Tag Archives: economics

Help Wanted/Position Open

Position Open


BETWEEN 8 and 5 PM

Is it just me or does this often seem like the job description of life when we are asked to do the impossible?

The Young African-American Survival Guide – Go Get It for Free!

I can’t explain how good it feels to do some good from a bad situation which is what I feel this book will do.
As a result of my own struggles and troubled childhood, I have developed a strong desire to work with disadvantaged African-American youth from inner city communities, particularly those from single parent homes, to encourage them to make better life decisions.

Using the gift I’ve been given, I have written an illustrated book of some 200 pages, a workbook for Africa- American youth, entitled “The Young African American Survival Guide for ages 8-18”.
The book is built around the topics of sex, drugs, hustling, education, gangbanging, and violence.

The book is certainly needed in many African-American communities:

• 67 % of all black children are born to single mothers
• African-American women and their children make up 60 percent of all new AIDS/HIV cases in the United States
• 50 % of black female teenagers have contracted a sexually transmitted disease by age 18
• At birth a black male child has a 1 in 3 chance of going to prison
• In 2002, 1,772 black youth died from gunshot wounds
• 1 out of every 21 black men will be murdered. The murder rate for black males is 10 times higher than the murder rate for white males
• 40 % of prisoners on death row are African-American
• 64 % of black students cannot read at grade level in the 4th grade, compared with 29 percent of white children

For many of us, these are only numbers, and essentially not our problem. But it’s the human beings behind these numbers that concern me and all individuals who have love and concern for their fellow human beings.
I decided to try to make a difference, even if it’s just a small one, in the life of some inner city child with my book “The Young African American Survival Guide”.

Access my book for free on Prisonsfoundations.com

Stolen Lives

One Million black men 

Not marching in D-C

Brought together by force,

legal farce

Victims of a common fate

Residents of America’s penal


Whitewashed plantations,

littered across the nation

No longer confined to the


Descendants of slaves

Confined to the big house

One million stolen lives


Reprinted from ”A Windowless Room” by Kenneth West, Trafford Press

119,000,000 Dollars For That?

Call me unrefined, crude, even barbaric, if you will. I can take it, because I’ve no doubt been called worse. Whatever the case may be, I couldn’t help but shake my head and continue shaking it when I read that Norwegian artist Edvard Munch 1895 ‘The Scream’ went up for sale at high-end auction house Sotheby’s on May 2, and sold for a record 119,000,000 million dollars.

The picture or some version of it has been reproduced in one form or another by everyone from Macaulay Culkin, Homer Simpson, Andy Warhol to Wes Craven in his horror films of the same name. If for some reason you’ve missed it, please refer to the four original versions below.

Allright, now that you’ve seen it, can you or anyone else please tell me why anybody in their right mind would pay any millions for it, let alone 119 million? Because I am obviously missing something here.

For those of us who need a refresher of exactly how much money a 119,000,000 million dollars is, or what you can buy with it, here’s a primer.


$50, 000 for 4 years of college at a public university

$150, 000 for 4 years of college at a private university

You could pay for 2,380 degrees at a public university, or 714 at a private such as Harvard or Yale.

You could buy 6 Gulfstream 8 passenger jets for 20 mill a piece

119 3-bedroom loft apartments at 1 million a pop

238 5,500 square feet homes in Houston for $500,000 each


1 393-unit multi-family luxury apartment complex for 73 million

Or you could just buy Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”. Maybe being a product of the inner city where the closest most people get to any type of art is a cheap framed poster from Wal-Mart. I just don’t get it. But this seems like a no-brainer to me.

Other Outrageously Prices Art on The Market:

Author’s Note: For the record, if you’re reading this and you happen to be one of those rich tycoons with more money than you know what to do with and you decide to buy one of these pictures , excuse me, masterpieces. I feel it’s only fair that for making you aware of these ‘great works’, I receive a small commission off the sales price – how about 10 percent and we’ll call it even.

Sources: Wall Street Journal and Getty Images


Stand Up And Be Counted, or Just Shut Up

“We are not comparing the President to the Almighty. We are comparing him to the alternative.” Vice-President Joe Biden

Read the Vice-President’s comment again and then think about it. Because that’s the heart of what the 2012 presidential election between incumbent Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney is all about.

While President Obama has proved to be far less of a miracle-worker than most people initially thought he was, he has made some significant positive changes. Changes that have had a tremendous effect on everyday people instead of simply benefitting the rich and powerful as the bulk of Bush and other Republican policies normally do. Which, if you ask me, is really what most Republicans and wealthy Americans are really upset about, the leveling of the playing field. Just for a moment, forget that nonsense about humans being basically altruistic and the few working for the greater good of the whole because it just isn’t a reality.

Ask yourself this, if your team is already winning, why on earth would you be interested in rewriting the rules of the game to allow other teams to be better able to compete against you? If you’re honest the truth is you wouldn’t want any type of change, but would simply be happy with the status quo.

Malcolm X said, “If your enemy is for it, be extremely wary of it.”

The fact that nearly every Republican has been staunchly opposed to virtually every policy that President Obama has put forth, regardless of how many Americans the policy would benefit. Should show you exactly whose interest the Republican party is concerned with, those of the rich, upper-class, and well- connected. A group that’s overwhelmingly white.

J.P. Morgan, one of the original “Robber Barons”, once told a reporter, “the public be damned.”
For over half a century, the Republican party has been saying the exact same thing to the average American:
“Go straight to hell.”
You lost your job and can’t pay your bills?
“Go to hell.”
Your employer doesn’t offer health care?
“Go to hell.”
The CEO of your publicly traded company made more than the company?
“Go to hell.”

But if you care about being able to get adequate health care should you ever need it, the choice is clear.

If you care about billionaires paying less in Federal taxes then their middle class secretaries, the choice is clear.

If you care about you or any one of your loved ones being able to earn a college degree from a decent college, even if Momma and Daddy don’t have a extra hundred grand laying around, the choice is clear.

If you care about the rich getting richer, the poor getting poorer and nobody giving a damn, the choice is clear.

If you care about having a president that represents the interest and concerns of everyday people and not just corporate Big Wigs like the former 200 million dollar net worth CEO of Bain Capital will do, the choice is clear.

If you care about what happens to you and your family, your community, city, state and nation then you will stand up and be counted-voteand let your voice be heard.


Because whether you participate in it or not, or even believe in it like Sam Cook sung, “A Change Is Gonna Come.”

It may not come in 4 years or even 8 for that matter, but a change is going to come, oh yes it is.

President Obama isn’t a perfect president but he has enough wisdom and humility to admit it, “I told you in 2008 that I wasn’t a perfect man, and I will never be a perfect president.” So even though he readily admits that he’s only human like the rest of us, I believed in President Obama. in 2008, and I still believe in him in 2012.


Discovering the Wonderful Art of Sonya Clark

I would venture to say that it’s something few of us have ever thought of as anything more than a natural part of our lives, along with a occasional annoyance that we have to keep groomed and maintained. But not Sonya Clark, the textile artist, who often uses hair as her artistic medium. While studying at the Art Institute of Chicago, she said, “I got to thinking about what the first textile art form was, and that led me to hair dressing. Hair is the first textile humankind used in decorative and functional ways.”

Clark, who often uses her own hair in the pieces she creates, has produced a treasure trove of memorable pieces including Heritage Pearls, a strand of pearls made out of her hair, Black Hair Flag, and Afro Abe, that have been exhibited in over 250 galleries and museums all over the world. Clark says her art is about identity, individual and collective along with her black heritage.

One of her most politically charged pieces and the one that tends to cause the most uproar is “Black Hair Flag” in which the artist makes an American flag using black cotton braided into corn rolls for the stripes and Bantu knots for the stars, superimposed over a confederate flag – thus signifying the African-American triumph from the slave ship to the White House .

My personal favorite is “Afro Abe”, a collection of seven five dollar bills with ever increasing afros affixed to the nations 16th President. “In one sense, giving Lincoln an afro is honorific,” said Clark. “But Lincoln’s decision to free the slaves was an economic decision as much as anything else.”

She is currently in the process of making 44 slightly different versions of Afro Abe as a kind of tribute to President Obama the nations 44th President. According to Clark, “I almost consider “Afro Abe” as a kind of portrait of Obama.”

Sonya Clark is a amazing black artist who has taken a common often overlook element, “hair”, and transformed it into an amazing statement of human creativity.

Why?— Occupy Wall Street

It may be naive or even idealistic, yet I can’t help from believing something is seriously wrong with a economic system that continues to put so much in the hands of so few at the expense of so many. And for too long that’s exactly what has taken place in America, one of the most economically stratified countries on the globe. A nation where 1/6 of the population controls 70 percent of all income and wealth.

Being that these facts on exactly how economically stratified the US is are widely known. Honestly, I’m surprised that it has taken this long for the average American to wake up and come to their senses and blow the whistle and say hold up, foul, no goal .

But that’s exactly what the OWS movement is an awakening by the average American who for too long has been kept divided with insignificant trivial issues. Divisions that have only served to divide the people and benefit the ruling class. By keeping us focused on racism, immigration, gay marriage, abortion and so forth.

We have been so consumed and filled with animosity toward one another over these issues and many others that we’ve been unable, and unwilling to get together with our fellow suffers to compare notes and identify exactly who and what is for us and -against us. Ask yourself, who has this division benefitted?

It has benefitted the 6 percent of Americans who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo by any and all means necessary.

However a funny thing has begun happening. Americans of all shapes and strips have become more and more tolerant, thus making it increasingly difficult for the puppet masters (ruling class) to pit blacks against whites, and whites against blacks, or to blame all of the countries woes on the Mexicans who are supposedly stealing all of the hard working Americans’ jobs(hush don’t mention all the jobs corporate America shipped off to India to save money and increase profits, just say it’s the Mexicans it sounds better), or blame the homosexuals for bringing down the wrath of God, or all the women who have abortions.

It has always been______________________ group that was the country’s main

problem. And the ever shifting story line has been that if we could

just get rid of, or at least deal with__________________________ group all of the

country’s trouble would miraculously disappear.

So although it has taken awhile, a little over four centuries most Americans appear to have finally gotten tired of hating one another.

Ever perceptive as only those with an unstable grip that they don’t want to lose can be. The powers that be were some of the first to recognize “fears of cultural shift” and that the old divide and conquer blame XYZ strategy wasn’t working as well as it once did.

What was their solution? They adopted what I like to call the Al Capone strategy. Ever wonder how Al Capone became one of the most successful and richest gangsters in history? He adopted a strategy that was to basically give everybody a cut from the shoeshine boy who just might overhear valuable information while polishing a client’s shoe to the governor in his mansion. Capone had them all on his payroll.

A variation of this strategy that America’s ruling class has propagated is what I like to call the myth of middle class prosperity.

Which is nothing more than the lie that said, “hey you’re American, you can have a piece of the pie too and basically be just like us. All it takes is a good job and some credit. Want a house? No problem we’ll give you a 30 year mortgage, for interest of course. Want a car, oh a Mercedes just like the ones we drive to show your friends and family that you have made it. That you are a success. No problem we’ll finance that for you tooo your credit not that good. That’s okay, we’ll lease it to you. After all this is America.”

Think about it what better way to neutralize a potential threat or enemy then to convince him to join your team even if it’s only symbolically.

The price for this financed middle class are a few checks from broke, I better not lose my job, I’m be up shit creek-prosperity. Was the ruling class saying okay now look, “you have a BMW and a condominium yourself. Even if you’re in debt up to your eyeballs. You’re prosperous and living the American dream. So just ignore my 100 million dollar compensation package, fifty million dollar Gulfstream II, 30 million dollar yacht, 3 mansions and 2 vacation homes, along with the 3 million I just spent on my daughter’s 15th birthday party. Me and you are just alike and if you work hard you can have everything I have. Really no kidding. Here let’s shake on it, we’re pals right?”

For the better part of 3 decades this twisted logic prevailed. Then the economy faltered, yet while the country’s rich continued to ride around in luxury autos, shop in Beverly Hills, and drink thousand dollar bottles of wine, their middle class pals spiraled to the brink of depression. In some neighborhoods entire streets became deserted as one home after another was foreclosed on, cars were repossessed, and Americans of all ages moved back in with their parents in record numbers. In all between 2007 and 2009 5.2 million American jobs disappeared, and 50 percent of American workers moved into a lower tax bracket earning less than $26,364 a year.

As the so-called middle class which was nothing more than a leveraged myth to begin with slowly begin to shrink. Suddenly the rhetoric of the social critics and gadflies among us began to make more and more sense to a lot of people who would’ve never previously entertained the notion that the deck was stacked, or dice loaded.

But the average Americans decided they too wanted to know: how was it that during the so-called worst depression in recent history while they were struggling to pay for astronomically high gasoline, oil companies like Exxon-Mobile were reporting record high profits? Or how was it that the ultra-rich whose average income was already a staggering 91.2 million saw that income jump a whopping 394 million to $518.8 million? All during the same period that the number of poor Americans increased to 6.7 percent the highest level in 35 years.

If you’ve ever been conned or taken advantage of then you know the sickening feeling that occurs when you finally realize what has happened. Once the people realized that they had been had. Their response came on November 17,at Zuccoti Park in Manhattan when the people got together, black, white, Mexican, Asian, straight, gay, educated, young and old and birthed the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. A movement by the 99 percent to take back our lives, and livelihoods from the 1 percent who have decided that it was their divine right to enslave the rest of us. But the words of an old negro spiritual say, “before I be a slave I’ll be buried in my grave.”

Since the movement begin mainstream media has been quick to ask, ”what is it that the OWS movement wants?” I’ll tell you, a complete renegotiation of the social contract with America. Nothing less will suffice.

Now it’s the people finally asking the right questions, making the right demands, and taking to the streets. And with the old blame some marginalized group, or Al Capone strategy no longer working efficiently. The ruling class has turned to their most faithful weapon in their arsenal; the police.

Who are the upholders of the status quo and who serve as the private army of the 1 percenters in any country. Thus the assaults, pepper sprayings, arrest and harassment. Ordered by those eager to get back to business as usual and their minions who their cash helped elect in the first place. All for a time such as this.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was fond of saying that, “though the arc of history may be long that it ultimately bends toward justice.” Knowing this I’m firmly convinced of the evitable success of the (OWS)movement. As Malcolm X said, “truth is always on the side of the oppressed.”

I firmly believe that just as the dictators who have been falling like dominos in the Middle East, if the financial dictators in this country believe that such inequity will continue to be tolerated. Then just like Saddam in Iraq, Gadhafi in Libya, Mubarak in Egypt, and Assad in Syria they are on the wrong side of history.

Big Ups To Mr. Buffett

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last year or so, most likely you’ve heard of mega-billionaire Warren Buffett’s proposal to raise taxes on America’s rich. An idea that no doubt carries weight coming from the country’s second richest man. Really his proposal is as simple as his investment strategy, which is to use common sense and avoid investments you don’t understand. Common sense dictates if you make more you should pay more, or at the very least your fair share. Something most rich Americans seem to be against as attest by their fondness of offshore accounts, and various other tax shelters.

However, for me personally, I’m content to let the big wigs in Washington squabble it out until they find a solution to the problems they created. Which again, if you think about it, is really just another common sense proposition. They broke it with unnecessary wars, outrageous defense budgets, deregulation, loop holes, tax cuts for million and billionaires and on and on. So let them fix it.

It’s another of Mr. Buffett’s pet P’s, beside taxing the rich that caught my attention. His support for a concept called “Purpose Built Communities”, a community redevelopment nonprofit organization begin by Tom Cousins in Atlanta, GA in the early nineties. That focuses on transforming struggling inner city areas (ghettos) into thriving safe prosperous areas. Because as Mr. Buffett said, “the world does not treat everybody equal at birth. We don’t have the same starting line for people in this country.” But ”when people are finding a way to realize their own potential, when they’re earning their own way,  when kids are getting a decent education, when they don’t have to worry about the area in which they live, I think that does wonders.”

What makes Purpose Built Communities concept of  inner city renewal, redevelopment unique is that   it focuses on all aspects of the community – not just bringing in new retail businesses, or nice clean   apartments without considering the people who have to inhabit them.

Something that I know doesn’t work. I grew up not far from a notorious large housing project in the 3rd Ward area of Houston that the government decided to renovate in the mid-nineties. After the last construction crew left, the once rat-infested, notorious drug havens looked totality different like upscale townhomes. But within a few short years the complex begin to take on its’ former gritty appearance. Why? Because the government fixed the buildings without liberating the people mentally who had to inhabit the new shiny buildings.

I don’t know Mr. Cousins are his background but this is something he seemed to understand. And the model to the communities he builds take a holistic approach that include new houses, apartments, charter schools, parks, community centers, health care facilities, recreational programs, and jobs for those in the community. Because what’s the use living in a brand new apartment full of amenities if you have to send your kids to under performing schools where kids in the 5th grade can barely read or write a complete sentence? Or what good is it to live by great schools that have your fifth grader reading War and Peace if don’t have a job and therefore the money to buy them a copy?

By focusing on all aspects of the individual and family as a whole Mr. Cousins has got it right. As evident by the Purpose Built Communities currently being built in Indianapolis, New Orleans,  Birmingham, Ala; Rome, GA; Galveston, TX, and Omaha.

The success of the redevelopments have prompted Mr. Buffett and the billions that come with him to get involved. “What better can you do with money than to help thousands of people change their lives in a very, very positive way?” said Mr. Buffett.

Finding myself in agreement with Mr. Buffett once again, I understood why he’s affectionately referred to as the ”Sage of Omaha.”

American Exceptionism

The occurrence of Americans going abroad and acting like arrogant idiots, and flaunting the laws of foreign countries has seemed to reach an all time high. The mentality of these college educated-who should therefore know better-Americans seems to be that “I can do whatever I want, and if I do something really bad or stupid, the American media will paint me as a victim and old Uncle Sam will bail me out.”

A recent example is Shane Bauer, Sarah Shroud and their friend Josh. Three college-educated white Americans who were in Iraq on their own free will and accord, allegedly to teach English while sightseeing Iraq’s’ natural beauty. Evidently it was this desire for sightseeing that led them to go on a desert hike and “accidentally” cross the Iranian border. A country that America has been slowly and meticulously strangling for decades with crippling sanctions.

For the time being, let’s not even question the logic of going hiking in an active War Zone, where American soldiers were daily returning to their families in flag-draped coffins. Or even the Iranian assertion that the three Americans were spying — which they very well may have been. But forget all that for the time being.

Instead, let’s look at it from the perspective that three Americans illegally crossed into Iranian territory— a crime in Iran and just about every other country in the world. However, the American media immediately jumped on the bandwagon and portrayed them as victims of a repressive regime that was using them as pawns in a high stakes game of political brinkmanship against America.

I don’t think so. Do you know what happens when Mexican citizens cross the American border for any reason illegally? Be they sightseeing, hiking, fishing, or just plain lost? They get arrested and are held by U.S Immigration officials in jails and prisons for months and sometimes years.

So would somebody please tell me why it’s wrong when Iran chooses to enforce its laws and incarcerate Americans who illegally cross its borders? I don’t get it. Have you ever seen any New York Times pieces about the wrongfulness of arresting Mexican citizens who enter this country illegally? And if you think for a second that being in an Iranian prison is worse than being in a American one, then you have never actually witnessed what really goes on inside of the American Industrial Prison complex.

In every article I read, these three Americans were painted as poor suffering victims of a dangerous regime. A regime former President Bush labeled part of an “Axis of Evil”. I mean, come on, these were three educated, well-traveled middle- and upper-class Americans, who knew or should’ve known to respect another country’s laws. But perhaps they felt that being Americans those laws didn’t apply to them.

Exhibit B of Americans abroad behaving badly is Amanda Knox. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know if Amanda killed her roommate. Honestly, I hope she didn’t. But I do know that for a guest in a country she wasn’t a very good one. I have always been taught that when you are a guest be it at someone’s home, or anywhere else for that matter that you should be on your very best behavior. Something we all know Ms. Knox wasn’t during her stay in Italy. And while there are some crazy aspects of the case, what irked me was how the American media was so quick to demonize an entire countries criminal justice system when right here in America we have one of the worst, racist, corrupt and unequal justice systems on the face of the earth. A criminal justice system that has more people behind bars (2 million) than any other developed nation including Russia, China, and supposedly evil Iran put together.

I can tell you first hand that Amanda received more justice in a foreign land then she would’ve in her own, especially if she had been a minority and poor. There would’ve been no donations to her legal defense, Facebook support pages are regular news articles decrying her plight or the injustice of her case. She would’ve been another one of the nameless and faceless that nobody cares about who pack the prisons and jails of this nation and who are presumed guilty until proven innocent.

If you followed the Amanda Knox case and know anyone in the legal profession, or who has been through a criminal trial here in the United States, ask them to rate the quality of our own appeal system to that of Italy’s compared to our own poor quality pay-to-play system, Italy’s like a Rolls Royce to a Ford Pinto.

So while Ms. Knox should’ve been acting like a respectful guest during her stay in Italy instead of flaunting that country’s laws as if they didn’t apply to her, if she was guilty she had better thank whatever God she believes in that she was in Italy where she could count on the American State Department and media to instantly support her innocence claims and to make her a cause célèbre. Once again, it was the case of a poor middle class white American being miss-treated by an unjust government. But this time instead of those blasted American hating Arab Muslims, it was those damn Italians that were to blame. Get for real!

The most recent example of Americans going abroad acting like laws don’t apply to them is the case of Derrik Sweeney, 19; Gregory Porter, 19; and Luke Gates, 21. Three white American Exchange students who attended American University in Cairo, Egypt and were caught on the roof of a building in Tahir Square throwing firebombs at Egyptian security forces. After their arrest the American media propaganda-think-what-I-tell-you machine instantly kicked into high gear, and began decrying these three bright college students who each attended private prestigious universities, one of which had recently interned for U.S.Rep. Elaine Luetkemyer, R-MO, as suffering victims wrongfully arrested in a country in chaos.

Immediately following their arrest the U.S State Department intervened to have them released – a request that Egyptian officials who are dependent on American aid financial and otherwise quickly complied with. No investigation to see if the allegations were true. If these three Americans had really tried to burn Egyptian police officers to death with firebombs, no trial to determine the facts, just a simple “you’re American, you can go.”

Do you know what it’s called in this country when you try to kill a police officer? It’s called Attempted Capital Murder, and with few exceptions the person who commits it, or is accused of committing such a crime can expect a long prison sentence, coupled with public outrage that anyone had tried to harm a peace officer, the very people who protect and serve us and keep our communities safe from the evil among us. Obviously this sentiment only applies to American police officers, and not Egyptian ones.

Can you imagine what the fallout would’ve been if three Egyptian young men around the same age as the September 11 attackers stood on the top of a building during one of the recent Occupy Wall Street protest and threw firebombs at NYPD police officers? Not only would they be labeled as Muslim terrorist, even if they knew as much about the Koran as a backwoods fundamentalist preacher in Sweetwater, Texas, but the Attorney General, FBI, and Homeland Security agency along with every American media outlet beaming the threat of Muslim terrorist out to kill American police officers into living rooms around the country. On top of this it would become harder for foreigners to get student visas and the men would be facing life sentences without the possibility of parole.

Had they been Egyptians, U.S Rep Luetkemeyer would’ve been making statements like the one he did about Derrik Sweeney when he said that he was ”extremely pleased that he’s safe and coming home.”

Or the one made by Mr. Sweeney’s mother Joy, “I can’t wait to give him a huge hug and tell him how much I love him. He’s a writer; he will write about this experience. I’m sure that he’ll put a life-lesson learning experience into a positive story.”

Imagine that? Your son is arrested for trying to burn up a police officer with a firebomb/but sense it’s just a foreign police officer it’s a, ”life-lesson learning experience.”

After all he’s an exception, he’s American.

Go to a foreign country, get high, party and possibly have something to do with murdering your British roommate, it’s okay, she’s American.

Cross another countries border illegallyintentionally or otherwise. “Oh Gosh it’s no big deal is it? I mean if it is, I’m a American.”

So if you want to do something really stupid and get a-way with it, first get a passport, preferably a student visa, pick a point on the globe and get arrested for XYZ. Then quickly contact the U.S Embassy (Kudos if you happen to get arrested in a country without a U.S Embassy then you’re really a victim), who will immediately notify the media. Claim you’re a victim of anti-Americanism and you’ll likely be home for the holidays.

The Killing of Troy Davis – And Why It Matters

On September 22, 2011 the state of Georgia continued its bloody history by executing a innocent black man named Troy Davis for an alleged 1989 killing of a white off-duty police officer in Savannah, Georgia.

The state and its officials who supposedly represent justice allowed this injustice to go forward despite 10 of the original 11 witnesses recanting their testimony, despite a 900,000 signature petition gathered by ColorofChange.org and Change.org, practically begging that Mr. Davis’s life be spared, despite the vocal support against his execution from Pope Benedict XVI, as well as former United States President Jimmy Carter who went on record stating:

“If one of our fellow citizens can be executed with so much doubt surrounding his guilt, then the death penalty system in our country is unjust and outdated.”

Troy Cavis collage by “CJ” Wesley

But still, like a runaway train the execution was allowed to continue. What’s wrong with the state of Georgia? What’s wrong with the other states where state sponsored murder is still practiced? States that hold a combined 3,200 men and women (many who are innocent) in prison cells the size of the average walk in closet, awaiting their date with the executioner – the state paid-for, government-sponsored publicly- supported executioner. What’s wrong with America?

After watching innocent men and women walk out of prison time and time again after having spent decades or more in prison for crimes that they didn’t commit, but that they were tried, convicted and sentenced for, how can any rational minded, freedom-loving, red-blood, apple-pie eating American continue to support the so-called ultimate crime, excuse me, I mean punishment?

Yet, that is what many of us continue to do. In a recent CBS/NY poll, 60 percent of Americans continue to support such state sponsored killing of men like Stanley “Tookie” Williams, Gary Graham, and now Troy Davis’s name has been added to this grim roster of men with creditable innocent claims whose lives have been snuffed out by the state.

Some things boggle the mind.

Recently I experienced the same feeling of mental displacement when, while watching a Republican Presidential debate, the educated, middle and upper class, majority Christian audience broke into loud applause when a question was directed at US President hopeful and current Texas governor Rick Perry about his state leading the country in its use of the death penalty.

The governor smiled and the audience clapped.

Mind boggling.

How could I or anyone with one iota of decency, compassion, or humanity help but think, “what’s wrong with these people?”

Have you like me ever seen the photos from the late 19th century and early 1900s of the public lynchings of black Americans that took place all around the country? What always amazed me from looking at these photos wasn’t the actual killings usually over something trivial, but that the public lynchings were joyous community affairs where entire families turned out to participate in the morbid festive. If you look at the pictures you’ll see men with their young children hoisted up on their necks, small kids playing and young couples smiling giddily at the camera. All with the disfigured, often mutilated body of what a few seconds earlier was a living human being lifeless corpse swaying from a rope in the background.

While I readily admit there’s a lot I don’t know, I do know that the death of another human being is nothing to celebrate and applaud as the audience did at the Republican President debate. Not in 1911 or 2011.

When the state of California executed Stanley “Tookie” Williams on December 13, 2005, I wrote the following poem:

Killer Cali
Killer Cali
Killed a favorite son
The state murderer a
A black visionary
Big Tookie
Your body they put to death
But your spirit had already left
It mixed with the ink of the
words you wrote
Mingled in the dialogue of the
words you spoke
In the end the state was cheated
You message was heard
Mission completed.

Now six years later, like a traveler lost in the same senseless maze, I find myself at the same spot, once again contemplating and raging at the loss of another brother, another innocent man sacrificed to the god of injustice – Why?

For deterrence?

Or simple vengeance?

While strapped to the death gurney, one of Troy Davis’s final requests was that we “continue to fight this fight.” A sentiment echoed by the Rev. Al Sharpton, “We must not only mourn what happened to Troy Davis but take strong measures so that it does not happen again.”

Amen –

Brother Davis today we surround the funeral pyre sorrow in our hearts watching the flames lick the heavens assuring you soul safe passage into Valhalla.

Tomorrow we march!