

Murphy’s Law says that if something can go wrong, it probably will. When assessing the ramifications for decisions leaders must take into account the repercussions of failure.

The Common Sense Test
– “Does this opportunity make sense or am I trying to make sense out of it?”

Opportunities can be alluring, and CEO’s at the highest level have been known to fall in love with impractical and costly pet projects. Plain common sense can be the best deterrent to far-fetched opportunities.

The Preparation Test – “Am I prepared to do this?”

Consider the sacrifices involved before jumping into an opportunity. Overcommitment is one of the most energy draining and stress-inducing flaws of a leader.

However, keep in mind that preparation is not total consensus or knowing all of the answers before starting. All too often, would-be decision-makers keep collecting, analyzing, and reanalyzing information, hoping for that one last convincing detail that will dictate the correct choice.

Former Secretary of State and 4-star General, Colin Powell, in a Time magazine interview, said that if zero represents no data and 100 represents all of the data needed to make a decision, he usually waits until he’s at about 60, then he uses gut instincts, intuition, and personal experience to make the choice.

The Option Test – “Do I increase or decrease my options by waiting?”

Will the passage of time shrink available options or create new ones? Sometimes, the opportunity becomes narrower and more difficult to pursue in the future. However, other opportunities expand in the light of new developments.

The Deadline Test – “When is the best time to make the right decision?”

Quite simply, several opportunities come with a “take it or leave it” tag. Time dictates that the opportunity immediately be grasped or lost. With other opportunities, time diminishes their value. As Lee Iacocca said, “The right decision is the wrong decision if it’s made to late.”

#3 Awareness of the Influencers Behind You
Every organization has key influences that must be on board in order for pivotal decisions to be made. To excel at the art of timing, leaders must court the support of these influencers.

The Respect Test – “Have I earned the influencers’ respect?”

Everyone has the right to speak, but you have to earn the right be heard. Do your words carry the weight of respect?

The Commitment Test – “Are the influencers affirming or committing?”

Verbal affirmation is encouraging, but when you begin to confront the obstacles of a new initiative, you had better be sure the influencers behind you are willing to fight with you in the trenches.

The Resources Test – “Will the influencers provide what is needed?”

Many leaders make the mistake of chasing after attractive opportunities, only to be hung out to dry when a major donor or investor backs out of their pledged assistance. Can you count on the support of the influencers behind you?