Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Tonex Exits the Industry/The Devil is Busy

Got a call late Sunday night... It was the station, they were telling me that Gospel Superstar Tonex had dropped an exclusive bomb on them... I was like, ok, what could it be? Did he win a 9th Stellar Award? (Black Gospel's top honor was held Sunday Night in Nashville), Did his already gold album go platinum? what?

"Naw, Brotha Greg", the guys told me, "he's retiring!!" Retiring?!!! I could not believe it. He was relatively new and definitely an artist for the youngsters, wonder what brought this on.... For those of you who are not in the know about gospel music, Tonex is like... Prince or Usher, only gospel.... He's beyond revolutionary with his ministry (when describing gospel it is, er, should be, always ministry)...This was HUGE news.... The guys told me that they had invited Tonex on the air to talk about his participation in the upcoming BET Gospel Celebration television taping. He talked about it alright but when he did he announced that it was going to be his last appearance....

He was fed up with the industry, he went on to say... The phoniness in gospel... One line he said really surprised me and that was that "you'd be surprised at how many gospel artists really hate each other but when the get on television and these shows they would have you think everyone get's along and loves one another... they are God's children"... Whoa!!! Now this is monumental news and some major revelations he's giving us...

He went on to talk quite candidly about his divorce to his wife Yvette. A lot of folk don't know he is divorced... I sure didn't.. last time I saw them, they were pretty cozy.... But stuff happens... But as some of the listeners pointed out, how could it happen to two people who were supposedly sanctified?? Interesting question and maybe we can blog about the subject later....

All I know is that this brotha was hurting.... and hurting bad... he cited financial problems... he said he had all these awards, all these record sales, but had no furniture in his house.... He said his record label was not taking care of him, careful not to blame them.... He points to his blog that he had written earlier that day to get the real emotion of what he was feeling... (

Dag, another casualty to this crazy industry... Gospel or no, I have seen this business tear the spirit out of many an artist, executive, and just every day workers... it is sad...

I remember my first meeting with Tonex. This meeting will always stick in my heart and soul as evidence that spiritual warfare is real. He was a guest at our annual KJLH Gospel Showcase at Knott's Berry Farm. He was fairly new and definitely cutting edge... But he rocked the house. The day long event was over and we were lounging in the resort hotel lobby. I was getting the last of the limos off for artists who had to get out of town for the next gig... and saying my thank yous to the artists who were staying the night and were just relaxing, networking in the lobby. Tonex, his wife and their background singers were sitting in the center of the lobby and I sat down with them - talking about their ministry, San Diego (that's my hometown too), what it's like to be in the industry after coming from San Diego... all that stuff... when this woman comes up to us and just joins in the conversation-uninvited....just walked up and jumped right in the conversation like she had been there all along... we found the woman's intrusion strange, but it was cool...

After about three minutes, a VERY strange look came over the woman's face and she started talking about stories and concepts in the bible that were, in her opinion, untrue. Now, it was not like a spiritual debate, more like a mocking of the Word... Tonex took her on and they discussed the Bible for a few minutes and then Tonex, just jumped up and said, ok, get thee behind me! You have no authority here!!! I was like, Huhhhh? Tonex said it again, Get thee behind me!!! And then started speaking in tongues.... I was like whoa.... The lady got louder and louder with her arguments which now started to turn into blasphemes...

She looked in the eyes of everyone in our group and uttered some kind of assessment of thier spirit... Curiously to me she said.. "ahhhh you're weak, I don't want you...." Tonex admonished everyone "just don't listen, don't take any of that into your spirit.. Plead the Blood of Jesus!! I was still flabbergasted by what I was witnessing... The woman looked at Yvette, (Tonex's wife) and said "You have such a beautiful voice...Why are you letting him take the spotlight, you are the one who should be a star... You should be out front!!!" Yvette told her "you don't have any authority over me...." the woman answered "you won't be blessed with any children.. you can't have children"...

By this time, the commotion was getting really loud in the lobby and people were starting to look our way to see what was going on... Tonex conitnued speaking in tongues and then he said, everyone speak in tongues, pray, rebuke the demon!! join hands in a circle around this woman!! We did and soon all of us were praying, speaking in tongues, rebuking the spirit that was before us... The woman started screaming and speaking in a really ugly language.. her eyes started rolling back into her head.... and after about three to four minutes, she collapsed right there....

The hotel security came and carried her away... They told us that the woman had been there all day trying to get into the theme park to see the concert but had no ticket. She had been disruptive all day... so, that meant she did not even know who Tonex was, so how could she have known anything about Tonex or his wife...We were like, where did she come from, was she drunk? no smell of alcohol.... it was weird... Tonex stated he saw her lurking about and he had an idea that the devil had consumed this woman's soul.. I asked him how, he told me that he has a very strong discernment.....

Yo, this was a really scary scene, but as God as my witness every word is true... I think about it from time to time and wonder, no I'm convinced that I was face to face with one of Satan's minions and was a particpant in batlling that demon down.... Now, some of you reading this may or may not belive in the gifts of the Spirit, but I do.. (I am a Pentecostal).. but even if I didn't, what I witnessed there at the Knott's Berry Farm Resort was true, actually happened, went down, occurred... it was real!!!

Anyway, that's my Tonex story.... If you are reading this blog on the same date that I posted it, then you are hearing a transcript of Tonex's shocking announcement. If you'd like to thear more hit this link:

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Right to Vote - a nappy perspective

Much has been made over the last year or so about a speech supposedly delivered by Camille Cosby. In it she talks about the Voting Rights Act of 1965 expiring in 2007. The prospect of this expiration has caused some very paranoid chatter on the 'net, on radio shows and other venues. So I wanted to explore just how the Voting Rights Act came to be.

I don’t know about you, but my parents instilled in me the obligation to participate in the vote. It’s our chance to express our views and opinions while maintaining one of the most important and hard-fought victories of the movement. In their generation, in their communities, voting for black folk was subject to literacy tests, poll taxes, good character vouchers and other disenfranchising strategies designed to keep black citizens from participating in elections.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 did away with all of that madness. The Act strengthens the 15th Amendment of the Constitution which guarantees that no person in the United States, should be denied the right to vote because of race, color or “previous condition of servitude". You see, prior to the Civil War, the Constitution did not protect the voting rights of citizens. While a few free blacks in the north were allowed to vote, the privilege was practiced almost exclusively by white men. Slavery, state law restrictions, and community standards prevented black people for getting to the polls. After the Civil War, Congress enacted a series of laws and amendments that provided for the re-admission of confederate states if they adopted certain standards. For instance, the Military Reconstruction Act re-admitted states that permitted the right to vote for all males. The 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, granted citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States. The 15th Amendment (1870) guaranteed everyone’s right to vote, overturning all state laws barring the black vote. Congress then enacted the Enforcement Act and the Force Act providing for federal oversight of the election. The result? All of a sudden counties and states all over the confederacy found Black people forming the majority of the eligible voting population. Black candidates began to win elections for local, state and federal offices.

Enter the Ku Klux Klan… The hooded ones tried to prevent the enforcement of the 15th Amendment through violence and intimidation. By 1876 the Supreme Court diluted the scope of the Enforcement and Force Acts and Federal troops were withdrawn from southern states, giving the Klan a stronger platform to execute violence designed to hinder black voter turnout. They also used fraud to "select" whites to offices previously held by blacks. Once whites regained control of these statehouses, they changed the boundaries of the voting districts to further weaken black voter strength and reduce the number of black elected officials (Isn’t re-districting still an issue among black elected officials??). The newly "selected" whites enacted state laws designed to re-build and entrench white supremacy. They instituted Poll taxes that discouraged blacks and poor whites from voting while blacks who paid the tax could vote but under extreme duress. Additionally, Party rules and state laws barred blacks from participating in the Democratic Primary!

In Texas (where my folks are from), the legislature (led by Democrats) passed a "white primary" law in 1923. Due to an unrelated Supreme Court decision, Texas Politicians saw a loophole that allowed them to conclude that the courts could not protect blacks who wanted to vote. The following year, Lawrence Nixon, a black physician and member of the El Paso NAACP challenged the white primary law in Supreme Court (Nixon v. Herndon). The Court found the White Primary Law unconstitutional – violating the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. But the ruling left open the prospect that Democrats could do privately what the State could not officially do. So they passed a measure giving the Executive Committee of each state the power to decide who could vote in its primary.

The Democratic Executive Committee adopted a resolution that allowed only whites to vote in its primary (In Texas, they used a similar tactic to wrest the vote from Mexican Ranchers). Again, Lawrence Nixon sued and won (Nixon v. Condon). This time, the Supreme Court ruled that the Democratic Executive Committee did not have the authority to speak for the party in this matter. Shortly after, at the Texas Democratic State Convention, Democrats adopted their own resolution to ban blacks and conduct White Primaries, replacing the executive committee’s resolution. This too was challenged in Supreme Court but the Court decided that the Democratic Party was a private organization and could decide who could and could not vote in its primaries.

We could go on and on here, but the end game is that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 has guaranteed our right to vote. (A renewal debate is set for 2007)

But now, we face another dilemma. After all the aforementioned battles, there is great apathy in our community. And, there's an entire nation of black people who are not eligible to vote. According to the African American Registry ( there are more than 1.4 million African American men who are not able to vote on Election Day because of past felony convictions. That’s more than the combined census of every black male and female living in Atlanta, Cleveland, Boston, Miami, Phoenix, St. Louis, Kansas City, Richmond, VA, Pittsburgh, Louisville, San Diego and Sacramento. Further if all disenfranchised former felons were included, the total number would be 3.9 million. This number would comprise the country second largest city. If they formed a state, they would be the 27th largest.
Only two states (Maine and Vermont) have no limitations on voting rights for convicted felons. Fourteen states permanently deny felons the right to vote (unless they apply for gubernatorial pardon), twelve states automatically restore voting rights at the end of incarceration, 32 states forbid felons from voting while on parole and 28 of those forbid felons from voting while on probation. Most of these felons are black folk. In Florida (scene of one of the presidential election crimes), 647,100 people are disenfranchised – more than any other state. Nearly a third of them are Black Men. Texas follows with 610,000 former felons. One Quarter of those are Black folk. Rep. John Conyers indeed has introduced several bills that deal with allowing convicted felons to vote in federal elections. But nothing has come about quite yet.

Get the picture? America has a history of keeping Black People from participating in the most powerful American right – the right to vote and decide how our government is run and by whom.

After all, isn’t it by the people, for the people? In the Struggle isn’t it Power to the People?? If we have the right.. then why are we so apathetic.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

King: A Question of National Security

As I spend this weekend reflecting on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I am processing the experiences I've had thus far as I participate in the many events, parades, banquets and such that celebrate his life. Just today I was at the California African American Museum for a day of cultural expressions including a series of awesome short films, compelling photo exhibits and listening to reflections and observations from children (BIG PROPS to 68th Street Elementary, you guys are the BOMB!!!) community activists and local politicians.

And after all the stuff that I've seen, it's hard to believe that back in the day, Dr. King was considered a threat to national security - almost parallel to the types of threats we are told about today in the so-called war against terrorism.

In 1962, Dr. King was placed on the FBI's Reserve Index, Section A, one step below the list of individuals targeted for "preventative detainment" in special secret prisons in the event of a national emergency. Declassified memos prepared by FBI counterintelligence specialist Charles Brennan at the request of his boss COINTELPRO Chief William C. Sullivan (and outlined in the book, "the COINTELPRO PAPERS written by Ward Churchill & Jim VanderWall and published by South End Press Classics), asserts in an 11-page document that "civil rights agitation represented a clear threat to the established order of the US and King is growing in stature daily as the leader among leaders of the Negro Movement. So goes Martin Luther King, Jr., also so goes the Negro Movement in the United States."

Sullivan's assessment runs right alongside Brennan's as he issued a memo shortly after King's "I Have a Dream Speech". "We must mark King now, if we have not before, as the most dangerous Negro in the future of this nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro and national security. It may be unrealistic to limit our actions against King to legalistic proofs that would stand up in court or before Congressional Committees"

This meant the FBI would go on to promote propaganda meant to discredit Dr. King. Propaganda that promoted his supposed communist influences, sexual proclivities and harassment by the IRS. When it was announced in 1964, that Dr. King would receive the Nobel Peace Prize, the FBI overwhelmingly increased efforts to discredit him. According to the COINTELPRO PAPERS, "Two days after the announcement, William Sullivan caused a composite audio tape to be produced, supposedly containing "highlights" from tap's of King's phones, and bugs placed in his various hotel rooms over the preceding two years. The result, prepared by FBI audio technician John Matter, purported to demonstrate the civil rights leader had engaged in a series of orgiastic trysts with prostitutes and thus, according to declassified memos, "the depth of his sexual perversion and depravity". The finished tape was packaged along with the accompanying anonymous letter (prepared on unwatermarked paper by Bureau Internal Security Supervisor Seymore F. Phillips on Sullivan's instruction), informing King that the audio material would be released to the media unless he committed suicide prior to the bestowal of the Nobel Peace Prize."

"Suillivan then instructed veteran COINTELPRO operative Lish Whitson to fly to Miami with the package; once there, Whitson was instructed to address the parcel and mail it to the intended victim (The instructions by Sullivan to WHitson and others are summarized in a memorandum from a member of the Internal Security Section names Jones to FBI Associate Director Cartha D. DeLoach on December 1, 1964, captioned simply "Martin Luther King, Jr." For further information, see Lardner, George, Jr., "FBI Bugging and Blackmail of King bared, Washington Post, November 19, 1975. Also see Horock, Nicholas M., "Ex-officials say FBI harassed Dr. King to stop his Criticism, New York Times March 9, 1978)"

When Dr. King failed to comply with Sullivan's anonymous directive that he kill himself, FBI Associate DIrector Deloach attempted to follow through with the threat to make the contents of the doctored tape public:

(Again, from declassified memos):

"The Bureau Crime Records Division, headed by DeLoach, intiated a major campaign to let newsmen know just what the Bureau claimed to have on King. DeLoach personally offered a copy of the King surveillance transcript to Newsweek Washington Bureau Chief Benjamin Bradlee. Bradlee refused it, and mentioned the approach to a Newsday Colleague Jay Iselin".

In the end, the FBI could find no takers of the story and found their plot null and void. Additionally, a planned investigation of electronic surveillance by government agencies was announced by Senator Edward Long (D-Missouri), a fact that caused J. Edgar Hoover to order the rapid dismantling of the electronic surveillance operation against King and the SCLC. However, the FBI's counterintelligence opreations against King continued right up to the moment of King's death by sniper on the Balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.

And surely, as once again declassified memos demonstrate that the FBI's operations continued against a few of King's projects even after his assasination. (The Poor People's Campaign) By 1969, FBI's efforts to "expose" Dr. King continued with gusto even though Dr. King had been dead and buried for a year. The FBI also furnished information and propaganda used by conservatives to attack King's memory and tried to block efforts to honor the esteemed civil rights leader.

Even as we celebrate the message of nonviolence, peace and hope in America as set forth by Dr. Martin Luther King, I cannot help but think that now, as then, the government seeks to jeopardize the whole system of freedom of expression which is the cornerstone of our great nation. Are we now and have we always been a police state? Who of those that the government now considers a threat to national security will 40 years from now be a revered national icon? Does the government apologize?

We trust the government (or do we??), but are they doing the right thing? If thier record against Dr. King is an indicator, then I say, we must start asking questions now. Even now, thier surveillance tactics are being argued and justified on Capitol Hill. George Dubya, like his dad before him is hell bent on amending our rights so that the government has more and more power to listen, view and otherwise gain surveillance against citizens of the US. We fall for it becuase we believe in the wat against terrorism. But is it right or are we dismantling the basic freedoms that this country was founded upon? History shows a different view doesn't it?

As the lady says, The Struggle Continues, But Always, To God Be the Glory!!!!!!

King: Dream or Nightmare, part two

More reflections on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King.
I am a child of the Movement. I was 11 about to turn twelve when Dr. King was assasinated on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis Tennessee April 4,1968. I had a paper route. and I distinctly remember the headlines, that fateful morning. I remember the adults whispering about how if "they would kill King, then we really don't have a chance..." I seem to remember a new resolve in the movement after the King Assassination. The push towards academic excellence would increase. The lectures about looking the "Man" in the eye, speaking proper American Standard English, getting a job, reading... these subject became the more. Also, the mantra "lest you forget the struggle" and "never forget your history"...

Now, as a grown man, my generation can celebrate a national holiday dedicated to the life and legacy of Dr. King. We have huge resources where we can read about Dr. King and other elements of the Struggle. We are the ones who attended the integrated high schools, in fact, some of us (like me) are the first fruits of the social experiment known as integration. We watched and listened as the adults worked in the struggle. It was in our Sunday School classes that we learned to love one another, that we were promised a better and brighter day than our parent's generation (most of whom escaped the brutal policies of Jim Crow and segregation for the sunny climes of Southern Cali)... It was in our neighborhoods that we learned that someday we would not be "judged by the color of our skin, but my the content of our character.." We also learned, especially if you listened to my Grandma, "the more things change, the more they stay the same..." I remember the trips back south with my Dad and Mom... they showed us the railroad tracks that you could not cross. I noticed how the side of town my Dad grew up on was all dirt roads while the side of the tracks where white folk lived was nice and paved... I saw the signs Whites Only, Colored Only....

As I reflect on the Man of God known as Martin Luther King, I wonder what he would think if he were able to look upon today's headlines. I wonder what he would think about the most recent gang shootings. What about the police shootings of a teenager who had a slipper in one hand - the cops thought it was a gun and gunned the youngster down with nearly 20 bullets.... I wonder what he would think about the lust for corporate sponsorship dollars donated in his name to parades and activities that fill the pockets of individuals and do not go to the empowerment of some local programs that try to work the Dream.... I wonder what he would say to the young people who take advantage of the large gatherings of folk - together to celebrate the legacy of a man- to fight, shoot and loot....

I wonder what he would say to the folk I encountered today running the Martin Luther King Day Parade in Long Beach. I brought a professionally built float. The workers from the float company were all Latino. I have to say that my people, most of whom were employees of the City of Long Beach had issues with these guys. The way they talked to them... the way they tried to hinder them from doing thier job, the whole issue was surprising to me. I spent a good deal of the morning defending my workers.... It was a trip.... Now, these are black folk, coordinating a parade honoring a man of peace who says that we should judge by the content of ones character and not by the color of one's skin...

In mid-2005, The United Way of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Urban League released a report called the State of Black Los Angeles. If Dr. King were to read this report what would he say? The report says that "while achieving equality becomes more complex in an increasingly diverse society, more is at stake than the fate of a single ethnic group if we fail to find ways of creating more fair and equitable conditions. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. observed in his famous LETTER FROM A BIRMINGHAM JAIL: We are caught in an inescapable network of mutality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly".

Yes, Dr. King struggled and died for equality, but the report reflects that in Los Angeles. "Blacks have the lowest median household income at $31,905, compared to the median for Latinos at $33,820, Asians at $47,631 and Whites at $53,978. At nearly 14%, unemployment for African Americans is more than double the rate for Whites and Asians, with Latinos between the two-a longstanding pattern in Los Angeles. 41.9% of Blacks children are living in homes with the Mother Only - more than three times than other ethnic groups. Homcide rate among black males is at 78% compared to 5.5 among Asians, 18.7 among Latinos and 6.6 among WHites. Even more, the mortality rate among adolescents in Los Angeles is at 131.4 % among blacks, 77.9 among Latinos, 61.7 among Whites and 58.2 among Asians...

African American Students had the lowest proficiency scores in 2004: Reading at a proficiency or advanced level declined from 26% in the fourth grade to 17% in the 11th grade. Math proficiency declined from 28% in the fourth grade to 12% in 11th grade.

Driving While Black: Black drivers are stopped by the LAPD at a rate of 19.8 % compared to the national rate of 12.3%

Incarceration: About 13% of black men ages 18-40 are incarcerated, with rates up to 25% for school dro[outs, a sharp increase since 1970. 32% of black males born in Los Angeles in 2001 are likely to go to prison during thier lifetime, compared to 17% of Latino and 6% of whites.

The Dream.

We have to fix ourselves if we are to take the Dream to another level....

King: Dream or Nightmare?

This is the time of year when we commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. I have been busy setting up the station's activities for the commemoration which includes 4 parades, an ecumenical service, a weekend of special exhibits at the California African American Museum, getting a parade float built, negotiating for donated cakes for our King Day Birthday party, getting the choir from Frank D. Parent Elementary School all set for our birthday party. Also, some young 6th graders who wrote a speech about Dr. King and won a local oratory contest with it.. I'll be promoting them at our King birthday Party as well.. It all takes place in Leimert Park - the center of African American Culture in Los Angeles... Councilman Bernard Parks(yes, Bernard, the former LAPD Police Chief and wannabe mayor) is shutting the streets of the park down for a huge festival... The parade ends at Leimert Park so we anticipate thousands of folk will attend.

Additionally, I wrote and produced several radio promos that detail what the station is doing over the course of the King Holiday Weekend, and some promos that include people on the street with reflections of the life of Dr. King... The latter was quite the wake up call...

After setting forth our arsenal of King parade promos and promos touting the broadcast of our special radio docudrama, I got the bright idea to produce a short series of bits featuring listeners, you know, people in the community. I wanted to know what King's Dream meant to them.... After getting the appropriate approvals and such from our programming department, we hit the streets of Inglewood and South Los Angeles... Simply asking "What does King's Dream mean to you?". Let me just say that I was not prepared for the amount of people who did not want to comment. Not only did they refuse comment, they had a huge attitude about it... But getting past that, I was not prepared for the ummmmmmm, misinformed way that my people expressed thier thoughts:

Us: Hi, we'd like you to comment on the legacy of Dr. King

Them: Ok, yeah..

Child with Them: Momma, I know about Martin Luther King, let me talk!!

Them: ok, baby.. uhhh can she talk?

Us: Sure, that would be cool...... Hi.. what school do you go to?

Little One answers: I go to ******* school

Us: What grade?

Little One: 5th Grade

UsL: ok, cool... who was Dr. Martin Luther King?

(microphone is on)

Little ONe: ummm, he was a slave that had a dream about......

Us: Are you sure he was a slave? Who told you that?

Little One: Oh, we learned that in school... saw a movie and everything....


Little One: He had a dream that one day all the people like casucasions, black people and mexicans would all get along...

us: ok, so then how did he get out of slavery?

Little One: He didn't.... Somebody shot him and he died....

Momma: Stop it child, you know Martin Luther King wasn't no slave!!!

Little One: he was too, momma....

Us to Momma: ok, look, the library is right there why don't you take her there to teach her about Dr. King and his legacy and what it means to her life right now.... If you don't have time now, please make sure you take the time this weekend to inform her correctly......

Momma: aiight brotha, thanks a lot man... I'm sorry.....



Thursday, January 05, 2006

Entertainment, politics and stuff

Entertainment, politics and stuff

What the ...??!!

In case you did not know about it, earlier this week Twelve Coal Miners were trapped in thier mine.. after two days of searching the rescue workers found the miners... all had died except one... sad. But here's the deal... Somehow, the word had gotten out that the miners were all alive and well.. The community rejoiced. Church bells rang out the good news. Prayers and jubilation swept across the town... Three hours later coal mine officials announced a tragic mistake, stating that all but one had perished in the mining accident... Ben Hatfield CEO of International Coal Group said that the company did the best it could under extreme stress and exhaustion, and that officials "sincerely regret" the families were left to believe for so long that their loved ones were alive. "In the process of being cautious, we allowed the jubilation to go on longer than it should have." a choked-up Hatfiled said... Cautious!!?? what the...???

WHAT A SUPER SIZE CROCK OF CACA!!! This company allowed inaccurate information to get out to the waiting families, indeed the entire world via the press... I'm sure they watched on TV as they allowed everyone to celebrate and announce a miracle while all along knowing that the miners were indeed dead. For three hours!!! Now, I don't know about you, but at first glance this is a company that does not care about people... These company executives seem sadistic in nature. What kind of person would sit on that type of vital information!! What kind of company would allow such jubilation to go forth and then cruelly announce that "uhhh sorry, we made a mistake"... The same ones that would allow unsafe conditions to exist in such a prevalent manner at the work site.

The evidence shows that the company was cited for numorous safety violations. Mine roofs that tended to collapse without warning (tended to - that means happened often!!??), Faulty or inadequate tunnel supports. A dangerous buildup of flammable coal dust. In the last two years the mine received 273 such violations... Two Hundred and Seventy Three!!!! Many of those violations were deemed "significant and substantial". But that's not all, 16 violations in the past eight months were designated "unwarrantable failures" - this is the one where the operator of the mine had already been warned and showed "indifference or extreme lack of care". There were other tickets for failing to properly insulate electrical equipment and wiring. Sparks from electrical equipment can ignite coal dust and methane gas, triggering fires and explosions. This place was already an accident waiting to happen.. And the company did nothing to make the place safe. They didn't give a care... Now, the mine is supposedly contesting some of the infractions and has agreed to pay fines on others... But still... this place is unsafe. All these infractions and the mining company is calling the tragedy a "tragic case of miscommunication"????

Bennet K. Hatfield, CEO for International Coal Group and his senior officers should be arrested for murder (negligent homicide). His board of directors should be arrested also as accessories after the fact. The company should be seized and deeded to the workers and people of Tallmansville, W. VA... You know, eminent domain.... There are probably other charges that should be prosecuted based on the psychological torture this company inflicted on the miner's families and townspeople...

I can see all the way from my little computer/studio room in the second bedroom of my condo in sunny Southern California and having absolutely no knowledge of the mining industry that this is a corporation whose culture of greed and corruption is so pervasive that it would do anything and say anything even at the expense of its employees's lives - both physical and psychological.

Let's put this in perspective... If you get a plethora of tickets, they're gonna seize your vehicle and if you have enough, you're going to jail. Somebody in ICG needs to go to jail... If you kill someone in an accident, you may be charged with vehicular manslaughter.. (My niece's dad did three years in the state peneitentiary for such a crime - it was a sad circumstance but that's how the law works) Accordingly, these people running this corporation should be arrested and sentenced to hard time, not some country club like the one Martha Stewart went to, but I want to see these guys in Marion Illinois (The country's most maximum federal penetentiary - That's where they sent John Gotti)... No Justice No Peace!!!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Well, it's a new year and folk are making resolutions to change circumstances... I'm going to excercise more.. I'm going to stop smoking... I'm going to treat my wife better or I'm going to treat my husband better.... These are good things, I guess if one really does that which he or she resolves to do.

This New Year season I have been thinking a little deeper though. I have been seeking wisdom on how to reach my dream. How do I really get to the next level... We may know that there is a wonderful plan for our lives, but somewhere along the way, our dreams have been quashed, diverted, disrupted, lost... We've given in to the dream killers and dream stealers.. you know, the playa hatas...We believe the troubles we have in our lives are barriers and are impossible to overcome. Aaccordingly, we lose sight of our dreams. We despair over the time it takes to reach our God-given dreams. Thus we've settled for less than God's best.

What is a dream? Well, let's look at what a dream is not. A dream is not a wish. (I wish I had a million dollars). A wish is a passing fancy, an idle thought. a whim without consequence or impact. It's spoken and gone in a second or less. It is a desire without application. or prayer.

A dream however is real. It has a godly goal and a righteous PLAN OF ACTION.. God-given dreams are the visions that guide our lives and motivate us to do what God has called us to do. Where there is no vision, the people perish... Heard that before. eh? People today are perishing without vision. An epidemic of violence engulfs our communities. Angry, hopeless, frustrated young men and women are robbing, killing and being killed , The legacy of slavery and discrimination has caused us to submit to the bondage of illiteracy, drunkenness and apathy.. Drugs flood the community , directly killing many and making others "walking dead". There is no dream, no vision.. thus the people perish.

A vision is a picture of what God wants to bring to pass in our lives, and what we must do to implement his plan. Vision is spiritual discernment. Those who have vision can discern his plan for the future and work toward that plan.

We have to think great thoughts. We have to, by faith, see some great visions, then walk, in faith, toward what we have seen. A dream given by God is inevitable and irresistable. If he starts a dream, please believe, he will finish it.

If you have a dream in life... Go for it.... If you have allowed people and circumstances to defer your dreams, stop it and start walking toward the goals that are in your heart. Don't listen to the playa hatas!! Go higher!! Strive and struggle to get to your goal!! I see you in the future and you look much better than you look right now... I see you meditating on the vision God has given you. I see you fulfilling the wonderful dream he has for your life. And there is no end to the blessings he has for you - now and forever!!! In 2006 Reach For it!!! It's Your Time!!!