Friday, May 31, 2013

Where Are Your Friends Now?

I grew up in Brooklyn, NY. in the 80's. Bushwick to be exact. It was about 15-20 years before gentrification, and both Bushwick, and Brooklyn as a whole was a very different place back then. 

I came of age right in the middle of the crack era. Many of my friends, classmates, and neighbors fell victim to crack in one way or another. Some became addicts and kept chasing that first high, and others prospered and got rich off of the community. But there were some like me, who managed to survive while balancing on a proverbial tightrope. Never falling one way or the other. Living outside of the box because what was inside of it was much too dangerous.

Most of the time I felt like I was in the minority because the drug culture was so overwhelming at that time that it become almost normal to be involved in it. It wasn't easy having to ride buses and trains while other kids my age drove Mercedes and BMW's. These guys got all of the girls, and had tons of money. I used to wish that I could be just like them. I wanted to live that life. But it just wasn't me. Thank God.

Over the years I've heard the same narrative over and over again, tinged with an aire of inevitability. Tales of fallen young hood hustlers dying way before their time, and ghetto entrepreneur's going "up North" (prison in up state New York), for decades.
It never comes as a shock, and I am always relieved that I did not follow the crowd or give in to my urge to be like them, because it could have been me.

I rarely go back to my old neighborhood, but my father goes there every few months to check on some property that he owns. Every now and then he gives me a call when he gets back and gives me a neighborhood update.

On one occasion he actually gave me a call while he was still in New York, and said that there was somebody who wanted to speak to me. The voice on the other end sounded familiar but I had no idea who it was. He said that his name was Shawn from the next block. Growing up in Brooklyn there was no shortage of Shawn's.  S e a n, S h a w n, the bottom line is, the fact that he lives on the next block meant absolutely nothing, but as we talked, I struggled  to picture the face that belonged to the voice which began to sound more and more recognizable  throughtout our brief conversation.
It was an awkward conversation to say the least. But as I listened to Shawn go on and on about times that we hung out and how he knows my sister and brother, there was one theme that seemed to repeat itself throughtout the conversation. He kept saying how glad he was that I was alive and well. But the tone of his voice was one of shock and surprise. I wondered why my survival was so amazing to him. Had he heard a rumor about me? Or was his expection predicated on experience?

 I realized that I have no idea what it's like to live in Bushwick now.
Yes the neighborhood has gotten "better". The crime rate in New York is lower than it has been in years, and the crack era has slowly faded. But I can't imagine what it must be like to walk the familiar streets of my life long home being constantly reminded by the ghosts of years past like Shawn does. Having to relive the memories of what the block used to be, and dealing with it day in and day out can't be easy. By the time our conversation ended, I realized that Shawn wasn't surprised that I was still alive, he was surprised  that I survived, and comforted by the fact that he wasn't the only one who is still out in the world.


Just When You Thought You Heard It All News (6-31-2013)

I'm no criminal mastermind, but I'm pretty sure that calling the police on yourself is not part of the game.

In West Haven, Connecticut a woman has been charged with prostitution after calling police to complain about how she was being treated by a pimp.

Police say they did not find the pimp when they arrived at a Super 8 motel in West Haven on Sunday, but they did find 35-year-old Jennifer Lowery with a man they describe as a customer.

Police charged Lowery with prostitution and Richard Burford, 60, of New Haven with patronizing a prostitute.

Police say Lowery told them she thought it would take police longer to show up, so she decided to conduct some business while waiting.

Attempts to reach the pair for comment Thursday morning were unsuccessful. There was no answer at a phone number listed for Burford, and no phone listing for Lowery.

The crazy thing about this next story is the fact that this girls parents had no idea that they were doing anything crazy.

A couple is facing charges after a 10-year-old girl rode in a dog cage in the back of a pickup truck on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

“She wanted to be with her dog. She plays with him in here all the time. They were strapped in,” Abbey Carlson said,

Today, the two spoke about the incident claiming it was all a misunderstanding. The parents Carlson, 29, and stepfather, 30-year-old Thomas Fishinger, said their daughter likes to play in the cage with her dog. So, when the dog started to cry during the drive home they let her climb in.

“I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. We weren’t going fast. We weren’t,” Carlson said.

“It was back there because we knew that it was three of us, so we couldn’t put the dog inside the cab,” Fishinger said.

“I just didn’t think it would be an issue,” Carlson said.

State police were notified about the girl in the cage and told the Millvale Police to be on the lookout. They arrested the couple when they got to their Evergreen Road home.

Both are facing felony counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

“I put two ratchet straps like a seat belt. There were two ratchet straps holding the cage down,” Fishinger said.

Straps or no straps Carlson and Fishinger realize this was a big mistake.

“Oh, my God yes. I would never hurt my daughter.” Fishinger said. “She will never get in the back of a truck again.”

They were released on their own recognizance and the girl is currently in the care of Carlson’s mother.

All I have to say is, WHY?!

This Monday, on Memorial Day, a Rhode Island man brought a pony into a liquor store and the pony pooped on the floor.

“The horse walks in and all of a sudden he starts doing his thing all over the floor. He seemed a little disengaged with what was going on around him, because he didn’t have a clue his horse even did that. I was very puzzled,” said the store’s owner Rick Lima.

Shock and surprise by workers and customers quickly turned into a minor dispute with the animal’s owner. Police arrived to the store a short time later and located the man outside.

The animal’s owner returned to the store to clean up the mess. 

This guy must have already been drunk. Everybody knows that if you're going to bring a pony to the store, you should at least ride it!


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Judge Freak

There are some things that have nothing to do with race, class, party affiliation, or socio-economic status. One of these things is the fact that some men just can't keep it in their pants. They risk it all for foolish moments of pleasure, and for some, the results of their severe lapse in judgement ends up playing out in public for all the world to see.

In Ann Arbor Michigan Wayne County Circuit Judge Wade McCree told his side of the story for the first time publicly Tuesday in a case that could cost him his job. His animated testimony in an Ann Arbor courtroom included sordid details about his sexual relationship with Geniene La’Shay Mott, a complaining witness in a nonpayment of child support case before him. McCree said he talked to Mott in his courtroom and the two later met for lunch, hit it off and carried on a relationship that was both “passionate” and “volatile” for at least four months in 2012.

“It went from a summer romance to an absolutely fallout,” he recalled at his judicial misconduct trial being held at the Washtenaw County Circuit Courthouse. At the time, McCree said, he was lonely and things weren’t as good as he would have liked in his marriage.

“I was going through a difficult point in my life,” he said. 
“It’s no secret I recently lost my dear sister and my mother.” 

McCree, who has been suspended from his job without pay, failed to recuse himself from the case his mistress was involved with, discussed the case with her and oversaw a hearing in August where the father of Mott’s child was the defendant, according to a 20-page complaint filed by the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission in March.

"It was an absolute pure oversight,” he testified. “I should have recused myself from that case and transferred it to another judge in a more timely manner. I did not.”

Yeah, ok, an oversight that happened to benefit his "side piece".

He testified that his failure to do so did not affect his decisions in the case. McCree said he was not keeping the case to “help out or hurt anyone,” and he treated the father of Mott’s child the same way he treated other defendants.

Under cross-examination, Margaret Rynier, associate examiner with the Judicial Tenure Commission, asked if after the night of June 21 the first night McCree and Mott had sex  it dawned on him to get rid of the case. “No,” he replied, “It wasn’t on my mind.” 
“What was on your mind?” she asked. His response: “a woman of two dozen years my junior.” 

McCree spoke loud and clearly, often using his hands, used inflection in his voice as he read text messages exchanged with Mott and spelled out names for the court reporter when mentioning them. When the local media asked about a nearly nude photo that he sent via cell phone Mccree had this to say. 

"I've got no shame in my game,"

The picture shows a very fit, bare-torso McCree snapping a cell-phone photo in what appears to be a bathroom mirror.

"Hot dog, yep that's me," McCree said when showed a printout of the photo.

The photo was reportedly discovered on the unnamed recipient's cell phone by her husband who found the judge's behavior "inappropriate."

McCree, who is married, disagrees and later admitted to sending the photo to other woman.Side Bar: If I see 1 more middle aged man taking a Bishop Eddie Long bathroom mirror cell phone pic.........

The Judicial Tenure Commission also has accused McCree of sending inappropriate or derogatory messages referencing people before him.

“C’mon, U’r talking about the ‘docket from hell, ‘filled w/tatted up, overweight, half-ass English speaking, gap tooth skank hoes ... and then you walk in,” was a message sent to Mott from McCree’s phone, according to the JTC’s complaint. That was a private conversation to tell her she was a “star amongst the commoner,” he said adding he doesn’t think of the people before him that way.
“I have a rather colorful vocabulary,” he said. “I do, in private, use many colloquialisms that many people of color would use amongst themselves but may not use in mixed company or outside of private conversations.”

Don't be fooled this is how he truly sees the majority of those who come before him. He sees them as lower class sub-humans unworthy of respect. The very language that he uses to describe those who come before him is quite telling.
"Commoners"?! So what does that make him, royalty? No. That makes him a bourgeois, elitist, jerk.  

Before he took the stand Tuesday, LaVerne McCree, his wife of 25 years, testified about her husband’s affair. She said she first learned of it at the end of October, when she was putting groceries away. The home phone rang, she said, and her husband answered. She picked up and listened to the conversation.
She then confronted her husband, who admitted to the affair.

Soon after, LaVerne McCree learned that Mott told her husband she was pregnant and found out that her husband had filed for divorce, but he didn’t intend to follow through with it, she testified. 

They had thought Mott would get an abortion if McCree provided a proof of service that he was getting divorced, she said.


On Monday, Mott testified that she is pregnant but provided few other details about her pregnancy and never revealed the baby’s father.
McCree could face censure, suspension or removal from the bench. The hearing resumed on Wednesday.

Let me paraphrase this story because even though I've studied the details I am still amazed at the level of stupidity.

A married circuit court judge in Michigan who may I add, specializes in sexual harassment cases, had an affair with a girl 24 years his junior. Whom he met while he presided over a child support case that she was involved in. The young girl is now pregnant, and no one knows who the father is.  In addition to this he sent half nude cell phone pics to other women, and thought that it was ok.
It's not hard to guess which head he was thinking with.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

6 Ways To Make Her Happy To Come Home

Being married is an adventure. At least it should be. Sharing each others lives and satisfying each others needs can be difficult at times but those of us who are truly committed, stick with it, get better, and we become pretty good at it. I am not on expert on marriage, or an expert when it comes to women. To be quite honest they always have been and always will be a mystery to me. So rather than trying to unravel and decipher the proclivities of an entire gender, I decided that it was best for me to put my effort into the women that I married. Given the fact that she has not taken the kids and run away, or absconded with my vast fortune, I guess that I must be doing something right.    

Although women are different there are some things that are universal, and can go a long way when it comes to maintaining a successful marriage.   
But when there are children, work, activities, and individual personal issues involved it can be easy to lose focus every now and then. 
Here are 6 simple things that can help make her happy to come home.

1. Greet her with a kiss and or hug as soon as she come home. This shows her how happy you are to see her and how much you missed her.

2. Ask her how her day was, and actually LISTEN to the answer. Asking just for the sake of asking and not paying attention to the answer is worse than not asking at all.

3. If she comes in with a few bags, help her with them immediately. This should go without saying. But we don't always think about the details.

4. Always tell her how beautiful, pretty, cute, and gorgeous she looks. You knowing it, and her knowing that you know it is not the same as letting her know it. If you don't, somebody else will!

5. Help her with the kids. By saying "help her", kind of gives the connotation that the kids are primarily her responsibility. 
This simply should not be. Take the lead when it comes to the children sometimes. Cook dinner, serve the food. Read the kids a bed time story, clean up. Details!

6. If she says that she's tired, believe her. She won't always be tired. If she is, repeat steps 1-5. 
If that doesn't need more help than I can offer. Professional help.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Huge Head Start

I've been having the same conversation for many years with acquaintances both black and white, liberal and conservative. Why can't black people "get it together"?
Considering the fact that we all (allegedly), have the same opportunities, live in the same country, and have examples of some who have beat the odds, why is there still gross inequity when it come to wealth in the black community? Every single person in the United States has started the race on equal footing on a level playing field, right? Absolutely not! A piece of key legislation introduced 150 years ago this month would cement the legacy of many Americans. But not African-Americans.
In order for us to understand our present we must have the ability to understand and contextualize our past.  

The Homestead Act, signed by Lincoln on May 20, 1862, embodied a radical promise, free land for the masses. Until then the federal government had generally sold its unoccupied property, favoring men with capital. As a result, by the 1840s big farms were consuming smaller ones, and efforts to change the system were gridlocked as Congressional debate over slavery intensified. 

Then Lincoln was elected to the White House, and 11 Southern states seceded. Absent opposition from plantation owners, Congress passed the Homestead Act. Plantation owners opposed the Homestead Act for fear that newly freed slaves would lay claim to land that the perceived as rightfully theirs.

Beginning January 1, 1863, any U.S. citizen or intended citizen who had never taken up arms against the United States could claim up to 160 acres and take title by living and farming on the land for five years. Total charge  $18. Female heads of household were eligible. African-Americans were not included.

In 1862 when the Act was passed, and on January 1, 1863, when the legislation became law, the United States was a very different place than it would become in less than a decade, half a century, and a century later.
It is only when you place the Homestead Act within its historical context that the progressive nature of the legislation for anyone who was non-black emerges. 
  Strictly speaking, by the letter of the law, when the Homestead Act went into effect in 1863, African Americans were NOT allowed to homestead.  The reason can be found in the very first line of the Homestead Act.
“That any person who is the head of a family, or who has arrived at the age of twenty-one years, and is a citizen of the United States, or who shall have filed his declaration of intention to become such, as required by the naturalization laws of the United States, and who has never borne arms against the United States Government or given aid and comfort to its enemies, shall… be entitled to enter one quarter-section or a less quantity of unappropriated public lands.”   
Note the section that said you had to be “a citizen of the United States” or file a declaration of intention to become a citizen.  This is important because in 1863 when the legislation took effect, African Americans were not allowed to become U.S. citizens or declare their intentions because it was not legally possible for them to obtain citizenship.  

African American’s were not allowed to become citizens until the Civil Rights Act of 1866 was passed, granting citizenship to people born in the United States regardless of race or color, an Act that then had to be backed by an amendment to the U.S. Constitution two years later in 1868 when the 14thAmendment was ratified.  The Homestead Act had been on the books for three years before African Americans were allowed to become U.S. citizens, thus allowing them to homestead. There was no provision for African-Americans to benefit from the Homestead Act until there was a 14th amendment to the constitution. Thus African-Americans were 5 years behind. 5 whole years of exclusion.
  It is interesting to note that in 1872 the Homestead Act was extensively updated.  Updates to a law, known as “Revised Statutes”.  Notably, in section 2302 of the Revised Statutes of the Homestead Act, it became illegal to make a “distinction on account of race or color.”  The intention of this update was to ensure that African Americans were allowed to homestead.
If we add on the 4 years that it took for the Homestead Act to be updated to insure that African-Americans were allowed to homestead (1868-1872), that gave all of those who immediately benefited from the Homestead Act a 9 year advantage from the Acts inception in  1863 to the update in 1872. The very fact that the Homestead Act had to be updated suggests that the right of  African-Americans to homestead was not honored even after they became citizens. This had a devestating effect of the black community. The effects of which are still being felt to this day.
White homesteader's most of whom were European immigrants, had a 9 year head start when it comes to wealth procurement. Land/home ownership has always been the best long term investment, and the most reliable wealth building tool known to man.
Many of those whose ancestors were able to secure land through the Homestead Act were able to pass that land down from generation to generation insuring an inheritance for their kin, and not one of them pulled themselves up by their proverbial "boot sraps" and earned it. It was given to them. Despite what some have continually professed, the foundation for their American dream was not hard work, and a drive to succeed but the result of being the beneficiaries of a system set into place for their prosperity.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Christian Right Is Christian Wrong

Jesus died for our sins. He came to earth  to live as a man so that The Lord would be able to better understand what it was like to live in the flesh, and then he gave his life. Before Christ, and before the New Testament, men 
were subject to the strict laws of the Old Testament. There were plagues, people who were turned to pillars of salt, and a flood that wiped out everyone on the planet except for Moses, his family, and 2 of each animal. People met swift punishments for their sins, and some were even stoned to death. Although  crucifixion has always been closely identified with Jesus, it is not likely that he was the first or the last to meet this fate. In fact, history records that there were 2 thieves who were nailed to crosses on both sides of him. 
But despite the sacrifice that Jesus made, and the mercy that he has shown us and continues to show us, there are those on the "Christian" right who stand high on their soap boxes holding stones firmly in their hands waiting for the opportunity to pummel those who have fallen short, as if they themselves have never sinned. Even in the midst of a disaster there are those who choose to promote their insensitive, far fetched agenda even if it is rooted in insanity.

If we’ve learned anything from Pat Robertson in the past 30 years it is that God is responsible for nothing. The responsibility for all of the world’s tragedies lie squarely in the laps of gays, non-Christians, people who have sex out of wed lock, abortion, feminism and birth control. But what happens if a tragedy strikes at the geographical heart of evangelical Christianity?

Last Monday night, a horrific tornado, measuring as much as a two miles wide and 22 miles long, devastated a suburb of Oklahoma City, OK. Its wreckage imagines the worst of war-torn countries. At this point, 12 adults and nine children have been confirmed dead.

While Americans are setting aside party politics and lending a hand where a hand is needed, televangelist, Pat Robertson, has consistently done what he does best  point fingers, and cast ridiculous aspersions.

A couple of years ago when asked why God lets tornado happen, Robertson’s answer was that God created weather patterns and that the blame should be placed on the people that chose to live in the weather’s way. If only there was a follow-up question asking where, exactly, people were immune from weather and natural disasters. He also said that Jesus would have stopped the tornado if only people had prayed enough.

 “If enough people were praying He would’ve intervened, you could pray, Jesus stilled the storm, you can still storms. If bad things happen, blame yourself. God is never at fault. You weren’t righteous enough to prevent tragedy and if you were righteous enough, then surely your neighbors brought the wrath upon you."

"God doesn't send tornadoes to hurt people. We call them 'acts of God,' but they're not," he continued. "All I can say is, why do you build houses in a place where tornadoes are apt to happen?" He went on to slam people who build houses "on the edge of an ocean," saying "it's their fault, it's not God's," when a hurricane comes. "It's the same thing with if you want to build a house on the San Andreas fault, you know there's going to be a fault, you know the earth is faulted, there are going to be earthquakes, so don't blame God for doing something foolish."

It's seems as if whenever Pat Robertson opens his mouth he makes a conscious decision to do something foolish. It would be easy to dismiss his comments as the ranting of an old man showing signs of dementia. But his TV show, The 700 Club, which as been on the air since 1968 is funded by viewers donations. Millions of viewer donations. Which means that there a multitude of people who believe as he does. People with their feet firmly planted in another world totally detached from reality. The "Christian" right are not the right Christians.


Friday, May 24, 2013

Able To Overcome

There is adversity, and then there is ADVERSITY. Recently I wrote a piece about "1st world" problems. But there are people here in America (a 1st world country who have "3rd world" problems. Their plight's or circumstances are sometimes written off irresponsibility or overlooked as insignificance, which makes their success that much harder. But despite road blocks, tragedy, and disadvantage some still manage to rise above it all.

Even though Chelesa Fearce was homeless for most of her high school years, this tenacious young woman will not only graduated from high school with honors this week but she is also the class valedictorian.

Fearce’s success is especially significant when one considers the fact that she maintained her stellar grades while dealing with hunger, 

“You worry about being a little hungry sometimes, so you go hungry sometimes. You just have to deal with it. You eat what you can, when you can.”

And Fearce isn’t the only shining star in her family. Her sister is also graduating as her high school’s salutatorian.

Meanwhile, their proud Mom’s formula for her girl’s academic success is quite simple, books. Shephard says, “I read to them a lot, took them to the library. Everything was a learning experience.”

Their story is a learning experience and an inspiration to us all. While many of us spend time worrying about what to eat, their are some people who are worried about when they are going to eat, and despite this they still succeed, thrive, and are emerge victorious.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Just When You Heard It All News (5-25-13)

Heroism has no age, and 5 year old Nathaniel Dancy Jr., a New Jersey kindergartener, proved it this past Monday when he saved his father’s life.

Nathaniel and his father had been out all day, going to the movies and shopping for school shoes, when Nathaniel Dancy Sr. began having a stroke while driving. Somehow he was able to pull the car off the highway and into a parking lot before he lost function.

From there little Nathaniel took his father’s cell phone and called his grandmother who often takes care of him while his mother is at work. In the middle of the conversation Nathaniel Jr. hung up the phone. His grandmother called him back and put his mother on 3-way.

When the women tried to ask him where he was, he had trouble pronouncing the name of a nearby store. So they asked him to spell the name of it. That’s when Nathaniel said: “F-U-R-N-I-T-U-R-E,” the number 22 and then told them they had just gone through a tunnel, which was a highway overpass.

Nathaniel’s grandmother went to a nearby firehouse to find out where they might have been. They told her and then she dialed 911 while her daughter rushed over to a parking lot at 22 Furniture Gallery on Route 22 in Hillside, N.J.

The ambulance arrived shortly after Nathaniel’s mom did.

Nathaniel Sr. was taken to the hospital where he is still in intensive care, on a feeding tube. Dancy Sr., 33, had been taking high blood pressure medicine before the incident.

In an interview, little Nathaniel’s mother, Janel Blackman, had this to say about Nathaniel Sr.’s condition and Nathaniel Jr.’s efforts:

“He is still in the hospital, still trying to survive. They did in fact save him just in time. I congratulated Nathaniel for being so heroic and helping his dad, and at the same time, his dad was a hero, too. To be in the midst of a stroke and know to get off the highway and get yourself and your child to safety is amazing, especially when you’ve lost feeling in half of your body.”

Nathaniel Jr. is the youngest of five brothers and sisters and is a kindergartener at West Side Park Elementary School, a charter school in Newark, NJ.

His mother says Nathaniel is very smart and has great diction. She says listening to him speak, you would never guess he’s just five. She says he’s on a third grade level and can spell words and understand concepts average elementary school students cannot.

Blackman told the local media that she has yet to take Nathaniel to see his father in the hospital.

“I don’t think that it’s sunk in to him. He just thought his dad needed help. He’s not aware of the full severity of the situation. They are very close, and I don’t know the traumatic side effects it could have on him.

“I said to him, ‘Daddy might not be the same daddy you remember,’ and he said, ‘I hope my dad doesn’t end up in a wheelchair.’ It just melted my heart. He’s just so compassionate as a little guy.”

"Nate the great" is quite a remarkable young man, who probably handled the situation better than most adults. Good for him!

In a case of extreme overkill, a Charlotte woman had her son arrested for, wait for it..............., stealing her Pop-Tarts earlier this week.

According to a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police report, the mother called investigators on Monday to report her Pop-Tarts had been stolen from her home. She fingered her own son, who is a juvenile, as the culprit. 

If you can't trust your own mother, who in the world can you trust?

Neighbor Fred Patrick laughed when he first learned an arrest had been made over Pop-Tarts. He knows the young boy.

“He seems real nice to me. I mean, he is real respectful,” Patrick said

The report said that the boy was placed under juvenile arrest and was charged with larceny/misdemeanor.

Another neighbor, Tiffany Covington, said in her house, food is there for everyone.

Why is this something to brag about? Food being for everyone in the house should be a bygone conclusion, as long as they don't eat my Blue Diamond wasabi almonds. Anything but my almonds!

“It would be nice if they asked, but they don’t. They are kids,” she said.

The mom declined to comment unless you count the string of obscenities hurled at a local reporter. 

This next story is proof positive of 2 things.

#1. God don't like ugly.

#2. What you do in the dark will always come to light.

Especially if you hit the switch.

Two 20-year-old idiots in Fresno, Calif., are facing multiple charges after police say one of them pocket-dialed 911 while breaking into a car. The 911 operator listened in on Nathan Teklemariam and Carson Rinehart and heard things like "I just want to smoke weed so bad," police say. The phone was still on as the two realized they were being pulled over by police, who were able to find them thanks to tips from the dispatcher listening in on the conversation. "The phone really called 911?" asked one of the suspects. Audio of the unintended call was broadcast by a local TV station last week.

Some people are just plain dumb.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Father & Son Graduate Together

This week, a father-son duo are going to do something special and extraordinary:  They are going to graduate from Morehouse College together.   Dorian Joyner Sr. will march with his oldest son, Dorian Jr. fulfilling a promise he made to himself a very long time ago.

Joyner Sr. started at Morehouse in 1984, but didn’t finish.  By the time he was able to return, his son was going to be a freshman.   His son was stunned when his dad told him what he was planning to do.

“I said, ‘oh, you’re coming back to visit some of your friends?’” he remembered. “And Dorian Senior said ‘no, I’m coming back to be a student.’ I said, can you repeat that?”

The father and son supported one another through their matriculation, studying together and achieving their family goals as a unit.

“We used to have a support system. Sometimes he would come to my room to ask about a problem or a class or a professor to take,” he said. 

The two Morehouse men are proud of their achievements and say that it has brought them closer together.

“We’re Morehouse brothers,” the two said proudly.

Dorian Senior is planning to go to law school to eventually become a judge.  His son is planning to travel abroad with the Peace Corps.

This inspirational story speaks volumes in reference to the positive influence that a strong male figure can have in a young mans life. While this story is about a father and son, such efforts do not have to be dictated by genetics. Any man can be a role model or a father figure to a young man in need of guidance.

Contrary to the negative stereotypes there are strong African-American men out there who are willing to set an example for their sons, nephews, and young men in need. Men who do not fit the "rolling stone" archetype. Men who do what is right not for the glory or recognition. But because of a sense of responsibility to their children and their communities. The fact is, their a millions of Dorian senior's out there who are never mentioned, but strive each and every day to not only be the best man that they can be but the best example of a man that they can be.


Hillary Clinton Should Be Shot Where?!

The inability of the right to control it's lunatic fringe never ceases to amaze me.
There seems to be an endless parade of ultra conservative clowns, and weirdo's who insist in participating in a moronic game of one-ups-menship. But when their propagandist nonsense turns to talk of violence against women it becomes dangerous, unsettling, and criminal.

  Radio host Pete Santilli made shocking remarks about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, claiming she should be "shot" for being "involved in the killings of American troops."

Santilli hosts a show on his website, but says he's "ready to take my show to national syndication; that is, of course, if the FCC regulated AM/FM radio stations can handle my truth & honesty."

"Hillary Clinton needs to be convicted. She needs to be tried, convicted and shot in the vagina," Santilli said, 
 "I want to pull the trigger."

Santilli criticized Clinton over the Sept. 2 2012 attack on the U.S. consultate in Benghazi, Libya. He also slammed Clinton over what he called "the fake hunt down of this Obama bin Laden thing":

"I want to shoot her right in the vagina and I don't want her to die right away; I want her to feel the pain and I want to look her in the eyes and I want to say, on behalf of all Americans that you've killed, on behalf of the Navy SEALS, the families of Navy SEAL Team Six who were involved in the fake hunt down of this Obama, Obama bin Laden thing, that whole fake scenario, because these Navy SEALS know the truth, they killed them all. On behalf of all of those people, I'm supporting our troops by saying we need to try, convict, and shoot Hillary Clinton in the vagina."

Santilli also criticized Obama, saying he deserves the same punishment as Clinton.

"Barack Obama needs to be tried, convicted, and shot for crimes against the United States of America," Santilli said. "And if anybody has a problem with that, then you are an enemy of our state."

This "nut job" has not only threatened a former First Lady, and former Secretary of State with a violent sexual crime. But he has also threatened the President. He has demonstrated unparalleled misogyny, and has basically made a terrorist threat against a two public figure officials. At the very least his show should be cancelled and he should be indicted.
He is nothing more than a dangerous dim witted terrorist.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Pray For Me?

Do you pray for me like I pray for you when you're down on your knees morning, noon, and night?

Or do you prey for me and then pray for yourself truly believing that your selfishness is right?

If you know that I'm going through, and there's something that you can do, and you don't pray for me it's like preying on me.

Whenever you join hands, decide to touch and agree. Do you focus on your problems, or do you remember me?

When I hold you up in prayer, do you remember that I am there.....
needing you to pray, pray for me.

Pray for me!

When you're sending ten thousand to flight on those dark and lonely nights, tell me did you recognize the pain in my eyes, or believe my deceptive lies?

Did you uncover my charade, and see deep beyond my masquerade, and not realize that I needed you to pray for me?

Will my name cross your mind, when you kneel before God next time?
My brother, my sister will you please pray for me?


Is Deportation The Answer?

Immigration has always been a "hot button" issue, with proponents on both sides passionately arguing the pros and cons. It has always been my personal belief that anyone who wants to live in America, work in America, and have all of the benefits of the American dream, should take the steps necessary to do so legally. There should be little if any exceptions to the immigration process.
As an African-American man, it has been my observation that many immigrants come into the United States with pre-conceived notions in reference to what my journey or life is or has been in this country. These particular notions are usually racist, and stereotypical in line with western culture, and cultural conditioning. Most probably have no idea that the only reason that they can even attempt to assimilate into society is because of the civil rights movement which was started by African-Americans who's goal was to gain equality for all men. With that being said, I find it ironic that there is a campaign to bend the rules when it comes to some brown people in the country, and absolutely no wiggle room or sympathy when it comes to Blacks who run afoul of the law.

In Burlington, North Carolina Latinos held a prayer vigil in support of an Alamance County father who is facing deportation .

Isaias Valles-Castrejon’s fight against deportation is on its last legs as a result of a traffic stop in April.

An Alamance County deputy cited Isaias Valles-Castrejon for not having insurance and not having a driver’s license on April 22.

Ten months later, he is required to leave through voluntary removal on February 15.

“Give me a ticket, don’t separate me from my family,” Valles-Castrejon said in Spanish.

The 26-year-old is a cook at a restaurant and has two boys, ages three and five, as well as a wife in Burlington.

Randy Jones with the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office said his officers regularly do random license plate checks when not otherwise occupied.

“You wouldn’t believe how many cars out there are stolen, or have expired tags, or belong to somebody out on a warrant,” Jones said. “So we check as many as we can.”

Jones added that those checks are done randomly, regardless of the driver’s race or country of origin.

Monday’s prayer vigil was also held to let lawmakers know they want paths to citizenship for many who live here illegally.

Members of the NC Dream Team an “organization composed of undocumented immigrant youth and allies who are dedicated to the creation of a sustainable, community led immigrant rights movement in North Carolina”, were also on hand at the vigil, and said they will be watching President Obama’s State of the Union address very closely the next night, hoping that he will talk about immigration reform.

“It’s ups and downs. I listen to him and I get excited and I hope we are going to get something passed,” says Jackie Aguilar a member of NC Dream Team.

Since 2009, lawmakers have debated the The Dream Act, legislation that would protect undocumented children who came to the U.S. before they were 18-years-old.

“It’s frustrating because I’ve heard about it since I was in high school,” Aguilar says.

She and other Latinos are tired of all the talk and are ready for action.

“It destroys our dreams. We get our hopes and then they stop us. We don’t know what to do or what’s next,” she said.


So, this guy drives around illegally with no drivers license, and no insurance, and I'm supposed to feel sorry for him?! If anyone got into an accident with him then they'd just be out of luck. God forbid somebody got hurt. The fact that these people have the nerve to hold a prayer vigil for an illegal immigrant who essentially endangered the lives of every legal driver on the road is insane, ridiculous, and immoral. The only thing worse than that is the fact that the lack of a "fair" immigration policy is being blamed for Valles-Castrejon's decision to break the law. I have a wife and kids also and guess what? I don't do things that could possibly result in us never seeing each other again! In my opinion, yes, deportation is the answer.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Just When You Thought You Heard It All (5/18/2013)

What this guy did is probably every foodies dream, and I know this because I am a proud foodie. So what?!
Authorities in Kentucky have charged a man who decided to have an overnight feast in a closed supermarket outside Louisville.
The manager of a ValuMarket says he found 57 empty whipped cream cans in the garbage when he arrived Monday morning. 
Local media reported 30-year-old Trevor Runyon was charged after he was found in the ceiling of the store.
Surveillance video from the store showed that Runyon cooked and ate six steaks, washed them down with beer and then topped off his meal with shrimp and birthday cake.
At least he's going to jail full !
Police say Runyon slipped into the store and hid while employees closed it for the night.
Bullitt County Detention Center records show Runyon is from Shepherdsville, Ky. It wasn't clear whether he has an attorney. But it's a pretty safe bet that if he couldn't afford to buy steakum, and Miller Lite,  he probably can't  afford a lawyer.

This next story is proof that the truth is stranger than fiction, and often much funnier.

A surveillance camera onboard a bus in Philadelphia captured the moment that a deer crashed through the windshield before picking itself up and trying to leap back out again.

The bus was making its usual journey in the Johnstown area of Pennsylvania when the dramatic accident happened on Tuesday.

Transport authorities who released the footage say the shocked driver eventually opened the door and the apparently uninjured deer jumped out.

The bus was only carrying one passenger at the time and no injuries were reported. 

Bambi likes to ride the bus. Who knew! Hopefully she'll use the door next time.

All that I can say about this story is, WOW!

A 75-year-old resident of a New Jersey senior citizen housing complex is suspected of running a prostitution ring that employed some elderly residents as sex workers.
The suspect, James Parham, 75, A.K.A. "Methuselah Mack" was also accused, along with Cheryl Chaney, 66, of allowing residents and visitors to use crack in their apartments, police said.
Both are charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and maintaining a nuisance, and Chaney is also charged with possession of crack cocaine.
In Parham's case, the nuisance charge relates to allowing prostitution in his apartment and in Chaney's case, it relates to allowing drug use in hers.
Englewood Police Chief Arthur O'Keefe told the local media this past week that Parham ran the prostitution ring through his apartments, and employed a mix of young women and older residents. 
None of the alleged prostitutes were arrested.
O'Keefe says there was also sex and drug use going on in common areas of the complex, and that some seniors were afraid to venture into certain areas because they were afraid for their lives.
Richard Allaway, a resident, says he and others were aware of "a lot of nonsense going on."
A lack of security in the building is believed to have contributed to the problem.
Kevin Thomas, who has loved ones living in the complex, said he couldn't understand why older people were turning to crime.

"Why they wait so late in life to start doing stuff they should have did years ago, or shouldn't have touched period, why do you wait this late?" he said.

This is nothing compared to what might happen if social security is cut. There may end up being a whole lot of geriatric pimps and pushers.

This is almost too stupid to be true.

A man had to be rescued by three police officers after getting stuck in a McDonalds high chair has become the new hero of the internet, after a picture of the diner sitting in a tiny seat and hanging his head was shared thousands of times on social media.
The incident, which happened in a restaurant in Cork, Ireland is made more amusing by the fact that the man appeared to be dining on his own. Either that, or his friends left him after his practical joke went wrong. 
I know I would have left his dumb behind.
 There also appears to be no shortage of seats to explain why he chose to sit in the seat for babies.
He was probably drunk, and maybe he thought that he could get high just by sitting in a high chair. 

The Murder Of Jesse Washington

In 1916 America was a dangerous place for African-Americans. The civil rights movement was still more than 40 years away, and Blacks were still thought of as second class citizens, who's lives were relegated to inhumanity, servitude, and the whim of the white American collective.
This week, May. 15, 2013 marks the 97th anniversary of the savage murder of Jesse Washington. Most of us have never heard of Jesse Washington, but once you read in gory detail how he was tried executed and then desecrated    you will never forget him.

Jessie Washington was an African American farmhand from Waco, Texas. On May 15, 1916, after being convicted of the murder of a local woman, he was lynched by a White mob, in an incident known as the Waco Horror.

The mutilation and burning of 17-year-old Washington received perhaps the greatest notoriety of the 492 lynchings that occurred in Texas between 1882 and 1930.

Jesse was arrested on May 8, 1916, and charged with having bludgeoned to death Lucy Fryer (53), the wife of a white farmer in Robinson, Texas, a small community seven miles south of Waco. After confessing to both rape and murder, Washington was transferred to the Dallas County Jail by McLennan County sheriff Samuel S. Fleming.

Washington's trial began in Waco on May 15 in the Fifty-fourth District Court, with Judge Richard I. Munroe presiding over a full courtroom. After hearing the evidence, a jury of 12 white men deliberated for only four minutes before returning a guilty verdict and assessing the death penalty.

Before law enforcement officers could remove Jesse from the court, a group of white spectators surged forward and seized the convicted youth. They hurried him down the stairs at the rear of the courthouse, where a crowd of about 400 people waited in an alley. A chain was wrapped around Jesses'neck before he was dragged toward City Hall, where another group of vigilantes had gathered to build a bonfire.

(A postcard showing the burned body of Jesse Washington was printed. This image is from a postcard, which said on the back, "This is the barbecue we had last night. My picture is to the left with a cross over it. Your son, Joe.")Upon reaching the city hall grounds, the leaders of the mob threw Washington onto a pile of dry goods boxes under a tree and poured coal oil over his body. The chain around Washington's neck was thrown over the limb of a tree, and several men lowered his body onto the pile of combustibles and set him on fire. 

An observer wrote.

"Washington was beaten with shovels and bricks. One man castrated him and and anothet cut his ears off. A tree supported the iron chain that lifted him above the fire. Wailing, the boy attempted to climb up the skillet hot chain. For this, the men cut off his fingers."

It has also been report that some of Washington's toes were cut off, and sold as souvenirs.

Two hours later, some men placed the burned corpse in a cloth bag and pulled the bundle behind an automobile to Robinson, where they hung the sack from a pole in front of a blacksmith's shop for public viewing. Later that afternoon, constable Les Stegall retrieved the remains and turned them over to a Waco undertaker for burial.

Though lynching violated Texas law, no members of the mob were prosecuted. However, the foreman of Washington's jury criticized local law officers for failing to prevent the lynching, and a special committee of Baylor University faculty passed resolutions denouncing mobs.

A. T. Smith, an African American journalist, editor of the Paul Quinn Weekly, was arrested and convicted of criminal libel after he printed allegations that Lucy Fryer's husband had committed the murder.

American has come a long way, and still has a long way to go. But it is definitely a blessing to be Black in 2013 instead on 1916. What we do with that blessing, and how we utilize the opportunities that are a benefit of  being on the right side of history is up to us.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Strike First, Ask Questions Later

I'll just start this one off by saying that  some things never change.

The sharp cracks echoing from the East Bakersfield street were loud enough to jolt Ruben Ceballos from a midnight slumber. Then he heard screams.

The 19-year-old jumped from his living room sofa and hurried to the kitchen door, which offered a view of the violent scene outside, Kern County sheriff's deputies repeatedly striking a man in the head with batons as he lay on the pavement begging for his life.

"I saw two sheriff's deputies on top of this guy, just beating him," Ceballos said in an interview Monday. "He was screaming in pain … asking for help. He was incapable of fighting back he was outnumbered, on the ground. They just beat him up."

The man was David Sal Silva, 33, a father of four, and he was pronounced dead less than an hour later. The altercation last week was videotaped by witnesses and has sent the Central Valley into turmoil.

One woman frantically called 911, telling the operator: "The guy was laying on the floor and eight sheriffs ran up and started beating him up with sticks. The man is dead laying right here, right now. I got it all on video camera and I'm sending it to the news. These cops have no reason to do this to this man."

In an unusual move, sheriff's officials later detained for several hours two witnesses who had videotaped the incident on their phones. They were released only after they surrendered their phones to deputies.

To say that this is an unusual move is an extreme understatement. These officers basically took innocent citizens into custody and held them hostage in their own homes as if they lived in a military state.

"It makes it look like a coverup," said David Cohn, a lawyer for Silva's children and parents, adding that he has not been able to see the footage.

 "What we're all concerned about is, 'Are these videos going to be altered? Are they going to be deleted?' "

Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said in an interview Monday that it was too early in the investigation to reach any conclusions about Silva's death. But he defended the decision to take custody of the phones as a way of preserving possible evidence. The sheriff said his office obtained a search warrant for the phones.

"We still have to secure the evidence, especially when the evidence can tell us whether we did it right or wrong," Youngblood said.

A gang of cops mercilessly beating a man to death is murder, so, yes Sheriff, you did it wrong! What reasonable human being needs to watch footage to figure that out?! 

He said his agency, to remove the appearance of any conflict, has asked the Bakersfield Police Department to analyze the phone videos.

The local news in Bakersfield broadcast a security camera video from the scene showing grainy images of figures pummeling someone on the ground, with about 20 swings of what appear to be batons or sticks. It's difficult to see Silva in the seven minute video or how many of those swings connected.

This makes me nervous. The Rodney King video was crystal clear, and those Police Officer got away with beating him to within an inch of his life.

An earlier statement by the Sheriff's Office said Silva might have been intoxicated and resisted the deputies' efforts to restrain him, forcing them to use their batons. It said six deputies, a sergeant and two California Highway Patrol officers were at the scene. One deputy had a K-9 dog.

Silva stopped breathing and was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 12:44 a.m. Wednesday, the statement said. Youngblood said it could take the coroner's office up to four months to complete toxicology tests and determine a cause of death.

In an email to The Times on Monday, the CHP said it "is deeply sympathetic" to the Silva family and "takes seriously all incidents where an individual dies while in custody." The agency said it could not discuss the matter further because of the investigation.

The Silva episode follows several high-profile brutality cases involving the Kern County Sheriff's Office in recent years.

One led to criminal convictions of three deputies and a $6-million civil judgment in the 2005 death of a jail inmate, according to attorneys. Another resulted in a $4.5-million court award for the family of a man who died in 2010 after being struck 33 times with batons and Tasered 29 times, attorneys said.

A deputy accused in the civil lawsuit over the 2010 death has the same name as one of those who confronted Silva. Youngblood would not confirm that it was the same deputy, however.

According to Cohn, Silva became upset Tuesday morning and abruptly left the home he shared with his girlfriend and their children. He later visited his mother's house before turning up at Kern Medical Center seeking help for some sort of emotional trouble. He left the hospital when a security officer told him he could not sleep there, Cohn said.

Silva fell asleep in front of a house across the street, the spot where the deputies confronted him, the attorney said. He said he did not know if Silva had been drinking. Court databases show that Silva pleaded no contest in 2008 to a misdemeanor charge of disturbing the peace. He was charged with being drunk and disorderly two years later, but the case was dismissed.

So it begins. The inevitable attempt to tarnish the name of the victim. Having a criminal record does not mean that his life is less valuable than someone else's. Silvia's past doesn't matter. The fact that he was savagely beaten and murdered does.

Cohn also represented the son of the inmate killed in 2005, an offshore oil field worker who was arrested after behaving erratically. "They don't seem to have any training when it comes to people with a mental illness," Cohn said of the Sheriff's Office "There seems to be a culture of striking first and asking questions later." 

It seems inevitable to me that Deputy's involved in this murder are going to face prosecution. But if and only if their is a through investigation from an outside agency. The fact that they actually went so far as to detain residents in their own homes even though they were not guilty of anything and seize their personal property shows a flagrant attempt to cover up evidence. If they were smart they would have acted as if they didn't do anything wrong, ignorance on behalf of law enforcement always seems to works  best in these cases. Unfortunately the consequences are always deadly.