Archives for: November 2010
By helen on Nov 30, 2010 | In The Black Perspective of Views of America By Helen Burleson
GIVE YOURSELVES A PAT ON THE BACK
By Helen L. Burleson, Doctor of Public Administration
For those of you who voted for legislators, who now refuse to extend unemployment benefits, if you are unemployed, give yourselves a pat on the back! How did you enjoy Thanksgiving? Did you have a table laden with scrumptious food? If you had a great Thanksgiving, give yourselves a pat on the back.
For those of you who are concerned about American safety and are tired of our getting involved in wars, did you vote for those legislators who refuse to ratify the START Treaty? Maybe you’re too young to remember the scare of Russia and the Cold War. That would explain your vote. Those were troublesome days when the thought of the red phone ringing in the White House at 3:00 a. m. posed a real danger. Hopefully, those frights will not be visited upon us again. If it does, those who voted for those legislators should be proud of their vote and should give themselves a pat on the back. Now we have John McCain who is advocating “regime change” in North Korea. Didn’t we just have an election without outside interference? With the undisclosed funds contributed to right wing candidates by the Chamber of Commerce, it’s a possibility we did. Another war looming on the horizon is nothing short of saber rattling and cause for all Americans to be outraged.
If you are a member of the LGBT community, did you vote for the party that says your equal rights should be delayed? If you are a member of the armed services or want to be a part of it, then I know you’re overjoyed with your vote. The U. S. Supreme Court has decreed that corporations are “people;”yet, the U. S. Congress cannot decide whether members of the LGBT community are people who deserve equal rights. I find this a strange dichotomy.
For those without health care insurance, I’m certain you’ll be proud to know that there is a party that wants to dismantle the health care reform bill, that with tweaking, might lead to the ideal single payer, public option or even universal health care for all Americans just as most people in other “first world” countries have provided for them. If you become incapacitated, you might be unable to pat yourselves on the back; but, you can always ask someone to do it for you.
When the contentious gridlock starts now that Congress is back in session, for those who voted to make this possible, you should draw up a seat to watch the puppet theater being played out. The cast of characters will be obvious, they will be the ones shouting, “hell no.” Tear yourselves away from the TV long enough to pat yourselves on the back.
This will be an interesting time in American history as the rich fight for the right to maintain the status quo as their pockets get fatter; and you, the ones who voted for them to have this “right” should rejoice.
During The Great Depression when it looked like things were getting better, Americans were singing, “Happy Days Are Here Again.” Today, it does not look like things will get better with a divisive Congress eroding what small gains have been made, we probably should sing, “Fools Rush In Where Angels Fear to Tread.” Perhaps a better choice for those who voted for gridlock would be, “When The Saints Go Marching In.” The words, “…Lord, I want to be in that number…” come to mind when I think of the numbers of people who marched lock step to the polls to turn the clock back to some of America’s worst days. Don’t feel bad about your choices, just pat yourselves on the back.
By Randle Loeb on Nov 30, 2010 | In Caring and Surviving, Citizenship and Stewards By Randle Loeb
The Journal of Obvious Thought
Who are we and what makes up the major focus of our lives? The mundane ordinary activities and thoughts that match our everyday affairs are the most essential subjects of life. How we focus on the day to day minor matters makes more a difference than anything else. When we awaken from a dream and first come to consciousness this is a critical moment of ordinary thought. When we move, every single pulse and process of this intricate effort is dynamic. The respiration of air and the touch of simple things like clothing and the space between everything that we contact is essential. The focus of the eyes and the feeling of security and safety that we have by listening and seeing are vital to our well being. The most essential reality is that we are grounded in the nuances of thought about the world that surrounds us. If we see clearly; listen to the space between the stars; feel the rhythm of life; sense the air that stirs within our nostrils and air ways as we breathe in; our lives are sacred and a blessing. It is the ordinary thought that defines us and what matters most.
Today, this time, allow the state of awareness to drink in the silence. Allow the space between us to be full of kinesthetic perceptions. This second close your eyes and see clearly the contact of sense to each event nearby. A chorus arises of buzzing outside intrusions on the inner clicks, gurgles, snaps and cracks. Together in and out merge into the whole canvass of thought. Every moment, like a kaleidoscope, the whole vision emerges as a new mosaic of experience. Color, the din, the smells, the tactile and the hyper sense of awareness defines how we function.
Listening and balance are acute activities in moving. Riding a bicycle, swimming, walking upstairs and down steps, climbing and falling change our equilibrium.
By Randle Loeb on Nov 30, 2010 | In Caring and Surviving, Citizenship and Stewards By Randle Loeb
Where we stand we peer into the mouth of the gaping storm
swirling around and up like the vortex of a funnel cloud, we wait
standing below trembling, huddled together in prayer
calling for the Great Spirit
by my side a hand reaches to clasp my twisted shoulder
murmuring, "let us rise!"
We awaken from deep sleep to gaze into the furnace of the depth of longing and innocense that warms us and forgets that we have lost our step and poise.
Heartily the clad warrior revels in lifting us from the depth and makes a way for us, "Let us rise," she rejoins
We see the wisdom of this plaintive chorus. we know that we must stir or be swallowed in the torrent that washes away
Our feet are set on unsteady ground that shakes and loosens as we stumble forward
Voices murmuring on "Let us rise,
let us rise,
let us rise,
let us rise."
We hearken to the sound of this rhythm and press on holding one another up
realizing that all we ever had is here.
Thankfully, graciously, humbly we rise. We offer our shattered lives
We await an uncertain tomorrow peacefully resigned to remain in stillness
supplicating, resonating, carrying forth the blessing of those who came this way before.
We know that there is no end here and that we are safe, we are fixed in our awareness though we are held fast
knowing that nothing, no walls, no storm, within withstands the clasp of a hand on a twisted shoulder of we,
the people, who are home no matter where and what may cross this way.
We rise and greet the day, scattering dark clouds
sanctify our home and presence in this churling sea with hope that dispels the losses and lives that passed.
Our spirits soar above the din of thunder and crackling, we are joined with all the ancestors and those unborn
we see herein that what we are is fertile and benefits all
mindfulness and presence offers stillness inside
arraying the world with light brilliant glowing for all
We know that our hearts will burst with the gift overflowing and spilling across the landscape
LET US RISE, LET US RISE
let us rise
By Randle Loeb on Nov 28, 2010 | In Caring and Surviving, Citizenship and Stewards By Randle Loeb
The night unfolds
awaiting a call again from foreign soils
speaking to the night,
clenched teeth and knit furrowed brow
Feeling vulnerable and tenuous
Wishing that summer's rains were pouring down,
knowing that ere long the frosty white mantle will cover everything
wrap me in its grip
Outside engines race through the night cutting like a knife through the chilled air,
spewing forth their poisons like a dragon.
I'm inside with my door open wide like the lip of a chasm.
shuddering and stuttering alive.
Knowing that each step draws nigh to the brink of death.
There is no remorse.
Only stabbing pangs of unending pain that stillness is vested from my fleeting murmurs.
I cannot see from the doorway into the pitch dark night
I am present
treading on a landscape that is as harsh as the moon
fragile as my open heart
By helen on Nov 16, 2010 | In The Black Perspective of Views of America By Helen Burleson
JUSTICE: AMERICAN STYLE
By Helen L. Burleson, Doctor of Public Administration
“I AM OUTRAGED OVER THIS DEVIL GETTING 6 MONTHS FOR KILLING A YOUNG BLACK MAN,VICK GOT 2 OR 3 YEARS FOR KILLING A DOG.NOTHING WILL EVER CHANGE IN THE RACIST USA.”
AOL News Surge Desk – (taken from the web)
“(Nov. 15) -- Justice was delayed, but in the end it was not denied.
Forty-five years after civil rights worker Jimmie Lee Jackson was slain in Alabama, former state trooper James Bonard Fowler, now 77, has pleaded guilty to the crime. His plea means that Fowler will now serve six months in jail.”
This above quote was sent by an outraged citizen after reading the above article which told of the fate of a state trooper who killed a civil rights worker. The writer’s outrage spurred the writing of this article. Given the blemished history of our country, it seems that nothing ever changes. We have a compendium of laws attesting to the fact that America is a country that follows the rule of law, The Bill of Rights, The Constitution and all its Amendments and the Acts that follow; and, yet Americans of African descent still do not get justice in America.
What does it mean to have hate laws or any laws that are not enforced? Justice, is not only not blind in America, it is sighted and slanted against the African American community. White policemen can shoot young Black men in the back while being restrained and it is called self-defense. A Black man can steal a chicken and get years in prison. The cruel and unusual punishment to which Black men are subjected in America is just par for the course in the American justice system.
America, the blood is so thick on your hands that your hands can never be washed clean.
When, oh, when, America are you going to be genuine and sincere in what you believe? As the world watches us, what do you think they are thinking of us? We send our mighty armies in to dethrone, defrock and dispose of “dictators” in foreign countries and wail about all their injustices and how they are abusing their own people. What sense does this make when America does not hold a mirror up to her crimes against her people of color? What sense does it make to go around the world, coercing and enforcing justice for people in other countries when we don’t apply the same standard to our own people.
America, America, my America, shame on you. You have not crowned thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea. You have taken the cream from Africa and made them the wretched and never have set them free. Conversely, those of your choosing are welcomed at Ellis Island by the Statue of Liberty which bears the inscription:
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."
When America will the golden door open for those you took from their homeland, stripped them of their inheritance, their ancestry, their history, their names, their tribes, their family structure and unity, their freedoms and their birthright? When, oh when, America, will you finally rid yourself of your guilt that causes you to hate a people that you enslaved? When, oh when, America will you make amends and restitution for your sins of commission? When, oh when, America will you heal yourself of your perpetual racism born out of your guilt for your sins against a people who have been loyal to you; but, for whom you have not returned that which is due them? When, oh when, America will you stop giving lip service to and apply equally what is considered equal justice under the law to the people that you took away from their Motherland and made them labor for you? When, oh when, America will you yearn to be the country that you purport to be.
[“ Oh, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”]
When, oh when, my America?
By admin on Nov 10, 2010 | In Leaders & Decision-Making
BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE
How Can You Compromise with people whose Primary Mission is to Undermine America?
I love President Obama, but he's scaring me. He could be one of the best presidents that America has ever had, but he seems to have one serious shortcoming - he doesn't seem to have the killer instinct necessary to survive in Washington, D.C. I thought he'd learn something from the whipping that the Democrats just took in the last election, but he's already talking about compromising.
How can you compromise with people who have clearly shown that their primary mission is to undermine America? All their talk about a smaller government and lowering the deficit is just a smokescreen. What the Republicans are actually after are three things - their return to power, the corporate control of America, and to be rid of this Black president, not necessarily in that order.
Yeah, I said it. Racism is the driving force behind their unprecedented anger against this government. No, not all of them are racist, some are acting on greed, and others are simply dumb, but the greedy are the ones who are pulling the strings, and they're relentlessly stoking the flames of racism within their social conservative storm troopers to promote their interests.
The Republican Party is made up of three factions - the fiscal conservatives, who are the generals who control the party; the social conservatives, whose ignorant bigotry against anyone who doesn't look, think, and act like they do make them the perfect storm troopers; and finally, the true conservatives, who are simply being inundated by the constant drumbeat of disinformation.
The last group is the one that President Obama should be appealing to, but instead, he seems to be fixated on the first two groups, people who he will never be able to appease. Many of us are scratching our heads over that. We simply cannot understand how a man who is otherwise so intelligent can be so hopelessly in the dark regarding this particular issue. Well, I think I know why.
I think it goes back to a coping mechanism that Obama developed early in life. As a child he's lived all over the world, so he's always been just a little bit different from everyone he's known. He grew up as the ultimate outsider. On the one hand, that has been beneficial in his development, causing him to push himself to the limit in order to maintain his self-esteem, but on the other, it has caused him to develop a go-along-to-get-along coping strategy in order to fit in. While that strategy has obviously served him well earlier in life, that's not what the American people want to see in a president, and it is the very last thing we need at this point in American history.
America is currently fighting for its very life, because corporatists within the Republican party have been allowed to become so powerful and so greedy since the Reagan administration that they're not about to be reined in now. An entire generation of corporatists has come of age not knowing anything other than having their own way, so they'll tear this nation apart before they'll give up that power, and that's exactly what they're doing.
But what's most horrifying about this situation is that most Americans are so distracted by the entertainment media, and brainwashed by the news media, that they don't even know that they in a fight.
Let's take a look at what's happened to us since we last had a functional democracy. First, Reagan all but destroyed our unions, which made us totally dependent on the corporatists. Then, they destroyed our educational system, repealed the Fairness Doctrine, and gained control of 90% of all the media in the country. By taking control of the media they were now in control of what we think, and by destroying our educational system they deprived us of both our sense of history, and our ability to be independent thinkers - which led directly to the debacle in the last election.
They've now stacked the Supreme Court with conservative cronies. The court is even more conservative now than it was when they disenfranchised the American people and handpick George Bush as our president in the 2000 election. Now, in their "citizens United" ruling, a corporation based in Dubai can have more control over our electoral system than an America citizen. Can you see where this is going?
So it is essential that the American people wake up from their trance and start making some noise. It's time that we let President Obama know, and in no uncertain terms, that we don't want to hear the word compromise slip from his lips again for the next two years.
At this point in our history, we don't need a diplomat - we need a general.
Eric L. Wattree
wattree. blogspot .com
Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.
By Orion Carrington
I’m not claustrophobic or anything, but the mere thought of being stuck in a narrow canyon with the use of only one of my arms because the other is pinned to the wall of the canyon by a massive boulder and is quickly losing circulation is SCARY… Almost as scary as the thought of trying to recreate the whole event on film and making it interesting enough to keep an audience's attention for a full hour and a half. That would really freak out most people, but not director Danny Boyle. Boyle took on the project of 127 Hours immediately following his Academy Award-winning hit Slumdog Millionaire, and he didn’t skip a beat!
Screening at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver for the Starz Denver Film Festival's Big Night on Nov. 5, 127 Hours is based on the real life story by Colorado native Aron Ralston, who spent five days (or 127 hours to be exact) fighting to survive while he was trapped in a canyon in Utah in 2003. Ralston was running out of food, water and eventually hope, until finally deciding to amputate his own arm in a last ditch effort to live. The story is all chronicled in Ralston’s memoir Between a Rock and a Hard Place and has now made its way to the big screen.
As you could imagine, shooting a movie that takes place primarily in a narrow, dimly lit canyon is quite a feat, think Cast Away minus the volleyball “Wilson," but Boyle manages to pull it off. The cinematography was creative, which kept it interesting, but Boyle would cut to shots of the canyon walls and from Aron's point of-view, so that you’d never forget that he was stuck in a desperate situation.
The role of Aron Ralston is played by actor James Franco, best known for Pineapple Express and the Spider-Man movies. Franco really captures Aron’s character in his portrayal, playing him to a T. I had the opportunity to meet and speak with the real Aron, and he seemed like a great guy, very humbled from his experience, and thankful for the life he’d been given.
This brings me to the only problem I had with the film. I never thought I’d ever say this about a movie, but I think Franco may have stayed too true to Ralston’s character; most people won’t get the chance to meet the real Aron like I did, and although I think he’d be a great guy to go grab a beer with, I’m not sure I’d want to watch him for almost two hours on the big screen.
Aron seemed like a cool, confident and laid-back kind of guy. The type of person who doesn’t lose his cool even in a horrific situation like getting his arm smashed, trapping him in a canyon in the middle of no where. But, this was a movie after all, and although I’m sure Franco used a bit of artistic license, I found myself wanting more. I wanted to feel genuinely afraid for Aron after watching him fall into a canyon, but his confident demeanor shined through and cast a shadow on any feelings of fear or concern I might have had.
I’m sure there’s a fine line, and it’s probably extremely difficult to portray someone who’s still alive and an active participant in the film you are working on, but there comes a point where myth becomes legend and that transformation can only happen from the little extra nuances added by the actor.
Franco became Ralston in this film, and although that was impressive to me, someone who interacted with the real person, I felt by staying so true to Ralston’s real image, he’s going to miss the opportunity to connect with the majority of people watching the film, who would be going crazy in the same position.
That being said, the movie will still grab its viewers and keep them gasping for air along with its focal character until the very end, when Aron finally comes to the conclusion that he’s going to detach his own arm with a dull, worn-out knife… That scene alone explains why Boyle won the Mayor’s Career Achievement Award at the Starz Denver Film Festival this year. I’m sure it’s the first of many to come from this movie for Boyle.
A gripping story of triumph and perseverance, 127 Hours is Danny Boyle’s latest challenge in filmmaking, and much like its predecessor, Slumdog Millionaire, you’re not going to want be the only person in the world who hasn’t seen Boyle’s latest stunning sensation.
By admin on Nov 4, 2010 | In Creative Words & Images
A Review of Rabbit Hole, the opening film of the 2010 Starz Denver Film Festival
By Orion Carrington
The stars and planets truly aligned to bring us a near perfect film at the opening night of this year’s Denver Film Festival. Rabbit Hole is a film adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by David Lindsay-Abaire. The movie is about a suburban couple, who once upon a time had a picture perfect life but are now grieving the tragedy of a recent loss and slowly fighting to put it all back together again.
This movie felt real; it captured the intricacies of the grieving process and told a very delicate story without feeling forced or superficial. This movie pretty much did everything right: gripping believable performances, great directing/cinematography, and original writing and funding from producers that let the movie speak for itself.
Nicole Kidman really tapped into her emotions as a mother and delivered the kind of performance you’d expect from an Academy Award winner. And Aaron Eckhart really dug deep and challenged himself with this role, earning himself the Denver Film Festival 2010 Excellence in Acting Award for his performance, and it was well deserved. The director, John Cameron Mitchell, challenged himself as well, both from a career standpoint (Rabbit Hole is a very different film from his previous work, Hedwig and the Angry Inch), and emotionally. Cameron Mitchell dedicated this movie to his younger brother, who died at the early age of 4 when John was only 14, giving him the insight possible to direct this film into greatness.
One of the best things about going to film festivals is the opportunity to see breakout performances by new/up-and-coming actors who are just getting their start. This movie's breakout performance is from the young actor, Miles Teller. This was Teller’s film debut and the kid was GOOD! The movie is also the debut of Nicole Kidman’s production company, Blossom Films. Nicole purchased the rights to the movie after seeing it performed on stage in New York. I believe it was Kidman’s experience as an actor and now producer, along with the rare privilege of having the actual playwright as the movie's screenwriter, combined with all the other factors that allowed this movie to be as good as it is.
Rabbit Hole delivers a real life look at a couple’s broken life, and although I can’t promise you’ll leave the theater with dry eyes, I can promise that you’ll leave happy that it was money well spent. It's set for release in select theaters December 17th. If you like great acting and want to see a movie like nothing you’ve seen before, go see Rabbit Hole; you won’t be sorry.