This is a personal weblog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer, friends or associates who may visit this blog or post their own opinions. In addition, my thoughts and opinions change from time to time…I consider this a necessary consequence of having an open mind and student of experience. This weblog is intended to provide a semi-permanent point in time snapshot and manifestation of the various memes running around my brain, and as such any thoughts and opinions expressed within out-of-date posts may not the same, nor even similar, to those I may hold today. I consider the human race to be an evolving entity. Our views and standings in life are equally subject to our experiences, future knowledge, readings, and associations with other members of the human race. We should be allowed to be human and to be as the Creator intended, a free-will and independent entity who will err from time to time. Enjoy a trip around my brain.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Open Letter to my Father

Father's Day has passed and many had the opportunity to celebrate with the one guy who made it possible to be here. It's a great feeling to have your Father around but as I tried to celebrate
being a relatively new Dad, I couldn't help but think about all of the comments about absent Fathers and dead beat dads going around the social networks and radio stations. It made me think introspectively about my own Father, Warner McKinley Campbell who we affectionately called: "Rock".

Rock was a man's man. He was hard on the outside and just as tough on the inside. His way of showing love was to grab you and give you a kiss on the top of the head or say; "you know I love you, son!" This probably seems a little cold to most but it was Rock's way. There was never a moment in my childhood that I didn't feel safe around my Dad. He was always putting things in a way that made you think about what your actions. He wasn't a small man by any means. He stood about 6'2" and weighed about 240 and all muscle. He needed that frame to deal with the mean streets as a Chicago Cop for 32 years. His approach was in your face and I undoubtedly inherited that honestly (although I don't like to admit it.) Dad was the epitome of tough love. He didn't budge an inch and what he said was Gospel. My sister and I dared not question his authority let alone his decisions or there would be definite consequences. Don't get me wrong, Dad was not an abusive Father. He didn't have to be. His "look" and his deep voice was enough to make you feel the earth move beneath your feet. The simple call of my name made shivers come down from my soul and instantly have my mind racing as to what I may have done to have him call me. But with all of that, I can honestly only remember one (1) old school spanking in my life. That's really all I ever needed. His mental game was crucial and would rival any Jedi Master in the universe. Like I said, Dad wasn't the most soft and cuddly Father in history but you knew he loved you and he loved you deeply. Whatever man I am today is because of his foundation. I only wished the Chicago landscape with all of its decay and dregs of society wouldn't have worn on him as badly as they did. He was a heavy drinker and ultimately that was his exit strategy. He was gone way too soon for me. I had and continue to have so very much to ask him about manhood. I am figuring this out as I got and I know if he was around it would be a lot easier. I don't fault him at all. Dad did what he needed to protect us from his daily dealings with people who lived to make stress for regular folks and it took a guy like Rock to handle them. Who wouldn't find that a tough situation to be in?

I don't have any ill feelings Dad, I love you and I cherish all the moments we DID have together. I still remember your words: "Be a man of your word. If you say you are going to do something, Do it. If you find you are unable, have the balls to tell the person you can't and then find a way to make it right." I've lived by that creed all my life an it has done me well.

As I sat back to cherish my Dad, I couldn't help but think about all of the men and women, boys and girls, wives and girlfriends who don't have their dads to celebrate. I couldn't help but think about those same people who might take their fathers for granted and never reach out to say "Thank you" or "Dad I really appreciate you and I love you." To me, this is a great injustice not only to the dad but to you. We always can find the energy to find fault in fathers for what they may have not done or what they should have done but we have to remember they are human beings FIRST. It takes a lot to take care of oneself let alone to assure the existence and prosperity of another person. Sometimes LIFE gets overwhelming and we falter. I am not excusing the sperm donors because if you make them you should take care of them and taking care doesn't necessarily cost money. But I am saying that the pressures of Life can be really cruel to one person.

I only wish Dad was able to see his four grandchildren. They could definitely have benefited from his presence. I wish my own daughter could have him around to play with and to kiss on like she does me. She knows about him and sees his picture and even knows his birthday but she has never met him. I think about this every Father's Day because there are some things only a Dad can do. I try to be that Dad who will be in all the kid's lives as a father figure and as a dependable person who they can look up to as a positive example of LOVE and UNDERSTANDING and GOD fearing. I want them to know this is what their Grandfather was like and in knowing ME they know HIM.

So this Father's Day, I want to say; "Dad, I appreciate you for all you've sacrificed for me and my sister and my mother. I love you deeply and I want you to know I'm doing my very best to take care of the family like you taught me. I'm following in your footsteps and I'm living an honest and productive life Thanks to you and your guidance."

Kiss your Father's if you can but most importantly, tell them you appreciate them for being human and doing their best to try to make you safe, secure and loved. That will mean more to a Dad than taking them out to dinner or a tie. Dads are unique individuals they feed and thrive off of LOVE!

-Peace and Live Long and Prosper.
Chicago Jedi

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Food for LIFE!

Jersey Mayor Cory Booker is planning on living on food stamps for a year after being challenged by a Twitter follower. Sounds crazy doesn't it? Reminds me of the political stunt orchestrated by then Mayor Jane Burn to live in Cabrini Green to prove it was safe. Despite the political motivations of Booker or anyone else, the larger issue, in my mind, is the complicated issue of hunger and poverty which affects millions of Americans in the richest nation on the planet.

This challenge between the NJ Mayor and the unknown Twitter Follower "TwitWit" began when "TwitWit" comment that "nutrition is not the responsibility of the government" before the conversation evolved into food stamps and "TwitWit" tweeted; "why is there a family today that is too poor to afford breakfast? Are they not already receiving food stamps?" This aimless comment prompted the challenge by the NJ Mayor. "lets you and I try to live on food stamps in New Jersey and feed a family for a week or month. U game?" "Sure, Mayor. I'm game," TwitWit responded and there the challenge was born.

This is a very interesting challenge to me because as we all know, NJ has a relatively high cost of living and it has been said that the food stamp total the Mayor and TwitWit will be using amounts to approximately $133.26 (US Department of Agriculture for NJ 2011). My math suggests that averages to approximately $1.43/meal just barely enough to purchase ONE item on the McDonald's dollar menu. I don't think any of us would thin we could feed a family on this amount.

To add insult to injury Andrea Tantaros, a Fox Television pundit when asked about the challenge stated living on a $133/monthly food allowance would make her look "fabulous....I should try it because do you know how fabulous I'd look? I'd be so skinny. I mean, the camera adds ten pounds, it really does. I'd be looking great." This comment about the harsh reality which affects about 50 million people is insensitive and callous. According the to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), households have a monthly income of about $731 and over 75% include a child or elderly or disabled person. WithOUT SNAP, I would guess millions of more Americans would go hungry.

Tantaros' uneducated response to an everyday issue is unfortunate especially when she has access to such a powerful venue like Fox News. What Tantaros and TwitWit don't realize is food stamps and other assistance programs is not a lot. It helps somewhat and can probably keep them from taking up the "sport" of dumpster diving and eating garbage but it is at the end of the day a very low budget for food and to feed a family. So, what comes with having a low food budget? Well, in my experience it means the food choices are very limited and the recipients normally fill up on high carbs and high fat food choices which are normally high in sugars and low in vegetables and nutrition. This leads to obesity and other abnormalities like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes which lead to strokes, heart attacks and early death or long term hospital care.

Fox News is a far leaning right wing channel and most of the pundits and commentaries who are on the channel seem to speak from a very high horse. Remember, this is the same network where Sean Hannity has a show. Hannity you recall tried to weigh in on his view of SNAP recipients when he barked they should shun SNAP and eat more rice and beans because they are inexpensive and could be bought in large amounts for "negligible amounts of money." It's remarks like Tantaros, Hannity and TwitWit which resemble, more recently, those of Romney's 47%. These guys say they understand what's good for Americans but their words clearing reflect their hearts. They are speaking from afar and not hands on. They don't have experience in the everyday struggles of most Americans. Simple things like food and nutrition and health care are taken for granted by this group and because it's commonplace for them and mostly everyone they know. It's expected and anyone who is outside of their bubble is a slacker looking for "gifts" and "handouts" from the government. What they miss is what they take for granted, 50 million Americans are struggling to get just to stay alive.

It's time for those who sit on those high horses while they throw their stones to be knocked down a peg or two where they can see how the rest of us "low lifes" live.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Penn State hierarchy should be dismantled NOW!

THE REPORT is out and it's not totally surprising. Penn State officials all the way to the top had knowledge of the egregious acts committed by Jerry Sandusky against the children which were placed into his care. Penn State has been a proverbial crime scene for more than a decade. Former FBI Director, Louis Freeh conducted a Penn State sponsored investigation into the allegations of criminal conduct by Sandusky and his report revealed mostly everyone in a position of authority at the university knew or had some knowledge of what their pedestal posted football staff was up to. 

It is a vast understatement to say this was disgusting. It was and IS a reprehensible and unbelievable mistrust of authority and privilege enjoyed by the university. It's clear, in my mind, the power and influence of money, draft picks, notoriety and reputation played a primary role in the cover up. Children who are the cornerstones of our society and the future of our nation and who are the ones who will eventually keep the institution of college education moving were placed at the feet of greed and selfishness by Penn State.

This is not solely a Sandusky crime. It is an institutional crime. The officials who are paid handsomely to safeguard and mentor and guide our children and young adults through their football program have sacrificed our most precious commodity for the sake of an athletic department and one man's perverse desires to repeatedly commit child abuse. Paterno, the so-called beloved coach of Penn State's division winning football team is just as guilty. He knew of the cover up, he knew of the acts, he knew of those responsible and yet he hid his eyes and in doing so, endorsed the abuse. Paterno may have been a winning coach but he is no hero. In fact, I would lean towards describing him as a co-conspirator and an enabler to Sandusky and the powers that be at Penn State. Let's not forget Assistant Coach, Mike McQueary who personally witnessed Sandusky raping a 10 year old boy. McQueary notified Paterno who told Athletic Director Tim Curley. Curley and Vice President Gary Schultz, did NOT REPORT the incident to the police. All they did was restrict him from bringing underage children onto the campus. 

Okay so  here is the punch line. In a January 2012 interview with the Washington Post, Paterno tried to explain his rationale for not reporting Sandusky to the police. "I didn't know exactly how to handle it and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was," Paterno said. "So I backed away and turned it over to some other people."WHAT??? "Didn't want to jeopardize what the university procedure was..." Unbelievable. We see where Paterno's priorities lied and those were definitely NOT with the best interest of the children who were being violated and abused. In the real world, if someone has knowledge of a crime and covers up the crime and does nothing to inform the authorities of that crime that person is charged with that crime just as if he took part in the initial act. This is what should happen to the people at Penn State. 

There should be a scorched earth type policy erected at that disgusting place. Everyone INCLUDING the board of directors, President, VP, down to the people writing the checks for the football program should have been removed. ANYONE who had the slightest knowledge or inclination of wrongdoing should be charged and prosecuted. NO ONE at that Godforsaken place had the gumption to stand up for the most vulnerable which were placed in their care and trust, the CHILDREN. It's unbelievable and very depressing.

-"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Why Spongebob is GREAT FOR KIDS!!!

Recently an article in the Journal of Pediatrics claimed faster paced shows like Spongebob Squarepants affected the attention spans of 4 year old children as compared to more evenly paced cartoons like Caillou. Angeline S. Lillard, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia and one of the paper’s authors said, “There is so much stuff that’s hard to assimilate, it might be disrupting the child’s thinking process, so they may not be able to grasp the messages that are educational...This suggests the brain is working very hard to register it all and gets exhausted afterward.”

Although the study was not specific to Spongebob and was referring to shows like it, the uproar has taken hold and parents everywhere rushed to turn off the boob tube and censor poor Spongebob. Is this the right action? Well, here is my .02.

Spongebob is a fantastic role model for children and if parents are wiling to take the time can actually teach at least 8 valuable lesson in which children can successfully pattern themselves.

1. Loyalty
2. Selflessness
3. Dedication
4. Hard Work
5. Positive Mental Attitudes
6. Empathy
7. Compassion for others
8. Responsibility

All that from Spongebob? Yes, all that from Spongebob.
Let's iron them out one by one. LOYALTY, EMPATHY, COMPASSION. Spongebob is one of the best examples of loyalty in society today. Let's face it, Patrick is his best friend and we all know Patrick is not the brightest bulb in the box by any means. He is often the product of ridicule and mockery yet Spongebob is ever loyal and takes up for him constantly. Spongebob will often correct those who wish to engage in this form of bullying and teasing and take the time to point out Patrick's good side and well intentions. He has never left his side even in the hard times and even when it meant mockery and uneasiness to himself. Spongebob is a true friend.

SELFLESSNESS. Spongebob is always thinking of other people and goes out of his way to be inclusive even when he is not received well. Spongebob's "friend" and neighbor, Squidward Tentacles is a loner and all around mean-spirited individual who is rarely happy. Squidward lives alone and hates his job at the Krusty Krab restaurant where he works with Spongebob. Squidward rarely has a kind word for Spongebob or Patrick and holds no punches when it comes to letting them know how he feels about them. He spews hate and hurtful words at Spongebob whenever the opportunity presents itself. Yet, through all of this, Spongebob still tries to include Squidward in all of he and Patrick's games. He will knock on his door and invite him to snowball fight or to go on a picnic and always greets him with a smile and a kind word.

DEDICATION & HARD WORK. Spongebob is the epitome of dedication. He absolutely LOVES his job. He lives the Krusty Krab and wears his title of Fry Cook proudly. He is so good at his job as a Fry Cook that he has been given the dubious job of opening up the store during the early morning hours of Bikini Bottom. No one else would take this responsibility from the restaurant's owner, Mr. Krabs because it doesn't come with any extra pay or perks. In fact, there have been several times in which Spongebob received NO PAY for not only his work as a Frry Cook but as one who goes out of his way to promote the Krusty Krab. In spite of it all, Spongebob is dedicated and arrives on time every day. He is timely and keeps a conscious effort to be at work. Spongebob appreciates his job and does his very best daily to show it.

RESPONSIBILITY. Spongebob knows what responsibility is and takes it very seriously. Despite his diligent work ethic, Spongebob is also a home owner. His Pineapple under the sea house is immaculate and spacious. He has lived there for years and obviously is not going through foreclosure like most Americans so he is good with finances and pays his mortgage on time. He is able to do this on the meager salary he earns at the Krust Krab Restaurant and judging from the establishment's owner, Mr. Krabs, he doesn't make much money and only stays there because he loves his work. Spongebob is responsible in more than one way.

The bottom line is Spongebob has many honorable qualities if you really look at them. I realize this is not the topic of the century but I felt as though Spongebob was getting a bum rap and  I needed to come to his rescue as he has done so many times for others less deserving. Barnacles!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Do We Save the Bishop?

At the time of the Jedi's writing on this blog, a fourth young man has come forth claiming the Pastor of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church located just outside of Atlanta, Georgia coerced him into sexual acts while he was a member of the mega church. The Bishop has since denied the accusations and has hired an attorney to defend him in the mounting civil suits. A separate civil suit has also been filed against the New Birth church claiming they knew of the Bishop's behaviors over the years and failed to inform them of the potential risks. Surely this will be a tale of talk for some time to come. SO where do we go from here? Well, here's how I see it.

The Bishop presides over a 25,000 member church and has directed the paths of thousands of followers over the years. He has counseled them, prayed with them and for them, he has lifted them up from the worst areas of our society and he has offered salvation to many who did not have it upon joining New Birth. There are literally thousands of individuals today who are living a life style that many would consider upstanding. They are at the very least "better" than they were prior to the Bishop. Undoubtedly, there are just as many who will denounce the Bishop for the allegations levied against him today. They will find (and have found) ease in a quick condemnation and perhaps time will show them correct. But what if it doesn't? Will those same people rush to ask him for forgiveness as they rushed to classify him as a sex offender or a predator? I think not. There are those who are saying he should step down, that he's not qualified to lead the flock any longer. People say he's a hypocrite and should go away before he causes any further damage. People are very quick at distancing themselves from trouble. When you are doing well or earning money you are the best thing since sliced bread and everyone sings your praises however, once you step in it you are the plague or the Anti-Christ. This is not new, it's the nature of man. We like to blame others to overshadow our own insecurities and to keep from dealing with pain. It's a natural process for us. The Lord knew that when he created us. He gave us free will because he didn't want to create blind followers. He allows us to deal with our short comings in order to grow.

But what about the Bishop? Is he somehow less qualified to lead New Birth than he was last week or last year? Is he less qualified to inspire greatness because of these four young men? Does this accusation magically take away his knowledge of the Word and leave him less of a man of God? If the allegations turn out to be true, does that mean all the lives and all the people he and New Birth have saved and have given brighter outlooks are negated? Is the man who was a drunk and a drug addict and is now living upstanding and a family man because of his attendance at New Birth or from his hearing the message delivered by the Bishop supposed to recant his gift? Should we declare all the good insignificant because of this action? I don't think that's right. In fact, I think it's anti-christian. I think now is the right time for the people who have been shown the glory of God and what he can do (and has done) to stand up and say we support the Bishop guilty or not. He has done wonderful things for us. If he is determined to be guilty, they should (we should) give him the same guidance, support and love he (and New Birth) has given those whom no one else cared about.

Now, I'm not one of those bleeding heart types who believes everyone is capable of redemption. I mean there are those of us who are just too embodied with evil to turn away. After all, the devil has his army as well. The point is, however, this world is too filled with the "what have you done for me lately" mentality. You can be a hero for millions for years and then fail to pay your taxes or you run a stop sign or you hit your wife or you are found guilty of BEING A HUMAN BEING with occasional lapses in judgment, then you are placed in the category of loser. I don't think this is fair. We are all human and we are born with imperfection so we should be allowed to err once in awhile.

This is just my $.02 as the CHICAGO JEDI! What's yours?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

 The mayor of Chicago, Richard M. Daley has declared he will not seek re-election after over 20 years in office. While Daley has accomplished a lot in his career as mayor of one of the largest metropolitan cities in the nation, he has also had his share of defeats. One of which is his nemesis, the Chicago Murder Rate.

The homicide rate is Chicago for 2010 is higher than LA and New York! As of September 2010, there were over 300 murders recorded in Chicago. There doesn't seem to be a week that has gone by there isn't a news brief declaring another person has been killed.

The citizens have complained and the pundits have chimed in to blast the mayor and his appointed Superintendent, Jody Weis' strategy for handling the situation. Recently, In August, Weis coordinated a meeting with gang leaders to issue his form of an ultimatum if the killing did not stop. Weis threatened to indict gang leaders using the RICO Act (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations). RICO is a Federal law which provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil suits aimed at confiscating profits for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization. It is the portion of Federal law which is used to indict mob leaders or heads of major drug cartels.

In response to Weis' meeting, gang leaders "objected" and held a press conference to state as much. The leaders, who were on parole for other crimes, complained they were duped into attending the meeting by their parole officers. They also complained the police were not "playing fair" by holding them responsible for the killings and threatening to use RICO to punish them.

The meeting had many people scratching their heads and wondering what Weis was thinking, including the Governor Quinn. Well, there were also those who defended Weis' actions including the Mayor. Daley told the Chicago Sun Times (8/31/10), he thought the meeting was a good idea and that Weis' and the city would “negotiate with anyone to have peace — even during the war. You sit down with anyone. If you save one life — if I can save your son’s life, you’d want me to sit down with them. But, it’s not your son. It’s not your daughter...”

WTH? so now we are supposed to think the murder rate will magically decrease because Weis' and Daley played nice with a room full of criminals? What did they think they will do but change their tactics as to deflect detection or simply lay low for a time and re-surface at a later date. They have been called urban terrorists by some and rightfully so. They bring misery and pain to innocent people. They plan acts of violence that affect millions of people. They plague the system and cause it to collapse only to feed their own selfish desires many of which are highly illegal and immoral. 

Daley and Weis are doing what our leaders in the Military are doing when they plan a so-called secret mission "to root out terrorism" and then announce it on CNN. Why threaten the RICO Act and then tell the targets you are going to target them? Justice is best served when it is done quickly and consistently. Criminals relate to fear, strength and power. This is how they rule their own organizations. They operate on a code other than that of law enforcement. They sense weakness as sharks do blood in the water. Weis and Daley are looking weak. Through self admission they are having difficulty finding the solution to the murder rate. This last ditch effort to somehow reach the conscious of the gang leaders here in Chicago by having a good old fashion sit down to find common ground is lunacy. The bottom line is Daley blundered by choosing an outsider to deal with Chicago gangs and crime and Weis underestimated the tolerance of the people to withstand smart yet tougher tactics in dealing with murder rates. It's time for Daley to get real and abandon his draft pick, pay his guaranteed salary and do what he should have done, pick a cop from the streets of Chicago to be the Superintendent while targeting not just the leaders but their companions and those who help them carry out their deeds. I say I agree, Weis, use RICO to take the houses, take the cars, seize the bank accounts and use the proceeds to put this city back together not to send empty threats to crazed gang leaders.

NOTE TO DALEY: you only negotiate with people who are on an "equal" position as you are. Criminals are not to be elevated to equals. The United States of America has a policy that we do not negotiate with terrorists. The reasoning behind the policy is if we give in and talk once we will do it again and the criminals and blood suckers will use that against us because they know at some point they will have something we consider so sacred or precious that we will compromise our core principles for. During WWII the US also had a motto that said; "loose lips sink ships." These words were successful in combating the enemy. We would do well to repeat their intentions. 

Come on, People! Politics and PR campaigns have no place in fighting crime and defeating career criminals who prey on the weak and innocent. They have no right in the war against the innocent waged by the very gang leaders who staged their comical press conference. If this is truly a war then I say, war is hell. In the end the means will justify it and all the reclassification of the statistics or the suppression of good police work will not change the behavior of those who live to watch the world burn.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It May Be Time to Date A NERD!!!

Over the last decade or so there has been an infatuation with the “thug” persona. Popular rap artists like Tupac Shakur and more recently the Game and Plias and others have glorified the thug mentality and have thrust it into the mainstream.  There are literally dozens of songs ranging from R&B to Hip-Hop to Neo-Soul which embrace the qualities of a thug relationship for women.  Most followers of this movement are disheveled in the legal system and in many instances find themselves fighting multiple cases.  The criminal justice system does not honor the values of the thug culture and operates on a set of rules (the law) and is not compassionate to the participants of the thug world.

Multiple arrests and convictions plague countless minorities making it difficult to impossible to shed the baggage associated with incarceration and make a meaningful transition to life in society.  Often times, communities and family structures are frayed with the arrests of male heads of households and a domino effect is realized within the surrounding communities.  Quality of life employment (real sustainable jobs) become more scarce with each arrest, conviction and incarceration of young minority men all while more and more women continue to seek the thug.  So where does this thug life get us?  Well, if history is any indication…Jail and Prison!  The enticing lure of living a thug lifestyle, through entertainment and fashion, has become more than simple music.  The entire entertainment “system” has been used to manipulate and corrupt millions of young minds into believing being a thug or an outlaw is “what’s up.”  It certainly is “NOT what’s up!”  The potential each young person possesses is invaluable and anything short of the cultivation of that potential into a working and productive entity should be unacceptable to us as a people. Hip-Hop is said to be a way of life, a culture not simply music or clothes.  Well, I submit to you there are segments of our way of life which should be shunned and done away with in order to make way for a more positive one.  Is a thug really and honestly the role-model you seek for your children or nephews?  Is the prospect of visiting the courthouse on a routine basis in support of your "man" not depressing and tiresome?  I think it is truly time to consider a CHANGE!

With the election of Barack Obama to the 44th Presidency of the United States of America, we have to ask ourselves how we can do better.  In an interview with CNN, Barack Obama’s wife, Michelle Obama, was asked what she thought of Barack when she first met him.  Michelle stated she initially thought Barack was a “Nerd” and didn’t pay him much attention but as she got to know him spiritually and mentally, she saw how wonderful he was.  They of course went on to get married and have two wonderful daughters in Sasha and Malia and all we have to do is look to November 4, 2008 to see how that nerdy relationship turned out.

I think it’s time for women to ask more of not only their "man" but men in general.  I believe it’s time to raise that incredibly low bar of achievement.  It is long past the time for people to stop making excuses for why they can’t get things done.  It’s time to consider the fact that being intelligent and wanting to study really is cool.  It really is okay to know about topics other than those broadcast on BET and reality shows.  We may also want to come to grips with the possibility our inner genius could come out if we only gave it a chance, if we only encouraged it.  Ladies, I think it may be time to “date a NERD!”  I’m not suggesting you go off the deep end and pick “Urkel” (although there is someone for everyone) but perhaps it’s time for a real CHANGE.  You may find yourselves amazed at what life is like dating a so-called NERD.  You may find it intriguing to go on a date to a museum or a light show.  Introduce yourself to visiting a botanical garden or a symposium on “street life.”  You may find something interesting about science and how it affects our everyday living.  Give yourself the opportunity to love someone with a good credit rating and a stable job.  Not having to worry about the police unless you call them is a refreshing feeling and living a simpler life so you can enjoy it is a good thing. Ladies, I implore you, raise the bar, try something new and different. Date a NERD!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Yet another child cut down like a forest full of trees to make way for the next expressway. Seems as if children are being seen as expendable and sacrificed for nothing. Aside from the obvious injustice this latest tragedy displays the more over reaching problem as I see it is the NON-action from the neighborhood. How long are you willing to sit by as children are being sacrificed to people with no regard for their actions? How long will you allow your children to be sacrificed for people you don't know. What purposes are we sacrificing the children? What better or more noble cause are we getting in exchange for our sacrifices? Abraham sacrificed his son in order to be obedient to God's word & to display his love and in return he was rewarded and his son was spared. I have been trying to figure out who's command we are following by allowing children to be sacrificed and wasted here in Chicago? Whose reward are we seeking?

The dictionary qualifies sacrifice as: "the giving up of something valued for the sake of something else." The initial part of the definition is clear. We are giving up something sacred. Children are always sacred and always a gift. However, I struggle to see the latter portion of the definition. We are giving up something sacred but for the sake of what exactly? The definition implies the exchange of one entity for that of a greater one. In these senseless acts of ignorance and selfishness, we are forfeiting that greater entity. We are donating children for nothing. We are essentially throwing them away. Atop it all, we briefly mourn them yet do nothing to honor them.

When soldiers or policemen are killed the public generally honors them by finding the perpetrators or starting an organization to educate or something similar. There are often campaigns enacted to keep the incidents from recurring. But for the children we get nothing, we DO nothing. We state by our in-action and our refusal to assist in the appropriate apprehension of wrongdoers that we are "okay" with it. We hide behind some self-deprecating, made up street slogan to justify our cowardice. Yes, there will be crying and a few street corner shrines or prayer vigils and there will be a few 30 second highlights on the nightly news documenting a mother's tears but not much more.

Demons are killing children right in front of us as the children participate in the basic elements of childhood like jumping rope and yet we do nothing. We turn a blind eye. We hide our faces and hands just as Peter did. Oh the hypocrisy in it all. We will scream, shout, and fight the teacher, policeman or neighbor for chastising our children but do NOTHING when a stranger kills them. Black people, where are your souls? What has blackened your heart so that you feel nothing for two innocent little girls struck down and sacrificed while playing in front of their own homes? Do we hate our children so much that we would allow strangers among us to defile our communities and create the atmosphere for more violence?

Where does it end, people? At what point do "YOU" stop the hemorrhage and cauterize the wound? There is absolutely NO honor in allowing children to be sacrificed for nothing. There is no "code" that is important enough to do nothing in situations like this. Do we even think about who made up this so-called "code?" Who stands to benefit from the "code?" The same demons that have killed your child are who benefit. Are they worth your soul? Are they worth your dignity or the life you will live withOUT your baby? And if you still think it is worth it ask yourselves what kind of life will you have? Surely it will be plagued with unfulfilled and sleepless nights and for what exactly? So you can say; "I didn't snitch?" A ridiculous position considering the stakes.

No snitching was highlighted in  the 60's to prevent people from giving information to corrupt police in order to prevent them from building unfair cases against innocent people (Black people). This doesn't apply here, people! How have we allowed our positions originally designed to protect our people from harm to morph into something that destroys our people? This is craziness NO, it's insanity and has to be eliminated.

It's definitely time TO Snitch! Our children depend on it!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

April 28, 2010. This is the official release date of convicted and admitted assassin, Thomas Hagan. On February 21, 1965. Malcolm X was delivering a speech at Harlem's Audubon Ballroom when Hagan and two other assassins killed Malcolm X. Hagan was convicted of shooting the civil rights leader, along with Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson. Both Johnson and Butler have consistently maintained their innocence and were paroled over 20 years ago.

One of the truly interesting aspects of this release is the circumstances prior. Hagan is only recently being allowed parole after 16 previous unsuccessful attempts. One would think this means Hagan is still incarcerated. Well, it appears Hagan has been on a work release program for over 20 Years!!! Hagan only spends 2 days out of the week actually locked up in his cell at Lincoln Correctional Facility.
Hagan has said he sees no further need for the system to have him incarcerated.

There are many in the African American community who, after learning of the specifics surrounding his release, are shocked! After all, Hagan was convicted of killing one of the most influential leaders for Black people at the height of the civil rights movements. Hagan's assassination of Malcolm X tore a deep divide in the communities of Black people and between the nation. Some people have asked how a person who has taken so much from their lives in the form of leadership and identity would be allowed to be released. Others feel it incomprehensible Hagan has been allowed to be on a 20+ year work release program spending only 2 days a week actually incarcerated.

Restorative justice activists believe the release of Hagan offers more than a freedom ticket for him personally. It is an opportunity to re-integrate Hagan into the very same community he that he has taken so much. It allows Hagan to take accountability for his actions and to take the opportunity to repair some of the harm he has done. Under a restorative justice framework, Hagan's actions have not only affected the immediate family of Malcolm but it has also affected the community itself. Hagan, the Malcolm X family and the community are all stakeholders in the crime. They all gave up something on February 21, 1965. Even Hagan himself has acknowledged this fact. So, where do we go from here? What needs to happen?