Monday, September 29, 2008

Doom and Gloom Economy

Im sure by now we're all used to hearing on the evening news, "a tough day on Wall Street," and, "the markets are down," but today we saw the biggest drop in US history The DOW fell 777 points. Unbelievable. The reason for the drop? Congress failed to pass the 700 trillion dollar bail out deal brokered in a bi partisan manner.

I feel like most Americans on this issue, Can I get a bail out? The average American is struggling just to put gas in the car to get to work, or put to put dinner on the table for his family. Why is the government trying to bail out these people that put themselves in that position to begin with because of greed?

Times are tough and I dont see it getting any better before it gets worse. Its hard to get a loan to simply buy a car or a home unless you have prestine credit. Oh and an educational loan? Forget about it. Looking for a job? Good luck, the National umemployment rate is 6.8%, the highest in years. Your 401k? Better save whats left of it because at this rate its going down the tube.

All this is to say we need to stay conscious and prayed up over this crisis that is not only affecting Americans, but the entire globe. The stock markets in Asia and Europe have not been immune to the American crisis.

Friday, September 26, 2008

DC Gun Rights vs. DC Voting Rights

As I sat and watched Congress on C-Span the other day debating the DC gun law, I felt upset and vunerable to Congress and its continuous attempts as making DC an "experiment city." The constitution gives Congress the exclusive right to legislate over the District of Columbia. Although we have a city council and mayor, Congress must approve all legislation in DC. Furthermore DC has only one voice and NO vote in the US Congress. Delegate Holmes-Norton represents DC in the House of Representatives but has not vote on the floor. DC also has no voice in the Senate.

A city that has 600,000 residents, more than 4 US states, pays the most in taxes per capita, and has had a veteran fighting in EVERY war since the Civil war needs a voice and a right to decide on their own matters.

Why is Congress, the Republicans in particular, arguing over a gun control law when DC has been disenfranchized for over 200 years?

I believe in the right to bear arms but there must be certain restrictions set in place the keep the guns out of the hands of people that dont need them.

I hope that when Barack Obama is President, DC will finally get what it deserves, The innate American ability to exercise our voice in Congress.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Hey all, my computer has been acting crapy so I havent been posting lately. Anyway I had the most weird dream. I was having dinner with John McCain and Barack Obama, lol. Maybe this political stuff has really got to me. And of course when the dream was getting good someone had to wake me up. So you know when a dream is good you try to go back to sleep to go back to the dream? Not this time, but it did happen once for me a long time ago lol.

The last few days have been alrite for me. I spent all day Sunday in church and watched my Cowboys win their 3rd game in a row! They are playing the redskins this Sunday which I am highly looking foward to. Speaking of church Sunday, the devil was lerking Sunday night. I got a call to go out to the club at 3am. Being that I havent been to the club in a minute, I was tempted, but I know that I would have been no good for God on Sunday had I went.

No other major news to report right now other than VOTE Nov 4th!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday, Monday

I missed posting yesterday as I had a busy day and literally passed out when I got home. I went to my fathers appreciation ceremony put on by his church. They held it at this all u can eat buffet. For someone that has been restrictive on my diet, it felt so bad eating all that food. I decided to jog this morning for about 15 mins, to end with cramps from the humid air. Today has also been a pretty busy day as well with me running errands for my family.

Today was also historic on the stock market. Lehman Brothers crashed and Merrill Lynch was right behind but was saved by Bank of America. I have this bad gut feeling that we haven't seen the last of the market going down. At least oil is dropping!

I had to laugh though at some of the medias spin on the Lehman brothers crisis. Titles such as "Nightmare on Wall Street," since word had broke Sunday night, and other names was too much.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Price Gouging Gas

I was pissed off today as I went to fill up the car and saw a gas station that was at $3.65 two days ago and now is $3.99 a gallon. I promptly cursed the gas station and drove to MD, not even 2 miles away, where the gas was $3.63. I know a lot of folks are scared about the ramifications of Hurricane Ike on the oil refineries but it doesn't give anyone a right to gouge the prices like that. Tomorrow I will actually follow a presidential mandate and report that gas station to the proper authorities.

Cursed hurricanes! Gas has been steadily going down, but come on, people need relief. Its not like I drive a gas guzzling vehicle either. I long for the $1.99 a gallon days.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Personal Blog # 1

Well it was a long week, but by the grace of God I made it through. Each week I am going to write a personal blog about the happenings in my life. Today there isn't much to write about, but I do want to talk about a peronal lesson God is taking me through.
That lesson comes from the Bible. "Faith without works is dead." For so long I was thinking that as long as I believe in God, he would solve all my problems. Which is true however I had no works to show. I didn't tithe and I honestly wasn't helping people out to the extent that I could have. Not necessarily financially either. God blesses us with so many talents and things which can help your neighbors, friends, even strangers on the street. I thank God for waking up my spirit. A scripture says it is better to give than to receive. I firmly believe that. The joy of helping someone when you can is indescribable.

On another note. I received an email today from the director of the teaching program that I was in this summer. They really want me to teach at Excellence Charter school upon the completion of my undergrad career. I had a lot of fun and I learned a lot teaching 5th grade up in the BK. Career wise I am still undecided. I come from a family of teachers so I know the long hours and hard work that is required to teach our children.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I remember 9-11-01

September 11, 2001, a day like any other other. I sat in my 10th grade music class when I first heard the news that America was under attack. I can recall the day so vividly, probably more than any other day that year. As my school went on lock down, we continued on our normal schedule until it was decided that we would have an early dismissal.
The entire student body was assembled in the cafeteria as the principal well academy director at the time, announced what had happened. Students were saying, "its the end of the world" among other apocalyptic comments.
As school was dismissed and I headed to the train station, I remember everything looking "normal." The train ride was quiet and errie to say the least. I can remember me thinking that I wish I had a radio or a TV to see or hear what was happening. I would get that chance when I saw the flames at the Pentagon from a distance from the bus stop not far from my home. The rest of the day I can remember going home, watching the news and then falling asleep. There was a weird feeling in my stomach that I can recall

Its amazing to see young students talking about this tragedy that were still in their mothers wombs when it occured. I hope 7 more years from now we will still recognize and remember the tragedy for what it was and that America will have to never experience anything like this again.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Hillary Effect

As an Obama supporter, I am a bit concerned now that the McCain camp has picked up the momentum by choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate. I wonder if this would have been a big deal if he had chosen Hillary. Hillary and Obama did have a long primary battle and they have united, however Hillarys response to Palin has beeb rather soft" compared to the Hillary we know and how she can get.

No disrespect to the career Senator Joe Biden but Hillary is more CHANGE than Biden. Biden has a great long record but picking Biden to me was a more of the same politics to me. My props to the McCain camp for turning the election into a non issues battle but rather an election on sexism, racism, amongst the other isms'. The only way that Obama can recover is by trying to focus back on the serious issues at hand. We DO NOT need another 4 more years of the same old tired failing Bush policies, which I believe McBush represents. Even worse I would move to another country if Palin God forbid won and regrettably became President. Forget that machine under Switzerland and France destroying the earth, Palin will doom us all.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Raising the Driving Age?

Wow so ironic yesterday that I wrote a blog about bad driving and I hear the news today that some group wants to raise the driving age. As someone who had the toughest time getting a license under 18 in the District I almost dont see the reason. I have to admit although I had a learners permit I was still driving, ignoring the restrictions. I know that most teens at that age do the same. While I think 16 is a bit young to drive, I favor the 17, or 17 1/2 age approach. There should be limits on the types of vehicles that age range drives and steep penalties for accidents.

We must not forget though the stats and that is OLDER DRIVERS (over 65) cause more accidents than younger drivers. Maybe there should be a cap on how old one can drive?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Idiots that can't drive

So today I witnessed a bad accident involving a childrens van and an idiot driver. The idiot driver ran a stop sign and caused a van full of children to hit a curb nearly missing a tree and almost running into a home. I have terrible road rage and the one thing I HATE is bad drivers or people that make dumb rash decisions. I have been driving for 3 to 4 years now and I can say that I drive safer than most in my age bracket. Anyway one child appeared to be hurt as MPD scrambled to find a first aid kit until the ambulance arrived. I must admit that DC police was on top of the situation dispatching out 6 police cars, a fire truck and two ambulances to handle the situation. The idiot driver appeared to be in his 20's..I see why insurance is so high for my age bracket.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sunday News/ Our Vote doesn't Count?

GOOD Sunday for those reading, I am a bit tired as I write this blog because I was awaken in the early morning by the irritation from my contacts that I had left on.
Nonetheless I still made it to church this morning and was blessed. I visited a Baptist church in DC (Lord they can go on) no offense :-)

However I didn't agree with the pastors comments that our votes in the election doesn't count. I believe in this critical election that every vote counts. Yes the president is chosen through the electoral college but in order to win those votes we need to come out in numbers to vote.

Friday, September 5, 2008

God Moves Mountains

Alot can happen in 24 hours. Your entire life can change. Well I experienced that since the last time I wrote yesterday. People can be so cruel and show no compassion, which I have come to learn more and more. Thank God for his mercy, and I pray for those people that don't have a heart. I witnessed family being evicted and God stepping in right on time. Not only did the situation get better, it gets GOOD! God brings people, Christian or non Christians into our lives to help when needed. Unfortunately, the so called Christian Church was unavailable for comment. Nonetheless God sent people that not only offered to pay to move all the furniture and storage it but to also pay the first months rent and security deposit at a new place. God is good. Witnessing that event yesterday truly made me believe that there is God in heaven that works with us everyday.

Prayer is a powerful tool that we need to start using more and more. Times are rough and when the going gets tough its time for a greater power to step in.

I know I have a lot going on in my life, but I thank God for everyday, no matter its outcome. The trials in life can only make you stronger and the good times are times to relish and enjoy.

Palin Slams Obama..really?

Well im sure you all saw that smear fest last night at the Republican National Convention. Palin along with Guillani did not talk about solving Americas problems, they only talked about Barack Obama. The only thing she proved is that she knows how to talk trash and ignite a crowd that was already in her favor. I am curious to see how the rest of America responds.

I was disappointed with her speech. Infact, I am very dissapointed with this convention. There has been no one talking about the issues that Americans really care about. The thing is they cant because the last 8 years under Republican leadership has forced us into these hard times.

I am more proud than ever to be a Democrat! I know that in November, Americans will see through all the rhetoric and vote for a leader with REAL CHANGE you can believe in.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Saving black boys

Very good article, check it out.

In the Supreme Court's 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote, "Today, education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments ... it is a principal instrument in awakening the child to cultural values, in preparing him for later professional training, and in helping him to adjust normally to his environment ... it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education."

Among the many children in America who are at risk and likely to lack success in school -- most often because they lack authentic educational opportunities -- the African American male student stands alone in terms of the accumulation of negative factors affecting his future. The evidence is startling, and the sum of all these negative factors alarming.

Special Education: Black boys in 2000-2001 made up 8.6 percent of national public-school enrollments. They constituted 20 percent of those classified as mentally retarded, 21 percent of those classified as emotionally disturbed, 12 percent of those with a specific learning disability and 15 percent of those placed in special education. Twice as many black boys are in special education as black girls, a fact that rules out heredity and home environment as primary causes and highlights school factors.

Expulsions and Suspensions: Despite representing only 8.6 percent of public-school enrollments, black boys comprise 22 percent of those expelled from school and 23 percent of those suspended.

Dropouts: While between 25 percent and 30 percent of America's teenagers, including recent immigrants, fail to graduate from high school with a regular high-school diploma, the dropout rate for African American males in many metropolitan areas is 50 percent.

Graduation Rates: Nationally, 50 percent of black males (as compared with 61 percent of black females, 80 percent of white males and 86 percent of white females) receive diplomas with their high-school cohort. In some urban districts, 30 percent of black males are in special-education classes, and of the remaining 70 percent, only half or fewer receive diplomas.

Juvenile Incarceration Rates: For whites under 18, 105 out of every 100,000 are incarcerated; for black youths the rate is three times as high, 350 per 100,000. More black males receive the GED in prison than graduate from college.

Unemployment: According to the 2000 census, the percentage of black youths 16 to 19 neither employed nor in school was 24.7 percent, nearly twice the national average for this age group and six times the national unemployment rate.

As a society, we don't like to talk about the magnitude of this failure. Ted Sizer, founder of the Coalition of Essential Schools, speaking at an Educators for Social Responsibility meeting about America's most vulnerable students, asked, "Why are we so silent on these questions? ... Why is the silence so pervasive?"

Throughout America, there are in fact schools that enable African American boys to succeed. But they are isolated, and there has been no national commitment to bring high-quality education to all children. Ronald Edmonds, founder of the Effective Schools Movement, observes, "We can, whenever and wherever we choose, successfully teach all children whose schooling is of interest to us. We already know more than we need to do that."

We must acknowledge this national problem and commit to the long, and likely painful, journey toward a positive future for African American boys. Though flawed in significant and improvable ways, the stated intent of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is commendable. It should be revised and fully funded to ensure success. Many educators of color support NCLB as a means -- perhaps the only current systemic means -- to ensure that black boys will not be left behind.

More fundamental even than NCLB, though, is the undisputed research about the benefits of early childhood education and what it means to the probability of success in school and life. Analyses by RAND of one preschool project after another -- including the Perry Preschool Project, Abecedarian Project and Chicago Longitudinal Study, among others -- confirm these benefits of quality early childhood education: less grade retention, less need for special education and increased high-school graduation rates. These results were especially significant for African American students, who all too often arrive at the kindergarten door with severely inadequate school readiness.

There are many examples of excellent educational outcomes for vulnerable children in general, and black boys in particular. These examples demonstrate that adequate financial resources combined with adults who hold themselves accountable for student success do produce high-level results for students most at risk of academic failure. Project GRAD (Graduation Really Achieves Dreams), which began in the Houston public schools, is now being implemented in several urban school districts. It takes a student from kindergarten through high school and ensures consistent and rigorous math, reading and behavior decision-making instruction from highly trained teachers, then rewards graduates with college scholarships.

Carlton Jenkins, principal at Linden McKinley High School in Columbus, Ohio, used Project GRAD to lead a renaissance of what was once the worst-performing high school in the district. Between 1998 and 2003, the following improvements resulted in McKinley High being nominated for the National Association of Secondary School Principals' Breaking Ranks Award:

• Enrollment increased by 25 percent;

• Graduation increased by 100 percent;

• Out of school suspensions declined by 81 percent;

• Expulsions declined by 59 percent;

• Mobility declined by 73 percent;

• The school went from meeting no state standards to meeting the reading and writing standards; and

• It went from no students in advanced-placement courses to 286 students in advanced courses.

Jenkins values the additional resources, the curricula (specific reading, math and behavior programs) and college scholarships that come with the implementation of Project GRAD, but he believes that it takes that and much more to maximize the potential of black boys. Core to the growing McKinley High success, Jenkins says, is building trusting relationships with students and those who teach and support them. According to Jenkins, developing the staff's teaching ability and fostering positive attitudes about black boys is essential, and he credits that change to the dramatic reductions in suspensions and expulsions that account for more learning opportunities. Visiting classrooms each day and attending student functions are part of Jenkins' routine to ensure that academic expectations permeate the entire school community. Jenkins is known for telling his staff and students, "Failure is not an option at LMHS!"

Another example with demonstrated results is the Institute for Student Achievement (ISA). Over its 13-year history, ISA schools have demonstrated remarkable results for African American students. In places like Roosevelt and Hempstead high schools on Long Island and Benjamin Banneker and Park East high schools in New York City, the results have been extraordinary. About 95 percent of the ISA students complete high school, and more than 85 percent were accepted to college. ISA's success record is largely due to its approach of identifying a group of ninth-grade students at risk of academic failure and becoming dropouts, then working with this group over a sustained four-year period to improve academic performance. Through specialized counseling, extended learning, parental engagement, college-preparatory activities and other supports that help students master a rigorous academic curriculum, the students respond and succeed.

Last Sept. 22, "J.," a black Roosevelt High senior, responded to the question, "If I were in charge, what would I do to ensure a positive future for black boys?" J. told an audience discussing how to improve school results for poor students, "I would never have been planning on attending college without this program ... maybe I would have gotten messed up with a bad crowd and not even graduated -- or worse. All kids need what we have at Roosevelt!"

These two highly successful examples clearly demonstrate the necessary intersection among three critical factors: qualified and motivated staff, leadership committed to improving the academic achievement for all students, and funding adequate to ensure that poor and challenged students will succeed academically at a high level. If these schools can succeed, there is no excuse for any school to fail.

Adequate financial resources continue to be a huge challenge. There are promising lawsuits on equal funding in New Jersey, Kentucky, Maryland and New York. But it will be incumbent upon local communities to actively express their intolerance for the failure and exclusion rates associated with African American male students. At a more systemic level, school districts such as the Boston, San Diego and Richmond, Va., districts have made significant academic progress for all student groups. State accountability test results show significant improvement rates for African American and Hispanic students in those districts led by stellar and determined superintendents. In Boston, for example, the black-white graduation gap has narrowed to 8 percent for African American boys, and the graduation rate for African American girls is actually higher than that for non-Hispanic white girls. The evidence thus shows that large urban systems can change course and reverse the downward spiral of school failure for students.

The promises of public education and freedom remain elusive for black boys. Slowly, positive steps are creating a cautious faith in our will to ensure that this group of students will not waste away due to the public's silence. We, the public, have choices to make about who gets to receive a quality education, who benefits from the promises of public education, who enjoys optimal freedom in America and who does not. For the sake of black boys and other vulnerable students, we must make the right choices.

Rosa A. Smith



Jobs for Young Black Men: What Will It Take?

In the 1990s, employment grew strongly among young black women – due in part to welfare reform, the strong economy, and a range of new benefits for single working mothers (like child care subsidies and earned income tax credits).Yet employment rates for young black men continued their long slide downward.

Low employment among young black men is very costly – to themselves, to their families and children, and to the nation as a whole. For instance, low employment among men is strongly associated with crime, and at the national level, crime and prisons cost the nation hundreds of billions of dollars each year.

What causes high joblessness among blacks? Their schooling is weak, and the labor market places more value than it used to on reading and math skills. The blue-collar jobs that always paid well for less-skilled men are disappearing, and those that remain pay less than they used to. While less-skilled Hispanics also face this problem, employers seem more willing to hire them – especially those who are immigrants. Informal job networks remain strong in immigrant communities but have shrunk in low-income black neighborhoods as fewer and fewer menwork. Also, suburban areas with strong job growth are out of reach to many of those living in poor black neighborhoods, due to transportation problems and lack of connections.

As a result, many young black men turned to illegal activity – especially the drug trade – in the 1980s and early 1990s. But while crime rates finally fell during the latter 1990s, our prison populations kept rising. We now have two million people locked up on any given day in the U.S. – over two-thirds of whom are minority men. By some estimates, nearly 30 percent of all young black menhave already been in prison at some point.

When they leave prison, their job problems are generally worse than when they were first locked up. On top of their poor skills, low work experience and substance abuse histories, most employers are now reluctant to hire former offenders – especially black offenders. State laws prohibit them from holding many kinds of jobs or even drivers' licenses. And the young men themselves have very little interest in jobs that offer them nothing but low wages, few benefits or chances for promotion.

Most of these men are non-custodial fathers, and their child support obligations also drive many out of the job market. When young menfall behind in their payments – as they certainly do while in prison – states can withhold nearly two-thirds of their wages for child support when they work. But, for low-income men, much of this money goes to the state (if their families have been on welfare) instead of their own children – so they see even less reason to hold jobs and make payments in the first place.

Here is the catch: we now quite heavily subsidize the work efforts of single mothers with children while we heavily tax the work of poor fathers, especially those who have been in prison. Perhaps we shouldn't be too surprised that low-income mothers are working more these days while fathers are working less.

Can this cycle be reversed? Efforts to increase employment and prevent crime among young menmust begin with school reforms to improve basic skills. In the high school years, we should link them to the job market through apprenticeships, internships, and the like. Their access to training in community colleges needs to be improved. And job training programs with proven records for out-of-school youth – such as the Job Corps and the Youth Service Corps – should be expanded.

But we also need to make low-wage jobs more acceptable to young men An earned income tax credit – which was so successful at drawing low-income mothers into the job market – should also be available to poor fathers who are keeping up with child support payments. Perhaps the small credit for childless adults should be expanded as well, to encourage their attachment to the world of work.

And state policies that discourage work among poor fathers – especially those with criminal records – should be reviewed. Maybe laws limiting their work in some jobs (like child or elder care) make sense. But others restrictions are only punitive and should be eliminated. Child support orders for poor fathers should be set more realistically, and large arrears reduced in some cases.

While these policies will cost some public (and private) resources, doing nothing costs far more. We were willing to invest billions in the employment of low-income women in the 1990s. It is time to do the same for low-income young men.

Did Racial Integration Destroy The Black Economic Culture?

Today in my Race and Law class an interesting idea was mentioned that I want to blog on here about today. The professor said that before integration, blacks invested into their own community. The example he gave is the historic Auburn Ave in Atlanta, GA. Before integration, there were black owned businesses lined up down Auburn. However following integration, blacks stopped investing into their community and more into the white owned businesses. As a result these businesses had to close down. Therefore whites won in the end.

However, in speaking with my grandmother on this topic, she refuted that argument with a different point. The reason why the black owned businesses shut down was not because black stopped investing into their own, but taxes on the businesses forced many of them to close.

What do you all think?


Pants up or Down?

ATLANTA — Baggy pants that show boxer shorts or thongs are becoming a "major concern" throughtout the United States and should be banned in Atlanta, according to a proposed amendment to the city's indecency laws.

"I don't want young people thinking that half-dressing is the way to go. I want them to think about their future," the amendment's sponsor, city councilman C. T. Martin said Wednesday.

Debbie Seagraves, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia said the law could not be enforced in a nondiscriminatory way because it targets something that came out of the black youth culture.

"This is a racial profiling bill that promotes and establishes a framework for an additional type of racial profiling," she told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for its Thursday editions.

The proposed ordinance would also bar women from showing the strap of a thong beneath their pants. They would also be prohibited from wearing jogging bras in public or show a bra strap, Seagraves said.

The proposed ordinance states that "the indecent exposure of his or her undergarments" would be unlawful in a public place. It would go in the same portion of the city code that outlaws sex in public and the exposure or fondling of genitals.

The penalty would be a fine in an amount to be determined, Martin said.

Any legislation that creates a dress code would not survive a court challenge, Seagraves said.

Martin, who is black, said he plans to hold public hearings and vet the proposal through churches, civil rights groups and neighborhood organizations.

"The purpose of the paper is to generate some conversation to see if we can find a solution," Martin said. "It will be like all the discussions we've had around the value of the hip-hop culture. We know there are First Amendment issues ... and some will say I'm just trying to put young black men in jail, but it's going to be fines."

Atlanta would not be the first city to take on sagging pants.

Earlier this year, the town council in Delcambre, Louisiana, passed an ordinance that carries a fine of up to $500 or six months in jail for exposing underwear in public. Several other municipalities and parish governments in Louisiana have enacted similar laws in recent months.,2933,294269,00.html

On the State of Hip Hop/Rap NY vs. ATL

This is in response to a New Yorkers comments that the music from the south is lame.

Sup son, this is probably my first message ever sent on youtube, but coming across your page inspired me to do so. I have to agree and applaud you for your expression of the current state of hip hop and rap. Being from DC, being in NY, Brooklyn, for a minute, and now residing in ATL, I have heard the different musical styles. I have learned to appreciate the NOTORIOUS B.I.G. as well as T.I. and dare I throw in a little GO-GO music. Although they are on a different schemes, I have found the one thing that I can appreciate is the diversity. In the midst of it all however, I agree with you that rap could use some real meaning, instead of singing about bitches and cars. That applies to both northern and southern hip hop/rap. Music is a form of expression. It can clearly be seen as the decades have passed, the changes in the lyrics of what we, black people in particular are feeling. The one thing that I truly love and cant express enough is the diversity. While ATL is walkin it out and two steppin, NY is spittin mad hard lyrics that make you think. Inevitably before and if we all can just 'get along' there will be a battle of the music genre between the north and south to determine who is the best and what the people want more. Im with you bro that the music needs to think, at the same time appreciate the mutiplicity that we have. PEACE AND SOUL,


Words of Encouragement

Hear what God says: If I did not answer your prayer at once, it is because I am testing your faith. If I did not answer your prayer at once, it is because I am testing your patience. If I did not answer your prayer at all it is because I have a better plan for you. Remember God's promises are yes and Amen! He is God not man, which explains why He can never fail, hold on, don't be discouraged, your miracle is knocking at the door of your heart. A little more faith is what you need to see all your needs met. The Prayer Answering God is saying He has met all your needs. Send this to all your friends out there, and you'll see how God will respond speedily to your needs.

My first sermon from last year

On Wednesday April 26, 2006, of last year I delivered my first meditation, homily, sermon titled, the Bittersweet. Enjoy!

"The Bittersweet"

In the Old Testament reading we continue the Exodus of the Israelites led by Aaron and Moses out of Egypt to Mt. Sinai. 3 days on this journey the Israelites began to complain about the lack of food and water. As a result, the Lord provided for them with an abundance of both. As I read over this passage I asked myself well why the Lord had the Israelites journey through a wilderness. Surely there was a better and more promising passage with food and water from Egypt. However like everything, God in his magnificent plan, has a purpose. His purpose for the Israelites was to show them that he is the ultimate provider and no one else. It is what I call a bittersweet relationship. We too are sometimes lead into the wilderness by the Lord metaphorically, with the many obstacles of life to overcome. Sometimes friends, even God himself seems distant from us. Our spiritual thirst is palpating, we’re thirsty for something, anything, which will quench our thirst. And when we find that something or someone its like bitter waters in which it fails to live up to the hopes we invested in it. And we wonder: "What in the world is God up to? Is he just toying with me? Is he just leading me on? It all seems so cruel." Maybe like the Israelites, our anger finds an outlet in its direction toward another who let us down. But in the same continuum what happens when God's word is followed? The waters become sweet. Obedience to the word of God is sweet. The application of God's word to the bitter waters of life turns them into sweet waters. That doesn't mean that life becomes easy or even that the circumstances change; but if we believe God's word that God he will be with us through those difficult circumstances, there will be sweetness to life that no circumstances can turn to bitterness. The instructions of the Lord "are sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb" (Psalm 19:10). There is sweetness to following the Lord, trusting his word.

That sweetness is also given in the New Testament reading from the Gospel of John in which Jesus symbolizes himself and God as the vine and the vine grower respectively. In this symbolism, we are called to abide in God, trusting that the Vine will supply the needs to the branches that one comes from the other, that we are connected. It is only in abiding, the peaceful, calm acceptance of the direction the Vine will grow and the wisdom of the Vine dresser in discerning what is necessary in creating a beautiful, fruitful branch.

A woman bent down to pick up a bag of apples in the grocery store. Her back went into a terrible spasm and she froze in position and let out a loud shriek in pain. Another shopper leaned down and with compassion in her voice said, “If you think the apples are high, wait until you see the price of the peaches!”

Good fruit does come at a high price. That’s generally as true of spiritual fruit as it is with natural fruit. Both require some tending, some feeding, and some pruning in order to produce as intended.

We spend a great deal of our time, energy, and money seeking the authentic article, the real thing. Saying that something is the real thing sells more. Often people find out that what they think is valuable is really a well-made fake. Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, we have to settle for a reproduction. Certain genuine articles are so rare or so expensive that most of us cannot get them. Very often our language trips us up and gives away what we are about. Things are advertised as “genuine antique reproductions.” “The next best thing to the real thing,” or “indistinguishable from the real item, except by an expert,” are phrases used to entice us. We become so accustomed to settling for the next best thing in so many areas of our lives, we are tempted to do the same thing in the spiritual realm as well. The Gospel from John talks about the real thing, the genuine article, authentic fruit that comes from abiding in the true vine. So, why abide in the true vine? Why worry about what kind of fruit we produce? Why would Jesus teach his followers such a thing? The reason he said what he said is because he is who he is. He said, “I am the true vine my Father is the vine grower. Therefore, all others are copies, counterfeit, or reproductions. We are to be branches of that true vine. It is not our race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, our nationality, or our religious denomination that makes us branches of the true vine. The only thing that can do that, that can make us living, fruit-bearing branches of the true vine is to have, in faith, an intimate, living, soul-feeding relationship is and with the only one who is the true vine, the one we know as Jesus Christ. Not being a fruitful person means that the fruits sown by the great adversary; hate, revenge, narrow-mindedness, envy, malice, judgmental attitudes, resentment, ignorance, and a whole host of others will continue to grow. Those bad fruits are always much more expensive than the good ones. And that is just too high a price to pay. Amen.

©KJONES 2007

America without Blacks?

Here is a very humorous and revealing story. It is about a group of white people who were fed up with African Americans. So they joined together and wished themselves away. They passed through a deep dark tunnel and emerged in sort of a twilight zone where there is an America without black people. At first these white people breathed a sigh of relief. At last, they said, “No more crime, drugs, violence and welfare. All of the blacks have gone!”

Then suddenly, reality set in. The “NEW AMERICA” is not America at all – only a barren land.

1. There are very few crops that have flourished because the nation was built on a slave-supported system.

2. There are no cities with tall skyscrapers because ALEXANDER MILLS, a black man, invented the Elevator, and without it, one finds great difficulty reaching higher floors.

3. There are few if any cars because RICHARD SPIKES, a black man, invented the Automatic Gearshift, JOSEPH GAMBOL, also black, invented the Super Charge System for internal combustion engines. And, GARRETT A. MORGAN, a black man, invented the Traffic Signal.

4. Furthermore, one could not use the rapid transit system because it’s procurer was the Electric Trolley, which was invented by another black man, ALBERT R. ROBINSON.

5. Even if there were streets on which cars and a rapid transit system could operate, they were cluttered with paper because an African American, CHARLES BROOKS, invented the Street Sweeper.

6. There were few if any newspapers, magazines and books because JOHN LOVE invented the Pencil Sharpener, WILLIAM PURVEYS invented the Fountain Pen, and LEE BARRAGE invented the Type Writing Machine and W.A. LOVE invented the Advanced Printing Press. They were all, you guessed it, BLACK!!!

7. Even if Americans could write their letters, articles, and books, they would not have been transported by mail because WILLIAM BARRY invented the Postmarking and Cancelling Machine, WILLIAM PURVEYS invented the Hand Stamp and PHILIP DOWNING invented the Letter Drop.

8. The lawns were brown and wilted because JOSEPH SMITH invented the Lawn Sprinkler and JOHN BURR the Lawn Mower.

9. When they entered their homes, they found them to be poorly ventilated and poorly heated. You see, FREDERICK JONES invented the Air Conditioner and ALICE PARKER the Heating Furnace. Their homes were also dim. But of course, LEWIS LATER invented the Electric Lamp, MICHAEL HARVEY invented the Lantern and GRANVILLE T. WOODS invented the Automatic Cut Off Switch. Their homes were also filthy because THOMAS W. STEWARD invented the Mop and LLOYD P. RAY the Dust Pan.

10. Their children met them at the door-barefooted, shabby, motley and unkempt. But what could one expect? JAN E. MATZELINGER invented the Shoe Lasting Machine, WALTER SAMMONS invented the Comb, SARAH BOONE invented the Ironing Board and GEORGE T. SAMON invented the Clothes Dryer.

11. Finally, they were resigned to at least have dinner amidst all of this turmoil. But here again, the food had spoiled because another Black Man, JOHN STANDARD invented the Refrigerator

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “by the time we leave for work, Americans have depended on the inventions from the minds of Blacks.” Black history is more than just slavery. Interesting huh?

That’s what I thought!!!!

Sermon for Wed March 19th "Gods Will Shall be Done"


Absalom Jones Student Center and Chapel

6:00 PM EST

The Gospel

21After Jesus had said these things, he was deeply troubled and told his disciples, "I tell you for certain that one of you will betray me." 22They were confused about what he meant. And they just stared at each other.

23Jesus' favorite disciple was sitting next to him at the meal, 24and Simon motioned for that disciple to find out which one Jesus meant. 25So the disciple leaned toward Jesus and asked, "Lord, which one of us are you talking about?"

26Jesus answered, "I will dip this piece of bread in the sauce and give it to the one I was talking about."

Then Jesus dipped the bread and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. [a] 27Right then Satan took control of Judas. Jesus said, "Judas, go quickly and do what you have to do." 28No one at the meal understood what Jesus meant. 29But because Judas was in charge of the money, some of them thought that Jesus had told him to buy something they needed for the festival. Others thought that Jesus had told him to give some money to the poor. 30Judas took the piece of bread and went out. It was already night.

31After Judas had gone, Jesus said:

Now the Son of Man will be given glory, and he will bring glory to God. 32Then, after God is given glory because of him, God will bring glory to him, and God will do it very soon.

The Gospel today speaks about Judas and his betrayal of Jesus Christ. I must honestly say that this text was very difficult to get a word from because the disciple Judas has a vague background in the Bible. Scholars and Theologians are still debating the real reason behind Judas and his purpose with Jesus and the crucifixion.

After I read the text again and again, I believe that I found something that could explain it all. It says in verse 27 that after Jesus gave him the piece of bread, the devil entered him. That means that It was no longer Judas in control but the Devil. It was a war emerging between good and evil, Jesus and the devil. So like a serpent, he ran off to do his deed. However it was Gods will that this must be done. It was for Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, and Judas was just part of a master plan.

Today we must realize that we too are apart of this master plan. Sometimes things just don't go your way, or when you do something wrong the old saying is, "the devil made me do it." Well God knew before the foundation of the world that you were going to do that.

We must come to understand that even when things don't go our way or as we expected, that Gods will shall be done. And that we must continue to praise him through the good times and the bad times. For in the end there is a great coming and a great blessing.

In life storms come and go, and through it all, Jesus is always there. The physical storms that can tear cities apart and the storms that are equal to trials and tribulations. The good thing about these storms is that we always come out stronger with Gods help. And with a connected tragedy we all grow to love each other and care for our fellow man. Sometimes God has to remind us through these events. Always knowing that God is in control and not the devil.

We must also continue to live as beings that love one another and repect each other, no matter what our differences may be. Im sure that Jesus had no hatred for Judas after turning him in.

In this Holy week, a time of sadness, and of joy, let us remember that it was Gods will to give his son to die in the flesh, to wear the crown of thorns, to take the lashes on the body and to be nailed up on a cross to physically die for our sins. We are not deserving of this, but the love of Jesus was so great that he fulfilled Gods will. Let is share this same abounding love with people all over the world.


My Response to MOREHOUSE Has White Valedictorian

I am sure you have heard by now. The AP has picked up the story, Newsweek and almost every major outlet of news. Morehouse college, the nation's only all male predominantly black college has graduated a white valedictorian, Joshua Packwood.

As a current student at the college and a member of the graduating class of 2008 (December) I am somewhat shocked at the many comments I have heard in regards to this. In the 141 year history of the college, Morehouse has graduated a a top white student. I have heard comments such as, what is going on down there, and who is slipping? No one in my opinion. I have seen Josh around on campus since freshman and of course initially like most students, a stare or two may have come from me, but after a while you get used it and just see it as someone getting an education and in my mind, a pioneer of sorts. I do not know the valedictorian well, but from what I have heard his fits right in with all the 'brothers'.
Even so we need to see the world not for what it is but for what it is becoming. And as I was writing this and doing some research a fellow blogger friend of mine on the uppity Negro network website quoted yours truly and another Morehouse student. I told him that if Morehouse has a white valedictorian then its time for a black president. But I was appalled to hear someone quote that we [Morehouse students] fucked up and let him [Josh] slip under the radar. That is insinuating that all the black males at Morehouse did not try hard enough. Josh earned his honor, let him have his 15 minutes of fame. We live in a time where race is a hot issue and the media will blow up something like this. Even if a top ivy league school would graduate a top student of a different race, I am sure the same media attention would ensue.

I look forward to hearing the comments on this story.


Economic Reality- Middle Class Forced to Sleep in Cars

"There are 12 parking lots across Santa Barbara that have been set up to accommodate the growing middle-class homelessness. These lots are believed to be part of the first program of its kind in the United States, according to organizers."

When I read that I almost died. I am starting a series in addition to my regular blog titled Economic reality. So in 2008 it has come to this. A parking lot for people to park their cars to sleep in...a modified version of a mobile home Stats show that foreclosure filings are up 70%..unprecedented. The country is in a recession and I dont think we have seen the worst yet. Gas and Oil prices continue to go up every single day. Getting a loan now is like trying to cut through a brick unless you have near perfect credit. The job market in slow to say the least and the cost of basic foods are going up. America is becoming a third world country. We may the strongest, the richest and the biggest but every day citizens are starting to feel the burden of economic woes that are plaguing us.

When will this end? When will be able to live half normal lives again? Some say these prices are here to stay, and if that is so, then God Bless America. A better question is how do we solve this? Clearly someone is getting rich off the oil prices. We have asked the Saudis to increase shipments but they denied us that. I think even the government is a bit taken back. Taking on big corps like OPEC is an idea but a drawn out could take years to throughly investigate a company of that caliber and resources. Is there a solution?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My View on the 2008 Election Season

I cant believe as a political science major, I have yet to write a blog about this current historic presidential election. Well here are my views. I'll start with the democrats since that is my party. Barack Obama to me is the role model that for a good time, Black Americans didn't have. He is the story that if you work hard you can truly achieve your dreams. His historic nomination brought tears to many eyes last week at the Democratic National Convention. As I sat and watched a tear couldn't catch my eye but I understood the importance of the moment. A black man, whose race was once traded as property, has been nominated for the office of president of the United States. It speaks volumes on so many levels to the old and young, black and white among others.

So despite Obama being a black man...I know he is half black but for the context of this blog I will just say black, where does he stand on major issues affecting our country and he is ready to lead? He certainly has a track record, albeit short, after being elected to the Senate on 2004. We all remember the riveting speech he gave at the 04 convention and again last week. Despite the Roman Columns and the larger-than-life stage, I thought that his speech addressed every issue and that he will take this country back in the right direction.

I must give props to Hillary Clinton. Although I jumped ship back in January because of her husband, she lead a strong fight and I can certainly see her running again for president. The convention I thought, healed the wounds of the blows that were exchanged during the rough primary season.

One thing that Obama did was choose a running mate that has a LOONG record in the Senate, and a family man who has great foreign policy experience. Joseph Biden was the perfect selection for vice-president and I can see these two doing well running this country.

The Republicans have chosen a man that has a distinguished military record and a man that has served in the Senate for some time. John McCain is someone that I respect for achieving the American dream, but I do not politically agree with him on many issues. I think that the biggest monkey on his back is trying to separate him from Bush, a president with the lowest approval ratings ever. However I think he may have shot himself in the foot by choosing Sarah Palin as his VP.

Sarah Palin is a woman with extreme conservative values. I respect her for raising a family of 5 and for being the first female Governor of Alaska. However if McCain God forbid was to die (McCain is 72 and would be the oldest elected president) I just don't see her being able to effectively run this country. She has NO foreign policy experience and honestly doesn't have the credentials to be to president. OK so some can argue that Obama doesn't have the credentials. However I beg to differ. Obama is doing what Bush Jr. did. Where he was weak, he brought in advisers who were strong in that area to balance the field..i.e. Biden. But Palin..WHY? MCAIN WHY? Then lets not forget the family drama going down with her daughter having a baby at 17 unwed. Oh and the drama over that police officer being fired. For someone so CONSERVATIVE her family could give Maury Povichs' show a run for his money.

So lets see what the Republicans do this week. Lets see if they will either stick to the issues or slam Obama.

I tried to be unbiased!!


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Gettin Rich off the internet?

This early morning I am writing on a topic so many few people know about, or maybe even dream of. That is getting rich off the internet, which to some is a reality. I know a lot of us say, I wish I would have thought of that. Well this is another one of those things. Now exactly how can one get RICH off the internet? I'm not talking Ebay rich im talking filthy rich. We'll its simple. Just create things that others want or need. Example, the inspiration for this blog comes from an associate of mine would has been mentioned in most major papers and business websites. KATO LEONARD and his friend David take in $100,000 a month. How? By creating the site, a site that you can go to and find myspace layouts for your personal page. They simply create the layouts from a simple design program. The money comes in from the traffic and the advertisements posted on the website, particularly Google. At the end of the month, they receive a nice big check for around $100,000. This article talks about other people that have hit it rich from creating sites like date matching, etc.

I guess the main point is to stay ahead of the fad and think outside the box. Oh did I mention that Kato and David started when they were 20, AND that they are BLACK! Young successful black, especially males. It is a truly beautiful image. In talking to Kato, the money hasn't changed him TOO much. He is a family man with a small natch for big spending but hey, if I was in his shoes I would be doing the exact same thing. Congrats to you too and good luck!