Marion Brothers

Marion Brothers

Friday, February 29, 2008

Through These Brown Eyes- I Saw Obama

I watched Barack Obama from a VIP seat inside the downtown Fort Worth Convention Center, up close, about as good as it gets. I need no re-broadcast of the nightly news on ABC, NBC, CBS, or FOX. I don’t have to read some shoddy report from the local Star-Telegram newspaper. The mass media can kiss off Eddie Griffin, because I saw it all for myself.

(Photo Thanks to Aretha B. Hall, Fort Worth)

I was amazed first how constrained he was about referring to his opponents. Never once did he mention his opponent, Hillary Clinton, and only once did he mention the name of John McCain, except in tying him to George Bush and the War in Iraq.

Over 10,000 people moved effortlessly into the convention center, as smooth as silk. The Obama Team on the ground was ready for the crowd, and well organized. That was something else that amazed me- how well organized was Obama’s people.

The day that the volunteers trained for the convention center assignment more than 300 people showed up. People coming into our Obama field office on Evans and Rosedale were turned away. Joe Boswell would say to the would-be volunteers, “We have too many volunteers already.”

We did. We had put an army on the ground in three days, rallied nearly 60,000 early votes and hailed a capacity crowd at the downtown convention center.

Wouldn’t you know it? The first person on the platform to kick of the rally was, none other than, Joe Boswell, looking like he had gone three-days without a shower, living solely on McDonald’s. I worked beside him, and he is a man absolutely focused.

This morning, I gave Joe a “brother hug”, a white boy working his butt off to get Barack Obama, the first African-American elected president. He calls himself a “white slave” for Obama. I hope people like Joe Boswell make it to the Whitehouse.

The March 4 primaries are on Tuesday. Today is Friday, February 29, 2008, and counting down.

I cannot name all the volunteers from my email network of 970 people, but there were people there that I never expected to see. And, there was not an empty seat under the dome.

They started playing my song: “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now”, and suddenly, I was into it. Around and around and around, the crowd’s wave swept across the auditorium like a rolling tide. In the meantime, all the television networks were turned off. They wanted only a 30-second blurb for the news, and the newspapers wanted 1,500 words or less.

And, what they didn’t see was Joe, and hundreds of volunteers like Joe.

The mass media has been making a big deal about demographics- race, age, and gender. I sat next to a 9-year old white boy, whose dad brought him to the rally. They were my fellow VIP-seat observers. When Obama hit home the point about bringing our children back from Iraq, the white father gave me a high-five. He has another son, fighting in his third tour of duty in Iraq, where he has been stationed for the last two-years.

Yeah! It was emotional, I admit. But then what’s wrong with a tear in the eye every now and then. But the mass media did not show close-up of the tears in people’s eyes.

Where was Race? Where was Age? Where was Gender? I didn’t see any. I saw people caught up on Cloud-9, hoping, wishing this moment never end.

It surprised me how alienated we are from each other. Very few people made eye-to-eye contact. They were mostly members of families, personal friends, clubs, churches, and so on, all in their own little worlds. But one thing we had in common that drew us together in mutual affections was the man: Barack Obama.

"Afrosphere" or "Blackroots"? Two Synonymous Names for the Same Movement.

By Francis L. Holland, Esq.
AfroSpear Member

Dear Kinfolk:


With the advent of the term "blackroots", there has been some confusion as to what difference, if any, exist between the terms "blackroots" and the "afrosphere," both of which terms describe a portion of the Blacks who participate in blogging. In fact, the terms are synonymous, as is explained and documented in this article.

As I observed at my blog back on June 13, 2007, in a comprehensive article entitled, "An Essay on AfroSpear Nomenclature: What We Call Ourselves and Why":
(2) The "AfroSphere" on the other hand, is the term that we have developed over the last few months to mean "Blacks on the internet, at Black blogs and websites, working for Black cultural, political and social self-determination, renewal and advancement and sharing generally similar goals, even if they do NOT know one another and and have NOT become part of an organization to pursue these goals in unity and collaboration. Being part of the Afrosphere reflects a choice to pursue the goals of Black self-deterimination, but without necessarily hav[ing] joined any particular group to do so as part of a collaborative. "An Essay on AfroSpear Nomenclature: What We Call Ourselves and Why," June 13, 2007.
Now, compare that definition to the discussion and definition of the term "blackroots" that is offered by BlackProf.Com's "professor and [Black] blogger Spencer Overton, as discussed and quoted in YahooNews on February 14, 2008:
Spencer Overton analyzed the rise of the Blackroots in a prescient post last May: While the "grassroots" are romanticized, in the past couple of decades Black politics has been hierarchical and limited by orthodoxy that constrains debate. An MLK/Malcolm model has defined the leadership styles and political philosophy of Black elected officials, non-elected figures like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, organizations like the NAACP, and neo-Black Nationalist commentators and figures. Those not with the program essentially had the option of becoming Black Republicans. Older Black folks often complain about complacent black youth who don't vote, march, or otherwise live up to their model. Black blogs offer not only an opportunity to break from old orthodoxy, but to do so in a way that is flatter, and allows for more engagement through comments from readers (which are often more provocative than the posts)....

He cited the successful Fox News campaign as a "significant development" that fit into a larger effort to advance wired collaboration and force "transparency [to] hold Black elected officials more accountable." During the Fox fight in April, Afro-Netizen blogger Chris Rabb questioned how the CBC could cut deals and take contributions from Fox while neglecting its own constituency:
Do these [CBC] folks know what the "netroots" is? Do they think it's just made up of by young, white college-educated geeks far removed from their own congressional districts? Do they know that the vast majority of Black voters who elected them are accounted for in the much larger population of African Americans who regularly access the Internet, approximately 20 million strong? Will they come to understand that the Black netroots community is presently a slumbering giant who, it seems, only the likes of a Fox News Channel can begin to awaken? Yahoo.Com
When you look at the definition of "Blackroots" offered by Professor Overton, as well as the groups, activities and political perspectives that he says comprise the "Blackroots", it is seems clear to me that "blackroots" and "afrosphere" are synonymous. In fact, Professor Overton says at the blackroots' BlackProf blog, in an article entitled, "A Significant Development for the Blackroots":
The past couple of months have produced a significant development among Black blogs. Many are working together to challenge conventional Black leadership. ( . . . )
Afro-Netizen and Jack & Jill Politics, for example, separately criticized Jesse Jackson for speaking out against the Fox/CBC debate, and then deferring to the CBC the next week. Jack & Jill Politics disclosed to its audience that from 2003 to 2005, Fox News gave the CBC Foundation between $47,000 and $99,000, with 2006 numbers unavailable.

( . . . )

3) The Power of Collaboration: Despite the interactive and collaborative nature of the Internet, many Black blogs have remained relatively autonomous. We've provided links to occassional posts on other sites and included other black blog sites on our blogrolls, but our interaction has been limited, at least with regard to action. And autonomy is important--the wisdom of crowds comes not through parroting, but through autonomous decisionmaking. And we all have different interests. But the CBC/Fox Issue is an important step in the evolution of network effects--the power of a broad, flat, and well-connected blackosphere. Professor Spencer Overton, "A Significant Development for the Blackroots", BlackProf, May 1 2007.
By looking at who comprises the "blackroots" and the "afrosphere," -- what our perspectives are and what we are doing -- it becomes apparent that these are but two synonymous terms for the very same "loosely organized" but "well-connected" "network" or "sphere" of people, perspective and activities. The term "afrosphere" derives from the term "blogosphere" (the "afro" part of the blogosphere) and gains its meaning in juxtaposition to the term "whitosphere". Meanwhile, the term "blackroots" is derived from the term "netroots", and its meaning is best understood in juxtaposition to the term "whiteroots", a term whose first published usage may have been by John Stodder at Althouse, on September 27, 2007.

Based on my first-hand knowledge of the history and usage of the term "afrosphere", and after having quickly reviewed the usage and definition of the term "blackroots", it is evident to me that"Blackroots" and "afrosphere" are two different names for the same loosely and informally organized sphere of online Black people, perspectives and activities.

Going forward, blackroots/afrosphere members may choose to agree to select one of the two of these terms to signify this concept, if only to facilitate the understanding of the news media, the public and government officials, as well as our own members. In the earliest days of the AfroSpear, we agreed to use the term "afrosphere" for this concept rather than "blackosphere" because many members believed that a term such as "blackosphere", derived from the term "Black" defined us only by our skin color. In comparison, the believed that, by adopting the term "afrosphere", we define ourselves in terms of our commitment to African-descendent-oriented people, politics, culture and history. In that sense, the terms "blackroots" and "afrosphere" differ in the same ethereal way that the terms "Black" and "African-American" differ.

For my part, Field Negro, Exodus Mentality and Asabagna convinced me that the term "afrosphere" and AfroSpear were preferable for our self-definition based on the argument above, and based on the need to select one term that all of us would use uniformly. Once having agreed with them on this point, I have always been happy with the term "afrosphere" and have never looked back. I am a member of the "loosely-organized" afrosphere as well as of the political blogger member group, governed and managed daily by consensus of the members, that is called the AfroSpear.

(3) The "AfroSpear" is our international, consciously and purposefully organized collaborative of Black bloggers and websites who develop online and offline organizations, forums, newspapers, messaging groups, chat rooms and other media to organize and mobilize the international Black Diaspora to pursue goals that will enhance and further our well-being, in all of the cities, towns, countries and continents where we live, throughout the world.

Being part of the "AfroSpear" requires that one have both adopted the goal of Black self-determination AND have decided to participate actively in this particular group to pursue these goals. Becuase the term AfroSpear has a very precise meaning, it necessarily includes substantive criteria for membership and its definition also requires that some people can only be non-members, because their views, advocacy and/or societal and cultural position simply have nothing to do with or are clearly adverse and contrary to the goals of Black poltiical, cultural and economic self-determination. An Essay on AfroSpear Nomenclature: What We Call Ourselves and Why, Francis L. Holland Blog, June 13, 2007.

To help distinguish between the term "afrosphere" and the group called the "The AfroSpear," and because "AfroSpear" is the name of a formal organization while "afrosphere" is not, therefore AfroSpear members have decided NOT to capitalize the word "afrosphere."

For those Black self-determination bloggers who have been blogging for at least three months and who wish to participate in a tightly-knit Afro-descendant Black bloggers' group, with over 130 duly admitted members from half a dozen countries and four continents, with daily e-mailing, press releases, a unified and automatically updating AfroSpear blog-list, and group organs such as AfroSpear in the News and AfroSpear Freedom Technology Christmas, I encourage you to consider applying for membership in the AfroSpear:


Francis L. Holland, Esq.
The Truth About John McCain Blog
"One Love, One Nation Under an AfroSpear"

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hillary Clinton and Liberal Paternalism

I resolved at a very young age that I'd been blessed and that I was called by my faith and by my upbringing to do what I could to give others the same opportunities and blessings that I took for granted. That's what gets me up in the morning. That's what motivates me in this campaign... I am Hillary Clinton and I approve this ad.

“… to give others the same opportunities and blessing that I took for granted.”

Eddie Griffin does not want anything that someone else “took for granted”. Sounds too much like leftovers. I want something they hold as precious, not the stuff taken for granted. There is already too much stuff taken for granted. Can Hillary Clinton give me more “take-it-for-granted” stuff that I don't already have?

Enough with the handouts- where’s the beef?

As for “giving opportunities and blessings”, Mrs. Clinton has no power to hand out “blessings”. Excuse men, "All blessings come from above". Therefore, she overstates her powers, as if she has some kind of “divine calling” (by her “faith”, by her “upbringing”, by her delusion) “to give others”, what others could get for themselves with real leadership, instead of hand-me-down favors, and promises of more social welfare upon which comes dependency.

If that is what motivates Hillary Clinton to "get up in the morning", then more power to her, just as long as she don’t feel like she is doing some great favor for “the poorest of the poor”.

Call it ungrateful or whatever. I am just tired of the liberal pap, from which poor people are forced to drink and become hopelessly addicted thereto.

And CBNnews calls this “Hillary Shining Moment”. Shh!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Debate is Over

The debate is over. When Barack Obama says that he will not let lobbyists run his administration, he distanced himself from the K-Street bribers and corrupters- more than any other candidate in the race- something akin to political suicide without a strong grassroots campaign.

But Barack Obama is a nice guy and will say nothing bad or negative about anybody... not so, with Eddie Griffin. I hate political corruption more than anything. The scandal of Jack Abramoff made me sick to my stomach. It was not because of political party that I condemned representatives Bob Ney and Duke Cummingham. Because I also lambasted William Jefferson, a black Democrat in the House, I gained the dubious reputation as an “equal opportunity hater”.

As a journalist, I was warned not to condemn Tom DeLay until he is convicted of something. And, I guess the same holds true for Representative Rick Renzi. But I don’t have to nitpick about the details because it is obvious that there is widespread political corruption in Washington, D.C.

Barack Obama probably understands this more than anyone else. And, I believe, this is why he has stepped out of the box and refused PAC money to finance his campaign.

It is a sad commentary on national politics, when some voters forget the near past and try to vote the same corporate candidates back into office with their K-Street connections.

The debate at the top of the ticket is over with. The choice is clear: Obama, Clinton, or McCain.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Challenge Aimed At Rep. John Lewis, Georgia

I have not yet begun to fight... John Paul Jones

We predicted that it was just a matter of time before Civil Rights icons in Congress would fall out of favor with their constituency. Now this:

Hutchins to seek Lewis' seat” by Jim Galloway, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

For the first time in nearly a decade, U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Atlanta will have opposition to his re-election to Congress.

Markel Hutchins, an Atlanta minister who took up the cause of a 92-year-old woman killed in a botched police raid, announced this week that he will challenge the 11-term congressman and civil rights icon in the Democratic primary.

“Now is the time for us to move beyond the nostalgia of the civil rights era,” Hutchins said.

Hutchins, 30, said Lewis' October endorsement of Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential race, while the 5th District largely supported Barack Obama, was a factor in his decision to challenge Lewis.

“That presented some problems for many of us,” Hutchins said… Lewis declared he was ready for the fight… “Leadership cannot be given. It has to be earned with respect and integrity,” the congressman said in a statement.

Glory Hallelujah! The incumbent docile members of the Congressional Black Caucus are put on notice.

How about being black and unemployed?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Excuse Me, Excuse Me, Excuse Me

This little old lady named Opal Lee is an 81-year old Fort Worth community activist. She is a tenacious senior activist, who elbowed her way through the crowd of 15,000 people inside Dallas Reunion Arena, excusing herself as she went, just to look Barack Obama in the eyes and, alas, drop a little note in his pocket.

I am still trying to figure out what the note said.

Eddie Griffin once ran Opal Lee's community-based computer school, which is now converted to an Obama field office... my war room. On Tuesday, we will formerly open the office.

Barack Obama will be in Fort Worth on Thursday evening.

Time: TBA
Location: TBA


Bill Clinton Comes to Fort Worth on Tuesday

All Saints Catholic Church
Tuesday February 26, 2008 at 5:30 p.m.
Marine Park across from All Saints Catholic Church
Northside of Fort Worth

Echo Lake Park
Bill Clinton will be there at 4:00 p.m.
Exit Ripy at I-35W and turn East
Turn North on the access road
Echo Lake Park is on the right at the bottom of the hill.
Worth Heights Community Center is across the street.


Eddie Griffin Endorses Mike Huckabee

Monday, February 25, 2008

Barack Obama is my first choice on the Democratic side of the ballot. Now I endorse Mike Huckabee for the Republican side. A thorough examination of the characters of both Obama and Huckabee show two men untarnished by political corruption, two honest men from different parties. This cannot be said of their opponents, Hillary Clinton and John McCain.

Allen Saxe wants John McCain to be the next president. That’s why he voted for Hillary Clinton on Wednesday.” So writes Aman Batheja of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in her opening lines to “Some are Republicans try to help party by faking left, going right” (Sunday, 02/24/08). “She’ll be easier to defeat,” said Dr. Saxe.

How ingenious!

Before Republicans, jump parties and flock over to Hillary Clinton’s side, this may leave the door open for a Huckabee miraculous comeback insurgency.

Therefore, Eddie Griffin, having endorse Barack Obama for the Democratic Party presidency, hereby endorse Mike Huckabee for the Republican Party.


Barack Obama declared, “Lobbyists will not run my administration.” he declared.

What are you saying Barack- that there are lobbyists already running presidential and presidential-hopeful administrations?

There is no doubt how far up the administrative ladder lobbyists Jack Abramoff reached. Just look at all the administrative underlings and congressmen that fell with him- Bob Ney and Tom DeLay. Ney is on his way to prison, while DeLay awaits prosecution. (Now we know why his last name is DeLay, K-Street corruption scandal).

Obama said, “If there is going to be real change in this country, then we’ve got to clean up Washington, first.” He could have easily said, “Clean up the culture of corruption.”

A lobbyist for John McCain hangs on him like a mistress, though not romantically. The adultery is political. Will John McCain get in the bed with lobbyists again once he is in the Whitehouse?

Shew fly! Don’t bother me, says McCain.

But America is deeply bothered by lobbyists like Jack Abramoff running the country.

Moreover, I am bothered because the interest of the rich is voted in, by bribery and graft, while the interest of the poor is summarily voted out. No matter how much the poor plead for justice and equality, their arguments fall on the deaf ears of those representatives who votes have already been bought.

Tell me that former representative Duke Cunningham did not plunder the government like so many others and rob the confidence of his constituencies in accepting bribes and graft.

If that is not enough, now we got representative Rick Renzi has been indicted. Isn’t he one of John McCain’s national campaign managers?

Money will buy almost anybody. Look at another representative, William Jefferson, stuffing $100,000 into a freezer. That kind of money belongs in the bank, not in a freezer. The problem here is trying to explain and lie about where the money came from. It was a bribe sting, entrapment like a rat-on-cheese, caught on tape.

This is the problem today in Washington, D.C., that K-Street has usurped the power of the American people through briberies and grafts. This is not unusual in the history of any society, and all societies before us.

Is there an honest man among?

We would hope so. But look at the nine honest federal prosecutors who were fired because they pursued investigations into political corruption.

Washington, D.C. is out of hand and out of control. This is why the majority of the people in the United States and around the world want to put Barack Obama into the Whitehouse. He is a man that comes without baggage, and not a scent of corruption, though faultfinders search high and low.

Everyone is entitled to vote his or her conscious. If my dear professor, Dr. Allen Saxe votes his conscious, then he is also without excuse of being ignorant of the facts.

Changing Political Forecast- Part 1

Eddie Griffin Endorses Republican Louis Sturns for District Judge, 213th Judicial District

Monday, February 25, 2008

State District Judge Louis Sturns, 58, was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry in September to complete Bob Gill's four-year term on the 213th District Court bench, which ends in December.

In the 1980s, Sturns was the first African-American to serve as a criminal court judge in Tarrant County. In the 1990s, he was the first black person to serve on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the state's highest criminal court.

Attorneys responding to the Tarrant County Bar Association's judicial candidate qualifications poll rated Sturns the best of the three candidates, with 95 percent of respondents saying he is qualified to highly qualified. Ray got 82 percent and Callaghan 51 percent.

Attorneys responding to the Tarrant County Bar Association's judicial candidate qualifications poll rated Sturns the best of the three candidates, with 95 percent of respondents saying he is qualified to highly qualified. Ray got 82 percent and Callaghan 51 percent.

"I don't see this job as being like a factory that is producing widgets," Sturns said. "I'm interested in the quality of the disposition of each case and every case that comes before me. I want to make sure that every case gets the attention it deserves."

From Louis Sturns to Eddie Griffin (Wed, 7 Jun 2006 12:27:11 EDT)

Eddie .
Thanks for a very thought provocative discussion of the problem. The devil is in the details of crafting a solution. We are all tired of losing so many of our young people to the criminal justice system. As one who has seen the system up close and for a long time. I certainly recognize the talent drain that our communities more and more are sent off to jails and prisons. I really believe that the responsibility rests at the parental level. But, so many parents are ill equipped to raise children.
Louis Sturns.

Reference to conversation

A Brick In the Wall
By Eddie Griffin

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

We dont need no education.
We dont need no thought control…
All and all, You just another brick in the wall.

We are looking at the direct line of our African-American youth flowing into prison, at a rate of 1 out of every 3___ a disproportionate number for in lieu of racism (6/6/06). The trend is so apparent that they have given this phenomenon a new and special name, not yet found in Webster: DISPROPORTIONALITY.

Where does it begin and where does it end? It begins with hypocrisy to our mutual obligation: It takes a village to raise a child. [Am I my brothers keep?] But, in fact, when the child proves difficult to teach, difficult to manage, and go out and make many foolish mistakes and criminal offenses, all of a sudden it is no longer village at fault. Its the individual parent at fault, like the 14-year old single mother, or the unemployed deadbeat dad, or the incarcerated absentee dad. Always, they loose sight of the child only to point a guilt finger at the parent.

Where does the burden fall when a child goes astray? And, how did they get away? How can it be stopped? Do we do more of the same hypocrisy and expect a different result? This is the classic definition of Insanity, Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Our public system is insane in its delivery system of education. In most classrooms in America today, the kids are in control. Education-per-hour of delivery is wasted with classroom management, i.e. handling behavior issues.

Who is the true victim here? The one only doing his or her job to teach and only earn a paycheck, or is it the child who is on his way to prison, and dont even know it yet? So, they make it the child’s fault for not learning and for being academically behind. Too much time, and too many resources are being diverted away from learning to discipline, and even those who would learn are losing out. The kids are in control, they say, too many children’s rights, and constitutional and legal issues, and arbitrary disciplinary decisions on both students and teachers. But administrative judgment favors the right of the student, as it should.

The failure is in an ineffective delivery system and the personal inabilities of educators to establish authority in the classroom over the children. After all, who is the educator? Who is in control? Who has command, the drill sergeant or the field commander? For some, its all about three hots, a cot, and a tv, after an 8-hour shift of stress managing a class of criminalized kids. It’s demoralizing and demeaning to the profession of teaching. Here is evidence of a lack of leadership at the top.

When Christene Moss was reelected to the FWISD School Board, she promised to present to the public a 10-year plan. It sounded as if the School Board was going to do something different, something new, not the same thing the same way expecting a different result as usual. So, we shall see how the FWISD operate in a climate of withdrawing support and unpopularity to the Robin Hood, share-the-wealth, plan, and a mean-spirited property tax reduction.

How will the FWISD survive when parents and students are looking for a way out of the punitive education model, which channel one-of-every-three black youth into the Criminal Justice and Prison System? Who would blame the kids and the parents for wanting an alternative delivery system, with a qualitatively different structure, for the sake of efficiency and in adaptation to new learning styles for a new generation?

A Think Tank is forming around an alternative educational system based upon the International Human Rights Schools now spreading around the globe. The FWISD has shown a remarkable inability to employ the learning techniques for a multimedia born and reared generation.

The classroom model of today dates back to the days of Henry Ford and mass production was the technology of the day. Since then, we have mass produced a nation of misfits, imbeciles, and idiots, like clones coming out of the school system machine, marching almost straight into prison, by age 18 or 21. In Quality Control, these would be declared defective as a result of a malfunction of the machine. The part is thrown away and the machine still not collaborated.

If you say poverty is not a factor, if you say social and environmental influences can been overcome by proper motivational factors, then how does the student overcome a fault of the school system itself, with it myriad of inefficiencies and top-heavy bureaucracies? The cog is forced to fix the machine.

Even as Mrs. Moss and the FWISD board prepare to present its 10-year plan, we will be laying the technical infrastructure of a new educational delivery system in place through the advance use of technology. We will also be drafting and certifying our curriculum, in collaboration with academia.

The student will be linked to the global world of education by internet, telecommunications, multimedia, and other future content delivery medium. We should prepare a multilingual generation, knowledgeable of other cultures, globally positioned to work and do business in anywhere there is an opportunity or job in the world. We should prepare a generation who are masters in technological and engineering subjects, and masters at the 3 Rs. The classroom should more outfield than infield, on individualized laptops for students educated in their specialized field, with an up-building component for advance learners.

Today, classrooms are described as boring, uninteresting, and uninspiring. Most inner-city students feel that their teachers are there only to make a paycheck. How do you change the state and quality of the classroom when there are teachers who are just another a brick in the wall? Who needs education, via FWISD?

[Editorial Footnote: Since writing this essay in June, 2006, much has changed in our collaborative workings with the FWISD. We gave the school district $590 million bond package to correct the technological and educational disparities]

Thursday, February 21, 2008

In Memory of Malcolm X

May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965

Today, Thursday, February 21, 2008

Eulogy by Ossie Davis

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Don’t Give Me a Government Handout, Give Me Obama

Whenever I hear Hillary Clinton’s theme, “What I can do for America”, it irks me like a jolt of electricity. I don’t want anybody to do anything for me. That’s how we got stigmatized with being lazy and always looking for a government handout… too many bleeding heart liberals trying to do something for the poor.

Whenever I hear Barack Obama’s theme, “What we can do together for the future of America”, I feel like part of a body of people working together to solve our common problems, including the problems of poverty. I feel empowered, rather than dependent upon someone “doing for me” what I can do for myself with the right President.

I can relate to Barack Obama, first as a community activist, who grew up in the ‘hood, born to mixed parentage, abandoned by his father, raised by a grandmother on Social Security, and coming up through the ranks of poverty, overcoming all obstacles in his way… a man with the audacity to hope of someday becoming the President of the United States.

I am sure that the other presidential candidates are good and noble people. But they cannot touch every strata of society, from the top to the bottom, like Barack Obama.

I was reading the latest Obama interview in Ebony magazine (March 2008), where Sylvester Monroe asked the presidential hopeful about his past and hope for the future.

“As an organizer working in low-income neighborhoods on the South Side of Chicago, as a civil rights attorney dealing with voting rights and employment-rights case, as a state senator providing health care, passing racial-profiling legislation, reforming a criminal justice system that was broken, as a United States senator dealing with everything from Katrina to providing second-chance legislation for ex-offenders… There’s nobody in this race who has taken on the kinds of issues I have taken on…” (Barack Obama)

What to do about violence and crime in low-income African-American communities?

“We can enforce our gun laws more effectively to keep hand-guns off the streets. We can set up after-school programs and summer programs so that young children have a safe place to go… I am convinced that if we can get our children off to a better start they are less likely to slip into crime and violence… We have to have a system to deal with ex-offenders, providing them transitional jobs and social services so they can reintegrate into society… we are still going to have violence, but I think we will see a reduction in violence and we set the stage then for more effective economic opportunity. There is no president who can change things overnight, but he can set us on the right trajectory.”

Sylvester Monroe: What about guns?

“We are not going to ban handguns. But what we can do is much more effectively enforce laws that trace who is dumping guns into these neighborhoods. These gangbangers on the streets of Englewood or Lawndale in Chicago are not going into some licensed gun dealer and buying these guns. Those guns are in the back of a van or in a trunk that are being dumped in our communities. Where’s the point of origin? We can trace that back, and we can hold those folks accountable. But we just have not had a commitment from the president of the United States to ensure that law enforcement can do that. The next president has to speak directly to parents and to the youth about discouraging violence. And, I believe I can do that more effectively than anybody.

“I mentioned that the world will look at us differently. America will look at itself differently the day I am inaugurated.”

It would be a comforting thought to know that I could leave this world with a President who understands the problems I see, and who is not afraid to roll up his sleeve and go back into the ‘hood, speaking to parents and youth, about how they can help themselves solve their own problems.

I don’t think Hillary Clinton get it. And, I think John McCain’s head is still in the cloud somewhere over Vietnam.

Barack Obama: We Need You, Texas

Yes We Can

Monday, February 18, 2008

Don’t Talk to Eddie Griffin

Don’t talk to me if your feelings are easily hurt. If you talk to Eddie Griffin, you talk to a man with nothing more to lose and surely nothing to gain.

I could care less about high-minded people, because they cannot hear the cry of the poor.

Senator Barack Obama heard the cry of the poor, because he lived in their midst, and had the audacity to hope of becoming the President of the United States.

Eddie Griffin is a writer, who writes through the eyes of the poor. When I introduce myself to any politician, I identify myself as the voice of “the poorest of the poor”. I do not conduct two-way debates when it comes to their issues.

My experience:

Dive up to a neighborhood gas station and see that the old beat-up jalopy before you could only afford to put in $1.85 worth of gas, and then you would get “an inkling” of poverty.

This reminds me of a story about a toddle named Woo Woo, who stole a bag of pampers at the neighborhood grocery story where crack heads hang out.

“Look, Mommy. Pampers, Pampers,” he cried out as he walked out the store, holding the bag of diapers over his head.

“Put them back,” the young mother demanded. She could have been no older than 15.

But Woo Woo had not seen a Pamper in a long time. Poor baby had about two-days of boo boo and woo woo in his diapers. How can you tell a year-old baby, “Thou shalt not steal” though he may be on his way to thievery to survive?

The owner of the store, an Arab man, turned his head the other way.

As president, I will rid the Department (DOJ) of ideologues and political cronies, and for the first time in eight years, the Civil Rights Division will actually be staffed with civil rights lawyers who prosecute civil rights violations, and employment discrimination, and hate crimes. And while I support affirmative action for minorities, I also support efforts to increase opportunities for qualified students of low-income backgrounds to attend colleges and universities – regardless of their race… Barack Obama, August 2007

Friday, February 15, 2008

Hat Tip to Betty Brink & Dave McNeely

Political Battle Lines Form in Texas

If you haven’t seen “Gone to Texas” by Betty Brink and Dave McNeely, check out the current issue of the Fort Worth Weekly (February 13-19, 2008) and read how the political forces are stacking up in the great state of Texas for this grand historic election.

If you think this is politics as usual, you better put your teeth in a jar, because you are now climbing into the largest boxing ring in the world. Nobody in Texas is going to sit this dance out (except maybe some the Republicans who don’t need McCain’s help).

Here are some of the excerpts:

Steve Hollern and Lon Burnam are about as politically opposite as it gets in Fort Worth — the first a Ronald Reagan Republican who helped turn Tarrant County into one of the most entrenched GOP strongholds in the state, the second a Democrat (and peace activist, no less) who has managed the feat of hanging onto his seat in the Texas Legislature for 12 years despite the Republican dominance.

This teaser is followed by an assessment:

The upswing in interest in the Democratic primary may or may not translate to Democratic victories locally or nationally in the general election, given the intricate political equations involved. But in the meantime, the candidates bearing down on Texas — with entourages and media in tow — have been preparing the ground for months, using all the new campaign strategies of grassroots organizing, internet fund-raising, and the like. Even a clear front-runner like John McCain is expected to beat the bricks here, not because he needs the delegates to get the nomination, but to increase the chances that Texas’ conservative Republicans will turn out in November to vote for him — perhaps while holding their noses.

(Republican front-runner John McCain is not a popular figure in Texas, and his presidential bid could cause the party to lose its political stronghold on the state. The Democrats smell blood- editor)

Continue excerpts:

In general, Republicans are glum about the primary because McCain ruffles the feathers of the party faithful here. Which could mean, of course, that plenty of Republicans will cross the aisle to vote in the Democratic primary this year.

Texas will send 228 delegates to Denver in late August to take part in the Democratic National Convention

“Obama supporters here are ahead of Hillary’s in organization since she banked on a Super-Tuesday knockout, and now she’s scrambling to get money to come into Texas,” said Fort Worth’s Eddie Griffin, an ex-Black Panther who served time in prison and now mentors young black men, helps men and women coming out of prison, writes a political blog, registers voters, speaks on college campuses — and counts himself as a political independent.

Obama’s campaign “has been well-organized here for more than a year,” said Tarrant County Commissioner Roy Brooks. “The national campaign people [for Obama] parachuted in here early Wednesday morning after Super Tuesday, and we were ready for them.”

Obama supporters credited Fort Worth native Trista Allen with Obama’s large victories in southern states and said she can do the same for Texas. Allen is Obama’s southern field director, and Burnam and other Democrats said her high-profile role in the campaign will increase his chances of winning the county and the state.

“She’s one of the best political organizers I’ve ever seen,” Burnam said. “She’ll be in the White House if Obama wins the presidency.”

(Former Land Commissioner Garry) Mauro, who is chairman of Clinton’s Texas campaign, said the effort in the Lone Star State is expanding rapidly. “We’re in the process of opening 12 offices and moving 100 people onto the payroll, including 60 to 70 from out of state,” he said. “We’re working on early voting, which starts Feb. 19.”

People tend to forget, he said, that 40 percent of Texas’ Democratic delegates will be elected by caucuses. “So we’re gearing up for over 12,000 precinct conventions in 8,000 locations,” he said. “Obama does pretty good at organizing caucuses, so we’ve got to work really hard at making sure we don’t just win the primary [popular vote] and still not get any more delegates than he does.”

As for the Clinton campaign infrastructure, Mauro said, “We have had a Team Hillary organization on the internet and a more traditional organization going on for the last year.”

The internet is the single most important reason that both of the Democratic camps say they were ready to move quickly when Super Tuesday’s results showed that Texas would be a key player.

Obama’s team, for instance, fielded 175,000 volunteers on Super Tuesday. In Fort Worth, Griffin spreads the word for Obama via his blog and through almost daily e-mails to his extensive network of politicos, preachers, professors, students, and community activists.

Lance Webb, a TCU political science major and Fort Worth native, is one who gives Obama — and the current war — credit for getting young voters interested again. The 21-year-old is the head of Students for Obama on the TCU campus, and he said he’s working eight hours a day on the campaign and still making it to his classes. “In our grassroots organizing, we’ve found a lot of deep commitment [among students] to Barack,” he said.

Webb has heard Obama speak twice to enthusiastic crowds in Austin. The war in Iraq is a motivating force, he said. “Barack’s been right on that from the beginning. ... No matter what we were told about the need for this war, it has turned into a business war, a war for profit, and the cost is being paid by those who will never profit from it, by kids I graduated from high school with who had few choices other than the military.”

But another Roy Brooks from Fort Worth — Roy Laverne Brooks, vice-chairwoman of the Texas Democratic Party, is one of the super-delegates who plans to hear the will of the people before committing her vote. “For me, being black and female, both candidates are awesome, both historic,” she said. “But right now my job is to get the party organized across the state and get out the vote.”

In Tarrant County, about 30 percent of the population is Hispanic… Clinton is expected to do well with Hispanics partly because of her husband’s lingering popularity with that group. But Obama supporters say they’re not convinced Clinton will carry the Hispanic vote in the primary. Locally and statewide, high-profile Hispanics are split between the two Democratic front-runners.

Fort Worth City Council member Sal Espino and Fort Worth schools trustee Camille Rodriguez are supporting Obama, while long-time party stalwart and Tarrant County constable Sergio De Leon is solidly behind Clinton. Burnam, whose district is predominantly Hispanic and blue-collar, said the Latino community here is divided almost evenly.

State Rep. Rafael Anchia of Dallas rejected the argument that most Latinos will not vote for an African-American for president.

“General Patton once said that 80 percent of leadership is improving morale,” Anchia said. “And right now the country is in a pretty demoralized state and looking to get out of it, and I think Sen. Obama has the most compelling message there.”

“Tarrant County is Hillary country,” said Jason Smith, a lawyer in Brender’s office. “She has long-time ties to the county and has even greater support because she saved the V-22 contract at Bell [Helicopter].”

If Clinton is at the top of the ballot in the general election, (Mark) Greene said, “It will be the death knell for our down-ballot candidates” who have Republican opponents.

“The party’s split here, no question,” Burnam said. “Clinton is so disliked by Republicans here, who are still in the majority and who tend to vote a straight ticket, that they will pour out in droves to vote against her. She doesn’t even have support among independents here.”

Clinton supporter Smith said that such concerns “shouldn’t be an issue [within the party.] We need to stop worrying about the crazy right-wing Republicans and choose the best-qualified candidate to win the election, and that’s Hillary.” Besides, he said, “Obama’s negatives with Republicans will be just as high as hers once he’s subjected to the same [right-wing] scrutiny, and he will be, make no mistake about it.”

[End of Excerpt]
Eddie Griffin

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Star-Telegram Demotes Senate Candidate Noriega

Observations & Commentaries By Eddie Griffin

In Thursday, February 14, 2008 Star-Telegram, reporter John Moritz misidentifies five-term State Representative Rick Noriega as “a lieutenant in the Army National Guard”. Being a lieutenant is one thing, being a lieutenant colonel totally another.

According to Rick Noriega bio, he is a man who answered the call to service in the U.S. Army in 1979 in the wake of the Iran hostage crisis. He was an airborne school and service commander of the 143rd Infantry Detachment, an aide to Brigadier General David Heuer, and aide-de-camp to General Samuel Turk, Adjutant General of the Texas Army National Guard. He became a Lieutenant Colonel in the Texas Army National Guard, and served as deputy garrison commander of the KMTC training facility in Kabul, Afghanistan after 9/11.

Shame on the Star-Telegram for this subtle demotion, which has the net effect of putting incumbent U.S. Senator John Cornyn in a superior position, since it appears that the contest is between a mere lieutenant in the Army Reserves against an incumbent, well respected Bush ally.

In actuality, Rick Noriega is a high ranking officer with recent Afghanistan combat experience.

This was a contest bound to happen. One day a soldier comes home from war and decides to go after the seat of the man who sent us into war. Everybody knows that George Bush and John Cornyn are joined at the hip in Iraq war policy.

Over the years, as the cost of the war in lives and money continue to up, Lt. Col. Rick Noriega was racking up five terms in the Texas State Legislature.

Head-to-Head Different between the candidates for US Senate: John Cornyn is for the war in Iraq and a continuation of the Bush policies. Rick Noriega is for bringing the troops home as fast as possible.

He is no idealist to believe the US can withdraw troops all at once. Instead, Noriega calls for “a rapid and responsible withdrawal”.

Eddie Griffin agrees that withdrawal from Iraq depends on many collaborating forces working toward peace. Although Hillary Clinton appears to be shouting from the roof about bringing the troops home in 6 months after taking office, this is the very inflexible situation we have resisted. Withdrawal must be collaborated with peace efforts, because withdrawal alone will not insure peace.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Political Beauty Contest in Texas (Part 2)

Which position on Immigration, between Senator Clinton and Senator Obama, closely favors your own? Or do you have another alternative?

By Eddie Griffin

Monday, February 11, 2008

Texans speak a different language than New York or Illinois. When people speak of Immigration, there are those who favor going in with jackboot, Gestapo-style, ICE SWAT team in search of people with Spanish surnames. They cannot distinguish between citizens and non-citizens; therefore, literally all Latinos must carry numerous forms of verifiable ID. This loss of Hispanic freedom suits some politicians well.

This is the way it was during slavery when southern Negroes were required to carry a pass in order to walk freely in society. There is a joke handed down from generation to generation about this Good Nigger Card. If a slave or freedman was caught without it, they could be beaten. If they had it on their person, it had to have punches in it, like a railroad ticket.

The current system of citizenship for Latinos is the same. They must have driver’s licenses and birth certificates or some other form of picture ID. Without they can be deemed “illegal”, arrested, detained, and deported. Some dragnets have taken in innocent citizens and left their families in turmoil.


What basic elements would you include in any proposal to reform our Nations immigration laws?

CLINTON: I support reform that provides a path to earned legalization for people who learn English and pay fines… toughen security at our borders… penalize employers who hire undocumented immigrants… stop treating immigrants like scapegoats… respect people’s human rights and preserve our heritage as a nation of immigrants.

OBAMA: We need comprehensive immigration reform that creates a system that is fair, consistent, compassionate, and emphasizes both maintaining the rule of law and security of our borders while working to keep families together and putting the undocumented on an earned path to citizenship.

We also need to bring the 12 million undocumented immigrants out of the shadows. We need to be realistic about the fact that they are here, we can’t deport them, want they have become an integral part of our society. We need to give this population a chance to pay a fine, to have provisional status in the country, and to get into the back of the line for citizenship.

[Source: NAACP August 2007 Questionnaire Response]

Political Beauty Contest in Texas (Part 1)

Which option, between Senator Clinton and Senator Obama, closely favors your own?

By Eddie Griffin

Monday, February 11, 2008

We do not need a political beauty contest in Texas. Both Democratic candidates have spoken their positions and platforms, extensively. Another debate between Senator Obama and Senator Clinton would be redundant and useless, because it would then turn into who’s the “prettiest” on television. Both candidates vying for the US Presidency in this history-making national election are coming down to the wire. They are on their way to Texas.

Television now becomes a primary medium. The mass media will focus upon “beauty ideation”, instead of substance of their platforms.

The mass media shows its ignorance of the candidates by rehearsing “trick” questions for “quick” sound-bite answers without substance or time for explanation and clarification. Texans have low IQ for issues. It’s the mass media’s fault for not providing “political education” rather than “propaganda”.

Here stated are The Record Positions of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, upon which I, as a politically Independent Representative of the poor, would favor.


• Which option, between Senator Clinton and Senator Obama, closely favors your own?

What specific actions will you take regarding equal opportunity programs?

CLINTON: I believe in affirmative action… I will reverse the staffing cuts to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC) and strengthen the employment section of the Civil Rights Division… I will direct my Justice Department to help local school districts pursue voluntary integration and racial equality in their schools.

OBAMA: When there is strong evidence of prolonged and systematic discrimination by organizations, affirmative action may be the only “meaningful remedy” available… Open up opportunities otherwise closed to qualified minorities… without having adverse impact on the opportunities for whites… broaden the pool of talent.

We shouldn’t that race continues to matter: To suggest that our racial attitudes play no part in the socio-economic disparities… turns a blind eye to both our history and our experience… the responsibility to MAKE THINGS RIGHT.

I will rid the Department of Justice of ideologues and political cronies, and for the first time in eight years, the Civil Rights Division will actually be staffed with civil rights lawyers who prosecute civil rights violations, and employment discrimination, and hate crimes.

[source: NAACP August 2007 Questionnaire Response]

Friday, February 8, 2008

ALERT! 94,000 Votes Not Counted in California

Prelude to Stealing the Election: 94,000 Votes Not Counted in California

Some may have thought that Eddie Griffin was paranoid when he raised the question: But how can they steal an election in broad daylight?

Now Read This:

In what the media is now calling "Double Bubble Trouble," 94,000 "Decline-to-State" votes in Los Angeles County -- 50% of the total DTS ballots cast -- are being rejected due to a ballot design flaw, despite the Courage Campaign's discovery of the "double bubble" problem and official notification to the Registrar prior to Election Day.

Last weekend, lawyers for the Courage Campaign uncovered the "double bubble" problem -- a shocking requirement that "Decline-to-State" voters fill in a redundant "Democratic" bubble (on a ballot clearly marked "Democratic Party") as well as a bubble next to their preferred presidential candidate. Our legal team realized that -- without the "Democratic" bubble filled in -- the county's optical scanners would void votes for "President of the United States," regardless of voter intent.

Unfortunately, Dean Logan, the Registrar in charge of Los Angeles County, is refusing to conduct a physical hand-count of every "Decline-to-State" vote before the official vote is certified in just a few weeks.

Every vote must be counted. And time is running out. Please sign our petition to Registrar Dean Logan today demanding that he conduct a physical hand count of all "Decline-to-State" votes cast in the Democratic primary. The more names we add to this petition, the more likely it is that the Registrar will count every vote.

Never again. Not in California. Not in America. Please sign our Petition to Registrar Dean Logan right now.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


I was deeply moved by this political ad.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


By Eddie Griffin

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Today I had the pleasure of speaking to the UTA Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Society, a group of highly educated college students, interested in old and new school politics. They entitled the presentation: “Black Panther Rising: Power to the People… Then and Now.”

“Power to the People,” I opened. But the response was weak. “Power to the people”, I repeated. People cannot have power unless they desire power, I explained. “If you are in it, you may as well win it.” So, my opening was not a greeting but a challenge. “If you have no desire for power, then you are in the wrong room.”

Pi Sigma Alpha is a political science society, comprised of honor students across the field of different majors. Their invitation gave me a chance to flashback on memory lane, from my college days with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee through my adventures and misadventures with the Black Panther Party.

I wanted to tell the old story, fill in some of the blanks in history, inspire them to become active in a new world of politics, like we had done when we were young. Starry-eyed teenager, we were, the first truly integrated generation of the 1960s- kids, we were, who thought we could change the world, and, to some degree, we did.

Knowledge is power. But that is not the way I wanted to say it. Instead, I said, “You go to school to learn one of two things: Either what to think or how to think.” Then I lit onto the subject of “brainwashing” and my experience having once been a brainwash subject in prison.

Of course, no one feels susceptible to being brainwashed. But the object was to get students to do self-inventory- the bottom line being: Who is in control? Self-control is the beginning of power. Being able to think for one’s self and charting an independent course- that’s where this discourse with the students was headed.

(Continue: Part 2)

Friday, February 1, 2008

Eat Dirt

The shame of a woman who has to eat dirt in a struggle to survive

By Eddie Griffin

Let Them Eat Cake

Queen Marie-Antoinette: “If they are hungry, let them eat cake.” But the only cakes they eat to today in the slums of Haiti are cakes made of dirt. Poverty has reached a new low. Human beings are eating dirt because they are hungry. (“Hungry Haitians Resort to Eating Dirt”, by Jonathan M. Katz, Associated Press)

It was lunchtime in one of Haiti's worst slums, and Charlene Dumas was eating mud.

With food prices rising, Haiti's poorest can't afford even a daily plate of rice, and some take desperate measures to fill their bellies.

"When my mother does not cook anything, I have to eat them three times a day," Charlene said. Her baby, named Woodson, lay still across her lap, looking even thinner than the slim 6 pounds 3 ounces he weighed at birth.

Food prices around the world have spiked because of higher oil prices, needed for fertilizer, irrigation and transportation. Prices for basic ingredients such as corn and wheat are also up sharply, and the increasing global demand for biofuels is pressuring food markets as well.

At the market in the La Saline slum, two cups of rice now sell for 60 cents, up 10 cents from December and 50 percent from a year ago. Beans, condensed milk and fruit have gone up at a similar rate, and even the price of the edible clay has risen over the past year by almost $1.50. Dirt to make 100 cookies now costs $5, the cookie makers say.

Still, at about 5 cents apiece, the cookies are a bargain compared to food staples. About 80 percent of people in Haiti live on less than $2 a day and a tiny elite controls the economy.

A reporter sampling a cookie found that it had a smooth consistency and sucked all the moisture out of the mouth as soon as it touched the tongue. For hours, an unpleasant taste of dirt lingered.

Assessments of the health effects are mixed. Dirt can contain deadly parasites or toxins, but can also strengthen the immunity of fetuses in the womb to certain diseases, said Gerald N. Callahan, an immunology professor at Colorado State University who has studied geophagy, the scientific name for dirt-eating.

Marie Noel, 40, sells the cookies in a market to provide for her seven children. Her family also eats them.

"I'm hoping one day I'll have enough food to eat, so I can stop eating these," she said. "I know it's not good for me."