About Me

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New York City, New York, United States
41 year old African-American Male. I like to think of myself as a jack of all trades and a master of none...I rely on reasoned common sense, rationality and what my gut tells me is right/wrong (combined with the well reasoned opinions of others!). I don't consider myself an expert on anything in particular, but I have lots of opinions.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Crazy Grang Rape Story from Cleveland, TX

This story is sad and problematic on so many levels.  This is actually the 2nd version of the article from the NY Times...The initial story in the NY Times was vilified for lacking balance (a sentiment echoed by the Public Editor of The Times)...(I tried to post the position of the Public Editor, but I can't find that article).  The issue (about the coverage of The Times for this particular story) was discussed on NPR this afternoon---much of the criticism of The Times was a result of a perceived lack of empathy for the alleged victim (honestly, considering that there are cell phone videos of the attack- and I didn't know there were multiple attacks, and the girl is 11, I think that we should dispense with using the word "alleged")...An ancilary issue that was brought up during the discussion on NPR is that some "activist" are claiming that the suspects (who are predominantly African-American) are being targeted because of their race...Normally, I believe in innocence until proven otherwise...But, I repeat that there is cellphone video of the attack(s) and the girl is 11 (below the legal age for consent in TX)...So, my guess is that there is more going on than targeted selection based upon anything other than vulgar and cowardly act(s) by a bunch of males who are definitely less than men.  There are times when I certainly believe its appropriate and justified to bring up race---this isn't one of them.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

London Protests

Huge protests in London regarding the drastic budget cuts (I heard something like 300,000 jobs will be lost)...Hmmm...sounds like to me that they might want to start with eliminating the financial support of the "royal" family...Just a thought...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Voter Suppression law moving through the Ohio Legislature...I grew up in Ohio (and couldn't wait to get out), but this hurts...I don't suspect that the Ohio Senate will stop it (ditto for Republican Gov. Kasich) ...and, just time in time for the 2012 elections!  Maybe the Dept of Justice will step in, but for some reason, I am not holding my breath...

Rising Income (really, it should be wealth) Inequality

Bob Herbert, [now a former] NY Times columnist, wrote his last column today.  I generally enjoy ready Herbert's work, which today centered on the growing income inequality in the country (one point that I would like to note is that these periods the rosy less income inequality generally didn't apply to black, women, Latinos...but, hey...that's a minor issue)...The problem of income inequality has gotten out of control and we all seem to accept it as inevitable, which it is not.  Yesterday, the Times ran 2 other interesting articles....One concerned G.E.'s successful tax avoidance strategies (which should give all of us pause for concern...)  and the other concerned a borrower who was sent to jail to taking a "liar loan" (also known I think as a "stated loan" where a borrower states his/her income on the mortgage application without providing any substantiation)---this is contrasted with the former CEO of Countrywide Home Loans, whose CEO got a slap on the wrist...Yes, I do suppose that the rich are different from you and I---they don't actually have to suffer the consequence of their actions, we do!  (and, apparently, we no only suffer from our actions, but we suffer from their's too...).

Just a thought...in light of this article on G.E., the President should ask for Jeffrey Immelt resignation from this Presidential Commission (that I am certain doesn't really do anything...)...I am certain that I am expecting too much, but its a thought...

Friday, March 25, 2011

I Have Been Waiting on This...

"Celebrity" fundraisers drive me crazy!  That's great that these folks want to do something---donate YOUR money as you have the ridiculously inflated income or donate YOUR time as you don't work the standard 9 to 5 as the rest of us, but quit trying to sell me your crap under the auspices of a fundraiser...I already donate my own money and time to the various causes that appeal to me...In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrine, I thought that I was going to pull my hair out...(except that I didn't and still don't have any...).  There was a telethon or fundraiser or every channel..."So and so" was selling a dress she wore (why would any want a used dress!) and "this person" was performing (given the expenses involved on putting on some of these massive events, wouldn't the $ be better spent by sending it to the place in need---I am sure a significant number of behind the scenes people didn't work for free...call me a cynic, but I am no fool!).  And, here is another problem with all of these huge fundraisers that boast of raising tons of money...where does the money go?  According to a report I read a few months ago, a meager amount of the funds raised after the earthquake in Haiti had actually reached the people in need....I am certainly not discouraging folks for donating to nonprofits and charities---I think many of these organizations do legitimate work and do very good work...I truly believe in the importance of giving...But, I am tired (downright exhausted actually) with the self-promoting supposed good deeds by folks in the spotlight that that usually involve me coming out of my wallet in some way...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Which Is It Guys---Are You For It or Against?

The flip flop in the Republican Party/on the right with regard to the "intervention" in Libya is not surprising...These folks will do/say anything in order to oppose President Obama...This is isn't about principles (as they generally have none)...Its about bringing down the President...Personally, as I think I have mentioned before, in general, I am against war...I think that there may be humanitarian instances when its justified (say, Sudan for example...)...I was against both wars in Iraq, more or less opposed to the war in Afghanistan (because I figured we would end up pretty much where we are now---in a mess) and I pretty much am against this "coalition" no fly zone in Libya...Not so sure this means anything other than the GOP generally makes me sick!

Micehele Bachman for President!

Generally, I say, "God Bless the World", but this might be an instance where God Bless America is appropriate...But then, after George W. and the thought of a VP Palin, I guess this isn't all that crazy?!?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

(One) Crazy GA Anti-Abortion Bill Doesn't Pass

Its appears that the anti-abortion bill pending in GA that would have allowed a wrongful death suit on behalf of an aborted fetus did not make it through on cross-over day, but...the actions of GA legislators to implement anti-women legislation won't be deterred...There appears to be other bills in the works.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Nicely Done Independent Film- "I Will Follow"

Just returned home after checking out  "I Will Follow", which was very nicely done...Interestingly, we (my partner and I) were supposed to go last weekend, but...well, laziness set in and we didn't make it.  Fortunately, the movie was still playing (its an independent flick and is in limited release...we had no idea that the engagement was only supposed to be 1 week...luckily for us, the run was extended!).  My general take on entertainment---whether its a movie, the theater, a concert, and/or even television, is that I enjoy seeing intelligent, thoughtful productions, irrespective of the race/ethnicity/sexuality of the cast/crew/performers.  At the same time, given the EXTREMELY limited depictions  in the media of the parts of who I am, there is something especially satisfying about seeing a well done production that features a non-white cast.  I don't think there is anything wrong with an audience that wants to see some form or aspect of itself projected on the stage or screen, especially given that those of who are not hetero whites see very few recognizable images...(one of the previews shown before the movie was a new Tyler Perry flick...I thought that I was going to be sick!  He absolutely has the right to do what he does and there seems to be an audience for it, but I can say without any reservations that I will NEVER be caught dead watching one of his movies...NEVER!).

In general, I recognize that mass entertainment typically caters to the lowest common denominator, and that's pretty frustrating...A large portion of the movies, television shows and even music that is released sounds and/or looks the same...For me personally, I am just not willing to part with my hard earned dollars for a bunch of thoughtless crap where I am expected to suspend my given common sense at the door...But, I guess that is my choice...

On another note...One woman in our row was engaged in a 2 minute phone call about 15 minutes into the movie and a guy in front of us decided that whatever was happening on facebook was as equally as important as what was happening on the screen, so he checked facebook through out the movie---which is annoying and inconsiderate to the rest of the patrons in the theater whose eyes are immediately drawn to the light from his cellphone...The same thing happened a few months ago when we went to see "Black Swan".  The woman who sat by me came in 15 minutes late and proceeded to check her email throughout the entire movie...I wish these inconsiderate assholes people would realize that they are infringing upon the rights of the rest of us---if the phone conversation or facebook or email or whatever is that important, step outside of the theater.  Is a modicum of consideration too much to ask!  That just drives me crazy!

Friday, March 18, 2011

News Coverage of Japan vs. Anticipated Coverage of the "British Royal" Wedding

I am just going to link to the story without my commentary on the British monarchy (my opinion is not favorable, but I am also not a British citizen)...Maybe this is one explanation of why Americans are so ignorant of foregin affairs...

Federal Cut Off Of Funds from NPR is Juvenile

I wouldn't even bother to label the actions of the House as crazy...its petty and purely retaliatory following the alleged "sting" video, but this shouldn't be a surprise...We as a country profess to embrace plurality, but in actuality, we seem to embrace those things that are consistent with our own myopic thinking.

Conservatives like to label any media as liberal if the outlet doesn't use their group-think approved talking points...Personally, I am not so much concerned with whether the news is liberal or conservative as I tend to have an inclination toward truth (which, the last time I checked, wasn't the property of either side) and fact based analysis.  I find this to be the ongoing struggle...Anyone with a modicum of critical thinking skills can read through the lines of most reporting and find that its generally hogwash, to say the least.

I am not a regular NPR listener, but I generally enjoy the programming...I find it informative, insightful and pretty well done...Rarely do I hear stories about the latest shenanigans of Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan or some other over exposed celebrity (although, since I don't listen regularly, they could very well provide coverage of popular culture events)...I told myself that in light of this action, I am going to contribute and I think that I am going to follow through with that self-promise (not that my direct contribution will compensate for the loss of my tax dollars, but hopefully other like-minded folks will do the same...).

Warning, snide comment coming:  Its a good thing that Fox is bed with Conservatives, or News Corp could see its indirect federal subsidy vanish through the grant of media licensing rules and exceptions to those rules.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Crazy GA Anti-Abortion Law

Things just keep getting better and better- so antiabortion "activist" (I actually prefer the term "crazies") are proposing a bill that would allow a wrongful death suit on behalf of aborted fetuses?  Before reading the article, I wondered how the crazy proponent legislators would get around a small thing like "legal standing" (meaning in short, who can show sufficient injury in order to bring a legal action...I am not a litigator, but that's the clearest definition I can offer)...well, if the crazies are able to prevail, grandparents and even an abusive husband appear to be able to bring suit, i.e., have standing, (against the dr. performing the abortion), to hell with the choice of the woman involved...We will have to see how this thing progresses...Here is the question that I have...why aren't progressives in the street protesting this kind of foolishness (and, honestly, I ask the question of myself since I oppose this bill, although I am not a GA citizen)?  Are we ceding the fight?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ideological Squirmishes are Crazy

Things just keep getting crazy---Republicans think that the new consumer protection agency is too powerful-this despite a HUGE discrepancy between consumers and financial services companies.  I find it hilarious...when has anyone ever said that consumers have too much power????  Do principles ever win out in public discourse or is everything wedded to ideology?  And then we get this nimrod who says that inner-city African-American youths can be bused out to pick crops (but, to hell with ensuring that they get an education!).  What's so ironic about this story is that a friend and I were lamenting the sorry state of things and she jokingly said that it wouldn't be long before some politician would make such a proposal...and, well...I received an email from her at mid-day with this story...I honestly think that the current economic uncertainty and anxiety has created an environment where some folks feel quite comfortable saying what they really think...which is...ok if it weren't so damn repulsive and just plain ignorant!

A huge part of the stagnation that I see is lack of vision (including at the top with President Obama)...No one has proposed anything substantatively bold or ground breaking...Its just the same tired rhetoric---more taxes/less taxes, unions, budgets, deficits, the end of days, cut social services, 10% unemployment, blah blah blah...Its almost like we believe that facebook is going to save the world!

Football Players As Slaves? Sounds a Little Crazy...

Football as modern day slavery? I have actually said this before to family and friends, but for different reasons (the draft reminds me of a slave auction in certain respects)...I personally think that this analogy does a disservice to the millions who toiled, endured and died under slavery (remember, slaves worked for free and really had no other objective choice).  It reminds me of when the entertainer Prince appeared in public with the words "slave" scrawled across his face in protest of a business issue with his record company or when Michael Jackson called the head of his record label a "racist" to protest the company's failure to promote one his albums...I don't think of [African] slavery as some taboo subject that should never be touched or discussed (like the word "nigger" that society has come to reference by using the inoucuous sounding term "the n word"...).  But, I do wish that people were more careful and thoughtful with their word choices---for (relatively) highly paid professional athletes (and, 2 of the biggest entertainers of the world) to [seemingly] throw around words like "slavery" and "racism" in advancement of their own personal agendas is problematic and it does a disservice to the countless people who have to function in a systematically unfair and unequitable culture as a result of racial injustice...Prince and Michael  may have had legitimate concerns with their record labels, and this player Adrian Peterson, has raised some interesting issues in the NFL players' battle with owners, but my personal opinion is that none of these claims (irrespective of the issues) rises to the level of "slavery"...(exploitation does come to mind, but again, its not the same thing---and quite frankly, exploitation of workers by owners is one of the hallmarks of capitalism...but, that's another issue).  Professor Ford discusses these issues in the book "The Race Card", which I finished reading a few weeks ago (interesting read, btw)...I have generally felt troubled with the way that words like "racism" "slavery" and similar terminology are thrown around in our culture by "both sides" in the debate (check out a minature version of the debate here as well as commentary on comments by Jalen Rose regarding the basketball program at Duke).  I am not so much worried or concerned with what "certain people" (i.e., well meaning whites) might think as I am with being factually accurate (chalk it up to the lawyer in me) and being historically "true"...(maybe my "liberal" bias?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Energy Policy and Job Creation

House Speaker John Boehner has said that higher gas prices are hurting those consumers (presumably low and moderate income consumers) who will be most likely to lead the US out of the current economic environment (ie, the sluggish recovery).  Problem:  Relying principally on out of control consumer spending is part of the reasons households are in their current shape---overextended credit card balances and mortgages for homes with inflated or decreasing values combined with stagnant or decreasing incomes and rising consumer prices...This just doesn't (and won't) add up...Unlike the government that can issue more debt (its another question as to whether and to what extent that's prudent policy), most households can't just assume more debt without digging themselves into a deeper hole.  At what point will  reality kick in for these leaders?
We (the American consumer) were encouraged to sepdn following 9/11 (which most of us dutifully obliged), and we have been doing it at increasing levels for the last 20 yrs (if not longer...).  If the financial collapse of '08, that was tied to the housing bubble should have taught us anything (despite our tendency toward amnesia), its that overblown consume debt is not the answer---it puts the individual at risk when the credit is called due and it puts the entire economic system at risk when consumers can't pay their debts (I find it hard to believe that banks have truly and fully reset themselves financially following the foreclosure crisis that hasn't been fully resolved...Its been only through the grace of creative accounting, no interest and low interest loan from taxpayers and "proprietary trading"-or, what I like to call, market manipulation, that financial institutions have been able to report ground breaking profits).  But, all of this tricks are all illusory...Just like Speaker Boehner's claims that higher gas prices will keep consumers from spending, which in turn will prohibit the recovery. 
True, consumers are feeling the impact of rising gas prices, but this isn't the reason for the prolonged  recovery.  The American economy produces very little that anyone is interested in buying...Corporate Executives (our fellow American citizens) outsource production to lower cost markets  (China, Brazil, India, Mexico) where they have found cheap labor markets to exploit, thereby increasing their profit margins, and therefore, their exponential pay packages.  This vicious cycle is part of what is keeping the American economic recovery in neutral.

We need fresh ideas on both the oil production front (ie, as the President has said repeatedly, a country that consumes 25% of the world's oil production while owning only 2% of the world's oil reserves is not going to dig its way to energy independence...again, the math and the logic doesn't add up).  Similarly, we need fesh ideas on the job creation front...the high paying manufacturing jobs of yesterday are not coming back to America (after find inexpensive labor elsewhere, I seriously doubt that companies will have a change of heart).  Simply has lower gas prices (despite Speaker Boehner's claims) will not create more jobs. 

I agree with the Op-Ed in The NY Times and I hope that the President stands up for this very important issue.  Similarly, I also hope that the President stands behind his words from his State of the Union speech where he said (to paraphrase) that we need to out innovate the rest of the world---from what I have seen, I am not so sure that we are headed in that direction.

Friday, March 11, 2011

American Public Education is Crazy!

Not that I didn't already know this (I am a product of a public school system, but somehow, I managed to come out-at least education wise, ok), but public education in this country is a wretched mess.  I am finally getting around to watching "Waiting For Superman", which was released in theaters last year.  Instead, I saw the less popular "The Lottery", which features the same themes and more or less, the same characters (Michele Rhee, Geoffrey Canada).  I hate to admit this, but I left the theater almost in tears (ok, I can be a wimp).

I wish I had the answers...I don't think that teachers are totally the problem, but I do believe that the tenure system for primary and secondary teachers is a joke---the right to a job shouldn't be based on seniority.  In post secondary academia, there is an extensive vetting process before a faculty member is granted tenure.  Why should the requirement be less rigorous for primary and secondary school?

I also think that parents have a responsibility---and its not just to scream at school administrators!  Its to ensure that their child is studying in the evening and on weekends, engaging in reading, turning in homework, have limited access to television and video games, etc.  I think this holds true irrespective of whether a child attends a public or private school.  I also believe strongly in longer school days (why not?  work harder and longer) and a longer school year (the rationale for summer school break was based upon the country's agrarian society...we haven't been an agrarian based society in a very long time!).  From what I understand of the most successful charter schools-these are some of the elements that work.

Unions Aren't The Problem

I wish I could comment on the Collective Bargaining debate being waged in several states, most notably Wisconsin...But, I simply don't understand the issues enough to comment intelligently (this, of course, presumes that my prior comments are intelligent)...But, here is my position...I don't think that unions are the enemy...I do think that ensuring a safe workplace, reasonable working hours, competitive wages are all laudable goals...Moreover, I think that its misguided to direct anger at unions for concessions that they have been able to wrangle from management...Management didn't have to agree, that's why its called a negotiation (and, why don't we direct that same vitriol toward CEOs and other members of upper management...the difference between the wages of CEOs and rank/file is only growing an often cited example is that the real wages of the middle class have stagnated while the real wages of the working poor has declined...Contrast that with the earnings of the CEO of your favorite company...Honestly, I have worked at many large corporations and I readily say that CEOs are of dubious utility, but that is just my opinion).  At the same time, there are probably instances where union bosses have probably gotten greedy and they have forgotten their constituency, but this isn't by far the full story...You add in the expedient nature of politics and you have a recipe for disaster...Most actual studies dispute the often reported myth that the cost of pensions and other benefits for public employees are breaking state budgets.  To the contrary, politicians are using unions as convenient scapegoats in these times of economic uncertainty.  Instead of principled dialogue and an attempt to find common ground, we get the unseemly scene in Wisconsin and other states in the name of politics.  That's unfortunate. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

McCarthy Lives! And He's From My State (But, Not My District)

So, what came out of today's version of McCarthyism?  Nothing as far as I can tell...I watched about 10 minutes of the proceedings (including Rep. King's opening statement) and knew nothing good could come from my continued viewing...It seems to me that as usual, whenever "conservatives" are called on the carpet about doing something that's controversial (and, likely offensive), they pull out their stock response, which is to say something to the extent that they won't bow to political correctness (these folks always try to give the impression that they are really trying to push the dialogue or this topic or another forward).  For what I heard from the 2 talking heads on CNN (Candy Crowley and another woman whose name escapes me), it worked on them...The effect was the opposite on me...

What's funny to me is that I am not religious...I actually don't like organized religion at all irrespective of the faith of belief, but I fully support the right of my fellow people to pursue their chosen faith, provided that they are not harming other consenting adults (fools not included).  I also have a problem with targeting groups of people under most circumstances---(whether the government/officials should target specific identifiable groups under limited specific circumstances is a topic for a separate discussion).  But, back to day's bullshit "hearing", exactly what was accomplished?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What's Driving Me Insane Today?

People like this woman and the crowds that listen to her.  Basically, I oppose extremism in most forms, whether its radical followers of Islam, radical Christians, etc.  I also have a serious disdain for people who  to capitalize on the fear (and, quite frankly the ignorance) of others to advance their own personal agenda.  Although its not the focus of the article (but, they are mentioned), the hearings Chaired by Rep. Peter King of NY sounds like a colossal waste of time and of dubious purpose.  I am trying to re-tool my vocabulary as a result of reading "The Race Card" (so, I won't call Rep. King a racist), but I definitely think that there are shades of xenophobia in the process (I heard on NPR on Sunday that Rep. Andre Carson, a Muslim American and counter-terrorism expert isn't even being allowed to testify...Although, Rep. Keith Ellison will testify).  I could be wrong, but the attempt to scapegoat Muslims reminds me of the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, the general persecution of Jews, and of course, the long despicable history of Jim Crow in the country (although, admittedly, the contexts in each instance are slightly different)---the bottom line is that the unprincipled targeting of a group based upon shared traits (whether its religion, ethnicity or otherwise) is problematic and should give all Americans serious pause for concern.

So, a few members of Congress want a Libyan no-fly zone? Nevermind that I am pretty much opposed to war in general, but have these folks forgotten that the American military is stretched to the limited in Iraq and Afghanistan...no less an authority than Defense Secretary Robert Gates hasn't exactly come out in support of a no fly zone.  I agree that what is happening to the people of Libya is terrible (so is what continues to happen in Sudan, and what happened in Rwanda, and even in South Africa...I don't recall no fly zones in any of those countries...).  But, honestly, are there no other countries available?  What about NATO? the UN?  I just don't see that the US military has the capacity for another assignment.

We went through this a few years ago, but what's up with all of the price gouging in the gas market?  C'mon Obama et al.  something needs to be done about this? 

Update:  Donald Trump for President?  Yeah, right...This isn't even worth the time to comment.  I think that most people understand Trump's art of self promotion for whatever it is that he does...But, he drives he drives me crazy no less.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Truth is Better Than Crazy

I am glad to see someone taking the American media to task generally and Fox News in particular.  One most days, I find mainstream television (as well as print and online media) unbearable...The writing can be sloppy, factually inaccurate and blatantly partisan.  I definitely don't need (or really want) to read/view programs that agree with me all of the time .  I have absolutely no problems with having my views challenged.  But, the challenge must be backed up with hard, cold facts or logical analysis, not cynical, political talking points.  Unfortunately, very often what we (Americans) are subjected to in our news coverage is the latter at the expense of the former.  On most days last week Good Morning America (which my partner prefers to watch) led off with more titillating stories about Charlie Sheen.  Its wasn't until Wed or Thurs that the broadcast actually took an (albeit) brief look at the issue of addiction.  That's but one example.  There is "real" news out there, but its hard work to find it.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Update re Beyonce, other celebs and Payments from the Gadhafi Family

I guess Bey and Nelly Furtado have either donated or are in the process of donating monies paid to them for performances for the Gadhafi family (they are so many spellings of the last name, I am never sure of which one is correct).  Nice try and I appreciate the effort, but from an accounting perspective, cash is fungible...that means essentially that once you deposit the funds into your account, its mixed in with all of your other funds, so there is no way of knowing the source of the monies that were allegedly donated (and I guess Nelly is still in the process of pulling together her payments from her 2007 performance).  Admittedly, no one is offering me a $1 million (or anything approaching that amount) to do anything, but I would like to think that my sense of right/wrong would kick in and I would like at the bigger picture (say, my dignity for example) instead of the short term financial gain...But, hey, that's just me...No word from Usher, Mariah and others on their plans with regard to monies received...

I watched "When We Were Kings" last night (ok, I know...a little late...This movie was released in 1996 and I remember a friend from law school telling how good it was...It has been on my list for that long...I finally bought it on VHS last wk from a video store in the Village).  It was really good and just admire Muhammad Ali for standing up for his principles---but, I would pick a bone with him too for deciding to hold his fight with Foreman in Zaire (now, the Country is called the Democratic Republic of the Congo) given that the country was led by the brutal dictator Mobutu. None of us are perfect (especially me---hell, I am far from it and I certainly am trying to be self-righteous), but I just think that people (especially those with influence) need to more aware of their actions... (This is a different question as to whether the influence is justified, lol).

Who is the Extremist?

As if we didn't know that there are crazies in Congress?!?!?!  Its irresponsible that an elected member of Congress was at this "rally" (I think hate mob might be a more appropriate description).  Events like this remind me of how far we are from bringing our stated principles in line with reality.  I am always amazed at how "certain" folks throw around the term "extremist".  Perhaps they need a mirror?

Friday, March 4, 2011

IL and NJ do the Crazy Dance

Given the sorry economic climate in both Illinois and NJ, do neither of these Governors have nothing better to do with their time and respective state resources?  Moreover, while I understand and appreciate the fact that states (and cities) compete with one another for "business" (ie, trying to convince businesses to relocate or open a plant/office or other outpost in their respective borders), but from a larger perspective, we are really just transferring losses and gains from one geographic location to another...The bigger issue is about fostering an environment where the U.S. actually produces something tangible (and I am not talking about creating another mechanism with an inflated valuation and questionable social utility that's used to market the same tired products)...Moreover, given the very attractive incentives that states and municipalities very often offer to attract to businesses, you have to ask whether the lost revenue from the incentives offsets the economic and psychological gains?  (I don't know the answer to that question, but I hope the powers that be are doing the analysis...)

Govenor Haley Barbour is Crazy

Mississippi Governor Haley Harbour claims that the Obama Administration wants gar prices to increase in order to force Americans to buy more fuel efficient cars....This is beyond political cynicism...its just plain crazy...Using Governor's Barbour rationale, I ask for the justification beyond rising gas prices during the Bush Administration? (Personally, I thought it was to economically benefit Bush's oil industry buddies)...But, Governor Barbour is no stranger to ludicrous comments.  Bottomline is that rising gas prices further illustrate the need for Americans to conserve, reduce and reuse, but I don't believe that its an example of the President's Administration to force Americans to fully adopt and embrace this philosophy-that would be political suicide.  As the 2012 Presidential Race shapes up, I am sure that there will be no shortage of crazy comments on a variety of topics.  Hold on to your hats!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Are Blacks in the Film Industry Being Lazy?

Kudos to Anthony Mackie for speaking his mind...Personally, I don't have a problem with his word choice (like the writer at The Root)...You can't make an omelet unless you are willing to break some eggs (I am not sure if that makes any sense, but I like it..).

What Crazy is Happening Today?

Slate has a great piece on the current state of Sudan. I first became enlightened about the atrocities in that African country recently, after reading, "What is the What", a heartbreaking (and surprisingly humourous at times) autobiograpical account of the life of Valentino Achak Deng.  The chronicles his experience as a refugee from Southern Sundan (the book is written as a novel).  My mind was completely blown away (and, honestly, my heart and soul ached in a million places).  I knew that Dafur was (and remains) an international problem, but, I really didn't understand the history and the politics until after reading Mr. Deng's story.  Adding insult to injury to the thousands of Sudanese refugees (not to mention that millions those who have lost their homes, livelihoods and lives),  Omar Al-Bashir, the current Sudanese "President" claims that he won't run for "re-election in 2015---nevermind all of the harm and terror that he has already inflicted on the citizens of that Country (and the billions that he is accused of embezzling....What's stopping him from resigning now?  What's stopping the International War Tribunal from prosecuting him for War Crimes right now?

Today, I picked up "The Race Card", a book witten in 2008 by  Richard Thompson Ford, a Law Professor at Stanford.  Its early in my reading, but I think I have found an analysis of race relations that seems more contemporary and relevant than a lot of what's currently on the market (whether the market is Barnes and Noble or the various cable news networks).  Personally, I am tired of the accusations of racial discrmination that do more to advance the personal agenda of the accuser than to actually remove the systemic racial discrmination that negatively impacts the life experiences of many African-Americans---from sub-standard housing to poorly functioning schools.  I don't know anything about Professor Ford (not that I have heard of every law professor, but I do try to stay abreast of what's going on in legal education)....

The NFL and the Player's Union has agreed to an extension of their contract negotiations...My personal opinion is "who cares?" (I am not a huge sports fan---not because I don't understand sports or appreciate the dedication inolved, but I think that the money involved is ridculous, especially considering the other problems facing the country, ie., education...).  While I am under no delusion that my opinions are in the majority on most topics, I am positive without any reservation that I am in the minority with regard to my attitude on sports.  Nonetheless, I don't really care...I think its ludicrous what cities/municipalities spend to lure in sports teams and stadium deals, and then the tax payers are left to deal with the downside while the owners and player make out like bandits.  This is only one of the many problems that I have with "organized sports"...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Please Tell the Clippers Organization the Dates for Black History

There are all kinds of problems with this LA Clippers promo for back history month---how do you determine "underprivileged"?  The fact that children have to be accompanied by an adult means that the organization with still receive compensation for an adult ticket (never mind the concession sales)...(FYI- none of these comments are mine, although I agree with them...I picked them up from a sportswriter with Yahoo, although I didn't link to his/her article)...But, the most egregious error is the fact that the promo is being run in March...Black History month is in February!  This just cracked me up!  Personally, I don't like how Black History Month has turned into an opportunity for Coke, McDonald's, Ford and now the Clippers to exploit a history of marginalization for their own economic gain.  Moreover, I like hearing about Black History 365 days out of the year- not only during the month of February. So, I feel like the concept has become a bit dated...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Pandering to the Lowest Common Denominator Never Ends

Mike Huckabee falsely claims that President Obama grew up in Kenya (then his PAC issued a correction---he grew up in Indonesia).  This shtick (taking shots at Obama's upbringing for political gain) is so old that its beyond tiresome.  The obvious point is to continue to paint him as a mysterious "other" relative to the "hard working" citizens of America's heartland (read: white). 

A question that I have is whether the fact that Obama wasn't born in Kenya invalidates  the Huckster's point about the President's perspective on the Brits (since didn't grow up in Kenya)?  What exactly is the President's perspective on the British?  And, quite frankly, if Kenyans do have a negative view of the British, who can blame them?  Are the Kenyans supposed to view the Brits as some type of saviors?  From what I understand about the colonization of Africa, the Africans didn't exactly call the Europeans to come down and take over!

I don't even have the energy to attempt an analysis.  Bottomline is that the 2012 Presidential Race should be a doozy.