Thursday, May 29, 2008

Scott McClellan: Did he just save the world or lose his way?

Finally, there is someone in the Mad House that has exposed the truth about the lies and deceptions of The Manufactured Candidate’s (TMC) administration. We can expect the fall-out from McClellan’s memoir, “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception”, in the upcoming weeks, especially, in the McSame campaign.

Thank you, Mr. McClellan. You might be the one person, single-handedly, responsible for preventing the TMC’s third-term. The world will be forever in your debt!
Watch your back!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Can you see them?

I refer to my piece from 23MAY, “Mrs. Clinton, Mrs, Clinton…” where I stress the point of irresponsible and often flipped remarks about doing harm to political candidates, or to anyone for that matter, can be a license to the maladjusted members of this society to act.

By Mrs. Clinton (Mrs. Clinton because I’m still pissed) throwing the RFK “A” word inference out there, the vile “dumbditz” are making light of this very serious issue. Case in point: Just yesterday, in responding to a question about her take on Clinton’s RFK inference on FOX, Liz Trotta, the former New York bureau chief of The Washington Times and a dumbdit for FOX News Channel, flubbed the usage of “Osama” and “Obama”. And in her effort to be clever about Clinton’s use of the “A” word inference, Trotta mumbled something to the effect, “or both if they could”. Decide for yourself

Folks, it’s all about money and ratings! If you have a better explanation for this wanton disregard for one of our greatest gifts to the world, I’m open to hear it.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Making of the Manufactured Candidate

I just finished watching the premiere of “Recount,” HBO’s depiction of the State of Florida’s highly contested 2000 presidential general election.

You, perhaps like me, did not have the privy of being on the inside to witness what actually happened in Florida. But, I feel HBO’s attempt of an actual portrayal, from all accounts, appeared to be on target.

I know hindsight is always 20/20, but I couldn’t help but wonder how James Baker’s GOP Florida recount defense team feels right about, now? After all that they had gone through to insure the seating of that asshole as the 43rd president of these disunited states, are they pleased with themselves?

That whole experience raised questions about the electoral process that we had hoped would have been resolved by now. And, yet, we may still face the same issues in the same state, again! Thank God, that dingbat Katherine Harris isn’t around any longer.

Folks, I ask, are you any better today, than say, eight years ago?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Mrs. Clinton, Mrs. Clinton, what the hell were you thinking???????

To suggest that Senator Obama could be shot, is that how bad you want the presidency? Old stupid me, I expected this type of talk to come from the David Dukes of the world. We have forgiven you so many times in the past, but with this, you have crossed that unforgivable line. What respect I held for you has been dwindling day by day…..I am now depleted.

Mrs. Clinton I’m referring to you as Mrs. Clinton because I am pissed! You've just set the atmosphere for all the crazies in this country to do what they do best, be crazy! “Come on out fellas, make headlines for your stupid ass selves. And when you’re done, I’ll invite you to the White House to sleep in the Lincoln bedroom when I become your president!” Today, you became the best example of what Senator Obama wants to change in the country.

Folks, in my last blog, I just suggested a Presidential Aptitude Test which was inspired by the show, Survivor. I described the agility, cunning, deceitful and hateful things that those contestants did to one another in order to win. Was I right on the money?

Senator from New York, you’ve just ignited the fears, again, of many black folks who would love to see Senator Obama become the first black president of these disunited states. And in all fairness, I am going to include the media and the Lee Atwaters/Karl Roves of the world in my disdain for what has happen, too. Mrs. Clinton couldn't stoke these fears all by herself. Contrary to popular belief, there are blacks that did not vote for Barack, not because you were a better candidate…nah. They did not vote for him because he is the best that we have to offer America and they do not want to see him destroyed. And what you did today, intentionally or unintentionally, Mrs. Clinton, what you did brought out our worst fears.

I don’t think anyone will settle for your choice of phrasing as a fuax pas, a mental slip. No, you’re too intelligent for that. Remember, you’re the candidate that will be ready on day-one to address whatever challenge America will face. God forbid, if something awful, as you implied did happen to Senator Obama, this country will never be the same.
Would your conscious be ready for that on day-one, Mrs. Clinton?

How smart is your candidate?

A friend sent this cartoon to me which became the muse for this blog….thx, Barb!

The caption under the cartoon is, obviously, too small to see. It says, “I keep thinking we should include something in the Constitution in case the people elect a [freaking] moron".

Being in the trades, I’m required to take test and become licensed and insured before I can get my grubby hands on anything. It’s all about liability. If I screw-up (and I would have to screw up, royally) my liability is not insurmountable.

But, if I were president and I screwed up, losing hundreds of thousand lives and destroying futures, what insurance will cover my blunder? What test did I take to assure the American electorate that I have the quantifiable wherewithal to handle the job? What we do is put our multi-millionaire presidential candidates through an endurance gauntlet of stump speeches, town hall roll-up-your-shirt-sleeves meetings, substantively empty debates, Sunday morning “sound-bite” opportunity shows, bad regional food, bowling-for-votes and chugging shots at local watering holes.

The other night, I was channel surfing and I ran across these scantily clad women, so I stopped. It was the internationally-watched, Survivor. That’s right…I watched it. I thought that this show was an excellent metaphor of what politicians must do in order to get elected. After watching these hot chicks go through tests of nerve, agility, cunning, manipulation, deceit and all of the other disgusting things that they had to do, the light came on, da daaaah!….The Presidential Aptitude Test. Yeah, a P.A.T. Imagine our multimillionaire candidates being given a, let’s say….real world test. The P.A.T. would be broken down into two parts: a written test and a practical test.

Are you smarter than a fifth-grader?

What do we really know about their knowledge of basic government facts, e.g. the branches of government, the constitution, the bill of rights? Can you be pulled over and asked where you’re from just because you’re middle eastern looking and your name is Hussein? These are basic facts that all candidates for citizenship must know. But, do presidential candidates know them? Do our presidential candidates know America’s historical allies? Do they know where these countries are on the globe? Can they name the heads of state? My intent is not to be facetious, but to ask valid questions….ok, I’m lying. But, come on, after the last seven years, I think my questions are valid.

We all assume that our candidates are knowledgeable and capable, but, are they? They have wonderful personalities and great teeth. But, the U.S. no longer has the luxury of thinking that we don’t need to learn a second language because everyone speaks English and if they don’t, they better learn, uh? or appreciate customs and mores of other cultures because it’s all about us, right?

The Written Test

Should our candidates have to sit down at a table (a proctor sitting in front of them with her glasses sitting on the tip of her nose and a stop watch in her hand) and take an examination to test their “presidential knowledge base” like we have to do when we want to be a doctor, lawyer or a carpenter?

Do they know the difference between Shiites and Sunis, Hutus and Tutsis? Can they, intelligently, breakdown the economy, “macro-ly” and “micro-ly”, to us little folk so that we can understand why in hell we're getting gouged at the fuel pump? We’ll find out if they know how to pump their own gas in the practical test.

Now, the real fun – The Practical Test

Imagine this- Our candidates will be the head of a household, in the hood with three kids and one facing college, next year. Each candidate will have a household annual income of $65,000. To make ends meet, the candidate joins the army reserves hmmm.....should we deploy the candidates? The rent is $2,000 a month and the roof leaks. The family car is a Ford Taurus with 150,000 miles. The candidates will have a union factory job and a boss from India. Got the picture?

Now, let’s see how well the candidates meet the family needs. Like most parents, the candidate will go to PTA meetings, especially this time because his daughter’s teacher called and said it is important to be there this time. On Saturday, everyone piles in the Taurus to go shopping at Sam’s Club, knowing that the food budget is going to be less because food has gone up. That night, the candidate and spouse are home watching reruns of Good Times because they cut back the cable in order to get ready for baby girl going to college, next year.

On Sundays, the candidates attend church regularly because the rigors of “regular” working people’s day-to-day lives can be overwhelming and they find that they need to hear something inspirational that will get them through the week. Church starts promptly at 11:00am and the liberation theological pastor’s text, this week, is taken from Hebrews, Call forth those things that be not, as though they were. Faith…just keep on, keeping on! “lawdy, lawdy lawdy….I just don’t know how we’re going to make it!” You see, the candidates can’t remember the last time that their personal checking account balance was less than $30,000, if it ever got that low. In that case, the bank would automatically transfer additional funds. Can’t wait to get that stimulus check!

We’ve come down to the final month of the practical test and there are only two candidates left well, I’ll be… One candidate dropped out after he understood that his savings would be drained before Medicaid would kick-in to take care of his 80 year old mother who has Alzheimer’s. Another candidate dropped out under stress from having to live in a neighborhood where he heard gun shots and after calling the police, no one showed up. ‘It’s not worth dying for!’ The final candidate simply said that he wanted to make sure his daughter got in college, but he didn’t have to take orders from his idiot boss anymore and that he needed to go back to India. Well, I guess he told him!

The drama is building because the nation is down to its last two democratic candidates in the practical testing phase. The media is in frenzy. Each major network sent their junior reporters to the candidates’ homes because rookies always go to the most dangerous area to report. We have Sen. Beverly Benson, D-NY, upper middle-class white suburbanite, Yale Law School grad and we have Sen. Abdul-Haqq Khoury, D-Il, first generation American, lower middle-class black man, urbanite, Harvard Law grad. Sounds like history in the making!

The Benson Household

“The conditions of this test are nothing new to me. I have friends that live this way every day: they get-up early and make breakfast for their families, and then they go to work where they work hard all day. My friends come home in the evening, tired; they make supper and help their kids with their homework.” The exasperated senator from New York continues, “I can relate to these people, excuse me, ‘sweetheart, don’t worry about the dishes tonight. The maid will be in tomorrow morning’. Oh, I guess you weren’t supposed to hear that. ‘Just kidding, the detergent is under the sink, darling. I’ll be right there after this interview.’”

The Khoury Household

“Look, I’m forty-six years old and I just got finished paying off a student loan. It’s just recently that I’ve experienced how good other people have had it. I didn’t start making any money ‘til I came to the U.S. Senate. My work as a community organizer didn't pay very well. Hell, if it weren't for my wife, I’m not sure how we would have made it. This practical test we’re going through was my life, uh, it’s better than my life, growing up. I’ve been here before; I got the T-shirt to prove it! By the way, we’re about to have dinner. We’re having baked beans and hot dogs, care to join us?”


Well folks, you get the idea. I interjected a little satire, but my point is to bring attention to real issues of the day and not dwell on decoys or petty issues that are designed only to distract. The decisions we make today affects the whole world. Therefore, it seems ludicrous to allow ourselves to get caught up on lapel pins, name-calling or what others may say, incorrectly, on the candidates' behalf when we have to select someone who is going to make life and death decisions.

Our scrutiny of candidates on real issues will discourage the “manufactured” candidate from coming on the scene, again. Manufactured? These are the shell of a person who are filled with special-interests' money, special-interests' dreams and aspirations. They act and respond by remote control. The manufactured candidate has no capacity to think and reason and they have been known to malfunction.

Microbrother, do you mean the Manchurian Candidate? Whatever…I’m talking about Bush, o.k?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A candidate that can not be denied

Senator Barack Obama looks and sounds more presidential every day.

Whenever I get an opportunity to talk to someone from outside of Washington’s beltway, I invariably asked their opinion of Obama’s candidacy and what it means to them. Old Blue has seen better days and yesterday, I was given such an opportunity. So, I asked a friend for a ride.

Momoh, a self-proclaimed king-in-waiting from Liberia, said while we were riding along that he was so excited for Obama. Folks from Africa and the Caribbean are not new to having a black head-of-state. I neither over estimate the enthusiasm of people from other parts of the world on this candidacy nor do I express mine. I want to hear their honest opinions. As soon as I mentioned Obama’s name, a smile came over Momoh’s face. In broken English, he shared his joy.

“Obama is good for America! I talk friends and they say Obama good, too. Everybody like him!”

My interest, in my very unscientific poll, is to get a feel for how citizens of other countries view the U.S. I clearly remember watching the evening news and I heard a pregnant Palestinian dedicate the fetus in her womb to the liberation struggle. Our foreign neighbors determine how well foreign policy is received. No one knows which child is a future Secretary General of the United Nations or a walking time-bomb.

Momoh’s comment has been typical of others I’ve spoken to. If Obama can inspire folks from troubled countries, if he can inspire the thousands like we saw in Iowa last night, there is no doubt in my mind that we will be much better for it. It irritates the hell out me to hear reports of babyboomers and older generations being resistant to the Obama Movement.

People, we have had our time. Let’s get out of the way and permit these young, energetic and bright people to take their place!

Monday, May 19, 2008

El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz

In 1965, in his eulogy, Ossie Davis called Malcolm X, "Our Shining Prince".

Growing up in River Terrace, Washington, DC, my very early years were insulated from much of the madness that was going on in the country, at the time. I didn’t have any interaction with white people until I went to St. Emma Military Academy which was fifty miles west of Richmond, Va. I can remember hearing on the news, periodically, about two angry Negro preachers (and that’s what we were called then). One was in the south and the other in the north.

I couldn’t understand why they were so angry. I asked my father and he explained that these preachers were trying to make conditions better for Negroes. I was puzzled because I thought us, Negroes, had no problems. We could fish in the Anacostia when we wanted to. We could catch a game at Griffith Stadium and we could go to the movies for a quarter at the Langston or the Senator Theaters. What problems did we have?

In the summer of 1963, my father took my brother and I to a huge demonstration at the Lincoln Memorial to see one of those angry Negro preachers. The one from the south and, man, that was one hot day! I had never seen so many white people in my life! River Terrace was different. Everyone looked like me. My doctor looked like me. My teachers looked like me. My dentist looked like me. I didn’t know what to think of this mass of humanity, but they were so nice to my brother and me. My father lifted me up on his shoulders to see this preacher who looked like my father, talking to all of these white people.

One day, on my way home from Woodson Junior High School, I remember hearing some grownups shouting, “they killed him… they killed him!”.

The Muslim preacher is dead! What’s a Muslim?

My first year at St. Emma, I met other Negro kids from all over the world! The guys from New York were so cool. They spoke differently. Their music was exotic, latin and jazz. They wore beautiful sweaters on the weekend called Blye’s. They talked politics. They talked about that Muslim man that was killed the year before. The New Yorkers spoke with passion about him, the kind of passion that made you want to know about this man.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

One of the cool guys from New York stuck a paperback book in my hand. Read it! Malcolm X’s life was so different than my own. Those same white people that were so nice to my brother and me killed Malcolm’s father when he was just a boy. His father was a preacher like my father. I couldn’t imagine my father being killed. Now, I understand why he was so angry.
The cool New Yorker gave me other books. That year, I never read so many books before that weren’t school assignments, in my life! St. Emma was very insular and we didn’t know much about the racial tension that was going on in the country at the time. The cadets at school depended on information that was received through letters. If a cadet didn’t get a letter, he would read another cadet’s letter. The guys received word about the struggles in our hometowns and we read more books and discussed what we read.

That dude is crazy!

Lemuel broke out in a Dashiki! I had never seen one before. Lem was spouting all this crazy stuff about we come from Africa and we should be proud of our heritage. I think he changed his name, too. Malcom X got rid of his slave name so Lem did too, I guess. I didn’t think the “good reverend” was ready for me to change my name, but Lem was entertaining!

It wasn’t until years later that I realized that Lem and the cool guys from New York were setting the foundation for my appreciation of Malcolm X and all that he stood for. I truly believe that Dr. King was successful in what he did, due in part, to the stature of Malcolm X on the national scene. As a young man, I couldn’t accept nonviolence as a tactic. Turn the other cheek in River Terrace? I don’t think so. The strength and integrity that Malcolm exemplified was a model for all of my peers.

Just before his untimely death, Malcolm X was becoming a world citizen. He was learning that not all white people were like those that had killed his father. He had made peace with himself and was preparing to start a new phase of his development that encompassed people of all races that were willing to work for the betterment of mankind.

Today, on his eighty-third birthday, I say, ‘thank you, Malcolm. You will never be forgotten.'

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I can no longer remain silent

Upon opening the morning paper I see the story about a young sister who, at the tender age of 31, died, perhaps, due to her obesity and after reading her story….with out a doubt, I’m sure obesity was a factor. I’m going to stick my neck out, again, and talk about this issue as I see it.

I know it is considered impolite to discuss in mixed company the subjects of sex, age, politics, religion, and body weight. However, we pay good money to see comedians like Richard Pryor or Chris Rock talk about these very issues! They not only talk about it, they beat you up about it and we laugh. Why can’t we talk about these issues like we talk about the latest gossip in Hollywood?

I don’t know how many times I’m asked by an obese woman, “how do you like my hair?” or “how do you like my dress, my nails, my jewelry, my make-up, my…….?” Rarely am I asked, “How do you like my body?” talk about a relationship-ender.

These very subjects that we shun in public discourse are the very same subjects that are killing us in private.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Only a mother can love

To all the people who voted for Bush and support him:

After Bush’s performance in Israel, yesterday, I’m at a loss for words. Again, your president goes overseas and makes you look stupid and, unfortunately, the rest of us are getting dragged along, too. This president is totally out of control! He leaves these shores to incense warring factions and encourages us not to speak with countries we have ideological differences.

"We have a protocol ... around here that we don't criticize the president when he is on foreign soil," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. "One would think that that would apply to the president, that he would not criticize Americans when he is on foreign soil. I think what the president did in that regard is beneath the dignity of the office of president and unworthy of our representation at that observance in Israel."

Well, I’m sorry Madam Speaker. This president has thrown protocol out the window so, damn it, I will too! His actions are despicable! His continued lack of diplomacy and discretion only increases the repair needed after he leaves office, exponentially.
I don't envy President Obama's 'to do list'.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bloggers Unite for Human Rights!

Bloggers Unite My fellow bloggers have asked me to address the issue of human rights, today. I am committed to this overwhelming task, but, here it is, deadline-15MAY08 and I’m still trying to get my arms around this weighty subject.

I wanted to address a pressing issue about women's conditions in the Congo that I read in The Nation, especially after reading an interview on her documentary about the atrocities committed against Congolese women, Lisa F. Jackson stated that, “rape is cheaper than bullets”. This was all the ammunition (excuse the pun) I thought I’d need to discuss what is going on in the former Belgium colony, regarding this much needed, but narrow issue of human rights.

But, after being inundated with news of the cyclone in Myanmar, the hurricane in a toxic wasted community in Oklahoma, the earthquake in southwest China, recession, the brush fires, world starvation, the craziness in Iraq, Afghanistan, the tit-for-tat skirmishes throughout the world, gas increase, foreclosures, shrinking ice caps, global warming, mega-mergers, job loss, wanton murders, AIDS, subsistence living….oh, my God! Marvin, what’s going on? I realized that the subject of human rights just got broader and much more complex.

In 1976, Tangshan, China lost over 200,000 people in an earthquake and we didn’t hear a peep about it but, microbro, they got 1.3 billion people! Chairman Mao, in those days, was pretty adamant about keeping news of such events close to the breast. But, the thought of losing that many people and it not show up on the radar of human catastrophes is mind boggling.

These issues are forcing me to go deeper. Now, stay with me for a minute. There are 57,268,900 square miles of land on mother earth and there are over 6.6 billion people (+/-) inhabiting her. That means that there is, approximately, 1 person per 1,152 square miles of land (please check my math because the kid is no Einstein). Only “usable” land has to be factored into this equation. In 1994, the United Nations marked its 10th anniversary of the Convention to Combat Desertification, a plan aimed at stopping the phenomenon of usable land becoming “un-usable”. Despite the efforts to combat desertification, the trend seems to be picking up speed — doubling its pace since the 1970s. According to the U.N., one-third of the earth's surface is at risk, driving people into cities and destroying agriculture in vast swaths of Africa. Thirty-one percent of Spain is threatened, while China has lost 36,000 square miles to desert — an area the size of Indiana — since the 1950s. "It's a creeping catastrophe," said Michel Smitall, a spokesman for the U.N. secretariat that oversaw the 1994 accord. "Entire parts of the world might become uninhabitable."

Just the other day, I saw a deer walking down the street in my neighborhood. I saw on the news where bison were on the street in a western town. Foxes are seen in urban backyards! Man and God’s other creatures are vying for the same space!

So, microbrother, where are you going with this?

What I’m trying to say is that as natural resources decreases and human population increases--- human rights violations increases. It’s all about survival!

The so-called “first world” or Europeans (which includes the U.S.) and their operatives have been taking precious natural resources from the “third world” with out regard to what that meant to the indigenous people or their land for centuries. So, why are women of all ages being raped in the Congo? Why are there swaths of cleared forest in the Amazon Basin and dust storms in the once vegetated valley of the Nile? By taking advantage of historical rivalries between indigenous people, artificial borders and unions were created to accommodate colonialists’ need to justify its scourge of the earth for resources. Today, China’s ferocious appetite for resources is impinging on the world’s limited supply. Because mankind has not been a good caretaker of our precious earth, we are suffering the consequences.

Microbrother is saying that as natural resources become scarce, human rights become scarce. Think about it, when we believe all is well, people will share with the rest of the world! When resources become less accessible, we become more nationalistic. As conditions worsen, we become more community oriented. When conditions become dire, we become more family centered and at the least, it becomes just about me! Human rights just went down the crapper.

The more I think about it, when we become better stewards of the world’s resources, we become better human beings. And that’s why the common thread through all that I have shared in the past is a cry for a change, a change in how we treat the earth and one another.

….and that change starts with me, it starts with you. Yes we can!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Hold-out or Hold-up?

Why is Hillary “really” holding-out?

I was talking to my boy, “E” (his claim to fame was being on the same side of Julius "Dr. J" Irving in a pick-up game at U-Mass) and the conversation was on the hottest subject in the country:

She ain’t stupid. She knows she ain’t goin’ to win and her campaign is in debt.
O.k., so, what do you think it is? What about a supreme court seat?
Not sure. Well, we know she needs to get out of debt and I think, maybe she’s trying to position herself for a shot at the oval office in 2012. I think the court would be too restrictive for her personality.
I'm listening!
Remember when she spear-headed her universal health plan and she got trounced?
Well, maybe she’s trying to garner enough delegates through these final primaries to create a position from which to bargain with the DNC and the Obama campaign. While at the same time, by continuing her run, she proves to her base that she's a kick-ass fighter to the bitter end.
O.k., I’m wich ya?
She'll get a one-on-one sit-down with the O-man that would, probably, go down something like this:

“O.k. O-man, you’re in a better position for the nomination than I am. But, if you screw this opportunity up, I'll be on your narrow behind like white-on-rice! You’re goin’ to get your ass kicked in the general election without our unified support….”
“Talk to me, baby girl. What's on your mind?”
“O-man, you adopt my universal health plan!”
“That's it?”
“Of course not. Nominate my recommendation for Secretary of Health and Human Services, to implement my plan. I want you to lobby your ass off to make sure "SHE's" confirmed. I want you to have a rose garden ceremony for the ratification where you will, publicly, acknowledge my leadership role in bringing this legislation to pass.”
“Is that it?”
“No…chill. I want you to appear with me for several fundraising events so that I can get this damn campaign debt off my shoulders. That fool out in 'Tinseltown', Peter Paul & Mary, whatever his name, is getting on my last nerve."
“Hmmm, I’ll think about it”
“While ya at it, think about this, too: I got the 'yeehas' in Texas. I got the 'lunch-bucket' factory workers and 'dirt farmers' in Ohio. I got the 'wannabe-Americans' in Cali. I got those, 'blue-collar, moonshine running miners' in the West Virginian hollas and Kentucky. I got the 'gun tottin', bowling-for-votes' Pennsylvanians in the mill that ain’t going to budge ‘til they hear from the ‘Hill’….think on that, my brotha!”
“I see….settin’ yourself up for a 2012 run, uh?”
“It ain't over 'til the lady in the pants suit says it's over. Have a nice day, Mr. Presumptive Democratic Presidential Nominee.”

Tough chick, ain’t she?
Let's shoot some hoops!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Some of microbro's mother's advice...
  • Always change your underwear; you never know when you'll have an accident!
  • Don't make that face or it'll freeze in that position!
  • Be careful or you'll put your eye out!
  • What if everyone jumped off a cliff? Would you do it, too?
  • You have enough dirt behind those ears to grow potatoes!
  • Close that door! Were you born in a barn?
  • If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all!
  • Don't put that in your mouth; you don't know where it's been!
  • Speak to everyone!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Can we have a bowl of gumbo, together?

No surprises last night. Everyone expected the O-man to take North Carolina and Hillary to take Indiana, but no one expected the O-man to lose by such a small margin which gave the Clinton campaign pause, again. For all intents and purposes, Obama won Indiana.

Kudos and a big shout-out to Donna Brazile and Jamal Simons for holding their own on CNN while under fire from recalcitrant Clinton supporters. But, did you check out Donna? I thought she was going to get “sistahfied” at one moment! Did you hear the, "honey" come out? I don’t think anyone in their right mind want to piss her off. Hey, she was simply calling for party unity and if you can’t understand the reason for that, well, those “take no prisoners” republicans are going to make it crystal clear real soon!

Serve ‘em up some more of that gumbo, Donna!

However, as much as I enjoyed last night's show, I think the real story is what’s happening in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. They say over 60,000 (and still counting) folks have perished over there by a cyclone. Now, I’m not sure of what a cyclone is, but I do know that it’s a baaaaad boy!

Bush communicated to the Myanmar government that he wanted to offer U.S. assistance to that beleaguered country, but..but...but he criticized them for delays in approving visas for U.S. disaster aid workers.

Un minuto, Mr. Bush!

How long did it take for U.S. disaster aid workers to get “visas” to go to Louisiana….United States of America… know, in North America……to help U.S. citizens in New Orleans?

Will somebody help me understand because I’m just stupid? How can numb-nut criticize anyone on disaster recovery operations? I still don’t understand the mindset that voted this fool in office, not once, but twice! I can give the numb-nut credit for one thing….he’s consistent! His administration will continue to make us look like ass-holes to the rest of the world until the moving van backs up to the rear door of the White House and take that fool out of there.

Man, I’m sure glad I exercised this morning.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Grand Dame of Linden Street

My ninety-three years young aunt called me one night and asked me to take her to run some errands the next day. Folks, when my Aunt Lil calls and ask you to do a favor for her, you jump! You got to understand that this lady is a very unique person.

I asked her what time I should be at her home in the morning, “son, you know I don’t do anything ‘til I talk to the heavenly father and eat my oatmeal! Make it 10:00 o’ clock.” Yes ma’am.

Well, the next morning, I cleaned-up Old Blue and got some gas. I was at Aunt Lil’s home at 9:50. I had to be early, she detests “colored folks’ time”. Aunt Lil stepped out of her door with dark blue top and pants. She wore white knit-gloves, looking like she was going to a business meeting.

“Aunt Lil, you’re looking mighty….”
“….but, of course! Can I help you get up in the truck?”
“No! What do you think I am, old or something?”
After her valiant, independent struggle to step up into Old Blue, she blurted,
“Help me!”

Once inside, I clandestinely pulled out my voice recorder.

“I hope I’m not inconveniencing you, today?”
“Aunt Lil, it is my honor and my pleasure!”
“Are you going to ask me fifty million questions, again?” busted!

I ignored her question and retorted with a question about her morning itinerary. She said that, first, we were going to the bank, and then to the vacuum cleaner repair shop to get her two vacuum cleaners (circa 1960) fixed.

When I’m with my Aunt Lil, I’m guaranteed to hear her favorite reframes to the point where we recite them in unison:
“I think about each thing fifty different ways” and “I talk to the heavenly father, everyday”.

When I was a kid I thought my aunt was the wicked witch of the east. She was tough as nails, but she loved her family immensely. I didn’t appreciate this fact until I became older. You see, Aunt Lil was the second oldest girl in a family of fourteen children. After the death of her oldest sister, she became the surrogate mother of her siblings because my grandfather was working outside of the home all the time and my grandmother, well, really appreciated the extra help. Growing up in D.C. during the depression years were challenging for my family.

At the age of nineteen, Aunt Lil signed a lease for a new home at 1217 Linden Street for the whole family. She assured my grandparents that she could make moving to this “upscale neighborhood” work. Just imagine your kid telling you something like that. This perky young woman organized her siblings for the big move and actually pulled it off. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Aunt Lil went on to purchase prime properties in the Capitol Hill area of Washington, DC. One property was just a stone throw away from the U.S. Capitol. All of her accomplishments were made during a time when black folks did not have many opportunities to advance their economic position in life, being a woman to boot. Yet, she became a millionaire by her “Harriet Tubman-like” pit-bull determination and her “Mother Teresa-like” compassion.

Her laser focus didn’t go over very well with most men of her day. She had marriage proposals and sought the company of men who met her high standards. But, her focus was the care of her family and the development of her little empire.

“I would love to have had four daughters so that I could raise them the way I saw fit. They would have had the best education. They would know how to take care of a man. My husband would never stray away because I would have been so good to him that he would not want any other woman. By my example, my daughters would know how to treat a good man.” Amen!

After we left the bank, I had the bright idea of swinging by Linden Street to revisit the old family homestead while I had Aunt Lil all to myself. With my aunt, you have to be ready for anything. For example, I wanted to interview her on the National Public Radio’s (NPR), StoryCorps, so that she could tell her own rich story. I made an appointment with StoryCorps and informed my cousin of my intent. We were all excited and the day of the interview my aunt changed her mind, stating that she wasn’t up to it. You see, she had open-heart surgery while in her eighties and as can be expected, she has good days and she has bad days. Nevertheless, she still loves to talk.

It was my Aunt Lil who told me about my great grandfather, Henry, who escaped from slavery as a boy and made his way to D.C. and supported himself selling ice on a horse-drawn wagon. She told me about my, grand Uncle Wil, who was the treasurer of Tuskegee Institute under Booker T. Washington. Aunt Lil not only cared for her aging parents and siblings, she cared for her nieces and nephews, as well.

Her family came first.

I keep my camera on me for auspicious occasions like this. When we arrived on Linden, a narrow street on Capitol Hill, I asked her to stand on the steps of the old family home because I wanted to take a picture of her there, some seventy-five years after she made that audacious decision.

“I don’t want to take no picture. I’m not dressed properly” uh?
“Aunt Lil, you look great. You look ‘dignified’!"
“Oh, go on boy, you’re just saying that”

I snapped a few pictures and all of a sudden neighbors began coming out of their homes to see what was going on. We introduced ourselves and Bob, Helen and Lisa seemed very interested in Aunt Lil. When my aunt recognizes that young people are interested in what she has to say: stage lights come on, there’s a sound check and cameras roll! These “Lindenites” swapped stories, fact-checked and had a grand ol' time. Bob had to run back to his home to get his camera and voice recorder for posterity.

While Aunt Lil took center stage, I stood back and watched how these boomers, like me, really got into “her-story”. I thought about how fortunate I am to still have my aunt, my mother and a few other senior family members in my life and all the knowledge that they have imparted on me, while feeling ashamed of hating my aunt when I was a kid. When I was a child, I thought as a child. I was so proud of my aunt’s energy and recall for facts. Aunt Lil never lets me forget how sharp her mind continues to be. “I think about each thing fifty different ways.”

Before we left, Linden Street, she asked Bob if he was married, “you know, I’m still looking” flirt!
On June 1st, Aunt Lil will be ninety-four years young. Please join me in wishing her good health and continued strength. By the way, I asked her what she was going to do on her birthday. In character, she replied:
“Get a man and remodel my basement.” you go, girl!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

It's all about the future

This evening, I received an email from a fellow Obama supporter that caused me to pause. I want to share it with you in Billy’s own words, unedited.



I fight hard to see him [Barack Obama] as President and share my reasons। He is not just a politician.

My Obama story, in 1999 me and my first wife had my first child Jordan S. Owens she lived 9 days. She was taken home appeared healthy, however she was born with only 3 of her heart valves open. You have 4 heart valves for each chamber of the heart. This went undetected in the hospital that rushed me and my ex-wife out as soon as she was born. After the loss of our daughter we heard to fight the case would be near impossible or too expensive. However, luckily to Tort Reforms that a young attorney previously fought for on behalf of poor people, and minorities we were able to receive counsel and make a difference in the medical practices of this hospital. We were able to go against them. The person they told us in 1999 the person who had been was working practically for free fighting for fair, equal medical treatment was Barack Obama - at that time he become political.

I send this because my passion to see him in office has nothing to do with his blackness, but I know first hand that he did try to make a difference in the pains in peoples lives and did so without being rewarded economically for it.

He touch my families life, and I do not know him. I will never be able to get my daughter back but someone may be able to have beautiful black baby boy or girl survive for that was put in place after our ability to fight this practice.

God Bless,
Billy O

William C. Owens, Jr.
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. - Life Time member #4929
Nu Pi Graduate Chapter