Showing posts from 2011

Reading Is My Passion And Was A Key To My Success

I have two real passions in life: listening to jazz and reading books. I'll save for another day, a discussion about my love of jazz. For now, I'll use some of the space on my blog to talk about books. I admit that I own a lot of books. My colleagues who drop by my office often crack jokes about how I'm running out of space for books. I can't prove it scientifically, but I believe that if a scientist sequenced my DNA, they would find buried somewhere in that long molecule cells coded for the two things I love to do the most, listening to jazz and reading. The bookcases in my home and office are stacked with books. I have books laying on top of books on my bookshelves (some books are even in stacks on my floor). I have boxes of books in my closet and in my storage space in the basement of my complex. Most of the books in my office are about race, gender, and class. I have books on race and politics, autobiographical and biographical books about important historical figur

Nein, Nein, Nein: The Rise And Fall Of Citizen Cain

Another Conquerors' Day, or as most Americans affectionately call it, Thanksgiving Day, has come and gone. But, I have something to be thankful for this Holiday Season: the Herman Cain charade – a presidential campaign that was nothing more than a front for an ego-driven self-promotion tour – is, thankfully, finally over . Thank goodness! Let's get real. Herman Cain was never going to be elected President of the United States. With the exception of perhaps former Alaska Governor and fellow perennial self-promoter, Sarah Palin, there has never been a modern presidential candidate who was less qualified to be the leader of the nation than was Cain (okay, Palin only flirted for years with the idea). In spite of his so-called charisma and rags-to-riches story, Citizen Cain lacked two qualities that should be needed to be President, character and intellect. Cain's character flaws have been on full display ever since he launched his bid for the presidency. There is, of course, t

Stan Simpson: GOP And Occupy Protests | 12/04


Stan Simpson: Politics Update | 10/30


The Real Story: Presidential Politics | 10/9


We Can No Longer Afford To Remain Silent About Growing Inequality.

In Volume 1, Chapter 26 ( The General Law of Capitalist Accumulation ), of Capital , Karl Marx describes how the more closely society corresponds to a deregulated, free-market economy, the more the lop-sidedness of power between those who own the means of production and those who labor under them will produce an "accumulation of wealth on one pole" and an "accumulation of misery, agony of toil, slavery, ignorance, brutality, mental degradation, at the opposite pole." This was not idle speculation on Marx's part; history has proven him correct. You don't believe me? Well, look at the data. The nation's poverty rate: according to data released earlier this month by the US Census Bureau, about 2.5 million Americans slid into poverty last year. The number of people living below the poverty line (46.2 million) is the highest number ever reported in the 52 years the bureau has been publishing poverty statistics. The official poverty rate, however, does not fu

It’s Time For Another Poor People’s Campaign To Bring About Economic Justice

"Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts. " - Charles Dickens - Those hardhearted bastards! I could barely control my rage when I saw the headline from my hometown newspaper, The Detroit News : " 48-month welfare cap clears Senate: Gov. Snyder expected to sign bill that would cut off monthly benefit payments for thousands ." As I read the article, the rage in me kept building. The Michigan State Senate voted to impose a 48 month lifetime cap for recipients of welfare. If the bill is signed by the governor (he intends to sign it, so it will be), the new law will immediately affect 12,600 families statewide. "The cap," according to the article, "would be retroactive and cumulative, so families would begin to lose payments averaging $515 a month starting Oct. 1." Critics of the proposed law contend that tens of thousands of people, including more than 20,000 children, will be thrown off welfare an

Republican Lawmakers are Trying to Turn Back the Clock on Voting Rights by Rigging the 2012 Election

On August 6, 1965, the Voting Rights Act (VRA) was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act is not only one of the most important legislative achievements of the 20 th century, it is easily a seminal moment in American history. Using language similar to the 15th Amendment (which gave black males the right to vote in 1870), the Act prohibits states from imposing any "voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure ... to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color." Before passage of the Voting Rights Act, a number of states – especially those in the Deep South – used a variety of tactics to systematically suppress black voter registration and turnout. The VRA outlaws discriminatory tests like literacy tests, test of good character, racial gerrymandering, and the use of poll taxes. To prevent the intimidation of voters or the rigging o

Equality as a Fact and Equality as a Result: The Next and More Profound Stage of the Battle for Civil Rights

Next month will mark the 46 anniversary of one the greatest civil rights speeches ever given by an American President. On June 4, 1965, President Lyndon Baines Johnson delivered the Commencement Address at Howard University. The name of his address was, To Fulfill These Rights . Speaking nearly a year after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and less than a month before he would sign the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law, President Johnson proudly hailed the legal freedoms blacks would gain because of these two landmark pieces of legislation, but he added, "freedom is not enough." The president continued: "You do not wipe away the scars of centuries by saying: Now you are free to go where you want, and do as you desire, and choose the leaders you please." "You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race and then say, 'you are free to compete with all the others,'

We Are A Nation At War, And I’m A War President; Act II

"What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?" – Mahatma Ghandi – A few days after President Obama ordered the extra-judicial execution of Osama bin Laden by a Navy Seal Team in Abbottabad – not too far from the headquarters of the elite Pakistan Military Academy for young cadets and a short trip to the country's capital, Islamabad – I sat in the green room of a local television station, Fox 61, pondering what I would say about bin Laden's death while waiting to tape an appearance on the Stan Simpson Show. The other guest for the show was a retired U.S. Army Colonel, and former CIA Operations Officer and Republican U.S. Congressman from Connecticut, Rob Simmons. Even though Simmons and I disagreed on most things we discussed while waiting in the green room – such as, whether to release a graphic "bullet to the head" ph

How We Are Failing Our Young People; Let Me Count The Ways

Late last year, I was shocked to read in my hometown newspaper, the Detroit Free Press , that three months into the school year, a shortage of teachers due to massive teacher retirements last year and a poorly executed school reorganization plan had left the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) a mess. DPS is not new to disturbingly difficult challenges. For decades, declining enrollments, a dysfunctional board of education, and the poor academic performance of students has plagued the school system. The reason for this new set of trials and tribulations, however, boggles the mind. Here is what happened. More than 800 of DPS's approximately 5000 teachers left the school system in response to a retirement incentive program designed to get highly paid teachers to leave. Just as DPS was weeding out some of its most experienced teachers to lower costs they decided to shut down 29 schools and reorganize 50 others. Not surprisingly, a shortage of qualified teachers, especially for specialized cl