Thursday, October 30, 2008

We're So Over the Hump Day Election Day Slump

Phew, I don’t know about you but I feel so much lighter. All that campaign fatigue has simply melted away. It’s 5 days until a “New World Order”. The Obamamercial that aired last night was like totally awesome, dude! The man who is sometimes referred to as “Obambi” by some right wing sourpusses did his darndest to spread pixie dust positivity and offered lollipops to every man, woman and child in this country. I’m a believer!! I’ll have a cherry rootbeer please. No wait, I want grape. I like having a purple tongue.

You see, there’s this drink called the Purple Motherf**ker. It has 5 grains of alcohol and uses a Long Island ice tea base but adds caracao. It might be considered a ‘girly’ drink because it’s sweet, but don’t be fooled. It packs a wallop. If you’re not careful you’ll wind up on the floor! Don’t underestimate the potency of a honeyed but powerful thing.

At this point we all might just go into a sugar coma. Don’t fade now people. Eat some protein and drink plenty of water! There’s still work to be done. We have to make sure the gremlins don’t come out at night and take away all our goodies.

I think it’s curtains for Senator McNasty who’s spent the past few weeks not making his case for POTUS, not reaching out to people like me (hard working, possibly tech-savvy but un(der)employed POC who live in the city) and not offering any inspiration whatsoever. Instead he has been throwing rotten pumpkins well in advance of Halloween while ducking under tables, hurling stink bombs, spewing bile and showing his you know what on the regular. Yeah and the Little Engine That Couldn’t (Palin) has been as appetizing as mushy okra. With poop on top. 

All I’ve wondered lately is, “Geez isn’t he tired?” And I’m not talking about the tall big-eared guy. Where does McCain get the energy to encourage all that hate and tell lies with a straight face? Obama’s a socialist and hangs out with terrorists. He’s going to raise your taxes….and did you hear that he ____________ insert whatever horror you can imagine. He’s eeevilll!!! This from the man who never met a sewer he wouldn’t romp in, helped deregulate the industry that has wiped people’s savings out, is BFFs with a man who offered to murder fellow Americans and is totally out of touch with people who look like me.

Is he hooked up to some contraption where he regenerates every night? Does he mix beer with the blood of a virgin and drink it as a tonic? Does that pact with Lucifer expire midnight November 4th? Now wait - this is mere speculation on my part. I have no idea if the Devil even likes John McCain. 

Quote from McGrumpy’s free advertising on CNN via Larry King Live, regarding Palin: “Every time I’m around her I’m uplifted. “ I bet Bill Maher will make that a New Rules on this Friday’s episode of Real Time with a raunchy joke. Watch!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I Saw Maxwell In Concert and Lived to Tell the Tale

Cuz lemme tell you, some of the women in the audience were a bit enthused. Heads bobbing, arms flailing, hips shaking and shouts of....euphoria. I thought I was witnessing a 'holy ghost' experience. Nah, just good ol' fashioned randy behavior. Maxwell was the sexual chocolate of the evening and as he said to the men in the audience, "I'll do all the work for you tonight."

Thanks to a curly-haired diva sitting next to me, who reset the features on my camera I have plenty to share and some video. Just bear in mind, it was filmed on a camera, not a camcorder. Sneaking the camera in was hard enough. I had to do serious dodging from the ever-watchful eyes of security and ushers while I used it.

He looks and sounds just as good - if not better- than when I first saw him in 1997. His backing band was amazing. Everyone was dressed with a touch of elegance: the men in tuxes and the lone female backing vocalist wore this Grecian-inspired peach gown with finger waves.

Maxwell did all the hits! He had nice segues between the songs and had the band change positions on stage which was a nice touch to break up any potential monotony. He had a killer horn section who doubled as male harmonies as well. I could go and on....and on. I am totally biased. I wish the show had gone on for another hour.

One thing that stood out for me was his appreciation of the audience. He thanked us for our support and took the time to introduce the musicians for a final bow at the end. He seems like a really nice man who does what he loves for a living. I felt the respect he has for his audience by his respectful behavior.

So although I am a bit of a perfectionist, this footage is not professionally shot and I obviously didn't have higher quality equipment, but it's a nice memento that captured a moment! Enjoy.

Update: I may have to edit the video because the upload was taking more than one hour. I have no idea why it was running so slowly. The photos can be viewed on Flickr.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'm Off To See Maxwell

One of our last great vocal stylists of sensual songs I have been anxiously awaiting new material from one Mr. Maxwell Rivera, but alas we will have to wait. Seeing him live, however is nothing short of an out of body experience. I first had the pleasure of seeing him in 1997 at Radio City Music Hall. I was a bit suspicious about his official age being 24 because his show was flawless, his vocal delivery so skilled and he had such command of his audience that I couldn't believe he hadn't been performing professionally for years. Sigh. Of contentment. 

When he came on the scene he was just so cool. No one rocked an afro with such flair. He also showed a depth in character I hadn't expected by retooling a Kate Bush song and making it his own. I was fairly certain I was the only person who'd heard This Woman's Work previously - aside from the band - amongst the overwhelmingly Black (conservative) audience. His acknowledgement of the silent contributions of (Black) women by choosing to do that song has always stood out. Even moreso now with the advent of such derogatory songs flooding the airwaves that passes for music. I listen to all genres of music and Kate is one of my faves. It was unexpected and I was sooo impressed!!! Now it's one of his signature songs. Like Sade, he'll always have an audience I just wish we didn't have to wait so long between music releases and tours. It's been 8 years!!!! 

Here's his tribute to Al Green. I'll update with a review on Wednesday. 

Let's Really Live While We're Here

Due to the celebrity factor one family's personal tragedy is being played in the news. The sad thing is this sort of tragedy occurs all too often and those of us left behind have to find the will to survive - and thrive in its aftermath. 

We cannot control what other people do if they decide to put their own wants over our needs. Black women are especially good at overlooking glaring pathologies in people because we have not healed the ancestral wounds from our embattled history in this country. Sometimes we just get our feelings hurt. Sometimes we pay a much higher price. 

We have to want more for ourselves and have a vision for things beyond our immediate reach. Striving for more takes its toll. Not settling can be a difficult journey. A lonely journey if those around us don't want to or don't understand why it's so important. We have to draw a line in the sand. We have to take the road less traveled to get to the promised land and be free. Giving up may bring immediate relief but once that journey begins there can be no going back. Taking the blue pill is not an option!!

I found this old clip from Soul Train featuring Stevie Wonder. He was discussing his relationship with Minnie Riperton. This was the first show that aired after her passing. I've been a huge fan of hers since childhood. I always thought she did such amazing things with her voice. As an adult, as a woman and as a musician I am even more in awe of her talent, her love for her family and the purity that came through her songs. 

My family has not gone unscathed by brutality aimed at innocents. I lost one of my brothers  a little more than 2 years ago. My only comfort is that the statute of limitations for murder doesn't run out and eventually justice will prevail. An artistic young man of 21, college student and gainfully employed he most certainly wasn't supposed to be a statistic. He also saw the potential of everyone and his light indeed touched many. I think God decided he needed to see his smile and dimples sooner rather than later.

So perhaps with this bit of sadness in the air I'm feeling more emotional but I cried today at all the beauty that has been lost. I don't regret my tears though because the beauty was so bright it still lights my soul.

Monday, October 27, 2008

8 Days and Counting!!!

Go to fullsize image

So I don't want to count any chickens before they're hatched, but I can't help but notice those that are coming home to roost either! 

Election Day is nearly one week away and I have to say I am getting excited. I feel a shift, a momentum building though I am optimistically cautious and ever diligent. Obama's poll numbers are through the roof and he is even leading in several formerly Red states that went for Bush. Yeah!!

In California we have a plethora of State Propositions to vote on, 12 to be exact. 

1.   Prop 1A  High-Speed Passenger Train
2.   Prop 2  Standards for Confining Farm Animals
3.   Prop 3  Children's Hospital Bond Act
4.   Abortion Waiting Period/Parental Notification 
5.   Non-Violent Drug Offense Initiative
6.   Police & Law Enforcement Funding
7.   Renewable Energy
8.   Gay Marriage Ban 
9.   Criminal Justice System
10.  Alternate Fuel Vehicles
11.  Redistricting
12.  Veterans' Bond Act

Go to CA Secretary of State website for detailed info. 

Also the Courage Campaign has a voter guide that is downloadable to pdf.  

In San Francisco we have 22 additional Propositions to vote on - yeah! It's a LOT. Plus the Presidential election. 

A: SF General Hospital and Trauma Center Earthquake Safety Bond
B: Establishing of Affordable Housing Fund (Charter Amendment)
C: Prohibiting City Employees from Serving on Charter Boards/Commissions
D: Financing Pier 70 Development Upon Board of Supervisors' Approval
E: Changing the Number of Signatures Required to Recall City Officials
F: Holding All Scheduled City Elections Only in Even-Numbered Years
G: Allowing Retirement System Credit for Unpaid Parental Leave
H: Changing Revenue Bond Authority to Pay for Public Utility 
I: Creating the Office of an Independent Rate Payer Advocate
J: Creating a Historic Preservation Commission
K: Changing the Enforcement of Laws Related to Prostitution and Sex Workers
L: Funding the Community Justice Center
M: Changing Rent Ordinance to Prohibit Harassment of Tenants  
N: Changing Real Property Transfer Tax Rates
O: Replacing the Emergency Response Fee With an Access Line Tax 
P: Changing the Composition of the SF County Transportation Authority Board
Q: Modifying the Payroll Expense Tax
R: Renaming the Oceanside Water Treatment Plant
S: Policy of Budget Set-Asides & Identification of Replacement Funds
T: Free and Low-Cost Substance Abuse Treatment Programs
U: Policy Against Funding the Deployment of Armed Forces in Iraq
V: Policy Against Terminating (JROTC) Programs in Public High Schools 

There's other district races as well, but this is the bulk of ballot measures. To be well informed is to be well-armed.

I Wish I Had Heard This A Year Ago

Economist Art Laffer was on this week's episode of Real Time with Bill Maher. Watch the tape and continue. (Update: The original video was removed so it's now in 3 parts).

Start at 7:12 and proceed.

I thought he was a bit squirrely. Something about him was off. Perhaps he was nervous. Anyway I had no idea who he was so I went digging around You Tube for the tape of the conversation referenced. Watch below.

I noticed things veered off into a discourse of feminism, but the point that was being made is that a lot of mothers HAVE to work because the cost of living expenses are so high. Yes, many women work by choice for pleasure. I am equally certain that if this country had an infrastructure that really supported families by providing national child care, health care and paid time off more people would participate as well.    

Can we get off this argument over reproductive rights in the form of abortion interference/birth control obstruction and actually help people with the kids they already have! Or future children they may wish to plan for. Would people be driving to Nebraska to abandon children well over the age of 5 if they had enough resources to care for them?! Who seriously wants to have an abortion? Sometimes people need help and all they get are others projecting their narrow views in the guise of religion and judgement!     

In France mothers get 3 years maternity leave with a guarantee of their previous job upon return. In Sweden the gov't pays your college tuition in full at any school of your choice. Guess what - their rate of abortion and children in foster care is much lower than ours here in the land of "everybody should be rich because we're Americans".

The meme in the US is to demonize "socialism" as something bad, but there are aspects of how other govt's work that really put their countries first. People actually pay higher taxes - without all the loopholes the wealthiest get in this country - and there's less disparity amongst classes. Generally speaking, the poor people in the US are much poorer than those in other Western countries. We have to pay for everything! Yeah capitalism. Though it always seems to benefit somebody else.

This doesn't compare to those in the developing (recovering) countries but I see that as a result of political policies as well as a situation citizens of the world could resolve quickly by demanding the cancellation of debts, providing necessary medicine for less than cost and stop meddling in their affairs!

As for us here in the US, this is a time of reassessment. New priorities must be set. If enough people decide they will stop spending money they don't have our economy will correct itself. If not, we will have to pay the piper.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Barack Is Not the Only One Being Tested

So it's 10 days and counting. To election day. Hats off to those that voted early - please do so if you haven't already. Republicans, Democrats, Greens, Independents alike we all share a common desire for our country to be 'well'. We just don't agree on how best to achieve that goal. That's okay. If we can focus on a few things that we do agree on we can start from there. 

Some of us have been waiting for the October 'surprise', this event that would cause a rift amongst voters that would favor one particular political party and carry them on a wave to victory. We were thinking it would be military-related, perhaps something to do with Osama bin Laden. He's chilling somewhere in a villa with amenities despite public declarations of him hiding underground in some hole or cave. Don't you think someone would've found him by now? It's been 7 years! So that wasn't it.

We've had the inevitable financial catastrophe that some wise but ridiculed economists and trend forecasters warned people about at least three years in advance - but it was barely covered by the corporate media and most people weren't really interested in hearing 'doomsday' predictions truth be told. We're not quite out of the woods yet. Even as uncomfortable as this makes a lot of people that is still not quite enough to sway those that are single issue voters or those with a narrow focus. 

As for the rest of us who think we've decided what matters, we are being given another opportunity for review. How? Aside from the candidate, his wife, his children and anyone who's ever associated with them WE are being tested for our judgement, loyalty and common sense. 

This incident with Ashley Todd is our defining moment, as much as the Obama campaign (and this country) does not want to focus on race and the white supremacist structure that exists here. This is the biggest unofficial referendum on the ballot. For some would use every divisive racial tactic in the book to blow apart his campaign and ignore the will of half the country. 

Keith Olbermann discussing the Hoax heard 'round the world.

Because let's be clear, we have a majority of white people here and they have to decide where they stand. Not being aware of 'racism' can no longer be the caveat. Not when highly paid operatives and their supporters are trying to manipulate the system for their personal gain. Concerns about "issues" were tossed out six weeks ago and John McCain clearly stated his campaign was going to be about attacking Obama personally. He has encouraged a certain faction of supporters to regress to their basest nature, even commending them for acting out. Other Republicans have followed suit even going so far as to suggest some people who don't fit their narrow definitions are not American = not white = wrong. 

So now this is bigger than the McCain campaign and the Republican party. This is bigger than the election, though the result desired is selecting new leadership. No, the true goal here for us as 'Americans' of every creed, nationality and social standing is our very soul, our moral compass and to state what we stand for when tested. All the warm and fuzzy moments aside and all the feelings of harmony when times are good mean nothing if they were to be thrown aside at a time of duress. 

Will we continue to be a country based on engineered racial hierarchy and social standing? 

Let's state for the record that both major political parties have some serious flaws. Black people have had their votes marginalized since our enslaved ancestors were set 'free'. It's been a freedom that has been attacked time and time again, often using the rule of law to suppress that freedom along with our voting rights. Blacks have also been far too loyal to the Democratic party without demanding reciprocity. We also have internal motivations that need to be reevaluated. I believe that time for being taken for granted is over and done, never to be revisited. We still have to fight voter theft and let's also be clear that it has been directed by the Republican party almost exclusively since the passage of the Civil Rights Act. 

I have to seriously question any individual who may be opposed to certain policies of the Democratic candidate but would still support the McCain ticket after everything he has allowed. If he has a strong enough platform why can't he just run on that and let the PEOPLE decide? Why does he have to seek to tear this country apart with anger and hatred just so he gets elected President? If you see how power hungry and erratic your candidate of choice behaves before the election what do you think he'd be like afterwards? 

We have to take responsibility for those we put in positions of power! Why would a person who claims to love this country vote based on fear or smear tactics? I hope people of consciousness would decide to take their vote elsewhere and declare to those in their own party who are being so hateful, "Not in my name." 

It has been divine intervention that these plots for racial disharmony, the lies, the voter thefts have come to light so quickly. That and people being ever diligent. And I'll give credit to Obama and how he has run his campaign. He was so much nicer than people wanted, so much more comfortable in 'mixed' company, so shrewd (not Left enough for progressives) and frugal (he wears shows with holes in them). Those that supported him early on had a clear vision that made it easy for more and more people to put aside their doubts and jump on board as well. He's certainly not perfect - but neither are we. 

If enough of us take a stand no amount of trickery, subterfuge or scandal will touch us. This is bigger than one politician. After this I am more convinced than ever why we need Obama as President, though.  Perhaps this will be the spark we needed to overturn this country's long and violent history and finally heal. It's a beginning to be sure, but it's one that is long overdue. 

Here's a thoughtful conversation between Drs. Rachel Maddow and Melissa Harris Lacewell.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Payback's A....

I wasn't gonna say nuthin' about nuthin' but dang it - this is just too good! All the dirt the McCain campaign, Republican party and their media supporters have thrown is coming back on them. They have to eat a very big piece of crow over this story of the "innocent white woman McCain volunteer victimized by big Black brute Obama supporter" meme - that turned out to be a total and complete lie! Surprise, surprise....

McCain's Communications Director tried to fan the flames of race tensions.

Then Fox News ran with the story. Drudge Report also made it a front page story.

Then common sense prevails and the 'victim' claims to be mentally unstable when she is revealed to be just a prejudiced woman with an agenda. And a liar!


I guess you can't even support a candidate but for all the 'crazies'. 

Now I want McCain to publicly repudiate all of his supporters who deploy racially charged firebombs (only to get caught in their wake). He keeps defending them so he gets no sympathy when they take that rope they've been given and hang his campaign with it. 

A few weeks ago a Newsweek article suggested that Black people would have a hard time dealing with an Obama loss (if it was legit, not based on voter theft). Well, I think we may need to beware a certain population of McCain supporters should he lose. Some of them are the ones who are actually harming people. 

Update: Here's part of the Press conference given by Pittsburgh Police Asst. Chief  Maurita Bryant. Note the Asst. Chief is a Black woman who correctly identified the potential racial arson that could have resulted had this lie been allowed to proceed. SMH.


Some days are just meant for chilling out. This is one of the most beautiful songs I've heard. Ever. 


Song:    Love Show
Artist:    Skye
Album:  Mind How You Go

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Just a Reminder of What's Important

Black girls and women are disproportionately living under siege in this country and around the world. We've got some very important electoral decisions to make but we must always look out for the least amongst us.

12 year-old pregnant victim of statutory rape is missing. Why isn't she on CNN? 

Breaking the silence of rape used as war tactics in the Congo.  

Great source for some real coverage of those not deemed newsworthy by the likes of Nancy Grace. 

This is just the tip of the iceberg of course. The time for being outraged is over. The time to demand action is here.  

**Update 10/24    Tekenya has been found unharmed. But what 12 y.o. who's pregnant in this country is safe? I hope she knows that there are people who care about her well-being despite never having met her!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Take It To the Streets

We have a lovely tradition of civil disobedience and citizen protest in San Francisco that I love. It is a dichotomy that in a city known for being progressive is also squeezing out those that would dissent to make society a little fairer due to overpriced housing and costs of living. There are many Propositions on the ballot that would be very beneficial to residents in this state should they pass. One of the more positive aspects of the interest in this election cycle is the sheer number of people engaged. 

We will be analyzing the strategies employed by the Obama campaign and how much it changed the way elections are run for years to come. It was no accident that this campaign has always been worded to be inclusive and how the supporters grew from a few thousand to millions. The draw wasn't solely based on dissatisfaction with the current administration either. People don't put a sustained effort into something that is inherently negative unless their purpose is to cause destruction for their benefit. The enthusiasm and support Obama has received is the result of light being shown in dark places and people gravitate towards that. 

Update:  Sign this ACLU petition about protecting your right to vote.

White People: You Need to Speak to Your Petulant Peers

Are you familiar with the amusement park ride that spins you around while pinned to a wall where the floor drops out? That's kinda how systematic racism works. Ok so imagine how we're stuck in this ride and dizzy from the after effects. Well somebody also owns the ride and someone else pulls the lever. 

Now bear with me here while I spin this tale into something that makes sense! Some people acknowledge they feel sick. Others pretend that nothing fazes them. Some people blame fellows riders for being sick and never want it mentioned. Some people will keep going back to that same ride even though it makes them ill time and time again. Some people figure out there's other rides in the amusement park rusting away from lack of use and with much smaller lines. 

So as we wind down this crazy carnival and traveling political caravan people are noticeably riled up or revved up depending on perspective and outlook. It's 13 days and counting. Some people are acting like fools. Fear is no excuse. Ignorance is no excuse. 

There are professional rabble-rousers (Limbaugh, Hannity, Bachmann) who may have a media platform or be an elected official  - it could be your next door neighbor. Haven't enough of 'you people' figured out by now that they make a living keeping you miserable and focused on the wrong people? Don't worry about James Harris - we took care of him. He scurried away like the cockroach he is. Now take care of your crazies!!

This is for the white people in the struggle: you need to come get your Aunt Helen, your grandma Sally, your brother-in-law Peter, Jim from around the block and the next idiot who'll certainly wind up on Youtube. They're making the rest of you look really ignorant. Nobody's taking anything from them but Wall Street, the gov't and those politicians they put in office. The milk has long since gone bad and it's stinking up the entire fridge. Throw it out! Buy a fresh carton. Try organic from that local farmer. 

Ok?! The show is over. The jig is up. If they really think things are bad now just wait until 1, 2, 5 years from now to see just how much worse it could be. When they find their Social Security has been traded and lost all its value. When their child has to go to Community College not out of choice but out of necessity. That is, if it still gets state and federal funding. How about when the transmission falls apart because their car fell into a pothole the size of a crater? We'll be 3 years into the war with Iran and Pakistan and gas has gone up to $8/gallon. Sounds fun, huh? Unfortunately, there's no alternate universe and no do-overs allowed. Hey, I don't advocate violence but sometimes when people are hysterical and not making sense a good slap across the face can restore their senses.  

Do your part and be a good American. Help them take their 'common sense' pills and reassure them despite the bitter taste they'll feel so much better afterwards.  

The election polls are tightening as expected. Just because some people decide to put on their worry caps or play keyboard analyst about what is being done wrong, doesn't mean we have to. The racially inflammatory speech and deeds are going to pick up, but let's not give it any unnecessary attention. You do you. Now is not the time to break out the champagne either. Since we know we have Candidate A or Candidate B and the swing states are all up for grabs now is the time to turn off the tv and put feet to the ground. Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Missouri, Ohio, Florida, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Indiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Hampshire can all be had. Let's stick it to the naysayers and pundits with a nice big fat landslide! The price for our freedom requires constant diligence!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Where Would We Be Without GrandMa & GrandPa?

A grandparent's love and support should never be underestimated.

Senator Obama will drop everything to be by the side of his ailing maternal grandmother. As he should because though he's in the political fight of his career he still has his priorities intact. Which is family first.

I have lost all of my grandparents and with them the wisdom of those that came before us. My maternal grandparents had divorced (with my grandmother moving to a new city) and I only saw my maternal grandfather a few times during my childhood. I remember him to be a bear of a man as he was well over 6ft. tall and solidly built. I wish we'd had more time together. 

My paternal grandparents were local. My paternal grandfather worked at a steel mill and had just reached retirement when they all went under. He passed when I was eight and my memory of him gets a little fuzzier every year. The one thing I remember about him is that he loved me because he was very affectionate. He would hug me and kiss me on the cheek and give me pennies! He always told me how much I was loved and I remember feeling very safe sitting in his lap and being enveloped in his arms. I immediately felt his absence, the absence of unconditional love after he was gone. 

My maternal grandmother was the relative I was closest to for most of my formative years. She was the person I was able to completely unburden myself to. Our bond was tighter than the one I shared with my parents, second to the one I had with my God.  She helped get me clothes when I had to transfer from parochial to public school unexpectedly. She always listened to what I had to say and didn't treat me like a 'child' but as a person. She was just there - as the physical embodiment of that spiritual connection. I really enjoyed spending time with her because I could relax. No chores. No younger siblings to care for. No navigating through the ins and outs of my parent's sometime volatile relationship. 

As I got older she continued to serve as an inspiration. She went to college for the first time during her 50's to obtain her degree. I interviewed her for a class project of mine and she expressed her wish for the choices women of my generation had. We also discussed the options available for Black women during her time and how societal mores had evolved. It was a kick to go through public records and see how certain details of her life (and women like her) were available for review.  

In her later years she wanted to go back to certain points in her life to make a different choice. I am certain many of us have similar regrets, but that doesn't mean we didn't impact others in a positive way. My younger siblings and cousins had an entirely different relationship of course, being that I was the first grandchild and eldest child of the eldest sibling. I will always be grateful though, for that little pocket of time in my youth and the guidance I received from her. 

Best wishes for all of our ailing grandparents and for Mrs. Dunham. I hope she gets to see her grandson elected President! 

Monday, October 20, 2008

My Favorite Teenage Crush Musician Supports Obama

Once a Duranie always a Duranie:

The original and best JT offers his endorsement. I just love that he's playing the bass line from Girls On Film!!!!

I swear I am 13 years old all over again....

Sunday, October 19, 2008

What If Powell Had Run - And Won- In 1996?

Colin Powell officially endorsed Barack Obama for President today after much speculation that he might....eventually. Should it matter that a former Secretary of the State endorses the candidate for the opposing political party? Does the fact that Colin has some African heritage like Barack give more weight to it? Does the timing help being that it's a little more than 2 weeks from election day? Is this the death knoll to the McCain campaign  - which has become a rallying cry for every racist to come out of the woodwork?

Powell's reasoning for his support:
"I think we need a transformational figure. I think we need a president who is a generational change and that's why I'm supporting Barack Obama, not out of any lack of respect or admiration for Sen. John McCain."   POW! 

"This Bill Ayers situation that's been going on for weeks became something of a central point of the campaign," Powell said. "But Mr. McCain says that he's a washed-out terrorist.  Well, then, why do we keep talking about him?"  BAM!

Powell said McCain's choice of Palin raised questions about judgment.  "I don't believe she's ready to be president of the United States," Powell said.   ZAP!
There you have it.


I'd love to be able to rewind time back to the 1996 election. Powell was rumored to have been considering a run against an incumbent Bill Clinton. Now that would have been an election to remember! The Republicans held a majority in both the House and Senate. They had control of the corporate media. They had a very organized machine and a united party. 

Clearly there were and are some who would have never supported a Powell candidacy, but I can't help but wonder if other more moderate Republican voices had seized the moment and convinced him to go for it anyway. That would have been a real gangsta move! Powell was held in such high regard and had impeccable credentials. He could have been an excellent President depending on how much influence the Neo-Cons would've had over the direction and platform. Clinton was in trouble politically and of course we now see just how much trouble was to come. He would not have been elected at all but for the inadvertent assist he received from Ross Perot shaving off enough votes from Bush Sr. for him to eek out a win. 

Clinton could not have afforded to alienate the Black vote (mules that we were) by attacking Powell racially like he did to Obama. The Democrats were not united. This was before September 11th. People were not as scared or hurting financially as they are now. Where would the prejudiced Republicans have gone? To the Democratic party? That's doubtful. This was 12 years ago and I'm sure they would've been told to suck it up.

This was the brilliantly strategic move the Republicans should have chosen. Many Blacks would have voted for Powell and perhaps even switched parties because we're not all socially liberal. It would have been the death knoll to the Clinton campaign and I think he would have won. We would have had a moderate Republican who supported reproductive rights, fought wars well and is an intelligent and thoughtful man. 

We may have been able to dodge the Bush Jr. bullet and quell the rise of the Neo-Con facists who have scorched this nation and caused almost irrevocable damage to the hopes and dreams we have for it. I can't help but think this is why Powell left the Bush administration.

When he gave his case for war in 2003 at the UN I did not believe him. I won't claim he was lying because the official word is that the intelligence was faulty, but I don't need a PhD in physics to know that apples will fall from trees either. Common sense and intuition are just as powerful tools of discernment. I knew the public was not being given accurate information. For his involvement with this, there will always be that stain that never quite comes out, that scarlet A on his chest. 

For Obama though this is a victorious moment where some good can triumph. Both Sec. Powell and Sen. Obama came from economically challenged backgrounds but applied themselves and succeeded. Nothing was handed to them. Obama had even considered joining the military as a means of service before he chose community organizing and moved on to politics. I am certain Powell was pressured to either endorse McCain or offer none at all. All of his praise for McCain aside I do not agree that he is fit for the office of POTUS, but then neither was Bush Jr.  True to form McCain, like a petulant child has already dismissed Powell with his version of, "I've got other former S.O.S. officials voting for me - so there!"

Former Mayor Willie Brown called this two months ago (in an SF Chronicle article from Aug 18th to be exact):
"Here's a prediction: Colin Powell is going to endorse Barack Obama. I'm not pulling this out of thin air. I'm basing my forecast on a series of phone calls that I received this week. I can't say who called me, but I can tell you one of the questions I was asked, "What do you think the reaction would be if former Secretary of State Colin Powell - a Republican - introduced Democrat Obama at his big acceptance speech at Mile High Stadium after being made the nominee?" My reply: "It would seal the deal. It would be the presidency." I don't think Powell will go to Denver for the Democratic National Convention, but based on the recent conversations, I have to believe that something big is in the works."

Mr. Brown has said he thinks the delay in endorsement came by request from President Bush asking Powell to hold off on it. Just look where we are now and how some of us allowed for this by supporting the Bush and now the McCain candidacies - ultimately at the expense of us all. You know the the price for our collective 'holding off' has been very high, too high even. The current stakes in this election are even higher. There can be no going back unfortunately. Hopefully most of us have learned the impact of one single choice - even if that choice was to do nothing. We've got 16 days and counting....and all the work to come after that.

Updates with videos:

Powell On Tavis Smiley After Iowa Caucus

Powell Endorsement on Meet the Press Today

Powell Discussing His Endorsement

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Can Somebody Explain This Photo?

I thought this was somebody's Photoshop experiment, but it was taken at the debate!

Crypt keeper?
Wicked Wizard?

This is just.....creepy and may I add not very Presidential!   


Friday, October 17, 2008

Oprah Just Honored Gloria Steinem: Why Am I So Mad?

So I was watching Thursday's Oprah episode where she featured Maria Shriver. Maria has an annual conference for women and this year Billie Jean King and Gloria Steinem are amongst the honorees. Now Steinem might be an ally of Oprah but is she an ally of mine? What about Laquisha from the hood? Or Monique from a small town? So many people are ignored not only by corporate media but by us when they don't easily fit into our vision of what an ally is or we dismiss others without giving them an opportunity to prove themselves from the get-go.

Blogger Host Lisa at Black Women Blow the Trumpet posted a discussion about how Black women needed to vet their potential allies back in June. When I go through the criteria I find key elements lacking for matters that are important to me. How did I come to such a conclusion?

Well I looked back at Ms. Steinem's behavior during the Democratic primary. Per her Op-Ed article in the New York Times back in January: her charge was that sexism is worse than racism. I was outraged by that assessment and to me it signaled the same white male supremacist power structure Black people have been fighting against since we helped found this country with our blood, sweat and tears. I also looked at the historical interactions from previous generations of white feminists, black feminists and civil rights activists.

If there's any one authority of the ravages of sexism it is Black women. We were uniquely affected by it as well as racism when our female ancestors were forced to breed and lived with being raped on a daily basis. Our bodies were never our own. Being enslaved required 18-20 hours day of skull-crushing, back breaking labor while white people fought for 'freedom' and built their wealth. Now to be certain, there was the slave owner but there was also the slave owner's wife who benefitted from this practice and had an equally vested interest in keeping the status quo. 

That violation of Black women continued after slavery, through Jim Crow and still resides today. Do you think the brouhaha over Janet Jackson being exposed had to do with indecency or a reaction to the historical image distortion of Black women as being wanton and having no morals? 

White women = the definition of "woman" in this country. White. Blonde. Thin. Young. Pure. Wife material. Innocent. Worthy of protection. American.

Ms. Steinem made a point of mentioning she ran as a delegate for Shirley Chisholm and praised her contribution to feminism. Nice, but that was 1972. Then there's the fact that she was also supporting George McGovern's run (in states where Chisholm wasn't running). Now color me stupid but I'm thinking of two words right now. Divided loyalty. Hedging bets. Not Sincere? 

What has she done for Black women since then?

Watch the documentary Unbought & Unbossed. Note that Mrs. Chisholm didn't get a whole lot of support from the Black (male) politicians of the day but she was definitely abandoned by the so-called leaders of the (white) feminist movement at a crucial moment when they could have gone for broke and supported her candidacy.  For a white male candidate no less. So I am rightfully incensed with Steinem and a host of other white women (Geraldine Ferraro, Joan Walsh, et al) who were given media access and were carping about how 'unfair' it all was that they were victims of a vast Black (male) conspiracy (and not getting their way)! Their sense of entitlement was palpable. Otherwise why title your Op-Ed piece, "Women Are Never Front-Runners" when you had the chance to support a female candidate more than 30 years prior and decided to choose white?

Furthermore, where were the BLACK WOMEN in this equation? Yeah Hillary Clinton had Sheila Jackson-Lee and Stephanie Tubbs-Jones in her corner but was that from a position of power? Or was this standard water-carrier activity? How was the average Black woman benefitting from this discourse? Then....and now? If you have no idea what I'm talking about now's the time to do a little historical research, compare it to the coverage last Spring and connect the dots as to why I've drawn this conclusion. You don't have to agree of course.

Then there's the very telling debate between Steinem and Melissa Harris-Lacewell on Democracy Now a week after the Op-Ed was published. Steinem had this paternalistic attitude of how 'grateful' Black women should be. This is the ongoing indicator of how some people are not our allies, including other Black women and Black men. Watch and judge for yourself.

Oprah referring to Steinem as the "Mother of Feminism" is really giving her far more credit than she deserves. A key contributor - sure -  because a path was created for her to do so. This is when I see why some people are critical of Oprah for seeming to fawn over some white people too much. I can't quite agree with the charge of the 'selling out' of Blacks by Oprah but I do see the distinction of money, access and celebrity. Besides, those part of the elite classes and those with access to them are not interested in opening their doors to the masses. 

First of all Steinem is in her 70's and part of the 2nd wave of feminism. We're in the 3rd wave now and believe me there's a reason why so many young girls don't know anything about feminism other than having a vague sense of the word. Most women under 35 don't consider themselves feminists at all.  At times it is an exercise in privilege because there is so much 'choice' involved. When there are systematic barriers in place that prevent some women from being able to make certain choices or have equal opportunities then there is no choice! It is just white woman privilege under the construct of white male supremacy.

There can be no truthful acknowledgment of Steinem's contributions without discussing her privilege as a white woman, her class status and appearance. She was single with no children, educated and is still attractive and articulate. She was not a poor woman from Appalachia with a GED. Sorry Glo, I am still not convinced. There is a blogger whose interests lie in deconstructing and dismantling this privilege.

Now as a member of the (in)famous X generation perhaps I am missing something. This could a generational difference. Just like the Civil Rights Industrial Complex the old guard wants to keep their status and accolades. Where is the grooming and nurturing of future leaders? More women would make a concerted effort to align themselves with the Feminist Industrial Complex IF they felt it spoke to them and addressed their needs.  There are women who are anti-racist activists trying to form valuable alliances with each other. We need to have more than one declared leader of the FIC anyway. Women, like Blacks are not a monolith. So many are quick to object to blind support for Obama and not make him into a Messiah. Well we don't need a "Mother" either. We need to be on equal footing with a seat at the table.

For too many there is a huge socio-economic barrier at play. If you have to address more immediate needs such as affordable housing or even personal safety as a result of racist/sexist policies negatively impacting your sphere of the world being ignored by these pillars of the movement won't encourage your participation. Another example of this is the current fight against Proposition 8. The Gay Rights groups seeking support for its opposition approach communities color during an election year but ignore them otherwise. 

Steinem now claims to have been in support of Obama all along - she just wanted Hillary Clinton in the White House first.  Remember those calls for Obama to "wait his turn"? As if he had to make it easier for the white women (and those that support their agendas) to deal with playing on a level field. Isn't that what equality means? See where white privilege demands deference? Obama has already capitulated to white people to make them feel at ease enough!! Look how close we are to election day and you can read numerous reports of how whites are calling Obama a terrorist or dressing up monkey stuffed animals and all the ways they are making their displeasure known. 

The convenient fall back position is to claim they didn't know they were being offensive, or because they have a Black friend/lover/neighbor/co-worker they can't be racist. Not correctly labeling their actions means there can be no progress. Without respect there can be no real relationship. Standing by and doing nothing to hold people accountable will never resolve these conflicts. Until white people like Steinem take up the charge of first acknowledging then letting go of white privilege and all its benefits she can NEVER truly be an ally in my opinion. It must always about RECIPROCITY.

You can also go the Democracy Now! site for a stream and transcript.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

About that Joe the Plumber Guy and the Real Tax Increase Planned for All of Us

We know the Republican party will stop at nothing to use psychological warfare in pushing voters to work against their best interests. This man Joe Wurzelbacher was used as a prop by John McCain during last night's debate. I thought Obama was caught of guard for a moment in fact, though he was able to recover. Debating is not one of his strengths though he has improved vastly over the past six months. Sparring and (stumbling at times) through his debates against Hillary Clinton did help him step up his game. 

I don't believe in coincidences. The Republican party has been on the offensive and have been engaging in highly offensive behavior. McCain dismissed any calls of admonishment for those that have shouted for bringing harm to Obama or have engaged in racially charged actions. So he is giving his approval of such tactics. Yet he wants Obama to throw John Lewis under the bus for calling him out on it. Lewis was claimed as a hero by McCain in an earlier debate now he wants his head on a platter? As I stated before McCain has sunk so low he has to reach up for the gutter.

There is this meme being presented whereby Middle class values are equated with white people who live in smaller towns. They are imbued with a distinctive moral fiber and are being elevated as the only 'true Americans'. Populations to the far East or West are 'liberals' and everyone else is completely discounted, particularly people of color. This is where Joe Six Pack and Joe the Plumber come into play.

As it turns out this man is an employee of a small business and is nowhere near in a position to buy the business. He doesn't have a license. He owes the state of OH $1200 in back taxes. He doesn't earn $250K. I find it curiously convenient that this man approached Obama to plant seeds of discourse over his tax plan that would in fact reduce taxes for 95% of the country

That big bad scary tax increase turns out to be not so much in fact. It would increase from its current 36% to 39% for those earning more than $250K. I don't consider a 3% tax increase an exorbitant amount, particularly when other plans are in place to reduce other costs of living across the board. Like with health insurance. It's still better than the across the board tax increase McCain is proposing under the guise of a tax credit for health insurance. That tax rate increase for all wage-earners is anywhere from 1-10%. It is a scam and a sham and I really hope people read between the lines, do real number crunching and figure out it's the typical Republican politricks at work again. 

McCain claims the average cost of health insurance is $5800 per person. In what state is he referring to and with what insurer? Magicland?! So going back to his plan of a $2500 for single, $5000 tax credit for families let's do the math. Not that a family has been specifically defined but let's assume it's the 2 parents and 2 kid scenario. That's a total $23, 200 for the four but McCain's credit is $5000. Your family's taxable amount has now increased by $18, 200. This policy is penny wise but pound foolish and sets a bad precedent for how strapped we'd end up. Meanwhile the multi-national corporations get an increase in their windfall profits at our expense. 

McCain also alluded to those with top-tier insurance policies are not part of the equation, but tried to misconstrue it as those with coverage for plastic coverage surgery or other 'unnecessary' coverage. Well I'm not aware of insurers covering plastic surgery unless it's reconstructive in nature from an accident. Plastic surgery is typically classified as elective (meaning not covered).  So much for choice! He has also failed to mention he currently has top-tier insurance at a heavily subsidized rate through our tax dollars. 

I went to the Obama Tax Cut website to punch in my numbers to determine what my tax reduction would be and to compare the difference under the McCain plan. I'd save several hundred dollars under the Obama plan and less than $100 under the McCain plan, but like I stated above if I add in the cost of the health insurance as taxable income goes up by about $8000 (and counting). That puts me in a higher tax bracket and my taxes would go up 3-5% regardless. So McCain's plan, like McCain's choice in a running mate is a Trojan horse and a set up to cause more harm than good. 

Meanwhile the Republicans are lying about ACORN while trying to purge legally registered voters from rolls in all the battleground states, esp. Ohio, Florida and Colorado. There are 19 days left. Even if you have reservations about this so-called utopia of hope floating in the horizon I urge everyone to get out and take action toward something positive. Phone bank, knock on doors, sign a few petitions and donate. Be engaged politically. It's our country and we should not forget that. 

Update 140pm:  See I hadn't read any blogs before I wrote this post. I just glanced through the Yahoo article I linked to when I was checking my messages. Apparently all heck has broken loose over Joe the Plumber. He was definitely a plant and is in fact a relative of Charles Keating, white collar banking thief and friend of McCain. You can't make this shizz up!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Geez Is This Debate Over Yet?

It's not even half-way through and I am ready to turn it off! I am hearing the SAME talking points I've been hearing for the past few weeks now. McCain is slowly but surely losing it though. He's getting testier by the minute. The CNN peter meter is dropping like a lead stone at everything McCain says. Neither candidate has addressed working class and lower income or homeless people. It's all about Joe the Plumber. McCain has not yet offered any solutions about setting this economy right - though he says his campaign is all about that. He just keeps trying to claim Obama is going to raise taxes, or that he has shady connections. Who is he trying to convince about this? 

It is code word for: He's Black don't vote for him. What does that have to do with YOU John McCain? He had the nerve to say, and I quote "ACORN is destroying the fabric of this country." So the banks and private companies and their shady lending practices and setting up the biggest Ponzi scheme since the tech stock implosion has nothing to do with it? He started off this debate complaining about Secretary Paulson. I'm hearing the man who couldn't distinguish the difference between Shia and Sunni try to diss Joe Biden's credibility in the Senate when Joe has been there longer. This isn't about the American people. This is about his ego and feeding his ambition. Obama is holding his own and by now I've accepted he's not going to go on the attack. He's just going to stay chill and he's not letting McCain walk over him. Sorry McCain but your bulging eyes and that smirk on your face are a dead giveaway. He keeps misrepresenting his own positions and oversimplifying things. Sigh. I wish McCain has been the Maverick he used to be. Instead he is a pathetic shell of his former self and I can't sit by while he tries to pull 3-card Monty with facts and promises. McCain = Worse than Bush.  

Update: 740pm It's a wrap. I didn't see any extra ground covered during the last portion of the debate. The pundits are on offering their jaundiced points of view, because honestly they don't know what they're talking about. I'll update again when the polls come out. I call an Obama win. Even if McCain is seen to be ahead it's not going to turn the tide. 

Update: 810pm McCain you lose AGAIN. 

MSNBC: Obama 85%, McCain 12%

CNN:  Obama 58%, McCain 31%

CBS:  Obama 53%, McCain 22% 

So McCain might want to try to make the next three weeks about "Joe" but let's not forget about Lilly Ledbetter. Let's not forget about a gov't freeze under a McCain administration. Let's not forget about the economy. This isn't a pugilist contest. Or a popularity contest.  If John McCain is not President Bush then what plans does McCain have that are different? Or better?  He has NOT answered that. He claims to be opposed to earmarks yet he signed that $840 Bailout package that had $140B added to it. He talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk...... 

Update 10/16 259pm:  Ok here's a funny video put out by the campaign linking McCain and Bush and the SEIU put one out a few days ago as well.

Blog Action Day 2008: Focus on Poverty

Well things are winding down and headed to the wire for the Presidential election in the US. I wrote a post a few days ago where I mentioned the lack of discussion about poor people by the major party candidates lately. Of course the corporate media in conjunction with the Republican party are trying to shift responsibility for the economic free-fall by blaming people of color and the poor when it is as always greed and no accountability that results in great profit and equally greater catastrophe. 

There has always been a group who've fallen through the cracks in this society but never have their numbers been as high as they are now. In fact there has been a record number of applicants requesting immediate assistance from their states. When I think of large corporations receiving billions of dollars and their executives multi-million dollar pay-outs but the family down the street gets nothing I know that we are living in a form of hell on earth. 

There have been key circumstances that strip people of their earning power and accumulation of assets in this country:

1.  The cost of health coverage - and by extension the lack of health. Having high-fructose corn syrup added to everything does not help! It's banned in Europe for a reason. 

2.  The over-valuation of property. If you managed to hang on to your house is it worth the same today as it was when you purchased it?

3.  The cost of good and services - up by x amount year and year. 

4.  Inflation versus salary. The cost of living goes up but the salaries do not meet the minimums.  

5.  Living beyond their means. Greed is not good. Having a plasma tv is not a necessity.

Now let's be clear that those of us that live in Western countries have a lot more than those who live in developing nations. By 'developing' it should correctly be identified as recovering from having its resources stolen or destroyed by their former colonizers.  

Now let's look at some solutions for emerging nations:

1.  Making sure there is a steady supply of clean water.

2.  Micro-loans being provided to women - who are then able to provide for their families. 

3.  Get rid of the debts owed to the World Bank and IMF. 

4.  Providing medicine and other medical services. 

These nations have to rebuild and shore up their infrastructure. In some countries where socialism is employed to even the playing field the citizens have a much higher quality of life. Sure the wealthiest of its citizens pay as much as 40% of their taxes, but they all have free health care, free schools including university, paid time off for primary care givers of children or the elderly, less crime and homelessness is practically non-existent. 

Capitalism may rule in this country but it only benefits a very limited few. Having that carrot dangled in your face about what you might possibly get does nothing to improve the quality of one's life. Being on the lower economic scale is not fun but having to go without food in this country is inexcusable. Let's acknowledge things are not working to our benefit and move on. 

Where's a good place to start?:

1.  Donate your time...and money. As bad as things may be they could be worse. We will find strength and purpose in helping other people. We will also regain some perspective. There was a time when we knew our neighbors. I think it would be a good idea to start caring about other people again just to remember that we're not so different after all. 

2.  Check out Volunteer Match and Charity Navigator

3.  Vote. Take responsibility for your gov't. 

4.  Develop a spiritual base, positive thinking, whatever you want to call it. 

5.  Decide that we have important core issues to resolve in this country that have nothing to do with race, religion or whether you want to have a beer with someone. 

As always the choice lies with us. We will sink or swim together. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

People Get Ready

Beware the Ides of March and Republican voter theft. Don't wait until November 4th to vote people. Let's look back at 2000 and 2004 shall we. 

1.  The lines may be long and you might be cut off. 
2.  Some voting places may suddenly not be available. 
3.  The police may block the roads leading to your specific one. 
4.  Your name may be removed from the voter roll. 
5.  Someone might challenge you for wearing an Obama pin. 
6.  You might be refused because of an error in how your name was listed.

These are just some of the ways an election can be stolen. Don't be lulled into complacency either. The corporate media reporting of poll numbers that favor Obama is not an accident. Don't start celebrating a 'win' just yet. He still has to cross that finish line. Our votes will put him there (if you are so inclined to do so)

All I have to say is this: if the opposition candidates would rely on their message and had a strong platform then tampering with votes should not be necessary. On the other hand some people are only interested in maintaining a status quo and making their friends rich at the expense of everybody else and will do whatever they think will tilt the results their way. 

The Brennan Center for Justice is an excellent resource. Also Vote for Change. Make sure you are registered and able to vote. The earlier the better!! Like healthcare, it is a right not a privilege. We must be diligent and actively engaged.

Our battle has only just begun. This country is broke. According to the former Comptroller General (did you know we even had one?) the real national debt is close to $50 TRILLION. I just did a quick search and found a wiki entry that has it listed at $59.1 TRILLION. That breaks down to more than $516K per person.  Our greed is going to keep us in beggar status unless we change our spending ways. We will not really be free until we end our dependence on oil and driving big cars. We need to cut back on our use of electricity and maybe lay off the bottled water while we're at it. Are there really that many fresh springs in the world to support our designer water habit? 

Think about this for a moment: we buy water. There are people who are suffering the effects of drought and have to walk 20 miles for water or drink contaminated water. This is in addition to the water we use and pay for that's provided by our local municipality. So we pay twice. Then let's take into account other wasteful spending by the gov't and fraud. How can we wonder why we are in so much debt? 

So we need to examine our motivations and actions as well as monitoring those that don't have the country's best interests at heart. Get out and vote and take it from there.