Yearning for learning…not

No amount of administrative, legislative, changes that are going to be made to the schools in Washington soon, will mean anything at all to the performance of Blacks in any kind of American learning institutions…with the exception of the University of Hard Knocks—unless the students involved arrive at school ready, eager to, and prepared to learn. A yearning for learning, so to speak.

So the Mayor appoints a new Schools Chancellor. The President appoints a new War Czar. Big deal. Neither will have much affect in the schools, in the streets of Baghdad.

There is too much attention focused on the top-level leadership of the schools, and not enough attention paid to creating an environment, a culture, where learning is a virtue. Oh sure, some individual “stars” will be born, sooner or later, but we are hard pressed to have a really lasting affect on Black peoples’s schools without doing a cultural 180.

Pianist composer Sun Ra said it, and I’ll repeat it and repeat it. “We’re on the right road. We’re just headed in the wrong direction.”

Black people should want to become, once again, the prosperous, united, intelligent, peaceful people we once were, who gave civilization to the world. If that was the case, our schools would be academies, everywhere. Continue reading

Darfur and the Sudan hustle

I confess that at first I was a little embarrassed that I did not join the pack with my own full-throated condemnation of Sudan over Darfur.

So now, here comes President George W. (For “worst in history”) Bush, slapping more sanctions on Sudan, and the chorus screaming “genocide” got louder still. Uh-oh.

Recently I talked to several Black folks who visited Sudan, including Darfur this Spring. More than one of them defended Sudan citing Paul Joseph Goebbels, the German Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda during the Nazi regime, and his “Big Lie Technique.”

To wit: “never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.” They said someone is practicing “The Big Lie” against Sudan.

Hmmm, I thought. Continue reading

Libby to Bush: Pardon Thyself!

Now that President George W. (for “Worst in history”) Bush’s former Special Assistant, and the Chief of Staff for Vice President Dick Cheney—I. Lewis Libby—has been sentenced to jail time for lying during the investigation of the administration’s smear campaign of a critic of Bush’s immoral war of aggression in Iraq, the President must now be hearing the footsteps of the Ghost of Justice and Constitutional rule-of-law, coming up fast behind him.

Beginning with his “selection” by a one-vote margin on the Supreme Court, and not an “election” by the American electorate (which gave more votes to his opponent in 2000), the President has used his awesome powers to systematically murder the rule of law and all semblances of American Justice, in ways we know, and in many ways I’m sure, we don’t know. Continue reading

Permanent Iraq occupation: I told you so

Headline: “Gates: U.S. may be in Iraq for decades.”

I take no joy in saying I told you so. But, I told you so. Several times.

(And two days after-the-fact, The Washington Post agrees in its lead editorial on June 3, 2007. I told you, I told you so.)

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in Hawaii May 31, that South Korea or Japan could be the model for the future in Iraq.

Gates told reporters that “a mutual agreement” with Iraq in which “some force of Americans . . . is present for a protracted period of time, but in ways that are protective of the sovereignty of the host government,” is what the future holds.

Mutual agreement, protective of the sovereignty of the host government, my eye! Protective of American corporations is more like it. Continue reading

Ending the war by definition

Speaker & crew defend surrender May 24I’m going to go out on a limb here and make a startling prediction: Combat operations (as we know them) will end in Iraq in 2008!

Bold, isn’t it?

But I can tell that you’re probably not convinced that I know something that all the 170,000-some-odd U.S. military personnel; all the brass hats and the suits at the Pentagon; and all the chicken-hawks at the White House (who ducked out of their own military service when they were of age) don’t know about what’s going on in Iraq. I don’t. But, the word is that the President has already started floating trial baloons, such as a transition to “a different configuration” in Iraq after the surge is completed this summer.

I just know that whatever happens on the ground, they are going to “say” something different about what’s going to be going on in Iraq for the foreseeable future. They are going to “say” that combat operations are going to end, and that as many as 50,000 troops will come home. Start planning the parades. Continue reading

What if ‘The Surge’ is successful?

In the department of: “What None of Our Leaders Are Telling Us.”

Suppose, just suppose the Bush administration’s 20,000-plus Troop Surge, along with extended deployments, and quicker rotations of battle-weary U.S. forces back into Iraq, just suppose that strategy works? Then what? More escalation, of course.

Would military success for U.S. forces mean they are more likely to declare victory and come home, or remain deployed? This is a trick question. Continue reading

Shallow scholarship at Howard University

First, there are some sour grapes in these upcoming observations…might even be a case of Playa Hatin’. That said, I proceed in behalf of the countless others with similar experiences who never bother to footnote their experiences or keep a paper trail of their slanders…

I am sick and tired of the shallow prevailing Black intellectual view of the Nation of Islam. It’s not just the Neo-Cons and the White Evangelicals of the World who have problems with Muslims, our own Black intelligentsia have issues with the Islamic influence—particularly the Nation of Islam—on Black literature and culture in the United States and they refuse to admit it.

Black literature and academia lionizes Brother Malcolm X, highlighting only the 14 months or so of his life after he broke with the Nation of Islam, while trying to wipe out his 12 years of steadfast service and leadership within the Nation, his platform for earning national attention in the first place. We’ve done the same with Muhammad Ali.

Howard University’s English Department concluded an elaborately produced yet faintly publicized conference celebrating the Black Arts Movement March 24, and when I saw the program, I went bonkers! “They’ve done it again,” I thought. “They’ve kicked the Nation of Islam’s contribution to Black intellectual development to the curb.”

They had a truckload of Ph.D. candidates chaperoned by real professors, presenting papers and performances for two whole days at Howard, talking about the Black intellectual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s—the Black Arts Movement. Continue reading