Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Dedication To A Fallen Hero

Normally, I use this space to wax philosophic about politics, or to poke fun at something political or in pop culture. But it's been a long time since I posted here, and I'm going to dedicate this post to a great man, Police Officer Michael Bailey.

My pastor called me this morning with the tragic, awful news. One of our instructors, and a good friend of mine, was killed this morning. His name is Michael Bailey, and he was a member of the Chicago Police Department. One of the many news articles can be found here: Chicago Police Officer Shot And Killed.

This story is tragic on so many levels.

He was only weeks away from retiring from the Chicago Police Department. He was killed because some punk thugs wanted his 2010 Buick, a gift he bought himself for his upcoming retirement. He was killed on his very own block.

As a Tai Chi instructor, Mr. Bailey had very few peers. He taught theories and applications on Tai Chi that made everyone comfortable, from the most seasoned martial arts professional to senior citizens. I had the honor of assisting him with instruction on several occasion, and even filling in for him a few times. He was a humble man, and he always kept his spirits up. He was a man who knew God, and was led by faith. He always taught about the love that one can express through Tai Chi and the Internal Arts, a love that could overcome any foe or opposing force. He taught that if you smile while doing your Tai Chi forms, the joy that is on your face would make its way to the inside and then resonate out. He taught about the peace that could be achieved through Tai Chi, prayer, and meditation.

He has given me rides home from class on numerous occasions, and he was always willing to share his knowledge. His legacy in the self-defense classes is irrefutable, and he made a definite impact on the lives that he touched. I'm a better student, a better instructor, and a better person for having him in my life for the brief time that God allowed.

Am I angry? Absolutely. My first instinct is to demand vengeance for our fallen brother. But this is one of the times where our Biblical instruction becomes more than just catch-phrases to make us feel better. The scripture that comes to my mind right now is the one that instructs us to lean not on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). There's no earthly way to understand why a police officer, just weeks from retiring from one of the most dangerous jobs there is [especially these days] was taken away by gunfire. There's no earthly reasons as to why some young punks would prey upon someone because that someone has what they don't, and these thugs feel that they have a right to it by use of force. When we lean on our own understanding of this tragic death, all we come up with is answers that involve vengeance, hatred and wrath. But when we go to God and ask the Holy Spirit to guide us and strengthen us, He gives us the peace that transcends all understanding.

This is a time where we go to our weapons of spiritual warfare, as outlined in Ephesians, Chapter 6. We must pray for the Bailey family and for the Chicago Police Department. And we must even pray for the assailants in this case. I believe that one of the best ways to continue Michael Bailey's legacy is to love one another, and teach one another. Continue to pray for each other, and continue to share the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. Michael's work on this side of the river (as my pastor says) is done, but our work continues. We honor God and the legacy Mr. Bailey left behind by continuing to strive for peace, and continuing to make our communities better, one block at a time, one neighborhood at a time.

We must ask God to continue to strengthen us. We may cry and shed a tear as we reminisce on the good times we shared with Mr. Bailey, because his impact was just that great. But even as we mourn, we remember the scripture in Psalm 30:5 (KJV): (W)eeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

We will miss you, Michael Bailey.

"Well done, good and faithful servant... Come and share in your Master's happiness"
-- Matthew 25:21 (NIV)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

More Todd Stroger Shenanigans -- Wallace "Gator" Bradley, You're Not Helping!

Race and Chicago politics. Two great things that go great together, like oil and water, and fire and gasoline. It came up during the election and administration of Chicago's Mayor Harold Washington. It has always been a part of Chicago politics, and some of it was elevated to the national scale during the election of President Obama.

But this isn't about national politics. This is about down-home local politics, and people looking to fan the flames of racism for their preferred candidate.

Todd Stroger, the incumbent Cook County Board President, is up for re-election this year (side note: Early voting has begun... vote early, and vote often... it's the Chicago way!). Two of his primary candidates are Black. They are 4th Ward Alderman Toni Preckwinkle and Cook County's Clerk of the Circuit Court, Dorthy Brown. The other Democratic Party candidate is the President of the Chicago Water Reclamation District, Terrence O'Brien. He's the sole white guy in the Democratic Primary.

Now, why am I bringing up the fact that two of Todd's Stroger's opponents in the Democratic Party primary are Black? It's because shenanigans are afoot.

This Sun-Times article talked about an inflammatory poster that's making the rounds locally. The poster accuses Preckwinkle and Brown of being pawns in the election game. The creator of the poster, Wallace "Gator" Bradley (a former Gangster Disciple who fashions himself as an "urban translator", and once [ridiculously, I might add] went on some sort of mission to tell people that GD no longer stood for "Gangster Disciple", but for "Growth and Development), states that Preckwinkle and Brown are only in the race as pawns, to split the Black vote and usher in Terrence O'Brien, who himself is a pawn for powerful Illinois (and Chicago) Irish politicians. My words can't do the poster justice. View for yourself.

This poster (and the mindset behind it) would be hilarious if it weren't so tragically awful, ignorant, and narrow-minded. The inflammatory language of this poster does NOTHING to state why Stroger should be re-elected, it just states that we can't trust Stroger's opposition, because they're tools of Da Man.

Now, splitting the vote is a very real political strategy, but it doesn't apply here. Todd Stroger hasn't proven himself to be a candidate that's even WORTHY of trying to siphon off votes from him. He's not worth the effort to put up straw-man candidates for the sake of splitting the Black vote. He's such a weak candidate that if ONLY Black people could vote for Todd Stroger, he'd STILL LOSE. Stroger (aka The Toddler) is being propped up as some sort of "consensus" candidate. This gives the impression that as Black people, we all vote in a monolithic fashion, and we'll support ANY candidate, as long as he's Black. And it also assumes that we'll SUPPORT any Black person in a position of power, so long as he stays Black. God help us if we actually ask the person to be GOOD at the job we elected them for.

Ask Alan Keyes how the Black Monolith vote worked for him.

There is additional proof that these "Soldiers 4 Stroger" (as they call themselves) are looking to prop Stroger up as some sort of "consensus" candidate. Take a look at THIS poster:

At this point, allow me to quote Ed Lover and say "C'mon, Son!!!" Tying Martin Luther King's birthday to the support of a barely capable administrator? This is ridiculous, insulting, and extremely patronizing. It's attempting to pit Black voters against the "powerful Irish infrastructure", and it's attempting to make Stroger out to be some sort of hero because he handles as big a budget as the white guys. The sad thing is that I can't recall this sort of patronizing, cloying, manipulative stuff when John Stroger ran for the Board Presidency (maybe it did happen, but I didn't pay attention... heh...).

As a Black man, I can state with a little bit of confidence that the person that I give my vote to gets it because they EARNED it. Not because they were entitled to it by virtue of skin color or last name (isn't that right, Todd STROGER?). I'll be willing to bet a nickel that some of the same people behind this terrible strategy were looking the other way and whistling when Stroger's handlers orchestrated the Todd-For-John switcheroo.

In The Toddler's defense, though, he HAS stated that he has nothing to do with these posters or the "Soldiers 4 Stroger" group. But I don't think that this will help him much.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

R. Kelly To Write Memoir - We Have Exclusive Excerpts!

R&B R. Kelly is preparing to enter into a media realm. As reported elsewhere, R. Kelly will be preparing to write his memoirs. In a blockbuster Chubby Afro/Shut'cher Gobbige Mowf EXCLUSIVE, we have acquired leaked first drafts of some of this explosive tome.

R. Kelly (born Robert Sylvester Kelly) begins by telling the world what drew him to the cut-throat, lucrative, and intense business of being an entertainer:

Kelz and his humble beginnings

Very telling. Very telling.

In this yet-untitled memoir, Kelly also explains the creative process behind his hit R&B opera, "Trapped In The Closet, Parts 1 through Infinity":

Kelly details the intense creative process behind "Trapped In The Closet"

The piece-de-resistance of the leaked excerpts is next. Finally free to speak his mind about the child pornography charges that have dogged him for years, Kelly uses his memoir to express exactly how that infamous night went down. Kelly breaking his silence on this issue is incredible. Simply incredible:

R. Kelly finally breaks his silence on the charges that he faced.

We expect that this memoir will set the literary world aflame.

Stay tuned, as we may have more exclusive excerpts in the near future.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Obama Administration Under Fire For Controversial Pardon

Washington, UPI -- Courage.

Courage is the name of the turkey that was pardoned by President Barack Obama on Wednesday, November 25. With a wave of his hand and the utterance of "I hereby pardon Courage so he can live out his days in peace and tranquility", the President spared the turkey from being part of the First Family's Thanksgiving meal, the first since Obama was elected President.

This gesture of mercy towards a creature bound for the dinner plate did not go unnoticed by Republicans and members of the Conservative media. They were quick to pounce on the President's decision to pardon Courage as an example of President Obama's foreign policy shortcomings.

"If he pardons this turkey, what's to stop him from pardoning (alleged 9/11 mastermind) Khalid Sheikh Mohammad?" asked radio commentator and Fox News host Sean Hannity. "This is just the kind of soft appeasement that we've come to expect from this administration. America, I hope you're watching!" Radio host Rush Limbaugh joined the fray by stating on his radio show that "this just goes to show you how soft this man-boy President is. (President) Obama had an animal that was convicted of deliciousness and he just set him free. Just set him FREE. Can you believe that, America? Why, I can see him now going over to Gitmo and granting pardons left and right, just as he did for Courage. Wake up, America! This is a dangerous precedent!"

Republican Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) lamented that "this sort of thing just doesn't happen in my America. I mean, who in their right minds lets a perfectly good turkey go be free, when it could be the centerpiece of a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner? I'll tell you who... someone who doesn't believe in Thanksgiving, or America, that's who!" Bachmann was joined by housewife Ellen Korman, who cried when she thought about the ramifications of the Presidential Pardon. "This is not the America I grew up in", sobbed Korman. "In my America, turkeys were for dinner, and not for pardoning and parading in Disneyland."

Glenn Beck analyzed the pardon on his own show. "You see, what Obama did was that he pardoned Courage. What this really means is that he is letting courage go free... the courage to criticize this administration, the courage to speak up against the socialist regime, the courage to be American and be proud. Obama has decided that the very ideals of courage, freedom and being an American should be relinquished to roam elsewhere."

Former CNN commentator Lou Dobbs stated in an interview with Fox and Friends that the pardon disturbs him. "Maybe it's some sort of Islamicistic tradition where they let turkeys go, or maybe it's something that he brought over from Kenya. I'm not saying that Obama IS a Kenyan Islamacistical traitor to the people of the United States, but if he pardons this turkey, then who's next?" Orly Taitz, lawyer and leader of the "birther" movement, filed a federal lawsuit to have the turkey captured and eaten, and she amended this lawsuit to question President Obama's legitimacy as the leader of the free world.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs was unavailable for comment.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"This Is Not The America I Grew Up In!!!"

It's the next great Battle Cry of the Stupid Conservative.

Sean Hannity

Glenn Beck

Katy Abrams (circled)

What do all of these people have in common? They, and others like them, have been complaining as loudly as they can that because of Barack Obama's Presidency and his daring to reform health care, he is transforming America in ways that make them sick. They have all been grabbing open mikes and shrieking into them that "This is not the America I grew up in!" These folks have corrupted legitimate town-hall discussions that the Democratic Party members are trying to sponsor. The very idea of health care reform for people who can't afford health care is so ghastly, so unimaginable, so downright heinous that it's just... just... it's just unamerican, that's what it is. At least, that's what the people who utter these sentiments would have you believe.

This post isn't about the merits of health care, or the pluses and minuses of the Single Payer Option. This post is about hatred. Violent, intense hatred that is bubbling its way to the surface... hatred that is formed in a cauldron of ignorance, boiling into a witches' brew of potential violence and unrest, being stirred by witches straight out of Shakespearean lore. What is it that have their collective panties in a huge bunch? Is it health care? Is it war? Is it the economy? None of the above, my friends. The thing that has angered up the blood of these people... the thing that has some white people feeling like America is being snatched from them (the irony of them complaining about America being taken from them is so rich that it oughta be poured on pancakes and served with cheese eggs and sausage or bacon... now I'm all hungry... but I digress)... the common denominator that has all of these people showing up at health care rallies carrying GUNS...

 these rallies... the common denominator is an African-American President of the United States.

These people want us to believe that they're being good, patriotic citizens who are exercising their rights to free speech. To them, I say "Shet'cher gobbige mowf!" The fact is that I don't care who you are, or where you're from, you bring a gun as a SHOW OF FORCE. You bring a gun if you feel SERIOUSLY THREATENED, and not just because a liberal President wants to make sure that an unemployed person won't go bankrupt because they have to go to the doctor. The person on the right was carrying a sign quoting Thomas Jefferson. The quote is pictured here:

Now, on the surface, a quote from Thomas Jefferson is downright patriotic. But the ominous undertone of this sign is getting everyone's attention. You see, this quote is very popular among the right-wing militias. It was also on a t-shirt worn by Timothy McVeigh. Some things may be coincidence. This, however, isn't one of them. A man coming to protest health care sponsored by the President by carrying a gun and a sign with a slogan favored by a domestic terrorist? Sheer coincidence? Right, and I have some oceanfront property in Chicago that I'm willing to unload, cheap.

Back to the original point here, these people are angry that a Black man has gotten way past uppity to the point where he is taking America away from them. These people lament about the America they grew up in... you mean the America with attack dogs and firehoses turned on Black people, Black churches bombed with horrifying regularity, lynchings being as commonplace as church meetings? You mean the America where women were seen at their best when they were barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen? The election of President Obama appears to be the crowning moment of privileged white people's tenuous grip on America. They want to go back to the days of "Pleasantville" and "Andy Griffith", and they want ALL of us to believe that America was better then.

Ask Emmit Till about that America. Ask Malcolm X. Ask Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. Ask the four little girls who were attending church in Alabama. Ask the thousands who became the "Strange Fruit" that Billie Holliday sang about.

What's that? You CAN'T? Gee, I wonder why. After all, they were just as much a part of "that America" as the images of "Happy Days" and drive-thru diners. The horrors of violence for the sake of keeping the status quo is just about as American as apple pie.

It seems that the election of President Obama has gotten these racists to be bolder about their racism. It began to rear its ugly head during the campaign (there are plenty of videos of Palin/McCain supporters spewing their ugliness in the form of "kill him" and "terrorist"). And as Obama continues to move forward in his Presidency, the cute little whispers by the neo-cons have become all-out rallying cries. They feel that the President isn't a U.S. citizen. They feel that he is secretly a Muslim... or a practitioner of Liberation Theology. "Their America" now has a Black man as a commander-in-chief, and they are scared. They are angry. And as these rallies (again, HEALTH CARE REFORM rallies) demonstrate just how mad they are. Mad enough to accuse the President of ushering in a terrible wave of socialism. Mad enough to say "Heil Hitler" to a Jewish man who was supporting Israel's nationalized health care. Mad enough to shout that their country is being taken away.

Mad enough to carry loaded weapons to a health care rally.

Now, when Bush was President, the Left gave him a lot of "Hitler" grief. But I think that the difference between the Left and the Right is that the Right has more elected officials and serious media sponsors to support, promote, and disseminate the dangerous propaganda that's polluting political discourse. When you have elected officials, people like Lou Dobbs and Sean Hannity, and industry lobbyists all working together to undermine the efforts of the President and paint him as an enemy of the people or some sort of exotic foreign outsider causing trouble, things can only get worse. Very tragically worse.

Just think... with the last administration, people got arrested for wearing ANTI-BUSH T-SHIRTS. Now, you have protesters coming into the picture armed and ready for a fight... even if they have to be the ones that start it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mike Steele In The Hour Of Chaos, Part 3 -- I Meant To Do That!

"...thinking of a master plan/

it ain't nothin' but sweat inside my hand..."

-- The great Rakim, "Paid In Full"

Mikey, Mikey, Mikey. On the one hand, I want you to stop being such a disaster. But on the other hand, you stumbling over yourself gives me so much joy that the Surgeon General will deem your failures to be high in cholesterol. It's bad enough that your plan to "hip-hopify" the GOP continues to be the source of great comedic material. It's bad enough when a pin-striped hoodie-wearing Stephen Colbert schools you, as we can see here:

What makes your epic failure more and more enjoyable? Why, I'll let Steele's own words speak for him:
I'm very introspective about things. I'm a cause-and-effect kind of guy. So if I do something, there's a reason for it... It may look like a mistake, a gaffe. There is a rationale, there is a logic behind it... I want to see what the landscape looks like. I want to see who yells the loudest. I want to know who says they're with me but really isn't."

"It helps me understand my position on the chess board. It helps me understand, where, you know, the enemy camp is and where those who are inside the tent are ...It's all strategic."

Yes, dear readers... Steele said that his calling Rush Limbaugh "incendiary" and "ugly" were all part of a master plan. A master plan that included Steele trying to assert himself as the leader of his party, only to have the de facto leader remind him that he's a stooge that should be seen and not heard... Pee Wee Herman said it best when he said "I meant to do that!" The sad thing (and by sad, I mean "ridiculously hilarious") is that I think that Steele is SERIOUS. He did all of this to "test the waters" and to see who's with him and who isn't. Oh, one more thing. He talks about his position on the chess board and understanding where the enemy camp is. He hasn't even made it to the chess board. Or the checkerboard. At BEST, Steele is one of those little pellets that Pac Man Limbaugh (hey, I like that!) devours in his quest to become a real-life Jabba The Glut. Steele isn't even one of those power pellets that make the ghosts turn blue... he's just one thousands of snacks for the real power brokers in the Republican Party.

This is Steele's plan for a strategy... try to assert yourself as the leader of your party, because, you know, you were elected to do that. Call out the venomous hate-mongering bloviations of a hillbilly-heroin addicted waste of protoplasm. Listen to said protoplasm put you in your place and tell you to dance. You dance, and kick your heels up in ways that would make Shaolin monks and Rockettes green with envy. Then, announce that it was ALL PART OF YOUR MASTER PLAN. Great. It's a good thing that you're not the Commander-In-Chief. With this sort of strategy, you'd declare war on Iran by bombing Canada and then sending Green Berets and Navy Seals to Haiti... and then tell the dead Canadians and Haitians that it was all part of your master plan to weed out the real terrorists. It's a good thing that you'd never even CONSIDER running for President, because it would be a disasterbacle of biblical proportions. Why, it would be...

** whisper whisper **

Say what now?

** whisper whisper 2012 whisper **

Oh. He IS open to running for President, but "only if that is where God wants (him) to be at that time." Wonderful.

The only thing that a Steele run for the Presidency would do is that it would provide endless amounts of comedy. The primaries ALONE would be worth it, to watch the wolves tear each other apart (picture Piyush "Bobby Brady" Jindal v. Steele v. Palin in a Coultergeist/Limbaugh/Hannity-moderated debate, if you will...and if such a concentration of hatred doesn't try to rip your soul apart first).

So there we have it... the next time Steele seems to open feet and insert mouth, don't think of it as a gaffe or a screw-up. Think of it as a master stroke of genius, where Steele's idiotic comment of today becomes the brilliant strategy of tomorrow. He is planning to stumble, butt-over-teakettle, into the White House... and he'll do it Hip hop style, yo.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Rush Limbaugh's Pimp Hand vs. Michael "Not Made Of" Steele

Part 2 of an ongoing series, "Mike Steele In The Hour of Chaos"... heh...

Pardon me, but I'm having way too much fun enjoying the Republican Party's circular firing squad open fire on each other. In a brief moment of leadership, RNC Chairman tried to wander off the plantation and actually declare that he, not Rush Limbaugh, is the de facto leader of the Republican Party. In an interview with DL Hughley (on Hughley's CNN show - which has been bad, from little I've seen... but this particular episode featured Public Enemy's Chuck D), Steele seemed to have grown a pair when he said:
"I'm the de facto leader of the Republican Party..."

He went on to say that Limbaugh's show is "incendiary" and "ugly", and that Rush was a mere entertainer.

Well, Rush didn't take it too well that one of his boys got downright uppity. Rush responded by saying this:
"So I am an entertainer and I have 20 million listeners because of my great song and dance routine... Michael Steele, you are head of the Republican National Committee. You are not head of the Republican party. Tens of millions of conservatives and Republicans have nothing to do with the Republican National Committee...and when you call them asking for money, they hang up on you." sentiments exactly... sentiments exactly...

Here is Steele's first chance to assert himself as the leader of the Republican Party, in name and in deed. Here is his chance to begin to reclaim the party, and rescue it from the neanderthals, the miscreants, the racists, and the troglodytes. Here is his chance to prove that the Republican Party is ready for a change, and ready to act in the best interests of the country, and not rely on petty partisan crapola. RNC Chairman Michael Steele, the floor is yours.
My intent was not to go after Rush – I have enormous respect for Rush Limbaugh,” Steele said in a telephone interview. “I was maybe a little bit inarticulate. … There was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership.

Oh Mikey, epic fail on your part...
Oh Mikey... Epic Fail on your part... falling on your face like that...

Steele goes on to say:
“I went back at that tape and I realized words that I said weren’t what I was thinking... It was one of those things where I thinking I was saying one thing, and it came out differently. What I was trying to say was a lot of people … want to make Rush the scapegoat, the bogeyman, and he’s not."

“I’m not going to engage these guys and sit back and provide them the popcorn for a fight between me and Rush Limbaugh ...No such thing is going to happen. … I wasn’t trying to slam him or anything.”

“He brings a very important message to the American people to wake up and pay attention to what the administration is doing ...Number two, there are those out there who want to look at what he’s saying as incendiary and divisive and ugly. That’s what I was trying to say. It didn’t come out that way. … He does what he does best, which is provoke: He provokes thought, he provokes the left. And they’re clearly the ones who are most excited about him.”

Asked if he planned to apologize, Steele said: “I wasn’t trying to offend anybody. So, yeah, if he’s offended, I’d say: Look, I’m not in the business of hurting people’s feelings here. … My job is to try to bring us all together.”

And there it is. When Steele dares to wander too far from the plantation, we can count on Rush to execute his St. Ronald of Reagan Pimp Hand, to get Steele back into line. Make that money for Big Daddy Rush, Mikey... make that money. And don't let Rush catch you on some reckless eyeballin'... the GOPimp Hand will be back to remind you of your place.

Now... dance, boy.