Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2010 Handbook

As I've gotten older, I've generally stepped away from making New Years resolutions. Partly because, no one can just all of a sudden stop a bad habit one day and then the next live as if they came into contact with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in MIB. Growth is about gradual change, so I moreso try get rid of my personal vices throughout the year and when the New Year comes, I try to continue on that path. Some years your resolutions stick with you, and some years they don't. I've vowed to eat better and healthier for a couple years now, but it took until this past September for me to finally stick to it.

I'm not downing New Year's resolution, because psychologically, they are necessary because a new year gives us a feeling of "newness" for lack of a better term. Subconsciously, it makes us believe that we have a clean slate. The most obvious correlation would be with Christianity's communion ritual. Christians (such as myself) partake in this ritual not just to say "phew, Jesus forgave me again, now I can go back to doing ____ again because I KNOW I'll be forgiven," but rather to say, "I know I've sinned this past month, and I am going to make the effort to not make the same mistakes."

So, let's be honest with ourselves, we're probably going to have some set backs with our "resolutions" but if we attempt to make these changes today, at some point in 2010 (or later), these "resolutions" will be resolved. This all stems from me receiving this e-mail at work from my supervisor and I thought it contained some useful information. Check it out and pass it along:


1. Drink plenty of water.
2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.. 4. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy
5. Make time to pray.
6. Play more games
7. Read more books than you did in 2009 .
8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day
9. Sleep for 7 hours.
10. Take a 10-30 minutes walk daily. And while you walk, smile.

11. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
12. Don't have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
13. Don't over do. Keep your limits.
14. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
15. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip.
16. Dream more while you are awake
17. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need..
18. Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner with His/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others.
20. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
21.. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
22. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
23. Smile and laugh more.
24. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree...

25. Call your family often.
26. Each day give something good to others.
27. Forgive everyone for everything..
28. Spend time w/ people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
29. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
30. What other people think of you is none of your business.
31. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

32. Do the right thing!
33. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
34. GOD heals everything.
35. However good or bad a situation is, it will change..
36. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
37. The best is yet to come..
38. When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it.
39. Your Inner most is always happy. So, be happy.

Last but not the least:
40. Please Forward this to everyone you care about.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Prison: A Fortune 500 Business

According to CNN (read here):

"As budget deficits grow and the economy tumbles, governors and legislators are cutting costs by allowing inmates, mostly low-risk offenders, to leave prison earlier than laws previously permitted. Nationwide, more states are beginning to release thousands of inmates early by increasing "time off" provisions."

This is further proof that the justice system in America is complete b.s. So let me see if I got this right. It's ok to lock up people (who are OVERWHELMINGLY minority) and use them for cheap labor when it's beneficial to the economy, but when the economy begins to falter, "criminals" can be released as a way to save money? So, because we as a country are broke, that makes crimes less criminal? Granted, some who are in prison are in for a valid reason, and THUS should NOT be released as a way to save money (particularly those who commited violent acts or rape i.m.o.), but let's not ignore the statistics people. According to prisonpolicy.org:

"At the start of Reagan's administration in 1980, there were approximately 501,886 prisoners in the nation's prisons and jails, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. In June 2001, there were 1,800,300, a nearly four-fold increase, according to the agency's data. Of this number, 803,400 were Black males and 69,500 were Black females."

Black's account for nearly HALF of the prison population (there's more Black males in prison than college) and only about 13% of the overall population. Futhermore, a majority of the minorities (specifically Black males) are in prison because of non-violent drug offenses. In particular, crack offenses. So when I read on CNN that the government is releasing prisoners for non-violent offenses to SAVE MONEY I'm nothing short of appalled and infuriated. It makes me think, maybe these individuals should have received an alternative method of punishment for their involvment in narcotics when they were first arrested, or possibly counseling. Maybe if more job opportunities were in their community none of this would be a problem, because a long-term prison system did not, and doesn't seem to help. Oh, and check this out:

"The increase in the rates of incarceration of young black males is due primarily to the focus of the "war on drugs" on black drug users. For drug offenses, the African American proportion of arrests increased from 24% in 1980 to 39% in 1993, even though African Americans comprise only 13% of monthly drug users. From 1986 to 1990, the number of minority jail inmates increased more than twice as fast as the number of white inmates, and the increase in the number of arrests of minorities for drug offenses was almost ten times the increase in arrests of white drug offenders."


"Distribution of just five grams of crack cocaine yields a five year mandatory minimum sentence, while it takes 500 grams of powder cocaine to trigger the same five year sentence. Crack cocaine is the only drug for which there is a federal mandatory minimum sentence for mere possession."

Oh, and 4/5's of all crack offenders are black.

Ah, what the hell, let me throw some more facts out there:

-Of the 253,300 state prison inmates serving time for drug offenses at yearend 2005, 113,500 (44.8%) were black, 51,100 (20.2%) were Hispanic, and 72,300 (28.5%) were white.

-Nationwide, black men are sent to prison on drug charges at 13 times the rate of white men.

Want more stats? Click [HERE]

So, you lock us up when it's convenient for YOU and YOUR dollar huh? But now that everybody is suffering you all of a sudden want to change things up? It's a truth I already knew was present, but now it's even more evident, and it's quite despicable I might add. The justice system is a JOKE. Again, notice, these drug offenses rose during the Reagan and Bush administrations. And, although I was previously critical of Obama sending more troops to Iraq, I commend him for doing this --> [Click Here]

Maybe if more money was spent on education, none of this would even be a problem. Last I heard, CPS (Chicago Public Schools) received 10K per student, while some surburban schools receive upwards of 18K. Oh, and it cost 22K (yearly) to maintain a prisoner. I think it's time to reprioritize...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Police Cover-Ups: "Hate Crimes"

Black man kills dogs = 2 years. White men kill a Latino man = 7 months. Try and tell me something ain't wrong with that. Props to the homie Clif Soulo.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Loon Speaks on Why He Chose Islam Over Rap

I have to say, Loon has done a very noble thing by walking away from the temptations of the industry to devote his life to Islam. Although one could argue that he wasn't worth much anymore since he was no longer affiliated with Diddy, the point still stands, his decision is one that not many would make. I take him a little more serious than I did Ma$e who has returned to rap 20 times since becoming a minister. Well, I'd say there's nothing wrong with rapping, or being in the industry if you remain true to the faith you promote, but from what I've heard from Ma$e, he hasn't. I may be wrong though *shrug*

Nevertheless, Loon outlines just why he did what he did and he makes some very good points. You have to wonder how some record label execs and artist can live with themselves at night knowing they just cheated someone out of _____ amount of dollars or knowing they sacrificed their morale, dignity or even manhood for money, something superficial. To each its on though, and much respect to all religions and beliefs.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Hip-Hop Commandments

I came across this on twitter today and HAD to post it because I agree with every point. It feels good to come across people who think like you and have similiar mindstates from time to time. I would only hope and pray that someone (rapper or fan) would read this and challenge the content that we are subjected to daily. I'm not saying I don't sometimes listen to the very music that I condemn, because I do, and I contradict myself at times, but when I listen, I always do it with a critical ear. I feel as though many of my peers (in my age group) are able to decipher through most of the messages and not take them literally; but what about those 13 year old girls or boys that look up to these rappers? I believe you should feed your brain a healthy diet. For every Lil Wayne song you listen to, listen to something empowering, like Lupe Fiasco, or BlackStar. Ok, I'll get down from my podium now, check out "hip-hop commandments" as said by Charlamagne Tha God:

10. Thou must not promote all things ghetto Your lyrics should not celebrate the ghetto life by reminiscing about days in poverty, your mother on welfare and your father not being there. Instead of celebrating and embracing the poverty, crime and ignorance of the ghetto, we should be encouraging our people to move on up out of the ghetto like the Jeffersons.

9. Thou must advocate anything of social redeeming value Your lyrics should reflect that you are aware of the social, political and economic reality of your community. The consumer should assume that you read more than the Source or XXL.

8. Thou shall have a sense of history MC's should refer to historical events that may cause the listener to think about his or her relation to history. Your role is to entertain and educate. Instead of mentioning names like Jacob the Jeweler and Versace, mention names like W.E.B. Dubois and Louis Farrakhan.

7. Thou must not worship money and bling-bling You must not talk about money and bling-bling as if it were a living, breathing thing. Your lyrics should not put money and bling-bling over love, women or religion. (See next commandment.)

6. Thou must talk about God and spirituality MC's should not condone atheism and a false belief system that does not acknowledge the existence of a higher being. You should promote the spiritual beliefs that may have been instilled in you by family. Especially being that the first thing rappers say when they win an award is: "I want to thank God."

5. Thou must not celebrate the drug culture Drugs are destroying the black community. There isn't a dope boy in the country who wants to be a dope boy. The trap is just that: a trap. You'll either end up in jail or dead. It's like playing Russian roulette with your life. Trap or die? You might as well die, because in the trap you're killing yourself and your community.

4. Thou must not promote promiscuity MC's should promote a deep sense of love and marriage. You should talk about commitment, bonding and intimacy. Plus rappers talk about having lots of sex, but not about the fact that blacks represent 57 percent of all new AIDS cases in the U.S. even though we only make up 13 percent of the population.

3. Thou must not lust after things that don't belong to us By keeping this commitment, you promise to promote a strong work ethic in your music and speak out against greed, lust and impulsive behavior. Besides, robbery and rape carry a lot of time.

2. Thou must not kill MC's should not lyrically take the life of another black person in order to secure a hit CD. If the artist doesn't value the life of someone else on a record, then the consumer he influences won't value the life of someone else in the street.

1. Thou must not disrespect black women Women are not our sexual play toys; they are the greatest natural resource on the planet. Without them, we can't create life.. ... Instead of disrespecting black women, empower them by letting them know they are queens, mothers of the planet Earth and that their purpose (is beyond) shaking their (butts) in music videos.