Cynthia McKinney in Chicago

U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney spoke at the University Church in Hyde Park last night. She's a fantastic speaker, not to mention a very courageous politician, and there was a big, diverse, and responsive crowd.

I learned a few new facts.

--Did you know that only 11 of 43 members of the Congressional Black Caucus supported the reinstatement of Rep. McKinney's seniority when she was elected again in 2004 after having been defeated by crossover Republicans in the 2002 primary? Reinstating seniority is a standard practice when a member is returned to Congress, and this was a decision of the Democratic Party; the Republicans had nothing to do with it.

--Did you know that when armed thugs attacked and burned Jean-Bertrand Aristide's church in Port-au-Prince in 1988, they did it on September 11? (This was mentioned by a questioner who also implicated the CIA in the attack. Interesting, to conspiracy theorists, since Salvador Allende was also assassinated on the eleventh of September, in 1973.)

--Did you know that the enforcement provision of the Voting Rights Act will expire in 2007 if it is not renewed? Then we'll be in really deep trouble.

McKinney also talked at length about her questions about September 11, 2001, most of which also appear in this transcript of her questions to Donald Rumsfeld et al.

I also heard some people in the next pew talking about an activist friend of theirs who is 105 years old, and worked with both Al Capone and Paul Robeson. Wow.

McKinney was going to have to go back to Washington today to vote on the Terri Schiavo thing. As I made clear (below) I can't even begin to deal with this issue dispassionately. The actions of the congressional Republicans are almost more disgusting than I would have believed, even of them.


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