TALK TO THE DADDY
Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
JUST ONE MORE DAY
Let me live and know life for one more day
Just one more day
Let me wake to hurried neighbors revving cars
Racing to a closed-in office, chasing a rising sun
And sip smoking hot, black. fresh-brewed
from a Mickey's Diner cup
Reading the Star-Tribune, tasting buttered toast still warm
Let me lunch on green salad, fresh fruit, green tea
with knowing companions
Plucking seedless, blue grapes from thick vines
Swapping warm smiles, tall tales and a joke or two
Let me dine on french bread, beef brisket, chilled wine
and a soft face
Nurturing hopes and dreams of a sweeter tomorrow
Grateful for your warm love and generosity in hearing me pray
Let me life and know life for one more day
Just one more day
Friday, December 11, 2009
Brownsugatoo? She's a black woman and spoken word poet with a lot to say and a bitter-sweet way of saying it. Sometimes harsh, at other times gentle, she still sometimes express in voice so tough it makes you want to sing the Black Panther anthem, "The revolution has come, it's time to pick up the gun." At other times, it makes you want to cry, in the powerful yet gentle voice of Nina Simone:
"I love you, Porgy.
Don't let him take me.
Don't let him handle me with his hot hands.
If you can keep me, I want to stay here.
Safe and forever. I got my man."
Today, Inhumane tugged at me,
Spoke to me,
And tore me to the core:
“Teenage girl gang raped outside
A Richmond high school ‘door’.”
The tears stung
My face was numb.
Emotions just clawed at each other.
‘Cause what I physically WANTED to do -
So I wrote “release”…
“That was somebody’s daughter!”
Guess it was a day too late,
For y’all to be taught
That she is a Queen.
“You were SOMEBODY'S son!”
You could have been-
NO, it IS too late.
A throne for you?
There is none.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
listen up. Tony Dungy, one of the Daddy's heroes, works to keep men out of prison. The work of one of clients on Sunday shows that the may be on the way with helping another one. On Sunday, Michael Vick, with whom Dungy is working personally, scored a running touchdown and passed for another one before retiring with a bruised hand. You may recall that, while playing for the Atlanta Falcons, Vick was engaged in dogfighting and was convicted and served his term for two years. This was the first time Vick had been back to Atlanta to play. Here's a good story about it.
Super Bowl-Winning Coach Called the Small Number of Head Coaches
in Major College Football "Disgraceful."
Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy called the dearth of
minority head coaches in major college football "disgraceful."
Dungy became the first black coach to win a Super Bowl in 2007 with the
Indianapolis Colts. Now an analyst with NBC's pregame show, Dungy said
on the program Sunday night that minority coaches believe they have
more opportunity for advancement in the pros than in college.
Of the 120 Football Bowl Subdivision coaches this season, just nine are
minorities – and only Miami's Randy Shannon is at a BCS school. Seven
of the 32 coaches in the NFL are black, including Bills interim coach
Asked whether the situation in the college game represents
institutionalized racism, Dungy said, "The numbers would tell you that
After the 2006 season, Dungy recommended then-Vikings defensive
coordinator Mike Tomlin for the head coaching position at a BCS school.
Tomlin didn't get an interview. A month later, the Steelers hired him
as their head coach, and within two years he led them to a Super Bowl
"That's the difference between the NCAA and the NFL right now," Dungy
Dungy met last month with NCAA officials and has offered his help on
the issue. He called on school presidents to reverse the trend.
"They've got to step up and say, 'We're going to do the right thing.
We're going to hire qualified people. We're going to hire the best man
for the job regardless of what boosters or anyone else has to say.'"
Do you think the NCAA discriminates against black coaches?
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Listen up: A friend emailed a brotha saying Luther Vanddross's song to his father was his favorite and asked "Who is your favorite?" I told him mine was Nina Simone's rendition of " I love you, Porgy."
Here are the words to the song:
I loves you, Porgy,
Don' let him take me,
Don' let him handle me an' drive me mad.
If you kin keep me,
I wants to stay here wid you forever,
An' I'd be glad.
I loves you, Porgy,
Don' let him take me
Don' let him handle me
With his hot han'
If you kin keep me
I wants to stay here wid you forever.
I got my man.
What's your favorite song?
Saturday, December 5, 2009
reader's wishes, who say they're suffering from "post-election fatigue," I'm not writing about the election or the sorry state of the American economy. But I'm writing about American society, especially about the unnecessary and painful violence in our communities.
So the daddy is thinking...I'm just thinking... just thinking... about Malcolm x, who said that on this day, from this day forward, on this earth, we declare that we have a right to fight for our freedom "by any means necessary." Minister Malcolm died from a hail of bullets from members of the Nation of Islam, the organization he helped create, leaving behind a wife and two children and the hopes of millions of African Americans.
I'm just thinking...just thinking...about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who died from a violent gunshot as he stood out on the balcony of a hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. King said we must meet the power of violence as an organized people of love, as a nonviolent people, as a non-violent nation. He said we must have "the strength to love." And though the corporate media won't acknowledge it, he spent the last year of his life not talking about little white girls and little black boys holding hands and singing we shall overcome but focusing on war and poverty, reminding us that our government's preoccupation with war not only killed people abroad; it diverted much-needed resources to end poverty at home.
Dr. King, an activist/intellectual, perhaps the most eloquent orator of any generation, a minister who could quote Shakespeare as easily as a passage from the bible, made it plain when he paraphrased an old religious hymn and said, "I don't know about you, but I ain't gon study war no mo."
I'm just thinking...just thinking... about the millions of lesser-known Americans
in cities like Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, Memphis and Atlanta who die every day from a hail of gunfire from gangbangers who are famous for missing their targets and killing innocent citizens, including children.
Okay, African Americans, I want to ask you something:
As a people who were enslaved and brutalized for centuries by others, shouldn't you be peaceful toward each other? Whether inside the home or out on the street, shouldn't another brother or sister be the last person you raise a hand or squeeze a trigger finger to harm? And if you must raise a hand or pull a trigger, shouldn't the only possible justification for doing so be to defend yourself as an individual or to defend your country against attacks?
Okay, Americans of all ethnic, political or religious persuasions, I want to ask you something: As members of a nation that took this country by committing genocide against nations of Indians (the first Americans), as members of a nation that enslaved an entire group of people (Africans), as members of nation that spends much of its budget on either fighting wars or preparing for wars, as members of a nation with 47 million people without healthcare, with infrastructure so bad that you're afraid to drive across some bridges, shouldn't you be so angry, so... obsessed with forcing your elected officials to turn away from bloody wars and turn to the righteous quest of supporting you that you're willing to organize other Americans to march on Washington D.C. this summer and camp out there until your elected officials-- yes, Barack Obama-- pass laws to bail out working people, to insure them, to employ them, to rebuild America?
I'm just thinking...just thinking...about rising each morning with the sun, sipping a cup of java, paraphrasing an old spiritual and saying like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I don't know about you, but I ain't gon study war no mo."
Can you say "I ain't gon study VIOLENCE no mo." Can you live it?
Friday, December 4, 2009
Can a brotha from another mother undercover from a former lover still call you Prez"
Listen Prez: The Daddy knows you're from Chicago. He knows you probably remember it, when Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, two leaders of the militant Black Panther Party, were killed-- no, assassinated-- as they lay at home in their sleep.
On September 8, 2008, I wrote you (Did you get it? Let's call it letter number, yesterday's letter as letter about your decision on Afghanistan as letter #3, and this one as letter #3} about leadership and General Patton's thoughts on it. The similarity between General Patton and Fred Hampton is that both fought unapologetically for what they believed in.In case you didn't get letter #1, I'm posting it again. I believe it is more appropriate for you now than at any other time.
--General S. Patton Jr.
"Moral courage is the most valuable and usually the most absent characteristic in men."
-- George S. Patton Jr.
Dear Prez Obama:
Can a brotha call you Prez?
Listen, Prez, a brotha knows you are busy; so he'll keep it short and sweet. Yes, he knows you have big challenges ahead: the worst economy since the depression; two wars, one of which is getting worse by the minute (Afghanistan); high unemployment; over 47 million without healthcare. But guess what else a brotha knows? He knows:
1. Big challenges create an opportunity to be a great president; and you don't want to be a good president but a great president, not for your ego but for the American people;
2. You will be a president of tremendous courage, intellect and leadership;
3. You will have the support of not only the American people but the world;
4. Given your humble upbringing and experience as a community organizer, you will continue to possess the right instincts and mindset in approaching all pressing issues: Thinking first and foremost, how will your decision affect the majority of Americans; and
Yo, Prez, you will lead us out of this economic crisis, get the economy on the right track, bring us closer to universal healthca re, return our brave daughters and sons home from Iraq and improve the care once they get here. And history will record that you were one of our more successful presidents. Just remember the immortal words of General Patton:
"In planning any operation, it is vital to remember and constantly repeat to oneself two things:
1. In war, nothing is impossible provided you use audacity.
2. Do not take counsel of your fears.’"
Prez, did you make WHAT YOU BELIEVE is the right decision on Afghanistan? Did you make this decision calculating that it would give you the best chance of re-elected in 2012? Was it political decision made to appease some on in the Republican party or was it a decision based in your heart about what's best for the American people, the ones who are against this war? Are you truly listening to the generals in the armed forces today or learning wisdom from those in the past. The Daddy's suggestion? Read his most famous speech (Somewhere in Europe, June 5th, 1944) and a few books of General Patton.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Can a brotha still call you Prez?
Listen, Prez. I was out at a coffee shop and heard some white boys sipping coffee and talking. What they said made sense. They said they voted for you, because they saw you as a man of peace. To them, that meant you were going to bring our brave soldiers home from Iraq and wind down our adventure in Afghanistan. Instead, they said, you have slowed down the exit from Iraq and is now planning to add about 34,000 soldiers to Afghanistan, a land of dusty roads and high, featuring winding roads with the bones of fighters on the side of them.
Listen, Prez: I know you have already done some great things while in office. Diplomatically, you have changed foreign leaders attitude toward the United States. For 8 years they believed that the U.S. was nothing but a bully that chose to go it alone in dealing with foreign conflicts. Now, they see in you a chance to go back to diplomacy in dealing with a challenging world. Domestically, you signed a bill that will give women a better chance of suing employers for discrimination against women. You hired men and women who were fired from the Justice Department by Karl Rove and his merry mob of Bush thugs. You signed a bill that will regulate the tobacco industry, making it nearly impossible for the tobacco industry to maket cigarettes to our kids. You passed sweeping credit card reform
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
-- President Barack Obama
"After Obama gives his turkey pardon on Wednesday, the pardoned bird (rumored to actually be two birds) will fly first class to California to head up the Disney Thanksgiving Day Parade. They will then live at Big Thunder Ranch in Frontierland at Disneyland in Anaheim, California."
Listen up. Today, the Daddy is feeling the Progressive Report and its list of things to be which to be thankful. So the Daddy is posting this list as a starter to get you thinking, to get you to answer this one question: "What are you thankful for on this Thanksgiving weekend?"
27 Reasons To Give Thanks
We're thankful President Obama is thinking long and hard about committing more troops and money to Afghanistan.
We're thankful President Bush feels liberated now.
We're (not) thankful Dick Cheney has elected to move from his undisclosed location to the media spotlight.
We're thankful Al Franken has gone from playing self-help guru Stuart Smalley on Saturday Night Live to helping rape victims receive justice from their employers.
We're thankful for the healing power of beer.
We're thankful there are some on the right who think Glenn Beck is "incoherent," "mindless," "erratic," "bizarre," and "harmful to the conservative movement."
We're thankful for long hikes on the Appalachian Trail.
We're thankful Michael Steele understands that he can't "do policy" and that no one has any reason to trust his "words or actions."
We're (not) thankful for "birthers," "deathers," "tenthers," or "tea baggers."
We're (not) thankful conservatives believe they love America so much that they can root for our President to fail and for our nation to lose out on hosting the Olympics.
We're thankful NFL players refused to "bend over and grab the ankles" for Rush Limbaugh.
We're thankful six companies have resigned from the Chamber of Commerce due to its denial of climate change science.
We're thankful Falcon "Balloon boy" Heene wasn't actually in the balloon.
We're thankful Lt. Dan Choi and Lt. Col Victor Fehrenbach bravely spoke out against Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
We're thankful Shep Smith doesn't always drink the Fox News kool-aid.
We're thankful more than 80 companies refused to lend their sponsorship to Glenn Beck's hateful rants.
We're thankful there are progressive organizations in D.C. lobbying for a two-state solution in the Middle East.
We're (not) thankful for the filibuster.
We're thankful that more than 20,000 of you stood up to Bill O'Reilly's harassment machine and called for impeachment hearings against torture advocate Jay Bybee.
We're thankful that Iran's authoritarian rulers live in fear of their own population.
We're thankful we'll no longer have to listen to nativist rhetoric on CNN and global warming skepticism on ABC News.
We're (not) thankful for bailed out CEOs who think they're doing "God's work" by doling out billions in bonuses.
We're thankful for the legacy of the Liberal Lion.
We're thankful Bill O'Reilly won't be following us home for Thanksgiving.
We're thankful a "wise Latina" sits on the Supreme Court.
We're thankful for our readers and the support you give us.
So what are you thankful for on this Thanksgiving?
Monday, November 23, 2009
* Note the photo of a make-shift memorial for Lawrence King, a gay 15 year old teenager who was murdered at E.O. Green School in Oxnard, California. King was killed in class by a fellow student on February 12, 2009. How Much Longer Will We Tolerate
Savage Homophobia in Our Community?
By Seattle Slim
Look, let me premise this by saying that I don't agree with homosexuality. Yes, I said it. And I don't care if anyone agrees with me or not on that. It is just a sexual preference, and I think people, straight and gay, put way too much stock into who people ultimately choose to screw.
Because of that, I am patently against homophobia and the attack on this poor child, 9th grader Jayron Martin, is nothing short of savage. He was threatened with an ass kicking by some bully punks for being gay. He went to his school leadership for help and they turned their backs on him (Click here for more info).
While I may not agree with homosexuality, they are fellow human beings. I'm a Christian and I know full and damned well that we are supposed to treat others the way we want to be treated. I also know that the Bible clearly states that God loves us all, even the people we as humans don't believe are worthy of His love. Thank God it's not up to us, and it's up to Him.
I sure as hell wouldn't want to be beaten for being straight, or being in an interracial relationship with a white guy. Even though I don't agree, I don't think, nay, I know it's wrong as hell to attack people for their sexual preferences, specifically for being homosexual. That's not alright.
Just this April, Carl Joseph Walker committed suicide because kids taunted him by calling him gay. No one even knows if he was gay or not, he was just different, and that was enough to start the gay taunts. Sadly, he was not the first suicide, nor the last, due to sickening homophobia.
Young black boys have this screwed up idea of masculinity because the fathers aren't in the home, or the fathers don't give a shit. That's bad in and of itself, and harmful to them, but if you add homophobia, you've got a toxic cocktail of disdain and hatred.
We need to stop turning blind eyes to this form of sexual harassment; this homophobia. Had the Horace Mann Leadership Charter School not turned a blind eye to homophobic taunting and teasing, Carl Joseph Walker might still be alive today. Jayron could've been killed, but of course, he's gay so his life must be expendable, right?
Most authority figures in schools could give a damn less about young black boys and girls, but they apparently throw "different" kids to the wolves without batting an eye. And don't think these beast won't come after you or your kids if you so much as get on their reactionary radar. These same beasts are from the same animal species that killed Derrion Albert, taunted Carl Joseph Walker and attacked a Haitian woman and her son in the Dunbar Village rape back in 2007.
If we don't stand up for youths and adults like Jayron, whether or not we agree with their lifestyle or sexual preference, not a soul will stand up for us when these feral ass kids turn on us.
Jayron should've been protected. He should've never been attacked. His story is a litmus test for all of us and we should be paying attention. How many more black boys and girls will have to be chased, beaten or driven to suicide before we do something?
Sunday, November 22, 2009
The slogans actually talk of President Obama dying or hoping he dies real soon. But here's the question that keeps turning in The Daddy's head: how can the mind of a fellow American be so twisted that he or she would want their own president dead?
Trying to wrap my arm around this question, I came across this interesting article in Think Progress by journalist Amanda Terkel that talks about this phenomenon. Check it out:
Using Bible Quotes to Pray That Obama's 'Days be Few'
by Amanda Terkel
November 20, 2009
A new slogan is making its way onto t-shirts and even teddy bears: 'Pray for Obama: Psalm 109:8,' which reads, 'Let his days be few; and let another take his office.”
The newest far-right craze is an anti-Obama slogan that is making its way onto t-shirts, bumper stickers, mugs, and even teddy bears: “Pray for Obama: Psalm 109:8,” which reads, “Let his days be few; and let another take his office.” The meme is also taking off on Twitter, with conservatives calling it “hilarious.” Commentators have noted that it’s unclear whether the intent is to hope for an end to Obama’s time in office — or an end to his life. But a look at the lines in the rest of the psalm hint at the latter:
Let his days be few; and let another take his office.
Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.
Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places.
Let the extortioner catch all that he hath; and let the strangers spoil his labor.
Let there be none to extend mercy unto him: neither let there be any to favor his fatherless children.
Let his posterity be cut off; and in the generation following let their name be blotted out.
Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered with the LORD; and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out.
Let them be before the LORD continually, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth.
Diana Butler Bass at Beliefnet explains that Psalm 109 is one of the “imprecatory” prayers, “a lament in the form of petition to destroy one’s enemies.” While perhaps intended to be a joke, she notes that the psalm actually “entreats God to destroy the president”:
It is the personal prayer of an individual, someone who has been dealt an injustice by another–and usually more powerful–person. The words of Psalm 109 are those of deep agony, the longings of a victim for retribution and justice. This psalm is considered one of the most difficult of all the psalms–full of violent images of vengeance and death.
Quite a few of the “Pray for Obama” items are being sold at CafePress.com, although many of them have been taken off of the site (here’s a cached version of some of them). Cafe Press representative Margene H. told ThinkProgress that while the site took down some of the “Pray for Obama” items today, it is now in the process of reinstating them:
We initially pulled the Psalm 109:8 content from our products today because broader media dialog indicated that these designs potentially suggested violence towards the president. Based on current public discourse and further review of the actual content, we have determined that it is fair political commentary and we are in the process of reinstating this merchandise. As with all of our content, these designs will continue to be reviewed and if at any time their meaning is construed as advocating violence we will revisit our decision.
On Tuesday, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow spoke with “Patience With God” author Frank Schaeffer, who said that while the psalm was “frightening” in a secular context, it’s even “more threatening” in a biblical context.
Can you believe there are Americans who actually want to see their president dead?
Friday, November 20, 2009
Listen up. A brotha received an email last night. It said that I was a very good writer and asked what writers do I read the most. I said James Baldwin and Walter Mosley. She said she never heard of him. After telling her he wrote the book that turned into the film "Devil in a blue dress," I sent this bio of Mosley to him. Those of you who haven't heard of him or read one of his books, The Daddy recommends that you write a note to yourself to buy one of his books as a gift to yourself for Christmas.
You'll love the writing of a guy who transformed himself from programmer to mystery writer, professor at New York University, and one of America's greatest writers. Here's the bio I sent to my friend:
The author Walter Mosley was born in 1952 Los Angeles, California. He attended Goddard College and Johnson State College, and has been a computer programmer. He is currently a professor of English at New York University.
Walter Mosley's mystery novels have often been compared to those of Raymond Chandler, mainly because they share vivid settings on the seamy side of Los Angeles in the middle decades of the century, a less-than-rosy view of human nature, and tough but noble main characters in Philip Marlowe and Ezekiel Rawlins.
There's another similarity: like Chandler, Mosley wields elegant, economical prose to create unforgettable characters. Chief among them is series protagonist Easy Rawlins. In many ways Rawlins is a kind of black Everyman, reflecting the great migration from the South in mid-century. He grew up in Houston, fought in World War II and works hard for a better life in Los Angeles, keenly aware of the boundaries imposed upon him by racism. But Easy is no stereotype; endlessly complex, he continues to surprise and reward readers. Chandler once wrote that the best mysteries are those you would read even if the last chapter were torn out; Easy Rawlins is a character who would make you do just that. Rawlins is not a private eye; he makes his living at everything from real estate to janitorial work. He's a sometime fixer, drawn into mysteries, often against his will, because some friend or connection needs his help.
Like many other Black detective/mystery authors (witness Chester Himes), Mosley novels use the side-kick accessory to blunt the dark side of the protagonist's character. Beginning in the early 1940s, the Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins novels use this most effectively with Easy and his sometimes buddy, Mouse.
In the course of five novels, he's lost a wife and daughter and gained a couple of adopted children, made tidy sums of money and lost them, drunk a lot of whisky and given it up, fought despair and anger and, provisionally at least, won. The sixth published novel is the first Mosley wrote, the first in the series, the first not set in the Watts section of LA, though it is strengthened by reading it after the first published.
Devil In A Blue Dress (1990), published to critical acclaim and nominated for an Edgar, established him as a mystery writer of the first rank. When President Bill Clinton cited Mosley as one of his favorite writers in 1992, it brought Mosley even wider media attention - making the remainder of the first three, A Red Death (1991) and White Butterfly (1992), very popular. Black Betty (1964) made the New York Times best-seller list, and the 1995 movie version of Devil in a Blue Dress, starring Denzel Washington as Easy, was well-reviewed, although it was, for some perverse reason, a box office washout. His fifth, A Yellow Little Dog (1996) made the New York Times best-seller list too. With his sixth Easy Rawlins novel, Gone Fishin' (1997), Mosley chose an African American publisher, Black Classic Press instead of his usual W.W.Norton. A seventh Easy Rawlins novel, Bad Boy Bobby Brown, is due in 1998 or 1999.
Mosley's non-"Easy" books are quite good. RL's Dream, based in part on the life of blues legend Robert (Leroy) Johnson. Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned (1997) suggests a new introspective detective series with its remarkable protagonist Socrates Fortlow. HBO created a movie out of it starring Laurence Fishburn as Fortlow. His first science fiction novel, Blue Light, is Walter Moseley's current release and the prelude to a trilogy.
I was introduced to Walter Mosley's books during the early 90s nearly simultaneously by my wife, a mystery writer friend, and President William Clinton. In all of his six (soon to be seven) "Easy" novels, Mosley uses period detail and slang to create authentic settings and characters, especially the earnest, complex Rawlins, who continually is faced with personal, social, and moral dilemmas. They are fast page turners laced with drugs, desire and death. Inside and outside the genre, Walter Mosley is an American writer of our times.
What books are you buying to read over the holidays?
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Listen up. As an African American, a student of American history and a person who sometimes entertains the illusion that he is a writer, The Daddy had been trying to write this book for a long time. It weaves a historic yet personal tale about the excitement and the dangers of the turbulent sixties. It shares a personal story, or stories, about this period as a learning experience which helped shape who we, the children of the sixties, are today and the values we try to inculcate in our children.
The poems in section II are personal. The heroes discussed in section III are primarily political. But the signature poem in the second part of Section III is intensely personal, involving two college student's deep, undeniable love, painful, unforgettable loss, and bitter-sweet memories that neither time,maturity, or subsequent affairs could erase from the heart. Ultimately, it was these intensely personal memories set in the midst of the civil rights, black power, and anti-war movements and my attempt to recall them honestly that took this book so long to write.
The Daddy prays that you will click on the Lulu.com logo on the sidebar and purchase the book. He hopes you will appreciate it. Those who have said that they were impressed with its honesty and its ability to take them back to the sixties and early seventies, when they were in college.
One of those who read the book was Verna Monson, one of the two editors of the book and child of the sixties herself. This is what she wrote:
"Mac Walton's The Rebellious Sixties? Yes, I Remember is part-memoir, and part-tribute to the civil rights movement that intertwines themes of racism, sexism, poverty, homelessness, violence, and war. Walton's poems span several decades -- recalling the Atlanta of his childhood, of anti-war rallies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, of the homeless in Minneapolis, and of encountering the hollow transformation of friends through the decades following the civil rights movement. Walton weaves poetry of clashing values and personal upheaval with poetic portraits in tribute to heroic men and women of the civil rights movement. The Rebellious Sixties evokes a time of hope and change, passion and loss. Walton confronts the rawness of racism, hatred, and violence faced by African Americans thrust into a society unprepared for change."
This book was written in memory of Emmitt Till, a 14 year old black manchild whose brutal and tragic death sparked increased protest and the end of apartheid in the southern part of the United States of America.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
In Truthdig, Eugene Robinson, Editor of the Washington Post and Pulitzer-Prize winner for journalism, just wrote a brilliant piece. Even if you don't read it all, read some of it. You'll still get a lot out of it. Our soldiers are involved; an so is our integrity as a nation:
Check it out:
by Eugene Robinson Posted on Nov 12, 2009
The most dreadful burden of the presidency—the power to send men and women to die for their country—seems to weigh heavily on Barack Obama these days. He went to Dover Air Force Base to salute the coffins of fallen troops. He gave a moving speech at the memorial service for victims of last week’s killings at Fort Hood. On Veterans Day, after the traditional wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetery, he took an unscheduled walk among the rows of marble headstones in Section 60, where many of the dead from our two ongoing wars are buried.
As he decides whether to escalate the war in Afghanistan, Obama should keep these images in mind. Geopolitical calculation has human consequences. Sending more troops will mean more coffins arriving at Dover, more funerals at Arlington, more stress and hardship for military families. It would be wrong to demand such sacrifice in the absence of military goals that are clear, achievable and worthwhile.
And what goals in Afghanistan remotely satisfy those criteria?
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the U.S. ambassador in Kabul, Karl Eikenberry, recently sent two classified cables to officials in Washington expressing what the newspaper described as “deep concerns” about sending more troops now.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal, chosen by Obama to lead U.S. forces in Afghanistan, has asked for perhaps 40,000 additional troops to carry out a counterinsurgency campaign. Armchair Napoleons in Washington, comfortably ensconced in their book-lined offices, insist that Obama must “listen to the generals.” But Eikenberry was a four-star general until Obama named him ambassador earlier this year. He commanded U.S. troops in Afghanistan in 2006-07. He as well needs to be heard.
Karzai, you will recall, committed what observers described as widespread, blatant election fraud in “winning” a new term in office. In many parts of Afghanistan, the Karzai government is seen as so weak and corrupt that the Taliban has been able to move in as a lesser-of-two-evils alternative.
It is axiomatic that a successful counterinsurgency program requires a partnership with a reliable, legitimate government. If the Karzai regime is not such a partner, the goal that McChrystal would be pursuing with those extra 40,000 troops would not be achievable.
Obama is also reported to be considering scenarios in which he would send roughly 30,000 extra troops, somehow persuading our unwilling NATO allies to make up the difference, or send about 20,000 troops and modify the McChrystal plan, opting instead for a “hybrid” strategy that’s part counterinsurgency, part counterterrorism. I’m skeptical that either of these options sets goals that are achievable, and I’m certain that neither sets goals that are clear.
Following his visits to Dover, Fort Hood and Arlington Cemetery, Obama should focus the attention of the White House and the Pentagon on a question that too often is overlooked: What troops?
Our all-volunteer armed forces have been at war for eight years with no end in sight, serving tours of duty of up to 15 months in the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan. Many units have been called to serve multiple tours. By contrast, most Vietnam War veterans served a single one-year tour.
Fighting two big simultaneous wars with our armed forces stretched so thin has put enormous emotional, psychological and economic stress on military families. The suicide rate in the armed forces has climbed steadily, as has the incidence of stress disorders among veterans. The Pentagon is adept at shuttling its people around and has worked out how to provide the 40,000 troops McChrystal wants. But any new deployment would come at a heavy cost—a human cost—far beyond the billions of dollars required to train, equip, transport and maintain the units being sent.
To read the rest of the story, click here.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
"But fame is theirs - and future days
On pillar'd brass shall tell their praise;
Shall tell - when cold neglect is dead -
"These for their country fought and bled."
Today, this Veteran's day, the daddy is praying for the end of war in Iraq, the end of our presence in Afghanistan (except to leave a small group of soldiers to train and support Afghanistan troops), for closer monitoring and enforcement of laws against those who assault our women in uniform, and for greater funding and less red tape to help soldiers who come home maimed and traumatized mentally, physically, and spiritually.
A Veteran's Day Prayer
by Rev. Scott Elliott
Good and loving God we are gathered here today on the eleventh day of the eleventh month. It is the traditional day for Veteran’s Day and our thoughts are of the women and men who have served our nation in times of war and truce. We stand before you grateful for the dedication of these heros who have lived and died, suffered and cried and stood with pride on ship, battlefield and parade ground.
We ask that these women and men experience your healing and comforting presence for the wounds they have known and still know, for the losses they have endured and always will endure. We also ask that your healing and comforting presence be experienced by the families and loved ones who have suffered with them and who have had to endure living without them.
We especially ask that your presence be experienced by the veterans of tomorrow, those soldiers and sailors who are in harm’s way today. Please, gracious God, guide them to safety, guide them to justice and righteousness in even the toughest of conditions. Bring them home to their families and loved ones. Comfort those families and loved ones, and teach us how we might help them with their troubles and be your compassionate presence to them as they experience anxiousness, anguish and the loneliness and pain that comes with the knowns and unknowns of war.
Finally, God, for veterans, for all who are in the service, for America, for the world, we pray for peace. Lead the leaders of the world to the day when “they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; [to a day when] nation shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war any more” (Isa 2:4).
We long for your peace, for your shalom.
In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."
--President Eisenhower's farewell address to the nation, January 17, 1961
- "...this system of waste and private profit from public funds...which, when you think about it, is what these wars, the stock market and health care all have in common."
- --U.S. officer quoted in Truthdig, November 9
Whatever winning means to McChrystal and his horde of leaders on the ground, what it will mean to us back here are four things:
1. The war in Afghanistan is the Prez's war now. No longer can he blame it on his predecessor. Sure, Bush made the blunder of getting us there with only about 12,000 troops to train Afghanistan army and to look for Osama Ben Laden, who, it was believed, was still in the area trying to escape to Pakistan. But Bush never cared about Afghanistan. His sights were on Iraq.
2. In making the decision to send additional soldiers to Afghanistan, The Prez is making a long-term commitment of 10 years or more. We'll be there a long time.
3. With this long-term commitment will come increased numbers of U.S. casualties, increased funding to run this war, funding the U. S. no longer has, and a significant lowering of The Prez's popularity. No, this low popularity will have nothing to do with race but policy, which is just as it should be. It's a poor decision of historic proportion; and, as Americans soldiers's death rise and this drawn-out war rages with few improvements, he will deserve all the criticism he gets.
Welcome to the real world, Prez. This real world consists of the one you inherited and the one you have made. Good Luck with that.
Do you feel The Prez's decision to send a significant number of troops to Afghanistan, raising our level there to as much as 100,000 is a good idea?
Monday, November 9, 2009
If you blinked, you might have missed it.
With the media still covering Michael Jackson's death, and the circus surrounding reality TV stars Jon and Kate Gosselin, you might have missed an important story that broke this week.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, released a stunning new report detailing significant barriers faced by many female veterans when accessing VA care. Some of the crucial findings include:
- Privacy standards for women veterans at VA facilities aren't being met.
- Comprehensive primary care is still not available for women veterans at all hospitals and clinics.
- The VA still has shortages of qualified women's health and mental health care providers.
This is unacceptable. With more women serving than ever, the VA must work to ensure they receive the care they've earned. Female troops have shown incredible courage in defending our country, and are entitled to the same support and recognition as their male peers.
We want you to know IAVA is working every day to make this a reality. We're on the front lines on Capitol Hill and in the media, fighting for better care and benefits, and ensuring that women's issues are a top priority.
Next month, we're releasing a groundbreaking Issue Report on women in the military, based on extensive research and the experiences of IAVA Member Veterans. Want to be the first to read it? Sign up for mobile alerts by texting REPORT to 69866. We'll send you a text message as soon as the report launches.
Thank you for standing with us.
Note: The Daddy can't wait to read this report from one of the finest military organizations out there. How about you?
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Listen up. The Daddy said some harsh things about The Prez. Namely, he said The Prez was not being aggressive in pushing the Public Option in getting into law healthcare reform. I said in yesterday's post:
"The Prez today. The Daddy is upset that, at the precise time he needed to be on hill, fighting for the health reform bill, he was speaking to kids at some school. The Daddy is further upset by his lackluster stance on the Public Option, saying he would prefer it but he is willing to listen to people with other ideas as well. Remember: this is the most important part of healthcare reform and the most significant way to keep Insurance costs down. Remember: Inclusion of the public option is, ultimately, the way the healthcare bill is going to be judged."
The Daddy was wrong.
First, a brotha simply assumed that the Obama administration was not involved. Now that the bill has been passed, news has been coming out that the White House has been working closely with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Second, the Obama administration seems to have learned a key lesson from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, when she was trying to get a healthcare bill out of the House: House representatives are very sensitive about White House intervention or influence. They don't like to feel they are being pushed around OR told what to do. Consequently, it was a good idea for The Prez to strike a balance between strong-are, aggressive intervention (which isn't The Prez's way of doing things anyway) and consensus leadership. The Daddy is happy to say The Prez's strategy won out on this one.
This historic bill , which represents the biggest overhaul of the U.S healthcare since Medicare, which no other U. S. president has been able to get of the house since Lyndon Johnson get out of the house in the 60's, places pressure on Senate Republicans to meet its obligations and go along with democrats or resign themselves to a party that has truly been the part of NO: a party that has failed to meet its date with history and turned its head away from that history and all Americans in the process.
President Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Congrats:
Saturday, November 7, 2009
No matter how hard, sometimes you got to fight for something or you can be indirectly influenced or even bullied (Remember Gen. McChristal's report to Obama saying if we don't get an increase in U.S. troops, we will fail in Afghanistan?) or privately (behind doors between the sheets) to falling for anything.
Well and good. But you know what? A brotha is also thinking about the tremendous weight on The Prez's shoulders: Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, the immigration issue, the killing of soldier's by other soldier's at home and abroad (Remember the Lavena Johnson case?).
That being the case, The Daddy thought of a poem by Langston Hughes, a poem which reminds us that, for a black man or black woman, it doesn't matter what you do, life is going to be tough. The poem's called, Mother to Son. It's a poem The poem contains lessons The Daddy thinks would be good for all of us to remember. Check it out and check out the metaphor crystal stair:
Mother to Son
by Langston Hughes
Well, son, I'll tell you:
Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
It's had tacks in it,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor --
But all the time
I'se been a-climbin' on,
And reachin' landin's,
And turnin' corners,
And sometimes goin' in the dark
Where there ain't been no light.
So boy, don't you turn back.
Don't you set down on the steps
'Cause you finds it's kinder hard.
Don't you fall now --
For I'se still goin', honey,
I'se still climbin',
And life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
Can you put yourself in Obama's place and see the difficult problems and critical decisions he has to make?
Friday, November 6, 2009
Ellen Goodman is asking, "If you pull out, what' going to happen to Afghan women?" "Who will protect them?" Ultimately, she is saying that discussions about changes in Afghanistan needs to go far beyond military matters (How many troops?). They need to include a discussion about the prospects of women, or lack thereof, that Afghan would face in a U.S. pullout. Check her out:
What Options for Afghan Women?
by Ellen Goodman
It’s been 11 years since I looked through a photo album smuggled out of Afghanistan by a brave young woman. “This is a doctor,” she said, pointing to one picture. “This is a teacher.” It was impossible to tell one woman from another under the burqas enforced by their Taliban rulers.
Back then, the world turned a cataract eye on Afghan women. Under virtual house arrest, they were barred from work, from school, from walking alone or even laughing out loud. It was arguably the greatest human rights disaster for women in history.
After 9/11, when we went after al-Qaida and the Taliban, which had hosted these terrorists, many saw collateral virtue in the liberation of Afghan women. Indeed, President George W. Bush played this moral card in his 2002 State of the Union speech when he declared to thunderous applause: “Today women are free, and are part of Afghanistan’s new government.” Mission accomplished.
Many women shed their burqas, opened schools, entered parliament. Equal rights were written into the constitution. But slowly, as America turned to the disastrous misadventure in Iraq, Afghan women’s freedoms were casually traded in like chits for power.
Now again, we’re focusing on this beleaguered country and its sham leader. The discussion is cast in military terms—more troops, less troops. Yet I keep thinking about the women who are once again pushed to the outskirts of the conversation, as if they were an add-on rather than a central factor.
If we abandon the country, or even the countryside, don’t we abandon those girls who have gone to school even when risking acid thrown in their eyes? If we prop up the deeply corrupt government of President Hamid Karzai, are we just supporting warlord fundamentalists instead of Taliban fundamentalists?
The options are so chilling that even Afghan women’s groups are divided. RAWA, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, wants us out. WAW, the Women for Afghan Women, “deeply regrets having a position in favor of maintaining, even increasing troops” rather than “abandoning 15 million women and children to madmen.”
American women seem equally torn—ambivalent is far too gentle a word. The Feminist Majority, which championed Afghan women long before it was popular, has stopped short of asking for more troops. Ellie Smeal’s anger at American funding of warlords is matched by the fear that if we back out, it will create “terrible human suffering,” the return of the prison state. Ann Jones, the author of “Kabul in Winter,” confesses to agonizing about deserting Afghan women while fearing that Karzai’s henchmen and the Taliban are “brothers under the skin.” And Susannah Sirkin of Physicians for Human Rights says ruefully, “I don’t think if you ask women and girls that they would easily say their lives are better since 2001. The best you could say is that there is more cause for hope.”
We shouldn’t be surprised we have come to this pass. It happened on our watch. We barely noticed when Karzai signed a law that would have, among other things, allowed Shiite men to withhold food from wives who refused them sex. It didn’t take a rigged election to show a shallow respect for democracy. If by democracy, that is, you include half the population that is female.
Today, one-third of the students are girls. Women now get health care once denied them. Is that enough? How much are we willing to pay in lives and treasure for hope? How much are we willing to lose in moral suasion, in our own eyes and those of the world, if we abandon these women?
I find this a bleak and demoralizing set of choices. The least unbearable may be to protect the population centers while rebuilding Afghan civil society, one city, one school, one health center at a time. But this works only if we include women in a debate that has been as militarized as war itself.
Afghan women are not the “add-on,” the incidentals in this process. Women are civil society. We’ve learned all over the world that the only way to develop a stable society and economy is with the education and inclusion of women. There is no democracy without women.So, here we go. This is our last chance. And theirs.
Ellen Goodman’s e-mail address is ellengoodman1(at)me.com.