Monday, December 29, 2008

Israel versus Palestine:Could they Both be 'dead right?'

My heart is grieved by the recent air strike by Israel on the Hamas in Gaza which resulted in over 300 deaths and over 800 people wounded. The Wall Street Journal reports that President George W. Bush and the White House supports this attack.

Why does America have to? Do we truly believe as a nation that everyone who is an enemy to Israel is our nation's enemy? Will war ever cease? Will Israel ever be found in the wrong against these people?

We must pray for the wisdom of President-elect Barack Obama. These pre-existing wars are a very precarious situation for him to be stepping into.

Gov. Sarah Palin is a Grandmama--That's a Tripp!

Shhhhh--Don't tell anyone but, Governor Sarah Palin is a young "GG"(that's Gorgeous Granny).
I just heard the news: Bristol Palin, the unmarried 18-year-old daughter of former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has given birth in Alaska to a son.
Even though People magazine reports that Bristol Palin gave birth to Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston on Sunday, you shouldn't go around telling people because according to the governor's office "this birth is a private family matter."
Little Tripp weighed 7 pounds, 4 ounces. The father is high school dropout Levi Johnston, a former hockey player at Alaska's Wasilla High School. He has said he and Bristol plan to marry--perhaps when one of them becomes a high school graduate?
As the grandmother of six--soon to be seven grandchildren I understand Governor Palin's excitement over the prospect of becoming a young "GG." But Governor, with all due respect--you did announce Bristol's pregnancy to the world. At that point it was no longer private. Now that the inevitable has happened--the birth, and now you want this matter private? Even after People Magazine and Yahoo wrote about it? What's the point of achieving celebrity status if little things like the Governor becoming a grandmama shouldn't be news?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Eartha Kitt: "The Most Exciting Woman in the World"

What a Marvelous Lady--Eartha Kitt
I heard Eartha Kitt's distinctive voice doing an interview as the radio played in the taxi while I rode home on Christmas night 2008.

"That's Eartha Kitt's voice." I said. "Please turn that up so I can hear her." The cab driver turned up the volume, but added that Ms. Kitt had died that morning of colon cancer--she was 81. I was stunned.

I had always loved and admired Eartha Kitt from the first time I saw her purring and slinking and dancing around Gotham City as the villainous "Cat Woman" on the Bat Man tv series. She was so sexy and sophisticated and bad. She was also very pretty with an amazing and distinctive voice. I was mesmerized by her and captivated. She became one of the women I would later try to pattern my prowess around. Even going so far as to learn to purrrr.

I had the privilege of seeing her perform live in a musical here in Chicago in about 2005, although I can't remember which one. Afterwards, I met her briefly and told her of my devotion and admiration of her talent. She hugged me like a diva and the star that she was. It was also a warm hug like a sistah-friend who appreciated me for appreciating her. Our exchange lasted only 2 minutes or less, yet she had a profound effect on me. I was so honored to have met her and I told her so. She replied that she was honored to meet me. She was a class act.

A few years ago, may 20 or so I read an autobiography she had written where she chronicled her early life and how hard it was being from the south and being bi-racial and what she termed as unwanted. She was born Eartha Mae Keith on January 27, 1927 in Columbia, SC.

She was able to sing in 10 different languages and performed in over 100 countries. In fact, she could sing, dance, act and do voice overs--she was versatile and multi-talented to say the least. When she was a young woman she danced in the famed Katherin Dunham Dance Company. Katherine Dunham was one of my favorite performers as well. It's amazing to know that theyknew each other when they were younger.

Orson Welles described Eartha Kitt as "The most exciting woman in the world!" I agree with him--"Eartha, you were the bomb! And everybody knew it." Rest in Peace, my friend.

Christmas Wishes...Happy Birthday, Jesus!

It's been 2 days since the official birthday of Jesus Christ of Nazereth. This was really the very first year that I didn't take hard earned money earmarked for bills and other stuff--and spend it on others for Jesus' birthday.

I truly have the Christmas Spirit this year. I saw my three grandchildren, Anthony, Antoine and Candace who live in Illinois on the 25th. I spoke with my first-born son, Ali. My 5th born son, Curtiss gave me a set of 3 books by Dr. Suess--first time he bought a gift un-coerced. I love him for his thoughtfulness and his own love for books. My 2nd born-son gave me a lovely card. I cried when I read the sentiments. My grandson, Jaheim sent me a great card from Florida.

I spoke with my mother who informed me that my daughter was pregnant. What a wonderful surprise gift. I wish my daughter had told me.

I saw my friend Terri and her wonderful family--and I ate like a queen at her mom's house.

Thank you Jesus. This was a season of firsts and reunions. This is the reason for the season.

Monday, December 15, 2008

President-elect, Are you sure about Arne Duncan?

President-elect Barack Obama has chosen Chicago Public Schools Chief Arne Duncan to join his cabinet as Secretary of Education.Obama is expected to make the announcement Tuesday.

Duncan visited the Education Department in Washington, D.C. earlier this month, but insisted the call was a purely social one. CBS 2 Political Editor Mike Flannery reports Duncan frequently plays basketball with the Obama. And Obama said previously he might name him to the cabinet as education secretary. Duncan told reporters in D.C. Dec. 4 he had no idea who Obama will pick for the job. But he praised his basketball buddy, saying Obama "has an unbelievably thoughtful, comprehensive [education] plan, and there's a real opportunity to do something special going forward." Duncan was among a handful of names mentioned as likely candidates for the education post.

President-elect Obama, I beg your pardon, but did you really mean to use CPS' Arne Duncan as the National Education Secretary?
I believe the jury is still out on whether he has single-handedly brought Chicago Public Schools to ruins--not to mention the fact that he may be considered part of Chicago's gangster regime.  I can see that you are loyal to your friends--but, Arne Duncan? Surely, you jest.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

O.J. given 9 years to reflect in Las Vegas as VIP guest of Nevada

Clark District Court Judge Jackie Glass was crystal clear as she sentenced former football star, O.J. Simpson to serve at least 9 years in the Nevada prison system. He was recently found gulty on 12 counts that included gunpoint robbery and kidnapping of two sports memorabilia dealers in a LasVegas hotel.
His argument was that the materials that the men were trying to sell to him belonged to him and were stolen from him. He basically was simply trying to get his own property back.

O.J., you have been watching too much t.v to believe that rounding up a group of thuggish, ruggish types and attempting to take something at gunpoint would go unnoticed. You are a high profile celebrity. Everything you do is newsworthy.

Wasn't it enough to get off scott-free for a murder conviction that most folks thought you committed? Why have you pressed your luck with these folks? So, now you will have plenty of time to pen your heartfelt 'born-again' testimony.

This time however, I hope you will have a real change of heart.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Gov. Blagojevich Arrested:Gangsterville, USA...No Place To Play

Yesterday, was Governor Rod Blagojevich's 52nd birthday. As a historical gift, President-elect Barack Obama joined others calling for the 'birthday boy' to resign."The president-elect agrees with Lt. Gov. (Pat) Quinn and many others that under the current circumstances it is difficult for the governor to effectively do his job and serve the people of Illinois," said Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs. Governor Blagojevich was arrested Tuesday at his Chicago home, accused of seeking money or other lucrative favors to influence his choice in picking Obama's replacement.
Chicago and Illinois politics are like none other I have ever known or even read about. But for those of us who affectionately call Chicago home, this kind of shenanigans is business as usual. For people of Illinois to express shock at the latest revelation--our Governor allegedly trying to auction off the U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder, they are being very hypocritical or at best--very unrealistic.

This is politics--'gangster style', folks. Don't blame the player--blame the game. Winner takes all and WIIFM (Whats in it for me?) is the order of the day in the Chi-town and the Land of Lincoln. Sadly, I am dismayed that Gov. Blagojevich was not given the dignity of going to jail after the fact like so many governors before him. U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald said that Illinois just might be the most corrupt state in the United States. You think?

Why are we breaking a tried and true tradition and now deciding to do things right? Aren't we taking Barack's "change" theme a little too seriously? Surely we cannot believe that this governor is the inventor of "pay to play" politics. And although he's never professed to be the brightest bulb in the Christmas decorations--at least he wasn't stupid enough to consider giving up the seat vacated by President-elect Obama to the most qualified representative in Illinois for a mere 'Coke and a smile'. Especially when he could use it for financial or political leverage for himself. What did they take him for--foolish? Happy Birthday, Governor! I'm glad to see your mama didn't raise no fool. And you can count on me to put a few dollars on your commissary books in the future.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Greed Wal-Mart Style: Save money. Live Better & Lose Your Life.

A Wal-Mart employee from a temporary agency was killed on Black Friday after an "out of control" throng of shoppers eager for post-Thanksgiving bargains broke down the doors at a Long Island, New York store and knocked him to the ground, police said.

Nassau police said about 2,000 people were gathered outside the store doors at the mall about 20 miles east of Manhattan. The impatient crowd knocked the man to the ground as he opened the doors. The 34 year old man was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead at 6 AM.

Kimberly Cribbs, who witnessed the stampede, said as the man lay injured on the ground, shoppers continued to go into the store, simply stepping over him. Shoppers were described as acting like "savages." "When customers were told they had to leave, that an employee had gotten killed, people were yelling 'I've been on line since yesterday morning,'" she said. "They just kept shopping."

Police said criminal charges were possible in the case, but Fleming said it would be difficult to identify individual shoppers. "The safety and security of our customers and associates is our top priority," said Dan Fogleman, a company spokesman.

In my opinion, Wal-Mart and its intense greed is purely to blame for this tragedy. There is no reason this retailer should have had to open at 4 AM in the morning because it is common knowledge that this retailer is operating in the black already. Greed is the basis for creating a buying frenzy of these unsuspecting consumers and costing this youg man his life.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Chittlin' Hunting Chicago-style

I am on the hunt for a serious plate of chittlins to round out my Thanksgiving meal. I can't cook them because my sense of smell won't allow it. However, I would travel near or far for this delicacy. It seems these days you can't find nobody willing to separate with a plate. It's just ridiculous.

Folks used to call each other and brag about how many pounds they was cleaning and invite you over. Nowadays, folks is eating chittlins on the DL and ain't tellin nobody. Howabout it? Can a sistah get an invite for some chittlins on Thanksgiving? Holla atcha girl!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Happy Birthday, Naimah!

I wish we could do what they do in Katroo.
They sure know how to say
Happy Birthday to You!
In Katroo every year,
on the day you were born,
They start the day right in the
bright early morn.
When the birthday Honk Honker
honks high up Mt. Zion,
And lets loose a big blast on the Big Birthday Horn.
And the voice of the horn calls out loud and it plays,
Wake Up! for today is YOUR day of all days!
Happy Birthday Na'Imah
Dr. Suess--your friend to the end!

Happy Birthday: Roland Martin, Dr. Condoleeza Rice, and Prince Charles

An outstanding Secretary of State, British Royalty and a prolific U.S. journalist. What do they have in common--all Scorpios. Tell me you guys, Is it true what they say about y'all?

Happy Birthday to each of you.

Happy Birthday Rev. Run!

Run DMC was one of my favorite rap groups of all times. I saw them live twice. Today, Joseph Simmons is 44 years old. He is accomplished, kind and God-fearing. His family calls him, "blessed." Isn't that all that matters--at the end of the day?
"May your spirit keep the freedom of a butterfly in spring,

and may your heart be filled alwayswith the joys of simple things.

May your essence claim the freshnessof the new laid morning dew. All of this... and my Birthday wish for you.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Jennifer Hudson is Mourning in Luxury...

This is the lobby of Trump International Hotel and Tower, the tallest condominium and hotel building in Chicago, Illinois. It is owned by real-estate mogul Donald Trump. It is on prime Chicago real estate and has some of the the most breathtaking views of the city. It is a long way from Chicago's Englewood community.
Only the most exclusive clientele can afford to stay here or to purchase a condo here.
It has been reported by People Magazine that actress Jennifer Hudson and some of her relatives have been staying here free of charge since her mother, brother and nephew were slain. She is mourning the loss of her loved ones in a very exclusive manner. She is reported to be protected and very safe in these accommodations according to Donald Trump.
There is great irony in all of this tragedy, and God will naturally get the Glory--however, isn't it amazing how rich people can be accommodated for free in luxury situations that they can surely afford to pay for--but in many instances a person without money and in dire need under the same circumstances would not have this privilege? It is great to find favor with the rich & famous. Even mourning can be done in elegant style.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Governor Palin--May I call you, Sarah?

While 'chillaxin' in Wasilla, Alaska, (a place most of the world had never heard of until someone discovered it hiding under a rock this past August) Governor Sarah Palin says she wouldn't hesitate to run for the presidency in 2012--if (and only if) it's God's will.

Palin also said that she resents rumors that were spread about she and her family during the campaigns by staff of Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain.

She has said that she thinks that the economic collapse had "a heck of a lot more to do with the Republican campaign collapse than me personally."

"I'm like, Okay, God, if there's an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray--don't let me miss the open door."
Governor Palin--May I call you Sarah? Can I be real with you--woman to woman?
The fact that you are back in Alaska, chillin' instead of planning a move to Washington, D.C. could be seen as a sign from God to you--Stay home, Sarah.

I do not believe that you will be prepared to run the United States in 2012 or 2016 or as long as you have underage children. As a Christian and a Mom, I took exception at your even wasting the citizens of the United States' time when it was obvious that your family plate and the responsibilities as governor were all that you could handle.

At the moment you have an unwed teenage daughter, a young daughter and a special needs child. God gave you these responsibilities. This is your open door. Take this opportunity to walk through it and appreciate your job as a mother.
I, for one are happy to see you go home. God works in mysterious ways.

Barack's election night pics

Greetings from "Obamaville"!
These personal Election nite pics were sent to me and they are real cool. Enjoy!


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

How Cool is the Idea of an Obama White House?

America, Look at this picture. This is a perfectly balanced photograph. It is equal in all ways--including the status' of the two men who are in the picture.
Hold Up--wait a minute. I am reacting in a very curious manner I am totally interested in everything about this White House power transition as if somehow I have a personal stake in its success. And why don't I hate Michelle Obama? I have never been a 'hater' historically--but if I were going to become one now, it would be understandable wouldn't it, America?

Look at these two World Leaders--Bush and Obama.
What are they talking about? It is reported that President Elect Obama commented that the Oval Office was "nice". And what about the 'bat-phone'--aka the Presidential hotline? If it rings at 3 AM in the Oval Office, how will the president hear it? Is that why Sen. Hillary kept referring to the 3AM call? Did she know from experience that President Elect Obama could never hear it ringing because her hubby, President Bill Clinton couldn't either?
America, Isn't this a cool group shot? Doesn't Michelle look stunning in that red dress and heels? Don't the Bushs look elated? Could it be that they are ready to get the hell outta Dodge?

Look at how comfortable Michelle Obama looks 'cold chillin' in this room. Aren't you glad that the Obamas already have lived in a mansion and won't have to feel as though they're movin on up like 'George and Weezy'? What are these two women discussing? What if living at the White House were optional and not mandatory?
Wouldn't it be cool if at the end of the day Michelle was telling Laura Bush that she felt that this house was just way too big and museum-like (55,000 sq ft) and that the furnishngs were just too old and antiquated (needing about $5 or $6 million in rehab) just to come up to MTV's Cribs status; therefore she wasn't feeling it?
What if Michelle wanted the option of having a new White House built altogether in a different more exclusive neighborhood? What if she were appalled and taken aback by all the indigent and homeless people that camp around the White House in the parks and benches near there?
Wouldn't it be cool if all of the richest people they know donated money to have this new White House built for them as a tribute to Pres. Obama's Change legacy? And what if everyone who voted for him gave $5 towards new furniture? Now how unique and sharp would the interior of that house be? And if it were built for the Obamas specifically with private money they would never have to move--even after 8 years, right? Wouldn't that be cool?

President Bush and President-Elect Barack Obama take a brisk stroll down the Collunade to the West Wing of the White House where the Oval Office is located. As I watched the two men strolling I couldn't help but notice Barack's 'ball-playa' swagger. That man put the 'C' in confident, class and the'C' in cool. He's so in tune with how he should play his role as the Leader of the 'Free World' (will someone tell me why America is called that?) that he is wearing the customary power blue tie. Men, take note--President Barack Hussein Obama is a trendsetter who is bringing Change and sexy back to the White House.
I love this guy!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Senator Obama Goes to Washington--Next on Cribs...

After taking his daughters to school and a morning workout, President-elect Barack Obama headed to O'Hare International Airport this morning for a trip Washington to meet President Bush at the White House.
How normal of a morning is that? he is excited because he has never been to the White House. I haven't either, but my girlfriend, Princess Zulu has.

Last night, me and two of my girlfriends decided to drive to the Hyde Park neighborhood where he lives just so we could see what the changes are.
Beginning two blocks north of his home on a quiet residential street, there were news trucks lining both sides. For this neighborhood--that's not normal. As we inched closer to where he lives the headlights began to reflect the barricades that block entrance to his block. men dressed in black approached each vehicle. I had my girlfriend turn off the street so we wouldn't have to go thru the search procedures. They are serious about protecting President-elect Obama and his family--I'm glad about that.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Pinch Me...Am I still in the United States of America?

I'm so excited! And I just can't hide it! I'm about to lose control and I think I like it! --The Pointer Sisters lyrics
This morning I awoke and felt like jumping up and down with glee! Someone who is my real choice for President of the USA has actually won. A regular ordinary person who will go on to do extraordinary things. He still needs our support and prayers. I will gladly do my share.
I'm so euphoric and elated!
Am I dreaming or what? If this is a dream--please don't wake me.
Do ya feel me?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Obama Headlines Across the World

People love Obama. Please pray for him daily. That he uses wisdom in his governing of the United States and that he does not become intoxicated nor over-dose on 'power'.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

You Go Condi! First and Foremost You're a Sistah!

Dr. Condaleeza Rice is a 'bad mammajamma' She is the most powerful woman on the planet. She is currently the Secretary of State--appointed by President George W. Bush. She hails from Birmingham, Alabama (same as my pastor) and she is an African American. Her political affiliation is Republican--and she is the best at what she does. I am so proud of her. I took special delight in reading the press briefing from the Secretary of State's Office which I receive each morning from her office, where she congratulates President-elect Barack Obama and pledges her support. She will go down in history as one of the greatest statesman to ever serve the United States. World Leaders call her a 'black queen'. She is stylish, classy, and would never look into a camera and wink--while on official duty. Did I mention she's a lady, too?
I have included her official statement on Obama's win. Atta girl, Dr. Rice!

An emotional Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reveled Wednesday in Barack Obama's election, calling it an "extraordinary step forward" for the nation.
A child of the segregated deep South who became the highest-ranking African-American woman ever in American government and was once considered a potential Republican presidential nominee, Rice called the Democratic president-elect "inspirational" and said his victory was proof of America's promise.
"This was an exercise in American democracy of which Americans across the political spectrum are justifiably proud," she said.
"As an African-American, I'm especially proud," said Rice, her eyes glistening with emotion, "because this is a country that's been through a long journey, in terms of overcoming wounds and making race" less of a factor in life. "That work is not done, but yesterday was obviously an extraordinary step forward."
"One of the great things about representing this country is that it continues to surprise," she told reporters at the State Department at a hastily arranged briefing just hours before leaving Washington for the Middle East on a peacemaking trip. "It continues to renew itself. It continues to beat all odds and expectations."
Born and raised in Birmingham, Ala., at the height of the civil rights struggle, Rice herself overcame numerous obstacles and stereotypical low expectations. She speaks frequently about how improbable her rise to the corridors of power may seem. But she also notes that she succeeded the first black secretary of state, Colin Powell, and the first female to hold the job, Madeleine Albright.
"You just know that Americans are not going to be satisfied until they really do form that perfect union," she said, referring to the preamble of the Constitution, which begins: "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union ..."
"And while the perfect union may never be in sight, we just keep working at it and trying," Rice said.
Aides said Rice would likely call Obama, as well as vanquished Republican presidential nominee John McCain, later Wednesday.
She said McCain had been "gracious" in defeat and called him "a great patriot."
"I want to note that President-elect Obama was inspirational and I'm certain he will continue to be," Rice said.
She never said who she planned to vote for, but had hinted broadly that she would support McCain by repeatedly stressing that she is a Republican.

Change Has Come to America...Meet the new 'First Family' of the United States of America

My options were many. I had three invitations to election night viewing/victory parties all in downtown Chicago. I'm leery of huge crowds even though the idea of being in the energy was inviting. I opted to stay at home and take a nap so that I could stay awake and see the results with my husband and 3 sons.
Four hours later when I awoke from what was supposed to be a 45 minute 'cat-nap', I tuned in to election coverage and was awed by what I saw. A peaceful, patriotic, sea of people in Grant park. This was more people in one place just standing still than I'd ever seen in my life. People of every size, shape, height, and ethnic heritage. Suburbanites and city-dwellers; old and young, men and women, boys and girls. Kids and babies were perched on top of the shoulders of their parents--given a joyful reprieve from going to bed early on a school-night.

When the polls closed on the West Coast and the election results were shown, Senator Barack Obama was declared the winner at about 10pm CST, with 280 electoral votes. The crowd erupted in a resounding roar and my spirit literally left my body briefly and soared through the air. I prayed to go high enough to see the face of God. When I landed I did see His face--in all the tearful faces involved in a giant flag-waving, celebratory hugfest
Senator Barack Obama had been elected President of the United States of America in a landslide victory. What a beautiful day to be alive. Change has come to America.
Here are a few lines from his powerful 16 minutes acceptance speech in Chicago, Illinois to a crowd of over 150,000 in Grant Park. It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. The moment was sacred.

OBAMA: If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.
It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.
It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states.
We are, and always will be, the United States of America.
It's the answer that led those who've been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.
It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this date in this election at this defining moment change has come to America.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Down to the Wire...Obama or McCain

I'm so excited and happy to be alive today! This is the day that the Lord has made and I shall rejoice and be glad in it in its entirety. I am sitting at my desk and feeling free in deed. I am praying for the best man for the job to be elected on tomorrow. I am believing God that there be no election day 'shenanigans' that will change or hinder this outcome. I pray God's blessings on both these men and their families. And I'm thanking God in advance for no hurt, harm or danger to come to anyone as a result of this campaign and election day process.

We are down to the wire people--in Jesus' Name.

Barack Obama's Granny Transitions Just before Election

The campaign just confirmed that Obama's ailing grandmother, Madelyn Payne Dunham, who helped raise him, died today. She was 86 and had been battling cancer. Last week, the candidate took time out from campaigning to fly home so that he could be by her bedside in Hawaii. The Obama campaign had hoped that she would live to see the outcome of the election.
In Charlotte, North Carolina, it took Obama a while to come down from the plane and the traveling press weren't sure why. Reporters now believe he had recently received the news.
Obama and his sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, released this joint statement about their grandmother: "She was the cornerstone of our family, and a woman of extraordinary accomplishment, strength, and humility. She was the person who encouraged and allowed us to take chances. She was proud of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and left this world with the knowledge that her impact on all of us was meaningful and enduring. Our debt to her is beyond measure."

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Denyce Graves is Outstanding as Margaret Garner

Last night I attended the opening of "Margaret Garner" an Opera at Chicago's Auditorium Theater at Roosevelt University. It was awesome in a historical kinda way. What I thought was great was the diversity of the audience. This is a great time in Chicago--still one of the most segregated places in the United States. It is important that the history of slavery in the United States stop being treated like a four-letter word. We need to talk about it. We all need to learn about it and then the healing can begin--truly.
I highly encourage everyone to attend this performance because it is an excellenet production--complete with sir-titles for those of us who don't speak opera.

The Story--
The opera begins in darkness. A group of slaves, begging for deliverance from their suffering, gradually becomes visible.
The scene shifts to an auction being held in Kentucky in 1856. In the crowd is Edward Gaines, a native of the region but absent for twenty years. When Maplewood Plantation is brought to the block, he interrupts the proceedings, asserting that it cannot be sold as it belonged to his deceased brother. Gaines is dismayed to learn that the townsfolk don’t remember him, but no one disputes his claim, so he acquires Maplewood. As Gaines signs ownership papers, he is captivated by the singing of Margaret Garner, one of the slaves. He nostalgically recalls his childhood, and promises himself that this time the townsfolk will not forget him.
The slaves return from another day’s toil in the fields. Cilla, the mother of Margaret's husband, Robert, joins the couple for supper; their spirits are light-hearted until Casey, Maplewood's foreman, arrives with shocking news. Robert is being sent away that night to another plantation, but Margaret is to remain at Maplewood — where she will work, at the Master's request, in the main house.
Gaines hosts a lavish reception to celebrate his daughter Caroline's marriage. An argument erupts between Edward and his new son-in-law, George, about the nature of love; to break the tension, the newlyweds begin a waltz. After the dance, Caroline asks Margaret, now the house servant, for her views on love. The guests are outraged to hear her solicit a slave's opinion, and leave abruptly. Offended, Gaines lashes out at Caroline. Later, Gaines lingers, unseen, to watch Margaret clean the parlor. He accosts her, forcibly dragging her away.

Anticipating a visit from Robert, Margaret goes to Cilla's cabin. She becomes agitated when she finds her packing and the children missing, until Cilla discloses that Robert plans an escape attempt that evening. Margaret is overwhelmed when he arrives and confirms the news, but disconcerted that Cilla refuses to join them. Casey suddenly storms into the cabin; a struggle ensues which ends with Robert strangling Casey to death.
Robert and Margaret escape from Maplewood, and are living in an underground shed in Ohio. Robert asserts that freedom and dignity are nearly theirs. But Gaines suddenly arrives to claim his property, and captures Robert. Margaret attempts to burn Gaines with fiery coals, and witnesses his men lynching Robert. Enraged, she murders her children so they will be spared slavery's horrors.
Darkness again envelops the stage briefly. With defiant grandeur, Margaret then embraces her life's circumstances.
Gaines transports Margaret back to Kentucky to stand trial for the “theft and destruction” of the children, considered his property. Caroline protests that Margaret should properly be charged with murder, for the children were human beings. The judges sentence Margaret to be executed for theft. When Caroline begs her father to seek clemency, Gaines realizes he must choose between the love of his radical daughter and a traditional way of life.
Great sorrow fills the air as the townsfolk await Margaret's execution. At dawn, she is led to the scaffold. Gaines runs in, waving a document — the judges have granted Margaret clemency! On the gallows, Margaret expresses her desire to live peacefully in a just world, and then seizes “freedom” by hanging herself. Edward realizes that peace never will be his. Although he made the "right" choice — to fight for Margaret's freedom — he did it for the wrong reason: he wanted to win his daughter's respect. The onlookers proclaim a need for repentance, and pray that Margaret's final journey home is a peaceful one.
— Mary Lou Humphrey

Mad Enough to Kill a the Name of Jesus

People are very stressed out. I read this on the newswire this morning. What would make this brotha react by shooting the "Man of God?" Could he have discovered that there is a difference between speakin those things that be not as tho they were...and lying?
Yesterday, a gunman fatally shot a Cincinnati minister, Rev Donald Fairbanks, Sr. and wounded a church deacon, Dowdell Cobb just after the two men arrived at a northern Kentucky church to attend a funeral.
The gunman chased one of the men to a nearby park, where he shot Fairbanks a second time. Frederick L. Davis, was charged with murder, first degree assault, criminal mischief and violating an emergency protection order.
Fairbanks, pastor of Cincinnati's New St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, died later Saturday at St. Elizabeth Medical Center. In June 2007, Fairbanks filed a complaint accusing Davis of making threatening phone calls to his wife.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Teachers no longer role models--but stupid predators

A former male Chicago Public School elementary teacher is being held on $400,000 bond Thursday after being charged with possession and dissemination of child pornography;

A female Chicago high school teacher is charged with sexual assault and abuse for alleged sexual encounters with three students of the South Side charter school where she worked.
One of the boys was 15, and the other two were 16.

Since when is it acceptable for people who are entrusted to teach our kids, to also decide to have sex with them? These are supposedly educated, intelligent people. How utterly stupid of both of them.

A Homosexual H.S. in Chicago?

Recently I read the following blurb in a Chicago newspaper:
"On October 22, 2008, the Chicago Board of Education considered a controversial proposal that has been approved by Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan to “create a new high school campus to address the needs of the underserved population of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth and their allies.”
All public schools receive state funds, so it is not just Chicagoans who will be subsidizing the Social Justice High School-Pride Campus. If the Chicago Board of Education votes in favor of this school, all Illinois taxpayers are going to be forced to support a school whose curricula and policies subvert a proper and traditional understanding of sexuality."

What are the implications and significance of this decision? Is this the best that educated professionals could come up with to help teens cope with confusion about sexual identity?
Why do we keep these folks in leadership?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

No racism during Next Tuesday's Election? McCain, Gimme a break!

Republican presidential candidate John McCain says racism will play virtually no role when voters head to the polls next Tuesday because it will be trumped by the nation's economic problems.
In a transcript of an interview taped for broadcast Wednesday night on CNN's "Larry King Live,"
McCain said people will vote "for the best of reasons, not the worst of reasons." He said most people will vote based on who they want to lead the country.
Referring to people who might vote against Democrat Barack Obama because he is black, McCain added: "It would be a tiny, tiny, minority. Because people are hurting too much now. I mean, they're worried about staying in their homes, keeping their jobs."
Senator McCain, I respectfully ask you to "Gimme a Break," sir. Yes sir!
You don't really believe your statement yourself. During this election you did not campaign for the Black vote--period. Why did you feel it was okay not to? Were you worried about black people hanging onto their homes and jobs as well? I pray you don't think me presumptious but based on your immediate past actions, I surmise that you are a representative of those citizens just like you. Why do i say this? Cuz this is what your rallies reflect in the audience make-up. In actuality, your entire campaign strategy is built on the fear that many Americans have of change in leadership. Do not be dismayed, fearful or worried Senator--Black American people have never met together as a group to figure out how to pay Whites back for the things we've experienced in this country that have been less than ideal. Especially for slavery.
In light of this, please do not insult this country by not acknowledging that racism is alive and well--and headed to the polls.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sarah's Glad Rags and All that Jazz. She Looks Good-- I Ain't No Hater

Sarah Palin was born with natural good looks. This is apparent. I could justify hating her for many things but certainly not for looking good. She's had 4 or 5 kids and still looks great; plus holding down a full-time, high profile gig and running for VeeP of the United States. Plus she's a wife.
Which brings me to this latest issue of her $150K campaign wardrobe. We are a curious people here in the United States. Democrat or Republican. It seems we just love to major in minors. These are 'costumes' people. They go with the persona that her people are trying to impress upon us during this campaign. They are not real life for her. Who cares about this, anyhow? I will be impressed when I see an all night prayer vigil protesting the vulgarly large contracts that professional athletes and entertainers command while school teachers are scrounging around for peanuts compared to the level of responsibility that their jobs entail.
Both candidates have raised vulgarly large amounts of money to travel around talking trash about each other in front of large audiences. This is not being protested--why not?
Leave Govenor Palin alone while she catches up on studying for the job she is applying for.

Jahiem Is 7 Years old Today! Hooray! Hooray!

My 3rd-born grandson, Jahiem Markel Williams is 7 years old today. He lives in Jacksonville, Florida with his mama, Renatta. He is a very smart and special little boy. Although we have spoken on the fone for 7 years, we have never met. Mainly because I live in Chicago.
I pray that he will have a wonderful birthday and be blessed with many more birthdays. I pray for his mother, Renatta, who has been an exemplary mommy for my grandson. And I pray for my first-born son, Ali-david, who is Jahiem's daddy.
I am so blessed.

Jennifer, I'm so sorry. Okay God, Where are you in This Mess?

Last Friday, October 23, 2008 as I was leaving the Daily Planet (the newspaper where I work), my publisher, Mary asked if I'd heard about some killings at Jennifer Hudson's mama's house that afternoon. Since it was only 4pm and the bodies weren't discovered until 3 pm or so, I hadn't been aware of
this news account and hadn't rec'd a police alert from the Chicago Police Department media dept.
In the 20 minutes or so that it took for me to walk home, the tv news accounts reported that Jennifer's mama and brother had been murdered in their home. To add insult to injury her nephew was missing. My heart immediately sank down as I reflected on several things: The fact that I am a native of the Englewood community as is Jennifer and family; and that Jennifer had just been home on the previous Saturday to accept an award from the Chicago Film Festival on program with Sidney Poitier; and that she is starring in a film that is currently running in theatres all over the country. Until Friday, Jennifer was on top of the world. Never happier, and involved in a new love affair and a life that is an 'urban fairytale'. In fact, she even has a CD project thats sweeping the charts.
This morning as I was posting this blog, the Chicago police found a white SUV with the body of a little boy inside. This is awful! Jennifer, I'm so sorry.
I have just one question for the highest authority that I know: "Okay God, where are you in this mess?" This is a very real question and I ask in all my humaness. Cuz I can't make heads or tails out of how or why this occurred. I'm simply wondern...
Did God close one of His eyes and while he had His head turned this crazy thing happened?
Are YOU in any of the details of this? Are you there with Jennifer and her family? Will she need to love and forgive whoever did these things?
Why did YOU allow this, God? Whose fault is this? Is there someone else to blame for this?
Since YOU are all-wise and all-knowing, should this be considered a blessing, too?
I'm crying out hurt and confused for my sister and her family. Can you explain in terms that my heart and mind can grasp?
Your daughter,
Vanessa (the brown skinned fluffy one--with the big eyes).

DreamGirl & Chicagoan Jennifer Hudson is experiencing a Nightmare

Academy Award-winning actress and singer Jennifer Hudson is offering $100,000 for the safe return of her seven-year-old nephew, Julian King. The child remained missing as of Sunday, two days after the bodies of Jennifer’s mother and brother were found in the mother’s home on Chicago’s South Side.
Jennifer’s publicist Lisa Kasteler released a statement saying:
“Jennifer Hudson and her family are offering a reward of $100,000 for the safe return of her nephew Julian King who has been missing since Friday, October 24th. We ask that all inquiries be directed to the Chicago Police Department, Area 1 Detective Division at 312/747-8380. Jennifer and her family appreciate the enormous amount of love, support and prayers they have received while she and her family try to cope with this tragedy and continue the search for Julian."
The Chicago Sun-Times reports autopsies showed that Jennifer’s mother, Darnell Donerson, 57, and brother, Julian, 29, died of gunshot wounds. Jennifer, 27, pictured here with her mother at the Governor's Ball following her Best Supporting Actress win at the 2007 Oscars, flew home when she heard the devastating news and identified the bodies, TMZ reports.
William Balfour, who is Julian’s stepfather and married to Jennifer’s sister Julia, is being held for parole violations and not for the double murders, according to the Sun-Times. The newspaper says that up until May William lived at the house where the murders occurred and that state records show that he was paroled in 2006 after convictions for attempted murder, vehicular hijacking and receiving stolen property. He spent nearly seven years in prison, according to the Sun-Times. Reports quote William’s mother as saying her son and Julia, Jennifer’s sister, have been married around two years but are estranged.
Darnell watched Julian while Julia worked as a bus driver during the day. Julian had been at his grandmother's house on Friday and the two were, Julia said, "extremely close," People reports.
"I worked, so he was always with her, day in and day out," she said. "She did everything for him. She got him ready for school. She got him ready for bed."
Julia made a public plea for the return of her son on Saturday.
"I don't care who you are, just let the baby go," Julia, 31, accompanied by Julian’s father Greg King, said at a press conference at Pleasant Gift Missionary Baptist Church on the South Side.”I just want my son. He don't deserve this."
Jennifer’s MySpace page was updated on Saturday with recent photos of Julian and this note:
Thank you all for your prayers and your calls. Please keep praying for our family and that we get Julian King back home safely. If anyone has any information about his whereabouts please contact the authorities immediately. Here is a picture of Julian and what he was last seen wearing. Once again thank you all for being there for us through this tough time.
Sincerely,The Hudson Family

Life in the Fastlane--Surely make You lose yo Mind...

I'm baaaack! It's been a minute since I blogged but so much has been happenin' so quickly that I really haven't had an opportunity. Since I'm a news journalist and have definitely written my share of news--my blogs suffers. But because my thoughts have been so vast, I'm gonna post a bunch of reflections to bring you up to date with a sistah.
Hold onto your hats...

"It is the night, my body's weak; I'm on the run no time to sleep.
I've got to ride, ride like the wind to be free again.
And I've got such a long way to go--to make it to the borders of Mexico
So I'll ride like the wind--ride like the wind..."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pastor Sylvester Williams: Portrait of a Spiritual Leader

My pastor, Rev. Dr. Sylvester Williams, Sr., recently celebrated his "golden birthday." Offiially "he's grown now." (That's what I always say whenever anybody I love turns 50.)
A native of Alabama, he became my pastor 6 years ago, when my former pastor, Rev. Dr. Henry M. Williamson Sr. became Bishop and the Presiding Prelate of the 9th District, and moved away to California.

He's a cool person and is beloved by our congregation. He uses a very practical approach to ministry and preaches sermons that could be considered motivational. He's not into condemnation and eschews anything that might "bring a person down." He is humble and respectful. He is committed and faithful to our Methodist tradition. He treats children and seniors as the special citizens that they are.

He loves his family and his friends. he is a dutiful son, brother and uncle. He is a husband and father of two adult daughters and a son.
He loves to eat at good restaurants and appreciates unique atmospheres and service. He also loves home cooked foods and is an excellent cook. He loves music and is fond of the blues. He likes sports and doing regular guy stuff.
The church celebrated his birthday this past Sunday. His birthday was October 11th. I wasn't there--although I emailed him a birthday greeting. Even that didn't seem enough to me so I'm sending this sentiment to cyberspace for eternity.
Happy Birthday, Pastor Williams.

You have been a blessing in my life and I have grown under your spiritual leadership. You encourage me to live right--but not cause man is watching. May God bless you with the desires of your heart.
your sister in Christ Jesus,
The Churchlady

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Pig is still a Pig...

Which of these two animals represents change? I guess Barack Obama was right, eh? A pig is still a pig--even with lipstick!

As Salaam Alaikum Imam Warith Deen Mohommed

Imam Warith Deen Mohommed recently passed away at his home in Markham, Illinois. He was 74 years old. Ironically it was on the 9th day of Ramadan (9/9/08), one of the high holy days of the Islamic tradition. He was a spiritual leader to me and a dear friend to my parents, Naomi Salaam Sharif and her former husband, Imam Sidney Rahim Sharif.
The day I learned of his death was like every other day in the news game--busy and deadline oriented.
My girl, Patti (who always manages to find out everything faster than me), left me an email with a news clip about the death of Imam Mohommed. I was simply stunned. His older brother, Jabir Herbert Muhammad (former trainer to Muhammad Ali), had died about 2 weeks earlier on my birthday and the opening session of the Democratic National Convention--August 25, 2008. Both men were sons of the late Nation of Islam (NOI) leader, The Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
I remember my earliest recollection of hearing about Imam Mohommed was as a 12 year old girl when my mother joined the NOI and became Sister Naomi 2X. I became Sister Vanessa X and my siblings all had Xs too. X became our name of choice to replace our slave name--Sanders. Wallace Muhammad was really what I like to call a 'renegade.' He openly challenged some of the teachings of the NOI as prescribed by Master Fard Muhammad, a man that NOI followers regarded as God having appeared in his person. Sorta like Jesus being God as the Son of Man.
My spirit agreed with the teachings of the NOI for the most part as a pre-teen. I was a little big-eyed, brown-skinned girl growing up in the U.S. and I very rarely had my blackness celebrated. At Temple #2 in Chicago I was treated better than a princess--more like a 'little queen'. It was great for my self confidence to know that black people were the cream of the planet earth.
We learned many things about God/Allah and the Islamic tradition. We stopped eating pork and prayed 5xs daily. We heard Elijah Muhammad speak on Sundays and on Wednesdays other ministers taught us. My siblings attended the University of Islam and later Sister Clara Muhammad School. My mom was a school nurse. My step-dad, a Chicago police officer, was a minister and in the Fruit of Islam (FOI); my brother William was in the Jr-FOI. We were taught from the Holy Bible although we were not Christian. We considered ourselves muslim.
In February 1975, when I was 16, we found out at Savior's Day that 'the lamb'--the Honorable Elijah Muhammad has made his earthly transition and that his son Wallace would succeed his leadership. My family and I welcomed the change but many did not. We would go on to follow the teachings of Orthodox Islam, many learning to speak and pray in Arabic, learning to read the Quran and to memorize suras. Many would take the holy pilgrimage to Mecca--in fact, my parents made hajj twice. We would fast during Ramadan and pay zakat to the poor. Imam Mohommed changed his name to reflect who he felt he was; from Wallace to Warith. he completed by changing the spelling of his last name, although he maintained his pride in being the son of Elijah Muhammad.
Imam Warith Deen Mohommed was a humble and wonderful man. He was brilliant, loving and intelligent. Men and boys wanted to be like him. Women admired him and envied his wife. He wanted to be more like Prophet Mohommed and Christ. He taught us to love them both and all of the prophets and men God raised up. He taught us to love ourselves and mankind. he taught us that being a muslim was a way of life--not a religion and that it was not reflected in our attire but in our hearts. He taught us to become independent thinkers and to read the Quran and Bible for ourselves. he encouraged us to pray for wisdom and understanding. He encouraged us to fellowship with muslims of other ethnicities and he led by example. And above all, he taught against us being racist or thinking one race was superior over another. Later, at age 38 I converted to Christianity and became a disciple and follower of Jesus Christ. I still respect the muslims and the impact Islam had on my life for a season. I still love and respect Imam Warith Deen Mohommed.
He was not perfect. He made many mistakes. He was a bridge-builder and did not author confusion or controversy. He was a world class leader.
Thank you for exposing the world to love, Imam Mohommed.
As Salaam Alaikum- peace be unto you

Monday, September 8, 2008

"The View" from Chicago: An Informal Gabfest

Women and talking go together like a hand in glove.
This past Saturday I ventured over to Malcom X College in Chicago to cover a story on an annual event produced by Congressman Danny K. Davis (D-7). In essence it was a Town Hall meeting held for constituents of the 7th Congressional District. various workshops were held on a myriad of topics of interest to district residents. There were vendors from area social services agencies, government agencies and private retail businesses. It was a good time.

As I was leaving, about 2PM I happened by a vendor I'd not seen and stopped to admire her original art. Her name is Marchel'le Barber. To my delight she is a fellow journalist and an entrepreneur I'd remembered reading about from the South suburbs. While we were chatting about a myriad of topics, browsers and potential customers wandered by to admire her artwork display, occasionally speaking. Suzanne Hanney, also a fellow writer was one who stopped to chat for a minute (how awesome is God?). Engaging and full of opinion, Suzanne made Marchel'le and I laugh out loud with her unique perspective on a slew of topics including the presidential race (on which we spent an enormous amount of time offering commentary and perspective).

Finally, we met our last 'gabfest panelist', Ms. Phyllis Powell, an IT specialist, a strong, opinionated woman who is "unashamedly" and "unapoligetically". For over 2 hours (my son says closer to 3), we chatted and laughed; offered rebuttals and agreed (seldom); and reiterated how wonderful it was to have met. At the end ( as security was threatening to lock us inside overnite) we offered huggs and exchanged contact info.
Three black women from totally different backgrounds and some similarities; together with one blonde from a different background, culture and some similarities; four women with respect for each others' differences in backgrounds, ideas, ideals, political views, sexual attitudes, gender attitudes, race relations and faith beliefs.

On the ride home I was left with two thoughts:
1). The magic of the "sisterhood" is that we (as women) are more alike than different.
2). That given a platform, indeed women will talk to each other until we've resolved all of this world's social ills.
My son later told me it reminded him of watching a live episode of "The View"-- only funnier. I hadn't thought of that, but maybe that's why that show works.

"Textual Intercourse" and Other Acts of Indescretion

Mayor Kilpatrick, Former Mayoral Aide, Christine Beatty and Mrs. Kalita Kilpatrick

Technology is off the chain these days. And now, a simple thing like typing a series of private messages into his cell phone has cost the Mayor of Detroit, Kwame Malik Kilpatrick, political office, his mayoral pension, his law license, his historic legacy, his freedom to move about the country and the world, his societal status, and a cool $1M fine.

Last week I watched to my utter dismay, a young man, from a prominent family; who was raised right; who was college educated, be stripped of everything dear to him and given the promise of 120 days behind bars for lying under oath and poor decisions he made regarding an extra-marital affair, and his desire to cover the facts. In this instance his cell phone betrayed him. His text message history was brought forth and his own typed words to his affair partner, a former mayoral city worker and confidante, brought him down.

Would your own text message history convict you of adulterous behavior? Are you using test messaging for what you consider harmless flirting but which could easily turn into "textual intercourse" ( a phrase I borrowed from a brilliant friend and fellow blogger, Reverend Lutionary) with someone other than your spouse?" Could your text message history bring you down and shed light on your own indescretions?