Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Rice for Vice President

Within the past several days, a few media outlets have carried rumors that Condoleezza Rice, the Secretary of State, will run on the Republican ticket with John McCain.

Rice has repeatedly denied any interest in running for office and deflects such assertions that she will be McCain's running mate.

But clearly there is something going on here for this matter to be brought up at this time. Could it be that the Republicans are courting Rice for the ticket as a means to show diversity within their ranks? Is it possible that this notion of Rice running for second in command is being floated as a trial balloon to gauge public reaction? Like the old saying goes: "Where there is smoke, there is fire."

I believe there is some credence to this, Rice's denials aside.

It would make some sense. First of all, Rice is an extremely intelligent, dynamic person who could help build bridges for the Republicans domestically. And her foreign policy experience makes her a heavyweight around the globe. Arguably, she has more experience than Barack Obama. Well, not just arguably, truthfully. But Dr. Rice lacks Obama's charisma. She has vast interests and is definitely someone I'd love to sit down and talk with. I know I would come away smarter just from meeting with her. But I don't know that she will be able to inspire a political block to come out and vote.

Many black people have written off Dr. Rice because of her allegiance to President Bush. There have even been some dirty rumors about Dr. Rice and her boss. That's a shame. I make no illusions about my party loyalty. I am a Democrat. And I am proud of it. But that does not mean that I cannot recognize brilliance regardless of one's political affiliation.

The fact of the matter is, Dr. Rice is a trailblazer. She doesn't get the respect that she deserves. Imagine how she probably feels. She is not embraced by her own people and she shares very little in common with her mostly white male colleagues in the Bush Administration. That puts her betwixt and between. Shunned by her own, foreign to others. Yet, Dr. Rice is a woman of great strength and conviction.

The fact that she is being mentioned as a VP candidate should be celebrated. Call it the Obama factor. Call it progress. Call it the dawn of a new day in America.

And for all that the Democrats have done for black people over the years, why did it take a Republican to add blacks to such high ranking roles within the administration?

Just a thought.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Obama is the realization of King's dream

I wasn't born when Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have A Dream" speech, but I have seen and heard it many times. It is more powerful to watch it, each time it brings me to tears because of King's oratory ability, the conditions of the time and his vision for a better tomorrow.

King would be struck down by an assassin's bullet before his dream was realized. Much has been written about how far we have come since that fatal day in Memphis 40 years ago. What would King say about where we are? If he were here today, I think he might say there has been progress, but there is a long way to go. Racial prejudice still exists and will likely never go away. Black people still lag behind whites economically. Misunderstanding and mistrust still exist based on racial and ethnic backgrounds.

If King were here today, he'd be 79 years old and likely tired and weary from the struggle. Undoubtedly, he would be looking to others to carry the baton for advancement and improved race relations. He would be looking for someone else to be the torch bearer, the bright light, the beacon of hope.

I think he would look at Barack Obama and say: "You are the embodiment of what I spoke of that hot summer day back in August of 1963. You, Barack, are what I dreamed of."

That Obama, a man borne of a white mother and Kenyan father, would be running for President of the United States and show an ability to unite people across racial lines would undoubtedly make King proud. He might equally sing the praises of Tiger Woods, a multi-ethnic athlete universally embraced across racial lines and married to a white woman.

But it isn't these men themselves that King would be proud of, but the conditions and progress that make their success possible. King dreamed of an America where a man would be seen not for the color of his skin, but the content of his character.

Yes, Dr. King, we still have a way to go, but we have come a long way toward that dream of yours.

Is Barack Obama the realization of Martin Luther King's dream?

pollcode.com free polls

Friday, June 8, 2007

Closing the Digital Divide

I read something encouraging the other day...It was a story that said the digital divide between African Americans and whites is closing. With the growth of broadband and DSL connections, black folks are spending more time on the Web and in front of their computers.

That is a good thing. Clearly, we are moving toward a more digital, Internet-based economy. The cool thing about the Internet is that it is a means of leveling the playing field and enabling ordinary people to market their goods and services and get their word out to the masses. These things cost very little or no money at all.

The fear had been that while this growth on the Internet was taking place, black people would be left behind and not take advantage of the tremendous opportunities to start business, gather information, etc. I don't have the stats in front of me, but the story pointed out that the growth in the number of black people spending time online outpaced all other ethnic groups. We still lag behind in overall time spent surfing the Web, but the growth rate is there.

That is a good thing.

Your thoughts?

And who are you rooting for Barack? or Hillary? Tell me why.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Mike Vick

I'm not sure how I feel about this situation. I thought I was totally against Mike Vick on these illegal dogfighting allegations, but then I read something that made me think deeper.

Someone pointed out that while we make a big deal about people fighting dogs, claiming that it is cruelty and inhumane, there are many other crude and brutal behaviors taking place. The writer pointed out that the Ultimate Fighting Championship is about as raw and violent as it gets right now on TV. Yet, we do not hear anyone shouting that this channel should be boycotted, etc. because it airs UFC.

Violence is wrong, no matter what community you come from.

Drugs have an impact on all of our neighborhoods.

Skin color should not be the determining factor when you decide to help someone. I know a lot of white people in need of financial assistance.

First we need to sell the junk and then we can get to the good stuff.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Spending for the unpopular war

I am not sure what the price tag is at this time on the war in Iraq, but it is in the several hundred billions of dollars.

We are spending this money because we have to...our servicemen and women are over there with their lives on the line. I salute these brave individuals for their sacrifices. I am glad to have them so willing to defend America's freedom. Thank you...

But it is a shame that these fine men and women in our armed forces are being pimped and used as political pawns. Yes. They are used by the president because he dares the Democrats to cut funding for the war because it will jeopardize the troops. That may very well be true. But it shame that these loyal troops would not be in harm's way were it not for Bush's machismo and bravado in the face of reason.

The Democrats are using the loss of life and limb by these troops to support their reasoning for ending the war. Though this is not as bad as the sin committed by the right wing, it is a shame.

We should be beyond fighting wars. We should stop the war because it is unjust. But when you are in the service, this is what you sign on for. There is a chance that you will be called into combat. Every soldier knows that, or should.

What troubles me mostly is how we can suggest additional funding for the war and get it approved quickly by Congress. But ask the federal government to support school construction in some of the worst urban communities and it will take years, if ever, for it to get done. People complain about money being spent on "government entitlement programs" but don't say much about the government entitlements going to firms like Haliburton and other war profiteers.

Imagine how much of a difference we could make in our communities if the money that is so easily being spent on what appears to be a lost cause thousands of miles away. Are the disadvantaged children here in the poor neighborhoods of America not worth it? What about the police forces that are stretched thin? What about the communities that are dealing with road gridlock?

We are fighting a war to prevent the spread of radical Islam overseas. Yes, the threat of terrorism is very real. But so, too, is the threat of losing a chance to save young people who need a helping hand. Are they not worth the same urgency?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Recommended reading...

I'm reading a book right now about an incredible man...Reginald Lewis. Not familiar with the name? Look him up on Google. Lewis, who died in 1993, was at one time the wealthiest black person. He beat Oprah and Robert Johnson to that title.

So who was Reginald Lewis? Lewis was an attorney and entrepreneur. He was extremely smart and confident. He refused to accept excuses and had no time for mediocrity. He demanded the best out of those who worked with and for him because he would give no less of himself.

Lewis, a native of Baltimore, reached his lofty status when he took over Beatrice Foods...

Read this Wikipedia entry. (I've checked this entry for accuracy)
Recruited to a top New York law firm immediately after law school, Lewis left to start his own firm two years later. After almost 20 years as a corporate lawyer with his own practice, Lewis moved to the other side of the table by creating TLC Group L.P., a venture capital firm, in 1983. His first major deal was the purchase of the McCall Pattern Company, a home sewing pattern business. He later sold the company at a trememdous profit for investors.
In 1987 Lewis bought Beatrice International Foods from Beatrice Companies for $985 million, renaming it TLC Beatrice International, a snack food, beverage, and grocery store conglomerate that was the largest black-owned and black-managed business in the U.S. The deal was partly financed through Mike Milken of the maverick investment bank Drexel Burnham Lambert.
When TLC Beatrice reported revenue of $1.8 billion in 1987, it became the first black-owned company to have more than $1 billion in annual sales.
At its peak in 1996, TLC Beatrice International Holdings Inc. had sales of $2.2 billion and was number 512 on Fortune magazine's list of 1,000 largest companies. He was also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc.

Reginald Lewis died of a brian tumor. You should read the book on his life which he co-wrote portions of. It is entitled: "Why should white guys have all the fun?"

Lewis was a graduate of Virginia State University and Harvard Law School.

What does this tell us? First, HBCUs have a history of putting out fantastic graduates. And, second, that life is too short; you need to make your mark TODAY. Tomorrow is not promised.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

What do you want to see on this Web site?

We here at Black Pages USA want to create an experience that you will enjoy and keep you coming back again and again. The content that you see here is from what we believe to be the best of what's on the Web in terms of news and information related to people of color and empowerment. But this is just our point of view. What's yours? What needs to be here to make BlackPagesUSA.com part of your daily Web browsing?

Send me your posts and we will discuss the most popular ideas soon.

I was reading an article on ESPN.com earlier today about how the NFL Draft largely bypassed historically black colleges and universities. Hampton University had a player, Justin Durant, taken on the first day of the draft, but had expected to have as many as five players taken. The article, written by an NFL writer whose work I respect, pointed out that the talent at HBCUs is overlooked. This is a long way from the days of when Grambling sent the likes of Doug Williams to the NFL. Williams, who was the first black quarterback to lead his team to a Super Bowl victory, and Jerry Rice from Mississippi Valley State, are the most recognizable NFL names to come from HBCUs in the past quarter century. But the NFL Hall of Fame is decorated with many players who were forced by segregation to play at HBCUs and went on to NFL glory. The problem is, the days of concentrated talent at HBCUs may be over. There are a few powerhouse programs like Hampton, but not the overall competition that once existed. The best players of color from the south are going to the SEC or the ACC, or even the Big 12.

Some might even argue that the run to Division I diluted talent in historic conferences like the CIAA which plays Division II. I think this is an acceptable argument, having grown up toward the end of the glory days of the CIAA. The basketball tournament is still a huge draw. But the defections of schools like Hampton, Norfolk State, and now Winston-Salem State to Division I has taken some of the passion from the CIAA. Some of the natural rivalries are no more. Hampton has made the transition with poise and great success, but Norfolk State still struggles with an underfunded and mostly directionless athletic program.

But, as they say, everything must change. So let's not pine too much for the "good ole' days." Yet, I hope that we can get more coverage and attention paid to HBCU sports.

That said, is that sort of content useful here? Let me know.