Alveda King: The LaToya Jackson of the Right.

That's more information than I needed, Alveda.

There’s one in every family.   That one nerve-wracking niece or nephew, annoying aunt or crazy uncle you try to avoid at family gatherings who tracks you down like a heat-seeking missile, gets you in a corner and proceeds to pummel you into submission with their non-stop nuttiness and crazy thoughts.

In the family tree of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., his niece, Alveda King is the sap.   An unabashed right-winger who is vehement in her opposition to abortion, gay rights and same-sex marriage, Alveda, who boasts she is carrying her uncle’s mantle forward told the thousands who attended Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor revival meeting in Washington that Dr. King, if he had been assassinated 42 years ago, would have also been there as well.

Alveda is an anti-abortion activist and something of a homophobe.  In a 1998 speech she said, “Homosexuality cannot be elevated to the civil rights issue. The civil rights movement was born from the Bible. God hates homosexuality.”  She claims Dr. King would oppose gay marriage and was a Republican.

Beck, a former drunk and drug addict, peddles a particularly poisonous and phony populism, and King is all too happy to lend him a little cover by being his token Negro friend.  Her appearance at this strokefest for Beck’s ego was shameful and embarrassing.  But Alveda King is not easily shamed or embarrassed.

Though Beck’s snake-oil medicine show last Saturday focused more on that old-time religion than criticizing President Obama,  Beck went after him again in a post-rally interview with his employer, Fox News.

Beck said “[Obama] is a guy who understands the world through liberation theology, which is oppressor-and-victim.”   He added, “People aren’t recognizing his version of Christianity.”

Beck, who also backtracked on his earlier proclamation describing the president as a “racist” amplified his attacks on Obama’s stated Christian beliefs saying on his Fox show, “You see, it’s all about victims and victimhood; oppressors and the oppressed; reparations, not repentance; collectivism, not individual salvation. I don’t know what that is, other than it’s not Muslim, it’s not Christian. It’s a perversion of the gospel of Jesus Christ as most Christians know it.”

"Plastic surgery? Never touch the stuff."

No word from Alveda if she agrees with her buddy Beck in demonizing the president.

Dr. King isn’t the first person to have family members whom devoid of little talent and skills of their own greedily attempt to appropriate a legacy they played no part in.   Alveda is just particularly despicable in how she exploits her bloodline to flog her particular views.   Nobody is questioning her right to be as pro-life and anti-gay as she wants to be.   It is just a bit contemptible how she has body snatched a dead man and tries to put words Dr. King never said in his mouth.

Salon.com
profiled Alveda and exposed her arrogance and disdain for the late Coretta Scott King, the wife of her uncle.

In 1994, she released a letter condemning Coretta Scott King’s support for abortion and gay rights, saying it would bring “curses on your house and your people … cursing, vexation, rebuke in all that you put your hand to, sickness will come to you and your house, your bloodline will be cut off.”

Alveda is dismissive of her aunt, who died in 2006, saying, “I’ve got his DNA. She doesn’t, she didn’t … Therefore I know something about him. I’m made out of the same stuff.”

Nobody knows MLK like Alveda knows MLK.

The same stuff?  Only if Dr. King was full of crap.

Her uncle had a dream. Alveda King has a scheme. Pimp his last name and try to hijack his legacy.

When the only thing you have to go on is your last name that’s what you use in hopes some of the reflected glory will shine on you.

It hasn’t.  Alveda King is the LaToya Jackson of right-wing politics.   Another talentless non-entity jock riding a more accomplished relative and pathetically attempting to gravy train their reflected glory.   The only reason she’s worth talking about at all is because she’s such a  bad joke even while she lacks the self-awareness to know it.

Nothing a ranting demagogue like Beck the Babbler can say or do will lessen the impact and importance Dr. King had upon America.   Alveda King Beal is a different issue entirely.  If she wants to lend out her name to give cover to conservatives who would like to roll back the racial progress her uncle accomplished that’s her call.

But she needs to be called out as the total fraud she is when she presents herself as The One anointed to carry Dr. King’s work forward.    All Alveda is a  “obscure twig on the King family tree” as  columnist Elmer Smith wrote in  the Philadelphia Daily News.

She doesn’t exalt Dr. King.  She exploits him and in doing so has exposed herself as unworthy of  his legacy and totally unqualified to appoint herself as his messenger.

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Why I Vote Even When I Can’t Win.

How many voters will take this advice in the next two months?

 

Some weepy, whiny weak sister of a liberal posted on a debate board  I frequent how frustrated they were with President Obama and the Democrats and there was no point to voting in this fall’s election because everyone knows they’re  going to get wiped out anyway by the Republicans, so why bother?   

 While I fully expect the results of the election to be lousy for Democrats, I don’t allow myself to get too up or too down based upon how the fortunes of a political party rise and fall.  This is not a particularly progressive group of Democrats we have running around Washington today.  20 years ago someone like Ben Nelson would have been a moderate Republican. Today’s right-wing GOP has almost purged all of that breed from their ranks. 

 Truth be told, I’d rather see the Democrats in charge than Republicans, but since this group of Democrats aren’t particularly principled, I’m not going to cry if I wake up November 3 to a Republican controlled Congress.  I’ll accept it and react accordingly.  If the will of the people is they want what the Republicans  have to offer they should get it good and hard.  

I really don’t care if someone chooses not to vote. It’s your democracy. If you want to sit on your dead ass waiting to see what others have decided is best for you, have at it. That’s your prerogative. 

I do not. People literally died to give me the right to vote. It would be dishonoring their sacrifice for me to sit an election out and I can’t do that even when I’m not thrilled by my choices. 

Don’t give me any of that “the lesser of two choices is still evil” jive. Yes, and So what? Get involved and become a third choice. As much as I can’t stand the Tea Party, look how those unruly bastards are scaring the snot out of both political parties. The Democrats are afraid of getting beaten by them and the Republicans are afraid they’ll take over. That’s why the corporations are trying so hard to buy their way in and shape the message to their liking. 

Is this the face of an oppressed conservative?

 

Either support the system, change the system or smash the system. Dropping out of the system accomplishes zip and is the path of least resistance.  

That line of argument didn’t convince another poster who wrote:  

Conflation again. “The system” is not the moving force of society. “The system” doesn’t act, it reacts. And your individual vote has no noticeable impact on “the system,” as any mathematician can explain. You can make a hell of a lot more difference in the world by the things you do in society than you could ever make by going in a booth and pulling a handle to choose among two homogenized choices for boss.  

If you want to make a difference, get out there and make it. Don’t expect it to happen because you pull a lever once a year, it ain’t happening. 

Even a simple smile on your face every day will do more to change the world around you than voting ever will. 

“Don’t worry, be happy,” huh? 

It’s easy to be cynical about voting when it is viewed as a luxury. I don’t see it that way. 

Medger Evers, Viola Liuozzo, Rev. James Reeb, Rev. George Wesley Lee, Lamar Smith, Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, Vernon Dahmer and a guy named Martin Luther King, Jr., are among the thousands of martyrs who spilled their blood to give me a right America said I had, but because of the color of my skin, would not let me use. 

Apathy is not hardwired into my DNA. Neither is stabbing in the back all those who sacrificed out of some sense of bored defeatism. 

 

What others see as a pointless exercise in reinforcing the status quo, I see as the most efficient and peaceful way to changing it. Too many don’t because they are too lazy, too disaffected and too mistrusting to vote. They tell themselves non-participation in the system is circumventing it. All they are doing is forfeiting their right to have a say in how society works.  If voting didn’t change anything why do powerful, vested interests spend so much time, money and effort trying to manipulate or get around it? There’s something about voting that scares them so much they are willing to lie, cheat and kill to impede it. 

By all means, stay home and avoid this November’s circus.  If you believe the fix is in and the game is rigged , then drop out of the process if you loathe it so and don’t want to make an effort to change it. 

Just know this:  Cynics don’t change jack. 

They stand on the sidelines in cool detachment with their hands jammed firmly in their pockets and refuse to be a participant. But most cynics are neither activists nor anarchists. They give nothing. They do nothing. They change nothing. 

James Baldwin, the novelist and social critic, was a pretty astute observer of the American scene.   Baldwin knew passive and aloof disengagement only reinforces the status quo. He was correct when he observed, “Those who say it can’t be done are usually interrupted by others doing it.”

Glum hopelessness and fatalism are always in abundance. Engagement, commitment and what Dr. King dubbed “creative extremism” is how stuff gets done.   Anyone can vote when you know your candidate or issue is going to win. It’s voting when the prospects are less certain which vindicate the process and teaches that losing isn’t the same thing as surrendering.  It’s healthy for the other side to win every so often.  If they didn’t they would stop playing.  

A Dream Disgraced.

 

King doesn't need to have his honor restored.

Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor rally at the Reflecting Pool near the Washington Monument could have been noted and should have been forgotten as just another attention-grabbing stunt by the moronic Fox News host if not for the fact it will be held at the exact same place and day where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., delivered the classic “I Have A Dream” speech some 47 years earlier.

Beck claims he had no idea his right-wing Woodstock was occurring on the anniversary of Dr. King’s seminal speech on race.  Right, sure.

It’s a insult of obscene proportions that a charlatan, fraud and a fool like Beck  would atetempt to appropriate Dr. King as a foot soldier in his cultural war against liberalism, social justice and President Obama.   The gamut of emotions stirred by such an despicable act run from spitting on the ground in abject disgust to strangling Beck until his beady little eyes bulge out. 

And I suppose it’s also just a coincidence among the featured speakers will be Alveda King, Dr. King’s niece, and a hopeless homophobe, right.  If the idea is to in part honor King among those whom Beck describes as a “national heroes” why the hell is Sarah Palin another invited speaker?

“This is going to be an iconic event,” Beck was quoted in USA Today. “This is going to be a moment that you’ll never be able to paint people as haters, racists, none of it. This is a moment, quite honestly, that I think we reclaim the civil rights movement. It has been so distorted and so turned upside down. It is an abomination.”

Reclaim the civil rights movement?  Oh right.  Beck believes the political Left have co-opted King as one of their own and as many conservatives have tried in the past, Beck is going to exploit a dead man for his own ends.  The respectful thing would be to have his rally and leave King out of it, but what does Glenn Beck or his devotees know about respect?

Putting America’s looniest talking head on the same stage as America’s goofiest politician should be one of those events that cannot occur in nature.  There’s just too much weirdness with Beck and Palin for normal human beings to safely process.  But for Palin, who has never exhibited the slightest understanding or interest in civil rights to be speaking in defense of the principle one week after Tweeting an incoherent defense of Dr. Laura Schelessinger’s Constitutional right to say “nigger, nigger, nigger” is obscene.

“Whites don’t own Abraham Lincoln,” Beck said. “Blacks don’t own Martin Luther King. Those are American icons, American ideas, and we should just talk about character, and that’s really what this event is about. It’s about honoring character.”

Representative John Lewis, (D-Ga), knows a little something about character.  Unlike Beck or Palin, he worked with King, marched with King and loved Dr. King.  He penned an essay for USA Today that should be read in its entirety by those angered and disgusted by the pathetic attempts of right-wing hustlers to pimp a fallen American hero.

I know there are those who take issue with Saturday’s event at the National Mall, but King quoted William Cullen Bryant  when he said, “Truth crushed to earth will (only) rise again.” We cannot manage the actions of others, but we can stand firm in our own non-violent convictions. With the knowledge of the truth as our defense, no information or misinformation can stop the power of a committed and determined people to heal a divided nation. Nothing can stop an idea whose time has come.

After a brutal campaign of violence in Birmingham, Ala., positioned to stamp out the call for justice, where police dogs and fire hoses had been turned on children, the nation and the Congress responded with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. President Kennedy said this about the police commissioner in Birmingham, “The Civil Rights Movement should thank God for Bull Connor. He’s helped it as much as Abraham Lincoln.”

Regardless of the activity on the Mall this weekend or the inactivity on the Mall in the days after, the question before us still remains: Who do we want to be as a people and as a nation? Do we want to go back, or do we want to move forward? Do we want to erase the steps we struggled to take in the ’60s by gutting or repealing the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, the 14th Amendment, the Fair Housing Act, and other progressive measures? I say, we have suffered too long and struggled too hard to turn back now. As a nation and as a people, we cannot, and we must not go back.

Before trying to "restore honor" how about decency and civility, first?

If Beck truly wanted to “restore honor” and exalt heroes, he should have invited John Lewis instead of Sarah Palin to speak.

Nothing that is said by anyone at Beck’s little hoedown can in any way tarnish or lessen Dr. King’s immortal and living legacy.   What it does prove is how the far Right admonishes Muslims for not “building bridges” when they choose to build a cultural center somewhere the Right doesn’t agree it should go, but deliberately and purposefully seek to antagonize the millions of Americans whom rightfully regard Martin Luther King as one of our greatest leaders as part of a transparently partisan stunt.

In the spirit of Dr. King we should forgive Glenn Beck and his pals.  It isn’t that that they know not what they do.  They know all right.  They just don’t care.

It’s more difficult to be like King and forgive our enemies, but it’s the better thing to do than to be as divisive and dishonorable as they are. 

Welcome Back (again) Brett

Just because it doesn't count doesn't mean it's not sweet.

Anyone who knows anything about the NFL will tell you for all intents and purposes, pre-season football is crap. If you like to watch a handful of veterans and a lot of rookies and free agents bang into each other to win a spot on your favorite football team, it’s great. Otherwise, it’s unwatchable.

Which doesn’t mean there still can’t be a few moments of fleeting satisfaction mixed in.

Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings came to town to play the San Francisco 49ers. Nothing particularly special about it. The vets on both teams would play a quarter or two, but mostly the game was just another try out for a lot of guys who will be going back home in a few weeks having failed to be among the last cuts to make the team.

However, this was also the first game since Brett Favre ended his annual “am I coming back or not?” ritual. NBC was in full “let’s swing on Brett’s nuts” mode. They talked about Brett before the game. They talked about Brett during the game. They interviewed Brett during halftime. They interviewed Brett again during the third quarter while he was standing on the sidelines.

They were then bringing Tony Dungy into the booth to (guess what?) ask him about Brett Favre. Dungy was to be followed by Rodney Harrison whom I presume would also be asked what he thought about Brett Favre’s nuts. Were they smooth to the touch or rough and stubbly like Brett’s perpetually stubbled face?

Having had quite enough, I had muted the sound long ago. A man can only take so much slurping and sucking before he must say “ENOUGH ALREADY!”

So if the pre-season Favre worship was intolerable and the game itself meaningless, why am I even mentioning it?

Because even if a game that doesn’t count, means nothing and has real importance, it’s still great to watch the NFL’s version of Touchdown Jesus get his dick knocked in the dirt.

The moment of sweetness came during the third of the only four snaps Favre was scheduled to take that night. He stepped back and two 49er linebackers, Patrick Willis and Takeo Spikes blitzed up the middle and slammed into the grizzled graybeard like two 18-wheelers squashing a terrified deer.

BOOM! Down goes Favre!  Sacked for a 10-yard loss. Punt on the next down.  Good night and thanks for showing up.  Now drag yo’ tired old ass back to the sidelines to watch the rest of the game with a ball cap on. Welcome back from the rocking chair, grandpa.

That's the way uh-huh I like it.

Last season Favre built upon his legend with a last-second touchdown pass to beat the Niners. Willis hadn’t forgotten how badly that loss stung and used his brief time on the field to personally deliver that message .

Willis may be the best young linebacker in the league.  The 49ers are paying him like he is and learning from a Hall of Famer in Coach Mike Singletary  can only enhance his chances of joining his coach and Favre in Canton one day.

There’s no revenge in the pre-season. The 49ers are favored to win their division. The Vikings are favored to make the Super Bowl. Those are two entirely different expectations.

Willis and the 49ers would love a chance to square things with Favre during a game that matters. The two teams don’t play during the regular season so the only way that can happen is in the playoffs. It remains to see if Favre wants any part of that kind of action.

"Tough way to earn $20 million."

Is this petty on my part?  Should I not take so much satisfaction from something that means so little.   Does it make me a hater?   Fine by me.  Sometimes I’m just an evil Black man.  What can I say?   It may be a superficial thrill but I get one  every time I see the holy hell get beat out of the most overrated and overpraised athlete ever to step on any playing field of any type .

If  that seems a bit exaggerated, so is the legend of Brett Favre, the Football Messiah.    A little dose of humility dealt out to him every so often is a good thing.

It feels good too.

Who Gets to Use the N-Word?

This guy can...

 

In the circles I travel with the N-word is used about as often in normal conversation as “antidisestablishmentarianism.” When the N-word does come out to play it is usually as a sudden epithet such as, “NIGGER, PLEASE!” You learn to pardon it like it was a particularly loud fart. That or we’re trying to throw lines from a Chris Rock routine or Blazing Saddles

Otherwise, I’m of the mind that it’s primarily youngsters saying it so casually. Partially because they don’t know any better and partially because they do know how much it ticks off older folks and what normal teenager doesn’t take sadistic pleasure in ticking off older folks as much as it is humanly possible to do? 

Some of them grow older and hopefully smarter and outgrow both the word and the need to tick off old folks. Some just grow older and stay dumb. They never learn how truly wretched a word it really is so they keep using it and the next thing you know they’re stuck talking like Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction for the rest of their lives. 

Speaking of which, the most stilted dialog in the whole movie is when talented director but talentless actor Quentin Tarantino starts dressing down Samuel Jackson with his wholly unconvincing “dead nigger storage” harangue. If you’ve seen the movie, you know what I mean. It sounds totally artificial and not the least bit authentic. Normal White Folks say “nigger” but they don’t say it like that. At least I’ve never heard any of them ever say it that way before, after or since. 

...and these guys can...

 

Dr. Laura did not say the caller “Jade” was a nigger. She simply used a racial slur in a clumsy, spectacularly clueless and totally inelegant and inappropriate way. In retrospect she should have just farted. 

Still, even her moronic outburst is an opportunity for a “teachable moment.”  Why does it seem that a Black comedian can drop N-bombs without a care in the world, but let a White talk show host try the same thing and we’re fitting her for concrete sneakers.  

Here’s why. Comedians are by nature of their job description supposed to try and find the humor in anything even when it appears there’s nothing funny about it. A good comedian can take an eyebrow-arching word and make it funny. George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Mel Brooks, Redd Foxx, Lenny Bruce, Bill Hicks, Margaret Cho, Lisa Lampanelli, Chris Rock can do it. A bad comedian throws out a “bad word” and it kind of just lies there like a soiled diaper. I’m looking at you Andrew Dice Clay, Katt Williams, Jackie Martling and especially YOU, Michael Richards. 

I believe Dr. Laura was referencing the long vanished from the airwaves Def Comedy Jam series when she talked about Black comedians saying, “nigger, nigger, nigger.” Her reference point was out-of-date by 13 years, but she was pretty much right. You could turn on Def Comedy Jam and hear comedians saying “nigger, nigger, nigger.” Pretty much because the majority of them were lousy comedians and a lot of lousy comedians swear when they can’t think of anything else. Like Richard Pryor said he tried to mix some jokes in with the cuss words. Too many comedians learned the second part of the formula and suck at the first part. 

...and so can these guys (though they do way too much)...

 

There’s no double-standard here. Ignorant people reach for ignorant words because it troubles them too much to find smarter ones. 

As a writer and I wouldn’t dream of telling another writer they can’t use the N-word, the C-word, the MF word or any other word simply because it offends me. There are times people need to be offended and a well-applied epithet, vulgarity or swear word utilized by the right person can have as deft a touch as surgeon’s scalpel and cut deeply without drawing blood. As far as it goes for a painter, poet, actor, author, singer or rapper, I won’t be the one to tell them “You can’t say that.” But when if you do be prepared to suffer the consequences. There are limits even to artistic license. For those who are not comedians or artists such as Dr. Laura they should step lightly lest they step on their own tongue. 

She didn’t. She stomped all over the joint in big honkin’ combat boots. And all she ended up doing was kicking her own tush. There’s probably a way she COULD have used the N-word without being a total arrogant, condescending rhymes-with-witch. 

Unfortunately, that would require the bad doctor being something more than a totally, arrogant, condescending rhymes-with-witch. Anyone who has the chutzpah to practice psychology without license and get it away with it this long doesn’t do humility. 

Does this mean Black people can say “nigger” and White people can’t? 

No. 

White people called Black people “nigger” a lot longer than Black people ever called each other “nigger.” There are still some die-hards on both sides who won’t let go. Blacks can still shock and offend Whites by using it casually and it’s always a hold card to be played by Whites when they really want to get raw with Blacks. There is no equivalent retort a Black person can throw back in retaliation. 

“Honky?”
“Cracker?”
“Whitey?”
“Ofay?”
“White devil?”
“Redneck”
“White trash?”
“White MF?”
“Dick Cheney?”
 

Nothing quite seems to measure up in comparison.  “Nigger” is still the go-to smear when you absolutely, positively want to hit us where it hurts.  

Which makes it something of a verbal hand grenade.   Anyone can handle it, but’s it’s best left to those who know how to use it in the proper circumstances. 

...but no N-word for you!

Truth Is Not the Enemy.

Caution is reasonable. Persecution is not.

Though it’s a still a few weeks out from the ninth commemoration of the events of September 11, this year is going to be a bit different.  The feelings are a bit rawer and the passion running a bit hotter than previous years.   Nine years after the fact it could not be more clear that while the 9/11 “truthers”  have receded a bit into the background, there is still a tug of war between the fantasies and realities of what happened that day and who should be blamed for it.   

The fantasy is building the proposed Cordoba cultural center in Manhattan would be “disrespectful” to those the thousands who died at Ground Zero, two blocks away.  I’ll get to that in a bit but first some facts.   The guy spearheading the project is one Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf .   Rauf was born in Kuwait, educated in England, Egypt and Malaysia.   He immigrated to the U.S. from Egypt with his father who was also an imam.   Rauf received a bachelor’s degree in physics from Columbia University and has a Master’s degree in plasma physics from Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey.  

Rauf is obviously a hell of a lot smarter than Sarah Palin.   Now a few inconvenient truths for those who prefer thinly veiled appeals to anti-Muslim sentiments to the hard, cold facts of the matter.  

  • There are at least two other mosques in the neighborhood. The Masjid al Farah, where Rauf served as prayer leader until 2009, sits 12 blocks from Ground Zero. The Masjid Manhattan, which was founded in 1970, is four blocks from Ground Zero, on Warren Street.
  • The plan is for a cultural center that would contain a mosque.
  • The project’s organizers have said that the center would be modeled on Manhattan’s 92nd Street Y, a community center open to all New Yorkers. The center would house meeting rooms, a fitness center, a swimming pool, a basketball court, a restaurant and culinary school, a library, a 500-seat auditorium, a mosque and a Sept. 11 memorial and reflection space. The organizers have estimated that the mosque could attract as many as 2,000 worshipers on Fridays.

Many of those opposed to the cultural center such as Mrs. Palin say the area around Ground Zero is “hallowed ground.”  Maybe Sarah hasn’t seen that particular part of the city in her last trip so here’s a link to a site showing some of the other businesses in the supposedly sacred ground.  

If the Muslim cultural center ever gets built this will be one of their neighbors.

Finally, before anyone else dredges up that “let’s have some respect for the dead” line now is a good time to point out Muslims died as well on 9/11 and here is a partial list of them:  

Samad Afridi
Ashraf Ahmad
Shabbir Ahmad (45 years old; Windows on the World; leaves wife and 3 children)
Umar Ahmad
Azam Ahsan
Ahmed Ali
Tariq Amanullah (40 years old; Fiduciary Trust Co.; ICNA website team member; leaves wife and 2 children)
Touri Bolourchi (69 years old; United Airlines #175; a retired nurse from Tehran)
Salauddin Ahmad Chaudhury
Abdul K. Chowdhury (30 years old; Cantor Fitzgerald)
Mohammad S. Chowdhury (39 years old; Windows on the World; leaves wife and child born 2 days after the attack)
Jamal Legesse Desantis
Ramzi Attallah Douani (35 years old; Marsh & McLennan)
SaleemUllah Farooqi
Syed Fatha (54 years old; Pitney Bowes)
Osman Gani
Mohammad Hamdani (50 years old)
Salman Hamdani (NYPD Cadet)

Mohammad Salman Hamadi: paramedic. NYPD cadet. Muslim. Victim.

Aisha Harris (21 years old; General Telecom)
Shakila Hoque (Marsh & McLennan)
Nabid Hossain
Shahzad Hussain
Talat Hussain
Mohammad Shah Jahan (Marsh & McLennan)
Yasmeen Jamal
Mohammed Jawarta (MAS security)
Arslan Khan Khakwani
Asim Khan
Ataullah Khan
Ayub Khan
Qasim Ali Khan
Sarah Khan (32 years old; Cantor Fitzgerald)
Taimour Khan (29 years old; Karr Futures)
Yasmeen Khan
Zahida Khan
Badruddin Lakhani
Omar Malick
Nurul Hoque Miah (36 years old)
Mubarak Mohammad (23 years old)
Boyie Mohammed (Carr Futures)
Raza Mujtaba
Omar Namoos
Mujeb Qazi
Tarranum Rahim
Ehtesham U. Raja (28 years old)
Ameenia Rasool (33 years old)
Naveed Rehman
Yusuf Saad
Rahma Salie & unborn child (28 years old; American Airlines #11; wife of Michael Theodoridis; 7 months pregnant)
Shoman Samad
Asad Samir
Khalid Shahid (25 years old; Cantor Fitzgerald; engaged to be married in November)
Mohammed Shajahan (44 years old; Marsh & McLennan)
Naseema Simjee (Franklin Resources Inc.’s Fiduciary Trust)
Jamil Swaati
Sanober Syed
Robert Elias Talhami (40 years old; Cantor Fitzgerald)
Michael Theodoridis (32 years old; American Airlines #11; husband of Rahma Salie)
W. Wahid  

It shouldn’t be necessary to remind anyone everyone who died on 9/11 wasn’t White and Christian and are still counted among the Americans who perished that day.  

It shouldn’t be necessary but apparently it is.

Dr. Laura’s Racial Diarrhea

Never have so many been duped by someone so ignorant.

Another day, another foot to be surgically removed from someone’s mouth.  The dummy this time was Dr. Laura Schlessinger, right-wing radio yakker who went off on an all-time high “nigger” rant on a Black caller who was asking the quack, phony psychologist for advice on how to handle a bout of racial insensitivity from her husband and friends.   The caller named Jade says hers was an interracial marriage.


SCHLESSINGER:
Jade, welcome to the program.

CALLER:
Hi, Dr. Laura.

SCHLESSINGER: Hi.

CALLER: I’m having an issue with my husband where I’m starting to grow very resentful of him. I’m black, and he’s white. We’ve been around some of his friends and family members who start making racist comments as if I’m not there or if I’m not black. And my husband ignores those comments, and it hurts my feelings. And he acts like —

SCHLESSINGER: Well, can you give me an example of a racist comment? ‘Cause sometimes people are hypersensitive. So tell me what’s — give me two good examples of racist comments.

CALLER: OK. Last night — good example — we had a neighbor come over, and this neighbor — when every time he comes over, it’s always a black comment. It’s, “Oh, well, how do you black people like doing this?” And, “Do black people really like doing that?” And for a long time, I would ignore it. But last night, I got to the point where it —

SCHLESSINGER:
I don’t think that’s racist.

CALLER:
Well, the stereotype —

SCHLESSINGER: I don’t think that’s racist. No, I think that —

CALLER: [unintelligible]

SCHLESSINGER: No, no, no. I think that’s — well, listen, without giving much thought, a lot of blacks voted for Obama simply ’cause he was half-black. Didn’t matter what he was gonna do in office, it was a black thing. You gotta know that. That’s not a surprise. Not everything that somebody says — we had friends over the other day; we got about 35 people here — the guys who were gonna start playing basketball. I was going to go out and play basketball. My bodyguard and my dear friend is a black man. And I said, “White men can’t jump; I want you on my team.” That was racist? That was funny.

CALLER: How about the N-word? So, the N-word’s been thrown around —

SCHLESSINGER: Black guys use it all the time. Turn on HBO, listen to a black comic, and all you hear is nigger, nigger, nigger.

CALLER:
That isn’t —

SCHLESSINGER: I don’t get it. If anybody without enough melanin says it, it’s a horrible thing; but when black people say it, it’s affectionate. It’s very confusing. Don’t hang up, I want to talk to you some more. Don’t go away.

On his Facebook page, Earl Ofari Hutchinson, commentator and my former colleague at The Daily Voice asked if Dr. Laura was a “martyr for racial correctness?”

Dr. Laura as a martyr?   Come on, Earl,  I know you’re trying to generate page hits same as I am, but let’s be serious.

Could we be so lucky? Probably not.

Since when is saying “nigger” repeatedly and taking offense to it “racial correctness?”   Schlessinger was simply exercising her right as a wealthy White woman to say whatever she wants to whomever she wants when she wants.   How you gonna to tell her she can’t say “nigger” as much as she damn well pleases?

Back from the commercial break, the mad doctor doubled down on the nigger diarrhea:

CALLER:
I know what the N-word means and I know it came from a white person. And I know the white person made it bad.

SCHLESSINGER:
All right. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Can’t have this argument. You know what? If you’re that hypersensitive about color and don’t have a sense of humor, don’t marry out of your race. If you’re going to marry out of your race, people are going to say, “OK, what do blacks think? What do whites think? What do Jews think? What do Catholics think?” Of course there isn’t a one-think per se. But in general there’s “think.”

And what I just heard from Jade is a lot of what I hear from black-think — and it’s really distressting [sic] and disturbing. And to put it in its context, she said the N-word, and I said, on HBO, listening to black comics, you hear “nigger, nigger, nigger.” I didn’t call anybody a nigger. Nice try, Jade. Actually, sucky try.

Need a sense of humor, sense of humor — and answer the question. When somebody says, “What do blacks think?” say, “This is what I think. This is what I read that if you take a poll the majority of blacks think this.” Answer the question and discuss the issue. It’s like we can’t discuss anything without saying there’s -isms?

We have to be able to discuss these things. We’re people — goodness gracious me. Ah — hypersensitivity, OK, which is being bred by black activists. I really thought that once we had a black president, the attempt to demonize whites hating blacks would stop, but it seems to have grown, and I don’t get it. Yes, I do. It’s all about power. I do get it. It’s all about power and that’s sad because what should be in power is not power or righteousness to do good — that should be the greatest power.

Man, what a patronizing bitch!   The first mistake our caller Jade made was to think she was going to get any sort of useful advice from a nut like Dr. Laura.   Her second was thinking she could actually debate this witch.   You never get the last word with someone who controls the microphone and can dump a call when it starts going sideways on them.  

Schlessinger, whose degree is in physiology, not psychology (which means she doesn’t know what she’s talking about) has dispensed her pabulum to the masses for  years now.  She already deserves to spend some time in the dunk tank for her condescending theorizing how “without giving much thought, a lot of blacks voted for Obama simply ’cause he was half-black. Didn’t matter what he was gonna do in office, it was a black thing.”

Lawd, when are the White folks going to stop beating that particular dead horse?  Without giving any thought, a lot of White voted for McCain simply ‘cause he was all-White.  Didn’t matter what he was gonna do in office, it was a White thing.  White people always vote to protect their interests based upon race, but that’s considered the norm so nobody bitches.

Dr. Laura appeared on The Larry King Show and gave a simpering and whiny excuse why she was giving up her syndicated radio show at the end of the year.

“The reason is I want to regain my First Amendment rights,” she told King, according to E! Online. “I want to be able to say what’s on my mind and in my heart and what I think is helpful and useful without somebody getting angry, some special interest group deciding this is the time to silence a voice of dissent and attack affiliates, attack sponsors. I’m sort of done with that.”

Not as done as I am with these losers whom in a sudden burst of honesty say exactly what they think, issue some half-assed “apology” and then claim themselves as some sort of candidate for sainthood.

She’s a grown woman and (supposedly) an intelligent one. Isn’t being “accountable” a word we hear tossed around a lot these days? She said it. She apologized for it. She quit.

THAT’S accountability.

Eminem has a lot of pull with Black folks.  He’s got as authentic a ghetto pass as any White dude ever has.   Has he ever called someone a “nigger” in one of his raps?  If HE hasn’t Dr. Laura’s got no beef.

Saying “nigger” or “nigga” or any other bastardized version of the word doesn’t make you hip, cool, or happening.  It makes you ignorant and I refuse to applaud ignorance.   There’s a word that matters here and that word is context.    HOW you say the word, WHEN you say the word and WHY you say the word matters.   Context matters.

And by the way, Dr. Laura never had a ghetto pass to be revoked.

Doc rocks the chocolate.

A Test of Our Tolerance

Is religous freedom limited only to religions we like?

Tolerance is a strange thing.  We seem to believe in it right up to the time we’re called upon to practice it.  Then we can find all sorts of rationalizations for intolerance.    The latest controversy is over  the proposed Cordoba  Center,  a Muslim community center planned for a site two blocks north of Ground Zero.    The Week newsmagazine reports  53 percent of New Yorkers are opposed to building the center.

President Obama defended the right of Muslims to religious freedom in his remarks at the White House celebrating Ramadan. 

As a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country.  And that includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances.  This is America.  And our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable.  The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country and that they will not be treated differently by their government is essential to who we are.  The writ of the Founders must endure.

We must never forget those who we lost so tragically on 9/11, and we must always honor those who led the response to that attack -– from the firefighters who charged up smoke-filled staircases, to our troops who are serving in Afghanistan today. And let us also remember who we’re fighting against, and what we’re fighting for.  Our enemies respect no religious freedom.  Al Qaeda’s cause is not Islam -– it’s a gross distortion of Islam.  These are not religious leaders -– they’re terrorists who murder innocent men and women and children.  In fact, al Qaeda has killed more Muslims than people of any other religion -– and that list of victims includes innocent Muslims who were killed on 9/11. 

I don’t believe the principle that Americans are free to worship as they play was subject to revocation based upon the results of a poll.  It’s really simple for me: either we believe in religious freedom or tolerance or we don’t.    It is important to remember that it was Al Qaida whom attacked America on September 11, 2001, not the Islāmic faith. 

Rep. Peter King (R-NY) said President Obama is “wrong.”

“It is insensitive and uncaring for the Muslim community to build a mosque in the shadow of ground zero,” King said in a written statement.

“While the Muslim community has the right to build the mosque, they are abusing that right by needlessly offending so many people who have suffered so much,” he said. “The right and moral thing for President Obama to have done was to urge Muslim leaders to respect the families of those who died and move their mosque away from ground zero. Unfortunately, the president caved into political correctness.”

King was challenged by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) who sided with the President.

“As the member of Congress who represents Lower Manhattan and Ground Zero, I commend President Obama’s statement on the Cordoba House and his support of our First Amendment rights of freedom of religion and separation of church and state,” Nadler said in a statement Saturday.

“Government has no business deciding whether there should or should not be a Muslim house of worship near Ground Zero. The United States was founded on the principle of religious liberty and tolerance, and it is equally important 234 years later that we uphold this principle.”

Some have suggested President Obama should have his mouth shut and said nothing about the mosque near Ground Zero.   I would hope those same people are equally critical of Sarah Palin, Rep. Peter King and Sen. John Cornyn who says he will make this an issue in the November elections.    What a surprise that the usual right-wing reactionaries are always looking for yet another opportunity to exploit anti-Muslim fear for their own political advantage.

Why do we ignore the moderate Muslims, but fear the radical ones?

In a country of 348 million people why do we have such an irrational loathing for 2.6 million American Muslims?    Was Osama bin Laden so crafty as to know  17 terrorists could paralyze an entire nation in fear?

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf is perhaps the leading scholar on Islam in the West.  He has served as an adviser to both President George W. Bush and the Arab League.  Shaykh Yusuf  is the co-founder of Zaytuna College in Berkely, California and was a co-signer of  A Common Word Between Us and You, a 2007  open letter from leaders of the Muslim faith to leaders of the Christian faith.    

Shaykh Yusuf has some words I sure wish all of those fine folks worked up into a lather would ponder before they rushed to judgment.

People have to be exposed to Muslims, just experience Muslims; talk to them. Reach out, read about Islam, try to find out about it. There are 20,000 Muslim physicians in the United States, Americans putting their lives in the hands of Muslims every day. You’re going under and the anesthesiologist is a Muslim, right? He’s looking out for you. He doesn’t want you to die in that operation because you’re an infidel. He’s doing his job. As is your pediatrician who’s trying to heal your child. And the mechanic who’s fixing your car? He’s not putting a bomb in your car. It’s Abdullah, the guy down at the Chevron station, right? I mean it’s one-fifth of the world’s population for God’s sake– one out of five people is a Muslim.

Muslims have been an almost entirely benevolent force in the 20th century. They did not wreak the havoc the Western powers wreaked on the world. They have not come anywhere near to the environmental degradation that we’ve done to the planet. So I think Muslims need to be seen in the proper light. They’re mostly decent, hardworking people, people with deep family values, and they want to live in peace. My experience on this planet, almost 50 years, is that if you treat people with respect, they tend to treat you with respect.

How many times have we  heard of the need to reach out and work with moderate Muslims against radical Muslims who have corrupted and perverted Islam to further their own hate-filled agenda?   Now would seem to be as good a time as any to start.

No one will ever forget how one terrible day in September changed how Americans viewed the world.  If  America does not hold fast to its core principles when they are put to the test, the world will view us as broken by our fears instead of  remaining strong and true to the courage of our convictions.