Friday, November 30, 2007


(The following op-ed piece appeared in the Sept. 1999 issue of METRO EXCHANGE)

On any given Saturday morning during the regular school year, a casual walk along East Broadway in New York's Chinatown will find a plethora of Asian parents and grandparents who are barely able to comprehend any semblance of the English language, accompanying pre-teen school age children, standing outside the Chatham Square Public Library approximately twenty minutes before opening time. In stark contrast, talk to teachers from many other urban schools about open house, (parent-teacher night), where they are required to stay until 7 or 8pm to accommodate working parents and their pupils, and you will often hear of visits by 4 to 6 parents of a 28 to 32 student class.

As America closes in on year 2000 education, there is no feasible excuse for American school bathrooms to be devoid of toilet paper, soap or running water, but some are. School auditoriums were built for the experience of youthful collective entertainment and learning experiences, not a venue of separated makeshift classrooms, but some are. And schools are supposed to be peaceful environs welcoming the preparation for responsible citizenship, not patrolled fortresses with armed protectors, but some are. And as relevant issues like class size, crumbling structures and teacher salaries are singled out as causes of deficient education, they have precious little to do with the mindset of a child leaving home in the morning to spend several hours in what should be a wholesome, educational, life affirming environment.

When we witness a child incapable of saying 'please' or 'thank you,' spouting a vocabulary replete with four letter expletives, an inherent penchant for littering and a disrespect for all things older and wiser, the conditions of their learning institutions is not the first thought to enter our mind. Why then do we expect children without the capacity of basic manners and simple respect will succumb to the educational authorities we hold responsible for their tutorial development?

The post Civil War and Jim Crow south saw poorly paid teachers use rundown quarters with latrine facilities in an outhouse, educate future teachers, doctors, engineers, scientists, ministers and entrepreneurs. Often, without the availability of school buses, standard books, taxpayer paid breakfasts and lunches, and in many cases without parents who could read or write, black children received the kind of quality education that 90's technology and basic creature comforts is failing to deliver. With child protection laws unavailable to them, many of these children worked to help the family and performed other chores that occupied much of their time, yet still received a good education. With the advent of integration, parents risked life, limb and livlihood to have their children educated. And with precious few role models and constant encouragement from the extended family, black children made their way.

Today, far too many young black boys feel like their best way out is to "be like Mike," totally oblivious to the fact that Mike spent four years at the University of North Carolina and is capable of conversing with cognizable coherency.

The present arguments over public vs. private schools, discriminate funding, school conditions, class sizes and teacher salaries can be revealing exercises in futility. Many parochial school teachers earn less, operate on smaller budgets, with smaller support systems and less technology but often receive better results than their public school counterparts. However, public schools in largely Asian communities are generally among the best performing schools in their districts. Talk show host and author Tony Brown, in pointing out the fallacy of forced busing to achieve quality education through integration exclaims that if they really think that to be the answer, "Bus me to Chinatown!"

The public schools in predominately Asian communities are not equipped with higher paid teachers, better bathrooms and smaller classes. What they are equipped with is quality parental involvement. And not just there! Ride a New York City bus during the afternoon of a school year and you will find adolescent children of all races and ethnic backgrounds reading aloud to an accompanying parent, guardian or babysitter with remarkable fluidity.

Denied access to formal education for most of our history here, eternal parental vigilance toward our children was the characteristic that drove the desire for education of black children in America. It was the only thing that we could control. Now, in our efforts to control the system, we have lost control of the children.

In addition to teaching our children at an early age to say 'please' and 'thank you' - to use the proper receptacles for trash, to respect their elders and the property of others, we might remember to ask them what they would like to be when they grow up, to read them children's books to expand and excite their young minds and imagination - or simply take them to the library on a Saturday.


Who knew that giving women the vote and the freedom to raise their hemlines above their ankles would lead to a modern day American holocaust 80 years later! Who knew that accepting, however grudgingly, the same sex partnerships of consenting adults would lead to the surreal destruction of life, limb and skyline! And who knew that a normal desire to heat our homes, drive our cars back and forth to work, church, family outings and the occasional vacation would result in the cataclysmic inhumanity to mankind perpetrated in the name of biblical prophecy.

Yet on September 12, 2001 such were the inane ranting that echoed from pulpits and soapboxes from American coast to American coast. "Abortion," cried one evangelist. Our refusal to condemn homosexuality cried another. "We use too much gas!" So it's our own fault? "We should be trying to figure out why they hate us."

Balderdash! What credence should one give to a lunatic who turned his back to his sister-in-law because she greeted him at her door without head covering and veil? What credence does one give to an advocate of "death by stoning" to women who exit their homes without a male family member? And why give credence to a fanaticism that demands the torture and/or murder of women who work, and girls who go to school?

Since the compelled departure of Richard Nixon, the Fourth Estate has spawned a destructive culture of celebrity journalism. These very same journalists that bring us the news as a constitutional obligation have become more obsessed with seeing their name in the paper and hearing their name cross the lips of their colleagues than challenging the party lines, talking points and political agendas of the subjects they interview. Journalists who inform us that agents representing actors and athletes are a major reason that outings to the arena, theater and stadium are prohibitively expensive are themselves represented by agents. Loyalty is no longer a standard practice. Their primary interest is to follow the money and the profile rather than the story. And it is they who give voice to much of the irrelevant ranting of those who would attempt to legitimize the actions of the mind oppressed minions on their maniacal jihad. We deserve better.

The latest Osama bin Laden tape tends to garner a well covered 48-72 hour news cycle of critique and analysis by experts of every governmental and political persuasion. Yet in all of the ensuing Al Qaeda bombings between the 1993 World Trade Center bombing up to the bombing of the USS Cole in October 2000, Osama bin Laden and his many victims seemed a mere afterthought. Bill Clinton was the story.

These highly paid, self aggrandizing defenders of American freedom sat around news tables amongst themselves and the requisite Washington politicians praising the magnificence of Bill Clinton's latest speech as he greeted the arrival of body bags and flag-draped coffins at Andrews Air Force Base. And though each speech was peppered with a serious looking, "We will hunt them down and make them pay," you would be hard pressed to find any interviews with those requisite politicians, Clinton included, about any plans, meetings or strategy sessions engaged to bring about the capture and destruction of Osama bin Laden. With the aftermath of each bombing, the press was more content with publicly stroking the ego of Bill Clinton. The extermination of the master terrorist and his far reaching global network was never discussed with the verve given the press' adulation of Clinton.

Having "serious" journalists capitulate to the outrageous attacks on the modernity and culture that defines America by our misguided fellow citizens only serves to bolster those fringes of fanaticism who murder recklessly and wantonly and legitimizes the lunacy that "We asked for it!" Ironically, the religious fanaticism of the likes of David Koresh, Jim Jones and their followers solicited no denouncement of America's culture or way of life. However, non-American terrorists who indiscriminately murder any and everyone from innocent school children to churchgoers draw endless hours of introspection as to what we did wrong.

In fact, if Osama bin Laden and his murderous ilk were American citizens we would never think to entertain any of these reasons, (excuses), given as to why he authorized the September 11th massacre. We would demand that they be locked away in a rubber room and fed a daily dose of psychotropic drugs for the remainder of their miserable existence. And we would never subject them to the death penalty because no American jury would consider them sane enough to believe that the voice of God compelled their obscene journey to martyrdom.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Can WE Talk?

(Written August 9, 2007)

"I wish more people were passionate about their country," was Joe Scarborough's insulting comment on his new MSNBC morning show which replaced the more formidable Imus in the Morning program. It was a reference to having met a "charming" Janeane Garafolo until the name George W. Bush was mentioned wherein she went on an anti-Bush diatribe. More people are passionate about their country, Joe. The problem in their country is that Morning Joe (the name of his new program) rarely talks to Average Joe.

With much of the highbrow media's alleged disdain for all of the news hoopla surrounding Paris Hilton is how oblivious they are to the fact that the news media, in and of itself, has become a culture of celebrity. Katie Couric leaving NBC's TODAY show to anchor the CBS Evening News was just as big and just as long a story as Paris Hilton going to jail. And this culture of "celebrity journalism" inundates the public airwaves with highly paid "artists" who talk with one another, hobnob with the politicians and well-heeled subjects they cover, and reference one another's comments, columns and interviews in between the latest public statement made by some politician, actor, comedian, musician or other six to seven figure earning person of high public profile. These celebrity news hosts, anchors and journalists confine their knowledge of the public to how a certain cross section answered a handful of inane, generic poll questions. They have no idea what these people actually think. Not really! They never bother to give these average Americans the 10 to 12 minute segments that they give to the millionaire Susan Sarandons, Arianna Huffingtons and Alec Baldwins.

As a proponent of free market capitalism, I do not begrudge Mr. Scarborough as great a living as they can muster from what they do. However, it is offensive for them to assume to know what John and Jane Q. Public is thinking because they read the latest poll. They are not privy to the roundtable discussions of American voters in the multitudes of neighborhoods expounding on the issues of the day and they are totally unaware of their own foibles and inadequacies as they wax pontifically amongst themselves about the thoughts and beliefs of people they never bother to converse with or interview. And much like politicians, they do not allow themselves to be questioned, in depth, by members of the public.

On MSNBC's Morning Joe on the morning after the Democratic You Tube debate, NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell told Mr. Scarborough that she was surprised at how smart and intelligent the questions were. Could she have been any more insulting and condescending! It is no wonder that the public finds some solace within the confines of the blogosphere and talk radio. Yet Washington Democrats are quietly gearing up to stifle those few minutes of free speech that concerned callers to these programs rely upon to question, opine and be heard. Primary members of the major media often denigrate these citizen friendly outlets as being amateurish, unreliable and unprofessional purveyors of information. After Janet Cooke, Jason Blair, Stephen Glass, rigged NBC truck explosions, faked documents as news, courtesy of CBS, CNN's hyped but false blockbuster story concerning Viet Nam, and the merry-go-round of cover girl reporters and anchors, it is clear that ratings, circulation and ad revenue are adequate substitutes for professionalism.

These 'professionals' become boisterous advocates of the First Amendment when one of their colleagues faces subpenas and/or jail. However, they are less vocal about "the free exercise thereof" when the speech comes from "amateurs." That the carefully worded First Amendment deliberately has the non-abridgment of 'speech' coming before 'press,' it is incumbent upon them to argue for the rights of the talk radio host and caller as intensely as they argue the plight of a jailed journalist who refuses to reveal a source. And they would know that if they simply took the time to talk with us.

Monday, November 26, 2007


The Democratic presidential candidates have made a collective, collusive agreement not to debate on Fox News Channel (FNC). That FNC has a higher viewership than MSNBC and CNN indicates a healthy disrespect that the Democrats have for a significant portion of the electorate that may have an opposing or independent view.

While they debate the merits and fallacies of meeting with certain foreign leaders, with or without preconditions, and what American aims should or should not be, the voting viewers of FNC are supposed to believe that these candidates have the guts to stare down sympathizers and supporters of major terrorists and WMD seeking dictators when they are too afraid to take a question from Brit Hume!

Cowardice is not a trait best displayed by those who would lead a free nation at one of its more perilous times in history. Yet cowardice is exactly what compels their action(s). The Republicans have debated before all comers and in forums where questioners, like Chris Matthews of NBC News, have repeatedly shown an unobjective Democratic bias. What questions, that have not been asked, are the Democrats afraid of that the next President could easily be asked at a press conference? Their refusal to debate on FNC is nothing more than fear and cowardice masquerading as a principled stand. It disrespects the process, it disrespects their party members and, above all, it disrespects the voters who want more than pre-prepared and scripted non-answers to "Softball" questions from politically sycophantic journalists pretending to be tough and objective.

The cowardice of the last Democratic president should have been enough as he stood in the background behind a podium full of women who stepped to the microphone in his defense stating, "We believe the President," before he was shamed into his finger wagging, mendacious assertion that he, "... did not have sexual relations with that woman..." That Saddam Hussein harbored a major 1993 World Trade Center bomber and, for all 8 years of the Clinton presidency, Iraq repeatedly fired on US and allied aircraft patrolling the no-fly zone, all without retaliation, was indicative of a weak and incompetent presidency. And that none of this has been broached during these so-called Democratic debates posits tragedies we are doomed to repeat.

Why should voters believe that Mrs. Clinton will be any better at fighting terrorism than her husband was? With all of their talk about the war in Iraq and the "failed Bush policies," exactly what is their blueprint for combatting the ever changing face of terrorism here and abroad? Shouldn't the public have a chance to scrutinize these plans before they go to the polls? These are just a few questions that have yet to be asked and answered. And if these are questions the Democratic candidates fear FNC might ask, then the next obvious question should be, "What are they afraid of?"

Saturday, November 24, 2007


(Initially written April 13, 2007)

America, unlock your daughters - Imus has left the building. Ladies, your dignity has been restored to the airwaves - Imus has left the building. Black women, your strength and beauty and character have been restored - Don Imus has left the building. And if you believe that, you believe Al Sharpton was really concerned about the use of the public airwaves and not looking to etch a high profile notch in his belt.

Outside of his dastardly "rap," Imus made at least two highly critical errors. By talking on the air to Al Sharpton and Matt Lauer he allowed Sharpton to control the overall situation and dialog. His second, and more serious error in judgment was his apologetic public spectacle before speaking with Coach Stringer and her team. They were the injured party, not him, not yet. He should have allowed the Rev. Soaries to set up the meet and then shut up until he spoke to them. He owed them that. His misguided attempt to be noble only served to fuel the media frenzy and encourage speculation. The Rutgers women went from a calm and dignified "let's wait and see what he has to say," to having to comment on what he said recently.

Wherever you are and wherever you live in America, Imus' dirty comments did not emerge from a vacuum. And the fact that they occur repeatedly over the "public" airwaves, that Al Sharpton looks to protect, and their aftereffects are already in a neighborhood near you. The next time you go to a PTA meeting, your school board, town hall, bridge club or book club, talk to your neighbors. You are going to find that a growing number of your daughters, granddaughters, nieces and their friends and classmates have been "bitch slapped" by their boyfriends, male athletes and other seemingly fine upstanding young men in your community. Fueled by underage drinking and drug use at parties and other unsupervised gatherings, physical aggression and sexual assaults against young women are on the rise in America's neighborhoods as the beats and lyrics of "gangsta rap" plays in the background.

Threatened boycotts and protests by Al Sharpton finally convinced NBC and CBS Radio that Don Imus was more trouble than he was worth. Don Imus now knows how the women at Rutgers University feel. It is doubtful that Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson knows, or even cares, how Dr. Condoleezza Rice felt.

Growing up in segregated Birmingham, Alabama as a little girl, her friend was blown to bits in one of the most infamous acts of terrorism in American history. From that she worked to prove those cowardly bombers, and all who thought like them, that they were wrong about black people. She became highly educated, fluent in Russian and an expert on their history. She became Provost at one of the top universities in the world, an accomplished pianist, developed a passion for football and served her country under two presidents framing US international policy. These phenomenal accomplishments led Harry Belafonte to reduce Dr. Rice to being a "house slave." Her dignity would not allow her to respond in kind. And it is that dignity which is undeserving of the disrespect leveled toward these black women by the men they raised.

Young women in every corner of the country are being verbally and physically abused by young men who are using the "language of the streets." Maybe by one of the two young white teens who walked on a Long Island street several feet behind me spouting, "That nigger slapped the shit outta that bitch!" Or by one of the many young Latinos for whom the "N" word has become the preferred noun of choice in New York. And by the young black, gun-toting video music thugs humping half-dressed women on your children's television sets. They are the same musical guests you see on Letterman, Leno, Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Kimmel and Saturday Night Live.

The dawn of the 21st century has seen Democratic political candidates such as Al Gore, John Edwards, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton gladly take political contributions and pose for photographs with the millionaire producers and "artists" of this visual and lyrical objectification and degradation of women and glorification of wanton violence.

Mr. Imus got himself fired for an ugliness that has become far too mainstream in our society. The pain suffered by the Rutgers Womens Basketball Team is just a small symptom of the disease. And it is only going to get worse unless parents and community leaders everywhere start to threaten boycotts of their own. The culture of using young women as punching bags and sexual playthings has become one of the most profitable businesses in America. I'm sure the exploited young ladies picketing outside New York offices, in protest of Mr. Imus, felt empowered carrying placards and chanting, "I am not a ho!" No, you're not - but guys like Snoop and Fitty say you are - and they have not left the building. And neither Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson nor the National Association of Black Journalists are picketing or boycotting to have them evicted.

BELATED FOOTNOTE: Un-coincidentally, at no time did I hear Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper or any of the CNN hosts offer a disclaimer during the length of this news episode. At no time did they offer to their viewers that they are a subsidiary of TIME WARNER and that TIME WARNER is a major distributor of the offensive language that they were discussing over the weeks long discussion.

Don Imus is scheduled to return to the airwaves on December 3rd.

Friday, November 23, 2007


(Reprinted from the Times Mason-Dixon Gazette - January 5, 1863)

By Laureen Lowd & Hank Itch

Impeach him! The President has lost his mind. Undertaking a war between the states was already a bad idea, but signing this Emancipation Proclamation is clearly evidence that Mr. Lincoln has gone off the deep end.

Two years ago the president asserted that the union could not survive half-free and half-slave. On what basis did he draw such an absurd conclusion? The existing free states abolished slavery of their own volition and on their own timetable. Did not the existing slave states deserve the same opportunity? And now with over 250,000 already dead and no end to this war in sight, he further antagonizes the southern resisance with his executive edict to free the slaves. How many more deaths is it going to take before Mr. Lincoln realizes that the southern states are never going to give up slavery? Apparently Mr. Lincoln will not be happy until he sees another quarter of a million Americans killed and Atlanta burned to the ground.

Will the American public continue to put up with brother killing brother in an endless battle for so dubious a purpose? Is Mr. Lincoln really interested in ending slavery or is he sending these poor souls to their death for the benefit of his friends in the textile industry? The end of slavery will mean the end of cheap cotton products. Will Mr. and Mrs. John Doe America be happy if the end result of hundreds of thousands of dead Americans was a higher cost for clothing?

Two years ago the country was at peace, cotton was inexpensive and the southern slaves were well fed, received free health care and free housing. Are we to believe the great lie that the nation cannot survive half-free and half-slave when it survived just fine prior to Mr. Lincoln's presidency? And should Mr. Lincoln's self-serving vanity war be successful, what will become of the slaves who cannot get hired by the farmers and plantation owners? How will they eat? Where will they live? How will they provide for their unsold children who are presently being fed and cared for? Will the newly freed slaves over 21 years of age be allowed to vote when white women are still denied that right? If Mr. Lincoln was seeking a cause for which to base his presidency, giving women the vote would have been more cogent and less bloody than the endless slaughter of this senseless civil war between the states.

Mr. Lincoln's action eschews our constitutional separation of powers. He has chosen, by fiat, to bypass the legislative process of both the states and federal government. He has abused his position as commander-in-chief of the armed services to thumb his nose at the US Supreme Court in the case of Dred Scott v. Sanford. This is tyranny, not governance! And the alleged nobility of his lone decision cannot bring peace to the loved ones of the hundreds of thousands killed and the tens of thousands yet to be killed on the field of battle in defiance of any of our sacred constitutional processes.

When told that his General Grant was a drunk, Mr. Lincoln was rumored to have remarked that he would like to know what Grant drank so that he could send all of his generals a case of it. The thousands of daily deaths are dishonored by such presidential flippancy. It should not bolster confidence in the American public when the report of the latest death toll is seen as an opportunity for the president to sharpen his wit.

The dishonesty of this war and the president's misleading reasons for it become all too clear when Mr. Lincoln's public acknowledgments are well versed political lambastes of southern slavery while his private moments are spent strolling through the White House whistling "Dixie!"

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"THE VIEW" From Here: Getting the "Star" Treatment

(Initially written Sept. 25, 2006)

As she planned her elaborate wedding, tacky and inappropriate were just two of the words often used to describe the pre-departure behavior of THE VIEW co-host, Star Jones. It was later revealed that at that point her likability factor had begun to dwindle in relation to the other hosts. It seems that plugging a vendor on THE VIEW for providing wedding accoutrements at no charge was, allegedly, turning off viewers, discomfiting Jones' co-hosts and ticking off the brass at ABC-TV. So, for doing what many celebrities take advantage of, it was determined that Star Jones' services were no longer needed.

Turn on almost any talk, news, variety or entertainment program and the closing credits are riddled with "tacky" and "inappropriate" messages such as "John Smith's Clothing provided by," or Jane Doe's Jewelry provided by." Countless television personalities are bedecked and bejeweled by a plethora of clothing, jeweler and hair styling vendors, at no cost, just for the opportunity to be mentioned to the vast viewing audience. Top flight clothing designers loan and gift multi-thousand dollar outfits to celebrities just to have their name and company mentioned on the red carpet at the numerous award shows they attend. Now we have product placement where vendors are paying to have their products and services strategically placed in the movies we pay to see. Vendors were probably beside themselves to get a piece of Tiny Tim's wedding on THE TONIGHT SHOW with Johnny Carson.

The irrepressible Don Imus laughingly tells a story of having his car, provided by Dick Gidron Cadillac, picked up the very day he was fired by NBC. And, insult to injury, Jones' very own VIEW co-hosts had no problem making mention of the expensive, and free, gifts they all received upon attending the annual Daytime Emmy Awards.

So why was Jones negatively singled out for doing business in a manner that has been used by celebrities for decades? A mere threatening word from Barbara Walters and/or ABC brass should have been sufficient. Star Jones' dismissal from THE VIEW was much deeper than her wedding plans. And with Walters' very high profile, publicly offered carrot to Rosie O'Donnell to join the show, it seems clear that the Jones/O'Donnell dust-up on a previous program was the catalyst. It was rumored that O'Donnell threw down the gauntlet and refused to appear on any future shows if Star Jones was present.

It was Rosie O'Donnell's misguided ignorance that led to the infamous confrontation. O'Donnell believed that women in America should have collectively vented their outrage in an effort to keep Martha Stewart out of jail - the way black people did for OJ Simpson and former NBA All Star Jayson Williams. Such a statement was absurd at its core and Star, rightfully, called her on it. Jones correctly pointed out that it was independent juries who rendered the verdicts in all of those cases and that black people had no vote over whether Simpson got convicted and went to jail. Then, in an effort to appear supportive and sensitive to Jones, O'Donnell unknowingly became patronizing, condescending and insulting to black people in general , and dishonest with the public in particular. In contending that black people have so few role models she repeated the imbecilic notion that black people said that you can't take OJ Simpson and you can't take Jayson Williams. And, insult to injury again, she claimed to agree with them. However, after the discovery of the mutilated bodies of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson, O'Donnell was one of the more vocal celebrities to insist that Simpson was guilty, once while hosting SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, even before a jury was impaneled, before a witness was called, or a single piece of evidence introduced.

Her hypocrisy knows no limits. She reportedly mocked Jones for being less than candid with her audience about her dramatic weight loss. This from a woman who waited until she wrote her book and quit her talk show before coming out of her lesbian closet.

After the controversial departure of Star Jones from THE VIEW, resident jokester Joy Behar took a dig at her former co-host by making a snide comment to a guest host to "Tell us you're a lawyer" - obviously referring to Jones who properly brought her past legal profession to the many discussions concerning the myriad trials and/or lawsuits in the news during the show's Hot Topics segments. Her legal experience is what helped make the discussed topics work. And it was no different than Behar often mentioning being a "stand up comedian" or the venues she played and people she met "doing stand up" - or Meredith Viera adding her news experience at CBS or ABC to the conversations, or, Ms. Walters pontificating about when she interviewed a particular politician, celebrity or head-of-state. It was the differing life experiences that made the segments interesting and informative. Behar's misplaced sarcasm only serves to display her lack of understanding as to what made the show work.

As for Rosie O'Donnell, who believes that fundamentalist Christians in America are just as dangerous as the murdering fundamentalist Muslims, she's now Barbara Walters' cross to bear.

Monday, November 19, 2007


(Initially written Dec. 12, 2006)

When you have the enemy surrounded, completely outnumbered and severely outgunned, sounding retreat is not the viable or sensible road to victory. In war there is only victory or defeat - and it is why Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld should have been fired the very first time the Marines were not allowed to take Fallujah. It emboldened Shiite thug Muqtada al-Sadr and aided Al Qaeda backed insurgents. For them it reinforced Osama bin Laden's claim that America was/is a paper tiger.

The enemy used their religious shrines and mosques for battlefield preparations and fortressees. It was their decision to blaspheme and denigrate their own mosques and we should not have shown more reverance to their shrines than they did. It allowed the enemy to regroup, rearm and steadfastly grow.

The course of this poorly managed war by Secretary Rumsfeld has received criticism from all corners of the American political and journalistic spectrum. However, it is the abdication of responsibility of those very institutions that has led us to where we are today. Each time Richard Luger and Joe Biden, senior members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, throw around the term incompetence as it regards the Bush administration it is, quite simply, the pot calling the kettle black. Exactly what did they do, as members of their committee, when the master terrorist blew up buildings and murdered innocent people abroad? Did they meet with the Clinton administration, or the CIA or National Security to discuss a plan to take out Osama bin Laden and his murderous networks? Senators John Kerry, Barbara Boxer, Joe Biden and Christopher Dodd, all boisterous critics of the administration's War on Terror, were members of the International Operations and Terrorism Subcommittee prior to Sep. 11th. And unless these committee assignments are nothing more than to provide patronage for the spouses and children of their colleagues and campaign donors, what were they doing between the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and Sept. 10, 2001? And why hasn't anyone in the Fourth Estate bothered to ask?

Every major network and cable news entity in America has a reporter covering Capitol Hill. Exactly how many bombings and body bags were going to be required before the question got asked! And why was it not asked of Senators Ted Kennedy and John Warner of the Armed Services Committee when some of those body bags contained American soldiers and sailors: or Senators Pat Roberts and Carl Levin of the Intelligence Committee when it was clearly Osama bin Laden, declarer of war against America, wreaking havoc at an ever more dangerous pace. What were they doing about it? It's a very simple question - why wasn't it asked?

The press, its pundits and our politicians wrapped their rhetoric around the "leadership" of President Clinton, the commitment of the victims and the grief of our nation, but not the need for the safety and security of the American citizenry.

Tasked with a specific purpose, even the Sept. 11th Commission failed to ask. What should have been a careful, methodical and focused investigation of lax security and governmental incompetence, at all levels, became a poorly chosen, agenda driven, self-aggrandizing exercise in insult to the American public. No one who worked for Bill Clinton or George W. Bush should have been on the panel. Commission member and New School President, former Senator Bob Kerrey, after stating that he did not want to spend too much of his time talking about Iraq, continually questioned Dr. Condoleezza Rice about Iraq - all the while calling her Dr. Clark. His regard for her was so dismissive that he failed the simple courtesy of writing down her name when she was sworn in to avoid the obvious embarrassment. In fact, no member of the panel, including the bi-partisan chairmen, even bothered to correct the continuing insult. To her credit, Dr. Rice remained courteous and professional in the face of this discourteous unprofessionalism.

"There was no collaborative effort between Iraq and Al Qaeda," was how co-charirmen Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton opened their many discussions at the conclusion of their commission hearings. An apparent dig at the Bush administration, this finding went largely unchallenged by the news media.

One reasonable question - why do the chairmen think that so many non-Iraqi members of Al Qaeda who were captured or killed in possession of Iraqi passports? If there was no collaborative effort, why do they believe that one of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers fled to Baghdad rather than any of the known Al Qaeda camps? Harboring the fugitive bomber and providing passports to non-Iraqi Al Qaeda members is extremely strong circumstantial evidence that Saddam Hussein was in a very comfortable bed with Osama bin Laden. And believing that the secularist Hussein and the radical fundamentalist bin Laden's hatred toward one another would never have allowed them to partner in terror is dangerously naive. The fictional Don Vito Corleone's adage, "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer," is simply a more modern day slogan from a much older caveat - the enemy of my enemy is my friend. It is unlikely that FDR and Churchill planned on meeting Stalin over bangers and mash, hot dogs and apple pie, and borscht and vodka on each D-Day anniversary. Nor were Hitler and Yamamoto likely to have celebrations of sake and sauerbraten had World War II gone the other way. And it was the overthrow of the Shah of Iran, 444 days of Americans held hostage, and the ascension of the Ayatollah Khomeini to the leadership of Iran that led to America's flea-bitten relationship with Saddam Hussein. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

In 1998 the US Senate voted a regime change resolution in regard to Iraq. And in 1998, after he called for air strikes in Afghanistan and Sudan, Bill Clinton stated that, "... countries that persistently host terrorists have no right to be safe havens." Of our battle against terrorism he said, "It will require strength, courage and endurance. We will not yield to this threat... This will be a long ongoing struggle between freedom and fanaticism... We must be prepared to do all that we can for as long as we must."

President George W. Bush's decision to go into Iraq as an extension of the War on Terror was tough, noble and necessary. And that Rumsfeld screwed it up and Bush failed to fire him a lot sooner does not change that fact.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


(Initially written Nov. 5, 2005)

In the interest of full disclosure, I don't like the Clintons. I think they are merely con artists posing as politicians. During the eight years of the Clinton administration and the campaigns leading up to them, we rarely saw Bill or Hillary Clinton stand with sturdy ideological backbone in support of any issue unless a phalanx of Democrats braced them upright and pushed them forward.

In the face of vehement opposition by his most loyal constituents, feminists and black Democrats, Bill Clinton signed into law the third Congressional attempt at a Welfare Reform bill. Number three was virtually indistinguishable from the two reform bills he had previously vetoed. The cries from the feminist orthodoxy and the pseudo black leadership about the degenerative bill #3 was as long and as loud as it was for the failed Welfare Reforms numbers 1 and 2. But, at the urging of his pollster/Svengali, Dick Morris, he felt compelled to sign a bill whose third veto might cost him his 1996 re-election bid.

And now as Hillary Clinton girds for her 2006 Senatorial re-election in the state of New York, many believe that it is simply an imprimatur for a 2008 run at the Democratic nomination for the Presidency of the United States. Her campaign rhetoric clearly seems to bear this out. As we move toward Election Day 2006, George W. Bush is only in the first year of his lame duck second term and Mrs. Clinton appears to be positioning herself to be the Senator from New York who would be the 2008 Democratic Presidential nominee. As you listen to her closely, she is sounding more and more like Bill Clinton. In fact, put a 2005 emphasis on Bill Clinton's 1992 speeches and you have Mrs. Clinton's 2006/2008 campaign strategy. Will it work a second time? You can fool some of the people some of the time and you can fool 43% of the people all of the time - provided you have a third party candidate with a grudge against your opponent. Less than half of all eligible voters went to the polls in 1992 and 57% of them did not want the "two for the price of one" Clintons anywhere near the vicinity of the White House. Apparently the public did not view the media mavens' opinion that Bill Clinton was the "greatest," "savviest," "most astute" political mind they had seen in their lifetime.

Can they really be that naive? How savvy or astute is it for a career politician to fall the helpless prey of the pizza delivery girl at the first sign of her thong! From thousands of miles away, having never met Bill Clinton, Monica Lewinsky told friends that her burgeoning internship at the White House would earn her a set of "presidential kneepads." Why was her ability to see through Bill Clinton so much better than those "celebrity status" journalists who cover him? Were they that gullible at the feet of Bill Clinton or are they just that bad at their job!

And after decades of advanced "feminism" preaching the horrors of stunted self-esteem among girls whose mothers stay in marriages with openly serial philanderers, 'feminist' icon Hillary Rodham Clinton subjected her daughter to just that. Or does the National Organization for Women now find that subjecting young daughters to the problems of low self-esteem, dysfunctional familial and personal relationships and the hours of therapy that these feminists generally foresee in whorish marriages is now acceptable if it gets your daughter from Arkansas public schools to Oxford in the process? Tabloid fodder aside, the effects of growing up Clinton is yet to be determined for young Miss Chelsea.

One of feminisms glaring dichotomies reared its psychotic head during "L'Affaire Lewinsky." Appearing on 60 MINUTES, Kathleen Willey alleged that, after the suicide of her husband, she went to the White House and met with Bill Clinton in an effort to secure a job whereupon Clinton proceeded to forcibly French kiss her and fondle her inappropriately. Subsequently, also on national TV, Patricia Ireland termed such behavior, if true, was a "sexual assault." However, on the op-ed page of a national newspaper, Mrs. Gloria Steinem basically opined that because Clinton stopped when the widow Willey rejected his advance, no harm no foul. Yet these same women were virtually apoplectic over an uncorroborated allegation that a potential jurist used the name of a male porn star in the presence of an adult female with a law degree.

"Men just don't get it!" was/is the never ending feminist rallying cry. Yet these same feminists indict perpetrators of sexual harassment based on political ideology and party affiliation, not on "inappropriate" or illegal behavior.

Former Republican Senator Bob Packwood was run out of office when a series of women were allowed to testify that the Senator forcibly kissed and/or fondled them in his office some 15 years prior. Yet when years old allegations of forcible fondling and rape were leveled against Democrat Bill Clinton, it was deemed unnecessary to hear those witnesses testify before the Senate during the impeachment trial of then President Clinton. California Senator Barbara Boxer stated that she did not want Monica Lewinsky coming to Washington and "soiling the Senate floor." The past public behavior of Senators Teddy Kennedy and Christopher Dodd alone would necessitate Miss Lewinsky needing a pair of sturdy hip boots to avoid the grime and stench of an already well-soiled Senate floor.

National rallies for women's "whatever" and/or "the children" become center stage platforms for female and child rights advocates from Washington, DC to Hollywood, California. They uniformly bash men, perverts, wife abusers, child molesters and Republicans in defense of women's rights and "protecting our children." The most recent victims of nationwide notoriety are always referred to - their grieving families in attendance. However, the outrage displayed by the feminists at these gatherings must have been drowned out by the deafening applause that some of these very speakers and their significant others gave to fugitive child rapist Roman Polanski after being awarded the Oscar for Best Director for the film THE PIANIST.

Feminism: 'tis a psychopathy devoutly to be dissed.

Hillary Rodham Clinton's public history has been shown to be the antithesis of everything that feminists purport to believe in and stand for. And now that the possibility looms large that Mrs. Clinton will take a run at the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination and ultimately the White House, will her husband's 43% successful strategy of being all things to all people work for her? And, once again, will the press buy into it? Will the public?

Just a few short years ago the Democrats floated the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment to temporarily relieve Bill Clinton of his presidential duties so that the Clintons could seek professional help to repair their marital relationship in light of Bubba's seemingly serious serial infidelity. Apparently not getting fired and a subsequent seat in the US Senate is now the perfect substitute for couples said to be in need of professional help. Will the American public trust the future of their children and their country to someone whose own supporters told us was in need of therapy and counseling? Or has their shuttle distance relationship been a substitute for their needed theraputic cure.

Perhaps Tony Soprano's panic attacks have nothing to do with the responsibilities of his life as a crime boss. Just maybe the need to medicate his angst fueled attacks is the product of trying to understand the women in his life, what the hell they mean, and what the hell they want.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


After the 2000 Presidential election the Democrats, along with their covert and overt minions in the press, were absolutely gleeful in their zeal to point out that George W. Bush received just 9% of the black vote. "That's less than Bob Dole got in 1996!"

That statistic was used, once again, to vilify the Republicans as pseudo-racists. Unfortunately, the Republicans apologized for the poor national showing. The press was quick to point this out rather than the increasing numbers of black voters who are helping install more and more Republicans in state, local and Congressional seats. Also unfortunate is the silence of those 9% who fear castigation by Democrats, both black and white, for their uninformed and traitorous choice.

For them I offer my support group.


Hi, my name is Calvin. I'm black and I voted for George W. Bush... (Hi, Calvin). I have been clean and Democrat free for several years now. Having been born and raised a Democrat it has been a difficult struggle, but I'm managing to survive one election at a time. And thanks to a quality public school education on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, I have the ability to read, write, decipher and define what I think and feel with a distinct clarity, strength and confidence.

For starters, George W. Bush struck me as a strong, confident and capable leader in ways that Al Gore and Bill Clinton never did. As a black man in America I was expected to forego such thoughts and feelings. As a free man, I could not. As a black man I was expected to go along with the 91% of American blacks who cast their ballots for Al Gore. As a free man, I could not. And as a black man in America I am expected to believe that Republicans are nothing more than Klansmen in Brooks Brothers suits. As a free man, I will not.

I will not believe that Dr. Condoleezza Rice and Gen. Colin Powell are house slaves just because Harry Belafonte says so. I will not believe that cutting taxes is the Republican's way of saying "spic" and "nigger" just because Charles Rangel says so. And I do not believe that President Bush wants to take America back to the days of Jim Crow just because Kweisi Mfume says so. Becoming a recovering Democrat is not easy. And for all of you 9 percenters willing to come out of the closet, I have to tell you, the interventions can be a bitch. The constant pointing out of where you went wrong; always changing the subject; their irrelevant arguments; their never ending whining about Florida, the disenfranchised voters, Katherine Harris, Jeb Bush and the US Supreme Court are enough to cause you to relapse just to shut them up. You'll need a good sponsor. Even when you tell them that those 36 days in the fall of 2000 would have been a President Gore honeymoon had they simply fired Bill Clinton, they won't shut up about Florida. However, ousting one of their white guys for running afoul of ethics and law is something that Democrats just never want to do. Not to Ted Kennedy after Chappaquddick, not Bob Torricelli after illegally taking gifts, not Barney Frank after his lover was caught running a whorehouse out of the Congressman's home, not Tom Daschle after 60 MINUTES exposed his connection to a shady aircraft scandal, not Robert Byrd, allegedly a former Klansman, after uttering the dreaded "N" word on national television in a brazen, deliberate and racially offensive context, not Kennedy and Chris Dodd after allegations of sexual assault at La Brasserie restaurant, and not to Bill Clinton after lying under oath before a federal judge.

We 9 percenters should not have to accept public officials who engage in criminal and unethical behavior. That seemed to be the Democrat's policy when they ousted Adam Clayton Powell Jr., Dr. Joycelyn Elders, Mike Espy, Marion Barry, Mel Reynolds and Henry Cisneros. Their racially discriminatory practice sounds a lot like the Jim Crow practice that Mr. Mfume is accusing President Bush of returning to.

But, you say, Toni Morrison wrote that Bill Clinton was really our first black president. To which I say, Toni Morrison is an award winning writer of fiction. Had Bill Clinton really been black he probably would have been sporting orange jumpsuits and pressing Arkansas license plates long ago.

As a black man in America I am supposed to be angry that George W. Bush is President of the United States because he should never have been a serious contender for my vote. I was expected to vote for John Kerry based mostly on a 4 month period of his life in Vietnam when he was in his twenties. I should not have been concerned about his questionable judgment over the subsequent 35 years. I should not be concerned that, in defending Bill Clinton 12 years prior, Senator Kerry said that who did or did not serve in Vietnam was unimportant. And I should not have been concerned that Senator Kerry's 1998 position on removing Saddam Hussein from power was the same position for which he now claims President Bush misled America.

For a black man in America it is considered tantamount to treason to opt for the Republican over the Democrat. However, as a free man, I cannot respect a party that repeatedly uses a Jim Crow standard to determine which criminally and ethically challenged officials are fit to serve. I cannot take seriously, a party that does not have the guts to tell one of its presidential candidates that he harms the youth he purports to represent when he repeatedly mispronounces the simple three letter word for "make a request." Don't ask!!! And I will not take seriously a party that believes 4 months in Vietnam makes John Kerry presidential but two tours in Vietnam makes Colin Powell a house slave.

And for all of my fellow members in 9 PERCENTERS ANONYMOUS, the first step toward recovery is to admit that you are not the one with the problem.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot - God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.

(Initially written August 9, 2004)

Friday, November 16, 2007



Since the first day after the 2004 presidential inauguration, the major television news mavens and mavenettes have been determined to foist Hillary Rodham Clinton down the throats of the American voting public as the de facto Democratic nominee for the presidency in 2008. Even the likely Democratic candidates vying for the nomination had publicly conceded that the unannounced Mrs. Rodham Clinton is the party front runner for the nomination. Based on what - a disastrous 12 year old health policy and an incomplete carpet-bagged rookie season in the Senate? Apparently it is name recognition, and not the experience of running anything worthwhile, unless you want to count helping run the Rose Law Firm into the ground, that is the pollsters and potential candidates' reason for her ascension. Heck, my name is synonymous with a great professional running back but it does not make me fit to run the NFL.

Some of the opinions and reviews that appear here were previously published in METRO EXCHANGE, a small, low circulation newspaper that served black communities in New York City. With the aid of the conscientious editor, I was able to attract a small but loyal following of my byline. Much of what you read will be well written, thought provoking and often humorous insights that were rejected by the major players in the print media with their usual, "no space," "it was covered by our other columnists," " no longer on that topic," etc. But don't despair. Now is your chance to read the thoughts and ranting of an obscure free-lance writer and occasionally pissed off American that you should have read years ago. Because much of what you will read was rejected, some great lines may reoccur. It was because certain lines that I wrote were so good that it was necessary to try to get it in somehow, somewhere. 9 Percenters will cause you to laugh, ponder, reread and rethink - but never bore you.

Also, some of what you read was my cure for bouts of insomnia. When I am seriously bugged about something, usually political and/or news topical, sleep becomes an elusive commodity. When I finally break the bonds of procrastination, I get it off my chest and on to paper. At which point sleep becomes my reward for a job well done.

This blog will be a culmination of the encouragement of friends and colleagues, some who agree with me and some who don't. They believe that my competence as a writer is as good or better than some of the columnists that they read on the pages of those publications that rejected me. In my own humble opinion, which I value quite highly, I agree. So read and enjoy 9Percenters - The Op-Ed Alternative.