Thursday, January 31, 2008

On My Own (just for a few days!)

So, Loverman left for San Diego this afternoon. He’s getting an award at the city’s Black Film Festival. Of course I’m proud as peach for my man, but I’m always a bit anxious when our family is separated even if it’s just for a few days. I’m also a woman on a mission when I’m left to manage the homestead on my own. Between walking the two dogs, getting the kids to school on time, feeding them and being responsive to their every need, I’m left to wonder just how the hell single parents do it? It’s also at moments like these, that it becomes woefully apparent that I’m somewhat of a punk, because I could never do the hoodoo that I do all alone.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Too Good Not To Share

Much has been said over the last few weeks of Toni Morrison’s crowning former President Bill Clinton the first Black President years ago, but today a dear friend forwarded me a copy of Morrison’s letter of endorsement to Barack Obama and it’s just too good not to share.

Dear Senator Obama,
This letter represents a first for me--a public endorsement of a Presidential candidate. I feel driven to let you know why I am writing it. One reason is it may help gather other supporters; another is that this is one of those singular moments that nations ignore at their peril. I will not rehearse the multiple crises facing us, but of one thing I am certain: this opportunity for a national evolution (even revolution) will not come again soon, and I am convinced you are the person to capture it.

May I describe to you my thoughts? I have admired Senator Clinton for years. Her knowledge always seemed to me exhaustive; her negotiation of politics expert. However I am more compelled by the quality of mind (as far as I can measure it) of a candidate. I cared little for her gender as a source of my admiration, and the little I did care was based on the fact that no liberal woman has ever ruled in America. Only conservative or "new-centrist" ones are allowed into that realm. Nor do I care very much for your race[s]. I would not support you if that was all you had to offer or because it might make me "proud."

In thinking carefully about the strengths of the candidates, I stunned myself when I came to the following conclusion: that in addition to keen intelligence, integrity and a rare authenticity, you exhibit something that has nothing to do with age, experience, race or gender and something I don't see in other candidates. That something is a creative imagination which coupled with brilliance equals wisdom. It is too bad if we associate it only with gray hair and old age. Or if we call searing vision naiveté. Or if we believe cunning is insight. Or if we settle for finessing cures tailored for each ravaged tree in the forest while ignoring the poisonous landscape that feeds and surrounds it. Wisdom is a gift; you can't train for it, inherit it, learn it in a class, or earn it in the workplace--that access can foster the acquisition of knowledge, but not wisdom.

When, I wondered, was the last time this country was guided by such a leader? Someone whose moral center was un-embargoed? Someone with courage instead of mere ambition? Someone who truly thinks of his country's citizens as "we," not "they"? Someone who understands what it will take to help America realize the virtues it fancies about itself, what it desperately needs to become in the world?

Our future is ripe, outrageously rich in its possibilities. Yet unleashing the glory of that future will require a difficult labor, and some may be so frightened of its birth they will refuse to abandon their nostalgia for the womb. There have been a few prescient leaders in our past, but you are the man for this time.

Good luck to you and to us.
Toni Morrison

Friday, January 25, 2008

What's your digital footprint?

Have you heard the news about Detroit’s Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick? He’s been indicted on perjury charges stemming from a lawsuit filed by two Detroit police officers, who said they were fired for investigating claims the mayor used his security detail to cover up his extramarital affairs. The officers won their case and it cost the Motor City over 8 million bucks.

It seems Kilpatrick was having an affair with his Chief of Staff, Christine Beatty, at the time and he was caught when the Detroit Free Press obtained over 14,000 text messages exchanged between the Mayor and Beatty, via Beatty’s city-issued pager.

For me, the first thing that comes to mind is what kind of job could these two be doing, if they have time to exchange 14,000 text messages over the period of one year? The second is, while everyone’s running around measuring his or her carbon footprint, be aware that in this digital age, you’re also leaving your digital footprint.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Be like a duck, and let it roll off your back!

Since last week, I’ve been feeling some sort of way about the freelance comptroller working at my organization for the past few weeks. She’s not a fulltime employee, and probably won’t be spending much more time with us once our annual audit is complete.

My ill feelings toward her started when she approached me about a cash payment for a rental of our facilities last year. In addition to my programming responsibilities, I manage the rental of our space and my duties include negotiating and collecting the rental fees.

For the rental in question, a young, Black single father, rented the space to present a play and panel discussion regarding single fathers traversing the family court system. This guy is just a regular Joe trying to find a way to help young men be better fathers. He worked hard to meet the fees for producing his activities in our space and yes, paid the fees in multiple cash increments. I meticulously recorded his payments and his event went off without a hitch.

Well when Little Miss Bean Counter asked me to sit down with her and review the multiple receipts for his cash payments, she offhandedly asked (in a joking tone), if this gentleman had paid the fees from his drug corner dealings. My demeanor changed immediately and I let her know how much I didn’t appreciate what she was inferring. She apologized, but didn’t seem to understand what I found to be so offensive and I haven’t been able to let this go.

I know I work in an alternative type of environment, and to a certain degree I’m insulated because it’s a small, non-profit arts organization, where staff and board of like-minded folks surround me. But this woman’s comments hit me like a slap in the face and it’s reminded me that my situation is the exception and not the rule. I should also mention that other staff members heard our exchange and did their best to diffuse the tension between us, but they too have seemed to cool to her daily attempts to engage folks in conversation.

I’m not excusing her, but I do wish I could evolve into the type of person where this sort of exchange could just roll off my back. I mean--- DAMN, I made my point, said my piece, she apologized, but still I give this woman shade. I know what her comments and insensitivity says about her, but what does my still cool demeanor and inability to forgive say about me?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Snoop, a feminist?

Before I make this admission, let me first make the claim that under normal circumstances, mango mama would never be caught watching Snoop Dog’s Fatherhood, but this writers’ strike is starting to take a real toll on my viewing options.

The details outlining how I found myself checking out this show are irrelevant. What’s pertinent is that in one of the episodes, Snoop and his wife, Shante, are at a restaurant enjoying a romantic dinner, when Snoop gently encourages Shante to find a hustle. He jokingly goes on to say she spends a lot of time shopping, and filling their house with lots of things, but maybe she should take advantage of their financial resources to set herself up in a business venture of her own. He suggests maybe a couple of hair or nail salons. Shante looks at him with little interest, but Snoop continues and encourages her to get out there and get hers.

Now, I’m fully aware this so-called reality show is completely mediated, but the significance of Snoop’s point shouldn’t go unnoticed. From jump, my mother taught me, no matter what, I should always put a little something away for myself, to ensure my own financial stability, and although haven’t always heeded this advice, it’s still an important message. We’ve all been taught to have a “something” to fall back on. Too many times, women put all their eggs in their man’s basket, and when the relationship goes belly up, they’re left stone cold busted, without a pot to… well, you know the rest.

I’ll admit, I was surprised to see that Fatherhood Snoop is definitely not the same Snoop degrading women by leading them about with chains and leashes and referring to them as bitches and hoes, but who knew that in addition to his pimp persona, he’s also a closet feminist?

Friday, January 18, 2008

how to breed a bigot

I just listened to a really disturbing story on one of my favorite podcast, Chicago’s Public Radio’s This American Life.

This episode, Shouting Across the Divide, explored the challenges/tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims in the U.S. Act One: One of These Things Is Not Like the Other, detailed a story about Serry, an American-born Muslim and her husband, a Muslim raised on the West Bank. Theirs is an arranged marriage, and they led a loving and productive life with there three girls here in the States.

A year after Sept. 11, they began to feel the brunt of America’s raging Islamophobia. Their oldest daughter’s bigoted 4th grade teacher, took it upon herself to proselytize her Christian beliefs to her students. Everything seemed to spiral out of control as the Christmas holidays approached and this teacher passed out candy canes and explained this candy's shaped into the letter “J” for Jesus and the cane’s red color represented the blood of Jesus. She asked the class to pray for their Muslim classmate because she was going to hell unless the girl reputed her Muslim beliefs and claimed Jesus as her personal savior. Most of the students followed the teacher’s lead and ostracized Serry’s daughter, as well as her younger daughters who attended the same school.

This trauma devastated the family. Serry’s husband became depressed, eventually left the family and is planning to return the West Bank. In the end, the school did very little to protect the girls. The family sued the school, and the case was settled out of court.

I guess receiving some sort of monetary compensation for their pain and suffering is at least something, but this family aren’t the only victims, what about the children in this class who entered the 4th grade one way, but by the end of the school year, they’d become repositories of their teacher’s mean spirited and misguided beliefs.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Word to the Mother(s)

With the recent controversy about giving toddlers over-the-counter cold relievers, I got to thinking about how my kids rarely catch a cold. Sure, sometimes they have runny noses, but Olivia’s missed only one day of school in the past two years, and that was for her annual pediatrician’s appointment. If you were to ask Loverman or me why we think they dodge the nuclear-powered germs of their classmates, we’d wholeheartedly answer—their daily dose of cod liver oil.

I remember dreading my daily dose of this foul flavored elixir as a kid and as soon as Olivia turned two, both sets of grandparents urged us to add it to her daily routine. Kids today are lucky because in addition to the yucky liquid version, it comes in a soft gel capsule.

I can offer no scientific data of its cold-countering powers, but hey, it’s works for the folks in this household, so I thought I’d pass this old school preventive measure to all the mothers in da house!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

different strokes for different folks

About two weeks ago I got an email from another 3rd grade parent. This parent’s younger daughter isn’t in Olivia’s class this year, but she was last year and the mom and I have exchanged idle chit-chat the last few years when we encountered each other at the school. She’s a single mother of two bright girls. She’s also a lawyer working on her MBA, obviously an overachiever!

In the email, the mom explained she would be going out of town the following weekend and since her girls will be staying with friends not far from us for the first few nights, she asked if we could do her a favor and bring the girls to school with us on Monday, Jan. 14th. I assured her it wouldn’t be a problem, but countered that it would be easier if girls spent the night with us, Sunday into Monday, since we need to be out the door and on our way to school no later than 7:40am.

Mom agreed and asked for my address and home telephone number. She told me she would forward this info to her friends caring for the girls for the first few days and she sent me their telephone number. No time during this exchange did she provide her cell number or ask to stop by our house prior to her departure since this would be the first time the girls have ever been to our home. This was a bit strange to me since one of our house rules is that the first play date, with a new friend, Loverman or I has to come and check out the environment, but hey, different strokes for different folks. I’m just not having my kids going to a stranger’s house and I haven’t had an opportunity to see how they live. I ask pointed questions during this visit. Questions like, “Are their any firearms in the house? or “Has anyone in your immediate family been arrested for pedophilia?” Call me extreme, but folks are crazy and you never know what’s going on behind closed doors, so I’m just giving folks the opportunity to come clean from the jump. Another house rule is if mommy and daddy don’t vibe well with the parents, the friendship between the kids is going nowhere. I’ve been told this is harsh, but when negotiating the hierarchy of potential play dates, we might as well eliminate the ones where mommy is feeling like she could care less about the parents and sometimes their kids for that matter. It’s just much easier if the parents are the type of people I’d like to hang out with.

Late Friday afternoon I realized I hadn’t heard from the mother and the girls were scheduled to come on Sunday evening. I decided to shoot mom an email just to touch base to see if we were still on. Mom assures me everything’s a-go and I responded with a few more questions, like--- do the girls have any dietary restrictions? Mom assures me they do not and concludes with a quick “thanks,” again, no emergency contact info.

Well, the girls arrived around 7:30 Sunday evening and to say these poor girls looked shell-shocked would be an understatement. The oldest, a tall, regal 6th grader had on a coat that wasn’t any heavier than windbreaker. Both girls had on short skirts and no tights and the weather forecast for the next day called for snow. I was outdone.

Olivia welcomed the two girls and took them right up to the room we had prepared for them. Loverman and I immediately started to strategize as to how we were going to get this kid a more appropriate coat. As the evening wore on, we realized that the youngest girl was really teary and seemed to be missing her mom terribly. I called both girls to the kitchen and explained that they could call their mom at anytime. The oldest told me their mother was in London. As I tried to wrap my head around the fact that this lady wasn’t even in the country, I told them that this wasn’t a problem if they had a number where she could be reached. I wanted to do whatever was necessary to make them feel more at ease.

After their showers and dessert, they seemed to relax a bit and Loverman then insisted they give their mom a call. The oldest followed his instructions and spoke briefly with her mom before heading up to bed. Mom never asked to speak with Loverman or me.

I didn’t rest well. I prayed for guidance in approaching the oldest girl about her inadequate coat. The next morning, we got up a bit earlier to get everybody rolling and by now the girls were completely at ease. Fortunately, we dodged the snowstorm, but it was still bitterly cold. When the girls came down for breakfast, the youngest was prepared for the weather, but not the oldest, again, a too short skirt, no tights, and flat canvas shoes. They also mentioned they didn’t have toothbrushes. No problem, I always keep a few new ones in the linen closet. As they sat down to eat breakfast, the oldest told us she was a vegetarian and didn’t want the turkey sausage, but would be fine with just eating the pancake Loverman had prepared. This little tidbit k.o’d. the turkey sandwich we’d put in her lunch, per her mother’s instructions there were no dietary restrictions, but we quickly rebounded with peanut butter and jelly. We finished our breakfast and as we prepared to put on our coats, I took the oldest girl aside and offered her coat I had and washed and dried overnight in hopes she would take me up on my offer. She adamantly refused and I sensed she’d been put in this position before. I didn’t push it any further.

We finally got everyone to school on time, but as we watched the two sisters and our two kids walk into the building, Loverman and I lamented about how differently we would have handled the entire situation. I fully understand not everyone does things the way we do, but damn, how can a parent justify leaving their kids with virtual strangers, and no emergency contact info? How do you not at least call to see how things are going? How do you leave your kids so ill prepared, with inappropriate wardrobe options?

A part of my is relieved my role in this chain of caregivers is over, but another part of me wishes I could have kept my eyes on these girls for the entire time their mother is away. She’s not scheduled to return home until this coming Saturday and Lord knows how many changes these young ladies will encounter by then.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Demise of the Fairytale

Recently there’s been a lot of talk about former President Bill Clinton’s remark characterizing Obama’s stance on the war on Iraq as a fairytale. Some believe Clinton was actually speaking of the warped speed at which Obama finds himself as the potential Democratic nominee for President. Hillary also had a bit of ‘splaining to do when she commented that it took LBJ’s passage of the Civil Rights Act to realize King’s dream, as if all of the efforts of Black folks before and during the Movement meant very little without the granting of our wishes by a mighty whitey president.

Things got so hot for the Clintons last week that Hillary’s campaign went into full damage control and booked Bill on a round of interviews on Black radio. I caught Bill’s interview with Steve Harvey on Friday morning and on Michael Baisden’s show Friday afternoon. During each interview Bill deftly displayed his usual comfort in conversing with Black folks and did his very best to clean up what has obviously become a huge PR problem. During the Harvey interview, Bill sank so low as to name all of the Black folks Hillary has hired/worked with throughout her professional career. It was the Clinton’s version of “some of our best friends are Black.”

We’re now witnessing the demise of this fairytale--- a fairytale depicting Bill Clinton as the first African American President. Let’s be clear--- we’ve yet to have a Black president and Bill is simply a guy with a boatload of rhythm, who’s really comfortable interacting with Black folks. Isn’t it ironic that the “man from Hope,” has no problem dismissing a brother with the audacity of hope?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

a work-in-progress

The complexity of my role as mother often confounds me. The most recent post by Los Angelista got me to thinking about this when she mentioned how difficult it is to spend money on herself, yet she has no problem spending on others. This too, is a huge challenge for me. I know about the old adage, “on payday, pay yourself first,” but when it comes to spending money, my brain runs a constant tally of all the bills we have due, what the kids may or may not need/want, and finally, I’m constantly on the look-out for that huge life-altering catastrophe lurking right around the corner. Not only is this ridiculous, but it flies in the face of fancying myself (and Loverman) smart and resourceful.

My fears are unsubstantiated and illogical. I don’t remember being like this before I married and had the kids. But, in spite of my reticence when it comes to spending money on myself, I have absolutely no problem with heading out to a bookstore or Target to spend money on the kids. I don’t think twice about it. Come hell or high water, we make sure the kids have exactly what we think they need and this includes not only material things, but also those intangible things, like squirreling away money for camp or music lessons. For me, it’s not a big deal because this is how my mom was (is) with me and so it’s what I know.

Now, with all this altruistic spending on the kids, it would seem like I’m a pretty unselfish type of mother, but I’m not. There are aspects of my role as mother where I’m totally selfish and self-absorbed. One is in the kitchen. I’m not a big cook. In fact, Loverman cooks most of our meals. He’s an incredible cook. But, I do love to bake and on most weekends, you can find me in the kitchen whipping up a cake, pie, cupcakes or cookies. Baking for me is relaxing, and if something’s troubling me, baking three-dozen vanilla citrus cupcakes from scratch usually helps me sort it out. The problem is I like to do this BY MYSELF, with absolutely no intrusions. This is very hard for the kids to understand. Often, they want to help, but I don’t want to be bothered. I know baking offers ample opportunities to teach kids all sorts of things, like how to follow directions and fractions, but for me, baking is cathartic and I want to enjoy the experience by myself. My mom chides me and asks how are they supposed to learn, if not by joining me in the kitchen, but I often think, damn, can’t I have just one thing to myself?

I guess acknowledging the duality we often face as parents is important, because too often we’re hard on ourselves and we feel that what we do is never enough (or good enough), but in actuality, just as our kids are works-in-progress, so are we.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Unenviable Position

The other day I found myself in the unenviable position of participating in an expulsion hearing at my kids’ school. It’s a charter school and I’ve been on the school’s board for almost three years. The school’s policy allows only board members to implement expulsions. Fortunately, this is only the third proposed expulsion in the school’s 7-year history.

The school’s ethnically diverse, but its diversity is challenged if measured on a social-economic level, and so in many ways, it’s quite segregated. The school offers both a Spanish immersion program, and a general program where the students are given only an hour of Spanish instruction daily. A chasm has developed between the two programs. Both my kids are in the immersion program, but the majority of the Black families choose the general program and the immersion program is majority White.

The school’s faculty does have a few African American teachers, but the majority is White or natives of Spanish speaking countries, and other than the Dean of the Upper School, the administration is all White.

In the past, I’ve mediated parent/teacher conferences when asked by the school’s principal. It’s always been for issues involving African American families. I don’t have a background in mediation, but sometimes there’s such a cultural disconnect between the parties, that it seems to make a world of difference if at least one person who looks like them is also present in the room.

This expulsion hearing was painful. It involved a third grade African American male and the documentation provided detailed years of escalating problems and physical disruptions and the school has bent over backwards to assist this child and his family in finding his way. While reading the documentation, all I could think is--- Boy, I’m glad this kid isn’t in Olivia’s class.

The parents seemed responsive, but at their wits end. They’ve attended countless meetings, and the father’s even sat in the class on more than a dozen occasions, and since September alone, this child has been suspended 8 times. He uses foul language in the classroom and his classmates have expressed feeling unsafe in his presence.

Knowing all of this in no way alleviated my sadness as to what was happening to this kid and his family, but the bottom line is--- this current situation isn’t working and our school doesn’t offer to resources necessary help this boy, but if we’re going to put him out, we can at least help the family identify a more conducive situation.

At the hearing, the school’s only African American male administrator shared his experiences with the boy and he seemed to have positive and productive interactions. To me, it seems the boy is more responsive with adult Black males, because the boy also seemed to improve when his father was present in the class and for me, its woefully apparent the school’s current level of diversity isn’t expansiveness enough to meet the needs of the entire school community.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Dare to Dream

Today at approximately 10:45am, my friend, Michael Nutter, became the 98th mayor of Philadelphia. I cannot tell you how proud and happy I am for Michael and his family. I’ve known Michael for over twenty years and he’s prepared himself for this day for most of his fifty years. Michael’s an intelligent, thoughtful, inclusive and progressive man and he will make Philadelphia a great place to live and work.

He has a huge task ahead of him as the city rides the unenviable wave of the most homicides of the nation’s 10 largest cities. Over 30,000 of Philadelphia’s public school students have dropped out of school in the last five years. The picture isn’t pretty, his constituency’s expectations are high, but I have no doubt Michael will rise to the occasion. For the first time, in a long time, this city is hopeful and we believe in him. In fact, he won the general election by getting over 85% of the vote.

Speaking of hope, tomorrow, Barack Obama is poised to follow his win in the Iowa caucus, with a win in the Democratic primary in New Hampshire. My hope for Obama is a bit more tempered than it is for Michael, not because I don’t believe in him or his message, it’s because I’ve been socialized to believe the United States isn’t ready for a Black president. As I approach middle age, my personal experience and our nation’s history has me feeling quite anxious for Barack’s safety, instead of allowing myself to simply let go and embrace his “time for change.” I’m waiting for some fool to step out of the shadows and try to take this dynamic Black man down. I’m haunted by fates of Malcolm and Martin.

What’s wrong with me? Why am I so cynical? The folks in Iowa obviously saw beyond Obama’s skin color and if they can, can't others? Could this really be the dawn of a new day, where I dare to dream of a nation where my children will be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin?

Time will tell, and in the meantime, I will be prayerful as these two brothers navigate the challenges ahead.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Marion Jones

Later this week, fallen Olympic track star, Marion Jones, will be sentenced for providing false statements to federal agents about her illegal steroid use and involvement in a check-fraud scheme.

Jones fall from grace truly saddens me. During both the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, Marion Jones was positioned as a dynamic role model for young girls everywhere, but beyond the spotlight; Jones has time and again demonstrated poor judgment when navigating her personal life.

Her first husband, shot-putter C.J. Hunter, was suspended from competition when he tested positive for steroid use during the 2000 Olympics and Marion response was to deny any knowledge of this while trying to focus solely on her own Olympic events. At the time, I admired her ability to compartmentalize her emotions and concentrate on the job at hand---- winning the race, but now I wonder if she was maybe more afraid Hunter’s predicament was hitting a little too close to home. Following these games, there was no “standing my your man” for Jones, she left C.J. out in the cold, divorced the brother and moved on with her life.

The check-fraud scheme stems from Marion’s involvement with her first baby’s daddy, Tim Montgomery. Earlier this year, Montgomery pleaded guilty to taking part of a multi-million dollar bank fraud and check-laundering scheme. At first, Jones feigned any knowledge of these activities, but has since admitted to receiving proceeds from this plot. She endorsed a few of these checks and deposited them into her own accounts.

I’m not sure exactly how I feel about all of this steroid business. It would be great if today’s athletes could do the hoodoo that they do without juicing up, but they don’t live in a vacuum and fans are always screaming for them to be bigger and badder. The level of play and their game/race schedules are grueling. Do we really believe their bodies can recover and respond at peak performance day after day, without some type of synthetic boost? Let’s be real.

In October when Marion tearfully went before the court in White Plains, NY, and admitted her crimes, she pleaded for leniency in sentencing. She’s been forced to return her five Olympic medals, retired from racing and is now facing at least six months in prison. In fact, the judge is considering extending the maximum sentencing guidelines for Jones’ crimes.

I do think Marion’s fall from grace and the return of her medals warrant enough suffering for the doping charge, but I’m having a bit more difficulty in rationalizing the bank and check fraud crime. Jones’ has more talent and potential than most, and lying to her family, teammates and fans is disheartening, so now instead of being remembered for her superior speed on the track field, she’ll go down as just another cautionary tale of falling for the okeydoke, instead of putting in the hard work and doing your absolute best.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

New Jersey's on the come-up!

I’ve never been a big fan of New Jersey. For me, it’s simply a road to New York, but due to recent developments, I may have to rethink this stance.

Last month, New Jersey lawmakers voted to abolish the death penalty and on December 17th, Governor Jon Corzine signed it into law. This makes New Jersey, the first state to legislatively end capital punishment since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed states to restore the penalty in 1976.

I don’t believe in the death penalty, never have. It doesn’t work and hasn’t proved to be a deterrent to the country’s most heinous criminals. I also don’t think any man (or woman) has the right to condemn another person to death.

New Jersey is also poised to become the first Northern state to apologize for slavery. Back in October, I wrote a post about the power of a heartfelt apology and I’ve always been vexed by the United States reticence in offering an apology to African Americans for slavery, but legislators in Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia have taken it upon themselves to issue formal slavery apologies. Assemblyman William Payne, is sponsoring this bill, and on the State House floor said, “This is not too much to ask from the state of New Jersey, All that is being requested of New Jersey is to say three simple words: We are sorry.”

Of course, Republican lawmakers wonder if an apology would be relevant. Assemblyman Richard Merkt went on to ask, “Who living today is guilty of slave holdings and thus capable of accepting the apology? So how is a real apology even remotely possible, much less meaningful, given the long absence of both oppressor and victim?” It sounds like Assemblyman Dick hasn’t heard of institutional racism. I guess the Assemblyman and his kin hasn’t benefited from the spoils of slavery; while my tribesman have struggled to move beyond both overt and covert policies established to limit and stymie our potential, simply because of the color of our skin.

To date, the U.S. government has issued public apologies to Japanese Americans for internment during WWII and to Holocaust survivors; and in 2004 finally submitted a long overdue Resolution of Apology to Native Americans.

Now, singularly these two developments might not say much, but collectively it demonstrates New Jersey has a progressive bent that’s refreshing. For me, a civilized society is one, which actively values and respects its constituency and is not above correcting a wrong.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Back in the Saddle

Tomorrow, vacation’s over and we’re back in the saddle again. That’s right, the kids are back to school and on Thursday, I‘m back at work. Loverman’s lucky because he’s on an academic calendar and his classes don’t start until the third week of this month---- I’ll admit it, I’m jealous!

I really have no reason to complain. We had a wonderful break, relaxed and enjoyed each other immensely, but boy oh boy, I sure miss the days before the kids started formal school, when we enjoyed leisurely, civilized mornings watching the news and enjoying a hot mug of tea.

Well, those days are over and since school started, Monday thru Friday is like a marathon where I struggle to stay ahead of the pack. Hell, what am I saying, sometimes it’s a struggle to stay with the pack. I often liken it to a hamster wheel where Loverman and I keep pace to ensure everything moves smoothly, this includes, the morning ritual of getting the kids up, dressed and fed; and before we get out the door for the day, Loverman and I have to walk the dogs. All of this must be completed by 7:40am or we’ll never get the kids to school on time. Oh, I forgot to mention getting ourselves dressed and ready for the day.

Again, I don’t want to whine, because at least I don't have to do this alone, but I guess I’m just a whuss or maybe I’m not a morning person, but there’s got to be a better way to start the day.