Young Black Males In Crisis ..Calling Mr. Swann

There was a recent story in the Philadelphia Inquirer about the poor performance of inner city schools that broke my heart. I knew the statistics were daunting, but reading this report from the Philadelphia Inquirer brought it home. Black males in Philadelphia make up 14% of the population, yet 50% of them between the ages of 15-29 were the victims of violence in Philadelphia this past year. Only 9% of black eight graders scored at grade level or better reading, compared to 33% of white boys.

Here in Philadelphia, the city has already recorded over 223 homicides; most of them young black males. This is an alarming rate even for a large urban area like Philadelphia. And as is always, the usual suspects are being blamed. The schools, the criminal justice apparatus, the "man", a lack of funding for social programs, blah,blah,blah.

Here is the deal; as black folks we have no one to blame but ourselves. This is a largely self created crises, that can only be solved when we start taking responsibility for our own actions. Brothers, start spending time with your children, go back home to your families, and start raising these children that are being raised by the streets. If you have multiple families, make more time to spend with your offspring, and take less time to hang on the corner and play basketball with your boys. I am sick of seeing these young men being raised by one generation of females after another with no positive role models in their homes.

Many of you-I am still talking to black folks-are will be in church this Sunday morning. You will be singing, clapping, and giving praise for all that you have been blessed with. Nothing wrong with wanting to be saved. A little insurance policy for when you check out from this life and go to another one can't hurt. But we also have to make sure that our present life right here and now on earth, is right too. It's nice to invest in your local church financially and emotionally. Lord knows that the Pastor could always use more members and a new church. But how about investing some of that emotional and financial capital into your communities and homes? Believe me, you will be just as good a Christian for it. I challenge some of these Pastors -who preach a good game, to be more proactive in their communities with their time and resources. Start walking the walk to go along with that nice talk that you give every Sunday morning when you want us to throw something in the offering plate. Or when you want us to support your political benefactor.

And speaking of poIitics, I see where Mr. Steeler, and Governor wanna  be, Lynn Swann, took a bus tour of barber shops in Philly. He was supposedly trying to talk to the people and learn what ails the communities in which they live. Well, nice try Lynn, but most black people see your little bus tour for what it was; just another campaign ploy to drum up some black support. It aint gonna happen, so you could have saved some gas for your busses, and some time for yourself. Now if you can promise to talk to the legislators in the Western part of the state to try to do something about the ridiculous gun laws in Pennsylvania, well, then, we might be on to something. But I doubt if you will, because you need that Western Pennsylvania vote, just as much as you need the black votes in Philly. And I don't think that you, or any other Governor of this state will lift a finger to work on the educational crisis, or, the out of control crime rate that's plaguing these mean streets. That would cause you too much political capitol, and cause you to lose...Gasp! The white vote.

So this is why I am talking directly to black folks. Mr. Swann might look like you, but trust me, he isn't here to help you. The only one that can help you is looking at you in the mirror every day. So let's stop all the talking, praying, and marching. And let's start acting, organizing, and working. Before it's too late for all of us. Even the smooth talking Mr. Swann.

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Take Your Gun to Work Day: The NRA versus Chamber of Commerce

Now this is fascinating (hat tip to the awesome Florida News blog).

Big business declared victory over the gun lobby Wednesday in an escalating fight over whether employees should be allowed to take guns to work.

For the second time, the National Rifle Association failed to advance a proposal that would penalize businesses that prevent employees from keeping guns in their cars at work. Lawmakers in a House committee sidestepped a final vote after an hour and a half of debate that mostly focused on the troubles the law could create.

"Anyway you cut it, property owners and the Florida chamber won," said Mark Wilson, executive vice president of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. "And the NRA lost."

Apparently the wingers were squeezed:

Lakeland Republican Rep. Dennis Ross could speak from both sides.

"I'm sorry that we have to come to this crossroad where I have to make a decision between what I think are two very fundamental rights," said Ross, who said he belongs to the NRA, numerous hunting organizations and even holds a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

But he couldn't support the NRA's bill.

"While I believe that my Second Amendment rights are very important to me, as a business owner my private property rights are (paramount)," said Ross, a lawyer.

And now there's political organizing going on against each other.

So the fight continues, with lobbyists on both sides accusing each other of negotiating in bad faith.

At the Florida chamber, Wilson vowed to fire up a grass roots business lobby to make sure the NRA proposal doesn't return. That could mean everything from television ads to asking members of local business chambers to send e-mails in opposition.

"Now it's time to just go kill this bill the way it should have been done today," said Wilson, who doesn't expect the NRA to give up. "The NRA in Florida, as far as I know, never lost a bill before. ... We're in uncharted territory. They're unpredictable."

The Republican coalition is quite solid until it gets picked apart.  Really weird wedge issues like this - should you get to take your gun to work - are where the future of political fights could happen.

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