Sunday, August 30, 2009

Black Frats & Sororities: A Dream Deferred?

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

- Langston Hughes

To My Fellow Brothers and Sisters of the Historically Black Fraternities and Sororities, I respectfully submit to you the following question:

Who in the hell left the gate open?

My call for introspection derives from the most recent Florida Courier article written by Omega Psi Phi member Mo Kelly, which you may read in its entirety HERE.

From the article, I will quote in relevant part the following:

"The recent high-profile inductions of former president Bill Clinton, Rev. Al Sharpton, Stevie Wonder, Martin Lawrence and other notables into Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity offer the perfect entry point to discuss the direction of the nine Black Greek Letter Organizations (BGLOs).

Martin Lawrence, who has never seen the inside of a college classroom as a student, is the educational example Phi Beta Sigma wants young African-American men to emulate? Alpha Kappa Alpha is somehow elevated by inducting Alicia Keys, who dropped out of Columbia to pursue her music career? It sends a troubling message. Young people hear very well and recognize hypocrisy in all of its forms.

As we collectively move further and further away from the principles of brotherhood and sisterhood and closer to big business, perhaps these are the inevitabilities.[sic]

The all/majority Black Greek-letter organization doesn’t necessarily hold the same appeal to a college freshman in 2009 that it did in 1969 or even 1989. Kids can “step” in high school (which aggravates Mo’Kelly to no end). They don’t need to go to college and join an organization to reach the dangling carrot of stepping anymore. Membership used to have its privileges, now people can get the privileges without the “inconvenience” of membership.

What does it say when in the latest round of Phi Beta Sigma honorary inductees, only the White man – Bill Clinton – has a degree from an accredited four-year college or university? It says it won’t be long before all of us are irrelevant, then extinct."

Although I don't agree with everything written in the article, the man makes a point. I know that my own fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., does not allow honorary membership, but the true issue being spoken to here is larger than whether an organization allows honorary membership. That's merely one symptom of the larger problem. No, the larger problem is, as the article points out, the fact that as a collective, we (as in all of us) are moving further away from our principles and more towards becoming a mere business where anything goes. That lends itself to members who don't respect the organization in which they are a part of, and if you don't respect your own organization, then it's unrealistic to think that any interested 18 year old freshmen looking to pledge ever will.

I don't have to repeat to any of you the long list of historical landmark achievements that our organizations and the members within our organizations have contributed to our society since the early 1900's. I'm sure you are all well aware that nearly every single notable African American throughout U.S. history first learned how to train for leadership within one of our fraternities or sororities before they became a household name.

Pledging to become a part of something greater than yourself for the betterment of our community is where "the dream" of the Black community has been fostered within the bellies of our organizations for decades. It is the sole reason why our organizations exist... least it used to be.

Now it seems that we've regressed from (1) a pledging process where bonds were formed between the few who were entrusted to carry on the torch of leadership, to (2) a "membership intake process" hell-bent on allowing anybody with a check book to walk through the door, to (3) a post-graduate honorary process whereby we beg famous people to belong who actually chose not to belong when they went through their own undergrad experience.

I'm sorry but it must be said: if these leadership organizations ever hope to retain the adjective "leadership" not everybody who wants to be in should be allowed in. Just like not everybody is cut out to be a police officer, or a navy seal, or a fire fighter, not everybody is cut out to be in the historically black fraternities or sororities.

And before anybody accuses me of being elitist or divisive, let me quell those rumblings by drawing your attention to the fact that I believe (as do you, I hope) that whoever becomes a part of one our organizations has a DUTY to become a steward for the black community. Stated differently, you must no longer think of what is best for yourself - you must think of what is best for your fellow brothers and sisters in the struggle. Not everybody thinks like that. Some people are only out for self. And that's fine. Do you. However, you can't be concerned with yourself only AND try to join a community service organization. Those two ideologies don't mix.

Thus, I reiterate, not everybody who wants to be in should be allowed in.

There is a greater responsibility at stake for the black community than whether one will look good in fraternity or sorority letters strolling around some party or in a photo op for some celebrity magazine. The pioneers of our community had a dream once that we could stick together and rise above all the adversity placed in our path. Whether we allow that dream to become deferred is up to us. I don't know what will happen to that dream, but I do know this: that dream is intrinsically linked with whom we choose to entrust our Black leadership organizations to. If we're not careful, then it is only a matter of time before we wake up one day and find that dream deferred.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Health Care 101

Friday, August 28, 2009

Uh Oh, Doc.

Breaking News!!! This just in from the L.A. Coroner's office:

The Los Angeles County coroner's office officially ruled the death of Michael Jackson a homicide and said he died of "acute propofol intoxication."

According to a statement from the coroner: The "manner of death has been ruled homicide. Cause of death was established as acute propofol intoxication. Other conditions contributing to death: benzodiazepine. The drugs propofol and Lorazepam were found to be the primary drugs responsible for Mr. Jackson’s death. Other drugs detected were midazolam, diazepam, lidocaine, and ephedrine. The final coroner’s report includes a complete toxicology report will that remain on security hold at the request of the Los Angeles police department and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office"

Well now, this is certainly akward. Hope you have a good lawyer, Doc.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

This Might Offend My Political Connects

This week your boy Young Hov (i.r.l. Shawn Carter) has graduated in political news from being "that one song" in Obama's iPod to actually tooling up and taking it to the streets with two of America's biggest icons on the Right: Bill O'Reilly and the kingpin himself, Rush Limbaugh. Jay-Z's latest album, The Blueprint 3, features a song titled "Off That" in which J has the following to say about the dynamic duo:

“Black vs. white my nigga, we off that.
Please tell Bill O'Reilly to fall back.
Tell Rush Limbaugh
to get off my balls,
it's 2010 not 1864.
Ah, Yeah we come so far.
So I drive around town hard top
and its off.
Ah, And my trop at the loft,
with my high brow, Ah,
and my high yellow broad
Ah, And my dark skin sense,
and my best white mate say whats up to Chris.

Ah, How's that for a mix,
got a Black president,
got green presidents.”

On Monday, Bill O'Reilly responded on FOX News with the following:

“A regular Otis Redding isn't he?"

The following day, Rush Limbaugh, who some might argue has emerged as the de facto leader of the Conservative Movement after the 2008 election, had the following response:

“I have been mentioned in a rap song by the rapper Jay-Z…I guess it means I made it, I'm now in a rap tune by the famous rapper Jay-Z. ‘Tell Rush Limbaugh to get off my balls, tell Bill O'Reilly to fall back.' I would remind the rapper Jay-Z, Mr. Z, it is President Obama that wants to mandate circumcision. We had that yesterday, and that means if anybody… if we need to save our penises from anybody, it's Obama. I did not know I was on anybody's balls either. I'm happy to know that they think I am though. But I didn't… I didn't actually know that I was.”

Not much of a retort from the big guy, but an acknowledgement all the same. We have to commend Jay-Z for accomplishing that which not even RNC Chairmen Michael Steele was able to do - speak out publicly against Rush Limbaugh and not apologize for it. (Michael Steele, of course, perhaps set the record for the fastest retraction of a Limbaugh criticism in political history earlier this year when he called Limbaugh an "entertainer")

This is not the first time hip hop artists have gone into battle with Bill O'Reilly. Before this latest round with Jay-Z, hip hop icon Nas led a protest in NYC against Bill O'Reilly and Fox News for their racially biased coverage of then Presidential candidate Obama; before that ATL artist Ludacris went a few rounds with O'Reilly after O'Reilly cost Luda his Pepsi endorsement. Nevertheless, Jay-Z became one of the more vocal hip hop artists to voice his support for President Obama both during and after the 2008 Presidential Election, so it was only a matter of time before he bumped heads with two of Obama's biggest critics: O'Reilly and Limbaugh.

Since explicit lyrics are found in all forms of music (not just Hip Hop) why
is Bill O'Reilly/Fox News on a crusade against Hip Hop artists specifically? Can Hip Hop artists succeed where liberal politicians have failed in putting the Far-Right in its place? Why is the mainstream media not giving this more clock?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

R.I.P. Senator Ted Kennedy


Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy of Massachusetts, the last of 9 famous Kennedy children and one of the first people to provide a major endorsement for President Obama during the 2008 election, died today after a battle with brain cancer. At 9 terms in the Senate, he was the 3rd-longest-serving Senator in U.S. History, serving in elected office since November of 1962. He is the only male Kennedy child to die from natural causes. He was 77.

Probation On And Poppin'

Yesterday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Patricia Schnegg sentenced 20-year-old R&B star Chris Brown to 5 years of probation wherein he must spend more than 1,400 hours in "labor-oriented service" for assaulting his pop star girlfriend, Rihanna. Judge Schnegg also specified that Chris Beezie's service must be "hard manual labor" (as opposed to mere community service) and he must also complete 1 year of domestic violence counseling. Oh and by the way, pursuant to the restraining order, he can't come near Rihanna for those 5 years unless they are doing industry promotion events. (Rihanna can ask the court to lift the order however)

Don't look too sad, young Beezie, because you got off light, son. Mad light. When you consider that domestic violence in California can qualify as a felony that can carry a term of up to 3-years in state prison, 5 years of probation actually doesn't look too bad.

However, here's the interesting part - in order to determine Brown's sentence, the Court considered all relevant evidence, including reports of domestic violence between the couple before this event.

According to CNN:

"The first incident occurred in Europe about three months before the present offense," the report said. "The victim [Rihanna] and the defendant [Brown] were involved in a verbal dispute and the victim [Rihanna] slapped the defendant [Brown]. He responded by shoving her into a wall."

Another incident happened in January, three weeks before the Hollywood incident, when Brown and Rihanna were visiting her home country of Barbados, the report said.

"The defendant [Brown] and the victim [Rihanna] were visiting Barbados and were driving a Range Rover loaned to them by a local dealership," the investigator wrote. "They had an argument inside the car. The defendant [Brown] exited and broke the front driver and passenger side windows of the car."

WTF? So these two have a history of violence towards each other where she has laid hands on him, and he has laid hands on her. A match maid in heaven. I don't even know where to begin with this one.

So who is really at fault here? What kind of message does Brown's conviction and sentencing send to our youth? Should he have received a harsher sentence?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

CIA, You Can Run But You Can't Hide

I never thought it would happen but it actually did - the CIA operatives during the Bush Administration who thought they had a get-out-of-jail-free card for torturing terrorist suspects after 9-11 just had that card revoked. There's a new Sheriff in town, and his name is Eric Holder.

On Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder officially opened a preliminary investigation into whether some CIA operatives broke the law in their coercive interrogation techniques (ie. "waterboarding") of suspected terrorists. These CIA agents must have forgotten about that little thing called the 8th Amendment of the Constitution.

Since his announcement, the Right has been in an uproar over the audacity of such a move, and the Left thinks they've won a cracker jack prize, but what does this really mean? This couldn't come at a more divisive time given the tensions surrounding the Health Care debate. This announcement may provide a new carrot on a stick for the public to follow, thereby diverting their gaze away from the Health Care debate as Democrats run their versions of the Health Care reform bills through Congress. On the other hand, it could exacerbate the problems between the Republicans and Democrats as I'm almost willing to predict that we see some kind of TV ad commercial tugging at the patriotic heart strings of Americans and explaining how Eric Holder is the Devil.

Politics aside, I submit that this is the right thing to do no matter how we want to try and spin it. If people break the law, then they break the law. That includes Presidents, their staff, Congressmen and women, all the way down to the janitor of a political blog. Nobody should get a pass, and they definitely should not get a pass based on ideological grounds. The law is the law. Period.

Should Holder go through with these prosecutions? Thoughts on how this one plays out?

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Case of the Deadly Cell Phone

I came across this tidbit of information this morning and wanted to immediately make all of our readers aware of this, as it is very...well...interesting. I hope you will agree.

Apparently Baltimore Ravens rookie, Tony Fein was arrested at a Restaurant Saturday, while having dinner, after an officer suspected him of passing a gun to his friend. The gun however turned out to be a cell phone. According to police accounts, Fein, when approached by the officer, shoved him to the ground and the officer suffered a bruise to his ego...I mean elbow!

Fein, an Iraq war veteran, who has received medals and awards while in the military, was charged with Misdemeanor assault. According to his agent, Fein was not the aggressor, it was the officer, who arrested Fein because he was wearing a hooded sweatshirt.

Unlike most of the posts we put here, I am not going to bother with the commentary. Not right now anyway, especially when the facts are so sketchy. However I will open the floor for thoughts on this interesting, yet minor incident, as it speaks to the bigger scope of what we all know is the bottom line!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

And the "Thuggin Ain't Easy" Award Goes To...

Plaxico Burress, Ladies & Gentlemen!!!

From our local NY Daily News:

"Ex-Super Bowl hero Plaxico Burress accepted a plea bargain Thursday that will land the talented but troubled wide receiver behind bars for two years.

The agreement with the Manhattan district attorney came nine months after Burress, 31, shot himself through the thigh with an illegal .40-caliber Glock inside a crowded nightclub.

The deal was reached just three days after the Giants' first exhibition game of the year. Burress entered his plea early Thursday to a reduced count of attempted criminal possession of a weapon.

Burress - who caught the game-winning touchdown in the Giants' 2008 Super Bowl win over the Patriots - testified before a grand jury last month in a "Hail Mary" attempt to beat the rap.

But he was instead indicted him on two counts of weapons possession and reckless endangerment. The 6-foot-5 Burress had faced 3 1/2 to 15 years if convicted."

Need we say more?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

An Intelligent Discussion on Health Care

This cat, Rep. Anthony Weiner (NY) appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe Tuesday morning and broke it down with regard to health care so that it can forever and consistently be ba-roke! Peep Joe Scarborough's reaction at the end after he's unable to get any of the conservative talking points to stick during this discussion.

The Public Option

Flag On The Play. Offense. Illegal Removal of The Public Option. Penalty, 15 yards, 4th Down.

Recently the aforementioned "offense" (aka the Obama Administration) recently signaled that it is ok with ditching the idea of "The Public Option" in order to gain larger points with the general population on Health Care Reform. This comes on the heels of Obama, among other Democrats, effectively saying that "The Public Option" is a must-have, do-or-die, deal-breaker item that if not included vitiates the entire campaign for true Health Care Reform. Obama is not quoted as saying that "The Public Option" is but one piece of the larger Health Care Reform pie. While that may technically be true, it is notable to observe that "The Public Option" is a pretty damn large piece of that pie.

Just what is "The Public Option?"

Right now if you are among the lucky 249.8 million Americans (out of 305 million Americans total) who have health care insurance, you go to the doctor, you make your co-pay of $20 bucks or whatever it is, the doctor pokes and prods you for a while and then they send the bill to your insurance company, United Health Care, Aetna, Cigna, Blue Cross & Blue Shield, etc. These are all "private" insurance companies, meaning they are not owned or operated by the government, but instead are owned and operated by private citizens just like any other for-profit corporation in America. Your private insurance company, which takes a piece out of your paycheck every month in order to pool and invest it collectively along with everybody else in the country who is under their umbrella, then pays a % of your doctor bill to the doctor and you pay the rest. Sounds familiar right?

Well the "public" option is a proposal to have the federal government create its own health insurance company, just like a Blue Cross or a Cigna, only this one is not owned and operated by private individuals but instead is owned and operated by the federal government, just like Medicare and Medicaid. The rationale is, by creating this "public option" health care insurance company, the 47 million Americans without health insurance (either because they couldn't afford the private companies, or they have pre-existing conditions that bar them from the private companies, or because they are unemployed, etc.) would be able to take advantage of this new public health insurance company. The criticisms against doing this have been that the private insurance companies will not be able to compete with the federal government and will lose profits and/or go out of business, leaving many uninsured and ultimately making the "public option" the only option. Other criticisms have been the general fear of the idea of our federal government running health insurance period.

As Obama correctly pointed out during New Hampshire's town hall meeting on health care reform last week, private corporations compete with the federal government all the time with no trouble. Federal Express (private), UPS (private, and DHL (private) are all thriving businesses that compete with the United States Postal Service (public) every single day. The fact that the postal service exists as a "public option" for delivering mail has not driven the other private mail delivering companies out of business.

Furthermore, the general fear of the idea of our federal government running a health care entity is unfounded since the federal government is already running a few health care entities - namely, Medicare and Medicaid. And they seem to be doing just fine with no complaints from the many Medicare and Medicaid users.

Oh, and by the way, as a government-run entity, the salaries of the directors of a public option would be capped. For example, the diretors of Medicare and Medicaid make $150,000 a year. By contrast, William W. McGuire, the former director of United Health Care, made $124.8 million dollars in 2005 alone. When he retired on Dec, 1, 2006, he received an exit compensation package of $1.1 Billion dollars (billion with "B"), making history as the largest golden parachute in the history of corporate America. And people wonder why there is so much opposition to health care reform. This is big business, folks.

So why drop "The Public Option" for health care? For whatever the reason that the Obama White House decided to announce that it can reform health care without "The Public Option" I'm calling shenanigans. I think the Obama Administration is making a big mistake here, both practically speaking in terms of actual health care reform as well as politically speaking with the damage to Obama's political capital if health care reform is passed without one of the key components that Obama himself had been an advocate for all up until this past weekend.

Should Health Care Reform include a Public Option or not? Did Obama cave in to the critics here?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Michael Vick: Don't Call It a Comeback!!

If George W Bush can be President after sentencing to death the most men in history as Governor of Texas, some of which due to DNA evidence were later thought innocent, and Sarah Palin can...Exist, as her Moose head lingers above her redneck fireplace, then why shouldn't Michael Vick be admitted back into the NFL? And why shouldn't he be a Philadelphia Eagle?

I understand better than most, the repercussions of finding yourself on the opposite side of the law. The embarrassment, humiliation, the pain and most of all the struggle to rebuild your life. Michael Vick, clearly made poor, irresponsible decisions. Decisions which caused him to lose his freedom and almost his career. But lets face it people, worse crimes have been committed in this country by people we honor and respect. To crucify Vick any longer, especially after he has paid is debt to society, is to undermine the basic capacity of ones ability to grow and change.

Personally I embrace Vick with open arms to the City of Brotherly love. I look forward to watching him come off the bench this season and possibly being groomed as a successor to McNabb. God forbid, McNabb suffers an injury this season. For once, this city (Philly) will have a viable back up to work with. I can only hope that his skill level, once top rate, has not been too tarnished by the recent events in his life. I wish the brother much success and I pray that he has learned his lesson, a lesson that we should all learn. We can't get away with what others can get away with, so we should make sure that we go above and beyond the call of duty in all situations and hope that we can get a few opportunities here and there to satisfy our lust for the American dream.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

More of the Black Tax

I am one that does not like to attribute most things to racial bias. This is not necessarily the first thought that comes to mind when situations arise and a question of inequality, blatant racism, or some sort of institutional racism peaks out from under the layers of seemingly fair and forthright politics. Unfortunately, it seems that lately, giving the benefit of the doubt to justify certain actions and scrutiny against our President and his administration would be a naive approach to facing the harsh realities of life in this country. Lets face it, Obama is being taxed...The black tax that is.

Look at the ad posted along with this article. Have you ever seen such blatant disrespect to this end, against any other American President. Sure, we bashed Bush a great deal, for his lies and for his war mongering, and we bashed Clinton for lying about his sexual exploits. But this ad has bashed the President because of the privilege that his daughters and every other Presidents child have taken advantage due to who their father is. Has this ever been a problem before in America. George W Bush became a millionaire because his father constructed crooked business deals between W and his partners.

The point is, while yes it is obvious that every child should be able to take advantage of the highest quality meals possible, while in school, the reality is that these children are the children of the President and it is unfair to scrutinize the President and his family for being privileged, especially when this is a President, that genuinely has the interests of the people in mind and I'm sure would agree that all children deserve the same quality of school lunch.

This school lunch ad, was not only disrespectful, but extremely offensive. Why mention the Obama daughters as a catalyst to further your cause? I would think that the administration would be less concerned with furthering this agenda as a result of such tasteless propaganda. My questions people is, would a white president, who is maintaining the status quo in American come under such scrutiny, to the point where his young children are being attacked? Or is this another result of the classic black tax that says a black man doing the same thing as a white man has to work 10x's harder and face 10x's more scrutiny when doing so. Lets talk about this thing folks...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Olbermann digs Palin a new one!

Monday, August 10, 2009

A New Perspective on Marion Barry

For as long as I can remember, to hear the name Marion Barry only brought thoughts of contempt and disgrace. My first and only knowledge of the man were the survelliance tapes of him in his hotel room smoking crack in 1990, while Mayor of DC. Unfortunately this image and the media portrayal of Barry shaped my entire perception of him and unlike other topics that I have had to deprogram myself from, the issue of Marion Barry never seemed important enough to research in greater detail, until now.

Tonight HBO premiered a new documentary entitled "The 9 Lives of Marion Barry." The documentary chronicled the amazing career of the disgraced former mayor and paralleled between the past and the politician's current run for city council.

I hate to acknowledge my ignorance on anything, but I must say that my perception of Barry has changed entirely after watching the film. Marion Barry was a charismatic, outspoken, radical, political activist, who marched with Dr King and fought for the poor people of DC during a time when this was not the fashion. Barry served 4 terms as Mayor of DC and was later caught up in the crack epidemic that swept across the nation. Before his unprecedented fall from grace however, Barry served the people of DC well and brought a sense of pride and hope to the city's disenfranchised black population that had not been seen before.

In 2008 after retiring from politics Marion Barry was elected to city council. This in and of itself is a true testament to the concept of falling and getting back up. Barry is inspiration to anyone who has ever fallen from grace, had demons to overcome, or who simply had to come up on the proverbial rough side of the mountain. Weather or not you hate him, love him or are indifferent, I suggest taking a look at this documentary. It is a very intriguing chapter in American History.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Don't HealthCare Me, Bro!

I have been purposely avoiding any commentary on the Healthcare debate until I can gather all relevant facts (and there are a lot of damn facts to consider here) and form an opinion founded in reality and pragmatism rather than political ideology or spin. That being said, there is one facet of this debate that I would like to comment on right now: the debates.

All over America, the men and women of the U.S. Congress (both the House and the Senate) are hosting town hall meetings to listen to the voices of their constituents regarding the proposed Health Care reformation. This is good. This is what your tax dollars pay them to do: listen to the people who elected them into office and carry out their wishes in DC. This is what representative government is all about. The Supreme Court has ruled that political speech is the most highly protected form of Free Speech a citizen can make under the First Amendment. (see generally, Schenck v. United States, 249 U. S. 47 (1919); see also Yates v. United States, 354 U.S. 298 (1957)). The reason this is so is because in order for citizens in a representative government to effect change with their elected leaders, they must be allowed to speak freely about political issues.

So we're all in agreement that being able to speak about political issues (such as Health Care) is a good thing right? Great. Having established that point, there is something rather upsetting occurring at these so-called "town hall" meetings. Apparently some "unofficial" organizing has been taking place whereby people are actually going to these meetings not to debate the merits of Health Care reform, but to merely stop other people from talking about it. Now that's just down right un-American, damnit!

Voltaire is attributed with the famous quote "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." I think that captures the very essence of the First Amendment that we are SUPPOSED to believe in, right America? So I don't wanna hear anymore of this disrupting Health Care meetings business, ok? That's bullshit and you know it. If you feel passionately about Health Care then great, but you get to say your piece, and I get to say my piece, and that's how it works here in America, Jack. What you do not get to do is say your piece, and then try to suppress me when I go to say my piece. That's not how it works.

Follow the rules and don't make me smack you.

Congrats to Sonia Sotomayor, the Next Supreme Court Justice of the United States!

The U.S. Senate vote concluded today with 68 Yeas to 31 Nays (all 58 Democrats voted in favor, along with 9 Republicans and 1 Independent; all 31 Nay votes were Republican), making Sonia Sotomayor the 111th Supreme Court Justice of the United States. She is the first Latina to ever hold this position in our nation's history, and the third woman to hold this position.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Team America World Police Part 2?

America!!! (F*CK YEA!!!)
Comin' again to save the motherf*ckin day yeah!
America!!! (F*CK YEAH!!!)
Freedom is the only way way yeah!
Terrorists your game is through
Cause now you have to answer to...
America!!! (F*CK YEAH!!!)

So today as I wake up and attempt my morning routine before I head out to the gig, in my half-sleepy state I hear the news commentator say something about the President flying into North Korea and saving the two captive journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, from the evil clutches of North Korea's Kim Jong-iL. Again, I'm not exactly awake upon hearing this rescue news so before I glance over at the TV my sleepy brain is inundated with imagery of a wobble-headed Obama puppet running over and smacking a big wobble-headed Kim Jong-iL puppet with the aforementioned "America" theme music playing in the background as pyrotechnic explosions light up all around the fight scene for dramatic effect.

I manage to shake off my morning grogginess and actually look at the TV screen but when I do I have to do a double take and almost spit out my orange juice: is that President Clinton? As in former President Clinton? As in 1990's President Clinton? What the...? What is President, I mean, former President Clinton doing running covert black op missions into North Korea on some straight up Iron Eagle type mess?

I figure I must be hearing things, grab my client files, and run out the door to the office late for work (again). When I get to work I see it again on the news - there he is, President Bill Clinton, standing next to former Vice President Al Gore looking like the A-Team or something.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm glad Ms. Lee and Ms. Ling are back home in the United States with their families, and I did think that their sentence of 12 years for crossing the North Korean boarder while reporting on a story was beyond ridiculous, but I find myself scratching my head as to why a former president of the United States is doing this (as opposed to, I dunno...maybe the Secretary of State who's job it is to deal with foreign leaders). But I suppose if either Obama or Hillary Clinton, or any other member of the Obama Administration cabinet were to have done what Bill Clinton just did, there would be hell to pay since the United States is not supposed to be "officially" talking to North Korea.

Nonetheless, even though this was an "unofficial" meeting by the United States, had North Korea tried to pull a fast one here or messed around and did anything to harm Bill, this could have gotten ugly for America. Real ugly.

Any thoughts on the Team America World Police rescue mission?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Happy 48th B-Day, President Obama

Barack Obama became the President of the United States when he was 47 years old.

What will you have accomplished by your 47th Birthday?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Birther Nation: "I Want My Country Back"

Let's start at the beginning: Barack Hussein Obama II, our nation's 44th and current President, was born on August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii. As in, Hawaii of the United States. As in, the United States of America. See birth certificate (pictured right).

Back in December of last year I wrote a piece addressing the uproar of lawsuits seeking to contest the validity of Obama's citizenship in courtrooms across America. Naturally, all of them were dismissed on frivolous grounds. A few (see e.g. Donofrio v. Wells) even made it to the U.S. Supreme Court for review, but were likewise dismissed. (but boy did it ever fire up the right-wing blogosphere during those 5 or so days before Donofrio got dismissed!!! They were ready to hang their hat on that one.)

Recently, a resurgence of the conspiracy sentiment long forgotten has risen once again much like the monster in an old horror movie that just won't die. They call themselves "Birthers." (a nickname apparently derived from the disbelief in Obama's "birth"). One such "birther" was featured on Rachel Maddow a few weeks ago:

However, before we laugh this lady away as a joke, an admittedly liberal website known as the Daily Kos conducted a poll during the last week of July 2009 that had some very interesting results: only 42% of Republicans believe that Obama is a natural born citizen, 28% said they did not believe Obama was born in the United States and 30% said they were unsure. Further, only 47% of respondents in the South (Democrats, Republicans and Independents combined) said they believed Obama was born in America, with 23% saying flat out that he was not and 30% saying they were unsure. Considering the no-brainer difficulty level in determining where somebody was born, these are rather significant percentages of doubt. (By the way - over 90% of those polled in the Northeast and Midwest believe Obama is a U.S. citizen)

Is You Is or Is You Ain't Hawaiian?

The law on American citizenship is pretty straight forward, but doesn't really help to combat those who refuse to believe Obama was born in Hawaii, or those like Andy Martin who believe that somehow Hawaii is involved in an elaborate cover up to protect the "truth" about Obama's birth certificate.

So as a threshold matter, you either concede that the State of Hawaii is telling the truth (thus Obama is a citizen of the U.S.), or you believe that the State is lying (thus, he is not).

However, even for those who concede that the State of Hawaii is telling the truth (that Obama was born there) there is yet another layer to their rabbit hole of an argument: Obama was born in America but (i) due to his father's Kenyan-British citizenship, Obama lost his U.S. citizenship because of the dual-citizenship rule, or (ii) Obama lost his citizenship when he moved to Indonesia with his mother and her new husband, Lolo Soetoro.

In re Kenyan Citizenship Theory

This theory is quickly debunked when the appropriate law is applied to the facts. The law suits against Obama that allege his dual U.S.-Kenyan citizenship have all incorrectly cited section (g) of 8 U.S.C. §1401 which, during the relevant time, provided that: "The following shall be nationals and citizens of the United States at birth: (g) a person born outside the geographical limits of the United States..." Section (g) does not apply here, as Obama was born in Hawaii and this section applies to people born outside of the United States. The applicable section would be section (a) which provides: "(a) a person born in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof [is considered a citizen of the United States]."

Furthermore, Chapter 6 section 97 of the Kenyan Constitution prohibits dual citizenship for anybody past the age of 21. Even assuming that Obama at one time held either Kenyan citizenship or dual U.S.-Kenyan citizenship, it automatically terminated upon Obama's 21st birthday, August 4, 1982. In order for Obama to have retained any alleged Kenyan citizenship, pursuant to the Kenyan Constitution, he would have had to formally renounce his U.S. citizenship as an adult. There is no evidence, sworn statement or any record whatsoever of this ever occurring either before or after 1982.

In re Indonesian Citizenship Theory

Again, this theory is easily debunked when the appropriate law is applied to the facts. Pursuant to the Immigration & Nationality Act of 1952, which was in effect in the late 1960s when Obama went to Indonesia, Title III, Chapter 3, Sections 349 and 355 state that a minor does not lose his U.S. citizenship upon the naturalization of his parents or any other actions of his parents, so long as the minor returns to the U.S. and establishes permanent U.S. residency before the age of 25.* Seeing as how Obama had not only established permanent U.S. residency but had also completed his undergraduate degree at Columbia University in New York City by the time he was 25, even if his mother had lost her U.S. citizenship while living in Indonesia, Obama did not lose his. That is the law, folks.

In Conlclusion

The "Birther Nation" has only succeeded in proving one thing: that they can't read.

* - the current Immigration & Nationality Act has amended the age to 21.


As I sort through the sordid news of the world's current events, it's the black music I'm listening to that helps me cope. This morning I'm revisiting Donnie's classic 2002 CD, "The Colored Section". "It's a habit to grab it, to grab it right here Cause you might want my private for souvenir And you call me a savage, uncivilized When it's you who made lynchin' your way of life And you don't want me to be mad Well I say to you too bad I‘m a product of my environment So who the hell we callin’ wildlife? Look at us They only kill when they have to We kill for sport.” (Lyrics from Wildlife)
Should be able to hear this on black radio. Wishful thinking in post racial/present negro America.

Commentary from Ishmael Reed

Great commentary from the legendary Ishmael Reed in Black Agenda Report.
www.blackagendareport.comGreat commentary from the legendary Ishmael Reed in Black Agenda Report.