Friday, December 19, 2008


“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start”

Recently these words of Nido Qubein have been in my mind. To me she speaks of self-belief and overcoming adversity. To rise above any circumstances in America where the odds are against you, you first have to believe that you can achieive.Then you have to distance yourself from people who would love to see you fail. The sad thing about this is that some of the people you will have to give the “stiff arm” are family, friends and possibly lovers. For all it takes to overcome adverse conditions you will have to dig extra deep to separate yourself from those you love. I never said it would be easy, or that it has been for me, but that is why it’s called adversity. After you surround yourself with supportative friends and find yourself a mentor you are prepared to go through any situation one may face, so go get’em!

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008


When I hear “the world is at your fingertips” I’m put in the mind frame of a little kid being told they can “do anything” by their parent. Now that I’m an adult and searching for my “anything” I’m finding that phrase rings truer today then at anytime in history. What is unsettling about the amazing progress brought about by the internet is that most poor people either don’t have access or haven’t realized the power of this tool. Imagine the cultural change if every single citizen had reliable internet access. Current stats show that home internet access is on the rise in households at or below the poverty line. If programs where created to teach adult internet and computer literacy the positive ramifications will reverberate through our community for generations to come.

Photo credit: business watch international

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Giant’s receiver Plaxico Burress wanted to go out with a teammate and decided to bring a gun. By the end of the evening he ended up in the hospital with a self inflected gun shot wound to the leg. Now the 31 year old receiver is facing a few felonies and mandatory jail time. Most people are looking at this situation from the same angle. He should have not had a gun the first place! In his case maybe your right. In cases where high profile athletes decided to enjoy the local night life with a firearm, for personal protection, responsible and legally, I have no problem with that. I mean what would you do if you where in a dark crowed room and everybody knew how much you made?

It is hard to criticize pro-athletes after incidents like Paul Pierce of the Boston Celtics for wanting to carry firearms. In Plaxico case he wasn’t an athlete trying to be something he’s not. Facts are he has a concealed handgun license out of Florida and he has done many good works for the community. It is still up to the New York criminal system to punish Plaxico. One would hope a hole in the leg and loss of game day checks would be punishment enough.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A House Divided...

Recently I watched some news reports out of Chicago where 250 fired workers staged a sit-in to protest against the loss of their jobs and the actions of those they feel are responsible, the employer, Republic Window and Door and Bank of America. You see Bank of America refuse to continue offering credit to Republic which resulted in them closing their doors. The out of work men and women carried signs saying “Bank of America – you got bailed out – we got sold out” drawing international attention and making their fight the focal point of millions of frustrated unemployed Americans. All this coupled with watching the Big 3 humble themselves at Capitol Hill hoping to avoid failure and the resulting staggering number of job losses made me think about the increasing void between the haves and the have not’s as well as a old speech by Malcolm X.

I believe, should these companies be allowed to fail the additional losses and the resulting ripple effect will cause a rift in the social fabric of our society. These events are, if you will, creating a perfect storm with the middle class at its center. If we continue at this pace the division between the two classes could create the same turmoil as the last time America divided it’s self into two.

As Malcolm said, “I believe that there will ultimately be clash between the oppressed and those who do the oppressing. I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the system of exploitation. I believe that there will be that kind of clash, but I don’t think it will be based on the color of the skin…” Even if you don’t vote or care about equally rights for the ‘working class’ and have a secure career, be aware all Americans care for and will fight for money.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Follow the Leader

Recently I watched three young, yet adult men ruff house and play around while waiting at a bus stop. As I casually observed them it was obvious that the two older boys were through with kid games and wanted to get into something a bit more serious. It surprised me that their plans changed after the youngest one voiced his disapproval. I was baffled at first that the boy’s opinion was valued over the rest. Then it hit me, the reason they listen to the younger boy is that he is their leader. I doubt that they would have been into too much trouble, but it demonstrates the importance of positive leadership in ones life.

Everything falls back on leadership. From CEOs, sports teams, our relationships and even the President. Our successes and failures lie in who we decide to follow. Choose wisely.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks

With everyone traveling to and fro to see family for Thanksgiving, the importance of community and the relationships it creates is self evident. In times of turmoil we have as Americans, turned to these connections for shelter. With jobs being lost at an alarming rate, this holiday meal may be the last decent meal for a number of us for some time. I’m proud to say with all the doom and gloom hovering over the nation like a toxic cloud we have a holiday to pay homage to the things for which we are thankful. So when you gather round the tables this Thanksgiving remember the things you are truly thankful for and that you are blessed.

Have a happy Thanksgiving and GO COWBOYS!!

photo credit: soundbites

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Commerce without Morality

With the American auto industry in financial trouble and asking for a “bridge loan” a.k.a. bail out, it looks like our corporate citizen’s neglect has finally ran its course. What’s interesting to me is how so many jobs are considered collateral damage or at best a bargaining chip. The big three claim 58 million jobs and 4% of the American GDP will disappear if they were allowed to fail (part of the estimated 58M comes from lunch counters that won’t be patronized by the big auto employees). With these eye popping numbers one has to ask what can the corporate citizens do to ensure this from repeating? They might be warned to consider Gandhi’s “seven deadly social sins” one of which warns of “Commerce without Morality.”

Regardless, once again it looks like the little guy or in this case private citizens will get the raw side of any deal struck. Luckily for us the men and women on capital hill are demanding the leaders come with a plan to ensure liquidity. However, I’m willing to bet by the time congress comes back from the holiday and approves whatever dollar amount, one of the big three will have passed on to auto maker heaven.
photo credit:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Kettle Calling the Pot Black

Following the aftermath of prop 8 being passed it has been reported that the reason for its success was due to blacks voting. To me that sounds eerily like Jim Crow thinking. In the land of the free and a place where all minorities have struggled four equal rights, why would one group of minorities allow finger pointing at another.
I understand the frustration and disappointment of the campaign against prop 8 failing, but we cannot allow dissention and discord between minority groups. Especially when the majority will be the only clear winner. One never knows when the other minority’s influence, money or vote will be required in the next struggle. We should stay focused on change and do more to promote our issues to the public instead of finger pointing and freedom treading.
Words to consider from June Jordan:

“We will prevail because we have proven to the world and to ourselves that we are not “fringe elements” or “special interest groups” or so called “minorities”. Without us there is no legitimate majority. We are the mainstream.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cracked Ice

This week when we were going over what topics to touch on for some reason nothing could compare to the question surrounding why ice (methamphetamine) offenders get off easier than “hard” (crack) offenders. They are both doing harm to the community; the only difference is whose community? The public knows the two side’s one rural or suburban and the other as inner city.

Now, most of us remember the crack explosion in the mid to late 80’s when it got so bad that our government declared a war on the coco shrub, its profiteers and users. We went so far as to prescribe federal mandatory minimum sentences for first offense of “simple possession”. The government set records for convictions and in the process locked up many of one particular demographic. For example, The US Sentencing Commission found in its 1997 report that "nearly 90 percent of the offenders convicted in federal court for crack cocaine distribution are African-American while the majority of crack cocaine users is white. Thus, sentences appear to be harsher and more severe for racial minorities than others as a result of this law. The current penalty structure results in a perception of unfairness and inconsistency." The time these offenders serve is 59% longer than for that of rapists.

Some agree that ice has taken crack’s spot as the number one scourge. It tears apart homes, breaks up families and drops property values. But no one is sounding the trumpets’ call to war, instead our courts are offering rehab, which is fine but I’m pretty sure crack heads need rehab too.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Deep Impact

We all know this past November 4th was a historic day. What I want to talk about is the aftermath of the election. I’m sure if you were an ear-shot from any Democrat or an Obama fan when the results were announced you heard car horns, shouts, gun shots, fireworks and no sirens. If you didn’t know better you would have thought it was New Years.

The morning following the victory, I went to my local gym and saw that the mood of the people had changed dramatically in the past day. Black people have a new calm which came from a quiet confidence. Older white men had a renewed dignity, which I suspect came from their decision to elect a minority. Even women were offering to pay for dinner. Just kidding… change hasn’t gone that far yet.

With this election everyone in America took one step towards the middle, one step towards community and two steps towards unity. Yes, we can!