Thursday, July 5, 2012

Response to "Morgan Freeman: No Black President For U.S. Yet"

I just read an article on NPR called "Morgan Freeman: No Black President For U.S. Yet" and listened to the actual show Tell Me More interview hosted by Michel Martin. I first heard about this now infamous interview on a local radio show and again on a television talk show. Both shows said, "Morgan Freeman basically said that President Obama is not black."

At first I thought, "Wow, he really said that?" My next instinct was to search for the original source and see what he said in context. I quickly discovered where the source of the news originated, but my understanding of the statement changed when I listened to the full show. 

I made the image above to prove my point when it comes to taking things out of context. We often see big print, but not the whole picture. I transcribed the full Q & A portion of the interview with regard to President Obama. Here is the major excerpt of the article that supports the statement used as a title:

He was especially interested in talking about President Obama, and why Freeman thinks he should not be called America's first black president.

"First thing that always pops into my head regarding our president is that all of the people who are setting up this barrier for him ... they just conveniently forget that Barack had a mama, and she was white — very white American, Kansas, middle of America," Freeman said. "There was no argument about who he is or what he is. America's first black president hasn't arisen yet. He's not America's first black president — he's America's first mixed-race president."

Many of Freeman's films explore important chapters of African-American history: Amistad was about the trans-Atlantic slave trade; Driving Miss Daisy was set in the civil rights era; and Glory centered on an all-black regiment in the Civil War.

Freeman says he has been disappointed by what he considers unfair treatment of Obama by his political opponents.

"He is being purposely, purposely thwarted by the Republican Party, who started out at the beginning of his tenure by saying, 'We are going to do whatever is necessary to make sure that he's only going to serve one term,' " he said. "That means they will not cooperate with him on anything. So to say he's ineffective is a misappropriation of the facts."

The article neglected to mention the questions asked by Michel Martin and the framework of the responses. Below is a full transcript of the interview portion regarding President Obama. 
Martin:            Wanted to just ask you if you don’t mind? You’ve starred in a lot of films that tap into important moments in African American history. The Amistad, Driving Miss Daisy which is about the civil rights era, uh Glory of course about the all black regiment in the civil war, and I am just interested in your thoughts if you don’t mind sharing them about where we are now. You know first African American president and on the one hand he’s there and on the other hand we have kind of a lot of very racially charged episodes that are right now in the news. Do you see a film in this?

Freeman:         Well there is certainly a story in this? Uhm…first thing that always pops into my head regarding our president is that all of the people who are setting up this barrier for him what’s his name, Donald trump, and this whole thing that he’s resurfacing. But all these people, whether he’s born here. Yeah, uhm…they just conveniently forget that barack had a mama and she was white. Very white American, Kansas middle of America. There was no argument about who he is and what he is. uh. America’s first black president hasn’t arisen yet. He is not America's first black president. He’s America’s first mixed race president. I tell Bill Clinton he is Americas first black president and of course he laughs, but I’m ….I don’t know what to say about this situation anymore.

Freeman:         He is being purposely, purposely thwarted by the Republican Party, who started out at the beginning of his tenure by saying, “We are going to do whatever is necessary to make sure that he only serves one term.” That means they will not cooperate with him on anything. So to say he's ineffective is a misappropriation of the facts.

Martin:            Are you heartened or disheartened by our current circumstances.?

Freeman:         I’m disheartened. I am thoroughly upset by it. Uhm…but we will prevail. I think that the uh the public at large, watching…listening, when it comes down to it will say, “Now…now wait a minute, what they’re talking about is nonsense.”

Martin:            What lesson if any do you draw from your own career uhm  just looking again and refreshing myself on your really remarkable body of work. I mean you’ve had a number of roles wear your own racial identity was central  and you’ve had a number a roles, powerful roles where it…it was…

Freeman:         Meaningless.

Martin:            Meaningless, so I’m just wondering what do you draw from your own career in terms of the arc of the racial story of this country?

Freeman:         I’m not sure that I draw anything from my career and I’m …I just lucky but when Barack was elected president a good portion of the country broke into tears because it was proof that we are really Americans. That we are who we say we are and I thought at the time,  “Okay we can pretty much stop talking about race here in this country and concentrate on growth.” (Pause) Didn’t turn out that way.

The NPR staff written article narrowed down a small portion of the interview and the radio show I heard narrowed the information down even further.

Mr. Freeman made the statement in an attempt to defend President Obama's nationality. As for America's first black president? I agree that there will never be a "black" president because only dead people with rotting skin are black. The color of skin on homo sapiens sapiens varies in the reflections of light, literally and figuratively. 

So Morgan Freeman was correct in saying there is no black president, but he was also correct when he said Bill Clinton is black when you look at some of the definitions floating around concerning "black" America. 

That discussion is for another post.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Notes From A Lost Scholar: A Waste of Money

May 2009

I cannot believe what I just heard. This kid who sits in front of me and has slept most of the semester just called this class a joke. He says, "Anyone who takes this nonsense serious is crazy!"

All I can think about this kid is how he is a walking waste of money. He told me earlier in the semester how his dad is a millionaire and you wouldn't know it from the way his dad dresses. So apparently, daddy has plenty of money to waste on young junior's useless education.

I had the same kid in another class and he told me he drank vodka before the class just to deal with the professor's ranting. He had no respect for the professors, the school and himself. 

Thinking about this idiot made me consider how many of these entitled idiots roam the world's college campuses at this very moment. A sad thought indeed.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Streaming My Conscious: In The City I Dreamed

I Dreamed In A Dream
I DREAM'D in a dream, I saw a city invincible to the
         attacks of the whole of the rest of the earth;

I dream'd that was the new City of Friends;
Nothing was greater there than the quality of robust
         love—it led the rest;
It was seen every hour in the actions of the men of
         that city,
And in all their looks and words. Walt Whitman

I've returned. Returned to the city I knew and I've known in my heart no matter how far I traveled.

Images forever ingrained in my mind of a city shared by so many, yet seldom seen by the world unless in violence. 

Younger years spent on green and gray buses long before air conditioning came standard in a vehicle. Placing my feet in the footsteps of people long gone who traveled up rickety wooden steps to an elevated platform no longer in use. An adrenaline shot kicks in at the memory of excitement when I could see the expressway far beneath me from my seat on the train making its way over the city below.

In this city I dreamed of nothing existing outside, for it was my whole world that existed within this city. My birth, my death, my past and my future held no possibilities outside of this city in which I dreamed. Before I understood hate, I saw only love. The love of my family, the love of my neighbors and the love of strangers who smiled benevolently down at me. 

Nothing was greater or sweeter than my sweet home Chicago. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Notes From A Lost Scholar: A Bad Purchase

Have you ever purchased tickets to a movie or a concert and wanted your money back? 

Did you get the feeling that your money was wasted on something you were really looking forward to buy, but the item let you down?

This class was my disappointing ticket purchase. There were a couple  of highlights that made my money "appear" worthwhile, but on the whole I was displeased and believe I should get my money back. I like my professor because she means well, but her pedagogy is more along the lines of lecturer versus small class discussion. Mind you this is a small class of twenty students. She does most of the talking and it makes many in the class not happy. All I hear is, "click, click, click" of the girl text messaging next to me and I'm amazed if she believes she's quiet. So I sit here appearing to take notes and jotting down my thoughts on the environment around me.

Just got a handout on today's paper assignment. I don't agree with the assignment as far as the class is concerned, but I'll do it just to get it done. Many of my assignments are like that nowadays, is that something they should teach in high school before going to college instead of the pipe dream that is a "college education"?

Why does she keep looking at me? Sheesh, it seems she wants some sort of acknowledgment on something she mentioned. I guess I need to look up every now and then to make her think I'm paying attention. I don't know. This class is a general studies course, yet we are focusing on stuff in our papers that was not discussed in class. I hope she isn't expecting something great from this crowd.

Alright I've done my participation for the class today and I'm done. Man I gotta go to the bathroom, but she keeps talking. I made another comment, so definitely now I'm done. I hope she got my underlying looks that said, "Yo let the rest of the class be involved," but she keeps on talking. Phew, finally she is done talking and I'm done. On to the next one.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Notes From A Lost Scholar: A New Series of Posts

Hello All,

I must indeed apologize for my delay in posts, but I needed to take some time to think about where I wanted to go with this blog. 

I've decided to create a series of posts based upon my experiences within the college classroom at five different U.S. institutions of education. The schools range from Tier 1 to an unknown standing across a time span of fifteen years. 

All of these notes are true situations in which I have sat in class and made my own discrete observations of the environment around me. 

I hope you enjoy series and feel free to comment or ask questions!

Friday, November 19, 2010

High Health Insurance Premiums: The Lobbyist Attack

Article first published as High Health Insurance Premiums: The Lobbyist Attack on Technorati.

A beam scale with a dollar sign on one side and a medical symbol on the other side
Throughout recent months many customers who talk to me at the register and fellow friends or co-workers complain about barely making enough money to pay their increased health insurance premiums. So what happened to the health insurance premiums and why are they so high?

I previously wrote a response to an article in the L.A. Times back in December 2008 that discussed the struggling of a primary care physician. I posted my response on my blog A Misguided Notion. 

I stated, "Working behind the scenes (HMO, major hospital, clinic, and medical equipment provider) I witnessed how both medical providers and recipients were being screwed across the board. Meanwhile, someone is making money, yes?"

Let's not waste time on the fancy language of health care, the bottom line is that money is being spent to try and make us pay more money. 

Ever since the health care bill passed in March of this year, the health care lobbyists have started to put the pressure on the U.S. public internally through high insurance premiums. 

The $267 million dollars spent in the second quarter of this year alone needed to come from someone, namely the insured. According to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), last year five of the top ten lobbyist spenders came from the health care industry. The five spenders are Pharmaceutical Rsrch & Mfrs of America, Pfizer, AARP, American Medical Association and Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

I spoke to customer who told me that she had Blue Cross/Blue Shield her entire life even through her parents, but she had to change companies this year because the costs were ridiculous and they no longer covered her annual primary care check-up because she turned fifty.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or PPACA (part of the health care reform bill) will limit the amount of money the insurance companies can use as profit. Why should you care?

Say you pay $500 a month for health insurance. Out of that $500 the insurance company pays a small amount to your doctor. Primary care physicians who have a private practice might be in your health insurance network, but that doesn't mean your health insurance is paying the doctor a chunk out of your monthly payment. (See the L.A. Times article regarding struggling doctors.)

A large portion of the $6,000 does not go towards your medical costs. The insurance companies haggle down the payments to pharmaceutical companies, medical equipment suppliers, hospitals, physicians groups and any still existing private practitioners.

The PPACA has provisions that makes sure the money you spend goes towards your medical costs and not marketing ads or lobbyist functions. I'm not saying the entire bill is perfect, but the PPACA would eliminate part of the millions of dollars being spent to make us spend more money.

High insurance premiums are a direct result of insurance companies efforts to maintain their regime within the health care industry. Ads talking about hidden taxes and fees in the bill, well what about the skyrocketing costs due to lobbyist dinners or payouts?

Living check to check doesn't always allow going out to dinner, nor does it allow many of us to have a vacation other than not going to work for a week. While we sit and wonder about our premiums, there are people using our premiums to eat lavish dinners and go on lovely mini-vacations.

Just ask your health insurance company how much of your premium is going towards your medical costs? Or ask your doctor how much your insurance pays them? You might be surprised at what you learn.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Education and War: A Glance At U.S. Spending (Part II)

Baby's Face Above Pen On Stock Market Report
A Business Model or Bust?
Sure Duncan and Obama hold the reigns for now and talk a good game about education reform, while generating a plan to meet the current agenda. An agenda that consistently refers to education as an "economic imperative."  

In Duncan's November 4, 2010 address to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), Duncan introduced "The Vision of Education Reform in the United States" with a running metaphor to our current economic instability.

With all this talk of "economics" in education, we sure do pinch the wallet when it comes to funding. What kind of business model makes money without spending money? 

In order for the "business model" in U.S. education to work, there has to be an increase in funding. The U.S. spends pennies to the dollar needed for the current agenda planned for national education reformation. Many of our competitors out-perform us for a reason.

How Do We Compare Globally?
Children's Hands on Inflatable Globe
I found myself sorely disappointed and upset. In my research I kept finding numbers and percentages that appeared inflated in comparison to what I viewed on the budget tables at the site.

In part one of this posting, I listed numbers that were displayed on budget tables in the millions. How is it that there are people out there saying that we spend more on Education than defense? What part of 32,409 million is bigger than 636,537 million? Again I did not add the defense budgets of four major agencies listed in my diagram in part I.

This is a prime example of why the U.S. was ranked as 27th in world math scores and 33rd in reading. Basic mathematics ran away when digital dependency infected the masses. Literacy does not just include the ability to phonetically read aloud the words viewed, but comprehending those same words.

We live in a society filled with misinformation and misguided notions. People walk around believing everything they hear without verifying the facts. 

Here are the facts with regard to U.S. spending. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, millions of Americans struggle to survive in wars far from home and millions of children slowly ascend through a failing system riddled with all sorts of funding issues. 

What can we do? Start lobbying? Create a tea party movement? Ask for budget cuts in military spending and have the top officials take much needed money away from our troops, so they can keep their air conditioned tents when they are at war? Or maybe put a much needed salary cap on high government positions? 

I don't know the answer, but I do know one solution: place a higher bet on education.