Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Come In From the Cold- Marc Broussard

April 27... Come In From the Cold

Key Lyrics:
* "Tell me every fear that you keeps you from this love of mine. Leave it all behind, lay by my side, I'll shelter you."

* "I've been hurt, just like you. I know how hard it is to give your love away, but baby it's safe; I'm warm..."

* "Love's the only way to heal a heart that love has wronged."

Monday, April 26, 2010

Chicago Street Violence, the National Guard and Jody Weis

I am angry. Somehow no one is ever shocked when I say that. Sometimes I mislabel my disappointment as anger, but this time, really, I am angry. The reason is this: I live in the best city in the nation (save your breath, no one will convince me otherwise) and this beautiful city is going to the dogs (read: the dregs of society).

It is not even Memorial Day weekend; the weather has not even been consistently hot and already the number of shootings and fatalities is staggering. Staggering to me at least. Last week, a 20 month old baby girl was sitting in a car with her sisters and she was shot to death by a coward that supposedly had some beef with her father. Two weeks ago, a 14 year old was shot on his way to school- he will now be paralyzed for life. Three weeks ago almost 30 were shot in a 24 hour period, and 17 of those people lost their lives. If you watch the news, both morning AND evening, the first 15 minutes are filled with whole neighborhoods being stifled by the sounds of gunshots; the stench of death still heavy from the prior nights victims; family members screaming in the streets over the still warm bodies of their fallen loved ones. It is awful and I, for one, am sick of it.

The most upsetting part of this whole ridiculous cycle is: if anyone else is sick of it- I can't tell. Mayor Daley keeps defiantly standing by his ban on law abiding citizens owning handguns, all the while criminals have them, and quite obviously use them. That combined with what I saw on the news last night makes me think that those in charge are going to sit back and allow violence to engulf this fabulous city like the flames of the Great Fire.

If you have read any of my blog entries, you are aware that Chicago, in fact the whole state of Illinois, is damn near broke. Our financial legs have been shaky since I moved here 5 years ago and every year it gets worse. One way that the city is remedying this budget shortfall is to not hire anymore police officers (NOT smart). On top of that brilliant move- note the sarcasm- Chicago "top cop" who seems as bright as former President Bush, was on the news last night saying that he doesn't see bringing in the National Guard for more protection in the city of Chicago as a viable choice for us. Um, why not?

It can't be because he is doing such a bang up job (pun intended). It can't be because we don't need it- because surely the whole month of April has shown that we need more help in order to slow some of this violence. Could it be Weis does not want to bring in the National Guard because he doesn't want his job to be in jeopardy? He doesn't want to admit defeat? He doesn't care about the communities that are affected? I say yes on all accounts. If Weis has to utilize the National Guard to put the brakes on Chicago street violence then he has to look at the (non) job that he is doing and admit that he can't handle this city. If Weis lived in Englewood, Roseland, Rogers Park, Humboldt Park, Chatham or countless other neighborhoods where crime is high and violence is an every day occurrence would he be more likely to put the pedal to the metal on this National Guard initiative? I would venture to say yes. When you get to leave the ghetto and go back to a cushy neighborhood where your life, and the life of your children are not in danger, it really is easy to say we don't need the National Guards help.

Well, I live on the far south side of Chicago, close to some of the above named neighborhoods and guess what? The law abiding, unprotected citizens NEED help. We either need more good police (which isn't going to happen) or we need a presence that will win back our streets. With budget cut backs we are losing community resources and social programs. People are unemployed in record numbers (within the city of Chicago it is still above 11%) and with no education, that number might be high for a while. So no money, no job, nothing to do all day...what do we expect when thousands more people are on the street after school dismisses for the summer?? If there have been 113 murders since January 1, what will that number reflect by the middle of the summer? 113- and that is when most people are cooped up for the winter. See, the knowledge that violent crime goes up when it is warm, and the economy being what it is right now, and Jody being so set on not getting help, made me have a Kanye West moment last night, and I emphatically repeat my statement: "Jody Weis does not care about Black people, nor does he care about the city of Chicago." If he did, he would do all that he could to make sure that violent crime did not take over this fantastic city...even if that meant he had to call in the National Guard.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Big Ben Roethlisberger, Roger Goodell and the NFL Draft

**warning: much like all of my blog entries this one will be biased. You do not have to agree with what I say, especially re: Big Ben (and most of you won't)... But seeing that I am from Ohio and I graduated from Miami University, what did you expect? :)**

Yesterday, Roger Goodell, Commishioner of the NFL released his punishment for Big Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Essentially Big Ben will be suspended, without pay, for 6 games for conduct unbecoming a football player. Hmmmm. What exactly is conduct unbecoming a football player? What does the commish want to get out of this punishment?

I guess this is the point of the blog where I say that this punishment is completely ridiculous... Ok, I said it. Big Ben is guilty of being a dumb ass, but that should not mean that he has to lose $2.8 million dollars during the season, while sitting the bench. Rape is serious, please don't think that I am disputing that. IF Ben raped that girl, he would deserve SO much more than a 6 game suspension and if it were proven that he did rape her (or anyone else) I would be first in line volunteering to punch him in the balls. BUT... Charges will not be filed, in fact, the victim does not want to press charges. That seems suspect AND he loses pay for 6 games? I am concerned.

I read the statement that was released. I have issue with the fact that the same victim has pics from that night where she is standing next to Ben, smiling; that she was able to bar hop at all- she is 20 years old; more importantly... Her girlfriends stood by and watched her be led away in a crowded club to a back room?? WTF? Ok- we all have known people with fake ids (20 year old bar hopping), and we have all been friendly with some shady people (smiling pic), but letting your gf be led away to be mishandled? That is so not happening in my group of friends. My girls would rather cock block than to have something untoward happen to me or any other member of our group. Then after being traumatized, dropping the charges and failing to want to prosecute does not make me believe this chick. There is just something so shady about this situation... But even though there is shadiness, Big Ben (BB) still gets suspended? That leads me to my second question: what does Goodell think he is gonna get out of this punishment?

My conclusion? He is setting an example. In the 4 years since Goodell has taken office, he has suspended 6 or 7 guys and fined Bill Belicheck if I remember correctly. He has had a lot to deal with. Looking back at the NFL controversies that I remember, even before Goodell took office- Rae Carruth, Chris Henry (RIP), OJ, Donte Stallworth, Maurice Clarett (grrrr), Tank Johnson, Cedric Benson, Pacman Jones, Mike Doss and the creep- Michael Vick. Even super sexy Ray Lewis has been in trouble. I name them to make the point that Goodell indeed does have a hard job, keeping charge of little boys, with little minds and big bodies. But does that mean the he should choose BB to be his prime example? I don't think so, but he has. The creep (mv) lied directly to Goodell's sweet face, served time in jail and he still has a job. The NFL is still making money on the back of that man. BB is serving a sentence for a crime that has not been proven and will not be persued. That seems unfair...so does trading Santonio Holmes for a freaking 5th round draft pick. So, is Goodell trying to make the NFL a league of role models or is he trying to make sure the freshmen football players understand that they will be dealt with harshly? I think it is the latter and the Pittsburgh Steelers are unhappy victims.

Moral of the story:
* BB- stop thinking with that little head. Every chick is not worth it. Stop embarrassing the state of Ohio and the athletic department of Miami University. Essentially, stop being a schmuck.

** GA girl: stop bar hopping underage. If BB assaulted you, prosecute his sorry ass. If he did not assault you, shame on you.

** Goodell: relax a little bit. Punish those who deserve it, and take on the idea of our court system: innocent until proven guilty.

** Freshmen players: watch your back. Bad behavior will not be tolerated (not a bad thing) and the look of anything inappropriate will get you in trouble too... Walk that tightrope very carefully boys. :)

Miss Mox

Successful Black Women and Marriage. Is it possible?

I am 30-something. I am Black...and up until two years ago, I could have been considered slightly successful. :) Do those three things ensure that I will remain single? After watching this lovely Nightline special, it seems that the answer to that question is yes.

What is the reason that all these successful Black women will remain single in such high numbers (there is an estimate that says as many as 70% of educated Black women will remain unmarried)? I argue that there is more than one reason. Some classics that I have heard are: we are too argumentative, too proud, too picky, we don't know how to let men be men, we are non accepting and (my favorite) we are so unattractive that even our own Black men do not want us.

To all of the above excuses I say: are you f*cking kidding me?? Really? Here are my answers to the above. Argumentative, proud and picky: damn right I am! Absolutely. Let me say this- I did not put myself through college so I could put up w dating a man (of any color) who does not meet my standards. I am smart; my mate will be also. He will have a real job... He will (probably) be educated and we will have things in common. So? That is not a bad list. That list does not make me a bitch- that is me requesting a mirror image of myself. And guess what? I deserve that. I didn't work hard so that I can get married and lose half my shit to a deadbeat- no matter who it is. And don't worry yourself- I am an elitist with everyone- across the board- if you don't have what I want, I will not be interested long. Side note: if we've dated and it was less than a year- you did not posses what I wanted. Sad, but true!

Not letting men be men... As far as I can see, more men need lessons on being men, not just big boys. I have no problem being led- IF I have a good leader. I have no issue relinquishing control, if the person with the reins knows what he is doing. I just cannot find a man who knows what he is doing. Being a man does not mean you are able to produce children; it means that you are able to support them. Being a man does not mean that you are able to make money illegally; it means that you are able to make a legal living and use it to live within your means and take care of your family. Being a man does not mean that you 'bed' every woman who looks good to you or looks at you or feigns interest in you, it means that you actively look for A (as in one) woman that you could actually have something with and sleep with her (and only her). Lastly, being a man does not mean that you take all that unhappy baggage from your LAST relationship into your NEW relationship; it means that you learn from past mistakes and grow from them. There are many reasons why the men that I have dated are not exactly marriage material- and it isn't because I spend my time emasculating them. Maybe they had lacking examples of what a man should be and are therefore struggling with how to be a good man themselves.

Am I demanding? Damn right! I've earned the right to be. Does that mean that I am unbending? Absolutely not. Relationships are about give and take. I know that. I didn't make it 30-something years and not learn a few things. I love men. Manly men. Someone who completes the person I am- as corny as that sounds! Great personality and a good heart is what I am looking for. That and a great education... Like myself. I don't apologize for that, even if it means that I remain unmarried. I WILL NOT settle so that I can be married. Do I want to be married- absolutely. Am I willing to change what I am looking for? Nope. I can tweek my list but I ain't throwing it out the window completely!!

As far as the unattractive thing... Please, I'm HOT, so we all know that point is moot! ;)

What do you see as the outstanding reason why so many Black women are unmarried? Do you care? Comment or email- let me know! :)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Soulful Saturday #3

Today's list would not be complete without a Sade selection. When I was growing up, my parents (luckily) listened to great music. My sister and I were exceptionally blessed because we had parents who were young, hip but not trendy per se. They didn't listen to crap :) And now, I am following in their footsteps and listening to good music. We have actually seen Patti LaBelle in concert a couple of time- she puts on a sweet show!! I wish that we saw Sade- because she has sounded great for as long as I can remember... Soldier of Love is no exception. Sidenote: she has looked this phenomenal for as long as I remember also- gotta find out what that secret is!! :)

Key Lyrics:
* I've been torn up inside/ I've been left behind/ So I ride/ I have the will to survive

* I know that love will come/ Turn it all around/ I'm a soldier of love

Soulful Saturday, #2

Melissa Etheridge is awesome. Yep, I love her. Her voice is mesmerizing and can pick me from the lowest depths. Isn't that the purpose of music? I hope so!! Such passion, such...perfection- before and after her battle with cancer. A-MA-ZING.

Key Lyrics:
* I'm the only one who'd walk across the fire for you. And I'm the only one who'd drown in my desire for you. It's only fear that makes you run, the demons that you're hiding from. When all your promises are gone- I'm the only one.

* Her eyes and arms and skin won't make it go away. You'll wake up tomorrow and wrestle the sorrow that holds you down today.

Soulful Saturday

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Raises to the CPS Brass? How is THAT possible?

I am a news whore. That should be of no surprise to anyone. I watch it all- Liberal, Conservative, Empathetic, Infuriating- whatever. I follow the news all day long. I am "that" friend that will know what has happened before anyone else. I pride myself on it. I LOVE it. If I am shocked by some news, I better had been in a coma because I am addicted to my Blackberry and news on the computer, which I sit in front of almost all day. So, when I read the following on my BlackBerry screen early this morning, I thought I was hallucinating. I turned on the local news and there it was again- no hallucinating on my part... cue the anger. Seriously, rage and it was way more than what I feel just because I haven't had my morning coffee. I.am.pissed.

What has me in a pissed off mood? If you ask the right person, he might say "everything" (lol) but the following had my face go to "the look" this morning: "Amid Cuts, CPS Brass to Get Raises." WTF???? I did some investigation (I am good for that) and here is what I found: The Director of Sports will get a $6K raise, the CPS spokesperson will get a 17% raise and the CEO will get a 13% raise. There are several reasons why I am pissed about this. In no particular order:

1. just over a month ago CPS CEO Ron Huberman said that Chicago Public Schools were facing a $1BILLION deficit. But he can get a raise? With this bump in salary, he will be getting paid $230K, to lead a broke school district? Damn, I need that job!

2. The Director of Sports is getting a raise?? Really? Because last month CPS removed all sophomore sports from schools. So, let me get this right: the number of sports available to students DEcreases and the guy in charge of sports for the school district gets an INcrease in salary. Wow.

3. I don't know what the spokesperson for the school district does. I mean, is it her job to deny all things that go on in schools and say "no comment" when people get hurt or there is a lawsuit? If so, again, I would love to have that job- for $130K. None of the 3 people getting a raise are in the classroom dealing with students all day; none of them look students in the face and tell them that their favorite teacher is being fired, or that they won't be able to participate in sports. Nope, the people getting the raises have the cushy jobs and hand down the hard verdicts.

4. I don't think that ANYONE in charge of CPS should get a raise until the graduation rates for CPS students increase. In 2006 only 52.2% of all students enrolled in CPS graduated. That is like an F-. That year CPS was the third largest school district in the country and had the best graduation rate out of the largest 5 school districts, but that is not saying much. (The 5 largest school districts are: NYC, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami-Dade County and Broward County.) So, for an F- the people in charge get paid more money??

5. Definitely not the least of the problems that CPS is dealing with: teachers are getting laid off. Are you kidding me? Who the hell thought that THIS was the proper time to hand out raises? Why doesn't Ron Huberman give his raise to save the salary of one teacher? OMG, all three of them could give their salary increases to save jobs. If every one of them is making more than 100K wouldn't it make sense to forego the raise for THIS year? Wouldn't that be the proper thing to do in a district where everyone is suffering? Nope- that would obviously be too much like right.

If I ever (mistakenly) have children :), they will never, ever go to a CPS school. I will take out a second mortgage on my house (in the hood- with the terrible neighbors) or sell it all together for a private school education. I don't have any children in CPS, and it sincerely burns me up to see my tax dollars being spent so irresponsibly- especially during an economic time when EVERYone should be concerned with efficient/productive use of funds. Am I the only one who thinks that this is ridiculous? Can't be! Email me or comment and let me know your thoughts.

Miss Mox
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