Monday, February 28, 2005

Here's an interesting story

In a small city in Illinois known as Peoria there was an interesting rebirth. Peoria of the early 1980s was struggling until a man born of Lebanese immigrants decided to make a long shot run for mayor. He had to contend with an opponent with 6 years in office and was able to pull it off against him. To be sure it was a fluke in some respect and I'm sure Jim Maloof would disagree, but when he ran in the primary of 1985 he barely edged out the competition but had just enough votes to get to the next round. Then he worked hard to win the next round. He called another mayor of another struggling city with a vision and the rest was history. If Peoria was depressed just like America was in the 1970, Maloof was Peoria's Ronald Reagan.

In any event today Peoria is in a lot better shape. Perhaps better shape than the rest of Illinois and Illinois needs a candidate like Maloof.

Here's the column from the Illinois Leader.

2005 Oscars

This was the first time that I saw the Oscars being away at school and all, but it wasn't a bad show. There were a couple of things I wasn't impressed with, but it was an enjoyable show to watch. I regret missing the many movies that were made in the past year. Hopefully I'll be able to make so many others in the future and I'll see some of these on DVD.

There was one surprise last night. Comedian Jamie Foxx as best actor for Ray. I didn't expect that, but he did take a leap like so many comedians. Indeed it turns out many comedians can be good dramatic actors. I though it would have been Clint Eastwood or Leonardo DiCaprio.

Also Morgan Freeman won and oscar for best supporting actor in Million Dollar Baby. I've always like Freeman he's made some good movies Shawshank Redemption and Lean on Me to name a couple. Perhaps I'll pop in Unforgiven another movie he made with Clint Eastwood when I get back home.

Martin Scorsese was denied again this year. There was so much buzz about Gangs of New York over two years ago and then there was The Aviator last year. Lately Scorsese has be doing some period pieces. I liked Gangs of New York but Scorses isn't getting an Oscar yet. BTW, I have Taxi Driver at home and I've seen Goodfellas and pieces of Casino and Raging Bull has any of his movies won an Oscar of any kind. Well I'll either find some information on that or someone will come through for me.

In any case good show, I look forward to more.

Another column on Jesse Jr.

In Chicago's press Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is really becoming a hot topic. Laura Washington of the Chicago Sun-Times also wrote a column about him. For the most part the mayor's office seems to have become a permanent postion for Mayor Daley and Chicago is run mostly as a dictatorship until Daley. I say dictatorship only becase the aldermen who are supposed to raise opposition basically seem to rubber stamp everything. This is a far cry from the days of Chicago's first black mayor Harold Washington. During that time Chicago came to be called Beirut by the lake.
recent memory, Bobby Rush (he's a committeeman, but he's not really in the Daley camp) and Roland Burris. To be sure she names some other names but that was before I actually paid
In any case I don't know about him not having to face "real contenders". He's ran against in my attention during the 1995 mayoral election. In any event the last election 2003 Daley faced a bunch of political novices.

Could Jesse Jr. prove to be that run for the money Chicago needs? Well he may not have much support of Chicago's black establishment, besides from what I read they don't like him because he didn't "pay his dues". But if I believe he is what Chicago needs for the future and I don't really like his positions on some thing but I would gladly volunteer for his campaign. If he wins his first step is to end that 25,000 signature rule.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Jesse Jackson Jr.

Here's another column about Jesse Jackson Jr. by Chicago Sun-Times columnist Tom Roeser who's on the other side of the aisle for sure in politics. However I guess everyone is salivating at the idea of defeating Mayor Daley. But then the recent scandals that have occured under his administration certainly have caused a lot of speculation.

To be honest I'd probably vote for Jesse Jr. faster than I'd vote for anyone else. The last election was full of no name political novices who either talked crazy or they didn't know what they were doing except file enough signatures (in Chicago you need 25,000 to get on the ballot for mayor). But Jesse Jackson Jr. is at least a known quality in Chicago and to be honest I don't care much about his politics, however, there is a time where you need a different type of leadership in Chicago.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson is a black billionaire like Oprah. He made his millions in his sale of BET to Viacom and today he owns an NBA franchise in Charlotte. Apparently he's got other aspirations.

Apparently he's stepping up to the plate of being in influence in black America. To be honest I don't care too much for BET, but I think this is a positive step when you think about it. Of course I got this info from the leftist publication The Black Commentator. He attempted to put together a forum designed to, “for the purpose of brainstorming ideas as to how we as African Americans can best confront the political and demographic realities of the 21st century.” This forum never happened according to this article because of a lack of quorum.

Apparently Johnson has already been somewhat of an activist for the right wing. Which I think is great but since other prominent blacks or at least a majority already seem to be on the left wing of politics, it is definitely possible that he's gonna have a little trouble creating a concensus. To be sure his invitation got a response from Julian Bond who isn't exactly going to see eye to eye with Johnson.

In any case read this article and tell me what you think.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Here are some sites of interest.

You know I'll be honest some of the ideas for my posts here takes a little time and I tend to be impatient. That being said what I'd like to do will take me more time than I'd like, however, they will be material to be used in this blog. It is my hope that this blog exposes thing to those who read it. Today I'd like to expose everyone to some sites that I've ran into overtime. These are mainly black conservative/Republican websites.

First off this website wasn't even online until this morning. The Conspiracy one of many sites that I discovered when I first found and

Second, The Currington Perspective. You see him start to ask questions about those who supposedly represent him.

Third, the South Central Los Angeles Republican Club. He was on the Jesse Lee Peterson radio program and I thought that this guy had a hell of a battle to fight. He still does, but at least he's putting the GOP where they should really be.

Finally, I should mention Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson and Bond. You'll see what it's about but ultimately they seek to address the problems that these established black leaders fail to address. What is wrong with rolling up your sleeves and getting into the muck. Rev. Peterson is dangerous because he may not share the same views or is the same party as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and company.

More than everyone of those guys he may need support, but at least we now know that there is a different view other than what we see in Congress, in City Hall, on the county boards, and even in the state legislatures. We can at least see what those who don't have access to power really think.

Monday, February 21, 2005


Sometimes I'm still trying to figure which party I should belong to. I support President Bush but at this point in time if you must start a political career you may have to join Chicago's Democratic machine. Well either way in recents years Democratic activists have attempt to portray Republicans as racist.

To be sure today I do believe racism is used as a crutch but even more important it is used to keep people divided. It is no longer the Klan and keeps blacks and whites divided in this country but as it turns out, it may really be those who have charged themselves with bringing people togehter. See I've found information that concludes that historically it was the Democrats who supported racist polies, not always Republicans.

Democrats/liberals seem to sight 1964 president candidate Barry Goldwater and his no vote in the Senate against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I believe this to be more political than racist but for some reason when a GOP candidate attempts to go pursue black votes this charge comes up. The libs/Dems seems to always want to bring up the Southern strategy in which GOP candidates pursed southern white voters. Well didn't those voters used to be Democrat and seeing Democrats take the lead on issues of Civil Rights and accept more minorites into the fold I'm sure this frieghtened the southern white voter at the time. They connect this southern strategy with both Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.

In any event I've ran into an article from Deroy Murdock from the National Review. I seeks to swat whatever myths that have grown about who's racist and who's not out of the sky. I've not read it yet but hopefully you will and see if it's valid or not. Perhaps at some point I can come up with some point that I know about.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Exercising free speech

Last month Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown wrote a column about Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. The simple premise is that there are timese where you need to speak up and express some opposition to what's going on. That's what Jesse Jackson Jr. did.

Now to start Brown asks the question if you can imagine a world where a person spoke up against the policies of President Bush, Governor Blagojevich, and Mayor Daley and their their opposition roused speculation. That's what happened to Jesse Jackson Jr. To be sure there have always been persistent rumors that he may run for mayor of Chicago someday. But this opposition sparked more rumors. Brown talks to Jackson about this new controversy. According to Brown Jackson sounds like someone interested in running for Chicago's mayoralty.

Now the current city council or perhaps any city council in Chicago during the mayorship of Daley has been considered the most rubber stamped council in city history. Most of the Alderman either support Daley without question or they own Daley for the careers. That is either Daley helped them become alderman or Daley keep them as alderman.

I can't say I'm a fan of Jesse Jr. thanks to his family ties. He is the son of the "great" civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, but I would hope that this spurs serious opposition against how Daley runs Chicago. On top of that Daley thanks to the many scandal and stories that have broken out on his watch during this current term starting in 2003. Daley has some serious housecleaning. If he's not successful then Daley needs to watch out for Jesse Jr.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing

What does that mean?

It's the title of a poem by James Weldon Johnson written in 1900. This poem was composed to music by his brother Rosamond who was a composer. This song was originally used at a celebration at Stanton School (where Johnson was originally educated) for Abraham Lincoln's birthday. This "anthem" grew in importance thanks to the students who remembered the song and taught it to other students throughout the South. Twenty years later the NAACP adopted it as the "Negro National Anthem". My family sung this at their family reunions and it was sung at by the Morehouse College Glee Club yesterday at the Founder's Day Convocation. But you know what there is more to this than that.

Did you know there is also a black flag and a pledge to it. Now I've been singing the black national "anthem" since grade school, but these other pieces of information I've only learned in high school.

This flag goes back to Marcus Garvey back in the Harlem Renaissance back in about the 1920s. And here's the pledge apparently written by Amy Jacques Garvey. When I first heard this I made fun of it. THIS FLAG OF MINE!!! The red, black, and green.

I understand why these things exists. Mainly to give black America where there may not be much especially since for a long time America didn't seem to want us around, however, I don't celebrate or salute the black flag nor do I actively sing the black national "anthem" mainly because I consider myself an American first. I will stand up for black America because I want blacks to do better in many areas, but that is as far as I'd go.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Spike Lee on Founder's Day

Spike Lee a graduate of Morehouse College class of 1979 came to speak to the students today at the Convocation commemorating the 138th Anniversary of the founding of Morehouse College. I wanted to share some of the good points he made. Also want to share that he had a lineage at this school and at Morehouse's sister school Spelman College, in which his grandparents and parents are a part of.

His grandmother still is around at 99 years old. He also credits his grandmother with helping him with school and on his movie projects. He also said that his wife who never went to Spelman wants to send his daughter elsewhere, but since she is only 10 years old, there is plenty of time to decided where she'll go (of course she'll decide for herself ultimately).

Finally he came out and said that there were too many business majors at Morehouse. We need more students in the arts. Then he went to say we need more entrepreneurs (he said Morehouse has become the farm system for Fortune 500 companies). With this in mind his main message was do what's in your heart. Don't look at money just find out what you'd like to do. He also mentioned that there were many guys who made this mistake and they're divorce, balding, fat, otherwise generally unhappy because they made the wrong choices in their careers.

Also he mentioned there will be a School Daze 2. He's working on a script. The original School Daze was filmed in Atlanta and the school at which it is based Mission College is fictious, with which he gave a smile. The original dealt with a lot issues present at many historically black colleges mainly social issues regarding skin color and fraternities and sororities. He mentioned on specific scene in School Daze where a group of young men went to a Kentucky Fried Chicken. This goes on to his next point, don't leave behind those who haven't been blessed.

In any case there was nothing political here on this day, but I enjoyed this presentation. There is something from this program that I'd like to opine on, but I'll just have to wait until tomorrow. I need to give myself some time to do some research. ;)

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

NHL Season Cancelled

Well for the first time in professional sports a league has actually cancelled it's entire season in the past decade baseball, hockey, and basketball all had to contend with lockouts and strikes. But either the season was delayed or postseason was cancelled. But the league just checked itself out of an entire season.

There are a lot of sports fan who complain about the outrageous amount of money these professional athletes make. Somehow though the players have issues and any agreement that is failed to be hammered is a loss for the fans. As you know in 1994 hockey had a lockout and they wound up playing a half season only cancelling the all star game for the 1994-1995 season. I remember watching David Letterman when the NHL started playing again, there was a brief video with hockey players barely able to skate, very funny.

Also the other labor strifes of the past decade includes the 1994 baseball strick which not only cost baseball fans the rest of the 1994 and the playoffs but a few games of the 1995 season (they were even gonna hire some replacement players). In 1998 the NBA had a lockout. The NBA usually doesn't have much labor strife and then the strife hit. This cost the NBA half of the 1998-99 season. The NFL is missing I know but they seem to be the most stable sport right now, their last labor problems occured in the 1980s.

Now I want to discuss the strife that threatened baseball a few years ago. President Bush threatened to get involved and ultimately thank goodness the players and owners made an agreement. In a time in which we're still recovering from the worst foreign attack in US history the loss of that baseball season due to a strike would have not been good for morale at home.

This prompts a lesson in electoral politics. During the baseball labor strife of a few years ago they mentioned President Clinton and how he dealt with baseball. He didn't deal with it. Then some political analysts and reporters who have analyzed this years later have come to the conclusion that angry men went to the polls to express their displeasure at President Clinton for not doing anything about baseball or the very least their displeasure at what was going on in this country at this point.

Some people may not treat the labor problems of a few athletes as serious but it could beg the question of whether this affects elections or anything else.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Reading Up From Slavery

Right now I'm reading Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington, whom I have written a little piece about him last week. I don't know how long this will take but since I'm not a big reader, I rarely rip through fast and the only book I've been able to finish reading in a matter of days was Scam by Jesse Lee Peterson (at some point I may discuss a few points from that book).

The introduction to this book was written by Ishmael Reed. There are few things that ring true in what he rights in his introduction which shows a basis in history. It also shows the cycle of black activism. BTW, this book was written by Booker T. Washington and was published in 1901. This book was printed by Signet Classic in 2000.

The introduction emphasized the rivalry of WEB DuBois and Mr. Washington. In fact DuBois was a professor at a black university, Atlanta University (now Clark-Atlanta University), for 13 years and apparently in his own autobiography he has never ventured too far from the campus. Yet he wanted a more forceful approach to race relations in America.

Washington wrote this about DuBois in 1911:
Dr. DuBois pursues the policy of stirring up strife between white people and black people. This would not be so bad, if after stirring up strife between white and black people in the South, he would live in the South and be brave enough to face conditions which his unwise course has helped to bring about; but instead of doing that he flees to the North and leaves the rank and file of colored people in the South no better off because of the unwise course which and and others like him have pursued.
Of course in talking about Condoleeza Rice and Clarence Thomas and a few others who just so happen to be black and conservative, the charges of being manipulated by whites were present in Washington's criticism of DuBois. Of course I'm sure the same could be said about Booker T. Washington. Either way before anyone should ever throw that around perhaps they need to look in a mirror.

Of course, that's not the only thing in the introduction. The civil rights activity of the 1960s are seen as the time which belonged to WEB DuBois but the 1990s are characterizes by Reed as Bookerite. According to Reed:
This turning away from politics to self sufficiency seems to be the trend among a growing African-American middle class, who've found that electing mayors and other officials to government hasn't changed the lives of the masses of African-Americans.
Reed names a few black celebrities in fact he even cites the hip-hop culture. He cites Sister Souljah and Spike Lee. He even concludes that the Spike Lee joint Jungle Fever was,
...a tract that warns against race mixing, was the cinematic version of Washington's "separate in all things purely social.
Even the anti-capitalist black economist Juliane Malveaux saw black activism going into the form of economic activism and economic boycotts. In this vein Jesse Jackson was challenging Wall Street and he accompanied Bill Clinton to economically depressed areas and urged corporate investment in those areas.

Finally DuBois refers to Washington's school of thought as the Tuskegee Machine. Today it has been replaced by the Harvard machine. Reed refers to the Harvard Machine as the new talented tenth (which refers to the most educated amongst black America). They are cutting deals with Corporate America. Their style may be DuBoisian but according to Reed,
...their leader Henry Louis Gates, Jr., described himself as an "intellectual entrepreneur" during an interview with Black Issues magazine.
So I guess to say looking at this introduction what we see is a state of Black America as it was during the turn of the century as it was heading into the 21st century. Now black leadership is still decidedly leftist, they made some concessions to the real world. I will continue to read this book, I don't know when I'll finish but I'm really hoping is good.

As of now I'm in the first chapter.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Black History Month looks less hopeful along 47th Street

Another columnist from the Chicago Sun-Times, Laura Washington wrote a good column about a historical black neighborhood on the near south side of Chicago.

She starts off talking about a black artist Archibald Motley Jr. who captured a street in that very neighborhood in a painting called "The Stroll". This neighbor was jumping in the 1940s and earlier but today this neighborhood is blighted with vacant lots and boarded up properties. The Alderman, a woman by the name of Dorothy Tillman, is the political boss of that neighborhood.

Dorothy Tillman within the last year opened up her centerpiece project the Harold Washington Cultural Center in her ward. Unfortunately, for every one success there is still plenty of blight in the neighborhood. Of course changing a depressed neighborhood takes time, but according to Laura Washington Ms. Tillman was holding out. Here's a quote:

Over the years, Tillman has put aldermanic holds on dozens of properties. Many of the vacant lots in her ward lay fallow today because she has chosen to hold up the city-owned land for the proper time. Her cast-iron grip on that land has crippled development that might have blossomed into jobs and hope long ago.

She has made it clear that she is the master of her universe. Her critics have claimed her development decisions are tied to favored developers, especially those who come calling with campaign contributions in hand.

Ah-ha, there are questions to be asked. Of course as of late Dorothy Tillman has been involved in the crusade for reparations. In fact Chicago has the first reparation ordinance in the nation which requires any company wishing to do business with the City of Chicago to reveal any past ties to slavery. According to this column Bank of America failed to do this and resultantly Mrs. Tillman sounded the horn charging Bank of America with profiting from slavery and urging that Bank of America should be shut out of a lucrative city bond deal.

To this Ms. Washington had this to say:

But history, especially the African-American kind, deserves as much passion
from black leaders who get stuff done for those in need in the here and now.

Whether you roll or stroll, today's 47th Street ain't the way it's
supposed to be.

So this goes back to what I've talked about earlier will the current generation of black leadership have something to leave behind (a positive legacy of growth and building). Will it might be too early to tell, but I think that this question is still worth asking.

Bananas are racist

I remember a few years ago when they talked about the ideas within the black community that for one the K with the circle meant the KKK and other things. I mentioned the myth that the Voting Rights Act would expire in 2007 which means that we may no longer have the right to vote. Well I found something else and this truly boggles the mind.

I'll post this article in it entirety but this is from the Neal Boortz show:

My guess is that you're not going to believe this one. The story is so absurd, so ridiculous that you just know I made it up. Well .. the story appeared on page L1 of the Columbus (Ga.) Ledger-Enquirer on January 28, 2005. Here's your link.They want you to pay for the story, so you go ahead if you think I'm feeding you one here. (the whole story via google's cache) The story is so absurd I won't blame you a bit. It's your dollar.

OK .. here's the deal. It's January 15th; the MLK Holiday. They're having a civil rights march in Columbus. A woman writes a letter complaining about the conduct of a Columbus police officer during the march. Did the officer insult anyone? Did he yell racial epithets? Did he abuse or shove someone? Nope .. none of the above. So, just what did the officer do? Well, he ate a banana. That's it. The police department sent around a snack van to give the officers who were working the march something to eat. This particular office chose a banana. It's a good choice, actually. A banana is loaded with potassium which can give you a good quick energy boost. A much better choice than sugar. So the complaining woman sees the officer eating a banana ... and she's "deeply offended."

OMIGOD! An offended citizen! Lock down the city! Call the Justice Department! Alert the Media!

Now I know what you're thinking. You're wrong. The officer wasn't playing with the banana. He wasn't holding it or eating it in any manner that might be considered to be sexually offensive or suggestive in any way. Insert banana. Bite. Chew. Swallow. Repeat. Grow strong bones. Just that simple.

So .. if the officer wasn't playing Linda Lovelace, just what was the problem? Why was this woman deeply offended? Why did she complain? For an explanation let's go to Bob Poydasheff. He's the mayor of Columbus. The woman called him and started berating the cops. Mayor Bob (I can't pronounce "Poydasheff") told the woman that he had received nothing but compliments about the actions of the Columbus police during the MLK Day march. Mayor Bob tells us the woman said "No, no, no no. When the busses pulled into the Civic Center, I saw a policeman eating a banana, and I didn't know what to say." The woman then told Mayor Bob that the banana "was an affront to me and to others, including a former state senator" who she wouldn't name.

OK ... you're on the edge of your seats now, aren't you. You know there's more to the story, and you want me to fill it in, right? Sorry ... that's pretty much the story; except, that is, for the woman's reasoning. Here you go. Since it was a civil rights march, and since most of the participants were black, the woman felt that the officer eating a banana was actually trying to humiliate the black marchers by somehow relating black people to apes, since apes are reported to enjoy bananas.

I'm not joking, folks. Believe it or not, this woman has such a huge racial chip on her shoulder that she actually thinks that if a white person eats a banana in the presence of a black person that white bigot is somehow sending the message that he considers black folks to be apes. Now wouldn't this woman just be a delight as a next door
neighbor? Wouldn't you absolutely love to have to work closely with her? Every day you would have to pack your lunch oh so carefully. No bananas. Oh, and I'd be really careful about having any watermelon in that fruit cup. And no J. Fred Muggs t-shirts.

How did the story end? Well the unnamed woman demanded a written apology from Mayor Bob. Mayor Bob unfortunately didn't tell her to get lost. He actually wrote that letter. The woman has never responded. She works at some business on Powers Ferry Road in Marietta, Georgia. Hopefully she's kept in the back eating crackers where customers don't have to deal with her.

This is a strange story. One can't even eat a banana without someone being offended. Some people don't like the words under God on our money and at the inaugural, etc. Sometime when you hear about crazy things like this, it seems everything can offend someone. Then again I'd really have to question where this woman was coming from.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Low hanging pants

This trend has been around a while. Guys walking around with their pants sagging and you may see a hint of boxers or briefs. This has been the style since around the time I was in high school. It never took with me to be honest. In fact sometime I was made fun of because of it with comments such as tight *ss pants.

Well in Virginia last week, there was an attempt by their House of Delegates to pass a law to impose a $50 fine against those whose boxers, breifs, or thongs peeked above their pants or skirts. This measure was voted down in the Virginia Senate.

Personally I feel this oversteps the bounds of what a state legislature does and thankfully this bill did not advance any further than being passed in the lower house. This can be considered one of many things that black leader have attempted to take on while not addressing the serious problems.

In his column (you may have to sign up to see this column) today Clarence Page takes on this issue. The pants sagging down is a part of the hip-hop culture. Unfortunately that style does, even for me I must ask, have a very negative stereotype. However hip-hop culture may not be the blame for the negative actions of a few.

He sees what I see here's quote:

One of my thoughtful readers had the right idea in a response to one of my recent tirades against certain toxic aspects of hip-hop culture: "When you see an individual who is experiencing multigenerational poverty and you see that they are involved in hip-hop culture, it's easy to say, `It's the hip-hop that's keeping him down.' But scapegoating hip-hop only obscures the real problem: poverty."

Similarly, we see legislators today, frustrated at youth violence, making scapegoats of the trappings of youth culture, like baggy pants and video games, if only because it is easier than pursuing real solutions.
So I've seen black leaders in the past several years attack the use by certain state governments in the south of the Confederate battle flag, but is that really what black leaders should be fighting against. A flag is a flag but the symbolism of that flag is much less important than education, health care, economic development, and perhaps some other keys issues in black America. Perhaps we should not try to stop these kids from wearing what they want but at least make an attempt to get at the root of that problem.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Blacks & Social Security

I found this article on social security from the Washington Post. President Bush has made social security reform a part of his agenda. He stated this as a goal in the state of the union.

However, in this article he's courting black support for his social security agenda. As seeming to be a pattern right now, President Bush is meeting opposition not from individual blacks but by the "black leadership".

Jesse Jackson says:

"This move on Social Security is really an attack on Roosevelt...It reflects the extreme right-wing ideology that says there should be no roof for the wealthy and no floor for the poor."

The vice president of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Maya Roceymoore also chimes in:

"Any financial planner will tell you that retirement should rest on a three-legged stool: pensions, savings and Social Security...The only secure leg of that stool is Social Security. But if you move to private accounts and something happens to the stock market, you have a collapsed retirement stool."
Of course this article at least mentions a very low level example outside of the black activists. Robert McFadden from Medford, NJ describes how his father paid Social Security taxes for 30 year but died at age 57. McFadden's sisters and brothers were too old to collect survivor benefits and his stepmother is likely to qualify for a higher SS payment than Mr. McFadden's father.

Robert McFadden says:

"When my father passed, his Social Security passed with him,"

"Some people say this idea will only help people with certain lifestyles and certain incomes, but I challenge that...I see seniors in my church right now who cannot even live off of what they are getting from Social Security. I think the idea of taking a small portion of your taxes and creating personal accounts in minimal-risk investments will teach people who don't save the concept thatcompounding interest over years provides an opportunity to increase their family's wealth."

You've got the activists claiming this is an attack on a late President's memory, that there will be increasing disparities with Social Security privatization, and then you've got a person who's not an activist who sees how unfair social security is to so many in his community. Can one see who is truly out of touch?

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Reader comments

At 2:01 PM, potatowned said...
Very good essay. Sounds like a school with a rich history.

Do a lot of ehnicities go to Morehouse or is it predominantly black?

Morehouse is a predominantly black school. There are a few "smatterings" of other ethnicities here. You might run into a white guy or two. There are two asians attending school here (one Japanese the other Chinese). If one didn't look at Morehouse as a black school this could really be the place to be for a good education provided that you had money, financial aid, and the aptitude. As well as the ability to work hard.

Also be advised that thanks to the work of many alumni of this great institution and other black institutions that it is subject to the same laws as Yale and Princeton. They cannot discriminate totally based on race.

2005 Otis Moss Jr. Oratorical Contest.

Morehouse students have to go to an assembly known as Crown Forum. Doing so fulfills a graduation requirement. Today, we saw a group of guys engage in an oratorical competition. Morehouse has a tradition of oratory, just look at Morehouse graduate Dr. Martin Luther King. There was one guy that impressed me today.

He talked of issues in black America specifically but also in the world in general. He said the good thing about Canada is their health care system I disagree. But he was right about things needing to be done in our own backyard. The way he did it engaged the students who used Crown Forum to catch up on sleep. He used a little hip hop rhythm and that was impressive.

Other guys did OK but that was a tough act to follow. If this did anything for me it just means that I should look at solving the problems in my backyard. I could look at the rest of the world and one should but what's not more important than the home base.

Well in any event the theme of this competition is "Men of Morehosuse: Creating Compendiums for Multi-Cultural understanding and World Peace". A good subject for a school which produced outstanding leaders.

Booker T. Washington

During the last year or so I had bought one of his books, Up From Slavery. I would hope to get something out of it. So many have claimed him to be the equivalent of a conservative today if he were with us. After Frederick Douglass, he was one of the most prominent black leaders of his day. He dined with Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States. This was a scandalous event and while Washington was frequently asked for advice by the President, he was never invited back to the White House. Thanks to his connection to Presidents Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, Washington had access to patronage.

Mr. Washington was born in 1856 in Virginia. He was educated at Hampton Institute which provided him with the greatest influence that he sought to use what he learned at Hampton at the school he founded Tuskegee Institute in 1881. Both of those schools mainly emphasized industrial education. When Washington attended Hampton his trade was a janitor.

In my article on HBCUs, I mentioned that many HBCU presidents struggle with obtaining endowments. Mr. Washington had only a meager state appropriation but he had to raise some extra money mainly from white philanthropists such as Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller.

Booker T. Washington did speak out against the injustices of living in the south at the turn of the century however he never pushed for civil and political equality with whites. He believed it was best to concentrate on developing the economic skills and character. Thus the burden of improvement were left on the shoulders of the black community. This idea was popular amongst many whites and for this idea Washington was known as the great accommodator. He gave this famous speech in 1895 called the Atlanta Compromise (I've yet to read the full text forgive me).

His main rival for the most part was WEB DuBois who sought a more aggressive push for equality. And by the time of his death in 1915 his leadership was on the decline in favor of WEB DuBois and his creation the NAACP.

I would just like to say that while Washington's racial philosophy did not survive the changes that were emerging before his death (mainly black migration to the north), there are some who pretty much use Booker T. Washington as their standard. Mainly a man born in Alabama who is currently based out of Los Angeles, California named Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson.

BTW, I will read his book. I'll let you know what I think and maybe there are some lessons to be learned there.


Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Special Report: Bill Cosby in trouble

Within about the last month or so that Bill Cosby has become the subject of a sexual misconduct allegation. There was a recent article from ABC news that has shed light on this. Bill Cosby during the past year has been making comments critical of how black parents raise their kids today.

The allegation is that Bill Cosby gave this woman a drug that knocked her unconscious and Mr. Cosby proceeded to fondle her. While it is not uncommon to delay reporting this crime, the timing of this allegation should be seen as suspicious because of Mr. Cosby recent outspoken activity and the fact that this event occurred early last year and happened at his Cheltenham, PA mansion.

Not to say that I don't believe it but I'd rather treat this with a grain of salt. As I believe everyone should. Hopefully some semblance of the truth will come out.

Dr. Benjamin E. Mays

I attend the school he used to run from 1940 to 1967. During his Presidency at Morehouse College the school became what it is today. There are many complaints about the school as it is today and it might thanks to who runs it now. I try not to complain much though, I am where I want to be and while it is hard and tough, I shall hang tough and hopefully I'll live up to the legacy.

In any case I found this essay in a classroom when I waited to start class.

"The Negro, I am convinced, is the white man's obsession."
-Dr. Benjamin E. Mays--President Emeritus of Morehouse College

Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays was very influential in the Christian ministry and American education. He is remembered for his outstanding leadership and service as a teacher, author, mentor, scholar, preacher, and activist in the civil rights movement.

Dr. Benjamin E. Mays was born August 1, 1894 near Epworth, South Carolina. He served as pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church from 1921-1923 in Atlanta, Georgia. Recruited by Morehouse President John Hope, Mays would join the faculty as a mathematics teacher and debate coach. He earned a master's degree in 1925. In 1935, he obtained a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Later in 1934, he was appointed dean of the School of Religion at Howard University and served there until 1940.

He became president of Morehouse College in 1940. At Morehouse College, one of the country's leading black educational institutions, he launched a 27-year tenure that guided the institution into international prominence. He upgrade the faculty, secured a Phi Beta Kappa chapter, and maintained enrollment during wartime America. His most noted forum was on Tuesday morning at Chapel at the historic Sale Hall. At his important historical event, he challenged and inspired the students to excellence in scholarship and in life. One of Morehouse's most distinguished graduates, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. '48, remembers Dr. Mays as his "spiritual mentor" and intellectual father."

Upon his retirement, he served as president of the Atlanta Board of Education form 1970 to 1981. He received 56 honorary degree's, including a posthumously awarded degree from Columbia University. He published nearly 2,000 articles and nine books. Dr. Mays was also widely noted on his disagreeing stance on segregation, and the speeches he made against it. Benjamin E. Mays was among the first generation of people of color to be born into freedom in the southern United States. In 1926, he married Sadie Gray, a teacher and social worker, who dies in 1969. Dr. Mays dies in 1984. Dr. Benjamin Mays will be long remember in history for his relentless and robust dedication to education, his robust stance on equality, and domineering values of excellence.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Black relationships

Originally I wanted to talk about relationships between black men and black women. To be honest I can't say too much about that. I haven't had much experience with women. But to be sure I've seen how black women and black men interact with each other. I've also seen it dramatized on TV and in movies and of course in other mediums.

But a column from the Illinois Leader has changed my mind and this subject is on my mind from time to time. This is as important in how black men and women interact with each other Sometimes it's not always positive and sometimes it results in consequences.

When I was thirteen I ran into a couple of boys talking about intimate experiences with girls. Just as you think what I mean, of course, I can't say that I took it that seriously at the time. Of course it became a problem by the time I got to high school. There were a lot of ladies knocked out of school thanks to pregnancy or child birth.

When I think about it makes no sense to me. Some of these ladies didn't exactly get knocked up by the most stable men in the school. Those who'd stand by them through thick and thin. Chances are these young ladies are now single parents and the men who helped them conceive the child are not anywhere in sight.

Do you guys see a key element here? Responsibility.

To be sure the guys who do this aren't responsible but in some cases neither are the ladies. Particularly those who want to continue to party and probably only because they have mommy and/or daddy who'll take care of their children. There are a lot of ladies with the kids they didn't want or need that have some issues within them and unfortunately they take it out on the kids. Going so far as to starve them or throw them off a roof along with killing themselves.

In any event it's unfortunate that many women get caught up with guys who are no good for them and then have to live with the consequences of that choice. It's also unfortunate to the good men who wind up caught up with the ladies who are no good to them. For the most part the ladies are left alone to perform their motherly functions, but the men if they choose unwisely will have nothing but heartache. Probably more so than most ladies who have to chase their men down whether they want to or not. Actually they shouldn't have to.

Now let me get to me for a second. I've been somewhat blessed to not have run into these problems. I've been tempted (as rare as it was in high school) but I held my ground. There are a lot of guys and girls who did and they have to live with that decision. It helped that earlier on I decided that I didn't want to get no one pregnant and of course a lot of ladies helped me out with that. But if I can avoid the mistakes so many of my peers and others have made I think I shall do alright. That is also advice I'd give to other young men out there.

Monday, February 07, 2005

GOP Puts Minorities in Positions of Power

I saw this on the Rush Limbaugh site. When you get a chance before they update the page listen to the audio and read the transcription. They talk about two of the most powerful minority persons in US history Condoleeza Rice and Alberto Gonzales. They've went through a lot to get to where they are today.

Alas despite their positions they will get belittled. In this instance here's a little transcription from Rush: "And now the liberals and the left will be forced to continue, because they know nothing else, to read pages from their playbook about how the Republicans are racists, sexists, bigots, homophobes and all of this, and yet there are pictures. Well, now, wait a minute. If Bush is a racist and is a bigot and a sexist...? The left will have answers for this but they will no longer be persuasive. Their answers are irrelevant. They will claim that Bush is selecting Uncle Toms or these people are sellouts to the cause or what have you, but in the meantime, they do serve in these positions of great power and authority and they are part of the president's team. Pictures say a thousand words."

That being said it is sad to me how black have gotten partisan to the point in which they would accuse those of joining the other side of being sell outs and traitors. As I've mentioned once before I've had a guy visit my home who went so far to say Dr. Rice may be "our" color but not "our" kind. However, I could say this about some in the black leadership because what that means is so objective to me. Be that as it may that is perception. I also want to say this perhaps Condi isn't standing up for black folks but is that really her job now. Her job is now as a diplomat and previous to this her job was to advise the President of the United States.

This same man referred to Justice Clarence Thomas in that regards too. Is it his job to stand up for us. It's his job now to be fair. If a black guy came to him looking to be released from prison and all the evidence indicated that he committed the crime and there was no basis for the appeal would Clarence Thomas seriously release this man from prison. I most certainly hope not.

In any case while supposedly the Democrats are the party of the minorities and of the working man, why do they always seem to attack those who aren't Democrats. And why is it that they don't appoint minorities to the important positions. Bill Clinton appointed blacks to the cabinet level posts in Agriculture, Housing & Urban Development, Labor, and Commerce to name a few. But he didn't seem to appoint anyone to Defense, State, or Justice. And it turns out some of the people who he did appoint to those positions may not have been the absolute best for the jobs.

Still despite the belittling by the Democrats is it still safe to say that there is a gap here and it is not the GOP with the problem?

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Ronald Reagan

I want to take a time out and acknowledge one of our late Presidents. And if it wasn't for the love the American people gave him when he passed away last June. Most of us saw the pomp and circumstance of his state funeral and the theatrics.

However, a lot of people remember good times under Reagan. The economy was booming. America was strong again. There was a faith in this country again.

Alas I can't say that I feel the enthusiasm, however, I respect why so many people loved him as their President. He is the standard which we measure up our recent presidents. George W. Bush was supposed to be a return of the Reagan years.

That being said, I'm a supporter of President Bush. I loved his leadership during the trying times during and after 9/11. Could Reagan have done any better? Well I saw what Bush did. I must say that after the Reagan funeral George W. Bush was for me what Ronald Reagan was to many during his time as President.

Today February 6, 1911 was his birth. June 5, 2004, he was born into eternity.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Historically Black Colleges

Today we're living in a time in which affirmitive action is under attack. Conservatives are having bake sales at colleges around the country and are starting white only scholarships. There are some points I want to discuss about HBCUs.

First, to be considered for admission to a school like Morehouse you are basically considered on an individual basis so that means no extra credit for being black. These schools were built to educate blacks. If you needed affirmitive action you'd have to be non-black.

Second, there are about 100+ HBCUs around the country. Look at this Yahoo listing. If you see the list disregard Chicago State University it just basically a university that happens to serve primarily a minority population it actually began as a teacher's college and no doubt it wasn't exactly designed to educate blacks. In any case it could be said HBCUs are no different than other schools designed for a particular community such as Whittier (Quakers), Augustana (Scandinavian), Notre Dame (Irish Catholic), Yeshiva (Jewish), Brigham Young (Mormon) to name a few.

Let me just state for the record that I may refer to Morehouse as a reparation . Let me explain that according to the history of Morehouse this institution was originally founded by white missionaries to train former slaves to be teachers and ministers. That fact isn't true of all HBCUs for instance Morris Brown College was actually founded by the African Methodist Episcopal church. Another case in point is Booker T. Washington's vision Tuskegee.

There is a downside though. Blacks don't support their schools as well as say alumnis of Yale, Harvard, Princeton, etc would. I'm sure there's a good explanation but the primary reason that I've seen used is that the alumni of an HBCU may not make as much money as an alumni of an Ivy League school for instance. That may be true to an extent, but the fact remain that an HBCU college president like Dr. Walter Massey must continue to struggle to attain funding for their particular institutions. Not to say these schools are close to broke indeed Morehouse seems to be doing very well financially although they could stand to upgrade some of their facilities, however there are those who could use a boost.

Another downside is perhaps the reverse of lack of support from alumni. I'm reffering to enrolling students. At Morehouse at least from the information I found in a book which listed all the colleges in this country at least 85-90% of all students recieve financial aid. That could mean a majority are either poor, middle class, or someone is just taking out loans. Also there are those students who come here using their military benefits. Indeed most of those military students join an ROTC unit of which Morehouse has a Navy ROTC unit.

However Morehouse has still graduated a number of famous or accomplished alumni. I won't just single out Morehouse a few other HBCUs have graduated someone famous or accomplished whether they be in Hollywood, Radio, TV, journalism, writing, academia, ministers, etc. Could this mean that these guys and gals have made it without affirmitive action. I believe it can be done. It may also prove that one need not gov't funding to produce outstanding students even though some HBCUs are state sponsored.

There's one other item I'd like to share. I saw a program on C-Span a few years ago. It was at a college Republican meeting from Northwestern University in Chicago. A black Republican from I think Oakland, CA spoke to the group, he was the owner of a convienve store there and he talked about his college choices. He was accepted to Berkeley I believe but to the dismay of his parents and grandparents he had other ideas. He opted to go to a HBCU in Louisiana. I'm not sure what school it was but my guess is that it was Grambling State University.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Black business

Perhaps black America would be on track if there were more of us in the entrepreneurial world. There are a lot of young men working hard in the tough business department at Morehouse. I hear them whining and complaining. I suppose what makes up for it is that they have dreams. Dreams of going up the corporate ladder or of owning their own enterprises.

To be honest I do business with a minority owned bank and I expect to be able to continue to do so. It's better than keeping my money in a box under my bed. My mother goes to a black owned dry cleaner and has her taxes done by a black accountant. Every now and then we eat at some black owned food establishments.

There is a buzz that blacks don't like to do business with each other. In fact a guy attempting to cash a check at my bank said he'll never come back there anymore.

I can agree that it's more important to do business with someone not because they share the same ethnicity with you but because they're the best at what they do. Alas there is a misconception that blacks don't know how to handle their business and it's better to do business with white people. That isn't exactly that truthful either.

In any case if we were like other ethnic group in this country (at least historically) I wonder how much better off the black community would be. It would be nice if black Americans were no different than the Jews, Italians, and even Hispanics. We've even skipped a step, we were already here in America, we were just slaves.

There is talk of the economic power of blacks, and indeed we have in the past (Montgomery Bus Boycott to name one) brought business to their knees by boycotting those who engage in something that blacks don't agree with.

Whatever the case may be. There are a lot of talented individuals in black America who can make that money. All we have to do is use it and if anything else use it for the advancement of black America. Besides there are a lot of us who can do more than be athletes and entertainers.

Perhaps at some point down the road, you'll know about a few black entrepreneurs that I know about.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Misplaced priorities

One of my favorite columnists Mary Mitchell of the Chicago Sun-Times has a column with regards to the problems of a Hispanic community in Chicago.

She mentions the various murders that take place in Pilsen and then proceed to talk about two hispanic politicians who go ont he attack against a toy company who created a doll whose story these pols (Rep. Luis Gutierrez and Ald. Daniel Solis) claim as " an unintended mistake" and as "demeans the character of thousands of families and their daughters who grew up in Pilsen". Ald. Solis also says that there are problems "across the country with gangs". Mary Mitchell believes they are in denial.

I'd have to agree. Unfortunately, these leaders are attacking the wrong problem. Just as I believe black leaders are doing the same. Shouldn't Ald. Solis and Rep. Gutierrez (who may run for mayor one day) be attacking the gangs that are not conducive to Pilsen's safety rather than this toy company?

Also the story of this doll is true. Her family has to leave a dangeroud neighborhood because it's unsafe and that's what many families regardless of ethnicity are doing. Blacks included. Alas even when we do escape these issues they will follow you. Ms. Mitchell mentions Maywood as a perfect example.

Still this is a case of misplaced priorities. Englewood is another neighborhood mentioned which is seriously overrun by criminals but you really don't hear the Aldermen there going after that problem aggressively.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Black Leadership

I found a story about Al Sharpton marching with PETA (you'll have to register with the NY Times to read this story) against KFC over their treatment of 750 million chicken they process every year. The only thing I can question is why PETA would let a questionable guy like Al Sharpton march with them.

Well this begs another question. Could today's "black leadership" be irrelevant? Would they have a legacy to leave behind like other black leaders have?

For instance Frederick Douglass fought slavery, he was a ex-slave himself, and saw the freedom of his people. Then there was Booker T. Washington who founded an education institution that still exists today. Then his rival WEB DuBois he would be more in line with many in black leadership today but his positive achievement was the NAACP. Then of course there's the Morehouse Man Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Who led a successful Civil Rights crusade. Malcolm X went to prison and remade himself to be a great leader and a positive one and he left us way too soon. Those are to name a few and if I did enough research I can list their achievements.

But what do "black leadership" have today. Today they're not merely civil rights leaders and ministers. They serve in gov't either in executive position whether elected or appointed, but they also are on county boards, city councils, state legislatures, and congress. What can they point to as far as successes.

Jesse Jackson can point to getting business for Black Americansor at least expanding opportunity but how he does and who he does it for is questionable. There are some who would say that he does this only for those in his inner circle.

What do those on the Congressional Black Caucus in Congress have that might be worth bringing to light. I'm sure they bring in the money for road projects and schools or whatever federal money that might be needed at home but what else. Right now all they seem to do is throw fire at whitey or the Republicans (doesn't matter what color they are).

What about Al Sharpton? He became famous under many dubious circumstances. Jesse Jackson is his role model and now he seeks his place in the spotlight. He went so far as running for the Democratic nomination for President. He stood up for a girl who as it turns out was lying about being raped (link to information forthcoming), he apparently exasperated a riot between black and Jews. His run for president may have really been more of a grab at some money more than it was to just see a black man run for president and win.

What about today's NAACP? Is Julian Bond going to be a positive leader or is he just going continue to be a fire thrower?

The black leadership today (this is they way I see it), is extremely partisan and they aren't at all worried about the success or failure of black America. A celebrity is standing up for black America the way it should be. I'm talking of course about Bill Cosby. There are serious problems in the black community. They include economic growth and education to name a couple. Right now listening to Bill Cosby and the "black leadership" black America's still struggling, however the question is to whom to point the finger.

"Black leadership" seems to insist on blaming racism (those with the Confederate swastikas and Republicans), while Bill Cosby seems to want to blame ourselves. To that I'd agree. We have ourselves to blame if our children are out of control and they speak like "knuckleheads" and dress like thugs.

This is not to say racism doesn't exist or vast inequalities. It's just that racism is often used as a crutch instead of rising above it and doing something with your life. I remember an ABC special with John Stossel a few years ago. There were a group of black guys in a New York neighborhood who he queried about getting a job downtown. But they were convinced that they wouldn't have a chance downtown and they wouldn't even try, but weren't most of these guys unemployed themselves? Did they have anything?

That being said I'm sure this post will be met with some controversy, but I do find this to be true in many respects. And to be fair there are actually those who are truly seeking black advancement especially in those communities that need it. But race baiting and putting the blame elsewhere is not going to help the cause.