As in a tasty mix of talk

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone

Ted Kennedy
1932 – 2009

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

W.H. Auden

Although this poem expresses my deep sense of loss, I must add:
Something now CAN come to good... it is now up to us to take up Senator Kennedy's deep belief in empowering all Americans, from the lowliest to the highest... and bringing all to the level created by courageous love.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Poem for Sally, Morel and Mechelle


Courage is the pearl
We create layer by layer
Each time we face the truth
Or allow it to overtake us.
Courage does not discriminate
Or judge, it is what we make
Of the bad and the good, and
How well we see the thin
Distance between them.

Courage often is the gift
Of those who love us, inspiring
Us to dream without limit,
Until what is and what isn’t
Become our own, unpredictable kismet
Bound within the gleam.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Knock Knock. Who's There? Race Card. Race Card Who?

GUEST RANT by Nikole Slocum

Okay, let’s say you grew up as an intelligent young black man in the 60s, 70s and 80s. We all KNOW that you experienced racism, which hurts very deeply. Then you come from what we like to call the “ghetto” or “inner city,” but you are smart so you get yourself through the school system. You play by all the rules, you don’t break the law and you work hard. Maybe you take advantage of scholarship funds specifically geared toward minorities, maybe you don’t. (Let’s face it, there are scholarships for everything from test scores to being left-handed) so I don’t see the beef here.)

Anyway, if you are Henry Louis Gates Jr., you not only graduate from college, you become a respected professor at Harvard University. You are a good citizen, and basically lead a successful life. Then one day you get locked out of your house…crap!!! Where are those keys? You fumble around your car looking for them and decide you will try to enter through a window. Then the cops come.

After explaining, look, this is where I live, I am locked out, let me show you my ID, harsh words are exchanged. You already are irritated… wouldn’t YOU be irritated if you were exhausted after a sleepless, international flight, and then lost your darn keys? So, maybe you aren’t nice, maybe one of the cops doesn’t believe that this indeed is your house. Maybe he is just an asshole and would react the same to anyone… Or, maybe he is racist and doesn’t realize it, or maybe he realizes it but doesn’t care. Either way it goes… what are you going to think if you are the law abiding, college educated professor who got locked out of his house (irritating enough) and now you are getting arrested? WTF?!?!?! Wouldn’t you perhaps wonder, “Would this cop arrest me if I weren’t black?”

The facts are clear. Professor Gates PROVED he did indeed live in the house he entered through a window. And the cops DID arrest him for disorderly conduct. Maybe the exhausted professor was in a bad mood… but cops should be trained to deal with that kind of attitude, without over reacting. I am not the happiest camper in the world when I get pulled over for a rolling stop or expired tags, etc. But if I am not “nice” to the cop, if I don’t, in his opinion, display the proper respect, does that mean I should be arrested for disorderly conduct?

In this situation, it appears that emotions escalated on both sides… but with an all-American twist. For a moment, let’s take “RACE” out of the equation. How irate would YOU feel in a similar situation??? Black, white or brown, we all would have to pay court fees, waste valuable time going to court, and worry about appearances… even if, as was the case with professor Gates, all charges were dropped. (Perhaps the authorities dropped all charges in this instance because they agreed with President Obama that the police “behaved stupidly.”)

The law enforcement justification that crime is more likely to occur in certain areas is irrelevant in this case, because it occurred in a respectable, middle-class neighborhood. If you want to argue that there is more crime in “poorer” areas of town, I would be inclined to agree… but for sociological reasons that have more to do with lack of education and opportunity than with skin color. As for the argument that minorities are inherently inclined to commit more crimes, this is patently RACIST.

So, I say to everyone whining that Professor Gates is playing the race card… get off your high horse and face reality! (If you don’t believe that cops treat blacks and whites differently, you are lying to the world AND to yourself.)

The President, when asked about the incident, BEGAN his answer with, “I cannot answer without first making it clear I am biased in this situation, he is a friend of mine.” Nonetheless, the right wing media went crazy over his remark. As a result, the vitally important issue of HEALTH CARE REFORM was lost in the controversy. Since Republicans have a long and shameful history of tapping racial fears to manipulate public opinion, I ask you… who is playing the “race card” here?