Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Fire Phil Bailey!

My article in LEO last week ruffled a few feathers back home. So much that there's buzzing talk about boycotting the paper and protesting out in front of LEO Weekly's offices in the near future. Others are making it much more plain about what should be done with me in LEO's Inbox (see: 'Phillip Bailey should be fired').

I don't want to blow this out of proportion for you super-serious types. We're talking about only a handful of people in a very vocal minority who are just plain upset with the coverage. So before I join the fire Phil Bailey movement let me post my follow-up piece to what started all this talk of protests, boycotts and firings. It's called 'Uncivil rights activist' and is in this week's edition of LEO. And remember, you're nobody until somebody wants you axed.

From LEO Weekly:

The Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression has suspended longtime member Gracie Lewis for three months following an altercation with a fellow activist and the woman’s 13-year-old son.

...In response to these aggressive encounters, the leadership of the Kentucky Alliance has decided Lewis should take what they are calling a “three-month sabbatical,” according to K.A. Owens, co-chairman of the organization. The difficult decision was made after taking into account both the gravity of the accusations and Lewis’ long history in the civil rights movement.

“We hope the people in the community have confidence that we will deal with these internal matters in a fair and just manner,” Owens says. Although he refuses to provide details about the incident in question or the suspension, Owens acknowledges that the Alliance issued a formal apology to Attica Scott, the woman who Lewis allegedly accosted.

Meanwhile, Lewis publicly maintains she has done nothing wrong, despite the fact that she, too, sent a letter of apology to Scott last week. Scott provided LEO Weekly with copies of both letters.

“I did not intend to offend you or your son,” the letter from Lewis reads. “Moreover it was wrong for me to call you and leave messages you may have considered offensive or threatening.”

The letter is referring to an irate message left on Scott’s office answering machine the day after Lewis reportedly screamed at her son. The recorded message says: “This is Gracie Lewis you black bitch. You better not never bring your skinny, narrow ass and get in my face again because I will kick your black ass. Peace.”

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dub-ya, the movie

One of my favorite snapshots in American history will be the time between the upcoming election (Nov. 4th, 2008) and next year's inauguration (Jan. 20th, 2009).

No, not because of Mr. Hope. I'm interested to see what will happen when the country receives a totally unfettered W. presidency. In the meantime fiction will have to do.

Set to debut Oct.17th, Oliver Stone's new film is about our current commander-in-chief, Dubya, and unlike his other two presidential bio-pics, Stone says this is not a slap at the man or a conspiracy theory flick.

"I want a fair, true portrait of the man," Stone told Variety. "How did Bush go from an alcoholic bum to the most powerful figure in the world?"

We'll see. Cindy Adams of the NY Post saw a few excerpts of the script and wrote, "Pro-Bushies will hate it, antis will love it." I don't at this juncture think anyone can produce an un-bias movie on such a divisive and disastrous presidency.

The film stars Josh Brolin as W., James Cromwell as George H. W. Bush, Elizabeth Banks as Laura, Thandie Newton as Condi, and Jeffrey Wright as Colin Powell to name a few.

Here's the trailer:

Attack of the Activist

What happens when a veteran of the civil rights struggle goes off the rails? When does the next generation tell the previous one to step aside? That's been a question on a lot of minds, particularly after Jesse's comments on B-Rock. It has always been a sticky area and taboo subject back home in Louisville.

Rapper Nas made it plain about Jesse.

"I think Jesse Jackson, he's the biggest player hater," he said. "His time is up. All you old niggas, time is up. We heard your voice, we saw your marching, we heard your sermons. We don't wanna hear that shit no more. It's a new day. It's a new voice."

Check me out in LEO Weekly, 'Attack of the activist'. Underneath the juicy quotes are several pertinent questions about grassroots organizations, 'damaged goods' members, iconic veterans and the generational divide.

From LEO Weekly:

For years Gracie Lewis has worked to fight racism, but the feisty advocate’s longtime tenure with the Kentucky Alliance now is in jeopardy after she reportedly got into an altercation with a child, then berated the boy’s mother.“Gracie had an inappropriate and totally out-of-line confrontation with my 13-year-old son and I approached her about it,” says Attica Scott, a fellow activist and coordinator at Kentucky Jobs with Justice. On July 21, she says Lewis verbally abused her son, Advocate, who was participating in the Arts and Activism Summer Institute at the Kentucky Alliance.

Specifically, the 13-year-old claims Lewis accosted him for getting in her way, then waved her finger in his face and told him not to speak unless spoken to.

The boy’s mother says she approached Lewis about mistreating her son, and that she received the following threatening message on her answering machine the next day: “This is Gracie Lewis you black bitch. You better not never bring your skinny, narrow ass and get in my face again because I will kick your black ass. Peace.”...


Looking the other way might be the accepted way of doing things it can potentially endanger the reputation and work of social justice these groups claim to hold dear. Of course it'll upset some people that I wrote this piece, but accountability matters -- does it not?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

BarackBook

The Republican National Committee launched a website, BarackBook, which copies the format of Facebook and parodies the junior Senator from Illinois about his controversial friendships and moonwalking positions. It's a 21st century facelift on classic GOP attack ads, but it's a lot better than throwing the easy punch at Barack (he's a Muslim). Give the RNC credit, it's a pretty creative attack.

From ABC News:

The Republican National Committee has launched a fake Facebook page attacking Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, highlighting some of the more controversial "friends" in his "network." "BarackBook" includes info on Tony Rezko, former Weather Underground member William Ayers, Marilyn Katz, Nadhmi Auchi, and others.

Copying the format of Facebook, the page includes information along the lines of: "Alexi Giannoulias and Eric Holder have updated their profiles."


Young Republicans ought to love it. Users of the real Facebook can install an application on their personal page with links to BarackBook. This looks like an attempt by the GOP to shave at B-Rock's growing lead over McCain among younger voters.

Good luck! According to a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll, voters age 18-34 favor Obma 55% to 31% over McCain. It's doubtful a faux Facebook will close the gap. The BarackBook idea is a good one, but unfornatuely the Republicans picked the oldest man alive as their nominee. Does McCain even know what Facebook is?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Maher's 'Religulous' trailer

Teaming up with 'Borat' director Larry Charles, comedian Bill Maher has a new documentary set to hit theatres on October 3rd. It's about religion and is called 'Religulous', because well, believing in unicorns, centaurs, demons, gods, angels and pixies in the 21st Century is ridiculous!



Watch the trailer, here.

Maher's statement on the film:

It has been my pleasure over the last decade and a half to make organized religion one of my favorite targets. I often explained to people, "I don't need to make fun of religion, it makes fun of itself." And, then I go ahead and make fun of it too, just for laughs.

With religious fanatics like George Bush and Osama bin Laden now taking over the world, it seemed to me in recent years that this issue -- this cause of debunking the man behind the curtain -- needed to have a larger, more insistent and focused forum than late night television. I wanted to make a documentary, and I wanted it to be funny. In fact, since there is nothing more ridiculous than the ancient mythological stories that live on as today's religions, this movie would try to be a real knee slapper. Unless, of course, you're religious, then you might not like it.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

'Obama is my slave'

Boy oh boy, this is going to be a very interesting presidential election. Everywhere from Georgia to Utah, we're seeing some of the most racist caricatures since the 1920s being veiled as 'presidential criticism'.

Joining the club of rednecks is an unlikely candidate, an Israeli-born New York fashion designer named Apollo Braun, who is considered the new Andy Warhol according to one documentary film on YouTube.

One of Braun's customers, a 25-year-old NYC gradudate student, bought a $69 t-shirt that reads, 'Obama is my slave'. Well she got her ass kicked by four black teenage girls, who shoved her and spit in her face for wearing it. She then threatened to sue Braun.

From Livesteez:

The woman bought a $69 shirt from Apollo Braun's Manhattan boutique that bore the words, "Obama is my slave." When she wore the shirt on Tuesday, four teenage girls accosted her - shoving her, pulling out her earphones, and spitting in her face, according to the New York edition of Metro News.

The unnamed woman is reportedly seeking solace by suing Braun - born Doron Braunshtein - for "all he's got," the designer claims. He, of course, is shirking any responsibility for the incident and says that the shirt reflects the views of "ordinary WASPs."

"For a lot of people, when they see Obama, they see a slave. People think America is not ready for a black president,” the Israeli-born designer said.

"I can’t stand Obama," Braun says.

Braun says he hates Barack, thinks he's a Muslim and "He reminds me of Adolf Hitler." Strong words, which probably explains why he's decided to sell a line of anti-Obama t-shirts in NYC that include, 'Jews Against Obama,', 'Obama = Hitler' and 'Who Killed Obama?'.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Blitt's cover eclipses Lizza's story

Barack is a Muslim terrorist, Michele is a Black Panther, bin Laden's their hero and old Glory is burning -- scared enough, America?

Maybe the readership of The New Yorker is so sophisticated that Barry Blitt's illustration, called 'The Politics of Fear', is understood as satire. The troubling thing about satire is this: if it ain't funny you're screwed. And it appears the rest of the country didn't get it. Go here, here and here.

Now New Yorker editor David Remnick is moonwalking, arguing that no one should truly believe that The New Yorker (a stereotype itself of liberal elitism) would deliberately put gasoline on the flames of these ugly rumors and stereotypes.

Unfortunately the controversial cover eclipses Ryan Lizza's article, 'Making It', which is one of the best written pieces about B-Rock's Chicago past. We know about the interracial odyssey of Barry's childhood and the rise of Mr. Hope after his election to the U.S. Senate, but who exactly was that community activist in Windy? Lizza puts the puzzle together by capturing the history of Chicago politics with my new neighborhood, Hyde Park, as the centerpiece.

One of my favorite touchstones deals with exactly why Barack joined Trinity. We all know why these suit and tie black professionals join these mega-churches . It ain't got nothing to do with theology. It has less than nothing to do with the charismatic clergy. It's called status.

From The New Yorker:


On issue after issue, [alderwoman Toni] Preckwinkle presented Obama as someone who thrived in the world of Chicago politics. She suggested that Obama joined Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ for political reasons. “It’s a church that would provide you with lots of social connections and prominent parishioners,” she said. “It’s a good place for a politician to be a member.”

Where else can an ambitious newcomer meet a network of Negroes other than a church? Maybe the barbershop (too leisure) or the club (too unorganized).

Let the secular truth say, Amen!

Fact checking w/ Patti Wolter

Described as a copious enterprise, fact-checking was our latest lesson at the Academy of Alternative Journalism. It was facilitated by Patti Wolter, an assistant professor at Medill, who was once a managing editor at Mother Jones magazine.

Wolter showed us just how important and tedious a process it can be, even to the smallest fact it can have serious repercussions at a major weekly or monthly publication. Is his name spelled correctly, was it raining that day, are the lights bright or dimmed, did he shoot the gun with his right or left hand?

These questions and a whole lot more should dominate the mind of any species of journalist whether you're an op-ed columnist, daily reporter, television anchor or magazine writer. We're the ones who should be prudent with the story in our hands enough to be as accurate as possible. Especially in an age of bloggers and citizen journalists, fact-checking means from spelling of names to government documents you have someone who certifies what the reporter wrote was factual.

Just to show us how important fact-checking is to the craft of journalism Wolter showed up as clip of Shattered Glass, which is based on the true story of Stephen Glass, a fraudulent reporter who worked for The New Republic in the late 1990s. Basically Glass exploited the holes in the fact-checking system and wrote at least 27 stories where he made up sources, quotes and people. And we all know about the infamous Jayson Blair.

To learn more guidelines, tenets and tips go here

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

B-Rock caves on Wiretap Bill

Look mommy, Mr. Hope is melting.

From NY Times:

After long opposing the idea of immunity for the phone companies in the wiretapping operation, [Senator Barack Obama of Illinois] voted for the plan on Wednesday. His reversal last month angered many of his most ardent supporters, who organized an unsuccessful drive to get him to reverse his position once again. And it came to symbolize what civil liberties advocates saw as “capitulation” by Democratic leaders to political pressure from the White House in an election year.



And so begins the sad, long, hard and yet predictable fall from grace of Mr. Hope. What will Obamaniacs do now -- increase their zealotry or admit their candidate is like every politician before him? I threw him a light jab on Iraq. We'll see if this continues.

Remembering Rev. Coleman

In this week's LEO I wrote about the death of Rev. Louis Coleman, which has been hard for many -- friend and foe -- back in Louisville to digest. He was one of the city's most familar faces, charismatic personalities and divisive subjects. He committed his life to struggle which some in our sleepy town will be eternally grateful. With all of the last minute memorials and comments of appreciation from public officials one may begin to believe he was loved across the Derby City.

Eck! Wrong.

Let's make it plain, there are people who are glad he's dead. And much like anyone who actually said aloud what they believe he had to wait until death to be embraced by those who usually kept him at arms length. Unless deep in the bosom of West Louisville, expect a nasty fight over any official rememberance such as renaming a city thoroughfare, Rev. Louis Coleman Boulevard.

Peace & Blessing Rev. Coleman.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

'The Juice' of Chicago

With Taste of Chicago coming to a close there's an interesting piece in the Tribune today about what garbage workers have to deal with each year, particularly a nasty elixir of soda, grease, food, snot rags, baby shit and other liquids known as 'The Juice' -- yuck!

Think about it, the world's largest food festival must produce the largest and one ff the nastiest mixtures of trash and human waste. It's a dirty job but somebody has to do it.

From the Chicago Tribune:

All that separates you from The Juice is a millimeter of plastic inclined to burst when pricked by plastic forks, sending noxious geysers down your legs to soak your socks and settle into your shoes, where over the course of a 12-hour shift it bakes in the summer sun until it forms a Pepsi/chicken fat/churro pate between your sweaty toes.

They don't list The Juice on Taste of Chicago menus. Nor do they highlight the army of maintenance workers who bus the littered terrain after 3.6 million diners have used Grant Park as a picnic table.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Wale is the TRUTH

If you haven't heard of Wale don't apologize. Just download 'The Mixtape About Nothing' and all your hip-hop sins will be forgiven.

Amen.

'Let's Ride' -- Wale f. Lupe Fiasco

B-Rock moonwalking on Iraq?

With W. signing another $162 billion to keep the war going, the 'Change' candidate might be backpedaling on more than just campaign finance according to critics.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Barack Obama defended his position on the Iraq War on Thursday after saying he may "refine" his position to withdraw combat troops within his first 16 months in office if military officials said such a timeline is unsafe...

According to the Obama campaign Website Sen. Obama would move one to two combat brigades a month home from Iraq and have "all [U.S.] combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months."

But lately he has left out the phrase "16 months" entirely...

What he calls 'refine' I call triangulation, which is not necessarily wrong or bad and in fact should be expected from a politician. As the campaign goes forward it will be interesting to see how or if Sen. Obama's supporters accept the melting of their candidate's sugar-coated shell. I expect the zealotry will only increase.

Most observers would have told you years ago that an immediate pull out from Iraq was not only unfeasible but potentially dangerous. Leaving Iraq requires a commander-in-chief who will be as prudent getting us out as clumsily as W. got the country in. No amount of chest-thumping from the anti-war left will change that. Barack is providing the public with more details about his Iraq plans.

However, by setting the bar so high, each time he does things like this he looks less and less like Mr. Hope.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Gonzo, a son of Louisville

Whether we know it, like it or embrace it or not, my hometown of Louisville, KY has exported two of the greatest rebels in American history -- Muhammad Ali and Hunter S. Thompson. The boxer who was a poet and the writer who was a fighter. Two men who revolutionized not only their respective genres but challenged the orthodoxy of atheletics and journalism and the world at large. In Louisville we've finally come to our senses and embraced Ali by building a downtown shrine -- mainly becuase he's a shell of his former self and much easier to digest.

The Ali Center is the glitter, giggles and gum of Ali. We ignore the work of the Ali Institute at the University of Louisville, which though under funded is the meat and bones Ali's legacy.

Even though he's been dead for nearly three years after offing himself, Thompson is still harder to swallow and a bit unnerving to a lot of folks from his hometown. There's certainly an underground following in an attempt to "Keep Louisville Weird" but there's not even one of those obnoxious giant posters that say, "(Person's Name) Louisville" in the city. Questions such as, 'Why doesn't Louisville have an institute of journalism with at least his named attached?' may provide answers that are more sad than puzzling. That would be a project I'd love to join.

Anyhow, tomorrow is the debut of a new documentary film about Thompson, entitled GONZO: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, which is written and directed by Alex Gibney. I hope it is showing in his city of birth, regardless I'm going to see it at Landmark's Century Centre. Go check it out, if you can. But first, read this article on the film.

From the Chicago Reader:


As Gonzo makes clear, the pitfalls of augmenting journalism with the techniques of fiction emerged when Rolling Stone assigned Thompson to cover George McGovern’s presidential campaign in 1972. In a panel discussion taped years later, Thompson chuckles as McGovern campaign manager Frank Mankiewicz calls Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 “the most accurate and least factual account of that campaign.” But Thompson’s mischief had real consequences when he speculated that Democratic candidate Edmund Muskie, whom he despised, was being treated with the obscure hallucinogenic drug Ibogaine by a shadowy Brazilian doctor. After Rolling Stone published his statement, thinking it too ridiculous for anyone to take seriously, it was picked up by the news wires as a legitimate story. “People really believed that Muskie was eating Ibogaine,” Thompson tells a TV interviewer. “I never said he was—said there was a rumor in Milwaukee that he was. Which was true, and I started the rumor in Milwaukee...

I’m a very accurate journalist.”
If you're interested in knowing more about Hunter S. Thompson and you happen to be one of those strange people who still reads books, there's a new biography, Outlaw Journalist: The Life & Times of Hunter S. Thompson by William McKeen.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Bullycide in KY

Though I've left my ol' Kentucy home for the bosom of Windy, check out my story on the cover of this week's LEO.

It's about bullycide, which is when kids committ suicide due to depression caused by bullying at school. My story orbits around one of those cases in Kentucky by following the family of 13-year-old Stephen Patton, an 8th grader who killed himself last November allegedly due to being tormented by fellow students at Allen Central Middle School out in far reaches of eastern Kentucky.

The piece is important to the Bluesgrass considering the past and present context. Almost a good two years before Columbine was burned into the skin of American memory, Kentucky had one of those first in a string of tragic high school shootings in Paducah with the Heath High School shooting on December 1, 1997. Many bullycide advocates point to the escalation of harassment by fellow students as a cause for those shootings. They say bullycide is that same anger, frustration and depression but turned inward.

Presently, the KY Attorney General, Jack Conway, has put a considerable amount of attention and resources into educating the public about Internet crimes against children, particularly cyber-bullying. There's also House Bill 91, which is better known as the 'anti-bullying bill'. Introduced by Rep. Mike Cherry and signed into law by KY Gov. Steve Beshear this spring, it is one of the few things accomplished in the General Assembly this year. Many are rightly skeptical of the bill's effectiveness considering that Stephen Patton went to a school with an explicit anti-bullying and anti-hazing policy. Read about HB91 briefly, here.

Below is an excerpt of 'Bullycide' from LEO:

Coined by journalist Neil Marr, the term bullycide is defined as a suicide caused by depression due to bullying. It is becoming a popular stream of logic among educators, parents and legal experts seeking a single answer to the escalation of violence, stress and suicide in America’s schoolyards. Instead of taking their anger and depression out on others, as was the case with Michael Carneal, who killed three of his fellow classmates in the 1997 Heath High School shooting in Paducah, experts say victims of bullycide channel their frustration inward...

Bullycide experts are tongue-tied on the matter of whether to criminalize bullies, which became a subject of much debate during this year’s session of the Kentucky General Assembly (see
sidebar, page 11). In the Badon case, the lawsuit against South Oldham High School names as defendants two students who are barely over the age of 17. Creating a slippery slope could entangle easily reconciled situations of teasing in a web of litigation and character smears that could sustain into adulthood and effect employment and further academic pursuits. No one seems sure where the so-called torture begins and simple bullying ends. Many teachers and parents say they expect a certain amount of teasing as a test of character, something normal that takes place between kids who are jockeying for social status.

Should teasers and bullies go to jail?

The Art of Interviewing w/ Steve Bogira

Today Steve Bogira, author of Courtroom 302, spoke with the AAJ fellows about the art of interviewing. Before today's lesson we had to read the prologue and first chapter of his book, which was a detailed account of the Cook County criminal courthouse in Chicago in the late 1990s.

I'm not into the prison beat, but Bogira's book is journalism at its best -- lucid, detailed and gripping. We think of injustice as these high-profiled cases of innocent people being sentenced to years of confinement, but Bogira points out without saying it directly that with a keep the line moving mentality, the American justice system miscarriages daily.


One of my favorite lines in the book comes from Sergeant London Thomas, who Bogira said was been promoted and was head of security at the R. Kelly trial, a guard who asks inquisitive prisoner, "Excuse me -- why am I about to beat the piss outta you?" If you've ever been to your local courthouse you know how rude and sade the scence can be. Bogira captures it perfectly. Definitely a must read.

Bogira said the book is being developed into a screenplay for HBO. I'd love to see it. Especially if it is similar to two other HBO book to film projects, such as David Simon's, 'The Corner' a few years ago and Evan Wright's, 'Generation Kill', which is coming in July.If HBO stays true to its established for then Bogira's nuanced prose will remain much more in tact than it would if it landed on network television.

Anyway, back to AAJ. Our instructor for the week, Mike Lenehan, former Executive Editor of the Chicago Reader, sent the class a few links on just how important it is for journalists to sharpen their interview skills. Here are a few links if you're interested in what we're learning. The first is an interview with investigative reporter John Sawatsky, one of the leading authorities on the art of interviewing, go here.

The others are helpful intructions on What to Do and What to Avoid.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Street Drumline at the Taste

Walking through Windy's downtown loop provided me with another installment of what's becoming a series of encounters with black men from different walks of life that I'm posting on the ol' SOULution. I'm comparing it somewhat to the Washington Post's Being a Black Man series -- yes I'm an arrogant bastard, what writer isn't?

While walking through the 'Taste of Chicago', I came across a bunch of young brothers beating on buckets doing their street performances.

With his permit dangling from his neck, one of the drummers said he's still been harassed and moved off corners by Chicago's finest. Hmm? Maybe that's bullshit but with the CPD's reputation I find it more than likely true. Something I should definitely look into.

All around the Taste I see mostly young black men drumming, dancing, tapping and entertaining the crowds in an attempt to make an honest dollar. Here's where all the talk about shiftlessness and lack of personal responsibility and thuggery placed on the shoulders of young black men fades away momentarily. Teenage boys and young men flinging sweat as their art pours out to the public for a fistful dollars and cents. Here's where grind meets hustle. Here's why so many ryhme along with Young Jeezy and say they're a 'Go Getter'.

I'm interested in the background story: how much do they make, where do they come from, are they self taught, and where do they go in the merciless winters? Maybe I'll do my AAJ 'art' piece on them.

For a few more photos, go here.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Black Kings (pawns, bishops and rooks) of Chicago

Today on my way home I decided to do one of my favorite activities, browse a Borders bookstore, which is right around the corner from my apartment -- did I mention I live in Hyde Park, haters!

Anyway, while upstairs I noticed on the other side of the music section gathered around chattering was a crowd of about a dozen or more black men playing chess. If it exists, am I in heaven? I have never seen and probably never will see this in the Bluegrass, where they use to sing proudly that the 'darkies are gay'.

Seriously, I almost cried. I also realized how my black experience in Louisville, KY has been robbed. This is why black professionals escape from Louisville (wink!) like a field slave from a burning plantation. Even if the city of Louisville were to encourage it I feel like that Kentucky Negro mentality would suffocate it with cultural suicide. It's not that we're all a bunch of riverboat Negroes who are satisfied with nickels instead of dollars, but there's just more diversity amongst black folk in Windy.

Here were black men with different dress codes from different walks of life -- some professional, some working-class, some from the streets, some nerds and others cool but all connected at three simultaneous games with each calling next after a clocked 5 minute game ended.

And all talking shit!


This isn't too surprising, finding brothers playing chess. Go to any public park in Chicago, New York City or L.A. or real big city and you'll find brothers playing this game. We hear so much about Tiger Woods taking over the lilly white game of golf, but few know the name of Maurice Ashley, who is the first and as of 2007, the only African-American chess grandmaster.

"If he take it with the king we got problems," said Steven Jennings. This brother and I talked a lot, mostly about basketball and the recent squabble between NBA stars and former L.A. Laker teammates, Kobe Bryant & Shaquille O'Neal. Most of the brothers took Shaq's side, except Jennings who defended Bryant faithfully.

"This ain't basketball," said one brother.

He wasn't referring to the Shaq v. Kobe debate, but how the game of chess has little to do with luck. It is more about skill, strategy and psychology, he said. Known simply as 'Big Pawn', he had the most original tattoo I have ever seen on his left forearm. It was a giant pawn with his nickname arched around it. He must REALLY love chess. 'Big Pawn' backed up his trash talking too, he never left his seat.

Like anything we do, the conversation was mixed with a playful mix of "jokes and riddles", though there were a few moments when the banter crossed to a heated argument that raised a few voices enough to where a Borders employees had to quiet them down.

I thoroughly love the game of chess. I found that even with what is otherwise a boring game to casual observers, the soulful banter found in barbershops or basketball courts, black men playing any game, sport or hobby adds an ebony flavor.

No matter, I've found my new hangout spot. And another reason I love Windy.


'Big Pawn' makes a move on Bro. Jennings

Monday, June 23, 2008

Honoring George Carlin

"Now speaking of dead people."
- George Carlin



A great freethinker has left. I do wonder, however, if Carlin, who was a well-known non-believer in all myths whether it was demons, unicorns, angels, gods, or centaurs, would even want to be eulogized? I doubt it if the remembrance is wrapped up in superstition. But I can say that the self-described 'old fuck' cheered me up with his grim, vulgar and yet enlightening satire. He called civilization out for some of its silly and lazy euphemisms based on lies and superstition, especially on religion and God.

I'll miss him. Rent or buy his DVDs.

M Dot @ the Academy

For those of you who are completely in the dark about my life and why the SOULution blog has been running slow, I moved to Chicago last week for a fellowship at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. The program is called the Academy for Alternative Journalism, which I was first alerted about last year as a freelancer thanks to former LEO Editor, Cary Stemle.

Thanks Stemle!

Yes, I've fallen in love with Windy. Something that is surely easier to do when you're living in the gentrified version of the historic Hyde Park neighborhood. Still, Chicago is a major metropolitan city with that midwestern authenticity, not dim like Gotham or as fake as Hollywood.

Our first day was the only day we went to the main Northwestern University campus in Evanston, which is by far one of the most beautiful campuses I have visited, with Lake Michigan as a natural aesthetic backdrop. The rest of the program will be at Medill's downtown Chicago campus. Graduate school at Medill is certainly in my future.

One of the interesting connections with my hometown was learning that the AAJ director, Charles Whitaker, was once a reporter for the Louisville Times/Courier-Journal back when the Bingham family still owned both publications. Whitaker, who also used to work at Ebony Magazine, told me today that he left back in '86 almost three months after Gannett bought the C-J.

Maybe you'll see a Q&A in a few days.

So this means that the ol' SOULution will have its usual content but with updates about the fellowship, stories I'm working on, and a few blog exclusives of Chicago events, interesting site, and people, with pictures thanks to my new Nikon S550. Yes, I'm doing it for the haters.

Friday, June 13, 2008

R.I.P Tim Russert

Most of the journalists I respect are best described as rebels or outlaws. Tim Russert was neither. Nevertheless he was a beacon of American journalism at its absolute best.

He was surgical.

Much of the press is a blunt instrument, employing a sledgehammer to perform heart surgery when a scalpel is needed. Chasing ambulances, hulking over police scanners, copying & pasting celebrity gossip, and abbreviating vital information is abhorrent. Yuck!

He was potent.

Watching the merge of entertainment and information in order to dumb it down has created a bastard child citizenry, a mix of BET's 106 & Park with NPR's News & Notes that is unrecognizable to the substantive and shallow alike. It does a disservice to both groups.

He was confrontational (yet civil).

Asking questions has become so hard because people are so sensitive. For good reason I assume, too many people have been unnecessarily harmed or embarrassed in the media. Often inquiry is a chance to explain yourself but we're all afraid of being caught -- gotcha! -- whether we're guilty or innocent is irrelevant if not given the chance to explain.

He was human.

During the broadcasts he talked about being a Buffalo Bills fan, his father, funny stories and small quips, wits and life. He preserved humanity in what's becoming a robotic institution of dead cyborgs who have no enthusiasm about the fourth estate. I won't speak for anyone else, but this thing you call the media, journalism, storytelling or writing is personal to me --- I LOVE THIS JOB.

For me, waking up on Sunday mornings to watch Meet the Press and Tim Russert was my secular sermon. The theme music of Meet the Press and Russert's narration was my weekly World Series. I would pretend to be the host of Meet the Press. Now as an incisive writer, rebel journalist and critical thinker, I often tell interviewees -- "...let me put on my Tim Russert hat on."

Surely we should know neither he or his show was perfect. Journalism in America has taken its share of credibility hits (Iraq War). Still, Russert made this whole experiment called democracy worth it. Once a week he carved out a tiny space in the public sphere that was a thoughtful, critical and open-minded place to participate.

R.I.P. citizen Russert.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Stemle Writes

Cary Stemle is back, blogger than ever! He's in Philly for the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies 2008 annual convention. Give him a look or two or three or more.

From No More False Dichotomies:

It’s always risky to generalize about a new place based on one day in a selected part of it. I can say confidently that the vibe here is much more open and friendly than I might've guessed. You hear stories about the east coasters being so gruff and whatnot, but so far, it seems people here are genuinely nice. By that, I mean, they speak to you easily without the aloof avoidance you find in some big metropolises.

It even kinda feels like Louisville, although the pace here is more forward looking. That seems to go with bigger cities, I suppose, because you can’t wait around for things when there’s so many people trying to get so many places.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The inadequate and unprepared black man named Barack

Was Louisville Metro Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh's comments on WHAS-11, yesterday, wrong? The debate was all the rage locally @ The 'Ville Voice and PageOne. It even broke national coverage on DailyKos. Maybe it was a bit of a pile by the bloggers due to a bad paraphrase chosen by reporter Joe Arnold.

You be the judge.

From WHAS-11:

Metro Council member Tina Ward-Pugh says she’s not convinced that Obama has what it takes to be president…Ward-Pugh says she wonders what the nine weeks between now and the convention will reveal about Obama.

Overall Ward-Pugh's comments sound and look like that of a sore loser. Hillary's farewell lettermakes Ward-Pugh look stubbornly bitter. Maybe Hillary supporters are on different schedules or time zones. In the end, Ward-Pugh's comments are mild compared to truculent Hillary supporters like Harriet Christian, who said that Barack's nomination represented the Democrats choosing an "inadequate black male" -- whatever that means

Hillary supporters angry over Barack clinching the nomination are a mixed bag, some legitimately disappointed that their candidate lost and others unwilling to respect, fathom or acknowledge that a black person won. Yes, even among progressive white limousine liberals there's resistance to admitting a black person is at the head of the table in the Democratic Party.

I predicted sour grapes. It was bound to happen in a historic race between the two biggest identity politics movements in American history. No matter who won, the prospect of either the first black or first female president was going to end.

For the second time in American history white women have been passed by with black men going first. Before you applaud, hold on, ladies. When black men were given the right to vote by the 15th Amendment in 1870, we had a few barriers between us and the ballot box such as the literacy test, grandfather clause, poll tax, Jim Crow and Klu Klux Klan to name a few. Don't say we got the right to vote before you as an accomplishment or proof that sexism is worse than racism when up until 1965, all black people couldn't vote without the fear of American terrorism visiting their doorstep the next day. Do not leave out the context of history.

I do wonder, however, when white women bemoan Barack's victory as somehow borrowing from the power of sexism, do black women figure in their equation at all? For whatever reason I never see, hear or read their point of view on the matter.

The best debate on the subject is still from a January broadcast on Democracy Now! between Melissa Harris-Lacewell and Gloria Steinem. Check it out here.

America's Blazing Saddle

Between writing for LEO and finding an apartment in Chicago, I heard America actually let the black guy win. Ever notice how America always has a surge of racial progress after a period of divisive, national devastation. After the Civil War, slavery ended. After George W. Bush, a black guy named Barack (Hussein) Obama is running for President.

There are plenty of editorials trumpeting the historic significance of Barack Obama winning the Democratic nomination. In both directions we hear exaggerated claims that racism is over or racism is everlasting. Whatever. Klantucky proved the former is a lie; Barack's nomination proves the latter cannot be wholly true.

We know intimately, America's racist foundations and continuations. However, we have committed acts of patriotic treason through the years knowing as much but still able to fight for American ideals even when actively rebelling against the American government and its agents of intolerance. We, the people of this flawed union have waged a beautiful struggle to make it more perfect. It's a better cause than fixing the same busted car engine or reconciling with the same cheating spouse or mowing the same tacky lawn.

Maybe the country isn't worth saving. Utopia has been a favorite for the American mind, seeking freedom dreams in foreign lands, ready to quit America often after one plush tourist visit. Few are willing to admit that those places too are filled with troublesome leaders, backward traditions, state-sponsored brutality and social tyranny. Canada, Sweden, Ghana, Venezuela or Cuba -- conflict is abound.

Quickly, let me undress the messianic dark side of the Obama campaign. I'll say this. Barack Obama is an imperfect, flawed politician for an imperfect and flawed nation. Presently, he represents our better half that occasionally illumines why this democratic order is worth saving. Eventually, however, he'll do or say or represent something ugly. Here's hoping it is later rather than sooner.

Rant over.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

W.'s senioritis

By definition every second term U.S. President since FDR eventually becomes a lame duck that the public ignores. No matter how good or bad their presidency, after the last midterm congressional elections we're looking towards the next possible president, we pretty much could care less what the sitting president says or does -- unless it is a veto, military act, impeachment or presidential pardon.

Most just bow out gracefully and forgettably -- not W, whose recent behavior is strangely reminiscent to Will Ferrell in Old School. Except Ferrell is "Ha Ha" funny whereas W is a tragic comedy. I have to agree, from the pictures below it looks like the President has a bad case of high school senioritis.

From When I Write:

"I will give it to this guy because he’s like a high school senior that has a case of senioritis, or the I don’t give a f#ck type of attitude, which is shown below in the other photos from the US Air Force Academy cadets graduation ceremony in Colorado…

For those having no clue what the “Heizman” is, just click the picture or close over it to get the hyperlink. I mean really for a president to just let it all hangout and say to hell with it in front of the public is kinda comical no matter how much I dislike what he’s done over the past 7 plus years. You also wonder if he’s dipping back in the sauce when he was speaking at the ceremony, but I won’t go there because you can just view those pictures below to see something is a little off ;) I hate to caricature this guy, but he really makes it too easy…


Sirota's Uprising




I'm a bibliophile, so hat tip to PageOne KY for alerting us about the Louisville appearance of a great rebel journalist, David Sirota. He'll be at Carmichael's on June 25 @ 7:00 P.M.

From PageOneKY:

Those of you familiar with the internets and reality know all about David Sirota and his liberal left ways with the truth. He’s renowned as a journalist and has led the fight to bring the reality-based community into the mainstream. And he has a great new book that’s hitting shelves across the country.

THE UPRISING: An Unauthorized Tour of the Populist Revolt Scaring Wall Street & Washington is what could only be called a masterful look at the force shaping American politics today. David spent a year traveling the country documenting the new populist revolt on the Right and Left and this book is his powerful examination of what’s taking place.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Blackface on Facebook

Browsing on Facebook, a friend of mine found this casually displayed in his News Feed. Not surprisingly, there is a phenomenon on the website of people dressing up as minstrels to the point that some even call it blackfacebook.

The guy in blackface went all out, he even painted his chest and hands. Brought the malt liquor too. I wonder who he's suppose to be dressed as anyway? Ironically he's being embraced by a guy dressed as Uncle Sam.

More and more I'm seeing minstrelsy reappearing. Many are saying that because we're past Jim Crow, this is longer offensive. Yeah. Right. I guarantee a lot of these frat boys dressing in blackface will update the "I'm not racist, I have a black friend" defense and start saying, "I'm not racist, I voted for Obama."

My ¢2 on the changes @ LEO

No one better than Stephen George could have written about the rumblings, changes and new ownership at LEO. His editorial in this week's edition about the torturous "low trade" known as journalism that is a "habit worse than heroin", summarizes and addresses it best. For those of you who don't know what in the blue blazes I'm talking about go here, here, and finally here to catch up.

Being a rookie to Louisville's journalism means that my opinion on the subject ought not matter as much or register on the local media radar. Stephen in many ways was Cary Stemle's mentee at LEO. He's the best authority on the matter. Still, there's a bit of survival's guilt. Also, I haven't seen Cary since last Wednesday, before his ouster. My last memory was him at his desk going over a story yet chatting cheerfully. It's a bit unnerving that I haven't seen him since.

There've been plenty of people who I have felt have been mentors, advisors and allies to my writing. The first group of people are obviously the founders of The SOULution, who gave me my first platform as an undergrade at the University of Louisville. My 'big brothers' are to blame if you've been upset at anything I've written. Of course, I cannot say enough about my mentor, Dr. Ricky L. Jones.

Since then I've met a handful of people in this town I respect without question -- Cary Stemle was among them. His ideas were inspiring, his writing was superb and his leadership was motivating. Plus, he was a funny guy to match. It was Cary who suggested last year that I enter my name in the Academy for Alternative Journalism at Northwestern University. I remember thanking him when I was accepted in this year's class. Those spitting fire over him demonstrate the public's investment in not just LEO, but its character. I hope readers who are righteously indignant will at least give the post-Stemle era a chance to pass or fail before claiming hyperbolically 'LEO is dead'.

Whether in dress, speaking or thought, I have never been a shark in the free-market waters. I picked up a pen because I love writing. I suck at business. I hate capitalism. Even though it's great at making toys -- my Palm Centro cell phone and 2004 Volkswagen Passat especially. I'm naive, I don't believe in putting dollars and cents before conscience, principle, or people.

Period.

I just couldn't let this moment pass without saying Thank You to a great writer and a helluva friend.

Peace & Blessings Cary.

What's the matter with Kentucky?

Boy, Kentucky has sure gotten plenty of attention for being racist. Maybe it's a bit unfair to compare Kentucky to Oregon. Our results in the presidential primary cannot be examined in a vacuum. The Beaver State has a different history (no Civil War) and racial makeup (absolutely no black people). Nonetheless, there's something about our toxic soup of race, income, education, geography and history that makes this subject so important. Maybe it's the isolation of being in rural Kentucky. Maybe it's the split decision during the Civil War. Maybe it's becausae Barack didn't campaign personally in the Bluegrass. Maybe it's just shit eating rednecks who wouldn't vote for a black person whether it was Colin Powell, Barack Obama, Clarence Thomas or Uncle Ruckus.

Read my contribution to the conversation, which just so happens to be LEO's cover story.


Race and the Presidential Race

Whatever the case may be, let's be clear, 21% voted against Barack just because he was black! We can ignore it at our own peril, but Appalachia hysteria is real. Watch below.

Fear of Islam hurts Obama in Kentucky

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day memo to the U.S.

For several months I've been on a steady diet of what you could call "end of empire" books. From Niall Ferguson's Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire to Matt Taibbi's The Great Derangement, there's something about this sort of literature that captures my mind. I don't know about you, but I'm worried about my country --intolerant religion, imperial hurbis, broken government, corporate media and bad financing is a toxic soup for a nation with even the loftiest ideals.

As we approach the end of this Hobbesian decade one of the great oracles on the subject has been the thoughtful Kevin Phillips, author of and The Emerging Republican Majority and American Theocracy. In today's C-J, Phillips says the recent pessimism about America might not be as overblown as the super patriots from Team America think. He writes a warning Americans to stop thinking of themselves as the "city on the hill" and face the pending domestic and global crisis we're facing.

From the Courier-Journal:

More than 80 percent of Americans now say that we are on the wrong track, but many if not most still believe that the history of other nations is irrelevant -- that the United States is unique, chosen by God. So did all the previous world economic powers: Rome, Spain, the Netherlands (in the maritime glory days of the 17th century, when New York was New Amsterdam) and 19th-century Britain. Their early strength was also their later weakness, not unlike the United States since the 1980s.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

NY Gov. pardons Slick Rick

I told people NY Gov. David Paterson is a true blue progressive. We either forget or never knew that he drafted legislation to create restrictions on the use of deadly force by police officers. Fewer know that he was arrested in protest when he symbolically blocked the doors of One Police Place in protest of the 1999 Amadou Diallo shooting.

Slick Rick ought to thank that escort for busting Client 9.

From Nah Right:

Governor David A. Paterson announced today that he has granted Ricky Walters a full and unconditional pardon of his 1991 attempted murder and weapon convictions, in order to allow Walters to seek relief from deportation from the federal immigration courts...

"Mr. Walters has fully served the sentence imposed upon him for his convictions, had an exemplary disciplinary record while in prison and on parole, and has been living without incident in the community for more than 10 years,” said Governor Paterson. “In that time, he has volunteered at youth outreach programs to counsel youth against violence, and has become a symbol of rehabilitation for many young people. Given these demonstrated rehabilitative efforts, I urge federal immigration officials to once again grant Mr. Walters relief from deportation, so that he is not separated from his many family members who are United States citizens, including his two teenage children.”

Friday, May 23, 2008

Hillary invoking RFK assassination is code for "Hang him!"

Given her white workers appeal comments plus the ugly race-based vote in 'Klantucky', this sort of talk puts my racial paranoia in full bloom. Added together I just hear: "Hang him!"

Sen. Clinton could have used plenty of other historical examples exist of lengthy primary campaigns, but bringing up RFK's assassination as a rationale to stay in the race is morbid. If you needed another reason to turn your back on the Clinton campaign, here's one more.

From Newsday:


Hillary Rodham Clinton invoked the June assasination of Robert F. Kennedy to defend her decision to remain in the race until the final primaries -- sparking immediate condemnation by Barack Obama's campaign.

The former first lady, speaking to the editorial board of the Sioux Falls, S.D. Argus Leader, expressed outrage over calls for her to exit when she inexplicably brought up the killing of the Democratic icon in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968.

She later apologized, but SHE HAS DONE IT BEFORE. What lengths will this desperate Dixiecrat go to in order to become president? Keith Olbermann's 'Special Comment' ought to be especially poignant tonight.

UPDATE:

"Sen. Clinton, this is unforgivable"

Common f. Pharrell - Universal Mind

Boy, it's been a rough week. So to close it out I need something to lift my spirits. One of LEO's interns, Erin, put me on game to the leaked track from Common's new album, Invincible Summer due July 1.

Notice the electro sound mixed with the old school sound. A lot of the more conscious MCs are taking us back to hip-hop's origins. Tell me you don't want to break dance to this track.


What do you think?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

R.I.P. Alice Wade


One of Louisville's most dependable and committed voices in the civil-rights movement died yesterday. Alice Wade, 69, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer passed yesterday morning. According to an e-mail sent out by the KY Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression, Wade was given less than two weeks to live by doctors last week at Jewish Hospital. Though lesser-known to the public, Wade was a committed organizer to the struggle for equality in Louisville.

From the Courier-Journal:

A native of Jeffersonville, Ind., Wade had lived in the Louisville area all her life. Her daughter, Ursula Wade, said her mother worked at the old Indiana Army Ammunition Plant, at various other jobs and in nursing.

Of her involvement in civil rights, her daughter said: "I think she just wanted to make sure that she made a difference."

Alice Wade's family is planning a memorial service, but arrangements were incomplete yesterday. Memorial gifts may be made to The Braden Center, 3208 W. Broadway, Louisville, KY 40211.


"I saw her yesterday," said Rev. Louis Coleman, director of the Justice Resource Center and longtime friend and ally of Wade. When I called him about Wade's passing, Rev. Coleman kept repeating, "It's a tragic loss."

Raoul Cunningham, President of Louisville NAACP said Wade was one of the most dedicated individuals in community activism and her dedication will be severely missed.

"She was always dependable," Cunningham told me. "Always ready to make whatever contributions were necessary."

"We're almost gone," Rev. Coleman commented somberly, speaking about the dwindling number of his peers who marched, petitioned and spoke out for civil rights at the movement's genesis in the 1960s. "We're just about gone, either that or tired or worn out. Some of us hit a wall and cancer is a rough trial."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hillary wins Klantucky -- Louisville needs to secede

UPDATE: Halfway across the globe Al Jazeerah reported on how race played a factor in the Democratic presidential primary. Pay attention to the first woman.

Watch, she almost says it.
"I just don't want to vote for a--"



It's a bit disheartening watching Hillary Clinton declare her Klantucky victory in Louisville considering she lost the Derby City to Barack, 52% to 44% by 12,000 votes. Growing up in Louisville, you get a lopsided perception of the Bluegrass. We forget that outside our metro oasis outlined by the Watterson Expressway is an entirely different world. A world where minstrel black-face figurines still adorn kitchen cabinets.

Especially if you're from the neighborhoods within West Louisville, which is the most densely black populated area in the entire state, you tend to forget you're in Kentucky. We're reminded about that face when the contrasts between Louisville & Kentucky are drawn after elections where exit polls illustrate a lucid difference. Using a rubric of education, age and race means that overall Kentucky is uneducated, old and white. By themselves those demographics are harmless, but combined it's a lethal equation (Barack got wiped out by 35%.)

When African-American Kentuckians travel they often hear, "They got black people in Kentucky?!?" Watching Hillary's victory speech on MSNBC and analyzing the results, I see why.

As Howard Fineman noted on MSNBC:


"There's a huge resentment between Louisville and the rest of the state and Obama became the downtown Louisville candidate"

Ironically, Hillary declared victory at the new Marriott in downtown Louisville. As my former editor at The Cardinal, Dylan Lightfoot commented:

"Just proves what we all know: The Ville is a nucleus of progressivism surrounded by a protoplasmic ooze of assbackwardsness."

After today's results where 21% of Kentucky voters openly said they voted based on race we cannot deny the writing on the wall.

I want to make something abundantly clear to outsiders. I'm from Louisville, home of Muhammad Ali and Hunter S. Thompson, and damn proud of it. The basketball team I cheer for is U of L (NOT UK). My congressman is John Yarmuth.

I love my city, but Louisville needs to secede.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Msg. to Hillary, 'Fall Back'

Maybe after the Kentucky and Oregon primary, Hillary will listen to the dozens upon dozens of messages, suggestions, pleas and demands for her to quit. Just in case she doesn't, one more kick in the teeth won't hurt.

'Fall Back' by Idle Warship f. Chester French:



For those lost in the wilderness of BET and b96.5, hearing this sort of direct and clear political hip-hop is alien. Idle Warship, the duo of Talib Kweli and Res, a soulful female singer out of Philadelphia, has made it clear that not all hip-hop is party & bullshit music.

Also, did you see Barack's crowd in Portland, Oregon!?!

Obamania is running wild.

Jealous, new NAACP Pres.

Introducing Benjamin T. Jealous, 35, the new and youngest President of the NAACP.

I doubt Jealous will be dubbed the 'hip-hop NAACP Pres.' as
when Kwame won Detroit.-- he doesn't have the 'swagger' of Kilpatrick. Carrying the 'youth activist' description to the NAACP helm will have everyone giving Jealous a second look.

Another 'young, gifted and black' leader emerging from the Hip-Hop generation is noteworthy for the 99-year-old organization, which is historically controlled exclusively by elders in the community. One of the reasons the national organization makes so many decisions that seem out of touch.

What I notice is the Barack effect, a movement of younger, Ivy League educated blacks with a pinch of social justice taking these
seats of influence and power. Whether in public office, private business, or political advocacy it's happening (slowly but surely).

Will it change anything?

From L.A. Times:

Benjamin Todd Jealous, a graduate of Columbia University and a Rhodes scholar, will become the youngest leader in the 99-year history of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People.

"I'm excited to take the helm of the NAACP," he said. "I believe in the urgent need for strong civil rights institutions and strong black institutions in general."

The NAACP's 64-member board, however, was not united in its selection of Jealous. The vote, taken after an arduous eight-hour closed-door meeting that ended close to 3 a.m., came as some members complained that they were being shut out of the selection process.

Jealous received key support from NAACP board Chairman Julian Bond.

Besides his wealth of accomplishments, what caught my eye about Jealous was not his age. It was the fact that he was once a key player in African-American media as the former executive director of the National Newspaper Publishers Association/ Black Press of America (NNPA). The NNPA is
the largest association of publishers of black-oriented newspapers in the country with over 200-black owned papers under its umbrella.

It will be interesting to see if the NAACP will take a new position on issues from the substantive (felon voting rights) to the silly (burying the N-word) because of Jealous' generation perspective. Highly doubtful considering the organization is still controlled by its board, rank and file memberships and individual chapters.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ga. redneck selling Obama/Curious George t-shirts



Mike Norman, owner of Mulligan’s Bar and Grill in Cobb County, Ga., is selling t-shirts with a picture of Curious George peeling a banana with "Obama ‘08" underneath. So much for post-racial America.

My favorite line:


"We're not living in the (19)40's," he said. "Look at him . . . the hairline, the ears -- he looks just like Curious George."

According to this shit eating redneck, because we're in post-Civil Rights era, it is permissible to use old, ugly racial stereotypes. Get over it darkies!

Go here to read the article.

'Cruising the Divide' @ 8pm today

Today is the first scheduled performance for “Cruising the Divide: From West Broadway to Churchill Downs”, a community-based play by the Apprentice Company at Actors Theatre of Louisville.

I covered it in LEO here.

Today's performance will be at Actors Theatre as will another on Saturday, May 17, 8:00 pm, which will also be followed by a community dialogue. On Friday, May 16, 5:30 pm, a special performance will be held in the backyard of The Braden Center located on 3208 W. Broadway.

Admission is free but a ticket is required, so call 502-584-1205 or stop by the box office at Third and Main Street. I hope to see you there

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hillary, please stop

From LEO's General Sense of Outrage:

Our friend David Harpe, one of the best photographers we know, has a new site where you can post photos of yourself with a message to Hillary Clinton to give it up.

Hilarious!

LEO Elects...

After reporting on the Louisville appearances of both Hilary and Barack, Stephen George nails it with his observation for LEO's cover story.

By the way, LEO endorsed Barack, with a noted dissenting opinion from Sara Havens supporting Hilary.

Am I the only one who cringed at the cover art? Anyway, you should really pick up this week's issue. Especially to learn more about the most important election on May 20th, which is the Democratic primary race for U.S. Senate between Bruce Lunsford and Greg Fischer. Yes, it's a big Zzzzzz to most but is a preview to who'll face 'Son of a Mitch' in the general election. Oh, and I covered the 2nd and 6th district Metro Council races too.

From LEO:

Despite the Obama destiny, too many Democrats believe that Clinton still has some path to victory — other than, of course, this one: Enough superdelegates decide to go against the popular vote, the pledged-delegate count and, now, the pledged superdelegates, and nominate her. That is not math. That is a machine. It will reek of the 2000 election, of the politics of George W. Bush, and it will destroy the Democratic Party. - Stephen George

Face it Hilary supporters, the uppity colored boy from Kansas won. Burn your bras, but if your candidate attempts to overthrow or undermine Barack's nomination -- kiss the black and youth vote goodbye. Trust me, this new generation is aware of her Dixiecrat tactics. We'll stay home or vote for Cynthia McKinney.

It's sad really. For a generation black voters and white female voters have been the bedrock of the Democratic Party. I wish these two historic candidacies didn't occur simultaneously. I wish the two most important American social justice movements hadn't gotten into such a public political wreck. In the end, however, someone had to win. Might as well be Barack.

Death of a Hero

I don't usually cover the local murder beat for various reasons. However, the visual presentation of the Timothy Barbour vigil by freelance photgrapher Abdul Sharif was particularly moving. Barbour, 26, a father of three, was shot and killed last Saturday when he intervened to stop a fight on a TARC bus.

The C-J's Jessie Halladay reported yesterday that TARC officials are paying for Barbour's funeral. On Sunday, police arrested a suspect, 22-year-old Apollo Avery on charges of murder, first-degree assault and several counts of wanton endangerment.

From JPG Mag:

What would you do if you were headed home on the bus after a hard day of work and you noticed a man using foul language and becoming physically aggressive towards a group of teenage girls? Would you sit back and do nothing while letting the situation continue? Or would you step up and put a stop to the harassment you see taking place?...

Timothy's actions more than likely saved the life of one if not all of the teenage girls involved in that heated argument. But, unfortunately, his heroic actions led to the end of his own life.

The question from Sharif's photo essay is on the forefront of many minds. The fact that Barbour's heroism was met with a bullet secures and augments for many the Hobbesian feeling of helplessness and lawlessness in pockets of West Louisville. Better to mind your own business, lock your doors, and look the other way. Leave the death and the dying to the police, the media and the activists.

I see it different.

The Barbour shooting further illustrates there's a choice to be made in black communities locked in the forgotten American inner-city. It is not a simple one, but it is there nonetheless. It is a choice Barbour made with his life. His sacrifice is an activism that is priceless. We can let the drugs, the criminals, or 'the Game' consume our neighborhoods or we can fight back. The choice is staring us in the face.

Monday, May 12, 2008

ATL's 'Soulja Girl': "Hip-Hop made me do it"

ATL police are looking for 'Soulja Girl', the young Atlantan who has gained viral video infamy for harassing and threatening an elderly woman. Once they find this crazy bee-yatch, I guarantee her defense will be: "Hip-hop made me do it".

After watching this video, I'm disgusted. Every stereotype of the hip-hop generation -- young, brainless, profane, gaudy -- versus the civil rights generation is on display. Worse than her inexcusable behavior are the dozens of people who sat by and did nothing. As Edmund Burke stated: “The only thing needed for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.” Sadly, incidents by these type of social terrorists occur more often than not.



UPDATE:

She's been found and arrested (thank you white Jesus!).

"According to Sandra Rose, 'Soulja Girl's' family called into a local Atlanta radio station V-103 to let everyone know that “Soulja Girl” is a good woman but is unfortunately suffering from bipolar disorder and has not been taking her meds."

Break out the violins. She's bipolar, so what!?! Let that be your grandmother she was going off on. By having medication and not taking it she's responsible.