Archive | February 2009

Vigilante or Snitch?

 

Carpool Lane Sign

Carpool Lane Sign

It’s 1245 on Saturday afternoon. My fiancee and I are driving on I-405 in suburban Seattle, on our way home after my physical therapy, conversing like usual. Then…

 

BAM!

A police office rolls by in the carpool lane. What’s a guy to do? Read More…

The silver-lining in our economic crisis

I know times are hard for folks and not a week goes by where someone doesn’t tell me about how they heard about some new company giving people the pink slip. However, all of this gloom and doom that the media and we in turn regurgitate is bad for our mental and emotional health. For those of us that had the pleasure of going to school, you will recall the best times of your life was spent scrounging up change to order a small pizza to be split amongst five people, or going to every event that offered food, or any other but-gusting story you can reflect on. On one hand, you could suffer knowing that eventually, you would get a job where you could pay your bills.

I submit to you that our mental and emotional states should not ebb and flow with the economic outlook for the quarter. I was raised that God always provides a way of escape and we should look to the hills from which cometh our help. Moreover, I wrote a list of reasons we all should be looking for the silver lining in the midst of this economic crisis.

•    You are probably drinking more water now than you ever thought possible.
•    There is less pressure to keep up with the Joneses because most people you know are hurting.
•    The times you probably went out to eat you now spend cooking at home and actually to eat food you cook.
•    Count your blessings for not having a criminal record because with a record, it is difficult (not impossible) to work or even go to school. This means that once the economy recovers, you will be able to ride out while many people probably in your family will be left behind. Don’t forget about them and show love.
•    Hopefully, something miraculous has or will happen to you (got a job, someone paid a bill for you, etc.) and there is no other way for you to explain it other than a blessing from God.
•    You are cutting the things out of your life that satisfies your selfish desires and not your spirit.
•    You realize that you have a lot more hustle inside you than you thought possible.
•    You realize that your loved ones would much rather you tell them about a problem than have you suffer in silence.
•    You finally took the time to do that sometimes painful self-evaluation.
•    You either have or will find out who your real friends are when your enjoyment isn’t lubricated by what money can buy.

Stay up fam,

Brandon Q.

Candidate projects for stimulus funding

Stimulus details and strategy
A friend of mine put me on a website called http://www.stimuluswatch.org which according to the website

“was built to help the new administration keep its pledge to invest stimulus money smartly, and to hold public officials to account for the taxpayer money they spend. We do this by allowing you, citizens around the country with local knowledge about the proposed “shovel-ready” projects in your city, to find, discuss and rate those projects. These projects are not part of the stimulus bill. They are candidates for funding by federal grant programs once the bill passes.”

It is pretty cool to see what projects in your state or city are “shovel ready.” There is a voting/comments section where you can talk about the viability of any project. Each project has the estimated cost and how many jobs will be created. I think we really have to use these tools that help us understand what the government is doing with our money. Let me know what you think,

Stay up fam,

Brandon Q.

The President as God?

I have been thinking about how we as Americans talk about our President and how scary it resembles idolatry. To be sure, this post is about the institution of the President and about President Obama. (I really like typing President Obama) A couple quotes that are familiar to Americans include the following;

1) “I serve at the pleasure of the President of the United States.”

2)“Well if the President asks you to do something, you absolutely have to give it serious consideration.”

Indulge me for a moment and re-read quotes one and two with God and tell me if most people you know live their lives as such.

Moreover, the first quote is interesting because it is really just a fancy way of saying you are an at-will employee, which is not different from the experience of many American workers who are not a part of a union. The “pleasure” piece is weird for me because it suggests, if accidentally, a level of loyalty that should be reserved for God.

Likewise, the second quote makes me think about all the times we reject helping someone we care about because it is often times slightly inconvenient. This presents another dichotomy that I don’t appreciate. What makes a President asking you to do something any more valuable than your family member that needs some money to help make ends meet? I don’t think we should all say yes to every request made of us but this suggestion that the President’s will shall not be denied is a quality that again, should be reserved to God.

Stay up fam,

Brandon

How to end the debate on the 'Stimulus Bill'

The current debating and posturing on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, commonly referred to as the “Obama Stimulus Bill” is troubling and unproductive. All of the partisan rhetoric and time-wasting by Republicans, Democrats, and the President could have been avoided by framing this bill properly and sticking to that frame.

The bill is going to pass. No one, not even Conservative critics, dispute this inevitability. It would have passed with little opposition if one thing would have been done differently: if they would have called it from jump a Jobs Bill, not a Stimulus Bill.

What’s the difference between a Jobs Bill and a Stimulus Bill?

No Congressperson, no matter how much they hate it, can make a justifiable political argument against job creation. Politicians and pundits can, however, make arguments against stimulus. By the way, what exactly is stimulus? Is it spending? Is it tax cuts?

President Obama and I think it’s the former, but the problem is there is room for debate. There is room for conservatives to attempt [with some success] to recast this bill as a spending bill, which to hardcore conservatives make it the Devil’s bill.

Winning the War on Policy happens when you win the War of Words

The President in recent days has gone on the offensive to defend this legislation. This is the right thing to do. What would have been even better to do was not even talk about stimulus plans in the first place, even during the campaign. After all, saying stimulus plan conjures up images of the Bush “Stimulus Checks”, which barely evened registered on any scale of positive economic impact. When you describe your plans and policies with the same language as failed plans and policies, it gives people the wrong mental images. And it is those mental images that are crucial for achieving buy-in in politics.

I’ll be watching this administration and how it frames policy debates. The Obama team was pretty good during the campaign season at framing. They shouldn’t forget that going forward.

One Love. One II.

No more Black History Month?

What’s up fam,

Let me first start out by saying Happy Black History Month. For starters, let me say that I am truly dismayed at the plethora of Black writers that are claiming in large part due to Obama, we should no longer celebrate Black History Month. Obama’s presidency is the culmination, promise, and continuation of Black History. For all the Black people believing this garbage, let’s cut a deal. When Black History is honored and celebrated in our history books and cultural norms as much as White folks, let’s stop celebrating Black History month. Until then, stop propogating the mistaken myth that Obama represents the end of Black history.

Stay up fam,

Brandon Q.

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