Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mad As A Hatter:
Mercury Poisoning Found In Many Of
Our Foods Via High Fructose Corn Syrup

As I snuggled in my bed to take a well deserved afternoon nap, I could hear the child below my apartment screaming and the sound of furniture being tossed about. If I didn't know better, I'd swear someone was abusing the hell out of him. It continued for over ten minutes.

It's getting worse, I thought.

I walked to the living room where my children sat.

"Do y'all hear that?", I asked angrily. "What in the hell is really going on down there?"

My daughter replied, "I'm on chat now talking to Danica. He's having another one of his fits."

"I don't know," I said, "I've never heard it this bad."

"Come down there with me," she answered. "I guarantee you he's attacking his mother."

This was dilemma; on one hand, no one wants to meddle, on the other hand, if the kid was being severely abused, ignoring it could result in injuries.

I recalled my own son's temper tantrums at an early age that worsened at 13, when he got into alcohol, inhalents, drugs, later with gangs, and was literally crazy. The last house I lived in was a constant reminder of this: broken windows, holes in the walls... even the deck suffered from his taking a sledge hammer to it one day when no one was home and he was in a snit about something.

They both know me like a book and we have this painful, shared memory. Cassie ran out the door before I could say a word. She has a good relationship with the family because she plays there often with their daughter. I don't, because the mother speaks little English and the father's is only passable. Even though we only speak and smile in passing, they strike me as gentle people.

She returned five minutes later. "Yep", she said, "he's having a fit. Attacking his mom and throwing stuff around. He's as mad as a hatter."

Throughout all this, Xavier sat impassively and unconcerned. I looked at him quizzically. Mr. Might Makes Right gave a small frown.

"Kid bettah be glad I ain't his daddy. I'd crush his lil' azz."

I can't count the number of times he said years ago that he wished he had a father to put the brakes on his behavior. It was so extreme that whether or not it would have helped is questionable. Turning 20, being off drugs for two years, and finding good outlets for his energy has, but he still has a long way to go.

The thing is, the kid downstairs has a father, right there in the home and my daughter says he acts the same way with him. I've worked with too many other two-parent families where a solid, stable, involved father was present, yet the child still had major behavior problems which crossed the line into irrationality.


I thought about this the following day when I could hear this seven year old kid go off again. My mind wandered to the reasons scientists and sociologists have considered, from vaccinations that have toxic ingredients to too much time spent with video games.

Today I read this new report, US Researchers Find Traces Of Toxic Mercury In High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Damn. This stuff is EVERYWHERE. Corn syrup is a major ingredient in many of the foods we eat and has been widely used as a replacement for sugar.

A researcher in this article said, "We went and looked at supermarket samples where high fructose corn syrup was the first or second ingredient on the label... These 55 different foods included barbecue sauce, jam, yogurt and chocolate syrup. We found about one out of three had mercury above the detection limit."

Also stated was, "There is no established safe dose for elemental mercury, the type discovered in corn syrup. But the US Environmental Protection Agency says an average-sized woman should limit her exposure to 5.5 micrograms a day of methylmercury, the kind found in fish. If that same woman regularly ate corn syrup contaminated at the highest level detected in the study - 0.57 micrograms per gram - the researchers estimated that she could end up consuming an amount of mercury that is five times higher than the EPA's safe dose."

Word up, mothers, and ladies of child-bearing age...

Eating fish with high levels of mercury has been the major source of exposure for most people in the past century. It's also been in mascara, various medicines, and vaccinations for your kids.

From wikepedia: "Since the 1930s some vaccines have contained the preservative thiomersal, which is metabolized or degraded to ethyl mercury. Although it was widely speculated that this mercury-based preservative can cause or trigger autism in children, scientific studies showed no evidence supporting any such link."

Well, that ain't what I heard over the past ten years, and I checked that one wiki link. There are plenty of other links out there that say otherwise, just google those two words, mercury and autism, and see what you pull up. This June 2005 article, Deadly Immunity, is about an investigation by Robert Kennedy, Jr. and enough to make you angry.

And if you know much about autism, you know there's been an explosion of cases in the past twenty years, along with learning disabilities - both linked to mercury, and oddly in sync with the increase of high fructose corn syrup used in this country.

Hats off to Barack Obama, who "in response to a 2005 Chicago Tribune series about mercury hazards, introduced legislation that would force chlorine plants to phase out its use or shut down. One plant in Wisconsin later vowed to switch to a mercury-free process by this year, leaving four others - in Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia - that still use the older technology."

Speaking of hats, in the mid-18th to 19th century in Western countries, a chief source of mercury poisoning came from making certain types of hats. The solution used and the vapors were toxic. Correct or not, it was associated with driving the hat folks insane. Remember the Mad Hatter character in the story, Alice In Wonderland? That's where the author, Lewis Carroll, got it from.

So now we have the Corn Syrup folks having a fit over new research and are in denial mode. Has the fear of future lost profits made them as mad as hatters in wanting to keep doing business as usual, or are they correct and there's nothing to this new research report?

Who do you believe?

And do you become vigilant at the grocery store, and give up your favorite processed foods for the sake of you kids and maybe yourself?

I think of this, as I also think of how the underclass and working class populations consume more processed foods in the black community nearly any than other.

This evening I look at the photos of my son with a few of his hardcore homeboyz. Their eyes are cold and faces hard, from both profiling for the camera, but also from the insults to their minds and bodies while growing up, their learning disabilities, school failures, the loco lives they've lived, and often being unfairly targeted by cops when they weren't doing anything wrong, and I think of mercury and corn syrup, their addiction-like love for processed foods, and I wonder if it's a newly revealed enemy for our people...

Meanwhile the Asian child downstairs, who was born in this country and refuses to eat the food of his parent's native culture, continues to act as mad as hatter.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Path To Less Stress

I've been unwinding after a busy but not terribly productive week. On on positive note, Tuesday's Inauguration was great, wasn't it?

Then it was back to life as I know it: looking for more work, juggling responsibilities, and pondering why problems sometimes hit us from sources we least expect - in our personal lives and the world. Then it's time to step back, reassess, problem solve, and de-stress.

Thus, my first Salsa lesson!

Click that link because right now YouTube and Blogger must be having some sort of pseudo-marital spat, and tell me what you think.

No, that ain't me in the video, but 25 years ago it coulda shoulda have been, 'cause paint me a shade or two darker and that was me. Not just the look, but something about her spirit as she conveys it through her dance... wildly feminine and utterly comfortable with it.

(Young sistas, that's a hint: enjoy your youth because time really does fly, and try to avoid excess snacking!)

And tell me the brotha in the video doesn't look like a lot of fun... If Salsa had been popular around the DC area in the late 70s to mid-80s, I'd have been on it.

However, on Friday night I was dancing with two left feet. Salsa might be like learning how to ride a bicycle, where you're the laughing stock of the 'hood in the beginning, but after you learn you never forget. I was so bad my friend who was trying to teach me asked if I was on crack.

Hmmm... maybe I shoulda been - it might have loosened me up.

Nah, that's a joke.

Anyway, in the wee hours of this morning, my mind roamed to a post I did a few days after Thanksgiving to get y'all thinking ahead of time about resolutions for the New Year. How are you doing with that?

So, on a serious note again, here's part of it below, which illustrates how our bad habits, or minimizing problems, or sticking around too long in a hopeless, toxic situation can get us into a hole.

Otherwise I'm still on chill mode for what's left of the weekend, and will try to visit your blogs soon and post something less fluffy here in a couple days. Have a blessed Sunday.

Chapter 1

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost... I am hopeless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter II

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in this same place.
But it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter III

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it there.
I still fall in... it's a habit... but,
my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter IV

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the street.
I walk around it.

Chapter V

I walk down another street.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day
Open Thread, Photos, Reflections

This popped up at noon today at whitehouse.gov.

In the early hours of today, I finally decided not to brave the cold morning weather, packed subway station, to merge with an ocean of a crowd. I know if I were half my age, I'd have been there at the crack of dawn...

My daughter Cassie might be there already... hope so, because around 10:30, the area was filled to capacity and it's been closed off. If so, my next hope is they can get close enough to bring back photos worth posting. That place was already packed by 6AM.

Today I'll be updating off and on, with interesting Inauguration photos as I run across them.

Yesterday, young brothas on the Mall,
celebrating Martin Luther King's birthday.
They remind me so much of the great kids I grew up with in DC.
(Hat tip: Matt Lutton)

Folks camping out the night before.

Pre-Inauguration readiness at the Nation's Capitol.

Beginning the morning with God.
Barack & Michelle arrive at St. John's Episcopal Church
in DC this morning.

Early morning parade route

Barack & Michelle, en route to the Inauguration!

What a crowd!

Close up crowd view.

Crowd view of Barack's dad's country, Kenya.

The big view.

The Amazing Google GeoEye Satellite View!

Joe Biden sworn in as VP.

Barack Obama taking the Oath of Office!

Kudos to the new First Family!

Love this shot I snagged from one of my fav bloggers, BagNewsNotes
It says it all, doesn't it?

Secretly sending GWB to Guantanamo Bay!
(Hahaha, just a joke.)

The Obama's doing the traditional Parade Walk.

10:20 PM Update - My Unforgettable Moments

Somber moment: At 6AM, when I admitted to myself that I probably would become seriously exhausted if I went to Inauguration. The combination of cold and standing all day would have made me ill. After reading this NY Times article tonight, I'm glad I respected my body's limit's.

Music to my soul moment: Aretha Franklin singing.

Favorite jumping joy moment: Barack being sworn in. Not a dry eye in fam with anyone, male or female, over 40.

Saddest moment: Sen. Ted Kennedy taking ill.

Scariest but most thrilling moment: Barack & Michelle doing the Parade Walk. I was worried to death for his safety, but thrilled they did it and looked so great!

Moment that made me narrow my eyes: When George W. Bush left. He shoulda been impeached long ago.

Hope in my heart moments: That the younger generation of my people will have a far better chance in having a truly equal chance, and the races, for the most part, will think well of each other. And, that radio and tv programing that is fixed and racist will not be funded by advertisers.

Hope for the future moments: That Barack and his family will remain safe, and that he will remain true to his promises to the best that events allow him to.

Favorite post I've read so far: Inauguration Day: A Strange Light Appears In The Morning Sky, profound satire, by The Peoples News.

Funniest moment: Getting a tip from my man Rippa that Huffington Post published this article, "Bush Pardoned Osama bin Laden". I read it in shock, then do what they should've done: checked for other sources.

I'm convinced it started as a joke video at Air America. Given that HuffPo ain't as racially progressive in their stories or staff writers as they like to pretend - and got suckered big time - I couldn't stop laughing.

Here's a toast. Cheers to the new Commander In Chief!

Open Thread:

I posted these pics and shared my feelings about this day so I could look back on how I felt about it. If you've done the same at your blog, let me and readers here know so I can visit you there.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The New Open Season On Black Men:
Is It Obama Related?

“The fact that justice is blind
is a thing to which we blacks are wise,
her bandage hides two festering sores
that once perhaps were eyes.”

- Aimé Césaire

I don't know Johannes "Johnny" Mehserle, the 27 year old San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) cop who shot dead 22 year old Oscar Grant in the back on New Year's Day at the Fruitville Station. Grant lay face down and pleading "please, please don't Tase me."

Instead, Mehserle, accompanied by other cops including one who had his knee on the victim, straddled Grant while standing, pulled out his gun and shot him in the back.

The bullet pierced Oscar Grant's lung, exited his body, then ricocheted from the floor and back into his body, killing him almost instantly.

One video I saw no longer on YouTube, clearly showed that Grant was handcuffed at the time. Other reports say something more bizarre and unbelievable - that he was handcuffed after he was shot.

Speculation has been that it was an accident and he thought he was pulling out his Taser.

That film and the others I've seen looks like unpremeditated murder to me, much like violent domestic abuse cases and feuds between neighbors where someone snaps under stress, and on an impulse, kills.

In the eyes of the law, this is 2nd degree murder.

Oscar Grant had some history of prior arrests. He was allegedly involved an argument or simple, stupid fight between two groups of unarmed young men on the subway. However, even though he may or may not have been "an angel" by his history as defined by this culture, he was not resisting arrest.

There was no reason for him to be Tasered, much shot execution-style while complacently lying down and probably already handcuffed.

I'll focus of this story more after the next two.


As much of the world celebrated New Years Eve with fireworks and parties, at midnight on January 1st, twenty-two year old Adolph Grimes happily arrived to his grandmother's home in New Orleans after driving five hours from Houston, where he relocated after Hurricane Katrina.

This CNN article says that around 3 AM,

"Grimes had just walked out of the house and was in a car waiting for his cousin, according to family members, when nine plainclothes officers -- part of an undercover narcotics task force driving around New Orleans on New Year's Eve -- surrounded Grimes' vehicle... The Orleans Parish coroner said Grimes was shot 14 times, including 12 times in the back... Shots rang out; New Orleans Police Superintendent Warren Riley said Grimes shot at police first.

The Grimes family disagrees, saying police executed a loved one as he ran for his life.

"It was like someone was a murderer, and they finally caught him," said Grimes' mother, Patricia. "I ain't ever seen anything like this. And the worst part about it was I had to wait for the 5 o'clock news to find out my son was murdered."

Damn. How cold is that?

And I don't know about you, but the average man, and particularly a black man, who is suddenly surrounded by nine armed men of any race and not dressed as officers might think his life was in serious danger.

Also if I recall, it's legal for Texas residents to carry a gun, so he probably did have one to protect himself from criminals. He wasn't one of those, as he no prior arrest history.

So, did he fire a shot first, as the police said, and if so, was it like a warning shot - since none of them were injured - in hopes this mob of white men would back off?

Or had one or more of them fired at him first, since two of the bullet wounds were in front side of body while the other 12 bullets were in his back from him running from them.

Adolph Grimes, like Oscar Grant, left behind a fiance and 17 month old baby.


Then there's the fresh case involving the son of Bobby Tolan, a former famous baseball player for the St. Louis Cardinals and won a World Series title in the late 1960s.

His son, Robbie Tolan, is 23 years old and new in his baseball career. On New Years Eve, he and his cousin arrived home from a fast food place, unarmed and minding their own business.

This MSNBC article says the police had a report of a stolen SUV in the area. This is how the jackass wearing a badge handled it:

As they walked up the driveway to their home, Anthony Cooper said an unidentified man emerged from the darkness with a flashlight and a gun pointed at them.

"We did not know it was a police officer," said Cooper. "He said, 'Stop. Stop.' And we were like, 'Why? Who are you?'"

The officers ordered both men to lie down on the ground. Tolan's parents heard the commotion and came outside. Police will only say an "altercation" took place. Tolan's family say it involved his mother.

"The cop pushed her against the wall," said Tolan's uncle, Mike Morris.

Relatives say Tolan started to lean up from the ground to ask the officer what he was doing to his mother.

That's when the family says Tolan was shot in the chest, the bullet piercing his lung and then lodging in his liver.

"He was the victim of the worst case and worst kind of racial profiling," said community activist Quannel X.

The Bellaire Police Department has called the shooting "tragic" and put the officer involved in the incident on administrative leave.

Robbie Tolan got a bullet lodged in his liver for simply looking up and asking "What are doing to my mother?"

The trigger-happy white cop who shot him "is a ten year veteran with an excellent record", according to the Bellaire, TX Assistant Police Chief, who looked tired but utterly comfortable with his conclusion in this video, where he also stated, "As far as any allegations of racial profiling, I'd say that's probably not going to float."

How in the hell does he know racism wasn't involved? Or won't "float"? And does he really know what's in the heart of his staff?

Eye witnesses said that cop shoved Tolan's mother around and then wrote his version "there was an altercation". Yeah, sounds like he started it too... and does he have a history of shoving white folks who ask questions when their family members are thrown on the ground in their driveway?

This kind of injustice happens all the time in black communities. Every hour of every day. So why should the public believe this cop led a squeaky clean career? Chances are, citizen complaints were never made out of fear of retaliation or hopelessness that nothing would come of it, or were made but dismissed by other like-minded bosses ever-ready to dismiss the possibility of racism.

This would account for so many "clean records" of cops caught on video, like the Oscar Grant case, or in high profile cases like Robbie Tolan. There was no video and he didn't die, so you can bet the bank we had never heard about it if his dad hadn't once been a famous baseball player. It would have just been another abusive white cop and the family's word against the theirs, and totally ignored by the media.


My gut reaction when viewing the Grant videos a few days ago was "Racism! Bastard! Look at that! All of them! Haters swarming around him like predators out for blood! How could they?!"

I still frankly feel that way.

And when I learned of the other two cases over the weekend, I thought:

"Racist bastards. They're probably Obama haters and can't stand it that a black man won the Presidency. This could be the collective aftershock and blowback I feared months ago because Fox News and fixed news and the McCain campaign stirred as much of the white population into a hate frenzy as possible."

The pitfall of thinking this about those specific cases is they're factless-based assumptions. A good assumption will have some evidence that could point to the truth.

However, not a thing I've read about those cases indicate those white cops had or were placing any Obama-related hostilities on the public, whom they are supposed to protect and use the least violent means necessary when making arrests.

What I can do, however, is consider a growing trend of white male police aggression toward black males, and ask, "In this decade, what could have triggered it?"

Stick with me, and I'll give you much to think about.

We have history, and we have recent history of an increase in anti-black hate crimes from the Presidential Election.

I trace the genesis of the recent problem to Hillary Clinton, with her race-specific appeal to "white, working white, voters" to vote for her, her refusal to drop out of the primaries, and for no reason whatsoever brought up how Robert Kennedy was assassinated in the month of June (1968). She did that on three different occasions before the media took note of it in this interview.

It's like MSNBC Keith Olberman said, and I'm paraphrasing: She was hanging around and hoping someone would get the hint and take him out for her.

She also lied back then that she didn't know if he was a Muslim or not. Hell, if I knew Barack's religion, I know she knew.

Because Hillary used an old Southern-style racist campaign strategy that appeals to fears and bigotry, I have never felt comfortable when Barack selected her to be Head of State, but maybe his motto is keep your friends close to you but your enemies closer.

Then there was Mike Huckabee, who cracked a bad, dangerous joke after hearing a noise while giving a speech to the NRA, saying, "That was Barack Obama, he tripped off a chair, he's getting ready to speak and someone aimed a gun at him and he dove for the floor."

Obama wasn't even there, but I wondered when I saw that video if Huckabee's heart wished for something like that to happen, just as I wondered about Hillary's heart. Huckabee, by the way, was 'rewarded' with his own show at Fox News several months after that.

Also on Fox News, commentator Liz Trotta, after mixing up the names Osama [bin Laden] with Obama, said, "We'd knock off both, if we could," and then laughed at her own gaffe.

No outrage was expressed by her colleague, who didn't miss a beat in chuckling with her and continued the interview.

Hell, if they talk like that in public, I shudder to think how they speak and think amongst themselves.

Worse, these public "jokes and gaffes" about the assassination of a candidate running for President was unprecedented.

In late May, I did a post on those three incidents, pointing out it was trend of planting seeds in the minds of the American public that talking like this about the black candidate was okay.

Then along came John McCain and Sarah Palin. My oh my, weren't their rallies like hate fests? I'd have been scared shitless to attend one. They got so bad that even the mainstream media did a double take at their fans, who freely used the word nigger, and some who yelled out kill him and he's a terrorist!

Miles away and watching cable news, I could smell that Nazi-like odor of hate permeating through the crowds along with much of the nation and the world.

McCain had to reign in his race-based fear campaign, but it was too late. The loonies were really coming out of the closet.

Most memorable
were the two dimwitted neo-Nazi's who planned to execute dozens of innocent blacks before proceeding to snuff out Obama, and the homely, pathetic McCain volunteer who carved the letter B on her face and blamed a non-existent black male assailant who allegedly robbed her, then mutilated her when he saw her McCain bumper stickers.

Fox News ran that story day and night - until it was confirmed it was a lie, and then dropped it like a hot potato. Hell, it was just getting good then.

The haters at the fixed news tv and radio shows, sites and blogs didn't want the truth, or consider how lies like that make it dangerous for black people to live in peace and safety - from random violence by whites, to vigilante mobs and more than plausibly, from a small but significant number of men who have no business working in law enforcement.

I haven't seen stats on in this, but in my area, the police began stopping more black men than usual as a McCain victory looked impossible. That's the from Eyeball On The Street crowd - the locals I know, including me and my own two kids - who have seen more blacks pulled over than in previous years.

In October 2008, when it became clear to most that Barack Obama would be the next President, gun and ammo sales were better than ever; so much so that gun stores couldn't keep enough in stock.

What caused this?

The lie that Barack Obama would take away everyone's gun rights?

No, that was fixed news propaganda to hide the real reason.

If that were true, men of all races would be stocking up in the same proportion as they always have. Instead, purchases from blacks, Latinos and Asians remained consistent, but the spike in sales was caused by white men. [Note, when I find the best link to that specific story I read in November, I'll put it here.]

Given the timing and the millions of discussions on the 'net and in the press, I'd venture a guess that most of these guys were and are scared of change.

Thus, how could this not include the few, scary and scared or outright hateful, racist white men who carry a badge and a gun?

Their mindset makes it inevitable that more cases of police brutality and unpremeditated or even premeditated murders will occur in the first few months that Barack is office.


I've heard the question, "What's the big deal or difference? It's just a tiny few cases, and black males get killed every day, nearly always by each other."

In this great country, there are laws designed to protect all citizens so that we may live in peace and safety. When the police and courts abuse their power, the powerless and those who love humanity and the Constitution lose trust in the system, and sometimes respect for the law. The attitude becomes, "They're doing the same shit we do and getting away with it. Eff 'em. I'm gonna do my own thing too."

And how the powers that be have gotten away with violence, thievery and corruption since 9/11 and brutal invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, and right up to the greed that caused the collapse of housing and credit markets, the demise of Wall Street, and supporting the walling off of Gaza, semi-starving Palestinian citizens late last year leading to blowback, and now supporting the current bombing of Gaza back into the Stone Age.

Tell me how the thugs in charge are any different from the teen and young adult thugs on our streets? Both groups want what they want and justify taking it by any means necessary with no regard to the victims they leave behind.

The young take their cues from their leaders, and our leaders have been miserable examples for them to follow. The message has been clear: human life is not valued.

Combined with being frequent targets of racial profiling, racism, the kind of unemployment levels that whites are seeing for the first time since 1945, or simply watching the rampant racism in the news last year related to the election process, is their no wonder that so many blacks are doing so badly? Or that a lifestyle of intense pleasure-seeking aka hedonism, which may or may not include using hard drugs, is their escape from unhappiness?


I give enormous credit to the many whites who are sick of the generations of racism and injustice and want no part of it.

Ever heard of the Hatfield's and the McCoy's? They were two hillbilly families who had feud. It lasted for generations, and only ended because the young'uns got sick and tired of this poison that harmed their families.

So it may be with the Oscar Grant case, shot dead while not resisting arrest.

A massive protest with some property destruction began on January 7th. The protest to end the symbolic feud between the races via police brutality, which turned into a riot could have been avoided if the Mayor hadn't screwed up so badly, according to this eye witness:

"We got to Civic Center, completely surrounded by riot police, buzzed by 4 helicopters with bright white lights shone in our faces. Someone yelled that the mayor wanted to speak. That we should all go sit down in the amphitheatre.

Someone else said, "sit down? you want us to go sit down?" We didn't. But we did gather around Dellums, as he stood on the steps of City Hall and spoke very quietly into a bullhorn. Some people were yelling and joking and making noise, other people yelled, "let the man speak! Let him speak!" Most people were quiet. Still, we couldn't hear 90% of what he said.

He held a lot of power in that moment. I felt that people were proud that he was there, walking the streets with us. All he needed to say to this Peaceful gathering of people was, "I hear you. There will be a transparent investigation. I will help fight for justice."

People would have listened.

Instead, he said a few condescending words:

"We have to talk to each other with respect... We are civilized people, we are a civilized community. I know you're upset because of something you think you saw," to which people responded, "We know what we saw! You saw it too!"

And then he turned around, walked into City Hall, and left us alone with angry, scary cops. I thought I could feel the crowd panic."

Let me pause here to talk about leadership. This is where it almost always shoots itself in the foot and perpetuates the problem of any kind of injustice.

The official leader insults the intelligence of those who know what they saw by insinuating that somehow their eyes are lying. No one likes to be played for a fool, or brainwashed.

Done enough times to enough people under the perfect circumstances where the 'new generation' is sick of the injustice that poisoned their previous generations, revolutions are born.

"Someone said, "now we're in for it." People stood stunned for a minute, and then some ran down 17th. I heard some smashing glass. I heard someone say, "here it goes."

And so it did.

"Some more people ran towards the noise, and the rest of us looked at each other and walked over there. The riot cops followed us in formation. We stood in the middle of Frank Ogawa plaza and some of us talked, most just stood quietly. I didn't see any other glass breaking/mayhem. Then someone said loudly, "Tear Gas" "Tear Gas" so we all walked quickly away.

Someone yelled, "they'll rush us after they throw the gas."

Then I saw a man pick up a very big wooden sign and throw it at a car. I decided to leave. I walked down 17th towards Broadway. Then I heard a noise and turned around. I saw about 30 people running straight at me. So, I started running too. I stepped on something and twisted my knee, so then I was hobbling. A couple people ran by me, but most people stopped running about then.

When I turned around, I saw a couple teenagers jumping on a car and smashing the glass. I walked up Broadway towards the Paramount. I'd turn around periodically and see people running or walking down 17th across Broadway.

I sat down at the bus stop to wait for the bus, and about 5 minutes later saw the armored car drive by. It's like a cross between a Hummer and a Tank and the Batmobile from Batman Begins. 6-8 cops were hanging off the outside of it.

Then I went home: about 1/2 a mile away in a totally different world. My beautiful tree-lined street was quiet, with no one out. Yeah, I live in the suburbs. No, I didn't grow up here. But a man was shot point blank in the back, and that's something every race, every gender, all socio-economic groups, all neighborhoods should be outraged by. We need comprehensive systemic change."

I couldn't agree more.

I also think that young man who wrote this was lucky his skin color was white, not brown. Otherwise I can't help but wonder if he'd have been rounded up with the other over 100 rioters earlier, or while sitting at that bus stop, waiting to retreat to the safety of his home.

Meanwhile, Oscar Grant's willing or accidental killer, Johannes Mehserle has retreated in safety too.

The last report is he's using the "Taser defense", claiming he thought he was holding his taser, not his gun.

BART appears to be trying to drum up sympathy for him by saying Mehserlie and his family have had death threats. Wouldn't surprise me if this is true.

They're also doing damage control.

"We must learn from our mistakes and we must make sure this never happens again," Director Carole Ward Allen told the crowd. "I want to hear everything you have to say. You have every right to hold us accountable."


"Whether it was a tragic accident or something else is a question that the investigations hopefully will answer," said board President Thomas Blalock.

Something else?

Hell, if I didn't know what the story was about, I wouldn't have clue he was talking about the high probability this was a unpremeditated act of murder.

I ain't the jury, but if I were on it, after seeing all four available videos, I don't know how I could get my brain to contradict what my eyes saw.

This gets to language and the mistakes of leaders and their embracing Orwellian double speak.

Afraid to spell out the unspeakable act that could have happened, they use different words to dilute or cloud what could have happened, and further create suspicion and more anger.

Those BART officials didn't learn from the mistake of the Mayor, or from current Bush Administration that you cannot fool all the people all of the time.

Even the San Francisco Chronicle news article jumped on the bandwagon of protecting BART by titling that story, BART Directors Apologize To Slain Man's Family.

The words apology or apologize appear nowhere in it except the paper's interpretation of what was said and written into the title - for folks who don't read beyond the first paragraph.

Those are the ones who might be fooled. As I hinted at earlier, you can fool all of of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but never all of the people all of the time.

SF Gate newspaper should know better, but the don't. They appear too invested in maintaining the social hierarchy and keeping the unwashed masses quiet.

This same giant newspaper ran a story today titled, BART Cop Recalled As Gentle Giant As A Kid.

Even ABC news did their bit with this video news story titled, Rights of Officers Who Are Accused Of Crimes. They also continued the myth of BART's formal apology.

One audience member, a community member, hit the nail when she said in confrontation,"You need to watch the tapes of your faces in the hearing, because your faces don't look sensitive."

I agree. Some of those azzholes had smirks.

My message to the old guard, head-in-the-sand mainstream media:

Gimme a friggin' break. Run an article or broadcast news story about how Oscar Grant's baby daughter will grow up without a father, who may have been a gentle kid himself before he learned that the deck was stacked against him because he had brown skin, and had his short life end brutally like a deer trapped by hunters.

I don't know the now ex-officer who did the bloody deed. I suspect it was unpremeditated homicide because of the stress.

HOWEVER, even though people do snap under stress, why is it that you never, ever read about a 'stressed' black cop 'accidentally' shooting and killing a white guy he's trying to talk to or arrest?

This begs the question: are a higher number of white cops afraid and/or hostile toward black men, get 'stressed' more easily and as a result, are more Taser or trigger-happy? And is this a result of their own hidden racism which they may or may not acknowledge to themselves?

Johnny Mehserle quit his job on Wednesday, January 7th, and BART no longer can make him talk. His attorney has said little about the case. He's hiding out and safe. Because of four videos showing his crime, he'll probably do time, but at the same time, I won't be surprised if he gets off with a suspended sentence and probation - which is what you might expect for a minor marijuana possession charge.

Oscar Grant was buried on the same day, may he all the victims rest in peace, and their loved ones left behind find strength.

Meanwhile I ask, why, why, why?

In tears, I ask why, but I know the answer: it lies in the quote at the beginning of this article.

Update/Addendum, Friday 1/16/2009:

The riots and protests sent a powerful message that justice could not ignore. On 1/14, Johannes Meserlie, the now ex-BART cop, was arrested on a fugitive warrant in Nevada, and charged with the murder of Oscar Grant. He is being held without bail.

I can't hep but wonder if he's also an Obama hater - not because of policies but because of his race, and his resentment mushroomed and compromised his duty to equaly protect and respect all citizens.

Even if it's only a few nasty, racist cops out of a hundred, those numbers add up, especially when they are protected by the system. It turns out that Meserle had another victim report brutality at his hands. Read that link if you want to know details. Here's a brief excerpt:

"Ken Carrethers told ABC7 News in San Francisco that he was arrested after complaining to another passenger that his car had been broken into twice in the parking lot and the transit police did nothing because "they're standing around with their hands in their pockets."

To make a long story short, Meserlie overheard him, took it personal, allegedly got in his face and said, "I think you're drunk" (he wasn't), to justify abusing him and then falsely arrested him.

Carrethers, told CNN, "Had someone listened to me at the time when I first began trying to get help, there just might have been a chance that Oscar Grant might still be alive."

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Twelve Days of Barack's Inauguration

We're twelve days away from I-Day! I made up this sorta satire of our await for Barack's Inauguration, to be sung to the tune of The 12 Days of Christmas... as much as humanely possible. By the way, if this year you were a member of his site, you'll "get" the 'My Obama' part and frequent emails sent to you.

This is also unquestionably the silliest post I've ever written. What the heck! Enjoy.

On the first day of Barack
My Obama sent to me
Promises that 2009
"would be one of those years
that come along
once a generation"
And an email about his Inauguration.

On the second day of Barack
My Obama sent to me
Two plans to double
alternative energy
One promise that 2009
would be a doozy
for this generation
And an email about his Inauguration.

On the third day of Barack
My Obama sent to me
Three plans to expand
roads rails and bridges
Two plans to double
alternative energy
One promise that 2009
would be a doozy
for this generation
And an email about his Inauguration.

On the fourth day of Barack
My Obama sent to me
His four year list
of stuff to do
Three plans to expand
transport infrastructure
Two plans to double
alternative energy
And an email about his Inauguration.

On the fifth day of Barack
My Obama sent to me
Five $300 billion tax credits
for parents...
and individuals...
and businesses...
and unemployment benefits...
and for the poor
Four year list of stuff to do
Three plans to expand
transport infrastructure
Two plans to double
alternative energy
And an email about his Inauguration.

On the sixth day of Barack
My Obama sent to me
A half dozen comments
that didn't reveal that much
about the turmoil
in the Middle East
Five $300 billion tax credits
Four years' list of stuff to do
Three plans to expand
transport infrastructure
Two plans to double
alternative energy
And an email about his Inauguration.

On the seventh day of Barack
My Obama sent to me
Seven promises he stopped
using his Blackberry
but we know it's his Crackberry
Six "no comment" Middle East comments
Five $300 billion tax credits
Four years' list of stuff to do
Three plans on transportation
Two plans on alternative energy
And an email about his Inauguration.

On the eighth day of Barack
My Obama sent to me
Eight condolences to the G8 nations
for all the damage Bush did
with guarantees he'll be different
Seven Blackberry promises
Six "no comment" Middle East comments
Five $300 billion tax credits
Four years' list of stuff to do
Three plans on transportation
Two plans on alternative energy
And an email about his Inauguration.

On the ninth day of Barack
My Obama sent to me
Reassurance that he's like a cat
blessed with nine lives
so to please not to worry
about the Obama haters
Eight condolences to the G8
Seven Blackberry promises
Six "no comment" Middle East comments
Five $300 billion tax credits
Four years' list of stuff to do
Three plans on transportation
Two plans on alternative energy
And an email about his Inauguration.

On the tenth day of Barack
My Obama sent to me
Ten economic warnings
for ten American states
already or about to go bankrupt
along with the DOW plunging more
where my friends lost all their money
along with their homes foreclosing
or losing their credit card accounts
for no reason
Nine reassurances of his safety
Eight condolences to the G8
Seven Blackberry promises
Six "no comment" Middle East comments
Five $300 billion tax credits
Four years' list of stuff to do
Three plans on transportation
Two plans on alternative energy
And an email about his Inauguration.

On the eleventh day of Barack
My Obama sent to me
Eleven Yes We Can's
from his Team Obama
that say they ain't for drama
enough of that already
from the past eight years
where Bush & Co. stirred up our fears
and made most come true
thank God those pirates are gone
Me n' Barack singing so long
And ten economic warnings
Nine reassurances of his safety
Eight condolences to the G8
Seven Blackberry promises
Six "no comment" Middle East comments
Five $300 billion tax credits
Four years' list of stuff to do
Three plans on transportation
Two plans on alternative energy
And an email about his Inauguration.

On the Twelth day of Barack
My Obama sent to me
Twelve hours of being there
at his Inauguration
I could hardly see him
in the audience
of over 4,000,000 people
I really didn't care
'cause I got TIVO
Except I couldn't find
a Porto Potty
Of all the twelve days
Why couldn't he plan
for a place where I could 'go'
It don't really matter
My Obama's in White House
And still sneaking emails
On his Blackberry
And this I think true
Cause he thanked me
Or maybe it was Michelle
Lord I love her too
Hugs to their fam
and all us who voted
for making possible
Barack Obama's Inauguration!

~ Kit

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Learning Through Nature
And Listening To God In 2009
When Pondering The State Of The World

We are many things, and one is that we each are only one grain of sand on this beach of humanity. The waves of life crash upon us, but collectively we survive.

I live in a nation where the first hint of a coming tsunami has made itself known. If you've ever seen or read about them in the world of nature, they are caused by sudden, shifting plate boundaries on the crust of the earth. On dry land, sudden plate movement causes an earthquake; when on the ocean floor, the result can be tsunami. We don't read or hear about many of them because they occur in the middle of 'nowhere' - the ocean, and don't affect coastlines.

Like politics and wars, some ocean earthquakes are near enough to us to affect us.

Just before a tsunami strikes, the ocean shoreline is sometimes is sucked back far away from the beach leaving the view of shallow water. Islanders have learned that's the time to run like hell in the opposite direction of the beach. For the ignorant or the curious who remain to see what is going on, many sealife animals are revealed: starfish, clams, other shelled creatures left in the sand.

And then it happens. The mega tons of water that pulled back now rush forward in a giant wall moving at tremendous speed back toward the land. The result is destruction to man-made habitats and man himself, if he's in the way.

Unpopulated areas rarely if ever suffer total destruction. The age of the earth is thought to be over four billion years old. History is unwritten and animal and plant life goes on. Mankind is but a blip in the life of this planet.

Similar to an impending tsunami, our economic resources are being sucked out of the system. We face a Great Depression far greater than our grandparents or great grandparents did. We may even see the collapse of our currency and the fall of this neo-Roman empire.

For every action, there is a counter action.

We are many things, and we are also each a drop of water in the ocean of humanity.

Like a great wall of water, we will rise up and crash upon the shores of the future. Many of us, including me, will likely be part of this, for the fall of every great civilization sucks up its citizens like a tsunami and sends them crashing to whatever fate lies in wait.

We will collectively be swept into a new revolution in the weeks to come. It may be quietly loud and miserable, or overtly loud and full of civil unrest.

More states will go bankrupt. Schools will debate shortening the school year or even the week and some will, thousands of businesses will close, and chances are this will include a mall near you. Products you've purchased all your life will be gone.

Due to millions more jobs lost, homes and apartment buildings foreclosed, the difficulty or impossibility of getting loans, credit card accounts closed, more people will become homeless, and life will be hard for many. Dogs and cats will live together, and these groups of unwilling families and friends will be forced to negotiate basic resources like food, i.e., "No Jamal, you can't have seconds, and Keisha, stop using the paper towels so much."

As many drops of water, we might have a prayer of a chance of collectively forming a tsunami - not a destructive one, but one where we crash into a revolution of self-sufficiency, greater tolerance for one another, and random acts of kindness.

The alternative is a Police State, rioting, mass arrests and incarcerations where all Constitutional rights have been suspended, and I don't think death camps for 'trouble makers' and 'undesirables' are too far-fetched of an idea, especially if war occurs on our homeland. We literally could descend into utter social chaos and a new Dark Ages.

The question in our hearts and guiding us through 2009 and beyond could be the challenge of Jesus to live by these words: I am my brother's keeper.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Pulling The Short Straw On New Years

So, if you got nobody, are you glad that New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are over?

Don't everybody answer at once now.

Fat chance of that. I ain't gonna lie to you. Not having a significant other or a date or a BFF to be with on those two days are a drag... at least for me and a lot of folks I know and have known, clients included.

It can also be embarrassing. Maybe I'm projecting, but I think a lot of bloggers and readers of blogs have been so quiet so everyone would think were busy.

No, not busy working, but busy having fun, fun, fun! Making love, hanging out with at relatives, chilling with friends, dancing, singing, partying, you know the expectations. If you've had a blast, I'm truly happy for you.

However, I like to keep it trill, so I won't lie to y'all. I ain't had shit to do last night or today. Sucks for me. Some years are like that.

I was actually jealous of one of my best friends. Two years ago he began taking Salsa dancing lessons and also encouraged me to. In my narrow mind I couldn't fathom me doing this. I hadn't grown up around it and it wasn't part of my culture or time period.

Oh how times change. Bro can Salsa his azz off now, and had all kinds of party invitations last night from friends he made in his classes and a date.

*Mental Note: Learn Salsa in 2009*

And I have no boyfriend. Have a fella I'd love to love but it never panned out. Lots of mutual liking and respect mixed with occasional flirting, but it just never kick started.

As they say, it be's that way sometime. I can rationalize that he works long hours, has custody of a teen nephew and his elderly, mentally deteriorating mother and her husband live with him, so he's got a lot folks to help.

But if I've learned anything in life, it's that when someone is really into you, they make time for you. Somehow, some way, they find a way. When they don't, for the sake of your own sanity and self-esteem, let it go.

And my friends and relatives had plans or were out of town.

So there sat I, lonesome but not lonely, on New Years Eve and New Years Day.

What a contrast to just before and during Christmas, which was nice and added to my collection of memories that I'll enjoy when I get really old and hit the rocking chair.

My 20 year old son, on the other hand, has been lonesome, lonely and irritable during this time. He's flat broke, which affected his pride. He had girls calling him beginning on the 30th, but I'd hear hear him mumble he was "stuck with relatives".

That would be my boring azz.

Xavier was realling hoping to find a house party, but none materialized. His homeboyz were just as lonesome or broke, calling to find a free place to celebrate. He finally left out here around 10 PM yesterday to meet up with a guy who'd get him in free at a club.

To his credit, he did not return home tipsy, drunk, or smelling of weed. He was still lonesome today as he had no invites, and slept through most of it to avoid dealing with his boredom.

My 13 year old daughter, on the other hand, is still partying. Cassie jet out of here early yesterday and ain't coming back home until tomorrow. She's always had a ton of friends and even more since she made the cut for the girl's basketball team. I imagine they're driving somebody's mother nuts with their giggling, music and girly stuff. Hats off to the New Year's success story in my fam.

To move this essay to a deeper level, what is it about being alone on a major holiday that is so difficult, even for single folks who are otherwise happy in their life?

I think again that it has to do with the expectations - and the symbolism. We live in a culture that places a high value on sharing special moments with lovers, friends, and/or family. Birthdays and special days of the year are widely advertised - and commercialized. We see happy faces on TV and ads, and usually know others who are having a good time - or at least pretending.

We ask ourselves, "Why not me? How'd I miss out? Aren't I just as nice and desirable as those folks?"

Yes, you probably are. Being all alone on particular days, however, can make a large number of people question their worth to others.

In case you don't know, one of the busiest days for in-patient psychiatric admissions at hospitals is Valentine's Day. I've seen a number of older teens and young adults become suicidal because their partner ignored or broke up with them "on that special day".

Eff that special day, especially if it could send you to your grave because it wasn't what you expected.

During these times when you find yourself alone - either physically alone or lonely with someone whose presence makes you lonely - you may feel out of the mix and ponder, WTF happened?

What happened is the luck of the draw.

While you were having the time of our life on some other days and oblivious to others who weren't, on this day you pulled the short straw.

*Mental note #2: develop more hobbies and interests with people beyond your cyberspace friends or boring or too busy real life friends so you'll have more long straws to pull.*

Happy New Year anyway.

We're gonna need all the happiness we can get, 'cause my prediction is that 2009 and 2010 are gonna be a bitch. Shit is so bad politically here and around the globe I'm hesitant to even write about what I really think about it.

For now, lemme just say this: I think our nation pulled the short straw - permanently.