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Showing posts from June, 2010

Attacking Thurgood Marshall: Not On My Watch

So . . . .the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are at such a disadvantage in Solicitor Kagan’s confirmation hearings that they have to go after a dead justice? And not just any justice, but Justice Thurgood Marshall?

Branding Justice Marshall as an “activist” whose judicial philosophy was “out of the mainstream” leads me to wonder: Since when did equality under the law become synonymous with being “activist” and “out of the mainstream?” Aren’t the words “Equal Justice Under Law” etched in the fa├žade of the U.S. Supreme Court building? Am I missing something here?

If you want to brand Thurgood Marshall an “activist,” he should be considered to have been a “constitutional activist” – someone willing to ensure the Constitution lived up to the principles the Founding Fathers said it embodied (even if many of them were slave owners who did not live up to those principles themselves) and make it apply to everyone, regardless of race. Justice Marshall was willing to put his life o…

Screwin' The Pooch . . . On The Cover Of The Rolling Stone

Wanna see my picture on the cover
Gonna buy five copies for my mother!
Wanna see my smilin' face
On the cover of the Rolling Stone . . .

- with apologies to Dr. Hook

Okay, I'll be the first to admit it: I enjoyed watching General Stanley McChrystal get fired. In the parlance of our nation's military, he "screwed the pooch." Big time. On the cover of the Rolling Stone, no less.

But I didn't enjoy watching him get b-slapped for the heck of it. No, it was a kind of vicarious joy for every time I was underestimated because of my race and unable to respond. Most African Americans of my generation who have achieved some modicum of responsibility or success in the workplace have at one time had their abilities questioned or underestimated for reasons unrelated to performance. Many times, people of other races have pegged us as unqualified affirmative action beneficiaries no matter how stellar our credentials or past accomplishments. The only weapon at our disposal…

Summer Is My Favorite Time Of Year

Summer is my favorite time of year, perhaps because I associate it with long-ago summers of my childhood when my days were filled with getting up, doing my chores, and having the rest of the day to do whatever I wanted. I would not have made it in a year-round school. I would have bristled against what I would have perceived as a loss of my personal freedom, a civil rights violation perhaps, even as a child.

That said, like many people, I have a tendency to let summer get by me without really enjoying it. I don’t make plans and, with the California state government furloughs extended until the end of the year and no state budget in sight, I’m reluctant to spend money since the Governor is threatening not to pay me and other exempt employees next month if there’s no budget in place by the new fiscal year.

But why should I let a flat-assed guy with ugly teeth and a bad self-tan ruin my summer?

So here are my summer plans for a good summer on the cheap:

*Read good books, mostly from the l…

The Sound of Oakland, the Antidote to Bieber

People don't often think that Oakland has a distinct musical sound like Detroit (Motown), Philadelphia (The Sound of Philadelphia Records, Gamble & Huff), Mississippi (Malaco Records), and Memphis (Stax Records, Otis Redding, Al Green). But it does. Problem is, when people ask me what that sound is, I often have trouble describing it off the top of my head with one group. It really is a melange of things -- a tight horn section (Tower of Power), a jazzy smooth vibe (Ledisi and Goapele), the relaxed delivery of one rapper (Too Short), the comic delivery of a small group of others (Digital Underground), the throaty delivery of a tough chick who's been through some stuff (Keyshia Cole). It is all these things

In other words, it's Tony!Toni!Tone!.

I had the pleasure of hearing the Tonys, sans Raphael Saadiq, last week in Sacramento. I was thinking I wouldn't like them as much since Saadiq left the group, but lo and behold, Amar Khalil, their new front man who sings just …