Sunday, April 27, 2008

Father Michael Pfleger: Media & Race in America

I found this powerful video over at Jack & Jill Politics:

The words of the priest speak for themselves.

plez sez: anything i say will only serve to diminish what was said in the video. powerful stuff!

[Hat Tip: Jack & Jill Politics]

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Obama in 30 Seconds has solicited ads for their Obama in 30 Seconds campaign. Below are my favorites from the contest. Click on the link and vote for your favorites.

They Said He Was Unprepared...

In Excellent Company: Highlights the political experience of other great presidents: Washington, Lincoln, Wilson, FDR.

Judgement Matters: Highlights the experience of the men who led us into the war in Iraq.

Sing for Obama: Yes We Can: Inspirational and catchy tune.

Obama 2012: Yes He Did!

Obama - Tools for Change: When all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail...

Buttons for Obama

Purple: No Red States, No Blue States.

We Are Obama: We are Barack Obama.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Sean Bell - Execution By Police

On the evening of November 25, 2006, Sean Bell went out with three friends (Joseph Guzman, Trent Benefield, and one other man) to a strip club in Jamaica, New York to celebrate his marriage that was scheduled for the next day.

A hail of gunfire (50 bullets fired by NYPD undercover officers - one officer reloaded his gun before resuming fire). Three of the men (Bell, Guzman, and Benefield) were dead, the other one seriously injured. No gun (which allegedly prompted this heavy handed action by the police) was ever found on a person or in the car with the shooting victims (think Iraq and WMD).

The police said that they thought the guys were going to the car to get a gun after an argument outside of the club. The car they were riding in was shot up as the four attempted to drive away in Bell's Nissan Altima.

Oh yeah... all four men were Black!

A judge in New York City has been hearing the seven-week trial (the officers waived their right for a jury trial) against the police. Today, Justice Cooperman in State Supreme Court in Queens entered a verdict of "Not Guilty" on all charges for the three police officers involved.

Before rendering his verdict, the judge said "the police response with respect to each defendant was not found to be criminal. The people have not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that each defendant was not justified in shooting." He found the three officers not guilty of all of the eight counts, five felonies and three misdemeanors, against them.

Read the entire New York Times article here.

plez sez: DAMN! DAMN! DAMN!

once again, justice peeked out from under the veil before rendering judgement in this case. the life of a Black man has no value when tossed into the balance of our current justice system.

i don't think the police were racist: one was latino, one was Black. but the justice system is racist, if it will allow police officers to gun down innocent people without reason or provocation.

the assumption by this ragtag group of officers was that the Bell party was going to get their guns, drive around the block, and then shoot up the club! isn't that the same rational used by bush administration for invading iraq - stop saddam hussein from using his weapons of mass destruction (WMD) against israel? i don't recall any WMD being found in iraq either!

predictive justice (especially, the use of deadly force) should be illegal. this verdict gives the police WIDE latitude in how they assess and act in any given situation, even a situation that they imagine. this verdict makes it even MORE DANGEROUS for a Black man to be in the presence of the police. a police officer can misconstrue any action as harmful to the public and using that as a basis for their actions, use deadly force to prevent you from doing something that they only imagined you would do!

this verdict gives the job of mind reader, police, judge, jury, and executioner to an officer who may have the training to do only one of those jobs! NOW THAT'S DEEP!


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Hillary Wins Pennsylvania

With her hopes of gaining the Democratic nomination fading with each successive day, Hillary Clinton's campaign limped out of Pennsylvania with a win over rival Barack Obama.

She is behind in the delegate count. She is behind in popular vote. She is behind in total states won. She is behind in money (she wasn't five minutes into her acceptance speech before she was groveling for contributors at her website). And even with this win, she gets no closer to winning the delegate race. But she's going to hang in there and fight on... Billary has been waiting eight years to return to Washington and they're not going to let a little thing like being behind in the race stop them.

Billary will not drop out of the race, she will forge on to Indiana and North Carolina for their primaries in two weeks. And when she loses those, she will still forge on until the last primary in June.

Read about the Pennsylvania primary here.

plez sez: the longer this campaign continues, the deeper the rift between clinton supporters (working class whites) and Obama supporters (Blacks & affluent whites). and more importantly, the longer this race continues, the more likely that one's supporters will not vote for the other in november, thus guaranteeing john mccain a cake walk to the presidency. as groundbreaking as this race has become (white woman vs. Black man), it is also fracturing the democratic party into billary democrats and Obama democrats. will one be able to energize the other's supporters to vote in november?

hillary won most of the big states and Obama won the rest. but democrats usually win the big states, it's the small states that elected george bush in 2000 and 2004. the democrats best chance to win the white house will be to ride Obama's crossover appeal and win some states that have been red in the last two election cycles: north carolina, georgia, virginia, alabama, mississippi, colorado, etc. big states like pennsylvania, california, illinois, and new york will vote for democrats (like they have in the last two election cycles).

mark my words... if billary stays in the race until june, the party will be in such disarray that i don't think either candidate will be able to beat mccain in november.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

$4 Per Gallon of Gas in Our Future?

Over the weekend, plezWorld pumped $30 of gasoline into the SUV, that thirty dollars filled less than half of the tank! I drove to DisneyWorld a few weeks ago, other than tickets to the parks, the cost of gasoline was our biggest expense (over $300).

A report in the New York Times says that for the first time, regular unleaded is over $3.50 a gallon nationwide. According to AAA, gasoline prices will be at or near $4 a gallon by this summer.

Simple economics is a major driver of price: OPEC countries (which control about 40% of the oil production) have kept their supplies to the global market constant as the demand for oil has risen with emerging economies in Asia. The demand here in the United States is as high as it ever was. The price of gasoline is 22% higher than last year.

The price of oil topped $100 a barrel earlier this year, it is now hovering around $120. Some analyst expect the price to reach $125 per barrel this year. The price of crude oil has quadrupled in the past five years!

In addition to the increased demand for steady supply, the slowing economy and the weak dollar in the US has also played a role in the higher prices.

Unless we reduce our demand for oil or we find another BIG ASS supply (the US consumes about 20 million barrels of oil per day), the prices will remain high.

Read the entire New York Times article here.

plez sez: so much for the guaranteed oil that was going to help pay for the war in iraq. so much for having an "oil man" in the white house.

at four dollars a gallon, it will take close to $80 to fill up my suv. i'm kind of tall and don't want to have to by a Prius... i guess we're going to have to suck it up and steel ourselves against gasoline prices when they go over four dollars a gallon!

i had a blog post almost 2 years ago (April 2006) where plezWorld decried $3 per gallon gasoline. what i wouldn't give for $3 gasoline today!

labels: oil, gasoline, economy, opec, war in iraq, george bush,

Sunday, April 20, 2008

...and Georgia Tech's T-Game!

Photo courtesy of AJC.comWhat a gorgeous afternoon for some mindless spring football. Georgia Tech's Yellow Jackets hit the field on a sun-drenched Saturday afternoon, temperatures in the mid-70's, and not a cloud in the sky.

The new head coach, Paul Johnson, probably wished that fewer people had shown up to watch the team butcher his option spread offense. Numerous fumbles. It was well into the second quarter before either the blue or white team could muster two first downs in a possession. Kinda sloppy... but then again, it is the spring and this is a brand new coach with a brand new offense.

plezWorld had the wife and the SugarPlum in tow, neither of which seemed concerned with the ineptitude displayed on the field, but then again, my wife is a graduate of the University of Georgia (who had their G-Game a few weeks ago). The first team offense & second team defense (white) got trounced 24-7 by the second team offense & first team defense (blue). And it wasn't that close... the second string quarterback threw for two touchdowns, while the first string quarterback couldn't get much of a ground game nor air attack going.

The bright spots of the day was that three of my frat brothers are on the team and all three saw quality time on the field today (Derrick Morgan, DE held it down for the blue team defense and Alex Walker performed for special teams). And Michael Peterson, CB played good in the secondary for the white team, in a losing effort (he didn't give up either of the touchdowns).

It was a busy day, first the SugarPlum's ballet recital, we scooted home to change clothes and grab some lunch, and then we returned to the Georgia Tech campus for the T-Game. Unfortunately, it was not enough football to sate my craving for a late August start to the fall campaign... I can't wait!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The SugarPlum Dance

This morning is the SugarPlum's annual ballet recital (Year Three). Her Saturday morning class will accompany the Atlanta Ballet Company dancers in a rendition of "The Toy Castle".

Program photo courtesy of my Palm Treo 680

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Quote of the Day - April 17, 2008

"I think last night we set a new record because it took us 45 minutes before we even started talking about a single issue that matters to the American people. It took us 45 minutes — 45 minutes before we heard about health care, 45 minutes before we heard about Iraq, 45 minutes before we heard about jobs, 45 minutes before we heard about gas prices.

"[Washington likes] stirring up controversies and getting us to play gotcha games and getting us to attack each other. And I've got to say Sen. Clinton looked in her element. She was taking every opportunity to, you know, get a dig in there.... That's all right, that's her right, that's her right to kind of twist the knife a little bit.... Look, I understand though, because that's the textbook Washington campaign, because that's the politics that's been taught to be played, that's the lesson that she had heard when the Republicans were doing the same things to her [husband] back in the 1990s."
- Barack Obama's reaction to the debate with Hillary Clinton held on last night

Read Ben Smith's blog over at

plez sez: i watched about 10 minutes... i couldn't stomach the rehashing of old news. i turned away long before either candidate was ask about anything substantive. i say, "no more debates, until Obama faces mccain!"

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Endorses Obama

In an article titled "Barack Obama: Democrats deserve a nominee for change," the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has come out to endorse Barack Obama for the Democratic Party nominee for President.

Excerpts of the article follow:
On Tuesday, Pennsylvanians will have the unusual luxury of voting in a Democratic presidential primary that promises to be truly relevant. Like two opposing armies marching to a new Gettysburg, the forces of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton come to this latest battlefield symbolizing two views of America -- one of the past, one of the future. Pennsylvania Democrats need to rise to the historic moment.

For us it is the candidates' vision and character that loom as the decisive factors in this race. For as dissimilar as they are, the two share much in common. It starts with their mold-breaking candidacies. Whoever wins the nomination will vie for a special place in U.S. history -- to be either the first African-American or the first female commander in chief.

Although their backgrounds are different, they have come to the same conclusion, one now shared by many Americans, that the Bush administration has taken the nation on a profoundly wrong course both at home and abroad. The excitement that has animated this primary season -- the surge of new voters, the change of party registrations -- is an expression of the nation's hunger for change.

For as hard as they have run against each other, both candidates are united in running vehemently against President Bush and all his works -- another common theme that came out in their visits to the Post-Gazette editorial board on successive days this week. Sen. Clinton was the more explicit in her disdain: George W. Bush "is one of the worst, if not the worst, president we have ever had."

Not surprisingly, the policies they advocate have much in common and are generally the polar opposites of those espoused by the current administration.

~ ~ ~

On Iraq, for those inclined to remember, Sen. Clinton carries more baggage, for she voted to approve the war in the first place. For those inclined to forgive, she would seek to repair relations with allies strained by the Iraq misadventure, as Sen. Obama also would.

~ ~ ~

There is one last common ground for these candidates: They are both uncommonly smart, thoughtful and very well-versed in the issues. They care about people and they care about the workings of government. They are prepared.

Their strengths promise, in short, the one thing that the Bush administration has so shockingly lacked: competency. There will be no intellectually lazy president in the White House if either succeeded to it, no outsourced thinking to the vice president or the secretary of defense, no cheerfully shallow praise for unqualified political appointments, no enduring cause for embarrassment by the American people.

So forget all the primary skirmishing. Sen. Obama is every bit as prepared to answer the ring of the 3 a.m. phone as Sen. Clinton. Forget this idea that Sen. Obama is all inspiration and no substance. He has detailed positions on the major issues. When the occasion demands it, he can marshal eloquence in the service of making challenging arguments, which he did to great effect in his now-famous speech putting his pastor's remarks in the greater context of race relations in America.

Nor is he any sort of elitist. As he said yesterday in effectively refuting this ridiculous charge in a meeting with Post-Gazette editors, "my life's work has been to get everybody a fair shake."

This editorial began by observing that one candidate is of the past and one of the future. The litany of criticisms heaped on Sen. Obama by the Clinton camp, simultaneously doing the work of the Republicans, is as illustrative as anything of which one is which. These are the cynical responses of the old politics to the new.

Sen. Obama has captured much of the nation's imagination for a reason. He offers real change, a vision of an America that can move past not only racial tensions but also the political partisanship that has so bedeviled it.

~ ~ ~

To be sure, Sen. Clinton carries the aspirations of women in particular, but even in this she is something of a throwback, a woman whose identity and public position are indelibly linked to her husband, her own considerable talents notwithstanding. It does not help that the Clinton brand is seen by many in the country as suspect and shifty, bearing the grimy stamp of political calculation counting as much as principle.

Pennsylvania -- this encrusted, change-averse commonwealth where a state liquor monopoly holds on against all reason and where municipal fiefdoms shrink from sensible consolidation -- needs to take a strong look at the new face and the new hope in this race. Because political business-as-usual is more likely to bring the usual disappointment for the Democrats this fall, the Post-Gazette endorses the nomination of Barack Obama, who has brought an excitement and an electricity to American politics not seen since the days of John F. Kennedy.

First published on April 16, 2008 at 12:00 am

Read the entire Post-Gazette article here.

plez sez : i'm not overly impressed with endorsements by newpapers, pundits, or notable politicians. i have rarely used an editorial board endorsement to help me make an electoral decision. but in light of the obvious hatchet job being done in the media on Barack Obama to the benefit of his opponents (the rev. wright issue that still gets airplay and ink weeks after Obama addressed it, the elitist b.s. that was a non-issue to begin with, the lack of coverage about the racist remark by congressman davis of kentucky, the quick dismissal of hillary's bosnia trip lies, the USA Today's biased report about current and former lobbyists who work on the Obama campaign, etc.), it is good to see that there is a level of sanity and commonsense left on the editorial board of this newspaper.

i do not support Barack Obama because he is Black. i didn't support al sharpton. i've never support al keyes. and i didn't believe that jesse jackson was a serious presidential contender. all three of them are Black!

i am impressed by Obama's character, his intelligence and grasp of the issues, his - at times - non-traditional way of looking at issues based on his non-traditional upbringing, our shared values, and his position on issues that affect all americans.

since the first super tuesday, hillary clinton has gravitated into a race-baiting, lying, shrill, bitter candidate who has resorted to saying ANYTHING in an attempt to garner votes for her sagging campaign. BARACK OBAMA needs to be the democratic nominee in the fall or the democrats may've lost my vote (and the votes of others who think like me).

plezWorld Supports Barack Obama

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Who Are You Calling "Boy"?!?

"I'm going to tell you something: That boy's finger does not need to be on the button. He could not make a decision in that simulation that related to a nuclear threat to this country."
- Congressman Geoff Davis (R-KY) recounting an alleged interaction with Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) at the Northern Kentucky's 4th Congressional District Lincoln Day Dinner on Saturday night, April 12, 2008!

The Republican Congressman from Kentucky does not dispute the accuracy of the quote. Rep. Davis hand-delivered a written apology to Obama's office when he returned to Washington, DC today.

Read the entire ABC News article here.

plez sez: wait a goddamn minute... who the heck is he calling boy?!? this *ish* is getting out of hand! first that uppity Negro stuff from billary and now this f*ckin' yahoo from kentucky is calling Barack Obama - a United States Senator and quite possibly the next President of the United States - a boy!!!

i'm about to lose my freakin' mind in here.

calling a Black man boy has long been the racist's way of treating Black men like children in the most demeaning way... it is vulgar, it is condescending, it is unbecoming, it is racist, and its only usage is to minimize and denigrate the standing of the Black man. my father grew up in North Carolina in the 30's and 40's... back then, white people would use the term "boy" and "nigger" interchangeably when referring to Black men. calling a Black man a "boy" is WORSE (and i mean it... it is WORSE) than calling him a nigger! how dare you just up and call a grown ass man a boy? i am seeing RED!!!

apology my eye! i don't want to hear an apology from congressman jeff davis... i don't wanna hear *ish* from congressman jeff davis... congress should be moving to censor him.

congressman jeff davis needs to apologize to every Black man who he has ever referred to as "boy"... and i KNOW that Barack Obama wasn't the first!

breath, plezWorld, breath... nice slow, deep breaths...

Atlanta Hawks in NBA Playoffs

New Hawks Logo for 2007-08Since the 1999 NBA season, Atlanta Hawks fans have been waiting to return to playoffs. Well, the prayers of Hawks fans everywhere - well, there's only a few left - have been answered: with a loss by the Indianapolis Pacers earlier this evening, the Hawks have backed into the eighth (and final) spot in the Eastern Conference Playoffs.

Unfortunately, that means that they'll square off against the top seeded Boston Celtics who currently own the best record in the NBA. And even more than that, the Celtics' second team mopped up the gym with the Hawks on this past Saturday night.

This is probably a mixed blessing since the Hawks will undoubtedly have an early exit from the playoffs - think three and out! Their poor excuse for a head coach and their inept GM will probably get reprieves from a pink slip... so it is guaranteed to be more mediocrity next year, since they won't be in the NBA Lottery (which they would've blown anyway).

Hurray for the Hawks... boo hoo for the Hawks fans who'll get the chance to see their miserable season (below .500) extended for another three games in a series of pitiful blowouts at the hands of the dreaded Boston Celtics.

Read the AJC article about the Hawks' playoff bid here.

plez sez: thinking out loud - if the Hawks were to win the first round series against the Celtics, that would easily be the biggest upset in the history of modern sports!

i only posted this article because i'm a homer... i honestly couldn't name the five starters for Atlanta Hawks, nor have i seen more than 10 seconds of any of their games this season. so i don't even count as a fair weather fan!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Quote of the Day - April 14, 2008

"You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
- Barack Obama addressing a question during a private fundraiser in Marin County, California over the weekend of April 6, 2008

plez sez: my biggest fear of the Obama Campaign was not that he would be perceived as the Black candidate (that is pretty hard to overlook), but that he would be perceived as an uppity Black candidate (a Black elitist who is out of touch with common folk and who has the gall to look down on poor whites). well, it happened and the media and the blogosphere has gone "ape shit" over... the truth!

when times are tough, people cling to things that comfort them or make them feel better about themselves. in some cases it is their religion (or faith) that pulls them through. for others, they find someone else upon whom to vent their frustrations (illegal immigrants are the low hanging fruit in this argument). the gun-toting faction claim you will have to pry their guns from their cold dead fingers.

just as there are some racial barriers that the white candidates dare not tread (you'll notice that neither mccain nor billary wanted to touch the conversation on race with a ten foot pole), there are some deeply held areas that Obama has learned over this weekend that he dare not tread. Obama and his wife are graduates (undergrad and law school) of our most elite ivy league universities (columbia, princeton, harvard law school), Obama is one of only one hundred US Senators - the most elite legislative body on the planet! he's a millionaire. and he's in the most expensive area of the country (northern California) dissing the unwashed masses who happen to be the hardworking folk in small town Pennsylvania and Indiana (states that hold primaries in a couple of days)... BAD MOVE!

of course, no one is going to play up the fact that his daddy left his family when he was 2 years old, he was raised by a single mother who had to go on food stamps at one time, he was given over to be raised by his white grandparents and wasn't given much in the way of formal religious training until he was well into his adulthood. his early work experience was "in the trenches" with workers who were hit hard by the loss of labor jobs to overseas workers.

to plezWorld, Barack Obama is quite a success story and illustrates what some hard work and elbow grease will do for you... to his critics, he may come off as a pompous ivy leaguer who has nothing in common with blue collar workers.

as comedian chris rock has said during his stand-up routine when referring to uppity Negroes, "there's nothing that a white man with a penny hates more... than a nigger with a nickel!"

the media and hillary and mccain have been calling Obama an elitist all weekend... to plezWorld, that is just a code word for an uppity Negro... and we all know what that means! and even those latte drinking elitists that the Clintonistas (as well as those right wing conservatives) have been crowing about during the primaries will have a hard time casting their vote for an uppity Negro!

this may not jeopardize him winning the nomination, but this gaffe has definitely given billary the opening they've so desparately been looking for. after running such a brilliant campaign, the Obama Camp has had some serious missteps over the past three weeks... these upcoming primaries can't get here fast enough!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Tavis Smiley and the Bitch Move

Tavis Smiley QUITS Tom Joyner Morning Show

The following are excerpts from an article on Black America Web that is credited to Tom Joyner (the host of the Tom Joyner Morning Show):
Well, you did it. This isn’t the way you wanted it to happen, but it happened anyway. Just like I knew it would.

I got a call from Tavis on yesterday. And he told me he was quitting the show. He told me the reason was that he was tired and has a lot of things going on, and he feels that now is a good time to leave the show.

We all know that isn’t the real reason he’s leaving the show. The real reason is that he can’t take the hate he’s been getting regarding the Barack issue — hate from the black people that he loves so much. He needed to feel the love. We all do, whether it’s from our radio audience or from people we know personally. He wasn’t feeling any love, so he quit.

A while back, he told us that I don’t speak for him. But this morning, since he isn’t here to speak for himself, I think it’s my job as a colleague and a friend. And maybe this time, you’ll really listen to me.

Tavis truly loves black people. I tried to tell you that. The hate he’s been getting hurts. He’ll never admit that, but it’s true.

plez sez: this is a bitch move by tavis smiley!

Black people APPLAUDED Barack Obama for skipping tavis's stupid re-tread "Covenant with Black America" a few weeks ago and it hurt tavis's feelings. tavis is upset that Black people are giving Barack Obama near unanimous support while ridiculing the onerous behavior of one tavis smiley.

tavis smiley wanted to play the role of kingmaker, he wanted all of the presidential candidates - especially the Black one - to kiss his ring (and his ass) for validation... Barack Obama skipped that step and Black people applauded his independence from tavis smiley and his ilk!

so, instead of taking his rebuke like a man, instead of admitting that he is not a kingmaker, instead of admitting that while he was kissing up to hillary clinton, Black folk were still supporting Barack Obama... tavis smiley has taken his marbles and is going home.

don't be surprised, he's quit before. read the Time Magazine article about him quitting NPR about three and a half years ago here. he complained that NPR was not doing enough to bring Black radio listeners to his show.

plezWorld sez, "Bye bye, Tavis, you're schtick was played out anyway!"

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Mary J. Blige - Just Fine

They are truly working it out...

plez sez: even though, i abhor the thought of another Electric Slide-type dance routine, i gotta admit that this group is definitely working it out... they're doing "just fine!"

the link was sent to me in an e-mail message. i would love to find out who this group is and do they have customized dances for different songs. if you know, leave a comment.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Spring Break - Day Three

It's Day Three, so we must be having a BLAST at Universal Studios in Orlando! Even though the skies are overcast, it is a balmy 80 degrees outside.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Quote of the Day - April 8, 2008

"Rest assured that men like Senator McCain will be the goal and the men that my two young boys will emulate and admire. You can have your Tiger Woods, we've got Senator McCain."
- Army Staff Sergeant David Bellavia introducing John McCain at a rally on Tuesday, February 8, 2008

The Hotline asks "What's with the Tiger Woods Comparisons?"

Read the entire Hotline article here.

plez sez: i'm wondering how Tiger Woods comes up in a political comparison involving Barack Obama, unless all bellavia (and the other hacks who got a good laugh out of his cheap one-liner) consider Tiger Woods (and by extension, Barack Obama) to be little more than the "black guys" in their respective areas of expertise.

this country STILL has an issue with race.

Monday, April 07, 2008

2008 plezWorld Spring Break

The focus of plezWorld will shift slightly as I will be absent for about a week; my family is headed to Florida to visit The Mouse for a well deserved vacation during my daughter's spring break from school.

I'll be sure to catch up when I return. SEE YA!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Seven Random Facts About plezWorld

Rafique, author of The Liberal War Journal has tagged me with the Seven Random Facts meme. Since plezWorld doesn't get tagged for memes very often, I'm compelled to comply.

The Rules:
I. Link to the person who tagged you.

II. Post the Rules Here.

III. Share Seven Random or Weird Facts About Yourself:
1. I started my first job when I was ten years old, delivering newspapers in Tarrytown, NY; the minimum age was 12 years old, but the delivery manager let me do it because my three older brothers also had paper routes in the small town.

2. I know a member of the Village People of "YMCA" fame, he was the choir director of the youth choir in the church that I attended in Elmsford, New York... his father was also the pastor of the church.

3. I used to take vocal training as a teenager and my only performance was a less-than-stellar rendition of the old Frank Sinatra standard "My Way."

4. Both of my parents were raised on farms in Depression Era and segregated North Carolina, they migrated up North in the late 1950's where I was born in New York; I was part of the reverse migration of the 1980's that brought me back Down South to Atlanta, Georgia.

5. I was a NASA Scholar when I went to college and I entertained the idea of entering the astronaut program, but I was too tall (I'm 6'4" and the maximum height requirement was under 6').

6. I met my wife 24 years ago at a party after the annual Georgia vs. Georgia Tech Football Game on the campus of the University of Georgia; the party was thrown by my frat brothers and she was hanging out with her snooty sorority sisters.

7. Many find it hard to believe that my wife and I share one checking account - the one I opened as a freshman at Georgia Tech - and we're still married after close to 18 years.

IV. Tag 7 random people, linking to them:
1. Lola Gets...
2. Boo Goo Doo Boom
3. Lori's Old School Mix
4. Cynical Bastard
5. living-loving-laughing
6. Stepfather of Soul
7. Terrence Says

(I actually put a random number generator to my Blog Roll and these are the seven blogs that emerged)

V. Leave a comment letting them know you've tagged them.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Most Say Nation Headed in Wrong Direction

The New York Times reports that 81 percent of Americans who participated in a poll say that this country is headed on the wrong track. With the war on terrorism flagging, more than 4,000 US troops killed in Iraq over the past 5 years, the mortgage mess, the credit crunch, gasoline prices approaching $4 a gallon, three months of job losses, the stock market declines, the $150 billion cash band-aid, and an economy that is on the brink of a recession... there's not too much to cheer about around here!

An excerpt from the article reads:
A majority of nearly every demographic and political group — Democrats and Republicans, men and women, residents of cities and rural areas, college graduates and those who finished only high school — say the United States is headed in the wrong direction. Seventy-eight percent of respondents said the country was worse off than five years ago; just 4 percent said it was better off.

The dissatisfaction is especially striking because public opinion usually hits its low point only in the months and years after an economic downturn, not at the beginning of one. Today, however, Americans report being deeply worried about the country[...].

Only 21 percent of respondents said the overall economy was in good condition, the lowest such number since late 1992, when the recession that began in the summer of 1990 had already been over for more than a year. In the latest poll, two in three people said they believed the economy was in recession today.

Read the entire New York Times article here.

plez sez: when over four-fifths of the respondents say the same thing, you can probably take the results to the bank. but did anyone have to do a poll to know that almost every demographic has been adversely affected by the policies of the bush administration? every demographic has been adversely affected by the war. every demographic has been adversely affected by the mortgage mess. every demographic has to damn near empty their wallets to fill their gas tanks these days.

this poll leads me to wonder what drugs those 19 percent who think the country is on the right track are taking. they must be taking that good stuff if they are oblivious or unaffected by the severe downturn in the US economy... or they're making a lot of money because of it!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Forty Years Ago Today

On April 4,1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated while he visited Memphis, Tennessee to lead a march for sanitation workers. On the evening before, in his "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech, he had the foresight to mention that he would not get to see the society that he so eloquently described in his "I Have a Dream" speech.

America's greatest citizen holds a special place in plezWorld's heart. Unfortunately, we continue to look at his speeches, marches, and accomplishments through the prism of the Jim Crow South from which he rose. We continue to make the mistake of seeing his Dream as one of white vs. Black; I don't see it that way. What made Martin Luther King, Jr. so great is that his vision transcended race and socioeconomic condition - he spoke with moral authority for all Americans.

plezWorld decries the fact that Dr. King's dream has been deferred for so long. This year, we finally have the opportunity with this presidential election cycle to look beyond race and gender to rate the merits of those who want to lead this country.

I only pray that America decides to live up to its creed.

Excerpts of Dr. Martin Luther King's "I've Been to the Mountaintop" Speech, delivered on April 3, 1968, the evening before his death:
And they were telling me, now it doesn't matter now. It really doesn't matter what happens now. I left Atlanta this morning, and as we got started on the plane, there were six of us, the pilot said over the public address system, "We are sorry for the delay, but we have Dr. Martin Luther King on the plane. And to be sure that all of the bags were checked, and to be sure that nothing would be wrong with the plane, we had to check out everything carefully. And we've had the plane protected and guarded all night."

And then I got to Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?

Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Judge Marvin Arrington & His "Bill Cosby Moment"

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Fulton Superior Court Judge Marvin Arrington routinely uses his sentencing day - on Thursdays - as a time to speak his mind to offenders who come before him for sentencing. On last Thursday, he went one step further: he had about 50 defendants (all of whom were Black) and he asked all of the white people in the room to leave before he addressed them.

Arrington said that for him it was just a "Bill Cosby moment" in which he delivered a harsh indictment that bad behavior in poorer black neighborhoods was an albatross on black advancement. Unlike Cosby, who has received some criticism among blacks for delivering such messages, Arrington received a standing ovation from the defendants and their families after his 10-minute talk.

Judge Arrington is quoted as saying, "I wanted to have a fireside chat and my grandmother said years ago that if you're going to fuss at black people, you don't need to do it in front of white people." He continued, "I didn't know it was going to be so controversial[.] I probably made a bad judgment call and I probably won't do it again. It was not ill-intended. My heart was in the right place."

The judge has received some flak for asking the white attorneys to leave the courtroom.

Read the entire AJC article here.

plez sez: i know judge marvin arrington... he grew up in the same neighborhood and attends the same church as my wife's family in atlanta. i've met him at a few church gatherings and we are members of the same fraternity. i was even a guest speaker - on career day - in his younger sister's classroom at booker t. washington high school a few years ago.

i applaud him for reminding these young Black men that they are not only a strain on society, but they are also a cancer within the Black community. instead of heading to jail, all fifty of those guys should've been in a classroom or at a job! each one of those guys are exactly what's wrong with the Black community.

i do not applaud his methods. what he had to say - no matter how humiliating it may seem - needed to be heard by everyone: white, Black, asian, latino, etc. we can no longer let the worst examples of our community skate into the obscurity of our prison system. everyone needs to know that judge arrington and plezWorld does not condone or tolerate the behavior of our Black men that continues to keep our community down. i only hope that more of our Black leaders have "Bill Cosby moments" and tell the world what we think about those who continue to destroy our community.

do you feel that judge arrington was right or wrong to ask the white attorneys to leave?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

CNN Special - Black In America

Barack Obama began the conversation on race in America a few weeks ago. CNN continues the conversation with six hours of on-air programming and massive digital background at

The following is a press release from CNN:
Forty years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., CNN will launch a sweeping on-air and digital initiative, CNN Presents: Black in America. Breaking new ground in revealing the current state of Black America, this landmark programming features six hours of documentaries, a weekly series of reports that will air on CNN/U.S. and CNN International and appear as part of a multimedia online effort. The programming, which airs over four months in 2008, focuses on fresh analysis from new voices about the real lives behind the stereotypes, statistics and identity politics that frequently frame the national dialogue about Black America.

Reported by anchor and special correspondent Soledad O’Brien, Black in America begins with the two-hour premiere of Eyewitness to Murder: The King Assassination, a first-person account of what happened on April 4, 1968.

Black in America: Eyewitness to Murder – The King Assassination, Thursday, April 3, 9 p.m. (two hours)

In this first installment of CNN’s Black in America series, O’Brien investigates how James Earl Ray, an armed robber and escaped convict, had already spent an uncommon year on the run that included plastic surgery just a month before his path collided with that of the civil rights leader in Memphis, Tenn. Through interviews with witnesses and investigators, O’Brien retraces the steps of King, Ray, the FBI and Memphis police and explores alternative scenarios of who was ultimately responsible for the murder that, for some, represented the end of the American Civil Rights era.

Black in America continues in July with two additional two-hour documentaries that will air on CNN/U.S. and CNN International:

Black in America: The Black Man, Wednesday, July 23, 9 p.m. (two hours)

Perhaps the most misreported group in America today, black men are often stereotypically depicted in the media as convicts, gang members and absentee fathers. Told through the personal stories of graduates of the 1968 class of Little Rock Central High School, their sons and grandsons, for The Black Man, O’Brien seeks to determine whether life is better for black men now than it was 40 years ago. She reports on the disparities between blacks and whites in educational, career and economic achievement and factors leading to the devastating rates of black male incarceration. Contributing expert analysis are Harvard economist Dr. Roland Fryer, Princeton professor Dr. Devah Pager, journalist/social commentator Ellis Cose; and Georgetown University professor Dr. Michael Eric Dyson; and others. O’Brien reports on successes and dissects myths to explore the state of black men in America today.

Black in America: The Black Woman & Family, Thursday, July 24, 9 p.m. (two hours)

In this installment of Black in America, O’Brien, examines the unique and varied experiences of black women and families in America. O’Brien looks at the reasons behind the disturbing statistics on single parenthood, disparities between black and white students in the classroom, and the devastating toll of HIV/AIDS on black women. The Black Woman & Family yields insights into black achievements and struggles and perspectives on King’s hopes for progress. The documentary is told through the experiences of the Houston-based Rand family with expert commentary from economist and Bennett College president Julianne Malveaux, Essence magazine editor-in-chief Angela Burt-Murray, Dallas-based preacher and life coach Bishop T.D. Jakes, TV/radio personality Michael Baisden, entrepreneur and activist Russell Simmons, actor Vanessa Williams, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researcher Dr. Camara Jones and others.

As part of the Black in America series, weekly special reports will air between April and June that investigate topics including parenthood and marital rates among black adults, high rates of HIV/AIDS among African Americans, achievement gaps in education, careers, and even disparities in life expectancy rates between African Americans and the general population. These reports will debut after the world premiere of Eyewitness to Murder: The King Assassination.

“Only CNN could and would undertake a project this comprehensive and ambitious,” said Mark Nelson, vice president and senior executive producer for CNN Productions. “So many passionate journalists have poured themselves into this effort, turning up some surprising storylines and controversial theories about what’s been happening to black people in this country. The stories they will tell will impact all Americans.”

“As we developed this series, it was critical to go beyond what viewers believe and already know to introduce them to the real people behind the headlines that we report every day on our assignments,” O’Brien said.’s interactive special section for Black in America, available at, will launch in late March and will feature excerpts from the series and exclusive interviews with eyewitnesses to history. The section also will include timelines, maps and multimedia stories that highlight the ripple effects the King assassination had on the United States.

Bud Bultman and Steve Robinson are the managing editors for Black in America. Jeffery Reid is an executive producer; James Polk is a senior producer for the series; Jen Christensen and Elise Zeiger are producers. Mark Nelson is the vice president and senior executive producer for CNN Productions. Black in America was filmed in high definition.

Soledad O’Brien has reported on human events, politics, natural disasters and war zones from across the nation and around the world.
Preview the Black in America series on

Download the CNN trailer here.

plez sez: i'm interested in seeing the treatment by CNN and encourage you to take the opportunity to view the special on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the fortieth anniversary of his assassination.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Another Levert Death

A number of news services are reporting that Eddie Levert, of the soul group The O'Jays, has lost a son, Sean, within two years of the other. Sean was serving time in jail for failure to pay child support, when he was rushed to the hospital after falling ill. He passed away less than two hours after being rushed there from the jail on Sunday. Sean was 39 years old.

Sean and his older brother Gerald were two-thirds of the 1980's soul group, Levert, who had moderate success on the charts: "(Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop) Goes My Mind" (1986, #1 R&B), "Casanova" (1987, #5 Pop, #1 R&B), "Pull Over Baby" (1988, #2 R&B), "Just Coolin" (1989, #1 R&B), "Baby I'm Ready" (1991, #1 R&B), and others.

You may recall that Eddie's oldest son, Gerald, passed away in November 2006 after succumbing to an accidental overdose of prescription drugs. Gerald Levert was 40 years old.

Eddie Levert was the lead singer of the soul supergroup The O'Jays. They were the standard bearers of the Philly Sound during the 1970's. You will recognize their top hits, such as: "Back Stabbers" (1972, #3 Pop, #1 R&B), "Love Train" (1973, #1 Pop, #1 R&B), "Put Your Hands Together" (1973, #10 Pop), "For the Love of Money" (1974, #9 Pop, Top 10 R&B), "I Love Music" (1975, #5 Pop), "Use Ta Be My Girl" (1978, #4 Pop, #1 R&B), and many more.

Read the entire story here.

plez sez: keeping the Eddie Levert family in my thoughts and prayers with the loss of his second son in two years. i was a big fan of The O'Jays in the 1970's and to a lesser extent with Levert in the 1980's. the conditions surrounding sean's death are unknown at this time.