Sunday, November 26, 2006

2006: The Year In Review (The Person Of The Year)

Last year it was relatively easy to choose Cindy Sheehan as the person of the year because of the tremendous influence she has had in turning the citizenry of the United States against the war in Iraq. In 2006 making the choice was not easy. One strong candidate was newly elected Minnesota congressmen Keith Ellison. What Mr. Ellison was able to do was a miracle: Being an African-American, he won in a district that was 93% white. It is always refreshing to see people vote on issues instead of race. In addition to being an African-American, he also is a Muslim. Mr. Ellison also played an active roll in assisting Somalis to live in The United States. I was angered when I saw Keith Ellison on the Glenn Beck program where he was subjected to obviously bigoted interrogation, but through it all Ellison remained positive and even polite. Beck had the nerve to use the typical bigoted jargon "I have friends who are Muslims" and "I have been to mosques" and "I am not questioning your patriotism.....BUT" When in actuality that was exactly what he was doing...questioning Ellison's patriotism. Ellison remained calm and implied that
the people who elected him had no doubt in his love and commitment to his country. I was impressed by Keith Ellison but this site's "Person Of The Year" award goes to Howard Dean. Mr. Dean suffered the embarrassment of being the frontrunner in the quest to win his party's nomination for president and then lost primary after primary until he was elimnated completely. In spite of this painful defeat Dean was elected to lead the Democratic Party. Dean decided to take a completely different approach: campaign in ALL 50 states. Dean was challenged tooth and nail by prominent Democrats Rahm Emmanuel of Illinois and Charles Shumer of New York who felt that the Democratic Party would be best served by spending precious time and money in states that are Democratic strongholds....in other words preaching to the choir. As a result of Dean's foresight Democrats now control areas that one would never dream of being lead by a Democrat. Even Tom Delay's seat is held by a Democrat. The war between the Progressive Democrat and the corporate connected DLC Democrat is far from over, but under Dean's leadership it looks as if the progressives are at least at this time calling the shots.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Michael Richards' tirade only proves racism is alive and well in the USA

Michael Richard's flurry of racial epithets directed at African-Americans at The Laugh Factory in West Hollywood continues to be the talk of the town. Richards publicly apologized nationally on the David Letterman show. We have all at one time or another said something that we wished that we could take back, but in Richard's case this is more than just something that slipped out. It showed deep feelings of contempt and racial hatred that may or may not have been long dormant. Richards'
showed his hatred for not only the African-Americans who were present at the Laugh factory but for all African-Americans. What would he have done if the hecklers were white? Jesse Jackson, (who also unleashed a racial epithet when he referred to New York City as Hymietown) said that he was willing to accept Richard's apology. Jackson's statement never went farther than the word "Hymietown" but Richard's statements were far more offensive. When addressing his
black heckler he repeated used the n word and said "If this were fifty years ago you would have a fork up your - - -?" and "That's what happens when you interrupt a white man.". Al Sharpton was in no mood to accept Richard's apology at this time stating that Richards remarks reflect deep-seeded racism and that Richards should get help.
As an African-American I have no tolerance for ethnic humor it doesn't matter what race, creed or color the comedian (or comedienne) may be. It's just not funny. I remember Jackie Robinson saying many years ago to Black Americans of the 1950s "Don't accept any derogatory statements directed at any other ethnic group because when the people who say such things are not in your company it is more than likely that they have racial insults about you" Race is a hot topic among comedians( and comediennes) and I have noticed that it is far more frequent among white than black. No one really knows what is in Richards' heart....is he genuinely sorry or is he sorry that he got caught? That was not the first time that Richards has publicly used racial epithets. Jewish audience members were insulted by Richards statements at another comedy club where Richards blamed Jews for "killing Christ", so we see a pattern developing. I cannot accept Richards' apology at this time either, but that doesn't mean that I might not change my mind at some time in the future. It will all depend on his actions. I remember when I was much younger I heard a statement attributed to Elvis Presley "The only things I want from Negros are to shine my shoes and buy my records" At that time I decided to never buy an Elvis Presley record again....and I didn't. But after hearing the late Red Foxx talk about a discussion he had with Elvis when he confronted Presley about that statement Presley said "I don't recall saying that but I may have, if I did it was because of the type of people I was around at that time. Those types of people are not around me today and as a result that is not the way I feel today." Foxx was convinced of Presley's sincerity. Later I found out that Presley was a very generous man who gave automobiles and thousands of dollars to people who were complete strangers to him, many of these people were African-Americans. My impression of Presley really changed when I heard glowing comments from Cissy Houston, who had nothing but praise for Presley. She became an integral part of Presley's show when she and the Sweet Inspirations (a black female quartet) became Presley's background singers. I also had a very negative opinion of another Elvis, Elvis Costello who made a derogatory statement about the late Ray Charles. As a result of using a racial epithet he was decked by vocalist Bonnie Bramlett. Costello apologized and went on to be a leading voice in the fight against apartheid in England. Will Richards be like Presley and Costello, I don't know but I hope so.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

2006: The Year In Review (Census)

In Memorium.......James Brown, Wilson Pickett, Ahmet Ertegun, Mike Evans, Peter Boyle, Ruth Brown, Steve Irwin, Mike Douglas, Jack Palance, Ed Bradley, Gerald Levert, Red Auerback, Trevor Berbick, Buck O'Neill, Billy Preston, Floyd Patterson, June Pointer, Gordon Parks, Lou Rawls

2006: The Year In Review (Politics)

The Year In Review (Politics)

In general I would have to say 2006 was a good year politically. It seemed as if the American people for the first time in years woke up to the misdeeds of the
Republican party. I am very proud of the African-American voter, who was not
fooled by the pro-Bush media, nor the push for the increase in black enrollment
in the Republican Party put forth by Ken Mehlman. Blacks proved that they would
vote on the issues and not the ethnicity of the candidate even if the candidate happens
to be one of their own. Micheal Steele of Maryland, Lynn Swann of Pennsylvania
and J. Kenneth Blackwell of Ohio all learned this valuable lesson in 2006 when
Black voters in their states ALL chose their caucasian opponents. African-Americans
played a vital role in the victories of many progressive Democrats in races where
both major candidates were white. 88.1 percent of the African-American voters chose
Democratic or Independent candidates.
The movement for the impeachment of George W. Bush is gaining momentum.
You would never know this if you read the major newspapers or the watched the
corporate news media but there are several indicators that there is a determined
segment of the population that wants George W. Bush and Richard Cheney to pay
for their alleged crimes. It is ironic that the same person who initiated the undoing of
Richard Nixon is getting the ball rolling for the impeachment of George W. Bush.
Elizabeth Holtman has written a book entitled « George W. Bush : The case for
Impeachment » and the sales are brisk. Democrats won both the House and the Senate. Delay, Cunningham, Foley and Abramoff were just a few of the Republican operatives
who found themselves indicted for crimes ranging from extortion to endangering the
welfare of minors. Every remaining member of the Newt Gingrich revolution of 1994
is gone. Of course not all the political news of 2006 was good. The massacres in Darfur
continue and the rest of the world is trying to act as if it doesn’t notice. Arms dealers
in the United States have been accused of selling weapons to the heinous Sudanese
Butchers. Very quietly Ward Connerly triumphed in Michigan, eliminating affirmative
action in that state as he did in two others. The unusual factor in this case is Mr.
Connerly IS an African-American. This sellout( I really hate using this word but in this
case the shoe really fits) has to be reckoned with before we have
50 states without affirmative action instead of just three.
Lynne Stewart, the New York lawyer who was hotly pursued by the Homeland
Security contingent of the Bush administration was given a light sentence, 28 months for defending the notorious sheik who was convicted of playing a major role in
earlier attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. This case showed the
venom of the Bush Administration whose goal was to put Ms. Stewart behind bars for
the rest of her life for treason. The government had a very weak case against Stewart which was evident to both the judge and the jurors. Ms. Stewart, who is battling breast cancer is very active in her community, often defending people other lawyers wouldn’t even think of defending. Members of the community did not forget the service Ms. Stewart has given them over the years and as a result they packed the courtroom. Bush, Ashcroft, Gonzalez and company were trying to send a message to all lawyers who attempt to defend the defenseless but this time it didn’t work. The New York Post and New York Daily News ran headlines condemning the decision but in the end Lynne Stewart and the people triumphed. In 2006 it seems as if finally we have seen « checks and balances » in action. George W. Bush has been humbled into a lame duck. Nancy
Pelosi’s primary concern is ending the war in Iraq as soon as possible. This now
seems more of a possibilty than ever before. Mr. Bush is going to find it much
harder to push through ultra conservative candidates for the Supreme Court. In
summation politically speaking 2006 was a very good year.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Ruth Brown 1928-2006

R&B pioneer Ruth Brown died today as a result of a stroke and a heart attack.
Ruth Brown was one of the major artists responsible for the popularity and eventual growth of Atlantic Records. Brown had several classic R&B hits in the early 50s which
included « So Long » « Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean » and the #1 « Teardrops
From My Eyes » Brown resurrected her career in the 80s making Broadway appearances
in « Black & Blue ».

Sunday, November 12, 2006

An Open Letter To "Meet The Press"

Dear Mr. Russert,
In view of the Democratic landslide, don't you feel Meet The Press should feature two bonafide Democrats. After the Republican landslide of 1994 you had Phil Gramm and Alphonse D'Amato, two right wingers. Why have the potential 2008 Republican party presidential candidate( John McCain) on with a staunchly pro-war independent (Joseph Lieberman). The views of the majority are not being expressed. Is this because NBC is now owned by GE which is the world's leading manufacturer of weapons? Peace, Cch092775

Fall 2006

Jack Palance (1929 - 2006)

Veteran actor Jack Palance has passed away at the age of 87. He will be remembered as the TV host of "Ripley's Believe It Or Not" but even more significant is the fact that Palance won an Academy Award for best supporting actor in the film
"City Slickers" an accomplishment done at the age of 73.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Correction

The following statement appeared in a previous post entitled "Democrat Landslide Makes George W. Bush a lame duck president" "Progressive Democrats still have a monumental task ahead because the elected Democrats were Conservative Democrats who are aligned in one way or another to the DLC." That statement was made in error. After further research I have found that the majority of Democrats elected were Progressive Democrats, in fact according to the Progressive Democrat Alliance there were actually 71 Progressive Democrats chosen for the new House of Representatives. Republican sources were responsible for promoting that statement and I admit I should have known better to carefully scrutinize any statement coming from the current Republican braintrust.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Ed Bradley (1941-2006)

Ed Bradley will always be remembered as one of the principal anchors of the long running CBS news program "60 Minutes". Bradley captivated TV audiences with his investigative reports for more that two decades. He was an eleven time Emmy winner.
Bradley's face will be missed. He succumbed to Leukemia.

Gerald Levert (1966-2006)

It is with regret we acknowledge the passing of Gerald Levert, soul singer, composer and producer who died in his sleep on November 10, 2006. Gerald was one of the relatively few R&B performers of the classic style that we just don't hear on the radio any more. Gerald was the son of the legendary Eddie Levert of the O'jays. Young Gerald and his brother would accompany their famous father around the US and the world. He was so amazed at what his father's group did onstage that he decided to follow in his father's footsteps. Gerald Levert's career took off with the release of the song "Casanova" in September of 1987( recorded with brother Sean Levert and Marc Gordon). This tune reached as high as #5 nationally on the Billboard chart. Gerald Levert returned to the top 40 with "Baby Hold On To Me"(with father Eddie Levert), "I'd Give Anything", Thinkin' Bout It" and "Taking Everything" My favorite Gerald Levert performance was when he appeared in the movie "Standing In The Shadows of Motown" where he performed a rousing rendition of Junior Walker's "Shotgun" accompanied by Tom Scott on the saxophone. It was one of the most memorable performances in a movie that was filled with many. It is indeed a tragedy that he has been taken from us a such a young age because I truly believe that although he has achieved tremendous success his best years as a singer-composer were still to come. At a mere 40 years of age he has left us too soon.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Democrat landslide makes George W. Bush a lame duck

It appears as if George W. Bush is a lame duck president. Democrats(with the recent victories of Tester in Montana and Webb in Virginia) now control both the House of Representatives and The Senate, giving the president complete rejection on his policies, especially his Iraq War policy. To make things even better Donald Rumsfeld has finally decided to step down. I am ecstatic that J. Kenneth Blackwell lost. Mr Blackwell, an African-American played a pivotal roll in the suppression of the black vote in Ohio by permitting Republican goon squads to intimidate black voters and he also did not provide functional voting machines to minority areas of Ohio. Katherine Harris, like Kenneth Blackwell also supressed the black vote in Florida by removing the names of eligible black voters from Florida voting lists. Like, Blackwell she also got what she deserved.... a lopsided loss to Bill Nelson. Republican George "Macaca" Allen lost a squeaker to Democrat Jim Webb. Bob Casey Jr. defeated the #3 Republican in the Senate, Rick Santorium. Democrat Claire McCaskill was victorious in Missouri. Carpin defeated Steele in Maryland and Democrats won the vast majority of the governorships. Although this is a blessing Progressive Democrats still have a monumental task ahead because the elected Democrats were Conservative Democrats who are aligned in one way or another to the DLC. The '06 election was not without its disappointments to progressive Democrats. Ward Connerly was successful in dismantling affirmative action in Michigan, a state with an unemployment rate of 7.1 (primarily African-American). Michigan became the third state to follow this trecherous path. The Republicans turned out in force to elect Joe Lieberman in Connecticut. Everything did not go well for the Progressive Democrat but things look a lot better now that Bush for the first time in his presidency is not going to have a rubber stamp Congress. Conyers, Rangel and Diggs will find themselves at the head of powerful Congressional commitees because of their seniority. It is my hope that John Conyers pursues the impeachment of George W. Bush. Time will tell.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Dems Will Win ONLY If There Is A Fair Election


Until recently the media has been telling us that the Democrats are heavily favored to take back the house and possibly the senate. All of a sudden today, November 6, 2006 they are telling us the Democratic lead is suddenly becoming more and more narrow. Karl Rove continues to say that his polls tell him the Republicans will remain in firm control of both houses of Congress. I may be wrong but the smug way in which he says this (as I have said so many times before )indicates something sinister that he knows and we don't. I know that the do nothing Congress has given George W. Bush the right to declare ANYONE an "enemy combatant" and at the same time new prisons have been built to house thousands of people. This indicates to me that the Bush administration foresees widespread opposition to election results and plan to incarcerate those who oppose its policies. Already people of Mexican descent in Texas have received phone calls and letters telling them that polling places have been changed, when they have not. The same dirty tricks used to steal presidential and gubernatorial elections in 2000 and 2004 will also be used in 2006. The Bush Administration is counting on fear and apathy. The October surprise we were promised came a little late on November 6, 2006 when we were told that Saddam Huessein will be hanged in Iraq. The criminally gullible masses here in the U.S.(especially those followers of Limbaugh, Dobson and Robertson) will no doubt look upon this as a momentous occasion when actually in the scheme of things it is insignificant. Saddam Huessein is no boy scout. He is responsible for the murder of over a hundred Kurds, but George W. Bush is responsibe for giving the orders that lead to the death of over 500,000 people, 3,321 of which were U.S. soldiers. After this massacre took place there was a picture taken of Donald Rumsfeld and Saddam Heussein shaking hands. This tactic of glorifying the execution of Heussein may help the Republicans as much as the "dirty tricks". At this time we don't know but we will know by tomorrow. Polls continue to show Strickland leads Blackwell, Nelson leads Harris, Casey leads Santorum, Brown leads Dewine, Menendez leads Kean Jr., George "Macaca" Allen and James Webb are in a toss up as well as Burns and Tester. If just overnight all the Republicans who trail miraculously become triumphant we can not come to any other conclusion except "foul play". The Republicans (I should say the Bush Republicans because I don't believe that all Republicans condone this outrageous conduct) are desperate and will do anything they can to hold on to power. Unfortunately the Democrats have been far too eager to roll over and play dead. I hope that we will not be hearing the same sappy concession speeches where the Democrat concedes for what he or she would call "the good of the country" (TO BE CONTINUED ON NOVEMBER 7, 2006).