Black History Month

Posted February 26, 2010 by Chereka
Categories: Politics and Current Affairs

 

This is what it was like

OK, once again I am a little late for my annual Black History Month post.  But hear me out, I have a good reason.  You’ve heard of that conspiracy theory about designating February, the shortest month of the year, as  black history month, right? Well, it’s worse than that.

Did you know that the Super Bowl, the sporting event that a large number of African Americans watch annually, was moved from end of January to the first week of February a few years ago?   Interesting, isn’t it?  So for many African Americans the first week of February is devoted to news about the Super Bowl and preparation for the Super Bowl party.  What’s worse, who makes it to the Super Bowl this year?  Yep, the New Orleans Saints who were the sentimental favorites of all Americans, but especially African Americans, mostly because of the recent tragic history of the city. And wouldn’t you know it?  The Saints go out and upset the Indianapolis Colts to win their first Super Bowl ever.  So, take another week for celebration and what are you left with? 2 weeks in February. Coincidence?  I think not. Well, keep reading.

Then it’s the middle of February, and rolls in Valentine’s day!! Well, I don’t have to tell you how demanding this holiday can be on black people who are always trying to get their groove on.  Take another week off for planning, preparation and the big day to impress your woman with the most creative Valentine’s event.  Then you have to de-compress after all these huge events so take another week off  and what are you left with?  Only one more week for Black History Month.

There you have it.  It’s a grand conspiracy people.

Well, OK, I’ll admit it, this is the best I could come up with for  excuse. Actually, I had saved a couple of stories which I planned for a Black History Month, but all of a sudden,  Tom Tancredo, the former Colorado Congressman steps in and provides me with the prefect material.  Some of you may remember Mr Tancredo as a Republican candidate from the 2008 Presidential election when he ran on an anti Immigration platform.   That basically means that he hates all non white foreigners and wants them to be deported back to their countries.

Well, a few weeks ago, Mr Tancredo was a guest speaker at the first “Tea Party Convention”…you know, those people you have been seeing on TV lately with pictures of Obama as a Nazi or a witch doctor. Yep, those nut jobs the majority of which are white and can’t seem to face the fact that the country is being run by a black man.   Anyways, Mr Tancredo made the following statement about President Obama and the 2008 election.

“… we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote.”

He continued,

“…people who could not even spell the word ‘vote’ or say it in English put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House.”

What is even more interesting and frightening is the fact that when he made that statement, he got a thunderous cheer from the crowd of nut jobs at the convention.  Although Mr Tancredo is know for making such controversial and divisive comments in the past, what made this particular one even more eye popping is that it sounded like it came straight out of  the Jim Crow era in the 50’s and 60’s when there actually were civics literacy tests, especially in the South, for black people before they were allowed to vote.

Here is MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow from a couple of weeks ago reporting about this issue and also about ‘how it was’ back then in the good old days of  the 60’s in Alabama and Georgia.  Tancreado would have fit perfectly with his racism and this is where he  is trying to turn this country back to.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

So, after watching that piece, I decided to do a little research of my own to learn more about the topic.  The one I found to be most infuriating and enraging was state of  Louisiana’s 1965 Literacy Test.

Here is a sample of some of  the questions, and  I am not making them up.

State of Louisiana Literacy Test

Instructions: This test is a qualification for voting for anyone who cannot prove a 5th grade education. Do what you are told to do in each statement, nothing more, nothing less. You may not ask questions during this test. You must score 100% to pass. You have 10 minutes to finish the test.

1. Draw a line around the number or letter of this sentence.

2. Draw a line under the last word of this line.

3. Cross out the longest word in this line.

4. Draw a line around the shortest word in this line.

5. Circle the first, first letter of the alphabet in this line.

6. In the space below, draw three circles, one inside (engulfed) by the other.

7. Above the letter X make a small cross.

8. Draw a line through the letter below that comes earliest in the alphabet.

Z V S B D N K Y T P H C

9. Draw a line through the two letters below that come last in the alphabet.

Z V B D M K T P N S Y C

10. In the first circle below, write the last letter of the first word beginning with “L”.

11. Cross out the number(s) not necessary when making the number below one million.

10000000

12. Draw a line from circle 2 to circle 5 that will pass below circle 3 and above circle 4.

13. In the line below, cross out each number that is more than 20 but less than 30.

31 16 48 53 47 22 37 98 26 20 25

14. Draw a line under the first letter after “h” and draw a line through the second letter after “J”.

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q

15. In the space below, write the word “noise” backwards and place a dot over what would be its second letter should it have been written forward.

Amazing, isn’t it? It really is hard to believe that this kind of stuff was happenning in the US only 50 years ago.  I guess it has been long enough for the likes of Tom Tancredo.  He and the “Tea Party” crowd are trying to turn back the clock and return us to the ‘good old days’ of Jim Crow and segregation when colored folk were not allowed to vote.

Happy Valentine’s Day – To ‘The Ladies’ Man’

Posted February 14, 2010 by Chereka
Categories: Music

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

This is for that old Ethiopian guy that you see at every Ethiopian club or restaurant and thinks he is still “The Ladies’ Man”.   You know which one I’m talking about.  He’s the one approaching 50, but thinks he is still 23.  He’s the one who once was a ‘ladies’ man’ or thought he was one. He’s the one you always saw at the Ethiopian clubs, restaurants or shows since you first came to the US. Yep, every Ethio community has one.

This is a song written by the great Jazz singer, songwriter, poet, playwright and activist Oscar Brown Jr. The video is not is not of Oscar Brown’s but it was the only video I was able to find on Youtube  of this song.  I have posted the lyrics in case you have trouble hearing the sound.

Enjoy!

Back as a boy, I longed to be the fellow women loved to see
and have em all consider me
a laidies man

i dreamed of jeannie with delight
and mary moanin in the nite
as i became with all my might
a laidies man

developing into a fuller flower
this throbbing, thrusting manly power
consumed my every waking hour
a laidies man

i felt the urge! that awful itch!
it mounted to a fever pitch!
I had girls, no matter which!
a laidies man

ahh, but the hottest fever cools,
those who dont face that fact are fools
for in all men time overrules
a laidies man

what once was warm began to chill
as father time enforced his will
until i wondered am i still?
a laidies man?

at first i tried to hide my loss
with girls who’d never come across
a laidies man

but they moved with too quick a step
i needed patience more than pep
to keep alive my fading rep
a laidies man

oh dont get me wrong, i’m not dead
my show is awful good head
so joy has not completely fled
a laidies man

but, it can never be the same
the vigor’s vanished from my game
for reminiscing can you blame
a laidies man

i look back at the life i’ve led
what might my powers have got instead
had i not shot so much in bed
a laidies man

what tricky trade might i have tried
had i not lain pre-occupied
but then, who’s ever satisfied
a laidies man

the women i made, frequently
each in her heart held (secretly)
that she was really making me  
a laidies man

a woman feels (a man may guess)
that she conceals beneath her dress
a trap, with which she can possess
a laidies man

she shows the bait
she throws the lure
there’s no escaping, that’s for sure
you’re never really free when you’re
a laidies man

each fellow follows his own star
but take no appetite too far
that’s sound advice in case you are
a laidies man

but, you call all this sour grapes
devote yourself to willing rapes
and never mind what all escapes
a laidies man

all youth must feel betrayed by age
i’m reading from a later page
and you cant hear me at your stage
a laidies man

therefore my boy enjoy your prime
until that fateful date and time
when you can claim no longer i’m
a laidies man

hey, there’s a beauty, dont you agree?
got quite a body, hasnt she?
well, sock it to her once for me,
laidies man

ha ha ha
a laidies man

J D Salinger

Posted February 6, 2010 by Chereka
Categories: Literature

What a start to the new year! Earthquake in Haiti, the Ethiopian Airlines crash, the death of Howard Zinn.  And on January 27th J D Salinger, the legendary writer of “Catcher In The Rye” died  at the age of 91.  Catcher In The Rye is probably my all time favorite book.  What is amazing about this book is that, according to a 2004 Washington Post article it still sales about 250, 000 copies a year!!! Not bad for a book that was banned from the list of required reading in most US high schools.

So, how do you pay tribute to a man like Salinger except to simply say thank you.  Thank you J D Salinger for the gift of your work. R.I.P.

R.I.P. Howard Zinn

Posted January 28, 2010 by Chereka
Categories: Politics and Current Affairs

The world lost a great friend Wednesday.  Howard Zinn, the writer, professor, historian but most all, the great humanitarian and peace activist  died of a sudden heart attack Wednesday night at the age of 87.   Howard Zinn was a man who dedicated his life to teaching people about peace and unity. After returning from WW II where he served as a bombardier, Zinn started his career as a teacher at Spellman College, the historically black college for women, where he was fired from for supporting students’ causes. Throughout his career, he has been active in civil rights and anti-war movements.  He has given many lectures on democracy and peace in many colleges and universities around the country.

Howard Zinn was one of those people who was seen as a threat to the establishment media and status quo government. You never saw his face or heard his voice on any of the major media outlets.  He never appeared on the nightly news or Sunday morning news shows for an opinion or commentary, because he always told the bare truth about America.  His book, “The People’s History of the United States”, is a classic which tells the story of the United States through the eyes of the  day-to-day people of America whose names and voices are never heard or even mentioned in the mainstream histories.

Zinn was a true champion of the working people and deeply cared for his fellow human being. A few weeks ago, I saw him on PBS’s Bill Moyers’ Journal, where he discussed his recent work, “The People Speak” a must see a documentary inspired by Howard Zinn’s 2004 book of the same name. At one point during that interview, Zinn was almost in tears when he talked about how his own daughter was moved by the words of Genora Dollinger the U.A.W. activist, portrayed by Marissa Tomei in the documentary. TO me, that was a telling moment into the heart of this man and how he cared deeply about others.  Watch part of that  interview here.

Here are a few of Zinn’s quotes on several topics.

On Patriotism

“There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”

On America

“Americans have been taught that their nation is civilized and humane. But, too often, U.S. actions have been uncivilized and inhumane.”

On voting and democracy

“If the gods had intended for people to vote, they would have given us candidates”

On War

“We need to decide that we will not go to war, whatever reason is conjured up by the politicians or the media, because war in our time is always indiscriminate, a war against innocents, a war against children”

Thank you Howard Zinn for all you have done for us.

Good bye and rest in peace.

Haiti, God, the devil, and Christian Fundamentalists

Posted January 25, 2010 by Chereka
Categories: Politics and Current Affairs

 

Obviously, I had not planned on making this my first post of the new decade.   But this earthquake in Haiti is one of those tragedies that forces you to ask questions to which you find out that there are no answers to.  For the devout religious types the default position when a tragedy of this magnitude occurs is  ‘well, it must be God’s will’.   And if you are not the devout religious type, you find yourself confused and scrambling for some sort of answer or explanation to make sense out of this senseless situation. 

Personally, I don’t even know what to think. I find this tragedy hard to take in and absorb and I admit, I  have been a coward in a way because, for the most part, have been avoiding the TV coverage of  this disaster for a couple of reasons.

I hate the TV media coverage of it.  I suppose that is the only way that we can be informed about what is happening on the ground, but to me this constant images of the blood and the gore to an almost disaster porn level is just nauseating.  I can’t stand it when ‘journalists’ like Anderson Cooper and Brian Williams all of a sudden pretend like they are reporting from some war zone with their rolled up sleeves and sullen faces  and totally transparent sympathies for the poor victims.  Where were these ‘journalists’ when Haiti was being destabilized by the CIA and hundreds were being killed in the streets? And don’t forget the obligatory black face sidekicks whose only chance on prime time TV is only when disaster strikes in places where there are predominantly black faces like Haiti  and New Orleans.

To those of us who live in the Southern California area, the topic earthquakes a topic is too close to home in that we can’t help but contemplate our future and when  “the big one” hits in our area.  So, I cowardly and intentionally avoid any news that involves the topic ‘earthquake’. 

So, while most people are trying to make sense of this horrible situation, steps in Pat Robertson, this Christian fundamentalist/Christian Taliban excuse for a human being with his take on why this earthquake occurred. Have you seen this?

Well, isn’t that sweet of old Pat? …“true story”, he said, as if he was present right there when the Haitians sent a representative to the devil to make that ‘pact’.   How about that woman, and she is black too, next to him just nodding and apparently agreeing with what this vile creature was saying?  I mean how can these people call themselves ‘Christians’ and even worse, have a following by the millions? It’s enough to almost make you scream “I HATE RELIGION!!” and declare yourself and atheist, isn’t it?  Well, personally, I am almost there, but that’s a topic for another time.  But what moves people like Pat to make hateful statements like this? What God are they praying for?

Those of us who know this mean old man’s history know that this is not the first time that he has made comments like this or prostituted himself and Christianity for the all mighty dollar. Right after the Sept 11 attacks, Robertson had the late Jerry Falwell, another one of these Christian Talibans, on his money-making program called “700 Club” as a guest.  On that show they fed their brain-dead Christian followers the same type of vile nonsense.  Here is a partial transcript of their explanation on why 9/11 occurred.

JERRY FALWELL: And, I know that I’ll hear from them for this. But, throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way — all of them who have tried to secularize America — I point the finger in their face and say “you helped this happen.”

 

PAT ROBERTSON: Well, I totally concur, and the problem is we have adopted that agenda at the highest levels of our government. And so we’re responsible as a free society for what the top people do. And, the top people, of course, is the court system..

 

And you know what the most astonishing part of this is? It is the fact that these so called devout Christians who follow them lockstep sop this nonsense up like gravy! They actually believe them!  And in the same breath, they ask their ‘Lord and Savior’  for forgiveness! Can you believe the insanity?  It is obvious that Pat and that woman in the video are nothing but good actors who couldn’t care less about God and the teachings of Christianity. They are there to make themselves rich.

Wait, that’s not all. Pat Robertson is the same guy who made deals with dictators in Africa like Mobutu Sese Seko and Charles Taylor to import blood diamonds. In the 1990’s on many occasions, Pat’s ‘humanitarian’ organization called Operation Blessings would announce that it would be taking ‘humanitarian supplies’ to the poor people of Zaire. The mainstream media would was invited and his own propaganda network CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network) as well as other news outlets would film the event praising Pat for his ‘humanitarian’ work around the world.  But what Robertson’s followers and the media didn’t know is that on the return flight, these cargo planes would be loaded with the blood diamonds that were mined by the same poor people of Zaire whom Mr Robertson claimed he was helping. In fact, in 1997, two pilots who worked for “Operation Blessings”,  in an interview, confirmed that most of the missions they flew had nothing to do with humanitarian work. Pat Robertson had no problem making secret dealings with dictators in Africa in order to make millions form innocent people’s blood and sweat in Africa.

So,  who is the one that made a pact with the devil, Pat? Which part of the Bible says that it is OK to do these evil things to your fellow human being? Well, supposing that Pat’s fantasy about the Haitian people’s secret pact with the devil is true, I’d rather make a pact with the devil himself than pray for the same ‘God’ he prays for.

Which brings me to this hilariously poignant letter  to ol’ Pat from a woman in Minneapolis.  This was published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune last week in response to Pat’s comment about Haiti.

Enjoy!

 Dear Pat Robertson, I know that you know that all press is good press, so I appreciate the shout-out. And you make God look like a big mean bully who kicks people when they are down, so I’m all over that action. But when you say that Haiti has made a pact with me, it is totally humiliating. I may be evil incarnate, but I’m no welcher. The way you put it, making a deal with me leaves folks desperate and impoverished. Sure, in the afterlife, but when I strike bargains with people, they first get something here on earth — glamour, beauty, talent, wealth, fame, glory, a golden fiddle. Those Haitians have nothing, and I mean nothing. And that was before the earthquake. Haven’t you seen “Crossroads”? Or “Damn Yankees”? If I had a thing going with Haiti, there’d be lots of banks, skyscrapers, SUVs, exclusive night clubs, Botox — that kind of thing. An 80 percent poverty rate is so not my style. Nothing against it — I’m just saying: Not how I roll. You’re doing great work, Pat, and I don’t want to clip your wings — just, come on, you’re making me look bad. And not the good kind of bad. Keep blaming God. That’s working. But leave me out of it, please. Or we may need to renegotiate your own contract. Best, Satan

 LILY COYLE, MINNEAPOLIS

Uuuh – I’m back….again

Posted January 12, 2010 by Chereka
Categories: This and That

OK, I thought I was back.  Apparently I wasn’t all the way back.  There was still a little bit of me left.  I had to wait for it to catch up with the rest of me.   Hey, you try it sometime.   Try getting yourself together in one place… to do anything.  It is hard, you know – especially with all the distractions around you these days.  Even now, I’m still not sure if I’m all the way back, but I think that’s where I was when I started this blog, so I suppose this will do – for now anyway. 

It’s not because I had run out of things to say either.  I’ve been keeping up with the news and current events, making the same observations about people, places and life.  I have been hanging on the world for dear life as it keeps spinning even faster than before.  If anything the last few months have made me even more sarcastic and cynical, so get ready for some interesting and at times jarring posts.  If you’re a fan, there’s more fun and frivolity to come, and if you are not… well, get ready too and get those fingers ready, no not for the obscene gestures, but  for the avalanche of nasty insults you will be typing up. 

And no, this is not a new year’s resolution or anything like it. I don’t do resolutions.  I will just say that I will do my best to keep up with my postings.   The first post of the new decade will be coming soon.

And for what it’s worth – Happy New Year!!!

Back from … whatever.

Posted August 12, 2009 by Chereka
Categories: Literature, This and That

Yes, I have been gone too long.  I went on a mini sabbatical and forgot to put the ‘Gone Fiishing’  sign up. Well, I am back. 

In the mean time, enjoy this little poem.

LOVE KNOWS NO SEASON 

 

 

Giving care in time of despair

Going the distance that no one can

While in itself noble and fair

Is not the only duty of man.

Show some love in time of calm

When hope is full and care is free

When all loved ones are far from harm

For that’s the time your eyes can see

 

Chereka