Saturday, July 12, 2008

King Family Values

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that Martin Luther King's remaining living children are at odds over the handling of his estate, and the estate of his now deceased wife, Coretta Scott King. Martin King III and his sister, Bernice have filed a lawsuit in Fulton County, GA alleging that Dexter has been mismanaging funds from the estate of both deceased parents.

Hopefully, the King children will resolve their differences in a amicable manner. Money is typically the primary issue that causes rifts between family members, and it's sad that the King children are allowing this dispute to play out in a pubic forum.

McCain Gaining On Obama

Newsweek is reporting in it's latest poll that Senator John McCain has closed Barack Obama's lead down to 3 points. Newsweek surmises, probably correctly that Obama's recent changes in position on items such as campaign finance, and faith based initiatives are alienating some of his liberal base.
Obama needs to tighten up his message and get away from his sometimes condescending and arrogant style of speaking. Black people in general are OK with him talking about personal responsibility, but telling America that we have to speak a foreign language may be outside of his potential scope of authority. Speaking a foreign language is probably not a top priority in these economic times, so Mr. Obama, please get back to a relevant message in which Americans can identify and believe.

Obama Chastises Bernie Mac At Fundraiser

I'm in Barack Obama overload this weekend. Yesterday presumed Democratic nominee Barack Obama had comedian Bernie Mac open for him at a fundraiser in Chicago last night. According to the Chicago Sun Times Bernie ended his routine with the following:
Mac ended his irreverent riff with a joke involving the women in the families and living with two "hos."

Obama came on, gave his speech and closed with the following statement:

"That means, by the way, Bernie, you got to clean up your act. This is a family affair. . . . I'm just messing with you, man."

Barack, you just can't have it both ways. Everyone knows that Bernie Mac uses profanity in his routine. Why would you even have him perform at a fundraiser when you know that the content may be inappropriate for families. Definitely not a good move.

Baltimore's Curfew Program for Youths Shows the Plight of the Black Youth

The city of Baltimore has had curfew laws on the books since 1978. Recently the city police have again begun to reinforce the laws in an effort to get city youth off the streets after certain hours. The new version of the program allows for the police to take the kids to an elementary school, where the kids are interviewed, records are checked for past criminal violations, and they are fed before their parents are called.
The reality of the inner city is that many of the kids are fending for themselves at very young ages. Many succumb to the peer pressure, and in very simple cases in the summer, the youth's homes aren't equipped with air conditioning and they seek refuge in the outside night air.
Although I disagreed with the Rev. Jesse Jackson's statement this week regarding Barack Obama, this is the reality that Obama really hasn't addressed in the black community. Let's face it, there really are two worlds in our community: the world of the middle class where many have escaped to the suburban lifestyle out of the desire to live a better life; the other side, which still dominates our reality is the real underclass, which this Baltimore Sun article addresses regarding curfews.
Barack Obama touts his experience as a community organizer in Chicago, so surely he is aware of the black underclass. If he's elected our next president, and doesn't address the black underclass, then perhaps all of the hype would've been for nothing.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Jesse Hitting The Circuit

Jesse Jackson hit the television circuit yesterday trying to regain what little credibility that he has left. Above is a link to New York Daily News article highlighting one of Jackson's last days in the limelight.

Jesse, I hate to tell you that's it's officially a Wrap!

Dave Bing Considering A Run To Become Detroit's Next Mayor

Former NBA star, and now successful Detroit businessman, Dave Bing is considering a run to become Detroit's next mayor. Bing's goal as the next mayor would be to heal the damage to the city that's been caused by the Kwame Kilpatrick scandal.

Bing, who now runs successful auto supply and real estate development companies, has been perplexed by the fact that Kilpatrick has not resigned from his position as mayor. Bing states that he would only serve for one term, and that would enough time to begin to correct some of the persistent problems that have plagued the city. As of 2006, Detroit's poverty level was 32.6%, and the city is continuing to lose tax revenues as resident continue to flee to the suburbs.

Dave Bing has a ton of credibility in the Detroit area, having played for the Detroit Pistons. he's a Hall of Famer in basketball and business. If he decides to run, it may be just what Detroit needs to begin a much needed revitalization.

Violent Crime Down In Baltimore

Statistics show that crime in our major inner cities continue to spiral out of control with the nightly news blotters continuously showing violent crime after violent crime being committed. It's really sad when a reduction in crime is greeted with enthusiasm by many city officials. Have our standards for success sunk so low? The above link is to an article recently published by the Baltimore Sun highlighting the fact that violent crime in the city is trending towards it's lowest levels 1988, a year before crack infiltrated our inner cities.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sad End of the Rev. Jesse Jackson

This is video from CNN showing the Rev. Jesse Jackson's comments about Presumed Democratic Presidential Nominee Barack Obama. The comments, which Jackson says took place in a private moment focus on Jackson stating that Obama is talking down to black people and that he would like to cut off his private parts. Below is a direct quote from Fox News' Bill O'Reilly stating that there were additional comments made by Jackson that would cause even further embarrassment:

O'REILLY: 'We held back some of this conversation... we didn't feel it had any relevance to the conversation this evening. We are not out to get Jesse Jackson. We are not out to embarrass him and we are not out to make him look bad. If we were, we would have used what we had, which is more damaging than what you have heard'...

The comments that have been shown should effectively end Jackson's reign as a viable civil rights spokesperson. Jackson, whose effectiveness has waned over time made very crude and unnecessary comments referencing Obama's recent assertion that black men need to be morally conscious, and responsible for taking care of their kids and family. The truth is that 25% of black household are headed by black woman. If Jackson feels that black men are holding up their end of this bargain, then he's become senile. The fact that Jackson feels that he has a right to openly criticize Senator Obama is really laughable. Obama talking about black people and personal responsibility is something that needs to addressed in our culture.

Unfortunately Rev. Jackson has become a caricature of himself, and at this points needs to retire and cease talking about black issues. His own son, Jesse Jackson Jr., harshly criticized him for the divisive comments, and has completely rejected them. Rev. Jackson, black people appreciate all that you've done over the years, and we hope that you enjoy your retirement.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Video of The Obama Family On Access Hollywood

This is video of the Obama family on Access Hollywood. Good to see the Obama's in a more casual setting with normal children. Presumed Democratic Nominee, Barack Obama has instructed the press to give his kids privacy by not photographing them, so this intrusion is a change from the privacy edict.

Mentoring Male Teens In The Hood

This is link to a great article from the Baltimore Sun about the inner city program, "Mentoring Male Teens In The Hood". The program's goal is to expose young Baltimore males to role models and new experiences. The article profiles the 47 young males visiting Yale University recently.
Cameron Miles is the architect of the program, and has been funding it for 12 years through outside donations and his own money. The group meets monthly at Coppin State University and Miles ensures that he has a prominent speaker from the area to speak to the young males at each meeting. Kudos to Cameron Miles for giving back to the community in a big way, and developing a great program to uplift young black males.

Vick's Precarious Situation

Former Atlanta Falcon and NFL star Michael Vick filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection on Monday citing debts ranging from $10 - 50 million dollars. Vick is presently serving a 23 month federal prison term related to his guilty plea relating to federal dog fighting charges.
It's hard to feel sorry for Michael Vick because he is an adult who made bad decisions, and is now paying the penalty. However, this is a story that continues to be very sad, because of Vick's vast potential that has now been squandered. Vick rose from the depths of an impoverished background to the height of NFL stardom. Along the the way, like many athletes, Vick developed a superiority complex that would eventually lead to his downfall. By all accounts, Vick was counseled to tell the truth about his involvement in dog fighting and warned that if the federal authorities got involved that it could lead to disaster. Vick was steadfast in his denials until his friends ultimately turned on him.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Vick has appointed David Talbot to handle his financial affairs for which he is being paid $15,000 a month for the duration of the bankruptcy filing. Talbot states that Vick is learning about the principle of obedience through scripture reading, and that he has sought the counsel and advice of Deion Sanders and Tony Dungy among others. Michael Vick is still a very young man, and playing football again shouldn't be his top priority. Hopefully, he becomes a better person for this ordeal and can lead a productive life when his prison term has been completed.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Continued Problems for Detroit Mayor

In what seems to be my daily rant against Detroit Mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, the Detroit Free Press is now reporting that prosecutors are ready to present evidence of a continuous pattern of infidelity against the mayor based on additional text messages in the perjury case against him. It's amazing that Kilpatrick continues to bring embarrassment to the city of Detroit and his family as new evidence surfaces in his case.

At some point the political leaders of Detroit have to step in and request that Kilpatrick resign from office. His former chief aide, Christine Beatty, who is also facing perjury charges, resigned her position months ago. It's clear that Kilpatrick has no respect for for the citizens of Detroit or women in general. If he did, he would have resigned months ago when the text message scandal first surfaced. Imagine costing a city millions of dollars because of a lie, and still keeping your job. Only in America!

Advertisers Pulling Ads From Some BET Shows

According to the Chicago Defender, major sponsors, General Motors and Proctor & Gamble have begun quietly pulling ads from BET stalwarts, Rap City and 106 & Park. Leaders of the Enough is Enough campaign have been spearheading the effort to make corporations more responsible for the the ads that have been running during these particular shows. Enough is Enough is challenging the lyrical and visual content of the videos shown on BET and requesting that advertisers hold BET accountable for what images that are being displayed on the station.

BET's position at present is that other advertisers have moved into the slots vacated by both sponsors, and specifically GM has shifted ads to other shows on the station. The Enough is Enough campaign presents an interesting dilemma for BET. If more advertisers begin pulling ads due to continued pressure, the station may be forced to alter it's programming and align with more positive stereotypes and images. This would be a welcome change, since as presently constituted the station is adding very little to impact positive imagery in our community.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Swagger Phenomenon

"Swagger" seems to be the new buzz word in our community when a black female refers to a male who has arrogance, confidence or the "it" factor. Swagger has become the new term of endearment when a black woman now refers to a black male. Is it me, or are we becoming very shallow.

On the surface, there's really not a problem with someone having swagger, except that in many cases it's only referring to someone who is prominent in the hip hop culture. Lil Wayne is a recent addition to the swagger list. Diddy, Jeezy, Kanye, David Banner, Rick Ross all would be considered to have swagger. Barack Obama has swagger in some female circles, but not in all. Is it because he wears a suit everyday, and speaks with proper diction? We're in a pretty tough place when a young male who may be the next business leader, doctor, lawyer or just a productive citizen has no chance of having the "swagger" tag associated with him because of stereotypes.

The choices for black females are already slim, since in present day statistics, 50 percent of black males don't even graduate from high school. The choices become even slimmer when we begin stereotyping what's cool down to anyone associated only with the hip hop community. It's amazing that while all of these images are being perpetuated by music videos and supported by BET, that young black woman are readily accepting of these images as potential "baby daddies". By contrast, while a black male may view a scantily clad video vixen as sexually appealing, you can bet that he would not take the vixen home to Mommy.

Swagger is not a negative attribute by any stretch of the imagination, but black women need to look way beyond the swagger phenomenon and into the depths of the man's soul, and make sure that Mom's OK with you bringing him home.

Usher Looking To Bring Back Mom As Manager?

According to New York Daily News' Rush and Molloy, R&B Superstar Usher may be looking to bring his mother, Jonetta Patton back as his manager. Usher, who released his latest CD, "Here I Stand", in May of this year appears to be at a crossroads in his career that he probably didn't anticipate. Coming off of his last CD "Confessions" which sold nearly 10 million copies, Usher probably felt that sales of his latest release would be brisk. Usher didn't realize that you still have to make good music, and you have to be guided by someone who will give you constructive criticism. Hopefully Usher will rehire his mother, and reclaim his rightful place on the throne of R&B singers.

Chrysler's Toledo Ohio Plant: 45 Civil Rights Complaints in The Past 18 Months

This a very disturbing story, that's been profiled by the Detroit Free Press. A Chrysler Plant in Toledo, Ohio, and the United Auto Workers have faced an inordinate amount of sexual harassment cases in the past 18 months. Typically major companies move very quickly when there is even a hint of harassment taking place in the workplace. The high number of complaints is disturbing and clearly displays a hostile environment for females.

Rev. Timothy Wright's Wife and Grandson Killed in Auto Accident

This is a very sad story. Brooklyn, NY pastor and renowned Gospel artist, The Rev. Timothy Wright's wife and grandson were killed in a car accident on Friday evening when a wrong way driver hit their vehicle. Wright was hospitalized and listed in critical condition. Prayers go out to the family for their tragic loss.

Cookie Johnson Speaking Out About HIV Testing

Cookie Johnson, Magic Johnson's wife, will be starring with her husband in a 5 year, $60 million campaign urging black woman to get tested for HIV. Cookie Johnson tested negative for the virus nearly 17 years ago after her husband had been diagnosed with HIV. HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death in black woman aged 24-34. The normally media shy wife of the former NBA superstar is making a noble gesture in continuing to get the word out about the deadly virus. Perhaps she'll be willing to speak out more forcefully in hopes of changing behaviors amongst black woman that will reduce the incidence of the disease in our community.