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, April 28, 2011

A Monarchy...Really? In 2011? That's Crazy

Whew---I thought that I was the only person who is sick of this "royal" ridiculousness!  The entire concept of a monarchy (a constitutional one at that, that has no authority) is ridiculous...For years, I have been trying to wrap my head around this concept (and yes, I acknowledge that in the states, we have our own problems with worshipping individuals for basically doing nothing)...

This writer (whom I think is British) sums up my own feelings in a way that I seem to have problems articulating.  This morning, I went to watch GMA (begrudingly) as I normally do, only to find that the program, (as bad as it is) had been hijacked by the "royal" wedding hyseria (meanwhile, I coundn't find out any info regarding the devastation that hit the midwestern US yesterday).  To make matters worse, the insufferable Barbra Walters urged viewers to "...wake up the kids so that they could see a fairy tale happen" (or, something along those lines).  Its was all so ridiculous and silly (and, honestly, a bit...vulgar, maybe?  such opulence in a time of such economic deprivation seems inappropriate especially considering that the opulence is funded by the taxpayers...).  I may not be a British citizen, but that doesn't mean that I don't find the monarchy system problematic and the American media's coverage of the wedding a serious lapse of judgment.

"Just Us" or Justice?

More voter suppression tactics...this time in Florida.  This should come as little surprise given the importance of Flordia to the presidential electoral process and how strongly Florida went for President Obama...what is surprising is how much isn't being done by activist in response to these actions...Well, maybe I should take that back...Since the law hasn't actually been passed by the Florida legislature, maybe action in opposition is a bit premature.  I did hear (I think it was on Rachel Maddow, but I can't be sure) that the Brennan Center for Justice well be looking into this...(and, I imagine taking litigation action).  I seriously hope that the Department of Justice is eyeing these developments as well.

About 1 month ago, I told my partner that I anticipate that the election of 2012 will be ulgy...very ugly...2008 was merely a warm-up.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Beyond Crazy...

There have been many sad days in this country and I add this as one of them---President Obama and the White House have released his long form birth certificate today (I haven't bothered posting a link as I am sure that there are endless places online where one can review this document if you are so inclined. I personally, have not interest).  The endless indignities and slights endured by this President, the first black president in the country's history, continues.  I don't think that President Obama is entitled to a pass from criticism to the extent that someone has a legitimate beef with his policy focus. However, I have a serious problem with the manner in which the character and personal attacks against the President (and the First Lady) are often coded (and, sometimes, not so coded) in ugly racial language designed to appeal to certain segments of the population.

Very often, I have read questions online from people who have asked why the President didn't just release the birth certificate sooner, to which I respond [rhetorically], "Why?"  What other president has been forced to release a birth certificate?  What other President has had his religious beliefs and patriotism repeatedly questioned? What other President has endured the number of threats against his life?

All credible evidence that has been produced substantiates the proposition that President Obama was born in the United States.  Not one proponent of the "birther" controversy (including the annoying and self congratulatory Donald Trump) has produced a single scintilla of evidence to the contrary.  Moreover, I am not even sure that the release of the long form birth certificate will even end the matter...But, like I started off...this is a sad day in America. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Who is exploiting Whom?

See black folks, we don't need to worry about exploitation coming from any other corners since we seem to be doing a damn good job ourselves!, I mean Snoop-do you not have enough Ca$h?  Or, my personal fav is the b.s. Rushcard from Russell Simmons, who just wants to ensure that "everyone has access to the American dream"(this tag line is taken from his commercial, so I may be off a little, but the sentiment is there...)  How does paying Simmons & Co. fees for this b.s. prepaid debit card provide access to the American dream?  I am still trying to figure that one out...

Lawrence O'Donnell on The Donald

This clip is Lawrence O'Donnell's editorial on the dangerous campaign being waged by Donald Trump "questioning" the President's place of birth...I have been laying off of the opinion/political/news shows for a bit (this gets me too work up!).  I did see this clip when it aired originally aired.  Well said...

Lawrence O'Donnell Clip

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Spike vs Tyler

So, Spike and Tyler are still at it?  Personally, I am not a fan of Tyler's movies...I saw one "Madea" movie and knew that it wasn't my cup of tea.  I watched "Why Did I Get Married" at the urging of my sister.  I wasn't impressed...It was flat and the characters were pretty one dimensional.  This is the same complaint that I have about Tyler's work in general...I guess he has a right to put out the work that he does (and, apparently, there is a market for his product)...The real issue for me is that there is a considerable lack of diversity and depth in the images and portrayals of movies with African-Americans (not to mention other folks who are non-white).  I try to speak with my wallet---I support the work of people who do things that interest me (I use the same approach with television, which greatly limits what I watch since most of television is pretty much mindless)...At the same time, I do feel like perhaps Tyler Perry should exercise some degree of responsibility given his platform (and, he is not the only person with whom I impose that obligation).  He professes to have grown up around people like his characters and I guess my response would be, "Really?  Are you still in therapy?"

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What Don't I Know!?!?

I just finished reading Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by the noted historian and scholar Manning Marable (who died 3 days prior to the book's official release).  I found the book very well written and documented.  I hadn't read Alex Haley's The Autobiography of Malcolm X in almost 20 years! So, it was nice to revisit Malcolm's story and ponder what his legacy means to me.  Something that I found disheartening was a post by a blogger (http://gloria-dulan-wilson.blogspot.com/2011/04/malcolm-and-marable.html) who apparently hadn't bother to read the book, but yet felt it necessary to call the "tome" mean spirited (btw-I did send the blogger a comment asking whether she had actually read Marable's book-as of yet, she has yet to post my comment (which clearly she has the right to do since that is her blog).  This incident recalled another situation that I encountered sometime in 2010.  My partner and I had attended a matinee performance of the Broadway musical The Scottsboro Boys---we both thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was well done and emotionally moving.  However, we didn't know that some group in NY had organized a boycott of the production and was picketing the theater (not that it would have mattered).  Their beef had to do with the fact that the pay had been done as a minstrel show (designed to mock racism and the incident that led to the infamy of The Scottsboro Boys).  I ended up having a lengthy email exchange with one of the organizers (?) of the boycott...who hadn't seen the damn play!

I just don't understand how a person can criticize something they haven't seen (or read) based upon snippets (or, their own preconceptions).  That just baffles me!  I think the issue boils down to a lack of critical thinking ability and this need to flatten out what is/is not "authentic".  I am certainly not saying that everyone has to like everything, but I do believe that its difficult to raise opposition to something when you don't know what you are opposing.  Apparently the blogger (that I referenced) is upset with Marable for his allegations that Betty Shabaz and Malcolm may have been unfaithful during their marriage (based upon his research).  So what?  Last time that I checked, both of these individuals were human with respective human shortcomings (that plague all of us), so it is conceivable that infidelity could have played a role in their marriage.  More importantly (from the perspective of Malcolm's legacy), that's a family issue and it does not diminish from the interesting dynamic presented by his life story.

I felt the same way about the "organizer" that I traded emails with about The Scottsboro Boys.  Beyond that fact that the cast is 99.9% black (which isn't necessarily a barometer for anything), the telling of this story and the manner in which it was done (as a minstrel) served as a harsh reminder of how far blacks have come (and, thanks in large part to certain entertainers who shall remain nameless for now), how far we have to go to have our humanity universality recognized.

I can just hope that we (all of us) will continue to evolve in our thinking (naturally, myself included), some of the things that I read and see are just...well, crazy.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Calling Trump To The Carpet

Bill Cosby and John Legend have both taken justifiable shots at Donald Trump---thank goodness since Meredith Viera apparently didn't feel any obligation to call Donald "Media Whore" Trump to task on his factual inaccuracies. I honestly don't know nor do I care whether he intends to run for president, whether he honestly believes the "birther" crap and quite frankly, I am not all that interested in his views on race...I am just sick of him getting a pass to espouse his foolishness...He allows himself to be interviewed, he states these ridiculous views that have been debunked and the interviewing journalist just sits there and doesn't challenge him---wtf?  Is it too much to ask some of these folks to do their job?

Just so I am clear, I don't have a problem with legitimate criticism of President Obama (or any African-American...I don't think that anyone should be off limits).  But, relying on crazy theories that feed into the xenophobia of fringe elements (which, scarily, appear to becoming mainstream) that are tinged in racism is a problem.  I am a little uncomfortable with John Legend calling Trump a racist---I don't know if he is or isn't...I do believe that this birther bullshit has its roots in racism, but like calling someone an anti-Semite, a sexist or homophobe, I believe that calling someone a racist should be based on uncontroverted evidence, but that's an issue John Legend will need to deal with...He has the resources and intelligence to defend his position, so I don't want to appear to be speaking for him, I just wanted to throw my own opinion into the mix.  I am just glad to see someone who can garner media attention who in turn utilizes that platform for something other than promoting them self (or some product). 

NY Public Schools

This is an honest and insightful article from the Times about a Bronx Middle School's relative success and the never ending challenges it faces.  I have said it repeatedly, parents have to be involved, irrespective of the resources of the school.  Additionally, it seems that NYC DOE and NY State DOE regulations that stand in the way of this principal (or, prohibit him from receiving the extra resources that he needs) should be re-evaulauted---it makes no sense that he is penalized in some ways for his success.  [One, another note, I am glad that Cathie Black, Mayor Bloomberg's initial choice to replace Joel Klein as Chancellor, has "resigned".  I just wish the Mayor had left with her].

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Bristol Palin Earns What?

The absurdity of this story speaks for itself...Suffice it to say that I won't be counted as a contributor to this organization.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Whose Crazier---Charlie Sheen or the Ticketholders?

This is kinda funny to me, in a sick way, I mean, what honestly did the ticket buyers expect?  Why would ANYONE pay $150 per ticket to see Charlie Sheen do anything?  Personally, if I were Charlie Sheen, I wouldn't give any thought to giving these people a refund. I guess there is some truth to the old saying that a sucker is born every minute...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Who Looks Crazier?

This is part of the reason that I have a problem with religion---First, this lunatic Pastor Terry Jones decides to put the Koran on trial, and, upon reaching a "guilty verdict", burns the Koran ...In response, some Muslims react with violent protests...As strongly as I hold certain beliefs and ideas, I am not about to engage in violent demonstrations because some mentally deranged media whore who calls himself a pastor defaces an inanimate object of symbolism that I hold dear...Both of these actors look bad (and, by no means do I think that the actions of these demonstrators are demonstrative of the overwhelming majority of Muslims...), but, this is a mind set that I can't process...

Manning Marable Dies

Well known historian and social critic Manning Marable died yesterday (and, coincidentally, he has a new biography on Malcolm X that will be released on Monday). 

I remember reading some of his work for a research project in college...He was very deep...I look forward to the new tome.

Buffet's Straight Talk

When I first read about the resignation of Warren Buffet's possible successor, I thought that Mr. Buffet's excuse and/or justification rang pretty hollow.  Apparently, I am not the only person who thought so...Same thing happened within the last 12 months when Goldman was under intense scrutiny for its business operations following a multi-billion $ tax payer bailout (and some serious gaffes from its CEO).  No less a savior than Warren Buffet came to Goldman's rescue (for the second time, I might add...at the height of the financial collapse, Mr. Buffet provided Goldman with $5 billion in capital in exchange for some period advantageous business terms---the Treasury Department should have been paying attention). 

Its not surprising that Mr. Buffet would defend his businesses (and, in some case, the folks that work for him).  I think (for me, at least) what's a little unsettling is that  Mr. Buffet is considered my most to be a straight talker (I don't know him, so I can't say that I share that view).  However, in the instances outlined by this op-ed columnist (and, the Goldman scenario), Mr. Buffet did what [most?] people tend to do---they throw objectivity out the door for the sake of self-serving statements or positions (whether those protections are in protection of themselves or their businesses interests).  For one the country's (and, indeed, the world's) wealthiest men, this appears a little unseemly...Why risk your credibility to defend what in many cases (at least those that have been outlined) appear to be indefensible?  I think this is a pretty straightforward question.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Whose crazy here?

So Snooki earned more than Toni Morrison for an appearance at Rutgers (yes, there are some subtle considerations involved as outlined in the article), but the bottomline is---are you kidding me?  Its no wonder this country is in its current state (which was a long time coming!).