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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My Journey with Barack Obama

Kym Keeton is my editor at Literafeelya Magazine. Here she describes her eye-opening expericence into the world of political awareness. Notice how she comes alive. Eddie Griffin (BASG)

Black Thought: My Journey with Barack Obama
by: kYmberly Keeton, Writer Blog

Reprint: Jan. 28, 2008

"You know, they said this day would never come," Barack Obama stated in his speech when he won Iowa earlier this month. This morning, the Senator from Chicago has won South Carolina by 55% of the vote--BLACK. I have dedicated this year to learning more about this man, that Caroline Kennedy-the Kennedy's have endorsed this morning. I now interpret that opening quote as The Day Has Finally Come!

I went out and bought the first book written by Sen. Obama, Dreams From My Father, began reading it while traveling the past two weeks, and I'm literally smitten by the young democrat who is changing the face of my generation. As I read about his trials of learning his own fate, identity, and place in the world, I see myself doing the same thing.

I believe that The United States is ready for a Black President. I have to recant on my earlier statements in past entries that he could be hurt if he took office (which still haunts me). I believe that Black people would be his shield just as they were for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. –The shield that I'm referring to is the support that is swarming the country and the budding fact that we actually believe in his ideals, and the need for change in the White House. In addition, he is waking up a new generation of leaders to take a stand.

I can't put his book down; I can't stop thinking about his intelligence, his brilliance, his tenacity, and realness. He is definitely the truth. I can't say how he compares to John F. Kennedy because I was born in 1976... However, I do believe that he is the first to use the word Hope in is campaign. I believe that is appropriate. If we are not to believe that things can change (and hoping for that change) then what are we really doing for our own country and livelihood as a people? I have watched a young man bring an entire country together in the past two months versus the last four presidencies that include Regan, Bush, Clinton, and Bush. Honestly, its enough for my vote--he woke me!

I know experience matters as a leader of the masses. Sen. Barack Obama does have that experience he has lived life, been up and down. He has climbed just as many mountains as the next man. If elected the Senator states that he will be, "...a President who will be honest about the choices and the challenges we face; who will listen to you and learn from you even when we disagree; who won't just tell you what you want to hear, but what you need to know."

I will end this brief excerpt this morning with a quote from Ralph Bunch, "I have a bias against war, a bias for peace. I have a bias which leads me to believe that no problem of human relations is ever insoluble."

Senator Barack Obama is the first man that I can say in my history who has created a revolution, a bias for peace, a bias against war, and believes that Human Relations is ever insoluble. Go. Obama. Go!

kYmberly "so.fly5000" Keeton
Publisher/Kreative Director

Literafeelya Magazine
"a literal source of n'ergy by way of ink!"
P.O. Box 667162
Houston, TX 77266-7162

Magazine Office: (713) 893-5594
Magazine Fax: (831) 301-3847

Info Email:


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

From the National to the Local Battlefront

Ted Kennedy neutralizes Bill Clinton by Endorsing Barack Obama

When Senator Edward Kennedy endorsed Barack Obama for the presidency, the earth moved and the playing field shifted. To answer the critics, Ted Kennedy declared, “I know for a fact that Obama is ready to be President from Day One.” Later he declared, “I was there on the Senate floor when Obama opposed the war. And, that was a lonely position.”

So much for the criticism against Barack Obama.

As for Obama giving President Ronald Regan a compliment and drawing fire from both his opponents, a writer asks the sensible question, “If we cannot say anything good about the opposition party, how can we expect to work with them on important national issues?”

When Kennedy weighed in, he neutralized the effect former President Bill Clinton has had meddling in the election. Even Hillary Clinton herself had to moderate some of her husband’s comments.

But now people are beginning to ask if she has the ability to rein him in, or is Bill Clinton usurping his wife’s candidacy. Is this his way of seeking an unofficial vicarious third term?

“Sometimes I don’t know which of you I’m running against,” Obama sadly said in one of the publicized debates. But with Senator Kennedy stepping in, the picture is different. The untruths are being exposed- no more two against one. No more having to answer Bill Clinton’s allegation, on one hand, while Hillary Clinton claims impunity for what her husband says. Now Obama can better address who says what, without being blindsided.


On yesterday, I gave the Democrats two thumbs up: One for Wendy Davis, candidate for Texas State Senate District 10, and the other for Rick Noriega, candidate for Texas U.S. Senate.

But all is not agreeable with me in the local Democratic camp. If there is one thing that irks me, it is to find an unqualified placeholder on the ballot.

What in the world was Tracey Smith doing, running against Republican Incumbent Kay Granger, U.S. Congress, District 12?

So, when I caught him by himself, I asked him. Unfortunately, he was ill prepared to answer. I had to remind him of three things. First, that former mayor Kay Granger was highly respected and well loved in the community. Second, the Trinity River Uptown Project stays. And, third: “Didn’t we just beat Tracey Smith in the recent Water District Board election”?

“I was pushed into that election,” he replied. Oops! That was exactly the wrong answer.

How in the world can someone be “pushed” into running for an office in an overcrowded field of 12 candidates? Was he a pawn with no conviction of his own?

I remembered fighting to keep Mr. Smith off the water district board because he opposed the Trinity River Uptown Project. Kay Granger, on the other hand, championed the project and fought endlessly in Congress to keep federal funds rolling in to finance it. Mr. Smith, on the other hand, was one of those who pooh-poohed the plan. Smith lost, and lost badly- landing somewhere near (if not in) last place with only a few hundred votes.

Now he was seeking to unseat an incumbent hero. Outrageous!

Smith’s argument: Let private investors pay the cost of the Trinity Project, not the taxpayer.

“Show me one,” I demanded.

Mr. Smith Goes To Washington declared there was no sense in us talking, “if we are going to disagree”. And, disagree we must, because I have worked on the Downtown Fort Worth Revitalization Plan since 1993, and no one is going to undo all that work and planning. Conversation ended.

As a post script, I tried to visit Mr. Smith’s website at only to find the site like the candidate- merely a placeholder.


I only wanted a word with candidate Ken Leach who is running against incumbent Michael Burgess, U.S. Congress, District 26. But Leach got out of Dodge before I could reach him. Of all the 10 candidates running for office who spoke, I cannot remember if Mr. Leach took the podium.

Burgess, I know. But Leach is a question mark.

Probably no other politician has had to endure my wrath more than Michael Burgess. And, though the NAACP and all the Democrats give him an F for his voting record, he has been the only contrarian who would give me rationale behind his voting. We enjoy our heated exchanges more than forcing him to change his vote for my sake. I love it when I beat him, more than I would by beating up on a guy named Ken Leach.

When we wanted an increase in minimum wage, Burgess voted against it and rationalized his vote from the perspective of a small business man. But when it came to further funding the war in Iraq, he found that he had to vote for the wage increase.

And, when we were upset with the media executive for the misogynic images of black women in the media, Burgess chose to read my letter in the faces of the executives.

Now, Mr. Leach, whom I do not know, wish to have me vote for him. He is untried and untested and unqualified.


We would be in denial not to recognize the tremendous popularity of Republicans Kay Granger, U.S. Congress 12th, and Michael Burgess, U.S. Congress 26th. These representatives cannot be replaced by unqualified placeholders on the Democratic ticket.

For the good of the Democratic Party, it would be better to ask Tracey Smith and Ken Leach to withdraw from the race. It would save money and simplify our choices. And unopposed Granger and Burgess would allow African-American Republicans to switch over and vote for Obama, rather than being forced to vote for John McCain out of loyalty. This will avoid ticket-splitting, which I would certainly have to do if these two Democrats remain on the ballot.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Someone to Talk to

I was invited to the Democratic Campaign Rally at TCU on Saturday as part of the media to check out the candidates running for office, from Precinct Commissioner to the U.S. Senate. It was an impressive slate of speakers parading before the podium with their platforms, moderated by Marc Veasey, Representative, TX House District 95.

I could have expected sparks to fly when I walked into the room full of uncommitted Democratic politicians, wearing an “Obama for President” button. Even earlier that morning, when I attended a Hispanic Unity breakfast wearing my Obama button, I expected sparks to fly. All day, I had been looking for a good fight- someone to engaged in a challenging tête-à-tête- someone who could roll with a good political punch. After all, anyone who represented this turf would have to be tried by fire as a proven leader.

Fresh out of a court battle to get on the ballot, State Senate candidate Wendy Davis epitomes the kind of fighter I came to see. She is taking on incumbent Republican Kim Brimer for District 10.

What makes this fight so interesting is the sneaky, underhanded tactics used by her opponent to keep her off the ballot. Because Davis was obligated to hold her city council seat until her resignation took effect, her opposition tried to pull a “petty” technical controversy, claiming it was impossible for her to relinquish her seat and file her candidacy in time for the state senate race. The date of term expiration would overlap the filing deadline, they contended. But the courts ruled otherwise.

What amazes me was the case against Ms. Davis was brought in the good name of the Fort Worth Fire Fighters Association, not Kim Brimer himself, though the whole case had the smell of brimstone and the good ole boys.

In her victorious speech before rally attendees, she declared that this southern, backwoods legislative caucus, who call themselves the “21 Club” would have to get on along as the “20 Club” after she has eliminated the King of Country Bumpkins in the state senate.

This race is interesting because Bubba and the boys vowed never to let their districts fall to a woman or a black. And, as long as they sat in the legislature, District 10, which is my home turf, have suffered severe neglect and political attention.

We need a champion. We need a voice. And, Wendy Davis boldly stepped up to the challenge.

I was also impressed with Democratic candidate Rick Noriega, who is going after the seat of Republican incumbent John Cornyn, who is one of King George II right hand men in the U. S. Senate, nicknamed “Corn Dog”.

There are three things that impress me about Lt. Col. Noriega. First, he is an active Army reserve veteran, who put it all on the line in the Middle East combat zone. Second, he is tired of the hocus pocus used by George Bush and John Cornyn to perpetuate the war. Third, he is a humble man who wants to bring his brothers and sisters home from Iraq. Here, again, he is putting it all on the line- his distinguished military career- in order to bring about change.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Un-Grooming an American President WannaBe

America is crying for change. The Democrats are crying for change. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich- all talking about change. The Republicans are crying for change- Mitt Romney, Michael Huckabee, Ron Paul, even Rudy Giuliani (poor soul).

But when it comes to John McCain: It’s no change, stay the course, keep spending on the Iraq war, no tax cut- instead cut spending at home. Sounds insane?

Read John McCain’s website:

A greater military commitment now is necessary if we are to achieve long-term success in Iraq. More troops are necessary to clear and hold insurgent strongholds… John McCain believes Syria and Iran have aided and abetted the violence in Iraq…

Am I reading this correctly? Greater military commitment… More troops are necessary… Syria and Iran… Where in the world are we going, Mr. Wannabe Next President?

After being duped by “Weapon of Mass Destruction” and spending a trillion dollars, you tell me that we need “greater military commitment and more troops”. And, why are you stirring up sentiments against Syria and Iran? Why are we not talking peace proposals with these people? It’s this what the Commission recommended- talking to Iran and Syria?

A great US President, by the name of Dwight D. Eisenhower, warned us about the Military-Industrial Complex, before the so-called Cold War. Nevertheless, we went ahead to build massive number of rockets and bombs and tanks and guns, and every implement of war known to man at the time, based on a factious Red Scare that never panned out.

The only profits in war go to the war-makers and manufacturers of war goods. Are we so beholden to the Defense industry and multi-nationals that we would mortgage our future and sabotage our national economy? Do you think we can put all our eggs into the Middle East, building and then blowing up and re-building, on and on, to no end? What about my 401 that just tanked with the Wall Street free-fall?

At the rate we are going, our kids are going to do five, six, seven… twenty tours of duty in Iraq, Afghanistan, and (leave it to you) maybe Syria and Iran. Are we ever going to end this jihad? Why don’t we just start making cars to run on water and forget about the oil?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Day of Hope for the Child in America

It wasn’t just the blustering winds and frigid temperature that had my eyes watering as we rolled down Main Street. It was the children, those little innocent spectators waving and cheering on the sideline- and about the youngsters who strutted ahead of us in the parade. This Martin Luther King Day was all about the children, not about an old black disabled veteran from a bygone age, whose body was racked with a life debilitating respiratory disease. (Parade Clips)

O how I wish that I was young again!

My dreams have perished with time. But sitting atop a parade float that said Obama ’08, I had reason to hope. Maybe these, my grandkids and great-grandkids, would see the “Promise Land” of Martin’s dream. Maybe one day a man would be judged by the content of his character, and not by the color of his skin. Maybe Barack Obama represent that day.

They will write about Martin- his life and legacy- what it meant. And through their eyes, each will see something different. The image of Martin, iconize in death, some writers have made him larger than life. Still, half the story is not told. Nevertheless, they will remember him. Tomorrow, after the day is past, they will again forget.

The news cameras panned the crowds and asked the children what they knew about the man Martin Luther King. One child replied, “He was a man who loved everybody.” Sounded more like Jesus than Martin, but this is what children see when they idolize such a national hero. Why should an old beat-up civil rights soldier make them think otherwise? Every child has a right to a fairytale.

But Obama is not a “fairytale”, no matter what Bill Clinton said. But then, he is no Martin either. Maybe Obama is the end of which Martin dreamed, where an African-American running for the presidency of the United States would be judged by the content of his character. At least, so far, he has conducted himself honorably despite being reviled by so many. Maybe this is why an old Negro like me can ride a parade float down the Main Street of Fort Worth with hope that the day dreamed about may be a day come to pass.

Already I have sent too many of my kids off to war, and some have never come home. Although I knew better and should have warned them, I would rather let them die still believing in the future of America than to remind them of our grim past. Maybe this is why I will not tell all these beautiful innocent children how Martin died, except to say he died that we might be free. In the meantime, I will let their school teachers tell them the myths. Until they are older, I will continue to say, “Yes, there is a Santa Claus.”

Why destroy their bright-eyed hope? Life is cruel enough as it is. It is not necessary to tell them that Barack Obama is a black man. This they can see. But telling them what it means to be a black man in America is a story, in a different chapter, in an altogether different book- except now, there may be a different ending.

After the parade and a couple of hours of thawing out, I had a chance to visit a different group of young people- a group of black teenagers who live in extremely impoverished conditions. They, too, had a message on this particular holiday. Their message was also of hope.

“I will graduate,” they declared, to a church audience of about 300 people. “I will succeed.”

The audience, filled with dignitaries, educators, parents, pastors, and community volunteers, listened intently- some with skepticism. We had all seen and heard it before, only to be disappointed by the statistics of declining graduation rate.

Wallace Bridges, the program coordinator, blared out the number of at-risk kids “missing” out of the school system. He literally screamed out his feelings for the many kids who sought refuge in his home, some sleeping on the floor simply because they had no haven to shelter them from the harshness of poverty and broken families. By the time he recounts the ones who dropped out and wind up in prison, he is in tears. The church audience is also in tears.

“Don’t nobody care,” Bridges relates one boy telling him. “If somebody cared I would go back to school.” But the child never went back, Bridges said. Today, that child is a statistic among the incarcerated.

Maybe this is why I wore my Obama ’08 button to the church. To declare, there is hope, and maybe Obama is that hope. Who knows? But should I let hope die, simply because “nobody cares”?

People can say what they will. They can tell me everything Obama is not. But none of the naysayers can give me words of hope. And, if they cannot convince me, how can they convince my kids?

Normally, I don’t do politics. But I’ll be damn if I stand on the sideline and criticize everything and everybody while my children are dying from lack of hope. I must mount up what little energy I have left in this half-dead body and give it a good fight. If and when I go out of this world, it will not be out the back door. I’ll come out the front door with both guns blazing, fighting for the Right of the Child.

DELEGATE COUNT (as of today):

Obama 13 Delegates
Clinton 12 Delegates

Friday, January 18, 2008

Fired Up & Ready to Go

From the Desk of Eddie Griffin

Obama Texas Rangers to March in MLK Parade

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood for love, peace, hope, and change. That was the theme of his life and legacy and that is the theme of Tarrant County supporters for Barack Obama in his 2008 bid to reach the U.S. Presidency.

On Monday, March 21, the day designated as a holiday for the slain Civil Rights leader, the Obama Texas Rangers are planning to march in the Downtown Fort Worth parade to honor the memory and forge the way towards the fulfillment of Dr. King’s dream.

“It’s all about people coming together,” declared one of the Obama Texas Rangers. “It’s all about change.”

The group is comprised of people of all races, backgrounds, and ages, highly energized by the Obama campaign that’s sweeping the nation in the presidential polls.

“We’re all fired up and ready to go,” says Mark Greene, organizer of the Tarrant County support group. That said it all for the entire group- fired up and ready to go.

The Obama Texas Rangers are not sitting back waiting for the primaries to come to the home state. Volunteers are already manning their phones and calling out of state, as far away as California, encouraging voters to cast their votes when election time comes.

Like the Freedom Riders of the 1960s, they plan to mount up the caravans and head to Oklahoma on January 21 and to Arkansas on the January 25 to lend their support. They have begun voter registration drives and training delegates for the state and national conventions.

There is a synergy about them as others come into Tarrant County from out of state to discuss how their campaigns did or is doing. One volunteer from Iowa described the excitement of the caucus recently held in his state.

The Tarrant County Obama supporters maintain a website at

Doreen Geiger
817-732-7048, 817-832-9553

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Would They Try to Steal the Election?

Don't even think it. This is the kind of stuff that happens in Russia, not the good old United States. I mean, after all, we are Americans.

Television host Bill Maher raised the possibility of election rip-off with a panel that included Mark Cuban, Catherine Crier and Tony Snow. Obviously, something suspicious happened in the recent New Hampshire primaries that caused Democratic candidate Dennis Kucinich to demand a recount.

According to an Associated Press report, Kucinich challenged the New Hampshire election results, stating, "Election integrity is one of those issues that is so important."

According to analysis circulating in the blogosphere, precincts with electronic balloting gave a slight edge to Clinton, while precincts with hand-counted paper ballots went slightly for Obama.

"I am not drawing any conclusions," Kucinich said. "I just want to make sure of all figures... We need to be sure those results are real. We're not going to have another Florida like we had in 2000 or an Ohio like we had in 2004."

But how can they steal an election in broad daylight?

According to a story by Tina Lam of the Detroit Free Press:

Albert Howard, would-be presidential contender from Ann Arbor, said today he has discussed a recount of the Republican vote in Tuesday’s primary in New Hampshire with the secretary of state’s office, and plans to fly to New Hampshire by the end of the day Friday to pay the required fee and start the recount.

Howard, one of 42 so-called minor candidates in the primary, received 44 votes in the primary, according to the official tally. But at one point during the night’s vote counting, Howard said his tally was over 170 votes, making him wonder what happened.

But how can that happen?

Two hand count towns reported "zero" votes for candidate Ron Paul to the media, even though they did have votes for him. The town of Sutton reported zero, but had 31 votes; the town of Greenville reported zero, but had 25 votes. The two towns had misreported results affecting exactly the same candidate in exactly the same way, according to Black Box Voting.

Notice the symmetrical mirrored results:

Clinton Optical scan 91,717 52.95%
Obama Optical scan 81,495 47.05%

Clinton Hand-counted 20,889 47.05%
Obama Hand-counted 23,509 52.95%

Sure, New Hampshire is a small state. But if this proves to be a petty robbery, what about Fort Knox? What's at stake here is not just the United States, but the election of the next world global leader. And, what would man do for world power?

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Independent Political Troubleshooter

Before I get too far down the campaign trail, let me explain my political unorthodoxy. I am a politically independent troubleshooter. I think in and outside the box- or better yet, my thoughts fill the box and spill over to the outside. My constituency is “the poorest of the poor”, primarily the children who are at-risk due to the conditions of poverty.

With that understanding, I come into this 2008 political season looking for a friend, someone who will help my constituency. Therefore, I enter this campaign in order to try and win concessions from the most promising candidates- not only at the national level, but on down the line to the local.

Moreover, I look for trouble coming from the rich and powerful. This is why I am also a troubleshooter. I must keep my eye on the prize and keep the game of politics fair and clean. I know my opposition, and sometime they can play pretty dirty.

From this premise, it should be easy to surmise my domestic agenda. In terms of foreign policy, I am totally against the aspirations of world domination. Of course, I believe, as an American, we should strive for a global competitive advantage. But this means being more educated and productively smarter. Otherwise, I oppose militarism as a means of gaining world power.

I am not anti-war as some would think me to be. There is a time for war and a time for peace. Peace is my preferable state of existence, but I cannot stop my children from going off to war, if they so choose.

Recently, I spoke to one of my children about joining the military and serving in the Middle East war zone. I never questioned his patriotism. After all, he was a young black man, unemployed and potentially headed for trouble, and this was his way out. So I questioned myself if I would deny him this opportunity by imposing my values and views upon him.

At age 61, my wars are over. My primary objective now is to save the living. Getting involved in the 2008 political campaigns, for me, is like dawning the old Union soldier uniform and grabbing my old musket. Not that I am a fool to go out on the front lines and go toe to toe against the Confederate enemy of a bygone era. But I can sit on the porch in my rocking chair and take potshots at those who are killing my constituency. The conventional rules of war do not apply to me.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Disconnected Wiretaps

Hello. Is this AT&T?

Please disconnect the wiretap on my phone. I got word that the FBI has not paid the bill. If there is something I can’t stand, it’s a deadbeat who doesn’t pay his bills, especially when he's using my money and doing something I totally disagree with.

Hold please.

Imagine! The nerve! Wiretapping our phones and then skipping out on the bill.

What’s wrong with the government? Is the phone bill too high? They have already reversed the charges so that the brunt of the bill falls on us, the poor wiretapped taxpayers. The phone bill wouldn’t be so high if they were not trying to listen in on everybody’s conversation in America.

Did you say, “Sixty-six thousand dollars”?

Facing tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid bills, telephone companies have cut off FBI wiretaps used to eavesdrop on suspected criminals, a Justice Department audit released Thursday shows. In one office alone, unpaid costs for wiretaps from one phone company totaled $66,000. (“Wiretaps cut off when FBI fails to pay its phone bills”, Star-Telegram, January 11, 2008)

Who in the world have they been tapping- me, my children, my grandchildren, my great-grandchildren, my great-great-grandchildren, all the way down the line? For how long? No way! You mean to say Al Qaeda used up all of America’s anytime minutes.

An Inspector General’s audit report blamed the FBI’s lax oversight of money used in undercover investigations, which it also said allowed one employee to steal $25,000.

Lax oversight? How in the world can a surveillance program have lax oversight? Is this the one thing it is supposed to do- Oversee? How can they oversee someone they cannot see and cannot find and turn around and not oversee someone right under their noose? That’s like a $25,000 robbery in your face by someone we know and trust.

Who can we trust? Who is doing the overseeing?

FBI Assistant Director John Miller said the FBI “will not tolerate financial mismanagement.”

Yeah right! That’s like closing the barn door after all the cows got out. What next? Are the chickens going to make a mass escape? Might as well. The road is clear.

Watching my money go down the drain is frustrating. Just disconnect the darn wiretap and send the bill to Congress.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Up Against Goliath

I received a very disheartening email from a woman whose husband had been humiliated by white Lockheed Martin big wigs. She writes:

“My husband experienced a lot of racism from the management and other employees. He was the only black person on the team so management would talk to him and make comments about picking cotton and eating chicken and watermelon. They would always nick pick over any common mistakes made by him but the white guys who made very costly mistakes… Then one of the co-workers hung up a noose. So my husbands came back to the states filed with the EEOC and pursued a lawsuit against them.”

This case is not unusual. Charles Daniels, an African-American avionics electrician who worked for Lockheed Martin from September 1999 to August 2001 also filed a grievance with the EEOC. Daniels was part of a team that serviced military aircraft in Florida, Washington state and Hawaii, and one of the highest paid in his field.

Following a decision by South Carolina to remove the Confederate flag from the Statehouse, the black navy veteran became the target for racial taunting. Several of his white co-workers told him, “We should do to blacks what Hitler did to the Jews” and threatened to lynch him, according to a published report. They said that “they could put my body 10 feet away from the road and I never would be found,” according to Daniels.

When he approached the Lockheed HR department, he was rebuffed, Daniels said. Officials waved off the discrimination, saying “boys will be boys,” and warned Daniels not to prosecute the company. They also continued assigning Daniels to the same team and eventually laid him off.

“They really just want to see if they can chase you away,” Daniels said. “I really didn’t expect [justice] after Lockheed Martin told me, ‘We never lose.’ ”


In the aforementioned case of the noose incident, the wife reports how her husband took his case to the EEOC. She says: “We were paying over $2000 a month to his lawyers (who were white). At mediation he was basically told by his lawyers in front of Lockheed's lawyers that they didn't want to represent him and that although they would have to by law they wouldn't do a good job. The Lockheed lawyer and mediator basically said that the judge was already going to dismiss the case (they were all friends). So my husband was basically forced to settle the case for nothing.” [End of story].

But this was not the end of story for Charles Daniels, who pursued his claim for six years, after being fired. On Wednesday, January 2, 2008, Lockheed Martin settled the case for $2.5 million, the largest award in an EEOC racial discrimination case. The consent decree reached with Lockheed has been filed in the U.S. Court for the District of Hawaii and is subject to the court’s approval.

Eddie Griffin Commentary

Of course, the Daniel settlement is only a drop in the bucket against the corporate giant. But what is significant in both cases is the display of invincible arrogance, not unlike multinational corporations around the world.

According to the report, this kind of case is becoming more prevalent at the EEOC. The number of racial harassment charges filed with the agency has risen from 3,075 in fiscal year 1991 to about 7,000 last year. In February 2007, the agency launched a national education and enforcement campaign to eliminate racial bias.

Recently, I have received several emails and phones about similar discrimination cases. What is striking about these cases is the fact that these are mid-level black employees. Secondly, they are in fear of losing their jobs if their EEOC complaints become public. Third, in each case, they are fighting against a Goliath corporation.

The threat against Daniel’s life gave me an eerie reminder of the Karen Silkwood case, whose mysterious death in 1974 set off a firestorm of speculations. Silkwood was a chemical technician and union activist who became contaminated after being exposed to radioactive plutonium as a Kerr-McGee plant. The company was one of the largest energy producers in the world at the time. After testifying to the Atomic Energy Commission, she was found dead on the highway, on her way to meet a New York Times reporter with documents proving unsafe working conditions at the plant. The intrigue behind her death has been the subject of a movie and books. But her death has remained unsolved for over three decades.

The threats of retaliation for exposing corporate abusive practices are as real today as they were then. That agencies, lawyers, and courts are complicit in these corrupt practices- that remain to be proven.

NEXT: The Case of R. A. Fagan, a worker injured on the job that was prosecuted and convicted of filing a fraudulent worker’s compensation claim. The claim, if substantiated, would have proven unsafe working conditions.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

McCain – Clinton take New Hampshire

The more things change, the more they remain the same.

New Hampshire is not Iowa- not even close geographically or politically. Asserting their independence in political persuasion and not being willing to be dictated to by the polls, the people of New Hampshire put another face on the 2008 presidential race- actually two old faces rebounded back to life. The primaries resurrected Senator John McCain and revived Hillary Clinton in their bids to become the next President of the United States.

Looking back, McCain’s candidacy was given up for dead this past summer and only a few hours prior to the primaries Clinton had almost given up hopes of winning New Hampshire. Now look!

What in the world happened? That’s what the media is asking. How could the polls be so dead wrong, after projecting Barack Obama to win the Democratic primary by as much as double digits?

In a state full of independent and undecided voters, the polls were far ahead of the people in crowning Obama over Clinton. These are people who have a tendency of making up their minds at the 11th hour. The poll projections were more of an insult than a predictor of their voting behavior.

But some people read the polls like reading the stars, and maybe this is what gave Obama a false sense of confidence. He could see the star of the East and feel the winds of change at his back. “You can feel it in the air,” he declared. Where? For sure, it was not in the unseasonably spring-like air of New Hampshire. Maybe, instead, it was an inflated hope of a landslide for a most unlikely presidential hopeful- in defiance to the northeastern political season.

When the air settled: Thump! That was the sound of Obama hitting the ground, back on earth, his magical balloon shot out of the air by a UFO.

This was not the same old teary-eyed Hillary Clinton. This was not the same old over-the-hill John McCain. The only tears this night were tears of joy and a de ju vu for the comeback kid. And, for all the money its worth, Mitt Romney bought himself another silver medal in this hotly contested political marathon.

Is everybody happy now? They should be. Now everybody’s got a piece of the pie, except John Edwards. Five different winners in three states: Obama and Huckabee in Iowa, Clinton and McCain in New Hampshire, and Romney in Wyoming. That says it all.

BOYS & GIRLS, we got ourselves a ballgame and every vote counts.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Vote for Me or I’m Going to Cry

Oh goodness! The fight is just getting started and already Hillary Clinton is pulling out the crying towel. Presidents of the United States don’t cry, at least not publicly. So what with the boohoo? The votes in New Hampshire haven’t even been tallied yet. Is this a prognostication of things to come? Or, is it a sign of a nervous breakdown because America will not play her game.

According to a Reuters reported: A teary-eyed Hillary Clinton pushed for support on Monday as polls showed her poised for a huge New Hampshire loss to Democratic rival Barack Obama, but the former front-runner vowed to carry on with her presidential quest even if she loses. (Source: Fading in polls, Clinton vows to fight on)

If I said it once, I said it twice: Big girls don’t cry… especially if they want to be President... and especially if she threw the first dirty punch.

Gee! Can someone get the lady some tissue?

[Be informed about the candidates: Platforms & Positions]

Friday, January 4, 2008

A Dollar and some Change from Iowa

I don’t want to hear it from the mass media. Only a few days ago, they predicted Edwards and Romney to win in Iowa. They were wrong. And to prove that two wrongs don’t make a right, they are again wrong about why Obama and Huckabee won.

They believe that if you put a dollar into Iowa that you will get two cents back in change. So much for their two cents worth of opinions, I would rather trust the America people’s true sentiments. Put a dollar into Iowa and you get a dollar and two cents change back.

Explaining that kind of math to my 83-year old mother was hard. She still sees tearing a dollar in two and giving half to the Republicans and half to the Democrats. Her thinking is influenced by the media that still sees a country divided and dichotomized along party lines and polarized by partisan thinking.

The new math goes like this: Of all the Iowans who caucused, Obama won 38% on a message of Change; Huckabee won 34% on a message of Change; and John Edwards won 30% on a message of Change. Altogether, that’s 102% in Change, or “A Dollar and Two Cents” in Change.

What does that mean?

It means a resounding repudiation of President George Bush. No change for him, just a message of stay the course. He doesn’t get it. People are crying for change. Bring the boys and girls home from Iraq- the sooner the better. We cannot go to war in the name of a lie and turn around and make it right with after-the-fact rationalization. People no longer see Weapons of Mass Destruction. They see a fight over oil and oil is no longer cheap.

There was a time when we put on blinders and went to war. Although we hate bombing and killing other people, we would shrug our shoulders and say, “Well at least we are benefiting from cheap oil prices.” No more. All we see now are the faces of our children displayed on the nightly news, killed in action, maimed for life, and traumatized by endless recurring deployments into the combat zone. The American people are crying: “Bring our children home. We are tired of fighting over oil in the name of national security. Maybe we can broker peace in the world by talking to all parties, including reconciliation with our former allies.”

But isn’t a repudiation of George Bush a repudiation of the Republican Party?

Wrong again. That’s what the dumb media would have us believe. A dollar and some change in Iowa is a Return on Investment made in 2006, when the mass of American people kicked out every possible politician they could- out of Washington, out of state houses, and out of local office. The mass media don’t get it either- the fact that we are sick of looking at and listening to double-talking incumbents. A dollar and two cents worth of change says kick all the bums out. We want a complete change. We want a dollar in new economic hope. We are just longing to wake up one morning with a new outlook, instead of watching our job being outsourced overseas.

Notice also, we said nothing about Obama’s color or race. Yet the first to mention the fact that Obama was African-American was the mass media, who still sees everything in black and white. Talk about playing the Race Card, was it African-Americans or the media who started this whole thing about white Iowans and a black presidential candidate? The young voters have spoken: “The times they are a’ changing.”

Who, but the dumb media, is doing all this Monday morning quarterbacking? They slice the dice and come up with idiocies like this: Obama overcame the racial gap, the gender gap, the age gap, and the income gap. But when we look at 102% of what the Iowans were saying, there is no gap, only gap-makers.

I don’t have to listen to the mass media, because the credibility of mainstream journalists is gone the way of the winds of change. Everybody knows now that media commentators and pundits are doing nothing more than “mouthing” the sentiments of their sponsors- for the sake of their paychecks and for the sake of more corporate hegemony. But for two cents worth of opinions, they have come up a dollar short.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


Since humankind progresses at an arithmetic rate and science at a geometric rate, putting advanced weapons technology like the death ray into the hands of Homo sapiens is like giving a retarded child a Flash Gordon ray gun. Zap! You’re dead.

Sounds like science fiction? Not hardly. The military has been working on such a weapon since the 1920s. Enter the age of the microwave heat ray gun, the latest advance to the electroshock stun gun, the next device to be deployed in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan for hostile crowd control.

“This is a breakthrough technology that's going to give our forces a capability they don't now have, defense official Theodore Barna told Reuters news agency. “We expect the services to add it to their tool kit. And that could happen as early as 2010.”

Called the Active Denial System, it projects an invisible high energy beam that produces a sudden burning feeling, according to a BBC report.

Sounds okay to use on the enemy, but Don’t Tread On Me. Too late, Zap. Gone is the right to resist Cruel and Unusual Punishment and Torture.

The Thomas A. Swift Electric Rifle is already in use all across America and around the world. The acronym for Thomas A. Swift Electric Rifle is TASER.

Zap! Over 270 people wiped out, electrocuted by tasers. And now introducing the more formidable laser guided taser cannon, the TASER X26.

The Taser, produced by Taser International, Inc. (Nasdaq:TASR), is the latest toy put into the hands of law enforcement to subdue resistive subjects during apprehension and arrest. But the product manual for the device warns of its misusage.

Product Warnings for Law Enforcement from the Manufacturer

Obey Applicable Laws. Carry and use the TASER device in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws as well as your law enforcement agency’s guidance—policies, procedures, training, etc. Each TASER device discharge must be legally justified.

Avoid Weapons Confusion. Handguns have been confused with TASER devices. Learn about the differences in physical feel and holstering characteristics between the TASER device and your handgun. This will allow you to confirm device identity under stressful situations.

Select Preferred Target Areas. The preferred target areas are the subject’s torso (center mass) or legs. Avoid intentionally aiming a TASER device at the head or face without justification.

Avoid Sensitive Areas. Significant injury can occur from TASER device deployment into sensitive areas of the body such as the eyes, throat, or genitals—avoid intentionally targeting these areas without justification.

Avoid Known Pre-Existing Injury Areas. When practical, avoid deploying a TASER device at a known location of pre-existing injury (e.g., avoid targeting the back for persons with known pre-existing back injuries, avoid targeting the chest area on persons with a known history of previous heart attacks, etc.). These injuries may be provoked by such deployment.

Beware—TASER Device Can Ignite Explosive Materials, Liquids, or Vapors. These include gasoline, other flammables, explosive materials, liquids, or vapors (e.g., gases found in sewer lines, methamphetamine labs, and butane-type lighters). Some self-defense sprays use flammable carriers such as alcohol and could be dangerous to use in immediate conjunction with TASER devices.

Control and Restrain Immediately. Begin control and restraint procedures as soon as it is reasonably safe to do so in order to minimize the total duration of exertion and stress experienced by the subject.

Sudden In-Custody Death Syndrome Awareness. If a subject is exhibiting signs or behaviors that are associated with Sudden In-Custody Death Syndrome, consider combining use of a TASER device with immediate physical restraint techniques and medical assistance. Signs of Sudden In-Custody Death Syndrome include: extreme agitation, bizarre behavior, inappropriate nudity, imperviousness to pain, paranoia, exhaustive exertion, “superhuman” strength, hallucinations, sweating profusely, etc.

Continuous Exposure Risks. When practical, avoid prolonged or continuous exposure(s) to the TASER device's electrical discharge. In some circumstances, in susceptible people, it is conceivable that the stress and exertion of extensive repeated, prolonged, or continuous application(s) of the TASER device may contribute to cumulative exhaustion, stress, and associated medical risk(s).

Other Conditions. Unrelated to TASER exposure, conditions such as excited delirium, severe exhaustion, drug intoxication or chronic drug abuse, and/or over-exertion from physical struggle may result in serious injury or death.

Breathing Impairment. Extended or repeated TASER device exposures should be avoided where practical. Although existing studies on conscious human volunteers indicate subjects continue to breathe during extended TASER device applications, it is conceivable that the muscle contractions may impair a subject's ability to breathe. Accordingly, it is advisable to use expedient physical restraint in conjunction with the TASER device to minimize the overall duration of stress, exertion, and potential breathing impairment particularly on individuals exhibiting symptoms of excited delirium and/or exhaustion. However, it should be noted that certain subjects in a state of excited delirium may exhibit superhuman strength and despite efforts for expedient restraint, these subjects sometimes cannot be restrained without a significant and profound struggle.

Permanent Vision Loss. If a TASER probe becomes embedded in an eye, it could result in permanent loss of vision.

Seizure Risks. Repetitive stimuli such as flashing lights or electrical stimuli can induce seizures in some individuals. This risk is heightened if electrical stimuli or current passes through the head region.

Muscle Contraction-Related Risks. The TASER device can cause strong muscle contractions that may result in physical exertion or athletic-type injuries. In certain instances this may be serious for some people, such as those with pre-existing conditions and/or special susceptibilities. This may also occur in instances Sudden in-custody death results from a complex set of physiological and psychological conditions characterized by irrational behavior, extreme exertion, and potentially fatal changes in blood chemistry.

Secondary Injury Risks. TASER-induced strong muscle contractions usually render a subject temporarily unable to control his or her psychomotor movements. This may result in secondary injuries such as those due to falls. This loss of control, or inability to catch oneself, can in special circumstances increase the risk(s) of serious injury or death. Persons who are physically infirm or pregnant are among those who may be at higher risk.

Strain Injury Risks. It is possible that the injury types may include, but are not limited to, strain-type injuries such as hernias, ruptures, dislocations, tears, or other injuries to soft tissue, organs, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and joints. Fractures to bones, including vertebrae, may occur. These injuries may be more likely to occur in people with pre-existing injuries or conditions such as pregnancy, osteoporosis, osteopenia, spinal injuries, diverticulitis, or in persons having previous muscle, disc, ligament, joint, or tendon damage.

Laser Beam Eye Damage. The TASER device incorporates a laser aiming aid. Laser beams can cause eye damage. Avoid intentionally aiming at the eye(s) of a person or animal.

[Reference Tasered While Black for case study of abuse]

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Let’s Clean House in 2008

In the election of 2006, we started doing something wonderful- something we should have done a long time ago. We started cleaning house, starting with Capitol Hill. Of course, some partisan minded people with only red-blue jaundice perception saw this as a great victory for the Democrats when their party recaptured both Houses. But the true sentiment underlying this coup was, “Kick the bums out”, not just Republicans but all inept do-nothing political incumbents. (Somehow, they still don’t get it).

Americans have grown sick and tired of partisanship and gridlock among lawmakers. Besides this, they saw greedy K-street lobbyists like Jack Abramoff taking over the halls of Congress, corrupting politicians, and corporate executives plundering their employees' retirement funds.

Corruption, bribery, kickbacks, sweetheart contracts, corporate favoritism, and pork barrel legislation have given honest hard-working Americans a stomach full. And, while the economy was looking rosy and robust, the poor were getting poorer and the middle class disappearing, all the while the President kept declaring all is well.

Somebody was too busy watching the polls and counting numbers and not minding the store. All is not well! And things are not getting better- not until we kick the rest of the bums out of Washington- which brings me to this year’s 2008 election.

Is it time for change? No, it's way past time for change. It is time to finish the job of cleaning house.

One good thing: We will not have to contend with four more years of the Bush-Cheney administration. Maybe, with a new president, we can find our way out of Iraq and bring our children home. (Lord knows, they need a rest, and we need relief from our collective national anxiety). Maybe we will not have to spend more billions rebuilding Iraqi infrastructure. Maybe we can use some of that money on the home front to rebuild our own decaying inner cities.

Maybe we can provide more medical care for our own poor children instead of dropping more bombs on other people’s children. Maybe we can recuperate some of our own homeless population, instead of making other people homeless and destroying their lives. Can't they see? We are sick, sick, sick.

Maybe we can prosecute the real crooks and imprison those corporate executives who plunder their companies for millions, cheat their investors of billions, and bribe public officials with thousands. Maybe, on the other hand, we can let some of our own children go from prison for their minor indiscretions for which they are held incarcerated for years.

Maybe we will stop torturing prisoners of war, respect the rule of international law, recognize the human rights of others, and hold the right of the child sacred.

Maybe I can talk on my telephone freely without fear of eavesdropping, or take a shower without being spied on, or speak my peace without being electrocuted with tasers. Maybe I can buy my medicine without enriching an unethical pharmaceutical executive who cares neither for me or my health, or buy a toy without my child suffering permanent brain damage from lead paint.

Maybe I can drive my car without having to pay an arm and a leg or giving up my firstborn at the gas pump, or turn on the heat in my house without fear of the next utility bill.

Maybe misery will not spread as fast as crack cocaine, and I would not need alcohol to drawn my sorrows. Maybe I will not have to depend on charity for my next Christmas or give up all my pocket change to every other beggar on the streets, or have to live in constant fear of being robbed by someone else who is in more need than I.

Maybe I can trust the next President who says there are weapons of mass destruction or terrorists lurking in the dark. Maybe the next policeman who stops me will be my friends rather than the one who holds an assault rifle at my head.

We need a new life, a new mindset, a new vision, and (God help us) a new President. In the meantime, let’s finish cleaning house, inside and out.