Saturday, November 27, 2010

After Her Infamous N Word Rant, Dr. Laura is Back!

The Grio reports:

"Talk show host Laura Schlessinger won't stay away from radio very long -- only a weekend, in fact.

Sirius XM Radio said Monday it has a multiyear deal with Schlessinger to bring her "Dr. Laura" advice program to satellite radio in January. Specific terms were not revealed.

Schlessinger had said in August she was quitting her syndicated radio program, a week after she apologized for using the N-word on the air 11 times while talking to a black woman, and activists demanded her ouster.

She ends her traditional radio program on Friday, Dec. 31. The following Monday, she starts at Sirius."

For the full context, here is a link to Dr. Laura's N word rant.

Most of the Grio's readers on Facebook voiced strong disapproval of the deal.  However, some readers made the following comments on the Grio's Facebook page:

Theon Dixon: ‎"Why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is your own eye" We are such hypocrites! We say whatever we want but don't let a white person say nigger. Smdh, at how stupid we are with this crap. Respect self first!!!

Kai Price: "Who cares!! Dr. Laura is on the air because the right people pay attention to the wrong things. If we would not give her the time of day, she would have no one to piss off. Seriously, so what she went on a Nigger's never what they say or call you, it's ALWAYS what you pay attention and answer to. Stop making her rich and important...ignore her; maybe then she will go gently into that good night."

 Tamika Baskin: I don't understand why there was such a big deal about it, when black folks say it all the time. When is it time for us to get mad when hip-hop artists call women B!%CH.

Ricarra Farmer: We all just need 2 get over it. They only say tha word because they kno we still get mad n 2 get under our skin! If we show them that we are better than that and way past bein called nigger they will have nothin 2 say that'll make ppl get n... they feelins. We can't change everyones opinion of us but we can change our own minds n ignore ignorance. Gettin mad n doin nothin bout it ain gon change shit. Not sayin I agree with her but come old is this word? I understand its meanin to demean our ancestors but we gotta blk pres ppl r scared of.....we made it! Y r we trippin??

First of all, no one should use the N word. The fact that some brothers and sisters use the N word does not give white racists the right to use the word. People must be judged by their actions and intentions.  Yes, many African Americans use the N word.  One cannot listen to a rap cd, whether the artist is gangsta or conscious, without repeatedly hearing the N word.  Nonetheless, for the most part, African Americans do not use the N word as an insult. They do not intend to anger, humiliate or demean anyone when they use that word.  As rapper Qtip said, many actually believe that they are using the word as a so-called "term of endearment".

However, when Dr. Laura, an old white woman, used the N word 11 times within a 4 minutes period while talking to an African American caller, her intention was obvious.  Clearly, she intended to be offensive and dismissive.  So yes, her use of the N word is more offensive to me than rap artists' use of the N word. 

Finally, ignoring Dr. Laura, Don Imus, Rush Limbaugh and other bigots is not option.  They reach millions of people.  They have great influence over public attitudes and perceptions.  We cannot play dead, and blindly hope that those racists just go away.  Silence is tacit approval.  We cannot allow this controversy to die down.  We should not allow her to quietly and peacefully move to Sirius XM Radio. We must turn up the heat on her sponsors.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Kanye West's new cd, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, lives up to the hype. The beats are amazing. The production is incredible. The lyrics are a brilliant mixture of unbridled arrogance, swagger, debauchery, humor, irreverence and self depreciation.

The opening track, Dark Fantasy, sets the stage for this masterpiece. I'm not a big Nicki Minaj fan but her brief intro on Dark Fantasy works. My favorite tracks are Dark Fantasy, Gorgeous, Power, All of the Lights, Runaway, etc. Hell, I dig most of the songs on the cd. The only joint that I'm not feeling is Monster.

Other guest artists include The RZA, Raekwon, KID CuDI, Jay Z, Swizz Beats, Rick Ross, Pusha T, Rihanna and John Legend. The last two tracks feature legendary poet Gil Scott-Heron. Chris Rock's skit is hilarious; it had me cracking up! He took it to another level.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Are Black Politicians More Corrupt than White Politicians?

African Americans marched, fought, bled, and died for the right to vote.  The struggle for the right to vote was a integral part of the larger civil rights struggle for equality, human dignity and respect.  As a result of that beautiful struggle, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. 

After the passage of the Act, Black Power was transformed from a slogan into a tangible reality.  Now, we have many African American mayors and members of Congress. We have black governors and one U.S. senator. Today, the most powerful man on earth is a black man, President Barack Hussein Obama.  It is undeniable.  In many ways, African Americans have made great progress.

However, that tremendous progress has been tarnished by recent political scandals involving African American politicians. This past Thursday, the House Ethics Committee convicted long time, legendary Congressman Charlie Rangel of 11 ethics violations and recommended censure. The Washington Post reported that:

"Rangel, 80, was found to have improperly used his congressional staff and official letterhead to solicit donations from corporate charities and chief executives for a college wing named in his honor, contributions that soared into six- and seven-figure range once he became chairman of the tax-writing committee. The committee also found that he violated New York City rules by housing his political committees in rent-controlled apartments in Harlem, did not pay taxes on a villa he owns in the Dominican Republic, and did not properly disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal financial assets."

I was saddening to see this accomplished 80 year old politician break down and start weeping like a baby. 

Unfortunately, Rangel is not the only African American accused of ethics violations.  Rep. Maxine Waters also faces ethics charges for improperly seeking to help a bank in which her husband owns stocks.  As AP reports, her trial has been postponed due to the discovery of an email affecting the charges.  The charges include: "violating a rule requiring lawmakers' conduct to reflect creditably on the House; violating the spirit and letter of a rule prohibiting receipt of benefits by exerting improper influence; and violating a government code of conduct that prohibits dispensing or receiving special favors."  Fortunately, at least for now, Rep. Jesse Jackson no longer faces an ethics investigation. 

Last week, Prince George's County Executive Jack Johnson and his wife Leslie Johnson were arrested for taking bribes from an unidentified developer. To view the video of the arrest, click this link.  The Washington Post reports that the following events led to Johnson's arrest:

"Two FBI agents were at the front door of their two-story brick colonial in Mitchellville.

"Don't answer it," the county executive said, unaware that more agents were listening in.

Johnson ordered his wife to find and destroy a $100,000 check from a real estate developer that was hidden in a box of liquor.

"Do you want me to put it down the toilet?" Leslie Johnson asked.

"Yes, flush that," the county executive said.

But what about the cash? she asked - $79,600.

Put it in your underwear, the county executive told his wife.

She replied, "I have it in my bra" - which is where agents discovered the money after she answered the door.

That conversation, as documented in an FBI affidavit, led to the arrest Friday of Jack Johnson and his wife. Each was charged with evidence tampering and destroying evidence in a case the U.S. attorney called the "tip of the iceberg" in a broader corruption investigation in Prince George's."

This month, Leslie Johnson was elected to the Prince George's County Council. After her arrest, voters have launched online petition drive to prevent her from being sworn in.

The Jack Johnson situation reminds me of former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon's conviction and former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's conviction.

Early this year, as reported in the Baltimore Sun, Dixon entered an Alfred plea to perjury charges related to her failure to "disclose on her city ethics form lavish gifts from her then-boyfriend, Ronald H. Lipscomb, a developer who benefited from city tax breaks and contracts."  In December 2009, "a city jury found her guilty of stealing roughly $500 worth of retail gift cards intended for the needy."

Finally, the people of Detroit were proud of the improvements that Kwame Kilpatrick was making to the city until the text message scandal emerged.  In September 2008, Kilpatrick pled guilty to perjury charges.  He was sentenced to 4 months in jail and 5 years probation.

After serving his jail sentence, he violated his probation, lied in his affidavit and was sentenced to a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment.  To make matters worst, in June 2010, the Detroit Free Press reported that the feds indicted the former mayor on 19 mail fraud and tax charges.  Here is a break down of the charges and penalties:

"Mail and wire fraud: Kilpatrick faces 13 counts for allegedly using the mail and telephone to raise money for his tax-exempt Kilpatrick Civic Fund under the false assertion that it would be used for charitable purposes. Authorities allege he actually used fund money for personal and political expenses.

Penalty: Up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Filing false tax returns: Kilpatrick faces five counts for allegedly failing to report taxable income of $470,951 in the form of cash and private jet flights from unspecified sources, and personal expenses paid by the civic fund from 2003 to 2007.

Penalty: Up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Income tax evasion: Kilpatrick faces one count for allegedly failing to report $171,751 in income in the form of cash and private jet flights from unspecified sources, and personal expenses paid by the civic fund in 2008.

Penalty: Up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine."

All of these recent scandals create the impression that African American politicians are more corrupt than their white counterparts. Such scandals perpetuate the stereotype that black people are not fit to govern.  I refuse to accept those racist assertions.

John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton said, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."  Many politicians, black and white, become intoxicated by power, develop an exaggerated sense of entitlement and compromise their integrity. They begin to believe that they are above the law.  These current investigations, prosecutions and convictions of black politicians may be another manifestation of institutional racism in the criminal justice system.

Bear with me for a second.  According to legal scholar Michelle Alexander, the so-called War on Drugs is waged almost exclusively in black communities even though studies consistently show that African Americans are no more likely to use or sell drugs than whites.

Similarly, it appears that the war against corruption is being waged almost exclusively against African American politicians. Legal scholars should conduct a comprehensive study of this issue. Apparently, prosecutors and ethics committees primarily focus on black officials.  Consequently, black officials are disproportionately investigated, indicted, arrested and convicted.

For example, as Joe Conason notes in his article Why Mitch McConnell is worst than Charles Rangel, U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell has engaged in similar conduct as Rep. Rangel.  Conason writes, "like Rangel, McConnell has rewarded corporate donors to an academic center named after him -- and used earmarks for that purpose."  However, as far as I know, no one is investigating McConnell. 

Please do not get me wrong.  I refuse to defend any corrupt politicians. Corrupt African American leaders like Dixon and Kilpatrick betrayed the people and dishonored the struggle.  They got what they deserved.    All politicians must be held accountable for their actions. Everyone must obey the law.  However, laws must be equally and fairly enforced regardless of race.  Selective prosecution is unacceptable.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Part 2: A White Alabama Trooper Sentenced to Six Months in Jail for Killing a Black Man!

This morning on Democracy Now, U.S. Representative John Lewis and reporter John Fleming discussed the sentencing of former Alabama State trooper James Fowler. Fowler pled guilty to killing civil rights activist Jimmie Lee Jackson and received only a six month jail sentence.

On the program, Rep. Lewis described how Mr. Jackson's martyrdom inspired the historic Selma to Montgomery march. Rep. Lewis explained how the Alabama state troopers viciously beat the courageous, nonviolent protesters. I cannot understand how anyone could remain nonviolent in the face of such savage brutality. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

A White Alabama Trooper Sentenced to Six Months in Jail for Killing a Black Man!

The Grio reports that:

"A white former state police officer pleaded guilty Monday to a lesser charge in the 1965 shooting death of a black man at a civil rights protest, a killing that inspired historic voting rights marches.

James Bonard Fowler, 77, entered the plea of misdemeanor second-degree manslaughter two weeks before he was scheduled to go to trial on a murder charge for the death of Jimmie Lee Jackson. Jackson's shooting in the city of Marion set off protests at nearby Selma that led to passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Fowler was sentenced to six months in jail in Geneva County, his home county."

For more information, visit the Grio.

Fowler killed Mr. Jackson approximately 45 years ago.  While Fowler roamed free for 45 years and enjoyed his life, the Jackson family suffered unimaginable pain and loss. Now, at the age of 77, Fowler only received a slap on the wrist for killing a black man, six months in jail. That is outrageous!  Hell, football star Mike Vick received a longer sentence for dogfighting.  Apparently, some people still believe that a dog's life is more valuable than a black man's life.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Part 2: A "Brother" Allegedly Attempted to Suppress the Black Vote

Today, the Baltimore Sun reports that Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler filed a federal lawsuit against black political consultant Julius Henson, Universal Elections and Rhonda Russell for making deceptive robocalls to Prince George's County and Baltimore Democratic voters.  For more information regarding the robocalls, click this link to my last article.  The calls were designed to suppress the black vote. 

The civil complaint alleges that the defendants violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and seeks millions of dollars in fines.  Gansler claims that he has no reason to believe that former Governor Bob Ehrlich was aware of the calls. 

To read the article, visit the Baltimore Sun website.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A "Brother" Allegedly Attempted to Suppress the Black Vote

Many brothers and sisters fought, bled and died for the right to vote.  Sadly, some black people, like political operatives Julius Henson and Rhonda Russell, do not give a damn about our struggle for equality.  On WBAL TV, Mr. Henson acknowledged sending controversial robo-calls to predominantly black Baltimore and Prince George's County during the 2010 Midterm Elections.  Rhonda Russell actually made the call.  In an obvious attempt to suppress the black vote, Ms. Russell's robo-call said:

"I'm calling to let everyone know that Gov. O'Malley and President Obama have been successful. Our goals have been met. Our polls were correct and we (unintelligible). We're OK. Relax. Everything is fine. The only thing left is to watch on TV tonight. Congratulations and thank you."

Contrary to Mr. Henson's assertions, that call was clearly designed give black Democratic voters the false impression that there was no need to vote.  The call implied that the election was over.

Voter suppression is not new phenomenon in Maryland.  However, it was shocking and disappointing to learn that some African Americans would participate in such a scheme against their own community.  Henson and Russell sold out the black community for approximately $97,000. According to WBAL TV, that is how much former Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich (R) paid Henson for political consulting.  Unfortunately, some people will do anything for the love of money.  This situation conjures up images of African kings selling their own African brothers and sisters to European slave masters.

Hopefully, Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler will conduct a thorough investigation and bring all of those involved to justice.

To read WBAL TV's news report and view the related videos, click this link.

George W. Bush Discusses His Failed Presidency

Monday, November 8, 2010

BET Black Girls Rock : 4 Women - Ledisi, Kelly Price, Jill Scott and Marsha Ambrosius

On my way home, I heard this beautiful rendition of Nina Simone's Four Women on the radio. Jill Scott, Marsha Ambrosius, Kelly Price and Ledisi rock! Ledisi is awesome!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

President Obama Reacts to the Republican Takeover

Bush: Kanye's Statement - The Low Point of His Presidency, WTF?!!?

According to former President George W. Bush, the low point of his presidency was not the 9/11 terror attacks. It was not the invasion of Iraq based on "faulty" intelligence. It was not the thousands of lives loss in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was not the federal government's inept response to Hurricane Katrina. It was not the economic disaster that resulted in a massive loss of jobs, homes and banks. In his memoir, Bush says that low point in his presidency was when rapper Kanye West said that George W. Bush "does not care about black people." WTF??!!??

By the way, I wish more African American artists would stand up and speak out about political issues. Kanye West should be commended for having the heart to say what many of us felt at the time.