Saturday, May 31, 2008

B*tch A$$ N*ggas - Part II: A Vote Is A Terrible Thing To Waste

Editor’s Note: This post contains mild profanity
and a variation of the “N word.” We hope no one is offended; it is not our intent. But to paraphrase former Detroit Mayor Coleman Young, “Sometimes nothing says it better than a well-placed cuss word.”

B*tch A$$ N*ggas - Part II:
A Vote Is A Terrible Thing To Waste

Read Part I - Thinking Black, Living American

The other night I was in a bit of a retrospective mood. Among my many recollections were thoughts surrounding events and colorful characters that have impacted my life and crossed my path. Even though my thoughts were coming and going at a rapid pace I could not help but to pause and ponder the comments of three very different people. At first I could not connect the dots but after an hour or two I begin to see the parallels.

As I stated in my first installment, I don’t know if the term “bitch ass nigga” was introduced to me by The Boondocks or Katt Williams but the term is appropriate when taking a critical look at African-American’s reactions to certain events. Now, I am not trying to position myself as “holier than thou”, in fact I am sure that I have acted like a bitch ass nigga regarding an issue to which I held some self imposed allegiance, and more importantly, felt like I was justified so I paraded my ego trippin’ ass around stating an infinite number of platitudes and conjuring up as much benign philosophical bullshit as I could.

As I said before, the comments that I thought about varied just as much as the individuals themselves. The first was by my Big Mama – is it me or have you noticed that Big Mama’s are becoming extinct? I won’t go there, that’s a discussion for another installment – who I fondly remember from my younger days saying, “I tell you Black folks have been heading straight to Hell ever since they stopped drinking RC and started drinking Coca-Cola.” I never could understand her rationale for coming to this conclusion but for those of you who have had a Big Mama then you know that she draws her wisdom from an entirely different and undeterminable source.

You see in Big Mama’s eyes RC Cola (or Royal Crown Cola) was just a refreshing beverage but Coke was different. It was a drug passing itself off as a refreshing soft drink. She firmly believed that Coke, with its traces of cocaine and reported miracle healing effects, was making Negroes act out of character and no self-respecting Negro could desire such a thing. As I got older, and a little wiser, I began to understand that my Big Mama’s disdain had nothing to do with her personal preference for one soft drink over the other; rather, her concern was that Negroes were simulating white people with little or no regard for the consequences of their actions. Big Mama never progressed to the point of saying “African American”. I believe she viewed that as the ultimate sign of surrender to her fear.

The second comment was by an older gentleman that had befriended me while working at a summer job during my college years. Clem introduced me to horse racing and would take me to Delta Downs in Vinton, LA every Thursday night. On one occasion Clem brought one of his many girlfriends along – although he claimed to have many girls, Faye was the only one I ever met, but this too is a story for a later post at which time we’ll look at the topic of Real Playas.

At the beginning of each race the horses are brought into the gallery for viewing. A beautiful chestnut-brown colt with a striking muscular build was brought out and Faye immediately said she was going to place her bet on him. I remember Clem’s response to her, “Baby girl, never bet on a show horse when you’re racing thoroughbreds. A show horse doesn’t like to get dirty and in a thoroughbred race even the winner gets dirty.” Clem was right in that regard, the horse finished next to last and Faye lost… and though I hate to admit it, I did too!

Looking back, I know that Clem was giving me some expert advice about horse racing but in reality his advice was more profound and struck at the very heart of how we have become accustomed to thinking. In fact, Clem’s comment was akin to Dr. King’s futuristic view of America when he said we would not be “judged by the color of our skin but by content of our character.” While we may love to recite this quote, we fail to realize Dr. King’s presupposition that first we are to have character; likewise we do not recognize his directive that we develop the kind of character that can withstand scrutiny and stand strong in the face of challenges and adversity.

The final comment was made by my oldest daughter. My daughter is a college junior and shares many of the same idealistic views of the world as her peers, as well as their frustration with parents who once painted this “it’s all about you” picture and are now trying to flip the script. She is excited about voting in her first Presidential Election and the fact that Senator Obama is running a stellar campaign has done more to add to her jubilation. The other night we were watching the latest developments in the Democratic Race and the topic of Hillary getting the nomination came up. At the conclusion of the segment my daughter said, “That ain’t right! If that happens I’m not going to waste my time voting because it doesn’t matter. `Cuz they’re going to do what they want to anyway.”

Her comment is not unique and if we uncover the details regarding highly contested elections in the past, we can assume that her sentiments, which is shared by many others, are not without basis. I cherish my obligation and privilege to vote and I have tried to instill that principle in her as well. Political pundits say that the young vote is unreliable because the majority of them do not consider it as pertinent to their lives. Additionally, I have heard many Blacks state that if Senator Obama is denied the nomination by the Democratic Party then they too will not vote.

These comments led me to think about African American’s current political capital. First, we still have not apprehended the full value of our voting capacity. Not casting a vote ultimately does not show your dissent. Now I am not promoting a vote for John McCain, who is already struggling to firm up his base. I know this sounds real crazy but if we want to show our dissent then we should use our vote to make a contender out of a candidate who had no possibility of winning. To not vote would send a message that we were pouting and would not endear any candidate to include our concerns in their platform. However, if we made a real contender out of a candidate then he or she would be indebted to us for our support and it would send a message to future candidates that we can indeed be king makers. As I explained to my daughter, to not vote because you are disgruntled is the true sign of a Bitch Ass Nigga!

Secondly, African Americans must begin to come down off of this Obama high and realize that while we are in the midst of potentially making history, we must not forget the history that we are already living. By this I mean, an Obama presidency will not have near the impact on your daily living as much as the person who enforces public safety in your area or the one who determines how development dollars are spent in your area or the people who control your children’s education. I know the Obama-rama! has been exhilarating but it cannot replace the hell you are catching because of continued driver profiling, questionable and manipulative jurisprudence by law enforcement and the district attorney, and the continued disparity in the quality of educational services offered at predominately minority low-income schools and those within predominately white middle-income/high-income areas.

Finally, with all the excitement and optimism that is enveloping African Americans with the likely nomination of Obama and the possibility that he could ascend to the White House, I have a few questions of my brothers and sisters. Chief among them is what are we expecting from him? And, what are we expecting to change for us? I ask this because during the mayoral candidacy of Lee P. Brown I witnessed local African Americans response prior to and immediately afterwards. I could not help but notice a major deflation of their expectation bubble and their shock at facing the reality that nothing had really changed. This experience was not unique to Houston, for it has been played out in most major U.S. cities with the exception of Atlanta (the late Maynard Jackson), Detroit (Coleman Young) and a few others.

This has happened not only with our mayors but with most of our Black elected officials because while our vote may have secured their place in office, it was the money in their campaign coffers that kept their attention and the high-dollar contributors that they truly answered to. Now, I am not saying that all Black politicians are selling their votes to the highest bidder but I am encouraging African Americans to increase their participation in the political process beyond the act of voting. We must become creative in using our monies to establish platform agendas, such as developing PACs (Political Action Committees) and creating 527 organizations to provide external support to candidates who further our agendas. Using Clem’s analogy, we must no longer continue to get caught up in this perception of becoming enamored with the “show horse” and learn the art of “the race”.

Please do not misconstrue my statement as labeling Obama to be a “show horse”. I am simply saying we can ill afford to provide undying support to any candidate without conditions. As Minister Farrakhan once said when asked during the 2000 primary season if he would support General Colin Powell in a bid for president, “A Black man in the White House is nothing more than a Black face on a White reality.” The sooner we understand that we cannot bring a beauty pageant mentality to the political process then we will learn to use our vote much wisely.

In conclusion, I am definitely filled with pride regarding Obama’s run at the presidency and I am sure that my current feelings will be vastly overshadowed if he were to win in November. And if that happens, I know unprecedented numbers of African Americans will be in Washington, DC on January 20, 2009, and that Inauguration will be more festive than any have ever seen because you know we love a good party. We will look like debutantes and the couple on top of a wedding cake. Black women will be divine and Black men will be debonair as we waltz across the ballroom floor. But as Big Mama warned, don’t drink the Coke because on January 21, 2009, we will return to our normal lives.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Musical Interlude: Old School Friday - Philly Soul

Happy Old School Friday!

I'm getting my post up kind of late in the day, so y'all forgive me because as I've said before, Life intrudes.

Today's theme is Philly Soul and to mean that only means one thing - The O'Jays. Well two things - The O'Jays and Gamble and Huff. The O'Jays of course are one of the most prolific vocal groups ever with a string of hits dating from the early 1970's. Gamble and Huff are the production team universally credited with the "Philadelphia Sound.

So for my post today (which I'm sure will hardly be original), here are The O'Jays, produced by Gamble and Huff.

That's it for now, and don't forget to check out the rest of the Old School Friday crew.

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 - Believer 1964 -Dee - SJP - sHaE-sHaE - Songs In the Key of Life - Shawn - Hagar’s Daughter - freshandfab - Creole Pimp

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Summer Enrichment Programs for Students of Color

If your high schooler is moping around already and grumbling about nothing to do this summer, you might as well help them prepare for college.

Below is a list of summer programs primarily for students of color. As with any other useful resource, please pass this information on to someone who may be able to take advantage of it.

P.S. I received this list via Adrian at Black Women in Europe. Thanks Adrian, I'm sure some kids in America will be able to make good use of this list of resources.

Diversity Summer Programs


Black Excel

Summer Programs and Internships for High School and College Students: 2007

100-Plus Summer Enrichment Programs


Dedicated Engineers

Dow Jones Newspaper Fund


Quality Education for Minorities (QEM) Network

WECAAARE Education Foundation


College Horizons

Target: Native American students; rising sophomores & juniors

College sites change each year (2008 programs at Duke Univ. and Lawrence Univ.)



California Institute of Technology

Young Engineering and Science Scholars

Target: Historically under-represented students in science and engineering; rising sophomores and juniors

Carleton College

Liberal Arts Experience

Target: African American students; rising juniors

Cornell University

CURIE Academy

Target: High school girls interested in engineering; rising juniors and seniors


Target: African American/Latino or Native American students interested in science, technology, engineering and math; rising sophomores, juniors and seniors

Howard University

Summer Enrichment Program and Recruitment

Target: African American/Hispanic students applying for admission to health professions in the CPNAHS at Howard University

Lehigh University

Students That Are Ready (S.T.A.R.) Academies

Target: Economically and academically disadvantaged and/or at-risk middle/high school aged students

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Target: First-generation, historically under-represented in science and engineering; rising seniors

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

PREFACE Summer Program

Target: Historically under-represented students in science/technology; rising sophomores & juniors interested in engineering and technology

University of Notre Dame

African American Scholars Program

Target: Catholic African American high school students

Latino Community Leadership Seminar

Target: Catholic Latino students; rising seniors

Worcester Polytechnic Institute


Target: African American/Latino/American Indian students interested in engineering; rising juniors and seniors

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day - Remember Our Veterans

I always feel strange saying Happy Memorial Day based on the fact that the day is set aside to honor our military veterans, many of whom made the ultimate sacrifice while serving this nation. I suppose that most of the country is happy today though, with a day off from work and summertime approaching, so Happy Memorial Day!

Wars are not acts of God. They are caused by man, by man-made institutions, by the way in which man has organized his society. What man has made, man can change.

Frederick Moore Vinson

I lifted that quote directly from my buddy Big Tex at The Old 18 blog. You should go visit him today as he has the most comprehensive set of Memorial Day posts up that I've ever seen anybody do.

Memorial Day is very important as we honor those who've sacrificed so much for this country. More importantly, I think Memorial Day should be a time of reflection on war itself, and the need to eliminate it from the human experience.

Yeah, wishful thinking I know, especially with the amount of money that war generates for corporations, and the needed distractions it provides for unpopular governments. but a man can hope, can't he? Especially considering that many of our veterans aren't receiving the help they need when they return from the distant war zones. Last week, a new G.I. Bill was passed that grants education benefits to military veterans of the current campaigns. That's great news and long overdue. But we also need to do more for those opting out of the military and having difficulty making the transition to civilian life.

I'll post more later today, but in the meantime, enjoy your Memorial Day and put in a thought and prayer for those who aren't here any longer to do the same.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Gas Guzzlers And Geos

I drive a mid-size vehicle and gas prices are killing me, having hit an average an average of $3.78 for regular this week here in Houston. That's up .11 from last week. But lately I've been trying not to think about myself so much. Instead, my empathy goes out to the legions of SUV and huge pickup truck drivers here in Houston and the state of Texas. Have you watched the pain on their drivers faces as they fill up lately? It's a terrible thing.

As bad as it has to be paying so much for gas itself, the fact that it's now easier to sell Florida swamp land than to get rid of their gas guzzlers, has to make the mental torture even worse. And it's not just drivers, dealerships are having an equally hard time getting rid of them.

The really large ones with V-8 engines that can get as little as 12 miles per gallon in the city -- like the Cadillac Escalade, Ford Expedition and Chevy Suburban -- are dropping in value by the thousands.

The No. 1 reason for the sales slump is soaring gas prices, says Peter Brown, the executive director of Automotive News, the trade newspaper for the North American car industry.

For the first four months of this year, truck and SUV sales are down a collective 24.8 percent. SUV sales plummeted 32.8 percent while pickups dipped 19.9 percent, he says.

Man, that has to hurt. The article goes on to say that the major auto manufacturers are retooling their production lines away from trucks and SUV's towards smaller cars. To add further insult to injury, a lot of the old cars many of these people got rid of to buy their now unwanted gas guzzlers, have seen their resale values go through the roof. This is due in part to that fact that many of those old vehicles get mileage close to or better than that of newer hybrid vehicles.

Americans seem to absolutely refuse to learn from history. Fuel shortages precipitated by the Arab-Israeli war of 1973 and the Iranian Revolution of 1979 led to the purchase of a lot of fuel efficient vehicles from foreign automakers who were already producing them, and an emphasis on their production by automakers here. However as soon as prices stabilized, American auto production moved right back into oversized vehicles. This lack of foresight on the part of the industry and consumers now has us at a competitive disadvantage, again, to foreign automakers who've never stopped producing smaller, more fuel efficient cars. Not to mention our continued reliance on imported oil and it's wildly rising, 'market-driven' prices.

So what are we going to learn from this crisis? The technology has been in place for decades to produce ultra fuel efficient or alternative fueled vehicles, but between the automobile and oil industries, and the politicians dependent on both no real effort has been made to reduce our dependence on oil as a fuel. I'm hopeful this latest round of super high oil and gas will spur some real movement on that front.

But I'm not holding my breath waiting. Anybody trying to sell their used 1993 Geo? Let me know.

Eat Well, Live Better: Turmeric/Curcumin

Ahh, back to my comfort zone and away from the politics for a bit.

For me that's food and health, and today I'm posting about Turmeric, the spice that gives our curries and mustard that beautiful vibrant yellow color.
Turmeric is a member of the ginger family and has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for hundreds of years as a way to treat a number of problems such as indigestion, inflammation and arthritic pain. Turmeric also has a powerful anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin that according to a study done by the University of Chicago in 2002, inhibits a cancer-provoking bacteria ( H. pylori) associated with gastric and colon cancer. In addition, another study was also done in 1999 by the University of Leicester that demonstrated curcumin's ability to slow the rate of prostate cancer cells once they become resistant to hormonal therapy.

Curcumin also slows the growth of melanoma, according to the journal Cancel. While it's believed that the higher the dose, the more effective it is at stopping the growth of this deadly form of skin cancer, research indicates that even low concentrations over time can also be effective.

Here's a lot of additional information
Turmeric/Curcumin information and resources.

So knowing all of that, how do you incorporate more Turmeric/Curcumin into your life going forward? Well, here's a tasty and healthy start.

Lentils Recipe using Curcumin
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup red lentils, sorted and rinsed
  • 1 Tbs. coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup of white chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup of bell pepper (any color)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 cup coconut milk
Bring broth to a boil then add lentils. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add all your other ingredients, until lentils are tender. Cover, and remove from heat.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, a squeeze of lime juice, and sprinkle with fresh chopped onions.

Serve over brown Jasmine rice and enjoy!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Go Ahead Then

Here's a nice story about academic achievement from today's Chronicle.

Super-student twins offered $3.58 million in scholarships

the brothers received a combined $3.58 million in scholarship offers, in addition to $67,000 in outside scholarships.

"I'm happy for them, that the hard work they've put into their education — I'm happy to see them get results," said their mother, Lana Dawson, an auditor for the city of Birmingham who raised her twin sons as a single mom.

She watched Thursday as her only children walked across the stage as honor graduates of the Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School. Logan and Ryan, with respective 4.6 and 4.5 GPAs and 33 and 32 ACT scores, were ranked in the top 20 of their class. They both are National Achievement, Coca-Cola and Elks scholars.

While the natural focus is on the boys themselves for putting in the hard work to be academically successful, I think the spotlight really needs to shine on their mother and grandparents, who laid the foundation for their success, and made them stick to it. It takes a village.

The article didn't mention the status of their father, and I hope he's not of the deadbeat variety. His omission doesn't give you much hope on that front though. Imagine how many more success stories of this type we'd have if Dad was in the picture?

Finally, as usual when you read the Houston Chronicle, the comments beneath the story tell a whole different story. There do seem to be an awful lot people out there who slam every story of African-American achievement as racist against White folks; evidence that prejudice and discrimination don't exist; is an example of affirmative action; or just plan not worthy of the news. We can't win for losing in other words.

Talk about bitter
and clinging to stuff.

Hillary - Don't Go Away Mad, Just Go Away

I've heard that house guests and fish in the refrigerator have one thing in common: After seven days they both start to stink. That's how I'm feeling right now about Hillary's campaign, like an unwanted house guest who just won't leave.

And now she's really starting to stink.

In yet another case proving its well past time for her to get out of this race and let Barack Obama and America get on with the general election, she had the audacity to reference the assassination of Robert Kennedy in June, 1968 as rationale for her continuing on.

As in 'Hey, somebody might shoot him before we get to the convention (hint, hint), and then y'all will be lucky that I'm still around."

Wow, anyway you
try to spin it, that was just a very stupid thing to say. Or as Villager said:

Hillary Clinton is a brilliant, calculating, power-hungry woman. She doesn't do anything by accident. Therefore, I don't think it was an accident that she told folks in South Dakota that she refuses to concede defeat for the Democratic Party nomination because Barack Obama might be assassinated.

Exactly, and he points out another disturbing trend.

...Villagers, I am concerned about the careless way that Hillary Clinton, Mike Huckabee, Roswell Beacon, Francine Torge and Doris Lessing talk about assassination of the first legitimate African American candidate for President of the United States.

Now that it's obvious to everyone but her the nomination is lost, Hillary and her team are turning to the age old tactics of coercion and intimidation. How truly, utterly pathetic. That she's clarifying her remarks and apologizing to the Kennedy family means nothing, just as it meant nothing when she apologized for turning the West Virginia primary into a racial identity fest.

Hillary, your legacy is just about shot and you're killing any political future you might have. Like the unwanted house guest or the old fish in the refrigerator, it's time to go.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Musical Interlude: Old School Friday - Guitar/Bass Solos

Happy Old School Friday! It's been light posting for the last couple of days around here due to real life intrusions, but I just can't miss posting Old School Friday, especially with a topic I suggested; Favorite Guitar or Bass Solos.

I'm all over this because my musical tastes are pretty varied and I've had a chance to listen to guitarists from many different genres practice their craft. There are a ton of solos to choose from, but I decided to post a guitar solo from one of my favorites of all time, Ernie Isley.

Ernie Isley is truly one of the most underrated guitarists ever. This brother can just shred, but played within the constraints of the Isley Brothers Band for his entire career. However, every now and again, he got the chance to just show out on a song, and this is one of them. Here's Ernie Isley performing a solo version of the Isley Brothers all-time classic, Who's That Lady.

Here's the whole band playing the same tune, so you see how Ernie just acted a fool in the previous clip. He still tears it up, but, I mean, c'mon.

I'll try and add a bass solo or two to this post a little later, but in the meantime don't forget to check out the rest of the Old School Friday participants. I'm pretty sure there are more people taking part, so if I missed anybody, leave it in the comments and I'll add you to the list.

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 - Believer 1964 -Dee - SJP - sHaE-sHaE - Songs In the Key of Life - Shawn - Hagar’s Daughter - freshandfab - Creole Pimp

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

DNC - A Little Thought Goes A Long Way

Sometimes it pays to really think a process through, a lesson the DNC, despite it's successes of the past few years (2006 elections, 50 state party, fundraising) is finding out in relation to the issue of blogger floor credentials for the Democratic Convention coming up in Denver. The problem? The vast majority of the 55 State blogs, which have floor privileges at the convention are White-run, while no Black blogs were selected. This in a party where 20% of the membership is Black.

Predictably, this has caused quite a stir in the AfroSpear, and the mainstream media is starting to take notice. From today's Dallas Morning News:

Last week, the national Democratic Party announced that 55 online writers had been chosen for the “State Blogger Corps,” to cover the convention in Denver in September.

But some members of the self-titled “afrosphere” — blogs written or published by African Americans — are angry that the “State Blogger Corps” appears to be mostly white, particularly since the party appears poise to nominate a black candidate, Barack Obama, for president.

“OK, folks, black bloggers to the back of the bus,” read the headline on the African American Political Pundit blog.

Party leaders said the factors in determining state bloggers were readership, Internet ratings and focus on local and state politics, not race. The Texas representative, the Burnt Orange Report, has several writers, including at least one Hispanic contributor.

The issue is one of diversity, but there are so many angles to consider here its mind boggling. Here are just a few for your reading pleasure.

There are plenty more as the topic is rapidly approaching firestorm level.

So what's my opinion? Well, I think the DNC screwed up by not thinking this process through and not really considering its Black base. Especially during such a race sensitive campaign.
I'm a member of the AfroSpear and support whatever action is necessary to ensure that Black folks are represented on the convention floor. However I hope the issue can be resolved through the general blogger selection process, maybe by upgrading their level of access to include floor credentials. I also hope that other groups will be included on the floor as well, including Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans.

If it's not resolved, then I feel sorry for the DNC, because they will have to deal with a lot of pissed off members of the AfroSpear. In an election year like this, you really don't want to alienate such an important part of your base because every vote will definitely count in the general election.

At some point the Democratic Party really needs to stop taking the Black vote for granted and court the constituency as they do with every one else. Hindsight is of course 20/20, but this should not have even happened.

Just my thoughts on the matter.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Here Come The Professionals

Hey, watch out for that Swiftboat!

We all can see that the nomination process is basically a done deal, Hillary Clinton's likely victory tonight in Kentucky, and Geraldine Ferraro's continued insertion of her foot into her mouth notwithstanding. Barack Obama is going to be the nominee and the Democrats need to get into general election campaign mode.

That means getting ready for the attacks that are sure to come. Can anyone say Swiftboat? It's already started with George W. Bush's shameless breach of protocol in Israel, where he implied that the Democrats are in favor of a policy of appeasement. Monroe Anderson has some thoughts on exactly how these attacks will proceed as we move deeper into the general election.

It’s going to talk about his white momma. It’s going to rant about his former minister. It’s going to steadily signify that he’s either a Muslim or a cult Christian but definitely not a true red-blooded American.

It’s going to make way too much out of far too little. The right-wing echo chamber will label Barack as too liberal, too green, too lightweight, too lucky, too black, too white, too intelligent, too aloof, too soft, too young, too natty, too cool, too elite, too rock star and too good to be true. It’s all going to be too ugly for words.

No doubt he's right, but so far Obama has withstood the slime test. However the professionals are now coming onto the field, and we'll really get a chance to see what type of campaign team Barack Obama has. If Obama and the Democrats stand around and wait to be attacked, and then don't respond when attacked, they will lose.

They will have to make all of these attacks bounce back to McCain, and more importantly, they will need to focus on the ample material the Republicans have provided over the last eight years; war, recession, gas prices, food prices, our international standing, etc. I could go on but you get my point.

There's plenty to work with, so work with it.

Happy Birthday Malcolm

Villager has an excellent post up commemorating what would have been the 83rd Birthday of Malcolm X yesterday. He notes the effect that reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X had on him by saying

I imagine that most Blackmen from my era recall reading this very thick book. Every Blackman could empathize with a brother that evolved from Malcolm Little to Detroit Red to Malcolm X to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. Each of us hoped that we would be transformed as well in our lives.

I agree Villager, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, along with Roots were critical towards my awareness of who I am. I'm sure the same can be said for millions more. Amazing that both books were written or co-written by Alex Haley.

It's also amazing to me that I'm lived (slightly, so far) longer than Malcolm X or Martin Luther King. I don't feel like my contribution to society is done, so I can only imagine what these two would have accomplished had they not been taken away from us so soon.

Please head over to the Electronic Village and check out this post, complete with audio clips of some of Malcolm's more famous speeches, and a scene from the 1992 movie. It'll be time well spent, especially if the only thing you know about Malcolm is the quote, "By any means necessary."

Monday, May 19, 2008

Moving Sucks

Posting has been a little light around here because I'm in the process of moving my office from one part of town to another. Have I mentioned that moving sucks?

I say that because I'm in the 4th day of a 1 day office move. What was supposed to be simply to pack up, wait for the movers, go to the new place, and unpack, has truly moved into the realm of the surreal.

Consider the moving company, after estimating that it would take a semi-trailer to relocate our and our co-locatee's offices, showed up with a 14 box truck instead.

Our how about the 4 man crew that mysteriously shrank to 2 by the time they arrrived.

Or the pain in the butt building management that would not allow anything to be moved or staged until 5:30 PM.

And I won't even mention that same buildings slower than molasses freight elevator, that broke on about the 4th trip down.

Do I need to go on? I could but I won't. Thankfully everything is in place now, and it's just a matter of getting it organized in the new space.

Now, wait a minute, why isn't this phone working?
It looks like Barack Obama can still turn them out. I'm not sure if there are too many top tier concert bands that can draw like him.

Some 75,000 people flocked to Portland’s waterfront Sunday to watch Barack Obama speak, making it the biggest rally the campaign has held to date. Thousands stood on the lawn, dozens watched from boats and from the bridge stretching across the Willamette River.

That's amazing, and again speaks to the excitement this campaign has created, and also illustrates the American people's deep desire for change. But I do think Barack might need to take off those rose-colored glasses for a few minutes, cause there's no way he can really believe this, from the same page, in regard to the press corps treatment of himself and John McCain.

“I would expect that the press will submit him to the same scrutiny that they are submitting me -- and if they don’t, I’ll have them talk to you because I can tell you would object,” he said. “I think people will lift the hood and kick the tires with John McCain, just like they do with me and just like they’ve done with Sen. Clinton.

Uh yeah, I'm sure they will Barack. If you consider softball questions with no follow up to be scrutiny. This is the corporate media after all. You're news, he's not. But hey, hope springs eternal.

Oh, and has Hillary dropped out yet?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Learn And Laugh With Liberal Bloggers

We're a pretty serious bunch, especially up in the AfroSpear. I mean, the problems facing the country and our people are tremendous. Not to mention the ongoing Democratic primary and upcoming general election, where race, especially ours, is front and center as a campaign issue.

With such a large number of self identified Liberals being African-American, it's no wonder that a recent study concluded that Conservatives are happier than Liberals, by and large. Well, that, and the fact that
according to the study;

Conservatives also scored highest on measures of rationalization, which gauge a person's tendency to justify, or explain away, inequalities.

The rationalization measure included statements such as: "It is not really that big a problem if some people have more of a chance in life than others," and "This country would be better off if we worried less about how equal people are."

That loosely translates as they're happier because they just don't care about anybody else. I guess if you take on no responsibilities then you don't have to worry about fulfilling any responsibilities. Pretty simple really, and maybe that explains why George Bush is dancing his behind off every time I see him lately. We'll give Conservatives the happy thing.

But what about funny? In this category I think Liberals of all ethnicities have the advantage hands down. Sure, every now and again a Conservative will get a good one in, but can they consistently put out good, solid political news, that also has you laughing out loud? I don't think so. The same applies to bloggers, so I'm using today's post to highlight a few Liberal bloggers, some based here in Texas, that post great content and crack me up at the same time.

First up is
Kiss My Big Blue Butt, where Susan D. has been delivering the news out of Ft. Bend County, TX for the past 16 years in print and on the web. Talk about having the true pulse on our local politics, we find out today that

A handful of Clinton delegates in Sugar Land are being real stinkers and trying to keep any Fort Bend Democratic delegates from being seated at the State Convention, even including themselves and other Hillary delegates, just because Obama won and they are oh so tiddily peeved about that.

Ya know, if they had spent half as much time organizing and building prior to the Senatorial Conventions as they are tearing things for everybody down afterward, they might have won. But instead, they are giving bon-bon-eating lazy flighty bitter women a bad name. And I hate that, because I spent most of my life giving them a good name.

Enough said, check her out.

Next, we find out what the real campaign issue is for Afrospear blogger Black Canseco over at Hustleknocking. Basically, it's money, money, money...

Okay, it’s official. I’m selling my vote. Seriously. I’m putting my vote up on Ebay and will post the link for anyone willing to bid on it.

Here’s how it works:

I’m taking bids—no bid’s too low, no bid’s too high. And short of White Supremacist party candidates I’m willing to give my vote to the candidate whose crew slides the most cake my way.

I’ll vote for Hil (ick!), Barry, Johnny, Cynthia, Ron, the Greenies, the Moonies, the Goonies… Whomever can pay the most for my vote. I need money and they need votes. Let the free market system work its magic, I say.

...So forget the gas cards and false promises, gimme some cash and you can have my vote. The only thing people respect these days is what they can buy. So maybe if I sell my vote, it’ll count for something.


How do you really feel Black? This is apparently the first in a series, so expect John McCain to be hit up as well.

Then there's relatively new kid on the block,
The Old Eighteen. The name is a Texas history reference, and I just found his site yesterday. And while I don't mean to fixate on Hillary's campaign and supporters, this post had me rolling.

I am woman, hear me pout

Unwilling to accept the fact that their candidate is going to lose and move on to the next best option on the ballot,
a group of angry, bitter old white women has decided to band together and do what they can to sabotage Barack Obama's efforts to get elected president, working under the apparent assumption that it takes a village to burn down the village in order to save the village.

Go read
the rest, it's worth it.


I've mentioned the
Texas Liberal a few times on this site, but he keeps putting up good stuff, like this:

Taking this picture, I imagined that the people of this community had finally become enraged they were being poisoned with the unhealthful Big Macs and McRibs sold at the McDonalds.

I imagined the people had come and torn down the golden arches.

Sadly, I don’t think this was the case.

A McDonald's riot? I'm sure That Girl Boo will have a lot to say about that.

Finally, we have the venerable Afrospear blogger the Field Negro, who has the VP running mate thing figured out for Barack Obama.

Folks, allow me to give you the secret weapon that will win it for the "O" man: His name is Uno. (The one word name thing is cool. Think Bono and Prince). Yes Uno. Don't laugh I am being dead serious. The "O" man wants to be ground breaking this election season, and what better way to break totally out of the box than to select Uno.

Think about it. He is extremely popular with a certain demographic, so he would help the "O" man with that very important group. Who could resist voting for the "O" man if he has the very cute and cuddly Uno on the ticket? And please don't give me the he is not smart enough speech, just because he is a dog. Hell how smart do you need to be to do this job? I give you two names: Dan Quayle and Dick Cheney, that's all you need to know.

I think Field might be on to something. Nobody has tried it before, and we know how much certain folks from all political persuasions here in America love their dogs. I sense a landslide.
Well, that concludes my brief review of informative, and often humorous liberal bloggers. Believe me, there's plenty more. We'll highlight more of them in the days and weeks to come, and if you have sites that you learn from and are funny, please let me know about them.

Because Lord knows, we need to laugh about something.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

My Garden: Part 2

One would have thought that I knew better, but sometimes I get to moving so fast that I end up forgetting about the "gorilla" in the room. What do I mean?

Last year I ordered an Acerola plant over the internet. The plant was two feet tall on arrival, and shipped bare root. Several months prior I had begun a tiny compost pile, and I mixed my compost matter in with my potting soil and a few other things and my plants soon more then doubled in size. My aloe plants went crazy too, but I was really irritated by the smell of the compost heap. So I didn't start one this year up until a few weeks ago.

Well shame, shame, shame on me! The soil is the most important part of growing a garden.

A few weeks ago I showed you a picture of my two new garden boxes, filled with nice, fresh, and dead organic gardening soil. When I say dead I mean the soil had been stripped of all of it's nutrients, which I didn't know that at the time. So now my plants are all bright yellow and not really growing. As a gardener I know it's the soil because I dropped the same watermelon seeds in my older established box a week ago and they are doing better then the plants I planted a couple months ago.

Being an organic gardener, I wouldn't dare use any kinda Miracle Grow type product or anything like that, but let me tell you what I did use that didn't work:

-Seaweed emulsion
-Leaf mold compost
-Fish emulsion

I'm seeing very slow results but nothing like it should be. The good thing is I learn from my mistakes and started another compost pile. The materials haven't decomposed yet but when they do I'm sure it'll work better then anything else I've used. Just like last year I hope. If all else fails the compost will be READY and alive to mix in with the soil for the fall harvest of collard greens, mustard greens, garlic bulbs and other stuff.

Am I a bit disappointed? Well, yeah, a little. But a master gardener once told me that "You're not a real gardener until you kill a plant."

I may be on my way to being a real gardener then. We're just gonna have to ride this one out ya'll.

Joe Biden breaks out his Kanye West impression... Sort of!

I don’t know about you, but every now and then I like to see evidence that our elected officials have a backbone and can speak in the language of hard working Americans, Black Americans, who have dealt with a tyrannous government whose wealth was subsidized by the cheap labor of Negroes, Asians and Indians.

My hat goes off to Senator Joe Biden (D – Delaware) who acted like a true angry Black man when asked what he thought about George Bush’s appeasement statement in his address to the Israeli Knesset. Senator Biden responded the same way African Americans have regarding supposed major issues about Barrack Obama, “This is some Bull$h**!” I could not agree with you more Senator Biden! Forget John McCain, this is the definition of the Straight Talk Express! When you speak in a definitive term such as this you send a signal that the gloves are coming off and you are prepared to fight.

I only have two regrets regarding Senator Biden’s comment. The first being why has it taken so long for someone in the Democratic Party to speak up? I already know the answer to that question but just thought I would raise it so as to let everyone know that African Americans are not stuck on stupid. My second issue is that just as soon as Senator Biden made that profound remark, he returned to his usual vanilla, politically correct nature by saying, “This is malarkey!”

On a final note, when George Bush drew an analogy from an historic event in September 1939 about a United States Senator sympathizing with Adolf Hitler by saying, “We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: ‘Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.’ We have an obligation to call this what it is — the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history,” he was referring to former Senator William Edgar Borah from Idaho…

You can call it malarkey but I say... This is just plain old Bull$h**!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Brother, Can You Spare A Gallon (of Gas)?

I'll bet you wish gas prices were as "low" as those in the picture right about now.

Has there been a disruption in the oil supplies somewhere that I haven't heard about? A drop in production? Maybe consumption has risen so much in India and China over the past few months that the constant increases in the price of gasoline is justified. But somehow I doubt it. Whatetever the reason, the price keeps going up.

The AAA Texas survey found regular self-serve averaged $3.68 per gallon in the 11 cities covered by the survey — 15 cents higher than last week's record high.

Nationally, the average price rose 13 cents to a record of $3.78 per gallon.

Auto club spokeswoman Rose Rougeau said that could mean a change of plans for some drivers who had intended to hit the road for the coming Memorial Day holiday.

Actually, that could mean a change of plans for some drivers planning on going to work everyday. I'll bet every designed for the automobile city west of the Mississippi are dusting off mass transit plans again. I hope so anyway, because something has got to give. As to the rationale, a little over a year ago, I wrote when prices were just settling in over $3.00 per gallon

...the routine seems to be to use whatever reason that's handy to justify jacking up oil prices. Of course the price then "drops" to some point higher than it was selling before the latest crisis, and that becomes the benchmark for the next crisis/price increase. Now, with gas having settled in above $3.00 per gallon on average, we really haven't heard much of a peep from the American consumer.

Well .68 cents later, the powers that be aren't even bothering to invent a "crisis" anymore. Nor has the record profits for the oil companies led to any type of employment boom for regular folks anywhere, and that includes here in oil capital of the world Houston. Contrast now with the boom times of the 70's and you'll see what I'm talking about.

I remember the good old days of 2001, when we first moved to Houston and gasoline was .97 cents per gallon. Since then the price has risen by approximately 350%, and remarkably that rise has coincided with the Bush presidency.

That's really such an amazing coincidence isn't it?

Musical Interlude: Old School Friday - Remakes

Man, y'all know I'm tripping. I was so tired yesterday that I actually posted Old School Friday on Thursday. Sleep deprivation is a terrible thing. So if you've already seen this post, well, act like you haven't! Anyway...

Happy Old School Friday (Again)!

This is one of the coolest days of the week around here, and today's theme is "Remakes." As y'all can tell from many of my Musical Interludes, I'm a big Reggae fan, so today I'm posting a remake of the Bob Marley classic "Could You Be Loved" as performed by his sons Ziggy, Steven, Kymani, and Damian. Only Julian is missing, but it's pretty cool stuff. Check it out.

Just for good measure, here's Bob himself with the original.

That's it for this week, and don't forget the rest of the 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 - Believer 1964 -Dee - SJP - sHaE-sHaE - Songs In the Key of Life - Shawn - Hagar’s Daughter - freshandfab