February 28, 2009

Should We Support Obama's Budget?

I must admit that the budget submitted to congress by President Obama looks like my personal budget ... more money flows out than flows in. The difference is that I can't print money at my house.

That being said ... we elected President Obama because he had specific ideas and programs that he feels will change America in a positive way. I respect him for doing what he said he was going to do. He allows the Bush tax cut for the wealthy to expire. He provides a tax cut for 95% of working Americans. He makes large investment in health care reform and energy independance.

At the end of the day ... we elected President Obama to lead us out of our current economic crisis. He says that he needs this budget passed. My attitude is that we should trust him. We should give him the budget that he needs. Here is how he introduced the budget to America yesterday.

I encourage you to invite other villagers to watch this video. In the meantime, what are your thoughts on the federal budget proposed by President Obama?

Gordon Brown Invites African Union to G20 Summit

A number of villagers were part of the 51,000 ONE members that signed an online petition to Prime Minister Gordon Brown, letting him know that people around the world think it is important that the world's poorest countries have a say in reshaping the global financial system.

He listened.

The British Government extended an invitation to African Union leaders to send a representative to the G20 Summit.

This is really good news at a challenging time. While an invitation to a meeting doesn't have the immediate impact of funding development programs or cancelling debt, it is a vital step. The whole world is suffering because of the economic crisis, but the world's poorest people are the hardest hit. As the new international finance rules and structures start to take shape, it is critical that their voices are heard.

February 27, 2009

Obama Announces End of Iraq Combat Mission (Video)

President Obama continues to keep his campaign promises. Obama declared that the United States would end its bloody and costly combat mission in Iraq by late summer of 2010.

"Let me say this as plainly as I can: by August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end," he said in a speech at the Marine Corps base at Camp Lejeune, N.C. "As we carry out this drawdown, my highest priority will be the safety and security of our troops and civilians in Iraq."

Mayor Dean Grose Resigns Due to Backlash on Racist Watermelon Email Postcard

Villagers will be happy to know that Los Alamitos mayor Dean Grose plans to resign next week. He insulted the Black community (in general) and President Obama (in particular) with the email postcard that he sent out last weekend.

According to Grose, “There is no way that I meant anything racist in my email. I was merely criticizing Obama’s fiscal plan, which is so horrendous that it’s almost as if it were written by watermelons.”

Obviously, he is a liar. He knew the so-called humor was race-based when he created and shared the email photo. His claim to be “absolutely shocked” at being labeled a racist is specious.

Anyhow, he issued an apology and indicates he will resign at the next City Council Meeting to be held on Monday night, March 2.

Perhaps this will be a learning moment for irresponsible Republican leaders who continue to think that it is OK to publically share racist images and comments about our president or the African American community.

Am I Not Human? Stop Violence Against Women in the Congo

Our blog participates in the 'Am I Not Human?' blogging campaign on the 27th of each month. This month we want to raise awareness and urge action to end the devastating violence toward women in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Amnesty International is partnering with the ENOUGH campaign and others in the fight to stop violence against women in the DRC.

I encourage all villagers to take action.
What say u?

February 26, 2009

Declaration of Financial Empowerment

We are strong believers in the concept of Ujamaa (collective economics). We invited each of you to join the Blackonomics Million Dollar Club and shared with you the information about the consumer spending power in our community.

At the end of the day, each of us needs to began an individual wealth initiative. One of the first steps that we can each take is to seriously consider the Declaration of Financial Empowerment shared with us by Black Enterprise.

Declaration of Financial Empowerment

From this day forward, I declare my vigilant and lifelong commitment to financial empowerment. I pledge the following:
  1. To use home ownership to build wealth
  2. To save and invest 10% to 15% of my after-tax income
  3. To be proactive and knowledgeable about investing, money management, and consumer issues
  4. To measure my personal wealth by net worth, not income
  5. To engage in sound budget, credit and tax management practices
  6. To commit to a program of retirement planning and investing
  7. To teach business and financial principles to my children
  8. To support the creation of profitable, competitive, Black-oriented enterprises
  9. To use a portion of my personal wealth to strengthen my community
  10. To ensure that my wealth is passed on to future generations

I accept and make this commitment to financial empowerment. Any other villagers willing to take the pledge with me?

Most Racist City in America

I see that Modesto CA is the worst city in America. The city scored poorly for its high cost of living, high unemployment rate, lack of activities, and the highest car theft rate in the United States.

Forbes claims that Stockton CA is the most miserable city in America. Stockton was ground zero for the housing boom and now the subsequent bust. Home prices more than tripled between 1998 and 2005 and then came crashing down last year. Stockton had the country's highest foreclosure rate last year at 9.5%. Things are not looking much brighter in 2009 as housing prices are expected to fall another 36% on the heels of a 39% drop in 2008. Also, unemployment is expected to jump to 13.3% from 10.4%.

Both of those cities can be glad that they are not Paris TX. I am convinced that Paris TX is the most racist city in America. There are only 26,000 people living in Paris TX, yet the town's racial animus keeps it in the national spotlight.

Paris first drew national scrutiny in 2007, after a 14-year-old African American girl, Shaquanda Cotton, was sentenced by a local judge to up to seven years in a youth prison for shoving a hall monitor at Paris High School. Three months earlier, the same judge had sentenced a 14-year-old white girl to probation for the more serious crime of arson. National civil rights protests, petition drives and media attention forced Shaquanda's early release from prison.

Then last year, a 24-year-old African American man, Brandon McClelland, was murdered by two white men who dragged him beneath a pickup truck until his body was nearly dismembered. The accused killers are awaiting trial for murder, but McClelland's family and civil rights leaders have pressed prosecutors to add hate-crime charges as well.

Only a few weeks ago, race relations had reached such a low point in the troubled east Texas town that federal Justice Department mediators were called in to try to bring together Black and white citizens, but the public meeting quickly dissolved into rancor.

Now we learn from the Chicago Tribune that fresh racial tensions are erupting inside one of the town's biggest employers, the Turner Industries pipe fabrication plant, where Black employees charge that hangman's nooses, Confederate flags and racist graffiti have been appearing throughout the workplace for months.

One worker, Karl Mitchell, took pictures of the offensive symbols in early February and filed a formal complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission last week. Other African American employees assert that they've repeatedly complained about the racist symbols to their bosses, only to be ignored or told to keep quiet.

"Somebody had to step forward," said Mitchell, who also alleges a pattern of wage and promotion discrimination at the plant stretching back nearly two years. "They are so wide open with [the racist displays] and so certain that African Americans aren't going to say anything about it."

John Fenner is Turner Industries' lawyer claims that the company only learned of the discrimination allegations last week, when photographs of the racist symbols began circulating on the Internet.

"All of us in management find all of that offensive. We do not condone any displays of this type. I can promise you that in the event we uncover that any of our people participated in the display of any of those matters, they may very well lose their jobs."
It must be a damn nightmare to be a Black man, woman or child in Paris TX. After all, it is now the reigning champion as 'Most Racist City in America'.

February 25, 2009

Village Gift Idea: Toilet Seat Lifter

TOILET SEAT LIFTER - 'Who left the Toilet Seat up?' The Peace Maker will end the battle of the toilet seat. Merely step on the pedal to activate the lifting mechanism. When finished, remove your foot from the pedal and the seat gently comes to a rest where it started.

More Racism from Republican Leaders -- This Time it is 'Watermelons on the White House Lawn'

Why do Republican politicians insist on insulting our nation's president with racist rants and images under the guise of ignorance or humor. Did you see where southern California Mayor Dean Grose sent out an e-mail this past weekend depicting the White House lawn planted with watermelons, under the title "No Easter egg hunt this year."

Mayor Grose was outed by a local businesswoman, Keyanus Price, who said,
"I have had plenty of my share of chicken and watermelon and all those kinds of jokes. I honestly don't even understand where he was coming from, sending this to me. As a Black person receiving something like this from the city-freakin'-mayor - come on."
Grose was re-elected to the Los Alamitos City Council in 2006 with the backing of Congressman Ed Royce, Senator Tom Harman and then County Supervisor Jim Silva. The “Orange County Republican Leadership Voter Guide” claimed that Grose was part of the “Orange County Republican Team” and announced that Grose was endorsed by the Orange County Republican Party. Los Alamitos is a 2 1/4-square-mile Orange County city of around 12,000 people. The mayor is elected by fellow members of the five-seat City Council.

Grose responded that he didn't mean to offend her. He said he was unaware of the racial stereotype that Black people like watermelons.

"Bottom line is, we laugh at things and I didn't see this in the same light that she did. I'm sorry. It wasn't sent to offend her personally - or anyone - from the standpoint of the African American race."
I hope that Grose is removed as mayor of his town for being a fool ... and for lying to us as if we were fools. Does any villager think that Grose didn't know that watermelons are part of a racist stereotype that Black people have endured for many years? Didn't he learn anything from similiar situation last year at the California State Fair?

I wonder if Michael Steele, the new RNC Chair, will have anything to say on this about this racist rant from one of his GOP leaders?

GOP Leader Alan Keyes Calls Obama 'an Abomination'

I don't have much regard for the Republican Party. Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush were both scary people to have in the White House. One of the GOP candidates for president last year was Alan Keyes. I tend to agree with the assessment by the folks at A Political Season ... Alan Keyes is an idiot. You be the judge ... listen to his rant in the following video:

This is an example of the leadership that the GOP provides to America. Is it just me that gets scared when I see folks like Palin, Jindal, Steele and Keyes?

Wordless Wednesday: President Obama's Speech to Joint Session of Congress

February 24, 2009

Blog Safari #28

Do you enjoy reading powerful blog posts? If so, I invite you to join us on a 'Blog Safari' to find some talented bloggers and creative blog posts. My Rhino-Guide (she needs a name!) will join you on this journey thru the cyber-jungle to read and enjoy these posts. Enjoy the flow!!
Let us know if you come across any remarkable posts that should be shared in our next Blog Safari!

February 23, 2009

Alabama Senator Shelby Claims Obama is Not a US Citizen

Soulclap to Black Politics on the Web for pointing us to a town hall meeting in Cullman County, Alabama where U. S. Senator Richard Shelby spoke on rumors of President Obama’s citizenship.

The Cullman Times reports:

Another local resident asked Shelby if there was any truth to a rumor that appeared during the presidential campaign concerning Obama’s U.S. citizenship, or lack thereof. “Well his father was Kenyan and they said he was born in Hawaii, but I haven’t seen any birth certificate,” Shelby said. “You have to be born in America to be president.”

Villagers understand that Barack Obama was born in the state of Hawaii in 1961, a native citizen of the United States of America. Somebody point Senator Shelby to this blog post so that he can see Obama's birth certificate.

Viviane Castro Paints Obama on Her Body for Brazil Carnival

Viviane Castro, a Brazilian carnival queen famous for her skimpy attire, grabbed international headlines again for painting President Barack Obama's face on her body.

Castro paraded nearly nude with the U.S. leader's visage on her right thigh. She had Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's face on her left thigh.

Many villagers recall that Castro appeared in last year's Rio Carnival parade wearing nothing but a strategically placed piece of tape 1 1/2-inches (4-centimeters) long, violating a little-enforced nudity rule and drawing a penalty for her samba group.

Yet another reason that John McCain is kicking himself for losing the presidential campaign last year!

Manic Monday: First Black Fire Chiefs

The theme for this week's Manic Monday meme is 'fire'. I thought it would be a good idea to honor Black firefighters since it is Black History Month.

I met Cortez Trotter, the first Black fire chief of Chicago, at a banquet a few years ago. We take it for granted that African Americans can serve anywhere in our society now that we're in the Obama era. However, it wasn't so long ago that firehouses were extremely segregated. The story was pertinent enough to become a movie. Do any of you remember Richard Roundtree in 1973 movie, 'Firehouse'?

Cortez was the first Black fire chief in Chicago. Other cities that hired their first Black fire chief in recent years include:

Did I miss any other Black fire chiefs around the nation?

February 22, 2009

(Th)ink by Keith Knight: The Great Depression

(Th)ink is an editorial cartoon written and drawn
by cartoonist Keith Knight (the K Chronicles).

February 21, 2009

New York Post Apologizes ... Kinda

New York Post gave a half-hearted apology for the racist cartoon published earlier this week:

Wednesday's Page Six cartoon - caricaturing Monday's police shooting of a chimpanzee in Connecticut - has created considerable controversy.

It shows two police officers standing over the chimp's body: "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill," one officer says.

It was meant to mock an ineptly written federal stimulus bill.


But it has been taken as something else - as a depiction of President Obama, as a thinly veiled expression of racism.

This most certainly was not its intent; to those who were offended by the image, we apologize.

However, there are some in the media and in public life who have had differences with The Post in the past - and they see the incident as an opportunity for payback.

To them, no apology is due.

Sometimes a cartoon is just a cartoon - even as the opportunists seek to make it something else.
I hate when people discount their apology with subsequent verbiage. If you are truly repentant about something ... then simply apologize and be done with it. Don't give some half-azzed apology like we see above. Apologizing on the one hand, while sniping at Rev. Al Sharpton on the other hand.

At the end of the day it doesn't really matter what the New York Post does or doesn't do. It does matter how we respond. I am proud of the response that I've seen from villagers on this racist cartoon. I imagine that folks will think twice before making comparisons of Black people to gorillas, apes, chimpanzees or other monkey-like creatures.

That's my view. What say u?

February 20, 2009

Are We Afraid to Talk About Race?

Eric Holder scratched at the scab of white supremacy when he used the term, 'Nation of Cowards'. Pat Buchanan went from a respectful discussion with Professor Michael Eric Dyson to a rant where racism is placed on the backs on the Black community. It ain't the first time Buchanan let his true racist feelings about African Americans flow. I have never been a big fan of Dyson ... but, the brother was outstanding in laying out facts and responses to Buchanan. Take a moment to check this video out:

Soulclap to Thoughts of the Day for bringing this video to our attention. What do you think? Are we capable of having a professional, honest and calm discussion on race in our nation?

Civil Rights Group Rejects 'Apology' from New York Post

ColorOfChange.org rejected the New York Post's statement surrounding the uproar over its 'chimp' cartoon, calling it a "non-apology," because it did not acknowledge a mistake. The group demanded a real apology, as well as the firing of the editor who approved the cartoon. More than 50,000 members of ColorOfChange.org sent emails to New York Post Publisher Paul Carlucci on Thursday with that message. By Friday morning, that number had reached 75,000.

James Rucker, the online civil rights group's executive director, said, "The Post's recent statement about the uproar it has caused with this cartoon insults our intelligence. It acknowledges no mistake while continuing to attack those who are raising serious, legitimate concerns. If The Post thinks they can close the book on this without taking any responsibility, they're wrong."

Momentum around the petition continued to build as the civil rights organization launched online ads and began outreach on social networking sites. The group expected tens of thousands more emails would be sent through its website by the weekend.

The cartoon depicts the recent stimulus bill's "author" as a dead monkey, covered in blood after being shot by police. ColorOfChange.org is circulating an online petition that takes The Post to task for its apparent ignorance of a history of racist symbolism that depicts Black people as apes or monkeys. The organization argues that the image is particularly dangerous at a time when hate crimes are on the rise and threats against President Barack Obama abound.

"The paper's leaders need to be held accountable, and so far we've seen no sign that The Post cares about the thousands of people across the country who are rightly outraged by this cartoon," said James Rucker, the organization's executive director. "The next question we have to ask is whether advertisers feel comfortable being associated with a publication that responds so callously to readers' concerns."

An excerpt of the petition, addressed to Carlucci, reads as follows:

I am writing to ask that you publish an apology. I also ask that whichever editor approved Delonas' cartoon for publication be fired, whether it was Editorial Page Editor Bob McManus, Editor Col Allan, or another senior manager in the newsroom. I ask that you determine who was responsible and hold that person accountable.

I was particularly concerned by the Post's sole response to readers who found the image to have racist undertones. The callous statement Col Allan issued Wednesday denies a historical reality, and for him to claim ignorance of this history raises questions about his ability to effectively lead a daily newspaper geared toward a mainstream and multiracial audience.

Please publish an apology that acknowledges that it was a mistake for the Post to publish this cartoon and fire the person responsible.
With more than a half million members, ColorOfChange.org is the largest African American online political organization in the country.

Soulclap to Gabriel Rey-Goodlatte (Campaign Director, ColorOfChange.org) for being the tip of the spear on this campaign. Methinks that the next step is to identify the advertisers that support the New York Post. Follow the money...

February 19, 2009

Eric Holder Calls Out America as a 'Nation of Cowards' on Race Relations (Video)

Dayum ... I think that Eric Holder is my new hero! Did you hear our nation's first Black attorney general call the United States was "a nation of cowards" on matters of race?

Villagers are invited to see the video (down lower in this blog post) of speech given to Justice Department employees marking Black History Month where Holder said the workplace is largely integrated but Americans still self-segregate on the weekends and in their private lives and that most Americans avoid candid discussions of racial issues.
"Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards."
Race issues continue to be a topic of political discussion, but "we, as average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race."

Holder urged people of all races to use Black History Month as a chance for honest discussion of racial matters, including issues of health care, education and economic disparities.

Race, Holder said, "is an issue we have never been at ease with and, given our nation's history, this is in some ways understandable... If we are to make progress in this area, we must feel comfortable enough with one another and tolerant enough of each other to have frank conversations about the racial matters that continue to divide us."

In a country founded by slave owners, race has bedeviled the nation throughout its history, with Blacks denied the right to vote just a few decades ago. Obama's triumph last November as well as the nomination of Holder stand as historic achievements of two Black Americans.

Holder told hundreds of Justice Department employees gathered for the event that they have a special responsibility to advance racial understanding. I think that this challenge that he gave to his employees should be taken by all villagers.

Even when people mix at the workplace or afterwork social events, Holder argued, many Americans in their free time are still segregated inside what he called "race-protected cocoons."

"Saturdays and Sundays, America in the year 2009 does not in some ways differ significantly from the country that existed almost 50 years ago. This is truly sad," said Holder.

Holder's speech built on the words from the speech on race given last year by presidential candidate Barack Obama. Obama urged the nation to break "a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years" and bemoaned the "chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races."

I think that the Attorney General was provocative in a positive and proactive manner. Quite the opposite of that New York Post cartoonist. What say u?

You Know the Economy is Bad When...

February 18, 2009

New York Post Condones 'Obama the Monkey' Cartoon

In a statement, Col Allan, editor in chief of The Post, denied Mr. Sharpton’s assertion that the cartoon was “racially charged.” Mr. Allan said:

The cartoon is a clear parody of a current news event, to wit the shooting of a violent chimpanzee in Connecticut. It broadly mocks Washington’s efforts to revive the economy. Again, Al Sharpton reveals himself as nothing more than a publicity opportunist.
I think that Col Allan and the New York Post are on the wrong side of history. You can blame Al Sharpton for many things ... but, I think that Sharpton is on point this time.

What say u?

Amazon Kindle 2

My mom is devoted to her Amazon Kindle. I wonder how she feels about the introduction of Amazon Kindle 2, the next generation wireless reading device.

You can see from the photo that it has a sleek and thin design that makes Kindle 2 as thin as a typical magazine and lighter than a paperpack. Apparently, the new Kindle has seven times more storage and now holds over 1,500 books. That won't make much of a difference for anyone that I know. Who the heck needs to have 1,500 books in storage? Do you have that many books in your house?

It has a longer battery life and faster page turns. That is a good feature. I hate any device where the battery runs out too quickly.

It appears to have an advanced display with crisper images and clearer text for an improved book-like reading experience. That is a great feature for older villagers like myself who are operating with bi-focals and such!

Are you thinking about purchasing a Kindle 2 anytime soon? I wonder if Amazon will let the folks who bought the original Kindle upgrade or trade-in for the new Kindle?

Racist Cartoon Infers Barack Obama is a Monkey

Villagers, did you see this cartoon in the New York Post today? It appears that this cartoonist (Sean Delonas) and the New York Post haven't gotten the word about America being in a 'post-racial' era. This cartoonist thought that there was humor in using the recent police shooting of a monkey juxtaposed against the historic work of President Barack Obama in signing stimulus legislation.

The Electronic Village joins with Al Sharpton in demanding that The Post publically clarify what point they were trying to make in this cartoon, and reprimand their cartoonist for making inferences that are offensive and divisive at a time the nation struggles to come together to stabilize the economy if, in fact, this was yet another racially charged cartoon.

The cartoon isn't funny. It is racist and inflammatory and it has no place in a newspaper. That's my view. It is what I plan to tell the New York Post editor, Col Allen -- col.allan@nypost.com. What say u?

February 17, 2009

Goldman Sachs Screws Its Burger King Employees

What would you do with an extra $18,000 in your pocket?

That's the amount of extra cash each and every Burger King employee in America would have received last year if Goldman Sachs (one of the fast-food chain's largest owners) had shared its bailout billions with rank-and-file workers. Instead, Goldman Sachs squandered 6.5 billion of our taxpayer dollars on bonuses for their financial staff. These were some of the highest bonuses on Wall Street! Meanwhile, Burger King workers earn wages averaging just $14,000 a year -- well below the federal poverty line for a family of three.

The folks at Brave New Films created this video to demonstrate the harmful effects of Wall Street's greed:

I must admit that I didn't remember Goldman Sachs purchasing Burger King. I never thought of the Burger King employees when the initial Wall Street bailout discussions were taking place. This is a compelling story of greed on Wall Street overwhelming compassion for the workers on Main Street.

What do you think about this issue?

Small Business Resources

Do you own a business? Have you ever thought about starting a business?

I ran a small business incubator for five years. I would interact on a daily basis with entrepreneurs, small business owners and people that had an idea for starting a business. I suspect that the current economic crisis is causing a lot more people to consider work outside of corporate America.

There are some great resources that I heartily recommend for your consideration if you are thinking about starting a business ... or if you are in the first couple of years of operation.
  1. Service Corps of Retired Executives - SCORE provides an excellent cadre of industry experts who volunteer to help small businesses tackle growth issues. You can call (800) 634-0245 to find a SCORE office in your village.

  2. Minority Business Development Centers - MBDCs provide free and low-cost help with financing, marketing, contracting issues for African American business owners. Find the center nearest you by calling (888) 324-1551.

  3. Procurement Technical Assistance Centers - I suspect that PTACs will be very popular in the coming months as the $780 billion stimulus funding from Washington DC. You should use PTAC as your first stop in learning more about doing business with the US Government. PTAC provides free training or set up a one-on-one appointment with a counselor to track down contracts you could bid on. Call (409) 886-0125 to find the center closest to you.

  4. Chambers of Commerce - One thing that I learned while at the incubator is that there are a dozen chambers in every city. Seriously! Chambers are a great help when you need to identify funding sources or local entrepreneurial services. Call (202) 659-6000 to find the main chamber of commerce in your village.

  5. Networking Groups - I never joined a networking organization like BNI or Le Tip, however they are are great resources if you need to get more involved with the local small business community. These groups exist to generate more business for their members. Call (800) 825-8286 for a local BNI group or (800) 825-8286 for a Le Tip club in your village.

  6. Business Plan Help - Business plans are tedious ... however, they are critical for the success of your business enterprise. You can get started with free templates or step-by-step guides here or here or here.

Have you tried any of these resources in the past? Do you have other ideas that might be helpful for villagers that have a business or think that they want to start a business?

February 16, 2009

NAACP: Toward Safe Communities, Good Schools and a Fair Chance for All Americans

It's official. The NAACP is relevant for Black people again! The NAACP is marking the 100th year of its birth with the release of a white paper that lays out an urgent civil and human rights agenda for the 111th Congress and new Administration.

The 18-page report, 'Year One: Toward Safe Communities, Good Schools and a Fair Chance for all Americans' explores the priorities necessary for the Obama Administration, the Congress and other key policymakers in the next year toward generating a progressive human and civil rights agenda. It calls for bailout and stimulus dollars to be made discrimination resistant, highlights the need for law enforcement accountability and identifies several key areas of pressing concerns including mass incarceration, health care, the diversion of funds from Katrina victims and climate change.

What are your thoughts about the NAACP as it moves into its next 100 years of existence? Are you currently a member of the organization?

February 15, 2009

February 14, 2009

President's Weekly Address: A Major Milestone (2/14/2009)

Today President Obama is celebrating the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as a "major milestone on our road to recovery," while still emphasizing that we have many miles yet to go.

"This historic step won't be the end of what we do to turn our economy around, but the beginning," he says in his weekly address. To get us there, he invokes President Kennedy, who said, "Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks."

President Obama acknowledges that some people are skeptical about the plan given how Washington has performed in the past, which is why he's encouraging people to check back at Recovery.gov -- the site where, once the plan is in action, you'll be able to track the funds.

"Utlimately, this is your money, and you deserve to know where it's going and how it's spent," he says.

Watch the address below.

How do you feel about the stimulus package that President Obama will sign into law next week? How do you feel about his video message?

African American Wins Lynching Lawsuit

Do y'all remember when there were so many noose incidents around the nation that interactive maps were needed to keep track? It sickened me to see so many nooses unleashed in our nation ... it was as if people didn't know the evil of lynching. I imagine that the folks at Farrell Log Structures are more aware of the issue.

A federal jury awarded $50,000 to an African American construction worker who says he endured racial slurs from his Farrell Log Structures co-workers who once placed a rope around his neck.

Michael A. Kitchen, age 29, sued Farrell Log Homes on a hostile workplace theory under Civil Rights Act of 1866 claiming that his co-workers hurled racial epithets at him, shot nails toward him and even tried to hang him on a job site. Kitchen claimed that the abuse started when his client began working for Farrell Log Homes in early 2004 and lasted until he ran from a job site that summer after employees put a rope around his neck and threatened to hang him. Kitchen eventually quit because he feared for his well being.

Kitchen, 29, made audio recordings of the slurs and those were played during trial. We salute Kitchen for taking this matter to court. Nooses and attempted lynching are not joking matters.

February 13, 2009

(Th)ink by Keith Knight: Chris Brown & Rihanna

(Th)ink is an editorial cartoon written and drawn
by cartoonist Keith Knight (the K Chronicles).

Old School Friday: Mo' Better Blues

The theme for this week's Old School Friday meme is: It's the Blues Baby! It seemed like an odd selection since we are this close to Valentine's Day. However, my first thought went to a Spike Lee movie that had a remarkable sound track. Do y'all recall Mo' Better Blues?

Of course, the song that took my heart was sung by Cynda Williams.

I imagine that most Villagers have seen this movie. What was your favorite scene in the movie?

February 12, 2009

What Would Abraham Lincoln Do?

Today is the bicentennial anniversay of Abraham Lincoln's birthday. Our current president looks back to Lincoln for many 'best practices'. I wonder what Abe is thinking about Barack Obama from his cloud up in heaven? What advice would he give to Barack Obama today?

Abe's not here ... do you have any advice to share with Barack Obama?

February 11, 2009

I Hope You Can Handle It is 1,600th Black-owned Blog in Our Rankings

Villagers, I am proud to introduce you to the 1,600th blog on our Black Blog Rankings. RockNRollSista is a young nubian with a powerful voice in the afrosphere. She created her blog, I Hope You Can Handle It, in November 2007 and it is now BBR #1215.

Her blogger profile says:
'I was raised in what some call the ghetto but I grew into a serious hardcore metalhead. (Oh yeah and in case I didn't mention this...I am Black.) I am an exception to the rule and not that different from any other Black woman in this world. When I am not rocking out and killin' it in the pit, I keep track of politics and what is going on in the world.'
Some folks talk the talk. It is my opinion that RockNRollSista is a blogger that walks the walk. Check out what she wrote in her second blog post back in December 2007:
'I am still a virgin and it seems as though people think that there is something wrong with me. Maybe that is because I am 23. I made it 23 years without having sex ... I do like many guys but I know one day the right man will come. Until that day I will wait and no I do not believe that anyone dries up without sex either.'
Not many of the other 1,599 blogs in the BBR are quite this blunt about life! Anyhow, take a moment and surprise this young sista with a visit to her blog. Leave her a comment. You know how we roll!

February 10, 2009

Civil Case Moves Forward in Shooting of DeAunta Farrow

A doctor lost an eye when his car was blown up in his West Memphis, Arkansas driveway. West Memphis does not seem like a good place to live. Villagers will remember that we reported on the killing of 12-year old DeAunta Farrow in West Memphis a couple of years ago.

The police officer that shot him resigned. The Arkansas Supreme Court put a halt to any criminal prosecution.

As we all learned through OJ Simpson ... it's not over when the criminal justice system is finished. At that point folks can go for justice in civil court.

A federal judge says a lawsuit against the West Memphis police officers who were involved in the shooting death of 12 year-old DeAunta Farrow can proceed to trial.

U.S. District Judge Brian S. Miller dismissed the case against West Memphis Police Chief Robert Paudert, Mayor William Johnson and the city in the death of DeAunta Farrow. But Miller said claims that Erik Sammis and Jimmy Evans used excessive force could go forward.

Sammis, who fired the shot that killed Farrow, has been cleared of any wrongdoing in federal, state and special investigations. He has since resigned from the department. State police concluded officer shot the boy because he was holding a toy gun that appeared to be real.

Is it something in the West Memphis water?

(Th)ink by Keith Knight: Another Idea on How We Can Pay for Stimulus Package

(Th)ink is an editorial cartoon written and drawn
by cartoonist Keith Knight (the K Chronicles).

February 9, 2009

Obama Effect: Artur Davis Seeks to be First Black Alabama Governor

Villagers, we have talked in the past about social phenomenoms such as the Bradley Effect and the Vanessa Williams Effect.

Consider this your formal introduction to the Obama Effect!

The Obama Effect is what we will call the coming deluge of African American candidates that will run AND WIN political races for governors and senators and future presidents.

Case in point: Rep. Artur Davis (D-Al). Davis, an early supporter of Barack Obama with uncanny similarities to the new president, announced his Democratic candidacy for governor Friday in a bid to become the first Black to win Alabama's top office.

Davis, a Harvard-educated lawyer in his 40s like Obama, ended months of speculation with his announcement, attended by a crowd of at least 100 people, made up largely of whites. That voting bloc will be crucial for Davis to win in 2010.

"Yes, this will be hard, but if we find our way, we can build a state like we have never known, not at some distant point called one day, but right now, in our season," said Davis, 41, who chaired Obama's campaign in Alabama.

Davis said his campaign will focus on the economy, not race.

"One of the things I have learned about race is if you talk about race, if you fixate on race, other people will join you in fixating on it," Davis said. "If you don't fixate on race, all the other issues that people want to hear about will come to the forefront."

What do you think of this idea of the 'Obama Effect'? Also, do you have any insights on Rep. Artur Davis and his hopes to become Alabama's first Black governor?

February 8, 2009

Perp Walk: Jamal Anderson Arrested for Sniffing Cocaine

Someone needs to give former Atlanta Falcons running back Jamal Anderson the URL for my blog. I told all villagers that nothing good happens after 3:00 am.

Anderson didn't listen. He was arrested early Sunday morning, about 3 a.m., after an off-duty police officer witnessed him sniffing cocaine in the men’s room of a Buckhead bar. Anderson and a young 20-year old white guy were in the same stall inside the men’s room at Peachtree Tavern sniffing two lines of powdered cocaine off the toilet tank.

A tavern patron alerted an off-duty Atlanta police officer to possible illegal drug use inside the restroom.

Police said they found a 1-inch square bag of cocaine and a marijuana cigarette inside Anderson’s pocket. The men were arrested without incident and booked into the Fulton County Jail for felony possession of cocaine. Anderson was also cited for misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

During the 1998 season, Anderson rushed for a franchise-record 1,846 to help power the Falcons to their only Super Bowl appearance. He celebrated his long runs and touchdown scores by doing the “Dirty Bird” dance.

He suffered a knee injury that required surgery and only had two rushes the following season. Overall, he played eight seasons with the Falcons, from 1994 to 2001, before a second knee injury ended his career.

He worked as an NFL analyst for ESPN’s First Take this past season. It goes without saying that he'll lose the ESPN gig. I hope he has a real-estate license or some other skill that he can fall back on now that he has phuqued up his sports-television career. This isn't the first time that Anderson demonstrated loss of self-control at Atlanta night club.

What are your thoughts as you learn of this sad story?

Cartoon: The Rescue Plan

Sunday Inspiration: Tired of Being Alone

Sometimes I get lonely. Sometimes I feel as if there is little worth in my existence. Sometimes I wonder if anyone will remember that I came this way.

Sometimes I have to get on my knees to remind myself that I have a friend and a savior in Jesus Christ. I may forget sometimes ... but, I'm never alone.

Sunday Inspirations is the meme created by Sojourner in honor of her Mother. This is just one way to help get us through the week ahead, the trials we may face, and yes, to say Thank Ya and testify! I hope that you participate and share with us your Sunday Inspirations. Your weekly contribution may very well be the inspiration that someone else may need and has been looking for.

The Rules:
  1. Anyone can participate.
  2. You may post a video, poem, religious verse, song, story, picture, ANYTHING that has given you inspiration and the motivation to go on. Just make sure not to offend anyone.
  3. Add your name to the meme list so others can be inspired.
  4. Be and get inspired and be sure to comment.

February 7, 2009

Third Wish by Robert Fulghum

Written over a period of ten years, Third Wish is an epic novel that is above all - a love story - not in the usual sense, but the story of people who love life and go to great lengths to live it in a flourishing way.

In fairy tales, the third wish is the last one left when the first wish was foolish, and the second wish was used to undo the first. Now the remaining wish must be used wisely and well - with the help of co-conspirators.

The story threads its way through Greece, Japan, France, England, Spain and Seattle. Woven into the fabric is cultural history, art, philosophy, archeology, poetry, theater and music. The mode of the novel is contained in these three words: SLOWLY, SURPRISE, WITNESS.

The two-volume set is divided into five parts and includes over 150 illustrations by three accomplished artists. Click here to view the Third Wish (2-Volume Boxed Set with CD)

February 6, 2009

Justice for Jason Vassell

Drumbeats from Jack & Jill Politics pointed us in the direction of a travesty of justice taking place in Massachusetts. Have you heard about the racist hate crime committed against Jason Vassell? Did you see how the districy attorney flipped the script on him? Did your local news report on the hundreds of people who rallied in support of Jason this week?

Here is an overview provided to us by an advocacy site set up on Jason’s behalf.

On February 3, 2008 Jason Vassell was the victim of a racist hate crime. Since then he has been further victimized by a racist prosecution. We, a coalition of community organizations, students and faculty, seek solidarity in challenging this racist prosecution.

Early on the morning of February 3, 2008, Jason, an African American student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, was in his dormitory. Two intoxicated white men, Jonathan Bowes and Jonathan Bosse, approached Jason’s dormitory window repeatedly referring to him as a “nigger” and breaking in the window. They then forced their way into the dormitory lobby where they assaulted Jason, breaking his nose and giving him a concussion.

Under this continuing assault Jason was forced to defend himself with a pocketknife, injuring his assailants. As a result of defending himself against this unprovoked assault Jason, the victim of the attack, was charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon. These charges carry a possible thirty year prison sentence. One of the perpetrators, Jonathan Bowes, was charged only with misdemeanors carrying a maximum eighteen month sentence. The other, Jonathan Bosse, was not charged at all.
I encourage all villagers to sign the petition to dismiss the charges. You can also contact the DA at (413) 586-9225, or via email at elizabeth.d.scheibel@state.ma.us.

Will you stand up in support of this young brother?

Ask Governor Perdue to Stop the Execution of Troy Davis

The state of Georgia seems determined to kill Troy Davis. We have been talking about Troy Davis with villagers since last September. I imagine that our prayers, calls, emails and such have had some impact as his execution has been stayed.

Troy Davis faces execution for the murder of Police Officer Mark MacPhail in Georgia, despite a strong claim of innocence. 7 out of 9 witnesses have recanted or contradicted their testimony, no murder weapon was found and no physical evidence links Davis to the crime.

The Georgia Board of Pardon and Paroles has voted to deny clemency, yet Governor Perdue can still exercise leadership to ensure that clemency is granted to Troy Davis.

We need to let Georgia officials hear from us again. Please join us in asking Governor Perdue to stop the execution of Troy Davis.

Despite this mounting evidence in favor of Troy’s freedom, he continues to wait on death row. I encourage villagers to watch and share this video with others. We are anxiously awaiting the court’s response to the latest round of arguments in Troy’s case that could be handed down at any moment. So the fate of Troy Davis is still very much in limbo.

Will you step up to support this young man?

February 5, 2009

Obama's Broadband Plan: Why America Should Care

I am trying to adopt the cool, calm and collected aura of our new president. We are deep in an economic crisis that is put over 2 million people out of work last year. The economic crisis was a major reason that an overwhelming number of Americans voted for change in our national leadership last November.

One aspect of the President's stimulus package relates to improving the broadband infrastructure. I know how much my personal and professional life improved when I gained access to broadband. Obama wants all Americans to have access to broadband. Check out this article from the Knight Center of Digital Excellence:

We know we need to put people back to work. We also know that a key component of the Obama Plan is to stimulate our economy through the development of a next-generation broadband infrastructure.

Key to this goal is making Americans see – giving them that “Aha” moment – so that there is a clear understanding how broadband can advance our economy in the same radical way that telephone service and electricity did a century ago. As an essential utility service of the future, broadband can change how we do business, deliver health care, educate our children, provide safety services in our communities, and in short, how we conduct our daily lives. This is why broadband plays so prominently in federal plans to stimulate our economy, with proposed spending of up to $10 billion on broadband infrastructure.

Read the rest of the article here.

Are you reading this from a broadband connection? Do you remember when you went from dial-up modem to broadband connection? I think we need to get the broadband infrastructure expanded throughout the nation. What say u?

Abraham Lincoln Is Still Celebrating!

We have been sharing political cartoons about the 2008 presidential election results for a couple of months now. Many of the cartoons seem to have Abraham Lincoln included because of the hopes that all Americans have for President Obama to be considered as successful a leader as Lincoln. Do you think that Obama can live up to our hopes?