The wrong standard for “wrong doing” when it comes to student safety


“A Brooklyn teen who drowned on a class trip upstate was warned four times to leave the lake before he drowned..”… “……the report – which found no wrongdoing by a Department of Education employee…”


First I am amazed that these (almost identical) and very preventable incidents continue year after year during my 30 year experience in public education. Professional ethics should compel us to expand the definitions of Right and Wrong doings. Parents send their children to school with the correct assumption that the professionals are properly trained to protect the wellbeing of students in their charge. Why were these students so far away from the group? Why this teacher was not aware, made aware, or ignored some very fundamental principles of the psychological workings of the teenage mind? I understand that we have entered the age of professional education training (the study of developmental psychology)not being important; and that anyone, who wishes to do so can teach, after having a crash course in educational theory; but these tragedies consistently occurred even during the historical periods when formal educational training was required. And so this falls on school administration to make sure that staff is well versed in school and district policies and procedures. This means that Principals and AP’s must risk and accept being called: “too strict”; “not wanting the children to have fun”; “not letting students make decisions for themselves”; etc., if students are to remain safe. If a school administrator can’t take that “push-back”; then they should consider that perhaps school leadership is not their calling. Allowing a student to “decided”, to be “happy”, by placing themselves in a dangerous, or deadly situation is very much an example of wrong doing. And so my questions: What part of the number “4” did the teacher not understand has no meaning for a teenager; the power of compliance is measured in the power associated and demonstrated in a single request; multiple request signal to a teenager that they have a “choice” outside of your decision. Further, psycho-linguistics informs us that a teenager voicing the phrase “OK”, simply translates into: “I (‘auditorily’) hear you”; not that I understand or will even comply with your directive. Field trip management begins before the trip (pre-trip briefing) when students ( and particularly the usual “hard-head” suspects) are informed that any failure  to follow  a safety rule (even of the slightest kind) on a trip, will lead to: (a) that person will be “tethered” to a staff member for the duration of the trip. (b) A meeting with the dean or school administrator once students return to the school. (c) The possible removal from further trips and similar activities, until it can be proven that the student can follow the rules of the school (everyone must see them lose the right to at least the next trip). (d) Just the threat to a high school student, that: “you can only go on a field trip if one of your parents serves as a chaperone”; is very often enough to influence good behavior on the part of that student. Finally, the teacher in this tragedy should have physically (not verbally) escorted this particular student to a safe area. The other tragedy will be that schools will simply put a halt on trips; until this latest tragedy passes from public memory. But this will only hurt students; I believe in the purpose and power of out of school experiences. These very  important educational experiences are of great benefit to those students whose parents for whatever reason; don’t engage their children in the rich cultural, scientific, historical and arts experiences found in the “informal- educational” school system; but “do no harm”, must be the schools primary directive.

“A Brooklyn teen who drowned on a class trip upstate was warned four times to leave the lake before he drowned – and even cursed at fellow students who told him swimming wasn’t allowed, according to a report released Tuesday by the special commissioner of investigation. But the report – which found no wrongdoing by a Department of Education employee – also revealed that a teacher and a park employee who told Jean Fritz Pierre, 16, to get out of the lake, left the area without making sure the teen stayed on dry land. International High School teacher Randy Calderone told Pierre and another teen to get out of the water after he spotted them splashing each other about three feet from shore. “Calderone told the boys that no one was allowed in the lake and they responded, ‘OK’ … Calderone instructed them to get their stuff and come down the path because they had to board the bus,” the report states. “Calderone and his group continued down the path and he thought that Pierre and Student B were with them,” according to the report. And earlier that afternoon a Bear Mountain State Park employee in a motorboat told Pierre to get out of the water – but like Calderone, he did not remain to ensure Pierre stayed out. “Pierre started to come out of the water, but when the boat left, Pierre entered the lake again,” the report states. Pierre drowned June 24 while on a trip to the Rockland County park with his class from his Prospect Heights high school.”– NY POST

President Obama Endorses de Blasio for mayor: What could this mean for Public Education?

NY Daily News: President Obama on Monday endorsed Public Advocate Bill de Blasio for mayor, saying that the Democrat will be a “great” mayor for “America’s largest city.” Obama specifically cited de Blasio’s plans for universal pre-kindergarten as one of the reasons he was backing de Blasio, a former Housing and Urban Development official under-then President Clinton. “Progressive change is the centerpiece of Bill de Blasio’s vision for New York City, and it’s why he will be a great mayor of America’s largest city,” Obama said in a statement. “Whether it’s ensuring pre-kindergarten is available for every four-year old, expanding after-school programs for every middle school student who wants and needs them, making affordable housing available for more New York families and preserving community hospitals, Bill’s agenda for New York is marked by bold, courageous ideas that address the great challenges of our time.”


What happens to a dream deferred?


Does it dry up

like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore–

And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?

Or crust and sugar over–

like a syrupy sweet?


Maybe it just sags

like a heavy load.


Or does it explode?

-Langston Hughes

I wonder what this means for NYC public education policy, if Mr. de Blasio is elected. The President’s Education Secretary Arne Duncan has been a consistent supporter of the present mayor’s ineffective faux reform program. The secretary’s educational philosophy seems to be more aligned with the republican candidate, Mr. Lhota. In view of the Justice Department’s (JD) open and aggressive defense against the legislative attempt at the commercializing of public education in Louisiana (and the laws real long-term goal: The public funding of religious and racially segregated “White Academies” by the governor, and his republican collogues in the state legislature). Could the JD actions be a recognition of how a test of the “charter district” model in New Orleans has so demonstrably failed (and now that the traveling ineffective “medicine show” has moved on; and is being fiercely resisted in Bridgeport Conn.). Or, is this just an intellectually honest recognition that republicans have no real interest in the successful education of the children of poverty, and more specifically, Black and Latino children. Is this a shift away from a failed and cynical policy? Is Mr. Obama (essentially a smart guy)no longer buying the educational swampland disguised as the green grass of school reform? If an elected Bill de Blasio could pursue a path between misguided and misinformed liberals; and callous and cynical conservatives; the children who are the most dependent on public education to escape from the terrible possibility of having their “dreams (of a positive and productive life) deferred”, could have  a chance. I, on the other hand am trying to walk a path while balancing the historical reality of pessimism, and the spiritual reality of hope.



“Russians deserve better than Putin” –John McCain


Well, maybe Americans also deserve better: 41 unsuccessful attempts to destroy the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”); and these people are collecting a salary!

Lecturing a nation about the quality of their political leadership always carries some risk; but doing so in the shadow  of the recurring crazy acts of the Republican Mad-men, threatening (again) to shut the  government down in order to stop millions of U.S. citizens from acquiring health care insurance, is a challenge. A lecture on governmental leadership by a member of a grossly dysfunctional governmental organization; could strike a Russian audience as slightly odd, if not contradictory. His Russian readers may also be puzzled by Mr. McCain’s party’s extraordinary efforts (empowered by the Supreme Court) to place restrictive barriers to voting for  large segments of the American citizenry (fixing elections?). And perhaps Sen. McCain’s  valid points about an unfair Russian justice system was undermined by policies of the “stopping and frisking” of racial minorities; and the right to “stand your ground”, against racial minorities. The poor educational pipe-line to prison system that destroys the lives and dreams of large members of the Black and Latino young U.S. citizens.  Putting aside the idea that the “dueling editorials” are qualitatively unequal. Putin’s article in the NY Times dealt with oppositional  political philosophy; while McCain’s editorial was more of a personal attack on the Russian President . A persuasive essay that has as its centerpiece: You (Russian people) are stupid for voting for such a horrible president. Not so helpful when you want to convince and pursued an audience. “Charity, I heard several times, through the years; “should begin at home.” And so I have a few home-based folks  who might benefit from a letter of concern from Mr. McCain.

  • The  extreme virulent Tea-Party members of his party who refuse to recognize Mr. Obama as the legitimately elected POTUS; and he should suggest to them that just harming, hurting and stopping the president is not a political philosophy; and is definitely not a way to effectively govern. Americans regardless of party affiliation deserve better.
  • To those who seek to “defund” the very necessary access to health care for millions of Americans; simply in order to deny the president a “victory”; may signal that US citizens deserve better.
  • And to those cynical right-wing  governmental and political activist who actually spend resources in trying to block, confuse and misinform Americans as to the benefits of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare); the millions of uninsured, the working and unemployed poor; deserve better.
  • Reach out to sate governments that seek to create  legislative barriers to those who want to exercise their fundamental right to vote. The veterans of the civil rights struggle, and the  millions they fought for, deserve better.
  • Contact his callous collogues in both houses of congress who want to use hunger as a weapon against the poor by the cruel cuts to food stamps. Children who can’t focus in school or while doing homework because they are hungry, deserve better.


And if  Sen. McCain has any time left, perhaps he can send the President of the University of Alabama (UAB) a note offering her the option of either mandating segregation in all school activities, including money making sports teams; or exercise the courage to pull the university into the modern era;  a place where a distinguish institution of higher learning should lead, and not be led. And, when it comes to courageous learning models ; the students of UAB deserve better.


Senator John McCain: Russians deserve better than Putin…….

Here she is: Ms. America!

We need to enhance cultural literacy, not for the reasons some people think: To make everybody feel equally included, and happy. Cultural, ability, multiple-talents/intelligence/giftedness, and linguistic “inclusion” have its own educational rewards. The meaning of happiness however is another matter that I leave to theologians and philosophers. It is also not just a matter of learning about others so that: “we can all just get along”. Cultural ignorance/illiteracy has and will continue to do great harm to the economics, safety and social wellbeing of our nation. Further, as the world “shrinks”, and international contacts, commerce and communication expands; U.S. students are being placed in a position of future disadvantage when knowledge of the culture and language of the rest of the world is required.  (I am still haunted and amazed by the conversation I had ten years ago in a cab in Paris, France; where the cab driver was discussing in perfect nuanced English, the discography of Miles Davis, I felt like a minor league cultural-linguistic player in a major league game; all the time thinking: “how does this guy even know who Miles Davis is?”)


“…….Miss America crowns first winner of Indian descent, and critics slam her as Arab terrorist Miss New York spends her first press conference defending herself from angry viewers calling her un-American, Arab and Indonesian. ‘I have to rise above that,’ she said after winning the coveted crown….”


“I don’t look less Chinese.”-Julie Chen

Really Julie?


First, I must confess that I am not a fan of the entire “beauty” contest hoop-la. The participants all look too much alike; sounded and acted too alike; and they all seem to concede and accept a definition of “beauty” that was as narrow as it was shallow. I do remember in my younger days seeing Bert Parks singing that famous: “Here she is, Ms. America…”; as it reminded me of my all season athletic experiences, I liked the wining part; where the winner tried not to cry off her made-up self, and the runner-ups worked so hard at being gracious in defeat. These silly contests where for years contestants vacillate between displaying their curves in bikini outfits; juggling bowling pins and singing at the same time; while always responding to the hero question by proclaiming the obligatory: “My hero is the Dr. Martin Luther King”. I always wondered if they really knew anything about the thinking and mission of MLK; and in what way was he their hero.  Did they want to emulate his life and ideals? Was this a sincere yearning on their part to live a life of service? And how do they reconcile this extreme subjugation and  objectification of the female body by the “pageants organizers”; with his powerful  commitment to the subjective and objective liberation of the American personality. I don’t think I could name the last three states that won the Ms. America contest. But this year, the contest marred by the ugly and misinformed comments hurled at the winner, got my attention, for two reasons. First, because of my “failed education radar-detector”. It seems that too many Americans are sadly geographically challenged; now assuming (and I want to be generous here), that her cruel critics attended somebody’s school system through the 8th grade. Even the states with the weakest social studies curriculums, would by that time have establish in the students brains that India is not an Arab country, and has no cultural connection to Indonesia. And even if they were absent from school on the day when the topic of India was covered; a high school world history course should have corrected the misunderstanding. This is why I cringe when I read that teachers in school districts like Philadelphia complaining that this year they will be forced to teach middle and high school history courses without maps and globes; the social studies educational equivalent of: “making bricks without straw.” But the second reason this year’s contest got my attention was again the response by her hateful critics as to her “Un-Americaness”. Again,  we see a failed educational experience; clearly these are people who perhaps missed the entire American history course in high school; or it was taught so badly that at the end of course they left without learning one of the primary learning objectives: We are a nation of many people; from many different places and cultures. And I know that theses ignorant commentators could not have been from NYC where there is an annual wonderful rainbow of ethnic parades and citywide celebrations. All of us, that is everybody including those who arrived here long  before there was something called: America; are emigrants. Becoming an American may have been by choice, or an unfortunate circumstance; but we are all very much Americans by virtue of our citizenship. Most important, many Americans who were born(1st generationist like myself), or came to the US at a young age; have no “real” connection to the nation of their parents; they are (despite their feelings) every ounce, culturally, Americans (just try traveling to other countries, and be honest with yourself). All of Ms. Davuluri’s detractors represent a descent from some land, nation, people, outside of the U.S. geographical borders. There is no cultural or legal “time line” preference, no citizenship “seniority status” based on the length of the of the descent line. Yes, here she is; Ms. Davuluri and many who look like her; who is in every sense a growing reality and recognition of what is, will be and should be America. And perhaps that senseless fear of: “the different from what I know”; is the fuel of their ignorance. Finally, if these crazy folks were fortunate enough to be part of a strong high school biology program, they may have learned to their surprise that perhaps they may be more closely related  genetically to the people of India then to the folks in the “old-country”, they claim to descend from. Perhaps their closest genetic ancestry can be found on the banks of the Ganges, not the Hudson River. Now that’s an education they could use.


Rejection can be a good thing, if……

Mr. de Blasio mayoral bid was rejected (for another candidate) by the NYC Teacher’s Union (UFT); he is now their fall back anti-Lhota candidate( ). And clearly, he is not on the short, or long list of the corporate “new reform” right wing raiders; who would continue to make the NYC public schools safe for profiteers. The question of course is: what happens if he is successful in his campaign and becomes mayor? Rejection is not designed to make the rejected feel good; but this is a situation where rejection may be a blessing in the open. Mr. de Blasio should think hard about why the UFT preferred the very decent and nice Bill Thompson, over himself. And it has nothing to do with what I am sure is a decent and nice personality that seems to also dwell very bright in the heart of Mr. de Blasio. But it does have everything to do with the possibility that a mayor de Blasio may be tempted to give all children in NYC public schools a chance at what is apparently a quality education his children have enjoyed; as demonstrated by their intelligent, commanding and confident presence.  Who will a mayor de Blasio fight for;  the children or adults. When the choice being offered him, is between the “rubber room” and the cooperate board room; he should give some thought to a bold third way, that places the interest of children first, second and third. A path that champions knowledge and experience, but rejects the tyranny of tenure when it is used to defend mediocrity and incompetence. Don’t just close schools (custodian do that every night), because you don’t know how to improve them; rather open them up to new innovative possibilities that could serve as excellent vehicles for student academic empowerment. Maybe rejection ain’t so bad; if you have the courage to stay rejected.


It is always important to: “compare and contrast” when analyzing competing ideas. It seems (Full disclosure), in my view that Mr. de Blasio (  has invested a great deal of smart and strategic thought into making public education work for a large number of the city’s children. Children whose mis-education has been neglected and transformed into a spring board into employing  casual-drive by “educators”; and a platform for money making enterprises. Clearly his educational plan is comprehensive, bold and visionary. Mr. de Blasio plan seems to pursue a path that will not lead to the failed policies of the past; and at the same time keep our children off of the faux reform path to education failure.  NYC’s children could be tragically caught between “rubber rooms”, and corporate money-making schemes; in both cases their educational hopes of entering the productive mainstream of American life through education, will be lost. All the research I have read clearly supports Mr. de Blasio’s assertion that a strong Pre-K education can have a powerful and demonstrative effect on a student’s future academic success. We could, through strong full day universal pre-K programs (that included Art, Music, Science, technology, and out of school cultural experiences/ trips); break the curse of the real gap; which is not academic ability; but rather the gap in parent resources (both financial and informational). Central to any educational plan should be a plan to neutralize and destroy the deleterious effects of poverty on a student’s ability to learn. Diminish, as a factor the unfair (unfair because children can’t choose their parents) influence of the attainment level of parent education, or mastery of English. If people are afraid of the concept of “two- educational cities”; then perhaps it is because their children live in the educational city with:  highly skilled and visionary school building leaders; a school that is well resourced, and staffed with highly talented-experienced teachers who know, and are strong in content and know how to effectively deliver that content; teachers who have high expectations for themselves, and for their students. Although it was not specifically mentioned, I am hoping that having “smart and articulate” children (look under, not at the Afro; listen to how well Dante expresses himself), would provide Mr. de Blasio with an opportunity to think, and plan for an educational initiative that would address the identification and nurturing of children of color who are near, on and above grade level.  We need to extend the definition of “at-risk” to Black and Latino students who are presently doing well academically; for they are truly at risk of being relegated to the back of the low-expectations class room. The educational “ghettoizing” of Black and Latino students in a permanent state of “failure”, “underachievement”, who are forever in need of “fixing”; has historically framed these students in a never-ending, never-productive ,permanent, “closing the gap” defeatist  model. In the 1990’s-2000; high schools like Science Skills Center, Medgar Evers, A. Philip Randolph and Frederick Douglass were creating school cultures that affirmed and enhanced student strengths. There is a need to create viable learning spaces where young people are safe; and safe to be smart. We need to close the gap between the high capabilities, and the low expectations of Black and Latino students in NYC. Would a Black mayor be a nice visual role model, perhaps? But I am now so over “Black symbolism”, and I yearn for substance over the symbolic.  Langston Hughes said it best, as only he could, in a poem. When speaking about the great African-American international diplomat Dr. Ralph Bunche: “I love Ralph Bunche, but I can’t eat him for lunch”. And as the old folks would say: “Tell the truth, and shame the devil”. It took me awhile (a lot of effort and a lot of disappointment); but I have finally been cured of my chronic illusion that a Black person (phenotypically speaking), in the position of power, is going to do the right thing for children; even if the majority of those children look like them; it may not happen; if it requires a great deal of vision built on a foundation of great courage.

 And as a former leader of the PRC Deng Xiaoping once expressed: “It doesn’t matter whether the cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice”; so here are three candidates educational plans:



In any war, children face multiple crises; first health, safety, dislocation, and worse, death. But if by some chance they survive the violence, and are able to escape physical harm. They must struggle to emerge from the oppressive emotional  cloud that can permanently scar their psychological wellbeing. This mental harm often happens because there is not enough attention given to post war professional counseling for children. But another immediate but long term casualty of any armed conflict like the type that is occurring in Syria, is the almost immediate closing of schools; and the irreversible education degradation of the educational experience window for the young people caught in the middle of the conflict. This loss of educational time, will insure that no matter the outcome in Syria; the nation’s path to development will realize generational setbacks; thus insuring that the country will experience long term underdevelopment..


“……..My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this. I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal….”—Vladimir V. Putin is the president of Russia; NY Times, 9/12/13.

Mr. Putin is correct in his assertion that the Syrian war theater is a very complex place. The amount of complexity is avoided by the news media; first out of fear of the “snooze factor” (don’t bore the audience with inconvenient facts); and secondly out of a “fall back” intellectually laziness position, that places every situation in the world into “left-right”, “democrats-anti-democrats”; conservative-liberals; secularist-anti-secularists. There is no clear national strategy that takes into account the particular Syrian Geo-historical experience (which could explain why a “strike-force” coalition consisting of America, France and Great Britain, could be problematic, despite their good intentioned and moral motivations). There is also no clear analysis  of the important different approaches to Islam in play in Syria; and how this influences the war itself, the behavior of the combatants on both sides, and the cast of war backers of one side or another. Cultural experiential knowledge is useful here as the US public must be informed that this is not the (Us based) Lutherans vs. the Methodists, or the Catholic Church vs. Protestantism.  And since just about everybody fighting on both sides in Syria are Muslims, what is an “Islamist”? For sure, Mr. Putin is painfully aware of his nation’s disastrous role as the “godless satan” in Russia’s Afghanistan misadventure. He is (I guess) also keeping one eye on a very large, restless and potentially troublesome Muslim population inside of his own south-west borders. He could learn from the US experience in Afghanistan, where abetting and arming the opponent (the Taliban) of your ideological enemy, only in time to have those same weapons turned on you; is the geo-political definition of a self-inflected wound. “Freedom Fighters”, (as well as their opponents, as we see in Egypt) historically are very often, complex and contradictory figures. Our own American Revolution was successfully completed  without a revolutionary change in the lives of  the African slave population. Rather than picking a side for short-term political point scoring; ‘exceptionally’ powerful nations should exhibit an exceptional and extraordinary vision of how peace could actually bring a higher level of social/economic progress, and long term security to their nations. Mr. Putin should study the recent history of Afghanistan to know that just simply being in opposition to the U.S. could have dangerous, and devastating effects when it is his turn to do battle with religious extremist (independent or state actors), who then could have possession of  weapons of mass destruction. Mr. Obama is correct in ignoring the likes of John McCain who would put lethal arms into the hands of folks who would eventually turn them on US troops, or worse, American citizens. The senator’s cultural illiteracy deficiencies does not allow him to understand that in all of his meetings with the “Syrian Opposition”, lying to an enemy is very permissible under the religious principles followed by Mr. Assad’s opponents. There is unfortunately, an equality of deceit and immoral war crimes acted out by both sides. Before “picking a side”; It may be helpful for the foreign policy “wonks” in Russia, and the US, to study the amount of unrestricted brutality that was displayed in the Iraq-Iran war. Both sides, at the end of this Syrian conflict will inflict unimaginable brutality on the non-combatants of the other side, utilizing conventional weapons of mass destruction. And I believe Mr. McCain’s “Syrian Opposition” will systematically destroy whatever Christians are left in the country. But Mr. Putin is right on the point of equal status and stature under God. But I also believe that our responsibility for doing Good (God’s) works; (since he introduced God in his comments); is matched to a nations resource capacity and capability. In that sense all of the ‘exceptual’ members of the security council (exceptual because, obtaining a seat is based on economic, military, demographic and geographical power), must make an exceptional effort to secure the safety and wellbeing of the world’s people, protect the worlds environment from WMD’s, and make the world’s non-combatants safe from the devastating effects of war of any type. This exceptual responsibility of a “super-power” player status, should compel them to exhaust all efforts in protecting the greatest long term victims of any armed conflict, children.



“Syria conflict: Kerry says bigger risk not taking action”-BBC

Perhaps the biggest risk is, to just to do “anything”, no matter how well intoned. There is a “cagey” straw man strategy in play here, and I can’t help but  believe that both Secy. Kerry and the POTUS are smart enough to know that they are using it. The public’s resistance is attributed to fears of: Repeating the mistakes of the Iraq experience, and “war wariness”.  No doubt both of these issues are valid reasons to be reluctant to engage young people in the only long term jobs the administration and congress can successfully create for our young people. A job fighting in a war.  But this approach by the administration also ignores the smart learning curve of the public when it comes to the value and benefits of these wars to affirm US “power” in the world. Why not affirm our power through a comprehensive jobs bill that could address our dangerously crumbling infrastructure, and bring dignity and better living conditions to members of our society who have lived under double digit unemployment through bad,  “getting better” and good economic environments. The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is no help here, as they emerge from a  “do nothing” congress, only to become a “say nothing” caucus, by orders of their chairperson Rep. Marcia Fudge ( They now see their primary role and responsibility not to protect and defend their suffering constituents; but rather as protectors and defenders of the POTUS’s image (Charlie Rangel-D-NY is not being silent in his opposition to this “face saving” tragedy and clearly did not receive, or just simply ignored the memo). In fairness to the CBC, a great deal of opposition from the Republicans is born, and nurtured in his embodiment and reminder of how America is in an irreversible demographic change. The POTUS could voice support for motherhood and apple pie; and there is a block of Republicans who would oppose and reject both. But the CBC should fight for their constituent’s interest, and ignore the dismissive rhetoric and hyperbole of those who will hate  Mr. Obama whether he takes military action, or takes no action. This (in agreement with Mr. Kerry) is surely a time for action. I wish we could see a bold action in gathering educational resources that would allow large numbers of children in our nation to pursue the only viable path that will break the cycle of poverty that plagues their lives. If we could lift the state of siege that violently reduces many of our neighborhoods into war zones. I would like us to do something about the plight of our senior citizens who find their fixed incomes “fixed”, as prices and the cost of living continues to rise. And maybe take action in support of the civil servants of Detroit, who had no part in destroying that city’s economy, and now find that their thought to be “safe” retirement living befits are: “ not too big to be reduced”. Can we do something that would allow the Philadelphia school system to open fully equipped, fully staffed and fully ready to seriously educate that city’s children. I wish we could do something for the homeless, jobless, and the hopeless of our nation; and to borrow the words of Mr. Kerry and Mr. Obama: “To do nothing, is not an option”


To the CNN Management: Is CNN Out-Foxing Fox?

“…..This outrageous choice, I guess, is the Journalistic version of “silly skinny girl twerking” in order to gain publicity, and higher ratings..”


Mark O’Mara, George Zimmerman Lawyer, Joins CNN As Legal Analyst…

How so easy it is for American institutions to insult African-Americans, without fear of consequences. I recently confessed to a surprised friend that: “I am so ready for the end of the Obama era”. Because it has lured and lulled us into a dangerous complacency and low level of minimal acceptance of treatment, driven in part, by this false notion of our nation being in a present state of : “Post- Racialism”. And in this ‘post-racial’ state we are eerily quiet as the  city of Philadelphia opens “buildings”, not schools to take kids off the street for a huge part of the day; with no thought, or intention of ever educating them; where is the outrage, the marching?

The U.S. is short on jobs for the large number of people who want to work; but I don’t remember hearing that our nation is short of Lawyers. This outrageous choice (I guess, is the Journalistic version of, silly skinny girl twerking, in order to gain publicity, and higher ratings); to hire the legal face and voice of a one-man lynch mob is insulting to a large segment of this nation, whose “son” was legally lynched and legally defended by this creep, who was racially successful in turning the victim into a defendant. For sure, he was aided by a stacked pro-Zimmerman Jury; and a disinterested prosecution team that essentially, “phoned it in”; his role as a racial activist seeking jury nullification of Trayvon Martin’s humanity, can’t be  easily excused, or forgotten.  And this insult occurs; as we and the victim’s family are still in mourning. I suspect that perhaps you  may have had at least one (don’t want to assume a Black person is making policy decisions at CNN; if so shame on them) thoughtful person in the room who asked: “is this right; is this offensive to the family, and  to Black Americans in general?” And I guess the response was: “Yeah, but Fox them if they can’t take a joke; it’s about ratings, not respect for Black people!”  I am sure this will be attributed to that equally fake principle of journalism: “objectivity”. But this decision/appointment was not simply a “random”, “objective” search for journalistic truth; Mr. O’Mara  is not just a “legal opinion” on the Trayvon Martin case; he was/is in fact a primary defender of the murdering defendant, and is also his chief spokesperson and advocate. That fact does not even meet the “fake journalism objectivity “test. Will Mr. O’Mara recuse himself from any discussions involving: “racial profiling”, “stop and frisk”, “stand your ground”, any case that  involves a “Black/White protagonist-antagonist situation; after all he is on a very extensive public record of not being objective on these types of matters. The appointment was intended to insult a segment of the US. Population, you feel can’t effectively fight back. It is clear by this action that CNN holds their Black audience (and any other American audience member of good will) in contempt. It has become so culturally acceptable (natural) to disregard the concerns of Black America, for the interest of “middle America” and that famously popular: middle class. But this takes disinterest up to a higher level of disrespect. I have been a long time CNN fan, and often “juggle” between CNN and MSNBC. But if CNN chooses to blatantly offend me by awarding/rewarding someone whose very presence will bring up very painful memories; I will chose in my small way to stand with the mother of Trayvon Martin and not watch CNN or purchase products produced by its sponsors. If I want to be seriously insulted, I could (and never do) watch the real FOX, not the fake Fox kind.


A Church in Search of a Spiritual Mission; A Spiritual Mission in Search of a Church

“Church apologizes for pastor’s request for White greeters only? That’s what a black pastor in Charlotte, N.C., requested. But church leaders quickly apologized for the “white greeters only” email. What does it take to be a church greeter?”


First, where/when did the spiritual mission and purpose go so wrong? I am not sure I could be part of a religious institution that is so unaware as to the fundamental symbolic meaning of the opening and welcoming for all, and any people to enter the “church’s doors”. I don’t believe that this memo was a “mistake”, and it was not a “random renegade act”. It was in a response to a perceived problem; there was a  discussion, and a proposed solution. It was an expression of policy that was born in a core cultural belief. It was purposely designed to be delivered by the (only) Black Pastor; who is either very naive (I am being generous here); or she lacks the courage of faith to simply say: “No this is insulting, it is wrong, and I am not doing it”. She was unwise (again with the generosity) to accept the assignment…and now she alone must fall on the sword of public rebuke. But looking at the churches senior “team” ( ); there is more going on here when their smiling faces meet the eye. Did they ever think that maybe “Urshering” was the only high profile job available to the church’s Black members? Perhaps their “diversity” campaign can start with the church’s leadership. But this sad event points to a much deeper crises in organized Christianity: the love of the material over the spiritual. People are increasingly being shepherd into seeing God as a great galactic cash machine. Worship has been reduced to a supernatural successful career coaching seminar session. We can attend church and live large in sin, without any fear of prophetic admonishment or rebuke. “Seek” the riches of this world, not service to those who are poor, in spirit and living conditions. “Get yours”; “get it now”, (Blessing?) at any cost. “God make me a winner in the lottery of life”; and by definition make others losers. “Seek to be served and transformed by the world”; not transform the world through your service. There is no sin; everything is permitted, anything that fits the members “world-view” is allowed. I can remain: “just as I am”. The Christian path is presented as a way to “make it” in this world; not as a way to make it through this world serving as a Christ-like model of sacrifice. We are reminded by recent national commemorations recognizing the 1963 March on Washington, of the Churches role as advocate and antagonist  on behalf of the disinherited, denied and, disconnected  poor of our nation. Augustine’s  question of, in which city do you choose to live; is still a central question of Christendom. And the wrong answer/choice (“The city of man”); is the reason that the centrality of the power and meaning of the Cross for our own personal sacrifice goes unspoken. Be (pretend to be) a “Christian” for a few hours, once a week; and then, it’s on to a most un-Christ like behavior!  And so, if there is absolutely no philosophical distinction being expressed (or observed), between the “world” and the church; why bother going? We often hear about people being “lost” and in search of the  sacred, and a “spiritual home”. Perhaps it is that too many of our churches are themselves lost, and in search of serving as a home for the sacred, and a place for the development of a deep spiritual life.