Blago Blago Go Away….

No one can say this man doesn’t have balls! Governor Rod Blagojevich is spending his time doing a press junket with the New York news media as his impeachment trials gears up. He’s scheduled to appear on Larry King later – bumping former President Carter from today’s line-up. I really wanted to hear what he was going to say about the Obama Administration because I know it will be of some substance. Carter always seemed more like a nice man than a shrewd (or uber-corrupt) politician. 
Instead we get to hear the “spin zone” from a shrewd politician. Need I add the corrupt adjective? I will still give Blago the nod of deference for the way he appointed Senator Burris over the objections of Harry Reid and exposed Reid’s meddling. That was brilliant. Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight, okay?!  
I love how Blago brings up Ah-nold. If California had any money left and additional year on the actor’s term he would be impeached, you can trust that! Since Twitter was all abuzz over his appearance on the View earlier I thought I’d post it. I’m still working on my follow-up #Inaug09 post but have a film class to attend in 15 minutes. Enjoy!
                       Barbara Walter Solo pt 1
                                Barbara Walters pt 2
                           Group Interview pt 3

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When Coloquialisms Run Amuck

I was having a conversation with a passerby while in a customer service line yesterday. We briefly spoke about the Inauguration and the weather in SF compared to DC. We separated and went about our business. As the woman left she turned back to say goodbye to me but what she said stopped me cold, “See ya later gurlfiend.” Or it was some variation of that because honestly my mind went blank for a moment as I felt as I’d been punched in the gut. I swear if she had used a a racial epithet I wouldn’t have felt worse. 
So why did it bother me that she addressed me in such a ‘familiar’ manner? I immediately told myself I was overreacting and she didn’t mean anything by it. So why did I want to go after her and tell her that wasn’t a friendly exchange? She was a white woman in her 40’s. I’m younger and am Black. I felt she insulted me and though it was partially race-based I feel much more strongly that it was a class issue and a way of keeping me in my place. Or the place where she sees Black people – not where I see myself belonging. 
If you know anything about me you will know two things: one is that I despise beer and cold tomatoes; the second is that I do NOT speak Ebonics!!!! I could walk out the door and onto the set of any news station and deliver the reports with aplomb, okay. I have a writing style that uses a certain stylistic flourish but I am edumacated. I don’t sashay down the street, do a neck roll, snap my fingers, pop gum, speak at an ear-splitting decibel or wear clothes that expose my body to the public. I have Black female friends and we do not refer to ourselves or each other in this manner. 
Of course this woman wouldn’t consider herself racist because I’m sure she knows some Black people. She may even live near some or work with them, too. To be clear I don’t have unlimited disdain for white women (or men) though I do bring up the systematic privileges white people automatically get to enjoy and how the majority don’t (want to) realize it. I also talk about how whites who think they’re more liberal or (non-racist) because they’re not members of the KKK but don’t acknowledge such privilege are deluding themselves. It’s easy to be benevolent when you’re holding all the cards. When the time comes for sharing and giving up some of those cards is when we shall see how invested in equality white people truly are. There are certain individuals who are aware of this and are willing to do so – but as to the collective – the jury is still out.  
I’m not even going to get into the racialized sexism particular to Black women as perpetrated by Black men and the Black community as a whole. It exists though and the sooner we stop trying to conform to ridiculous standards of ‘acceptable’ Blackness and putting ourselves last, Black women will continue to be the mules and overlooked. We will still internalize our suffering to our detriment. That’s for another conversation though.
Now I know this woman somehow thought it was okay to speak to me the way she did because no one has told her otherwise AND in part due to the crap on tv and in the media.  I also know that she does not refer to herself or her white friends that way. I have noticed lately a lot of non-Black people using what I’d refer to as some form of “Black-speak” with each other, which is definitely based on the class status as the source of those that use it but is almost always attributed to race exclusively. The larger problem is that this is the majority image being shown of Blacks around the world. It’s distinctly American and patently absurd. 
Quick: name a tv show with a majority Black cast that contains Black professionals who just happen to be Black. {Crickets}. Well, wait there’s the ABC Family show Lincoln Heights which is about a family that returns to the hood so the father can make it a better neighborhood. If you don’t have cable you can watch previous episodes at ABC Family online. Now what do I say about this other than this is the vision that someone has about Black people instead of it being envisioned by Blacks. What man in is right mind who understands his role of father and husband as a provider and protector would intentionally move his family into a bad neighborhood because he wants to ‘save the world’? That is the most arrogant display of ego or extreme foolishness as the character works in law enforcement. So if you can get past that giant roadblock I recall the show being advertised on the basis of the oldest teen daughter and her budding interracial romance. It’s not a bad show and is currently in it’s 3rd season – but that premise is very very flawed.
It’s a goldmine compared to the other 2 shows that come from the (feeble and Black woman hating mind) of Tyler Perry. House of Payne and now Meet the Browns. If someone asks me if I’ve actually seen any episodes I will admit that I haven’t. Why? The commercials show me all I need to see. Dumbier and Dumbiest. Laughing with their mouths open, dancing, jolly, rotund, loud and using made up words to convey a point. All they’d need is Blackface and throw in a few phrases using the word “massa” and that would complete the coonery. If I see another Madea movie advertisement….grrr!
The Game – if it’s still on the CW. A show about professional (foot)ballers and the women who may come in and out of their lives. Of course certain criminal elements refer to the “game” as dodging the law and trying not to get caught. Some guy decided to use that as his rapper moniker as well. Somehow I keep thinking the people that got beat up or killed during the Civil Right’s movement wouldn’t be pleased right now. 
Can I just state for the record how disappointed I was when WB & CW merged and Half & Half got cut! We never found out who Mona chose. I loved that show!  The Game is based on an excellent book, Interceptions and the real-life story of Staci Robinson. She pitched the idea and in true Hollywood fashion had her idea stolen and used without her permission or compensation. She sued and settled for an undisclosed sum. These situations are rarely exposed publicly.
Remember how the network cancelled Girlfriends (see where people get these ideas?!) after the writer’s strike ended without giving the audience a finale episode. It really pisses me off that shows like Gossip Girl are considered successful and those actors get the celeb weekly covers and the subsequent paparazzi interest when they have similar ratings – but I get it – different demographic. 2M+ viewers but one audience has less melanin is therefore more valued.  
I’m not even going to mention that joke of a show on CNN by DL Idiot and no, Chocolate News does not hold a candle to its counterparts on Comedy Central. So there you have it. It’s either reality tv with Black people foolishness or cable tv with it, but all I see is foolishness. So it’s no wonder some random stranger initially thinks despite the manner by which I carry myself I must be like the only images she sees on television. After all, other Black people watch these shows, will defend them as well as participate in the foolishness. 
One image of a Black family in the White House and one television show from 20 years ago is not going to undo all the damage that’s being inflicted by people who know better but don’t care because they’re cashing a check. Hurrah for progress! I guess I’ll brace myself in the future.

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President Obama’s Weekly Address

Excellent!
So I’ve tended to listen and dismiss them until now but he’s the Prez so this week was of particular interest to me. From plans to close Gitmo, to allowing less restrictive stem cell research, to the passing of the Ledbetter Equal Pay Act (which he’s expected to sign) I am liking what I see. He talks about transparency, building infrastructure and increasing the PELL grant. Yeah for students and it’s been 20+ years so it’s way past due. Broadband access and adequate public transportation are absolute necessities. He even addresses the skeptics. What can I say, he had me at hello.
Go to recovery.gov for more info. In case you haven’t checked it out the new Presidential website is like totally awesome dude. Ok I’m being a little silly I know but I just arrived back in SF about 2.5 hours ago and I’m a little punchy. I’m signing off to a take a much needed nap.

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Old School Friday

I still have 2 more DC related posts that I’m working on, but in the meantime I am back to my regular scheduled blogging (I think) between the nasal spray, Zicam, tea and soup. I am determined to not take any antibiotics unless absolutely necessary. I have to return to JFK and was able to get an earlier flight out. I didn’t mention how the airline half shredded my checked-in bag after charging those ridiculous fees. They promise a replacement piece of luggage – just putting it out there that I want a new Samsonite bag!

This week’s theme is songs that were banned on radio. I couldn’t think of any off the top of my head and I’m not interested in the more ‘colorful’ tunes out there. I think most of the crap that gets played today is what should be banned but that’s just me. I remembered about the infamous Clear Channel list that was distributed post 9/11 that included some of the greatest songs recorded and the irony of mediocrity that’s allowed today.

So here’s one of my favorite 80’s videos with the amazing vocal stylings of Pat Benatar. The theme in the video is very serious and I wish more artists would take creative chances and offer some substance. On a funny note, I always laugh at her attempts at being cool/the dancing diva but I still remember the choreography! Enjoy!

Love Is A Battlefield

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My Big Fat Inauguration Recap Part One

Sorry Folks: My internet access has been very spotty and I haven’t been able to update anything!

I’m sure for many it was a day of tears. Tears of joy, frustration, sadness or intimidation but definitely memorable. I for one was very happy not just for a Black man getting elected, but definitely getting a qualified person for the office of President. I’m especially proud of having our first Black First Lady and who doesn’t think their daughters are absolutely precious!

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk down ...

DC traffic was tightly micromanaged and the public transportation slowed to a trickle as the transit authority tried to manage the crowds. One woman fell onto the tracks at a station and would’ve gotten run over if not for the quick thinking of an officer who pushed her into the space under the platform.

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Many people camped outside overnight away from the perimeter zone by the National Mall in order to be the first ones on the scene. They didn’t care whether they had tickets or access – they just had to be there. The official count totaled 1.8M people but I can guarantee there were probably a minimum 500K additional people vying to get in. Factoring in the wind chill it felt as if it was 12 degrees or less, but that didn’t deter people from participating. Crowds flowed and swelled to the point where you couldn’t move your arms as people tried to push their way to the checkpoints.
Those who received Swearing-In tickets felt like the million dollar jackpot winners. Tickets were color-coordinated with a designated Metro stop and gate entrance. When I went to Nancy Pelosi’s office to claim mine the bulk of the remaining people milling around were stragglers begging for unclaimed tickets. Yes, some people actually did not show up! The ticket has a map on the back but there was some confusion amongst Silver ticket holders who went to the Purple Gate, which had a better viewing area.

I heard from other attendees (and apparently some of Pelosi’s staff) despite being in line at the time of the Gate opening (and having waited for 3-4 hours prior) they were turned away because so many others had tried to bum rush the wrong access points. Let me tell you, I would’ve been furious to have flown here and not get in because the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies did not plan well. That’s on Dianne Feinstein, who I thought was hamming it up to the nth degree and needed to remember it wasn’t her election, it was the Obama’s. Plus, I was informed by someone I met in passing he got a seated ticket from her office after requesting on November 5th and he’s not from California! If things are truly going to change in government we have to do something about patronage.
I saw the craziness from afar {magnify that crowd by 10K} and decided to leave for the comfort of an office party. I have a really bad cough right now so that decision was as much a health preservation as much as anything else. I was 2 blocks from the White House, warm and fed! I’m glad I left because I very well may not have gotten in and I promised I wouldn’t write another angry post like the one about Denver, but it’s the same problems for the same reasons. Don’t these committees PLAN for anything? Did they really expect people to honor the fact they didn’t have tickets and would stay away from the ceremony?! Ha! There has never been this level of interest in an election.
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While at the party I was on Twitter and reading the real time messages out loud had many of us cracking up. Bill Clinton looked mad and I saw Hillary nudging him to perk up and be happy for the cameras. Jimmy Carter was beaming. Dick Cheney gets zero sympathy for his wheelchair antics and scowl. Shrub looked like he wanted to bolt. I also noticed how he and Laura were oh-so-firmly being guided to the plane to get the h-e-l-l out!!
We had a collective sigh of relief that Aretha Franklin stayed fully covered but I was surprised she wasn’t wearing one of her many furs. Rick Warren was a big bore – but he had to be chill. Jeff Lowery was hilarious – and no offense – very elderly! I loved that he tacked on a portion of the Negro National Anthem to his Benediction. Elizabeth Alexander’s poem was like a great piece of art: beautiful but over the heads of a lot of people. Reading the text later made it much more palatable.
Who didn’t notice how Chief Justice Roberts messed up the Oath? You know our new President AND First lady both had it memorized. Some pundits tried to claim he was nervous – yeah right! It was hugely disrespectful. I can’t wait for him to be neutered when Obama starts appointing new members to the Supreme Court. I also think it’s time to revisit this lifetime appointment nonsense. **So now Roberts contacted the President to redo the Oath after receiving much derision. Idiot!
Our new President’s speech is also being panned in some circles. Fox News is just mad that they’ve been ignored at every conference and put in the dunce corner! That’s what they get for calling our First Lady a Baby Mama. I am happy to report that after collapsing during the Inaugural luncheon Ted Kennedy has been released from the hospital. Poor Robert Byrd also needed assistance but nobody’s talking about him. How likely was it for a former Klan member to support a Black man for the office of President?
President Obama (I won’t ever tire of writing that) proved that he could run for office without the expressed approval of the old guard Civil Rights appropriators or the so-called but doing little Black elite. Speaking of, I noticed 4-5 members of the Congressional Black Caucus on the dais with the Obamas and everyone else. So we know that Donna Edwards is cool and truly progressive, but does this indicate a shift in their relevance?
Thanks to white supremacy we tend to focus on race disproportionately. There are definite class differences amongst Blacks that are not acknowledged. Part of the issue with lack of advancement opportunities has a little something to do with that. The portion of his speech where he spoke about overcoming barriers and freedom to pursue our bliss was very poignant for me.

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama dance at ...
Michelle wore a lemongrass Isabel Toledo sheath dress with overcoat, Jimmy Choos and leather gloves in a great shade of green during the Swearing-In and a Jason Wu gown for the Balls. I see that begging on television incessantly paid off for Beyonce who got to serenade the First Couple for their First Dance at the Neighborhood Ball. Where was Jennifer Hudson? She decided to perform at the Super Bowl so why not the Inauguration? Oh well. Psst. I’m gonna put it out there with fingers crossed behind my back: I’m wondering if Michelle has not been working out as much as she usually does…..or if she might possibly be pregnant {dodging thrown shoes}.
I did manage to watch the Colbert Report Tuesday and he touched on some of the things a few of us were grumbling about: like why the focus was on asking Black people if they ever thought they’d see the day we’d have a Black President. He also did some other things that were funny…but gross! This ignores bigger issues – for as powerful as that symbolism is and how happy this election makes some of us feel – it still doesn’t address core issues of personal responsibility and correctly wielding political clout. I want the Obama Presidency to be considered one of the great times in our history. There can be no denying how he and the family really move people and have touched us in a profound way. He may the exception but I also want Black people reevaluate our priorities and not rely on that. I especially want Black women to know better and do better. Our futures will depend on it. This is a wonderful time for reflection, renewal and making small but lasting changes.

I have much more to say but I needed to attend a breakfast being thrown by Speaker Pelosi for California constituents. I’ll report more on that later.

Obama photos: AP/Check out my Flickr stream for the rest.

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Greetings From DC

Hey All,

Sorry for not posting this weekend but this isn’t the time to be lugging a 5lb laptop everywhere! I am sucking on throat lozenges as we speak. A lot of talking and a 50 degree change in weather makes this girl’s throat beg for mercy!! Anyway, I will be posting pictures and such soon I promise!! I have already met so many cool people that I actually forgot to record some of our conversations. I’m still getting my bearings but DC is VERY COOL! Well. it’s actually FREEZING right now but you know the people here are very warm :). The DC Metro reminds me of Atlanta’s. I’m going to research if it’s the same architects/builders.

I hope everyone gets to watch the We Are One concert. It was pretty darn good!!! Let’s not forget today is the annual celebration of the life and times of Martin Luther King, Jr. Today is a day for service. I plan on helping myself – to some hospitality and spirits!!!

Smooches—

Queen Latifah Intro: Performance by Josh Groban and Heather Headley

Renee Fleming Performance

Jamie Foxx Doing a Funny & Accurate Barack Imitation – oh yeah and Steve Carell is there too! Plus Bettye Lavette & Jon Bon Jovi

P.S. Here’s the Flickr stream for Inaug#09

Oh and in case we need a reminder:
THIS IS THE LAST DAY OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION!!!!!!! TRULY A DAY FOR CELEBRATING!!!!!

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Old School Friday

This week it’s television theme songs. Meme started by Mrs. Grapevine. I’ll try to pay a little more attention to what’s going on. Last week was high school graduation year and 1999 isn’t mine! Oh well. It’s all good. I chose Fantasy Island. As a kid I thought this show was funny. The unfamiliar accents, the disco suits and the beautiful landscape was very unique. Looking at what’s out today gives me an appreciation for the risks taken with this show. RIP Ricardo!

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Supremes Say Yes To Illegally Obtained Evidence

The Constitution was always a flawed document inasmuch as the architects were guilty of major double-standards in drafting it. It works in theory however – and it’s supposedly the jewel in the crown of the making of a nation. Now we know this country was built on murder and mayhem but we were supposed to aspire to attain greatness despite that. Like I said – in theory. So now the Supreme Court delivers yet another blow to the idea of ascendancy by revealing the reality of its applicationHow low can we go? Apparently there is an even deeper bottom. Now perhaps some lawyers would like to weigh in on this, but doesn’t this mean false evidence used to prosecute people has been legitimized? Now I know the Law & Order series is a nice scrubbing of the actual corruption of law enforcement (which is only as good as its participants). Dick Wolf really goes out of his way to show a fair and balanced Police Department and District Attorneys Office.  So now what? More death row inmates being tried and found guilty for crimes they haven’t committed? Doctored DNA? Where does this end? If police don’t get search warrants or have just cause for their actions (thereby shooting more innocents) how far will this spiral downward?
Photo: AP

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Ah-Nold Channels A Little Palin & Shrub in 12 Minutes or Less

Sigh. Big Sigh. What can I say that hasn’t already been said? During his latest State of the State address Schwarzenegger claimed the Dems and Repubs won’t play together to agree on a budget and yet – and yet – he keeps vetoing everything put in front of him. He wants all of the non-elites to feast on cake because they’ll be NOTHING LEFT after they’ve gutted EVERYTHING. California officially runs out of money in two weeks and he’s still making excuses!! I mean this is ridiculous. He wanted to be Governator and that requires REAL LEADERSHIP. All he does is flap his gums and make excuses. He had the nerve to try to suggest that our Constitution be changed to allow foreign-borns to run for President. California is one of the largest gross national products in the world. Can you imagine how badly he would’ve messed up this country? Well we already have our example of ineptitude and callousness from really rich people who could care less and are incompetent. We are NOT going there again. I have my concerns (and joys) about the Obama administration but I know he’s not anywhere close to some of the people running things. Geez. 
Photo: AP

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After All the Brouhaha Burris Is Senator

U.S. Senate appointee Roland Burris laughs with students at ...
Burris said it best, “I AM the SENATOR!” What took so long? Some cried racism without credibility but the “fact” of assumption that his appointment wasn’t valid had many pondering. Some said it was a matter of paperwork (but since it was being stalled that’s not a fair assessment). Others put their foots in their mouths and had to back down (that would be Harry Reid). Roland Burris is now the Junior Senator representing Illinois. I bet all the people who turned down Blago are kicking themselves somewhere right now. Note to the Madigan family: if you don’t first succeed try and try again!

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