Saturday, July 28, 2007
The newly minted Vick, one of the NFL's few black quarterbacks, is being accused of some horrendous charges that involve unfathomable cruelty to animals. I can't say if he turned out to be serial killer and murderer of humans that he would be as reviled as he is for his alleged cruelty to animals. Cruelty to animals like cruelty to children is a very sensitive subject with most people.
Never one to watch a controversy from the sidelines, Al Sharpton jumped into the fray along with Russell Simmons to condemn Vick and to call his sponsors to pull their endorsements. Today they got their wish. Nike and Reebok suspended their sales of Vick's jerseys, footwear and other athletic gear. The animal cruelty charges that Vick faces are too disturbing to ignore, even for his sponsors. Although they have put their endorsements of Vick on hold for now, I expect all of his sponsors to jump ship shortly or face the wrath of PETA and other animal rights activists.
Vick like many other careless black athletes before him have succumbed to that multi-million dollar mentality that makes them believe they are immune to the kind scrutiny that their illicit activities can bring them. The NFL is bursting with ethically challenged athletes like Adam 'Pac Man' Jones and Ricky Manning whose exploits off the football field bring them more notoriety than their exploits on the field. A few years ago, Vick was accusing of giving herpes to woman who was more than happy to settle out of court for a hefty sum of money. Vick neglected to tell this woman that he had herpes. You didn't hear about Nike, Reebok or the Atlanta Falcons wanting to distance themselves from Vick then. Furthermore, you didn't hear Sharpton or Simmons criticizing Vick for practicing unsafe sex or passing along herpes to his female partner. The people who are the loudest in criticizing Vick's alleged activities, were noticeably quiet about the herpes incident.
It doesn't matter if Vick just signed a $130 million dollar deal with the Atlanta Falcons but it does matter that he is a black man excelling in one of the few areas where the income potential for black men is virtually unlimited. Whether the charges are true or not, his reputation is tarnished. This time, his high profile multi-million dollar contract will do more harm than good, at least for now. Whenever I hear these kinds of stories about privileged black athletes making millions of dollars who continue to display bad judgment, I always have to shake my head in disgust; Vick is no exception.
Friday, July 27, 2007
As usual, women and minorities comprise the largest portion of this group. Women account for more than 60% of this group and minorities about 40%. In spite of "doom and gloom" predictions by those proponents of big business who value profit more than people, the new minimum wage will put some much needed cash into their pockets of those who need it the most. Too bad these workers will have to spend most of it on gas, which in my area fluctuates between $2.64 and $3.29 a gallon depending on the time of day, day of week and the direction of the trade winds.
In spite of what you might think, poverty is not a social affliction or contagious disease. Patricia Blank, an economist on the Task Force on Poverty, says that poverty will affect 1/3 of Americans at some time during a 13 year period. The majority of people are one or two paychecks from poverty, all you need to do is lose your job or have some kind of catastrophic illness with our without medical insurance and you can become destitute at the drop of a hat.
Out of the twelve recommendations for cutting poverty in half, here are four simple suggestions that could help to alleviate poverty in the U.S.:
1) People should work and work should pay enough to ensure that workers and their families can avoid poverty, meet basic needs, and save for the future.
2) Children should grow up in conditions that maximize their opportunities for success; adults should have opportunities throughout their lives to connect to work, get more education, live in a good neighborhood, and move up in the workforce.
3) Americans should not fall into poverty when they cannot work or work is unavailable, unstable, or pays so little that they cannot make ends meet.
4) All Americans should have the opportunity to build assets that allow them to weather periods of flux and volatility, and to have the resources that may be essential to advancement and upward mobility.
As simple as these ideas sound, enacting them is much harder.
Monday, July 23, 2007
The fact that blackface is still being debated in 2007 says alot about how sensitive people are about it. Read the translation for yourself and I would consult someone who has some kind of mastery in German before I get bent out of shape over the translations. That kind of campaign would never play here. First of all, the US government has very little concern for the people, culture and goings on in Africa unless they can exploit it to their economic or political advantage.
Concern for Africa as the world's basketcase is about all most American people can relate to. Sadly, we'd never have a campaign devoted to educating Americans about Africa or any other culture that doesn't glorify or compliment our own. Equating blackness with the inferior, dirty and incompetent is not new.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Though her rap career has failed to improve her notoriety, this shooting incident will bring old girl all kinds of publicity. Whether she's guilty or not, she will likely be remembered as that female rapper charged with attempted murder. With Foxy Brown reported missing and Lil Kim on good behavior, female rappers just aren't getting any kind of attention in hip-hop. The fact that the rap game is unimaginative and monotonous, puts female rappers at a disadvantage. It's all about money, hos, cars and clothes. Female rappers have absolutely nothing significant to rap about especially if they are trying to have a successful career. There's no room for female rappers in an industry that built on misogyny, thuggery and hyper sexuality.
As for female rappers, Foxy Brown runs around slapping and spitting on people to get press. Lil' Kim is better known for her wax-like appearance and skimpy outfits than her rap career. God bless Eve, she's trying. If you throw Remy Ma into the mix, you'll soon realize that none of these women have had a hit in ages. So what's up with gun in Remy Ma's handbag? It looks like we'll have to wait for the trial to find out.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
I can't say I feel sorry for the Los Angeles archdiocese or the Catholic Church. Although the victims will receive more than $1.5 million each, it still isn't enough. The Catholic Church has always known about its child molesting priests. Sadly, they chose to protect the perpetrators and enablers instead of the innocent children. Early on when these sexual abuse cases first came out, the Catholic Archdioceses, particularly Boston, hired high-powered, high-priced law firms to intimidate and discourage the accusers. They knew all along that the charges were true, but five or six years ago, they would have thought nothing about trying to sweep the allegations under the rug or engage in deceit.
The lawsuit and the settlement are an attempt by the Catholic Church to clean up their image but it's much too late. They can apologize until the end of the time and pay out money until they are bankrupt but it still wouldn't be enough. When are any of these priests and bishops going to be criminally charged for aiding and abetting and complicity in criminal behavior? I'm still trying to find the part in the Bible that justifies this kind of despicable behavior.
The Catholic Church has proven once again that they are morally superior to no one, this includes the Pope. As much as the priests used their positions to instill both trust and fear in their victims, the Catholic Church used its wealth and power to shield the priests from prosecution. In this case, religion has once again been perverted to justify immoral behavior but it isn't just the Catholic Church, it is all religion. Putting your faith in a mortal human being can often lead to disappointment. As humans, we all have many moral lapses and prejudices that lead us to make wrong decisions but we all know right from wrong. As far as I'm concerned, those bishops and other church officials involved in covering up the scandals are just as guilty as the molesters themselves. They are all criminals.
As much as religion is supposed to provide us with moral and spiritual sustenance, it can also push us to extremes. It has always been used to justify all kinds of immoral acts, child molesting included. Somehow all the religious teaching, meditation and celibacy didn't do these priests any good, they still managed to be child molesters. I can only hope that justice will be served in another venue. Real justice is priceless.
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Thursday, July 05, 2007
She's trailing behind John Edwards and Barack Obama in Iowa and has raised substantially less money than Barack Obama for good reason. What else can Hillary offer besides Bill? N-O-T-H-I-N-G! She's pandering to voters about Iraq when she made it very clear that she wasn't going to apologize for decision to invade Iraq. We already have one pompous jerk in the White House and we certainly don't need another. Hillary Clinton isn't all that different from President Bush. She might be a tad bit smarter; she got into Yale with her brains, he got in because of family connections. Hillary has got to be one of the most insincere politicians around. I stepped out there earlier by saying that she will not be Democrat's presidential candidate; I stand by my words.
Pretending to be all things to all people is trite but she's not above it. Miss Hillary will do whatever she can to win even if that includes slinging mud. She's lost some of her front runner, "I'm ahead in the polls" swagger. She was dumb enough to believe the hype, she should know better. The news media can anoint whomever they want to be the Democratic front runner in 2008 but before they do, they might want to reexamine how Howard Dean's campaign blew-up and later self-destructed. I don't recall Dean being on anyone's front runner list for the Democrats. So much can change between now and the primary so Miss Hillary had better be careful.
Its going to take more than ruthless political ambition to win the Democratic nomination for president; people have to like you. I don't find a darn thing likable about Hillary. I wish she would just go away because it's time for some new blood in the White House. I certainly don't want to see Bill Clinton back in the White House as first husband or anything else. I've had enough of the Clinton-Bush successions, it's time for someone new.
I never cease to be amazed at how ignorant Americans are about the rest of the world, particularly
While I think it’s admirable that celebrities have taken an interest in
Bono has become just as famous for his charity work in sub-Saharan
Like any star-struck journalist, Brian Williams further praised Bono by saying “He is never greeted as just a musician. In fact, he is welcomed as something akin to a head of state. He sits with the presidents of the nations he visits, because they know it is his interest that is driving a massive global effort and pledges of billions of dollars.” If I relied solely on Williams’s opinion, I’d think Bono is the only person who can save
It wasn’t just Brian Williams who jumped on the “Bono saves
The American press’ newfound interest in
To test my theory about celebrities and
Real news about
Recently, Bono has received a great deal of criticism for his involvement in the last G8 summit for good reason. He was given more attention at the summit than poverty, HIV/AIDS and other issues affecting
Regardless of how many wealthy celebrities become involved, African leaders are the only ones who can truly transform the lives of their people. A true commitment to transparency in government and a more equitable society that allows the participation of all its citizens and tolerates opposing viewpoints would be a great start. Bono can travel around the world talking about issues that affect
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Last week my favorite Nobel Peace prize laureate, Desmond Tutu said that Mugabe needed some kind of "face-saving measure" so that he could leave office. It's been clear for quite a long time that Mugabe isn't leaving office unless he is dragged out or carried out. Forget about preserving his self-respect and dignity, the people of Zimbabwe have suffered enough. They've endured numerous indignities: food shortages, the world's highest inflation rate and extreme poverty while being treated with indifference and disdain by their government.
Mugabe, an African nationalist, is quick to blame the British for meddling and the rest of the world for sanctions but he and his men have run Zimbabwe into the ground. Through all of his machismo and posturing, no one has treated the people of Zimbabwe worst than Mugabe. He joins an elite group of African leaders who has exploited his people for financial gain and used his power to intimidate and silence his critics. From shutting down the NGOs operating in his country to threatening to take over businesses who refuse to follow his economic edicts, Mugabe is very desperate man. Forcing businesses to cut prices by 50% while the country is in a state of hyperinflation is an unwise decision.
Feigning concern for the poor masses will not save Mugabe. One of his henchmen, Vice President Joseph Msika said that shops and businesses who refused to comply with the government's decree to cut prices were "sell-outs" working with outside forces to destabilize the economy and topple Mugabe. Mugabe and his henchmen are getting desperate; they've been selling out their own people for years now. Lowering prices and beating up shop owners who refuse to comply is an attempt to curry favor with Zimbabwe's suffering masses.
The best thing Mugabe could do at this point would be to step down as the country's president. Sadly, none of his henchmen are honest enough to give the man some good advice.