Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Conflict called Jeremiah

Wassup, Y'all!

My brain is recovering from the Rev. J-Wright experiment I conducted last night. In preparation for this post I decided to watch all three recent Jeremiah Wright talks - his interview with Bill Moyers, his speech at the Detroit NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner and his opening remarks and Q & A at the National Press Club in D.C - back to back with a three minute break (to cool my brain down from all the facts he was throwing out) just before his NPC talk.

When you undertake such an endeavor you'll immediately note a few things: 1) the man's command of history and theology is astounding, 2) he's a fierce defender of the southside nation and a fierce proponent of enhancing the southside experience (however *not* to the detriment of other nations - there is no notion of 'black supremacy', just an equal seat at the table), 3) he strongly recognizes the inherent differences in cultures and acknowledges the fact that there is no 'one size, fits all' approach to dealin' with them, 4) he doesn't hate America and 5) he caters to only one demographic - the southside...

If you break all that viewing into quarters - Rev. J-Wright held his own for three quarters and then the wheels feel off in the fourth. I disagree with the view that the attacks on him were attacks on the Black Church. The attacks were on him for political gain against his former congregate Smooth Barack. I can't fault his logic that led him to say that it's plausible that the government could mount a biological attack against a segment of society (either their own or a foreign one) but I don't believe the U.S. government intentionally introduced AIDS into the southside nation to exterminate the race. After all, AIDS was originally called GRID - Gay Related Immune Deficiency and its initial impact was in the gay community not the southside community.

And then there's his defense of Louis Farrakhan, which seems to be particularly odious to many. Wright choose to stand with Farrakhan calling him one of the most important voices of the 20th and 21st century. He balanced Farrakhan's comment of calling Zionism a 'gutter religion' (there is much confusion here as to whether Farrakhan used the terms 'Zionism' or 'Judaism', 'gutter' or 'dirty' but the end result was and remains insulting and infuriating to Jews) against the good works the Nation of Islam has done to rehabilitate black males both inside and outside prison. Can either side of that argument negate the other? Which is more important? It's complicated, but I know how I'd feel about the argument if we substituted Jesse Helms for Louis Farrakhan - I wouldn't care what good the guy did.

So for three quarters Rev. J-Wright walked a fine line and I was persuaded by his command of the facts. Then came the National Press Club Q & A and the good Reverend got to clownin'. He's eminently comfortable in front of a supportive crowd and it just seemed like he told them what they wanted to hear - just like a politician. He took the easy and popular (with the crowd) way out instead of addressing the questions with the thoughtfulness and broad-mindedness that they deserved. It was the Anti-Smooth approach and in that moment, you could see the vast difference between Jeremiah Wright and Smooth Barack.

To be a pastor, you only have to cater to your flock - a flock that is comprised of members with common backgrounds, shared experiences and a desire to understand how God relates to their particular circumstance. To be a president, you have to cater to the nation - a nation made up of a multitude of cultures, religions and socio-economic backgrounds and the belief systems that come with all that. I've seen nothing in Smooth's actions, heard nothing in Smooth's words that tell me that he's not up to that task.

It's a wise person who can listen to all points of view and yet maintain their own moral compass. You can't build a view of the nation by looking through a narrow life lens (your culture, your religion, your economic status) and I challenge anybody to refute the fact that Smooth's life lens isn't the broadest of the candidates out there. It would be a shame for that fact to get overlooked in the 'white noise' that is Jeremiah Wright.



Monday, April 28, 2008

Race in America: The Rev. Wright Tour

Wassup, Y'all!

With Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Smooth Barack's embattled former pastor, set to speak this morning to the National Press Club in D.C., his speech on 'The African American Religious Experience; Theology & Practice' will mark his third high profile appearance in as many days (he spoke at the NAACP's Freedom Fund dinner last night). Many of Smooth's supporters are cringing at Rev. J-Wright's very public reemergence to the national spotlight, fearing it will damage Smooth's election hopes. Smooth himself noted that it probably won't be helpful, but despite the perceived political peril for himself, he said that Rev. J-Wright was 'entitled to respond to critics who have "caricatured him"' And there's the rub, y'all....

Personally, I think it's good that Rev. J-Wright hits the road and begins to show the country exactly the type of man he is. One not 'caricatured' by well crafted sound bites assembled by people with transparently political motivations, but one fully formed by his own words - in totality. The day after his interview with Bill Moyers on PBS, Dave Winer on The Huffington Post opined 'Why is it so quiet after the Moyers-Wright Interview?' It's a rhetorical question, y'all. Anyone who actually listens to Rev. J-Wright from beginning to end will begin to understand that he is not at all the racist, hatemonger, idiot, [your abusive term here] those Youtube sound bites make him out to be.

I feel the more he gets his story out - a story that includes him voluntarily leaving college to serve six years in the Navy and Marines, while Presidents Bush and Clinton and Vice President Dick Cheney use their student deferments to avoid serving in the military - the more he'll be come less of a 'liability' in the fall during the general election. What I hope to see soon are new Youtube clips of his new talking points that illustrate his serious intellect, sense of humor and commitment to spreading the Word.

People - it's okay - you're intelligent and can make up your own minds without the help of political commentators (or bloggers) tellin' you what to think and say. Dialog is good, civil disagreements are good, but uninformed or misinformed hate? Leave that nonsense at home.

One thing I do know about all this - ready or not - the race discussion is about to be televised in America.



Thursday, April 24, 2008

Judge Drops The Hammer on Wesley!

Wassup, Y'all!

Dang, guess ol Ty will have to get the Wesley Snipes Conviction Countdown Clock ready since despite pleas for leniency by his boyz Woody Harrelson and Denzel, the Daywalker got the BOOK thrown at his tax cheatin' behind by U.S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges.

Since Wesley got straight jacked on the sentencing, maybe they'll hook him up and put him in the same lock up as Mike Vick. Something tells me those Hollywood Blade moves won't be too effective once Tossed Salad Man goes on the midnight prowl. His vampires skillz may be helpful though since he won't want to be sleepin' much at night.

I have to admit that once Nozeema got acquitted of the more serious charges that he would pretty much skate on the three remaining misdemeanor charges, but as Gangster Sam is known to do just to make sure folks know he ain't playin', he laid a top choice pimp slap on ol boy. I'm also assumin' that he also demanded that homey surrender his passport, cuz knowin' Wesley he could be back down in Thailand in no time. Y'all saw U.S. Marshals - quit actin' like I'm makin' stuff up!



Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Will Smith's Hancock - Trash or Treasure?

Wassup, Y'all!

I haven't been to the movies in the longest time. I've seen plenty of movies over the last couple months, but ol Ty hasn't actually parked his behind in a theater with Twizzlers, popcorn and a Diet Coke for a few. The big buzz movies have been few and far between and now that my neighbors, the Jeffersons, upgraded to a big screen plasma and Blu-Ray, I've been just fine watchin' their set up from the basement with my binoculars and mama's grilled cheese sandwiches.

Now, for me to actually drop some ducats, a movie has to be tailor made for the big screen - like Iron Man, which is comin' up May 2nd. It's got all the ingredients - superhero, explosions and mayhem - that will have me duckin' into a theater. A couple months after Iron Man drops, we hit the prime time summer movie season which features a few potential blockbusters. Of course when you mention summer blockbuster, the name Will Smith always pops up and, as expected, Big Willie has a movie slotted for July 4th called Hancock, an action-comedy where Big Willy plays a homeless, down on his luck superhero, but strangely the buzz on the Hancock trailer has been a mixed bag...

An email hit my inbox the other day titled, 'Rant: Will Smith's Hancock Teaser Trailer'. 'Rant' is normally code for 'Whack as a Jerhi Curl' and the accompanying trailer review was the editorial equivalent of throwin' hot grits on the brother. The writer, Thurston Howell III Alex Billington from dubbed it, '...completely cheesy' and '...the stupidest thing I've seen all year'. Ouch. He went on to slam the special effects, calling into question the quality of the CGI which was a similar complaint with Big Willie's last flick, 'I Am Legend'

So I decided to watch the trailer prepared for a hot mess and I ended up liking that joint. The key here is that it's a comedy hence I'd expect the vibe and the special effects to reflect that. I'm thinkin' that A-Bill just has his panties in a bunch but I could be wrong. The original trailer review referenced by A-Bill's rant called it the same way I did so I'll leave it up to y'all. Peep the trailer and holler back to let me know if you think Big Willie has another summer blockbuster on his hands or whether he needs to be out of the country when Hancock opens in 12 million theaters on the 4th of July.



Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Booty Beauty - To Thine Own Self Be True

Wassup, Y'all!

I know. I know. You see that subject and think, 'Dang, Ty! The PA election is today, dude. How you gonna be focusin' on something as trivial as a booty?' We'll I've seen the polls and though it's alway possible that Smooth can sneak out a come from behind victory like the 76'er put on Detroit on Sunday, I'm doin' what candidates commonly refer to as 'lowerin' expectations'.

So speakin' of 'behind', I catch this article yesterday, which outlines the extreme lengths that shortys go through to cosmetically alter their bodies. It seems that we've reached a tippin' point due to the media's carpet bombin' portrayal of the 'perfect female body'. Now as a homey, I'm not completely hatin, but that's only because ol Ty is a heathen, but as an uncle with an impressionable teenage niece soakin' up all that nonsense, I've got concerns. Little shorty's got her head on straight right now, but as powerful and pervasive as media images are, not to mention peer pressure by other 'mean girl' shortys, it would be hard to not eventually get caught up...

Not convinced that there's a direct correlation between media images and cosmetic surgery? Sure women have always preferred to have larger breasts to smaller ones (but that's only because they see the positive effect they have on guys they're tryin' to attract - it's got nothing to do with being able to more efficiently feed their babies...), but in the Beyonce, J-Lo, Blame It On Rio era, the move now is to get your booty enhanced. Back in the day, southside shortys used to catch all kinds of grief for their ample boo-tays from non-southside women. Fashion moguls never catered to it with their clothes and rather than being called sexy they, more often than not, heard a more crass cat call - 'fat ass'.

Now the big booty is in and shortys of all shades are lookin' to plump up their rumps. Bootys are becomin' the breasts of the millennium, y'all. But if you read that article you'll also see that shortys are goin' in for all kinds of new jack cosmetic procedures - labia reshaping (you may know it better as coochie contouring), toe shortenin' and even in an extreme case, belly-button removal. As my uncle Mumford would say, 'What the hell is goin' on?'

Shortys, let me let you in on a secret that's going to save you a lot of pain (and potentially your life) should this be the road you plan to travel. Looks fade and they're only valuable to get you in the door. In order to stay in the house you need to be a good person (aka possess a plethora of non-bitchy qualities) and have a tight personality and as far as I know, you can't get any of that from a cosmetic surgeon.

And homeys, if you try to bring home a cosmetically enhanced, personality challenged shorty, plan to get a high five from Pops and an eye roll and back room neck slap from Moms. And while you're resting your drink on your girl's newly plumped out a$$, take a look across the room at your niece and think about the message you're sendin' her with your triflin' self. Keep it real, y'all. Literally.



Monday, April 21, 2008

Get Ready For BNN

Wassup, Y'all!

First we had BET, the oh so tacky southside imitator of MTV. Then came it's second cousin twice removed - UPN. Though not strictly a southside channel, strangely it became home to 90%+ of southside network programming and a regular viewing staple of southside households. Ultimately, UPN morphed into The CW - think of this joint as a more saditty version of UPN but give it a couple licks and you get down to the ghetto-y center pretty quickly.

Now former U.S. Representative J.C. Watts thinks we need a black news network - a BNN for the southsiders. 24 hours of the same thing we can get in a quick 30 minute dose down at the barbershop or beautyshop (without the ability to get economically priced first run DVDs...). Personally, I'm not sure if this segregation of entertainment and news is a good thing.

On one hand, it could address specific news items of interest to the southside nation that would never see the light of day elsewhere but as BET has proved, is some of that stuff interesting to ANYBODY?? I think not. On the other hand, how many more information inputs can a brother keep up with? I need a one stop shop - not four different channels to keep up with the haps of my northside, southside, westside and eastside homeys - cuz you know ol Ty needs to keep an eye on everybody.

I'll wait and see what BNN has to offer but as y'all can already see, this brother is startin' out pretty dubious of J.C.'s latest endeavor.



Friday, April 18, 2008

Where's Rev J. Wright When You Need Him?

Wassup, Y'all!

Or Erin Brockovich for that matter. Lady E. passed on some actual factuals about 'testing' goin' on down in East St .Louis (ESL to you and me) that features scientists using "a vacant lot near a grade school in East St. Louis to test a new method of addressing lead-contaminated soil — by mixing it with waste sludge that could render the lead chemically harmless." The 'testing' was funded by a $50K U.S. Department of Agriculture grant and this 'test', like a similar one conducted in Baltimore, MD was targeted to a southside poor neighborhood...

'What's the problem, Ty?' readers may ask. The goal was noteworthy - to 'protect children from lead poisoning in the soil' and lead poisoned soil has 'long been a problem in East St. Louis because of former paint manufacturing and lead smelting plants there.' Sounds good, but let me ask you this? Do you think that Southwestern Illinois Resource Conservation & Development Inc. - the midwest nonprofit behind the testing - would have attempted this in an affluent, northside neighborhood? Doubtful. I'd expect they'd still be going through litigation and picketing perpetrated by concerned soccer moms.

According to the article, the local ESL residents, though informed of the testing, weren't informed that the sludge used in the testing could itself be dangerous. Now I may be mistaken, but isn't this just the same type of omission of facts that occurred when the U.S. Department of Health was conducting their syphilis experiment on unsuspecting southside homeys in Tuskegee? What ever happened to full disclosure?

What's interesting is that this type of ESL thing is not a new phenomenon. ESL itself - a city with a 98% southside population - has been dubbed 'one of the most toxic communities of color in the nation'. Last year, in the June/July issue of The Crisis magazine (dap to Crisis for the lead glossy), Robert Bullard wrote an article titled, 'Dismantling Toxic Racism', which discussed a trend where local municipal governments were quick to locate toxic landfills in areas predominantly inhabited by people of color. One example he cited was the 1982 decision to dump 60,000 tons of contaminated soil in Warren County, North Carolina - a predominately southside county.

Interestingly, this spurred the United Church of Christ Commission (remember them y'all? If not, give a holler to Rev. J. Wright - he'll fill you in) to publish a landmark report titled, 'Toxic Wastes and Race' in 1987. It was followed up by a twenty year retrospective, 'Toxic Wastes and Race at Twenty: 1987 - 2007', also published by the UCC Commission which found 'race to be the most significant independent predictor of commercial hazardous waste facility locations when socio-economic and other non-racial factors are taken into consideration.'

Now I not sayin', I'm just sayin' - all this seems to be more than enough to make the homeys in ESL go 'hmmmmm'...



Thursday, April 17, 2008

Even Little Shortys are on to Hillary

Wassup, Y'all!

I peeped this glossy yesterday in my overfilled email inbox and thought that it summed up the growing sentiment on Sister Hillary pretty well.

I also thought the debate last night presented a pretty mixed bag and both candidates seemed a little tired and run down and who could blame them since it seems the Democratic nomination process has been goin' on since the southside Jheri Curl days.

But I have to say that when a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll indicates that only 39% of Americans think that Sister Hillary is trustworthy that it's well past time to think about rampin' down your campaign and hoppin' on the Smooth Barack 'Yes We Can' tour bus. The trustworthiness thing has always been a Clinton Achilles Heel and you would think that after eight years of GW being less than honest with a number of things - most notably the core reason for draggin' the country into Iraq - that Democratic voters would be turnin' out the lights on Sister Hillary's campaign for her. Sister Hillary - it's time, homegirl...

The Philadelphia Daily News endorsed Smooth today and I have to give it up to them not for their endorsement per se, but for their recognition of just how different an Obama administration would be from those we've come to know or from one helmed by Sister Hillary. Speaking directly to that comparison the PDN broke it down like this:

"A candidate's campaign may be the best indicator of how she or he will govern. If so, an Obama administration would be well-managed, inclusive and astonishingly broad-based. It would make good use of technology and communicate a message of unity and, yes, hope.

It would not be content with eking out slim victories by playing to the narrow interests of the swing voters of the moment while leaving the rest of the country as deeply divided as ever. Instead, an Obama administration would seek to expand the number of Americans who believe that they have a personal stake in our collective future - and that they have the power to change things."

With respect to the experience factor, the PDN rightly points out that Smooth is currently managing the reins of "a quarter-billion-dollar enterprise with thousands upon thousands of volunteers, we could expect an Obama administration to be well-managed and cost-effective, with the president choosing forward-thinking advisers committed to his program, demanding that they work as a team and pay attention to details."

This is an enterprise that Smooth put together in less than four years - an enterprise that has consistently outperformed similar enterprises (aka campaigns) mounted by opponents with far more political experience and connections. If he can do that with a campaign, imagine what he could do with a Presidential administration. The possibility alone is like that last piece of caramel cake at the summer family reunion - just too tantalizing to pass up, y'all.

So I say again to Sister Hillary - we appreciate you, we still need you, but it's time, homegirl.



Wednesday, April 16, 2008

T Joyner & T Smiley make up to break up

Wassup, Y'all!

No it's not quite like Ashford and Simpson callin it quits or even Vivica and 50 Cent, still it caught ol Ty by surprise to see two of the biggest New Jack southside community activists - Tom Joyner (TJ) and Tavis Smiley (T-Smile)- call it a day on their nearly 12 year partnership (that's TJ in the middle and T-Smile on the right, y'all during happier dayz). Tito - a tissue please...

This comes in the wake of what I've affectionately dubbed 'Black State-Gate'. For those just wakin' up after two months with a slice of pizza stuck to your face, BS-Gate refers to T-Smile callin' out Smooth Barack for havin' the nerve to continue campaigning in Texas and Ohio and not attending his annual State of The Black Union Conference for the second consecutive year.

T-Smile tried to act all indignant - not being used to the southside spotlight being shined so widely and brightly anywhere else but on his rusty butt. After about a minute of blusterin' and frontin', southsiders everywhere put T-Smile on full blast by venting their anger at him for puttin' his own ego and ambition in front of Smooth's who's callin' is on just a little bigger scale.

Apparently, tho the blast eventually got turned down from 10 to 5, it never really got turned off and T-Smile would continue to get the business from Tom Joyner Morning Show listeners during his twice weekly addresses. I have to admit that I'm normally sleepin when the TJMS is on (mama be playin' that Al Green at all hours of the night, y'all) but what I do know about the show is that folks aren't scurred to throw out their opinions.

When T-Smile delivered the news that he planned to jet, TJ broke down his thoughts on it thusly:

"He called me yesterday and said, 'I quit,'" Joyner said. Joyner said Smiley told him he was working on too many projects, but believed the real reason was that "he can't take the hate. "He can't take the hate he's taken over Barack Obama. He's always busting Barack Obama's chops. They call. They e-mail. They joke. You know Tavis like I do. He needs to feel loved"...

Dang, Tito - I'm a need a couple tissues here, man. Hook me up. Of course, T-Smile respun this whole thing in his official announcement on the show yesterday. I was just returning home from "assignment" so I missed it, but you can catch the audio over on Mo'Kelly's spot if you just don't think you can read through your tears like me. Boo hoo.

T-Smile, like the smooth alley cat he is, will land on his feet so don't cry for him too much Argentina - the truth is he'll never leave us. He's a good guy, doin' good works who just needs to check himself from time to time. I'm sure he'll end up on the Steve Harvey Morning Show at some point. Nephew Tommy can always use a Cousin Tavis.



The Return of The Ty

Wassup, Y'all!

Guess who's back? To paraphrase that wise sage Terrell Owens - I sure missed me some me :-) After being gone for a couple of weeks "on assignment", I've returned to the basement with renewed energy, a tan and it still feels like a little sand in the crack of my ...., but I digress.

All kinds of madness has ensued while ol Ty was "on assignment". Smooth Barack got his bitter on, Jay-Z and Beyonce got their broom jump on, Tiger (TiBro) finished the Master's in second place for the second year in a row, and my boyz the 76'ers locked up a NBA playoff slot. No I ain't a Bulls fan so quit askin'.

So I'm ready to jump back in starting today as I plan to comment on the breakup of a long time love affair. Catch y'all in a few...



Friday, April 04, 2008

In Memoriam: Dr. King

Wassup, Y'all!

Today marks the 40 year anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. There were a ton of different glossys I could have gone with to accompany this post - the brothers pointing from the balcony in the direction of the shot, the brothers huddled around Martin's lifeless body pressing a handkerchief to the side of his face where the bullet removed half his jaw, but I prefer this one. A simple picture of Martin gettin' his laugh on.

It's hard to imagine the pressures and burdens that Martin had to deal with on a daily basis as the civil rights movement was building to critical mass, but by all accounts, Martin liked to get his laugh on as well and I'm sure it helped him as it helped many folks in the southside nation make it through those dark times - laughin' to keep from cryin'. Laughter, like love is a powerful thing, y'all. Don't underestimate it.

What's also hard to imagine is what it felt like the day Martin got shot - a man who carried the hopes of the southside nation everywhere he went, a man who the southside nation could look to and see hope. To have that snatched away so suddenly and so violently must have been nearly unbearable...

A few days ago, when Smooth Barack was campaigning in Indiana, he referred to the speech Robert Kennedy made the night he learned that Martin had been assassinated. Kennedy was campaigning at the time for the '68 Democratic Presidential nomination and the room he addressed was full of southsiders who had yet to hear the terrible news. Kennedy's handlers tried to get him to skip the event, but he attended to deliver the news and give them something to think about. It's a short speech but powerful in its message - a message that I believe that Smooth Barack is still trying to get across to this day. One passage in particular rings true for ol Ty:

"What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black."

We'd all do well to pause for the cause and absorb these words.

Sleep well, brother Martin. Rest in peace knowing that your sacrifice was not in vain and that the message you planted decades ago in soil watered by your blood and the blood of others like you is growing stronger by the day and one fall day may soon begin bearing significant fruit.



Thursday, April 03, 2008

Where in the world is Ty?

Wassup, Y'all!

Sorry, homeys! Ol Ty's been dippin' and dodgin' the last few days in anticipation of hittin' the road for a little R&R so my posting will be spotty for the next couple weeks. I do plan to keep y'all updated with my haps via my Twitter feed in the right sidebar so hit that to see what's what and whether I'm tryin' to sneak up on you from behind :-)

In the meantime, I have to drop a post for tomorrow given the solemn anniversary. When cast against Smooth Barack's candidacy and the parallels that can easily be drawn between the two, its enough to bring both great joy and great trepidation to the southside nation. Check back around normal postin' time tomorrow to catch a brother's thoughts.



Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Was Rev. Wright Right?

Wassup, Y'all!

I know, I thought I was done on this topic too, but just like Michael Corleone's attempts to exit the mob life, 'just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in'. What pulled me back was CNN's story on the FBI's intensive tracking of Martin Luther King, Jr. during his rise as the country's most prominent civil rights leader and his being tagged by the FBI as the "most dangerous and effective Negro leader in the country." Dangerous? To whom?

My understanding is that MLK's movement was a non-violent effort to change the way southsiders were systematically denied equal rights and protection under the law in the United States. The fact that King's home and offices where broken into and bugged - with the consent of the Attorney General of the United States - and that the FBI waged a systematic campaign to find evidence to discredit King, diminish his effectiveness and that of his cause and induce him to commit suicide speaks to exactly the type of southside governmental suspicion and mistrust that Reverend Wright spoke of during his Trinity sermons....

The things perpetrated by the FBI against MLK are truly heinous - even more despicable when cast against the fact that King was a law abiding U.S. citizen who apparently forfeited those rights when the movement he led began to upset the status quo - a status quo designed to keep southsiders relegated to second class status in America.

Non southsiders will hear fiery speeches by pastors like Rev. Wright, see the agreement to his words by parishioners and be horrified, openly wondering how people could believe such things about America. As Smooth Barack said in his speech on race, "In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past - are real and must be addressed."

For every government AIDS conspiracy, we can give you a Tuskegee Study. For every paranoia uttered about how 'the man' is out to get our leaders, we can give you the FBI wiretapping MLK - invading, cataloging and dissecting every aspect of his personal life - not to keep him safe, but to take him down. MLK - the dangerous Negro. You don't think we have more than a little bit of fear over the safety and well-being of Barack Obama in 2008 America? Don't fool yourselves - we do. Paranoia? Maybe. Justified? Definitely.

As Smooth Barack also mentioned, Pastor Wright came from an early day - he lived the 40's, 50's, and 60's. He's seen firsthand both the good and the bad America has to offer and, in addition to filling the pews by addin' a little special sauce to his sermons, he also diligently challenged the congregation not to get to comfortable, not to get too complacent and keep their eyes wide open because they still have yet to get to the Promised Land. There are still dangers along the path.

The New York Times 'unearthed' a 2007 letter Rev. Wright wrote to them takin' them to task for editing some of an interview he had given. It speaks to the point that he neither shaped or formed Smooth Barack. Indeed, if you read the mentioned New York Times, April 2007 article titled, "A Candidate, His Minister and The Search For Faith' (read it, y'all - it's good) you'll see how it's possible for a reasonable man to attend sermons at Trinity and be able to draw his own conclusions. It does a grave disservice to not only Smooth Barack, but to every congregate at Trinity to assume that they were under the spell of Rev. Wright - hypnotized to think, act and speak just like him - all unable to distill a message and take from it all, a little or nothing at all.

No - that type of mindless behavior is reserved for conservative talk radio listeners who remain sadly satisfied to keep the nation divided and turn politics into a winner-take-all bloodsport that leaves no middle ground. I don't know about y'all, but I'm more than ready to 'turn the page' on that nonsense.