Wednesday, November 28, 2007
But I can tell you about the years I do know about:
1965: the year the Beatles and the Rolling Stones came to America, and Motown hit its peak. Yeah, I was a little too young to know this, but those who do would agree this was probably the pivital moment that music could never look back from forever.
1967: The Summer of Love. Nuff said. Too many artists to mention, but defintely the year that music hit the mark that defined everything that came after. One cool year, too (even if I was just a little boy then). Life was pretty cool in '67. Of my favorites of this year? Jim Morrison and the Doors (c'mon baby Light my Fire), Sly & The Family Stone (I Wanna Take ya Higher), and Edwin Birdsong (Here comes the Judge). But for many more, The Grateful Dead's debut.
1969: Woodstock. Need I say more? What more can I say about the year that changed America? Hendrix, Carlos Santana, Fleetwood Mac, Jefferson Starship, the list is endless.
1971-72: Shaft, Superfly, Al Green, The O-Jays. And the beginning of TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia). The year America found its five on the black-hand side. And we're better for it.
1973: Earth, Wind & Fire with Evil. Stevie Wonder with Superstition. The Ohio Players, Mandrill, and the introduction of Parliament/Funkadelic. Yes. Boston. Traffic. Eric Clapton. Funk, R&B and Rock hit their stride. And with the jazz-rock-fusion of Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Ramsey Lewis and the incomprorable Grover Washington Jr, the modern funk and smooth jazz sounds was born.
1978: The pinnacle of the Disco Era. Without a doubt, Donna Summer and many many others did a helluva job spearheading a revolution in dance music. And a social icon lifestyle standard, the predecessor of the Bling Era, was established. Think Saturday Night Fever.
1983: Michael Jackson. Madonna. Prince. Rick James. Lionel Ritchie, Evelyn Champagne King. Phil Collins. The Clash, Tina Turner. Punk Rock and New Wave were at their peak, a new music form was taking hold (rap) and the aforementioned artists put out music that became legend. For me, this was probably the best music year ever.
1991: New Jack Swing, which was brought to its still-dominant peak by the movie New Jack City (thanks Nino Brown and you Cash Money Brothers). This year inspired the likes of Teddy Riley, R. Kelly, Guy, Bobby Brown/New Edition's springoffs, and also brought us the West Coast Rap of Snoop, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and Tupac Shakur. It's also the year I knew I'd never in life move into an apartment building called The Carter.
1997: Perhaps the coolest year ever; I like to refer to it as "the 9-7". I consider this year the current generation's 1967 or 1973, because the hip-hop revolution and the alternative music generation led us into the music download era, and was in fact LIVE and televised. Busta Rhymes, Usher, Common, Erika Badu, and the icons Mariah Carey, Diddy (when he was Puff Daddy), Biggie Smalls, an' on and on and on. Some of the best artists of the genre, many of whom are icons now, started or came of note in this year. And, like 1967, it was a very cool year to be alive. But most important, like '67 and '73, it inspired a new generation of enlightenment.
2000: the year of Bling, the Boy Bands, and Britney Spears. Ok, a little perverted on the history charts, but a significant year nonetheless. Although still part of the hip-hop revolution of 1997, it changed pop music to platinum status as not just music, but a new culture in America, which later inspired political movements like MoveOn.org and politics on the internet that still exist today. And - oops - some wardrobe malfunctions.
footnote: Quincy Jones was in the mix for damn near all of it.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Sunday, November 18, 2007
LAST week, the Pew Research Center published the 'astonishing finding' that 37 percent of African-Americans polled felt that “due to a widening income gap . . . the values of poor and middle-class blacks have grown more dissimilar over the past decade; and in contrast, the values of most blacks and whites have grown more alike.” I'm still trying to figure out who was 'astonished' by this 'finding'.
How did this happen? Well the old theories, slavery and segregation, surely laid the infrastructure that still exists benignly to this day. The new theories? The decline of factory jobs, crack cocaine, draconian drug laws and outsourcing to be sure.
It's jobs - which creates both stability, an important foundations from which to take risks and create wealth - which are the most significant tool that's needed, the keystone. Economic stability in the black community is the lifeblood, as in any community, that pours life and keeps us safe from the other ills.
The problem is the lack of jobs, and the segregation of opportunity that comes without it, that still marks the overall black community in the United States. This is no doubt emulated in many other parts of the world, but the U.S. must focus on its culpable acts over the years, not worry about what others may or may not do. This nation has a dismal record on its own standing as not to have to concern itself with how the rest of the world handles its problems (Darfur perhaps an exception). You wanna reduce crime, improve schools, and have a more harmonious society with less political division? Easy - use our great potential as a nation to close the gap between rich and poor, not just financially, but spiritually.
A Harvard study of the family trees of 20 successful African-Americans, shows an astonishing pattern: 15 of the 20 descend from at least one line of former slaves who managed to obtain property by 1920 — a time when only 25 percent of all African-American families owned property.
Imagine how different black-white relations would be had “40 acres and a mule” really been official U.S. government policy after the Civil War. The gap between the black middle class and underclass shows that ending discrimination would not eradicate black poverty and dysfunction. Further intervention to promulgate a middle-class ethic of success among the poor, while expanding opportunities for economic betterment among every level through promoting upward mobility as a family value at all socioeconomic levels. But who is to do that? Black people, it's your problem you better start before you ask somebody else to do it.
Margaret Thatcher, in the 1980s, turned 1.5 million residents of public housing projects in Britain into homeowners. This was a positive (and liberal) step for the conservative PM Thatcher. It has had mixed results, apparently. But its core benefit is that it has created a stake in the land for these U.K. citizens they didn't have before.
The telltale fact is that the biggest gap in black prosperity isn’t in income, but in wealth. According to a study by the economist Edward N. Wolff, the median net worth of non-Hispanic black households in 2004 was only $11,800 — less than 10 percent that of non-Hispanic white households, $118,300. Sadly, in the wake of the subprime mortgage debacle, an enormous number of houses are being repossessed. But for the black poor, real progress may come only once they have an ownership stake in American society.
Some scholars say that the civil rights movement may be reborn, with the focus to thumbmark the causes of entrenched black economic struggling at all levels, both those afflicted upon and those self-inflicted, and take action. If there is a correlation between land ownership and success of African-Americans that is reflected in current socioeconomics, and partly the result of social forces set in motion by the dismal failure of 40 acres and a mule, then a correction - which means economic and social advancement in one's fellow man support - is surely needed before we really have 2 - or 3 - separate and unequal nations.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
...add to that, as i watch CNBC, rudy's relationship with roger ailes and FOX that has existed since the early 1980s (rudy was at roger's wedding, sat at his table at a white house correspondent's dinner, got FOX on NY Cable when Time-Warner refused, and so on. it's an incestuous story, an incestuous, toxic relationship.
...and of course, it is now shedding light on FOX News' agenda - to get a right-wing demogogue or a Republican they can control into the white house. guess who's their choice for that? yes folks, this 2008 is the year we may elect the Manchurian Candidate.
Once again, another bite at the apple head of Rudy Guiliani. Judith Regan, the already-disgraced publisher who promoted "If I Did It" (and on the day O.J.'s in a hearing to see if he will stand trial for his latest shenanegan, no less) is now suing her publishers who fired her for the O.J. book. She claims that they tried to hush-hush her under pressure from the Guiliani camp over her romantic relationship with Bernard Kerik. Sheeesh!! Daayyymm!!
A little more on the lovers:
After the 911 attacks in 2001, Regan published a "sensational memoir" by New York police chief Bernard Kerik and began sleeping with him. They apparently used an apartment that had been donated to the city for use by emergency workers at ground zero, but which Kerik kept for himself. At the time, Kerik had another mistress, Jeannette Pinero, a married NYC Dept. Of Corrections officer, and Regan cut off the relationship after discovering that his wife was pregnant as well. Thereafter, she told friends that he had begun to harass her, and that she hired a bodyguard for protection. Kerik's lawyer denied the harassment claim.
* from Wikipedia
We enjoy the controversy and juicyness of the story. Rudy's not at the center, but surely has to be questioned about his associates and friends. Hey, I have some rude boys for friends myself, but even our best party (3 strippers dancing and laying on the pool table while the boys played cue ball) doesn't come close to an average Tuesday after work for Bernie. Oh, rudy, be careful who you lay in the bed of politics with!
Rudy's judgment is coming to bear once again. It WILL be the 'house of cards' that brings his nomination hopes down as the cumulative effect weighs in. The Christian Right will eventually abandon him.
BUT - I predict he will win. Why? Because while the heartland types don't share his values, his winning will help them maintain control of the country, and thus push their agenda - their 'VALUES'. The path to power after Bush is the issue. Keeping the country out of the hands of despots, minorities, and heaven forbid - those illegal Mexicans, who no doubt are related to Al Qaeda (if we think so) is the only goal. BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY!
But before you kick another Republican, note that Hillary's donkeys are not too far aside. Her camp obviously put pressure on Eliot Spitzer of NY to drop that drivers licenses for illegals proposal, once it became clear that it was a fair-game election issue for the Senator from NY. No matter that the others are weak on the issue as well, it was proposed by her Dem Governor, in her state. Not good. She ain't havin' none 'o that! Like Rudy apparently, Hillary has goons too.
Let's face facts - the country is divided. There are many cracks now, but the main ravines are rooted in the same old values - fear of those different, resistance to tolerance, lack of compassion, looking for handouts, expecting others to do for you instead of doing for yourself, hating others because you fear they may get past you. If we elect a Democratic president, we will likely be embattled in partisianship for the next 4 years. If we elect another Republican, it better be a major improvement from Bush, especially if he (no 'she' here) keeps us in Iraq and/or goes into Iran.
If the values people really are convictious to their beliefs, they'd push the electability of Mike Hukabee. He needs money, more TV ads, more push - because from what I've seen, if you're Republican he represents more of what you want - if that's really values. Of course, perhaps the value these folks really want to continue is HATING - SOMEONE.
START BY STOP HATING, GOP.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
by then we will also be feeling the early stages of the effects of $100-gallon oil prices on the pump or in the electric bill. then the tight budget pinch begins.
problem is, both will come by christmas, approximately 6 weeks from now. no you'll probably feel in during your winter bills to come, but the increases will likely appear by january, just in time for your credit card bills that will also be coming from christmas. hope you have enough!
************ my advice....keep the heat off until january... **********