Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Livin' The Dream?

In one of the most famous speeches ever delivered, Dr. King in his "I Have A Dream" speech famously stated:

"I have a dream that one day that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

Today I stand on the shoulders of his and his contemporaries. Any success I enjoy today is in large part because of the cost they paid for taking a stand for freedom and liberty in the face of unadulterated racism and discrimination. There is no doubt in my mind that their sacrifice has opened doors for me that just 50 years ago, I would not have access to. Beyond me, blacks who enjoy huge amounts of fame and success today also do so because of the sacrifices made by Dr. King and other prominent blacks of his time who were what I would call "the tip of the spear".

Tiger Woods, no doubt, is one of those luminaries that has benefited from those aforementioned individuals like Dr. King who sacrificed so much. Multi-racial yes as we all are. His predominant ethnicity, because of his father, is Black. Again, do you think Tiger makes the imprint on golf and sports worldwide 50 years ago he makes today? Sadly, he finds himself currently in a very public and humiliating undoing because of the details of his marital "transgressions". I came across an interesting piece written by the AP titled, "Tiger's trouble widen his distance with blacks". I'd recommend it just because it's an interesting and provacative perspective on this unfolding story. The article supposes that Tiger's current predicament has alienated him from the Black community. One section in particular caught my attention. It is as follows:

"The color of one's companion has long been a major measure of 'blackness' - which is a big reason why the biracial Barack Obama was able to fend off early questions about his black authenticity.

'Had Barack had a white wife, I would have thought twice about voting for him,' Johnson Cooper said." (emphasis mine)

Maybe it's just me, but I find the quote I highlighted above extremely disturbing. Even more so than the paragraph before it talking to a long-established belief within the Black community, one I have personal knowledge of because my wife is White. Never mind that both of my parents are Black and that I've seen and experienced more instances of racism and bigotry than I care to remember. That is, as is often said, an entirely different story. What I can't get past is that we have an obvious instance where a Black man cops to voting for someone because of their perceived "Blackness". The President, for this person, passed the Black sniff test because of his Black wife. And therefore, he felt Mr. Obama worthy of his vote. Really? That's all it took? This decision didn't merit more thought, more gravity, more consideration than that?

I have friends, close friends, that feel very differently than I do about Barack Obama. They believe he is a great President, worthy of the office of POTUS and that under his leadership, America is in and will forever be in better shape. I think he's a weak President, has done damage to the prestige and weight of the office of POTUS and that America is weaker and the global community is on shakier ground because of his leadership - to date. No doubt I could sit down with my friends who see things differently from me and we could both articulate why we feel the way we do. I respect that...the ability to intelligently debate and discuss why they view the President the way they do. What I don't respect, and actually am disgusted by, is the willingness to vote or come to a decision that important with no intelligence or weight behind it. I have no doubt in my mind that many in the Black community, like Mr. Cooper quoted above, voted for Mr. Obama simply because of the color of his skin. It's appaling, especially in the light of Dr. King's speech and everything he stood and sacrificed his very life for and those like him. They didn't march, do sit-ins, go to jail, get lynched, get fire-hosed, have their houses burned, have their churches bombed and die just so 50 years later, the very people who have benefited from all of that work could just practice the very thing they fought against - judgment based on one's skin color instead of the content of their character.

They (Dr. King and the like) deserve better...the Black community deserves better...the world deserves better. Instead, the current plights that plague the Black community still - rampant unemployment, high rate of teenage pregnancy, high rate of violent crime, high rate of broken families, rampant fatherlessness, high drug abuse, high rate of incarcerations - will continue to do so as long as we are beholden to the idea that everyone else is responsible for our situation except us, that we're just victims of a larger crime still being committed against us.

The day we decide that no political party will hold sway over us and tell us we need the gov't to intervene on our behalf will be the day that changes our current destiny. The day we decide to collectively commit to thinking for ourselves without regard to petty partisan politics and culturally accepted schools of thought will be the day when history will be made. The day we decide that we aren't entitled to a handout or owed something by the gov't or any other entity will be the day that changes our current trajectory. The day we decide to expect greatness from ourselves because we feel like that's a reasonable expectation for us, the day Black men decide to collectively step up and deliver the goods for their families the way they were created to will be the day not only the Black race but the world will be better off.

That and nothing less will be the day when we, when everyone, will finally start living the "Dream".

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Sleeper Has Awakened!

For those of you that know me, you know I LOVE movies. It's long been a pipe dream of mine to somehow get paid for watching and commenting/critiquing movies. Maybe one of these days! Until then I'll just keep watching movies...and talking about them...for free. :) One of my favorites is not a popular one. "Dune" came out about 20 years ago and was a big-budget sci-fi epic set in the very far future. The star-studded cast featured Kyle MacLachlan, Jurgen Prochnow, Patrick Stewart, the ageless Sting, Linda Hunt, Virginia Madsen, and Jose Ferrer.

In short the film is about the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy, speaking to one who would rise up and bring life back to an ailing planet and galaxy. Paul Atreides (Kyle MacLachlan) is this movie's Neo, the one of prophecy speaks of. The moment he realizes he's "The One", he utters probably the most notable line in the movie, "The sleeper has awakened!"

This morning's announcement regarding President Obama receiving the Nobel Peace Prize has awakened me from my blogging slumber. Before this morning, I was convinced that the award was given to people that actually accomplished something of legitimate global significance. I would love to understand what he's done to deserve this award beyond give a few speeches, give legitimacy to a regime that killed people who opposed it (Iran), support a democratically ousted dictator (Zelaya), waste the pretige of the Presidential office with a hugely unsuccessful Olympic bid, burden the US economy with an anti-stimulus stimulus bill, work to push through hugely unpopular legislation (cap and tax - pending, health care - pending), appoint wacko extremists for czars (Van Jones, Cass Sunstein, Kevin Jennings, John Holdren - to name a few) and drag his feet on the most important theater in the war against terrorism (Afganistan).

And interestingly enough, not even the mainstream media thinks Obama deserves this award. The audible gasp that went up in the room in Oslo where the announcement was made is quite telling. The Washington Post, The New York Times, Matt Lauer and notable liberal blogger Peter Beinart all said what the majority of people here in the US think as well as what most of the rest of the world thinks about this decision. This is a joke - but of the unfunny, embarassing variety. Ironically this decision diminishes the Nobel society. Now anyone that can capture the world stage by gifted oratory and charisma without really accomplishing anything significant can win a Nobel Peace Prize. In my opinion, he doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Martin Luther King. It's actually a slap in Dr. King's and his family's face to award this Prize to someone that comparatively has done so little.

Well too bad for Chicago he hadn't won the award before addressing the IOC to pitch for the 2016 Olympics. Maybe it would've improved our showing and allowed us to make it to the SECOND round before getting the boot.

I guess my views make me a racist - it's his 50% whiteness I must be opposed to. :)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sometimes Less Is More

A couple of items of note...Michelle Malkin on The View this morning was something to see. She is a powerhouse and just leaves people in her wake...just ask Matt Lauer and now Joy Behar.

On an unrelated note, I came across this story concerning a very chilling, recent incidence of Christian persecution in Pakistan. A good friend of mine recently noted a shirt they saw that said, "Science flies you to the moon; Religion flies planes into buildings." It's a sad but accurate commentary on the world we live in today. The silver lining in this cloud is that in these times, Christians have the immense opportunity to show off a living, breathing Savior who loved this world enough to die for it. I pray the Lord steels all of us Chrsitians around the world in these uneven times. We need His strength now more than ever.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Open Our Eyes

Just wanted to share something with all of you.

The link below is to a series of blogposts from a team of young people that recently went to the African country of Rwanda. What has happened there within the last 10-15 years is staggering beyond words. Despite the incomprehensible cruelty of men hell-bent on committing all manner of evil, it is very apparent that God's great power is on display in those whose lives have been spared.

I hope everyone that comes across this post takes the time to read the blog entries. I hope it stirs something in you as it has in me.

Be blessed today.

http://www.saturdaynightstudents.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What's A Beer Among Friends?

What's a beer among friends right? I mean, I'm trying to remember the last time I accused someone of acting stupidly before I knew all of the facts, then offered a pretty lame excuse for an apology to them, then invited them over for beer, along with my friend who hurled racial accusations towards this someone and for good measure, insulted their mother. Please tell me I'm not the only one that sees the incredibly condescending and disingenuous nature of this whole shameful debacle.

As a black man, I am ashamed and appalled at the careless attempt to paint this whole episode as one more instance of black victimization at the hands of an angry white police officer. Prof. Gates is a race-baiter who happens to be a well-respected intellectual and icon within the Black community. He uses his prominence within Harvard and within the Black community to play upon the fears, real or imagined, that Blacks have concerning the police, specifically white police officers, by painting himself a helpless, bewildered victim of deep-seeded white racism. What is more troubling to me is the irresponsible, careless, and reckless nature with which the President inserted himself into the middle of this whole situation. He's used the Presidential office as a way to verbally put a load of bricks on someone trying to do their job, while fully admitting he didn't have all of the facts. Now as a Harvard law student, I'm sure he had some courses that covered proper decorum regarding how to speak to and properly address a case or legal incident pending full disclosure of the facts.

Trying to soften the blowback from his previous statement, he comes back later to talk about how all of this has become a teachable moment while never saying the two words that would've sent an enormous message..."I'm sorry." For all of his brilliance, it baffles me how he could so carelessly offer judgement on a situation and on a person he knew nothing about while refusing to offer a sincere apology that could've spoken volumes to so many people directly and indirectly involved in the situation. And now, the President has invited Prof. Gates and Sgt. Crowley to the White House for a beer to talk things over and put things aside. Frankly, the one person I believe that has acted the most professional and most befitting of his stature and station is Sgt. Crowley, who has been vilified and demonized by two people who know full well the cruelty that is baseless accusations and slander.

No, this won't be a beer among friends. Rather, this should be an instructional for President Obama and Prof. Gates as to how to act in a way that's befitting their respective stations. Someone should take notes...they could probably learn something from a true professional.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Grand Canyon

It is certainly something everyone should have the opportunity to see at least once in their lifetime...the Grand Canyon. Lisa and I saw it from a birds eye view when we went to Las Vegas a few years ago with some friends of ours. Even from our cozy plane seats thousands of feet in the air, you couldn't help but be in awe of the size and scale of it. It's amazing to see.

It is also that (The Grand Canyon) which separates rhetoric from reform. Here's the context. Unless you've been living under a rock for the last few months, you know that other than Michael Jackson's death investigation, the story getting the most air-time is the push from the President for health-care reform. He has pushed all of his chips to the middle of the table...he has put the pressure on Congress to pass a measure before the end of the year. Well, that was after the Senate Majority Leader and the House Speaker both said it won't happen before Congressional recess in August which was the original timeframe. We had the primetime pseudo news conference a couple of nights ago called by the President to pitch his plan one more time to the American people. A blind person could concede that the President has no lack of charisma or style. But what really counts right now is substance. It's the stuff that should be there when you pull away all of the pomp and circumstance. And instead of Americans coming away with a better sense of the plan itself and how it's going to be paid for, more Americans now disapprove of the plan and it's direction. Not helping things is his own admission a few days ago concerning his lack of knowledge of certain provisions in the bill itself. You don't have to be entrenched in the workings of the law to know that to push and pitch for a piece of leglislature that self-admittedly you don't have full knowledge of is fool-hearty and careless. It will also prove to erode his ability going forward to push major pieces of his agenda through Congress because he won't have the politcal capital or the power of his appeal to push policy forward.

In an effort to be solutions-focused instead of merely critical, what I would propose as an alternative to this bill is one that allows for the choice for medical care to fall in the hands of the citizens instead of the government. Are the citizens not smart enough to make their own choice regarding medical care? Give everyone without medical insurance a medical spending account. Lord knows there's enough money out there to give each of the approx. 50 million citizens without health care money in their respective accounts to get the medical care they need. Create a credit card, much like the one given to those who qualify for unemployment assistance, so that those funds are used for what they're intended. The card can be programmed in a way that would allow it to only be recognized at medical care institutions. Moreso, if the aim is to truly drive costs out of the health care system, put in place substantive tort reform. Doctors are forced to purchase all kinds of malpractice insurance before they can actually get to the business of the Hippocractic oath. The costs doctors incur to protect themselves from frivolous lawsuits is passed down to you and me and guess what folks, those costs don't decrease over time...they increase, which means that our medical costs continue to go up.

But to do this, it would mean that Democrats and Republicans would have to cut their ties to the special interests that allow them to profit from the exorbitant money gained by trial lawyers as a result of malpractice suits. I do find it interesting that the President mentioned going after these insurance companies that are posting record profits as medical costs go up...basically demonizing them for turning a profit when that's what effective business does. And all the while never even remotely mentioning that maybe, just maybe, the ridiculous amount of malpractice lawsuits and those monetary judgements may have some tie to the rise in medical costs. But then that would mean he'd be bringing scrutiny on a group of people with which he has close ties to (trial lawyers). He could if he wanted to. And if he decided to do so, it would probably affect some change which is duly needed. He still has quite a bit of political capital, which in this case, could be used to bring about true reform that could greatly impact all of us.

But therein lies the picture...the canyon-wide difference between rhetoric and reform.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Healthy Dose of Perspective

I gotta say I was pretty saddened to hear of Michael Jackson's death yesterday, as well as Farrah Fawcett's. I was also saddened to hear of Ed McMahon's passing last week.

What makes me even more sad is the fact that our President made his statement of condolence via Robert Gibbs so quickly (less than 24 hours) after Jackson's death when it took him three days to offer his statement of condolence to the family of Pvt. William Long (army recruiter based in Little Rock) who was shot and killed by a crazed Muslim jihadist.

Look, I understand the knee-jerk reaction to gush on someone as luminary as Michael Jackson in the wake of his untimely death.

But what happened to Pvt. Long should be seen as infinitely more tragic and disturbing. Our soldiers deserve to be given their due, as they actively serve and absolutely in the face of their ultimate sacrifice.

If there is anyone who should understand this, it's certainly their Commander-in-chief.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Are We Paying Attention?

As the revolution in Iran unfolds, as we watch beautiful people like Neda die in the streets for freedom, I hope we're all paying attention to ourselves, our representatives, our President. Because in moments like these, seminal moments in human history, the way we act and react says a lot about us, about what we're made of, deep down in places only we and God know about. Do we realize right now that countries like England and France have issued stronger statements regarding the unrest in Iran right now than we have? Did you see the signs the Iranian protesters were holding up that were written in ENGLISH?! Did you notice that? Who's attention do you think they were trying to get? President Obama, for all of his oratory giftedness and potential, has offered up so far the semantic equivalent of milk-toast. If he has any sense for history, he would see this as a pivotal moment as leader of the free world to stand up in boldness for the Iranians that are revolting against a totalitarian regime that seeks to silence them.

So then, this is what I want to say to the Iranian people revolting in the streets of Tehran and elsewhere:

I am but a man, a husband, a father, living comfortably in the land of the free...one citizen of hundreds of millions in the United States of America. But I have been moved in my soul by your actions, your young and old standing and fighting in the streets against the regime that seeks to silence you. I know many of you respect history and understand it well. I am a student of history myself...our country's history isn't perfect but is proud and substantive. We were founded because of revolution...we were at one time thirteen colonies, an extension of the greatest empire at the time the world had ever seen. Who would've ever thought a little band of colonies would ever dare take on the might and braun of the British Empire? More than that, who would ever think those thirteen colonies would stand a chance against them? But guess what, for all of the power and muscle of the British Empire, there was something they underestimated. They underestimated the cause for which the colonies stood...freedom, pure and simple. They didn't want to be dictated to or controlled...they wanted to own their own destiny, to forge their own path, to write their own story in the course of human history. And that is what you wish to do. You yearn for freedom, to loose yourselves from the bonds of tyranny, to have the opportunity to be governed in a way that represents the very best of you. It is good...freedom is good. But as we paid for it with blood, so you are doing so even now...and it resonates in a place deep within me. Know that I along with many others in our country stand with you and are praying that freedom wins out. Not only that, but we will press our leaders to produce the type of response on your behalf that is commesurate with the cause for which you are fighting. It is the least we can do - we must understand fundamentally that there is no greater threat to our civilization than that threat posed by tyrants and dictators who seek to oppress and dominate. It is to this end that we must fight and stand with those who seek freedom. I can give you only words, but I pray these words get to you somehow and that you find strength and hope in them, that they encourage you to fight for what's worth fighting for.
Freedom.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Interesting Coincidence?

Hey all...I just happened to come across the following link. To those of you that read my last post, it may look a little familiar to you. The link is to a story written by John Kass of The Chicago Tribune.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/chi-kass-21-jun21,0,1177440.column

K

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Untouchable?

A few months back during a random trip to Walmart, I snagged a great deal. I picked up a $13 Blu-Ray disc of "The Untouchables" with Kevin Costner, Sean Connery and Robert DeNiro. It is a true cinematic gem...if you haven't seen it, you should. If you don't know about it, it's about the Prohibition Era in Chicago back in the 1920s and '30s and it tells the story of how Eliot Ness took on Chicago corruption and took down the notorious gangster Al Capone. I believe the key moral to the story is summed up best in one of the lines spoken by Eliot Ness, played by Kevin Costner...

"Never stop. Never stop fighting 'til the fighting's done."

During that time, no one in Chicago dared take on Al Capone. He was ruthless...but he played to the media and they played him up to be a businessman invoking his civic duty to make Chicago better by the day. He was the king of the city. He was a master puppeteer using fear and money to manipulate and control every major city official. Then along comes Eliot Ness, tapped on the shoulder by the FBI to bring Capone to justice. He took down the mighty Capone by getting him convicted on, of all things, tax evasion.

I talk about all of this because I feel that this country is being exposed to Chicago gangland politics all...over...again. The latest and greatest instance of this is President Obama's firing of the AmeriCorps Inspector General, Gerald Walpin. According to President Obama, he had lost confidence in Walpin, who supposedly had become "confused" and "disoriented". Mr. Walpin just last month disclosed a vigorous, very coherent special report on gross negligence and fraudulent use of AmeriCorps funds by newly elected Sacramento Mayor and Obama supporter Kevin Johnson. The President, by law, is to give 30 days notice to an Inspector General being replaced as well as give a full, clear explanation of the firing. I will point out that there is not only outrage coming from Republican ranks but also high on the food chain within the Democratic Party. Democratic Sen. Clare McCaskill stated that "loss of confidence is not a sufficient reason" for Mr. Walpin's removal and that "the White House has failed to follow the proper procedure in notifying Congress as to the removal of the Inspector General..."

The long and short of it is this...Gerald Walpin has being targeted by President Obama and is being smeared for doing nothing less than his job. Mr. Walpin has been removed from his post by the Chicago Gangland machine that has transplanted itself within the Oval Office. If this machine has its way, it will replace Mr. Walpin with people sympathetic to the "machine" who will not blow the whistle on any wrongdoing and who will instead look the other way while taxpayer money is carelessly and fraudulently used in the name of civic and community volunteerism.

So this must be the "hope" and "change" that Obama talked about during his campaign? Really? This is what the American people voted for? This whole scenario typifies the disregard and contempt this President has for the Constitution and for the checks and balances it created between the branches of government. He took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. He's broken that oath. It's up to us as Americans to hold him accountable, despite the efforts of the MSM to treat him as a celebrity and a deity. Each day, polls show that growing numbers of the American people completely disagree with his policies and the way he's running the gov't. What he's creating for himself is a tsunami of discontent and blowback the likes of which he can't even begin to fathom. When it's all said and done, this isn't going to be about the Republican or Democratic party. This is going to be about the undoing of a President at the hands of people from all walks of life, on both sides of the "party" aisle who have decided that the course he's set this country on is, in one of his favorite words, "unsustainable". This fight, the fight for our nation's very identity and future, is one that rests on the shoulders of its citizens to win. We must wage this fight...with our words, our ideas, our letters, our phone calls, our blog posts, our e-mails, our vote.

For all of my friends out there that disagree with all of this, remember this blog post...remember these words. This President has fashioned himself an "Untouchable"...he has replaced his sense of responsibility to all of us with his own delusions of grandeur. His quest for power, his effort to leave his mark on human history is at an already staggering cost to all of us. History hasn't been kind to people who fit this profile, and in the end it won't be any kinder to President Obama.

Friday, June 12, 2009

No Class

Okay, so I'm pretty fired up right now over this Letterman/Palin drama that's unfolding more and more each day. I believe just today David Letterman said that the real issue is that the Palins can't take a joke. It's beyond me to think that anyone...ANYONE...would think making a joke about A-Rod knocking up a 14 year-old girl as even remotely funny. It's disgusting and shouldn't be tolerated. I would love to see all kinds of people and sponsors distance themselves from Letterman for this debacle. And I think the Palin's response has been restrained, yet clear and firm. It's one thing to go after a public official...she along with anyone else that is in the public sphere is fair game. But to go and make a tasteless, offensive joke about an underage girl getting "knocked up" by a grown man shows a complete lack of human decency. I think part of it has to do with the fact that people like Letterman love the opportunity to try to take a shot at Gov. Palin. Now I know that there are those that would say, "Well she's a non-factor anyway, so it doesn't matter." To which I would say, I think that's a load of bull. Charles Barkley has a famous quote - he says "People don't boo nobodies". Gov. Palin for a lot of people, whether they want to admit it or not, is the personification of everything they resent...a strikingly beautiful, God-fearing, shrewd, accomplished, gun-toting, maternal, moose-hunting conversative. A lot of people just don't know what to do with her. For some people, they would rather try to destroy her and her family and make her just disappear. But what these people fail to recognize is that they're dealing with a person that has a lot of character and conviction. She's not a wilting flower...a one-hit wonder...a frail, weak, scared person. She's got moxie...she's withstood the onslaught of the liberal left and has as a result of weathering these attacks accumulated even more polish and respect from conservatives and liberals alike. As time goes on, we're going to continue to see Palin's star rise in the midst of attacks and attempts to break her down. I believe Letterman is going to be a casualty in his attempt to bring her and her family down to his level once it's all said and done. He's languished behind Jay Leno for years and that has eaten at him. He's got a family and a great job and instead of relishing and enjoying that, bitterness has had a tremendous effect on him and it's to his downfall. He should know better as a parent than to go after someone's young child. If the tables were turned, I guarantee you he would be outraged and do WHATEVER he could to defend his child...as he should because that's what parents do. I guarantee you if anyone, ANYONE, decided they were going to come after my little girl like Letterman did that that person would wish that they had never been born once all was said and done. It's just unacceptable behavior that shouldn't ever be laughed at, made light of, or tolerated. Gov. Palin and her husband are parents defending their 14 year-old daughter from the sick and grotesque words of a bitter, run-down, so-called comedian. I do voice my support for the Palins in this effort to defend their daughter and to stand up to Letterman and anyone of his ilk that makes their livelihood trying to tear down and destroy people. If you can't properly engage people you disagree with and instead engage in malicious personal attacks against them, then you should reap the whirlwind. Sooner or later, these types of people will wither away...they will be exposed for who they are and those that stick to principle and conviction will eventually be the ones left standing.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

From the Belly of the Fish

I just read something that I wanted to share. I know of a few folks that are going through some tough stuff in their life and there's something I read just a few minutes ago that I think is worth sharing. My hope and prayer is that this blesses someone right where they're at:

Jonah 2

From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God. He said:

"In my distress I called to the LORD,
and He answered me.
From the depths of the grave, I called for help,
and you listened to my cry.
You hurled me into the deep,
into the very heart of the seas,
and the currents swirled about me;
all your waves and breakers swept over me.
I said, 'I have been banished from your sight;
yet I will look again toward your holy temple.'
The engulfing waters threatened me,
the deep surrounded me;
seaweed was wrapped around my head.
To the roots of the mountains I sank down;
the earth beneath barred me in forever.
But you brought my life up from the pit,
O LORD my God.

When my life was ebbing away,
I remembered you LORD,
and my prayer rose to you,
to your holy temple.

Those who cling to worthless idols
forfeit the grace that could be theirs.
But I, with a song of thanksgiving,
will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
Salvation comes from the Lord."

And the LORD commanded the fish and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

You know sometimes the unfortunate and crappy circumstances we find ourselves in are our own doing. Sometimes we go our own way and do our own thing thinking we know what's best and what's right. I will readily admit that I've done this myself...more than a few times. But what I've found is that irregardless of where we find ourselves, we can't ever go where God can't find us. He loves us right where we are and extends His hand of grace to pull us up back to Himself.

May you all be blessed today.

K

Monday, June 8, 2009

Back in the Game!

Goodness, it's been too long since my last post. My apologies for being away for so long. There's SO much I want to talk about. So let's see...where do I start...

Blogging award from my good friend Danielle
- Okay so I think back in May 18th I got a note saying that I had received an award from her for my blogging exploits. I have to say I'm honored. Just as a point of reference, Danielle and I were like brother and sister in high school back in Houston. She's a tremendously smart, warm, gifted, lovely person and I was honored to get to share the stage with her to accept the school's highest honor at the time, the Timothy Award. I believe the year we received that award, was the first year the school gave that award out. All of that to say, anytime I could get recognized by a dear friend like her, I'm honored to be mentioned in such a way. Thanks Danielle for the shout out. I wish I were more prolific with my blog posts like you are. I'm gonna have to work on that.

American Idol Results
- So I may be opening a can of worms with this but here I go. You know, I thought it was interesting that Kris Allen won. I'm certainly glad he did. Do I think he's as vocally talented as Adam Lambert, no. At the same time, I think the vote crystallizes a couple of things at least. For one, there can be no on-going legitimate argument that AI is just a singing contest, like the judges, particularly Randy Jackson commonly stated during his critiques of the contestants. The people watching AI, while certainly evaluating vocal talent, use other criteria to judge who deserves their vote. Which leads to my 2nd point. I think the vote in a way was a statement. I think the people that voted wanted to make a statement with the way they decided to vote. You look at the two final contestants and they couldn't be more different. Look, I wanted Danny Gokey to win because my heart was won over from day one with him because of his incredible story as well as his talent. But honestly, I was happy that Kris won because I would prefer to give my vote to someone that embodied the type of person you'd be happy to see as the winner of American Idol - a young, clean-cut, small-town guy who leads worship at his church, newly married and very much in love with his wife, someone with strong roots to his community and loves his family. In other words, a guy that the majority of the people in this country identify with. All of this to say, I've heard that Adam is a super nice, good guy. I know there are questionable pictures of him kissing other guys on-line. My gut would tell me he's gay but I don't know that and that's not really the pressing issue. That particular subject will be it's own post at a later date - it (homosexuality) is deserving of intelligent, truthful and thoughtful discussion instead of the other way around which it seems we see a lot of, especially in evangelical Christian circles. Anyway, gay or not, Adam for me got on my nerves a little with all of the screaming. I don't prefer glam rock so that's what sealed my vote...or in Adam's case, my non-vote. I think he's still going to be successful and get to work on a lot of cool projects. It's going to be interesting to see the type of material Kris puts out. I hope they allow him some freedom and say in this initial album.

Obama's first 100 days
- Okay so for those of you that will read this, you probably know that this is going to be critical of President Obama's performance. So if you think reading this is going to make you mad, stop reading now. Now that that's done, on with the rest of this. You know, something that came to mind in thinking about all of this was something that both Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton mentioned previous to taking their respective roles in the Obama Presidency. They both stated that the office of POTUS was no place for on-the-job training. I think these first 100 days typified that sentiment. For all his charisma and charm, President Obama can't cover up his deficiencies...that is, of course, if you're willing to see them with eyes wide open. Well on second thought, if you believe what the MSM has to say about him, "he's above America, above the world even, he's sort of god." This is the kind of coverage he's getting in the face of such things like startling hypocrisy (i.e. calling on the nation's citizens to tighten their belts and make sacrifices while there are lavish White House parties featuring fare ranging from gourmet pizza flown in from St. Louis to Wagyu steak dinners; pledging to give all Americans 5 days to review the stimulus proposal before it passed only to have released it for public viewing after it was already signed into law), signing into law said package that will lead to the increasing of our national debt by 10 times w/in the next 10 years, undermining the security of our nation by allowing a sitting Speaker of the House question the validity of the CIA briefings they receive as well as going relatively silent on the targeting and killing of our enlisted soldiers by the hands of domestic terrorists, closing Gitmo without a true plan for what to do with those being released, declassifying documents regarding enhanced interrogation techniques (EIT) without releasing add'l documents that would bring to light the plots thwarted and lives saved, using EIT as a political device to continue to demonize the previous adminstration by going so far as to call EIT torture although it was ruled by the Supreme Court as legal and last but not least cozying up to despots like Daniel Ortega and Hugo Chavez. I will say this...I thought the way the Somali pirate situation was handled was one of his best moments. He didn't say much, if anything at all, and let his military do what they were trained to do. However, I do think his European tour was an invitation for all rogue states to test his mettle and we're going to see that play out specifically with North Korea and Iran. With Israel, they are going to challenge Obama regarding their right to defend themselves from some of the countries around them that are ongoing threats (i.e. Iran, Syria, Lebanon). It'll be interesting to see how he tries to placate both Israelis and their enemies. If rhetoric doesn't work (and it won't), what will he do then?

Brain-Challenged Moment of the Week
- I drowned my HTC Touch Diamond phone yesterday. WTH?! I couldn't find my phone for the life of me. I looked everywhere except in the pair of short I put in the washer. I wished I had thought to check that before turning on the washing machine. Thank you to those who offered support and advice yesterday. I am with Sprint and I have insurance so I went to the Sprint store here in B'ville and made a claim so a new replacement phone could be sent. It's being sent via UPS and should arrive here at the house either tomorrow, rather today (Tuesday) or tomorrow. I'm gonna have to manually input all of my contacts...something I had to do not that long ago because I upgraded my phone from a HTC Touch to a Touch Diamond but wasn't able to get my contacts transferred over to the new phone. Thankfully I saved a sheet of paper on which I wrote down all of my contacts and their information. So once I get this replacement model, I'll be back to inputting all of my contacts. The cool thing about all of this is that due to my "Sprint Preferred" status, I still have a discount that I can put towards a phone upgrade, which I could've used today but opted not to so I can upgrade into a Palm Pre when they're available and I have a job. It sounds geeky, but I am excited about that. It'll probably be another couple of months before the stars align on that one. In the meantime, I'm using Lisa's old LG flip phone. It's old but it'll do. She recently upgraded to the LG Rant and she loves it. She loves the slide-out QWERTY keyboard on it - she likes to rub it in my face that she can text better than I can. She's allowed...now especially that I'm using her old phone and see just how far back in the dark ages she was. I'm sorry for neglecting your cell phone needs for so long sweets!

Cool Story of the Day - brought to you by Banana Republic
- Recently Lisa's mom was here (about a couple of weeks ago) and she took us all shopping. One of my favorite stores is Banana Republic and I got a bright red fitted polo and khaki shorts. Needless to say, I was pretty happy about that. Well I think I had worn the shirt once or twice when I noticed two light, apparently bleached spots on my lower left torso. The spots weren't that big, each of them probably about a millimeter or two in circumference. But still big enough to really bug me. So I decided I'd take the shirt back to the store and try to get a replacement. Mind you, I didn't have my receipt and the spots were probably caused by me somehow. Don't you know that they swapped out my stained shirt for a brand new one just like it? The lady that helped me did say that they didn't do that normally but decided to honor my request. So I thought it only fair to blog about my experience today and spread the word around about that BR store's exceptional customer service. For those of you local to the area, it's the store at Pinnacle Promenade Mall in South Rogers. They've found a loyal customer for life...that's for sure. So I'm gonna wear my new shirt tomorrow and tell my little story to whomever is willing to listen. I'm sure the store won't protest too much a little positive PR.

Well goodness, I've gone on long enough. Don't worry, I'll make my successive blog posts shorter and easier to get through. I just decided to put a few subjects in this one to get caught up on some things I've wanted to blog about. There are a couple of things coming from this blog post I'll expound on and make their own blog post each...so stay tuned! You'll just have to find out what they are! :)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My Feathers Are Ruffled!

My laptop has been out of commission for a while and now that it's back up and running, I've been going back to look at recent news stories. One in particular grabbed my attention - it concerns President Obama's recent speech at Georgetown University. Apparently, the White House made a request for the university to cover up any religious symbols that would be in view where he was speaking, i.e. a monogram of Jesus' name. DO WHAT?!

I don't even know where to start with this one. But I'll try. Man, I do want to try to give President Obama the benefit of the doubt but I can't with this one. He chose this university, a CATHOLIC university, as the location for a speech he wanted to deliver. Therefore, as a matter of respect, you defer to "house" rules. Georgetown University has been around for 120 years. Sure, you're the President so it pretty much goes without saying that you defer to the needs of the President. But in this case, I believe this request is completely disrespectful and done in VERY bad taste. The White House, in it's statement regarding the request, said that they didn't want the monogram showing for fear it would be seen out of context. Can someone explain that to me? Was the thought that President Obama would be criticized for sharing face time with a monogram of Jesus' name? Better yet, who would even think twice about the monogram in the first place being in display while President Obama delivered his speech? He and The White House make this an issue by making this ridiculous request. What's even more ridiculous is that Georgetown complied and covered up the monogram.

What'll be interesting to see is if he asks Notre Dame to cover up any of their religious symbols and if he does, how the university will respond. I hope if he does make the request to cover symbols and images that they refuse to comply. I think The White House shouldn't be so concerned with people taking religious symbolism (i.e. the name of Jesus) out of context when it's seen in the same space as the President. I mean, he made it very clear, with some help from George Stephanopoulous on his show that he was a Christian, so what would be the confusion or hang-up with the two (the POTUS and the name of Jesus) sharing the same space? I think he is, to his own and to our country's detriment, too eager to prove himself a man of all people. And his administration is out to remake this country as a country of the world, just like any other country. This I believe also is to his and our own detriment. We are the world's superpower. We have been a beacon of hope and freedom for the world for a very long time. Those two things make us different from the rest of the countries of the world. That alone makes us either loved or hated - loved by countries and peoples that yearn for freedom and opportunity and hated by peoples and countries that want to suppress freedom and opportunity. I believe we have a duty to continue to take up the burden that comes with this responsibility. No other country on the planet has the resources or ability to take up this mantle the way we do. And I will say that whether or not we are a Christian nation today, as President Obama contends that we are not, is debatable. There are facts available to support either side of that argument. But there should not be any confusion about the fact that this nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles - it's woven into the very composition and wording of our Constitution. We can deny this no more than we can deny that the Lord has brought unparalleled prosperity to this nation, which I believe is linked to the faith and vision of those that founded this country.

I could be completely wrong about this but I feel like President Obama is trying to remake America into what he thinks it should be. I'm not ignorant to the fact that there have been a lot of things that have happened in this country that are indeed shameful, things that those in government allowed to be perpetrated against Black Americans (i.e. slavery, segregation, Jim Crow laws, Tuskeegee human experiments). I'm also not ignorant to the fact that Black Americans are not alone when it comes to people groups that have been targeted and treated less than humanely (i.e. Japanese, Chinese, Arabic peoples). At the same time, there are a lot of things that this country has stood and fought for when it really mattered, times in history that required our action, our resolve to allow for freedom to win out over tyranny and despotism. It is for these actions that I believe the rest of the world owes the United States a huge debt for the price we've paid to ensure that freedom is a choice for anyone who wants it. And these things deserve consideration by President Obama as he travels and speaks around the country. Instead of covering things up, he should pay the proper respect and homage to the things that make us as a country unique and special. It is this very characteristic that he of all people should recognize he has uniquely benefited from.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Michelle vs. Oprah?

Tonight, Lisa and I were watching a show on Headline News, Showbiz Tonight. They were talking about a controversy started by Tina Brown, founder and editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast. She published a column back on April 2nd about Michelle Obama's growing stardom on the international stage due to her tour of Europe last week for the G20 summit. In her column, she compares Michelle Obama to Oprah and says that Michelle is surpassing Oprah as the new Black "it-girl". There were two Black female guests that were being interviewed and they went on and on about how it was offensive, and at minimum institutionally racist, for Ms. Brown to compare Michelle Obama to Oprah.

Honestly, these kind of comparisons happen all of the time...ALL OF THE TIME! It's the nature of the world in which we live. People that live in the public sphere are compared all of the time. It just so happens that a white reporter (Tina Brown) is comparing two black women. Big deal. They're in the public eye so that means they're subject to public scrutiny and comparison...period. End of story. I say all of this because the two black female guests on Showbiz Tonight were voicing their displeasure and saying so representing the entire Black population. They were talking as though their opinions represented generally the way all Blacks feel about this story. I don't know if that's the case or not. Honestly, there are plenty of Blacks that look for reasons to use the race card. I am not one of them. And frankly it really gets under my skin when certain Blacks that get the opportunity to voice their opinion publicly suppose to speak for all Blacks. I hate when other people speak for me, as if they know me and know the way I think and feel about things like this.

What really irks me about this is that there seems to be more public outrage about this comparison Ms. Brown made between Michelle Obama and Oprah than what was made about President Obama's comment about the Special Olympics during his last appearance on The Tonight Show. Ironically, I believe that Ms. Brown's article is actually evidence of the fact that strides are continuing to be made regarding how Blacks are being seen and evaluated within the public sphere. Comparison and/or criticism is part of being in the public eye. I don't think it's fair to accuse someone of racism, institutional or not, just because they're comparing two very popular and powerful Black women. Furthermore, if you're going to talk on behalf of the entire Black community about what's racist and what's not, spend the time then to find out how the Black community really feels about it. Don't present your specific opinion and then make it out to be as though you're speaking for everyone. It's not how I think and I know I'm not the only Black person who feels the way I feel.

For the record, I called the toll-free number for Showbiz Tonight to voice my opinion. They may erase my voicemail altogether but I wanted to make sure the producers and hosts knew that there was at least one Black person that didn't share the opinion of the guests on the show. I don't know if it makes a bit of difference or not but I felt better for doing it. There are things I have absolutely no patience for. One of those things is Blacks looking for an opportunity to play the race card. I know what racism looks like...I've stood face to face with a member of the Ku Klux Klan. There are plenty of real instances of racism that deserve more attention, outrage and activism. In my opinion, this comparison between Ms. Obama and Oprah is not one of those instances and should only be debated the way any other comparison between public figures is debated.

As with any other posting, I welcome your feedback and opinions. If you want to read the story I'm referring to, go to the following link:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-04-02/is-michelle-the-new-oprah/

K

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Faith Like Potatoes

Our pastor gave us a movie to watch this past Sunday. The movie is called "Faith Like Potatoes". It's a true story about a white farmer named Angus and his family in Southern Africa trying to survive. It chronicles his evolution as a person, from non-believer to believer and the major ups and downs along the way. Honestly, I thought it sounded a little hokey and was hoping it wasn't another example of a Christian movie coming up short. Unexpectedly, it was a very well-done movie that moved Lisa and me very deeply. We talked afterwards and in the course of our conversation, we both realized we have been harboring unrighteous anger and bitterness towards the Lord. We were convicted of our lack of faith as of late and it produced an overwhelming emotional outpouring from us - we cried like a couple of babies. We've questioned and have been angry with God over our present circumstances. We've felt like our prayers have gone unheard and disregarded. We've questioned whether He truly cares about and knows our hurt. Some days have been absolutely agonizing, like we're smack dab in the middle of a desert with no oasis in sight. But I'm thankful for the Lord using Larry to deliver to us something we desperately needed...an emphatic "I have not forsaken you" in the form of a low-budget Christian film with a weird title.

It is said the Lord works in mysterious ways and that is absolutely true. I'm glad that there are believers making films and allowing the Lord to work through them to make art that ministers to people like me. I believe movies speak to us in a way that few mediums can and when it is used to convey truth in a relevant, artistic way, it is a wonderfully beautiful thing with an unlimited impact. I have been encouraged to see good art coming from Christians within the past few years. When I say "good art", I mean art that would be taken seriously by the rest of the world instead of being laughed at and ridiculed for its lack of quality. I just had a conversation with a fellow believer I recently met and he talked about his want and desire to form a regular time of meeting with other Christian businessmen within the area to pray and work towards making their particular city a "city on a hill" so to speak - a place where Christian excellence within the business world is THE standard for everyone else to follow. I applaud him for that and will pray that he does not relent in his pursuit. I will do what I can to encourage him to persevere because the enemy will come against it and do what he can to discourage him and those that choose to take part in his vision. I believe my friend is right - Christians should be the standard bearers wherever they are. They, we, should be leading the rest of the world and setting the standard for excellence in whatever field of expertise or area of commerce we choose to reside. It should be our striving - it should be our calling...excellence in whatever we do. I do hope and pray that I get to be in movies. It's a passion I've had since I can remember. I know how it's ministered to me and how it continues to minister and invoke hope and wonder in so many people. I want to be a part of a movement within the Christian arts, motion pictures specifically, that makes a statement to the rest of the world that makes them take notice while speaking to them in a way that is relevant and thought-provoking...and yes, something that is entertaining in the process.

I have a lot of big prayers and big requests. They seem big to me anyway. They're not too big for Him. There are so many possibilities...through it all I just need to keep my eyes on Him and have real faith, faith you can hold onto and feel the weight of, something like potatoes. Thank you for Lord for using the seemingly foolish things of this world convey truth and wisdom to me.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sorry It's Been So Long

Okay first of all, let me apologize for taking so long to submit a post since my last - I think that was in early January. I've had a major life change - I was laid off from my job in mid-January. That has been quite a distraction to say the least. I've had my days but I firmly believe that the Lord has a purpose in all of this and He will see it through. I'm confident in Him and in Him alone to provide the next step. It doesn't mean I haven't been diligent or that I sit on my hands. I've hit the streets running and will continue to do so as long as this is my plight, or opportunity. I digress. :)

You may have noticed that I changed the title of this blog. "The Evans' World" lacked creativity and thought. Plus it was in my opinion a little stifling. I could do better...and I believe I did though some at first glance may think differently. "Random Alien Musings" hits on some things regarding how I see myself. I do tend to see myself as an alien. As a Christian, my home ultimately is in heaven with the Lord (IN the world but not OF the world). Being a black man with a white wife and "mixed" kids in Northwest Arkansas sometimes is interesting. It could be said that, although I've been here going on 15 years, it sometimes feels like I'd feel more at home somewhere else. And being here after growing up in Texas, considering that I don't do Hog calls like the rest of the state's residents, certainly makes for interesting conversations and comments since I consider myself a Texas fan and probably always will. Strangely enough, the deepest-seeded fervor I have for a sports team would be for the University of North Carolina Tarheels, whom I've followed since I was a boy growing up in Texas. My wife can barely stand to watch a game with me when they are playing. I morph into this out-of-control fanatic that can hardly control his emotions or flailing arms when engaged in watching them compete. In simplest terms, I'm that crazy, painted student section fan times 10 when I'm watching them. With those last few lines, I'm sure you see why "Random" and "Musings" are equally adequate descriptors of this blog as well.

There has been so much that's happened in the news since my last post that it's hard to focus on one particular topic. Well kind of. I keep going back to the report from the Congressional Budget Office I read regarding their projection of the deficit for the next 10 years. The CBO projects the President's budget will add $9.3 trillion to the deficit during that time span. I think it's a number so big that a lot of people don't even want to think about it or worse pretend that it's just a figment of their imagination and they can just wish it away. It's really alarming to me is that that's not as big of a story as it should be. Honestly, the fact that the stimulus legislation was virtually pushed through without being read or examined is alarming. We had the gov't outrage at the AIG bonuses paid out, which was absolutely ridiculous considering the stimulus legislation contained provisions allowing those very bonuses to be paid out in the first place. Then you have Treasury Secretary Geithner proposing that the gov't have the right to take over businesses that they believe are having an adverse affect on the economy. And there's also the proposal to nationalize health care. When has the government ever run anything well - they can't effectively run the Post Office and they want to run HEALTH CARE?! Our country is changing and not for the better. We better wake up because we just can't assume that our elected officials, including the President, have our best interests at heart.

Change we can believe in...yeah it's change alright. And believe it, it's coming.

K

Friday, January 30, 2009

My Drama Queen

I would be talking about my 5 year old daughter, Kaylise. She's something else. She has quite the vocabulary and the imagination to go with it. Tonight, it was just me and the kids because Lisa went out with a friend of hers to have dinner and then to see a movie. So the kids and I went to Chick-fil-A here in Bentonville for dinner. You can't go wrong with Chick-fil-A - it's cheap, the food is good and the kids can expend their energy playing in the play area. Anyway, when we got home from dinner (mind you it's about 9:30), she's letting me know she wants to see her friends which are next door. Being the mean daddy that I am I told her she'd have to wait until tomorrow because it was too late and they were already in bed. Well of course that set off a series of demonstrations from the little miss to let me know she wasn't pleased (which eventually led to an appearance by the dreaded "wooden spoon"). The crown jewel of this whole episode was when Kaylise uttered, "Daddy...you're just BREAKING my heart!" while storming off into the playroom with her arms folded, face scowled.

Did I mention she's 5?! Anybody out there know Tai Chi? :)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hello Blogging World!

So I can't give you a good reason why it's taken so long for us to join the rest of you in the blogging world. But as the adage goes, better late than never...well in this case anyway. But I think I'm going to enjoy this because it'll give me an outlet to write/blog which I do enjoy. There are any number of things going on here in NWA and in the rest of the world that I would have a few things about which to say so why not use this as the medium to say those things. And plus it's a good way to keep those of you our friends that blog and keep up with things like this to follow along on this journey with us.

This will be mostly me posting things. If we're all fortunate enough, we may even have a guest posting from Lovely Lisa. The subject matter will range from goings-on with us to observations on things from pop culture to religion/apologetics and many things in-between. And of course, you are more than welcome to make comments.

So then, here's blogpost #1 down, forever recorded in the annals of blogdom. :) May there be many more to come!

Kunta