History was made today [May 13 2008] under the dome of the California State Capitol when Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) was sworn in as the first African-American female Speaker of the California Assembly. She is the first African-American female to hold such a high legislative post anywhere in the United States. In her speech after the swearing in ceremony Speaker Bass said she’s ready to begin tackling the many challenges facing the state. Speaker Bass will have less than 24 hours before she knows the extent of the state’s financial crisis. Governor Schwarzenegger is scheduled to release his revised budget proposal Wednesday afternoon.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
White people can't stand the history. Let us emasculate this warrior and revise history to morph him into a cuddly kitten.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
If you missed the backstory,
Johnston and Miller — both former exotic dancers who went by the stage names "Charlie" and "Adrienne" — were nicknamed the "Barbie bandits" after they were videotaped wearing sunglasses and laughing as they appeared to rob a in Acworth of $11,000.
I first read about this over at BlackPerspective.net:
strippers' Barbies' sentences were just a timeout, really:
Last month, Mary Staley sentenced 20-year-old Heather Johnston to 10 years probation after she pleaded guilty to a charge of theft by taking in the 2007 heist. The judge gave 19-year-old Ashley Miller two years in jail and eight years probation. Both women are white.
Now the NAACP is asking for an investigation as to why these other two defendants got sentences of 5 and 10 years. Well. Obviously the judge did not want to interfere with the girls' career trajectory, which we all know has a time stamp.
P.S. Who knew that naming your daughter Ashley was to seal her destiny to the pole?
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
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.
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:
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.
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 ColorOfChange.org 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:
Saturday, March 22, 2008
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
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Keith Olbermann's response here.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
AMHERST, Mass.—About 200 University of Massachusetts students and faculty members have rallied on the Amherst campus in support of a former student they say has been excessively charged for an on-campus fight. Jason Vassell, who is black, is charged with attempted murder for allegedly stabbing two white men who broke his dorm room window and used racial epithets.Twenty-year-old John Bowes of Hancock, New Hampshire, has been charged with assault and hate crimes for the incident last month, while 19-year-old Jonathan Bosse of Milton has not been charged.Vassell's supporters say the two men provoked the fight and shouldn't face lesser charges. They say the incident reveals society's racism.Vassell, of Boston, has withdrawn from school.A university spokesman has declined to comment on the case.
Monday, March 3, 2008
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
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 ColorOfChange.org 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
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.
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
email@example.com), 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.
Friday, February 15, 2008
State Senator Chris Buttars (I will not act like a child and make fun of his last name, although it does take a great deal of self-restraint) exposes how he really feels: Black=Bad.
Republican Sen. Chris Buttars' comment came during a debate on SB48, aimed at equalizing school construction funds. Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, called it "the ugly baby bill," but, as Buttars stood to vote, went further. "This baby is black. It's a dark, ugly thing," he said.He was coerced into giving a non-apology:
"I made a comment that I think a lot of people could take racist. I certainly did not mean that in any way but it was wrong and certainly could easily have been taken that way," Buttars said. "I apologize to anyone who took offense. . . . I ask for your forgiveness."Out of the full heart, the mouth speaks. You see how the racism is so very much a part of Buttars' inner workings that he actually could say that?
Thursday, February 14, 2008
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.
MoveOn.org 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.This is justice?
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.
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.
Monday, January 28, 2008
That all men are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inherent, and unalienable rights, amongst which are the enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety. Therefore, no male person, born to this country, or brought from overseas, ought to be holden by laws to serve any person as servant, slave, or apprentice, after he arrives to the age of twenty-one years, nor female in like manner, after she arrives to the age of eighteen years, unless they are bound by their own consent after they arrive to such age, or bound by law for the payment of debts, damages, fines, costs, or the like.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
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.Here's a little background information on the money:
. . .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.
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.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
My first thoughts are: there go the media, vilifying the Black man yet again. How many people are going to read the whole article and discover that Glover was arrested during a union rally for hotel workers?
NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario - Danny Glover has been convicted in Niagara Falls, Ontario, for trespassing in a hotel during a union rally in 2006. Glover, who wasn't in court, was convicted Thursday along with UNITE HERE union representative Alex Dagg and Ontario Federation of Labour President Wayne Samuelson.
Canadian Niagara Hotels charged the three with trespassing at their Sheraton on the Falls property during a Sept. 16, 2006, protest. The 60-year-old actor took part in the protest as part of a larger campaign that aims to increase salaries and improve working conditions for hotel workers in the U.S. and Canada.
I can think of other, more accurate headlines, headlines that would not create false impressions in the minds of readers (and nonreaders).
Monday, January 7, 2008
Florida indicates that it might have plans to consider hauling itself into the
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?
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?