Friday, October 31, 2008

Economics Made Easy

I had a flower plant that was dying.
The problem wasn't the fertilizer, temperature nor insects.
The plant just needed to be watered.
I watered everyday. Some days even twice.
I poured and poured gallons of water on the plant until enough finally trickled down to the roots.
After a long period of time, the plant came back to life (thanks to my wise and thoughtful top to bottom watering technique).
I learned the trickle down technique from my wise and venerated Uncle Ronny (he always had the answer to any problem).
This method of top to bottom has always been proven to work (given a long enough period of time).

Now there is this uppity new guy who thinks that directly watering the roots of the plant will take less water and time.
He assumes that by addressing a problem directly (instead of letting the pretty flowers bathe in gallons of water), he can make my flowers even more robust.
What's his problem?
Doesn't he know that the old proven ways will always be the best?
(Psst..I think he's a socialist!)

The Business of War

Sound familiar?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Uncle JohnnyMac, Tell Me A Scary Halloween Story..

Fear n 1. anxiety and agitation caused by the presence of danger, evil, pain, etc.

Barack Obama is;
A Muslim,
A Foreigner,
A Socialist,
A terrorist,
An Elitist'
Too well educated,
Too worldly,
Too well spoken,
and among other things - BLACK.

Hope n 1. a feeling that what is wanted will happen

Why do McCain supporters fail to see the differences in the way each campaign has been waged?
I'm a skeptic. One party is as bad as the next,
But if one party plans to scare a country into a deeper morass with scurrilous accusations, while the other plans to inspire a country (and world) into action.
How is the Party of Hope at fault?

Our current economic situation (and it's subsidising of an economy predicated on interest and banking instruments - not goods or services ) was caused by policies similar to what McCain is proposing. The bail-out is stalled because the "trickle-down" Reaganomics only helps the rich.
Oh, I understand... If the rich get richer, they'll have bigger crumbs for us to fight over. Now it makes sense.
But doesn't it make more sense to provide people with a bridge out of poverty (to create their own crumbs to leave for others) instead of offering them those bigger crumbs?

So c'mon JohnnyMac - trying to scare the country with exaggerations is pointless. As a wise man once said; "It's the economy. stupid"

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Timeline: Dow-9065.12 / Oil - 63.22

On November 27, 2007 - Michael Vick was sentenced to prison on the charges of illegal gambling, weapons violations and (among other things) dog-fighting Pitt Bull Terriers. Oil was about $90 a barrel and the Dow Jones Index was hovering around 13289.45. According to Real Clear Politics - if the general election were held on this day, Barack Obama would have a +2.0 point lead over John McCain
Pit Bulls (and similar breeds) are more likely to be "genetically predisposed towards aggressive behavior", according to published reports. There have been many claims to this breed of dog "turning" on it's handler.

January 9, 2008 - McCain stages a comeback to win the New Hampshire primary. DJI-12606.30/RCP Poll - Tie

February 7, 2008 McCain pleads his case with conservatives within the Republican party to throw their support behind him as Mitt Romney suspends his campaign. 12182.13/Obama +3.3

March 5, 2008 Bush endorses McCain 11893.69/Obama+4.2

June 23, 2008 McCain aide states; Terror attack "would help McCain". 11346.51/ Obama+6.8

July 11, 2008 Oil prices hit $147.00 a barrel. 11100.54/ Obama+4.8

August 29, 2008 McCain picks Palin 11543.55/ Obama +3.9

September 2, 2008 Bush endorses McCain... again. -----.--/ Obama+6.4

September 4, 2008 McCain accepts his party's nomination. 11220.96/ Obama+4.4

September 15, 2008 Lehman Bros declares bankruptcy, B of A absorbs Merryl Lynch and AIG gets a $85 billion bailout package. 10917.51/ McCain+1.6

September 21, 2008 New York Times reports that McCain campaign manager Rich Davis was a lobbyist for failed mortgage company Freddie Mac. 11015.69/ Obama+2.2

September 23, 2008 Palin proves her ignorance in an interview with Katie Curic. 10854.17/ Obama+2.3

September 24, 2008 McCain is said to suspend his campaign and the first of three debates and an appearance on David Letterman in order to rush to Washington, D.C. to solve the banking crisis. The Letterman issue explodes when Dave discovers McCain in another CBS studio taping an interview with Katie Curic. 10825.17/ Obama+3.5

September 26, 2008 Debate I at the University of Mississippi. Republican contributor Kathleen Parker suggests that Palin resign from the GOP ticket. 11022.06/ Obama+4.2

October 1, 2008 The estimated 1 TRILLION dollar Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 is passed by the US Senate (74-25). 10831.07/ Obama+5.3

October 2, 2008 Palin/Biden debate. Palin's head doesn't explode. 10482.85/ Obama+5.7

October 3, 2008 House passes EESA (263-171). Bush signs bill. 10325.38/ Obama+5.8

October 7, 2008 Debate II at Belmont University. 9447.11/ Obama+5.5

October 10, 2008 "Troopergate" findings released. Palin is said to have abused her power as governor. 8451.19/ Obama+6.6

October 15, 2008 Debate III at Hofstra University. 8577.91/ Obama+7.3

October 19, 2008 Fmr. (fill in the blank) Colin Powell endorses Barack Obama. 9265.43(10/20/08)/ Obama+5.0

October 22, 2008 Politico reports that the GOP spent about 150k to give the "every woman" Palin an extreme makeover type upgrade. The McCain response - all the clothes were always meant to be donated to charity after the campaign. I guess there will be some well dressed homeless people this winter. 8519.21/ Obama+7.0

October 23, 2008 Ashley Todd lies. 8691.25/ Obama+7.5

October 27, 2008 The ATF reports stopping a skinhead plot to kill and behead Blacks - whose ultimate target is Barack Obama. 8175.77/ Obama+7.0

Wasn't this "pit bull in lipstick" chosen for her veracity and her appeal to the core Republican constituency? Isn't the most common response when asked of her appeal usually something like "she represents us". Why then is it surprising when racist taunts and epithets are screamed during her campaign stops? When reports surfaced of Palin turning on her handlers, why was anyone surprised? It's just her nature.
Maybe McCain should have paid more attention to the Vick incident - he would have seen that it's dangerous to be involved with pit bull fights. He would have seen that the one pit bull would draw out many which are of the same breed.
Poor McCain - he's too old and fragile to control a female pit like Palin.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I voted Monday. Upon arriving at the polling place, I was warned to make sure that my ballot had been processed correctly. It seems that a woman had attempted to vote for Obama but the check vote cue at the end of the ballot listed her choice as McCain. The County Clerk was called and the problem was fixed within minutes.
Has Diebold fixed it's problems (from past elections) with it's machines ?
Then check your ballot.

Palin Art

Chicago's Old Town Ale House has added a "portrait' of Sarah Palin to it's collection of celebrity art works.


If you're in one of these battle ground states, chances are that you've gotten a phone call.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Coach Woody

Do you remember Woody Hayes? he was a coaching great from a bygone era. As a former Navy man, his temper is well documented. I was never an Ohio State fan but I did respect Woody's coaching ability and service to our country. Woody was known as a sensible and friendly guy. He would often meet with those which whom he would disagree. But Woody's downfall would come when he took a swing at an opposing player who had happened to intercept a pass from his Ohio State Buckeyes. Woody, in a moment of desperation, had gone too far. Woody was a great coach, but his "riding roughshod over opponents" style became obsolete.

Tony Dungee? He would guide his team with a deliberate and didactic demeanor and Zen-like coaching style to a Super Bowl win. A Black head coach winning the Super Bowl? Many thought that it could/would never happen. When the haters would hate - Tony would coolly keep his mind focused on the task at hand.

The POTUS is more like a head coach than a quarterback. The President doesn't have the time nor the resources to manage every problem for every person. A President who would micro-manage every aspect of society would do more harm than good. Do I think that the next POTUS could solve America's problems? Nope! It's not his job. The job is to put the right people in the right place to enable the players (Us - some are quarterbacks, some lineman, some play "D", some are on special teams, some sit on the bench and watch the stars and wait for their ring) to execute the proper play at the proper time. The Head coach oversees the position coaches (Cabinet) and works with other members of a team's administration (Owners - Congress and General Manager - Supreme Court) to ensure a winning team.
The head coach manages his team's personnel and it's plays - he doesn't actually have a direct effect on whether the team executes or not.

Obama has been called "Only Inspirational", as though that was not a needed quality.
Obama won't solve my problems. It would be juvenile to expect him to.
Obama can create a winning mentality and environment to enable all to function at their maximum potential.
If the choice is between the antiquated coaching philosophies of Woody Hayes and the more current and more worldly philosophy of Tony Dungee - I'll pick Tony.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Obama + Stewart = Hughley (or D.A.G.) ?

I like Barack Obama. I don't think that he'll be able to solve many (if any) of the problems facing our country, but I still think that he's a better choice than the ever machination prone McCain. Obama's real accomplishment would be to create an environment where everyone could use their abilities to ensure their own success or failure.

I like John Stewart's show on Comedy Central. Stewart is seen more and more as a source for news and opinion by millions of young Americans.

CNN has come up with a plan that seems destined to have the same results as the WNBA. (I like basketball, I like women - let's put them both together! Sounds good - plays bad.) The network's plan seems to be a formulated vehicle for Hughley's brand of brash humor(?). A liberal Black guy doing the news is NOT funny - a conservative Black guy doing the news is (Note to Chocolate News and D.L.'s producers - Go the Colbert route not Stewart). Hughley's commentary is nothing new or original. (Although I liked his "Pimp Freddie Mack" bit.) D.A.G.'s Chocolate News is another example of the Obama Effect giving someone a shot because of a perceived racial void in news/comedy. Black comedians have been social commentators since the beginning of Black comedy (Cosby,Pryor, Mooney, Rock et. al.). Networks seem desperate to find a viable Black candidate to fill an ever growing concept of "real America".

What's next for the Obama Effect? A Black (or Asian or Hispanic/Latino) anchor on the nightly network news? Black radio hosts that speak sensibly about politics and social matters? (Good luck, Raw Dawg) Maybe the Obama Effect will open more doors for many deserving and qualified people. So far, neither D.A.G. nor D.L. fill this requirement.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Black Is Back

Wow, even that smelly "cologne" company Axe thinks that being Black is okay.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I'm Not Bourgeois

(Encyclopedia of Marxism) Bourgeoisie - The class of people in bourgeois society who own the social means of production as their Private Property, i.e.. as capital. Proletariat - a class of people who have nothing to sell but their capacity to work.

The order goes something like this;

Aristocrat - those born to power or wealth

Bourgeoisie - business owners

Petite Bourgeois - small business owners

Proletariat - workers

Wikipedia lists Bougie as; in urban pop culture among the working class of African-Americans a term used to refer to middle-class Blacks as sell-outs.

Today, for the 13,000th time, I was referred to as Bougie. As usual it came from an underachieving family member of someone that I was trying to help. I was explaining the difference between "doing well" and "doing good" to a seventh-grader. " think you're better than everyone else" was the response of an older sibling. Followed by "You think that every n****' in the hood gotta' act and talk white". During a time when we may have our first Black President in the history of this country and so many people still cling to past definitions of what being Black is?

"Oh, he's not really Black" is another typical response. Why? Because if he is perceived as Black and having overcome the same obstacles as you, you may be asked to do the same? Going by this definition, the best golfer in the world isn't Black? Halle Berry wasn't the first African-American to win a Best Actress Oscar? Mariah Carey doesn't hold the record (as a Black woman) for having the most number one singles? Frederick Douglas should be discounted for not being ALL Black? Dorothy Dandridge, Lenny Kravitz, Slash (rock band-Guns&Roses),Kimora Lee Simmons, Duane "The Rock" Johnson, Vin Deisel, . If Obama wasn't considered to be Black, there would be no stink in the media alluding to the racial implications of his presumed Presidency. As Spike Lee said in an Interview magazine interview; We need to step up. Not just the doctors, lawyers , teachers and engineers. All of us - janitors, factory workers, mail carriers, even the men on the corner...!

But I'll take "bougie". It's not offensive to me (even though it seems to have been the intent). Merriam Webster defines bourgeois as 1: of, relating to, or characteristic of the townsman or of the social middle-class 2: marked by a concern for material interests and respectability and a tendency toward mediocrity 3: dominated by a commercial and industrial interests : capitalistic.

Going by definitions one and three, sure, I'm bourgeois. I'd consider myself more urbane than urban. I work for myself and I am planning on opening a new business in the coming year. But going by the second definition - isn't it usually people from the hood who seem to always have better goods than any sensible person of the same means? Aren't people whose families are from the hood (and who will probably be there for generations to come) more worried about "Keeping it real", and getting some form of respect? Isn't the dismissal of anyone who achieves as being "not really Black" more common in one tending toward mediocrity? In the pejorative sense, the affectatious (my word - I don't know the proper and accepted variant of affectation) lifestyle of the hood is more in keeping with being "bougie". In the complimentary or aspirational sense, "bougie" can be seen as not thinking that one is better but actually being better than the other. So, thanks for the compliment.

Someone had to pay- People who have made it out of a bad situation have had to work. Most athletes have been training their whole lives to be the best in one solitary profession. Even with all of the preparation and sacrifice, many fail to make it to the highest levels. Entertainers are turned down more often than they gain approval. In both of these cases we usually only see the finished product and not all of the hurdles overcome by these individuals. Ask most successful business owners where they started and they will give a litany of their past failures. The difference? The successful people refuse failure. Racism - no problem, just another obstacle to overcome. No seed money - I guess it's best to keep my current job and just "stack" until I save enough to make a down payment. No one believes in me - so, I believe in myself. Accepting ones current condition as the final destination is what keeps the ghetto being the ghetto. Someone at some point has to take a stand against mediocrity.

Maybe one's parents or grandparents paid the price. This was mostly the case with me. My maternal grandmother's grandparents scrimped and saved enough to buy the land on which they were once sharecroppers. As it turned out, the land had marginal oil deposits. The land was also designated for the government program of paying farmers not to grow crops. In this case, making early sacrifices had unforeseen financial benefits generations later. My grandmother saved her share of the payments to go to nursing school (becoming a member of the first class to integrate the local college). She worked at the local Black only hospital and saved her money. Her husband (my grandfather) became a plumber, rail worker and longshoreman (a practice common at the time) and saved his money. They recognized a need for hotel rooms for the blacks who were visiting with their relatives in the nearby hospital (It was during segregation and Blacks weren't allowed to stay in most hotels). They added a studio apartment to the back of their house and rented the room out on a nightly basis. That one room turned into two. The two rooms turned into two adjacent houses. Those houses turned into a half a block. That half a block turned into an apartment complex and fifty-seven houses in three states. Yeah, I had a little bit of a head start. I've had opportunities that others haven't. I was given homes that I didn't build and fields that I didn't clear (but isn't that a Biblical blessing of those who do the will of God?). I may not have bought many of my possessions but I've earned all of them. My head start was only possible because someone paid the price. Nothing is ever free.

I'm not bougie. I was never ghetto - even when I lived in the ghetto. When one is bougie (in the most commonly used sense) they pretend to be something that they're not. (You see it all the time - overdressing for the occasion, bragging about things that are nice enough to have but not esoteric or nice enough to brag about, their over-articulation being an affectation of intelligence, wasting money to show how rich they are instead of spending money to enjoy what they've earned, carrying a huge wad of cash in their pocket (hint: if you can carry a large part of your life savings in your pocket, you don't have any money) and flashing it for all to see. Most bougie people seem to confuse money with class. Most bougie people who do this will end up where they began - wondering what happened and who they can blame.

(Image ;Yes, that my man Stymie - Little Rascals)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


The Powell endorsement is somehow wrong?
Here is a little more propaganda for all the haters.
The question is; What do you call a man that you can't trust?
It's a seven letter answer.
Go ahead, take your time.
... ... ... ... G E R.
I'll even fill in a couple of the blanks for you.
Yes, you guessed correctly. R E N E G E R. (If you made it a two word answer, maybe you belong on the Stormfront site.)
I have a question.
Does Joe Lieberman (while crossing party lines) support McCain solely because he's WHITE?

Monday, October 20, 2008

I'm Awake !!!

Chicago Sun Times - November 12, 2007 .
"With polls showing African-Americans have yet to give overwhelming support to White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill), his wife Michelle said "black America will wake up and get it" in an interview running on MSNBC on Monday."
Many people claim that Collin Powell's recent endorsement of Presidential candidate Barak Obama is solely driven by race. The polls show a different story. The black vote had to be earned by Obama. About this time last year, Hillary Clinton held a lead among Black registered Democrats 53% to Obama's 33%. Powell's endorsement also had to be earned. Blacks generally vote Democrat while their core values seem to be more in line with the conservative social values usually associated with Republicans.
While Blacks only make up about thirteen percent of America's population, their vote is largely seen as the reason behind Obama's recent surge in polls. According to a New York Times poll - six percent of registered Blacks stated that they wouldn't vote for a Black candidate while only five percent of whites stated that they wouldn't. Obama's support among Asian voters (according to New American Media) is forty-one percent in favor of Obama and only twenty-one percent in favor of McCain. Gallop lists the Hispanic/Latino support for Obama at fifty-nine percent to McCain's twenty-nine percent. Hispanic News gives Obama a more favorable sixty-six percent to twenty-three percent lead among Hispanic/Latino voters. All of these groups combined make up only about thirty percent of America's total population, and about thirty percent of that thirty percent is voting for McCain. So, all of the "ethnic" support for Obama is only just over twenty percent of the total vote. Certainly not enough to win the Presidency.
Obama raised a record $150 million dollars in campaign donations in September (breaking his then record $66 million dollars in August). Most of the money raised was in donations of two-hundred dollars or less. People sending five, ten or twenty dollars is most common. Even in these tough economic times, people seem to be voting with their pocket books.
McCain can carp about Obama having more money to spend on his campaign while McCain is stuck with his $85 million government hand out used to fund his. McCain is complaining because Obama was smart enough to know what was best? C'mon John, the old dream of what was once America is over. It only shows McCain's poor understanding of how money works in today's world.
"Powell is looking for a job in an Obama White House" is often a reason given for his endorsement. If that's the case, good. Powell doesn't need to work. Powell is at a place where he can choose for whom he would work. If that choice is Obama, that's great! That confidence in an Obama Presidency is even more reason to be thrilled with Powell's choice.
"Powell should have come out in support earlier" is another often stated response. No, Powell is a military man who understands that when one strikes is as important as the strike itself.
Politico reports that one Republican official citing the Powell endorsement as; "..the nail in the coffin.... Not just because of him, but the indictment he laid out of the McCain campaign."
Kevin Madden, Mitt Romney's former spokesman, noted the impact of Powell's endorsement as "aimed at easing those doubts about Obama's readiness and experience right at the time voters are making their decision...".
Britt Hume states "I think this endorsement will probably help to solidify (those) who were maybe a little concerned about Obama".
Powell is noted as being the first Black "Rock Star" of national politics. As the most credible of the Bush Cabinet. As being able to work across party and racial lines. McCain can cite Henry Kissinger, James Baker, Lawrence Eagleburger and Alexander Haig all he wants, those endorsements added up don't equal Powell's crossing of party lines. Palin, Palin and Palin ; the three main reasons many can't support McCain.
Maybe Dap needs to ring the bell for those who continue to blindly support McCain and his choice of Sarah Palin.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Top Five Minority Movies

I've read the lists of the the AFI's top 100 movies of all time (original 1998 and 10th anniversary).
I never noticed that in the history of cinema, there have only been two movies with a minority protagonist to make either list.
On the original list it was, of course, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (at number 99). On the anniversary list it was Do the Right Thing (at number 96). A gorilla made the list both times (the original King Kong) as well as an alien (E.T.) .
Really? In the history of Hollywood, there were no movies about Asians? What about The Joy Luck Club? Where are the Hispanics/Latinos?
I see that Birth of a Nation made the original list (at number44) but in more politically correct times it seems to have lost it's appeal and has fallen from the newer list completely.

The thing that got me thinking about good movies was that I saw The Five Heartbeats for the first time today? (So I'm a little behind.)

No, the movie doesn't qualify for one of the 100 best movies of all time. I'm not even sure if I would put it on my list of the 100 best Black movies of all time. But it had Troy Beyer. I wasn't a Dynasty fan but I liked Troy Beyer. If I had to choose between Halle Berry, Stacey Dash and Troy, Troy would win. She just looks like she'd be nice.

But Troy can't top my childhood crush. Dianne Carrol was my girl. I used to wish that I was Cory (her son on her show Julia). Ms Carrol is also in The Five Heartbeats looking as good as ever.

Am I disqualified from knowing anything about Black culture because I had never seen the movie? What movies are the five (or so) movies that everyone should see? What are the five (or so) minority or Black movies everyone should see? What are the five (or so) best movies and minority movies? What are the most seminal movies?

My favorite movies are; Malcolm X, Snatch, Black Hawk Down (or Apocalypse Now), Kung Foo Hustle and the Old Boy trilogy. My list seems to change about every three months. No, they're not the movies that I would say are the best. But they are the movies that I watch at least once a month.

I ask you.

What are the movies everyone should see or should have already seen?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Did Obama Win Again ?

"I'm not George Bush" was a pretty good shot.
But in the end the country's current economic conditions seemed to be too much of an opponent for McCain to handle. In a debate that McCain needed to deliver a knock-out punch, a solid jab here and there seemed to be all the old man could muster.

I watched the debate on Fox. If the pundits on Fox say that Obama won, Obama won. It's odd that McCain wanted to identify with Rocky while he was in Philly. Rocky lost to the smooth brotha'. Rocky was given a shot at the title after years of struggling on the under cards. McCain has been running for President for the last ten years.
McCain was counting on a lucky shot that didn't come.
(Note to John McCain; Stating that the country needs someone and something new in the Whitehouse only points out that you've been in D.C. for almost three decades.)
Maybe The 'Hockey Mom' and Joe 'The Plumber' can get a sit-com after the election.

Blog Action Day 2008 - Poverty

When we were kids and had no money to spend - we would sit on the curb, cooling our feet in the puddles of water that would collect in the gutters. After a long day of playing, we would daydream about what we would do with a million dollars. We had no idea of how much a million actually was, but we knew that it was a lot. I would always dream of making a lot of money and helping those who had little or none. But most days we were more concerned with having enough money to buy a Bomb-Pop from the ice cream man. We would sit and wish that someone would drive up and give us kids enough money to buy all the candy, bubble gum and ice cream we wanted.

How Do We Give? When I was older, I returned to the street where I had made all those wishes. My play-cousin Ray-Ray and I thought that it would be nice to drive down to our old block and give money to the children to buy whatever they liked from the ice cream truck. "Hey kid, Do you want some money?", I would yell. (Maybe that wasn't the smartest thing to do.) The kids took-off running down the block,-yelling, "MaMaaa...!". Initially, we drove off quickly - trying to figure out why these kids didn't want money. Then it hit us, times had changed. Maybe our old dreams were no longer possible. We drove back to our old neighborhood and waited for the police and the children's parents to confront us. After we explained and laughed at the situation, we drove away wondering about the real needs of the children in our old neighborhood. How do we give? I still have no idea.

Solving the problem of poverty is one of those questions with many answers. There is no single answer. There is no "Universal Solution". I've heard excuse after excuse but little in terms of a sustainable answer.

Many would say that education is the key. By 1940, the literacy rate for Blacks was 80%. Keep in mind that this was before the Civil Rights Movement and Brown v. . According to the National Adult Literacy Survey, the literacy rate among Blacks today is only 60%. In other words, the Illiteracy rate for Blacks has doubled (from 20% to 40%) in the last seventy years. Literacy is important. According to the Justice Department, 80% of incarcerated violent criminals are illiterate (or close to it). Who is responsible for making sure their children can read?

Many would cite racism. Let's take a look at race. The five "Blackest" cities and their percentage of the population, the murder rate and the overall crime rate; Gary, Ind. - 84% Black, Murder rate 8.75 times the national average, overall violent crime rate 1.31 times the national average, Detroit, Mich 81.6, 5.16, 3.38, Birmingham, Ala. 73.6, 4.63, 2.33, Jackson, Miss 70.6, 3.24, 1.52, New Orleans, LA 67.3, 7.54, 1.62 . The "Whitest" cities; Livonia, Mich 96.5, 0.00, 0.31, Cape Coral, Fla 93.0, 0.11, 0.45, Boise City, Idaho 92.2, 0.20, 0.55, Independence, Mo, 91.9, 0.23, 1.11 Scottsdale, Ariz, 92.2, 0.4, 0.37. Remember; the literacy rate for Blacks was higher before the civil rights movement. Literacy is a greater measure of incarceration than is race, economic background, parental situation or any other factor. (Do I really need to type all of the graduation rates for these cities?) The above listed cities and their dominant races and cultures reflect vastly different results. How can those cities that are seventy (or more) percent Black still cling to the idea of racism being to blame for poverty in their cities?

Still others cite genetics/eugenics. Many would say that maybe Blacks are just more stupid. Let's look at the percentage of Black African immigrants and their rate of having a bachelors degree or higher. Egypt 59.7, Cameroon 58.7, Nigeria 58.6, South Africa 55.8, Kenya 51.4. According to the Census Bureau, only twenty-seven percent of the overall population of the United States has a bachelors degree or higher. How can these (the Blackest Blacks) overcome genetics under the same circumstances? These Black Africans in the U.S. earn 50% more ($45,000 to $32,500) annually than their African-American counterparts.

The effects of entitlements. (A tale of two families) Both of my paternal grandparents grew up on farms. Both were raised in families with more than thirteen children (grandmother-13, grandfather-17) Both families received royalties from oil companies to lease their drilling rights. My grandmother's family also received payments to NOT grow crops (a practice used to supposedly stabilize the price of food and crops). After a couple of generations, most of my grandmother's family is dirt poor and unqualified to work - while my grandfather's family produces doctors, lawyers, professors, engineers, nurses and teachers. Even those raised in single parent homes learned to work for what they wanted, most are now professionals. Those who received money with no preparation failed - those who had a little help seemed to develop the skills required to thrive. Both families passed their values on to their respective children with almost totally corresponding results.

I don't hate the poor. Someone asked me how I could consider myself to be the third poorest person in Beaumont, Texas and still own so much property. It's easy, by doing too much for too many for too long with too little. (The same thing happens in states and municipalities with too many people relying on the system) I'm not just writing about the poor. I am poor. I'm writing from first person experience. My property was in a trust so I couldn't use it as collateral or sell any. I used what little I had in my 401k and savings to upgrade my rentals so that my tenants could have a descent place to live. I've done work for people valued at tens of thousands of dollars at no cost to the person (in addition to my volunteer work at Habitat) in an effort to try to help others get ahead. I've done without even basic utilities so that my tenants' children could have diapers, food and formula. As I'm typing this, I'm babysitting (at no cost to the family) an elderly blind woman so that her family can work and get ahead. So no, I don't hate the poor. I've become poor by trying to help the poor.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

White Savior/Magic Negro

I lost my phone during our last hurricane. My battery was dead so I couldn't call my phone to hear the ringing and find it.
One day a white FedEx truck arrived with a package.
No, wait... it was a yellow DHL truck that came with the package.
You know... come to think of it, it was a brown UPS truck that brought the package.
It doesn't really matter what color the truck was that delivered the package. What was important was the package that the truck delivered (a new phone).
A recent comment to a post stated;
"I think it's ironic that you cite Scipio, a white dude that defeated the African Hannibal, to make your point. Because, of course, white folks have the solutions for the poor. ..."
I'm not trying to put foreword the idea of a "White Savior"
I'm not as concerned with the source of information as I am with the use of that information
Although it seems that the White Savior seems to have a more pivotal role in a situation's out come.
Michelle Pfeifer - Dangerous Minds
Peter O'Toole - Lawrence of Arabia
Keanu Reaves - The Matrix
The counter-image of the White-Savior is the current ideology of the "Magic(al) Negro"
Magic Negroes are those whose sole purpose is to somehow help whites (in a supporting role) with their somehow other-worldly talents or knowledge.
Will Smith - The Legend of Baggar Vance
Guy Torey - American History X
Lawrence Fishburn - The Matrix
Now I read stories about Barack Obama being portrayed as the newest example of the Magic Negro.
Why? Why the need to somehow make someone out to be more than just a man who is trying to influence his country in a more positive way when given the opportunity?
(Or Oprah being a "Mammy" character.)
The Bible says that a prophet has no honor in his own land - hence, the need for an outsider to come in and make the appropriate changes.
Throughout history, there have been myths, legends and religions based on this premise.
From the Magi in Genesis,
to the Egyptian mediator deity Thoth,
to Hermes/Mercury in classical mythology,
to Athene helping Odysseus in the Odyssey,
to Merlin in the Arthurian tales,
to Dante's use of Beatrice and Virgil,
to Mephistopheles in Faust.
(Although the Faustian "guide" is more in keeping with the popular understanding of Jinn as; Aliens, Poltergeist, Demons, Ghosts or Nephilim and not angelic)
Most people need an outsider to find their answers.
For others it's the Christian belief of the Holy Spirit being in each of us.
It's Siddhartha leaving his BFF Govinda and the structure of the Brahmas and the Samanas because they couldn't teach him his truth (Buddhism).
White Savior or Magic Negro?
Who cares?
What is important is what they bring

Monday, October 13, 2008

Leave Sarah Alone... !

Would you trip a blind man?
Would you tease a mentally handicapped person?
Would you laugh at a dwarf?
Would you push an elderly person?
It's too easy. She's so dumb. Maybe Sarah Palin was just born that way.

Be The Man

I light of our current economic situation, many people have had to re-think their view of acquiring wealth (and what to do with it after one has it).

FreeMan has had a nice run of posts that deal with the situation. His "Sharecroppers" post seems to have sparked the best discussion on the issue in it's "comments" section.
Raw Dawg has a dog business, taenhoneybread does jewelery and Ed (Dream and Hustle) is set to launch a new web service provider (MochaSpot) run by his proprietary Fookie, Inc. .
The thing that gets me about Mocha is that it deals with things that people really and not just the things that people are told they are supposed to like.
I viewed a post over at The Black Snob ( Some Morning Inspiration) that featured a video montage (originally posted by antioch1432) that was set to an old San Cooke song. I love that song - it's so good that it hurts. After I listen to this song, I have to play Public Enemy's "Show En What Ya Got" just to get back to normal. Then it's L.L.Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out" to get me ready for my day to day dealings.
Of course I like rap, R&B and jazz - I'm supposed to.
But, I also like The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Clash and The English Beat. I like the X-Games as well as the USC Trojans in college football. I like a nice Merlot (actually there is a blended red wine called Manage a trois that is my favorite) but can kick it while sippin' on a Olde English 800. I can rock the Tims but usually wear Donald Pliner (or Cole Haan for casual wear).
Ed has figured out that being Black isn't limited to what Madison Avenue tells you.
Many Blacks have broken out of the stereotypes and have ventured out to find all that is really available to them.
Many have discovered that sushi is good and not to put too much wasabi on anything.
Many have discovered that the Olive Garden is to Italian food as Kentucky Fried Chicken is to Soul Food. Or the Red Lobster is to sea food as Taco Bell is to Mexican food.
Many have found out that the Polo brand is what poor people wear to try to look rich, but it is also what rich people wear to try to look poor.
Many Blacks now understand that the TIP you leave in a restaurant is more important than the money spent on the meal (in ensuring good service).
Many have discovered that "Hood Values" don't often translate well into a more middle class environment.
Many have discovered that the ANSWER to the problem is of much more importance than the problem itself.
Ed seems to be focusing on providing the best product and service available and not focusing on being a "Black" service. Ed seems to have figured out that we must take part in our economy as owners and not just be it's workers. We need to be where the opportunities are and not just stay in the hood (if that's not the best place to be).
Check out MochaSpot. Give feedback and suggestions.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Media Bias / No Touch-up For Palin

What's the controversy?
So Sarah Palin was pictured on a Newsweek cover without the benefit of a photo shop master. It is October after all and Halloween is just weeks away. Maybe it was in keeping with the holiday spirit.
The uproar over the unflattering photo (warts, mustache and all) is the latest effort of a desperate McCain/Palin ticket - to focus the pundits' attention away from the REAL issues of the campaign.
(NOTE: Not the real cover photo)
It's odd that the state of our political environment is one that seems to only focus on appearances and rumours, and not the little and frightened man behind the curtain who is pulling the strings.
I'm offended by the Obama cover. Why is it in black and white? Maybe to make Obama's Blackness more evident? Maybe it is meant to show that our country is still separated by black and white. I'm not sure (and not really offended).
Why the McCain /Palin ticket seems to want to; focus on "Obama the Black Muslim terrorist", dismiss Palin's ongoing "Troopergate" investigation (the findings are set to be released Friday), dismiss Palin's ties to a group that wants Alaska as it's own state, dismiss the Keating friendship and try to turn our county's attention to unimportant issues like a photo shoot are beyond juvenile.
Truth be told - I, like many Blacks had to be convinced to vote for Barak Obama. His support in the Black community was earned by defeating a popular Democrat opponent who is married to a past President who held a great amount of clout in much of the African American community.
McCain was always a possible choice for me. His choice of Palin only added to my worries of having him as our next President. His campaign just seems to be imploding, along with our economy.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Help Me Understand ?

Many people were upset at the way many people from New Orleans spent their federal rescue cheques after Hurricane Katrina. Some evacuees spent the money on gold grills, some to get their hair and nails did (sic.), some at strip clubs, some on liquor and some just went on vacation.
I guess greed and selfishness know no race, gender, ethnic group or economic level.
AIG spent $440,oo0 at the St. Regis resort in Dana Point, California to get their nails done in order to be more relaxed in their efforts to spend our $85 bil. in federal bail out money. To be fair, $440,000 won't even pay one day's interest on $85 billion.
We the people now own an eighty percent stake in AIG - like Wanda Sykes said; "I want receipts".
(thanks, brightstar;)

I'm still not sure how the bail out (rescue package) helps us.

As it stands today, our middle class is being forced to swallow a package that assumes that the markets will go back to working in their old paradigm. Didn't all of these "smart" people create this mess?

Obama's plan seems to be one of strengthening the middle class to the point of our economy being able to support any market conditions.

The bi-partisan House plan seems to be more of the same ideology that created this mess to begin with. A sell-out that only works under limited market conditions

I'm not in favor of a police state. The farther the government stays away from my day-today life the better. But - if someone robbed my house, I'd call the police and prosecute the robber to the fullest extent of the law. I wouldn't be expected to bail the robber out of jail. And to pay for his defense, and to make sure that he in a condition to continue to rob other people. WTF?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Someone Get This Man a Hoveround

The debate was the usual "He said-He said".
I'm not one to jump on the Old Man McCain bandwagon but ...damn...he's old.
The Town Hall format is supposed to be McCain's strength. McCain came across as ; NOT funny or clever, stuck in the past and... OLD. He seemed to stumble around the room (both in speech and action). I kind of felt sorry for the guy.
Barak came across as confident and poised. He took charge of the debate in a way that was telling of being brought up by one's grandmother - respectful to his elder. No jokes, no fluff - just the facts stated in a manner one would expect from a leader.
Obama/Biden.......1.....1.....1.....?.... 3
So far it's a shutout. Down 3-0, McCain/Palin needs a grand slam in their final at bat.
(Image; McCain/Obama - Newsday, Hoveround - unatt.)

Who Chooses to Be "Poor" ?

I'm not trying to pick on poor people.
I'll help anyone who is poor because of oppression.
I'll help anyone who is poor because of a disability.
I'll help any child who is born into a situation that they have no control over.
I'll help any elderly person who can't fend for them self.
I'll help anyone who is poor and working or trying to better their life.
I won't help those who choose to be "poor".
Is this cold? Maybe.

To many, living off of government entitlements is a smart business decision. If someone made poor choices in their life and has limited their ability to obtain all that is available in our country - living off benefits for a short time makes financial sense (sometimes).

Take "Lisa";
A single mother of two boys in elementary school. One son has asthma (Asthma and other ailments are common in the hood because of various social and environmental conditions.).
Lisa works one job full-time @ $8.00 hr. . Lisa also works an additional twenty hours a week in overtime to try to make ends meet.
Lisa grosses $560 wk and about $29,120 yr. .
Lisa spends:
$6,000 yr. on medical insurance (the other half being paid by her employer)
$6,000 yr. on rent
$1,000 yr. on school lunches (and some breakfasts)
$5,200 yr. ($100 wk) on groceries
$3,600 yr. (about $300 month) on phone service, electricity, gas and water
$5,200 yr. on child care
$27,000 yr.

At the end of the year, Lisa has $2,120.00 (or $176.67 a month) to pay for clothes, toiletries, furniture, transportation and any other incidentals.
Lisa still has to pay all of her FICA, Federal Tax and other items taken from one's paycheck.
Lisa has lived as frugally as one could expect.
At the end of the year, Lisa owes money.

Now let's look at "Uniqua"
"U" is a stay at home mother of two boys who lives next door to Lisa. One of U's sons also has asthma.

U gets:
$12,000 yr. in Medicare coverage
$4,300 yr. ($360 a month) in food stamps
$800 yr. from the free-lunch program
$400 yr. from the free breakfast program
$5,700 yr. in rental assistance ($475 month)
$7,200 yr. from SSI and child support (the government makes people on SSI get child support from the fathers - if known)
$30,400 in cash and benefits

U spends:
$300 yr. on rent (After section 8, U only has to pay $25 a month [I've seen rent as low as $12 a month])
$3,600 yr. on the same utilities as Lisa

At the end of the year, Uniqua has $3,300 to spend on clothes, furniture, toiletries, transportation and other incidentals.
U is home everyday to help her children with their homework.
U is home everyday to teach her children the social skills needed in life.
U is home everyday to discipline her children.
U qualifies for school grants to pursue a better life.
U has time to work under the table twenty hours a week for an additional $200.
But U spends the extra $10,400 a year on Jordans, grills, a flat panel television and other luxury goods.

Which situation would benefit a family more?
Based solely on income, the Welfare mother comes out ahead.
The trick is to know what one has and to make long term decisions on how to use those assets to benefit you in a sustainable manner.

Poverty is more a state of mind than a state of being.

(image - SuperStock)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

I Think ?

And I thought that we were supposed to be a "Chistian Nation".

"If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury (interest)..."Exodus 22:25
In fact most of Exodus seems to be a condemnation of our country's current policies and practices.

Lord Joseph Stamp, former director of the bank of England, 1937 - Stated "The modern banking system manufactures money out of nothing"
With deregulation and the over reliance on computer transactions - a bank doesn't even need to have in it's possession the money that it intends to use to make loans. Derivatives and leverage enable the banks to gamble on whether I'll repay a loan with as little as ten percent of the actual value of the loan in it's vaults. It is this type of speculation that caused the great depression of the early 1900's. Regulation was the tool developed to avoid another market crash.

"I sincerely believe that the banking institutions having the power of money are more dangerous to liberty than standing armies" - Thomas Jefferson

Didn't Abraham Lincoln end slavery a century and a half ago?
Did the President and Congress just sell all of us back into slavery - while convincing many that this new slavery was in our own best interest?
I'm not paying.
I'm claiming "Odious Debt".

Denise Huxtable is back on television.
Lisa Bonet was the reason I watched the Cosby Show.
Now the actor is in a new series called "Life on Mars".
Maverick 2: an independent individual who refuses to conform with the group
Would William Ayers be considered a Maverick? What about William Keating (who is closer to McCain than Ayers to Obama).
This "guilt by association " ploy seems like the most recent in a string of tactics in a campaign with no visible strategy.
The McCain gorilla warfare terror campaign seems desperate and on the run.
Do we gain traits through osmosis now?
The tactic of attacking Obama, based on his associates, may be one the McCain campaign would want to rethink.
"Much learning does not teach understanding" - Heraclitus
Sarah Palin seems fairly well prepared in stating facts - although I'm still not sure whether she actually understands the meaning of those facts.
S.N.L. - Queen Latifa
Queen Latifa is the only entertainer with a self-aggrandizing name that I actually like. Gwen Ifill seemed honored to have a "Queen" portray her in an S.N.L. skit.
Greed isn't good
Be like Warren Buffet; sell short and buy low.
(How can I get shares of G.E. ?)
(F*** the Haters.)
I recently played "Monster" with some of my really young cousins (a group of two year olds).
You know the game. I'm the monster and they have to try to beat me up and kill me. Their problem was that I could walk freely with them draped onto my legs and trying to pull me down. "No fair, you won't let us win", one yelled.
"I represent you and you are the haters", I told them.
One of the teenage cousins laughed that EVERYTHING I do with them has to have a lesson. But this teenage cousin has learned many lessons from such examples.
Some of my cousins were teased for being too black (and I mean ba-lack!) while others were being teased for being too bourgeois. This was the simplest example I could think of.
The moral of the story...F.T.H. !
(Photos -Fotosearch)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Scipio's Golden Bridge

This is the last time that I'll be collecting rent from most of my tenants. I've told most of them to find somewhere else to live and someone else to suck dry.
October 31st is ten years to the day that I've been involved in an effort to rid at least my neighborhood of poverty.
I spent the day running the usual errands for my people and decided to ask them why they were poor.
If one asks a poor person why they are poor, they give you a seemingly endless list of excuses; "It's because I'm Black and a Black a person has no chance in this world, my daddy left when I was two, I got hooked on drugs and couldn't get a good job when I got out of jail, my baby-daddy left after our third child, the teachers at school don't like Black people, ..." . The list of excuses goes on and on.
Ask them what they would have done differently and you get the reasons that they are poor.
You see, the excuses blame everyone else, the reasons cause one to take responsibility.

What do we owe the poor?
Can money alone solve the issue of poverty?
Is it a lack of education, opportunity, a sustainable social structure or just their decision?

IMO - We can do nothing for the poor that they are not willing to do for themselves first.
We should only provide Scipio's "Golden Bridge" of escape from their situation.
(It's up to them to use it.)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

But She's So Pretty !

One could tell that she hadn't been on this stage before. When it was time to perform, it was obvious that she was way out of her league. She really wasn't qualified. Her moves always looked robotic and fake. She had the moves down but her presentation just didn't seem right.

When I watch her on T.V., I see her old man in the background - reflecting on his past glories from more than three decades ago. He was a great American hero back in his time. I can still remember him competing against many from hostile nations. The memories of past glories still seem to haunt him but those old days are long gone. It's odd how he watches her take center stage like a proud father - reflecting back to when it was all about him. But those days are no more, it's her turn to shine.

"People think I'm sexy...but I'm not." she was quoted as saying.
I would have to disagree, she is sexy.
Too bad looks don't equal performance.
When I would see her in photographs, next to that skinny (almost skeletal) blond heiress - My eyes would always fall to her better proportioned figure.

The first time that I saw her, I said, "Damn... she's hot!"
"This chick is stunning!", that's what I thought.
She looked as though she had all the tools it would take, to win the crown
But when it came time to vote, it was three thumbs down.
I thought, "How could a woman with all those ass(ets), not know how to groove.
Now it seems like the tall Black guy, has all the right moves.
She couldn't perform, there's just nothing there.
It's sad to watch her, with only days to rehearse, learn and prepare.
Her partner would coach her, on every step and spin.
I still think she's sexy, she just won't win.

I'm not a big fan of ABC's Dancing With The Stars (or Sarah Palin) .
But I am a huge fan of Kim Kardasian.
-I never realized that Susan Lucci was so frail. I mean tiny, size "0" tiny.
-Misty May has an amazingly tight body.
-It's odd that the football players do so well. Warren Sapp is surprisingly light on his feet. He'll probably win the whole thing.
-Professional women dancers are sexy. I'm not sure about all of their faces, I tend to notice only their fit frames. I like Cheryl, she's cute.

But my girl Kim is gone, she was a huge disappointment. Her old man by marriage (1976 Olympic Decathlon champion, Bruce Jenner) couldn't help her prepare for dancing. Her ex-BFF, Paris Hilton, was of no use in this competition. Too bad being pretty doesn't count when judging one's ability.
"How could she have all that (butt) and not know how to shake it", asked Chris Rock.
Now that Kim is gone, I suppose that I'll go back to watching politics.
(Photo -unattributed)