Category Archives: Politics

Debt Ceiling Cliffnotes

websWeb ServicesAllMerchantsCliffsNotes1 resized200 Debt Ceiling Cliffnotes

If you’re confused about all of the talk in the news about debt ceilings, taxes, government shutdowns, and what not, no need to worry about what it all means.  Here at The Cool Table, we’ll explain it simple and plain:

1) In 2001 we decided to cut taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

2) September 11 happened.  Then we decided to go to war.  Wars costs lots of money.

3) Two wars and a financial bailout later, it’s time to pay the piper.  The thing is, we’ve reached the limit on what we can borrow.  No more can be borrowed unless we raise the “debt ceiling,” or limit on what we can borrow.  It’s similar to you calling your credit card company and asking them to raise the limit on your Visa card.

4) Our government runs on a budget.  In order to pay for things, we need money.  If the “credit limit” isn’t increased, then we can’t pay for things, much less make payments on what we already owe.  So we have to borrow more money, bring more money in, and stop spending on certain things.

5) Traditionally, Democrats believe in using revenue from taxes to pay for things.  Traditionally, Republicans believe in lower taxes, in hopes that those who hold most of the wealth will use the tax savings to do things like create jobs, invest, etc.  With more jobs, then you have more people paying taxes.  With more investing, you can tax money made from investments rather than incomes.  Hopefully, that would offset money not coming in from income taxes.

6) We can’t really agree on which approach is best, so we argue, give long speeches, debate, and accuse each other on TV.  Oh, and some of the people in charge who hold elected positions are afraid of not being re-elected.  Therefore, they hold on to traditional beliefs regardless of how it will affect the country.

There you have it!  Now that you know, what do you think the best approach is?

Tackling the Jobs Issue…

job seeker button 300x300 Tackling the Jobs Issue...

The economy is, and has been, the most important issue in America for the past 3 years.  In 2008, jobs were being cut left and right.  No one seemed to be hiring.  Things looked dire.  In 2011, one could argue that companies are hiring.  Yet, unemployment numbers haven’t improved as they should.  Some employers argue that taxes, revenues, and losses are contributing to lack of vacancies.  Contrarily, some employers argue that there are indeed openings.  The problem is that there aren’t enough skilled applicants out there to fill vacancies.

Somebody is lying.

Considering the latter, how do we approach this problem?  Americans are more educated than ever before.  In 2002, it was reported that 80% of Americans are graduates of high school or higher, compared to 75% in 1990 (http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2002-06-05-education-census.htm).  Here’s a newsflash:  It’s 2011, and more folks are getting degrees.  Colleges are reporting more incoming freshmen than ever.  Tuition costs are skyrocketing.  Getting a degree is sexy now.

So where are the jobs?  The cost of living isn’t going down anytime soon… or ever.  What’s the solution?

There is saying about Harvard:  Colleges train students to look for jobs.  Harvard trains students to create jobs.  Personally, I believe there are two solutions to the problem: Jobs training and Innovation.

Considering innovation, we need more entrepreneurs.  Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, the heads of some of America’s biggest, most successful companies are college dropouts.  Does this mean we need more college dropouts?  Certainly not.  But if there are more people in college than ever before, being groomed to look for jobs, then that means there are less people looking to create jobs.

Considering jobs training, colleges need to look at preparing students to enter successful careers in the workforce.  This means equipping students with skills that hiring managers are looking for in potential employees.  Here’s a hint:  Knowing how to use Microsoft Word is not a skill that sets you apart from other applicants.  For most hiring managers, it’s an assumed skill.

What skills, then, would be considered crucial for someone to land at least an entry level job in today’s market?  Here are a couple:

Computer Literacy – We’re in the technology age.  Most employers are no longer even taking paper job applications or resumes anymore.  Everything is moving online.  If you have trouble creating a Google account, then you might have trouble filling out a job application online nowadays.  Computer literacy, at the least today, involves fundamental competencies in using a computer for word processing, presentations, spreadsheets, and navigating websites.

Soft Skills – Employers are looking for people who work well on their own as well as in groups.  Can you give a presentation to a small group if need be?  Do you have good verbal and written communication skills?  Do you have a positive attitude?  Employers aren’t just looking for good workers, but also good people.

What other skills would you say are crucial to the workforce?  Though needs vary from job to job, what are some skills that are mandatory, yet transferable, across the board?

Bin Laden’s Death Should Be Celebrated…

Americans Celebrate BinLaden Death 300x169 Bin Ladens Death Should Be Celebrated...

Osama Bin Laden is dead.

When news spread Sunday night about Bin Laden’s death, video started circulating which showed Americans celebrating his death.  In D.C., Americans gathered in front of the White House.  In New York, Americans took to the streets in jubilee.  Survivors and families of 9/11 victims cried.  Chants were shouted in patriotic unison.  The national anthem was sung.  But more than pride, there was an overwhelming sense of relief. 

This is the reason why Bin Laden’s death should be celebrated.  It’s a relief.  There are those who feel uneasy about the excessive celebrating.  There are those who may feel the celebrating was hypocritical for those who consider themselves Christian or religious in any way.  The fact of the matter is that Bin Laden declared war on the United States of America.  He declared war on western civilization.  He declared war on any sympathizers of America, including other coutries that were predominantly Muslim.  He took credit for the U.S. Embassy bombings of 1998.  He took credit for the 9/11 attacks.  He killed thousands of people, including many Muslims.  He was a murderer. 

The death of Bin Laden is bigger than Bin Laden himself.  The death of Bin Laden is not the death of terrorism itself.  The death of Bin Laden in itself is the death of an ideal.  It is the death of a symbol.  In a sense, it was closure.  And the act of celebrating is a projected demonstration of the sense of closure that Americans have been seeking for ten years.

Sometimes, when you read a book, you may re-read it many times over.  Sometimes you get stuck on a particular chapter.  You may find yourself losing sleep, eyes heavy, from searching for meaning.  Sometimes you just want to finish the chapter so that you can rest… knowing that you’ll pick the book back up the next day to start a new chapter and search for new meanings.   

We know this isn’t the end of the book, but it is the end of a chapter.  We can rest… for now.

What Have You Done for Me Lately?

Michael Eric Dyson 241x300 What Have You Done for Me Lately?

Apparently, Barack Obama hasn’t done enough for black people.

Black leader intellectual, Michael Eric Dyson, in a talk in Iowa last week, made a comment about President Obama’s lack of dialogue on race:

“What difference does it make to have a black president? Maybe not a damn thing. Maybe it’s worse than a white president, ’cause he won’t even talk about race.”

Dyson continued, “I love him, but I will not be silenced.  I’m not asking you to speak up (for black communities) ’cause you’re a black man. I’m asking you to speak up ’cause you’re the president.”

*First of all, if you’re somewhat familiar with Michael Eric Dyson, and have ever heard him speak (whether in person or on tv/radio), then you probably know this “talk” was full of all the Dictionary.com Words of the Day from January 1, 2011 through February 17, 2011.   If you’re also familiar with Dyson, then you know that black leaders intellectuals like him believe that anything black, or race related, is their bailiwick.  But that is neither here nor there….  I receive the daily Word of the Day from Dictionary.com, and I just wanted to use, “bailiwick,” in a sentence.

Back to Dyson, he’s earned his title as an intellectual.  He’s a tenured professor at Georgetown.  Last time I checked, that was a pretty decent school.  Being that Dyson is an intellectual, he should know that politics is a way harsher game than the lecture circuit which he frequents.  A few points:

-President Obama, in some circles, is viewed as a Nazi Socialist who wants to ruin America.  His every political move is challenged and questioned.  Some people don’t even believe he is an American citizen.  Despite undeniable proof of his citizenship, these same people still believe his mama paid the State of Hawaii to cover it up.   He has professed his Christian faith numerous times, yet people still believe he is a Muslim (like there is something wrong with him being a Muslim).  Even during the 2008 campaign, a simple sign of support, affection, and “I got your back,” with his wife was lauded as a “terrorist fist bump.”  White Whitmore fear is at an all-time high.  Yet, you want him to stand up and speak more about how black folks can’t catch a break race when white people overwhelmingly voted him in?  That would be political suicide.

– If Dyson would recall, one of Obama’s shining moments came in 2008, in the wake of the Reverend Wright issues.  Obama gave one of the most impressive, moving, and insightful speeches on race in recent memory.  If you go back and read that speech, Obama not only started a dialogue on race, but he sparked a dialogue on the idea of a post-racial America.

– Just the mere fact that Obama is the first black president has done more for black people since King and the Civil Rights Movement.  When teachers and adults tell black kids that they can be anything in the world, including president, then they are no longer selling a dream.  It actually happened.  And if it actually happened, then it can happen again.  Black kids now have more to aspire to than rapping, singing, playing sports, or acting.

– Barack Obama is the president of the United States of America, not just black people.  With that said…

How about we focus on getting him re-elected?  Follow me on this…

Everyone knows that President Obama is seeking re-election for a second term.  The Rethuglicans know that they have no viable candidate who can beat Obama right now.  During his first term, Obama has had to govern from the center.  In other words, he’s had to walk on eggshells and concede on issues he really believes in for the greater good.

Now imagine a black president in his second term, with no possibility of being re-elected.  If Obama is re-elected in 2012, then I’m predicting 2016 will be when he goes on his When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong tour.  He’ll be unfiltered.  He’ll be on his way out of office.  He will have the platform to say and do all the things he has always wanted to say since 2009.  Us black people might even get reparations checks out of the whole thing!  Who knows?  I just think that by 2015-2016, we could get this version of the president.

So my plea to Michael Eric Dyson is simple:  DON’T MESS THIS UP!

What do you think?  Should Obama talk more about race?  Is Obama doing enough for race relations?

What Have You Learned?

As we grow older, a lot of things we once valued aren’t as valuable to us as they once were.  The way we thought the world works isn’t exactly how the world works. Is it that we have lost faith, or do we just see things for how they really are?

Being popular is more important than being smart… how silly of me.

Having things is more important than having assets… how silly of me.

Not realizing every mistake or sin is fear-based… how silly of me.

Trying to change people rather than being the change I want to see… how silly of me.

What have you realized that you have been silly of?  How do you see the world now compared to when you were 18?  21?

*The soundtrack for today’s post is, “How Silly of Me,” by artist 607 (one half of the duo, earFear).  You can hear more here.

Is Barack Obama gone have to choke a B!tch?

Wayne Brady Is Barack Obama gone have to choke a B!tch?

“Is Barack Obama gone have to choke a B!tch?”

So the President took Spike Lee’s advice this week and finally got a little mad about he Gulf Oil spill.  Not that Spike Lee should ever be listened to on a regular basis, but I was happy he showed a little bit of his ninja side.  And what he said was so straight forward I don’t have to even dumb it down for you…

He wants to know “whose ass to kick.”   Well Mr. President it’s a really short list…

BP, Transatlantic, Haliburton, and your own administration for failing to react quicker when you guys saw that BP wasn’t willing to spend real money to get this done and tried to find every cheap way possible to fix the oil spill and cause 37% of the Gulf to be uninhabitable by marine life capable of getting this done.

Here is the full story…

http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/06/07/gulf.oil.obama/index.html?hpt=T2

President Barack Obama bluntly defended his administration’s response to the undersea gusher fouling the Gulf of Mexico on Monday, telling an interviewer he has met with experts to learn “whose ass to kick.”

“I was down there a month ago, before most of these talking heads were even paying attention to the Gulf,” Obama told NBC’s “Today” show in an interview scheduled to air Tuesday. “A month ago I was meeting with fishermen down there, standing in the rain talking about what a potential crisis this could be.”

A variety of critics have accused Obama of being too cerebral in his reaction to the undersea gusher now fouling the Gulf of Mexico, of failing to put the full force of the administration and of putting too much trust in oil company BP. But Obama told NBC his deliberations have been more than academic…

“I don’t sit around talking to experts because this is a college seminar,” Obama continued. “We talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers, so I know whose ass to kick.”

Well I ask you my fellow nerds.  Who is to blame?  “Whose ass to kick?”  

Did the President not act fast enough or is his timing impecable? 

Do you think this is fake anger to make him seem more concerned than what he is?

The South Shall Rise Again!

image5518423g The South Shall Rise Again!

When I was in college, there was a dorm at my school called Confederate Memorial Hall.   Most of the time it was just called Confederate Hall, which I don’t need to tell you caused many a black people to look like the way Three Six Mafia described Chinese women’s vaginas.  It’s just something about the word “Confederate” that brings in thoughts of Kunta Kinte, and him being whipped into the name Toby. The reason for the name, Confederate Memorial Hall, was it was funded by the Daughters of the the Confederacy (DOC) as a memorial to the fallen soldiers of the Confederacy.

Well because of public outcry, the dorm’s name was changed to Memorial Hall. This was done without the DOC’s knowledge, and they sued (rightfully so).  Well Vandy was a little smart.  The university changed the name in all publications, but left the name on the building facade.  They didn’t want to have to give UDC back  the $50, 000 that was given to fund the dorm 72 years ago… Which in today’s dollars converts to about $2.2 million… or about a year’s tuition for one student …J/K…only a little.  🙁

While I was in college, I followed the crowd on this one which was, “Screw them!  They made us slaves!”  Well now I have to go back on that previous idea.  Although slavery was a huge part of the Confederacy, I understand there were numerous other issues that caused that war.  And those men, at the time, died for their country fighting for what they believed in.   And if their people want to pay for a memorial for that, then I have to say that is all good to me… BUT…We have to see both sides of that:  The dark and the light.  Sadly, in most wars that are fought, only the winner gets to decide who was right.  I’m sure if the South had won, the North would have the same problems with memorials.

“Treason is all a matter of dates ” – From the Movie the Count of Monte Cristo.

I’ll add to that it’s a matter of outcome as well.

But I say all that to keep my topic in perspective.

VA Gov.  Bob McDonnell made the declaration that April will be “Confederate History Month”.  Now I can see where people would have a problem with this.  But let’s be clear (In my Obama voice)…  I think it is just as wrong not to have a Confederate History month as it is to not to have Black History Month.  He did it for a clear reason.  He wanted to honor the past and boost tourism for the state.  I don’t have a problem with that.  But here is my problem Bob…

How dare you not cite the roll of slavery?  Now Bob I don’t have a problem with you honoring your people, but don’t you dare not tell the whole truth.  Keep it real son!

I think Martin Luther King was one of the greatest men to walk the Earth.  We honor him as well as all black pioneers during Black History month.  But let’s be honest.  MLK smoked, and he messed around with other women.  That’s the truth, and we would do ourselves a disservice not to tell the whole truth no matter how ugly it is.

I’m probably thinking too much on this one when I think about Bob’s merits.  (Which I tend to do)  But to me that is very careless and mildly racist.

So I don’t have any problem with what you do.  I say leave the name Confederate Memorial Hall.  I say have your Confederate Month.  But don’t forget my heritage in the process.

Wood has Spoken.

-Trillionaire Wood

Barack: One Year Later

first%20family%20election%20night Barack: One Year Later

Today marks the day one year ago that Barack Obama was elected president and uttered the words, “Change has come to America”.  Well my fellow nerds I have a question.  Has change come to America?  I won’t go into all the other things plaguing society, but we’ll just look at it from the black male perspective. 

CNN is doing their normal explotive news coverage. 

http://edition.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2009/black.men/?iref=mptopics

And they bring up some very good examples of brothers doing there thing.  But my big issue is most of these brothers were doing their thing before President Obama was elected president.  Then I look at stories like the one about Derrion Albert and wonder if his election has meant anything to our young brothers. 

Well my answer is yes and no.  I don’t believe Barack Obama being elected has done anything to change how black men have acted or will act.  I think there has to be an inherent nature to want to be better in order to do better.  People say black boys can look to him now and believe they can do anything.  I think all young brothers that feel that way after seeing Barack had a want to do great in the first place.  Him being elected only confirmed their desires. 

I feel like any change in our society must be grass roots.  We have to show brothers one on one how to be better.  And most of all they have to want to be better.  I’m not taking anything away from his election.  I think it was great that he was elected and thing it was a great win for the black community.  But I don’t think we can look to his election as a defining moment that “change has come to [black] america”.  

But anyway… How do you feel?  Do you see this past year as a marked improvement for the black male in society in the age of Obama?

Civility: The Loser’s Virtue

art wilson2 gi Civility: The Losers Virtue

The question of whether America is ready to embrace a black President was not answered November 4, 2008 and will likely remain unanswered until the end of Barack Obama’s Presidency and beyond.    However, a recent irreverent outburst by Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC) on the floor of the House of Representatives during the President’s speech to a joint session of congress has caused some to answer the above question in the negative.  Maureen Dowd and former President Jimmy Carter have argued that Wilson’s comments were motivated by racism. Others argue that Wilson temporarily lost control of his emotions and his outburst was simply a momentary lapse in civility. I have no authority to judge whether or not Congressman Wilson is a racist, and I will not speculate on the matter.  However, I do contend that Congressman Wilson’s outburst was likely influenced by the twin themes of race-based politic and incivility that currently epitomize the Republican opposition.
 
The type of irreverent behavior exhibited by Wilson can easily be categorized as the height of political incivility.  Had such a slanderous offense been hurled at President Andrew Jackson, Wilson would have been asked to meet outside the chamber for a duel.  Although stunning in its ostentatiousness, Wilson’s lack of civility has been a trademark of Republican opposition throughout August and on full display in town halls across America.  While many Republicans approached these meetings as an opportunity to learn more about competing health care proposals, others arrived armed with republican talking points and determined to disrupt the free flow of information.  What’s more, this rancorous tone has been magnified by the race-based politics and name calling of conservative commentators.
 
Rush Limbaugh and Fox News Networks commentators, the de facto leaders of the conservative party, have been playing offense with the race card since President Obama’s inauguration.  Limbaugh has called President Obama an “angry black man,” while Glenn Beck called him a “racist…with serious issues with white people.” Glenn Beck further aggravates the race issue by calling the President’s efforts on health care, “Reparations by Health Care Reform.”  Beck contends that “Obama’s health care plan” is “affirmative action on steroids;” designed to give African Americans a privileged position in health care. In one fell swoop, Beck places America back into the pre-civil rights era black versus white binary. His call to white Americans is to “protect your own” because the black president is doing the same at your expense. 
 
Beck, and his fellow extremist foghorns, encourage whites to flock to gun stores and expos to purchase artillery and munitions to defend themselves against the socialist bent on destroying their way of life.  To this group, President Obama is not your normal socialist, he is a hybrid Nazi fascist-socialist in the mold of Adolf Hitler.  His goal is to destroy white America to make way for the reign of the black “master race.” Outside of being preposterous, this sort of rhetoric is wholly and completely irresponsible.  While the First Amendment gives these commentators the right to speak in this manner, it does not make it prudent.
 
The tone of the current debate has gotten wildly out of hand.  Understanding the convergence of race-based politics and incivility is useful in understanding Congressman Wilson’s outburst and the general tenor of the opposition in our current political discourse.  Opposition commentators and representatives have employed name calling, race-baiting and fear mongering in their quest to dismantle the President’s agenda.  I’m sure they all carry bumper stickers reading “You Lie,” and “Civility, the Loser’s Virtue.”