This So-Called Post-Post-Racial Life

September 22, 2009

President Obama: Bringing Jackass Back

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"I have a problem with my camera..." publicenergy,

"I have a problem with my camera..." publicenergy,

I really have nothing new to add to the Kanye West incident. I did link yesterday to an interesting cross-post. (Read the comments to the original and cross posts as well.) I think that post relates to this occasional series I am (occasionally) working on, “Some of the People Some of the Time.” I do know that West’s outburst was probably the best thing to happen to Swift’s career in—perhaps—her career thus far, and the best thing to happen to Knowles’ career since…whatever last good thing happened to her career. (Sorry, I do not follow Beyonce so you will have to insert with your own knowledge). And I think I am not alone in saying I never even would have been aware that the award show took place had it not been for the incident, so the producers should be cutting West some checks about now or at least sending him flowers.

No. I am not going to comment on all that. What I do want to comment on is President Obama’s alleged off-the-record characterization of West as a “jackass.”

Now, I first thought, Hmmm, I wonder if he will now have West, Swift and Knowles over the White House for beers (and a lemonade, as I understand the artist who was the brunt of his outburst is not of legal drinking age).

Then I thought How wonderful! I hope this means “jackass” is back!

You see, I have a thing about old-fashioned words of insult. I find them charming and a lot more pleasant than more modern curse words. Jackass rolls off the tongue much nicer than its peer term using the same ending paired with hole. I am all for, in fact, eliminating all curse words that use “private” parts of the body and/or those body parts paired with scatological terms and replacing them with tried and true more traditional slurs and curses.

Another replacement for a-hole I have heard the president use is bonehead. Actually, I think he used the adjective form—boneheaded—and I think he applied the term to himself. Personally I like numskull for the richness of the imagery it evokes.

A certain politician was recently this close to yelling out “BULLS***” at the President. But tomfoolery is much better than bull****—more poetic. (Though, perhaps, not appreciated by people who are named Tom.) Along those lines, poppycock is borderline for, perhaps, obvious reasons; Codswallop is a little unwieldy; But balderdash is sublime.

One of my personal favorites, familiar to people who know me from other on-line forums, is daggon, an Ebonization of dog-gone—As in “What ‘Ye did the other night was a daggon shame, but I really would think the President would have more important issues to comment on.” Daggon, of course, is a replacement for a curse word that uses a deity’s name in vain. I am generally not a church-going person myself, but I tend not to use anyone’s deity within curse words—just covering all of my bases. But I think the British have the best alternative for this word: bloody. I have watched all of the movies in the Harry Potter franchise with my kids all weekend long, just to get the opportunity to repeatedly repeat after Ron “Bloody hell!” Unfortunately, it does not sound right if one says it without using a British accent, so I would not say that it is a particularly useful term for me as an American.

I do not have the time or the inclination to go into a whole other category of curse words: racial slurs. I really do not think there are alternatives for words that call people out of their names by making reference to their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or other identities. My preference would be to just be rid of them altogether. I have heard that some people who Twitter and whatnot have started using Kanye West as a replacement term for the n-word—as in when someone (I assume someone Black) does something you do not like, instead of calling that person the n-word, you call them “Kanye West.” I guess this is supposed to be clever or something. But actually it is just the same old racism.

The same ole daggon codswallop.


September 15, 2009

School is a Battlefield

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — pprscribe @ 9:26 am

Friday, September 4

Dear Dr. _____:

I have just read that ours is one of the school systems refraining from allowing children to see and hear President Obama’s address this coming Tuesday. If true, how very disappointing that a democratically elected sitting president of our nation could be treated with such disdain and disrespect. As a new resident of this county, I am deeply ashamed. I thought that when I moved back to Indiana I was moving to a state that had progressed past its insular, sometimes narrow-minded past. I see that much work is yet to be accomplished, however.

[PPR_Scribe], PhD


Saturday, September 5

Greetings _____, _____, and _____:

I am writing to find out what the policy will be in the _____ School building, and/or in both of your classrooms regarding the airing of President Obama’s back-to-school speech to the nation’s schoolchildren on Tuesday. I have already emailed the superintendent of _____, voicing my extreme dismay that he has decided to not take the stand to allow our children to view and hear this message, but instead is passing the buck along to individual schools and classrooms.

Please be advised that if _____ School or either of your classrooms will not be participating, my husband and I may consider not sending our children to school that day. This type of partisan nonsense has no place in today’s society and surely even citizens who did not support the President’s campaign should be able to stomach the idea that for a few moments out of one day their children will hear a sitting and democratically-elected president’s encouragement about school success.

I look forward to your quick response so that we can make alternate arrangements for Tuesday if necessary.


[PPR_Scribe], PhD


Monday, September 7

I am deeply disappointed at the lack of response to my request, as well as the lack of publicizing of exactly what _____ School’s response will be. I understand that this request was made over the weekend, but I would have thought that I would have received at least one response, or have been able to find out about the _____ School policy from some other source.

I found on your website, _____, that the children in your class will not be viewing the President’s speech. This disappoints me as well. I could find no information on-line about a school-wide policy, or what might be happening in your classroom, _____.

I will be coming to pick up my children, _____ and _____, from school tomorrow shortly before the broadcast of the speech, approximately 11:45 EST, and will return them to the school following the speech.

I am still looking for, and will continue to seek, an official statement about why these decisions were made. I am not convinced that the reason was that it would be disruptive to the school day. Surely the children will not suffer from one day of no or reduced recess. Additionally, although I have only been a parent of the school for one year, I have already seen numerous times when the school day was “disrupted” for other special events. What I am looking for is why this event, specifically, was deemed different enough *not* to allow the children to participate during the school day.

I look forward to your responses.


[PPR_Scribe], PhD


Tuesday, September 8 (6:50 AM)

Thank you for your response, _____. Yes, I do understand the lack of response to my emails, and should have searched a little more for the on-line response that you excerpted below.

My disappointment remains that the school decided not to take leadership on this issue. That a small group of vocal parents (I hope, small!) could cause so many intelligent people to buckle under partisan pressure and not allow a presidential address during the school day is unfortunate. I remain unconvinced that such an address was not shown because of concerns about its relevance to “curriculum and programming.” I wonder: what kind of curriculum and programming exist in the classrooms of _____ School that makes irrelevant a Presidential encouragement to children to take responsibility to work hard at school?

I am still waiting on an official response about why such an address was deemed necessary to handle in such a way, as if the President would be speaking on a sensitive topic such as sexuality or violence. Why, for example, were plans only made for parents of children whose classroom teachers *would* be airing the address but who did not want their children to, but not for those parents whose teachers chose *not* to air the address but who *wanted* their children to?

At the very least, I would have hoped that a school as lacking in diversity at the faculty and other adult leadership level would welcome the opportunity to ensure that all children got the chance to view a man of African descent in a leadership role–the first such to serve in the office of President of the United States–to address them in the context of the school day. I will state it plainly: I am not unaware that much of the opposition to the President’s speech has a racial component. I read the speech myself last night and there is nothing in it that I could discern that was disturbing, or “socialist” in nature, “disruptive” to the curriculum, or otherwise deserving of such treatment by school administrators so many places.

As an African American parent of African American children I fear that we have ended up in a school environment where–despite many parents’ smiles and cheery words to me—large numbers of parents’ have such regressive and narrow minded attitudes that Indiana was once known for in communities of color, but that I had thought were a thing of the past. I hope that I am wrong about this and that, again, the opposition was smaller than the power of their voices seem to indicate.

Again, I remain dissatisfied at your official response as the head leader of _____ School. This reflects, in my opinion, poorly on our school, and poorly on our school system.

I have not heard from _____ but I will plan on picking up my children as I mentioned previously.

Best wishes,



Tuesday, September 8 (7:50AM)


For me the issue of the type of social environment my children are in at school is not a “debate.” This experience has been extremely hurtful for me as an African American parent of children in a school with so few children who are themselves African American. That you had to spend so much time listening to parents who, I assume, objected to the speech is—once again—cause for me to believe that perhaps my parent peers are not as open-minded as I would hope.

I can only do that—make assumptions—since no information about the nature of _____ School parents’ concerns has been provided (that I can discern). Nor can I find any information about teachers who *did* decide to air the speech so that I could see what constituted a connection to curriculum and programming as far as _____ School teachers are concerned. My specific fears that the reactionary nature to the speech had racial components were not addressed in your email, so, again, I am at a loss as how to interpret what I believe to be a most unfortunate community reaction and resulting decision on the part of school and district leadership.

It sounds from your email that you wish to be done with this issue so I will leave it for now. In the future I would hope that you consider that all students and their parents have points of view that are valuable and deserve to be addressed in a meaningful way. The only “other family,” whoever that may be, and my own family, are no less deserving of this consideration because we are few in number.


Wednesday, September 9
Thank you for this more in-depth response to my concerns. At some point I think I would love to have a conversation about diversity programming in general at _____ School. At that point I will likely bring up my personal and professional opinions about (a) the ways in which these parents may have expressed their concerns in non-(explicitly) racial terms, but that perhaps reveal racial bias all the same, and (b) what schools like _____ might be able to do to foster a more inclusive and open-mined atmosphere.

Have a good rest of your day.



September 8, 2009

Text of Obama’s Socialist Indoctrination Message to the Nation’s School Children

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — pprscribe @ 12:35 am

What do you mean, you can’t see the socialism????

Prepared Remarks of President Barack Obama
Back to School Event

Arlington, Virginia
September 8, 2009

The President: Hello everyone – how’s everybody doing today? I’m here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we’ve got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade. I’m glad you all could join us today.
I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it’s your first day in a new school, so it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you’re in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could’ve stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.
I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn’t have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday – at 4:30 in the morning.
Now I wasn’t too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, I’d fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I’d complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, “This is no picnic for me either, buster.”
So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I’m here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I’m here because I want to talk with you about your education and what’s expected of all of you in this new school year.
Now I’ve given a lot of speeches about education. And I’ve talked a lot about responsibility.
I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn.
I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.
I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren’t working where students aren’t getting the opportunities they deserve.
But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.
And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself.
Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide.
Maybe you could be a good writer – maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper – but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor – maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine – but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.
And no matter what you want to do with your life – I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You’re going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.
And this isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future.
You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You’ll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You’ll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.
We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that – if you quit on school – you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country.
Now I know it’s not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork.
I get it. I know what that’s like. My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mother who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn’t always able to give us things the other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and felt like I didn’t fit in.
So I wasn’t always as focused as I should have been. I did some things I’m not proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse.
But I was fortunate. I got a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to college, and law school, and follow my dreams. My wife, our First Lady Michelle Obama, has a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didn’t have much. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools in this country.
Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you don’t have adults in your life who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job, and there’s not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don’t feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know aren’t right.
But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying.
Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.
That’s what young people like you are doing every day, all across America.
Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didn’t speak English when she first started school. Hardly anyone in her hometown went to college, and neither of her parents had gone either. But she worked hard, earned good grades, got a scholarship to Brown University, and is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to being Dr. Jazmin Perez.
I’m thinking about Andoni Schultz, from Los Altos, California, who’s fought brain cancer since he was three. He’s endured all sorts of treatments and surgeries, one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer – hundreds of extra hours – to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind, and he’s headed to college this fall.
And then there’s Shantell Steve, from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Even when bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods, she managed to get a job at a local health center; start a program to keep young people out of gangs; and she’s on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college.
Jazmin, Andoni and Shantell aren’t any different from any of you. They faced challenges in their lives just like you do. But they refused to give up. They chose to take responsibility for their education and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of you to do the same.
That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book. Maybe you’ll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you’ll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn. Maybe you’ll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn. And along those lines, I hope you’ll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don’t feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.
Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it.
I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work — that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things.
But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.
That’s OK.  Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, “I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.
No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust – a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor – and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.
And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you – don’t ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.
The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best.
It’s the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.
So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?
Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.[Source]

The speech will be broadcast today, Tuesday, September 8th, at 12:00 PM (EDT). See this site for links to resources and mor information. If your school or classroom is not broadcasting the speech, please consider taking your children out of school for the broadcast (e.g., not for the entire school day) and writing to your superintendent of schools, principal, and/or teachers to let them know of your disappointment and disgust.
I’ll let you know later today or tomorrow how my own day went.

September 7, 2009

Our Daughters, Our Selves

In another part of the country, a mother buries her Black daughter. This mother probably thought this daughter, killed steps from a college library, would be safe. She probably aches from the thought that she could not have protected her better. All over the country, mothers of Black daughters in her age group (15-24) ache for their dead daughters—dead from “unintentional injuries” (#1 cause of death) and homicide (#2 cause of death).

"Peace, Love and Freedom Hair." PPR_Scribe

"Peace, Love and Freedom Hair." PPR_Scribe

No one else seems to ache for their daughters. There does not, for example, seem to be a national feminist organization, or a national Black civil rights organization, whose mission it is to ache—and advocate for—these Black daughters.

So we mothers of Black daughters must advocate for our daughters, for our selves.


Sometimes I am cynical about what my daughters’ world will be. I look around and see signs that do not fill me with hope. I look around and see who we cry for, who we call into radio programs to show support for, who we march in the streets for, who we file amicus curiae briefs for, who we garner our righteous indignation for. And those whos do not, in most cases, seem to be  Black daughters.

The First Lady must advocate for her First (and Only) Daughters. As must we all. Our nation’s First (Black) Daughters are our symbols. They are our symbols for what it will be to be a Black daughter in this still-new century. Will it be more of the same? Or a New Day? Will the new day be a good new day, or will it surprise us with the creativity and inventiveness of its new-found horrible-ness?

"Sunlit Babes." PPR_Scribe

"Sunlit Babes." PPR_Scribe

My Black daughters came to me in a pair. And people tend to think of them as a pair. Venus-and-Serena. Sasha-and-Malia.

Yes, my daughters are individuals, not an interchangeable unit. Yet I like their paired-ness. Hopefully the dashes sandwiching the and between their names will remind them that they will have to advocate for each other. To be their own best friends.

Their own most ardent defenders.


I stand in solidarity with other mothers of Black daughters. Many of these mothers are Black daughters themselves. But some are not. Some are White daughters, or identify racially as other than black or white. Some mothers are “actually” grandmothers, or aunts, or older cousins. Some are not even female, but they “mother” their Black daughters just the same. Black daughters are yoked to their mothers by biology and by adoption and by social contract. By necessity and by convenience and by happenstance.

"Maybe He's Not Thirsty." PPR_Scribe

"Maybe He's Not Thirsty." PPR_Scribe

These varied Black daughters might struggle to see themselves in other Black daughters. And we as their mothers must release ourselves from whatever bulky and heavy bags we still tote around, filled with random items of wrinkled shit of our own histories with other Black daughters.

It ain’t gonna be easy.

But it is for our daughters, so we will find a way.


I feel a special concern for other Black mothers of Black daughters. There is a saying in Black communities: We love our sons and raise our daughters. I often do see evidence of this. With all respect, some of us need to do more forcing our sons to grow up, and ensuring our daughters do not grow up too soon. I have seen the consequences of some Black mothers’ “loving” of their Black sons.

And it is not a pretty sight.

Mothers of Black daughters: Love your daughters. Fiercely and completely. Love them as much as you do—or should—love yourselves.

"Daddies Are for Fames of Tag." PPR_Scribe

"Daddies Are for Games of Tag." PPR_Scribe


One of the greatest gifts I have given my Black daughters is a man in their life—in this case, their biological father—who loves and cherishes them beyond any other. Even beyond me.

It sounds retro, old fashioned to say it. Maybe “conservative” and “anti-progressive.” Certainly anti-feminist. But.

My Black daughters need at least one man in their life who feels this way about them. All Black daughters do. Black daughters who do not have such a man in their lives as children may struggle as grown women. Many of these grown Black women—straight or lesbian or bisexual or otherwise—will waste years of their lives trying  to find a glimmer of themselves as wonderful beings in the eyes of men, never knowing what it is in those eyes that they should be looking for. They may mistake possessiveness for protection. Violence for passion. Sex for love.

"First Day at the New School." PPR_Scribe

"First Day at the New School." PPR_Scribe

Thinking back, I was probably not the Black daughter at adolescence that my own mother hoped for. How can one young woman (i.e., me) be so arrogant and contrary about everything—from spirituality to my bedroom decor, from music to academics, from my treatment of my little sister to the meaning of life?

"African Princess." PPR_Scribe

"African Princess." PPR_Scribe

I try to remember my own saltiness as I enter new relationship phases with my own mother, and as my daughters move from little girls to pre-teens. I try to remember—as my mother’s words flow from my mouth, and my daughters hear these words with my former ears—that this is just a stage, just one way station on a long path.

But it is a journey that must be navigated with sensitivity if I want to arrive at the next stage with daughters who respect me.

And who will not cringe when, one day, they hear my own words come out of their mouths.

"Real Princesses Build Their Own Castles." PPR_Scribe

"Real Princesses Build Their Own Castles." PPR_Scribe


…Sometimes I am cynical about what my daughters’ world will be. I look around and see signs that do not fill me with hope….

Then other times, I think otherwise. I may be standing in a hot shower, five minutes past my alarm clock siren and 30 minutes before my first sip of coffee, and my mind chains together several links of good—or at least, not-so-bad—Signs; and in a moment of clarity I realize how much power I have to ensure that my daughters’ world will be a gift and not a curse.

It is important to hold onto those moments, even in times of hopelessness and cynicism.

Especially in times of hopelessness and cynicism.

September 6, 2009

Blacks in the Great Recession

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — pprscribe @ 9:49 am

From The Defenders Online:

In the midst of this crisis, President Obama has tried to help those left behind by the conservative drift of the last three decades by stimulating the economy, extending health care coverage, reforming our immigration policies, and enabling workers to freely form unions. And just as Dr. King spoke of “twin-headed creatures”, the opponents of Obama’s initiatives rail against efforts to use government’s powers to aid the less fortunate and simultaneously, use very thinly-veiled racial codes to whip up opposition. (And often, codes are not used at all.)

…What lesson can we draw from this on Labor Day? The key to revitalizing the black community lies in improving the economic fortunes of its workers. One the one hand, this means getting the Black unemployed into good paying jobs—we cannot be satisfied by accepting any job as being good enough—and improving the quality of jobs held by black workers—many blacks are holding low-paying jobs, and these jobs must pay decent wages.

But more fundamentally, this means that, just as the black community had to rely on self-help and political action to defeat legal segregation, the black community cannot focus solely on community uplift to improve the conditions of black workers; we must also engage in political action to raise the living standards of black workers.

September 4, 2009

To My Fellow Hamilton County, IN Residents:

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — pprscribe @ 11:46 pm

As you know, our country is under attack by right wing extremists who are hellbent on convincing us that our President cannot be trusted and is a Facist-Communist-Socialist, etc. These same folks are now tearing down our President by way of our public schools.  This Tuesday President Obama plans to address students across the country on what is considered the official first day back to school. In this historical address, President Obama is to speak on the importance of good grades, not to drop out and to encourage the setting of short and long-term goals.

Instead of allowing our students in Hamilton County to listen to this important message and participate in this historic moment, school officials are either blocking the address altogether or taping it for review and possible edited re-broadcast later.

Below are some of the school systems that have made it public that they are not allowing the live broadcast of President Obama’s address.  Please contact the school in your area and let them know that this is unacceptable.  Instead of teaching our students the values that they need to be productive citizens, we’re teaching them that they can’t trust our President enough to hear him out.

Hamilton Southeastern
Dr. Brian Smith, Superintendent

Dr. Libbie Conner, Superintendent

Dr. Mark Keen, Superintendent

Dr. Barbara Underwood, Superintendent

Thanks for all of your support.  I can only hope that these schools reconsider their partisan stances.


Keith Clock, Chair
Hamilton County Democratic Party

Do you know what your local school system is doing with regard to this issue?

September 3, 2009

“The single most costly catastrophic failure of an engineered system in history”

Filed under: NOLA Post-Katrina Levee Break — Tags: , , , , — pprscribe @ 4:39 pm

You and I, federal taxpayers, had paid to flood New Orleans….

Mr. Burns, Smithers and Ned Flanders (aka, Harry Shearer, NOLA resident)


This report is dedicated to the people of the greater New Orleans region;
to those that perished, to those that lost friends and loved ones,
and to those that lost their homes, their businesses, their place of work,
and their community.

New Orleans has now been flooded by hurricanes six times over the past century: in 1915, 1940, 1947, 1965, 1969 and 2005.

It must be our goal that it not be allowed to happen again.

~Investigation of the Performance of the New Orleans Flood Protection Systems
in Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005

August 31, 2009

An Unhappy Anniversary: NOLA Four Years After the Katrina Levee Breaches

Filed under: NOLA Post-Katrina Levee Break — Tags: , , , , , , — pprscribe @ 6:06 am


August 18, 2009

“Open Carry”…and (again) I’m Wary…

A man toting an assault rifle* was among a dozen protesters carrying weapons while demonstrating outside President Barack Obama’s speech to veterans on Monday, but no laws were broken. It was the second instance in recent days in which unconcealed weapons have appeared near presidential events.

…Asked whether the individuals carrying weapons jeopardized the safety of the president, [U.S. Secret Service spokesman Ed] Donovan said, “Of course not.”

The individuals would never have gotten in close proximity to the president, regardless of any state laws on openly carrying weapons, he said. A venue is considered a federal site when the Secret Service is protecting the president and weapons are not allowed on a federal site, he added…. [Source, emphasis added]


*The term assault rifle is a translation of the German word Sturmgewehr (literally meaning “storm rifle”), “storm” used as a verb being synonymous with assault, as in “to storm the compound.” The name was coined by Adolf Hitler to describe the Maschinenpistole 44, subsequently re-christened Sturmgewehr 44, the firearm generally considered the first true assault rifle that served to popularize the concept. [Wikipedia entry]


“It is extremely disturbing that you have that kind of weapon in close proximity to where the president is,” said Ruben Gallego, a retired military veteran and Arizona Democratic Party official who observed the man.

“He was demonstrating his Second Amendment rights,” Gallego added, “but he was clearly there to intimidate people who were there exercising their First Amendment rights.”

…Gallego, who served a tour of duty in Iraq, said he believes the AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle was loaded. He spotted a magazine clip in the firearm and another in the man’s back pocket.

…”Individuals carrying loaded weapons at these events require constant attention from police and Secret Service officers, thus stretching their protective efforts even thinner,” Helmke [president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence] said. “The possibility that these weapons might be grabbed or stolen or accidentally mishandled increases the risks of serious injury or death to all in attendance.”

Voices messages left with several NRA officials in Arizona were not returned. [Source]

I’ll ask the question again. Well?

August 11, 2009

Obama Like That

Filed under: Research and Higher Education — Tags: , , , , — pprscribe @ 7:21 am

Hat tip to Literary Obama, from the University of California Newsroom:

Sister from another mister. Off the hezzie. Recessionista. Bromance.

When you hear undergraduates utter these and other bewildering words and phrases, are you suddenly overcome with FOMO?

Now, I don’t want to get all up in your biznatch — that is, to meddle in your business. But if the answer to the question is “full-on,” you might want to check out the latest edition of “U.C.L.A. Slang.”

Produced every four years in conjunction with an undergraduate linguistics course, the dictionary has become an institution at UCLA, where the slim volume with a yellow cover has been providing “eargasms” since 1989.

…Nouns mysteriously become verbs, as in “napster,” now slang for the verb “to interrupt,” and verbs morph into nouns, as in “epic fail,” now slang for “what a mistake!” Nouns also become adjectives, with “Obama” now used as slang for “cool or rad,” as in: You just aced that exam — you are so Obama!

August 6, 2009

Are We Worried Yet?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — pprscribe @ 4:01 pm

I understand the impulse to make jokes about “crazed Right-wingers” ranting about Barack Obama being (a) Muslim (or, as the sign-maker above believes, “muslin”), (b) a socialist, (c) evil incarnate, and/or (d) a secret Black Panther bent on destroying the White race.

But are we worried yet?

I understand the snickers about the Birther movement, and the ridiculousness of fake Kenyan birth certificates. I barely resisted making my own Kenyan birth certificate. I chuckled at Sarah Palin’s Canadian birth certificate.

But—are we worried yet?

I know it is easy to see mistakenly-sent email rants and cartoons and poor puns and jokes as just further evidence of how stupid They can be (while we feel ever the elitists that They claim we have been all along)…as further proof about how much They and their Party are Out of Touch and Unraveling at the Seams.

But are we worried yet?

I understand that many of us my age do not recall the assassinations of the Kennedy brothers or of King or of others, being merely babes or toddlers. I realize that those of us younger than I am do not even have any memories of the failed assassination attempt against Ronald Reagan. And I, too, found comical the endlessly replayed clips of former President George W. Bush being nearly knocked upside the head with a shoe—not fully recognizing it as the vulnerability and security breach that it was. But tell me—

Are we worried yet?

I hear how expressing safety concerns about President Obama and his family can sound as irrational as the conspiracy theories claiming Obama was some sort of Manchurian candidate. I read the same article as you probably did stating that “Since Mr Obama took office, the rate of threats against the president has increased 400 per cent from the 3,000 a year or so under President George W. Bush….” And probably like you, after reading this I clicked on to other news, merely shaking my head in mild dismay with the smug satisfaction that such news did not surprise someone as smart and worldly as me. But just between you and me and our computer monitors,

are we worried yet?

I get that random acts of violence by deranged, troubled individuals would likely happen were Barack Obama president or not. I understand that whenever a marginalized group is perceived as succeeding, members of that group can be at even greater risk of backlash, of being scapegoated. I recall from history books how the combination of general economic hardship plus the perception of an inferior group getting special privileges, jumping their turn in line ahead of others more deserving—how all of this can turn fairly level headed people into mobs with a grudge and a target at which to aim their sense of loss, anger, and frustration.

Are we worried yet?

I remember the line from the bad guy in one of my favorite horror movies: “It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.” I remember how that was supposed to help him de-humanize in his mind his soon-to-be victim, make her Other, so that it would be easier for him to treat her as prey and not as a fellow human. I know how in times of war, soldiers give harsh degrading nicknames to the people they are fighting against, learn to see them not just as enemies, but as undeserving of compassion. And I know that on the other side of the front, the other soldiers have been trained to do the same thing. So,

are we worried yet?

I understand that what we still call the “news” business is all about ratings, about branding, about money, about theater. I understand that some of the hate that passes for talk is partly or fully artifice. I also have read stories about research on people who watch a lot of local news who then overestimate the prevalence of street violence. I believe in freedom of speech and that talking heads do not kill people– Believe, though it may surprise you, in the rights of private citizens to have and bear (some) arms, and that guns do not kill people. I know that people kill people. I also believe that hate speech contributes to a certain toxic environment in which violence can (and does) thrive, though. And that firearms make killing fast, easy, impersonal. And more efficient.

I know. I understand. I hear, read, and see. I am sure we all know, understand, hear, read, and see.

Are we worried yet, though?

Are we?

July 30, 2009

Obama’s Origins, Revealed

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — pprscribe @ 5:16 pm

Obama was actually born in Tasmania where he was abandoned by his parents and was left there to be raised in the wild by a pack of Tasmanian wolves . He was then kidnapped by Somali pirates who had been blown off course. When they got to the East African coast, he jumped ship and ended up in Kenya where he was adopted by a white American mother and a black African father who were on a sight-seeing tour and big game safari. They then moved to Hawaii. Thinking that Barack might someday run for president, his adoptive parents decided it would be a prudent idea to fake his citizenship. They paid off local officials in Hawaii and got the newspaper in Honolulu to go into its old files (in the newspaper business these are called the “morgue’) and place a fake birth announcement in the paper. The rest is history. You could look it up. (Source: commenter “Big Easy,” July 28, 2009 at 10:18 AM)


Recognizing and celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the entry of Hawaii into the Union as the 50th State.

Image credit: US Postal Service

Image credit: US Postal Service

Whereas August 21, 2009, marks the 50th Anniversary of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s signing of Proclamation 3309, which admitted Hawaii into the Union in compliance with the Hawaii Admission Act, enacted by the United States Congress on March 18, 1959;

Whereas Hawaii is `a place like no other, with a people like no other’ and bridges the mainland United States to the Asia-Pacific region;

Whereas the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, was born in Hawaii;

Whereas Hawaii has contributed to the diversity of Congress in electing the first Native Hawaiian member of Congress, Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana`ole, the first Asian-American member, Hiram Fong, the first woman of color, Patsy T. Mink, and the first Native Hawaiian to serve in the Senate, Daniel Kahikina Akaka;

Whereas Hawaii is an example to the rest of the world of unity and positive race relations;

Whereas Pearl Harbor is a strategic military base for the U.S. in the Pacific and also a historical site for the Nation, being the location of the December 7, 1941, surprise Japanese aerial attack that thrust the Nation into World War II;

Whereas Hawaii is home to 1/4 of the endangered species in the United States;

Whereas Hawaii has 8 national parks, which preserve volcanoes, complex ecosystems, a Hansen’s disease colony, and other sites of historical and cultural significance;

Whereas Kilauea ranks among the most active volcanoes on Earth;

Whereas President Bush nominated the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage Centre for consideration to the World Heritage List;

Whereas Hawaii has produced musical legends ranging from traditional favorites such as Alfred Apaka, Don Ho, and Genoa Keawe, to Hawaii renaissance performers such as Eddie Kamae, Raymond Kane, Gabby Pahinui, Israel Kamakawiwo`ole, the Brothers Cazimero, and the Beamer Brothers, and continuing on to contemporary stars such as Keali`i Reichel, Ledward Kaapana, Jake Shimabukuro, and Raiatea Helm;

Whereas Hawaii is culturally rich, as the Hawaiian culture has been protected through Hawaiian language immersion schools, hula competitions such as the Merrie Monarch Festival, canoeing voyages undertaken by vessels like the Hokule`a, and the continuing historic preservation of Hawaiian traditions;

Whereas the Hawaii Statehood Commission has held a Joint Session of the Hawaii State Legislature in honor of statehood and will be celebrating this milestone with a public discussion and with the arrival of the USS Hawaii; and

Whereas for all of these reasons Hawaii is a truly unique State: Now, therefore, be it

    Resolved, That the House of Representatives recognizes and celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the entry of Hawaii into the Union as the 50th State.

(Source; Unanimously approved by the US House of Representatives)

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