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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Morning after the Primaries

Good News-Bad News

By Eddie Griffin

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

After the polls closed on yesterday, I went out to celebrate the watch of the returns with the jubilant Nicole Collier group. A small group of about 75 people were crammed into the restaurant, awaiting the lady of the hour. They were all bone tired exhausted, as they trickled in from the field, looking for food, refreshments, and victory. There were children present to witness this historic day.

I, too, was tired, exhausted to the brink from supporting and promoting other hopeful candidates in other races. But of this one watch party was a must attend for me, because the Collier candidacy looked like our best shot, for a diamond-in-the-rough underdog to take the lion’s share my home turf, District 95.

I listened to these courageous folks tell their stories about their work in the field, going door to door, pressing the flesh, and talking to voters. The joke around the room was about Nicole’s worn-out pink sneakers. I felt refreshed to be among earthly people who put their heart and soul into this campaign.

Entrance the lady of the hour, and after introductions, we were off and running, watching the results on multiple TV screens, cheering the tally, round by round.

Eddie Griffin was wired and connected to instant feeds and direct communications in the field. But watching the numbers come in was like watching paint dry.


Nicole Collier was up and at holding at 48%. Our strategy was to attain a 50.1% majority, and avoid a runoff. GOOD NEWS, nevertheless, we are in the Runoffs, with a 10% lead.

BAD NEWS: Kyev Tatum and his group of prayer warriors, not only fell short of glory, but crashed in 10th place in his race for U.S. District 33. Here was another campaign that Eddie Griffin had poured heart and mind into. My protégé, who lovingly calls himself my “hardheaded” student, acted just as hardheaded student, ignoring the Stop Signs and failing to Slow Down while speeding through a Political Zone, with Eddie Griffin as a passenger.

Every mistake a man can make can be overcome, except the one that is fatal. A few days before the election, I described to Tatum a visualization of his fatal mistake in the race. His premature boasting got him shot down like a soldier sticking his head up out of the foxhole. Covertly some Democratic Party elite sabotaged his boasting by undoing his plan.

“They got me, Brother Eddie,” he lamented over the phone. “They knocked the wind out of me.” It took him by surprise like a man mortally wounded and he sounded like a man who had lost his self-confidence.

It was at that point that I saw a defeated man.


Eddie Griffin cannot fix a man’s pride and boastfulness. Humility is the best teacher, and Brother Tatum is now learning plenty of that with only 200 votes to show for his campaign effort. The good part, however, was that, for once, “the least, last, lost, and left out”, had a voice and a legitimate shot at a congressional seat at the table.

But after the public embarrassment of a refuted claim of support, Tatum called up his “prayer warriors” to come to the rescue and pray themselves to victory.

God is above politics, I wrote, and warned Tatum that by invoking the name of God and putting Him to the test, that he (Tatum) must prove the power of his prayers by winning the election or risk proving the false hope of his prayers.

The bible declares that God hears and answers the prayers of the righteous, but God disdains the prayers of those conceited in their faith. “Prayer warriors”, what are they? How can they approach the throne of grace except through humility and total submission to His Will?

No, prayer is not answered on the basis of man’s volition or fervency. Thus, Brother Tatum could not pray his way out of his mistakes and on to victory, no more than the “prayer warriors” in the time of the prophet Elijah.

It troubles Eddie Griffin to see people trying to get God to do their will, instead of God’s will. The race is given neither to the swift, nor the battle to the strong.


I bypassed the Tatum Watch Party to go and be with a winner, Nicole Collier. Although I felt spent and would have preferred some much-needed sleep after the polls closed, I just didn’t want to spend the night alone, at home, watching the election results. And, I had a number of invitations to Watch Parties from various candidates that I supported. I wanted to be happy, and to be around cheerful people, and not to be depressed by the Tatum funeral Party.

When I first met Nicole Collier, I asked if she could “take a punch”. I had meant if she could take a knockdown in the political arena. She took the challenge at physical face value, balled up her fist, and declared that she will hit back. That’s when I knew that we had a winner who could champion our district.

But on this watch night she was on pins and needles as the numbers came in. The old jokes were for laughter to break the tensions of the night.

I told her a story about another candidate who, several years ago, held a lead that kept declining as the night wore on, knowing that this was why Nicole was so uptight. At any rate, as the story went, as this particular candidate’s lead began to slip, she began to drink. As the margin lead continued to fall, the drunker the candidate got. Finally, when they declared her the victor, by the slimmest margins, her hair was skewed in a hundred different directions and she could barely walk straight.

Nicole whispered, “I’m glad you told me that story, because I was just thinking about getting me a drink.”

Then she paused and looked at me, and asked, “Can I have a drink?”

I responded, “No, not now.” Remember the previous experience, I said, “You may have to make a victory speech.” And, when I finally left just after midnight, I left a jubilant Nicole, sane and sober.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Eddie Griffin Endorses Nicole Collier

For State Representative 95

Who will represent me in Austin, Texas as State Representative for District 95? With Wendy Davis as my State Senator for Senate District 10, who would best be her pair?

No better choice for Eddie Griffin than Nicole Collier.

I need someone who can battle in the trenches of the state legislature, as I would represent myself in fighting for education, jobs, and healthcare.

District 95 is not an office for the politically faint-at-hear or a Jack Daniel drinking, cigar-smoking drunkard.

District 95 is our turf. And whoever takes it on must be touched in the head or in the heart.

Nicole Collier is a woman of sound mind and sound judgment, and a down-and-gritty work ethic that I have witnessed firsthand. She goes after it non-stop, night and day, like she must have done when she was coming up out of rock hard poverty, as a teenage African-American single mother.

“As a single mother attending school and working to support her daughters,” Nicole Collier political ad says, “Many people told Nicole Collier she’d never make it.”

And yet she had the tenacity to go out and do it. She graduated from high school, went on to college, got her degree in law, and now owns her own law firm. Today, she is highly esteemed by her peers in the Trial Lawyers Association.

Her worn out pink sneakers proclaims: “A leader who’s walked the walk”. Indeed, she is all that and then some.

Can she take a punch, I asked myself? A tough candidate must be able to roll with the punches, and take some hard knocks in the political arena.

To test the mettle in the mortal of the candidacy, I bluntly and unabashedly asked her, “Can you take a punch?”

Not a nice question to ask a lady at our first meeting. But here Nicole Collier had assumed the bold audacity to take on the district where Eddie Griffin lives. And I am a man accustomed to trading punches in the political arena.

No. Nicole Collier must be able to take a punch if she is to survive Round One, and make it into the latter rounds.

In response to my question, this petite, pint-size young grandmother, not yet forty, looked Eddie Griffin straight in the eyes, balled up her fist, took aim at my choppers, and answered confidently: “Not only can I take a punch. I hit back.”

Yep! This is one tough Texas grandma- big voice, big heart, and fierce fighting spirit. And, I believe she can hold her ground and fend herself against those big political bullies in Austin that will surely come her way in the legislature.

The Star-Telegram Editorial Board recommends Nicole Collier in the Democratic Primary for Texas House District 95.

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Farewell Note to Congressman Burgess

U. S. Representative Michael C. Burgess


1224 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

P: (202) 225-7772

F: (202) 225-2919

RE: Congressional Change & New Leadership

My Dear Congressman:

It would be unbecoming of Eddie Griffin not bid to you farewell and God’s spend, after all the memories and good times we have shared together, with you as my congressional representative.

I wish to thank you for your diligent service to the community, and for the grace and favor you have shown to me, personally.

I am especially thankful to your assistant, Erik With, for making me a part of the Economic Summit Workforce of the Future Advisory, which has proven to be a great work in my life and a work that continues to this day in its implementation stage.

Besides this, I wish to thank you for supporting my campaign against Misogyny and for reading my letter to entertainment industry executives before the Congress into the Record, Sept. 25, 2007.

I want to thank you also for that one vote that you characterize as “this vote is for Eddie”, in voting to raise the Minimum Wage, albeit this was a compromise included in President George Bushes’ 2007 “War Funding Bill”.

Your supportive role in voting NO to the “Walk Street Bailout” was instrumental to changing the tide in Washington, D.C.’s culture of K-Street domination, although for a short time period. But for those who hedged their bets, banking on an early bailout from Congress, on a particular day, the big disappointment led to great losses and the collapse of the stock market. It was the turning point in the economy that got Barack Obama elected.

Thank you for also building a VA Clinic in Southeast Fort Worth. The clinic, built across the street from Tarrant County College, helps support the institutional infrastructure in our community, besides the local jobs it created.

I am particularly thankful insofar as it enabled the VA to provide medical services, locally, to a disabled veteran old warhorse like me.

I am thankful to God for you, and I pray on your behalf, each and every morning, of every day.


April 11, 2005

From: Eddie Griffin

To: Erik With

RE: “No Plates For Some”

Dear Erik:

I love my new congressman, Michael Burgess. Thank you for introducing us. I told him that “one day I woke up in his gerrymandered district”. He said it was “the miracle of re-districting”…

Since the congressman is just now getting a feel for this new population, he might be tickled pink to know that he now represents the “poorest section of the Fort Worth community”, which brings me to your comment in your last email: The concept of shortage is difficult to imagine in a country as blessed as the US.

I am inspired to speak on behalf of “the poorest of the poor” in irony to “the concept of shortage” in a nation of prosperity. Once again, I allude to Thomas Malthus: “There are no plates for some”.

Eddie Griffin


Fort Worth, Texas

Congressman Michael Burgess, District 26, kicked off the Smart Commute Initiative before an audience of about 100 southeast residents and community leaders. The Initiative is designed to attract people back into the historic inner city district, after years of decline.

Congressman Burgess praised the coalition that put the Initiative together, which included representatives from Transportation, Housing, and the community. Glenn Forbes, president of Southeast Fort Worth, Inc., served as master of ceremony. Also, participating in the program was Mayor Pro-Tempore Ralph McCloud, Tarrant County Commissioner Roy C. Brooks, and State Representative Marc Veasey.

Re-Urbanization Plan

Community leaders and financial institutions have been meeting with community residents in developing a re-urbanization plan for some time. Increasing the population density of Near Southeast Fort Worth has been a long-range goal for business visionaries like Glenn Forbes. New home building in the area would create an Urban Village, which is attractive to new business capital.

The Initiative represents a grand vision in modern urban development planning and provided Congressman Burgess, who serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee, with some ideas to take back to Washington, D. C.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The East and Southeast Forth Worth Economic Development Summit convened on June 3, 2005, organized by the Public Forum Institute and hosted by honorary chairman U.S. Congressman Michael C. Burgess (District 26). Keynote speaker for the event was Acting Deputy Secretary of Commerce David Sampson. About 225 community and business representatives convened with local, state, and national leaders to develop plans on how to attract investment, encourage entrepreneurship, change perceptions and prepare the work force in some of Fort Worth's most blighted neighborhoods…

Congressman Michael Burgess called for a unified vision that addresses economic development from the inside out. "Growth and economic prosperity flourish all around this section of Fort Worth, and we must find a way to end the cycle of neglect," he stated, citing the area's trouble in attracting private investment. "As we look at our urban communities, we must work cooperatively together to turn our words into actions. It will require putting community interest ahead of self interest."

Summit Workshops

· Attracting Investment

· Preparing the Workforce of the Future

· Building Communities & Changing Perceptions

· Encouraging Entrepreneurship

Summit Objective:

  • To Stimulate Economic Growth In East And Southeast Fort Worth
  • To Help The Region Define A Vision And Plan For Its Economic Future
  • To Seek To Identify A Champion Who Would Promote And Advocate For The Area With Their Words And Their Wallet
  • To Examine Approaches To Strengthen Educational Achievement Of Local Students
  • To Remove Barriers To Employment For An Aging Labor Force
  • To Improve Quality Of Life For Are Residents
  • To Change The Negative Perceptions Held By Others Outside The Community
  • To Help Reduce Crime And Promote A More Positive Image Of The Area
  • To Examine How Entrepreneurs Bring Innovation To The Area And Develop Businesses That Can Serve As A Catalyst For New Growth

ACTION PLANS for Workforce of the Future

Eddie Griffin, a member of the Workforce of the Future Task Force, helped identify areas of priority and helped build the framework for developing the future local workforce. By working together with constituents across boundaries, we formed lifelong bonds and working relationships and alliances between local institutions and our community.

I championed the cause for a “livable wage” at the low-end wage scale and advocated raising the Minimum Wage. An unfair distribution of profit is the formula for the rich getting rich and the poor racing to keep up with inflation. Through inflation and stagnate wages, the purchasing power of low-end wage earners continues to erode. 

An Action Plan to raise the minimum wage reached outside the state of Texas to other states that eventually enacted new minimum wage rates and forced Congress to do the same.

Interdiction through the School System

Since the future workforce must come through the public school system, the taskforce identified local high schools as the ideal point of interdiction to upgrade workforce training and development.

We confronted the high school dropout problem head on, and formed various work groups and committees to study the issue, and worked in conjunction with FWISD Community Action Teams (CAT) to find viable solutions. Members of the congressman’s Workforce Advisory also worked on CAT teams. To date, this is what has been accomplished:

GO Centers were created by a business and social service collaborative to provide computer resources, internet access, and guidance that would help students in high risk areas to navigate their way to and through college. These were first placed into all the high schools, and later expanded to middle schools and into faith-based community centers and churches, to form a community support network for education at the grassroots level. The Centers would later also provide tutorial services to struggling students and other parental assistance programs.

Vocational and Technical Certification programs were introduced into the high schools for students who wanted or needed to get straight into the job market. These programs allowed students to become viable earn wages before high school completion, and provided a powerful incentive against having to drop out of school in order to go to work because of family needs. Some students gained certified skills as technicians, medical assistants, and tax preparers.

The programs have since evolved into the FWISD Gold Seals Programs that teach skill sets in other vocational fields like culinary arts.

Virtual Education, a cause for which we lobbied, was championed by State Rep. Jerry Madden, who helped pass of a bill that allowed school districts to use online curriculum and materials, and set the state for the use modern technology like whiteboards in the classrooms. Thus, FWISD became the first digital school district of its size in the stage, which is now poised for a new round of education technology.

More recently, new FWISD Supt. Walter Dansby invited Eddie Griffin to assist in developing a strategic 5-year vision for the public school system.


All of the old frontiers are conquered. The current state of the workforce, that once spearheaded the growth industries of yesterday, is now aging and old skill sets are becoming antiquated. We are moving into a world of Nano-Technology, at a time when our school children are lagging behind in their academic understanding in math.

The workforce of the future is now engineering at a sub-atomic particle level, creating new composite materials in bio-medicine, and connecting new wave theories to voice recognition programs and receptors that execute voice commands.

Heretofore, the greatest challenge between the students in poor districts versus those in richer districts was the digital divide. But new cost-effective technology is bridging the gap, and bringing a whole new experience and medium into the classroom.

The Workforce of the Future for the next generation will depend on putting the right tools into the hands of our children and teaching them early on how to use and master them. The higher the educational skill sets, the more competitive the labor force in the global economic environment.

Parity in Educational Resources

There is still structural disparity between the districts that give favor to students in the richer schools. This advantage provides for unequal competition in the job market. The Federal Equal Opportunity Employment laws can protect again discrimination, but it cannot equalize and protect the lesser educated. Therefore, inner city unemployment is higher, without recourse to Civil Rights protections.

This is a problem that we can solve by first utilizing best what we have now-- more wisely, more efficiently, and more purposefully- and secondly, continuing to fight for parity in education resources and equality in employment opportunities.

This has been and remains my greatest mission.


One factor in the Workforce of the Future scenario is healthcare- infant, child, mother and worker healthcare, in general.

A vibrant workforce begins with healthy babies. And, the Affordable Healthcare Act, otherwise known as Obama Care, eliminated certain preexisting conditions like “Blue Babies” syndromes, where babies are born into the world with breathing problems.

Women’s healthcare provisions allow expectant mothers to receive early prenatal care and disease prevention strategies for unborn children. Obama Care allows women to get early diagnosis, medical advice and care, and services that enable unborn children to come into the world with healthier prognoses.

And, worker healthcare provides protection against medical insurance overcharges, by forcing insurance companies to refund excess profits.

These protections, benefits, and safeguards should not be taken away, now that the law is enacted.


I always disagreed with compulsive subscription to insurance policies. And, I believe also that President Barack Obama would not have capitulated to the Insurance Industry, if the government had been allowed the power to sell cheaper insurance coverage, as the original bill first proposed.

As you know, the government insurance option was designed to give the public an alternative to high rate private insurance providers. It did not eliminate a patient’s choice, as propagandists claimed.

But having the government in the insurance business, and its ability to uncut the rate of private insurers, was something repulsive to Congress at the time. Thus, the congressional rejection of the public option forced the Obama administration to make a deal with the devil, so to speak. Mandatory insurance coverage for all then became the only way to get the Insurance Industry to support Universal Healthcare Coverage.

All other partisan claims are distortions.

Eddie G. Griffin (BASG) will continue to support the right of the unborn child to come into the world with full healthcare provisions and coverage, and a mother’s right to medical services of her choice and according to her needs, at the advisement of her own medical doctor, and not doctors chosen for her by the government, whether federal or state.

I will continue to support healthy working conditions through industry regulations, and covered medical service for workers injured on the job. I will oppose exploitation of undocumented laborers who have no protection or medical coverage.


Of course, we will continue to disagree on much legislation, particularly those immediately identified above. But you are and will always be my friend.

I have hereby officially adopted you as my FACEBOOK FRIEND, in hopes of continuing to win your support and your vote on issues key to the concerns of our new U.S. Congressional District 33.

Eddie Griffin

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Medical Community Agrees: Tasers are Lethal

At last, what we have said about tasers is proving true. Common sense and experience should tell us that people can die from being electrocuted, whether from a downed power line or an electrical outlet. But when it comes to a 50,000-volt taser being responsible for hundreds of electrocutions resulting in death, we are in denial.

Now a new study shows that “the electrical shock delivered to the chest by a Taser can lead to cardiac arrest and sudden death.” (“Tasers Pose Risks to Heart, a Study Warns”, NY Times, April 30, 2012)

“This is no longer arguable,” said Dr. Byron Lee, a cardiologist and director of the electrophysiology laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco. “This is a scientific fact. The national debate should now center on whether the risk of sudden death with Tasers is low enough to warrant widespread use by law enforcement.”

The debate over whether tasers are lethal is over. Taser can and do kill.

This conclusion flies in the face of TASER International’s long standing claim that the weapon was non-lethal. This important line of demarcation determines how the weapon is regulated, how officers in the field are orientated and trained in its use, its public acceptance, and its sales.

But, of course, the company will not kowtow to the study’s findings, instead rather choosing to allege a profit motive on the doctor doing the study. But the preponderance of evidence gained from medical records, police reports, and autopsy reports show an undeniable correlation, between electrical shocks from tasers and cardiac arrests, resulting in some deaths.

Although the conclusion is clear, the medical community is undecided as to how to proceed. Is the risk of sudden death with Taser low enough to warrant widespread use by law enforcement? That, Dr. Lee claims, should be the principal issue in the debate. Wherein, Dr. Robert J. Myerburg, a professor of medicine in cardiology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, added, “I suspect the incidence of these fatal events is going to be low and can be minimized by the precautions.” 

Missing in the perspective is the victim’s point of view from those who have been tased and survive, who call the experience “torture”. That issue raises the bar of the debate. No longer is a debate about overuse and abuse of tasers by police officers, poor training, and discretion in the field. It is no longer a debate about whether 50,000 volts of electricity can kill. But short of death, how much does the taser victim suffer? 

Are tasers really torture?

The subject of torture has been debated throughout the ages. There is no precise definition except as an act of practice that is reprehensible to public conscious. Like the Supreme Court justice who said of pornography, “he knows it when he sees it”. Torture can only be known by those who have suffered it. And, by all firsthand accounts, from police officers tased in training to the man on the street, pinned on the ground, and shocked into submission, TASER IS TORTURE.