Sunday, August 31, 2008

Desperate Times Require Desperate Measures

So I'm writing this while watching Transformers. That script has some questionable lines and moments and a decidedly male perspective, but I always crack up at the scene where Sam's mother asks him is he's having his "happy time"?! The nasal resonance in her voice made it all the more a 'nails on a chalkboard' experience. I am a grown woman over 25 and even I groaned at that. Eww. Good casting though. Sexual exploration is not something I ever discussed with my parents, though children would greatly benefit from getting information, not being shamed and having guidance.

By now Obama's acceptance speech has been analyzed and replaced by news of McCain choosing a female VP who's in bed with the 'Vast Right Wing Conspiracy Players' aka known as the sometime friends of the Clintons. Sorry I had to throw that in there because if we've seen anything this election it is candidates pulling out all the stops, leaving no stone unturned, doing and saying practically anything to get elected. Yes acquiring power and being in the proximity of power is the new Black.

We had Hill & Bill making new BFFs with the same people who called their own child names and tried to destroy them (Limbaugh, Sciaffe, etc). They also at some point knowingly decided to let their disregard be made known for the most loyal base of the Party: Black people and by extension Black women since we are 6 out of 10 of these voters. Remember the June assassination reference? Had she really supported issues that affect women of color and poorer women instead of trotting out wealthy and privileged white women who let it be known how out of touch they were, not to mention the ridiculous argument of sexism being worse than racism WHILE IGNORING HOW MANY WHITE WOMEN BENEFIT FROM AFFIRMATIVE ACTION over BLACKS, she would very likely have been the nominee.

In my own work history I've not experienced a symbiosis with some of the white women I've had to work with and for. Instead I've had to duck for cover and watch for flying objects...not in all cases but I remember being very surprised and disappointed and unprepared for such open hostility just for being myself. And I am not special by any means. I do have a very distinct sense of what I consider right and wrong and will not hesitate to let that be known (cue the Angry Black Woman music now please)!

I liked both Clinton speeches, particularly Hillary's but I do not think for one nanosecond should Obama not win this election she won't run in 2012. I will NEVER forget that they tried to destroy the first viable Black candidate who ran for President of these divided states by using every racist strategy available. Nor will I be able to ignore the fact that she helped fuel conflicts between white women and Black men and women in our political ambitions for her own personal gain. Some of that divisiveness is still in the air ready to take root and be exploited - if we let it. We must never forget that it is the purpose of those controlling the purse strings to keep us reaching for it and tying to knock each other out instead of working together. Bill will never get his 'Black' cred back and it was a ridiculous concept to have been allowed into the collective unchecked. Right now he's a human being again. Maybe. But always the politician.

Obama's speech got a lot of praise but one thing I noted was that he did not personally invoke the name of Martin Luther King, Jr. Also people do not know how much an influence Ella Baker was and how her work led to this moment just as much - if not more than the male Civil Rights Industrial Complex leaders who marginalized her. If you don't know who Ella Baker was you need to find out. How sad that he continues to have to navigate such perilous race-related waters because so many people in this country are idiots. I could say it in a more nuanced way for sure but screw that. This country is like that famous ship that hit the iceberg and we're sinking fast. There's only so many life boats and a lot of them will NOT be on it - to their surprise. Let's plug in those holes people for our own good.

Even Obama made some choices people would question from his FISA vote (of course most of the other Dems voted the same way so that should be taken with a grain of salt so to speak), to his silence when Michelle was first attacked by the media and misquoted (that's why we have Michelle Obama Watch), to his selection of Joe Biden (whom some people still think has prejudices and should have been eliminated). I'm not even gonna get into Rev. White. And for the record he and Michelle are not elitists. They both grew up poor and got scholarships to attend college and only recently got out of debt. Isn't that what being Middle-Class used to be? Besides didn't McCain claim assets worth anything less than $5M meant you were poor? So I am really poor!

I mention these things because McCain chose Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate. While one blog writer lovingly refers to her as Alaskan Barbie, it hasn't gone unnoticed that she was picked by the ultra-conservative boys club fringe of the Republican Party. It's game, set, match! Yes we know she was chosen for her conservative views on abortion, gun-loving ways and perky smile just as much for a rather crass and obvious ploy at the PUMAs and other women who might have passed on McCain. She is no Hillary Clinton, okay! The mistake would be to attack her or dismiss the appeal she would have to certain voters. And can we send some smoke signals or call Nancy Grace to find out what basement Bridget McCain has been locked in? It speaks volumes that the McCains, with their history of mutual infidelity, financial shadiness and familial denial would be ashamed or just try to present a false image of whiteness by not being seen publicly with their adopted daughter who isn't.

At least Bush has some Black people around him and Latinos in his family, though that of course does nothing to improve the lives of the masses. McCain has already sold his soul to the devil so to speak so those religious perpetrators can hop on board the Straight Talk express and drive it right to the White House. Or so they think. They're giving it their best shot. So everybody needs to hug it out and fast!!! Just focus on the old white-haired guy and keep moving cuz there's nothing to see there! Already there's talk of how she has not been vetted and a potential scandal may blow up. So be it. We need to focus and remember every vote counts. We also need to make sure every vote gets counted!!

And then there's the Independent and Green Party candidates. I've heard a lot of unflattering things said about Cynthia McKinney and since it's usually by a male it always rubs me the wrong way. I am always suspicious of men who like to dismiss women who are intelligent and don't fit their idea of what a woman's place is supposed to be or holds a different opinion that they personally oppose. Even more so because she is a Black woman. Just as an example I never hear men describe George Bush in the same way with the same tone and look at what he'd done to this country. I like a lot of the consumer protections we now enjoy as minimum standards thanks to Ralph Nader and think he would be best utilized in a different position. Many say a vote for either candidate is a vote for McCain, much like those who voted for Ross Perot inadvertently helped Clinton win back in 1992.

So here we have the traveling circus of politicians. It's Barnum & Bailey, Universoul Circus and Sesame Street Live all in one. Just far more is at stake. We voters are always the bridesmaid but this year we get to be the bride. Everybody wants us!!!!!! Isn't it nice to be the popular kid for once?

Big Shout-Outs to everyone who hosted, offered assistance, shared a funny moment, had a kind word, offered a smile or a hug in Denver. It was an experience to remember and one I will be sure to cherish. I hope I wasn't a pain!

Saturday, August 30, 2008


No this ain't Cats, but as a musical theatre junkie and show tune connoisseur can I just say "Mr. Mistofelees" is a fun song? By the time I left Denver I felt as if I were Fantine from Les Miz singing "I Dreamed A Dream" and wanting to storm the barricades. Supershuttle should change its name to NoShow. Despite my advance booking and pre-payment it turns out they had vans galore if you were staying in a hotel or walking down the street near one. They'd take anybody. Except the people who'd made reservations. Added to that a pending holiday, offices being closed and senior management gone, the people left couldn't rub their brains together to form a singular thought or take a simple course of action. So hanging up on customers and transferring to voice mail and lying about being the senior person on staff was the rule of the day.

Bad corporate policy that leaves all the responsibility with no authority for junior staffers sets them up for failure. On the other hand when you don't schedule a van pick-up until 35 minutes after the reserved time of arrival AND don't allow that driver to take me to the airport directly then I will have NO sympathy for your idiocy. I'd like to know what the corporate office will have to say after I've called local Denver television stations for their consumer watch/call for action segments, the Denver's Mayor's office, the Better Business Bureau, the Colorado Attorney General's office and unleashed my primal yell out into the blogosphere. You see they're supposed to guarantee pick-up or pay for the costs of hotels/airfare in case of a missed flight.

And of course I could not secure a taxi in time because they have one company that dominates and the other 2-3 have spotty service at best. Should I have been 'penalized' for staying at a local residence instead of a hotel? I'd already had the Invesco no-shuttle bus chaos experience. SOMEBODY did not plan for all the transportation needs during this very special week. Denver stock has plummeted tremendously in my eyes as this is the lasting impression I am left with. This is further example of how we as individuals without regulation, money, influence, connections or power will get the shaft by companies and gov't each and every time. Why does Supershuttle have a virtual monopoly on the door-to-door van service in Denver? Who awarded them that contract? That's what I intend to find out because once it's up for should be terminated. Oh yeah and I want my MONEY back!


Speaking of getting the shaft by gov't....

Friday was the 3rd anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. I fear it must be deja vu all over again for the Gulf Coast residents. Let us send them prayers and good thoughts for their safety. Just don't rely on FEMA because they continue to give away funds to other agencies and deny claims of legit victims.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Open Letter to the DNC

It is now approximately 1226am. I attempted to leave Invesco 15 minutes before the end of Obama's speech due to concerns about being able to get out. Why? Well my trip going to Invesco was soooo fun. There were supposed to be free shuttle buses at specified pick-up points due to security for those with the Community Credentials (average folk). So I went to one of those pick-up points and guess what - no shuttle bus. I spoke to some people in the crowd and we flagged down a taxi to drop us off as close to the entrance of Invesco as possible. We were re-rerouted to a location far far away, over a back alley, down a dirt mound, around the huge parking lot to one check point that combined with the other location so two groups of people had to enter one person at a time. Did I mention the people who decided to jump down the side of a hill and try to skip ahead? Or the people who said they were Press so they could push past us? Or an elderly woman walking with a cane and her granddaughter where no one offered to assist her with a go-cart? That said checkpoint that snaked around one side of Invesco to the other then required an entrance that took you back over half the same route just on the other side of the fence they'd erected?

Ok, ok. I was trying to remind myself to be grateful. I wanted to go to Denver to attend the Convention after all. I really wanted to see Obama in person as he gave his nomination acceptance speech and those tickets were oh so coveted! Thanks CH by the way for the hook-up! It's just that it was the hottest time of day and despite all the water I had before arriving and the bottle I had with me that altitude difference made me feel as if someone's hand was pressing against my chest and I was getting dizzy. I still had about 1/2 mile to go to get to the checkpoint and I was ready to give up. I had to call for assistance.

So I finally get inside and it took about 2 hours. So I made sure to drink more water and eat even though I wasn't hungry. I was in a general admission area towards the top tier. Man they don't call it Mile High stadium for nothing. I knew that once I found a seat I was not budging until the end. Looking down gave me a sensation of experiencing vertigo. But hey I was THERE! FINALLY! And as soon as the sun went down I knew I could relax a bit more. Except for the people acting like 5 year olds with their musical chairs antics I was really trying to focus on the entertainment and speeches.

Jennifer Hudson delivered with her rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner". Of course Will.I.Am would make an appearance - his song helped fuel a movement. Sheryl Crow was perfunctary and off-key a lot. Stevie Wonder should've played longer and you guys should have bounced a few of the bland speeches. I did like the support of military officers though I don't want the US promoting more colonialization and occupying countries. And by the way...where was President Carter?

So Obama comes on and and I can barely hear him. The side of the stadium half of us are sitting in has poor sound quality. Didn't anybody check this? The speakers were turned away from us. So I was getting increasingly aggravated because I knew I was gonna have to watch it on the teevee. Which kinda defeated a portion of my time, purpose and expense for coming to Denver in the first place. Oh well. I tried.

So I thought I should leave before 75,000 + people all fight their way out. I missed the last 15 minutes, but there's parties to attend, people to meet and it's a celebration, baby! I exit but see no buses except for a section at another gate to my far left. So I hop to it and I specifically ask about getting back to downtown Denver. I am promptly told those buses are for delegates. I ask where the buses are for the non-delegates. Gate 10. Which by the way is on the opposite side of the entire building. Ok. I ask an actual employee who tries to be so helpful and he says their hands were tied by the Secret Service. If it had been a event like a Broncos game he could've had me outta there in less than 5 minutes. I ask a police officer who knows nothing. I walk and walk and walk some more but by this time there's a massive crowd of people. I make it Gate 9 and see Gate 10 is just around the corner...but it's blocked off and we have to exit one area that fits maybe 5 people at a time. We have to go around an indirect route. But I see Walter Moseley stride past me. Ah I see buses.

Buses for the press. Buses for people at specific hotels that are West, North, South and East of Denver. I ask several workers milling around. Where's our buses? The area adjacent to gate 10 has about 5,000 people trying to get out at the same time. The police have the main road that takes you back to the light rail - albiet it's about a mile's walk away - blocked. There's an empty parking lot that fits, like 5-6 people because there's a guy standing there blocking large groups from being able to pass. We are like cows in a field and literally not moving. Some people are pushing their way in the opposite direction from where we're going telling us it's a dead end and we won't be able to get out. I see two Secret Service agents- they're all dressed as 'Security' and ask him for help. He tells me he doesn't know and he doesn't live here. Well, gee neither do I and thanks! Yup I yelled at him. I think he was the 10th person I'd spoken to by this time. I decide to take matters into my own hands and call 911. I was hoping a police officer outside of this zoo might be able to offer some assistance.

I mean the city advertised these shuttles and how they were supposed to be available since they blocked access in any other way humanly possible to the regular folk. I was told to be patient and they wouldn't just leave people without transportation. Ha! People decided to take matters into their hands by pushing out a section of fencing. It was dangerous though because it wasn't that well-lit, there was a 4 ft cement block anchoring it and it led to an underpass. Again I saw elderly people trying to get out and NO ONE WAS HELPING THEM. Nobody knew anything, nobody had any answers, you are shit outta luck sucker for coming here. Be prepared to walk for miles back to civilization. Do you think I would've come if I'd known in advance I'd be walking the length of Invesco nearly 10 times? Sure it's a great form of exercise...but that doesn't make it convenient or fun! Sooooo after all of this someone says the buses are in Lot J - which is on the opposite side of Gate 10. Sigh. A few of us flag a police officer in a golf cart we swing around the side of the building and wind up back at Gate 4.

Gate 4. The same place I'd started at 1.5 hours ago. I can't believe it. I am also concerned because some idiot said I didn't have the credentials to use the shuttles when I started on this crack-pot adventure. Soooo I see a blogger I'd met at the Big Tent and feel somewhat assured we will not have problems getting on a bus. As it turns out these were the only buses that took you back. That magical gate 10 pick-up did not exist apparently. So there's a few numbered routes per some other attendees and we need Route 1 or 2. So I get in a line and we wait. And wait. And wait. And wait. There are people in wheelchairs and mobility vehicles. The buses I see are not wheelchair accessible. And we wait and wait. There's several lines all over the parking lot with no order to them. We see a half-empty bus leave. We see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 buses just drive past us. Where's the staff? We outnumber them 40 to 1. One person tells us a specific bus will be ours. It drives by us and goes down the lot to another group and a police officer tells us his group of people have been waiting a long time and are getting on ahead of us. Say what? Did I mention the other line of people to our left had tried to run in front of the bus so they could get on it and one guy dares to say we'd been standing in line for only 10 minutes. I had to tell him to shut up...but not so nicely.

Sorry but I was thirsty, cranky and by this time very cold. A kind woman let me get in line ahead of her so I could get on that bus. Did I mention the number of people between 45-60 were standing for more than an hour? And the disabled people? I mean this is a 3-ring circus. Without the cotton candy and fun. When we FINALLY got going and left Invesco we all cheered. So many people were shaking their heads and commenting how inept and redundant the organization is and how the experience was like slamming Obama's moment onto the cement. I see it as severe incompetance. I was sooo disappointed and I still had to get a taxi after getting off this shuttle. It only dropped people in the vicinity of the main hotels. So my question is this: were you trying to ruin our evening for us? Do think it is reasonable that it took me nearly 4 hours to get back to my destination? Where were the people in CHARGE? I suspect they high-tailed it outta there to go party. Well that's no way to run yours. It makes your candidate look bad to boot. So I have to wonder......

Denver Musings

I would be remiss in not mentioning the number of protests and the various groups of people expressing their dissatisfaction with the policies of the US gov't. One of the great premises of this country is the right to express oneself freely. Then there are those that are just a few pennies short of a dollar. I was having a discussion with another blogger/activist about race relations and immigration and some other topics. One thing I appreciated was his acknowledgement that he could not presume to understand my life as a Black woman but we could find commonalities in our desires for a quality life.

In trying to have that quality life what are we willing to do to have it? What are willing to allow if it means other people get the short end of the stick? The consensus may be that the Republicans are evil, but even having a Democratic President will only get us so far. The Party doesn't seriously address the corporate crimes, deregulation or the bloated military budget that is bankrupting this country.

Didn't the Dems used to represent the working class? There is no working class left - well they're what's left of the middle class right? Working a minimum wage job and having next to non-existent health care doesn't make you part of the elite by any means. Yet our consumerism is at all time high. Unless you give the appearance of having 'it' society deems you a loser. Remember when people made coffee at home? I can barely remember what it was like to not live in a neighborhood with no chain coffee shop.

I was having dinner Tuesday evening and met a couple who were Hillary supporters and local Denver residents. I asked them why they weren't at the convention center listening in person. I don't remember how we even got on the topic to be honest. They said something to the effect of wanting a quiet evening away from everything and that they were voting for John McCain anyway. They mentioned how Obama should have defended Hillary and Father Pflegger as the reasons for not supporting him. Oh and the wife didn't like Michelle Obama! I was thinking how odd that they were using Republican talking points while claiming to be Democrats. I asked them if they were going to hold a candidate 100% responsible for everything an acolyte or surrogate said then Hillary should be held to the same standard.

It was odd for me to be in a defensive position trying to present a nuanced argument for Obama without being argumentative with them. They were a Latino couple who spoke heavily accented-English. I wanted to ask them how long they'd lived here, but didn't. The husband mentioned that he had a Black sister and how we were all in this together, yet everything they did contradicted that. I mentioned the Gloria Steinhem/Geraldine Ferraro talking points about how sexism trumped racism and asked them how that applied to people in their community or other people who wanted to immigrate to the US given the recent ICE raids and abuses of female immigrants. I also mentioned the lack of support these same women gave Shirley Chisholm when she ran. You could hear crickets from them...but I was also wondering if they had any idea what I was talking about and if there was a language barrier.

There were a group of Black women sitting two table over from us and they gave me a mini cheer at our exchange. I thought perhaps I had been speaking too loudly but they said they had picked up on a few words and had decided to listen in. So I moved over to speak to them. The Latino couple introduced themselves and we sorta wrapped up the talk. I knew they wouldn't change their minds - but one of the women said I gave them food for thought and you never know how that will effect them. These women would be contemporaries of my mother and they said they were impressed that I would come to Denver solo and be so actively involved. They were from Michigan and had planned for the trip months ago. I couldn't resist teasing them about their hip-hop Mayor and the infamous speech Mama Kilpatrick gave about "y'alls boy".

I had also met another couple who'd brought their son with them to Denver to get him involved in the political process and of course to hear Obama's nomination speech. They very kindly gave me a VIP ticket to a private concert where Boys to men and Stephanie Mills performed. I've never seen Ms. Mills live and she did NOT disappoint. It was a flawless show and she looked and sounded amazing. And yes she closed the show with 'Home'!


I am off to meet the very generous Obama delegate who got me a ticket to Invesco. I decided to come to Denver on a whim and have had these amazing interactions with many great people. We may not all agree on tactics but I think we want a better life for those that come after us. I hope this year is the start of a real revolution where the average citizen (and unemployed artists) can come into their own, get involved and make the world a little kinder by example.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Dems Unite Around Their Candidate

Barack Obama makes a surprise appearance at the Convention after Joe Biden's speech! Today was a momentous occasion and Thursday's nomination speech will culminate the end of one effort and the beginning of his future Presidency [yes I am full of hope].

May I first say that Hillary Clinton truly inspired yesterday with a warm and succinct message of encouragement and support. She invoked Harriet Tubman - and didn't come across as patronizing. Goooooaaaalllll! And today her ending the roll call and casting her vote for Obama was magical. I am so glad we have it on tape!

I have spent the entire day with bloggers and activists and traditional media types at the Big Tent. I thought 2-3 hours tops would be sufficient but I have had a ball here today. I've met so many thoughtful, concerned citizens and people like you and me who want to see this country recapture some of its former glory.

I just wish we had Bill on tape casting his vote for Obama as well, lol! He did it in his own way though with his redemption speech. He is so comfortable with crowds of people hanging on his every word. He knows how to make a point and give a great soundbite. It was impressive, though I'd actually give the A+ to Hills this time. Bill needed to preserve his legacy....and move on from any real or perceived animosity. Bill is at his best when he is charming and gracious. I'm glad to see he remembered that.

Joe Biden will be an effective Vice President as long as he remembers his purpose. So many of us may not agree on tactics but we want to end up in the same place.

It's only a little after 9pm Mountain Time but I feel as if I've been awake 24 hours. This altitude adjustment is no joke! I had a raging headache and was fighting lethargy the entire day but now feel as if I could fly to the moon! I need to conserve all my energy for Thursday. And have I mentioned how AWESOME Denver is? It is a beautiful city full of friendly people, good public transportation and lots of people of color doing well. Perhaps San Francisco has lost some of its charm?

Well I'm off to make a party pit-stop because being friendly and social makes life more interesting. I want to attend the last Democratic Women's caucus of the Convention and then I will be primed for the historic Obama nomination speech that we'll be certain to talk about for generations to come!

Today I am very proud to be an American!!!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Know Your Choices

There's so many events going on this week that picking some and discarding the rest will be necessary. I wanted to look into some of the non-corporate events that encourage us to exercise our participation in government.

To that end I attended one where Cynthia McKinney, Green Party Presidential candidate spoke. Her Vice Presidential candidate Rosa Clemente spoke as well as Colorado Green Party members. Independent Speaker of the House candidate Cindy Sheehan spoke as well.

Whatever issues others may have with these candidates I heard heartfelt thoughts on how vital each and every one of us is to real change in government and ending suffering for people in this country and around the world. Two vital talking points emerged: one is the lack of engagement equal representation by non-whites in ALL the political parties and two is what I refer to as the people behind the curtain: the amount of money invested in the two major political parties by corporations.

I was watching a Democracy Now! segment from this morning featuring former Senator Jean Carnahan and her daughter, Secretary of State Robin Carnahan where the reporter brought that up. Millions of dollars have been poured into this convention by corporations and they've been allowed to do so because of loopholes. There are events closed to the media by these corporations such as AT&T that lobbyists attend. Pepsi paid $68 million to get their name on the building where the convention is being held. Both Carnahans concurred but said Obama's candidacy is changing that. They also encouraged women specifically to be more active in the political process and run for office.

Back to last night's event here's a quick recap. I do know it was being recorded and I believe it will be posted online. I highly encourage watching it in its entirety.

Cynthia McKinney:

She takes Black and Brown people unity very seriously. As well as Asian and Indigenous. She discussed how the corporate press disseminates lies and our government will disrupt the lives of people to subvert progress they try to make. She specifically mentioned Bobby Kennedy, Harry Belafonte and Serena Seabring. Senator Frank Church (1924-1984) is one of her heros. She discussed why she's running for President and how federal election matching funds are within reach. There are 8 states in play that people can support. She wants to reduce the influence of corporations on our political process and wants to build the Green Party - obviously.

Rosa Clemente:

The actions of COINTELPRO are still occurring under a different name but the agenda is still the same. The government is specifically targeting young people. Hip-Hop is immediately blamed for a lot of ills in this society and it's a fallacy. She stressed the importance of the youth vote and the need to believe in this country. The modern equivalent of disenfranchised people (before 2000) in this country are the Puerto Ricans. They can't vote in the Presidential election, but have to pay taxes and were the first to die in the wars this country fights. She discussed how the art of war is practiced and perfected here by the police on its citizens of color. Although she supports the troops and getting them out of Iraq, moving away from the militarism mindset is even more important. She got into a very intense example of where our traditions come from and how family influences us by comparing Tupac being the result of Assata Shakur and how she thinks the government was involved in his murder. She said a real movement encompasses everyone from Harvard to Harlem to the food stamp office.

Cindy Sheehan spoke as well. She shares many of the same policy platforms with the Greens. She discussed how she supports the Nader/Gonzalez ticket but had to endorse the McKinney/Clemente ticket. She talked about why she wants to work with people whose backgrounds are different from her own. We have to accept people where they are.

All three women share a desire to turn the country 'right side up again'.


I can't help but think of Shirley Chisholm and the road she paved for women in this country. How other women had the opportunity to support her candidacy but couldn't see past the color of he skin or said they wanted to focus on a candidate who could "win". I think about Dolores Huerta's founding of the United Farm Workers with Cesar Chavez. Women of color who have paved the way. Women who have been dismissed or marginalized or worse - forgotten, but who's contributions led entire movements that changed the course of this country.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Closer Did It Again

Michelle Obama gave the keynote address on the 1st night of the Convention. I'm sure there'll be plenty of analysis all over the blogosphere and with the teevee pundits. I thought it was a very safe speech. But I found it interesting. She clearly loves her family and supports her husband's political aspirations. Michelle had me until she did the politician chicken dance by mentioning Hillary Clinton, her non-existent 18 million voters (who couldn't manage to send her a buck and change each to retire her campaign debt) and then Joe Biden.

Compared to the real passion I saw from the other women I was a little disappointed, but I know it's all about staying on point and getting a unified message out. So mission accomplished. Just in case some need to be reminded: she LOVES this country. Black women are and have always been the backbone of this nation. People need to recognize.

I will say that Michelle comes across very poised, self-possessed, intelligent and confident without being pretentious or arrogant. That will be a source of strength for many and intimidation and fear in others. Her daughters are precious. Malia is already a stunner and will only be more of one as she matures. Sasha was too cute saying hello to her daddy. It may be symbolic to see them and commonplace in real life, but the Obama family looks and feels right.

*Michelle was specifically mentioned by the candidates listed above as being a woman with a message and how terrible it was when the media distorted her voice. She should be allowed to speak freely and from the heart.

Just A Quickie

Phew I made it. My flight was cancelled 5 minutes before departure and then miraculously reinstated. Then we were turned away from 2 gates at landing. I'm just glad I was able to get to Denver in one piece! The altitude change is no joke or exaggeration by the way. It doesn't help that I only had a bowl of soup and 2 hours of sleep. I feel slightly buzzed. A Rocky Mountain high indeed! I missed a few events as I'm still settling in. My Blackberry has had to be reset by the T-Mobile network 3 times in the past 24 hours. I may need my SIM card 'zapped'. I have met some cool people just coming in from the airport and gave a mini interview. The flight attendant told me under the circumstances I looked no worse for the wear.

I've heard feedback that the Big Tent is da bomb. I'm watching the live feed on C-Span in the comfort of someone's living room. I ordered some food from a local restaurant that delivered. Coconut shrimp and miso soup. And lots of fresh ginger so I don't get sick. It was crisp and still hot when I got it. Yummmmmmm.

I'm off to see Cynthia McKinney speak at Mercury Cafe and then Michelle Obama gives her speech. I think I may need to call it a early evening, but you never know. I'm hoping for a big second wind.

I was jamming along to the great cover band doing Earth Wind & Fire, Alicia Keys and Aretha Franklin songs.I wish I was up there singing!

I'll post with more detail l8tr!!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I Am Headed to Denver

Hey All,

I am wrapping up final preparations for my trip to the Democratic National Convention. I can't wait to meet my fellow bloggers, delegates, protesters and average citizens. Also I've never been to Denver. Well actually, when I first moved to CA my friend and I drove out from NY and took the Northern route and passed through Colorado. I remember wanting to stop and stay a few days because it was so purty and green. Even in June there was snow on the mountain tops.

Will there be a JLo sighting? Can I shake hands with Barbara Lee? Will I see lots of celebrities? Do I need a raincoat? Will the police have on riot gear and throw tear gas at passersby? Can I rough it in the woods to see Rage Against the Machine? Will bottled water be $8 like it is in Miami during the Winter Music Conference? Will I come back enlightened and invigorated or surly and feeling alienated?

I have to thank a certain person that I met at another political event who originally suggested I go and made an offer for tickets to events, etc. I never heard from her again but instead of being pissed off at flaky people I decided to see it as a sign that I should try to make it happen. No blogger credentials, no place to stay, really no money since I'm interviewing for jobs right now but.....a little focus, a little prayer and my risk-taking nature and here I be.

See participating in message boards and comment sections at other blogs paid off. Shout-outs to JJP, The Field and Fieldhands group and a certain Obama delegate. I think it was meant to be. This is a once-in-a-lifetime scenario I believe. I am very grateful and humbled to be able to participate. Even breathing the air will be different. Thanks to those ridiculous baggage fees I am going to try to pack the smallest bag ever and let me tell you I am a notorious over-packer.

I will try to live-blog as many events as I can, send Twitter updates and post a few recaps but I want to experience the sights, sounds, smells and tastes unfettered. I have a few wishes like meeting Donna Brazile and Susan Rice and perhaps getting an interview? One can hope, right? I look forward to all the unexpected pleasantries.


P.S. What do you think of the Roland Martin interview of Michelle Obama?

Here's a Big Tent Widget

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Run and Tell That

From the musical Hairspray.


I can't see
Why people look at me
And only see the color of my face

And then there's those
That try to help, god knows
But have to always put me in my place

But I won't ask you to be color blind
'Cause if you pick the fruit
Then girl, you're sure to find...

The blacker the berry
The sweeter the juice
I could say it ain't so
But darlin', what's the use?

The darker the chocolate
The richer the taste
And that's where it's at... run and tell that!!

Run and tell that!

Run and tell that!

Run and tell that!

I can't see
Why people disagree
Each time I tell them what I know is true

And if you come
And see the world i'm from
I bet your heart is gonna feel it too

Yeah. I could lie
But baby. Let's be bold
Vanilla can be nice
But if the truth be told...

The blacker the berry
The sweeter the juice
I could say it ain't so
But darlin', what's the use

The darker the chocolate
The richer the taste
That's where it's at

Now run and tell that!!

Run and tell that!

Come on girl, This is my sister Li'l Inez!

Oh I know Tracy Turnblad! Good For you girl you got on the show!

Well you better be next

You got that right.

Oh you know she is you better show em' girl!

I'm tired of coverin' up all my pride

So give me five on the black-hand side

I've got a new way of movin'
And i got my own voice

So how can i help
But to shout and rejoice

The people 'round here
Can barely pay their rent
They're "try'n to make dollar
Out 'a fifteen cent"
But we got a spirit
Money just cant buy

It's deep as a river
And soars to the sky!!

I cant see
The reason it cant be
The kinda world where we all get our chance

The time is now
And we can show them how
To turn the music up and let's all dance

'Cause all things are equal
When it comes to love
Well, that ain't quite true
'Cause when push comes to shove...

The blacker the berry
The sweeter the juice
I could say it ain't so

But darlin', what's the use
The darker the chocolate
The richer the taste
That's where it's at

...Now run and tell that!!

Run and tell that!

Run and tell that!!

Calgon Take Me Away

So the Geritol generation gets someone they can relate to. Makes me really look forward to them dying out and us youngsters taking over. Apparently Joe isn't filthy rich, has two young daughters and is firmly established enough. He's, quoting Obama from his speech today, "Ready to be President". Hmmm. If the Colored Dude would be #1 and the White Female political juggernaut is #3 the people behind the curtain NEED an older white man in at #2. You know just because. So I get it, he wasn't picked to appeal to me. Cuz it's all about winning baby. And it wasn't Clinton. Ol' Joe just better stick to his attack dog purpose and keep in his mouth shut unless it's been scripted. Of course the Rethugs will run all the times he said Obama wasn't experienced enough. With friends like these!


Already there's lots of crunchy stuff to chew on as this political race heats up before the final combust in less than 11 weeks. And then the next set of obstacles, problems and needs for protest will rise up like weeds from this putrid garden we've scattered our seeds of discontent throughout. Gee that wasn't very positive was it? Oh well. It is what it is.

There's a Free Tibet march going on right outside my window as I type this. A nice preliminary for the Convention. I am more interested in the so-called anti-establishment events like those of Progressive Democrats of America, World Can't Wait, We Are Change Colorado, Recreate68, Code Pink and others.

I. Am. Tired.

For the first time in my adult life I really.... see how not knowing what's going on, not making things a priority and leaving things up to other people has put our lives in a very precarious situation. Or severe dire straits. It's all in how you look at it.

Things are actually fine according to some. It's all in our heads. If we pull ourselves up by our bootstraps we'll be fine. Unless we make better choices it's all our fault. Institutional injustices be damned. Not physically being born in this country was a matter of pre-determination. Some people are just especially lucky afterall.

We have hope and change waiting on the horizon.

So why do I feel uneasy? Why a sense of dread? Why do I feel like something is not quite right? Why do I want to be wrong, so very wrong? Hopefully I'll be able to shake this after a few days of combining hob-nobbing with protesting because I am nothing if not a contradiction. I like pretty things and nice surroundings and comfort. I don't want to think about people in Haiti who are being forced to eat dirt due to our greed. Yes, it's ours. We should own up to it. It's not a pass the buck type situation. Well passing the buck has helped contribute to it.

I just want to bury my head in the sand. Wake me up when it's all over. It's not just political apathy. It's a spiritual hole in our souls, a mental hiccup in our psyches. It's questions with no answers because we have free will to do whatever we want. Except, except there's always a price to pay somewhere down the line isn't there?

When we have questions about life doesn't it make you feel somewhat empty? Or do we avoid even thinking about it? Do we numb ourselves to lack any awareness so that we only focus on what's right in front of us? If we run can we hide from ourselves?

Or escapism tends to fall into certain parameters:

a. Puff puff
b. Snort snort
c. Toot toot, hey beep beep


d. Stuffing our faces with every comfort food imaginable.

Actually it's not the food per se but the amount of food. actually let me throw in another caveat. I take issue with the modified food starch and corn syrup added to virtually everything in this country. Do you know it's banned in the UK? It bloats us up, makes us sluggish and lethargic. Just to ripen us up for an evening in front of the 500 + channels on the teevee.

Some go far far off the path and hurt people in every way imaginable because they were hurt by someone.

Did your desire to acquire lead you down a path of never-ending want? If you are currently struggling but had not before did you consider others who had less than or not enough?

See, it's a cycle that can repeat itself over and over and over. Though being aware of it you can do something about it. Change your mindset and perspective. It may not come easily or happen quickly. Some things may take a generation or two. Or three.

Hmmm I'm starting to feel better already.


There IS hope afterall. And change is just over the horizon. There is a Promised Land. Zen philosophy has us currently in it. And heaven is here on earth right now, not some far away place we go to when. I think that takes us back to the responsibility portion of our lesson. How we have the responsibility, the opportunity, no the PRIVILEGE to look outside ourselves and DO for OTHERS. That is how we'll get our needs met.

So let's be grateful for people who ask questions, who lodge complaints and demand more from us than what we find comfortable. It's because we can do it.

A true bottom-up government requires active participation from ALL of its citizens. It starts with those elected to:

1. School Board
2. City council
3. State gov't
4. Judges at all levels

Let's focus on having a few well-placed people un-bought and un-bossed and we can see REAL CHANGE. Old people with old mind-sets be damned!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Obama Chooses Biden for VP

My first thoughts are why in a big cry-baby voice. I'll have to marinate on this one. He is highly suspect to me after his "clean and articulate" comment from a few months ago. That and he's been around 4EVER. That doesn't necessarily make you viable. Milk can be around 4EVER but you wouldn't want to drink it!

Just the fact that he didn't get WHY that was so offensive as if he couldn't imagine a non-white person to be educated and presentable. Dude, if you can't get that you are more than out of touch. If you can't see another person as a human being on equal footing - ah there's the rub. It's the ol' I will be behind this line and you can be behind that line scenario. Geez what an ass!

Since Obama refers to him as his 'friend' Imma have to take that with a grain of salt. I really want the people behind the curtain to be exposed now. This is a little too much capitulation even for me unless some rational and highly informed person in the blogosphere can properly explain WHY THIS IS A GOOD IDEA.'s so not gonna be like Christmas is it? I just have to keep reminding myself how much McCain in office will SUCK!

Rinse and repeat.

Write it on the blackboard.

McCain in office will SUCK. McCain in office will SUCK. McCain in office will SUCK. McCain in office will SUCK. McCain in office will SUCK. McCain in office will SUCK. McCain in office will SUCK. McCain in office will SUCK. McCain in office will SUCK. McCain in office will SUCK. McCain in office will SUCK. McCain in office will SUCK. McCain in office will SUCK. McCain in office will SUCK.

I almost.......maybe would've felt better with Clinton.......ah kung-fu death grip to my brain as aliens suck out the marrow....

This country is really fucked up......


I hope to not ever publish a post where I curse and use so much slang but I'm kinda in that mood right now and will not censor it. I need a drink.

Update: I guess I didn't need that drink afterall but I did need to add this video. Watching reruns of the Chris Rock show on HBO from the late 90's/early 2000's is a trip.

Caveat: I only like the chorus and usually close my ears to the rest of the song. I'm such a wuss!

Support Keke Palmer Film Opening August 22nd

Whatever your plans are make sure to pencil in the KeKe Palmer/Ice Cube movie "The Longshots" when it is released tomorrow. Don't wait until next week or the week after. It may be pulled from the theaters by then. No bootleg copies, no waiting for pay-per-view. Even if it turns out to be a little schlocky. Is that even a word? Eh.

It's a POSITIVE movie starring a Black actress - actually two - Tasha Smith's in it as well. Keke is not quite a woman yet and it's really nice to see her get to play a smart, couth, teenager. There's not a baby or baby's daddy in sight [for her]. No Tales from the Hood victim story either. How did this ever get the greenlight?

Do you have any idea how many movies and tv shows I've watched this year where there was not even a Black female extra? And no I'm not getting paid for this endorsement and if you don't like the movie don't blame me, lol!

What's it all about? Well it's based on the true story of Jasmine Plummer who at the tender age of 11 became the first female quarterback of a Junior Pee Wee football team to go to the Nationals. It could be about baking cookies for all I care. KeKe Palmer's in it and so far she nor her parents have allowed her to be pimped out as a teenager seductress. And she can act. I am soooo jealous right now.

(Crossing my fingers that the Limp Bizkit guy didn't mess it up).

Here's the trailer:

Here's an interview with Jasmine herself:

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Very Meaning of Our Lives

It was in a scene from Matrix Reloaded where Morpheus was giving his latest pep talk/call to arms to Niobe and the rest of the humans fighting to be free from machine domination.

"All of our lives, we have fought this war. Tonight I believe we can end it. Tonight is not an accident. There are no accidents. We have not come here by chance. I do not believe in chance. When I see three objectives, three captains, three ships. I do not see coincidence, I see providence. I see purpose. I believe it our fate to be here. It is our destiny. I believe this night holds for each and every one of us, the very meaning of our lives."

Despite my misgivings about how not only won't it be like Christmas everyday with an Obama Presidency, but we may have to fight off a giant whitelash, lol, I have to tell you how much I'll be looking forward to standing in the freezing cold in D.C. for the inauguration. It just might happen. I'd just like to see a certain Green Party Presidential candidate with a seat at the table victorious in surviving the knife put in her back. Which I can't help but wonder if it was put there partially because she was a Black woman and betrayed by other Black people in leadership positions.

Anyhoo, I would be equally if not more giddy at a certain Michelle Robinson Obama as First Lady. That would forever put the nail in the coffin to the Daughters of the Revolution don't you think? The degrees and careers of the Obamas outside of politics are not so unique when one doesn't play into the "Black People Are Inferior" indoctrination that continues to be force-fed to this day. Actually they are not even close to being elite despite the corporate media and Rethug lying about it. Growing up poor with no pedigree one can hopefully see a trend of hard work and determination forming but certainly no white-version of affirmative action [corporate bail-outs, legacy admissions to schools, the original receipients of the GI Bill and pardons for committing crimes].

You do realize the billions of dollars that the gov't spends on helping out its 'friends' is a mere pittance compared to the few millions it spends on say Food Stamps and other social welfare programs [the bulk of which go to, you guessed it, white people]? It also shows how little they actually know about Black people in this country and the world. Or perhaps they do know but they persist in keeping the lies going and the masses just don't ask enough questions.

It's 11 weeks and counting. What will you stand for?

R.I.P. Rep. Tubbs-Jones.

Here's a great video from MoveOn that touches on this.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Do Something

Hmmmm there's lots going on today. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones may have succumbed to life-threatening injuries.

Some Obama supporters have already given up and there's an awful lot of complaining about what he's not doing:

a. Speaking for Black People. Advocating for Black People. Talking in glowing terms about Black people. All the time!!!
b. Fighting/Attacking/Kicking Ass and telling whitey that they're whitey and they're racists and they suck.
c. He's too articulate. He needs to speak s-l-o-w-l-y and spell his words and use a 3rd grade primer because most voters are dumber than a doorknob.

Now I admit I'm not 100% team Obama. I have questions. I don't want any surprises. I don't expect him to save me, but I don't want to find out "Satan's" been pulling the strings either. It's beyond hope in a jar. It's like Mr. Right showing up at your door and you send him away because he's nothing like what you expected so you REJECT him. Instead you go back to the guy who cheats on you and beats you. You hate it, but not nearly enough to walk away from it. The abuse is comforting in its depravity.

We're so jaded and doubtful. We also need to think critically, hold him accountable and make sure our voices don't get drowned out. I shouldn't have to worry about that $250K donor getting access over me, but that's how this country operates. The thing is.....we can change that. Or at least lessen it's influence.

I figured it was going to be Clinton vs. Guiliani. I was not looking forward to this election cycle really because it was going to be another situation with choosing the lesser of unsatisfactory candidates. Yeah I got the "Bill Clinton was an Amazing President and Our Budget Was Balanced" memo, but..... I saw that NAFTA sucked and millions of jobs disappeared into the ether, there was a tidal wave of newly poor risking life and limb to cross the border, the FCC went to sleep, Clear Channel bought everything that wasn't nailed down and I stopped listening to the radio. Oh yeah...let's not forget WalMart and the Big Box stores taking their revenue out of their area of operation, the crappy pay and discrimination. I just couldn't get on board the Clinton Express. I didn't think staying with a man who'd humiliated you for years was a reason to vote for the wife of a former President.

Yeah, yeah I know comparing the Clintons to the Bushes is a big no-no. But those years went from bad to worse to me praying for the 2004 version of Noah's Arc so we could start over AGAIN. But my conscience is clear because I never voted for Shrub. I was in the UK in 2003. I saw the bodies of the dead children and people with limbs blown off because it wasn't censored by the media. I read articles in the newspapers protesting the war and Tony Blair's capitulation to the US. I even marched in a million-strong protest in Hyde Park. It got so bad I had to tell people I was Canadian. Being Black gave me no reprieve from the anti-US gov't and citizen outrage of the Brits and Europeans.

I was relieved when Obama started kicking butt and taking names despite a whole bunch of shade being thrown his way. By other Black people in leadership positions. By so many people who thought they were above racism. By a lot of pampered and privileged white women. By other people who either wish to co-opt or destroy what they can't control. Of course there are some deep pockets and powerful people supporting his candidacy. This country wouldn't have it any other way. It was built on back-room deals, exploitations and murder.

But let's be positive shall we? I really like Michelle. No I don't know her but she seemed like someone who knew what time it was. Of course all the attacks on her personage appear to confirm that. Yes the Obamas have to be vetted for their commitment to all of us regular folk, but we let our votes be taken for granted by white people for YEARS. Yes - some of us - have woken up. FINALLY. It's about time!

There is another great candidate running on the Green Party ticket. Cynthia McKinney. Watch American Blackout. She is fierce, she is unbossed. She was chewed up and spit out for fighting the good fight. She might still get my vote just because. If the Green Party gets 5% of the vote nation-wide they'll get Congressional representation. Anything to break up the 2-party monopoly! In a fair and just world......

So here we are 10-11 weeks away from Doomsday. How many people are going to limit themselves by voting against their interests? I'm not even going to get into why voting for McCain should result in an immediate ban from living in this country. "Satan" doesn't have to pull his strings. That was strictly a volunteer assignment! He will certainly be beneficial for the ones that benefit from back-room deals, exploitation and murder. Now is not the time to be dumb. God gives us choices and then we have to live with them. The Republicans have had free reign for 8 years and you can see the result of that. If you only care about yourself and foolishly think there won't be any blowback then go ahead and pull the lever for the liar/cheater/wife-beater.

There's things we the average Joe, Juanita, Janiqua or Jamal can do.

1. Phone Bank
2. Register people to vote
3. Sign up to be a Poll Worker - cuz you know some funny stuff will go down
4. Write about the hypocrisy of the Corporate Media and all their surrogates
5. Donate money

You know we could talk about how wrong things are, how unfair the system is, how we have questions, how we're not sure, how some candidates are not fit, how we don't like the way they're running their campaign, how we'd do things differently if WE were in charge, blah blah blah!!!!


Remember the Macy Gray song on her debut album? I really liked it when it came out. Now that it's been nearly a decade you can see and hear how well her songs and videos have held up. She is definitely not your average girl with a record deal. We need more artists like her and Santogold and M.I.A. and Rachel Yamagata and Res and Roisin Murphy and Choklate and Zaki Ibrahim and Estelle and Sia and J*Davey and __________ add your own artist, plant the seeds and watch them grow.


I Believe the Kid

This aired a few days ago on the Sheppard Smith show on Fixed Noise, Faux News, whatever you want to call it. I caught the tail end of this during the original broadcast but thanks to the internets we have it for posterity.

Bay Area resident Amanda Kokoeva was visiting her relatives in South Ossetia when the fighting broke out between Russian and Georgian troops. As you may have heard the official US stance is Russia=bad and Georgia is the innocent virgin that must be saved from the big bad brute country. Well the facts are not so cut and dry and definitely leading to fairy tale status. It is the usual Neo-Con scenario with Israeli involvement sprinkled in and Georgia was expecting the US-led NATO forces to help them punk Russia.

If you recall Shrub said he could see inside Putin's soul. I wonder what he saw? Russia called their bluff, no NATO forces came and they got their asses kicked. John McCain put in his two-cents even though he is not POTUS, the Ferragamo-loving Russian expert National Security Advisor stepped in and a cease-fire was called. Only Russia hasn't exactly complied and are only like 95% gone as of today. See Putin doesn't play and he is not even President of Russia anymore, it's Dmitry Medvedev.

So a 12-year old was in a cafe with relatives when the ish hit the fan. She's really lucky to have escaped. Her family doesn't know the status of their relatives left behind either. The US has no leverage, no moral ground and can't say squat about diddly because of Iraq. The military is spread waaay to thin. How many people want to volunteer for World War III? Hands? Anyone? Yeah I didn't think so.

So the funny thing about this little interview is you have actual people who were involved in a situation that the gov't and media wants to spin a completely opposite story about. Amanda thanked the Russian troops for saving her and her aunt slams the Georgian President for starting some ish he can't finish. And they get cut off. Classic!

Hmmm makes me wonder about Hugo Chavez being sooooo bad per the US. For not allowing the expansion of NAFTA, for calling Shrub "El Diablo", for wanting to nationalize his country's resources instead of having conglomerates take over, for....resisting perhaps? Maybe just maybe things are not what they appear.

Think critically people and take a look under the bed for monsters.

Update: In a very dangerous game of chicken the US signed a deal with Poland to build a military base near the border of Russia. Boy this gov't sure does know how to keep the drama going! And just when we thought it was going to pop off with Iran. It's not too late to apply pressure, give this lots of press and talk about what a HORRIBLE idea this is!!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Twitter is Gonna Jack Up My Cell Phone Bill

So I found a bunch of people on Twitter and allowed for SMS updates. Well damn! Who knew people would be sending so many messages. Or am I following too many people, hey? I've had a 400 text message plan and that was plenty. Now..not so much. Do I disable or upgrade to unlimited texts? I hate having to pay almost $70/month as it is. I have a Crackberry and PTL my service is with T-Mobile.

**Soapbox Alert**
By the way all you people with AT&T service should be taken to task with their FISA violations and all. I don't care that they carry the iPhone. You could buy it unlocked. Yeah it costs more, but you can't get insurance on it anyway and since some of you must be rich enough or in debt enough to keep funding your consumerist habits it shouldn't matter. Don't fund companies that promote foolishness, denigrate women or break the law. By the way T-Mobile and Credo Mobile did NOT violate FISA. Ok I'll get off my soapbox now.

The only reason my nearly $70 bill is so 'low' is because I've disabled my wireless access. My bill was $96/month. I just can't abide with spending nearly $100 per month for cell phone service. I love technology. I hate being overcharged. The amount of fees and taxes is upwards of $15 and FOR WHAT? I know that is still less than what Verizon and A T & T charges for comparable service. I have the My Faves plan and 1500 minutes, free nights & weekends and 400 SMS. That's pretty good but still grossly overpriced for what I'd pay in the UK or Europe where all incoming calls are free and they were sending SMS like 6 years ago. We are soooo behind the times.

I still haven't reconciled myself to the use of cobalt that can only be found in specific countries in Africa. Is this another jacked-up situation where the big conglomerates with the military backing of the West takes resources and the people get nothing and we are oblivious and willfully ignorant to the suffering of others? Hello I have enough problems - I just did a post about it!!!!

Anyway this was supposed to be a quick blurb because I got a Twitter message that Rachel Maddow is getting her own MSNBC show. Yeah for her! But my immediate thought was, where's the Black people, specifically a Black woman with her own prime-time, morning drive, late night, mid-day or early evening show? Donna Brazile would be a great host. Or Gwen Ifill [who should've gotten the Meet the Press post] or any number of qualified journalists or politically aware and socially conscious women of color. So this is a great start but let's not be patted on the head and sent away because 'they' let another [white] woman in. I just hope she doesn't start preaching the Oppression Olympics lie of how sexism is worse than racism by discounting Black women and other women of color. We'll see.

Tuesday Ramble

I'm still trying to figure out what I want to write about so for now I'm just gonna post whatever I feel like with no rhyme or reason. I'm still debating whether I want to be light and airy or fire and brimstone about the state of the world and how greed and corruption is killing us all, lol. I have little interest in writing about politics non-stop and because so many other blogs focus on the same stories and drink from the same fountain it gets kinda boring after a while. I'm also going to Denver next week to experience the sights and sounds of this Democratic Convention all the folks are talking about. Nope I am not credentialed. The thought had not even occurred to me that I could just go even if it meant going solo, not knowing anybody and not having made arrangements for a place to stay either. I found a generous soul who offered a spot to crash for 4 days without seeing it as a money-making venture. I'm less than 1,000 miles away so the plane fare wasn't dirt cheap but it was less than $250 so I just said, "Go for it!" to myself.

I need to give myself lots of pep talks these days. I am struggling and want to be more positive, positive period, because thoughts become actions so the saying goes. I need some things to change in my life. Namely where I live and how I live. I need to earn a living doing what I love, not just have a j-o-b. Yes it is a privilege but I have not been nor will I ever be happy settling for less. Believe me I have tried. It has something to do with why I am currently unemployed [that and a former employer bad-mouthing me] and though I KNOW I have to work and have no problem doing so I have to take a new direction. I also need a new place to live and have been dreaming about living by Duboce Park or Duboce Triangle. It is not easy finding a vacancy in these areas and quite a few people who rent have to share apartments. Thanks to low availability and over-inflated real estate I could very well have to pay $1000+ to share a small apartment with a bedroom the size of a closet.

Am I being negative again? Argh! I have a serious problem with perfectionism and being too hard on myself. I can be my own worst enemy. It only makes the real-life obstacles that present themselves all the more defeating. I have done many brave things in my life. I've made more than my share of mistakes. Mistakes should not be the death of us. Failure should not be the measure of how we define ourselves, as in if you don't have ___________ you are one.

I also need to be out socializing and making friends....but being a hermit and feeling slightly alienated from the world has some appeal right now. As for dating...I want the perfect guy for me to just appear out of the blue and not have to do anything but be. Yeah I am delusional. I am weary. I could just give up trying to have this dream of a great life I've envisioned for myself but I think that would be the end of me. Without hope there is nothing. Did I mention I want three kids as well? One of which will be adopted, due to the excessive number of Black children left in foster care.

I'm also still looking for a church I can call home or be able to accept that I will be dissatisfied on some level with "religion" because people are not perfect and many men have bastardized religious texts to keep control over people, esp. women. And I've never felt right with the gay is an abomination meme as a license to hate and kill people. Is it ok with God that I never go to church again? What about those potential future children? Kids need some grounding - just not indoctrination into falsehood.

Sigh. Big sigh. I lost all the air from a wheel on my truck a while back. I just need to patch it and reflate. Or replace it all together. Be positive, have a plan, be aware of the potholes, dodge the potholes don't drive over them underestimating how deep they are and keep moving. Don't stop. Don't give up.

Here's one of my favorite songs, "Secret Smile" by Semisonic. This was during the time they had that huge hit, "Closing Time". I hated that song, but when this was released I was like, all melty inside. I love this song. The video not so much. I have no idea why I like this song so much. It was a quirky song and slightly melancholic. It's about 10 years old but I still like it. Go figure.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

This Video By Royksopp is Deep

When Poor Leno was released I loved it. Then I saw the video. It always makes me cry. What a way to make a statement.

More Thoughts on the Indoctrination of You Are Not Enough Meme

The media and big corporations rake in billions from making us feel like crap. I think it is even more damaging to women and girls of color, especially in the United States, because the promoted standard of beauty starts with and ends with white women. Typically that is the only promoted definition of "woman".

It's funny though because I once found a religious text that defined the word W-O-M-A-N as soft. Yes.....SOFT. Some thesaurus examples of soft are: satiny, peaceful, smooth, comfortable and not harsh. Yeah we can be brazen and raucous, too!

Whenever I think how that displays itself in romantic liaisons [from an admitted hetero perspective] I think how men tend to be more compact and sinewy. You touch them and they can have muscles that are hard. Their hands tend to be rough as well [manicures and lotion are always a good idea]. So I can imagine as a contrast how comforting it must be for them to touch a woman. I'm not talking about BMI [which is not reliable] or suggesting that women can't be muscular as well. It can be a nice give and take situation to explore.....

Anyway back to the subject at hand.

Our self-esteem can take a nose-dive when we're bombarded by messages that tell us we're not good enough. Yes we can take actions to counterbalance that but we need to recognize it for what it is. It's a massive campaign effort to get us off focus, absorbed in doubts about our worth and take away our focus from doing the greater good. And don't forget getting our money.

You know Harriet Tubman wasn't worried about getting older. She didn't base her worth of having the latest gadget, outfit or hairdo. I'm sure she struggled with just getting enough food to eat period. She could have just gone on with her life after she decided on an uncertain future - but one of her choosing when she decided to escape from being enslaved. Not only did she succeed but she couldn't accept that others were left behind and went to save as many who were willing to take a chance. She had a belief system and acted on it. She had a plan and committed to it. Failure would have meant death. If she had been born this century I wonder what she would have become? Would she have been portrayed by some in the media as being an "Angry Black Woman" for speaking out on post-colonization and the roots of poverty?

I struggle with trying to live an authentic life while being true to myself. I struggle with defining myself by MY standards and no one else's - including my family's. I know that I have a lot of privileges in comparison to many throughout the world, but I also have certain obstacles that are unique to my gender and race. Including lousy pay. I've seen the salaries for jobs decrease while every staple [housing, food, etc] has greatly increased. If women were paid on par with men and had equal opportunities for business ventures we could support our families and move away from poverty.

We can't undo past hurts or present mistakes, but we can move forward as best we can towards a brighter future. That future may not encompass all the things we desire but will prayerfully include the things we need. In the meantime we have future generations of young women [and men] to nurture and protect.

And just for the record I like latte macchiatos, well-made shoes and traveling to foreign countries. I have an in-born affinity for luxury. I am a Leo afterall! But I also realize that attaining that "American Dream" extols a high-price on the rest of the world being that so many have to be left in abject poverty to support it. Being the descendant of those enslaved whose income helped fund the War of Independence and the building of this country while receiving no acknowledgement of that contribution has not gone unnoticed.

So before I totally spin off to a new tangent let me bring this back to my original point. Despite all the distractions and noise I see a clear path of a certain direction we can take to empower women. We are the ones who have inspired and led movements. When Christ was resurrected the first person he went to was Mary Magdalene. I'm not so sure I buy the theory that she was a sex worker [prostitute], I think she was someone who didn't conform to male patriarchy, which depending on where we live could result in so-called honor killings or being referred to as a whore by the National Enquirer. Shirley Chisholm ran for POTUS in 1972. She was not supported on a large scale by the self-appointed leaders of the feminist movement, but she did it anyway. Benazir Bhutto set aside her fears to fight for her country even under the threat of death. She paid the ultimate price but offered a powerful example of a person who would not take the easy route. Phoolan Devi was another brave woman who defied her society's definition of what her place should be.

So.....Dove has been promoting their Campaign for Real Beauty where they try to counterbalance the negative aspects of the beauty industry [and selling products]. Yeah, it's a double-edged sword but dang it for being clever. I still give it the side-eye. Now the irony is that this commercial I'm posting comes from an advertising agency, but the thing is, they KNOW their demographics and how to sell products. But we gotta have lip gloss. What we don't need is to think we're incomplete without it.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Another Woman Caves to the Weight Police

Last year actress Jennifer Love-Hewitt was ripped to shreds by the tabloids for not looking like a cadaver. She was by no means even remotely close to being overweight. She did however look like she actually ate a meal from time to know normal. Still skinny, but not totally emaciated. She said she was fine with how she looked...but low and behold the need to conform clearly took hold because she is announcing to the world that she.lost.weight dammit!

See, in this country we like to take on our own form of moral superiority like discussing how heinous it is that women in some countries have to wear a burqua. How barbaric. Those people, we tsk tsk thinking how much better we are. Well, we have our own version of ridiculous standards that only apply to WOMEN mind you. It's as if you are not validated as a woman unless you fit into a very narrow box. White, Blonde, Big Boobs, Weigh no more than say 125lbs. We must see your clavicle. Your thighs must not touch when you stand. Your hair must be long and a horse's mane.

See...I am none of the above. Far far from it in fact. And neither are most women. Even the women who do fit that profile don't feel free. Ever gone on a diet? Ever complained about the fit of your clothes? Ever felt you had to compete for male attention? So I walk around fighting the tape in my head that says I'm not worthy. It's a message that's been programmed from an early age and reinforced to such heights that we're all gonna fall off that cliff ANY DAY NOW!

I am saddened but not surprised by her actions. I can only imagine the pressure she was under. She was just living her life and was probably somewhat devoid of the behaviors of those with addictions and emotional problems. Perhaps not anymore. If she exercised more and lost weight, fine. She'll just be way more high maintenance in her personal upkeep....but if there's going to a food restriction list, a do's and don'ts requirement, a pending obsession then that just sucks! That's no example. That's no way to live.

I recall the episode of Oprah where Jill Scott was on discussing her role in "Why Did I Get Married". She is a beautiful full-figured woman and amazing musician. Her character was written as being even heavier than Jill is in real life so her reel character required padding. She spoke of cast members looking at her with pity at her increased body size and how she used that in her acting choices, but still. All health arguments aside what is up with this attitude? Why is a woman deemed less than simply because of her weight?

We all have insecurities, but we are children of God [insert your spiritual tradition]. We are precious. We have intellect. Compassion. We love deeply and freely. We are Amazons. Valkyries. Know your strength.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bush Ain't the Only Rethug We Can't Wait to Get Rid Of

Sub-Titled: "People Who Have to Suffer Because Some of You Voters Are IDIOTS"

Here in California I believe a lot of residents are experiencing what some would call buyer's remorse. Except those of us who were taken along for the ride reluctantly. When former Governor Grey Davis declared war on Enron and what turned out to be the doctored rates and fake rolling blackouts, the Rethugs put out their version of a fatwa on his candidacy by offering up a Reagan for the Millenium. Who is that you may ask? Why action star Arnold Schwarzenegger of course. Good looking [to some] - check. Famous - check. Married into the USA version of foreign royalty - check. Right wing attack dog in mumbled English-speaking clothing - check, check, check!

See Grey Davis was actually doing his JOB questioning a company who ran in league with the Frat Boy [a lovely and apt term I got from Field Negro] and charging our state ridiculous rates for electricity and spotty service. Remember those $1000 bills for what had been say $350? Who do you think was behind that being that we're a solidly Democratic Party stronghold, aka a Blue State?

The Republican Party has been trying to subvert the existing laws and slowly chip away at progressive issues in a direct attack on those of us who seek a more just and fair world. There were enough of us in the Bay Area to see past the movie star glow and Kennedy wife to not support his candidacy. What about the rest of you? We get the government we allow.

1. CA Marriage Amendment
2. State Budget Crisis - when hasn't the state had a balanced budget while Ah-nold's been in office?
3. The attempt at killing rent-control.
4. Pay demotion of SEIU members from union wage to federal minimum wage - coincidently huge Obama supporters - connect the dots.....
5. Now he wants a 'temporary' increase in the state sales tax. We already have one of the highest rates at 8.5%.
6. Redistricting plans.
7. Voter Suppression.
8. Have I forgotten anything else?

And remember those plans to change to Constitution [as if it hasn't already been abused and subverted enough] to allow a foreigner to run for POTUS?

You Ain't Slick!

This is NOTHING less than an assault on the poorer, the less fortunate, the future activists of this state. Without a diverse constituency this state would go Red and be in the hands of the Rethugs once again. I have many many many issues with the Democratic Party. I am in total support of a viable insurgent 3rd Party to counterbalance the corruption that is rampant on both sides. I would have loved having a Mayor who was a member of the Green Party. To make a significant change you cannot go back, you can only move forward....with a solid plan. What can YOU do to help stop/slow/thwart this?

1. Call or email to remind him he's elected to represent the people, not his rich friends and not big business [one in the same I suppose]. People's governor my ass! He tried to take down the nurses/firefighters/teachers/our backbone of infrastructure before. He needs a reminder of how well that went over.

2. If the budget is in such crisis why not reduce the salaries and per diems of state employees and legislators making more than $100K who also have a $35K+ living expense bonus? Or how about not giving TAX BREAKS to sub-prime mortgage lenders who helped bring the economy down to begin with?

3. Time for some more marches and rallies I think. You know how well the Frat Boy likes them. He hasn't set foot in the City of San Francisco for fear of being caught on camera with protesters calling for his impeachment.

4. Contact Secretary of State Debra Bowen regarding our election laws. We need to make sure we don't have another case of the missing ballots. Can we know put to rest the entire fallacy of the so-called 'Bradley Effect'? He supposedly lost by x number of votes and six months after the election a missing ballot box with x and surplus amount of votes floated back to shore from the Pacific ocean. The fact is, he had enough votes to have won and the election was stolen from him. The end.

5. I don't know what else to suggest. People have to be informed. People have to take action. And let's thank and support those that are not rolling over and playing dead like so many other politicians - yeah I'm talking to you Congressional Democrats!

**I just found out there's an Assembly meeting scheduled for Friday at 1pm to discuss the budget.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sexual Conduct and Double-Standards: Edwards, Clinton, Obama and Black people

John Edwards has a baby mama. Sure this is old news by now, well actually it's officially 'unconfirmed'. Yeah right. I give it a few weeks. On a more important note we lost two greats this weekend. R.I.P. Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes.

So...why do I care? Black people are held to different standards.
Black women are thought to be loose morally.
White women get to benefit from behaving like Jezebel. Paris Hilton made her career from a sex tape. Even potential First Lady Cindy McCain was a 'mistress' before a missus.

This is not about judging people on a moral high ground/puritanical USA sexual hang-up meme.
This is about white men of privilege getting away with sexual misconduct without so much as a slap on the wrist.

Do you think if this had been Barack Obama people would be so understanding? If Michelle Obama had been Barack's mistress or if he'd had one it wouldn't have been made public on Faux News Network?

CNN "Black People Are Inferior And Here's Why" special report got it all wrong I'm afraid.

I found myself humming Billie Jean and thinking about Maury's infamous paternity result shows.

Will there be a criminal investigation? Campaign funds were used to pay 'compensation'. That compensation was supposed to be making videos - campaign videos that is. How easy do you think it is to get a paid staff job working for a politician? Add in a job where you have no previous or discernible experience in. What are the odds - seriously? Unless, unless you know somebody?

With sexism being talked about so heatedly this election cycle what example does this set for women in the workplace?

I always found Edwards to be too slick for his own good. I just wasn't excited by his campaign. His whining about not getting traction in the press did not endear me either. It reminds me of John McCain's fake outrage too. Now of course I think he didn't REALLY want too much scrutiny into his campaign and his life. All the skeletons would come tumbling out. Like McCain. I wish there would be more comparison to the 'Old Guy Running' who cheated on his first wife and left her for a rodeo queen heiress. Who wears $500 shoes and owns 9 houses - some of which he can't be bothered to pay taxes on. And people have a problem voting for a stellar [but not perfect] candidate because he's not white. SMH!

Plus Edwards wasn't exactly supportive of Same-Sex Loving Individuals who wish to marry. Is there a word for extra-low hypocrite?

Face it, John Edwards was trying to pull a Bill Clinton in a year when Democrats need to win. People were asleep at the wheel about Slick Billy Jeff in 1991. He came with that extra sexual curricular activity list from the get-go. Was it any surprise that it would continue unabated and perhaps escalate? It was Clinton fatigue that led Gore to distance himself. The Clintons were self-serving so the Democrats were in a weakened state already. The Republicans were united in their efforts, they were hypocritical and nefarious but focused. The downticket candidates had little help. Bush just squeaked by. People closed their eyes. Millions were illegally purged from the voter rolls. The Supreme Court pulled a monarchy move worthy of every dictator [West-friendly leader] the US Gov't has ever supported. The media kicked in by subverting...the news. And HERE WE ARE!

Do we REALLY need to be questioning how the Rethuglican party effed up this country? They had free reign for the past 8 years. Are you doing better? Do you have a job? What's your health coverage like? Spotty or Non-Existent or Enough to Qualify as a Mortgage Payment? Tried to go to Europe lately to see your USD worth pennies? Do you think the price of gas is going to fall .... or increase? Still willing to make excuses? Have you found yourself out on the street when that one paycheck you were relying on was gone? It's not just about electing a Democrat, but PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY CARE. I know I know you say but I don't know about that guy. He seems inexperienced. This country has some serious unresolved racial prejudices....but this country is hanging on by a thread. Are we there yet?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Party Like a Rock Star!

Why Everyone Should Be Visiting Their Public Libraries

Growing up I spent a lot of my free time in my neighborhood library even though it was a 15-block walk from our house. I'd come home with a knapsack full of books. It was one of the few places I knew my mom would automatically approve without question. Back then my reading lists included anything by Judy Blume, Sweet Valley High and Nikki Giovanni. Sometimes I'd have outrageous fines to pay because I'd forgotten a book was under my bed for several weeks! I recall my local branch was a haven of sorts and all the Librarians knew me by name. 

As I got older my time was spent researching papers, looking for scholarship and college information and listening to Original Cast Recordings for Broadway shows. I always had an affinity for travel books, art books and newspapers across the country. This was all pre-Internet and of course I grew up with a rotary telephone!! Kids have it so easy today, technologically speaking. 

When I moved to New York City I immediately scoped out my favorite branches in Manhattan or the City as those in the know call it. Of course as a budding actor the Library for the Performing Arts was a second home to me and why not? Lincoln Center, the Met and Julliard were a stone's throw away. Also I carried such fond memories of the scene in The Wiz where the lions came to life. 

After moving to California I found a plethora of libraries to choose from. Each city had their own library system, so I could get memberships for Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica! Woo Hoo! By this time computers and CDs were of course all the rage and I enjoyed the variety and sheer volume of materials available. I was in full consumerism mode though and usually bought everything I'd wanted so my library use tapered off considerably. Then a savvy and no-nonsense financial planner came out with the book, "Nine Steps to Financial Freedom". Suze Orman is a very wise woman! She suggested that we cut out buying so many new books and utilize the library more often! Say it ain't so Suze! I had stacks of books that I'd read once and wanted to toss and I realized I could save money. Now some books I did have to purchase [i.e. acting manuals, certain classics] but a lot of things I could definitely hold off on. 

Now libraries provide vital services to those with limited resources and the frugal. They provide computers and printers, a safe haven during the day and a host of other services. Hey, I found an interesting cover on the shelf at the Hollywood branch one Saturday and got lost in and forever moved by Isabel Allende's "House of the Spirits" to which I will always be grateful. Funding is always an issue so if your city isn't making it a priority it's time to rattle some cages. 

Today I checked out 7 CDs and 2 books. I did a special request for these items. If you're willing to wait a few weeks you could save a pretty penny. Now I have one caveat: I must buy magazines, but thank goodness for the sellers on Ebay. Where else could I get a 5 year subscription to Harper's Bazaar for $8? What did I get - an inquiring mind might want to know? 

Annie Lennox - Weapons of Mass Destruction
Gotan Project - Lunatico
Cat Power - Jukebox
Janet Jackson - Discipline
Lenny Kravitz - It Is Time For A Love Revolution
Sia - Some People Have Real Problems
Hotel Costes - Vol. 10
Sheryl Crow - Detours 

Get Yours!  - Amy DuBois Barnett
Dirty Girls On Top -  Alisa Valdes-Rodriquez 

So don't just take my word for it - go find out for yourself. Enjoy one of the great things about this country [all spying and viewing lists aside]. 

P.S. I am eagerly awaiting Twilight! 

P.S.S. Please do NOT say Li-Berry. Major Pet Peeve!!!!!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

DJ Spinna is the best!

So I am rubbing my sore feet as I type this. I just got in after an evening of fond memories, screaming lyrics at the top of my lungs and jumping around like a zombie. DJ Spinna came to San Francisco for his annual Soul Slam party. It's Prince vs. Michael Jackson and all their cohorts and family members for a musical stand-off.  The Time, Vanity 6, Janet, SWV, Sheila E. and even Rockwell gets a spin or two. It's so fun being in a crowd of people of all ethnicities and ages doing the dance moves from a video or singing the chorus to Glamorous Life or the feeling of unfettered enthusiasm when hearing the original Jackson 5 song ABC segued into Naughty By Nature's OPP. Trust me there is no comparison to hearing the intro bassline to Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough played back to back three times before continuing the song and the crowd goes, "Oooh" in unison with MJ as the strings kick in! All personal demons and legal issues aside, can anyone argue the significance of Raspberry Beret, 1999, This Place Hotel or I Feel For You [esp when he mixes the original with the Chaka version and the Melle Mel rap]? That was the first R&B song that used hip-hop...and it all went downhill from there - ha! I tell you we could solve world peace with the right music people. They just don't make songs like those anymore. Now I have to wait another year......