Archive for January, 2010

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Change and Hope You Can Believe In

January 29, 2010

Hello everyone. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to watch the address live. I even had planned on live blogging, but I got caught up. Today, I watched it on YouTube. I didn’t address a lot of things because I felt that talking about those things were like beating a dead horse. I focused more on the new things and a few old things I always wanted to talk about and have talked about.  I liked how I did the bullet point listing on the last post, so I will do the same with this one because I think it’s easier to follow and there isn’t much. Feel free to watch the address above which includes helpful captions. Click here for the full text here. Click here for a few highlights provided by the White House. Enjoy.

  • I like the idea of fees being placed on big banks that haven’t paid back what they owe the taxpayers.
  • I didn’t know there were tax cuts for people who needed it the most. I think that’s great.
  • He called for a new jobs bill, which is long overdue, but it is great that he’s moving on it.
  • I love the idea of giving the money that has been repaid by the banks to community banks to give them the opportunity to give loans to small businesses.
  • Tax credits for small businesses to expand is great. That will create a lot of jobs.
  • He talked about having tax breaks to keep jobs in America. It is about time. I hate how companies ship jobs overseas.
  • I really like the push for cleaner energy.
  • “In the 21st century, one of the best anti-poverty programs is a world-class education.” I believe in this. This is something I preach myself to the youth. I’m heading out of poverty myself due to education.
  • “Still, in this economy, a high school diploma no longer guarantees a good job.” Wait a minute, sir. Truthfully, a bachelor’s degree no longer guarantees a good job. I know this first hand. I don’t think revitalizing community colleges will help. Maybe revitalizing graduate schools would since that’s seems to be the basic requirement to get a good job these days.
  • Tax credits to families for four-year schools and increased Pell Grants will help, indeed.
  • Student loan forgiveness is like a dream. If does happen, more people will advance. “No one should go broke because they chose to go to college,” indeed.
  • The health care proposals make sense especially the “public option.” I feel very strongly about the public option. I’m one of the many uninsured Americans. Sure one can get on public assistance, but many can’t and many refuse to. I fall under both. At one point, the not having a job thing was so serious that I really considered going back on public assistance just so I can keep my head above water and be insured. Thank God I got a job to hold me down for now, but not many people are so lucky. In conclusion, The public option WILL save lives. Support it.
  • I’m not sure how I feel about freezing the budget in most areas. Governor Paterson here in New York is doing that same thing, and I have to say that it is not working it. It was a horrible idea. Also, I don’t think a state, let alone the America, can fail. More on the Governor in the future.
  • I like the idea of earmarks being posted on the web before a vote. In college, I learned how a lot of things that are not needed get put in bills. This results in more money be wasted and allows the country to dig deeper into debt.
  • “I never said change would be easy. When you try to do big things & make big changes it stirs passions & controversy—that’s just how it is.” This is so true. I know this first hand with the club I help created and run, Hip Hop Alliance.

This address showed me that real change is happening. Work is being done. Moves are being made. I have gained more hope. Hope that things will turn around. I’m excited for this second year. A lot of great things will happen. A lot of people will advance. But there’s one thing we have to remember: we have to foster change, advance and greatness together; the President can’t do it alone. Let’s keep it moving. Keep your head up, everyone. Now, I leave you all with a funny take on the address:

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Living Double Lives

January 25, 2010

"...individual leaders make a difference in a society."

I finished this book a couple of weeks ago. If you visited the site once in a while, you would’ve read the story of my finding this book. Now, I’m here to give a few of the interesting points from the book. I will do this in bullet point form with some comments. With this one, I’m mostly highlighting things that a lot of people don’t know. I really encourage all of you to check this book out. Enjoy.

  • When he was in the armed forces, President Kennedy wrote the following to a young woman: “the generals who sent young men to war should always be listened to with skepticism” (1). I sure wish he followed his own advice to a greater degree.
  • President Roosevelt wasn’t faithful to his wife. They were basically separated. They rarely talked to each other. To support herself emotionally, Mrs. Roosevelt had questionable relationships with various women.
  • Mrs. Roosevelt was the one fostering great social change. She stood for the poor and disenfranchised (35). She even took a stand against lynching while the President didn’t (43).
  • When Roosevelt was President, the unemployment rate was more than 25%, but he gave the impression that everything was going to be fine (35-36). Reminds you of anyone?
  • President Roosevelt convinced America that it was good to help your friends, and it was a must in order to avoid war (45). Reminds you of anyone?
  • Dr. King was unfaithful to his wife (79-81).
  • He questioned himself a lot. He almost dropped out of the movement when racist people bombed his home. God kept him going (67-68).
  • When he was younger, he hated White people because of the things he seen going on around him (65).
  • He didn’t have faith in capitalism. He believed that America should adopt some modified form of socialism in order to achieve real equality (84-85). This is what President Obama is doing. I support that. Capitalism makes sure that the people at the bottom stay there. It is very sicken.
  • President Kennedy created a sense that anything was possible if people allowed things to happen (97). Think of the 2008 Presidential election.
  • He never give his thoughts on Senator McCarthy’s chase for red ghosts (116).
  • He got the wheels in motion for what would be the Great Society proposal (136-137).
  • Robert Kennedy always supported Senator McCarthy. He even worked on his staff (144-145).
  • He would have sleepless nights because he thought about Black people’s rights a lot (149).
  • He used to be unwilling to see Black people eye to eye (154).
  • He questioned God as to how people can be allowed to suffer (158).
  • President Johnson and Robert never got along with each other (165).
  • President Johnson used the N-Word from time to time (178). He also said racist things (193-194).
  • While he was  a Senator, he defended the filibuster when it was being used to denied Black people their rights (186).
  • He was unfaithful to his wife (223).
  • When a reporter asked him why he was in Vietnam, he took out his penis and said “this is why” (224).
  • President Nixon linked social justice issues with communism (246), but he did support civil rights (256-257).
  • He pledged an open administration and wanted to unite America (259). Again, reminds you of anyone?
  • He felt that he didn’t have the time to do anything (269).
  • President Reagan was just a puppet. It was the people in his administration who did everything for him.
  • President Clinton couldn’t make a great impact in education and health care because he was afraid to speak up to Hillary.

From this book, I learned how no one is perfect. Everyone has their demons that they must battle everyday. It is impossible to live a double life. Once you become a public figure, your whole life becomes an open book.

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Being 100 Can Be Dangerous

January 11, 2010

This allows people to take a hard look in the mirror.

Recently, I went on an interview for a job with a not-for-profit organization. I liked everything they were saying about the job and organization, but there was one major thing that rubbed me the wrong way. That thing was being 100% non-judgmental. They require the people working there to let the young people figure out what they want for their selves. One couldn’t even offer sound words of advice. I don’t work like that. I can’t.

I think it is important to education young people about their situation. Most of them only see what’s in front of them. They need a parent-like figure. They need someone who will give them a picture of the present and show what it could lead to in the distant future. I have a non-judgmental approach to a degree. I don’t let people feel that things which are out of their control are their fault. I just have them look into my eyes, and then I ask “Do you want to get out of this life?” Most do, but don’t know how. I just try to give them as much as I know. If I don’t know something, I suggest books and artists to them. I also encourage them to go talk to others while I do the same to ensure that the young person is helped. When I’m helping a young person, I assure them that I will be by their side. I build solid family-like relationships.

What we people forget from time to time is how little acts by us mean the world to others especially young people. I know that firsthand with the many tight friendships I build over the years. I had some people uplift me, instill hope, inspire me. I had others who just made me want to shut down forever. With those friendships, I learned how one can have a family even if their actually ones (the ones in the household at least) have no interest in you. I also learned this from the three father figures in my life.

Being 100% non-judgmental is impossible for me to do because of the life I lived. I needed to be educated by those friends and father figures. Being 100% non-judgmental would mean letting my brother fill in-between the cracks. It would mean letting that young man going to college lose himself to the streets. It would mean that I wouldn’t be where I am today. It would mean letting young people I will meet in the future disappear into the wind. I speak from a place of love. I want young people to succeed. I’ll be damned to let one fall off the cliff with no end.