Thursday, December 25, 2008

...So That It's Forever Broke

I caught the debate over Rick Warren on a clip on Towleroad with Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart (here). What really caught my ear was the point about activist judges. I am so tired of conservatives screaming about activist judges. This refrain dates back to the Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954. The uproar that followed that decision was incredible. White people, particularly in the South, lost their minds. A group of nine Justices changed laws that reflected a long held tradition on the subordination of African Americans, a tradition that attempted to enshrine the inferiority of African Americans. The way of life in white America was attacked. People should have been given an opportunity to vote whether or not blacks should be allowed to go to school with whites, according to their (and the modern day conservative's) philosophy. I have no question as to how that popular vote would have gone during that time period.

So called activist judges have been the saviors of minority groups suffering from the tyranny of the majority, something black folks should recognize with no problem (though when it comes to gay rights, religion seems to cloud the memory quite effectively). The Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia is another example of "judicial activism." Interestingly, District of Columbia v. Heller is an example of judicial activism. However, because that type of activism was welcomed by conservatives, the decision has not been couched with similar language (U.S. Fourth Circuit judge J. Harvie Wilkinson, in a recent article for the Virginia Law Review, likened the Heller decision to Roe v. Wade in terms of judicial activism, albeit from the conservative perspective, concluding that the results were equally damaging to the interpretation of the U.S. Constitution). Essentially, judicial activism cuts both ways. Conservatives, however, crow the loudest when that activism goes against their particular perspectives. Moreover, the broader media allows them to set the terms of the debate (damned "liberal" media).

I simply want conservatives to be honest with regard to the history of their disdain of "judicial activism." And in order to do so, they will have to be brave enough to stand by the position that the SCOTUS took inappropriate steps in advancing the Civil Rights Movement's aims. Furthermore, and I have heard this before, black folk should have continued to work with state legislatures to advance their aims (for supporters of gay rights, that should sound awfully familiar). The Brown decision is the root of that term, and the derision that supports it. Own it conservatives. Embrace the past as it really was. Don't attempt to make it up as you go along, or mysteriously forget the historical record when it reflects less favorably on your positions. I am sure that Bill Buckley was as horrified by the action taken by the SCOTUS in 1954 as any white Southern contemporary.

I have attempted to break this down so that it's forever broke. I want conservatives to be honest in their positions, and in the history of those positions. The past can be ugly. There are certainly things in the American past that I wish were different, but they aren't. Conservatives need to come to grips with that reality. Good luck, and please stop crowing about "judicial activists." There are too many decisions rendered by judges that fall into that category for that term to be useful any longer. Finally, remember that if a day comes and conservatives are in the minority and pushing for recognition of their rights, they will be praising the court that had the temerity to act on their behalf, thus saving them from a tyrannous majority. Good luck to you, if that day ever comes.

Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!

To you and your's, I wish you all Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


A buddy of mine suggested that I visit the website It's a website that is essentially a warehouse of old and current television programs and movies. As I was searching through it today, I thought that maybe, just maybe, one of my favorite shows might be on there. And there it was!

I cannot tell you how much I love "Highlander." The geek/historian in me loved the whole play on immortals, legend and history. I lived for the flashbacks to the past (Colonial America, the French Revolution, etc.), and the historical drama. The gay man in me was in love with Adrian Paul, one of the most beautiful men on the planet, and the romantic nature of his character "Duncan MacLeod."

If you haven't had the pleasure, I highly suggest in indulging in an episode or two.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Torture, American Style

How many of you remember the theme song for the classic 1970s television show "Love American Style?" What if we changed the lyrics a little to reflect our new reality (the tune is still the same)?

Torture, tor--ture
Torture American style
truer than the red, white and blue
Torture American style for me and you

And on a star spangled night my vic (my vic caught by me)
you can rest your head on my waterboard
out by the dawn's early light, my vic
I will break you by and by

Torture American style
for me and you

(modified from the lyrics of the song "Love American Style" by Charles Fox and Arnold Margolin)

So it turns out that the United States sanctions torture. My country tortures people, and it makes rationalizations for doing so. We have ceded the moral high ground that we've held for years. We are now following the lead of terrorists. People like Michael Smerconish argue that we have to fight fire with fire, no matter where that fire comes from. I think that we are reducing ourselves to the worst of our instincts. We are lowering our moral bar. We are showing that we no longer see ourselves as distinct and different from the worst elements on this planet. And I am offended by that.

I don't want people tortured in my name as an American. I care more about who we say we are, than diminishing who we are actually. We have tried to repesent an ideal to the world. We have said that we will give, even those who have fought against us, the benefits of our system of justice. That is something that made us stand apart from the rest of the world. It is something that gave all Americans a sense of pride.

I will never condone American torture. There is no excuse for subverting our values. There is no reason to cheapen this country's decades long position on this issue. It is a sad time for this country. And though I will never be ashamed of being an American, I am quite ashamed of the "leadership" of the last eight years. It makes no damn sense. We are better than this.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

That's Better

It looks like Jesse Jackson, Jr. was participating in a previous investigation against Blagojevich. It would be interesting if it turned out that the assistance he was giving to the U.S. Attorney's office helped to nail the Illinois governor.

Monday, December 15, 2008


It's official. I've crossed the line between being in the know about relatively new artists and being a str8 up NPR listener. I was feeling down not too long ago (just contemplating all sorts of things, personal and global), and a friend suggested I check out the song "Alright" by Ledisi. So if I'm late, forgive me. I get it. Ole gurl is a real deal, and represents another reminder of my love for neo-soul singers.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Shut Up and Bail

I think that the American public deserves to know why it is that Wall Street can receive, without questions or requirements (merely suggestions), billions of taxpayer dollars, and the U.S. auto industry is having to go through hoops like a broke person trying to get credit. I also think that each of the GOP Senators who supported the Wall Street bailout need to explain their lack of support for the auto industry.

Most folks from the South know that "unions" are supposed to be seen as bad things, and many (primarily white) Southern politicians pride themselves on being against them. Sometimes I wonder if just the name "Union" conjures up memories of the "Lost Cause." But for a region that is allegedly more proud of being "American" than any other, I find it rather interesting that its representatives in Washington are arguing for the reduction of American wages, as well as stronger support for FOREIGN car companies (see here and here).

I have nothing against foreign car companies, and I do think that they have had better products to offer Americans in the recent past. However, that does not mean that we need to watch the destruction of an industry that is 100% ours. The car was the American product. The auto industry was essentially one of the reasons that people were able to earn a middle class living without having a college degree. Do we really want to let the GOP kill the industry on our watch, especially when it doesn't have to die. This is the time for the American auto industry to re-assert its authority and develop products that are environmentally friendly, aesthetically appealing, and reasonably affordable. The very creators of the industry, at the very least, deserve that chance. The southern wing of the GOP be damned.

UPDATE: Here is a really interesting article regarding the perspective of president of the United Auto Workers, Ron Gettelfinger from "The Raw Story."

Hmm, Buenos Aires?

I was just roaming around the web, and I came to a story about the potential of Buenos Aires becoming a real haven for the gays (Rio watch out). I have to admit that I've always wanted to visit Argentina, including Buenos Aires. I loved the images of the Argentinian countryside in "The Motorcycle Diaries." Yet, I really would love to see the area called Tierra del Fuego down at the southernmost tip of the Americas. I'll put Argentina in my list of considered places for a honeymoon, if I ever get married.

UPDATE: Speaking of "The Motorcycle Diaries," please take a listen to "Al otro lado del rio" by Jorge Drexler. It's stunningly beautiful.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Why Jesse Why?

Look, I understand that ambition can drive us to do some strange things, but there are limits. Clearly, in his desire to become the next U.S. Senator from Illinois, Jesse Jackson, Jr. just couldn't keep that desire in sufficient check. Now he is wrapped up in the madness that is soap opera of Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich.

Infreakincredible! Ta-Nehisi Coates captured my thoughts on this here (and the link includes comments from his reader). If this all turns out to be true, then the brotha deserves what's coming to him. And it won't be a seat on the other side of the Capitol Building.

And naturally, Sean Hannity would do his best to look for links to BHO in this scandal. Yet, it does quite work. I'm sure the viewers of Fox News are gutted.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Past as Prologue

Though it is a tad early for New Year's related thoughts, I have to admit that I am more than ready for 2008 to come to an end. Yes, I am trying to rush it through. This has been one of the most stressful years that I can remember, primarily because of the various ups and downs I've experienced in the last twelve months.

I began the year feeling concerned about the changes that i felt (instinctively) were coming. I was excited to turn 40. I left a job that was brilliant on paper, but I needed to leave. I felt the light leaving my personality, and nothing is ever worth that. I decided that I wanted to put myself out into the dating world more aggressively, and it led to some interesting encounters (each of which has taught me more about myself). I've been able to connect with a number of old friends and cronies through Facebook, and it's been a blast. I was a witness, with the planet, to the election of Barack Obama.

Conversely, I lost my uncle Joe in March, and that was a huge blow to my family. I was dismayed by the passage of Proposition 8 (as well as the other anti-gay measures in AZ, AR and FL), and the concomitant ire that event raised between the African American and GLBT communities. I was (and remain) saddened by the collapse of the economy, which has adversely affected my own job prospects (particularly with the Smithsonian). And one would never know by the coverage that we are still in the midst of two wars.

I've learned so much about myself this year, some good lessons and others not so good. I've also been tested in terms of my work, my finances and relationships. Yet, I've never felt more free. I feel like I've taken the wheel again. It's a bit frightening, but it really feels good.

So, I am confident that 2009 will be a year of awakenings. I hope each of those awakenings moves me toward becoming the person I want to be. Lord just get me through these remaining weeks of 2008. I am in desperate need of a new beginning.

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's All About Milk

I am sorry that I do not have a memory about Harvey Milk. I was 10 at the time of his death, and I was probably more excited about becoming a big brother (my brother was born in October of 1978). I look forward to seeing the bio-pic of his life, because I recognize the important place he has in American history generally, and GLBT American history particularly.

I am glad that "Milk" is out now. It's a visual reminder of how far we have come as a nation with regard to gay rights. It should also serve as a reminder of how far we have to go. Too many people still believe that one makes a decision to become gay (yes I am pointing particularly at black and Latino communities). I just need some str8 person to let me know when he/she decided to be str8. At the same time, I wish more folks would follow Milk's lead by coming out of the closet and jumping into the fray (particularly in black and Latino communities). Milk once defended the closet. It took moving to San Francisco, and working to defeat the Briggs Initiative, to recognize the freedom that coming out could provide.

It's interesting that the 30th anniversary of his assisination falls on Thanksgiving. Like most people, I will give thanks for family, friends and my health this Thursday. But this year, I would like to add that I give thanks for being a beneficiary of the sacrifices that people like Harvey Milk made to help make my life easier. Harvey Milk was a genuine hero for me precisely because he was an ordinary man who did extraordinary things; he is a reminder of what each of us is capable of giving to our communities.

The Coming Onslaught

With the arrival of the Obama administration, I think my town of Washington, DC needs to get prepared for something that it thought it was familiar with: the black overclass. Black folk with degrees out of the ass will be descending on the city trying their best to join the Obama team. I mean even the new White House Social Secretary has an MBA from Harvard (and a bachelor's from Wellesley).

Now DC is home to one of the most educated populations in the country. I always have to remind myself that only a quarter of the U.S. population has a bachelor's degree. But living in DC will skew one's perspective. I knew a number of administrative assistants who either had, or were working on, advanced degrees. Lord knows I've seen a number of job descriptions that include "Master's preferred." Yet, many of these new folks will probably be black folk.

I think I will call it the rise of the Huxtable Class or the Black Nerd Class. And that is the beauty of an Obama administration. This country has a real opportunity to beat back that multiplicity of negative stereotypes about black folk. Too many people are comfortable with those stereotypes, so much so that they think that telling someone that they don't see him/her as "black" is supposed to be a compliment. I doubt seriously that people don't see the Obamas as "not black"; for too many, the very fact that they are black prevented them from supporting BHO.

Huxtables and Black Nerds are about to be all over Washington (and hopefully the affirmative action assumptions will "die, just die"). They will also be comfortably black. Is the nation really ready for all of that? I know I am.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Oh, Hold Up

The number 2 man in Al Qaeda called BHO a "house" Negro. LOL. Really? Is that all you have in the shadowlands of Pakistan and Afghanistan? And the fact that old boy brought up pre-Mecca visiting Malcolm X to prove his point shows just how 1962 his perspective is. They gonna need a new clue, because house negro is played.

Monday, November 17, 2008

You Go Wanda!!

I was so glad to see that Wanda Sykes decided to come out of the closet fully (the rumors were legion). I love the fact that she is a Virginian (Portsmouth), a Hampton U. alumna, and an AKA to boot (I know that her sorors are talking about that right now). We need others.

The protests on Saturday were just the beginning. I hope that the GLBT community and its allies will take full advantage of the momentum that is building. And I really hope that more black folk will look to Wanda Sykes as an example, and come the hell out of the closet!

Friday, November 14, 2008


While I was crying like a baby as I watched the nation elect BHO as POTUS, I was wondering how the propositions in CA, FL, AZ and AR were doing. Sadly, each measure passed. So, my wonderful day of celebration was marred by the realization that the GLBT community suffered more losses to the popular ballot.

What I did not expect was the aftermath of the decision in CA. CNN reported the findings of ONE exit poll, and it noted that approximately 70% of African Americans supported the ban on gay marriage (incidentally, that percentage ticked higher among the African American women polled).

Baby, "The Gays" lost it. The gay blogosphere went up in arms, and black folk were maligned as I've never seen before. Dan Savage would no longer support black issues. Andrew Sullivan stood atop his soapbox declaring that "African Americans are the most homophobic" demographic in the nation. White gays could not believe that black folks "threw them under the bus." Comments throughout the gay blogosphere were littered with anti-black vitriol that would have made the Klan weep tears of joy.

The black blogosphere hit back, particularly those who support gay rights. Continually pointing out that this animus from the gay community was based on one exit poll reported by one news source, the black blogosphere attempted to add reason into the maelstrom. "The Gays" were not having it. Meanwhile, the black gay voice essentially was ignored.

A few truths have come to my mind. First, there is no question that the black community is painfully homophobic. I see that homophobia as similar to the homophobia of the conservative Christian community (meaning I don't see the black community as the most homophobic; that's a red herring). Second, there is no question that there is a prejudice against black folks (regardless of sexual orientation) that has not been sufficiently addressed by the gay community. Third, too few black gay folks have come out and been honest with their family and friends. I think that the act of coming out within the black community would work wonders at mitigating the homophobia that we see. Finally, the gay community has to deal with the fact that it has been its own worst PR enemy. It's conventional wisdom that gay = white in the minds too many within this country, and we in the gay community know that it isn't true. Yet, by looking at our collective output to the world, it would be hard to deny the "whitewashing" of our image.

There is a great deal of work to be done. And I have to admit that I think that there are other issues that the gay community needs to address just as vigorously as marriage. However, until we get our act together with the issues of race and representation, we will see sad displays like we have seen in the last week. Bridges will be burned, understanding lost. The gay community has come so far so fast, and momentum is on our side. But we need everyone who supports us to feel as though they are an equal part of this fight. That is the lesson from the Civil Rights Movement that the gay rights movement needs to understand in order to succeed.

Okay, I'm done. Kill the hateration and holleration (thank you Ms. Blige); we don't have time. I have a march to attend here in DC on Saturday for marriage equality.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country. I cannot put into words the magnitude of my feelings right now. I am so proud that I played a small part in making the historic moment come to pass. And as an African American, and historian, I, like all of those who have gone before me, am proud of my fellow Americans who believed in a country that promised equality. Today is a good day, and as for the future, I hope that he will be blessed with prudence, intelligence, and wisdom. I pray that BHO is a transformational POTUS in all of the right ways.

Here We Go

Well, I just got back from voting. I have to admit that my hand was shaking as I cast my vote for BHO. I am still in awe of the fact that I had an opportunity to vote for an African American candidate for POTUS. I can only imagine the feelings of everyone who went through the Civil Rights Movement, regardless of color. This truly is an historic day.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The McCain Campaign Comeback Strategy, Maybe?

Anyone remember the Chris Rock movie "Head of State?" Here is the scene in the movie when it's up to California possibly to prevent the election of a black man as POTUS. And here is the Outkast video for the song in the film.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Incredible Living History

This post is for every person of voting age in the nation who is supporting BHO. 109 year old (that's right, 109 years old) Texan Amanda Jones, a woman who was born when William McKinley was POTUS, cast her vote for BHO.

I know that I have said that I never dreamed in my lifetime that an African American would be at the precipice of the U.S. presidency, but imagine my statement from Amanda Jones' perspective. That is what is so incredible about this historical moment, the daughter of a slave in this country cast her vote for an African American for POTUS. Pure beauty. This is precisely what folks died for throughout the 20th century, so that someone like Ms. Jones and someone like myself could have this type of opportunity and exercise this basic right of U.S. citizenship.

"Barack the Vote!"

"Mawidge" II

I'll make this simple and plain: Californians should vote "NO" on Proposition 8. (Check out this excellent compilation of information on the site Towleroad)

Though I am single, I still would like to have an opportunity to marry in my home country, if I choose. It would be heartbreaking to the thousands of my brothers and sisters who married legally in California, if their marriages were revoked by a vote (I am strongly against issues of civil rights being put on a ballot).

Same-sex marriage is only a religious issue, if the church is directly involved. Many faiths have a range of views on same-sex marriage, and I strongly believe that no church should ever find itself forced to perform any marriage that its doctrine opposes. Civil marriage, however, is an issue of the state. The overwhelming majority of marriages in this country are civil unions; folks obtained licenses from the state to get married. As a matter of principle, it should come as no surprise that the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution should be the lead on this issue.

I hope that in the enthusiam that certainly will be displayed by the black community in voting for BHO as POTUS will not also translate into the right amount of votes to wreak havoc for married gay and lesbian couples in California. Check out that video in the compilation on the Loving v. Virginia SCOTUS decision again. Finally, do not forget that the gay rights movement is a successor of the Civil Rights Movement. No black person should ever feel comfortable enough to engage in discrimination based on who one happens to be. That is a road with an ugly past, and the black community must always remember that the past is prologue. Discrimination in any form is always wrong.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"Git 'Er Done"

When was the last time that you saw a politician have a discussion like this with someone, whom I would assume, had no intention of voting for him? BHO just might have made it a little bit harder for the guy in the vid to vote for McCain (or maybe he was for BHO all along, and wanted to test his tax policy).

UPDATE: I find it incredible that "Joe the plumber," and his "circumstances," were fiction, political stunts even. And I find it funny that this same person would actually benefit from the tax plan of the individual he has comfortably deemed a socialist.

Hempstead, NY

Check out this post from Huffington Post, and watch the video. It really got to me.

In light of the fact that there seems to be an all out effort on the right to point to minorities and lower income folks for the economic crisis that we are facing, I find it disgusting that the executives of companies that we are helping are receiving compensation packages that could cover the basic costs of thousands of Americans in need. Meanwhile, many of those executives will never have to worry about basic money concerns again.

I am all for becoming rich. Who isn't? But I recognize that it would be a privilege, and that I would have responsibilities to my country. I would feel as though I owed my country that, since it provided me with the opportunity to ascend to a position of wealth. That too few in the wealthy class feels the same is unfortunate.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Carry Me Back...? Redux

Back in May, I'd pondered the prospect of Senator Jim Webb running with BHO for VPOTUS. Well, I just found this brief bit on Talking Points Memo that includes a radio spot done by Webb. When I finished listening to the spot, I was reminded of why I thought he would have been an excellent attack dog for BHO. I also had to laugh. Like Senator Webb, my baby brother is both a member of the NRA, and a HUGE supporter of BHO. Gotta love the Commonwealth.

Alright Cat Daddy!

BHO's campaign is a beast! It's reaching out to gamers now via Xbox 360 (hat tip to The Daily Dish). Now that's hot!

He Ain't Nothin' But A Fool

David Alan Grier is the host of a new Comedy Central show called "Chocolate News." Now we all know how crazy DAG can be (remember Cephus and Reesie Mayweather?), but I was on the floor listening to his appeal to white voters to vote for BHO. Check it out.

Okay, I had to include another DAG clip. Check this out.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Carry Me Back...?

Most of my friends know that I am a very proud Virginian. I was born and educated there. And I accept both the good and the bad in its history, because, invariably, it is a part of my own history. My proudest moment as a Virginian remains the inauguration of L. Douglas Wilder in January of 1990. It was one of the most emotional days of my life (and frighteningly cold).

Unfortunately, the supporters of Senator McCain in Virginia felt the need to show their asses to the world in the last few days. And this little bit from the GOP Chair of the Commonwealth, which Senator McCain has refused to repudiate, doesn't help with my home state's reputation either. Perhaps I will be lucky enough to watch Virginia do what it did when she ultimately went into the column for Wilder, only this time the name will be Obama.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Oh For Real?

I'd promised myself not to even discuss Cindy McCain, but how can I resist when she says something as stupid as BHO should walk in her shoes to understand something. Only an out of touch rich white woman could come out of her mouth like that. I have a request for Cindy. How about she try walking in the shoes of a black person for a day. I'll even be okay with letting her be a rich black person. Then report back to me what it's like. I'm sure I am bound to learn something I somehow managed to miss.

UPDATE: I see Cindy McCain as "Narcissa Malfoy."

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Some of the supporters of McCain and Palin have lost their minds.

Remember, BHO is the first African American candidate to run for POTUS. For some in the lunatic fringe of this country, that is enough to warrant his head. And, what I've heard from Palin rallies recently has been unsettling. Dana Milbank of the Washington Post highlights some of the more egregious incidents here. The New York Times put an editorial out about this issue today. And has a post here.

I am sick and tired of listening to the McCain/Palin camp construct a terrorist/unpatriotic/not really American straw man of BHO. I am tired of people making a point of saying BHO's full name, so as to drive home the "Muslim" connection. I have suspended my fears long enough to believe that BHO could run for, and hopefully become, POTUS without someone trying to kill him. Yet, I am growing more uncomfortable with the manner of the McCain/Palin campaign.

I would never support BHO or Biden whipping their supporters up into such a frenzy that someone would yell out "terrorist," "kill him" or "treason." Yet, that is exactly what is coming from the other side. McCain and Palin both have been silent. Where is the honor? How does that put country first?

Quel domage.

UPDATE: We are now hearing that the McCain camp "doesn't condone" the commentary coming from its supporters. And my name is Boo Boo the Fool.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Debate Moderating While Black

Oh it is on now! Conservative bloggers are jumping on this idea that because Gwen Ifill (moderator of the PBS show Washington Week) has written a book entitled Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama, that she is "in the tank" for BHO.

I suppose it is out of the scope of reality for these critics to assume that a sista can't be professional (let's not even mention the fact that we truly have no idea where Ifill stands with regard to who she will support in the upcoming election). These are the same people who probably thought that Sean Hannity's interview of Sarah Palin was "fair and balanced" (yeah, like an unused see-saw). I am sure that somewhere in this great country of ours is a black conservative who will attempt to echo these "concerns," when they should be outraged that their compatriots are suggesting that this particular black person (at the top of her game), simply will not be able to do her job.

This is tiresome. Why not simply say that black people (who aren't conservatives) do not have the capacity to formulate their own opinions? Why not simply say that black journalists (who aren't conservatives) are all 100% behind BHO? Why not simply say that black folks (who aren't conservatives) are mere lemmings? I'll tell you why. It's because too many of these so called conservatives are mentally unable to accept black folks as sentient beings who have the intellectual capacity to see through their crass arguments and who choose to support other perspectives.

Gwen Ifill, do your thing, and brush that dirt off your shoulder.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Affirmative Action, GOP Style

Over the years, I've had discussions and arguments with conservative friends about affirmative action (AA). There is no question that AA helped to multiply the ranks of the black middle class; it also provided many deserving and qualified individuals with opportunities to shine. Yet, cynical implementation of AA programs have led, I believe, to the current sense of disdain toward those programs (and the beneficiaries of those programs). Personally, I believe (like BHO) that we should look to economic AA, in order to help increase the opportunities of the strivers in the lowest economic echelons. But that is not the point of this particular post.

I find it extremely funny that conservatives, who rail the loudest against the "deleterious" effects of AA on the beneficiaries (and concomitantly the society), seem to be in full support of AA when the beneficiary supports their point of view. Clarence Thomas was the classic example. No thinking person really believed President George H. W. Bush when he noted that Thomas was "the most qualified" person for the SCOTUS. Bush simply replaced a black Supreme Court Justice with one who met his ideological test (hardly a sufficient qualification in my mind). Conservatives came to the defense of Thomas and contorted their own positions to make themselves believe that indeed he was the most qualified person to replace Thurgood Marshall. It was comic theatre during those hearings.

Sarah Palin has usurped Thomas' position as my classic example. When she was selected, I waited to see how she would turn out. Palin was such an obscure figure that it was possible that she, in fact, might have had the chops to handle the job. I was over her, by the conclusion of her speech at the RNC convention. I knew that she was selected primarily for her gender, but I did not fully understand until later how woefully, woefully, unqualified she was.

It was fascinating to watch conservatives contorting themselves to make it so that Palin was more qualified than either BHO or Biden. It was fun to watch the building crescendo of evidence that made it clear that Palin was not even in the same league as some political staffers on the Hill. A few folks in the intellectual conservative community have come to that conclusion as well (Kathleen Parker, George Will, and David Brooks come to mind). Yet, the rank and file within the GOP see Palin as someone who is "just like them." What happened to the standard of "the best and the brightest?" Isn't that what AA allegedly attacks?

The bottom line is that AA is only a negative when the beneficiary is not a conservative, when one examines this issue from the GOP perspective. I want conservatives in the world to provide me with some ideological clarity. Either AA is wrong in all cases (as many conservatives claim), or there are exceptions that should be honored (as many conservative practice to satisfy their ends). Which one is it?

As for me, Palin, like Thomas before her, is precisely the example of bad AA that conservatives complain about. Seems to me that there needs to be some cleaning of house.

Well That Didn't Take Long

As the country sits on the precipice of financial disaster, and people in Washington and on Wall Street are trying to explain what has happened, there is a slow growing chorus rising from the right that is beginning to parrot the idea that the true source of the financial meltdown was the effort to help minorities and the lower classes become homeowners. Minnesota Representative Michelle Bachmann made this claim amid the hearings that took place on the Hill last week (the article erroneously identified the hearing as having taken place in the Senate. It was actually in a House Financial Services Committee hearing where Rep. Bachmann made her comment). As is discussed in the link, the Congressional Black Caucus (through Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison) is asking the House Republican leadership for clarification on this issue.

This is an age old tactic used by those who see the progress of the African American community as a problem, simply because government has played a role. These "conservatives" (note that I did not identify a political party) generally see any governmental assistance to help provide a more even playing field for African Americans as "handouts." These folks pretend that "the market" will do its job, and provide African Americans (who traditionally have been red lined out of the marketplace) with the tools they need to move forward. This argument is absolutely ahistorical and specious. The historical record is clear that if left to its own devices, the market would have ignored the African American desire to secure the American dream of home ownership. It took governmental intervention and oversight to help actualize that component of the dream.

That someone actually would have the gall to dismiss the millions of people who joined in the game of "Flip that House," and suggest that it was because financial institutions made a modest attempt to reach out to minorities and the working and lower classes that we are now experiencing this financial crisis is outrageous. I know people who jumped into the real estate game with the hopes of a quick turnaround. Most of them did well. Many tried to get me into the game. But my guess is that most of the working and lower class and minorities that bought homes intended to live in them, not flip them. And unfortunately, too many of them may be on the brink of losing their homes, because of predatory lenders who sought a larger profit at expense of the ill informed.

I am tired of those who have unfettered faith in the marketplace. It is flawed. It is biased toward those who already fall into the category of the "haves." And quietly, I am happy to see those true fat cats panic. Unfortunately, it's the rest of us who have to foot their bills. And the last time I checked most of those players, most of those perpetrators of this financial crime, are white guys. So Rep. Bachmann, and those who support her perspective on this issue, can kiss my ass.

UPDATE: Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic adds his perspective on this issue. Check it out here.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Lord Have Mercy

Not too long ago, I pondered whether the Bunkers of the world would ever feel comfortable with the Huxtables of the world. Well now these two gentlemen from Tennessee, have put together a product, "Obama Waffles," that might help the Bunkers of the world come to a decision. Please check out the article and video here. Oh, and I forgot to mention that the product apparently is selling briskly at the Values Voter Summit, where "Christians" have come to gather here in my city.

Friday, September 12, 2008


I've a very good friend (BMD) and great buddies (the GHF crew) who live in Galveston. Within the last two years, I've been there about six times (I was just there in late February for work). I have been glued to I have said a prayer that my favorite little slice of Texas will survive this threat.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I Wonder...

I remember when this 10,000 Maniacs song came out, and it seems to fit the situation for a certain young woman whose very personal situation was splashed before the world.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

America Love, The Double Standard.

10:58 pm -- I just finished reading McCain's speech (he is speaking currently), and in the text, he mentions about developing a love for his country during his capture in Vietnam. Why was Michelle Obama held to a different standard? At least she was proud the whole time; she just became really proud later.

Like We Didn't Know...

...that's what they were thinking. GOP Congresswoman Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia just had to get it off of his chest: the Obamas are...wait for it...UPPITY. I am sure he felt more than comfortable putting that out in the street, since there are only thirty-six black delegates or alternates in the Xcel Center this week. Who there would contradict him? Hell, the "Commander in Chief" of the Alaska National Guard essentially said the same thing in the main last night.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Deciders: Archie and Edith

As I am listening to the pundit class this Sunday morning, it is becoming clearer that election 2008 is really coming down to who can appeal to people like the fictional "Bunkers." Remember the Bunkers, Archie and Edith? They were the lovable working class white family that represented "real Americans." McCain was very clear in making sure to note that Sarah Palin's "story" should appeal to Americans; therefore, I am convinced that he is trying to go for symbols over substance.

Let's forget that McCain lives a life akin to a character on "Dynasty." That's not important. He wants to portray his campaign as an "All in the Family" campaign. I mean can those types of folks ever really relate to the Huxtables from "The Cosby Show?" Cliff and Clair Huxtable, clearly examples of those elitist, college educated, "un-American" types, have never had anything in common with Archie and Edith. As a matter of fact, I bet that people like Archie and Edith look at Cliff and Clair and just know that they were nothing but affirmative action beneficiaries who really have no skills or abilities worthy of consideration. Sarah Palin is like Gloria Bunker (with a properly conservative husband). Palin is who "Americans" can relate to. Palin is the one "Americans" can trust.

The more I consider it, the more I see the selection of Sarah Palin as a potentially deft move. It's identity politics on full display. Yet it's identity politics done by a Republican, and like affirmative action (can we say Clarence Thomas?), these types of moves are alright when the GOP does it. It's only un-American when Democrats do it.

So there it is. A vote for McCain/Palin is a vote for the America you know. A vote for Obama/Biden is a vote for the America you can't quite trust. Which way do you think that Archie or Edith would vote? And what will be the consequences? Are we ready?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

For Real!?

I will be the first to admit that I was just getting used to BHO's selection of Joe Biden as his running mate. My concern was about the potential claims that BHO really is inexperienced in foreign policy to the point that he had to turn to Washington (not change) for support. But as the Democratic convention moved along, and as situations around the world continued to swirl, I was becoming more comfortable with the pick.

Now here comes John McCain with Sarah Palin. I am still gobsmacked. I found this selection to be nothing more than a blatant attempt to see if the disgruntled HRC supporters, some of whom continue to claim that BHO stole this nomination, would be willing simply to support a woman. As the folks at noted, this is an example of the worst kind of affirmative action, though Republicans would never admit it.

McCain met her once. Palin has barely been vetted. She is under investigation in her own state, and her perspectives make my actual conservative friends seem almost liberal (and I mean you two, T.C. and P.C.). And this list from Daily Kos was fascinating.

I am not one to make predictions, and I have no idea if Palin will become one of the fastest learners in the land. However, little surprises me anymore. Therefore, I wouldn't be surprised if McCain supporters praised Palin for being an outsider (albeit with virtually no experience), while hammering BHO for being under-qualified (an affirmative action POTUS nominee perhaps). I am also sure that some will be quick to note that Palin is running for the #2 spot, as opposed to BHO.

All I know is that when it came to a test of judgment on this rather important decision, BHO was thoughtful, prudent and reasoned in his selection. McCain, however, was rash, imprudent and hurried in his selection. So much for "country first."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It's All About the Mrs.

I already know that I am going to have to expand on my thoughts here, but I had to say something about Michelle Obama's speech. As I noted early on, it was Michelle Obama who got me to look at her husband more closely. I was riveted then, and I remain just as excited now.

I can barely describe how moving it was listening to her speech (via C-Span radio). I can only imagine that someone like Fannie Lou Hamer, who fought for her place as a part of the Mississippi delegation to the Democratic National convention 44 years ago, is rejoicing in heaven as she watched Michelle Obama show the world the humanity and American-ness of black people.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Obama/Bayh '08?

Like the announcement that former Virginia governor Mark Warner will be the keynote speaker for the Democratic National Convention, the prospect of Evan Bayh being the VPOTUS nominee with BHO underwhelms me. My support for BHO will not falter, but I am as excited about Bayh as I am about melba toast.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It's a Crying Shame When...

...BHO is criticized for advertising his rally in Berlin (right, the one in Germany) with flyers in German. And this is a chink in BHO's campaign armour how? Folks are really reaching now, and it is comical to watch (hat tip to the Daily Dish for this one).

Monday, July 14, 2008

"Oh No He Di'in't"

Jesse? Really? I mean, tell us how you really feel. And watch e'erybody else weigh in. BHO is killing the old guard black political elite; they do not know how to handle the man. They want to put him in check, but it won't work. They think they have to be catered to, and they realize BHO ain't about that either. Remember this post? It still applies.

Once again, to the Civil Rights generation that kept their collective "eyes on the prize," thank you for the sacrifices you made to make this nation a better place. Now how about you check out some of the lovely retirement communities around the nation and rest on a laurel or two. If we need anything, we will certainly be sure to let you know. However, the page has turned, the channel changed, and the phone has a new ringtone. Let the next generation do its part. Trust us, because we got this.

Afro & Circumstance

Now people may misjudge me for saying it, but there is a concentrated portion of the American populace that is simply not smart. Nuance makes no sense. There is no such thing as gray, only black and white, good and evil. And when it comes to the Obamas, that concentrated number seems to expand. Now here comes The New Yorker with its July 21, 2008 cover (check it out).

The moment I saw it, I understood the cover to be a satirical open handed slap in the face to that aforementioned concentrated portion of the American populace. But it is that same group of folks who will now feel as though they have confirmation for their worst fears about the Obamas: BHO is secretly a terrorist, and Michelle is a holdout of the Black Panther Party (afro included), set to force the Nation of Islam's agenda on the United States. Do we really need to add fuel to the ignorant fire that exists in our country?

Though I think the cover is funny (funny as all get out), too many are simply too touched in the head to get it, find it funny and move on. Lord Jesus, help us.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


So I was watching "The Princess Bride" the other day, and I cannot help but laugh at the scene when "Prince Humperdink" and "Princess Buttercup" get "married." The bishop in the scene has one of the worst speech impediments imaginable; it is just so wrong.

As I was watching, I thought about the recent events in California. I now have two states in the Union where I can get married legally (to someone I would want to marry; that's for the smart asses who would argue that I can marry any woman legally across the land). Once again, "I was really proud of my country for the first time in my adult lifetime" (hat tip to Michelle Obama).

I know that gay marriage remains a thorny issue for many, but it is becoming passe for so many more. I know that it is simplistic to think it, but I really think that we need to see all marriages as civil marriages. I think that that is the crux of this issue: religious marriages versus civil marriages. Any marriage sactioned by the state is a civil marriage, and thus marriage in that regard should be subject to the laws of the land, including the U.S. Constitution. There is no modification of the law to include more than a party of two, or people who are underaged, or animals, as the slippery slopers would have you think.

If one wants a religious marriage, then take that up with one's church. That has nothing to do with the state, nor should it. No one can force a priest or a pastor to perform a marriage between two members of the same sex, and I would be against any law that said as much. But, the city hall has no legs in this case, and it should not be in a position to discriminate.

Unless there is a sweeping opinion from the SCOTUS, I imagine that we will watch as more states move to adopting gay marriage. Personally, I will be happy to know that I can enjoy marital bliss in more places across my country. And, I look forward to the day, when it is not an issue at all.

A General's Perspective

First and foremost, I think that Gen. Wesley Clark hit the nail on the head with his comments concerning John McCain's preparedness to be "Commander in Chief." And Clark acknowledged, in his interview with Bob Schieffer of "Face the Nation," that BHO was not prepared either, from a military perspective to be "Commander in Chief" (obviously, because BHO had not served in the military). I think that Clark's comments were in fact reasonable, and supported by the facts. Interestingly, Clark has been gaining support for his position (here, and here).

I think that it is interesting (though not surprising) that this issue of military service is coming into play once again. I certainly respect the notion that military service obviously can be helpful when it comes to determining whether or not military action is necessary to take in certain situations. I think we learned that lesson the hard way with our current "Commander in Chief," and his deferment(s) hogging VPOTUS. However, there are those within the military who itch for the good fight, and that cannot be dismissed. We do not need that right now. The military needs to be repaired and strengthened, and those fighting deserve respites from what they have done for our country.

Personally, I am tired of this notion that military service in and of itself is not is a requirement for serving as POTUS. I don't want to see a new litmus test come in the form of service in the Gulf War, Iraq War or the War on Terror; unfortunately, I think that we might be doomed to make the same mistake that the generations before us made, in that regard.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

¿Si, Se Puede? ¿Verdad?

Interestingly, as BHO begins the roll out of his national campaign, there is one constituency group that apparently is still not feeling the love: Hispanics. This is unacceptable. BHO's campaign staff have moved too slowly on reaching out to this community. I think that it was unwise to let the broader media cede the Hispanic community's support to HRC, but to still continue not addressing this issue is just dumb. And this is not a dumb campaign. BHO is going to need all of the Hispanic support he can get, and if the Hispanic media is not feeling as though they have access and some love, then he will have larger problems as we approach the November election. ¿Si, se puede? Es verdad!

Monday, June 23, 2008

For the Love of Forster

I've decided to make this an E.M. Forster summer for my reading pleasure. I recently started reading (again) A Room With A View, one of my favorite novels of all time. I will also roll through Maurice, Where Angels Fear to Tread and Howard's End. I think I will tackle finally A Passage to India, the only Forster novel I haven't directly engaged in some way. Finally, I am going to read Zadie Smith's On Beauty, which apparently was inspired by Howard's End. I don't think I've ever made a reading list for the summer; things change. If I commit myself to this roster of novels, then I will finish long before summer's end. And that's okay. This will be the year of the self indulgent Edwardian summer.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Y'all About to Get Told

An interesting phenomenon is happening as a result of BHO's ascension to the Democratic nomination: conservatives don't quite know what to say about him to help arrest his momentum in the electorate.

Some of the things that are emerging from Fox News are absolutely hilarious. First, there was the confusion about Michelle Obama giving her man dap before millions. That E.D. Hill of Fox actually pondered whether or not that hip hop/sports gesture of affection was "terrorist fist jab" had me howling out loud. Yet, I don't think she needed to lose her show. I'd much rather that she'd stayed on air for the receipt of proper ridicule from all corners of the media for a nice long time.

To add to the unnecessary drama that Fox News has brought upon itself, the organization decided to try its hand at a true ghetto-ism: referring to a potential First Lady as "Obama's baby mama." Does anyone think that it would have crossed the minds of any news producer to refer to Mrs. McCain in the same way? Now I am sure that some will point out that Michelle Obama has referred to her man as her "baby daddy" in public in the past, but my guess is that the audience would have been in on the joke, and the reference was in fact just that: a joke. I doubt that the Fox producer was going for the humor jugular when he/she put that moniker up.

So, I think we are in for a very interesting media ride as conservatives try to figure out ways to render the Obamas as alien from traditional American culture and values as they possibly can. Essentially, isn't the argument that they are black; therefore, they aren't really American. If conservatives keep up this potential line of argument, they will discover a new (to them) line right out of the handbook of most southern African American grandmothers: y'all about to get told.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


I am not quite sure what to say. I am in a state of disbelief, and what a good state it is. BHO knocked off HRC. I quietly hoped that he would pull it off, but I was not quite sure if it could be done. I'll be blunt: I feel so blessed to be an American living right now. BHO may lose in the general election, but the important fact is that he is in the dance. The ghosts of Jefferson, Jackson, FDR and Johnson (Lyndon) must be bemused by the spectre of BHO. I hope that they understand just how far the country they once led has come, particularly Jefferson. I am a happy man tonight. BHO, job well done!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Obama/Webb '08?

Though I know I will write more about this later, I have to say that I am becoming more comfortable with the notion of BHO running with Jim Webb. Now this isn't just Virginia pride coming in (though that is certainly there), but I think that it would be a satisfactorily strategic move on the part of BHO to select a running mate who on the surface seems to be an ill fit. Yet, they could work well together in the end I believe. It would also reflect the range that exists within the 21st century Democratic Party.

Webb's family is from the hardscrabble mountains of Appalachian Virginia. Though it may not move too many of the other denizens of Appalachia (an area that rivals anything that Faulkner imagined in too many cases) to vote for BHO, it would move some, and it would show independents compromise in action.

Militarily, you can't sniff at the former Secretary of the Navy. And he has a son in the war right now, continuing his family's tradition of service. Webb is the ultimate Reagan Democrat, and he reflects how far the GOP has moved away from what he once believed. That is a powerful addendum to the BHO mantra of change. And it just might work.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"The World is Changed"

One of my favorite films is "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," and Cate Blanchett (one of my all time favorite actors) opens the film in dialog. "The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air." Sometimes, I use that quotation to describe my state of mind. Today is no different.

Within my bones, I am aching for changes in my life. I am working toward many of them, and planning to implement the necessaries toward others. Yet, in too many ways, things aren't moving fast enough for me. I am finding myself in an ever increasing mood of melancholy, though I am not quite ready to throw myself a pity party.

Like so many others, I am not satisfied. I am skeptical of taking a leap of faith that seems too far fetched, a leap that will leave me in a circumstance worse than I abandoned. Yet, truth be told, out of those leaps of faith can come confidence in taking the reigns in one's life. It means that one has come to recognize fully when "the world is changed."

Change, positive and progressive, take me now. Let me begin the process of building a new past.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Makes No Sense

I need someone to explain to me just one thing. If BHO and HRC are essentially supportive of the same basic political philosophy, and their policies differ only by degrees, then how can these folks who say that if either candidate they support fails to get the nomination, then they will vote for John McCain? The only thing I can think of that all three candidates share philosophically is lack of support for gay marriage (which is a shame in and of itself, but something I can live with) and the allowance to let states decide that issue individually.

Ultimately, since it appears that BHO will get the nod, I really want HRC supporters to explain their potential support of McCain. That shift makes no sense to me.

Monday, May 12, 2008

"Okay, So Wassup Wit Cho Gurl?"

I want to share a story with all of my non-black friends. It will provide a window into the world of black folks in this country that so many seem less than enthusiastic to gaze through. When I went off to college, my grandmother pulled me aside to provide me with some advice. She knew that I was determined to have a multi-cultural/post-racial existence, and that was fine with her. My whole family encouraged that. However, she told me to be careful, because there are some white folks who will (in her words) "skin and grin, while not really being your friend." She let me know that for some folks, the past is too close to forget old perspectives and points of view.

I shared this story with you, because it appears that the Clintons seem to be falling dangerously close to that category of folk my grandmother described. Andrew Sullivan wrote eloquently of the Clintons' decision not simply to inject race into a contest where one opponent did everything in his power to avoid it, but to drive a stake through the heart of an attempted effort at a post-racial campaign. And in so doing, the Clintons are destroying the good will that they'd built over the years with black folks.

So, to all of you HRC fans, I don't know what's up with your girl, but you better get her in check before she causes real problems. And to anyone who dares to think it, I am not being a misogynist in my use of the term girl (or "gurl"). That just shows me that I will need to share another story in the near future.

Filling a Void

I found myself thinking of my late uncle Joe over the weekend, and came to the realization that in spite of whatever challenges he may have had, he managed to live in his dream. He was a musician, a philosopher, and a wonderful uncle. I was listening to Suzanne Vega's latest "Beauty & Crime," and she has a song, "Ludlow Street," that is dedicated to her late brother Tim. The chorus is as follows:

This time
When I go back to Ludlow Street
I find each stoop and doorway's incomplete
Without you there ("Ludlow Street" by Suzanne Vega)

This song is haunting to me in my memories of Joe; change Ludlow Street to Griffin Ave, and it really hits home for me. I know it's not jazz (his love of life other than my aunt), but I think that he would appreciate the message the song conveys nonetheless. Thanks to Suzanne Vega for helping to put my feelings into song, and for reminding me that I have some work to do to live in my dream.

Love is the only thing that matters
Love is the only thing that's real
I know we hear this every day
It's still the hardest thing to feel (citation above)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

To the Left, To the Left...

I just want to thank Barack Obama for doing what he did today. The man offered Rev. Jeremiah Wright a path that could work to the advantage of both. Obama wanted to honor, as best he could, the person who helped him toward embracing the church. Rev. Wright chose the worn path of division, rancor, and sycophancy that so many of his peers have followed. And it doesn't come as a surprise to me; it's completely disappointing. It is as though Rev. Wright is working for the opposition in this race.

This reminds me of the post I wrote concerning Andrew Young's comments about Obama. I will say this again. Thank you Boomers for all that you did to ensure that all of us from the immediate post-boom on could live in a world that seemed so far out of reach when you were born. It is time for you to retire, and let us take over. There are some wounds that will not heal. There are some hurts that cannot be ameliorated. There are pains within the depths of your psyches that we, the younger generations, will never know. Pass the torch, and let us take on the work. Too many of you assume that we aren't capable. Too many of you have refused to serve as mentors to train us up (so we learned on our own, much to your chagrin).

We are better prepared than you know. We have our eyes on the prize, and that prize lies in our future, not our past. I am an historian. I respect the past. I have learned from the past. But I am all about the future. Barack Obama is all about the future, as well. Rev. Wright, and so many of his peers, simply won't allow themselves to see that it is about the future. And because of that, it is time for him, and his cohorts, to step aside.

The train for the future is now boarding. One is more than welcome to remain on the platform; I just won't be there with you.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Elitist Revisions

I need someone to explain to me how a person born solidly in the middle class in the post WWII era, who just recently talked about visiting the family summer cottage in Pennsylvania during her youth, who was a solid Goldwater Girl, who then attended perhaps the most elite of the women's colleges in the country, only to cap off her education at one of the most elite law schools in the country, then followed a path that led her to the inner sanctum of American government, primarily through her husband (who was actually poor), can then somehow morph herself into this hardscrabble, gun brandishing, every woman.

At least Obama had some elements of struggle in his upbringing, and like the husband of the person above, managed to gain access to the most elite institutions in the nation for his education. Moreover, this character decided to do community organizing among the working class (though because they are African American, that seems not to count in quite the same way as "working class") as his post elite education job.

What's even more offensive to me is that Obama spoke the truth. People in desparate times look to scapegoats as salve for a troubled soul. American history is riddled with examples of this. How loudly can I scream the election of 2004? Many Ohio residents, particularly black ones, used gay marriage as a proxy for voting the current POTUS one more term in office (salve for the soul, and "the family"). That HRC would exploit, and distort, the truth in Obama's comments (even when those same sentiments were espoused during the Clinton administration) just for the sake of hoping to score political points is brilliant. That working class voters would buy it hook, line and sinker is priceless.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


As my 40th birthday approached, I was determined to consider many of the facets of my life with an examining eye (the Indigo Girls, in their song "Watershed," sang "every five years or so I look back on my life, and I have a good laugh"). I want to determine the direction I would like to follow. I have always said that history must always play a prominent role in the work that I do, and that will not change. But there are so many times when I feel like singing Erykah Badu's song "Didn't Cha Know," because I thoroughly understand where she is coming from.

I am looking for different things in my life now. I hope to find love (I feel like I could sing Erykah's song "Honey," though I would change her lyric "love" to "like," since I am not in love at this time), and I want to consider the idea of settling down, though I know it may take me a while to find the right man. I want greater meaning in my personal and work lives, and I want to unwrap the passions that exist within me. I want to engage history in more meaningful ways than I have in the recent past. I want to get in better shape. In short, I want to lead a more fulfilling life.

The difference now is that I am ready to meet those challenges. I am ready to restructure my life in fundamental ways, and I think the world will benefit from the changes. My family and friends have been on my side the entire time, and I have not done poorly for myself by any stretch of the imagination. However, there are too many things missing. There is not a sense of satisfaction in my world (with the exception of my friends and family, including one recent burgeoning friendship). And I know that when I find the sense of comfort and space that I need, then the world will have to watch out, because I will want to take as much of it as I can before I leave (and I would dedicate it to my late uncle Joe, who introduced the beauty of jazz to my world, and the passion for cultural connections with both the United States and continental Africa).

I just need to take those steps, one at a time, each time moving one step ahead.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Forty Years Later

As I became more aware of my love of American history, I grew to be very proud of the fact that I was born in 1968, perhaps the most tumultuous year in 20th century American history. I also realized that my special birthdays would always mark the anniversaries of the deaths of King and Kennedy. So many people have concluded that 1968 proved to be a watershed year when liberalism as a truly respected political philosophy died in the embers of the riots that rocked the country.

On this 40th anniversary of MLK's death, I cannot help but marvel at the fact that we are watching a black person make a serious run for POTUS. We have a black Supreme Court Justice (regardless of what one thinks of his political philosophy, he is still a black man on the SCOTUS). We have a black woman who is in charge of all of our foreign policy as Secretary of State (and she is the second black person to have held that post within one administration). So much has happened, so much has changed, in my literal lifetime. I know that my ancestors would be gobsmacked to see what has come to pass.

Yet, there are problems that have risen among black folk that defy logic in many instances. The problems are well known, and they are obvious. I've posted my thoughts on some of those issues in the past. I think that Obama, in his speech on race was right to state that there are too many within the black community who, in the midst of the aforementioned tremendous changes, continue to see more obstacles than opportunities. I am not so naive that I dismiss genuine problems based on race. Condolezza Rice correctly stated that racism was like a birth defect for our nation, and that we have been trying to accomodate that defect since 1776. But to suggest, as so many whom I know do, that racism seems to be everywhere and on the rise, I think is an exercise in hyperbole.

Conversely, I think that too many self-described conservatives dismiss the legitimate anger that many older black folk continue to harbor. Conservatives look at the issue of race, and its impact on the black community, in a purely ahistorical fashion. There has been a black presence physically in the U.S. since 1619. For 345 of the 389 years that black folks have been here, the country actively worked to hold them back. I am a part of the first generation to live in this nation when legalized segregation had been dismantled permanently. Conservatives too often pretend that those first 345 years were not really much of a cuckhold on the black community and its effort to progress. It is a testament to the black community that it was able to flourish in several areas in spite of the orchestrated effort to thwart that progression. That is never really talked about by conservatives, but perhaps they someday will gain an historical perspective.

King's assassination reminds me of the fact that we will never know the full capabilities of a man who provided a voice for the pain of a people who'd struggled, and survived for centuries. King, through his words and actions (as well as the thousands of other black folks and their supporters in individual communities around the nation) fought to remind this country of what it could become when it honored its own principles. Though King had his flaws and shortcomings, his work, like the work of so many of our most revered American leaders, supercedes those problems. Forty years later, it's clear to see that King helped to re-shape what America was, as well as how it perceived itself, and we should thank him for helping us get there.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Give and/or Slap

I need someone to explain to me how HRC can be losing and presumptive at the same time. I think that it is safe to assume that if the situation between Senators Obama and Clinton were reversed, then Senator Clinton would be laughing heartily at the audacity of the suggestion. It all makes me wonder what the Clintons have up their sleeves.

And before I forget, someone needs to buy Geraldine Ferraro a clue or two. Her comments reflect madness. Check out this Michelle "Malkin Award Nominee" on Andrew Sullivan's blog here. Let me add the comments of a friend of a friend, Susan Rice, an advisor to Sen. Obama. She hits the nail on the head. Go Susan!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

What Happens to a Dream Deferred (for now)?

For the first time, I am glad that I was too ill (a severe cold) to remain awake to hear the news. Andrew Sullivan said it better than I can, now that I've awakened to a rather stark reality. I will explain more when I am actually feeling better.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Change is Coming

I have been trying my best to contain my excitement about the prospect of Barack Obama securing the Democratic nomination. But I have to say that I am beside myself with excitement. Not only do I feel as though the nation is on the brink of a much needed progressive and positive change, but I also feel as though I am not alone in those feelings. There is too much excitement in the air.

On a slightly different note, I think that when one looks at those who surround John McCain, it's monochromatic. As one comedian suggested, McCain's posse looks like it belongs to a restricted country club. He feels like some anachronistic figure from the 1950s, and I have no desire to turn back. I think we all need a new way forward, and Obama needs to be the captain.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

And the Hits Just Keep On Coming (I Hope)

Today is the Chesapeake Primary (including my home state (VA) and my current domicile (DC)), and I really hope that Obama can pull off what he did over the weekend. "Yes, we can!" "Si, se puede!"

Monday, February 4, 2008


I, like most people, was shocked when I heard that Heath Ledger passed away. Though he was not my favorite actor, I'd enjoyed his performances in several of his movies ("The Brothers Grimm" and "10 Things I Hate About You" really stood out). But it was his characterization of Ennis Del Mar in "Brokeback Mountain" that sealed his legend for me.

It was arguably one of the most heart wrenching performances that I have ever seen on screen. I felt that he captured the torture of the closet perfectly, and I couldn't help but remember when I felt some of the feelings he articulated through his actions and words. I couldn't help but think of the millions of closeted individuals who are suffering as Ennis did, even in the face of the possibility of happiness (like Jack Twist offered Ennis).

I am one of those who felt that the Academy denied "Brokeback Mountain" its due honors, particularly Ledger, and I am a huge fan of Phillip Seymour Hoffman. But that is water under the bridge. His performance was legend, and he deserved the accolades he received. I am sad to know that we will not be able to see how much more he could have done.

Praise Jesus?

There is one area of my life where I am trying to be more understanding, but it is just so difficult to do. I have worked hard to try to live my life openly as a gay dude. I have been blessed with a loving family and remarkable friends. They made my transition from closet to open a safe and loving passage. I owe them so much.

Yet, there are so many other black folks (this is anecdotal evidence from my experiences) who seem either terrified of or indifferent to coming out. Hell, some of them are truly bothered by any public association with things gay.

I have come to loathe the phrase "nobody needs to know my business." It is at this point where my understanding usually goes into full retreat. I am confident that if any of the individuals who have used that line were straight, then the world would know their business, and they would be proud to proclaim it (though perhaps unconscious of doing it).

Why the difference? Unfortunately for some of my fellow 'mos in DC, one sista took it upon herself to set the record (shall I say it?) straight in a bold way. Now this sista's tactics were indeed outrageous and unnecessary. I mean sista called them out by name (first and last, with descriptive commentary). It seemed like revenge in the first degree. But I hope that the folks who were called out will look at this as an opportunity to deal with the reality that the broader GLBT community needs their public voices, and that their families need to know the whole truth about their lives.

Nothing will change within the black community, even with Obama saying all that he can short of an endorsement of equal marriage, until the majority of the black GLBT community ends the game of subterfuge, clandestine love and silence. I am tired of being ignored by both the straight black and non-black gay communities. I know I am not alone, but at least I am willing to let people "know my business." Praise Jesus!

Obama Campaign Video

I have to admit that it wasn't that bad a video. Too bad the overwhelming majority of voting America probably knows only one-tenth of the people who appeared in it.

The Kennedy Stamp of Approval (mostly)

It has been fascinating watching the quiet, yet very public, endorsement game going on within the Kennedy clan. Naturally, as an Obama supporter, I am glad to see that the biggest names in the family (Caroline, Ted, and Maria Shriver) are on my team. But it is worth noting that some of RFK's children are firmly in the HRC camp. But does it mean anything?

The myth of Camelot is a strong one within the American psyche. I can only imagine what it must have been like to see the glamour couple of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy emerge on the political scene. They both had the proper pedigrees of upper-class American society (Choate & Harvard/Miss Porter's & Vassar (even though GWU gets to claim her)). They looked good, and they were relatively young. They seemed to represent at the time that which America could become in the dawning of the 1960s.

The Obamas have the proper pedigrees of a more meritocratic American society (Columbia & Harvard/Princeton & Harvard). They look good, and they are relatively young. They seem to represent what American can become in the 21st century.

Essentially, there are comparative relationships that can be made. I do think that the Obamas, much more so than the Clintons, represent forward movement for the nation, as the Kennedys did in their time. However, all of these Kennedy references make me nervous. I don't want the anointed as POTUS. I don't think that too much can really be made about those comparative relationships between the Obamas and the Kennedys. They are different people from different times.

I hope that, if I can dare to dream it, if Obama is given the chance to serve as POTUS, that he will surpass any expectation that was ever had for Camelot. Perhaps those Kennedys who have decided to support his campaign feel the same way.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Hulk Hogan's America

When John Edwards decided to withdraw from this contest, my first thought was where will the white guys go. Is it possible that the endorsement of Hulk Hogan could prove to be of use to the Obama campaign? My biggest concern is that the prototypical working class white guy will simply not abide a character like Barack Obama, regardless of what Obama may have to say. Actually, I am afraid that that particular constituent group will play its own version of the race card (a phrase that I loathe with a passion), and simply look to anyone but the black guy. Hogan might be a trump to that play. I can only hope.

Monday, January 28, 2008

New Orleans

I just got back from a trip to New Orleans for work. It is nothing short of a national crime to see NOLA in that state. I cannot imagine another community suffering from that level of neglect from our national government. But I will give the people of NOLA credit for having the pluck to keep going. The short attention span of the average American is on full display, when it comes to that city. I am glad to go there, help out and spend both money and time. I never saw NOLA before the storm, so I have no nostalgic longings when I visit. NOLA still needs our help.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Angry Black? Mystical Black?

When can a black man get angry? What will it cost him when he does? While I was reading this post on Andrew Sullivan's blog, these questions immediately came to my mind. I wonder what would have happened if Clinton's tearful moment had come after a particularly angry swipe from Obama. How would the media have reacted? It is an interesting question, especially since the media have been working hard (and he has not really been challenging them on it) to fashion Obama into a version of Hollywood's infamous "Mystical Black Person." You know that old character who is there to help white people through their trials and tribulations. The filmography is legend: "Gone With the Wind," "To Kill a Mockingbird," "The Green Mile," "Ghost," "The Legend of Bagger Vance."

Obama has been hyped in a similar fashion. And if it gets him into the White House, I am alright with that. But, I go back to my original questions (modified). When can Obama get angry? What will it cost Obama when he does?

It is conventional wisdom (if one really can call it wisdom) that the majority of Americans like nothing less than an inappropriately angry black man (remember we still don't have a clear defintion on the appropriate). Obama will have to fight back the all out assault that is being waged by the Clinton campaign, and its supporters. And he might even be a little angry when he does. I just want to see if Obama (by way of the media) transmogrifies from the "Mystical Obama" into the "Angry Obama," and monitor the impact of the change.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Okay, I am done. Janet has finally come back with a truly hot song. I just can't get it out of my head. She makes me feel emboldened about the 40-somethings (though I haven't crossed that plane just yet). "Crank it up. Give it to me. Come on. I'm gonna feedback."

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I Didn't See Any of This Coming

I am sorry that Obama did not win New Hampshire. And, I wasn't really surprised by the loss. I think that it is good that Obama has not replaced Clinton as the "anointed" candidate; it can make one complacent. Complacency leads to mistakes, silly ones. I want Obama to have as few mistakes as humanly possible in this campaign.

What I didn't see coming was my utter lack of enthusiasm for Clinton. I am absolutely uninterested in her candidacy. The "victory" speech last night was as inspiring as drying paint. I turned off the radio as soon as it was done. I became angry. I was angry, because it felt as though possibility was slipping off its axis.

Though he has been accused of speaking in nothing more than mere platitudes, Obama makes me feel proud to be an American. He can articulate the power that comes from following paths that our fore bearers laid out, paths that led to an expansion of the democratic ideals of this nation to all who were here. Obama makes me feel hopeful for the future, and he helps me to see the possibilities for this nation.

This is the first time that I have been inspired by a candidate (any candidate). I want Obama to win, not simply to block any of these Republicans from getting into the White House, but because I really have come to believe that our nation needs an adult like him in the White House. Now, it would not be a surprise if the rest of the nation was not ready for someone like Obama. Our immediate (and soon to be in one case) past Presidents reflect that lack of readiness.

I know that if Obama won, our image in the world would be revolutionized in so many respects. He is the combination of multi-generational America and the immigrant dream. Obama is both of the nation and of the world. I could go on. The bottom line is that I am convinced, more than ever, that Obama is the right person to lead this nation out of the long cold winter of discontent. Mind you, Obama is no savior, and it is incorrect to try to label him as such. But, Obama is an adult who will handle the affairs of this nation with the patience and the prudence of an adult. It's about time.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Michelle Obama

I have been catching up on my news (I took a brief break for the holidays), and while scanning through Andrew Sullivan's blog (I have read it for the last several years), I read a post about Michelle Obama.

As I have said in this blog, I moved toward supporting Obama because of his wife. I am beyond comfortable with the notion of Michelle Obama being the First Lady. I watched her speak in Washington during this summer at a Women for Obama event, and I was more than impressed. Actually, I was excited by the end of the event. I felt that the $250 I spent (which was really to help a buddy of mine who purchased a table at the event) was well worth the price.

Sullivan, who I have to admit has posted things in the past that makes me feel like he needs a solid course in African American history (as well as African American GLBT history), hits the nail on the head with his comments concerning the weapon that is Michelle Obama. Take a look.