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New York Post Chimpanzee Editorial Cartoon: Still Looking for the Humor

Sharpton-lee The furor over the New York Post chimpanzee editorial cartoon is far from over for me. You see, I was immediately angered by it for several reasons; its racist connotation being one of them.

I observed executives from the Post attempt to deflect the backlash from the cartoon to protest leader, Rev. Al Sharpton. I don’t always agree with the Reverend but that was just wrong on their part. I also heard their so-called apology and learned of the company’s internal turmoil because of the cartoon.

I tried to understand the perspective of folks, even blacks, who thought the cartoon wasn’t as bad as the publicity that exploded around it. I still wasn’t able to make that stretch. I really tired objectivity but it is what it is.

You know, even if you don’t think the cartoon was racist, there was no humor to be made of a woman tragically disfigured by a chimpanzee and the death of that chimpanzee. There was no humor in two police officers shooting an animal. Was the animal a representation of President Obama? Perhaps it was supposed represent Nancy Pelosi or even Congress. It's just wrong.

There have been calls for the firing of the Post’s editor. I support that unequivocally. I also support the demand for a real public apology from the New York Post.

It was pointed out that President Obama and New York Gov. Paterson did not make a big deal of the situation. Gov. Paterson accepted the Post’s apology. Well, my response to that is, “Did you expect them to go Eric Holder and say what they really feel? I think not.”

This situation could be over quickly. The Post’s lame attempt at an apology is far more acquiescence than they’ve offered in the past. I do hope the NAACP and other civil rights organizations will not cave under the pressure.

Rev. Sharpton’s spotlight on the media influence is an issue that definitely deserves more coverage but by which media outlet since he owns so many.



© 2009, Vanessa: Unplugged!,

Vote for this blog for Best Political Blog and for Best Blog Design in the 2009 Bloggers Choice Awards.


Obama’s Gift to the Folks at BlackBerry and the Windows Switch

It seems that in a few more days, President-elect Barack Obama will have to give up his trusty BlackBerry for a humongous Windows-based gadget. While the folks at RIM (Research in Motion) are happy for the free publicity that Obama has provided their company through his chronicled obsession for their product, quite frankly, they'd be pleased if he actually stopped using it now.

Why? Well, quite simply, their system becomes the target of hackers from other countries. Who wants their security system constantly under attack, right?

Anyhoo, it seems that all the Obama-BlackBerry coverage has been valued at $50-$100 MM. The Obama effect on merchandise sales has totally eclipsed the madness of an Oprah endorsement. Ben's Chili Bowl probably can't keep enough chili and hot dogs. It's incredible.


Obama's New Smartphone

(Click photo for more info.)



© 2009, Vanessa: Unplugged!,

Vote for this blog for Best Political Blog and for Best Blog Design in the 2009 Bloggers Choice Awards.



Bloody Black Friday at Wal-mart in NY

A temporary worker was trampled and killed at a Long Island, NY Wal-mart store. Hundreds of people stampeded the door, trampled the worker and even tore doors off the hinges. Those big metal doors torn off the hinges? What kind of foolishness is that? Since shoppers have said there was no organization for controlling the crowd or any security present, Wal-mart is likely looking at a lawsuit. A pregnant shopper was hospitalized because of the turmoil but it seems that she was okay.

Shoppers were said to have stepped on the worker or over him or around him. "Savages" was a term used to describe the shoppers.

What was your Black Friday experience?



© 2008, Vanessa: Unplugged!,

Vote for this blog for Best Political Blog and for Best Blog Design in the 2008 Bloggers Choice Awards.





Speaking Truth to Power: Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright Delivers Big Time

The NAACP Fighting for Freedom Dinner in Detroit was the coming out party for the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright and come out he did. Detractors of Sen. Barack Obama have already started trying to marginalize the Reverend's powerful speech but you know they can't.

Live and in living color, Rev. Wright did himself a tremendous solid by destroying the racist, divisive caricature of him many had come to know. Comments about Wright's speech also showed just how much some folks don't know about blacks and the Black church.

Let me start with the introduction by Detroit NAACP branch president Rev. Wendell Anthony. His passion and conviction set the tone for Wright's fiery and humorous speech. Folks who didn't get the left-brain right-brain theory Rev. Wright shared didn't get Rev. Anthony's introduction and that's OK.

Some folks think Wright should have remained silent and his speech only keeps the controversy alive. The fact is that Rev. Wright will remain a political target for the Obama campaign anyway.

Rev. Wright's uncensored speech was delivered to a worldwide audience and you can't buy that kind of publicity. Wright spoke the truth about the differences between blacks and whites and reiterated that different is not deficient. Some who didn't listen to the speech will not get the unity in his speech. They won't get the call for respect for each other, our differences and change that's going to come.

Notably, Rev. Wright mentioned a book he has coming out. Whether that was a joke or not remains to be seen. In commenting on his speech, Republican strategist Sherri Jacobus criticized Wright for speaking out. She said his speech was self-serving and that he would get rich from his book.

Is she for real? Does she accurately represent the position of the GOP? Folks like Jacobus have themselves to blame for making Wright rich and more influential than he could have ever imagined. They are responsible for dragging Rev. Wright's character through the mud so many times that an otherwise un-newsworthy speech at an NAACP dinner received worldwide live broadcast privilege and was rebroadcast several times.

Rev. Wright is not going away and he will not be silenced. Staunch Clinton and McCain supporters are not going to vote for Barack Obama but reasonable folks and undecided voters saw a different Jeremiah Wright and he may have convinced undecided voters to support Obama.

Wright is scheduled to speak at the National Press Club in Washington, DC tomorrow. How his comments will be received before a less friendly crowd will be interesting. Stay tuned.

Rev. King’s Dream Deferred

Visitors look up from the street at a wreath hanging on

the balcony of the former Lorraine Motel, now part of

the National Civil Rights Museum, where Martin Luther

King Jr was assassinated in 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.


Today is the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. There has been media coverage of this somber date with CNN broadcasting a splendid special report with heretofore unseen footage and interviews of individuals connected with the date.

There's controversy over whether James Earl Ray actually killed King and an especially noteworthy offering of the truth on the view of King by the rest of America; especially our government.

King was been beatified subsequent to his death but his powerful words were very much despised by our governmental leaders. While King espoused peace, he also criticized our government's involvement in the Viet Nam War. He fought for the civil rights of oppressed people and began a campaign against poverty. King was a visionary.

Sadly, the United States has yet to overcome many of the challenges of King's era. There are blacks, Latinos and women in positions of power in government, business, education and the Arts. But for the masses of blacks and other minorities, the King dream is still deferred.


Is Barack Obama’s Perfect Union still possible?

Today Barack Obama tried to put the race issue affecting his campaign in its proper perspective and move on with his presidential campaign. Whether he was successful remains to be seen. One has to wonder if this race issue and incendiary remarks by Rev. Jeremiah Wright will be the excuse that whites use to change their support from Obama to Clinton or McCain. The truth is the more Rev. Jeremiah Wright's comments are public fodder, the more damage control required of the Obama campaign.

As much as Obama's campaign speaks of unity the reality is that we really haven't vetted the race issue in the United States. Barack Obama's perspective as a black or multi-racial person is different from mine. Surely there are similarities but there are differences also.

I can't imagine being a black child growing up in a white household as Obama did. I also can't imagine my mother moving to Indonesia either. Unlike Barack, my family's European lineage is not discussed openly or celebrated; it's not as if we're invited to family reunions with that side of the family.

Black people understand Barack Obama's position and Rev. Wright even if not in agreement. My parents' perspective on race is difference from mine as theirs was different from their parents. With each generation, the perspective of race changes. Let's stop running from the race issue. Let's deal with it and move on as best we can.

Click the link below for the text of Barack Obama's speech.

Continue reading "Is Barack Obama’s Perfect Union still possible?" »

Dancing in Silence: Thousand-Hand Guan-Yin

I seem to be in an Asian mode lately. I couldn't resist this post about The Disabled Peoples Arts troupe; let me know what you think after you watch the video. The troupe is an astounding group of 21 deaf mute young women from China whose repertoire includes "Thousand-Hand Guan-Yin". It is a spectacularly beautiful dance for anyone that is not physically challenged, to know that these young women demonstrate such precision strictly following their teachers who are strategically in the corners of the stage is all the more amazing. I would love to see a live performance of this group.

From You Tube:

As long as you are kind and there is love in your heart, a thousand hands will naturally come to your aid. As long as you are kind and there is love in your heart, you will reach out with a thousand hands to help others. Guan Yin is the bodhisattva of compassion, revered by Buddhists as the Goddess of Mercy. Her name is short for Guan Shi Yin. Guan means to observe, watch, or monitor; Shi means the world; Yin means sounds, specifically sounds of those who suffer. Thus, Guan Yin is a compassionate being who watches for, and responds to, the people in the world who cry out for help.

Florida Legislator Pushes Bill for Confederate License Plate

There will be hell to pay in Florida if Rep. Don Brown, R-DeFuniak Springs, continues his fight for a specialty license tag in honor of the state's "confederate heritage". Yeah, that means the tag would proudly display the confederate flag.

To make matters worse, in spite of the pain that flag symbolizes you know what Florida Gov. Charlie Crist's response was when he was asked to weigh in on it?



Excuse me, Gov. Crist that was the wrong answer. What about denouncing the pain the symbol represents? What about concern for how the potential controversy would affect the state? 'Let's see if it goes anywhere' is an insult to blacks. Perhaps the governor has been campaigning with John McCain too long. What's that crashing sound in the background? That would be the governor's approval rating.

Sure, there are folks that won't let go of the Confederate past and couldn't care less about the effect of the flag on blacks or anyone else for that matter. This is one issue that will quietly not go away. The Republican Party will not want to be at center of this controversy and totally tank a GOP presidential candidate's opportunity to win in November but that's about to happen folks.

I have already begun to contact my family and friends throughout Florida to be prepared to fight this issue. The legislation is identified as HB 1007. The NAACP and other organizations will weigh-in and it could get ugly.

There's another perspective on this issue that says let them sell the flag so the racists can be easily identified. What do you think?

Haitians survive by eating dirt cookies

A woman in Fort Dimanche laying biscuits to dry, biscuits made of butter, salt, water and dirt. The Haitians face shortages of food and electricity.

Photo: Ruth Fresmon, New York Times

In the midst of the excitement surrounding the results of Super Tuesday, I received another very disturbing e-mail from a friend regarding the plight of poor Haitians on the island who have resorted to eating dirt for food. Initially, I attributed the message to be a cruel hoax from an insensitive person. I live in Miami where a significant number of residents are of Haitian descent. There had been no reports, to my knowledge, in any of the local media.

I received the message again, this time from a different friend and this time more passionate in its request to help. I Googled the subject and found the article had been published in the Houston Chronicle. I would also find photos in The New York Times. It was true.

Many of my friends are Haitian and I have come to respect our shared history and African bloodline. Haitian people are brilliant and resilient. It hurts to know that some have been forced to eat these mud pies to survive. This is a human issue and these people need our help. Click here to read the Houston Chronicle article. Please spread the word about this situation.

TODAY is Martin Luther King’s Birthday

The language is dated but here is the biography of Martlin Luther King, Jr., recipient of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize.

From the official website of the Nobel Peace Prize,

Martin Luther King, Jr., (January 15, 1929-April 4, 1968) was born Michael Luther King, Jr., but later had his name changed to Martin. His grandfather began the family's long tenure as pastors of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, serving from 1914 to 1931; his father has served from then until the present, and from 1960 until his death Martin Luther acted as co-pastor. Martin Luther attended segregated public schools in Georgia, graduating from high school at the age of fifteen; he received the B. A. degree in 1948 from Morehouse College, a distinguished Negro institution of Atlanta from which both his father and grandfather had graduated. After three years of theological study at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania where he was elected president of a predominantly white senior class, he was awarded the B.D. in 1951. With a fellowship won at Crozer, he enrolled in graduate studies at Boston University, completing his residence for the doctorate in 1953 and receiving the degree in 1955. In Boston he met and married Coretta Scott, a young woman of uncommon intellectual and artistic attainments. Two sons and two daughters were born into the family.

In 1954, Martin Luther King accepted the pastorale of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. Always a strong worker for civil rights for members of his race, King was, by this time, a member of the executive committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the leading organization of its kind in the nation. He was ready, then, early in December, 1955, to accept the leadership of the first great Negro nonviolent demonstration of contemporary times in the United States, the bus boycott described by Gunnar Jahn in his presentation speech in honor of the laureate. The boycott lasted 382 days. On December 21, 1956, after the Supreme Court of the United States had declared unconstitutional the laws requiring segregation on buses, Negroes and whites rode the buses as equals. During these days of boycott, King was arrested, his home was bombed, he was subjected to personal abuse, but at the same time he emerged as a Negro leader of the first rank.

Continue reading "TODAY is Martin Luther King’s Birthday" »