Saturday, January 31, 2009

President Obama's Weekly Address



This should be subtitled the Good News/Bad News Scenario.

Well he's letting us know the economy is in the crapper! He's saying he showed up on Day One with things worse than ever. He's telling us things will deteriorate before they level off. We've been warned. This address is total CYA for him and putting those politicians that would try to thwart his plans on notice. 

I recall the Republican talking points up until their Convention from their candidate John McCain stating the fundamentals of the economy were strong (and still claiming it mid-September when the ish started hitting the fan). I remember #43 telling us it was just a hiccup, a slow down. Mistakes are one thing, but they were lying and dumped everything onto Obama. I shudder to think what would be happening right now if it was McCain/Palin in office. No matter what Obama does - or doesn't do - the bar has been set so low a mediocre Obama would still run circles around #43. Isn't that just pathetic!


I'm all for accountability, but I find it very telling that a real plan for destruction and disruption that the Republicans and their infiltrators (agenda traitors) in the Democratic party are planning is fully present and visible. If the horse has run off and is heading towards a brick wall how can you claim you're controlling it or that it's not loose. Once the horse has been corralled and someone else has the reigns how can you then claim you have ideas about how to lead that horse to water? You had free reign for 8 years! If you couldn't figure it then what makes you think ANYONE will believe you have any idea what you're talking about NOW?! Too much greed, too much spending and living beyond our means has brought us here.  

Everything Obama's saying about wanting to mend what I'm calling, The Great Big Financial Catastrophe sounds good. Unlike the Depression in 1930's wealthy people today have made sure to modify the laws to protect their financial interests by and large. So the majority of people going down will be the working class. The working poor are already screwed. 

At least he's speaking to the people directly instead of mumbling about abstractions to the press and claiming unqualified appointees are doing a "heck of a job". I do believe that #44 wants to do the right thing. I haven't seen any evidence that Obama is personally motivated by greed, avarice or ideology. If he didn't think he could do the job he would not have run. 

I just don't underestimate the obstacles we'll all have to climb to get over to the other side. If enough people want real change they will make personal modifications and adopt a shift in attitude. Everyone is not going to be helped in the way they want. That American Dream fantasy was always a lie. People have to stop spending money they don't have and live with less. Of course that will affect consumer-based retailers and other companies that depend on us buying every new gadget annually. It was never necessary and it needs to stop. Nor will I dismiss those shifty tendencies of  shady politicians looking to line their pockets or those easily influenced by evil. We're watching. 

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More Inaugural Week Video: Pelosi Meet Up


This was recorded at the brunch thrown by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi for California constituents who were still in town the day after the Inauguration. It's a little choppy in parts because I was dodging other people who were moving in and out of position. She relays a a funny moment about seeing #43 off in the helicopter and her enthusiasm for #44 is evident. I do remember that she is politician though and take all that charm with a grain of salt. Studying how people attain and wield power and influence should be required learning for all of us!

video

Here are some photos from the event. 

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We still need more of the pols to sign up for Twitter accounts and join TweetCongress! Even if it's being monitored by interns we need a direct point of contact.

Friday, January 30, 2009

RNC Appoints First Black Chair: Strom Thurmond Rolls in His Grave!


Well symbolism is a powerful thing! We have our first Black President and in an effort at keeping up (appearances) the Republicans have just elected the first Black Chairperson for their National Committee. Progress indeed! 91-77 is close. What, Condi wasn't available? Michael Steele, the current Chair of GoPac will now oversee how the Republicans present their image to the public in order to remain relevant to voters. When Sean Hannity endorses you, I guess it's a foregone conclusion. It's all about the power baby! 


Now we'll see what overtures are made versus what policy changes are implemented (or blocked). He is a self-professed Lincoln Republican and seeing how our new President invoked Lincoln - even going as far as to swear on the bible used by Lincoln - hopefully they can find some common ground. It should not include attacking poor women of color and limiting their family planning choices, the continuation of the separate but equal marriage vs. civil union argument along gender lines or union busting.  It should not include the use of divisive language by candidates inflaming racial animus amongst the hordes. 

The Republican party has a serious credibility problem right now. Conservative values and fiscal responsibility may be the main talking points of the party but its leadership has engaged in anything but. Talk is cheap. Not that the Democrats are much better, but there are actual leaders in that party who are women as well as people of color. The RNC is at its most vulnerable right now and its members are clearly scared, though they wouldn't dare admit it. We'll see if a man who is unelectable as of late has the support to rebuild the party - or if he's just serving as window dressing in an attempt at fooling people. We know a Black face in a high place means little. 

For those of us who wish to strategize and consolidate a small but powerful group whose needs will be addressed, this is a wonderful opportunity to take advantage of. The masses may get involved in fighting for crumbs and complaining about how imbalanced things are but we need to move beyond that and be like the few who are always taken care of despite party affiliation. This might be the time for a few politically conscientious objectors to switch parties - or at least attend some meetings to get a feel for things! 

Like I've stated I want the Obama Administration to be very successful in addressing the needs of those who've been disenfranchised and ignored. In order for that to happen we need people to be the impetus to set an agenda and put it forward in a strategic and carefully implemented way. No amount of protests or rallies or poison pen antics is going to work. I don't think #44 would be opposed to more liberal policies IF there is sufficient political currency stored up and ready to be cashed, but he's not going to jeopardize his reelection efforts. He's playing it safe - too safe - but we know this and can work around it if we plan accordingly.

We know the Republicans (and some Democrats) are set to walk lock-step in opposing anything he wants to get done that isn't a continuation of their failed agenda. We need to create a net to contain this. We cannot have a repeat of Bill Clinton's first term where they took control of the House and then the Senate and stonewalled the best of his policies. He didn't help matters with his personal failings and threw a lot of qualified Black women under the bus. He implemented a lot of policies that actually hurt Black people and had he been a Republican in office more people would've been paying attention. Instead some claimed he was "one of us". Stupid, stupid stupid!!! 

Not that we're going to agree on everything, but there are some core basics that have been left by the wayside. We must preserve 2010 to get to 2012. We must use the Republican upheaval to our advantage and put those Blue Dog Democrats out to pasture once and for all!

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Old School Friday

This week's meme is remakes and originals. I watched some of the Ted Haggard media blitz earlier and between wanting to gag, I was angry that yet another woman feels so tied to retaining the title of MRS to a wretched man that the whole idea of feminism seems even more of a fallacy to me. I immediately thought of storms and chaos, then the song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" came to mind. The original is a Simon & Garfunkel classic, but Aretha Franklin takes it in an entirely different direction. I also love Eva Cassidy's version. Happy Friday!



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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Obama Signs Ledbetter Act Into Law: Women Cheer!


Do ya think some of the carping from certain entitled women will forever be silenced now that #44's first legislative signature is for a step towards compensation equality? Probably not, but they'll look a little more ridiculous in the future. I received an email from Kristen @ MomRising with this photo of her and Lilly Ledbetter at the White House this morning: 


"Passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act reverses a bad U.S. Supreme Court decision that made it impossible to win pay descrimination cases that were filed after 180 days of the pay being set--an important fix to a critical problem, but it doesn't solve the entire problem of unfair pay practices. We have a long way to go."
We can send a thanks to the members of Congress that supported this legislation, overturning the obstacles presented by the Bush Administration, Republicans and a rather partisan Supreme Court. The President and First Lady both addressed this landmark moment.

U.S. President Barack Obama gestures in front of bipartisan ...
"Making our economy work means making sure it works for everyone," Obama said. "That there are no second-class citizens in our workplaces, and that it's not just unfair and illegal — but bad for business — to pay someone less because of their gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion or disability."  Source

First lady Michelle Obama speaks as Lilly Ledbetter looks on ...
First Lady Michelle Obama, in a separate reception with Ledbetter in the State Dining Room, praised her courage and principles. "She knew unfairness when she saw it, and was willing to do something about it because it was the right thing to do — plain and simple," Mrs. Obama said.  Source

Remember it was John McCain, a man who lives off the wealth of his wife, said women didn't need equal pay they needed more "education". Of course who's going to be paying for that education was never addressed. For women who never marry their earning power is directly tied to what Social Security and other retirement benefits they may (or may not) receive should they not be able to claim a spouse's earnings. This is another benefit of marriage as legally defined in its current configuration and why same gender relationships will have to be reevaluated. Black women will be especially hit hard should they face retirement on reduced earnings (somewhere in the 55-62 cents range per every dollar earned by a white male), with no spousal compensation and having spent a lot of their resources caring for others. 

White House photos from Reuters & AP
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Why Are So Many Companies Going Under?


Can we got some detailed explanations from economists WTH is going on with the economy?! I do NOT understand why all of these companies from Circuit City to Yahoo to the friggin' Postal Service are reporting millions - and billions - in losses! What have they been doing the past 8 years? This isn't all about bad mortgages and bank mergers either. I suspect this is the result of rampant greed that went unchecked and false religiosity cloaked in ideology by a lot of dishonest people.

It's no coincidence these companies are hitting the bricks right at the beginning of the new Democratic Administration. You know #43 and his cronies and lapdogs have been hiding all the crap under the floorboards, way back in the closet and the levees are about the break (again). Why should #44 be considered a failure for not being able to waive a magic wand over all of this?! It's a no-brainer that infrastructure should be part of the economic relief package because it's BROKEN! You can't build on quicksand

Tax breaks for the wealthy will do nothing for those of us on Main Street....or the Alley. This is so far from over it's down right frightening. I sincerely hope all those blocking solutions because of partisan politricks get voted out of office. **Ah-nold still hasn't managed to get his Rethug legislators in line to agree on a budget for California either. No state grants for school or tax refunds. It must be nice to be really wealthy but so divested from concern about the average wage-earner. Ah, but the let them eat cake motto led to a revolution.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

President Carter on Current Events & President Obama

CNN aired the President Jimmy Carter interview on Larry King yesterday. I admit I have a soft spot for Carter who seemed like a nice man who got the shaft because he has scruples and didn't play into racial stereotypes. This is the man who infamously told Clinton to curtail his zipper problem so it wouldn't negatively impact the country. Supposedly Clinton didn't appreciate it and despite rumors to the contrary Carter claims they're friendly. Body language might suggest otherwise. Sometimes we need to remember to be humble, no matter what our position on the world stage may be. We see where that lead: from one unpleasant scenario into complete chaos! Now that the country has experienced what life is like under the hard right regime and more and more companies will go under, perhaps we will rethink how ideology causes more harm than good. I'm far more liberal than our current President but he definitely has the ability to reach out to people I'd just as soon spit at. So I'm glad for a reasonable, nuanced and intelligent leader for a change. Now we have to make sure the truly progressive voices don't get drowned out by the more combative elements circling. 




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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Unfiltered Views on the (Latest) Middle East-Related Conflicts


I don't expect to see this being critically examined on my nightly news. Dismiss it if you will but this is definitely food for thought. Particularly in light of the economic instability spending $9B + annually on military aid for other nations is costing US taxpayers. Amongst other expenditures. We are responsible for allowing our gov't to do things in our name - especially as it begins to negatively impact a large portion of its citizens. 

There are some people who won't get overly emotional about taking a viewpoint one way or the other. As a Black person of American descent I'd like to ask what's in it for me and mine? What alliances have been negotiated that proves worthiness for my support? If I was in need of serious help and a place of refuge who and want entity could I count on? There's many citizens around the world who need assistance - some from my very own gov't! We should be the priority.

Some think a foreign country who wants to engage in armed conflicts should be paying for it themselves. Anything that important with those type of ramifications should be engaged very carefully. Especially considering yesterday's friend is today's enemy and such. I'd like to see an end to the rhetoric and double-speak and definitely the blank checks. It's nothing personal. We are seeing what happens when we leave our futures to the whims of others. We don't necessarily have the same interests and to pretend otherwise for a grand gesture will not clothe or feed us when things hit the skids.

Ron Paul discussing political fall-out from gov't meddling.


Israeli solider discussing his disagreement with his gov't and why.

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So Now the Rethugs Are Concerned About the Budget?!


President Barack Obama is pictured alongside House Speaker Nancy ...

It's day 8 of the Obama Administration. He was sworn-in approximately one week ago. The President wants a huge stimulus package to make it's way through Congress so he can sign it into law. The economy is in the toilet. While politicians want to add pork and hem and haw over semantics they are still being paid or come from family money. That does nothing for the ever-growing list of unemployed as more companies lay off workers and try to stay solvent. 

When the Bailout plan was initiated last fall, people were rightfully outraged. It was falsely rebranded as a "Rescue" package. As we see the only thing that happened was large corporations and their lobbyists got a very generous parting gift from Shrub. None of that money went to the people. President Obama is using diplomacy and perhaps "begging" all members of Congress to vote for his bill. He isn't threatening martial law - unlike #43. 

So why aren't the Republicans getting on board with this economic recovery plan? Why am I hearing the same rhetoric of how Democrats are "tax and spend" - minus the Republican motto of "fiscal conservation"? Well, they can't claim it anymore. Shall we do the math? The costs of the world domination agenda is very pricey. Iraq has cost us at least 1 Trillion - and counting.   Add to that the Republican-led deregulation efforts of the banking industry and you see why we are here in this mess. 

Yes, individual people overextended themselves and need to clean up their financial messiness. But you couldn't spend on credit unless you were given credit to begin with. The financial institutions made a fortune putting as many people into as much debt as possible. They set the prices for homes and intentionally over-inflated their value to bundle the mortgages and sell them. They offered those shady mortgages. It was the two-fold punch of exchanging paper with no real value, spending all the money in the piggy bank on war mongering and borrowing money from Saudi Arabia and China. 

Oh the Dumbocrats have to take their share of the blame as well, but the rampant disregard for any common sense or sound fiscal principles lay solely at the feet of the political party large and in charge for 8 years. I want to keep a list of all the members of Congress who support and don't support Obama's plan. Don't try to hold it up because you don't want a woman to have access to birth control pills or want $3M for a toilet. If it passes and is successful then President Obama has his first victory; if they can kill the bill on the floor it will be a setback. These politicians are forgetting something in their political posturing: their constituents are going down the toilet. They will not forget who stood in the way of them getting relief. Relief that had been promised by the last Administration but was not delivered. 

If the Rethugs (from Senator John McCain to Rep. Dave Camp) were so concerned about the budget and debt where we they nine days ago? One month ago? One year ago? They stood by and did nothing. So I don't want to hear any of their BS now! Just sign off on the bill. If it doesn't work it will be egg on the President's face and he can fail all on his own. Of course I don't think Obama would put a grossly flawed plan together. I would not underestimate him or rule out him playing hardball. He's not quite the Magic Negro some may think. 2010 and 2012 is not that far away and they need a reminder they may not be in office if they keep this up! 

I urge everyone to contact their elected officials and gently remind them who they're supposed to be working for! We need an additional extension of unemployment benefits, students need their financial aid for school, free clinics must remain open, the banks are supposed to be lending money freely again! It's time to get with the program. He won - now move on!  

Update: From The Field blog: How Obama is setting up a GOP Fall.


Reuters photo of the President, Speaker Pelosi & House Minority Leader John Boehner 
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Monday, January 26, 2009

Blago Blago Go Away....


No one can say this man doesn't have balls! Governor Rod Blagojevich is spending his time doing a press junket with the New York news media as his impeachment trials gears up. He's scheduled to appear on Larry King later - bumping former President Carter from today's line-up. I really wanted to hear what he was going to say about the Obama Administration because I know it will be of some substance. Carter always seemed more like a nice man than a shrewd (or uber-corrupt) politician. 

Instead we get to hear the "spin zone" from a shrewd politician. Need I add the corrupt adjective? I will still give Blago the nod of deference for the way he appointed Senator Burris over the objections of Harry Reid and exposed Reid's meddling. That was brilliant. Don't bring a knife to a gun fight, okay?!  

I love how Blago brings up Ah-nold. If California had any money left and additional year on the actor's term he would be impeached, you can trust that! Since Twitter was all abuzz over his appearance on the View earlier I thought I'd post it. I'm still working on my follow-up #Inaug09 post but have a film class to attend in 15 minutes. Enjoy!

                       Barbara Walter Solo pt 1

                                Barbara Walters pt 2

                           Group Interview pt 3

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

When Coloquialisms Run Amuck


I was having a conversation with a passerby while in a customer service line yesterday. We briefly spoke about the Inauguration and the weather in SF compared to DC. We separated and went about our business. As the woman left she turned back to say goodbye to me but what she said stopped me cold, "See ya later gurlfiend." Or it was some variation of that because honestly my mind went blank for a moment as I felt as I'd been punched in the gut. I swear if she had used a a racial epithet I wouldn't have felt worse. 

So why did it bother me that she addressed me in such a 'familiar' manner? I immediately told myself I was overreacting and she didn't mean anything by it. So why did I want to go after her and tell her that wasn't a friendly exchange? She was a white woman in her 40's. I'm younger and am Black. I felt she insulted me and though it was partially race-based I feel much more strongly that it was a class issue and a way of keeping me in my place. Or the place where she sees Black people - not where I see myself belonging. 

If you know anything about me you will know two things: one is that I despise beer and cold tomatoes; the second is that I do NOT speak Ebonics!!!! I could walk out the door and onto the set of any news station and deliver the reports with aplomb, okay. I have a writing style that uses a certain stylistic flourish but I am edumacated. I don't sashay down the street, do a neck roll, snap my fingers, pop gum, speak at an ear-splitting decibel or wear clothes that expose my body to the public. I have Black female friends and we do not refer to ourselves or each other in this manner. 

Of course this woman wouldn't consider herself racist because I'm sure she knows some Black people. She may even live near some or work with them, too. To be clear I don't have unlimited disdain for white women (or men) though I do bring up the systematic privileges white people automatically get to enjoy and how the majority don't (want to) realize it. I also talk about how whites who think they're more liberal or (non-racist) because they're not members of the KKK but don't acknowledge such privilege are deluding themselves. It's easy to be benevolent when you're holding all the cards. When the time comes for sharing and giving up some of those cards is when we shall see how invested in equality white people truly are. There are certain individuals who are aware of this and are willing to do so - but as to the collective - the jury is still out.  

I'm not even going to get into the racialized sexism particular to Black women as perpetrated by Black men and the Black community as a whole. It exists though and the sooner we stop trying to conform to ridiculous standards of 'acceptable' Blackness and putting ourselves last, Black women will continue to be the mules and overlooked. We will still internalize our suffering to our detriment. That's for another conversation though.

Now I know this woman somehow thought it was okay to speak to me the way she did because no one has told her otherwise AND in part due to the crap on tv and in the media.  I also know that she does not refer to herself or her white friends that way. I have noticed lately a lot of non-Black people using what I'd refer to as some form of "Black-speak" with each other, which is definitely based on the class status as the source of those that use it but is almost always attributed to race exclusively. The larger problem is that this is the majority image being shown of Blacks around the world. It's distinctly American and patently absurd. 

Quick: name a tv show with a majority Black cast that contains Black professionals who just happen to be Black. {Crickets}. Well, wait there's the ABC Family show Lincoln Heights which is about a family that returns to the hood so the father can make it a better neighborhood. If you don't have cable you can watch previous episodes at ABC Family online. Now what do I say about this other than this is the vision that someone has about Black people instead of it being envisioned by Blacks. What man in is right mind who understands his role of father and husband as a provider and protector would intentionally move his family into a bad neighborhood because he wants to 'save the world'? That is the most arrogant display of ego or extreme foolishness as the character works in law enforcement. So if you can get past that giant roadblock I recall the show being advertised on the basis of the oldest teen daughter and her budding interracial romance. It's not a bad show and is currently in it's 3rd season - but that premise is very very flawed.

It's a goldmine compared to the other 2 shows that come from the (feeble and Black woman hating mind) of Tyler Perry. House of Payne and now Meet the Browns. If someone asks me if I've actually seen any episodes I will admit that I haven't. Why? The commercials show me all I need to see. Dumbier and Dumbiest. Laughing with their mouths open, dancing, jolly, rotund, loud and using made up words to convey a point. All they'd need is Blackface and throw in a few phrases using the word "massa" and that would complete the coonery. If I see another Madea movie advertisement....grrr!

The Game - if it's still on the CW. A show about professional (foot)ballers and the women who may come in and out of their lives. Of course certain criminal elements refer to the "game" as dodging the law and trying not to get caught. Some guy decided to use that as his rapper moniker as well. Somehow I keep thinking the people that got beat up or killed during the Civil Right's movement wouldn't be pleased right now. 

Can I just state for the record how disappointed I was when WB & CW merged and Half & Half got cut! We never found out who Mona chose. I loved that show!  The Game is based on an excellent book, Interceptions and the real-life story of Staci Robinson. She pitched the idea and in true Hollywood fashion had her idea stolen and used without her permission or compensation. She sued and settled for an undisclosed sum. These situations are rarely exposed publicly.

Remember how the network cancelled Girlfriends (see where people get these ideas?!) after the writer's strike ended without giving the audience a finale episode. It really pisses me off that shows like Gossip Girl are considered successful and those actors get the celeb weekly covers and the subsequent paparazzi interest when they have similar ratings - but I get it - different demographic. 2M+ viewers but one audience has less melanin is therefore more valued.  

I'm not even going to mention that joke of a show on CNN by DL Idiot and no, Chocolate News does not hold a candle to its counterparts on Comedy Central. So there you have it. It's either reality tv with Black people foolishness or cable tv with it, but all I see is foolishness. So it's no wonder some random stranger initially thinks despite the manner by which I carry myself I must be like the only images she sees on television. After all, other Black people watch these shows, will defend them as well as participate in the foolishness. 

One image of a Black family in the White House and one television show from 20 years ago is not going to undo all the damage that's being inflicted by people who know better but don't care because they're cashing a check. Hurrah for progress! I guess I'll brace myself in the future.

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

President Obama's Weekly Address


Excellent!

So I've tended to listen and dismiss them until now but he's the Prez so this week was of particular interest to me. From plans to close Gitmo, to allowing less restrictive stem cell research, to the passing of the Ledbetter Equal Pay Act (which he's expected to sign) I am liking what I see. He talks about transparency, building infrastructure and increasing the PELL grant. Yeah for students and it's been 20+ years so it's way past due. Broadband access and adequate public transportation are absolute necessities. He even addresses the skeptics. What can I say, he had me at hello.


Go to recovery.gov for more info. In case you haven't checked it out the new Presidential website is like totally awesome dude. Ok I'm being a little silly I know but I just arrived back in SF about 2.5 hours ago and I'm a little punchy. I'm signing off to a take a much needed nap.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Old School Friday

I still have 2 more DC related posts that I'm working on, but in the meantime I am back to my regular scheduled blogging (I think) between the nasal spray, Zicam, tea and soup. I am determined to not take any antibiotics unless absolutely necessary. I have to return to JFK and was able to get an earlier flight out. I didn't mention how the airline half shredded my checked-in bag after charging those ridiculous fees. They promise a replacement piece of luggage - just putting it out there that I want a new Samsonite bag!

This week's theme is songs that were banned on radio. I couldn't think of any off the top of my head and I'm not interested in the more 'colorful' tunes out there. I think most of the crap that gets played today is what should be banned but that's just me. I remembered about the infamous Clear Channel list that was distributed post 9/11 that included some of the greatest songs recorded and the irony of mediocrity that's allowed today.

So here's one of my favorite 80's videos with the amazing vocal stylings of Pat Benatar. The theme in the video is very serious and I wish more artists would take creative chances and offer some substance. On a funny note, I always laugh at her attempts at being cool/the dancing diva but I still remember the choreography! Enjoy!

Love Is A Battlefield



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Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Big Fat Inauguration Recap Part One


Sorry Folks: My internet access has been very spotty and I haven't been able to update anything!

I’m sure for many it was a day of tears. Tears of joy, frustration, sadness or intimidation but definitely memorable. I for one was very happy not just for a Black man getting elected, but definitely getting a qualified person for the office of President. I’m especially proud of having our first Black First Lady and who doesn’t think their daughters are absolutely precious!

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk down ...

DC traffic was tightly micromanaged and the public transportation slowed to a trickle as the transit authority tried to manage the crowds. One woman fell onto the tracks at a station and would’ve gotten run over if not for the quick thinking of an officer who pushed her into the space under the platform.

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Many people camped outside overnight away from the perimeter zone by the National Mall in order to be the first ones on the scene. They didn’t care whether they had tickets or access – they just had to be there. The official count totaled 1.8M people but I can guarantee there were probably a minimum 500K additional people vying to get in. Factoring in the wind chill it felt as if it was 12 degrees or less, but that didn't deter people from participating. Crowds flowed and swelled to the point where you couldn’t move your arms as people tried to push their way to the checkpoints.

Those who received Swearing-In tickets felt like the million dollar jackpot winners. Tickets were color-coordinated with a designated Metro stop and gate entrance. When I went to Nancy Pelosi’s office to claim mine the bulk of the remaining people milling around were stragglers begging for unclaimed tickets. Yes, some people actually did not show up! The ticket has a map on the back but there was some confusion amongst Silver ticket holders who went to the Purple Gate, which had a better viewing area.


I heard from other attendees (and apparently some of Pelosi's staff) despite being in line at the time of the Gate opening (and having waited for 3-4 hours prior) they were turned away because so many others had tried to bum rush the wrong access points. Let me tell you, I would've been furious to have flown here and not get in because the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies did not plan well. That's on Dianne Feinstein, who I thought was hamming it up to the nth degree and needed to remember it wasn't her election, it was the Obama's. Plus, I was informed by someone I met in passing he got a seated ticket from her office after requesting on November 5th and he's not from California! If things are truly going to change in government we have to do something about patronage.

I saw the craziness from afar {magnify that crowd by 10K} and decided to leave for the comfort of an office party. I have a really bad cough right now so that decision was as much a health preservation as much as anything else. I was 2 blocks from the White House, warm and fed! I'm glad I left because I very well may not have gotten in and I promised I wouldn't write another angry post like the one about Denver, but it's the same problems for the same reasons. Don't these committees PLAN for anything? Did they really expect people to honor the fact they didn't have tickets and would stay away from the ceremony?! Ha! There has never been this level of interest in an election.

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While at the party I was on Twitter and reading the real time messages out loud had many of us cracking up. Bill Clinton looked mad and I saw Hillary nudging him to perk up and be happy for the cameras. Jimmy Carter was beaming. Dick Cheney gets zero sympathy for his wheelchair antics and scowl. Shrub looked like he wanted to bolt. I also noticed how he and Laura were oh-so-firmly being guided to the plane to get the h-e-l-l out!!

We had a collective sigh of relief that Aretha Franklin stayed fully covered but I was surprised she wasn’t wearing one of her many furs. Rick Warren was a big bore – but he had to be chill. Jeff Lowery was hilarious - and no offense - very elderly! I loved that he tacked on a portion of the Negro National Anthem to his Benediction. Elizabeth Alexander's poem was like a great piece of art: beautiful but over the heads of a lot of people. Reading the text later made it much more palatable.

Who didn’t notice how Chief Justice Roberts messed up the Oath? You know our new President AND First lady both had it memorized. Some pundits tried to claim he was nervous – yeah right! It was hugely disrespectful. I can’t wait for him to be neutered when Obama starts appointing new members to the Supreme Court. I also think it’s time to revisit this lifetime appointment nonsense. **So now Roberts contacted the President to redo the Oath after receiving much derision. Idiot!

Our new President’s speech is also being panned in some circles. Fox News is just mad that they’ve been ignored at every conference and put in the dunce corner! That’s what they get for calling our First Lady a Baby Mama. I am happy to report that after collapsing during the Inaugural luncheon Ted Kennedy has been released from the hospital. Poor Robert Byrd also needed assistance but nobody’s talking about him. How likely was it for a former Klan member to support a Black man for the office of President?

President Obama (I won’t ever tire of writing that) proved that he could run for office without the expressed approval of the old guard Civil Rights appropriators or the so-called but doing little Black elite. Speaking of, I noticed 4-5 members of the Congressional Black Caucus on the dais with the Obamas and everyone else. So we know that Donna Edwards is cool and truly progressive, but does this indicate a shift in their relevance?

Thanks to white supremacy we tend to focus on race disproportionately. There are definite class differences amongst Blacks that are not acknowledged. Part of the issue with lack of advancement opportunities has a little something to do with that. The portion of his speech where he spoke about overcoming barriers and freedom to pursue our bliss was very poignant for me.

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama dance at ...

Michelle wore a lemongrass Isabel Toledo sheath dress with overcoat, Jimmy Choos and leather gloves in a great shade of green during the Swearing-In and a Jason Wu gown for the Balls. I see that begging on television incessantly paid off for Beyonce who got to serenade the First Couple for their First Dance at the Neighborhood Ball. Where was Jennifer Hudson? She decided to perform at the Super Bowl so why not the Inauguration? Oh well. Psst. I'm gonna put it out there with fingers crossed behind my back: I'm wondering if Michelle has not been working out as much as she usually does.....or if she might possibly be pregnant {dodging thrown shoes}.

I did manage to watch the Colbert Report Tuesday and he touched on some of the things a few of us were grumbling about: like why the focus was on asking Black people if they ever thought they’d see the day we’d have a Black President. He also did some other things that were funny...but gross! This ignores bigger issues - for as powerful as that symbolism is and how happy this election makes some of us feel - it still doesn’t address core issues of personal responsibility and correctly wielding political clout. I want the Obama Presidency to be considered one of the great times in our history. There can be no denying how he and the family really move people and have touched us in a profound way. He may the exception but I also want Black people reevaluate our priorities and not rely on that. I especially want Black women to know better and do better. Our futures will depend on it. This is a wonderful time for reflection, renewal and making small but lasting changes.

I have much more to say but I needed to attend a breakfast being thrown by Speaker Pelosi for California constituents. I’ll report more on that later.



Obama photos: AP/Check out my Flickr stream for the rest.
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Monday, January 19, 2009

Greetings From DC

Hey All,

Sorry for not posting this weekend but this isn't the time to be lugging a 5lb laptop everywhere! I am sucking on throat lozenges as we speak. A lot of talking and a 50 degree change in weather makes this girl's throat beg for mercy!! Anyway, I will be posting pictures and such soon I promise!! I have already met so many cool people that I actually forgot to record some of our conversations. I'm still getting my bearings but DC is VERY COOL! Well. it's actually FREEZING right now but you know the people here are very warm :). The DC Metro reminds me of Atlanta's. I'm going to research if it's the same architects/builders.

I hope everyone gets to watch the We Are One concert. It was pretty darn good!!! Let's not forget today is the annual celebration of the life and times of Martin Luther King, Jr. Today is a day for service. I plan on helping myself - to some hospitality and spirits!!!

Smooches---

Queen Latifah Intro: Performance by Josh Groban and Heather Headley




Renee Fleming Performance




Jamie Foxx Doing a Funny & Accurate Barack Imitation - oh yeah and Steve Carell is there too! Plus Bettye Lavette & Jon Bon Jovi



P.S. Here's the Flickr stream for Inaug#09

Oh and in case we need a reminder:
THIS IS THE LAST DAY OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION!!!!!!! TRULY A DAY FOR CELEBRATING!!!!!

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Old School Friday


This week it's television theme songs. Meme started by Mrs. Grapevine. I'll try to pay a little more attention to what's going on. Last week was high school graduation year and 1999 isn't mine! Oh well. It's all good. I chose Fantasy Island. As a kid I thought this show was funny. The unfamiliar accents, the disco suits and the beautiful landscape was very unique. Looking at what's out today gives me an appreciation for the risks taken with this show. RIP Ricardo!


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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Supremes Say Yes To Illegally Obtained Evidence




The Constitution was always a flawed document inasmuch as the architects were guilty of major double-standards in drafting it. It works in theory however - and it's supposedly the jewel in the crown of the making of a nation. Now we know this country was built on murder and mayhem but we were supposed to aspire to attain greatness despite that. Like I said - in theory. So now the Supreme Court delivers yet another blow to the idea of ascendancy by revealing the reality of its applicationHow low can we go? Apparently there is an even deeper bottom. Now perhaps some lawyers would like to weigh in on this, but doesn't this mean false evidence used to prosecute people has been legitimized? Now I know the Law & Order series is a nice scrubbing of the actual corruption of law enforcement (which is only as good as its participants). Dick Wolf really goes out of his way to show a fair and balanced Police Department and District Attorneys Office.  So now what? More death row inmates being tried and found guilty for crimes they haven't committed? Doctored DNA? Where does this end? If police don't get search warrants or have just cause for their actions (thereby shooting more innocents) how far will this spiral downward?

Photo: AP
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Ah-Nold Channels A Little Palin & Shrub in 12 Minutes or Less


Sigh. Big Sigh. What can I say that hasn't already been said? During his latest State of the State address Schwarzenegger claimed the Dems and Repubs won't play together to agree on a budget and yet - and yet - he keeps vetoing everything put in front of him. He wants all of the non-elites to feast on cake because they'll be NOTHING LEFT after they've gutted EVERYTHING. California officially runs out of money in two weeks and he's still making excuses!! I mean this is ridiculous. He wanted to be Governator and that requires REAL LEADERSHIP. All he does is flap his gums and make excuses. He had the nerve to try to suggest that our Constitution be changed to allow foreign-borns to run for President. California is one of the largest gross national products in the world. Can you imagine how badly he would've messed up this country? Well we already have our example of ineptitude and callousness from really rich people who could care less and are incompetent. We are NOT going there again. I have my concerns (and joys) about the Obama administration but I know he's not anywhere close to some of the people running things. Geez. 

Photo: AP
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After All the Brouhaha Burris Is Senator

U.S. Senate appointee Roland Burris laughs with students at ...

Burris said it best, "I AM the SENATOR!" What took so long? Some cried racism without credibility but the "fact" of assumption that his appointment wasn't valid had many pondering. Some said it was a matter of paperwork (but since it was being stalled that's not a fair assessment). Others put their foots in their mouths and had to back down (that would be Harry Reid). Roland Burris is now the Junior Senator representing Illinois. I bet all the people who turned down Blago are kicking themselves somewhere right now. Note to the Madigan family: if you don't first succeed try and try again!

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While I Clean Out the Clutter You Can Have A Laugh Today!


Enjoy Your Day Whatever You Are Doing!

Ikea (Winter Sale). Haven't there been times where you thought the cashier rang up the wrong price and it was in your favor?



Ikea (Mocha Milk). This is a foreign commercial. Sexy but still classy and in case you doubt that you should look at the less puritanical (or more explicit) commercials in regular rotation.



McDonalds (McNuggets Lovin'). This has the same production value as your typical R&B song and video being released today. That's not a good thing. 



Ad Council PSA on Fatherhood Involvement (Cheerleader). This airs at least three times per week. I haven't gotten sick of it yet. They have an entire series of them so check 'em out!


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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Johannes Mehserle To Be Charged With Murder - Is the Sky Falling?


Johannes Mehserle, right, appeares in the East Fork Justice Court on Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009, in Minden, Nev. Mehserle is being held on charges related to the New Year's day shooting of an unarmed man on an Oakland, Calif., train platform. Mehserle, 27, waived extradition to California early Wednesday during a brief court appearance in Minden, Nev., and was being held without bail on a warrant charging homicide. Douglas County Sheriff's Deputy Ron Mills is at left.
Johannes Mehserle, right, appeares in the East Fork Justice Court on Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009, in Minden, Nev. Mehserle is being held on charges related to the New Year's day shooting of an unarmed man on an Oakland, Calif., train platform. Mehserle, 27, waived extradition to California early Wednesday during a brief court appearance in Minden, Nev., and was being held without bail on a warrant charging homicide.
Source: Star-Telegram, Photo: AP

Lyrics from Snoop Dog:

As I look up at the sky
My mind starts trippin, a tear drops my eye
My body temperature falls
I'm shakin and they breakin tryin to save the Dogg
Pumpin on my chest and I'm screamin
I stop breathin, damn I see deamons
Dear God, I wonder can ya save me
I can't die Boo-Boo's bout to have my baby
I think it's too late for prayin, hold up
A voice spoke to me and it slowly started sayin
"Bring your lifestyle to me I'll make it better"
How long will I live?
"Eternal life and forever"
And will I be, the G that I was?
"I'll make your life better than you can imagine or even dreamed of
So relax your soul, let me take control
Close your eyes my son"
My eyes are closed

[Chorus:]

Murder... murder was the case that they gave me
Murder... murder was the case that they gave me


I hadn't expected to continue writing about the Oscar Grant III shooting much, but this is the #1 news story in the Bay Area right now. That and the lack of a State budget thanks to the idiot actor playing at being Governor. Well color me dumbfounded because I can't recall the last time a law enforcement official was arrested and charged for shooting someone they'd labeled a perp. There are protests going on in Oakland right now as I write. I''m not sure if the fact that Mehserle quit has something to do this or what it is really. Was it the video? Pressure from the community? If so why for this one incident and not all the others? 

There are numerous cases where police have shot and killed innocent people with no consequences for them. The leading cause of death amongst younger Black men is still at the hands of other Black men. Again I ask, where's the protest and outrage over that! Why won't people come forward with information they have about the criminal activity they see?  I really don't know what to say other than if a trial proceeds, there is likely to be a venue change with not one Black juror and the officer will be acquitted. I'm highly skeptical he will serve any prison time either way, but stranger things have happened. I just feel for the lives of both daughters should they grow up without sufficient male influence and love. Life isn't fair though. The justice system is only just for some. 

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Do You Think We Need A Secretary of the Creative Arts?

I'm not sure how the position would be titled or implemented specifically, but I really like the idea of having a Cabinet-level position focusing on music and the arts. There are so many creative individuals: musical scientists, the next great poet or someone who can use technology in ways we can't envision. Not everyone is meant to focus on the technical aspects of things. Since the Feds implemented massive cuts to public schools in 1977 effectively ending things like piano lessons or photography classes, this country has never really recovered. Teaching kids music assists them in learning math and science so this isn't a frivolous thing. There's a petition you can sign that's been attributed to a quote by Quincy Jones. Now this is only a start. If people are serious they will need a well-executed plan and some structure. Artsake blog has discussed this as well as Parabasis. 

I know I'd like to see more access to classes, a steady supply of well....supplies, keeping up with technology and a little innovation. Guidance with filling out the massive amounts of paperwork required to receive funding is always helpful. I'd love it if everyone could submit a simple application that doesn't require hosts of recommendations or a large body of work to get a little stipend of some sort. Every little bit helps you know. Of course now that the economy is in the toilet it may be less likely, but this is the precise time when it's more needed than ever.

I think it should be a person who's had exposure to people from working class backgrounds and not just the elite with a non-traditional point of view. This is something worth exploring for sure. In the meantime check out this video of an artist who's using their iPhone to create a song from scratch. Just when I think it's safe to rail against consumerism and the constant release of computers, video games, cell phones and other gadgets I realize there is some use for these items. My G4 is considered obsolete and it's not even 3 years old yet. I'd gladly upgrade now that I've seen how much faster the processor for the latest models are by comparison.

Be sure to leave a comment and rate the video when you get a chance because this musician is trying to retain funding to teach music and production classes to youth without charging them.


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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I'm Goin' to D.C.















Well wouldn't you just know that when you think you're going in one direction, life throws you a curveball. I had considered and rejected the idea of going to D.C. for the Inauguration due to logistics, crowds and money. Monday afternoon I received a phone call from my representative that my ticket request had been processed. I have unused airline mileage I can redeem and a friend who lives in the vicinity so there's no reason why I can't go. 

I do tend to be sensitive to weather as my giant rant about Denver would show. I'll keep any frustrations to myself this time! I didn't need the tickets to go, but I think the Universe is trying to assure me going has validity. I haven't made any resolutions per se but I've been stuck in a rut, questioning myself and this is just the boost I needed. I told a few people and their reactions were so positive and encouraging that I am even more grateful for this opportunity. This is the continuation of my awakening, an unfolding of the best parts of myself that until now could not bloom. 

2008 was a time of reflection, upheaval and a shifting of thought. There are a few things I want to accomplish in 2009 and I must confess I was starting to falter. I want to make the "right" choices to yield the best results. So why would going to an open air event in the freezing cold help? Well, it's the energy and the people I am certain to meet. I started blogging after contemplating it for months once I attended a blogger conference and met some awesome women. I don't have access to the elite events or unlimited funds to attend the Inaugural Balls. I'm just your average citizen on a tight budget. 

You have to understand I went to Denver for the Nomination at the last minute. I'd emailed a fellow commenter at a blog we both frequented and asked if they had a spare badge - and it worked out. I stayed with a volunteer. I didn't meet either person until after my arrival. I certainly am not lacking in daring. Was it just something meant to be, did I create an outcome or was it pure dumb luck? I still wonder because I have other things that I value much more that haven't come together that easily. I want to bottle it's essence in the hopes I can recreate the process. 

For some people being part of the glitterai is a regular aspect of their lives. The Inauguration is just the beginning of their social calendar for the year. They may know world leaders and this is a little bit special but it won't be the pinnacle of their lives. Others will watch on television millions of miles away with awe and joy. This is just the kick in the pants I need. Well, perhaps it's more like the hug that I really needed. What are the odds for an unconnected, unknown person getting to Denver and D.C. for both events? I am very humbled right now. 

I will be certain to blog about this. Perhaps I might be persuaded to exchange my ticket for some, eh renumeration. (I hear they're going for thousands).

P.S. I'd really like to go to Sundance next!

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