Sep 10, 2007

Who are you guys going for?

After all the presidential debates and the inevitable entry of Fred Thompson, which candidate are you voting for? Since I'm in Tennessee you may be able to guess but tell me about your opinions.

Nathaniel Peete Jr.

Jul 27, 2007

Taxing Issues

I have for sometime wondered what the forefathers felt about the size of the federal government and its powers. What would they say about the social programs like welfare, the health program, and the taxation system. Looking at the taxation in particular, what are the rights of the people and the IRS in terms of how we're taxed. An interesting case on the topic involved a lawyer in Shreveport, LA, who went up against the IRS in his pursuit to not pay taxes. The key of the case was that there aren't any laws that give the IRS the right to impose on citizens outside of "profits". What are profits? Well I'll tell what it isn't....income earned through labor! The definition would state the positive number from the equation revenue-expenses (at a basic level). According to this lawyers interpretation taxable income is for example dividends from a stock purchase, lottery winning, etc.. The Louisiana supreme court voted unanimously for the lawyer on tax evasion. I'm not crazy enough to think this would become federal law or anything but just made me think what would the country do if this was a law. Many unneccesary government programs would be abolished in order to create a balance from the income lost wouldn't it? I can only imagine the power of community institutions such as the church, for example to lead in community development and welfare in our community instead of underfunded inadequate governmental programs where are tax dollars get sunk into. Regardless this case was interesting read nonetheless. To find out more
as well as many other links.

Nathaniel Peete Jr.

Jul 2, 2007


With the historical Supreme Court decision reversing the Brown v. Education I found an interesting article from Juan Williams of Fox News and NPR.

The New York Times
June 29, 2007
Don't Mourn Brown v. Board of Education
By JUAN WILLIAMS Op-Ed Contributor

LET us now praise the Brown decision. Let us now bury the Brown decision.

With yesterday's Supreme Court ruling ending the use of voluntary schemes to create racial balance among students, it is time to acknowledge that Brown's time has passed. It is worthy of a send-off with fanfare for setting off the civil rights movement and inspiring social progress for women, gays and the poor. But the decision in Brown v. Board of Education that focused on outlawing segregated schools as unconstitutional is now out of step with American political and social realities.

Desegregation does not speak to dropout rates that hover near 50 percent for black and Hispanic high school students. It does not equip society to address the so-called achievement gap between black and white students that mocks Brown's promise of equal educational opportunity.

And the fact is, during the last 20 years, with Brown in full force, America's public schools have been growing more segregated — even as the nation has become more racially diverse. In 2001, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that the average white student attends a school that is 80 percent white, while 70 percent of black students attend schools where nearly two-thirds of students are black and Hispanic.

By the early '90s, support in the federal courts for the central work of Brown — racial integration of public schools — began to rapidly expire. In a series of cases in Atlanta, Oklahoma City and Kansas City, Mo., frustrated parents, black and white, appealed to federal judges to stop shifting children from school to school like pieces on a game board. The parents wanted better neighborhood schools and a better education for their children, no matter the racial make-up of the school. In their rulings ending court mandates for school integration, the judges, too, spoke of the futility of using schoolchildren to address social ills caused by adults holding fast to patterns of residential segregation by both class and race.

The focus of efforts to improve elementary and secondary schools shifted to magnet schools, to allowing parents the choice to move their children out of failing schools and, most recently, to vouchers and charter schools. The federal No Child Left Behind plan has many critics, but there's no denying that it is an effective tool for forcing teachers' unions and school administrators to take responsibility for educating poor and minority students.

I have to agree with alot of Mr. Williams said, this is a step in the right direction. There needs to be an overhaul in alot of ways in the public school systems and families, teachers, administrators, and of course students need to take more responsibility. This can be a great moment in America if we embrace it and use it to our advantage.

Nathaniel Peete Jr.

Jun 19, 2007

Uncle Tom or New Negro

One of the must read books of the summer is the Booker T. Washington: Uncle Tom or New Negro. The book in many aspects shows how many black celeberties (P. Diddy, Jay-Z, etc..) are following some of the same philsophies generations later. The book is based pretty much on interviews from 20 interviees broken up into essays. From the American Heritage magazine Christine Gibson writes:

"20 prominent African-Americans weigh in on those questions in Uncle Tom or New Negro: African Americans Reflect on Booker T. Washington and Up From Slavery 100 Years Later (Harlem Moon, $15.95), a new compilation of essays drawn from interviews conducted by the author Rebecca Carroll. Washington serves as a jumping-off point for a debate about issues of tribalism, permissible vs. impermissible blackness, what’s right and wrong about hip-hop culture, the gains and shortfalls of the civil rights movement, and modern black leadership."
Going further into the book review:

"Although most of the interviewees in Uncle Tom or New Negro believe Washington had the best interests of blacks at heart, they disagree about the morality of his methods. To build Tuskegee and keep it afloat, he relied on white benefactors, since no black Americans at the time had enough wealth to donate, and he had to play a game with those whites. He charmed huge sums from the Carnegies and Rockefellers, but many feel that to keep the money flowing he sold blacks short, by saying what whites wanted to hear.
Nearly everyone agrees that Washington was looking for the best way to prepare blacks, who had just emerged from centuries of slavery with little or no formal education, to make their way in a horribly racist society. Northern intellectuals could perhaps afford to think about education and social change in the long term; impoverished Southern blacks needed to put food on the table right away. The author Debra Dickerson reminds us that Washington risked being lynched because of what activism he did show. Others, like the filmmaker Avon Kirkland, argue that regardless of the context Washington’s segregationism held blacks back and may continue to do so today.
The book’s consensus, if there is one, is to favor Washington’s economic policy, which encouraged self-sufficiency, and ignore the outdated accomodationist parts of his message. Washington sought economic equality for blacks first, expecting it to serve as a base for political and social equality. But as history has shown, true economic parity comes last if and when it comes. Whether because blacks have forgotten Washington’s teachings or because his tactics were ineffective or harmful, 40 years after the civil rights movement, black business ownership today is still nowhere near on a level with that of whites. Now may be the time to focus on the economic advancement Washington concentrated on 100 years ago. As Cora Daniels says in Uncle Tom or New Negro, if Washington were alive today “his approach would be much more on point; now is when we need black folks to care more about ownership of self and work, more so than of material excess.""

Nathaniel Peete Jr.

Apr 10, 2007

I Guess I'll Say It

I don't know what is more offending, the fact that Michael Richards and Imus said what they said (I'm really not offended because I won't give them that much power) or that they go to the so called "voices" of black people. What ever happend to apologizing to the people that you hurt directly instead of cowarding to the "publicity pimps" as if their the moral authority, judge, and jury on race relations. The fact of the matter in Don Imus's case, is that he's been doing this for a long time to Jews, women, and blacks and he should have been punished a long time ago.
I can only say that we as the "hip hop generation" should follow suit in the matter. How can we demand respect from others, in regards to our black women, when we (I've been guilty myself in the past) don't even have the same respect. On a positive note, what I did see in all this, was a group of women on the basketball team, represent themselves in a way that showed, publicly, how foolish Imus really was.

Nathaniel Peete Jr.

Apr 8, 2007

Just A Thought

The immigration issue stirs so much emotion in every discussion, I've seen. Nothing better illustrates that than the exchange last week with Geraldo and Bill O' Reilly. When I actually heard what was really being said closer, the whole discussion appeared more and more absurd. This is an interesting illustration I heard about recently:
How would you react if you come home and see a group of people if your fridge, using your bathroom, driving your car, etc... How would you react if you had to pay for whatever they needed, cook for them. feed them, cloth them, and everything else just because they decided to invite themselves in your house and yet if you kick them out and force them to ask before they ever come back, you're considered racist, cold, and insensitive. Lets be real, if we see people using what we pay for (and work hard for) in our personal homes many of us may embrace the gun laws willfully and happily. (LOL). Isn't this the same predicament we face in our country? The fact is that the United States is our house (may want to watch "Pride: to appreciate that one) Illegal immigrants come to our country, use our benefits, expect the rights than many people died for in our history. (and yes I do know the history of hispanics in the United States). Hispanics do have a great standing in our economy and there are many bigger issues at work but my point is when discussing the issue, its time to stop the justification and excuses being used and get to some real logical conversation.

Nathaniel Peete Jr.

Feb 11, 2007

Barack Obama Unfit for Presidency.

Barack Obama has successfully masked his naivety and weakness through resiliency in rhetoric and speech, and now that he has taken his political game to an entirely new level, the implications behind his declaring himself a presidential candidate must signal to both the American public as a whole and more specifically the black community to call him out on his incapability of representing our nation at this critical point in United States history.

In speech, Obama spends countless lines of sweet-sounding rhetoric that only criticizes the current administration and societal structures, without offering solutions with substance. The war is bad, blah blah, we need to bring our troops home, blah blah... but when it comes to specific strategies on how to bring home our troops without jeopardizing their safety and the safety of American interests in the region and without completely compromising all of the hard work and initiatives invested to this day, Barack merely suggests '(working) with our military commanders to map out the best plan...' Question: what military background and experience does Obama have to factor into such discussion? (Aside from his work on the Veteran's Committee.) He goes on to tell the importance of diplomatic political discussions as the key avenue for peaceful relations between the conflicting factions in Iraq. His merely suggesting that simply talking through their problems is going to be the winning solution alone identifies Barack Obama's weakness and lack of political backbone and vision.

Aside for his lack of substance with regards to viable solutions to rectifying Iraqi inter-factional relations, Obama has not offered any insight whatsoever on how he as president would intend to approach Iraq as a potential ally and avenue for future business and trade. Then again, doing so may be too much of a Republican move, but it seems to me as though identifying all of the problems and conflicts and controversies does nothing in the way of encouraging Iraqis to take their country in the direction it needs. Obama offers no encouragement for promoting Iraqi nationalism, and his neglect in this arena only stifles whatever patriotism might be forming. This lack of faith certainly shoots down potential avenues for both American and Iraqi commercial growth and economic development, and this degree of empty pessimism is certainly not United States Presidential material.

...but enough about Barack Obama as an incapable president; time to analyze Barack Obama as an incapable black American president. By announcing his presidential candidacy, Barack Obama has taken America into a bold new direction. His every expression, word, and wave of the hand will now have implications for the black community as a whole, and because of our vested interests resting on his shoulders, we must be his worst critic. We must test him on every level possible and imaginable: his strength, resolve, and competencies must meet our highest standards, and we must not settle. Barack Obama must earn our vote, and must show that he is deserving of our vote--not because he is black, but because he is the most qualified, most fit candidate. As of yet he has not proven to us that he is this person. Hopefully though, the population of black Americans who take the time to vote will be the same population who truly analyze their options before making their decision.