I’m Taking Matters Into My Own Hands

Ok it’s the weekend and my post is coming later than I would have liked. Well I’m traveling! I’m in Los Angeles seeking out some job leads and I can’t get my laptop configured! Ugh!!! The plus is that I’m using the new MacBook Pro of my host’s and feeling a dose of consumerist envy right now. My G4 is officially 3 years old and is starting to load pages slowly. I so want a new one now – and it’s sooooooo unnecessary!! Anyway we had a bit of an adventure when we got locked out of the house earlier. Luckily this is a great neighborhood with a fire station literally around the corner. So we walked over there and I met Keanu Reeves’ doppelganger. I think this man looked even better actually. How cool was it for 4 strapping young men with tools to come to our rescue! They work 3 days on/4 days off so on Thursday we promised them baked goods. They found their way in without having to smash anything. It was a good security drill to discover how easy it could potentially be for someone to break in.  I now have a major firefighter rescue fantasy going on. Unlike the police, fire fighters are always thought of in either benign or glowing terms. They are there to help and they are built! Oh man I’m losing my train of thought now…
So a friend and I went to see Estelle Thursday evening. As a singer I always evaluate how a performer runs their show, taking note of how many musicians they bring with them, song selection, stage outfit, audience banter and other examples. She had 8 musicians backing her. As a new artist touring small venues that’s a lot of people to pay. I thought she was immediately and aggressively building her future audience and grabbing loyalty. Usually a new artist tries to cut corners because they’re not making any money yet and use 3-4, possibly 5 but definitely not 8.  Three backup singers were working the stage like it was their own show, a dj and instrumentalists rounded things out. She established a great rapport with the audience and invited some on stage for one segment. She specifically thanked people for spending their money in this economy to see her. She also talked about her own struggles trying to earn a living doing music, potentially having a negative attitude and giving up and why she decided to push through all the doubts and uncertainties. Which was why she was there performing for us. She didn’t give up. That was the clincher for me. She gets it! She imparted some knowledge and was encouraging to all of us in our endeavors. I am so impressed by her now.
Which brings me back to this. I can pinpoint times where I’ve fallen into a rut but didn’t think I could change my circumstances. Years could go by if you aren’t careful. Perhaps it’s about one’s dating life or career trajectory or a decision about what school to attend. Sometimes the timing will never be convenient or easy for making these types of decisions. Times are tough right now but I think NOW is the time for as many of us to push through despite that. We can be the “exception”. We can draw good things, generate and seize opportunities. There’s nothing to lose from trying. Whatever you are trying to accomplish right now, even if you have to start from scratch, even if you are doing things on a wing and a prayer be in it to win it.

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Old School Friday

TGIF! Happy Weekend All. This week’s meme is “Songs With the Word Heart”. I immediately thought of the hard-living, wearing hers on her sleeve singer extraordinaire Janis Joplin. Of course Cry Cry Baby is my favorite but Piece of My Heart is one of her most popular songs. 
Then I thought one video wouldn’t be enough and I was scrambling for another song off the top of my head. Who came to mind? Bonnie Raitt of course! I’ve always admired her behind the scenes work with getting back royalties and benefits for R&B/Blues/Soul artists. She’s a class act! When I went to Youtube for the original I found a cover by Alice Smith. So enjoy Have A Heart as well. 
Finally for laughs I had to add the greatest romance theme song ever, the song some of us love to hate in fact, Celine Dion‘s My Heart Will Go On from Titanic. Who didn’t get gushy over Leo and Kate? I’m going to add my review of the Estelle show for tomorrow’s post. Take care. 
Other meme participants include pjazzypar, Mrs. Grapevine (creator), PPR_Scribe, Shae Shae, Vivrant Thang and many others. Check out their selections too!

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Prop 8 & New Jersey 4 & Other Misdeeds: Where Race, Class & Gender Collide

Later on today the oral arguments will be heard in the California Supreme Court pro and con regarding the passage of Proposition 8. The judges will have 90-days to render a verdict. If the ruling strikes down the Proposition, the California Constitution will forever alter the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman and the same-gender marriages performed will be left intact. If it’s struck down those marriages get invalidated and all hell will break loose!
These are the three questions being covered in three hours. 

Is Proposition 8 invalid because it constitutes a revision of, rather than an amendment to, the California Constitution?

Does Proposition 8 violate the separation of powers doctrine under the California Constitution?

If Proposition 8 is not unconstitutional, what is its effect, if any, on the marriages of same-sex couples performed before the adoption of Proposition 8?

We could discuss the meaning of marriage where women were/still are chattel and the “love” concept is a special privilege open to wild interpretation – and poor execution. What can’t seriously be denied is that we live in patriarchal society where marriage was/still is a contract that can elevate one’s financial/social status but it’s definitely meant to maintain it at the very least. Marrying “down” is a big no-no because it could plunge a woman and her future children into poverty and a life of hardship. Yes, this is a decidedly hetero-leaning evaluation but often a “marriage” is an exercise of survival for an entire family.
When looking at it from that perspective the way the laws are set up everything from tax breaks to custody can be greatly enhanced by conforming to what’s the accepted standard. The question now is what will that standard be? Personally, I think everyone should have all of the legal benefits of what’s commonly viewed as marriage but separate the religious baggage attached to it. Even atheists marry after all. People who wish to add that can take that up within their individual faith practices. Which could be a whole other battle but I say go where you’re wanted and don’t put your money into people and institutions that don’t value you – all of you. I somehow suspect that if the money dried up a bunch of “religions” would suddenly find new meaning in their religious dogmas that would favor the departed. 
After watching numerous news reports, reading articles in newspapers and blog posts I still feel conflicted about the whole thing and it’s been four months. I’ve written posts about my thoughts why No On 8 would fail, the ruling and its aftermath in my November 2008 archives. I still feel that the people most gung-ho for Prop 8 are middle class white men with some white women sprinkled in there. Funny enough so is the opposition. Of course the focus of ire was reserved for Blacks even though Asians and Latinos also voted in opposition of it at a greater rate. Blacks only make up 6% of the state and since we (over)populate the Prison Industrial Complex (to the point where the state spends more on prisons than education) you can bet a large percentage didn’t even vote at all. 
We’re gonna beat that dead horse some more because Blacks were universally blamed from Dan Savage to Andrew Sullivan, curiously enough white…gay…men who retreated with little (Sullivan) or absolutely no (Savage) apology. It irks me to this day!! Marriage equality (as it’s poorly termed) doesn’t begin to address the complexities involved with this, but let me tell you all something. Equating it with Civil Rights will eliminate many would-be allies each and every time. Marriage can never be equal in a patriarchal society (where a woman is property) but I suppose that’s a nuance too subtle for most of the (white) men to get!
For some white gay men it’s their only issue of contention and once satisfied they’d return to their self-absorption (white male privilege) without a thought to anyone else’s suffering in the world at large. I’ve barely seen any non-whites involved – and that’s not to say that there aren’t many who support marriage rights – they’d certainly benefit from it. I was following Jasmyne Cannick’s writings during this time (in November) and she took an unpopular stance (for some) by stating it wasn’t the biggest priority for her and how the Gay Rights Industrial Complex (my terminology) of mostly white men had hijacked the narrative while refusing to build key relationships with Blacks and other people of color. Just like Eric Holder calling out people’s cowardice for ignoring race issues, white people just don’t want to hear it. It’s uncomfortable and it disrupts privilege. Too bad!
That relationship is further fractured with the implementation of the ridiculous “Gay Is the New Black” meme being used without remorse AND after numerous people let it be known how inappropriate it was. My position has always been to wonder why the Black LGBT “community” allowed this narrative to take hold without protest? Blacks have always been uniquely involved in securing equality – our very lives depended on it. From Crispus Attucks, to Toussaint L’Overture, to the pre-Stonewall activities, to Bayard Rustin, to Barbara Jordan and beyond we’ve always been down for the cause. 
So now it’s okay that everyone else gets to reap the benefits while ignoring our historic contributions? Not on my watch!! We can argue about how gay rights, like feminism will always show cracks along the fault lines of race, ethnicity, gender and class constructs but….so what! White people shouldn’t always have to be reminded of how we built this country with our blood, sweat and tears when most of us where brought here by force. The ignorance is very grating and unacceptable.
I don’t recall any national protests, major news reports, Olberman or Maddow-style “special segments” or candle light vigils being held for the Black women sent to prison and separated from their families and children for defending their very lives. Where were the local LGBT chapters offering help from them being attacked in the press during the farce of a trial? If you asked the average person they’d probably know about Prop 8 but would have no idea what a “New Jersey 4” is. In case you dear reader are unfamiliar with this case, 4 young women were defending themselves from being raped in 2007 by a man who thought he could make a lesbian straight and a fight broke out. 
The prosecutors apparently didn’t believe a Black woman had the right to refuse sex from some jerk on the street while the judge had utter contempt for the women during their trial and sentenced them to terms harsher than men get for killing their wives. If this sounds familiar to a gay bashing or what happened to Brandon Teena it’s because it is. Except for the race part – so I guess all bets were off. By the way when you do a search on Google it doesn’t even pop up automatically. Why is that? When the LGBT issue is fought from the body of a Black woman there is nobody there for her. 
Even moreso when that she is a transwoman. We all know how the GRIC fails miserably at setting an appropriate agenda and offering the same amount of support for trangendered issues as gay issues. Violence is prevalent and often directed at Black women (and other WOC) in a much higher proportion considering population size. From the violence in mostly Black residential areas to hate crimes, Black women are under assault constantly. Didn’t we just hear about a 15 year old who was beaten by two racist cops while in custody? Just look at the life – and death – of Duanna Johnson or all of those whose names fill the pages for the Day of Remembrance. It is not a coincidence and it is not right!  
Yes, there has been some attention – mostly from female bloggers of color –  but it’s like a drop in the bucket when all the “leaders” are white and all they care about is “marriage” as the single most important agenda and the media hasn’t covered anything else with the same intensity. So if all LGBTs had the right to marry tomorrow how is that going to improve the lives of those women from behind bars or bring back those who didn’t survive their attacks? As for me since I consider my time precious and the No on 8 leaders thought they had it in the bag I’d suggest we spend our time actually helping those that need it and would appreciate it. I haven’t seen or heard from them since November trying to do anything to rebuild what they tore down. 
Let’s focus on what’s most important. Tell Essence magazine to get off their “Black Love” nonsense and save some Black women.  Remind the NAACP their purpose is to help all Blacks not just Black men who’ve been hurt by white cops. Call up GLAAD and the HRC to get off their high horse. Let’s not forget the names of the New Jersey 4 and their ages at the time of their attack and subsequent arrest:
  • Venice Brown (19)
  • Terrain Dandridge (20)
  • Patreese Johnson (20)
  • Renata Hill (24)
When are MILLIONS of people going to demand they get justice? 

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Are You Flailing? How to Refocus.

Tips from Mastering Online Marketing by Mitch Meyerson though I think this applies in any industry. His books are well known to those setting up e-commerce businesses. Which is a great side hustle by the way. 
First, it all starts with your brain. We don’t need to have all of the answers, we just need to be willing to ask questions. Solutions will appear – and that’s not just New Age-speak. Regardless of what happens after this economic downturn (whether it manifests as a recession or depression or near total collapse is still undetermined) it’s going to be those of us who are resourceful that will best ride this out. (Hey I’m trying to motivate myself as I write this too!)

10 Personality Traits of Accomplished People

1. Conscientious and reliable (don’t be a flake)
2. Altruistic and considerate (there’s always somebody worse off than us)
3. Flexible (think rubber ball)
4. Able to give and receive constructive feedback (take good advice)
5. Passionate and enthusiastic (gotta have a reason to get out of bed)
6. Optimistic (always thinking the sky is falling sucks)
7. Committed to life-long learning (education is so much more than school)
8. Tenacious and persistent (be like a dog w/a bone)
9. Balanced in mind, body and spirit (woo..this is challenging but it’s key)
10. Focused on the long term (the sacrifices of today pay well into tomorrow)

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Who Believes Steele Has What It Takes To Be the Republican Party Leader?

How can we work this fissure in the Republican party to our advantage? I’m only posting this because someone downloaded it to YouTube. Regular readers of my blog know I cannot stand DL Idiot, but those bright lights are always a clarion call to some of our people. A sucker is born every minute so the saying goes. Apparently only the misogynistic Black woman hating men get a national spotlight (the Perrys, the Smileys, etc). 
Chuck D is always an interesting study. At least I know when he opens his mouth something intelligent will usually come out. Such is not the case for Michael Steele. Oh Michael Steele. Where do we start? I know we so want to clown him because he’s corny, lame and dripping with insincerity. He tries to claim some traumatic downtrodden childhood dodging bullets and stepping over crack pipes instead of his quiet lower Middle class upbringing. I bet a shrink would have a field day with all of his obvious issues. At least they seem obvious to me. 
He wants to be liked and has misplaced loyalties but is also distrustful of other Blacks he may not personally know. I’m sure he was teased a lot as a kid but it’s time to let it go man! Stop hating on Black people for being Black. You can tell he’s mediocre, a people-pleaser and insecure. Everything Obama is NOT. He’s someone who would reject his Black heritage if he was recently bi-racial but alas he doesn’t have that privilege. So instead he just makes stuff up. Like claiming college students rolled Oreo cookies at him during a speaking engagement. Like complaining about legit criticism of the Bush administration from the get-go. Of course we wanted his policies to fail, look what has happened to the country under his tenure?!!! Hello! He even referenced the photo dearly departed blogger Steve Gilliard had posted on his blog (and removed after all the whining from the attack dog Rethugs who can’t take their own medicine) years ago at the SOBU as if it happened yesterday. I mean talk about thin-skinned! If Obama overreacted the way he does he would’ve never made it through the election. 
Oh but Michelle Malkin of all people still has it on her hate-fest blog, go figure. Beware of all the brown-skinned people who aren’t your kin folk
steelesmeared.jpg
All of a sudden Steele wants the Black community to come together. His entire career has been built on self-interest and working with white allies in a paternalistic fashion. I’m not going to knock that per se, it’s just that he’s decried Civil Rights and has tried to claim it’s all about an individual’s effort. He never wants to have a detailed discussion about systematic racism and in fact denies its impact. I get the feeling any legit inroads we might make would be undermined for his own personal gain. After all, when he ran for office he bused in homeless people to canvass neighborhoods in a different state.  So he is not to be considered a full ally. However he might prove useful in the short term. 
I find it interesting that he’s insisting on being referred to as the HNIC of the Republican Party when he’s simply the RNC Chair, but doesn’t speak for the entire party.  Apparently Rush Limbaugh concurs and them’s fighting words! 
Monday on his show, Limbaugh said: “You know who needs a little leadership? Michael Steele and those at the RNC.”   “It turns out we’re the leaders,” he added. “We’re going to have to pick them up and drive them back to their core.”  In an interview on CNN with D.L. Hughley, Steele assured that he, not Limbaugh, was in charge of the party before saying that he wanted to put the right-wing talker “into context.” “Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer,” Steele said. “Rush Limbaugh, his whole thing is entertainment. Yes it’s incendiary, yes it’s ugly.”
As an example Howard Dean served as the DNC Chair and designed the 50 State strategy that Obama used to win amongst other initiatives. Dean is definitely not the leader of the Democratic Party. He didn’t even get a position in the Obama administration as a matter of fact because he’s not a right fit per a spokesperson. Whatever!! I’ve let my feelings about Obama working with all the enemies and rewarding them while most of the supporters got sidelined or the axe be known. 
If Steele is serious about building bridges, making inroads and is in fact calling the shots then he needs to cut Limbaugh off at the knees. If that sounds harsh it really isn’t. There’s a war going on at Rethug central and a real leader knows how to be sweet as well as deadly when necessary. 
From US News: Of concern is that Steele, the party’s first black chairman, will be attacked by Limbaugh and other talk show hosts, further splitting the party…Republicans are concerned that a feud between the national party and conservative talk radio would upset donors, who would stop giving to the party. “One possible outcome is that giving by the base, sickly for the last few years, could get even worse,” said a key GOP donor. Steele’s supporters, however, say that he is not trying to pick a fight with conservative radio and is just trying to counter Democratic charges that Limbaugh—who has engaged in a verbal war with President Obama—is the de facto boss of the party. He is also trying to put the word out there that the GOP is open to other viewpoints.
Personally I don’t think he has what it takes. Limbaugh is a bear with sharp teeth and claws but perhaps Steele’s ambition will get him to be more shrewd – and ruthless. I really want to know who his secret allies are because Steele isn’t doing all of this by himself you know. Until we see who emerges victorious I’ll be breaking out the popcorn. 
Update: Before I’ve even posted the story Steele has already cried uncle….or perhaps the more appropriate term to use would be massa and has apologized to Limballs. See….what a sucker! Round One: Limbaugh & Racists.
To Be Continued I’m sure……

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Snoop Dogg Joins Nation of Islam – Further Proves His Irrelevancy

Is this a feeble attempt at maintaining a certain amount of popularity? Is the Nation of Islam that hard-up for members? Or can anyone join? Well…they do have a prison ministry so I guess so. Now Snoop’s one of the gang? This coming from a guy who thought it was cute to show up at the MTV Awards with two Black women on leashes. I’m not seeing a lick of common sense being used here – of course there could be no brain cells left because of the love of dat herb. Did he give up the weed and the womanizing? Stay tuned cuz enquiring minds want to know……not!

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About this Chris Brown/Rihanna "Reunion" – BIG FAIL!

This is not a time to be playing Donnie Hathaway/Roberta Flack’s song “Back Together Again”.
You know I was going to write a long-winded but poignant post about domestic violence, how the lives of Black women and girls are in constant peril and about how (some) Black people will make all kinds of excuses for the misdeeds of a Black man because only he is the “oppressed” one whereas Black women are supposed to be invincible to any attack and are always capable of being fully responsible, but I think anyone who reads my blog already knows how I feel about these types of situations. 
This is a preview of what her corpse will look like if she continues to make poor choices about the men she allows into her life and what is and isn’t acceptable behavior from them. I’m using the big photo so people can be reminded of the ugly truth.

Instead I’m just going to say this: all the excusers and deniers need to know what it feels like to get the crap beaten out of you by a guy who claims to “love” you, all the wanna be tough guys/punks need to spend time in a real jail or prison with a few hardened criminals for a reality check and I don’t have any sympathy for Rihanna the next time she gets a beat down. Yes, it WILL HAPPEN AGAIN but this time it’ll stay behind closed doors.
You know as much as I find the toxic tone of Perez Hilton’s blog distasteful at times, he really stood up for her and had the appropriate public outrage Black people SHOULD HAVE HAD over this instead of all the hemming and hawing that was on display. This is why the “collective” is in a free-fall and it’s everybody for themselves. You might be trying to do your very best but five idiots down the street are ready to knock you and yours off over a few trinkets or some perceived slight. Or just because they’re evil. Some of them may be miscreants but often they’re the educated fools working in concert with others to step over you for pennies on the dollar.
Unless Chris Brown gets therapy, admits he’s at fault AND faces all legal consequences he isn’t remorseful and no amount of “counsel by his pastor” will change that. Rihanna should have never gone back to him and I am angry at any supposed friend or relative in her life that encouraged her to do so. They do NOT have her best interests at heart. Frankly right now she doesn’t have her best interests at heart. This isn’t cute and it certainly isn’t a joke. This is how women end up DEAD. It sends a bad message to all of the females that admired her for her spunkiness. Oh well, this is yet ANOTHER REASON why we should NEVER make a role model out of a celebrity. 

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When Will the Gov’t Say "Enough" to AIG?

In this Sept. 16, 2008 file photo, an American International Group office
Another $30B? Is propping up AIG that important? It makes me wonder if rumors that the insurance giant is a CIA front are true. At some point you have to let your child go off into the world and sink of swim. Or can the Powers that Be just cut us all a check for $65K and be done with it. You the know the hell in a handbasket thing……

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I Watched the Conservative Political Action Conference For Laughs

Rush Limbo trying to have “righteous” outrage while still being a contrarian smacks of desperation. He knows Reaganomics has killed the economy and is in serious denial about it. We don’t want the country to be the one you prefer! He’s talking about the Obama administration as if he’s been in office for at least one term instead of 5 weeks. It’s the end of an era (error) and the Republicans don’t know how to survive. Gov. Jindal fumbled at the end zone and RNC Chair Steele sat on the panel at the SOBU but will do nothing. Pandering only goes so far. 
I won’t underestimate their craftiness and cunning though I see the Republicans digging in their heels and further alienating more reasonable people. Power concedes nothing without a fight. I hope enough see this and work even harder to push not just a centrist agenda but a truly liberal one that will finally benefit the poor, women and children.  That will mean going up against the co-opted Democratic politicians as well. For all the ranting Obama is NOT A LIBERAL. 
Now that the Rethugs are scrambling we have a chance to make serious changes of an ethical and spiritual nature. I do believe every super power falls, but perhaps we’ve been given an opportunity to stem that tide or even make the decline less harsh. I don’t know but there is a definite shift in the order of things and we should take heed and prepare.

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