Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Things that make you go hmmm

I read this a few weeks ago:

On Election Day it will not matter to some 4.7 million Americans whether they are Republicans, Democrats, independents or whether they have an opinion on anything at all. Under various state laws, they are barred from voting because they have felony records. This includes not just prison inmates (48 states), parolees (33 states) and probationers (29 states) but also a large number of people -- one third of the disenfranchised in all -- who are off parole and "free." Minorities are hit particularly hard by these state laws: They deny 13 percent of African American men the vote.

But this morning I read this:

jury on Monday convicted Stevens of seven counts of making false statements on Senate ethics forms to hide hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts and work on his Alaska home from an oilfield contractor at the center of a corruption investigation in the state.

Stevens, 84, is the first senator convicted of a felony since Harrison Williams, a New Jersey Democrat, was convicted on bribery charges in 1981. Senate rules do not require Stevens to resign his seat.

Ok, so just to summarize, you cannot vote as a felon but you can be a Senator? Forget it Arsenio, this made me go WTF?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I have come to realize just how special my childhood was. Not just that I spent my childhood between SC in the winter and NY in the summer. I was a village reared kid. I grew up where we never went to a sitter we went to auntie’s or grandma’s house. I was the first and only grandchild and niece in my family for many years. Spoiled was not the word, my grandma used to call it ruient (ruined, I think). I had it good and I highly recommend it if you have the chance. But I was surrounded by good decent men. Not just men but Black men. From my father to my uncles to my older cousins they were loving responsible men. I never had to look far for a man that I knew loved me for no other reason than that I existed. I keep coming across all of these beautiful photos of President Obama with his girls and of he and Michelle. That look he has when he talks about her or is seen in the pictures where he is looking at her or the girls. I realized that these are not media image we see often of our men. He looks at Michelle the same way my dad used to look at my mom. I remember those looks of pride during some of her sermons or his smiling when she was dressed up. My dad used to joke about how the men would be lining up the minute he closed his eyes becouse his girl was beautiful! But sadly not many of our kids get the chance to live in the world I did nor see great images of men that look like them or their daddy. I used to believe that the absent Black man was a myth. I have seen and experienced first hand that he is not. It is a sad thing. I know that Blacks in general have placed a lot of our hopes and dreams on President Obama’s shoulders. In some ways this is very unfair to him but this is the reality of any public figure. The good news is he knows and seems to accept this. In an interview he had this to say:

“I grew up without a father in the home, and I know how hard it is for a lot of young men and boys who maybe don’t have a father,” Obama said. “To the extent that I can serve as a role model for them, where parents can say here’s somebody who stayed in school and dreamed big dreams and has accomplished something, I’m happy to be used in that way.”

For me though I think one of the most important contributions the Obamas have made could just be in the pictures. These pictures of him with is family are to me the perfect counterbalance to the negative images we see of Black men and families everyday. I know that there are critics out there who are in Obama overload but these images are long coming. In looking on the web I see these images of only Will and Jada Smith. There are many Black celebrities with healthy marriages and happy well adjusted children but those images are not often captured for our children to model. Samuel L Jackson has been married to his wife for over 20 years but a few years ago when he spent time with is daughter on vacation she was reported to be a mystery woman. Because the images of him as loving father are not there. Michael Jordan is another that comes to mind, he has 2 sons and was married for many years, there are thousands of images of him but I could only find one of him with his kids and wife. Denzel Washington is a father and a man who has a long lasting marriage. There have been reports of him in the stands for his son’s college games but none of him watching little league games or just hanging with his kids. Maybe these men have opted for their family’s privacy. But maybe nobody thought these images were important. For children of all races these are important images. Not only do Black children need to see positive images of other Blacks so do children and adults of other races. Imagine seeing the Vogue Cover of Lebron James, any cover of Fifty cents, watching cops and then going to kindergarten to find a Mr. teacher. Maybe just a little scary? Maybe if there weren't so many negative images of us the incident in Philly would not have had to happen and 65 kids would not have that hurtful experience forever sealed in their memories. Just. Maybe.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Is there something wrong with being Muslim?

I was very happy to see Collin Powell endorse Barack Obama on Sunday. He was articulate and reasoned in making his case for Sen. Obama. I am grateful for that but I think the most important part for me was when he talked about the tone of the campaigns and he said:

I'm also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, "Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim." Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim; he's a Christian. He's always been a Christian.
But the really right answer is, "What if he is?" Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no, that's not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, "He's a Muslim and he might be associated [with] terrorists." This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son's grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards—Purple Heart, Bronze Star—showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn't have a Christian cross, it didn't have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American.

He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life. Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way. And John McCain is as nondiscriminatory as anyone I know. But I'm troubled about the fact that, within the party, we have these kinds of expressions.

Here is the picture he was refering to. 1000 words indeed!

As an American I cry when I see the dates on these fallen soldier's headstones. I know that we refer to them as young men and women, and they are, but to us mothers they are babies. As a mother I cried when I saw this picture my heart aches for her. For me it makes this war and all this divisivness personal. This baby was only a few years older than one of my sons. This Muslim and all like him belong to us all. This baby went out to fight for all those freedoms we hold dear. I hope the next time someone associates Muslim with anti-American they think of this picture and the many mothers like this one.

Great job Mr. Powell.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Abso-effing-lutely NOT funny

The latest newsletter by an Inland Republican women's group depicts Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama surrounded by a watermelon, ribs and a bucket of fried chicken, prompting outrage in political circles.
The October newsletter by the Chaffey Community Republican Women, Federated says if Obama is elected his image will appear on food stamps -- instead of dollar bills like other presidents. The statement is followed by an illustration of "Obama Bucks" -- a phony $10 bill featuring Obama's face on a donkey's body, labeled "United States Food Stamps."



Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Honest Conversations

I attend Bible study at an Evangelical church. When I went to Bible study last night I pulled in beside this Volvo XC 70 which I want badly. So I am looking at the car and on the back window there is a sticker that has PALIN! In large letters on top with Mccain/Palin 2008 at the bottom. I smiled and thought to myself Johnny boy had better watch his back. Then I noticed the owner of the car getting out as she was on her cell. We walked in together talking about the lesson for the night. After bible study we go into the little coffee shop and a few of us start to talk. The conversation turn to the election and I realize I am out numbered so I just say well Obama has my vote. There is this smile on Volvo lady’s face as she says I hope this doesn’t offend you but can I ask if it is because he is Black? I say no offense taken but it is because he is a democrat just as I voted for Clinton, Gore, and Kerry I am voting for Obama. So I ask are you not voting for him because he is Black? She goes no it is because he is a democrat. We all have a laugh. And she finishes with she doesn’t see color. I tell her I am the exact opposite. I see color. I am glad we are not all the same. I told her that seeing color allows me to respect the differences that are inherent in us and to me our differences are one of the things that speak to the awesomeness of the God we serve. Of the billions of people on this earth there is no one that is exactly like me that is just beyond awesome. I tell her that it is PC to claim not to see color but if you had seen me in a dark parking lot yelling at my kids and staring at the back of your car how would you have described the incident the next day? She says touché I get your point. I would have said there was this Black lady behind my car yelling at her kids. We all talk about this a little.

Then the question is posed to me as to why Blacks always vote Democratic. I say besides Strom Thurmond, David Duke, and Jesse Helms. There is the Southern strategy; this insistence that everything is the fault of the poor, that affirmative action is a way of hiring unqualified people instead of a way of promoting diversity. Even Collin Powell has pointed out that he benefited from affirmative action. Never mind that there are the Sean Hannitys, Rush Limbaughs oh and Obama waffles showing up at a value voters summit for three days before someone thinks it is not a good idea. Then there is this insistence that abortion is the greatest evil we need to fight against when we have children living in unspeakable circumstances. But the argument is they just need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps when half of them didn’t even get the boots. By the time I was finished going on the room was silent and uncomfortably so. Volvo lady looks at me and says you seem to have been holding that in for a while. I tell her that I spend time in a lot of places where I am the only Black person and have been asked that question more than once.

I said now what I really want to know is why you guys aren’t mad at all of the republicans you have helped to elect? None of them have overturned Roe v Wade. None of them have held firm to the personal responsibility code. George Busch lied out and out lied and he was elected twice. His administration has taken a surplus and is leaving a deficit like we have never seen. How could any of you cast a vote for him after what is campaign did to John McCain in SC in 2000? I was told about their family values, that he hasn’t been as bad of a president as Democrats have made him out to be. I say wait where is the personal responsibility thing he contributed to this mess and greatly does he not have some responsibility? To that I got yes but. I told them excuses are tools for the weak and incompetent. Which is Bush? Then I ask the blowup question how in the world can you sleep at night and cast a vote for a woman is so completely unprepared for the seriousness of the time we are in and the man who decided this was a good idea? Volvo lady is the first to the defense of Palin she goes on about her being a Gov and a mayor, and she can’t be that bad if she has gotten that far. I ask her if she got the resumes of Sarah Palin and Barack Obama on her desk which would she call in for an interview and why? She said well I don’t know? The guy running the class says I have to admit I would call in Obama but for this election I agree with Sarah and John more. I told him you would not hire either of them to work with everyday but you would hire them to run your country and that has an impact not only on you but your kids and my kids as well as everyone in this country. They all got my point but we agreed to disagree.

So I would like to pose these questions to you all.

Why aren’t you republicans pissed at George Busch and the likes?

Why do you think more Blacks aren’t republicans?

And to answer your question I go to an evangelical bible study because it is on a convenient night for my family.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Why Are We Talking About This?

I have stayed away as of late because I am just too emotionally invested in this election. I can say though that Sarah Palin asking who is Barack Obama pisses me off to the nth degree. Who is she? Where in the h*ll did she come from? But this thing with Ayers is killing me. Because for one who investigates their friends? I was very surprised to find out that one of my best friends for the last 7 years has been married 3 times. Then there are those things in my past I plan to take to my grave with me. My mom, who was just one of the best people I have ever known, told us when she found out she had brain cancer that she had already prayed to God to let her take certain things to her grave. So we may as well not be looking for her to blurt out some secret when her mind goes. Who would have thought she had any secrets she needed to take to her grave?

Bill Ayers has made a complete turn in his life. This is a case of throwing out the baby with the bath water. Has no one thought of the consequences to this man's life? He has done very good works and became a very productive member of society and somehow an aquantance with him makes you un-American? This is a person with feelings there are going to be consequences to him. Today I saw this letter posted on the web:

As the lead federal prosecutor of the Weathermen in the 1970s (I was then chief of the criminal division in the Eastern District of Michigan and took over the Weathermen prosecution in 1972), I am amazed and outraged that Senator Barack Obama is being linked to William Ayers’s terrorist activities 40 years ago when Mr. Obama was, as he has noted, just a child.Although I dearly wanted to obtain convictions against all the Weathermen, including Bill Ayers, I am very pleased to learn that he has become a responsible citizen.Because Senator Obama recently served on a board of a charitable organization with Mr. Ayers cannot possibly link the senator to acts perpetrated by Mr. Ayers so many years ago.I do take issue with the statement in your news article that the Weathermen indictment was dismissed because of “prosecutorial misconduct.” It was dismissed because of illegal activities, including wiretaps, break-ins and mail interceptions, initiated by John N. Mitchell, attorney general at that time, and W. Mark Felt, an F.B.I. assistant director.

William C. Ibershof
Mill Valley, Calif., Oct. 8, 2008

Isn't Mr Ayers behaving in a way that we want all people who have made mistakes to? He has rebuilt his life and he is doing it by helping others. Mr. Ayers' work in Education has probaly already impacted a child to the degree that they will not make the choices he made. Working with our youth and elderly has lasting positive impact.

It is time to move on. Lets get to how to fix this mess of our economy, healthcare system, education system and the wars we are in. I am however willing to entertain anyone who can tell me a few things:

1 How will this relationship impact an Obama presidency?

2. What exactly will Obama do as president because of Mr. Ayers?

3. Where will congress be when Obama starts doing these things?

4. How many of your friends and co-workers have you done a background investigation on?

Ok #4 is just for me.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Lay off Gwen

Note to Conservatives: BACK OFF OF GWEN! I started seeing these stories yesterday about Ms. Ifill and her new book. I could not believe what I was seeing. Ms Ifill somehow will not be able to be fair because she is writing a book about Obama. What they failed to mention was that the book was not about only Obama but Patrick Devaul, Collin Powel and a host of other Black politicians. Her book is actually about the evolution of politics in Black America. This is a look at where we were in the 60s to where we are today. Of course I suspect a lot of the book will be about Obama and I am hoping there will be some material about David Patterson. Michelle Malkin wrote in the New York Post about Ifill's book, saying, "She's so far in the tank for the Democratic presidential candidate, her oxygen delivery line is running out." WHAT?????

Ms. Ifill has been doing this a long time. She is not some rookie who is having an Obama love fest, she is a professional reporter. In her time she has not shown anything but professionalism. Her work should speak for it self. Are these questions because, dare I say it, she is Black? Any moderator is going to hopefully be a voter. Therefore they will be voting for one person and not the other does that automatically make them biased. I cannot find any reference to where Ms. Ifill has come out in favor of Obama. David Bauder writes:

Ifill questions why people assume that her book will be favorable toward Obama.
"Do you think they made the same assumptions about Lou Cannon (who is white) when he wrote his book about Reagan?" said Ifill, who is black. Asked if there were racial motives at play, she said, "I don't know what it is. I find it curious."
In an article posted on CNN this morning where they talk of an interview she gave back on September 4th:

"I'm in great demand -- everyone wants to talk to me -- but I'm not speaking for the whole race," Ifill said. "My job is to be a reporter. I cannot be the great interpreter. It's not my job to be on someone else's air telling them what black people think."

Ifill told Kurtz that as Obama accepted his party's nomination for president, a white television reporter asked her: "Aren't you just blown away by all of this?" She said she was not.

Kurtz also points out that "on one level, Ifill says, she views this moment as the daughter of a black minister who marched in civil rights demonstrations and who she wishes were alive to see what Obama has achieved."
Ifill told Kurtz, "I still don't know if he'll be a good president. I'm still capable of looking at his pros and cons in a political sense." Besides, Ifill says, "no one's ever assumed a white reporter can't cover a white candidate."

She does not seem to be now nor ever trying to hide the fact that she is writing this book. I suspect this is a setup for Palin. If she falls on her face then it was because she was in an unfair fight not because she is out of her league but because the moderator was biased. If she does well it will be in spite of having a biased moderator. They have to be dizzy from all that spinning. This is an insult to Ms. Ifill and Mrs. Palin. If she is qualified then let her go, no pre-game set ups just get out and clean Biden’s clock. Because she is qualified and can do the job just as well as he can. Yes, there are questions about her but show some grace and dignity and just set about proving the critics wrong. I am a woman who has spent her entire career around people who assumed I was there not because I was qualifed, but for a host of other reasons. You do the job and earn the respect not whine about everything and everyone that may work against you.

In the interest of full disclosure I am a HUGE Gwen Ifill fan. She looks like my mom and as a kid I said if I wasn’t going to be a doctor then I would be her. Neither panned out. Sigh. I was not now nor ever a Sarah Palin fan. She hurts my head and heart. I was not a Hillary fan but man I was proud of her and still am every time she opens her mouth. Condi and I would never agree on politics but she is smart and classy. I can say none of this of Palin. She opens her mouth and I cringe. Class not so much. She is to me the relative that you would only prefer to see at the family reunion. We all have them that one person you wish you could get rid of but can’t. I fear Sarah will be a weight on many a woman’s shoulders for years to come. No matter how you feel about her.

I digress, if John McCain’s Campaign truly did not know about this book they really, really should not let that on. How stupid are they? I could have found this out back before everything was on the net. READ. I ordered my copy of this book 3 weeks ago. If they are this unprepared in the campaign how can they run the country?