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Archive for the ‘Georgia’ Category

Watergate was an unnecessary mess because Nixon was winning anyway. In politics and policy, you have different layers and levels of involvement. The average American voters wants the nation to function better. Then, you have your issue activists and party enthusiasts who mean well but tend to get carried away and swear that the other side is never correct.

I am ticked-off with the Blue Dogs who supported Bush 41 and Bush 43 when these presidents were somewhat right yet those same conservative Democrats aren’t turning to the GOP members with whom they worked in the past and saying “come on fellows…not all of these ideas are bad.”

The most dramatic level of politics and policy would be the professionals who earn a living from the conflict—more mess, more money.  I am one southerner who has grown weary of fighting for fighting sake. 

To the people I know in the GOP, you can win in November on the issues but resorting to fear, hate and traditional ugliness is unbecoming and counterproductive.  Your team should notice how Rep. Paul Ryan, Mario Rubio and even Senator Isakson debate and voice opposition  constructively.  The worst-case scenario would be the continue use of techniques and methods similar to the hate-baiting from our past.  It is interesting that some of those “win at all cost” political leaders of the past had righteous transformation before going to glory and explain what they did for opportunistic purposes.  Of course, the same can be said about folks on our side.  To feed your family, a hater got to do what a hater got to do.

Earlier this year, President Obama told the both sides that they should be careful how they debate because the average Americans is going to start believing that they really hate each other.  Newsflash: they don’t; it’s political theater.  While they sincerely hate the issues and the growing debt, I don’t think there is a member of the Georgia congressional delegation who “hates” another member. 

The wildcard factor is the successful division of the media that “stays paid” from the conflict.  I want to say that I have recently learned that this division is not really journalists but some new form of political commentators for entertainment—Rush, Glenn, Michelle, Ed, Keith, Rachael.  (Thank you Glenn Beck for explaining it.)  Can the average American separate political entertainment from Cronkite-style journalism.  Cronkite and Brinkley would turn to another camera and the words “commentary” would appear across the bottom of the screen. 

On MSNBC’s Morning Joe today, they did a report about a coming RNC insider effort to drive donations with fear and boy won’t it work. But, playing this card from your sleeve is not needed when the cards in your hand are not that bad.  Can you see why centrists support the few sensible people on the Right?  The old Chinese proverb goes “it is better to light a single candle than curse the darkness.”

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036789/vp/35706805#35706805

March 4: Msnbc’s Joe Scarborough offers his take on an RNC fundraising document, obtained by Politico, that encourages the use of “fear” and “negative feelings” to solicit donations.

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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.  

http://www.newsweek.com/id/234267

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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I received the following Media Alert today about an important initiative that deals with one of the fastest-growing and addicting drugs ever to hit the state of Georgia and beyond. I took special notice to the two high profile Elected officials who have teamed up to unveil this statewide prevention campaign next week. They are: Republican U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson and Democratic U.S. Attorney General Thurbert Baker. If you think about it, most if not all, issues that our elected officials must address impact a variety of people. Even those that are considered Republican,  Democrat, Independent, Green, Liberterian or other. And no matter if one person voted for another. The prevalence of and the impact of Meth in Georgia is staggering and doesn’t target a particular political party of people. And such is the case with virtually every other social or  economic challenge facing us today. It sure would be nice, and would be much more effective, if all of our elected officials, from Washington, DC to our local municipalities can work together, on causes that address people (constituents), no matter what one’s political affiliation. This initiative is an indicator that it can happen. And I do realize that is not an isolated event. But it needs to happen much, much more.

Georgia Meth Project – Media Alert sent by Jackson Spaulding

The Georgia Meth Project will launch its statewide prevention campaign—and unveil its innovative television, print, and outdoor advertising—at the Georgia State Capitol on Monday, March 8, 2010.  The news conference will begin at 11 a.m.

The Honorable Johnny Isakson, United States Senator, and Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker will be joined by members of the Georgia Meth Project Advisory Council, substance abuse experts, and Georgia families whose lives have been impacted by Meth use.

The goal of the Georgia Meth Project is to significantly reduce first-time methamphetamine use in the state, and address the social and economic burden caused by Meth use in Georgia.

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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.

http://www.christnotes.org/commentary.php?com=wes&b=45&c=13

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I think the congressional Republican leadership team has been reading this old blog in the cloakroom because they recently did exactly what I have been recommending to my Black GOP friends for years.  At the health care summit, they tried like crazy to be nice and smile while seriously expressing their concerns.  “And the Best Actor Oscar goes to…..” 

On the other hand, my man President Obama was killing me with the whole using first names thing.  Members of Congress were saying “Mr. President” and while he was saying John and Mitch.  Joe Sixpack is at home in his Lazyboy talking about uppity this and arrogant that.  It is all part of a diabolical plan and the White House doesn’t see it coming.

Old school folks know what time it is and I would strongly recommend that the first couple retire to the executive quarters, dig in their stacks of vinyl and play the O’Jays hit “Back Stabbers.”  The lyrics apply to the Right, those on the far Left and some in the center.  On the other hand, the Blue Dogs in the South might be humming the same tune when thinking about the WH and their party’s leadership.  I can’t call it.  The other O’Jays song that applies to politics is of course “For the Love of Money.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzjziKqVp6k&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCkLEo-DT1Q&feature=channel

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In his reelection bid, Senator John McCain doesn’t deserve opposition from former Congressman J.D. Hayworth.  J.D. is good people and constantly spoke to staff on the Hill; I think he thought I was a former football player like him.  But, the Ultra-conservatives’ challenges to anyone who dares dialog is with the other party puzzles me.

During the presidential campaign, the Obama vs.McCain suited me fine because both would have been good presidents.  If someone from the other party is to lead, I hope it is someone decent.  The same can be said about congressional races.  We must admit that the vocal Tea Party Movement is very “vocal” but whatever happened to the “science” in political science.  They loved to ask members of congress about the number of phone calls they have received and the amount of protest.  But, do those numbers accurately reflect the opinions of the average voter or average citizen? 

In the rainforest in southern Costa Rica, howler monkeys make a huge roar as a defense mechanism; you would think they are the size of King Kong.  These monkeys are actually smaller than my leg but I can’t knock them doing what they need to do to survive.  They same can’t be said about vocal protesters on both ends of the political spectrum.  I can’t go into the local post office or McDonalds without hearing people say that all they see on T.V. is political this or that.  These people only watch one channel or listen to one type radio pundit so they are correct.  People who only watch MSNBC can say the same thing.

It is my understanding that Fox News C.E.O. Rogers Ailes admits that his job is to drive viewership (and therefore revenue) rather than objectively informing the public like traditional journalists.  He is doing a great job.

In summary, my conservative friends are correct in stating that “what you hear” is a strong criticism of the administration and congressional Democrats.  What you don’t hear is the quiet majority who tend to speak in the polling places.  November will tell whom the majority trust more or dislikes less but real radicals/activists seldom take over without the middle’s support.  The same middle that far right people are busy alienating.  

I said it before: if the Right produced congressional candidates like McCain, they might win a large number of seats.  But, their primary process yields candidates who scare people like howler monkeys during the general election.    

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REPoVfN-Ij4  Howler Monkeys

http://www.theweek.com/article/index/105777/FOX_Deliberate_misinformation

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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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For years, I want to hear a conservative congressional candidate who came from our community and who would just stand at a podium and bring it.  Flat bring it…straight bring it…make it plain.  I respect conservative leaders who look like me but speak the traditional conservative viewpoint.  For example, J.C. Watts was a good congressman who helped people understand that he was not congressman for Black people but a congressman who was Black. The brother came from a district in Oklahoma with few Blacks so that is how that should have been and the same can be said for a several Black GOP congressional candidates around the nation.

But, we are in Georgia and I want a candidate here who embraces the unique conservative nature we have here  (Yes, many Black voters in the South are conservative in their daily lives.)  One who will get someone “told” but with genuine concern for the state’s future rather than animosity based on our past.  Basically, we need a sista with credentials who understands our journey since arriving in Savannah in the mid 1750s in the hulls of ships.

Think about it like this: we need someone who can do politically what M.C. Lyte does in hip hop because the messenger needs to “commandeer the ear” of those who can’t hear.  I have always like the way Lyte and LL Cool J carried themselves and respect their personal and professional growth over the years.  One of LL’s famous lyrics applies to the state of Black conservatism in the South, “I said, “No need to rehearse,” then I made my approach..said, you got a good team, girl, but you need a new coach.”

This LL line sums it up for me.  The GOP in the South could makes some real connections in our community with a new coach.  A coach with the smooth intelligence of M.C. Lyte, LL Cool J, Barrack Obama, and Sanford Bishop.  See, the first rule of coaching is learn from the other guys success.  Where can they find such a coach?  The same place where the slaves arrived and strangely, the coach resembles Lyte and is equally stern.  Of course, they will go with a “traditional” coach and follow the same old playbook.       

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzf6Lpb-5Qg

LL -The Do Wop

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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

http://www.albanyherald.com/opinioncolumns/headlines/79739072.html?storySection=story

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Would someone explain the charter school concept to me? Are these schools publicly funded private schools? I am one moderate who would support a school voucher program with certain provisions so I am not hating on charter schools. My concerns have always been with cherry-picking the best students and families out of the failing school systems. Shoot, I could teach those good kids but if you want to be really impressive reach those “Stand By Me” students. The cute part about vouchers is that difficult kids’ parents would not have the remaining amount of the tuition so they would not sully those precious private corridors.

People make money in the city and drive into the suburban communities with their tax dollars everyday yet wonder what is wrong with the urban areas. When Marion Berry was mayor in D.C., he considered taxing them on the bridges.  What was he smoking? 

We must fix the inner cities and failing school systems but good kids shouldn’t be penalized in the meantime.  In rural Georgia, teaching has always been an important path into the middle class but teaching unions can’t justify these horrible results.  Something has got to give. 

Are charter schools required to take a certain percentage of difficult learners?  Retired military veterans (Navy Seals, Army Rangers, Black Ops) should start charter schools for the worst of the worst and when the weak parents comes to complain drop them for 50 pushups.  

On the whole separation of church and state thing, the History Channel is tripping me out with all of the information about the Founding Fathers efforts to support this concept.  Can charter schools function like Christian, Jewish or Muslim schools?  We take this P.C. stuff to far at times.  The local high school cheerleaders have always done the standard cheer, “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, all the Rams are going to heaven…when we get there, they will say..the other team went the other way.”  Can they say that or is the ACLU in route.

http://www.albanyherald.com/home/headlines/79278487.html

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Those people waiting for President Obama to make things easier for struggling Americans will be waiting awhile.  He did not run on that platform; his message was facilitating a climate in which those who want to strive can do just that.  Naturally, others will continue their struggle and wonder why.  They keep biting off more than you can chew; putting too much on your plate or digging deep holes.  In south Georgia, we say that the first thing you need to do when you find yourself in a hole is stop dig.  If you think about it, struggle people actually work hard for years and years in a desperate effort to stay above water or above the ground.

Can far-right conservatives inadvertently be good for our community?  Absolutely, we would then understand that the government is not designed to pull us from holes that we personally dug.  President Obama and the Blue Dog Democrats mean well but the far-left create a false sense of security.

The next important movement could come when we openly discuss encouraging people to turn inward before looking to the government for assistance and hope.  Let’s be honest: the jobs lost in the last five years are not coming back.  Companies and industries are functioning with more technology, leaner operations and fewer workers.  We simply don’t have enough jobs for the growing number of people in this nation and this world.  Since no kind person wants to see homeless people, hungry children or suffering senior citizens, we must discover a way to ethically cajole people to have children when and if they are prepared.

The dilemma is that people who are not wise fail to see this logic and accusations of genocide quickly follow.  If Michelle Obama made solving this dilemma her life’s work, she could be one of the ten most important Americans of all time.  Since we have the Peace Corps, we could call it the Cease Corps and the central mission will be breaking the cycle of American families struggling by addressing the root causes in a preemptive matter.

In my community, some people are proud that their family is strong enough to face tons of adversity.  Other families are proud that they function in a deliberate and calculating matter—avoiding adversity and living smoothly.

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Mobile homes are amazingly wonderful these days but in South Georgia we have tornados from hurricanes; you don’t want to be in a home that is mobile.  Why can the manufactured homes industry push for houses that arrive on trucks in sections or pods and are then assembled with stronger roofs and exteriors? Watchers of HGTV know that the Japanese are doing pre-fabs in aircraft hangers with a reduction in waste and cost.

My father use to question why someone would have a new Cadillac parked in front of a shack or next to an apartment.  Did he know that I would be approaching fifty without owning my first house—even a shack.  I have got to get me one of those shacks.  Actually, a modest bungalow or cottage that I build in part myself is my plan. The internet is full of webpages for companies doing interesting things with pre-fabs.

We must change our mindsets about homes and not let the housing industry drive us into the poor house like the auto industry and fashion world.  Conspicuous consumption or “keeping up with the Jones” is a dangerous thing.  The subdivision community that popped up in the late 60s and early 70s in the south emphasized ranch homes with formal dinner and living rooms—those rooms we could only enter on holidays.  Today, homes with great rooms better serve American families. 

I know people overseas who would never put T.V.s in their “bed” rooms because the bedroom was made for sleeping and dressing; they live in their living rooms.  In the Mc Mansions that helped created the housing crisis here, people have big bedrooms plus several living rooms, dens or studies.  Huh? I like the families that planned their housing size and cost with their real needs in mind.  For example, a couple with two high school aged children and one in junior high shouldn’t give each kid a room in the new house since every kid will likely be gone in a five years; maybe the oldest kid could have a room that will become a study or den. 

We hear shocking stories about ball players in the A.T.L. building super-sized homes without consideration for the upkeep cost after their playing days. But, regular families need to think about the expense of heating and cooling large homes in retirement also or after one spouse is gone.  Older couples should build houses with wheelchair accessibility in mind and think about stairs. If I actually had money and wanted a big house, I would design the structure with the idea that I could convert it into a duplex if I reach old age.  The house could generate some retirement income, I would not be alone from the security standpoint and I would be free to chill in a second home in some affordable Caribbean spot for months at a time.  I love it when a plan comes together.

I also love seeing people retire and move back to the South.  Folks often sell their northern homes (too cold up there), buy a small place in the hometown and pocket a nice chunk of money.  Of course, they are concerned with the racial climate rather than the climate climate.  It can get cold down here in other ways but many discover that the vibe is smooth than expected but the urban drama of crime and drugs is here also.

We know about planned communities in Florida and other retirement areas but what about smaller, affordable versions in southern towns.  I have always like those bungalows communities that grew when the troops returned from World War II but modern versions could be within walking distance of old downtowns and feature duck ponds with walking paths; retail spaces and eateries; and lofts, apartments and modest homes. 

We must emphasize the importance of building homes we can comfortably afford.  The formula charts in the real estate section of my local newspaper say a person with a gross income of $24,000 can afford an $81,000 home.  I don’t half trust these real estate and banking people because they are nothing like my man George Bailey in the movie It’s A Wonderful Life.  George and the old school guys lived in the community and wanted to see people actually own their homes; they looked forward to mortgage note burning parties.  Today, the industry is structured in a way that guys get their money at the beginning and if you go crazy trying to meet the monthly payment that is tough luck.  You made your bed and you must sleep in it.

It’s better to own a modest home than stress over a big house.  If you work overtime or two jobs to put your family in a large house, you missed precious family time and if you don’t raise your kids the streets will.  You can’t get that fishing time, nightly sit down dinners or school events back.  Those teens are in those big rooms in big houses watching big T.V.s teach them how to get into big trouble.  One thing about little houses is that people learn how to get along and those cool evenings of bonding on the front porch are priceless—think Mayberry.

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We are at a seriously crossroads in America and heaven only knows what’s next. From the economy to the national debt to our schools to senseless crime, President Obama’s hair is going to be completely gray by next summer.  The situation in Afghanistan/Pakistan has me baffled because the ultimate goal is keeping nuclear and atomic weapons out of the hands of rogues.  One million dollars per year per service member is pricey but if left unchecked a few angry radicals could do the unthinkable.

At Black college in the 80s, we would listen to Sting’s “The Russians” in the dorm and hope the Russians loved their children too but these new cats actually look forward to better lives on the other side.   “How can I save my little boy from Oppenheimer’s deadly toy.”  Those toys in the wrong hands are nothing with which to play. 

I have friends who say that before September 11 they could not imagine their children not being safe at home on American soil.  Really?  Of course, those friends don’t look like me because we grew up on constant Klan watch—not to mention confederates with badges .  In a strange twist, we are not safe in the community today for thuggish reasons.  It is a sad state of affairs when young men from here are safer in the military overseas than in the neighborhood. 

This post seems gloomy but the sun isn’t shining today.  Okay, it’s shining somewhere other than normally sunny south Georgia.  Some say these conditions are baby-making weather; let’s hope “some” have some jobs and some money because expanding or starting a family during these dark economic days is scarier than the Taliban.

On the bright side, thank heaven for making me an American.  The poor here lives better than the average person around the developing world.  And what are they developing?  Oppenheimer’s toy and resentment.  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYDEpeBl-hY

Sting–The Russians

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The film Carmen Jones, featuring Dorothy Danridge, Harry Belafonte, Brock Peters, Pearl Bailey and lovely Diahann Carroll, is one of favorite movies.  Seeing a romantic tragedy is rough when logical decision-making could have avoid all of the drama.  This adaptation of George Bizet’s opera is a must-see classic.  I can believe I can watch the whole movie online.

On a politics/public policy blog, dating and romance seem out of place.  But, my friends and I have determined that the root causes of many community concerns center on non-governmental matters.  Obviously, we know about moral decay, weak value systems and slack church participation—not cool.  But, today I want to rant about dating and marriage.

Many young women spend more time dreaming about being a bride on their big day (queen for a day) while not thinking about being a wife and then a mother in the long term.   Cohabitating with another adult can be difficult because people don’t want to compromise in the era of “I want it all and I want it now.”  Many guys have no idea what being a husband and then a father is because they have not been around health relationships.  The holiday season is a perfect time for the upright walking men in families to bond with the young men and plant that seed of positive living that doesn’t involve constantly dodging the authorities or having the government tell you to care for your children; not having children early is a good way to keep the “man” off your back. 

A kid says “I am going to have a baby” and my head drops. First of all, you are a baby yourself.  Next, you are going to have a person—an infant, a toddler, a teenager and eventually a young adult.  It’s a long involved, expensive and complicated process so my next question is “she got pregnant for/with what genius?”  Life is a series of phases and one can’t determine what type person someone will be during the late teens and early twenties phase—in my opinion. 

In the barber shop during my youth, the retire military guys would teach us that some of the nicest women in the world are right here in south Georgia but a fellow should consider seeing the world in the armed forces or the range of sisters on the college campus before making life-altering decisions.    

Old folks have always said that what you did to “court” or hook that person must continue “until death do you part” –none of that bait and switch stuff.  Carmen Jones says “bait your hook for fish you can fry.” Dating is just like a job search process and anyone can say anything during an interview but you need to check those references.  Dr. King said no lie lives forever so these people who want to “act” all nice and sweet will show their real colors in time.  Long courtships are essential.  Belafonte’s character in Carmen Jones would have been better off if he stuck with the sweet country girl.  

Regarding money, the pastors who require pre-marital counseling have it 100% right because a person could be styling and profiling during the courtship while running up astronomical credit card debt.  What’s in your wallet?  I will tell a sister in a minute that I have one child and her name is Sallie Mae so check that student loan also.   

My friends and I think that problems occur when people don’t seek the right information and ask the right questions.  The Destiny’s Child question comes up when I am playing tennis with the young brothers.  “If someone from Destiny’s Child step to you, what would you do—be faithful or put your sweetheart in the wind.”  When I was a young man, Anita Baker was the standard by which loveliness was measure.  Forget about video girls and supermodels; we are talking about the sweetest fruit from the African tree and Baker married a regular guy rather than some ball player or high profile dude. 

Beyonce is okay and Michelle’s faith is great but Kelley Rowland has Anita Baker type smoothness (she can’t sing like Anita.)  If you listen to the D.C. song “Cater To You” it outlines the many things a man and woman should do for each other to keep a relationship strong and if that stuff sounds like to much for you, stay single.  Relationships are hard work and some folks are lazy and inconsistent.  Like D.C. sings in this song “I know whatever I am not fulfilling, another woman is willing.”

Finally, stop talking about wanting what the Obamas have if you are no Michelle and he is no Barrack.  Newsflash: the Obamas mostly made the right moves in their personal, educational and professional histories then worked at that their relationship and family.  It was not easy but what worthwhile is.        

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqHVnBjRRLA&feature=fvw

Destiny’s Child–Cater To You

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Loyalty is a word with many different dimensions.  On Capitol Hill, a former supervisor gave our staff the following poem during an uncertain period.

Pledge of Loyalty
By: Sir Elbert Kim Hubbard

If you work for a man,
in heaven’s name,
work for him,
speak well of him,
and stand by the institution
that he represents.

Remember,
an ounce of loyalty
is worth a pound of cleverness.

If you must grawl,
condemn and eternally find fault,
why?
resign your position!

And when you are in the outside,
damn to your heart’s contents!

But as long as you are a part of the institution,
do not condemn it.

For if you do,
the first high wind that comes along
will blow you away.

And probably,
you’ll never know why.

The essence of the poem hit home with me because I have always believed in being loyal to those who were beneficial to me—that includes staying basically “down with the team” long after working somewhere.  But, loyalty is a two-way street that requires commitment from bottom to top and top to bottom.  For example, Sarah Palin should remember that Senator John McCain “put her on” and Joe Lieberman should do the way with Al Gore.  

From the following list, how would you prioritize your loyalty?

Country

Faith

Race

State

Family

Political Party

College Football Team

  

While the last one might seem humorous, some folks would have it very high up on their list.  I saw Speaker Newt Gingrich, Rev. Al Sharpton and Education Secretary Arne Duncan on the Meet the Press discussing their efforts to reform education in America.  While I wasn’t invited, my comments would have centered on loyalty in education.  It’s no secret that I feel Black students owe a debt of gratuity to those who broke down barriers and that they debt is paid by working hard, being focus, and capitalizing on educational opportunities.

 

At the same time, teachers who are loyal to the field should remove themselves if they realize they aren’t reaching the students; getting money for not doing the job could be considered stealing on some level.  Of course, weak teachers have bills and other financial obligations that sometimes keep them in the classroom—skating by.

 

Some teachers will tell you that half-raised kids with poor attention spans burnt them out with a quickness and that parents aren’t doing their parts.  The finger of blame can point some of everywhere but we must fix this broken system before we have a generation of Americans ill-prepared to function in the global economy.

 

If you let me tell it, I think the bells and whistles of video games, computers, and T.V. creates kids who only want to focus when things are flashy and visually stimulating.   Loyalty to local school system makes citizens reluctant to admit that “needs improvement” is an understatement.  If Secretary Duncan asked me to create a charter school as a model, you can best believe it would be the old school three Rs with a high-tech twist and little Johnny would understand that his loyalties must compelled performance and achievement.  Who am I fooling; the young cats in my community are unbelievably selfish.  If you asked them what they believe, they would likely say, “I believe you better get out of my face.”

 

 

Meet The Press

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032608/#33948109

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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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DO_THE_RIGHT_THING

Spike Lee’s film “Do The Right Thing” drove compelling discussions about cultural and race in my circle of friends. In the book Lee wrote about making this movie and in interviews, he refused pointing the finger of blame at any one character for the riot that erupted in the plot. Film-making is an art and the viewers in this medium make their conclusions ultimately.

Danny Aiello’s character Sal owned a pizzeria in a transitioning neighborhood.  While people in the community grew up on Sal’s slices, it was clear that the Sal’s family “tolerated” the area out of business necessitate. 

When I think about the Blue Dog Democrats, I see a similar situation.  I was proud of most Blue Dogs for taking the town hall meeting heat this month and slowing the rush to pass a massive health care reform bill before August recess.  The protesters deserve some credit also but they need to understand that a member of congress who easily wins elections must defer to those ballot results first.

Long servicing Blue Dogs are starting to look like “I don’t need this juggling stuff in my life.” If the Blue Dogs helped conservatives with issues during the Bush years, some of those conservatives in their districts should reciprocate on some level now.  Federal retirement could be looming for some members of congress and political observers should remember that the total number of years for retirement includes time in congress, the federal bureaucracy and military.  As the possible full retirement year approaches, members (like school teachers) might decide to ride the wave without rocking the boat or tell it like it is. 

Like retirees in barbershops, these public servants can finally speak their minds with secondary consideration for pensions.  I had to smile pleasingly when I saw a few normally tactful Blue Dog show some bite when protesters questions did not give them the same respect conservatives received while supporting Bush/Cheney debatable policies.   While voting the party line on the far-left and far-right is easy, Blue Dog Democrats and the few moderate Republicans must analysis every vote to make decisions that best serve their diverse districts or states. 

Like Sal in “Do The Right Thing,” they must also decide when enough is enough and if closing shop would be better than continued conflict and aggravation—getting out before a riot jumps off.  On the bright side, Sal could have moved his business to a suburban mall and moderates on both sides of the aisle could move to better situations in the executive branch, private sector or academia—President Obama’s White House seems to like Republicans more than Blue Dogs.  While I am not the best person on faith matters, this situation makes me think of Luke 9:25:  

For what is a man profited if he gains the whole word, and loses or forfeits himself?

Discussions about using the reconciliation process in congress to pass health care reform makes me think about those brave Democrats who voted for Bill Clinton’s Budget Reconciliation Act in the early 90s and were defeated by smirking Republicans in the mid-term elections.  History has proven that Clinton was right but many Democrats in safe districts conveniently voted against that important legislation to save their seats. 

“I am voting the wishes of my districts.”  But what should a member do when his/her district has formulated opinions based on deliberate misinformation efforts.  Like Georgia native and eulogizer of Malcolm X, Ossie Davis’s character said in the Spike Lee’s film, always try and do the right thing.

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I am confused on some level about the fairness or lack there of involving southern congressional politics.  First, the biggest indicators of public sentiment are elections and when members get 68% or better of the vote, that is saying something about what the people in that district want.  A very vocal minority in an area should not be misconstrued as a better indicator that the election.  Of course, some would say that the winner beat a weak opponent but the fact that more suitable opposition did not set up again tells you something.

When the conservatives took over the White House and Congress in the 1990s, the Democrats responded by accepting the public sentiment and accepting a subset of their party that was near the center.  Georgia always had Democrat congressmen who were conservative called Dixiecrats.  So Democrats learned to understand that Blue Dogs worked with the Bush White House because a sizable part of their constituency wanted that cooperation and dialog.   The fruits of that labor include agreements on veteran, defense and agriculture issues. 

Now that the shoe is on the other foot, why are some from the Right attacking the same Blue Dogs who were respectful to President Bush and his policies that even other Republicans now question?  I can understand  “getting at” the city liberals but why disrespectful fuss at those who have been kind to your cause in the past.  After the “interesting” Gore v. Bush election, most southern Democrats accepted the results without the ugliness we see now.

Another thing: please put a members actions in it’s proper perspective.  I personally appreciate members on both sides of the aisle who listen to both sides of the issues.  If a member is from a district with a balance mix of political views, his votes should be equally mixed.  I would not expect Rep. Kingston, Rep. Linder or Rep. Westmoreland to make many liberal votes nor would I expect Rep. Lewis or Rep. Johnson to make conservative votes.  For the Blue Dogs in the Georgia delegation, the situation is complicated because they have both rural and urban areas; Democrat and Republican; and conservatives, liberals and moderates. 

If you have a hypothetical government program and half of your congressional district wants to fund it at $100 million and the other half wants it funded at $300 million, do you compromise at $200 million?  Those type decisions trouble House Blue Dogs and their staffers daily.  If you think about it, southern senators often have similar concerns because they represent the whole diverse state.  While Georgia has conservative senators, liberal-to-moderate metro Atlanta has more people than the whole state of Alabama.  It’s a balancing act. 

What about the Blue Dogs who appeased the Right during the Bush years but are reluctant to lift a finger to help the Obama White House.  What would you do as a member of congress if you realized that part of your support base was flat wrong?  Would this situation be similar to the southern members of congress who courageously voted for the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s when the possible backlash was apparent?

They should think about Texas Rep. J.J. Pickle and the other six southerners who voted for the Civil Rights Act because it was the right thing to do.  For all the glamour of the Kennedy brothers, where were they when people could not drink from a public water fountain, ride a bus or order a slice of pie at the lunch counter in Woolworth’s?  They were trying to avoid alienating the whole South.  LBJ was the arm twister who got it done after the unfortunate loss of JFK.  JFK, Bill Clinton, Al Gore and President Obama are maybe too nice to deal with the far-right and/or rogue Democrats.  I am beginning to think that Michele Obama and Hillary Clinton have that certain LBJ toughness to get things done—talk about some women who don’t play.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/19/AR2005061900885.html

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On the tennis court this morning, I faced the old “go left, go right” decision several times.  If I chose the wrong direction, my opponent could hit the ball in the opposite area and I would be burnt like toast.   A deeper consideration of that situation states that a player can accelerate in the current direction but changing direction is almost impossible.  In the 70s, we called that “the wrong foot” or “caught you leaning.” 

Politics mirrors sports at times and a person’s temperament on the field, court, or even playing chess tells you about his nature in business and elsewhere.  My opinion on “what’s next” in American politics was incorrect.  If I thought center, the South when right and I “got caught” leaning. 

When the conservative movement swept the nation, the Blue Dogs emerged as a moderate division of the Democrat Party, a home for those who felt the Right was too far right.  I naturally assumed that a similar moderate subdivision of the Republican Party would materialize after the election results of the last few years.  At this point, the situation is the opposite.  If you listen to conservative friends, you will learn that the commitment the Right has to their core principles is unwavering and inflexible.  If the general public wants to vote differently, those voters must be collectively mistaken about the best interests of our nation.

As I have written in the past, the GOP has a short bench of rising stars who could challenge the Democrats on issues, budget and logic; Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin comes to mind.  Unfortunately, others are more appealing to their base. We likely will not see a fresh crop of positive GOP candidates against the Blue Dogs in the South next year.  As General Colin Powell recently pointed out on Larry King, there are legitimate concerns with the speed and spending of the Democrats.  However, the GOP is opting for red meat candidates from the far right rather than those who could appeal to the center—great idea for the primary season but the general election is a different matter.  Of course, it is their party and they will live with the results of their strategies.    

The alarming part to me is that the leader of “what’s next” from the Right will not be Gingrich with his intellect or Romney with his command of the business world and financial markets.  You and I both know who is the next leader of the Right and what she will need to do and say to win; put on your seatbelt and prepare for a bumpy ride. 

I personally like Michael Steele and hope that our community will have an opportunity to better connect politically with our obvious conservative nature in the South.  However, going from a Blue Dog moderate to the far right is seriously wrong foot.  We will see how this situation plays itself out but don’t asked me because I often lean wrong. 

Bottomline: Will we see smoother GOP candidates or will others prevail?  If the GOP wants to push all moderates and centrists out, I am sure the Blue Dogs will take them. To finish the tennis parallel relative to politics, I tend to hang in the middle and go short distances left or right.  If you drift far left or far right, the other guy can pass you with ease.

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Former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn made a lot of sense on NBC’s Meet the Press this weekend.  I have always considered him the standard for southern moderates who must balance the interests of vastly different groups inside the same political area. 

Regarding President Obama’s position on Iran, Senator Nunn said:

FMR. SEN. SAM NUNN (D-GA):  Well, he said that the regime has been unjust and he has condemned the repression, and he has basically expressed over and over again, including long before the election in the Cairo speech, that the people had the right to be heard and their voice should be heard.  And certainly, I don’t think there’s any mistake whatsoever in the Middle East or anywhere else that President Obama is basically supporting the right of the people to vote and to make their influence known and not to be repressed.

You know, Winston Churchill said a long time ago that no matter how beautiful the strategy, occasionally you have to look at the result.  The result here is that we are not the story.  We have been the great Satan over there for the last 30 years.  We’re not the story.  Freedom, liberty is the story, the repression of the regime is the story.  So I think we’re positioned about right. 

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31463249/ns/meet_the_press/page/2/

I am feeling that Churchill quote about looking at the results because at the end of the day it is all about results.  The U.S. foreign policy cowboy mentality of telling most of the world what to do as if they are children was wrong and cloaking our corporate greed in foreign policy based on exploitation was also wrong.  Nunn has Obama’s ear and we are lucky for that because Nunn is going to call it like he see it with patience and deliberation.

Party politics was no big thing to Sam Nunn because his dedication was to the people of Georgia first.  The Black community in Georgia should look for the next Sam Nunn type.  Of course, we need to do it like we do it with our own version of conservatism that grows from churches and stable Black homes and businesses because the GOP establishment really doesn’t have a clue about the average Black person. 

Improving Black America starts with real talk about the decisions we make—what you put on your proverbial plate.   After years of having a sizeable Congressional Black Caucus avoid saying publicly that really needs to be said, our community should look into some conservative and moderate options that would get at what ails us.  It is about results and getting the results we voted for last November will require electing some Republicans who will fairly debate policy and spending with the White House. 

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