Friday, October 19, 2007

Nobel Racist

Nobel Prize winning biologist Jim Watson is being called to the carpet for his remarks regarding race, particularly the African and African-American races. The famed biologist is apologizing repeatedly for making this statement in the Sunday Times: He said he was "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours, whereas all the testing says not really." Mr. Watson also said that he felt there was no reason to believe different races separated by geography should have evolved identically, he continued on to say that while he hoped everyone was equal, "people who have to deal with black employees find this is not true."

I’m polishing the trophy and getting it ready. Mr. Watson, there is no doubt in my mind, you are today’s winner of the “Yo Ignant Ass” award, hands down! Regardless of your status as a Nobel prize winner, you have shown with this statement that it is YOUR intelligence that should be questioned.

Watson was scheduled to appear at London’s Science Museum, but due to his RACIST remarks, they have cancelled his appearance; Bravo for London’s Science Museum. David Lammy, British government's Skills Minister, who just happens to be Black (how could this be, he can’t possibly be intelligent enough if what Mr. Watson claims is true!), has said he finds the comments made by the Nobel prize winner to be “deeply offensive”.

This isn’t a one time slip for Mr. Watson; he has a history of saying controversial things that degrade certain groups of people. Britain's Sunday Telegraph ran a story in 1997 that quoted Watson as saying that if a gene for homosexuality were isolated, women who find that their unborn child has the gene should be allowed to have an abortion. In 2000 while lecturing on tour, he suggested there might be links between a person's weight and their level of ambition and between skin color and sexual prowess.

Because of his credentials in the scientific field and the fact that he is a Nobel prize winner, it is almost certain racist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups will use his remarks as fuel power and a means to promote their ideologies. I am almost certain that Professor Watson, has harbored these sort of extreme views for a long time now. The fact that he has a Nobel prize should not distract from the fact that he has uttered a considerable amount of complete garbage throughout his long and very successful life. Watson has been a long-time supporter of genetic screening and genetic engineering and has made statements in public lectures and interviews, arguing that "stupidity" is a disease and that the “really stupid” bottom 10% of people should be cured. See article

Not even the handicap are safe from Watson, in 1996 Watson said in the annual report at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, that prospective parents should use genetic engineering to weed disabled persons out of society:"The truly relevant question for most families is whether an obvious good to them will come from having a child with a major handicap. Is it more likely for such children to fall behind in society or will they through such affliction develop the strengths of character and fortitude that lead, like Jeffrey Tate, the noted British conductor, to the head of their packs. . . . But we perhaps most realistically should see (the handicap) as the major origin of asocial behavior that has among its many bad consequences the breeding of criminal violence." To see Watson's unedited remarks, read the article at

The remarks made by Watson show that the most intelligent of people, particularly scientists, quite often hold views which can be profoundly intransigent and offensive. If the remarks were being expressed by some racist moron, you would observe it to be an indicator of their stupidity. The credentials held by this man should not be a factor in his being deemed a racist. Regardless of his educational and career standing, this man is a moron and is officially today’s “Yo Ignant Ass” poster child.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Big Things Poppin - Handcuffs Lockin

Up until this past Saturday, I thought Michael Vick had cornered the market for the minute on embarrassing Black folks as well as the place I call home, Atlanta; It seems Mike has ALREADY been replaced! WOW! I mean, if we could get prominent Blacks to switch places being in the positive spotlight as quickly as we are doing with the negative spotlight, there is no telling what we could accomplish!

I’m actually a little sad to be writing this blog, I have been a long time fan of the subject and I’m really disappointed that I have to put him on the “Yo Ignant Ass” list. Nonetheless, I must write the facts.

Rapper T.I. was arrested Saturday in Atlanta only hours before he was to receive two awards at the BET Hip-Hop awards show. His charges ranged from possessing three unregistered machine guns and two silencers, to possession of firearms by a convicted felon. I hesitate to even use his rap name of T.I. as I right this blog; the T.I. that I have been a fan of for years CERTAINLY has to be smarter than this. This flagrant display of stupidity had to be committed by Clifford! I can see a person with a name like Clifford not being the wisest in the bunch, but not T.I.

Clifford Harris, Jr. (Yes, that’s his government name), still sits in jail today, awaiting a bond hearing that should take place on Friday. He has assembled a dream team of lawyers to try and keep his ignorant ass out of jail. I feel about his case the same as I feel about Mike’s case, I want them punished for being idiots. Stupid should hurt, it should not go unpunished.

News reports state that Clifford had his bodyguard purchase three machine guns and two silencers for him, not including the alleged nine other firearms he had purchased for him since July. The bodyguard was wearing a wire when he delivered the weapons to Clifford sooooo, well, you can guess the rest of that story.

I have a few issues with this whole thing. First, WHAT THE HELL did he need with so many guns! $12,000 for some guns! Was he planning to tryout for Blackwater? Is he so paranoid that he can only relax with there’s enough firepower around him to fuel a small army?
Hello Clifford, you are not only a convicted felon, but you are one of the hottest rappers in the industry today, did you REALLY think no one was keeping an eye on you? My “Yo Ignant Ass” meter is flashing and making loud noises as I write this, I think you may have broken it!
Here is a man with enough money to hire plenty of staff to protect him; instead, he buys weapons, illegally! I swear, I think he must LIKE jail!

Don’t think I’m overlooking the bodyguard, "Mr. Ima sell my boy out" himself, I’ve got a house nigga trophy with your name on it son. Newsflash Mr. Bodyguard, if you end up in jail, you will be treated as a snitch should be, take a dress with you.

I see a common theme here with Clifford and Mike; both were snitched on by their supposed boys. It should be evident that once you reach a certain income status, you have no boys, and it’s you against the world, actually that's true whether you are a billionaire are penniless. Basically, trust no one, especially if what you are trusting them with could get you five-to-ten in the federal pen.

My black athletes, entertainers, and just plain old regular folks, please, stop and think a minute before you do these incredibly ridiculous things; you’re making the rest of us look REALLY bad. Mike, Clifford, Marion, I need you guys to get it together, and if you see that you still need to live a little “outside the law” try to all work together, perhaps the three of you will be smarter together than you are separately.

Clifford, if you see T.I., tell him to get his swag back, QUICK!
In your own words Mr. Harris, “Be Easy”.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Begging For Water - Georgia's Drought Crisis

Long gone are the days in Atlanta when your waiter or waitress came to your table with a menu, your silverware, and a glass of ice cold water. You will still get the menu and the silverware, the water however, is by request only.

The restaurant staff has nothing against you; there simply is not enough water for them to carelessly fill glasses if they are unsure the water will actually be consumed.

Why then, is the Army Corps of Engineers saying it will not stop draining from Lake Lanier, Georgia and Alabama’s primary source of water? I’m confused, if we (humans) are in need of water to sustain our day-to-day-living, what possible reason would they have to not slow the drainage? Hmmmm.

My curiosity led me away from local newpaper websites and other local media sites, to the Army Corps of Engineers site. I didn’t want watered down opinionated information, I wanted to know from the source why water would be continued to pump from Lake Lanier at the rate it is normally pumped in non-drought conditions.

I was informed by the ACoE’s website that Lake Lanier is part of a large multi-purpose river basin; water supply, water quality, hydropower, fish and wildlife are all factors that are considered when making decisions regarding the amount of water coming from the lake. The site goes on to say that West Point and Walter F. George lakes south on the river flow have nearly exhausted their water conservation storage.

By now, I am really confused. It seems so clear that there is a sever water shortage. Why would they NOT reduce the amount of water being pumped from the lake?? As I continued to read, I was not prepared for the reason I was about to be given. The flow of water LEAVING Lake Lanier is not being reduced because the water is necessary for the endangered and threatened species in Florida below the Jim Woodruff Dam in the Apalachicola River.

Did I read that correctly? Water must continue to flow so we don’t disturb the endangered species!! WTF! Humans are in danger of loosing their water supply, since when did endangered species become more important than humans?

The citizens of Atlanta find themselves under a strict water ban with the threat of huge fines should they be caught violating the ban, not to mention the nasty stares you will get from your ecology-correct neighbors if they see you watering the lawn, yet the Army Corps of Engineers is pumping 1.9 BILLION gallons of water a day. Those endangered species sure use a lot of water.

At the current rate of water being pumped from Lake Lanier daily, the lake is expected to drop approximately a foot a week. Some Georgia cities are considering taking the water ban a step further to include indoor use of water. The idea of mandatory water rationing that would penalize a homeowner or business for not reducing water usage.

Georgia’s Governor Sonny Perdue has threatened to sue the Army Corps of Engineers and has the support of his congressional constituents. I’m not usually on the same side of an issue as Gov. Purdue, but on this one has caught us both on the same side.

I am outraged that an endangered species means more than a humans need for water, so angry that I think I will go outside, water my lawn, wash my car and just let the water run. I’ll be damned if those endangered species will hog ALL the water!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Blackwater - Legalized Killers

Blackwater. If you are not familiar with the word, you are about to be enlightened. Blackwater USA is the world’s largest private mercenary army with over 20,000 soldiers and its own air force. You may not have been aware that the Unites States employs mercenaries, well, now you know. It’s not enough that we spend billions of dollars on the military; we must also spend money on employing hired killers to handle our business on American soil as well as abroad. The government does not have enough money to provide adequate healthcare to the elderly or small children, but there is no shortage of funds when it comes to putting fire-power in middle-eastern countries or in the streets or New Orleans.

Blackwater got its start in 1996 as a private military training facility in the wilderness of North Carolina. Visionary executives, all of them former Navy Seals or other Elite Special Forces people, envisioned it as a project that would take advantage of the anticipated government outsourcing (why the United States government would need to outsource is beyond me). It is now a decade later, Blackwater has become the most powerful mercenary firm in the world. It has 20,000 soldiers on the ready, the world’s largest private military base, and a fleet of twenty aircraft, including helicopter gunships. It’s become nothing short of the Praetorian Guard for the Bush administration’s so-called global war on terror. And it’s headed by a very rightwing Christian activist, ex-Navy Seal named Erik Prince, whose family was one of the major bankrollers of the Republican Revolution of the 1990s. Prince, himself, is a significant financial contributor of President Bush and his allies.
Currently Blackwater protects the top US officials in Iraq and yet we know almost nothing about the firm’s quasi-military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and inside the US.
I’m not even comfortable typing the word “protects” in the same sentence with Blackwater; It’s hard to see them as protectors when in 2006 they forced our very own U.S. soldiers out of a Humvee on a street in Baghdad's Green Zone, took their weapons and forced them down on the ground. If that seems distant to you, let me bring it closer to home. During the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, Blackwater agents were sent to New Orleans to “assist” the homeland security effort. They were given the authority to make arrests and use force as the deemed necessary. Blackwater agents were seen taking over a local citizen’s apartment in the area of St. James and Bourbon Street; they tossed the individuals personal belongings to the street as they help up gold Louisiana law enforcement badges.

In a horrific incident last month, Blackwater agents killed 17 civilians in Baghdad. I can not fathom why we (United States) allow them to continue to operate after the blood of innocent people was shed in such a terrible manner. News sources have reported that the heads of some of the civilians were completely blown off, and some of the bodies were burned beyond recognition. We still continue to throw money at this group of killers. Back in 2001, Blackwater had less than $1 million worth of government business. Since then, the company has received more than $1 billion in U.S. taxpayer funds, including a huge no-bid contract with the State Department. Just recently they received a contract worth up to 92 million dollars from the Department of Defense amid hard questions about their involvement in two separate violent incidents in Iraq. The Iraqi government announced that it had revoked Blackwater's license to operate in their country, yet the U.S. continues to support them, looks to me like we have resorted to hiring killers to take care of those people we want removed.

If we turn a deaf ear or a blind eye to what Blackwater has done and is doing in Iraq, we are opening ourselves up to having those same acts committed against us at home, remember the aftermath of Katrina??

You owe it to yourself to get knowledgeable and keep a watchful eye on this group of killers.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Words can mean many things to different people; depending on where you are in life and the situations you are facing, the meanings have a tendency to change. Crossroads on any given uneventful day generally conjures up an image of an old country four way stop, one where two roads intersect. For some people, Crossroads can mean something on a much deeper level. To reach a crossroads, many times means one has reached a decisive moment in their existence. There are no alternate routes, to move forward you must choose a path at the Crossroads.

Often, a person has a limited view of either available direction when they reach a Crossroads. In familiar territory, a person can make a navigational decision with little or no thought as to which direction to proceed. Perhaps they have encountered this crossroad many times before and are sure about the correct route to take. If you are a foreigner to the area and approach a Crossroads, it may be a bit unnerving to make a choice in direction if you are unsure where either path will lead. No one likes to feel lost nor do they wish to make decisions without some indication of the outcome. Crossroads, be able to make decisions without the hesitation of making a life-changing error. As we all know, we are not fortunate enough to live in a world such as this, and

In a perfect world, people would always know the proper direction and when faced with many times we are forced to make decisions with limited knowledge of the outcome; this is called stepping out on faith. Faith is the substance of things unseen, yet believed. There are no facts to solidify what you believe, but a strong sense of positivity that what you believe will materialize.
To make a decision based on faith, a person must first believe in what's driving their decision. Choosing a path without a sense of belief in you choice almost always guarantees failure. There may be times when your belief in your choice is rock solid, yet everyone and everything around you suggest it is the wrong path. In this instance, you must be true to yourself and take the path less traveled. Decisions which are the hardest to make are more often than not, the right ones to make. Choosing a path at your Crossroads based on faith does not guarantee that the road will be the fastest to your destination, nor the smoothest ride. Life does not present the same paths to everyone; each person must navigate their own set of experiences, some of which may seem harder or more unfair than those experiences of others.

Regardless of the direction you choose at Crossroads you encounter in life, you must be prepared to follow the road to your destination. Equip yourself with extra fuel, the proper vehicle and faith in your navigational ability.

Common Sense and the Church

There was a time when I would not have viewed the two as being complete opposites of each other, than time has long passed. Today, I am forced into the realization that the majority of Black folks in the church today exercise little to no common sense. One would think that as time as has passed and religion has grown, so too would our thoughts in regards to the church. I am appalled at the state of affairs in Religion, specifically the Southern Black churches. I will pick on the Black Baptists in the most southern states (Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi) since I am most familiar with them, and they are they actual group that has driven me to writing this blog.
It is hard to talk about something without first painting a clear picture or delivering a thorough explanation of what it is. What is a Baptist? Baptist is a term describing individuals belonging to a Baptist church or a Baptist denomination. The name comes from the conviction that followers of Jesus Christ are commanded to be immersed in water as a public display of their faith, and thus most people that adhere to the Baptist faith reject infant baptism. While the term "Baptist" has its origins with the Anabaptists, the denomination itself is more closely linked to the English Separatist movement of the 16th century.

Now that we know what a Baptist is, I can move further into pointing out the ever-widening gap between common sense and the Church. One of the first things that drew my attention to the lack of common sense being used in the church today was governance, plainly speaking, who governs the working of the Baptist church. Although I’m not at bible study every Wednesday, choir rehearsal every Thursday, or Worship every Sunday, I’m in service enough to know that something has gone awry with how the church is being governed. I do not expect every person in the congregation to know the full Baptist covenant, but I do expect a person to at least exercise enough common sense to understand the system of leadership within the denomination to which you have chosen to belong. In some Black Baptist churches, the covenant hangs on the wall for all to see, as I think it should. When in doubt about something, simply walk over and read. Perhaps the number of churches displaying the covenant is dwindling because “someone” wants to keep common sense out of range.

Back to governance, autonomy in the Baptist church is closely related to the polity of congregational governance. The key word in the preceding sentence is congregational, that means YOU, the members. It’s kind of like saying “We the People”, the congregation is the governing body, not the Pastor, as so many people tend to foolishly believe today.
The congregation has the ability and authority to appoint/approve its pastor. This is yet another area where common sense is lost. Choosing a pastor is not a task that the congregation has to do blindly. The bible provides extremely clear qualifications that the pastor MUST meet; it does not read as though you can pick and choose what you want. 1 Timothy 3:1-7 gives specific details on what the congregation should be looking for when seeking a minister. “1Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer,[a] he desires a noble task. 2Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5(If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?) 6He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap.” Seems pretty clear to me what the congregation should be looking for. Looking at our churches today, It’s a safe assumption that these verses were not used in the decision making process when the pastor was chosen. I know people have the power to repent and be saved, make tremendous changes in their lives, etc. I am in no way disputing that. What gets me though is when congregations, especially those of Black churches in rural southern areas, decide they want to go out and get the latest new fangled minister from a place they never heard of, and a church that can’t wait to get rid of him. Newsflash folks, if he’s running from a church, there’s likely a good reason. If there are warrants for his arrest, this is NOT a saved man, it’s a fugitive. I’ve he’s on wife number two with three kids under five by various women, this isn’t a changed man, it’s a man who has a problem with women that will more than likely carry over into the congregation. Stop acting so surprised after you’ve chosen one of these characters, without consulting God’s word, and he drains the church’s finances, causes divides among members, and drives away the elders, it was bound to happen, no common sense was used.

Let’s talk briefly about the Four Freedoms, which to me seem rooted in common sense. The Baptist faith believes in four freedoms, they are as follows:
1. Soul freedom: the soul is competent before God, and capable of making decisions in matters of faith without coercion or compulsion by any larger religious or civil body
2. Church freedom: freedom of the local church from outside interference, whether government or civilian (subject only to the law where it does not interfere with the religious teachings and practices of the church)
3. Bible freedom: the individual is free to interpret the Bible for himself or herself, using the best tools of scholarship and biblical study available to the individual
4. Religious freedom: the individual is free to choose whether to practice their religion, another religion, or no religion
Each of these very fundamental freedoms within the church are merely exercises in common sense, what has gone so wrong that people don’t follow them.

I continue to hear horror story after horror story of churches with what I will call “runaway preachers”. In one sense I use the term runaway to mean they have abandoned the covenant that governs the church and adopted their own mission, they are like a runaway train. In another sense, I simply mean preachers you wish you could runaway from the church, never to be seen or heard from, the two are usually one in the same.
How do they stay around so long you ask? Lack of common sense being exercised. These preachers generally ease their way in, lay low being the good shepherd for a few months, as they scope out those parishioners least likely to have or use any common sense, thus is born his new circle of friends. Perhaps it wouldn’t bother me so except, the circle of friends tends to get out of hand when runaway preacher decides, “I’ll make these guys my deacons so they can have more of a say in matters and thus able to back me up on things”. If just a fraction of the people would use their common sense, coupled with their bible, this could be stopped.

The Baptist church recognizes only two offices, that of the Preacher and that of the deacons, each are chosen/governed by the congregation. The bible again provides the qualifications for a deacon, just as it does for the preacher. 1Timothy 3:8-13 gives a detailed description of what a deacon, as well as his wife, should be. It reads as follows: 8Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons. 11In the same way, their wives[b] are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything. 12A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well. 13Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.

By now you can see that the Baptist church is by no means an intricate web to decipher, it operates on pure common sense fundamentals, so why then aren’t the members operating with common sense? Many would say that the church and how it operates has progressed with the times and the “old way” of doing things is no longer applicable, I say this is rubbish. The bible is still the same bible it was centuries ago. Translations may have occurred but the basic meaning remains the same, this should be true for the church as well. I can find no instances of people being asked to bring in their paycheck stubs (more like penny sacks) for the church to review back in the early 1900s. Offerings and tithing was present then but didn’t involve the scrutinizing of ones income. No one from the church stopped by your farm to see how much corn you produced so they could calculate what you “rightly owed” the church. First of all a member owes the church nothing, your tithes and offering as between you and God. I don’t know about you, but God has never requested my W-2. If folks would simply uses a small measure of common sense, they would see something wrong with being asked to bring in financial statements to their place of worship.

More and more, churches are becoming financial advisors, basically telling members what portion of money THEY earned should be given to the church, and I say church because I do not see this as giving to God. Giving to God comes from the heart and not from a finance committee dictating to you.

Let’s talk about begging, since when did God commission preachers to beg? If I hear one more so called sermon where the preacher is screaming at me to give, and dig deep when giving, I’m going to scream. The pulpit has started to resemble an auction floor, “who will give $100, get a ticket to heaven right now, just give $100. We have $100 from Brother Jones. Can I get $200 for the express ticket to heaven, bypass all the regular stops, and get extra close to St. Pete, who can give $200?” People this is ridiculous, have you not the common sense to see that this preacher is no where close to discussing the teachings of the bible, he’s begging for money! What’s more disturbing than the preacher begging for money, is the individuals that rush up to give it. What sense does it make to have your electricity turned off and your family in the dark, but you put that $100 in the collection plate? Oh, the preacher said God will bless and take care of you, well, yes, he will, but one of his first blessings is giving you common sense to be able to take care of your family, it’s not his fault if you choose not to use it, there is that thing called free will you know.

I’m not just going to hold the members accountable; I must also speak to you preachers. Perhaps at one time you had every intention of doing God’s will and being a good leader, somewhere along the way you have traded that in for fame and fortune. Yes, fame and fortune. Today it seems it’s more important that you have your picture on large billboards and wear fancy suits than it is to minister to your flock. How can you in good faith except lavish gifts from your congregation when you know one fourth of them are out of work, one forth of them are on welfare are receiving some type of public assistance, one forth of them are facing foreclosure or eviction, and the last forth that can possibly afford to give to you may not WANT to. Is it not enough that you are getting paid a salary? Why should you get all these additional perks, you are simply doing what God called you to do and you agreed to do, you are not going above and beyond. In my eyes you are wrong to accept them knowing the condition of your congregation, honestly, how do you sleep at night?

In closing, I’d like to say I miss the old-time church, no I’m not an elderly person but I am old enough to remember when the pastor’s anniversary involved folks cooking food from their garden, bringing it to church and communing as a church family to celebrate another year instead of buying $500 suits and throwing lavish get-togethers. I remember revivals when the visiting preacher stayed and ate at the homes of people in the congregation instead of charging the church for $200 a night hotel rooms. I remember fish frys and car washes instead of investment campaigns. I remember hearing preachers preach from the bible instead of simply talking about day-to-day things they don’t like. I remember common sense being in the church.