Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The New "Willie Horton"



Recently, I've seen Rev. Jeremiah Wright on TV more than Barrack Obama. I almost forgot which black man was running for President.

Well, the fix is already in... Rev. Wright is destined to become the new "Willie Horton". You remember him don't you? He was the black convict who was pardoned by then Governor Dukakis. While on parole, he raped and killed someone else. George Bush, Sr. and the Republican party pulled him out and trotted him across the stage as proof that Dukakis, who was then the Democratic nominee, was "soft on crime". Despite the obvious racial overtones and code words apparent here, Willie Horton, who was by that time safely behind bars and who had probably never met either candidate, became the most famous (or infamous, depending on how you look at it) black man in America. He single handedly helped George Herbert Walker Bush get into the White House.

Jeremiah Wright is certainly going to keep Obama out of the White House, if the Republicans and certain Democrats have their way. I don't think any reporter or any political talking head has the right to tell me who my friends should be. I don't think I should have to apologize for knowing somebody who may or may not, as the case may be, have said something that was "politically incorrect". It's not right and it's not fair.

After the Geraldine Ferraro mishap, Hillary Clinton apologized just once and kept it moving. John McCain apologized for one of his supporters who kept trying to make a big deal out of Barrack's middle name, Hussein. Again, McCain apologized once and you haven't heard anymore about it. Why are we still talking about Jeremiah Wright? If the man is so foul, why is the media giving him a free platform? This is the kind of hypocrisy that turns a lot of people off about the entire political process and makes America a laughing stock overseas.

Once again, welcome to the USA, where nothing gets done and nothing ever changes because nobody here can focus on real problem solving for too long. We get distracted. There's that word again... distraction. We get distracted by Willie Horton, Jeremiah Wright, the location of Britney Spears' panties, how much Lindsey Lohan had to drink last night, Paris Hilton, and an amazing assortment of other nonsense.

Hey, Willie Horton... holla back if ya hear me!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Once & Again

3 NYPD Detectives Acquitted in Groom Slaying

NEW YORK - Three detectives were acquitted of all charges Friday in the 50 shot killing of an unarmed groom-to-be on his wedding day, a case that put the New York Police Department at the center of another dispute involving allegations of excessive firepower.

Justice Arthur Cooperman delivered the verdict in a Queens courtroom packed with spectators, including victim Sean Bell's fiancée and parents, as at least 200 people gathered outside the building.

The verdict provoked an outpouring of emotions: Bell's fiancée immediately walked out of the room and his mother wept. Officer Michael Oliver, who fired the most shots, also cried.

Outside the courthouse, which was surrounded by scores of police officers, many in the crowd began weeping after hearing the verdict. Others were enraged, swearing and screaming, "Murderers! Murderers!" or "KKK!" Before announcing the verdict, the judge made a statement indicating that the police officers' version of events was more credible than that of the victims.

"The people have not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that each defendant was not justified" in shooting the victims, Cooperman said. About the version of events offered by the victims and other prosecution witnesses, he said, "...at times the testimony just didn't make sense."

Bell, a 23-year-old black man, was killed in a hail of gunfire outside a seedy strip club in Queens on Nov. 25, 2006, his wedding day, as he was leaving his bachelor party with two friends. Oliver, 36, and Gescard Isnora, 29, were charged with manslaughter while Officer Marc Cooper, 40, was accused only of reckless endangerment. Two other shooters weren't charged. Oliver squeezed off 31 shots; Isnora fired 11 rounds; and Cooper shot four times. A conviction on manslaughter could have brought up to 25 years in prison.

This case brought back painful memories of other NYPD shootings, such as the 1999 shooting of Amadou Diallo, an African immigrant who was gunned down in a hail of 41 bullets by police officers who mistook his wallet for a gun. The acquittal of the officers in that case created a storm of protest, with hundreds arrested after taking to the streets in demonstration. The mood surrounding this case has been muted by comparison, although Bell's fiancée, parents, and their supporters, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, have held rallies demanding that the officers, two of whom are black, be held accountable.

The officers, complaining that pretrial publicity had unfairly painted them as cold-blooded killers, opted to have the judge decide the case rather than a jury.

After the verdict, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly acknowledged that some people were disappointed with the acquittals. "We don't anticipate violence but, we are prepared for any contingency," he said. The nearly two-month trial was marked by deeply divergent accounts on the part of defense lawyers and prosecutors.

The defense painted the victims as drunken thugs who the officers believed were armed and dangerous. Prosecutors sought to convince the judge that the victims had been minding their own business, and that the officers were inept, trigger-happy cowboys.

In his closing arguments, prosecutor Charles Testagrossa alluded to the starkly different views of the shooting. "If you are a police officer or sympathetic to police officers, the defendants are tragic heroes and the victims are thugs," he said. "If you are friends of the victims, then the defendants are murderers."

None of the officers took the witness stand in his own defense. Instead, Cooperman heard transcripts of the officers testifying before a grand jury, saying they believed they had good reason to use deadly force.

The judge also heard testimony from Bell's two injured companions, who insisted the maelstrom erupted without warning. "It happened so quick," said Isnora in his grand jury testimony. "It was like the last thing I ever wanted to do." Bell's companions, Trent Benefield and Joseph Guzman, also offered dramatic testimony about the episode. Benefield and Guzman were both wounded; Guzman still has four bullets lodged in his body.

Okay, that was the story. Here is my question...

Why? Why does this kind of thing keep happening to African-American males? If you look at Rodney King and go through all of the cases of obsessive force over the last few years, it is almost always an African-American man on the bad end of a bullet or a night stick. Sean Bell was unarmed.

I have been the victim of racial profiling myself over the years. Often stopped and searched because "I didn't look like I belong somewhere" or I "fit the description of a subject" who was always black, over six feet, slender, etc. I always took it personally and was usually in a bad mood for hours after one of these episodes.

I get so angry when I hear white Americans say that "black people commit most of the crimes and that's why the police profile them so much." People have written into newspapers saying as much... they just don't understand... they still don't understand how a lot of black people and black men in particular, feel about racial profiling. Being stopped, searched, and watched everytime you're in a store, regardless of your age or how you're dressed.

Arab Americans know how black people feel. Since 9/11, they are constantly stopped and searched at airports, taken off of planes, and have had their every move watched. They KNOW how we feel. Of course, it's not fair because I'm sure that a lot of them are loyal, law abiding American Citizens. But, after the terror attacks... a little understandable... but, still not right.

White people will never understand what it feels like to be put under the spotlight like that because it has never happened to them. When Timothy McVeigh blew up the Oklahoma Federal Building, white boys with crew cuts were not profiled. He was viewed as just a separate case, as he should have.

Do you see where I'm going with this? In the Sean Bell case, it was said that this was not racial profiling because two of the officers who pumped 50 odd rounds into him were black. It doesn't matter. They, too, were profiling him just like their white counterparts were. Same System, same visualization.

So, white America... I have a question for you. When will this mean something to you? When will you have had enough of this kind of thing. Does a white male have to die like this before it makes you say enough? I would hope not. I don't want this to happen to anyone, regardless of race or national origin.

Put yourself in our place.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Apples & Oranges


I heard an attack ad today. A female voice talks about two young men who were killed in 2002 in a Chicago gang war. It went on to say that an Illinois senator voted against expanding the death penalty for urban gang terrorism... "If he's this weak on urban crime, how strong can he be on international terrorism?"

A second ad hasn't been aired yet. It proclaims to tell people "the truth about the secret people in Barack Obama's past." Reverend Wright, Former 60's radical, Bill Ayers, The Tooth Fairy (The Tooth Fairy took part in the Fire Island rebellion of 1969 you know)... take your pick. This ad was created by the Republican Party in North Carolina. John McCain has already denounced this ad. The Republican Party National Chairman, Mike Duncan, has denounced it too. However, the North Carolina Republican Party said that they are going to run the ad anyway because "people need to know."

Next week, Obama is going to have to apologize and denounce rapper Jay-Z. He brushed some dirt off of his shoulder last week, a reference to the rappers 2004 song of the same name. How absurd is this? We have to apologize for everybody we've ever known... we have to denounce our pastor if he says something considered controversial... we are held accountable for something we might have done in kindergarten if the teacher is still alive and talks to the tabloids! At this rate, who could seriously run for any office, at anytime? Everybody has done something and if they say they haven't, they are most likely lying and who wants a liar?

People say that they hate "negative campaigning"... they say that they want to move past that and focus on the issues. But, the truth is, negative campaigning works. It worked for the Republicans and they are masters of it. It worked for Hillary Clinton... she just mimicked them with a little "Republican lite" or "Diet Republican" campaigning. It just works. People say they don't want to hear it but, it's like passing a bad car accident on the highway... you don't want to watch but, you just have to look.

I've said it before and I'll say it again...we've got to focus on the issues. I don't care what somebody's pastor said... I don't care who's husband had an affair with an intern... and I don't care who had a conversation with an old radical. It's not important and I don't care who wants to make me think that it is. None of that will lower my gas prices, bring the troops home from Iraq, or keep me from losing my home! The reason why these people are fashioning these ads is because their candidate doesn't have an answer and doesn't have a clue as to how to solve these problems. So, instead of focusing on the issues, they want you to focus on some nonsense out of someone's past.

Just once I'd like to ask a reporter, "Well, you got divorced two years ago. How does that effect your ability to forecast the weather? Do you find yourself liking the rainy days a little more?" Guess what? That question would not be answered. Why? Because it's foolish. Yet, we want to bring this foolishness into a serious debate about important issues. It's like mixing apples & oranges... one doesn't have much to do with the other.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pennsylvania

"Philadelphia? That ain't Pennsylvania!" - Anonymous white man

People from Philadelphia, when asked where they are from, will almost always tell you, "I'm from Philly." It doesn't matter whether they are in London, Paris, Berlin, or Hackensack, NJ. Very rarely will they say, "I'm from Pennsylvania." There is a reason for that which didn't become apparent to me until 1992 when I was on a bus in Austin, Texas.

Anyone who has ever been in the south for awhile knows that the accents down there are thick and any deviation from it brings stares. ("You ain't from 'round here are you?"). I was on this bus and a white guy was sitting next to me. We struck up a conversation and he immediately said, "You're not from around here are you?" I said, "No, I'm from up north." He didn't need to know anymore... after all, I didn't know him. He said, "Me too." I could tell from his lack of a southern drawl that he spoke the truth. He then said, "I'm from Pennsylvania." I said, "Yeah, so am I!" (It's always nice to meet someone, anyone from the same area as you when you are a long way from home.) He then said, "I'm from Wilkes Barre. Where are you from?" I said, "I'm from Philly." He smiled and then his face formed what my Grandmother, Rebecca Martin, would have called a "little shit eatin' grin" and said, "Philadelphia? That ain't Pennsylvania!" Of course, he was joking but, it was the kind of joke where you know that there is a little bit of truth underneath the joke. Needless to say, that ended the conversation for me right there and I was silent the rest of the bus ride.

In the state of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia is often viewed as "another country" by most of its other residents. It's the largest city in the state, it has the largest African-American population in the state and, as far as the rest of the state is concerned, Philadelphia might as well be Africa.

Last night, Hillary Clinton won Pennsylvania and Barrack Obama won Philadelphia. The pundits all say that it still doesn't make much of a difference. Obama still leads in the popular vote and has the most delegates... but, those Super Delegates who are undecided might just take another look at Hillary and decide that she is more "electable." Yeah, they might!

I don't take anything away from Hillary Clinton... she ran a good campaign here. She knew who her base was and she played to them. She had the governor of the state and the new mayor of Philadelphia, who is an African-American, in her purse... and they delivered her the state big time. There is no need for Obama supporters to be angry or upset, as Bodie from "The Wire" would say, "That's the game." To use another "Wire" reference, Omar would tell you, "Play or get played."

As for primary elections, Pennsylvania is now history and it's on to Indiana and North Carolina. And, Philadelphia? Maybe, just maybe we'll attain statehood one day. I really hope this doesn't make me sound like I'm bitter. I'm not. I'm "hopeful."

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Citizen Keith


Today, I exercised my right to vote. I was at the polls at 7:00am when they opened. I was surprised and delighted to see the huge crowd at the polling place (usually, it's me and a couple of old people). But, this morning I saw young people, some voting for their first time, and their parents. It was a good feeling. I felt a sense of purpose, a sense of community that has long been missing. Some people had the presence of mind to bring coffee... I guess they knew that they would be there for awhile.

Today the eyes of the nation is on the Pennsylvania Primary. It is said that if Obama wins, it could mathematically mean the end of the campaign for Hillary. Yet, if you watch CNN and MSNBC... it looks as though Hillary may win this state. It's funny how the reality in the streets and what you see on TV never seems to match up. On the streets in Philadelphia, it feels like Obama could very well pull an upset. I realize that this is just my small pocket of the world and I don't know how the rest of the state is going but, even if she does win, it's not going to be the landslide that was originally predicted. Of course, tomorrow we'll know the answer... the smoke will have cleared by then.

This is Citizen Keith, reporting from the ground in Philadelphia, PA.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Maurice Cheeks for President!

To tell you the truth, I didn't expect the Philadelphia 76ers to win more than 20 games at the beginning of the season but, they won 40. I didn't expect them to make the playoffs and they did. I expected them to get swept by the Detroit Pistons and they stunned the Pistons yesterday with a 90-86 win. So much for what I and all of the NBA "experts" like Stephen A. Smith may have thought.

Coach Maurice Cheeks has taken a group of kids and taught them how to play basketball. He has produced a scrappy little team that plays far above its head and talent level. Make no mistake... the Detroit Pistons have the talent and the experience to beat the Sixers right now and win this series. What they don't have is the legs and they suddenly look very old.

The Pistons got out hustled and out played by a younger, faster, and more energetic team. The Pistons are probably looking past the Sixers and probably are awaiting a showdown with the Boston Celtics. If last night was any indicator of things to come, they'd better take care of business with the Sixers first and whoever they might face in the second round before worrying about Boston. For Detroit, Boston is very far away right now.

For these young Sixers, don't celebrate too early. Detroit is a veteran team, an experienced team, and they will adjust. If I were the Sixers, I'd be looking at film today... looking at everything I did wrong and working to tighten it up. Wednesday will be another night and another game.

See you Thursday morning!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Finally...Now, It's Our Turn!


Important Instructions for
the Pennsylvania Primary Election
on Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I recently received this information in an email and I'm just doing my part to pass the information along. Please feel free to "copy 'n' paste" this into your blog and/or email it to as many people as possible between now and Tuesday, April 22nd. Regardless of whom you're voting for, it is very important to get it right when go to vote. Vote for each delegate pertaining to your candidate INDIVIDUALLY, so that your candidate will get the delegates they need to win the race. Read the information below very carefully...

A member of the Philadelphia Registration Commission addressed a class and alerted us to a vital factor concerning the voting process in the upcoming Pennsylvania Primary on April 22. There are two steps to the process:

STEP #1: Press candidate selection button [e.g., Clinton or Obama].

STEP#2: Under each candidate's name or across from it (depending on the kind of voting machine you are using), there will be a list of delegates. You must select each delegate individually or your candidate will lose the delegate. I am sure you are aware of how important the delegate count is in this election so, take your time and be diligent that you give your candidate the delegates they need. This information has not been highlighted in the press, however, we do not have to wait for their permission to disseminate this information to our family and friends.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

"Priceless" Parody


There are some things money can't buy...

for everything else, there's Mastercard.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Spring Fever!

The weather was so nice today, we decided to break from the norm when we got home from work and take "The Booga" to the park. During the cold winter months, the norm for me is eating dinner and watching TV (or should I say, falling asleep while the TV watches me). But, that's all about to change because spring is finally here!


Super Stupid


Last night during the Pennsylvania Democratic Debate, a young woman asked Barack Obama why he doesn't wear a flag pin on his lapel "as our soldiers and fire fighters do"? I was livid! With all the serious issues on the table at this moment, this silly woman has the gall to ask someone about the flag pin on their lapel? What is wrong with people?

But, you would be surprised how many people take stupid stuff like that serious. They decide who they're going to vote for based on "Who is more likely the kind of guy (or gal) I'd like to have a beer with." This is how George W. Bush got elected! Hell, there are people I like a lot who I have enjoyed a few beers with but, I wouldn't trust them to do a breakfast order for me, let alone run my country.

Then, there are the people who keep asking Chelsea Clinton how the Monica Lewinsky scandal might effect her mother's presidency." Why should it? That happened about ten years ago and it really effected HER FATHER'S PRESIDENCY. The people that ask this really don't care what her answer is... they think they're being smart... they also think they're being funny. What they really are is stupid. They are wasting the time of perhaps, someone with a legitimate question.

The Republicans have won elections with stupid non-issues... gay marriage, flag burning, saying the Pledge of Allegience in school, etc. They are counting on stupidity to get them over once again!

I Couldn't Agree More...


"I think the Republicans should just apologize for the Bush & Cheney years and not run anybody in this election."

- Hillary Clinton

I know I've done a little Hillary bashing lately but, when a person is right, they are right. I watched the debate last night and I must say I was impressed with what both candidates had to say. I realize that, ideologically, there isn't too much difference between either candidate. I don't have a problem with either one being in the White House but, I just can't reconcile myself with a continuation of Bush & Cheney, i.e. McCain. I feel as though he's smarter and has more savy than Bush & Co. (no mean feat there) but, I'm ready for a radical change at this point.

I wish the Republicans weren't running anybody this time too. It reminds me of an old Three Stooges gag in which Moe slaps Larry, who is innocent of an offense. In what was rare for him, Moe actually apologizes to Larry... "Gee kid, I'm really sorry." Larry keeps whining and says... "Well don't let it happen again." Exasperated, Moe says to him (after he slaps him again) "Look, I said I'm sorry so, shut up!"

That's what the Republican Party is doing to the American people... they're slapping us in the face and saying... "Look, we said we are sorry for the war, the lies, the sinking economy, and everything else... now, shut up!"

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tavis Smiley


A while ago, Tavis Smiley hosted his "State of The Black Union" forum and invited all of the current Presidential candidates. Hillary Clinton came, John McCain came and missing was Barack Obama. Barack's wife, Michelle, offered to come in his place but, Tavis wasn't having it. He wanted Barack and no substitutes. He began a war or words with Barack that hasn't let up.

Recently, at the 40th commemoration of Dr. King's assassination in Memphis, again, Obama did not show... Clinton and McCain did... and Tavis threw another "hissy fit" (Have I been out of the loop... where was I during the past 39 commemorations?)

Fans of the popular Tom Joyner Morning Show, of which Tavis is a part, have been letting Tavis "have it" recently for his "undermining of black history and destiny", as I have heard it. Because of this, Tavis has decided to leave the Tom Joyner show. I happen to like and respect Tavis Smiley a lot and I really wish he would reconsider. It seems as if his ego has been bruised by the battering he has been taking.

Fellow blogger Jimi Izrael wrote:

"It's taken his treatment of Barack Obama for Smiley's listenership to finally step back and see him for who he truly is... yet another professional negro suiting up to be "King of All Blacks", determined to profit off the pathology of black people by boxing them in with groupthink and impotent black history month-style sloganeering. Smiley's rhetoric is just relevant enough to make black people angry at whites but, not relevant enough to affect change. Truly brilliant thinkers have the ability to listen and consider everyone's point of view without rancor or withering. Smiley reveals himself to be a poser. He's thinks he's smart enough to tell black America what to do but, not smart enough to listen to their criticism. "

I think that this, while it may have some basis in the truth, is a bit harsh. Tavis is a thoughtful and brilliant brother, what my grandfather would've called a "race man" like Adam Clayton Powell, Cecil B. Moore, and Malcolm X. We need more "race men" to speak for those who can't or won't speak for themselves. I don't want Tavis to leave the national radio forum. It pains me that he and Obama are having this difficulty.

One person I was talking to about this said that Tavis should realize that "Obama is campaigning to be President of the entire United States... not just Black America and that he is not going to be able to appear at every black thing." True, but if I were Obama, I would've gone to at least one of those two events. It looks bad when even your white counter parts can make it to something like that and you can't.

That said...I hope that we as black people can learn to put ego aside, look at the big picture, and keep it moving. The "crabs in the barrel" mentality could come back to bite someone in the
butt!

As I've said before, this election is ours to lose...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Proud To Be A Blogger!


There are days when I am glad that I'm not a politician. I don't have to mince my words. I don't have to worry that something I say will offend someone and cost me my job. I also don't have to worry or care about being misunderstood, misquoted, or having whatever I said taken out of context. I can speak my mind. I can say the things that maybe some politicians are actually thinking but, won't say. I am an "arrogant windbag known as a blogger", as one talking head who I will not give the dignity of naming here on my blog said of bloggers. The funny thing about it is, the man who said this has a blog of his own and something I don't have... a television show, and he is viewed by many as an arrogant windbag himself.

I don't mind being called arrogant... I've been called worse. I was in the U.S. Military for twenty-some years and I was a sergeant so, go figure. I've been called "opinionated". I was on the debate team when I was in college and was known for using, let's say, "creative" tactics to bolster my point of view. One time I actually won a debate over an opponent who I agreed with in principle. I'm happy that I can use this blog to expose nonsense when I see and read it.

This "Obama is an elitist" crap is the latest. I know that I discussed this on two posts yesterday but, I basically was reporting it and not pontificating on it the way I should have. I wasn't going to write about it today but, I read somebody else's blog... somebody who is insulted by Obama's comments and I decided to speak on this again. Hillary Clinton and John McCain have seized on this "issue" and probably will seize on everything he says from now until election day. This is politics... this is the nature of the game. They want to win... he wants to win. If there is no issue, they will create one...That's the game but, lets be fair.

I'm from the big city... Philadelphia, PA. The joke about Pennsylvania is that, "in between Philly and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania might as well be Mississippi." Do you know who said that? Not Barack Obama but rather, my grandfather, Prince Albert Martin (1890-1972). He always said that and it wasn't until I was about 18 years old that I knew what he meant.

I was riding the bus from Philly to the college I attended in Shippensburg, which is about 30 miles outside of the state capital. For the first time in my life, I saw the beautiful farmland, trees, and quaint small town life that resembled nothing I was used to in the inner city streets of Philadelphia. For the first time, I met white people who had never seen a black person, except on television. (I kid you not). In these towns, there were more churches than anything else. In these towns, everybody had a gun or rifle because the men and boys did a lot of hunting and fishing. Also, in some of these places, a lot of racism and isolationism ferments because racists like the KKK and The Aryan Nations play on people's economic fears by telling them that the "Jews and the Niggers in Philly, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh are taking all of the good jobs from us." Now, I know that to be true.

In Obama's "bitter" speech, he wasn't looking down on anybody... he was stating a fact and trying to explain why it is so. Hillary Clinton and John McCain KNOW this but, it's a nice stick to crack him across the head with and in the era of the sound bite, it's very easy to use it to your advantage. This is what I should've said yesterday.

Now, with that said, I'm proud to be a blogger. Anybody offended? Anybody didn't understand what I said? I'll quote Clark Gable here..."Frankly Scarlett, I don't give a damn!"

Monday, April 14, 2008

Between Barack And A Hard Place

Check out the article below from MSNBC.COM...


Obama Questions Clinton On Trade
Tells manufacturers this time of year politicians will promise you anything


PITTSBURGH - Democratic Sen. Barack Obama on Monday questioned rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's opposition to free trade agreements that some voters contend have eliminated thousands of U.S. jobs and mocked her weekend visit to an Indiana bar as pandering to the working class.

"Around election time, the candidates can't do enough for you. They'll promise you anything, give you a long list of proposals and even come around, with TV crews in tow, to throw back a shot and a beer," Obama told a meeting of the Alliance for American Manufacturing. Clinton did just that at a stop Saturday at Bronko's restaurant in Crown Point, IN.

The two presidential candidates continued to hammer each other Monday after a weekend of criticism stemming from Obama's comment that some small-town voters are bitter over their economic circumstances and "cling to guns and religion" as a result. Obama uttered the words at a private fundraiser in San Francisco last week and Clinton has seized on them in seeking the edge in Pennsylvania, which holds its primary April 22.

Obama also chided Clinton over NAFTA and the Colombian trade deal. Clinton has criticized NAFTA, which was passed under her husband's watch. She opposes the Colombian trade deal even though former President Clinton supports it and her top campaign strategist, Mark Penn, met with Colombian officials to help push for its passage. Penn has since been demoted.

'Shame on her'
Here's what you can't do. You can't spend the better part of two decades campaigning for NAFTA and PNTR for China, and then come here to Pennsylvania, and tell the steelworkers you've been with them all along," Obama said. "You can't say you are opposed to the Colombia Trade deal, while your key strategist is working for the Colombian government to get the deal passed."

In response, Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said, "Senator Obama's speeches won't hide his condescending views of Americans living in small towns." Addressing the gathering later Monday, Clinton said her husband made mistakes related to NAFTA but that she planned to fix them. Clinton said she would either address the NAFTA problems leading to job losses, or would tell Canada and Mexico that the United States is pulling out of the agreement.

Both candidates are hoping to secure the endorsement of the influential United Steelworkers union, which backed Democrat John Edwards before he dropped out of the race. Steelworkers president Leo Gerard introduced Obama to the crowd, saying, "We're tired, we're frustrated, we're angry and we need somebody who's going to stand up for fair trade."

Laughing, the Illinois senator noted Clinton seemed much more interested in guns since he made his comments than she had been in the past. On Saturday, the former first lady reminisced about learning to shoot on summer vacations in Scranton, where her father grew up.

"She is running around talking about how this is an insult to sportsmen, how she values the Second Amendment. She's talking like she's Annie Oakley," Obama said.

Clinton has told campaign audiences that she supports the rights of hunters. She's also said she once shot a duck in Arkansas, where she served as first lady.

'Bitter Battle'
Clinton, who is trailing Obama in the popular vote and pledged delegates, has pounded Obama since audio from his San Francisco appearance was posted on The Huffington Post Web site. She hoped the comments might give her a new opening to court working-class Democrats less than 10 days before the Pennsylvania primary, which she needs win to keep her campaign going.

At the San Francisco fundraiser, Obama tried to explain his troubles in winning over some blue-collar voters, saying they have become frustrated with economic conditions: "It's not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." In Scranton on Sunday, Clinton said Obama's words would probably alienate voters in Pennsylvania and other states holding primaries in the coming weeks. Indiana and North Carolina vote on May 6.

"How does he see people here in this neighborhood, throughout Pennsylvania, Indiana, North Carolina, other places in our country?" she asked during an informal news conference. "I think that's what people are looking for, some explanation, and he has simply not provided one."

This has come to be known as the so called "bitter" speech. My question is, "Did Obama say anything that anyone finds untrue? People are losing their jobs, people are watching their jobs get shipped to other countries, and people are watching their future slip down the toilet. Times like this make people nervous and uneasy. People who are nervous and uneasy do cling to religion and in some areas, guns. People (and not just white rurals) often blame others who are not like them for their jobs being lost. We know this... anybody with any common sense knows that what he said is after all the truth so, what is the problem?

What country, what world does John McCain live in? "People are not bitter", he says. Oh yeah? Who has he been talking to? Where has he been?

And Hillary? You're saying that Obama's statements peg him as an elitist? Condescending? Give me a break! You've been in this sate all month... you claim to have talked to the working class folks in the inner cities and in the suburbs as well as the rural areas. You didn't hear this? You didn't sense some bitterness?

That bitterness is partially why, both you and Barack Obama are leading McCain in the popular polls right now. People are bitter at the present government and desperately want a change.

Bitter? Damn right!

Condescending? I don't think so!

Action Hero

Barack Obama Comments on Recent
Pro Gun Statements by Hillary Clinton...

"She is running around talking about how this is an insult to
sportsmen, how she values the Second Amendment.
She's talking like she's Annie Oakley."




Now, my comments...

"Let's see... Hillary Clinton dodged sniper fire in Bosnia in 1999... and in 1988, she shot a duck in Arkansas. Is this the same person that was talking about gun control last year this very month after the mass murders at Virginia Tech? Now, she's saying that she "supports the rights of hunters and that she has hunted herself as a young girl." I guess I don't have a problem with that at face value but, it sure sounds to me like she's trying to be more Republican than John McCain just to beat Barack Obama in states like Pennsylvainia, Ohio, Indiana, etc. She sounds like an action hero to me. Who Knew?"

Saturday, April 12, 2008

TO: My Mom

Yesterday was my Mom's birthday.
Photo (l-r): My grandson, me, Ms. Brenda, and my Mom.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.


Barack Obama's pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, has been in the news a lot lately and, as usual, Americans only know him through soundbites and talking heads like Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity. If anyone would have bothered to listen to his entire speech (as I did), you would've found that a lot of what he said was said by The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 41 years earlier... although, probably in a different way... yet, still the same thing. Once again, I'd like to share an article with you concerning the man so, you decide for yourself if he deserves all of the criticism that he has been getting...


What Obama Could Have Said About His Pastor
Rev. Jeremiah Wright, A True Patriot
By Lawrence Korb and Ian Moss

In 1961, a young African-American man, after hearing President John F. Kennedy's challenge to, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country," gave up his student deferment, left college in Virginia, and voluntarily joined the Marines. In 1963, this man, having completed his two years of service in the Marines, volunteered again to become a Navy corpsman. (They provide medical assistance to the Marines as well as to Navy personnel.)

The man did so well in corpsman school that he was the valedictorian and became a cardiopulmonary technician. Not surprisingly, he was assigned to the Navy's premiere medical facility, Bethesda Naval Hospital, as a member of the Commander in Chief's medical team, and helped care for President Lyndon B. Johnson after his 1966 surgery. For his service on the team, which he left in 1967, the White House awarded him three letters of commendation. What is even more remarkable is that this man entered the Marines and Navy not many years after the two branches began to become integrated.

While this young man was serving six years on active duty, Vice President Dick Cheney, who was born the same year as the Marine/sailor, received five deferments, four for being an undergraduate and graduate student and one for being a prospective father. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, both five years younger than the African-American youth, used their student deferments to stay in college until 1968. Both then avoided going on active duty through family connections. Who is the real patriot?

The young man who interrupted his studies to serve his country for six years or our three political leaders who beat the system? Are the patriots the people who actually sacrifice something or those who merely talk about their love of the country?

After leaving the service of his country, the young African-American finished his final year of college, entered the seminary, was ordained as a minister, and eventually became pastor of a large church in one of America's biggest cities. This man is Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the retiring pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ, who has been in the news for comments he made over the last three decades. Since these comments became public we have heard criticisms, condemnations, denouncements, and rejections of his comments and him. We've seen on television, in a seemingly endless loop, sound bites of a select few of Rev. Wright's many sermons. Some of the Wright's comments are inexcusable and inappropriate and should be condemned, but in calling this man "unpatriotic," let us not forget that this is a man who gave up six of the most productive years of his life to serve his country.

How many of Wright's detractors, Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly to name but a few, volunteered for service, and did so under the often tumultuous circumstances of a newly integrated armed forces and a society in the midst of a civil rights struggle? Not many.

While words do count, so do actions. Let us not forget that, for whatever Rev. Wright may have said over the last 30 years, he has demonstrated his patriotism.

Lawrence Korb and Ian Moss are, respectively, Navy and Marine Corps veterans. They work at The Center For American Progress. Korb served as assistant secretary of Defense in the Reagan administration. This piece ran in the Chicago Tribune on April 3, 2008.

I came across this and I realized that the average person in this country doesn't like to read and doesn't prefer to go any deeper than a CNN soundbite. If you cut 'n' paste sound and video bites, you can smear and misrepresent anybody. I feel that this man has been unfairly maligned by the media. It's not the first time and it won't be the last. To quote Parliament-Funkadelic leader, George Clinton: "Think, it aint illegal yet!"

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Better Living Through Better Eating


Like a lot of people in my new age bracket, I have been diagnosed with high blood pressure. In addition to some of the medication I have to take to regulate it, I have been told that I have to exercise and eat better. If you knew me in my 20's & 30's, I was quite the athlete... often coming home from work and running two to three pick-up basketball games a night. This also means that I either have to give up or eat moderately, all of the things I like...cheese steaks, soul food, hoagies, chinese food with MSG, etc.

I know it's not going to be easy but, I would like to be around to write my 100,000,000th blog post (this one is my 73rd) so, I have decided to change my eating habits. I came across this article on healthy eating and I decided to post it for myself and all of you. Life is precious people, we've all got to eat better and lead more active lives. Someone reminded me recently that you aren't just living for yourself... you're also living for all of the people who love you and think you're something special!


12 Quick Tips for Eating the Mediterranean Way
Help your heart and overall health with these simple steps.
By Peter Jaret, EatingWell.com

Food is far more than sustenance. The dishes we eat are often imbued with family traditions, cultural history, and even personal memories—and that’s as it should be. But, as studies around the world have shown, eating patterns as different from ours as those in Sweden and India can be tweaked to take advantage of the health benefits associated with traditional Mediterranean diets. Here’s how:

1. Replace butter with olive or canola oil whenever possible.

2. Snack on nuts, seeds or fruit instead of processed foods.

3. Include a generous leafy green salad with most dinners.

4. Help yourself to whole-grain bread, pasta, rice and other grains.

5. Fix at least a couple of vegetarian meals every week.

6. Add a dish or two that contains legumes (beans and lentils) to your weekly menu.

7. Have fish (not fried) at least twice a week.

8. If you eat meat, favor chicken and other poultry.

9. Eat red meat only occasionally, and in small servings.

10. If you drink, have no more than a glass or two with a meal.

11. Enjoy fruit for dessert.

12. Set aside enough time to savor every bite.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Who Really Killed Dr. King?

Excerpt from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s final speech on April 3, 1968...

"Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."


You know, "conventional wisdom" (and, I'm really being sarcastic when I say that) tells us that one James Earl Ray, escaped from a Missouri Prison, robbed a couple of banks to fund his activities, followed Dr. King to Los Angeles, then to Atlanta, finally to Memphis, and then killed him. At the time, Ray was a 40 year old drifter and escaped convict who, up to that point, wasn't even a successful criminal because he was serving his third felony sentence when he escaped from prison. "Conventional wisdom " also wants us to believe that he also had enough money to go to London after doing the deed.

So, Ray was smart enough to shadow his man, kill him, and make the smooth getaway... yet, so stupid that he dropped the rifle (the alleged murder weapon that never cleared an extensive FBI test) with his fingerprints on it. He was also smart enough to use an alias, "Eric Starvo Gualt", when he bought the rifle. Doesn't that sound like something you would've see on TV? And, who would give their child the middle name of Starvo? Yet, as I said, he was stupid enough to drop the weapon after killing a national figure and leaving it where it could be found with his fingerprints on it that formerly identified him as James Earl Ray! Makes you wonder, doesn't it? Well, it should.

Excerpt from Wikipedia...

Two months after King's death, escaped convict James Earl Ray was captured at London Heathrow Airport while trying to leave the United Kingdom on a false Canadian passport in the name of "Ramon George Sneyd".
(Again, with these crazy names!) He was quickly extradited to Tennessee and charged with King's murder. He confessed to the assassination on March 10, 1969, though he recanted this confession three days later. On the advice of his attorney Percy Foreman, Ray took a guilty plea to avoid a trial conviction and thus the possibility of receiving the death penalty. He was sentenced to a 99-year prison term. Ray falso fired Foreman as his attorney and from then on, derisively called him "Percy Fourflusher."

Ray claimed that a man he met in Montreal, Canada with the alias "Raoul" was involved, as was his brother Johnny, but not he himself. Further, he asserted that although he did not "personally shoot King", he may have been "partially responsible without knowing it", hinting at a conspiracy. He spent the remainder of his life unsuccessfully attempting to withdraw his guilty plea and secure the trial he never had.

On June 10, 1977, shortly after Ray had testified to the House Select Committee on assassinations that he did not shoot King, he and six other convicts escaped from Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary in Petros, Tennessee. They were recaptured on June 13 and returned to prison.

Does all of this sound just a little damn suspect? Let's look at another story that has long been told but, kept very quiet up until now. There was a Memphis businessman named Lloyd Jowers, who it is said put up $100,000.00 for anyone who would kill King. He was a known racist who did not want King "stirring up trouble in Memphis." King had been there in 67 and was coming back to support striking garbage workers, most of whom were Black. Could Jowers have hired the mysterious "Raoul" to find a patsy, someone to buy a rifle in Canada, and mail it to Memphis? Let's say that they found a knucklehead (Ray), made him think that he was involved in something big... gun running... had him buy the gun, mail it to Memphis, and wait there until contacted.

Lloyd Jowers admitted as much (all except the "Raoul" link) in 1993 on ABC-TV. He said that James Earl Ray was the scapegoat... the guy it was going to be blamed on and that the real shooter was a rogue Memphis policeman named Earl Clark, who ironically used the alias "Ed King". Jowers was sued for wrongful death by the King Family. The courts ruled in their favor and said that in fact, King's death was "probably a conspiracy and that Jowers and others were part of it."

Lloyd Jowers died in 2000. Earl Clark, aka "Ed King", is also deceased. And, what of Raoul? No record or trace of the man exists. James Earl Ray is also dead. We may never know the truth, but the truth of "conventional wisdom" isn't what we were told.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Taking It Personal


I was having a spirited discussion with some friends of mine recently about the election and how like Nancy Pelosi, the current Speaker of the House, I was hoping that by July 1st, the Democrats would have this thing locked up and decide who is going to be their nominee... either Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, or (snicker, snicker) Mike Gravel.

One of my friends mentioned that here in Pennsylvania, Ed Rendell, who is the former mayor of Philadelphia, and Michael Nutter, the current mayor of Philadelphia, are Hillary Clinton supporters. I said that when Bill Clinton was in the White House and Ed Rendell was our mayor, the city of Philadelphia got a lot of federal aid. Those were gravy days, the early 90's... employment was high, people were buying homes at very low interest rates, and the city in general, enjoyed prosperity.

Ed Rendell is now the governor of Pennsylvania and he is returning the favor to the Clintons. I said that even if Obama wins, I don't think it would hurt Philadelphia because "These are politicians, they understand endorsements and they don't take this personal." My friend said, "So, you expect Obama to send federal aid to a state where it's governor and the mayor of its largest city didn't support him?" I said, "Sure, it's still a Democratic state and they don't take endorsements personal." Perhaps, I have been a bit naive. Check out this article... it may prove me wrong.

Richardson Endorsement Still Irks Bill Clinton
Meantime, Hillary Reportedly Told Richardson That Obama Can't Win!

SACRAMENTO, California - Former President Clinton is still smarting over New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson's endorsement of Barack Obama.

During a private meeting with California Democrats this past weekend, Clinton grew red-faced as he talked about how he expected Richardson, who was a member of Clinton's Cabinet, to back Hillary Clinton for the presidential nomination or at least stay neutral, according to several people who attended.

Instead, Richardson endorsed Obama late last month, calling him a "once-in-a-lifetime leader." Meantime, ABC News reported that Hillary Clinton lobbied Richardson hard, claiming Obama would lose in the general election. "He cannot win, Bill. He cannot win," she reportedly said. Lobbying super delegates,

"He sort of gets a little redder and redder and redder, but he wasn't off the deep end as I had seen him in the past," said Inola Henry, an uncommitted superdelegate. "It was sort of like, 'Gee, I'm a martyr.' He seemed more hurt than anything."

Clinton used his appearance at the state Democratic Party Convention in San Jose to lobby California's 21 uncommitted superdelegates to support his wife.

After posing for a group photograph with the former president, super delegate Rachel Binah told Clinton she was disappointed that one of his allies, strategist James Carville, had compared Richardson to Judas after he endorsed Obama.

Clinton, according to several people present, distanced himself from Carville's remarks. But, he went on to say that he had not expected Richardson to endorse the Illinois senator, especially since the New Mexico governor had invited Clinton to Santa Fe to watch the Super Bowl on Feb. 3rd.

"He did say he certainly had been led to believe that he was going to get the endorsement," Henry said Wednesday. She was one of about 15 superdelegates — some uncommitted, others backing Clinton — who attended Sunday's meeting with Clinton before he addressed the convention.

Aleita Huguenin, another superdelegate, remembered Clinton saying, "We thought he'd let us know if he did an endorsement." But Huguenin said the comments about Richardson were "a minor blip in the whole meeting."

According superdelegate Chris Stampolis, Clinton said only that Richardson had promised not to endorse Obama, saying, "'He told me to my face five times he would not do that."

Richardson disagrees Binah did not respond to repeated requests for comment, but she previously told The Associated Press she supports Clinton. Other superdelegates interviewed by the AP said it was Binah's statement that prompted Clinton's comments about Richardson's decision.

Pahl Shipley, a spokesman for Richardson, said his boss never promised to endorse Hillary Clinton.

"He never told the president or anybody else, for that matter," Shipley said. "The governor respectfully disagrees with the president."

Richardson, the nation's only Hispanic governor, endorsed Obama on March 21, shortly after the Illinois senator gave a speech about race. It was a blow to the Clintons because of their long association with Richardson, who served as Clinton's energy secretary and ambassador to the United Nations.

Clinton's campaign declined to comment, except to say the former president was in California to promote his wife's candidacy.

"President Clinton discussed the importance of this election with Democratic Party members and how after 46 primaries and caucuses, by virtually every measure, this election remains a very close race," campaign spokesman Luis Vizcaino said in a statement. "President Clinton is incredibly popular in the Golden State, and the convention was a great opportunity for him to speak directly with members of the California Democratic Party."

Bob Mulholland, a spokesman for the state party who attended the private meeting, said Clinton expressed himself passionately but insisted the meeting was productive.

"I left the meeting feeling this was great," Mulholland said. "The guy had time to talk to us about the campaign."

After reading that, I realized that politicians, just like myself, are human. When I am perfectly honest, I realize that I probably would've taken that personal so, why would I expect someone else not to take it personal? I'm open to your thoughts and comments.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

"King Kong" Revisited


There is a photo on the cover of this month's Vogue magazine of current basketball sensation, Lebron James, and the beautiful model Giselle. Being a basketball fan, I know that the snarl on Lebron's face is his "game face". The photo is innocent enough and it was taken by one of my favorite photographer's Annie Liebowitz.

Apparently, a section of Black America has been angered by this photo. I have heard that "once again a black man is shown as dangerous to White America." The most ludicrous thing I have heard to date is that this photo represents "King Kong" and Giselle is, I suppose, Fay Wray. If a white person had said these things I would be incensed but, these comments have come from my fellow African-Americans... SOME of my fellow African-Americans who are a bit too sensitive with too much time on their hands. To them I say, "Take a chill pill, it's not that deep... really it isn't". I am wondering if all this consternation is directed toward Lebron because he's posing with a white woman. If the woman was say, Tyra Banks, Beyonce, or Selita Ebanks, would anybody be saying anything?

I don't read Vogue magazine and I'm not a betting man... but, I'll bet that Lebron doesn't read the magazine either. He just took a picture with a model and got paid. I don't think he gave it another thought past that and I don't think Annie Liebowitz did either. There was NO SECRET AGENDA here... only the agenda that certain people made up. Come on, there are people who have real problems and you folks are wasting time and air on THIS? Give me a break. This was not worth the discussion.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Anyone Having A Hard Time Sleeping?


If you're a Type A personality (i.e. borderline neurotic) like yours truly, you might have trouble sleeping at night. I think I watch too much television. Ironically enough, the lack of anything meaningful on television actually puts me to sleep. The problem is, it puts me to sleep hours before I should go to sleep... then, at midnight when everyone else is asleep, I'm staring at the ceiling and going over one hundred or more things in my mind that I have to do during the day.
I came across this article that I would like to share with you that certainly speaks to me. I hope it speaks to your needs too.

World-renowned doctor Mehmet Oz offers six steps on how to get a good night’s sleep every night. Because your co-workers don’t think the naps at your desk are funny anymore.

If you get less than six hours of sleep a night, as we just learned, you're in trouble. You need sleep more than you need food. When you're always tired, you actually age faster than you should. Here is your new nightly routine.

1. Sleep tight: Dim the lights an hour before bedtime. This mimics sunset. Smack in the middle of your brain is something called the pineal gland. It releases melatonin, the hormone that readies the mind and body for sleep in response to lowered light levels.

2. If you've got things on your mind: Tomorrow's meetings, errands, that kind of thing -- write them down fifteen minutes before bed. This sweeps them out of your mind.

3. If you're still awake after fifteen minutes: Get up and do something quiet, like reading a book. No Internet, no TV, no exercise. You have to let your body and mind slow down to be able to slip into sleep. If you just lie there thinking about how you're not sleeping, you'll never sleep.

4. Wake up at the same time every day: An hour extra on weekends is fine, but if you wake up at seven every morning during the week, then sleep until ten on weekends, you're effectively giving yourself jet lag. Monday morning, you'll feel like you just got off the red-eye from three time zones away.

5. A little chemical help once in a while is fine: Not alcohol, it actually interferes with the normal sleep cycle. But, Benadryl or one of the combination OTC painkillers or sleep drugs can give you that little nudge into natural sleep. Just describe your symptoms in detail: From a pharmaceutical perspective, "can't fall asleep" isn't the same as "wake up in the middle of the night."

6. Sex

Mehmet C. Oz is a heart surgeon and the co-author of
"You: Staying Young"
(Free Press, $26).




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