Author's posts

A Journey In Song

Pink – Conversations With My 13 Year-Old Self

Joss Stone – Right To Be Wrong

Shania Twain – Juanita

Releasing the Grief

Over years of watching and listening, I’ve learned just a bit about the many large and small ways that people of color in this country have to swallow the rage they feel and experience on a daily basis. It seems to lay there just below the surface. But as Clarence Paige wrote, people of color are taught from a young age to not show their color when they’re out and about in the world at large.

If you listen, sometimes you can get hints of the emotional burden people of color bear. Like the time a few months ago when an African American mother told me that she made her son cut his dreadlocks when he turned 13…she was afraid of the attention they might draw. Or the young African American man who still has his dreadlocks and tells me that he gets pulled over by the cops about once a week for “driving while black.” The fear that fuels this reality that most African Americans live with daily was realized this month when Oscar Grant didn’t survive just such a confrontation with the police. So the burden of rage and pain is built one (sometimes small) brick at a time over years and must be managed in order to survive in this culture.  

Freedom of Information Returns

While alot of the focus of the media has been about the Executive Orders President Obama signed today about Presidential Records and Ethics, not much attention has been paid to the fact that he also reversed the restrictions on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) instituted by former Attorney General Ashcroft in 2001.

You can find the memo from Obama here (pdf), but I’ll copy the whole thing below the fold.  

It’s a Beautiful Day

I’ve been watching all of the coverage of the inauguration festivities over the last few days and am feeling at a loss for words for what is happening. The American people are collectively experiencing a healing from the fear that has gripped this country and was so exploited by the out-going administration.

This transcends politics. Its about our national psyche. The best summation that I’ve heard over the last few days was a CNN commentator who said that he’s sensing a “softening of the hearts of Americans.”

Organizer-in-Chief 2.0

A couple of months ago I wrote about Obama as the Organizer-in-Chief, noting how he incorporated his experience as a community organizer in mobilizing millions of people all over the country into a grassroots movement to win the election.

Many have been speculating since the election about what Obama will do with this movement once he got into office and how being an organizer will affect the way he governs. On Saturday, we got some initial word on that.

Listening to those who came before

A new way to communicate

I was pretty disappointed at the Obama administration’s online response to Bob Fertik’s question about appointing a special prosecutor. But then, it blew my socks off to see George Stephanopoulos ask him about it on “This Week” last Sunday. And now almost every major news organization is talking about torture during the Bush administration and the potential for prosecution. This was an example of a relatively small group of people having a HUGE impact. When we can find ways to get the MSM talking about the issues we care about, whadayaknow…we might just have a democracy again!!!

Now I see that the web site has a new vehicle for dialogue going on called Citizen’s Briefing Book. Looks like you can write a short essay making a suggestion to the Obama administration. Readers can come in a comment on your suggestion (kinda like a blog, huh?) and/or vote on it. The best rated ideas will be presented in a “briefing book” to President Obama after he is sworn in.


When everyone does a little…

I would imagine that many of you reading this will agree with me when I say that I think we’ve got a pretty good thing going here at Docudharma. Its a special place with VERY special people where we can talk politics, but often go way beyond the limited way that most people envision that subject. We’ve got some of the brightest minds and compassionate hearts right here in our midst who keep us going through the tough times and inspire us to be better.

I say all of that because it takes all of us working together to make this place work. No one of us could do it on our own and that is the definition of collective action. But there are a couple of people who shoulder a little bit of an extra burden for this place. Of course there is our inspirational leader and sometimes zen dictator, buhdydharma. And then there’s the person who keeps the wheels on this bus going, OTB. There are responsibilities that come with their commitment to this place that we can support, but don’t necessarily share.

One of their responsibilities is to pay the bills so this place can keep running. I’d like to suggest that, while they are the primary ones who shoulder that burden, we as a collective can take more ownership for making sure that happens.  

Moving Forward

If you wish to repost this essay you can download a .txt file of the html here (right click and save). Permission granted.

On January 1, 2009, a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police officer shot and killed 22 year old Oscar Grant in Oakland, California.

I imagine that, like me, if you’ve seen the horrific video of this, you were stunned. The officer who shot Grant, Johannes Mehserle, has resigned from his position and refused to give testimony or any interviews.

This story has haunted me since I saw the video. It is a horrible act of violence that ended the life of this young man who was remembered by those who loved him last Wednesday.

Finding wisdom and inspiration

Some days, you just don’t have much to share. This is one of those days for me. I’ve been facing some challenges in the “meat world” as they say, that are related to this awful mess that’s known as our economy. So rather than have anything useful to say myself, I’ve been reading and watching around the tubes.

I know alot of what we read is hard and sometimes negative. But what has struck me in my recent wanderings is the depth of wisdom that’s also out there. So I thought I’d share a little of that with you today. It comes from an interesting mix of sources.

First of all, here’s some truth and perspective from one of our elders. Friday night, Bill Moyers commented on the situation in the Middle East. But its mostly a reminder of who it is that pays the price when “life and death become abstractions of policy.”

If you can’t watch the video, here is a partial transcript (scroll down to the last few paragraphs from Moyers), but it will be hard to get the impact without the visuals.

Two pictures worth a thousand words

Rikyrah at Jack and Jill Politics shares this beautiful photo juxtaposition.

From this:

Norman Rockwell’s “The Problem We All Live With”

Big changes at the Office of Legal Counsel

Obama announced that he has chosen Dawn Johnsen to lead the Office of Legal Counsel, the same position once held by the infamous John Yoo.

In filling four senior Justice Department positions Monday, President-elect Barack Obama signaled that he intends to roll back Bush administration counter-terrorism policies authorizing harsh interrogation techniques, warrantless spying and indefinite detentions of terrorism suspects.

The most startling shift was Obama’s pick of Indiana University law professor Dawn Johnsen to take charge of the Office of Legal Counsel, the unit that’s churned out the legal opinions that provided a foundation for expanding President George W. Bush’s national security powers.

Johnsen, who spent five years at the Office of Legal Counsel during the Clinton administration and served as its acting chief, has publicly assailed “Bush’s corruption of our American ideals.” Upon the release last spring of a secret Office of Legal Counsel memo that permitted the aggressive interrogations of terrorism suspects, she excoriated the unit’s lawyers for advising Bush “that in fighting the war on terror, he is not bound by the laws Congress has enacted.”


Load more