Freedom Through Speech Radio Show TONIGHT At 9pm EST



The RIPPA, Max Reddick, Fungke Blak Chik are the hosts of Freedom Through Speech Radio. RIPPA is on my blog roll with The Intersection Of Madness And Reality. I thought I had Max Reddick's blog, soulbrother v.2, on my list already, but he wasn't there, so I've added his site and [fungke][blak][chik]'s blog of the same name today

Their F.T.S.R. shows are usually a riot, and this week, the Brown Man himself will be their guest. Tonight's main topic is "The Black Agenda: Black Leadership in the Obama Age". It should dovetail nicely with the series on race I did this week at Big Think, "Pockets Of Darkness, Pockets Of Light".

Coming after an afternoon that I plan to spend at the Highland Cigar Company, who knows what might happen.

This program is uncensored - maybe its the "no rules, all exceptions" motto - so be forewarned, but the two times I've listened to it, I heard less profanity than you get on the Bill Maher Show.



Freedom Through Speech

Freedom through Speech Radio (F.T.S.R) is a bi-weekly program dedicated to allowing anyone and everyone to have a voice through contributing to the discussion surrounding various timely and pertinent issues. Hosted by writer Michele Grant (OneChele), noted blogger Patrick Phillips (RiPPa), and academic and community activist Max Reddick, you can always expect lively conversation that entertains even as it enlightens.

CLICK HERE AT 9PM EST TO LISTEN






Today's topic at my blog "Resurgence" on BigThink.com:


Who Controls America's Racial Narrative?

Who are these people in the media who tell us what is important – who decide what the narrative is for the rest of our national tribe? Do they really speak for the citizenry of the nation, or is it possible that they succumb to their own personal agendas when selecting how to portray America’s minority populations?

Why is this important? Because these are not only the people who hold the microphones, these are the people who frame the shots, who schedule the guests, who write the questions, who provide the feedback, who create, at the very heart of any news organizations, not only the basic narratives into which they attempt to fit all the news they see fit to print or broadcast, but the language itself, coining and promulgating the very terms which we in the public end up parroting to express ourselves.

Read More...


BigThink.com is a global forum connecting people and ideas.

You can access hundreds of hours of direct, unfiltered interviews with today's leading thinkers, movers and shakers, and, best of all, respond in kind. You can respond to the interviewee, respond to a responder or throw your own question or idea into the ring.

Big Think is yours. We are what you think.




Today At Big Think: Why "Post-Racial" Is "Post-Rational"



Today's topic at my blog "Resurgence" on BigThink.com:


Why "Post-Racial" Is "Post-Rational"

We want to be "post-racial," the media tells you, if you read the newspaper or watch TV. We want to "transcend race" is a phrase you have heard ever since Barack Obama was elected president of the United States. But who is this "we", and why is this urge to be "post-racial" -- to "get past race" -- to "transcend race" -- so important all of a sudden?

Read More...


BigThink.com is a global forum connecting people and ideas.

You can access hundreds of hours of direct, unfiltered interviews with today's leading thinkers, movers and shakers, and, best of all, respond in kind. You can respond to the interviewee, respond to a responder or throw your own question or idea into the ring.

Big Think is yours. We are what you think.

I said I was going to post something other than a link to something I've written for another site today - then all hell broke loose. We've got wild bison running the streets here in the ATL, although I hope they don't run into anybody around here who's got a little road rage - might be an I-20 barbecue in the making.

We've got Desiree Rogers resigning from the Obama administration, which means she was told "don't let the door knob hit you in the ass on the way out." Reminds me of a boss I once had. "This isn't working out," I told him during a review. "You should have fired me a while ago." I still think she got a raw deal, but the good thing about DC is the propensity for White House staffers who are dismissed to fail upwards.

With any luck, she'll be a VP at a New York fashion house by the time the summer collections hit the stores right after Easter.

We've got Governor David Paterson announcing that he is not going to run for re-election after his top aide resigns behind the latest scandal to come out of New York's Governor's Mansion, which is actually something I probably will never understand -- I mean, what is the difference between Scandal Number Seven and Scandal Number Eight? Or is it Scandal Number Nine? Number Ten? Who knows? Patterson, his wife, and the next six people they run into at a Mets game are likely to have one of those Quadruple Tag Team Hoochie Coochie Scandals before his term is over, just to let us know he's still going strong.

Something else has probably happened since I started writing this, but the new software I've got installed on my site tells me that nobody is likely to read much further due to the lack of a central narrative to this piece.

Is technology great or what?








Pockets Of Darkness, Pockets Of Light from Kris Broughton on Vimeo.


    [I know, you saw this yesterday, but me and YouTube aren't getting along right now - impossible to edit a video there once you upload it - so I am trying out Vimeo - added some new verbiage since you have to see this again]

Black History Month is almost over.

I really haven't done anything special around here to commemorate it, probably because this blog is written from an African American perspective.

There are times when I wonder, with black people in Haiti still suffering even as the world comes to their aid in an unprecedented outpouring of donations, with a black president struggling to lead his own party while deciding how best to fight back against the opposition, with black people all over this internet with fifty 'leven different opinions about things they understand and things they do not, with black soldiers fighting in Afghanistan and black CEO's who are either running their companies like a top or fucking them up just as bad as their white counterparts, if black history month even has an relevance anymore...

...until I am reminded that most of the people who keep our jails full are black men, brethren whose mug shots are so sadly reminiscent of my own not incarcerated face. Until I remember that having progress without access is like handing someone the keys to a brand new car...

...in a land with no gas tanks.

But my editors at Big Think liked my "Racial Discrimination: The Reality Show" video, so I took the opportunity to run a mini-series on a few topics this week as a way to wind up a month we usually spend watching documentaries and patting ourselves on the back. 'Pockets Of Darkness, Pockets Of Light: To Be Brown And Not Brown In The New Millennium" contains provocative, challenging pieces that defy conventional wisdom.

I hope the writing lives up to the promise of this promo video.

The first post, "Racial Discrimination: The Reality Show" is already up. The video is the same but the commentary is new.

The other three will run between now and Sunday.

Enjoy them.





Today At Big Think: Pockets Of Darkness, Pockets Of Light



Black History Month is almost over.

I really haven't done anything special around here to commemorate it, probably because this blog is written from an African American perspective.

But my editors at Big Think liked my "Racial Discrimination: The Reality Show" video, so I took the opportunity to run a mini-series on a few topics this week as a way to wind up a month we usually spend watching documentaries and patting ourselves on the back. 'Pockets Of Darkness, Pockets Of Light: To Be Brown And Not Brown In The New Millennium" contains provocative, challenging pieces that defy conventional wisdom.

I hope the writing lives up to the promise of this promo video.

The first post, "Racial Discrimination: The Reality Show" is already up. The video is the same but the commentary is new.

The other three will run between now and Sunday.

Enjoy them.






"Change" Costs Money - Why Congress Is Like A Strip Club



I spent way too much time last week poring over the numbers of the Congressional Black Caucus and its affiliated charities. But in trying to give the story more context than the Two Erics who wrote the article for the New York Times were able to muster, I did come away with two things:

More than $13 BILLION dollars were spent by lobbyists on Congress between 2004 and 2008.

Only $55 MILLION dollars were collected by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and CBC related charities between 2004 and 2008.

that lead me to two conclusions:

Number One - the Two Erics should have been carnival barkers instead of reporters or the terrible financial analysts they showed themselves to be - $55 million dollars is less than one half of one percent of all the bribe money that changed hands during the same period.

Number Two - Change will cost money. For all those folks out here in the blogosphere who marched and called and voted for Barack Obama and now think he is a traitor, a turncoat of the worst order for not instantly swapping existing programs and policies for the ones you say you want, get your checkbooks out.

Because your president cannot do it alone. Ten dollar words will lose against 10 million dollar fundraisers every day day of the week, and ten times over on Sundays, no matter how smoothly your president can speak, no matter how collegial he is, no matter how bipartisan, or no partisan - because even as he speaks to them, your Congress people have their hands out.

When Obama calls them in their offices for a private chat, guess what? They've got a big donor on the other line, waiting until they get done with the president.

How do you get the change you want? You are going to have to put enough money in the game to alter the balance of power. Its a lot like going to a strip club. You may have an earnest face, and talk a good game, but until you start shelling out those twenties, nobody is going to shake that ass for you.

Congress is just like those strippers - right now you are talking, your president is talking, and they are not listening, just like those chicks in the club can't see you if you aren't asking them to dance.

It takes more than two or three twenties to keep a stripper's attention, especially if they don't know you because you just started coming to the club. She knows that painting contractor or that lawyer who is in there once or twice a week are good for rent money, for a trip to the beach, for a new wardrobe or some jewelry - your two twenty dollar bills can't fill up her gas tank.

"Change" will cost stacks of greenbacks.

How does the new guy at the club get the strippers to give him that special treatment right away instead of hanging all over their Steady Eddie insurance agency owners and car dealers?

He can make it rain.

Just pull out a couple of stacks of twenties, bust the wrapper, and throw them in the air when a stripper is on stage.

It will cost more than a few thousand to get your Congress people to get off the laps of their Steady Eddie's and really push your agenda of change in a meaningful, fully funded way.

Unlike the Two Erics, I will tell you up front that the numbers I am about to give you are based solely on a strip club comparison, and absolutely NO regressive analysis or donor displacement theory or even a calculator was used.

"Change" - the real kind, the long term variety that will actually redirect the way or government functions, will cost $1.5 to 2 BILLION a year. Putting a few hundred million a year is the pot is a waste on time.

'Cause if you only make it rain in the strip club because its your birthday, and come back three months later, them strippers will smile at you and wave at you...

...from their Steady Eddie's laps.

It's the same wave your Congressman will give you.











I've got a million other things to do today, but I went to bed angry and I woke up mad about the lack of an outpouring of heartfelt compassion for dead IRS employee Vernon Hunter. Actually, "angry" isn't the right word. I'm upset. I'm incensed. I am in a foul mood. To put a finer point on it, I am in a "put a match to gasoline soaked cracker-assed crackers who dare to utter one word of praise for Joe Stack" kind of mood today about the lack of press coverage of Vernon Hunter, or any real information on his life, or any concerted effort by any media to talk to his family members.

It wasn't until I went to my hometown this weekend in South Carolina that I realized Mr. Hunter was from the very same place. I have been stewing ever since. I wrote an article about it at Big Think.com, where I do my thing on my own media platform of sorts on my blog "Resurgence". It wasn't enough. It wasn't until I read jimstaro's diary "Son Speaks Out" this morning that my fingers started getting itchy and my head started to throb. It wasn't until I thought about all the bullshit we waste time cauterwauling over that I knew what I had to do.

I'm from a small college town - Orangeburg, South Carolina - which has been quietly grooming black men like Vernon Hunter by the thousands since Reconstruction. If the ROTC program at South Carolina State University hasn't produced the most black military officers in the US, it is in the top 3. Ordinarily, I'd look this kind of shit up and provide you with a handy link but I'm not in the mood today.

Vernon didn't attend South Carolina State, but I am damn sure it affected him because it affected me every time I passed its gates. My father, who is a couple of years older than the late Mr. Hunter, didn't know him, but he knew the man the local paper quoted who had grown up with Mr. Hunter.

Mr. Hunter went to Vietnam and came back alive and sane, which I have been told is a major accomplishment, not once but TWICE. Two tours of duty in a fucking war zone, and the man ends up getting killed by his fellow countryman, a cowardly assed cracker who didn't want to pay his fucking taxes.

Maybe Mr. Hunter needed to have sandy blond hair and mournful blue eyes so I could see his image plastered all over my TV. Maybe Mr. Hunter's son Ken needed to be standing by a fucking pickup truck with a pair of shit kickers on in order to merit more than the barest of attention from the shills who pose as our Fourth Estate.

So what the fuck are we doing about it? Why the fuck are the radio towers that spew the "Joe Stack is a patriot" garbage into the air for its cracker assed cracker talk radio audience still standing? Why isn't Joe Stack's face photoshopped under a turban with the caption "J. Stack Bin Laden"?

And why isn't Ken Hunter's face on every TV screen in America right now? Ken is a bigger man than me, because if you sat your overprivileged ass down in your upper middle class home and premeditated the murder of my father, I couldn't forgive you.

Not never.

Not for one god damned second.

Where is the outrage? Where is the pushback? Where are the wholesale, 24 hour a day condemnations of ANYONE, from Fuckhead #1 Rush Limbaugh to the rest of the Cracker Convention acolytes and the ridiculously transparent, whiter than white Tea Party that is three sheets away from being the Klu Klux Klan?

These people who champion a man for killing employees of the government, employees who make no policy decisions, command no armies, but carry out the will of our Congress are now the enemy? Were these people asleep in civics class? Or have they decided it is open season on government employees, many of who are black, the same way their forebears decided it was open season on black people whenever we seemed to be getting a little bit too "uppity"?

Why aren't the white people with good sense - if you read this far that means YOU - as fed up with these fools as I am?

There is no communist or socialist ideology that is as poisonous as the one that drives these rabid people like Joseph Stack to kill people because he has run into a few of life's challenges. Because his fantasy lifestyle has run amok. Because that bullshit of superiority he has built his whole fucking life on was shown to be nothing more than air.

So why aren't my white friends with good sense rooting these people out instead of worrying about why the president doesn't call up to let them know their wish list is being processed at the new "Where Dreams Come To Life" building in D.C.

You have done it before. You can do it again.

Call, write, and email these lazy, wouldn't know the right end of a story if it stared them in the face media companies, and tell them YOU ARE OUTRAGED that they have more footage of the killer on TV than they do of his innocent victims...

...and then beg, badger, cajole, or irritate the shit out of the next three people of any color who have good sense to do the same.

Don't do it for me.

Don't do it because Joseph Stack wasn't worth pissing on.

Do it because this man from my hometown deserves better than this.

Do it because Vernon Hunter's family deserves to have their father's face on TV for the next two weeks so America can see what A REAL PATRIOT, THE KIND WHO DUCKED ENEMY BULLETS, looks like.

Do it because you champion humanity, not insanity.




ABC News
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Email forms for all CBS news programs
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Face The Nation: ftn@cbsnews.com

CNBC
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Phone: (201) 735-2622
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Email: info@cnbc.com

CNN
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Email forms for all CNN news programs

Fox News Channel
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List of Email addresses for all Fox News Channel programs
Special Report with Bret Baier: Special@foxnews.com
FOX Report with Shepard Smith: Foxreport@foxnews.com
The O'Reilly Factor: Oreilly@foxnews.com
Hannity: Hannity@foxnews.com,
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Glenn Beck: GlennBeck@foxnews.com

MSNBC/NBC
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Phone: (212) 664-4444
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List of Email addresses for all MSNBC/NBC news programs
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PBS
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Phone: 703-739-5000
Fax: 703-739-8458

The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer: newshour@pbs.org






Today's topic at my blog "Resurgence" on BigThink.com:


Vernon Hunter Real Patriot In Attack On IRS

I made a quick trip back to Orangeburg, S.C. this weekend to see my mother, whom I’ve dubbed "the Bionic Woman" because she is recuperating from her second hip replacement surgery. My father handed me the local newspaper this morning and said "the man who was killed by the plane that crashed into the IRS building in Texas was from Orangeburg."

Read More...


BigThink.com is a global forum connecting people and ideas.

You can access hundreds of hours of direct, unfiltered interviews with today's leading thinkers, movers and shakers, and, best of all, respond in kind. You can respond to the interviewee, respond to a responder or throw your own question or idea into the ring.

Big Think is yours. We are what you think.







Today's topic at my blog "Resurgence" on BigThink.com:


Mortgage Loan Officers Get New Rules

A lot has changed in the year and a half since I closed my last mortgage loan as a loan officer. New regulations regarding the relationship between appraisers and lenders, new lending guidelines, and a new system requiring individual loan officers to be licensed in every state have completely revamped the broker side of the mortgage business…

Read More...


BigThink.com is a global forum connecting people and ideas.

You can access hundreds of hours of direct, unfiltered interviews with today's leading thinkers, movers and shakers, and, best of all, respond in kind. You can respond to the interviewee, respond to a responder or throw your own question or idea into the ring.

Big Think is yours. We are what you think.







Today's topic at my blog "Resurgence" on BigThink.com:


Google Settlement: "Heads You Lose, Tails You Lose"

It seems Google is trying to build the world’s biggest digital library. They have digitized 12 million books so far, but want access to many more. The fairness hearing before United States District Judge Denny Chin of Manhattan was wrapped up on Friday as 26 parties, as well as the United States Justice Department, offered oral arguments for and against the proposed Google lawsuit settlement…

Read More...


BigThink.com is a global forum connecting people and ideas.

You can access hundreds of hours of direct, unfiltered interviews with today's leading thinkers, movers and shakers, and, best of all, respond in kind. You can respond to the interviewee, respond to a responder or throw your own question or idea into the ring.

Big Think is yours. We are what you think.





I Am Not Amused


I am not amused.

I actually felt something come over me yesterday when I saw Wolf Blitzer breathing anxiously into his microphone as he wondered why the eight missionaries being held under suspicion of child trafficking violations who were released from the custody of the Haitian government yesterday were quickly spirited away from the island in a U.S. government plane.

It was as if all the inequities, all the preferential treatment, all the institutionalized racism I have been researching for a mini-series on race and perspective had come to a boil just behind my eyes. It was a sudden throbbing pressure just behind my sinus cavity that seemed to ratchet itself up a notch with every connection that popped into my head between what I was seeing on the screen about the privilege of whiteness, what I have been reading about the privilege of whiteness, and what we all already know but willfully choose to ignore that makes racial inequality at once so insidious and so apparent that rooting it out requires no less than a reworking of the very foundation of our entire social structure.

I feel as if I am listening to mad men when I hear reporters casually talk about the prior life of the murdering professor in Huntsville as if the shooting incident this same murdering professor had been involved in, a prior  incident that resulting in her having a dead brother was the kind of thing that was merely "eyebrow raising". It was a heinous incident in which the police report alone recounted so much circumstantial evidence that a first year law student at the bottom of his class could have gotten an indictment. It was a situation where the ruling of a local police chief WHO HAD DONE NO INVESTIGATION allowed the murdering professor in her prior life to simply walk out of the police station WITHOUT A CHARGE -- a textbook example of the privilege whiteness brings in America, and one my news media and the rest of the country have chosen to ignore, as if this literal "get out of jail free" card is one we all carry.

It is as if we brown skinned people have been trapped in a classroom with mad professors, a group of men and women whose sage faces house wild eyes, wild eyes that blink incessantly as these professors tap their chalk against the board, insisting that in these cases there really is no inequity, that we are seeing things, that we must not question their assertions that “2 + 2 = 5”, that “8 ÷ 2 = 3”, or that “3 × 2 =7”, even though we can see by simply counting with our fingers that these things are not true.

It is as if these professors are telling us “your fingers are lying to you”, even as we see them arrive at the same conclusion we do before they remember to add or subtract a finger to support what they’ve written on the board.

Even now, I can imagine that there are people all over America who have been harboring resentment at the way those “poor missionaries” have been treated. That there are people all over America who have already deduced from their armchairs in Whiteland that the murdering professor “needed help”, was “off her medication”, “didn’t really know what she was doing”, “probably was abused as a child” or whatever comes next on the laundry list of excuses that seem to arrive like clockwork whenever white Americans who don’t look like they came out of a trailer park commit heinous acts.

That throbbing in my head was compounded by the virtual lynch mob that has lit out after Governor David Patterson’s aide, a six foot seven inch tall black man named David Johnson who has been accused on more than one occasion of domestic violence, and was arrested over twenty years ago for selling crack cocaine to an undercover agent as a teenager. In case you don’t know what that really means, I’ll fill you in – the police didn’t arrest a future Scarface, they arrested a misdirected kid who was trying to peddle twenty or thirty dollars worth of crack rocks, the kind of drug possession charge suburban criminal lawyers where I live get thrown out every day of the week when they are levied against their prep school clients.

This is the point in the narrative, though, where those same people who are so sympathetic to the child stealers and the brother killer fall back on that shop worn racial stand in for the original "its them niggers" these days -- the label "he's just a thug" -- and start wondering why the police don’t “throw away the key” when they lock up people like this and just keep them in jail for life.

The throbbing intensified as I realized that this horror show would be on tomorrow and the next night, that it was the only show going, a perpetual stage production titled "Angels and Demons", in which I and my brownskinned brethren were destined to play the Demons, no matter how much good we might accomplish, no matter how much trouble we might avoid, while our white skinned counterparts were perennial Angels, no matter how much blood drenched their hands, no matter how many died because of their willful acts, no matter what law they broke or ignored.

The throbbing has eased a little now that I’ve written this, but I will imagine that it will return whenever I click on the next internet link or turn on the TV to hear the mad professors insist yet again that ”2 + 2 = 5”, even as we watch the blood stains dry on the hands of another Angel gone bad.





Haiti - Where Are We Now?



The Brown Man on is on YouTube.

It's hard to believe that less than a month ago I wrote those words after making my first video. Essentially a narrated slide show of public domain images that illustrate a piece I wrote last month about the flawed storyline the media seemed to be pursuing in their portrayal of Haiti, this five minute piece hit a milestone yesterday, clocking its 2,000th viewing since I posted it.

I am glad I was able to help in my own way to contribute to a better understanding of the actual circumstances which predate the horrific calamity unfolding in Haiti.

So where are we now?

Or did you send one of those text message donations a few weeks ago and decide to "leave it to the professionals?" Did you get tired of the dizzying display of poverty and amputations and decide to change the channel?

Other than a few faint grumblings from somewhere about retiring Haiti's debt, a media feeding frenzy over the fake missionary scam artist and friends who need to be under the jail, but are currently cooling their heels as criminal defendants in one in Haiti after an attempt to spirit native children out of the country illegally, and reports on the money raised by the latest telethons and sing-alongs for the earthquake victims, there isn't a lot of news about Haiti these days that focuses solely on the lives of the island nation's average citizens.

In any case, according to the TV announcers, we are supposed to be sympathetic to Canada this week, which is struggling to put on a Winter Olympics without very much snow.

So what is going on in Port-Au-Prince these days?

If you really want to get a bird's eye view from someone who is not just looking for a Pulitzer, but is as committed to showing what is going on in Haiti as she was in the Congo, you need to take a look at my email buddy Emily Troutman. She's a photographer who financed her worldwide forays out of her own pocket for years. Now she's a U.N. Citizen Ambassador and a contributor to AOL News, but she's still not afraid to open herself up to the local culture, the way she has done in places like the Congo.

What I should've told the woman, what I'd like to tell her now, is that no one really knows if missionaries are helping; they may actually be hurting. "Helping" Haiti has become a high-risk game with no referee, and we're wagering the world's money on it. The real loser in this game is Haiti.

Haiti may be poor, but it has a democratically elected government. It is not saddled with a barren desert landscape. Some portions of the country support a thriving tourism trade. A historic look at Haiti shows eras filled with economic hope and even prosperity. Truth be told, there are millions of people living in conditions that make Haiti's look bucolic -- Sudan, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, China, Afghanistan.

Even as we look at the Millennium Development Goals, which provide an important framework for the future, we seem mostly to be asking one question: "What does Haiti need?" But we should also be asking: "Why does Haiti need?" That's more complicated but, ultimately, more important.

Emily Troutman
Essay: Haiti's Story Rolls On as Journalists Roll Out

Emily has more empathy in her little finger than I'll have in the next three lifetimes. I am glad that she has a role, however small, in shaping the Haiti narrative. And I am heartened by some of the ideas she has begun to disseminate, although our media friends back in D.C. are even as we speak hard at work crafting some sort of nonsense that will make the Haitians responsible for causing the deadly tremors themselves in the end.

The fight continues.

Has The Golden Rule Been Irrevocably Tarnished?


I was talking to a friend of mine the other day when he mentioned his three year old son. “The other day he told me, 'daddy, I gotta get that money.' What I want to know is, how come my momma didn’t tell me this when I was his age?”

My friend is a devout Christian, who not only attends church regularly but is an active member of the congregation. His parents and his wife’s parents instilled in both of them practically from birth the tenets of the Golden Rule – "do unto others as they do unto you" – as well as a healthy respect for the laws of the land. Producing decent, well mannered adults who contributed to society and honored their family was the goal of their parents, of practically all our parents.

But my friend’s lament was a sentiment that at face value had me castigating him. "Your parents were right. And you need to keep taking that boy to Sunday school. Keep telling him why he needs to do the right thing even when it looks wrong. Otherwise you will be raising a sociopath."

I thought about this exchange while reading the umpteenth story about Goldman Sachs and their role in the off-the-books debt transaction for the nation of Greece that allowed the country to factually represent its finances as something they factually were not. I also thought about it while I examined the disconnect we all have from our childhoods when we become adults who often have to ignore those very same rules of decency and common courtesy in order to survive in modern life. When we work in places where the official guidelines are preached in public while "do what you have to do" is exhorted in private.

In case your memory has evaporated, the off the books transactions that Goldman Sachs devised for Greece are EXACTLY the same kind of transactions that caused Enron to implode and accounting giant Arthur Anderson to crumble into nothingness. If a rose by any other name is still a rose, then a crime by any other name, no matter how many dozens of corporate lawyers and lobbyists have been employed to rename it, rebrand it, reclassify it, or re-regulate it, is still a crime.

The dilemma my friend faces is not a theoretical one, but a problem that lies at the heart of the complicated value systems we actually live by as adults, where bad acts can become good acts for the right price, where morality is flexible, where history becomes a narrative not unlike that of a science fiction movie, where we can ignore what actually existed in favor of the special effects moments that wow us or make us feel good about the past.

Here in Georgia, a standardized test scandal has been revealed, but what is more telling is the jaded nonchalance the local community has exhibited upon finding out, as if we figured that this kind of thing had been going on all the time.

Are ideals passé?

Is moral ambiguity the new normal?

Can wrong be right because we say so, even when all other evidence points to the contrary?

The professor in Huntsville, Alabama who shot several people last week, killing three of her colleagues, was shown on the news last night repeating phrases over and over as if they were an incantatory spell – "it didn’t happen, they can’t be dead" – as if she was used to bending the facts to her own preconceived narrative, as if she was accustomed to saying one thing and doing another.

If we look at America’s collective psychological makeup, what is it that we really see?

Who are we, when we know without a doubt that we are willing to listen to grim little men in pinstriped suits from Wall Street, or Congress, or Corporation XYZ stand in front of TV cameras and tell us with the all of the false sincerity they can muster that "no laws were broken", that "they bear no responsibility, no culpability, and anyway, it was the clients own damn fault for listening to us without doing their homework"?

Who are we, when we see that the Huntsville Alabama professor was released after being arrested in the shooting death of her brother "by a phone call from the Chief of Police", when we know without a doubt that this kind of thing has happened, is happening, and will happen again, for those so privileged?

Who are we, who work so hard to support the very public and private institutions that allow some of us to bend wrong into right as easily as you might crook your index finger, that parse truth selectively an unequally, that disclose some facts and destroy others, that promote nice, neat, slanted narratives while discarding the jumble of events that actually occurred?

Are these the outcomes we deserve as a society if we continue to accept the garbage that passes for acceptable excuses; if we continue to turn a blind eye when privilege bends the laws, or simply pretends they don't exist; if we continue to manufacture exceptions for some while take exceptional measures against others?

I don’t really subscribe to the adage "money is the root of all evil", but when we applaud the success of sociopaths, and sociopathic behavior, whether it is exhibited by a mad woman in a college town whose rage against god knows what has resurfaced, or it is displayed by mad men on Wall Street so deceitful the Mafia should take tips from them on ruthlessness, we are doing nothing more than building our own hell right here on earth.







Today's topic at my blog "Resurgence" on BigThink.com:


Museum For Winningest College Football Coach Eddie Robinson Opens

I grew up less than ten miles from my father’s alma mater, South Carolina State University, so when football season rolled around, many of his college buddies would tend to congregate at our house any weekend there was a home game. A few of them had played football for the historically black college back in the 1950’s and 1960’s, which gave them an endless supply of war stories to draw upon as they handicapped each game. There was a certain reverence, though, when they spoke about the annual contest against Grambling State University …

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BigThink.com is a global forum connecting people and ideas.

You can access hundreds of hours of direct, unfiltered interviews with today's leading thinkers, movers and shakers, and, best of all, respond in kind. You can respond to the interviewee, respond to a responder or throw your own question or idea into the ring.

Big Think is yours. We are what you think.






Today's topic at my blog "Resurgence" on BigThink.com:


Everyday Miracles: Can We Live Without The Advances Of Modern Medicine?

I watched President Bill Clinton speak to the press while standing outside of his house last night, just one day after doctors inserted stents in the arteries around his heart. I spoke to my mother last evening, who is entering her second week of therapy after having her second hip replacement surgery in the last six months. I thought about my eighty-nine year old grandmother, who underwent a surgical procedure two weeks ago and was moving around her kitchen the next day as if nothing had happened. These advances in modern medicine, as amazing as they are, have had a tremendous impact on our healthcare delivery system’s costs.

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You can access hundreds of hours of direct, unfiltered interviews with today's leading thinkers, movers and shakers, and, best of all, respond in kind. You can respond to the interviewee, respond to a responder or throw your own question or idea into the ring.

Big Think is yours. We are what you think.







Today's topic at my blog "Resurgence" on BigThink.com:


Elizabeth Warren: "What Part Of 'We Bailed You Out' Don't You Get?"

I like idea of having someone like Elizabeth Warren, who is the head of the Congressional Oversight Panel, watch our financial system. But her advice to the Obama Administration about Wall Street was largely ignored. Now she is predicting that commercial lending woes will severely inhibit the little bit of momentum our economy seems to be gaining. Is Warren just window dressing for the White House? Could she just be a source for earnest sounding quotes and media friendly photo ops whenever someone starts wondering if the White House is working for Wall Street?

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BigThink.com is a global forum connecting people and ideas.

You can access hundreds of hours of direct, unfiltered interviews with today's leading thinkers, movers and shakers, and, best of all, respond in kind. You can respond to the interviewee, respond to a responder or throw your own question or idea into the ring.

Big Think is yours. We are what you think.




Roasting GOP Chestnuts By An Open Fire



These people on TV keep talking about the same old things the same old ways. I’ve been hearing the same political talking points since I can remember. Neither party is immune to this overuse of recycled campaign rhetoric, but the Republican chestnuts – lower taxes, lower deficit, less government, less regulation -- are starting to sound like a line in a song, they are repeated so often.

But what do they really mean? What are they really saying?

Our government took in 2.524 trillion dollars in 2008. We spent 2.983 trillion.


Our government took in 2.105 trillion dollars in 2009. We spent 3.518 trillion.

Cutting spending in either of those years to equal what came in the door would actually cut back on a lot of corporate welfare, and practically decimate the entire defense industry. But more important than that, balancing the annual budget would not reduce the trillions we have in long term debt by one dollar.

Doing that would require even more draconian cuts -- if you ran the government like a business. I agree that we spend money on stuff that isn't necessary. But the remedy for the problem we have isn't lower taxes for companies that barely pay any as it is, and leave their profits offshore when their accountants can't gin up a way around the tax code stateside.



Because if you talk about these things with actual numbers instead of emotional catchphrases, it sounds like a lot different tune than the one they are trying to get the rest of us to hum along with them.

Government was indeed limited for most of America’s history. Up until about the middle of the last century, in fact – somewhere between World War I and World War II, back when most families had one toilet, one car, one TV one radio, and one telephone. Back when you didn’t worry about illegal immigrants because white laborers and black laborers were readily available, and easily expendable if they lost a foot or an arm or an eye.

We of the general public made it through a hundred and fifty years of less government, lower deficit, lower taxes, and less regulation by the skin of our teeth. The taste this period left in the mouth of the public was so foul from all of the abuses our industrialists and capitalists perpetrated upon the defenseless American workforce, up to and including cold blooded murder in the case of striking workers, that we welcomed additional government regulation with open arms.

Since the mid 20th century, we have accumulated more stuff, bigger houses, access to multiple cutting edge communications devices, and the mountains of debt that go along with it – mountains of debt that have helped our corporations thrive and generate enormous profits even as our individual citizens struggled to keep making the payments on all of these conveniences. Our attitudes towards debt as a nation are not as easily changed as a peel and stick label. We like the things we get in exchange for signing on the dotted line a whole lot more than we like the things we could get if we had to pay cash for everything.

So when politicians talk about the ideal situation -- where America has no long term debt; where taxes on corporations are next to zero; where no one needs Social Security because they have all wisely invested enough of their savings in the stock market to replace it and provide for a comfortable retirement, without ever having to touch a penny before they turn 65; where no business, especially those with Christian owners, need regulating; where every war is a good war because bullets are free and dead soldiers come back to life when the president hits the “reset” button -- we need to send them history books by the millions, blood soaked history books piled next to them in their beds while they sleep the way the mafia dons took the heads they hacked off of horses and put them in the beds of their enemies…

…because these are your enemies, make no mistake about it, who are sworn to an oath that the general public shall remain sheep to be fleeced in perpetuity.

If I were you, since its so cold outside, I would simply roast these chestnuts over an open fire. Because that's about all they are good for these days.







I suffered through the Tea Party coverage this weekend like the rest of you, but I watched the speech Sarah Palin gave to the conventioneers live – after listening to pundits describe her previous efforts as if they were deaf, dumb and blind, I had to see it for myself.

I was not disappointed.

"The events surrounding the Christmas day plot reflect the kind of thinking that led to September 11th. The threat then, as the "USS Cole" was attacked, our embassies were attacked, it was treated like an international crime spree not like an act of war. We are seeing that mindset again settle into Washington again.


That scares me for my children, for your children. Treating this as a mere law enforcement matter places our country at great risks because that is not how radical Islamic extremists look at this. They know we are at war. To win that war, we need a commander in chief, not a professor of law standing at the lectern."

Sarah Palin
Speech excerpt from Tea Party Convention

I’m no media star – I'm on a radio show out of Baltimore a couple times a month, and I do some infrequent interviews here and there – each time it gets a little easier, and I sound a little better. So for this woman to campaign nonstop for almost 3 months, giving speech after speech, and still sound like she’s running for student council president…of a junior high school, because senior high school student council presidents have more polish than Palin does these days – you have to wonder – what the hell is she doing when she's not on camera?

The first time I was on radio to talk about politics, it was a half hour segment. It didn’t come to me until the night before that I could erect my own teleprompter around my desk. I cut open two full sized moving boxes, the kind you can hang your clothes in, and arranged them in two semi-circles around my desk. I got a glue stick, took my notes, and pasted them to the cardboard, the important things at eye level, the not so important things nearer the top or the bottom of the boxes.
It didn’t make my delivery any smoother that day, but at least I had some facts to go on, or some anecdotes to refer to if I got lost between topics.

Now I go through the same amount of preparation as far as note gathering and fact checking is concerned, but I can do an interview now at the kitchen counter, or from a hotel room, or even outside of a coffee shop with nothing more than a last minute perusal of the most recent events to keep the details straight.

I know the folks who are on TV all the time have to shake their heads every time they see her on stage. Her grade school like aura may be refreshing to those who don’t like to think too hard today, but that will soon pass.

Which brings me to my real soapbox today - Sarah Palin and her own unique brand of anti-intellectualism that seems to bring big cheers from the crowds she speaks to every time she says "liberal elite" or "law professor".

Every technological advance in this country, from the cellphone her dumb ass talks on to the god damned microwave that heats the popcorn that has to be filling the space between her precious little ears, all came about because SOMEBODY WHO STUDIED HARD and UNDERSTOOD COMPLEX SCIENTIFIC THEORIES sat down and thought, thought, and thought some more until they came up with the real world applications the rest of us enjoy every day as creature comforts we take for granted.

If you have been seduced by the DUMBASSEDEDNESS (a take off on Puff Daddy's "Bitchassedness", but I wouldn't waste time calling Palin a bitch when she's so publicly, gloriously vapid) that is Sarah Palin, then you don't need to be frightened by terrorists - we might as well surrender now, because when the bullets run out, and they will, we will be ruled by those who know more than us.

If you told me your name was Benedict Arnold, you couldn't be as much of a traitor to your nation as Sarah Palin

To willfully wallow in the celebration of ignorance as if you are a pig rolling around in the mud -- a pig without lipstick, I might add -- in a nation that strives for excellence in all things should be an offense punishable by hanging.

So keep talking to the hand, Mrs. Palin, or looking in the hand, or wherever it is you think you are going to find the substitution for preparation and hard work.

With a life that is now all on record, something tells me it is only a matter of time before you start to say things that will make even your most ardent supporter's eyebrows rise.







VIDEO: Racial Discrimination - The Reality Show



The Brown Man is back on YouTube.

The blog post I re-posted from July last week, titled "Racial Discrimination: The Reality Show" has joined the rest of my recent pieces on the Brown Man Thinking Hard channel on YouTube.

Perspective is one of the items that is missing from the national conversation on race. It is the lack of interest in fully appreciating the African American point of view when it comes to racial issues that has so many Americans clamoring for a "post-racial America", where they can conveniently ignore or sidestep many of the truths that Americas history of discrimination contains.

It's had me kind of hot lately.

So you know me - I had to say something about it.

And since I know that the real deal about the civil rights movement was this -- despite all the blood, sweat and tears that went into the movement for decades, it wasn't until the pictures of the viscious brutalities being perpetrated against black Americans by the citizens of this nation began to circulate across the country and around the world that public sentiment began to sway in our favor.

This is just one more step towards "taking back the narrative", with the kind of imagery that will make you really stop and think about what I'm saying.

This year's theme here at Brown Man Thinking Hard is "taking control of your own narrative". The narrative is not just an academic sounding term that comes to mind whenever you watch a movie or read a book - it is the narrative that underpins every kind of communication we engage in, whether it is in person, via phone or text message.

Whether it is a news show, TV commercial, or sales pitch. Even our religious beliefs are guided by the narrative form. Practically every religion in the world is built around stories of trial and triumph, of outer struggle and inner peace, which are the same elements that any writer in any arena strives to use to the best of his ability.


In any case, enjoy the video.


Kris Broughton
Brown Man Thinking Hard



A Thousand Cuts Will Bleed Your Enemy To Death


I'm sitting here today, tooling around the DailyKos site, reading a few diaries because its too damn cold to go anywhere (yeah, I'm in Georgia, but anything under 60 degrees might as well be the Ice Ages to me).

As I read through a diary titled "Honestly, I don't know if I can  remain with the Democrats if they fail on healthcare", I wondered if my fictional political consulting group, BlackSheep Political Consultants, wasn't onto something yesterday when it jokingly suggested to Democratic incumbents that they all need to run for Congress as if they are the black candidate.

Maybe those of you in the progressive political camp who are faltering need to rethink your perspective.

Maybe you need to think about the fight for healthcare reform the way black people fought for the right to fully participate in American society - a struggle that took over a hundred years, a struggle that had its ups and downs, its naysayers and malcontents, as well as many, many setbacks along the way.

It was a righteous movement that could not be stopped, and in the end, it was a minority within a minority group that simply wore down the opposition, once they learned how to use the media to their advantage.

There are many parallels to this struggle for civil rights, which we are still even today working to protect, and the struggle for comprehensive healthcare reform.

I'm not a progressive, or a super liberal, or anything in particular - just a guy who tries to avoid labels, because I can and do support what I want, when I want, but I will say I enjoy the energy here, and the level of thinking, which on some days can be superb.

I've been working on a new video piece all week that seeks to give a non-minority viewer a different, more intimate, more visceral understanding of what discrimination looks like when you are its target.

And all the while, all the media tidbits that are flying by me on the web, Twitter, the news channels and the newspapers I read point to a different reality than the one we are being sold.

600 people in Nashville, at what is arguably nothing more than THE CRACKER CONVENTION, a new millennium version of the White Citizens Councils that sprung up all over the south in the 60's when the exact same kind of white people I see on my TV today felt they weren't getting their way anymore, are considered a major news event because they can pony up a hundred thousand dollars for a speaker who can't speak?

The news reporters themselves can only characterize this Tea Party phenomena as a mish mash of splinter groups, with varied names, similar platforms, no visible leadership and no sustainable fundraising apparatus. They are the flavor of the week, though, the same way progressives were eighteen months ago.

I've watched the Daily Kos site decide to raise money and pull in 500K over a weekend in response to a single issue. I've seen this site give the campaign of Michelle Bachmann's opponent new life in less than 48 hours, and bring a no-name guy within a few points of winning.

YOU HAVE THE POWER.

The modern civil rights movement was not a few marches across a few bridges - it was pockets of resistance that began after Reconstruction, itself the offspring of the anti-slavery movement, pockets of resistance that resulted in broken black bodies but not broken black spirits. It was the culmination of decades of legal precedent, hundreds of legal test cases brought in locales large and small, rural and urban, that built an immovable pyramid on which the favorable decision from Brown V. The Board of Education rested.

It was many years of cold chicken, dank buses, run down heels, sore feet, tired legs, weary arms and hoarse voices that went on before the cameras came, before the pictures that said a thousand words began to turn the tide of decency in the right direction.

The civil rights movement was fought on a thousand fronts by part timers and some timers who worked for free, the same way you guys do here. In case you missed it, the key word in the last sentence, and the most important idea in this long ass piece is A THOUSAND FRONTS.

YOUR ENEMY CAN BLEED TO DEATH FROM A THOUSAND CUTS.

Trying to knock your enemy's head off in a single blow is hard. A thousand cuts, from a thousand different directions, delivered simultaneously and relentlessly, is how my father got his first job with the federal government, whose southern offices were still not inclined, even after it was the law, to hire qualified black people for any supervisory positions in the mid 1960's

In the Daily Kos website alone, which is by no means the be-all and end all of your allies - many of the people who believe the things you do have never heard of this site - but at this website alone, there is the power to do so much for free.

Take for instance, the Sarah Palin versus Rush Limbaugh debacle. Why can't this site ask its hundred thousand plus members to blitz the media with calls for Sarah Palin to repudiate Rush Limbaugh's YEARS of "insensitive behavior"? How hard is it for a few of you to do some video compilations of Rush - "The Top One Hundred Greatest Rush Limbaugh Insensitive Remarks Tape, Vol One"?

The media is lazy - they'll bite.

And even though it is only tangentially related to the healthcare reform problem, it will put two players in the opposition out of commission. That's two voices who will lose a few thousand supporters over this. A few thousand here and a few thousand there and pretty soon your lazy media friends will sense some weakening - whether this is next week or next year or five years from now, IT WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

The same way it made a difference when the Bull Connors and the George Wallaces began to look less like regular Americans and more like the bigots they are.

YOUR OPPONENTS ARE ON THE ROPES.

The Republicans in office are between a rock and a hard place - they cannot appeal to Tea Baggers without losing Independents - they have a much, much harder push than you can imagine, and a party chairman they cannot fully rally behind.

There are some of the smartest brains on the planet floating through the Daily Kos website - all that brainpower won't do any good, though, if it is spent thinking up the newest way to put down people who don't care what you think anyway.

KEEP UP THE FIGHT.

If healthcare reform was important yesterday, then it is important everyday, the same way black people's quest for civil rights was not a flash in the pan moment, but a multi-generational effort that was ceaseless and relentless, no matter how tired they got, no matter how discouraged they got, because they knew if they quit, there would be no more progress.

The only choice we have in this country is healthcare reform - that is a given - whether it will eventually come under a Republican administration or a Democratic one is the only real variable.

YOU NEED TO BE IN CHARGE WHEN IT HAPPENS.

A thousand cuts, even loosely coordinated, can and will bleed your enemy to death if you commit to it week in and week out, no matter what your emotional state is.


So let's get to cutting some enemy ass.






Today's topic at my blog "Resurgence" on BigThink.com:


See Jerry Draw: Jerry Pinckney Wins Top Children's Book Illustrator Award

I can recall my very first reader like it was yesterday -- the phrase "See Spot run" and the image of a galloping dog with floppy ears is indelibly engraved in my memory. The pictures in these primers were as important as the words, helping to anchor in my young mind the meaning of each grouping of vowels and consonants. Last month, Jerry Pinckney became the first individual African American illustrator to win the Caldecott Medal, the American Library Association’s highest honor, for his adaptation of one of Aesop's fables, The Lion and the Mouse.

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"Baa baa, black sheep, have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir -- three bags full."


One of my buddies called me the other day.

"Man, we should become political consultants," he said. "You think we could start a firm?"

I don't know the first thing about political consulting from a "what do you do everyday" perspective, or how you would go about billing your clients, so I said, "that sounds good, but think about it -- we don't know anybody on the national level, where they will buy any old bullshit, who might recommend us, and we can't deliver anything tangible like votes or big donations on a local level -- it just doesn't sound like it would work."

We shot the breeze about a few other things, and then I hung up the phone. It was pretty late, so I clicked up TweetDeck to take a tour around the Twitterverse before I went to bed.

The hashtag "#demonsheep" kept showing up so much in my stream of followers that I finally tweeted to one of my Twitter buddies who usually has reliable information to find out what the hell was going on.

She shot me back this link, then hit me with another message -- "#demonsheep will be looking for you. LOL!!"

After clicking the link and watching the attack video that Carly Fiorina's people put together to make her primary opponent for a U.S. Senate seat in California, Tom Campbell, look like he's a Fiscal Conservative In Name Only (FCINO), I had to wonder if my buddy wasn't onto something with his political consultant idea.

I mean, I even went over to The Weekly Standard, a conservative standard bearer, where another one of my twitter buddies is their in-house blogger, to find that even she was at a loss for a way to put a positive spin on the latest antics of this out of control GOP candidate:

"This thing's going viral, but not necessarily in a way that will help Carly Fiorina's message. It just oozes that special brand of ludicrous hilarity that the Internet loves, and the Internet will give the demon sheep many, many lives. And, you will now be able to say, "I knew the demon sheep when."

If I thought the creation of the demon sheep was an intentional Internet hit, I'd be impressed, but I'm not sure it was. Nor am I sure that the true inanity required to produce viral hits will ever be the kind of thing that serves political campaigns well, but here's to the Fiorina campaign for creating something we'll all remember."

Mary Katherine Ham
The Weekly Standard

I'm actually putting together a video myself this week, so I was acutely aware of all the bad editing and the off-kilter tempo in this campaign video. The funniest thing, though, wasn't the video, but the promise from Fiorina's spokespeople of MORE TO COME that will be even crazier.

Whose money is she spending on these things? is what I want to know. And how many of these "productions" can she do before she calls into question HER OWN sense of fiscal responsibility?

I used to think the scuttlebutt about Fiornia that insisted she did nothing but work to destroy Hewlett-Packard when she was their CEO was sour grapes, but at the rate she's been going lately, it is a wonder the entire board of directors didn't get sued while she was running the company.

Carly, I'll give you a little political advice for free. Your "tough as nails" act doesn't really play well, especially since you never really turned anything around. And your donors would probably appreciate it if your campaign tried to look like it was spending their money wisely, especially since you are running as a -- ha ha! -- a "fiscal conservative".

And whatever else you do, Carly, PLEASE don't bring back that "Carlyfornia For Congress" idea -- PLEASE!!

Maybe I'll call my buddy back tonight, and tell him I think his idea is a go after all. The name of our firm?


"Blacksheep Political Consultants."

The Michael Vick Project: What I Saw


I'll be back to politics in the morning -- right now, I will have to say that the verdict on The Michael Vick Project documentary is, "it's all good."

Someone sent me a review of the show that was in the Washington Post earlier today. Now I see why I have to keep writing this blog. I don't know what Hank Steuver, the Washington Post staff writer who suffered through the half hour episode, expected to see -- maybe a pledge from Mike that all of his future earnings go to animal rights shelters? Maybe an Academy Award worthy performance of pathos and some sort of overly heartfelt confessional moment that would have me ready to throw up?

I don't know Michael Vick at all -- have never met him in person, never been any closer to him than the club level seats at a Falcons game in the Georgia Dome -- but to try to translate the actions of a man who grew up in the squalor and despair of the Newport News projects for Midwestern sensibilities is a losing proposition from the getgo.

But that's what the Washington Post is supposed to do - tell you how or why the rest of the world can't possible measure up to the arbitrary standards it imposes on the subjects of the stories it publishes in an often feeble attempt to prove that it is an unbiased observer. I've been a writer for a long time, and I know better. We're all biased, each and every one of us who wrestles with these keyboards in front of us, whether we are stamped "approved" by a major news organization or we are out here slinging past participles all by ourselves.

So I am glad that Mike was the executive producer of his show. Its his story -- nobody in the media is interested one iota in portraying him in a positive light.  It is similar, in many ways, to the way Martha Stewart stage managed her own comeback after her time behind bars. 

I used to have a business partner from the hellhole section of Gary Indiana who could have been Vick's older brother. He was a little taller, a little more muscular, but with the same intriguing dark skin, the same flash about the eyes, and a smile whose wattage put Vick's to shame. And he had also been a star high school quarterback.

But he didn't go to college. He went into the military. When he came out, he sold drugs for awhile until he got his stockbrokers license. And before we became business associates, he became my boss, growing our office to the third most productive branch in our company.

He could get a client to send in a fresh 200K after losing the clients shirt in a stock trade. He could beat up most of the brokers who worked for him. He might drink his lunch. He could get lost in a strip club for hours, even when we had work to do. He could ask me with a straight face "why are my neighbors trippin'" after describing how a male guest at a late night party at his suburban home, held in the middle of the week, ended up running down the street naked while being chased by an irate young woman.

He was the kind of mixture of good and evil you might have to read about in books if you didn't grow up like he did. And even though in the end he succumbed to forces greater than him, he was never shy about sharing his hopes and dreams as well as his fears and his disillusionment with the fairy tale life he was hoping to get to at the end of the rainbow someday.

Somewhere along the twenty minute mark in The Michael Vick Project, I sensed some of the same raw honesty from Mike that I used to get from my business partner.

The Washington Post could care less about whether or not Michael Vick sinks or swims. I don't have that luxury. I am glad Mike got a haircut. I am glad he started wearing something other than sweat pants and do rags. I am still hopeful that he will buy himself a rack of suits, now that the Eagles have decided to pick up his contract. And I will trust that he will continue to take control of his own narrative, to tell his own story, because he who controls the narrative controls what the public sees and believes.

The irony of the whole show? The Kobe Bryant Nike commercial that aired somewhere during the last few minutes. Kobe Bryant didn't go to jail, but he was in a pickle almost as bad as Mike's a few years ago. Now, he's no longer an accused rapist. Now he's just another one of your run of the mill NBA superstars who has won several championships.

As much as I will continue to pull for Michael Vick the human being, I know as well as you do that the reality of his future lies in the strength of his fabled left arm.

We shall see.

In the meantime, I'd steer clear of the Hank Stever's of the world.











"A Life In Progress": Mike Vick On BET Tonight


I guess I should be looking forward to the plethora of civil rights documentaries and black history tributes that will be on TV this month, but I have to confess that I will be among those who watch the Micheal Vick reality show/documentary on BET tonight.

Why watch Mike?

Because I never gave up on him as a human being.

Because despite the trials he's been through personally and professionally after serving two years in prison, he still has that spark of life in his eyes, that flicker of possibility that can lead him to bigger things than being a quarterback in the National Football League.

But mostly because there are very few black men in today's society with his background who have the power to get the world to examine the "why" of who he is, and by extension, who too many of our young black men are, most of whom don't rise to be professional anythings.

We've studied, measured, tested, interpolated and hypothesized ad infinitum about young black men who seem to be trapped in a culture of violence, crime and drug use for decades. But have we really listened to what these young black men have to tell us?

Just when I figured I could swear off watching BET for good, they had to go and put this show on. The subtitle of the show, "A Life In Progress", says everything I want to say -- that this man's life is by no means over.








Today's topic at my blog "Resurgence" on BigThink.com:


Greensboro Four Commemorated By International Civil Rights Center & Museum

My mother was a black college student back in the late fifties, when African Americans were protesting segregation and joining together in protest marches all across the country. So when the documentaries begin to air in February during Black History Month, she often shares a favorite story.

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BigThink.com is a global forum connecting people and ideas.

You can access hundreds of hours of direct, unfiltered interviews with today's leading thinkers, movers and shakers, and, best of all, respond in kind. You can respond to the interviewee, respond to a responder or throw your own question or idea into the ring.

Big Think is yours. We are what you think.




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