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Last weekend I watched the documentary Runaway Slave, by Rev. C.L. Bryant on Hulu. I admit, I didn't read the synopsis before watching it; I thought that it was simply a documentary that addressed modern racism and how social programs such as welfare and affirmative action exacerbate it. But this was just the tip of the iceberg. The synopsis on IMDB states the following (emphasis mine):
"Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we're free at last!" Nearly a half-century after these words were spoken, has Dr. Martin Luther King's dream somehow become more elusive? In RUNAWAY SLAVE, Rev. C.L. Bryant journeys across America to find the answer. Using leading black conservatives as "conductors," this one-time NAACP local chapter president blazes a new Underground Railroad to help liberate all Americans from the Government plantation that through entitlements has created a new form of slavery. Celebrate freedom!
So basically, this documentary focuses on Rev. Bryant's reasons for becoming a political conservative (a Tea Partier at that) and he goes around the country talking to other African-Americans who feel like the Democratic party and the liberal agenda has failed them.

In spite of being on the other side of the fence politically, I really did enjoy this film. In fact, I was shocked at how much I could appreciate the sentiments of not only Rev. Bryant, but of many other people who were featured such as Star Parker and Herman Cain (I won't go as far to give any credence to Allen West, who was also in the film). Note that I said that I "appreciate" them, and not that I agree with them. I think one of the main reasons why I liked this film is that it showed that African-Americans are not as homogeneous as we are made out to be. And these Black conservatives presented their views and political opinions with a great deal of thoroughness, sociological knowledge and valuable life experiences. So in short, they didn't come off like crackpots.

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Well folks, we have a winner...of the Florida Primaries that is. It looks like it will be Charlie Crist vs. Rick Scott this November in the Florida gubernatorial race. I thought that it was noteworthy that he abandoned his independent party status and has now become a full-fledged Democrat. Noteworthy...but not surprising.

Florida did not fare well under Crist the first time. The Great Recession hit the state hard and unmercifully in 2007. Sure, we were thrilled that Jeb Bush was out of office. But Crist just seemed to flounder. He just didn't seem to be working with the bad hand that had been dealt. Instead, just sort of quietly sat back to try to weather the storm until it was over. Not exactly a praiseworthy approach to deal with a crisis, but hey -- at least he didn't do anything drastic that would have long term consequences, like how the current governor Rick Scott slashed funding to education.

So now that Mr. Crist is a Democrat, I do not expect his political approach to change. In fact, he reminds me a lot of the POTUS: a Democrat who is conservative and believes that he can get support by not making waves. Yes, Charlie Crist is the archetypical "new" Democrat. And the Democratic Party will tolerate it and embrace it.

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The past 7 weeks have been very difficult for me; both personally and in general. You see, in addition to being a "Black liberal", I'm also Jewish. And I saw the news on 6/12/14 about three Israeli teenagers being kidnapped. The Jewish community called for prayers worldwide. However when the news broke that the boys were in fact murdered shortly after their abduction, the tone changed dramatically. We ('we' being the Jewish community), wanted to avenge their deaths.

So in the weeks that followed, there was a flurry of activity; on the behalf of Israel, on the behalf of the Jewish community, on behalf of the liberal community, and on behalf of the US government. It was almost as if these reactions were waiting to be queued up. First was the talk about "Oh boy, what is Bibi (Benyamin Netanyahu) going to do now?". Then Israel's response was vilified by American liberals as being too harsh. Then there were many in the Jewish community who were pissed off about President Obama's reticence on the issue. On a more personal note, all the while, I'm getting updates from friends who have sons and brothers fighting in the IDF. I just took it all in...in silence...and in sadness. What could I really say?

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A Facebook friend posted a link to this article, which was basically a piece that was addressed to racists who complain about all the Black people on welfare. I started reading the article with high hopes. But they were quickly deflated. The statistics in the article really didn't seem to support the point (i.e. that students at HBCUs participate in community service at a higher rate than their non-HBCU peers). Then as I read the comments to the article, I saw that I was not the only one with misgivings about the statistics in the piece...and that perhaps the statistics were all together wrong.

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Sun Jan 05, 2014 at 04:29 PM PST

My Opinion On Marijuana Legalization

by MsShona

(X-posted from my Tumblr blog...)

Before I get started, let me put this disclaimer out there, ok: I do not smoke weed. I have in the past….I may again in the future. But guess what; I have other money, career and health issues. So it’s not on my repertoire of guilty pleasures at the moment. I can pass a drug test at anytime, I promise you. But even so, I feel that non-users need to speak up on this issue as well. So here is my own [very personal] take on the issue.

Poll

Do You Think That Marijuana Should Be Legalized

94%97 votes
0%1 votes
0%1 votes
3%4 votes
0%0 votes

| 103 votes | Vote | Results

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Fri Oct 11, 2013 at 05:21 PM PDT

Closing The Door To Higher Education

by MsShona

On my personal blog, a wrote a piece about my thoughts regarding Frank Brogan's new appointment as the chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). A little over a week after the appointment he spoke freely and easily about retrenchment and making cuts to programs and staff. As the post on my site reveals, I am not a fan of this approach. However he is not a lone voice in the crowd and he really did not create the problem. I saw the storm coming on the horizon two years ago when I worked for PASSHE (and then proceeded to get the hell out of Dodge).

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Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 02:54 PM PDT

My Government Disappoints Me

by MsShona

I've been both sick and busy these last few weeks. I haven't had too much time to read up on all the details of the government shutdown and the debt ceiling. I only listened to bits and pieces of President Obama's speech to the nation last night. So I may not be the most informed person out there in regards to what is going on in Washington right now.

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I earned my MBA last year and while I really enjoyed and gained from my studies, I really wish that the aurora surrounding the degree was one a bit further removed from the reputation of corporate greed and inhumane capitalism.

Capitalism and business may seem to be kissing cousins (especially if your concept of "business" is intrinsically tied into profit production). However, looking at business in its pure form: the production of goods and/or services for consumption; it does not preclude a socialist economic structure. The more important question is what are the goals and what makes for a successful business venture or management strategy according to socialist principles?

If you happen to be an entrepreneur or manager with socialist inclinations, yet operate in a capitalist society, there can be some debate as far as how effective or how completely you can carry out your ideals. I personally feel that one benefit that we do have in the United States in the private sector is the freedom to build and manage business to our own preferences (as long as we stay in financial compliance and make the IRS and law enforcement happy). So let's look at a few key issues, and examine how they can be influenced by a socialist mindset.

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Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 03:25 AM PDT

I Have No Party

by MsShona

For years I've considered myself a Democratic Socialist. I first discovered the Democratic Socialists of America back in college and a lot of what they said made sense. Plus I had a lot of admiration for democratic socialist politicians and initiatives around the world (i.e. Michael Manley and the People's National Party in Jamaica and the kibbutz system in Israel). So I was surprised when I downloaded the "Where We Stand" publication of the International Socialist Organization. As I read it, I began to realize that I really didn't agree with a lot of their key issues (such as the producers of goods {workers} owning the industries and services they create).

So I decided that before I go on too much further, I should perhaps take some sort of political quiz to see where I stand. I was quite surprised that the political party that is most closely aligned with my own values and beliefs is the Green Party. Quite a bit of a surprise to me, since I hardly consider myself to be either an environmentalist or a pacifist.

Poll

Which Political Party Suits Me The Best?

11%3 votes
29%8 votes
14%4 votes
11%3 votes
18%5 votes
0%0 votes
14%4 votes

| 27 votes | Vote | Results

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