Archives for: August 2010
By Randle Loeb on Aug 21, 2010 | In Caring and Surviving, Citizenship and Stewards By Randle Loeb
OP-ED COLUMNIST THE NEW YORK TIMES
Too Long Ignored By BOB HERBERT
Published: August 20, 2010
A tragic crisis of enormous magnitude is facing black boys and men in America.
Parental neglect, racial discrimination and an orgy of self-destructive behavior have left an extraordinary portion of the black male population in an ever-deepening pit of social and economic degradation. The Schott Foundation for Public Education tells us in a new report that the on-time high school graduation rate for black males in 2008 was an abysmal 47 percent, and even worse in several major urban areas — for example, 28 percent in New York City. The astronomical jobless rates for black men in inner-city neighborhoods are both mind-boggling and heartbreaking. There are many areas where virtually no one has a legitimate job. More than 70 percent of black children are born to unwed mothers. And I’ve been hearing more and more lately from community leaders in poor areas that moms are absent for one reason or another and the children are being raised by a grandparent or some other relative — or they end up in foster care. That the black community has not been mobilized en masse to turn this crisis around is a screaming shame. Black men, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, have nearly a one-third chance of being incarcerated at some point in their lives. By the time they hit their mid-30s, a solid majority of black men without a high school diploma have spent time in prison. Homicide is the leading cause of death for young black men, with the murderous wounds in most cases inflicted by other young black men. This is a cancer that has been allowed to metastasize for decades. Not only is it not being treated, most people don’t even want to talk about it. In virtually every facet of life in the United States, black people — and especially black boys and men — are coming up short. White families are typically five times as wealthy as black families. More than a third of all black children are growing up in poverty. In Ohio, according to the National Center for Children in Poverty, the percentage is more than half. There are myriad reasons for this awful state of affairs. As with so many other problems in American society, a lack of gainful employment has been a huge contributor to the problems faced by blacks. Chronic unemployment is hardly a plus-factor for marriage and family stability. And the absence of strong family units with mature parental guidance is at the very root of the chaotic environment that so many black youngsters grow up in. The abominable incarceration rates among blacks are the result of two overwhelming factors: the persistence of criminal behavior by a significant percentage of the black population, and a criminal justice system that in many respects is racially discriminatory and out of control. Both of these factors need to be engaged head-on, and both will require a staggeringly heavy lift. Education in the broadest sense is the key to stopping this socioeconomic slide that is taking such a horrific toll in the black community. People have to understand what is happening to them before they can really do much about it. Young blacks who have taken a wrong road, or are at risk of taking a wrong road, have to be shown a feasible legitimate alternative. The aspect of this crisis that is probably the most important and simultaneously the most difficult to recognize is that the heroic efforts needed to alleviate it will not come from the government or the wider American society. This is a job that will require a campaign on the scale of the civil rights movement, and it will have to be initiated by the black community. Whether this is fair or not is irrelevant. There is very little sentiment in the wider population for tackling the extensive problems faced by poor and poorly educated black Americans. What is needed is a dramatic mobilization of the black community to demand justice on a wide front — think employment, education and the criminal justice system — while establishing a new set of norms, higher standards, for struggling blacks to live by. For many, this is a fight for survival. And it is an awesomely difficult fight. But the alternative is to continue the terrible devastation that has befallen so many families and communities: the premature and often violent deaths, the inadequate preparation for an increasingly competitive workplace, the widespread failure to exercise one’s intellectual capacity, the insecurity that becomes ingrained from being so long at the bottom of the heap. Terrible injustices have been visited on black people in the United States, but there is never a good reason to collaborate in one’s own destruction. Blacks in America have a long and proud history of overcoming hardship and injustice. It’s time to do it again.
Mr Herbert is correct in his assertive commentary on black males in America and the families in which they are born. He does not go far enough. He mentions civil rights and a rising up of the community against injustice. Such efforts have been ongoing for at least 100 years.
The rest of the community has a large responsibility in the creation of this ongoing crisis. We are all responsible for the rights and privileges of our neighbors. When will we wake up to the true spirit of the Bill of Rights, that we are all citizens of value? When will disparities that have been raised by every Civil Rights Commission over the last last century and the solutions be recognized and implemented?
We must rise and we must fight against tyranny of every form that casts a shadow over our lives.
By helen on Aug 11, 2010 | In The Black Perspective of Views of America By Helen Burleson
CALLLING ALL DEMOCRATS TO BATTLE!
By Helen L. Burleson, Doctor of Public Administration
November is not that far off. Your silence and lack of enthusiasm is deafening. You fought hard to gain control of the House, the Senate and the Presidency. Why are you giving up? What is the reason for your apathy? Are you beginning to listen to the malcontent Tea Partiers? Are you really going to let the Republicans take us back to the brink of a Depression? Are you really willing to allow government to run rampant without the necessary regulatory authority, with the failed Bush policies that led us into a questionable pre-emptive war? Where is your spine? Where is your backbone? Why have you suddenly turned to mush?
Oh yes, I’ve heard some of your criticisms. Obama didn’t fight for the public option. Obama conceded too much to Wall Street. Obama didn’t create jobs.
I’m going to take you back to Civics 101. Let’s review the three branches of government. Where in the Executive Branch does it say that a president is a dictator or a king with absolute rule over the kingdom? Is there something that the Legislative Branch has to do?
Yes, I know the Democrats have the majority in both houses; but when you have an opposition party that clearly defines what it means to oppose, then what can you expect a president to do. The President signs the bills that are passed by Congress. First Congress has to get the cooperation of both parties to reflect what is best for the country. When you have a party that is only interested in destroying the presidency of the sitting president and wants to make it his Waterloo, then what do you expect?
Have you taken pride in and given credit to what has been accomplished? For the first time in nearly 70 years we do have health care reform. Is it perfect? No. Can it be improved as were Medicare and Social Security two important Acts that have benefited the majority of Americans? Yes. Could it have been more perfect if the Republicans had taken a humane concern for the health of all American citizens? Yes. That did not happen so the Democrats got the best they could get under the circumstances. If we keep the House and the Senate, then we can get a cohesive body that will push the President’s agenda forward and it is a great possibility that we will eventually get the universal health care that we wanted and we deserved. A Republican majority is determined to repeal what health care benefits we got. Those of you with children attending college who are not emancipated, is it not a benefit to be able to cover them on your insurance until age 26 when perhaps they have completed their education and are able to provide for their own health care? Those of you, who were, through no fault of your own, born with hereditary diseases or suffered birth injuries and were previously denied coverage, is this health reform bill passed by the Obama Administration, a benefit to you?
The banks are not cooperating. They are not lending. They are stockpiling funds and paying enormous bonuses, even to those that caused the failure of their institutions in the first place. The government had the power to nationalize the banking institutions, but what an uproar that would have caused by the filthy rich who buy and sell legislators who would have done all in their power to torpedo that. If you look at the political leanings of most of the hierarchy in the financial world, you will see why the Republicans favor banks and other financial institutions.
Women, are you not better off getting equal pay for performing the same jobs as men? That’s what the Lilly Ledbetter Bill did for you. Military personnel, are you not better off with a raise in your pay? This is something the Obama Administration did for you. You also are getting more attention paid to your needs and the needs of your dependents because of action taken by the Obama Administration.
These are just a few of the promises fulfilled by the Obama Administration. Where is the appreciation for that? Are your memories so short that you forget already how tough it was during the Bush years? Have you forgotten the monumental mess that President Obama inherited when he walked into office? Have you forgotten all the hostile opposition that he has faced since day one by the Republican Party, and even some of the holdouts in his own party?
Many of you have lost your jobs because of outsourcing and faulty trade agreements executed before President Obama entered the Oval office.
Let’s get real Democrats! Rome was not built in a day despite that fact that they had a dictator.
Let’s rally around our president and fight to retain the majority in both houses so we can (D)drive forward and make progress instead of going (R) reverse to the failed days of a Republican majority. Remember (D) Drive forward/Democrat, no (R) Reverse/Republican.
Okay, Dems, let’s get going! We’ve got the momentum, let’s keep it going – FORWARD/FIGHT FOR THE PEOPLE!
By helen on Aug 6, 2010 | In What's Going On At DUS
THE REJECTS ARE INJECTING
By Helen L. Burleson, Doctor of Public Administration
The rejects are coming out of the woodwork and are injecting themselves into every aspect of President Obama’s policies, principles and positions in order to prevent his bringing us out of the abyss into which the past administration dumped us.
Reject John McCain, who is still bitter over losing his bid to ascend to the Presidency, whose military expertise was going to bring Osama bin Laden to justice because he knew how to get him and he was going to get him, now has become a logistics expert in fighting a war started by President George W. Bush. As a war hero who was in the senate at the time the decisions were made to go into Iraq and Afghanistan, he failed to contribute his expertise to prevent the declaration of an unjust, ill founded, undeclared war.
Let’s go to the source for edification.
“According to the U.S. Constitution, only Congress has the power to declare war on another sovereign nation.
According to Article I , Section 8: "The Congress shall have Power ... To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water; To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years; To provide and maintain a Navy; To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces; To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions; To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress ...".
The US President, however, has the power to wage war.
Reject Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the house, created a "Contract with America," a document telling voters what a Republican-led Congress would look like under his leadership.
After eight years of a Republican Administration, we see what a disastrous outcome that has become. Not since “The Great Depression” has America faced a total collapse of the economy, the failure of our education system, medical care run by insurance companies to the detriment of the populace and to the benefit of the insurance companies, an infrastructure that is deteriorating, a military sent off to war ill-equipped for the mission, and a government run rampant without the proper oversight, regulation and checks and balances that government must provide.
Reject Sarah Palin, half term governor of the State of Alaska, who can barely articulate an entire sentence, has joined with the Tea Party radicals to attempt to undermine the credibility of President Obama. She didn’t have the brains or the dedication to fulfill her term and obligations to the State of Alaska, now she has the temerity to speak on issues that affect the whole country by injecting herself into and endorsing candidates throughout the country.
Alas, we come to Reject Fred Thompson, Cclass actor, who didn’t have enough courage and confidence to stay in the race for presidency to the end now is advising us on getting reverse mortgages and negatively spinning President Obama’s presidency. He couldn’t sell himself to the American public to take him seriously to become the leader of the free world so now he is hawking whatever entity will pay him as if he’s selling himself to the highest bidder.
This motley bunch of sycophants has a singular purpose to destroy the presidency of President Barack Obama. So strident and stringent in their caustic language that they are making themselves look like the malcontents that they are. Losers all; they will not be winners because they don’t have a universally appealing approach to life or politics. As Tea Party advocates, they have aligned themselves with the fringe element of society. They have gone so far to the right that they appear to be un-American and unpatriotic. It is obvious that they are not looking out for the common weal. To destroy the presidency of President Obama is to destroy America. If we, as patriotic Americans believe in the philosophy in the form of a motto on our seal, “e pluribus unum” which means out of many, one, then we will succeed. How can we destroy one of us without destroying all of us? This evil cabal is so hell bent on destruction that whatever powers of reasoning they may have had, they have lost. They have lost sight of what it means to be a loyal citizen of America. Leaving jingoism aside, we do have a motto and a creed to live by.
Now we have a new contract with America. Ours is shift to (D) Democrat to drive forward and reject (R) Republican to go in reverse and return to the failed Bush policies. This is our motto, our slogan, our contract, and it is what will keep us on the path to moving (DRIVING) our country forward. We REJECTED you before and we REJECT you again so INJECTING yourself into our forward movement will not deter us. We are resolute! We are determined! We continue to support the CHANGE we voted for; and, it is our HOPE that you will just crawl back into your holes and hibernate.
By Randle Loeb on Aug 3, 2010 | In Caring and Surviving, Citizenship and Stewards By Randle Loeb, A Private Guide, Along the Trail By Sid Wilson, CITM
Deep int eh recesses of the forest the solitary giant bird looking like a hulking somber messenger sits a perch his sentinel and regards the universe. he hearkens to a time when there was a purpose to everything and his roost dominated the deep inner recess of the forest, that was thick and unending. His caws resonated with every being that was in ear shot but almost never did he raise the deep call within his consciousness because all was settled and there was enough for every being on earth.
Now there is little that we have that is real. Almost everything is a fleeting memory of trust and the highest principles. Dinosaurs lived more fitfully than most of the inhabitants of the earth and for an eternity. Their place here was not challenged.
In a brief time then we have managed to lose sight of everything that is sacred and create a monster that we cannot soothe. We go about our business daily with the thought that all will be fine when of course, we sit on the edge of a precipice that we have never imagined possible.
Bless everything and we will be free. Focus on compassion and there is hope for all humanity. For go your possessions and there is yet a chance that we may be here when the dawn of the new era arrives.
By Randle Loeb on Aug 3, 2010 | In Caring and Surviving, Citizenship and Stewards By Randle Loeb
An old friend came to me recently and he decried my sense that the world was out of kilter. He listened attentively and replied how accurate a description that is. I've been hoping that some day, in my life time that there could be peace between all factions of existence and almost like the portrait of the Garden of Eden the lamb could lie down next to the lion, as an image of this quiet within our heart.
I know that I have none of this peace. My finite world is muddled and terrifying. I almost never can sleep and what happens when I'm awake does nothing to calm me. I stopped reading the paper because it is brutally fixated on destruction.
On all sides, the messages of disasters point to the Unites States as creating an unstable and difficult life for everyone and every living being. President Obama has not been an exception to this gluttony of the spirit and power. He has reinforced old stereotypes of America when he said that we were the change. In Congress no less, the leaders who we believed and hoped would lead chose to destroy what little integrity exists. In the local State Assembly the government is deaf to the people and look no further than their gut wrenching budget demands and corrupt political process to address issues of survival and basic life for most citizens.
None of us can afford to run for office like the candidates. We do not have any chance. Most of us do not have the opportunity to testify we do not have a place to live or time to savor life. Slavery has grown exponentially and along with this frightening scenario, we have violence at an unprecedented level everywhere.
What are we to do about these difficult times? We are called upon to listen and to undo the damage to our neighbors everywhere. We are called to have compassion and listen inside - out to the neighbors and to one another. We have an obligation to preserve the world for our families and to screw up the courage to resist temptation, greed, violence and pursuits of unquenchable gnawing for everything. We must sit down with the lion and the lamb and serve them as neighbors in the peaceable kingdom in order to resolve these trends.
By Randle Loeb on Aug 2, 2010 | In Caring and Surviving, Citizenship and Stewards By Randle Loeb
Many times I’ve listened with attention to the views of the Mayor in the State of the City speeches, the presentations before organizations with which I am involved, at the City Club, on TV and in advertising. I've heard every one of the State of the City addresses.
On Friday he addressed the Metro Area County Commissioners in Broomfield, at the Mamie Doud Eisenhower Public Library. In attendance at the proceedings were his Chief of Staff, a campaign aide, the Mayor's county representative, Mayor Bob Murphy of Lakewood, and many county commissioners. The primary thrust of the mayor's remarks is how he wins over approval of 90% of the people with whom he has ever worked. He said that he will never take anyone by surprise with which he disagrees the other 10% of the time because he does not believe in blindsiding his colleagues and trusted members of the community. He earnestly thinks that when a person succeeds or a public entity, like the counties surrounding Denver than everyone is better off. Throughout the hour long presentation of the Mayor he cited numerous occasions during his career when there were difficulties and he made decisions to assist and extend his efforts to collaborate with the other person or government. He mentioned water and how some people suggested that protecting the water rights of Denver was essential even if other counties did not have water. He said that this was unacceptable because we are all joined at the hip and what effects one entity impacts all others. he mentioned making amends with local officials and assisting them to create shared services such as a the fire department in Glendale. He mentioned ways in which everyone wins such as the restaurant business in which he worked together with the business community in Lodo to improve the messaging for all of the brew pubs. He said that when one bolsters the wealth of the competitors and thereby, their success that everyone succeeds.
The commissioners asked him tough questions about eminent domain, to which he suggested that coming up with fair and equitable strategies to help solve problems without stripping people of their personal property was his highest priority. He said that centralizing human services was a bad idea. He mentioned the need for people to be included in the process of decision making even though it takes longer and it is more intensive because collaborating does not work without input. He said that what he wishes to emphasize is ways to create many new small business opportunities. He spoke of the efforts to thwart frivolous amendments to the State Constitution by having people gain ten percent of the voters for signatures and making the process more stringent to get on the ballot. He talked about his opponent in the gubernatorial campaign, and how he knew that the challenger from the Constitutional Party would drop out of the race. He spoke about the need to work with all people regardless of their affiliation. He said that in his own administration the party was not important but how one worked and what a member of his staff had to offer.
In his last exchange with the commissioners they were discussing the regulations from Washington D.C. which also spoke about dispersing funds based on assessed needs. The argument was that Washington is interfering with local control. The Mayor said that in the nation's capitol that we are far from the decision making process. He said that states like Arizona get all of the revenue that is meant for Colorado. He said that under this new means of determining the rates that Colorado would make out better in retrieving its rightful amount of money for projects. He said that we do things smarter. There is a desire for more density and less sprawl.
In the end Colorado government will be lean and streamlined to merge departments. The emphasis will be made on business development and planning together with all of the major participants sharing the decision making process. Self interests will be put aside for collaborating and making the state a place in which everyone feels drawn to live and work.
In his speech before the commissioners he outlined the reason that he ran for mayor. he said that parking meter rates were going to be raised by the Webb Administration and the business owners said that this would hurt their profits and thus the revenues. The administration acted on their commitment to raise the parking meter rates and he felt that it was time to change the way that the city operated.
he mentioned being unemployed when he was laid off from his work with the oil companies and how that experience shaped his perspective of working hard and being fair. He likened the result of losing one's livelihood to being kicked in the gut. One gets the impression that the Mayor wants people to earn a living and pay revenue, to lessen the role of government, and to make certain the local level of counties and municipalities have the most say in what takes place in cooperating across the region and the state.
I am betting that the Mayor who will be Governor will succeed come November and that we will see sweeping reform not from the top but from the bottom up come January, 2011. It will take time for the new governor to implement his strategies but fiscally and strategically everyone will be a part of the plan if it is to succeed.
One hopes when this is said that poor people, with or without homes are a major part of the decision making apparatus.