Showing posts from 2015

The Relationship between Nelson and Fidel: Game Changing

I was watching the History Channel last night and found out something that I had never known before.  As a Howard University graduate, I take my approach to learning Black History seriously.  As a Spanish minor, I also took great interest in learning about the struggles of individuals in Latin America.  There were many parallels between the struggles that we faced coming through slavery and the struggles that were faced by people of color in Spanish speaking countries.  I was shocked though to find out that Cuban troops helped to stabilize a radical group in Angola and thereby lead to the overthrow of apartheid in South Africa.

The system of apartheid was one of the most brutal forms of social control ever instituted.  As a student, I protested in front of the South African embassy.  I even met with a representative who felt that everything was fine in her country and that we should not be concerned about the people there.  I visited Johannesburg and even went to a small house that N…

The Gospel of Thomas is an Interesting Document

As Christians enter into the Christmas season many of us read a little more about the Bible and its origins.  Growing up as a young child, Christmas was wrapped up with shopping and Santa Claus.  My anticipation then was waking up with toys under the tree.  My understanding of Christ being born in a manger was solidified by the manger that my Mom would put up in mid-December every year.  I was Catholic at the time and had no reason to question the origins of the writers of the King James version of the Holy Bible.

Many Biblical scholars believe that the Gospel of Thomas is one of the first gospels written about the life of Christ.  These writings were discovered in the Egyptian desert in the mid 1940's.  They are sometimes attribute to Judas Thomas and one quote says, Whoever finds the meaning of these words will not taste death.  Christians, as well as many other religions, have a belief in eternal life.  We can repent, change our ways and be assured of entry into the Kingdom of…

Brett Brown Recieving a Contract Extension: Enigmatic!!

The Philadelphia 76ers are now 1 - 25.  They have set a record for beginning two seasons in a row with at least nine straight losses.  We just got slammed by the Atlanta Hawks last night.  We are on pace to break the former worst record of 9 - 73 set by a previous version of the 76ers.  We have had leads in recent games late but cannot hold on to win.  Our only win was against Kobe Bryant's Lakers.  We will never be able to replicate that feeling of defeating Kobe in Philly because it is his last year.  Philly fans even warmed to this retiring legend after harboring grudges for many years.

I have a hard time with Coach Brown's accent.  It is a Boston type accent and it is particularly grating trying to explain all of these losses.  He said, 'we don't have leadership.'  How did we sign JaVale McGee and then pay him $11 million to sit down and relax this season.  We traded Michael Carter-Williams, a 6'6" point guard to the Milwaukee Bucks because he suppose…

Can Climate Change Bridge a Racial Divide?

There was a measure of success in the efforts to avoid the rapid effects of climate change recently.  Almost 200 nations agreed to abide by a new set of fossil fuel usage standards in order to reduce temperatures by a minimum of 2 degrees Celsius over the next five years.  Many of the richer nations had to sacrifice to achieve these goals.  I have watched with trepidation the damage that we are already doing to the polar ice caps.  If climate change is not evident elsewhere, then I have already lived through the hottest July on record.  also, December is bringing in balmy temperatures close to 70 degrees on a regular basis.

The deal on Climate Change will be a crowning achievement of the Obama Administration.  Many Republicans have decried his efforts because it supposedly hurts big businesses.  Some have even questioned the scientific basis for global warming.  For those citizens who lived through Hurricane Sandy the reality of global warming was horrendous and costly.  Some of that…

Kevin Hannah: Rest in Peace

I saw Kevin Hannah for the last time on November 14th at Galdo's in south Philly.  We were part of a large group enjoying a brunch sponsored by Councilman Kenyatta Johnson.  He was sitting with his ace homey Al Littlepage.  He had posted a picture of himself with an IV in his hand a few weeks earlier on Facebook.  He indicated that he needed to take better care of himself and lose some weight. At our age, fifty-something for me, we can all say the same thing.  He still was his usual affable self though and I thought nothing of the brief encounter.

Kevin was the Ward Chairman for the 36th Ward.  He had recently assumed that position when our long time Ward leader, Anna Verna, stepped down.  He was a fixture near the door early on in my term as a Committee Person but he recently assumed his new seat at the front of the meeting space.  He helped to lead fundraisers and was active at the State level also.  Tara and Kevin Hannah were committee persons who carried on a family tradition…

Reverend Waller's Sermon did an Injustice to Jezebel Yesterday

I had all intentions of leaving Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church for good last year.  I love the messages of Reverend Waller.  He is a teacher/preacher of the first magnitude.  His sermons and the inspiration for them are spellbinding.  I just got tired of the message that once your storm is over that you will find milk and honeys at the end.  Many people who are enjoying career and life success can appreciate this message.  It has been a struggle for awhile to get back to where I was when I sat on a podium with Dr. Waller at a MED Week event back in 2008.  I have been attending the Church of the Redeemer recently and have one new member class to complete before I join this branch of Christians.

Reverend Waller preached from the Book of Revelations yesterday on the topic of the Church.  In the 2nd Chapter, 18th verse, it states:

Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess.  By her teachings she misleads my servants into sexual …

Pope's Visit to Uganda will not change Two Major Issues: Poverty and Homophobia!!

I was reading in the Philadelphia Inquirer today about the Pope's visit to Uganda.  I wonder what the security precautions were before the Pontiff visited.  In Philadelphia, we had the FBI, CIA, Secret Service agents, Homeland Security and numerous other agencies in addition to our local police force to protect this world leader.  Thankfully, there were no major incidents to mar his visit.  The after effects of the visit are gone.  The murder rate is up over last year and the pilgrims have returned to their points of origin.  I don't know if we (City of Philadelphia) have been paid for the city services expended but we will probably find out after the new Mayor is installed.

Uganda is a country of almost 37 million people.  It is a multi-party Democratic Republic whose President is Yoweri Kaguti Museveni.  I remember him for the professed hatred for gays and the passage of virulent anti-gay laws.  Strangely, these laws were supported by the religious organizations in the coun…

Councilman Kenyatta Johnson: Thank You!!

After being reelected in november, the Councilman for the 2nd District is back at his gracious ways.  He is a true advocate for the Community and he gives back with the best of them.  Malayja and I had a great time at his Summer Festival.  With the onset of November weather, it seems so far ago.  I wish my Granddaughter would have met Silento!!  It was a little rainy that day but it didn't stop the good vibes on Point Breeze Avenue!!  The councilman has sponsored Job Fairs and Domestic Violence Awareness runs.  He is setting an amazing pace.

I was fortunate to be able to deliver Thanksgiving baskets to my Mom and to Ms. Shockley yesterday.  These baskets had all of the trimmings to make a meal on Thursday.  I know that the Councilman distributed them to Committee persons.  There were many other families who benefitted from his charity.  Along with State Representative Jordan Harris, I feel that we are represented by two kind and conscientious individuals.

This was a tough electio…

Happy Thanksgiving and Peace to All

I have been substitute teaching for a few weeks now.  I really miss the opportunity to work with pregnant mothers in New Jersey in an effort to reduce infant mortality.  I have a hearing on my discrimination case coming up and I hope for a positive resolution.  Meanwhile, I am very blessed to have the blood running warm in my veins.  I think about where I could be and I thank the Lord for my blessings.

I was thinking about Henry C. Keith recently.  We lost my Father in Law this year and I will miss the gatherings we used to have at his house.  I was asked to give a few remarks at his Funeral service.  I spoke about the dedication that Michael, Mona and Shawn had towards his needs at the end of his long life.  I used to stay with him after Aunt Joann passed.  He loved a McDonald's Sausage and Egg biscuit in the morning.  He also loved when his family gathered in his room at the Palmer House to celebrate his birthday in late November.  His Family cookouts were the stuff of legends.…

On the Question of Accepting Syrian Refugees: Undecided

The acts of terror in Paris have raised a delicate issue for the plight of the displaced Syrians throughout the world.  They have been chased away by a hard line ideology based on a view of the Quran that is not shared by the majority of Muslims.  This is just an opinion.  I was just listening to a sermon by Reverend Alyn Waller based on the writings of the Apostle Paul.  His interpretation of the Bible reflects his background as the son of a Preacher who grew up in a church family.  He might not have been exposed to the social milieu that has developed the leaders of ISIS.  He preaches from the pulpit of a 15,000 member church.  I cannot imagine one of his members donning a suicide belt to advance the cause of Jesus Christ.

The United States is a country of immigrants.  Anyone who has studied American history can recite the story of the Pilgrims who arrived here as a result of religious persecution in Great Britain.  Native Americans lived here long before the arrival of European se…

Is Waging War on Innocent People the Solution?

Many families are starting life in Paris today minus loved ones who were savagely murdered on Friday night.  Who could have predicted that attending a rock concert featuring an American band would be their last act on this earth.  People were gunned down in restaurants also.  Explosions occurred at a soccer friendly but I don't know if it resulted in any deaths.  The question on many people's minds is why?  It seems like the attackers were linked to ISIS.  How can shooting people with automatic weapons while shouting religious epithets be synonymous?

The usual impression that we have of war involves soldiers fighting on a battlefield.  I was fortunate enough not to live through campaigns where cities were bombed.  There is always collateral damage when nations commit to acts of aggression against each other.  In July of 2014 almost 300 people were killed in the skies over the Ukraine when flight MH-17 was hit by a surface to air missile.  The pro-Russian separatists who commi…

Emprire, Season 2 is Running Out of Steam!

I was a fan of Empire during the first season.  It was edgy and represented an African American cast to the utmost.  Lucius and Cookie started a record business in their garage and it actually hit the open market this year as a publicly traded company.  Last season ended on a whirlwind of activity.  Lucius was jailed for the murder of his cousin Bunky.  Andre's wife killed their Uncle Vernon and his story line played well into the second season.  The schism between Hakeem and Jamal have grown during the second season and will not end well.

Chris Rock made the briefest of cameos this season as a gangster who had been jailed.  While in jail he executed someone who had killed one of his associates in a retribution killing.  He was coming hard after Cookie and tried to get Lucius' blessing to kill her.  Lucius wouldn't do it.  Chris' character, Frank Gathers, was killed forcefully based on Lucius' past acts of goodwill.  One of the results of this close encounter was …

Kathleen Kane's Troubles: Not Sure if the Old Boy's Network can be Blamed!

The Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is facing undaunted challenges as she proceeds in her first term.  She is the first woman and the first Democrat to be elected to the top enforcement agency in the state.  One of her campaign promises was to find out why it took so long for Jerry Sandusky, the convicted child molester, to be investigated.  Her investigation took a long time and showed no improprieties on Governor Wolf's part.  Her term has been filled with highlight reel issues.  She recently was stripped of her law license by the State Supreme Court.  This was a major blow to her ability to lead the Attorney General's office.

I always love people who become the first at anything.  Neil Armstrong was the first man to land on the moon.  Violet Palmer was the first woman to become an NBA referee.  Sandra Day O'Connor was the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court.  It is a distinction that is well earned and preceded by a tremendous amount of har…

Donald Trump; Why Are You So Mad?

The presidential aspirations of Donald Trump are backed by many Republicans who want to see a return to greatness for America.  I am perplexed about where these supporters feel that we are now.  Donald Trump did not have the heart or the ability to run against Barak Obama in any one of his previous successful campaigns.  It was funny when he was lambasted by the President at the White House press corps luncheon.  You could see the steam coming out of the Trumpster's ears.

It was recently reported that Mr. Trump and Dr. Ben Carson might boycott the next Republican debate on October 28th.  This decision is based on the length of the debate.  Well there are still 15 candidates to be the Republican nominee and most should have at least a few minutes to state their case to run our country.  Mr. Trump dominated the time of possession during the first two but Carly Fiorina is hot on his trail.

The one thing that perplexes me is the expression on Mr. Trumps face in most of his pictures. …

Poverty is the #1 Issue Affecting Philadelphians

I recently attended a Mayoral debate at WHYY.  It featured the two candidates from the major parties in the city.  I did not realize that there were five candidates for Mayor until recently.  I appreciate the willingness of candidates to stand up for themselves and the issues on which they build a platform.  Most candidates will promise jobs above any other campaign pledge.  When asked about the opportunities to employ citizens Jim Kenney mentioned jobs on the waterfront as a redeeming factor for the 25% poverty rate affecting us.  Melissa Bailey mentioned the numerous call center jobs that are available.  Where these jobs are located only she knows.

There have been continued efforts made to deepen the ports of Philadelphia to accommodate larger ships.  We have ships that bring in a large number of containers but we cannot compete with Baltimore and New York for this business.  The one problem that I see with this idea is that the jobs at the waterfront are Longshoreman jobs.  The un…