A grand jury indicted Cowart and Paul Schlesselman, 18, on Nov. 5, charging them with plotting to kill Obama, possessing a sawed-off shotgun, carrying guns across state lines to commit crimes and planning to rob a licensed firearms dealer.
Cowart and Schlesselman are awaiting trial without bond at a northwest Tennessee jail, on lock down in a two-man cell and separated from other inmates for their own safety.
In his petition, Cowart said the grand jury had two white members, while "21 were African-American or of another race or races." The jury, he said, could not "under the most modest constitutional scrutiny ... be considered fair, impartial and unprejudiced."
Prosecutors declined comment.
"SPLC Wins $2.5 Million Verdict Against Imperial Klans of America" (Southern Poverty Law Center)
The Southern Poverty Law Center today won a crushing jury verdict against one of the nation's largest Klan groups for its role in the brutal beating of a teenager at a county fair in rural Kentucky. The $2.5 million verdict will likely cripple the Imperial Klans of America, which has 16 chapters in eight states.
"The people of Meade County, Kentucky, have spoken loudly and clearly. And what they've said is that ethnic violence has no place in our society, that those who promote hate and violence will be held accountable and made to pay a steep price," said SPLC founder and chief trial attorney Morris Dees, who tried the case. "We look forward to collecting every dime that we can for our client and to putting the Imperial Klans of America out of business."
The SPLC brought the lawsuit on behalf of Jordan Gruver, who was 16 when he was attacked in July 2006.
"Chief Illiniwek Needs to Stay Gone" (Renee @ Womanist Musings)
The University of Illinois ended the use of the chief as a mascot due to cultural sensitivity issues two years ago. Unfortunately some of the students have decided that this distasteful tradition needed to be revived. The Students for Chief Illiniwek, funded the purchase of a new uniform and the chief is set to perform once again this Saturday at an Ohio vs Illinois football game. . . .
Many tribes have complained about how offensive this kind of behaviour is only to be told that it is all in good fun, or just good sportsmanship. It is exactly the same as telling a person of colour that they are too sensitive when they point out racism.
It is almost the end of 2008, the president is a man of colour and the state that he represented still engages in dress up like an Indian. Am I the only one that sees the cruel irony in this? Yeah, the US is so evolved that it can elect a black man, but not evolved enough to realize that having a man play Native, and dance around a stadium to loud cheers is offensive. WOW racism really did come to an end November 4th.
"Obama's Historic White Victory" (Joel McNally @ GazetteXtra.com)
Understandably, much has been written about how historic President-elect Barack Obama’s election is for African-Americans in a country where they were brought in chains.
But Obama’s victory was also historic for white Americans who succeeded in breaking the shackles of racism. With African-Americans only 12% of the population, a whole lot of white folks had to vote for Obama, and it’s a triumph for them too.
Overall, according to exit polling, 55 percent of whites nationally voted for John McCain, while 43 percent supported Obama. That's very close to what Al Gore got in 2000 and what John Kerry got in 2004.
I know what some commenters are already thinking -- it was those stereotypically racist Southern whites who skewed the numbers, right? Wrong. True, Southern whites voted in far greater numbers for McCain over Obama -- 67-31, to be exact, but according to the Pew Research Center, in only one out of four regions of the country, the East, did whites break for the Democrat. And Southern whites' support for the Democratic nominee was actually up 2 percentage points (or roughly 7 percent) over what it was in 2004.
What really accounted for Obama's victory was an uptick in the African-American and Hispanic share of the electorate, and the tendency of voters from both of those demographic groups to break Democratic in larger numbers than in previous elections.
"Black, black, blackity black"
"Our New Spokesman" (Big Man @ Raving Black Lunatic)
So, I'm talking to a friend.
She points out that President-elect Barack Obama is likely to be drafted for a new job that he never asked to hold.
Spokesman for the Entire Black Race. . . .
So, what should the HNIC do?
Here's my action plan. Obama aides need to aggressively attack reporters who attempt to make them discuss the actions of random black people across the country. Sure, there will be times when Obama has to take a stand, but most of the time he needs to have his aides question the motives of these reporters and their thinking. After all, did they ask George Bush to comment on every protest or issue involving white people? No they did not. They decided that certain things weren't Bush's concern and Obama aides need to make sure they get the press to install that same sort of filter when it comes to their guy. Of course, they need to make these attacks off the record and not for attribution.
"McCain Owes America an Apology: John Lewis Was Right" (Bill Quigley @ Counterpunch)
John McCain professed to be deeply offended by Congressman John Lewis’ warning that the campaign of McCain and Palin was stoking fires that could not be put out. They spent months pounding away at supposed connections to terrorism that they knew were bogus. They spent months screaming that socialism was on the advance if they lost. Their campaign gave comfort and support to their fellow travelers of the hard right to scare and scare and scare people. And guess what, people are scared. And scared people do scary things.
"Aspiring to Whiteness" (tanglad)
As we celebrated the eve of November 4th, I was struck by a comment from New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. He pointed out with pride the role of the Latino vote in Obama’s election. I wish I could say that about my fellow Filipinos. . . .
Filipinos can be quite forthcoming when talking about race. In news interviews in the Philippines and in Pinoy gatherings, many immigrant Pinoys have made it abundantly clear that their “discomfort” over Barack Obama is not due to the rumors that he’s an inexperienced, socialist, Muslim politician. Their discomfort is from Obama’s blackness.
Filipino Americans have long been proud of our ability to assimilate into American society. Decades of colonization helped ensure that Filipinos buy into the American Dream completely — minimal input from a goverment that back home is often corrupt, working hard to pull oneself up, and evidencing said hard work through conspicuous consumption.
But as writer Benjamin Pimentel points out, buying into the American Dream also includes embracing “the views of the dominant white society – including the prejudiced, distorted image of blacks.”
"Election Energizes County Initiative on Race" (Jim Staats @ Marin Independent Journal)
Last week's election of Barack Obama as the nation's first black president was like a booster shot for the six-month-old Marin initiative on race, class and educational disparities, organizers said.
"The recent election victory of president-elect Obama re-enforced, re-energized and emboldened our efforts and commitment to directly confront the educational inequities in Marin known as the achievement gap," said social worker Cesar Lagleva, a leader of Marin's education equity initiative on race and class.
Organizers of the coalition are presenting a film on racism, "Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible," Saturday at Dominican University.