Monday, May 31, 2010

Waving bye bye to May as it turns the page on a low note.

Observation #1 – If you want to bet against it don't. Plutocracy always wins.

It’s not a surprise that the Government seems impotent in their dealings with BP. Current members of the Obama administration have served on various boards for the company. A wise Muslim once told me that “Man can’t serve two masters.” In 2008 all I heard was change, but all I keep seeing is Lobbyists. I don’t expect President Obama to clean up the Gulf Region with a roll of Bounty. However, I do expect him to hold BP’s feet to the fire. If they can’t fix the problem, find someone who can!!

Observation #2 – You can't make them love you. You can only hope that they do.

Dwyane Wade’s unhinged wife is making quite a name for herself in the Chicago court system. Siohvaughn (don’t ask me how to pronounce it) Wade is currently on her 9th lawyer in her divorce case. Apparently Siohvaughn is not pleased with how the proceedings are going. Her strange behavior in and outside of court is becoming stuff of legends. She’s demanded the names of her husband’s sexual partners and accused him of giving her an STD. You know – the usual stuff people do when they go through divorce. I know that Siohvaughn was with Dwyane before he got on the gravy train so I understand her being a little upset. But all this other stuff is ridiculous. Adding fuel to the fire: Actress Gabrielle Union, Siohvaughns, main target of displeasure, is currently dating Dwyane.

Side Note: Not bad Sir, not bad at all

I wonder if the Siohvaughn will raise enough dust to throw shade on Union’s reputation? If Mashonda Tifrere’s crusade against Alicia Keyes isn’t working, I guess Union should be alright.

Observation #3 – Black politicians were not put on earth by God to save Black Folks. They are of course - Politicians!!!

The Dishonorable Kwame Kilpatrick is going up the river “again” for lying. I guess he wasn’t paying attention at his first trial. Kilpatrick was previously ordered to pay restitution to the city of Detroit but out of his mouth came the following in a recent court appearance:

*“I don’t know if my wife works.”

*“I don’t know the amount of rent.”

*“I don’t know who pays the bills.”

Side Note: Case Closed!!

Really dude? Spending time in jail earlier didn’t tell you that the legal system was serious? My message to Kilpatrick: “Don’t drop the soap.”

Observation #4 – Our pleasure might be someone else’s nightmare.

Television and movie star Gary Coleman passed away on Friday. Although he will forever be known for his role on “Different Strokes.” Coleman was in the acting game since the 70’s. Some “mainstream” Hollywood actors can’t even say that much. Coleman made us laugh when he was trying and when he wasn’t. His exploits outside of acting were bizarre and became punch-lines to many jokes. We never really knew what his real life was like. We didn’t understand what it was like for him to be forever seen as a child. Hollywood didn’t think he could play adult roles and damn sure didn’t think he could do breakout ones. All Coleman knew was acting so without that what else would he do? You add in some strange jobs choices outside of acting. Then throw in lawsuits against greedy people and the rest is history. I can’t say that I never clowned him upon hearing of his exploits. Nor will I try to act high and mighty on people who did. I just hope that now he finally gets some peace.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Actual Proof (Enigma, Sundown and Amp) featuring 9th Wonder.

ACTUAL PROOF - GENIUS from Pricefilms on Vimeo.

Question: Why put a music link on your blog? Answer: Because radio sucks. Listen to individuals/groups that should be on radio.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Accepting the ugly ghosts of American history.

On Monday, I was listening to a local NPR program called Charlotte Talks. The guest was historian Dr. Efraim Zuroff bka "The Last Nazi Hunter." Dr. Efraim tracks down Nazi’s worldwide and attempts to bring them to justice. You can tell by listening to him that he was passionate about bring these former criminals to justice. I was surprised that some countries that Dr. Zuroff found Nazi’s in did not want to cooperate with him. He has a tough thankless job and his only reward is when a Nazi is convicted. During the interview, only one email into the show gave the whole “Jews made the Holocaust up” speech…yada yada yada. These are the same people that debate the actual numbers of slaves on a slave ship.

While I was listening to this fascinating man I had a thought. What would happen if a minority historians spent their lives tracking down people that terrorized their ancestors? Would the legal system prosecute cases starting from the founding of America until now? Better yet - would people even care? It seems we live in a society where history is in the process of being re-written. History Revisionists are trying to make their ancestors look less culpable in violent acts that took place on American soil. Other History Revisionists aren’t teaching their children the history of their ancestors because they are ashamed. Unlike these revisionists, Dr. Zuroff has chosen to embrace history. He has even embraced the parts that hurt the most. I don’t feel sorry for Dr. Efraim and I don’t think he is carrying around baggage. The people that should feel sorry are those Nazi’s he’s hunting.

Monday, May 24, 2010

And they said we wouldn’t make it part II. Drinking Campfire Mocha while talking Tea Party politics.

This is a follow up to my post entitled: And they said we wouldn’t make it. My experience with a White Male Tea Party Member.

Based on some of the comments from the post, this follow up was necessary. I found out some information after the fact and wanted to set the record straight. The original intent of the post was to talk about meeting a Taxed Enough Already party member aka Corey Thompson. My intention was to talk about how pleasant my experience was. Especially since African Americans have such a negative view of the Tea Party. Due to some miscommunication and confusion, the post turned into something that I never expected. Although the intent was clear to me, I realized (hindsight is truly 20/20) it was not to others. In the end, I take responsibility for everything that is placed on my blog. It is up to me to make sure my readers understand my thoughts and views. Words carry much power and they have to be used with great caution. When I’m wrong I’ll own up to it. But if I feel my convictions are true, I’ll fight for what I believe in. So I decided to reach out to Corey Thompson to hash things out.

So my phone conversation with Corey Thompson, candidate for County Commissioner, was a pleasant and respectful one. During our conversation, there was never any hollering, screaming or racial epithets involved. We decided that it would be good for us to meet and “chew the fat.” I know some people questioned my decision to meet with him but it was necessary. It’s easy to talk about people on-line that we have differences with but it’s not easy to engage them on a personal level. We can’t always live in the comfort of only knowing what is comfortable. So we decided to meet at Caribou Coffee on Sunday (i.e. this past Sunday).

Corey (I guess we are on a first name basis now) gave me the history of the Tea Party in the 1700’s and in our modern era. The modern incarnation is a movement with no clear leader that has different groups all over the country.

One thing that they have in common is the dislike of the following:

A. Bailouts
B. Government run corporations
C. Programs that they feel are socialist i.e. The New Healthcare Legislation

And they are in the favor of the following:

A. Smaller Government
B. Lowering Taxes
C. Upholding the Constitution

The Tea Party is made up of Republicans, Libertarians and Independents that dislike the Government for what they feel as an over reaching of authority. He knows that President Obama is a popular target of his organization but he says all politicians have felt the Tea Party’s frustration. He showed me photos and websites that showed Tea Party member’s signs that were both anti Obama and anti Republican. Of all the things that he showed me, I never saw anything that was racist. Don’t get me wrong because the signs still had some bite to them (but nothing racist). He does think that on a national level the Tea Party needs to be clear on their issues. From an outsider looking in it seems that each group has the same platform but goes about their agendas differently.

Corey also explained the history of the “The Don’t Tread On Me” flag. This is the yellow flag that you see Tea Party members’ wave at their events. There is the original version of the flag where the Snake is cut in different pieces (each representing the colonies). The current version shows a fully extended Snake coiled with the words “Don’t Tread on Me.” The message on that flag was for the British to back up or get smacked up. He also gave me a little background on himself and his reasons for running for office. As a history teacher, he has seen the effects of the recession on a personal level. Our school district has been laying teachers off since last year. A lady I knew from college just started temping at my place of employment. She was a school teacher that was laid off last year. His fellow teachers were laid off as well. And he still had to deal with the financial strains that all of us (well at least from the middle class on down) felt since this mess started. What really bothered him was that the County Manager took a bonus while his fellow co-workers were getting laid off.

Side Note: I’m still pissed off that he took that bonus too!! The timing was really bad and it showed a lack of compassion.

He is a fiscal conservative that is running to change the way our current government does business. That means he will be preaching the gospel of tax cuts. And we all know everyone likes that sermon. Another one of his core beliefs is in being a public servant to the community. He and his wife left their private school jobs to teach at a school where they could make a difference. He teaches at West Mecklenburg High School and is proud of his job. In my last post I called it a “Hood School” and he was offended by that statement because he thought I said he said it. That was strictly my words alone. And based off the location of the school, I am standing by that statement. A “Hood School” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad school. It means that it’s in the hood. Some of our countries best charter schools are in the hood.

We talked about Republicans that he liked and my favorite subject: Race. Some of the people that he likes I don’t particular care for. We both didn’t say it but I think we voted for the same politician during the last national election. I know I didn’t have a problem with the guy and he said he liked him so I put two and two together.

Side Note: For full disclosure I am a former Democrat turned Independent (aka “oh you’re one of those people.”)

As a history teacher he realizes that the election of President Obama was historic but that shouldn’t stop people from protesting if they take issue with him. He feels that the media has painted an image that if you go against Obama you are a racist. He doesn’t like the accusations that are always leveled against his organization. He feels the media slant hurts the Tea Party when they only show the negative. He personally would not be involved in anything that was racist. And as he has told me before, all the events he has attended never displayed racist imagery or rhetoric. He asked, “Did blacks dislike Bush because of his race or his policies?” He just wants his organization to be judged on the issues and not because they are against the policies of a president that happens to be black.

In the end, it’s hard to say whether or not Oprah would have been proud of me. I think I was impartial and I asked very good questions.

We agreed on the following:

A. Term Limits for Politicians
B. Special Interest Groups are hurting the political process.
C. All citizens should be involved in public service of some type

He knows he is not going to win everyone over and people will still question the Tea Party’s motives. He did invite me to come to some of his events in order to learn more about the organization. I shook my head with an “I just might do that.” I told him that I am on my fraternities Political Action Committee and I would like for him to come out and speak to us. He was gracious and agreed to do that. I realized that even though we are both Christians and Americans we see our country differently. I don’t doubt for a second that he doesn’t care for this country. And I would hope he believes that I care as well. I just believe the Tea Party views America as a GREAT PLACE that has individuals poised to take it down the wrong path. On the flip side, I view America as a place with GREAT POTENTIAL that has individuals poised to take it down the wrong path.

Although we have come a mighty long way, we are still not close to the America that Rev, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. talked about. But on that Sunday, two people from different backgrounds came together for a conversation. The media wasn’t there to witness the event so all I have is this blog to tell the tale. We might not agree on everything but we both agree that we want the best for our city. That is all that is needed for the starting point of a conversation. I only wish that our local and national politicians could do the same thing.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Missing the mark on the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Rand Paul, Republican congressional candidate, from the “Blue Grass State” of Kentucky is an interesting fellow. Apparently he takes issue with civil-rights statutes being enforced on private businesses through Federalism. Because he is a Libertarian I understand what he is saying but it still sounds troubling. You can’t be against discrimination and for it at the same time. Is it not alright for Government intervention when human or civil rights are violated? Business owners should have the right to decide whom they will and will not serve (based on factors besides Race and Gender). And as customers, we have the right to patronize whatever establishment we want to. BUT! Equality should not be up for debate by rule of law. Especially in a so called “Christian Nation” as America claims to be. Today it’s the small business owner turning people of color away. Tomorrow it’s the major business corporation that’s following suit. This is a never ending argument because (in my opinion) it comes down to whether we are led by laws or our conscious.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Ay Dios Mio!!!! They are trying to send Dora the Explorer back across the border!!!

When did we get to the point where deporting cartoon characters become a viable option? Pictures of a “beat up” Dora the Explorer surfaced on the internet last week. They were in reference to the immigration debate in Arizona. At first it appears that some wisenheimer was trying to be funny for their friends. But if you keep looking online, you will see that more images of Dora appear. She is either jumping over fences with illegal aliens or having her picture on boarding crossing signs. All these years of entertaining American children and this is how they do her? No one had a problem when she showed up on the scene with a monkey that wore shoes. And you really can’t get any weirder than that. Arizona makes a bill into law and all these years in America don't mean anything. I guess now she will never know that she was a fixture in American homes. I wonder if this is how illegal’s working as housekeepers in Arizona must feel?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Peacock Resurrection: Three tv shows in NBC's New 2010-2011 line up.

"The Event" - Described as a suspense-filled conspiracy thriller involving another Black President. My question: Why can't we have a black president in a time of peace on these t.v. shows and movies? Either the world is being destroyed or some mysterious organization is trying to take over the Government. No wonder people get nervous about Obama in office. They probably think a meteor is about to hit earth.

"Undercovers" - A J.J. Abrams action spy thriller involing a black husband and wife spy team. It's like Eye Spy but both partners are black. J.J. Abrams has experience in this type of show but Boris Kodjoe as the lead. He is too tall and modelesque for this role. His t.v. wife, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, looks too young. Too bad TVOne couldn’t have developed this one. It would have done well during their Sunday Night line-up.

"Outlaw's" - About a Supreme Court justice who resigns from the bench to practicing regular law. You know “Regular Law” – Divorces, Malpractice, Wills and other regular type stuff. The lead character is Jimmy Smits, who is a very good actor but two things stand out to me.

#1 – He is too young to have been a Supreme Court justice. Unless he got the job after he finished law school.

#2 - If he leaves, there will be no other “wise” Latino judges on the bench.

Richard Blumenthal, how can you forget the dead bodies?

The New York Times, which some say leans to the right, has just busted Attorney General Richard Blumenthal for lying about serving in Vietnam. Blumenthal, a Democrat, is running for Senate to take over Senator Chris Dodd’s old seat. Blumenthal was actually doing well in the polls due to his popularity. One of his Republican challengers is Multimillionaire Linda McMahon. McMahon is the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment or WWE. McMahon once had a falling out with her husband that left her in a “coma like” state. Don’t worry though because it wasn’t real. That’s why they changed WWF World Wrestling Federation to WWE World Wrestling Entertainment….hence the word “Entertainment.” Who knew Conservatives were in charge of the WWE? I guess if Don "Magic" Juan can be a Bishop then it’s alright. Blumenthal was actually leading McMahon 64% to 23%. Actually, he was beating all the Republican candidates like they stole something. But just like a true Democrat he snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

McMahon took a page out of her employees’ book and decided to get down and dirty. Ted DiBiase, the “Million Dollar Man,” would have been proud of how McMahon informed The New York Times of Blumenthal’s selective memory. I guess McMahon was trying to handicap the race by pointing out Blumenthal’s error in judgment. Does it make sense that a man with 5 military deferments can’t remember fighting in Vietnam? He can’t use the fact that he inhaled too much Agent Orange because he was never on the battlefield.

The problem with Blumenthal is that he lied and he told the truth. Confusing right? One video has him talking about being in the war. Another video has him talking about not being in the war. Really dude? This is a slap in the face to all our former and current servicemen and women. I think it’s safe for us to call him a liar. A person knows when they’ve been in a war or not. It’s not something that you casually forget. You can forget where you left your socks but you can’t forget the dead bodies you’ve seen.

Monday, May 10, 2010

In Remembrance of Lena Horne (1917 – 2010)

Before Beyonce and Halle Berry there was Lena. Nothing against those two but even together they couldn’t top Lena Horne on her strongest day. Singer, Dancer, Actress and Civil Rights Activist Lena Horne died on May 9th at the age of 92. It is impossible to talk about her accomplishments in one post because they were numerous. She was the epitome of Superstardom. She is not just a treasure for Blacks in America but for all Americans. She could sing songs from Gershwin to “The Wiz.” MGM studios signed a 7 year contract back in the early 1940s. This made here the first black woman to have a contract of such magnitude. Also the contract was written to where she would never have to play a maid on film. Horne used her status to fight against the racist policies of her day. She demanded that her band stay in quality hotels, and met with White House officials on civil rights issues. Horne even broke the color barrier in marriage by marring a white band conductor in a secret 3 year marriage. Horne lived a unique and colorful life. It was not always a good life but it was an amazing one. She is a pioneer that so many black women in show business owe so much to. May she rest in peace knowing that her legacy lives on.

Friday, May 07, 2010


Highway Rider is a double-disc CD of original work by Brad Mehldau that features performances by the Mehldau Trio, plus drummer Matt Chamberlain, saxophonist Joshua Redman, and a chamber orchestra led by Mehldau.

Question: Why put a music link on your blog? Answer: Because radio sucks. Listen to individuals/groups that should be on radio.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

And they said we wouldn't make it. My experience with a White Male Tea Party Member.

Loyalty to country, always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it. ~ Mark Twain

A few weeks ago I met a member of the Charlotte NC Tea Party. It was by accident because I don’t randomly go around meeting Tea Party members. I always thought I would meet a porn star before running into a tea party member. I actually didn’t realize he was a tea party member until after I met him. Let’s rewind it back to how we met.

I was at a Crossroads Charlotte event concerning the state of our city. I was making an attempt to get out and meet people. In retrospect, I should have kept my behind at home. It was a downer of an event. No offense to Crossroads Charlotte because they put on a good event. It was the subject matter that bothered me. I spent my night listening to Charlotte officials telling us how broke we were.

Side Note: Top officials in education and local government have either taken raises or decided not to cut their salaries.

So after all the presentations, we sat around in groups coming up with solutions. I went on my usual rant about politicians being on the take……blah blah blah blah. I know they said they wanted solutions but screw that. I think we need to put a foot up in someone! Or we can just vote people out of office (for the non-violent types). The Politicians in my group (i.e. all of the Republicans) liked that kind of talk. They were big on cutting taxes and holding people accountable. And to be truthful, I like the sound of that as well. We also had the HWIC (Head Woman in Charge) of our local Public Broadcasting Station in our group. She was soliciting signatures to help save her station. Yep! We are so broke we can’t even keep PBS open.

So the rest of the group consisted of my wife and some crazy cat lady. She looked like she slept in a clothes basket, woke up and put on whatever was in it. She kept talking out of turn and pissing everyone off. And she looked like she combed her hair with pine cones. But I digress…. We didn’t come up with any solutions but I met people that I normally don’t come in contact with. I signed a petition for PBS (I’m a sucker for Ken Burns Documentaries). And I took a card from Corey Thompson, candidate for Mecklenburg County Commission At Large. He told me to call him so we could talk about the issues. He seemed like a nice guy and he was a school teacher in the hood so he couldn’t be too bad. Two weeks later I checked his website and that’s when I learned about his Tea Partying (is that even a legitimate word?). Citizen Wifey didn’t like that at all. She is a registered Democrat and I am an Independent. I use to be a Democrat but if you read previous posts………….well that’s another subject for another time. Anyway, I wondered why a nice guy got hooked up with a group like that. I only really knew about the tea party from what I saw on television. When most black people think of the tea party they think “CRAZY IGNORANT WHITE FOLKS.” And it doesn’t help when they have racist signs and crazy people on the tell-lie-vision.

But recently we have found out that the Tea Party members aren’t as crazy as they appear. It appears they are educated and make a good bit of change. Lex Luthor was also educated and paid so they are in good company. I have been debating on whether or not to call Thompson. I have some questions regarding his membership with the them.

1. Why are they so upset with the Government now when we have been on a downward spiral since the last president?
2. If they are a legitimate organization, what’s up with all of the racism?
3. What do you co-workers think about your Tea Party affiliation?

Sometimes I get curious and I want to know more about this dude. Finding a tea party member is like discovering a Yeti. But on the flipside, I might talk to him and want to punch him in his face. Oh, okay…it probably wouldn’t be like that. But I don’t want to get involved in a Rush Limbaugh type conversation. I dislike when racists try to convince you that they aren’t racists. They will say something like “I have plenty of black friends!” My response - “Your maid doesn’t count dummy!!!!” Or maybe I might find out this guy isn’t as bad as his group is advertised? He might have reasoning to show why his cause is just and true. I just wonder where was this party when Dubya “The Decider” (he of the “wire taps and debt to China” set) was in office? It could go either way because you really never know a person. People can tell you what you want to hear and if you are dumb enough you’ll believe it.

As of Today, Thompson was in 3rd place after 100% of the precincts reported their votes. It looks like he will make it to November’s General Election. Now he will really be under the microscope. If people don’t know about his tea party affiliation they will now. And his Democratic challengers will make sure everyone knows.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Leadership Secrets of Hillary Clinton by Rebecca Shambaugh

The following Book Review has been sponsored by FSB Associates

"Clinton's resilience is more than just a personality trait. It's power."
--U.S. News and World Report

Resilience: It's How You Can Succeed Like Hillary.

Hillary Clinton is the very model of a successful leader, gifted at prospering even in the face of turbulent times. The real question is: Could the same be said about you?

Ask yourself:
Do I bounce back from challenging situations?
Do I know how to learn from my mistakes?
Do I make my words count?
Do I embrace change and take advantage of new opportunities?

Before I started reading this book, I had to suspend my dislike for Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. With that being said, it wasn’t a bad read. The book dealt with the qualities that effective leaders have by using Clinton as an example. Whether you like Clinton or not you have to admit that she is on the top of her game. As a child you could see how she was learning skills to be an effective leader. Clinton never let any perceived limitations hold her back. Her whole life has been about adapting and growing. If I never read this book, I wouldn’t have known these things. Now this doesn’t change my opinion about Clinton, but I do see her in a different light. I never understood why women were so inspired by her but now I know why. At the end of each chapter, Shambaugh provides Clinton’s secrets. Some of her secrets are the following: Creating Your Personal Brand, Building and Leveraging Your Connections, Blending Your Ambitions with Your Aspirations and Listening with Intention. I would highly recommend this book for Women Studies Programs in college. I hope my wife enjoys reading this.

Rebecca Shambaugh is founder and CEO of Shambaugh Leadership, a global consultancy company. She is also the author of It’s Not a Glass Ceiling, It’s a Sticky Floor.