The GOP’s Debt Ceiling War is Not about Debt but About Obama

In September, the National Review Online made public the blueprint of the House GOPs war plan to stonewall the debt ceiling raise. The plan of attack included many of the same demands the GOP has repeatedly made to stall, eliminate, or delay every program and initiative President Obama has put forth. The GOP’s price for approving the debt ceiling increase is for Obama to agree to cut, cut, and cut some more spending on virtually everything from Head Start to food nutrition programs that directly aid the poor and low income workers. The issue of whether America can pay its bills or not, or reneges on its financial obligations, which would be the catastrophe that results from failing to raise the ceiling, is secondary to the GOP’s cynical political ploy. Despite the GOP’s pious declarations that the debt ceiling battle is solely about fiscal responsibility and reining in America’s debt, it’s not.

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Suspicious Suspicion

It seems the mantra “shoot first, ask questions later (if alive)” applies to how law enforcement reacts to Black males. The latest in a long-line of police shootings occurred on Saturday in Charlotte, North Carolina where, according to published reports, police opened fire on 24 year-old Jonathan Ferrell, an unarmed Black man and killed him. The victim was apparently running toward the officers – seeking assistance. He had been involved in an auto accident and he was looking for help. When he sought the assistance of a nearby homeowner, she shut the door because “she thought he was trying to rob her” according to the Charlotte Observer. Police were apparently responding to the homeowner’s report of an attempted break-in.

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Get it Right

Recently, a reporter with The State contacted me about an article she was writing.  Said she wanted to know my thoughts about whether interim Richland Two Superintendent, Dr. Debbie Hamm, should be asked to stay on or whether the District should conduct a national search for the position.

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How History Will Judge Us After the March on Washington?

The 1963 March on Washington was a pivotal moment for African American people, a day when people joined to fight for jobs, peace and justice.  More than 250,000 people traveled to Washington, coming by busses, trains, and occasionally planes.  They came despite the scourge of segregation, which meant that many who were driving had to carefully select the places they could stop and eat (actually most brought goodies from home) or relieve themselves. Despite obstacles, a quarter of a million people showed up in Washington, gathering peacefully and with dignity. As a result of the March, the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964, and the Voting Rights Act in 1965 was passed with more than three-quarters of the House and Senate supporting both Acts.

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The Road to Damascus

One of the most enduring Biblical stories I recall from my childhood is the conversion of Saul to the Apostle Paul on the road to Damascus. The power of the story is in the transformation of a notorious persecutor of Christians into one of God’s great messengers. While traveling the danger filled road to what is now the capital of Syria, Saul has an encounter with God in the form of a blinding light that leaves him sightless. It is the final stage of a rehabilitation of Saul that is completed when God instructs Ananias to heal the man Christians loathed and he is baptized and from that point leads a converted life as Paul.

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Russell Simmons, you defamed not just Harriet Tubman but all black women

Not all heroes are created equal. Some garner considerably more praise and attention. For a lucky few, we fight fiercely to preserve their work and reputation because collectively we agree that this is what they deserve.

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Russell Simmons’ Triflin’ Ways

When I was a child I knew that my grandmother Dora held someone in low regard when she used the word trifling, or in her southern twang triflin’, to describe the person. It was the first word that came to mind when thinking about hip-hop entrepreneur Russell Simmons and the demeaning characterization of abolitionist Harriet Tubman in a “comedy” video on his new You Tube channel. The depiction of Tubman, a true hero of the Black liberation movement in America, as sexually promiscuous and conniving, is an insult to her legacy and the struggle of African-American women through time to be treated as human beings and not objects of male fantasy or manipulation. In one moment of extreme ignorance, Russell Simmons managed to take us all back to a point in time when Black women were relegated to “thing” status.

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U.S. Supreme Court has again weakened workers’ rights

“The Court’s disregard for the realities of the workplace means that many victims of workplace harassment will have no effective remedy.” Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice, United States Supreme Court

While the headlines have been dominated by the much-anticipated recent Supreme Court rulings on the Voting Rights Act, affirmative action and marriage equality, the Court also issued two lesser-covered rulings that are an affront to workers’ rights and their ability to seek justice if they face discrimination on the job. As with the ruling on Section Four of the Voting Rights Act, these two decisions strip away critical protections granted under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and continue to overturn decades of anti-discrimination protections.

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Dreaming is Insufficient

As preparations continue for the 50th anniversary commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington my thoughts are focused on the tangible changes in America that event triggered. Framed by a civil rights movement that had been gaining traction since Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, and the Montgomery bus boycott one year later, the march was the climax of decades long struggle to address injustices cast upon the descendants of slaves. After more than a quarter million people, of all races and faiths, converged on the nation’s capital, historic civil rights and voting rights legislation was passed by Congress and signed by President Lyndon Johnson in the two years after the march.

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Exhausted by Racism

At age 54 I have lived my life under the burden of being a Black male in this nation, and being a conscious African-American for the better part of my youth and adult years. I have not lived a racially isolated life; my upbringing was in majority white ethnic neighborhoods and my friends represent the rainbow of humanity. Yet, my experiences and the restrictions placed on my liberty have been a function of my skin color. It is a fact that I cannot escape and a reality of daily life, as certain as the changing of day into night.

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