A Real American Horror Story

is this the face of a criminal? Or a victim?

A woman should not leave two children in a truck in the sun with the window partly open and the keys left in the ignition. Not even if she’s homeless, has no one to watch her kids and chooses to take an awful risk so that she can make the job interview that just might be her path out of poverty and desperate decisions.

When you’re faced with nothing but bad or terrible choices who wouldn’t try to choose the least awful option? Shanesha Taylor shouldn’t have done it, but she did it and all it got her was a week behind bars, her children taken from her and the scorn of every morally superior idiot who never committed a sin and is armed and ready with a pocketful of rocks.

So much cynicism. So little heavy lifting to prove this story isn’t every bit as tragic a damning indictment of both bad personal decisions and an American society that doesn’t give two slimy shits about poor people as long as they stay out of sight and die quietly in their hovels.

Is anyone really giving Shanesha Taylor a pass for the bad decision to leave two infants in a locked car? No, but nobody has nominated Taylor as Mother of the Year material either.   There are plenty of creepy politicians like Paul Ryan happy to exploit the most helpless while accepting back-slapping praise for guns, not butter budgets.

Contemporary conservatives like Ryan  backhand away any concern for someone like Taylor. His ilk are determined to punish people like Taylor for her sins. The sin of being a poor Black woman with children who probably doesn’t vote the right way.

Shanesha Taylor without tears.

I understand Ryan’s lack of compassion for and inability to identify with Taylor’s plight. They have never been an impoverished, homeless and desperate Black woman with two kids facing a bad choice and a worse choice.    Any indignation I feel for Taylor’s irresponsible decision is tempered by sympathy for the dilemma that drove her to make it.

“I have no mercy or compassion in me for a society that will crush people, and then penalize them for not being able to stand up under the weight.” Malcolm X said that. I second it.

Like me, he was a Black man who could see the connections and contradictions of Shanesha Taylor’s story and those whom self-righteously penalize her for being too weak to carry the weight of a system that fails poor women and children with disgusting certainty.

How many Wall Street executives are sleeping on a thin mattress with their backs to the wall lest they receive a midnight visit from a Nazi skinhead with a swastika face tattoo? Think of all those corrupt Congresscritters who resign to “spend more time with their families” as well as their mistresses and boy toys on the side. If leaving infants in a truck in the heat of the Arizona day is grounds for legal sanction then what should be done with a president, vice-president, National Security Adviser and Secretary of Defense who lie an entire country into a phony war and kill nearly 5,000 U.S. troops and possibly a million Iraqi citizens?

If George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld don’t deserve to be arrested for war crimes, can’t they at least have the goddamn decency to hide in their holes like the criminal scum they are? Why hasn’t someone performed a citizens arrest yet and marched the lot of them into The Hague or at least a Supermax prison?

This is what real criminal behavior looks like.

Putting Taylor behind bars may satiate the need to make her pay for her bad judgment, but it glosses over how states like Arizona balance the books on the backs of their least affluent and most needy citizens eventually creating “solutions” as dire as the original problems.

Criminalizing poverty is insane. Conservatives have made it their mission to slash and gut social programs designed specifically to assist women like Shanesha Taylor. Welfare, daycare and childcare, food stamps, homeless shelters, jobs programs, WIC, and anything else that isn’t a sacred cow like tax cuts and military spending.

A tax cut wouldn’t have helped Taylor and neither will Paul Ryan’s latest punish the poor Congressional budget. The Republican Party wants people to learn how to catch their own fish instead of sitting around and waiting for someone to give them fish to eat. They forget how hard it is to catch a fish when you can’t afford to buy a pole or bait.

Probation, jail time, and the other suggested corrective measures for Taylor show the disdain of the well-fed and markedly unsympathetic for a woman who doesn’t look like them, doesn’t belong in their circles they travel in and whose circumstances they can’t begin to conceive.

Conservatives like the idea of poor people working, but they want them to suffer a bit for whatever little help they receive and if they can be humiliated and have their dignity peeled away from their body in strips, that’s always good for a laugh.

When they actually break down in tears as Shanesha Taylor did, then it’s downright hilarious.

Taylor is, we are told, a bad mother. A loser. A dope who probably made dopey and bad decisions all her life so we must hold her up to contempt and compare her to welfare cheats and con artists.

But race has nothing to do with it. Gender has nothing to do with it. Poverty has nothing to do with it and how do we know this? We don’t. We just say we do because then its all of the individual’s fault and society is blameless.

American Injustice.

Taylor lives in an America most Americans don’t see because she cannot claim “affluenza” to escape responsibility.  Pleading she would not fare well in prison  is not a defense available to her.  Any society that has no fairness, understanding or compassion in it for desperate people is a society with no goodness or mercy in it and is not a society that can be defended.

“This is America’s opportunity to help bridge the gulf between the haves and the have-nots. The question is whether America will do it. There is nothing new about poverty. What is new is that we now have the techniques and the resources to get rid of poverty. The real question is whether we have the will.”

One day we will have to stand before the God of history and we will talk in terms of things we’ve done. Yes, we will be able to say we built gargantuan bridges to span the seas, we built gigantic buildings to kiss the skies. Yes, we made our submarines to penetrate oceanic depths. We brought into being many other things with our scientific and technological power.

It seems that I can hear the God of history saying, “That was not enough! But I was hungry, and ye fed me not. I was naked, and ye clothed me not. I was devoid of a decent sanitary house to live in, and ye provided no shelter for me. And consequently, you cannot enter the kingdom of greatness. If ye do it unto the least of these, my brethren, ye do it unto me.” That’s the question facing America today.”

~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Beyond Vietnam — A Time to Break the Silence” delivered on April 4th 1967

 

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A Strained Relationship Between Obama and the Black Press.

 

Has Obama turned a blind eye to the Black press?

Is the bromance between Obama and the Black press over?

Human beings have the unfortunate habit of looking at their own circumstances, incorrectly blaming others for problems of their own making and complaining bitterly it’s the other guy who needs to clean up the act.

Recently, George Curry, editor of the National Newspapers Publishers Association (NNPA), took the easy route and griped how President Obama had shown “disrespect” for the Black press.

“There is a disrespect for the black press that we have not seen in recent years. For example, we have requested — every year — an interview with the president. He can ignore 200 black newspapers and 19 million viewers but he can give one to every stupid white comedian there is on TV, the black ones and the white ones, and has time for all types of buffoonery but they will not respect the black press enough to give us an interview,” Curry said on TVOne’s “NewsOneNow with Roland Martin.”

It’s understandable Curry is bent if Obama opts to talk to a “stupid White comedian” like  Zach Galifianakis and not him, but he underestimates his own importance and misunderstands than in the final push to get the Obamacare enrollment numbers over the top,  the smarter media strategy is to plow resources into a You Tube video that garnered  11 million views of the video, and a 40 percent spike in traffic to Healthcare.gov from the day before.

That doesn’t happen in an interview with The Oklahoma Eagle or any other Black newspaper.    Old media takes it on the chin yet again from new media.   You’d think they’d be accustomed to it by now.

Black want more meetings with Obama like this one in 2010 (Credit: Chuck Kennedy/White House)

Black want more meetings with Obama like this one in 2010 (Credit: Chuck Kennedy/White House)

The president is no different from most of Black America.   The problem isn’t the president pays no attention to the Black press. The problem is the Black press gives him no reason he should.   Their clout within the Black community has withered and faded in the face of competition from Twitter, hip-hop web sites,  bloggers, podcasting and the rest of social media.

Obama does need to spend a little more time with the Black press and throw them a bone now and then to make them happy,  but he didn’t need them in this fight. Black folks are three times in favor of healthcare reform. It was White folks–specifically YOUNG White folks he needed to recruit. The Black press can’t even deliver young Black folks. Obama would get more attention from an interview with World Star Hip-Hop than the Chicago Defender.    The support for Obamacare by Blacks is three times that of Whites.   Clearly the White House doesn’t believe it needed Curry and company to sell the program to Black America.

If the Black press feels disrespected it earned that disrespect.   Most of its wounds are self-inflicted and chief among them are a failure to adapt to both changing demographics, embrace the technological innovations that could have resuscitated it and enabled it to thrive in the 21st century, but that takes money and the willingness to try something new and different.   I haven’t seen a lot of publishers in the NNPA who aren’t convinced yet their problems are due to a failure to adapt and that is why they don’t matter all that much.

Black journalism has a proud history and a sketchy future.  The audience they need to thrive is made of up young people who don’t read Black newspapers, don’t see how it is relevant to their lives and can smell the musky, antiquated thinking and unwillingness to meet them where they are.

As a former editor and reporter of the Columbus Post newspaper, I saw first-hand the push-and-pull between the reporters, editors, photographers, and staffers who were committed to creating a quality product and the publishers who were more interesting in protecting their turf, currying favor with favorite politicians, pushing their pet projects, schmoozing with old cronies, nursing grudges and settling scores with other prominent people in the Black community.

The tragedy is there has never been a greater need for a healthy, robust, dynamic and energized Black Press. Many of the advances made by African-Americans are under assault by a hostile Republican Congress, a fickle and unprincipled Democratic Party, right-wing activists from the Tea Party to the U.S. Supreme Court.   Now more than ever the Black Press is needed to tell our truth to our people and now more than ever it seems unprepared for the task.

If Bams gives the Black press the “sit at the little kids table” treatment, what have they done to earn a place with the adults?  Not historically. but from a contemporary and serious journalism perspective.  Break any major stories? Do any enterprise or investigative stories lately? Earn any Pulitzer Prize nominations?

Politicians and the press maintain a relationship of mutual need  that at times has to become adversarial.   Curry, Martin and the Black press wants more respect from Obama they need to realize they need to do more to get it.   Simply grumbling over the Obama Administration making them them sit at the little kids table doesn’t cut it.   They need to raise their game as journalists to a point where even the president realizes it is politically advantageous to keep the Black press in the loop.   Right now there’s no particular price to pay for Obama if he doesn’t set out the good china and seat them at the grown-ups table.

The president can do better but so can the Black press.

Martin wants more face time with President Obama, but will he get it?

 

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Kobe Bryant: Dumb Jock

Kobe Bryant is a great baller, not a great thinker. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

There are many great sports figures I respect, but only a few I admire. Among that small (and getting smaller) number are Muhammad Ali and Jim Brown and both for their achievements within their chosen endeavors as well as the bravery to stand up as proud and strong Black men no matter what it cost them (and it cost them both plenty).

We should celebrate these men while they are still with us and mourn them when they are gone. Not just because neither boxing or football are the games they were when Ali and Brown towered over them, but because whatever factory of courage produced these American idols has long since shut down the line, closed up shop, and gone out of business.

There are still great sports figures whose achievements want respect, but far fewer whose pride isn’t simply ugly egotism and whose strength fades away when they attempt to express informed opinions on matters they have no grasp of.

Which brings us to Kobe Bean Bryant, the “Black Mamba” and gradually descending star of the Los Angeles Lakers whose 17th season was limited to six games due to injuries. Bryant wasn’t able to slow the lottery-bound Lakers’ descent to the second-worst record in the NBA Western Conference.   Still, while he can’t knock down jumpers, he can lob bricks at his team, his coach, and rivals like the Miami Heat’s LeBron James.

Speaking in a New Yorker profile, Bryant slammed King James for a 2012 photo of the Miami Heat team dressed in hoodies, heads bowed in respectful homage to Trayvon Martin, the teenager slain by vigilante George Zimmerman. Bryant swatted away what he perceived as a knee-jerk attempt by James to show racial solidarity with Martin.

“I won’t react to something just because I’m supposed to, because I’m an African-American. That argument doesn’t make any sense to me. So we want to advance as a society and a culture, but, say, if something happens to an African-American we immediately come to his defense? Yet you want to talk about how far we’ve progressed as a society? Well, we’ve progressed as a society, then don’t jump to somebody’s defense just because they’re African-American. You sit and you listen to the facts just like you would in any other situation, right? So I won’t assert myself.”

That should be easy.  When has Bryant ever asserted himself as an African-American?

Bryant was born in suburban Philadelphia, but his dad Joe “Jellybean” Bryant moved the family to Italy when Kobe was six. Kobe spent much of his early years outside of the U.S. speaks both Italian and Spanish and got his name from the Japanese beef his parents saw on a restaurant menu and maintains a love/hate relationship with the town of his birth.

 

Kobe’s not completely wrong.  Supporting someone just because they’re Black is the wrong thing to do, but LeBron and the Heat players didn’t support Trayvon Martin because he was Black.   They supported him because he was innocent.  They supported him because he was a victim.  They supported him because Black people who aren’t obscenely wealthy and totally clueless realize superstar status won’t protect them because they are still Black.

Did Kobe not notice there were a lot of White people who were rocking hoodies in support of Trayvon?

I’ve never warmed up to Bryant. Love his game. Hate everything else unrelated to his game. He’s never been a leader, never been an inspiration, never been anyone worth looking up to. He’s a “Me” guy not a “We” guy. It’s all about him and never about anyone else. Kobe, like Michael Jordan, has spent the majority of his life saying nothing about race in America.  He should  keep quiet about subjects he knows nothing about and he knows nothing about Trayvon Martin.

Bryant is a Black men whose identification with how African-Americans experience life is suspect.  This is something Barack Obama was accused of, but Bryant is living the dream where his wealth and success seemingly insulates him from harsh realities.

Brown caught heat last December for criticizing Bryant’s Switzerland approach to race matters.

“He is somewhat confused about culture, because he was brought up in another country,” Brown said on The Arsenio Hall Show . (Bryant spent part of his childhood in Italy, where his father played professional basketball.) “[Bryant] doesn’t quite fit what’s happening in America.”

In the 1960s, Brown pulled together a collection of top black athletes who shared his social activism. “If I had to call that summit all over,” he said, “there would be some athletes I wouldn’t call. Kobe would be one of them.”

Bryant took to Twitter to fire back at Brown with a sneering, “A ‘Global’ African American is an inferior shade to ‘American’ African American?? #hmmm. that doesn’t sound very #Mandela or #DrKing sir.”

It’s impressive Bryant knows who Mandela and King were but he doesn’t get how they laid their lives on the line for the cause of racial and social justice.  Jim Brown did too.  Bryant believes he floats about mundane trivialities of being Black in the post-racial paradise he made for himself.  Kobe is in La-La Land.  His above it all attitude mirrors that of another L.A. based superstar,  O. J. Simpson.

The hoodie is not the problem. The perception of the hoodie is.

Not a Black thing. More like a human thing.

The late sportswriter Ralph Wiley deconstructed the Juice’s attempted Escape From Blackness fantasy in an ESPN column and it still applies to the Black Mamba. “O.J. tried and almost succeeded at being everything but a black guy — and, more important, his own guy.”

“He fooled himself. He fooled white people. But he didn’t fool very many black people. Not the ones who knew him well, anyway.”

Who really knows Kobe Bryant?   Kobe has never before taken a stand on any social issue or controversy in the news.  This is why he kept his mouth shut.  He knew something stupid would fall out of it.

Bryant took to Twitter again, but this time there was a decidedly different message dribbling out of his brain.

“Travon Martin was wronged THATS my opinion and thats what I believe the FACTS showed. The system did not work #myopinion #tweetURthoughts”

Bryant hasn’t asserted himself on yet is the proper spelling on George Zimmerman’s victim. It’s “Trayvon,” notTravon.” You would think a guy named “Kobe” would sweat a detail like that.

It is undeniable Kobe Bryant is among the select few in the history of NBA who as an athlete and winner belongs among the few, the elite and clearly superior talents of the game.

It is equally undeniable he is a supreme jerk off it.

"So what was up with the hoody, man?'

“So what was up with the hoody, man?’

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Paul Ryan Throws Out Race Bait. Catches Himself Looking Racist.

A race hustler gets caught hustling race.

Paul Ryan, former Republican vice-president candidate and notorious Ayn Rand denier had some interesting thoughts on the problem of poverty.

He probably should have kept them to himself.

At a town hall meeting in Racine, WI on Wednesday, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) was confronted by a black constituent about his remarks disparaging lazy “inner city” men as a drain on the economy.

Think Progress reported that 61-year-old Alfonso Gardner of Racine asked the erstwhile vice presidential candidate exactly what he meant when he said “we have got this tailspin of culture in our inner cities in particular of men not working, and just generations of men not even thinking about working and learning the value and culture of work.”

“You said what you meant,” said Gardner to Ryan during the question and answer section of his appearance. When Ryan said “inner city,” Gardner contended, it was “a code word for black.”

Ryan acted offended that Gardner brought race into the discussion, saying, “There is nothing whatsoever about race in my comments at all.”

Gardner was overreacting, he said, “I think when we throw these charges [of racism] around, it should be based on something.”

Think Progress’ Scott Keyes spoke to Gardner after the event, who said, “He’s out here shucking and jiving. He’s been in Congress eight terms and just now talking about poverty?”

The go-to guide for the sophisticated bigot.

The go-to guide for the sophisticated bigot.

Furthermore, when Ryan made his remarks on Bill Bennett’s AM radio talk show “Morning in America,” he referenced white supremacist writer Charles Murray, who the Southern Poverty Law Center said uses “racist pseudoscience and misleading statistics to argue that social inequality is caused by the genetic inferiority” of African-Americans.

Maybe Ryan actually has a genuine interest in bettering the plight of those generations of inner city males who aren’t working.

Maybe.

More likely Ryan is blowing a particularly high-pitched dog whistle where the problem of inner city Black men not working is based on the fact they’re Black men living in the inner city.

I’d be more inclined to get Cryin’ Ryan the benefit of the doubt if he wasn’t referring to theories of a slob like Charles Murray, the living half of the two twits who wrote the spectacularly racist The Bell Curve and he wasn’t running this smack on a radio show hosted by Bill Bennett, a former Secretary of Education who once told a caller, “I do know that it’s true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could — if that were your sole purpose — you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down.”

If Paul Ryan gave a shit about the serious issues of Black men and the conditions they face in the inner city, he’d get off his dead ass and support some legislation that might put people to work like the president’s American Jobs Act that has languished in Congress since 2011.

But Ryan doesn’t give a shit. He’s another smart-ass White guy who wants to talk Black problems to death with bullshit analysis, hang-wringing sob stories and not a goddamn bit of action. I am SO tired of these opportunistic jackholes like Ryan who riff on subjects they know nothing about and care even less and think referencing a racist like Murray gives them some clout and we should pay attention to them.

NO. We shouldn’t.

Ryan is a man going places in American politics and much like Sen. Rand Paul who has made some encouraging noises in talking about race. At least for a prominent Republican even if Paul falls Whitesplaining the same awkward way Ryan does.

Nobody needs to tell a Black male what’s broken. I’ve heard all that in barbershop conversations for over five decades now.   All  I want to hear from Ryan is what’s the plan to fix it?   Beware when a right-winger who’s never spoken about poverty or race before starts talking about it.  Odds are he’s only spreading verbal fertilizer.

Ryan isn’t going to do anything about the problems of “inner city” men.  He just likes talking about it because it makes him seem sincere and really cares when we know he really doesn’t.  My advice to Ryan is to take the advice of another Republican, Frederick Douglass who had some thoughts himself about what should be done about those Black people problems.

Everybody has asked the question…”What shall we do with the Negro?” I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us!

A path to stupidity is what this doofus wants to put the country on.

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Dead Fred: A Cold End For A Bad Man

Dead Fred.

Fred Phelps, the fire-and-brimstone “God Hates Fags” preacher and leader of a flock on inbred idiots called the Westboro Baptist Church, won’t be picketing the funerals of dead soldiers and gay celebrities any more.   His hateful little cult of cretins will probably attempt to carry on without him, but it just won’t be the same without Freaky Fred leading the chorus of ugly screaming and shouting at grieving families.

That’s because Fred is dead and that’s a good thing because when he was alive he was one crazy and annoying man.  He was not a good man.  He did not do kind things.  He was one selfish, vicious, worthless old bastard who lived only to bring misery to the world and we’re all better off he’s no longer above ground polluting the air with his rancid teachings.

Nice people should have nice things said about them when they die.  Nasty people don’t become nice people because they are dead people now and Fred Phelps was not nice people.  Not at all.

If I’m forced to say something good about Fred Phelps, Satan’s newest BFF, it’s this, as a gay friend pointed out. If this loathsome man did nothing else in his miserable excrescence of an existence, he did more to make homophobia hatred so repulsive and repellent it cut right across EVERY diving line. Phelps made the difficult act of learning tolerance far more preferable than his preaching prejudice.

English: Oberlin College, in Oberlin Ohio, on ...

English: Oberlin College, in Oberlin Ohio, on Tuesday May 10, 2000, Gay and Lesbian students kiss in front of the group of anti homosexual protestors. The protests were brought into Oberlin by Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., and have also been protesting the General Conference of the United Methodist Church in Cleveland Ohio. Several hundred Oberlin College students turned out to rally against the out-of-town protesters. (Photo/Paul M. Walsh) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Liberals, conservatives, Christians and atheists, hard-Right-wingers and loony Lefties, the reddest of rednecks and the most heavy-handed of Bible-thumpers could agree on this one they: none of them wanted anything to do with Phelps. Even if you didn’t care for your fellow Gay Americans, you didn’t want your dislike lumped in with the rabid insanity of a Fred Phelps.

Phelps never intended to be a unifying force, but he turned out to be one anyway. Everyone could at least unite against him.

Alas, poor Fred. One less inflamed asshole in the world.  One more inflamed asshole burning in the purgatory he wanted to damn gays and lesbians to.  If this all sounds cruel and cold, what do you expect?  Phelps  was a cold and cruel man full of fear and bigotry and that’s all he filled the world with.  The world is already dark enough.  What Phelps contributed was nothing anybody needed.

To the bitter end Phelps was an hypocritical shitheel.  Now that he’s gone all cold and stiff he’s not going to have a proper funeral?  Wassup with that, bud?  Afraid the case of Glee will show up with picket signs?

Fred doesn’t need to be buried.  He should be recycled.  Put him in a yard waste bag, drag his dead ass to the corner and he can be picked up and turned into something useful.   He was full of crap and should make excellent mulch.

He deserves a 21-flush salute.  And then let’s forget all about Fred Phelps.  The same way you forget about a big meal after your body expels it as waste 24 hours later.

That’s Fred Phelps.  Human waste.

Goodbye to all that? Lord, let’s hope so!

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CPAC 2014: Empty Rooms, Emptier Rhetoric.

This room is actually full.  Everyone came dressed as empty chairs.

This room is actually full. Everyone came dressed as empty chairs.

Last week’s Conservative Political Action Convention (CPAC) was the annual gathering of the tribes of Right-Wing Nation.   Everybody who’s anybody in that crowd was there if they were on the good side of the event’s organizers.  Anybody  on their bad side wasn’t invited.

Apparently Blacks are on CPAC’s bad side.  The 2012 election results revealed the grim truth that the Republican Party has become an old, male, White and Southern vessel, much ado was made about how more had to be done to make outreach to those Blacks, Latinos, Asians and other people of color whom don’t find the Grand Old Party one they feel welcomed to be part of.   With that backdrop, CPAC conducted a minority outreach panel discussion.

The problem was there weren’t many minorities in attendance.   Or anybody else either.

The panel’s theme was GOP outreach to minority communities and the panelists were Virginia Senate candidate Ed Gillespie and three Black political strategists: Jason Roe, Elroy Sailor, and Robert Woodson.   All benchwarmers and nobodies.

None of the Black conservative All-Stars were there.  Ben Carson and Allen West would have showed up but couldn’t take a break from the shoe shine stand.   Mia Love was watching some White woman’s kids.  David Webb was parking cars.  Tim Scott was bussing tables and Artur Davis was frying chicken.  Herman Cain and Crystal Wright couldn’t get off their day jobs at McDonald’s. Those burgers ain’t gonna flip themselves!

Conservatives don’t have a diversity problem.  They don’t even believe in diversity.  They believe they have a messaging problem.  They have a lack of Blacks who think as they do and can carry their message back to other Blacks.   An auditorium of row after empty row of chairs may look embarrassing to those outside of CPAC, to those inside CPAC, it’s not embarrassing at all.  Opening their arms to invite more people of color in sounds nice in theory, but as a priority it isn’t one.

For years Carson, West, Cain and their ilk have yammering like kindergarten kids cranked up on too much sugar in their cherry Kool-Aid how Blacks are taken for granted by Democrats.  How Blacks are played for suckers by Democrats.  How Democrats treat Black like slaves and keep them on their plantation.

“No, I don’t want Dr. Carson as a running mate. I’M a doctor!”

Here was an opportunity to show 30 million African-Americans what the conservative alternative is and they LITERALLY COULD NOT BE BOTHERED TO SHOW UP!   Outside of the Republican National Convention, CPAC is the biggest gathering of American conservatives and if they don’t care how old, how White and how unrepresentative of the country their movement is people of color won’t either.

A word about Dr. Ben Carson placing third in the CPAC presidential straw poll behind Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz.  Big deal.   Carson is the current Great Black Hope of the White Right with some fantasizing he would be a Hillary stopper as he could dent her percentage of the African-American vote.

That’s a fantasy shattered by the reality that Carson would have to step out of his CPAC/Fox News comfort zone and actually face skeptical audiences unimpressed by his vagueness and real journalists who won’t pitch him slow rollers across the plate.   If “lack of experience” is a rap Republicans have hung around Barack Obama’s neck,  he looks like a Washington lifer compared to the callow Carson who has never run for any elected office, never served in a presidential administration and doesn’t seem to have any policy positions.  Even Horny Herman Cain was more qualified.

Carson is the featured Flavor of the Month.  He soaks up the adulation of the White Right like cornbread does gravy, but like cornbread, he’ll crumble under the pressure of an actual presidential campaign.

Right-Wing Flavor of the Month (photo credit: T.J. Kilpatrick/Getty Images)

Right-Wing Flavor of the Month (photo credit: T.J. Kilpatrick/Getty Images)

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Jon and John’s War Against The Black Vote

“Good job making it harder to vote, Jon.” “Thanks, John.”

I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter turnout machine.”

~ Doug Preisse, Republican Party chairman of Franklin County

Here’s the thing about the sacred right to vote.   It’s only a right as long as you have it.   They don’t have to take it away from all at once.   Killing it off by a slow death of a thousand cuts will get the job done just as effectively.

The hard-right conservatism of the Republican Party does not appeal to Black voters.  This is simply a fact.   Here in Ohio, a perennial battleground state, the Republicans recognize this and have resolved to address it by doing all they can to suppress the Black vote as Think Progress reported:

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has followed through on promises to restrict voting opportunities in his state. The change, announced Tuesday, eliminates extended early voting hours on weekdays, the final two days before Election Day as well as Sunday voting, a day typically important to African-American voters because churches use it to turn out votes.

The early voting period is vital to the elderly, low-income voters, and anyone else with limited means to get to the polls, not to mention that it cuts down on election-day long lines and chaos. MSNBC notes that in 2008, black voters made up 56 percent “of all weekend voters in Cuyahoga County, Ohio’s largest, even though they made up just 28% of the county’s population.”

Optional in Ohio.

Husted’s announcement comes on the heels of other Ohio initiatives to suppress turnout. Ohio just passed two bills that eliminates an entire week of early voting and end the practice of mailing absentee ballots.

Naturally Husted would never say he’s going to make it harder to vote.  The Big Lie told by the GOP is they are streamlining the process and making it fairer. 

“In 2014, absentee voters will have the option of voting in person for four weeks, or they can vote without ever leaving home by completing the absentee ballot request form we will be sending all voters,” Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted said. “Our goal is to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat and to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity in the voting process no matter which method they choose.”

“Easy to vote and hard to cheat?”   That’s a different line than Husted’s rap last year when his office and the state’s 88 country boards conducted investigations looking for fraud in the 2012 presidential elections and came back with 135 cases they recommended for prosecution.

Wow.  That many?  Go get those crooks, Jon-Boy!   Uh-uh.  Not so fast.  Every whiff of smoke doesn’t mean there must be a forest fire.

Voter fraud does exist, but it is not an epidemic,” Husted said. “To put this into context, … that’s 135 referrals out of more than 5.6 million votes cast.”

Oh.

Well, that’s disappointing, but 135 cases is good enough for the G.O.P.   Let’s go ahead and  shorten the early voting period by six full days and get rid of same-day voter registration.  While we’re at it let’s cut the number of voting machines in the state and increase wait time for voters at the polls.  Especially those old Black ones.   Watching them shiver in the November cold to cast their ballots will be fun!

This is how Husted, Gov. John Kasich and Ohio Republicans observe Black History Month.  By trying like hell to make the votes of Blacks history.

Once upon a time Blacks had to march in the streets and even die for the right to vote.   Just because marches aren’t popular and nobody’s dying doesn’t mean Blacks can relax and stop fighting to keep and protect their hard-won rights.

The Republicans are engaged in one of the historically most efficient political tactics: suppress the vote and by making it harder for people whom aren’t going to vote for you to for vote for the other guy, you win.  Voter suppression works for Republicans and that is today’s Black History Moment.  If we sit idly by it will be tomorrow’s Black future.

What the enemies of our progress take away we can take back.  IF we are willing to fight for it.    Hoping someone else will come along and get our rights back won’t do it.  When it comes to voter suppression Husted and Kasich are only getting started.

The secret of the GOP’s success.

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The Hypocrisy of the NFL’s N-Word Ban

“Don’t hurt me N-words.”

In yet another clumsily misguided attempt to exercise control over the players, the NFL is considering making the saying the slur, “nigger” on the field punishable by a 15-yard penalty.  Well, isn’t that sweet?   A league run by a pompous ass of a commissioner who cashed $44 million in checks last year given to him by 32 billionaires and millionaires and not a dark face among any of them are going to impose their morality upon the 70 percent Black young urban men who make up their teams.

The NFL is in full reactionary mode in the aftermath of the investigation into the sordid and ugly racial harassment suffered by Jonathan Martin by the crude Richie Incognito and other Miami Dolphins players.   Trying to impose a ban on a troublesome word won’t solve the problem of bullying in the locker room, but Roger Goodell isn’t one of the world’s most thoughtful CEO’s.   His approach is that of a hammer with nails all around him.

So if I’m a NFL player and I can’t say “nigger” but I can say “REDSKINS! REDSKINS! REDSKINS!”  that’s all good with Goodell?   Smells like a double standard to me.

“Wassup, my N-words?”

ESPN’s  Outside the Lines recently discussed the usage of “nigger” in popular sports and how the word is considered radically differently by generations with some seeing it as nothing but a vile and vicious insult while a younger generation that grew up dancing to it in rap music and hip-hop culture embrace it as a term of affection.

I didn’t get a lot out of the conversation except being disappointed in Michael Wilbon, a well-respected sports journalist,  shrugging off the slur as something he’s okay with because he uses the word when he’s kickin’ it  with the fellas.   The rationalization that it’s time to fight if a White guy asks, “Are you my nigga?”  but it’s all good when a Black guy does it is garbage.

There is no racial slur equal to being called a “nigger.” That is always the ultimate trump card a White person can throw on the table to insult a Black person. What’s the equivalent retort? White trash? Cracker? Republican?

Why someone thinks it is empowering to refer to themselves or others by a word that has always been to cast doubt on the very humanity of Blacks is a bafflement to me. I’m sure there’s an explanation of how this works, but I’ve never heard a good one.

I neither have nor want friends that feel comfortable in calling me a nigger and misspelling it as “nigga” is bullshit that doesn’t fly with me either.  Still, you can’t regulate and legislate “nigger” out of existence.   The NAACP staged a mock burial of the epithet several years ago, but that failed to kill it off.   How could it?  Only time, education and a greater sophistication of how unnecessary and stigmatizing it is to keep pumping life into what should be a dead word will drive the stake through its rancid heart.

Chris Murray, the Philadelphia-based sports journalist added his disdain for using “nigger” as a term among friends in his Facebook news feed with some in agreement and a few in vehement disagreement with one guy making a point of letting everyone know it too.

 Everybody in this thread is a nigger. I said it!!!

Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word

Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I made a common mistake.  I attempted to being reasonable with an unreasonable man.  I said, “Please brother, speak FOR yourself ABOUT yourself. If you want to wear that tag, wear if for yourself, but don’t try to hang it around my neck.”

“I don’t know any niggers, don’t hang with any niggers and don’t call anyone a nigger.”

Jeff Winbush oh yea…you a nigger too. And you know quite a few.

I’m a proud nigga. Gonna be one until I die. And Jeff Winbush do your homework before you try to insult me. Nigga!!!!

No hood talk, not tryin to be tuff. Just truth. Ya know, it ain’t bad bein a nigga. I’m just not a white mans nigger! Get the.point!

Nigga nigga nigga nigga.

Trying to insult someone you don’t know with an ignorant word is really kind of ignorant. It’s a strong indicator you have to resort to dumb words because you don’t know enough smart ones.  I’m a proud Black man and nobody’s nigger or “nigga” which is just a cowardly way of trying to remix a vile and foolish word.

You can’t polish a turd. Trying to reclaim “nigger” as a term of endearment is a fool’s errand and an epic FAIL.  You’re saying “we” never had a problem with the word when you mean “I” never had a problem with the word.

I DO have a problem with the word and the word has gone away from my vocabulary. I don’t associate myself with an ignorant word that has only been used to degrade and diminish the humanity of Black people.

For the sake of accuracy, there’s no such thing as a “nigga.”  That’s a hip bastardization of a troublesome word.   Either you believe in the slur or you don’t.  All in or all out.  I’m out.

The NFL should be too.  Out of trying to be the P.C. police imposing the ethical standards of White owners on Black players.   They should trust in the ability of the players themselves to police their own language and each other.   If the NFL really finds the N-word so offensive they should stop treating the players like that’s what they are.

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