25 February 2009

From The "Not the State of the Union" Address

My favorite line from a spectacular speech:

"...dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It's not just quitting on yourself, it's quitting on your country - and this country needs and values the talents of every American...."

I love how every time The Prez talks what I hear between the lines is "Ya'll need to step up," but *Damn*!

(Brief aside: I also liked this too -- In this budget, we will end education programs that don't work and end direct payments to large agribusinesses that don't need them.

18 February 2009

Happy Black History Month!

Confession: I love this man....

Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards. Though race related issues continue to occupy a significant portion of our political discussion, and though there remain many unresolved racial issues in this nation, we, average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race. It is an issue we have never been at ease with and given our nation’s history this is in some ways understandable. And yet, if we are to make progress in this area we must feel comfortable enough with one another, and tolerant enough of each other, to have frank conversations about the racial matters that continue to divide us. But we must do more- and we in this room bear a special responsibility. Through its work and through its example this Department of Justice, as long as I am here, must - and will - lead the nation to the "new birth of freedom" so long ago promised by our greatest President. This is our duty and our solemn obligation.

Eric Holder, Attorney General of the United States

16 February 2009

After the Hearts and Flowers

Heaven help me for turning into some kind of cock-eyed optimist, but I want to see something positive come out of the horrible Rihanna - Chris Brown case. After this high profile case of (alleged) abuse, I hope that the black community will begin a serious discussion of domestic violence.

I know this is something of a dream. After all, many in our community excused R Kelly for his mistreatment of a minor -- in spite of the fact that it was pretty much an open secret in Chicago and elsewhere that Kelly was/is attracted to underaged girls, AND that bootleg copies of his notorious video could be purchased on the streets in the 'hood there. Already comments from the Brown camp are beginning work on his rehabilitation: he's a 'good kid', young people 'make mistakes'. There are even rumors that somehow Rihanna has some culpability for what happened to her , which we will learn 'once all the facts come out' Fans have begun rallying to his defense.

All this is, quite frankly, disgusting and inexcusable. "Good kids" don't hit women. It is not a "mistake" to bite women. Victims should not be blamed for their being attacked; they do not bring the abuse on themselves, no matter what 'facts' may or may not come out. We all need to remember these things as further information about this incident comes to light.

Many of us know adults who, as children, interposed themselves between male and female relatives and taken the impending attack upon themselves to stop men from abusing women further. At some point, we all -- particularly us men -- need to stop paying lip service to 'respecting the black woman' and actually prove it by saying "No more," "Never again." Let us use this high profile example of what happens far too often in our communities to take a firm stand and come together to stop violence against women. Enough is enough

10 February 2009


(or 25 Random Things About Me)

For all my friends on Facebook

Born into absence
A waving shadow lurking on every corner
The usual tropes of Blackness: Mississippi, Alabama, Ghetto, Grits
Hercules with a cane
To cut into the world, to scratch at the resistance
I slept like a falling comet, shedding skin

My couplets would not adhere
Declaring Victory in the War on the Body
Men in sequined dresses lip synching to Gospel House
Youngbloods young sons blazing
Spending all my nights in twilight
A song from the second throat

A room full of attributes:
(It's not a hometown story without the Electric Slide)
Create a context for itself, in the context of no context
Smell of dust and day-old sweat
Tattooed ‘A’ above the heart
A gesture undertaken in the face of saturation

Your Greatest Hits ain’t like mine
Cracks in the clouds beyond the yellow prairie
The non-guilty conscience regreting the things undone, underdone
The kinds of silence found in a black man’s face
Yes I am, but I’m not that one
This is not a story to pass on

His standard farewell phrase: Break Free

03 February 2009


I think I've figured it out: President Obama has a Secret Plan to revive the economy. He'll nominate someone for a Cabinet post or other position in his administration. This will force them to pay their back taxes, thereby reducing the deficit, and making more money available for his economic stimulus plan.

Tom Daschle: $140, 000

Tim Geithner: $34, 000

Nancy Killefer: $946.69 (every little bit helps)

Seriously -- Is this what goes on in Washington DC and the 'halls of power'? People 'forget', make 'mistakes', are 'unaware' of the amount they are supposed to pay on April 15th? To be honest, I am not and cannot get on a high horse about this -- I've had my own difficulties with the IRS (courtesy of a period of severe depression) -- which have since been resolved. Although it's not accepted by the tax man, at least I have a note from my psychiatrist. What's these folks' problem? Was the late Leona Helmsley right and "only the little people pay taxes"?

Addenda: What also may have nixed Daschile was reporting like this from Salon's Glenn Greenwald. Although his fellow Senators love him, Daschile's ties to the health care industry and his wife's lobbying activity would have had lead to him needing to do some explaining to do to the rest of us.