Friday, September 09, 2005


I want to note first that Elaine has started her site and it's called Like Maria Said Paz. This is my first time online since I learned she'd started her own site so I'll add her to the blogroll tonight.

Wednesdays are really church nights for me and it's pretty much impossible for me to blog most Wednesday nights. But Elaine and I were talking and she said that since she's not blogging every day, she'd be happy to grab Wednesdays. So on Wendesdays, you can always expect something new at Like Maria Said Paz.

That really is a relief for me because I'm not sure what this site is going to be like. And I did feel like I would be letting people down more than lifting them up. Elaine's last Friday blogging, I had called her after I read her kind words to everyone. I knew she was thinking about doing a site (but I didn't know she decided until I read Mike's interview) and we were talking again about blogging and how I believe in Kat's attitude: write when you have something to say. But how I also feel bad about knowing that on hump day each week, it's unlikely I'll ever have anything to say. So when she offered to grab Wednesdays, it really was a relief.

And I want to tell her and the community that she need to just blog when she has the time. I love C.I. and The Common Ills but C.I.'s always posting. Several times a day. Then you have Rebecca and Mike who do it Monday through Friday each day. Then you have The Third Estate Sunday Review that only blogs once a week but it's mulitple things each week. Poor Betty's trying to like crazy to do her novel twice each week. That's what Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man is, a novel. She's got to be creative and think of things that other people don't have to worry about. She puts in a lot of work on her site. Then there's Kat and now me just writing when we have the time and something to say. And I hope everyone will understand that Elaine's got a lot going on in her life and a demanding job (she's a psychologist).

So if you find yourself thinking, I wish she'd write more, realize that's a good thing. Better to want more of Elaine. I love the look of her site and I love her stuff.

Now about my homey Mike. Next Wendesday, he'll have an interview with me at his site Mikey Likes It! We're going to do that on Tuesday because I won't have time on Wednesday but that's just to make sure everyone knows.

Mike is crazy in the best sense of the word. He's like this ball of energy. He's always tossing things around in his head and he's just an amazing man.

My neighbors think I'm a dope head because of Mike. I'm not joking. Last week, we all worked on a roundtable at The Third Estate Sunday Review and it got lost and didn't post. But one thing that happened in it was Mike wanted everyone to think of one thing we could each do for the environment. I recycle and a lot more so I didn't think there was anything more I could do which shows you how stupid and complacent I can be. But Mike said finally, "What about air freshners? You use air freshners?"

Course I do. I don't want to be fouling up the crib. So Mike's talking about how the can itself isn't reused and how the spray is bad . . . I said, "I'm not letting my place get stinky." I'm good about a lot of things except carrying the trash out nightly. There's at least one night a week, usually Wednesday, when I'm just too tired to bother. I'll come in the next evening after work and with the trash sitting in the trash can and the air conditioner off all day and the whole place just baking, it will smell awful and I always reach for the can of air freshner.

So people started tossing out ideas and one idea was pou porri. I don't like that stuff. I have an aunt who put some out three years ago and the same stuff is still out. It's dried out and I don't like the smell from it. So then someone suggested scented candals. Then Mike said incense and Kat had a long list of fragrances I might like.

Incense is really big at Mike's house and that was interesting to me because to me it's always just been something people use to cover the smell of drugs. But for Mike, who's Catholic, it can also remind him of his faith. I've never been to a Catholic church and Mike and Kat were telling me about all the rituals involved in Christmas Mass.

Too late to type "long story short." But I bought some, and sniffed the box like Kat suggested to make sure I'd like the smell, and so on Thursday I come home and there's the smell. I was tired because I visited the guys at the nursing home but I took the trash out right away. Smell was still there so I lit a stick of incense and burned it and it really seemed to wipe out the smell. Ever since, I've been lighting sticks like crazy.

Got an e-mail from Blue and he told me he loved the new look here and that he thought it was awesome that I linked to The Chicago Defender. I agree that The Defender is an excellent paper but I need to give credit where it's due because I'd never heard of it until C.I. linked to it at The Common Ills during the John H. Johnson thing where the mainstream was acting like it was no big deal that Johnson died. Since then, it's been noted at least once a week, usually more, at The Common Ills and C.I. put it on the blog roll over there. It's independent media and it's Afro-centric so I wanted to note it too. I've learned a lot of resources thanks to The Common Ills so I wanted to back up that attitude by noting some here. I hope people will check it out but, if they don't, if they just know it's out there, I think that's cool. In June, I didn't even know there was a weekly black newspaper in Chicago. Now I find myself visiting it and I think they've done a really great job with their coverage of the hurricane. I also think that they present a strong African-American voice and that we need those.

I don't mean Bill Cosby who I found kind of offensive. It seemed to me and a lot of my friends like he was trying to score on the backs of blacks, trying to score with white people. The Chicago Defender seems to have common sense as well as a strong sense of purpose. And we need to know about the resources we have out there. Starting today, I'm going to try to link to something from the paper every week. Today I want to suggest that you read Jesse Washington's "Katrina Inspires Unprecedented Outpouring Of Aid In Black America" which is an important story about how African-Americans are digging deep to help out the victims of Hurricane Katrina and the Bully Boy.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Sojourner Truth

Is anyone else having problems with the stream from KPFK? I saw Ruth's heads up at The Common Ills and made a point to be by the computer for Sojourner Truth. It's a really strong look like she said it would be but I'm falling on and off so missing about a third of it.

Stream hasn't busted up yet again on this part and the issue of the coverage from Mississippi is being addressed. The corporate media is portraying mississippi as something that happened to white people. The man speaking is talking about the "racism of the situation" missing out the large number of African-Americans being effected. Margaret Prescod just asked "Where are the black people?" and that's a question we need to be asking.

If you want to help the communities that have been destroyed, this is a charity that was given out:

The People's Hurrican Fund
383 Rhode Island Street
Suite 301
San Francisco, CA 94103

In Greenville, Mississippi there is a fund as well:

Southern Relief Fund
P.O. Box 1223
Greenville, Mississippi 38702-1223

You can also go to Quality Education as a Civil Right and find out more information.

Margaret Prescod asked "What now will happen to the black community?" In New Orleans, what will happen to property and land? She's talking about how there's almost an encouragement for them not to come back. That's been a worry of mine since Dr. Beverly Harris raised the issue on Democracy Now! (and props to Betty for mentioning that report in her editorial in "The Third Estate Sunday Review News Review").

The port of New Orleans does about a 1/4 of the shipping in the United States and so one of the guests feels it will be up and running within three weeks. The other parts of New Orleans aren't as pressing to our country. This is a hard hitting discussion and if you're missing it, you're really missing out on something.

As an African-American male, I've gotten used to hearing pieces discussed, pieces of this issue, and I give a big, hearty round of applause to broadcasters like Tom Joyner who don't shy from these topics. But Tom Joyner can only do so much in a morning show that's a blend of so many topics. Margaret Prescod's show was really amazing to listen to. There was information, like about the port handling a quarter of the shipping, that I didn't know. But what stood out the most was hearing a conversation or a discussion on the radio that sounded like something I recognized. These are the kind of conversations I take part in and I see going on around me.

But I don't hear them in the corporate media. C.I.'s talked about how The Common Ills is a "resource/review" often enough and how it is about us finding voices that speak to us and realizing that we are not alone and that there are people out there who think like we do and feel the same we do. I didn't realize how marginalized I felt by the corporate media until I listened to Sojourner Truth just now. My questions, my anger, my rage, my pain was out there floating across the internet. It was really empowering, so much so, that I was almost shaking at parts of the show. (And now that it's off, I'm having no problem hearing the program after.) I can talk like this and be around people talking like this in my family, with my friends and at my church.
But in terms of the corporate media, the most I'm ever getting of this perspective is a slice or sliver.

This really fed me, validated me and made me think. I was wondering, when I read Ruth's heads up, what it was that made her want to give the heads up. I'm guessing this morning, Sojourner Truth was just as powerful. I was already glad that Ruth was going beyond NPR for her Ruth's Morning Edition Report because I'm not that big on NPR. The voices are too smooth, and too white, and the topics are too smooth, and too white. I can listen in a sort of eat my vegetables way. I get some information that's pretty standard but maybe better than what I'd get from CNN. But I don't hear my perspective on that public radio network.

Morning Edition irritates the hell out of me with all the banter from Biff & Skipper. (That's Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne.) They never telegraph that I'm not included more than when they're chuckling with each other.

Public radio doesn't start and stop with NPR and I'm glad about that and glad that Ruth's covering more than NPR. I'm glad too that she caught Sojourner Truth this morning and gave the community a heads up. C.I. always says the community is only as strong as members make it and, man, did that get proven today.

I got fed today and heard voices and a discussion that spoke to me. I know from working with The Third Estate Sunday Review that C.I.'s the first to self-criticize and self-trash so I want to say that The Common Ills more than lived up to its stated purpose for this member this evening.

Monday, September 05, 2005

New site

I've moved Cedric's Big Mix. There are two main reasons for that.

1) I go visit some guys, some great guys, in a nursing home at least twice a week. Ii'd print up stuff that all of us in The Common Ills community did. And Vern, who just passed away, had told me that he really liked my stuff but he hated the way my site looked. He said maybe it looked different onscreen than on paper. But for Vern, I'm switching.

2) I tried to put links in my posts to make sure people knew where to go for Common Ills
community members but Mike explained to me that in terms of the things that measure online, those links didn't seem to count. One of the reasons I started this Big Mix was because I've gotten a lot from this community and I want to give back. Now I've got them all linked on the side of my site and you can go there or not but it's there and should count by the mechanical gods that measure that nonsense.

I'm leaving the other site up for now at least but I am putting new entries up here.

Until I started this entry, C.I. of The Common Ills was on the phone with me and big thanks for that because I don't know what to do with this blogging program. And thanks to Mike of Mikey Likes It! for advising me to have some links planned so I wasn't sitting there with C.I. on the phone trying to figure out what to link to.

I'll add other links at some point. Any Common Ills community member that starts a site can e-mail me at and I'll put you on my blog roll.

What about me? I know the community members with sites will link to me other than that, hey I'm an African-American blogger in a white, white net world, I ain't expecting much. I've noticed, for instance, that Betty of Thomas Friedman Is A Great Man busts her butt on her stuff and it is amazing but she's not linked to outside the community with one or two exceptions. You got a lot of white kids who like play with white kids. I ain't looking to be bussed in.

Think it has nothing to do with racism or sexism then go read Betty's stuff. And her entire topic is Thomas Friedman who the left loves to criticize but somehow they just can't give it up for Betty and say, "Hey, here's a link."

It's an inbred, tight circle and they all do the reach around to stroke each other off. That goes for a certain blogger who I'll leave nameless out of respect for C.I., but Mike, Elaine and I have had it with her peeing all over the left. She just loves to be linked to but she's not giving it up for others. Elaine, while she was substituting for Rebecca at Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, took her and others off Rebecca's blog roll. I think that was so cool. Rebecca will stand up for anyone. And her thanks just wasn't forth coming.

The Common Ills is the flagship of the community and C.I. doesn't have to worry about links because we're such a huge community that grows all the time. (Check out the profile views on the site if you don't believe it.) And, like Kat says, we'll do just fine with just the community members who like our stuff checking out our sites. But I still don't think it's right that Betty's ignored or Rebecca.

As for me, I don't have time for the echo chamber so it ain't going to make my eyes water when this site is ignored outside the community.

I'll be linking to some magazines when I have time but I hate going into the template already. I'd heard about that from the gang at The Third Estate Sunday Review especially and it is a pain. In my entries, I'll always try to link to the community and to Democracy Now! but otherwise, you might just have to go to the blog roll because I'm learning this program as I go along. When the UK Computer Gurus get back from vacation, I'll be pestering them like crazy.

If you're new to me, let me start by saying I'm like Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills). We both blog when we have something to say. If I don't have anything to say, my Mama always taught me to shut my mouth.

I like music and I like to talk about stuff that's happening. This Mix is supposed to be just that with stuff I find that I want to highlight (mainly from the community). I'm not sure how that will go because everyone's told me that when you copy and paste in this program you have a lot of work to do with spacing and stuff. At the old site, I just copied with the mouse, took it over to the site and pasted it and everything was just like it was from the site I was copying.

So if you want to hang, feel free. If you don't, that's cool. But Vern told me to speak my anger and as I get back to blogging I'm going to do that. There's a lot to be angry about these days and I won't put any lipstick on the pig here.

Check out The Third Estate Sunday Review's "Editorial: Let's Play Politics" if you're curious about the sort of thing I'm hoping to do here.