Archives July 2009

PROFESSOR GATES VS THE COP: WHO'S THE RACIST?

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., is a prominent professor at Harvard University who teaches, of all things, race relations. On the 21st of July, he was arrested by a Cambridge officer at his home for Disorderly Conduct. Mr. Gates claims it was an act of racism.
The media has run with this ball like a Patriots tailback from his own one-yard line. A famous black person crying “racism” against a white cop is really big news, truth be damned. And considering the man’s vast array of credentials, he must be the good guy, while the cop is the bad guy.
Reporters are asking the cop if he’s going to apologize. Won’t happen, he says. Nothing to apologize for.
In a one-sided barrage of outrage, television commentators have sought out scores of prominent blacks for on-camera vilification of police behavior, even reaching the president of the United States, who, in responding to a reporters question, said, “I don’t know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that, but I think it’s fair to say…that the Cambridge Police acted stupidly.”
The president is right saying, “I don’t know, not having been there.” But he contradicted himself by passing judgement, “police acted stupidly.” How does he know? Perhaps the president should go on a police ride-along sometime to get a feel for law enforcement from the other side.
Wolf Blitzer, of CNN, has repeatedly (and shamefully) queried black celebrities, professors and some journalists with leading questions that evoke the answers he’s looking for: Cops are racists! Racism is alive! Professor Gates is owed an apology. It makes sensational news. It sells.
Many people who watch/read such drivel get caught up in it all, like a fish on a hook, and fall for the slant without realizing they’ve been manipulated.
Here’s what happened, according to news sources.
A good Samaritan spotted two men using their shoulders to break through the door of a neighboring house. They called police thinking it might be a burglary. Good neighbor.
Police responded to a report of a possible B&E in progress, as required. Knowing only what the neighbor told them, the three officers approached the house with caution. Now inside, Mr. Gates refused to come out. The cops announced they were investigating a break-in, and asked to see identification. Again, good police work. At that point, the esteemed professor said, “Why, because I’m a black man in America?”
The response was as necessary as cancer. It also set the stage. From there, Mr. Gates apparently flipped out into an uncontrollable wild rant while making repeated references to the officer’s mother, then followed the officer outside and created a disturbance which drew attention from citizens. The police charged him with Disorderly Conduct.
I responded similarly during my police years…whether the man was black, white or purple.
While most of the television networks focused on the impressive credentials of Mr. Gates, they failed to mention the 42 year-old cop in question who has an eleven-year record of impeccable service to the community. A model officer, he is the police academy instructor for maintaining good race relations in the police academy which includes the denunciation of profiling. As a campus cop in 1995, he gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to basketball star, Reggie Lewis, a black man. Racist?
Here’s another point of view.
1 – The professor should be praising his neighbor who was looking out for criminal activity at his home.
2 – The professor should thank the cops for responding so quickly and doing their job, protecting his property.
3 – He should apologize to the cops for his offensive and unnecessary behavior.
But that won’t happen. Stoking the flames of racism keeps media air time filled, even if it’s not true. It pays to be the victim and nothing works better than playing the race card.
In today’s world, police officers walk on eggshells to avoid any appearance of racial discrimination. I know. Been there, done that. The last thing this cop wanted to do, was arrest a prominent black unless his back was against the wall.
Mr. Gates picked on the wrong cop to advance his agenda.
The president would have responded better had he followed up by saying he could not comment on the incident. But, loyalty to his old professor friend took precedence and he chose to opine how the police acted “stupidly.” That comment was made just as “stupidly.”
Or could it be, that the president has negative feelings to the Cambridge police for writing him seventeen parking tickets during his years at Harvard, (1988-1991) fifteen of which were never paid until…you guessed it, 2007 — when he started running for president. ($375 worth)
The president’s sentiments toward police officers were personified on May 15th, during the annual “Peace Officers Memorial Day” in which, over the last 21 years, every president has appeared to make a speech on the steps of the capitol bestowing honor upon fallen officers. They number over 150 per year. But not this time.
Yes, the president was tied up with more pressing issues. He was giving a tour of the White House to members of the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team.
I think we all get the message, especially cops. The eggshells are becoming more fragile by the day. (Or by each election)
Meanwhile, if Professor Gates is on the watch for racists, he might do well to look in the mirror.
For a detailed copy of Sgt. Crowley’s report and the report of his back-up officer, see:
Click here: Gates Police Report
Other resource links of interest:
Click here: Henry Louis Gates’ Arrest
Click here: Sgt. James Crowley
 
 Click here: Newsmax.com – ‘Scofflaw’ Obama Grudge Against Police?
 

PROFESSOR GATES VS THE COP: WHO’S THE RACIST?

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., is a prominent professor at Harvard University who teaches, of all things, race relations. On the 21st of July, he was arrested by a Cambridge officer at his home for Disorderly Conduct. Mr. Gates claims it was an act of racism.

The media has run with this ball like a Patriots tailback from his own one-yard line. A famous black person crying “racism” against a white cop is really big news, truth be damned. And considering the man’s vast array of credentials, he must be the good guy, while the cop is the bad guy.

Reporters are asking the cop if he’s going to apologize. Won’t happen, he says. Nothing to apologize for.

In a one-sided barrage of outrage, television commentators have sought out scores of prominent blacks for on-camera vilification of police behavior, even reaching the president of the United States, who, in responding to a reporters question, said, “I don’t know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that, but I think it’s fair to say…that the Cambridge Police acted stupidly.”

The president is right saying, “I don’t know, not having been there.” But he contradicted himself by passing judgement, “police acted stupidly.” How does he know? Perhaps the president should go on a police ride-along sometime to get a feel for law enforcement from the other side.

Wolf Blitzer, of CNN, has repeatedly (and shamefully) queried black celebrities, professors and some journalists with leading questions that evoke the answers he’s looking for: Cops are racists! Racism is alive! Professor Gates is owed an apology. It makes sensational news. It sells.

Many people who watch/read such drivel get caught up in it all, like a fish on a hook, and fall for the slant without realizing they’ve been manipulated.

Here’s what happened, according to news sources.

A good Samaritan spotted two men using their shoulders to break through the door of a neighboring house. They called police thinking it might be a burglary. Good neighbor.

Police responded to a report of a possible B&E in progress, as required. Knowing only what the neighbor told them, the three officers approached the house with caution. Now inside, Mr. Gates refused to come out. The cops announced they were investigating a break-in, and asked to see identification. Again, good police work. At that point, the esteemed professor said, “Why, because I’m a black man in America?”

The response was as necessary as cancer. It also set the stage. From there, Mr. Gates apparently flipped out into an uncontrollable wild rant while making repeated references to the officer’s mother, then followed the officer outside and created a disturbance which drew attention from citizens. The police charged him with Disorderly Conduct.

I responded similarly during my police years…whether the man was black, white or purple.

While most of the television networks focused on the impressive credentials of Mr. Gates, they failed to mention the 42 year-old cop in question who has an eleven-year record of impeccable service to the community. A model officer, he is the police academy instructor for maintaining good race relations in the police academy which includes the denunciation of profiling. As a campus cop in 1995, he gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to basketball star, Reggie Lewis, a black man. Racist?

Here’s another point of view.

1 – The professor should be praising his neighbor who was looking out for criminal activity at his home.

2 – The professor should thank the cops for responding so quickly and doing their job, protecting his property.

3 – He should apologize to the cops for his offensive and unnecessary behavior.

But that won’t happen. Stoking the flames of racism keeps media air time filled, even if it’s not true. It pays to be the victim and nothing works better than playing the race card.

In today’s world, police officers walk on eggshells to avoid any appearance of racial discrimination. I know. Been there, done that. The last thing this cop wanted to do, was arrest a prominent black unless his back was against the wall.

Mr. Gates picked on the wrong cop to advance his agenda.

The president would have responded better had he followed up by saying he could not comment on the incident. But, loyalty to his old professor friend took precedence and he chose to opine how the police acted “stupidly.” That comment was made just as “stupidly.”

Or could it be, that the president has negative feelings to the Cambridge police for writing him seventeen parking tickets during his years at Harvard, (1988-1991) fifteen of which were never paid until…you guessed it, 2007 — when he started running for president. ($375 worth)

The president’s sentiments toward police officers were personified on May 15th, during the annual “Peace Officers Memorial Day” in which, over the last 21 years, every president has appeared to make a speech on the steps of the capitol bestowing honor upon fallen officers. They number over 150 per year. But not this time.

Yes, the president was tied up with more pressing issues. He was giving a tour of the White House to members of the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team.

I think we all get the message, especially cops. The eggshells are becoming more fragile by the day. (Or by each election)

Meanwhile, if Professor Gates is on the watch for racists, he might do well to look in the mirror.

For a detailed copy of Sgt. Crowley’s report and the report of his back-up officer, see:

Click here: Gates Police Report

Other resource links of interest:

Click here: Henry Louis Gates’ Arrest

Click here: Sgt. James Crowley

 

 Click here: Newsmax.com – ‘Scofflaw’ Obama Grudge Against Police?

 

MICHAEL JACKSON GREATEST ALL TIME ENTERTAINER?

 

As the media frenzy wanes following his untimely demise, pundits continue to exalt Michael Jackson, ad nauseam, as “the greatest entertainer” of all time. In fact, Jackson may have been the most popular entertainer of all time, but to call him the “greatest” is a stretch.

Jackson was a mesmerizing song and dance act, who relied on back-up dancers and singers to enhance his performance, not to mention sound equipment that wasn’t yet invented in days of yore. Beyond that, Jackson did little else. He was one-dimensional. He didn’t act, he didn’t impersonate, he didn’t have a wide vocal range, nor could he classically dance beyond his own unique style. Had an unknown Michael Jackson auditioned as a bare solo in the initial phase for today’s American Idol show — minus instruments, dancers, chorus or sound machines — I doubt he would have made it to the next round.

Young folks unfamiliar with the entertainment industry beyond the years of Madonna should be forgiven, for they simply don’t have a frame of reference for “all-time.” Show business has been around for eons during which we have seen many who could be tagged “the greatest” in terms of raw talent and spellbinding entertainment.

Vaudeville gave us Bob Hope, Berle, Ray Bolger and Rudy Vallee. Later came Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Frank Sinatra and Carol Burnett all of whom could do just about anything, and do it better than well. Liza Minnelli’s one-woman show was unparalleled by anyone. And, of course, there was Elvis.

But one man stands alone like no other. He was not only great, he was multi-dimensional, bursting with raw talent in a myriad of genre in which Michael Jackson — and most others — could not come close. Another great performer once knelt on hands and knees before an packed audience to kiss his feet.

This entertainment giant overcame discrimination during the heights of segregation. He could not sleep in a hotel with white people, nor eat at their tables, nor walk in the front door of the very night clubs he was performing in. Yet the show went on. He fought against the Las Vegas and other establishments for black’s rights. He was a remarkable impressionist. He was an accomplished actor, appearing in thirty-six movies, one of which he sang the memorable Gershwin song, “It Ain’t Necessarily So” from in Porgy And Bess.He also starred with the original “rat pack” in the 1960s. He was nominated for a Tony Award for his Broadway performance in Golden Boy. He sang with a wide vocal range and a variety of style, including blues, jazz, popular and Broadway songs, selling multi-millions of records — via 48 albums – in a genre that was not considered his best forte.

That was reserved for his sheer power as a stage performer, singing and dancing with moves that Michael Jackson later emulated, including the earlier version of the now-popular “moon walk.” The hat, the legs, the poses, the leanings, the spins, the look…they were all his long before Michael Jackson was but a notion in his father’s mind. His tap dancing routines have been used on teaching films for young dancers. More than anything, his connection with an audience was personal, loving, intimate and caring. He reached out and touched, not from afar but up close and personal. He looked people directly in the eyes, though he only had one of his own.

Besides his on-stage accomplishments, he served his country in the U.S. Army during WW II. He wrote a book. He was politically active, respected and adored by both sides of the aisle. He was the first African-American to be invited to sleep in the White House. (by Richard Nixon) He actively fought on behalf of the civil rights movement. His only public controversy brewed from marrying a white woman in 1960, considered risque in those days. The list goes on.

Controversy? We’ll not even mention Jackson’s issues of questionable behavior, his crisis with racial identity, his known payoffs of hush money to accusers of sexual misconduct, not to mention criminal charges for which he was acquitted. That is another story by itself.

Yes, this little man was a true giant of a human being, on and off the stage. For those of us who have been fortunate enough to span the eons of stage, screen, radio and music, there can be no comparison in terms of sheer diversity of talent. That was graphically personified during a 1990 televised tribute, when one of show businesses most eminent stage performers, Gregory Hines, dropped to his knees and gave professional homage to “the greatest,” of all time – Sammy Davis Jr.

Sorry, all you young folks, that you didn’t have an opportunity to see how greatness is truly defined.

Set aside a few minutes, and enjoy a few tidbits:

For a sample of his impersonations

Click here: YouTube – Sammy Davis Jr. – Impressions

In the first 6 minutes of the next video, Davis shows his tap dance skills, then he sings Old Man River.

Click here: YouTube – Sammy Davis Jr.- Tap Dancing,Singing,

Davis doing Bojangles:

Click here: YouTube – Sammy Davis Jnr “Mr Bojangles”

Can you even imagine Michael Jackson ever being roasted:

Click here: YouTube – Sammy Davis Jr. gets roasted

Google YouTube for Sammy Davis Jr., there’s much more.

It’ll be a long time before we see the likes of him again.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

PRESS ONE FOR ENGLISH

 

If you travel to Greece or China, you would expect that any employee of a hotel, or a security officer, would speak Greek or Chinese. After all, it is their country. Same goes for any other nation in the world, except…of course, the United States, where every other language is okay and no one should have to speak anything but their mother tongue. Nowadays, it’s up to Americans to adapt to foreign custom and language, not vise versa.

Something wrong with that.

Take Miami, Florida. Beautiful city. I grew up there, schooled there, worked there, lived there for fifty of my seventy years. What was, is no longer. It must be the most changed city in America, especially since 1960.

We recently traveled there to attend a graduation and stayed at a hotel near downtown Miami. Our room needed another pillow, so I asked the maid in the hallway if she could get us one. “No peaky Engly,” she said, waving me off. Well…okay. I’ll go through the front desk.

The next morning, as the breakfast bar was being opened, I asked the employee, “Do you have decaf?”

“No peaky Engly,” she said. Wellllll, okay.

Later that morning, we arrived at the auditorium parking garage. We needed directions to find the James L. Knight Center. Sure enough, a middle-aged security officer was roaming about, so I asked for directions. “No peaky Engly,” was his answer.

Bottled inside of me, I felt like screaming: “This is America! How can this be? How audacious to work in a public setting in this country and not even try to learn English. And, how dare your employers hire you without being able to communicate to American citizens.”

I consider myself a fairly liberal minded person with conservative leanings. But there are limits. I was deeply offended. If you or I applied for a job in a foreign country, we would feel compelled to learn, at the least, the basics of that nation’s language. Not so here.

I’ve made some progress in learning Spanish. I had to, I was a cop in Miami for thirty years. I love the Cuban people, their food, their music, their vibrance and their diligence. All of my Cuban friends who migrated to America, have learned the English language while still maintaining an Hispanic tongue. And it’s good that they teach their children to be bi-lingual. I do believe more Americans should endeavor to become bi-lingual. I wish I had.

But there’s something about our nation’s identity that is dangerously at risk. That’s disturbing. Language is a major element of “identity.” When an American cannot go into an American hotel or an American city parking lot, and cannot converse in basic English, it’s beyond disconcerting. It’s rude. It’s offensive. It’s the beginning of the Babel mentality. It’s part of the slippery slope from which we may never return.

Writers often make reference to the wisdom of the founding fathers. Can you imagine what Washington, Jefferson or Madison would say if they came to a Miami graduation?

I can only imagine how it might be worse in the southwestern states where Mexican immigration — legal and illegal — is changing the culture of America, including language. Now, schools, government agencies, telephone directories, signs and literature, must adapt to the foreign tongue, rather than the foreign tongue adapting to us.

Don’t tell me about being a nation of immigrants. When Italians, Poles, Jews and Germans immigrated to the U.S. in the 19th and early 20th centuries, they told their children, “Speak English. You are Americans now.”

Today’s immigrants are telling America, “We want signs, phone messages, government literature, and all other materials to be in Spanish.”

How dare they.

This is like inviting foreign friends into your house. Then they take over and decide it’s their house.

I love America and what it stands for. Yes, I voice complaints like everyone else. It’s not perfect. And, the multi-ethnic aspect of our country certainly enriches the culture. But there are lines and our immigrants are crossing them. We want to keep America the land of freedom and opportunity, and of harmony among the cultures.

That’s why this American votes for making English the official language of this country. It doesn’t mean other languages are illegal, that’s absurd. But it means our schools, our signs, our government communicates in one tongue, and immigrants are obliged not only to learn our language, but to ensure it’s taught to their kids.

In 2005, a Zogby Poll found that 82 percent of Americans favored making English the official language of the nation. An earlier Gallup poll found that 96 percent of Americans believe immigrants should learn English.

If anyone is interested in relevant statistics, just check out this link:

Click here: Facts & Figures

Meanwhile, for a good 3-minute song about America and the English Language, and some good old fashioned music, try this link:

Click here: YouTube – Press One For English

Adios, Au revoir, Arrivederci and Sayonara.

 

CIGARETTES, ADDICTION, KIDS AND TAXES

 

  

This is about smoking cigarettes. Most of my readers have given up the habit long ago. But, you might want to pass this down to a few of the grandkids, especially those entering their teens.

I know a guy who smoked four packs a day. He was a hard-core nicotine addict.

He started…much the same way most teens start, because he wanted to be “the same,” included, part of the group, no different. He wanted “acceptance.” Smoking cigarettes was part of the every day culture. It was cool!

Of course, in the 1950’s, smoking was the “in” thing for society in general. We cannot see an old Classic Movie starring Humphrey Bogart or Bette Davis without noticing that every character in the scene is puffing away on the weed. Holding a Chesterfield between the fingers was part of the attire. Until the 1980s, smoking was allowed almost everywhere, including office buildings and movie theaters. No more.

Like most kids who continue the habit into adulthood, he became addicted to nicotine. After all, it’s as much a drug, as is heroin and cocaine, only nicotine is sold legally and taxed by the government. The addiction became so powerful, that the mere thought of quitting gave him pains in the jaw. When he went without a smoke for more than a couple hours, he felt disoriented, achy, needy. He had to have a cigarette, and when he finally did, he felt that rush of light-headedness. Sooo good.

Eventually he entered into a fast-paced job with lots of pressure. Pall Malls burned to the fingers before he’d light another, and another. Two packs a day, then three, then four. He gave up good relationships if smoking offended the opposite sex. By the time he reached his thirties, he woke up hacking in the mornings. His lungs pained him, but he still managed to smoke. He smoked in the shower, leaving a butt burning on the toilet tank for a quick “hit” between the wash and the shampoo.

He became a slave to cigarettes. They were part of his persona. He felt undressed if they weren’t in his pockets. He’d panic if he ran out of matches. Pall Malls were a significant part of his budget. They came first, before food. Cigarettes owned him.

He was 39 when the doctor told him he had early stages of emphysema. “I’d rather treat a cancer patient any day, than an emphysema patient,” he said. “If you don’t quit, you’ll die a very slow and painful death.”

So, he went about trying to quit. It was almost impossible. He tried special filters, but they didn’t work. He tried acupuncture, but it didn’t work. He tried hypnotism, and it didn’t work. When he did quit for a few days, he’d sneak puffs off cigarette butts from abandoned ash trays.

Finally, at the age of 43, he had an epiphany. The filters, acupuncture and hypnotism didn’t help, because he had not really committed himself to quit. He was relying on the devices to do it for him. There was no other way, than to do it on his own. So, he made a hard-fast commitment: “As of today, I am a non-smoker.”

There is no such thing as “trying.” The term “trying” is a pacifier, to shut people up. You either do it, or you do not.

He went to a doctor and asked for a medicine to knock him out over the week-end, as a head start. That was 26 years ago. To this day, he considers himself an addict in recovery. If he risked one puff, he’d be just like a recovering alcoholic having one drink.

Kids think they are too young to worry. They are invulnerable. Becoming 40 or 50 is too far off to be concerned. But, the addiction begins early. And it stays, and it dominates, and it controls, and it makes slaves out of its users.

Since those days, the four pack-a-day smoker has seen many of his friends go by the wayside the hard way, all smokers who started when they were invulnerable. It’s not the deaths that are so troubling, it’s the suffering along the way to the grave. Emphysema victims spend months and years hunched over gasping for a breath, many with oxygen strapped to their backs. One Miami cop who suffered with this horrible disease stuck a gun in his mouth to end it all. Another suffered from painful lung cancer for five years, and misery from cancer treatments, before he finally succumbed. Then, there’s the ones with heart disease, another fallout from the addiction to nicotine.

No sense boring you with statistics, you’ve heard it all. Suffice to say, the chances of suffering with a horrible smoking-related disease later in life is twenty times greater if someone is a smoker of cigarettes. All it takes, is being an addict. Few can escape it. Thus, the mere lighting up is tantamount to the long road toward a painful suicide.

With all that we know in the 21st century about disease and smoking, and the utter gamble kids are making by lighting up that first cigarette, one can only conclude that “acceptance” among peers is a more desired choice than certain suffering. Not only that, it’s plain stupid

Oh yeah…that guy who quit 26 years ago, he had a hard time with his lost habit, nervousness, nothing to do with his hands, and lips, and those missing packs from his pocket made him feel naked.

Someone said, “exercise.” So, he tried jogging. He couldn’t jog the length of a football field to start, without keeling over, but he kept trying. A couple weeks went by, and he jogged around the block before flaking out. A month later, he jogged one mile. Amazingly, three months went by and he ran 5 miles. Three years later, he finished a 26 mile marathon.

What a high!

There’s no such thing as “I can’t.” You just have to want to, bad enough.

I had a recent op-ed published in Florida Today, related to the tax increases on cigarettes. If interested, click on this link:

Give kids the truth | floridatoday.com