Monday, May 12, 2008

Scared of an Angry Black Man

Ridiculous story here about how the U.S. Fine Arts Commission disapproves of a statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. for the MLK Memorial because his stance and facial expression make him seem "confrontational."

White people can't stand the history. Let us emasculate this warrior and revise history to morph him into a cuddly kitten.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

More about Disproportionate Sentencing

From, a message to the Senate Judiciary Committee to support S.1711:

Misguided politicians and their "war on drugs" have created a national disaster: 1 in 9 Black men between the ages of 20 and 34 are now behind bars. It's a man-made disaster - fueled by unfair sentencing rules.

These rules treat 5 grams of crack cocaine—the kind common in poor Black communities—the same as 500 grams of powder cocaine, the kind prevalent in White and wealthier communities.

Tell the Senate Judiciary Committee to challenge unequal justice by ending unfair sentencing laws.

Go here to sign the online petition, and, if you like, you can copy and paste the below to an email message to the likeminded:

Dear Friend,

The so-called "war on drugs" has created a national disaster: 1 in 15 Black adults in America are now behind bars. It's not because they commit more crime but because of unfair sentencing rules that treat 5 grams of crack cocaine, the kind found in poor Black communities, the same as 500 grams of powder cocaine the kind found in White and wealthier communities.

These sentencing laws are destroying communities across the country and have done almost nothing to reduce the level of drug use and crime.

Senator Joe Biden is one of the original creators of these laws and is now trying to fix the problem. But some of his colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee are standing in the way. I've signed on with to tell them to stand with Joe Biden and undo this disaster once and for all. Will you join me? It just takes a moment and you can start by clicking on the link below:


Talk About It

Saturday, March 22, 2008

In Memory of Chiquita Ford

Laci Peterson was eight months pregnant when she was reported missing in December 2002. We got news updates daily. National coverage in the newspapers and on television. I don't even watch much TV, and I can still picture her face. People went crazy with the story. Everyone knows the story. Her husband, who we all agreed was the jackass to end all jackasses, was eventually convicted of killing her. Now he is on death row in San Quentin.

Chiquita Ford was five months pregnant when she was reported missing in October 2007. That was after I got rid of the cable, so I cannot for a certainty say there was never a news report about her disappearance. I do read the newspaper, however, and I can say that there was not daily coverage, not even locally. No big People spreads with pictures of Ms. Ford and her family in happier times, no People interviews with friends and family members.

Here is Chiquita Ford. The remains of her body were found near Lexington Reservoir on March 7.
Chiquita Ford deserves to be remembered just as much as Laci Peterson. Toward that end: Ms. Ford was 33 years old. She lived in Oakland. She was the mother of two teen-age boys. She liked to watch comedy; she like to do hair; and she liked to dance. She had a family, she had friends, and there are people who loved her who miss her. There is a lot more to her story, just as much to her story as there was to Laci's, but we'll probably never know it.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Long March of Those Who Came Before Us

. . . in the immortal words of Senator Barack Obama.

I suspect many will rely on media accounts of the speech, instead of going to the primary source. That is unfortunate. Regardless, here it is:

Thursday, March 13, 2008

It's So Easy

Oh, yes, Obama is in the running because he's Black. Because being Black gives you an elevator ride to the top, while all white Americans are slowly and laboriously climbing the ladder by dint of their own efforts. Huh. That must be why there have been so many Black presidents.

Keith Olbermann's response here.

Monday, March 3, 2008

What Does This Smile Say?

I'm thinking it says something along the lines of, "Once this mess gets cleaned up, Ima own this town."

I'm hoping.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Let Us Choose, Part II

And from Color of Change, another petition to the superdelegates:

Dear Friend,

Voters in places like Atlanta, Brooklyn, St. Louis, and Inglewood have made clear their choice for president: Barack Obama. So why are some members of the Congressional Black Caucus threatening to use their power as "superdelegates" to undermine those votes and nominate Hillary Clinton?

Voters should decide elections--not politicians. And members of the Congressional Black Caucus should amplify the political voice of their constituents, not silence it. I've joined in demanding that the CBC to listen to the voters; let's tell them to vote with the people, not against us:

Voters in almost all the districts represented by the CBC have chosen Obama, helping him win more delegates than Clinton. But only some delegates vote based on the results of primaries. A fifth of the delegates that will vote at the convention -- and decide the nomination -- are "superdelegates" that can technically vote however they like, regardless of what the voters say. These super-delegates are members of Congress, senators, governors and Democratic party insiders. In a contest this close, they have the power to overturn the will of voters, and decide the outcome.

In 2000 and 2004, CBC members stood up to defend the rights of Black voters that had been disenfranchised. It would be a disgrace for its members to now undermine the votes of Black people in their districts. Rarely have Black voters across the country been so unified behind a particular candidate; if CBC members vote against their constituents, it will diminish the power of Black voters in a historic election that could result in our country's first Black president.

It will take courage and conviction for CBC members to break with back-room politics and stand up for democracy. But we must demand it. Please join us:


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Stop and Frisk

With "some fact-based suspicion," the police can stop anybody, interrogate him, and search him. (Or her.)

But the police seem to have trouble distinguishing between suspicious appearance and conduct. The appearance route seems to result in mostly Black and Brown people getting stopped and frisked, because just having dark skin makes a person suspicious.

If you protest, you might get arrested. That's what happened to Leonardo Blair, a reporter who was stopped and frisked and then arrested and charged with "making unreasonable noise" and "disobeying a lawful order." The charges have since been dismissed.

Morons Against Obama

I'm not saying that being a moron is a requirement for joining those who are loudly anti-Obaman.

However. I found this racist mess via Davey D.'s Hip Hop Corner. I am late to the party, as the publisher has already issued an apology and has apparently cleaned the mess off the site. Davey D. helpfully had provided contact information (Phone: 631-324-2500 Rick Murphy, Editor
, and the publisher freely admits his remorse was prompted by the telephone calls and email messages he received:
(What's with the all caps, dude? And what is with all the misspellings? Raise the bar.)

Anyway, I am reprinting it below. Nothing shocks me anymore.

Why I Should Be Our Next President
By Yo Mama Bin Barack

My name is YoMama Bin Barack, and I want to be your next president so together we can begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today.

My opponents say I live in a dream world. That may well be true, for I believe in the dream of Doctor Martin Luther King, the dream that all men are created equal.

His words resonate in my very being: "Some day, you too can be a black man who makes a difference in this country, and you too can be called 'Doctor' even though you are not a doctor of any kind." I believe that, and someday I hope people will call me Doctor YoMama. In fact, I hope someday people will call me President Doctor YoMama (but please don't call me Luther, I hate that name).

I was telling this very thing to my wife AliBama the other night while we were in bed, umm, praying. I said, "AliBama, I want to be your next president so together we can begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today."

And she said, "YoMama, then why don't you cut out the president shit and get a real job and make some freakin' money?" But I explained I have plenty of money, because bleeding heart liberal Democrats from all across this vast country of ours have felt it in their hearts to send a contribution to my campaign so I can begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today and also because I need to buy my little daughter Bama Slamma a PlayStation so she will get off my back.

Why do I think I am the best candidate for the job? Look at my resume – it speaks for itself.

Educational background: Doctorate

Military background: I was the first black troop leader of the Boy Scouts Troop 43 in my home state of Illinois. Well, that's not quite true, because they didn't let black kids in the Boy Scouts, so I lied and said I was Hawaiian, which I kind of am, sort of. You see, part of my strategy of becoming our first black president is to deny I am black unless I am campaigning in Harlem. The truth is, I don't know many black people, but my advisors have drafted a strategy to reel in the black vote:

1) Call everyone "Brother." Blacks, I am told, do this, even if their real brothers are mostly in jail.

2) Talk Jive. Brothers want to hear jive. During my speech I told the crowd "We be, you know, sick of whitey supressin' and congestin' so, you know, we won't denigrate or sophisticate but emulate and populate, you know, the system is, like, broken, y'all!"

I have no idea what that means. The black folk loved it, though, so they all vowed to vote for me. The New York Times covered it, but they are so afraid of saying something racist they twisted my words around and reported:

"Yesterday in Harlem YoMama articulated his vision of a new America, an America with less congestion, a country free of drug use, a world without segregation or racism where citizens emulate the lives of great Americans like YoMama, John F. Kennedy and Doctor Martin Luther King."

So you see, there is my strategy. I get the black vote, I get the white vote, and then I go after the female vote by attacking that bitch Hillary for being the Nasty Witch from Hell.

Anyhow, girls think I'm cute. I'm kind of like Will Smith, except he's got those Dumbo ears and mine are normal. So, for the next six months, I am going to fly all over the country, and every place I speak I am going to tell the people:

"As Americans, we can take enormous pride in the fact that courage has been inspired by our own struggle for freedom, by the tradition of democratic law secured by our forefathers and enshrined in our Constitution. It is a tradition that says all men are created equal under the law and that no one is above it."

To be honest, I have no idea what that means. If you analyze it carefully, it really doesn't mean anything. But it sounds like something a president or a doctor would say. I can make that speech every day and no matter how many times I do the stupid newspapers will report it differently. They will make me sound like the smart, young, new voice of America, because most editors out there figure anything is better than having a cow like Hillary Clinton snorking around the White House making weasel deals again.

Ultimately, if she gets too close, one of my New York advisors has advised me to, "Bitch slap that ho." White women, I am told, like that. (Black women, on the other hand, do not. I tried that once on AliBama and she beat the living shit out of me.)

Of course, I also have to contend with John Edwards. My strategy is to ignore him until he actually manages to win a primary. Since he's, like, zero for 43 so far, that should be the end of him. You see, Mr. Edwards hasn't figured out that to win an election some people have to actually vote for you. (If he does make a run at me, I might consider bitch slapping him, as he is somewhat of a Pretty Boy if you get my jist.)

In closing, I humbly ask for your vote on Election Day, even if I did hang around the school yard and smoke pot when I was getting my Doctorate in Blackstuff. And, oh, by the way, I am in the process of finding out how I can also call myself "Reverend." I have a call in to Al Sharpton.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Let Us Choose

I don't think my apprehension about the superdelegates can be attributed to paranoia. In my more cynical moments, I entertain the notion that the difference between Democrats and Republicans narrows by the minute. I do think Senator Clinton is closer to the Republican side than some of us would like. I also don't think it's any news that Democrats have been known to roll over on Black people.

Which is a long way of saying that I believe Obama is and will continue to be the people's choice. (The numbers bear me out.) Whether he will be the superdelegates' choice is up in the air. As of this moment, he is not. provides this petition imploring superdelegates to support the will of the people in nominating the Democratic presidential candidate.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


What with all the overcrowding, and with our awareness of documented disparities in sentencing between black and white defendants, probation seems a suitable sentence than prison for a 66-year-old nonviolent offender convicted of tax evasion. Particularly when the defendant had a stroke only 3 years ago and was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2006.

LOS ANGELES -- Isley Brothers lead singer Ronald Isley has been sentenced to three years and one month in prison for tax evasion.Isley was also ordered to pay $3.1 million in back taxes to the Internal Revenue Service, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Conte.

He was convicted last year of five counts of tax evasion and one count of willful failure to file a tax return. During a hearing Friday, defense attorney Anthony Alexander argued that the 65-year-old singer [sic--the sources I've seen say he is 66] should receive probation instead of prison time because of complications from a stroke and a recent bout with kidney cancer. Isley is expected to be sent to a prison hospital facility.

Alexander also pleaded for leniency because Isley had been attempting to pay down his IRS debt.But U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson declined to sentence the R&B singer to less time than called for under federal guidelines."The term serial tax avoider has been used. I think that's appropriate," Pregerson said. Alexander argued during trial that "unfortunate circumstances," such as the deaths of two of Isley's accountants, made him unable to get records together and pay taxes during the years that led to the criminal charges.
This is justice?
In its ruling, the appellate court said the trial judge was correct in sentencing and "best balanced the need to sanction Mr. Isley's `pathological' tax evasion against the need to accommodate Mr. Isley's poor health."

Maybe the persecution of this Black man is not racially motivated. Maybe American judges hate us Geminis.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Headline that Wasn't

Mississippi's plan to divert $600 million in hurricane housing relief funds to a port expansion project won federal approval Friday, despite opposition from those who say the housing needs of thousands of people displaced by Hurricane Katrina have not been met.
. . .The port expansion plan--which will use the last of the housing recovery money allocated by Congress--has been a subject of contention on the Mississippi coast, where more than 30,000 residents still live in Federal Emergency Management Agency trailers and mobile homes.
Here's a little background information on the money:
The money in question is part of $5.5 billion in HUD Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) that Congress authorized for Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina struck on Aug. 29, 2005. Administered by the Mississippi Development Authority, about $3.4 billion was allocated to replace and repair some of the nearly 170,000 owner-occupied homes destroyed or damaged by the storm. Another $600 million was set aside for programs to replace public housing, help small landlords fix their units and foster construction of new low- and moderate-income housing.
Mississippi is not a state of great wealth. Poverty rates in Mississippi have increased since 2000, and the poorest people are Black:
When compared to other States across the United States, the State of Mississippi can be considered to have a very high poverty rate amongst the population, with a poverty rate of 19.9 percent with a family income under the 1999 poverty level. The Black or African American race/ethnicity population category, holds the highest rate of poverty with 34.9 percent of the population in 2000 living in poverty. Individuals aged Under 5 years are experiencing most percent people in poverty in Mississippi, reporting 28.7 percent of this age cohort living in poverty.
So the poorest people, the ones who lost the most in Hurricane Katrina and the ones with the fewest resources to get themselves back under a roof are the ones whose pockets are being picked. Yet again.

Monday, January 7, 2008

File Under: It's About Time

Florida indicates that it might have plans to consider hauling itself into the 20th 21st century with the announcement that the state song, an unlikely nostalgic paean by a fictional former slave to his beloved plantation, may soon be retired:

The Swanee River (Old Folks at Home)
Way down upon de Swanee Ribber,
Far, far away,
Dere's wha my heart is turning ebber,
Dere's wha de old folks stay.
All up and down de whole creation
Sadly I roam,
Still longing for de old plantation,
And for de old folks at home.
All de world am sad and dreary,
Eb-rywhere I roam;
Oh, darkeys, how my heart grows weary,
Far from de old folks at home!
All round de little farm I wandered
When I was young,
Den many happy days I squandered,
Many de songs I sung.
When I was playing wid my brudder
Happy was I;
Oh, take me to my kind old mudder!
Dere let me live and die.
One little hut among de bushes,
One dat I love
Still sadly to my memory rushes,
No matter where I rove.
When will I see de bees a-humming
All round de comb?
When will I hear de banjo strumming,
Down in my good old home?

I would like to note some inconsistencies with reality. How extremely unlikely it was that this former slave squandered happy days on the old plantation. Far more likely that his body still bore the scars of chains and beatings, and that during the whole of his tenure on the plantation, he had most likely been half-naked, half-starved, and definitely separated from his "mudder" and "brudder" at a very young age. It does not stretch the imagination to speculate that he may have been tortured.

Even if he had escaped the most extreme brutality to which most slaves were subject, the "little hut" was probably not a source of pleasant memories, as it was squalid and drafty, lacking in the barest of comforts, with straw or moss serving as a bed:
Such of these dwellings as I visited today were filthy and wretched in the extreme, and exhibited that most deplorable consequence of ignorance and an abject condition, the inability of the inhabitants to secure and improve even such pitiful comfort as might yet be achieved by them. . . . The moss with which the chinks and crannies of their ill-protecting dwelling might have been stuffed was trailing in dirt and dust about the ground, while the back door of the huts, opening upon a most unsightly ditch, was left wide open for the fowls and ducks, which they are allowed to raise, to travel in and out, increasing the filth of the cabin by what they brought and left in every direction.
Maybe he missed hearing the banjo. Maybe. I doubt it. He probably took his with him, or made a new one, or traveled with people who had theirs.
. . . the banjo — the proverbial “white-man” mountain instrument — was developed centuries ago by enslaved Africans in the North American and Caribbean colonies. The earliest banjos were played exclusively by the enslaved at least 200 years before whites ever considered laying hands on what was, to the slaveholding culture, a “primitive” instrument. By the beginning of the 19th century, this negative perception began to change, and by mid-century white musicians had adopted the banjo in minstrel shows, catapulting it into mass production in the last half of the century. The banjo is now mostly known for its role in bluegrass music, overshadowing its historical origin and its place of prominence as an African American contribution to American music.
(Elvis and the Rolling Stones weren't the first whiteys to co-opt Black culture and music.)

Maybe by this time he could return to that most African of instruments, the drum, which slaves were prohibited by law from having. Didn't want the slaves getting themselves and each other all stirred up with those African beats. But what enrages every tyrant is that you can take away the drum, but you can't take away the music:
Denied their most prevalent, and indeed sacred means of expression, the slaves substituted the forbidden drums with bone clappers, tambourines, and most importantly, hand and body slaps, and foot beats. The most primitive of all instruments, the human body, became the main source of rhythm and communication.
What about a song to celebrate the force of the human spirit of the slaves who had the courage to keep on drumming?