Archive for May, 2009

Justice Sotomayer

Posted in Black Interests on May 29, 2009 by Gary Johnson


Justice Sotomayer

She is going to get confirmed and she is going to become our next Supreme Court justice. I don’t think this because she is qualified, which she is, but because Americans don’t generally care about the Supreme Court. The ability of the Republican Party to rally the troops in a supreme court battle are limited by the American peoples lack of understanding of how important the court is. Although they have specialized in placing conservatives in to the courts system, which led to their victory in 2000, they won’t be able to stop Sotomayer from being confirmed.

The more important thing to consider is whether Sotomayer is on the right side of the abortion debate. If we do not want Roe vs. Wade to be overturned, it may be important to know where she stands on the continuation of a woman’s right to choose.

Pat Buchanan

The Sotomayer debate has allowed Pat to speak out, once again, on the plight of White Males. For some reason people keep inviting him on television. Pat makes arguments that I disagree with, but that’s not why I’m confused that he’s being tapped in the debate over Sotomayer’s appointment. I can’t figure out why someone who is as easily flustered and incoherent as Pat Buchanan is constantly asked for his opinion. He comes across like someone’s angry southern Grandfather. Pat Buchanan has all the negative qualities of Clint Eastwood’s character from Grand Torino and none of his redeeming traits. It’s never going to be 1950 again Pat.

Senator Al Franken

The Republican Party is not going to regain power by being obstructionists. Americans can be slow to react, but we’re not stupid. We believe, at least north of the mason Dixon line, in Democracy. Stalling because you’ve lost an election is unacceptable and Al Franken should have been seated a long time ago. Hopefully, the Republicans come to their senses and Minnesota changes their election laws to prevent this from ever happening again.

brandon-head Brandon Whitney is the creator of a blog that focuses on issues that affect the African American community. He is also a frequent guest on News and Notes’ Blogger Roundtable. Brandon has political experience as an Outreach Director for the Democratic Party and is passionate about being a positive force in his community regarding African American issues.  He is also a frequent guest on News and Notes’ Blogger Roundtable. You can read more of Brandon’s work at Homeland Colors.

Money Matters: It’s Time To Fight Back

Posted in Money/Economics with tags , on May 22, 2009 by Gary Johnson


By Gary A. Johnson

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough of the banks and credit card companies taking advantage of hardworking consumers and people who consistently pay their bills on time.  Not all of the people struggling to pay their bills and meet their financial obligations used to have good credit, but have fallen prey to the revolving credit card industry and/or hard times.

The current downturn in the economy has made life “tough” for millions of Americans.  “Tough” is a relative term, in that “tough” for some people is cutting back on their Latté’s and the housekeeper.  “Tough” for others means they have no savings and are about to lose their home.

I own and operate a small business.  I’ve tried to grow my business and like millions of others businesses, the economic downturn has negatively impacted my company.  In fact, the terrorist attack on our country that occurred on September 11, 2001 was the beginning of the loss of revenue for the company.

As a result of trying to hold on to the business I used my sterling credit rating in the form of credit lines to fund and eventually restructure the business.  I’ve had a 30-year relationship with the American Express company.  As a result I was able to secure a business line of credit via both gold and platinum corporate cards.  I selected American Express because they offered services that were supportive of small businesses.

Imagine my surprise when I received a letter from American Express informing me “that after a thorough review” of my credit profile they have placed a spending limit on my account.  My first reaction was OK, times are difficult and many banks and companies are tightening their credit and lending practices.  As I continued to read the letter, I was informed that my credit had been drastically reduced.  I went from a six-figure credit line to a low four-figure limit. In fact, the limit is so low that I cannot run my business with the new limit.

Let me put my situation in perspective.  My company has no history of late payments or outstanding balances. In fact, my last month’s statement had a surplus balance.  American Express showed their appreciation by crippling my ability to run my business.  Their actions clearly indicate that they no longer wanted to be a business partner with my company. Thank you American Express.  When it’s all said and done, I think I will reflect on this situation and realize that this was a turning point in my company’s financial independence.

I would not dare compare what’s happening to American consumers to “mafia-like” tactics.  That would be an insult to the mob.  However, I can’t help but wonder if consumers would be better off if their accounts were managed by organized crime.  Many of these banks, were forced to take tax pay dollars.  Some of the banks needed the money to survive and others did not.  American consumers were misled.  Through a series of press releases and announcements, consumers were led to believe that some of the financial institutions who took the money were going to help consumers with their debt.  Many of these banks took our tax dollars and wiped the books clean of their debt and mismanagement and proceeded to make more money by screwing consumers with tricky fees and raising interest rates without warning or on a seemingly ad-hoc basis putting their customers deeper in debt.

The Obama administration says they recognize that what’s happening to consumers is not fair.  They tout the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act that outlaws several of these credit card policies that have sparked consumer outrage including retroactive rate increases on existing balances for cardholders who are in good standing.  Other deceitful tricks, albeit legal, include hiking rates for new charges without at least 45 days’ notice; “double-cycle billing,” which allows fees to be charged for balances that were already paid off; and “universal default,” which applies rate hikes if a customer is late with payments on unrelated bills.

Sounds good doesn’t it?  I wouldn’t pop any champagne just yet.

The new law amends the Truth in Lending Act, which only governs consumer loans.  It does not apply to corporate cards.  Say what?

What this means is limited liability corporations and other companies that use traditional corporate cards, the same old rules will continue to apply.  Let me translate this in a more vernacular kind of way:  Some of the credit card companies will continue to have the legal authority to insert a golf umbrella in your rectum.  Other companies will try and open the umbrella.

It is time to fight back.  I’ve decided to use all of my business adversity to motivate me to do better.  To work harder, be smarter and do what I can to help others who have it worse than me.

I can’t quit.  I have faith that I will not be down for long and I will emerge from this downturn stronger than ever.

American Express’ decision to reduce my spending limit has crippled by ability to conduct business.  I was upset.  I only allowed myself to stay upset for about 30 minutes.  My net move was to fight back.  I decided to fight back strategically by terminating my relationship with the company.  Consumer advocates tell you NOT to close your accounts immediately because this action can impact your credit score in a negative way.  I have enough credit lines and alternatives.  I’m willing to take that risk.

I called American Express and when the Customer Service Representative (CSR) came on the line she announced her name and asked some identifying information to confirm that I was the cardholder.  Her next question was:  “How can I help you today?”  Before I could answer, the CSR replied, “Oh, I think I know why you’re calling.  You received a letter about your spending limit.”

I wanted to make sure that my call was being recorded for accuracy.  Once confirmed I calmly asked the rep if my account was in good standing.  She acknowledged that it was.  I then asked if I had a history of late payments or outstanding balances.  She she acknowledged that this was not the case.  I asked why my spending limit had been reduced.  She explained that my credit report reflected high balances on some other accounts.  She then suggested that I get a copy of my credit report and work to reduce my card balances with the other lending institutions.  The rep also was sure to let me know that American Express would re-evaluate my situation at a later date.

I explained to her that I was aware of the contents of my credit report and that I have no history of late or delinquent payments.  I am in good standing with all of my creditors.  I advised the representative that American Express has their method for dealing with customers and I have mine.  My method involved dealing with companies based on how they dealt with me.  As a result, I don’t like how I’ve been treated and advised her that I wanted to close my account.  The credit card companies don’t want to lose your business, but every action has a consequence.  I’ve decided that it was time for me to part ways with American Express Corporate Gold Business card.  During my company’s heyday, I would generate $5000 to $10,000 dollars a month in charges.  The company would get their money within 30-days.  Those days are over.  By their actions American Express has told me that they no longer want to be a partner as they have been in past years.  I’m sure they want more of my money, however, when business gets better, I will give my business to a company that demonstrates that they want to work with me during both good and bad times.

I am in the process of getting a pay off balance, cancelling my account and moving forward to reduce my debt to credit ratio to become less dependent upon the banks and credit card companies.

I really feel good about this action.  This was my way of staying empowered.  If more people took small steps like this, we would send a message to the predatory bank and lending institutions.

I am not an economist, but I believe this country would have been far better off if every citizen’s debt was reduced by 50%.  We would not need a Stimulus package, recovery money and all of the other programs, many of which will result in waste and fraud, again costing the taxpayer more money.

The president of the American Bankers Association says the legislation “changes the entire business model of credit cards.  “Edward Yingling says it restricts the ability to price credit for risk — in other words, to charge more for those more likely not to repay their debts.

Lots of people pay off their credit cards in full each month to avoid finance charges.  This is not good enough for some credit card companies.  Some industry experts say credit card providers might start charging new fees for their cardholders and could raise their interest rates.

Don’t get mad people, get strategic.  Consumers need to find a way to fight back against the credit card companies and lending institutions in a manner that will allow them to stay empowered and be whole.  This philosophy has worked for me.  This is how I maintain my sanity.  Folks, I’m one of the most blessed people on earth.  I have a loving family which serves as my support structure.  How do the folks who don’t have a support structure surviving?

I would suggest that everyone in need assess your skills and abilities and look for opportunities to prosper, even during these terrible economic times.  Times aren’t bad for everyone.  Many people and business have not been affected by the economy and others are thriving.  Come on people!  Let’s get started!

The Isley Brothers had a song out years ago called “Fight The Power.”  Fight it!  Fight the power!

Gary Johnson is the Founder & Publisher of Black Men In a popular online magazine on the Internet and the Black Men In Blog. Gary is also the author of the new book“25 Things That Really Matter In Life.”

Comedian Michael Steele

Posted in Barack Obama, Black America, Comedy, Gary A. Johnson, Politics with tags , , , on May 19, 2009 by Gary Johnson


By Gary A. Johnson

May 19, 2009

Comedian Michael Steele gave a much anticipated speech today at the National Harbor Complex in Oxon Hill, MD, where he tried to steady the sinking ship also known as his “leadership” of the Republican National Committee (RNC). If you’ve followed this man’s career, it is hard to take him seriously.  This is why I refer to him as comedian Michael Steele.

In his one-man show in the form of a speech today, comedian Steele promised the that “the era of apology for Republican mistakes of the past is officially over,” declared that “we’re going to take the president head-on” and boasted that the Republican comeback is already under way.

Oh really?

Steele is shaking in his boots that he doesn’t upset another entertainer—Rush Limbaugh, because that will mean Steele would have to apologize to Limbaugh (again).

Absent from the comedian’s remarks were new ideas.  He said nothing new and nothing of substance.  This dude is really obsessed with President Barack Obama.  I don’t know what the President ever said or did to him, but comedian Steele never misses an opportunity to try and “diss” President Obama.  Comedian Steele repeatedly argued that President Obama was making our lives worse by increasing federal spending.  He never mentioned any Republican plan to help families and small businesses.

I bet leaders in the Republican Party are sorry they ever elected this dude as the front man for their party.

Why do I say this?

For starters he appears to be in over his head.  He doesn’t know where he stands on an issue and some of his positions are not consistent with the party line.  I don’t care what HE says, comedian Michael Steele appears very much to be a figurehead for the organization and he knows it.  What is beginning to bother him is that WE know it!

Comedian Steele addressing reports that the RNC is seeking to reduce his funding authority told FOX News that part of his job is to “manage the money” and suggested that if committee members strip him of that authority he’ll step aside.  Think about it.  The RNC elects a black chairman to run the party and now they’re looking to implement ways to restrict his ability to manage the money.  Yeah, that’s a vote of confidence.

The Republican Party is treating comedian Michael Steele like a baby wearing “Pull Ups.” They just don’t think he’s ready for “big boy” pants.  Real power in politics comes with MONEY! If you can’t control the money, you have no power.  The Republican Party is sending the comedian Michael Steele a “warning shot” in the form of a message by threatening to mess with his money.

“They can contemplate all they want to, but the reality is if they want a figurehead chairman you can have a figurehead chairman, but it won’t be Michael Steele,” the comedian said.

If ever there was an “empty suit” it is comedian Michael Steele.  His party lost the presidency and control of Congress in the last two major national elections and national polls show more Americans are moving away from the Republican Party.

Under Steele’s leadership the big debate on the agenda today is whether to refer to the Democratic Party as “socialist.”  Is this leadership?

And you wanted to know why I refer to this guy as a comedian.  He’s funny and not to be taken seriously—that’s why.

Gary Johnson is the Founder & Publisher of Black Men In a popular online magazine on the Internet and the Black Men In Blog. Gary is also the author of the new book “25 Things That Really Matter In Life.”

Dumb or Misguided?: NFL Player Decides To Skip Invitation To The White House and Meet Obama

Posted in Barack Obama, Black Interests, Black Men with tags , , on May 19, 2009 by Gary Johnson

D044972035.jpgBarack HeadShot

By Gary Johnson

I wish I didn’t feel the need to write this commentary.  I don’t like putting people on “blast.”  However, if your actions warrant that you need to be taken to the woodshed, then let’s go and get it over with.

While watching the news yesterday my attention was drawn to a segment where James Harris of the Pittsburgh Steelers refused an invitation to visit the White House and meet with President Obama. Harrison says he does not believe the invitation is all that special.  “I don’t feel the need to go, actually,” Harrison told Pittsburgh station WTAE-TV. “I don’t feel like it’s that big a deal to me.”

Hey, that’s his choice.  Harrison is consistent on this issue.  He skipped his visit to the White House in 2006 when the Steelers were invited by President George W. Bush. Seems like he hasn’t learned much in two years.  Perhaps, James Harrison is a very deep thinking, introspective guy who really sees no value in accepting an invitation to the White House to meet the President of the United States.  It’s possible!

Teammates describe James Harrison as an “individualist.”  If you read the papers, most people think he’s a “dumb ass” with no sense of history.  I really don’t understand why the media continues to put a microphone in the face of athletes, particularly the ones who have proven that they don’t know a damn thing about current events or history.  At this point, I don’t know if he’s a “dumb ass.”  He appears to be pretty ignorant.  I feel more comfortable saying that Harrison is probably terribly misguided.

I’m sure Harrison is well compensated for being the NFL Defensive Player of the Year. However, his actions and statements prove that no amount of money can buy “common sense” and respect.  Harrison may be a “smart” guy on the football field, but he also appears to be short-sighted and uninformed.

Barack Obama is a historical figure in our history.  Forget the fact that he is the first black President—he is the President of the United States of America.  Where is your sense of history?

I remember when I was asked to work at the White House.  I was 23 years old and asked my mother if I should take the job.  My mother looked at me and replied with a question.  “How many times do you think you will have this opportunity?”  Enough said.  I took the job.

Let me be clear.  Harrison has every right to pass on his invitation to visit the White House and meet the President.  And I have every right to think that he is misguided to the point of being a dumb ass.  The dude “doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.”  I believe that years from now he may look back on this decision and try and kick his own ass.

Having worked inside the White House, I can tell you, politics aside; it is an honor and a privilege to be invited to meet the President of the United States regardless of who he or she is.

Look, if the dude doesn’t want to go to the White House to meet President Obama leave him alone.  Let him stay home.  James Harrison is out to prove a point.  There’s something to be said about being your own man and making your own decisions, even if they go against the grain.  I’m not sure if it’s the point that he wants to prove.  The only thing Harrison has proven to me is that having a high IQ on the football field, doesn’t always translate to having a high IQ off of the field.

Gary Johnson is the Founder & Publisher of Black Men In a popular online magazine on the Internet and the Black Men In Blog. Gary is also the author of the new book “25 Things That Really Matter In Life.”

Cleo Manago Speaks On “Crips & Bloods” Documentary

Posted in Black Interests, Black Men with tags , , on May 18, 2009 by Gary Johnson

Cleo Manago

Los Angeles, CA – The voice of social architect, activist and visionary, Cleo Manago is certainly recognized as a distinctive one.  His articulated opinions have been documented in media nationally and internationally.  Brazen, outspoken and unshaken, Manago gets his point across in no uncertain terms.  HIs vision of truth is a beacon amid illusionary constructs and preconceived agendas.

Upon the viewing of the recent release of “Crips & Bloods: Made in America” produced by Cash Warren and Los Angeles NBA star Baron Davis, Manago felt compelled to put pen to paper.  His thoughts, as usual, transcend the norm and provoke dialogue.

“Crips & Bloods: Made in America” : Black Men Killing Each Other was Safer than Confronting Their Enemy by Cleo Manago

Throughout the long history of non-fiction, documentary film making, few examples have surfaced that deeply illuminate the struggle among Black males in America, since slavery, to retrieve some semblance of manhood and respect.  A new documentary called ‘Crips & Bloods: Made in America’ makes a successful attempt at contextualizing a disturbing, west coast version of this nation-wide, inter-generational, Black male struggle.

Produced by Cash Warren and Los Angeles NBA star Baron Davis,

“Crips & Bloods” features the voices and violent histories of former and current members of gangs, and the relevant history of Black (and White) Los Angeles.  It also features mothers and other loved ones left in the wake of the often deadly consequences of a self-hate directed war between dejected Black males, lost in a patriarchal (and racist) reality, in a country and [Black] community they believe does not see them as human or as men.

Through interviews, vintage footage and documented facts, the 40 year genesis of how legions of Black males in Los Angeles wound up going from baby-boys on their mother’s laps to the confines of a gang, a prison, or a cemetery is uncovered.  Stacy Peralta, the film’s director, sharply depicts how, historically, regardless of economic status, Black Angelenos faced brutal and cruel forms of racism which affected where they could live, how long many did live and the quality of their lives.

With pictorial examples, actual news coverage and a gripping narrative “Crips & Bloods” addresses how so-called gangs began as black youth who were not allowed to be in the [White] boy scouts, or to safely leave their communities for leisure.  Exposed is that up until very recently, the where abouts of Black people in South Los Angeles were patrolled by legally sanctioned and often deadly White police brutality.  It becomes clear that these are the seeds of how the frustrations of violently oppressed Black youth festered into a mutually implicit impulse to turn on each other, preconditioned to believe that the actual source of their pain was not practical or safe to directly confront.

Powerfully (and hopefully Blacks will learn from this), “Crips & Bloods” also illustrates how cooperative with each other, responsible, industrious and even prosperous a number of Blacks were before the systemic disruption of the community.  Upon close examination, it becomes apparent how the power of ingrained notions had by many Blacks – that their still not being White – ate at the integrity of simply enjoying, valuing and protecting being an independent, successful [Black] community.

Unlike the so-called blacks-ploitation films of the 70’s and 80’s, e.g. “The Mack,” “Superfly” and “Shaft,” or the more recent gangsta or thug culture that romanticizes Black male disorientation, contrived bravado and displaced rage, “Crips & Bloods” actually explains the origins of how this madness came to be. The film actually acknowledges how racist, deadly and corrupt law enforcement, along with the murder or compromise of iconic Black men like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Fred Hampton and Huey Newton of the Black Panthers trickled down into a legacy of terror and confusion among Black males.  In addition, the typically unspoken psychological consequences of this period manifesting as serial fatherlessness, criminalization, joblessness, drug abuse and repressed Black male grief is acknowledged in “Crips & Bloods.”

Witnessing “Crips & Bloods: Made in America” for this writer was not just a visual field trip, but a revisiting of where I was raised (Watts and Compton) and what I personally observed growing up.   This revolutionary documentary may act as a buffer or a wakeup call to finally put into context what so many Black males silently contend with.  It may even help to inform health educators, law enforcement and mental health systems to recognize what they must know toward applying solutions to health disparities disproportionately had by Black males.  These would include: HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, incarceration, homicide, depression and suicide.

While the election of Barack Obama, America’s first president on record to have a Black father, who also brought the country its first Black First Lady, is symbolically powerful, a film like “Crips & Bloods: Made in America” may help us to acknowledge and resolve realities that still need attending too.

Next steps or a next film could explicitly engage solutions to what “Crips & Bloods: Made in America” explores. Maybe the film will spark local discussion on funding and building programs to help produce more healthy Black males.  This would be fundamental to developing a healthier Black community, and healthier Black fathers, husbands, sons and the productive partners of Black people.

To learn more about the film, visit the “Crips & Bloods:  Made in America” companion website, , which features detailed information on the film, including an interview with the filmmakers and links and resources pertaining to the film’s subject matter. The site also features a Talkback section for viewers to share their ideas and opinions, preview clips of the film, and more.

Cleo Manago is a behavioral health specialist and cultural expert, journalist and founder/CEO of AmASSI Wellness and Cultural Centers . E-mail him at

You can also learn more about Cleo Manago by visiting his blog at:

NOTE TO MEDIA: Cleo Manago is available for inteview.  Contact

Obama’s Short Sightedness

Posted in Barack Obama on May 17, 2009 by Gary Johnson


By Brandon Whitney

President Obama is looking to establish political stability in our country so that he can push through policies that repair our healthcare system and economy. The release of the photos and the prosecution of those who participated and authorized torture will lead to much strife in our nation and may even lead to the failure of some of the issues that Americans are most passionate about. In the interest of peace, Obama is attempting to avoid the issue of torture in by our government. Releasing the pictures and prosecuting those who tortured prisoners would be bad for the country, but ignoring the wrongdoing would be worse.

Obama has shown a tendency to pattern himself after Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was a great president, but he made mistakes that echo into the present. When the Civil War began, Lincoln failed to aggressively free the slaves of the Confederacy. In some cases runaway slaves were returned to the rebels as Lincoln attempted to reestablish the Union. This attempt failed. When injustice simmers beneath the surface, peace cannot be maintained. Obama is attempting to form the same negative peace that Lincoln tried, it will fail. Appeasement is a failing strategy; those who have abased the constitution must be punished, not for our own satisfaction, but for the protection of our democracy. While Obama would like to create peace between the far right and left in our nation, that peace must be built on justice, not the compromise of our morality.

There is an argument that torture was justified, I would disagree with that. Grant Morrison wrote a series called “Preacher” in which the main character traveled the country and interacted with people of multiple walks of life. One of the people he met was a former Nazi who was looking for redemption for his sins during the holocaust. In seeking understanding, he asked Jesse, the main character, what one does when the only choices are committing atrocities or death. Jesse replied “You die”. Fear and safety are no excuse for torture. Expediency is no excuse for ignoring torture. We must prosecute all of those who had allowed us to become a nation of war criminals.
brandon-head Brandon Whitney is the creator of a blog that focuses on issues that affect the African American community. He is also a frequent guest on News and Notes’ Blogger Roundtable. Brandon has political experience as an Outreach Director for the Democratic Party and is passionate about being a positive force in his community regarding African American issues.  He is also a frequent guest on News and Notes’ Blogger Roundtable. You can read more of Brandon’s work at Homeland Colors.

We Remember Wayman Tisdale

Posted in Black Interests, Black Men, Gary A. Johnson, Music and Video Releases with tags , , on May 15, 2009 by Gary Johnson

By Gary A. Johnson


Wayman Tisdale lost his two-year battle to cancer today at the age of 44.  It was reported that Tisdale discovered he had an aggressive form of cancer called Osteosarcoma about two years ago after breaking his leg after a fall at his home.  Osteosarcoma affected his knee specifically and doctors needed to remove the cancerous cyst.  Though the procedure was successful, the subsequent rounds of chemotherapy didn’t convince doctors that the cancer was gone.  The bone cancer lingered and Tisdale consented to have the lower portion of his right leg amputated in an attempt to stop the cancer from spreading.

I was a big fan of Tisdale as an NBA player but a bigger fan from his life as a musician.  I have all of his CD’s and enjoyed his unique bass playing.  After news of Tisdale’s cancer became public, I followed his career closely.  From every report that I’ve read, Tisdale never took a music lesson.  He just loved to play music as a young man and that he didn’t know the names of the notes for his songs.

Part of Tisdale’s public persona was optimism, even after a portion of his leg was amputated.  Take a look at this video of Wayman giving his fans an update on his condition after his surgery.

When I hear that a man who was a world-class athlete dies at 44 it stops me in my tracks.  It forces me to reflect on a discussion I had with my father earlier this year about 3 weeks before he passed away.  My Dad was down in the dumps because his mother was healthier than he was.  I looked at him and said, “Dad, you have to put your energy on getting better and play the hand that you were dealt.”  My father lived a full adult life, having survived a terrible childhood.  The father I knew was decent and kindhearted man who loved his family.

I imagine there must have been times when Wayman Tisdale asked:  “Why me?”  I also imagine Wayman probably answered the question by replying:  “Why not me?”

Wayman Tisdale NBA

I never met Wayman Tisdale, but my sense is that he was a special man.  He was on this earth for 44 years, which is not a long time, but he got the most out of his years.  From a college All-American, former NBA basketball great accomplished jazz bassist, and a family man.  My condolences to the Tisdale family, to those who knew him and to those who wish they did.

Tisdale Family

Wayman Tisdale with his wife and children

Click here to see an emotional news segment on Wayman Tisdale posted on Tulsa Oklahoma’s NewsChannel 8 web site the day before Tisdale passed away.

Gary Johnson is the Founder & Publisher of Black Men In a popular online magazine on the Internet and the Black Men In Blog. Gary is also the author of the new book “25 Things That Really Matter In Life.”

Michael Steele–Chairman of the Bored

Posted in Black Interests, Black Men, Politics on May 14, 2009 by Gary Johnson

Michael Steele

By Raynard Jackson

Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee, is more like chairman of the bored.  If committee members would spend half as much time fighting Democrats and President Obama as they spend fighting Steele, maybe the party wouldn’t be in such disarray.

In all my years in this party, I have never seen any other chairman micro-managed to this extent.  It is well documented that Steele got off to a rocky start, but either he is going to be chairman or he’s not.  If the committee doesn’t have confidence in him, then vote him out.  But, if he is chairman, let him operate as such and then hold him accountable for his results.

I don’t think this is a racial thing, but the perception is very problematic.  The public is not privy to the inner workings or discussions within the committee (and really could care less).  But, I have been amazed at the number of phone calls I have received from “non-political” people asking if Republicans are doing this because Steele is Black?

Again, I don’t think it’s racial, but all this public fighting is creating that perception among some outside of DC.

I think this in-fighting has more to do with Steele being an outsider to the committee and his having a different vision for the party than those who are part of the “good ole boys” network within the party.  It’s sort of like getting in your car with your wife to go to a concert.  She wants to go left at the corner and you want to go right.  The destination is not in dispute—only how you want to get there.

In this case, there is no dispute that both sides want to win elections.  Steele wants to go down the center of the street; the others want to take the far right lane.  Ultimately, the driver should have the final say, in this case Steele (as chairman of the party).

Anyone who drives knows how irritating it is to have a back seat driver.  At every turn, Steele has acceded to their directions (demands).  He has decreased his media appearances, agreed to give up control of the finances, and has been forced to accept a special meeting next week.

Next week there is a previously planed state party chairmen meeting.  After the regularly scheduled meeting, dissident adversaries of Steele managed to force a special meeting through a seldom used parliamentary rule.  According to this party rule, 16 committee members from 16 different states can force a special meeting at any time.

Invoking this rule demonstrates the friction going on inside the committee.  According to media accounts, the purpose of this special meeting is to vote on 3 resolutions:

“to urge Republican lawmakers to reject earmarks, to commend Republican lawmakers for opposing bailouts and reckless spending bills, and to label Democrats as the Democrat Socialist Party.”


Tell me this is a joke.  They called a special meeting for this foolishness?  And they wonder why they lost the election?  This is a total embarrassment!  This is like a college fraternity issuing a statement to the school president asking him to support higher education.  It has absolutely no relevance nor meaning.

Where were these same committee members during the 8 years of the Bush administration?

To his credit, Steele vehemently opposed this foolishness, but didn’t have the votes to stop the meeting from being called.

Just imagine if the committee spent this same type of energy fighting for more diversity within the party, fighting the Democratic congress, and rebuilding the trust of the American people.

With another month spent by the committee fighting, very publically, with Michael Steele they have lost another month of expanding the party, regaining the trust of the American people, and sharing a Republican vision for solving the problems facing our country.

Steele should make it perfectly clear that his time and energy could be better spent electing Republicans, not being chairman of the bored!


Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-based political consulting/government affairs firm.   You can listen to his radio show every Saturday evening from 7-9:00 p.m.  Go to to register and then click on host, and then click on his photo to join his group.

Black Men In Newsletter

Posted in Black Interests, Black Men on May 9, 2009 by Gary Johnson


The Black Men In bi-monthly newsletter for May 2009 has been released.  You can sign up for the FREE newsletter on the main web site at  The May issue features articles about the Miss Black USA Scholarship Pageant coming to Washington, DC.  Also featured are new book reviews, commentary and an article on the new DVD by filmmaker Janks Morton called “Men To Boys.”

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