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Showing posts from February, 2008

I Am SWIE And She Is Me

“Don’t you ever get tired?”, I said to BMNB recently while we were out on our weekly grocery run.

“Tired of what?”

“Tired of struggling. No matter how far ahead we get, it seems some new problem always pops up. We’re always struggling, and I don’t feel like we’re getting anywhere. I know I’m tired.”


“No?”, I responded in what almost amounted to horror.

“No,” he replied calmly. Before turning the ignition on, he turned to me. “We are blessed. We are REALLY blessed.” And he started the car.

Funny, I wasn’t really feeling blessed. It was the near the end of the month, and once again I had more month than money. Our bills, unexpected expenses, and the impact of tax decisions not of my making on my own bottom line have been wearing on me for quite a while. I don’t like debt, and the fact that I have more of it than I’m comfortable with, as a result of some stupid decisions I made and some stupid decisions I was subject to, was weighing me down. The more I thought about where I…

We Are The Achievement Gap

I recently read in my local newspaper that a group of African American parents was forming what they called a “parallel school board” to monitor efforts to decrease the achievement gap of African American children in one of the local public schools. Although I applaud their efforts, I think they’re misguided.

I’m about to say something that I think will be highly unpopular in the African American community, but it needs to be said.

We are the achievement gap, not the schools. We don’t value education enough to inculcate educational achievement throughout a child’s home life. Before you can dress down the government for the achievement gap, we have to address what is happening in children’s homes such that they are not achieving.

There. I said it. And here’s why I said it: The government doesn’t have an obligation to educate our children; the government only has an obligation to provide the means by which children can achieve an education. Whether or not a child is achieving and get…

Memo to Hillary: Sit down, shut up, and listen.

When I was a law clerk, one of my co-clerks, a white guy, would occasionally get besides himself and proceed to lecture my judge, an elderly African American man, on a fine point of law. On one occasion, he actually chose one area of law – qualified immunity – about which my judge was not only an expert, having served as a former U.S. Attorney, but an authority, having written the decision in a seminal case on that matter. I sat and watched this smug, self-important guy proceed to lecture someone almost four times his age about the state of the law of qualified immunity. It was like watching someone take a long, slow swan dive into a bonfire. Finally my judge, who had run out of patience (as most eighty year-olds tend to do, since they’re short on time, too), told my colleague: “Boy, sit down, shut up, and listen. You might just learn something.” He then corrected my colleague, who not only had had the temerity to lecture my judge, but had gotten the law wrong, too.

Watching my co-cler…

Say A Prayer for the NIU Fallen

Say a prayer, everyone, for the students and families affected by the tragedy at Northern Illinois University.

I taught law students intermittently from 1990 to 2003, long enough to live through the Columbine, Jonesboro, Pearl, and Santee school shootings. I have to admit – given the high-strung nature of law students, I was starting to get a bit nervous in the classroom over time. As an African American woman professor, I was always being challenged by those who thought I wasn’t qualified to take the podium, and I usually dealt with these challenges by flexing my superior knowledge (a function of time, not necessarily intellect) and reasoning them into submission. I sometimes wondered whether an angry student would try to harm me, so much so that I remarked to my students after one school shooting, “Don’t even think about it. I’m crazy enough to take you out first.”

Not the words one expects to hear from her Property professor. But I was old enough to remember Theodore Streleski.


Happy V Day! And Don't Say The C-Word . . .

Ah, Jane Fonda. Even when she doesn’t mean to, she causes controversy. Gotta love her.

On this morning’s Today Show, Fonda appeared with Eve Ensler to celebrate the tenth anniversary of V Day, a global movement to end violence against women and girls by raising funds and awareness through benefit productions of Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues.” Well, Fonda, in describing her initial reluctance in being involved with “The Vagina Monologues,” recounted that she had been asked to perform a monologue entitled “C-word,” and she declined, saying, “I’ve got enough problems.”

Now, since I live on the Left Coast, the “C-word” reference had been bleeped. Only when doing a Google search on V Day did I come across the controversy. It appears that both Fonda and Meredith Vieira, who had been interviewing Ensler and Fonda, later apologized for the slip.

In the words of Bill Cosby, come on, people. Fonda didn’t drop the C-word with the intention to offend; she was trying to describe. Now folks c…

Say Hello To My Little Friends . . .

Sure, Obama is winning the pledged delegate count – at least for today. Sure, he swept Hillary in the Potomac Primaries. I could gloat and come up with all kinds of Obama-based words – Obamaudacity, Obamalicious, etc.

But there’s a storm cloud on the horizon that Obama, Hillary, McCain and Huckabee can’t stop.

We’re most definitely headed toward a recession. No one can predict for how long, but even the most grudgingly bullish economists agree that a recession is all but inevitable.

So, in the interest of helping everyone make it through the recession, I’d like to introduce you to a few of my friends. You’ve heard of “FOB’s” – Friends of Bill. I’m sure there are probably “FOO’s” – Friend of Obama. Perhaps the people who oppose Obama are FOO Fighters (pun irresistible). My friends are FOMW’s – Friends of My Wallet. They help me keep household costs down and have kept me afloat in lean times. They include:

1. Winco Foods. God love ‘em. Anybody who makes less than $100K a year an…

Hotter Than Fish Grease, Part II: Seating the Florida and Michigan Democratic Delegates and a Brokered Convention

I understand that there may be an effort by or on behalf of the Clinton campaign to have the delegates from Florida and Michigan seated at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. This is despite the fact that the DNC ruled that they wouldn't seat these delegates because those states moved their primaries up in contravention of DNC rules. Despite the fact that, in agreement with the DNC, both Obama and Clinton agreed not to campaign in those states.

But Hillary won Florida, so I guess she and/or her advisors want to change the rules.

I also hear that DNC Chair Howard Dean doesn't want a contentious convention and is urging a "brokered" convention in the event that Obama's and Clinton's delegate counts are too close for comfort.

Here I am, once again, hotter than fish grease with my own party.

First, I don't think the DNC should support any effort to change the primary rules mid-stream. If the Michigan and Florida delegates are to be seated, they should o…

I'll Take That Second Place Showing

Okay, so Obama didn't win California. But he did well enough to stay competitive, so I'll take that second place showing, thank you very much.

But he did win states with significant numbers of African American voters, and he pretty much had the African American voted locked up in those states.

He even won Idaho -- WTF?

Which leads me to ask: Where did Hillary go wrong with the African American vote she pretty much had locked up six months ago?

Answer: Bill. In South Carolina.

And I don't think there are enough African American super-delegates to make up the loss. It seems like, just as Kennedy endorsements didn't do much for Obama in Massachusetts, African American politician endorsements aren't doing much for Hillary in the South. Except for Tennessee and Arkansas, which may not have the same number of African American voters as South Carolina, Alabama, and Georgia. Perhaps the tide will change for her in Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Maryland, and DC.

But I wouldn…

Feeling Obamalicious

Yep, today is Super Tuesday – or rather, Super Duper Tuesday or Fat Tuesday if you’re in New Orleans or Mobile – and I’m feeling Obamalicious.

Yep, even in California, I like Obama’s chances. He doesn’t have to win all of the Latino vote – just pick off enough and continue to do as well with independents and black voters such that there will still be a Democratic primary to speak of after today.

I’ve got my Obama lawn sign up – no one stole it yet – and I’m still reeling from the unprecedented turnout of African American women who made up thirty-five percent of the voters in the South Carolina Democratic primary, where eighty-one percent of the black vote went to Obama.

And I’m still in awe of the Obamaudacity of the young voters who continue to turn out, do phone banking, and make their hope tangible. I applaud you. You’re the reason why I decided to support Obama in the first place.

As I discussed with BMNB, I don’t think Hillary gets how her words and actions play out. This is the…