Thursday, July 24, 2008

David Brooks And William Kristol Are Idiots

Conservative columnist unable to find substantive flaws in Obama’s campaign for the Presidency, have descended into hypocrisy. New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote that Obama speech in Berlin lacked the substance of Reagan and declared of Obama’s speech “optimism without reality isn’t eloquence. It’s just Disney. “

First of all Reagan did not have a intellectual bone in his body. Brooks could not name one great speech that Reagan gave that will go down in the pantheon of great Presidential speeches. “Mr. Gobachev bring down this wall” is not a speech it’s a slogan. Congress "make my day” was a line in a Dirty Harry movie. Reagan even as President was a B actor. But he had a clear vision of where he wanted to move the country and he used those B movie acting skills to promise America that if you followed him he would make it “morning in America again”. And for good or bad it worked.

Obama is Reagan on steroids. A man of seemingly unlimited intellect and political skills, he too is promising America a new day with a vision of optimism. It is the height of hypocrisy and disingenuous for Brooks to criticize Obama for doing exactly what his hero Reagan did, only better.

William Kristol of the same newspaper is so frustrated he has started to rift horror movies in a column titled “Be Afraid. Please”, a lift from David Cronenberg’s The Fly. The column is so convoluted I have no idea what point Kristol was trying to make other than if Obama is the President with a Democratic controlled congress, he may lie to us, and send us off to a irresponsible war. But I assume he too was trying to say that Obama is some smooth talking con-man that has hoodwinked the media, the American public and world opinion. And our only hope is that McCain will pull a Truman/Dewey victory.

Rather than being afraid of Obama’s success, Kristol should be concerned at McCain’s failures. Here is a man that has spent a great deal of his adult life in the Senate, yet he seems ill-prepared for the national stage. It has become painful to watch a man of great dignity and independence morph into the worst political candidate in modern history.

If Obama is lacking to be President, I expect the right to raise intellectual arguments that merit consideration. But complaining without reality isn’t criticism. Its just foolishness.

I Am Feeling Sorry For McCain


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?


An extrodinary speech. If being popular in western Europe is a political liability at home, then Obama is in trouble. Stop comparing Obama to JFK. The world has never seen this before. Someone raised in the world will become its leader. Extrodinary. I wish my mother was here to see it.

The Revolution Will Be Televised?

This morning NAS held a press conference in front of Fox News headquarters in New York. He delivered over 600,000 signatures on a Color Of Change/Move On petition to FOX President Roger Ailes. The petition requested that FOX News stop airing racist propaganda. Ailes immediately rejected it.

FOX will say that NAS is just promoting his new album which is number one in the country. Fox will probably be right, but if you can make some change and still challenge corporate racism at its worst, then God Bless America.

NAS was pressured by his record label to change the name of his new album from “Nigger” because it was deemed to be too offensive. Art often offends. One might argue that one of Art’s major roles in society is to offend and therefore shake us from our vegative state and think. An artist should never compromise

If you hand a lot of poor kids a microphone, you get a lot of self-hatred shot back at you. But as the kids mature and get a conscience and figure out the game, you occasionally get some light.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Honest Broker

Barack Obama went out of his way in Israel today to reassure them and the Jewish vote at home that he is committed to Israel Security. I have yet to read a public comment that he will be a “honest broker” between Israel and Palestine.

Maureen Dowd wrote in the New York Times today that the King of Jordan was assured that Obama understands that he has to be seen as eager to protect Palestinians human rights as he is in assuring Israel protection. Additionally, unlike McCain's visit to the region, Obama did travel to the West Bank to meet with Palestinian leaders. However, Obama should be as public about Palestinian concerns as he is about Israel’s security. They are not mutually exclusive

John McCain Is Jealous

Okay I admit I am so in love com-plete-LY
Maybe it’s the way you smile at me
It could be that you walk with a swagger
Those eyes just make me stagger
And when you speak
My heart takes a tweak
No Chris Matthews you can’t have him
White love is just a whim
Besides I saw him first
Just watching him glide makes me thirst
Now I ain t gay
but if I was I would pay
That other fellow is just so plain
Eat your heart out John McCain

Russell Simmons Safety Net

I attended Russell Simmons annual Art For Life Charity Auction at his estate in the East Hamptons. It was a reminder that African-Americans in this new century must become holders of wealth. In a capitalist society, it is the only safety net that can be counted on.

Simmons and his brother Danny started a foundation ten years ago that is dedicated to ensuring that children of color in New York are exposed to art and have access to viable programs that introduces them to and spurs their natural creativity. This is a program of tremendous importance.

Art is the chair from which a culture grows. A people are desolate without culture. Black culture in this country survived and ultimately moved to a dominant position through our creativity in the Arts. Our prodiginess to sing, dance, write and paint quietly undermined the racial stereotypes placed on us by the greater society. It is hard to hold a people in bondage on the basis of sub-intellect when through their art, they show a capacity to interpret the world with a deep understanding of its political and social dynamics and their role in it.

In my hometown of Shreveport, black people‘s development have been shackled by too little exposure to the wonderful art that Africans in the Diaspora all over the world have produced. Sitting in a small theater watching artists interpret or going to a show to see a painter inform is critical to a peoples view and understanding of who they are.

Because Russell Simmons was able to obtain significant wealth, he has chosen to use it to enrich people of color. He provides a safety net for the Arts in the city of New York that is not subject to the whims of who is in power in Albany and Washington.

We need more Russell Simmons.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Jessie Jackson talked into an open mike and used the word Nigger. I am not beating up on Jessie anymore. But let’s take this opportunity to broaden the discussion.

First of all it’s not the N word, the word is Nigger. I was born, raised and lived most of my adult life in the South and no white person ever called me the N word.
They called me Nigger. I have never understood why we have given this word so much power that we cannot say it.

Second I am a writer and lawyer and words are a powerful tool for either good or bad and I reserve the right to use every word in the human vocabulary to describe the human condition and to fight for a dream of a just society.

Thirdly, a white person is as free as anyone else to call me a Nigger, I don’t like it when they do it but I no longer feel compelled to want to kick their ass. After all it’s just a word. Now I warn them there are millions of African’s that WILL kick their asses if they call them a Nigger so as a general rule, if you white, you should not to go there.

Now part of the problem is that black people took this word that was meant to dehumanize us and turned it into something beautiful. It’s like what we did with the pig. White folks gave us the scraps and we turned them into chitlins, hog head cheese and pig feet.

White folks gave us the blues and we turned it into song and dance, jazz, reggae, hip hop, rap and now the whole world pops its finger to a music that began out of the pain that America gave us.

An example is Marvin Gaye singing the Star Spangle Banner at the NBA Allstar game in 1983 .Now when you think about our history in this country, getting excited about the Star Spangle should be difficult. But like everything else in America that we have touched Marvin, made it ours. Check him out:

When one of my dear friends looks me in the eye and says “you my Nigger”, it is a codification of a bond that is deep that the word friend does not equal. In that moment he is telling me that “we came up the hard way, we stuck together and because of you I never felt alone, you have been my rock “

When black people are alone and drinking or smoking weed or just hanging out and we discuss our condition, we say “Niggers are a motherfucker.” Now we could say “I am deeply disappointed in some African-Americans inability to handle our ethical, personal and social responsibilities.” But among ourselves we created a language that is uniquely us.

Black people as a whole have drawn a line and said because we use the word, it is not proper for white folks to use and white folks respond in their usually selfish ways “that if you say it, we have a right too and if we cannot use it then neither can you.” And of course as always because some of us love white folks so much we rightly oblige. We start talking about ignorant stuff like holding funerals for a word. You would think that if we have to give up using Nigger, they should have to give up being racist.

It’s okay to for black people to say to white America, the word Nigger means many things to us and it is a part of our history that represents our darkest moments, but also of our ability to take ugliness and make it beautiful. It is a deeply personal word for black people and if you respect us, you should refrain from using it and just because we have made it cool, it does not give you a right to culturally appropriate it.

James Baldwin said " When i decided i was going to think like a nigger, eat like a nigger, make love like a nigger, live like a nigger, i had to leave America for fear of my life.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Claiming Us

I watched Obama’s speech to the NAACP. He did not back down on his calls for personal responsibility. What I love about this man is that at height of global power, when he stands before a black audience he claims us. After the Jeremiah Wright blow up in his speech on race he claimed us and even refuse to cut Wright. In his Father’s Day speech he claimed us.

It says something about the sad state of black influence in this country when you get excited about a black man not running from his people. The truth of it is that not many black Americans at the upper echelons of power have been willing to so embrace their people and acknowledge to the world this is who I am.

The truth is Bill Clinton claimed us more than Condoleezza Rice or Colin Powell ever did. Now ain’t that some sad shit.

The fact that the next President of The United States who happens to be black shows a love for his people gives me great comfort. Who knows, maybe it will encourage some more of us to come home. You listening Tiger.

Jessie Done Gone Nutty

First of all let me say that if anybody has earned to right to act a fool and ask for our forgiveness, it’s Jessie Jackson. Every person of color that owns a franchise in this country owes Jessie a great deal of gratitude. His historic run for President created the political infrastructure that allowed Obama to be successful. All of the high-tech wizardry that we are so enamored with from the Obama campaign is good, but it was the black vote turning out in overwhelming numbers in state after state that gave him the nomination. To win in politics you have to have a energized base, and the black vote was Obama’s base.

Obama has come under a lot of criticism lately. Obama should be rightly criticized for his shift on the FISA bill. His support of what many in the country rightly believe to be an unconstitutional law is troubling. But do you really want to live with some of theses white folks and not have a right to a gun? Now I am a committed non-violent person and have never owned a gun in my life, but our history in the land of the free has been too tenuous not have the right to own one.

Obama’s criticism of the Supreme Court striking the death penalty for rape of a juvenile is understandable. I started my legal career opposed to the death penalty. But I have come to believe that there are crimes so heinous that you abdicate your right to live among us. There is evil that walks among us. I have sat and stared into its eyes and have been charmed by its charisma. I have fought with all of my legal skills to set it free, knowing that if I was successful, it would molest or rape again. In America even evil has a right to a fair trial. It is what makes us great.

Morally, if you rape a five-year old in every orfice of her body – then society has a moral justification to put you to sleep. Where I depart from Obama is the mechanism by which we decide the ultimate sentence, is so flawed by racism and class that the death penalty simply cannot be justified. That gives anti-death penalty advocates a strong case to criticize the next President of the United States.

Furthermore, Black leaders have as much right to criticize Obama as anyone. However, Jackson comments that Obama was speaking down to blacks is just wrong. As I have written on this blog, young male children being born and raised without fathers is the greatest threat facing black people in America today. Black America has got to start dealing with that fact. The first step is honest and open dialogue. Obama the product of a single mother and absent father is as good a person as any to lead it.

If Jackson critique was that Obama’s moral rhetoric was insufficient in that he did not challenge the greater society, particularly white folks, to own up for its behavior and to acknowledge that racism and classism plays an equal role to personal responsibility then he would have been justified to do so. However, to threatened the brother's nuts on the bases of his logic was just plain nutty.

Even more, it was sad. Jackson’s behavior throughout the campaign has been disappointing. Whenever he appeared on a news program as an Obama supporter, his defense of Obama has been half-hearted. For instance, after Bill Clinton’s racial interjections in South Carolina, I watched Jackson on McNeil Lehr introduced as a Obama supporter and then actually accuse Obama of raising race too. I thought damn Jessie, don’t do the brother any more favors by defending him. I always got the feeling that he really was with the Clintons but political necessity placed him unhappily in the Obama camp.

Some civil rights leaders seem particularly threatened by the new politics. Rather than basking in the results of their labor, they act like old lions whose time over the pride is waning. Julian Bond comments that young black leaders should have to rip the power away from the old guard makes you wonder why some of our leaders risked their lives and went to jail. If they were not doing it to make way for a new generation that was unencumbered by the social and mental limitations of Jim Crow, then why the hell bother.

At this moment in time in our history, Jackson should be the most proudest. It was his vision and ‘nuts” that paved the way for this brother. To see him act out before the world as a bitter old-man, hurt because the spotlight has moved away and chastised by his own son, is truly tragic. We love you brother but go home before you do yourself and us anymore harm.

Drug Laws And Slavery

I have two close relatives that have battled crack addiction for a number of years and consequently have cost great pain within my family. My old neighborhood has partly been devastated by the drug trade. Many of my childhood friends are either jailed for or have been consumed by drugs. I understand first hand the devastation that drugs cost in our society and within the family.

However, everyday I go to work in a criminal justice system that is devastating the African-American community. The country’s drug laws, in the shear size of incarceration that is being imposed on the black community, is having a more devastating impact than drugs ever have.

According to the Sentencing Project 32.2 percent of young black men between the ages twenty and twenty nine are either in prison, in jail, or on probation and parole. This is in comparison with 6.7 percent of young white men. A total of 827,440 young African-American men are under the supervision of the criminal justice system at a cost of 6 billion dollars a year. The bulk of these convictions are drug related.

Those young men lucky enough to escape prison are more likely than not given felonies, the 666 of the twenty-first century. In human terms let me explain. To be found in possession of a 10 dollar rock of cocaine is an automatic felony. It means that you cannot vote, you cannot apply for student loans and if you apply for any meaningful job the felony appears on routine background check, which decreases if not blocks your chance for gainful employment.

So in effect each year 32.2 percent of young African-American men are rendered incapacitated in their ability to navigate in a sophisticated global economy. Many are simply removed altogether. Each year thousands go through the door of no return called prison. Like the door of no return of Goree Island in which millions of Africans went through during the slave trade, these young men never come back. A multiple offender sentence at a minimum means 15 years in jail without benefit of probation or parole.

You would never know from the media and going down to drug court and looking at the defendants that the typical crack user is a white suburban teenager. Do you really believe that white America would tolerate 32.2 percent of its young men going to jail primarily for using and selling drugs? Race does matter.

The drug laws in this country are hypocritical and immoral. They have taken a social issue and criminalized it. Other than creating a Prison Industrial Complex these laws are having no impact on crime and drug use.

The African-American community should demand that the drug laws be reformed by decriminalizing all but the most dangerous drugs. I think we can all agree that getting a felony record for possession for marijuana serves no societal purpose.

I personally think that even cocaine should be decriminalized but at the least the penalties for its possession should be greatly reduced. Shifting the money we spend on prisons to drug treatment and education should be our priority moving forward.