Former DC Mayor Marion Barry Dead

Controversial DC Mayor Marion Barry has passed away…

To a lot of the residents of the DC area, Barry represented both some of the best of the area, and some of the worst.

Former NFL Player Now Farms for Charity

After my last post on idiots behaving badly on a NYC Subway, it’s easy to lose faith.

Then there is this inspiring story.

Why a star football player traded NFL career for a tractor

LOUISBURG, N.C. - At one point number 60, Jason Brown, was one of the best centers in the NFL.

At one point he had a five-year, $37 million contract with the St. Louis Rams.

And at one point he decided it was all meaningless – and just walked away from football.

“My agent told me, ‘You’re making the biggest mistake of your life,'” said Brown. “And I looked right back at him and I said, ‘No I’m not. No I’m not.'”

So what could possibly trump the NFL?

You wouldn’t believe.

Jason Brown quit football to be a plain, old farmer — even though he’d never farmed a day a in his life.

Asked how he learned to even know what to do, Brown said:

“Get on the Internet. Watch Youtube videos.”

He learned how to farm from Youtube.

Thanks to Youtube and some good advice from other farmers here in Louisburg, N.C., this week Jason finished harvesting his first, a five-acre plot of sweet potatoes.

“When you see them pop up out of the ground, man, it’s the most beautiful thing you could ever see,” said Brown. He said he has never felt more successful.

“Not in man’s standards,” said Brown. “But in God’s eyes.”

But God cares about the NFL, right? There are people praying to him on the field all the time.

“Yeah, there’s a lot of people praying out there,” said Brown. “But, when I think about a life of greatness, I think about a life of service.”

See, his plan for this farm, which he calls “First Fruits Farm,” is to donate the first fruits of every harvest to food pantries. Today it’s all five acres–100,000 pounds–of sweet potatoes.

“It’s unusual for a grower to grow a crop just to give away,” said Rebecca Page, who organizes food collection for the needy. “And that’s what Jason has done. And he’s planning to do more next year.”

Brown has 1,000 acres here, which could go a long way toward eliminating hunger in this neck of North Carolina.

“Love is the most wonderful currency that you can give anyone,” said Brown.

“Are you sure you played in the NFL?” I asked.

“Yes.”

“Because I feel like cuddling you right now.”

“Don’t do that!” he said.

Brown may have left the NFL, but apparently holding is still a penalty.

Belafonte’s Moving Oscar Speech

Belafonte has been around a long long time…Nice that the Oscars are clearing up some past oversights.

This is a very powerful speech.

Cornel West…And President Obama

Cornel West certainly has a problem with President Obama – and this isn’t the first time it has come out. The last time his criticisms were so ill formed and logic so convoluted he got his head handed to him.

Well…Maybe Dr West has learned something, although it must have been a tremendous blow to his over-sized ego to do so.

This is actually a pretty reasonable critique of Obama’s Presidency sans a few things I will discuss below.

Cornel West’s 8 Most Eye-Opening Critiques of Barack Obama’s Presidency

Very few progressive voices articulate more vitriol and uncompromising disdain for President Barack Obama than Cornel West. During Obama’s six years in the White House, West has critiqued every layer of the president’s policies, from his use of drones in the Middle East to what he feels is the president’s cozy relationship with Wall Street.

In 2011, West wrote in the New York Times that Obama has fallen short of epitomizing Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream.

“The age of Obama has fallen tragically short of fulfilling King’s prophetic legacy,” he wrote. “Instead of articulating a radical democratic vision and fighting for homeowners, workers and poor people in the form of mortgage relief, jobs and investment in education, infrastructure and housing, the administration gave us bailouts for banks, record profits for Wall Street and giant budget cuts on the backs of the vulnerable.”

West’s commentary is a breath of fresh air for some who feel they’d be blacklisted in liberal circles for criticizing the president, while others see his remarks as coming from a space of personal bitterness. Regardless of where you stand on West’s opinions, his remarks are always worthy of further inspection.  In an excerpt from his new bookBlack Prophetic Fire, West outlines why he believes Obama has turned his back on the black philosophical traditions that put him in the White House. Here are eight of the most insightful quotes.

1. African Americans Have Done Worse Under Obama

“The great irony of our time is that in the age of Obama the grand black prophetic tradition is weak and feeble. Obama’s black face of the American empire has made it more difficult for black courageous and radical voices to bring critique to bear on the U.S. empire. On the empirical or lived level of black experience, black people have suffered more in this age than in the recent past. Empirical indices of infant mortality rates, mass incarceration rates, mass unemployment and dramatic declines in household wealth reveal this sad reality.”

2. Leadership In The African-American Community Has Weakened

“First, there is the shift of black leadership from the voices of social movements to those of elected officials in the mainstream political system. This shift produces voices that are rarely if ever critical of this system. How could we expect the black caretakers and gatekeepers of the system to be critical of it?”

3. Upward Mobility Is The Worst In The Modern World

“Second, this neoliberal shift produces a culture of raw ambition and instant success that is seductive to most potential leaders and intellectuals, thereby incorporating them into the neoliberal regime. This culture of superficial spectacle and hyper-visible celebrities highlights the legitimacy of an unjust system that prides itself on upward mobility of the downtrodden. Yet, the truth is that we live in a country that has the least upward mobility of any other modern nation!”

4. Leaders Who Challenge the Statue Quo Are Silenced

“Third, the U.S. neoliberal regime contains a vicious repressive apparatus that targets those strong and sacrificial leaders, activists, and prophetic intellectuals who are easily discredited, delegitimated, or even assassinated, including through character assassination. Character assassination becomes systemic and chronic, and it is preferable to literal assassination because dead martyrs tend to command the attention of the sleepwalking masses and thereby elevate the threat to the status quo.”

5. Mass Media Ignores Voices That Take on Issues Such as Use of Drones and War Crimes

“The central role of mass media, especially a corporate media beholden to the U.S. neoliberal regime, is to keep public discourse narrow and deodorized. By ‘narrow’ I mean confining the conversation to conservative Republican and neoliberal Democrats who shut out prophetic voices or radical visions. This fundamental power to define the political terrain and categories attempts to render prophetic voices invisible. The discourse is deodorized because the issues that prophetic voices highlight, such as mass incarceration, wealth inequality, and war crimes such as imperial drones murdering innocent people, are ignored.”

6. Obama Doesn’t Really Care About Protecting Working People

“The state of black America in the age of Obama has been one of desperation, confusion, and capitulation. The desperation is rooted in the escalating suffering on every front. The confusion arises from a conflation of symbol and substance. The capitulation rests on an obsessive need to protect the first black president against all forms of criticism. Black desperation is part of a broader desperation among poor and working people during the age of Obama. The bailout of Wall Street by the Obama administration, rather than the bailout of homeowners, hurt millions of working people.”

7. First Lady Michelle Obama Legitimizes Obama’s “Symbolic Status”

“Needless to say, the presence of his brilliant and charismatic wife, Michelle—a descendent of enslaved and Jim-Crowed people, unlike himself—even more deeply legitimizes his symbolic status, a status that easily substitutes for substantial achievement.”

8. To Be Successful and Black, One Must Turn His Back on the Poor

“To be a highly successful black professional or politician is too often to be well adjusted to injustice and well adapted to indifference toward poor people, including black poor people. The black prophetic tradition is fundamentally committed to the priority of poor and working people, thus pitting it against the neoliberal regime, capitalist system, and imperial policies of the U.S. government.”

Toward the end of the book, West writes how modern black leadership has abandoned the traditions that have helped position it and President Obama. “What does it profit a people for a symbolic figure to gain presidential power if we turn our backs from the suffering of poor and working people, and thereby lose our souls?” he writes. “The black prophetic tradition has tried to redeem the soul of our fragile democratic experiment. Is it redeemable?”

With all that said, I have to disagree with West in two areas. The first is his concept of “Prophetic” leaders. The time is long past for that. The Black Community is no longer powerless under the boot heel of Jim Crow, and group organizations like Color of Change, which find and their strategy and ideas from essentially crowd funding the ideas of the group are far more effective than the Big Man on the podium Dr West so desperately seeks to be. No Big Man – the entire strategy of suppression through attacking an individual become naught.

Second is his use of the term neo-liberal, and assigning it’s anchor to one political group. We are in the post Raygun era of neo-liberal destruction of the country’s basic beliefs and foundations (including the destruction of the Middle Class) – but that neo-liberalism and destruction isn’t being wrought by one party – both are guilty.

And picking on Michelle…

Will get you Pimp Slapped.

I’m putting this one under Giant Negroes.

Oprah Interviews Rev. Al Sharpton – “Angry Black Man”

The Reverend Al, on the source of his pain and anger…

Interestingly enough the source was not race based.

 

Chris Rock on Life and Race

Chris Rock comes up with an interesting viewpoint…

Daring Rescue By Family in Louisiana Kidnapping

In one of those rare instances where things actually work out, members of a kidnapped woman’s family were able to save her life, after efforts by the police failed.

This one also goes under “benefits of a big family”, as over 20 of Bethany Arceneaux’s relatives joined in the search to find her after she disappeared, and kept looking after Police had given up for the day.

A bloodied and battered Bethany Arceneaux is carried from the car to the hospital by her cousin Marceus Arceneaux. Police have withheld the name of the Cousin who rescued her from her kidnapper apparently seconds before he killed her.

Kidnapped woman rescued by cousin in Louisiana, police said

A woman who had been kidnapped two days earlier was found Friday with multiple stab wounds inside an abandoned house in Louisiana — and freed by family members in a daring operation, police said.

The man who allegedly held her hostage for 30 hours in a vacant home in Duson, La., was shot and killed by the woman’s cousin as he rescued her, police said.

Authorities of the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office had been searching for Bethany Arceneaux, 29, since late Wednesday, after her car was found abandoned outside her child’s day care center, Capt. Kip Judice told NBC News.

Judice said police believed Scott Thomas, 29, the father of Arceneaux’s son, was the abductor. The two had domestic troubles, and Arceneaux had a restraining order against Thomas, Judice added.

The woman’s family decided to look for Arceneaux themselves. On Friday, about 20 relatives formed a search party and began to search on foot, Judice said.

Arceneaux’s cousin heard cries coming from an abandoned home in a sugar field about 10 miles from where the woman was last seen.

Armed with a gun, the man forced his way into the home. As the cousin made his way through the house, Thomas allegedly stabbed Arceneaux several times. The cousin then fired several shots at Thomas and then fled with Arceneaux, Judice said.

The woman confirmed to authorities that her cousin shot Thomas as Thomas was stabbing her.

Arceneaux is undergoing treatment at the Lafayette General Medical Center and is in good condition, Judice said.

Police found Thomas dead in the vacant home. He had allegedly held Arceneaux at knifepoint for 30 hours before she was rescued, Judice added.

Arceneaux’s cousin is not in police custody and has not been charged with a crime. He is cooperating with authorities, Judice said.

Under Louisiana law, a justifiable homicide statute allows an individual to defend himself as well as others he feels are in danger, which includes great bodily harm or death, police said.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 169 other followers