Thursday, June 30, 2011

Saturday Night Live skit and side-splitting hilarity on the Morning Joe; false apologies followed

Mark Halperin
Scarborough: (turning to Mark Halperin, smiling) Halperin, what is the president’s strategy? We’re coming up on a deadline, and the President decided to please his base, push back against Republicans . . . I guess the questions is, because we all know what has to be done, is this sort of showmanship, you know, to go out there . . . both sides . . . and they act tough so their base will be appeased, then they quietly work a deal behind the scenes.

Mark Halperin: (looking at Scarborough and Brzezinski, all three of them smiling. Willie Geist and other pundits are off camera) Do we have the seven-second delay today? I want to characterize how I thought the President behaved.

Brzezinski: (grinning broadly) We have it. (to producer Alex in the control booth) We can use it, right?

Scarborough: (encouraging Halperin)  Yeah, sure, come one, take a chance. Have faith.

Brzezinski: Let's see what happens.

Scarborough: I'm behind you. You fall down. I'm gonna catch you.

Brzezinski:  And the precedent has been set on the show, so you're good. (in 2008 Scarborough in a fit of rage let go of the a profanity on the air. MSNBC installed the seven second delay afterwards).

Halperin: (grinning like a Cheshire cat) I thought he was kind of a dick yesterday.

Scarborough: (Scarborough and Mika go into a false state of shock despite their planning the “joke” in advance.) Oh, my God. Delay that! Delay that! What are you doing? I can't believe you. I was joking! Don't do that! Did we delay that?

Halperin, who always looks as though he is smelling something unpleasant, extended his broad smile, proud of his remark, not knowing that the delay button was not hit. Scarborough and Mika doubled over with laughter the “joke” was so funny. They did not know about the delay mishap. Even the people in the control laughed at the "joke."

Scarborough went ballistic when he asked if the whole statement got through. Alex told him that he did not catch it. Scarborough warned him to “put on your helmet. Its gonna be ugly.”  Scarborough knew there was going to be a meeting immediately after the show, and some explaining was on the menu. Scarborough shifted the blame on Alex rather than himself. Coming back from a commercial break, the pseudo apologies began. This poorly executed "joke" was planned all the way down to the seven-second delay.

Scarborough: (looking serious) I’m sorry. It was a joke, We made the joke before the show about the seven-second delay and we were going to try it out.

Halperin: (the grinned wiped off his face) Joking aside, this is not a pro forma apology, it’s an absolute apology, heartfelt to the President and the viewers. . .  became . . . I was part of the joke but that’s no excuse. I made a mistake and I’m sorry and I shouldn’t have said it. As I said, I apologize to the President and to the viewers who heard me say this.

MSNBC published a statement: “Mark Halperin’s comments this morning were completely inappropriate and unacceptable. We apologize to the President, the White House and all of our views. We strive for a high level of discourse and comments like these have no place on our air. Therefore, Mark will be suspended indefinitely from his role as an analyst.”

Time magazine, where Halperin is editor-in-chief of The Page, also  issued a similar statement in writing. Halperin had been admonmished several times that his “behavior was unacceptable.” However, neither Time of MSNBC  will terminate him. So all is not lost for Halperin. He can always go to Fox, where he can freely call President Obama whatever names comes to mind, and be applauded for it.

So why is Scarborough and Mika still on the air? They were instrumental in planning the tasteless on air joke. I've said this before and I'll say it again and again and again. The media established the guidelines for disrespecting President Obama long before he was elected president. Posters on websites and bloggers took their cue that it's acceptable to call this president any name that makes them feel good and proud of themselves. Commenter's hiding behind screen names are worse than pundits, the exception being hate talk radio hosts.

As I recall,  Halperin never liked Obama. He has never made a positive statement about him.  When John McCain and Hillary Clinton were running for president against Obama, Halperin, in Times magazine, published 16 suggestions  February 25, 2008 for McCain to follow. When McCain was wiped out of the race, he switched them to Clinton. I saw some of his suggestions creep into both candidates campaigns.

Things McCain can do when running against Obama that Clinton has been unable to do well or at all:

1.  Play the national security card without hesitation.

2.  Talk about the Iraq War without apologies or perceived contradiction.

3.  Go at Obama unambiguously from the right.

4.  Encourage interest groups, bloggers, and right-leaning media to explore Obama's past.

5.  Make an issue of Obama's acknowledged drug use.

6.  Allow some supporters to risk being accused of using the race card when criticizing Obama.

7.  Exploit Michelle Obama's mistakes and address her controversial remarks with unrestricted censure.

8.  Play dirty without alienating his party.

9.  Dismiss Obama's brief national tenure from his own lofty platform of decades in the Senate -- there will be no ambiguity about who has more experience as conventionally defined.

10.  Use his sterling war record to reinforce his image of patriotism and valor -- and contrast it with his opponent's.

11.  Emphasize Barack Hussein Obama's unusual name and exotic background through a Manchurian Candidate prism.

12.  Employ third party groups like the NRA to hit Obama on issues that might turn off general election voters. Perhaps an ad such as this will run in Ohio: "So, what do you really know about Barack Obama? Did you know he supports meeting with the head of terrorist states? Do you know he wants to get rid of your right to own a handgun? Do you know he is calling for the repeal of the law preventing gay marriage? Do you know he is for a trillion-dollar tax increase? What do you really know about Barack Obama?"

13.  Face an electorate less consumed with "change change change" (the main priority for Democratic voters) and keenly interested in "ready from day one" as an equally important ideal.

14.  Link biography (experience/courage) and leadership (straight talk) to a vision animated by detail -- accentuating Obama's relative lack of specificity.

15.  Give Obama his first real race against a credible Republican. (Clinton has always asserted that Obama would wilt before a fierce Republican assault.)
 


16.  Confront Obama with a united, focused campaign absent of second-guessing, which hits the same themes and message every day.

So I am not surprised that Halperin opened his mouth to stick both his, Mika and Scarborough's feet in his mouth. Neither of the apologies are sincere, and all are lying out the crack of their butts. If you've ever watched Morning Joe you know the apologies are false spelled backwards. False spelled backwards is not a word.
 

Scarborough and Halperin bought a sledgehammer on the show to crack a nut just to get a laugh. The two idiots ended up cracking their own nuts, and Halperin was sent home minus one nut. Scarborough will stay on TV to make more bad jokes about President Obama. He will grovel and apologize to keep his job.

Quotes from me

(1) Nothing comes to a timid wife but an abusive husband.

(2) A child's innocent, unconditional love becomes contaminated and        conditional when he or she grows old enough to make demands.

(3) I walked through life with both eyes closed. Through death's eyes 
I captured the real meaning of life.

(4) How can a tree hope to grow if it is cut down like an annoying bush?  


(5) Walk a half block in a battered woman's shoes before you ask her: 
"Why do you stay?"

dorothy charles banks   
                                                           

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I'm trying to tell you something

 I'm trying to tell you something

You used to hold my hands and tell me they were the softest you’ve ever held. You used to gaze into my eyes and tell me you could see the world through them. And you would kiss my eyes as if you were trying to envision everything they had seen before we met. You never failed to tell how beautiful I looked, no matter what I was wearing, no matter how I really looked. You were so romantic. Romance was alive in our hearts. In our touch.

What a sense of humor you had. You were my daily dose of comedy. 

Whenever we were in a crowd your eyes always found me, and you would caress me alluringly with your eyes. I remember you getting a big kick out of watching me melt under your flirtatious gaze. You always told me: “Look for love in the eyes.”

I don’t have to tell you that I looked forward everyday to hearing you tell me how much you loved me. You never said, “I think you know I care about you.” You always said, “I love you” in a voice so tender I wanted to weep like a baby. Occasionally I did. Occasionally I did.

Now I weep because I’m sad. I weep because I miss that sensuous gaze, the flirting eyes, the laughter, the romance, the hand holding, the compliments and confessions of love. I now weep because I miss the caring person I once knew. 

Where did he go? I’m trying to tell you something. Are you listening?

copyrighted by dorothy charles banks

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mandela Woman

 When I began writing poetry it merely served as a vehicle for me to get in touch with my inner self; to converse with my inner consciousness on the issues which were affecting my life--growing up, falling in love. The joy of writing was liberating, being able to say whatever I wanted to without question or debate with others who were in a position to challenge my positions.

When I began sharing my writing with friends and family, I came to realize that I found a way to express what so many others wanted to say. Additionally, I started to write poetry that would express to other how I felt about them, or a particular issue.

 I've always felt that there is so much to say, so much to share about this world we live in. Writi9ng poetry afforded me an expedient avenue to get it all out. As young person, writing a poem was overwhelming as sitting down to write a book. The initial goal was to get everything said as in little time as possible.

 It was not long before I recognized that poetry could also, and should be used as an education tool. It was a means to educate our young, to educate our communities, our society and each other. I began to devour the writings of Nikki Giovanni, Haki Madhubi, Gwendolyn Brooks, Imari Baraka, Maya Angelou, and a host of others committed to truth telling and progress for African American people.

 It really doesn't matter if everyone likes what I write. I know there will always be someone who doesn't like my style,  my issues, my language, my  message. But if I can touch one heart,  raise one consciousness, I will know I have done my part, and that is enough for me.

 To encourage writing is to encourage reading, and to do this is to strengthen the minds of our children and broaden their view of the world.


 Mandela Woman

Mandela, Mandela
Mandela Woman
Mandela, Mandela
Mandela Woman
Winnie, Winnie
Mandela Woman


                                           I, Sojourner
                                             I, Harriet
                    

                                           We women warriors
                                                 summon you
                                                  salute you

      Mandela Woman
            Winnie, Winnie

                                 Mandela Woman
                            if you do no more
                       you have done your part
                            given your heart
                         live on to witness the change

                                                Mandela Woman
                                                     Winnie,  Winnie


                                                                              if the words you've spoken
                                                                                  will always be heard
                                                                                     you've given your sound
                                                                                          live on to hear the echoes

                                                                          Mandela Woman
                                                                          Winnie, Winnie

                                                            if you don't teach another
                                                                           African Child
                                                                       you've already taught so man
                                                                                   to be teachers
                                                                              live on to behold the
                                                                                   teaching of the young

1Mandela Woman
Winnie, Winnie
if you never write another book
you've written a book of freedom
live on to read it

                                                                                     Mandela Woman
                                                                                  if you never feed another hungry mouth
                                                                                     you have done your part
                                                                               
                                                                                      Mandela Woman
                                                                               if you never march again
                                                                                            on bloodied soil
                                                                                          you've given your heart

                                                                  Mandela woman
if you never raise your hand again
to catch bullets with the truth
you've given your life

1Mandela Woman
live on
be a spectator to the victory

We women warriors
know it takes more
than one mule to carry
a million souls to freedom

copyrighted by Niobe Marshall

Sunday, June 26, 2011

America's top atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair dies horrific death at hands of employee

Jon Murray, Robin Murray, Madalyn O'Hair
"I told my kids I just want three words on my tombstone, if I have one. I'll probably be cremated. One is "woman." I'm very comfortable in that role. I've loved being a woman, I've loved being a mother, I've loved being a grandmother. I want three words: Woman, Atheist, Anarchist. That's me."

 A passionate atheist, Madalyn Murray O'Hair has been described as obscene, outrageous, belligerent, up-in-your-face, controversial and highly despised by critics and Christians.  She was catapulted to national recognition in 1960 after filing a lawsuit to stop Bible reading in public schools.

In the consolidated lawsuit, Abington School District v. Schempp, the Supreme Court voted 8-1 in favor of Schempp, June 17, 1993. Bible reading public schools was banned. O'Hair said Bible reading in public schools was unconstitutional, and it violated the First Amendment rights of  her son William Murray lll. The 1962 lawsuit, Engel v Vitale, banned prayer in public schools.

Madalyn, O'Hair being the name of her second husband, Richard O'Hair, was a woman who took no prisoners if you crossed her.  She was a tall woman, and "big boned" as my grandmother would say. In other words, she was not a petite woman. Her size could be intimidating when linked with her need to be in control. When I interviewed her in the mid-1980 at her Austin, Texas headquarters, I  found her to be sharp tongued, ready to challenge me, and cunning with her words. We talked for a while before I turned on my tape recorder. I wanted to get a feel for who she was.

O'Hair was a woman who relished a verbal fight. She was amusing and manipulative. She was ready to convert me to atheism had I been receptive to her argument against organized religion. Despite of her hating God and all things religious, I liked her.

Prior to the interview I had looked at some of her interviews on TV and saw the temper she was noted to have. She was quick to fly off the handle. She glared at the host. She raised her voice in anger. She cursed. When I told her that I had watched a few interviews she assumed that I had formed an opinion of her. I could see her tense up. I was ready for her to step over the line. I was prepared to walk  her back across the same line. But she was nice the hour we talked. I finally concluded that the fanfare and theatrics were reserved for the courts and TV.

Interviewing O'Hair I had to stay on my toes. I spotted right away that she had little patience with people who believed in God. She said she became disillusioned with God when she was a young child. An avid reader, the well known atheist said after reading the Bible from cover to cover, she had questions about God that her parents could not or would not answer. She questioned God's cruelty and having the unilateral power to "murder" innocent men, women and children as written in the Old Testament.

 O'Hair thoroughly believed in her solid stance and contentious opinions about organized religion. A woman who was sure of herself and her riff against religion, O’Hair could be persuasive when arguing the pros of atheism as opposed to the cons of religion and God.

Madalyn O'Hair was born April 13, 1919 in the Beechview neighborhood in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Her lower-middle class parents were Presbyterian, and so was she until she developed a strong dislike for organized religion. Upon migrating to Austin, Texas, O'Hair founded  American Atheists, Inc. The actual membership numbers are sketchy at best, and O'Hair said she did not know the actual numbers. She was its president from 1963 until 1986. Her son Jon Murray took over from 1986 to 1995.

In 1995, O’Hair, 77, her son Jon Murray, 40, and granddaughter Robin Murray, 30, daughter of William J. Murray left Austin suddenly, leaving a typewritten note attached to the door of  the American Atheists headquarters. "The Murray O'Hair family has been called out of town on emergency business. We do not know how long we will be gone at time of writing this memo." The note was signed by Jon Murray. When the headquarters was entered by employees they discovered O'Hair's diabetes medication was left behind, her dogs were unattended, breakfast dishes still on the table.

William Murray, O'Hair's only surviving son and father of Robin Murray, who was adopted, had not spoken to each other in years. The relationship between them was set asunder when Murray became a Christian in 1980. It took him a year to finally file a missing person report. In an interview with the Austin Chronicle, Murray said, "I don't want to search for people who don't want to be found."

An investigation of O'Hair's vanishing act took a year to get the police interested. They surmised that she just packed up and left town. The FBI eventually joined the investigation.  Eventually it was learned that the trio had been kidnapped and subsequently murdered by a former employee named David Ronald Waters, and two accomplices named Danny Fry and Gary Karr, neither of whom were employed by O'Hair. The two were Waters' friends.

According to media reports Waters became angry after O’Hair exposed him for stealing $54,000 from the organization. At the time was on probation for prior unlawful infractions. O'Hair wrote a scathing editorial about Waters in the organizations newsletter. That added to Waters' anger.

Murray said his mother liked hiring "unsavory characters." In a 1999 press release Murray wrote unflatteringly about his estranged mother. He wrote that his mother, daughter and brother were murdered by fellow atheists. He wrote about him being a young boy, living at home with O'Hair.

"When I was a young boy of ten or eleven years old she would come home and brag about spending the day in X-rated movie theaters in downtown Baltimore. She was proud of the fact she was the only woman in the movie house watching this filth. My mother’s whole life circulated around such things. She even wrote articles for Larry Flynt’s pornographic magazine, Hustler. My mother lived in spiritual death as Paul writes: “But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.” I Timothy 5:6

"My mother delighted in hiring unrepentant criminals to work in her atheist office. She particularly enjoyed hiring convicted murderers who had served their time, but were unrepentant about what they had done. She got a sense of power out of having men in her employ who had taken human life. It was love of power over people that finally caused not only her death, but the deaths of my brother and my daughter.

"My mother had complete power over my brother, Jon, and my daughter, Robin. Although I was able to break away from the evil of this family, an evil that had been there for generations, they could not. My mother did not permit either my brother or my daughter to speak to me. She had total control of them."

It took from 1995 to January 2001 to finally charge David Roland Waters and his accomplices with the murders of O'Hair, Jon and Robin. One of his partner's in crime, Danny Fry, was found dead soon after the triple kidnapping/murders. He was shot in the back of the head. His head and  hands were severed. The rest of his body was left on the Trinity River in Texas. It took three and-a half years for police to identify him.

After cutting a deal for himself with the district attorney, Waters led authorities to Camp Wood, Texas on the outskirts of San Antonio, where the decomposed bodies of O'Hair, her son and grand-daughter were buried. All three had been dismembered. The media wrote that the remains indicated that the bodies suffered “extensive mutilation.”  The head and hands of Fry were found in a plastic bag in the shallow graves with the decomposed bodies. O'Hair, her son and granddaughter were identified through dental records and DNA. In the case of O’Hair the serial number on her prosthetic hip was an identifier.

The deal that Waters cut for himself was conditional. If found guilty and sentenced to prison, he wanted to be sentenced to a federal prison rather than a state prison in Texas. At the conclusion of his trial the jury rendered him guilty of kidnapping, robbery and murder. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.  His accomplice, Gary Karr, was sentenced to life in prison. Waters died of lung cancer in 2003.

O’Hair’s surviving son, William J. Murray, father to Robin, made this statement in a press release after the remains of his family were exhumed: “The media asked me if I would hold a funeral and if so would there be prayer. My answer was simple but Biblical, and sort of surprised them I am sure. They are already either in heaven or hell, praying over them now will not make a difference. I made that statement knowing the torture they must have gone through the last thirty days of their lives. Did Robin pray to receive Christ as she was bound and gagged? Perhaps. Did my mother or brother cry out to the Lord just before they were murdered? I don’t know.” Their remains are buried in an unmarked grave in Texas.


My interview with Madalyn Murray O'Hair

Dorothy: Were your parents atheists? If not, what religion did they teach in the home?

O’Hair: I was born into a Presbyterian family, and I think that was the same kind of situation that existed a great deal with other persons at that particular time. My mother had been born into and reared in the Lutheran church. When she married my father it used to be the custom that the woman take the religion of her husband.  The moment she married my father she began to attend the Presbyterian church,  and she never went back to the Lutheran church again in her life. However, if you asked her what religion she was she would always say a Lutheran. She attended a Presbyterian church for 50 years. I was born into the Presbyterian church, went to Sunday school, some sort of thing on Wednesday nights, went twice on Sunday with my parents. I had a very good indoctrination  into the Presbyterian religion

Dorothy: When did you stop believing in God?

O’Hair: When did I stop? There are fairy tales about how people become atheist, and it is usually that something horrible happened to them, and then they turn against God and hate God. That’s absolutely not the truth, because I think the same thing that happened to me happened to every other atheist. It is an intellectual confrontation that one has. I was in the fifth grade, so I must have been 10 or 11 years old. I am an avid reader, and have always been an avid reader. So I didn’t have anything to read one weekend, and my parents refused to take me to the library. So one of the books that I picked up to read in the house from cover to cover was the bible. And I was turned off by it, because of the hatred, the brutality, the murder, the hatred of people that God had. I really couldn’t stand it.

Dorothy: What was it in the Bible . . .

O’Hair: Well, just stop and think. You have a God who was all powerful, all knowing, all good, all old and wise, all everything. And yet he creates a world in which he creates a man and a woman who are immediately going to sin as soon as he puts them down into the place (the Garden of Eden). Well, since he knew everything, he knew in advance they were going  to do that. After they immediately sinned, just the moment he leaves them alone for 24 hours, then he punishes them and all of the people who are derived from them, forever and ever. He’s going to send them all into a burning eternal hell, simply because of something that somebody else did.

*** O’Hair stops the interview to introduce Eric McCain, who sits on the board of directors. “I told him you represented a Black journal, and I said Eric 'you come over here and talk to her too.' I sensed that O’Hair’s explanation was forty acres and a mule away from the truth. She was about to make some controversial statements, and he was her backup just in case I reacted negatively.

O’Hair was not accustomed to talking the African American media, nor did it seek interviews with her. McCain did not participate in this interview, though he sat near her. Through all of  her hell raising, boast and bullying on TV, I sensed that O'Hair was uncomfortable with this interview. I was unfamiliar to her in her own territory. I thought to myself: I can read you Madlyn like you believe you can read people. I smile to myself, just as amused with her as she was with me.


O’Hair: . . . And he (God) got so angry with all of the people in the world that he drowned everybody, but the old drunkard (Noah) and his family. Now I wouldn’t drown everybody. You wouldn’t do it! Look at all the babies that were born that day! Keep your eyes on the ball. He drowned the kids. What did they do? And so everything that I read kept getting worse and worse and worse.

This was irrational, hate filled, very vindictive, disgusting, brutal, sadistic. I wasn’t thinking in those terms when I was 11, but boy I was getting the message! And then this female (Mary) . . . my mother was just telling me about human sexuality. . . come out with this big story. Now anybody else, if you come out with a story like that, they would say, 'Ah, you’re a bastard.' But Oh, with her, she said, ‘Oh, God did it.' And I said to my mother, 'Does anybody else tell those tales?'

Dorothy: Speaking of Jesus, you’re saying he is a bastard, in other words.

O’Hair: You read it from one end to the other and its so obvious.  This is the thing that I couldn’t understand.  I used to go and stand by the corner of the kitchen, and I’d look at my mother and father sitting there, and I think, 'They believe that.' That’s the first time that I started to doubt what my parents had told me. I kept saying to myself, 'They believe that. How can they believe that if they read it?' And this guy, for instance, who got mad at his neighbor so he set fire to some foxes' tails, and had the foxes run through the wheat field and ruin all of that food! And God thought he was a wonderful man. Oh, come on. It’s (the Bible) is just filled with idiocies.

Dorothy: Do you think it’s fair to impose your religious beliefs on others? Example, stopping school prayer, having in God we trust removed from money?

O’Hair: I don’t have a religious belief in the world! Not a one! I don’t have any belief system. Atheism is not a religion. Atheism is an inspection of the history of religion, and the philosophy of religion from a secular view point. So I don’t have any belief systems at all.

Before you leave here I will give you some information showing how our organization is incorporated, and what its actual corporate goals and purposes are, everything there is to know. We have absolutely no religious convictions at all. We have no dogma, no creed, no nothing, to use a double negative. Okay, now you say how am I imposing my beliefs on anybody else. I’d like to take them one by one: prayer in school. Prayer was not supposed to be there to begin with.

Dorothy: Why would you say that?

O’Hair: Because the Constitution of the United States predicates our nation as one being founded on separation of religion and government. Since the public schools are funded by tax money and they are government schools, then there is no place for religion in those schools ever, under any circumstances. Prayer was introduced into the public schools very, very late in the school system. And the first secular schools didn’t have it. They wouldn’t have dared have in the time of (Thomas) Jefferson and (James) Madison in the public schools and indeed they didn’t. Actually prayer was fully introduced in the school system in the 1920s and 1930s. It wasn’t there in 1779 or 1876. It was introduced as an idea to capture the children for Christianity.

Let me ask: If you are going to have prayer, which one are you going to have? Are you going to have the Roman Catholic prayer? Are you going to have the Protestant version? If you do, what are you going to  do with the Jews? They don’t think there is a Jesus Christ. They are still waiting for the messiah. They don’t recognize that. So whose God are you going pray to? Pray to the black Muslim God for Ali? Who are you going to  pray to? Which religion are you going to introduce into the public schools? Are you going to introduce Buddhism, Islam, Protestantism, Judaism? And which brand of  Protestantism . . .  the Lutheran, the Baptist, the Presbyterian?

Does everybody have to be dunked to be baptized? Can’t some people have water (poured) on the head? All of those are such bitter battles that wars have been fought about. It’s better if the schools are used for what they should be used for: to teach people the accoutrement of civilization so that they can go off and earn a living. Religion is a private affair and it should be kept in the home as a private affair with parents having their choice of how they want to brutalize their youngsters while they are still young.

Dorothy: If the world was free of the word God, what do you think you would try and have abolished then?

O’Hair: Well, see that implies that I’m a gadfly, and that I’m just an abolisher. I am more interested in the fight than I am in the substance of the fight. (She did not like the question. Her body language changed, as did her tone of voice. I thought to myself: If you get silly Madalyn, I'm going to get silly with you.)

Dorothy: When something good happens to you, when you pull through something dramatic, I  say thank you God. What do you say?

O’Hair: You see I don’t thank anybody, because if I pull through something, it was because I mustered the inner resources myself to get through. Or if I had to depend on somebody else to do it like . . . I go to Eric and say, 'Hey Eric do this or do that.' I depend on him to have the capacity and the ability to do it. I would never think in terms of thank God or thank anybody else, anywhere along those lines. As a matter of fact, I think it’s a duty and obligation for every member of the human race to do what they can to increase the understanding and the outreach of all human beings to other human beings. I feel that’s such a duty and obligation, that if they do something I have no intentions of thanking them. They should have done it.

Dorothy: You believe in heaven? (She bristled at the question)

O’Hair: Oh, come on!  I have absolutely no  concepts of that! Let me tell you what we do not accept. We do not accept heaven, hell, perdition, purgatory, and any step in between, going up or down. We don’t accept angels. We don’t accept prayer. We don’t accept gods, prophets, preachers, ministers, reverends. Nothing. (She has that irritated tone again)

Dorothy: Do you believe in reincarnation?

O’Hair: Absolutely not!  Somebody would have to prove that scientifically to me! I was absolutely wrong with my oldest son. My oldest son Bill (William Murray) was born in 1926. So he is 34 years old this year, and I permitted him to go to any church that his friends went to. I permitted him to go the church his grandparents wanted him to go to. I permitted him to be involved with religion. And when he was about 17 or 18 years old, one day he said to me, 'Well come on now . . . what about prayers. Are they answered or aren’t they answered?' And I said to him 'What you’re talking about is the efficacy of prayer. That is does it work or doesn’t it work.' And he got furious. 'You let me flounder around and I don’t even know what words to use.'

He said, 'You could have taught me about the efficacy of prayer. No, you let me get bogged down in that. You let me get all kind of screwed up ideas, and after I’m so bogged down with this thing and my feet in the clay, and I don’t know which end is up when you talk to me. It’s too goddamn late now.  You should have taught me to be an atheist. You shouldn’t have let me get involved in that. When somebody asked me to go to Sunday school you should have said ‘I rather my son go to a pornographic flick.' He said, 'No, you didn’t do that.' (William tells a different version to that conversation, and O’Hair’s proclivity toward pornography.) 

So then I got a second son, (Jon) he was born in 1954. He going to be 26 this year. And boy he didn’t go to church! Absolutely not! But I still thought, well the kids have to choose for themselves. That's bullshit!  How can three year olds choose for themselves? How can a three year old say,  'Well, daddy, I’m going to choose if you beat me tonight, or if you don’t beat me tomorrow.' Bullshit!  The father should never beat the kid. The kid has no choice.

What he’s  got to learn, he's got to do, he’s got to be educated to help himself, to be educated to use his mind. And he can’t say 'No, I’m not going to do it. I'm never gonna go to school. I’m three and I’ve decided.'  Now I’ve got another kid (her granddaughter Robin, who she adopted) and she was born in 1965. This child has been reared as an atheist from the word go. From the word go she has heard about the virtues of atheism.  Just like you teach your child black is beautiful. Atheism is the best philosophy in the world. All three of my kids are atheists.  

Note: O'Hair's oldest son, William Murray, converted to Christianity in 1980. They have not spoken to each other since.

Dorothy: How strong are the atheists? What is your membership?

O’Hair: First off we don’t keep records and Eric is to blame for that. Eric is a computer programmer and he is helping us to put it on disk. We’ve got it on tapes right now. And we have to guess names and such. We feel that we are somewhere below a 100,000 families.  All children are born atheists. (O’Hair was evasive. At the time this interview her organization consisted of a handful of people. The atheist movement had waned, so has her power, influence and national recognition.)

Dorothy: I saw you on the Tom Synder Show. I closed my mind to the interview because I didn't want to let what you said on his show interfere with my interview. 

O’Hair: How wonderful (sarcasm in her voice). A great number of persons go to church for social reasons and they do not say they are atheist because they are afraid something will happen. And I am furious with those atheists! What can happen? Can they be skinned alive? Do we have the Inquisition any more? Will their eyes be gouged out? Will they be boiled in oil? Of course not. I keep saying to the atheist, come on out and say exactly what you want to say, because you no longer have those fears of what ties you down. These are your own fears, not fears from the community. And if everybody would speak up and say they are atheists-- the sociologists are now saying that we are 23 to 27 of the population. That’s one out of four.

Dorothy: I know you don’t agree with this, but I’m going to ask you anyway. Do you think we die by choice or because we just get tired of living? Or as the Bible says our days are numbered?

O’Hair: I don’t think anybody is capable of dying. I feel that the life force is so strong that its very, very difficult to die. This is evident constantly in hospitals everywhere. People are in automobile accidents or ill, and they think they can’t go another day. It’s just impossible. But everybody clings tenaciously to life. The will to live is strong in us because that’s all there is. That’s all we’ve ever known. We are not going anyplace. There is no life after death. The words life and death are mutually exclusive. Our lives are not numbered. You know what our lives are numbered by?

Mine is numbered right now. I am wearing out. I can see that I’m wearing out. My skin is changing. I’m getting some wrinkles. I now have to take insulin every day. And as my body wears out, finally I’m going to die. It’s pretty much like a car. After a while you have to junk it. And I have to face the fact that I am going to terminate as a unique individual personality. Let me ask you something. Supposing you die, and you go to heaven. What are you going do up there? With whose eyes will you see? With what ears will you hear? With what mouth will you talk? What mind will you think?

Dorothy: No one has eve come back to tell what heaven or hell is like.

O’Hair: Oh, boy  Indeed they haven’t!

Dorothy: Do you think we have control over everything we do, or do things just happen?

O’Hair: I’m pretty much a person who believes . . . who accepts the fact that heredity and environment influences are very impactful on us. We get a great deal from our DNA. From our heredity. We also get a great deal from our culture. I believe like B.F. Skinner says that there’s a considerable operant conditioning growing up. I’m indoctrinated day after day after day. When I look in the mirror, I am a White Nordic person. It is held up for the whole human race that the idea is to be a blue eyed blonde Nordic, with a family of four. So I have always felt very, very comfortable. I can’t imagine if I ever looked in the mirror and see a Japanese, when we were willing to drop a bomb on those little yellow people. I can’t imagine what I would feel if I looked an saw a minority person.

Dorothy: Are there some days when you feel that everything is going wrong . . .

O’Hair: Life is hard. You’re a minority person, and part of your trouble is that you are a minority person. The White dominant society is going to kick the hell out of you! Don’t you forget it. As a individual human being, no. That is happenstance. It is circumstance. You are influenced by the weather, by your social economic position. You are influenced by the persons with whom you associate. There isn’t anything that isn’t impactful upon you. Incidentally, there is nothing that can stop me from being happy. I am happy most of the time. I am extremely optimistic.

Dorothy: I usually end interview with the question: What is happiness to you?

O’Hair: Everything  there is to do about life. The celebration of live. Come on, what makes you feel any better in this world, this whole wide world than to have a good bowel movement! People knock it. They knock it but its a beautiful feeling  A feeling of well being and comfort.

Dorothy: I’ve got a feeling you’re pulling my leg.

O’Hair: No!  No!  Everything is good. (We both laugh).

Friday, June 24, 2011

Brother

    
Brother

Momma's son
Daddy's namesake
My brother

we grew up together
crossed the same ocean
sowed the same field
fought the same Master
as we ran towards freedom

please don't leave me now!

Momma's son
Daddy's namesake
My brother

I love you
we grew up together
Picking Cotton
learning to read
running from the whippings
lynchings
stones and bullets

Together we learned to survive
as we marched towards freedom

please don't leave me now!

Momma's son
Daddy's namesake
My brother

I need you as much today
as I did when they first
came to our harbor and
took our Momma away

My brother
I love you as much
today as I did when
they came to the Plantation
and sold our
Daddy away

please don't leave me now!

Momma's son
Daddy's namesake

you are all 
I have left
in the world

please don't leave me now!

take my hand as
you did when we played
Together

Let's walk onto freedom!

(C) by Niobe Marshall


For My Mother

Sunday mornings
Chicken grease a'popping
Macaroni and cheese melting
While the siblings three
Dressed like dainty queens 
Went off to Sunday School
With a nickel, dime or
Quarter to split between
God and gum

It wasn't easy 
But neither
Was it easy for you 
To wear cardboard in your shoes
So that on
Sunday mornings
Chicken grease could pop
Macaroni and cheese could melt
Blending good odors

Oh, I remember and 
This is to thank you
For feeling we were worth it

Now I have mine
They may not go to Sunday School
I may get by
Not having to pad my shoes
With cardboard
But know this: I love you
Thank you for helping me grow
Knowing  your own are always worth it

Sunday mornings
Chicken grease a'popping
Macaroni and cheese melting
Blending good odors
Brings back good memories

(C) by Niobe Marshal


I see a child 

i see a child who wants
to speed forward
grow upward

i see a child
educating himself
on street corners

to educators in the
classroom he
is invisible

i see a child
crying in  the street

i see a child becoming a
parent to a child
looking for the
comfort that

"now someone will love me"

i see a child
being raped in
america's great melting pot

we pretend not to see
this child
to recognize his existence
we reveal our helplessness
to correct his situation

so we see this child
and pretend his invisibility
to shadow our impotence

copyrighted  by Niobe Marshall

Our roots are deep

Our roots are deep     
 Our roots are
         Strong and deep
      Nurtured by the
      Rich and fertile
        Soil of our ancestors

            Anchored by a legacy
            Of faith
               Hope
               Strength
                  And love

       Our roots are
              Strong and deep
          Bearing us across
         The nation
                Sustaining us, causing us
                 To produce branches
                  That freely reach
                   Toward the stars

    Our roots are strong and deep
        Giving us strength
          To stand tall
            In life's valleys and on
      The mountain tops
       Granting us the spirit
         And wisdom to
            Humbly kneel in prayer

             We lift our
               Voices in songs
                 Of praise
          Glory be to God
             Our roots are
         Strong and deep

     copyrighted by Lorenzo Fritzpatrick

Sen Mitch McConnell got comfortable and loose

Sen. Mitch McConnell at CSM breakfast
I guess it’s human nature to feel comfortable when you are in the company of people who look and think like you.

For the last two-and-a-half years Republicans have been feeling extremely comfortable and loose lipped. When they make jokes and unflattering statements about President Obama they get resounding approval and applause. Not only is that kind of reception a “hugging welcome” for a guest speaker, it opens the door to say whatever he or she wants without fear of rejection, ridicule or an audience boo-down.

That’s how comfortable Kentucky's Republican  Senator Mitch McConnell was when he was a  guest panelists at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast, June 22.
   
McConnell said, “The only thing I can tell you at this point is that there are differences. I’m not sure that these kind of differences might not have been there in a more latent form when you had a Republican president. But I do think there is more of a tendency to pull together when the guy in the White House is on your side.

“So I think some of these views were probably held by some of my members even in the previous administration, but party loyalty tended to mute them. So yeah, I think there are clearly differences and I think a lot of our members, not having a Republican in the White House, feel more free to express their reservations which might have been somewhat muted during the previous administration.”

McConnell was talking about President Obama committing America’s help to stave off a potential genocide after dictator Mu(mmar Gaddafi unequivocally stated that he “would have no mercy” against Libyans rising up against him. He said his army would go on a house to house killing spree.

Regardless of the warning, some Democrats and the majority of Republicans are not happy. They said President Obama did not get permission from Congress to participate in the Libyan scrimmage.  Of course they had no intentions of agreeing with him. They just wanted to see him grovel and beg for their cooperation.

The 1973 War Powers Act states that the president is supposed to halt military involvement if Congress has not formally approved it within 60 days. Republicans say the President has not explained America’s purpose for teaming with NATO, and going into Libya. The President sent Congress a letter of explanation.

On April 10, 1999, members of Congress filed a lawsuit against Bill Clinton, citing he violated the Constitution and the War Powers Act when he sanctioned America’s leading role in NATO’s intervention in Kosovo. Seventeen members of Congress participated in the lawsuit. A number of Democrats and Republicans, led by Dennis Kucinich, have filed a similar lawsuit against President Obama. They said he violated the War Powers Act. Kucinich did not participate in the lawsuit against Clinton.

According to a May 6, 1999 article in Salon, the White House continues to insist it doesn't need the permission of Congress to mount military action against Yugoslavia. "We believe the president does have the authority to conduct this campaign," says NSC spokesman Leavy. "There's constitutional precedent. In 1995, we engaged in military action in Bosnia in order to bring the Serbs to the negotiating table. President Bush sent 20,000 troops to Somalia. What we've done is consistent with the War Powers Resolution.”

"The whole War Powers Act is a very vague and hazy area," adds a senior White House official. It's never been tested to the Supreme Court level."

 “To add to the mixed messages, on Thursday the House is expected to vote in support of $12.9 billion to fund the military operations it won't support -- even though President Clinton requested less than half that. House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, has explained this as a way to support our troops, while not necessarily supporting the policy that put them there.” (Salon)

John Kerry said last week no president has ever come before Congress under the 1973 War Powers Act, but now is a good time "to start with President Obama." The media are aware of this little overlooked fact, but refused to write about it, leaving the impression that Obama is the only president in history to "violate" the War Powers Act.

Today House Republicans and Democrats delivered a confusing solution to their opposition to  President Obama. First they voted against authorizing the use of American forces in Libya,  an hour later they voted not to limit funding. That sounds an awful lot like Dick Armey's statement.

McConnell said their slogan for the 2012 presidential election will be "Obama made it worse."