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I’m Blessed, I’m Beautiful, and I’m Back….With a letter to a young black child

    I’m back on the corner after too long an absence. I’ll admit it, I was in a funk for awhile.

    Frustrated by life. Frustrated by words that seemed to be unread. For some time I had forgotten the one thing I always told myself.

    “Keep writing, keep speaking out, keep on…Even if it seems nobody’s receiving it.”

    So here I am again, inspired to continue…In the middle of my favorite month. Another birthday coming. Another year granted by the Creator to be better than I was the year before, and the day before.

    I’m inspired today by pushing myself in another race over the weekend. I have goals this year. I want to do my first triathlon and my first marathon, and I’m on the way to doing it.

    I’m also inspired by a story told from a dear friend of mine from my college days at Northwestern. She’s mother and a professor and she has an 11-year old boy, who recently met America’s spiritual carcinogen face-to-face.

    His mom says the young lad was playing football with some neighborhood kids. He his friends, all black, playing with another group of kid who were all white. I guess the teams were divided along racial lines, and the white kids were calling blacks the “n-word”.  (Personally, I think we all need to quit dancing around that word. ALL OF US. We need to hear  the harshness, the hateful behind it. There’s no reclamation or redemption in it. In my view the euphemism of that term “n-word” is an example of our national cowardice when it comes to actually dealing with the ugly past of violent, institutional systems of racism in this country — But that’s another post for another day.)

    Hearing that children spat this venom, showed this cancer make my heart cry in anger. I like young people. Children a gift from God in my mind. Yeah, they can bratty, moody, work your last nerve, etc.. But, the joy they bring outlast the chore they can be. And when I hear or see children being infected with this cancer, to me its child abuse. It is taking pure, innocent, gentle hearts and destroying them. It devalues the things that makes us human, and humane.

     Seeing the words of this mom, the disgust and some despair that a next generation feels the abrasive sting of racism, brought back things from my childhood that still anger me some.

     Dear EJ,

          When I turned 8 year old, my mother gave my the best birthday present I ever received.         

       Now at the time all I could think about the serious set of wheels I was gonna get. I was getting my first bicycle for my birthday. But the bike was back-ordered, it wouldn’t be ready in time for my birthday. So I was disappointed. I want that cool bike.

          But she said, “Cheer up, son. I’m going to get you an even better gift than a bike.”

          My response? “Yeah, right.”

         We got in the car and drove to the public library. I got my first library card.

          The bike gave me wheels, but that library card gave me wings.

           Signed up for the contest the same day. And I spent a summer immersed in books. I took them on road trips. Read before breakfast in the morning. Read at night. Every chance to read, and learn.

             I found my love of science-fiction and myself that summer! I picked up books about science and art and music, and….I read about people who look like us. I met our kinfolk that summer, EJ. I met OUR heroes, named and unnamed. All the bedtime stories about relatives I’d never meet, yet put me in the place I am…and…and…all those stories came to life.

             And when I looked back, I read 34 books that summer. I finished third in that contest…In the entire city!

             My mom got a phone call one day a few weeks before school started and the contest was over. Someone at our neighborhood branch of the library said, “Ma’am we need to talk to you and you son.”

              So we went to the library along with my aunt. And when we got there, the librarian of our branch was there, along with another lady. She was from the city’s library department downtown. Now she’s explaining to my mom..”Well we are checking things out because, we’ve never had someone from this branch read as many books and finish this high in contest before. So we are investigating to see if this child can actually read and that he actually read the books.”

                I saw the librarian, she looks like us. She is silent, polite but seething. My mom is puzzled. My aunt is furious.

                Me, I don’t know how to feel?  Inside I SCREAMED!!!!!

        I read those books. I read them. I read them on long car rides to summer track meets. I feel asleep with them in my hand. I was in the line with Madeline all in a row, and went to Where The Wild Things Are,  and I was sleuthing with Encyclopaedia Brown. I read about how Thurgood Marshall fought the fight that put me a in classroom with all kinds of kids, and read about a group of brave people marching across a bridge and were hurt just so they could vote!
 

                  I READ THOSE BOOKS! I HAVE WINGS! I FLEW THROUGH THOSE PAGES AND PROSE!

                  And that woman…That WHITE woman said. “Young man…read to me.

                  And she pulled out a book…It wasn an Encylopaedia Brown mystery.

                  I read that story. I read it with passion. I acted out the characters with voices from my imagination. I was Encylopaedia…and I was Bugs Meany, and I was person he caught red-handed. 

                  I READ EVEN WHEN THE LIBRARIAN SAID, “YOU CAN STOP NOW!”

                  I didn’t listen I read and read…and read!

                  And when I was done, my mom smiled. My aunt said.. “SEE?!”

                  The woman seemed unimpressed. I looked up at her and I said politely, but with a small hint of hunt, anger and bitterness.

                  Ma’am, are you going to make sure the white kids can read , too?”                           

                  That day was the first day that I was introduced to being a black child. It hurt.

                  As we drove home. My mom and aunt angry and me bitter. I thought about it the whole day,

                  That night my mom tucked me in and read to me, and I asked her “Mom? Why do they hate us?”

                  And my mom said, “Not all of them do, son. But some do, but you don’t let their hate change you.”

                  I remember saying, “Why even read. They don’t even think that can read.”

                  And she said, “DON’T EVER SAY THAT, SON.”

                 And she told me about long ago, when our kinfolk lived in chains..and how they were killed for teaching and learning how to read. I heard  every word she said..and she left me with one sentence.

                 “My son, we have come too far to go back to those days.”

                  Since then, my hunger to read grew..and it never gone away since.

                  That feeling of hurt, turned into a strength, and strength to rise above and shine the same way that those people on the bridge did. The same way Thurgood Marshall did.

                   I send you this story young man to let you know that the shock and anger you may feel is normal…but it shouldn’t be!

                   Do not let that feeling become normal. Fight against it with pride, knowledge, love and forgiveness.

                   Yes, EJ, forgiveness.

                  The young boys who left that field were taught the things that they said to you. The knew no better. It is sad and hurtful, and there were always be those people as you go through this life a young black boy, who will become a black man.

                  But I also tell you to take this moment and this lesson and be determined to be a part of the change, and that change will come, EJ. Our history as a people have shown time and time again that change for the better comes as long as we continue rise above the cancer those young boys have. The cancer that people older than them passed to them. The cancer that you will find some of those who like you have as well, many out of despair and bitterness.

                  Stay strong, blessed, black and beautiful, EJ!

                   Your friend,

                       Northside Chip.

Back To The Corner…With Things To Say.

I haven’t posted in a month, partially due to work…partially due to a project I’m working on at AlternateHistory.com, a piece of the epic “Protect and Survive” Timelines.

Also, I really haven’t had that much to say to add to what many of the blogs I link to have already. You can only bash Herman Cain so much.

Also, I’ve been working on some hip-hop music. I’m no rapper, but I figure if you have the tools to make a record why not?

But I’m back to blogging because I have something to say, and I want to keep saying things, so here I am.

For starters, I am reading a very good book right now, written by an old college classmate of mine. It’s the survivor’s story called The Way Through and the author, Amber Lisa, will be a guest in the corner after the New Year. If you want to know more, check her blog out.

A lot folks have been talking about this guy above. Some of you like him. Some of you don’t. Some of you think that he’s an overhyped kid who lacks the materiel to be an NFL Quarterback. Others say “he just wins games”. Some of you maybe turned off by the fact that he is a bonafide Bible-Thumper of the first magnitude. Other’s believe Tim Tebow is a splendid representative of The Truth, The Way and The Light.

I personally like this Tim Tebow guy. Yeah, he only completes maybe 48% of his passes. Right, right, he does say “I wanna thank my Lord and Saviour” before he speaks to the press, and “God Bless” when he’s done.

I liked his Super Bowl Ad, and even though I’m on the other side of that issue, I respected what the advertisement was about.

What I really have a problem with is so many detractors of Tim Tebow who are detractors truly out of their own cynicism, not because of reasons due to the way he plays the game.

1. “THIS GUY GETS TOO MUCH ATTENTION GIVEN HIS LEVEL OF SKILL.”

I find the misplaced ire of this amusing. Tebow is a football player, like any football player. He didn’t ask for the notoriety. He didn’t seek it out. If you want to crack back on anybody, crack back on the media hype machine. Don’t put that on his kid.

Tim Tebow is not sending memos to the varied sports media saying “Ignore the 13-0 Green Bay Packers” or “Campaign For Me For The Pro Bowl”. To quote the ESPN Monday Night Countdown boys “C’MON MAN!”

2. “I WISH HE’D SHUT UP ABOUT HIS RELIGION”

In analyzing over 5 years of interview of Tim Tebow, I find one constant. He never mentions his beliefs unless he is asked a direct question about them.  This has been a rock-solid constant in any interaction between the secular press and this person.

If anything, I wish people would talk about faith MORE. I wish more people would open up more about their belief and their faith, or even their non-faith in respectful way.

I am a firm believer in the concept that there is something bigger than me in the universe. Christianity is the way that I express that belief, same as Tim Tebow. Him and I may have differences on issues based on where our faith comes from. His faith is of a more conservative bent, mine is more toward leftist liberation theology. Nonetheless, I respect him and I’d share a pew with him.

The same way I’d respect a devout Muslim or a devout Jew..or a devout Buddist…or a devout Wiccan…or a devout Atheist giving respectful reference and then going out on the football field and kicking some hard-core butt.

3. ““emboldened faithful can do insane things, like burning mosques, bashing gays and indiscriminately banishing immigrants.”  

The person who said this, A rabbi in New York, later recanted this statement, pulled his column and apologized. But nonetheless this feel could be out there. And in things like this that bother me as a person of faith and this is why we need more talk, education and understanding about our beliefs and our faith…NOT LESS.

We are in a time where people of faith bash people who don’t. We in a time when people who feel there is no God ridicule people who believe strongly and passionate that there is one.

We are people who are throwing rocks at Nativity Scenes, and in response who have people willing to act in a manner counter to what Jesus taught.

And you have a lot of people once again getting all scared and hostile when they hear the word “MOSQUE”  (Memo to the CEO at Lowe’s — I’ll get my 2x4s at Home Depot from now on.)

Even the devil believes in God, and this type of foolishness, and putting this foolishness on one guy who worships with a quiet reverence and a serious example is just Satan doing his shady business in my view. The Dark Side can and will cloud everything.

All this griping about Tim Tebow is as silly to me as the “War On Christmas” and so much pining about the insistence on “Merry Christmas”..And you wonder why people make fun of Christians. I find that rather whiny, just the same as I find every Atheist with an ax to grind beefing about nativity scenes whining. There’s room enough for all of you. Find a space, and to each his own.

4. The hope that Tim Tebow pulls a massive Tiger Woods Moment in a strip club with 10 women of ill repute.

I’ve heard this more than a few times. I just wanna know…Why? Why do we as a public want the clean-cut hero and then…we want him to denigrate into a cad? Don’t flame me for asking. I’m just asking.

I understand this is the staple diet of todays Tabloid-Run-And-Gun-Kick-Em-When-They’re-Up-Kick-Em-When-They’re-Down-News Networks, powered by Kardashian Inc., but why do you as a Public KEEP BUYING IT?

This wish isn’t about Tim Tebow, its really about Mr. and Mrs. Look-In-A-Mirror. Don’t put any shortcoming you may see on this kid because he may have a discipline, a faith, and a determination to lives those things to a level greater than your own.

Why Northside Chip is a fan of  Tim Tebow? 

I mainly root for him because he’s a Heretic….He’s a playing heretic against a number of rigid dogmas of professional football “quarterbacking”. He isn’t the classic drop-back guy, but then again who  is anymore?. He doesn’t play  the part that the Mel Kipers, Peter Kings and all the high priests of the Holy Church Of The Scouting Computer says is a “pro quarterback”. He’s “unorthodox” and thumb his nose at the High Holy Church of Professional Football Punditry.

Tim Tebow runs like Bobby Douglass, has the ugliest wobble since Billy Kilmer. He was as doubted as the last #15 to play quarterback for Denver, the great Magician Marlin Briscoe……And he’s winning games anyway…..And he’s getting better.

The fact that he’s unashamed to give his reference when so many want to keep it under wraps is a special bonus. But overall, the game is the thing and results don’t lie. He’s doing his part on the pitch, and he seems to be living up to what he portrays off of it.

And now some SOME QUICK TAKES ON THE CURRENT SCENE.

1. ADVICE TO PRESIDENT OBAMA — GET BOLD!

Mr. President, I have a blog post coming up that’ll bring this in greater detail, but I’m gonna tell ya…Go-along-to-get-along is just good enough to get you beat. If you want to get elected, you have be bold with a whole new agenda.

2. The GOP: Get Real

The Republican have had 20+ televised debates this year. There’s a lot of good TV shows that don’t get that kind of run for an hour of decent entertainment, and my conclusion is…“Gee, I thought the Walking Dead was on AMC”

There isn’t a serious candidate in that bunch. Why do I see maybe 33% turnout next November. Maybe because there ain’t much to vote for, honestly.

3. The Chris Paul Controversy

Further proof that the National Basketball Association is at its worst crisis since 1979. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I think David Stern is looking to cut some jobs and whack some teams…New Orleans may be the beginning. I wouldn’t mind it, if he’d give me my Kansas City Kings back. 🙂

4. I went to Iraq, and all I got was _____________

They are all coming home (Praise God!), after 9 years, trillions of dollars and no WMDs found. Was it all worth it? Somebody answer that one.

5. Memo to Jerry Sandusky and Bernie Fine

Pray that you are not put in the G-Pop. The fellas in the joint don’t take kindly to “diddlers”.

And of course — It wouldn’t be the Corner without the Northside Chip “You Ignant” Award!!!!!!!!!

There’s so many candidates. The entire GOP Presidential Field, especially Rick Perry (even ignance is bigger in Texas), All the Tebow haters., the Los Angeles Lakers (trading Lamar Kardashian to the Mavericks???), Kurt Busch, Bashir al-Assad (Son, you ain’t your daddy), Barack Obama qualifies for the spending compromise and this idea of bringing Gitmo tactics to America (Mr. President, WTF!), Jerry Sandusky could retire the award right now.

But I’m giving the “You Ignant” to Robert Niblock, CEO of Lowe’s Improvement Centers. 

Now you’ve heard a few things thing about this one. Its really nothing new. Lowe’s was a sponsor of a solid typical reality show called “All-American Muslim”. The idea of this show, centered in Dearborn, Michigan’s sizable Muslim community (one of the largest in our country), is just looking at a family who has a different belief from a majority of Americans but live really no different than a majority of Americans. Its hackneyed, but pretty harmless.

Well, the mostly-white mostly-right Dead-Wrong All-Star among us think every family in the world that happens to be Muslim has the surname bin Laden. Some group called the Florida Family Association , small conservative Christian group, has their issues with the show. If you click the link, you’ll find that they have an issue with a lot of things. It is the typical ultra-conservative, mainly white, menu of “enemies” (Pornagraphy, women who show a little extra thigh, women who believe in equal pay for equal work and that “Godless” feminism stuff, gay folks, non-white people,  Barack Obama, etc.) This is nothing new, remember some of people this people probably still think that Bert and Ernie or Tinky Winky are gay.

Now, I don’t give Niblock this award because Lowe’s pulled the ads due to the pressure of the FFA. A corporate business has the right to do what they do. They are a private corporation who can spend money as they see fit. The idea that a pressure group of this type that is small in number, localized and conservative that force this corporation to bend when larger and more people-centered are ignored is striking to me.

I give Mr. Niblock the “You Ignant” because, he is giving “aid and comfort to the enemy”, as our conservative friends would say.

When you listen to the Right-Wing Dead-Wrong All-Stars going off on “Islamofacism”, the biggest winners….wait for it ……. ARE THE TERRORISTS!

All these rantings ever do is give Hamas and Hizbollah and Al Queda and every Islamic Ayatollah Jerry al-Falwell a license to whip up more Two-Minute Hate. They line up with their bootleg VHS tapes and say “SEE! SEE! GREAT SATAN AMERICA HATES YOU!!!!! LOOKIE! LOOKIE!!!! THE AMERICANS AND THEIR ISRAELI PUPPETS AT LOWE’S HOME IMPROVEMENT HATE YOU!”

My question to the FFA is Why Do You Hate America? Why are you working with Al-Queda? 

You see, you play into their hands with the stuff.

Most muslims I know came to this country in part because, even as Muslims they couldn’t worship as they pleased back home or they were persecuted for whatever reason..OR even they came for an opportunity they couldn’t get back home, and that isn’t to count out those who’ve been here for multiple generations, and have celebrated being American and being of their faith. Last I heard, the freedom to worship…or not worship was the what America was all about since we started this ride back around 1776.

Those who call the “Terrorists” don’t want this freedom, even for their own. They want it THEIR WAY, ALL THE WAY. ISLAMIC THEOCRACY WITHOUT QUESTION! The people like the FFA are no different, except they seek a Christian Theocracy without question.

   Theocracy and Democracy don’t mix and I never want to live under one, no matter whose holy book it is from.

You see, I like questioning the people in charge. I believe its a healthy for a society. I like having the right to do so without a threat on my life,  a fatwa, a shunning, an excommunication or whatever.

The theocrat wants you to accept whatever they say without question, as if they are God. That’s fine in a church, but it doesn’t work for a democratic, free society to function effectively. For if you want to have that power over my day-to-day affairs as a human leader you have to realize that you will be questioned. If can’t open yourself to questioning, you are not fit to govern.

It is for this reason that I find caving in to a cabal of Americans who are in league with the concepts of an Al-Queda not just ignant, but repugnantly anti-American.

Also a memo to the FFA: You seem to dislike so much on TV…Here’s a thought… 1. Read a book. 2. Change the channel 3. Start your own network…. #just sayin’

Looking Back And Looking Ahead

When this ol’ world starts getting me down..that’s when its good to have the Little League World Series going on. Of all the excellent play seen this week, the Rhode Island-Pennsylvania game and the Mexico-Japan game were among the best matches I’ve seen in any sport so far this year.  Nothing like seeing the pure joy of young people at play.

Closer to my home base, I hear the popping of the pad. Football is underway. After work, I often find myself checking out the town Pop Warner team practicing. More of the pure joy of young people at play.

When do we lose the joy of play? When do we resign ourselves to cloudy days. When do we get cynical? When do we see joy as a exception and not as a rule?

Where was the tipping for Nevin Shapiro you think? Or perhaps he was already born cynical, or at least with the idea that everything has a price tag. The real sad thing is that for a good share of the University of Miami (FL) Hurricanes football team, they allowed themselves to be price tagged by a vicarious jock sniffer. If you haven’t read the account of the reporter who broke the story, check this out. 

Shapiro had bling and ching. Now, he wants to sing.

Shapiro apparent dropped a lot of big checks to “The U” and to the U’s stable of NFL caliber ballplayers, and keeping in line with the stereo du jour, a good number of them, including a heavy majority were black. I shake my head in sadness again know full well, that this rotten fish will smell for quite sometime and unfortunately stick to a lot of future kids looking to get their game and study thing at the college level, regardless of what penalty the NCAA gives the university in this case

What I think Miami should get? Two years of a “death penalty”.

Switching from one football state to another, more gloom and doom coming from the state of Texas. No, I’m not talking about the Longhorn network or that punishment closet at Texas Tech.

Texans like Rick Perry would have made me root for Santa Anna

Texas Governor Rick Perry is running for President in that very crowded, and slightly unhinged, Republican starting grid. This past week he talked about the nation’s debt pointing it out as the “big black cloud that hangs over America”. Now some have stated that could be a veiled shot at that guy with the rather deep tan that resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Others, mainly conservatives and perhaps a few a black blogosphere, see this is as another excuse to put on the those Field Negro RC-2190 sneakers and chase racism at a dead sprint.

My opinion? I heard the quote (and you can too) . You can make up your mind on it. However, while Perry was talking about the debt this guy also understanda which side the bread is buttered on and the constituency he is courting. Words like that, even in a nuanced way,  will strike a cord. Its no secret that one big play in the GOP’s playbook is geared toward the making Barack Obama the “other”, making him sound like and be like something “not American” . You can bet that has we roll toward Iowa and New Hampshire that we will hear the President’s full name a lot. To many people hearing”Barack Hussein Obama” is the perfect mantra that says subliminally, “he’s not like you” and “he doesn’t see America the way we do”.

But then again, you can say that about Rick Perry. After all, this guy a year ago was calling for something the return of the “Long Star Republic of Texas”. After all Mr. Perry did say ““Texas is a unique place. When we came into the union in 1845, one of the issues was that we would be able to leave if we decided to do that,” Perry said. “My hope is that America and Washington in particular pays attention. We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, who knows what may come of that.”

Tim Wise said it best after the 2010 elections, “by then you will have gone  all-in as a white nationalist movement – hell, you’ve all but done that now.”

Division and derision will be the play should the Republicans face third and long deep on their side of the field vs. President Obama next year.  Even with the disagreements I have with the Obama administration on a number of key issues, I see the GOP facing a lot of those third-down situations and I don’t see them having a quarterback who can convert them. The GOP record and rhetoric have proven and will continue to prove this theory again and again.

Quite frankly, I see them much like the Addams Family…

I hope they return to their coffins when the sun comes up

     They’re creepy and they’re kooky. They’re greedy and they’re spooky. They’re altogether loony…They are the G-O-P!

Turning to a safer sport, NFL Football. A couple things made me smile Sunday. First, San Diego Chargers 20, Dallas Cowboys 7.  Anytime you beat “America’s Team”, its never a bad thing.

Secondly, I’m interested to see if this year’s Michael Vick Second Chance Award Winner continues to play well.

Welcome back Plexiglas! Just remember if you feel the need to take a gun to the nightspot you seriously should reconsider going to that establishment.

Plaxico Burress. The man has paid his debt to society. It was a good game, but it was preseason and it was against the Bengals. I hope he continues to play well, and that he perhaps stays home more often and curls up with the good book instead of venturing out into the New York night and getting in some mischief.

And now, something that always makes me smile..

Lookin' at my Armitron its about that time 🙂

Through all the choas, strife, the 2012 campaign where whoever wins you get a same you can believe in. Amid the torrents of a bad economy, a revolution in Tripoli and bad reality TV. After a summer of  flood, potential nuclear disaster and the City of Omaha fighting over a deal for their firefighters…The one constant that makes a smile worth smiling and gives a good solid escape is Nebraska Football. GO BIG RED! 🙂

And Finally, a edition of Northside Chip’s “What Was Said/What Was Meant”

What Was Said: “The next superintendent of Omaha Public Schools a laser-like focus on improving student achievement and eliminating the African-American achievement gap. “The next Omaha Public School superintendent will have a profound impact on Omaha’s future workforce,” — Nebraska Governor Dave Heinemann

What Was Meant: “The next Omaha Public Schools superintendent wont get any help from me.”

 

School Days, Rainy Days, Strange Days Indeed.

Its the first day of the school on The Northside Corner. To our future Northsiders, stretch your mind and your butt will follow.

To all the parents: Please resolve to be an active participant in your child’s education if you haven’t already. Know your child’s teacher. Know the resources. Make sure they know who you are, and if can..volunteer, mentor, be in your school’s PTA. Too many people complain about the state of education in our country. Very few actually get active enough to turn complaint into solution.

And it doesn’t take a lot of time to do that, and it worth making the time.

I dedicate following to my mom who was a dedicated schoolteacher.

Let’s  resolve to END TEACHER BASHING. Over the next few weeks, hundreds of thousands of dedicated people will be standing in front school classrooms from Bangor to Honolulu. Some will be hardened veterans. Some will be fresh out of grad school or college. Some will be moving into new schools or new towns. Some maybe returning to the classroom after a time in another field. Others may be transitioning from another field to develop the next generation of what they’ve been. All deserve our support for a job that is underappreciated, insulted and belittled all too often.

As you drop off your child to the schoolhouse, take one minute to meet, greet and thank that teacher. Each day, they have the future of our nation in their hands. They can always use a hand from the rest of us.

In the fun department. I’m ready from the Monday Nitro. NASCAR’s romp on the road at Watkins Glen. Football preseason is in full swing, and this week your truly unveils Northside Chip’s Omaha Stories. During my romp home from Native Omaha Days, and went through the hoods and talked to some interesting people. I plan on sharing what I saw and heard on the Corner.

In the not-so-fun-part of the fun department. Hullabaloo, WHAT THE HECK? Texas A&M to the SEC? And then not to the SEC? Ego, thy nickname is “Aggie”.

I’m not one to get all irate over the continuing perestroika in college athletics. To me it isn’t about students or fans. This is about suits in the suites flashing cash and flaunting clout. However, Texas A&M action seems to be driven more from the continuing inferiority complex Texas A&M has when it comes to Texas. Now that Texas has their Longhorn Network, its only worse.

At the same time, I just have to shake my head and grin at the fellows in Austin. The University of Texas is playing their hand well. They know that whichever way the well turns, they have every out. If they have a Big XII, they will have the money advantage. If they don’t get their way, they go it alone. If they decide to go it alone, they have the wherewithal to do it.

Don’t hate Texas, because you ain’t Texas. If any school had the advantage, they’d play it.

Now strange days? That was what I saw in Iowa over the weekend. First there was the debate where every GOP hopeful except for Ron Paul had the same platform, “We just wanna get rid of Barack Obama!” Nevermind how they’ll govern once they get him out.

But remember, the Republicans aren’t really  into that governing thing.

But that isn’t the freakiest thing. It was the straw poll. Michelle Bachmann came through with a meaningless victory on paper at first…But then Tim Pawlenty decided finishing third means “fuhgettaboutit” and dropped out and a first other may as well. This may be a sign of how the primary season of 2012 could go.

For me? Its a sign of a continuing complaint of mine: The whole campaign season is too dang long!

    If I were king. No events before January 2nd of the election year. No primaries before Feburary 14 th. During the primary season, any campaign ads can only be ran within 5 days of a primary or caucus and only in the states holding a primary or caucus.

Once the primaries end. NO POLITICAL ADVERTISING OF ANY KIND outside of news coverage of the conventions until one week after the last major party convention.

During the general election campaign, advertising is allowed until 7 days prior to election day. At that point. It’s a blackout. NO ADVERTISING. NO TELEVISION. NO SIGNS. NO 527s. NOT EVEN A BUS BENCH.

What will this proposal do?

1. It will shorten the campaign season.

2. Hopefully, it will tighten the focus and get voters looking at the campaign while lowering the risk of campaign fatigue for the voters.

3. Hopefully it will lower the ridiculous amounts of money it takes to get elected.

Nah. The politicos will never buy it. 🙂

   

Reflections On Monday Morning

On the Monday Morning, a whole lot of North Omaha folks who were living it up this weekend are going through the hangover blues. Yeah, we all maybe got it in a little bit much during Native Omaha Days. But that is what its for. Safe travels to those folks who are heading back home after what was a fun, w ild weekend.

It was my first Native Omaha Days in its truest sense. My first “homecoming” of this type. It was good to reconnect with faces I haven’t seen. It was good to reflect back on some good times of days gone by.

I am blessed to say that for the most part, many dear faces in my life are doing well. I’ve seen friends marry friends and those unions have lasted a decade or more. I see people I grew up with being fathers and mothers. I see young kids look like their mommas and daddies growing up and getting their dreams together. Such things make me smile long and wide.

That’s my hangover. The “come-down” from the natural, simple joy of reconnection and reflection.

Over the next week or so, I will sharing some of those reconnections, reflections and looks ahead.

Away from the Northside. It seems that we have a deal in Washington, and the debt ceiling crisis was even the talk of the Northside. Memo to shelf, DON’T CRITICIZE OBAMA AT A BAR IN NORTH OMAHA. You’ll get a serious Bronx cheer of people who will disagree. But there’s still much love.

I find myself bothered by both sides. Once again, the Democratic Party is paying for not taking care of business, when they controlled the business. The Republicans are living up to ideas of their field marshal Grover Norquist. Ideas some among conservative circles such as David From question.  Hopefully by the end of business Monday, we’ll have a new deal. But this new deal is still a further example of a same you can believe in.

President Obama and Speaker Boehner: WHO ARE YOU FOOLING?

It’s been more than a month since I wrote something. My life has gotten a little busy, but what’s gone on over the last few days has me wanting to get busy writing so here I am.

The National Football League owners and players came together and inked a deal. GOOD! But why do I get the feeling DeMaurice Smith and Roger Goddell just aren’t vibing together right now?

With the lockout over, its Washington’s turn. The country is threatened by a lot more than going without some touchdowns and big hits for a few weeks. If we don’t get a deal on the debt ceiling by Tuesday August 2nd, the United States of America could go into default.

Based on what I heard coming from both sides on this night, I think default will get some good odds in any betting house.

Firstly, to the President: You’ve given the GOP a lot already. You’ve bent on a lot of issues. You’ve seriously looked at bending on Social Security cuts, social service cuts, education cuts, housing cuts. In short, if it helps people, you’ll cut it. A Democratic President running the Republican program. And now all of a sudden because Harry Reid’s looking at doing the same thing, you all of sudden find you inner Harry Truman? C’MON MAN!

President Obama tonight struck a tone that in my mind tried playing both sides of the street. Embracing John Boehner on one hand and then saying “NO DEAL” on the other.

Mr. President, you’ve given the Republicans the idea that they can strike a deal on their terms, and they are going to push for the terms. Right now sir, you are in a corner. You have to make a deal with people who’ve made it clear since the 2010 elections that they have one objective, “Make Barack Obama a one-term President”  And they are willing to drop an economic nuclear bomb in the country for that to happen. Make no mistake about it. How far are you and congressional Democrats willing to go, given that on many issues since 2009, you’ve shown as a unit that you aren’t prepared to go very far.

Speaker Boehner, I understand the deal with you sir. You and your party are trying to win an election. I can respect that. You guys showed the nation your hand last November, and you believe that you have another winning hand for 2012. You seek to institute Grover Norquist’s dream of a “Government so small that I can drown it in a bathtub.”

I find your call asking the President to “partner with us for America” as highly disingenuous. I’m thinking of the scorpion and the frog here. President Obama may yet carry your program to the other side of the river, and then you will sting him and the country. But after all, you are a scorpion, sir. It’s your nature.

The country needs real solutions right now. What we got tonight wasn’t solutions, it was naked 2012 politics. It’s another same we can believe in.

Mr. President and Mr. Speaker….WHO ARE YOU FOOLING?

For tonight’s performance by both you, President Barack Obama and Speaker John Boehner each receive a Northside Chip “YOU IGNANT” Award.

Both of you needed to save your speeches tonight. The time would be better spent fixing this mess.

You Don’t Need A Title. You Just Need To Give A Damn.

Anthony Weiner gets caught with his pants down on Twitter. Duh! (Ignant Award Winner right here). Joplin, Missouri is still a mess on now the other side of Missouri gets a nice reminder from the New Madrid Fault. 

There’s flooding on the Missouri River. Hmm, where are we going to find some FEMA money for this one, especially now that everybody in Washington is a deficit hawk.  Timothy Geeko Geithner is confident that Team Obama will be able to cut a deal with the Grand Old Birthers and get a deficit cutting package. I’m sure some of Paul Ryan recommendations will make the list, which means Mr. and Mrs. America are going to have to choose between head or gut again. It’s a same we can believe in.

You know something? I know of a way we can cut that deficit in a meaningful way right now, and its a way that the Republican would really love. I agree with them, we have to cut that welfare. So I say let’s cut the biggest Welfare Program in America right now. How about it? Let cut the BIG WELFARE PROGRAM RIGHT NOW! President Obama, I’m talking some serious deficit reduction right here. Deficit reduction so definitive, you have the bipartisan cooperation you crave and the Republicans can say they were “tough on welfare spending”. How about it. Let cut some of that WELFARE!

Let end America’s largest welfare program…. END THE WARS IN AFGHANISTAN, IRAQ AND END THE STRATEGIC PLANNING FOR IRAN…NOW!

End all that Rockwell-Fare and ADC (Aid to Defense Contractors). Quit giving money to the Karzai Government in Afghanistan (who’s putting most of the aid I’m paying for into his pocket). Why do I have guys who were cops in the town I live in patrolling Baghdad when I could use them to clean up the meth house cookin’ a block or so away? Now we are sending those Preditor drones to Libya and we are still drooling over the chance to hit Iran so we can placate a wannabe Reaganite cowboy in Tel-Aviv (Netan- YAHOOOOOOOOO!)

And while we are at it. I hear that President Obama is looking at an executive order to stop defense contractors from making political contributions. Why haven’t you signed that one already Mr. President?

For more on this, check out this Northside Chip View I’m Feeling. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich breaks down how the Rockwell-Fare Kings are buying up the Capital Hill Projects

You want to cut that deficit? To quote Morgan Freeman quoting Joe Clark…”Don’t F— Around With It! DO IT EXPEDITIOUSLY!”

In the sports world: Miami has a 2-1 lead on Dallas. The Boston Bruins came home and came correct in beating Vancouver (but they still trail 2-1), Albert Pujols is terrorizing the Cubs..again (But beating the Cubs is kind of like beating on the kids who ride the short bus.), and this weekend my main man behind the wheel comes to North America.

Lewis Hamilton, stop letting Vettel steal your vittles, homey!

I’ve been down with Formula 1 since I was a little Northside Chip on the corner, and we on the Corner are all about some Lewis Hamilton. But he, and the rest of Formula 1 are chasing that Sebastian Vettel, who has won five of the six rounds of the series so far. Hamilton’s the only other driver who has pulled through to win this season, and he’s been getting the Obama Treatment by the press for showing his frustration after being penalized in the Grand Prix of Monaco.   He’s been accused of “playing the race card”. Why do people think the race card is so damn powerful? Tim Wise is right when he says that the “race card” is the weakest in the deck.

Below is the post-race interview with the BBC in question: Decide for yourself.

My opinion? 1. The penalties for aggressive driving were very questionable to this observer. Where was the penalty on Massa during qualifying when he was blocking Hamilton all over the place? And Pastor Maldonado screwed up late in the race and nearly took Hamilton out when LH had the line in the corner.

2. No “race card” is being played here in my view. If somebody’s quoting Ali G, you kind of have to take it for what it is. Remember the same dude who played Ali G also gave the world Borat and Bruno. It’s humor, Sasha Baron Cohen-style. RELAX.

3. Lewis Hamilton is quickly learning the ways of the sporting press the world over. Everything you say can and will be used against you, especially if you have that darker paint job.

Shake it off my man and win in Montreal this weekend. STAND ON IT, SON! IT’S GO TIME!

Speed sports has been on my mind this morning. I was talking to my cousin in Atlanta, a forty-ish coach of an youth track team, while talking to my dad, who’s was my old track coach as a young un’ and he was talking about how tough it is to get a few hundred organized at a meet, getting all the entries in and such and we were just talking about how much the folks who ran our old team back in North Omaha put into it.

When we were young, our summers were spent on the run in the red and white of the Midwest Striders. Many summers spent traveling running and never forgot the fun we had or the lessons we learned. Many people where a part of it all. Parents, friends, concerned citizens who just wanted to give us young kids an outlet. They weren’t people of affluence. They weren’t high-powered folks armed with big dollars or Nike sponsorships. They were the everyday people, who got up in the morning went to work and after work they gathered us at old Omaha Technical High School around 5:30 and they led practice until 7:30 or 8:00.

The man in charge was a man named Ed Mayhue. He was stern proud father who was the head coach. He started the team in 1970 as a way to give his kids and some of their friends something to do. By the time I started running for them, around the age of 7, the team had already grown to nearly two hundred kids aged 7 to 18.

Coach Mayhue wasn’t some downtown or suburban cat. He was a blue-collar man. By day, he was a garbage collector. Every day after work, he’d get home maybe grab a quick shower and then he’d be a Tech High wearing a ballcap and a whistle, and leading practice. He did that through full days of work for two decades. He did that after perhaps the toughest time in his life. One work day, a terrible accident happened. I was maybe 10 at the time. Coach Mayhue’s arm was caught in the press on his garbage truck. The arm was crushed, and he nearly was too. He lived, but lost that arm.

That happened just before the season started, and we figured coach would retire. No chance of that. A month into the season, he was back coaching and teaching. The man didn’t miss a beat. He eventually retired from coaching…. a decade later.

Mr. Mayhue has gone home. He passed away quite a few years ago, but his example and essence carry a place in my heart and in a philosophy I hold very dear. You never pass up an opportunity to impact someones life in a positive way and it doesn’t take much to do that. Too often we think, “well maybe I’ll do more when I have my thing right” or “what do I have to give? I haven’t achieved anything, etc”

You don’t need “status” or  “title” to be of service to your community. You just need to give a damn. Coach Ed Mayhue taught me that.

Thanks, coach.