Friday, April 30, 2010

Weekend Humor

A little boy was waiting for his mother to come out of the grocery store. As he waited, he was approached by a man who asked, "Son, Can you tell me where the post office is?"

The little boy replied, "Sure! Just go straight down this street a couple of blocks and turn to your right."

The man thanked the boy kindly and said, "I'm the new pastor in town. Are you familiar with Ressurection Baptist Church? I'd like for you to come to my church on Sunday and bring your family. I'll show you how to get to Heaven."

The little boy replied with a chuckle. "Awww, come on Rev... You don't even know the way to the post office!"

Thursday, April 29, 2010

What The Hell?

I first heard about this from the feeds on Facebook because a number of my FB friends were talking about it. Just when I think human behavior can't get any worse or people can't have anymore gaul, I read this...

Miami Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland issued a public apology to Dallas Cowboys wide-receiver Dez Bryant on Tuesday in response to Bryant's recent revelation that a "high-level executive" from an NFL team asked him during a pre-draft interview if his mother was a prostitute.

What gauls me the most is that Ireland had the nerve to try and somewhat justify asking an insensitive question like this. "My job is to find out as much information as possible about a player that I’m considering drafting," Ireland said. "Sometimes that leads to asking in-depth questions. Having said that, I talked to Dez Bryant and told him I used poor judgment in one of the questions I asked him. I certainly meant no disrespect and apologized to him."

Poor Judgement? Poor Judgement? In the world I come from, his dentist would be in a new tax bracket if he had asked me a question like that, whether it was true or not. With his statement, Ireland confirmed that he was the one who asked the question. Ireland asked the question during an April 1-2 visit with the Dolphins as part of a two-week trip in which the former Oklahoma State receiver reportedly visited 11 teams before the NFL Draft.

"They asked me if my mom’s a prostitute," Bryant told "No, my mom is not a prostitute. I got mad -- really mad -- but I didn’t show it. I got a lot of questions like that: Does she still do drugs? I sat and answered all of them." According to sources, Bryant’s mother, Angela, had him when she was 15 years old and conceived his younger sister and brother within the next 3 years. She reportedly sold drugs and served a prison term while Bryant was a child. Bryant lived with different relatives and family friends at various times during his upbringing.

It's like I've asked before... When did everyone in America become Gladys Kravitz (the newsy neighbor on the old sitcom Bewitched who was always looking in Darin and Samantha's window to see what was going on). I know some politicians who's lives aren't that well scrutinized. He's playing football... he's not running for office. My God!

This isn't the first time the Dolphins have been cited as insensitive, to say the least, while Ireland has been with this team. Pro-Bowl linebacker Zach Thomas described his unceremonious exit after Miami waived him.

"The only thing that was like a punch in the gut to me was the day I was cleaning out my locker, the day they cut me, Drew Rosenhaus asked them if I could just say thanks to the fans through the media at the Dolphins facility and their anser was, ''No, he's not a Dolphins player anymore, he's got to do it off premises." Thomas said, according to the Miami Herald. "That's when you know, like, ''Wow, the whole loyalty and everything they preach with team and things like that goes out the window."

Dez Bryant, a star at Oklahoma State, was ruled ineligible by the NCAA last season for having contact with an agent. That "agent" in question was former NFL superstar Deion Sanders. Dez Bryant, who was widely considered the best wide-receiver in the draft (though he was the second WR taken), dropped to No. 24, when the Cowboys traded up to get him.

Incredible. Just Incredible. Once again, the bad behavior of people has gone to all time low!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Can't Be 2 Big 2 Fail Anymore!

Fresh off of his victory with health care, President Barack Obama has set his sights on Wall Street and the money changers (banks). America's four largest banks, Citibank, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo, have assets of $7.4 trillion, which is equal to 52% of our entire GDP. The collapse of any one of these banks would endanger the American economy, even the world economy.

They truly are "too big to fail". They also have too much economic and political power because of their enormous size. We have already seen their devesating effect on the American economy during the near economic collapse of 2008. Very few Americans realize how dangerously close our government came to collapsing during that time. If they did, then the tea baggers and Sarah Palin & Company would have no clout at all right now.

Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Ted Kaufman (D-DE) introduced a bold bill, the SAFE Banking Act (S. 3241), to break up the big Wall Street banks. This may be the biggest reform of Wall Street and corporate power in 80 years.

According to the New York Times, "The SAFE Banking Act would reinforce a 1994 law that bars any single bank from holding more than 10% of the nation’s total deposits, or about $750 billion. In the years since then, large firms have obtained waivers or used loopholes in the law to exceed that ceiling."

It would also limit total bank borrowing to 2% of GDP. I wonder who allowed such loopholes to exist in the first place? I'm just asking. How did we get to this point? Can anyone say lobbyists? High-powered and more importantly, high-paying lobbyists lining the pockets of and offering jobs to a politician near you!

The new bill, the Safe Banking Act, has broad progressive support, including Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Chris Hayes of The Nation, Prof. Lawrence Lessig, Heather Booth of Americans for Financial Reform, Adam Quinn of Credo, David Arkush of Public Citizen, and Jan Frel of Alternet.

In addition, three Federal Reserve bank presidents, James Bullard, president and chief executive of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ Kansas City Fed President Thomas M. Hoenig, and Dallas Fed President Richard W. Fisher, all support breaking up too-big-to-fail banks.

These are good signs. Now when the republicans, the tea bag crew, Glenn, Rush, Sean, and Sarah start hollering socialism and how they want their country back (and you know they will), the President would do well to tell them that he is doing this to help the little guy on Main Street and to ask them who are THEY trying to help out. The poor desperate cat on Main street (or in my case, Market Street) or the fat cats on Wall Street! Let's see what they say about that?

Monday, April 26, 2010

This Might Be Controversial But....

This might be a controversial post, but this being my blog and a place where I can get things off my chest so, let me just get to it...

There was a somewhat controversial show on Nightline last week that featured Steve Harvey, Jacquie Reed, Sherry Sheppard, and Hill Harper called "Why Can't A Successful Black Woman Find A Husband?" And, before anybody asks... no, I didn't watch it. Why not? Well, for one thing, I've been married to a successful Black woman going on 21 years now, so this program doesn't fit me. Secondly, I'm sure that nothing was said that I haven't read in my wife's Essence magazines, that I haven't heard discussed by my single Black female friends ad nauseum, and I'm tired of having this discussion and hearing all the takes on it.

Every Saturday, I drive through my predominately black neighborhood and I see a wedding at some church. It's almost always a Black woman and a Black man coming out of the church, smiling, laughing, and having rice thrown on them, along with a huge wedding party. I don't know the occupation of either person, but I can guess that at least one of the happy people is "successful" according to our society's standards. So, were these couples left out of the statistics?

While I'm mentioning "statistics", where are these stats coming from? Who does the research? Why does it seem like this is just a problem amongst Black people? Are Asian, Arab, Native American, Latino, and White women having a problem finding a "successful" man of their race to marry or is this just a Black thing?

What I do know is that this is a money thing! Careers have been made (by some friends of mine, I must admit) by mining the waters of the so-called relationship-challenged, sucessful sistah. Now don't get me wrong... I know that it's hard out here for a lot of educated and employed Black women. I also won't dispute the fact that a lot of brothers are (and here comes the litany) already married, gay, incarcerated (or on their way to being incarcerated), underemployed, and undereducated.

I have heard this litany ever since Terry McMillan wrote her novel "Waiting to Exhale". If I wanted to be persnickety, I could also say that there are now a number of Black women who fall into some of the same categories... which means that the young man coming out of college who is gainfully employed and "marriage material" now has to watch himself and weigh his options. But, I won't get into that because Black women outnumber Black men nearly three-to-one. We could argue that finding a suitable mate is much more in a Black man's favor than a Black woman.

We can argue the numbers game all day long (and all night long), but the thing is, we will never come to a solution. The reason why is because you're not supposed to. Not coming to a solution gives someone else a new relationship book to write, a new speaking tour to go on, and unfortunately for those who are weak-minded, a new reason to feel hopeless.

When I met my wife and decided to get married, I didn't consult Essence and I didn't read any book for statistics either. And, if you ask the people who are getting together and getting married, they aren't either. hey are getting out there and making it happen. They might fail, but they aren't giving up. They are getting up and going at it again. They are learning from their mistakes and adapting to situations. This stuff comes from common sense and life experiences... not books, forums, etc.

Comedian Kat Williams said (in so many words), "If you are a woman over 30 years old and you still saying 'Niggas ain't shit', maybe you should be reevaluating what is it about you that attracts niggas that ain't shit." Funny, but true. I can't tell you how many of my female friends have unsuccessful relationships because they constantly attract and choose to get involved with the same type of man over and over again.

One girl constantly gets involved with insecure, jealous, overbearing, and controlling men. Another constantly falls for married men, men who are seperated but not yet divorced, or men who just got out of a marriage last night. Another constantly gets involved with damaged men who she feels she has to " fix". So, I sit by and watch relationship after relationship fall apart. It's like the record by the Four Tops... "It's The Same Old Song". The guy just has a different name and lives on a different street.

Ladies, here's some advice. Wanna find a good man? (notice, I didn't say "sucessful"). Your version of "sucessful" and my version may differ from "Nightline's" version. Start writing down realistic qualities that you want and look for them in the guys you meet and date. When you're on the date, this is what you should be talking about... likes, dislikes, beliefs, associations, etc. Not what kind of a car the guy drives, whether or not he has an MBA, etc.

A guy can have a fly car, six MBAs and on his way to a PhD, and be the worst bastard you ever met. A guy could have just a Bachelor's degree and not making six figures yet, but is on his way and could be the nicest, most caring man you'd ever want to meet. But, hey sistahs, I hear you... sometimes it's hard to meet a guy who even has that much goin on. I know.

I could go on but I've probably said enough already... but, I'd be most interested in your thoughts on the matter.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Weekend Humor

Two guys, Jimmy and Johnny, stand at heaven's gate, waiting to be interviewed by Saint Peter.

Jimmy: " Hey Man. How did you get here?"

Johnny: "Hypothermia. I froze to death. How 'bout you?"

Jimmy: "You won't believe it. I thought my wife was cheating on me, so I came home early one day, hoping to catch the guy. I accused her of being unfaithful and searched the entire house without any luck. Then, I felt so horrible about the whole thing that I had a massive heart attack and dropped dead right on the living room floor, can you believe that?"

Johnny: "Awww, man! If you had only checked the walk-in freezer, both of us would still be alive! Dangggggg!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dorothy Height

March 24,1912 - April 19,2010

It would be awfully remis of me to do a post on a fallen rapper and not mention that another icon also departed this life on the very same day.

Dorothy Irene Height, often called "The Godmother of the Civil Rights Movemant" (and who shares a birthday with yours truly) died monday at the age of 98. May God Bless her...I can only hope that my life is nearly as long and even if it is, it will in no way be as rich as this woman's life was.

Dorothy Irene Height was an African American administrator, educator, and social activist. She was the president of the National Council of Negro Women for forty years, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994, and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004.

Dorothy Height was born in Richmond, Virginia. At an early age, she moved with her family to Rankin, Pennsylvania. Height was admitted to Barnard College in 1929, but upon arrival, she was denied entrance because the school had an unwritten policy of admitting only two black students per year. She pursued studies instead at New York University, earning a degree in 1932, and a master's degree in educational psychology the following year.

Sister Height started working as a caseworker with the New York City Welfare Department and, at the age of twenty-five; she began a career as a civil rights activist when she joined the National Council of Negro Women. She fought for equal rights for both African Americans and women, and in 1944 she joined the national staff of the YWCA. She also served as National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority from 1946 to 1957. She remained active with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority thoughtout her life. While there she developed leadership training programs and interracial and ecumenical education programs.

In 1957, Height was named president of the National Council of Negro Women, a position she held until 1997. During the height of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, Height organized "Wednesdays in Mississippi ", which brought together black and white women from the North and South to create a dialogue of understanding.

American leaders regularly took her counsel, including First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and Height also encouraged President Dwight D. Eisenhower to desegregate schools and President Lyndon B. Johnson to appoint African American women to positions in government. In the mid 1960s, Height wrote a column entitled "A Woman's Word" for the weekly African-American newspaper, the New York Amsterdam News and her first column appeared in the March 20, 1965 issue on page 8.

Sister Height served on a number of committees, including as a consultant on African affairs to the Secretary of State, the President's Committee on the Employment of the Handicapped, and the President's Committee on the Status of Women. In 1974, Dorothy Height was named to the National Council for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research, which published The Belmont Report, a response to the infamous "Tuskegee Syphillis Study" and an international ethical touchstone for researchers to this day.

In 2004, Height was recognized by Barnard for her achievements as an honorary alumna during its commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision.

The musical stage play "If This Hat Could Talk", based on her memoirs "Open Wide The Freedom Gates", debuted in the middle of 2005. It showcases her unique perspective on the civil rights movement and details many of the behind-the-scenes figures and mentors who shaped her life, including Mary McLeod Bethune and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Sister Height was the chairperson of the Executive Committee of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the largest civil rights organization in the USA. She was an honored guest and seated on stage at the inauguration of President Barack Obama on January 20, 2009.

She attended the National Black Family Reunion, celebrated on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., every year until her death in 2010.

On March 25, 2010 Dorothy Height was admitted to Howard University Hospital in Washington D.C. for unspecified reasons. Her spokeswoman issued a statement stating that at that time she was in a "very serious, but stable" condition but that they were remaining optimistic about her recovery. On April 19th, 2010,Dorothy Irene Height , God mother of the Civil Rights movemant and so much more died at the age of ninety-eight. Thank You Ms. Dorothy. hank You for everything.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Did He Really Write This Letter?

If you were listening to music in the 1990's, you had to know who Keith Elam was. You probably didn't know him by his government name... you knew him as one-half of the group, Gangstarr. I loved Guru's cool monotone delivery and flow.

One afternoon, I remember I was over one of my friend's house and he played this CD called Jazzamatazz. It was Guru and featured Chaka Khan, Ramsey Lewis, Meshell NdegeOcello, Jamiroquai, Donald Byrd, Freddie Hubbard, Ronny Jordan, Patra (Remember her?), and others... all on the same CD. He played it for me and I dug it. ''And, this is Volume Two." he said. I quickly went out, copped Volumes 1 and 2, took them home, and played them. I loved them and it made me give mad respect to Guru. The fact that his name is also" Keith", was a double plus.

Of course, I loved Guru and his partner, DJ Premiere when they were Gangstarr. I was sorry that their partnership had come to an acrimonious end, but such is the entertainment business and the hip-hop world in general.

Earlier yesterday, DJ Guru, who came into the world as Keith Elam, lost his secret year-long battle with cancer. I'm listening to his music as I write this... I'm also reading a somewhat suspect letter that was allegedly written by Guru and wondering if he actually wrote it. A lot
of people are suspect. Read it for yourself...

I, Guru, am writing this letter to my fans, friends, and loved ones around the world. I have had a long battle with cancer and have succumbed to the disease. I have suffered with this illness for over a year. I have exhausted all medical options. I have a non-profit organization called Each One Counts dedicated to carrying on my charitable work on behalf of abused and disadvantaged children from around the world and also to educate and research a cure for this terrible disease that took my life.I write this with tears in my eyes, not of sorrow but of joy for what a wonderful life I have enjoyed and how many great people I have had the pleasure of meeting. My loyal best friend, partner and brother, Solar, has been at my side through it all and has been made my health proxy by myself on all matters relating to myself. He has been with me by my side on my many hospital stays, operations, doctors visits, and stayed with me at my home and cared for me when I could not care for myself.Solar and his family is my family and I love them dearly and I expect my family, friends, and fans to respect that, regardless to anybody's feelings on the matter. It is my wish that counts. This being said I am survived by the love of my life, my son KC, who I trust will be looked after by Solar and his family as their own. Any awards or tributes should be accepted, organized, approved by Solar on behalf of myself and my son until he is of age to except on his own. I do not wish my ex-DJ to have anything to do with my name likeness, events, tributes, etc. connected in anyway to my situation including any use of my name or circumstance for any reason and I have instructed my lawyers to enforce this. I had nothing to do with him in life for over 7 years and want nothing to do with him in death. Solar has my life story and is well-informed on my family situation, as well as the real reason for separating from my ex-DJ. As the sole founder of GangStarr, I am very proud of what GangStarr has meant to the music world and fans. I equally am proud of my Jazzmatazz series and as the father of Hip-Hop/Jazz. I am most proud of my leadership and pioneering efforts on Jazzmatazz 4 for reinvigorating the Hip-Hop/Jazz genre in a time when music quality has reached an all-time low. Solar and I have toured in places that I have never been before with GangStarr or Jazzmatatazz and we gained a reputation for being the best on the planet at Hip-Hop/Jazz, as well as the biggest and most influential Hip-Hop/Jazz record with Jazzmatazz 4 of the decade to now. The work I have done with Solar represents a legacy far beyond its time. And, we as a team were not afraid to push the envelope. To me this is what true artists do! As men of honor we stood tall in the face of small-mindedness, greed, and ignorance. As we fought for music and integrity at the cost of not earning millions and for this I will always be happy and proud, and would like to thank the million fans who have seen us perform over the years from all over the world. The work I have done with Solar represents a legacy far beyond its time and is my most creative and experimental to date. I hope that our music will receive the attention it deserves as it is some of the best work I have done and represents some of the best years of my life. R.I.P. GURU!"

There you have it. He could have written it, but it seems awfully slanted towards Solar doesn't it? Some of my friends on Facebook and in the blogging community are questioning this letter and it's origin. But, one thing that can't be questioned was this man's talent and his pioneering spirit in merging jazz and hip-hop and practically creating a new genre - Acid Hip-Hop!

He was one of the greats. We've lost another great one. Rest in peace Guru and thanks. Thanks for everything.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

For No Rhyme Or Reason

So, I'm not what you would call a fatalist and never have been. I have been an existentialist at one time... meaning that I was desperately searching for meaning in a seemingly meaningless world. I read Albert Camus, Jean Paul Sarte, and even a couple of Richard Wright's lesser known works when I was in my teens and was convinced there was no meaning in the world and that there was, in effect, no order in the world. I say that because in the past few weeks, things have been happening to me... bad things... and for seemingly no reason. I haven't done anything to anybody (This year!) and I do believe in karma!

Two weeks ago, I'm sitting in my parked car and I see an old man in a car built before I took my first shave, moving towards me. I beeped my horn, yelled, and screamed. But, this old man doesn't put on the brakes so my newly washed, waxed car is the breaks and he leaves a sizeable dent in the rear passenger door of my car! To make matters worse, he refuses to give me his insurance information (I suspect that he doesn't have any). My insurance company wants me to get his information. He wants to pay me for the dent out of pocket but he doesn't agree with the price the collision garage gave us. I admit, I don't agree either, but I want the dent out of my door and I'm losing my patience with the old man and the collision garage.

A few days later, while I'm still pondering how I'm going to handle that, a 23 year old man driving a pick-up truck (with a revoked driver's license and registration that expired a year ago), has a seizure and crashes into an electrical poll with such force that his truck flies backward, hitting my next door neighbor's car and then, mine! He broke my headlight, bent ny hood, and dented my front fender. Incredible!

Meaningless events. No rhyme or reason. This time, my wife takes the photos (see one above), the police and insurance companies are called, my car is towed to a collision garage, and I'm told that they are going to repair everything and paint my car as well. I was even given a loaner to tide me over until my car is totally repaired. Ahhh, the joy of good insurance! (Don't tell the tea party people, they might get mad!)

While my insurance company and the insurance company of the young man will pay for most of the damage from the latest incident, that stubborn old man is going to be given a quote for the damage (dent) that he did. He's going to pay whatever that quote is out of his pocket and if he doesn't, there may be another meaningless act committed! (Did I write that?)

Is the world full of meaningless, random acts that just occur for no rhyme or reason? Well, one would have to be an athiest or agnostic to kind of go for that and I'm neither. I can say that I'm lucky that I wasn't in the car at the time of the impact because I most certainly would have been injured. I could say, it's just a car, lives are more important, and just be thankful that no one was hurt... not a child, not the reckless young man driving the truck, and most of all, not me!

I can say that God was watching over me and that maybe my plans got side tracked to protect me from something far worse that might have awaited me that Friday morning. I just don't know and I'm not in a position to care. I'm just shell-shocked right now... waiting for the other shoe to drop and staying prayerful.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Keith's Favorite Quotes

"I know where I'm going and I know the truth, and I don't have to be what you want me to be. I'm free to be what I want. - Muhammad Ali

Friday, April 16, 2010

Weekend Humor

(Anyone who has ever dressed a child will love this one!)

Did you hear about the Philadelphia kindergarden teacher who was helping one of her kindergarten students put on his cowboy boots? He asked for help and she could see why.

Even with her pulling and him pushing, the little boots still didn't want to go on. By the time they got the second boot on, she had worked up a sweat. She almost cried when the little boy said, "Teacher, they're on the wrong feet.''

She looked and sure enough, they were. It wasn't any easier pulling the boots off than it was putting them on. She managed to keep her cool as together they worked to get the boots back on, this time on the right feet.

He then announced, ''These aren't my boots." She bit her tongue rather than get right in his face and scream, ''Why didn't you say so?'', like she wanted to.

Once again, she struggled to help him pull the ill-fitting boots off his little feet. No sooner had they gotten the boots off when he said, ''They're my brother's boots. My Mommy made me wear 'em.''

Now, she didn't know if she should laugh or cry. But still, she mustered up what grace and courage she had left to wrestle the boots on his feet again. Helping him into his coat, she asked, ''Now, where are your Mittens?'' He said, ''I stuffed 'em in the toes of my boots.''

She will be eligible for parole in three years!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


It was two weeks ago that I heard the most sickening story to date. Human beings often let me down and seldom surprise me with the depths of their depravity... but this story managed to both let me down and actually shock me. From what I could piece together, a 15 year old girl in Trenton, NJ was headed to a party and her 7 year old sister was worried about her safety and decided to tag along.

At the party, a number of guys, ages 12-19 years old offered the 15 year old money, if she would allow them to feel her up. She agreed and as a bonus, sold them her 7 year old sister. The result, both the 15 year old and the 7 year old girls wound up getting raped... gang raped!

The 15 year old, I might understand getting raped and I say "MIGHT", but the 7 year old is just beyond my comprehension. The 15 year old and these knuckleheads who took part in this were arrested (as they should have been) and charged with a litany of crimes (prostitution, soliticing prostitution, sexual assault, corrupting the morals of a minor, etc.).

So what now? Well, in the wake of the alleged gang rape of a 7 year old girl, community leaders and activists have called to action the men of Trenton, New Jersey. Dozens of men joined Trenton Mayor Doug Palmer and hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons in an impromptu march this past Saturday through the neighborhood where police say the 7 year old girl and her 15 year old sister was gang raped. The march followed an afternoon rally organized to spur discussion about violence committed against and by young people in urban communities.

Near the end of the rally, the founder of an organization that uses men to help keep youth out of trouble recruited men to march. Dennis Muhammad also challenged the men to create a community policing program similar to the Peace Keepers organization he founded. The group has chapters in New York City, Jersey City, and Wilmington, DE.

Russell Simmons said Peace Keepers have had some success in his hometown of Queens, NY. "We sit back sometimes and allow just a few bad eggs in our community to scare us off our own corners," Simmons told a standing-room only crowd at a church auditorium before the march. "I stood on the corner. I sold drugs. But I went back and saw what it felt like when we launched our Queens Peace Keepers movement."

The crowd also was stirred by speeches from local dignitaries and hip-hop gospel songs sang by a choir. Mayor Palmer, who initially said he did not plan to attend the rally, arrived shortly after the event began. "I think it's a good beginning," Palmer said as he, Simmons, and dozens of Trenton men marched through the neighborhood, exciting residents watching from their porches. "The proof will be if we can get more men together in this and other sustaining activities."

The proof will be if something like this never happens ever again. These marches are held, attracting and well-known, well-meaning people like Rev. Al Sharpton and Russell Simmons, and the media will give this story as much life as they feel it garners and then they will be gone. And, the mentalities that fostered this event will still be sifting around the streets... The mindsets that told these boys that it was okay to do this and the low self-esteem that told this 15 year old girl that it was cool to sell herself and her sister, not to mention the mental trauma that this little 7 year old girl is facing will still sadly be lingering on the streets like a bad taste in your mouth.

In addition, there will still be the fact that the newly elected Republican Governor of the state of New Jersey eliminated the $43 million dollars the state gives to Trenton each year as municipal aid and payment in lieu of property taxes since Trenton is the Capital City. Largely because of these cuts, property taxes could be raised to a level that makes it hard for people to maintain ownership of their houses, or that Trenton runs the risk of not being able to have after-school programs for the children? These issues are all pertinent to what happened to that 7 year old girl. You think not?

Unless we deal with these very real day-to-day issues that effect life in Trenton and other places like it, that march and the appearences by Russell Simmons, Al Sharpton, and others isn't worth a thing. The sickening mind set and conditions that nourish it will remain and another girl will become the victim at another time. That's what makes this story even more sickening.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The New Face Of Exclusion

My great-grandfather probably couldn't vote because he was a slave. My grandfather couldn't vote in the state of his birth, Georgia... because in his youth, it was actually against the law. When my father and mother were young people, they couldn't vote in some places because the Ku Klux Klan would and could make you disappear if you pressed the issue and the White Citizens Councils had poll taxes and all kinds of other foolishness to stop them from voting. The young black man of today can't vote because he's on "papers" (parole or probation) and therefore, has lost his right to vote. The more things change, the more things stay the same.

I didn't notice it at first but in November of 2008, when so many of us was excited about voting for the first African-American president in history, there were a few guys hanging around that couldn't vote. I was talking to a number of cats about registering and they were telling me that they couldn't vote because they were on parole or probation. They really wanted to vote but their present legal situation made that impossible. A number of black males in my neighborhood are on parole or probation and thus, can't vote and are also job challenged. Of course, I know that this is basically their own fault that they've been in prison, but it would seem to me that after a person has served their time, they should be allowed to vote. Why is this right taken from them, but the right to drive, drink, own property, and other rights are not?

No politician I've posed this question to has ever answered it to my liking or with anything that resembled any sense or logic. I understand that this law effects all races across the board, but it hurts the African-American and Latino population more so because we are, after all, minorities and need every available and willing vote possible. This just seems like a lame law to me. There has been attempts to repeal this in some states, but no real progress has been made. I understand that when you commit a crime, you must "pay a debt" to society, to some thinking. I am assuming that when the prisons release you, that debt is payed. So, shouldn't all rights and priveledges of citizenship be restored also? I'm just asking.

I wrote some years ago, when I was in my twenties, that all young black men should resist with everything in their power, the "man" when he starts that jail talk. I said that "jail was no place for a young brother to be." I was very radical in my thinking then, but I was not all wrong. Jail is no place for anybody to be, regardless of race. Now, I just feel like the criminal justice system is being used to deny some people the right to vote and to be full citizens. Today, it is perfectly legal to discriminate against criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans.

Once you’re labeled a felon, the old forms of discrimination--employment discrimination, housing discrimination, denial of the right to vote, denial of educational opportunity, denial of food stamps and other public benefits, and exclusion from jury service--are suddenly legal. As a criminal, you have scarcely more rights, and arguably less respect, than a black man living in Alabama at the height of Jim Crow. We have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Random Thoughts

1. When did men wearing jeans that sag so much their boxers showed for the whole world, become sexy?

2. Why does a team with a losing record keep their quarterback, while another that consistantly wins and goes to the playoffs trades theirs to a division rival (I'll say no names)?

3. People use the weather as an excuse not to vote, not to go to church, etc. but we will go to work in any kind of weather. We have to be told by our employer that they are closed because of the weather, for us not to go.

4. As much as I post on Facebook, you would think that writing "Random Thoughts" and "What I've Learned" would come easy to me. It turns out that these posts take just as much thought as any other post that I write.

5. When people write "I'm in a relationship, but it's complicated" what do they really mean? ("I'm just barely holding on."... "It's damn near over."... and "I'm not really into nothin'." comes to mind when I read that.)

6. Some people have no clue as to how difficult they are as human beings, then they sit and wonder why they have no friends.

7. Now that the "tea baggers" have failed to break this president and rain on his parade. Can they just go away quietly?

8. No child should be conceived unless both parents are ready to love and protect them. Of course, this is just obviousness that gets tossed on the back burner more times than not.

9. It's amazing that when we start to rise and progress, we get more hate from people who look like us (and therefore, should understand) than we do others who don't necessarily share our sameness.

10. It's great that the people who created "The Wire" have given us another HBO series, "Treme". Hopefully, I'll have a new reason to watch TV on Sunday nights again!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Friday, April 9, 2010

Weekend Humor

Arden Grass Snakes, also known as Garter Snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis), can be dangerous. Yes, grass snakes... not rattlesnakes. And, here's why...

A couple in Baltimore, MD had a lot of potted plants. During a recent cold spell, the wife was bringing some of them indoors to protect them from a possible freeze. It turned out that a little green garden grass snake was hidden in one of the plants and when it warmed up, it slithered out and the wife saw it go under the sofa. She let out a very loud scream! The husband (who was taking a shower) ran out into the living room naked to see what the problem was.

She told him there was a snake under the sofa. He got down on the floor on his hands and knees to look for it. About that time the family dog came and cold-nosed him on the behind. He thought the snake had bitten him, so he screamed and fell over on the floor. His wife thought he had a heart attack, so she covered him up, told him to lie still and called an ambulance. The attendant rushed in, wouldn't listen to his protests, and loaded him on the stretcher and started carrying him out.

About that time the snake came out from under the sofa, the EMT saw it, and dropped his end of the stretcher. That's when the man broke his leg and why he is still in the hospital. The wife still had the problem of the snake in the house, so she called on a neighbor. He volunteered to capture the snake. He armed himself with a rolled-up newspaper and began poking under the couch.

Soon he decided it was gone and told the woman, who sat down on the sofa in relief. But while relaxing, her hand dangled in between the cushions, where she felt the snake wriggling around. She screamed and fainted, the snake rushed back under the sofa. The neighbor man, seeing her lying there passed out, tried to use CPR to revive her.

The neighbor's wife, who had just returned from shopping at the grocery store, saw her husband's mouth on the woman's mouth and slammed her husband in the back of the head with a bag of canned goods, knocking him out, and cutting his scalp to a point where he needed stitches. The noise woke the woman from her dead faint and she saw her neighbor lying on the floor with his wife bending over him, so she assumed that he had been bitten by the snake.

She went to the kitchen and got a small bottle of whiskey, and began pouring it down the man's throat. By now, the police had arrived. They saw the unconscious man, smelled the whiskey, and assumed that a drunken fight had occurred. They were about to arrest them all, when the women tried to explain how it all happened over a little green snake. The police called an ambulance, which took away the neighbor and his sobbing wife.

The little snake came out from under the sofa again. One of the policemen drew his gun and fired at it. He missed the snake and hit the leg of the end table. The table fell over, the lamp on it shattered, and as the bulb broke, it started a fire in the drapes. The other policeman tried to beat out the flames and fell through the window into the yard on top of the family dog who, startled, jumped out and raced into the street, where an oncoming car swerved to avoid it and smashed into the parked police car.

Meanwhile, the burning drapes were seen by the neighbors who called the fire department. The firemen started raising the fire truck ladder when they were halfway down the street. The rising ladder tore out the overhead wires, put out the electricity, and disconnected the telephones in a ten-square city block area (but they did put the house fire out).

Time passed! Both men were discharged from the hospital, the house was repaired, the dog came home, the police acquired a new car, and all was right with their world. A while later, they were watching TV and the weatherman announced a cold snap for that night. The wife asked her husband if he thought they should bring in their plants for the night. That's when he shot her!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What The Hell?

The Governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell wants to celebrate, get this... "Confederate History Month". I guess it's a case of jealousy. After all, Black people have their month and I guess Kluxers and racists should have their month.

Of course, the problem is that the two histories are not, to borrow a favorite phrase of right- wing apologists and conservatives, morally equivalent. Yeah, get that? Black History Month was created to highlight people whose achievements have largely been excluded from mainstream American history. The narrative of Black History Month is rooted in the heroic 400-year effort of African Americans to be seen and treated as equal citizens of the United States and to participate in creating a more perfect union.

This crap he's talking about is one of the darkest periods of American history that all Americans, Black and White, should be ashamed of. As for the narrative of Confederate History Month... well, it's already running into some controversy. In his original proclomation, McDonnell failed to mention a little thing called SLAVERY--then tried to back track and say later that it was just one of the causes of the Civil War. His proclamation reads: "Whereas, it is important for all Virginians to reflect upon our Commonwealth's shared history, to understand the sacrifices of the Confederate leaders, soldiers, and citizens during the period of the Civil War, and to recognize how our history has led to our present..."

Is he out of his mind? Is he serious? Sadly to say, he is (serious and out of his mind). You see, this is why every citizen should go and vote. I don't care what the weather is like that day. By not voting, you allow nuts like him and damn near every elected politician in the State of South Carolina to win elections.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Coming Of The iPAD

Okay, this is a "Keith does a post that is finally not about sports" day. Today, a new gadget was released to the public that (they say) will revolutionize reading. It's called the iPAD. In the past few weeks, I've seen demonstrations for the Kindle, the Nook, and the Sony Reader. So now, I breathlessly await this new gadget but, I'm not alarmed.

One day soon, my friends will be reading "Keith's Space", "Escapades", and maybe my first novel on one of these new items. I may be sitting in my living room reading the next Walter Mosley novel on it, while navigating back and forth to my Facebook page. Who knows?

While every other attempt to make a popular flat computer has fallen (eh, flat), even conservative estimates predict millions of iPads will be sold this year alone. But, because there are few precedents with tablets, almost no one has any experience with how everyday consumers will use a thin slab of glass and aluminum that happens to be a blisteringly fast computer. After seeing demonstrations of the iPad for the last week or so, I'm clear that one area that will be transformed is reading.

The Amazon Kindle, as Steve Jobs acknowledged when announcing the iPad, began the revolution of electronic books. But, where Amazon went to great lengths to replicate the best of the traditional print reading experience, Apple has opted for a device that more closely resembles a small, flat-panel TV. When reading a novel or "Keith's Space" (shameless plug). the differences aren't dramatic. The Kindle is lighter and easier to hold with one hand. The iPad, on the other hand, has beautiful visual effects for turning pages. Books with illustrations, like Dr. Seuss (for instance), shine on the iPad's stunning color screen, but still only hint at the full potential of marrying a high-powered microchip with the oldest mass medium.

Am I excited? Well, uh...YEAH! I love new technology that actually makes life easier and interesting. This may even inspire more kids to read and check out great literature. Okay, probably not, unless Shakesphere and Chaucer can be illustrated and animated (which I see no reason, why they can't be).

Look what Blogger, Facebook, and Twitter have already done! This is one future I can look into with excitement and positivity, rather than dread.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Don't Know How Good You Had It!

If I keep on, this just might become a sports blog. Just kidding! It just seems that sports has been upper most in my mind these past few days. If you've followed this blog from it's inception (and I doubt that there is anyone other than my wife and I who have), you'll remember that my very first post was about sports and it concerned the Philadelphia Eagles. So this, my 638th post, is also a sports post and also about the Philadelphia Eagles.

In the past 72 hours, the Philadelphia Eagles have traded Donovan McNabb, its winningest quarterback ever, to its division rivals, the Washington Redskins. Why am I not surprised at such a stupid move? This is after all the city that traded Wilt Chamberlain away isn't it? Throw in Charles Barkley, Brian Westbrook, Brian Dawkins, and a few other talented and yet unappreciated athletes and you have a picture of what I'm talking about.

Everybody around the country, except for people in Philadelphia, are shaking their heads and wondering what is wrong with the brain trust (okay, if you want to call it that) in Philadelphia sports. You have people who don't watch football calling for Donavan's head. You ask them why he should go and they come up with the obvious... he didn't win a Super Bowl. You tell these people that this man won you several division titles, led this football team to several NFC championship appearences, and put you in the playoffs practically every year he was here, and they act like you haven't said jack. The reason why is because you haven't. They don't watch football and all of these statistics mean nothing to them.

True football fans know that before Donavan McNabb came to this city, the Eagles were a joke and they could be counted on to finish in the bottom (just like our basketball team, the once great 76ers). True football fans know that for the past eleven years, the Philadelphia Eagles have been one of the elite teams in the National Football League. True Football fans seam to be everywhere, except Philadelphia.

People on Sportscenter are shaking their heads asking why this guy is even in a discussion about a trade. I 've heard people comment that McNabb has constantly been getting hurt. You play football for eleven years against huge men well over 300 pounds and have them smash into you and throw you to the ground and see how well your body takes the beating.

Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Brett Farve, and Tom Brady have never been as unappreciated or as disrespected in their towns as Donavan McNabb was here in Philly. You can also bet that if they are traded, it won't be to a division rival. You can also bet that with the possible exception of Brett Farve, who is on his way out (one of these days), that if these guys are cut, their teams will get equal value for them.

I am outraged that the Philadelphia Eagles would do this to Donovan and I wish Donavan luck. What is done is done and when the Redskins come here next season, I'm rooting for them. The rest of the season, I'll root for the Eagles and hope that Kevin Kolb can live up to all of the expectations that will be put on him. I won't be surprised if these same know-nothing Monday morning quarterbacks in this town call for his head in time and demand that Michael Vick become the lead quarterback. That's just the way these fickle Philadelphia fans are. They are spoiled, they have short memories, and they don't know how good they had it.

If Kevin Kolb works out and we win the division next year and make the playoffs, I'll be happy. If the Eagles wind up in the lottery, I won't be surprised or shocked and I'm going to give all of those folks here in Philly who were cheering yesterday when news of Mcnabb's trade was announced the serious side-eye!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Play Ball

Before I start, let me tip my hat to fellow bloggers, Carey-Carey, Shelly Shell, SLC, and 12Kyle. They all pontificated about how superior the New York Yankees were to my Philadelphia Phillies last year during the world series. Of course, being a native Philadelphian and a sports fan in a town where my heart has been broken many times, I couldn't go for it or feel them.

Truth be told, I didn't want to feel them or any other Yankees fan or sportscaster. My Phillies were the defending World Series champions and here they were back in the World Series for the second year in a row and I just could not see them losing to anybody, history be damned.

But they did! Those three words say it all. The New York Yankees were the better team last year, just like Carey Carey, SLC, 12Kyle, and the only New Yorker of that bunch, Shelly Shell, said they were and they beat my Phillies. I bow my head to them for their foresight! That being said, that was last year and this is this year.

I am not going to make any predictions... not yet. For all I know, neither the Phillies or the Yankees will wind up in the World Series this year. It might be two teams that nobody is even thinking about right now. Who knows? All I can really say is, I have two baseball jerseys that I will be wearing when I'm hanging out this summer. One is my red and white striped Phillies jersey and the other is a black and gold striped Yankees jersey (my favorite). I couldn't wear it at all last summer because... well, you know!

The Phillies have a hot new pitcher in their bullpen this year. They may win a lot of games and the Yanks... well, they've got the money and the brain trust to bring in whoever they need, so I expect them to be a threat. But the beautiful thing is, baseball season has begun and the sport my grandfather taught me to love years ago is about to kick in gear. That also means that it's springtime. Can summer be too far behind?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Friday, April 2, 2010

Weekend Humor

A sweet grandmother telephoned Misericoria Hospital. She timidly asked, "Is it possible to speak to someone who can tell me how a patient is doing?" The operator said, "I'll be glad to help, dear. What's the name and room number of the patient?"

The grandmother in her weak, tremulous voice said, "Norma Jean Jenkins, Room 302." The operator replied, "Let me put you on hold while I check with the nurse's station for that room."
"Okay, thank ya darlin'." said the elderly woman.

After a few minutes, the operator returned to the phone and said, "I have good news. Her nurse just told me that Norma Jean is doing well. Her blood pressure is fine, her blood work just came back normal, and her physician, Dr. Matthew Cohen, has scheduled her to be discharged tomorrow."

The grandmother said, "Thank you. That's wonderful. I was so worried. God bless you for the good news." The operator replied, "You're more than welcome. Is Norma your daughter?" The grandmother said, "No baby, I'm Norma Jean Jenkins in Room 302. No one tells me a damn thing!"

Thursday, April 1, 2010

What I've Learned

1. Some folks hold grudges but, I don't. Life is just too short for that kind of thing.

2. We meet aliens everyday with a message for us. They come in the form of people with different opinions from ours.

3. I heard a B.B. King Song which went, "Nobody loves me but my mother and she could be jiving too!" which caused me to have one of my biggest and hardiest laughs. Talk about insecurity!

4. My grandmother told me, "You live and you learn, then you die and forget it all!" She had such wit and wisdom. I miss her.

5. I'd love to be twenty-five again. Oh okay, maybe twenty-nine!

6. Loyalty for some people is based purely on what's in it for them. Those are the folks you avoid.

7. Don't let making a living prevent you from living a life!

8. Passion is momentary; love is enduring.

9. Be more concerned with your character than your reputation.

10. Never say yes when you really mean no.


"Mommy, can I go to Timmy's blog and play?"

Click on image to enlarge for reading

Click on image to enlarge for reading

Click on image to enlarge for reading