Friday, February 24, 2006

Coretta Scott King

Following Malcolm's assassination, King wired Betty Shabazz, expressing his sadness over "the shocking and tragic assassination of your husband. While we did not always see eye to eye on methods to solve the race problem, I always had a deep affection for Malcolm and felt that he had a great ability to put his finger on the existence and the root of the problem. He was an eloquent spokesman for his point of view and no one can honestly doubt that Malcolm had a great concern for the problems we face as a race."
Knowing these facts today, we need to stop viewing Martin and Malcolm as adversaries, between whom we have to choose, and recognize them as allies who complemented one another and who understood that revolutionary leaders need to keep developing.

I wasn't planning on blogging tonight but I saw the link to Grace Lee Boggs' "Malcolm and Martin: Allies, not adversaries" at The Common Ills a little while ago. She's someone that Liang introduced the community to. Liang's a really sweet person so whenever I see that she highlighted something or when someone highlights Grace Lee Boggs, I always pay attention.

I went to the article at the Michigan Citizen and found something on Coretta Scott King that I wanted to put up here.

George E. Curry has a column called "Tarnishing the King Legacy" and I'm going to show it to Three Cool Old Guys. If you get the gina & krista round-robin, you know they were bothered by Coretta Scott King's funeral. Not by the nonsense of "it's too political!" They felt it wasn't political enough and Curry's got some similar points.

Here's some of Curry's column:

Despite their varied contributions to the civil rights movement, none of the aforementioned was allowed to speak at the funeral. Belafonte had been invited but the invitation was withdrawn when Bush decided to attend the funeral. In January, Belafonte called Bush "the greatest terrorist in the world" and equated the Department of Homeland Security with Hitler's Gestapo. Evidently, the funeral organizers were more interested in not offending Bush than recognizing the person who had actually supported Dr. King and his work.
Of the 30 speakers who were neither relatives nor participating in musical tributes, only five or six marched regularly with Dr. King. Even more insulting, William Session, a former FBI director, was given time on the program, even though the FBI, under J. Edgar Hoover, actively sought to discredit Dr. King, taping his private conversations and urging him to commit suicide.

Another thing worth checking out is Phill Wilson's "Coretta Scott King was sensitive to gays and lesbians:"

After her husband's assassination, Mrs. King picked up the pieces, gathered her children to her bosom and assured us that we would get by. And like a good mother, she never played favorites. She was committed to including all of us -- the civil rights one, the peace one, the labor one, the gay and lesbian one, and eventually the HIV/AIDS one. While there were some old guard civil rights leaders who thought "justice" meant "just us," Mrs. King never wavered. When the traditional "civil rights" house defined by the narrow paradigm of racial discrimination became too small, she moved us to a new "human rights" house big enough for all of us.
In 1990, when her son, Martin Luther King III, made disparaging remarks about gay and lesbian people, Mrs. King hosted a Black gay and lesbian summit at the King center. She was also one of the first Black leaders to speak out about HIV/AIDS and the need for Black people to pay attention.
"AIDS is a human crisis, no matter where you live," she said while addressing a gathering of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. "Anyone who sincerely cares about the future of Black America had better be speaking out about AIDS, calling for preventive measures and increased funding for research and treatment."

Coretta Scott King stood up over and over. She was concerned with the humanity landscape and she helped all of us, regardless of color, gender, orientation.

So go check out The Michigan Citizen. They've got a lot worth reading (and a lot worth thinking about).

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Move on when you need to

It's Thursday and Elaine can't blog on Thursday (she runs a group on Thursdays) so I grab Thursdays for her and she grabs Wednesdays (church night) for me. If you've never checked out her site, Like Maria Said Paz, please do so. I got matched with her, Eli, Kara and Brad by C.I. early on when I became a member of The Common Ills. We'd exchange e-mails and it was obvious she should be doing her own site. (So should Eli, Kara and Brad.) When she was filling in for Rebecca this summer while Rebecca was on vacation, she started helping out with The Third Estate Sunday Review and she's really sharp so maybe you know her from there? But check out her site: Like Maria Said Paz.

"How dare they try to end this beauty."

So what's the plan for tonight? An e-mail I wanted to get to awhile back but didn't have time (that'll be on my tombstone: "Didn't have time"). Iwanna e-mailed about her church back then and was kind enough to e-mail again this week or I would've forgotten.

She's got a beef and I'll quote her: "So it's not just donate to the plate that's passed around, we also have a Praise Bucket and they just added another one. I keep waiting to see the Car Note Bucket."

She's got a few beefs actually. She says she goes to church for the message and doesn't know "why we have to cluck like hens for 20 minutes at the start of every service while we're 'getting our praise on.'" Another complaint is that her preacher is always requesting, at the end of the service, that everyone go up to someone and hug. Iwanna goes to church with her adult son and her father and she's fine with hugging them "if I have to hug" but she's getting "real tired" of people coming up to her asking for a hug.

She also told me I could share this story. A year ago, there was a disagreement between two women in the choir at her church during choir practice. The first one wanted the solo and the second one said, "You always get the solo!" When the first one didn't back down, the second one cursed her and said, "I'm going out to my car and getting my gun!" The choir had to hold her back (while she was screaming, "Let me go! Let me go!") and Iwanna told her son they were leaving because it was getting crazy.

She has a ton of stories like that and I'm only sharing the ones she gave me permission to. But she's tired of this church. It was her late mother's church so she's continued to going.

But here's my advice, if your church isn't nourishing you and you've given it time, it's time for a change. I think a church is a long term thing and I expect that there will be bumps and all like any long term relationship. But if it stops working and it gets so bad that, like Iwanna, "all I want to do is go in, hear the sermon, and get out to my car" then it's probably time to consider another church.

When it stops speaking to you, and it continues to not speak to you, you need to move on. I hope that doesn't ever happen with me because I love my church but it does happen and when it does you just need to find another house of the Lord to worship in. That's not saying you failed or the church failed, just that you started out together but ended up taking different paths.

Though I put off writing about this here because I didn't have time, I did tell Iwanna that in an e-mail when she first wrote. Maybe seeing it up here will convince her that I mean it?

If your church isn't working for you, find one that does. I think most preachers or pastors would tell you the same thing -- not in a "get out" kind of way but because the message is more important than one church. Like I said, I hope that day never comes for me because my church means a lot to me and, even if that stopped being the case, I would still have a lot of memories tied up with it. I think that's why Iwanna's reluctant to make the break. But when you're miserable and it goes on and on for years, it's time to find a new house of worship.

Might even mean it was time to take a break and spend some time with yourself. But with Iwanna, she seems to just need to hear that it's okay to switch churches. Her aunt's goes to one that Iwanna's really curious about and she should check it out. Same goes for anyone.

The alternative is to just go through the motions and hate it and that does no one a favor. Doesn't do the congregation a favor, doesn't do your preacher a favor and it doesn't do you a favor.

So we've taken care of old business. Now I want to note something from Democracy Now! because Elaine always does:

Rumsfeld Backtracks on Iraq News Planting Denial
In other news, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has reversed his claim that the Pentagon has stopped planting news stories in the Iraqi media. Rumsfeld had made the claim on two separate occasions Friday. But on Tuesday, Rumsfeld said: "I don't have knowledge as to whether it's been stopped. I do have knowledge it was put under review. I was correctly informed. And I just misstated the facts."

Did you hear about that? Because you should have. This is typical for the administration. They act like a child cornered when caught in a lie -- they just create a new lie to get them out of hot water. To get everyone to back off, they lie and say something's stopped. Then, when things aren't being followed as closely, they turn around and retract their lie while claiming they thought that then.

"I just misstated the facts"? Weasel words for "I lied."

For an administration that can't stop invoking Jesus' name, they don't seem very familiar with the basics of the Bible, do they?

But that's often how it is. The people who make a spectacle of their faith are usually the least likely to actually practice it.

If you think about it, the very fact that they have to make a show of it usually means that they're trying to prove something. Now why does anyone have to prove anything? It's not a competition.

I really wish that politicians would invoke the Constitution more than they do the Lord. I don't look at politicians as the spiritual cheerleaders of the nation. When I hear Bully Boy go on and on about how God stopped his drinking and how God did this or did that, I think, "Well why didn't you go into preaching?" Really, if it's true, why didn't he go into preaching?

I don't think God wants us to kill each other. I don't think God wants to see a people lied into war. So when he speaks about God, it sounds phoney to me. I know some eat it up. I think he's dangerous to the country and think he needs to stop casting his opinions as being based in a faith because there's nothing spiritual about lying a nation into war. There's nothing spiritual about carpet bombing a country. Or bearing false witness.

Wally had a funny thing today that some people may miss. (Maybe not.) He gave me permission to post the whole thing so here it is.







Related: "
Other Items"

Wally's put Jesus' words in Bully Boy's mouth and intentionally screwed them us (the way Bully Boy does in real life). The whole section about "the ports" (the poor) always being with us. I always laugh at Wally's stuff but this one made me laugh a little harder because it really did capture the way Bully Boy trots out scripture and screws it up.

For more laughs see Betty's "Thomas Friedman's one moment of public truth."

And that's almost it for me tonight. Almost. Three Cool Old Guys can't stop laughing when they read Ava and C.I.'s "TV Review: Close To Home (and floating in the toilet)." Sunday, when I visited, they were laughing about it. That was day one. They're still laughing about it and keep saying, "You've got to re-read it, it gets funnier each time." I agree it's up there with their best ones and that's a big compliment. So make a point to read it.

By the way, here's the new content from last Sunday's The Third Estate Sunday Review:

A Note to Our Readers
Editorial: No spine on no spying
TV Review: Close To Home (and floating in the toilet)
1 Book, 10 Minutes (Danny Schechter, The Death of Media)
Psst, here come the gatekeepers
Musings on the service economy

Ava and C.I. do the TV reviews themselves. But on the other features the credits are:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim;
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man;
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review;
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills);
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix;
Mike of Mikey Likes It!;
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz;
and Wally of The Daily Jot.

I point that out because Betty, Kat and me sometimes hear, "You don't blog enough." We probably don't. But we are doing stuff besides what goes up at our own sites. Let me note one more thing because I haven't given Trina enough shout outs. Saturdays, Trina blogs at Trina's Kitchen. I hope you're checking her out. Iwanna, I guess I've added the Shout Out Bucket to this entry.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

MALCOLM X: Whether you are a Christian or a Muslim or a Nationalist, we all have the same problem. They don't hang you because you're a Baptist; they hang you 'cause you're black. They don't attack me because I'm a Muslim; they attack me 'cause I'm black. They attack all of us for the same reason; all of us catch hell from the same enemy. We’re all in the same bag, in the same boat. We suffer political oppression, economic exploitation, and social degradation, all of them from the same enemy. The government has failed us; you can’t deny that. Anytime you live in the twentieth century, and you walkin' around here singing "We Shall Overcome," the government has failed us.
This is part of what’s wrong with you: You do too much singing. Today, it’s time to stop singing and start swinging. You can't sing up on freedom, but you can swing up on some freedom. Cassius Clay can sing, but singing didn’t help him to become the heavy-weight champion of the world. Swinging helped him become the heavy-weight champion. This government has failed us; the government itself has failed us, and the white liberals who have been posing as our friends have failed us.
And once we see that all these other sources to which we've turned have failed, we stop turning to them and turn to ourselves. We need a self-help program, a do-it-yourself philosophy, a do-it-right-now philosophy, a it's-already-too- late philosophy. This is what you and I need to get with, and the only time -- the only way we are going to solve our problem is with a self-help program. Before we can get a self-help program started, we have to have a self-help philosophy.

That's from Democracy Now! (On the 41st Anniversary of the Assassination of Malcolm X, "The Ballot or the Bullet"). If you missed it, you can listen online or watch online or read the transcript. But think about how little has changed in all this time.

That's my thought for tonight.


In the United Kingdom today, over 200 people gathered at St Nicholas and Writhington Church, in Radstock, Somerset for the funeral of Corporal Gordon Pritchard who died in Basra on January 31, 2005 becoming the 100th British soldier to die in Iraq. 101 British troops have died in Iraq, official count. Gordon Pritchard, who was 31 years-old, is survived by his wife Julie-Ann and his children Stacey, Harrison and Summer.

Alexander Panetta, of the Associated Press, is reporting that Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay maintains that "latest intelligence" indicates that the four memebers of Christian Peacemaker Teams are still alive. The four members, kidnapped in November, were last seen in a January 29th videotape. The four members are:

James Loney, 41, of Toronto; Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, a former Montreal resident; Tom Fox, 54, of Clear Brook, Va., and Norman Kember, 74, of London [. . .]

Sunday's upsurge in violence continued on Monday. Reuters is reporting that bombings in Mosul and Baghdad today killed "at least 19 people." The Associated Press reports that in Karbala one American soldier was killed in a bombing and that in Mosul, a bomber killed himself in a "restaurant packed with policemen eating breakfast, killing at least five people and wounding 21, including 10 policemen". The Department of Defense has identified Capt. Anthony R. Garcia of Fort Worth, Texas as one of the 34 US military fatalities this month. Garcia died of from gunshot wounds after a February 17th shooting that took place on a military base in Tikrit. Garcia is survived by his wife Doris and his children Kelly and Garrick.

Brian Zimmerman, of Gannet News, is reporting that questions still surround the shooting death of Army Reservist David Douglas who died two weeks after returning to the United States from a one-year stint in Iraq. Commenting on the violent deaths of many returning veterans, National Guardsman Alfonso Williams told Zimmerman:

You have a whole lot of built-up anger from being over there. . . . You can't explain (what it's like) to anybody. And to them, what they may think is screaming and hollering to you is a normal tone.

In 2005, the military reports that 136 active duty personnel committed suicide. No figures are kept for those who are inactive. The current number for US military fatalities in Iraq stands at 2276.

As Jane Mayer reported in The New Yorker, early warnings were ignored by the administration about the environment created for abuse of prisoners in Guantanamo. Noting that "Human rights are under threat," Amnesty International is calling for the closing of Guantanamo. Tuesday, Amnesty International will host a live online discussion:

Live chat with Moazzam Begg, ex Guantánamo detainee, on 21 February, 6-7pm GMT

Moazzam Begg, British citizen, was held for "nearly three years," as noted on Democracy Now!. Amnesty International's call echoes the call of the UN investigation team as well as the prime ministers of Germany, France, England and Malaysia. U.S. Charm Minister Karen Hughes, speaking to Al Jazeera, rejected calls to close Gitmo and reportedly maintained that not only are the people imprisoned in Guantanamo wanting to kill Americans but that some released "have gone back to fighting and killing Americans." If the report is accurate, it is surprising that such an assertion would be made by the Minister of Charm and not Bully Boy himself.

In this country, the Associated Press is reporting that Republican governors George Pataki (New York) and Robert Ehrlich (Maryland) have joined the chorus of voices objecting by administration plans to turn over control of "six major U.S. ports" to Dubai Ports World. Senators Robert Menendez (New Jersey) and Hillary Clinton (New York) are also objecting to the proposed plan. Speaking out against the plan involving the Arab company, Mendendez stated today, "We wouldn't turn over our customs service or our border patrol to a foreign government. We shouldn't turn over the ports of the United States, either."

Feminist Wire Daily is reporting that CWIG (Center for Women in Government and Civil Society) has conducted a study on "the percentage of women in policy-making positions - such as state legislators, elected officials, high court judges, department heads, and top governor's advisors" for the years 1998 to 2005 and found that the rate of growth for women in those positions increased by only 1.6% -- "from 23.1 percent to 24.7 percent." FWD notes:

Slow progress for women in state government has national implications, says Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers. State and local office serve as a "pipeline" to draw women into national politics. Not to mention, adds Walsh, state legislatures themselves are "making a tremendous amount of policy" –- in 2005, 48 state legislatures considered over 500 anti-choice bills.

On the national level, NOW notes, that although "almost nine million more women voted than men" only fourteen women serve in the United States Senate and only sixty-seven in the House, while of the fifty governors in the United States, only eight are women.

As noted on Sunday's KPFA Evening News, Saturday Feb. 25th, a Counter-Recruiting workshop will be held, open to the public, from 2 to 5pm at the Veterans' Memorial Building, Room 219, 401 Van Ness Ave. March 1st is the National Law Student Day Against the Death Penalty (SDADP).

In other news, Philadelphia Indymedia is reporting that Governor Ed Rendell vetoed the Pennsylvania's Voter ID bill. Rendell, who spanked Casey Junior in the 2002 election race, stated, "I see no reason to enact laws that will result in voter confusion and disenfranchise legitimately registered voters." Member of Protect the Vote had successfully fought against the proposed legislation and were on hand for the veto ceremony.

In other civil liberties news, following what BuzzFlash has called "Just Your Average Week of the Bush Administration Betraying America," the ACLU features a snapshot of governmental spying/snooping in the form of Betty Ball who states:

It is true that I have become more motivated to work for justice and social change knowing that the government is abusing its powers like this. But I am worried about how far the government will go to squelch First Amendment rights and silence dissent. Will we all be rounded up and incarcerated? Already so many people have been frightened away from participating in our events, and have asked to have their names removed from our mailing lists, for fear of the consequences of associating with us. I hesitate to call people to discuss plans for rallies or protests because I don’t want them ending up in an FBI file labeled as a "domestic terrorist."

Meanwhile, author and activist Diane Wilson remains in a Victoria County jail in Texas. Wilson was arrested for unfurling a banner that read "Corporate Greed Kills--From Bhopal to Baghdad" at a Dick Cheney attended fundraiser in Houston on December 5, 2005. Wilson's banners are apparently too much for the delicate sensibilities of the foes of democracy. She is currently serving a 150 day sentence for a 2002 action where she climbed a Dow Jones tower and unfurled a banner which read "Justice For Bhopal." CODEPINK is calling for Wilson's release.
In other take action news, is asking you to Take Action: Demand Coverage of Able Danger (more info on the Able Danger program can be found at Able Danger Media Monitoring).

Finally, Monday's Democracy Now! featured:

"Readings From Howard Zinn's 'Voices of a People's History of the UnitedStates:'"
Today we spend the hour with readings from a Voices of a People's History of the United States edited by historian Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove. It is the companion volume to Zinn's legendary People's History of the United States ­ which has sold over a million copies.We will hear dramatic readings of speeches, letters, poems, songs, petitions, and manifestos. These are the voices of people throughout U.S.history who struggled against slavery, racism, and war, against oppression and exploitation, and who articulated a vision for a better world. Performances include Danny Glover as Frederick Douglass, Marisa Tomei as Cindy Sheehan, Floyd Red Crow Westerman as Tecumseh and Chief Joseph, Sandra Oh as Emma Goldman and Yuri Kochiyama, and Viggo Mortensen as Bartolomeo de Las Casas and Mark Twain.

This entry was compiled by:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim;
Rebecca of
Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Betty of
Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man;
C.I. of
The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review;
Kat of
Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills);
Cedric of
Cedric's Big Mix;
Mike of
Mikey Likes It!;
Elaine of
Like Maria Said Paz;
and Wally of
The Daily Jot.