Jul 31, 2008

I have to say that I really agree with Russ Parr on this one. I really don't think politics have a place in the church. It's okay for preachers to encourage people to vote, but when they start pushing a party's talking points then I think they (the church) should lose their tax exemption.
In one of the most significant legal rulings in the tech industry this year, a Superior Court judge in California has ruled that the practice of charging consumers a fee for ending their cell phone contract early is illegal and violates state law.

The preliminary, tentative judgment orders Sprint Nextel to pay customers $18.2 million in reimbursements and, more importantly, orders Sprint to stop trying to collect another $54.7 million from California customers (some 2 million customers total) who have canceled their contracts but refused or failed to pay the termination fee.

While an appeal is inevitable, the ruling could have massive fallout throughout the industry. Without the threat of levying early termination fees, the cellular carriers lose the power that's enabled them to lock customers into contracts for multiple years at a time. And while those contracts can be heinously long, they also let the carriers offer cell phone hardware at reduced (subsidized) prices. AT&T's two-year contract is the only reason the iPhone 3G costs $199. If subsidies vanish, what happens to hardware lock-in? Could an era of expensive, but unlocked, hardware be just around the corner? It's highly probable.

Of course, the carriers aren't going to take this lying down. Early termination fees are seen as critical to business, so carriers are expected to look for ways to reclassify the fees (such as by calling them "rates," part of the arcane set of laws that covers the telecommunications industry). The industry is also pushing for the federal government to step in and claim oversight over the early termination fee issue, which would invalidate any state ruling. The FCC is generally more tolerant of such fees, though Chairman Kevin Martin has proposed a plan whereby the fees are decreased the closer you are to the end of your contract.

The FCC may also buy the argument that, since carriers are nationally based (and consumers can use their phones anywhere in the country), that a single policy should apply across the nation, rather than creating a patchwork of legislation that could lead to confusion and chaos caused by having 50 different policies.

Is the early termination fee dead? Not yet, but it's looking a little haggard. (Source)

Jul 30, 2008

Continue reading to read the song lyrics and the Obama campaign statement.


I'm back on it like I just signed my record deal
Yeah the best is here, the Bentley Coup paint is dripping wet, it got sex appeal
Never should have hated
You never should've doubted him
With a slot in the president's iPod Obama shattered 'em

Said I handled his biz and I'm one of his favorite rappers
Well give Luda a special pardon if I'm ever in the slammer
Better yet put him in office, make me your vice president
Hillary hated on you, so that bitch is irrelevant

Jesse talking slick and apologizing for what?
If you said it then you meant it how you want it have a gut!
And all you other politicians trying to hate on my man,
watch us win a majority vote in every state on my man

You can't stop what's bout to happen, we bout to make history
The first black president is destined and it's meant to be
The threats ain't fazing us, the nooses or the jokes
So get off your ass, black people, it's time to get out and vote!

Paint the White House black and I'm sure that's got 'em terrified
McCain don't belong in any chair unless he's paralyzed
Yeah I said it cause Bush is mentally handicapped
Ball up all of his speeches and I throw 'em like candy wrap
'cause what you talking I hear nothing even relevant
and you the worst of all 43 presidents

Get out and vote or the end will be near
The world is ready for change because Obama is here!
'cause Obama is here
The world is ready for change because Obama is here!

Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton statement:

"As Barack Obama has said many, many times in the past, rap lyrics today too often perpetuate misogyny, materialism, and degrading images that he doesn't want his daughters or any children exposed to. This song is not only outrageously offensive to Senator Clinton, Reverend Jackson, Senator McCain, and President Bush, it is offensive to all of us who are trying to raise our children with the values we hold dear. While Ludacris is a talented individual he should be ashamed of these lyrics."

According to the NYPost:

The day after a video emerged of a cop knocking a cyclist to the ground, a second tape surfaced yesterday, showing an NYPD officer whaling away at a man’s legs with a baton.

The footage - shot on July 4 on the Lower East Side - shows Officer Maurice Harrington hitting Michael Cephus 10 times with a collapsible metal baton as the suspect appears to resist officers trying to cuff him.

Harrington, a four-year veteran working out of the 52nd Precinct in The Bronx, was working a special holiday detail on the day of the arrest. His badge and gun were taken away, and he was placed on modified duty when the tape was turned over to the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau.

The video does not show how the confrontation began. According to the criminal complaint, Harrington and fellow Officer Joel Medina said they encountered Cephus - who they thought was drunk - at around 8 p.m. on Delancey Street under the Williamsburg Bridge.

When they stopped him from entering a park, they said he swung an umbrella at them and struck both officers “with closed fists about the body.

Cephus, 46, says he wasn’t drinking that day and denies having gotten physical with the officers.

I was with some friends at a cookout, he said. I stepped out of the park to get some ice. The officers told me I couldn’t return because they said I had alcohol. I told them it was only ice.

They thought I was drunk and they just came at me. They started swinging and hitting me with the batons.

Cephus was charged with assault, criminal possession of a weapon, menacing and resisting arrest.

His attorney, Adam Orlow, said that even if his client did what he is accused of, Harrington used “excessive force.

Let me be clear: He is maintaining that he absolutely did not do anything they say he did, Orlow said. He never took a swing at them. He never was aggressive to them.

Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch called the use of force necessary.

Cephus - a truck driver from Brooklyn - said that when he arrived at a police station house following a trip to an emergency room, he saw the two men who shot the video. They said they had been busted for disorderly conduct. But earlier, they had managed to slip the tape to one of Cephus’ friends.

Jul 29, 2008

I guess it is better late than never. I have always said that in order for this country to truly heal the racial strife it must first acknowledge that a grievance was committed against Black people in this country. This is a positive step in the direction of healing this country.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The House of Representatives was poised Tuesday to pass a resolution apologizing to African-Americans for slavery and the era of Jim Crow.

The nonbinding resolution, which is expected to pass, was introduced by Rep. Steve Cohen, a white lawmaker who represents a majority black district in Memphis, Tennessee.

While many states have apologized for slavery, it will be first time a branch of the federal government will apologize for slavery if the resolution passes, an aide to Cohen said.

By passing the resolution, the House would also acknowledge the "injustice, cruelty, brutality and inhumanity of slavery and Jim Crow," the period after slavery was abolished in which African-Americans were denied the right to vote and other civil liberties. The resolution states that "the vestiges of Jim Crow continue to this day."

"African-Americans continue to suffer from the consequences of slavery and Jim Crow -- long after both systems were formally abolished -- through enormous damage and loss, both tangible and intangible, including the loss of human dignity and liberty, the frustration of careers and professional lives, and the long-term loss of income and opportunity," the resolution states.

The House would also commit itself to stopping "the occurrence of human rights violations in the future," if it passes the resolution.

The resolution does not address the controversial issue of reparations. Some members of the African-American community have called on lawmakers to give cash payments or other financial benefits to descendents of slaves as compensation for the suffering caused by slavery. (Source)

As part of its ongoing efforts to educate area residents about mental health and social-emotional wellness, the Evanston-based Mental Health Association of the North Shore sponsors an essay contest for young adults.

Students in the ninth through 12th grades were invited this year to write about: "What It's Like, or Must Be Like, to Grow Up as a Female in the 21st Century." (Source)

The following is an essay that caught my attention. It was written by a senior named Brigitte Viard.

Harder to hold on to dignity


Over the past century the media has been able to shape the view of women, particularly the African-American woman.

The 20th century was a time of racial hardship in America, portraying black women in the media as the most inferior of all American citizens, falling last to white men and women, and black men. Now in the 21st century the media has taken the demeaning values that it has always portrayed in the black woman to new lengths.

Black women are portrayed as sex symbols, both easy and unintelligent in the media that we encounter today.

The 21st century has sparked a new level of disrespect for the African-American woman. From music videos to reality shows, women of color are constantly depicted in roles as the video girl, salaciously dancing, or are exploited by description or insight into their body types.

Being portrayed as the latest sex symbol is only the beginning of an appalling amount of stereotypes held true to the black woman because of the media. With this exploitation of the black woman as a sex symbol comes the stereotype of black women to be easy and consequently unintelligent.

The media is an underlying source to many of the prejudices and stereotypes that we hold true today. Growing up as a woman of color, this demoralizing attitude that many people hold black women accountable for has transcended to essentially affect the individual.

With how the media portrays black women, the single-mindedness of many American citizens, it puts every woman of color at a disadvantage in being portrayed by such means.

Growing up as a black female in this society has been quite an experience. Not that I would know any different, certain things people might say or do, I know were said and done simply because of how the media has so manipulated the black woman.

Whether it is a slight change in the tone of someone's voice or the "dumbed" down conversation that others attempt to have with you, the references to my body type, or the assumption that I am lazy and stupid, I constantly feel as though I need to disprove these small things with my boldness of character.

I attribute the stereotype of the black woman in the 21st century to the media. Society has already held and continues to hold many prejudices against African-Americans, and growing up as an African-American it holds true that I must prove myself twice as much as others. Along with that, I must prove myself as a respectable African-American woman.

Growing up in the 21st century is a challenging experience. It employs determination and perseverance to get anywhere, and to defeat all the prejudices and stereotype held against me. These tools help to separate those who do not fall subject to these stereotypes, from those who happen to.

Being a woman seems to be the hardest in the 21st century, having to withstand our own morals to even be considered a decent woman. Society and the media have certainly made it a difficult time for women, especially African-American women, to attain dignity and respect.

Jul 28, 2008

Hey Ladies. I know I haven't done Girl Talk in a while so I thought it was time I brought it back. This was an issue I was confronted with this past weekend and I thought I would put it out to you guys because I know I'm not the only one that has ever been confronted with something like this. Well, last week I went to wedding of one of my good friends and I ran into my ex. Now, I really didn't think anything of it. I guess you can say I've moved on, but that is not the point I am trying to make here. The question I want to ask is the following: Is it ever okay to revisit the past?

I want to know is it every okay to get back with an ex or should you just leave the past as the past? I mean he/she is your ex for a reason, but people do change and some change for the better. So tell me what would make you revisit the past or why is it that you refuse to go backwards. I'm a person who believes in moving forward, but even I have been guilty of revisiting the past a time or two.

Come on ladies. Let's have a little Girl Talk...

Sen. John McCain has decided to hit Barack Obama for not visiting the troops in Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. Now some people are saying this is beneath Sen. John McCain, but how do you know? I, mean, who is the real John McCain? Is he the "maverick" of 2000 or this feeble man who seems to have sold his soul to the devil (or as we call him Mr. President) in order to become president.

Jul 27, 2008

I am one of the biggest Whitney Houston fans that ever existed. I have been anticipating her new music. Here is a new mid-tempo track featuring Akon called "Like I Never Left." I actually like the song, but I am craving more from my girl.

Click here to listen to the new track.

Music courtesy of Thatgrapejuice.net

Jul 25, 2008

After the debacle of CNN's Black In America, I decided to start a petition to get Spike Lee to do a real documentary about being Black In America. Now I've never written a petition before, but I figure since everyone else is doing one I minus well jump in the game and do one also.

I was just so disgusted by what I saw on TV last night that this was the only thing I could think of to counter my frustration. Although, I am pretty sure my little petition won't gain much ground it still will be reflective of my utter disgust at what was spotlighted these past two days.

Tell me what you thought of last night's show. I know how I felt (hence the petition), but I really want to know what you thought.

So please click here to sign the petition.

Professor Randy Pausch passed away this morning from complications brought on by pancreatic cancer. The professor gain fame when he gave his "Last Lecture" while a professor at Carneige Mellon University in Pittsburgh. (Source)

In August 2006, Pausch was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Pausch delivered his "Last Lecture," titled "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams," at CMU on September 18, 2007.[11] This talk was modeled after an ongoing series of lectures where top academics are asked to think deeply about what matters to them, and then give a hypothetical "final talk," i.e., "what wisdom would you try to impart to the world if you knew it was your last chance?"

Randy Rausch (The Last Lecture)

Jul 24, 2008

Continue reading to read the speech in it's entirety.

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama (as prepared for delivery)

“A World that Stands as One”

July 24th, 2008

Berlin, Germany

Thank you to the citizens of Berlin and to the people of Germany. Let me thank Chancellor Merkel and Foreign Minister Steinmeier for welcoming me earlier today. Thank you Mayor Wowereit, the Berlin Senate, the police, and most of all thank you for this welcome.

I come to Berlin as so many of my countrymen have come before. Tonight, I speak to you not as a candidate for President, but as a citizen – a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world.

I know that I don’t look like the Americans who’ve previously spoken in this great city. The journey that led me here is improbable. My mother was born in the heartland of America, but my father grew up herding goats in Kenya. His father – my grandfather – was a cook, a domestic servant to the British.

At the height of the Cold War, my father decided, like so many others in the forgotten corners of the world, that his yearning – his dream – required the freedom and opportunity promised by the West. And so he wrote letter after letter to universities all across America until somebody, somewhere answered his prayer for a better life.

That is why I’m here. And you are here because you too know that yearning. This city, of all cities, knows the dream of freedom. And you know that the only reason we stand here tonight is because men and women from both of our nations came together to work, and struggle, and sacrifice for that better life.

Ours is a partnership that truly began sixty years ago this summer, on the day when the first American plane touched down at Templehof.

On that day, much of this continent still lay in ruin. The rubble of this city had yet to be built into a wall. The Soviet shadow had swept across Eastern Europe, while in the West, America, Britain, and France took stock of their losses, and pondered how the world might be remade.

This is where the two sides met. And on the twenty-fourth of June, 1948, the Communists chose to blockade the western part of the city. They cut off food and supplies to more than two million Germans in an effort to extinguish the last flame of freedom in Berlin.

The size of our forces was no match for the much larger Soviet Army. And yet retreat would have allowed Communism to march across Europe. Where the last war had ended, another World War could have easily begun. All that stood in the way was Berlin.

And that’s when the airlift began – when the largest and most unlikely rescue in history brought food and hope to the people of this city.

The odds were stacked against success. In the winter, a heavy fog filled the sky above, and many planes were forced to turn back without dropping off the needed supplies. The streets where we stand were filled with hungry families who had no comfort from the cold.

But in the darkest hours, the people of Berlin kept the flame of hope burning. The people of Berlin refused to give up. And on one fall day, hundreds of thousands of Berliners came here, to the Tiergarten, and heard the city’s mayor implore the world not to give up on freedom. “There is only one possibility,” he said. “For us to stand together united until this battle is won…The people of Berlin have spoken. We have done our duty, and we will keep on doing our duty. People of the world: now do your duty…People of the world, look at Berlin!”

People of the world – look at Berlin!

Look at Berlin, where Germans and Americans learned to work together and trust each other less than three years after facing each other on the field of battle.

Look at Berlin, where the determination of a people met the generosity of the Marshall Plan and created a German miracle; where a victory over tyranny gave rise to NATO, the greatest alliance ever formed to defend our common security.

Look at Berlin, where the bullet holes in the buildings and the somber stones and pillars near the Brandenburg Gate insist that we never forget our common humanity.

People of the world – look at Berlin, where a wall came down, a continent came together, and history proved that there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one.

Sixty years after the airlift, we are called upon again. History has led us to a new crossroad, with new promise and new peril. When you, the German people, tore down that wall – a wall that divided East and West; freedom and tyranny; fear and hope – walls came tumbling down around the world. From Kiev to Cape Town, prison camps were closed, and the doors of democracy were opened. Markets opened too, and the spread of information and technology reduced barriers to opportunity and prosperity. While the 20th century taught us that we share a common destiny, the 21st has revealed a world more intertwined than at any time in human history.

The fall of the Berlin Wall brought new hope. But that very closeness has given rise to new dangers – dangers that cannot be contained within the borders of a country or by the distance of an ocean.

The terrorists of September 11th plotted in Hamburg and trained in Kandahar and Karachi before killing thousands from all over the globe on American soil.

As we speak, cars in Boston and factories in Beijing are melting the ice caps in the Arctic, shrinking coastlines in the Atlantic, and bringing drought to farms from Kansas to Kenya.

Poorly secured nuclear material in the former Soviet Union, or secrets from a scientist in Pakistan could help build a bomb that detonates in Paris. The poppies in Afghanistan become the heroin in Berlin. The poverty and violence in Somalia breeds the terror of tomorrow. The genocide in Darfur shames the conscience of us all.

In this new world, such dangerous currents have swept along faster than our efforts to contain them. That is why we cannot afford to be divided. No one nation, no matter how large or powerful, can defeat such challenges alone. None of us can deny these threats, or escape responsibility in meeting them. Yet, in the absence of Soviet tanks and a terrible wall, it has become easy to forget this truth. And if we’re honest with each other, we know that sometimes, on both sides of the Atlantic, we have drifted apart, and forgotten our shared destiny.

In Europe, the view that America is part of what has gone wrong in our world, rather than a force to help make it right, has become all too common. In America, there are voices that deride and deny the importance of Europe’s role in our security and our future. Both views miss the truth – that Europeans today are bearing new burdens and taking more responsibility in critical parts of the world; and that just as American bases built in the last century still help to defend the security of this continent, so does our country still sacrifice greatly for freedom around the globe.

Yes, there have been differences between America and Europe. No doubt, there will be differences in the future. But the burdens of global citizenship continue to bind us together. A change of leadership in Washington will not lift this burden. In this new century, Americans and Europeans alike will be required to do more – not less. Partnership and cooperation among nations is not a choice; it is the one way, the only way, to protect our common security and advance our common humanity.

That is why the greatest danger of all is to allow new walls to divide us from one another.

The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand. The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down.

We know they have fallen before. After centuries of strife, the people of Europe have formed a Union of promise and prosperity. Here, at the base of a column built to mark victory in war, we meet in the center of a Europe at peace. Not only have walls come down in Berlin, but they have come down in Belfast, where Protestant and Catholic found a way to live together; in the Balkans, where our Atlantic alliance ended wars and brought savage war criminals to justice; and in South Africa, where the struggle of a courageous people defeated apartheid.

So history reminds us that walls can be torn down. But the task is never easy. True partnership and true progress requires constant work and sustained sacrifice. They require sharing the burdens of development and diplomacy; of progress and peace. They require allies who will listen to each other, learn from each other and, most of all, trust each other.

That is why America cannot turn inward. That is why Europe cannot turn inward. America has no better partner than Europe. Now is the time to build new bridges across the globe as strong as the one that bound us across the Atlantic. Now is the time to join together, through constant cooperation, strong institutions, shared sacrifice, and a global commitment to progress, to meet the challenges of the 21st century. It was this spirit that led airlift planes to appear in the sky above our heads, and people to assemble where we stand today. And this is the moment when our nations – and all nations – must summon that spirit anew.

This is the moment when we must defeat terror and dry up the well of extremism that supports it. This threat is real and we cannot shrink from our responsibility to combat it. If we could create NATO to face down the Soviet Union, we can join in a new and global partnership to dismantle the networks that have struck in Madrid and Amman; in London and Bali; in Washington and New York. If we could win a battle of ideas against the communists, we can stand with the vast majority of Muslims who reject the extremism that leads to hate instead of hope.

This is the moment when we must renew our resolve to rout the terrorists who threaten our security in Afghanistan, and the traffickers who sell drugs on your streets. No one welcomes war. I recognize the enormous difficulties in Afghanistan. But my country and yours have a stake in seeing that NATO’s first mission beyond Europe’s borders is a success. For the people of Afghanistan, and for our shared security, the work must be done. America cannot do this alone. The Afghan people need our troops and your troops; our support and your support to defeat the Taliban and al Qaeda, to develop their economy, and to help them rebuild their nation. We have too much at stake to turn back now.

This is the moment when we must renew the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. The two superpowers that faced each other across the wall of this city came too close too often to destroying all we have built and all that we love. With that wall gone, we need not stand idly by and watch the further spread of the deadly atom. It is time to secure all loose nuclear materials; to stop the spread of nuclear weapons; and to reduce the arsenals from another era. This is the moment to begin the work of seeking the peace of a world without nuclear weapons.

This is the moment when every nation in Europe must have the chance to choose its own tomorrow free from the shadows of yesterday. In this century, we need a strong European Union that deepens the security and prosperity of this continent, while extending a hand abroad. In this century – in this city of all cities – we must reject the Cold War mind-set of the past, and resolve to work with Russia when we can, to stand up for our values when we must, and to seek a partnership that extends across this entire continent.

This is the moment when we must build on the wealth that open markets have created, and share its benefits more equitably. Trade has been a cornerstone of our growth and global development. But we will not be able to sustain this growth if it favors the few, and not the many. Together, we must forge trade that truly rewards the work that creates wealth, with meaningful protections for our people and our planet. This is the moment for trade that is free and fair for all.

This is the moment we must help answer the call for a new dawn in the Middle East. My country must stand with yours and with Europe in sending a direct message to Iran that it must abandon its nuclear ambitions. We must support the Lebanese who have marched and bled for democracy, and the Israelis and Palestinians who seek a secure and lasting peace. And despite past differences, this is the moment when the world should support the millions of Iraqis who seek to rebuild their lives, even as we pass responsibility to the Iraqi government and finally bring this war to a close.

This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands. Let us resolve that all nations – including my own – will act with the same seriousness of purpose as has your nation, and reduce the carbon we send into our atmosphere. This is the moment to give our children back their future. This is the moment to stand as one.

And this is the moment when we must give hope to those left behind in a globalized world. We must remember that the Cold War born in this city was not a battle for land or treasure. Sixty years ago, the planes that flew over Berlin did not drop bombs; instead they delivered food, and coal, and candy to grateful children. And in that show of solidarity, those pilots won more than a military victory. They won hearts and minds; love and loyalty and trust – not just from the people in this city, but from all those who heard the story of what they did here.

Now the world will watch and remember what we do here – what we do with this moment. Will we extend our hand to the people in the forgotten corners of this world who yearn for lives marked by dignity and opportunity; by security and justice? Will we lift the child in Bangladesh from poverty, shelter the refugee in Chad, and banish the scourge of AIDS in our time?

Will we stand for the human rights of the dissident in Burma, the blogger in Iran, or the voter in Zimbabwe? Will we give meaning to the words “never again” in Darfur?

Will we acknowledge that there is no more powerful example than the one each of our nations projects to the world? Will we reject torture and stand for the rule of law? Will we welcome immigrants from different lands, and shun discrimination against those who don’t look like us or worship like we do, and keep the promise of equality and opportunity for all of our people?

People of Berlin – people of the world – this is our moment. This is our time.

I know my country has not perfected itself. At times, we’ve struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all of our people. We’ve made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions.

But I also know how much I love America. I know that for more than two centuries, we have strived – at great cost and great sacrifice – to form a more perfect union; to seek, with other nations, a more hopeful world. Our allegiance has never been to any particular tribe or kingdom – indeed, every language is spoken in our country; every culture has left its imprint on ours; every point of view is expressed in our public squares. What has always united us – what has always driven our people; what drew my father to America’s shores – is a set of ideals that speak to aspirations shared by all people: that we can live free from fear and free from want; that we can speak our minds and assemble with whomever we choose and worship as we please.

These are the aspirations that joined the fates of all nations in this city. These aspirations are bigger than anything that drives us apart. It is because of these aspirations that the airlift began. It is because of these aspirations that all free people – everywhere – became citizens of Berlin. It is in pursuit of these aspirations that a new generation – our generation – must make our mark on the world.

People of Berlin – and people of the world – the scale of our challenge is great. The road ahead will be long. But I come before you to say that we are heirs to a struggle for freedom. We are a people of improbable hope. With an eye toward the future, with resolve in our hearts, let us remember this history, and answer our destiny, and remake the world once again.

I just love real singers and honey please believe Miss Jazmine Sullivan is a real singer. Here she is singing "In Love With Another Man" live. Now you can't tell me this girl can't sing.

You may have noticed the new icon in the upper left hand corner of the site. Well, it turns out we have been nominated for two awards. This has come as a complete shock to me. I don't know who nominated the site, but I really want to let you know that I appreciate it. I don't do this site for awards, but I will admit that it does feel good when your hard work is recognized.

Here are the catergories we were nominated for:

Best Blog

Best Blog - Culture

Please vote for us. And to all the people who have already voted for The Savvy Sista, thank you so much!!!!
Okay, I woke up this morning and realzie I am still pissed about that CNN Black in America documentary. I mean the first night really disappointed me. I guess I just had higher expectations, but I swear I will never let that happen again. I will be watching part 2 tonight. I just want to see how they will botch the story of the black man. I'm pretty sure they are only going to focus on the negative like they did last night.

Another thing that really pissed me off about last night show was the fact that they didn't really talk about the historical aspects of what is going on in Black America. If this documentary is supposed to be used to educate other races about being black in America it did a piss poor job. They barely scratch the surface of the systemic racism that exists in this country and how it came about.

Another point I want to address is that fact that so many black woman are depressed and they don't know why. They touched on it a little bit when the sista said that she was depressed, but didn't know what it was. This is something that a lot of sistas are battling, but we don't talk about it because black women are not allowed to voice their pain. I'm not on here to bash the black man. I want to focus on the black woman and the pain we suffer in silence. This really needs to be address and it wasn't addressed on last nights show.

I'm sorry if this comes off as a rant, but I had so much on my mind that I had to try and write it down as best as I could. I hope you guys can make sense of it...LOL!!! Sista is just a little angry right now.

Jul 23, 2008

I am really disappointed with Black in America. You would think with all this hype CNN was really going to bring it, but then again we are talking about mainstream media so I shouldn't be surprised. Although I will applaud CNN for putting forth the effort to try and shine a light on the Black experience in this country, I will say that it definitely fell short of my expectations. How can you say you are doing a show on black women and the majority of the speakers are black men? I mean I'm confused or maybe I am just being picky. They brought up many topics, but yet they only scratch the surface of those topics. The really didn't touch upon what it really means to be a black woman in this country. They didn't even touch upon the pain in which black women suffer in silence. The reason for this suffering is because black pain is only associated with the pain in which the black man suffers. I guess that is the reason why CNN decided to dedicate two hours to the black man, but only gave the black woman 20 minutes on tonight's show. I'm pretty sure people are going to bring up the fact of time restraints, but let's get real. I think we would have been better off if Spike Lee would have done this documentary. At least then we would have got down to the nitty gritty.

There are some real issues that could have been discussed as far as the black woman is concerned. Why are we the bastard children of our own race? The black woman is asked to bear so much. I'm sorry, but that show really pissed me the hell off because it was pretty much the same ole same ole. There are so many dynamics when it comes to being a black woman in this country. I really feel that they could have told our story better. I just hope they do more on tomorrow's show which I am pretty sure they will.

Oh, and here's another problem I have. Why is it that we as a people try to romanticize the fact that our mother's were rape during slavery? Why do we pretend as though the viscous rapes that took place between slave and slave owner was some sort of love story? I really need someone to explain this to me.

Please tell me what you think? I want to know what you think about the first night of Black In America. Did it live up to your expectations? Do you think they paid too much attention to the negative and not enough to the positive? Do you think Spike Lee should do a documentary on being Black in America like he did for Hurricane Katrina?
Bishop T.D. Jakes
Senior Pastor, The Potter’s House

I am delighted to see a continued rational discussion about race relations in this country. I know many find it painful and some would rather not discuss it at all. But like a good marriage, sometimes communication is the only way to create unification. Therefore, I applaud CNN for having the foresight to lead a discussion that hopefully will produce more love and a shared concern for people you see every day but might not know what they see when they live in the same world and breathe the same air that you do.

Often I pen words as a pastor, sometimes as an entrepreneur, and occasionally as a citizen with an opinion. But today, I have been asked to share a story as a father, and a person of color, who knows firsthand the challenges of raising children of color. I love this country and I am very proud to be an American. In spite of its many challenges and disappointments, I fervently believe that the benefits of living in the United States ultimately outweigh the liabilities.. But in the interest of sharing a “what is it like to be you” story, I will add this one to the discussion. To be sure, we are not all monolithic. Many, many, blacks have raised their children surrounded by masses of blacks and have faced a different challenge than mine.

I have twin boys who are almost 30 years old now. But when they were very young, I was sitting with both of them in the predominantly white environment of my home in West Virginia talking about things fathers discuss with their sons. I shared with one of my sons, that when I was his age my skin tone was very much like his, very light. In a matter of fact way, I mentioned that as I got older, my skin darkened and changed to become much more like his brother’s skin, which was darker.

My son, whose skin tone was lighter, began to cry profusely. I was befuddled by his reaction, but when your 7-year-old is crying without a reason and you love him, you investigate it immediately! So I asked him why he was crying. He blurted out, “I don’t want to get blacker, Daddy!” He looked at me in total anguish and said something that left me astounded. He said, “Because if you are black they hate you more.” He cried so hard that I took him in my arms so that he couldn’t see that I too was shedding a tear or two, myself. I was hurt for both of my sons, and I was hurt with them.

I was stunned. How could I have let myself be so busy trying to provide for my family, that I didn’t realize how I had not equipped them for the harsh realities of a world that can at times be both cold and unwelcoming to those who are outside of our “norm?” Do not misunderstand me, I know all too well from my own experiences, how things can be when you are a minority in a majority world. But what I didn’t know, was that this 7-year-old had encountered this level of anguish at such an early age, and that he had resolved in his own way that if he could avoid getting any blacker he might not have to feel the painful consequences of looking different. I doubt that it was overt racism, no sheets draped over the heads of the KKK, or Rodney King style beat downs in the back of the school. No, these were tears running down the face of a child who had been victimized by subtle covert racist distinctions right in front of my face and I didn’t even know it was happening in his world.

I sat on the floor holding two weeping children as my wife and I began to explain what a gift it is to be yourself, and to love who you are and how you are made. I told them how wonderfully God has created them in the skin they were in! It led to one of the richest, most rewarding discussions of my children’s lives and they still refer to it to this day!

It was then that it became crystal clear the importance of teaching our children the value of being African American and the value of their own self-worth. Sadly when one speaks of this teaching – African Americans to love themselves, their community or accomplishments, many outside of the realities of our life relegate such pride inappropriately as prejudice. I dare say that no race is exempt from prejudice and blacks like all people can have their biases. But pride and prejudice are not the same thing at all. In fact without the conscious effort to give black children the supplement of self esteem to replace the steady diet sent through media and other methods of communication that subtly suggest inferences of inferiority, they live with a disadvantage that is difficult to overcome in early their ages. Our children desperately need to see people who look like them, who have done well and have been accepted by mainstream America so they will know that it is possible. Today we are seeing more black, brown, and female faces slipping through the glass ceiling to positions of prominence and finding there a new breed of more accepting people. We all need a conscious concerted effort to help showcase these persons to whom young Blacks, Latinos and girls can aspire. Still we who are in the village that cares for children of all races, must be careful to insure that we do not innocently or consciously malign innocent minds with insensitivity to the unique nuances of their needs.

Looking back at that moment with my sons, my regret at that moment was that I had not started sooner. My tears resulted from outrage and shame. I was outraged because the children who I loved were dealing with such hideous experiences so early; and I was ashamed that I was so busy struggling to feed them that I didn’t think to equip them sooner for the harsh realities to which I naively thought they hadn’t experienced. I was wrong!

This lack of “self-love” and the negative self-image that accompanies it, is not limited to those children raised in the inner city. Though my wife and I were struggling financially at the time, my older children were never raised in the inner city and grew up in what would be ordinary neighborhoods of moderate- to middle-class income. No sagging pants, no boom boxes, and no gangs were prevalent at the time. Instead they attended what I thought were good schools, we had low crime, well manicured lawns, active PTA’s, youth programs – the true American dream. Believe it or not, it is easy to become almost invisible in even these otherwise wholesome environments. Their classrooms were predominantly white, the teachers, principals and staff were generally white, their sports and, cheerleading teams were primarily white, as were the dances and birthday parties they attended. Without a strong injection of self-worth and appreciation for their differences, these types of experiences can leave many children of color losing themselves, trying to fit in with others.

If one takes a look at many of the social ills that haunt the African-American community – the proliferation of gangs, teenage pregnancy, illiteracy, high school drop out rates, lower test scores – much of it can be tied back into a lack of self appreciation of who they are. To be sure, many of our families have been self-destructive, and some have been admittedly extremely dysfunctional. There is no question that we are not without some blame for many of the challenges we face today. The self-esteem issues are exasperated by absentee fathers, substance abuse, and many other circumstances that add to the conundrum of the lagging behind of our people. Yet, I shared my story to say that even when a black family overcomes those hurdles, and the father is at home, the family is stable, and the parents are involved with the school, etc., there is still an added invisible weight that saddles down the mind and cripples the soul of our children at incredibly early ages.

The baggage of being different is only crippling when the child is left to carry it without an intentional awareness of cultural diversity, sensitivity training and supervision in private and public schools to ensure that what they learn at school is education and not the devaluation that comes when those who make decisions do not look like the ones they decide about.

I am reminded of the young mainstream girls that we have seen and read about because of their struggle with bulimia and anorexia. They are bombarded with images everywhere you turn of rail thin women and are told, this is beautiful. Similarly, my children were bombarded with images of blonde, straight hair, blue-eyed children and were told this is beautiful. Their perception of normal was skewed based on their surroundings. The take away message is that if you are going to integrate the class, the staff, the pictures, the books, then all involved must reflect that commitment to ensure a healthy environment for those we seek to serve.

If all else fails, it must be the responsibility of the parents to instill the worth and value into our children as early and as often as possible. We must not shirk that responsibility. But if we can gain help from all people to make sure that no person is left dreading the skin they are in, we will really be the people that God meant for us to be. If people in general, and children in particular, are not exposed to their own culture, music, dance and food, all of us have to work to make sure that they experience that exposure. They must see images on the wall and around them that reflect their characteristics, and teach them to enjoy their unique appearance, language, skin tone or whatever it may be that sets them at risk of being a part.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words still ring soundly today, “Judge me on the content of my character and not the color of my skin.” Can a brother get a good Amen?

CNN Presents: Black in America continues with "The Black Woman & Family." Soledad O'Brien explores the varied experiences of black women and families and investigates the disturbing statistics of single parenthood, racial disparities between students and the devastating toll of HIV/AIDS. O'Brien reports on the progress of black women in the workplace and the status of the black middle class. Premieres in HDTV on Wednesday, July 23, 9 p.m. ET

So my question to you is: Are you going to watch the documentary on CNN? If so, what are your expectations?

Rest in peace, Estelle Getty. Sophia was definitely my favorite character on the Golden Girls. (Source)

Jul 21, 2008

Recently, Tavis Smiley had some interesting things to say about Obama and race. Although Tavis is no longer a commentator on the Tom Joyner Morning Show (he did his last commentary on June 26), he still has his talk show and radio show in which to share his ideas.

Anyone who knows me know that I have really been disappointed with Mr. Tavis Smiley. I wasn't disappointed in the fact that he criticized Barack Obama moreso in the way in which he went about it. To me, it appeared that his criticisms of Obama were very one-sided. He didn't hold Hillary Clinton to the same level of accountability that he held Obama and I found that to be very disappointing. I believe this is the reason that many in Black America were disappointed in Mr. Smiley. I believe that we must hold Obama accountable to issues that are important to Black America, but we must hold all elected officials accountable to issues that are important to us. We can't just single out the ones that look like us to be accountable to us.

Continue reading to see what he said about Obama, race, and people's perception of him.
On Obama transcending race:
"There is no such thing in America as race transcendence, and Obama's going to find that out real soon," says Smiley, leaning into his words. As he sermonizes, he sheds suit jacket, tie and belt in succession, getting comfy in his spacious suite at KCET in Los Angeles after taping two installments of "Tavis Smiley"

On holding Obama accountable to issues that are important to Black America:
"Just because Barack Obama is black, doesn't mean he gets a pass on being held accountable on issues that matter to black people," Smiley says. "I'm not an Obama critic or a McCain critic. The term itself is dismissive and insulting."

On how black bloggers and others have perceived him in recent months:
"This is what I do — asking critical questions," Smiley says. "Now some of you regard it as keeping a brother down, holding a brother back. Because you regard it that way, you don't understand that this is the role that I've always played."

Calling ALL YOUTH Vocalists, Dancers, Hip Hop Artists, Musicians, Artists, Actors, Poets And Many More...

We are looking for talented individuals that are willing to Audition for The Motor City Youth Fest (MCYF).

The Better Detroit Youth Movement (www.betterdetroityouth.org) will be hosting The 1st Annual Motor City Youth Fest on August 2, 2008. The event will be held on the Annual Neighborhoods Day in the City of Detroit. Neighborhoods Day is a City-wide event that is organized by ARISE Detroit.

Auditions will be held ONE DAY ONLY...July 26th starting at 9am...at the ARTIST VILLAGE (17340 Lahser off Grand River near the Old Redford Theatre)

Come join us at the GAZEBO TEMPLE located on Lahser 2 blocks north of Grand River on August 2nd to celebrate the wonderful talents of our youth.

Suicides among veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are reaching epidemic proportions. More than 6,000 veterans took their lives in 2005 alone, according to a study by CBS News. By some estimates, veterans are attempting suicide 1,000 times a month. Marine Corporal James Jenkins of New Jersey was one of these unsung casualties of war. A decorated veteran of the Iraq invasion and the Battle of Najaf, he took his own life after serving 22 months overseas. His mother, Cynthia Fleming, shares his story with ANP - a tragedy that is being repeated 15 times a day in this country. (Source)

Lord, this just breaks my heart. How many more families have to suffer what Corporal James Jenkins' family had to suffer? I just don't know what to say. As an Army brat, this just breaks my heart what is happening to our military. These soldiers are people children. Don't ya'll understand that? They're not just soldiers. They're somebody's children.

To see more videos please visit American News Project. We as a country should never become desensitize to what is going on in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Did you all see Ms. Omarosa try to take it to Ms. Wendy Williams? I am speechless. I just don't understand what Omarosa was trying to prove. Anybody who knows anything about Wendy Williams knows how she gets down; so, if you have a problem with her why agree to be on her show? Omarosa only made herself look bad by trying to beat Wendy at her own game.

Jul 18, 2008

SEOUL, S. Korea – July 17, 2008 HIP HOP GROWS UP, Inc. is a non-profit dedicated to closing the gaps in education, between parents/guardians, youth, and educators. It is also formed to help youth better prioritize images and words they receive from entertainment and to enhance, greatly, the self-esteem within youth. Ultimately, HIP HOP GROWS UP, Inc. is poised to recreate the village it takes to raise children.

HIP HOP GROWS UP, Inc. will accomplish, the set, goals by pushing their iPositive Movement – a faction geared to improve the self-esteem and self-expression in youth and via their Change Experiences – a curriculum of educational gap solutions. HIP HOP GROWS UP, Inc. is set to utilize the most positive influences from HIP HOP and other genres of entertainment to meet the needs of the mission and vision. "This is why partnerships with giants like Bruce George are pertinent to HIP HOP GROWS UP's success in helping us to make sure our youth know that education is necessary. Other nations of youth are light years ahead of our children in academia," as stated by HIP HOP GROWS UP, Inc. Co-Founder, Ms. CeCe Morris.

Bruce George, Co-Founder of Def Poetry Jam agreed to sign on to partnering with the non-profit because he is passionate about the mission of HIP HOP GROWS UP, Inc., as it is his existing mission. George will form and operate the literary wing for HIP HOP GROWS UP, Inc and is announcing that there will be youth poetry contests, slams, and the like. He is equally excited about the alliance as HIP HOP GROWS UP, Inc.

" I'm most excited about my alliance with "Hip Hop Grows Up." We share a common mission towards reaching those youth that have been marginalized so in turn we can offer them outlets towards self-determination."

-Bruce George, Co-Founder of Def Poetry Jam

I am not a Bitch, Hoe, Slut, Skeezer, Tramp, Rat, Trick or any other label you wish to place upon me. I am your wife, your mother, your daughter, your sister, your lover, your protector, your backbone, and your friend. Honor and Respect me for the queen that I am. I do not hate you, but somewhere along the way you began to hate and resent me. I have only loved and wanted the best for you (maybe you will see that one day). Until that day I will continue to love you and maybe one day you will return that love to me.


(I just felt the need to repost this.)

Although Obama told Glamour Magazine that the attacks against his wife were "infuriating" the GOP of Washington didn't seem to get the message. Here is an ad they have playing in their state going after Michelle Obama's infamous "for the first time in my life I am proud of my country"-comment. I guess they didn't get the memo from the GOP of Tennessee who tried to pull the same stunt. I guess Michelle just needs her battle armor on because these attacks aren't going anywhere. It's just sad that the GOP doesn't have anything on Barack so they sink to attacking his wife. Now, if we were to start attacking Cindy McCain buy we'll be here all day. I mean I wouldn't even know where to begin, but I'm not going to sink that low because this campaign isn't about the spouse of that candidates but rather the candidates themselves.

You know what? I'm going to have to stop hating on Lil Mama. That sista actually brought the heat with her freestyle and unlike other female rappers that play off their sexuality and not their skills; this lil sista actually have skills. I still think she needs a stylist because I refuse to believe someone professional put together those outfits she be wearing...but I digress.

Jul 17, 2008

Now, although it is my anniversary today. I thought I would share some very exciting and interesting news with you ladies. It turns out that the very sexy and did I mention deliciously fine brother, Ryan Gentles, is paying a visit to Hotlanta. Now that's good, but that's not the best part. This brother, whom you may have seen in Jennifer Hudson's new video "Spotlight", is also a certified masseuse. Yeah, you heard me right. The brother does massages! Fine and can rub you the right way. Lord, take me higher (shout out to B. Scott). I couldn't make this stuff up if I wanted to. I remember Ryan giving out massages at the Essence Music Festival in 2000. The brother definitely have skills.

Well, anyway, the reason I am telling you about this is that he is taking appointments for massages while he is in the A-town (Lord knows I need to get my butt back down south). He will be there from August 16 - 24. I suggest you let this brother take some of that stress out cause heaven knows if I was still living in Atlanta I definitely would (I may just fly down for this...LOL!!!).

If you are interested in a massage please feel free to email Ryan at rgryangentles08@gmail.com or contact him through his myspace page. Oh, and please mention you heard about this at The Savvy Sista when you contact him.

Don't say I ain't never hooked you guys up before!!!
As I seemingly day after day, become more disinterested with today's "popular music", everyone that knows me, knows that one of my true passions is discovering new music. Often times, it's not just about building up my ITunes library, but moreso, becoming reintroduced to the essence of why I love this thing called..music...sound...lyrics,...and artistry. Despite my disdain for the lack of true talent in the current music scene, I've realized that digging to find that hidden gem, has reclaimed the desire to share these rare jewels with you.

So as the Summer hits the midway point, I want to help you add these Artist on the Rise, to your repetoire. So Allow Me to Introduce to you, my Top Five Summer CD's. For the next few days, I will highlight an up an coming artist, that may not fit the mold of mainstream, but evokes the spirit of true talent.

First Up.....Muhsinah!

What I would like to call...The Inspiration. This 24 yr old D.C. Native, is ( in my opinion) the epitome of what "Progessive Soul" could be best described as. With her first full length debut LP, DayBreak 2.0, she has taken the soul of the late J-Dilla, and embodied it with the grace and beauty of Ella Fitzgerald. Now don't quote me on that because attempting to "describe" Muhsinah's sound is far to naivete on my part, nonetheless she is "The Truth" in my book. She has written, produced, and arranged her entire album, and with that created an entirely new sound/ Breath of Fresh Air.

www.muhsinah.com, www.myspace.com/muhsinah

This is Muhsinah, first video release from her album, as well as the First single:


Well, well, well...It looks like The View got a little off the chain this morning when the ladies started discussing the N-word. Watch how emotional Elizabeth gets when Whoopi starts giving her the business and bursting her 'we live in the world' fantasy. I understand exactly what Whoopi is saying. I feel like a lot of white people think because we aren't slaves anymore that we are now all the same and on the same playing field, but we are not. I believe Elizabeth is one of those people. Although, I applaud her for trying to have an honest conversation with Whoopi; I saw her naivete of black people sneak in also. God knows I wished we were living in the same world, but the truth of the matter is we are not. I as a black woman living in this country and working as an engineer have to work 50 times as hard as my white counterpart just to get the same thing. I'm sorry Ms. Hasselbeck, but we are not living in the world. Our worlds are different, but maybe if we continue to have honest dialogues like this one we may begin to bridge that gap that separates us from each other.