About Me

My photo
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.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Gil Scott-Heron

Musician, activist, writer and all around renaisannce man Gil Scott-Heron past away at age 62.  I just added a track from "I'm New Here" ("New York is killing Me") to my playlist for our bar-b-que tomorrow in celebration of Heron's life and recongition of his contribution to music and social thought.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Turning Around Economic Dispairity

Interesting article  from The Times about how the most "selective" colleges remain bastions of economic segregation (my words) as well as a profile of efforts of Amherst to change the current dynamic.  I have always thought (and may have even discussed) the amount of wasted human capital in our country's urban and rural ghettos that's not being adequately addressed or remedied by our public policy thinkers and political leaders.  To the contrary, there has been a growing income and wealth disparity over the last few decades that continues to increase and shows not intent in subsiding unless drastic steps are taken to ameliorate the problem.  Moreover, there is significant social costs of not addressing this problem---there is obviously the lost productivity, but there is also an increased need for social services that in some respects are directly attributable to the income/wealth gap---the need for housing, medical services, basic sustenance needs (food, clothing) as well as the need for increased police (not to imply that only the poor commit crimes...we all know about the allegations against Bernie Madoff and Dominique Strauss Kahn). 

Koch Industries

A few weeks ago, I tried to compile a list of products produced by Koch Industries, but I didn't get very far...well, the folks at The Nation must have been reading my mind b/c they have put together this list, which is very helpful...

In case you don't know about the Koch Brothers, the link to the article provides a good starting point. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Gov Arnold isn't too Sane!

Former Gov Arnold has admitted to fathered a love child with a former household employee...Ok, I can somewhat see why people might be interested (although, honestly, I am not).  What I find problematic is that the press has identified the woman involved!   What I also find hilarious is that the press (notably, GMA) blurred the child's face---after announcing the name of his mother and his age to the world (or, its viewing audience at least!!!!).  What bs....If the point is to protect the child's identity, that's blown!  Moreover, the woman involved is not a public figure and given that she is a former household employee---no one knows the dynamics involved (i.e. the employee-employer relationship is inherently suspect in terms of there being an imbalance of power).  Isn't there something important to discuss...like the reported increase in terror threats since the killing of Osama?

Harry Belafonte

Over the last fews months, I have become more learned about the work and contributions of Harry Belafonte and I have been more and more impressed...Considering the self-motivated focus of many folks in "entertainment" today, he is certainly the last of a dying (if not entirely gone) breed.  There is a new documentary on his life that airs on HBO this fall that I am looking forward to watching.  Attached is a link to an interview with him on Democracy Now!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Black Leadership Class

Wow, someone eloquently calls out members of the hypocritical self-appointed black leadership class!  Bravo Professor Harris-Perry...I have grown tired of Professor West's empty diatribes for some years now...As I have said repeatedly, I have no problems with substantive criticisms of President Obama (I have my own), but some of this crap from the left and the right is downright ridiculous...And in general, the members of the black elite who basically look out for their own self interest under the guise of the "betterment of the race" make my stomach turn...They are nothing more than pimps!  I could go through a list of them (or, at least the ones that I consider contemptable), but its not worth the effort.  My bottomline is simply this---ask yourself whether what you are doing benefits solely yourself or the (black) community as a whole?  There is nothing necessarily wrong with looking out for self, but, be clear about your motives and don't act under the cloak of "blackness"...That's all I am saying...Also, another point to keep in mind...The race as a while doesn't benefit simply because one of its members happens to live well...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Public Education in this Country is Crazy!

Schmes like this are but one reason public school education in this country is a travesty..The State of Texas is investing $25 million in a questionable sporting event that may/may not bring the promised dividends while simultaneously cutting its education budget (including laying off teachers).  While NYC isn't planning to do the exact same thing, significant cuts (and, a corresponding lay off of teachers) are on the table if they haven't already been finalized.  This just under cuts fundamental notions of fairness and equity (not too mentioned ensuring equal opportunity), but from a purely self interest perspective, this country continues to undercut its own human capital development, and as a result, the ability of the United States to compete internationally (hence, our continued decline in international education matrices).

I think this video says it all...

Student Demands More Demanding Curriculum

NBA Executive and CNN anchor Come Out as Gay

An NBA executive comes out as gay.  This article is interesting on many levels.  As a gay professional man, I can relate to Rick Welts' experiences.  Until the last few years, I led a fairly compartmentalized life, which is not healthy and felt inauthentic (funny, that Welts used similar words to describe his own experience).  As recently as Friday, I had an interview with a company (where I was already on the fence about whether I was interested in the position).  The interviewer (another attorney) asked me whether I was married (from what I understand, this is not a legal question).  I don't know if this person suspected me of being gay nor do I really care...The old me would have responded with an answer that concealed my sexuality.  Instead, I responded that I wasn't married, but that I am attached (although I don't think this guy is too bright, I assumed that he could figure that out what this meant).  The first thing Saturday morning, I emailed the recruiter to tell him that I didn't think that there is a good fit.  Like I said, I was already on the "interest" fence anyway.  After my talk with this moron, I decided that I have no interest in being in an environment that believes that its okay to ask this type of question.

I do hold out hope that eventually we as a society will reach the point where, as David Stern stated, coming this is a "non-event" (or, even necessary). We certainly are not there yet.  As recently as this week, I started seeing advertisements against gay marriage in NY.  The reasons against gay marriage are ridiculous (one of the arguments used in the ads are that some NY teachers had taken elementary students to a gay wedding or some foolishness---one would have thought that the teachers took them to a porn show). 

Being gay is not all of who I am, but it is a part, a significant part.  I can no more separate being "gay" from being male or being black (or, being impatient).  All of these different qualities, characteristics and attributes combine into making me the person that I am, and I should not have to separate them out from any reason (nor do I have any intentions of doing so).

Yes, we have come a long way, but we are not there yet.

Update 5/16/2011...CNN Anchor Don Lemon has come out as gay...Not that I am all that surprised, but, I applaud Don's courage...I have always enjoyed watching him on CNN (and, it doesn't hurt that he is easy on the eye!)...But, I think it took a great deal of strength to do what he has done and I look forward to reading his book next month.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

More Craziness...

The WH better not back down on its invite to Common at a poetry event this week...So what if that moron Sarah Palin and the conservative blog the Daily Caller has something negative to say...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Living While Muslim...

I just don't even know what to say about this.  I don't typically like to engage in comparative forms of discrimination or oppression because I think its futile and sets up false dichotomies, but this might be more oppressive than "driving while black"...Ironically, these Muslims were on their way to a conference on irrational fears against Muslims (using the logic of the pilot and others who express a fear of Muslims, all non-white men should be scrared as hell given the history of white men toward "others")...

Friday, May 6, 2011

Who Is Anti Israeli?

Well known playwright Tony Krushner had been denied an honorary degree from City University of New York because of his views on Palestine---you know, the whole issue of human rights and all.  I am no where near an anti-Semite, but one of the things that I found troubling about certain pro-Israeli advocates is that they seem to believe that Israel can never be criticized, even when its wrong (nevermind that Krushner himself is JEWISH! and a damn good playwright).  This tendency toward extremism in the  pro-Israeli advocacy is something else that bothers the hell out of me. 

This is but one instance of the attempt to silence critics.  Something similar happened with the independent film Miral, which was released a few months ago (btw---I saw the movie and read the book!).  All that I will say is that right is right...

After typing and posting, I found this update on the Kushner situation ...Maybe the board should consider asking for the resignation of the trustee involved in this little fiasco...I certainly question his judgement and objectivity...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

More Thoughts on Osama

As one might imagine, there has been a ton of ink spilled (both literally and figuratively) over the killing of Public Enemy No. 1 (aka Osama Bin Laden).  I am actually pretty ambivalent (as I think I stated in a post yesterday).  First, I am generally opposed to capital punishment...so, I have a problem "celebrating" death---irrespective of who it is...More importantly, I don't understand the chants and euphoria surrounding the killing of Osama...It seems rather...silly to be frank (yesterday on "Morning Joe", Peggy Noonan said that she was "happy" and I thought, "Happy?  Really?")  I guess I question the point of killing Osama---deterrence?  We are dealing with people who relish in suicide, so I don't think killing a terrorist accomplishes much.  Do I feel safer?  No, I don't and considering the increased police presence in NYC, some folks at the top realize the need for increased vigilance.  Retribution?  Well, as a family member of one of the victims said yesterday, it won't bring back a deceased loved one.  Justice?  Given the enormous costs to us as a country (both financially and in terms of lives lost), I ask whether the ends justified the means?  I guess killing Osama had to be done, but again, I really do question the reaction and what it says about us as a country.  A friend sent me this article today and I think the writer sums up my feelings in more artfully than I seem capable of doing.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Osama is Killed

President Obama's speech on the killing of Osama Bin Laden.  Given the time, lives and financial resources spent tracking down Bin Laden, this is a significant accomplishment by all involved from the President on down.  Personally, I don't take the death of any person lightly---that's just the humanist in me.  Moreover, as many commentators have noted, this doesn't (and will not) end the campaign against terror throughout the world.

What I have found a little disturbing are the crowds (including outside of the WH) chanting "USA"????  This isn't a soccer match!  Real lives have been at stake.  This response seems a little simplistic to me (but, that's just my opinion).  Maybe "disturbing" isn't the right word---but, I certainly don't understand it.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

2011 TriBeCa Film Festival

The 2011 TriBeCa is coming to a close.  This is a list (and links where I can locate them) to films that I saw over the past week.  This was the first time that I actually saw any films as part of the festival and I have to say that I feel like I hit the jackpot!  Before the festival started, my partner and I sat down with the festival schedule and move descriptions and selected movies that appealed to our various interests.  For the sake of appreciating the work of each filmmaker, I hope that each film is able to find a wider audience.

"Mama Africa" about South African singer and social activist Miriam Makeba.

"When the Drum is Beating" about Haiti's most popular and celebrated band...But, this film is about so much more...

"Renee' "  about the first openly transsexual professional tennis player

I am looking forward to next year's selections!!!!

WH Correspondents Dinner

President's Obama's comments at the White House Correspondent's Associatioon Dinner...They were pretty hilarious...There were the obligatory (and deserved) digs at Trump, the President himself, and a few  jabs at our current political climate.
I just found out about this organization this morning!  I am just doing my part to spread the word!