Kevin McCarthy, Bill Donalds, Hakeem Jeffries.
Kevin McCarthy, Bill Donalds, Hakeem Jeffries. Getty Images.

They’re just not that into you

How do you say you’re not into someone, without actually saying it? You nominate a random Black dude. That’s exactly what the GOP did in that sh*tshow of a public hearing recently held in the House of Representatives. At the date of this post, Republicans voted 12 times–12 TIMES–against Rep. Kevin McCarthy to be Speaker of the House. McCarthy failed to secure the needed 218 votes from his party, which currently holds a slim majority over Democrats. Democrats unanimously nominated House Minority Leader U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (who has consistent received 212 votes), but neither nominee received the needed 218 votes. For the first time in 100 years, the House has no speaker and, by proxy, no one to swear in the other current 433 members of the House. 

In their “anyone but Kevin” campaign, the 20 holdouts not only remained steadfast in their vote against McCarthy, they nominated and voted for Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida for speaker. Donalds, who is Black, was nominated by U.S. Chip Roy, R-Texas, who argued: “this country needs a change.” He noted that the nominations of Donalds and Jeffries mark the first time in U.S. history that two Black Americans have been nominated for speaker of the House. He added, “we don’t seek to judge people by the color of their skin, but rather the content of their character.” (why must white folks always quote MLK when trying to push their Black???”

Republicans have a history of trying to mirror diversity reflected in the Democratic Party. When Barack Obama became the nation’s 44th and first Black president, the GOP elevated Michael Steele as the first chairman of the Republican National Committee. Most recently, the party nominated Black Republican Herschel Walker for U.S. senator in Georgia against Black Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock. We’ll see how this plays out this time….I have my popcorn and am staying tuned.

U.S.-Africa Summit: What did we learn?

We’ve seen far too many times in history how U.S.-Africa relations seem to result in more negative outcomes than positive. The U.S has often lacked clear objectives on what its motives are on the continent, and its reactionary policies, exploitation and irresolute actions at democratization and humanitarian assistance has brought scrutiny from Africans worldwide.  

President Joe Biden recently hosted 49 African leaders in Washington, D.C for the first U.S African Leader Summit since the inaugural event was hosted by former President Barack Obama in 2014. For three days, African heads of state participated in a number of meetings and discussions around U.S.-Africa relations, and the issues that impact Africans, including organized crime, climate change and security.

Biden seemed determined to strengthen the relationship with Africa and to break away from the embarrassing position former President Donald Trump put America in with his vulgar comments on African countries and immigrants. Biden proposed that the African Union join G20 (Council on Foreign Relations) to have a stronger voice at the United Nations considering South Africa is the only member. The publicity around the summit was said to encourage American and business interests to view the continent as a place of opportunity and not a place in need.

Though it looked great from the outside, economic and human capital policy expert Obiageli Ezekwesili said that if African leaders want the world to take them seriously, they should host these summits on their continent, and not the other way around. It signals “Africa’s readiness to engage the world on its own well-articulated terms.” Let’s also bear in mind that there were several African heads of state who are accused of committing human rights abuses and still operate as dictators and shamefully attended the summit.

I’m sure what they learned in the summit will go in one ear and out the other. The U.S has its share of responsibility for what it has done on the continent, but those corrupt leaders should be equally accountable for the mess they’ve created.

Get ready for more traffic troubles

A months-long road closure is underway in Houston as part of the ongoing I-610 West Loop/ I-69 Southwest Freeway interchange project. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, the I-610 West Loop southbound entrance ramp from Westheimer Road will be closed until 2023. The $259 million interchange project began in 2017 and aims to “improve safety and mobility, reduce congestion, and upgrade the interchange to current design standards.” There have been a series of closures due to construction since the project began. The best advice, find an alternate route because it’s going to be sheer madness.