September 25, 2011

The Revolution is Not Being Televised! The Occupation of Wall Street

Now in its ninth day, the Occupy Wall Street movement has received minimal coverage by the mainstream press. There's been no break in regularly televised programming, no break in regular radio programming. Yet, there was coverage on a number of issues that could have been postponed for future airing. 

I'm not saying that the six-ton satellite that fell to earth yesterday wasn't news. However, the more than week-long, American occupation of the financial district that controls many of the world's markets and the lives of billions of people should make headlines. Why the silence? Why did major American news outlets provide extended coverage of the recent uprisings in the Middle East and are not providing around-the-clock coverage of this homegrown revolution? 

Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at

Protestors identify themselves as representing the 99 percent of Americans whose interests are subordinate to those of the wealthy one percent. They are middle-aged, older, and young; they are laborers and highly educated; they are Black, White, Brown, and Red; they are fed up!

The Occupy Wall Street movement has garnered the help of the Alliance for Global Justice to support the participants in terms of food and other necessities. Organizers plan to occcupy Wall Street for a month.  

The Occupy Wall Street Website provides the following contact information:
Regarding arrests:
Please call the first precinct, central booking and the Deputy Commissioner of Public Information and urge them to release these peaceful protesters.
First precinct: +1 (212) 334-0611
Central booking: +1 (212) 374-3921
Deputy Commissioner of Public Information: +1 (646) 610-6700
NYPD Switchboard: 1-646-610-5000

Regarding food and other support:
We are now able to receive packages.
The UPS store 118A #205 New York, New York 10038 RE: Occupy Wall Street.
Money orders only please, cannot cash checks yet. Non-perishable goods only.
We can accept packages of any size. We are currently low on food.
Lemon Grass Grill +1 (212) 809-8038
Toloache Taqueria +1 (212) 809-9800
Alfanoose +1 (212) 528-4669

Occupy Wall Street Movement Reports 80 Arrested Today in Protests
Sep 24, 2011 7:18pm

ABC News's Olivia Katrandjian reports:

 At least 80 people were arrested on Wall Street today in the eighth day of protests against corporations, according to the group Occupy Wall St, which reported police used tasers and mace to control the crowd today.

The New York Police Department could not confirm how many arrests had been made because they were still being processed, a spokesman said.

A video has circulated of a police officer throwing a protestor to the ground. The reason for the violence is unknown – the video shows the man standing in what seems to be a non-threatening manner before the attack.

Another video shows police officers shoving male and female protestors off the street, and using a large orange net to move the crowd.

The group claimed today on its website that several arrested protestors were locked inside a police van this morning, one with a “possibly life-threatening” concussion.

The website reported at least one protestor was arrested for taking photographs. An NYPD spokesman said police were not targeting those with cameras.

Photographs that did make it into the blogosphere showed signs that read, “A Few Prosper, Billions Suffer,” and “Debt = Slavery.”

The protests began on Sept. 17, when hundreds of protestors gathered at Bowling Green Park in Manhattan, home of the iconic charging bull in New York’s Financial District, as they prepared to “take the bull by the horns,” as a flyer advertising the event said.

“The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%,” said a statement on the website Occupy Wall Street.

According to statements on the website, the movement, an offshoot of online magazine AdBusters, is angered by what it calls the principle of “profit over and above all else,” which it says has dominated not only America’s economic policies, but also the way in which Americans view culture and humanity.

Posts on the website compare the group’s efforts to those used in pro-democracy movements across the Middle East, dubbed the Arab Spring.

“On the 17th of September, we want to see 20,000 people to flood into lower Manhattan, set up beds, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months,” one statement says. “Like our brothers and sisters in Egypt, Greece, Spain, and Iceland, we plan to use the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic of mass occupation to restore democracy in America. We also encourage the use of nonviolence to achieve our ends and maximize the safety of all participants.”

As has become the norm of such protests, this movement has been fueled by social media fire, with supporters taking to Twitter under the hash tag #occupywallstreet. The major hacking group Anonymous has also thrown in its support, live streaming the day’s events.

“History teaches us that when the rich get too rich and the poor get too poor there is always a revolution. Let’s hope this is the start of change!” wrote a reader with the username “Takebackourgovernment” on the movement’s website today.

ABC News’ Candace Smith contributed to this report.

Gil Scott Heron: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

September 21, 2011

Democracy Now! broadcasting live from Georgia at the Troy Davis death row vigil.

Shame on the American "justice" system. Shame on the State of Georgia.

Corrections Officials Sign-On for Troy Davis

Date of Publication: 
Media Contact: Ron McAndrew, 352-342-1450 (EST) and Jeanne Woodford, 415-243-0143 (PST)

ATLANTA, GEORGIA-This morning, six retired corrections officials, including Dr. Allen Ault, retired Director of the Georgia Department of Corrections and former Warden of the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison where he oversaw executions for the state, have sent the following letter to Georgia Corrections Officials and Governor Nathan Deal asking them to urge the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles to reconsider the decision they made on Tuesday, September 20, 2011 to deny Troy Davis Clemency despite concerns about his guilt. Davis is scheduled to be executed on Wednesday, September 21 at 7:00pm at Georgia Diagnostics & Classifications Prison in Jackson, Georgia.

We write to you as former wardens and corrections officials who have had direct involvement in executions. Like few others in this country, we understand that you have a job to do in carrying out the lawful orders of the judiciary. We also understand, from our own personal experiences, the awful lifelong repercussions that come from participating in the execution of prisoners. While most of the prisoners whose executions we participated in accepted responsibility for the crimes for which they were punished, some of us have also executed prisoners who maintained their innocence until the end. It is those cases that are most haunting to an executioner.

We write to you today with the overwhelming concern that an innocent person could be executed in Georgia tonight. We know the legal process has exhausted itself in the case of Troy Anthony Davis, and yet, doubt about his guilt remains. This very fact will have an irreversible and damaging impact on your staff. Many people of significant standing share these concerns, including, notably, William Sessions, Director of the FBI under President Ronald Reagan.

Living with the nightmares is something that we know from experience. No one has the right to ask a public servant to take on a lifelong sentence of nagging doubt, and for some of us, shame and guilt. Should our justice system be causing so much harm to so many people when there is an alternative?

We urge you to ask the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles to reconsider their decision. Should that fail, we urge  you to unburden yourselves and your staff from the pain of participating in such a questionable execution to the extent possible  by allowing any personnel so inclined to opt-out of activities related to the execution of Troy Anthony Davis. Further, we urge you to provide appropriate counseling to personnel who do choose to perform their job functions related to the execution. If we may be of assistance to you moving forward, please do not hesitate to call upon any of us.

Respectfully and collegially,

Allen Ault – Retired Warden, Georgia Diagnostic & Classifications Prison
Terry Collins – Retired Director, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction
Ron McAndrew – Retired Warden, Florida State Prison
Dennis O’Neill - Retired Warden, Florida State Prison
Reginald Wilkinson – Retired Director, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction
Jeanne Woodford – Retired Warden, San Quentin State Prison

Source: The Law Office of the Souther Center for Human Rights

Judge Mathis on the Execution of Troy Davis

Teddy Pendergrass with Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes
'Wake Up Everybody'

September 17, 2011

Assessing America's 1st Black President

Bo and Z. discuss assessing America's first Black President in this segment of 

Recently, Tavis Smiley was labeled a "critic" of President Obama.

Z: I give props to ‘The Grio’ for inviting Tavis Smiley to discuss the notion that he is a “critic” of President Obama. Whether Smiley is a critic of Obama or not, I think that a more interesting question is whether one should be labeled a critic if one points out that the President could or should be doing a better job in particular areas. I.e., does recognition of areas that can be strengthened mean that one wholly disapproves of the President? Particularly, does this recognition coming from a Black person mean that the individual doesn’t appreciate the historical progress of America having its first Black President?

Bo: I feel that everyone is entitled to their own opinion & once you exercise your right to voice your opinion, you have to be prepared for the backlash that comes with free speech.  There is nothing wrong with pointing out areas that need improvement. I do it to my kids regularly. Does this make me a critic? Maybe to them, but in reality I'm there biggest fan.  My true intentions are not to put them down, but to make them the best that they could be. Does brother Tavis have these same motives with President Obama? That I don't know.  

Z.: Exactly, we'll never know what Smiley's true motives are. But, I tend to believe that he is sincere--not because he says he's not a critic but because of the reasons that he provides. He points to widely available statistics to support his argument that a better job by the President should be expected by all Americans. To me, it seems that some Americans are treating the "1st Black President" situation, labeling people "critics" if they disagree with some issues, just as some treated protesters of recent wars; calling them "unpatriotic." I believe both are inaccurate and unfair.

Bo: The jury is still out for me on Mr. Smiley...obviously he's very bright and is capable putting a spin on his hate if such is the case.  I used to listen to him on the TJMS before Mr. Obama was elected and I thought I smelled a tab bit of hate. Even so, we are individuals and are allowed to think as such. I respect him for having his own opinion whether it aligns with mine or not. It is always easier to armchair quarterback, than to take the hits on the field. Again "free speech" is just that. We are free to speak intelligently and some will love it and some will hate it. Just as we are free to speak ignorantly and some will love it and some will hate it. Inaccurate or not, fair or not; it is what it is.

Z.: What stands out for me are the facts: Blacks are suffering worse unemployment, the bad economy is affecting us more severely (e.g., the loss of our homes), and recovery is going to be much more difficult than for the rest of America. Smiley’s personal agenda notwithstanding, I believe that his holding the President accountable speaks well of him as a professional journalist. Some seem to be of the opinion that because Obama is the 1st Black President that America should “go a little easy” on him. And it seems that Blacks who criticize areas where improvement is needed are especially scrutinized.

Bo: I was much more critical of the President while he was running for office than I am now. There were plenty of things that were done and said during his campaign that I thought should have been done differently, yet he still won the election. I know 1st hand that being the "1st" comes with baggage. This man is under an atomic micro-scope and I have cut him some slack on certain issues. Jackie Robinson was 1st in Major League Baseball and had to put up with some stuff that would have set others off. Rosa Parks was the 1st because she had the personality and background to make the bus boycott successful. The way I look at it, Obama may have been given the keys to the white house, but it seems like it was the spare set, judging by all of the disrespect that he has had to endure being the 1st. He has eight years of Bush to clean up and there is no way that he can do that in 1 term. My thoughts are that he's hoping to get much more done in his 2nd term.

Question: Should Americans, particularly Black Americans, be labeled "critics" if they form and express a judgment of the merits, facts, etc. of the current presidency? Is being a "critic" a bad thing?

"Left of Black" host, Mark Anthony Neal, is joined by noted economist William "Sandy" Darity, Arts & Sciences Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Economics at Duke University. They discuss the Obama Administration's methods of tackling the economic cirsis and reveal Darity's own approach to combating unemployment via a guaranteed jobs program. They also talk about he Project Bright Idea, a program that aims to educate youth by providing gifted-quality education.

"Left of Black" is a weekly Webcast by Neal and produced in collaboration with the John Hope Franklin Center at Duke University. 

September 10, 2011

In the Pursuit of

Every human being from Greenland to Antarctica desires it. Religious commitment does not extinguish our craving for it. The poor as well as the wealthy struggle to achieve it. There's no question, we all want to be happy. It's universal. But what is happiness? Is it a state, a condition, a predisposition, or an illusion? Can we decide to be happy or is our happiness determined by our environment?

Happiness is big business. According to Micki McGee, author of "Self-Help, Inc.: Makeover Culture in American Life, "the self-help industry, inclusive of books, seminars, audio and video products, and personal coaching constitute a 2.48-billion dollar-a-year industry." A myriad of sources are available that provide different answers on how to become happy.

We know what people believe will make them happy: more money, attractiveness, that dream job, youth, prestige, a baby, power, a good woman or man. Still, it's not uncommon to find out that the people who have those things are searching too. The fact is fewer sources explain what happiness is and I wonder how many tell us why we're so damned unhappy. We’ll leave why the $2.48 billion spent on getting happy isn't working for a different discussion on another day.

Though happiness is as hard to identify as it is to capture we know it when we feel it. We know it just as we know when we are satiated by food, water, or sex. This makes perfect sense because happiness is a state. It has a drive similar to the ones that let us know we need to eat, drink fluids, or have sex. It is good news that happiness is a state with its own drive. We can finally make peace with why the grass looks greener on the other side: Happiness ebbs and flows just like the tide. This is all very natural. So, no more beating ourselves about-the-head-and-neck because we need a new “fix.”

The environment plays a role in our happiness too. For example, there is healthy competition and unhealthy competition. Unhealthy competition creates negative emotions. The degree of competition that we often face and struggle with is an artificially induced phenomenon. A climb up the corporate ladder can bring you down. A bad relationship can be a real buzz-kill. A desire to acquire material things that are beyond your means can drain joy. We can expand our analysis to include competition between and among groups. For example, competition for national superiority through war. These examples of striving for power and prestige, superiority in the relationship, keeping up with the Jones’, or national defense strategies are all forms of competition which will not lead to happiness—even if you “win” the zero-sum game.

Competition is the world of not-enoughness. In this world there is not enough food, fuel, or love. It is the domain of lesser-frequency people who exist where what is impossible hangs out. In this world: it’s not possible for everyone to be healthy, it’s not possible for everyone to have decent living conditions, it’s not possible for everyone to fulfill their dream. In reality, there is abundance in the universe and the things we long for are possible.

When researchers study the brains of happy people happiness measures in the brain as a calmness rather than elation over something good happening or depressive lows resulting from bad experiences. Calmness doesn’t exist in a zero-sum game, not even for the “winner.” We can find calmness, that is, our happy place, in cooperative situations. This is true because cooperation presents opportunities for fulfillment of our greatest need: companionship and love. Cooperation decreases the ebbs and increases the frequency of the flows of happiness into our lives.

The Framingham Heart Study indicates that happiness is as contagious as the common cold. Researchers found that it can be transmitted up to three degrees of separation. So your friend’s, friend’s, friend's happiness can have an affect on your life and vice-versa—whether you know each other or not. Bonus! Now is that natural, systemic cooperation provided by the Universe or what?! I don’t know about you but knowing that I’m not alone in my quest to achieve my personal happiness makes me happy. It has a calming affect on my mind. And knowing that just by being happy I’m contributing to the happiness of someone else makes me feel powerful—in a win-win situation sort-a-way.

Our drives for food, water, sex keep us alive; bring us pleasure and sustains the human race. The major difference between those drives and our drive for happiness is that the latter is less self-centered.
Essentials for Happiness

                                  Need                           Source
                                  Energy                        Healthy diet, exercise, rest, stay well-hydrated,
                                                                       intellectual health habits

                                  Positive attitude        Determination to see the good

                                  Positive thoughts      Focus on the core strengths
                                                                       rather than “deficiencies and faults”
                                                                       of your own and others'

                                 Connections with       You’ll know them by their positive spirit
                                  happy people             and cooperative behavior

                                  Detachment               Don't stew over transgressions
                                                                       people have made against you
                                                                       or mistakes you've made. Let it go, now!

                                  Mindfulness               A positive and calm relationship
                                                                       between the thoughts and emotions

                                 Cooperative               May have to do some house cleaning
                                 situations and           at work and in relationships

I’m not sayin’ that you need to give up your self-help tapes, books, seminars, or consultations. I’m not judging you. Oh, no, ‘cause lawd knows I have my habits too. Just know that when the 5-hour high wears off you know what to do: get out and meet some happy people, cooperate to create win-win situations, think positive to feel positive, and take care of you!   

We exist in the domain of abundance and the possible!   

September 5, 2011

Discovering Strengths

I'm a visual person. I love taking photographs of people and places. I also love movies and used to love television until its offerings were reduced to drivel, but I digress. Some time ago, I developed a desire to create videos. I didn't have a camera and had never used editing software and I didn't own a program either. Nevertheless, I said to the Universe, I want to make videos.

A few weeks ago I decided to head to the lake and make some clips. It was my first experience with a video camera and my objective was to play and have some fun. Oh boy, did I have fun. I pointed, focused, lost focus, and got (well) more than one shot of the ground.

The footage sat for several weeks because I still didn't have any editing software and had no idea when that would happen. But I knew it would. However, I didn't attach to the desire to own (or know how to use) the software. I'll talk more about attachement in a upcoming post.

Today, I was in The Lab manipulating chemicals, temperature, and time to prepare brunch and my eldest son happened to stop by as he does on many Sundays around this same time--famished, of course. I asked him about the editing program that he uses. It turns out that it's a freeware program! He showed me a few basics and I jumped in like dolphin to the Pacific.

At the lake, I spent about three and a half hours and ended up with more footage than I can ever use. It turns out that this is a good thing! There was so much to choose from. Editing took a few hours because of my learning curve and the fact that editing it a bit tedious but I had as much fun editing as I did filming.

Here is degree of the 360 degrees of me. This I call "Summer Day at the Lake." The reality is this: I trusted the Universe, stepped in the direction of my desires, and discovered something new about myself. It's up to me to keep believing, moving, and creating.

Note to self: Always, always, always bring the tripod! LOL

What untapped degree of you are you exploring? Please share your adventures!

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