Red Lobster & Cheddar Biscuits = Fine Dining?

This was one of the funniest scenes + no profanity = yeah! from The Boondocks. This was the episode from Season One where the grandfather falls for a working girl who sadly returns to the life. The grandchildren are upset that he’s not taking them out.

So when I saw this video at BelleJenkins blog (h/t Harry Allen) where she asks people if they consider Red Lobster fine dining I immediately laughed when recalling that episode. The responses are funny, especially considering some of the people who’d be considered “hood” do understand the nuances between a chain restaurant and a 5-Star joint. Note at 1:45 someone mentions the cheddar biscuits. There you go!

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Old School Friday

Oh yeah! It’s Friday and it’s time for a little fun. I want you to break out the iced tea, juice, water or alcoholic beverage of choice and kick back cuz it’s the weekend baby!! This week’s meme is: THIS IS DEDICATED TO. So I’m thinking: to all the haters because it’s just been that sort of week. Cheney is bashing the President. Glen Beck has lost his mind. The American Idol “voting public” doesn’t like a man who wears guyliner. The Governor of California doesn’t like its residents. Sarah Palin worships the idea of motherhood but really hates women whose choices don’t align with her own. Reality TV is rotting meat for the brain. And Mother Nature has left the building. Have I missed anything else?

Just had to throw in something fun!
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California to Ah-nuld: DROP DEAD

Subtitle to this post: Schwarzenegger’s Revenge.
California’s about to go Third-World! 
Why you may be asking?
Well some of us haven’t received our unemployment checks for weeks. Others have actually had them BOUNCE. Yup, I don’t think anyone would have anticipated a check from the Federali with no legal tender but it has happened. Despite the funds having been released by them it would seem California may be holding on to that money because the State is BROKE-BROKEDY-BROKE! Since this is his last hurrah and HIS MONEY IS SAFE he thinks he can tell all of the non-wealthy, working-class and poor Californians to suck it. 
I guess he’s pissed about that little recall thing mounting…
Here’s an excerpt from the LA Times that ought to get your blood boiling:
With deficit forecasts growing darker by the day, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is considering a plan to slash California’s safety net for the poor by eliminating the state’s main welfare program, health insurance for low-income families and cash grants to college students. Advocates for the poor said elimination of those health and welfare programs would come at a steep price. Tens of thousands of families and children would be stripped of temporary financial help and health assistance, and the state would lose a huge pool of federal money that pays the majority of the program’s costs.
Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, said federal dollars cover up to two-thirds the cost of the Healthy Families program, which is for the working poor. The federal government pays about 58% of the cost of CalWorks.
“It’s beyond draconian,” Wright said. “It’s insane. Not just for dropping 1 million children from healthcare, but also for losing substantial federal funding.”
Okay, we get it Arnie. Nobody bought the Ballot Measure Sandwich you were offering. So now you’re playing hard-ball…but don’t count everyone out just yet. The blowback will be severe. Just watch. Trying to cut off your nose to spite your face will not have the desired results you may be seeking. Still, there is NO white horse riding in to save the State. 
So no offense to developing nations but this is how revolutions occur. The “powers that be” kill off the infrastructure after robbing a nation blind. They depose an (in)adequate leader for an even more corrupt and inept one. All hell breaks loose and things collapse. Then people get mad enough to bring out the pitchforks and kick some *ss. What exactly will the rich people do when they have no $2/hr workers cuz they chased everybody away? I have NO idea what these lawmakers are doing, but they are seriously gonna get it. It’s time for some heads to roll  – that’s all. Arnie won’t get elected for dog-catcher after this but he certainly deserves to be in the dog house for a long long time.
I just remembered to add the contact info to this post so it’s not simply one long (but justified) rant-o-thon. Phone calls, faxes and emails are so much more effective. Lots and lots of BAD PRESS!! California you CAN save yourself from tyranny and incompetence if you want to.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-445-2841
Fax: 916-558-3160 ( new number )

Los Angeles Office
300 South Spring Street
Suite 16701
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Phone: 213-897-0322
Fax: 213-897-0319

San Francisco Office
455 Golden Gate Avenue
Suite 14000
San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: 415-703-2218
Fax: 415-703-2803

Washington D.C. Office
134 Hall of the States
444 North Capitol Street NW
Washington D.C. 20001
Phone: 202-624-5270
Fax: 202-624-5280

Oh and don’t forget EMAIL.
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Non Conformity As Resistance to Mediocrity

Some would argue there is truly no non-conformity only pockets of rebellion that may lie within each of us. I remember being in my twenties and hearing staunch declarations of how some friends were so “different” from the norm. They wore it like a badge of honor. Yet often these same people were in fact quite a homogeneous bunch, who relied on their parents’ generosity for income and hadn’t moved very far mentally or in consciousness away from their suburban upbringing. Yet somehow they thought they were cutting edge because they wore eyeliner, listened to certain styles of music and owned a pair of Doc Martins. Ah the innocence (ignorance) of youth. 
Those that actively challenge the status quo of conformity are often held with a fierce derision. Often those who react so negatively have no idea why, but it’s such a visceral and immediate response. Why do we punish non-conformists?
So, if you’ve read my posts that have appeared late Tuesday evenings/early Wednesday mornings you know I’ve been following American Idol. I readily admit to not having watched it for some time or waiting until the it comes down to the final three contestants. The front-runner is usually quite obvious by this time. For example the season Carrie Underwood won I knew she would be chosen. She had a marketable look and wanted to perform country music which was an untapped market for Idol. I liked her but I knew for certain that Bo Bice was utterly amazing and yet didn’t quite fit the mold. His 1970’s flavor wasn’t going to impress 19 Management though he was obviously talented. 
Then I skipped a few seasons – happily – until I kept hearing a buzz about this one guy from Season 8. So I watched Adam Lambert perform and was immediately impressed. So many of the contestants were a cut above the norm and yet he was still able to raise the bar. I was curious at how self-possessed he seemed and at ease with himself which was something the others competing didn’t show. I also picked up his theatre background by the way he presented himself. There were discussions about his sexual orientation couched in code words like “theatrical” which I found mildly annoying. 
I couldn’t quite explain why I’d suddenly become so invested in a complete stranger who was clearly the best out of the bunch yet made people so uncomfortable – including the judges. I thought somehow they’d do something to tank his chances despite themselves to pick someone safer, nee blander. Since it’s supposedly up to the viewers to vote (which they don’t actually verify who votes, the number of times, the amount of or any of that) I wondered if people would actually come through and vote for an alleged “gay” Idol. See we don’t actually know but we suspect. As progressive as some people may like to think they are, they often want cookie cutter conformity surrounding them because it verifies their chosen identity. 
I’ve been seething about this American Idol loss and I know there’s a deeper meaning underneath. One of the contestants was of Indian descent and I had honestly rooted for Anoop Desai to go far simply because I knew certain people in this country would not support him regardless. I also felt the lone Black female finalist, Lil Rounds was treated horribly by the judges and overly criticized. She was given so many divergent messages of who she needed to be to satisfy them that she floundered. This may be about pop-culture “fluff” to some but there’s always a bigger issue at stake.
My posts questioning whether Adam would actually win seem rather prescient now. Then I remember it came down to two white men and perhaps I shouldn’t be so invested. Yet I see how one was made to be the other while the winner Kris Allen was deemed acceptable. Even he admitted he didn’t quite deserve to win – yet he’s fully accepted the reward for being the safe choice. 
Isn’t it time we stop playing it safe? 
As a woman we’re looked at as odd if we choose to not give birth to or raise other people’s children. As if the sole purpose of being a woman is to be a mother.
Not everyone wants to get married. As long as it comes from a place of empowerment – and all legal documentation is in order involving children, pets, property, holdings, etc then who are we to say it’s wrong?
Black people who don’t want to follow the rules of Blackness some would say particular actions verify it. It has become increasingly rare to see the image of Blacks in the normative because so much dysfunction is touted as being regular. That is a lie. Think of how many youths define themselves by wearing extra baggy clothes which is emulated after prison attire. Or dress in extra tight clothing that reveals their bodies. No one ever questions why they do the things they do.
Children should not be teased for being perceived as different. We seemed so surprised at the rash of youths that killed themselves over being taunted as gay. Children pick up on the viewpoints and language of their parents without a filter so why was it a shock to find out that certain people are very intolerant?
Traveling outside your immediate area. Leaving the country is a must. Immersing oneself into another culture is vital to one’s development as well-rounded person. 
There are numerous ways we can think outside the box and it first starts with being curious and listening to dissenting viewpoints. Now we must always be wearing our thinking caps about the messages we’re being sent, but isn’t it wonderful to find yourself being challenged in ways you hadn’t anticipated? Having a shift in consciousness can be quite liberating.

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Karen Bass on the California Special Election

Speaker Bass sounds so reasonable and is so personable. Perhaps if she had been able to talk to more people…nah! Nobody was buying that temporary increase with a decrease in services argument. Yet, I’d still like to see her run for Governor. 
Here’s what she says the State will do in response to this crisis.
Here’s a video highlighting the reign of Arnold and what it means. A little over the top but some valid points are made.
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Arnie If You Want Real Reform Here’s Where You Start

So the Governator’s second round of ballot measures got the perverbial smack down last night. Every Propostion with the exception of 1F which called for cap on Legislator salaries in an economic downturn. With low voter turn-out California voters sent a very clear message they’re not happy with Schwarzenegger. Why should we be. He rode in on his “Savior Horse”, using the myth of his movie hero status and a wife part of a political dynasty promising to “PUMP UP CALIFORNIA”. Well now that such ideas have not only been deflated but kicked to death and stuffed under the baseboards – we can turn our attention to the 2010 election and who else people think is going “save” them. Hint: it will NOT be Newsom so try not to fall for the okey doke AGAIN people!!
In the meantime an second recall initiative is officially underway. For real this time. With an October deadline and a 1M signature requirement I think it will go through. The state is currently $21B in the hole for this year alone AFTER this past budget shortfall of $53B. Now I know other states have high unemployment, high taxes and Governors who may not be the most popular *cough New York cough* BUT their states are in no way near as bad shape as California. Patterson and the NY Legislature BALANCED their budget. What’s up with California? 
They can’t keep blaming it on the economy. Not with Pelosi, Boxer and Feinstein being such poltical powerhouses. Not when the Governor and President have a cordial relationship. Not when the state is getting BILLIONS in stimulus funds. Sure we can point to individual politicians and the fact that passing a budget here requires a 2/3s majority – which is just plain FOOLISH. If Ah-nuld had run as a REGULAR candidate, mounted a great campaign and had won fair and square (ha) then perhaps we could take all of these other factors into consideration. Except his political ambitions got the best of him and he listened to the bees buzzing in his ear about how awesome he was….about how they could change OUR constitution to allow for a foreign-born to run for President….and the Republicans still had an iron grip on local, state and national politics in collusion with their corporate media bedmates. 
When Gray Davis was trying to get MILLIONS back to the state from ENRON who supported BUSH and BILKED us in fake fees, rate hikes and rolling blackouts, the Republicans planned for a little hostile takeover of California. And so many people fell for it that I still find it scary to this day. People were really sleeping at the wheel. Davis was no “saint” but he certainly wasn’t a villian either. As soon as Arnie got in office, the Enron recompense effort was halted and I bet many people would love to have that money back NOW. He also tried to go right-wing in California of all places, by going after the unions of teachers, nurses and fire fighters and cutting our vital services. It failed spectacularly! Can you imagine if the fire fighters had held a grudge and told us to bugger off with all the wildfires that have been unleashed? 
His first set of ballot measures FAILED and there was grumbling about getting rid of him less than two years into it. He quickly saw the writing on the wall, retreated and miraculously found money to put back into education that he’d taken away. How do you “find” $2B? By the way are you aware the state spends more on incarcerating people than education? Let’s think about that for a minute. Instead of PREVENTION the solution is to LOCK EVERYBODY UP. That Lynwood facility where they send all the celebs to, process and spit out due to overcrowding is one such example.
So we can blame nearly ALL the politicians for having their priorities askance. We can vote them out. But I take offense to the very idea that a man who had NO EXPERIENCE WHATSOEVER made wild promises about fixing the State only to make it worse in every way possible. He should be held accountable because he said he could handle it. The budget should not be based on future projections of earnings and overinflated home prices. Non-violent criminals should be released (with discretion of course). We shouldn’t have to pay a fee on top of a fee with yet still another fee. 
Yesterday’s ballot measures failed because they called for an open-ended period of time of tax increases and a reduction of services to divert funds. There was no guarantee that IF the State did get that money that they’d be responsible with it. Now I know people don’t like the idea of paying more taxes but if there was an even exchange for vital services it could be argued to pan out in the end. These recent increased coupled with double-digit unemployment just are just a blanket pile-on because they can’t add and subtract. So now I’ve got to give serious consideration to living in a state that may soon resemble a third world country with the expense of the Soviet Union. 
I want to see a PLAN Arnie about how you’re going to turn things around and STAT! Taxes should be proportionate. Firing teachers at public schools when you send yours to private ones is NOT a good look man. Don’t threaten to “let criminals run loose” in (white) neighborhoods to manipulate votes. Don’t say you’re looking for buyers for State-owned properties that hold value with people. Don’t force the SEIU to work for minimum wage when the average politician earns six figures AND a per diem. You look desperate, undisciplined and just plain MEAN. use some of that charm to convince people we’re all in this together and you have solutions that are different from the ones you’ve proposed before. Otherwise I can see that recall effort picking up speed by July I guarantee it. 

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A World Without Zora and Malcolm

Yesterday three giants shared a birthday. Lorraine Hansberry, Malcolm X and my mother! What if they had never been born? Imagine the impact of that and how the dynamics of their existence hadn’t taken shape. We are familiar with Hansberry’s work from A Raisin in the Sun but what of another woman who was ahead of her time?


“I am not tragically colored. There is no great sorrow dammed up in my soul, nor lurking behind my eyes. I do not mind at all. I do not belong to the sobbing school of Negrohood who hold that nature somehow has given them a lowdown dirty deal and whose feelings are all hurt about it…. No, I do not weep at the world–I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.”
“Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me.”
She understood what imperialism was. She knew the value of us freeing our minds. She celebrated being a woman at a time that wasn’t even considered. She challenged the so-called Black elites of her day. She found a way to earn a living as a full-time writer at a time when African-American women were usually employed as maids and washerwomen. She wasn’t appreciated or celebrated until another woman (Alice Walker) forced society to giver Hurston her due.
Malcolm X

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Adam Lambert or Kris Allen As the Next Jeff Buckley?

American Idol is almost over. This is it! I will be so happy once this season is done and the winner declared! I swear if it hadn’t been for the flurry of Tweets about Adam this and Adam that I wouldn’t have bothered watching. Then I got sucked into the Idol vortex, lol! Just “crown” your newest pawn and be done with it. Unless…Kris pulls out a last minute victory. Whatever, I’m over this (almost). Sorry I’m still rooting for Adam. He has a lot of passion for performing and makes it look so effortless. I really admire that because it is RARE for an unsigned artist to be so self-possessed and confident. I love it!
This is the “official” Idol Single – No Boundaries – not feeling this! 
Kris Allen: Is it me or was something just off about this performance?

Had to switch out videos because all of the Adam performances have been pulled. Is that an indication of who has won? Here’s his earlier rendition of Mad World.
Though the thought occurred to me that if they MUST package Adam as a banal (straight) rocker they could certainly take a step OUT of the box by doing something similar to the style of the late great Jeff Buckley. Now of course they’re two totally different individuals. I don’t know if Adam writes or can play an instrument since he hasn’t done so this season. Vocally though this could be interesting. Jeff put a lot of passion into his into his music and although he wanted to be thought of as an instrumentalist first, it was his voice that really MOVED me! 
The irony of course is that Kris more closely resembles Jeff between the two of them and plays guitar and piano. If he was able to do a bit more with his vocal styling he would’ve been considered a serious threat all along. Adam has great precision but he isn’t soulful by nature whereas Jeff oozed it. Jeff had his theatrical side as well. He was a huge Edith Piaf fan as well as Nina Simone. Either way whomever ends up the victor I’d advise them to study the Buckley “playbook” for cues how to be a multi-faceted performer.
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Deploying A Little Negro Spirit: When Black Female Artists of Substance Are Ignored

This is the fourth conversation in a series where I discuss race, culture, appropriation and the abdication of African-American touchstones due to devaluation of our unique perspective and shame.

Right now as I write this there’s a fight going on between the RIAA, radio broadcasters and the public. Only we don’t realize what’s at stake and who’s fighting for what, but when the dust settles we may be regretting our collective lack of participation. The RIAA is the lobby group for the record labels and distributors. You know, the majority of white men with all the money. They’re the ones suing 12 year olds for downloading music files. They also claim to be working in the interests of musicians, but in my opinion the fox doesn’t look out for the best interests of the hen house.

Continue reading “Deploying A Little Negro Spirit: When Black Female Artists of Substance Are Ignored”

What Was And What Will Be: Where Do We Go From Here?

Last week I asked if Blacks were prepared to step it up a notch or be replaced. So much of our thinking has to do with looking back at events from the past. From freedom post-enslavement period through Civil Rights to now, the rules of engagement have changed. We are now in an era where far too many are resting, satisfied with themselves while enjoying the efforts of the ones that came before us. That’s okay for a brief moment but it was never meant to become the norm. There’s far more work yet to be done and things that need to be accomplished for some to start skipping along the path. There are those sharing that road who want to bump us off of it as well as others who want more space for themselves. 
True equality has not been achieved and cannot be assured will be available to a majority. In the fight against white male patriarchy lies the fight amongst ourselves over gender, orientation, religious freedom  – really anything and everything. The key here is to continue working towards goals and constantly reassessing our status. Other groups of people do this all the time, yet African-Americans seem to resist the idea of introspection. There are arguments about “not airing dirty laundry” or not liking the “tone of what was said”or “who said what when” that is damaging to the collective such that it is. 
It’s the thinking that having a Black President means racism is done that is most damaging as of late. I’ve had conversations with Blacks who think we’ve “overcome”, tying this to MLK where they’re willing to trust whatever the President does with little scrutiny. I’ve also had to FIRMLY tell some non-Blacks that racism is alive and kicking. One action by a group of people (i.e the Nov election) does NOT wipe the slate clean or mean there’s been a significant change. It just means the circumstances were ideal at a particular time for a particular person. 
In the United States African-Americans are not the largest “minority” group anymore. Still the amount of work and contributions made by previous individuals helped advance the collective. Those efforts also paved the way for other groups to advance and should be recognized. I hope somewhere people are taking notes because the “students” are now more prepared than the “teacher”. They were led by example with such efforts as the Civil Rights movement and because they were a more cohesive bunch the observers have positioned themselves well.
What’s going on now is an all-out effort to delegitimize the contributions of African-Americans by those who know better. Coupled with a certain laziness and misdirection on the part of Black leadership and many have forgotten who they are. Individual pursuit takes precedence over protecting the interests of the majority. That’s why there’s no cohesiveness. Once integration was available and Blacks didn’t have to live amongst each other many decided to leave and took an entire infrastructure with them. Yet truth be told we can’t be certain there was a group of like-minded individuals who chose to be together or a forced mingling of people based on external categories. Many were only interested in maintaining a certain status quo that benefitted them if they could be the exception.
Some would remove the “Black” from the Black Experience. There’s a lot of (learned?) confusion about who is African-American. We all have class distinctions and personal viewpoints that inform our behavior. There’s an ongoing argument about whether the person growing up in a majority Black environment determines ALL aspects of their outlook. I lived in all-Black neighborhood. It wasn’t really by choice. The city I grew up in practiced blatant housing discrimination to keep separation of races intact. There were a few who managed to move into white neighborhoods. Race alone doesn’t make it automatically better though. 
I sought a variety of activities and a variety of people in my social circle. I was determined to be my own person, but I wasn’t ashamed of who I was. I found that far too many wanted to limit their interactions and deny their historical legacies in an effort to be like everyone else. Since when is “diversity” from a white hegemony a bad thing? 
It seems today there are far too many amongst us who are ashamed. Otherwise why do they mock others and engage in the lowest common denominator behavior? They may discuss freedom of choice in identifying their heritage but it’s predicated on denying their “Blackness”. There seems to be a discomfort and so many want to shrug it off as if it were a coat being worn in a warm climate. 
I’m going to use quotes from some who’ve been commenting as to what some of the core issues are:
From Khadija:
Self-determination; COUPLED & INTERTWINED WITH(b) self-esteem BASED UPON devaluing and distancing oneself from any “Black” identity (i.e., anti-Black racism). In short, modern anti-Black racism is cloaked in the language of choice and self-determination. And most of us are too confused to understand this.
From CDWriteMe:
Every person of color (even the sellouts) know that white don’t look at “half-whites” as white. They may be nicer to them, but they still consider them “the other”.
Regarding white people, predictable. They have tried every trick in the book, historically, to maintain domination. This is no different.
And, they will win if we don’t stop them. Alot of whites in America could care less if we were all hung or put in jail. In this political climate, however, they have to come at us more subtly.

Take away recording of races you take away the statistics. Take away the statistics, you take away the evidence. Take away the evidence, you have nothing to fight the ever-predictable white denial with. Let the white denial win out and there is no compulsion for civil rights enforcement.

White people may be alot of things, but, they’re not dumb. We need to educate each other and the biracials. We need to stay alert.
Do I have to state the obvious? Race is not racism. All Blacks aren’t African-American, but AAs are Black. White Africans who emigrate to the United States can NEVER be AA. They can never be BLACK. The day the entire white collective allows for all Blacks with any white ancestry to be considered WHITE then we can talk. It would be best for all those concerned to be able to draw a line in the sand, pick a side and stop straddling the fence. When it’s no longer convenient then we find out who our true allies are.

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