Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I've written a lot about Jeremiah Wright on this blog, and I still feel that he hasn't really said anything that millions of others don't say (and believe) on a regular basis. He has the right to feel the way he feels, and to believe as he believes. I also don't question his patriotism. What I do question is his timing and motives. I simply cannot figure out why Rev. Wright, knowing the political stakes, pushed the envelope as far as he did on Monday. Especially if he wanted his guy to win.

He does want Barack Obama to win, doesn't he? Or does he?

Perhaps he feels Obama threw him under the bus during his speech on race (although nobody else did). Maybe he's secretly been a Hillary supporter all along. Or maybe he was just paid off by one campaign or another. Who knows. What I do know is that whatever the reason, it may cost his erstwhile parishioner the nomination and maybe the presidency.

Yeah, Barack Obama has a problem on his hands. He's now officially caught in a "denouncement" loop that is going to be awfully hard to break free of. What do I mean? Well, let me explain.

When the sound bites of Rev. Wright's sermons first hit the airwaves, Obama was pressured to denounce him. He didn't, instead giving what was universally hailed as a brilliant speech on race, during which he "rejected" his pastor's words, but refused to denounce the man.

Now with Wright's little speaking tour (which started out so well on Friday), and especially the National Press Club engagement, Obama has been forced to denounce the man himself, which in turn his opponents are using to question his character. In fact, I'm already hearing the whispers that he didn't denounce him hard enough to regain his footing in the campaign. You get the picture?

So in order to save some time and aggravation, here's my list of future denouncements for Barack Obama to make, preferably in one fell swoop. You know it's coming, so just get it over with already.

1) Further denounce Rev. Wright for having the nerve to try and speak truth to power, for buck-dancing in front of all them folks, and acting like he was in his church when it wasn't even Sunday.

2) Denounce Trinity United Church of Christ because after all, Rev. Wright was the pastor there.

3) Denounce and reject the Black church in general, because it produced Trinity UCC and Rev. Wright.

3) Then denounce Black society because it produced the Black church, which produced Trinity United Church of Christ, which produced Rev. Wright.

4) Denounce Black people because they created Black society, which produced the Black church, which produced Trinity United Church of Christ, which produced Rev. Wright.

5) Denounce White people, for importing Black people, who created Black society and the Black church, which produced Trinity UCC and Rev. Wright.

5) Denounce Europe for producing White people who eventually ended up here to America, and Africa for producing the soon to be imported Black people, who created Black society, which produced the Black church, that spawned Trinity UCC, that produced Rev. Wright.

6) And finally he must denounce God, who created the heavens and the earth, Europe, Africa, White people, and the Black people who created Black society and the Black church that spawned Trinity UCC that produced Rev. Wright.

That should just about do it. I'm sure if the Obama campaign broadcasts an email or fax of these future denouncements today, maybe sometime next week we can get the candidates to start discussing the issues that should be the focus of this presidential campaign.

Like the $3.69 per gallon gasoline I filled up with this morning.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Win Or Go Home

Attention Rockets:

This is it. If you lose tonight, it's summer vacation time.

Yeah, yeah, I know - Utah has played a rough series, the refs haven't been exactly helpful, and you've had to work through injuries.

Doesn't matter.

I've tried to be as helpful as I can throughout this playoff series, but apparently y'all haven't been predisposed to listening. So here's my surefire advice on how to not only win tonight, but maybe the series as well.

1. Rebound the ball.

2. Make the easy shots.

3. Convert your free throws, especially in the 4th quarter (that means you T-Mac).

Number three might be the most important. All of these games have been close, and the margin of victory in the losses has been less than the number of missed free throws.


Anyway, hope this helps, and well be rooting for you tonight.

UPDATED: Told ya so. Make the free throws, win the game. Now go do it again in Salt Lake City on Friday night.

My Tuesday Rant

As I’m filling up my mid size car with $3.59 a gallon, I look around and only see angry faces at the pump.

When I look around the grocery store I see people scraping change from their pocket books, to buy oranges priced at $1.50 per fruit, or apples costing about $1 each. And I’m not talking about organic fruit. I see butter at almost a $1 a stick, and Laura Leans ground beef at $7 per pound.

Am I thinking about Rev. Jemimah Wright? No. Are most working class people? I seriously doubt it. We're all just trying to survive.

Why is it then that when I turn on my T.V. I hear nothing about what’s actually affecting my life, or my friends, family and neighbors lives? Why nothing about my $5 per gallon milk price?

As I laid in bed watching Anderson Cooper and team CNN run a clip over and over and over again almost to the point of nausea, I had to wonder if CNN (and others) think that we're all supposed to be stupid? Why is everything that comes out of Rev. Jeremiah Wright's mouth labeled as “so damaging” to Barack Obama? Who is making these judgment calls? Certainly not me.

I couldn't help but to cringe every time I heard Anderson Cooper bring up this non-issue that the media is trying its best to make a negative for Mr. Barack Obama. Even worse, I didn't hear one echo about Howard Dean stating that this primary has to be over come June 3rd?

So my question to the mass media is; Can we talk about "real issues" like jobs moving overseas or non-affordable health care coverage? How about over amplified electric bills, gas prices, college tuition, ridiculous bank fees, foreclosures, 30% credit card interest rates, etc. Or even global warming.
But… then I ask myself one question; Which party has more to gain from this foolishness?

My answer: Parties - Team Clinton & her Chief Strategist John McCain

Does the Democratic party even realize that their making a HUGE mistake by piling on here? I'm not sure, and I would like to hope so. But if they don't then oh well. Good seems to often come from bad.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The 'Wright" Stuff

Oh my, the Jeremiah Wright "Controversy." Again.

Did it really take all of these weeks for a media outlet to actually find a copy of the sermons that the "inflammatory" sound bites were taking from? I mean, they were for sale on the church's website, right? So with that in mind, what prevented CNN, MSNBC, FOX, CNBC; the print media in it's entirety, and every other organization claiming journalistic integrity from simply purchasing a copy and listening to the sermons in their entirety? Heck, I'm sure that Trinity UCC would have given them copies if they had asked. They didn't, and what we've been left with during the past few weeks is a feeding frenzy based on the agenda of the media organization that all of the others claim to be the antithesis of, Fox News.

Because if anyone would have simply bought a tape and listened to any of those sermons in context, this "controversy" would never have seen the light of day. As a matter of fact, I'm still waiting on somebody, anybody, to show me what Pastor Wright said that was so wrong. Speculative, maybe, but I'm talking flat out wrong. Especially when viewed in the context of the overall sermons, and when they were given.

The reality is that Pastor Wright, like most Black Americans I daresay, is more patriotic than most of your flag-waving, U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A., chanting "average Joe's." Why? Because he, and we, believe in the dream of what America can and should be.

That dream is embodied in many (not all) of the words in the documents that founded this nation, and the lofty ideals that have been hoisted aloft through the centuries about freedom, democracy, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
We know that America has not lived up to her ideals in relation to many of the people who live(d) here, and plenty more who don't. We accept the reality that, yes, America does have blood on it's hands and lots of it. That while our country has been a force for good in the world, it's also been on the opposing team more than once. We know that politics make for strange bedfellows, and that some of the most brutal dictatorships in the world have been touted as free and democratic by our government due to the politics of that particular day and time.

We also know what it took to get where we are now in this society, what we had to go through, and what got us here. Hint: It had a whole lot to do with the Black church, which has served as a source of strength and organization in the Black community, while simultaneously serving as the conscience of the nation for Americans as a whole. It was the Black church that held our families and communities together through slavery, Reconstruction, and Jim Crow, and guided us and America through the Civil Rights Movement. It is that same Black church which will most likely lead our communities through the scourge of drugs and violence currently plaguing them.

I've said before, Americans have a problem with history, but to see a firestorm of this sort erupt over the words of a Black preacher who's resume is infinitely more impressive than any of those attacking him, and whose patriotism is more verifiable and tangible than those questioning him, really is an insult to our collective intelligence. To use this "controversy" as an attack on the Black church as a whole is playing with fire. After all, there's only so much nonsense that one can deal with.

One of these days, the American people are going to wake up and realize that the mass media is, for the most part not journalism at all, but simply acting. Depending on the day your favorite anchor may be the protagonist or antagonist based upon the particular "issue." The Rev. Wright controversy demonstrates this to perfection.

Thank goodness Bill Moyers and PBS broke from the mold and, for a brief moment, showed us how this journalism stuff is supposed to work. However with Rev. Wright's appearances at the National Press Club and the NAACP, I'm sure the respite will be brief.

That Equal Justice Under The Law Thing, Again.

I'm a little late but I really feel the need to weigh in on this.

Sean Bell, I'm sorry my brother, but it's going to be a little bit longer before you can rest in peace. Your case is a travesty of justice, and I while I hope that God will provide comfort to your f
iancé, children, and family, I also hope the family continues to pursue the issue until justice is served.

The pattern of killing unarmed Black men in this society by the police continues, and the officers in question continue to get away with it. This is America after all, and the lives of Black citizens have always been less valued. And please, I really don't want to hear anyone come up in here talking about,
"well two of the officers were Black."

And? What does that matter? They were also policemen, and that is the issue. I respect the work that policemen do. I know it's a difficult job. But policemen, regardless of their ethnicity, seemingly have carte blanc to shoot and kill men of color, regardless of whether they are threatening, armed or not, and this has got to end. It seems ingrained in police culture nationwide, and the cases like Sean Bell's are the one's that are publicized. How many are not?

I'm basically ranting here, because I'm sick of the same old thing happening over and over again. Whether it's guns or tasers, or whatever, the results are the same. A dead Black man, usually guilty of nothing more than being Black, in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and in front of the wrong cops.

Enough already. Justice is demanded in a case like this, and once again, it has been denied. I frankly don't see how these guys can live with themselves knowing what they've done to an innocent man.

The Best Laid Plans....

Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans.

We had every intention of going out on Saturday afternoon to what is my favorite music and cultural event, the
Houston International Festival. The plan was to hook up with some friends, eat some good food, and enjoy the music, culture, and arts on a beautiful spring day. Yeah, that was the plan.

Didn't happen.

In short, minutes before walking out the door we had a relatively major plumbing disaster, so I spent the afternoon cleaning up, well, let's just say a mess. Neville Brothers? Not on Saturday. A major disappointment to say the least.

But there's good news. The iFest is a multi-day, multi-weekend event, so we went Sunday instead, and had a pretty good time. The theme was Out of Africa - The Three Journeys, and the cultural performances were very good.

We caught a portion of the National Dance Theater of Ethiopia's performance,
a stage reenactment of a slave auction in Huntsville, TX, and a Brazilian capobeira demonstration. There was even a replica of the solid rock churches from Ethiopia. In other words, pretty cool stuff.

Then there was the music. We saw in whole or in part performances by
Trudy Lynn and the Houston Blues Stars (blues), Karina Nistal and the Rebel Crew (latin), Step Rideau and the Zydeco Outlaws (zydeco), the Jones Family Gospel Singers (gospel), and headliner Taj Mahal (uncategorizable).

So while I didn't get to see the Neville Brothers, overall this wasn't exactly a bad day's entertainment. Not to mention I have an excuse to go to New Orleans and catch them on their home turf. I can live with that.

Were any of you there on any of the days? Drop us a line in the comments and let me know your thoughts on this years event.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Gone Fishing

With the Sean Bell verdict, Rev. Jeremiah Wright's interview with Bill Moyers, and Rep. Clyburn's recent comments, we've got more than enough to blog about.

But it's going to have to happen later, because we're going to the Houston International Festival, where the Neville Brothers are today's headliners.

Rest assured, we'll be back on it soon, but you know what they say about all work and no play...

Friday, April 25, 2008

Musical Interlude: Old School Friday - Men With Perms

Today's theme of Men With Perms was a pretty difficult one to make song choices for. I mean, you know every other person will have a Prince video up. So I decided to go a different direction and post a group of men with perms. Here's Morris Day and the Time with one of their first hits; The Walk. And a veritable potpourri of men with perms.

Had to go even further back for this next one, but after you see it, you'll know where Morris Day got the inspiration for his pompadour from. James Brown. Here he is in black and white performing "I Feel Good."

Alright, that's it for me this week. What do you think? And don't forget to check out the other Old School Friday participants.

Electronic Village - Chatting Over Cocktails - Ms Grapevine - Quick - Marcus LANGFORD - Cassandra - Danielle-Lisa C -Chocl8t - DP - Kreative Talk -MarvalusOne - Regina - LaShonda -AJ - Sharon - Invisible Woman - Rosemarie-Dee - SJP - sHaE-sHaE - Songs In the Key of Life - Shawn - Hagar’s Daughter - freshandfab

While I Was Sleeping - The Pennsylvania Primary

I was on the road a lot this week, including on Tuesday night and Wednesday. As a result, I haven't really had a chance to weigh in on the results from the Pennsylvania primary yet. I had hoped the Democrats in that state would end this thing by delivering a closer margin, or even victory to Barack Obama. Well, that didn't happen, so Hillary has the news cycle for the next fews days, and I'm sure we're going to inundated with the terms resurgence and electability.

Whatever. Here's a reality-based breakdown of the numbers
from Dallas Progress:

Pennsylvania Results: 99.44% Reporting

Clinton 1,258,748 54.7%
Obama 1,042,962 45.3%

Total Votes 2,301,710

Delegates: 158 tied to April 22 primary, 29 superdelegates

Delegates Gained in PA primary (est): Obama 74 Clinton 84 (Clinton +10)

Est % of remaining delegates needed to clinch:
Obama 30-32%, depending on the source
Clinton 68-70%.

Hmm, looks a little different than the thundering media narrative would have you believe. Not to mention that there are so many other factors involved when looking at her margin of victory that for some reason, the media narrative is not focusing upon at all.

Like the fact that this was a Democrats only primary with no Independents allowed. Do you think that might have had an impact?

Or how about the Republican crossover vote? We saw it here in Texas in early March too. McCain has his parties nomination wrapped up, so why not throw your vote in the Democratic primary with the hopes of keeping this contentious race going for a little while longer? McCain can sit back in the meantime and watch as the Democrats decimate each other in their typical circular firing squad fashion.

The end result is that once again, Hillary Clinton did not achieve the landslide victory she needed in order to make a dent in Obama's delegate lead. And Pennsylvania was the last, best chance to make that happen in a single, big state.

Bottom line, Barack Obama still leads in every category, and barring some astronomical shifts in the primary voting patterns so far, will be the nominee of the Democratic Party.
That's also assuming that a Clinton inspired superdelegate coup does not take place. But the Democrats wouldn't be that stupid and risk alienating their most reliable voting constituency would they?

Would they?

Thank God For The Scientific Method

I've been on the road a little so posting has been light, but I did want to weigh in on this:

With virtually no discussion, the state's Higher Education Coordinating Board voted unanimously Thursday to deny a request by a Bible-based school and research institute to offer a master's degree in science education.

The issue was whether the institute, whose leaders believe in creationism, or that the world was literally created as recounted in the Bible, could adequately prepare its graduates to teach science in middle schools and high schools. Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes had found — and board members agreed — that it could not.

And I would have to agree, although I think they should have allowed discussion on the issue. You know the levels of faith-based foolishness would've been off the charts, which is usually good for a few laughs.

I've written about this stuff before, and as I said then

I don't have an issue if some folks want to hang their hat on intelligent design as our reason for being here, but to teach it as science is ridiculous. It is theology.

But I digress. In my opinion, this issue is about politics. And religion. Once combined, the results are usually inflammatory and this case is no exception. Creationism has it's place; especially in the church. However to teach it as science without applying the scientific method would be a tremendous disservice to students, who are already suffering from an educational system that is not meeting their needs.

With fifty percent dropout rates, the fact that our education system isn't producing the graduates needed by our industries, and that our students are falling further behind others in the developed (and developing) world, wouldn't it be nice to have a conversation about actually fixing the problem instead of promoting political and religious agendas?

A man can dream can't he?

They're Alive. Alive!

Maybe it was the protesters out front. Or that Rafer Alston was back on the floor after missing the first two games of the series. Perhaps it was Tracy McGrady doing his best superstar impersonation by actually showing up in the 4th quarter. Or that the team actually shot better than 50% from the free throw line. Whatever the reason, the Rockets finally won a game, and now have a reasonable shot to make this series at least interesting.

The Rockets look like a completely different team offensively and defensively with Alston running the point, and Carl Landry needs more playing time. You knew it was on after he had his tooth knocked out. But give Utah credit, he was playing like a man possessed before that, and Carlos Boozer decided to slow him down with a forearm to the grill. Not that it was intentional, but hey, it got him out of the game for a little bit.

The Rockets have a long way to go to actually win this series, but they can take a mighty big step by doing the same thing in Game 4 and bringing this thing back to Houston tied 2-2.

Hope is still alive in Houston.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

My Garden

I'm always talking to people about gardening, so today I decided to show my little garden. I'm no "Master Gardener" and man do I wish I knew one, because that would keep me from running to the specialty garden shop way across town once a week. But I do know a couple of things.

Anyway this year I've planted

1.) Many heirloom tomatoes, and a couple of traditionals;

2.) Red, yellow and orange bell pepper plants, and one jalapeño pepper plant (which I read that most are red, we just pick them pre-mature);

3.) Two types of heirloom watermelons, one orange melon & one ice box sugar baby melon;

4.) Cucumbers

5.) Large kidney beans & black turtle beans (although the black beans never sprouted)

6.) Sweet corn

7.) One Irish potato plant just for fun

So, are there any other gardeners out there? Let's hear from you!

*Updated with a few pictures (click pic for larger image)*

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pennsylvanians - You Can End This Thing Today

I'm not sure what the latest "bar" is for Hillary Clinton to remain in the Democratic contest, but the last I heard she needed to win Pennsylvania by at least 10-12% points to stay viable. We'll see if that's still the case after the votes are counted.

But Pennsylvanians, you can s
top this foolishness and the bloodletting and help the Democratic/Progressive side get back into the real fight (the general election) with enough time to unite, compete, and win.

This can happen if you, the
people of the great state of Pennsylvania, end this Democratic primary today by turning out and voting for Barack Obama decisively.

You know what to do.
But just in case you don't, get out there and vote Obama!

As an added bonus, (and for inspiration)
here's a post with a list of global news perspectives on tomorrow's primary, how you can get involved (besides voting), and where you can get an embedded perspective from an Obama campaign worker/blogger.

**This has not been a paid political advertisement, but rather just a friendly little reminder from your friends in Texas.**

Really - Recruiting Problems?

Who could have seen this one coming? Check out this post detailing some of the recruiting issues the military, particularly the Army, is currently facing from jobsanger.

Both the Army and the Marines are now having to lower their standards. A few years ago, neither would have accepted anyone who had been convicted of a felony. But in 2007, the Army granted 511 felony waivers. That is more than twice the 249 it granted in 2006. Meanwhile, the Marines granted 208 in 2006 and 350 in 2007.

The military is experiencing some recruiting woes. Imagine that. But why? Well apparently we're all the problem because

The (Army) Public Affairs Department said that only 3 out of 10 Americans of military age "meet all our stringent medical, moral, aptitude or administrative requirements.

OK, I guess so if that makes you feel better. Rebuttal, Jobsanger?

Most of us don't see the sense in sending more young people to die in Iraq, when we know that nothing is being accomplished there except the enrichment of huge corporations.

Precisely, and especially among Black recruits. I'm sure the continuing drop in their numbers has something to do with this. Like I've said before, sometimes you don't need a survey to figure stuff out.

The military has provided an option for Blacks over the years to advance their careers and education, and throughout American history, our people have nobly served in all of this country's wars.

But give us some credit for having both patriotism and good sense. With open-ended commitments to dubious war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, a certainty of being deployed to increasing more lethal combat zones, and the prospect of little to no support upon your return back home, is it really a surprise that many young Blacks have decided that joining the military at this time might not be such a good idea?

In other words, a plan to end the current morass would go a long way towards alleviating the recruiting situation.

Just Make The Dang Free Throws

Well, the intensity was better, Tracy McGrady played like a superstar for most of the game, and the team played better overall defense, but still lost to the Jazz to go down 0-2 in the best of 7 series.

In other words things look pretty grim, especially with the next two games coming up in Utah.

What's really killing the Rockets is that they miss so many easy shots right at the rim, and their inability to make free throws (something I forgot to mention in my last post). They lost by 6. They missed 10 free throws, most at crucial times including 4 in the 4th quarter. That's more than the final margin of victory. This lead off paragraph from the Chronicle basically sums it up:

The tough part was done. The Rockets got the shots. They got the stops. They had the game, and new life in another first-round playoff series only just began, back in their hands.

The easy part, however, was beyond their grasp. They missed the shots from the line and at the rim. They did not get the rebound after the stop with the game on the line.

And T-Mac; one point in the 4th quarter? One? That's money time for all of the superstars I've ever seen in the NBA. McGrady is a very notable exception so far in his career.

But take heart Rocket fans, Utah did lose the first two games last year before rallying to win the series in seven, so all is not lost.


But it will be, much sooner than we all want, if the Rockets keep doing all of the little things that helps to lose games instead of win them.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Bob Johnson - Please, Just Shut Up

There's an old, or maybe not so old statement that says "You should never miss a great opportunity to shut the hell up." That statement comes to mind every time I hear Bob Johnson speak, the latest being his CNN appearance this weekend.

Now for those who don't know, Mr. Johnson made his fortune as the founder of BET, a network who's prime programming function seems to be the display of Black women's rear ends from as many different angles as possible. Mr. Johnson parlayed that "success" into ownership of the Charlotte Bobcats professional basketball franchise, who's play on the hardwood is as terrible as the majority of his BET programming.

These experiences have apparently lent Mr. Johnson an air of political authority, because every few weeks, someone trots him out to tell us Black folks we shouldn't be supporting Barack Obama for some reason or another, mainly because he's Black. Or we're Black. Or something. The latest includes Mr. Johnson, in his infinite wisdom, telling us that us that Geraldine Ferraro was actually right last month in her now infamous statements.

"What I believe Geraldine Ferraro meant is that if you take a freshman senator from Illinois called 'Jerry Smith' and he says I'm going to run for president, would he start off with 90 percent of the black vote?" Johnson said. "And the answer is, probably not."

"Geraldine Ferraro said it right," Johnson added. "The problem is, Geraldine Ferraro is white. This campaign has such a hair-trigger on anything racial it is almost impossible for anybody to say anything."

Where to start? Well, how about the fact that Obama didn't start out with anywhere near 90% of the Black votes. In fact, I'm willing to bet it was closer to 90% for Hillary Clinton. It took a while before we bought into the fact that his was a viable candidacy. And it still wasn't until the Clinton campaign started playing the race card fast hard and heavy (with Bob Johnson's help), that many Blacks began to view the campaign as both viable politically AND an opportunity to advance the social agenda in this country. In other words, Hillary Clinton basically lost the Black vote over the course of this campaign due to her own strategic blunders, not simply because Obama is Black.

What an insult. And the truth is that if Obama were a White man, even a freshman Senator, this race would most likely have been over a long time ago. But we don't want to talk about that do we Bob?

I'm in an advice giving mode so here's a little bit for Mr. Johnson and whoever it is that thinks he's an authority who's opinion Black Americans listen too, much less follow.

1. Blacks might take you a little more seriously if you didn't constantly refer to us as "they" instead of "we." Heck, Whites might too. I mean, you are Black, aren't you?
2. Maybe you should try talking about other issues every now and again, like maybe education, or the economy, or something. The only thing that seems to move you is Black folks preferring Obama over the alternatives of Clinton or McCain. It kind of kills your credibility.
3. You might carry a little more weight among Democratic and Independent voters if you were recognized as even a little bit progressive. But you're not. Again, that credibility thing.
4. Why are you so obsessed with the Black vote alone? What about Whites who support McCain? Or Obama? Or women who support Clinton? Or Hispanics, Asians, or anybody else supporting anybody?

So that's that, and I hope Mr. Johnson now realizes that the vast majority of us have made an informed political calculation of one type or another that has led us to supporting Sen. Obama. The fact that he's Black is just a nice bonus.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Hello, Rockets? The Playoffs HAVE Started.

Attention Houston Rockets!

We know there's been all kinds of talk about how long its been since you've actually made it out of the first round of the NBA playoffs, but y'all don't have to take that so seriously.

Talk about laying an egg. Game 1 was terrible. The only one on the team who seemed like he realized that the regular season is over and that this is the actual playoffs we've been talking about all year long, was Luis Scola.

Luckily, its a best of seven series, so you have a chance at redemption on Monday night. Here's my suggestions towards a better outcome.

1. Make your shots, especially the really, really easy ones.
2. Grab an offensive rebound every now and again. Second chance points are a bonus.
3. Conversely, grab a defensive rebound too. Second, and third, chance points for the opposition are NOT a bonus, for you.
4. Play with some intensity. I mean really, if you lose 3 of your next 6 games, the season is over. At lease act like that means something to you.
5. Make your free throws.

These are just my, a mere fans, opinion. And I hope y'all play a much more competitive game on Monday.

A Little Common Sense Please

Every night before bed my husband clicks on the news for our 15 minute news splash of politics. He generally falls asleep right away while I’m glued to the screen amazed at how biased the media is in this election, and how quick they are to lump together every Black person in America together. Why? Because African-Americans are supporting Barack Obama as a block, or simply because he’s Black? My question is:

Who in the hell is coming up with this bologna? Is it simply too much to say that Black people are voting for the person they would like to see in office? Well, wait a minute, what about all the White people who are voting for him as well as Asians and Hispanics too. What about them? Could it be that the media has forgotten to tell these good American people that Barack Obama is Black?

Or could it be that White people, along with Black people and everybody else are voting for the person who we all feel can help to fix the downward spiral that this country’s in, with jobs moving over seas, no medical insurance, schools that aren’t providing our children the education to compete within the world, super high gas prices, super high food prices, and the mortgage crisis?

That’s why I support him, not simply because he’s Black. And to the media, just so you know, before this entire kitchen sink business went on I was for Team Clinton, but not any longer, No way! No way! No way!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Howdy Y'all

There... Already has made a new friend. He's Neil Aquino and he runs a fine blog called Texas Liberal.

Now I know this is a shock to a whole bunch of folks, but there are liberals in Texas. Just like there are Black Bloggers on the internet. Matter of fact, there's plenty of both. And you really don't have to look all that hard to find either party. But you do have to look.

Texas Liberal is a great place to start. Neil blogs about politics and history, not to mention boredom and burritos. Yeah, I said burritos, but from a historical perspective of course. Ok, I'll do even better than that. For you folks in the Afrospear/Afrosphere, you might remember the MLK roundup we did a few weeks back. Well, Neil has put together one of the best reading lists that I've seen on the subject, which you can check out by clicking here.

So Texas Liberal readers, we look forward to interacting with you both here and in the wider world of blogs. Neil, we appreciate you reaching out to us, and I'm looking forward to that beer.

Fools Rush In (or Hello, Texas?)

You know, there's just way too much faith-based foolishness going on in this world today. The latest example of course is the FLDS child custody case going on over in West Texas.

You know the story; polygamous religious groups establishes compound in remote area, stories come out of child abuse and sexual mistreatment, Child Protective Services swoops in and removes 416 kids, and hilarity ensues.

The cult members had their first day in court yesterday, and it turned into a three ring circus. Every lawyer in the state of Texas has seemingly flocked to the area to try and cash in on the free publicity to be had by representing one of these kids.
The result?

The court hearing, which continues Friday morning, disintegrated into farce early Thursday, as hundreds of lawyers who descended on San Angelo for the proceedings shouted objections or queued up to cross-examine witnesses. The judge struggled to maintain order.

The state may have waded into a mess that it will have a hard time getting itself out of easily. Based solely on a
mysterious phone call to an abuse hotline, they seized all of these kids from the compound because of concerns that they were in "eminent danger." Unfortunately for them, that may not be enough for them to achieve their goal of permanently removing the kids from the compound and placing them in foster care.

Now, I'm no expert but I've always heard that fools rush in, and that appears to be exactly what the state did in this case. There's obviously some strange goings on in that compound, but I do believe you need quite a bit more substantial and solid case before taking off down the path that was chosen. Not to mention the slippery slope of establishing precedent whenever authorities deem some other group of children to be in "eminent danger." Like maybe the kids at your church. Or in your home school network. Or youth group. Or whatever.

The end result of this whole thing will most likely be the kids being returned to the compound, the state paying out a bunch of money, and the FLDS folks being left alone. In other words, the exact same result as the last raid on a sect of this type 55 years ago.

I'm not saying that's what should happen, or condoning anything going on out at that compound. What I am saying to the state of Texas is that if you're going to do something like this, have a plan.

Musical Interlude - Old School Friday: Free For All

Well since there's no official theme for today's Old School Friday I've decided to take a trip down memory lane, all the way back to the first concert I went too back in October 1980. I was a (barely) 13 year old kid then, and we had just moved from small town East Texas to big city Denver, CO. So you can imagine my excitement at being able to go down to McNichols Arena with my brothers and sister, by ourselves, to see two of our favorite groups; The Zapp Band and the The Commodores!

I've found a couple of live clips of these groups to give y'all a little taste of what that show was like. Also, maybe it can demonstrate for you youngsters what's missing from most rap concerts these days, namely THE BAND! Just saying.

The Zapp Band opened the show and had everybody bouncing in the aisles. They were hot that summer because of their hit song, More Bounce to the Ounce. They ran off a string of other hits through the 80's but here's a live version of More Bounce to the Ounce.

The Commodores were the headliners, and at that time one of the most popular bands in the world. Lionel Ritchie was still the lead singer, and though they had just released the album Heroes, which spawned the hit Jesus is Love, we were all still grooving to their prior release, Midnight Magic. Here they are performing their hit, Easy.

Hope y'all enjoyed and see you next Friday. Don't forget to check out everybody else's picks too!

Electronic Village - Chatting Over Cocktails - Ms Grapevine - Quick - Marcus LANGFORD - Cassandra - Danielle-Lisa C -Chocl8t - DP - Kreative Talk -MarvalusOne - Regina - LaShonda -AJ - Sharon - Invisible Woman - Rosemarie-Dee - SJP - sHaE-sHaE - Songs In the Key of Life - Shawn

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Gentlemen, Start Your... Needles

Warm up the death penalty machine because as of today we learn from the Associated Press that

U.S. executions are all but sure to resume soon after a nationwide halt, cleared Wednesday by a splintered Supreme Court that approved the most widely used method of lethal injection.

Virginia immediately lifted its moratorium; Oklahoma and Mississippi said they would seek execution dates for convicted murderers, and other states were ready to follow after nearly seven months without an execution in the United States.

Voting 7-2, the conservative court led by Chief Justice John Roberts rebuffed the latest assault on capital punishment, this time by foes focusing on methods rather than on the legality of the death penalty itself. Justice John Paul Stevens voted with the majority on the question of lethal injections but said for the first time that he now believes the death penalty is unconstitutional.

That's a hell of a way to show your dissent Justice Stevens.

Did you know that a majority of those executed since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1982 are from the state of Texas? Of those, did you know that the majority of them are from Harris County? Which means Houston. So you know that they're all fired up on this end and ready to get the party started.

Buoyed by the U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding lethal injection's constitutionality, Harris County prosecutors pledged Wednesday to move forward in seeking execution dates for six local killers.

And Gov. Rick Perry of course got his political
tough guy points in, saying that

"Texas is a law-and-order state, and I stand by the majority of Texans who support the death penalty as it is written in Texas law. It is an appropriate response for the most violent crimes against our fellow human beings."

Well, I'm not a proponent of the death penalty. And yes, I know that some cases are so heinous, so horrible, that people think the only solution is killing the killers. But what about "thou shalt not kill" or "vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord?" Are those just throwaway lines in the Bible that can be discarded when they don't fit the political agenda?

Regardless, some crimes might well be worthy of the death penalty, but as usual, application is the problem. More specifically equal application. Its the same old story; Blacks are more likely to get the death penalty than Whites; the poor more likely than the rich, etc., etc. Not to mention the fact of
mistaken prosecutions of innocent people, some of whom have been executed for crimes they didn't commit.

So with all of that in mind, no, I guess I'm not that happy that the moratorium has been lifted. What about you?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Amber Alert

So, a 21 month old baby goes missing from a Houston daycare facility. The police show up, but somehow an Amber Alert for this child is not issued. Fortunately, the baby was found about 5 hours later with the daycare worker that took her, but the parents say that was due more to luck than sound police work, or the Amber Alert system. What's the deal? From the Chronicle:

The Houston Police Department failed to issue an Amber Alert for a toddler kidnapped last week from a southwest Houston day care center because of a case of mistaken identity, authorities said Tuesday. Police said a bad lead brought them to a Metro bus station in search of 21-month-old Jakaila Brantley and the day care worker who took her, only to find it was a mother and her daughter who resembled them.

The misstep cost investigators two hours and held up the Amber Alert that would have been broadcast on highway signs, TV and radio stations, police said. In addition to the bus mix-up, police officials said they also wanted to make sure the kidnapping was real.

Ok, that's their story and they're sticking with it but according to the parents, police told them that...

"...they had to make sure she didn't leave under her own will," said Jakaila's mother, Shemika Thacker-Brantley. "She's 21 months old. How is she supposed to leave under her own will?"

And they're not the only one's asking questions.

"It should be activated as quickly as is humanly possible," said Marc Klaas, founder of Beyond Missing, a California nonprofit that gives police an online template to distribute Amber Alert fliers. "It sounds like they followed some protocol or other. It just sounds like there were missteps." Klaas' 12-year-old daughter was kidnapped and killed in 1993. "I lost my child in a situation where an Amber Alert could have helped, so I don't have time for anybody's nonsense."

The Houston police stated that the officers on the case were just following department protocol and Amber Alert policy. And the good citizenry of Houston, as represented in the comments section of the online version of the paper, are of course savaging the family for having the nerve to ask any questions about that policy when they should just be thankful their child is safe. Here's one example from a commenter called Luceth, who wrote:

Some people make it their life's ambition to never be satisfied with anything...... even finding their missing toddler safe. If you need some money, the neglectful day care center is who you need to look at, but oh wait, it would be much more profitable to sue the police dept.

Of course they miss the whole entire point. What is the criteria for issuing an Amber Alert? What happens the next time when the police aren't quite so lucky? It seems to me the parents have a right to question the process, and that the police and public should be willing to listen.

With so little attention paid to most kidnap victims that aren't Caucasian, don't they at least have the right to ask?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

That Home Made Jam Recipe

As promised here is that homemade STRAWBERRY & KIWI jam recipe. After making this jam you won't ever want the store bought stuff again.......................well unless your in a meeting and the only thing they offer you are those little jam packets that are packed with sugar and not much fruit.

I used:

6 cups cut up strawberries and 2 Kiwi to make 3 - 9 oz jars
1/2 -1 cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup but you can add up to 1 cup)
2 Tbls lemon Juice
Simmer ingredients in large pan for 10 minutes - 15 minutes or until you get a jam like consistency.

While berries are cooking boil your glasses in hot water.
Place mixture in the glass jars and either place in warm hot water for 10 minutes. Now if you plan to keep in the refrigerator there is no need for the last water bath.
Allow to cool completely before storing in the pantry or the refrigerate.
Happy Jamming.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

One Year Ago...

Man, I almost forgot. It's our Blog's B-Day. Or Blogiversary! Or something.

In real life my wedding anniversary is so close to my birthday that it's pretty hard to miss it. Just in case, my wife usually plans a vacation or some other activity on the exact date(s), doubly insuring that my forgetful behind remembers. Smart lady, but I digress.

Anyway, we're one year old today. On April 13, 2007, There... Already came alive with this post.

Right now, let's just say I'm there, already with corporate media. I'm there, already with my teams collapsing down the stretch or in the playoffs. I'm there, already with politicians from both sides of the American political spectrum. I'm there, already with the current state of global affairs and endless war. I'm there already with planned obsolescence and massive waste. I'm there, already with unsaid truths, and spoken lies. I'm There... Already.

Wow. Such prescient insight, especially since my teams (the Dallas Cowboys and the Houston Rockets) both collapsed in the playoffs last year, politicians from both sides are still driving me crazy, the war is still going endlessly, and we're still wasting more than any society has a right too. Don't even get me started on the unsaid truths and spoken lies.

Since that time, we've dove head first into all kinds of issues, from Don Imus to Darfur; TSU to Terrorism; Politics to Prisons; Food to Foolishness; and everything in between. My single voice has been complimented by That Girl Boo, Isaiah Too, and And we've discovered and became contributors to the Afrospear/Afrosphere movement.
A lot has happened in this year.

We've watched as the major progressive internet sites and news media, who've had a bad habit of framing issues of concern to Black people without bothering to include the views and voices of Black people, grudgingly begin to accept the reality that we ARE a major presence on the internet and in the blogging world.
Francis Holland, who has relentlessly pushed this issue in the wider blogosphere, deserves a lot of credit for that happening.

We can see the new media stars who are rising in our very midst, like Gina McCauley, Wayne Bennett, Shawn Williams, and Wayne Hicks, among others. The media narrative has had to adjust to include our voices.
The overall results has broadened the diversity of American political discourse, and set the stage for awareness campaigns such as that surrounding the Jena 6. Sure Al and Jesse swooped in and claimed the victory, but WE know when and where the advocacy effort for those young men started, and it was right here. Other campaigns, including today's In Solidarity: A Day For Darfur followed, and There... Already is proud to have been a part of this movement from it's infancy.

Our expectations for the next year are big. We will add more voices, reach out for more points of view, take part in more initiatives, and continue to do our part to try and change this world we live in for the better. That first post back then ended with these words;

So welcome, and I hope each visit here is worth your while.

I still hope so. Thanks for reading this blog, and let us know it there's anything you'd like to hear about or that we can do better.

In Solidarity: A Day For Darfur

Well surprise, late again, but here we are. While we're not expert on the situation in Sudan by any stretch of the imagination, we are lending our collective voice here at There... Already to the Afrosphere campaign, In Solidarity: A Day For Darfur.

They say that those who can, do, and those who can't, teach. I'm not 100% in agreement with that statement, but today, I fall in the latter category, so my goal is to teach you about some of the other great bloggers out there participating in this campaign.

Our first stop is
Modern Musings, who in collaboration with Dream For Darfur is the catalyst for this effort. Here you will find a comprehensive list of resources and organizations that can help you get educated and activated towards participating.

Usually very good information and perspective regarding a particular situation can be found by finding those closest to it. In the case of the
Afrosphere, that person is Kizzie, a Sudanese national who has lived in Darfur, and still lives in the country. Thus Kizzie's perspective is very important to me. Kizzie today let's us know that after:

Decades of war, a psychotic president, and an unendurable climate, I believe that the Sudanese should go to heaven.

Kizzie believes that while the international effort is important, it is up to the Sudanese to save the Sudanese. I've taken the liberty of posting some semiprivate comments on how Kizzie feels that can be accomplished.

1) Pressure our government to sign a peace process (as long as they are in power, they are not staying for long)
2) Encourage the deployment of the UNAMID
3) Invest in Darfur, develop Darfur. There are already many local aid workers in Darfur. We need more aid workers from different parts to go there and since this government Divided to Rule we need to unite to help ourselves help others.

And you should go and visit the
rest of the blog.

The Electronic Village is, on it's worst day a great learning community, and today is no exception. Villager is running a series of posts today dealing with Sudan and Darfur, beginning with the video, Living Darfur. Check back with Villager through the day for the rest of his series of Darfur related posts.

No campaign is complete without Gina and What About Our Daughters. She puts the situation in perspective via comparision to the Hurricane Katrina episode here in the U.S. Witness:

Most Americans will never know what it feels like to have to flee their homes. To run for their lives. To have to take what you can carry with you turn the key in the lock and drive away knowing that everything could be gone when you get back. To wonder if you will ever see your family again.
Everyday in Darfur people are running . They're fleeing their homes and everything they know and they are doing it while experiencing violence and terror.

Jose Vilson seemed to be in almost the same state I was regarding this day, but came through with an excellent post focused on what he could do himself. He states

I personally want to take the time answer the question: What as an individual can I do to contribute? Besides signing petitions, becoming informed, and voting for government officials who address those situations, it starts becoming more difficult and daunting to think of ourselves as change-makers. But if you start thinking of your own voice as an agent for change, then there’s nothing that’s impossible.

It's worth the read.

Yobachi over at Black Perspective, in addition to an action list, concentrates on the Chinese role in the situation, which short, as stated on this Save Darfur page is that “China’s responsibility and leverage stem from its intricate economic, military, and diplomatic relationship with Sudan. China is Sudan’s largest trade partner, major military provider, and consistent defender of Sudan’s interests in the United Nations.” The ideal is to take advantage of the Olympics and the attention it brings to leverage China and others to act on Darfur.

Well, that's just a start folks as there are plenty of others participating in the effort. You can find the ever
expanding list at Modern Musings. I hope you find this helpful, and will spread the word among your networks too. Not to put you on the spot, but thanks in advance.