The Accidental President

Until Bill Clinton came along, Gerald R. Ford was my favorite president. He is still in my top two.

He never intended to be president, just like I never intended to be a reporter. The stars lined up and we did what we did.

He was selected in 1973, to replace Spiro T. Agnew, as Richard Nixon’s vice president. He ascended to the White House when Nixon was forced to resign. Mr, Ford is the only man to serve as vice president and president without being elected to either office.

While all this was going on, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I had no clear plan. I never thought a black woman could have a future in radio and television. But it happened and in 1976, I met Gerald Ford, president of the United States of America.

I met him when I was a rookie reporter and he was a rookie president. He always had an easygoing way about him. He always smiled, looked you in the eye and if you were close enough, shook your hand.

His handshake wasn’t that phony politician wet fish handshake. It was real. Solid. Firm. Friendly.

Mr. Ford always remembered your name. I wasn’t a national reporter at the time, but I covered him several times, at different times around the country, and after that first time, he always called me Jo.

Back in the day, before Hinckly shot Reagan, it was possible to get close to the president and sometimes Mr. Ford would hang around and chat. He talked sports, current events, and sometimes even asked about your life. Nothing special. Just chitchat before things turned official.

I liked him and looked forward to seeing him, even when there was no chitchat. His eyes always said “hello” even when he couldn’t.

Gerald Ford and others, like Barry Goldwater, Jimmy Carter, George McGovern, Ed Muskie, Tip O’Neill, are the last of a dying breed of bigger than life men, who never took themselves so seriously that they couldn’t connect with just plain folks.

Gerald Ford was a nice guy, period.

Rest in peace, Mr. President.

(originally published in CRAM Magazine, Volume 2, 6/2006)


If it Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix it...

Later this week the Food and Drug Administration is expected to issue a long awaited decision to allow the sale of milk and meat from cloned animals.

Now according to all scientific testing so far, cloned food products are no different from natural food products. However, when polled about the subject, most folks don’t like the idea of eating anything with the word “cloned” attached to it.

I have to admit. I feel the same way. I realize cloning is the wave of the future. I realize the issue has been studied and will continue to be analyzed after the stuff hits the shelves for purchase.

I also realize that we have been eating genetically altered food stuffs for years. It just hasn’t come from cloned animals, yet.

I’m just, well, queasy about the idea. I don’t trust the source. I don’t trust the food stuffs. I don’t trust the scientists who clones the animals, who make the food, that I’m expected to buy and consume. The ultimate result in nearly all endeavors is to make money. And as we all know, some folks will do anything to make a buck.

We consumers are caught between a rock and hard place. Many of our health problems can be directly traced back to the food we eat and the fertilizers and growth hormones that are used to grow our food. The FDA is not the most vigilant of agencies, as we already know. Many of its rulings and approvals are political with little, or no regard for the consumer.

If we buy organically produced food, then we have to ransom our kids in order to buy it and to feed them. So, what do we do? Buy cloned food? Will it be cheaper? Will it be as wholesome as organic? Will it be healthier for us in the long run?

I guess, what I’m feeling is that the entire population is like a test rat living in a cage in some gigantic scientific testing facility. We’re being injected, poked and studied to see what will happen. The results take years to manifest. The same is true for the stuff we eat. It may take years to really tell what happens when we consume cloned food stuffs.

And one final question; given the regulations for what has to be put on a food label, will we even know that we’re eating cloned meat or drinking cloned milk?


Happy ChrismaKwanzaHannuka, Everyone

Taking a break...
May your holiday celebrations be free of stress and happy...
See you next year...


Was I Supposed to be a Boy?

I have never questioned my sexuality because I’ve been pretty convinced, almost since I was born, that I’m gay. I’m also quite sure about my gender. I’m a girl. I like makeup, and dresses and being overly emotional sometimes, and having the door opened for me and all that other feminine happy horse-stuff. I even like guys thinking they are smarter than me just because they are guys. It’s more fun when I demonstrate they’re not.

But 56 years after I’m born comes the question, was I supposed to be a boy!?

No, I’m not having gender issues. I don’t see any need to cut off my boobs. Gravity is rapidly taking them out of eyesight anyway, deflating them to where they lay down and will, in a few years, give me a more flat chested appearance, whether I want one or not.

And no, I’ve never felt the need to pee standing up, and the head perched on my shoulders functions quite well thank you, so I don’t need a backup between my legs.

So, why am I questioning myself, today?

Well, a couple of reports are floating around alleging that people are more aggressive and can think more rationally, if they got more testosterone in utero.

According to the BBC report, more testosterone means you can park your car better than someone who didn’t get much testosterone in utero. But it also means if you got it, then you probably drive like a crazy person, and are the reason for the creation of the term “road rage.”

For the unenlightened, “in utero” means while still inside your mom’s body. Testosterone is the male hormone that makes men, well men. As we women age and lose estrogen, which makes us women, we grow beards and exhibit other male like tendencies. Old men also tend to start looking and acting like old women, too, which proves they also have some estrogen in their bodies, but that’s for another day.

The way you can tell if you got the masculine dose of testosterone, but still look like a girl, is your ring finger, in relation to your index finger. If your ring finger is longer than your index finger, then you got more testosterone in utero.

That means you can probably parallel park your car exactly between the lines and you probably drive way too aggressively for your own good.

It’s more pronounced on my left hand, but my ring fingers are definitely longer than my index fingers.

Hmm...I guess that also explains why I’m good at sports, can think my way out of a paper bag, I drive too fast, look good in a fedora or newsboy cap, prefer trousers to mini skirts, and hate Joan Crawford “come-f**k-me-pumps.”


Running for President

The possibility of a Barack Obama candidacy for president raises a lot of questions about the American people. The first and foremost, or course, is whether or not whites and some blacks, would be willing to support a black man in his quest for this country’s highest office.

Obama represents the second black man who actually has the opportunity to pursue the presidency with the potential for success. The first was General Colin Powell. General Powell opted not to throw his hat into the ring, reportedly because his wife feared for his safety.

The Obama camp reportedly is also considering or has considered the safety factor. The bogeyman for blacks seeking higher office remains the white man with the sniper rifle.

Safety is not something usually discussed with white candidates. They don’t fear for their life when seeking higher office. The average white candidate doesn’t need to fear for his life in politics. They only worry about whether or not they have or can raise money for the campaign.

And that speaks to the underlying racism still permeating this country. For blacks, it’s the knowledge that going down some streets or traveling through some neighborhoods can still get you assaulted or killed in America. It’s not about being a politician. It’s about having power over whites, something that some whites simply will not allow.

As a country, we have not dealt with our racial feelings. We think we have. We respond to the racism polls as if we’ve put racism and racial thinking behind us, but we really haven’t.

A recent CNN poll reveals the deep disparity on race between blacks and whites. Whites think the problem is solved. Blacks are nearly united in thinking racism is still a very real problem in America.

Racism has changed. It’s not about slavery, jim crow, or segregation of the races. The laws of the land have done away with these concrete situations. The perception of racial inequality has been slower to change and therein lies the problem.

Just because the law says everyone is equal doesn’t mean that folks think that way. Mindset, just like morality, cannot be legislated away. It has to die off.

So until that happens, black presidential candidates will worry about their safety first and their fundraising abilities second while being twice as qualified as the white guy to handle the job.


Marching Backward

The boys of Ohio won a big one this week when state legislators overturned a Bob Taft veto of the current concealed carry gun law. The override abolished more than 80 local gun ordinances, including Cincinnati’s ban on assault weapons. The laws will actually fade away in 90 days.

The governor said he vetoed the state law because it was too broad and overturned the local ordinances. But the cave dwellers of the republican controlled legislature sided with the gun freaks of the NRA and went against the Governor.

So now it’s okay to own military style guns inside city limits again.

An assault weapon, for those of you who don’t know, are semi automatic rifles, pistols or shotguns originally designed for military or police use with larger than normal ammunition capacity. The bullets are typically housed in a removable clip. Semi automatic means you have to keep pulling the trigger.

The veto override now allows citizens to possess a semi automatic that can hold 10 or more bullets in a removable clip.

Fully automatic weapons are banned by federal law for everyone except the military, police and 007 types. It is possible for a private citizen to purchase a fully automatic weapon if they can get ATF, the county sheriff or police chief to sign off on the request and also pass an extensive background check. And after all that, it must be legal in the state of residence, too.

This is wonderful news for a city that is in the midst of a record breaking year for murders. So far there are 79 on the books. The record set back in 1967 at 82.


An American President named Hussein

I’ve been taking a breather from politics since the election. I’m tired of thinking about elections and presidents and presidential edicts and Iraq position papers and recommendations. I would prefer to write about other things now, but the thought of a presidential candidate in 2008, with the middle name of Hussein has gotten inside my head.

Barack Hussein Obama....can it happen?

Media has gone crazy over the first black man with a real chance at the White House, who might even want it. Colin Powell had a chance, but he didn’t want to take the risk. Obama hasn’t declared, but he’s put his big toe into the water to test the temperature.

At this point the welcome has been overwhelming. The talking heads on television refer to him as a “rock star” selling “hope.” Certainly looks like he is the flavor of the month. At least for now. But it’s early. Way too early to get serious about 2008.

His message is strictly uplifting lightness, no substance, yet. He’s in the honeymoon stage where no one is digging just yet. But you know if he decides to run, it will get ugly.

Just take his middle name, for instance. Prior to Obama coming into the picture we’ve had Saddam and a host of other Husseins, all with bad terroristic connotations attached. Will the American people be able or willing to distinguish between good Husseins and bad Husseins? Or will they just paint all Husseins with the same negative paint brush and go on and vote for the rich white guy?

The rich white guys are an interesting lot, too. Dennis the Menace Kucinich is tossing his hat back into the ring. So is former New York Mayor Giuliani who occasionally cross dresses and supports LGBT rights, and Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney a Mormon, to name a few. Kucinich is a joke, Giuliani should be a democrat instead of a republican and Mitt has the problem of religion. Many Christian conservatives consider the Church of Latter Day Saints to be a cult. Romney also has the flipflop factor going. Last year he was for gay rights and pro choice, this year he’s not. I guess it depends on who’s listening when he talks.

It’s refreshing that the present front runner is female. Hilary Clinton is the woman to beat. She is formidable and the first woman to mount a real and legitimate challenge to the old boys club. But her baggage may drag her down, and I’m not just talking about Bill.

She is one of the democrats who voted with Dubya on going to war in Iraq. She hasn’t disavowed the vote only said we misunderstood. She needs to display more spine and less political equivocation.

But back to Obama. I listened and was uplifted by his speech in 2004. But political speeches are like sex, they feel good while they’re happening. It’s what comes after that really matters.

I need to hear that he is serious about running.

I need to hear where he stands on issues....ending the fiasco in Iraq, foreign policy, health care for the masses, social security, taxes, AIDS, funding for public schools, don’t ask, don’t tell, affirmative action, birth control, a woman’s right to choose, black on black crime, repeal of the sunset clause on the Voting Rights Act of 1965, repeal of the Patriot Act, revamp of FEMA and Homeland Security, etc..

I need to hear about all that stuff and more before I make a decision.

My feeling is that Barack will probably end up as somebody’s vice presidential candidate until he gets more seasoning in the national arena.

A vice president named Hussein would be a step in the right direction, too.

If it happens, you can bet that one of the first laws proposed will be to change who can run for president, in order to allow Ahnold his shot at running the whole country.

Hmmm, America really is changing before my eyes, becoming the melting pot that it has long been reputed to be.


Monday Meanderings...

Getting rid of face time.....Best Buy is going to put its entire workforce on flextime. From now on workers will be judged on what they produce rather than how long they spend being seen at the office. There will no longer be anything like arriving late or leaving early. There will be no schedules or mandatory meetings....as long as you produce.

Diana........yet another report on Princess Diana’s death. Now we learn her driver was drunk and she wasn’t wearing a seat belt. This woman died in 1997....when is she going to be laid to rest?

Sean Bell execution....first reports from police about the killing of Sean Bell don’t mention a fourth man in Bell’s car....Police have been terrorizing blacks in New York, looking for the mysterious fourth man who they say took away the guns alleged to have been inside Bell’s car the night of the shooting. Witnesses to the execution and the surviving men inside the car say the only guns present were those carried by the police. 50 rounds were fired at Bell and his friends as he left a strip club bachelor party the day he was to be married.

Eartha returns to the White House...has anything changed? The legendary performer was last at the White House during the Vietnam war when Johnson was president. She spoke her mind against the war and was promptly blackballed from performing in America. She apparently returned to the Bush White House last week at the invitation of the president.....Different war....but similarly problematic...According to reports, Ms Kitt kept her thoughts to herself this time...

Ancient Greeks had computers.....a recent find in a 2000 year old ship wreck in the Aegean sea off the island of Crete turns out to have been an analog computer. Scientists are totally baffled by the find....they are trying to figure out how it worked and who invented it...probably was a gift exchanged from an early close encounter of the third kind, way back when.

Iran holocaust conference...opens today for those seeking to prove the mass killing of jews during World War II didn’t happen. Many Americans are in attendance including six members of an orthodox Jewish sect, two of whom are allegedly rabbis...Critics have long said the holocaust was the illegal justification for the creation of the state of Israel.


Dick’s Little Girl, Mary

Mary Cheney, Dick’s little girl is pregnant. Mary and her lesbian girlfriend Heather have decided to have a baby 15 years into their quietly closeted relationship.

LGBT activists have their collective drawers in a knot because Mary is living her life of rich white privilege, rather than being the poster child for queer activism.

Why get upset. The fault lines in this country have always been driven by money. If you have it you’re cool. If you don’t then you have to follow the laws of the land or face penalty.

Mary doesn’t have to follow the law. Her dad is the Vice President of the United States of America. He is the head NeoCon in charge. Dubya is his lap dog. Who is going to tell Dick Cheney’s daughter, that she can’t do what she chooses when she chooses to do it? Daddy and his crowd make the laws, They never said their kids had to follow them, too.

That’s what the poor and middle class are for....obeying the laws, paying taxes and fighting wars....so they don’t have to.

The state where Mary lives, won’t allow her to marry her partner. Does it matter what the law says? 38 states and counting have anti gay laws on the books. Does it matter when it comes to rich people?

Who is going to tell Mary’s partner, Heather, she can’t visit Mary in the hospital or she can’t pick the kid up at school because she is not a relative, or she can’t say how the child is to receive medical treatment because she is not a parent?

Right wing conservative Christians who would just as soon put all queers in concentration camps or biblically throw them to the lions, have apparently given Mary a pass. They’ve been looking the other way all her life. Or for the past 15 years, at least.

Their kids, colleagues, and neighbors are all allowed personal lives. The Mark Foleys of the world are always well known within the circle. Every congressman and congressional worker knows who is queer on capitol hill. They just don’t tell the under privileged poor and middle class.

Mary Cheney’s pregnancy is just another example of “do as I say.....not as I do.”

Welcome to America..


Monday Meanderings

The murder rate in Cincinnati is on record pace this year. Three weeks to go until 2007 and already 79 people have been killed, including a 17 year old yesterday.

Maybe we need to work on getting the guns off the streets. Maybe it’s time to outlaw the NRA and it’s gun pandering lobby just like we’ve outlawed smoking.

Maybe if there were fewer guns...harder to get...harder to own...killing wouldn’t be the sport that it has obviously become.


20 years and you get a lousy polo shirt....that’s Walmart’s answer to improving the lives of its workers. Walmart has apparently instituted an “Associate First” program designed to make its employees feel special, and to combat the growing number of disgruntled workers picketing the stores...

I’ve got a great idea...why not raise salaries above third world levels, so Walmart employees can feed their families..


Whoa! Two days before he resigned, Donald Rumsfeld wrote a memo saying change in strategy was needed in Iraq.

Now if only Dubya would buy a clue. He’s already rejecting the Baker-Hamilton recommendations and they’re not due to be released until later this week.


Double whoa! Colin Powell says Iraq is a civil war....nice to see the general find his balls and comment, but is anybody listening to him these days.

Condi says mistakes were made in Iraq, but she won’t talk about it until after she leaves office.


Smoking ban goes into affect in Ohio on Thursday...Does that mean that employees will have to get into their cars and drive off company grounds in order to legally light up? Do same employees have to clock out first? Inquiring minds want to know?

And now that smoking has been outlawed in the name of healthiness....can overeating and obesity be next?

Is a visit from the weight police be just around the corner?


Bebe Moore Campbell

Died Monday at the age of 56 due to complications from brain cancer.

May she rest in peace. Her work will live on..


Kramer Redux

I have a problem with the way Michael Richards is making amends for his racist tirade at the Laugh Factory last week.

After further embarrassing himself on Letterman, Richards hires a public relations expert, who allegedly has years of experience in handling black people. This hack then proceeds to have Richards call Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to apologize.


Jackson and Sharpton weren’t the ones offended. Jackson and Sharpton don’t represent the guys who were in the audience. Jackson and Sharpton don’t represent black people.

In fact, the only people who think Jackson and Sharpton are leaders of the black race, are white people.

That is probably the most racist thing about whites....they think that one man or woman can legitimately speak for an entire race of people. Jackson and Sharpton have been making hay off this assumption for years.

They have no power within the community. They are convenient. When some news talking head needs a comment from a black man, they go find Jesse or Al.

So now we go through news conferences with Richards saying he’s sorry again, while Jesse or Al or both stand solemnly in the background.

The only thing missing is the “power to the people” salute, black fist clothed in black leather glove thrown to the sky in unity.

“Kramer”..... dump the hack, get away from Jackson and Sharpton, and get yourself into counseling or some anger management courses. You need to deal with what’s going on inside you before you step back onto a stage.

Your fans will wait.


Fear of Black Men

Three black men go to a club the day before one of them is to be married to the mother of his two children. The party ends in a hail of gunfire with the groom dead and his two friends mortally wounded and hospitalized.

The shooters, cops, New York City undercover police officers. The police were in the club, according to reports, investigating illegal activity in the establishment. They were reportedly trying to shutdown the business for repeated violations of the law.

According to the latest official story, the officers allegedly heard one of the young men make reference to a gun in his car while still inside the club. After the men got into their car, the undercover officers moved to intercept them.

This is where it gets crazy.

One undercover officer steps in front of the car as it is pulling from the curb. A witness, who was also supposed to be in the car but hadn’t gotten in yet, said the undercover never identified himself and simply opened up on the car when it drove toward him. Another police van was rammed in the process. The van had pulled around the corner in an effort to block the car in, apparently. The officers in the van as well as one officer in another car also opened fire on the men. Again, witnesses said, no one identified himself.

Police said the officers, all veterans, believed they were under attack because the driver was trying to pull away from the curb. Witnesses said the men in the car thought they were being robbed and were simply trying to get away. Bullets hit nearby houses and cars during the onslaught. Luckily no one was hurt in the houses.

50 shots were fired....one man died...one man was shot eleven times...one man was hit three times....one cop emptied his gun, reloaded and emptied it again...

The men in the car did not have a gun. They were totally unarmed. The only guns on scene were the 9 mm carried by the officers.

The officers involved in the shooting are two whites, two blacks and one Hispanic. This was an equal opportunity execution. One officer, one of the white ones fired 31 of the 50 bullets. He got down on one knee, according to reports, emptied his clip, reloaded and fired again.

Brother officers said he is a good cop who simply lost it and, I guess, panicked. The police have been placed on administrative leave. The prosecutor has decided to present the case to the grand jury.

Al Sharpton is marching, leading the family and friends in protest marches around the hospital.

Fear of black men....

These situations keep happening....Lorenzo Collins, a man armed with a brick, surrounded by eleven uniformed police officers....shot to death. The brick is a threat only until he throws it at one of them. Why did the other officers fire. Execution of an unarmed black man.

Amadou Diallo, holding a wallet in his hand, standing at his door....dies in a hail of bullets from police who thought he had a gun. No threat except he was black.

A man named Carpenter, pulled over by police, who then open fire on him from behind, killing him by firing through his rear window....again....no gun in sight...and since the officers were behind the car, no apparent threat except for the fact that they’d stopped a black man.

Fear of black men.....

There has to be change.


Sunday Reading

Can you name the last 100 books you've read?

In this age of instant information, can you name the last book you read? Have you even read 100 books in your lifetime?

Maybe the better question is, when was the last time you picked up a book and read it cover to cover and it wasn’t a school book?

The New York Times today published a list of what it considers the 100 best books, both fiction and nonfiction, published this year.

I haven’t read any of them. I’ve heard of a few of them. I even plan to read some of them someday. But 100 books is a lot of reading, especially within one year.

I tend to buy books rather than borrow from the library for two reasons; I don’t like return deadlines and I have a problem with the Patriot Act, which allows the government to look over your shoulder when you go to a library (check out my archives). I do visit the library for the purpose of researching my family genealogy. But I haven’t checked out a book since my school days.

I also tend to buy two or three books at a time, and then read them when I have time. This means my house is piled high with books that I’m still working through.

Just looking around my sitting room, I am surrounded by the books I have earmarked for reading as well as the one I am actually reading. Well actually, I’m reading two at the moment; “Cross” by James Patterson and John Sanford’s latest mystery. Can’t remember the title of the Sanford book because it’s not a Lucas Davenport novel. The Davenport novels’ titles all are “something Prey,” as in “Mind Prey.”

Next on my list...one of Bill Cosby’s collection of essays on life...
three books by Chester Himes, including a collection of his short stories, also novels “A Rage in Harlem,” and “Cotton Comes to Harlem.” I’ve read “Cotton” before, and I’ve seen the movies based on the books..
James Thurber’s short story collection..
Two books by former Supreme Court Justices
and a book by John Ashcroft..

I still read several newspapers daily albeit via the internet, several magazines weekly in addition to the aforementioned books.

So, can I name the last 100 books I’ve read in my life...yes....can you?

No fair counting books you’ve read more than once, more than one time.

I’ll make it easy for you....name the last ten and email me...I’d love to know..


My N******

There’s a saying among black folks about white folks....”Never get drunk with your white friends.” Because doing that is guaranteed to bring the word “nigger” into the conversation.

In my case, it was “come kiss me with those big nigger lips.” This, from someone I called friend. Someone I thought was color blind. There was no reason to bring out that word. We were celebrating our birthdays, which were one day apart.

Actually, we weren’t even to the point of drunken stupidity, The party had just begun. There was no indication that this racial lightning bolt was about to strike. We were a multi colored party. A little this, a little that, nothing special. Just a diverse group of friends out for the evening.

My friend didn’t even know that she had done anything wrong. No clue. She thought she was making a joke. She felt safe within the group, I guess, and when I look back at the situation, I can understand her comfort level. I was comfortable, too.

I kept my cool, preferring not to react. We partied on. But the friendship changed. Never the same after that night. She exposed a wound and I never trusted her again.

I’ve seen the Michael Richards tape. He lost his cool. He didn’t fight fair when heckled by two audience members. He actually stooped pretty low by resorting to the ugliest of name calling. He’s grown up in America and knows that the best way to hurt a black person is to use the term nigger. But is he a bigot? One thing is certain, the world now perceives him differently. He is no longer trusted.

But is he any more bigoted than the rest of us who lose our cools during a heated moment and resort to name calling?

I fault him for losing his cool. He is, after all, a professional comedian who should be used to dealing with hecklers. Heckling is normal in comedy clubs. The situation should have been business as usual for a man who makes his living telling jokes from a stage.

Am I surprised that he would use the word nigger? No. Not at all.

In America, the word nigger is always just below the surface with all of us. We blacks have tried to claim the word and make it benign. It hasn’t worked. White people hear us using it and wonder why they can’t use it, when we use it to refer to ourselves, friends and families.

Whites don’t understand the nuance between “nigger” and “nigga.” They think it’s just a spelling change, a hip hop word. While blacks are too emotionally tied to the word, past and present, to explain it to them, without wanting to kick their ass when they say it.

The fact of the matter is, nigger has too many negative connotations, bad memories and bad history for anyone, black or white to continue to use this word.

We have nigger, niggard, niggardly, nigra, and my personal favorite, nigger-rig, as in “I nigger-rigged it to make it work.” I grew up knowing that word as gerry-rig. I do know that gerry-rig comes from the name of the man who’s name also gave us the term gerrymander, as in to change something.

I don’t know when gerry-rig became nigger-rig, but I’ve heard it a lot over the years, usually from blue collared white guys who didn’t realize I was within hearing distance.

The word needs to go. I’m not saying go back and erase it from our history or burn books because the word is used. We’d lose many good books and a lot of history, if we did that. What I am saying is that we, as Americans should stop using it for any reason what so ever.

All people, both black, white, Hispanic, whatever, need to stop using the word, period.

Yes, I use the word, in conversation, and in my writings. I was taken to task one time when I was quoted in an interview as using the word. Since I said it, I owned it. My words. My responsibility.

But, being a writer and practitioner of the spoken word, I know the damage that words can do. I know how dangerous language can be. I like being able to use any word I choose in order to get my point across.

But if I don’t start change with me, how can I ask someone else, black or non black to change, too?

As Spock said, “the needs of the many, sometimes out weigh the needs of the one.”

Change, and we all live long and prosper.

‘Nough said.


The People Have Spoken

O.J. Simpson's book and upcoming TV special have been cancelled. Rupert Murdoch, apparently fearing an even bigger public backlash and realizing that ultimately he would lose money, has pulled the plug on this ill advised sweeps adventure.

Make no mistake, I don't for a minute think Fox has a heart, I just think the loss of dollars outweighs and possible gains.

Can't wait to see what they try next.

Heterosexual Privilege

Question: Did you know it’s okay to beat the crap out of your live in girlfriend in Ohio? And go ahead girls, it’s okay to kick the snot of your common law husband, too.

This is equal opportunity insanity, as long as it’s opposite sex. Same sex couples, roommates, etc don’t exist in Ohio under the law.

Ohio wrote discrimination into its constitution when it passed the Defense of Marriage Amendment a few years ago. That’s old news. Ohio was the 38th state to do so. They’re reasoning for doing so was to protect the sanctity of heterosexual marriage.

However, Ohio’s law also makes it illegal to live as a couple with someone who is not your spouse. In other words, if you aren’t married, you aren’t legal and therefore have no recourse under the law. This directly conflicts with Ohio’s domestic violence laws which protect people who “live as a spouse.”

Which brings me to my topic. There is a guy in Dayton, one Michael Carswell, who according to the Dayton Daily News,
is suing to get assault charges thrown out, because under DOMA, slapping your girlfriend around is no longer a crime.

Carswell’s arguments are scheduled to be heard by the Ohio Supreme Court, next month. There are in fact 60 cases pending, where the defendants have argued that beating up your girlfriend, is not a crime under this law.

The 2nd and 3rd District Appeals Courts have issued rulings agreeing with Carswell’s reading of the law.

The 2nd and 3rd Districts cover about 17 counties in northwest Ohio. But a number of other courts have rejected the argument, hence the need for the Ohio Supreme Court to settle the dispute.

In the meantime, Dayton police are using misdemeanor assault laws instead of the felony domestic violence laws when the partners are not legally married.

That means that a woman cannot get an order of protection, while this hassle is working its way through the court system. It means that the assaulter will still be on the streets and could pose a threat to the victim. We’ve seen this craziness in Ohio.

Alleged Christian groups Citizens for Community Values and Focus on the Family have filed briefs supporting Carswell’s argument.

These two groups led the fight to get DOMA passed. Now they are trying to protect abusers, victims be damned.

And they call themselves christian? Hmmmmmmmmm....


Friday Thoughts...

Am I the only one who thinks O.J. Simpson is one sick f***. Slimy is a nice way of describing his publisher. And Fox Network, earlier this week they get busted for doctoring news video, to make it more dramatic, I guess, now they’re airing this “interview.” I can’t imagine anyone, anyone wanting to watch this or read this book.

Let’s all do something nice for Ron and Nicole by not participating in this madness...


First she loses the loser she married, now we hear Whitney is losing her mansion to foreclosure. I hope she makes it all the way back. I miss her voice. Give some of these self named Divas a lesson in Diva-dom, oh and also how to sing. Or am I the only one who thinks today’s singers...all of em...need lessons on how to carry a tune.

There are a few who can sing....Lizz Wright, Vivian Green, Leela James, Christine Aquilera Diane Reeves, Diana Krall, and the woman from the Lion King..Lena.Headley? can’t remember her name but I certainly know her voice.

The rest are pretenders. Queen Latifah has the chops. But she is just walking talent, period.


Some really good news....Red wine long known to be good for your heart...now studies show it increases endurance. Makes my day. Time for a nice Cabernet!



Having It Both Ways

The Grand Old Party gets blown out of the water during last week’s midterm elections and what do they do....they trot out Tom Delay to explain and rationalize what happened. I ignored that when I saw it. The GOP is clueless and has repeatedly proven it the past six years.

The morally judgmental party talks the talk but never walks the walk. Delay has not yet been convicted, but it’s no secret the guy is bad news. Next to Jack Abramoff, he is probably the worst of the lot, which brings me to my subject today.

I find myself railing at my televison set today because Trent Lott has been elected minority whip. For those of you not versed in congress-talk that means he is the GOP vote counter in the senate.

It is a power position. Lott was booted out of power four years ago for making racially insensitive comments while toasting a fellow senator at his birthday party.

Basically, Lott said the country would be better off today, if birthday boy, former senator, staunch segregationist and proven father of a black illegitimate daughter, Strom Thurmond, had been elected president back in 1948. He apologized and was banished until today.

Today he is back in the old boy’s club.

Throughout the past several months, I’ve watched how the party of compassionate conservatism rationalizes the racist, sexist and bigoted attitudes of it’s members. From George Allen in Virginia, to the campaign run against Harold Ford in Tennessee, to the bigotry spewed by Ken Blackwell against Ted Strickland in Ohio, the attacks were unbridled and vicious in their intent.

Yet when called on it, they immediately try to rationalize and explain it away. When they find themselves unable to explain it away, the other members banish them for a while, only to trot them back out and into a power seat when they think we’ve forgotten.

The Christian principle of “forgive and forget” only applies to members. Those on the outside are never allowed to forget and are never forgiven (can you say, Jane Fonda and Bill and Hilary).

The GOP which wants to codify discrimination against gays and lesbians and has actually written it into its party platform, finds itself being outed as the true party of gay white men.

Further, GOP talking heads are making the talk show rounds having to defend their gay party members.

The talking heads argue that it is okay to be gay and to have a private life. It’s okay to have a job and a beautiful house or condo. People should not be punished for that.

Question: If gay is okay....then how come folks are still being killed, like the guy in New York, two weeks ago...how come Gary Studds husband can’t receive the dead congressman’s pension....how come people who want to get married, can’t, because it’s against the law....how come certain companies are allowed to fire people for looking gay, Cracker Barrel.....how come there is a boycott of walmart, and ford motor company for entering into a business agreement with an LGBT organization....

Yeah, It’s okay to be gay, as long as you’re closeted, support oppressive laws against other LGBT people, and are a member of the republican party....Mary Cheney. Phyllis Schafly’s son, whatever his name is. Mark Foley...the list goes on and on....Can you say Roy Cohn and J. Edgar Hoover.

Kind of like me supporting legislation against black people. Oh, I forgot, that’s Clarence Thomas’ job and Harold Ford Jr's, Alan Keyes' and J.C. Watts'. But that is a topic for another. day.

The GOP is going to have to make up it’s mind, which way it wants to flow or face the possibility of permanent banishment to their garden of homegrown hypocrisy.


Taming Your Inner Carnivore

Women should pay attention to two extensive scientific studies released this week. The studies deal with the links between eating red meat and how effective vitamins are as a preventative for heart disease in women.

You can read the full report on red meat and breast cancer in the Archives of Internal Medicine magazine. In a nutshell the report says the more red meat you eat, the greater your risk for breast cancer.

“More” is defined as 1 and ½ servings per day which makes women twice as likely to develop hormone related breast cancer, as those women who ate fewer than three portions of red meat per week.

The second report is the longest running study of how, or if, vitamin supplements help prevent heart disease in women. This study was conducted by doctors from Harvard who concluded that the supplements, don’t help much at all. Although there were some hints that vitamin C may do a little something for high risk women. That conclusion, say doctors, needs more study.

The vitamin study has been going on for a decade and more than 8000 women were randomly given vitamin C, E and beta carotene. Another 5000 women were given folic acid and vitamin B for seven years.

The doctors concluded there was “minimal evidence” of cardiovascular benefit. This study continues.

In the meat study, 90,000 women between the ages of 26 and 46, were looked at, and questioned over a 20 year period. They were divided into five groups based on how much meat they ate on a regular basis.

Meat consumption was linked to breast cancers caused by the hormones estrogen and progesterone, but not to non hormonal cancers.

The women who ate the most meat were also likely to be smokers and overweight. Even taking these factors into account, doctors say they were able to document the red meat cancer connection.

The bottom line to all this.....cut down on red meat, stop smoking and exercise. We keep hearing that.

Are we listening?


Fish Anti Freeze

My favorite food in the entire universe is ice cream. I love Hagen Daaz. I like Breyers and will eat it when I can’t get Hagen Daaz. If I can’t get either, I will eat whatever is available, as long as it is early in the day, and I haven’t had it for awhile. Eat it too close to my bedtime and I suffer all night, because I’m one of those lactose intolerant people.

My number two choice has come out with something called double churned ice cream. It’s extra creamy and is lower in fat than the regular stuff, according to the commercials.

Well, there’s a catch....in order to get the ice cream smoother and creamier, Breyers is using a genetically altered fish protein culled from an antarctic fish that swims in ice cold waters. The ice structuring protein keeps the fish from freezing to death in polar waters, by keeping ice from forming inside the fish’s body.

And guess what, the fish anti freeze is not listed on the label. Breyer’s, at this point in time, doesn’t have to list it.

This is another case of a genetically altered product that we consumers are eating without our knowledge or consent.

Unilever is seeking approval from the Food and Drug Administration to make the fish anti freeze an allowable food additive in order to add it to more foods. But it’s already in use in America, Australia and New Zealand.

A group of scientists is protesting the use of the additive stating that not enough testing has been done to find out about long term effects on people.

I mean, are we going to grow gills down the road? Our kids are already outsized and I’d bet my next paycheck it has something to do with the all the foods we eat from animals that are fed growth hormones. It’s being passed up the food chain and the buck stops with us.

The scientists fear that the fish protein may cause inflammation or trigger inflammatory diseases that will go unrecognized because the protein is not listed on the label. The scientific report also says that chronic inflammation takes a long time to develop, making the label information even more important.

Preliminary reports on tests done by Unilever shows the corporation has not done testing with regard to inflammation and that, says the scientists, could set the public up for an immunological time bomb.

The scientists recommend testing on both young and old animals before the FDA grants any approvals for use in people food.

The problem though is it’s like closing the barn door after the horse has escaped. It’s already in the ice cream and probably, knowing corporate America, in everything else.

It’s already too late. We just have to wait for this latest food bomb to go off.

I don’t know about you, but my days of eating ice cream are really over, now.


Time to Recharge

Taking a break this weekend. All this political action has worn me down and burned out some brain cells.

See you Monday...or maybe Tuesday


Ed Bradley

I’ve lost another hero.... Ed Bradley....the supercool one who reported for CBS news and 60 minutes.

He was one of the first, along with my mentor Mal Goode, may he rest in peace.

Mr. Bradley you will be missed.

Condi Rising

All right, everybody sing that song from THE WIZ....

“Can you feel a brand new day, can you feel a brand new day!”

Condolezza finally gets some help. Her old playmates Robert Gates and Jim Baker are back in the picture. That means that Brent Skowcroft will also be lurking, giving advice off the record.

Looks like Daddy Bush got tired of junior screwing up and took back the reins of power on foreign policy. Daddy Bush is the expert after all. Both Gates and Baker are long time allies of Daddy.

And while I can understand Bush lite’s hesitation to dump Rumsfeld, losing Congress for one man was just plain stupid. We all have good friends who mess up everything around them. You help them as much as you can, but you don’t let them jeopardize your lifestyle with their stupidity.

That’s what Dubya did. If he hadn’t endorsed Rummy and Cheney days before the vote, the GOP would probably still be in power today. Arrogance, plain and simple.

I’ll bet he’s probably trying to figure out what to do with Cheney, too. But that’s a more difficult situation. Bush can isolate him, but unless Cheney does something illegal like Spiro Agnew (remember him) ain’t gonna happen.

But I still don’t think Bush gets it. He came out in conciliatory mode at his news conference yesterday, but then he proceeded to blame everyone and everything for his incompetence.

He even called the American population stupid, alleging voters didn’t really understand the issues, or they would’ve stayed the course.

I have to tell you, between Bush calling voters stupid and Rumsfeld telling citizens we’re confused and that the war and terror issues are too complicated for us to understand, I wish we’d been able to vote all of them out of office.

Now I hope Democrats can buy a clue and come up with a rational plan. Put revenge on the back burner and get on with governing this country correctly.

I know that’s a lot to ask. Democrats are just another species of politician and my jaw is clenched just waiting for the new stuff to hit the fan.

Some good things though..........more women than ever before in Congress.....Condi seems to be a better infighter than most of us imagined, but she could still buy a vowel and a clue on the Middle East (calling Madeline Albright)......Nancy Pelosi is expected to become the first female Speaker of the House, and that is a very big deal...makes her third in line behind the President and Vice President.....Condi’s in that succession line, too.

I’m not sure how things have opened up for Hilary.....To me she doesn’t feel like such a lock to run anymore.

I’m not a Hilary supporter. She needs a sense of humor. But I would love to see Bill back in the White House, even if he is only the wife and not the President.

The GOP doesn’t stand a chance when that man is on his game, as he was in the final days of the campaign.

Yeah, Hillary’s got some competition. Can you say Barack and Deval? Deval Patrick became this country’s second black Governor.

Everyone was mourning the loss of Ford in Tennessee. Not me. That race was a choice between bigots. I have no use for either one of them Don’t care if he is black.


The People have Spoken, But.......

He’s still the president. Bush is still in the White House for another two years, armed with the power of the veto. Meaning he can still torpedo any legislation, throwing it back to congress to override him, if they can.

Overall, the election went smashingly well for Democrats. They took back many governorships, and the House of Representatives. The Senate is still up for grabs. Dems must take both of the too close to call elections going on in Montana and Virginia. Lose them and the GOP retains control. Gain a tie and split 50/50 and Dick Cheney becomes the deciding vote, which is a scary thought.

Ohio chose Ted Strickland to lead in the wake of the scandal plagued GOP. Wannabe governor Ken Blackwell conceded before the votes were even counted, based on exit poll results. Talk about cut and run. He should have waited a little bit. Southern Ohio counties including, Hamilton, Butler, Warren, and Clinton all tilted for him. The rest of Ohio, however, went for Strickland.

The other embarrassment seems to have won out. I’m talking about Jean Scmidt. Looks like she managed to squeak by Dr. Victoria Wulsin, who still hasn’t conceded yet, it’s that close in the second district.

So Ohio is now officially a blue state. Let’s see if something can get done for the people, not just for rich people.


Now the Wait...

Cheney goes hunting while the rest of us (hopefully) go voting. He’s taking his daughter with him too. I hope she stays close enough to him so he can’t swing his gun in her direction.

My polling place was lively this morning in the heart of ghetto land. Lots and lots of people showing up to voice their opinions about our leaders and prospective leaders.

We have new scanning equipment in place. Basically it’s color in the big box next to your choice....it can give you writer’s cramp. Make sure your mark is very very dark, and then take the oversized ballot to the scanner and feed it in....simple...If you do it right, an American flag pops up on the screen and starts waving at you.

It was easy, once I got past this young man who was supposed to be checking identification. He couldn’t find my name, although all the poll worker women greeted me by name when I walked in. He said he was tired. The elderly lady next to him looked ready to bat him over his head, but instead took the book away from him and turned right to my name, even told me my address. They do know me here.

I was kind of surprised that there weren’t more poll watchers outside. We vote at the Urban League building on reading road in Avondale, a Cincinnati neighborhood. It was raining and there was one lonely, albeit big guy of African American persuasion, wearing a Steve Chabot sign around his barrel of a chest. He tried to hand me some reading material.

Since it was raining, I didn’t engage. His choice of candidate told me it wouldn’t be worth the mental exercise to talk to him anyway. So I hurried in to get out of the rain.

In this run up to the election, I have been worried about my parents, both of whom are now in their late 70s. They always vote. I was concerned about my mom, given these new rules about having identification and what types are valid. My mother no longer drives and hasn’t for several years. She is also supremely computer phobic. My dad is too, but not as much as mom. I was worried that the new laws might hinder them.

I shouldn’t have worried. My mother and father are known in their precinct, just like I’m known in mine. No poll worker is going to stop my parents from voting.

My mom was actually pretty geeked about today. She used to work elections when I was a kid. I think if her health were better she would probably still work there.

My father hates everything republican, period. So I know who he voted for without even asking.

My father doesn’t curse or use bad words for any reason, except when he talks about black republicans. So, if my dad is any indication, Ken Blackwell may be in trouble.

But we’re just one family...we all vote...all of my sisters and their kids....even our marine who is currently somewhere in the middle east.

We will be heard, even if no one is listening.

Now we wait....


It’s Begun

Less than 24 hours away from the election and the s*** has hit the fan in Ohio, Cuyahoga County to be specific.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting trouble with the elections scanning/counting machines.

The Diebold machines can’t seem to scan the ballots correctly. This problem occurred last year in May during the primaries causing elections officials to count by hand, took days to get the official results.

In the run up to this election, officials have been testing the machines with the help of Diebold technicians and while the machines work with blank paper...they can’t accurately scan folded test ballots...

That’s a problem because elections officials all around the state got the go ahead to begin scanning absentee ballots so that they can be counted after the polls close tomorrow.

Since most absentee ballots come into the board of elections via mail...they are all folded...and the machine can’t handle the folds.

Word has it that some 100,000 absentee ballots have been received and must be scanned by tomorrow. The last time this happened only 17,000 absentee ballots were at issue and the resultant hand count took a week.

Secretary of State and wannabe governor Ken Blackwell went to court to keep counties from scanning the ballots before election day stating that would be counting votes. But elections officials successfully argued before a judge that scanning absentee ballots was only adding data to the computers that will do the actual counting on election day. So the scanning of the ballots actually began this past weekend.

The scanning has been proceeding smoothly in Hamilton county which is an overwhelmingly republican area located in southwest Ohio on the Ohio River and has Cincinnati as its major city.

Cuyahoga County is in northwest Ohio on Lake Erie and has Cleveland as its major tenant. It is overwhelmingly democratic.

Usually Hamilton and Cuyahoga cancel each other out. It’s been like that since I’ve been able to vote...that’s going back nearly four decades.

If Diebold can get the scan/vote right in predominantly white and republican counties...why doesn’t it work in less than white and democratic counties?

Same company...same machines...aren’t they?

Other counties are bracing for trouble too such as what happened in a Columbus suburb named Minerva Park in 2004. The once prosperous neighborhood is now very poor, jobless and 80% black.

The lines were long....nobody budged...they held places for those who had to leave and take care of business....they chatted and waited to cast their ballots....The area was heavily anti-Bush and anti-republican and very vocal about it.

But somehow....some way.....despite the people and the way they were talking that day....Minerva Park went heavily for Bush over Kerry in 2004 to the surprise of the everyone in Ohio.

There is a quiet investigation still going on in Ohio....a recount of 2004, ballot by ballot.

Although he was within his legal rights to do so, Ken Blackwell was prevented from destroying the 2004 ballots by the courts. An independent watch group is slowly sifting through those ballots as we speak.

As I’ve been saying...... Democrats and minorities; don’t count your chickens just yet....the fix is in Ohio and has been for a long time.

It’s just waiting to jump up and bite us in the ass again.


Thoughts on a Sunday Morning

Dead Man Walking......

Well, Saddam has been found guilty and given a death sentence. He will be hanged in public. This trial went on for a year. Two attorneys have been killed. Two judges quit the bench. Throughout it all, Saddam has remained defiant. Still no WMDs found.

So, he gets to die publicly and the Bush Administration gets a spectacle to point to as an example of all the “good” they did for Iraq.

My question.....Saddam will soon be dead....now what...is anything going to change? Will the country now settle down into a miraculous democracy, where all Iraqis are free like we used to be?

Can my nephew, other Marines and soldiers now come home, now that Saddam has been dealt with?

Is the war on terror any closer to being over? Will gas prices go down?

Are we going after Osama next?


Big Brother in First Grade....

Word comes today that three elementary schools in California are going to start fingerprinting, or I should say fingerprint scanning their young charges. The scanning will come in the lunchroom when the kids pick up their lunches. They will have to place their tiny little digits on a scanning pad that will call up all kinds of instant info on them, before they can eat.

Language Lesson....

Schadenfreude....a German word that loosely means “taking pleasure in others pain”....It’s a popular word these days and lately is being used in connection with ex reverend Ted Haggard.

I had to look up the word because my German sucks and I don’t watch the popular TV shows like West Wing, or Friends-like shows that toss the word around freely, and I wanted to know what all the pop culture elite were talking about on their blogs and comments to blogs.

The concept of this word is not a good one. Taking pleasure in someone else’s pain, may feel great, but the Karmic consequences of such an action are not good.

Remember, what goes around, comes around..that’s Karma....a universal law/Christian/Islamic/Catholic/Judaic/Buddhist..religious..nonreligious..Karma happens..

Don’t take this to mean that I support ex reverend Ted....Anyone who sets himself up to be a moral judge, had better be pristine in both of his lives, public and private. If not, the fall will always be ugly and painful.

One good thing that can come from the ex rev...he is a walking example that homosexuality is not a learned trait. You can’t just turn it on and off, because you want to. You can choose not to have sex....you can get married to the opposite sex and procreate...

You can choose not to identify with other LGBT people. But you’re still gay....born that way....not turned that way.....All the public denials in the world won’t change that.


Making Love in the Dark

A long time ago, in a decade far away, at the beginning of women’s liberation, burning your bra freed up more than just your breasts. Those of us who were serious also ditched our underpants, and girdles. We liberated our bodies in keeping with our new mind set. We only wore that stuff because we were told to, not because it felt good and we wanted to. Taking if off was pure freedom.

I’ve always felt that a man invented the bra anyway. I haven’t done the research to find out, but I can’t imagine a woman coming up with that kind of torture apparatus. Three decades later I still feel the same way.

Parliament Funkadelic said it best, “free your mind and your ass will follow.” I did, and haven’t looked back, since.

I tossed it all out. I didn’t need it anyway, because I was an exercise freak. I was already well toned and proud of my body. Women’ s lib simply meant now I could show it off. I could go to nude beaches. I could vacuum my house in my birthday suit, if I wanted.

I didn’t have to turn off the lights, if I was with somebody who was making me feel like I wanted to get my groove on.

When you had to get out of a girdle, you did it in the bathroom, out of sight of your partner. Trust me, wiggling in and out of a girdle, is a big mood killer,

My body was rock hard from doing tae kwan do, and running eight miles a day, six days a week. Toss in three days of lifting weights at a real gym and you know I was fierce.

But that was a long time ago. Gravity has taken over and I no longer take it as seriously as I did then. Aging gracefully and comfortably is what matters most these days.

Women, young women, now grow up exercising and worrying about the shape of their deltoids and gluts. 21st century women are very diet conscious and food knowledgeable.

So why are they going back to wearing girdles? What have they got to hold in? What are they trying to hide? Or is it just another step in attempted youthful body perfection?

All the advertisements for this new girdle show actresses who don’t eat or wear anything bigger than a size 2. Why would they put on a girdle?

These new girdles are called Spanx. They look like spandex shorts or panties. The point is they hold it in. They are supposed to be 18 hour comfortable. You know that’s a lie. Nothing that is restraining your body is comfortable for 18 hours. Nothing!

Now in all fairness, I know some of my sisters need the extra support. Okay. Maybe you never gave up your girdle or your bra or panties. Otherwise who’s shopping Victoria’s Secret besides small transvestites and guilty husbands.

But with the return of the girdle comes the return of problems, such as do you let your partner see you wiggle out of that thing? Especially after your partner got with you thinking you were three sizes smaller when you met.

Do you allow yourself, your real self, to be seen in the light? Or do you make your partner wait for you in the dark? And what happens when the lights come back on?

Most important, can you walk past a mirror and face yourself.? Or are you only happy wearing your 18 hour chastity belt.

Because chastity belt is what it will become, because you can’t just rip that sucker off for a quickie in the elevator.

C’mon now, men don’t restrain their love handles, why should we?

Monday Meanderings....

The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that teens have a new street game...it’s called Knockout......young boys and some girls walk up to a stranger and literally try to knockout the individual with one punch....usually something is stolen to prove the attack was carried out....one person has already been killed in the surprise attacks..


One week to the election and the GOP is looking like its going to lose control of congress...so what are they doing? Dubya is stumping for the sexually ambiguous members, the mistress beaters, the nut cases, all in an attempt to retain power....They also are trying to talk their way out of Iraq, admitting that “staying the course” isn’t working...


Have you seen the new Lexus LS-460? The car, which comes with a 61,000-dollar price tag, can parallel park itself. The driver has to align the vehicle and control the backup-speed, but the car does all the rest. Takes about 27 seconds...manually parking your car takes about 17, for those of us who know how to parallel park...

Okay, Scottie.....I’m ready to beam up....


Ohioans going to the polls will still have to show ID next week. An appeals court upheld the policy....Just make sure your drivers license is in your pocket when you vote.


The fog is breaking over Cincinnati.....Board of Trustees at the University of Cincinnati have approved domestic partnership benefits for same sex couples...students are okay with it and see it as a way of attracting better teachers....Cincinnati’s antiquated nut fringe hasn’t sounded off yet......

Ohio has a constitutional ban on gay marriage which effectively does away with heterosexual common law protections, too....will be interesting to see if UC’s move stands up in court...if and when it is challenged...


A new federal report says hundreds of thousands of weapons earmarked for Iraqi troops are missing and can’t be traced...


Former NY Mayor Rudy Giuliani doing campaign ads for Ken Blackwell...Proves it’s just about power and money...Couldn’t find two more different personalities than Giuliani and Blackwell...


Kentucky Fried Chicken says it is going to stop frying foods in oils that are loaded with artery clogging trans fat.....Now if they can just get their food to taste better and improve the behind the counter help, they might win back some customers from Popeyes...maybe not..


Does anyone still listen to Rush Limbaugh....his slams against Michael J Fox were nothing short of a grab for attention.....look at me! Look at me!....I’m still relevant!...not that he ever was...talk about ego tripping...


Dur Fuhrer Bush

The bad news just keeps on coming from this administration. With absolutely no fan fare Dubya has signed a new law that makes it easier for him to declare martial law.

Public law 109-364, also known as the John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007, was signed by Bush on October 17th along with the Military Commissions Act. Originally known as H.R. 5122, it allows the president to, at his discretion, declare a “public emergency” and to station troops anywhere in America and to take control of the National Guard without permission from Governors or local authorities, in order “to suppress” any public disorder or disruptions of any sort.

The recognized term for this kind of maneuver is called “declaring martial law.”

Before Bush signed this bill, the ability of the president to deploy troops inside America was hindered by two laws; the Insurrection Act and the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878. The two measures prevent the use of the military to enforce domestic law against US citizens on American soil.

Now, under this new law, Bush can use the army in any situation that he deems dangerous to the country both inside and outside our borders, whether the threat comes from so called terrorists or just pissed off American citizens.

Further, the law provides for detention camps, already under construction by KBR, a division of Haliburton, to contain unruly or undesirable people, citizens, illegal aliens, terrorists...anyone that the president decides is a threat. 385 million dollars has been allocated for this project over a five year period, according the Journal of Counter Terrorism and Homeland Security International.

The Patriot Act allows the feds to spy on us.

The Military Commissions Act has done away with the principle of habeas corpus, due process. That means you no longer have a right to know why you’ve been arrested and what the charges are against you. It also allows the president to decide just what constitutes torture.

Public Law 109-364 allows the president to declare martial law at his discretion.

The new law rewrites the Insurrections Act and does away with the protections of Posse Comitatus.

Only one senator spoke out against Bush and his new laws. No media has chosen to cover the story.

Welcome to 1984. Say hello to Big Brother, but do it quietly somebody is definitely watching.


Voting for Senator

Next week, I’m voting for Sherrod Brown for Senator. I didn’t know much about him before he began his campaign against Mike DeWine.

And I will be the first to admit that Brown, is still suspect in my mind. But I can’t support Mike DeWine. He is a part of the status quo that has driven this country to the brink of destruction politically.

One good thing about Brown is that he voted against going to war in Iraq. He was one of the few politicians to dare to stand up to Dubya and neocons on that one.

That one move alone, makes me inclined to trust him. It should serve as notice for some others like John Kerry or Hilary Clinton who voted with Bush. I have not forgotten that. The only reason I voted for Kerry in the first place in the last election was that he was the alternative to Bush, not the answer.

Clinton is expected to pull all women and all liberals if she throws her hat into the ring. That’s not going to happen. She has yet to pull back from the vote or to apologize. I’m glad she stands by her vote and doesn’t apologize for making it. But I question her judgement in backing the move to go to war. It looks like a gutless move rather than a well thought out one.

Brown for senator
Strickland for governor
Cranley for representative-another alternative, not good choice
Pepper for commissioner-not a good choice, but Heimlich is worse

Wish I could vote for Wulsin over Schmidt, but I’m in the wrong district. Schmidt is an embarrassment, just like the other candidate for governor, Ken Blackwell. They should return to private life where they can only do damage to themselves.

Attorney General....man, do I want Montgomery, who is a friend of the crook named Noe or do I want Mark Dann, a very questionable attorney. I don’t like either one...maybe I’ll flip a coin.


Every time I write or think about politics, I don’t feel happy, optimistic or trusting. What I feel is dirty, as in I need to go take a shower.

The choices are not good....just alternatives.....we need to revamp the system, if that is possible.

But I don’t think it is.


Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

Oh my god! The LA Times says that black and Latino preachers are upset with Dubya. Wonder of wonder, they think he lied to them.

Bamboozled them.

Showed them the money but didn’t let em touch it.

Fed them.

Gave them a tour of the Big House and then showed them the door.

And what do you know, all the money and prestige from the alleged faith based initiative went to white evangelical mega churches.

The Black ministers say they feel dirty. They say they were the hammer used to drive the divisive wedges like gay marriage into our community and were then pushed to the curb like a used up hooker.

But, apparently, some haven’t learned their lesson yet. Seems some of the black ministers want to talk it out with Dubya and his brain Karl Rove. I guess to see if it’s really, really true that Bush lost his love for black Christians after they voted for him, as implied by David Kuo’s book.

What do you call someone who sticks his hand in the fire, gets burned and not believing what happened, sticks it in again to see if he will get burned again.

Can you say dumb ass?

Or are they so blinded by greed that they are willing to do anything, kiss anyone’s ass just to get some money.

Message: you may get some money, but you will never get the power or respect as long as you can be bought.

World Truth: You reap what you sow!


T.M.I. Food Labels

Word comes today that food producers are going to start using words like ‘animal compassionate,” “free farmed,” or “certified humane,” on their products in the hope of luring the health conscious, recyclers, environmentalists and animal welfare sympathizers into buying more meat and eggs.

Whole Foods Market and similar stores are getting ready to roll out food with a label certifying that the animal was raised humanely before it was slaughtered.

It is apparently an effort to capture the compassionate carnivore, I would guess. Compassionate carnivore is like compassionate conservative....an oxymoron. How the devil can you eat meat if you have strong feelings about how the animal was raised in the first place?

I understand PETA people. They are vegetarians against the inhumane practice, they say, of eating meat or of mistreating animals. They don’t want us to touch anything with a face. I understand that.

But compassionate carnivore......that’s like being a little pregnant....you either are, or you’re not...you either eat meat...or you don’t....it’s either a pet or it’s food....can’t have it both ways.

And as always with new products comes a new price...prices for compassionate meat is going to be triple the cost of buying the less hypocritical kind of meat.

The new labels are apparently being pushed by animal rights groups including the National Humane Society.

Several grocers and restaurants are already touting the newly labeled meat and eggs and claim that it is a great selling point. Business is brisk, they say.

I’m sorry, if it bothers you that much, how can you stand by and allow the cow or pig or chicken to be slaughtered in the first place?

I don’t care how you raise it, the point is that it is food, period. Doesn’t taste or look any different. In fact, the only difference is probably the label, and of course, the price.

This is just T.M.I. on labels.

I won’t ask....you don’t have to tell.

Restrooms....His and Ours

One of the reasons I just love New York is its willingness to do the unexpected. Despite America’s decidedly right conservative leanings these days, the Big Apple remains wholeheartedly maverick and liberal.

Witness the decision by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the board that controls the subways. Officials have ruled that transgender men, who live exclusively as women, can use the women’s MTA restrooms.

It is a matter of choosing the room that best suits your “gender expression.” So I guess that means that women who live as men can go into the little boy’s room, once they learn how to pee standing up.

The decision came about because of a Verizon wireless technician who is assigned to Grand Central Station. She is a 70 year old, birth name Henry, who goes by the name Helena. Helena says she is a “24 hour woman.” She feels like one, so she dresses like one, she says. It is not clear if she has had the surgery, but the picture of her that I saw, shows she has bigger breasts than I do, so she must be taking hormones at least. Girlfriend got arrested for using the women’s restroom while on the job and decided to fight. Verizon backed her, the MTA gave in. Hence the new ruling.

While most of the country is still trying to handle discrimination against gays and lesbians, New York’s laws are already one step ahead, prohibiting discrimination against transgender men and women.

Now we have to really work on getting more restrooms for women. We already don’t have enough public stalls to accommodate those of us born women, much less to share with our trans sisters. The lines are gonna get lots and lots longer. Good thing we have better bladder control.


Enquirer, Blackwell joined at the hip

If there was any doubt in anyone’s mind that the Cincinnati Enquirer was nothing more than a Republican Party Newsletter, that doubt was erased this morning with its endorsement of Ken Blackwell for Governor of Ohio.

The Enquirer admitted that Blackwell is a slease ball...that he has no integrity...that the more honorable candidate is Ted Strickland...yet they endorse Blackwell over Strickland.

Every other newspaper is this state has endorsed Strickland. One newspaper actually endorsed Blackwell and took it back because of his underhanded, vile and vicious tactics used against his opponent. The entire nation has been appalled by what has been coming out of Blackwell's mouth. Even Dubya called him a "nut."

But the mighty Enquirer rails against injustice...it rails against the detractors of Cincinnati, saying the city has changed...it is not racist...it is a good place to live for all people, it says.

Then it turns around and endorses the status quo. Cincinnati has long been the considered the laughing stock of this nation. I guarantee you, that will not change with this endorsement.

So what is this? Does endorsing a black man make the Enquirer look like it’s doing the right thing? That it is looking past color to make a just and correct decision?

This is the same newspaper that just last week took poet Nikki Giovanni to task for calling Blackwell a “political whore.” They slammed her last week, and slammed Blackwell today. But then endorsed him one paragraph later. Go figure.

Tell me who’s the whore now?

I have lived in Cincinnati nearly all my life and it has always, always gone with the republican candidate, no matter what.

The Enquirer has never been a voice of the people. It has proven today that it never will be. The people have spoken.

But it is once again obvious that the Enquirer is not listening.


My Granddad was Republican

The issue of my grandfather’s political affiliation came up when one of my uncles got into politics by running for city council. My uncle ran as a democrat. My grandfather always voted. He could barely read and write due to his rural Kentucky upbringing. But he was a very smart man. He just never went to school. He read the newspapers everyday and was the greatest story teller I have ever known. He never said he was a republican, but all my older relatives said he was.

I suspect they were also republicans in that time and place. At that time, the republican party was not referred to as the GOP. It was, really the party of Abraham Lincoln. And it would make sense back in the day for Blacks to be republican rather than democrat.

By the time I was born and grew to adulthood, it did not make sense for Blacks to be republican. When I came of age, the Dixiecrats, southern racists, die hard segregationists, angry at the move to integrate this country, abandoned the democratic party and hijacked the republican party to make it what it is today. The Grand Old Party, home of the Christian conservative right wing.

I bring all this up because a black group of conservative republicans is running radio ads stating that Martin Luther King was a republican. The ads have outraged black liberals, democrats and those who marched with the slain civil rights leader. From an historical standpoint that may have been true. But Martin’s party affiliation was not what was important.

What was important was the color of his skin, period.

The good ole boys who ran rampant in the south in the later part of the 20th century didn’t walk up to a Black person and ask them what political party they were affiliated with, before they turned the dogs loose, or shot them, or beat them or hung them from the nearest tree.

Skin color was it, nothing else counted.

Hell, we weren’t considered smart enough to know the difference between political parties in the first place. Anyone who did was considered “uppity.” You know the term, “uppity nigger.”

Party affiliation only mattered for white people because they have the luxury of telling you what party they belong to. They are camouflaged at birth by their skin color.

Doesn’t matter with us. No matter what you did, doctor, lawyer, merchant, thief....you were still a nigger, first and foremost.

That’s what got you killed, not being a republican or democrat.

A message for my black right wing Christian conservative brothers and sisters....you have to know history, before you can use it to justify your perverted stance against your people.


Wednesday Wanderings....

About Madonna’s adoption....Are African orphans the new pet rock for celebrities? My second thought on the issue is the kids are getting a break in a hard life, shouldn’t we let them be? For once Madonna isn’t the trend setter on this one....others have done it before.


About Nikki Giovanni....The vitriol hurled back at her is worse than what she said. She spoke her mind. Cincinnati never wants to hear about its problems, past, present and apparently future. So when is a good time to address the issues that plague those of us not in the majority? Why do we have to continually keep our place rather than speak out on injustice and inequality?

3CDC...does the KKK have a permit for fountain square this Christmas? Just asking

The once great Queen City needs to understand that until you clean up a mess, you will continue to step in it.


About Ken Blackwell....By his own words does he reveal himself. His power grab was totally exposed yesterday in his debate with Ted Strickland.

He is not honest, he has no integrity, he is not moral by any stretch of the imagination. Were he running against the late Bill Wilkinson, I would not vote for him.


Wesley, Wesley, Wesley....you can run but you can’t hide.

C’mon Blade, you know the IRS is the original and only modern day vampire, and he’s looking for you.


Another rapper shot, playing gangsters and guns, do we care?


Another GOP Congressman outed for liking boys, again do we care? He also had a habit of voting against his own self interest.

Kind of like me going against my blackness. I call that having a Clarence Thomas moment.


Food Thought for today......eating fish is good for you, it fights heart disease, but the pollutants in fish may give you cancer. What a choice. Protect your heart but die from cancer.

Hmmmmmmmmmmm...there has got to be a middle ground.


North Korea's Dear Leader says the UN sanctions are an act of war and he has the right to retaliate.

See, this is what happens when we rely on bullets instead of talks to settle disputes. America is reaping the consequences of the fool hardy action that took us into Iraq.

By the way...are we admitting that now its devolved into civil war, yet? Or are we still caught up in semantics?


Dolly Chops

Get ready, coming to a grocery store near you, cloned meat and milk, from cloned animals. Scientists are getting ready to carve up Dolly and sell her off as lamb chops, in the near future.

Dolly, you will recall, was the first animal clone ever made.

According to a published report today, the Food and Drug Administration is about to put its stamp of approval on the practice. Which means that you will soon be able to walk into Kroger and buy cloned meat, that is if they label it as such. You can’t really tell the difference from real meat or milk, say scientists. Clones, they say, are merely twins born a generation apart. Milk or meat from cloned animals is no different and is safe, just like what comes from real animals, scientists say.

Scientists also make a distinction between clones and transgenic animals....animals changed scientifically to answer some need in humans...usually medical problems.

The FDA calls transgenics, “New Animal Drugs.” That’s a whole separate category from Clones. Transgenics are not yet on the market. The operative word here is “yet.”

The International Dairy Association which represents food giants like Kraft and General Mills is fighting the move saying more study is needed.

I don’t know why this should upset us. We already eat genetically altered wheat, fruits and vegetables.

Chicken, and beef cattle are shot full of steroids to make them grow faster and bigger. Turkeys are so breast heavy now they can’t even stand up, all because everyone wants white meat at Thanksgiving.

Add in the fact that fish is full of mercury, what is there left to eat that hasn’t been tainted?

So what’s the big deal? I’m talking about progress. It happens, no matter what we think about it.

But I’m old enough to remember how a real tomato tastes versus one grown in a hot house. I remember scooping cream off the top of a bottle of milk. I remember the taste of real butter, not the waxy stuff called real butter sold today. If you want to know the taste, go find some Amish Rolled Butter. That’s the real deal. I buy it at Findlay Market at Mike’s.

I grow my own tomatoes and have grown other veggies in the past. It’s just so much work and that is the problem.


We opt for ease of living, rather than living the right and natural way.

We are slowly working our way to a day when all we will have is taste in a pouch, loaded with vitamins and minerals, no food necessary.


John Mark Karr

Can someone please tell me, who the devil gives a damn about what is on this pervert’s mind.

Why is he being interviewed, over and over and over, by the allegedly reputable news media?

He lied about killing Jon Benet. So what’s happening now? Is he trying to parlay it into a rock career so he can play his guitar to little girls, legally?

He’s had his fifteen minutes of fame. Let him go away. Better yet, lock this sick SOB up before he really hurts somebody.

Because you know when the cameras stop following him, when Diane Sawyer and Larry King stop calling him, that his next option for fame is to really kill somebody’s kid.

Then what is King going to do, jump before the cameras claiming his own Nancy Grace moment while eshewing any responsibility what so ever?

ABC has already taken him back to his school. He was caught along with the producers peeping in the windows. You can bet if the publicity on the stunt hadn’t been so negative, ABC would have played it all over, talking about the big “get” with J.M.K. by one of their ace interviewers.

You know, I don’t know who is sicker, the fame seeking pedophile or the so called reputable news media.

When does common sense kick in?

When do we, the public say enough?


Nikki, Nikki, Nikki

Okay, so maybe she shouldn’t have called him a son of a bitch. The phrase, while in keeping with poetic license did not measure up to Cincinnati’s public civility level. But calling him a political whore is an understatement. The man is a skanky ho, plain and simple.

Nikki doesn’t lie and she doesn’t mince words which is why we love her. She has not sold her soul to the highest bidder, like a certain democrat turned charterite, turned republican turned conservative, turned far right conservative card-carrying allegedly Christian wannabe governor of Ohio.

She speaks the truth, whether you like it or not, whether you want to hear it or not. Her integrity is unquestioned. She is our poet laureate.

One of the myths that is circulating during this election run up is that all blacks are going to support Blackwell. He believes it. Well, it is simply not true. His skin color is chameleon at best and will not save him come November. He lost his “Negro membership card” a long time ago.

So he can take his place alongside Orenthal James Simpson, J. C. Watts, Alan Keys and Clarence Thomas as those who use their blackness when necessary, while at the same time running away from it. The term “oreo” comes to mind, but I said I wouldn’t call names today.

When our Poetic High Priestess speaks we must listen. She sees things as they are and says so honestly and in a completely refreshing manner.

Write on, Nikki


Clinton Made Me Do It

I’ve lived a long time on this planet. My interests in politics as a spectator goes all the way back to Eisenhower. I was a kid then and too young to vote, but my parents and grandparents were also news/political junkies so I just stayed the course and learned.

The age for voting at that time was 21, not 18 like it is now.

I was born during the Korean War and have lived through the cold war, Vietnam. Watergate, Iran Contra and other world problems and scandals.

I have lived through an equal number of Democratic regimes and Republican regimes.

But I don’t think I have ever tasted a political climate like the one which surrounds us now. I don’t recall any administration or congress invoking the name of a past President as a cause for screwing up as much as this one does.

In other words....Foleygate....”well Clinton did it, too”............the economy is in recession...”well, the recession actually began under Clinton”..............bombing of the trade center, twice/ Somalia embassy bombing, terrorism in general, Osama still alive......”well, if Clinton had done his job and gone after the terrorists”......

Now we come to North Korea and it nuke testing....McCain alleges it is the fault of “failed Clinton policy.”

Give me a break, does anyone in the GOP take responsibility for anything? Clinton had North Korea at the bargaining table and submitting to UN inspectors in 1994. They were talking to us. But then Bush lite got elected and trashed the agreement. North Korea walked away and remains the dangerous rogue government it is today. Bush actually had Colin Powell do the dirty work, even though it was well known that Powell liked the Clinton agreement.

Now he’s got wannabe president McCain talking out of both sides of his mouth and Chocolate Albright pretending she really understands the situation.

Talk about morals and values....this administration and congress has proven that it has neither and I’m not talking about sex.

Truth, integrity, culpability, honesty...those are the values that count. Unfortunately, I don’t see a politician on the horizon who embodies those traits.

The GOP is desperate in its attempt to hold onto power. The Democrats are desperately trying to regain power and nobody is displaying a real sense of leadership or concern about the people of this country.

It is all about power....how to get it....how to use it.....how to hold onto it....period.



Now that Foleygate is raging, hatemongers like Pat Buchanan are taking center stage, leading the charge of what likely will be “gay purge” of the Republican Party. Buchanan has been all over the airwaves the past couple of days pointing out that the GOP leadership has allowed gays to infiltrate the party and they are actively engaged in a cover up of Foley’s predilection for young pages.

Buchanan wants us to know that assistants to the highest ranking leaders are gay men and that these gay men kept their bosses in the dark. So that when Dennis Hastert says he didn’t know about Foley until last week, he is probably telling the truth, according to Buchanan.

I’ve read article after article by conservatives expressing more outrage over the fact that gays are also republicans and high up in the GOP, than the fact the very conservative Foley dated and apparently had sex with young boys.

The right wing conservatives sent all these guys to Washington and when they get there, they go native, apparently unable to resist temptation. They make bad moral and ethical choices, making them no different than Democrats.

I guess I can rightly call this a watershed moment for the GOP.....will they admit in public that people can be who they are and live their life, or will they conduct a witch hunt directed by it’s right wing, clean out the closets and go back to preaching and attempting to legislate morality.

My bet is, it’s closet cleaning time.


Meandering through the News......

More messages from Mark Foley to unnamed pages, going back six years.....Foleygate rolls on.....

According to Pat Buchanan it’s a gay mafia conspiracy....the GOP leadership was kept in the dark about Foley’s proclivities by their closeted gay assistants, some of whom have already resigned as well.....

The numbers say the GOP is finished....well I wouldn’t bet the house on it just yet...Democrats still haven’t figured out what their message is or should be....

John Kerry running for President in 2008....big mistake for Democrats...

Kim Jong II fires off a nuke test.....Clinton had this fool at the negotiating table when Bush took over the White House....Bush decided to throw out the baby with the bath water....made Colin Powell trash the negotiations.....Now what are we going to do?

We’re nine days into October and already 33 troops have died in Iraq.

Yet, the Army announced that it has met its recruitment quota this year....the quota was 80,000 new troops....the Army lowered its mental standards in order to make the grade.....in other words....It’s okay to be stupid in the Army....But it’s not okay to be gay...go figure...

Hear about the Iraqi police officers who were poisoned this past weekend....700 police recruits suffered severe food poisoning...officials aren’t sure yet if it was on purpose or not....a few people including the head of food prep have been arrested..


Foleygate, Nukes and Kevlar

America’s hung up on sex a little more than usual with Foleygate roiling everyone’s nerves.

The war in Iraq has taken a backseat in the headlines even though we’re still in the bloodiest week we’ve ever had there, so far.

And that fool in North Korea is threatening to test out a nuclear bomb. So what did he think we wouldn’t notice.

We can’t do anything but threaten considering we’re using up our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The White House is promising retaliation....what’s that mean...Rumsfeld and Cheney gonna let junior push the button and blow them off the face of the map? That is about the only thing these incompetents haven’t done, start a nuke war.

Guess we will have to wait and see what Condi dreams up inside her color coordinated kevlar as she tours the middle east.

Hmmmmmmmmmm, I thought Baghdad was safe....so why is Condi wearing body armor in the green zone?


Cleopatra Jones

You will be missed. Tamara Dobson, my first black female super hero has died. She was a young 59 years old, a victim of pneumonia and multiple sclerosis.

I remember literally running to the Regal Theater to see Cleopatra Jones, the movie, back in the day. We talked for days about this super tall woman who used Karate and ultimate fashion sense and sass to beat up bad guys.

She was beautiful and bad...and I use that in the good sense.

Rest in peace


Absolute Power, Corrupted Leaders

Do we need any more proof that god’s obnoxious party doesn’t give a damn about anything except money and power. 24 hours after Rep Foley resigns amid scandal, the GOP leadership is playing cover its ass, refusing to acknowledge that it knew about Foley and his predilections as far back as a year ago.

What do you want to bet they kept the knowledge in house in order to protect Foley’s seat through the upcoming election in an effort to hold onto the power.

They don’t give a damn about we, the people or their electorates, They don’t care about our kids.

We all just represent a photo op when they need it during election years.

It’s all about the power and the money, period.

The GOP spin doctors keep trying to divert attention from Foley by reminding us about democratic sex scandals.

Yes, Democrats have had their troubles keeping their pants up, too.

But the difference is that Democrats don’t run around holding themselves up as models of morality. Democrats are about getting their swerve on, and make no bones about. it.

Republicans hide behind their faith, their self perceived higher morality, until they get caught, then it’s alcoholism or the fact that they were molested by a priest.

In other words, the devil made them do it.

And all this circus does is divert attention away from Dubya and his fake war on terrorism and shrill use of fear politics.