Monday, December 31, 2012

No New Year's Resolution

Most of us have made New Years Resolution's. We promise ourselves that we're going to lose weight, save money, or accomplish something in the new year that we could not accomplish the year before. The problem is, the very definition of a New Years resolution has become synonymous with an aspiration that never comes to fruition. In other words, there is little or no resolve in most New Years resolutions.
This year I have decided to forgo making my usual laundry list of New Years resolution's and just make 1 promise. A promise that is all encompassing, all inclusive, and full proof. I promise to trust in The Lord. Sure, I have been, but not like I should, and I am man enough to admit
it. There have been times this past year when I've had my doubts, entertained my fears and did not stand on his promises, and despite falling short, he brought me and my family through. So I look forward to this year through optimistic eyes imagining the abundant blessing's that await me when I put 100% trust in him.
I know that if I trust in The Lord to lead me and guide me all of my desires will become reality. This year, I want to be a better Christian, a better husband, a better father, a better son, a better brother, a better employee, and a better man. I know that my prayers, and my trust in him will continue to make me stronger. I know that I don't need a resolution as long as I believe and stand on his promises.

Philippians 3:13-14
13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 17:20
20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

Happy New Year!

PR

Saturday, December 29, 2012

1 Per Customer !

When I first heard about Shawty Lo getting his own reality show on Oxygen, my first thought was......who? I couldn't remember a song or anything. But then I realized that reality show's are the last bastions of hope for washed up celebrities A, B, and C list who are hoping to cash in in on name recognition. I guess somebody at the Oxygen network thought that a show about a washed up rapper who swings his penis with reckless abandon must appeal to his regional audience in "west bubble nut" or where ever he used to catch the short yellow bus. But they are wrong. On Thursday it was announced the Oxygen network will air a reality series entitled "All My Baby Mama's". This show chronicles the so called relationship's between 37 year old Lo, the 10 mother's of his 11 children ( 2 of which are 19) and Shawty Lo's 19 year old girlfriend. Apparently this washed up one hit wonder never uses condoms and impregnates each and every woman that he sleeps with, spreading his seed as if it has a "limited time offer", one per customer. According to Oxygen, “All My Babies’ Mamas’ will be filled with outrageous and authentic over-the-top moments that our young, diverse female audience can tweet and gossip about.”
In other words, we are producing more garbage for young black women to consume because this is what they like.
Those of us who live in reality know that this is not entertaining, cute, or normal. Those of us who have a shred of sense, dignity, and self respect won't even tune in, and the majority of African-American's agree that this show is nothing but a modern day minstrel show. I could go into detail about irresponsible men, and gullible young women but it is nothing that hasn't already been said. I will resist my desire to explore the psyche of women who know about 9 baby mama's and think that they won't be an addition to that number, due to the fact that it is water under the bridge. But what I will say to all young women is this, if a boy, or a man really thinks that you are as special as he says that you are, he will wait. The fact that you asked him to, will do one of two thing's, it will either make him respect you, or leave. Either decision is beneficial to you because, you've either established yourself as a woman to be respected, or as a women who refuses to be disrespected. We've all heard a thousand times that a guy is only after one thing. This is 100% true, not necessarily right, but true. If a woman is really interested in a guy, opening her leg's will not make him stay. In fact it will drive him away because the mystery is gone seconds after orgasm. Having his baby didn't make him stay with the other's and guess what, your baby won't make him stay either. You have to give him an incentive to stick around. If who you are is not enough then he was never the one anyway. The fact of the matter is, he is trying to get you to relent because other's have. The question is, how many others? It is truly a gamble, and no one should gamble with their lives.
This is a message to men from a seasoned man of a certain age, me. Spilling your seed inside of every woman that you meet does not make you a man. Dog's make babies too. Every man has a mother or a sister or both. What if some man promised them the world but, left them with nothing but shattered dreams, and a damaged heart? Would you want to see them suffer because they were just an undervalued conquest? Of course not. Food for thought. Each time you have intercourse with a different woman it amounts to playing Russian Roulette with your penis. Men everywhere should avoid being Shawty Lo, and young girls should run like as fast as they can if they see a Shawty Lo. This dude really is low.

PR

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Gay Bible? Really?!

A new version of the bible has been written. A version based on fiction created and developed for the soul purpose of stirring controversy.The Gay Bible!
A gay version of the Bible, in which God says it is better to be gay than straight, was written by an American film producer back in 2009. Revision Studio's based in New Mexico, has published the "Princess Diana Bible". In this blasphemous book, Genesis was rewritten that instead of God creating Adam & Eve, he created Aida & Eve.
"And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Aida, and she slept: and he took one of her ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which the Lord God had taken from woman, made he another woman, and brought her unto the first. And Aida said, 'This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of me. Therefore shall a woman leave her mother, and shall cleave unto her wife: and they shall be one flesh.' And they were both naked, the woman and her wife, and were not ashamed."
This homosexual rhetoric is infuriating, egregious, and insulting to all true Christian's & Christianity itself.
There has even been an attempt by some in the gay community to say that the almighty son of God himself was gay. This is unbelievable, unacceptable, and deeply disturbing.
A church in New Zealand posted a billboard depicting the baby Jesus lying in a manger with a rainbow halo around his head with the caption, "It's Christmas, it's time for Jesus to come out".
Reverend Glynn Cardy defended the church's sign as being about trying to lift the humanity of Jesus. "The fact is we don't know what his sexual orientation was," he was quoted as saying in a recent interview. News of the billboard broke just as "Bishop" Gene Robinson, the first openly gay "bishop" of the U.S. Episcopal church told Jon Stewart in a recent interview that he believes that Jesus Christ would have approved of gay families and LGBT relationships in general. Robinson went on to say,
"Here’s a guy who in a culture that virtually demanded marriage, was a single guy, spent most of his time with twelve men, singled out three of them for leadership and one of them is known in the Bible as ‘the one whom Jesus loved."
It's official as far as I'm concerned. The gloves are off. Firstly, let me start by being proactive and begin by debunking all of the most common analysis that will undoubtedly be applied to the statement's that are about to follow. No, I am not homophobic. I am not afraid of any gay, transgender, or any alphabet abbreviation seeking to creep its way into the American consciousness. I am not seeking to persecute gay people because I harbor some secret proclivity for homosexuality, nor do I wish to cause anybody harm, gay or straight. But I do believe that just as they feel that they should have a right to openly express who they are and be who they are, I feel that I should have the right to boldly proclaim that homosexuality is no way natural or biblical an is a sin. Point blank! Lev. 18:22, "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination."
Lev. 20:13, "If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their blood guiltless is upon them"
1 Cor. 6:9-10, "Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God."
Rom. 1:26-28, "For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. 28And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper."
The word of God is crystal clear, not subject to revision, misinterpretation, or manipulation.
You can call me what you want, the great irony and hypocrisy is the fact that if I call a gay person a name they would want to go to war. But they are quick to write off, criticize and demonize, those who do not believe as they do. If you choose to live your life openly gay, you have the right. But I also have the right not to accept it, and for those who have always attempted to make the comparison between African- American civil rights and gay civil rights, I reject the parallel because there is none. Being gay is a choice, many claim to have known their entire lives but that is irrelevant. They ultimately chose to wear their sexual orientation on their sleeves for all the world to see. My being African-American was never a choice, although I thank God every day that I am. Being black in America comes with a struggle, and a heritage that was not made for any group to automatically jump on the bandwagon and seek shelter in our cause. When there is an attempt to ride our coat tails, it is an insult to Dr. King, Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, Frederick Douglas, Nat Turner, and every other civil right icon who was a part of our struggle for freedom and equality.
If you want to push or promote your own agenda, you have every right to do so but not at the expensive of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ or African-American's. This is just an attempt to legitimize an illegitimate cause.

PR



Who Benefits From The Fiscal Cliff?

As the fiscal cliff dead line rapidly approaches and both Congress and the President struggle to make a compromise, much has been said about what actually going over this cliff would mean for America. The inevitable increase in taxes being the primary focus. But there are many Americans for whom this dilemma poses a great advantage. The inmate population. Lane County, Oregon will be forced to release even more criminals due to a major cut in Federal subsidies as part of it's law enforcement budget. Yes, I said even more criminals, because Lane County has already released 30 inmates due to previous reductions in Federal subsidies and budget cuts. This is not the only part of the country that would feel the financial impact of going over the cliff. Angel Tavares, the mayor of Providence, Road Island wrote that failure to come to a compromise would have profound and draconian consequences for the city of Providence.
Other states have had similar problems balancing budget constraints along with the cost of high incarceration rates. California spends billions on its penal system every year and has been trying to lower its prison population as a result. A federal court has recently given the state the task of identifying low risk prisoners for early release, as well as other methods that would decrease the number of inmates. According to NPR there are 2 million people incarcerated in the United States, costing states roughly $50 million to house them all, and now due to the fiscal cliff many states face public safety issues due to the fact that they will no longer be able to fund mass incarceration should we go over the fiscal cliff.
As I watch the news and monitor the negotiation process, it almost seems as if it is anything but a negotiation. It seems more like a battle of imposing wills, and sour grapes over the recent election. The bottom line is, both the President and Congress have jobs to do but when it is all said and done average American citizen's will be the ones to benefit or suffer. The millionaire politician's who argue their points in a high stakes pissing contest have little more than their reputations To worry about. As for the rest of us, having to worry about higher taxes is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when you take into account the fact that this seemingly endless political bickering could put lives in more that just financial danger but physical danger, should a threatening criminal element be released by states just to save a buck. So, as it turns out going off of the fiscal cliff may not be as bad as the actual impact once we hit the bottom.

PR

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Right Thing

Sometimes life can be an up hill battle filled with options, choices, and situation's in which we don't have an option or a choice. The scenario's involved can be pretty complex. But unless you are void of a conscience, we all want to do the right thing. The question is, what is the right thing? In certain situation's it is clear, concise, and without any repercussions. Often times we are tested to see what we're made of. One thing is for sure, there will be times in our lives when doing the right thing is just not easy, and it just doesn't feel good. It can be inconvenient, challenging, and not at all beneficial. Even those of us who are Christian's live in a world where the general motivation for most actions is self gratification. So it is no easy task for any of us at times to just do the right thing without reward, other than building a reputable character.
I truly believe that most of us know the difference between right and wrong but many people will do the wrong thing if it feels right for them. Living life like this will always bring about negative consequences because the decision to do the wrong thing for the "right" reason is fleeting. In other words, it is a temporary fix. The worst thing about a temporary fix is that it's temporary.
Doing the right thing is just about always a selfless act with little or no reward. But the positive result is ever lasting. Your actions may encourage other's to act in a positive way, and each and everything that we do represents our testimony. Our behavior is a testament to who we are, and it speaks louder than any words that we can say. Jesus gave his life on the cross at Calvary so that we would have everlasting life. He has all power in his hands as the son of God yet, he did what was right. He could have destroyed all of those who persecuted him, and took vengeance on those who hung him high and stretched him wide. But he didn't. There was never a person in the history of the world who made a bigger sacrifice to do what is right, and there never will be. When I find myself in a crisis of conscience, as we all do from time to time I remind myself of the ultimate right thing, Jesus giving his life for me, and suddenly my little problem's, situation's and struggles pale in comparison. Food for thought that I find nourishing, inspiring, and sustaining to my soul.

PR

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Happy Birthday Jesus!

What if the meaning of your birthday was lost to your family, and commercialized to make a profit? What if people who didn't even know you, used your special day as an opportunity to take a day off and celebrate in hypocrisy? We would all feel hurt, neglected, ignored and taken for granted. Now imagine being the holy lamb of God sitting at the right hand of the father and having this happen to you.
Most of us can't imagine such a thing. Our birth day's are all about celebrating our birth's and our lives with family and friend's. The focus is on us, and we relish the love, respect and honor that we receive on the one day of the year that is all ours. In return we celebrate the birth day's of those whom we love, cherish, and value.
During this holiday season it is imperative that we do not lose focus on the reason for the season. No one will ever love, cherish of value us more than God!
John 3:16
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Now, that's love. Jesus was born to die. The birth of Jesus marked the beginning of mankind being saved by grace. Whose birthday is more worthy of celebration than his. Jesus is the word of God manifested in the flesh. As we celebrate Christmas we must remember that it's not about Santa Clause, a Christmas Tree or gift's. It's all about Jesus!

PR

Friday, December 21, 2012

Do Some Lives Mean More?

I gave it some time. As the detail's of this narrative began to unfold, I began to peel back the layer's. But I decided that I would give it a week before I revealed and elaborated on my critical, and analytical thought process. No matter what my own conclusions are, children who are murdered, whether they are black, white, purple, or green is nothing less than horrific. But the same level of concern, as well as the since of urgency for a solution to gun violence is conspicuously absent when African-American children are part of the discussion. Of course gun violence had always been the focal point of many discussions in the black community but it is a rarely discussed by society at large. When it is, the discussion's are not as solution oriented, as much as they are an indictment or validation of stereotypical views of African-American youth. But there are still young lives lost that should not have been, and their death's are just as horrific, and just as tragic. This year, 8 teens were shot in Detroit in 1 week in November. Four teen's were shot on a playground in Brooklyn. In July, a 4 year old was shot in the Bronx, and a 15 year old boy was murdered in Oakland. Three teen's were shot & killed in east St. Louis just month's ago, and in Chicago, 102 kid's under the age of 20 were murdered due to gun violence. These were all precious young African-American lives who were the victims of ignorance, apathy, and gun control laws that are just not stringent enough, and their stories received very little coverage in the media. It's almost as if their lives didn't matter, and their futures yielded no possibility of promise.
To me one of the most disturbing aspects of the Newtown tragedy is the fact that from the beginning there seemed to be an almost deliberate attempt to relieve Adam Lanza of some of the responsibility. First it was revealed that his mother purchased the assault rifle. As if the fact that she was the one who bought the weapon some how made her culpable in her own murder and the massacre of those young children. Another unsettling aspect of the media coverage is the fact that Lanza has often been referred to as a troubled young man. When I hear this description it conjures up images of an immature adolescent boy who did not understand the magnitude of what he was about to do. A juvenile delinquent who is prone to egregious behavior because of a troubled past. While Adam Lanza was troubled, and is by definition a young man, he was also over 18, in fact he was 20, which legally makes him and adult, who should be held as accountable in death as he would have been in life. The latest far-fetched theory is that Lanza may have been suffering from lime disease, of all things. It is entirely possible that this is just an attempt to try to make sense of something senseless but that doesn't make it right. That just makes it worse.

PR




Thursday, December 20, 2012

Stop Whining & Go To Work

I had decided that I wasn't going to write about this. But it has really started to annoy me. First people complained about working on Thanksgiving night at Target. Then people started complaining about working on Thanksgiving at Walmart. Now McDonald's employees are complaining about working Christmas, as if they had no idea that some McDonald's are open on Christmas when they took the job.
In this day and age with unemployment at record numbers, and more American's on public assistance than ever before, jobs are a blessing. There are many people who would work the fries, ring up customer's, and stack can's in aisle 3 on Christmas Day. I have worked more than a few Thanksgiving's and Christmas' because I had to feed my family and I had to feed myself. I never complained to supervision. I did what I had to do until my faith and effort put me in a position where I no longer had to work a weekend or a holiday. But up until that time, I did something that is quickly becoming a rarity. I did my job when I was supposed to do my job, and I appreciated the opportunity.
Sam Walton worked tirelessly, and started a business from the ground up, and now Walmart is the largest retail chain in America. He made sacrifices in order to leave a legacy so that his family could thrive. They have the right to run the business built by their patriarch any way they choose. Should they pay a higher wage? Probably so, but they don't and won't for two reason's. 1. Because of the recent economic down turn there are millions of people who will gladly work for what they pay, and there always will be. 2. There is absolutely no incentive for big business to pay a higher wage. It would cause profit loss, and the object of any business is to increase profits.
The McDonald Brother's started McDonalds in the 50's from the ground up and then sold the business to Ray Crock for a hefty sum. Crock expanded the business, and now McDonalds is the largest restaurant chain in the world.
The founder's of both of these American institution's started off with a dream made to come to fruition through drive, hard work and dedication, and should not be demonized for being prosperous. There is a free market, capitalist system in this country in which anyone can participate, build a business, and create a legacy. Granted, this is not an easy task, and it will present a unique set of challenges depending on who you are, your specific needs, and resources, but it is not an impossible feet. A little faith, hard work, a "can do" attitude, and a whole lot of prayer can go a long way. But, there is no such thing as an over night sensation, and there in lyes the problem. We live in an automatic society where immediate satisfaction has become the rule of the day. People want to be paid more right now, and some want to make a maximum amount of progress with a minimum amount of effort. Mathematically it just doesn't add up, or equate to anything but disappointment. There is no progress without struggle, and in corporate America no one will give you anything that will take away from a profit driven bottom line.
Most hiring processes require an interview, a background check, and an offer. Upon being offered any job there is always a briefing in reference to certain caveats which must be agreed upon and understood. Things like hourly wage, scheduling, and a more detailed job description are all discussed. No one has ever been forced to work at McDonalds or Walmart. A job was offered and a job was accepted. Each new employee starts with their eyes wide open, yet some do not choose to see. The only way that anyone can make their shoes hard to fill is if they have an attribute that makes them an indispensable commodity. Until then anyone with a pulse can do the job. So a decision must be made to self improve as opposed to inertia, ineptitude, and apathy. If you want conditions to improve, improve your condition.

PR

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Unbelievable Wealth

I love learning, and I always have. I love to read anything that I can get my hands on. I love watching Jeopardy, and I enjoy filling my mind with useless, and sometimes not so useless factoid's and trivia. One of my favorite kinds of trivia are list's. Top 10 most psycho, top 20 most likely to self destruct, the worlds dumbest criminal's. The list's goes on and on. Perhaps the thing I like the most about these ranking's or list's is the fact that every now and then I actually find something in which I take great pride in knowing.
Recently Forbes Magazine compiled a list of the richest men of all time. At the top of the list is a man that most of us have never heard of. His name is Mansa Musa, the 14th century emperor from West Africa. Musa was worth a staggering $400 billion. His wealth was largely due to the fact that he supplied most of the gold, and salt to the continent of Africa. These were the most valuable commodities in the world at that time. His net worth far exceeds that of the current world's richest man Carlos Slim Helu and his family. The Mexican Telecom magnate has a net worth of $69 billion, edging out Bill Gates whose net worth is $61 billion. These figures are astonishing and beyond imagination.
In 1334 (the 17th year of his reign) Mansa Musa, who was a devote Muslin, went on a pilgrimage to Mecca. His journey would be known as the most extravagant trip ever. He brought with him, 100 camel-loads of gold, each weighing 300 lbs., 500 slaves, each carrying a 4 lb. gold staff, and thousands of his subjects, as well as his senior wife, with her 500 attendants. Musa and his subject's gave out so much gold that they depressed its value in Egypt and caused it's value to fall. This is the equivalent of having so much wealth that you devalue everyone else's money. This is unfathomable, amazing, and a little known black history fact that proves that we as African-American's have a rich heritage which precedes slavery.
Musa had a great appreciation for literature, architecture, philosophy, and and admiration for intellectuals. In fact, when he returned from his pilgrimage he brought some of the greatest scholar's and architect's of that time with him to Timbuktu. Now known as a metaphor for a desolate no mans land, Timbuktu was a magnificent city of education, and learning. It was a cultural, and commercial center in which people from surrounding cities gathered to trade, read literature and study medicine. In addition to having a palace, and a university built there, Musa commissioned the design and building of several mosques. He also established Diplomatic relations and ambassadors were exchanged between Mali and Morocco, and Malinke students were sent to study in Morocco. Due to his political acumen and fore site he was able bring stability back to Mali, and during his 25 year reign he was able to greatly expand his empire bringing great prosperity to Mali.
The Mali Empire extended from the Atlantic coast in the west, to Songhai far down the Niger bend to the east, from the salt mines of Taghaza in the north to the legendary gold mines of Wangara in the south. Just to put this territory in perspective, it is like running roughly half of the continent.
This is not "textbook history", and today's teacher's probably have no idea. But knowledge of black history is integral in understanding history itself. Everything else are half truths, painted with a distorted brush.

PR


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Lone Survivor

It is not unusual for children to visit the world of make believe. Their minds brim with imagination, and creativity. But, who would ever imagine that their lives could depend on it. When Adam Lanza brought his reign of terror to Sandy Hook elementary school, he forced one little girl to take her imagination to a whole new level. Amid the chaos, and evil, this little 6 year-old girl decided to play dead and save herself from the horrific fate of her classmates. She told her
parents that she was ok, but all of her friends are dead. At that moment, having to paraphrase the turn of events, she lost her innocence. Of the 16 children in her class, this unidentified little girl was the only survivor. As the details of this drama unfold it becomes even more disturbing. On Monday as I heard the names of the children who were the innocent victims of this maniacal mad man's evil scheme, proceeded by " six year old.....", on the radio, it was overwhelming, and appalling, because it made me think about my six year old, and I could not imagine feeling the pain that these parents must be feeling. The idea of a child dying at any age just seems so unnatural that it is almost too surreal to be believed. It's just one of those things in life that simply cannot be put into perspective. We have all had things in our lives that have made us question our place in this world. At times many of us have even questioned the very existence of God. There is no shame in admitting it. We are all flawed, and live with imperfections. But we must never forget that God is still here, and he is still in control. He lives in the fact that there was a child whose instincts kicked in and was able to avoid being another victim. He lives in the fact that there were brave teachers who gave there lives protecting these children, and he lives so that we can be strong enough to face tomorrow.
This road that we walk in life will never be easy but he said that he will never leave us nor forsake us. So to ask where he is, or doubt his existence is blasphemy. If you believe in his word then you have to believe that things could have been a lot worse. He will never put more on us than we can bear. So, what do you do when you've spent countless hours on your knees praying for strength and mercy, and you feel like giving up? You stand on his word, and praise him in spite of, not because of. Remember this battle is not yours! He will always fight for us.


PR

Build Me

I stretch my arms toward the heavens like tall blades of grass, and I feel the sun beat down between my shoulders in sync with the rhythm of my heart.
I pray that it will help my wings grow so that I can really fly.
I ponder my day and choose whether I am going to struggle to build me, or let him do it.
Rely on my limited self, or let him help me through it.
Trying to figure out how to to take every breathe in iambic pentameter, outside of my own parameter, because I want people to feel me.
But first I have to feel myself.
Me being a human man, knowing that all men ain't human doesn't make it any easier to live a Christ centered life but I keep on, telling the enemy to keep out, so that I can keep us going.
Us meaning me, my rib, 2 hers and 1 him back out the house.
So far above water that we can't even get wet as defined in my mind.
So when I begin my day, and I think about building me, I think that I cannot possibly build the man that I need to be, not alone. 
So I keep my eyes on the prize and I focus on the throne.

PR


Sunday, December 16, 2012

R.G. 3 (Black Or Red)

Robert Griffin III is the star Quarterback for the Washington Redskins and a major phenomenon in the NFL, often touted and praised for his passing ability, and prowess on the football field. He’s as fast as Michael Vick but he can make all the throws that Peyton Manning can make and he can make all the reads Tom Brady can make, according to one prominent sportscaster.
Recently Griffin made some controversial comment's that have caused quite a stir in both the sports world and the African-American community. In an interview Griffin has been quoted as saying,
“I am an African-American in America. That will never change. But I don’t have to be defined by that…We always try to find similarities in life, no matter what it is so they’re going to try to put you in a box with other African-American quarterbacks Vick, Newton, Randall Cunningham, Warren Moon…That’s the goal. Just to go out and not try to prove anybody wrong but just let your talents speak for themselves.”
Griffin who also identifies as a Republican, and is engaged to a white woman has also said that when he was growing up African-American girl's would not give him the time of day, and that he was often rejected. It was inevitable that this his political affiliation, and choice in a mate would be scrutinized in some circles.
It is quite admirable to seek self definition, and in a perfect world maybe African-American's would be able to define themselves. But we live in a world that is far from perfect, and while this young man has made a choice not to be defined by race. The bottom line is, he will be defined by the fact that he is African-American whether he likes it or not. He is not the first famous Black man who has tried to transcend race, and he probably won't be the last. The fact of the matter is that America will let an African-American live under the illusion of inclusion until they cross the line. Once that line is crossed their transgression's become a life-long scarlet letter, an albatross by which they will always be defined. Their "exceptional negro" status is long gone, and the depth of passion by which they were loved is quickly eclipsed by an even more passionate hatred. Michael Jackson, and O.J. Simpson are classic examples of that. Both were found not guilty, both were convicted by the court of public opinion, and neither of them was ever able to overcome the stigma that dogged them.
The irony in Griffin's desire to not be defined by his race is the fact that he plays for a team which defines itself by racial degradation, in calling themselves the Washington Redskins. But I guess what the team calls itself is not a matter of principal for RG3, as long as they pay him a hefty sum to overlook what he believes. If his attempt to be known as just a great quarterback as opposed to a great black quarterback was truly a matter of sincere principal why would he allow himself to be identified as a "Red Skin"? Black people in this country do not have the luxury of defining themselves outside of their racial identity, because that is how society at large defines us. This is not to say that we cannot be exceptional or magnificent at whatever we do, it just means that who we are is too deeply intertwined in what we are to be ignored. I believe that being a great African-American Doctor, Lawyer, teacher, quarterback or anything, should be a source of pride given our heritage, and the legacy of discrimination in the United States. No matter how we see ourselves, America at large will see us as a black doctor, a black lawyer, a black teacher, and of course a black quarterback.
I do believe however that this young man has the right to marry whoever he wants. But I also believe that if he feels as if he has to defend his choice he should not do so by holding African-American women accountable for his preference. The very idea that he does so, reeks of animosity,
I would respect him more if he just came out and said that he likes white women more, instead of saying that he essentially turned to dating outside of his race because no black women wanted him. If Griffin had half as much courage off the field as he had on the field he would at least make the transition from a delusional black boy to an adult African-American man with both feet planted firmly on the ground, and rooted in reality.

PR




Saturday, December 15, 2012

Kiss The Kids Today, Tomorrow Is Not Promised

On Friday December 14, Adam Lanza forced his way into an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut and opened fire with an assault weapon, killing 26 people, 18 of whom were children under the age of 12. Only one shooting victim survived, with a gunshot wound in her foot. Lanza, started his killing spree at his home near the school, where he shot his mother, Nancy Lanza, in the face, the authorities said. Lanza, 20, then drove his mother’s car to Sandy Hook Elementary School. He was outfitted in combat gear and armed with semiautomatic pistols and a semiautomatic rifle, and then chose his victims with a brutal efficiency, according to law enforcement officials. As children hid in closets, barricaded themselves in bathrooms and huddled in classroom corners, Lanza shot child after child. A janitor ran through the halls alerting others to the shooting, and someone switched on the school intercom, providing more warning and perhaps saving lives, the authorities said. When the principal, and teacher's tried to intervene they too were shot dead. After his evil, murderous rampage this cowardly, bastard committed suicide rather that pay for his crime. The shooting lasting only minutes but it shattered an entire community. Upon further investigation authorities discovered that the fire arms were legally purchased by Lanza's mother.
These innocent children will never see another Christmas morning or another new year. Mere hours before Lanza decided that he was too weak to deal with life, or too weak to battle whatever demonic spirit that possessed him, these young children had their entire lives ahead of them. My only comfort is the fact that he has found his place in hell. My hope is that he feels the pain of each and every bullet multiplied by 10.
I've been trying to avoid the news on the day's following, but one way or another the tragic details are repeated over and over again on every media outlet. The President shed sympathetic tears of sorrow as he made a statement on TV, and pledged to do something substantial to improve gun control. Unfortunately any legislation is too little, too late for any of the victims in Newtown, Connecticut. This is not the only tragedy in recent memory. It was less than a year ago when a crazed gunman, went on a rampage in a movie theater in Colorado murdering 12 innocent people, and there still hasn't been the slightest indication that there are any new law's proposed to stop gun violence. Perhaps the fact that small children died in this heartbreaking incident will persuade the gun lobbyist's to value humanity over profit, and lives over their second amendment defense. Maybe the tears shed by our President in realization that the victim's could very well have been his own children, will ignite a fire in him. With flames fanned both by a public out cry for stricter gun control law's and anguished parent's in Connecticut.

PR



Friday, December 14, 2012

“You Know Where To Hit Her At."

In Georgia two parents have been charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor for encouraging their daughter to get into a street fight.
Shequita Cade and Timothy Taylor picked up their daughter from school and drove her to a local bus stop so she could fight another child, according to local media. Their daughter is a seventh grader at an Atlanta middle school and got into a fight with Quinnaya Durden, 14.
News of pre-pubescent brawl surfaced when footage of the fight was uploaded to you tube. On the video you can hear Taylor directing his daughter. "Nobody better try to jump in neither” was one statement made by Taylor, he also went on to say. “You know where to hit her at.”
This is parenting at it's worst. If you can call this grand display of ignorance, parenting. I call it disturbing, and even more deplorable than the fight itself.
The two girls were punching each other and wrestling on the ground while an unidentified person video taped to fight. I guess there was an overwhelming desire to record this historic event for both posteriority, and you tube sensationalism. A sensible neighbor finally stepped in and broke up the fight.
Timothy Taylor was arrested and charged with battery for his role in allowing and encouraging the fight. According to the local police, Cade and Taylor stated that the reason they transported their daughter for a fight was because she was being bullied by Durden.
There are mistakes, then there is stupidity. This Is definitely stupidity. Encouraging negativity is the worst kind of parenting. No decent, well meaning father wants to see his little girl get hurt just to prove some twisted point. Both parents deserve jail time, and should be charged with 2 counts of endangering the welfare of a minor, because had the fight continued who knows what would have transpired. This could have easily ended in blood shed, and it would all been uploaded on you tube for entertainment.
Perhaps the saddest thing about this situation is the fact that there is little or no public outrage. Michael Vick made dogs fight, and the whole world came crashing down on him as if he was public enemy number one. But Timothy Taylor intentionally takes his daughter to fight another little girl and some how it's not as bad? The fact that we live in a world where dog's are more valuable than children to some people is a sign of depraved indifference, and misplaced apathy. Just in case you haven't figured out the obvious by now, yes, all involved are African- American, and I will not pretend that this is not part of the reason for a wide spread lack of concern. The fact of the matter is regardless of public sentiment, these parent's are solely responsible for this incident and deserve to pay the price.

PR







Thursday, December 13, 2012

3 Reason's Why You Should Get Up & Go!

We all have those morning's. You know the ones where you wake up groggy, look back on your life with a sleepy mind and wonder how things would be different if..........The truth is, sometimes we all get restless as we wait for a change or try to affect our own change. It's part of being human. But we must never forget the progress that we have already made. We must think about how far we've come, and realize that where we could be may be far worse. It is important to accentuate the positive, get up, and go. This writing required no research, no percentages, and absolutely no data because these are things that we already know but seem to forget when contemplating our journey through this gift that we call life.
1. Some people can't get up and go. There are many people in your state, in your county, or in your neighborhood who simply do not have the ability to physically perform the every day activities that many of us take for granted. They would love to be able to get up and do something as simple as go to the bathroom without assistance, or have the ability to feed themselves. Small tasks we don't deem important, are huge when they are beyond our grasp.
2. As much as you dislike your job, or your boss, or both. There are literally millions of people who would love to be in your shoes. They would take your job in a heart beat, and work much harder for much less money. Some people would count it a blessing if they could earn your salary, and they would not complain. The bottom line is, if you have an opportunity to put food and the table, and pay a bill, or two, or three, it is not something that should be taken lightly. Things could always be worse and have gotten worse for many American's who are now unemployed. Be thankful that you're not in that number, and if you were, thank God that you no longer are.
3. Today is December. 14, 2012. This day will never come again. There will be many other Friday's, and of course December 14 will come again next year. But today is a new day filled with new challenges and opportunities, and while you may feel like you're stuck in the same mundane routine day after day, no two days are ever alike and ever will be alike. We must appreciate each and every day and embrace them with all of the enthusiasm and excitement we can muster because every breathe that we take is a blessing to be savored and utilized, for progress, wisdom, and accomplishment.
When I say get up and go it doesn't necessarily mean that you have to go some place. It is just a metaphor for productivity, and proactivity. In other words, take control of your circumstances before they take control of you. Get up and go!

PR






Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Free Radio and The Conservative Melt Down

In The Radio Act of 1927 Congress dictated that the FCC only consider broadcast licensing when doing so serves the public interest. In 1949 the FCC decided to issue a stricter interpretation of the rule stating that in addition to having broadcast's which were pertinent to the public interest, broadcaster's should also do so in a fair manner. The Fairness Doctrine was then issued and enforced.
Under the Fairness Doctrine TV and radio stations holding FCC broadcast licenses had to, devote some of their programming to controversial issues of public importance and allow the airing of opposing views on those issues. This meant that programs on politic's were required to include opposing opinions on the topic under discussion. Another caveat under The Fairness Doctrine stated that Broadcaster's had an active duty to determine the spectrum of views on a given issue and include those people best suited to represent those views in their programming. Additionally, the rule mandated that broadcasters alert anyone subject to a personal attack in their programming and give them a chance to respond, and required any broadcaster's who endorse political candidates to invite other candidates to respond.
The Fairness Doctrine has been challenged numerous times since it's inception on the basis of broadcaster's first amendment free speech rights. In 1969 The case of Red Lion Broadcasting Company vs. The Federal Communications Commission also known as the FCC reached the Supreme Court. The court ruled that although broadcaster's have a right to free speech, the government still had the right to regulate their content because they were in affect, leasing the right to use a government owned medium. However, First Amendment jurisprudence, allowed broadcaster's more speech right's when it came to content. Meaning the first amendment became open to a more philosophical interpretation thereby questioning the constitutionality of the Fairness Doctrine. In response, the FCC began to reconsider the rule in the mid-80's, and ultimately revoked it in 1987.
This decision has been credited with the rise of conservative talk radio in the late 80's and early 90's. These broadcast's started as a platform for conservative view point's and to further the conservative, philosophy. As time went on, these program's began to dominate the airwaves, and became the vast majority of all talk radio broadcast's. They quickly became a big money machine fueled by corporation's who used the fear of those who listened by promoting rhetoric that seem to play on the paranoia of conservative American's. People who don't know, who don't know that they don't know, and who don't want to know, found programming that validated their concern's no matter how unrealistic or far-fetched they were. It is like being afraid of the dark for no reason, and then being happy than you've found someone to give you reason's why you should be afraid. No matter what those reason's are. The comfort is found in the fact that someone is telling you that your concern's are both well placed, and normal.
Propagandist's like Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannidy have earned hundreds of millions of dollars pushing the envelope of absurdity on television and radio in the name if conservatism. But they are really nothing more than self promoting, duplicitous, pseudo-journalist's spreading lies. They eventually cost the Republican Party two elections. Their conservative ideology lacked substance, their assertions, and claims were rarely if ever fact based, and their numerous attacks on President Obama were beyond laughable. First there was the rise of the Tea Party, a radical, racist fringe group who only seemed to be concerned about big government when an African-American announce his candidacy. Then there was the Birther Movement, the insane bastard offspring of the Tea Party who insisted that President Obama wasn't a United States citizen. Last but not least, the G.O.P's arrogant choices in both Presidential, candidates and running mates. Arrogant is the only word which accurately describes that fact that such poorly qualified, and inept candidates were chosen for those election's with the belief that they could actually win. These elements, while not particularly disturbing to some constituents, were the catalyst's for moment's of clarity to those in the party who were capable of critical thinking and analysis. These rare exception's in the party grew in number and realized that the Republican Party had gone to the extreme right of Reagan, and even further to the right of basic conservative view points for a profit. They have realized that it has become less about politic's and more about entertainment. The extremes becoming so extreme, that its proponent's seem like high paid circus clown's. If the GOP doesn't undergo a major overhaul it will go the way of the dinosaur, and the 8 track tape. Fossil's of a bygone era, eclipsed by innovation, and progress.

PR

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Casualties of Incarceration (Doing Time With Mom & Dad)

There have been numerous studies done, and unending research detailing the rate of incarceration in the United States, which now leads the world in the number of it's citizen's currently in custody. The number of those incarcerated has quadrupled since 1980 from 500,000 to 2.3 million. This staggering figure beats former leader's in incarceration like Russia and South Africa, and appears to be on the rise. But what about the children of those doing time? Are they casualties of a prison system which seeks to incarcerate rather than rehabilitate, or just innocent victims caught in the middle?
Studies show that 1 in 28 children have at least 1 parent who is incarcerated. It has also been discovered that 63% of Federal prisoner's and 55% of state prisoner's are the parent's of children under the age of 18. Between 1995 and 2005, the number of incarcerated women in the U.S. increased by 57% compared to 34% per for men. A whopping 75% of all incarcerated women are mothers, and at least 46% of all imprisoned parents lived with at least one of their minor children, prior to entry.
The average age of children with an incarcerated parent is 8 years old, and 22% of the children are under the age of 5. There is a disparate impact on families of color, with African-American children nine times more likely and Hispanic children three times more likely than white children to have a parent in prison. The reason's for this disparity are many but it no secret that African- American's have always received harsher sentences that any other ethnic group due to a culture of systematic disenfranchisement. But I digress.
Having a parent who is behind bars can cause both physical and emotional instability, behavioral problems, and shame because of the stigma attached.
These children suffer abandonment issues and often have low self esteem.
My initial curiosity on this subject was sparked by a children's book that I saw online entitled, "The Night Daddy Went To Prison" (photo below). At first I thought that it was just a parody, or a sick joke. But upon further investigation I found out that it was very real. There has actually been a story book or manual designed to help children cope with innocence lost as a result of a parent being caged. There was a time when children's books taught them how to go potty and brush their teeth. Now it's a whole different ball game. One in which the children are being forced to deal with an adult situation. To some, this may seem like a question of responsibility or lack their of, and you may ask yourself why a truly concerned parent would put themselves in a position where being institutionalized is possible or even necessary. But prison's are filled with innocent people, who have been ripped away from their families in the name of justice. How do we reconcile the irrefutable damage done to their offspring? Even the children of the guilty are not guilty themselves, they just become casualties of the prison industrial complex learning to cope by reading a story book.

PR




Monday, December 10, 2012

Different Last Names, The Decline of Marriage In The African-American Community

This may sound odd but, each and every time I read a story about African- American youth, I have a habit of searching for the parent's last names, hoping that they are the same. Nine times out of 10, I'm disappointed. No matter how many articles I read or how many blogs I write. My habit and disappointment don't seem to change. I guess I can either chalk it up to being old fashioned or being in denial. But I find it increasingly difficult to accept the "new normal".
73% of all African-American children are born out of wedlock, compared to 53% of Latinos and 25% of whites. Researcher's have consistently found that children who are born outside marriage face elevated chances of falling into poverty, failing in school or suffering emotional or behavioral problems.
Analyst's and intellectual's have summarized a number of theories in reference to this subject. Everything from there being a lack of eligible Black men, to unemployment and poverty. Both reasons are viable, but when we compare African-American's to other ethnic groups who also have poverty within their ranks, and the numbers are still disproportionate, we have to ask ourselves what the root causes are, and then dig a little deeper.
African- American's are the only ethnic group who were enslaved here in America, and we are still suffering the after effects of this atrocity. The decline in Black marriage cannot totally be blamed on poverty, and socio-economic disparity because there was a time when slaves wed simply by jumping the broom, and they were poor. Who was more impoverished than slaves?
As I have stated previously, Thomas Jefferson's preferred method of unusual cruelty when it came to punishing his slaves was to separate them from their families. He preferred this method more than physical torture because he realized that destroying the African family tore the very fabric of their being. Jefferson wasn't the only one to use psychological warfare to break his captives. This kind of tactic was widespread, and did more damage to African's at that time, and African-American's today than any whip, chain or shackle. Generation's of Black people have unknowingly passed on dysfunctional behavior from generation to generation, and then what once wasn't a choice became an option because it became acceptable.
Today this affect is more prevalent than ever and what was once an action on the fringe has now almost become an after thought in an ever growing counter culture for African-American's. In other words, the stigma is gone. When there is no tradition of marriage in the community, and there is no tradition of marriage in families, it almost seems peculiar to make such a commitment. Individual's also tend to internalize. Then the question becomes, "Why should I?" Marriage in the African-American community is just not a priority any more because the cultural tradition has changed. Many Black men feel that sex is a necessity that they can indulge in without repercussions, or responsibility. Some believe that self gratification is the only gratification. Wives and children make it impossible to live a life in constant pursuit of satisfaction. Things like time, attention, money, and support have now become much less desirable in the face of pleasing ones self. Especially given the fact that more often than not, these men were raised without father's in their homes to set a standard or example. The cycle continues and history repeats itself.
As long as I can remember there have always been unwed mother's in the Black community but, there was a time when you would hear about the girl down the block getting pregnant, she would disappear for 9 months, and then return as if nothing ever happened. Whisper's and speculation would permeate the neighborhood, and many a nosey neighbor could be overheard whispering whenever she walked by. Those days, are long gone. It has become quite the norm in the Black community to have the baby without the marriage. So much so, that it has become synonymous with our community.
Women are not pressing the father's of their children to marry them simply because it was not part of the structure of their families. They honestly don't know any better because they haven't seen any better or experienced any better. Being a man's wife is unfathomable because there is no point of reference for many African- American women to follow, just the status quo. The bottom line is that a cycle has begun, one that is both disturbing, and not at all beneficial to those involved. Children from single parent homes mimic and continue what is normal for them. Boys growing into men trying to figure out how to treat a woman who is neither mother or sister, and girls growing into woman trying to figure out how to be successful in non-sibling male relationships. A never ending repetition which can be broken if there is a strong desire to be different. This is not a sweeping indictment of all of those who have found themselves in this position. Some men and women bear the scars of broken promises and dreams deferred. It is even a possibility that former or current significant other's are not worthy of marriage. But everybody? There must be some accountability. Until then, there will be generations of children with last names that differ from their mother's. Children given their father's last names for no other reason that a possible child support claim.

PR






Sunday, December 9, 2012

CHANGE !

There are few certainties in life. We are all familiar with the fact that there are certain things in life that are just inevitable. Change is just as certain and as inevitable as the sun rise, and changing season's. Some fight it, and some refuse to change because they are bound by habit. Even those with habits that seem detrimental to their progress find it hard to move on. It is much easier to stick with a negative routine than it is to make a positive change. I began this writing thinking about some my counterparts, some of whom still live in their own little microscopic piece of the world. This living in compasses each and every facet of their lives, and has left them with no desire for change because of both complacency, and contentment. These feelings are dangerous and do not promote growth in humanity. Especially in African- American's. There are many of us, such as those young men in Chicago who seem bent on self destruction, who live their lives from one day to the next, only concerned with making it through another 24 hours. They don't see the benefits of changing or realize that the possibility actually exist. In all honesty a lot of people just don't want to change, and the fact that other's do, or feel the need to, shakes their very foundation. You could move to another state, marry the love of your life and take yourself out of your comfort zone, all in the name of change for progress, and this will inspire hatred in those who do not have the courage to take the necessary step's to better themselves.
Change starts in your mind. You could move from earth to the moon, and every planet in between, but if you were a psychopath on earth changing your location without changing your mind is a grand exercise in futility. A lot of people
are so arrogant that they actually believe that a change in venue will cause an integral difference in their lives because they refuse to have the slightest bit of accountability. But if you put a monkey on Mars, guess what, it'll still be a monkey. All things must change, all people should change, and there is no progress without change.

PR

Friday, December 7, 2012

13 & 137

Timothy Russell, age 42, and Malissa Williams, age 30 were shot and killed in a barrage of bullets after leading Police on a high speed chase through the streets of Cleveland, Ohio. The chase began when an unidentified Officer reported gun fire coming from the vehicle parked outside the Cuyahoga County Justice Center in downtown Cleveland on Nov. 29th. Another officer also reported hearing shots, and sparked the chase near Police headquarters.
ABC Cleveland reported that more than 30 officers were involved in the 25-minute chase, which ended behind a middle school in East Cleveland. In a scene that sounds like it came straight out of a Hollywood epic, 13 officer's fired 137 rounds into Williams and Russell's vehicle. The initial investigation uncovered no weapon or firearm inside of the vehicle, and no shell casings indicating that shots had been fired. Any bullet holes found in the Police cruiser's were as a result of their own gun fire. All 13 officers's were placed on administrative leave pending an investigation by a task force including the local police department, the county police, the county prosecutor and the state criminal bureau is investigating.
This has to be the most excessive use of force that I have ever heard of, and at first glance the source of my outrage was the fact that those officer's probably would not have emptied their weapon's firing at a vehicle with white occupant's. But after reading this story several times, I began to wonder why any sane human being would lead the Police on a 25 minute chase and think that it would turn out to be anything but disastrous. Far too often these stories break and we as African-American's seem to totally ignore the fact some of us act like fools. It almost seems as if we let racism distract us from thinking in-depth. While there is no reason to fire so many shots at anyone, Police shooting African-American's down like dogs, is nothing new. There are times when we cannot avoid being victims. But there are also times when we can. We must think before we act. Unlike like other's we cannot afford the luxury of ineptitude.

PR


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Father and Sun

There are some things that are universal. They transcend race, culture, and time. The one thing all men have in common is the fact that we all want a son. This is driven by a desire to have a smaller version of ourselves. Someone that we can raise, shape, and mold to be better versions of who we are. We want to insure that they can live brilliant lives in which they can fulfill their wildest dreams and realize the potential that we see in them. We want our male offspring to rule the world, and take the universe by storm. Having all intentions on using our experiences to steer them away from the petty mistakes and pitfall's that may have hindered or delayed our own greatness. Our goal is to polish them so that they their shine will rival that of the sun. At least, that is the goal for those of us who readily accept and take pride in the responsibility of raising a boy into a man. Some of us believe that simply making a baby makes us a father, but wild animals make babies so being able to plant a seed in and of itself is not a monumental accomplishment. The standard for fatherhood is often misunderstood, misinterpreted, and miscalculated. Every little boy wants to be like his father, and every grown man will measure himself by his father's example. If not us, who will they follow. The prison's are full of young men who have been left in a position in which they've had to guide themselves. Too many boy's have been left with the impossible task of shaping and molding themselves through trial and error. The only thing about trial and error is the fact that, one error can have you on trial, and the judicial system is both unbalanced and unforgiving. So it is up to us as father's to live our lives as men who are worthy of imitation, adulation, and admiration. We must constantly teach our sons by example because children watch us far more than they listen to us. We must cultivate their attributes, and help them work through their flaws so that they are able to shine as men, and inspire a spirit of individualism, and independence.
We should never underestimate the power of our example. The influence of a father figure, or mentor is immeasurable.
My teenage son is taller than I am but he still looks up to me. I strive each and every day to be the best man that I can be, so that I am able to be the best father that I can be, and while his eyes are on me, my eyes are on God. I call on the Ultimate father to help me be a better father.

This is dedicated to my son B.J.B., a perfectionist, athlete, and future doctor.

PR

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Despicable Acts

This past Saturday morning, 25 year old Kansas City Chiefs linebacker, Jovan Belcher, fatally shot his girlfriend 22 year-old Kasandra Perkins, after an argument in their home. Belcher then drove to Arrowhead Stadium, where he fatally shot himself in the head while in the stadium's parking lot.
Belcher and Perkins left behind a 3 month old daughter named Zoe who is now in the custody of Belcher's mother. Zoe will never know her parents. At three months old it is doubtful that she will have any recollection of being held in her mothers arms or comforted by her father's touch. There is no doubt that her father was a disturbed young man who made a selfish decision, and as a result she must some day be forced to reconcile his actions. Being saddled with the stigma surrounding her parents murder-suicide is a forgone conclusion. I can only assume that Belcher did not consider what effect his actions would have on his infant daughter, who will live the majority of her life as an orphan.
There are an estimated 1500 murder-suicides in the United States each year.
Research reveals the following:
Fathers who kill their children, then themselves, are usually older than the mothers.
Older couples in murder-suicides are more likely to have medical illnesses.
Older men are more likely to kill themselves.
Younger couples are more likely to have a history of verbal discord.
Firearms are the favored weapon.
Victims are overwhelmingly female.
Estrangement is typically the biggest contributing factor.
There are two types of people whose behavior could set off alarms.
The first is a middle aged man who is facing separation or estrangement from is wife or girlfriend, is depressed and has access to firearms.
The other is an older male who acts as the primary care giver to a spouse or significant other who is ill or debilitated. Often times he has a sickness of his own that had been recently diagnosed, severe depression, and access to firearms, according to a study done by Dr. Scott Eliason which was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law.
Sometimes people want to kill themselves because they believe that someone has stopped loving them. Then that person becomes the target.
"A person who is miserable about the loss of affection in their life achieves compatibility again with this person by execution," said Dr. Frank Campbell, the executive director of the Baton Rouge Crisis Intervention Center in Louisiana. He's been studying suicide for more than two decades and travels around the world to investigate suicide scenes.
"When one commits murder-suicide, they create acceptable consequences to them, they are now with that person in a way they can control," Campbell said.
This is by far the most disturbing information that I have ever read. Jovan Belcher seemed to be living the dream, a career in professional football, a million dollar contract, a beautiful family, and the endless possibilities that come with having your whole life ahead of you. Unfortunately he found some of the ups and downs that came with his life, too much to bear. Living life in a state of reality is not easy for those of us who choose to do so. But, like my father once told me, " If you don't control your circumstances, your circumstances will control you". Controlling your circumstances does not mean murdering someone and then killing yourself causing irreparable damage to the innocent people who are involved, and there are always innocent people involved in some way, shape or form. Belcher's mother is now the only parent that her Grand daughter will ever know.
According to the research, the profiles of those who commit these acts of violence involve women, guns, and depression. Perhaps 3 of the most complicated subjects known to man. However, we must gain some insight into a man's decision to destroy a woman that he loves because there is no feeling of reciprocity. This is an insane, irrational choice that benefits no one. It is impossible to solve a problem by killing it. The only result is tragedy, and pain. Suicide is never a way out, just a way into a place where your pain on earth will multiply exponentially, and never end.
Jesus is the answer to the question, and the positive solution to your pain. If nothing else, we must always remember two things, he didn't create life for us to take it away, and he will never put more on us than we can bear. During our times of brokenness, we must trust in him and not in our own understanding. We are not people people but he is a perfect God.

PR


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Death's of Jordan Russell Davis, Critical, & Analytical Thinking

It is becoming inevitable. It's a story that seems to repeat itself in grim detail. Another African-American child has been shot by a coward. A middle- aged Caucasian man who is laying the ground work in order to use Florida's controversial "stand your ground" law to defend his actions. The latest victim is 17-year-old Jordan Russell Davis. Davis who was unarmed, was shot and killed by 45-year-old Michael David Dunn outside of a convenience store in Jacksonville, Florida after an argument involving loud music. On this past Friday night Dunn and his girlfriend who were in town for his son's wedding, pulled up next to a car with 4 teens inside playing loud music. While his girlfriend was in the store he told them to turn the music down, an argument ensued. Dunn then drew his weapon, and fired 8 or 9 shots at the vehicle hitting Davis twice as he sat in the back seat. The other teens were not injured. Once his girlfriend came out of the store, Dunn took off leaving Davis broken, and bloody at the scene. That night, Dunn (an avid gun collector), spent the night with his girlfriend at a near by hotel. Perhaps he would have literally gotten away with murder had it not been for attentive bystanders who jotted down his license plate number. Police arrested Dunn at his home in Satellite Beach, Florida the following morning, on one charge of murder and three charges of attempted murder.
On Monday Dunn pled not guilty in Brevard county court stating that he felt threatened so he took action. This is the premise for the "stand your ground" law.
Davis, a High School junior had just gotten a job a McDonalds to make some extra money.
"At Thanksgiving the day before his death, he said he was thankful to God for his family." His teary-eyed mother, Lucia McBath, said in a recent interview.
She also said that the fact that Dunn drove off after the shooting was unconscionable.
Ron Davis, the victim's father, added,
"I was looking forward as a parent to being there when he got married, and being there when he found love. All the things that I'm not going to be able to do is what pains me."
Over the years I've heard this story far too many times. It is one that has become too familiar. The details, the year, and the circumstances may be different but the tragedies are all the same. Young African-American men killed or brutalized for no justifiable reason.
The fact of the matter is that this world is never going to change, and while we cannot control the actions of others we can certainly control our own. It seems as if our youth have no concept or idea as to how to think critically or analytically. Critical thinking means that you are able to look at a situation or occurrence, and make reasonable assumptions based on both the known and the unknown. Analytical thinking is the ability to effectively analyze a situation, and draw conclusions that are conducive to accurate assessments. These concepts seem to be lost on our youth yet they are essential to every day life. Questions like ("What might happen if I keep arguing with this stranger?") or ("Why does this man feel brave enough to argue with a car full of black teenagers?"), require a certain thought process. Knowing that for every action, there is a reaction requires depth of thought in order to gauge the possible reactions. They must realize that the reaction can sometimes be fatal. For the victims and their families. Did Jordan Davis deserve to be murdered for playing loud music? Definitely not! Michael Dunn is a cold-blooded, callous, murderer who will probably reside in a special place in hell.
I am not a perfect man, nor was I a perfect teenager, and it is only by the grace of God that I am alive today. My goal is to help all young African-American boys and men live. I specify because we have overwhelmingly become the victims of trigger happy, gun toting lunatics in fear of our skin color. As Black people in America we must think about our actions, and choose our reactions carefully because failure to do so could cost us our lives, a consequence which is more prevalent in our life span than any other human beings on the planet. We have to give our children the tools they need to avoid being just another victim of social injustice. There are some jewels of wisdom that come with age, but in order to age, you must live to get older.

PR

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Jefferson's Hidden Legacy of Slavery

Those who document history have always taken artistic license when it comes to creating an accurate narrative. Whether the subject is the first Thanksgiving, the voyage of Christopher Columbus, or Thomas Jeffersons signing of The Declaration of Independence. Much has been said about each event, and if we take all of the information at face value, one might think that the very details of each tale are unequivocally true. They have been passed on in one history book or another, and taught to generation after generation as if the exactitude of the text is simply supported by the fact that it is in a text book.
The legend of Thomas Jefferson is that of a founder father, and one of the drafter's of the Constitution. The fact of the matter is that had he found the descendants of my African-American father or yours, he would have either purchased them like cattle or sold them to buy luxury items for his family. Jefferson owned approximately 175 slaves at the time that he signed the Declaration of Independence. While many of his contemporaries, including George Washington freed their slaves both during and after the revolution, Jefferson continued to buy and sell human beings, and was one of the biggest advocates of slavery at the time. Not only did he have a deep commitment to slavery, he was also opposed to private manumission (the act of a slave owner freeing their slaves), and public emancipation. Over a 50 year period Thomas Jefferson remained the master at Monticello, buying and selling Blacks. When Jefferson died, he failed to live up to the promises of his own rhetoric. His will emancipated only five slaves, who were the children he fathered with Sally Hemmings. The 295 slaves left behind were condemned to the auction block, including Hemmings who was his long time mistress.
Jefferson took great pride in punishing his slaves in an unusually cruel way. He would sell them away from their families and friends, and routinely split families in retaliation. He was a proponent of humane criminal codes for white citizens but he advocated harsh, and barbaric punishment for slaves and free blacks. Jefferson even went so far as to propose a law which would make free Black people Outlaws, even though they were born in the United States. He was also in favor of expelling the offspring of white women and Black men from Virginia. This hyprocracy is depraved and ironic in nature given the fact that Jefferson himself fathered bi-racial children with one of his slaves. In addition, he avoided any opportunity to promote racial equality, and as a state legislator he blocked the consideration of any law that would have eventually ended slavery in Virginia. As President he acquired the Louisiana territory and did nothing to stop the spread of slavery into this expansion. When one of his neighbors (Edward Coles) considered emancipating his own slaves, Jefferson was quoted as saying,
"Free blacks were “pests in society” who were “as incapable as children of taking care of themselves."
During any given 10 year period this merciless "founding father" sold at least 85 humans. Jefferson destroyed families without a second thought, because he believed that Blacks lacked human emotions. “Their griefs are transient,” he wrote, and their love lacked “a tender delicate mixture of sentiment and sensation.”
Jefferson claimed he had “never seen an elementary trait of painting or sculpture” or poetry among blacks and argued that blacks’ ability to “reason” was “much inferior” to whites’, while “in imagination they are dull, tasteless, and anomalous.” He conceded that blacks were brave, but this was because of “a want of fore-thought, which prevents their seeing a danger till it be present.”
His ignorance, and bigotry rivaled that of any Klansmen or cold-blooded racist in modern times, and his reasoning was a result of his own wicked imagination, and bias.
Jefferson even had a theory in reference to where blackness came from. He speculated that it came “from the color of the blood” and concluded that blacks were “inferior to the whites in the endowments of body and mind.”
This represents an interesting paradox. Separating the legend from the man is a hard pill to swallow for some, and inconceivable to others. But sometimes the truth hurts, especially if it has been blurred through a skewered version of history. But this is one truth that we should definitely hold self evident. One of the framers of The Declaration of Independence only desired to declare white people independent and keep black people dependent.

PR



Friday, November 30, 2012

American Made......In Prison

Big business in America has hit the proverbial lottery. They've found a nearly endless supply of laborer's who will never be late, and will always be productive, and will never go on strike. These business' don't have to provide medical insurance, vacation days, sick time, 401k or a retirement plan for this particular work force, and the most compelling advantage of all is the fact that they don't even have to pay them minimum wage. In fact, they pay them 25 cents an hour. On the surface this may seem impossible to believe, it may even sound like a fantasy. But the reality is that this work force does exist, within the prison system.
There are 2 million people currently incarcerated in The United States, many of whom are Black and Hispanic. There has never been an instance in the history of man kind in which a country has caged so many of its citizens. America has jailed more people than any other country in the world, and China has a population which exceeds that of the U.S. by 5 times more. The multitude of those incarcerated has caused a boon in prison privatization. Often with construction of new prison's contracted out to capitalistic opportunist's anxious to generate hundreds of millions of dollars through warehousing inmates with little or no focus on rehabilitation. Now The Prison Industrial Complex has found another way to capitalize on its inmate population, slave labor.
At the Union Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison in Florida, inmates from a lower security prison manufacture tons of processed beef, chicken and pork for P.R.I.D.E ( Prison Rehabilitative Industries and Diversified Enterprises), a privately held non-profit cooperation that operates the states 41 work programs. On PRIDE's website they offer a wide array of products for sale through contracts from private companies. Everything from eyeglasses to furniture can be shipped to anywhere in the U. S. from a distribution center in Florida. PRIDE boasts that it's work programs are “designed to provide vocational training, to improve prison security, to reduce the cost of state government, and to promote the rehabilitation of the state inmates.”
This sounds good in theory, but until there is a notable drop in the rate of recidivism, it will be nothing more than a slogan, or a mission statement with no substance or roots in reality. The profit margin is just too high for any corporate entity to resist, and it would be the equivalent of throwing money out of the window as it relates to corporate profit. So there is absolutely no incentive to train or rehabilitate, and even if there were, the skills and experience acquired in such programs would not be at all redemptive in an unforgiving market place. All that these programs really encourage is mass incarceration in order to maintain a work force. The commercial investor's who profit from prison labor spend a huge amount of money lobbying for longer prison sentences to increase their labor force.
In the past, inmates manufactured products solely for the Federal Government, license plates being the norm. Today, due to new contracts inmates manufacture everything from guided missile parts, to solar panels for government buildings.
Prison labor for the private sector was legally barred for years until the intervention of two widely unknown sources. ALEC (The American Legislative Exchange Council), with it's Prison Industries Act, and a little known government program known as P.I.E. (The Prison Industries Enhancement Certification Program). These forces remain largely unknown despite the fact that they have driven the expansion of prison labor. ALEC helped pioneer some of the toughest sentencing laws on the books today, including the "3 strikes law", mandatory minimums for non violent offenders, and "The Proof In Sentencing Act", which was signed into law in 25 states in 1995. ALEC has also worked to pass state laws to create for profit prisons. Obviously ALEC is capably of finding endless way to provide a readily available workforce.
It is evident that some conspiracies have now become full fledged plans. Gone are the days of clandestine meetings, and hidden compromises with dubious intent. While we are occupied by smoke screens, laws are being passed, deals are being made, and huge amounts of cash are changing hands. Certain forces in this country would have you believe that "Black's and Brown's" are taking all of the jobs. But in reality, if there is a national expansion of prison labor the unemployment rate will ultimately inevitably increase. Not because of the Black man, the Hispanic Man or any or man, but because of corporate entities who will stop a nothing to turn a profit. It seems as fast becoming a way to enslave those who are incarcerated.

PR

Thursday, November 29, 2012

What Is The Fiscal Cliff?

Almost immediately after President Obama was re-elected for another term the phrase "fiscal cliff" began to spread throughout the media as if the average citizen would know exactly what it meant. I personally had no idea what it meant or what the possible ramifications were, but it seemed as if it was a manufactured dark cloud especially created to prevent the President and his constituents from savoring his victory. It seemed like nothing more than colorful verbiage which conjured up childhood memories of watching the coyote in a cartoon fall off the edge of a cliff after a brief pause in the air. But once I did some in depth exploration, and learned what this idiom actually means I realized that it is relative to anything but child's play.
By the end of this year, which is about a month from now the terms of The Budget Control Act of 2011 will go into effect.
There are many temporary tax cuts that will expire on December. 31, 2012. Among them is the temporary tax payroll cut put in place last year. The result will be a 2% increase for workers, the end of certain tax breaks for businesses, and increase in the minimum tax amount, the end of the tax cuts from 2001-2003, and the beginning of taxes related to the President's new health care law. The spending cuts agreed upon as part of the debt ceiling deal in 2011 will begin to go into affect at the same time.
According to Barron's, over 1,000 government programs including the defense budget and Medicare are in line for "deep, automatic cuts."
There are 3 options U.S. Lawmakers have to choose from.
1. They can let the current policy scheduled for the beginning of 2013, which features a number of tax increases and spending cuts that are expected to weigh heavily on growth and possibly drive the economy back into a recession, go into effect. The plus side is the fact that the deficit, as a percentage of The Gross Domestic product, would be cut in half.
2. They can cancel some or all of the scheduled tax increases and spending cuts, which would add to the deficit. The flip side of this, of course, is that the United States' debt will continue to grow.
3. They could take a middle course, opting for an approach that would address the budget issues to some extent, but that would have much less of an impact on growth.
Congress has had 3 years to solve this problem but because of the political climate namely, fear of President Obama being re-elected, a solution was put on the back burner, along with any concern for average hard working Americans who will be adversely affected by a tax increase. Given the fact that 47% of those who hold congressional seats are millionaires, their blatant, ambivalence doesn't surprise me at all. This, coupled with the fact that it gives the G.O.P an opportunity to get back at President Obama for winning the election, are the only legitimate reasons why no attempt at compromise was ever made concerning this conundrum. It's easy to contribute yet another catch phrase to the American pantheon. One which instill's fear but does not reveal the devil in the details. But in all honesty, law makers are the ones who are pushing us off of the fiscal cliff. Some in a misguided attempt to prove a point at the expense of you and I, and others because they do not want to concede , or compromise, and are willing to sacrifice you, me, our friends, and our families. It seems as if Political Science is much more political than scientific.

PR

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Content of Character

Character:
1. moral or ethical quality: a man of fine, honorable character.
2. qualities of honesty, courage, or the like; integrity: It takes character to face up to a bully.
In Dr. King's famous I have a dream speech. He talked about a day when all men would be judged not by the color of their skin but, by the content of their character.
This is perhaps the most profound statement that I have ever heard.
Unfortunately these days character has become the exception and not the rule. In an ever changing society, it almost seems as if the world had been turned upside down. Perversion, and carnality masquerade as individual freedom, and much of society lives for self gratification. Most have no regard for other human beings unless they fulfill a need, or a desire. It seems as if the very definition of human nature has been used to justify a lack of conscience.
It is becoming more and more difficult to set a standard and live our lives following Jesus Christ because we live in a wicked world. True Christianity has almost become peculiar in a tangible world in which people celebrate only that which they can see, touch, taste, and feel. But I am writing this to declare that there is nothing like being touched by the love of God. He is the only one strong enough to carry all 240lbs of me, my burdens, and my mess in the palm of his hand. I am proud of my peculiarity, and I love being an odd ball, not living as the world lives but following the principals that were written to guide me through his word. I am not perfect, I have made mistakes, and as long as I walk this earth I will continue to do so. But I will never compromise my character.
I relish going against the grain and being a non-conformist, because Jesus went against the grain, and was a non-conformist. I take great pride in feeling convicted when I have thoughts of sin because it is a sign that I am growing in Christ. My conviction makes me strong because I realize that The Lord has placed a seed in my soul, and my character is being nurtured as it grows. That which does not grow, withers and dies. Some folks have life but do not live, while others live yet have no life. The difference is, those of us who have a true life in Christ will always live! Be proud of your character.

PR