Dear Dr. Ford

I know you can’t read this. But I am writing to put this into the electronic atmosphere so that hopefully these sentiments can reach you where you need it most.

I don’t envy you today. I haven’t envied you since your name was leaked. For the last couple weeks your name has been scandalized and your words diminished. Not by the neighborhood, your school, your church or the office. But by powerful white men who make laws and craft legislation; whose ultimate goal is power, who see their potential Supreme Court nominee as a ticket to take back to their constituents so that they can say, “See! I gave you what you want. Elect me again!” Never mind that they claim to be the party of morality. They proved that to be false decades ago. But I digress.

I said I don’t envy you. But make no mistake; I admire you! Since day 1 you have done more than was asked. Once your name was revealed you stood by your truth. You took a polygraph and passed. He didn’t. All while these same men, conservative Christian men continued to sully your name, dismissing you with statements like, “In the very near future, Judge Kavanaugh will be on the United States Supreme Court.” Then he had the nerve, the audacity to back it up with this choice of words, “So, my friends, keep the faith. Don’t get rattled by all of this. We’re going to plow right through it…” 

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“Keep the faith? Plow right through it?  Just like the judge the Senate Majority leader wants to hire, he sees you, Dr. Ford, as something to plow through. I can only imagine the frustration, the anger, the anguish. And yet here you are today ready to stand before a murderers row of elite oligarchs. This after they tried to force you into an ultimatum of appearing on Monday. This after refusing an FBI investigation that you requested. An investigation that is known to take only 3 days. This after refusing to subpoena the friend of the judge who was in the room. They all but have him in the witness protection program. Last but not least; your accusers don’t want to accuse you to your face themselves. They want to get another female to do it for them so that they can claim clean hands. Knowing all of this and yet here you are! Ready to stand in front of the entire world on a truth that you will have to live with forever.

I don’t know what will become of the judge after today Dr. Ford. Since you’ve come forward there are at least 4 other women who have as well. They won’t get the opportunity you will today. Even the highest office holder in the land have attempted to ‘slut shame’ one of them.  (I hate that phrase by the way but he literally is calling her a slut.) You Dr. Ford are courageous! Your actions today are ‘sheroic’ and to be praised. As many detractors as you have, there are many more who have your back. We are cheering you on, gritting our teeth as if we are in that lion’s cage with you. We will hang on your every word, every expression, every breath sending loving vibes of strength and encouragement. And at the end of the day, know that you would have shown some woman out there that it’s OK to stand up for yourself publicly- if she so chooses to do so.

Now go forth you bearer of girl power! Show them what you are made of! Be strong, be steady, be yourself!

With Love,

Those Who Love Equality and Justice

 

 

Sports and Politics Intersect Retro Style

I was only an infant when Tommy Smith and John Carlos threw up the black fist in Mexico City; a young pup when Muhammad Ali refused to participate in the Vietnam War.  There was a time when many African-American sports figures and icons took to the streets and spoke out for social justice.  They were not afraid to lend their voices and their fame to give attention to important issues they cared about.  They were courageous enough to risk their careers if necessary to stand up for what they believed was right.

Unfortunately that was a long time ago.  Rarely do we see black superstar athletes stand up for anything having to do with more than their latest contract negotiations.  The money guys like Ali, Smith and Carlos made pales in comparison to the astronomical millions today’s athletes bank above their predecessors.

Our most successful and marketable black athletes too often stray as far away from civic issues as they can.  I will always remember Michael Jordan’s refusal to support a progressive African-American candidate Harvey Gantt for state senate in his native North Carolina.  Not because he agreed more with the politics of the infamously racist Helms, but because, “Republicans by sneakers too.”  Jordan was the symbol and poster child of the New Crossover Negro who believed it far more important to hawk product and filling his own coffers rather than possibly alienating potential buyers with moral controversy.   Tiger Woods has picked up the baton running that race with ease by denying all things black whether it be per his own heritage and identity as well as the women he chooses to marry and fool around with.  Woods is as vanilla as the ice cream in my freezer and as close to anti-black as one could be with deference to Justice Thomas.

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Whether it was the Rodney King beating, presidential races, supreme court decisions or 17 year old children with candy and a drink, sadly Jim Brown, Bill Russell and Arthur Ashe are not walking through these doors.

This is what makes the tweeted photo by LeBron James and his Miami Heat teammates in support of justice for Trayvon Martin an eye opener for me.  The Heat players live in South Florida.  Perhaps they feel the intensity of emotions even deeper than the rest of the country.  Perhaps some of the players have had their own issues with being pulled over for DWB (Driving While Black) with even more emphasis because they drive the finest cars money can buy.  I don’t know.  But I respect James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh for being a part of a symbolic show of solidarity to Trayvon’s family as well as every other young black male in the United States.  I respect them especially because they are the faces of their franchise and the league that so many Americas pays attention to.

Former NBA players Etan Thomas and Craig Hodges were no strangers to standing up for unpopular beliefs.  Hodges so much so that he was literally blackballed from the NBA after presenting former President Bush a list of social issues he thought The President should address when the Chicago Bulls visited The White House.  If Jordan makes that move, it carries more weight and no way is the biggest revenue generating player the league had ever seen pushed out the door.

So big ups to LeBron, Wade, Bosh and the rest of the Heat players.  You didn’t have to march like the old school.  But you did use the most powerful and significant tool given your generation which is social media.  And for me, that speaks volumes!

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The Ali Shuffle, The Ropodope:, Or Random Thoughts of The Week of The President

I’m just wondering what it’s been like to be the Commander-in-Chief over the past week. 

Obviously it takes a special person to be president of these United States.  I’m reminded of Seth Meyers’ comments at the White House Correspondence dinner the other night when he talked about how Michelle Obama looks even better today than she did during inauguration; while the president was looking a bit aged.  Said Meyers’ to The President, ‘If your hair gets any whiter the Tea Party is going to endorse it!”

With crazy gas prices, Gaddafi Gate, two wars, budget deficits and ‘birther’ bashing led by ‘The Donald’, President Obama has definitely been taking some lately.  But like Sugar Ray Leonard in Leonard/Hearns 1, and Jordan in the 4th quarter of a pivotal playoff game, Obama put some work in that dazzled supporters and critics alike!  He proved once again that in the world of politics, sometimes it only takes a little to turn shit into sugar.  Just a few days revised this President’s potential legacy from pre-lame duck to WFT just happened.

Let’s start from the beginning.

Thursday April 29, 2011:

Obama releases long form birth certificate:

Though I was initially conflicted by this decision, I can’t help but believe that the ends justify the means.  While most Americans understood that the birther movement was a ridiculous play on race, and that Donald Trump was behaving like an idiot, some gullible yet well meaning citizens may have started to believe it was an issue.  The rules of basic propaganda are that if one repeats a lie long enough many will take it for truth.  The media gave coverage as if it were possibly legitimate.  And so as to not allow it to continue to be a distraction the administration put it to rest – thus shutting the mouths of birthers for good.  Now the question of citizenship and conspiracy of his mother in 1961 (I know it sounds ridiculous doesn’t it) are permanently put to rest.

The Obamas visit Tuscaloosa:

Unlike the previous presidential initial reaction to Katrina, Obama got to Alabama pretty quickly after one of the most devastating tornados in our nation’s history.  The Midwest has experienced tornados, storms and lots of flooding.  Unfortunately this is not new to us.  But what has happened in The South last week is on another level.  When I saw the footage of the tornado that hit Alabama, it seemed as if it were actually alive as it reeked what seemed like intentional angry destruction.  It’s expected that federal dollars will be given to aid with the rebuilding of these devastated communities.  But having The President’s presence there so quickly was encouraging to many.  He showed himself to be in touch with the suffering of his citizens.

April 30, 2011: Obama roast Trump at Correspondence Dinner:

I can’t get over the timing of this event.  ‘The Donald’ was brashly on television trying to perpetrate a fraud with this certificate thing.  He even threw in some racial basketball and affirmative action shots to boot to question the president’s intelligence.  Unfortunately on a typical day, the president can’t just respond to some reality TV hack whose major decisions have to do with evaluating the job performances of Little John, Hulk Hogan and Gary Busey.  But on this once yearly occasion the president is free to get off on anyone he chooses, and still remain presidential.  And as long as it’s funny it rocks.  The fact that Trump was arrogant enough to show up and get some of that in person was classic.  The President straight got in him unapologetically.  And the truthfulness of his remarks made it even more hilarious.  I thought of Sergeant Waters’ comment on “A Soldier’s Story” to Peterson after Peterson smarted off at him in the barracks.  “Peterson!  I ain’t forgot cha boy.  I’m going outside and wait for you geechie!  And when you come out, I’m gonna whoop yo Black White Southern Ass.  Let the whole company watch too!  You need to learn respect for these stripes!”  Needless to say, Obama beat that ass … in front of the whole company of the same people Trump previously spouted off in front of, the press.

 

On top of that he got it from Seth Meyers too!

May 1, 2011: Obama leads military in killing Bin Laden from the Situation Room of The White House while pre-empting Trump’s show:

Is this karma at the utmost or what?  And while I doubt that it was purposely timed to cut The Donald’s balls in the ratings department, I do know it to be ironic at least.  Even with all of the information and misinformation coming to the forefront regarding details of the actual mission, one thing is for sure;  The administration was able to keep this operation completely under wraps with no leaks whatsoever as to what was going on.

And to think that in the final days of the mission the president in addition to doing all of the things mentioned earlier, also had time to stop in to film an episode with Oprah as her last guest of her 25th and final season.  So for all the smack The Donald and his birther friends talked during the last few weeks/months, the way Americans see it now,  the president was indeed doing more than playing basketball.

As was it just me or did anybody else noticed how he just  sashayed down the walkway of the podium with the swagger straight from Chicago’s South Side to announce Bin Laden’s death?

The only thing left for Obama was to quote Shaquille O’Neal:  “Hey Kobe  Donald, tell me how my ass taste!”

Finally as we hear from the right some of the cowardly remarks trying to give much of the credit to former President Bush:  While this is certainly no middle finger towards the former president, I do have to say is this.  The Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl.  Aaron Rodgers was the MVP.  You can try to give it to Brett Favre if you want to but that dog just won’t hunt.   Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove; none of them dudes have been in on the action for years now.  And while they were hopelessly looking in caves, Obama and his leadership team caught Bin Laden sleeping in a luxury compound. 

Since 9-11 this most notorious terrorist could have been named Osama Bin Missing.  And politics aside, The Obama administration didn’t have to roll with Mission Accomplished, or fake stories like Jessica Lynch or that criminal fakery that happened with Pat Tillman to rally Americans.  With no intent to deceive the American people the results now speak for themselves.  The president had his hands on this entire operation for the last several months.  And if he were wrong it would surely have cemented his legacy as a massive failure.  As it stands now, he will forever go down in history as the president that took out the mastermind of the worst terrorist event in the history of our nation.  Game, set match!

Bluntly Cruel and Obviously Out of Touch

Sen. Jim Bunning, R-KY. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

 Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky has a real problem.  For some ungodly reason this thug in the senate is blocking unemployment benefits for more than a million Americans. 

If you read the article he says he’s trying to ‘make a point.’  And was more concerned with missing the UK basketball game than dealing with the issues surrounding poverty of American families…. American children!

Let this be a message to Kentucky citizens.  This is what your senator thinks of you and the hard times you are experiencing.  He’s rich and senators don’t get laid off.  It’s so funny to me how people in government who have government housing, government pay and government benefits are always talking about eliminating big government…… uhhhh for YOU!

 When a Senate colleague pleaded with him to drop his objections to the extension, Bunning said, “Tough shit.”

Is he the pot or the kettle?  But hey Kentucky.  This is on you now.  Deal with it the next time he’s up for re-election.

When he ask for your vote…. say to him, “Tough shit!”

I see a campaign commercial here!

Whats Wrong With The NBA?!!! And Where The Hell Is David Stern!??

Donald Sterling

This story confirms my belief that if Rush Limbaugh had ownership in a team that the African-American and Latino players who play in that league would not buck a paycheck by America’s favorite racist.  The man pictured here Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers.  He just paid out the largest fines for a federal housing discrimination suit in this nation’s history.  Seems The Donald doesn’t like to rent to African-Americans and Latinos. 

This has been a long standing issue for Sterling.  And what gets me is the overwhelming silence around the league, including the NBA Players Association.  What is most telling is the likes of NBA Czar David Stern not having one word to say about this owner in a league which is probably the most diverse in all of professional sports.  This is the same David Stern who changed the dress code policy of players so that they don’t turn off sponsors with a ‘thug look.’    This is the same owner who fines and suspends players with the quickness for ‘off the court’ actions that hurt the image of the NBA whether convicted or not.  This is the same David Stern who fines the likes of Mavericks owner Mark Cuban at the drop of a hat for merely speaking out on what he thinks will make the league better.  Whether the commish agrees with Cuban or not, the very fact that he doesn’t hold the line in terms of some of his comments regarding league business, officiating etc. Cuban has racked up fines in the millions.

This owner discriminates to the point of having the United States Department of Jusice in his mix and there is complete silence from the NBA offices in New York.   So what gives?

In a strong way it reminds me of the NFL.  With the exception of Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams being fined for flipping the bird to fans, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell refuses to fine or suspend Oakland Raiders coach Tom Cable for breaking the jaw of one of his assistants.  Again, the same commissioner who reserves and often takes advantage of the right to suspend players for things they are accused of without any unlawful convictions.  It looks like when it comes to keeping the natives in line, sports commissioners are great at drawing a line in the sand.  But when it comes to the owners they rarely feel the need to get involved. 

Roger Goodell’s policies are hypocritical to say the least.  But David Stern should be ashamed of himself.

BB&G Supports Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr.

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I doubt very seriously that he will get the apology from the police officer that arrested him without cause.  But I give him credit for saying what he did and challenging the injustice he received.

There were so many things wrong regarding the entire scenario.  Especially the fact that his own neighbors called the police in the first place, and most of all because the Harvard police told the Cambridge police officer who Gates was and that he lived in the house. 

But “buckethead” already had his mine made up.  I’m sure he thought to himself, “How did you get to live and teach here?”  It’s a Rosewood kind of thing.  “He’s got a piano.  I don’t even have a piano.”

Uncle Thomas Does It Again

There is definitely a such thing as self hatred.  This guy is in a league all by himself.  Normally old Clarence votes the way his pappy Scalia does.  But this time in voting against the Voting Rights Act he even out did his massa!

How in the hell do all of the other conservative judges say that the act is still needed in some degrees and the only one who doesn’t think it’s needed at all is a black man from Georgia?

Clarence obviously lives on his own planet.  I don’t even want to imagine what his world must be like on the inside.

Sorry Mark, A Blog Apology is No Apology At All

I’ve always liked Mark Cuban for the most part.  His fire and enthusiasm puts a different face on pro sports ownership which is usually full of stuffy blow-hards.  Sometimes he brings up issues that would otherwise go unnoticed in the NBA such as questionably inconsistent officiating.  I was even disappointed when MLB would not allow him to purchase the Cubs. 

Cuban is an innovator and is a brilliant guy who hustles like a hungry man in whatever he is involved in.  I respect that.  But what makes him great is also what makes him stink at times.  Sometimes his mouth writes checks that even his rich bank account can’t cash. 

It’s not unusual for Cuban to make remarks at the officials during games, and sometimes even to opposing players.  His is famous for making comments to the media as well as post on his blog to express himself.  But what he did the other day in pointing at the mother of a Denver Nuggets’ player and calling her son a thug was just way over the top and not befitting the owner of a sports franchise. 

What is worse is that while folks all over the sports world were calling for Cuban to apologize quickly, he waited and let it stew over the entire weekend.  Then when he offered his weak excuse ladened apology it came by way of his blog.

That is just plain WEAK!  The fact of the matter is, he pointed his finger, and disrepected the mother of an NBA player.  He didn’t make his comments Saturday on the blog.  So why does he think an online apology would suffice? 

See that’s the best and worst thing about a blog.  One can really share important information or insight.  One can also hide behind the words typed on a computer screen to say the things they are too afraid to say in real life. 

Cuban needs to man up and speak face to face with both Kenyon Martin and his mother.  Anything else is just sheer cowardice!

Good decision on this resignation!

I am all down for forgiving this horribly insensitive act.  And if he is really sincere, perhaps he will be a better officer if he lands a  job on another police force.  Certainly before that happens a face to face apology or even a phone call to the Moats family would be appropriate.  He’s not going to be sued so that crap apology through his attorney is not going to cut it!

Some may wonder what the big deal is about.  He had every right to stop the driver.  I understand that perfectly.  The inexcusable part was his attitude and his reluctance to let it go especially after a nurse and another officer confirmed that the man’s mother in law really was on her last breath. 

You can’t spin that with talk of officer’s lives being on the line everyday and what not.  One thing I know from not only being stopped by police but also having friends who are officers; discretion and brevity is something that is used on the daily.  In other words, if they followed the letter of the law in every situation, believe me most of us would cringe at their micromanagement.  The truth of the matter is that they use discretion all the time.  This is a time when it should have been used.  Instead, Officer Powell went out of his way not to use it.  Rather he wanted to show Moats how in charge he was in one of the worst possible moments of the man’s life.

First Blood: Chinese visa rejection should open floodgates for dissent

 

US Olympic speedskater Joey Cheek

When asked the other day if USA Basketball players should speak out on human rights issues in China, Kobe Bryant said in effect that he and other players are not politicians but are there to “play the game.”  Normally I would say that’s a big cop-out!  After all, we know the power of the dollar these days and how much marketing makes a difference as players follow the “Jordan Rules” for remaining race and issue neutral on all things that do not pertain to promoting themselves or their brand.  I could site LeBron James’ reluctance to speak out about Nike sweat shops as an example. 

For sure the days of the concious athlete, i.e. Jim Brown, Muhammad Ali, Arthur Ashe, John Carlos and Tommy Smith, hell Billy Jean King are gone for the most part.  The rare exceptions for example are basketball players like Adonal Foyle, Dikembe Mutombo, and Etan Thomas.  Craig Hodges the former sharpshooter for the Bulls during the early Jordan years gave a letter to the president at the Rose Garden during their championship visit.  The letter talked about poverty and brought up issues that Hodges and others were concerned about that rarely ever get presidential attention.  He was blackballed by the league after that.  These people are conscious of not just their personal benefit and consumption from the sport, but of community and world affairs.  I don’t expect Kobe Bryant to know or care much about Tienanmen Square in 1989.  I don’t know that he is familiar with the issues regarding greater Los Angeles.  I would rather those speak who do know the issues so that the” stars” don’t make fools of themselves or degrade the cause.

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And so it goes with these Olympic games in Beijing.  I didn’t expect athletes with monolithic perspectives to chime in on weighty issues such as the Chinese human rights policy or the geopolitical stand of The Dali Lama.  Too bad the Olympics are in China in the first place, but perhaps we could just play nice and get through the games.  NOT!  Not now that the Chinese government has revoked the visa of Olympic Gold Medalist skater Joey Cheek.  Cheek is the founder of Team Darfur, a group of 70 athletes whose goal is to raise awareness of the human rights violations taking place in the Darfur region of The Sudan as told by Yahoo Sports.  China has many military, economic and diplomatic ties to The Sudan.

Again, initially I understood the modern athlete’s reluctance to get into political discussions during the games.  After all, it takes all one has just to prepare to qualify to compete with the best in the world on the world’s biggest stage.  The Olympics only happen once every four years.  Many American athletes have toed the line and not made any political statements regarding Chinese human rights issues and have focused their energies to promoting the games and making them attractive to fans, who may not otherwise know them.  However, China has thrown down the gauntlet two days before the opening ceremonies themselves.  American athletes should respond likewise by voicing their disdain for the way the Chinese have decided to treat Cheek.  They should use every opportunity especially during the medal presentations to make it their business to rally around a fellow American.  Talk about patriotism!  This is not a time to be politically correct but to make a morally definitive statement in supporting another American’s attempt to make the world better.  With the treatment of a great American like Cheek, it is unacceptable for any athlete to say with a straight face that it’s “just about the games.”  Damn the endorsements – speak truth to power!