Archive for the ‘African Americans’ Category


Blogging can be a huge waste of time if nobody reads your stuff.  It’s the modern version of the adage in my community that goes “If you want to hide something from a “blank” put it in a book.”  After I have moved on to selling aluminum roofing in Thomasville, someone might discover these 700 some odd blog post like the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Bedouin shepherds discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1946 in a cave in the current troubled West Bank area between Israel and Jordan.  People read blogs that include funny hooks so consider Damon Wayans knowledge deep prisoner character Oswald Bates from In Living Color.  “So, my dear brother, the Dead Sea Scrolls were like some missing extra parts of religious text found…follow this…between Is Real because we need what is real and Jordan because our community spends too much money on Jordan sneakers that don’t take us anywhere but to the poor house.”

President-Elect Trump entering the White House was foretold by some of us in and around the political arena for decades but nobody would listen.  To me, it started when public policy stop being designed by political scientists and the people and became crafted by Madison Avenue marketing experts.  Dr. Frank Luntz has a PhD in polly sci from Penn but he is the consultant/pollster who created the art of running focus groups to gauge the public and designing a few talking points that hit like bullet points.  In the 90s, he was the mastermind Newt Gingrich use to create the Contract With America.

Project Logic GA as a blog is like the Dead Sea Scrolls but rather than putting flashdrives in Mason jars and placing them in Georgia red clay next to the Flint River, these smart ideas might die in cyberspace with the plans of Michael Steele, Jon Huntsman, and Elizabeth Warren.  In those cyber Mason jars, scholars might one day find the “Dead, See Trolls.”

The Dem Party is dead…trolls, see what your mistakes have done.

Yes, there are those who sought hard to save this republic with logic and positive developments.  Public policy should start with helping the people understand the limited role of government in their lives—balance to between compassion for the needy and a desire to end poverty.  On his best days, Speaker Newt Gingrich would explain that America should be the land of equal opportunity for all…with emphasis being placed on opportunity.  If every kid has a fair shot at success, we have it right.  However, if said kid squanders those opportunities by not focusing on development, being lazy or committing crimes, he gets to live in the reality he created. We are usually our own worst enemies.

Mr. Trump becoming president started when campaign experts learn to tell the people what they wanted to hear rather than what they needed to hear.  Republicans wanted to hear in the 1990s that they were the chosen ruling class who could make decisions affecting everyone without input from anyone else. For example, the 1990s Crime Bill cost billions but crime kept growing—who got paid, their friends who owned prisons.  Since LBJ’s effort to end poverty the Democrats wanted to be the party that poured more money into efforts to help the needy.  However, some of that money should have been spent encouraging the future generations to not be “the needy.”

It’s rough when a kid never had a chance because plans for success never came their way.  Actually, the life portrayed by the Cosby Show did so much for some in my generation and the Obamas in real life have done the same.  Oh, the post White House Obamas will be so very beneficial because they can say what they really want to say to my community….hint: moderation is the key.

Could the current toxic political climate have been avoided?  Of course, you should read the “Dead, See Trolls” because reasonable people like me begged to be at the table.  Moderates can communicate with the Left and the Right and over the last two decades it was often Republican friends who saw the importance of crafting a new southern moderate movement.  The elbow-throwing Tea Party put an end to that goodwill.  The southern Democrat Party is a mess because urban liberals in Atlanta want to push a progressive agenda that doesn’t cotton well with rural conservative Blacks…we can’t win elections in cities alone…ask Hillary about that.

We  tried to tell those latte-sipping liberals from Buckhead that the D.C.-designed Democrat platform was almost as alien to us as the vitriol spewed by those who hijacked the Republican Party. But, those of us who drink sweet tea and occasionally coldbeer from Mason jars in the rural Black community were ignored in November 2016…and that’s after we saved Hillary from Bernie Sanders in the primary.  A rising rural star on the national stage is Rep. Tim Ryan from Youngstown, Ohio.  This guy says the Democrats need people who shower before work and people who shower after work.  I love it.

A troll is a mythical, cave dwelling being having an ugly appearance.  I hope the trolls in the Democratic Party find these Mason jars filled with ideas because their team is dead, see.  I tried to tell them that Trump was a marketing genius who was simply playing dead to win the election.  I spent a year writing/crafting a “Contract With America-like” moderate action plan called the Best Interest Initiative.

The B.I.I. is all about what our community can do to help ourselves with limited government involvement.  Remember, candidate Obama always said that the government often isn’t the answer…often it’s you.  The B.I.I. is based on JFK’s statement “ask not what this country can do for you…ask what you can do for this country.”  What you can do is start being a better you…stop being a knucklehead.  Yes, I said knucklehead.  We talk like that inside my community; we say that with love to those who would destroy our area for some money.

The trolls who run the Democratic Party spent a billion dollars on t.v. ads but rarely sought the existing networks of influence in our community.  In other words, the rich boys got their friends richer but never hit the barbers and funeral home directors.  The trolls thought they had the community because the preachers got white envelopes with Get Out The Vote Cash.  Newsflash, church folks vote anyway—that’s preaching to the choir.  The barbers, coaches and those “pay party tossing” kids are the ones who can move the crowd.

When Trump won that election, the Democrats and Republicans lost the White House because neither wanted him.  The Black community has the numbers to sway most elections in the South.  My friends and I mentioned a plan to Democrats to cultivate the Obamacrats outside Georgia’s biggest cities and they blew it off…the same likely happened in North Carolina, Florida and across the Rust Belt.

Oh, Trump was out there in the sticks.  He told them what they wanted to hear—if he can or should deliver that stuff is another subject.  The Dems trolls should learn from Trump that policy should be bottom up and not top down…it’s called grassroots.

To be honest, I am backing away from constantly watching CNN’s political coverage.  We should spend the next few years listening to the people and teaching cultural moderation to the kids.  A better DNC needs to emerge from the ashes because ignoring rural southerners will get us ghost.

I wanted to put some of my favorite blog posts in this cyber Mason jar for the trolls to find.  If they wanted to talk now, I will be waiting on my front porch with sweet tea…bring white envelopes.







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President Obama said, “They talk about me like a dog.”  But, who are they?  I am tired of hearing rough talk about this White House from Democrats eager to toss whomever under the bus to win reelection.  Of course, some political observers think this plan was cooked up in the House Speaker’s office, the DNC or maybe the White House itself. 

In Georgia, Rep. Jim Marshall and Governor candidate Roy Barnes aren’t mincing words about their disdain for the healthcare reform law.  No Bush or Clinton would take this from inside their party; Hillary would be on their blanks.  If the Democrats continue offending the base, they are toast.  Recent polls indicate that losing one or both Houses of Congress is a forgone conclusion so let’s have the losing ones be those who don’t understand loyalty. And if some Republicans must be elected, we should hope they aren’t the crazy ones who are hell-bent on fear and division. 

I thought a dog was man’s best friend but some of these Blue Dogs are biting the hands that feed them.  In my community, we might need to take a better look at that Que dog, Morehouse Man  and Libertarian running for governor, John Monds.  A dog can’t stop an attacking elephant or donkey but one can make them think twice and you must admire Monds’ dedication to what he believes.  

The people Democrats are trying to help are the same people who took three hours to see the movie Takers this week but they can’t take 10 minutes to early vote.  Al Gore learned this the hard way and President Obama doesn’t deserve this from his party. In my corner of Georgia, the congressional Blue Dog has earned our support.  Can you say the same about yours?


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I am a moderate Democrat but a young conservative brother from Atlanta who works for a South Carolina GOP member of congress sent me the short documentary “Young, Black & Republican.”  As a kid reading Black Enterprise magazine and watching Tony Brown’s Journal on PBS, I remember this pro-business, self-determination type African-American Republican.  Hell, every striding Black family could be considered conservative because “if you wait for the government to do for you, you will be waiting awhile” was the mindset.

The 2010 election season will be wild and as twisted as a mile of bad road—brace yourself for some ugliness.  The fellow in this video who loves his party’s positions but questions the tone had me saying amen to the computer. Since the best documentary series follow-up with the subjects later, we should hope that the “tone” of the Far Right doesn’t push these outstanding young people out of a major political party before Thanksgiving.  (That would be similar to moderates bailing out on the Dem Team over government spending.)

Keith with Peanut Politics blog is a young conservative Democrat who thinks the Black exodus from the GOP started in the primary and that it will kick into overdrive from the campaign rhetoric this fall. They might take my Blue Dog pin for saying this but stand your ground in the red team—be logical and cool when presenting a healthier “tone” option.

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Lincoln and Booth

This drama about the Tea Party movement and the NAACP has me thinking.  Are racists at Tea Parties?  Yes.  Are racists at NAACP rallies?  Of course.  If you get a big group of people together, heaven only knows who is in the crowd.  Anyone who says Blacks can’t be racists is delusional.  Is that racism justifiable?  Is the thug mentality more detrimental to our community than racism?  I better leave that alone.     

PBS’s brilliant documentary about the assassination of President Lincoln includes a photo with John Wilkes Booth in the crowd at the second inaugural.  The last paragraph of that great speech reads:

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations. 

As a congressional staffer who lived blocks from the Capitol, I found myself stopping by any rally on the National Mall on Saturdays because I was compensated to serve as a conduit of information between all the people and my congressional bosses.  From pro-gun to gun control, pro-choice to pro-life, treehuggers to drill in the tundra, I listened just so I could say I listened.  The fetus pictures at the pro-life rallies were as rough as the concentration camp pictures at the Holocaust Museum. 

The Million Man March was a historic event but without doubt there were some people in the crowd who had considered taking the fight to another level; that’s what zealots on both sides do. I like to think that positive messages from that event introduced peaceful options to them. 

All of my African American friends who are conservative have attended and/or have spoken at Tea Parties.  When they looked into the crowd, they were hoping that no signage when overboard.  Like President Obama, I understand and respect their concerns with the size and role of government.  Of course, I also have moderate African American friends who wonder if leaders of the traditional civic rights organizations are battling for equality or seeking to stay paid.  That’s the thing: organizers of groups on the right, left and center often have their personal income in mind before anything– this blogger needs to get paid also.  A ruckus is good for donations and the NRA guy and the Handgun Control lady could be dining together in a D.C. tony eatery…. private dining room of course.

As I say weekly, our community should be supportive of a few sensible conservatives or those really nutty folks will be running things.

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In the Fall, Georgia should have a campaign visit from one or more of the Democrat Big Three: President Obama, President Bill Clinton or First Lady Michelle Obama.  Where is my ticket or can I get the hook-up.  The logical facility for this historic event would be the Macon Coliseum because Georgia is the biggest state this side of the Mississippi River and logistics can be a bear. My county, Worth County, is half the size of Rhode Island.   

Macon would mean that Georgians could drive equal distances to the venue and the congressional districts that need a little Dem star power converge in that region (the 2nd, 8th and 12th districts.)  The problem that the congressmen from the 2nd and 12th have nice relationships with the White House while Rep. Jim Marshall from Macon has chosen to go it alone. 

In the early 90s, I was worked for the Democrat congressman who represented Augusta and Athens, and a visit to the district from Energy Secretary Hazel O’Leary was on the schedule.  A reporter asked my boss if he wanted Bill Clinton to campaign with him in Georgia and the congressman said basically he would do his own campaign.  O’Leary call our office and when on about “Bill is my friend and you don’t ask me to help you and disregard my friends.” 

Secretary O’Leary is currently the president of Fisk University and is saving that historically rich Black college from the brink of closure.  Fisk alumni include W.E.B. DuBois, Nikki Giovanni, Congressman Alcee Hastings, James Weldon Johnson, Congressman John Lewis, Mrs. Alma Powell and Secretary O’Leary.  In 2005, the financial situation at Fisk was so dire that they considered selling artwork given to the school by painter Georgia O’Keeffe.  If anyone can save Fisk for future generations, O’Leary is that person. 

When the White House and the DNC consider where to dispatch the big guns, Macon should be at the top of the list.  If not, Rep. Marshall must have said “no thanks”—a move that hurts the entire Dem ticket in Georgia.  Albany State University or Fort Valley State University would host a big three event but the Georgia Dome will likely get the nod and Rep. Marshall will not think about being on that stage.  They should send Hazel O’Leary to rap with him.  “Look here…let me holler at you for a second, partner….you don’t ignore Bill nor this outstanding young couple in the White House.  Keep this up and you will find yourself by yourself.” 

Secretary Hazel O'Leary

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I went to the courthouse today to vote and not for actual court—which is a good thing.  The Democratic primary found me voting for the incumbent congressman and was uneventful except for two races.  In the U.S. Senate race, R.J. Hadley got my vote at a political forum this weekend because the guy has worked hard in this Georgia heat that is hotter than fish grease.  In a minor race, I ghost voted because I didn’t know much about any of the candidates.

Michael Thurmond and Johnny Isakson are giants in Georgia politics but Hadley has a bright future in public service.  On facebook, a picture of Hadley at the Democratic National Convention seemed encouraging to me.  He had an optimistic look on his face as the party selected Barrack Obama and he continued that hope for better communications between all Georgians by speaking and taking questions at conservative events—that’s bold.  On the voting machine, Hadley’s first name was Rakiem and old school hip hop fans know the best M.C. ever is Rakim of Eric and Rakim fame—which I took as a sign.  Hadley is a leader in introducing moderate and conservative elements in the kitchen table issues debate in the Democrat Party so a nice showing in this primary is an investment in the political future.  Hey, I saw the Oliver Stone movie “W” last night and Bush (like Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama) didn’t win a congressional bid but you know about later.   

 The Alvin Greene situation in South Carolina and Bush v. Gore in Florida tells us to take every vote seriously.  The Ghost Vote technique was employed in one minor race when I wasn’t crazy about any of the candidates.  Skipping that race is better than pulling an Alvin Greene.  “I thought I was voting for Al Greene and ‘Let’s Stay Together’ is the number one smooth jam of all time.’”

Let’s Stay Together my foot—you can’t keep a major political party together when some candidates are allowed to play it safe by skipping major votes and major national events.  R.J. Hadley is an Ivy League educated moderate Democrat who when to the DNC Convention with pride…I wish I had the coin to be there myself.  Georgia has a current Democrat member of congress who is also Ivy League educated and skipped one of the most important events in history to my community.  

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This blog was started with one central theme: our community can’t put all of its egg in one basket.  This morning the Sade classic “When Am I Going To Make A Living” came to mind because I am also “hungry but I won’t give in.”   

We are at a crossroad in American politics and Black blogger Travis Johnson of Republicans United just wrote a scathing indictment on Blacks and the GOP.  This brother has been down with that team for 16 years but decide no more because the mood and temperament have changed. 


People and groups change over time: it’s natural.  As I have written before, Travis’s now former party has ever opportunity to create a subsection of the conservative movement that speaks to fiscal soundness, personal responsibility and the limited role of government without getting ugly, divisive and incendiary.  Travis, Michael Steele and others know that won’t be happening on a large scale because angry extremists rather than reasonable conservatives are commandeering their ship. 

In a more baffling move, the few Republicans with histories of debate and discussions are struggling for their political lives or packing boxes—Senator McCain, Senator Bennett, former GOPer Senator Specter, and Governor Christ.

African Americans might find in early November that a party controls the Congress with zero AA members and few members with working relationships in our community.  Personally, I have no problems with my current congressional representation and I have learned from his moderate tutelage.  If the opportunity arises, I would help shape the agenda of congressional candidates in other southern districts because I am hungry for a chance to improve the spirit of the dialog.  Blog is interesting but being in the game in a constructive manner is much better for my wallet.

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Seth McFarlane did the Larry King Show recently and I found his humorous approach to social issues refreshingly interesting.  On Sunday, I watched the Cleveland Show’s  take on race relations, the Confederate flag and Black History Month.  McFarlane is the Norman Lear of this generation and people can grow on a sly note from watch his shows.


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In elementary school, my classmates who attended the Kingdom Hall made me proud when they stood by their faith by not standing and pledging alliance to the flag.  I love the flag and the republic “for which it stands” but I also learned tolerance, diversity and understanding from watching and appreciating others.  At the Methodist church, we studied Moses and his brother Aaron, the goldsmith who fashioned the golden calf while Moses was away receiving the Ten Commandments.

“You shall not make for yourself an idol…”

“You shall not bow down to them or worship them for I the Lord your God am a jealous God.”

“Take care not to make covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you are going.”

Covenants, oaths, and pledges have always created fuzzy areas.  In college, some students were uncomfortable bowing and pledging their loyalty to fraternal organizations in ceremonies that seems religious or sacrilegious because they were based on ancient cultures.  Others saw swearing membership as joining the most noble knights or groups that defended the Christian faith like the Crusaders and the Knights Templar who secured the holy relics—I watch too much History Channel.

Ray Boyd, a candidate for Georgia Governor, recently declined taking a short loyal oath to the Republican Party–Democrats don’t have a similar oath.  The discussion with my friends quickly turned to what is higher in a person’s commitment: God, family, state, nation, political party, race, gender, Georgia Bulldogs.  Don’t answer that. 

On matters of governance, GOP members puts party higher that the less-ridged Dems.  The Red Team is always leery of anyone who hasn’t taken a blood oath in the basement of their meeting hall or a purity test.  These tests are good news for the political middle because people push or prodded out are welcomed in the center and bring a fiscal fitness element to every discussion.    

In the South, one of the most famous personal allegiance battles was General Robert E. Lee decision to turndown the command of the Army of the Potomac and side with his beloved Virginia.  As a kid, I wondered how Black Vietnam vets must have felt when they returned to hometowns where their mothers could not drink from certain public water fountains and their kids could not swim in public pools.  “My country tis of thee…Sweet land of liberty.”  In my community, we favor the federal government over the state government for obvious historic reasons and angry talks of states’ right is naturally unsettling. 

How far does one take a political party oath?  If the members of the other party have valid legislative initiates, do you fight each and every provision for party sake or be fair for country sake? 

In Israel earlier this year, it was clear that their faith was priority one and the same could be said for members of their faith living around the world.  With Jewish history, that is understandable.  How do people in America reconcile the mandates of their faith with the broader views of our nation?  When followers of Islam attempt to create Muslim-based theocracy in the Middle East, we in the West get nervous but what happens when members of my faith attempt to do the same thing here.  Those founding fathers could have made life easier by declaring a national religion.

And if you join a new political party, there will be a 12 month waiting period to ensure that you are not a mole, plant or spy.  When I worked on Capitol Hill, we did not view Republicans as those who should be converted to our party.  We respected their points of view because they represented a segment of our state.  On the other hand, many on the Right govern by ignoring every other standpoint.  That’s not cool or healthy.

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I am the first to dub the coming Senate race in Georgia the “Mike and Ike” election.  State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond  and U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson come from an era in Georgia politics where the first inclination was dialog and cooperation.  That period is history and these two nice guys are generals in a rough political battle.  Hot Tamales, Red Hots, Atomic Fire Balls, Jaw Busters, and Lemonheads are candies that better describe the current political climate. 

“Now or Laters” seem to be Thurmond’s favorite candy because he has a reputation of make wise, calculated political decisions.  At times, a leader must take one for the team and Georgia Democrats couldn’t let a newcomer face Isakson.  I told the Senator he should get a pass for being one of the best Republicans in congress—Jon Stewart would say that is like being the skinniest kid at fat camp.  As a moderate Democrat, I wanted to leave Isakson’s reasonable temperament and sizeable warchest out of the mix.  One can speculate that an economic turnaround would be need for the Dems to do well this year and the Labor Commissioner taking about job creation and training helps the Dem ticket overall.   

To me, the biggest problem with Isakson is his inability to convince other members of his party to embrace his logical, less bitter brand conservatism.  We remember the Georgia GOP giving Isakson and Chambliss flack for simply negotiating with Democrat colleagues.  Will the angry fringe of the southern GOP pull Isakson into their bitterness or will he introduce them to coolness.  They better bring the coolness because Thurmond, Thurbert Baker and Sanford Bishop wrote the book on staying cool under fire—never let them see you sweat.  I think both Isakson and Thurmond put Georgia’s best interest above party bickering.    

My conservative African-American friends (all both of them) think Democrats should be afraid of Palin in 2012. Rep. Paul Ryan, Senator Johnny Isakson and Mario Rubio are the policy-based conservatives who if cloned would be the real concern.  Could we please turn our attention back to Palin.  For Dems, it is fortunate that the GOP  often emulates the wrong folks.

For reading this long babble, you should treat yourself to some old school “candy” music. Is Cameo’s Candy better than LL Cool J’s?  Real candy, like political campaigns, isn’t good for you, has little nutritional value and lacks the substance of policymaking –stick with Georgia-grown fruits and vegetables.


Cameo- It’s Like Candy


LL Cool J- Candy at 5:10 from live show


Bow Wow Wow – I want Candy


How could I leave out 10,000 Maniacs’ “Candy Everyonebody Wants.”   Some of these races will be decided by 10K Maniacs. 


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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.”  


Prince- Baby Im A Star

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I had the honor of submitting a Guest Column that ran in today’s Augusta Chronicle.

We can all embrace limited government and personal responsibility

Guest Columnist

Why is there so much resistance among a large number of African-Americans to the idea of limited government?

Is it because of its association with a party they are disproportionately not affiliated with? From a pragmatic point of view, if businesses were able to operate in the most efficient manner with as little government intervention as possible so they can grow and become more profitable, that would be reasonable.

Personal responsibility is another term that conjures negative images among many African-Americans, with its association to one political party. How and when did this happen?

I grew up in a household where we had to make up our beds before we came to the table for breakfast. The notion of lounging around the house with our pajamas on, on a Saturday, was not going to happen. Each of us (I have three siblings) had responsibilities and chores, and there was no discussion about that.

There is something liberating to me about personal responsibility. I remember having a baby-sitting job in my early years so I could have my own money. I also recall applying for and receiving scholarships and grants for college so my parents would have to fork out as little money as possible to help me, which allowed my siblings at home to have more. As long as I am able, I am going to do my part. I believe most people think the same way. But somewhere over the years, I believe too many of our elected officials have gotten in the way.

THIS COLUMN was not written to debate the argument of having government-funded social programs or the need for them. I believe we are all aware of those conversations and have heard them ad nauseam . But with all of the divisiveness and in-fighting among our national political leaders and political parties, I don’t see many of the social issues decreasing, do you?

Here are some statistics plaguing the African-American community.

– Black males lead the nation in incarceration. According to the Schott Foundation for Public Education, about 60 percent of Georgia black male high school students don’t graduate.

– In 2009, Richmond County had 26 murders; 15 of the victims (57 percent) were black men. In that same year, of those murders, 17 of the victims (65 percent) were black. Eighty-two percent of those arrested for these murders were black men.

– The largest number of people contracting HIV/AIDS is African-American women.

– In 2009, 77 percent of the known people having abortions in Richmond County were African-American women.

– Georgia has the eighth-highest teen birth rate in the nation.

l Richmond County has two ZIP codes in the top 10 with the highest number of incarcerated prisoners — 30906 and 30901.

There is simply not enough progress in resolving these social ills. It seems to be getting worse. With these statistics, ask yourself: Do you think they are going to get better if we maintain the same type of thinking or if we continue doing the same thing we have been doing? I think not.

This Thursday, April 15, there will be an event at Augusta Common — the Augusta Tea Party. Thousands of people will attend, and you probably also will be able to count on four hands the number of African-Americans present. What’s wrong with that picture?

Are there some overzealous individuals who may say and do things that are offensive and a little extreme? Maybe. Will there be talk against President Obama and Democrats? I would think so. There also will be discontented people who will have a lot to say about most of our congressmen — no matter their political affiliation.

But will the primary message of the Augusta Tea Party on Thursday be limited government and personal responsibility? I think so. Why? Because those are two cornerstones of the conservative ideology. And, yes, there are more conservatives associated with Tea Parties than anyone else. But why does it have to be that way?

LET’S LOOK BEYOND the negative images the national media project about Tea Parties. Let’s look beyond party affiliations and put our affiliation blinders on. What if we did something different? What if we embraced and implemented this train of thought of limited government and personal responsibility for, say, 30 days? Statistics have shown that when one does something for 30 days, it can become a habit.

What do you think would happen? Would the mind-set of an individual change a little? What would be the harm in taking personal responsibility and taking safer precautions with sex? Or encouraging kids that getting an education is really cool? Or finding a better way of dealing with anger and jealousy, and turning the other cheek?

What do we have to lose by trying and doing something a little different so we can better address the concerns that plague African-Americans?

Look at the big picture. Listen to the message of limited government and personal responsibility. I don’t believe these concepts should be a political or divisive issue because they affect all of us. Ask yourself: Is there a way I can wrap my arms around these concepts, along with what I already believe?

I am asking you to step out of your comfort zone and expand your thinking to embrace concepts you’ve never considered before.

I’m not talking about changing your political party, because frankly I believe it’s political parties, in part, that have gotten us in the mess we’re in now. I believe they have helped cloud our ability to engage in a civic dialogue too. It’s time to start bridging divides.

But I do want you to think about the statistics I’ve shared. Consider the questions I’ve raised, and try the 30-day exercise I’ve described. What do we have to lose?

(The writer is an Augusta entrepreneur and the host of a local radio talk show.)


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Like Jill Scott, Angie Stone and Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu is a straight-up artist who puts a message in her music and compels us to think.  Her new song “Window Seat” blew me away and even included a nod to blues guitar great Lightning Hopkins.  I am proud to say that Hopkins has been featured on the music tab on this blog since day one.  Badu will always leave you thinking.  What’s with the JFK assassination vibe in the video?  Could I date a sista with that many tats on that beautiful brown skin?  Has Badu aged a day? 

She ends the video with a monologue that seems to be aimed at some extreme elements from her native Texas but I better leave that alone.   Wouldn’t it be cool to sit on a back porch in the Lone Star state with Badu and her friends and have a long island ice tea party featuring music by Sam Lightning Hopkins.  I would love to attend that Tea Party.  

so, in my mind I’m tusslin’

back and forth ‘tween here and hustlin’

I don’t wanna time travel no mo

I wanna be here

I’m thinking

on this porch I’m rockin’

back and forth light lightning Hopkins

if anybody speak to Scotty

tell him beam me up….


Window Seat—Badu


Sam Lightning Hopkins

UPDATE: What the hell.  I thought Badu did that video as a “shoot” with actors.  It turns out that she just did it with tourists and kids walking around.  That might be a little too much.  Below is the speech she makes at the end of the video.

They play it safe, are quick to assassinate what they do not understand. They move in packs, ingesting more and more fear with every act of hate on one another. They feel most comfortable in groups; less guilt to swallow. They are us; this is what we have become, afraid to respect the individual. A single person within our circumstance can move one to change, to love herself, to evolve.

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Newsweek’s Evan Thomas recently wrote that the political system is not the problem; the problem to him is the entitlement mentality and softness of the American people.  I have been saying for years that protesters shouldn’t confront elected officials while ignoring the voters who put them in office. The officeholders are doing what the majority told them to do.

At times, the majority can be flat wrong, i.e. slavery and Jim Crow.  Ralph Nader’s Green Party and the Libertarian Party both have good points but the majority prefers to hang with the two usual suspects parties.  If America followed the energy plans outlined my President Carter after the Arab Oil Embargo, we might have avoided our deep involvement in the Middle East.  If we followed our doctor’s directions on diet and exercise…if we listened to Suzy Orman the first time we read her advice…if we paid attention in school and church.  The list goes on and on.   

We have waited for a Blue Dog Democrat or a sensible Republican who speaks directly and plainly to the people about reducing governmental spending by reducing actions and activities that created the problems in the first place.  Oh, the Tea Partiers will do it in a second but it needs to come from someone stern yet considerate.  In Georgia, the GOP is sleeping on several Black women congressional candidates who would be brilliant at getting directly to the point.  In my community, tea is best served sweet and cool.  


Government is Not the Problem: Evan Thomas, Newsweek

The problem is not the system. It’s us—our “got mine” culture of entitlement. Politicians, never known for their bravery, precisely represent the people. Our leaders are paralyzed by the very thought of asking their constituents to make short-term sacrifices for long-term rewards

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Professional hockey player Jarome Iginla’s father is from Nigeria.  While hockey is not my thing, I usually support Iginla until he plays for the Canadian National Team against the USA.  Iginla’s assist to Crosby sealed the Olympic gold medal for our neighbors to the north and I threw down my hat. 

From Robert E. Lee’s commitment to Virginia to Black American sports fans support of Iginla, we live in a world where the constant question is “Who you with” and the answer at times is surprising.  Since 1865, many southerners have waited for the Confederacy to rise again; sentiments that seem as un-American as the ugliness that grows in the Middle East.  The same people who continue to detest the northerners involved in the post-Civil War reconstruction are often the people who listen to national rhetoric that pits Georgian against Georgian today. 

Like the lyrics to a gospel song or old blues tune, some people are sick and tired of constant fighting and bickering while others view such actions as second nature.  The real competition is regions of this state and nation competing for scare economic development and jobs.  New industries are reluctant to local or expand in places where hostile and division rule—simply locate in areas where people resolve difference in civil and professional ways.  The fussing makes natives of certain areas flock away and leaves these areas full of those least prepared or inclined to improve conditions—Ray Ray ‘Nem.   

An interesting discussion can grow from the balance between disagreement with elected officials and actions that seem almost treasonous.  Of course, people often want to have governmental actions reflect the teachings and mandates of their faith but the Bible’s Romans 13:1 comes into the debate.  At my church, this passage was interpreted to mean respect the laws that the government made because God made the government.  Of course, some southerners have violently ignored the state and federal government in our troubled past. 

America grew from so many different and varied roots that people have had to be patience as we sorted out policies and laws.  At times, the Constitution seems like a blueprint for a more perfect nation and we are the builders.  Black southerners fought for freedom for southeast Asia when their mothers could not use a public bathroom or drink from a water fountain.  But, the same people would be hard pressed to name another part of the world where they would prefer living or a region in America better that the South.  Atlanta’s population exploded for a reason.  In the World Cup Soccer tournament, Team USA often plays African teams made up of people who look just like me.  And “who am I with?”  Don’t even play like that.

If a political candidate from my party can’t win, I am going to support the best candidate from the other side in the best interest of Georgia or the candidate with a history of bridge building.  Of course, there are those who rubber-stamp our or their team no matter way. 

Romans 13:1

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.


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Rest in peace Teddy Pendergrass.  Arthur Ashe, Richard Roundtree, Dr. J and T.P. wrote the book on being a smooth Black Man.  Last year Teddy Kennedy and early this year Teddy Pendergrass.  Brushchi, Riley and I are understandably nervous.

Some of the music from T.P.’s time with Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes reflect my disenchantment with the current constant political bickering.

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U.S. Grant and Haiti is not about current federal aid but about President U.S. Grant’s consideration of annexation of the island of Hispaniola, part being current Haiti and part being the Dominican Republic.  In D.C., I was friends with a woman from a prominent Haitian family who told us about the troubled history of her home. 

During a trip to D.R., the thought of going on an ATV tour in Haiti was to frightening for me; I don’t do motorcycles or unrest.

Our prayers are with the people of Haiti and we should consider that the earthquake would have occurred if President Grant took the island as a place for former slaves.  I have always liked the idea of giving former slaves a transition place away from the recent oppressors—-that’s where I would have wanted to be and I would have preferred a properly-funded all-Black school during my childhood.  In Worth County, Georgia, Blacks attended J.W. Holley School and my mother taught on one end while my father taught on the other.  Who wanted to go to school with people with superiority complexes?  The only thing we have like that in my community is the fraternity system, the color mess, church competitions….I better leave this alone.  

While America was busying annexing, the strip of land from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas would have been a nice area for a Black state or a new Israel.  My trip to Israel this week did not workout logistically but I pray that the region will calm for all parties.  We know from Sunday School that Abraham is the father of three major religions so three major claims go to that sensitive region.  It is silly of me to suggest that people abandon their ancestral home for safety—most would sooner die.  That would be like me leaving my ancestral home South Georgia.  A place my family supported with slave then  sharecropper labor so “I am telling you I am not going.”


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“A vision without resources is a hallucination” is a good quote from Thomas L. Friedman’s book Hot, Flat and Crowded.  The quote could easily apply to the efforts of a small group to Black moderates in the South who seek to improve political and public policy relations through diversity and dialog with the conservatives.  It’s not going to happen Don Quixote. 

Better than Don Quixote and the windmills, the situation is similar to the dog movie Bolt (the kids in my family got Uncle Teddy to watch it yesterday.)  Bolt is running around thinking he has super powers and can get this and that done only to discover the whole drama is fake—everyone is an actor unbeknownst to him.  It’s all smoke and mirrors (Uncle Teddy saw Sherlock Holmes this week also.) 

After the GOP got spanked in still another election, the opportunity was there for them to foster better relations with the middle and a red version of the Blue Dogs seems imminent.  That did not happen because the vocal far-right decided to push out the remaining few GOP moderates and purify their ranks.  Expecting the true conservatives to dialog with the center or left is silly.  So, the Blue Dog section of the Democrat Party became the logical home for centrists.

Friedman’s book details his view of our energy future if we don’t act quickly and seriously.  In Georgia, political energy gets wasted in alarming amounts.  They try to defeat members of congress who can be beaten rather than working with the fellows to improve policies, laws and budgets.  After 20 years in game, I can say that Democrats will talk with dam near anyone while the power behind the GOP dares their members to listen to anyone else.  Zero.  Not a freaking syllable. 

In America, we need to produce more clean energy but also reduce our consumption with efficiency and better technology.  The same logic applies to politics and policy for me as a Black southern moderate.  I want to see the far-left and far-right limited because their extreme views are unhealthy but I also hope that they will envision a policy arena with various views working toward consensus. Let me make it plain: many southern conservatives function with the mentality that they know everything and should decide what is best for everyone—think plantation or apartheid. 

Rush and Glenn have them full of piss and vinegar and that is no way to go through life.  On the other side, the liberal part of the Democrats have people waiting for the government to fix all the problems in their lives—problems the people created.  My primary concern is pushing for a better Georgia and South, and the next step toward that goal is a few members of congress who can tell the truth in a positive way. There are current congressional members who went to D.C. to do that but the national parties talking points don’t included honesty on that level. 

Are you seriously telling me that a national party would pass on Newt, Huckabee and Romney for Palin and the same party can’t produce one Black member of congress?  Michael Steele promised improved diversity but I don’t think he had any idea who was on his team.  If he wanted historic congressional diversity, Georgia could serve it up on a platter with limited resources but you know what they say about vision without resources.

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Carlton Fletcher wrote a must read column in the Albany Herald today.  If you are from rural Georgia, you know the term “Busleft” and you know about crazy family.  I can talk about my family but you can’t.  You know, family could include our church family, our state, our South, our community, our political party, our college, our nation and our race.  It’s all about a family tree and sometimes we wish we could prune some rotten branches.  Yes, I have so much to say about the design of our new church and haven’t bought a brick or nail yet.  “See what had happen is the market is killing my pocket—not the Nasdaq…the supermarket and the job market.”   

In a strange twist, I almost always understand Fletcher’s point of view but rarely get Black columnist Thomas Sowell.  You know Zora  Neale Hurston said “Just because we skin folks, don’t mean we kin folks.”  On the other hand, when Black leaders get slam relentlessly we circle the wagons—even when Blacks folks are doing the slamming.  “Say one more thing about Condoleezza and it is on.”  So, Sowell is still family and let the brother speak.  I am turning into a walking contradiction.

On Meet the Press today, it was reported that 85% of Republicans will likely vote next November but only 50% of Democrats.  With all the pressing issues on the national plate, Dems not voting would be odd and Blacks not voting would be crazy.  To be on the safe side, we need to look at a few Black GOP congressional candidates.  Hey, we got to hedge our bets.  I could go on about “get on the bus” and tie in “Busleft” but the Falcons playing in a few.

Carlton Fletcher’s column


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With children involved, we should hope for the best for Tiger Woods and his family.  I have a feeling Elin was over her head; he needed/needs a grown woman and needs to be a grown man.  Here’s the thing: this whole drama is likely maturing both of them at a rapid rate.  I saw the following on a sister’s webpage and it made me think about that Halle Berry line from the movie Boomerang.  “Love should have brought you home last night.”  The decline of the family is at the root of many of the problems the government is hopelessly trying to solve.  Yes, women should insist on males being grown a__ men.  In his first book, General Colin Powell wrote that people need a sense of shame.   

Girls vs. Grown Women

Girls leave their schedule wide-open and wait for a guy to call and make plans.

Grown women make their own plans and nicely tell the guy to get in where he fits

Girls want to control the man in their life.

Grown women know that if he’s truly hers, he doesn’t need controlling.

Girls check you for not calling them.

Grown women are too busy to realize you hadn’t.

Girls are afraid to be alone.

Grown women revel in it-using it as a time for personal growth.

Girls ignore the good guys.

Grown women ignore the bad guys.

Girls make you come home.

Grown women make you want to come home.

Girls worry about not being pretty and/or good enough for their man.

Grown women know that they are pretty and/or good enough for any man.

Girls try to monopolize all their man’s time (i.e., don’t want him hanging with his friends).

Grown women realize that a lil’ bit of space makes the ‘together time’ even more special-and goes to kick it with her own friends!

Girls think a guy crying is weak.

Grown women offer their shoulder and a tissue.

Girls want to be spoiled and ‘tell’ their man so.

Grown women ’show’ him and make him comfortable enough to reciprocate without fear of losing his ‘manhood’.

Girls get hurt by one man and make all men pay for it.

Grown women know that that was just one man.

Girls fall in love and chase aimlessly after the object of their affection, ignoring all ’signs’.

Grown women know that sometimes the one you love, doesn’t always love you back-and move on, without bitterness.

Girls will read this and get an attitude.

Grown women will read this and pass it on to other Grown women and their male friends”. Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”


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