Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Supreme Court Overturns Roe v Wade

No they haven’t yet, but it won’t be long. This Court has shown with its recent decisions that it is not the Court it claimed to be. These same men who when testifying before the Senate, claimed to respect precedence and stated that the Court had become too activist, are now disrespecting precedence and being activist. This Court is merely waiting for the right case to hang their hats on to overturn Wade.

As for the Supreme Court, we now know that the president's two nominees, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, are exactly what many of us thought they were: activist conservatives intent on leading a judicial counterrevolution. Yesterday's 5 to 4 ruling tossing out two school desegregation plans was another milestone on the court's march to the right.

Even after he was confirmed, Roberts was talking about something other than the 5 to 4 conservative court we saw this year on case after case. In a speech at Georgetown University Law School in May 2006, Roberts rightly argued that "the rule of law is strengthened when there is greater coherence and agreement about what the law is." It's a shame this quest for broader majorities had so little bearing on the 2007 Roberts-led court.[1]

Make no mistake about it, if you are a right to choose supporter, your right to choose is about to be greatly curtailed. It is human nature to take things for granted and for many having the right to choose has been taken for granted. It will always be there. No one would dare to turn back the clocks. Yes they not only dare, but will. The frightening thing about the latest decisions is the fact that this Court has no problem vacating precedence of previous courts, while at the same time citing the very precedence they are tearing down. Does this sound familiar to anyone? (Clear Skies, No Child Left behind, etc.)

Three conservative justices, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Anthony Kennedy, were willing to admit that in voiding this part of the law they were overturning a precedent set by the court only four years ago. But Roberts and Alito pretended to follow the earlier ruling while ripping its guts out. Scalia called this "faux judicial restraint."

"The court (and, I think, the country) loses when important precedent is overruled without good reason," Justice David H. Souter wrote for the dissenters. Exactly. But upsetting precedent, directly or indirectly, is a major goal of this new conservative majority.

As Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute noted this week in Roll Call, the issue-ad decision demonstrated "not a careful, conservative deference to Congress" but instead "a willingness by Roberts to toss aside Congress' conclusions to fit his own ideological predispositions" -- the very definition of judicial activism.[2]

The Court has gone from legal scholars to a bunch of political hacks with a political agenda that the country has lost faith in. By allowing the Court to be politicized and polarized by these right wing zealots, we have turned the clock back on all of the progressive legislation of the past 50 years. If this Court has its way integration, labor, and abortion will return to their previous pre-war status; civil war that is. While the Supreme Court has always been the protector of White male privilege and over the course of the history of this country have rendered some bad decisions (Dred Scott v. Sanford, Plessy v. Ferguson, Kelo v. City of New London, & Bush v. Gore), but atleast they were based in law, bad law, but still law. Today we have a group that is unconcerned with the rule of law and only the political agenda of the Conservative movement. A movement that has proven it is bankrupt in both ideas and support.

Those who are activist will need to dust off the protest signs and put on the marching shoes, because there is a fight brewing in this country. You cannot continue to deny people Constitution protection and not expect a backlash. As this nation transforms from white to brown, the old boy standards will try to hold back the tide of change. This Court has shown that those seeking equal protection under the law will need to seek it someplace other than in the Courts. Change will need to come not because of this Court, but in spite of this Court.

Maybe the positive in all of this is that it will force those who want progressive change to come together and wake up from their present apathetic state. We must discontinue the infighting and the separate agendas that have been the bane of progressives for the last decade. In an effort to enlarge the tent we have allowed the movement to incorporate ideas that most Americans are not yet ready to embrace. It is a shame that it will take the issue of abortion to get people off the couch, while issues of discrimination cause little more than a ripple.

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/28/AR2007062801791.html

[2] Ibid.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Justice May Finally Get Served

In a long overdue and long awaited move the Supreme Court of Georgia has finally agreed to hear the case of Genarlow Wilson. For those of you who do not know this is the case of the Black teenager in Georgia who at the age of 17 had consensual sex with a girl of 15 and was sentenced to 10 years in the penitentiary. This case has gained in notoriety and coverage as it has proceeded throughout the appeals process. The same crime that Mr. Wilson has served three years for was changed by the state legislature from a felony to a misdemeanor after the conviction of Mr. Wilson; however the legislature did not make it retroactive which would have freed Mr. Wilson.

This case has been blogged and reported on extensively by many outlets and has found some space in the MSM. I will not belabor the case, but I wanted to express my appreciation to the Georgia State Supreme Court for accepting the case and hopefully righting an ugly wrong. This case represents some of the worst things about America and its refusal to look at its racial policies and relationships. I just pray that this youngman can soon put this nightmare behind him and continue on with some semblance of his life.

I would also like to say to the Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker, what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? In your effort to enhance your political career, you have allowed this child to remain in prison against any standard of decency or legal precedence. I hope the voters in Georgia send you a message in the next election, that sacrificing a child for your political advancement will not be tolerated. It amazes me how some minorities feel like they have to outdo whites at being white. Wake up Mr. Baker no matter how many Black children you send to prison, you will still be just another ni**er in many people’s minds.

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Armageddon 2

With the growing sentiments in Washington among lawmakers turning away from our continued presence in Iraq building momentum, it appears that the military strategists have been working on exit strategies. It is especially important to consider options as the President continues to play the Armageddon card to use fear tactics to coerce people to continue to support his Iraq policies. Because of my skepticism of this administration, I cannot accept at face value any predictions that they make, no matter how sincere they may appear on the surface.

So what do our brilliant military minds with the help of millions of tax payer dollars predict the outcome of our withdrawal will be? As usual that depends on who you talk to, some tend to side with the end of the world crowd, but many more tend to believe that while it will be bad, it will not be the apocalyptic scenario being bandied around the Beltway.

That was the conclusion reached in recent "war games" exercises conducted for the U.S. military by retired Marine Col. Gary Anderson. "I honestly don't think it will be apocalyptic," said Anderson, who has served in Iraq and now works for a major defense contractor. But "it will be ugly."

However, just as few envisioned the long Iraq war, now in its fifth year, or the many setbacks along the way, there are no firm conclusions regarding the consequences of a reduction in U.S. troops. A senior administration official closely involved in Iraq policy imagines a vast internecine slaughter as Iraq descends into chaos but cautions that it is impossible to know the outcome. "We've got to be very modest about our predictive capabilities," the official said.[1]

The consensus is that Iraq will be divided into the three ethnic groups that now comprise Iraq. We will have the Kurds in the north, the Sunnis in the west, and the Shia in the center and south. I listen to these predictions with a grain of salt, remember these are the same guys who predicted that we would be welcomed with garland wreaths, that the insurgency was dead, and that the mission was accomplished.

I have a different take on the outcome of our withdrawal. Now of course for all of us this is conjecture, but for what it’s worth here is my two cents. I think that the government is going to collapse shortly after our departure. This government has shown time and again that it is either incapable or unwilling to protect, govern, or enlist the support of the people. More and more Iraqis believe that this government in particular and politics in general have nothing to do with their day to day survival. An infant government cannot rule without the support of the people. So, the government collapses, then what?

I believe that after some sectarian violence and infighting, Mr. Moktada al-Sadr, the Shite cleric will emerge as the de facto leader of Iraq. Mr. Sadr has already been aligning himself to become the populist leader that the Iraqi people can rally behind. Mr. Sadr has been able to gain traction being on both sides, he appears as an outsider, but uses politics to advance his agenda, he appears as a peaceful man, yet his Sadr Brigade has been carrying out attacks against Sunnis. He already has a reputation for standing up against the Americans and he does not have a clear alliance with Iran.

BAGHDAD, July 18 — After months of lying low, the anti-American Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr has re-emerged with a shrewd strategy that reaches out to Iraqis on the street while distancing himself from the increasingly unpopular government.

Mr. Sadr and his political allies have largely disengaged from government, contributing to the political paralysis noted in a White House report last week. That outsider status has enhanced Mr. Sadr’s appeal to Iraqis, who consider politics less and less relevant to their daily lives.

Mr. Sadr has been working tirelessly to build support at the grass-roots level, opening storefront offices across Baghdad and southern Iraq that dispense services that are not being provided by the government. In this he seems to be following the model established by Hezbollah, the radical Lebanese Shiite group, as well as Hamas in Gaza, with entwined social and military wings that serve as a parallel government.[2]

If I were working on the plan after withdrawal, I would be trying to rehabilitate the relationship with Mr. Sadr. He will be one of the main, if not the main player after our withdrawal. Of course our clowns in Washington will find a way to let another opportunity slip away. Once again they will allow short-sightedness and our relationship to Israel to ruin any chance we could have to continue to exert some level of influence in Iraq. Mark my words when this thing goes bad, it will deteriorate quickly. Once we withdrawal there will be a lot of people jockeying for position. My fear is that due to our inaction or maybe by our design we will end up with another Saddam. Another line in the dictator/strongman series that Washington and the Pentagon love to use for just such an emergency. There are many twists and turns waiting to be played out in this plot, but my money is on Mr. Sadr and short of his assassination I think he will be king. It’s good to be king!

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/16/AR2007071601680_2.html?hpid=topnews

[2] http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/19/world/middleeast/19sadr.html

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Crisis Of Conscience

We in the Black community are at a crossroads. We are coming to the place where we are becoming irrelevant in America in any meaningful way. What has created this crisis and how did we get here? There are many factors that have led us to this place. Slavery, racism, complacency, institutionalized inferiority, self-hate, moral degradation, personal irresponsibility, are all contributing factors and I’m sure you can name more. For too long we have been looking backwards and not forwards. We have been too preoccupied with the past thanks to our so-called leaders and not the future. We have had a failure of leadership at the highest levels. Those who have been placed in positions of leadership should look at the state of affairs in Black America and feel ashamed, I know I would. Instead of positioning us to move forward through education, self-sacrifice, and hard work they have promised us a panacea of worthless dreams. However, for themselves and their families they have created a future full of promise. There are those who have achieved their modicum of success on the backs of their brothers and sisters.

Though we have more Black people with money than ever before, we are worst off as a people than we have ever been in our history. Why has achievement as a people eluded us even though we have more material wealth? There is a disconnection between those that have achieved material success and the average Black person on the street. There is a growing gap between those that have and the have-nots. The rising tide has not raised all boats.

While we spend tremendous amounts of time and energy annihilating the outsiders who dare to use the same words we use to describe ourselves and yet we do nothing against those in our community that dispense the vile vermin that poisons our minds and the minds of our children. Where are the protest marches outside of Sean Combs studio or any number of other hip-hop artists that poison the air waves with violence, sexism, and the worst attributes of our communities? We have no trouble picketing CBS over Don Imus, yet where is the outrage for those who we really should fear? Who should we be more afraid of a few washed up white media personalities that most of our children have never heard of or those who invade our homes and our air waves everyday with all manner of mental pollution?

There will be those who speak about artistic expression and the “language of the street”, but those arguments hold no weight. There is more going on in our communities than the “thug life” that these so called Black artists are portraying. When has our community been about nothing, but drug dealing, dope smoking, and killing other Black men? These so called Black men are more responsible for other young Black men being killed than any racist white men. The Klan no longer have anything to do, we are finishing the job ourselves. These men who profit from the misery of their brothers and sisters are worse than any racist. At least with an outsider you can see it coming, but these people they are doing from the inside what no outsider could do. It is a known fact that what you listen to is what you become. This isn’t about some musical expression; this is about the intentional internal genocide for the sake of fortune and fame. Is everyone in the Black community selling drugs, smoking dope, and killing? When did this become our only story? This is not my story. Is it yours?

Why have we allowed this “gang and prison mentality” to become our story? Why have we abdicated the responsibility of raising our children to these clowns? If these were whites saying these things there would be full scale riots, but because they are Black there is silence. It is this silence that is killing us. It is not just killing us physically, but spiritually and emotionally as well. We have allowed this to continue for too long. There should have been an outcry at the very beginning, yet we allowed this genre to define who we were and what we believed. We should all be ashamed. We may have lost a whole generation of children because of our inaction and complacency.

Instead of extolling the values of education and hard work we have allowed them to believe that if they live this thug life they can be successful. I work in the community and all the time I talk to young men and I ask them why they won’t take a starting job. They tell me that they should be earning 15.00 an hour, I ask what skills they possess worthy of earning this money and they say none or I can rap. They spend hours and hours listening to these lyrics, teaching them that education is for sell-outs and that women are just to be used and disposed of like yesterdays garbage. I remember when I was young there was a movie called, “Superfly” and it depicted the life of a drug dealer/pimp. To this day it still amazes me the number of people that tried to make this movie reality. You had men changing their hair to match the actor’s hair and the whole nine. This was just a two hour movie; imagine what listening to this garbage hour after hour is doing to the psyche of our children. You would think that the only things happening in our communities are these things depicted in these songs and videos. There is a concept known as “self-fulfilling prophesy” and it is a prediction that, in being made, actually causes itself to become true.

“The self-fulfilling prophecy is, in the beginning, a false definition of the situation evoking a new behaviour which makes the original false conception come 'true' This specious validity of the self-fulfilling prophecy perpetuates a reign of error. For the prophet will cite the actual course of events as proof that he was right from the very beginning.[1]

What we are witnessing is the fulfillment of this in our communities, these thugs would have you to believe that our neighborhoods are as they describe and our children in an effort to imitate these thugs bring about the very environment these thugs rap about and then they say, “See this is what is happening in my neighborhood.” Anyone who disagrees with their scenario is labeled a sell-out or out of touch with reality. I submit that these thugs are out of touch with reality. They will never define me with their stereotypical clown roles for the Black man. Their perception is not my reality and it never will be.

We have a rich heritage in the Black community of overcoming all types of obstacles, both internal and external. It is time we rid ourselves of this cancer, before it is too late and we lose another generation of Black kids.

[1] Robert K. Merton, Social Theory and Social Structure, Free Press, 1968, p. 477, ISBN 0-02-921130-1.

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Friday, July 27, 2007


BAGHDAD, July 9 — The Iraqi foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, warned today that an early American withdrawal from Iraq could bring on an all-out civil war and regional conflict, pointedly telling the United States that it had responsibilities to continue lending support to the Baghdad government.

Mr. Zebari also asserted that Iraq’s neighbor Turkey had massed 140,000 troops near his country’s northern border and urged it to resolve differences with dialogue, not through force.

Mr. Zebari, who is a Kurd, said Iraq was ready “to address all Turkish legitimate security concerns over the P.K.K. or any terrorist activities,” but he warned that Turkey should not use force, and that the Iraqi government was “definitely opposed to any military incursion or any violations of Iraqi sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

He insisted his government was not “running away from our responsibilities” in Iraqi Kurdistan, but he pleaded for patience, saying that Iraq’s security forces were already overstretched “fighting terrorism here in the streets and neighborhoods of Baghdad.” He urged the revival of a security and military commission to bring together the United States, Iraq and Turkey “to agree on practical measures” to resolve the situation.[1]

As the level of support quickly vanishes from the “surge” strategy, the administration and its Iraqi frontmen are already starting to sound the alarm. This is the final card left to play in an attempt to resurrect this failed war. How can you scare people when there have already been well over 150,000 people killed with the threat of more deaths. This is akin to going down to hell and threatening to turn up the heat, it’s already a little warm here.

The chorus will continue to build as the US ambassador to Iraq, the President, and of course the ever truthful Tony Snow will began blowing the trumpet of impending doom should we decide to finally take our toys and go home. Of course the difficulty of the situation is that no one involved has a lick of credibility left. This administration has forfeited any “political capital” and credibility it had throughout the prosecution of this war.

The next question is, “Are we responsible for what happens in Iraq after we withdrawal?” And should our withdrawal policy be based on the possible outcomes in Iraq. Are we still under the, you broke it doctrine? Can we completely leave Iraq in the state it is in and not look back. Have we created a hornet’s nest of terrorism that we can just walk away from and not expect it to follow us home, stinging us all the way? What if anything do we owe the Iraqi people?

Today we have many more questions than answers and while no one really knows what will happen in Iraq when we leave despite all the dire predictions. We don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow, but we do know what has happened and what is happening today and that is that we are not making Iraq more secure and we are not helping the Iraqis to have a better life. It appears that our only purpose now is to allow the Shai and the Kurds to cement their power structures and in the end propagate continued strife and bloodshed as they exert their dominance and settle scores of the past. It will be another Middle East country stuck in the viscous cycle of senseless violence and retaliation.

I do believe in our absence there will be a spike in violence, but not to the apocalyptic level that these people are projecting. There will be efforts to quell the insurgency and the terrorist activities and these are going to require an upswing in violence. In the end the violence will subside and the Iraqis will either go about the business of rebuilding their country together or separate, it will be their choice. How they resolve the decisions that affect their future will, as it always has been, by their choice. It is the height of arrogance to believe that we are controlling that debate or the outcome. As I have stated many times, democracy cannot be exported at the end of a gun. The Iraqis will either embrace democracy or they won’t; our presence there will not force them into it. As we have seen, our pressure on the new government has backfired; the Iraqi government has yet to make substantial progress on any of the so-called benchmarks given by the President. And despite this evidence you still have the die-hards wanting to stay the course.

But Connecticut independent, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, continued his longtime support of Bush's war strategy on the Senate floor Tuesday, saying that "American and Iraqi security forces are winning." The 2000 Democratic vice presidential candidate accused lawmakers of bowing to opinion polls and upcoming elections.[2]

Do they drug test these guys? If not, I think we should make it mandatory. This guy has to be on drugs to say some of the things he says. No rational person could see what is happening in Iraq and claim victory. Let’s try something new and different, let’s allow the people of a country to decide their own future…Oooooo pretty scary stuff!

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/news/news-iraq.html

[2] http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/07/10/us.iraq/index.html

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

“If you knew that happened, would you stay here?”

(This is a follow up to “The Silence is Killing Us”

What I am about to write about has got to be one of the most horrific crimes I have ever heard about and as I was reading it I couldn’t believe it. What this crime says about us as people is startling and damning. How could we have let places in this country get this bad? This neglect of the poor has to stop; this silence to criminals must end.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., July 16 — The single mothers and children who fill most of the apartments at Dunbar Village — a housing project on the poor, black, north side of this city — are used to nightly gunfire. They are used to theft, assault, murder and the indifference of federal and local authorities.

But nothing could have prepared them for the awfulness of the attack that took place last month, which the local prosecutor called “the worst crime I’ve seen in 37 years in the business.

After dark on June 18, the police say, as many as 10 armed assailants repeatedly raped a Haitian immigrant in her apartment at Dunbar Village and then went further, forcing her to perform oral sex on her 12-year-old son. They took cellphone pictures of their acts. They burned the woman’s skin and the boy’s eyes with cleaning fluid, forced them to lie naked together in the bathtub, hit them with a broom and a gun and threatened to set them on fire.

Neighbors did not respond to her screams, and no one called the police. The victims ended up walking a mile to the nearest hospital afterward.[1]

Being poor is no excuse for this to happen to you. This should be an outrage to all Americans who value decency. There is so much blame in this story; I don’t know where to start. Should I start with a system that raises teenagers this merciless and depraved, or should I start with the neglect of the city officials elected to serve and protect that turn a blind eye to this neighborhood, or should I start with the neighbors who sit there for three hours listening to this woman and her child screaming and did nothing?

There have been 3 arrests made in this case and they range in age from 14 to 16, these are kids. Where do they get this level of cruelty? It would be just a sad commentary if it was an isolated incident, but these types of crimes are becoming all too common place in our communities. As more and more of these kids gain access to guns, drugs, and “gangsterism” these crimes have escalated. They are happening in all of our Black communities, the value of life in the hood has never been cheaper. It is as though respect for life is missing from a large proportion the current generations. Many of these little thugs and hooligans believe that their drug money and thug lifestyle gives them carte blanche in our neighborhoods and the more we fear them the stronger they become. They rely on silence and fear to perpetrate these atrocities. If this type of behavior was being documented anywhere else in the world, there would be outrage. Yet these types of crimes are committed with impunity against our women and children. Where are our men?

The next obvious question is where are the city officials elected to protect all of its citizens. How the mayor of this city is able to sleep is beyond me, but not just this mayor but a lot of other ones. Have our city officials taken the stance that we should just let the poor, black people kill themselves, so long as it doesn’t spill over into the suburbs. The whole government of this city has let this women and her child down. There is obviously an attitude in this city that contacting the authorities is a waste of time and if this is in fact true then anarchy is not far away. There is a growing belief in many communities that the police will not protect and the DA’s will not convict so what’s the use. Many are living in fear that they will be hung out to dry if they come forward. It is as though the police have conceded parts of our cities to these thugs and that the residents of these neighborhoods are on their own against these gangs. The police chief of this city should resign in disgrace or be fired for allowing this attitude to take place. There is a crisis situation in our neighborhoods that require more than our current political leaders and police officials are doing. This is racism at its worse. You won’t protect the citizenry against these gangs, but you also don’t allow the citizenry to protect themselves.

And finally for the residents that did nothing, you deserve the biggest condemnation. These residents listened to this woman and her son scream for three hours and did nothing. Noone even bothered to call the police while this atrocity was taking place. This isn’t some war torn village this is a city in the richest country in the world and in one of the richest places in that country. What breaks my heart is that these residents have to be so detached from the violence around them that they could witness this attack, not respond and can face themselves in the mirror. Are they so jaded by the lack of concern of others that the screams of a mother and a child go unheeded? What does that say about us as a nation? As a community?

Outside another unit, Calvin Jones, 71, said he would leave with his 13-year-old granddaughter this weekend. They came to Dunbar Village from Gulfport, Miss., after Hurricane Katrina, Mr. Jones said, and now they were going back — though with no home.

“If you knew that happened,” he asked, “would you stay here?”[2]

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/19/us/19palm.html

[2] http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/19/us/19palm.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Respect Your Elders

As the world celebrates the birthday of Nelson Mandela, an announcement was made. Mr. Mandela is celebrating his 89th birthday and instead of quietly sinking into the west, he and a few of his elder friends are joining together to create a “council of elders”. The Elders as they will be called will consist of elder statespersons who will try to use their leadership, prestige, and notoriety to resolve some of the world’s most difficult problems. While many observers and naysayers will see this as an opportunity to grandstand and grind some political axes, I think it may set precedence for future responses to conflicts and global intransigence.

JOHANNESBURG, July 17 — Melding serious statesmanship and a dose of audacity, the former South African president, Nelson R. Mandela, and a clutch of world-famous figures plan to announce on Wednesday a private alliance to launch diplomatic assaults on the globe’s most intractable problems.

The alliance, to be unveiled during events marking Mr. Mandela’s 89th birthday, is to be called the Elders. Among others, it includes the retired Anglican archbishop Desmond Tutu; former President Jimmy Carter; the former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan; and the human-rights activist and former Irish president Mary Robinson.

The remaining announced members of the group are Graça Machel, Mr. Mandela’s wife and a noted Mozambican human-rights activist; Muhammad Yunus, the Bangladeshi who won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in extending loans to impoverished borrowers; Ela Bhatt, a women’s trade union leader in India; and Li Zhaoxing, who was China’s foreign minister until this year. [1]

Initially, I believe that this group will be ignored by the current world leaders, many of whom have the misguided belief that they are above international law and that their national interest supersedes the interest of anyone else’s on the planet. Provided that the group uses even handed approaches to conflicts and issues regardless of the participants, I think over time they may gain a groundswell of influence through public opinion. This of course will be their only weapon against the nationalist fervor that will result in their stances on many issues.

I think that given time and serious consideration this group could go a long way in reuniting a world that has been fractured recently by a misguided few. Of course that would require the majority of Americans to give up their empire ambitions and learn to respect and live in the world as a global citizen. This will require a lot of work, because whether they like to admit it or not many Americans like being the biggest kid on the block. What good is being the biggest kid if you can’t enjoy an occasional butt kicking of some smaller kid?

In order to truly be effective the impartiality of the panel must be unimpeachable. There are many conservatives who despite Iraq have not given up on their designs for world domination. They will look upon any group looking to check their current loose cannon as a attack on the sovereignty of America and will be sure to pull out the old rally around the flag arguments they used so well in the build up to Iraq. Anyone attempting to curb their unchecked power will immediately get lumped in with Osama and handily dismissed.

I think that the elders can give the world a new perspective and help to light the way into a new world of cooperation in solving the problems that affect us all as members in this global club. If they are able to highlight and provide solutions to some of our more intransigent problems they will get well deserved trust and praise.

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/18/world/africa/18safrica.html

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Palestinian Do-Over

Well ,you know what they say if you don’t get it right the first time try, try again. It appears that this is the philosophy of the Fatah sect of the Palestinian government, the Bush administration, and the Israelis. Unhappy with the results of last year’s Palestinian election, which saw the Hamas faction winning big, it has been decided that those results should be dispensed with and new elections should be held. Now why didn’t we think of that in 2000 and 2004? If you don’t like the results of an election, just call a do-over. Unlike our case we are not talking about an election with contested results, this was an election that was considered fair by all parties.

So what’s the problem? The problem is that the Palestinians don’t understand democracy. They foolishly think that democracy means that the winner of an election is allowed to govern for the term of that election. Wrong, the way democracy really works is that if you have the nerve to elect a government that the powers that be do not like, approve of, or recognize then that election is invalidated. The nerve of these people to think they get to elect their own representatives. After decades of corruption, lack of progress in peace talks, and torture of their own people, the Palestinians decided to go another way from the Fatah monopoly.

Abbas made the announcement ahead of a gathering of the Palestine Liberation Organization's powerful Central Council. The council was expected to call for early elections as a way toward ending the bitter power struggle between Abbas' Fatah movement and the Islamic militant group Hamas.

Hamas trounced Fatah in 2006 legislative elections, setting off more than a year of factional strife that culminated with Hamas' violent takeover of the Gaza Strip last month.

Abbas responded by forming an emergency government based in the West Bank.

Hamas has said it would oppose a call for new elections, saying it is being robbed of last year's victory.[1]

So this is the type of democracy that the Bush administration wants to import to the Middle-East? It’s no wonder the rest of the region is not dying to get a part of this. You can’t have open and fair elections and then invalidate the results; it kind of defeats the purpose of open and fair elections; sort of like that whole “fair and balanced” thing with Fox news. It is this type of empire philosophy that is fueling the ire of the world; we know better than you what is right for you. It is not democracy when the results of the election are rigged in advance. It appears that the folks in the White House and in Tele Aviv could use a class in democracy.

Rather than address the true obstacles to peace, let’s focus on the group that the Palestinians have chosen to negotiate for them. Let’s ignore the continued settlement building, the assassinations, and the apartheid regime and act shocked by the fact that these people are frustrated and want new leadership. Why can’t they be fat, dumb, and happy like our democracy has made us? These same politicos that decried the fake elections of Saddam and other dictators have the nerve to claim the moral high ground here. The hypocrisy of this blatant attempt to thwart the will of the Palestinian people is so obvious, I would suggest that the Palestinians should boycott any attempt at new elections. If they will not honor the last elections what makes you think they will honor this one? Maybe, because prior to the next election they plan to release millions of dollars into the economy in an attempt to buy the Palestinians silence and prevent true democracy from taking place.

“Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to go beyond promise, it costs nothing” - Edmund Burke

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Palestinians-Abbas.html?hp

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Monday, July 23, 2007

…That Person Will Be Taken Care Of

When President Bush uttered those words no one had any idea what “taken care of” meant. I of course being naïve and not understanding “Bushisms” took it to mean that the person would be punished. Well, the truth is somewhat different; what he meant to say is that the person would have their sentence commuted and at the end of his term they would be pardoned. If I had only taken that foreign language class I would have known this. It also means that we will look no further for the real culprit, because this thing has run its course.[1]

Why is it that no matter who is in the White House when a thing gets hot and uncomfortable, they always say the thing has run its course? I don’t get it, are we so brain-dead that these people believe that we won’t remember what they have said in the past? Have politicians gotten so brazen in their “rhetoric” that they will say anything only to retract it at some later date? For those who have had a lobotomy in the past couple of years, let me refresh your memory.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush said Tuesday he welcomes a Justice Department investigation into who revealed the classified identity of a CIA operative.

"If there's a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is," Bush told reporters at an impromptu news conference during a fund-raising stop in Chicago, Illinois. "If the person has violated law, that person will be taken care of.[2]

This was what Mr. Bush said in 2004. I recall him saying that if the person was found in his administration they would be subject to prosecution. I remember how tough he talked about respecting law and order. These guys kill me; they want everyone else to respect law and order so long as they don’t have to. What kind of example are we setting when the head of our government will not obey the laws of the land? Mr. Bush you wanted to know who the leaker was in 2004, I guess you’re not as interested today huh? It appears that it wouldn’t matter anyway, the only person charged with a crime from this you’ve let off the hook. This is sort of how this administration conducted the hunt for Osama, and for my right winged friends, no this isn’t the same guy as Obama. You guys can find Obama; it is the other one who is presenting a problem. If the Fox news people spent as much time on locating Osama as they do bashing Obama, he would probably be in custody about now.

Speaking of Fox news, I thought it was very appropriate that Mr. Bush stated that his commuting Mr. Libby’s sentence was, “fair and balanced”; who thinks this crap up? I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.

Bush described as "fair and balanced" his decision to commute the prison term of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the former aide to Vice President Cheney who was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice for his role in the leak of CIA officer Valerie Plame's identity.

Bush went on to say he had not spent "a lot of time" talking with people in his administration about court testimony in the Libby case. But he added: "I'm aware of the fact that perhaps somebody in the administration did disclose the name of that person, and I've often thought about what would have happened had that person come forth and said, I did it. Would we have had this, you know, endless hours of investigation and a lot of money being spent on this matter?"[3]

I pray that one of these days the laws will apply to everyone, not just the “crack head” on the corner, but the “crackedheads” in the White House. I know it is wishful thinking, but we all have our dreams…Keep hope alive!

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/12/AR2007071201479.html?hpid=artslot

[2] http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/09/30/wilson.cia/

[3] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/12/AR2007071201479.html?hpid=artslot

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Back in Da Hood

A federal grand jury in Richmond indicted Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick and three other men yesterday on charges related to their alleged operation of a dogfighting ring based at a property Vick owns in southeastern Virginia.

Vick, one of the NFL's most exciting players, was charged with competitive dogfighting and conducting the venture across state lines. The 19-page indictment alleged Vick was highly involved in the operation, alleging that he attended fights and paid off bets when his dogs lost. It said he also was involved in the executions of dogs that did not perform well.[1]

Many people will wonder how a man under contract to make 130 million dollars, not to mention millions more in endorsements, could be involved in something so cruel as what has been alleged in this case? A man who arguably is one of the best athletes in the NFL and a public icon in Atlanta is being indicted for such a heinous crime. Why is it that so many Black superstars continue to find themselves on the front pages accused of criminal activity, some of it imitating “gangster” behavior publically? Are Black stars different from White stars?

In order to get a better understanding of what is taking place; one must look into the history of many of these stars. It is in looking at their backgrounds that their behavior begins to not seem as bizarre as we would like to think. Many of us cannot understand how men who are making ungodly amounts of money are willing to throw it all away to ride around carrying guns, smoking pot, and assaulting women. Let me start by saying that the majority of athletes both Black and White are not criminals. Because we live in a celebrity driven society the media will continue to highlight the ones that they consider newsworthy. This may not be fair, but everyone who signs on for their 15 minutes are aware of the rules and consents to them. You can’t accept the money and the perks from having celebrity status, but then whine when they use it to sell newspapers, because you got caught doing something stupid. It may be something that Joe Sixpack may do all day long and nobody says anything, but that’s because he is not considered newsworthy. Again, it isn’t fair but its how the game is played.

Having read a number of articles concerning this particular case and others that are similar in recent weeks, I can’t help but notice that there are those who will defend a Black man no matter what he is accused of, convicted of, or confessed to doing. I understand the desire to do so, but at the same time it is this blind race defending that cheapens the times when there really is racial outrage. It is not a secret that Black stars are targeted by the media, law enforcement, and an angry white public. There are those who would like nothing better than to see the frailties of Black men and women exposed and make it stereotypical of all Blacks. Again it doesn’t make it right, it just makes it real. Every Black person in America is aware of these harsh facts at an early age and lives their lives accordingly. Having said that, it would be foolish of me to acknowledge that I am being profiled and still continue to do stupid behavior. When I smoked pot, if the police were behind me I wouldn’t pull out a joint and light it. I don’t care how many white boys were driving down the street doing it, I knew better.

We should stop confusing how things should be, with how things are. Sure in a perfect world we would all be judged equally and based on our character and not our color, but we don’t live in that world. We should be able to condemn the behavior of criminals and deviants no matter what their race. Why does it have to be an either/or scenario. Why can‘t we be able to acknowledge that there is prejudice and that we have some criminals worthy of punishment.

Black stars are different from many of their white counterparts. Most black stars come from poor, single mother households. This is not an indictment against being poor or single mothers, it is merely a fact. They grow up in bad neighborhoods and are surrounded by the “ghetto” lifestyle, these are there realities. Poor people live by different rules. The things that people value changes as their economic status changes, but the rules are much harder to change. Because so many of the Black stars grew up poor and most were not just in situational poverty, but generational poverty the rules they live by are still the same no matter what their economic circumstances. The difference in situational poverty and generational poverty is that when one has situational poverty, it occurs due to some unforeseen circumstance, a medical catastrophe or a layoff. The family was making ends meet until the incident occurred and usually given a change in economic circumstances the family regains some semblance of their previous life. Generational poverty is when the family has been poor for multiple generations; this occurs a lot with single teenage mothers, coming from single teenage mothers. My grandmother lived in the projects, my mother lived in the projects, and I live in the projects. For these stars, no matter how much success they receive or how much money they make, in their minds they are always “back in da hood”, keeping it real. This is why they exhibit the same behavior as others who are still living in the ghetto. You have stars that are making lots of money, dealing drugs, not because they need the money but because this is what we do in the hood.

You add to this poverty mix, the star worship culture that we surround them with and before long they think they can do no wrong. Having been a part of the athlete worship environment I know firsthand how we coddle our star athletes from a very early age, we give them a false sense of the world. They can begin to believe that they are above the law. This attitude is dangerous for any black man no matter what his status is.

I have read that because of white people’s unhealthy love of animals and animal rights that Michael Vick is being unfairly treated. I admit that the calls for the death penalty are a bit ridiculous. I am not an animal fanatic. I have had dogs and I like dogs, but I don’t put animals in the same category as people. As much as sometimes I despise people, I will unfortunately always chose a human life over an animal. What Michael Vick is accused of is heinous. I have never found pleasure in watching animals fighting each other, it just isn’t my thing. But what troubles me more is the treatment of the animals after they fought or during the training process. It is cruel to hang, drown, or beat a dog to death, I’m sorry regardless of your feelings about animals and animal rights this is a no-brainer. I pray that these accusations are false, but if they prove to be true then Mr. Vick will surely be thrown to the dogs…

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/17/AR2007071701393.html

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

More Than Black

Being a sports fan and also a New York Yankees fan I couldn’t help but catch the hoopla surrounding the latest tirade by Gary Sheffield, a former Yankee. According to Mr. Sheffield, the Yankees manager, Joe Torre treats Black ballplayers different from the White and Latino players. As I was reading the article I couldn’t help but wonder about his comments in light of two factors. Number one of course would be the source of the comments and number two would be my own personal experiences.

First off, Mr. Sheffield is a player and a man that thrives on controversy. He feels that it is his job to keep things “stirred up”, so he has been known to make some pretty radical statements. Because of his penchant for saying these things he strikes people immediately; they either love him or they hate him, there is no middle ground. This appears to be alright with Mr. Sheffield since his wealth affords him the luxury to tell people where to go. It is also true that Mr. Sheffield has been known to make some comments just for shock value, sort of like Dennis Rodman and the wedding dress thing, well sort of. I have learned in this life that anyone can have a message and that I need to focus not on the messenger, but on the message he is delivering. So with that I listened to the message and found that there was a part of it that had some merit.

I do not nor have I ever played for the Yankees. I have never met Joe Torre. I do know that he is considered a successful baseball manager and his players for the most part like him and trust him. Does Mr. Torre treat Black players differently from other players? Probably, but that is because Black athletes are different and require different motivation. We are all motivated by things from our past and if a manager or coach is going to be successful he needs to figure out what motivates his players. I have not heard of any complaints from Black players about how certain Black superstars are treated differently. We have should get away from trying to have the best of both worlds; we complain when it is convenient and remain deathly silent when it is to our advantage. It cheapens the times when the complaining is real, the whole boy who cried wolf thing.

Anyway, one of the reporters mentioned to Mr. Sheffield about Derek Jeter who is the best player on the Yankees and his treatment from Mr. Torre. It was at this point that Mr. Sheffield unknowingly hit on the crux of the problem for Black superstar athletes. He stated that Derek Jeter was “not all Black”. For those who are not aware Mr. Jeter is of mixed race, or bi-racial. The crazy thing about what Mr. Sheffield said is that in America, unlike anywhere else in the world, to perpetuate slavery and prejudice, a child is considered Black if they have any Black blood from any parent. So it was funny that Mr. Sheffield would say that Derek Jeter got special treatment because of his White blood. Then I got to thinking about the prejudice we all show based on color and race. We as Black people are just as guilty for the most part of the thing we accuse others of.

Lighter skinned Blacks have always had an easier time being black than darker skinned Blacks, not only with Whites, but with other Blacks. Based on studies, we find lighter skinned Blacks more attractive, trustworthy, and happier. Unfortunately, it is a sad vestige of our slave and Jim Crow history. It has always been easier for lighter skinned Blacks to be successful, whether it is in the entertainment field or the business field. The lighter the skin or the closer you look to being white the better your chances were to be successful. But this is not the point of this article, the point is that using number two, my personal experience I have found it to be true that successful Blacks have always been looked upon as being “more than black”.

It is as if in order for Blacks to be successful they have to be “super Blacks”. Take for example superstars like Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and others, for many whites in order to accept them they can’t just be regular black folk, they have to be more than black. In other words, they have to transcend their blackness to be palatable to Whites. Because of our history of “inferiority” ordinary blacks cannot rise to success, because that would mean that Blacks were just as smart, just as dedicated, and just as dare I say it, articulate as Whites. And God forbid that could be true. So in order to keep the status quo, whites have had to create a super race of Blacks that can then be worshipped as heroes; these Blacks are “more than black”. The problem is that a lot of these super blackmen have bought into this attitude and believe the hype. It is evident in how they speak about other Blacks and in how they live their lives. These “super Blacks” tend to isolate from other Blacks, their worlds are just as insulated as their White counterparts. The most glaring example of this phenomenon was O.J. Simpson, until his fall from grace.

I remember in college how my white friends would in some weird attempt to complement me say things like you aren’t like the other Blacks, not realizing that instead of a compliment, it was an insult, because guess what; I am them. They believed that my goal was to not be black; they didn’t realize that just because we shared certain goals and values didn’t make me less black and more white. It just made me, me. Blacks share some of these same misconceptions, many believe that if someone does not buy into the "ghetto" culture that they are trying to be white. We in America have these convoluted ideas about race and what it means to be one race or another. So remember this, what does the white state trooper in Alabama call General Colin Powell? Just another ni**er!

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Why The Supreme Court Was Wrong

After having read all the reasons why the recent decision of the Supreme Court concerning school desegregation was wrong, I have come to the conclusion that we have all missed the boat. The purpose of integration was not to make black kids smarter by sitting them next to white kids. If you judge the process based on that criteria, it has been a failure. If you talk to the people who were on the front lines of bringing this issue to the forefront or read their stories, it was never for that reason.

The purpose of integrating the two separate systems was two-fold. First of all, it would bring badly needed funding to the black schools which were in such bad shape; it was a wonder anyone could learn how to tie their shoe, let alone reading, writing, and arithmetic. And the second was to give each child a chance to actually see and meet someone from a different place, diversity. An opportunity to talk, play and argue with someone who was not like themselves. It put a face and a life to “those people” that we didn’t talk about or for that matter even see. It made the invisible, visible. It allowed kids that were willing to see, that we were not so different after all, that a lot of those stories and stereotypes were just not true. If gauged in that light it was a great success.

Some will wonder how I can say it was a great success, I mean after all most of the white kids that went through it were those few whose parents believed in it or those too poor to go elsewhere. Why I say it was a success is in how the majority of young people today interact with each other. Think about what it was like before the Brown decision, how young people interacted across racial lines. Kids prior to this Brown would be amazed at how young people today can interact with relative ease. That didn’t come from television or church; it came from sitting next to each other day in and day out feeling the same way about school and being a kid. For that reason alone it should be mandatory that everyone attend a desegregated school.

I have always maintained and truly believed that the reason everyone should be allowed to attend college is not because of the great education that college provides in the classroom, but the great education it provides outside the classroom. The education one receives interacting with the many diverse races and nationalities in the dorms, in the dining halls, and at the parties is far more valuable. For those who are brave enough college can provide an opportunity get to learn about so many different cultures and people. It always troubled me to see kids come to college and be willing to interact with all this diversity only to go back home and pretend it never happened. To get back to their old friends and go back to their old ways, but I believe that internally they will forever be changed. They will know things that their friends will never know. Walls of prejudice will no longer be there even if they try to pretend they are.

I remember when I first went to college. I came from an all-black high school experience. Growing up I had known whites, but after we moved into the neighborhood most of them left. I learned more about how to be successful from the experience of being around all those different people than anything I learned in class. The truth is that success in life is about relationships, how we interact with each other. Those who choose not to participate in this experience will miss out on more than an opportunity for career advancement; they miss out on an opportunity at life advancement; to grow as a human being. We spend so much of our time trying to separate from each other. We build walls to separate ourselves both physically and emotionally, afraid to lower our guards. We take the easy way out believing the stereotypes and the worst about one another.

The Supreme Court was wrong because they were looking at the wrong measuring stick. In America we must constantly reinforce our unity, if we are to survive. It is too easy to forget that we are all Americans stuck in this insanity together. We need to have our walls broken down or we will just be a bunch of tribes struggling against each other when it would be so much easier if we pulled together. This Court chose fear and isolation over inclusion and diversity. In this place we call America, it is the government’s job to bring us together, even if that sometimes means against our will. Our ultimate survival depends on it. Will we someday have a colorblind society? I doubt it, but we can have a color tolerant society and that begins with coming together and learning together as little children.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Faith By Any Other Name

It is amazing to me how so-called Christians can with good conscience question the sincerity of another Christian’s faith. Time magazine did an article on the church going habits and faith of the Democratic candidates. It appears that the MSM continues to play into the hands of the right wing by questioning the veracity of the candidate’s commitment to their faith.

Why was this article even written except to cast aspersions upon the candidates, causing it to appear that they are pandering to other Christians who in the past have voted overwhelmingly Republican? Those Christians that have voted overwhelmingly for Republicans are so-called right wing conservatives. The MSM seems to believe that the only “real” Christians in this country are those Christians who identify with these groups.

As a Christian who does not identify with these groups, I find it frightening that if one does not accept their version of the Gospel, then one’s faith is in question. This is all too familiar with the current “with us or against us” philosophy that has characterized the past 7 years. It is precisely this attitude that has done so much to divide not only this country, but the world. It is this attitude that tells the world that if you do not accept our vision of God, then you are a heathen and we will visit God’s wrath on you. If you disagree with us, then you disagree with God. How arrogant of them to believe that they are the only ones who speak for God, that they are the ones in possession of all truth and knowledge.

In an effort to maintain peace with my right wing brethren I have not spoken out against this demagoguery, but the time has come where I can no longer in good conscience not speak out. I am no biblical scholar and I hold no advanced degrees in divinity from anywhere. I am just a man who tries to live a simple life of obedience to God as He has revealed himself to me. Let me state for the record that I believe that God reveals Himself to man at different levels of enlightenment and no one here today has received complete enlightenment. This includes all the many so-called men of God who have claimed otherwise. These are the folks who have gotten the misguided belief that the job of a Christian is to convert the lost to their religion or specifically their domination. Nowhere in the Bible that I read does it talk about converting anyone to anything. The only use of conversion in the New Testament is that we must be converted to little children to enter the Kingdom of God. My job as a Christian is to introduce you to the one who sent me, period. What happens after that is between you and God.

So why have so many gone so wrong? It lies in the fact that the modern Church has allowed the world to corrupt its mission and allowed certain leaders to lead it astray. No one has done more to divide the Church than many Evangelicals; they have come up with the notion that they have the only correct interpretation of God’s word. Yet their interpretation is in direct odds with what the Lord they are supposed to follow preached. As a Christian I would like to point out some differences in what they espouse and what I believe and not just myself, but millions of other Christians.

Many believe that God accepts and condones the use of nuclear weapons. Many believe that it is their job to convert the world to their brand of Christianity. Many believe that God hates sinners. Many believe that God does not care if they pollute and kill the earth. Many believe that God is a God of hell-fire and brimstone and seeks to extract viscous retribution on man. Many believe that God is racist and has chosen white people to lead the world. The list goes on and on, but the truth of the matter is that none of it is true.

The underlying principle in the Bible is love. Love of God and love of our fellow man is to be our guiding principle. We are to bear the weaknesses of others, if we are stronger. Instead of killing folks we are suppose to be loving folks. God does not hate sinners, He sent His Son to die for sinners; God hates sin. Unfortunately, many cannot separate the sin from the sinners, so they condemn them both. The earth is God’s and all that is in it, which means it is not ours to do with as we please. God loves all people regardless of their nationality or race. God is not a respecter of person.

No, these people do not represent Christianity; they represent a fanatical version of Christianity. As with many fanatics they believe that they are the holders of all truth, nothing could be further from the truth. There are many Christians in this country that do not hold to these teachings, but that does not make our faith any less real. We condemn the fanatics of other faiths, yet we ignore the fanatics who misrepresent us and our faith. We can no longer remain quiet as these zealots kill and maim in the name of God and in the name of our faith.

Are there things wrong in America? More than I can name. We have abortion, gay marriage, a humanistic agenda that places man as the head of the universe, rich people exploiting the poor, pollution of our environment, and the list goes on, but again we are not here to judge and condemn, we are here to show love as God has shown love to us.

Are the faiths of the candidates legitimate? I don’t know it is not for me to say. Only God can judge His servants. I do know that just because they don’t buy into the right wing conservative version of the Gospel doesn’t make them any less Christians.

From the cowardice that shrinks from new truth; from the laziness that is content with half-truths; from the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth – oh God of Truth deliver us!— Unknown

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Monday, July 16, 2007

The Answer Is No

Recently I wrote an article discussing whether municipalities, specifically New Orleans, had an obligation to bring low income people back from evacuation. In the article I discussed and asked the question does the city owe the poor a return ticket back to poverty and their slums?

According to many in Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast, the answer is a resounding no! It appears that many jurisdictions are rezoning and allowing previously zoned areas to expire so that they can remove the makeshift trailer parks that FEMA created after the Katrina catastrophe. The modern day “Hoovervilles” are becoming unwelcome to the local governments. These governments want to evict the evacuees and shut down the trailer parks. According to these jurisdictions the trailer parks have become crime-infested, pockets of poverty. There are some who believe that it is not about crime or poverty, but has racial implications. The residents in these jurisdictions have a concern about poor, black people living in their neighborhoods.

Mr. Roberts complained that such residents were often idle, but many evacuees have burdens that prevent them from working.

Gwendolyn Marie Allen, 55, formerly of the Uptown section of New Orleans, now lives in Renaissance Village, a large FEMA trailer park near the Baton Rouge airport. Ms. Allen is the sole caretaker for a son, 20, who was given a diagnosis of schizophrenia after a violent episode in the park, and a severely retarded brother, who huddled on the bottom bunk of a bed in their travel trailer, clad only in adult diapers. In an interview, Ms. Allen periodically shushed his wordless moans by waving a green flyswatter in his direction.

“I want to get out of here, baby, this is not no house,” she said. “I want something where he can move around.”

As proof of her resourcefulness, Ms. Allen opened the freezer of the trailer’s compact refrigerator where, to make room for bargain packs of meat from the supermarket, she had removed the shelves.

“The renters aren’t asking that much, just give us a start,” she said. “Put us there, and we could do what we have to do to survive. We could catch it from there.”[1]

As I stated previously these local governments are not going to rebuild the public housing and low rent houses that these residents formerly resided in. And as if that wasn’t enough they are in the process of demolishing what housing was left, most of which would require little if any rehabilitation. No, this is about recreating New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in a whole new image, an image that does not include poor, black folks.

Is this a sign to poor, black folks everywhere? If your home is destroyed by natural disaster or any other means you could and very well will be relocated, never to return. Of course, for most black folks this is nothing new. We have homes that are destroyed every year in our neighborhoods by fires or other catastrophes that are never rebuilt, only to become empty lots, lots that become dumping grounds and over-run with foliage. I think we are all though, a little bit shocked by it being done on this grand of a scale. I can’t recall the relocation of so many poor blacks from any major city on this magnitude. These people were once proud residents of these cities and have a right to be brought back home.

I am afraid however we are seeing the recasting of New Orleans, where if you aren’t rich and white, we don’t want you. It is unbelievable that with all the low skill labor that is needed in New Orleans that they are not going to provide adequate housing for these workers? Where are these workers suppose to live? The current development plans include raising the rent in these renovated areas two to three times what the apartments were before. These minimum wage workers will not be able to afford to live in the city where they work.

So my question to these civic leaders is who is going to make up your beds, wash your dishes, and supersize your meals without these workers?

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/12/us/nationalspecial/12exile.html?pagewanted=3&hp

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