Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bologna!


"My bologna has a first name, it's O-S-C-A-R. My bologna has a second name, it's M-A-Y-E-R. Oh, I love to eat it everyday, and if you ask me why I'll sayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy... 'cause Oscar Mayer has a way with b-o-l-o-g-n- a!"

If you're over a certain age, you probably remember that little jingle from television commercials for Oscar Mayer Bologna and other fine meats. Today, I want to end the month with a somewhat humorous story about a use for bologna that Oscar Mayer never had in mind.

A Holyoke, MA (Don't ask... I never heard of the town either!) man has been arrested after a kilogram of cocaine (That's right, blow!) was found inside a hollowed-out chunk of bologna that was delivered to his home.

Holyoke police say they were tipped off by postal inspectors in Puerto Rico who had been investigating similar shipments. A dog confirmed the presence of coke and the bologna was cut open. (I'm imagining these dogs to be very laid back in their investigations.)

The bologna was then repackaged and an undercover postal inspector delivered it to a Holyoke address at about 4:45 p.m. on Thursday. A woman sitting on the front steps signed for it.

Police then executed a search warrant and arrested a 30-year-old man on a cocaine trafficking charge. Police say the cocaine had a street value of $100,000. The investigation is ongoing.

Like I said... Oscar Mayer never imagined his bologna being used like this!

Monday, August 30, 2010

America The Divided


Like a lot of you , I knew about the two rallies in Washington, DC on Saturday... I even watched a little of both on webcasts. I saw Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin's rally, heard them invoke the name of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and heard them talk about patriotism and how we need to support our men and women in uniform. I also saw Rev. Al Sharpton's counter march and heard him tell supporters, "Don't drink the tea!" (One of those phrases I wish I had coined!), and just held my head in sorrow.

One march, mostly made up of White people and a few Blacks, who's real agenda is to thwart this president; and another march with mostly Blacks and a few Whites, who probably support the president, but are definitely against the people in the other march. I was struck with a wave of sadness because all of these people... all of these American citizens... all opposed to the other American citizens for ideological and racial reasons... when there is so much work to be done to straighten out America! Yes, it saddens me.

You've got the 6% or less of the population that has all of the wealth, that truly owns everything there is, and their political mouthpeice that wants to suck this country dry of all of it's resources. And then, thereis the 94% of us... regardless of race, national origin, gender, or what have you... that have to work for a living. The sad thing is, the wealthy 6% have been able to sucessfully convince quite a few people... people, mind you, who aren't part of that 6%... that they have a common ground. This in-and-of itself is a stroke of genius.

It's done by using racism, classism, sexism, and any ol' kinda "ism" that divides people. Us against them... Black against White, straight against gay, man against woman, true ''Americans"against immigrants... and anything else that can be used to divide people is being used. It never fails... hasn't failed yet! If all of these people... the Tea Party folks, a lot of whom have little more than me (if not less), could see beyond their blind racism and xenophobia, they'd understand that they are being played.

I heard a couple of them talk about how they didn't have health care, but they didn't want the "government" telling them what kind of health care to get. Could anything be more stupid? They've accused the president of "wasteful spending"... but had he not bailed out the auto industry and Banks, can you imagine how bad things would be right now? I mean things are still bad, but they would most certainly be worse. When he initiated financial reform to stop banks and credit cards from ripping off the consumers, didn't that effect them too?

How stupid are these people? Do they really think that our little adventure in Iraq actually made America or anyone else safer? This is the fantasy that the mouthpeices of the wealthy feed certain gullible people in our populace... and a number of them, fueled by racism, etc., always buy it hook, line, and sinker. If we all could pause a minute and really take a look at things the way they are, how different America could be. What frightens the 6% the most is the thought of all of the people coming together... that's the last thing they would ever want. An aware, educated, and informed American public.

That's why they feed you with so many so-called "reality shows" and other non-sense that didn't used to make the front page of responsible newspapers and magazines. They want this country to be divided. Actually, this country has always been divided. It's always been them against us and us against them. I guess it's just human nature. On a day when we should have been honoring something Dr. King did 47 years ago, the American people... all of the American people... made a damn mockery of it! And for that, I'm very sad.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Random Thoughts


1. I keep threatening to go on a blog break and just read... (other peoples' blogs and about four novels I purchased this summer).

2. I'm going to read, but I know I'll get an idea for one (or now all three) of my blogs and be at it again.

3. I picked up Zane's new novel "The Hot Box" and "Known to Evil " by Walter Mosley. I'm going to start reading one next week.

4. I don't believe in reposts. I like to keep my blogs fresh.

5. I'm curious about Twitter and starting to get bored with Facebook.

6. A lot of talented bloggers inspired and helped me out when I got in the blogging game. I just hope that I've lived up to their example of excellence.

7. Is it just me or was anybody else confused at the ending of the movie "Inception"?

8. Is the art of subtlety all but dead in music, art, writing, and media in general?

9. I've written a lot of long form fiction and short stories for my "Escapades" blog, but I really want to concentrate on and get back to my poetry!

10. I'm blessed that a lot of my favorite bloggers are also my friends on Facebook!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Weekend Humor


A husband, proud of the fact that his wife has given birth to two children, begins to call her "Mother of two" rather than by her first name. The wife, amused at first, chuckles. A few years down the road, the wife grows tired of her husband's description.

He'd say... "Hey, Mother of two, can you grab me a Corona!" or "Hey, Mother of two, what's for dinner tonight, baby?" Finally, while attending a party with her husband, he jokingly calls out... "Hey, Mother of two, it's time to roll."

The wife seized the moment and shouted back... "I'll be right with you, Father of one!"

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Places To Go In DC If You're A Tea Bagger!


You know, if this wasn't true, this would actually make a great piece for my "Weekend Humor" recurring post on Fridays....

A member of the Tea Party has put together a guide for those who are traveling to participate in Glenn Beck’s "Restoring Honor" Rally. Fox News' Glenn Beck is hosting the rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech.

The only thing more silly, more utterly ridiculous than the sheer foolishness, as well as brazeness of Glenn Beck trying to usurp this historic moment dedicated to unity and racial progress with a rally dedicated to division and racial superiority and stupidity, is the travel guide put out by the Tea Party to help visitors navigate Chocolate City.

It isn't surprising that Glenn Beck, who isn't half the man that Dr. Martin Luther King was, would stoop to something so low and so stupid... but it is surprising that someone who has reportedly lived in Washington DC for 20 years would make such ridiculous statements about the city.

The guide warns of (get this) "overly sensitive African immigrants and the dangers of taking the yellow/green Metro lines, which lead to mostly black neighborhoods. Newsflash: Washington DC is 55% African-American, so I'm pretty sure that all of the train lines go to black neighborhoods. Isn't it a trip how whoever wrote this mess wants Tea Party members to avoid those neighborhoods for safety concerns, but seem to be cool with black people living there and facing the same dangers day in and day out.

Now, exactly which America does the Tea Party stand for? The picture is becoming crystal clear isn't it? Are you checking this out my Black Republican brothers and sisters and Black conservatives? They are talking about YOU and people who look just like you... possibley some of your relatives that still live in these neighborhoods where there are "safety concerns". Did they send you guys a manual about where you shouldn't travel amongst them or when you should get out of dodge... like when they start drinking and their true nature comes out?

All I'm going to say is, when they start pulling out the hoods and bedsheets, make like Stepin' Fetchit... "Feets don't fail me now" and get in the wind!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Blog Tax? (Are They serious?)


Last night, my wife made me aware of the City of Philadelphia's plan to tax bloggers. I thought this was a joke at first until I read an article in which it appears that this is exactly what the city is planning to do... Excuse me, already doing.

I read an article about this (in of all places) The New York Times. I figure if a paper in New York is writing about something happening in Philly, chances are whatever it is must only be happening in Philly and hasn't happened in New York or anywhere else yet. I'm used to reading in Philadelphia papers about a new craze that has started in New York or Los Angeles. But, I digress... getting back to the subject at hand...

CNN Money said and I'll quote it here... "Philadelphia bloggers were abuzz this week about a city-wide move to crack down on citizens running a business without a license, which includes any local bloggers running ads on their sites."

The weekly free newspaper, Philadelphia City Paper, kicked off the hullabaloo with an article spotlighting several small-scale bloggers who were startled to receive letters from the city demanding that they shell out up to $300 for a license allowing them to operate a local business. One of the recipients had raked in a whopping profit of $ 11.00! Eleven freakin dollars over two years from his blog and these cats want him to either pay $ 50.00 a year or $ 300.00 for a "lifetime" license. They're all been smokin' crack in City Hall!

The city's argument is that in Philly, anyone "conducting commercial activity" is required to buy a business privilege license that costs $ 300 for a lifetime or $50 per year. Businesses must also pay taxes on any profit they make. This is how the Philly bloggers landed on the city's radar: Those who followed the law and reported their blog's revenue to the IRS triggered tripwires set up to find local businesses operating without licenses. "The IRS is the fastest way to find them, though we have other avenues that we don't advertise."

City officials say they did not target blogs specifically... only sites running ads and, therefore, making money, are subject to the business license requirements. Just so you know, none of my blogs have any advertisements, so it doesn't apply to me.

"Some of those blogger folks didn't realize when their passions became a business," the city rep said. "We haven't singled anybody out. We love the self-employed. Philly is a city with a creative economy." I don't use profanity on this blog, so I won't say what they are all full of, but you can figure it out.

Ironically though, when I started this blog, I seriously considered running ads for profits and now, I'm glad I didn't. I wouldn't pay the city a red cent even if I was running ads. What they are attempting to do is unconstitutional and I'm waiting for someone to challenge them in court. Stay tuned...

The Maverick of All Bloggers!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Eye-Opener!


I'm always interested in what my Republican Brothers and Sisters think. No, really... I am. I hear their White counter parts all the time on Fox News and everywhere else. Since I only know a few Blacks who will admit to being Republican, It is always nice to read a tidbit from them on how they feel about an issue.

Last week, I wrote about Dr. Laura Schlessinger and the controversy around some advice she gave a Black female caller who was complaining about her white husband and the insensitive comments he, members of his family, and his friends made when she was around.

Not surprisingly, Dr. Laura was not sympathetic to the female caller at all. She, in fact, told her she was too "thin-skinned, had a chip on her shoulder, and shouldn't have married outside of her race if she was that sensitive". She went around the barn, asking how can we have racism when we just elected a Black president? (Really Laura, are you really that niave?) I wasn't surprised when the Republican's new poster girl, Sarah Palin, said she supported Dr. Laura on Twitter... but, I did wonder what Black Republicans thought about this matter.

Today, a leading Black Republican said he was upset about Sarah Palin's "tweet" supporting Dr. Laura Schlessinger, the radio talk show host who couldn't stop saying "nigger" last week. Brother (and I use this word lightly) Timothy Johnson, who as chairman of the Frederick Douglass Foundation (Frederick Douglass was a Republican? Who knew?) works to get African-American Republican officials elected and increase the ranks of Black members of the party, says that Sarah Palin needs to "clarify her defense of Dr. Laura Schlessinger." He also says Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele needs to speak out against Palin. I have been waiting for a statement from him myself!

The former Alaska governor made waves Wednesday by defending conservative radio talker Dr. Laura's use of the "n-word" in a conversation with a radio caller. Schlessinger has since announced that she is stepping down from her top-rated program. "Don't retreat! Reload!" Sarah Palin wrote on Twitter (Who is she, Annie Oakley?), adding that the effort to "silence the radio host isn't American and is "not fair". Who is trying to silence her? From what I understand, she is making this transition on her own.

"Sarah Palin is not the chair of the Republican Party", Brother Johnson says. "She is a leading Republican, but from what I can tell, many black Republicans don't use Sarah Palin as a benchmark." (I should hope not!) "I hope Chairman Steele comes out in relationship to this issue. You can support the sinner and not the sin. We need to separate respecting the doctor vs. respecting what she says." he said. "If she chooses to run for president in 2012, she is going to have to answer to black Republicans", Johnson says of Palin. Oh really? I wonder if it's enough of them for it to matter to her or whoever gets the nomination. Although, you never know.

Lots of luck to our Republican brothers and sisters, who don't seem to understand that dissing Black people has been an essential part of the Republican political playbook since the days of the "Great Communicator", Ronald Reagan. Sarah Palin's "tweet" is sure to rally those among the GOP faithful who are tired of mincing words and beating around the bush about er, uh, Negroes. Uh, yeah!

(Note: The speaker in the above photo is not Brother Timothy Johnson or a photo connected to this incident in any way. It's just an angry mob of Black people that I thought was funny and just perfect for this post-LOL!)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Check Out My 3rd (& Last) Blog!


For the benefit of my readers who haven't discovered it yet, I would like to extend an invitation for you to stop by my new blog and see what's cooking! One thing my wife and I like to do is eat out at nice (and sometimes, not so nice) restaurants. From time to time, this blog will feature recipes, reviews of restaurants, and healthy eating information.

After I get this blog "off and running", the posts will not be published quite as frequently as Keith's Space and Escapades, but I do hope you will enjoy what it has to offer too. Just click on the screenshot or text link above and you're there! WARNING: If you're hungry, you might want to stop by later, after you've had something to eat (smile). If you're dieting or fasting, all I can say is... proceed with caution-LOL!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Saturday Seven (7 Benefits Of Kissing)



1. A kiss boosts immunity. (I'm not making this up, medical tests have proven it!) Anytime you lock lips, you're not just swapping spit... you're also swapping germs. A majority of the bacteria in your saliva is common to everyone, but around 20% are unique to the individual. So, the process of kissing triggers your body to produce antibodies to fight the foreign bacteria. It's like a vaccination, minus the hour in the waiting room and sore arm. Of course, this positive side effect is only relevant if you're smooching a healthy person... you wouldn't want a "vaccination" from, let's say, the guy or girl at the bar with a mysterious blister and runny nose. Serious e-w-w-w factor! Now, moving right along....

2. A good kiss busts stress. (I'll say!) A recent Lafayette College study found that when you're kissing someone, your body releases oxytocin, a calming chemical; endorphins, which are the feel-good chemicals; and dopamine, which promotes bonding. Aim for a 20-second smooch to get mood-boosting benefits.

3. A kiss may ease allergies. A study in Japan found that 30 minutes of kissing (time to revert back to middle school make-out days) can slow histamine production, providing some relief from sneezing and running nose symptoms associated with hay fever. My college room mate used to call me the king of trivia. Knowing these amazing, but uninteresting-to-anyone-but-me facts have brought me a long way!

4. Kissing is actually good for your teeth. (I kid you not!) Even during non-sloppy exchanges, kissing produces bonus saliva. This helps neutralize acids which can cause decay and washes away food particles and cavity-inducing plaque that's beginning to form. Some experts even think that the mineral salts in saliva may help bolster enamel, giving you stronger chompers.

5. Kissing actually counts as a light workout! It's estimated that kissing can burn up to 6 calories a minute and that you enlist approximately 30 facial muscles. This may not exactly erase cellulite or give you flat abs, but you can feel slightly less guilty about having another glass of wine or ordering post-date dessert.

6. Kissing, if done correctly, can lead to something more... (Need I say anything else?)

7. Finally, kissing is fun! You could be doing something a lot worse.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Weekend Humor


Sam Jones enters his local bar holding a frog and an iguana. He sets them down on the bar and says to Pete the bartender, "I bet you $1,000 that my frog here can sing any song you can think of." The bartender says, "Okay. How 'bout 'Blue Moon'?"

The man whispers something to the frog and the frog starts singing "Blue Moon." That's friggin' amazin", says Pete the bartender as he slaps down $1,000. "I'll bet ya another G that my iguana here can do that to", says Sam Jones. Pete says with a shrug, "Okay. I can believe a frog, but not an iguana. You're on! Have him sing the "Star-Spangled Banner."

Sam Jones whispers something to the iguana and it sings the Star Spangled Banner. As Pete hands over another $1,000, Moe Howard, a local businessman comes up and says, "I just saw that and it was amazin'. Listen, I wanna buy your iguana for $100,000."

Sam said... "What? One hunnard large? Sho!" He exchanged the iguana for the money and Moe Howard left. Pete the bartender shook his head and said, "What! Are you nuts? You could have made a bundle with that iguana kid!" Sam looked at Pete, winked, and said... "Oh, the iguana can't sing. The frog's a ventriloquist."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Doctor Is Out!


I wasn't going to touch this (it's been all over Facebook, Twitter, and blogs all week), but today I heard that Dr. Laura is leaving the air and her reason, "to keep her first amendment rights." Oh, poor, poor her... nobody's taking her rights. As long as she's making money for her radio network, she is free to say whatever she damn well pleases. You see that Don Imus and Howard Stern are still on the air.

Anyway, you had to be living under a rock to not know about this one, but Dr. Laura Schlessinger says she's shutting down her 30 year old syndicated radio program at the end of the year. Her announcement on "Larry King Live" last night comes just a week after she repeatedly used the N-word while taking a call on the air from a black woman who wanted to discuss her interracial marriage.

According to E! Online, she told King... "My contract is up for my radio show at the end of the year and I've made the decision not to do radio anymore. The reason is I want to regain my First Amendment rights. I want to be able to say what's on my mind and in my heart and what I think is helpful and useful without somebody getting angry, some special interest group deciding this is the time to silence a voice of dissent and attack affiliates, attack sponsors. I'm sort of done with that."

That's what people like her always say after they've offended millions of people. Suddenly, they become the victims. She said (unfortunately), she's not retiring or quitting but rather, hopes to be "stronger and freer to say the things that I believe need to be said for people in this country."

Dr. Laura Schlessinger, 63 years old, had issued an apology the day after her verbal N-word gaffe and said on her website August 11th that said she was wrong in using the word for what she called an attempt to make a philosophical point. "I articulated the N-word all the way out, more than one time" (It was 5 times within five minutes but, who's counting?), Dr. Laura said in comments from the opening of her radio show that she posted on her site." And, that was wrong. I'll say it again... that was wrong."

Well, of course she's saying that now. She said... "I realized I had made a horrible mistake, and was so upset, I could not finish the show." Dr. Laura said she pulled herself off the air at the end of the hour. (Oh, I bet she did!) Corinne Baldassano, an executive with Dr. Laura's production company, Take On The Day LLC, said the talk show host plans to pursue opportunities through her website, books, podcasts, and a YouTube channel.

At least two national sponsors of her radio program, General Motors and Motel 6, owned by Accor SA, have pulled out of the show heard on nearly 200 stations, Baldassano said. During the exchange on that August 10th show, Schlessinger said an African-American woman who called herself Jade, was "too sensitive" for complaining that her white husband's friends made racist comments about her and in their home as though she wasn't there.

Dr. Laura, according to her website, is a best-selling author of 11 adult books and four children's books, which range from the provocative "The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands" to the children's book "Why Do You Love Me?" She describes herself as a supporter of children and family values. (Isn't everybody?) She also writes a monthly column for NewsMax and posts a daily blog and weekly YouTube videos. This isn't the first time Dr. Laura has made a politically incorrect faux paux... In 2008, on the TODAY show, Schlessinger said, "I hold women accountable for tossing out perfectly good men by not treating them with the love, kindness, respect, and attention they need."

In May 2007, the Santa Barbara News Press cancelled her newspaper column after the Pentagon launched an investigation into objectionable material found on her son's MySpace page. In October 2000, Schlessinger's negative comments about homosexuality on her television show inspired gay activists to campaign to get her off the air. She called homosexuality deviant and derivative of "biological error", the New York Times reported at the time. She published a letter of apology in Variety, the Hollywood trade paper.

It just amazes me that people like her, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and that harpie Ann Coulter exercise their right to free speech to defame and insult minorities... gays, women, etc., but scream like little stuck pigs when these same groups exercise their right to not patronize businesses that bank roll their right to say such hateful things.

She has a right to say and believe anything she wants... and I have a right to not listen and to not patronize any business that supports her beliefs. That's the way the game is played... always has been, always will be.

I was listening to the entire broadcast. She was trying to make a point. Se wasn't using the word in a racist manner. She did (uh) get a little fascinated with the word for a minute, but one thing she was saying that rang true was this... on HBO and Showtime comedy specials that feature Black comedians and on 99% of hip-hop records, young African-Americans are calling each other the N-word. What is a white person to think?

We "African-Americans" keep giving people like the good doctor a stick to crack us on the head with! What can I say? Now that the doctor is going off the air, maybe I should put in a call to her network for that long-wanted radio show I've been dreaming of... Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I Really Was Raised By A Village


I really was raised by a village when I think about it. My grandfather created my love for hearing a good story... he was reading to me, before I could hold a book in my hands and he always had a great story to tell, especially about people and their nature. He would usually supplement people for animals who behaved like these people. He was a very imaginative man. This led to my love of reading. It started with the Sunday color "funnies" or comic strips and led to bigger things. For their part, my grandmother and my mother did the same thing with the reading... and later on, me reading to them while they were cooking or whatever. By the time I was 10 or 11 years old, I was cruising libraries and reading the newspapers.

As far as school was concerned, there was no notion of failure. My homework was checked every night and if there was a written report, my mother went over it with a "fine-tooth comb"... nothing me or my brother wrote went out of that house without her seal of approval. If either of us got anything below a "C", there was hell to pay (for us) and a talk with the teacher. Despite anything else I was doing out in the street, there were a few teachers I had who would tell you I misbehaved in class... wasn't gonna happen. I was well-behaved and well-mannered, at least in school. Outside was a whole 'nother story, but that's another blog post for another day.

It's a shame that this was not and is not the case in every household... especially in the households of young black males. You see, I always assumed that I was going to graduate from high school and my mother informed me the second day of my life in 1958 that I was going to college... that was a done deal before I was potty-trained. Unfortunately, today it is a hit and miss situation for a lot of black males. A recent report found that only 47% of black males graduated from high school in the 2007-2008 school year... and graduation rates are just a part of the troubling statistics.

The report's authors stated that the results of the eighth grade reading assessment test scores, which measure how many black males read at or above the proficiency level, "should set off alarm bells." The "best" score was a dramatically low: 15% (Kentucky, New Jersey), while other states only averaged 5% (Mississippi, Nevada). According to this report, "more than twice as many black students are classified as ''mentally retarded'' in spite of research demonstrating that the percentages of students from all groups are approximately the same at each intelligence level." The report adds, "the persistent over-classification of black male students as 'mentally retarded' reflects, at best, a lack of professional development in this area for teachers and other staff." I shudder to think what would have happened to an administrator who tried to classify me as that back then.

And, at a time when more and more jobs require advanced knowledge of math and technology, more than four times as many white male students take advanced placement math and science courses as compared to black males. Another troubling aspect of the report is the apparent disparity between states providing opportunities for young black men to succeed. For example, the relative success and wealth of a town is definitely not synonymous with good outcomes: Only 22% of black high school males graduated from the Palm Beach County Florida public schools and only 28% graduated from New York City public schools, as compared to 79% in Newark, New Jersey.

New Jersey is an example of what can happen when a state works to "level the playing field." About 20 years ago, New Jersey's highest court ruled in favor of a group that sued to "equalize" the funding between suburban and urban school districts. Since then, New Jersey's urban and/or less wealthy school districts have received substantially higher funding for kindergarten and pre-school programs, increased teacher training, and more health and social services to address the needs of poor and lower-income children. The schools also upgraded facilities and improved security. In the current Schott report, all these measures were listed as "conditions for success."

But, despite all of those measures, the real measures start at home. These young men (and young ladies) have to be nurtured in the home, the same way I was growing up. It has to be instilled in them early that education is important and the best way to succeed in life... even if that sucess means just being able to take care of yourself. This has to be done. Our children, our young people all need that village!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Save The Drama For Ya Mama!


Back when he was running for president in the spring of 2008 and winning a lot of surprising primaries, they used to joking call the president-to-be "No Drama Obama". He made winning the presidential race and everything else he's done so far look so cool, so calm, and so collect... but, the Republicans and some people in his own party are not going to stand for his being so cool but for so long. See, they all want to see the president sweat.

My grandmother used to say that misery loves company. I can't quote here what she actually said... something about the more miserable a so-and-so, the more that so-and-so wants to make everybody around them miserable so that he or she won't be alone. Such was my grandmother's wisdom and it holds true.

One way to break someone's cool is to make them waffle on something. You know, appear to not be as sure of themselves as they appear. (Like the time I fell at a school dance and ripped the girl's entire dress off who I was dancing with... definitely, not cool!)

The NAACP flap of a few weeks ago was the first waffle and now this Mosque at Ground Zero thing appears to be the latest. It appears that President Obama and the White House got roped into a story that was being driven primarily by cable and the conservative political elite (like Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin): The building of this Mosque near Ground Zero.

Previously, the Obama White House had declared this issue to be a local matter (and, by the way, the Mosque was approved locally in New York). But then, President Obama weighed in personally by saying, "As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country."

For those of us who have followed Barack Obama since the Democratic Primary in 2004, it was an unsurprising stance, and I guess that George W. Bush would have said something similar, if he were still president. But, what was surprising to many, including Democrats, was:(1) President Obama decided to get involved in a matter that was already resolved; (2) He did so without the White House having any surrogates and validators ready to back him up as he departed for a weekend getaway; (3) He appeared to back off of his comments on the Mosque situation just a day later.

He said, "I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a Mosque there. I was commenting very specifically on the rights people have that dates back to our founding."

Well, this appears to the (Rush Limbaugh-Glenn Beck-Sarah Palin) right-wing pundit crowd that the president is waffling and that he and his team who, once upon a time, took the high road and felt themselves above the cable and internet chatter of the beltway area, now actually care more about it than they are willing to let on. It appears that there now is indeed a chink in his armour of coolness... especially with these mid-term elections coming in a few months and the fear of Democrats losing control of the House.

President Obama is only human... nobody can stay cool forever. I've never been cool. By now, I would've told a whole bunch of people where they could go and what they could do when they got there... and, this is the reason why I'm not in politics or holding any office. I can't smile on cue when I'm pissed off. You can't lie on me and I shrug it off and calmly speak to the cameras. My size 12 won't walk in B.S. without aiming for somebody's sitting place. I'm just not cool like that... but, our president is and if the Republicans want to run wild with this, he should let 'em. The populace at large is not as outraged about this as you would expect. Americans have short memories... it's been nine years.

Republicans want to make political hay out of President Obama’s Mosque comments... but, such a move for the GOP (especially after its embrace of Arizona’s controversial immigration law) carries some real risks. There is now more anti-Muslim rhetoric in legitimate political circles than there was immediately after 9/11. Ben Smith and Maggie Habberman have written that, “Republican leaders have largely abandoned former President George W. Bush's post-Sept. 11th rhetorical embrace of American Muslims and his insistence (always controversial inside the party) that Islam is a religion of peace.” This was George W. saying this, mind you. It wouldn't be wise for Republicans to look like hate mongerers. I'm talking about responsible politicians, not the tea bagger crowd, which already has that tag!

When you consider that the issue has already been settled by the New York Authorities, both sides, Democratic and Republican, would do better to just let it go, move on, and allow our president to be cool... or in other words, save the drama fo ya mama!

Monday, August 16, 2010

This Is How It's Done


Once upon a time in Philadelphia, there was something magical called the "Greek Picnic". In the days before pagers, cell phones, email, Facebook, and Twitter, African American college students had a "word of mouth" underground type of communication that would rival all of these things. It was known that on every second Saturday in July, you were to converge on Philadelphia with members of your fraternity and sorority for a day of chillin', grillin', and socializing. This is what is referred to as networking nowadays, I suppose.

Thousands of members of Kappa Alpha Psi, Delta Sigma Theta, Omega Psi Phi, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Alpha Phi Alpha, Zeta Phi Beta, Phi Beta Sigma, Sigma Gamma Rho, and Iota Phi Theta (the adeptly named, "Divine Nine") would meet in a chosen spot in Fairmount Park, set up tables full of food, beer, and wine, and just eat, drink, and socialize with old college chums and meet new people. People would stay there from 12noon until 7:00 or 8:00pm, then go home or to the home of a fraternity brother or sorority sister, get washed, dressed, and head downtown to the clubs.

The Kappas or the Ques were usually throwing a party somewhere, and that was that. Come Sunday Morning, we would all pile into IHOP (the one on City Avenue that used to stay open 24 hours and have breakfast) before we went home or back to college. During the years I was in college, I would actually be in town and my parents wouldn't even be aware of it... and then, I would leave and head back to college that Sunday and none would be the wiser. After college, of course, I would just head home, since I lived here. Now, fast forward to the not-so-distant-past...

The local radio stations found out about the Greek Picnic and started setting up shop in Fairmount Park on that day. They did bring DJs and music, something we never had before... but, they also brought companies trying to sell things, all kinds of "independent entrepeneurs" (drug dealers, con men), and teenagers from nearby neighborhoods that had never set foot in a college and didn't know a Delta from a Zeta. This led to fighting, police intervention, sexual assaults, and all kinds of mayhem.

Then, all of these teenagers would head to South Street and have a mini-riot, assaulting people, breaking store windows, etc. The media would always pin the mayhem on the "Greek Picnic", even though in nearly every case, the person arrested was a teenager who was not even associated with the Greek Picnic weekend. All the media needed to know was that it was a young African American and that was that..

The whole spirit of the Greek Picnic was ruined. Then, about ten years ago, some of my contemporaries put together something called "The Old School Greek Picnic". Represenatives of every predominately black frat and sorority got together and organized another picnic... in a different part of Fairmount Park on the second Saturday in August. These weren't young bucks... these were people who are my age and older. We organized it and notified only those people who needed (Greeks) to know on Facebook, Twitter, e-mails, texts, and word of mouth.

Each organization donated money for the permits, a DJ, picnic tents, and grills... and that was that. We've been meeting without incident for close to ten years and it was just like before... Just chilliin', grillin', and socializing with folks you haven't seen in a while or only on Facebook.

Today, I was happy to take my wife to the Old School Greek Picnic and show her a good time. We sat with my cousin, who is a Delta, and some of my frat brothers from Philadelphia Alumni. I saw Ques, Deltas, and AKAs I knew from my job, college years, and just from the streets. It was great... good food, good people, good times. Young people take note... this is how it's done!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

R.I.P. Abbey Lincoln

August 6, 1930 - August 14, 2010

We have lost another giant! Abbey Lincoln, a singer with a distinctive style influenced by Billie Holiday, has died at 80 years old. Abbey Lincoln sang in a plaintive tone that reflected her idol, but was all her own. Best known among jazz aficionados, Abbey often sang her own compositions, tailored to highlight her voice and style. She was highly respected by jazz musicians and performed with the most famous list of collaborators, including Eric Dolphy, Coleman Hawkins, and Sonny Rollins.

Abbey starred in the 1964 film "Nothing But A Man" with Ivan Dixon, still considered one of the best and most realistic on-screen portayals of a relationship between two black people... and, shame upon shame on me because I still haven't seen that movie. My mother and my aunt used to talk about that movie when I was a child. I'm going to go out and see if I can purchase it now. She also appeared in "For The Love of Ivy, a 1968 film with Sidney Poitier and Beau Bridges. (another film that I did not see, but will see now). She also had roles in many popular TV shows like All in the Family.

Abbey was married to the great jazz drummer Max Roach during the 1960s, and they collaborated on "We Insist! Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite", an album that was considered highly political at the time of its release. Abbey Lincoln, whose real name was Anna Marie Wooldridge, was found dead in her New York apartment this past Saturday.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Weekend Humor


A MAN'S TRANSLATIONS!

These translations are for all of you wonderful ladies out there, so that you will know what we really mean when we say...

1. "IT'S JUST A GUY THING"

Translation: "There is no rational thought pattern connected with it and you have no chance at all of making it logical."

2. "CAN I HELP WITH DINNER?"

Translation: "How come it isn't already on the table?"

3. "UH, HUH?" "SURE, HONEY." OR "YES, DEAR."

Translation: Absolutely nothing. It's a conditioned response.

4. "IT WOULD TAKE TOO LONG TO EXPLAIN."

Translation: "I have no clue how it works."

5. "TAKE A BREAK, BABY. YOU'RE WORKING TOO HARD."

"Translation: "I can't hear the game over the vacuum cleaner."

6. "THAT'S INTERESTING, DEAR."

Translation: "Are you still talking?"

7. "YOU KNOW HOW BAD MY MEMORY IS."

Translation: "I remember the theme song to 'F Troop,' the address of the first girl I ever kissed, and the vehicle identification numbers of every car I've ever owned... but I forgot your birthday."

8. "OH, IT'S ALL GOOD. I JUST CUT MYSELF. IT'S NO BIG DEAL."

"Translation: "I have actually severed a limb, but damn it... I'll bleed to death before I admit that I'm hurt!"

9. "HEY, I'VE GOT MY REASONS FOR WHAT I'M DOING."

Translation: "And, I sure hope I can think of some pretty soon."

10. "I CAN'T FIND IT."

Translation: "It didn't fall into my outstretched hands, so I'm completely clueless."

11. "WHAT DID I DO THIS TIME?"

Translation: "What did you catch me at?"

12. "I'M NOT LOST. I KNOW EXACTLY WHERE WE ARE."

Translation: "No one will ever see us alive again."

13. "WE SHARE THE HOUSEWORK."

Translation: "I make the messes; she cleans them up."

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Stop and Drop


In yet another move to show their hostility towards people who do not look like the rank and file they claim to represent, (but stop short of just admitting they represent), a few Republicans are playing a dangerous game with the 14th Amendment. They say that they are trying to stem illegal immigration, but this comes dangerously close to altering the amendment that granted African Americans their citizenship.

Do you remember the Dred Scott decision? Well when the 13th Amendement was ratified in 1865, ending Slavery in the U.S. It was the 14th Amendment that ensured black citizenship when it was ratified in 1868. In Dred Scott v. Sandford (not to be confused with Fred Sanford) the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Roger "Hang em high" Taney, did more than ensure that a slave who entered "free" territory could not become free (1850). Justice Taney went even further and held that no blacks, whether slave or "free", could be citizens of the United States. In one fell swoop, the Court divested even free blacks of citizenship.

Thus, it wasn't enough to abolish slavery after the Civil War. Nor would it have been enough to grant citizenship to former slaves. Instead, the 14th Amendment's birthright-citizenship provision overturned Dred Scott by guaranteeing citizenship to all born on U.S. soil, dismantling Justice Taney's thesis that descendants of black slaves could never be citizens.

There are, of course, scores of Supreme Court decisions that have since affirmed the citizenship rights of African Americans in the U.S., but the decisions of a Supreme Court must be grounded in provisions of the Constitution. The historical significance of the birthright provision to African American citizenship cannot be overstated.

Any attempt to "re-examine" this provision, especially to address a set of concerns about immigration that could easily be handled by a Congress willing to put the interests of the country ahead of political gamesmanship that certain Republicans want to play, should be of concern to all Americans.

Republican Senator Graham and a few others are "concerned" that undocumented immigrants are coming over here and "purposely" having babies, what they call "Anchor Babies", so that they can stay in the United States. The Anchor babies, having been born here, are automatically U.S. citizens and therefore, the undocumented immigrant now has to stay. They are calling it the ol' "Stop and Drop" routine. These are the same people who gave us the term "Welfare Queen" back in the 70's and 80's. Knowing this, I'm always a bit skeptical when they come up with one of their conspiracy theories. You know, like "Weapons of Mass Destruction". By the way, has anybody found one of them yet?

Getting back to this... either illegal immigrants are coming here purposely having children so they can stay or they are having children and leaving. Who knows? Do you know? I don't... and I don't know if this is the widespread conspiracy or problem these Senators are trying to make it either. I certainly don't think they need to be analyzing the 14th amendment or talking about challenging just what makes a U.S. citizen.

They are feeding this story to the Tea Party crowd and to an assorted group of empty heads hooked on reality TV who just might buy it and that's what is scary. I have to wonder if soon we will be policing maternity wards and questioning an expectant mother's citizenship. Don't laugh... it might not be that far away. Just look at what they are trying to do in Arizona and New Mexico.

The prospect of policing maternity wards to identify and deport newborns of undocumented immigrant parents makes the idea of repealing the birthright-citizenship provisions of the 14th Amendment repugnant enough. What's been most galling about the cavalier suggestion that we "re-examine" or "overturn" those provisions is the failure of any of these re-examiners to mention the critical historical importance of the birthright-citizenship provisions of the 14th Amendment to African American citizenship.

They don't care. After all, some of them (no doubt) think they could be killing two birds with one stone.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mercy, Mercy Me, The Economy!


I keep hearing stories coming from Washington, DC and Wall Street about how the economy is getting stronger and rebounding. I keep hearing this, but everyday another one of my friends is getting laid off. I have a couple of enterprising friends (with MBAs) who have decided to try and start their own businesses (and I'm not talking about selling Amway products or pre-paid medical/legal services). This has not been going well for them either.

So, if the economy is righting itself and getting stronger, who is reaping the benefits from it? Nobody I know, for sure. I suspect that the Federal Reserve board is widely expected to downgrade its growth projections for the American economy (something the panel has already done once already in 2010) when it meets in Washington soon.

For the 6.6 million of my fellow citizens who have been unemployed for more than six months... news of this downgrading is going to cause little more than a yawn and someone saying... "Oh, yeah? Really?

Yet, it's still not clear whether America's policy makers have truly come to grips with the gut-wrenching plight of the so-called "99ers" - at least 1.4 million workers who'd exhausted all their unemployment benefits before Congress just barely passed a 20-week extension - or the fact that some economists fear that the jobless rate could hover near the current 9.5% level for perhaps a couple of years. From what I've been reading, this is the highest unemployment has been since records started being kept, shortly after World War II. You would think that this would have people out in the streets screaming bloody murder... but I suppose, people are too busy either trying to get a job or wondering what Lindsey Lohan is going to do when she gets out of rehab!

It wasn't supposed to be this way. Not in Philadelphia. In January 2009, both Philadelphia and the nation had a little more optimism. The Eagles were one victory away from returning to the Super Bowl (So much for that!) and the $787 billion stimulus package, backed by incoming President Obama, was promised to keep unemployment from spiking above the 8% mark. Neither of these things happened. The job crisis is vexing because by many conventional measures, the economy has improved over the last 18 months. So, why can't Johnny or Mavis find a job? (Me and these names. I know, right?)

Corporate profits have risen a steep 40% since "Black Friday 2008" and the average corporate profit margins are expected to rise to a record 8.9% by the end of next year. That's a key reason that stocks on Wall Street have rebounded so sharply from their early 2009 lows.

But these profits have come on the backs of the American worker, who has watched his and her salaries remain flat. Public companies are stockpiling their excess cash rather than hiring back workers or buying new equipment. In fact, some companies plan to remain profitable through continued job reductions.

These firms basically aren't hiring because... well, they don't have to. Their main obligation is to their shareholders anyway, and more than at any time prior, firms have squeezed out productivity and learned how to do more without hiring workers back. More with less they call it, although that has never made any sense to me.

"Given the very impressive gains we have had in worker productivity over the recent years, companies can produce just as many goods and services as before with fewer workers," said Tom Fomby, professor of economics at Southern Methodist University.

The human effect of all of this is devestating. According to Newsweek the number of chronic, long-term unemployed is something we haven't seen since the Great Depression. The percentage of the 14.6 million unemployed Americans who've been unable to find work for more than six months is a whopping 45% now. Daniel Hamermesh, professor of economics at the University of Texas at Austin, noted a comparable figure of 33% when unemployment spiked above 10% in the recession of 1981-82. Damn!!!

Getting scared yet? Well, you ought to! Social Security is experiencing its first cash shortfall this year because an unexpectedly large number of people took early retirement before the age of 62, many from among the long-term unemployed deciding they would never get a job again.

Which brings me full circle. Yes, the economy has gotten better, but for who? Not me, not you... just the corporate fat cats who find a way to be solvent, regardless of what party is in the White House, I'm going over my cousin's house tonight. I grew up in that house. I think I lost that silver spoon that used to be in my mouth. I'm sure it's over there under the sofa or something!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Oil's Not Well


Two nights ago, my wife made me aware of the skepticism of filmaker Spike Lee at a report that the majority of the oil spilled in the Gulf has been cleaned up.

Spike Lee is calling a U.S. government report that 75% of the oil spilled in the Gulf Coast is gone "a lie". Speaking to a meeting of the Television Critics Association on Saturday, Spike Lee said journalists should expose what he called, "the real story". He argued that it's unlikely that "abracadabra, presto, chango'' the vast majority of the oil has vanished from Gulf of Mexico waters and coastal wetlands... and I'm inclined to agree with his assesssment.



Federal scientists said last week that nearly three-quarters of the oil has been removed by various artificial or natural means, but that the spill's effect on wildlife will long continue. The sometimes controversial filmaker was promoting his new documentary about New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. "If God is Willing and Da Creek Don't Rise," a follow-up to his 2006 film about the hurricane, debuts Aug. 23rd and 24th on HBO. (HBO should pay me for the free promo.)



Yet, I, who am certainly not a scientist or any kind of expert, just finds it hard to believe that in this short amount of time, 75% of that oil has been cleaned up or rather is gone and that it is nearly safe for fishermen to fish in those waters. I mean, they did say that this may effect wildlife for sometime to come, did they not? So, therefore, we still have a problem with contamination. Was it not just a few weeks ago that the leak was stopped up? I can't get the oil content out of my dishwater that fast.

Once again, I believe that this is intentional and misleading. A misrepresentation of facts aimed at a populace that will not read or check any further than the soundbite they hear in the media. I tell you what... You are welcome to eat any fish or seafood fished out of that water if you want to... but, you will do so at your own peril.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Saturday Seven (7 Things No Guy Should Be Without)




1. Decent Bathrobe




2. Belt




3. Good pair of black dress shoes




4. Cool sunglasses




5. Wallet




6. Tie




7. Good watch

Friday, August 6, 2010

Weekend Humor


Monique was going on a date. Her late grandmother's friend, Miz Laverne said... "Sit here Mo and let me tell you about those young brothers. He is going to try and kiss you, you are going to like that, but don't let him do that. He is going to try and feel your breast, you are going to like that, but don't let him do that. But most important, he is going to try and get on top of you to have his way with you. You are going to like that, but don't let him do that. It will disgrace the family." Monique replied... "Yes, Miz Laverne, I hear you."

With that bit of advice, Monique went on her date. The next day she told Miz Laverne that her date went just like she had predicted... "Miz Laverne, I didn't let him disgrace the family. When he tried, I just turned over, got on top of him, and disgraced HIS family." Miz Laverne fainted!

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Travelin' Man


Usually, this resume for teams a basketball player has belonged to goes to what they call "Journeymen"... players like Matt Barnes, Kevin Ollie, Raja Bell, and even Ron Artest. Guys who have been on so many teams, it's hard to know who originally drafted them. You wouldn't think that a superstar like Shaquille O'Neal would be in this bunch because he's way too talented and has four championship rings. He's not some guy a team calls up when they need a space filled or is that what he's become? Yesterday, Shaq signed with (I believe) his sixth NBA team.

He was drafted by the Orlando Magic. Does anybody remember that? Of course, then there was his glory days with the Los Angeles Lakers. He and Kobe Bryant created "The Lake Show" and won three championships together at the beginning of the last decade. Then, there was his stint with the Miami Heat and one last championship. Next up, was a short and unsuccessful stay with the Phoenix Suns... and then, what looked like a championship run with the Cleveland Cavaliers last year, was just not to be. We all know what happened there, so I won't elaborate on it any further.

Yesterday, the Eastern Conference Champions, The Boston Celtics, signed 7' 1", 325 lb. Shaquille O'Neal on Wednesday, adding the 15-time All-Star to a team needing his size with Center Kendrick Perkins, who is recovering from knee surgery that could sideline him until February. The deal with the free agent center is for two years and about $3 million, a person with knowledge of the negotiations said, on the condition of anonymity because no details were released. O'Neal joins the other three big names, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, on a team that went to the seventh game of the NBA finals before losing to the Los Angeles Lakers. Since then, Boston signed center-forward Jermaine O'Neal.

Point guard Rajon Rondo will also be coming off an outstanding post season. "I am honored to be joining the Celtics," Shaq said in a statement issued by the club. "I have played against Paul, Ray, Kevin, Rajon, and Jermaine for many years and it will be great to be able to call them my teammates. I cannot wait to get to Boston to get started in pursuit of another championship."

The Celtics won their NBA-high 17th championship in 2008. Shaq has won four NBA titles. "It is not every day that you can add a player of Shaquille's caliber to your team," Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said in the statement. "His past experience speaks for itself and we believe that he is a great fit for our roster."

After the season, the Celtics re-signed Paul Pierce for four seasons, Ray Allen for two, and Jermaine O'Neal for two. Kevin Garnett also has two years left on his deal. Shaq, the top pick in the 1992 draft by Orlando, (Remember that? I'm betting you didn't.) averaged 12.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in 53 games for Cleveland last season. He is the fifth leading scorer in NBA history with 28,255 career points and is 14th in rebounds with 12,921. He has averaged 24.1 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game.

I wonder if the owner of the Cleveland Cavs is planning to write a scathing indictment of Shaq, now that he has jumped ship, the way he did Lebron James, who did the same thing. He used his option as a "free agent" to sign with another team? I wonder what the difference is? Hmmmm!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Another American Tragedy


You know, I can remember a time when there wasn't a mass murder in the United States every year... when people didn't lose their jobs and then, go and shoot everybody (lucky or unlucky enough, depending on how you look at it) to still be working at the same job. It seems like this type of thing happens every year now.

The politicians say the same things... stronger gun control legislation and, of course, it never gets done. The powerful lobby that is the NRA (and I'm not saying this is their fault) always says "Guns don't kill people... people do." I'm going to surprise everybody here and tell you that I agree with the NRA. You can take all of the legal guns, legislate them, and sufficiently document just who has what and that doesn't do a thing for the illegal unregistered guns on the street already that you don't even know about. It also doesn't stop somebody with a legally purchased gun from killing either.

You can't legislate what is in a person's mind. A young African-American driver who was caught stealing beer from the warehouse where he worked, agreed to resign his job early yesterday morning and then, as "cold as ice", said one of his victims, he went on a shooting rampage, killing eight people and injuring two before committing suicide. He had told his family that he had suffered racial harrassment at the job prior to today's tragedy. He had gone to the union about it and they failed to address his concerns. I don't know if mounting tensions is why he chose to go off or the fact that he was being let go from the job. I just don't know. Nobody really knows, nor will we because the shooter took all of that to the grave with him and his victims.

Omar Thornton, 34 years old, pulled out a handgun after a meeting in which he was shown video evidence of his thefts and was offered the chance to resign or be fired. "Then, he went out on this rampage," company Vice President Steve Hollander told The Associated Press. "He was cool and calm. He didn't yell. He was cold as ice. He didn't protest when we were meeting with him to show him the video of him stealing. He didn't contest it. He didn't complain. He didn't argue. He didn't admit or deny anything. He just agreed to resign. And then, he just unexplainably pulled out his gun and started blasting away."

Hollander said he thinks Thornton had guns stashed in his lunch box. The executive said two people standing right near him were shot in the head and killed, but he was only grazed in the jaw and the arm. "He shot at me twice and hit me a couple times. By just the grace of God, I don't know how he missed me", he said. About 50-70 people were in the Hartford Distributors warehouse about 10 miles east of Hartford during a shift change when the gunman opened fire around 7:00am, said Brett Hollander, Steve Hollander's cousin and a member of the family that owns the distributorship.

Steve Hollander said... "I was on the phone with 911 and then, I saw him running outside of my office window, shooting his gun, carrying his lunch box, which must have had his weapons in it. It doesn't seem real to me now, it seems like I'm watching a movie."

Yes, a surreal movie that now seems all too familiar in our country... of a frustrated person who has just lost his job, whose wife has left him, who realizes that he can't pay bills, who just flunked out of college, and whatever (you pick one), who gets armed to the teeth and makes everybody suffer for all of their failings in life... or maybe the failure of his or her fellow man/woman to see another person in pain... or to even care.

The shooting was over in a matter of minutes. The victims were found all over the complex, and authorities said they didn't know if Thornton fired randomly or targeted specific co-workers. After shooting his co-workers, Thornton called his mother and Joanne Hannah, the mother of Thornton's girlfriend.

The smoke has cleared, the bodies have no doubt been removed, the blood and carnage has been cleaned up... but, the Horror will remain for a long time, as well as the apathy and the utter darkness in a human soul.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Virginia Vs. Common Sense


I'm going to make a point here. When you buy a car anywhere in the United States, it is mandatory that you buy car insurance. When a police officer stops you for a suspected traffic violation, he asks for your license, registration, and proof of financial responsibility (i.e. proof that you are insured). If you get in an accident, regardless of who is at fault, chances are your insurance company or theirs or both will pay for the damages to the car... and, depending on how good your insurance is, you too!

The point I'm making here is that this is almost universally accepted. Nobody calls this socialism and this has been in effect so long, it is not even questioned. Despite the fact that I was for a public option and I see this as somewhat of a compromise, I don't feel it is unconstitutional to ask the American people to do for themselves what they already do for their automobiles. So, why are there people out in the streets in Virginia saying it is "unconstitutional" to ask Americans to buy health insurance? Somebody answer me this... Are we not as valuable as our automobiles? I'm just asking.

Virginia's lawsuit challenging the Obama administration's health care reform law cleared its first legal hurdle Monday as a federal judge ruled the law raises a host of complex constitutional issues. U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson's decision stemmed from Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's claims that Congress exceeded its authority under the Constitution's Commerce Clause by requiring citizens to buy health insurance or pay a penalty.

Hudson's ruling denied the Justice Department's attempt to have the lawsuit dismissed, saying further hearings must take place before he can weigh the merits of the case. An October 18th hearing had previously been set in the case. "Unquestionably, this regulation radically changes the landscape of health insurance coverage in America," Hudson wrote in his 32-page decision. The Virginia General Assembly passed legislation this year exempting state residents from the federal coverage mandate. Hudson wrote that the attorney general had a right to defend that state law.

Cuccinelli announced in March that he would challenge the national law. More than a dozen other state attorney generals have filed a separate lawsuit in Florida challenging the federal law, but Virginia's lawsuit is the first to go before a judge. Hudson said Virginia's case raises several complex constitutional issues, mainly whether Congress has the right to regulate and tax a person's decision not to participate in interstate commerce.

The health care law aims to ensure coverage for all, requiring most U.S. residents to carry health insurance starting in 2014. Insurers would not be able to refuse insurance for sick people under the law, which also expands Medicaid to help the poor. It also provides tax credits to help middle-class residents pay premiums. People facing financial hardship would be exempt from the coverage requirement. However, people who can afford insurance but refuse to sign up would face a tax penalty.

On Monday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told reporters during a teleconference that Hudson's decision was a procedural step. "That just means there will be a full hearing on the arguments. We remain confident that the case is solid and there is full constitutional backing for the passing of the Affordable Care Act," she said. Sebelius said Hudson's ruling will "move us to the merits of the debate." Cuccinelli said he was pleased with the judge's ruling. "This lawsuit is not about health care, it's about our freedom and standing up and calling on the federal government to follow the ultimate law of the land, the he Constitution", he said in a statement.

Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell, a former state attorney general who enthusiastically supported Cuccinelli's challenge, was pleased with Hudson's ruling. "It is meritorious and constitutionally correct. The requirement that all Americans must purchase health insurance or face a penalty is not permitted under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution", McDonnell said. Shortly after he took office in January, McDonnell signed into law the legislation intended to block the requirement that individuals buy health insurance. It was the first such legislation in the U.S. to take effect as a state law.

Last month, Hudson heard more than two hours of arguments in the case. The state argued that refusing to buy something is commercial "inactivity," not activity that can be regulated. Federal prosecutors have argued that the relevant commercial activity is the purchase of health care services, not insurance. You've got these people, who are more than likely inspired by the Tea Party folks, walking around in Virginia holding signs saying that this is unconstitutional. I wonder if most of the people protesting this have healthcare coverage?

The Governors of Virginia and Florida who are trying to fight this bill have health care and good health care, you can be sure of it. The shame of it is that they don't give a damn about the poor fools who are out there protesting. "Obamacare", as they like to call it, who aren't covered and who ironically, this bill would help. I hope they can see the light eventually.

Monday, August 2, 2010

What I've Learned


1. It's people and the relationships you form with them throughout a lifetime that really make you happy... not money and material things.

2. Don't worry about people laughing at you because you're a little different. Pity them, because they are all the same.

3. There is something you can learn from everybody... even an adversary!

4. My mother, who seemed cautious and fearful of everything when she was living, turned out to be the bravest person I ever saw when she was facing death.

5. Most people live as if they're never going to die and die as if they never lived.

6. They say that when you are fasting, your mind operates at a higher level. Maybe one day I'll try it and see.

7. No matter how hard you try, you're just not going to please everybody.

8. After the age of 30, love is no longer a valid excuse for a dumb decision.

9. Two will never be one if neither ever learns the meaning of the word, compromise!

10. Truth hurts and requires changes... but changes are so difficult, some folks would just rather live a lie.




KEEPING THE FAITH: RANDOM PRAYERS "ON THE DOWNLOAD"
























































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



































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