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Posts Tagged ‘politics’

This election year is an important opportunity to change the mindset of policymakers and citizens.  Most elections aren’t contested and seem more like coronations.  But, fighters should continue to fight the good fight because the stakes are so high.  We should use the debates and campaigns as platforms to unveil new and better approaches to old problems and situations because status quo simply isn’t working.

Status quo:  To me, status quo with candidates, political parties and policymakers involves the far Right telling everyone what they should do as you would address children and the far Left trying to help everyone with their problems after the problems occur.

Solution:  We need lawmakers  and policy makers who speak clearly and frankly to the people about the role of government and about personal choices, decisions, and consequences.  We need a fresh and different mindset about how we carry ourselves.  “Carry ourselves” is old school Black heritage; it harkens back to the days when we knew who we were and whose we were; times when Black people sought the opportunities to achieve and strive without encumbrances. Today, many of our encumbrances and obstacles are self-made.

Most politicians know that their abilities to improve our nation are limited by reality and fiscal constraints but those so-called leaders are reluctant to say that.  Presidents Kennedy, Reagan and Obama basely said the same thing: ask not what this country can do for you, ask what you can do for this country; government is the problem.  Some might be surprise that I put President Obama on that list but I think he is a “do for self” person who is hamstrung by party politics.  The post-presidential Obama will be so beneficial to the spirit of this blog post.

The good fiscal news is that my solutions are free, cheap or low-cost.  It’s all about K.S.A.  Oldheads will remember that Knowledge, Skills and Abilities requirements were once part of the federal government employment application process. But, I still think in terms of young people getting knowledge from those who went before them, developing skills to function smoothly in life and understanding their God-given abilities.  Politicians and candidates always speak to youth about soaring like eagles and bla bla bla—there is plenty of that “wind beneath my wings” talk out there.

But, it’s time for some substances…some tools….some meat.  I wrote a blog post years ago called “A and B before C and D” that asked leaders to encourage if not demand that government spend more resources and energy preventing problems and life crisis than addressing the growing numbers of people with messy situations.  To be honest, most people with troubled lives walked right into their circumstances.  Did momma, daddy, school, church, friends and the police beg them to get on the right track?

(Here is the part when a moderate Democrat admits that the conservatives are right about something.) You almost want to say forget them; they made their beds when they ignore the warning and stop signs.  But, you can’t because idly watching human suffering isn’t very Christ-like.  What about 2 Thessalonians 3:10 “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”

U.S. Congressman and Senate candidate Jack Kingston is one of my favorite lawmakers.  I kicked it with Jack at a RNC Club one night for 15 minutes alone 20 years ago and he outlined his career-long efforts to advocate for Southeast Georgia.  It blew me away to learn that Kingston wants to consider having kids who eat free school lunch clean the school or cafeteria to pay off their tab or whatever.  Come on, Jack…that’s jacked up.  I think Jack is really thinking that parents without lunch money for their kids should be shamed into going to work…. “get off your fat behinds and provide for yours.”  What ticks off reasonable people are the fact that people who need help are sometimes the same people who are too good and too proud to flip burgers or harvest vegetables.

We are approaching this wrong.  We must find a positive way to encourage personal responsibility and achievement.  To be honest again, leaders need to speak knowledge and wisdom to help replace the home training that isn’t taking place anymore.  At the same time, that old school home training needs to take place and young people should delay starting families until they have themselves together.  The writers of this blog welcome the opportunity to talk with any campaign staffers seeking to mix our thoughts and ideas into their approaches.

And the first mindset change involves video games and hip hop music.

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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 are in the middle of local elections and my thoughts turn to the days when preachers, barbers and funeral directors were the community leaders because “the man” couldn’t quiet them since their money came for us.   Today, retirees should be added to that list because those on pensions are free to speak their minds and have plenty of free time to do it.

A friend from high school who is a vocal leader of the Tea Party Movement gave me the Beatles greatest hits cd a few years ago.  While listening to the lads sing “get back to where you once belonged” the other day, I thought about getting back to what my community was the 60s and before the mean-spirited approach of the ultra conservatives.

My community before the 1970s was a place of proud, deliberate people.  While we need the federal government to enforce basic human rights and to end Jim Crow, the well-intended assistance of the government when from temporary help to something debilitating.  The next crop of leaders, whose who come after the “I marched with MLK” ones, should be more life coaches than cheerleading politicians.  After elected leaders ensure that essential governmental services are functioning, they should get about the business of explaining to the people what the people should do to help themselves.  It starts with personal responsibility because “the man” and the Klan aren’t damaging my block as much as the people in the mirror.

Stats in the Albany Georgia newspaper blew me away the other day.  The president of the local technical college says that only 62% of people in my region are functionally literate.  Huh?  We spend millions on schools and teachers’ salaries but the folks can’t read.  Wait a dam minute!  We aren’t talking about advance subjects from high school like trig, chemistry and Lit.  We are talking about reading, writing and arithmetic; stuff that was supposed to be taught in the first few grades.  Of course, educators will say that home isn’t supporting the learning process and I agree on some level.  Once and for all: you can’t be the parents of K-12 kids speaking poor English around them all day. Double negatives, ending sentences with prepositions and leaving the “g” off of “ing” are simply the tip of the iceberg.

http://www.albanyherald.com/news/2013/sep/17/parker-says-adult-literacy-is-key-to-area8217s/

The governor should fund a program I designed while working with a welfare to work project.  The program refreshed grammar skills for adults in a few days because education is a lifelong endeavor.  Oh, there is no money for such programs but get ready for the second alarming statistic.  The new head of the Georgia department of juvenile justice says that a youth offender cost the state $91,000 a year.  What the blank!  We are spending money on the wrong people at the wrong times.

http://www.albanyherald.com/news/2013/sep/17/new-law-to-alter-juvenile-justice/

I took my nieces to a Black college football game last week.  One of the girls is a high school cheerleader who doesn’t understand football.  Let me get this right: you are cheering for an activity you don’t understand.  By the end of the game, she understood first downs, passing, rushing and the fundamentals of the sport.  We have all attended games when the cheer was “defense” while we had the ball.

Some of these elected officials are like those confused cheerleaders; they are cheering without fully understanding the situation and goals.  To me, President Obama never had a stomach for the older members of the Congressional Black Caucus for this reason.  If conservatives spent time getting to know Obama rather than tripping about Kenya, they would have learned that his conservative roots are in the Midwest.  Obama is a moderate with equal distain for the far left and the far right but most importantly, he feels that leaders should tell the people that change begins with them.

So, local elections should be the selection of those who would help Barrack Obama, Jon Huntsman, Colin Powell and Cory Booker turn the nation around with positive energy.  You hear the saying “speak truth to power” use frequently these days.  Well, the people are the power and someone need to tell them the truth about why their situation isn’t what it should be and what can be done to address it—again, the mirror.

Since football and cheering are themes in this blog post, I want to end with them.  If you can sit in a stadium for hours watching football, you can take ten minutes to go vote—vote for whomever but vote.

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We need to remember that more is on the table than Obama’s or Romney’s political career; those guys will be fine.  It’s all about jobs, the economy, gas prices and the role of government. 

The election is too close in more ways than one.  The occupant of the White House could come down to 15,000 or 1,500 voters in a few states.  The election could be won if that number of people took 15 minutes to early vote.  

The future of the Democratic Party in the South is also in the balance.  If this president isn’t enough for you, we should toss in the towel.  After Clinton-Gore helped the nation so much, Gore’s election to the White House should have been easy but is it ever easy when dealing with some folks.  The working people alone should be enough to win reelection for Obama but those same people (people who can freeze for three hours at a high school football game) can’t take half an hour to hit the polling place for president, other offices and ballot initiatives.  

Moderates and centrists have no future home in a national party with the Tea Party but being a free agent is a possibility.  We are too close to a presidential second term and those who remember the Clinton years know that that is when a president loosens up and starts swing for the fences—looking to make history.  Obama’s first second term historical move should be to tell the people that they suck out loud.  He should start with the Kennedy line about “what you can do for your country” then read them/us the riot act.

In the first debate, the president was being too cool.  He had a vibe that said, “hey, I am not begging…I did what I could and if you are feeling it…nice…if not, peace.

Governor Romney isn’t the issue—he is a decent guy.  Those around Romney should scare folks to the polls.  I can imagine being ticked on Thanksgiving if we drop this election by a hair.  We need to have the energy and zest of that guy in the “Too Close” video.   “So I’ll be on my way.”

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It’s madness to do the same things year after year and expect difference results.  So, I decide to acknowledge the brilliance of the guy who started the Khan Academy to reform education.  But first, I would like to invite anyone to join our ESPN NCAA basketball groups for the men and women tournaments.  The group names are “Jawja Hoops” in both contests.  Let the basketball and rethink ranting begin.

Rethink Education: Clearly, our education system needs retooling and Salman Khan has a fresh approach.  In my community, I simply wish parents would start with using better grammar 24/7 to stop contradicting what is taught at school.

Rethink College Basketball: College basketball shouldn’t be a stepping stone for the NBA and we should have a farm system in smaller cities (similar to baseball) for those who want to be pros.  Student athletes should be just that.  In other words, the NBA D-League should be developed.

Rethink Politics and Religion: In America, we have the freedom to select our faith and politicians’ faith walks should be the foundation of their character.  They shouldn’t attempt to force their particular church on the population as a whole.  So, Mitt Romney should put the nutty factions in his party in their places about his church and any other faiths that they find “different.”

Rethink Political Leaders: The next crop of political leaders should be much better than the current ones.  On the Right, conservatives should get back to being pro-business and smaller government rather than the promoters of the next Civil War.  On the Left, liberals are actually limiting personal development with their socialist policies.  We need leaders who will speak to the people (straight, no chaser) about the limited role of government and importance personal responsibility.

Rethink Campaign Finance:  My new congressman is Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia and he was a true campaign finance rebel as a candidate for governor.  He spoke wisely of limiting the amount of contributions and that got me thinking.  Everyone knows that money runs campaigns and that those who gave money will later want something from officeholders.  If I designed a congressional candidate from the ground up or from day one, I would tell my guy to take the average income in the area, add a few zeros and that would be the total amount raised for the campaign.  (For example, 32K in average income = 320,000 funding limited.)  If elected, that person would belong to the people and wouldn’t spend time kissing up to lobbyists. 

Rethink Black Conservatives: Peace to my brothers and sisters on the political Right…I feel you…I really do.  To me, your side is right (pun intended) more often than not; but the ugly ways and methods of the far Right make the GOP unacceptable for most Blacks.  There is no place for less bitter, moderate Americans in that party.  If Jon Huntsman won the GOP nomination, I would have strongly considered voting for him in November but you cats gave cool people the boot. 

Rethink Black Liberals:  At some point, it’s not about “the man” holding us down.  It’s about us holding us down.  We must return to the driven African-Americans who beat Jim Crow; the people who knew who they were and whose they were.  The next generation of CBC members must honestly inform the community that improves start in your house…not the U.S. House.   

Rethink Hip Hop: Most of current hip hop stinks out loud.  The music glorifies the worst elements of our community and I can’t tell college students from thugs and strippers.  I know artists are free to express themselves but come on now.

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Have the presidential opponents for November 2012 been determined a year early? We aren’t comfortable with that notion because our community should have more say in the matter. 

Because there is nothing better than a well-informed electorate, we are starting an Unlikely Allies Project called “Hear Me Out” to educate Americans about the primary process and voting options; and to encourage hearing all candidates in every election. Listening to all sides could be considered educational or it could be considered reconnaissance.

 While blogging and social media are useful, real Americans discussing information, issues and options in person is better.  We feel the first option should be pointing out the fact that Georgians and other southerners may vote in either major party primary if they choose.  While party purists dislike that idea, the option should be on the table. 

In the tradition of Helen’s Political Roundtable,  we hope to bring mixers, meetups and socials to your community soon.  So, the “out” in Hear Me Out refers to interesting discussions out or off-line as well as listening to other sides points of views and opinions.  

Hear us out and we want to hear you out.  We might have more in common than you think.

Ted Sadler                             Helen Blocker Adams

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I am here to tell you…mark my word: the conservative movement is about to out hustle the left and the middle again.  My friends can’t stop giving me a hard time about being on the local news for attending a meeting on redistricting with three people. 

http://www.walb.com/story/14699961/albany-hosts-redistricting-meeting?redirected=tru

Oh, but the real hard time is coming when they wake up one day to find that a focused, determined percent of the population is running everything.  We can’t find time to get involved with redistricting but we can watch all of the NBA playoffs—you know the Hawks have gone fishing already. 

The next five elections might be decided in the redrawing of the district maps but folks are sleeping. In the future, they might be seeing red…a sea of red with a blue island called Atlanta.  At the official redistricting hearing, the GOP dam near took over Albany State University. Oh, the usual Dem leaders were there but the masses need to get off their (you know.)   It’s time for some good old fashion rallies about these maps (old school D.J.s and hot fish grease) because after all the fancy nerds did their things last November, GOTV buses saved the day.

As Chuck D and Flava said, “Consider Yourselves Warned.”

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During a Q and A forum at the Albany, GA Black Expo, I asked actor Allen Payne to speak about the ongoing drama between Spike Lee and Tyler Perry.  Spike feels that his work is positive art that uplifts the community while Perry’s productions are modern-day buffoonery to some degree.  Tyler recently recommended a fiery place where Spike can go.

I loved Spike Lee’s work from the second I saw Tracy Camilla Johns’ Nola Darling character in “She’s Gotta Have It” and yes, Tyler Perry has some characters that I could live without.  But, intelligent people know that a few theatrical characters don’t represent all of a group and Perry used Seinfeld and the Sopranos as examples of other ethnic groups doing the same.   In the companion book for Lee’s “Do The Right Thing,” I learned that film is a medium of art that–like of other art forms—provokes thought and leaves the viewers asking “was that right or wrong.”

Robert Townsend’s “Hollywood Shuffle” was based on the ethical dilemmas Black actors face: Wait for quality parts in the poor house or do negative reflections of our community while getting crazy paid.  A line from that movie stated, “There’s always work at the Post Office.”—not anymore. 

As children, we were taught to never let anyone divide the Black; we can’t sink while others float because we are all in the same big boat.  Today, I think there is room for different schools of thought: from Booker T. Washington vs. W.E.B. Dubois to Spike Lee vs. Tyler Perry.  Conflict might actually be a form of diversification and we should not put all of our eggs in one basket.

In politics and policy, the rural South takes cues from urban leaders but their agendas are different from our agendas.  Atlanta is the best Black city on earth; however, the Democrat leadership there can’t fully comprehend our rural vibe (pro-military, pro-agriculture, pro-gun.) 

Allen Payne, who works on Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne,” answered my question by saying that guys like Perry and Payne himself didn’t grow up in the Black elite, college-educated world of Spike Lee.  They make movies and T.V. that reflects the world they know and people like it.  From his statement, I decided to ask several friends if they would make a movie with false depiction of Black America if the producers gave them $5 million walking in the door.  I was surprised (disappointed) by those who would take the money first and later consider charitable ways to sanitize their ill-gotten gains. 

I am starting to think the same concept applies to politics: get your money because that is what the next guy is doing.  Public Enemy had that pun lyric, “I know you got sold.”  We can’t discuss art imitating life vs. life imitating art with looking at the current vibe of hip hop.  For me, blues, jazz and then hip hop were some of the only American-born art forms (yes, the roots are in Africa.)  In my part of the rural South, the harder parts of hip hop are leading youth to embrace a thug life over education and achievement.  They glorify aspects of street life that could reverse our gains of the last 50 years.  Yes, we are going backwards.

Check this out: Dr. Martin Luther King vs. Malcolm X was likely a well planned effort at juxtaposition: deal with peace-loving MLK or deal with Malcolm and those who felt it was time for self-defense with rifles.  I would have supported the rifle crew.  Today, it will take brothers talking with brothers to refocus our community and if hip hop isn’t careful they will alienate large segments of our community–sometimes we need to be divided.   If they can get paid make that music, we should give the Black conservatives a break as they add range to our options.           

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Project Logic GA is starting a year long, monthly effort design to broaden our discussion of major issues, cultivate the next group of policy leaders and create a web-based/actual meetup network of results-oriented voters.  We believe, the major political parties, the media and special interest groups often execute their agenda while the people seem like pawns on a chessboard.    

In Georgia, the current 12th, 8th and 2nd congressional districts join the likely new north Georgia congressional districts as the competitive districts during election season.  With the importance of issues and policies, we will select one major topic per month and “put it on the table” for our panel of contributors.  We are inviting contributors to chime in with a brief paragraph or two on the monthly topic with the hope that a dozen issues will be discussed by this time next year—an ebook of non-Atlanta Georgia issues because the ATL gets enough ink all ready.

The party bosses and major political players in the Atlanta enjoy battling the other side in a blood sport.  Some feel that the rest of Georgia is more genteel and would prefer a civil approach to moving our state, our South and our nation forward.  Which some folks love “fussing and beefing,” moderates and centrists generally acknowledge good points from both sides.  Who really wants to go through life with a constant vibe of loathing, hate and conflict?  

In an interesting twist, we recognize the success of the Tea Party Movement in mobilizing those who feel they are Taxed Enough Already.  While their methods and techniques are “interesting,” their passion and networking savvy should be respected and emulated.  To borrow from boxing great Ali, “they shook up the world” with motivated voters while greater numbers of voters stood idly by.    

We hope that this project will generate a facebook-based network of Georgians who will be informed and focused because a relatively small number of voters on both political ends shouldn’t select leadership and drive policy. 

 Helen Blocker Adams, Augusta talk radio host, Project Logic GA blogger and serious optimist, recently wrote the book “Unlikely Allies: 8 Steps to Bridging Divides that Impact Leadership” about people coming together to address community problems.  We love books and blogs better when they serve as the catalyst for understanding and growth. 

The Unlikely Allies Project of Project Logic GA endeavors to:

  • Hear from contributors over time on major issues; cultivating the next generation of leadership.
  • Gather a collection of facebook friends from Georgia’s competitive congressional districts who are interested in policy discussions among unlikely allies.
  • Bring Georgians together in various social settings to humanize everyone in the political discussions.

During a trip across Georgia last week, the Eagles’ song “The Long Run” came on the radio and hearing it was timely.  In Georgia, we need to think about the long run or long term development of our human resources.  When Don Henley sang, “Well I don’t understand why you don’t treat yourself better…do the crazy things that you do,” my mind turned to starting this needed effort.

Eagles’ “Long Run”

http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/ixKUu3lZrmY/

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Our prayers are with those affected by the tragic events in Arizona.  Project Logic GA has always supported a sensible political and policy debate and fostering a bridge over the divide-that’s why there is a bridge on the homepage.  Normal people can have a spirited and at times mischievous debate but we know that sick minds might take it too far do the unthinkable.  This is not a game.

It’s an appropriate time to read some past blog post that relate to having a less toxic discourse in the political arena—so help us God.   People often ask congressional staffers if they served our country–referring to military service.  Gabe Zimmerman died serving our country.

http://projectlogicga.com/2010/07/02/political-comfort-level/

http://projectlogicga.com/2010/05/04/southern-politics-the-audacity-of-scope/

http://projectlogicga.com/2009/02/16/congressional-field-staffers/

http://projectlogicga.com/2009/06/09/joe-scarborough-and-the-gop-start-with-temperament/

http://projectlogicga.com/2009/08/07/congress-town-hall-protests-and-norman-rockwell/

http://projectlogicga.com/2010/04/05/congress-and-relativity/

http://projectlogicga.com/2010/03/04/rnc-fear-methods-republicans-why/

http://projectlogicga.com/2009/11/10/georgia-justice-wisdom-moderation/

http://projectlogicga.com/2009/09/24/fox-news-and-msnbc-yellow-journalism-or-healthy-debate/

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The Georgia 2nd congressional district race comes down to one simple point for me: Rep. Sanford Bishop is the goose that laid the golden egg.  We, the 2nd district voters, have positioned him to serve our state and that posturing took time and effort.  Tossing our employee now wouldn’t be smart.

An Albany, Georgia, city councilman who is also a college professor recently called Bishop, a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, a $100 million per year industry for South Georgia.  I can get concerned about staff miscues and oversights but protecting a 100M per year is a bigger concern. 

Where were these budget-minded people when we were spending billions “nation building” in Iraq. No one supports our troops more than me but I wish we would have allowed the military the leeway to take down Saddam and his sons with a Navy Seal Team quickly rather than a prolonged situation that had us building schools, hospitals and roads there while our infrastructure crumbles. 

The conservative movement seems hypocritical because Bishop is one of the few Congressional Black Caucus members willing to work with conservatives on issues.  To me, the massive effort to remove Bishop is centered on 2012.  With moderate Democrats gone, the remaining congressional Dems would be more liberal and easier targets for presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

It may sound silly but keeping Bishop and his seniority reminds me of that comedy bit by Sommore.  Her man explains that the woman he is with provides the resources he uses to acquire Sommore’s nice things.  Sommore tells the man to cover her up so the “blank” doesn’t catch cold.

Bishop’s slight oversights are nothing compare to governor candidate Nathan Deal’s mulitmillion dollar oversights but I don’t care about oversights; cover Bishop up so he doesn’t catch cold.  Bill Clinton was “involved” with a chubby intern but his economic policies led to record budget surpluses; we covered Clinton up so he wouldn’t catch cold.   Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss protects our regional farm and military interests with Bishop; cover Saxby up with an appropriate red blanket so he doesn’t catch cold and cover up GOP Rep. Jack Kingston so he doesn’t catch cold while he works (again with Bishop) to securing funding to deepen the Port of Savannah, a leading economic engine for the South.  

To confuse the golden goose/poultry parallel, Bishop could be the 100M golden goose or a chicken on the TV show Survivor.  While some castaways want to eat the chicken for protein now, wiser team members protect the bird for a constant supply of eggs.  Everyone outside the Tea Party Movement know the Obama reelection wave of 2012 will take the 2nd district back for the Democrats.  So, bouncing Bishop would hurt south Georgia for no good reason.  We shouldn’t rally to help Bishop and Obama; we should rally behind Bishop to help ourselves.

I am ticked off that “rallying” is needed anyway.  Let me get this right: Obama comes on the national stage and folks are crying and swooning (he is a great leader.)  But, Bishop has been break his neck for Georgia for decades and folks need to be rallied.  Excuse me.  Sommore needs to be his campaign manager because nobody knows money like Sommore knows money.

Oh, we know Bishop after decades of public service and we know the he wouldn’t jeopardize his status or legacy behind some little part-time jobs or small scholarships.  Please.  Bishop’s efforts regarding job creation  involves billions and college money would be billions in regular scholarships for working people and veterans education benefits for our returning troops and their families. 

Democrats and reasonable moderates need to vote in southwest Georgia or our goose is cooked.   Tea and golden goose liver pate would be one costly dish.

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George C. Fraser

 

In his book “Success Runs In Our Race,” George Fraser convinced me that networking was vital to professional and social success.  On Tavis Smiley’s Covenant With Black America, Fraser asserted that African-Americans were the only Americans who sought political power before economic power upon arriving in this country or what would become this country.  

You have to love being at a cookout or mixer when intelligent topics like this come up.  The radical brother points out that we arrived in the hulls of ships and in bondage; political power was needed first just to keep citizens and the government itself from harming us or restricting freedoms.  

The conversation then turns to the age-old Booker T. Washington vs. W.E.B. Dubois argument. When I was young, Dubois’ push for education and college degrees appealed to me.  As I grew older, Washington’s focus on job training, business ownership and finance made more sense.  

Helen Blocker Adams is bringing George Fraser to Augusta, Georgia, on October 14, 2010, and I must go hear this noted author because we are in rapidly changing times.  While some in our community are bracing for a political nightmare if the conservatives take the House and Senate back, those of us who grew up reading Black Enterprise Magazine are wondering how we will adjust, maintain and prosper.  Southern Black voters are generally moderate to conservative but more importantly resilient when the government doesn’t care—and the government often doesn’t care so stop looking to them and save yourself.  

During this campaign season, I imagine Fraser’s networking principles would recommend meeting and listening to everyone—don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.  I think young people miss the networking opportunities they could experience from following politics.  If you go listen to everyone or volunteer, the professional benefits will come.  

Fraser’s new book is “Click: Ten Truths to Building Extraordinary Relationships.” The current political candidates need to read this one and come to the event at Paine College. 

http://www.georgecfraser.com/    Check out his video

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9.  Political slates: anachronisms or useful tools?

In the time of new media and 24-hour news channels, we don’t need political parties telling us to vote for a block of candidates.  While that dated process is easier (and unfortunately very effective) for the party, sharp voters can decide which candidates to support based on the candidate’s history, opinions and vibe.  South Carolina U.S. Senate candidate Alvin Greene is a classic example of what happens when we don’t study candidates.  If we aren’t careful, our community might completely back a slate of candidates while the other crew sweeps into power.   

10. Should we examine candidates with relativity in mind?

The dictionary defines relativity as a state of dependence in which the existence or significance of one entity is solely dependent upon that of another.  In politics, I consider candidates’ position and posture relative to their congressional districts or state.  The Congressional Black Caucus learned over time that southern CBC members from rural areas are more moderate than the rest of the caucus because their areas are more moderate.   

With relativity in mind, the Black Blue Dogs do a remarkable job of balancing conservative provincial interests with traditional Democrat views.  If those members are the targets of the far right’s fury, the conservative movement should be ashamed because they are attacking the Democrats who have worked with them constructively in the past. 

Congressional candidates in swing districts should be bridge-builders who are diplomatic.  When we look at GOP challengers to Blue Dogs Democrats, the first question is “would this person ignore votes who supported the other side.”  The next question is “ would be this person have a positive affect on other Republicans.”

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I am watching a movie the other night and heard a word for the first time in my life.  Pusillanimous means lacking courage, weak or fain-hearted cowardice.

In my part of the South, one can’t be pusillanimous.  Boldness and courage define a person’s character.  Upon further review, it shouldn’t be that way.  People should make coolheaded, rational decisions after weighing all options and seeking counsel from wise elders.  Being brass, bold and overconfident can lead to drug use, early parenthood and poor educational choices. 

It’s all about balance between cowardice and boldness.  In America, some citizens feel that the government’s eagerness to help people creates a culture of softness.  I enjoy being in barbershops and listening to rags to riches stories of those who made it and made it cleanly.  Those tales usually include advise about not waiting for or relying on the federal government “because the government doesn’t really care about you.”

If ultra conservatives take over the congress, the blessing in disguise might be that folks function with caution because the government safety net will be thinner.  That tough love is some rough love but ultimately is healthier. 

We should remember that President Obama was raised by Midwesterners and those corn-fed people have that Little House of the Prairie vibe.  The current occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue have grandparents on both sides that epitomize the American dream and weakness to them is a nightmare.  The “change I can believe in” will be a president and congress making sensible policies that reduce American pusillanimity—yes we can.

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My favorite church sermons are on my mind because I must make some major life decisions soon.  While I am no stranger to sin, the pastors get the same attention I gave the professors in school.  Like I tell the kids on my block, you might as well learn something if you are going to be at church or school anyway.  Have you seen the alarming dropout rates for schools…..and church.   

At the funeral of our political science professor, the pastor said that our grave markers will likely have the day we were born and the day we died with a dash in between the two dates.  The dash….it’s all about that dash.  Everything we do on earth is in that dash.  Someone else once said that life is God’s gift to you and what you do with that life is your gift back to him. 

The lady pastor at my Methodist church once said that she hears some many people praying and pleading  “God they need you over here…Father they need you over there.”  She said she imagines God is thinking, “Why do you think I put you down there…go see about it then come back and tell me what you did to fix it.”

The former pastor at the First African Baptist Church hit me with this pearl of wisdom.  He said people find justifications for worldly actions and dress up their activities but when he was in the “world” he knew he was in the world doing wrong.  I like that.

As a former altar boy, the communion service is in my memory.  The Call to Communion begins, “Ye that do truly and earnestly repent of your sins, and are in love and charity with your neighbors and intend to lead a new life following the commandments of God…”  I talk vows, oaths and pledges seriously if not literally so I often skipped going down for communion if I had some fun or partying planned.  Our current pastor says “intend” means intends so there is some flex there. 

During communion, a prayer states that we are sorry for “our misgivings that we have commended against your divine majesty in thoughts, words and deeds.”  Since beliefs from church should reflect in our daily actions, the “thoughts, words and deeds” part has always fascinated me.  People in politics can think or say something but what did you do; what were your deeds because actions speak louder than words.  On the other hand, people can conveniently interpret the Bible to account for everything from slavery to ugly political attacks.  

One favorite faith message wasn’t a sermon but the Shug Avery song in the movie Color Purple.  God is trying to tell you something and you might not want to hear it.  Someone once said that God answers pray but sometimes the answer is no…however it’s in your best interest.  Garth Brooks had a song called “Unanswered Prays” and it’s a rural classic.  People are always joking about sinners in church and pastors needing to get those messages on the streets and corners but we all have our crosses to bear.  

I had the best time sitting under a 100-year-old oak tree and listening to my cousins in Ty Ty, Georgia today.  While I left before the barbeque was served, I got fed with that knowledge and wisdom from family.  

Unanswered Prayers (cover)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54Y3b_2OJE8&feature=related

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In the film classic Purple Rain, Morris Day’s character laughed at Prince’s father attempted suicide.  Day’s band The Time (the best band ever) walked pass Prince’s dressing room singing, “let’s go crazy…let’s get nuts.”  Of course, the Prince song “Let’s Go Crazy” starts with the line “when you call up that Shrink in Beverly Hills—Dr. Everything Is Going To Be Alright—instead of asking him how much of your time is left…ask him how much of your mind.”  I love the part that says “And if the elevator tries to bring you down..go  crazy…push a higher floor.” 

Some political observers see the Tea Party Movement as folks gone crazy while others see them as fed up good citizens.  I ask my TPM friends how can they question the legitimacy of the Obama presidency when I never question W Bush (Bush v. Gore, Weapons of Mass Destruction, spent surplus.)  

With any large movement, you have intent and methods.  You have the core and the fringe.  The TPM basically has sound concerns (as President Obama repeatedly states) but the methods of their fringe are sometimes Machiavellian or the End Justifies the Means.  I attended the Million Man March and dug 90% of the message but knew that I would bounce out the second I heard any hate speech.  As a congressional staffer covering judiciary issues, my Saturday afternoons were spent listening to rallies on the National Mall for and against gun control and abortion.  It seemed like the right thing to do—I was paid to listen to all sides.

Quick…name a leader with whom you agree 100%.  Now name one you disagree with 100%.  It’s a big person who admits that the loyal opposition has a right to govern if they win fair and square. Moderates and centrists are encouraging to me because we take elements of both sides into policymaking.  I have some close friends who are very conservative and I constantly ask them why they want to govern with a “winner take all” mentality.  They have no problem saying that they should govern that way because they are 100% correct—and we thought Kante West had the biggest ego.

I think I owe Rev. Jeremiah Wright a sincere apology.  Rev. Wright, I am sorry for punking out on you during the drama.  Come on now, we have all said wild things or attended events where a few statements were questionable.  But, the speaker or movement were fundamentally well-intended.  At different times, every member of the Georgia congressional delegation said something they wish they didn’t say…oh, they meant it but wish they didn’t say it. 

Rev. Wright gets leeway because he is a senior and a veteran.  In the South, there is no telling what Black or White seniors might say and we understand because they are from a different time.  The funny thing about Black nationalism is that the principles of self-determination, limited governmental involvement, achievement, shame and community are actually similar to the far-right. For example, Al Sharpton and Newt Gingrich have found that they are singing from the same hymnal on education reform. 

I wonder if the same people who said President Obama should have walked out of Rev. Wright’s church if he heard one questionable word think people should leave a Tea Party behind one word or bad poster.  President Obama and I would say find the common ground, seek positive dialog and solutions, and at the appropriate time point out that some of the rhetoric was straight nasty and counterproductive.

Toward the end of Purple Rain, Morris Day knew he was dead-ass wrong for joking about mental illness and a guy’s family problems but he redeemed himself by cheering for Prince’s grand finale.  If Obama is successful, will the Tea Partiers acknowledge it?  No, they will say did it was bought with our grandchildren’s money.  Did the Right admit that Clinton’s budget actions were great?  No, they don’t roll like that.

Purple Rain ended with Prince’s “Baby Im A Star.”  I wonder if young Barrack Obama listened to this album, watch the movie and told his crew that he was going to be president because he “wasn’t gonna stop ‘til he reach the top.”  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkYamJjv6Eg

Prince- Baby Im A Star

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Mike Murphy is a centrist running for congress in Georgia’s 13th District.  Watching the Democratic primary will be interesting because Rep. David Scott has been strong in the past.  Options for the voters are always healthy for the process. 

 http://votemikemurphy.com/

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GOP Purity Test

I recently wrote about actress Dorothy Dandridge starring in the film Carmen Jones.  Hallie Berry played Dandridge in a cable T.V. biopic and we all shook our heads during the infamous Las Vegas pool scene.  Dandridge was performing at a Vegas hotel and decided to good for a swim.  After putting only her toe in the water, she was informed that she could not swim there.  It gets worst; the hotel management promptly drained the pool. 

On a related issue, some members of GOP are pushing a purity test to determine which candidates deserve their party’s support; talk about your playing with fire. If they don’t wanted candidates who can pass their test, they obliviously don’t want moderate Democrats voters who vote for GOP candidates since any Democrats would be left of the GOP moderates they are targeting. 

Okay, how many Democrats voted for Georgia’s current GOP governor, two GOP U.S. senators, GOP congressmen and countless members of the state legislature.  “Watch out how” with your purity test or a bunch of voters will be saying, “I failed the GOP purity test and all I got was this Blue Dog T-shirt.”

In my circle of friends, we talk about the “Deal-Breaker” list on dating and marriage.  It always starts at a party or cookout with some woman listing the items that will take a man off her list with a quickness: former drug use, baby mommas drama, Down Low, bad teeth, bad credit, no car, no house, did serious jail time, bad grammar, short, heavy drinker, didn’t vote for Obama or McCain, no library card, doesn’t know where the library is, wears baseball hat pointed to the side, has no class and doesn’t listen to jazz, doesn’t know the channel for HGTV or CNN, and dated her friend in junior high. 

Come to think about it, we all have test and list on some level.  Here’s my list: she knows about Kanye West and Taylor Swift but never heard of Dorothy Dandridge and Lizz Wright; she has bootleg copies of every Madea movies but rarely watches Spike Lee films; and she didn’t know there are different types of lettuce.  “That looks like grass to me…don’t get me salad dressing, pass me some Roundup.”  Sweetheart is fine but she’s got to go…purity test and all.    

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdnWZWlD3Tc

Introducing Dororthy Danridge: 0:40 mark: pool  scene

Purity Test 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Republican National Committee identifies ten (10) key public policy positions for the 2010 election cycle, which the Republican National Committee expects its public officials and candidates to support: (1) We support smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama’s “stimulus” bill;

 (2) We support market-based health care reform and oppose Obama-style government run healthcare;

 (3) We support market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation;

 (4) We support workers’ right to secret ballot by opposing card check;

 (5) We support legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants;

 (6) We support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges;

 (7) We support containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat;

 (8) We support retention of the Defense of Marriage Act;

 (9) We support protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care rationing and denial of health care and government funding of abortion; and

 (10) We support the right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership; and be further

 RESOLVED, that a candidate who disagrees with three or more of the above stated public policy position of the Republican National Committee, as identified by the voting record, public statements and/or signed questionnaire of the candidate, shall not be eligible for financial support and endorsement by the Republican National Committee; and be further

 

RESOLVED, that upon the approval of this resolution the Republican National Committee shall deliver a copy of this resolution to each of Republican members of Congress, all Republican candidates for Congress, as they become known, and to each Republican state and territorial party office.

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Georgia Rep. Jim Marshall held a town hall meeting yesterday and solidified his place as as a front-runner for governor next year.  Oh yeah, Marshall is not running for governor but his ability to please moderates and conservatives was exceptional.  The only folks who might not like Marshall’s message are liberals, national Democrats and Obama supporters.  

I have been questioning about Marshall in the past year because he never supported Obama or Clinton during the 2008 presidential campaign but after listening to him field questions for hours over the radio, I finally get him.  He is either an anachronism of the pre-1990s Democratic Party (Dixiecrats) or a bright star in the non-party American political future.  The good thing about Marshall is the fact that he represents non-Atlanta, Georgian views as well as anyone.  The bad thing about him is that he rarely works to quail the political vitriol aimed at our party and President Obama. 

Rep. Marshall did well in his fair opposition to health care reform and mentioned the bipartisan Healthy American Act that he could support.  When questioned about his vote for of the 2008 bailout, Marshall repeated his opinion that those actions were need to rescue the economy and if he could be defeat for doing what he thinks is right, defeat him and send him home.  I guess he has the same outlook about supporting Democrat initiatives in 2009 that expand the size of government or balloon the national debt.

The congressman waxed nostalgic about the good old days when most congressional districts could elect either a Democrat or Republican.  He then told the crowd that the current congressional maps create districts safe for Ds or Rs without going into details about the Voting Rights Act being the reason for redistricting.  Marshall is better suited for statewide office because the liberals’ section in the Democrat Party will want him gone over his major votes this congress; that district really is a conservative seat. 

If you read the signs, the GOP lack of opposition to Rep. Marshall could be indication that they don’t want him push into a bid for governor because he is one Democrat who might actually win (he couldn’t beat Isakson for Senate.)

Is Marshall a Dem, cloaked GOP or an undeclared Independent?  Old school R&B music fans can think of Marshall like Teena Marie—a hybrid.  Lady T didn’t look like us but everyone in the community loved the ways she “put it down” in her music.  Rep. Marshall has a D on his jersey but he evidently feels conservatism as much as anyone and too much for some Ds.  I hope Jim Marshall has Teena Marie in his Ipod or on his Blackberry because he should listened to “Out on a Limb” and “Square Biz” over and over during the coming months.  To be honest, Marshall brought that “square biz” on health care reform yesterday but some Dems wonder why he is not “out on a limb” with Rep. Barrow and Rep. Bishop in support of the White House…a Dem White House. 

We true Obama supporters are listening to Chaka Khan’s “Through the Fire.”

 

Healthy American Act: Summary

http://wyden.senate.gov/issues/Legislation/Healthy_Americans_Act.cfm

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Quiet the Critics

Theodore Roosevelt was one real guy and I find myself turning to one of his quotes when I need a firm kick in the backside.  People forget that TR was the father of the American conservation movement.

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better.

 The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

TR

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