Monday, November 27, 2006

Love is in the air




Sunday, November 26, 2006

Blank, empty, and devoid

Hey all. It's been a week since my last post; and a little longer since my last meaningful post. I've just been incredibly swamped lately. But fortunately, I was able to do a little unwinding for the Thanksgiving break. I gave myself some "me time" and spent a couple of days in DC (sorry to invade your turf with calling first Mari). I had been there once before; but the visit was pretty brief. This time around however, I had the opportuntity to do a little bit more while I was there. Hooking up with an old college friend, seeing the monuments, going to a couple of museums, visiting the federal buildings, touring the downtown area. Overall, I'd say that I had a good time; odd for a person who hates politics. Eh, Greeny?

At any rate, the semester is winding down and I'm at the home stretch. My thesis proposal is due in two weeks and will likely steal most of my time. But if I have any random and spontaneous thoughts to share -- rest assured -- I'll let you in on them. Until then, stay blessed and stay safe!


Sunday, November 19, 2006

History repeats itself. Again.

Michigan - 39
Ohio State – 42

There is no justice left in the world.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

100 things to know about Andre

I was over on Diane's page the other day. I noticed a post with "1oo things..." about her. Since I'm in the habit of stealing her ideas, why stop now?

I had been working on this one for quite some time; adding tidbits as they came to me. I would've never guessed that talking about myself could be so exhausting.

At any rate, here are 100 Things to Know about me:

  1. I’m the fourth of five children; the oldest boy.
  2. I’m stubborn as a mule. No. Worse...
  3. I worry about stuff too much.
  4. Opposite of the previous point, I can also be annoyingly apathetic about many things (so I'm told). “Whatever” is probably the most frequently used word in my vocabulary.
  5. I’m the only person in my immediate family with green eyes.
  6. In high school, I got the sixth highest ACT score in my entire graduating class, despite sleeping through large chunks of it.
  7. I'm a perfectionist.
  8. I hate long distance driving.
  9. I’m lazy.
  10. I’m not very sociable.
  11. I don’t care that I’m not very sociable (refer back to point #4)
  12. I’m cheap.
  13. Likewise, I hate spending money.
  14. As much as I talk about how I don’t like them, I get along well with young children. For some reason, they seem to be fascinated with me.
  15. I hate un-straightened rugs.
  16. I’m a neat freak at home.
  17. Inversely, I’m an unorganized slouch in my office.
  18. I hate making up my bed.
  19. I’m very impatient.
  20. I can draw just about any cartoon character around.
  21. My favorite food is pizza with feta cheese and black olives.
  22. I hate reality shows.
  23. One of my eyes is smaller than the other.
  24. I'm an 80's brat. I've seen every episode of Jem, Transformers, Thundercats, and He-Man.
  25. I don’t like politicians.
  26. I’m very argumentative. Sometimes I play Devil’s Advocate just to find something to argue about.
  27. I talk in my sleep.
  28. I can’t swim.
  29. I stutter. When I’m presenting at large forums (conferences, workshops, etc.), I don’t stutter as much. Odd, huh?
  30. I’m a nice guy. A really nice guy. A really, really, nice guy. Sometimes to my detriment.
  31. I hate ironing clothes.
  32. If you look closely, I’ve got small freckles on my cheeks.
  33. I don’t like holidays.
  34. When it comes to “courting” with women, I’m incredibly shy.
  35. I hate admitting when I’m wrong.
  36. My favorite beverage is Apple Juice. A close second is my Kool-Aid. Third is my sister’s Kool-Aid. Fourth is my nephew’s mother’s Kool-Aid. Rounding out the group is A&W Cream Soda.
  37. I try to avoid confrontation. Both a good thing and a bad thing, it seems…
  38. I gripe too much.
  39. I hate feet and toes. Unless I’m just getting out of the shower, you probably won’t catch me without socks on.
  40. My favorite TV show is the Twilight Zone. Others include House M.D., Alias, Spongebob Squarepants, Law & Order: SVU, Nip/Tuck (before the Carver nonsense at the end of season 3, anyway), and Married w/ Children (*wink @ Greeny).
  41. I’m the only male employee in my department (we’ve contracted a guy from Ann Arbor, but he’s only here once a week).
  42. I hate losing to other people in Jeopardy.
  43. I’m a procrastinator.
  44. My favorite book in the Bible is Proverbs. It’s the only book I’ve read in its entirety.
  45. I tend to provide unsolicited advice (though I’m really getting better at this one.)
  46. I can’t dance. My running joke is that I’m the only black person on the planet without rhythm. But I’m starting to think it’s true.
  47. My favorite song is “In the Still of the Night”
  48. I correct people’s grammar (but only when it’s just horrid).
  49. I often say stupid things at the wrong time.
  50. Fall is my favorite season.
  51. I find value in what people say and think; even if I disagree with it.
  52. I can’t parallel park.
  53. I’m very moody.
  54. I don’t like flowers.
  55. I’ve got small moles that stick out on my neck and under my left arm.
  56. My favorite musicians are Earl Klugh, Norman Brown, Tony Roster, Jr., and Miles Davis.
  57. I don’t know how to sew.
  58. I get irritable when I don’t get enough sleep.
  59. On a related note, I sleep too much.
  60. As an undergrad, I had a crush on a professor on our campus. Too bad she's married.
  61. I’m a self-taught drummer.
  62. My favorite colors are earth tones; especially green.
  63. Sometimes I act first and think second.
  64. It’s always been my dream to play in a band.
  65. I don’t take compliments very well.
  66. I love working outdoors.
  67. Ironically, my favorite quality in a woman is sociability (odd for someone who isn't sociable himself).
  68. My ultimate career goal is to become a Chancellor or President at a major college or university (The University of Michigan, perhaps?)
  69. I get defensive easily.
  70. I think that good can be evil and vice versa; depending on whose version you hear and why they say/believe it.
  71. I once had a crush on Babs Bunny, from the Animanics cartoon.
  72. I look too much into some things.
  73. I have a bad habit of getting people angry, even if it’s not my intention.
  74. I can cook pretty well.
  75. I’m not very good at making small talk.
  76. I have a fervent dislike for most celebrities
  77. I try to find shortcuts too often.
  78. I was accepted into six out of seven colleges I applied to as a high school senior (Arizona State, U of M – Ann Arbor, U of M- Flint, Depaul University, Morehouse College, and the Ohio State University; denied by Kettering University)
  79. I was only accepted into three of the five grad schools I applied to (U of M-Flint, U of M-Ann Arbor and Indiana University; rejected by Arizona State and the University of Chicago; my two top choices).
  80. I was a vegetarian for four weeks. Then I had a hamburger.
  81. As a child and an early teen, I habitually suffered from nose bleeds.
  82. I don’t have a hard time making friends. The challenge comes in keeping them.
  83. I want to write at least three books before I die.
  84. When I first started understanding politics in high school, I wanted to register as a Republican. Pretty ironic, huh Hippie?
  85. My siblings jokingly nicknamed me “The Captain” because I’m selfless and always “saving” others, even when they don’t reciprocate it. But lately, this is starting to change a bit for me. I’m starting to get more self-centered; but not in a bad way.
  86. I’m allergic to cats. Interestingly, I just found this out with my neighbor’s feline.
  87. I get comfortable/complacent too easily.
  88. I’m pretty submissive to others. Very seldomly do things happen “the way I want them to.”
  89. I’m horribly ticklish on my neck, especially around my mole.
  90. My political views are slanted toward being socialist.
  91. I’m highly opinionated…about everything (I mean, you’ve read my blog, haven’t you?!)
  92. I don’t drink alcohol, do drugs, or smoke.
  93. I can move my left ear.
  94. I don't like waiting at traffic lights (if no one's around, I'll run them). Goes back to being impatient.
  95. I don't always speak my mind when I should. Oppositely, sometimes I do speak my mind when I shouldn't.
  96. I’m ignorant when it comes to cars.
  97. I love watching lightning storms.
  98. My favorite game is Monopoly.
  99. If I could between being rich or being in love, I’d choose being rich.
  100. Above everything, I'm a sinner redeemed by the Cross.

Well, that was fun. Now it's back to work I go. Lots to do before this weekend. Have a blessed rest of the week!


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Patience + Faith =

For all of those out there who growing impatient with God:

Honestly, have you felt like the things in your life were too confusing and hurtful to even bother dealing with? It's like you're stuck in some sort of perpetual conundrum with virtually no solution in sight. Occasionally, the answers will show up right in your face, while other times they're way out of view. What happens when you get to the point where you feel like you've lost purpose to the things in your life? How do we deal with these feelings?

I think I'm starting to finally realize that we should tackle these feelings with expectancy for the future. What I mean by this is that we should allow God to have control over our lives today, while expecting great things to materialize tomorrow. God is bigger than anything that we could ever imagine. He has the ability to make the impossible things in our life possible. Why then, do we consistently gripe and complain about our present conditions?

Man, I got hit with this lesson pretty hard.

From my experience, I think that we spend too much time looking at our lives through the fog of the past. That fog not only distorts our present view, but it completely blinds us to what the future can hold. What happens as a result is that we respond to the present and the future with negativity and cynicism. We say things like "I can't do this" or "I can't see myself being able to do that" or "I don't think that I can get from here to there". But little do we realize; each time we limit what we can do or -- more importantly -- what God can do, our vision of God's power becomes blurry and jaded.

The prophet Isaiah reminds us that those who wait on God will have renewed strength (40:31). What does this mean? Frankly, it's as simple as it sounds. I don't think that there's some sort of deep and hidden meaning to the word "wait"; except for maybe one caveat: that we "wait" with our minds in a state of expectancy. At this point, we're are putting our trust -- our complete trust -- in God to do whatever needs to be done. It's expecting God's plans for our life to materialize, according to His matter what the past situations looked like.

I think that the more expectancy we have, the less difficult it is to deal with uncertainty, confusion, troubles, and hardships. Since God has promised to constantly renew our strength, the very least we can do for Him is to be patient with Him. The word reminds us that we'll be able to soar like eagles, run our race without without getting tired, and walk confidently without passing out. If we put our faith in God, He pay us huge dividends by pouring His strength and blessings on us.

Just wait.

Thank you (you know who you are) for helping me to see that.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

The election and other news...

Hello all. Sorry that I haven't really been around that much. Life hasn't been able to stand still for even a quick second. But a lot has been going on in the news lately. So I thought I'd take some time out to share my thoughts a bit:

Mid-term elections:
For starters, I'm sorry about my previous post. Looking at it in hindsight, I'd say that I sounded like a real defeatist; not a usual characteristic for me. I guess I was just suffering from election PMS.

Now that that's out of the way, let's get on with it:

- In a shocking upset (at least it was for me), the Democrats have seized control of the both the House and the Senate. While it's good to see the crooks in the GOP finally get theirs, I'm not all too thrilled about Dems being in control either. I'm curious to see how changes in the power structure will or won't lead to systematic changes in our nation's policy once Congress convenes in January.

- It was interesting to see how uncontested the Dems were in this election, especially given the high number of voting irregularities reported.

- These election results don't really prove much to me. As history suggests, power shifts may be temporary.

- The elections have paved the way for several significant shifts; which are always refreshing to see.

(1) Deval Patrick (D-MA) became Massachusetts' first black Govenor, and only the second black to be elected Govenor in the nation's history.

(2) Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) becomes the first woman to ever become Speaker of the House. But ever since I found out she gave Neocons a "get out jail free" card (despite their blunders in Iraq and all the scandals that have brewed), her stock is plummeting with me.

(3) Four Black representatives in the House will head powerful committees;

- I'm happy to hear that I'm not the only Black person in the country who didn't support Harold Ford Jr. (D-TN). I mean, he's apart of the Blue Dog Coalition (Democrats who are nothing by wannabe Conservatives) for Pete's sake! While many people (myself included) believe that the ads against him were loaded with racist undertones, he still didn't garner much support from the Black community. Even the Congressional Black Causus gave him a low grade (of course, anyone who gives Barack Obama a "C" and gives loud-mouth Cynthia McKinney an "A" loses some credibility with me).

- Here in Michigan, the only thing on the ballot that had any real signficance for me (No! It wasn't our election for Govenor...) was the passing of a so-called Michigan Civil Rights Initiative; a proposal to ban Affirmative Action in public institutions.

My heart is filled with both a deep hurt and fear. I feel bad about it largely because I put in a lot of effort into challenging this proposal. I, along with several people from my campus and One United Michigan (a progressive group defending the principles of Affirmative Action), went out into the streets to try and educate people on Affirmative Action. But the election results only proved how unsuccessful we were. The literature in the proposal (which, interestingly was allowed to be on the ballot even after it was deemed to be deceptive by the Michigan Supreme Court) was more influencial than our efforts to enlighten others. I'm fearful for underrepresented people (minorities, women, etc.) because of the damage that will likely ensue now that Affirmative Action will be banned. Programs, scholarship, and outreach efforts that were in place for underrepresented people (combatting the ills of racism, classism, sexism, etc.) will be eliminated. College admissions for minorities will likely be reduced. Gender inequality will likely increase.

I guess that what bothers me most is the absence of the churches and community leaders during this important election. Where were they? Where was their voice? Their immobility is further evidence to me that its easier for people to be reactive than proactive.

OK. Enough about the mid-term elections. On to other misc. news:

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has finally resigned from his position. After completely dropping the ball on any strategic planning during this nonsensical war in Iraq, this idiot finally called it quits. He insists that he offered his resignation twice, but Bush wouldn't allow it. Either way, at least he's gone now. It'll be interesting to see if the Dems go after him now that blood is in the water. Even more interesting will be how well (or how bad) Robert Gates, former CIA director, will do in Rummy's place; especially seeing how he was apart of George H.W.'s initial campaign in Iraq.

Washington D.C. Undercover?
According to this article, the Feds are looking to go undercover in the Congress. Admist all the corruption going on lately, the FBI has finally started looking into the reports. Perhaps a shift in Congressional power will curtail some of the corruption that has happened lately (of course, not if William Jefferson has anything to do with it. LOL!). But the Dems have their work cut out for them. The GOP has single-handedly destroy any stability in Congress.

China = Next Superpower?
I had an interesting conversation with the Hippie Conservative not too along. He made mention of China's recent moves to gain strong influence with Africa. This could easily help the Chinese emerge as a one of the world's new superpowers. Africa is laced with resources (economical, political, and geographical) that have been ignored by the U.S.; especially given our obsession with the Middle East. If that's not convinicing enough for you, last week the leaders of forty African nations were slated to attended the Beijing summit. The Chinese have come to play.

Saddam on the 10 o'clock "noose"
Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has been found guilty of "crimes against humanity" for his role in the execution of thousands of people; and has been sentenced to death by hanging. Interesting.

Don't get me wrong: Saddam is a major loser for what he's done. But is he any different from any other “killers” in the world? Some people have speculated that Saddam's death sentence has more to do with the fact that he is an important witness to what's been going on in Iraq and that tracks are being covered. Can anybody really dismiss those thoughts?

U.S. solider suicide?
I just read an interesting article suggesting that Army specialist Alyssa Peterson killed herself after objecting to interrogation techniques used on insurgent detainees, described by the military as "non-hostile weapon discharge".

The facts of this case don't really add up. Did she really silence herself or did some else do the silencing?

Have you heard the one about...?
Let’s all do John Kerry a favor. If he ever feels the need to tell a joke, let’s put a muzzle on him.

If the GOP didn’t shoot themselves to death from their scandals and immoral behavior, John Kerry’s bad humor about President Bush, Iraq, and Education could have lost Dems the election. During a speech to a crowd to Pasadena City College, Kerry said: "You know education, if you make the most of it, and you study hard, and you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

I get where Kerry was coming from. His joke was intended to say “If you're not educated, you get [us] stuck in Iraq (which would have been more aimed at President Bush), but he completely “botched” it. Since then, the GOP have been all over him suggesting that he was insulting the educational level of the people serving in Iraq. Truthfully, I don’t blame them for going after Kerry. Maybe next time he’ll just shut up and stop trying to joke about Iraq. Didn’t we learn not to do that after Dubya’s infamous WMD joke?

Terrorists: get on board!
Am I the only person outraged over the website that allows people to create fake boarding passes? While the feds are putting up a hissy fit about liquids, oils, and shoes, there is an actual site out there for printing phony passes to board airplanes. How’s that for security?

Uh…is this thing on?
After reading this next article, I think I'm recanting some of my previous posts:

Apparently, a teenage girl posted some pretty intense stuff on her page. In response to her anger about the war, she made some pretty audacious comments about the President; so bold – in fact – that she was investigated by the Secret Service. I’m not saying what she posted, because I’m not tryin’ to get in trouble (you really never know who's reading). But you can read more about it in the article.

I’ll be the first to admit that she shouldn’t said what she said; especially in this new age of surveillance and monitoring. But this is also serves as a reminder that there are MANY people out there (irrespective of race, sex, ethnicity, etc.) who are pissed about this war.

Practice what you preach
Reverend Ted Haggard was recently given the boot from his church after buying crystal meth and receiving “only” a massage from a gay prostitute. I wish I was making this one up. Seriously, I wish I was…

On the one hand, I can’t fault him for his wrongdoing. As I always maintain, there isn’t a single one of us who is completely sinless in God’s eyes. But on the other hand, stories like this have me completely convinced that the Religious Right is nothing by a sham. Haggard was the leader of the highly influential National Association of Evangelicals. He fervently condemned gay rights, homosexuality, and immoral sexual behavior; in all the while engaging in the very acts against which he spoke out (*cough, cough: Mark Foley*)

Comedian ignites Halloween controversy
Recently, controversial comedian Bill Maher drew even more heat for attending a Halloween costume dressed as the recently deceased "Crocadile Hunter" Steve Irwin. He was wearing a uniform similar to Irwin's with a stingray sticking out his chest; similar to how Irwin was killed.

Now, I'm a huge fan of Maher's. I love his commentary, his humor, his wit, and his insight. But even I think that this move was done in bad taste. Instead of finding humor in someone's death, why not use that energy in memorial?

Speaking of "memorials":
Truth be told; I really don't like celebrities that much. But my heart was hurt to learn about the deaths of CBS Correspondent Ed Bradley and singer Gerald Levert this week. I was especially hurt to hear about Bradley, who was recognized as one of the most prominent blacks in all of the media and who frequently used his position to speak to many issues facing minorities today (unlike many affluent celebs I know). I hope they're enjoying God's company right now.

I think that about does it for now. This post wound up being longer than I expected. I really need to get back to work. I'm happy to announce that my thesis committee approved my proposal. I can get started on my work. Now all I have to do is get my study approved for Human Subjects Protection. Good times are ahead, I hope...


Monday, November 06, 2006

Mid-term elections. Who cares?!

Man. I’ll be so frickin’ glad when all of this election nonsense is over. I don't think I'll ever again really have a sense of excitement and appreciation for the political process until the two-party system is abolished. As it currently stands, the Democratic agenda is really no different than the Republican agenda. Both groups place the highest value on gaining and maintaining political power, as opposed to solving any of the nation’s problems; especially for minorities. Frankly, I don’t care who gains control tomorrow. Both parties are evil (Democrats, however, will at least pretend to be concerned about minorities). Ideologically, neither side has really impressed me during my short stint with the political world. All I know is that Democrats seem to love higher taxes and Republicans love to beat up on anybody who is different from the status quo.

I hate to sound like a fatalist right now, but I hardly doubt that – regardless of the election outcome tomorrow – we would have done much to combat the heavily concentrated political divide in this country. It’s not secret that we’ve become as polarized as Earth is to planet Zoltron. Instead, what seems to be the big secret is how we bridge that gap.

One thing’s for sure: November 7th won’t give us the answer we’re looking for…