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Posts Tagged ‘Congress’

You can’t think about public policy for the needy in the South without coming across several related Bible verses.  2 Thessalonians 3:10 says “For even when we were with you, this is what we commanded you: that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”

But, we should also consider Psalm 82:2-4 “How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked?  Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.  Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.”

Look, no one thinks of themselves as wicked and I am not calling anyone wicked.  However, some good people in politics and policy will do some somewhat devious things to win the battle and hopefully the war.

Everyone hates seeing hungry people and particularly hungry children.  Reasonable folks fairly state that those people got themselves into their circumstances with questionable life choices and personal responsibility.  It burns a taxpayer up to get into an old truck to leave a shift at a plant after standing 12 hours in steel-toed shoes then past grown fathers standing on the corner—guys who are too proud or crazy to do manual labor, pick crops or flip burgers.

The radio in that old pickup is blasting far Right talk radio in that worker’s ear.  “Your tax dollars provided those assistance checks, food stamps and free school lunches…you are sweating over a drill press while that bum plays video games all day in government assisted housing and sips malt liquor that was purchased with money intended for hungry kids.”  Dam, I am writing this stuff too easily…have I been watching Fox News.

We live in a free society; this isn’t North Korea or China.  Dictating better living isn’t legal.  So, children are born into struggling situations but Jesus wouldn’t want us to let them starve because their parents made bad choices.

The Farm Bill is the law that directs USDA programs and therefore seriously impacts the South.  Back when members of congress talked across the aisle, the farm bill supported commodity programs (which helped farm families) and provide food assistance programs (which helped farm families by creating  additional markets.)  Today, the far Right wanted to end most food assistance to force needy people to work and stop having kids they can’t afford.  Social media was a buzzed this week with the story of a seedy woman with 15 kids who upset that the government wasn’t doing more to help her.  Say what? I watch the news video about this family but paused it to say a little pray for those kids.

http://nation.foxnews.com/homelessness/2011/12/01/homeless-lady-15-kids-somebody-needs-pay-all-my-children

 

The school lunch/breakfast program ensures that needy kids have two meals a day five days a week during the school year.  Without those meals, the hospitals would be packed with malnourished kids and that cost would be astronomical.  Of course, hungry kids can’t focus on classwork so the labor force would be untrained and looking for ways to make fast money.  Fast money leads to prison at a cost of $35,000 a year.

U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston is the best House Republican from the Georgia but as a Senate candidate even Jack started tripping.  Kingston has represented chocolate city Savannah for 20 years, he was worked in chocolate city D.C. for the same 20 years and he has served during that time on the House Ag Committee and/or the Appropriations Sub-Committee on Agriculture.  Jack is UDSA food programs like the back of his hand.

If Kingston really said that needy kids should work at the school to pay off their free lunch, he was saying that to get Senate primary votes.  He knows that would never happen nor would he want that to happen.  So, poor people, people who grew up poor (Black, White and Brown) and those of us with compassion for the poor make up a bloc of voters who some in the GOP are simple writing off.

I watched the GOP Senate primary like a hawk and waited to see how much campaign would be done in the Black community.  Karen Handel had a wealth of supporters in the ATL and Jack has always shown the flag in every community in his district.  I never heard these two candidates making overtures to the Black community because there are few primary voters there.   For the record, I am a moderate Dem who voted in the GOP primary because that was where the action was.

Surprisingly, former Dollar General executive David Perdue was the only GOP senate candidate that my Black GOP friends said reached out to the non GOP Black community; he supposedly met with 32 Black pastors in the Albany area.  I like that right there.

I told those same GOP friends that they can mark my word:  the school lunch comment by Kingston would drive out thousands of occasional voters—it’s a hornet’s nest.  Voters sometimes vote for candidates and sometimes vote against candidates.  Remember, the confederate flag drama drove some people to vote against then Governor Roy Barnes….hell, some of them didn’t know David Perdue’s cousin Sonny at the time.

People who live off checks provide to assist kids are seedy.  Blue Dog Democrats supported Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich’s welfare reform that included work or training requirements.  As Justice Clarence grandfather taught him, public assistance makes people weak and dependent.

However, Democrat blood will boil when the T.V. ads run next fall featuring kids mopping schools as their friends laugh.  I think control of the U.S. Senate for the last two years of Obama presidency hang on that school lunch comment.  Oh, it’s going to be on and popping when child nutrition supporter Michelle Obama and Orpah see that YouTube video.   School lunch programs also teach kids about healthy food choice and that education leads to better eating as adults.

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demotivation.us_Scientists-Discovered-the-Formula-to-understand-women

As President Nixon would say, I want to make one thing perfectly clear: Nunns and Carters can’t win in Georgia in 2014 without Obamas and Clintons.  Jason Carter is running for governor and Michelle Nunn seeks an open U.S. Senate seat.

The exodus of the Georgia Whites from the Democrats to the Republicans was completed when Congressman Jim Marshall was defeated by Austin Scott.  Marshall tried to paint himself as a non-Democrat Democrat by running from Barrack Obama and then Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  He basically tried to become Sam Nunn.  Sir, I staffed in the Georgia congressional delegation that was led by Sam Nunn…I met Sam Nunn during my high school years…we went to countless Hill receptions with Senator Nunn.. you, Jim Marshall, was no Sam Nunn.  You don’t run from Obama and expect my communities support.

Like it or hate it, the formula for November 2014 Dem success in Georgia is:

(n + ca)/(o x cl)=w         or (Nunns + Carters) / (Obamas x Clintons) = wins

 

First, Jason Carter and Michelle Nunn are good and decent candidates on their own.  However, Georgia is a Red State because the Democrat base is so very shaky.  The four pillars of strength that support the Dem foundation nationally are two Obamas and two Clintons.  To be honest, Michelle needs to be a flying Nunn crisscrossing the peach state with Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama or both.  As Bernie Mack would say, “you don’t understand”…. Michelle Obama still has rock star status with Dem voters; she could pack a college football stadium with only three days notice.

The reality is this: rural Whites are a lock for the GOP but suburban voters of all colors are on the table if the Dems come out with a moderate agenda focused on job creation.  Who can deny that Bill Clinton’s economy plan left the nation in great shape.  On Meet The Press this past weekend, the question was “would Hillary run as a continuation of the Obama years or restart of the Clinton years?”  I say it would be the beginning of the Hillary years.

The far Right should stop tripping on Hillary Clinton’s age because she would take office at the same age as President Reagan and a few years younger than John McCain would have been if he won.

Michelle Nunn is on that chill style like her father and that won’t get out the bloc of voters that almost won Georgia for Obama.  That’s okay because unlikely voters have a lot to think about this year….the motivation is there.  They just need a little knowledge and wisdom from the blogosphere; we call it “that fire.”  Don’t sleep: Nunn’s senate race will be studied by Team Hillary as they plan to take parts of suburbia back from the GOP.

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During primary season, the poll workers shouldn’t ask if I am a Republican or a Democrat in Georgia.  I am a realist who knows that there are very few contested elections in our divided state.  I am going to say “I will take the Republican ballot” but have that “I’m no Republican” look on my face.  Wise guys like me simply want to be where the action is or shall I say want our votes to have some meaning.

 

Democrat voters could save that little gas money by staying home in my area because Michelle Nunn will be the U.S. Senate nominee and Jason Carter will get the governor nod.  In Albany Georgia on the other hand, voters should take the Dem ballot to put professor Aaron Johnson on the school board—he is good people and smart as a whip.

 

Dems voting in the GOP primary could a) select a Republican who the Dem would have an easier time defeating in November or b) select a Republican who would respectfully debate issues across the aisle like the current two Georgia Senators.  In other words, pick the less crazy Republican because there is a strong chance the GOP will keep that seat in Congress.

 

Most Republicans in Georgia smiled and laughed when the nutty segment of their party talked about candidate Obama, President Obama, his wife, his kids, his momma, his daddy and his birthplace.  But, the same folks are surprised that the White House isn’t quickly putting funds into the deepening of the Port of Savannah, a project that means over 200,000 jobs indirectly in the South.  I am not saying the White House is in payback mode but I appreciate Senator Chambliss, Senator Isakson, and Rep. Austin Scott for keeping the debates fiscal and having some degree of respect for the office of the presidency.  Georgia’s congressional Dems generally respected the Bushes.

 

So, I am a moderate who will be voting for the coolest cat in the U.S. Senate Republican primary and the coolest cat in the Georgia state Senate primary.  Of course, there is no Democrat running for Senate District 13 so the primary winner gets the position.

 

(The following is intended for Black voters only)  When the Republicans win a position with few votes from our community, they usually ignore said community on that To the Victor The Soils style.  (Non Black voters please rejoin the post now.)

 

All kidding aside, there is a young man from my county running for state senate and people from my community have been friendly with him since high school or before.  But, I shouldn’t public say that I am voting for him because the purists in the GOP will get ticked that their selection process is tainted whose who haven’t taken the Red Team blood oath.

 

Of the other hand, Mrs. Vivian Childs is running for congress against my old boss Rep. Sanford Bishop and I wish I lived in that district because I would welcome the opportunity to vote for a GOP primary candidate who would have a robust and healthy debate on the issues with SDB.  While SDB will likely win against either GOP candidate, Childs campaign serves as a testing ground for improving the conservative approach to new demographics (People of color).  She might lose the battle but help nation win the war against partisan ignorance.

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GOP Rep. Paul Ryan shouldn’t back down from his honest opinions on inner city young men living in a “don’t even think about working” culture.  The House Budget Committee Chairman and Romney running mate should double-down by acknowledging the culture in rural areas also.

http://news.yahoo.com/paul-ryan-meet-black-u-lawmakers-offensive-remarks-220153718–business.html

I like Ryan because he was a congressional staffer during my Hill days but if we ever bumped into each other, it would have been at his part-time job waiting tables at Tortilla Coast next to Bullfeathers.  He was a high level staffer yet he served nachos and pitchers to interns and receptionists.  That’s the mentality that built America.  Of course, some of the people who built this great nation did so in bondage and the Congressional Black Caucus considers themselves to be guardians of that heritage.

So, Ryan is meeting with the CBC next week and that’s non-sense to me.  The CBC should be making that important observation about the jobless culture before Ryan.  Oh, but a change is coming.  There is a new segment of CBC members and these new folks have budgets and fairness on their minds more than the old “we are suffering” crowd.

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This blog is pleased to rollout a year-long theme/effort called “Changing Mindsets.”  An overview can be found on the tab on the top of this page.  Ryan’s comments are consistent with our contention that many of the problems facing struggling people start outside the range of governmental responsibility and the elected officials should say that.

An old, well-used Chinese proverb states “it’s better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.”  Well, it’s better to start this important conversation involving all sides than to continue on the wrong path.

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A conservative named Vivian Childs is running for the U.S. House seat held by Rep. Sanford D. Bishop and I say great.  Her candidacy seems like that ant with the rubber tree plant but sometimes it’s about the journey.

The people of Georgia have received over three decades of quality service from SDB and I, for one, wish he would have been selfish and left a few years to bring his golf score down and his personal wealth up.. think 2 Timothy 4:7  “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

Bishop and the Blue Dogs are important targets to the GOP because without them the Dem Team would be as liberal as the far Right pretends they current are. If their silly behinds listened to me, they would have push for SDB to be Agriculture Secretary to get the seat but they wanted to play hardball.

Mrs. Childs’ candidacy seems like the type candidacies that Michael Steele wanted to create to gently approach certain areas but the Tea Party’s brassiness happened to that.  Oh, candidate Obama was so fortunate to be in the Congressional Black Caucus with Bishop because he had to model some of his moderation after him.

Childs and her family seem like wonderful, successful people and her conservatism is rooted in the Black communities of our past—when you knew who you were and whose you were.  In those days, shame still existed and you admired how someone “carried themselves.”

Here is the real talk: we need some candidates who spend their time listening to and talking with everyone rather than preaching to the choir; candidates who put a positive spin on the limited role of government and fiscal realities.  A Bishop vs. Childs race would have a healthy impact on our state and introduce conservative ideals to a new segment of the population.  Some people would discover that they are actually more conservative than liberal and that Bishop was moderate to conservative all along.

I am sure the other candidate in the GOP primary in the 2nd District is a decent fellow but Childs opens doors of possibilities than would normally be closed. Ultimately, giving the people choices and options is so beneficial.  The first Black GOP member of Congress from Georgia since reconstruction might very well be someone who was introduced to a different way of governing by VC’s running for congress….plant the seed.

On a sly note, Bishop having a solid opponent forces him to fully engage his campaign apparatus and that move helps the Dem ticket statewide.  Wink

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So, the political comic strip Doonesbury spent this week messing the GOP regarding sensitivity training.  They should have hired me because I would have made it simple: love thy neighbor as thyself.  Secondly, the Left and Right should try to know as much as possible about others (the opposition.)  Finally, you learn about the other side from members of the other side.

As kids, we loved Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett because those White guys were smart enough to learn the ways of the Indians.  Of course as teens, we discovered that that knowledge was useful in robbing the natives.  I tell young guys to keep several women in their circle of close friends because no one knows about women as much as women (but you still can never understand women.)

At times, people don’t know what they don’t know and the righteous way to handle those situations is to enlighten them.  The guy from Duck Dynasty isn’t a bad guy; he isn’t knowledgeable of people and groups outside his comfort zone.  The same can be said for those liberals who don’t live in rural areas.

However, we do have people in politics that know better and are acting to maneuver in the political arena.  Readers of this blog know that Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah is one of my favor members of Congress from my Hill days; I spent some time hanging with his staff.  Kingston is currently running for the U.S. Senate and I wouldn’t mind seeing him as the GOP nominee because he has a deep knowledge of regional issues and a long relationship with the Black community in Savannah.

So, you could have knocked me over with a feather when I learned that Jack was saying that kids who eat free lunches at school should maybe work off the free meals by cleaning at the schools.  (Crickets)

Okay, I could have heard that parents worked at school for that reason but kids.  Clearly, Jack made that statement to make himself appear to be the most conservative badass in the GOP primary.  Hell, I like my idea that only healthful foods are purchased with food stamps but Jack’s lunch plan is too much.

I have a close friend who worked for Jack and she should be in the middle of his campaign at night and on the weekends because a Spelmanite would have put the kibosh on that cleaning kids stuff.  She knows that statements like that would energize the Dems voters who might normally blow off a non-presidential election.  Why upset the hornets’ nest?

My area is represented by cool young Congressman “hey, man, how are doing” Austin Scott.  Who would have “tunk” that Scott has the second most conservative voting record in the House?  Austin could learn a valuable lesson Jack’s schoolhouse drama because Atlanta and Georgia’s other urban centers will be motivated to learn that conservative candidates said some interesting things.  Politics is like chess and you must think three moves ahead and if my conservative friends need some risk management eyes, they should call me.

 

http://news.yahoo.com/comics/doonesbury-slideshow/

 

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There is more than one way to skin a cat and the Republicans have recently taken the worst ways to address outreach.  First, their outreach reeks because policy, techniques and branding is being driven by their most vocal and most angry.

For years, I have been telling conservative friends that 20% of the Black vote was prime for the taking and that those 20% were actually the head of the snake (the political, economic, faith and social leadership of my community.)  Without the deep thinking 20% of the body, the rest would be aimless. But, talk radio and the Fox News types get paid not for creating good policy and solving problems but for keeping up drama and mess.  I am starting to believe that MSNBC does the same thing on the left.

If the GOP conservatives listened to me years ago, they would have allowed a moderate, centrist segment of their team– a segment that would outnumber the far right and would counterbalance the centrists on the Dem Team.  I wanted to call them Red Dogs like the Dems’ Blue Dogs.  Basically, the Red Dogs would be the traditional conservatives who deliberate and compromise with others.

When I staffed on the Hill, Rep. Paul Ryan staffed and was a waiter a Tortilla Coast.  The guy is old school like me and we remember the days when lawmakers knew each other; when state delegations had a weekly meal together and the dean of the delegation was respected by both sides of the aisle.

During this holiday season, there are minorities and women sitting down with family and discussing the possibility of running for office as a member of the GOP.  Of course, many conservatives don’t realize that people other than those who look like them are also moderate to conservative.

You don’t need to skin a black cat because old superstitions are silly.  Cats are cats and if the GOP spent a little more time getting to know Blakc cats and less time being ticked off, they would have a new segment of their team.  That segment would be just right to approach my community about the sensibleness of personal responsibility and life choices.

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We need open primaries in Georgia because the elected officials are entrenched while Atlanta and D.C. could use some new blood.  Evidently, protecting jobs (their jobs) is their main concern and both major political parties support the current funky system.

So, a candidate who has support from various sections of the community must first win his or her primary before advancing to the general election in November.  Well, they draw this district lines in a way that favors their team—Democrats and Republicans both do it.  The Voting Rights Act of 1965 requires preclearance of congressional and state legislature district lines in some states to improve the representation of minority voters.  A strange twist is that packing Black voters into a few districts makes adjacent districts so Republican that Black voters (often Democrats) are ignored.  Yes, we could have a sizeable number of Black Republicans if the crazy part of the GOP didn’t run them off.

Ask yourself: Is race, political party or regional interests most important to you when voting.  Do you necessarily need a Black politician to serve your needs?  Is green (money) the most important color while voting?  Hey, the homeboy Bill Clinton gets a lifetime hood pass but he dam near got it revoked for taking trash about Obama during the Obama/Hillary primary battle.  While I love the Obamas, Bill will always be my dude.. without regard for race, creed or national origin.

When Herman Cain was running for the U.S. Senate, everyone knew that he could have gotten a sizeable part of the Black vote in an open primary process.  In an open primary, candidates run together and the top two vote-getters face off in the general election.  That is similar to local elections when everyone runs for office together and a candidate wins with over 50% of the vote.  If no 50%, the two top candidates meet in a runoff.

Many believe that Karen Handel would have face Nathan Deal in November if Georgia had an open primary during the last govenor’s race.  She would have likely won because she would have received support from some Democrat woman.  Look, the South is GOP and I get that but if given a chance, I would and have voted for the GOP candidate whose views are most similar to my moderate positions.

Bottomline: we should push for open primaries so we can vote for the best person for the job rather than the person who survives a partisan primary.

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From ABC’s Scandal to OWN’s The Haves and the Have Nots, I see two lovely and brilliant characters who look like me chasing weak men who don’t look like me.  So, it’s time for a blog post full of wild theories.  A post designed to stimulate healthy and interesting discussions more so than to offer solid facts.

We have a plantation mentality (PM) and by we, I mean all of the sons and daughters on the South.  Scandal takes place in D.C. and that is a southern city.  I could see General Robert E. Lee’s beloved Lee/Custis Mansion from my southwest D.C. balcony; a house that became Arlington National Cemetery.

A plantation mentality occurs when people, longer after the Civil War ended in 1865 and after Jim Crow ended in 1975, still think and function with the mindset that one group is better by nature than the other.  Under that mindset, some older Blacks did vote for Barack Obama for president because deep in their minds we can’t do what others can do.  The oppression continues but it’s not others doing it.  No, we are on oppression/self-hate autopilot.

Joe Morton plays Olivia’s father on Scandal and I still remember this gentleman from playing the candidate with whom Whitley was involved on A Different World.  While Sonya Rhimes generally avoids racial references in her shows, she started this season of Scandal with Olivia’s father reminding her that we must always be twice as good at everything we do.  It isn’t fair but it is true and if he had a son, he would have told him the life sessions that would have saved Trayvon on that rainy Florida night.  Oh, you might be right and you might have rights but know how to be a Black man in America—from sea to shining sea because the South doesn’t have a monopoly on racial drama. National PM

All high school kids should pay attention in psychology class because that Electra complex stuff about girls with daddy issues is too true.  They trying to find a guy like dad or striking at men because their pops wasn’t around.  Olivia and Candace could fill a season of Iyanla Fix My Life.  So a girl grows up loving her father as a rock but then watches the world treat him as less than a man…a boy.  That must be rough.  PM 

http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-the-electra-complex.htm

 

The same girls are excited in college, on a cruise or in Vegas when a guy from another side (a guy from the plantation big house) finds her attractive.  It has always been my theory that southern White men of means had a thing for sistas because many of them were raised by loving maternal sistas and held them in the highest regard until they got to the frat house in Athens or Auburn and began racial reprogramming. PM

 

PM is not only a Black thing.  Oh, no.  The plantation mentality tells a below average White dude that he can holla at the sweetest sista in the world because everyone in one group is automatically better than everyone in another group.  It is in the Bible…bla bla cursed people…bla bla obey your masters… waterbearers.  Lawd have mercy.  Jesus died for all previous everything so let’s move forward.

 

And Black people need to stop lumping all White folks together.  Some of the sweet people I have ever known are White southerners and some of the meanest look just like me—I can be pretty rough my dam self.  The coolest Americans might be those in the Midwest of Scandinavian descent—think the people on the movie Fargo and Rose from the Golden Girls.  While southerners evidentially coming from places where they wanted someone to do their work for them, the Scan mentality is salt of the Earth. 

 

At the U.S. Congress, many Midwestern members did like USDA farm support programs because these people functioned with the simple notion that you put the crop in the ground then take it to market with no help from anyone.  If you couldn’t do that, you should find other work.  Barrack Obama was raised by sweet folks like that and I know that he is actually a conservative in his heart.  If you think about it, Obama did it the hard way, the old fashion way, and that is why it hurts me to see people attack his character and that of his lovely wife. 

 

That old plantation mentality had people thinking that this shady negro has conned his way into the White House with a desire to ruin this country in his Black head.  PM has some Blacks thinking that Obama isn’t one of us because he never really interacted with us until he got to Chicago. 

 

Can we give it a rest?  If the sista on T.V. or in actuality wants to love someone who doesn’t look like us, I am happy for them because there needs to be more love in this world.  The kids (and by kids I mean anyone who can remember life before T.V. remote controls) have the right idea.  Oh, they will hang, kick it or chill with their buddies with no consideration of race.  But, parents on both sides still have their heritage deep in their minds. 

 

So, Candace “be” kissing on Bo Duke.  Boss Hogg must be rolling over in his grave. On the Dukes of Hazzard, Roscoe P. Coltrane and Boss Hogg ran that southern town into the ground.  The plantation mentality subjugates poor Whites also.  But, old Bo married a sista with tens of millions, has a strikingly beautiful sista as his side thing, has a bro doing his dirt work and is about to be governor.  Modern PM..some things never change. 

Here is a fun social exercise.  When the Haves and the Have Nots is on the box and Candace is on with her roommate, ask an old Black person which woman looks better.  Nine times out of ten they will say the lighter sista when Candace is clearly one of the most beautiful women on earth.  But, old heads don’t like that brown skin…even brown old heads.  When Mrs. Cryer is on with her lady lawyer friend, an old head would say the same thing again when the lawyer is much better looking.  PM  

 

That old plantation mentality is also the reason we hold our candidates to crazy high standards during election season.  We simply don’t believe in us as much as we believe in others.  Sad PM

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5:10 a.m. is before the dawn of a new southern day or as we use to say “ ‘fore day in the morning.”  It’s also the dawn of a new day politically and the beginning of a new season.   Change is obligatory.

The local elections this year and the wider elections next year are good times to lay the foundation of what we need in your southern communities.  We need leaders who speak openly and honestly about bringing us together and improving our conditions.  Co-founder of this blog Helen Blocker Adams is such a leader and Augusta, Georgia, should make her their next mayor.

Helen and I have spent countless hours discussing the importance of bridging community divides and that is the reason I chose a southern bridge for the cover art of this blog.  The rock band the Police had a reggae song called “One World Is Enough For All Of Us” that includes the line “we can’t sink while others float because we are all in the same big boat.”  In Augusta, the medical college recently continued it’s land acquisition but fairly created new housing for displace citizens.

We need similar changes in my town and the changes could apply to a thousand American communities.  We are a proud agricultural community; we grown produce.  Only a few percentage of Americans work directly in ag but those hard working people feed everyone else.  While I generally have no stomach for Donald Trump, he is correct in stating that America doesn’t make things anymore and making things will be the return of jobs.

The new mission for my community should surprisingly be based on towns like Mayberry from television.  See, some people like to raise families and grow old in peaceful, friendly places where everyone knows and cares for everyone else.  My town is sandwiched between two larger cities and to me, we are a bedroom community for those who don’t mind a short drive for some peace.

We need leaders who are concerned with every little corner of the community because problems and trouble know no boundaries.  In our local elections, every candidate is personally cool with me and I would be lying if I said that basic municipal services weren’t fine.  They are.

However, there comes a time when talented leadership should step up to the next challenge…when your services and skills are better required on a different level of government.  For example, New Jersey has two bright rising stars and I personally like their new style of leadership.  Newark Major Cory Booker is running for the U.S. Senate and this guy earned his stripes.  He is a Sanford/Yale guy whose parents were two of the first Blacks at IBM but he lived in the projects as mayor to better understand the lives of his citizens.  The guy doesn’t talk in generalizations; he gets down to details of what is wrong—straight no chaser.  He speaks directly to the people about what they should do to improve their communities.

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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is clearly running for president and if Hillary isn’t the next POTUS, it should be him.  The big guy tells it like it is and doesn’t might stepping on a few toes if needed.

In southwest Georgia, the Chamber of Commerce types have done an admirable job of marketing our communities with emphasis being on the good qualities.  However, it’s time to address (deal with) the rest of the community.  Where are the leaders who can comfortably and firmly bring out the best from the rest?  Countless sons and daughters of the rural South dream about retiring to these piney forests but two main concerns are the racial climate and the growing actions of the thug element.

We need to grow our youth with the care we have traditionally used to produce our crops.  We must prepare the soil, plant the seed organically and monitor until ripeness.  But, we must also root out weeds and remove pests.

Issues that local candidates should be addressing included:

1. Police: It’s wonderful when the local police achieve that delicate balance between firmness and compassion.  During the Clinton Presidency, the Congress passed a Crime Bill that promoted Community Policing.  The best officers (we have some good ones) know their patrol areas and greet people.  They use knowledge of and relationships with citizens to serve and protect.  Unfortunately, some officers develop a hard spirit from constantly dealing with thugs; they should remember that the vast majority of the people appreciate and support them.  Cops should smile and walk more.

2. Economic Development: We know that real E.D. begins in the homes, the schools and the churches.  Hey, the Chamber can’t attract industry to a town if those industrial leaders read rough stats about the educational abilities of the workforce.  An unofficial duty of elected officials is encouraging citizens to be fully focused on achievement—get in their faces like Booker and Big Chris up Jersey way.

3. Downtown Revitalization: Madison, Tifton, Moultrie, Americus, Thomasville. Even Hahira.  These Georgia towns have cool downtown areas.  The granola-eating, bicycle-riding, wine-sipping types love to live in and visit towns with preserved character.  I still don’t get antiquing because it reminds me of rough days for us but hey, if it brings dollars to town, roadshow your blank off.  I do love old buildings with character and retrofitting them with lofts brings life back to downtown.  Paris, Napa Valley and Barcelona have a café culture and so can south Georgia but rather than sitting outside on the sidewalk sipping Riesling we might preferred sweet tea or a cool one from a Mason jar–Duck Dynasty style.  This would be a nice way to watch the Bulldogs, Yellow Jackets or Falcons give a game away…again.

4. Crime: We need leaders who will work with state and federal officials to address the growing cost of criminal activity.  Of course, it starts with education, faith and better parenting.  The next crop of leaders needs to be familiar with regular folks—dare I say that they should have street cred.  You must know the streets to fix the streets.

5. Housing: Homeowership anchors a taxpaying family to a community.  Whatever happened to starter homes?  Let’s be honest, item number four (crime) has people moving out of town.  The thug element frightens people…me included.  But, hell no.  The houses in my community were built my farmworkers who moved to town.  These people work so hard (making money for someone else) to purchase their slice of the American dream.  Today, most of those men have gone to glory and their widows live in fear from half-raised boys…raised more by hip hop videos than family and church.   You can’t be a new community leader if approaching those young men isn’t in your nature. At some point, we need to secure federal funding to relocate some ag operations from the town’s center to the outskirts and replace that area with mixed-use housing.  I want to hear “let’s walk to church” again.

6. Resourcefulness: we have a fine crop of local candidates.  If they play their cards right, those who don’t win can’t run for the Georgia General Assembly next year with the support of the person who beat them.  Our statehouses need new blood because the political parties seem out of touch.  They put party over people.  I take my hat off to Governor Christie for working with President Obama when New Jersey got hit my a super storm.  That’s what leaders do to be resourceful.

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train

Elected officials and public employees have official responsibilities and also have unofficial duties.  These duties aren’t on paper but are sometimes as important as the items on the official job descriptions.  For example, Hillary Clinton would have been and still will be a fine president; she knows presidential stuff as well as Bill Clinton, Barrack Obama and the second George Bush did on the day they were sworn into office.

 

But, there was something special about Obama becoming president; something related to healing.  Also, my community needed to have someone who looks like them in office so he could once and for all tell them that a person who is like you isn’t going to give you everything.  Obama said that from the first day of his campaign and people get it now.

 

Those unofficial duties therefore explaining the limited role of government to hardhead people who only listen to people from their circle.  In my hometown, we recently had an issue with flooding.  A city councilman was on the local T.V. news broadcast saying that the city government wasn’t the problem with certain flooding.  Water wasn’t flowing properly because locals were tossing bottles and trash into ditches and that debris clogged the pipes.  I love it; dude basically said, “The problem is you.”  We need more of that.

 

While it might sound racial, I want more Black clean cut guys in lower grades teaching positions because some kids don’t see positive brothers during their development.  Non-Black students need to see that also because they’re formulating their opinions of us on rap videos and the fools on the Maury Povich Show.  If I had Oprah/Bill Gates type money, I would give a grant or supplement to Black male teachers in lower grades.  Hey, two students at my black college told me that Senator Saxby Chambliss’ wife was one of the sweetest and most loving people in their lives.  Seeing her at school was the high point of their day and a positive light in an otherwise tough childhood.

 

Hillary Clinton is going to be president and little girls can be proud of the fact that women make the world go around.  If I had my choice, I would still like to see Republican Jon Huntsman in the White House one day because part of his unofficial duties would be being a conservative who isn’t angry and dismissive. He drives the far right crazies more crazy with his cool approach.  I am uniquely qualified to say vote for the right person in the right situation because I am a moderate Democrat who has voted for both of Georgia’s current U.S. Senators a few times.  I voted for them because they support the economic engines of this region: agriculture and the military.

 

Of course, it’s not cool for reasonable members of a group to remain quiet as other members of that group say ugly things about others.  I wouldn’t be quiet if someone was talking about all White people being this or that when I know that isn’t true.  That would be ugly by association.  What about those rich kids who had “the help” as second mothers but who grow up to say the ugliness things about all of “those people.”

 

I tell you what, I am not voting for anyone who doesn’t have a comfort level and functioning relationship with people in every community.  Coni Rice, Jon Huntsman, Colin Powell, Rep. Sanford Bishop and Rep, Jack Kingston come to mind as public servants who can dialog with anyone—disagree without being disagreeable.  The most important unofficial duty might be the ability to reasonably explain public policy to those who disagree with you.

 

America is at it’s worst when supporters of a public official dare him or her to talk with the other side.  People who don’t make much money and people who have had it rough (by their own creation) are still Americans.  Any person, political parties or group that wants to suppress their voting are un-American to me.  This whole blog post isn’t race-based because the last time I checked most of the people in my community have as much affection for the presidential service of Bill Clinton as for Barrack Obama.  As quiet as it is kept, that southerner White dude knows more about these piney woods in Georgia than any president other than James Earl Carter.

 

With unofficial duties in mind, Michelle Nunn and Karen Handel get a certain amount of consideration for U.S. Senate because they have that lady logic working.  Yes, the Georgia congressional delegation needs a woman’s touch and I would look seriously at a sista from the GOP running for the U.S. House.  Sisters in my community are now and have always been relatively conservative and they know that our community has become too reliant on the government.  It’s a shame that the Tea Party will force Handel to act hardcore to win their primary.  Rep. Jack Kingston is in that senate primary and that cat will talk with anyone anywhere because that is part of his official duties.

 

Unofficial duties include telling it like it “tiz.” If you don’t know that that adage, you might not be ready to represent both sides of the tracks down here.

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In the local elections this fall, I know and respect all of the candidates.  But, competition is actually healthy; competition like Obama vs. Hillary that elevated both of their games.  I can’t help but think that better competition might  have compel Rep. Sanford Bishop to have been hungrier legislatively and could have lead him into the U.S. Senate or a presidential cabinet postition.

 

 

Barrack Obama was defeated in a U.S. House race by Bobby Rush, who is from Albany, Georgia.  Heaven only knows who would be president today if Obama got bogged down in the morass of the House.

 

 

Local and state elected positions are building blocks for federal positions.  Actually, there are members of the state legislature who never wanted to be in the Congress.  Being a part-time lawmaker is cool but being a full-time congressman would be a pay cut for a person balling in the private sector. i.e. state Rep. Calin Smyre of Columbus.  By building blocks I mean that congressional candidates look to members of the state house and state senate for support.  Candidates for the state houses in turn look to local officials.  Of course, presidential candidates look to elected officials on all levels.

 

 

To make it plain, Hillary Clinton 2016 starts with local elections this year.

 

 

I am ticked off by the ultra conservatives who ran moderates out of the Republican Party and who are designing laws and procedures in the state capitol to limited Americans from voting.  They seem to be functioning under the Jean-Paul Sartre/Malcolm X phrase “By any means necessary.”

 

 

Gerrymandering of state legislature and U.S. Congress lines have left large sections of the South with one party leadership. In other words, candidates can win elections with little input and support from anyone who doesn’t look like them or thinking totally like them.  My friends in the conservative movement will dare elected officials to listening to and explaining matters to the other side.  I thought that was their jobs.  To give credit where credit is due, Rep. Sanford Bishop and Rep. Jack Kingston love to talk issues with anyone in their service areas—hats off to them for that.

 

 

I want paraphrase Jesus to those whom might come up short in the coming election: Let not your heart be troubled…in my father’s house are many mansions.”  The houses I have in mind are the state house and state senate.  These are the legislative bodies where laws like “stand your ground” were passed. The place where state officials and lawmakers think it is cute to make it hard for regular people of any color to vote.

 

 

Look, I didn’t like former Democrat Congressman Jim Marshall and I gladly voted for reasonable Republican candidate Austin Scott because Marshall slamming Dems was too much.  With the same strategy in mind, I hope that some of the candidates who fall short in the local elections will consider running for the state houses next year—from either major political party.   I am sure that there are enough southern moderates to sway some primaries next year.

 

 

The most important matter is massive voter turnout.  You can vote for Dora the Explorer for all I care but vote because someone is trying to reverse your rights.  “Oh, after Obama is off the ballot…those people will go back to not voting again….right?”   Wrong.

 

 

In the future, we will have some Republican sistas in the Georgia congressional delegation.  These conservative ladies will keep legislative debate civic and tell my community what wise people already know—that the government isn’t your bank.

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In the rap classic “Fight the Power,” Chuck D said, “Gotta give ‘em what they want…gotta give ‘em what they need.” In this country, what we want isn’t necessarily what we need e.g. slavery, Jim Crow, clear cutting forest, robbing of Indians, child labor, the defense industrial complex, lifetime public assistance, fast food.

It is time for my annual venting blog post about a hodgepodge of subject relating to me being right and the status quo being clearly wrong.

Liberals: Heaven knows the left means well and their general thinking seems rooted in Christ’s Sermon on the Mount.  However, long-term assistance can create a segment of the public that is weak—always looking for help from others rather than developing the ability to provide for self.  President Reagan was right about that; government is the problem.  We need to create a climate where every kid has a fair shot at learning and growing in a career field.  Failure wouldn’t be tough luck; it would be the result of being out worked.

Conservatives: My biggest problem with my conservative friends is that their plans for all Americans generally don’t involve all Americans in the discussions.  I will admit that much of their core agenda is sound but they want to force feed corrective policies—as if the rest of America is their children.  They simply don’t listen to anyone unlike them and that is a big mistake.  If they did listen, they would discover that most Black southern voters are more conservative than liberal.  Most rural Blacks hate the welfare state created my government and if the leaders of the civil rights movement from the 1950s and 1960s could see us now, they would say this wasn’t the plan.

Conservatives vs. Black nationalists: Are you kidding me!  The idiots on right wing radio and Fox News who demonized Rev. Jeremiah Wright blew a great opportunity to improve America.  President Obama needs Wright in his corner because Wright and nationalists are throwbacks to those who hate governmental involvement in our daily lives.  Uncle Sam isn’t your daddy and surprisingly Clarence Thomas is the man who is most like Wright (pun intended.)  I loved the book Justice Thomas wrote about his grandfather’s life skills.  Once and for all—the conservative movement should create a relationship with the Black pride movement because these two groups’ messages of personal responsibility are the same.

Hip Hop Culture: While I respect artistic freedom, the current rap culture is detrimental to all youths.  For us, rap reflected urban life but those suffering wanted better for their families.  Today, “good kids” idolize thugs, pimps, bangers and dealers.  When I am on a college campus, I can’t tell the students (budding professionals) from common thugs and strippers.  In my day, we call those stupid high heels “come f me” pumps. When women ruin their feet, legs and backs from those shoes, Obamacare shouldn’t cover them because dumb is a preexisting condition.

President Obama’s Vision: While I love President Obama, I need to get Nixon-like for a second and make one thing perfectly clear.  Obama vision for what America should be isn’t the reality of what America is.  Is that the role of a president—to imagine what we should be and push toward that goal (FDR, Kennedy, Lincoln.)  I just feel puzzled sometimes when the president says “we are better than that…we are fair…we are pure hearted.” No brother Obama,  “you” are those things while most of us are a mess and a trip.  His family raised a wonderful person but some of the things at the top of his agenda have regular folks scratching our heads.  But, he is still my guy.

Schemes and Games: Theoretical people like me are often broke while hustlers stay paid with schemes and games.  We have hustlers on my street and hustlers on Wall Street.  It is now and has always been a dirty game and the simple rule of the game is to get and stay paid.  I think most of official Washington today is driven by the desire to stay paid rather than the hope of a better America.  Liberals don’t recognize that throwing taxpayers’ money at problems isn’t helping and ultra conservatives don’t realize that the tough boy approach isn’t working.

Silent Majority: I still believe that most Americans are good people who are put-off by drama coming out of Washington and the state houses. Jon Huntsman, Condi Rice and others seem as pure-hearted as me. When we get about the business of having a national effort to improve this great country from the bottom up, you should join us.

I will end this rambling blog post by highlighting the parts of Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” that we loved in the pol sci department of my black college.  Those lyrics are timeless.

Fight the Power–Public Enemy

[Intro]
Yet our best trained, best educated, best equipped, best prepared troops refuse to fight. As a matter of fact, it’s safe to say that they would rather switch than fight.

[Verse 1]
1989 the number another summer (get down)
Sound of the funky drummer
Music hitting your heart cause I know you got soul
(Brothers and sisters, hey)
Listen if you’re missing y’all
Swinging while I’m singing
Giving whatcha getting
Knowing what I know
While the Black bands sweating
And the rhythm rhymes rolling
Got to give us what we want
Gotta give us what we need
Our freedom of speech is freedom or death
We got to fight the powers that be
Lemme hear you say
Fight the power

[Hook]
Fight the power
We’ve got to fight the powers that be

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kj9SeMZE_Yw

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The Congress today is a mess and it will take dramatic changes to fix it.  I can’t believe that the multi-year Farm Bill can’t get passed.  Are you kidding me?  When I worked on the Hill, they could almost voice vote this important bill but now the hard left and hard right are basically too hard.  Compromising moderates/centrists are nowhere to be found. Hell, compromise is a dirty word in D.C. these days.                

The Farm Bill was once a seven year act that authorized most USDA programs and operations. It’s vital because everyone needs a safe and affordable food supply.  Big commodities like wheat, corn and cotton would receive “assistance” so farmland was happy and feeding assistance programs would generate support from urban legislators.  Actually, WIC, the School Lunch/Breakfast Program, supplemental commodities for seniors and the needy, and Food Stamps helped the farmland and cities at the same time because farmers could have additional markets for their products.

With the recent Farm Bill debacle, the hardline left protested $20 billion in cuts that hardline righties wanted in Food Stamps.  Don’t get me started on all the biblical references to helping the poor or the general idea that too much assistance can make people softer…weak.

My thoughts go to the old Fram oil filter ad that said “you can pay me now or you can pay me later.”  Hungry kids can’t learn at school.  Teens looking at starving siblings might turn to drug selling and really cost the public money.  Children with poor nutrition are sickly and cost billions in health care. On the other hand, the hard right argues that people shouldn’t have kids until they can afford them.  It is fascinatingly ironic to see fat kids on Food Stamps.  I have a niece who told me that she stopped by the store to get a few items on a budget near the end of the month (bread and cold cuts)…she attended college in the ACC.  A young mother in front of her in the line was buying spendy seafood with food stamps.  So, my smart mouth kin said, “you’ll welcome” under her breath. 

Congress’s approval rating is at a record low and members seem more concerned about catering to special interest groups than conferring with colleagues about improving our nation.  The best families in America are those with limited involvement with government.  Midwestern famers with Scandinavian roots simply put the seed in ground, cultivate crops and then go to market. 

The future of my community would be brighter if we trained kids to do it without the government.  We need a new crop of politicians who would say that.  When the far right is busy cutting federal spending on poor people, they should get their friends to look at governmental funds for corporate welfare.  In some ways, we are all feeding on the government.

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Derrick_E__Grayson

I came across Derrick Grayson, a U.S. Senate GOP candidate from Georgia, on Peach Pundit blog last week and this guy’s logic was refreshing. As a moderate, I can be easily put off by angry talk from conservatives but Grayson sounds familiar.

 
After a few days, it came to me; I remember the two places where I heard Grayson’s approach.   First, he sounds like Clarence Thomas’ grandfather.   Justice Thomas wrote a book about his grandfather’s distain for governmental involvement in people’s lives.   The book showed me that Thomas and his grandfather were simply old school—they came from the pre-LBJ period when our community was more about achievement and hard work than searching for government money.   That money actually made us softer.

 
The second place where I have heard discussions like Grayson was in the barber shops of my youth.   Those shops were much more than grooming centers—no, wait- they were grooming centers.   They groomed young men on how to be upright walking men.   The classes weren’t formal but we heard real talk about life, family, church and work.   You also were charged with moving the community forward.   As Colin Powell said, “We need to reinstitute the concept of shame.”

 
In those barber shops, men didn’t walk with the heads up if they weren’t doing everything they legally could to care for their current families and honor their birth families.   A wild theory might contend that home haircuts and growing out hair for braids has reduced those trips to the barber and therefore our young men are getting the information that supplements home training elsewhere.   I thinking that “elsewhere” is from the hip hop culture that glamorizes thug life and laughs at hard work.   When I worked in the barber shop on South Main Street in my hometown, I knew I was going to hear about my good and/or bad “street committee” regarding how I was carrying myself.   “What is this I hear about you…”

 
That Derrick Grayson seems like Neil from those Matrix movies.   Could he be the “one” who starts the conservation that bridges old school Blacks with the next generation—the one who is more interested in improving our condition by simply telling the truth about the limited role of government in our lives than personal fame?

 

 
The U.S. Senate is the most exclusive fraternity in America and it is rare for someone to enter before serving on a lower level or in the U.S. House.   But, boy on boy, he is one Black Republican who has a message than we need to hear.   He could get load of votes not in his capacity as a GOPer but in his capacity as a common sense fellow.    We should keep an eye on his guy.

 

 

http://www.grayson2014.com/issues_home

 

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An old southern adage states “be careful what you say out loud.”  Everything you think isn’t supposed to be said when and where you think it—maybe it shouldn’t be spoken at all but it’s clearly understood.   I wanted to touch on a few of those “out loud” matters.

 
A leader in the Democratic Party of Georgia recently got in hot water for saying that the party must “clear the field” in next year’s primaries. Everyone knows that the Dems here are poorly organized.  I want to say out loud that Dems create policies that support people who don’t vote—oh, they can go to every local high school football game but they can vote on the regular.  Non-voting working folks have no right to complaint governmental actions and laws.  Hush.

 
The only hope Dems have in southern red states is to go into those legendary, smoke-filled backrooms and decide who their candidates should be without primary contests.  I forgot that people can’t smoke inside anymore but you get the point.

 
For U.S. Senate, Rep. John Barrow and Michelle Nunn are the best options but they have zero hope if they battle in the summer.  Actually, their only hope is that the GOP primary voters will select controversial Rep. Paul Broun.   I am not supposed to say this out loud but the Dems should switch over and vote for Broun in the primary because he would be the easier target in the general election.   The Obama machine would be in full force in November against Broun.  Money would pour into Georgia from sea to shining sea.

 
I am not supposed to say that I voted for GOP Senator Saxby Chambliss in the past because south Georgia regional interests (ag, military, transportation) are more important than party politics to me.  I can’t believe that GOP voters won’t admit that Rep. Sanford Bishop has their backs on these issues—dam it, say it out loud.  Oh, Bishop is the enemy and Broun is a conservative super hero.  Yeah, “Senator” Broun would likely ended most farm programs.

 
I am not supposed to say out loud that non-GOPers better consider voting for the best available candidate in the GOP primary because that is where the senator might be chosen.  Personally, I like candidates like Jack Kingston who- while being full-blooded conservative- have a history of explaining their views to those who vote against them.  That is called the democratic process.

 
Finally, I shouldn’t say out loud that we should cultivate the next crop of leaders now because waiting until they decide to retire is too late.  Who is next when Rep. John Lewis gracefully concludes that he has fought the good fight.  In southwest Georgia, the replacement for Rep. Bishop should be the next generation Black leader—someone who teaches about the limited role of government.  We have some folks in mind but we aren’t saying…out loud.

http://www.myajc.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/fearing-another-bruising-primary-democrats-seek-to/nXS7q/?icmp=ajc_internallink_textlink_apr2013_ajcstubtomyajc_launch

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Recently, we came across the issue of faux colleges and their activities with federal funds. These so-called schools are hitting the economically challenged communities in America in several different ways.

http://www.sbwire.com/press-releases/education-management-corporation-nasdaqedmc-accused-by-employees-of-concealing-evidence-in-billion-dollar-fraud-case-231823.htm

First, many of these proprietary schools sign up students for degrees and programs that wouldn’t be useful in the job market. They actually target people who aren’t savvy enough to realize that the money they will be receiving is a student loan rather than a grant. These students trust these shady schools because their involvement with the federal student loan system gives them the creditability of the U.S. government.

 
In 1991 while working as a congressional staffer, I spent an hour in the congressman’s office with a local school officials explaining why said school was on new list of high default institutions and was being kicked out of the federal student finance system. Come on now; your “graduates” default rate is over 80%. Clearly, your clients weren’t students searching for financial aid but were financial aid searching for students.
Secondly, employees of these schools who have functioning moral compasses don’t have the hearts to continue selling false hope and future personal money pitfalls. Remember, student loan debt is one of the only debts that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. Employees who don’t meet recruitment quotas or those who question the fudging of numbers to governmental oversight entities will feel the wrath of management.

 
But, where are the Black and Hispanic members of congress during this fleecing of minority America. Oh, those brothers and sisters are at their own fund-raisers with their hands out to the parent companies of these schools. Taxpayers fund K-12, state colleges and state technical schools. So, why pay much more to attend for-profit schools. This article about Everest College explains the whole mess.

http://www.jsonline.com/watchdog/noquarter/jobplacement-performance-of-everest-college-proves-dismal-gp6s4go-169976496.html

Okay, I will admit that I am one of the people who likes the Everest parodies on you tube but this is serious. We need a grassroot movement to educate the public and members of congress about this schools and their treatment of students and employees.

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loans

Is every college really a college? An industry has developed around funneling unwitting people into a questionable segment of the educational system and the federal government could be directly or indirectly involved.  Today the for profit higher education sector is mired daily in controversies and its benefits to those it purports to serve is questionable at  best.  This press release is an example of the problem.

http://www.sbwire.com/press-releases/education-management-corporation-nasdaqedmc-accused-by-employees-of-concealing-evidence-in-billion-dollar-fraud-case-231823.htm

 

Firstly, college and technical college, like anything worth doing, should be hard. In my day, students said they “took” this degree and that degree from creditable institutions. You knew the creditability because the schools were state institutions or private ones accredited by known sources. While I loved President Obama, I disagree with his effort to have everyone go to college (higher training and life-long learning, yes) but college is different. I hate commercials about making college easy and working around busy schedules. If I spent the first six years of my adult life eating noodles and writing papers, a person who went directly into the workforce to make money is in a different situation. Many of my friends who make six-figures simply took a job weeks after high school or went into the military and worked their way up.

To be honest, people who are “between opportunities” often consider school as an educational option that brings money into the household and there is nothing wrong with that. They should enroll in the local state college or select a major at the state-run technical colleges.

However, proprietary or for-profit schools are signing up loads of students from minority communities who aren’t familiar with the financial aid process. “Just sign here and you will have some cash in your hand every few months.” These students don’t know that most of this money is simply a student loan, the cost of the school is higher than a state school and some of the diplomas they might receive wouldn’t be as accepted as traditional ones. The wiki page on this topic is a real eye opener.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proprietary_schools

“If this problem was true, surely my congressman would be on top of this matter.” Child, please. The Wall Street firms behind these schools are some of the biggest contributors to both political parties. The student loan default rate for these schools is astronomically high and taxpayers’ money ultimately secures the loans. We are starting to hear more and more from former employees of the corporations behind these schools and the federal investigators are learning the real deal.

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To me, Alicia  Keys has written the political song of the decade unbeknownst to her.   She was writing about love or whatever but the lyrics capture my feelings and concerns for the troubled environment in the political/policy arena.

The arena stinks out loud these days.  People are more interested in fighting the opposition than building solutions which improve our great nation.   Is the tail wagging the dog because people in official Washington are battling and giggling while the rest of the nation scratches our heads.

Look, I don’t hate members of any political party and hope that leaders can constructively dialog with each other.   While television fuels intramural conflicts among Americans, I personal believe (like General Colin Powell) that a silent majority of people in the political center and seeks healthy communication at the policy-making table.

I feel sorry for those who live for negativity and thrive on angst.  My life is too short to spend it bitter—that takes too much energy.   We should look at A. Keyes words as if they were written to ugly-acting political folks on both sides.

To be hopefully, I personally feel that we have many good-hearted Americans in the arena.   To start, I like the spirit of Barrack Obama, Jon Huntsman, Condi Rice, Colin Powell, Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush.   Also, the guys at No Labels are on the right track.  As readers of this blog know, I am a moderate Dem who votes for good people with secondary regard for party.   I am more interested in solutions, peace and regional issues.   Plus, good old plain talk is music to my ears.

In my community, the leaders that get us back to self-reliance and away from governmental preoccupation will be golden.   Politically, I am a brand new kind of me and I feel better than I did during my hyper-partisan college years.   Is anyone with me?   I know that rural southerners generally seek the good in people and situations.

Alicia Keys — Brand New Me

It’s been a while, I’m not who I was before
You look surprised, your words don’t burn me anymore
Been meaning to tell you, but I guess it’s clear to see
Don’t be mad, it’s just the brand new kind of me
Can’t be bad, I found a brand new kind of free
Careful with your ego, he’s the one that we should blame
Had to grab my heart back
God know something had to change
I thought that you’d be happy
I found the one thing I need, why you mad
It’s just the brand new kind of me

It took a long long time to get here
It took a brave, brave girl to try
It took one too many excuses, one too many lies
Don’t be surprised, don’t be surprised

If I talk a little louder
If I speak up when you’re wrong
If I walk a little taller
I’ve been on to you too long
If you noticed that I’m different
Don’t take it personally
Don’t be mad, it’s just the brand new kind of me
And it ain’t bad, I found a brand new kind of free

Oh, it took a long long road to get here
It took a brave brave girl to try
I’ve taken one too many excuses, one too many lies
Don’t be surprised, oh see you look surprised

Hey, if you were a friend, you want to get know me again
If you were worth a while
You’d be happy to see me smile
I’m not expecting sorry
I’m too busy finding myself
I got this
I found me, I found me, yeah
I don’t need your opinion
I’m not waiting for your ok
I’ll never be perfect, but at least now i’m brave
Now, my heart is open
And I can finally breathe
Don’t be mad, it’s just the brand new kind of free
That ain’t bad, I found a brand new kind of me
Don’t be mad, it’s a brand new time for me, yeah

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My thoughts on the future of Black political centrists in the South have been two weeks and/or two decades in the making.   So, brace yourself for an unusual brainstorm.  The open U.S. Senate race in Georgia next year forces us to plot our best plan for representation.

 
Senator Saxby Chambliss is an establishment Republican and I have appreciated his service regarding the regional issues of agriculture, military and veterans.   Rep. Sanford Bishop, Rep. Jack Kingston, now Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and those who went to congress in the early 1990s worked together on issues of vital importance to the peach state.   In this Progressives vs. the Tea Party era, I miss that old school dialog.

 
For two weeks, I have been hearing that the Democrats won’t likely field a viable Senate candidate and the practical part of me says that moderate to conservative Georgia Dems could and should vote in the GOP primary next year to ensure that we don’t have a divider  representing our diverse state.

 
I was thinking about who is a “natural” Democrat or “natural” Republican last week and it made my head hurt.   While watching to the T.V. show TMZ, a story came on about Raspberry favoring of food.  It turns out that a food can be labeled as naturally Raspberry because it is natural and taste like Raspberry but it comes from the backside of a beaver. http://www.befoodsmart.com/blog/tag/raspberry-flavor/

 
That isn’t natural to me and it’s not natural to force everyone in a big state like Georgia into two political parties and expected them to naturally and neatly stay there.   A few years ago, the Georgia Dems lost two rising young stars to the GOP.   Ashley Bell of Gainesville and blogger Andre Walker of Atlanta were on CNN explaining their rationale and it seemed natural to me.   Before, they were my brothers and today they are still my brothers.   Walker once wished happy birthday on facebook to the naturalized American actress Charlize Theron, whom he considered an African-American because she is an American born in South Africa. Huh?

 
I personally like the No Labels political movement because we shouldn’t run away trying to put people neatly into boxes and categories. Like they say at church, we should look at a person’s “thoughts, words, and deeds.”

 
A Black conservative from the ATL told me yesterday that Rep. Tom Price looks good to him in the race for U.S. Senate.  I asked about his track record for explaining conservatism to non-conservatives and dude could say anything.   Remember, the wave created by the Tea Party doesn’t cotton well to conservatives talking with others without yelling.  Moderates and liberals are often viewed as the enemy.

 
Look, on Capitol Hill, I worked for Rep. Charles Hatcher, Rep. Don Johnson and Rep. Sanford Bishop and all three strongly insisted that we listened to and served everyone in the congressional district—not just the people who voted for them.   I was personal friends with a staffer in Rep. Kingston’s office and would hang after work with her at conservative functions because she was a natural hair wearing, smart Spelman College woman.   Yeah, Jack had a Spelman grad in a major position on his legislative team.   I talked with Kingston alone at a reception one night for 15 minutes and came away with an appreciation for his commitment to southern Georgia.   He mentioned that he promoted south Georgia colleges and universities during his time in the Georgia statehouse because students should get quality educations in our part of the state also.

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/59464/october-18-2005/better-know-a-district—georgia-s-1st—jack-kingston

 
We would trip about Kingston going to political forums at Savannah State University without staff.   The guy loves the lively debate. Actually, he was the first member of congress to brave Stephan Colbert’s “Better Know a District” segment.   Because Kingston briefly lived in Ethiopia as a child, Colbert decided that he is an African American—like Charlize Theron.   There you have it; Jack Kingston is an African American who might run for U.S. Senate next year.   Some wiseacre is going to Kingston knows as much about the southern African American experience as my man President Obama.   I will leave that alone but he like knows more than most GOP candidates for Senate.

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