Saturday, February 28, 2009

Black History Fact Of The Day

Kenneth J. Dunkley created the Three Dimensional Viewing Glasses (3-DVG). This patented invention allows a person to see 3-D effects while viewing 2-dimensional photos. 3-DVG provides this visual effect without using any typed of lenses or mirrors.

Today's Fly Or Die Commerce Report: Stimulus Money Used To Build A New Social Security Data Center

After receiving $1 billion in stimulus money, The Social Security Administration has made the decision to use the money to build a $750 million mega-data center.

According to Information Week, The Social Security Administration has the world's largest compiled electronic health records. However, they are still looking to expand their database.

By upgrading this data center, it might become more feasible for the President to achieve his alleged plan of digitalizing the country's health records.

[SIDEBAR: How Big Brother-like is this Social Security Administration software going to be?]

Elsie Law's Daily Dose Of The Law: New York's Case Of "Rich Man's Justice"

Relatives of a woman who was killed in a fatal DWI incident are crying foul. The driver, who is a wealthy CEO & founder of a software company, was given just 15 days in jail for killing a woman while he was driving drunk. Testing showed that the culprit's blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.

According to The New York Daily News, George Anderson was initially charged with vehicular manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. However, he was allowed to plead guilty to misdemeanor DWI and leaving the scene of an accident.

The victim's relatives are calling this a case of "rich man's justice." The New York Daily News quoted the deceased woman's sister as saying: "When the district attorney starts sounding like a defense attorney to justify the deal, you can be sure the deal is a bad one for my sister and the people of this state."

Quote Of The Day

"There's a difference between interest and commitment. When you're interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstance permit. When you're committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results." -Art Turock

Friday, February 27, 2009

Black History Fact Of The Day

Oscar Micheaux is noted as the first African American to make a full length feature film. He was also into ownership- something that Black Hollywood lacks today.

Today's Fly Or Die Commerce Report: The Government Now Owns 36% Of Citigroup

The American Government's 8% ownership in Citigroup is about to increase to 36% via a stock conversion maneuver.

The new deal will allegedly be accompanied by a new board of directors. The grossly mismanaged Citigroup has already received about $45 billion from the government for aid.

At this point, we should all be brainstorming the implications and long-term repercussions of such a deal.

Elsie Law's Daily Dose Of The Law: Cellphone Use While Driving Laws

According to Nolo's website, "Five states have enacted laws banning the use of handheld cell phones while driving: California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Washington. With the exception of Washington, all of these states allow "primary enforcement of an offense." That means that police officers can pull you over for using a handheld cell phone without any other reason for the traffic stop.

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have enacted special cell phone driving laws for novice drivers (for example, those with a learner’s permit) or young drivers (such as those under the age of 18). For example, in California, drivers under the age of 18 cannot use any type of communication device while driving.

Fifteen states plus the District of Columbia have banned school bus drivers from using cell phones while passengers are present.

Two states, Washington and New Jersey, have banned text messaging for all drivers.

Some states, including Utah and New Hampshire, lump cell phone use into a larger ban on distracted driving. For example, in Utah, speaking on a cell phone may be a violation if the driver has committed another moving offense."

TODAY IS...

PLEASE PASS THIS ON! (EACH ONE TEACH ONE OR TWO!) THIS IS PHASE ONE ON HOW WE CAN HELP TO STRENGTHEN & EMPOWER OUR COMMUNITY:The 2008 not guilty verdict in the Sean Bell case evoked outrage, emotion, and debate. It is not an anomaly that the police officers involved in the Sean Bell slaying were acquitted of all charges on all counts in State Supreme Court. I could run out of ink printing the names of people who have been victimized by the inaptly named justice system.

The American justice system has been especially terroristic towards the African American community. Many community members can cite historic and personal accounts to prove this. Therefore, it would be foolhardy (at the least) to turn to a system that has methodically oppressed us, and request that they free us. We can only free ourselves through extreme discipline and intelligent planning.

As a community we have been too compliant with leaders who organize ineffective, delayed reactions. The only strategy that can save us in this last hour is one that calls for a collective code of conduct that will be conducive to improving the conditions of our community, and shifting the paradigm of how we are treated by outside entities. The first step of this code of conduct should be based on economics.

The old adage of “money talks,” still reigns true in the new millennium. Any political scientist worth his or her library card will tell you that: “Economic powerlessness equals political powerlessness,” and conversely “economic power equals political power.” This means that if we continue to allow our wealth to be extracted from our community, we will remain impotent.

The power of the collective “Black Dollar” is often discussed. However, that power has been left unchanneled. Today is the day to change that. A one-time boycott is not going to bring long-term change and respect to our community. Our community has launched boycotts before. Our success and ascension will be based on what we consistently do. For this reason, we should initiate “BUY BLACK FRIDAYS.”

BUY BLACK FRIDAYS is a small step towards our community acquiring power via controlling our economics. Every Friday, people who acknowledge the injustice and oppression that the African American community has been consistently subjected to should do one of the following:

Option #1: Spend $0 on Friday
Option #2: Spend no more than $10 on Friday
Option #3: Only Shop at Black Businesses on Friday
[PLEASE NOTE THAT THE ABOVE OPTIONS CAN & SHOULD BE EXERCISED ON A DAILY BASIS. However, we can all at the very least focus on Fridays. This way we can take a collective stand and build our collective discipline. Please remember that this is only Phase 1!].

To the people who are tempted to label “BUY BLACK FRIDAYS” as racist, I say this: In the big scheme of things, this is about right & wrong, justice & injustice. The African American community is a strong, proud community that has endured the brunt of America’s iron fist. We must stop the pounding. I feel that any fair-minded individual will concur, and join in.

ANY business that is privileged to enjoy the support of the African American community MUST return that support.

I thank you in advance for your effort and dedication.

-Elsie Law AKA Starface

Quote Of The Day

"It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." -Chinese Proverb

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Driverless Trains Debut In New York

About 48 hours ago, New York City's transit tested out their driverless trains. Reportedly, the trains debuted on the L line between 12:30 AM and 5:30 AM. Although motormen were present on the computerized train, the computer did all of the accelerating and braking.

According to The New York Daily News, the trains come attached with a $326 million price tag. The MTA aspires to implement the driverless trains on more of the subway's lines. They vow to do so if they can obtain the funding. [SIDEBAR: What recession???]

The automated trains will make train conductors obsolete. The MTA can not yet lay-off the motormen because of the agreement that they have with the Transit Workers Union. However, transit's officials seem to be looking forward to the day when driverless trains dominate the subway system.

Black History Fact Of The Day

Harry Belafonte- activist, actor, and musician- was the first African-American man to win an emmy. He won the emmy for his 1959 television special, "Tonight With Belafonte."

Today's Fly Or Die Commerce Report: More Madoff-Like Madness

Paul Greenwood and Stephen Walsh were arrested by the FBI for financial fraud. The money managers allegedly misappropriated at least $553 million.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the pair lived in excessive opulence- even purchasing a teddy bear with a $80,000 price tag.

Their victims include universities and retirement funds.

Elsie Law's Daily Dose Of The Law

Gandhi was an attorney. He studied to be a lawyer in London, England. Reportedly, at the age of 37, he became disenchanted with his profession. He felt that he wanted to engage in something that would bring about deeper social and political change. This is when he evolved as an activist. It may also be reasoned that Gandhi's experience with attempting to work within the system, was a catalyst and a foundation for his future activism.

Quote Of The Day

"The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances; if there is any reaction, both are transformed." -Carl Gustav Jung

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Video Of The Week

Nelson Mandela in 1990, upon his release:

Black History Fact Of The Day

Chicago-native, Lorraine Hansberry, penned the famous play- "A Raisin In The Sun." "A Raisin In The Sun" was the first play written by an African American woman to appear on Broadway. The highly praised play also received a New York Drama Critics Award- making Ms. Hansberry the youngest and first African American to receive the award.

Lorraine Hansberry also wrote, "To Be Young, Gifted and Black," and "The Sign In Sidney Brustein's Window"- which also ran on Broadway.

Tragically, Lorraine's career was abbreviated when she died at the age of 34 of cancer.

Elsie Law's Daily Dose Of The Law: Google & Privacy Laws

A Pittsburgh couple brought a lawsuit against Google claiming that the search engine's street view feature violated their privacy.

The street view mapping program featured pictures of the couple's home, leading them to sue for: Negligence, privacy violation, and trespassing.

A federal judge threw the lawsuit out of court. According to Google, their street view program allows users to remove images that they feel would violate their privacy. Google also contends that they blur faces and license plates that appear in any of their program's pictures.

As technology becomes more invasive, more lawsuits concerning privacy issues are likely to become more pervasive.

Quote Of The Day

"Dream the biggest dream for yourself. Hold the highest vision of life for yourself." -Oprah Winfrey

Today's Fly Or Die Commerce Report: The Transcript Of President Obama's Address About The State Of The Economy

"Madame Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, and the First Lady of the United States:

I’ve come here tonight not only to address the distinguished men and women in this great chamber, but to speak frankly and directly to the men and women who sent us here.  I know that for many Americans watching right now, the state of our economy is a concern that rises above all others.  And rightly so. 

If you haven’t been personally affected by this recession, you probably know someone who has – a friend; a neighbor; a member of your family.  You don’t need to hear another list of statistics to know that our economy is in crisis, because you live it every day.  It’s the worry you wake up with and the source of sleepless nights.  It’s the job you thought you’d retire from but now have lost; the business you built your dreams upon that’s now hanging by a thread; the college acceptance letter your child had to put back in the envelope. 

The impact of this recession is real, and it is everywhere. But while our economy may be weakened and our confidence shaken; though we are living through difficult and uncertain times, tonight I want every American to know this: We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before. 

The weight of this crisis will not determine the destiny of this nation.  The answers to our problems don’t lie beyond our reach.  They exist in our laboratories and universities; in our fields and our factories; in the imaginations of our entrepreneurs and the pride of the hardest-working people on Earth.  Those qualities that have made America the greatest force of progress and prosperity in human history we still possess in ample measure. 

What is required now is for this country to pull together, confront boldly the challenges we face, and take responsibility for our future once more.

Now, if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that for too long, we have not always met these responsibilities – as a government or as a people.  I say this not to lay blame or look backwards, but because it is only by understanding how we arrived at this moment that we’ll be able to lift ourselves out of this predicament. 

The fact is, our economy did not fall into decline overnight.  Nor did all of our problems begin when the housing market collapsed or the stock market sank.  We have known for decades that our survival depends on finding new sources of energy.  Yet we import more oil today than ever before.  The cost of health care eats up more and more of our savings each year, yet we keep delaying reform.  Our children will compete for jobs in a global economy that too many of our schools do not prepare them for.  And though all these challenges went unsolved, we still managed to spend more money and pile up more debt, both as individuals and through our government, than ever before. In other words, we have lived through an era where too often, short-term gains were prized over long-term prosperity; where we failed to look beyond the next payment, the next quarter, or the next election.  A surplus became an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy instead of an opportunity to invest in our future.  Regulations were gutted for the sake of a quick profit at the expense of a healthy market.  People bought homes they knew they couldn’t afford from banks and lenders who pushed those bad loans anyway.  And all the while, critical debates and difficult decisions were put off for some other time on some other day. 

Well that day of reckoning has arrived, and the time to take charge of our future is here. Now is the time to act boldly and wisely – to not only revive this economy, but to build a new foundation for lasting prosperity. 

Now is the time to jumpstart job creation, re-start lending, and invest in areas like energy, health care, and education that will grow our economy, even as we make hard choices to bring our deficit down.  That is what my economic agenda is designed to do, and that’s what I’d like to talk to you about tonight. 
It’s an agenda that begins with jobs.  As soon as I took office, I asked this Congress to send me a recovery plan by President’s Day that would put people back to work and put money in their pockets.  Not because I believe in bigger government– I don’t.  Not because I’m not mindful of the massive debt we’ve inherited – I am.  I called for action because the failure to do so would have cost more jobs and caused more hardships.  In fact, a failure to act would have worsened our long-term deficit by assuring weak economic growth for years.  That’s why I pushed for quick action.  And tonight, I am grateful that this Congress delivered, and pleased to say that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is now law.   

Over the next two years, this plan will save or create 3.5 million jobs.  More than 90% of these jobs will be in the private sector – jobs rebuilding our roads and bridges; constructing wind turbines and solar panels; laying broadband and expanding mass transit. Because of this plan, there are teachers who can now keep their jobs and educate our kids.  Health care professionals can continue caring for our sick.  There are 57 police officers who are still on the streets of Minneapolis tonight because this plan prevented the layoffs their department was about to make. 

Because of this plan, 95% of the working households in America will receive a tax cut – a tax cut that you will see in your paychecks beginning on April 1st. Because of this plan, families who are struggling to pay tuition costs will receive a $2,500 tax credit for all four years of college.  And Americans who have lost their jobs in this recession will be able to receive extended unemployment benefits and continued health care coverage to help them weather this storm. 

I know there are some in this chamber and watching at home who are skeptical of whether this plan will work.  I understand that skepticism.  Here in Washington, we’ve all seen how quickly good intentions can turn into broken promises and wasteful spending.  And with a plan of this scale comes enormous responsibility to get it right. That is why I have asked Vice President Biden to lead a tough, unprecedented oversight effort – because nobody messes with Joe. 

I have told each member of my Cabinet as well as mayors and governors across the country that they will be held accountable by me and the American people for every dollar they spend.  I have appointed a proven and aggressive Inspector General to ferret out any and all cases of waste and fraud.  And we have created a new website called recovery.gov so that every American can find out how and where their money is being spent. 

So the recovery plan we passed is the first step in getting our economy back on track.  But it is just the first step.  Because even if we manage this plan flawlessly, there will be no real recovery unless we clean up the credit crisis that has severely weakened our financial system.

I want to speak plainly and candidly about this issue tonight, because every American should know that it directly affects you and your family’s well-being.  You should also know that the money you’ve deposited in banks across the country is safe; your insurance is secure; and you can rely on the continued operation of our financial system.  That is not the source of concern. The concern is that if we do not re-start lending in this country, our recovery will be choked off before it even begins. 

You see, the flow of credit is the lifeblood of our economy.  The ability to get a loan is how you finance the purchase of everything from a home to a car to a college education; how stores stock their shelves, farms buy equipment, and businesses make payroll. But credit has stopped flowing the way it should.  Too many bad loans from the housing crisis have made their way onto the books of too many banks. 

With so much debt and so little confidence, these banks are now fearful of lending out any more money to households, to businesses, or to each other.  When there is no lending, families can’t afford to buy homes or cars.  So businesses are forced to make layoffs.  Our economy suffers even more, and credit dries up even further.  That is why this administration is moving swiftly and aggressively to break this destructive cycle, restore confidence, and re-start lending. We will do so in several ways. 

First, we are creating a new lending fund that represents the largest effort ever to help provide auto loans, college loans, and small business loans to the consumers and entrepreneurs who keep this economy running.   

Second, we have launched a housing plan that will help responsible families facing the threat of foreclosure lower their monthly payments and re-finance their mortgages.  It’s a plan that won’t help speculators or that neighbor down the street who bought a house he could never hope to afford, but it will help millions of Americans who are struggling with declining home values – Americans who will now be able to take advantage of the lower interest rates that this plan has already helped bring about.  In fact, the average family who re-finances today can save nearly $2000 per year on their mortgage.   

Third, we will act with the full force of the federal government to ensure that the major banks that Americans depend on have enough confidence and enough money to lend even in more difficult times.  And when we learn that a major bank has serious problems, we will hold accountable those responsible, force the necessary adjustments, provide the support to clean up their balance sheets, and assure the continuity of a strong, viable institution that can serve our people and our economy. I understand that on any given day, Wall Street may be more comforted by an approach that gives banks bailouts with no strings attached, and that holds nobody accountable for their reckless decisions.  But such an approach won’t solve the problem.  And our goal is to quicken the day when we re-start lending to the American people and American business and end this crisis once and for all.

I intend to hold these banks fully accountable for the assistance they receive, and this time, they will have to clearly demonstrate how taxpayer dollars result in more lending for the American taxpayer. 

This time, CEOs won’t be able to use taxpayer money to pad their paychecks or buy fancy drapes or disappear on a private jet.  Those days are over.  Still, this plan will require significant resources from the federal government – and yes, probably more than we’ve already set aside.  But while the cost of action will be great, I can assure you that the cost of inaction will be far greater, for it could result in an economy that sputters along for not months or years, but perhaps a decade.  That would be worse for our deficit, worse for business, worse for you, and worse for the next generation.  And I refuse to let that happen.     

I understand that when the last administration asked this Congress to provide assistance for struggling banks, Democrats and Republicans alike were infuriated by the mismanagement and results that followed.  So were the American taxpayers.  So was I.  So I know how unpopular it is to be seen as helping banks right now, especially when everyone is suffering in part from their bad decisions.  I promise you– I get it.  But I also know that in a time of crisis, we cannot afford to govern out of anger, or yield to the politics of the moment. 

My job– our job– is to solve the problem.  Our job is to govern with a sense of responsibility.  I will not spend a single penny for the purpose of rewarding a single Wall Street executive, but I will do whatever it takes to help the small business that can’t pay its workers or the family that has saved and still can’t get a mortgage. 

That’s what this is about.  It’s not about helping banks– it’s about helping people.  Because when credit is available again, that young family can finally buy a new home.  And then some company will hire workers to build it.  And then those workers will have money to spend, and if they can get a loan too, maybe they’ll finally buy that car, or open their own business.  Investors will return to the market, and American families will see their retirement secured once more.  Slowly, but surely, confidence will return, and our economy will recover. 

So I ask this Congress to join me in doing whatever proves necessary.  Because we cannot consign our nation to an open-ended recession.  And to ensure that a crisis of this magnitude never happens again, I ask Congress to move quickly on legislation that will finally reform our outdated regulatory system. 

It is time to put in place tough, new common-sense rules of the road so that our financial market rewards drive and innovation, and punishes short-cuts and abuse.  The recovery plan and the financial stability plan are the immediate steps we’re taking to revive our economy in the short-term.  But the only way to fully restore America’s economic strength is to make the long-term investments that will lead to new jobs, new industries, and a renewed ability to compete with the rest of the world.

The only way this century will be another American century is if we confront at last the price of our dependence on oil and the high cost of health care; the schools that aren’t preparing our children and the mountain of debt they stand to inherit.  That is our responsibility.

In the next few days, I will submit a budget to Congress.  So often, we have come to view these documents as simply numbers on a page or laundry lists of programs.  I see this document differently.  I see it as a vision for America– as a blueprint for our future.

My budget does not attempt to solve every problem or address every issue.  It reflects the stark reality of what we’ve inherited– a trillion dollar deficit, a financial crisis, and a costly recession. 

Given these realities, everyone in this chamber – Democrats and Republicans – will have to sacrifice some worthy priorities for which there are no dollars.  And that includes me.   But that does not mean we can afford to ignore our long-term challenges.  I reject the view that says our problems will simply take care of themselves; that says government has no role in laying the foundation for our common prosperity. For history tells a different story. 

History reminds us that at every moment of economic upheaval and transformation, this nation has responded with bold action and big ideas. 

In the midst of civil war, we laid railroad tracks from one coast to another that spurred commerce and industry. 

From the turmoil of the Industrial Revolution came a system of public high schools that prepared our citizens for a new age. 

In the wake of war and depression, the GI Bill sent a generation to college and created the largest middle-class in history.  And a twilight struggle for freedom led to a nation of highways, an American on the moon, and an explosion of technology that still shapes our world. 

In each case, government didn’t supplant private enterprise; it catalyzed private enterprise.  It created the conditions for thousands of entrepreneurs and new businesses to adapt and to thrive. 

We are a nation that has seen promise amid peril, and claimed opportunity from ordeal.  Now we must be that nation again.  That is why, even as it cuts back on the programs we don’t need, the budget I submit will invest in the three areas that are absolutely critical to our economic future:  energy, health care, and education.  It begins with energy. 

We know the country that harnesses the power of clean, renewable energy will lead the 21st century.  And yet, it is China that has launched the largest effort in history to make their economy energy efficient. 

We invented solar technology, but we’ve fallen behind countries like Germany and Japan in producing it.  New plug-in hybrids roll off our assembly lines, but they will run on batteries made in Korea.  Well I do not accept a future where the jobs and industries of tomorrow take root beyond our borders– and I know you don’t either. 

It is time for America to lead again.  Thanks to our recovery plan, we will double this nation’s supply of renewable energy in the next three years. 

We have also made the largest investment in basic research funding in American history– an investment that will spur not only new discoveries in energy, but breakthroughs in medicine, science, and technology.  We will soon lay down thousands of miles of power lines that can carry new energy to cities and towns across this country.  And we will put Americans to work making our homes and buildings more efficient so that we can save billions of dollars on our energy bills.  But to truly transform our economy, protect our security, and save our planet from the ravages of climate change, we need to ultimately make clean, renewable energy the profitable kind of energy. 

So I ask this Congress to send me legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution and drives the production of more renewable energy in America.  And to support that innovation, we will invest fifteen billion dollars a year to develop technologies like wind power and solar power; advanced biofuels, clean coal, and more fuel-efficient cars and trucks built right here in America.

As for our auto industry, everyone recognizes that years of bad decision-making and a global recession have pushed our automakers to the brink.  We should not, and will not, protect them from their own bad practices.  But we are committed to the goal of a re-tooled, re-imagined auto industry that can compete and win.  Millions of jobs depend on it.  Scores of communities depend on it.  And I believe the nation that invented the automobile cannot walk away from it.  None of this will come without cost, nor will it be easy.  But this is America.  We don’t do what’s easy.  We do what is necessary to move this country forward.

For that same reason, we must also address the crushing cost of health care.    This is a cost that now causes a bankruptcy in America every thirty seconds.  By the end of the year, it could cause 1.5 million Americans to lose their homes.  In the last eight years, premiums have grown four times faster than wages.  And in each of these years, one million more Americans have lost their health insurance.  It is one of the major reasons why small businesses close their doors and corporations ship jobs overseas.  And it’s one of the largest and fastest-growing parts of our budget.  Given these facts, we can no longer afford to put health care reform on hold. Already, we have done more to advance the cause of health care reform in the last thirty days than we have in the last decade.  When it was days old, this Congress passed a law to provide and protect health insurance for eleven million American children whose parents work full-time. 

Our recovery plan will invest in electronic health records and new technology that will reduce errors, bring down costs, ensure privacy, and save lives.  It will launch a new effort to conquer a disease that has touched the life of nearly every American by seeking a cure for cancer in our time.  And it makes the largest investment ever in preventive care, because that is one of the best ways to keep our people healthy and our costs under control.  This budget builds on these reforms. 

It includes an historic commitment to comprehensive health care reform – a down-payment on the principle that we must have quality, affordable health care for every American.  It’s a commitment that’s paid for in part by efficiencies in our system that are long overdue.  And it’s a step we must take if we hope to bring down our deficit in the years to come. 

Now, there will be many different opinions and ideas about how to achieve reform, and that is why I’m bringing together businesses and workers, doctors and health care providers, Democrats and Republicans to begin work on this issue next week. 

I suffer no illusions that this will be an easy process.  It will be hard.  But I also know that nearly a century after Teddy Roosevelt first called for reform, the cost of our health care has weighed down our economy and the conscience of our nation long enough.  So let there be no doubt: health care reform cannot wait, it must not wait, and it will not wait another year.     

The third challenge we must address is the urgent need to expand the promise of education in America.   

In a global economy where the most valuable skill you can sell is your knowledge, a good education is no longer just a pathway to opportunity – it is a prerequisite.    

Right now, three-quarters of the fastest-growing occupations require more than a high school diploma.  And yet, just over half of our citizens have that level of education.  We have one of the highest high school dropout rates of any industrialized nation.  And half of the students who begin college never finish.  This is a prescription for economic decline, because we know the countries that out-teach us today will out-compete us tomorrow.  That is why it will be the goal of this administration to ensure that every child has access to a complete and competitive education– from the day they are born to the day they begin a career. 

Already, we have made an historic investment in education through the economic recovery plan.  We have dramatically expanded early childhood education and will continue to improve its quality, because we know that the most formative learning comes in those first years of life. 

We have made college affordable for nearly seven million more students.  And we have provided the resources necessary to prevent painful cuts and teacher layoffs that would set back our children’s progress.  But we know that our schools don’t just need more resources.  They need more reform.  That is why this budget creates new incentives for teacher performance; pathways for advancement, and rewards for success.  We’ll invest in innovative programs that are already helping schools meet high standards and close achievement gaps.  And we will expand our commitment to charter schools.   It is our responsibility as lawmakers and educators to make this system work.  But it is the responsibility of every citizen to participate in it. 

And so tonight, I ask every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training.  This can be community college or a four-year school; vocational training or an apprenticeship.  But whatever the training may be, every American will need to get more than a high school diploma.  And dropping out of high school is no longer an option.  It’s not just quitting on yourself, it’s quitting on your country – and this country needs and values the talents of every American.  That is why we will provide the support necessary for you to complete college and meet a new goal:  by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.  

I know that the price of tuition is higher than ever, which is why if you are willing to volunteer in your neighborhood or give back to your community or serve your country, we will make sure that you can afford a higher education.  And to encourage a renewed spirit of national service for this and future generations, I ask this Congress to send me the bipartisan legislation that bears the name of Senator Orrin Hatch as well as an American who has never stopped asking what he can do for his country– Senator Edward Kennedy. 

These education policies will open the doors of opportunity for our children.  But it is up to us to ensure they walk through them. 

In the end, there is no program or policy that can substitute for a mother or father who will attend those parent/teacher conferences, or help with homework after dinner, or turn off the TV, put away the video games, and read to their child. 

I speak to you not just as a President, but as a father when I say that responsibility for our children's education must begin at home.  There is, of course, another responsibility we have to our children.  And that is the responsibility to ensure that we do not pass on to them a debt they cannot pay. 

With the deficit we inherited, the cost of the crisis we face, and the long-term challenges we must meet, it has never been more important to ensure that as our economy recovers, we do what it takes to bring this deficit down.

I’m proud that we passed the recovery plan free of earmarks, and I want to pass a budget next year that ensures that each dollar we spend reflects only our most important national priorities. 

Yesterday, I held a fiscal summit where I pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of my first term in office.  My administration has also begun to go line by line through the federal budget in order to eliminate wasteful and ineffective programs. 

As you can imagine, this is a process that will take some time.  But we’re starting with the biggest lines.  We have already identified two trillion dollars in savings over the next decade. In this budget, we will end education programs that don’t work and end direct payments to large agribusinesses that don’t need them.  We’ll eliminate the no-bid contracts that have wasted billions in Iraq, and reform our defense budget so that we’re not paying for Cold War-era weapons systems we don’t use.  We will root out the waste, fraud, and abuse in our Medicare program that doesn’t make our seniors any healthier, and we will restore a sense of fairness and balance to our tax code by finally ending the tax breaks for corporations that ship our jobs overseas. 

In order to save our children from a future of debt, we will also end the tax breaks for the wealthiest 2% of Americans.  But let me perfectly clear, because I know you’ll hear the same old claims that rolling back these tax breaks means a massive tax increase on the American people:  if your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime.  I repeat: not one single dime.  In fact, the recovery plan provides a tax cut – that’s right, a tax cut – for 95% of working families.  And these checks are on the way.    

To preserve our long-term fiscal health, we must also address the growing costs in Medicare and Social Security.  Comprehensive health care reform is the best way to strengthen Medicare for years to come.  And we must also begin a conversation on how to do the same for Social Security, while creating tax-free universal savings accounts for all Americans.

Finally, because we’re also suffering from a deficit of trust, I am committed to restoring a sense of honesty and accountability to our budget.  That is why this budget looks ahead ten years and accounts for spending that was left out under the old rules– and for the first time, that includes the full cost of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

For seven years, we have been a nation at war.  No longer will we hide its price. We are now carefully reviewing our policies in both wars, and I will soon announce a way forward in Iraq that leaves Iraq to its people and responsibly ends this war.  And with our friends and allies, we will forge a new and comprehensive strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan to defeat al Qaeda and combat extremism.  Because I will not allow terrorists to plot against the American people from safe havens half a world away. 

As we meet here tonight, our men and women in uniform stand watch abroad and more are readying to deploy. To each and every one of them, and to the families who bear the quiet burden of their absence, Americans are united in sending one message: we honor your service, we are inspired by your sacrifice, and you have our unyielding support.  To relieve the strain on our forces, my budget increases the number of our soldiers and Marines. And to keep our sacred trust with those who serve, we will raise their pay, and give our veterans the expanded health care and benefits that they have earned. 

To overcome extremism, we must also be vigilant in upholding the values our troops defend – because there is no force in the world more powerful than the example of America. That is why I have ordered the closing of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, and will seek swift and certain justice for captured terrorists– because living our values doesn’t make us weaker, it makes us safer and it makes us stronger.  And that is why I can stand here tonight and say without exception or equivocation that the United States of America does not torture.

In words and deeds, we are showing the world that a new era of engagement has begun.  For we know that America cannot meet the threats of this century alone, but the world cannot meet them without America.  We cannot shun the negotiating table, nor ignore the foes or forces that could do us harm.  We are instead called to move forward with the sense of confidence and candor that serious times demand.

To seek progress toward a secure and lasting peace between Israel and her neighbors, we have appointed an envoy to sustain our effort. 

To meet the challenges of the 21st century– from terrorism to nuclear proliferation; from pandemic disease to cyber threats to crushing poverty– we will strengthen old alliances, forge new ones, and use all elements of our national power.  And to respond to an economic crisis that is global in scope, we are working with the nations of the G-20 to restore confidence in our financial system, avoid the possibility of escalating protectionism, and spur demand for American goods in markets across the globe.  For the world depends on us to have a strong economy, just as our economy depends on the strength of the world’s. 

As we stand at this crossroads of history, the eyes of all people in all nations are once again upon us– watching to see what we do with this moment; waiting for us to lead.      Those of us gathered here tonight have been called to govern in extraordinary times.  It is a tremendous burden, but also a great privilege– one that has been entrusted to few generations of Americans. 

For in our hands lies the ability to shape our world for good or for ill. I know that it is easy to lose sight of this truth – to become cynical and doubtful; consumed with the petty and the trivial.  But in my life, I have also learned that hope is found in unlikely places; that inspiration often comes not from those with the most power or celebrity, but from the dreams and aspirations of Americans who are anything but ordinary. 

I think about Leonard Abess, the bank president from Miami who reportedly cashed out of his company, took a $60 million bonus, and gave it out to all 399 people who worked for him, plus another 72 who used to work for him.  He didn’t tell anyone, but when the local newspaper found out, he simply said, 'I knew some of these people since I was 7 years old.  I didn't feel right getting the money myself.'

I think about Greensburg, Kansas, a town that was completely destroyed by a tornado, but is being rebuilt by its residents as a global example of how clean energy can power an entire community- how it can bring jobs and businesses to a place where piles of bricks and rubble once lay.  'The tragedy was terrible,' said one of the men who helped them rebuild.  'But the folks here know that it also provided an incredible opportunity.'

And I think about Ty’Sheoma Bethea, the young girl from that school I visited in Dillon, South Carolina– a place where the ceilings leak, the paint peels off the walls, and they have to stop teaching six times a day because the train barrels by their classroom.  She has been told that her school is hopeless, but the other day after class she went to the public library and typed up a letter to the people sitting in this room.  She even asked her principal for the money to buy a stamp.  The letter asks us for help, and says, 'We are just students trying to become lawyers, doctors, congressmen like yourself and one day president, so we can make a change to not just the state of South Carolina but also the world.  We are not quitters.' We are not quitters. 

These words and these stories tell us something about the spirit of the people who sent us here.  They tell us that even in the most trying times, amid the most difficult circumstances, there is a generosity, a resilience, a decency, and a determination that perseveres; a willingness to take responsibility for our future and for posterity. Their resolve must be our inspiration.  Their concerns must be our cause.  And we must show them and all our people that we are equal to the task before us.  I know that we haven’t agreed on every issue thus far, and there are surely times in the future when we will part ways.  But I also know that every American who is sitting here tonight loves this country and wants it to succeed.  That must be the starting point for every debate we have in the coming months, and where we return after those debates are done.  That is the foundation on which the American people expect us to build common ground. And if we do– if we come together and lift this nation from the depths of this crisis; if we put our people back to work and restart the engine of our prosperity; if we confront without fear the challenges of our time and summon that enduring spirit of an America that does not quit, then someday years from now our children can tell their children that this was the time when we performed, in the words that are carved into this very chamber, 'something worthy to be remembered.'

Thank you, God Bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America."

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words Pic Of The Week

Alex Haley & Malcolm X working on the masterful, "Autobiography Of Malcolm X."

Black History Fact Of The Day

Award-winning writer Maya Angelou has won a total of 3 grammy awards. She has also written 6 different autobiographies. Her first biography entitled, "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings," chronicled the first 16 years of her life.

Dr. Maya Angelou befriended both Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. Tragically, both activists were assassinated before she could fully collaborate with them on planned projects. When Dr. King was murdered on Dr. Angelou's birthday (April 4th), she reportedly was so saddened that she ceased to celebrate the day of her birth for several years.

Today's Fly Or Die Commerce Report

In an attempt to reduce the risk of defaults on payments, American Express is trying to entice some of their cardholders to close their accounts. They are offering to pay certain targeted customers $300 if they agree to close their accounts and pay off their balances by April 30th.

The credit card company is declining to reveal the criteria that they used to select the customers who received this offer. However, American Express' spokesperson did admit that the offer is a strategy to encourage card members to pay off their debt quicker. This may help the company's bottom line during the economic downturn.

Elsie Law's Daily Dose Of The Law: Facebook & Privacy Laws

Facebook, the largest online social network, almost caused a mini-revolt among their users when they attempted to change their terms of service. Some users interpreted the proposed terms as meaning that anything that was uploaded to the site could be used by facebook's owners in whatever manner they do choose into perpetuity.

Facebook's founder, Mark Zuckerberg,denies this interpretation. However, he decided not to implement the new terms when The Electronic Privacy Information Centre threatened to file a lawsuit. The Electronic Privacy Information Centre opined that the proposed service parameters would have given facebook an unfair amount of control over users' content.

Quote Of The Day

"And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye." -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Children Of Hurricane Katrina Are The Sickest In The Nation

Although Hurricane Katrina touched down approximately 3 and-a-half years ago, the after effects are still being strongly felt.

According to a study done by Columbia University, the children who survived the storm are the sickest in the nation. Although the media's attention and focus on this event rapidly waned after it occurred, it is clear that the story is not over. A lot of the citizens who were geographically displaced after the tragedy, were moved into formaldehyde ridden FEMA trailers. Some people are saying that the handling of the aftermath of the storm is being fumbled worse than the handling of the storm itself. That's saying a lot!

The New York Daily news sited statistics from the study involving the children who survived Hurricane Katrina, as follows:

41% of those under 4 had iron deficiency anemia, which is double the rate for homeless children in New York City shelters.

55% of those 6 and older had mental problems.

42% had a respiratory allergy or infection.

A third had impaired hearing or vision.

These are serious stats. I hope that attention can be brought to this situation, and these citizens can be provided with the assistance that they need and deserve.

Book Review Of The Month: "1984" By: George Orwell

I don't usually read fiction. However, I occasionally make an exception- especially when a work of fiction provokes thought that is relevant to reality. George Orwell's tome "1984," is just such a work.

"1984" depicts a futuristic world in which people are controlled by a Big Brother-like government. Citizens are manipulated by the government so effectively that they unconsciously contribute to their own demise. The media is used as a monitoring mechanism, and as a tool for domination. All traces of history is consistently erased or altered beyond recognition; thereby leaving the people disoriented because they have no frames of reference.

The book's protagonist takes the reader on a journey of his awakening from the lemming-like trance that Big Brother has induced on society. There are repercussions to the main character's attempt to break free. The ups and downs of his journey would make this book a great movie.

This book has many lessons in it. It teaches the importance of language and history. It also makes you think deeply about the state of today's society. It would be difficult to read this book without drawing comparisons between George Orwell's 1984 world, and the world today.

This book gives us a reflective look at what an environment devoid of independent thought and basic human connections would be like. The question that lingers after reading "1984" is: How can we avoid this fate?

Black History Fact Of The Day

A.G. Gaston was a phenomenal business man. He owned an insurance company, a hotel, and educational institutions. He was also the first Black person to own a financial institution in Birmingham, Alabama. His success was infectious. Mr. Gaston's wife emerged as a successful entrepreneur, selling beauty products.

A.G. Gaston wrote an autobiography. He is also the subject of a biography entitled, "Black Titan."

Today's Fly Or Die Commerce Report: Madison Square Garden's Multi-Million Dollar Tax Break

A New York City council member is waving the banner for an end to the huge tax break that Madison Square Garden gets from the city.

According to the New York Daily News, Madison Square Garden has been receiving a multi-million dollar tax break for over a quarter-of-a-century. This deal has reportedly caused the city to lose out on approximately $300 million in tax revenue since 1982.

This deal is not surprising. Other wealthy New York sports teams have been allowed huge leeway when it comes to paying taxes. These deals are allegedly initiated to keep New York teams from moving to other cities. However, in the midst of the city crying broke, many feel that it is due time for these types of arrangements to cease.

Elsie Law's Daily Dose Of The Law: A New International Treaty Is On The Horizon

An international treaty that will legally bind more than 140 countries is in the works. The new global law will require governments to implement strategies that will reduce mercury pollution.

Although mercury is a naturally occurring substance, the burning of waste and its use in mining has caused mercury levels in the environment to rise. Mercury is a very dangerous substance because it has the potential to damage the central nervous systems of people and animals.

The governments of the world are vowing to band together to help decrease mercury toxicity.

Quote Of The Day

"Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair but manifestations of strength and resolution" -Kahlil Gibran

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Quote Of The Day

"We must first set our hearts right." -Confucious

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Black History Fact Of The Day

44 years ago today, Malcolm X was assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem, New York. He was 39 years old at the time of his death. When Ossie Davis eulogized Malcolm X, he famously called him "our shining Black prince."

Quote Of The Day

"America is such a paradoxical society, hypocritically paradoxical, that if you don't have some humor, you'll crack up." -Malcolm X

Friday, February 20, 2009

How Gun Happy Is Your Senator?

Hillary Clinton's replacement as Senator of New York- Kirsten Gillibrand, has been brazenly professing her affinity for firearms. She is doing this despite representing a state that has stringent sentencing guidelines when it comes to gun possession.

New York City's transit riders would be remiss not to have noticed advertising that warns of a mandatory 3 and-a-half year prison stay if caught with an "illegal" firearm. However, New York Senator Gillibrand is declaring her advocacy for guns; stating that she has a right to protect her home.

There are likely a lot of politicians and law-makers who concur with the Senator's gun position. They also likely feel that this right is exclusive to a certain demographic. After all, who are all of the mandatory gun sentencing advertisements and laws targeted to?

This kind of covert racism is just as- if not more- dangerous than the racism exhibited by The New York Post that has people up in arms. Therefore, I must ask: What are we going to boycott to protest this?

[SIDEBAR: Caroline Kennedy, where are you?]

Black History Fact Of The Day

Famed author and scholar, Ralph Ellison, went to college on a music scholarship. However, he also reportedly found his love for literature during his college years.

Ralph Ellison's most famous tome, "Invisible Man," won a National Book Award. During in his career, Mr. Ellison taught at several institutions of higher learning, including: NYU, Yale, and Rutgers.

Today's Fly Or Die Commerce Report: Offshore Corporations

An offshore corporation is a business that has filed its articles of incorporation in a country other than the one where it carries out most of its business, and other than where most of its principal officers reside and work.

This is usually done because the corporate regulations are less stringent in the chosen chartered country. Also, doing this may make it easier for a corporation to operate internationally.

Elsie Law's Daily Dose Of The Law: The Case Of The Drunk Man Hit By A Train

A jury recently awarded a man who was hit by a New York City train $2.3 million dollars. The man, who reportedly had to have part of his leg amputated as a result of the incident, was intoxicated at the time he was hit. Allegedly, in a liquored-up daze, he wandered onto the train tracks. However, the jury disregarded the plaintiff's culpability for his drunken romp on the train tracks; reasoning that the train conductor had ample time to stop the train in order to avoid hitting the inebriated commuter.

How fair do you think this verdict is in light of the commuter's actions?

[SIDEBAR: Isn't public drunkenness illegal? If so, what does that say about the verdict? Can a court reward a person who is engaged in an illegal activity?]

TODAY IS...

PLEASE PASS THIS ON! (EACH ONE TEACH ONE OR TWO!) THIS IS PHASE ONE ON HOW WE CAN HELP TO STRENGTHEN & EMPOWER OUR COMMUNITY:The 2008 not guilty verdict in the Sean Bell case evoked outrage, emotion, and debate. It is not an anomaly that the police officers involved in the Sean Bell slaying were acquitted of all charges on all counts in State Supreme Court. I could run out of ink printing the names of people who have been victimized by the inaptly named justice system.

The American justice system has been especially terroristic towards the African American community. Many community members can cite historic and personal accounts to prove this. Therefore, it would be foolhardy (at the least) to turn to a system that has methodically oppressed us, and request that they free us. We can only free ourselves through extreme discipline and intelligent planning.

As a community we have been too compliant with leaders who organize ineffective, delayed reactions. The only strategy that can save us in this last hour is one that calls for a collective code of conduct that will be conducive to improving the conditions of our community, and shifting the paradigm of how we are treated by outside entities. The first step of this code of conduct should be based on economics.

The old adage of “money talks,” still reigns true in the new millennium. Any political scientist worth his or her library card will tell you that: “Economic powerlessness equals political powerlessness,” and conversely “economic power equals political power.” This means that if we continue to allow our wealth to be extracted from our community, we will remain impotent.

The power of the collective “Black Dollar” is often discussed. However, that power has been left unchanneled. Today is the day to change that. A one-time boycott is not going to bring long-term change and respect to our community. Our community has launched boycotts before. Our success and ascension will be based on what we consistently do. For this reason, we should initiate “BUY BLACK FRIDAYS.”

BUY BLACK FRIDAYS is a small step towards our community acquiring power via controlling our economics. Every Friday, people who acknowledge the injustice and oppression that the African American community has been consistently subjected to should do one of the following:

Option #1: Spend $0 on Friday
Option #2: Spend no more than $10 on Friday
Option #3: Only Shop at Black Businesses on Friday
[PLEASE NOTE THAT THE ABOVE OPTIONS CAN & SHOULD BE EXERCISED ON A DAILY BASIS. However, we can all at the very least focus on Fridays. This way we can take a collective stand and build our collective discipline. Please remember that this is only Phase 1!].

To the people who are tempted to label “BUY BLACK FRIDAYS” as racist, I say this: In the big scheme of things, this is about right & wrong, justice & injustice. The African American community is a strong, proud community that has endured the brunt of America’s iron fist. We must stop the pounding. I feel that any fair-minded individual will concur, and join in.

ANY business that is privileged to enjoy the support of the African American community MUST return that support.

I thank you in advance for your effort and dedication.

-Elsie Law AKA Starface

Quote Of The Day

"Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake." -Victor Hugo

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Black History Fact Of The Day

Arthur Ashe, tennis great, won 18 career titles. He is the only African American player to ever win the men's singles at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, and the Australian Open.

In addition to being a legendary athlete, Mr. Ashe was also an activist. He protested against South African apartheid, and other injustices.

Today's Fly Or Die Commerce Report: Are Swiss Bank Accounts About To Become Not-So-Secret?

Today, The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against UBS AG- a Swiss banking company. The U.S. is seeking a ruling that will require the Swiss banking giant to reveal the identity of their American customers to the IRS. Swiss bank accounts are coveted because of their anonymity. These accounts allow depositors to stash money under the radar.

According to The Wall Street Journal, just yesterday, UBS agreed to pay $780 million to the U.S., and reveal some of the identities of their customers in order to avoid prosecution for helping wealthy Americans evade taxes. However, with today's lawsuit the United States is reportedly seeking full disclosure.

It should be duly noted that not every American citizen who has a Swiss bank account has it for fraudulent reasons.

Elsie Law's Daily Dose Of The Law: The Feres Doctrine

According to the nolo glossary, a Feres Doctrine is: "A legal doctrine that prevents people who are injured as a result of military service from successfully suing the federal government under the Federal Tort Claims Act. The doctrine comes from the U.S. Supreme Court case Feres v. United States, in which servicemen who picked up highly radioactive weapons fragments from a crashed airplane were not permitted to recover damages from the government. Also known as the Feres-Stencel Doctrine or the Feres rule."

Quote Of The Day

"A man without knowledge of himself and his heritage is like a tree without roots." -Dick Gregory

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words Pic Of The Week

Black History Fact Of The Day

In addition to inventing the traffic light, Garrett Augustus Morgan also invented the gas mask.

According to Wikipedia, Mr. Morgan was also the first African American in Cleveland to own an automobile.

Today's Fly Or Die Commerce Report: Stimulus Plan Passed

Yesterday, President Barack Obama signed a law that is being dubbed as the biggest economic rescue plan since FDR's New Deal. The 1,000 page bill involves the distribution of $787 billion to supposedly boost the American economy.

The President was able to get this colossal economic bill passed after only being in office for less than a month. We will see if this is a case of haste making waste.

President Obama will reportedly map out his housing plan to halt mass foreclosures later today.

Elsie Law's Daily Dose Of The Law

There are two national legal encyclopedias that give an overview of the country's laws. They are: "American Jurisprudence" and "Corpus Juris." These books contain a wealth of footnotes that guide a legal researcher to relevant court decisions related to their topic of research.

Quote Of The Day

"It's not what we eat, but what we digest that makes us strong; not what we gain, but what we save that makes us rich; not what we read, but what we remember that makes us learned; and not what we profess, but what we practice that gives us integrity." -Francis Bacon

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Black History Fact Of The Day

Granville Woods created several inventions. More than 12 of his inventions improved the way electric railway cars function. He also created: a telegraph, a telephone, and a chicken egg incubator.

Today's Fly Or Die Commerce Report

As many companies start to falter financially, there are a few cash-rich companies who are continuing to prosper in the current economic conditions. The companies that have cash to spare are purchasing their struggling counterparts. One such company is Oracle.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Oracle- the world's biggest business software manufacturer, sales reached $22.4 billion in 2008. Despite the price of the company's stock falling over 20%, Oracle has been profitable enough to buy up other companies that are laden with debt. In the past 12 months, the software giant has purchased 10 companies- some of which are allowing them to vertically integrate.

It will be interesting to see which companies will thrive, and which companies will be able to ride out the wave.

Elsie Law's Daily Dose Of The Law

"Exculpatory evidence is evidence that points toward a defendant's innocence. Prosecutors are required to automatically hand over such evidence to the defense, even if the defense doesn't request it, and showing that the rule was violated can sometimes result in a conviction being reversed." -From, "The Criminal Law Handbook" By: Bergman & Berman-Barrett

Quote Of The Day

"Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist but the ability to start over." -F. Scott Fitzgerald

Monday, February 16, 2009

Video Of The Week

I haven't seen a lot of footage of Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Here's a video of his speech, "What's In Your Hand." Enjoy. I'll be back with the regular litany of posts tomorrow.

Quote Of The Day

"You are the embodiment of the information you choose to accept and act upon. To change your circumstances you need to change your thinking and subsequent actions." -Adlin Sinclair

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday's Op-Ed: The Power Of Music

Music is a very powerful and influential art form. It can provoke change, and can be a great tool for communication and education. However, like any great tool, if it is placed in the wrong hands, it can become a weapon of destruction.

I've witnessed both the positive and negative effects of music. Music has enlightened me, taught me, comforted me, and to a certain extent- raised me. I was born into a time and a city, where drugs- specifically crack- proliferated. Crack was one of the most devastating plagues to ever hit the Black community. I remember seeing the streets littered with crack vials and "crack zombies." I also remember the whole "Crack is Wack" musical campaign. I believe that because popular music during the crack era relayed a message that crack wasn't the thing to do, a large majority of the next generation was turned off to it. This meant that the usage if the highly addictive drug waned in popularity amongst the eighties-babies who grew up hearing their favorite rapper admonish against becoming a "Crackhead." Now fast forward to the new millenium.

Music has now become a weapon that is being used against us. The music that is being promoted to the masses, has mostly been the type that is decaying to the soul. All day long, we are repetitively being played messages of destruction. Messages that cause use to separate and cannibalize ourselves. Men vs. Women, Young vs. Old, Financially Rich vs. Financially Poor, Physically Weak vs. Physically Strong, Psychologically Weak vs. Psychologically Strong- the list could go on and on.

The conflicts that have been branded as "Rap Beef" is sad and intellectually deadening. The shallow manufactured controversy is designed to induce the habit of gossip. The audience is baited into waiting to see what's going to happen next between two entities who most likely really hold no power; however, they are desperate enough to engage in any cheap-trick to garner attention. This is because attention lets their corporate sponsors believe that they are popular, and therefore worthy of a budget. It also satisfies the corporate sponsor's lust to see a Battle Royale. [SIDEBAR: Check out Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man."]

Promoting this type of music to a group of people who are already disenfranchised and plagued with a bevy of social ills, keeps those people disoriented and disorganized. It's a sick trick, and an easy trap that so many of our "entertainers" walk into- knowingly and unknowingly. We have to be smarter, and more ethical than this. We also have to honor the power we have. If we don't honor the power that we have and use it for good, universal law dictates that our destruction is certain.

We don't all have to hold hands and skip down the lily field together- so to speak. However, we should have some type of standard and forethought concerning how we deal with each other as a community. There are better ways for us to relate to each other than what today's popular music is promoting.

Lots of Love,

Elsie Law

Quote Of The Day

"There comes a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance, that imitation is suicide, that he must take himself for better, or for worse as his portion." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Today The Legal Eagles Community Newsletter Blog Turns 1 Years Old


In honor of this blog's very 1st anniversary, I would like to post a series of videos that were featured as some of the very first posts. The videos contain a speech given by activist & author, Sister Souljah, in 1999. It is a very, profound, soul-bearing and thought provoking speech. Enjoy!

[SIDEBAR: 1 year and over a 1,000 posts. This blog went from a weekday blog to a daily blog. In celebration of this achievement...Guess what I'm going to do?...Expand! Stay tuned for more details, coming soon.]

[SIDEBAR THE FINALE: HAVE A HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY! MUCH LOVE.]

Part 1 of 5:


Part 2 of 5:


Part 3 of 5:


Part 4 of 5:


Part 5 of 5:

Quote Of The Day

"Love is patient, love is kind, and envies no one. Love is never boastful, not conceited, nor rude; Never selfish, not quick to take offense. There is nothing love cannot face; There is no limit to its faith, its hope, and endurance. In a word, there are three things that last forever: Faith, hope, and love; But the greatest of them all is love." -The Bible

Friday, February 13, 2009

Book Excerpt Of The Week: "1984" By: George Orwell

"He remembered how once he had been walking down a crowded street when a tremendous shout of hundreds of voices- women's voices- had burst a side street a little way ahead. It was a great formidable cry of anger and despair, a deep loud "Oh-o-o-o-oh!" that went humming on like the reverberation of a bell. His heart had leapt. It's started, he had thought. A riot! The proles are breaking loose at last! When he had reached the spot it was to see a mob or two or three hundred women crowding around the stalls of a street market, with faces as tragic as though they had been the doomed passengers on a sinking ship. But at this moment the general despair broke down into a multitude of individual quarrels. It appeared that one of the stalls had been selling tin saucepans. They were wretched, flimsy things, but cooking pots of any kind were always difficult to get. Now the supply had unexpectedly given out. The successful women, bumped and jostled by the rest, were trying to make off with their saucepans while dozens of others clamored round the stall, accusing the stallkeeper of favoritism and of having more saucepans somewhere in reserve. There was a fresh outburst of yells. Two bloated women, one of them with her hair coming down, had got hold of the same saucepan and were trying to tear it out of another's hands. For a moment they were both tugging, and then the handle came off. Winston watched them. And yet, just for a moment, what almost frightening power had sounded in that cry from only a few hundred throats! Why was it that they could never shout like that about anything that mattered?" -From, "1984" By: George Orwell

Black History Fact Of The Day

On this day in 1920. The Negro National Baseball League was created. According to Wikipedia, the Negro National League (NNL), "The new league was the first African-American baseball circuit to achieve stability and last more than one season." The league lasted for 11 years.

Today's Fly Or Die Commerce Report

The financial bamboozle continues. According to The New York Daily News, six New York banks that received bailout money, also received $550 million in city tax breaks over the last two decades.

The banks received over a half-a-billion dollars in tax breaks under the stipulation that they would keep jobs in the city. However, a watchdog group that attempted to determine whether or not AIG, Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Bear Stearns, Bank of America, and JP Morgan Chase complied with the agreement found it difficult to find evidence that they did. The group is demanding that the city release the details of the deal so they can make a definite determination.

[SIDEBAR: Corporate welfare=The Bailout before it was called The Bailout.]

Elsie Law's Daily Dose Of The Law

Charges have been filed against a Morgan Stanley Vice President. He was arrested yesterday for allegedly stealing $2.3 million from the company.

According to The New York Daily News, the executive stole the money over a 7-year period of time. His high ranking in the company gave him the authority to write checks.

The wayward executive reportedly funneled the stolen money into an account for himself. He is charged with grand larceny, and the falsification of business records.

TODAY IS...

PLEASE PASS THIS ON! (EACH ONE TEACH ONE OR TWO!) THIS IS PHASE ONE ON HOW WE CAN HELP TO STRENGTHEN & EMPOWER OUR COMMUNITY:The 2008 not guilty verdict in the Sean Bell case evoked outrage, emotion, and debate. It is not an anomaly that the police officers involved in the Sean Bell slaying were acquitted of all charges on all counts in State Supreme Court. I could run out of ink printing the names of people who have been victimized by the inaptly named justice system.

The American justice system has been especially terroristic towards the African American community. Many community members can cite historic and personal accounts to prove this. Therefore, it would be foolhardy (at the least) to turn to a system that has methodically oppressed us, and request that they free us. We can only free ourselves through extreme discipline and intelligent planning.

As a community we have been too compliant with leaders who organize ineffective, delayed reactions. The only strategy that can save us in this last hour is one that calls for a collective code of conduct that will be conducive to improving the conditions of our community, and shifting the paradigm of how we are treated by outside entities. The first step of this code of conduct should be based on economics.

The old adage of “money talks,” still reigns true in the new millennium. Any political scientist worth his or her library card will tell you that: “Economic powerlessness equals political powerlessness,” and conversely “economic power equals political power.” This means that if we continue to allow our wealth to be extracted from our community, we will remain impotent.

The power of the collective “Black Dollar” is often discussed. However, that power has been left unchanneled. Today is the day to change that. A one-time boycott is not going to bring long-term change and respect to our community. Our community has launched boycotts before. Our success and ascension will be based on what we consistently do. For this reason, we should initiate “BUY BLACK FRIDAYS.”

BUY BLACK FRIDAYS is a small step towards our community acquiring power via controlling our economics. Every Friday, people who acknowledge the injustice and oppression that the African American community has been consistently subjected to should do one of the following:

Option #1: Spend $0 on Friday
Option #2: Spend no more than $10 on Friday
Option #3: Only Shop at Black Businesses on Friday
[PLEASE NOTE THAT THE ABOVE OPTIONS CAN & SHOULD BE EXERCISED ON A DAILY BASIS. However, we can all at the very least focus on Fridays. This way we can take a collective stand and build our collective discipline. Please remember that this is only Phase 1!].

To the people who are tempted to label “BUY BLACK FRIDAYS” as racist, I say this: In the big scheme of things, this is about right & wrong, justice & injustice. The African American community is a strong, proud community that has endured the brunt of America’s iron fist. We must stop the pounding. I feel that any fair-minded individual will concur, and join in.

ANY business that is privileged to enjoy the support of the African American community MUST return that support.

I thank you in advance for your effort and dedication.

-Elsie Law AKA Starface

Quote Of The Day

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace." -Jimi Hendrix

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Black History Fact Of The Day

Ron Brown, who was the first African-American Secretary of Commerce for the United States, spent a lot of his childhood at the famed Harlem hotel, the Hotel Teresa. Brown's father was the manager of the hotel, and their family lived there for many years.

Due to his presence at the Hotel Teresa, Ron Brown crossed paths with many dignitaries, politicians, and celebrities at an early age. This was a foreshadowing, and early training for things to come in the young man's future career.

Today's Fly Or Die Commerce Report

Laughing in the face of billions of dollars of losses, Merrill Lynch awarded their executives with hefty bonuses. New York's Attorney General says that the financial company did this by secretly moving up the date that they usually award their bonuses.

Merrill Lynch & Co. reportedly dispersed $3.6 billion in bonuses to approximately 39,000 employees. Documents site the bonus breakdown as follows: The top 4 bonus recipients received a combined $121 million; The next 4 bonus recipients received a combined $62 million; and, 696 individual employees received bonuses of $1 million or more.

If money is going to be distributed like this by a company that is grossly in the red, and allegedly laying off employees by the thousands; what good is a stimulus plan?