We have the biggest best military,

We have the smartest people,

we are dropping bombs,

using troops,

laws,

sanctions,

aircraft carriers,

x-rays,

body scanners,

pat-downs,

we have all these cameras and  computers, but no matter what we do, it seems like bad

things are supposed to happen.

We headline all the bad things and bury the good ones.

We focus on war, violence and the mistreatment of others.

We keep spending and spending,

We burn with hate, live in terror and spread fear

–that can’t be right

–that can’t be right

—it just can’t be.

Somebody somewhere throws a rock and it changes the lives of everyone, that’s crazy.

And by bad things, I am not just talking about war and terror.

Whether you believe in evil or light and dark forces or not,

you have to admit that a lot of things that happen seems senseless.

It seems, that every time someone give into vices, it is somehow connected to something larger

something that pushes us towards an avoidable end.

Towards happenings that had to happen and couldn’t have happened any other way.

It’s just too easy to do the wrong thing.

I guess that’s how you know that it’s wrong.

Is this the way thing are supposed to be?

Are we already in hell?

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Kanye West recently released his new video “Power” from his album ‘Dark Twisted Fantasy”. Some have called it a Video, others have called it Art, at 90 seconds long many are saying that they are waiting on the rest of it. In this video you see a huge gold chain, naked women, violence acts and various vices, but does it push boundaries, does it raise the bar, is the video sexist; as some have suggested. As always the public will search for meaning in the Marco Brambilla produced “Power”.  In this new video, or portrait if you will, Kanye is portrayed as “Damocles”, as the legendary sword hangs above is head.  The video is scattered with ancient and modern day visual representations of the many perils that come with Power. Filled with sharp light and dark visual contrast all the way down the the white and black individuals wielding swords to strike each other down. To fully understand this video, we need to take a look at Kanye West the artist. I didn’t call him a rapper, I said the Artist, but more on that later.

I was just wondering if the MTV staff and security didn’t see Kanye wandering around below the stage before hand

While we are on Mr. West, does anyone still care if Kanye took a mic from Taylor Swift? Especially since she is really not a country artist add to that the fact that MTV was trying to steal the country youth audience by giving her a “throw away” award, (MTV also threw away and award in 2011 to Tyler the Creator, likely due to Kanye not wanting his ex-girlfriend’s (Amber Rose) husband (Wiz Khalifa) to be on stage) Kanye the artist called MTV on the throw away award. President Barack Obama, rightly called Kanye a “jackass” for his actions that night. But then again the President went to an elementary school and told the youth there that they can’t all be the next Lil Wayne…Lil Wayne.  At a Hurricane Katrina telethon, Kanye West said “George Bush doesn’t care about black people”, while it is hard to argue with him on that, but he said it so matter-of-factly, so openly and in front of so many people that his comments from that night still haunt President George W. Bush. Kanye’s words haunted ex-President George W. Bush so much that in his memior “Decision Points” that moment is listed as the lowest of his presidency? Not the Hurricane Katrina response, not 9/11, not the Mission Accomplished statement, not the Vice President’s heart attack, not illegal wire taps, or a mis-guided wars, but Kanye West saying that you don’t care about Black People was your lowest point. When asked about Kanye West’s comments that night the ex-president said “I didn’t appreciate it then, I don’t appreciate it now.”  This is a testament to the power and affect that entertainers could have and use but so very often don’t. In a 4-year period Kanye effectively tied himself to two Presidents and a rising young country star, without rhyming a single lyric.

Factions from all sides have taken swipes at Kanye West ever since he released his debut album “The College Dropout” in 2004.  The Hip Hop community poked fun at Kanye’s “808 & Heartbreak” album. An album which was dedicated to emotions and the heat break of love, but isn’t that what music, dare I say Hip Hop needs? A black man rapping about power shows how hip hop is evolving. Kanye’s power breaks down the paradox of those in the industry that say he can only talk about the hood, what it’s like to be in jail and, what it’s like to get free government cheese.  Kanye isn’t supposed to be rapping about power and he definitely isn’t supposed to be sophisticated enough to use images of Renaissance artwork  to get his point across.

Was posing on the cover of Rolling Stone wearing a crown of thorns a bad idea?

Only if you don’t remember it.

Kanye has even went so far as to suggest that his race is a major factor in why he gets a lot of media flak and is overlooked for some awards, in the words of Kanye “Give a black man a chance…Maybe my skin’s not right”. Does Kanye say things that you don’t agree with? Does he speak ingrandiose term of himself? Does he really need to say “Black”, or “I’ve got the” in order for us to see and hear it?

Hip Hop today is not focused on the Art, but the production. So much so that even the average listener is conditioned to only be concerned with catchy phrases and the formulaic dance-ability of a song. Corporations are riding the music gravy train and squeezing every drop of money out of each stop. Does anyone care that Pop singers can’t sing, or that R & B has become a soulless mosh pit of rap and pop or that Hip Hop is often little more than bad lyrics and violent rhymes? There is no doubt that corporations are pushing explicit wording, overt sexuality and trying to front the genre with White Acceptable rappers. The fact is that Hip Hop has permeated our American lives. Politicians try to relate to our youth by rhyming lines, brushing imaginary dirt off their shoulders or by throwing out a rappers name. Does controversy sell? Does sex sell? They sure do, and when the media trots out people to point fingers at they sell even more.

What do you think?

Kanye’s  lack of humility is the main reason people will always find a reason to not like him, but people also do not like his politics, race or  his grammar, yet he does seem to enjoy his share of critics. When “Dark Twisted Fantasy” was released, many that live on the music industry’s outskirts mistakenly called it a comeback. Even the most respected critics quickly deride the intellectual, or message filled rap, while at time they same time speak in glowing terms of rappers with Dr. Seuss lyrics, or an imaginary violent acumen reminiscent of Al Capone. At the same time radio and television browbeat the populace with this subpar music until they like it. Unknown to many is that the best music every created will never be heard, except for a few select people.

By incorporating spoken word poetry and narration, rappers have made their products more accessible to “the mainstream”. Some rappers have adapted by embedding knowledge into their bars, a few have extended that to their videos. Here is where Kanye West comes into play, he has now branched off into Fine Art. How many times have you or your child went to a museum to appreciate the art? Art is not just sculpture, dance, music and paintings, it also includes wood and metal shop, and he cut that from schools too. Aside from questioning the subversive qualities of power, celebrity, sexuality decadence; what Kanye does is bring the Art to you on your television, powered by images and bass lines.

Jay Z did it in his  video “On to the Next One“, but he did that more so to make fun of the pettiness of people.

Lady GaGa tried it, albeit it in a less artistic fashion with “Telephone“, but that was only to spark controversy and solidify her brand.

These entertainers are creating their own kind of power

Showing that he is a true hip hop student, Kanye’s song nods to Snap’s 1990 hit “The Power”. The hook may not be quite as catchy as “I’ve got the power”, but Kanye’s “Power” shows the power, hope and promise of Hip Hop, especially when you study your craft. The song “Power”, aside from powerful social commentary, is addressed to his many haters. Everyone should seriously take the time and really listen to his lyrics in “Power”, especially the remix. In the remix Kanye West raps in Arabic, I wonder if 20% of Americans will believe that he is a Muslim, like they do President Barack Obama.  You can love Kanye’s vocal samples and instruments or not, he has been a lightening rod for the media and consumers alike and now he is trying to spark an interest in Art, how dare he. So while you are watching Kanye West, recognize that he is so out of touch that he is and has been trying to touch each one of us. There are many followers, and those that play them for that. There are people who will say or do something just because someone else did it, and there is a growing market for that too. Maybe this type of thinking can be traced back to early childhood Art Education, I’m just sayin’.

There will still be those that think that Kanye is ignorant. However, I beg to differ, Kanye seems to know the power of Art. He is aware of the boost in creativity, the focused concentration, the increased eye-hand coordination, the sense of completion you get from it. He also knows that Art promotes thinking outside of the box because that is exactly where he is.

That's Mr. President to you...

I am sorry for all of the negative things I have said regarding your policies and possibly you personally. But you know me I have to comment on America’s newest favorite pasttime… Politics. I have to comment on the political moves of the week, the day, the minute. I am obligated to shed light on issues and things that may be overlooked, but that is what I do. Sure there are things I wish you would have done and things I wish you hadn’t done. You have your critics, but you also have your supporters. In all honesty, you are presiding over America at a time of true change. At time of divison and progress. You made us push forward when it would have been much easier to turn back. I want you to know that whether I was critical or supportive of your decisions it was not because I am black, or to become popular, or gain a following or even to use controversy as a platform. However, I can only apologize for myself I can not do so for others, they should take it upon themselves to come out of their glass houses and be counted, but most likely they wont.

I thought that congress acted stupidly when you saved the country three trillion dollars on the budget and then you asked for one trillion six months later to fund health care and they just told you No. You did the right thing you and expected them to act in kind. Yes, I chided you on repeatedly using these prime time speeches to get your point across. And privately I wondered if your constant emails to me could be considered Spam. Yes, I believe that you should have gotten rid of the blood sucking insurance companies all together and socialize health care. It looks all good now, but I still think you should have let the banks and automakers fail. If they were using predator lending practices, why are they not up on charges or fined. And the car has been obsolete for years, we should have moved on. I called you out on the call bring the troops home, which looks more like a move to relocate the troops. When California started issuing I.O.U.’s and saying that it was broke, I wanted you to do something! I wanted you to say that you would send those accountants in The White House to Sacramento to officially let everyone know, that it’s all a lie. I wanted you to say something about the Jena 6. When a policeman in Oakland California shot an unarmed black man, who was faced down, and Oakland residents rioted I wanted you to say something. When that officer was sentence to 2 years in prison the entire black community wanted you to say something. I wanted you not to pay attention to radio hosts who don’t write their own material or read. I wanted you to bankrupt BP for that oil spill. I didn’t want you to play politics in Washington. I wanted you to call out everyone one in congress who thinks that politics is a game and believe me Big O (if I can call you that) I am not the only one, but that would take all year.

I will say what most likely no one else will, Barack you’ve got guts! Not those quarterback we celebrate, Not the athletes that are on our children’s walls. Most of these so-called pundits can comment and afford to be wrong, but Barack in addition to your job as The Leader of the Free World and you have the unenvied honor of being member of a disenfranchised group of people. There are many African-Americans who want you to get rid of decades if not hundreds of years of oppression, injustice, and pain. Aside from that you have Whites watching you, looking for any hint of bias. Not many of the previous Commander in Chief’s ever have cared about minorities. For this reason you have been scrutinized and polled Ad nauseam and it wont stop now. I now realize that although you are a Black Man, and that these injustices and incidents must really, really eat at you, you can not be a Black Man in the White House. You are not a Black Leader. You are The President of the United States and from the way it looks apparently you can’t have any friends.

 All I have to say is that Barack you’ve got the hardest job in the entire 1st World and the fact that you are a Black Man makes that job harder than any other President before you. No one really wanted to be President at a time when America was so torn emotionally and economically. Yes, the Democrats pretended and the Republicans postured and derided you, but all of them are glad you won! They really are. Think about it they can target you all they want and offer no real alternative plan, no solution at all… and that has to be the biggest giggle in Congress. They wanted you to win as evidenced by the candidacy of McCain and the selection of Palin, privately they knew that no one wanted the job. If McCain had won when you be occupying Iran and North Korea right now and that’s no joke. He would have personally kicked all the gays out of the military. Bristol would have won Dancing with the Stars and no minority would have healthcare. Whew, the wool wasn’t pulled over my eyes that’s for sure. No one had the balls. No one had the guts. No one except Barack. Well Barack this is my apology to you, and I don’t do this often, but I am sorry for not realizing that your job is a hell of a lot harder than any of us will ever know…

You should be able to be human. You should be able to misspeak. It takes a very big person to give an apology and an even bigger one to actually mean it. Meaning things is a practice that has been lost in our society. It was not long ago it seemed that law enforcement were allowed to break one black man per week, alright sometimes two, or three, but where are we as a people now? That’s the question we all should be asking each other before be ask The President. We are the ones that should be inviting each other for beers.  Yes, this is clearly a learning and teaching moment, but not for you Mr. President, no sir, you’ve got bigger things to worry about. Barack you may not need it, but I will tell you what my grandmother told me long ago, … she said “Baby, you can’t please everybody.” Hey you’ve got a job to do, a job that no one else has… the job of running the country and I for one appreciate it because we are the ones who sat here and let it get messed up in the first place. On a side note I will be waiting on my beer invite to The White House.

Oh yeah, I will be calling you out again sometime in the future.

MG

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In case you hadn’t heard that Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department will no longer have DEA agents or the government resources used to raid California cannabis clubs. Why, the official reasoning is that the government has more important thing to do than stopping people with cancer from easing their pain and arresting patients. The real reason is a little more detailed, to find out you need to have a little bit of what I like to call

 

Marijuana History

 

Marijuana is the herb of peace that is why American Indians smoked it in the Peace Pipe. Most people don’t know why marijuana is federally illegal in the first place. Well in Big Tobacco’s hey-day they lobbied, cough paid for cough, congress to outlaw the herb. Marijuana does not have a global conglomerate to fill the coffers of senators. By the way those in power do take donations just make sure they are not traceable. If you think this is hog-wash then ask yourself why do we have a Super Highway system in California instead of a subway system? That is another story but it involves money, the big three automakers and certain tire companies… anyway. Subsequently Marijuana was outlawed, don’t believe that whole crossing state lines jurisdiction stuff, besides how do you expect Tobacco companies to compete with something that just grows naturally if you water it.

Lobbiest– It’s only a small amount of rat poisoning senator… now what fund do I make the check out to?

Though Mary Jane was illegal, people continued to smoked the little herb. In the 60’s the enlightened marijuana culture gained full force, some people called them hippies. In the 70’s the movies of the comedic duo Cheech and Chong added marijuana to pop-culture and many studies were done on the innocent herb. I bet you didn’t know that the Federal government grows and maintains the largest crop of marijuana on the planet did you. I wonder what they are using it for. They say it is for research… I say half-baked research. In the 80’s the culture spread and many entertainers were advocates of the little herbs decriminalization and Cheech and Chong broke up so it was a truly a sad day. In 1995 Chris Tucker and Ice Cube starred in a marijuana culture movie named Friday this movie has become a cult legend. The popularity of this little movie had much to do with the voters of California passing Prop 215, a law making marijuana available for medical purposes in 1996.  Other states also have passed laws of this nature as well. Although somewhat legal in California the Federal Government continued to raid medical cannabis clubs. However, if you have $100 in California a doctor will give you a certificate that states that you have a medical condition requiring an occasional puff or two. Which brings us to the reason behind this decision?

 

Marijuana Today  

 

With some estimates being as high as 40 billion dollars annually Cannabis is the biggest cash crop in America and you thought it was wheat or corn didn’t you. That can only mean that people are rolling an occasional joint and some are abusing it even though you may not see them smoking it. Most people fall on one side or the other when debating the effect of Marijuana. Most of the people who are against it are because they have a predisposition to using it. The people that are for pots legalization have used it or know someone who has and has seen no negative affect of it. By the way marijuana’s use is so prevalent that you do know someone who has or is using it. In the California’s Emerald Triangle people have houses with no tables and no chairs they are just growing reefer plants in the living room. Many countries around the world have legalized the herb with no problems. Honestly marijuana’s use is accepted today no one really cares and the tables have turned for Big Tobacco. Remember the Marijuana growers and sellers do not want it to be legalized because it would erase their profits. How accepted is it?  Marijuana is the prevalent subculture in America it stands head and shoulders with the Hip Hop culture… which reminds me that I’ve got to remember to renew my subscription to High Times. You can buy marijuana trinkets, smokeware and books just about everywhere. “It’s good news for people in California who are so ill that they have gotten a doctor’s note in compliance with the law,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer. Of course she is trippin’ because people can already do that! These kinds of statements only go to show that many Senators are completely out of touch. Marijuana’s use has been featured songs, theaters and movies the most recent movie was Pineapple Express. Even the playwright Tyler Perry newest Play the Marriage Counselor prominently showcases marijuana’s use. The fact that my book EveryDay Life is at the forefront of the Legalization of Marijuana debate was named The Best Kept Literary Secret of 2008 and it is now a finalist for an annual literary award is further evidence that blunt rollers all over America may soon have a real reason to fire it up.

 

Is Marijuana bad for you?

 

That is the question we all want to know right? The answer varies depending on who you ask. Medically, no. Legally, yes. Is there a criminal element to it? Of course, it’s illegal. I personally know a 75 year old Caucasian woman who uses it. I spoke to three people this week who said that if it were legalized they would smoke it and these people were in the healthcare profession. Ganja is just like sugar. Some sugar is good for you too much sugar is not. If while on it you just won 8 Olympic gold medals, an Oscar for something you did it can’t be bad can it? What if you were on it and you just won the Presidency of the United States of American by the largest margin ever it can’t be bad for you can it? If smoking it is bad for you then what does that say about the people who are around you everyday that use it?.

 

What’s Next?

 

No one knows there is talk about decriminalizing it and taxing it. And without question this action if done right will lift all of America out of a depression, period. If the Governator get this right it will be the best thing he’s ever done as Governor, I mean really cutting education and letting out thousands of prisoners is really not a good move. The proper legislation on this matter could be a model for every state, but remember there is a difference between use and abuse and that the sellers, growers and those with preconceived notions will be against this. This is the right thing to do but it has to be done right. California’s government has shown its ability to be inept so I doubt that this will be done correctly, if at all. The hope at the moment Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, has introduced legislation, that if approved by the California Legislature, it would put marijuana on the same legal footing as alcohol. Under AB 390, adults over the age of 21 would be allowed to buy marijuana from licensed sellers, and driving under the influence of it would be prohibited. At this point I would question anyone’s reasoning for not voting for it to be legalized in some way.Now it seems that the debate of decriminalizing Pot may be a simple matter of economics.

There are some people who have been impressed by Barack’s first week as President. No doubt this is due to the fact that he didn’t fall on his face. Frankly as an American I am not impressed. Currently One Trillion has been given out since September 2008 and honestly things are worse, much worse than before the money was given out. When Healthcare companies start laying off you know things are very bad. Here is a question, what are the chances that any further stimulus, will stimulate? I mean you don’t  believe that Global Warming can be reverse, it can’t be done and they know it they will talk Alt. Fuels, Bio-Diesel, Nuclear and such things are nice for the press and trying to motivate the masses. This kind of reminds me of BattleStar Galactica when the president is this prophet leading the people to the lost 13th colony and when they finally get there Earth is all F’ed up, but I digress.

Here are a few things the new administration needs to know. We the people are not hatin’ on him or his policies, but we will be watching everything like hawks because last time we got burned big time and that included the congress too. With all due respect how can Barack’s actions so far get the country back on track policies like Funding Abortions in Third World Countries, when Americans don’t have universal healthcare, and 8 million children will go to bed hungry tonight. What is a WMD Czar? I guess that means that you are in charge of unhappiness and poverty. I know Barack is intelligent but please don’t mention education vouchers. Yes North Korea is threating the South and rockets are still being fired in Israel but that doesn’t have anything to do with 85,000 jobs being lost daily world wide. Personally I think the government’s focus should be right here on you and me, not them.

The President and Congress’ stimulus package is ill-concieved because it is no longer a stimulus package. They need to explain how giving 150 Million dollars to Honey Bee farmers will stop Walgreens from laying off 4,000 employees. They need to break down that if they are requesting 800 Billion to create 4 Million jobs, that’s an average of 200,000 per job if you are counting, how much are they paying these people? And where are these 200 thousand dollar a year jobs anyway?  Barack I thought you were in charge here so why is 75 Million in this bill allocated for anti-smoking ads in this bill and not something to stop universities from raising tutition? This stimulus bill is not a Christmas tree for those in congress to place their pet projects. If that is the case why are the common person’s interest not in this bill? Honey Bees… 600 Million for government cars? How can new business get bonuses for investing and you and I can’t? 6 Billion for high speed internet access? 650 Million for digital converter boxes? WTF?!!! You musta forgot these are the same people who spent 1,000 on a toilet seat.

 

When the Super Bowl ads go over 200 Million dollars trying to sell the public beer, who exactly is in a recession? And Barack believe me when I say this… The more you do, or give away the less America’s Governors will do. You win the election by the largest margin, running on change and you are still talking about partisanship… I don’t get that.  I know it is only been a few weeks, but isn’t that when your boss usually comes to talk to you.