Friday, December 26, 2008

Back Again

This fall I worked both a full time and part time jobs = 7 classes, 4 days a week, 3 campuses, 8 am class, 3 night classes, 2 hour commute, and a partridge in a pear tree :-) The bad news: I BARELY survived! The good news: it’s OVER! :-) Due to the “SEMESTER FROM HELL” I have not updated this blog in a long while, but will do better in 2009. My plan is to post links to articles and videos of interest daily and write a new op/ed essay at least once a week. This is my early new year resolution :-)

It's been a long time, I shouldn't of left you...Time's up, I'm sorry I kept you... - Rakim

but, I'm Back Again - Dilated Peoples

Someday at Christmas

Season's Greetings!

In 2009, may we all coexist peacefully for the good of our planet and humankind!
Have a blessed new year!


Someday at Christmas, there’ll be no wars....
When we have learned what Christmas is for...

When we have found what life’s really worth,
there’ll be peace on Earth

Stevie Wonder

And for my hip hop peeps, this classic:

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Bailout Mess

Bamboozled. Hoodwinked. The Corporate Raid of the Treasury...refer back to "Fall of Empire" and "Privatizing Profits, Socializing Losses" posts, but this video speaks to the point as well:

Naomi Klein, bestselling author of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, appeared on Tavis Smiley's show on June 27, 2008.

Part two gives some hope to what can happen with the Obama administration and an engaged electorate.

Prop 8 Debate

I know this is a very difficult topic for many, especially in the African American community. People have religious convictions and that is difficult to debate. I have had a number of conversations with my classes about this, and it comes as no surprise that my classes in the (predominantly) Black community tend to be more passionately against same sex marriage. Most point to religion, but some also are offended by the "civil rights" argument and that some have tried to equate this to the struggle of African Americans. On both points, I can understand their feelings, but I've tried to offer the serious constitutional, moral, and civil liberties implications of such a discriminatory proposition.

As I've told my classes, while I can question people's moral and religious beliefs about homosexuality, the more important question is constitutional. What they supposedly like about the U.S. are the freedoms that come with the Bill of Rights. Do we want to be a democracy or theocracy?

While it may not be right to completely scapegoat the Black community for the passing of Prop 8 (given that we are a small percentage of the California electorate), it still needs to be acknowledged that there is a problem in the Black community and if we do not have honest and open dialogue about it, it will be to our detriment . The truth is AIDS is killing the Black community, and homophobia is the root. Our silence is the true disease.

As I've told my classes, if this was just a religious thing, our vote would have mirrored the Latino community, more evenly split. But that the black vote went 70-30 in favor of the ban on same sex marriage speaks to deeper issues that go beyond religious teachings (that I can and do vigorously dispute as a Christian myself). As one student asked when the debate got heated: "are we talking about only gay men?" VERY TELLING. Our community has issues re: masculinity, stemming from slavery that must be dealt with honestly and thoroughly or we will continue to undermine the future of our community.

Here are articles from Davey D's hip hop blog debating the issue from different perspectives.

No-on-8's white bias

Black Voters, White Bias & Cali’s Gay Marriage Proposition
The right to marry does nothing to address the problems faced by both black gays and black straights.

By Jasmyne A.

November 8, 2008

http://www. latimes. com/news/opinion/la-oe-cannick8-2008nov08,0,3295255. story

My 2 Cents on the Gay Marriage proposition

by Davey D

Grab the Raid! Another Homophobic Cockroach!: Trick Trick.

by Khalil Amani of Hoodgrownonline. com

Real Time With Bill Maher Nov 14 2008

Hate Crimes Rising...Saw this coming

If you've been reading this blog, you know I said a violent backlash to an Obama victory was more likely than if he lost...well, while I do like to be right (lol), I was hoping I was wrong this time. And for the most part, life went on as usual for the vast majority of Americans no different than the day before the election. But some very ugly things are happening under the radar.

AP article today about Obama related hate crimes:

Election spurs 'hundreds' of race threats, crimes

By JESSE WASHINGTON, AP National Writer Jesse Washington, Ap National Writer

Also, the anti-Latino climate is still toxic and will probably get worse because of the support the Latino community gave Obama, and the economic recession/depression we face.

This hate crime makes it clear that with history being made this election, racism is still a cancer in this society. The struggle continues...


White Mob Goes 'Beaner Hunting' and Kill Latino Man in NY


Bill Maher - Obama World

Another Tim Wise Article

The debate is raging about what Obama will be able to do and there's quite a bit of hating on him before he even gets to the White House. I've said from day one that this election was about much more than Obama, in the vein of Dead Prez' It's Bigger than Hip Hop.

Some of my colleagues have been having this same debate, and I agree with Tim Wise here. Many would rather be against than for something....and that's the problem.

Read article here:

Are Words (and History) Really That Hard to Understand?....
A Final Response to the More-Radical-Than-Thou Critique of Obama Supporters
By Tim Wise
November 11, 2008

RE: criticisms, I offer part of this"final" note i give to my classes:

I once heard Iyanla Vanzant say "Be against nothing...just be clear what you are for"... I think this really is a motto to live by...when we concentrate on what we are against (racism, sexism, white supremacy, capitalism, fascism, homophobia, etc.), we frame the struggle in terms of negatives and sooner or later can lose the true purpose of the struggle...LIFE...

"Life is your we can't give up the fight..get up stand up"...Bob Marley...

...If we frame the struggle in terms of life affirming principles - peace, justice, love, sustenance...our eyez remain on the prize... you want justice or do we want to end white supremacy? how you answer that question is key to victory.

Many enslaved Africans were able to keep a spirit that their slaveholders could neither understand nor possess due to iniquity (lack of righteousness). so who really is free and who really is in bondage? while I want justice for all oppressed people, my pity is saved for those that believe living a lie gets them anything. I have no worries because I know truth and righteousness bring freedom that no money or power can ever buy or demand and no shackles can ever keep in bondage.

We must fight...but fight FOR us, not AGAINST anyone or anything.

"Obama's Victory - Fear and Hope" - Wallerstein

This is an important essay by theorist Immanuel Wallerstein.

Commentary No. 245, Nov. 15, 2008
"Obama's Victory - Fear and Hope"

The whole of the United States and indeed the whole world was watching, and almost all of it was cheering, the election of Barack Obama as the next president of the United States. Although, during the electoral campaign, everyone tried to play down the centrality of the racial issue, on Nov. 4 it seemed that no one could talk of anything else. There are three central questions about what most commentators are calling this "historic event": How important is it? What explains the victory? What is likely to happen now?

Read full article here:

[Copyright by Immanuel Wallerstein, distributed by Agence Global. For rights and permissions, including translations and posting to non-commercial sites, and contact:, 1.336.686.9002 or 1.336.286.6606. Permission is granted to download, forward electronically, or e-mail to others, provided the essay remains intact and the copyright note is displayed. To contact author, write:

These commentaries, published twice monthly, are intended to be reflections on the contemporary world scene, as seen from the perspective not of the immediate headlines but of the long term.]

Letter to Obama from Alice Walker

This is a good read, and the last sentence says it all.

- We are the ones we have been waiting for.

Photo Credits: WireImage

From the

Nov. 5, 2008

Dear Brother Obama,

You have no idea, really, of how profound this moment is for us. Us being the black people of the Southern United States. You think you know, because you are thoughtful, and you have studied our history. But seeing you deliver the torch so many others before you carried, year after year, decade after decade, century after century, only to be struck down before igniting the flame of justice and of law, is almost more than the heart can bear. And yet, this observation is not intended to burden you, for you are of a different time, and, indeed, because of all the relay runners before you, North America is a different place. It is really only to say: Well done. We knew, through all the generations, that you were with us, in us, the best of the spirit of Africa and of the Americas. Knowing this, that you would actually appear, someday, was part of our strength. Seeing you take your rightful place, based solely on your wisdom, stamina and character, is a balm for the weary warriors of hope, previously only sung about.

Continue reading article at:

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Truth.

Talking to my classes this morning, I was glad to hear the excitement in their voices coupled with the realism of the situation. They honored the magnitude of the history just made. They understood they made it happen. Their expectations were realistic and no one expected any real change to come from top to bottom. They understood Obama will not change the world. I just hope they know, they can.

This article by Tim Wise is a MUST read. It is the truth.

Good, and Now Back to Work:
Avoiding Both Cynicism and Overconfidence in the Age of Obama
By Tim Wise
ber 5, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Historic. Today is for...

...those that paved the way (all previous generations), the many educators that have dedicated their lives to speaking truth to power and teaching generations that truth, and those that the struggle IS all about and for (the next generation)...

So thank you:

Fannie Lou Hamer...and all that lived and died fighting the struggles of slavery and jim crow for our humanity.

This historic day is dedicated to our ancestors...their struggles and their victories. A friend of mine wrote a very personal reflection that placed this day in this proper context..this day is not really about is about them. This is their day, and we owe them EVERYTHING.

African Americans understood this and exercised our right to vote in record numbers to honor our foremothers and forefathers that could never have imagined this day....but made it possible.

As a student turned teacher of African American studies, today and emotional day.

and thank you:

Teachers and Professors. The education you provide molded the new electorate and made this historic result possible - the "under 50" and educated voting blocs helped make this possible. Job well done, fellow educators.

and finally, thank you:

Generation Next. Your grassroots work paid off...You stepped up and proved you are now ready to lead...your time is now...The future is yours to make. It was never about was always about you.

I wish I had time to really reflect on this historic moment but I'm still glued to my TV and absorbing the magnitude of this moment...hopefully I'll be able to write a decent reflection by weekend.

...but for now, I am just relieved and enjoying the moment.

Rise up Hip Hop Nation! The torch is now yours. Let’s get free.


LOL..Had to go here....from Chris Rock's Head of State

So it's a wrap as far as I can tell, but my hubby is not ready to believe it. He's still nervous, just like he'd be if the Lakers were playing game 7 in a finals

He thinks California can still go for McCain and in a way, he's right to be nervous. CA is a red state...if not for LA and SF..

I love L.A. :-)

Head of State - West Coast on Election Day - California

Pennsylvania for Obama

Once Obama wins Iowa, New Mexico, and Colorado...history will be made.

Are you ready for President Obama?


Your Vote Making the Difference

Hip Hop Nation....this article is for you...

Critical for an Obama win:

Blacks, youth among those new to polls this year (AP)

"An Obama Tsunami"

I am watching election results and this was reported on MSNBC: the black turnout in North Carolina = "an Obama Tsunami" (attributed to a Republican campaign strategist).

History in the present.

We understand.

Another Site for Map and Exit Polling

The Huffington Post is another good blog site to check regularly.

For election results, go to this link: - Follow the Electoral Map is a good site to check all day today.

What will the final map look like? Go to site for statistical model projections and interesting posts about campaign ground operations.

Black Diamonds and Pearls

This second post on this historic election day is dedicated to our youth and their future. I read this blog article and HAD to share it with all... it poignantly tells the story of what this election is really about...our children.

Please follow link to this important read:

Election Day....Finally!

I will post links and other commentaries of interest throughout the day....

**As a student turned teacher of African American studies, today

So the first post on this historic day is dedicated to our ancestors...their struggles and their victories. A friend of mine wrote a very personal reflection that placed this day in this proper context..this day is not really about is about them. This is their day, and we owe them EVERYTHING. I hope all exercised your right to vote in honor of our foremothers and forefathers that could never have imagined this day....but made it possible.

Read my friend's personal reflection on her blog:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rise up Hip Hop Nation, Wise Up: The Choice is Yours

As always, I'd like to begin by offering peace and respect to my sisters and brothers all across the globe living their lives the best they can; especially in times that just seem to get harder with each passing day. Right now, my own life is very hectic and trying, but I had to take a moment to write this piece. With this historic election now less than two weeks away, there is one message I feel must be expressed clearly: The result of this one election will not change world dynamics, but it will change our role in future possibilities.

When thinking of the appropriate title for this essay, Black Sheep’s classic record came to mind. And for us, the choice is critical, the choice will have long lasting effects, and the choice is clear:

On November 4th, we either put the first nail in the coffin of white supremacy and white nationalism…or we put the final nail in the coffin of our own relevance in national dynamics.

While the result will also have important effects on the economy, wars, culture issues, and other political issues, this choice will most significantly speak to this broader historical consequence. I’ve written in previous blog entries that this race is all about race. An ever growing list of code words has been developed to "other" Obama (muslim, terrorist, socialist, liberal, leftist, anti-american, inexperienced, elitist). The message is the same = he is not white….despite his white mother (Remember the one drop rule).

For many whites in this country, an Obama presidency is absolutely unacceptable because it undermines the entire reality they have created in their minds. The Emperor has no clothes. We’ve known this truth, but many in this country are still not ready to see it. And many can’t handle the truth. That is why we have the lynch mobs coming out of hiding and back to the forefront of Amerikkka. So while it is true that African Americans and youth are invested in Obama and a loss would be felt deeply by many (see: The Fire This Time), I have argued that the possibility for social upheaval and violence may be more likely with an Obama win than loss.

I teach at a college in South LA (serving cities of Inglewood, Hawthorne, Watts, Compton and South LA). Discussing the election with my classes, I discovered a mixture of those that are following the election and those that are not. Those most excited tend to be older African Americans. Some are even planning block parties to celebrate the historic moment if Obama wins and becomes the first African American president.

Younger students, the hip hop youth, are less passionate about the election. While some are excited about the possibility of a black president, they are also into a lot of other things and not “following” as closely.…Many being realists from low income communities are naturally cynical about the political process and would not be surprised by a stolen election or Obama loss due to racism. Most know their lives won’t be affected directly so they are not as personally invested as older students. So while they are wearing Obama t-shirts and many will vote, if Obama loses, they will go about their business November 5th no differently than they did November 3rd. So I don’t see hip hop (black youth) taking it to the streets if Obama loses, although I know it doesn't take much to start something...I was actually in LA when the Rodney King verdict came down and while the buzz was incredulous that even with "taped evidence we still got got" no one expected what they would see hours later and days after that...fires all around the never know, someone might start something and it won’t take much to escalate, especially given the hard times... but I do believe that there is more chance of a "violent uproar" by white nationalists with an Obama win...some folks are just not ready....

At a sociology conference this summer, many voiced a concern that an Obama win would symbolize the end of racism in many people’s minds (that we had “overcome”), despite the reality of a completely racialized society. What now seems to be more likely is that an Obama win will expose more than anything in recent history how far we have NOT “come”. And for that reason alone, all must understand the real stakes of this election. This truth must be exposed and addressed boldly in order to really progress toward a more just society. If Obama wins, the scab of an American sore that was never treated properly will finally be off and the real healing can begin. This is what is at stake.

If Obama loses, white nationalism, and the political party that is sustained by it, gets a reprieve and will use that power to make sure no such “close call” happens again anytime soon. Think Prison Industrial Complex and disenfranchisement will be taken to another level…anti-immigrant sentiments stoked, Patriot Act expanded…If the masses (of people of all backgrounds) inspired by Obama can even get over such a tough loss, they will be so well controlled, their efforts to challenge the status quo will prove most difficult. An historic opportunity would be lost and irrelevance could be the true result of election night returns. The next two weeks will probably just get uglier with desperation setting in, and white nationalists protecting their interests by any means necessary. Are you (hip hop) ready to do the same?

So you can get with this:

Yes We Can Obama Song by

Or you can get with that:

Read article here:

The choice is yours. So Rise up Hip Hop Nation…and VOTE for your future relevance.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Wright to the Point

Because this blog was created specifically for social and political commentaries, I've created a new blog for my personal postings. For those that want to visit my personal blog, see sidebar for link. Thanks for your continued support!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Always The Plan?...Pretty much.

Obama Knew It Was Coming All Along

The Fire this Time...or Risk Irrelevance

We are capable of bearing a great burden, once we discover that the burden is reality and arrive where reality is.
– James Baldwin

When I first started this blog I posted an article titled
The Fire this Time, with the title being an obvious reference to James Baldwin's classic text The Fire Next Time
(a must read for its timeless insight into America’s psyche).

Forty-five years ago Baldwin poignantly and boldly asserted the inevitable: if America did not deal with its racial nightmare honestly and forthrightly, the oppressed would rage. And we did…in the summers of 1968…and then again in the rebellion of 1992.

But in this essay, I asserted that the fire this time would be different. I ended with this statement:

The fire this time is based not only on rage but resolve. We are getting better organized. We are utilizing technology and communicating more effectively. We are acting locally but thinking globally. We are keeping it more real and not falling for the hegemonic hustle. We now understand that like us, hip hop and the revolution will never die whether it’s televised or not. The Fire this Time is an eternal flame for justice. Rise up Hip Hop Nation! The torch is now yours. Let’s get free.

But as I told my classes yesterday, even with the masses awakening to the hoodwink of corporate capitalism and the politics of fear,
I am wondering if those wanting change will have enough resolve to offset the fire of those that will do all they can do to save white supremacy (as demonstrated by political rallies that are looking more like lynch mobs every day).

While African Americans will be disappointed if Obama loses, I don't see any major unrest because we are used to racism, stolen elections, disappointments and tragedies. We've adapted to survive in this social and political environment and are too jaded to be surprised if it happens again. Upset sure...surprised never. In terms of African Americans and grassroots organizing, the real threat of an Obama loss is irrelevance.

Some Whites however, are only now reconciling with a reality that they have ignored their whole lives. They do not know how to survive in a world that is not like the one they've created in their own minds where their own supremacy is law. So with this election, violence seems much more probable with an Obama win, with disaffected whites not accepting reality.

Whether the fear mongers, or the agents of change (as I argued in the Fire this Time) win is up to the conscious among us with our actions being the arbiter.

Nowhere is this case more clearly stated than in James Baldwin’s classic text The Fire Next Time and this excerpt from the last page says it well:

When I was very young, and was dealing with my buddies in those wine- and urine-stained hallways, something in me wondered, What will happen to all that beauty? For black people, though I am that some of us, black and white, do not know it yet, are very beautiful.
...I could also see that the intransigence and ignorance of the white world might make that vengeance inevitable - a vengeance that does not really depend on, and cannot really be executed by, any person or organization, and that cannot be prevented by any police force or army: historical vengeance, a cosmic vengeance, based on the law that we recognize when we say, "Whatever goes up must come down." And here we are, at the center of the arc, trapped in the gaudiest, most valuable, and most improbable water wheel the world has ever seen. Everything now, we must assume, is in our hands; we have no right to assume otherwise. If we-and now I mean the relatively conscious whites and the relatively conscious blacks, who must, like lovers, insist on, or create the consciousness of the others-do not falter in our duty now, we may be able, handful that we are, to end the racial nightmare, and achieve our country, and change the history of the world If we do not dare everything, the fulfillment of that prophecy, recreated from the Bible in song by a slave, is upon us: God gave Noah the rainbow sign, No more water, the fire next time!

Final thought from my essay the Fire this Time:

As we continue to fight the many battles that plague our communities through service and activism, we must not lose sight of the larger race war that will continue to hover until it is effectively addressed. In other words, we must treat the symptoms to save the people now, but also expose the root to save humanity.

Interview with James Baldwin

I wish I had time to really write more about all the craziness that is going on...RE: this historic election and economic crisis. But I've already foreshadowed much of it in previous blog entries so if you haven't already, please read some of those:

Palin (Playin' Plain) Politics...LOL

"Privatizing Profits, Socializing Losses"

WARGAMES - The Fall of Empire

Racism 101 Must See Video

Lynch Mob 2008 - An Important Read

I want to share an article I read this morning on a blog...I think it captures the latest election dynamics well. I told my classes that with the real prospect of an Obama presidency, McCain and his supporters are now using more desperate tactics, and more overt racism will be boiling to the surface. Obama has to watch his back...but so do the rest of us who this 2008 lynch mob will target if Obama wins. In the blog I wrote titled Wargames, I ended with this thought:

....the politics of fear is what really fueled a lot of the other Bush devastating policies. And while it seemed most people had finally smelled the coffee of manipulation, this election is going to reveal if the politics of fear may still hold the same power it did to elect Bush for a second term......The politics of fear will dominate the rest of this campaign and although no one will ever admit it, the major factor will not be about Obama's experience; it will be about his race. The language will be coded but the politics of fear will be a test of white supremacy's saliency. If Obama loses, that will be the reason why without a doubt.

Please read article and the comments that follow at the link below:

The Unthinkable

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Tribute to Educators....

Donny Hathaway " To Be Young, Gifted and Black " 1970

...sure 'nough where it's at....

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Register to Vote by October!

I can't stress enough the importance for youth to come strong this election! Read my other articles about the generational paradigm that will define this election and subsequent power dynamics.

The deadline to register to vote is early October...

If you live in Texas, please support this voter registration drive featuring hip hop artists!


If you are already registered to vote, do your part and spread the word :-)

For those that do not live in Texas, I posted other voter registration links below. See post titled Soon Come for links.

In the Meantime....

Ok, consider this a "catch up" post. here are a number of articles and videos that you should definitely peep! And leave comments ;-) has a new and improved layout and is always a good source for information. is also a very good source of information and his MySpace blog is a great place for dialogue.

On it right now are a few important posts, including:

1. It'll Take More Than a T-Shirt for Obama to Win-It's On You
By Davey D

2. This is Your Nation on White Privilege
By Tim Wise

3. How a Texas Senator Ruined Our Economy (And Can Ruin it Some More)
by James Moore

There's a new in depth study about the effect of racism on the election:

Poll: Racial views steer some white Dems away from Obama

And a funny Bill Maher video about the same topic:

On a related note, my initial analysis of the Palin pick three weeks ago seems correct. It was obviously political but probably will backfire in the end..for some of the reasons discussed here:

And finally, on the economic nightmare unfolding:

Economists see financial bailout as necessary

Home foreclosures reach record high

World's richest got even richer last year: report

And finally, a very important article and study regarding the better economic plan:

Would Obama’s Plan Be Faster, Fairer, Stronger?
Published: August 30, 2008

Media Matters

Much of my work focuses on media analysis. This election is yet another example of the power of media. As I tell my classes, media does not reflect reality, it
defines it. And they define it with an agenda in mind. Jon Stewart exposes the spin well in this clip:

The result of this election will depend greatly on how the media frames the next few weeks. What the media focuses on matters. If you look at polling for the last few weeks, there seems to be some support to the idea that media framing affects polling. When media focus was on Obama during DNC convention, Obama pulled ahead. Then when media focused on RNC and the Palin phenomena, McCain pulled ahead in polls. Now that the eocnomy is the story of the hour, Obama is back in the lead. So what the media decides to focus on may definitely have an effect on polling.

View polling trends here:

"Privatizing Profits, Socializing Losses"

Given the "biggest federal intervention" since the great depression, I have to share some thoughts. Not only not surprised but saw it coming...and have said so to my classes for the past few years.

I even made a comment during my interview in August for my new job at LASC that might have seemed a bit off the cuff. I had to do a brief presentation on "Sociological perspectives on the global economy" and after i completed my presentation I added a comment that the irony of the overreaching of the Bush administration and corporate capitalism these last few years is it may have ushered in now we have part one...the socialized bailout..we'll see what happens this election..will voters get mad enough and demand universal health care and better wages and distribution of wealth? Or will they let this government use their taxes to bail out corporate elites and leave them suffering? Time will tell.

I've heard many commentators make reference to socializing losses after private industry made record profits as a travesty... No doubt. But I also have heard many say the bailout was necessary, and the sad part is that's probably true too. The parts of the economy are so interdependent that if a market crash occured, the results for all would be devastating...millions hurt by job, housing and 401k losses. The global economy would be affected as well. So unless people stand up and DEMAND better, wall street will get away with taking the world economy to the brink of collapse and getting off scott-free to exploit the labor market again. Hopefully people will finally wake up and recognize that free market neoliberals are only for small government and no regulation when they are raping everyday people, but as soon as they need a bailout, government is their ally. Bamboozled again.

Join the Urban Teacher Network (UTN)!

While I have to postpone the major push to initiate the Urban Teacher Network (until after this semester), I am still committed to getting the word out and getting others on board to help get this initiative moving and please continue to spread the word!

More information including data form can be found at the following Google docs link:

Please send completed data forms to

Personal Update

First an update on my schedule and how it will affect blog updates. I am officially now a true Jamaican with 10 jobs :-D ...well officially seven classes and they'll be kicking my ***!

On the positive side, I am ecstatic about my new position as Sociology faculty at Southwest College in LA (LASC). It is a full time tenure track position and it takes me back to da community which is where I want to be. But of course there are costs. One, the commute...ugh! Luckily, I have family that loves me and lives in LA so i can stay with them from time to time to make the commute less often and painful :-). This semester will be particularly hectic because the job was a last minute addition and my schedule for fall was already set. So this fall I am teaching at three schools all over the map - UCI, OCC, and LASC!

So while I will have no life for a few months, I really can't complain. Gerald is being very supportive...he's helping by getting the kids to/from school since i gotta be up at the crack of dawn and don't get home til late at night...basically he's just happy I finally have a real :-p

So I won't have much time for the million other things I usually do...including timely updates to this blog..but I will try to at least add some links to good articles to peep and videos to watch etc. because this election is quite historic and we still need to be as engaged and informed as possible.

And please continue to leave comments...I definitely could use some words of encouragement to get through these hectic' real. One.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Soon Come...

I know I've been M.I.A...the school semester started and with a new gig and an extremely crazy schedule this fall I've barely been able to take a breath! But, I will try to post some updates this weekend, because as I'm sure many can imagine, I have lots to say about the media, this election, the economy, and the role of hip hop and youth at this unique time in history. For the meanwhile, make sure you register to vote by October 1st and consider voting absentee or early via a mail-in ballot.



Thanks also to all that have left comments. I have read them and definitely want to continue the dialogue so I hope to reply to comments this weekend as well.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Gustav and the Anniversary of Katrina

9/20 update: Prayers to all affected by Hurricane Ike as well. The recovery effort in impacted areas looks like it will be difficult and long.

It's hard to believe that New Orleans may be hit again by a major hurricane. Already Haiti, Dominican Republic, and Jamaica were impacted but Cuba and the U.S. seem to be in for a much worse pounding. Let's keep all in thoughts and prayers and hope this time will be different. But we must never forget:

Hopeful - a Hurricane Katrina Tribute

It also offers a reminder of the stakes this election year and the truest words ever spoken by Kanye West:

I will never get tired of watching this clip.

Palin (Playin' Plain) Politics...LOL

Is McCain brilliant or crazy? LOL :-) That is the question of the hour. Will this strategic surprise VP choice change the game long term and help McCain win the presidency, or did it just seal the deal for Obama? Of course I have some thoughts on this new development...

First, how this choice was politically savvy and strategically brilliant in some ways:

1. I'll see your history and up you one.

Obama's historic speech on the 45th anniversary of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King Jr.'s
I Have a Dream speech drew 38 million viewers. All saw the images of Americans of all color waving flags in unity with tears of pride in their eyes.

But then McCain picks Palin for his VP choice the next morning and the conversation changed immediately. The history Obama made just got eclipsed, and we now have a race v. gender dynamic once again (which was only finally buried at the DNC convention a couple days earlier).

2. Marrying the experience argument with a gender component.

McCain has been running on the fact that Obama has little experience and is not ready to lead. So many are confused by why he would choose a running mate with little experience. It actually politically was a smart move. It may even solidify the argument against Obama and experience because they can now bring it up in a different context: Obama has no executive experience while Palin at least has been governor. And the Obama campaign can not speak about her lack of experience because they have argued that it is judgment not experience that matters, and if they do question her experience but give Obama a pass on the same question, they come off as sexist. The knee jerk reaction of the campaign was to question her experience, but Obama being the smart man and savvy politician he is backed off from that approach quickly. Smart move.

3. Keep them guessing.

With one move, McCain was able to revive his maverick image and counter the idea that he is more of the same. Palin is touted as a reformer and now the republican ticket has a one line campaign of "reform" to fight against the tag the democrats were trying to put on him of "more of the same".

4. Energize the far right evangelical conservatives.

While under their breath, most are like "What was McCain thinking?" the far right are putting a good spin on it because Palin has exactly the conservative credentials they wanted on the ticket. So while those on the far right do not trust McCain, they probably feel like they influenced his decision and own him now. They now feel more secure that McCain will fall in line.

5. Neutralize Biden's best assets: his fighting spirit and ability to be the attack dog.

While many believe Palin will come off as a novice during the VP debates with Biden, now Biden will have to watch how he communicates because political history has shown that the public does not like to see a male candidate "being mean" or "beating up on" a female candidate.

6. Try to tap into the generational politics that is inevitably going to shape politics for years to come.

As I've argued a number of times, if Obama wins, it will be because those under 40 come out to vote in record numbers. It seems as if McCain is trying to challenge this with this pick. However, while she is young, her values probably do not match the majority of young voters that are engaged this year so this may be the least effective strategy, but it gives them a talking point of "new, young blood" etc. so Republicans do not look like the party of old, rich men.

7. It's the gas tank, stupid.

McCain wants to keep the energy issue and drilling as the top economic issue given the polls and the struggles folks are having to buy gas. Palin's main area of experience is energy and opens the dialogue for him to back slide on drilling in Alaska because she is for it.

However, given all of the previous points, I believe McCain just made the biggest political mistake of this campaign and the backlash will come from women, environmentalists, and independents (not to mention sexists who have already talked more about her looks than her ability to be vice president).

1. This is an obvious pander and many will be rightfully offended.

Her first speech when introduced Friday played the gender card obviously (even trying to line herself to Ferraro and Hillary Clinton). The talking points his campaign reps have been pushing include trying to reach out to "disaffected Hillary voters" and painting Palin as a working mother that will relate to all women (despite her staunch conservative stances on choice).

Women will be offended that it appears that McCain thinks any woman would do (like women are interchangeable). This is evident because if he wanted someone that could energize the evangelical base, he could have chosen Huckabee who had also been a governor (executive experience), and for longer. . . If he wanted a woman to sincerely smash the glass ceiling, there were other republican options that had more experience and were better known: former governor Christine Todd Whittman, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson, or Sec. Condeleeza Rice. Whittman gives the same argument as Palin (executive credentials and a reformer) but with much more experience. Hutchinson would have made more sense with his campaign theme of "country first" with her knowledge of homeland security and foreign policy. Rice may not have been an option since she said she had no interest, but her experience also eclipses Palin's. So while cultural conservatives will be happy, the backlash from many women less ideological will be intense. Believe that.

Also, this intensifies the discussions about McCain's age and judgement. While the Obama campaign can remain on message about issues, focusing on the contrast between the two ticket policies, the blog world can debate this latest example concerning McCain's judgement. The media and blogs will do the dirty work of raising all the questions about McCain's judgement, his age (and possible death leaving Palin in charge), if he really "gets it" regarding the issues that are affecting and most important to voters, and "old politics" vs. "new politics". Obama can remain on message and avoid falling into a trap of sexism and comparing resumes. It will look like he is concerned about people losing jobs and houses while McCain is playing political crapshoot with everyone's future. Independents and libertarian leaning republicans will seethe over this pick...not to mention animal lovers and environmentalists who know Palin's record concerning their issues.

When you read the comments on this cnn blog, the majority support this analysis. Here are some examples:


Eve from NY August 29th, 2008 7:10 pm ET

DONT BE FOOLED by false bloggers saying we clinton supporters arent insulted by this… WE ARE!!

My friends and I have been EXTREMELY INSULTED by McCains' vp choice!!

Even more so because we were going to vote for him come Novemeber! But this is OUTRAGEOUS..selecting Palin simply because of her anatomy, and expecting intelligent american women to vote for him because of this!!

We have set up a group, consisting of 42 women already, who have commited to voting for OBAMA because of McCains decision.. which shows that he really IS OUT OF TOUCH with women in America!! There is only one choice this year.. OBAMA!!!


Fairfax Deb August 29th, 2008 8:03 pm ET

Obviously McCain is pandering to Hillary's supporters. He needs to learn that woman are not interchangable. I was a Hillary supporter and I am not amused. I will vote for Barack.


susan August 29th, 2008 7:24 pm ET

Palin is a set back for the women's movement


sandyalip August 29th, 2008 8:16 pm ET

McCain just doesn't get it. We didn't want Hillary because she was a woman. We wanted her because we truly believed she was the best for the job. Picking an unqualified novice to be a heartbeat away from the presidency because she is a woman is such a horror-and such an insult to all American women. If she did somehow rise to the presidency, God help America. A beauty pageant contestant would be Commander in Chief. I'm a registered Republican woman. I have been trying to decide what I should do now that Hillary is gone. Thank you McCain-I've made up my mind!


anom August 29th, 2008 7:51 pm ET

Given that she is just a heart beat away from become VP - is this how McCain puts his country first??????
Are we, the American women, so very stupid that he thinks we loved Hillary for her gender? I find McCain's stop gap selfish choice of a woman VP both, offensive and yes, unpatriotic. He said he wasn't going to put the election before his country - well, you just did Senator McCain!
You met her only once in the vetting process and you made up your mind about her being your VP - hmm stinks of insincerity about the 'putting politics before the love of country.' Are you just that desperate?
You just helped me make up my mind. Yes, Obama/Biden you got my vote!


Lisa from VA August 29th, 2008 7:24 pm ET

He is sadly mistaken if he thinks this Hillary supporter is going to fall in line. I am insulted at the idea that I will just settle for any woman just for the sake of getting to vote for a woman. Shows what he thinks of women's intelligence, IMO. And she called Hillary whiney a while back and now she is praising her. Well I can see right through it. She is NO Hillary Clinton. I support Hillary Clinton for WHO she is, not WHAT she is.


Dyan, MN August 29th, 2008 7:50 pm ET

Dear Senator McCain,

I'm not stupid. I know the difference between a woman of substance and qualifications and one who is nothing but pretty token to have around.

An ex-Hillary Supporter


Sue August 29th, 2008 7:49 pm ET

What an insult to women! Today, for the first time, I made a donation to the Obama-Biden campaign! To pick a woman who John McCain met one time and has decided she can take over in a heart beat - is purely a political move. Women who wanted Hillary Clinton didn't want a woman - they wanted Hillary who was capable of being the Commander in Chief and who had experience, knowledge and the ability to lead. Hillary didn't want the VP job - as Bill would have to divulge too much info. That needs to come out and stop this talk that Obama didn't pick her when in fact she didn't want the job. More will come out about Palin including she doesn't believe in abortion even if the live of a woman is threatened. I shutter to think how she can stand up to Iran and Iraq or even South Korea without any idea who they are. Look at her quotes…those will come out. She hasn't given the situation in Iran/Iraq any thought at all. Terrible pick John, just awful.


darl August 29th, 2008 7:44 pm ET

What an insult..McDaddy Cain is now pimping for women votes.
Go McDaddy….


Rosemary August 29th, 2008 7:31 pm ET

Does McCain believe that we (women) are simply idiots!!! We aren't looking for someone who simply has ovaries, we're looking for someone who can actually lead our country. let's go back to the add "when the call comes at 2 AM, who do you want to answer the call"? Palin (NOT!!!). I'm a women who will be 47 on the day of the election. I've never voted before but McCain has encouraged me to register (Democrat) and cast my vote for a team that takes women seriously and has the judgement to run the most powerful and diverse country.


An Insult! August 29th, 2008 7:29 pm ET

It's an insult to the more capable women and men that he could have chosen and an insult to the women voters he is pandering to.


Janet Cooper August 29th, 2008 7:27 pm ET

Sarah Palin is no Hillary Clinton, as a woman I vote on issues not GENDER!!


Matt August 29th, 2008 7:27 pm ET

McCain could and should have picked a more qualified republican. But to pander and try to copy Obama's theme, he picked a inexperienced 1.5 year governor. I was on the fence, but now I am voting for OBAMA.


Gorefan August 29th, 2008 7:24 pm ET

McCain went looking for a highly qualified vice president and found a fairly qualified Secretary of the Interior.

So much for McCain the Maverick, he stared Rush Limbaugh in the eyes and McCain blinked. He let the right wing of the Republican Party hijack his vp pick.


Napoleon Complex August 29th, 2008 7:31 pm ET

John McCain doesn't have the judgment or the temperament to be President. He's made a mockery of his own campaign slogan. The choice of Sarah Palin doesn't put country first. She not capable of being commander-in-chief on January 20th. This was a cheap, desperate political trick designed to hide the conservatives' abysmal record on civil rights and gender equity.


Missy August 29th, 2008 7:49 pm ET

I am just trying to picture Sarah Palin having the dreaded 3 a.m. conversation with Ahmadinejad… And I haven't been this frightened since I watched Silence of the Lambs.

I can clearly imagine Hillary, Condaleeza or any number of strong, qualified women in that situation, but this soccer mom with her perky ponytail who admits that she has been too busy to pay much attention to the war in Iraq will never be taken seriously by a Middle Eastern leader. Bin Laden must be drooling in anticipation of the next four years.

I am so disappointed in you, John McCain, for putting your ambition ahead of your country. You know in your heart that this woman should not be the President of the United States. Shame on you.


Mike Dallas August 29th, 2008 8:10 pm ET

Are there no moderate Republicans to stop the insanity! Oops, guess that is a oxymoron, since this pro-life choice was only chosen to solidify the base and pander to women.


Geoffrey August 29th, 2008 8:14 pm ET

The reason that McCain and his party will loose big this year, is because he and the republicans are so rapped up in political tactics and games that they have lost sight of the issues which are priorities for the electerate. When people are losing their jobs, their homes and their children's lives over in Iraq, they pay attention. The looser is the one who tries to insult the American people in these hard times.


Disappointed Republican! August 29th, 2008 7:59 pm ET

This is an absolute disgrace, to the men and women serving our country knowing that their possible future president is someone with judgement who would not place them in harms way, and now McCain picks a VP who has no clue on what's going on with the war or foreign affairs. This decision comes from a former POW with experience and politica background; however, failed to make a wise decision for a VP pick- May I remind you this person will be "A heart beat away". This is one person I don't want answering the phone 3am in the morning! Sorry, McCain you lost my vote and respect.


suz August 29th, 2008 7:19 pm ET

SARAH PALIN????? The WORST governor in the COUNTRY on environmental/wildlife issues????? Someone a heart beat away from a presidency occupied by a pasty-faced sick-looking OLD white guy????? If nothing else, THIS should MOBILIZE a LOT of people!!!!!! It is me! What a stupid stupid choice by McCain! Nice try; no cigar!


shirl August 29th, 2008 8:12 pm ET

All you animals lovers, check out Defenders of Wildlife web site to read about "Ending Alaska's Aerial Killing before you decide if Palin is right for VP. Just more of the same!!!


b. Krause August 29th, 2008 7:18 pm ET

Instead of a woman who runs with wolves, Palin prefers killing them…from airplanes and helicopters. What a brave, brave hunter! Then there's her position on teaching of evolution in schools: "It should be taught from all sides," she said ignorantly and presuming that there are many sides. Creationism (or "Intelligent Design") as the conservative courts of the land have decided is religion. Evolution is science. I wonder what her grade point average was at Univ. of Idaho.

Is it any wonder that in the last 28 years, America has dropped from being in the top ten literate countries to 41…after Poland, Cuba, and Slovenia? And this is the package Republicans think America should buy? Come on, fellas and gals. You're losing your minds.


Sue August 29th, 2008 7:19 pm ET

He is such a fake. First he says foreign policy is something his VP pick must have, and that he must be comfortable with that choice. Nice to see that he feels he can get in bed with her after two short meetings. Judment of McCain - 0!


August 29th, 2008 7:32 pm ET

What kind of judgment is McCain exercising when he chooses a running mate he's only had two conversations with, one whose experience in goverment, particulary with foreign policy, is shorter than even Obama's? This was a total gimmick and it's going to blow up in McCain's face. He just lost this election.

Obama-Biden '08!


Peggy August 29th, 2008 7:43 pm ET

The choice is shocking in its contempt for the country and the office of president and vice-president. McCain's judgment is seriously impaired; his cynicism is controlling him. He's not even taking this position seriously. Shame on you, McCain.


August 29th, 2008 7:50 pm ET

Judgement… Judgement… Judgement…
He meets the woman one time and chooses her to be his VP running mate. Once again, John McCain makes a monumental blunder in judgement. This man will destroy our country with his ill-advised, reckless poor judgement.


Laura August 29th, 2008 8:14 pm ET

What an insult. McCain has shown his lack of judgment.


dan August 29th, 2008 7:59 pm ET

McCain has insulted every single American by making a joke out of our Presidential election. He's opted for a cheap publicity stunt instead picking a qualified running mate. He's a shell of a man who has sold every last scrap of his dignity to extremists. The John McCain that suffered for American ideals in Nam wouldn't stop to spit on the pathetic coward that's currently running for President.

This is truly a sad day for America.


Bonnie NYC August 29th, 2008 8:03 pm ET

This guy after having met her once and makes her the VP on the Rep ticket. He's not a maverick, he's an idiot and doesn't have the judgement to be president. PERIOD !!!!


Don Bo August 29th, 2008 8:02 pm ET

As a fellow member of the NRA, I wouldn't mind seeing Governor Palin in the centerfold of the American Rifleman magazine, but I sure as heck don't want to see her as our Commander in Chief, if McCain bites the big one, or becomes incapacitated, before his term is up.

Let's stop kidding ourselves…..the Mayor of Podunkville, Alaska, and less than 2 years as Governor of a State of a half-million people? Vice-President?

I don't think so.

Is this strategic mistake enough to ensure an Obama victory?? Not in this I am thankful I can always go to Jamaica to live if need

Some are suggesting this is all a publicity stunt to squash Obama's momentum. The conspiracy theory is that she will back down in a couple of weeks claiming she needs to be at home with her infant with downs syndrome. Since I have been known to be a bit cynical from time to time (lol), I would not be surprised if that happened.

Plus, I still believe that this election really isn't about McCain; it's about America and if people are really ready for an Obama presidency. Obama has a battle and his biggest obstacle is not his's his race. So while this McCain blunder helps, Obama's victory will still depend on his grassroots mobilization efforts and a high youth voter turnout. Believe that.

But Obama's campaign is extremely organized and disciplined, so I am sure they have a winning blueprint to get to the White House. History seems to be knocking.

Palin, playin plain politics...what a year! LOL :-)

Here are a couple funny editorials to read:

Commentary: Is McCain out of his mind?

By Paul Begala
CNN Contributor

Op-Ed Columnist

McCain’s Baked Alaska

Published: August 30, 2008