Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Crumb SnatchersHow long will we be content to be snatching for crumbs of the American pie before we build our own frickin' oven?
An article in the New York Times yesterday highlighted the increased poverty rate, which has now reachd 12.7%.
Guess who has the lowest median income? That's right- Black folk.
Isn't it sad that after all the free labor of Black folk both during and after slavery, we still earn the least?
It might not be so bad if the issue of wealth- which is the real bling bling- wasn't just as bleak.
The net wealth of a typical Black home is only one-quarter of the wealth of the typical American home- and this is including all Americans, not just White folk.
Look man, we gotta handle our business. Yeah we're starting off of at a lower point due to aforementioned free labor, but we can do this.
If can survive the Middle Passage, slavery, and all the b.s. that came after the Emancipation Proclamation, we can overcome this hurdle as well.
If we can make bricks without straw, we can build our own oven. Let's do it. affected by Hurricaine Katrina, particularly those in New Orleans and the Mississippi Delta who were hardest hit.
If you want to help then contact The American Red Cross.
Monday, August 29, 2005
Monday LeftoversRemember how, back in the day, Sunday dinner was always a big to-do? The big meal with all of the trimmings? Remember how Mondays was always the leftover meal? It's Monday, and here are the leftovers:
I TOLD YOU SO
I really do try to avoid the dreaded phrase, "I told you so" because it really does annoy people to no end - everyone hates a know-it-all - but last week I said that Sharon's withdrawal from Gaza would do nothing for peace in the Middle East, and what happened less than a week later? BOOM! Suicide bomber attack. And Hamas reaffirming its mission to eradicate Israel. Good luck with a "negotiated settlement" folks.
IS OUR CHILDREN LEARNING?
No. Not even a little bit. The United States ranked 24th out of 29 nations tested in math literacy. The U.S. also ranked 24th out of 29 when it came to problem-solving. Needless to say, Blacks (and Latinos & Native Americans) lagged behind Whites as far as the Americans went. We are in deep caca and our primary focus has to be educating our children. Like it or not, multinational corporations have driven us into a global economy where the global labor pool is competing for increasingly scarce jobs. Ranking 24th out of 29 doesn't bode well for the employability of our children in the future, and it doesn't bode well for their entrepreneurial enterprises either. We have to covenant with one another to make our children the brightest in the world.
EVERYBODY LOVES OMAROSA
All of us have things with which we struggle, things about our character that we know needs improvement. One of my biggest problems is controlling my mouth - my word usage can be a bit profane at times, and I really try to keep that in check. Nonetheless, I have to ask WTF is Betsy Rothstein and/or Patricia Clarke thinking by referring to the most universally reviled Black woman (even surpassing Condi) as "the beloved 'The Apprentice' star Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth" in The Hill? I do realize that America seems to suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder, that America has next to no sense of history, but do they really think that America suffers from amnesia as well? "The beloved Omarosa" ranks right up there with "The voluptuous Ellen DeGeneres" or "The anorexic Mo'Nique" or "The despised Luther VanDross" - unreal. I mean, what's next? "The restrained Rude Pundit?" "The liberal Free Republic?" "The Christian Bill Maher?"
Well, the leftovers are kinda thin today so have some dessert.
Sunday, August 28, 2005
This is why I am particularly confounded by R. Albert Mohler's assertion that Christians who choose to remain childless are in sin - "nothing less than an absolute revolt against God's design." I think I understand Mohler's intent - to keep Christians breeding new Christians - but his assertion doesn't square with the Biblical record. God's primary plan for marriage is not procreation. Look back to Genesis 2:18ff. God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him." Did God have procreation in mind when He made this declaration? Not unless He had bestiality in mind: "And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof." No, bestiality was not what was in vision here, companionship was the idea: "And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him." God diagnosed the problem, "It is not good that the man should be alone" and proscribed the solution, "And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man." God didn't bring Eve to Adam for the primary purpose of procreation; God brought Eve to Adam for the primary purpose of companionship. Procreation is a good thing, but we cannot establish our own codes, our own categorical imperatives and elevate a good thing above God's design. Companionship - "It is not good that the man should be alone" - is God's primary purpose for marriage.
This brings us back to our text. It is a true saying that "Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate." The man who has many sons often has reason to be quite proud, but back in the Psalmist's day - even as recently as a hundred years ago or so - there were much more pragmatic reasons for having a quiver full of children: cheap labor for the fields. In an agrarian society children are necessary to work the fields - it's the reason why children have summer vacation from school today, they were needed to work the fields and didn't have time for school back in the day. In today's urban environment we are not nearly dependent upon procreation for our economic livelihood, but in an agrarian society that could be the difference between life and death. Child-bearing was much more important then - it was an economic necessity. That is no longer the case, and past economic necessities do not encode current categorical imperatives.
Unless one takes the position that sex is purely for the purpose of procreation - a position that is impossible to maintain Biblically (see 1 Corinthians 7) - then it should be clear that while children are indeed a blessing from the LORD, people can surely refuse to be blessed in that fashion. It is, after all, a lot of hard work to train up a child in the way that they should go, and frankly, there are a whole lot of people - even in the church - who are not anywhere near up to the task. We read about the fruit of their loins daily in the crime sections of the newspapers. We see the fruit of their wombs daily on America's Most Wanted. We see them in substance abuse treatment centers and we see their misanthropic madness as they dehumanize of their fellow man. We even see some of them even growing up to become president. If people are not willing to make the sacrifices that are necessary to be good parents - sometimes even sacrificing your own dignity in order to teach your wayward child a valuable lesson that will eventually save his life - then it is better for everyone that such people remove themselves from the gene-pool. This is a self-correcting problem and you don't have to be an evolutionary naturalist to see how that works.
Now it is true that God can bring order out of chaos, that He can redeem a broken home life and give new life to the repentant. But it is also true that in many - if not most - cases that it simply doesn't happen that way. We have many testimonies of how people overcame their broken homes - Bill Clinton being the most prominent example, a Rhodes Scholar from Hope, Arkansas who became president - yet we also saw some of the residual effects of his broken home while he was in office. We also have more recent examples of people who come from two-parent homes who - despite their parents' best efforts - still manage to destroy everything that they touch. That's why it is a blessing to have a quiver full of sons - to make up for the perpetual screw-up who couldn't find oil in Texas.
May the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who can bless you with a full quiver if you choose to be so blessed,
My He turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Friday, August 26, 2005
If I have said it once I have said it a thousand times - Andy Stern was right to leave the AFL-CIO and any union that wants to survive the next decade better join him. But why should Black folks care about any of this? Well, the numbers don't lie (the AFL-CIO is good for something, albeit somewhat dated):
Union Membership rises among women -- especially African-American womenAnd those afore-mentioned numbers:
Despite the overall decline in union membership, the number of women who belong to unions grew by more than 150,000 last year. Women now account for 41 percent of union ranks, up from 37 percent as recently as 1990. The big story last year was the extent to which membership gains among women were concentrated among African-American women. Of the total 150,000 increase in women union members, a full 92,000 – 61 percent – were African-American women. African-American women were the only major demographic group to show an increase in union density last year, rising to 15.4 percent from 14.4 percent in 1999.
African-American men remain the most heavily-unionized population group, although union density for this group declined from 20.5 percent in 1999 to 19.1 percent in 2000.
U.S. Union Membership
|By Sex:|| || || || || |
By Racial/Ethnic Group & Sex:
| || || || || |
The truth of the matter is that we only have two real options - a successful Labor Movement or an economy where Wal*Mart is the prototype for corporation-employee relationships, a relationship that is known as Coprorate Serfdom. We are heading straight into Capitalistic Feudalism and the only way to avoid that end is the re-emergence of a vibrant Labor Movement - anyone who works for someone else in any capacity has a vital interest in seeing Labor succeed. Solidarity has to extend to everyone who earns a paycheck - carpenters and engineers and accountants and programmers and bankers and telemarketers and nurses and plumbers - we all need Labor to succeed, and right now the only hope that Labor has is for Andy Stern to take the fight to the multinational corporations and for everyone who earns a paycheck to get with him, beginning with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers...
Thursday, August 25, 2005
On the other hand, Black and Latino folk haven't had the luxury of allowing the issue of racial profiling to slip out of their minds.
A recent report by the Justice Department on police traffic stops revealed that Whites, Blacks, and Latinos get pulled over at pretty much same rate.
However, what happens after the actual stop is a different story.
Black folk are nearly three times more likely to get searched than White folk- and the rate is even slightly higher for Latinos.
Blacks and Latinos are also three times more likely to be threatened with the use of force than White folk.
And here's the money ball: Black folk are nearly three times more likely to be arrested than White folk. It's just over two and a half times for Latinos as compared to White folk.
Whatever happened to all men being created equal? Oh yeah, I forgot, Black folk were considered 3/5 of White folk for tax purposes when that whole "Constitution" thing was written.
When will America live up to its promise of freedom and equality for all?
When will American citizens who happen to be Black or Latino be able to drive in their vehicles with the same comfort and peace of mind as the White population?
How long must we fight to be viewed as equals; not as criminals or animals or thugs?
This is about more than just statistics; this is about the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. As Bob Herbert shows us in his column from today's New York Times, racial profiling isn't just a minor discomfort.
Maybe if/when the majority of White Americans start worrying about whether or not they're going to be shot when pulled over by law enforcement, things will change.
Until then, the struggle continues.
Where Are The Black Cindy Sheehans?This week, Earl Ofari Hutchinson asks "Where are the black Cindy Sheehans?" He connects the question to the lack of black participation in anti-war protests.
I've been asking lately asking the same question from another perspective. When white people look at the Cindy Sheehan protest - and now the counter-protests, do they see what I see? Do they see a civil war among white people? Do they see a racially-homogenous (white) exchange passing for a discussion that might include all of us? I doubt it.
Allow me to add more "color" to the conversation:
1. In the "war of the mothers" (those face-offs between pro/anti Sheehan soldier-mothers), the mothers are always white and inevitably show the political-culture divide among white Americans. Cindy Sheehan and other soldier-mothers on her side sound like the kind of white people who voted for Al Gore and John Kerry. Those on the opposite side of Cindy Sheehan sound like the kind of white people who voted for George Bush - both times. One side sounds like they'd be against any use of the American military, not just Iraq. The other side sounds like they'd support the use of American military, no matter how misguided or unplanned it was.
2. What about the mothers of soliders who died in Iraq who aren't white? Well, we're never going to hear an open and honest hearing of what they have to say. In the current state of things, it would never occur to white progressives to put a black or latino mother in front of the TV cameras with Cindy Sheehan. It would never occur to white conservatives to find a mother of color either, until they saw this as an opportunity to rehabilitate their racial image. Meanwhile, our mass media is so "colorblind" that it thinks nothing about showing ordinary white people in front of the camera all the time, on a war that directly or indirectly affects us all.
The white-on-white battle about Iraq is getting us nowhere. The public conversation is getting too far removed from how to win the "Global War Against Violent Extremism." How to win with bullets is overtaking strategies to win the trust and the hearts and minds of people throughout the world, which is the only way that this country will be safer. These are the real issues, regardless of how long we stay in Iraq and the sacrifices that we endure to be there.
The ideals and the common sense of African-Americans need to part of this conversation.
White people left to argue with themselves are destroying the country.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Some will disregard this message because it references the fictional (but functional) Willie Lynch letter.
Some will disregard this message because they disagree with Minister Louis Farrakhan.
At the very least, please read this entire letter with an open heart and open mind. That is all I ask. Thank you.
An appeal to all those who would be a part of the Millions More Movement
[This is an open letter from the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan to all who are interested in helping to create a movement that will ultimately lead to the total liberation of our people in America, the Caribbean, Central and South America and wherever we may be found on our planet.]
In The Name of Allah (God), The Beneficent, The Merciful.
For years, decades and centuries, leaders have arisen among us who have fought, bled and died to see us united as a people.
Willie Lynch, a Caribbean plantation owner, developed a set of protocols that would ensure, if followed, that Black people-wherever we were found on the planet-would never be able to unite. (See Willie Lynch Letter)
So, these seeds of dissention and division have worked 100 percent to keep the former colonial and slave-master's children in power over us. All that Willie Lynch advocated in 1712 continues until this very day.
Those who wish to maintain power and control over us are fearful of anything or anyone who might bring unity to a fragmented people. So every leader who showed such ability or skill was castigated, evil spoken of, falsely accused, imprisoned, beaten or killed, only for us to later learn how valuable they were, male and female, to our advancement as a people.
From the time that I was a little boy, I hungered to see us as a united people. When I heard the voice of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X, I believed that the Teachings that they presented would be a unifying force for all of our people. However, in our lack of understanding of the universal nature of His Message, we were not permitted with our limited understanding to unite the whole of our people, but we were successful in uniting a segment of our people, to produce the Nation of Islam as an example of what a united people could produce in the way of providing for our necessities of life.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad called for a united front of Black leaders and organizations to plan the uplift of all of our fallen people. Kwame Ture, also known as Stokley Carmichael, carried the theme of a United African Front and worked to produce this to the end of his days.
I am so thankful to Almighty Allah (God) for the words that He caused me to write and say that have become the basis for the call of the 10th Anniversary of the Million Man March and the creation of the Millions More Movement.
For the first time in our history, those of us of different ideologies, philosophies, methodologies, denominations, sects and religions, political and fraternal affiliations have come together to create the Millions More Movement. Each of us, who have agreed to work together for the benefit of the whole of our people, have said from our particular platforms, based on our beliefs and understanding or the lack thereof, words that have offended members of our own people and others; and our ideology, philosophy, religion and pronouncements may have hurt the ears and sentiments of others outside of our community. Therefore, this has kept us working inside of our own circles with those who think as we think or believe as we believe. As a result, some of us would never appear on the same stage with one another, for fear of being hurt by association with those with whom we have serious disagreements.
The Millions More Movement is challenging all of us to rise above the things that have kept us divided in the past, by focusing us on the agenda of the Millions More Movement to see how all of us, with all of our varied differences, can come together and direct our energy, not at each other, but at the condition of the reality of the suffering of our people, that we might use all of our skills, gifts and talents to create a better world for ourselves, our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
I cannot fault a Christian pastor for standing on his platform to preach what he believes, nor a Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu or a member of any religious or political party. All of us must be true to what we earnestly believe. I cannot fault a gay or lesbian person who stands on their platform to preach what they believe of self and how the world should view them. Although what we say on our platform may, in some way, be offensive to others, we must not allow painful utterances of the past or present, based on sincere belief, or based on our ignorance, or based on our ideology or philosophy to cripple a movement that deserves and needs all of us-and, when I say all, I mean all of us. We must begin to work together to lift our people out of the miserable and wretched condition in which we find ourselves.
Let us remember in this process that not one of us is qualified to judge the other, for none of us fully understands the circumstances, conditions and realities of each other's lives that make us to think and act as we think. Therefore, Allah (God) alone is our judge.
It is written in the scripture, "Judge not, that ye be not judged." (Matthew 7:1) Jesus again instructed us, "How canst thou say to thy brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye." (Luke 6:42)
These principles, if followed, will allow us to come into a common room with a purpose bigger than self and, in the process, create lawful dialogue to help us understand each other, that we may be shaped and molded, or reshaped and remolded, by our association with each other.
The Millions More Movement, in causing all of us to be together for a common cause, allows the process of lawful dialogue to begin to help us in our exchange with one another in the best way. For the Civil Rights Advocates, Nationalists, Pan-Africanists, Christians of every denomination, Muslims of every sect, students of every fraternity, Masons, Shriners and Elks to come into the same room and begin the process of lawful dialogue; by our being able to exchange with one another in the best, most peaceful and loving manner, we can help to shape and reshape each other's thinking. We are allowed to challenge each other's thinking if we disagree with each other in the spirit of love. Based upon truth and rational thinking, we come to an equitable agreement. When we do this, we can begin to make ourselves into a mighty and powerful force for change.
Unity, love of self and love for one another have always been my desire. We stand on the threshold of the realization of our potential unity and the potential power that our unity can unleash to bring about a positive change today because of the Millions More Movement.
I am hoping that each of us will rise above our personal pain, hurt or anger at one another for what we have said or done in the past or present to offend each other, that we might strive for reconciliation, understanding and agreement. Our very lives and the future of our people depend upon this; and this is why we say, "Long Live the Spirit of the Million Man March."
Let that spirit be the spirit of the Millions More Movement, and together we will achieve for our people and others in 10 years what we have not been able to achieve in the 450 years of our sojourn in this hemisphere.
It is written in the scriptures of the Bible: "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit saith the Lord." (Zachariah 4:6)
It is written in the Holy Qur'an: "And hold fast by the covenant of Allah (God) altogether and be not disunited. And remember Allah's (God's) favour to you when you were enemies, then He united your hearts so by His favour you became brethren. And you were on the brink of a pit of fire, then He saved you from it. Thus Allah (God) makes clear to you His messages that you may be guided." (Surah 3, verse 102)
Thank you all for reading and striving to adhere to these words.
-The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Now that sounds certifiably insane, doesn't it? But that is almost word-for-word what Pat Robertson had to say about Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez yesterday on The 700 Club. I would like quote The Rude Pundit on this matter, but for the sake of innocent eyes a link will have to suffice.
If we assume - and this is a huge assumption - that Robertson actually is a Christian and not just a crook cold-cocking Christ for the cause of conservatism, then there are a couple things that Pat ought to bear in mind. There was this minor, somewhat unnoticed teaching of Jesus Christ that I'd like to bring to Pat's remembrance. Jesus once said, "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." Now, Jesus was only distilling the totality of Scripture into one sentence, it's not like He was saying anything important that Pat might want to bear in mind or anything, but I'd like to remind Pat of that - if you think it's a good idea to kill people with whom you disagree then you shouldn't have a problem when a ski-masked man slips into your bedroom and expedites your personal meeting with Jesus Christ. Remember, in that same passage Jesus also said, "For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
It's easy to call for someone's death from the safety of your own pulpit. Let's see Pat go to Venezuela and knife Chavez himself - at 75 years of age I have a hunch that Pat would not survive that encounter. As for me, I am about tired of political opportunists besmirching the name of Jesus Christ. We don't burn heretics at the stake any more, but it sure does seem like a good idea sometime. I know, "Be not deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap." I just wish that reaping season would come more quickly, like right now. Pat should read Psalm 73 - and repent.
Monday, August 22, 2005
Current Issue Casserole
This was an interesting move by Israeli Prime Minister Arik Sharon, and I'm not sure what the end-game is on this move, but one thing is certain - it will not achieve peace in the Middle East. One thing that should be abundantly clear to any objective reader of recent history is that there are two and only two options for peace in the Middle East: when there are no Jews between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea then there will be peace, or when there are no Arabs and/or Palestinians between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sean then there will be peace in the Middle East. The Arabs long ago (1948) vowed to drive the Jews into the Sea and to my knowledge they have never renounced that pledge - Egypt and Jordan notwithstanding. My point is simply this - Jews and Arabs will never peacefully coexist in Palestine. There will be strife until one side eliminates the other, everything else is merely rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
LABOR IN DEATH THROES
Growing up in Detroit, the last thing that I thought I would ever see is a union crossing another union's picket line. For those of you who didn't grow up in the unionized Industrial North, one union crossing another union's picket line is akin to a man raping his brother's wife. Yet that is exactly what Local 141 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers is doing to the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association with the Mechanics' strike against Northwest Airlines. In the Detroit where I grew up, that would have been a declaration of war, and not in a figurative sense. Today, the Mechanics are just bending over and taking it like a man. Can there be any wonder why Andy Stern et al. broke with the AFL-CIO? "The AFL-CIO is a structure that divides workers' strength by allowing each union to organize in any industry, then bargain on its own, even when workers share a common employer." Good riddance, and good luck Andy - you have my support if that means anything these days.
Again, for those of you who are not familiar with Labor but would like to be Labor-friendly, this means that you do not fly Northwest Airlines until the strike is concluded and the Mechanics are back on their jobs. Solidarity.
Can someone explain to me why - if the Iraqis have established a sovereign government - that they need American permission to extend an American-set deadline for completion of their America-approved constitution? Is there anything that defies credulity any more? Can we state the obvious, at least once? We are crapping on the Iraqis for the purpose of militarily pressuring OPEC at its source and for the establishment of permanent ground bases from which we can launch tactical strikes against China and/or India in the future. We're going to be pounding Iraq's sphincter for the next three generations, and payback's going to be a Omarosa.
JUST SAY NO
The military is looking for
Just say no.
Sunday, August 21, 2005
It reminds me of an incredibly familiar passage of Scripture where the Pharisees brought a woman caught in the very act of adultery before Jesus. The Pharisees of Jesus' day were being incredibly dishonest. They asked Jesus, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?" Like today's
I have a theory - it's just a theory. How do you catch someone in the very act of adultery unless they are engaged in the act in a public place? Or if you knew of the time and location where the rendezvous was to take place. My theory is that they knew this woman - Biblically - and that many of them had been with her, from the oldest to the youngest. Remember the movie Rosewood, at the end when the old White man finally told James that his wife Fanny (interesting choice of names) was screwing everything that moved and that most of the guys in the lynch mob had some personal testimonies to that effect? My theory is that the man with whom this woman had been caught in the very act of adultery was indeed one of the Pharisees - they surely weren't going to stone one of their own. Blatant hypocrisy is nothing new (IOKIYAR).
Nonetheless, Jesus was not going to let the Pharisees make a mockery of the Word of God. First, He just ignored them, but when they persisted in their ignorance Jesus stood up, looked them in they eyes and said, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." By my theory, in context, what Jesus was actually saying to them was, "He who is without this specific sin among you with this specific woman, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." The Pharisees didn't think of themselves as sinners - especially compared to someone caught in the very act of a sexual sin - and a generalized accusation of sin probably wouldn't have had the effect on them that Jesus' words had here. Have you ever thought that you were getting by or getting over and then someone looked you in the eye and pulled your card? That's exactly how the Pharisees reacted. It was like, "Oh, he knows about that." And when they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones.
This is how we have to deal with Republicans - we can't be overly concerned about their feelings or about expanding their understanding when they aren't concerned about truth in the first place. We have to stand up, look them in the eye, and call them on their lies and misdirections. Then, and only then, can we have any kind of a constructive discussion. Unfortunately, I have found that when you pull their card like that they drop the discussion and walk away. You see, much like the Pharisees, Republicans generally aren't interested in discussion - they're interested in making their point and in controlling and/or manipulating your actions, prompting you to take an action that you might not have otherwise taken. I can't speak for anyone else but I will not be pimped or played by Republicans. Not gonna happen, wouldn't be prudent at this juncture - or any juncture.
But there's another aspect of this text that needs to be highlighted. Notice what Jesus said to the woman after all of the Pharisees left. After the woman replied that nobody was left to condemn her Jesus said, "I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more." Notice what Jesus did not say. He did not say, "Go'n girl do your thing - just shake them haters off." Jesus did not say, "I don't know why they're tripping anyway - it's your thing, do what you wanna do. I can't tell you who to sock it to." NO. Jesus said for her to go and sin no more, declaring what she had done to be sinful. It's not that she was innocent - think White Bronco - but due to prosecutorial misconduct she was declared Not Guilty. Jesus was gracious towards her - not because she was innocent, but because He was not going to let the Word of God get pimped for political purposes.
Those of us who affirm the authority of Scripture have to be consistent in our application of the Word of God. There are no big sins and little sins - for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. It is true that homosexuality is a sin, but it is also true that covetousness is a sin - one of the Ten Commandments no less - yet that is the basis of our entire economy, keeping up with the Joneses. It is a sin and must be called sin by those who affirm the whole counsel of Scripture. Today's Pharisees are good for harping on certain aspects of Scripture without honoring the full counsel of Scripture. Jesus said to the Pharisees of His day, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others." Same thing applies today. The hypocrites have been Biblically accurate with their defenses against the promotion and validation of homosexuality, but they have neglected the weightier provisions of the Law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. They should continue doing the former without neglecting the latter - feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for the sick and imprisoned, and showing kindness to the immigrant. They need to get it right with regard for the whole counsel of Scripture, not just selected parts of Leviticus.
Now go and sin no more.
May the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who implores you to go and sin no more,
My He turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Saturday, August 20, 2005
Sure African Americans for Democracy grew out of the Howard Dean campaign, but we're ready to whup that Democrat Ass whenever necessary.
Why? Because we're loyal to the people, that's why we're here.
We ain't tryin' to ride donkeys, we're trying to put our collective Black foot up that Democrat Ass.
Now, I feel that it isn't necessary to go into examples of Black Republicans lovin' that elephant- just too cliche.
But I'll just give one example of an entrenced Black Dem who pissed me off and almost helped push me to the Republican Party (that is, until I got to the College Repubs meeting and they started acting like stereotypical Republicans).
I was at a political forum at Howard University once upon a time, and there were representatives for the Repubs, Dems, Greens, and the SEIU (don't ask me why SEIU was there, I don't know).
All the reps were Black males, and the brother representing the Dems was going on and on like a Teddy Ruxpin about how the Democratic Party is the party for Black folk- always has been, always will be (I guess we'll just scratch the first one hundred fifty years or so, including party starter head slave-owner in charge Thomas Jefferson).
Anyway, upon question and answer time I asked the brother why, if the Democratic Party loves Black folk so much, why didn't Bill Clinton sign an executive order banning racial profiling? The same question was actually posed by Bill Bradley to Al Gore during the 2000 primaries.
So the Dem brother goes into how racial profiling is a hate crime and how the Repubs stonewalled the Dems from passing hate crimes legislation.
An answer which, of course, had absolutely nothing to do with my question.
Unfortunately I couldn't ask a follow-up question, so I couldn't take the brother to task on why he had just:
1) danced around my question like Michael Jackson
2) insulted my intelligence by giving such a pointless answer
But he's still my brother. You know why? Cuz the only thing that mattered on the slave ship, at the slave auction, or breathing, was whether or not you're an African in America.
And who knows, massa could've bred our ancestors together at one point.
So whether you love to kiss ass or polish ivory, just remember that we the people have never experienced unalienable rights. LaToyia Figueroa, the Missing Non-White Woman that we highlighted last month, has been found murdered. From The New York Times:
Police have recovered the remains of a missing pregnant woman and arrested the father of the unborn child in the death, authorities announced Saturday. The suspect, Stephen Poaches, is a former boyfriend of 24-year-old LaToyia Figueroa, who has been missing for a month. District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham said Poaches, 25, would be charged with two counts of murder and related offenses for the deaths of Figueroa and her fetus.Our hearts go out to the Figueroa family - may the peace that transcends all understanding guard their hearts and minds.
Authorities did not provide a motive or say what led them to suspect Poaches. Poaches' lawyer, Michael Coard, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment. When Poaches was arrested in nearby Chester, police said he was wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying a pistol.
Friday, August 19, 2005
It satellite links
Our United States of Unconsciousness
Apathetic therapeutic and extremely addictive
The methadone metronome pumping out
150 channels 24 hours a day
You can flip through all of them
And still there's nothing worth watching
- Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy
Just like you.
If it's not the news then it's the soaps or sports or sitcoms or cartoons - Lord knows the dramas' not just for your mama. Whatever our specific tastes demand you know with absolute certainty that when our show is on we will be in front of the television to get our fix. Or we'll have TiVo blow us a shotgun. We've got to get our fix as soon as we can - we're a nation of addicts.
Don't believe me?
Try this - go a year without turning on your television. Sounds ludicrous, right? Alright junkie, try a month. Still too much? How about a week? Can you even make it through one single day without turning on the television? Kind of like the smoker who says that he can quit any time that he wants - hold out for 24 hours, just to prove that he can, and then he's right back to his drug of choice, dragging longer and deeper than before. Here's how you can know with certainty that you are addicted - go without television for a couple days and see how quickly you start manifesting withdrawal symptoms. Here's something that you may not have known - television acts on the central nervous system of human beings in the same manner as an opiate. It's true.
So we're all junkies - who cares? Well, anyone involved in politics who needs people to be able to reason based on facts and logic should care. People don't just watch television - they absorb experiences. People store what they see on television as real events, real experiences. Yes, people can differentiate between fiction and reality - they "know" that what they see on television isn't real - but after the show is over and short-term memory fades into long-term memory, the effect on their thinking is like they vicariously experienced the actual events that unfolded in the show. Television shapes opinions and embeds "facts" into the subconscious of the junkies who watch. But don't take my word for it - from Wes Moore's article:
Psychophysiologist Thomas Mulholland found that after just 30 seconds of watching television the brain begins to produce alpha waves , which indicates torpid (almost comatose) rates of activity. Alpha brain waves are associated with unfocused, overly receptive states of consciousness. A high frequency alpha waves does not occur normally when the eyes are open. In fact, Mulholland's research implies that watching television is neurologically analogous to staring at a blank wall.
I should note that the goal of hypnotists is to induce slow brain wave states. Alpha waves are present during the "light hypnotic" state used by hypno-therapists for suggestion therapy.
When Mulholland's research was published it greatly impacted the television industry, at least in the marketing and advertising sector. Realizing viewers automatically enter a trance state while watching television, marketers began designing commercials that produce unconscious emotional states or moods within the viewer. The aim of commercials is not to appeal to the rational or conscious mind (which usually dismisses advertisements) but rather to implant moods that the consumer will associate with the product when it is encountered in real life. When we see product displays at a store, for instance, those positive emotions are triggered . Endorsements from beloved athletes and other celebrities evoke the same associations. If you've ever doubted the power of television advertising, bear this in mind: commercials work better if you're not paying attention to them!
An addictive mind control device . . . what more could a government or profit-driven corporation ask for? But the really sad thing about television is that it turns everyone into a zombie, no one is immune. There is no higher order of super-intelligent, nefarious beings behind this. It's the product of our very human desire to alter our state of consciousness and escape the hardships of reality .
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Why Do Black People Dislike White Liberals?Recently we have an illustration of why.
About 85% or more of African-Americans have been voting for the Democratic Party lately, which is an outstanding percentage from any demographic group for a political party. This includes many socially-conservative African Americans who have voted against their interests to support Democrats.
Surely, socially-conservative African-Americans agreed with Republicans more on some things, but they didn't like the Republicans - because of how they acted out on issues of race. Even when some black people agreed with Republicans on certain economic or social issues, holding their noses couldn't keep out the stench of the Southern Strategy and its derivatives.
As African-Americans find more reasons to dislike white liberals, it's not a stretch to imagine leakage to the Republican Party, which is toning down its negative rhetoric towards race (and is even whispering sweet nothings and offering gifts).
The Republican Party doesn't want or need a majority of African-Americans right now to win. All it needs is another 20% of the black electorate to subordinate progressive/Democratic dreams for your lifetime.
If you are a white liberal, you can thank PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) for underminding your progressive cause. Their ad campaign that graphically compares the plight of animals to the slavery and lynching of black people adds salt to a wound. It validates an existing impression that white liberals must always have it their way, and will neglect and dimiss the voices of people of color. Are we only instruments to be used in your own pet projects?
PETA has "suspended" their slavery exhibit campaign. They should cancel it and apologize. If the coalition between African-Americans and white liberals is to be maintained, all of us need to ask what is wrong with so many progressive groups and movements that they can't relate to thier natural allies - Black people - on the common ground that we share.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
The Campaign Trail: Brockton, MASometimes the AAFD mailbox gets an unsolicited message about a black candidate running for state or local office. These "have you heard about..." emails are great. What a great way to hear about candidates you wouldn't otherwise hear about...
Jass Stewart is running for mayor of Brockton, MA. He began his campaign two years ago from the ground up. Quite the long shot he seemed as a candidate with a incumbent mayor who had been in office for almost decade. Then the mayor announced early this year that he wouldn't be running again.
Now Jass Stewart is in the running. All that time when others were looking away from the 2006 mayoral election, we was taking care of business. Building support, tapping into his relationships in his community for volunteers, and developing a platform of accountability, jobs, education, crime, and ownership. And a nice website.
At a time when the Republican Party is finding more black candidates to run, it's good to see another black candidate on the Democrat side enter the scene. There have been black Democrats running for years, and, to me, this is one situation where the Democratic Party is bringing itself down by thier lack of movement in cultivating candidates like Jass Stewart for office.
Jess Stewart's primary election is coming up soon (September 20) - with general election in November. Pass this on quickly to people that you know in Massachusetts. Make a candidate recommendation to Democracy for America. Or contribute to his campaign.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Global Jihad vs. FramedOscar raised the very relevant issue of semantics.
When politicians speak, the meat isn't necessarily in what is said, but how it is said.
So often, terms like "jihadist" and "Islamist" are thrown around with great frequency.
But what do they mean? What is a "jihadist?" What is an "Islamist?"
When you hear those terms on the news, what mental picture do you develop?
As Oscar pointed out, words and meanings deserve serious consideration.
President Bush is constantly in a struggle, at least politically. He is dealing with his own struggle, his own "jihad."
Is President George W. Bush then a jihadist?
The world is more complicated than some of us would like to believe. I learned long ago that the world is far more than just "good guys" and "bad guys."
Whatever your struggle is, that's your jihad.
As far as Islamist goes- that term just seems silly to me. So if President Bush advocates intelligent design to be taught in schools, does that mean he is advocating a Christian state? Does that make him a Christianist?
It's tragically funny how we claim to be fighting theocratic forces abroad, while our government builds a theocracy right here at home.
Monday, August 15, 2005
Struggle. Why did they choose the word "struggle" out of all of the words in the lexicon? Is it that they are so unfamiliar with Arabic that they didn't know that it is the literal translation of the Arabic word "Jihad?" Or is it possible that they intentionally used that wording to give the appearance that Mullah Rumsfeld was issuing a fatwa declaring a Global Jihad? Between this administration's cluelessness and its arrogant disregard for every and anyone who is not part of their clique, I could see either possibility being true. Is there anything worse than an arrogant idiot?
Violent Extremists. This is clearly for domestic consumption. It is supposed to conjure up images of the 9/11 terrorists, the Madrid and London bombers, and the Iraqi insurgents. You know, those people. Rag-heads. A-rabs. Sand Niggers. Get the picture? There is no small amount of racism in this frame - BushCo wants Americans to consider those people as a threat to suburbia. I'm just waiting for the story to break where some blond White woman is abducted and killed by "violent extremists" - you know its coming - because Americans won't tolerate anyone defiling a pretty White woman, especially those people.
But let's flip the script for a second, because I really do think that they have captured the essence of this conflict in their "new and improved" title. You see, global terrorism is nothing more than a global struggle against violent extremism. "Shock & Awe" was by definition violent extremism - extreme violence that was supposed to shock and awe those people into submission. The indigenous people are struggling against those who have perpetuated this violence against their brothers and sisters and they are receiving support from around the globe. It is indeed a global struggle against violent extremism.
This is not limited to Iraq. America has been about the business of "opening" markets across the globe through gunboat diplomacy for centuries, as in, "Open your markets to our products and services or we'll bombard your country with our weapons of mass destruction." Commodore Perry was one of the most famous in that regard, but Major General Smedley Darlington Butler probably explained it best - war is a racket.
So what we have is indigenous people struggling against the violence perpetuated by extreme nationalists and crony capitalists who in turn struggle against the violence perpetuated by those who would use any means necessary to force Western capitalists' influence out of their homelands. It is truly a Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism, no matter which side is yours. Like the old saying goes, even a broken clock is right twice a day.
Sunday, August 14, 2005
Black folks have to work together to ensure our survival in this world that preys upon us, because ultimately - looking at the Big Picture - nobody really cares about you. David talked about this often in the Psalms, noting that when his enemies came upon him to eat of his flesh they would stumble and fall. People, by and large, do not care about you - you are merely a means to an end as far as they are concerned and they have no problem with consuming you and then throwing you away. This is one reason why I, like David, marvel at God - When I consider His heavens, the work of His fingers, the moon and the stars, which He has set in place, the universe and all of the galaxies within it, what is man that He is mindful of him, the son of man that He cares for him? It seems unreal that in a universe this big the Creator of the universe would condescend to such finite, frail and fickle creatures as human beings here on this third rock from Sol. It seems unreal, but I serve a risen Savior who specializes in surreal serendipity.
It seemed unreal that Jerusalem would withstand the most powerful nation of its day, but in one night 185,000 attacking Assyrians were destroyed.
It seemed unreal that Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah - mere teenagers - would stand up against the most powerful man on earth and declare, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." They were thrown into the blazing furnace and yet they were not consumed.
It seems unreal that the Creator of the universe would send His only begotten Son down through 42 generations, taking the very nature of a servant and being made in human likeness. It seems unreal that He would sacrifice Himself on our behalf - the righteous for the unrighteous - to bring us to God. It seems unreal that on the third day He would be resurrected from a borrowed man's tomb, but I serve a risen Savior who specializes in the surreal. He transforms the possible into the ontological by simply speaking, "Let there be..." Yes, I serve a Savior who is able!
Now, of course, there are those who will not accept this testimony, calling it the monotonous musings of mindless morons or some such nonsense. Again, I concur with David when he said, "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.'" And we know that without faith it is impossible to please God - we believe in order that we might understand. So I am praying for God to transform some things - both in the world as a whole and in my life specifically - such that people will see that God is and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
May the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who is sovereign over the Big Picture,
My He turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Thursday, August 11, 2005Woman eyes Liberian presidency---The Washington Times
There is no copyright on democracy, and we all need to be aware of the political actions going on all over the African Diaspora, including the Motherland herself.
Liberia is of particular importance given its history as a colony of liberated American slaves. [Liberia==Liberty...get it?]
Who knows, you just may have family in Liberia that you don't know about.
Don't sleep on democracy worldwide.
Why Mr. Mehlman, what big ears you have!
The better to hear me with?
Why Mr. Mehlman, what big eyes you have!
The better to see me with?
Why Mr. Mehlman, what big teeth you have!
The better to...riiiiight. article about the September 11th hijackers.
Is it just me, or is this whole thing getting curiouser and curiouser?
Someday the whole truth regarding September 11th is going to come out, God willing.
Sickening when you realize how the administration used people's fear and patriotism to coat the invasion of Iraq.
When Clinton Lied, Nobody Died
And can President George W. Bush stop being a PUNK and testify under oath by himself?! At lest Clinton had the cajones to take the heat point blank, instead of hiding behind Thing 1 and Thing 2.
I wonder if Karl Rove or Dick Cheney help Bush when he uses the restroom too, sheesh.
If you're not outraged too, you must not be paying attention. Karl Rove still has his job after President Bush said he would fire anyone involved with the "criminal action" of leaking Valarie Plame's identity?
I'm getting seriously tired of Bush and the Gang. Time to give the Democrats a swift kick in the ass so we can have a fighting chance of preventing the republic from becoming an empire- or is it too late?
Where's a Skywalker when you need one?
Tuesday, August 09, 2005this column by Star Parker. It is really unfortunate that the GOP has framed their message in terms of "family values" so successfully while it appears that Democrats can't find their way out of a paper bag for fear of offending anyone.
However, I view a lot of GOP commentary as empty political rhetoric. It's the same garbage right-wingers have been pushing since the days of Barry Goldwater, just in a better packaging. Including views from Star Parker who has been rising within the ranks of right-wing opinion pushers. Several years ago she was a flag-ship Black conservative "success story" for enduring tough life battles and getting off welfare. Now she's running game for the GOP. Ain't trying to knock her hustle, but I see her on plenty of right-wing (mostly White) media outlets- not so much in the Black media or even discussed through the grapvine.
I believe that gay-rights battles and the modern Civil Rights Movment cannot and should not be equated, and I'm more moderate to right-of-center in terms of gay rights in general. But I believe it's completely asinine to state that the survival of the Black community rides on a gay marriage amendment. Seriously, what glorious good is going to descend upon the Black community because government denies recognition of gay marriage?
The issues such as fatherless children, adolescent pregnancy, and STD's have everything to do with man-woman relations as opposed to man-man or woman-woman. Shoot, even to take it to the issue of "brothers on the down low"- they ain't trying to get married to each other anyway, so whom does the amendment serve?
With respect to her argument that the gay marriage issue is a signifier of a larger cultural epidemic in which the Black community has to endure the brunt, I say this:
When White America catches an economic cold, Black America gets pneumonia.
When White America catches a cultural cold, Black America doesn't get pneumonia- we get vitamin C.
From the "culture clash" over slavery and the Confederate flag, to the "cultural upheaval" of the 1960's, to the "multiculturalism" debates of the 1980's and 1990's, the "traditional vaules" of White America don't necessarily fall in our favor. Latinos, Native Americans, and other groups can most likely co-sign on that. Even say what you will about hip-hop culture and some of its negative aspects- most of it's vulgarisms stem from corporate profit fishing as opposed to inherent lack of morals- the global and growing popularity of hip hop has young Black entrepreneurs coming out of the woodwork.
I'm very interested to know how many of the Black pastors seeking a gay marriage amendment are also seeking (or receiving) faith-based funds.
To end on a positive note, there is a huge gap Dems can fill in terms of "family values" and all that good stuff:
How about more aggressive promotion of adoption?
How about altering some rules so that the bajillions of Black children waiting for adoption can find parents?
How about some policies to assist in rebuilding the families of former felons?
How about pre- and post-natal education and training to reduce abortions?
How about tax credits for married couples where one spouse has substantially more education and earning power than the other (which is a HUGE issue in the Black community right now)?