Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Reset Button

According to a recent poll, almost 7 in 10 registered voters say they voted in the mid-term elections with the hope of seeing change. By a 2 to 1 margin, they say the election results (and the resulting divided government) are good for the country. But, they are doubtful of just how much change will actually take place. Huh? Sometimes, I really wonder how much critical and logical thinking is going on amongst American voters.

Almost 3/4 (73%) say there either will not be much change or just some change. And, 76% believe the country is headed for a period of division with the parties showing little willingness to work together or compromise. So, how could these same people expect anything to change in an atmosphere like this? We were having a problem getting any real change when one party ruled both the house and the senate... does anyone think now that they are evenly divided, there will be any cooperation? If anything there will be more rancor and division.

A kindergarten child could figure this out, but so many Americans and so-called adults couldn't. This is why a good many of them either didn't vote or they voted Republican during the last election. They voted for candidates who failed to tell them just how they planned to change anything. They voted for candidates from the party they tossed out for the stellar job they did in wrecking the economy just two years before! Astonishing!

"The message emerging from this survey is, Americans want to hit the Washington "reset button," said Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted the poll with Republican pollster Bill McInturff, "but they’re skeptical cooperation can replace combat and that progress can supplant gridlock." So again, I ask... What do they (the American public) want? More importantly, what did they expect?

Newsflash! There is no reset button and business goes on as usual. The party in power flexes and the party that was vanquished plays spoiler and says "NO!" to everything... just because a kindergartener can explain the whole process to you. It's that simple. People don't really want change. Oh, I know they say they do... but when it comes, they aren't ready to pay the price that change costs and they're scared of actually getting what they asked for. It's a paradox. Oh, of course it is... but it is the way we, the American voters, have always been.

When this next congress is seated in January, you're going to have the neophytes, the Tea Party crowd, who think they're going to rewrite the Bible and who, more than likely, are going to be informed by those with seniority in their own party of just what they can and will not be doing, and you'll have what is left of the Democrats, playing spoiler. It will be their turn to filibuster and say "No!" to everything and you'll have a President who won't be able to get a bill passed. That doesn't sound like change to me... that sounds like business as usual.

This is what those of you who didn't vote and those of you who voted Republican voted for. There is no reset button. It's a very bleak outlook I know, but a very likely and realistic one. I hope I'm wrong!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Saturday Seven (7 Things I Won't Do After Thanksgiving)

1. Have a turkey sandwich.

2. Make turkey soup .

3. Camp outside of any store on Thanksgiving night at midnight until 4:00am waiting for it to open because of some sale.

4. Go to the mall on Black Friday. (Okay, I did go... but I didn't buy not one thing and I was out in one hour!)

5. Watch the Law & Order marathon on TNT. I've been there, done that, and I'm not doing it this year!

6. Make turkey pasta or any other turkey dish for that matter. (Although, I did post a recipe for that on my other blog! LOL!)

7. Discuss what I ate or did not eat on Thanksgiving!

That's just me. Hope your holiday was a happy one! LOL!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Just A Parting Thought Before Thanksgiving

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, it occurred to me that I could complain about a lot. If you read this blog, you know that I constantly do complain about the injustices and unjust people in life, amongst other things. And, while I could complain about a lot more, it is also true that there are a lot of good things in my life that I don't have to complain about... things that I am thankful for now.

I'm not homeless, not jobless, and not without an automobile. I've been without at least two of these things a couple of Thanksgivings that come to mind. I have a beautiful and loving wife, a daughter, son-in-law, and two wonderful grandchildren. I have a refrigerator full of food, a couple of dollars in my pockets, and a warm bed to lay my head every night. There are some people somewhere who have none of these things. And, I can say that there was a time not too long ago when I didn't have them either, so I count my blessings.

No matter what else is going wrong in the universe, there is a lot going right in it somewhere... and for those things, those seemingly little things that we all sometimes take for granted, I am thankful!

Have a happy and joyous holiday everyone!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Random Thoughts

1. Nobody likes liars, but everybody couldn't possibly be telling the truth.

2. Who stole the soul from music?

3. People shouldn't hold on to something or someone who has already let go of them!

4. Letting go of an old grudge or old hurt can be quite liberating.

5. It really is a thin line between love and hate!

6. Everybody is not going to understand your dreams, but that doesn't mean that they aren't worthwhile.

7. Fortunate is the man who is the first love of a woman, but fortunate still is the woman who is the last love of a man.

8. Find me a pathway with no obstacles and I'll show you a pathway that probably isn't leading you anywhere.

9. The truth only steps on your toes when you're walking out of line.

10. You can't climb the ladder of success if your hands are in your pockets... (think on that!)

Monday, November 22, 2010

TSA and T&A

In 2004, I was on my way to Spain. In Madrid, their subway had just been bombed and Al Queda had taken responsibility for it. In Philadelphia, I just put all of my belongings from my pockets into a plastic tray and they went through the x-ray machine and the scanner. I got on the plane... no fuss, no muss. But in Madrid, I had to take my belt and shoes off. I was patted down and I had to empty my pockets. I was not pleased to say the least... I guess that was the spoiled and entitled American in me.

When I got to Southern Spain, my destination, I had to go through all of this again. I reasoned... I was getting off the plane and leaving the airport! I complained to one of my friends about this and he said, "Look... as long as I don't blow-up way up in the sky and nobody trys to hijack this plane and fly it into a building, they can look as much as they want and where they want." So, that put everything into perspective and my friend was right. They were doing this to make sure I and everybody else was safe from these Al Queda lunatics... and not just them, but anybody who decides to get crazy on the plane.

This is why I don't understand all this whining now about the Transportation Security Administration deciding to pat down people in airports and do body scans. You've got people carrying bombs in their shoes and in their underwear. Some folks just sent several bombs over here that mercifully didn't detonate in small breif cases. By all means, search whereever you see fit!

Travelers and airports are preparing for one of the biggest travel days of the year, while the TSA comes under scrutiny. The controversy over body scanners and personal pat downs is only the prelude. Some argue that private security would be better than TSA and Jerry Orr, Aviation Director at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, doesn't disagree. Florida Congressman John Mica is leading the push. He sent letters to different aviation directors across the country, asking them to reconsider using TSA.

"We can do better," said Mica. "The private screeners under Federal supervision performed statistically, significantly better." Airports can opt out of using TSA for private security. The Administration would still regulate the security, making sure all standards are met and maintained. Jerry Orr supports the idea but said it came down to cost. "We could certainly do that, but we would then be paying for it with our money instead of TSA paying for it with everybody's money," said Orr. TSA said nine airports across the country currently opt out for private security.

This is all fine, well, and good... but a life is a very valuable commodity and taking the cheap road when it comes to protecting not just one life, but many many lives, is just not going to cut it. For those who are too timid to have the body scans and are so offended by the pat downs, I have this to say... grow up and stop whining and don't fly. Drive!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Saturday Seven (7 Movies I Can Watch Over & Over)

1. High Noon: This is one of my favorite westerns. I so identify with poor Gary Cooper as the sherif, who has to defend the town against the bad guys alone. Everyone else had left and I've felt like him so many times in my life.

2. Chinatown: You don't really know Jack until you've seen Jack Nicholson in this modern film noir classic.

3. North By Northwest: I always fancied myself as the black Cary Grant. Cary was great in this great action and suspense flick, which featured one of the first great chase scenes.

4. The Omen: The original, released in 1976, still scares the crap out of me whenever I watch it. All of that crazy singing... that nasty little boy... the animals at the zoo freaking out (they knew the devil was there, even if the stupid humans didn't). It's still one of the scariest films I ever saw.

5. Shaft: "Who's the black private dick who's a sex machine to all the chicks? Shaft! Ya damn right! Can you dig it?" When it was released in 1971, I was still a little too young to see it. I finally saw it for the first time when I was about 27 years old. I rented it and it's become one of my favorite films.

6. The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly: This was my introduction to Clint Eastwood and I've been a fan ever since. This movie is another one of my favorite westerns.

7. There's Something About Mary: This has gotta be one of the funniest movies I've ever seen! I've only seen this movie once, believe it or not... but I can't remember laughing ever so hard during an entire movie.

There are many more movies than this that I can watch over and over, but these are the seven that come to mind off of the top of my head.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Weekend Humor (2 Short Ones)


A young girl named Chante came home from a date looking sad. She told her mother, "Sadiq proposed to me a few minutes ago."

"Oh really? That's great news! Why are you so sad?" her mother asked.

"Because Sadiq also mentioned that he is an atheist. Mom, that goes against my Baptist upbringing. He doesn’t believe there’s hell!"

Her mother replied, "Marry him anyway, Chante. Between the two of us, we’ll show him how wrong he is."


A young man named Lamont was looking to get married and said to his friend, Otis... "Yo, O. Every woman I bring home to meet my parents, my mom doesn't like."

"Oh, that's easy," replied Otis. "All you have to do is find someone who's just like your moms." "Aww, man... I did that already," he said, "and that one my father didn't like!"

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The "Election" That Really Counts

This was my Facebook status yesterday...

"People are upset!!! People Are outraged!!! They got hoodwinked!!! They got bamboozled!!!Brandy has been kicked off of Dancing With the Stars!!! Bristol Palin is still on the show. I hope all of these people bothered to vote in the election that really counted, which was about two weeks ago. I'm betting that half of these people didn't."

I wrote in another status...

"Half of these people can't tell you the name of our new (Republican) Governor-elect (in Pennsylvania, it's Tom Corbett, just in case you thought that I didn't know), but they know that Brandy was the better dancer on DWTS. But hell, even I know that and I don't watch the show!"

You know me... I've been hollering and screaming about our priorities where this type of thing is concerned ad nauseum as long as this blog has been in existence. Yeah, I know that Brandy got kicked off of Dancing With The Stars two nights ago... that's all everybody on Facebook and Twitter have been talking about. I'm amazed at the passion and the pure outrage over the events of a silly "reality" television show. Yet, the great majority of these people are clueless about what's about to happen to them in January when this Republican congress takes over. See, that's exactly why this type of thing happens... people get distracted by nonsense while the world collapses around them.

Oh well, maybe it's just as well. You know what they say... "Ignorance is bliss!" I'm sure Brandy will be just fine...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Good Brother

I first met the brother I'll call BKL when I was in college, pledging Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. So, that would be early 1980 and I was 21 years old. He wasn't a student at my college, Shippensburg... he was from a neighboring state college, Millersville. He was one of several "visiting brothers" who flowed into our college that spring. There was 11 of us pledging together at that time and there were no brothers on our campus. We would be the first. Officially, we were pledging at nearby Penn State. When word got out that we were on a campus with no "supervision", guys flowed in on a regular basis to make sure that we were getting (I'll say) the " proper acclimation" and leave it at that.

I believe the brothers from Millersville were the most constant visitors, next to Cheyney State. Anyway, This is really not about my pledge period... it's about a friendship that has lasted over thirty-some years. When I first saw this brother, I was ready to just drop off the line and say forget it. He was huge... even his muscles had muscles and he wore his hair in a process (kinda like David Rufffin of the Tempts). He had a goatee and those big dark shades... a very imposing figure. When he took his shirt off, he had a Kappa brand on both arms and one on his chest. Years later, I would ask him why so many brands and he would jokingly laugh, "I wanted to make sure."

As fearsome as this guy looked, he was one of the nicest guys you would ever want to meet. Just a gentle soul that barely raised his voice above a whisper. He didn't have to... you weren't going to disobey him or get on his wrong side. He didn't make it to my initiation, which was a few days after my 22nd birthday, but he did see me a little while after. And, as is tradition, he gave me some paraphenailia that had been his... a cane, which I in turn gave to one of my former pledges some years later, and a Kappa insignia pin, which I still own to this day.

When his school had pledges the very next year, I came down with my guys and BKL treated us like royalty. He got all of us a room to sleep in and made sure we were fed and entertained. He was just a good guy all around. It gave me great pride to see his son, who I'll call ML, come along and pledge the same fraternity that his father and I had pledged... on the same campus and the same chapter. I didn't see his son when he was going through the motions, but I became acquainted with him in Philadelphia shortly after he became a brother at one of my last Greek picnic appearences.

Sadly, he told me that his father was battling cancer... that demon cancer, that had taken, my mother, an aunt, a couple of uncles, and recently, another good friend of mine. I told him that I'd keep his father in prayer.

Yesterday, his son contacted me (via Facebook) and informed me that his father, one of the best guys I know, had won his battle with cancer. He had survived an operation and it appeared his cancer would be in remission. If that's not a miracle, a prayer answered, I don't know what is. It's nice to have some good news in a world where there is so much bad news on a constant basis. I'm still praying and hoping for his father's complete recovery!

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Kanye Situation

If it's Monday and I'm talking about Rapper Kanye West, then it must mean that I've finally grown tired of writing about the disasterous mid-term elections and the fallout from it. Anyway, I was watching Kanye West on television most of last week. Before I continue, Let me say that I love Kanye West's music and I'm a big fan of his music. I think I have all but one of his CDs and I'm planning to buy his next release too, when it's released. With that said, what I'm going to say next may or may not make me sound like a hypocrite.

Kanye, the person, annoys the hell out of me. He didn't always... but from the time he interrupted Taylor Swift last year at some awards ceremony, to his often controversial for the sake of being controversial behavior and statements, to his daily Twitter outbursts... I just find myself saying, enough already! Will you knock it off and get back to doing what you do best... creating some of the most innovative hip-hop music of his generation.

Most recently, Kanye West had a Twitter meltdown a few days ago surrounding a taped appearance on the "Today Show" sometime last week. In a fairly standard interview, Matt Lauer asked Kanye about his infamous "George Bush doesn't care about black people" statement from 2005 and the Taylor Swift-VMA incident that got cries of racism flipped on Kanye himself.

While producers ran a clip of Kanye's microphone-grabbing stunt at the 2009 VMAs, the rapper stopped talking mid-sentence and said... "Yo! How am I supposed to talk if you gonna run this thing in the middle, while I'm talking?" an affronted Kanye asks. "Please don't let that happen again. It's like, ridiculous," he said, acting like a petulant spoiled brat. They do this to everybody they interview about something controversial. Was this his guilt finally spewing over after seeing how ridiculous and callous he can actually come off at times?

Matt Lauer stood by the interview in a closing segment saying, "It's something we do every day. When a guest is talking about an incident or a location, we run video of that," Lauer says. "There was nothing improper about it, nothing unusual about it whatsoever."

Now, about the George Bush thing... It's hard for me to believe that in a presidency that saw our nation attacked by 911 terrorists, two costly wars, an American city nearly lost to a flood, and a near economic meltdown, the former president says that one of the worst moments of his presidency was the statement that Kanye West made about him not caring about black people. Really, Mr. President? Really?

Earlier in the interview, Matt Lauer asked Kanye to look at George Bush's face in a clip before responding. I didn't need you guys to show me the tape in order to like prompt my emotion to what I'm going to say," a visibly flustered Kanye says. He also asked some people off-camera to "be quiet for a second."

"I came here to say that I made mistakes, that I've grown as a person," Kanye said. "It's not as easy as boxing someone into a villain role or a race role. I didn't have enough information in that situation to call Bush a racist." But yet, he did... and I will admit, at the time, I was so frustrated about the governments lack of action during Katrina, that I actually agreed with what Kanye said about President Bush. But here's the thing about being a celebrity. You cannot say the first thing that comes to mind all the time. When that camera is on and the tape is rolling, it's good to measure your speech. Once they've got you on tape, whatever you said can come back to haunt you. And, it will... please, believe me, it will!

"It sounds to me, not to oversimplify, what you're saying is, 'We're human, we make mistakes, but we have to learn from our mistakes,'' Lauer says. Kanye agreed, but he still continues to make these kinds of mistakes. The media knows he 's good for a controversial quote and here of lately, he's been saying anything just to get in the paper. The other thing about being a celebrity is nine out of ten things you tell a reporter is going to get misconstrued and taken out of context anyway. Kanye has been around long enough to know this. He could learn something from Prince, who was so frustrated with the press in the late 1980s that he just stopped talking period. Prince just started giving interviews again in the last two or three years.

Matt Lauer closed on a conciliatory note: "We look forward to Kanye's return for a special live concert on the plaza on Friday, November 26th." According to Kanye's latest 'Twitter meltdown, he says that he felt used by Matt Lauer. So, it's very likely that he may not show up at the Plaza on November 26th. We'll see...

I'm looking forward to Kanye's new CD, but I'm not looking forward to anymore quasi-controversial statements, spoiled-child behavior, and Twitter meltdowns. Come on, man... I think we all could do without that. But, hey, that's just me!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Keith's Favorite Quotes

haven't done one of these recurring posts in a while...

"Reveal not every secret you have to a friend, for how can you tell but that friend may hereafter become an enemy. And bring not all mischief you are able to upon an enemy, for he may one day become your friend." - Saadi, Persian Poet (1184-1291)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Weekend Humor

If you work in an office, here are ten rules you need to follow...

10. Never walk without a document: People with documents look like hardworking employees headed to important meetings. People with nothing in their hands look like they're headed for the cafeteria. People with a newspaper in their hand look like they're headed for the toilet. Above all, make sure you carry loads of stuff home with you at night, thus generating the false impression that you work longer hours than you really do.

9. Use computers to look busy: Any time you use a computer, it looks like "work" to the casual observer. You can send and receive personal email, chat and have a blast without doing anything remotely related to work. These aren't exactly the societal benefits that the proponents of the computer revolution would like to talk about, but they're not bad either. When you get caught by your boss, and you will get caught, your best defense is to claim you're teaching yourself to use new software, thus saving valuable training dollars.

8. Messy desk: Only top management can get away with a clean desk. For the rest of us, it looks like we're not working hard enough. Build huge piles of documents around your workspace. To the observer, last year's work looks the same as today's work; it's volume that counts. Pile them high and wide. If you know somebody is coming to your cubicle, bury the document you'll need halfway down in an existing stack and rummage for it when he/she arrives.

7. Voice mail: Never answer your phone if you have voice mail. People don't call you just because they want to give you something for nothing, they call because they want YOU to do work for THEM. That's no way to live. Screen all your calls through voice mail. If somebody leaves a message for you and it sounds like impending work, respond during lunch hour when you know they're not there, it looks like you're hardworking and conscientious even though you're being a devious weasel.

6. Look impatient and annoyed: According to George Costanza, one should also always try to look impatient and annoyed to give off the impression that you're always busy.

5. Leave the office late: Always leave the office late, especially when the boss is still around. You could read magazines and storybooks that you always wanted to read. Make sure you walk past the boss' room on your way out. Send important e-mails at unearthly hours (i.e. 9:35pm, 7:05am, etc.) and during public holidays.

4. Creative sighing for effect: Sigh loudly when there are many people around, giving the impression that you are under extreme pressure.

3. Stacking strategy: It is not enough to pile lots of documents on the table. Put lots of books on the floor, etc. (thick computer manuals are the best).

2. Build vocabulary: Read up on some computer magazines and pick out all the jargon and new products. Use the phrases freely when in conversation with bosses. Remember, they don't have to understand what you say, but you sure sound impressive.

And, number one (drum roll, please)...

1. MOST IMPORTANT: DON'T forward this to your boss by mistake!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Come On Home Brother Steele!

In 2008, when this blog was new and President Barack Obama was elected this nation's first African American President, a funny thing happened. The Republicans made Michael Steele, also an African American, its National Chairman. I must admit, I applauded this measure. I was caught up in the euphoria of the times and I actually thought (as well as said on this blog) that maybe this truly was "post-racial America". I mean, I nearly bought the notion. I was still stunned that this country actually elected a black president in my lifetime and from my generation; but then, to see the GOP actually make a black man its chairman... well, that was just too much. I hailed it as a great counter-move and an olive branch... a chance to reach out to African Americans. In reality, all it was, was window dressing.

Flash forward, two years later... the Republicans have roared back. (I know, I can't stop talking about this... I've been seemingly obsessed with this all week.) They won 60 seats in the house and made some serious headway in the Senate. America's honeymoon with Barack Obama is seemingly over, and this was done with literally no help from Black voters except, unfortunately, the ones who didn't vote last Tuesday... THEY HELPED! The Republicans have decided now that they don't need the black man sitting in the big seat. He was never really the leader of the party anyway. Everybody knows that Rush Limbaugh is the "defacto" leader of the Republican party.

Republicans are now aggressively recruiting a challenger to Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, whose tenure as party chief has been marked by ill-chosen comments and questions about finances, only from their point of view! The RNC must decide in January whether to keep Brother Steele. Republicans, looking to oust President Barack Obama in 2012, are considering a chairman who would operate more behind the scenes and let Rep. John Boehner, likely the next Speaker of the House, take the lead as the party's main spokesman.

"I think we need to move to a nuts-and-bolts (i.e. white) type of candidate who will get back to the fundamentals, who will make the trains run on time and raise money," said Saul Anuzis, a committee member from Michigan and former state party chairman who is weighing a bid for chairman. "I'd rather have that than a talking head who wants to be the face of the party." Oh, so NOW, he's a talking head!

I tried to tell Brother Steele that he was playing on the wrong team and that these guys would throw him under the bus the first chance they got. I mentioned it months ago and I'm not the least surprised that this is happening now. Republicans and their apologists always seem so wounded and so hurt that the majority of African Americans won't vote for them. It's not because we don't believe in family values, it's not because we're not patriotic, and it's certainly not because some of us (myself) don't believe in being fiscally conservative. It's because we see a lot of their supporters as some of the same people who were wearing sheets and burning crosses on lawns not too long ago.

When they talk about replacing the brother now that they don't care about or feel they need the African American vote (They need for us not to vote period!), this more than cements the point. Considering the blatant disrespect his party is giving him, don't be surprised if Brother Steele switches to the Democratic Party eventually. And remember, you heard it here first!

Brother Steele... and yes, despite your wrong headed politics, I still call you brother. I was just talking to your mama and she told me to tell you to come on home and cut out all of this foolishness!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What Have You Done For Me Lately?

No, this is not about Janet Jackson. However, I was listening to one of her old songs. You know the one, where in the beginning one girl tells another... "You used to do a lot of things for me, but what have you done for me latelyyyyyyyyyyy?"

Like a fickle woman, the American public has treated the Democrats the same way recently. Maybe I'm just crying over spilled milk, like one of my more recent posts said not to do, but I don't understand this at all. Two Presidents... one Republican, one Democrat... two traumatic national crisises... two half-terms judged by what didn't happen instead of what did. The two presidents are George W. Bush and Barack Obama, who respectively prevented further terrorist attacks on American soil and a repeat of the Great Depression.

That's about as far as the simularities between these two go. When the nation was attacked by the 9-11 terrorists and at war in both Iraq and Afghanistan, every red-blooded American rallied around the president. When the economy tanked in 2008, they dropped President Bush like a bad habit.

Two years into his young administration, the economy is still in the toilet and they, the fickle American public has once again, deserted the president. This time, it's President Barack Obama, even if, as last week's exit polls show, less than a quarter of this public blames him for this mess.

Two years in charge of the White House and Congress, and boom... What have you done for us lately? Not enough! You're outta here! This is what last Tuesday's disasterous (for President Obama and the Democrats) election has shown me.

Somehow it just doesn't seem fair. Is there a trust gap between the two parties? Are we really a center to the right populace, or just a populace that swerves back and forth, or a populace merely going through the "hate" phase of its love-hate relationship with the president and goverment in general?

It sure seems that voters didn't give Democrats or President Obama the benefit of the doubt. You can talk about any number of mistakes made by Democrats and President Obama, but none to date compare with invading Iraq for reasons that didn't pan out, and then mismanaging not one, but two wars in a spectacular and tragic manner. Yet, President Bush was re-elected in 2004, at the height of the violence, chaos, and stupidity, and so was the Republican Congress. Incredible!!!

President Obama's term to date has been marked by expansions of government to cope with the economic crisis he inherited (the bank and auto bailouts, the stimulus package, and tighter regulation of Wall Street), as well as new government roles in health care and the student loan program that President Obama promised in his campaign.

Maybe people were more patient or maybe they were just more traumatized... but in 2002, 14 months after the 9-11 attacks, President Bush gained eight seats in the House. President Obama has lost more than 60 seats in the House after facing a crisis that was arguably just as grave as the 9-11 terror attacks, the seemingly imminent collapse of the U.S. banking system and economy.

Both events was profoundly frightening their own way. The unforgettable horror of the 9-11 terror attacks and the shock of suddenly realizing our oceans could no longer keep us safe from an unseen enemy. Then, seven years later, the daily announcements of mass layoffs, the stomach-lurching disappearance of savings accounts and home values or even homes themselves, the questions (How bad can it get?), and the specter of another terrible new normal taking hold. The country's future seemed balanced on a razor's edge.

President Bush benefited from Americans uniting against the common enemy of Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden. President Obama not only has been punished for the tanked economy, he and his Democratic party and even a few Republicans, have been punished for taking the bold and (may I say) necessary steps that staved off a catastrophe. Democrats and President Obama have a shot at electoral redemption in 2012. If that doesn't work, their best option is to take a tip from President Bush and leave judgments to history. By then, he has said, "We'll all be dead."

That's very funny... but I still ponder what that says about us as a nation right here and right now. YOU used to do nice things for me... but what have you done for me latellllllyyyyyy?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Price Of Impatience

I know that I wrote a post a while ago making fun of some economists who claimed that the recession was over (this was maybe two or three months ago)...

Victorious Republicans and the Tea Party crowd ran and won on the assertion that the Obama Administration roped the government into greater debt with the Health Care initiative and abandoned the economy. Of course, this is falsehood but an impatient and uninformed public has bought this line of thinking and rallied behind the same Republican party that they booted out in 2006 and 2008. Incredible!

But slowly and surely, the economy is starting to rebound. I don't know if it's too late for this to save President Obama's reputation and chances at a second term or not, but here are the facts: U.S. employers added a better-than-expected 151,000 jobs in October, the first monthly increase since May, but the gain was less than the 200,000 needed to start returning the 15 million unemployed Americans to work.

Private employers hired 159,000 workers last month, the Labor Department reported Friday in its monthly employment report, about double the amount expected, while the nation’s unemployment rate remained at 9.6% for a third straight month. Government at all levels shed only 8,000 jobs in October, a much better showing than September’s sharp drop. And job loss data for August and September were revised to show 110,000 fewer workers were lost than previously thought.

Giving his first reaction to the October jobs report Friday morning, President Barack Obama pointed to the fact that the country has seen several months of private-sector job growth. But he added that the economic recovery still has a long way to go. The unemployment rate is still unacceptably high,” he said at a press event at the White House. "We need to accelerate economic growth to create jobs at a faster pace," President Obama added. "I won’t be satisfied until everyone who is looking for a job can find one."

In other economic news, consumer borrowing increased in September for the first time since January even though the category that includes credit cards dropped for a record 25th straight month. The Federal Reserve says that consumer credit increased at an annual rate of $2.1 billion in September after having fallen at a rate of $4.9 billion in August. It was only the second increase in the past 20 months.

Americans have been reducing their borrowing for nearly two years as they try to repair their balance sheets in the wake of a steep recession and high unemployment. This past Friday’s stronger-than-expected jobs report was certainly welcome news for the struggling U.S. economy, but challenges remain, cautioned Mark Zandi,The Chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. "This is fantastic news, but let’s put it in context," Zandi told CNBC Friday. "150,000 is the monthly job growth we need just to stabilize unemployment. So, for context we need much stronger growth than this to keep the economy growing." he added.

Still this is good news and any and all good economic news should be celebrated. Since these new Republican congressmen and Senators won't be sworn in until January, it will be up to the current ones in office to keep the ball rolling and energize and stabalize the economy. Unfortunately, once in office, they will ride the wave of what looks like the start of the recovery under the Democrats. It remains to be seen if they will stabilize and grow the economy or decimate it.

Still, I think people lost hope in what The Obama Administration was trying to do a little too soon and thus, we are now paying the price of impatience. We Americans are a spoiled and impatient lot. We want what we want right now. It took eight years to take a surplus left by the Clinton Administration and turn it into a huge deficit. Now, we expect the new President to go poof and turn everything back to normal in two years! Poof! Americans love their fairy tales, don't they?

Monday, November 8, 2010

What I've Learned

1. Americans have a politically short memory.

2. American voters are a fickle lot, throwing the bums out one minute and re-electing them the next.

3. The most frustrating thing is when you see your nation headed down the wrong track and all you have is your one vote, which isn't enough to stop it!

4. When you're depositing a large sum of money in the bank, they don't ask if you're a Democrat or a Republican, a left-winger or a conservative. They don't care if you're Black, White, Chinese, Gay, Straight, Baptist, or Muslim... All they care about is that money and they treat you nice because of that money!

5. I just started paying my bills online... you used to say, "The check is in the mail." You can't say that anymore!

6. People let their guards down a little more when they're eating.

7. I try to avoid most conflicts and fights... but once I'm in one, I'm in it to win it!

8. My mother always told me that at the end of your life, if you had three friends you could depend on, then that was a bounty. I think she was right!

9. Once you're over fifty, you shouldn't have to do anything you don't want to do!

10. It's not until you fight for something that you realize just who you are!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

One Keith In Trouble!

I got the news last night that Keith Olbermann, one of my favorite commentators on television today (and not just because we share the same surname) has been suspended indefintely from MSNBC for donating money to three Democratic candidates. I'm really sad about this because he did on television what I do on this blog... give the right-wingers hell!

Olbermann acknowledged the donations in a statement to Politico, saying he gave the maximum legal donation of $2,400 to Arizona Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords and Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, who waged an unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate against Tea Party standard-bearer Rand Paul.

Like a lot of these news organizations, NBC News, parent of MSNBC-TV, prohibits political contributions by its journalists without prior approval of the president. MSNBC.com, a joint venture of NBC Universal and Microsoft, also has a policy against its journalists contributing to political campaigns.

"Anyone working for NBC News who takes part in civic or other outside activities may find that these activities jeopardize his or her standing as an impartial journalist because they may create the appearance of a conflict of interest," the NBC News policy reads. "Such activities may include participation in or contributions to political campaigns or groups that espouse controversial positions. You should report any such potential conflicts in advance to, and obtain prior approval of, the president of NBC News or his designee."

That is their stated policy, but here is my problem with this matter. I have never viewed Keith Olbermann as a reporter or journalist per se... I've always seen him as a commentator, much as in the same way I, myself, am not a journalist (at least, not on this blog). I'm a blogger with an opinion... an opinion that is probably far more to the left than anybody on television right now. Olbermann, is a admittedly liberal and progressive commentator, much in the same way as

Glenn Beck and Joe Scarborough (also a part of NBC) are conservative commentators. I'm sure that Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly over at Fox have donated money to the Tea Party and other Republican concerns. They've shown up and spoke at rallies all year long. Another network, another set of rules! But Joe Scarborough , a former Republican congressman, now talk show host and commentator, has been rumored to have also donated money to Republican campaigns this year and he is a member of the NBC family. So, will he be suspended too?

The donations to Grijalva and Giffords were made on October 28th, the same day that Grijalva appeared on Olbermann's show, "Countdown with Keith Olbermann". Grijalva won re-election on Tuesday, while Giffords (as of yesterday) was clinging to a narrow lead over Republican Jesse Kelly in a race that the Associated Press has not yet called. I hate these types of tight races that go on and on way after election day.

In a statement made last night , Olbermann said he did not encourage his viewers or other staff members to donate to the candidates. "I did not privately or publicly encourage anyone else to donate to these campaigns, nor to any others in this election or any previous ones, nor have I previously donated to any political campaign at any level."

Commenting on the case, Rachel Maddow, his MSNBC collegue, whose show comes on right after Olbermann's, said the NBC News rules forbidding political contributions are part of what distinguishes MSNBC from Fox News, whose on-air personalities regularly contribute to political campaigns.

If this is true and this is indeed the policy, then Keith was being insubordinate and has been disciplined for it. Still, it's a shame because he is such an important liberal and progressive voice in the media. One of a very few in a field saturated with right-wing and Tea Party supporters.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Weekend Humor

It's been a rough week for me politically, so here's a little humor for you to start your weekend off with... at least one smile!

A man checks into his hotel on a business trip and, feeling a bit lonely, he thought, I'll call one of those girls you see advertised in phone booths when you're calling for a cab.

He looked in a phone booth near the hotel and found an ad for a girl calling herself "Unique", a lovely girl, bending over in the photo. She had all the right curves in all the right places, beautiful long hair (It was probably a weave, but who cares?), long graceful legs... well, you get the picture. He copied the phone number and returned to his hotel. When back in the room he figures, what the hell, give her a call.

"Hello," the woman says. God, she sounded sexy. He thought to himself.

"Hi, I hear you give a great massage and I'd like you to come to my room and give me one. No, wait, I should be straight with you. I'm in town all alone and what I really want is sex. I want it hot, and I want it now. Bring implements, toys, rubber, leather, whips, and everything you've got in your bag of tricks. We'll go hot and heavy all night, I promise tie me up, cover me in chocolate syrup and whipped cream, anything you want! Now, how does that sound?"

She says,"Well, that sounds fantastic, but you really need to press 9 for an outside line."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Spilled Milk

I didn't write anything yesterday... I wasn't in the mood. As you know by now, the Republicans went wild and won 60 seats in the House. They didn't take the Senate, but they added enough members to make sure that gridlock will rule the day and this was predicted. I tried to wish and hope for a surprise ending, but apparently this isn't the year or the age of surprises. So, what the hell happened two nights ago?

The Republicans, who are very good at presenting a simple uncomplicated message, got that message out and it paid off in spades. They also spent a lot more money than the Democrats and had a major network (those fair and accurate folk at Fox News) broadcasting their propoganda 24/7. They successfully demonized both President Barack Obama and Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and (in effect) came as close as you may ever see of a hostile takeover of the government... game, set, and match! Okay, take a deep breath, assess the situation and move from there.

First off, while they have the house, they still don't have a fillibuster-proof majority. Second, they failed to take the Senate. They did some damage, but the Dems still control the Senate. President Obama has the power of the veto and now it's his turn to say "No!" Now that the Republicans seemingly have the upper hand, they will be held accountable for the direction the country goes. And, as my grandmother would say... "It's put up or shut up time!" Since they refused to tell us just how they would create jobs, salvage the housing industry, and balance the budget, now is their chance to do just that. They can no longer sit back and just say "No!" to everything and they better have an alternative plan that works or else... because, come the next mid-term election, what happened a few nights ago could be happening to them (ala 2006 and 2008 when the Democrats ran them out of the Senate and the House).

If I'm a Democratic strategist right now, I'm already thinking ahead to 2012 and going into full attack mode. I'm calling in markers, raising money, and getting in touch with labor, Latinos, African Americans, and the youth. I'm re-organizing voter registration drives and planning an all out media blitz. I'm hammering home my successes. See, the Republicans went into this kind of attack mode the day after Barack Obama got sworn in... the Democrats can learn from them and begin now to strategize how they're going to come back from this.

There is no need and no time to cry over spilled milk. What has happened has happened. All you can do now is assess how much you've been hurt, where you've been hurt, and clean that up. Then you develop a strategy on how you come back from this. Politics is a dirty cut-throat game. Make no mistake... this is the game and it's either play or get played. If you want to stay in the game, you got to to play to win. and if it takes being a ruthless bastard to win the game, then so be it.

One of the few times my mother came to see me in a track meet in high school, was a time when I lost a race. As we were going home she said... "Wow, tough break today. What are you going to do?" I looked at her, smiled, and said... "Tomorrow, I'm going to be out on that track bright and early practicing and working on my wind and endurance. Next time you come and see me, I'll win." She said... "That's what I wanted to hear." She never saw me win the rematch, but she was there beaming with pride later on that year when I won the P.I.A.A. Coaches Award trophy. My mother could have cared less about track, but what she was concerned about was that I didn't let a set back break my spirit. She always said... "There's no need in cryin' over spilled milk. It's over, tomorrow is another day, and what'cha gonna do?" So, to the Democratic Party, lick your wounds and then regroup. Tomorrow is another day, what'cha gonna do?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What If? That's The Question!

By the time you read this, I will probably be at the polls voting and volunteering my services. I plan to bring coffee, donuts, and pastries and help out when and wherever I can. I am hoping there will be a scene like the one I saw two years ago. There was a crowd of people that led around the corner. It was the first time ever that I can remember having to wait in a line to vote. People were excited and hopeful then. Young white volunteers were helping elderly Black people into the voting place and guys I had never seen voting (or for the matter, doing much anything that resembled responsible behavior) were surprisingly registered and casting their vote. It was truly an experience.

I remember that nobody was impatient and everybody was willing to wait their turn to vote. There was brevity in the air. People came with sandwiches, coffee, pastries and whatever... and a car radio was blasting music. It was just what we needed in that crowd to sustain us and to press forward. The day was overcast and it threatened rain, but that was not going to deter these people. People who finally, it seemed, had something to believe in again.

I'm hoping for that same crowd and enthusiasm again tomorrow. It's important. I keep thinking that, in spite of what the papers, experts, and polls have to say about the Republicans poised to take over the house and the senate. What if all of these polls are wrong? What if all of the people they didn't poll (which is just about everybody I know) and all of the young folks with their cell phones, BlackBerries, and iPods, who also weren't polled or contacted, turn this thing around. What if we all went out to vote and gave the Tea Party a black eye!

What if? I can only ponder. Even so, my polling place is just one place. It's got to be a group effort... it's got to be national in scope. Will my one little vote count one way or another? I know that a lot of people are wondering the same thing as I write this post.

What if? That's the question! Please vote today people! Bad politicians get elected by good citizens who wouldn't come out to vote.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Carrying Him

When I was 14 years old, I watched a documentary about the civil rights movement, which had been going on while I was learning to take my first steps and being potty trained. I'll never forget it. It showed people being hosed down with blasts of water from firemen, buses being bombed, and children having dogs sicked on them. It was very vivid and frightening. What stuck out the most in this special was an old man, who was trying to register the people in his community to vote. It was an enactment with actors, but they showed a car of Ku Klux Klansmen who just drove down the street and shot this old man dead! I don't know why, but this particular atrocity in a documentary with numerous atrocities seemed to stand out to me. This was an elderly man. He wasn't Dr. King, he wasn't Medgar Evers, and he wasn't Malcolm X... this was just an old man.

It occurred to me that these people must have been awful afraid of this old man even thinking that he and others were going to vote. You see, by voting,some of these sheriff's, judges, and even members of the City Council who upheld the Jim Crow laws of the times, might suddenly be out of a job. Heaven forbid! We might replace them with people who look like "us" and might possibly change the laws. Damn right! And, that was a fearful thought for those Kluxers... along with the fact that they might even make a law banning them!

I can't remember who the old man was... they did say his name. But, from that day on, I made a solemn vow that when I got old enough, I was not only going to register to vote, but I was going to vote every chance I got. I dared somebody, anybody, to try and stop me from voting, I said. Four years later, when I turned 18, I went with my mother and my aunt and proudly registered to vote. I don't think I've missed a chance to vote since. I've been sick, I've been away (I've voted on absentee ballots), it has rained, etc. But, I have always voted. I keep seeing that old man getting gunned down in the street and it serves as a reminder. I feel as though I owe him. I didn't know him, but he was doing what he did for me. I was 7 years old when he met his untimely death, but he was risking his life so that I'd be able to vote and not have to risk mine.

Do you see where I'm going with this? Nobody today, has to risk their lives to vote. The rain is not going to endanger your life, unless Hurricane Katrina II is in order. Not knowing about the candidates or the issues is no excuse either. Anything you need to know about anybody running can be found on the internet, in the newspapers, in magazines, and on blogs. Even Facebook and Twitter has information about all and anything that has to do with this election. Ignorance is no excuse. Laziness is no excuse. And. there is no such thing as an "unimportant election"... I don't care if we are just electing circuit court judges. It's may not be important now, but if you have to go before a judge in the near future, it would be very important then, right? Everything counts and this has been a theme running through this blog since I started it.

When I started this blog, I didn't have any idea what it was going to be about exactly. I knew it was partially going to be about me and about my ideas. But gradually, I began to see, just by the way people who read it reacted to it, that it could be my vehicle for change too. Maybe, just maybe, I could inspire somebody, anybody to do something... to get mad, to get fired up, and to vote. If one person reads this and tells somebody else, and they show it to somebody else, and they all go and exercise their hard-fought right to vote tomorrow, then my job is done... and that old man (wherever his soul is resting now) can know that he didn't die in vain. I've carried him within me for all this time and I've honored his sacrifice!


"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