Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Big Pharma rears it's ugly head---Again

After big pharma committed to help control costs and won concessions in the health care reform process, they went back on their word. They lied to Americans. They have continued to raise prices on brand name drugs, some of which, people cannot do without.

They are doing the same things the banks are doing, raising everything they can, moral or not, legal or not, in anticipation of changed regulations . 2010 will be the year from hell for the following reasons:

1. Back-breaking national debt causing inevitable tax increases
2. Unemployment up and sustained above 10%
3. Commercial real estate foreclosures and defaults
4. More people becoming seriously ill due to lack of insurance-rate hikes for those with
5. Health care and hospitals leaving small communities decreasing rural availability
6. Increased food prices due to farm foreclosures, weather and banks not lending
7. Increased personal bankruptcies
8. Decreased consumer spending
9. Higher gas prices
10.Increased local taxes with decreased services in Police, Fire, Schools
11. More wars in the destabilized Middle East
12. Crushing debt owed to China
13. Further destabilized currency-the dollar

These are just the obvious, there are many more. There are NO fixes, no checks on corporate abuse of consumers and the whole house of cards is going to collapse worse than we have seen yet.

Have a nice day and call me Pollyanna.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Rush Limbaugh says he is Not divisive, he is just a 'communicator'. Hmmmm.

Rush Limbaugh, as usual, jumped out of his skin this morning in an interview on the Today Show. He says he is not controverial, he is not an actor, not an entertainer, he is rather a 'communicator.' He does not see himself as he truly is, a divider, and a hate monger. He sees himself as a regular guy who tends to be 'bombastic'. Rush maintains that he does not influence people , he just puts his opinions out there, and people make up their own minds. Rush sees himself as a 'conservative' and thinks Republicans should not be opposed to what he 'communicates.' That he is the political and financial success, he has become, speaks volumes about him and his following.

NOW, the Republicans are trying to distance themselves from this poisonous, hate monger and it is way too late. The GOP should remember how they tried to defeat health care reform with the 'Death Panel,' and how they have smeared Barack Obama by saying he is not a citizen thereby creating the 'Birther" movement. Well, the chickens have come home to roost. Republicans, for all their myopia, surely are astute enough to know that perception, once established, can be more powerful than fact.

What a bunch of whiners. The Republicans used Rush to whip up public opinion, to their advantage, and now that a negative perception is fixed in the public mind they no longer like that opinion and they no longer are in love with Rush. They used Limbaugh and it backfired. He is just so much toilet paper to them now. Sorry, Republicans that stink is ground in and you can't wash it out.

The conundrum is that he really believes he is a 'good man with good intentions and good ole' fashioned manners.' He is da' king a denial personified. Distance themselves if they think they can, deny his influence if they will, but he is stuck to Republicans like bubblegum on the bottom of a shoe.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Underground Economy

Check out this link to Market Watch with my topic, The Underground Economy

Given the weak state of our economy, and the government's financial pinch, will a permanent underground economy be formed by our newly economically generated underclass? I think so because it is the only way for some to survive.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Why do so many want President Obama to fail?

I have never seen a time quite like this one, this year, this age, this generation. Since I was a child I knew about evil. How could I not? Bible-thumping fundamentalism was what I was expected to eat, sleep and breathe and that meant being always vigilent against evil. Looking back on it, the evil was simple. Thou shalt not lie, cheat or steal or thou wouldst get a whipping thou wilt not soon forget.

No matter how much you wanted to you didn't push your little brother into the outhouse pit or you'd visit that place too. You didn't fail to answer when called in for supper or you couldn't go outside to play the next day. Never admit to boredom or there would be so much wood to carry in, and water to haul, that when you finished there was no energy to complain. Whatever you did, you did not say out loud you didn't like some of the food or you'd go to bed hungry. Evil was simple and the wages of ignoring the rules were straightforward. We were raised as racists. The word nigger was the only word used to refer to black people. I have since come to believe that racism should be added to the original 7 deadly sins; it is the eighth deadly sin.

Our country is polarized by much hatred due to the evil of racism. Regardless of why some say they can't stand, or even hate, Obama the real reason is that he is African-American. Many whites consider black people inferior and they should not be in power positions over white people. Even though he is of mixed race he identifies with being black. Regardless of how intelligent he is, regardless of the degrees he has, regardless of the schools he attended he is still a black man and "ain't no nigger smartern no white man." The quote is from an aquaintence who made the statement when I told him I was voting for Obama. He and his ilk are avowed racists and they are proud of it. They identify with one another, group together based on their beliefs and they are not shy about expressing racist opinions.

There is another group who is racist and they know it is wrong, but nonetheless they have racist feelings and can't seem to overcome them. Recently, I was at a high school band fundraiser and the people next to me had a table with baked goods. They happened to be black and I asked them how they felt about Obama being elected President of the United States. They looked at one another as if to ponder whether they should answer or what they should say. Seems there was a fear that he may be assasinated because of the extreme level of racist feelings. As the conversation turned to racism one of the women said she had a friend whose best friend could not stand black people(emphasis hers) and that she and her friend could not do things together because of the other friend's racism. I asked the woman if she had told her friend how it hurt her and she said they had discussed it several times. The woman who was racist did not know why she felt the way she did but she did not want to be round black people at all.

I have another friend who has an intense dislike for 'slanty eyed people,' read Asians. She does not recall any instance, in which she was involved, that would cause her to feel as she does. They give her the 'creeps' and she has no particular reason to feel this way. A lot of white people do not know why they feel the way they do toward outwardly different others. Other races have the same feelings toward whites and may not have a particular reason for those feelings either. Ambiguous feelings are rooted deep in our childhood experiences through verbal , and non-verbal means.

Racism is inculcated into us as children, and once a part of our pattern of thinking and feeling, it is extremely hard to overcome without constant mindfulness to the futilty and wrongheadedness of bigotry. That so many celebrate the apparent losses of President Obama and continually wish for his failure is the personification of the evil of racism. It is a pathetic footnote to American history which will not be undone in the lives of people currently living. Until there is one race, not divided by skin color, we will experience the cold winds of hate based on skin color.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Monday, August 3, 2009

Charlottesville, Virginia THE WAY IT WAS

"Public Housing in Charlottesville: The Black Experience in a Small Southern City"
by William M. Harris, Sr. and Nancy Olmsted
The following article is included by permission of the authors. It appeared originally in The Review of Black Political Economy, Vol. 46, Charlottesville, May, 1988, pp. 29-95. (F232.A3M3v.46 1988)
The history and public policies related to the public housing program are presented within the context of a small southern city, Charlottesville, Virginia. Consistent with the stormy beginnings of public hous- ing nationally the article reveals that the early days of the program in Charlottesville also were troubled. City policies to affect the residential mix of housing are shown to have limited the quality of affordable housing availible to the poor and especially to low-income blacks. Programs designed by the city to overcome some of these disadvantages through both home ownership and renting also are discussed.
This article reviews the publicly assisted housing programs in Charlottesville, Virginia and describes the factors of race, income and public policy that are determinants of housing opportunities for the poor in this southern city. Of special concern are the impacts of public housing on the black community and, to ascertain these impacts, the study focuses on the actions of the Charlottesville Redevelopment Land Housing Authority (CRHA). The article concludes with a summary of recommendations for the improvement of current policies related to public housing in the city.
Charlottesville is located in Albemarle County in central Virginia, amid the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Its picturesque beauty and social history have helped to create a city of diverse neighborhoods and Southern culture. A major influence on Charlottesville has been the University of Virginia. Thomas Jefferson located his "academical village," which opened in 1825, one mile west of Charlottesville. Today, with the city nearly surrounding the university, the institution is more than ever a major part of the city's economy, history, and culture.
In 1870 blacks comprised slightly more than the majority of the population of the city. Currently they make up nearly twenty percent of the city's approximately 40,000 residents, but include nearly one half of all families living below the poverty level. The incidence of female-headed families is nearly three times as great (44% v. 15%) among blacks as among whites. Similar to the national average, blacks are twice as likely to be unemployed as whites. Most employed blacks are concentrated in service occupations (38%) and are underrepresented in professional (7%) and administrative (8%) positions. In 1980 one quarter of all employed blacks earned less than $5,000; only 3 percent reported income of $35,000 to $50,000. While only 9 percent of blacks have completed four years or more of college, whites have a completion rate of 35 percent.
In 1950, the Joint Board of Health conducted a housing survey which along with a follow-up survey in 1957, identified housing in critical need of protection and rehabilitation. In order to respond to the housing needs, the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority (CRHA) was established in 1954 by referendum. The objectives of the CRHA were to clear slum and blighted areas and to operate public housing programs. The Authority consisted of five citizen commissioners appointed by the city council. This was changed in 1978, when the city council appointed itself as commissioners of the Authority. At that time, the city manager was appointed executive director, with the daily operations of the Authority managed by a deputy executive director hired by the commissioners.
On March 11, 1960, the city council received an application by the CRHA under amendment 14A: Title 36 VA Code 1950.1 (This section, referred to as the McCue amendment, required a referendum vote on public housing projects; it was overturned in 1971.) The application called for the redevelopment of the Vinegar Hill area and the construction of public housing on Ridge Street and Hartman's Mill Road. The purpose of the project was to clear a substandard area for several reasons—to facilitate the expansion of the downtown business district, to improve traffic flow, and to provide housing for many of the families who would be displaced as a result of the redevelopment.
Although the redevelopment of Vinegar Hill was viewed by many as beneficial to the city, the proposed Ridge Street and Hartman's Mill Road locations for public housing met with strenuous opposition. Three other sites were then considered, with- the Westhaven site ultimately being selected. In March of 1963, CRHA received authorization from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to award a contract for the first public housing development in the city of Charlottesville. The 126 units in Westhaven were completed in 1964.
In June of 1965, CRHA petitioned the city council to hold a referendum on a second public housing project. The referendum was rejected by the voters in November of 1965. In August of 1966, the Authority made another request for a second project, but withdrew the request a month later "because of growing public opposition to the proposal and the lack of unified support among civic leaders.2
A third referendum vote in 1967 considered three smaller scattered sites, and all three sites were approved for public housing. Opposition to these projects came from the NAACP, which believed the projects would perpetuate racial segregation in Charlottesville because the sites were all within predominantly black areas of the city. "We realize and know that people need homes; we are for public housing, but not housing projects."3 The NAACP continued to push for scattered site housing.
In April of 1968, the Charlottesville Housing Foundation was formed as a private, non-profit organization to: expedite the construction of new living units in locations outside ghetto areas or areas which are generally in a deteriorating condition for low-income families who are unable to obtain adequate housing on their own.4
In March of 1969, the city council issued the following formal housing Statement: We realize that our problems cannot be resolved without a positive effort on the part of every individual, group and entity, both private and public, within and without the community, to make every effort to increase the availability of housing and to upgrade the quality of such housing.5
Charlottesville's last public housing project was privately built and Subsidized Rental Housing in Charlottesville named Garrett Square. While the development is privately owned, it has been managed by CRHA since its construction in 1979. This privately owned, publicly managed, category includes 480 dwelling units.
Since the 1970s, housing programs for low-income families have placed less emphasis on redevelopment, public housing, and the clearing of blight; instead, they have focused on scattered site development, rehabilitation of existing units and affordability of home ownership. These programs involve both public and private financing. In the 1980s, more emphasis was placed on the following: providing housing for "special groups," such as the elderly and the handicapped; racially integrating and modernizing existing public housing; privately developing low- and moderate income housing; and increasing the revenues from public housing as subsidies from the federal government declined.
Today the CRHA owns 266 non-elderly-occupied LRPH units in six locations within the city (See Figure 1). These units provide low-income persons with housing at below-market rents. The apartments, constructed with federal funds, operate with revenues from tenant receipts and HUD subsidies. The high-rise accommodation for the elderly operated by CRHA contains 105 apartment units. Qualifying persons pay 30 percent of adjusted family income for CRHA units.
The 1980 Census revealed 80.4 percent of Charlottesville's population to be white and 19.6 percent nonwhite (non-white consist of blacks, Asians, Hispanics, and native Americans). The percentage of non-whites in the population had increased from the 15.5 percent reported in the 1970 Census. However, in 1980 only 12.7 percent of owner-occupied housing units in Charlottesville belonged to non-whites, although this represented an increase over the 10.6 percent reported in 1970.
Although Charlottesville is predominantly white, Charlottesville's public housing has been predominantly black since its inception, and continues to be so. In 1989, 70.1 percent of public housing heads of house holds were black (Table 1). This increases to 82 percent when the high rise accommodation for the elderly is not included. Currently, 84 percent of the children living in Charlottesville's public housing are black.
The 1989 demographics of Charlottesville's public housing (Table 1) also indicate that among all residents (both black and white) heads ofhouseholds most commonly are female (77%), those 62+ years of age (33.4%), and single (87%). There is an average of nearly 2.3 children per head of household in the units having children present. The only project that meets Charlottesville's desired goal of the 65 percent / 35 percent black/white racial mixture is the aforementioned high-rise building with the elderly and disabled as tenants.
As of October 1989, 69 percent of residents paid $200 or less per month rent, with the largest share of these (41%) paying $101-$200 per month. Nearly equal shares of the tenant population (28% and 31%, respectively) paid "$0-$100" and "$201 and over" in rent.
Charlottesville offers a number of housing programs that are designed to achieve several goals: meet the housing needs of the poor; provide subsidies that will enable those with low incomes to afford rents; and create opportunities for low- and moderate-income people to purchase their own homes (Table 2). These programs involve a combination of federal, state and local funds generally administered through the CRHA.
Community Development Rehabilitation Program: The Community Development Rehabilitation Program (CDRP) provides funds for rehabilitation of substandard owner and rental housing.
Homeowner Rehabilitation: Federal, state and local funds are provided to enable qualifying homeowners to make the repairs necessary to rehabilitate their homes. Two hundred and seventy-one units were funded through the program between 1975 and 1989.
Rental Rehabilitation: Owners of substandard rental units are provided federal, state and local funds to make necessary repairs. Once rehabilitated, units initially must be occupied by low- or moderate-income households. As of December 1988, eleven rental units had been renovated.
CDRP provides homeowners with both technical assistance (in determining necessary repairs and estimating cost) and material assistance (in paying for these repairs). The Charlottesville Housing Improvement Program, Inc. (CHIP) supplies much of the maintenance and repair work.
Funding is available in the form of deferred loans or grants which provide 40 percent-80 percent of the costs. No interest accumulates, and the loan is repaid when the house changes owners. Loans tailored to meet specific needs of the applicant also may be obtained. Financing for the program is provided by Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, Virginia Housing Partnership funds, and by city funds through their Homeowner and Rental Rehabilitation Programs.
Section 8 Rental Assistance Programs This program enables low-income persons to live in standard housing by subsidizing the difference between 30 percent of tenant income and the market rent of the unit.
In June 1989, CRHA (acting as an agent for the Virginia Housing and Development Authority) was provided funds by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to assist an additional 25 existing units and 62 moderately rehabilitated units. CRHA was already administering 78 existing units and 122 vouchers through contracts funded by HUD in previous years.
House Bank Program: CRHA purchases vacant and deteriorating homes in targeted neighborhoods and rehabilitates them with CDBG funds. The renovated homes are then sold to qualifying low- and moderate-income persons for not more than $37,000. Proceeds from the sales are reinvested in the program. In order to provide housing for low- and moderate income persons throughout the city, CRHA has purchased 19 existing units, 11 of which will be renovated. The others will be sold or demolished, with new units being constructed on the sites.
Downpayment/Closing Cost Assistance Program: This program was begun in 1986 with $85,000 in CDBG funds that are used to provide deferred loans for downpayments and closing costs. To qualify, the prospective buyer must meet the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) income guidelines for low or moderate income, be a first-time home buyer, agree to occupy the home after purchase, and have at least $500 with which to buy the home. Loans at 4 percent must be repaid if the home is rented or sold within five years of the purchase. If the home purchaser resides in the home for a period of five years, the interest on the loan is forgiven and the amount borrowed becomes due when the home changes ownership. Table 2 shows the city's achievements to date.
Today, there are still not enough units of housing for the low-income; there is increasing homelessness as the very poor are excluded from subsidized housing. Moreover, the current policies have not desegregated existing housing projects.
The Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority currently has 21 employees overseeing its programs and maintaining its public housing units. The Authority receives federal funding through the HUD Section 8 and CDBG programs (currently channeled through the Charlottesville Department of Community Development), and state funding through VHDA.
The management of the CRHA has been criticized virtually from the organization's inception for its lack of ability to make headway in meeting the need for public housing in Charlottesville. Sites recommended by the CRHA were opposed consistently by voters. In regard to chosen sites, CRHA did not have the support of the surrounding residents or the community as a whole before the construction proposals were put to a vote. The previously mentioned objections of the local NAACP to what was perceived as CRHA's perpetuation of a segregated system through the sites selected for public housing projects caused such projects to be viewed as "black" housing, making the siting of projects even more difficult.
As did many other communities, Charlottesville maintained segregated housing in the 1960s. CRHA's first application to HUD was for "Negro" development. Westhaven, Charlottesville's first public housing project, was built in a black neighborhood, and the project remained virtually all-black until 1980.
Frustrated with the City Council's lack of commitment to public housing, the chairman of the CRHA commission suggested in 1978 that the Council become the CRHA commission, thereby putting the responsibility for public housing back onto the City Council. Even after this occurred, public housing has been only half-heartedly supported by the city of Charlottesville. While there seems to be support for providing public housing for city residents, there is a fear that public housing will attract too many non-city residents.
In 1980, CRHA put into effect a new tenant selection policy designed to achieve a 50/50 racial mix in public housing. The policy was later revised to state that "whenever more than 65 percent of the residents in any public housing development are black, white applicants are given preference for admission."6 As a result, black applicants had to wait longer for available units than did white applicants.
In 1980, CRHA made economic diversity the first priority on its list of tenant selection criteria. Under the policy, the Authority favors families that can pay "top dollar".7 The deputy director of CRHA stated, "In order to survive, we've got to turn down some of the poor.''8 The city manager of Charlottesville exemplified the concern with attracting non-city residents to CRHA when he said, "We don't think it would be wise to become a magnet for the poor from the rural counties."9
In 1981, the Richmond-area HUD office commended CRHA for its attempt to desegregate; however, its selection policy was suspended by the national headquarters of HUD after further review. Eventually, HUD brought suit against CRHA, claiming the policy violated 42 U.S.C. Sec. 3604(a)-(c). On July 21, 1989, the court ruled the policy was indeed a violation (United States v. Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority) (718 F. Supp. 461 [1989]). CRHA has since suspended use of a tenant selection policy based on racial quotas.
While historically it appears there have been acceptable technical results by the CRHA staff, the failures have equally been visible in the political arena. The housing authority has not been able to move the public to accept low-income housing in white residential neighborhoods. Similarly, there has been only a very modest production of homes for purchase by low-income people; none of these was placed in white residential areas. It is evident that all levels of the city's management and the housing authority need to more effectively commit to, acquire resources for, and produce housing for ownership [and rental] by blacks and others in lower-income brackets.
The medium-sized southern city of Charlottesville, Virginia, founded in the mid-eighteenth century, is a classic paradigm of race regulations for the area. Experiencing increasing growth for more than two centuries, the city's current population of nearly forty thousand is slightly less than 20 percent black. Over time, race-specific decisions in the city have resulted in segregated public housing. 10
In the 1960s, the city built its first public housing units on a segregated basis. The city has expanded publicly assisted housing programs to include both rental and owner-occupied units for low- and moderate income citizens. These programs continue to encounter a legacy of criticism by the black community that policy and program activities have not sufficiently addressed the need for housing on a fair access basis.
The article suggests that discrimination related to race is a reality in Charlottesville's public housing. First, racial discrimination is evidenced by public policy that has limited the opportunity for fair housing. Second, racial discrimination is clearly present when considered on a spatial or site-specific basis.
The article makes several recommendations that are designed to correct racial discrimination in public housing in the city of Charlottesville. In summary, the following proposals are offered:
The city should initiate housing policies that will abate segregation patterns through the establishment of a Human Relations Commission empowered to monitor and enforce discrimination related to housing. A Human Relations Commission should be empowered by the city to do the following: advocate fair housing policies and practices, test for housing discrimination, " and educate the "house poor" and the larger community about matters related affordability.
The city should try to increase the private sector's interests in building low-cost housing by: streamlining regulations related to site plan approval, exploiting slow work seasons (usually winter) for builders, and affirmatively discouraging redlining 12 by lending institutions.
The black community should act in self-advocacy to acquire funds to purchase property and homes to increase home ownership. Local black fraternal, religious, and civic organizations may form housing cooperatives, sweat equity3 organizations, and political housing advocacy groups to increase the amount of housing for the low income in the black community.
Local employers should institute affirmative measures to remove barriers to employment that limit the ability of blacks to rent or purchase housing. The university and major local employers could expand the number of blacks working in middle income positions through aggressive recruitment and training, use of specific target goals,4 and faithful enforcement of antidiscrimination laws.
These recommendations reflect the findings of a review of publicly assisted housing programs in Charlottesville and are limited to that scope; they are not offered as a complete solution to the historical problems of racial discrimination in housing in the city.
1. "Text of City's Petition," Charlottesville Daily Progress (April 18, 1960), p. 2.
2. Karl Runser, "Housing Site Dropped," Charlottesville Daily Progress (September 9, 1966), p. 1.
3. " NAACP Again Says No to Housing, " Charlottesville Daily Progress (April 21,1967), p. 25.
4. "Foundation Plans 82 Housing Units,'' Charlottesville Daily Progress (October 22, 1969), p. B-l.
5. Bill Akers, ''Council Agrees on Housing Needs in Formal Statement," Charlottesville Daily Progress (March 4, 1969), p. I I .
6. Kathleen Brunet, "City to Fight HUD on Housing Policy," Charlottesville Daily Progress (August 8, 1986), p. A-1.
7. Jim Ketcham-Colwill, "Some Are Too Poor For Public Housing," Charlottesville Daily Progress (July 24, 1983), p. A-l.
8. Ibid, p. A-12.
9. Jessie Bond, "City Unlikely to Add Public Housing, " Charlottesville Daily Progress (October 7, 1985), p. A10.
10. G.A. Tobin ed., Divided Neighborhoods: Changing Patterns of Racial Segregation (Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications, 1987), p. 230.
11 . Timothy M. Kaine, "Housing Discrimination Law in Virginia,'' The Virginia Bar Association Journal (Spring 1990). p. 16.
12. In an unpublished working paper completed in September 1990, the author and Ted Shekell found support that redlining practices appear to be present in two majority black neighborhoods in the city of Charlottesville.
13. Mittie Olion Chandler, Urban Homesteading: Programs and Policies (New York: Greenwood Press. 1988), p. 31.
14. Gerald D Jaynes and Robin M Williams, Jr eds., A Common Destiny: Blacks and American Society (Washington, DC National Academy Press. 1989). DD.. 315-323
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Tuesday, July 21, 2009


My comment on this happening is no comment. It speaks for itself, sadly.

(CNN) -- African-American scholar and Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. was arrested last week on a charge of disorderly conduct after a confrontation with an officer at his home, according to a Cambridge, Massachusetts, police report.

Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. was arrested last week on a charge of disorderly conduct.

According to the report, officers responded to a call Thursday from a woman who said she saw "a man wedging his shoulder into the front door" at Gates' house near the university. The report, obtained by CNN affiliate WCVB-TV, indicates Gates refused to identify himself to a police officer, claiming the officer was a racist.
Sgt. James Crowley of the Cambridge Police Department stated in the report that he told Gates he was investigating a report of a break-in at the residence. According to the report, Gates "opened the front door and exclaimed, 'Why, because I'm a black man in America?' "
Crowley wrote in the report that he warned Gates two times he was becoming disorderly. After Gates continued to yell and accuse him of racial bias, Crowley wrote he arrested Gates for "loud and tumultuous behavior in a public space."
A statement by Gates' lawyer and fellow Harvard professor Charles Ogletree said that the incident occurred when Gates returned to his home after a trip to China.
Gates, accompanied by a driver, found the front door damaged.
He entered the house with his key through the rear door. Then, he and and driver were able to force the front door open, Ogletree said in his statement.
Don't Miss
WCVB: Police report of incident
The statement was published on the Web site The Root, of which Gates is editor-in-chief.
An officer arrived and told Gates he was investigating a call about a breaking-and-entering at the residence, Ogletree wrote.
Gates identified himself at the officer's request, according to Ogletree.
"He [Gates] turned to walk into the kitchen where he had left his wallet. The officer followed him. Professor Gates handed both his Harvard University identification and his valid Massachusetts driver's license to the officer," Ogletree wrote on The Root.
Ogletree's statement also said that Gates asked Crowley for his name and badge number several times without success.
Then, when Gates followed Crowley to the front door, Crowley said, "Thank you for accommodating my earlier request, and then placed him [Gates] under arrest," Ogletree said.
The Cambridge Police Department would not release any information regarding the incident.
Gates has one of 20 prestigious "university professors" positions at Harvard University, according to WCVB, and joined the faculty in 1991. He is considered one of the nation's pre-eminent scholars of African-American studies. In 1997, Time magazine placed him on its list of the 25 most influential Americans.
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Saturday, July 18, 2009


From CNN 7/17/2009

Black Philadelphia police sue over message board, say it's racist
Story Highlights

Cops claim police message board "infested with racist, white supremacist" remarks
Boards reference swim club incident, calls black kids "ghetto monkey faces"
One post describes "no car insurance driving, bad weave wearing" black women
Lawsuit seeks for site to be taken down or have cops stop posting during work

Link to the article

Link to the actual civil complaint by the Police in Philadelphia

By Jason Kessler CNN

(CNN) -- A group of black Philadelphia police officers filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against their department, alleging an online forum geared toward city police is "infested with racist, white supremacist and anti-African-American content."

My comment

When this kind of racism is allowed to continue for even one day it is institutional racism.

Denegration of any and all people is wrong. All racism based in fear and ignorance is wrong. Unless, and until, there is an open dialogue the racial resentment will continue to fester. Talk , talk , talk all you want to but until everyone, white and non-whites, get together and say what they truly feel, face- to- face, the humiliation, denegration, resentment, and racist behavior will never change. It begins with the children of all races and, if the parents are incapable of understanding and communicating how harmful racism is to a society, then the schools should incorporate it into the classroom at the youngest age.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


By Larry J. Sabato
Director, U.Va. Center for Politics

The following article is the unedited version of a commentary piece as submitted to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Fifty years have now passed since the dark days of Massive Resistance, when public schools in some Virginia localities were shuttered rather than integrated.
Virginia has had an overall proud and constructive history; yet except for the original sin of slavery, Massive Resistance is the most indelible stain on the state's soul.

When today's young people are told about the school closings, they are astonished. In retrospect, it is almost unbelievable--even for those of us who lived through the era--to accept that public education ceased in order to prevent "the mixing of the races."

But the nightmare was all too real. I was a young boy growing up in Norfolk when my father told me that my cousins were no longer able to attend school. Even as a youngster I had noticed the commotion, as well as the separate water fountains and the "Impeach Earl Warren" billboards. One Sunday, an African-American serviceman came to religious services. As he sat down, every white person in the pew moved. I was five or six years old, but I still vividly recall the anguish and humiliation on the man's face. This happened in a church, and this gentleman was serving our country.

These were the times. Society was sick with the plague of racism. And instead of helping to cure the disease, Virginia made it worse--much worse.

The state's elected leadership refused to accept Brown v. Board of Education, the breakthrough Supreme Court decision in 1954, which held that separate, segregated schools were inherently unequal. Barbara Johns, a brave 16-year old in Prince Edward County, Virginia, had helped to precipitate Brown in 1951 by organizing a strike to protest the disgraceful condition of her all-black high school. The resulting lawsuit was one of five cases the Supreme Court heard under the name Brown v. Board of Education.

Virginia's reaction to Brown was the "Southern Manifesto," championed by U.S. Sen. Harry F. Byrd Sr., and signed by more than 100 significant officeholders in the South. By 1956 Byrd-led Virginia decided to fight, and the General Assembly passed a state law that cut off funding and closed any school that agreed to integrate.

Sadly, the Richmond newspapers, including The Times-Dispatch, contributed mightily to this disgraceful effort. The papers thundered daily about the evils of integration, and arguably violated journalistic ethics by coordinating directly with Senator Byrd in promoting this extreme measure. By contrast, the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot won a Pulitzer Prize for its anti-Massive Resistance editorials.

In September 1958, several schools in Norfolk, Charlottesville, and Warren County were on the verge of integrating because of court orders, but the state seized and shut them, creating the "Lost Class of '59." Some black and white students were tutored privately, but many others never made up the lost ground.

Reason gradually prevailed. Virginia's business leaders, many of them segregationists, nonetheless nudged the state toward integration, fearing the results of an uneducated workforce. This modest progressivism was not without cost. In Norfolk, hard-line segregationist mayor, Fred Duckworth, reportedly kept a list of these "soft" businessmen on his office door, and turned away any who dared to come by.

Finally, the federal and state courts acted, and on January 19, 1959 (ironically, Robert E. Lee's birthday) the school-closing law was overturned. In early February, a handful of black students integrated the schools, though not in Prince Edward County--where the public schools tragically remained locked until 1964.

Soon federal civil rights laws turned outcasts into voters, and Virginia gradually gave up most vestiges of segregation. Blacks won local offices and General Assembly berths, and the state led the nation by choosing the first elected African-American governor, Douglas Wilder, grandson of slaves, in 1989.

By 2008 Virginia voted for Barack Obama by a wide margin--and the first African-American president swept all localities that had closed schools, save for small Warren County.

Some Virginia leaders have also tried to face the legacy of the 1950s head on. In 2004 a much more enlightened General Assembly created a scholarship fund to provide educational opportunities for those damaged by the earlier legislature's actions. This past February, Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim apologized from the heart on behalf of his city to an emotional gathering of Massive Resistance survivors.

Massive Resistance may seem to be ancient history, but it should never be forgotten--a classic case of leadership gone awry and irrational fears shaping public policy. And there are many lessons to be learned and applied to today's politics.

The U.Va. Center for Politics will explore these lessons, collaborating with PBS stations such as WCVE, in a national documentary depicting Massive Resistance through the eyes of the students who experienced it. In September the show will air in Virginia, and then it will debut nationally in February.

On July 17 at the state capitol, the Center for Politics will host a day-long conference on Massive Resistance. Former Governors Wilder and Linwood Holton, state Supreme Court Chief Justice Leroy Hassell, prominent state legislators, civil rights leaders, historians, journalists, and Massive Resistance veterans will be featured. It's free and open to the public, but registration at this Web site is required: Come join us. Hear firsthand a heartrending report on the mistakes of the past so that working together we can insure that they never happen again.


Friday, July 10, 2009


The press does not get it about racism, the public does not get it about racism, whites don't get it about racism and blacks, as well as 'other minorities', don't get it about racism.What everyone is missing is that the racism born of extreme hatred is just buried beneath political correctness and given the slightest opportunity it will resurface when we least expect it in some gruesome way. Everyone will express their surprise at the extent to which it still exists, the outrage and the ballyhoo will subside and on and on. We, as a country and a society need to raise the discussion to the level it demands.

Eric Holder gets it . We are cowards and , for the most part, unwilling to have constructive dialog. It is as if racism is some nebulous concept, separate and apart, from our daily lives. As far as racist whites are concerned 'niggas' could be anybody who is non-white and are considered subhuman, dirty and dangerous. This notion is inculcated in racist families when children are the most impressionable and , once the racist attitude is planted, it is as hard to eradicate as a ground running noxious weed from the child's consciousness. The racist seed is borne of ignorance and fear. I should know, I was raised in a racist family.

After the pool incident in Pennsylvania, where the white kids got out of the pool when the black and Latino kids got in there was a great ballyhoo about the incident being racist. Well , I'll just be hornswaggled, who da thunk it?

After Obama was elected, according to the press, it seems that all was love and harmony between whites and 'other races' and that racial barriers had been transcended. This in spite of the fact that, at the same time, racist incidents were happening around the country. The true racial hatred cannot be fully measured until the meaning of the word 'nigger' is examined. Out here in the real world some things are getting worse, not better, regarding the attitudes toward 'minorities', who by the way, are fast becoming the majority. For all of the white kids, who got out of the club pool in Pennsylvania when the 'other kids,' got in, the concept of racism is indelibly etched into their perception of 'the other.' Those kids, in all likelihood cannot be wrested away from their racist thinking inculcated by the ignorant adults who are responsible for training them to survive in the world to come. That world will be comprised of a mixture of ethnic individuals who will eventually become one color and one culture.

I have taken a lot of heat from racist individuals with whom I am acquainted. I have been told the name of Obama is not allowed in some households. I have some lifelong friends, and sadly also relatives, who sent anti-Obama emails before, after and during the election. They were surprised when I told them that I deleted the emails, did not ever want to see them again, and that I felt Obama was the best thing that could have happened to our country in a very long time. I did not understand, until the 2008 election, how some of my friends felt and, because I proudly voted for Obama, our relationship as friends will never be the same.

The 'children of color,' were victims of racism, but so were the children whose parents yanked them out of the pool when the camp kids got in. This is a terrible lesson perpetuating an anachronistic, generational attitude of racism which will deprive them of the blessing of diversity and expanded cultural richness. It will also perpetuate, in the minds of the camp children, that they are regarded as inferior, dangerous and that they do not belong. How could the camp kids possibly understand such unjustified treatment? They did nothing wrong, but this one heinous incident planted the seed of resentment in their young minds and the cycle of racism and resentment continues while we do nothing but talk it to death. There needs to be an established forum of individuals from many races to address the opportunities for growth and prosperity through education, trust building and diversity on a national level. Our national security depends on it and our economic survival as a country is contingent upon eliminating institutional racism and injustice. The pool incident is one more truth exposed.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


People have lost their sense of humor. In former times we constantly made jokes about different races. You can only tell them today with one hand over your mouth otherwise you will be insulted as a racist. I find that ridiculous. In those earlier days every friendly clique had a ‘Sam the Jew’ or ‘Jose the Mexican’ — but we didn’t think anything of it or have a racist thought. It was normal that we made jokes based on our nationality or ethnicity. That was never a problem. I don’t want to be politically correct. We’re all spending too much time and energy trying to be politically correct about everything.”

Clint Eastwood

Ok, so where do you even begin with something like this? This quote sounds a lot like my father, most of the people I grew up with, and a lot of educated, and supposedly enlightened people I now know. There is a disconnect somewhere between the speech center of the brain and the part of the brain responsible for rational thought. At least Clint Eastwood was honest.

Eastwood came out with it. Folks now, who are racist to the core and publicly claim they are not, do talk in whispers behind their hands, thinking no one will know except like-minded souls, to whom they are addressing their remarks. When there are doctors, attorneys, bankers, engineers, insurance professionals and myriad others, talking behind their hands in whispers how is any progress on racism going to take place? When we still have Realtors steering whites and non-whites to different neighborhoods how is racism diminished?

Much has been publicized about our recent 'housing crisis' and the concomitant economic breakdown of the entire financial system in the United States. It has been mentioned that economically disadvantaged ( mostly non-white) payed a heavier price than did those of privilege ( mostly white ). The bankers who made the shady loans , and understood full well that they were wrong, saw poor whites and non-whites alike as oportunistic victims ripe for discriminatory picking. Racism in not only morally wrong it has proved economically disasterous. The sooner we recognize that a robust middle class of all ethnicities is needed to restore our economic well-being the sooner we can begin to fiscally, as well as racially, heal this country.

Economic injustice still hides behind the backhand of whispers, shrouded in political correctness, in the face of racism: it thrives in the the dark secretive place where economic power decides who gets ahead.

***I need to say something about 'whiteness' vs 'non-whiteness' here. I recognize that racism is usually regarded with respect to bigotry against those who are non-white by those who are white. I also recognize that to use the term white vs non-white creates a greater racial divide, but I am trying to learn a better way to put it. At the moment white vs non-white is all I know. Please check out this link and read this scholarly article by Joyce Irene Middleton because I cannot say it as effectively as she has in the article entitled, Post Civil Rights Whiteness and Diversity: When are we going to stop talking about race? May 21st 2009.

Monday, June 8, 2009


It is well known that children are inquisitive by nature. Since their developmental skills are formulated through observation and questioning, what they see and hear from their earliest experiences will develop into lifelong attitudes. Children ask questions about everything. Why this, why that, and such things as why is a cat a cat and not a dog. For the most part the answers are simple for adults to answer but sometimes they are not easy.

When my son was about 3 years of age we encountered a young man in a wheel chair. We were going into a store just as he was struggling to exit in the wheelchair and I helped to hold the door open. My son looked at me and asked, "Mom, why is that guy in that chair?" I tried to hush him up, but the young man said, "M'am, if you don't mind, I'd like to answer that question myself." The young man went on the explain to my son that he had been in an accident and his injuries prevented him from walking so he needed a wheel chair to get around. My son was fascinated, he understood and accepted the explanation, and from that point on he did not see people in wheelchairs as particularly different but accepted that they had had a different experience.

Years later, when my son was about 9 yrs. old, in 1978, we were in the car on Main St. at the corner of Ridge St. in Charlottesville, Va. and we heard screaming. I was driving and I looked out the window to my left and I saw a young black girl holding her shoulder and screaming. Blood was gushing from under her hand where she had placed it to stop the bleeding. There was a very young child with her maybe, 2 or 3 yrs old. I stopped the car in the middle of the road and turned off the engine, got out and ran to her to find out what had happened. Others in the car were afraid and told me to come back and just leave. They were afraid a crime had taken place and that we were in mortal danger since the area we were driving through was predominately black. My husband, disabled by MS, was mortified that I would just stop the car and run over to someone bleeding on the sidewalk, and leave everyone else in the car.

Since this was a time before aids awareness, I did not know what to do except to try to calm her , watch her crying child so it would not get in the street, and put pressure with my bare hands on the triangle shaped cut in her shoulder. ( I was a Girl Scout) The cut was close to her neck and it was deep. She was lying down on the sidewalk and when she calmed down she told me she had been with some friends, on what is now the Downtown Mall, and they had pushed her into one of the store windows and when she fell through it, it broke. She had some other minor cuts as well but nothing like the big one in her shoulder. A young black man came from the direction of Ridge St. and asked if he could help. I told him to get to a phone and call the rescue squad, and the police, and he did. By this time people had gathered to see what was happening. When the ambulance came the men told me they had it, she was going into shock, and I should leave. I remember looking at the blood on my hands and marveling how it was just blood, not black blood or white blood, just red blood that runs through all human veins. My son's only comment was a question, "Mom is she going to be alright?"

One of the adults commented that I could have been killed just running willy-nilly to help a person in 'that section of town' and that I should have had more consideration for my family than that. It is true that the car was stopped dead in the middle of the road, but the traffic was very light and seemed to move around our car just fine. I was concerned about what might have been said in my son's range of hearing while I was not there. We had members of our family who were then, and still are, racist. I can only hope , that by example, I was able to negate any racist mutterings to which he may have been exposed .

Friday, June 5, 2009

The New Obama World

President Obama has exceeded all expectations I had of him as candidate Obama. In his last speech to the Muslim world he has elevated, not only the status of faithful, law-abiding people, but he has elevated the status of humankind. He has not given in to terrorism by recognizing that individual differences in religious belief do not make us adversaries. He has not given in to terrorist behavior by acknowledging that there are far more good Muslims living day-to-day, with the same goals and aspirations as those of us who are Christian, than there are terrorists invoking the Muslim religion as justification for their savage actions. He has recognized Muslims of all nations as a people who have longed to be recognized for the good they represent and not for the hate brought upon them by their own saboteurs.

For centuries Muslims have been feared, hated and misunderstood. To be sure their culture is vastly different from our American culture. They have suffered great religious persecution in much the same way Christians have experienced persecution. Nor have Muslims , by and large, been recognized in recent world history for the contributions made to art, technology and science. Just as United States history text books have left out huge amounts of information of the contributions of African-Americans to our national development, text books for classes in world history conspicuously leave out huge amounts of information about Muslim contributions. In my pursuit of information of the history of black Americans, I read a lot of books about Africans' contributions to the building of America that I never read in a text book in school. It is as if, once considered not equal by Western standards, certain ethnic populations just never existed.

If there is to be any reconciliation with nations that are prodominately Muslim it has to begin somewhere. President Obama's speech may have appeared to be apologetic to some Americans and less than adequate for some Muslims, but it was a beginning. It is true that no one else could have given that speech and connected so forcefully with the very people we need to engage in order to defeat terrorism. Muslims have suffered mightily from terrorism too and they have a huge human stake in eliminating it from their own lands.

There is such irony that at just the time when America needed someone to begin healing the religious and ethnic rifts in the world, that Obama burst onto the scene, seemingly out of nowhere as a African-American, and in short order, began a dialogue with the Muslim world.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Judicial Activist?

There is such racial angst against President Obama out here in the real world, methinks that if the second coming of Jesus were to happen, and if Obama nominated Jesus Christ to the Supreme Court, he would be reviled, ridiculed, dissed for lack of creds and vilified by the right-wing-nuts. Nobody who is nominated by Obama is going to be recognized for anything positive in their personal or professional lives by the hate-obsessed right wingers. In other words some of us have not come very far, picture the inquisition.

I was raised as a ' fundamentalist' but thank God, I got over it. The Jesus I perceived as a child in Sunday School was the ultimate activist. Its not that this is what I was taught, it is that I came to my own conclusions, even as a child. Jesus could not stand injustice and stood up to it at every opportunity. He was reviled, ridiculed, and dissed for the lack of credentials whenever he confronted what was then, right wing ideologues. Jesus was not some namby-pamby who let anyone attach labels to what he stood for and what he did not stand for. His message of love, forgiveness, tolerance and openness was lost on those very souls he sought to heal and those very fundamentalists crucified him.

The right-wing-nuts have been with us always, just as we are taught the poor are with you always, there are those who have always opposed the way others live their lives. It is not sufficient for the oppressors to live their own lives and let others live theirs even when the lifestyles never encounter. Oppressors want to tell everyone how to, live and believe, in the intolerant ways they espouse and, if one does not comply, one is vilified publicly and given less than full human status.

All of this to say that Sotomayor, probably the most qualified and credentialed an individual of any sex , or any race, that is likely to qualify for nomination to the Supreme Court, is inevitably going to run into some high caliber opposition for no reason other than sexual and racial intolerance on the part of those who just cannot stand her achievements as a Latino woman. Instead of celebrating Sotomayor as the remarkable human being she is, they are nit-picking every little thing in her background and extracting words out of context in a vain and small attempt to diminish her as a nominee. How pathetic they are. How myopic not to acknowledge that she personifies the American Dream. They are afraid of the strength that can rise up, persevere against insurmountable odds, inspiring awe in a public she has not even met and, worst of all, absent any real issues in her past, it is dangerous for the right wing zealots to try to destroy her. In the attempt to destroy her person hood they will further destroy themselves.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Use of the 'N' word

Unless and until everyone is willing to analyze the word 'nigger' and stop using the term 'n word' we cannot fully understand what is truly embodied in the word. The use of the term 'n word' is more acceptable, much like the term 'f word'. Everyone knows what is meant and the abbreviation is just a way to sterilize, for social purposes, the idea behind the word. The word nigger,in this case, is much more than a word. It is a concept born of fear, degradation, worthlessness, inferiority and discrimination based on the baseless supposition that one's value as a human is wholly a matter of skin color.

I am certainly NOT advocating the use of the term nigger in conversation to refer to an individual. What I AM advocating is open dialogue between races about what is conjured in the mind's eye when the word is used. Diversity is as worthy of enlightened extra effort as any other form of education. We teach our children about sex, drugs, alcohol , but make no sustained effort to explore diversity. I personally seek out discussions with individuals of all races about what they have experienced on a day-to-day basis because of their race, and the interface with other races. What has ensued is a rich legacy of stories and experiences from both whites and blacks. I will relay one such true story.

When Obama was elected a white doctor I know took a day off from work in order to drive African-Americans to polls to vote. Shortly after the election I was in a doctor's office and I asked one of the LPN's what she thought about the election of the first African-American president in history and if she thought it would ever happen. She was herself African-American. We were in the waiting room and she lowered her voice to a whisper and said she was very happy but never thought it could happen. She then relayed a story which made my eyes tear up and left me in shock.

There was a doctor in the department who was deathly afraid of black people and would not deal with them at all. Keep in mind this was 2009 not some place far back in time. This particular doctor was afraid that if they touched a black person , or if the black person touched them, the black would rub off. The doctor, who of course, will remain nameless and sexless, came into contact with a patient who was black. The patient knew of the doctor's fear of skin-to-skin contact and decided to touch the doctor to show them that indeed the black would not rub off. The doctor totally freaked out and left the room and would not come back. This is not made up, nothing this absurd could be imagined.

The incident left me wondering how the doctor developed such an idea and how on earth did such an attitude persist after all the years of education? My conclusion was that he/she was raised in a racist environment which had embodied some deeply held notions that intellect and education simply could not overcome.

There must be education, on many levels, about racism and not just by African-Americans. To start with I don't know why African-Americans have to be called by national origin when I am not called a German-American because I am of German, actually Prussian, descent. I don't especially like the term black either, because black does not describe all people of African-American descent any more than white describes persons of European descent. I would, in the best of worlds , like to hear people called by their name with respect for who they are. This applies, in my world view, to all people be they poor and homeless, of any race, any sex, or sexual orientation, from any place.

Many are racist ,and don't believe they are racist, and would actually swear they are not, whether they happen to be black or white. They may think they are not racist but the attitudes are so deeply embedded, so insidiously repressed, that the behavioral expression is not even recognized as racist. The indoctrination of racism begins early in childhood and is where lifelong discriminatory attitudes are formed, and perpetuated, from generation to generation.

By writing this book, 'Daddy, is James a Nigger?'( a question I asked my Dad when I was 4 yrs.old) I hope in some small way to contribute to education, and racial healing, so the scourge of racism can ultimately be eliminated. We have to begin with ourselves, black and white alike, by honestly examining our own individual attitudes regarding others. Then, and only then, can we positively influence children when they are young enough to ask innocent, truth-seeking questions. Their questions require enlightened , wise, and forthright, answers from those of us who bear the responsibility for guiding childhood development.